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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1840379 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #12750 on: November 30, 2013, 12:33:53 PM »

Violent Saturday (1955) 9/10. Stephen McNally arrives by bus in “Bradenville” (played by Bisbee, AZ). Unwisely crossing the street in front of the parked bus, he’s almost hit by a sleek sports car driven by the town’s leading adulteress, Mrs. Boyd Fairchild (Margaret Hayes). Rearranging the golf bag in the front seat before putting her car back in gear, Mrs. Fairchild shoots McNally a murderous look –the irony!—and drives on. Their paths won’t cross again until Saturday, Violent Saturday. McNally finally makes it to the other side of the street, and there stands the bank he’s come to rob. But it isn’t yet Saturday (a Saturday which will be violent!), so he turns and walks past. As he goes, the bank manager (Tommy Noonan) raises the blinds of a picture window and looks out—he too has a date with Violent Saturday. McNally arrives at his hotel, and, checking in, spies Linda (Virginia Leith), the object to every man’s desire. A nurse at the local hospital, she forms a skein in Fate’s Tapestry as well (Fate’s Violent Tapestry!). Meanwhile McNally’s two henchmen, J. Carrol Naish and Lee Marvin (with a sinus condition), are on a train, Bradenville bound. Naish notices some Amish children in their car and gives them candy. We will learn that Naish often gives children candy. Marvin, by contrast, won’t pass up an opportunity later to step on a child’s fingers. Back in Bradenville, McNally is studying the lay of the land, on the relief map in the town library. Miss Braden (Sylvia Sydney), the librarian and, presumably, a descendant of the city’s founder, has fallen on hard times and is tempted to steal from a patron. McNally observes her with cynical relish, then steps outside to witness a fight between schoolboys. The father of one of the boys arrives—it’s Victor Mature!—and questions his son, then has to get back to work. He’s a vice-president at Fairchild Copper, Bradenville’s only industry. The other vice-president is Boyd Fairchild (Richard Egan), drunk in his office and sick about his wandering wife. He has his secretary put in a call for her at the country club—and CUT, there she is, golfing with her current squeeze, Brad Dexter. And so it goes, Rififi meeting La Ronde. When Naish and Marvin hit town, their paths too begin interweaving with those of the townsfolk. A final thread is supplied by an Amish farmer played by Ernest Borgnine in a funny beard (“I thank thee, neighbor.”). Borgnine enters the picture carrying a pitchfork, and seasoned theatergoers know that Chekhov has a rule about that: if you show a character in Act One carrying a loaded pitchfork, that pitchfork must go off by Act Three. And Act Three here is Saturday, Violent Saturday, the place where all paths converge . . . . . violently.

At one point Lee Marvin comments that Virginia Leith’s Linda is built like a Swiss watch, but the same could be said of Richard Fleischer’s film and its precision-instrument plot. Never have scenes been more artfully joined; never have Cinemascope frames been better composed; never have movements within those frames been more persuasively motivated or performed with such economy.

Twilight Time brought the movie out on DVD a while ago, using elements they claimed weren’t good enough for an HD transfer. But Carlotta in France has since produced this stunning Blu-ray from other elements. The transfer is mind-bogglingly great, a 10/10 (It makes“Color by De Luxe” actually mean something). I doubt the film looked this good even when projected in 1955.

There are two supplements, one in French without subtitles, but one in English, an insightful appreciation of the movie by William Friedkin [one has to wonder if the film didn’t influence Mr. Friedkin’s own Sorcerer]. The disc is region-coded “B”.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2013, 12:35:12 PM by dave jenkins » Logged


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« Reply #12751 on: November 30, 2013, 04:02:52 PM »

Will have to check it out.  Afro

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« Reply #12752 on: November 30, 2013, 09:08:53 PM »

Waterloo Bridge (1940) - 8/10
EDIT: OK, 8.5/10.

I just saw Waterloo Bridge (1940) on TCM. I can't believe I never heard of this movie before. IMO it is one of the greatest love stories ever told. I put it up there with Casablanca and The Bridges of Madison County as one of the three greatest movie love stories ever. I give it a 9.5/10 rating (it could easily get a perfect score; I took off half a point for some very minor reasons: Robert Taylor's dyed white mustache in the opening scene looks comical; and as can be expected for a movie of this era, the movie mostly feels like it's made on sets, even the important bridge has a painted background and is obviously a set; but again, this is to be expected of all movies of this era, and whatever, a half point one way or another doesn't matter).

This is simply an amazing movie. The scene with the final dance before Taylor is supposed to go off to war, with Auld Lange Syne, is awesome (true, it's a conscious attempt to be awesome, but sometimes it's actually harder to succeed at being awesome when it's a self-conscious attempt at doing so). As I've said previously, Robert Taylor is always solid never spectacular, and here is as solid as can be; Vivien Leigh is amazing, my favorite performance of hers (though I think the only other full movies I've seen of hers a Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire), Virginia Field is terrific in a large supporting role.

One thing is silly - How the hell can they expect us to believe that a character with with Robert Taylor's 100% American accent is Scottish (while everyone around him has British or Scottish accents)? Couldn't they at least have had one line to explain it away, like "I spent a few years of my youth in America" or "my parents were American" rather than just asking us to believe guy is Scottish. Funny thing is, I once saw another movie (I think it was Conspirator (1949), also a British film made by MGM) in which we are asked to believe that Robert Taylor is Scottish. Anyway...)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, this is studio-system melodrama at its best.

Don't miss it next time it plays on TCM.

In fact, I just noticed that the dvd is selling on Amazon for under 7 bucks...

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« Reply #12753 on: November 30, 2013, 09:28:47 PM »

The Book Thief - 5/10 - Adaptation of the popular YA novel about a precocious girl growing up in Nazi Germany. The book may well be a masterpiece; the movie plays like a lifeless melange of The Diary of Anne Frank, The Reader and Slaughterhouse Five. Good acting by Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, the photography strikingly beautiful, but everything else is anemic and superficial.

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« Reply #12754 on: November 30, 2013, 09:46:24 PM »

I just saw Waterloo Bridge (1940) on TCM. I can't believe I never heard of this movie before. IMO it is one of the greatest love stories ever told. I put it up there with Casablanca and The Bridges of Madison County as one of the three greatest movie love stories ever. I give it a 9.5/10 rating (it could easily get a perfect score; I took off half a point for some very minor reasons: Robert Taylor's died white mustache in the opening scene looks comical; and as can be expected for a movie of this era, the movie mostly feels like it's made on sets, even the important bridge has a painted background and is obviously a set; but again, this is to be expected of all movies of this era, and whatever, a half point one way or another doesn't matter).

This is simply an amazing movie. The scene with the final dance before Taylor is supposed to go off to war, with Auld Lange Syne, is awesome (true, it's a conscious attempt to be awesome, but sometimes it's actually harder to succeed at being awesome when it's a self-conscious attempt at doing so). As I've said previously, Robert Taylor is always solid never spectacular, and here is as solid as can be; Vivien Leigh is amazing, my favorite performance of hers (though I think the only other full movies I've seen of hers a Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire), Virginia Field is terrific in a large supporting role.

One thing is silly - How the hell can they expect us to believe that a character with with Robert Taylor's 100% American accent is Scottish (while everyone around him has British or Scottish accents)? Couldn't they at least have had one line to explain it away, like "I spent a few years of my youth in America" or "my parents were American" rather than just asking us to believe guy is Scottish. Funny thing is, I once saw another movie (I think it was Conspirator (1949), also a British film made by MGM) in which we are asked to believe that Robert Taylor is Scottish. Anyway...)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, this is studio-system melodrama at its best.

Don't miss it next time it plays on TCM.

In fact, I just noticed that the dvd is selling on Amazon for under 7 bucks...

Agree a great film

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« Reply #12755 on: November 30, 2013, 10:24:58 PM »

Agree a great film

wow... if CJ says that a studio-based film is great, then you damn straight know it's great  Wink

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« Reply #12756 on: December 01, 2013, 04:28:23 PM »

Cent mille dollars au soleil / Greed in the Sun (1964) 6/10. Belmondo and Ventura, together again for the first time! When truck driver Belmondo absconds with the "grisbi", it's up to his old buddy Ventura to chase him down over miles of twisty desert roads.  Shades of The Wages of Fear. Comparisons with that venerable film, however, do not favor Sun. Wages was all about edge-of-your-seat suspense; Sun is about friends scoring off each other and cracking wise. Suspense is sacrificed for the sake of comraderie. The plot is so unimportant that a major character just disappears at the end of the story. And whether or not the two buddies end up with the money is equally unimportant--the friendship is all that matters. But that is the one thing that is never in doubt.
Man, Jenkins, lighten up. I just watched this again and it's really funny. Definitely more of an "8" than a "6".

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« Reply #12757 on: December 01, 2013, 08:02:11 PM »

CJ wrote this up in May of 2011:
Quote
Moonrise (1948) Director: Frank Borzage with Dane Clark, Gail Russell, Ethel Barrymore, Allyn Joslyn, Rex Ingram, Harry Morgan, Harry Carey Jr, and Lloyd Bridges. A Republic Pictures entry into the dark side, Noir comes to Dog Patch, the hills run black, actually for a studio set bound film its got its moments. The hanging of the leads father in the rain segues into a crying baby with a shadow of a doll hanging by a cord looming across the crib. A bit crude but effective. One particularly nice sequence is when Dane Clark confronts mute Harry Morgan and bumps a hanging overhead shaded light bulb the subsequent swinging shadows are reminiscent of the trading post kerosene lamp in Once Upon a Time in the West.

Story is essentially, boy grows up (Clark) with taunts from other children about the hanging of his father which continue from bankers son Bridges into adulthood. At a backwoods dance Bridges again taunts Clark, they fight, Bridges picks up rock and hits Clark who wrestles it away and kills Bridges with it. Clark hides body in swamp and rejoins dance and Gail Russell. Clark is afraid to notify the police and Russell tries to influence him to admit his guilt, but he runs away.

A bit too corn-pone, Clark is not a convincing hillbilly, it drags a bit , but is mildly entertaining, with some interesting characters i.e.,  the sheriff Allyn Joslyn, and the coon hound handler Houseley Stevenson who are actually more interesting than the leads. Night of the Hunter traveling in the same holler is way better 6.5/10
This is a fair assessment. I just watched it again on amazon video (free for Prime subscribers). I don't understand why Eddie Muller likes this so much, or why he lists it in his Top 25. Can it really be considered a noir?
 


 

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« Reply #12758 on: December 02, 2013, 05:00:04 AM »

Sleepy Hollow - 4/10

This is probably the only movie I always disliked but still watched so many times (somewhere around 6 or 8 times).
Great lights, sets and costumes (1/10), I laugh here and there (1/10), nice cast (1/10) and cool starting point (1/10). And that's it. Tim Burton was NEVER a director (he's an amazing Art Director, just not a filmmaker). Nothing works. How is it possible to shoot such a cool set with these great lightening and STILL making it look as cheap as an Ed Wood movie? Even the FONTS used in the opening credits look like some wordart (yeah, remember these cool effects you had in Word 97 for your kid's birthday party invit?) animated by a guy who just discovered his brand new PC had Windows Movie Maker installed on it. So, everything is cheap and ridiculous (even when not meant to). The plot starts with good premices (the ghost of Chrisopher Walken is murdering people in a mysterious village as a detective tries his brand new scientific methods to solve the crimes? Count me in!) and becomes more and more terrible as the film goes (oh, it's just another Dallas rebranding after all?). They even take seriously some points of the character developpement that are treated the whole movie as comedy elements when they need to follow regular script strucures (which NEVER works, in the history of dramaturgy and of everything). Also, has anyone seen anything half as hideous as these flashback sequences?

I dislike most Burton's films, but still watch this one from time to time and still get angry because it had everything to become the perfect Halloween movie, with adventure, fun, mysteries, cool background AND Christopher Walken.

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« Reply #12759 on: December 02, 2013, 06:21:16 AM »

How is it possible to shoot such a cool set with these great lightening and STILL making it look as cheap as an Ed Wood movie?
Grin Afro
Your point about Burton being an Art Director rather than a Director Director is well taken. I've never liked any of his films either (with the exception of Ed Wood).

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« Reply #12760 on: December 02, 2013, 02:36:05 PM »

why is it that the greatest love stories are those of doomed love?

Is it because the dream of what could be (and the shattered dream of what could have been) is always greater than what actually is? That love is much better in dreams than in reality? That when love is shattered after a the brief exciting initial period, you dream it would have always be that way, when in fact it is never that good for that long?

 Wink

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« Reply #12761 on: December 02, 2013, 08:56:02 PM »

Dallas Buyers Club - 7/10 - Matthew McConaughey is a hard-living Texas cowboy who's diagnosed HIV positive in the mid-'80s and sets up a black market drug ring with transvestite Jared Leto. Very well-acted and directed, but the movie's rather strident and awkward pro-black market, anti-FDA message rubbed me the wrong way. Since Groggy deals with similar matters on a daily basis, it's hard for me to sympathize with thisposturing.

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« Reply #12762 on: December 02, 2013, 10:38:38 PM »

Dallas Buyers Club - 7/10 - Matthew McConaughey is a hard-living Texas cowboy who's diagnosed HIV positive in the mid-'80s and sets up a black market drug ring with transvestite Jared Leto. Very well-acted and directed, but the movie's rather strident and awkward pro-black market, anti-FDA message rubbed me the wrong way. Since Groggy deals with similar matters on a daily basis, it's hard for me to sympathize with thisposturing.

anything that is pro-black market and anti-FDA rubs me the right way.

Of course, I'd rather black markets weren't necessary; they are only necessary when government bans, limits, or controls an item.

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« Reply #12763 on: December 02, 2013, 11:08:13 PM »

Dallas Buyers Club - 7/10 - Matthew McConaughey is a hard-living Texas cowboy who's diagnosed HIV positive in the mid-'80s and sets up a black market drug ring with transvestite Jared Leto. Very well-acted and directed, but the movie's rather strident and awkward pro-black market, anti-FDA message rubbed me the wrong way. Since Groggy deals with similar matters on a daily basis, it's hard for me to sympathize with thisposturing.
I give it an 8/10. Two points off mainly for the script: some dialogues are just characters explaining the plot to us, and the film couldn't provide a really satisfying ending (I know it's a true story but still).

Of course, I'd rather black markets weren't necessary; they are only necessary when government bans, limits, or controls an item.
That's exactly the point the film makes.

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« Reply #12764 on: December 03, 2013, 04:22:36 PM »

If a drug hasn't been tested or is shown to be dangerous then I don't see what moral leg you have to stand on.

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