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Topics - moorman

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Off-Topic Discussion / Pioneers of African American Cinema
« on: June 29, 2018, 01:04:37 PM »
Kino Lorber has a excellent box set called " Pioneers of African American Cinema thats been available for a couple of years now. I've been meaning to get this set but its a little pricey.  Right now the blu ray is on sale for $74.96 which is a excellent price for what you are gonna be receiving.  The dvd is $59.96.  This is a must have for cinema historians.  It features 12 full length films and tons of shorts and clips dating back to at least 1915.  The review of the set says that it will go into material that Hollywood refused to address for decades.  The material is soo important that its been archived into the Library of Congress.  I looked at a review of the set by the producer on youtube and it looks very fascinating.  Here are links to the boxset and the youtube review:

Off-Topic Discussion / The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945)
« on: June 18, 2018, 06:48:11 PM »
SPOILER ALERT...   I'm getting to the point now where I'm EXPECTING some of these film noirs to have heavily censored endings.  The film had a great plot and depending on how you feel about what happened the ending was either good or bad.  I had no problem with the ending but like " The Woman in the Window" it feels tacked on because of code censorship.  The play on broadway had a different ending and the story was told from a flashback point of view.

Getting back to the plot.  Its simple yet complex at the same time.  I love films that have NUANCED character studies.  The plot is about designer Uncle Harry who works in a fabric mill. He lives with his sisters one of whom is named Lettie.  The town is a small New England town and gossip reigns supreme.  The Quincy family ( Harry, Lettie, etc.) live in a rather nice large home but lost most of their money during the depression. Lettie has grown attached to her brother Harry.  A female newcomer moves to town from New York City named Deborah.  She and Harry instantly fall in love and this upsets Lettie who plots to make sure they don't stay together.

Whats deep and nuanced about Lettie and her closeness to Harry is it reminded you of the movie Scarface and Tony's over protection of his sister in that film.  This leads to a film that has a pretty good plot going until the ending.  The censored ending pretty much ruined everything that came before it and undermined what would've been another masterpiece from director Robert Siodmark.  Still, i give this film a pretty solid 8 out of 10. 

Excellent review here:


Off-Topic Discussion / They Made Me A Fugitive (1947)
« on: June 17, 2018, 03:42:47 PM »
This is a FANTASTIC classic British movie.  Filmed on location in England ( Soho area), both the locations and cinematography really shine in this one.  Trevor Howard plays ex Royal Air Force veteran Clem Morgan.  Clem gets discharged and is drawn into a life of crime by joining a gang run by Narcy ( Griffith Jones).  Clem has a beautiful girlfriend named Ellie that Narcy has his eyes on.  Clem tells Ellie that he is gonna do one last job and quit the gang.  Narcy frames Clem during this job and Clem is sent to prison. Narcy hooks up with his girlfriend.  Clem breaks out of prison and the film really kicks into gear again.   I saw a very nice copy of this on Amazon Prime and I think I'm gonna get the Blu Ray or DVD.   The film is highly regarded as a underground English classic film noir that closely rivals anything Hollywood put out during that time period.  Here is a excellent review of the film:

Off-Topic Discussion / The Face Behind the Mask (1941)
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:36:19 PM »
I'm a huge Peter Lorre fan so I had to watch this.  This was a very good film.  Without going into spoilers, the plot is basically about Lorre who comes to New York as a immigrant.  He is a jack of all trades but particularly likes watchmaking.  He is hurt in a hotel fire and becomes impoverished.  He mets another homeless man named Dinky ( George E. Stone) and from there the film really takes off.  Its a moving gangster noir film with character studies you don't normally find in these genres.   Lorre as always is on top of  his game here.  I rate this a solid 8 out of 10....

Off-Topic Discussion / Island of Doomed Men (1940)
« on: May 31, 2018, 04:42:47 PM »
I'm a Peter Lorre fan so I had to give this a look.  The plot is simple.  Lorre is the owner of a island in which he has a diamond mine.   Appearing to want to help rehabilitate parolees he has cut a deal with the government to send the parolees to his island. The problem is they are never heard from again.  In comes government agent Mark Sheldon who is tasked to infiltrate the island under the guise of a parolee.  Stephen Danel ( Lorre) is apparently working the men to death.  Lorre has such a tight control of the island that even his wife wants to escape.  Lorre does a excellent job with this film but you can tell the Hays Code had their imprint all over it.  With such a tight simple script the impact of the scenes would have had to be more profound in order to lift this film.  The Hays Code made sure it didn't happen.  Only because Lorre is very good here that i give it a 6 out of 10...   Youtube has a very good copy of this film.

Off-Topic Discussion / Manhandled (1949)
« on: May 30, 2018, 06:41:56 PM »
This was a unexpected surprise. I had to see it because of Dan Duryea.  For those who might not be aware of the plot.  Ms Bennett has a jewel collection she wears that is worth $100,000. Her husband keeps having nightmares that he is gonna do his wife in.  He is seeing a doctor about it and is almost convinced that he might want to hurt her for her jewels.  The Doc's secretary lives in the same building as private investigator Karl Benson.  The wife gets knocked off and the plot goes into setups and twists and turns that will keep you on your toes.  Duryea is fantastic as always.  Another unexpected surprise was to see Alan Napier as the husband.  The serious tone of the plot is balanced by light comic action between the lead detective on the case, his subordinates and Sterling Hayden who is a insurance investigator.

Turner Classics said that the film was not initially received well because of the somewhat complicated, confusing plot. I found the plot to better than the REALLY confusing plots of The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.  The writers threw enough at you to make you think but didn't beat you up with it. I saw this on Youtube and will try and find a blu ray or dvd copy.  I rate this a solid 7.5 out of 10.

Off-Topic Discussion / And Then There Were None (1945)
« on: May 29, 2018, 10:09:33 PM »
If there is already a thread about this, my bad. I like Walter Huston so I had to check this out. I knew nothing about the movie or the book that influenced it.  At first, i didn't think i would like this film.  I thought the light tone of the film would dominate but it did not.  The plot has enough interesting things going on that it keeps you drawn in.  You cannot let it go until you find out who Mr. Owens really is.  The cinematography, acting, directing and plot are on point in this one.  I can see why its been remade several times. Its a very good plot.  Walter Huston has a wide range of acting ability and again it shows in this one.  I don't know where this was filmed but it was really done well. I rate this a solid 8 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / The Scarlet Hour 1956
« on: May 26, 2018, 06:05:17 PM »
I had to watch this after XhcnoirX posted about it in the Rate the Last Movie You Have Seen thread.  This film IS a surprise.  Director Michael Curtiz did a fantastic job with this.  Let me start off by saying i saw a bad copy of this on Youtube.  Its available at various small retailers online.  Like has been already explained,  Carol Ohmart and Tom Tryon play secret lovers behind the back off Ohmart's husband in the film who also happens to be Tryon's boss in the film.  They overhear a plot to rob a house while out on a secret lover's meetup and decide to ambush the robbers and use the loot to go off and live happily ever after.  Everything is going to plan until Ohmart's husband gets wise to their secret affair.

There are enough turns and twists in this to keep you on your toes.  The acting is first rate. The locations are first rate. My ONLY quibble with the film is that Tryon's part was tailor made for Farley Granger.  This is HIS type of film.  Tryon grimaced through the whole movie. I think he smiled, barely, in only one scene.  Farley would've done a better job with this.   Its still a superb film though and most people probably wouldn't be bothered by his performance. Nat King Cole is a added bonus to this film. Its a underrated must see. I rate this a 8 out of 10...

Off-Topic Discussion / Life of Crime 2013
« on: May 25, 2018, 01:59:49 PM »
I saw this movie a few years back. I don't remember what prompted me to other than the fact i like Tim Robbins and Yasiin Bey, two of the lead actors.  Its a relatively unknown dark comedy directed by Daniel Schechter.  The plot basically surrounds two fumbling criminals who decide to kidnap the wife of a rich real estate tycoon ( Robbins) and put out a ransom for her release. Things change when the husband refuses to pay the ransom because he actually was gonna file for divorce anyway and hook up with his mistress, lol.   I found out recently that the film is based on a novel by Elmore Leonard called " The Switch. "  Whats interesting here is the fact that the two fumbling characters were originally put to screen by Quentin Tarintino in " Jackie Brown".

Overall, the film was unexpectedly entertaining.  It doesn't try to reinvent the wheel or anything, its just a pretty good film to watch.  I'm surprised it hasn't become a underground cult classic yet.  I rate this a 7.5 out of 10...  It can currently be viewed on Amazon Prime...

Off-Topic Discussion / My trip to Sedona Arizona
« on: May 13, 2018, 06:06:23 PM »
Just got back from my trip out west to see relatives in Phoenix.  We decided to go up to Sedona Arizona to do some sight seeing.
 We went up into Oak Creek Canyon and took some pictures of the filming locations of some classic Hollywood Westerns. 
The locations include Red Rock Crossing and Bell Rock. Approximately 50 Westerns were filmed here with some of the highlights being
 " The Last Wagon " with Richard Widmark, " 3:10 to Yuma " with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin and "Broken Arrow " with James Stewart.

Observations:  Its STUNNINGLY beautiful out there.  You CAN'T take a bad picture.  The terrain is just gorgeous.
 We rode up a old road that was used by film crews and some of the heights scared the beejeebus out of me. 
The movies don't do justice as to how high and steep this terrain is surrounding the valley. 
I garnered very much respect for the film crews and actors who filmed there. 
You got the steep terrain, animals and the high temperatures to deal with. 
The tour guide we had pointed out the exact locations of some of the shots that were used in the films.
The guide also said that most of the valley back during the 50s was barren of most of the trees and foilage that you see.
3:10 to Yuma was filmed on the bottom of the valley as shown in the top picture.  As far as the other locations go
I was particularly stunned by a high rock that Richard Widmark filmed on when he made " The Last Wagon".

Here is a link to the Westerns that were fimed there:

EXTRA BONUS:  We also went to the Mammoth Mines at the Goldfield Gold mines outside Phoenix. 
This is the site of a former real gold mining town that had several mines around it.

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