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« #12990 : January 10, 2014, 01:46:55 PM »

The Golden Salamander - 7/10 - Standard thriller with Trevor Howard foiling gunrunners in Tunisia. Gets some extra points for a nice cast (including Herbert Lom and a very young Anouk Aimee) and some strikingly directed scenes, especially the silent, rain-swept opening.
Nice find, Grogster. I discovered it was streaming for free for Prime members at amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0097RP73M/) and had a watch. I concur with your "7" and everything you say (Anouk Aimee is SO young she's billed with only one name!). Great locations. I particularly enjoyed the boar hunt sequence at the end (although it could have been done better). The plot is a bit lame and Trevor Howard's character seems overly dim. Still, more entertaining than not.



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« #12991 : January 10, 2014, 03:50:19 PM »

Just saw SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS for the first time (TCM). SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS..... What a great, heartbreaking movie. Not cuz of fictional events that happened to fictional characters - but because it reminds you of the truth about it, how these sorts of things do happen to real people. People forced into life decisions not of their own doing, but decisions forced on them by various authority figures.having a life affected by poor decisions forced by others is the worst tragedy of all. Even if our values today are different than they were in 1928 Kansas, there are always parrallels that can be drawn. Very sad. Natalie Wood is simply incredible here

High Falls, NY is where they shot the waterfall sequence, just down the road south from here.


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« #12992 : January 11, 2014, 10:23:33 AM »

Il Bidone / The Swindler (1955) 8/10. MoC Blu-ray. Broderick Crawford in the title role: what a performance! Apparently, he not only learned Italian for the part, he changed his vocal style so completely that he sounded like an entirely different actor. Why the Academy failed to recognize Crawford for this performance is beyond me.

The premise of the picture is a good one: watching a swindler and his accomplices at work, fleecing not the usual fat-cats and deserving dupes in typical American films about confidence tricksters, but the very poorest of post-War Italy. Yeah, ingenious as some of these cons are, there are real victims involved. Does the aggregate misery these swindlers spread also have some kind of blow-back on the perpetrators, a retribution more spiritual than temporal? It’s a question worth exploring, and the film takes a decent stab at it.

SPOILERS
Everything in the film works well until the problematic final gambit. How are we to understand Crawford’s attempt to hold out on his confrères at the end? Three possibilities present themselves. One, Crawford intended to return the money. Two, Crawford intended to keep all the money for himself. Three, full of self-loathing, Crawford positioned himself so that his accomplices would punish him as he felt he deserved. There are problems with all three explanations. One, if he intended to give the money back, why didn’t he leave it behind when he was talking to the crippled girl? Did he really think he’d have a better chance to return it after he left with his companions? Two, if he wanted all the money for himself, did he really think he’d be able to successfully hold out against the other men? Of course they were going to search him until they found it. A seasoned pro who knew the kind of men he was working with, how did he expect to get away with it? Three, OK, this seems the most plausible, but even if you felt like you wanted to die, would you want to go out with a beating? This must be one of the most awful ways to die. It would be so much easier to give everybody their share, then go home and blow your brains out.

Regardless, the final  moments of the film are too protracted. If Crawford is going to die, why milk it? Yes, I know Fellini wanted to show the children (young, unspoiled) going by on the road above him, a final image of hope to contrast with what is otherwise a scene of despair, but we needed to get there sooner. Why do we have to see Crawford lying out all night long?
END SPOILER

Although I have reservations about the film’s ending, otherwise the film is quite good. The party scene alone is worth the price of admission—and obviated the need for La Dolce Vita. It’s incredible that Fellini could, in rapid succession, produce La Strada, this, and Nights of Cabiria, and then go on for the rest of his career, thoroughly squandering his talent.



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« #12993 : January 11, 2014, 04:06:13 PM »

High Falls, NY is where they shot the waterfall sequence, just down the road south from here.

 O0

nice, I was wondering about that.

One great thing about waterfall locations as opposed to any other movie locations from 50 years ago - it probably looks the same now as it did then  ;)

« : September 16, 2014, 10:34:46 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #12994 : January 12, 2014, 03:00:07 AM »

The Remains of the Day (1993) 9/10

The acting is absolutely amazing up and down the line.
This film is beautiful to look at – kinda creepy when you realize the nefarious activities going on behind that beautiful facade, which is exactly the point.

I really love the color, looks like the colors are all very realistic – thankfully the film wasn't made now, when everything is washed out.

RE: the story: SPOILER ALERT you might argue that the stuff about the love aspect, the repressed emotions, may have been unnecessary; that perhaps this is a film that wanted to cover too much ground; that a butler so devoted to his boss as to pay no mind to what's going on behind those fancy doors is practicing a dangerous devotion indeed, and that now that we know what the horrors of WWII wrought (helped along by the appeasement of Hitler), it was unnecessary to show that, OH BTW, his nullification of self ALSO LED TO HIS BEING UNABLE TO LOVE - as if, when considering the millions of people the Nazis killed, we'd give a damn about the additional fact that this guy is incapable of love; ie. if they'd have shown the butler so devoted to his master as to ignore the political goings-on at the home, would it not have been sufficient tragedy and waste of his life even if the butler had been able to love a woman.... on the other hand, of course, you can argue that the two go hand in hand – only the sort of man who could completely repress romantic feelings, could also repress any concern over the humanity the Nazis are endangering. Perhaps, they both have to happen in order for us to believe any – ie. we couldn't believe that he'd ignore the Nazi appeasement if we didn't also see him ignoring his own feelings.

Personally, once I realized the effects of the goings-on in that house, of the appeasement of Nazis leading to the deaths of millions, I really couldn't give a shit about the repressed love; I sure as hell wasn't crying when the elderly butler and housekeeper separated for the last time. Certainly, the love part was not the focus (as evidenced by the fact that the movie ends with the political part, not the love part), but by the time I realized the consequences of the political goings on on the house, I absolutely didn't give a damn about the love aspect; and perhaps you could argue that too much focus was given to the love aspect in the "present day" scenes - which occur after we know the consequences of WWII.



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« #12995 : January 12, 2014, 07:17:28 AM »

The Remains of the Day (1993) 9/10

RE: the story: SPOILER ALERT you might argue that the stuff about the love aspect, the repressed emotions, may have been unnecessary; that perhaps this is a film that wanted to cover too much ground; that a butler so devoted to his boss as to pay no mind to what's going on behind those fancy doors is practicing a dangerous devotion indeed, and that now that we know what the horrors of WWII wrought (helped along by the appeasement of Hitler), it was unnecessary to show that, OH BTW, his nullification of self ALSO LED TO HIS BEING UNABLE TO LOVE - as if, when considering the millions of people the Nazis killed, we'd give a damn about the additional fact that this guy is incapable of love; ie. if they'd have shown the butler so devoted to his master as to ignore the political goings-on at the home, would it not have been sufficient tragedy and waste of his life even if the butler had been able to love a woman.... on the other hand, of course, you can argue that the two go hand in hand – only the sort of man who could completely repress romantic feelings, could also repress any concern over the humanity the Nazis are endangering. Perhaps, they both have to happen in order for us to believe any – ie. we couldn't believe that he'd ignore the Nazi appeasement if we didn't also see him ignoring his own feelings.

Personally, once I realized the effects of the goings-on in that house, of the appeasement of Nazis leading to the deaths of millions, I really couldn't give a shit about the repressed love; I sure as hell wasn't crying when the elderly butler and housekeeper separated for the last time. Certainly, the love part was not the focus (as evidenced by the fact that the movie ends with the political part, not the love part), but by the time I realized the consequences of the political goings on on the house, I absolutely didn't give a damn about the love aspect; and perhaps you could argue that too much focus was given to the love aspect in the "present day" scenes - which occur after we know the consequences of WWII.
Your objections are valid. Yet you still give the film a "9." You are certifiable.



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« #12996 : January 12, 2014, 05:09:22 PM »

Your objections are valid. Yet you still give the film a "9." You are certifiable.

imagine how good it is without that issue  ;)


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« #12997 : January 15, 2014, 06:42:23 AM »

La calda vita / The Warm Life (1964) - 6/10. Ripley's Home Video DVD (English dub). It's L'avventura for teens! Catherine Spaak combines both the Lea Massari and Monica Vitti roles, and we finally find out how the girl got off the island (she swam). Still, things are just a bit too languid until Gabriele Ferzetti (and his toupee) finally show up. Not a great film, but it kept me watching. The pop tune at the end is fantastic (is it "Non è niente"?), and was intoned by Ms. Spaak herself.

Thief (1981) Plot and direction: 8/10. Lighting and photography: 10/10. Transfer to Criterion Blu-ray: 11/10. A note on the score: the stuff Tangerine Dream wrote for the film works well (especially for the heist scenes). For the final sequence, though, Michael Mann threw out TD's music and had some shlub do ersatz Pink Floyd (and not good Pink Floyd, either). It pretty much ruins the big shootout at the end.



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« #12998 : January 15, 2014, 08:55:05 AM »

The more I think about THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, the more I realize that not only was the love stuff unnecessary, it was silly.... I can understand a servant being so subservient to his master that he ignores the terrible things going on in the house, but being so devoted as to not pursue a woman? As if pursuing a woman would be cheating on his master??? That's friggin stupid. Purely cinematic shtick. The butler and housekeeper could have even gotten married, and that wouldn't change the tragedy of the butler being so dedicated to his master as to ignore what was going on inside the house. Heck, they SHOULD have shown them getting married, but the butler PRIORITIZING his master over his wife (eg. leaving his wife late one nite, maybe when she is in labor, when the master needed something), and perhaps shown that leading to their divorce or something.... But the butler not even pursuing the woman at all????? That is overkill..... But it's still a really goood movie and I maintain my rating of 9/10


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« #12999 : January 15, 2014, 10:05:42 AM »

The more I think about THE REMAINS OF THE DAY, the more I realize that not only was the love stuff unnecessary, it was silly.... I can understand a servant being so subservient to his master that he ignores the terrible things going on in the house, but being so devoted as to not pursue a woman? As if pursuing a woman would be cheating on his master??? That's friggin stupid. Purely cinematic shtick. The butler and housekeeper could have even gotten married, and that wouldn't change the tragedy of the butler being so dedicated to his master as to ignore what was going on inside the house. Heck, they SHOULD have shown them getting married, but the butler PRIORITIZING his master over his wife (eg. leaving his wife late one nite, maybe when she is in labor, when the master needed something), and perhaps shown that leading to their divorce or something.... But the butler not even pursuing the woman at all????? That is overkill..... But it's still a really goood movie and I maintain my rating of 9/10
Nuts! You are completely bonkers! The film sucks, you have nattered on at nauseating length detailing all the film's failings--very significant, world-destroying failings--and still you want to stick with that "9"? Seek professional help, Drink, this board is not equipped to handle problems like yours.



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« #13000 : January 15, 2014, 04:39:28 PM »

the fact is that the (vast) majority of the film focuses on the relationship with the boss, not with the woman (the woman stuff is mainly at the end, in the framing device); so I can still greatly enjoy the movie.

If this issue had bothered me when I saw the movie as much as it bothers me now, I can imagine that my rating perhaps may have been lowered 1 point, but I don't think I could have given this anything less than an 8/10. It is still a beautiful movie that is mostly about something I can agree with

« : January 15, 2014, 10:08:26 PM drinkanddestroy »

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« #13001 : January 15, 2014, 10:08:54 PM »

Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981) 7.5/10


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« #13002 : January 16, 2014, 01:48:18 AM »

THE LOCKET (1946) 6.5/10 . I saw this on TCM; the print is a little messed up; there's one moment where it's clear that a couple of seconds are missing, cuz Robert Mitchum is doing voice-over narration and as the scene starts, Mitchum is mid-sentence.) The ending annoyed me. Way over the top. This is a case where the dumb ending makes the whole story stupid, cuz what happens at the end is an essential key to the story (unlike eg. RED RIVER, in which I can separate the great movie from the last dumb scene.) However, that doesn't change the fact that I did enjoy the first 95% of the film. So, I give it a 6.5/10, which is my highest rating for a movie that I would NOT say is a "good movie."...... The acting by the three leads (Laraine Day, Robert Mitchum, and whoever that guy is that played the doctor) is solid.


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« #13003 : January 16, 2014, 04:53:14 AM »

The Asphalt Jungle (1950) 8.5/10 (second viewing; DVD). Jean Hagen may be the most annoying person to watch in Hollywood history - (she looks like she is retarded half the time, smiling for no reason at all. That's what mentally challeneged people do - they just smile all day for no reason. And that's not the half of what's bad about her.....) although her performance here isn't even a quarter as awful as in SIDE STREET, where she turned what was a very good role - a great opportunity for an actress to deliver a memorable performance - into what is IMO the single-worst performance by an actress in movie history..... But enough about that piece of manure..... This is a terrific film.... There isn't as much time spent on the planning/carrying out the heist itself, as would later heist films, like Rififi and Grand Slam. Here, it's really about the drama of what happens AFTER the heist. But, so far as I know, this is  the earliest movie about a single caper; so the subsequent Heist Films may all owe a debt to The Asphalt Jungle..... I also noticed that there's very little music in the movie; aside from the juke-box scene with the teenaged girl at the end, is there any music at all?..... Of course, the most memorable performance in the film is the brilliant, Oscar-nominated job by Sam Jaffe as Doc Riedenschneider... Sterling Hayden was good, as always (except for Johnny Guitar  ;) ) I also liked James Whitmore as Gus and Marc Lawrence as Cobby (he's enough of a loser to be convincing as a wannabe big shot who can't quite cut it. Louis Calhern is serviceable, nothing special, as Emmerich.... And of course, there is the small, early supporting performance by Marilyn Monroe. YIPE!

« : January 16, 2014, 05:07:11 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #13004 : January 16, 2014, 06:14:44 AM »

I don't understand your objection to Jean Hagen in this. She's supposed to be semi-retarded/annoying. That's the character she's playing. So if she gets to you that means she's delivered a great performance. She's not being herself; she's putting it all on (note what she does in Singin in the Rain). So, because she's a good actress, her performance is bad? You are confusing character and performer.



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