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Ed in MO
The Gun and the Pulpit (1974)
Shane (the Sequel)
Take "Shane", put him in a collar, make the kid a teenage girl instead of a little boy, and you have "The Gun and the Pulpit." Marjoe Gortner is an interesting actor, but the bad guy could have used more of the menace that Jack Palance brought to "Shane". The cheapness of the typical '70's made for TV movie shines through, so it's hard to give this more than a five out of ten.
But I like Marjoe. I hear he's running charitable events involving golf in Hollywood these days. It's too bad his acting career never took off.
I also liked the gunfight where both gunfighters miss. That's something I'd never seen before in a Western. There was some thinking going on here.
An Outstanding Movie About Soviet Training for WWII
In "The Cadets", we get an in-depth story about how the Soviets trained their troops for the Great Patriotic War around the time of the Battle of Stalingrad. These cadets are learning artillery, but they are also learning about life in a small town--about women, about power, and about war. The acting is brilliant. I particularly liked Igor Petrenko as an officer, the son of a general, forced by his conscience to commit treason. Igor's character must steal oats from the supply depot in order to feed the woman he loved because she faced starvation after she had her ration book stolen. (We lovers of Russian cinema saw Igor's ability to act in the movie "Zvezda" (The Star), where he played a captain killed on a scouting mission deep behind German lines.) The Cadets is a miniseries that takes about ten hours. I loved the technique of having the director, who lived the events depicted in the film, narrate what happened to many of the characters during and after the war. The Cadets is a valid investment in time that will pay off in performances that stay in your memory long after viewing. I highly recommend it.
Fratello sole, sorella luna (1972)
I absolutely love this movie!
This is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. Whenever I feel down or my energy lags, I pop this film into my VCR and I'm transformed. The rythm of the movie is what I enjoy most. It is like a great symphony, with rising action that compliments the wonderful music by Donovan.
This is a film that is totally captive to its time and place. It's impossible to think of this movie being made five years earlier or later. It is completely a product of the early '70's. The brotherly love shown by the Franciscans of Assisi, the touching of man to man without a hint of homosexuality, would be unthinkable today.
Franco Zeffrelli is a master of setting up his camera and location shooting. Notice the great sweeps over the lovely red and yellow fields of Italy, and the use of the architecture of the region.
Brother Can You Spare a Dime (1975)
A very enjoyable documentary
I recently bought this documentary on DVD and watched it several times in succession. It is the best archival source of Depression-era material I have ever run across. I particulary enjoyed the segment with Huey Long. What a terrific speaker he was! And to see him on stage with Ina Ray Hutton, the woman band leader, was a real treat. I highly recommend this for historians of America in the 20th century.
The Carpetbaggers (1964)
The is a terrific film!
I have seen this film at least a dozen times and I've enjoyed it more and more with each viewing. George Peppard gives the performance of a lifetime as Jonas Cord, a tycoon modeled after Howard Hughes. Jonas makes his fortune in chemicals, then branches out into aviation and then, most importantly, into Hollywood.
I love the absolute male/female dichotomy in the film. Men are men and women are women, and that's that. Each manipulates the other for their own gains. A lot like real life!
My favorite actor in the film out of a wonderful cast is the eternally youthful Bob Cummings. Bob was 53 when this was filmed and looked about 36. He really knew how to play a role. What a guy!
The In Crowd (1988)
I absolutely love this movie!
I guess when you are a kid of around six or seven, you start to notice the teenagers around you and what they're doing. And for the rest of your life you associate "cool" with the clothes, cars, music, and hair styles of the teenagers you see when you are a little kid. This movie really speaks to me, because I still get goose pimples when I see the fashions, cars, girls, hair, and everything else of the years 1965-67. And the wonderful music! Was there ever a better sound than the Philly sound of those years? I love all those doo-wop tunes--the O'Jays, Gene Chandler, "The Duke of Earl", Curtis Mayfield, Vee-Jay records, "The Real Thing", and on and on...
This film is excellent in so many ways, I can't list them all. First of all, the writer and director, Mark Rosenthal, got the look right. Philly in 1965 was a nice suburban city, with a core of hoods and blacks who brought spirit and life to the City of Brotherly Love. The acting is terrific from the young cast, and the extras put their heart and soul into the dancing and clothing of those years. Joe Pantoliano "becomes" Jerry Blavat and gives a wonderful and energetic performance. And I loved the ending, because the 60's only became the 60's when the kids discovered Dylan, San Francisco, and drugs. It was a step in the wrong direction, but this film serves as a time capsule. Maybe some future generation will rediscover that dancing, love and soul music make youth the best time of life.
Boobs in Arms (1940)
I've seen each of the nearly two hundred Three Stooges' shorts at least a dozen times each, and this has always been my favorite. There are just so many things that happen in this short--Jules White could have made a two hour feature out of all the different scenes and situations! But I think the funniest scene of all is the ending which takes place during WWI. The Germans at the headquarters all speak pig latin, which is hilarious in itself, but it's just too funny when Moe is screaming with laughter because of the laughing gas, and then giggles, "Our own troops are shooting at us!" To which Larry replies, while busting a gut, "We'll be killed!" This is by far my favorite Stooge short.
The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
A very moving film
I first saw "The Conterfeit Traitor" when I was a teenager, and I remember how much I enjoyed it then. I hadn't seen it since, and I tuned in to it about halfway on TCM. I was ready to dismiss my liking the film as a folly of my youth because it seemed to be slow and overacted. However, I stuck with it and I'm happy I did. The film really began to move when William Holden's love interest was arrested by the Gestapo, and it became emotionally absorbing to its end. The last hour of the film is as good as anything I've ever seen about the Second World War. I was particularly fascinated by a scene where the Danish unite against the Nazis in a nonviolent protest with no weapons except bicycles and bells. The small part of Klaus Kinsky is also very touching. I highly recommend this film.
One of the finest films ever made
"Mask" is truly a beautiful movie. It shows the possibilities of what courage and love can do. I cannot see the film without crying, but I always feel uplifted after watching it, and the cathartic experience of watching it stays with me for days afterwards. I love how Rocky finds someone at the school for the blind who cannot see his face but loves him for his heart. I suppose we are all looking for that. And the power of his mother's love is something that stays with you forever. Peter Bogdanovich, Cher, Eric Stoltz, and the others who participated in making this film should be very proud of the wonderful movie they created. It has affected many, many lives. The real life story of Rocky Dennis will always be there, on DVD, to enrich young generations to come.
The Pilgrim (1923)
This is one of my favorite Chaplin films.
The Pilgrim is an outstanding example of Charlie Chaplin at work. So much of what Chaplin did was based on his physical ability to move like a dancer, and this film shows off his agility to the maximum. Charlie tumbles and jumps, turns on a dime, and makes every graceful movement funny. The plot is your basic silent movie plot, with a lot of mistaken identities and a love interest that leads to a plot climax and a happy ending for Charlie--but without the girl. (Charlie almost never got the girl at the end of his films. It was one of his enduring charms.) The difference between this and a typical silent film is the charisma of Charlie Chaplin. There is simply nothing else like it in film history.