Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
This small documentary film was created in 1911 to publicize the socially important work being done by The Manhattan Trade school For Girls. In this it is an interesting document from the "Progressive Era" and it serves its function admirably. What lift the movie out of the earnestly mundane and makes it special is the score composed for its 2007 restoration by Elena Ruehr. Special is one adjective to be used and magnificent would be another. Here is a perfect example of an artists ability to take the ordinary and transmute it to gold lifting it ethereal heights not anticipated. I found myself watching it again and again and asking others to do so as the haunting score for chorus and string orchestra immortalized those long ago students Millie, Rose, Miriam, Sadie, and Marie. Any composer seeking to score a silent film should seek out and learn from Ms. Ruehr. For this I gave the film a score of 10.
Joseph Schmidt was one of the unfortunate number of great and unique
artist caught up in the political whirlpool that was 1930's Europe. He
was a man of short stature physically, being barely five feet tall, but
possessing a voice of surpassing stature. He came to fame initially on
German radio in numerous broadcast operatic performances which were
barred to him on stage because of his height. This film, shot in part
on location in Venice, reflected these aspects of Scmidt's own life and
in that sense renders the film as loosely biographic. This extends to a
sweetly portrayed love triangle in the plot. I will not go into further
plot details as they are largely irrelevant to the film's great
strength which is the unsurpassed passionate singing of Schmidt further
enhanced by his clearly apparent dignity and grace. This was a popular
success upon it's release in Germany early in the Nazi regime and even
Goebbles was described as being enthusiastic. This must have been a
brief enthusiasm as Schmidt , originally a cantor, was driven by events
to Austria , Holland,and eventually Vichy France from whence he reached
Switzerland, illegally in 1942. There he ran afoul of an unsympathetic
work camp administrator who "knew not Joseph' and put him to work
despite his having developed chest. There he succumbed to heart disease
at age 38. He was said to be singing up to an hour before death.
All this adds a certain poignancy to this and his other surviving films. "My Song goes Round The World" fortunately escaped attempted destruction by the Nazi's. One copy was found after the war. This restoration, by the Bel canto Society is a treasure.
The film is a wonderful portrayal of a dark triangle involving
identical twins who form an elegant acrobatic circus act and eventually
seek revenge on an unfaithful women. They plan a "perfect crime" on
which the film turns. I have not seen the film in about 50 years. It
used to show up on local TV quite frequently in the 50's but seems to
have disappeared and unjustly so. I only hope it still exists? If it is
available I do urge it's viewing.
Lom plays the dual role of the twin brothers and this , in itself , is cleverly handled. The O'Henry like ending is affecting and again gives the film a further degree of individuality.
Received the new KINO disc of Love Me Tonight yesterday. I highly recommend
it. They have done a very creditable job and have included some additional
material as well.
The additional material consists of a boudoir rendition of the title song by Jeanette and the well known screen test performance of "Louise" by Chevalier. The final item is an original theater preview of the film.
What a great film this is. Thanks to KINO for a fine effort.
Cought the film on TCM last week and found it quite enjoyable. The film seemed well cast and stylishly played. It certainly seemed like an "A" production to me. Constance Collier, in an Edna Mae Oliver type of role, is excellent. I was not familiar with her work and she does have an imposing presence. One problem was with the climax in which a good deal of action seems to go on in the dark. This, to me, became somewhat confusing. I wonder if this was an effect of watching it on the small screen?
I diagree with the detractors of this film. Certainly the budget and therefore the special effects, were indeed limited. But, the storey is reasonabley original and the script reads well. Lagosi gives great conviction to his role and this was particularly remarkable considering the state of his career and personal life at the time. I love the scene in which he has convinced "Bob" (one of the scions of the owners of the cosmetic company that cheated Dr. Caruthers)to put on the fatal after shave lotion. Bob, wishes Dr.Caruthers a good night, Bella sighs deeply then gravely replies,"Good by Bob". He sort of regrets the unpleasant neccesity of unleashing one his giant creations to hunt down the innocent Bob. The other evening was watching bats flitting around at dusk. Naturely I thought emmediatley of old Doc Caruthers. Any film that leaves such an impression must be pretty good.
Fast paced and very clever Lee Tracy vehicle playing a Walter W. type gossip columnist with a grudge against "crooners"generally and one in particular played by Dick Powell. Definitely precode with dialogue and subject matter that would have been totally rejected just a few years later. One scene culminates in a phrase spoken by Tracy's"mother" containg a word that rocked the film world at the end of Gone With the Wind. Among other wonderful sequences watch for Tracy's evocation of a trip to the "hot seat", and Dick Powell's rendition of a singing commercial extolling the qualities of"Shapiro's Shoes". With Shapiro himeself beaming at his side. Do catch this film also a similar effort also with Tracey "The Half Naked Truth".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a great pre production code period piece. It would have been
severly censored just a short time later. Durante is unique and defines the
word manic. Oddly in his body language he often remind me of Woody Allen
there is some slight physical resembalance as well.Also, speaking of look
alikes, we must include James Cagney's brother who plays McSwatt. I noticed
this before I realized who the actor was . Were he to do a vocal
the effect would have been complete. I wonder if he was ever tempted to do
so. After all Bob Crosby in his early recordings was clearly immitating
brother Bing. All in all nicely done and well worth watching.
Fast moving and very funny comedy loosely based on famous press agent Harry Reichenbach. A film to watch whenever your spirits need uplifting. Lee Tracy is always fun and is one of those rare performers who can lift any material out of the mundane. Here he has material and supporting cast worthy of his talents. A delightfull period piece which shows very little if any tendency to date. See it if you can and enjoy!