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This is a much better movie than usually reviewed
The man who loved Cat Dancing is different from most westerns in that it is focused on relationships. This may not be surprising, in the light of the fact that the novel it is based on was written by a woman. In the movie, the woman (Sarah Miles) is really the central character, and the central man (Burt Reynolds) is somewhat secondary.
We follow the man from a train robbery to his trying to get his children back, and realizing that he's not going to get them. We also follow the woman's emotional changes. She at first is simply running away from a husband she does not love. She later has sex with a man who has protected her, and is raped by a sociopath. She comes to love, and is loved. And this is a quintessential "chick flick," except that it's a western.
Some men will like it, as well as some women.
Affectionately Yours (1941)
two women smitten with a chronic liar
In this 1941 comedy, we are presented with two intelligent, beautiful women who are seriously smitten with a man who can hardly open his mouth without lying. The story ends with a major lie, and she accepts him. Either women in '41 were much more stupid or forgiving than today, or somehow people then thought that lying was cute and funny. The movie is terrible, and any women who are attracted to this man should be sentenced to marrying a serial liar.
Dennis Morgan was a familiar figure in the '40's, and was used to comedies. But Morgan's role in this movie is a little out of character, in his being a serial philanderer and a chronic liar. It's not difficult to see his appeal on short notice, but any woman who got to know him should have been repulsed.
Bundle of Joy (1956)
musical remake of 'bachelor mother.' Debbie Reynolds shines; Eddie fisher flops
"Bachelor Mother" was a delightful movie, but one can imagine why a musical, in color, remake would crop up. Debbie Reynolds as Polly Parrish was a good choice, and wound up carrying the movie. Eddie Fisher, as the junior Merlin, was not such a good choice. Many other actors at the time would have been far better. Had someone like Donald O'Connor had the role, it could have been an unmitigated success. Too bad Fisher got the job.
Overall, the movie is delightful. The basic plot, of a sales clerk in a large department store who winds up with a baby that's not hers, but that no one believes is not hers, is an excellent set-up for comedy. This one does a good job. "Bachelor Mother" does a better job. And an even better one may pop up in the future.
The Law and Jake Wade (1958)
well photographed western, standard plot, but ridiculous Indians
The plot of this western, while not unusual, is reasonably well done. However, the love interest has very little to do. The scenery is excellently photographed, but the Indian attack is ridiculous. It makes no sense that the Indians did not burn the place. It was a ghost town, the wood was old and dry, and there was no one there but the people the Indians apparently were after.
The best part is the handling of Jake Wade (Robert Taylor) after he's caught and being transported to the place where the money is buried. The rest of the movie is fairly dull.
Altogether, a reasonable western, but it could have been a lot better.
early sixties sex comedy that doesn't quite work
The basic plot line is that Jessica (Angie Dickinson), who is new in a small Italian village, and is working as a midwife, frightens the town's women. They fear she will steal their husbands, as she is presented as being amazingly alluring to all the men. The main problem with this premise, at least from a man's point of view, is that Silva Koscina, who plays one of the wives, is far more attractive, both facially and overall physically, than Angie Dickinson. (Perhaps the Italian men were mesmerized by Ms. Dickinson's blonde hair.) The women are presented as getting together and planning to deny their husbands sex, in order to prevent pregnancies and therefore drive the midwife out of town. The plots of comedies are expected to be kind of dumb, but this one really takes the cake: they deny both their husbands and themselves any sex, because they are jealous of a new woman? How many women do you know who would react that way? Three stars out of ten, and while I'm at it, Maurice Chevalier really can't sing, can he?
Hanover Street (1979)
a war movie, with a love story about two different kinds of men
While the story is set in the context of world war 2, what it's really about is the difference between men who are now called 'alpha' and 'beta.' One is a brash, self-confident, risk-taking narcissist; the other is a high-achieving, highly educated, planner. Women often wish to marry the latter, and make love with the former. Ms. Down faces this issue.
Overall, an excellent discussion, and depiction, of this particular kind of dilemma.
The movie begins in London, with the American pilot (alpha) and the British nurse conning each other, trying to fake each other out for a place on a bus. This game is interrupted by v-2 rocket bombing, and a real, and intense, emotional bonding. Much later, the nurse's husband (beta) is introduced, and we discover he is a high-ranking official with the British military. The story develops from there, with a somewhat improbable pairing, and a spy mission. It is suspenseful, but is really a romantic drama.
The Cheap Detective (1978)
hilarious spoof of bog art movies, not really a sequel to 'murder by death'
'The Cheap Detective' represents a satirical look at many of Humphrey Bogart's best movies: 'Casablanca,' 'The Maltese Falcon,' and 'The Big Sleep' most prominently. There are small bits of business spoofing several others. This movie, apparently, followed 'Murder by Death' chronologically, implying that Peter Falk's character is developed from his role in that movie. So be it, but that doesn't make this movie a sequel. 'Murder by Death was a spoof of several different mystery story writers, and their most well-known detectives. This movie is a spoof of Bogart movies, some of which are mysteries and some are romances ('Casablanca' is considered by many to be one of the greatest romances ever.) To my taste, this movie is funnier and wittier than the other, and deserves more credit. In addition, Peter Falk's character is changed quite a bit from that in 'Murder by Death,' better, and funnier.
For all those who value Bogart's movies, and for all those who value satire, this is a terrific movie.
All the Real Girls (2003)
rural yahoos spouting nonsense to each other
The praise this movie gets is astonishing. The dialogue, while interesting at spots, does not seem at all realistic, and especially not given the setting: a small appalachian town filled with people drifting aimlessly. The viewer is expected to believe that an attractive 18-year old girl, who has kept herself a virgin, falls in love with a guy who has had sex with most of the girls in the town, doesn't have sex with him, and does have sex at a boat party with a boy she just met. We are also expected to believe that lover-boy is then so broken up by her "infidelity" (?) that he swears off her.
I prefer movies about real people. Small town appalachia is OK as a setting, but keep it real.
Last Night at the Alamo (1983)
an "iceman cometh" among houston red-necks
This B movie, poorly written, self-consciously acted and photographed in black and white, might be of interest to people who live the same way, but is probably not to those who have seen similar, but much better, movies. "The Iceman Cometh" is probably the best example of a similar movie, and a far better one. For those who wish a Texas setting, there is Robert Altman's "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean." In this movie, set on the last night before the Alamo bar is demolished, we see several red-necks, who speak badly written dialogue and who always appear as if they're acting (not appearing at all to be spontaneous), banter with each other and wait for "cowboy." Cowboy arrives, and is a blowhard, talking about becoming a movie star and acting as if he were important. A female visitor to the bar that evening gets his number quickly. A couple of the resident red-necks begin to wise up, as well.
Spend your time elsewhere
Bhaji on the Beach (1993)
An extraordinarily perceptive summary of life: sex and race
Gurinder Chadha, in the setting of England and with people of Indian background, has made an excellent movie about racism, sexism and the difference in viewpoints among generations. It is applicable to all people. Using the device of a group of "Asian Women" going from Birmingham to Blackpool for a one-day holiday, she includes stories about wife beating, unmarried pregnancy, loneliness, religious and cultural conservatism, and the most basic: sexual attraction. One of the most striking things about the movie, other than the intensity of the stories, is that no time is wasted. Despite the rather large number of characters, all are adequately described, and the stories are completely told. There is not one moment in the movie that I would modify. It is excellent: four stars out of four. I am looking forward to more movies and stories from Ms. Chadha.