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spirit11

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31 reviews in total 
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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A Husband Who Won't Be Kept, 25 October 2010
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As others have noted, though this is marketed at "Pre-Code" there is little here to suggest that the censors would have had an issue. A spoiled, rich girl sets her sights on a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and does whatever it takes to get him. And get him she does, but he eventually rebels and she finds she can't keep him with her money any longer, and must find another way.

I had hoped the ending would give the film more of a pre-code kick, but unfortunately it wasn't there. I found the first two-thirds or more of the film stronger than the last third. In that first section, Dorothy Mackaill as the rich girl, Joel McCrea as the boy, and Robert McWade as the girl's father were the outstanding performances. They had depth and ease in their characters. Most of the others were flatly written -- Mary Carr as the boy's mom was sugary sweet, Ned Sparks as the Carr's border was there for comic relief, and a pack of shrewish women led by Florence Roberts as the girl's mother were all painfully overplayed for me. "Just get them off the screen!" I kept thinking.

But as I said, even the strong performances didn't sustain themselves throughout the film, with the one exception of McWade as the girl's father. His character remained his believable self throughout the film, and though he participated in spoiling his daughter, you always felt he did so because he truly loved his daughter, rather than trying to win her affection through money. At the last, you truly felt that even without all his riches as the owner of a steel mill, he could walk away and there would still be something of the man left at the end. There was still something more to the man outside of what we saw in this film. The other characters never achieved that feeling.

This is a film I'm glad I saw, but one which I would not say I had to have in my collection.

7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Unusual Format - Excellent Result, 2 August 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For fans of the Poirot series, this episode stands out. It adds to the typical, "Poirot has the answer when no one else does" format with two things -- a slower setup of the crime and a quicker resolution.

Usually the crime is revealed early in the episode and the Poirot's solution revealed with just moments to spare before the end credits roll. Not so this time. In this roughly 48 minute episode, the crime doesn't become apparent until 15 minutes into the show, and Poirot has revealed the culprit just 10 minutes later. With the wrongdoer identified I found myself wondering, "What will they do with the second half of the episode?" Not to worry.

Just because we know who committed the crime, doesn't mean the person has been apprehended--which takes further quick thinking and action on the part of Poirot, Hastings, and Inspector Japp. Then, once apprehended, Poirot must reveal both the clues, and his actions, that led to the person's capture. If you've watched a lot of the Poirot mysteries, this episode won't disappoint.

The writer framed this episode perfectly, and keeps you off balance throughout, wondering how everything will play out, even when you think you already know the ending.

You also get to see Poirot play a character outside of detective--matchmaker!

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Best of the Best, 26 February 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I rarely give a perfect rating to any movie, episode, or series. That said, I'm a huge fan of Poirot on TV and film. (Yes, I've seen the 1960's Tony Randall version -- YIKES!) So lets get to the bottom line. I told my wife she HAD to watch this episode with me. It is the best episode or movie of Poirot that I've seen. Suchet is at his best, managing to work both the younger version of Poirot against the more mature version of Poirot, and make them both convincing. The mystery is challenging and fascinating, and even the love story woven throughout the episode has a surprising ending. And for the big fans, watch closely--you'll see the lapel pin from this episode pop up in others as well. All in all, a great episode!

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I just don't get it, and neither does this short, 19 November 2008
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'll say up front, I don't get what was so funny about the Dogville shorts. But having watched all nine of them now, just for the historical film perspective, I have to say that "Trader Hound" is by far the worst. While some of the others provide a chuckle or two, this one wasn't funny in the least, and didn't seem to know what to do with itself. This short begins with narration (something the other eight never did), then goes to the dog characters for a bit before switching to a second narrated section about a wrestling match between a gorilla and a lion, played by two men dressed in ridiculously bad costumes. Where did the dogs of Dogville go? Oh wait, now they're back, and being chased now by a real alligator--which doesn't fit at all with the previous animals all being men in costume. Except of course, for the real monkeys thrown in for good measure during the jungle scenes. Does my review seem disjointed? Not a surprise, since the short is disjointed as well. The mix of narrated, non-narrated, dog, human costumed animals, and real animals keeps the short off balance and off story. So, can you tell I didn't like it???

One of the better "Theater of Life" Shorts, 19 June 2007
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Of the "Theater of Life" shorts I've seen on TCM, this is one of the better pieces. Watching the LA Fire Department in action in 1948 and mentally comparing it to what the situation must be like at this time is mind-boggling. The statistics is what kept getting me, so much so that I shared them with my wife. Imagine: this short says the fire department responds to some sort of fire every 75 seconds--what must that stat be now? It quotes that the U.S. has 350,000 homes destroyed by fires each year--what must that stat be now? I believe they said the estimated annual cost of fires is $600 million--how many BILLIONS must that be now? I'd like to believe that some of these stats may have gone down with better education of the public and the introduction of fire suppression systems and smoke alarms, but who knows? And does it still hold that 30% of all fires are caused by smoking and matches?

Of course, there is some info that is dated, but isn't that the point? And I had to laugh at what must have seemed a clever line to the writer at that time, but hasn't done well with age: "A match has a head, but no brain. But a person has both." This is then used to emphasize that if we just think about it we can avoid most fires.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Struck me as an odd film, 18 June 2007
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a very sentimental person, as my wife would tell you, and typically enjoy an old-fashioned love story on film, but this film struck me as odd. During the intro to the film I was intrigued--three love stories woven together on a ship. I thought that we would see how the characters from each story interacted on the ship, and how that interaction was both influenced by the love stories that came before, and how that interaction affected the lives of the individuals going forward.

But that wasn't the case at all. The ship serves as nothing more than a vehicle for introducing the characters from each vignette, and the characters never meet or interact. And the vignettes are so disparate in concept that it makes the whole film seem uneven. Consider that the first story is about ballet and heart attacks, the second about witches and wishes, and the third about suicide and circus trapeze artists.

And within the stories there were issues that nagged me. James Mason was great in the first vignette, until the young lady begins dancing in his studio. Then his comments/critique of her dancing--"That's it, that's it, higher, higher..." seemed silly. It worked much better once he was just quiet and the dance became the focus. Otherwise, his comments broke the magic. And in the final segment on the trapeze, the American hiring circus acts goes from "How can I buy an act unless I see it EXACTLY as it is to be preformed for audiences?" to "I'll pay ANYTHING for this act!" in one short minute. Add to that that none of the American actors portraying french men and women in this vignette have a french accent (I suppose that is better than a bad accent) while the non-American actors do have accents, and it just comes across as odd. This accent issue is also amplified by the fact that the second vignette of the young boy who gets his wish to be a man has an underlying storyline about speaking french properly! So we go from one extreme to the other throughout the film.

I can't help but believe that this film was three story ideas none of which had enough depth or breadth to carry a film on their own, and the ship deck mechanism was invented in order to pull together some less than perfect film ideas.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Teletunes Availability, 24 December 2006
4/10

I purchased a DVD collection from the company "DVD Megapacks" a few years ago entitled, "!00 Cartoon Classics." Disk 4 of that collection includes the following Teletunes: Ali Baba, The Magic Horn, Brave Molly, Hasty and the Princess, The Kindhearted Girl, The Three Sisters, and The Proud Princess.

As noted in other comments, the animation is crude but when accompanied by Mr. Crofoot's narration makes them interesting and introduced my children and me to several fairy tales I and they had never heard of. Tales such as "The Three Sisters" have character voicing with little or no narration and they do not fare as well.

If you have young children as I do, these are a decidedly different type of animation than the kids were used to, and generally enjoyable.

Homecoming (1948)
8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
M*A*S*H Written here? (spoilers), 26 November 2003
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found the film quite engaging, but as a M*A*S*H fan, I couldn't help but notice how many times plot lines from this movie showed up in the series.

1) Hawkeye and Hotlips caught under fire trying to get back to their unit, and winding up in the clinches? Gable and Turner did it first. 2) Henry Blake dying suddenly on his return home? No return home, but an unexpected attack on a hospital unit leaves the commander dead. 3) BJ's first time in the unit, and how it made him sick? Gable's first day in the unit, and the wear and tear on him. 4) Hotlips? Snapshot. 5) BJ wanting to tell his wife about "straying", but talked out of it by Hawkeye? Gable DID tell his wife. 6) Hawkeye's buddy the writer, dying on the table in front of Hawkeye? Monk, Gable's delivery man from home, dying in front of him.

It's a good movie, and well written. And I think Gable and Turner were great. You can probably find more links to M*A*S*H than I did!

Utopia (1951)
5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Hard to watch, 25 March 2003
3/10

This movie was difficult for me to watch. Stan looked very old and ill compared to what I remembered, and Ollie was heavier than I ever recall in another film. Most difficult though were gaps in the script/production where I found myself wondering, "How did they get from here to there???" It took nearly half the film before I could deal with the dubbing of non-American actors -- that was also a distraction.

Although I miss great actors such as Laurel and Hardy -- will there ever be great actors like those of the old studio era??? -- this film helps me understand why actors sometimes "bow out" in their prime.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"Landmarks" Alternate Version, 15 February 2003
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Possible spoilers!

Viewer/reviewer wmarrow59 gives an overview of this film in his comments, however the version captured on the DVD "Landmarks of Early Film -- Volume 1," released by Image Entertainment has been edited. Landmarks version contains 1) a "working dog"; 2) a beggar's dog; 3) a shepherd's dog; and 4) a milkman's dog. The other four segments described by wmarrow59 have been edited out -- and based on wmarrow59's comments, these are the segments that would be most objectionable to viewers.


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