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Sweet Charity

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37 reviews in total 
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Maytime (1937)
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
To life's last faint ember, will you remember?, 28 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If I could give this film an 11, I would. Out of all the films of the legendary pair Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, this remains my favorite. Finally, we are presented with a movie that not only shows what lovely voices and faces they had, but what depth as performers they had as well. MacDonald (as Macia Mornay) is particularly impressive, as we see her go through three stages in the film. The movie opens with her as an old woman, and in flashback we see her as a young, wide-eyed prima donna, learning the ropes of opera in Europe, and later as a mature woman who has finally realized that perhaps her career was not worth the emotional torture she has put herself through. She looks absolutely stunning and has a voice just as pretty as her face. In the final moments of the flashback, when she realizes what she has virtually brought upon herself, we not only see her pain and regret but we feel it as well. Eddy (as Paul Allison) is charming, handsome and playfully boyish, showing us a chivalry in men that seems to have vanished from today's pictures. His persistence in pursuing Marcia from the very beginning and his devotion to her over the years is touching. And when he utters those dying words, "That day... did last me... all my life," you feel your heart dying with theirs. John Barrymore makes for a perfect "villain" -- his bizarre desire to completely possess Marcia is portrayed in quite the chilling manner. Above all, this movie is about love. Whether one is attempting to steal a kiss or two during the beautiful rendition of "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," teaching the other how to shoot a bow, kissing passionately and unexpectedly in the middle of an opera, or holding a dying lover, it is simply a beautifully and effectively told love story. When elderly Marcia clutches her chest under the tree, you can't believe what you're seeing -- but as soon as you see young Paul transcend into the foreground and sing "Will You Remember?" your heart is overwhelmed with joy at their finally being reunited in death. Woody Van Dyke sure knew how to make 'em, didn't he?

Peter Pan (1960) (TV)
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Brimstone and gall, what cozening is here?!, 29 March 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like so many others, I was a young thing when I saw Mary Martin's PETER PAN for the first time. I was perhaps 3 or 4, and I recall ever-so-clearly wanting to be Wendy, and wearing my pink housecoat (similar to Wendy's nightgown) every time I watched this film (which was at least once a week). Years later, this is one film that still remains near and dear to my heart.

Out of all of the adaptations of PETER PAN I have ever seen (including the Disney version which is also a classic), this is my favorite. But then again, how could one dislike anything which preserves the legend of the fabulous Mary Martin? The cast is absolutely terrific. While Maureen Bailey does not "get on my nerves" as some reviewers have stated, she does tend to over-act a bit. Seeing as how this was pretty much a direct translation of the stage show, however, there is a good chance Maureen had, at some point, been involved in the show. Anyone who knows anything about acting knows that acting for the stage and acting for the screen are two totally different ballgames, which could have resulted in her over-acting. Nonetheless, she makes for a charming Wendy (and later Jane). Sondra Lee is terrific as Tiger Lily, although I find it appalling that in this day and age where the part of Caucasian, blue-collar Bronx bus driver Ralph Kramden is going to be played on-screen by African-American comedian Bernie Mac, someone actually has the audacity to say that Tiger Lily can't be blonde because "she's an Indian." Does the fact that Tiger Lily is blonde really prove to be detrimental to the movie in any way? No, no it doesn't. Margalo Gilmore, an extremely talented veteran of both stage and screen, is a lovable Mrs. Darling, although she only appears at the beginning and toward the end of the show. Cyril Ritchard will ALWAYS be, in my humble opinion, the BEST Captain Hook (/Mr. Darling) to ever grace a screen (apologies to Dustin Hoffman and others who have played the famed role). His Hook is deliciously malicious, cunning, and hysterically funny. And Mary Martin - I don't even know if I can put into words how incredible she is in the role of Peter. Several reviewers have scoffed at the fact of Peter Pan as a woman - saying it defeats the entire purpose of everything. Show me a ten year old boy who could have acted, sung, dance, and flew the part (and performed it eight times a week on the stage) and I'll eat your hat. This was the perfect role for Martin, by my understanding her favorite role (she wanted a tomboyish role similar to Annie in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN), and what a treat it is to have it preserved. As a woman approaching 50, she is ridiculously agile, in fine if not incredible voice, and a treat to behold. Top all of this off with narration by the lush voice of the wonderful Lynn Fontanne, and you have a winner! Several reviewers have scoffed at the "cheesey affects," the visibility of the wires, and the "bringing Tinker Bell back to life" scene. As a 19 year-old cinema major, I am constantly baffled by the fact that people in this day of CGI refuse to accept the limitations of film and television in 1960. Not only do they refuse to accept it, but they simply have no concept of the era. PETER PAN is a filmed version of a STAGE MUSICAL, folks. You're going to see the wires. There were no computers at that time to generate images and special effects - get over it and embrace the past. As far as clapping Tink back to life - this is an integral part of the movie (and stage play for that matter). It's the audience's chance to embrace childhood and to believe in the unbelievable. After all, that is what Peter Pan is really all about.

All in all, this is an amazing film, and I have no doubt in my mind that even though youngsters today have been brought up with films using phenomenal CGI technology and such, they will fall in love with the beautiful and catchy music, the energetic choreography (by Jerome Robbins, no less!), and the story of a boy who could never grow up.

"Soap" (1977)
4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
These are the Tates. And these are the Campbells. And this is... SOAP!, 29 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was, most unfortunately, not around in 1977 when SOAP debuted and caused a great deal of controversy. Luckily, I happened to be around in 2002 when TVLand began airing episodes of SOAP as part of the "TVLand Kitschen." I had heard of SOAP and of BENSON, but had never seen either. I decided to watch an episode of the former one night on TVLand, and right away I was hooked! SOAP was a masterful creation - a delightful parody of all things daytime and foreshadowing prime-time (think about it - before there was "Who Shot J.R.?" there was "Who Killed Peter Campbell?"). It covered everything - murder, infidelity, the church, impotency, mental illness, depression, attempted suicide, the mob, alcoholism, and even aliens and exorcisms. It pushed the envelope, but tastefully so, and it was filled with endless humor (both physical and wit).

TV had never before seen a show with as large and as brilliant an ensemble as the one on SOAP, and they sure haven't seen one since. For starters you had the Tate children - bratty Eunice (Jennifer Salt), man-hungry Corinne (Diana Canova), and the long-uninformed Billy (Jimmy Baio). At the head of the family was that wealthy scoundrel Chester Tate (Robert Mandan), The Major (Arthur Peterson) - Mary & Jessica's father who was still suck in WWII, and the delightful presence of the sarcastic butler, Benson (Robert Guillaume).

In the Campbell household, you had Jay Johnson in his dual role as Burt's son Chuck and Chuck's sarcastic and obnoxious dummy, Bob, Ted Wass as mobster/heartthrob Danny Dallas, and Billy Crystal as everyone's favorite homosexual, Jodie Dallas. Head of the household Burt Campbell was played by rubbery and hilarious Richard Mulligan.

At the heart of the show, however, were two sisters - Jessica Tate (played to ditsy delight by Katherine compassion sanity by the highly underrated Cathryn Damon). You always believed these two were sisters who genuinely cared for one another and would do anything for one another.

That is - until Season 4.

I hold firm in my belief that part of the main reason for the ratings decline during Season 4 was the whole "Chester is really Danny's father" storyline. Any SOAP fan knows that Mary Campbell would NEVER have done something like that to her sister - and when you break apart the heart and soul of a show, of course the ratings are going to drop. The final season wasn't a total disaster, but seeing as how several characters seemed to be just so out of character (Mary with Chester, Jodie is really straight, etc.), it certainly wasn't up to par with the first three fabulous seasons. And sure, we'll probably never REALLY know exactly what happened to the characters - but isn't it pleasant to think that somewhere, Jessica and Mary resolved their differences, Burt and Mary got back together, and life was good (insane, but still good) for everyone in the Tate and Campbell families? :) SOAP is a wonderful show - my favorite show - and certainly deserves the lavish praise that everyone is giving it! Hooray for SOAP!

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic (and one of the main reasons Oscar ceremonies should be released on DVD), 14 April 2004

This is perhaps one of the best "extras" to ever be put on a VHS or DVD. It's a great chance to see incredible movie stars out of their element and see them as themselves. There are tons of great, brief interviews with many of the great stars of the day: Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Doris Day, Lauren Bacall, Dean Martin, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, Jack Carson, and yes, Miss Judy Garland (or Mrs. Sid Luft) herself! The list goes on and on, and includes not only stars of the film and television mediums, but moguls and gossip queens Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper. The downside? It gives you a taste of what the Oscar ceremonies were probably like during the Golden Age of Hollywood and leaves you hungry for more.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A "balmy doozer" of a film!, 14 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a classic film buff, I stumbled across this film (which I had heard of but never had the chance to see, unfortunately) on Monday, March 1, when TCM finally decided to air it months after I had missed its last airing. All of the praise that you can read about this film is simply not enough.

Many people comment that they find the story improbable. But folks, this is the movies, and movies need be neither probable nor practical. An endearing story with smooth direction by Mervyn LeRoy and flawless performances, it has quickly grown to be one of my all-time favorites.

(Spoilers!) To put it simply, John Smith (Ronald Colman) is a WWI vet who was found in the trenches without any knowledge of his own identity. By chance, he meets a music hall actress named Paula Ridgeway (Greer Garson) and strikes up a friendship which soon develops into a romance, leading to marriage, a baby, and a poor but blissful existence. Tragedy strikes when "Smithy" (as she calls him) is on his way to Liverpool to apply for a job with a newspaper -- he is hit by a car. He remembers his true identity -- Charles Rainier, wealthy aristocrat -- but forgets he was ever John Smith. He returns home, and months later Paula returns to him, too -- this time in the form of Margaret Hansen, playing the part of his devoted secretary, hoping that perhaps he will someday remember the life that they had together and the love that he had for her.

It's such a tragedy that Susan Peters was injured in a shotgun accident not too long after this film -- she does a fine job as Kitty, Charles' almost-wife. Also, Henry Travers (who is never bad in any film) does a grand job (though his role as a doctor is small).

The two stars of this film, without a doubt, are the folks with top billing: Ronald Colman and Greer Garson. Ronald Colman is wonderfully cast as the melancholy soldier who just can't seem to get a break any way he turns. Just listen to that rich voice and look into those big, sad eyes -- he really turns on the charm, here. Then you have Greer Garson -- vibrant, stunningly gorgeous, luscious voice, and, indeed, a talented little singer and dancer! (The "She's Ma Daisy" number is an absolute treat -- a side of Garson the public seems to forget existed.) She takes your breath away as Paula, and makes you believe in the power of her love for her beloved Smithy.

All in all, this movie comes highly recommended: 10/10, five stars, two-thumbs up... you know the bit... but be sure to have those tissues handy!

"Dallas" (1978)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Oh, how I want to be a Ewing!, 29 January 2004

When Dallas first aired in 1978, I was not alive to catch it. I was lucky to catch any of it at all the first time around -- I was only five years old when Dallas went off the air in 1991. But, with my father being a die-hard JR fan and my mother being a Pam & Bobby fanatic, I was exposed to it the second time again when it began airing on TNN. I often marvel at the fact that even at the age of nine, I absolutely LOVED this show. Granted, I probably didn't really understand half of it, but for an hour every day, my eyes were positively glued to the television set. Now I watch it on SoapNET, at at seventeen years of age I can finally understand it -- and understand the phenomenon behind the show.

Dallas is, without a doubt, one of the most remarkable shows ever created. Solid writing, smooth direction, one of the best theme songs ever, great characters, and phenomenal performers are what secured the fan base for this show during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Comedy, drama, laughter, tears, power, corruption, money, greed, alcoholism, rape, abortions, affairs... you name it, it was there. Heading the cast were veteran actors Jim Davis and Barbara Bel Geddes playing Jock and Miss Ellie Ewing, the mother and father of the Ewing clan. You had youngest son, Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who shocked the entire family by marrying Pamela (Victoria Principal), the daughter of Digger Barnes -- Jock's archenemy and Ellie's former flame. You had ranch hand Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly) who not only had been involved with Pam, but we later learn is a Ewing himself -- he's Jock's son. There was Lucy (Charlene Tilton), the rebellious granddaughter of Jock and Ellie, daughter of their alcoholic middle son (and black sheep of the family, if you will), Gary. Rounding it all off you had J.R. (Larry Hagman), the eldest son, and the man everyone loved to hate. Scheming, corrupt, and hungry for money and power, he neglected his wife Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), a former Miss Texas, driving her to the bottle. And we can't forget Cliff -- Pam's brother and J.R.'s worst nightmare (or so he'd like to think).

The cast had unstoppable chemistry, and even though things got far-fetched (we all know the dream sequence... unfortunately) at times, it was and is still a joy to watch. My favorite show of all time and certainly one show that is a piece of Americana. If you've never seen it, give it a look. You'll be hooked.

29 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
"And now, let's meet our What's My Line? panel!", 9 January 2004

I don't think there are words in the English vocabulary that can fully capture the deep love I have for this game show and the admiration I feel for its panel. A highly sophisticated and glamorous show, "What's My Line?" keeps you on the edge of your seat for an hour and a half as you watch the celebrity panel try to guess the occupation of a guest or the identity of the mystery guest. Truly, this show fully encompasses what the fifties and sixties were all about. First on the panel, you have tart-tongued syndicated columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. Quick and smart, Dorothy always took the game seriously but never failed to through in a joke or two each telecast. Then there was Random House's very own Bennett Cerf, a remarkable publisher whose calm, cool demeanor and relaxed sense of humor perfectly complimented the show. My favorite regular panelist, however, was the beautiful actress of stage and screen, Miss Arlene Francis. Glamorous, warm, erudite, and fantastically witty, she was such an asset to the show. There was always a fourth panelist -- usually someone along the lines of Steve Allen, Fred Allen, Tony Randall, Martin Gabel (Arlene's husband), etc.

And then, there was the man who was head of it all: journalist John Charles Daly. One of the most fabulously linguistic and learned men I have ever seen in action, he was the perfect host as he brought laughter and sophistication to every episode. I prefer "What's My Line?" in its first incarnation, when John Daly was host and Dorothy Kilgallen still alive. It's a marvelous show, and I cannot thank Game Show Network enough for showing it in reruns, even if they do only air at 4:30 in the morning. Many thanks to the wonderful panel and host -- I've always felt they were like old friends in my home.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Get ready to match the stars on the star-studded, big-money Match Game!, 9 January 2004

To coin an old cliche, "The just don't make 'em like this anymore." Match Game is and will always be one of my favorite game shows of all time! There's simply nothing like it. Filling in the blanks and trying to match a celebrity panel may seem silly and trite, but that simple premise provided for one of the most entertaining shows in game show history. Led by the dapper Gene Rayburn, the panel consisted of three regulars (until the later episodes, anyway): splashy and fun Brett Somers, funny theatre veteran Charles Nelson Reilly, and Family Feud's dashing and suave Richard Dawson. Then you had the semi-regulars: hilarious comedienne and book author Fannie Flagg, cute and perky actress Joyce Bulifant, or the lovely and enchanting Betty White. Occasionally, you'd also see the likes of M*A*S*H's Gary Berghoff, Patty Duke, Marcia Wallace, and many other familiar faces. This show made these people household names, and I simply love the fact that, through re-runs, Game Show network has given the chance for younger folks (such as myself) to experience this hoot of a show. (Though I must admit, it just wasn't the same when they introduced the wheel and Richard left.) It just doesn't get any better than Match Game -- be it one of the daytime series or Match Game PM. Go ahead, laugh your [blank] off.

I don't want to sound cliched but... "Practically perfect in every way.", 26 November 2003

One of my earliest memories of my childhood (and probably of your own) is sitting on the sofa in our living room and watching this movie. When you're three or four years old, you love it wholeheartedly and are certainly in awe by it, but can never fully appreciate the absolute masterpiece that this film is. No, people, Disney is not always for small children -- Disney is for EVERYONE, and that's what Walt Disney gives us here: something for everyone.

First, you must look at the script -- a script full of wit and humor and at the same time with heart, humanity, sentimentality, and a lesson that often seems to be forgotten: material things and riches mean so much less than family and children and the little pleasures in life. Director Robert Stevenson makes this film a feast for the eyes that also speaks to the heart.

Then you have the wonderful score by the Sherman brothers, Robert and Richard, chock full of brilliant tunes like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "A Spoonful of Sugar" that are light and full of breezy fun, a total antithesis to one of the most poignant, haunting melodies in the whole film, "Feed the Birds."

You also have an amazing cast that features two amazing and adorable children, Karen Dotrice as Jane and Matthew Garber as Michael. You also have veteran character actors like Ed Wynn (Uncle Albert), Elsa Lanchester (Katie Nanna), Reta Shaw (Mrs. Brill), Hermoine Baddeley (Ellen), and even Jane Darwell ("The Bird Lady") lighting up the screen. The ever-radiant Glynis Johns plays Winifred Banks, the children's mother and a suffragette whose "cause infuriates Mr. Banks." While she only gets one song, "Sister Suffragette" is an unforgettable number and she plays the part with a flair that only Glynis Johns can. Disney veteran David Tomlinson plays George Banks, Esquire, the children's father and a devout businessman who believes that the most important things in life are being head of a ship-shape household and carving "his niche in the edifice of time" at Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. He gives a superb performance and shows us that it's never too late to learn what is really most important in life. Dick Van Dyke is outstanding as Burt, the "jack-of-all-trades" who not only has his own one-man-band, but is an artist as well as a chimney sweep. Van Dyke's comedic skills are in top form here -- he plays the part with such enthusiasm and his golden voice and incredible dancing are part of what makes this film such a treat. Finally, we are graced the presence of Mary Poppins herself, Miss Julie Andrews. Fresh from the Broadway production of "Camelot," with that first glimpse of her floating down from the sky, you know you're going to fall in love with her. While portrayed seemingly younger than the Mary Poppins in P.L. Travers' beloved books upon which the film is based, Julie Andrews plays Mary to perfection: very proper, very intelligent, a bit distant as to avoid any sentimental attachments but never too far removed, enchanting, intriguing -- a woman who knows exactly what she's doing and how she can help the Banks family to be just that -- a true family. Her voice is exquisite throughout the film.

This film isn't just for the little ones, it's a film for anyone -- you're sure to love this film (that I must say is just as good as about any other movie musical aimed more toward the adult set) just as much when you're fifty as you did when you were five. Take it from someone who's seen this film more times than she can count, this is one phenomenal piece of magic captured on film, and we owe it all to the magic maker himself: Walt Disney.

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Off with her head!, 21 November 2003

And I thought I was the only one who had seen this movie! I cannot believe all of the outstanding, positive reviews for this film. I thought surely I was the only person who had seen this version of "Alice in Wonderland" and I am so happy to find out that I am wrong! I wasn't even born when it came out (I was born in '86) so I'm assuming my mother taped it when it repeated on the Disney Channel. I cannot believe the ridiculous amount of stars in this movie! Everyone from big stars at the time (Patrick Duffy was starring on "Dallas"... well, actually '85 was the dream season when Bobby was "dead"... but you get the idea), television legends like Sid Caesar, Broadway babies like Carol Channing, and Hollywood stars like Donald O'Connor! I have so many memories of this movie... most of which frighten me to this day. Come on, the baby turns into a pig, Carol Channing turns into a lamb (while singing some song about bread and butter and jam or something), and Sally Struthers as Tiger Lily (at the time, I did not know her from "All in the Family" but as ECPI woman... isn't that what it was? You know, "You can get your associates degree in auto-repair, book-keeping..."). But the memory that lingered the most was my girl Jayne Meadows who continually ran around singing, "Off with their head!" I was so afraid of that woman for the longest time. At any rate... while the movie may not be first-rate, it certainly is the best non-animated adaptation and the stars are endless and in fine form! You know you're a child of the eighties if you've seen this one. Your kids are guaranteed to love the songs and costumes... but don't be surprised if they have a nightmare or two.

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