Reviews written by registered user
|13 reviews in total|
I feel terribly sorry! Where the Lubitsch-pic was enchanting, marvelous, full of spirit and elegance, this one here is only - colored! Lana looks like 51 (in fact she was 31 at that time, but obviously depressive) and tries to play a shy and dull girlie. Think of Jeanette McDonald, who gave the role of the widow a double-faced depth by "playing" with Count Danilo. That Lana had to play an operetta although unable to sing - crazy! She only sings one song - the title role of an Lehar-operetta, that is really funny! The only really good thing is the great waltz scene at the end: glamorous! And - after watching this scene - have a look at the introducing waltz scene in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"! Any similarities?
I am astonished about the low rating of this movie! There are of course many musicals which are boring and this one - I admit - does not feature very much. No great songs (despite "Baby it's cold outside - Oscar!), no great dancing and absolutely no great acting. But there is something to make the film special: The comedic timing is perfectly, the gags drop fluently. The supporting roles are fantastic: Red Skelton at his best and the absolutely wonderful Betty Garrett to team him (they should have made more movies!). Xavier Cugat and his orchestra play enthusiastic samba rhythms, the decoration of the picture is bright and joyful! There is no single boring moment, the whole film is like a short trip to the Caribbean sea with a fancy cocktail in your hand!
Nice comedy, nothing spectacular. Like with many other films of this time you wonder, if there was any war around. Beautiful people in elegant costumes, grand hotels and champagne, pearls and furs. The trip to Italy is - of course - not coincidentally. No-one would ever expect great acting in a film like this, interesting for fans to look at the father of Romy Schneider, Wolf Albach-Retty. The main attraction for myself was the fantastic convertible, with which the Italian-journey was made, I guess it was an Italian one, probably with a Pininfarina bodywork. The only highlight is Erika von Thellmann as "Aunt Emma". Unfortunately she has only a few short scenes, but you can see that she was a great comedienne!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a pity! Caterina Valente is surely one of the most talented female entertainers of the last five decades, being pretty and gifted with an impressive singing voice, artistic dancing and a faible for comedy. Nevertheless, this movie seems to be made in "different parts" and "different countries". The single scenes and musical numbers do not fit together and are disharmonic. The story is awful, but that is not really a matter of interest in musicals. Gilbert Bécaud is famous for his singing, but it is hard to believe that Valente falls in love with him, leaving Vittoria de Sica, who - sophisticated as ever - seems to be several numbers "too big" for this movie. All in all, the film looks "undecided": sometimes a stage musical, sometimes with "integrated numbers", some scenes typically German, others obviously shot in a French, Italian or even American style. In Germany you say: "Not fish, not meat".
Probably the best TV series ever! For someone Anglophile like me it is the perfect time machine to enter a typical household of the Victorian/Edwardian era. Although it shows an "upper class" household, the focus is on the "downstairs" personnel. The problems and stories of the kitchen maidens, footmen etc are much more colorful and sympathetic than the actions of "her ladyship" and Lord Bellamy upstairs. Nevertheless absolutely all characters are designed thoroughly, sympathetic and authentic. Furthermore this series shows a sort of real "theater" which has left TV long time ago and will never appear again! Long close-ups which show the affection of every actor, long dialogs with full sentences and - long pauses between them to enable the actors and the viewer to reflect everything. In addition the fine set design, the costumes, the "funny stuff" around, for example an early - hand-crafted! - vacuum-cleaner! Another extraordinary fact is the combination of fictional characters with real history: Everything finds its way into the story, the death of Queen Victoria, the Titanic Disaster, WW I, the Spanish Influenza, Wall Street and so on. A period of nearly 30 years is described, and with the last episode you are crying, just because you wish to know how everything will continue... But, that was a lack of this absolutely brilliant series: The main characters hardly age during the decades! Butler Hudson and cook Mrs. Bridges for example are already "old people" in the first episode, playing 1901. In the last episode - 1929 - they have not changed in any way, they even plan to "start a new life", running a small guest-house. After having seen it in German TV, where several episodes are not shown, I bought the complete DVD edition and can only recommend this to everyone!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of course I do know the original production "Philadelphia Story", starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, and I know that the dialogs, the timing and the acting is hardly to top - it deserves its place between the "best films ever made". But this typical 50's remake has its own charm. According to the time, its in full-color and features a musical score. But on top of that, the whole movie seem to be made with great fun by the complete staff. Grace Kelly as snobby upper-class girl seems to be born for this role, and in my opinion it is much harder to play a good comedy than a good drama. You may be wondering why Grace is re-marrying Bing Crosby, he is not really attractive, but he is an excellent singer and entertainer and matches the movie perfectly! The songs by Cole Porter are classics up to this day ("True Love"), they are shot beautifully and are a pleasure, my personal favorite is "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" with Frank Sinatra and the great Celeste Holm as the "funny couple" in this picture. If somebody is able to speak/understand German, I recommend the German version. I compared it with the original English version, and in my opinion the German dialogs are much more brilliant and funny than the original ones! - As I already said in the summary: The movie is bright, light-hearted, funny, sparkling and refreshing like champagne on a summer evening!
This movie is a "collage" or a puzzle, made of professional and private movie bits, accompanied by original German songs of the late thirties and forties. The arrangement is very special: Every song has its own "chapter" with a title which captures a typical slogan or feeling of war times. The song is either contrasting the pictures or accompanying them, and the movie starts with showing the perfect beauty, strength and optimism of a "New Germany", but then also displays the schizoid character of the country at that time. You can hardly refuse the joyful musical scenes, the broadcasting spots, the cheerful announcements of successes, technical inventions and achievements, but in a very subtle way you suddenly see Jews, who are getting shaved their heads by Nazis, together with charming songs you are confronted with a dead soldier in close-ups and so on. In fact, after having seen this movie you cannot simply say that the times were only terrible: The horror came later, first it was wrapped up in shiny paper, made of style, elegance and music, made by people, who believed in arts and intelligence. Everyone who sees this movie - I can only recommend it - has to ask himself where he would have been at that time. A very hard question.
I am terribly sorry, I know that Faßbinder still is called one of the greatest directors in post-war Germany and that most of his films are considered "master-pieces", but when I see "Lili Marleen" today, in 2004, I wonder what everyone is up and away about this movie! The acting is simply terrible - Hanna Schygulla is all the smiling like an idiot! -, the changings between Nazi-glamour and battlefields are ridiculous, the whole film looks as if it was made within two days in an attic. Probably it was exactly that way and many people seem to take this for "real art", but for me this movie is simply bad & cheap. Compare this to Viscontis "La Caduta degli Dei" and tell me again that "Lili Marleen" is a good movie...
Regarding this movie I am wondering all the time I see it, what a great Boulevard-Comedy it could have been! Top stars of that time, not only Brando, Loren, Chaplin, Hedren themselves, but also the wonderful "Miss Marple" Margaret Rutherford in a supporting role, fantastic colors and photographing, stunning costumes and lifestyle of the late sixties, exotic plot and hazardous funny situations... But: It is boring! Right from the beginning you do not stop waiting for the final "kick" that starts the comedy! Things are going on, you prepare for a big laughter - but nothing happens! Of course, you could say that this IS NOT a screwball comedy and that Chaplin wanted to make a silent, romantic film, but it does not work this time. The story-line is pure comedy and there is no real tragedy or subtle romance as in some of Chaplins old silent movies. The only scene which really comes up to what Chaplin is famous for, is the "bed scene" with Hudson, the butler. When he turns his face from the rigid old-school butler to the foolish boy marrying bombshell Sophia Loren and sharing the bed-room with her, you finally know, that there is at least one point worth watching the movie. And else? Marlon Brando was sure one of the greatest actors ever, but he was no comedian, the role would have better been played by Rock Hudson or Dean Martin. Sophia Loren looks fantastic, but her only skill on this film was running away and shouting "oooohhhh". And poor Tippi Hedren: After Hitchcock made his revenge for refusing him, she - with her great talent and tough beauty - appeared against the end of this film, only for some minutes; almost finishing her much too short career. Perhaps the time of great comedies was over in 1967, but think of Loren in "Arabesque", Brando in "Bounty" and Hedren in "Marnie" to imagine, what this "lost chance" could have been...! Sorry, Mr. Chaplin.
Of course this is not really a movie for children. The structure of the movie is similar to "Wizard of Oz", beginning with a child which seems to be frustrated with the real life and then dreaming into another world, full of magicians, witches, fabulous adventures and so on. But while "Wizard of Oz" is funny, the characters can simply be divided in "good" and "bad", the adventures can be understood - in "5,000 Fingers" the little boy enters a nightmare! Funny and helpful characters are emotional disturbing. A witch can be recognized as fabulous being, but a piano-teacher is close to real life, and Dr. T. is much more frightening than the evil witch from Oz! The decoration and especially the musical numbers are fantastic, think of the bearded twins on skaters! Fantastic! The psychology of the movie is excellent: A boy suffering from the lack of a father is afraid that his beloved mother is hypnotized by a strange man and will marry him. Certainly thousands of children at any time are fearing such a situation. Literature and cinema are full of this theme, think of "Alice in Wonderland", "Fanny and Alexander" and so on. Really interesting is the time at which this movie was made. During the 50s almost everything was nice and perfect, and here you have a nice and perfect Musical showing frightening, fear, the "other side" of everything. - Here in Germany I am desperately waiting for getting it on DVD or TV! This movie is quite unknown and perhaps unpopular for its content. But believe me: It's one of the "pearls" in movie history!
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