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jpickerel

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27 reviews in total 
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producer spots girl, yadda, yadda, yadda, 21 September 2009
6/10

OK, OK, everyone, save a few, think this movie is a real mish-mosh. The title is misleading, in that you would expect a Broadway type atmosphere to what you are going to see. Not so. You have to think of this effort as a Waldorf Salad. Loved the nuts, hated the raisins. The apples were OK, the dressing, an abomination. Vera Zorina delightful, Kenny Baker pathetic. Andrea Leeds certainly no actress, Menjou could sleep walk (and did) through his part. See what I mean? Pick yer spot. For instance, not many people understand or appreciate the Ritz Brothers today. Me, I think they were super talented, European night club trained comedians with a finely honed edge to their bits, especially the pussy cat number. Edgar Bergen's lips moved. So what? His timing and handling of his partner, Charlie, and his wit are superb. The American Ballet (and I'm no fan of the Ballet) were a treat for the eyes and they certainly knew their craft. There's just enough to make you appreciate it, not enough to make you fast forward. The same goes for the Opera segments, just enough. Forget the story. It's an insult to the intelligence of a 10 year old. A girl gets picked to become an adviser to a movie producer, after he overhears her comments on a movie in progress at a location near her home. Gee, just like real life! Did I enjoy it? Yeah, I guess. Would I buy it to watch again? Probably not.

"Becker" (1998)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful show, wonderful cast, 29 January 2009
8/10

For some reason, I didn't see this show until it went into reruns. Now, I have to scramble early in the morning to catch it. Ted Danson does a great job as the crotchety doctor, with a less than desirable practice in a less than desirable neighborhood. His crabbiness extends to just about everyone, from his able assistant, Margaret (Hattie Winston) to her not so able helper, Linda (Shawnee Smith), and to his patients. His bedside manner is atrocious (long before House came along). He has no patience with authority or poor service from anyone. Yet, he comes off as lovable. (His battle to stop smoking is extremely funny). This is a tribute to Danson and the writers. The ensemble cast is near perfect. Alex Dessert as the blind newsstand owner, Jake, and Saverio Guerra as Bob, the regular at the diner who has few redeeming qualities, grows on you. Great show, this one kinda sneaks up on you.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
remake not worth making, 17 January 2009
3/10

Here is a remake of "It Happened One Night", the Oscar winner for Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Now, it's OK to remake a bad movie; you just may improve it. But never try to improve on a great film! I've been a Jack Lemmon fan for many, many years and often wondered if he'd ever made any really bad films. This picture gave me the answer, although I can't say that Lemmon gives a bad performance. He's just not Clark Gable, and shouldn't have tried to be. Miss Allyson is Miss Allyson, no matter what role she plays, and just doesn't carry this one off. To make matters worse, they made a sort of musical out of it. The songs are not memorable, nor do they fit. Their presence is something like a bump in a carpet. They just shouldn't be there. Honestly, if you're a June Allyson fan, you may find this effort amusing, otherwise, I wouldn't waste my time.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
romantic comedy, a Marion Davies triumph, 4 January 2009
8/10

There are some wonderful things about this movie. Marion Davies could act, given the right property; she is wonderful in comedic roles. William Haines could act, and you can see why he was one of the screen's most popular leading men. (Until a potential scandal forced him from the business).

The story is a bit trite, but handled so beautifully that you don't notice. King Vidor's direction is one of the principle reasons for this. The producer? The boy genius, Irving Thalberg.

It's about movie making, and you get to see the process as it was done in 1928, the cameras, sets, directors directing and actors emoting. You get to see (briefly) some of the major stars of the day; even Charlie Chaplin does a turn as himself, seeking an autograph. You also catch glimpses of Eleanor Boardman, Elinor Glyn, Claire Windsor, King Vidor, and many others who are otherwise just names and old photographs.

Please, even if you're not a fan of the silents, take the time to catch this film when you can. It's really a terrific trip back in time.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
all William Bendix, 22 December 2008
6/10

This is one of a total of three 'streamliners' made by Bendix and Sawyer, about two Brooklyn mugs who strike it rich by building a successful cab company in New York. Stream liners were short (50 - 60 minutes) and to the point. While funny, this movie belongs strictly to Bendix. He is as he is in most of his later movies; a lovable bumbler, getting himself in and out of improbable but sometimes hilarious situations. This one concerns mix-ups and misunderstandings among McGuerin (Bendix), his wife (Bradley), his partner (Sawyer) and his fiancé, and their secretary, deliciously played by Woodward. Only Bradley seems a little out of sync, stiff and uncomfortable with her role, but beautiful none the less. Even Max Baer, as a fitness trainer, does well with his role (catch the bit with him as he turns around a picture of Joe Louis to face the wall. He was one of Louis's boxing ring victims). Perhaps it's the length of the movie, or the bit of miscasting, but the film seems just a bit out of kilter. But not enough so as to make it less than enjoyable.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
This is Laughton's Movie, Pure and Simple!, 23 November 2008
8/10

Make no mistake, this one belongs to Charles Laughton. Bringing this role from the stage, his movements and facial expressions are over exaggerated and hammy by later standards. But he was a monumental talent.

The movie is a taut, well constructed murder mystery, with Laughton as a man who almost gets away with murder and an illicit affair. Almost. His wife (Dorothy Peterson, no mean actress in her own right) discovers both, and extracts her revenge in a marvelously twisted plot device, which almost, but not quite, pushes the boundaries of believability.

Veree Teasdale as the paramour who turns to blackmail is fine.

An early appearance by Ray Milland (billed as Raymond Milland) is credible, as the rich Australian nephew, who shows up at the wrong time (for him).

Have a watch.

Roberta (1935)
9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Randolph Scott??, 16 November 2008
7/10

Here is a movie musical what is a movie musical! Forget the story! It is slight at best, involving a he-man (Scott) inheriting a designing house in Paris. It comes complete with assistant (Dunne) and a phony countess (Rogers) and a band (complete with Astaire as leader) which has come to Paris with him. Why he is traveling with the band, or why Rogers is getting away with the phony royalty bit is never really explained. To be honest, the first half of the movie is totally missable and rather confusing. Scott as a love interest? Unable to see it. Dunne as a singer? Hard to take. Having said that, then, there is the dancing of Astaire and Rogers, unmatched by anyone before or since. No wonder tap and ballroom dancing has gone somewhat out of vogue. Once you see these two perform, everything and everyone else is a letdown. The music of Jerome Kern is some of the best ever put out for a movie. If you're under 35, you may never have had the opportunity to listen to "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "I Won't Dance" and the rest. Do yourself a favor - watch this movie just for the music and dancing. A wag once said that Fred Astaire looked so good in a tuxedo that he rented himself out to them. No one else looks so at ease in top hat and tails. The clothes are dated, maybe, but you get an idea of what real glamour can be. Yards and yards of exotic looking material draped over some delicious looking models, including a brief glimpse of the redoubtable Lucille Ball! Well worth the time it takes to watch!!

1 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Not their best, 9 November 2008
4/10

First, I avow that I am a Barbara Stanwyck fan. Secondly, I admit that I can tolerate Henry Fonda only in small doses. Together, they manage to make this film mediocre. The plot is predictable, and the dialog forgettable. Even the presence of Sam Levene, as the police lieutenant assigned to the 'case', is of little help in making this mish mosh work. He (Levene) played this same part many times in many movies during the thirties, and could have phoned this role in. In fact, I think he may have. The only bright spot, if there is one, would be Hattie McDaniel, as the maid of the rich, madcap (I hate that over used word!!) Miss Manton. Where Miss Manton obtained the money to live in the very lap of luxury is never explained. Alas, though, McDaniel is around for precious little of the footage. The rest of the supporting cast, as Miss Manton's débutante friends, are attractive, semi-talented and numerous. None of the names will ring any bells. Ah, but then again, maybe I'm just having a bad day...

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
one more self sacrificing mother, 22 March 2008
7/10

The great thing about this movie is that you will, if you watch it, see some of the busiest and best character actors of the 1930's Hollywood strut their stuff. Aline McMahon, Hugh Herbert (in a less than sympathetic role, unusual for him), Guy Kibbee, Allan Jenkins and Frankie Darro. Pay no attention to the plot, it just gets in the way of some of the finest bits of scenery chewing ever put on film. Jenkins, especially, is as loud, as obnoxious, and as hammy as you'll ever see him. At no time does he speak at a decibel level less than ear splitting. (He's a communist, you see, at a time when they didn't cart you off to jail for it). Here is Aline McMahon, a really fine actress, emoting to such a degree that it makes you want to cringe. And Frankie Darro, prancing around, shadow boxing, wearing his hat brim turned up (this, apparently, was meant to make you look tough, much as turning the brim sideways does today). Frankie's problem was that he looked as though he might weigh 83 pounds, if he wore lead boots. No, the plot (disfunctional family learns it lesson, eventually, and learns to appreciate Mother) isn't important here. The opportunity to see these folks certainly is, though.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
better than average for the genre, 9 November 2007
8/10

This film is much better than what one might expect, given the studio that made it and the other films of this type put out at the time. Warner Baxter was a good actor, the supporting cast is able, and the writing is taut, uncomplicated and well-done. Direction, lighting and photography are professional. In short, there are few, if any, faults, and the film is well worth a watch. Leon Ames makes an early appearance in a somewhat far fetched sequence involving the rehabilitation of a hardened, bitter convict, but this is a minor, minor flaw in an otherwise very well constructed film. As another reviewer wrote, there are, thankfully, no dumb cops or simple minded assistants, just a well thought out plot and good acting.


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