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The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
A fantastic souvenir
I saw this movie when it was issued in France and several times since, but I never enjoyed the sound of it so much. To my opinion, it's the best movie about jazz together with YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN, described in JAZZ MAGAZINE, 1957 About a decade ago, I learned the awful pretended story of Glenn Miller's death over the Channel. I discussed it with members of the band after a show in Paris; they dismissed it, of course, and I think it must me forgotten, leaving intact the souvenir felt yesterday all over the movie and its fantastic sound. I think I never watched the sequence with Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa and Cozy Cole. Harry Carasso, Paris, France
Blues in the Night (1941)
'T ain't What You Do, it's The Way ThatYou Do It
The above tune, one of Jimmie Lunceford's first, has nothing to do with BLUES IN THE NIGHT, but I think it fits perfectly the film. I am a jazz and movie buff, and maybe the first whom managed to write an essay on both, in 1957. My preference was that Michael Curtiz's YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN was the best example of how to make a film about jazz.Recently, I grasped a conversation between two French critics on TV, describing Anatole Litvak's 1941 film as the one who shows how these typical American arts may cooperate. I also discovered David Meeker's JAZZ IN THE MOVIES, listing more than 2000 titles. Then I ordered BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Amazon, and I received a real gem. The previous 19 comments were fully positive, and Jimmie Lunceford appeared almost immediately with Jack Carson blowing a trumpet with his band. Followed a very good combination of film noir and swing. T'AIN'T WHAT...etc., is EXACTLY what I feel about the job done by the Warner Brothers, Tolya Litvak, Betty Field, Lloyd Nolan and all the film celebrities who made long and fruitful careers after WWII. The only thing I wish to stress is that the Amazon DVD contains also the actual trailer of the movie and last but not least, a full rendition of the famous JAMMIN'THE BLUES, certainly the best jazz movie of all times. Now that you have read my divagations, hurry up and grab a copy of BLUES IN THE NIGHT, while they last.harry carasso, Paris
Long life, short career, but always remembered
According to my memory, Artie Shaw was pleased to give Ms. Berman a break when accepting to build with her a two-hours rendition of his long life but regretfully short carrier (he hanged up his clarinet in 1954, and I missed his New Year appearance at the Toronto Colonial Tavern). I know a jazz fan from Ottawa who spends frequently winter vacations in former Shaw's property at Begur, Spain. The pity with Artie Shaw is that he always wanted to be an intellectual, as he puts it in THE TROUBLE WITH Cinderella: while playing with his band in a crowded dancing auditorium, with dancers disturbing him to the point of almost swallowing his instrument, one of them fell into the orchestra pit and Artie Shaw quipped: "there goes another Booth, John Wilkes Booth!"!not realizing that in the audience, there were hardly two couples who realized that he was referring to Lincoln's assassin, who also fell in the orchestra pit while trying to escape from the fatal theater. After his death, I wrote an obituary in a French magazine, from which I am copying the end: " The souvenir of Artie Shaw, uncrowned king of the clarinet, is still remaining among all the generations of his long life (94 years),thanks to his immortal success (spelled by him $ucce$$):Begin the Beguine,Frenesi and Lady Be Good, described by an Italian jazz critic "here we are breathing pure Basian atmosphere, with full lungs". Harry Carasso, Paris, France
The Proposal (2009)
Well done and well acted, but hard to accept
If you are only a Visitor, and not an accepted Immigrant with a Green Card, you cannot work in the United States, even if you are Canadian. I used to live in Toronto in the McCarthy years, and knew a British girl born in Hong-Kong, who was waiting for her Chinese quota for admission in order to enter the United States and marry her fiancé. Bullock could not have been an executive editor for three years without a Green Card. I thought the Walt Disney people knew better. Otherwise, the movie is funny, well acted and quite palatable to anybody who doesn't care for "Jus Solii". Born in Bucharest and having applied for American Immigration Visa in 1947, I got it only in 1964, when I was already happily settled here.Harry Carasso, Paris, France
Young Man with a Horn (1950)
Perhaps the best Jazz Movie, although not the first
First, I would like to point out that I had always dreamed of living in the USA, but The Lady Of My Life hated the idea, although accepting the Big Country for more than 20 visits (business and leisure). However, from this infatuation I developed a strong interest in the two Fine Arts America is proud of: Jazz and Cinema. And America marked the 20th century with them. I even wrote one of the first studies on the subject (JAZZ ET CINEMA), published in 1956 by JAZZ MAGAZINE. In that study, I wrongly suggested YOUNG MAN WITH A HORN as the best movie about jazz musicians ever done (after further thought, the credit goes, for me, to JAMMIN' THE BLUES). And also being the first movie really treating the subject, for which I was also wrong: that credit goes to Anatole Litvak's BLUES IN THE NIGHT, 1941, discovered last year and featuring Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra. Maybe not for the quality: after a Nth vision, yesterday on TCM, together with Minnelli's DESIGNING WOMAN (a Bacall Festival, what a double feature!) I still consider YMWAH as the best. It has everything a jazz buff needs: It is based on Bix Beiderbecke's life (also brought to the screen by the Italian Pupi Avati, filmed on locations but totally missed); it features three big stars, still alive and well; it is literally inhabited by jazz; the trumpet solos are played by Harry James, who also signed in as musical adviser; it brings on the screen, as mentioned by David Meeker's JAZZ IN THE MOVIES a certain number of jazz stars of the time, including Jack Jenney, Willie "the Lion" Smith, Corky Corcoran (longtime a member of Harry James' outfits)and Nick Fatool, who drummed also for Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw; I didn't notice Louis Armstrong and Zutty Singleton, as mentioned in IMDb's credits... Let's not forget that Harry James, considered as an intruder by some experts signing their own comments, was Down Beat's Number One in I944, over Louis Armstrong, and contributed to many Hollywood issues, including Hollywood HOTEL, SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES, BATHING BEAUTIES, BENNY GOODMAN STORY and LADIES' MAN. The observation made by some of the IMDb comments, concerning the uncomfortable situation of the Blacks in the early 50ies is very interesting, compared to the results reached since. During my last visit in the States (2006), I was flabbergasted by two things in my relation with Black individuals: I could not understand their accent (but they perfectly understood mine) and 2. At least those I spoked with looked well integrated, comfortable in their jobs and liking it. If I had to assembly now a capsule illustrated study on JAZZ AND CINEMA. I would start it with the Benny Goodman Motorcade beginning Hollywood HOTEL and end it with the last number of Bob Fosse's DVD by Ann Reyking and Ben Vereen: SING, SING, SING (with a Swing).Harry Carasso, Paris, France
Signore & signori (1966)
A real gem
I simply can't understand how a moviegoer like me missed this gem when it was first shown here - and won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Festival. Especially being already convinced that Pietro Germi was one of the most talented directors of the Italian after war films. He made a screen adaptation of one of the greatest literary hits of the sixties, Carlo Emilio Gadda's QUER PASTICCIACCIO BRUTTO DI VIA MERULANA, a perfect combination of Italian language and Roman dialect. Concerning SIGNORE E SIGNORI, the cast is not all-stars, but extremely equal in its aspects, none is tops but none is dull either. Special rewards for the well known Franco Fabrizi, for exquisite Beba Loncar and the almost introducing Virna Lisi, who became famous for a long time. The atmosphere of this little Italian town was splendidly illustrated. I used to stay in Treviso when traveling to Venice, the City of the Doges being too expensive for me and Treviso, also nicely cut by its canaletti, was only at a half hour by train from the famous but hardly available Lagoon City. A huge Bravo! also for the remasterization, absolutely perfect. Warmly recommended to everybody who wants to have a big laugh and in the same time measure how mean some people were just half a century ago. Harry Carasso, Paris, France
Phantom Lady (1944)
Yes, I guess Krupa dubbed Elisha Jr.
For the attention of Chuck Davis and Emefy: I saw PHANTOM LADY many years ago, when I was not yet a jazz buff. There is an exhibition going until end of June in Paris's brand new MUSEE DU QUAI BRANLY, named LE SIECLE DU JAZZ, not to be missed, with as a special entertainment NINE excerpts from jazz movies, including PHANTOM LADY's famous drums sequence. I've seen Gene Krupa - and Elisha Cook Jr - in almost all their film appearances, and I can confirm the following: 1.Elisha Cook Jr was DUBBED in the movie. That was some progress, since in most of his other appearances he was KILLED (mainly in Howard Hawks's THE BIG SLEEP). 2. Krupa probably dubbed Cook in PL. I could recognize his style, since he had already graduated from the tom-tom used (and abused) at the beginning of his career - namely in 1937's Hollywood HOTEL's SING, SING, SING sequence - and eventually got everything that was possible from what we call in French "la caisse claire". 3. The sequence from PL, at least as shown in the Museum,is not censored.harry carasso, Paris, France
This is my first "Southern". Hope to see more of them!
So many "critics" said so many ineptness, that I am tempted to restrict my appreciation merely to the "summary". I enormously enjoyed "Australia", I highly appreciated the references to "Over the Rainbow", "Begin the Beguine" (and even an almost inaudible "Tuxedo Junction"). I was supposed to emigrate to Australia in 1950 but hesitated, fearing that big continent was to big and too far away for me. I don't regret it, but WOW, what a surprise to discover the "immensity". The movie remembered me of another Fletcher (Christian, the head of the Bounty Mutiny), who should have better end up in Australia than in Pitcairn... Now that you have your ten lines, I hope you'll accept this contribution from harry carasso, Paris, France.
A Real Fiesta for the Italian moviegoers, but not Giordana's best
For people who were already moviegoers during WW2, this movie is a gem, because it is impossible to forget the extraordinary performances given by Osvaldo Valenti during his brief career. I well remember one of his deliveries in LA CENA DELLE BEFFE (1), perhaps his best movie. It is understandable that Tullio Giordana nourished his project for more than 25 years, and it is impossible not to be touched by Luigi Zingaretti's interpretation of Richard III.("A kingdom for a horse!") It is a long movie (2 1/2 hours) and at least the first half is excellent, because of the description of the atmosphere during the unfortunate war fought by Mussolini "to please his master". It is a pity that Monica Bellucci doesn't meet the expectations, especially when one remembers the high number of "divas" from Cinecittà who entertained us in the Forties. With American movies gone, and French movies scarce, the "white telephones" from the Italian comedies were a good replacement, and the "whale movies" like CORONA DI FERRO (Blasetti)were very impressive.Unfortunately,after the first half, SANGUE PAZZO doesn't keep its pace. As stressed up by another comment , almost all the climaxes are cut short by flashbacks, to the point of confusion, if not frustration. However, the beginning and the end - a couple of youngsters taking possession of one of the devilish couple's movies -is an excellent idea. Marco Tullio Giordana is better with TV series than historic movies, but I am hardly waiting for his next production.Harry Carasso, Paris, France (1) "In the water, there was a small red fish who was staring, staring, like a tear of blood...").
Vals Im Bashir (2008)
Very Good Movie, But Please Give A Thought To Possible Consequences
It took Mt. Folman four years to remember what happened to him two decades ago, when Israel made an agreement with a Christian Lebanese leader to get rid of the Palestinians, who were harassing both the Israelis and the Lebanese. He choosed animation, which was not easy, but certainly gave him complete freedom of work, and sometimes he overdid it. However, the result would be OK if we were living on a peaceful planet, where everybody loves Israel and what it did to turn a desert into a fertile and prosperous country. Unfortunately, Israel has much more enemies than friends. And the accomplished work brought forward by Mr. Folman has much more chance of winning additional enemies than give a clear picture of events who disturbed him profoundly at their time, and now may disturb a lot more people who do not have a clear view of the situation existing in 1982 (and persisting). There is an old saying, that you should turn your tongue 25 times in your mouth before uttering whatever you have to say - and whichever you put it. If you do not, you are in for more trouble than satisfaction.While the Israelis did not "murder" their prisoners, they did not do anything to keep the phalangists out of Sabra and Chatila. The event was largely exposed in the papers, the responsible people were blamed and everybody felt relieved to forget the whole matter. Now, Mr Forman, in order to find peace for his mind, has built this interesting but very dangerous movie. The scarce audience in my theater did not comment in any way, but the movie has been released in not less than 20 cinemas (in Paris alone). It was shown - and praised - at the last Cannes Festival, it deserves it, artistically, but I found it very dangerous, in the present circumstances. harry carasso, Paris, France