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23 reviews in total 
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stagey,NOISY, and tedious, 1 February 2015

My husband and I sat through this last night on TCM. We should have been warned by the lead-in, where Robert Osborne issued a list all the positive words in his vocabulary, and Drew Barrymore mewled for five minutes over how much she missed, or loved, or whatever her grandfather, John Barrymore. Neither one said anything very specific about the movie. Just that it was a great great treasure, yada, yada, yada.

Rather than a great anything, it's one of those grossly-overrated 'comedies' written by two guys the cultural gatekeepers worship: Charles McArthur and Ben Hecht.

Their idea of comedy was to keep people running around, yelling as loud as their lungs will permit.

Maybe people found that hilarious in 1934.

The plot has John Barrymore as an impossible theatre producer (gee, that's something new) and Carole Lombard as a clueless would-be actress, who flourishes under his tutelage, even to the point of dumping him and becoming a star in Hollywood.

Then she hates him, and he needs money, they both accidentally show up on the same train, and amazingly, no one else on the train complains about the endless screaming of Lombard, Barrymore, and the pool of supporting players.

The only redeeming thing about this movie is that it shows John Barrymore really was a good actor, and not one of those talent-free critics' darlings so many of his contemporaries were.

What he could have done with a far FAR better script is a tragic missed opportunity.

Fitzwilly (1967)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Huh?, 12 December 2014

I love tame little 1960s movies, but this was just a mess.

The plot, simple as it is,i.e. rich lady's staff stays on even though rich lady is bankrupt, doesn't make sense until about 30 minutes in, and barely even then. (I'm still puzzled about the thrift store in Philadelphia angle.) Dick Van Dyke's character and Barbara Feldon's character initially don't like one another, but by their third meeting -- their THIRD meeting -- they're suddenly in love and getting married. And the ending... If someday TCM has a program called 'Film History's Most Implausible Endings' Fitzwilly will definitely get a nod.

The only upside here is that performances are pretty good, plus you get to see a very young Sam Waterston.

I'm guessing this was rushed into the theaters because in 1967 anything with Dick Van Dyke in it couldn't help but be a hit.

Shampoo (1975)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
grossly overrated and with ZERO plot - not quite spoiler, 14 September 2014

I remember back in the day this being a monster hit. It was on TV recently, and I decided not to miss it, having never seen it.

Ay yi yi, what a disappointment.

Here's the 'plot.'

Over the course of maybe two days, hairdresser juggling three girlfriends (including one who's married) loses all three.

The end.

You'd think a premise like that would be rich with plot possibilities, but Towne and Beatty apparently thought that people with good bodies in nice clothes -- with the occasional flash of nudity -- would be plot enough.

Who in their right mind thought this was a good idea???, 9 July 2013

A bunch of dealers go to flea markets, etc. looking for things to make a killing on. OK, I get that.

But then they put their finds on a plane and take it to an auction house hundreds of miles away, thereby eating up most of the profit. If any.

I work as an antiques dealer, and many of the "finds" on this show are stuff I see all the time. The vintage fan the one guy found? They're everywhere, and don't usually command more than $20. You'd be lucky to get $50 retail.

The only good thing I can say about Market Warriors is that they got rid of the unbelievably annoying and unfunny Fred Willard.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
this is actually two movies, 22 September 2007

... the first being a rather original piece of Southern Gothic - oppressed wife and mother of seven children poisons and decapitates husband in order to free herself to become a star in Hollywood, and the second a by-the-numbers Civil Rights tract. The first movie is completely daffy and charming, and the second is... just there. Although the Civil Rights angle is fairly well-acted, it's everything you've seen in at least 20 other movies -- it's like the Lucille story is the candy and this part is the medicine. As Lucille, Melanie Griffith is sooo adorable (which is quite a surprise for anyone who finds her babydoll voice more irritating than nails on a blackboard) and as for the others who appear here, it's just pleasure upon pleasure: the seldom-seen, ever-brittle Cathy Moriarity as Lucille's sister-in-law, Fannie Flagg as a sympathetic and much-married diner waitress, Robert Wagner as Lucille's Hollywood agent, Rod Steiger as the judge at Lucille's murder trial, and on and on. If the filmmakers had just stuck to making the Lucille story, this might have been a classic.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
AWESOME & did see the light of day again before late '80s!, 24 September 2006

Every time you read something about this film, you're told that it was shelved immediately after JFK's assassination, and was not seen again until a late 1980's (or was it the early '90s?) re-release. That simply is not true. I vividly remember around age 8 -- i.e. circa 1970 or so -- seeing the film on TV, or at least some of it. After Bobby Lembeck was shot, I pleaded with my mother to change the channel, and so she did and we watched something less scary to an 8-year old, like Petticoat Junction or whatever. I never forgot that scene, although I did not remember the name of the movie. Fast forward about 20 years, my boyfriend and I had gone to see the movie in downtown Phila., and THERE WAS THAT SCENE AGAIN. I couldn't believe it.

In my opinion, this is one of the 100 or so best films ever made. John Frankenheimer was one of the two or three best directors working in the 1960's. They could not have chosen a better Raymond than Laurence Harvey -- if you read the original novel, you could well assume that the character is based on Laurence Harvey, who was known to be rather cold and condescending in real life. Sinatra does his best work here, Angela Lansbury is freaking brilliant, and Laurence Harvey is really should have received some sort of acting nomination -- while the character is cold-hearted prick on the surface, he also shows you flashes of the pain, and later horror, beneath. The camera work is awesome -- so many images here that will imprint on your brain forever. The script pulls no punches (L. B. Mayer, who venerated the American mother, must have been spinning in his grave) and is far more sophisticated than is common in American films of any era. This is one of those very rare movies that do not appear dated in any way, although it might have somewhat if shot in color. In the current political climate, it is VERY timely, and worth a look on that basis.

The Manchurian Candidate is definitely disturbing -- intentionally so, but if you want to see something intelligent and provocative, and you've already seen American Beauty five times, you should really check this out. And if you're REALLY into disturbing, intelligent and provocative, have a look at the Frankenheimer film released four years after this one, Seconds.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
routine Western w/ one AWESOME performance, 27 August 2006

First, let me say that I am not really a fan of Westerns, but if I've seen this once, I've seen it 20 times, since discovering it maybe fifteen years ago while channel-surfing. The plot -- to me at least --isn't all that interesting. It's standard good guys vs. bad guys out west. The main reason to see this is to see Kirk Douglas as Doc Holiday. Only very rarely in the days of the studio system do you see such a layered performance. This is a guy whose life has become a huge disappointment -- back east he had a family that was proud of him, and a career as a dentist. Now he's slowly dying of TB, exiled to what is essentially the middle of nowhere, supporting himself and his blowsy woman as a gambler, and developing a reputation as a gunslinger. The average Hollywood star circa 1957 would have dutifully hit all the notes that the script indicates, but Douglas goes way, WAY beyond. Doc's rage is palpable, and his veneer of cynicism is what enables him to keep a lid on it. Nevertheless, the stress shows. Doc is not only complex, but EXTREMELY sexy.

The only problem with the film is that Burt Lancaster is the most wooden actor this side of Gary Cooper, and watching him play against the volcano that is Kirk Douglas is almost painful. The film almost always flags when Douglas is not on the screen.

The supporting players are all well-cast, particularly Jo Van Fleet as Doc's lover/punching bag. Here again is somebody who hits the notes and then some.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating, 5 August 2006

I can't say I'm Judy Garland fan, but I've always been fascinated by her story. While this film doesn't exactly do the story justice -- how could it in 2-1/2 hours? -- it does offer two performances that you'd almost SWEAR were by Judy herself.

Lots here that's familiar (drugs, drugs, and more drugs) and very little that's not, but it's all done in such a way that if you'd never heard of Judy, you'd have an excellent idea of what she was about just from watching this.

I have to agree with the many people who said that Judy Davis took over the role way too early in the film -- it's pretty unsettling to see young, dewy Judy morph into nervous neurotic Judy so quickly. My only other complaint is that while Hugh Laurie gave a fine performance as Vincente Minelli, he looks NOTHING like him. Odd that they strained so hard to get the actresses playing Judy to look like and move like Judy, but didn't extend the same care to the rest of the cast, or at least with those we're familiar with, i.e. while most of us probably couldn't pick Roger Edens out of a lineup, I think most film fans know what Vincente Minelli looked like.

Judy's story is meaty enough that the network should have made a much longer film -- maybe more of a four- or five-episode miniseries. I'm sure it would have paid off in a big way, and we could have seen fully developed scenes of events which are just hinted at in this film.

24 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
most romantic horror movie EVER, 23 May 2006

This is far and away my very favorite horror movie -- not only is it truly scary, it is extremely well-acted, has a very intelligent script, great direction, super photography. What's most unusual about it is the relationship among the Professor Taylor (the devastatingly yummy Peter Wyngarde)and his wife Tansy (Janet Blair) -- these two have amazing chemistry and along with the horror, you get a very realistic story of a married couple very much in love, who struggle with the wife's admission of being a witch.

Much of the horror here is simply implied, making it that much scarier, but what is shown is truly chilling. If you've never seen a believable performance in a horror movie, check out Wyngarde in this --his final scene should be shown in every drama school -- his fear is that palpable.

15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
two words: Vincent Price, 13 May 2006

Why this movie is not considered up there with the great comedies of the 1950's is beyond me - I mean, Some Like It Hot is funny for two viewings, tops. There are scenes in this movie that never ever fail to make me laugh, and I've seen the film six or seven times by now. All of these are scenes with Vincent Price, who gives what is probably among the top five comedic performances in the history of American film here -- at least if you consider those by non-comedians. It's no surprise that Price could go over the top, as he did in all those Roger Corman horror movies, but here, it's expressly for comic effect (rather than camp effect -- not the same thing). He was at a transitional point in his career: he was through playing hunky-but-wimpy second male leads and tormented romantic heroes, and was soon to embark on his second career as Mr. Drive-In Horror Movie Star. So this is really his only true comedy performance, and he is brilliant as corporate nutjob Burnbridge Waters.

Everybody else here is great*: Ronald Colman is simply perfect as Beauregard Bottomley, an unemployable with a genius range IQ. (I am of the opinion that Alex Trebek wanted to grow up to be Ronald Colman -- not necessarily as this character, just in general). Celeste Holm is great as always as temptress Flame O'Neill, hired by Waters to rattle Colman's character to the point where he starts losing on the quiz show. She's very much in the tradition of Carole Lombard: beautiful and a super actress in anything, very adept at comedy and always intensely likable. Barbara Britton as Bottomley's sister Gwenn is another charmer, cute as a bug's ear.

*Then there's Art Linkletter: OK, he's great as the quiz show host -- he did that for a living in real life. But there's something kinda creepy about him, plus he's no matinée idol, and I always feel a little skeeved at his scenes romancing Barbara Britton. It's taken as gospel that no unattached lead character remain unattached at the end of a movie, but couldn't they have paired her off with one of Waters' employees, a cab driver, ANYBODY? OR could they have hired some second-tier pretty boy to play Linkletter's role? This is my only quibble with the film, and it's why I rate it a 9 rather than a 10.

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