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King Kong (1933)
anomalies & goofs
There are several unanswered "goofs" in the film/story, the first being why the owner/captain of a decrepit tramp steamer would take the word of a total stranger, who hethought was half- crazy, to journey to an uncharted island in the distant south seas to take on an unknown cargo (unless, of course he was desperate for the money). Once on the island, The big wall(re-used set from on older film) has a huge door at center, big enough for Kong to walk through when open (which is how they carry him out,I guess). If those villagers wanted to protect themselves, why a Kong-size door? Next, Kong was roughly half the size of the entire boat, how did they get him aboard, and in all the on-board scenes, he's nowhere to be seen? And lastly, in the New York street, we see the train approaching full-speed, but in the quick shot from the driver's cab we see the track take a sharp 90-degree left turn in almost the exact spot where Kong is standing. Only when the driver ses Kong and applies the brake, does the train begin to slow down at all, too late to avoid running off the track, even if Kong wasn't there!
M*A*S*H: Old Soldiers (1980)
The best EVER!
This episode of M*A*S*H is the finest story and acting I've ever seen on television film. Each time I watch it, a lump comes to my throat, and I hold back tears for its humanistic beauty. The scene of Col. Potter drinking a solo toast to his friends is heartwarming and sad at the same time. The ad libs, double entendres, and wisecracking are kept to a minimum, and the long periods of silence among the cast are the most memorable on film. Watch Harry Morgan's hand trembling as he holds up the glass, I don't believe that was scripted, either, it was Morgan immersing himself in the depth of the character's role. I have the episode recorded for posterity, and filed among my most precious personal possessions. There's never been, before or since, better drama put on film. Watch it and see if you don't agree!
The First Auto (1927)
Technically interesting film
As an early auto buff, I watched this film for the cars, not expecting much more. The only characters/actors I recognized were beautiful Patsy Ruth Miller, and Gibson Gowland, who, incidentally, played Greta Garbo's father in ANNA Christie, and Oldfield himself. The story is a sort-of early melodrama, not hard to watch, but easily forgettable. BUT: are there any car buffs out there who can identify the makes/brands of the early cars? After all, that's what they were - horseless carriages- and all looked pretty much the same. Only a couple, the one Oldfield drives (with the big radiator) I think resembles Ford's "999", and the big limo near the end I think is a Rolls-Royce, but even of that I'm not sure. Interestingly enough, and I see this a lot in early auto films - all of the cars had the radiator name badge removed from the front, making them even more hard to define.Anybody? Additionally, the character "Elmer Hays" was or wasn't that name a takeoff on ELWOOD HAYNES, an early auto pioneer? All in all, an interesting film. Anybody?
I may be getting ahead of myself here, but although the film itself was a technical masterpiece for its time, I watched it piece-by-piece on TCM last night, the question arises to me: Why did they do that? putting their lives in jeopardy, many of them died on the trek, why would they undertake such a life-endangering journey, just to find food for their animals (!) once they reached the "land of milk and honey", why didn't they just stay there? Would you endanger your life, and that of your entire community, just to find food for a herd of cattle? As dangerous as it was, to do it for that purpose alone, shows the inbred simplicity of these types of people. Risk death for a cow?? Better them than I!
I met and talked with Harlan Ellison at an early '70s Star Trek Convention, and the conversation drifted to DEMON, and how he hated the way the writers butchered & disgraced his story. "Imagine", he said: "Creatures from a far-future century fist-fighting and shooting at each other with pistols! Gimme a break!" Its saving grace, apart from its being a terrific sci-fi story, was actress Arlene Martel, who later gained fame as Spck's wife in a Star Trek episode AMOK TIME. That's the one that truly made her famous, previous to that one, she was but a struggling young actress. Her role in DEMON I thought outstandingly underplayed.
Ladies of Leisure (1930)
Stanwyck becomes a star
This was different type of role for Stanwyck: As opposed to her earlier (and later) roles as the "in your face" disenfranchised young rebel, this one is a toned-down version of that character and we see the beginnings of her true talents as a a great dramatic actress. The story itself is rather droll and lame, mostly forgettable, but Stanwyck stands out as the real star of the picture. Unfortunately, that "young punk" persona she portrayed in those early films stayed with her as the overbearing, bitchy matriarch for the remainder of her career. This one is a rarity of that period where we get to see her in a semi-dramatic role: We sympathize with her not for her harshness in others, but as a shopworn, downtrodden working girl, used mercilessly by Graves and the others. Quite good, in the opinion of this '20s flapper fan like her and Joan Crawford, who also went on to become one of the great dramatic stars of the era.
Cash and Carry (1937)
One of their best & one of my favorites
This one ranks right up there with 3 LITTLE PIRATES, as an excellent episode, a rather touching story, if you will, with our 3 boys doing what they can to help the little boy (Sonny Bupp). What makes it unique is that even though they hit each other with blunt objects, there's only a small handful of slaps and pokes, and no slapstick at all in any scene with the boy. Thoughfully arranged and worked out. A keeper in my book. Anyone unfamiliar with the Stooges, or who doesn't like them at all, should watch this one to see they could be relatively decent actors as well as comedians, in the way they interact with the boy and his sister. And accepting a pardon from FDR himself puts this one in the right historical context of the depression.