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All That Glitters (1977)
What a little wonder
What a little wonder this show was!! If you got to see any of it, you are very lucky. So far as I know it has never been shown in any other format than its original one on network TV. I particularly remember Lois Nettleton (a great favorite of mine) and Gary Sandy. Gary as a sexually harassed secretary was funny and pitiful at the same time. I guess it maybe cut too close to home for the network, because it sank with no trace. But, gosh, it was funny.
Isn't it unfortunate that it has not had the same exposure as some of the other, far more familiar, Lear products? If someone is sitting on this little jewel, why don't you put it out there for people to see? I have a feeling it would be every bit as funny as it was almost 30 years ago. Maybe more so.
The Last Waltz (1978)
Who wants to watch a bunch of old rockers?
Well, I do, and so should you. If you are young, then watch this and see (and hear) what real music is like. If you are older, then watch this and remember how wonderful it was. There's no point in poking holes in this movie. Just be grateful that Scorsese had enough foresight to get this magnificent concert filmed. I have watched it over almost 30 years, and it just gets better and better. I always turn it on thinking I will just indulge for a few minutes. Every time I end up watching until the end. Maybe if enough people watch this film and understand it, the level of popular music nowadays might actually go up.
Well, it all depends.
If you like fairy tales, Italian movies and/or piano ragtime, then you will love this movie. If you try to rationalize fairy tales, stay away. If you find it awkward that English may be their second language, stay away. And most of all, if you don't like ragtime and Jelly Roll Morton, don't even start. But if you enjoy these things or maybe even just two of them, then have a ball. I looked to see who the pianist was, because I'm sure it's not Tim Roth or Clarence Williams III, or they would both be selling records instead of working as actors. The pianists were actually Jelly Roll himself and Scott Joplin on recordings. Isn't that cool?
HIstory, oh no!!
The truth about the main characters in this movie are quite enough to make you glad the play is used as a basis, and not the real history. First, Elizabeth was born in 1533, and Essex was born in 1566. At the time this movie starts, she is 63 and he is 30. It is true, I think, that Elizabeth was very susceptible to flattery and required the men in her court to flatter her and flirt with her to achieve the favors and positions they wanted. Add to this, that Essex's mother, Lettice, had married Elizabeth's lifelong lover, Robert Dudley, who then became Essex's stepfather. Essex was also with Dudley when he died on the Continent. Dudley's death really shook Elizabeth. She certainly did put up with more from Essex than seems reasonable, only coming down hard on him when he finally incited London to rebel against her. Elizabeth, who did things repugnant to her, such as ordering Mary Queen of Scots to death, tried hard to save Essex, but not enough to pardon him for openly inciting rebellion. Elizabeth was no fool. The movie is beautiful, but except for the names has little reality in it. But it's good entertainment, even if a little far-fetched. You can blame Anderson's play for the rest of it.
Looks different to me.
I saw this movie in its own time period, when having a baby out of wedlock not only ruined your life, but stamped your child as a bastard. In these days of 'single mothers' that may seem very far-fetched, but it was very true. And I'm not crazy about laughing at someone who is stammering, either. Between these two problems I had difficulty finding this movie funny. At that time I didn't know who had directed it or what a marvelous reputation he had. I did know who Betty Hutton was, and she just made me nervous because she was so frenetic. I loved "Bringing Up Baby", but I find this movie just embarrassing. I'm sure the punch at some church functions probably was spiked, but I was the one needing a drink after watching this again. The idea the girl would have to be drunk in order to 'get married' and get pregnant just added to the misery. An entire town could turn on you under these circumstances, so the outcome of this movie is really the funny part. Of course, shoot me, I don't like "It's a Wonderful Life" either.
Best Foot Forward (1943)
I miss movies like this.
When this first came out in the theater and I saw it then, there was a military academy in the town where I lived. And I was just going into high school. I thought this movie was the greatest thing I had ever seen, maybe the greatest movie ever made. I felt like it had been made especially for me, my friends and our local cadets. And the song, Buckle Down Winsocki was absolutely the best fight song in the world. I realize now that the movie probably wasn't that good, it was trite and predictable, as well as being juvenile. It still thrills me, and the memories that I have of that time all come back when I watch this movie again. I'm not capable of seeing it from any other point of view, so I am going to give this a 10, just for old times' sake.
I'm still shaking my head and laughing.
This movie is truly unbelievable, in every sense of the word. I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and hearing, and I didn't believe it anyhow. Hepburn is probably my favorite actress, but this was ridiculous. Being a hillbilly myself, I know what it should sound like, and it's not Kate's Back Bay accent. The only thing I found funnier was the fact that the guy who played Charlie Chan so many times, Sydney Toler, was cast as another one of the hillbillies, with accent to match. Maybe this was a practical joke, come to think of it. I can think of no other reason for such peculiar casting. Well, maybe this. I noticed that Natalie Schaefer, Lovey Howell on Gilligan's Island, appeared in this play on Broadway. Can you imagine what part she might have played?
The Cotton Club (1984)
You have to see this, and see this, and see this.
Maybe "The Cotton Club" is an acquired taste. I watched it the first time for the dancing, then again for the sets and backgrounds, and then again for people who were in it, and now I'm on my fourth time and I am beginning to understand it. I have managed to identify nearly every historical person in it, and that's not easy. However, this movie ranks up there with "Once Upon a Time in America", so far as I am concerned, and it has many similarities, the primary one being that the stories are so complicated that you have to watch the movie over and over before you 'get' it. There are many good actors in this, and also some surprises. I recognized Mario Van Peebles, but had to go hunt in the entire cast to be sure I was right. There isn't any law that says a movie has to come across to you in one watching, as used to be the case if you could only see them in a theater. So why don't you try watching this one several times, since there seems to be way too much story and characters for just one movie.
Wow, was I surprised
This is a movie you can't leave alone. At no point did I lose interest in it, and I have never been a Mickey Rooney fan, so I wasn't expecting that much, but wow, was I surprised. This is a great story, very logical in the way it develops, and I cannot fault Mickey at all. He was great, very believable and gripping. I guess that's the word, this movie grips you. For once I really cared what was going to happen to someone in a movie. About half way through the meaning of the title flashed in my mind. Quicksand, that's what he was in, all right. And the more he struggled, the more he sank. It took an abrupt plot twist to get out of all this, but I can't complain, it held my interest to the last.
On an Island with You (1948)
Esther Williams, all wet as usual.
First off, the technicolor is beautiful. The staging is terrific. But anytime I have to watch Esther Williams,the wet one, when someone as attractive as Cyd Charisse is there is a mystery to me. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Cyd broke her leg during this movie, was unable to do the dance sequence herself, and had to drop out of the line-up for Easter Parade, where her part was taken by Ann Miller, not a bad dancer herself. The sappy things that Peter Lawford had to say to Esther Williams were the responsibility of the writers, I suppose, but that didn't make it any easier to listen to. Peter Lawford and Ricardo Montalban were very juicy looking male leads. Cugat's music is timeless, and I guess some people enjoy Jimmy Durante doing the same old thing. This really isn't a bad movie, but musicals, particularly wet ones, need to be excellent to make us forget how artificial the whole thing is.