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Lady for a Day (1933)
great feel-good film
Another old film I was excited to discover, and puzzled to not have heard of. I was unsurprised to find its a Frank Capra film, but I think I like this better than his later, more well-known films.
May Robson's performance in this is superb, I was gratified to see she was nominated as Best actress, but sorry she did not win. The other leads are great, and dialog well-written. As some others have noted the scene of the lovers on the patio is beautifully set and filmed.
If you love Frank Capra you'll love this one, and if not, you may find it a somewhat less saccarhine effort than his others....highly recommended!!
Khamosh Pani: Silent Waters (2003)
horrifying but likely realistic
This is one of the most disturbing movies I have ever seen. Its sickening to see how this woman's existence is secondary to concept of honor for her male family members. The female lead gives a good performance, the settings and cinematography are visually pleasing at times, but the underlying violation and total negation of the basic human right to life totally cancelled any appreciation of those things. I kept watching because I was certain there had to be some enlightenment or redemption coming. Instead, I was left slack-jawed with horror when one lead smiles at at televised comment made by one of the persecutors that after all Pakistan was founded for Islam...as if that could in anyway justify the tragedies
Dramatic School (1938)
Surprisingly good film
I was expecting a film barely worth the effort to watch, because of the other reviews,and the fact I'd never heard of it. I was surprised its reviews or obscurity were not true. The story was interesting, and I thought Luise Rainier brought a fey sort of innocence to the part. Her Louise was the perfect foil to the cynical, bitter characters of Nana and Therese. Ranier seems a combination of Hedy Lamar and Ingrid Bergman.
Gale Sondergaard was very good here, as was Goddard. It was interesting to watch such eventual major stars as Lana Turner and Ann Rutherford at the dawn of their careers.
fine melodrama, wonderful Barrymore performance
This is a neglected gem.! Amazing camera work, wonderful sets and art direction, and above all the great performance of John Barrymore make this a silent classic all film fans should see. Barrymore was a true master of the craft, and I wish there were many more of his performances available today. Those that are available have impressed me repeatedly. His reputation as one of the finest actors of his time was well deserved, and until late in his life, his talent shown through and survived the ravages of his personal demons. He really delivers on this film, in a more subtle and well-developed character than some of his other silent roles. The character undergoes a shift from fury to affection at one point, and he's magnificent here. The female lead is a bit wooden at times, but mostly hits her mark, first as arrogant, contemptuous, even cruel. The script doesn't give her much opportunity for redemption, but a softer side does emerge and she has eyes and a face that work well in silent cinema. The chaotic and vengeful culture in the immediate aftermath of the revolution is shown rather than alluded to or omitted, as are the cruelties of the aristocrat/peasant one before it. Some early film slants heavily to the "feel good" side, but this seems an honest treatment. It's just such a shame more folks don't appreciate silent films on their own merits, rather than trying to compare them to contemporary ones
its like apples and oranges.
Hallowed Grounds (2009)
very touching film re: heroes dead far from home and the people/places still honoring them
An inspiring, humbling and touching film! I cried most the way through. Every time I dried up the narrator would quote some poignant piece of poetry or tragic tale of those buried there, and I was reaching for tissues again. So many, many unlived lives. Now that I'm middle-aged, I can better appreciate how much these young people sacrificed. The 25+years and joys I can look back on since I was their age were lost by these Americans, so that others and future generations remained free. Usually a cynical sort, I've seldom felt such fierce pride in my country re: the heroes it left in those fields. In our recent history we've squandered portions of the goodwill and esteem earned by these sacrifices, so its very moving to see schoolchildren on fieldtrips paying homage to these Americans. Their recognition and understanding of the heroism was easy and instant facing so many thousands of headstones and names. The tributes paid by locals were also moving. I have never heard the Star-Spangled Banner sung in French...a whole community learned it immediately after liberation, so they could sing it as a tribute, and it can still be sung by those now gray. I was amazed at the beauty of these grounds and memorials. I'm so glad and grateful these families chose to allow their internment where they were lost, as a permanent reminder of their heroism.
An unexpected pleasure!
I signed on to this site now to check if Will Ferrell received any awards for his portrayal of Elf. He really tapped into his inner child for this one, because he is spot-on in this role. Its a difficult job for any adult actor to convey such innocent charm. The supporting characters are good, the directing very good, and the writing is excellent. I loved the run home to hide in his bathroom in his undersized house when he had his feelings hurt. The film was weaker in its second half, but Will Ferrell makes Elf such an endearing character that I've watched it repeatedly for just that.I really don't care for Will Ferrell's other movies or characters, but this was a wonderful performance!
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
One of the greatest.....Ever.
One of my all-time favorites. It never fails to astonish me how perfect the casting and lead performances are. The contrast between the incandescent beauty of Maureen O'Hara, both physical and spiritual, against the ugliness of the Hunchback's disfigurement and Frollo's soul is perfect. Charles Laughton's performance here is one the finest (I think THE finest)ever put on film. Its both sad and amazing this was amongst the incredible movies of 1939. Sad because it doesn't get quite as much renown and respect as it deserves, being in that group. Thats true of many other very fine films that year, most of which would've been hands-down, obvious winners for Best Picture in other years. Its amazing that a black and white shines so bright against the wonderful Technicolor films of that year like The Wizard of Oz and GWTW. The anguish and heartbreak of the Hunchback's line "why was I not made of stone", and Charles Laughton's delivery of it is heartrending but inspiring, because of its beauty. Like so many other really great films this starts with a really interesting, well-written story, and then brings it to film with every production aspect at or near perfection. If you never see another classic, or dislike the genre, don't miss this one!
Bus Stop (1956)
A poignant and ultimately redeeming performance
I just watched the entire film for the first time, and must say it ends better than it begins. That Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray can overcome bad accents, pathetic and obnoxious characters, and humanize them at the end really surprised me. It had all the earmarks of something tragic developing, which would've ruined the film, and is partly why I'd never finished it. All that pathos and irritation needed a counterbalance or redemption at the end, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it had that in its latter portion. No one could portray a tormented, vulnerable, exploited soul better than Marilyn, because she lived it in real life. Watching her desperately wrestle with trying to accept and believe in someone's love for her, despite her character's past, are surely among the best moments she ever put on film. It was conveyed almost exclusively non-verbally. Through most of the film I wanted badly to slap or shoot Don Murray's Beau. His character's flaws were obnoxious and relentless, so I was again amazed that he managed to rehab or redeem the character at the end. The film was made during a less cynical or perhaps less well-informed time. Few of us today would really believe such characters could overcome themselves and their pasts', but that and the beautiful Technicolor film of the time give it a dated charm.