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Somewhat on the cheesy side
This film goes over the same territory as the Lifetime edition (however bad the Lifetime edition is better than this one). The story begins with a "meet cute" scene between William and Kate--he turns to talk to his security officer and bumps into her, spilling out the contents of the laundry on the floor. As he helps her he picks up her black bra, she swiftly takes it from him. As he has his security officer escort her and the laundry to her room he spots a Poster of himself on Kate's wall (which contradicts Kate's saying in an interview that she never had poster of William on the wall--did the script writers slip up in their research?). Then William gradually (after flirting with various blondes) that Kate is the woman for him--particularly after seeing her modeling her see through dress on the runway at the Uni fashion show. Despite the real Kate saying she didn't meet the Queen until a few years after beginning to date William--there she is early on meeting the Queen and playing video tennis with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Queen even lectures Kate on future duties well before her engagement to William (according to the film). William in the meantime sits and watches Diana's Panorama tape which is hard to believe since it would be assumed that he remembered Diana's counsel without having to "brush up" on it watching the tape. The film has many scenes of Kate jealously watching William flirt with other women (with close ups). The rift happens when William decides to split with Kate. There is a cheesy scene with Kate in her bathrobe having a talk with her mother who tells her not to sit and mope but get out there and show William what he's missing. Then a montage of scenes of Kate clubbing with various men (with background music of Fascination). The reconciliation takes place at a park concert with Kate finding William in a crowd singing to him and pointing at him "he's the one". They embrace to applause by the crowd. The last scene of course is the Proposal Scene with Kate saying Yes Yes to William's proposal of marriage.
The leads do their best with bad material. The actors playing the couple are OK as is the actor playing Prince Harry. Jane Alexander does not have many scenes as the Queen. Not being much of a fan of Charles and Camilla (played by Victor Garber and Jean Smart), I cringed at how the writers were trying to make them a "lovable" couple --with Charles reading to little children(I don't see anything lovable about this pair considering the way they acted towards Diana--I also don't see their story as a great love story) The cheesiest scene was when a drunken Wills confronts his father about Diana and why she had to suffer and Camilla scurries for the black coffee to sober up William.
Obviously the writers had to interpolate scenes into the story and it was apparently based on newspaper stories of the time.
When a Man Loves (1927)
When A Man Loves is the story of Manon Lescaut and her lover Fabien des Grieux but the movie takes a somewhat different turn than the famous novel and the operas Manon and Manon Lescaut. The two lovers meet when des Grieux rescues her from the villainous Morfontaine and the two lovers are separated with Manon becoming a courtesan and des Grieux about to go into the priesthood. It is again des Grieux to the rescue when Manon's spurned lover Morfontaine sends her to Louisiana as a prisoner. All ends happily unlike the novel and the operas with lots of swash buckling action scenes in between.
Dolores Costello is radiant in the film and wears spectacular costumes. John Barrymore is excellent and the two have great chemistry (Dolores Costello was to marry him the following year and they had two children--and they have a famous actress as a granddaughter: Drew Barrymore). It is clear why Drew Barrymore is genetically blessed when watching her grandparents in this film (her grandmother's beauty and both her grandparents acting ability and she also has a strong resemblance to her grandfather).
Warner Oland (famous for being Charlie Chan) plays Manon's no good brother and Myrna Loy can be glimpsed in a bit part with the women prisoners.
TCM should show more of these rarely seen gems. This film was excellently restored as well.
Some inaccuracies but interesting just the same
Overall this is a good film about a great horse, Ruffian. It presented a time capsule of the racing world in 1974-75. One theme was that racing needed a great horse to draw crowds and the tracks (the New York tracks particularly) were empty due to lack of interest. This isn't entirely true. Secretariat raced in 1972-73 and he was in the first running of the Marlboro Cup which attracted champion horses. And the Marlboro Cup which was a pre Breeders Cup race attracted huge crowds. The film implies that Ruffian got more people to the empty track. Not entirely true--she most likely attracted new fans but the fans packed the stands for the Big races like the Belmont Stakes and Marlboro Cup. Also, Foolish Pleasure is raised to War Admiral like quality in the run through to the match race. However, Foolish Pleasure was not THE standout three year old colt of 1975--it was actually Wajima who became Champion three year old colt of that year. Foolish Pleasure was a nice racehorse but nowhere near this superhorse the movie implied he was.
Also, there was a painfully long sequence of the run on the backstretch where Ruffian broke down (run in slow motion showing the leg actually snapping in close up). I think perhaps just running the actual race would have been shown to better effect.
Sam Shepard did an excellent job as Ruffian's trainer Frank Whitely. The actors playing the owners were given rather unsympathetic parts particularly when they pushed for the match race. The film also had an interesting angle of the viewpoint of the Newsday reporter who followed the career of the great filly.
The sequences of the real Ruffian in the closing credits were refreshing to watch. More scenes of her races (not the simulated ones) would have been welcome.
Just Between Friends (1986)
Two women pine over a cad
Christine Lahti (Sandy Dunlap) and Mary Tyler Moore (Holly Davis) worked well with soapish material, Ted Danson did his best with a thankless role of Chip Davis The premise of this that the two ladies' friendship, one a seemingly happily married woman and the other a career woman who is aware of her biological clock ticking. I found the relationship that Ted Danson's character had with the single woman played by Christine Lahti's rather sordid. He behaved in a caddish way, yet he left two "widows" pining over him, bawling. I found it revolting when when Sandy told him she wanted to break it off after meeting his wife, he calls her saying he misses her (did he call his wife? There was no sign of that). He behaved like a heel. It perhaps would have made a more interesting film had he not been killed off. Perhaps both ladies would have wised up and dumped him. I liked the friendship between the two ladies but it was spoiled by what they had in common: The Cad of a husband.
The Forsyte Saga (2002)
See the first wonderful series instead
I read all the Forsyte novels and watched the first 1967 miniseries with Eric Porter, Susan Hampshire, Kenneth More, and Nyree Dawn Porter and was looking forward to the remake. I was very disappointed. First of all with the many liberties taken by the scriptwriters which detracted from the story and made the characters totally unrecognizable. For instance, when June Forsyte meets Irene Heron Forsyte at Philip Bosinney's studio, Irene meets June's anger impassively until June hurts her with the line "You ruined my life now you want to ruin his." The first series was faithful to this scene. The second badly botched it. Instead of Irene staying in character, she SLAPS June turning it into a Krystle-Alexis type of catfight. Irene was a gentle soul and didn't resort to violence--Galsworthy wrote how people were taken with Irene's "gentleness and charm." Is slapping June being gentle or charming? Hardly. In another scene, Irene is pregnant with Jolyon's child--Jolyon and Irene end up wanting to go to of all places, Annette Lamotte's (Soames' fiancée) restaurant. Soames tells Annette not to let them in. Was this written by Galsworthy? Never and it was a wildly inappropriate scene. Gina McKee is a talented actress (watch her remarkable performance in the Lost Prince) but she is not Irene Forsyte. She looks older than her leading men, dresses badly for a supposedly wealthy woman, and makes it difficult for us to see why Philip Bosinney ditched the vivacious young June for Irene. Nyree Dawn Porter's Irene was awesome and she convinced viewers that it was very plausible for Philip to renounce June for her. The Winifred and Soames sibling relationship was not given its due. Margaret Tyzack and Eric Porter showed the devotion and loyalty that Winifred and Soames had over the years. The actress playing Winifred (and the script) often depicted her as being waspish with Soames. Kudos though to Iaon Gruffaud, Corin Redgrave, Damian Lewis, and Rupert Graves for doing their utmost with a script not always faithful to the characters as created by Galsworthy. I think before watching this drama, I would recommend both reading the Forsyte Saga trilogy and getting copies of the 1967 series which was totally brilliant.
Whatever Love Means (2005)
Miscasting Galore, especially actress playing Lady Diana
This is a curiosity piece for those who are royal watchers. It details the story of the relationship of Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles. For some reason, it came out choppily edited and one scene jumped a bit too abruptly to the next. The actors playing the main roles tried hard but Charles came out looking like a social misfit (seemingly the only woman who took to him, according to this film, were Lady Diana and Camilla--actually he had serious relationships). Camilla comes out looking like a tea and sympathy type (what about it dearie) who takes Charles in and has a long term relationship with him. The actress playing Diana is a total miscast. All she has is the hairdo, but she cannot convey or channel Diana. For one thing, she is quite wooden, too mature for the part of a starry eyed nineteen year old and the other she is all wrong physically and facially for the part. Charles towers over her which is quite jarring. In reality, Charles and Diana were about the same height, she being quite tall. There are factual errors, the most blatant being when Camilla tells Charles Princess Caroline is a prospect and probably still a virgin (this takes place in Fall 1979 when Caroline was married about a year to Philippe Junot). Also, Charles' other significant other Lady Kanga is completely left out; she had a major role in his life around the seventies and early eighties. This is a once see for those who enjoy movies about royals. For others, it's best to avoid.
Overall a disappointment
I liked seeing the cast return: Michele Lee, Kevin Dobson, Donna Mills, Joan Van Ark, William Devane, Michelle Phillips, Ted Shackelford. What I didn't like was their feeling it necessary to bring back one of the most annoying characters Kate Whitaker (Stacy Galina) and come back with Gary's toddler in tow (apparently she and Gary threw caution to the wind). She was really aggravating and was pushing Gary to be a family with her and little Molly despite having a hunk Brian Austin Green (Brian Cunningham) waiting in the wings, pining for her. The writers should have not had her return at all. If they had to have a grating character and wanted to go all the way, why didn't they have Vanessa Hunt return? The producers should have looked elsewhere notably Doug Sheehan and Lisa Hartman to return (Ben and Cathy could have found each other and returned to the cul de sac a married couple).
Anne Matheson (Michelle Phillips) didn't have much to do and Nicholette Sheridan (Paige) only returned for what amounted to a cameo appearance. Big disappointment--it would have been great to see her married to Greg, settled down and with a couple of children. I was hoping that more airtime would have been given to Tonya Crowe, Abby's daughter. We didn't get any explanation about why her marriage to Harold broke up.
It was good though to see Val, Gary, Mac, Karen and Greg back and Abby was back to her scheming ways. If I had written this I never would have included Kate and given the "old timers" more of an opportunity to shine.