As studio financing dwindled away for Hugo Haas, his last film as a writer-director-producer has certain autobiographical elements, a cast featuring several film veterans from the silent ...
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As studio financing dwindled away for Hugo Haas, his last film as a writer-director-producer has certain autobiographical elements, a cast featuring several film veterans from the silent era, and a storyline containing a metaphoric commentary on Hollywood. When former European film director Agnus (Haas) witnesses bickering in a boarding house, he sets out to prove the innate goodness of people. Casting neighbors and the boarding house tenants in his new film, titled "The Chosen and the Condemned," he succeeds in creating peace, unity and harmony in the neighborhood. However, it's all a deception, since Agnus has no film in his camera. When a studio head learns of the project, he bankrolls a budget that enables Agnus to actually complete the film.Written by
Outstanding cast of iconic performers in sweet story
Though it has been many years since I saw this on TV, it has stuck in my mind.
There is a sweetness -- and I don't mean saccharineness -- about "Paradise Alley" that is missing in movies today. It is about people, people full of flaws and foibles, but who learn to be better people.
Carol Morris, to name one, was such a beautiful young woman that, even at the tender age at which I first saw this and saw her, I fell head over heels in love.
Marie Windsor was a widely talented actress, who could play the nastiest villain or the strongest heroine with equal ease.
Corinne Griffith performed mostly in silent films, and in only four talkies. Interestingly, she was in two movies titled "Lilies of the Field." She was, in movies I saw, glowingly, hauntingly lovely.
William Schallert, Billy Gilbert, Margaret Hamilton, and Chester Conklin were just a few more of this excellent cast, all of whom can and will hold a willing audience in thrall.
Finally, there is the master of this production, Hugo Haas himself. Frankly, I always found him to be just about perfect in every role he played, usually relatively minor ones. But as the big boss, despite an apparently small budget, he was extraordinary.
"Paradise Alley," this one, not the Stallone film of the same name, should bring a lump to your throat, perhaps a tear to your eye, and definitely a feeling that, by golly, this is a pretty good world after all. Or at least can be.
I highly recommend "Paradise Alley" and wish for more recognition for Hugo Haas.
Added 17 September 2016: By great good fortune, I have found "Paradise Alley" on YouTube! Rewatching it, after all these years, I see it is as good as I remembered, and in some ways even better.
Carol Morris, for example, looks and acts like the teenager she is supposed to be. She is so incredibly lovely, just exactly the girl you would want for your daughter or sister or, if you are young enough, your sweetheart. She is just adorable.
I am moved anew at this latest viewing. I do seriously and strongly recommend "Paradise Alley."
Added 29 August 2017: The great, the wonderful Carol Morris herself saw and liked this review, and even had the grace to write me! My life could end now. I am fulfilled. She is still and even more one of my motion picture heroes.
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