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I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
Very relevant 40 years later
The aging Baby-Boomers are faced with exactly the same issues that Gene Garrison and his sister faced in 1970. We are part of the "sandwich generation", caught between caring about our own kids and our aging parents .Our parents are living longer because of new medicines but with what quality of life? A question a doctor tells Gene in the film. We are forced to decide when our aging folks have to start giving up some freedoms, like driving a car. When is the time to put them in assisted living or a nursing facility. Anyone in their 50's or 60's faced with these issues will understand this movie and maybe it will help them face the choices they are forced to make.
Tight Spot (1955)
Nice 50's Noir with a Twist
This film is among the group of "B" crime noir movies that Columbia made in the early 1950's such as "The Big Heat" and "The Mob". It has the same taught story and good acting. Clearly nearing the end of her film career, Ginger Rogers is very good playing a mob witness that has had enough of the justice system and needs to be convinced that by telling what she knows in court, she can do something good for maybe the first time in her life. It should be noted that Edward G. Robinson was trying to recover his lost career after being black-listed by HUAC and "B" movies were the best roles he could get until he was cast by Cecil B. DeMille in the Ten Commandments after the release of this film. Brian Keith, best known as "Uncle Bill" in the late 1960's TV show "Family Affair" is also quite good in his role as a police Lt.
HBO has nailed it!
With everyone blaming President Obama for not doing this or that to help the country, this is a MUST SEE for all Americans. The film focuses on the rise and fall of the garment industry in Manhattan but the cause of it's demise is much larger than the tragedy of 7th avenue from W.34 st to W.40 st. It is proof, once and for all that the deregulation and trickle down economics of the 1980's put this country in the shape it is in today. The producers cover all of the vital history of what was at one time the largest employer in the City of New York from the tragic Triangle Shirt-Waste fire in 1911 that led to the founding one of the greatest union movements in American history. It's also about greed. Yes, this film is right on the money on what went wrong in the last 30 years in this country, not just in the garment industry.
A total masterpiece by George Stevens
I must admit I was never a western movie fan. But Shane is no ordinary western. It is so good, so grand, so wonderfully filmed, edited and acted that I must rate it among my favorites of all times. George Stevens made 3 great films in the early fifties: A Place In The Sun, Shane and Giant. The other 2 are great, great films but Shane stands alone. Stevens choice to film with the background of the beautiful mountains of Grand Teton National Park adds so much to a film that one can see took great pains to re-create the look of the frontier days right down to all of the sets and wardrobe. Alan Ladd was never better and Van Heflin and Jean Arthur give wonderful performances. But it's the young Brandon deWilde that steals the movie. His performance and the way he looked up to Shane right to the end is terrific. He was one of a few outstanding child actors who was able to become a great adult actor in films like Hud and In Harm's Way. It's a tragedy that he died so young. I am sure he had many great performances left in him.
Great Concert from the OLD HBO
I lived 15 minutes from the Coliseum but I didn't get a ticket for this show. I waited for HBO to show it in 1983 ( I think the actual show was in Dec. 1982). I was A Betamax person and made a great copy off HBO. The set he did was all the greats starting with "Allentown". Over the past 27 odd years my tapes are starting to go bad, so since it's 2009 and I have a DVD recorder, I plugged the old Beta into it and PRESTO! I got one great DVD!. With my sound system which is not surround but still very good Dolby I can't believe how great it sounds after all these years! If you are an old-time Billy Joel fan, this Concert is a must-see! It is from the Golden-Age of rock, before all this hip-hop trash.
A Child Is Waiting (1963)
Many Parents HAVE to see this film!
The latest numbers as of May 2009 say that 1 in 150 children in the US have some form of autistic spectrum disorder. While this film is mainly about "mentanly retarded children", which is today a term no longer used, the fact is that many autistic children have a low IQ and have much difficulty learning. Today, all children, no matter what their IQ, are all guaranteed the proper education under the Americans with disabilities act of 1975. In 1963 when this film was made, education for disabled children was not a fact yet. This film was 30 years ahead of it's time. But the thing this terrific film can do is get a message across to the millions of parents of disabled children who are living in denial about their child's disability that the longer they choose to ignore it and think it will just "go away" or some "miracle drug" will cure their child. What they are doing is hurting their child. Well,there are no "quick fixes" out there. Only a program like the one Dr. Clark started to help each child reach their full potential. And like the film, it is true that more half of families that have an autistic child will wind up getting divorced. Only the strong parents, the ones that accept their child as he or she is will stay strong. This just a great, great film and I am happy Judy Garland was able to stay sober long enough to give what I consider to be her finest performance by far in any film.
The FBI Story (1959)
James Stewart is this Movie
This is a film that on the surface would seem to be all about J.Edgar Hoover giving himself a a big pat on the back for fighting Klansmen,going after Indian killers, hunting the famous gangsters of the 1930's, fighting Nazi's in the US and South America during world war 2 and Commies in New York during the early 1950's. Of course in 1959 we did not know about Mr. Hoover's obsession for keeping secret files on honest Americans, bugging people like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, but worst of all,his secret love affair with his deputy director,Clyde Tolson( If you want to know more about that subject, I suggest seeing the film Citizen Cohn). Hoover aside, This story of a life in the FBI as told by Jimmy Stewart makes for a decent, but dated film. Vera Miles as his devoted wife is also good. But Jimmy is the movie. As much as Hoover controlled production and always made sure the FBI was seen without fault, Jimmy Stewart gave the film a human side,quite an achievement considering Hoover was always looking over his shoulder. The background score is also pleasant. I have read recent online articles suggesting that this is a forgotten film. Jimmy Stewart was one of the greatest film stars of all time and none of his films should be forgotten. TCM was the last network to show it a long time ago and I hope they show it again.
Grey Gardens (2009)
This is a very well made but extremely depressing movie. It is well acted and tries very hard to go back in time but if the people who made this are trying to get me to feel pity for the 2 women,they won't get it here. These 2 women had everything they wanted during the depression when the average American made $1,500 a year. When they were cut off from the ex-husband, they had a chance to sell the mansion when it was still in good shape and get lots of money to live in comfort. But the mother choose to stay, the money dried up and they lived like pigs in the most disgusting house I have ever seen. Only people who are very mentally sick would live like that. Had they applied for public assistance from Suffolk County, I am sure they would have gotten help. Little Eddy was a sicko, asking Jackie O' if it was true that the president gave her the clap. She had no talent and her and her mother should have been committed to a state hospital for the insane.
Fourteen Hours (1951)
Pretty good but dated
This is pretty good story of how the New York City Police Rescue Unit operated in the post-war years. The background story is good also and while there is a bit of over acting ( the woman who plays Basehart's Mother), the character roles are quite good. Paul Douglas gives his usual fine performance and Martin Gabel does a fine job also as the understanding doctor. This is one of the last feature movies Howard Da Silva had a role in, as he was soon blacklisted by HUAC. I have seen the modern-day NYCPD Rescue unit a few times and they are an elite unit with fancy uniforms and all sorts of high-tech gadgets. But back in 1951, they had to use rope,nets,pulleys,wenches and hand tools to do the same work they do today.
Just a Wonderful film
This is one of those movies that just grabbed me and has never let go. The story, the acting and the entire production is just terrific. I think it should be a movie all 16 year old kids should see. Every time I read a news story about a dead newborn child being found in a garbage bag I want to cry. This film simply shows that there is NO reason for that to happen. It's been said that both Pro-life and Pro-choice groups have praised this film. No surprise to me. Just that fact tells you how different this film is. You can't help but fall in love with Juno, Her Dad, Her Stepmom and her boy friend. What else can be said about this touching, just simply wonderful movie.
Turk 182! (1985)
more corny then a Iowa Cornfield !!!
A bad movie all around. It is in the same class as some of Edward J. Wood's worst movies. It's non-stop corn-ball over-acting. People who have never lived in NYC must get a real laugh out of this. I hope for their sake they don't think for 1 second the city is really like this! And to top it all off, they used Giants Stadium as a NY landmark when any person with a 2nd grade education knows it's in the state of New Jersey and only cops you see there are NJ State Troopers. The scene with the super-train is painful to watch as the mayor is singing a song for 3 year old kids while waiting for the train. What a bad movie! It makes no sense and I wonder where the producers got enough backing to create this real bomb.
The Pawnbroker (1964)
The biggest Oscar rip-off of all time!
There is only reason I can come up with why Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou was given the best actor Oscar over Rod Stieger: Back-lash from the Academy voters who hated the Jewish Hollywood Moguls and refused to give honor to any film that depicted the horror of the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews . If I wanted to be an actor, Rod Stieger's performance in this film is where I would start. He does what very few actors can do: Understand his part so well that he is able to bring out every single emotion that his character has to be feeling from 25 ago when he saw first hand the killing of his wife and children and having to keep it inside with no outlet to express it. I would make this film standard for any World History class taught in High School. As we say, never forget and this film will make sure of that.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
My Number one all time
There has always been a debate regarding what film could regarded as the best of all time and it will always go on. But to me, this film does it all. It brings to the screen all of the essence of what life is about: happiness, sadness, betrayal ,pain, and most of all what real love is all about. There are so many things that make this film my favorite all time and my choice for number one but it's 3 scenes that clinch it: First, the one with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the car when he says: "I have never been as miserable as I am since I met you" and her reply "neither have I" and then he follows with "I wouldn't trade a minute of it" and again she says " Neither would I". That is what real, deep love between 2 people makes them feel. How many films brought love to screen like that? no other movie I have ever seen. The second is when Montgomery Clift tells Donna Reed: "No one ever lies about being lonely". That is so, so real. And third, the scene when Frank Sinatra says his last words and then dies. I know very little about how Oscar's are voted on, but I feel Sinatra won his right in that scene. How many other films can you say that? This film never gets dull. It's 2 + hours of pure human emotion that has never before or never since been put on the screen.
The War (2007)
As a 1951 baby boomer, I am the proud son of a world war 2 vet. Growing up, Dad talked little about the war. What I learned about the war was from history books and war movies. But Ken Burns has changed all of that for me and I am sure the Millions who have seen and will see this incredible documentary. For now I am not just the son born after the war but someone who knows and feels what went on for 5 years in Europe,North Africa, in the Pacific and the Far East. I have learned things no book or film ever taught me: the sights, the smell and the taste of the horrors our boys faced as we fought toward victory. This is a movie that is going to be too late for the many Vets that have passed on during the 62 years since V-J day. But it is now here , for the record , for all us now and future generations to say "THANK YOU" to the greatest generation for saving the world from the most brutal humans that were ever put on this earth. Again, Thank you Ken Burns for this incredible experience.
Our Very Own (1950)
a post-war classic
This movie was made in 1949, just 4 years after the end of World War 2. It was a time when the average American family got to enjoy the post-war USA: Having Dad at home and not fighting a war , Mom at home instead of working in a factory making bombs , being able to buy gas anytime you wanted and having the thrill of seeing the what everyone wanted: a TV set in their home. It is with this backdrop, that one of the smaller studios, RKO, produced this wonderful and warm-hearted story of a young woman who discovers a secret kept from her since birth. It is not a typical story for it's time and that what makes it so different. It was written and directed with much care while dealing with a very sensitive subject. The major Hollywood Studios like MGM, Paramount, Warners, etc, still made all of the big-budget films, but RKO turned out some real good ones and Our Very Own is at the top of the list.
A Place in the Sun (1951)
A George Stevens Classic
Before I saw this film, Giant was my favorite George Stevens production. A Place in the Sun is now a favorite of mine too. I never knew how beautiful Liz Taylor was until I watched the close-up shots of her dancing with Montgomery Clift. But the real greatness of this film is the way Stevens brings peoples real emotion right on to the screen. I really can feel the desperation Alice feels , the disappointment George Eastman's mother feels that her son will not return to work at her mission and the anger Raymond Burr feels toward George while confronting him on the witness stand. As with many a movie, the music soundtrack also helps to bring out the emotion too. For the scenes on Brides Lake and Loon Lake, Stevens could have not picked a more beautiful spot than Lake Tahoe in early fall. There is nothing phony about this movie. It's all about emotion,love and guilt and they are some of the most basic things about life. 8 out of 10 for a wonderful film.
Dennis the Menace (1959)
I remember the show
I was about the same age as Jay North and I remember vividly watching the 1st show in fall 1959 with my older brother on our table-top RCA-Victor black and white TV. It was on CBS TV (chan 2 in New York City where we grew up). I remember always feeling bad for "GOOD OLD MR Wilson" but I always thought the guy who played the owner of the grocery named Mr Quigley was a sour-puss. One of my favorite ones was the one when Mr Wilson accidentally gave Dennis a very rare coin and Dennis spent it. Of course, Mrs. Wilson was ready to give Mr. Wilson some of his "Nerve Medicine". A good,fun show that we loved. It was followed by other Sunday comedy shows on CBS including "My Favorite Martian" and "Mr Ed".
Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969)
Why is this not on DVD ?
I was a big fan of this show from the first episode. Back in the early 70's, everyone wished they had a doctor like Marcus Welby. The way he treated patients and took a interest in their personal lives is what made the show so good. I think it was one of the first medical programs that dealt with serious medical issues and took a realistic approach in each show. One of my favorite episodes was about a small boy with autism, something that was just not talked about 35 years ago. Today, the family doctor is just about extinct with managed care and HMO's. Marcus Welby, M.D. reminds us of the good old days. I think the time has come to get these shows out in DVD so we can get to enjoy them all over again.
For Old-Time NHL Fans only!
This is a film for the 50 and over NHL fan. Although the central plot involves A love affair between a young Hockey star and a hippie rock singer, the real stars are the dozens of clips of Toronto Maple Leaf games at the old Maple Leaf Gardens and at various other arenas such as the old LA Forum and the Spectrum in Phila. This was filmed before the influx of European stars into the NHL , in the days when every Kid in Canada dreamed of playing in the NHL. You see clips of past greats like Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Jaques Plante, Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull and many others. It's a era long gone that only us "old time hockey fans" can appreciate.
Naked City (1958)
The DVD box sets are a Treasure!
I highly recommend the 3 DVD box sets that are now available . Each set has 12 episodes exactly how they were first seen on ABC-TV 45 years ago. The location shooting in and around the streets of New York give a great view of the city in the early 60's. They even have included some commercials as an extra added feature that you can watch after you see the 4 episodes on each disk. But the real treat is the stories, many featuring some of the best all-time character actors of TV and Movies. No high tech, no sex, no graphic violence , no dirty words. Just good old-time TV drama, that seems to forgotten in today's lousy free TV with all of those lame reality shows.
Most of the indoor scenes were filmed at old Biograph/Gold Medal Studio the Bronx. The 50's and 60's were a great time for young , talented actors living in New York. Many good TV shows and movies were filmed at the Biograph and Naked City is among the best.
One phenomenal movie
A friend of mine who is a movie buff like me, high recommended this film to me. When I got the DVD and watched it, I was moved by some scenes unlike most films I had ever saw. I still can't believe Paul Giamatti was not even nominated for an Oscar for best actor. The scene where he describes the grapes that have thin skin and need a lot of TLC is most most moving, for it's obvious he is describing his own life and the fact is ex-wife did not care for him or maybe nurture him the way he would like. And when his wild friend Jack comes to his senses after leaving his wallet and wedding rings in some married woman's bedroom, we at once see a man who never grew up all of a sudden discover the wisdom that comes when you know you must treasure the person who is your soul mate for life, In Jack's case his bride-to-be. Another scene I found very moving is when after the wedding, Miles meets his ex-wife's new husband and she informs him she is pregnant. The viewer can at once feel the punch she just gave Miles in the stomach . I think a lot of us know a Miles or maybe are one ourselves. That is the essence of the film, as the 2 main characters are so real. Many people lose their soul mate in middle age, either thru divorce or death and many men and women are left shattered and feel their lives have been a big waste. Miles shows that when the time is right, you can get back on the horse that you fell off of 2 or 3 or how many years ago. It's not a switch you can turn on. Like Miles shows, you have to heal up and you just know when the time is right to start over again.
Empire Falls (2005)
Lives are like rivers:
They go where they must, not where we want them to go. With those words from this totally terrific movie, you get touched for the 1st of many times in a simple movie about simple , plain people who like the rest of us, must struggle with the things like a difficult childhood, a bad marriage, feeling like your life didn't turn out they way you would have wished and all the other things that make life the up and down adventure it is. All of the acting is first-class, as good as any film made today. However, I must single out Ed Harris, Helen Hunt and Estelle Parsons who to me deserve Oscar nominations but of course won't get one in this made-for-HBO classic. This film is almost like therapy as one might identify their own troubles with some of the characters and see how they learned to overcome their troubles. I short, this is a real throw-back to the days 40-50 years ago when classics like this were common. This is a rare film for 2005.
another Holden Classic
William Holden received bad reviews for his role in this movie, saying he was to old to play Hal Carter. I say baloney! He was terrific as was the rest of the cast in a movie that does a wonderful job and giving the viewer a great picture of what is was like in small town middle America in the mid 1950's. I hear the song "Moonglow" many times on the radio and each time I hear it all I can think about is seeing Hal and Madge dancing on the dock under those Chinese Lights. Holden always brought a certain type of energy to the screen and while this movie is a bit like a soap opera , Holden is the one who puts a charge into it, like many other classic movies he made including Stalag 17, Executive Suite and later on, in Network.
East of Eden (1955)
This is the Film that made me a James Dean fan.
James Dean was terrific in all 3 of his major films, but his performance in East of Eden is the best. It is simply amazing, no matter how times I see it, how perfectly he fit that role. The loss of his real mother at age 9, not living with his father as a teenager growing up in Indiana, would leave any young adult yearning to find out about his real parents. In the case of this film, it's the mother again who left him at a young age. In her interviews in the James Dean Documentary , Julie Harris admits that she really loved him. The scene on the ferris wheel I think captures some of that. One feels real passion between Dean and Harris,not just 2 actors. And the contempt and dislike Raymond Massey had for Dean shows in the scenes when Adam displays his anger toward Cal. I've read a lot of actors such as Rock Hudson did not like Dean because of his ability to steal scenes with ad-libs, etc. But the truth about James Dean is that he was a terrific talent with unlimited potential. and this film more than the other 2 he made really proves it.
Malcolm X (1992)
a good movie about a very complex person
I don't claim to be an expert on Malcolm X or the Nation of Islam but I know about how things were for African Americans in the early 1960's. I think the best thing I could offer as far as this movie is concerned is that if you are younger than 50 , I would strongly suggest you see the Movie "Missisippi Burning" first. That would help you understand what was going on in this country in the early 1960's and you can then see "Malcolm X" with an open mind. As far as the movie itself, I found Denzel Washington once again gives a superb performance as usual. Spike Lee is well known for taking on subjects that other directors wouldn't touch and this one rates up there with "Do the Right Thing" and " Jungle Fever".