Billie Whitelaw is good as an actress working as a waitress. Cecil Parker nearly steals the film as the old gent whose best days are long gone but he still clings to the hope of one last great role ... while he sponges off the younger actors. Frank Finlay, Alan Dobie, and Angela Douglas also appear.
Kenneth More is excellent as the 40-ish actor who can never quite make anything of the small chances he gets. More seems pretty much forgotten today but ranked as a major Brit movie star in the 1950s. He's excellent here.
The ending is quite good.
To be fair, this is not the fault of Ewell, North, or Moreno, but lies with writer/director Frank Tashlin, whose fetish with big breasts and cleavage wears thin fast. Most of the women in his films sport hiked-up gigantic breasts they could rest their chins on. They tend to resemble the back ends of Chryslers and Cadillacs.
Plot has Ewell recalled to military service (really?) so wifey (North) races out to re-enlist. He flunks his medical exam but she's already signed up and assigned to Hawaii. Ewell goes to Hawaii to try to spring her from the military by, heavens to MASH's Klinger, getting a "section 8" by proving she's nuts.
Supporting characters are mostly annoying. Rick Jason plays a leering hunk who Ewell sees as a rival. Then there's the mannish female captain (Alice Reinheart) and the leering best friend (Les Tremayne). Edward Platt plays a dumb psychiatrist. Rita Moreno plays Tremayne's girlfriend. Sylvia Lewis provides a bright spot as a stripper named Henrietta Hipslider.
The only reason to watch this film is for the brief homage to THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH. This scene with Ewell and Moreno is funny and even the music is borrowed from the Monroe classic.
This 1935 film is famous as being the first feature film shot in Technicolor. Current version has been restored a few times and boasts brilliant colors that sometimes vary between scenes but are mostly pleasing.
Miriam Hopkins won her only Oscar nomination as Becky Sharp and dominates the film in nearly every scene. She brings her fiery southern charm to the screen as Becky, a woman who charms and cheats and cajoles her way into early 19th century British society. The Napoleonic Wars serve as a mere background.
Film opens with Becky graduating from a girls' school where she has served as a teacher. She has befriended Amelia Smedley (Frances Dee) and their lives intertwine as the years pass. Becky starts out as a governess but quickly snags a son of the house (Alan Mowbray) as a husband. Trouble is they both like to live the high life and are always in debt.
Becky turns to charm and teases a series of men into giving her money. She is a scandal among the posh set but never looks back. After her husband dies in a faraway war, she turns to performing on the stage but is a failure. She is saved once again by an old suitor and plans to run away with him to India, where they can live well on a little money.
Lowell Sherman had started directing the film but died about a month into production. Rouben Mamoulian took over the production and started from scratch.
Hopkins is a house afire and deserved her Oscar nomination (losing to Bette Davis). Others in the cast include Billie Burke as a snotty hostess, Cedric Hardwicke as an old lecher, Alison Skipworth as Miss Crawley, Nigel Bruce as Joseph Crawley, and Tempe Pigott as the charwoman.
Historically important film, but don't overlook the great performance by Miriam Hopkins.
Simple plot has traveling salesman (Preston) coming to a small town in Iowa to sell the rubes band instruments to the local kids. Instead, he gets ensnared by Marian and falls in love with her and the town. It's a gentle look at small-town America in more innocent times.
The town of River City is run by a blowhard mayor (Paul Ford) and his ditzy wife (Hermione Gingold). Marian lives with her mother and young brother (Pert Kelton, Ron Howard), and then there's Marcellus the blacksmith (Buddy Hackett) who is a friend of Harold's. The young lovers are the mayor's daughter and a wild kid from the wrong side of town (Susan Luckey, Timmy Everett).
Also in the cast are the wandering barbershop quartet (The Buffalo Bills) and Gingold's band of old biddies (Mary Wickes, Jesslyn Fax, Sara Seegar, Adnia Rice) . There's also that anvil salesman (Harry Hickox) who acts as a spoiler and exposes Harold Hill as a fraud. Charles Lane plays the town sheriff.
Willson's music is brilliant. The various tunes weave together to form a harmonic tapestry that acts as a metaphor and shows how the townspeople interact and come together. The score includes well-known songs like "76 Trombones," "Ya Got Trouble," "Til There Was You," and "Marian and Librarian." These songs never grow old.
Film buffs will also spot among the cast Barbara Pepper, Rance Howard, William Fawcett, Percy Helton, Max Showalter, and Elaine Joyce.
Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, and Hermione Gingold all won Golden Globe nominations.
Title song aside, all the other songs stink. Claude Daupin occupies a dumb subplot about a Frenchman trying to get home without any money to pay for a passage on the ocean liner ... even though he's a famous impresario. Paul Harvey plays the senior US official and Eve Miller (she's terrible) plays his daughter who's supposedly engaged to Bolger.
Day and Bolger did not get along during production and it shows. Even under the best of circumstances, it's unlikely there would have been any chemistry between them. Bolger had a reputation for upstaging his fellow performers and acting like a prima donna. Having said that, it's amazing how many off-key notes he hits in his opening song-and-dance number. Painful.
Bolger had made a hit on Broadway with 1948's "Where's Charley?" and he starred in the film version the same year he made this film with Day. It was his last starring role in a film.
The cheesy sets and lackluster supporting cast add to the misery. Director David Butler, who had been an actor in silent films, directed Day in several other films with much better results. Bolger seems to be the fly in the ointment.
The comic strip famously lampooned teenagers and all their silly fads and lingo over the years. This film has Harold working as a cub reporter and getting involved with Lillum's high school graduation, and the "big show" the banker's daughter Mimi is putting on.
Rochelle Hudson plays the silky Lillums and Patricia Ellis plays the snappy Mimi. We also get Chick Chandler as wisecracking Lilacs and Eddie Tamblyn as the shy Shadow. Among the adults, there's Hobart Cavanaugh as Pop, Guy Kibbee and Clara Blandick as the Lovewells, Douglass Dumbrille as the banker, Hugh Herbert as Rathburn, Richard Carle as the high school principal, Charles Wilson as the newspaper editor, and Mayo Methot as the newspaper secretary. Jane Wyman is among the high school throng ... if you can spot her.
This was probably meant to be a series, but it didn't happen. Fun all along the way and we the Hal Le Roy's big dance number as a finale.
Elsie and Doris Waters are treasures.
VERA boasts an explosive and unpredictable yet wily character played by Brenda Blethyn. SHETLAND has Douglas Henshall as the stern yet vulnerable Perez. HINTERLAND has nothing.
As the locals would say: Mae'n stinks.
Into this maelstrom comes a brilliant but naive young lawyer named Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne). She's hired to help take on a nutty billionaire (Ted Danson) who has stolen his employees' retirement fund. She soon learns that in Patty's world there is no line between private and business lives, and she's soon sucked in. But it's a dangerous world full of treachery and murder and revenge.
Tate Donovan co-starred in the first three seasons as Tom Shayes, Patty's right-hand man and law partner. He's excellent. Others who play important roles over the course of this series include William Hurt, Judd Hirsch, Janet McTeer, John Goodman, Ryan Phillippe, Campbell Scott, Marcia Gay Harden, John Hannah, Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, Chris Messina, Dylan Baker, and Keith Carradine.
Only season 4 was a little disappointing with its endless war scenes from Afghanistan. Usually, the plots closely follow Close and Byrne as they maneuver to control the other. The series is full of surprises and superb acting.
One of the best dramas ever to grace a TV screen.
Roy Scheider stars as Fosse, the driven and self-destructive dancer/choreographer/director who is addicted to drugs, booze, and sex. Film also stars Ann Reinking as a fictional version of herself and Leland Palmer as a fiction version of Gwen Verdon.
While it's a fascinating look and "putting it together," from CHICAGO auditions to the grueling rehearsals (amid Fosse's endless womanizing), it's also wearing on the viewer. After 90 minutes, we launch into the endless "death" sequence which features a smarmy Ben Vereen at his worst and a series of trite goodbye songs. This entire sequence should have been cut from the film. It grinds on and on and on while Jessica Lange (as the angel of death) hovers.
The film does not improve with age. Scheider and Palmer are good, but Reinking is always hard to take. Cliff Gorman appears as Lenny Bruce even though he did not get to star in Fosse's film LENNY. We also get Anthony Holland, John Lithgow, Wallace Shawn, Deborah Geffner, Max Wright, Michael Tolan, Sandahl Bergman, and Theresa Merritt. The homely girl who plays the daughter is painful to watch.
Had there been a real editor around to trash that last half hour, this might have been a good film. As it is, it's overblown and overrated.
A local diamond mining company has unearthed a gigantic pink diamond which is stolen by an employee named Fred Winters. He tries to escape across the desert with his diamond but collapses near a watering hole, where he is found by a boy. The boy takes the pink diamond and sprinkles some water on Winters and then runs back to give the diamond to the chieftain. Winters eventually winds up in Green Willow where an old missionary and his son live. The son Jack (M.A. Wetherell) is friends with the chieftain's son Mofti (Prince Yumi). The town is also home to an unsuccessful miner Bob Randall and his daughter named rose (Edna Flugrath). Winters seems to have his eye on Rose but she is instantly taken with the preacher's son. While daddy works his mine, she tends the farm and the roses she planted as a token of giving back to the earth for what they've taken. The old preacher is slowly converting the aging chief.
The old chief takes the son to a sacred rock that looks out over a chasm. This is where his ancestors' souls dwell. It's actually the Bawa Falls in South Africa. Later on, in an act of friendship Mofti brings Jack and explains the meaning of the place. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Winters is trying to horn in on Randall's mine by getting him drunk. But to events bring about a sharp change in the narrative. Mofti dies in an accident while hunting with Jack and a detective comes to Green Willow and recognizes Winters as the diamond thief.
In the end, the old preacher and son tell the chief of the death. No Hollywood histrionics here. The old man grieves his loss and thinks it's a punishment for plotting against the whites. They all go to the boy's death site and Rose plants a rose bush (actually it's just a flower) as a symbol to mark the pile of stones. All will know by the rose that this is a sacred place. There's no hassle about burials and services and such. Each person has great respect for others. To show his appreciation for the kindness of his friends, the old chief gives the pink diamond (remember that?) to Rose and she returns it to the mining company and gets a reward. Finally, the old chief takes his baskets of stolen gold and diamonds to the sacred rock and throws them over the side and into the waters far below. A symbolic earth to earth moment. Final shot is of Jack and Rose and many babies, which was the blessing foretold by Mofti.
While the filmmakers wanted a film to match the sweep and historical significance of Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION, they fell short. The surviving 54-minute German print entitled DE VOORTREKKERS just can't compare. While there are some sweeping shots of the final battles that emphasize the number of combatants and the vast landscape, the story lacks any central character to care about. Various historical characters appear but they are more like plot points than anything else. The love story between Flugrath and Holger Petersen stays firmly in the background. While the film builds up the piety of the Boers and their god-given rights to settle the land (much praying and bible quoting), the only arc in the film that makes a connection with the viewer is that played by Goba.
We see him banished from his tribal village as a coward. He joins the Boers to serve as a guide on the Great Trek and is converted to christianity. Goba also adds a bit of comic relief along the way (especially the smoking scene with the two boys) and ultimately becomes the hero of the film. When he sees the bodies of his white friends after the battle, he swears revenge and eventually kills the Zulu king, thereby winning his revenge and re-instating his manhood. This seems to me a much more powerful image than the Boers' resolve to build a church on the site where so many died and the final shot of Flugrath and Petersen sitting in a church pew.
Shaw was an American writer/director (and former actor) who had moved to England in 1913 and to Africa in 1916. Edna Flugrath was an American actress (older sister of Viola Dana and Shirley Mason) who would marry Shaw in 1917. Bothe Shaw and Flugrath had been in films since 1912 and were major film names of the era.
The acting style is that same old FRIENDS halting, ugh (make a face) you know (make another face) style that passes for comic acting now (I just made a face). and even has a really old-looking Lisa Kudrow as a -- you know -- parent.
The two leads are not likable and way too old for these roles. The Feldstein one looks abut 40.
Ultimately, this is one of those moronic female fantasies about how it's ok to be fat or homely because life is good and you will always win, especially if you stand around and strike poses and dance moves to show you have attitude.
Sam Rockwell is brilliant as Fosse, the obsessive and self-destructive dancer, choreographer and director who shot to stardom for his work in SWEET CHARITY, CABARET, CHICAGO, LENNY, and DAMN YANKEES. Lumpy Michelle Williams is much less successful playing the lithe Verdon, a brilliant dancer who ranked as a major musical star on Broadway in the 1950s and won four Tony awards to prove it. She won for CAN-CAN, REDHEAD, NEW GIRL IN TOWN, and DAMN YANKEES.
As her career takes a back seat to motherhood and Fosse's burgeoning career in the 1960s, Verdon struggles on stage with a flop straight play and two hits shows--SWEET CHARITY and CHICAGO spread out over ten years. FOSSE ricochets from movies to television to Broadway despite drug abuse, mental issues, and bad health.
Their lives are littered with extra-marital relationships and bitterness despite the successes. Aside from Verdon, Fosse was married to dancer Joan McCracken and had long relationships with Carol Haney and Ann Reinking as well.
Among their show-biz pals are Neil Simon and his dying wife Joan, writer Paddy Chayesfsky, Hal Prince, Liza Minnelli, George Abbott, and song-writers Kander and Ebb.
The episode set on Long Island in the rain is especially long and boring, though the series has its moments.
He's interested in Kay (Marguerite Churchill) who's from Atlanta but they quarrel and the greedy Nada (Grace Bradley) moves in on him to take his money. There's also the sullen singer (Walter Woolf) who drinks too much but wants to marry Kay. Charlie Ruggles plays Crock, a fellow artist who tell Farrell his style of painting stinks and says, "You don't paint the whistle ... you paint the blow." If you paint the whistle, it's only photography.
Farrell gets drunk and paints a piece that wins a big prize ... until they discover something about it.
Bright and funny with a few good songs. The Russian duel scene is tedious. Farrell hardly bothers to hide his Massachusetts accent even though he's supposed to be from Tennessee. But Ruggles, Churchill, and Bradley are all quite good. Mischa Auer and Leonid Kinskey have small roles.
Older brother Robert (Herbert Langley, in his film debut) is a rugged bloke who runs a farm and shares a small cottage with his brother Jimmy (Olaf Hytten), who's a bit of a dreamer. It's well known in the cottage and in the village that Robert has his eye on young Kate (Lillian Hall-Davis), and so he announces their wedding.
But before they can be married, Robert falls from a ladder and becomes paralyzed. As he lies in bed as the seasons change, his personality changes and he becomes bitter and angry. When he learns that Jimmy and Kate have secretly set a date to be married, he spews evil curses on the couple and the village vicar (Bernard Vaughan) who's been in on the plot.
Time passes and Kate gets pregnant, but Robert refuses to take back his curses. When she enters a difficult labor with the birth, on a black night streaked by lightning, Jimmy pleads with his older brother to lift the curse before it's too late.
First-time director Graham Cutts does well with the simple story, and the village location is beautiful. Langley, a famous opera singer of the day, does quite well as the brooding Robert. and Hytten and Hall-Davis (she reminded me of Viola Dana) are fine. The film was not a success in its day, but its a fine rural drama.
They end up in an empty apartment where nothing works and become immediately ensnared with a conniving Romanian refugee (Audrey Totter) and Allyson's scheming boss (Hume Cronyn) in a series of comic situations. Also on hand is Eddie Anderson as the apartment building's superintendent.
All five stars are in top form. There's also Reginald Owen as a plastics manufacturer and Chester Clute as the bemused nightclub goer. In a way it's like an early version of BAREFOOT IN THE PARK.
A movie about Mary, Queen of Scots is being filmed and two rival movie queens, played by Elizabeth Taylor and Kim Novak (in their only film together) are playing Mary and Elizabeth I. Catty and campy to the max, they snipe at each other as they jockey for power in making the film. Taylor is married to Rock Hudson (the director) and Novak is married to Tony Curtis (the producer). There's also an assistant (Geraldine Chaplin) who is having an affair with Hudson.
The locals are a pale lot compared to this Hollywood flash. But when a local woman (Maureen Bennett) is poisoned at a reception for the Hollywood crew, Miss Marple jumps into the fray with the help of her nephew from Scotland Yard (Edward Fox).
The murder mystery unveils amid the flying insults between Novak and Taylor as well as between Hudson and Curtis. But things turn very serious when another murder occurs.
This might be minor Christie and Lansbury strikes me as badly cast as Marple but the film is lively and fun. Others in the cast include Wendy Morgan as Cherry, Richard Pearson as the doctor, Charles Lloyd-Pack as a vicar, Carolyn Pickles as Miss Giles, Margaret Courtenay as Mrs. Bantry, and look for Pierce Brosnan as a movie extra.
There's also a film Marple goes to see called "Murder at Midnight" which features Dinah Sheridan, Nigel Stock, Ian Cuthbertson, and Anthony Steel, and which seems to serve no purpose other than to display Marple's powers of deductive reasoning.
Worth watching for Kim Novak and Elizabeth Taylor.
John Cusack plays a struggling playwright who agrees hire the no-talent Olive (Jennifer Tilly) in order to have a mobster back his new play. The mobster assigned a stooge (Chazz Palminteri) to watch over Olive and make sure she doesn't cheat on him.
Cusack and his agent (Jack Warden) talk fading Broadway star Helen Sinclair (Dianne Wiest) into starring in the play, but as the play struggles in rehearsals, the stooge (Palminteri) starts to make constructive criticisms that launch the play in a different direction. As the rehearsals catch fire, it become obvious that Olive must go ... and go she does.
While the main characters are all well played, it's Dianne Wiest who growls and guzzles her way to a sublime performance (and a well-deserved Oscar) as the haughty star who never plays frumps or virgins.
Others in the cast include Mary-Louise Parker as Cusack's drab girlfriend, Tracey Ullman as the actress with a dog, Harvey Fierstein, Rob Reiner, Jim Broadbent, and Joe Viterelli as the mobster. Edie Falco plays the small role of the assistant director.
The film is aided by the usual impeccable production design by Santo Loquasto and costumes by Jeffrey Kurland. The music is also spot on.
Bette Midler shines as Stella, a working-class high school dropout who slings drinks in an Upstate New York bar. She meets a rich college boy (Stephen Collins) who's taken with her quirky zest for life and they have a kid. But marriage is out of the question. Stella knows in her heart she'd never fit into his world. As the kid grows up, Stella wrestles with what's best for the kid versus what she wants for herself. This quandary eventually leads to a mother's sacrifice.
Based on the 1923 novel STELLA DALLAS by Olive Higgins Prouty, this story was first filmed in 1925 with Belle Bennett and again in 1937 with Barbara Stanwyck as the star. By 1990 the story just seemed far-fetched and very old-fashioned and Midler's follow-up to the smash hit BEACHES was a box-office disappointment.
It's a shame because Midler gives a terrific performance. Her Stella is full of love and self-doubt as she rides the highs and lows of her threadbare life. She eventually ends up selling cosmetics door to door to pay for things for her daughter (Trini Alvarado). Stella puts her life on hold to give her daughter what she thinks the daughter wants. Only problem is the daughter wants something else.
Also very good in this film are John Goodman as Ed, Stella's longtime friend who's on a downward spiral, and Marsha Mason as the warm and understanding Janice, the woman who will become the daughter's step-mother.
Others in the cast include Ben Stiller, Linda Hart, Eileen Brennan, and William McNamara ... but watch this one for a great performance by Bette Midler.
The Wetherells are neighbors, headed by a cruel and abusive father who beats his son on a regular basis. His elder daughter Ann (Ivy Duke) is a gentle soul who is powerless to stop her father's abuses. When she comes upon some village boys abusing a dog, she intervenes and is set upon by the larger boy. Falconer happens by and rescues both Ann and the dog.
The dog instantly bonds with Falconer, but the wife threatens to get rid of it. After Falconer is blinded in a hideous farm accident, the wife takes over the farm and embarks on an affair with another man. Eventually Ann comes to work in the house as a cook to escape her father and secretly falls in love with the sad Falconer.
Eventually Falconer becomes aware of his wife's infidelity and sets in motion what is fated to be.
Guy Newall turns in a powerful performance as the fatalist, and Ivy Duke is excellent in a change-of-pace role. Barbara Everest is also very good in the thankless role of the harridan. A. Bromley Davenport is the cruel Wetherell, Charles Evemy is the son, Cameron Carr is the other man, and John Alexander plays the wandering gossip and religious fanatic.
Slow, somber, and beautifully done.
Aside from the moronic romance with a married woman, Tosh maybe finds a boyfriend while Sandy maybe gets suspended for being stupid. Rhona still just sits around scowling at everyone. The trafficking story devolves into various murders and is way too thin to be stretched out over 6 episodes. And then there's Duncan reaching for rock bottom while Cassie is off at Uni.
This season seemed really full of filler and "OH PLEASE" moments that were way off the mark. I like the setting and the main characters but if there's a season 06, they'd better have a better crime story and less "romance."