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Que Dios se lo pague (1981)
This was a wonderful series with a great cast.
The basic story is that the beautiful actress Leonor Benedetto plays a sheltered heiress, who because of her infirmity, is still unmarried. She is the only child of wealthy parents,but her father is not always a man of honor in his business dealings as he shows when he steals the invention of one of his workers,actor Frederico Luppi, and cheats him out of the great wealth that could have been his.
Frederico's character is married to a young, frivolous woman who aspires to have all the luxuries that wealth can buy, and she treats her husband with contempt since he has failed to give her the life she wants.
Frederico plots revenge on his former employer and begins to woo his daughter a la Cyrano de Bergerac, and the lonely Leonor responds to his romantic overtures. Unfortunately, Frederico's plan goes awry when he falls deeply in love with Leonor and she with him.
The ending of the series is rather sad, as Leonor thinks he is dead after he has a terrible accident, and she marries another man who helps her raise Frederico's son. Frederico, badly scarred and homeless,now becomes a beggar who now can only catch glimpses of the woman he loves and his child by occasionally peering over the wall of her home. Then he disappears from sight as he begs for money and responding " Dios se lo pague"(May God repay you) to any one who gives him money.
Fires Within (1991)
I'd have chosen Sam over Nestor any day!
I have to agree that both Greta Schacchi and Jimmy Smits were emotionally passive in this movie. Perhaps that is why Vincent D'Onofrio seemed to overpowering the other two actors since he was portraying his characters emotions with a power and intensity that the other two were lacking! I never doubted in this movie that Vincent D'Onofrio's character had fallen in love with Greta's at first sight, and it was clear that he had been the de facto father of Isabel and Nestor's daughter since she was a toddler. Sam was anxious to marry Isabel and adopt her daughter legally,but it was clear that Isabe;'s fears and cultural mores were making her ashamed of not remaining faithful to the emotional distant husband who had chosen to remain behind in Cuba rather than be with his family. Isabel and Nestor's marriage was dysfunctional as the marital scenes in Cuba show--- Nestor consistently put politics above his family and their safety! Ithink if Isabel had followed her heart and thought of her emotional needs, then she would have chosen Sam,but she let a combination of pity,duty, and the fear of gossip in the Cubam community to make the choice for her. If it had been me, I would have married Sam the first time he asked me, welcomed Nestor back, and allowed him access to his daughter, but would have made it clear that my new life was in America and I had no desire to return to either Nestor or back to Cuba! The main reason that the movie failed was that every woman left the movie thinking "What an idiot!" about Isabel's choice.
Salt on Our Skin (1992)
Loved Gavin, Hated George!
Vincent D'Onofrio was wonderful in this film! I Have heard him referred to as a "simple" fisherman, but, on the contrary, I found him to be the more complex character of the so-called romantic duo. Gavin had qualities such as an inner strength, loyalty, kindness, and he never stopped growing as an individual until he died.
The Gavin who first appeared at the beginning at the film was different from the man whose death was being Mourned at the end of the film.
George(Greta Scacch) was a pretentious, shallow, and unkind person who mistook acts of sexual passion for love, and remained unchanged until the end. Her many small unkindness towards to Gavin irked me, and her "contempt" for the presents he chose for her during their trysts together are a prime example of that.
I thought the saddest and most poignant scene was during their last meeting together before his death and she finally approved of the small gift he gave her. Gavin's sweet happiness when he exclaimed, " at last, I got you something you really like" broke my heart! The character of George was a stone cold witch and she proved it until the end when she intruded on Gavin's funeral like an unwelcome guest to hurt his wife (who had truly loved him and shared her life with him) only to reminded her that that she hadn't had all of his love!
Dying Young (1991)
Beautifully sad movie that just misses the mark.
My first complaint was that Vincent D'Onofrio was totally wasted in this role, although he brought some much needed life to this role. If they had fully developed Vincent'Onofrio's character then this could have been a beautiful and powerful triangle, but they wasted most of the supporting characters.
Campbell Scott was great as the young man dying of leukemia and gave a riveting performance as a young man who had never been able to fully live his life and groping for what he considers his last chance of happiness before dying.
Campbell Scott also has the courage to be unlikeable and at times arrogant rather than a plaster saint. His inability to connect and understand the simple friendship offered by Gordon(Vincent D'Onofrio) is almost painful to watch. He envies Gordon's easy openness and zest, and is also jealous of the way that Gordon effortlessly connects to JUlia Roberts character,Hilary.
The most poignant scene is when this young man of wealth, privilege, and education tries to relate with Gordon and Hilary who are getting a kick out of answering the questions to Jeopardy. He scores big on the questions that he studied in college, but grows more and more frustrated as Hilary and Gordon bond over their ordinary knowledge of TV shows-- like their singing the theme to Gilligan's Island. They are having fun, but Vincent can only see it as a competition.
In that moment he sees a world that he has never known and probably will never really get, and he lashes out at both of them. Gordon is hurt and puzzled and Hilary is torn between anger and understanding.
I wish that they had had Julia telling Gordon about how the character of Vincent was struggling with cancer, and having all three of them interact with each other bringing more depth to their struggles-- Vincent's jealousy of watching Hilary and Gordon interacting, and Gordon reaching out in friendship to help his new friend. It also would have given Hilary more insight into her emotions, and, when she made a choice it would have had more meaning.
Señorita Andrea (1980)
Charming romance,but overly long!
I saw this novela about 1981 so the details, in some respect, are a little hazy. The lead actress,Andrea Del Boca, plays a young teenager named Andrea who is returning to her home in Buenos Aires after spending years in New York with her aunt and uncle. The heroine was born with a heart defect and had to be hospitalized until her operation could take place. Her parents are overjoyed to see her, but the same can't be said about her older sister Mariana. Mariana was always jealous of the attention that Andrea received from their parents due to her illness, and also because she was greatly loved by everyone for her sweetness and unselfish nature. Mariana had become accustomed to being the only child during her sister's absence and resents her return. Mariana is currently seeing a handsome, if somewhat rebellious young man named Nino, and has become obsessed with him. He thinks of Mariana as mostly a friend, but becomes attracted to her fifteen year old sister,Andrea. Mariana sees his interest and does everything in her power to destroy their budding romance by telling lies to both Nino and Andrea in order to separate them. She is aided in this by her mother's cousin, an embittered and lonely woman, who is reluctantly taken into the household by the girl's parents. It is later discovered that the cousin is Mariana's real mother. When the man she loved abandoned her when she was pregnant to marry another woman, she gave Mariana to her cousin to raise as her own child. I think now that many people would be disturbed by the idea of a fifteen year old girl becoming involved with a young man in his twenties, but in Argentinian culture back then it was more acceptable. Especially when you learn that the heroine's mother married her husband at age seventeen after a three year courtship. There were no sex scenes other than a few somewhat chaste kisses, but the romantic intensity and interaction between the two main leads, Raul Taibo and Andrea del Boca, made the storyline believable since theirs was more of an emotional and spiritual connection. The main fault that I have found in the novelas from Argentina is that they never seem to know when to quit. They drag out the stories far too long and then try to wrap up the endings in just a few weeks, however, the acting is usually excellent and they have some of the most gorgeous men and women performing in them! I definitely include the sexy and handsome Raul Taibo among the latter, and he is also a fine actor!
The Betty Hutton Show (1959)
It had a good premise,but found no audience
I was eleven when this show came on and I immediately liked the character portrayed by Betty Hutton. I still have a comedic memory of her trying to cross the street while still a manicurist, almost being hit by a car, and her yelling after the speeding car to "Back up Mister, you missed me!" It was a wonderfully funny line.
The second memory I have of the show was a far more poignant one. Betty Hutton, as Goldie, is being courted by a broke socialite with an eye to the main chance. He has invited her to classy restaurant and she is trying to dress properly for her date. Naturally, she is over-dressed and the two older children cruelly make fun of her. The youngest boy treats her kindly and helps her to tone down to let her real beauty shine through. Goldie remarks that of all the kids, the boy is the most like his father.
I enjoyed it, but the timing and the quality of the writing didn't live up to the talent of Miss Hutton. I think that if it had been given another season to expand the concept that it could have had a modest success!
Household Saints (1993)
A Charming and Romantic Love Story,but bizarre ending!
The first half of the story charmed me. I'm a Vincent D'Onofrio fan and this brought out the best parts of his acting throughout the movie. He never struck a false note and was totally believable. Tracy Ullman was also first-rate as the puzzled object of Joseph Santangelo's affections. The only flaw in the ointment in the first half was Joseph Santangelo's ignorant, half-mad mother,Carmela, who tries to sabotage Joseph's courtship and later his marriage to the vulnerable Cathrine. Judith Malina played the mother-in-law with a superstitious viciousness that made me want to give her the evil eye! I also must praise the acting of Michael Rispoli as Nicky Falconetti, a troubled and sensitive soul, yearning to have a great love in his life and fixated on the opera Madam Butterfly. His gradual descent into alcoholism and suicidal despair is heart-breaking. The second half of the movie adds a discordant note to what was up to then a beautiful love story. Joseph and Cathrine's daughter has obviously inherited the schizophrenic tendencies of her late grandmother. A clue is given when Cathrine sees her daughter ending her hunger strike in the kitchen and has a momentary image of her mother-in-law Carmela standing at the stove where her daughter should be. Her grandmother Carmela use to see her dead husband Vincenzo speaking to her in her living room, while young Teresa ends up desiring a saint's crown of martyrdom and ultimately sees a vision of Jesus in her living room Vincent D'Onofrio and Tracy Ullman are completely believable as the worried and unhappy parents trying to cope with an increasingly disturbed only child. They made the transition from young lovers to devoted, middle-aged couple credible, and their scenes with their daughter in the mental hospital and later at the funeral seemed so vividly real. Vincent D'Onofrio was especially moving in these scenes! The ending scene with the older couple(who are they suppose to be?) who were supposedly telling the story about Joseph,Cathrine, and Teresa made no sense to me as one of the kids knocks over a drink and they remove the picnic tablecloth to cut off the view from the camera. That was really dumb symbolism on somebody's part!
Anne was the mother of five in World 1
I've read all the Anne books! I really dislike it when they take a beloved character, and completely ignore all the written material on said character.
It was Anne's three sons who fought in WW1, and you can find the story in Lucy Maud Montgomery's book entitled "Rilla of Ingleside" The story of the terrible effects of the war is seen through the eyes of Anne's youngest child, Marilla, who is fifteen at the start of the war in 1914.
It is a heart-felt story. One of Anne's younger sons dies in France, but it is also a story of hope and faith and the foibles of a small community facing a situation outside the small island they grew up on.
Why they didn't use that story, or indeed, the previous story where Anne is married and starts a new life on her beloved island with Gilbert I'll never know!It often seems to me that screenwriters don't read, or do research when dealing with literary subjects!
I'm sorry that they didn't give Megan Fellows better material. She is a fine young actress and deserves better. Ps: Diana's husband Fred Wright was a pleasant, down-to-earth farmer in the Anne books.
Musidora superb, but Judex has many flaws
I recently saw Judex on television, and again I was impressed by the actress, Musidora, who had captured my attention as Irma Vep in Les Vampires. I found her villainess far more watchable than the anemic heroine chosen for the arrogant, vaguely ridiculous hero Judex. Musidora showed a naturalness and grace reminiscent of Rudolph Valentino at his best! The others were often over-emoting to the nth degree.
I also never understood why they had an obvious little girl in the role of the heroine's son,Jean. Little Olinda(Jean) really had a crush on the male child playing the Licorice Kid! The actor playing Judex's brother Roger was handsome and I think a beter silent actor than the man playing the lead. I found myself rooting for Diana Monti(aka Musidora) to eliminate the hero, and that is a sad commentary on the film in general! This film was supposedly to be light-hearted, but I found the storyline silly and often mawkish. Still, Musidora kept me watching despite the numerous flaws, and for her alone I recommend viewing this film!
Henry VIII (2003)
Don't Casting Directors ever look at pictures of historical personages?
I knew that the picture was going to be full of imperfections they minute I saw that they had made Katherine of Aragon a dark-haired, dark-eyed stereotype of what a Spaniard is suppose to look like. Katherine of Aragon, contrary to her previous portrayals, was a pretty, highly intelligent and well-educated young woman with reddish gold hair and blue eyes.
Moreover, she was infinitely more popular with the British people than Henry himself, and the Briitish people loathed Anne Boleyn for being the cause of hurting their beloved " Good Queen Catherine!"
It was believed that only Catherine's abhorence of Civil War prevented a good portion of the people rising up against Henry when he first started divorce proceedings. Assumpta Serna did an excellent job as Catherine, but her character(in my opinion) was given short shrift in comparison with Helena Bonham Carter's Anne Boleyn. Miss Bonham Carter was also too pretty to play Anne Boleyn, who, according to her contemporaries, was sallow-faced, black haired and eyed, and not that attractive in looks. What Anne did possess was a great deal of wit, charm, and ambition. Both she and Catherine were women who demonstrated strength and courage in adversity. What they lacked was the ruthless selfishness of Henry V111 and his monumental self-absorbsation in getting his own way. None of this was adequately portrayed in this series by the actors.
A charming, romantic, and fun-filled movie!
MARGIE is a wonderful movie that is deft blend of comedy,and romance. I consider this to be one of the best performances of Jeanne Crain during the 1940's. Miss Crain is delightful as a young, 1920's high school girl who is envious of her best friends romance with Johnnie, the coolest boy in school, and attracted by the handsome new French teacher,Mr. Ralph Fontaine who is currently romancing the school librarian,Lynn Bari. Margie has many crosses to bear in her young life. Her mother died at birth and she is being raised by her maternal grandmother and visited weekly by her mortician father. Her grandmother, who once chained herself to the gate of the White House, in support of woman's suffrage, makes her wear old-fashioned bloomers under her unfashionable clothes which the elastic is constantly breaking at the most inapropriate time-- usually in front of the french teacher. All the supporting roles are acted by first-class characters actors, but special kudos go to Alan Young as Margie's adenoidal, would-be boyfriend,Roy. At the end, of the movie, Margie is shown with her own teenage daughter, and we find out who she finally married-- cool Johnny, adenoidal Roy,or handsome Ralph. She got the one I wanted for her all along and all I can say(spoiler alert) is vive la France!
Amor real (2003)
Excellent remake of Bodas de Odio
Amor Real is an excellent remake of the serialized novel, or telenovela,Bodas de Odio, which was an enormous sucess with the beautiful and talented Christian Bach in the lead role back in the 1980's. This time the storyline has been slightly altered somewhat as the time period has been set back in the mid. 19th century rather than the early 20th century, and greater emphasis has been placed on the revolutionary aspects of the story. All the actors wre wonderful in both series, although, in Amor Real, I have to give special notice to the role played by Ivan Mario(just forgot his last name). The storyline changes have given it more dramatic impact. Mauricio Islas gave a wonderfully nuanced performance as Adolfo, unable to forget his first and greatest love Matilda, yet so loving and gentle with his dying young wife who was won a place in his heart with her courage and unselfish love for him. I found it romantically fitting that, at the moment of death. he saw his late wife waiting for him to join her. Poor Fernando Colunga had the hardest role keeping Manuel heroic despite the character's stupid jealousies and cruel actions. Adela Noriega was both beautiful and poignant in her role as Matilde. Chantel Andere also managed to make her character;s occasionally villanious behavior to be the result of circumstances rather than an evil nature. It's rare that Miss Andere is allowed to show vunerability and become redeemed in a telenovela. She usually dies a grisly death! I highly recommend this telenovela, and also urge you to see the original with Christian Bach if they ever rebroadcast it. Bodas de Odio lacks the technical advances used today, but the acting is superb!
I've never forgotten this show!
I loved this show when it first appeared in the United States, and wish that they would re-broadcast it again. The chemistry between Winston Rekert and Dixie Seatle combined with the deft comedic touches provided by Adderley's sweetly inept " boss",Melville Greenspan(I just suffered a memory blank about this fine actor's name) combined with interesting stories that combined mystery,drama, and comedy are worth watching over and over again. My one regret is that they have never put the show's episodes on video tape. I taped some of them in the 80's, but my tapes are starting to fade badly. If anyone ever has an opportunity to watch this show again--just run to the tv set and enjoy this charmer!
Dark Shadows (1991)
Adrian Paul and Michael T. Weiss were sexy-Ben Cross was not!
The major flaw in this series was the miscasting of Ben Cross as Barnabas Collins. He is a fine actor,however, his love scenes with actress Joana Going fizzled while the love scenes between Adrian Paul and Miss Going were romantically sensual and passionate-- you found yourself hoping that the character of Barnabas would die during the duel so that Josette could remain with Jeremiah. I watched the original series and loved it as a teenager even with its artistic flaws because of the compelling storylines. Several characters were miscast besides Mr. Cross including the girl playing Caroline. Another bright spot was Michael T. Weiss and incredibly he also bite the dust too early in the series! I think that actor Duncan Regehr would have made a wonderful Barnabas as he is talented and sexy enough to compete with the equally talented and sexy Adrian Paul! I still would watch just for the love scenes between Adrian and Miss Going!