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The Twilight Zone: The Lateness of the Hour (1960)
Season 2, Episode 8
Inger Stevens gives us a master's class in acting
19 May 2013
Maybe it was the stage where her star would have shown the brightest. I say that because as it was shot on video tape, this episode has a theater feel to it and Inger Stevens is the "grande dame" of this short play.

As a former actor/director myself (not on any big scale or even small), I can tell that this young lady clearly did her homework on this part and she took advantage of the wonderful words and character she was given to create, I suspect, in a very short amount of time. Each motivation was strongly chosen and came from deep within her. I like Inger Stevens because she's raw and she's real. I don't see that too much with today's stars (as opposed to actors).

In defense of the six episodes that were shot on video. I like them and I wish they did more (but certainly not all)! I like to intimate, live TV/theater, daytime soap opera feel that black and white video tape gives. For this particular episode, it was totally appropriate to shoot this on video. I think it made it even creepier. Twilight Zone was partially about experimentation with this new medium of TV and I, for one, am glad they did.
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Front Row Center: Tender Is the Night (1955)
Season 1, Episode 10
The best adaption of Scott Fitzgerald ever!!!
9 September 2009
First of all, I cannot believe I am making the first ever comment on this title. I just saw this remarkable adaption of the classic novel on line in a fairly okay kinescope.

Secondly, I've seen a lot of Fitzgerald adaptions over the years. Some go back decades while others are pretty recent. This version of TITN is by far the best that I've seen. The production values are great for a 55 year old live television production. I feel like the playwright actually read and UNDERSTOOD the novel he was adapting and that he actually had a clue who Scott F. was as an artist was getting at with this book. Some people don't have any idea about Scott F. Re: Any Great Gatzby adaption.

The music used for this production was simply beautiful, the sound design of the sea gave it just enough atmosphere.

So we have a great script and great production. It was all executed by marvelous direction. I felt like I was in a Broadway theater seeing something really spectacular in a very quiet intimate way. And i was. I was in NYC in 1955 at a great premier.

It was great to see Mercedes Mc. in a lead role for once, which was too rare indeed. In many ways, it could be the role of her entire career. She proved herself a leading lady. The breakdown scenes were entirely believable and heartbreaking.

James Daily matched her with his easy going manner and style reminiscent of James Garner or David Jansen. You will not catch Mr. Daily acting as he is totally in the moment and engaged by Ms. McCambridge.

I hope a restored edition would be available one day. Here is the essence of not only the best of early live television, but one that would do F. Scott Fitzgerald proud.

If I was an English teacher, even in spite of the video limitations, I might consider showing it in class if I was teaching this novel. Yes, it's that powerful!!!
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The role she was born to play - twice
16 September 2008
The print I have of this movie has no musical score. So I just found an internet music station that plays only piano and harps and it worked well enough. I do wish the Pickford foundation would get their hands on a copy and do this version justice with orchestrations and a cleaner print than I have, which is actually pretty good considering it's almost 100 years old, and release it along side the superior 1922 version. Although it certainly is not as good as the remake, it has a lot of merit in its own right.

Firstly, we have to remember that Griffith was in the planning stages of filming Birth of a Nation. Edwin S. Porter is no Griffith and he basically treated the film as if he were filming a stage play but on location. Tess would have been the perfect vehicle for Griffith to experiment with film and editing techniques. Griffith is a wonderful storyteller of the greatest warmth and emotion (True Heart Susie, Broken Blossoms) and Tess would have been a great story for him to tell in his own unique style. Of course, if Griffith has filmed Tess in 1914-5, we wouldn't have Beaudiline's (sp?) flawless 1922 version. Porter's direction leaves one cold.

What Porter does do well is film on location. He's at his best outdoors and not working with actors. His style is almost docudrama and that approach may work for some stories. For this one, especially compared to Beaudiline's emotionally charged version, it was an unfortunate director's choice especially compared to Mary's over the top performance. She is having the best of times chewing the scenery and is works brilliantly for Tess.

This version of the film is all Mary from the first to last frame. She was talented enough to realize that she was not working with Griffith or DeMille as a director. Therefore she over compensates and leaves her competent but not great co-stars in the dust as well as Porter himself. But it's the little things she does as an actress that makes her extraordinary. The way she plays her father's homecoming by inching up his arms was a great choice and gives a really nice touch. Who can play white trash with more fervor, innocence and passion than Mary Pickford. Even in her lesser films, she awesome to watch.

If you are casual silent movie or Mary Pickford fan, then this film probably is not for you. But if you believe in the artistry of either Mary Pickford or silent films, then go for this one!
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Incredibly powerful episode
27 May 2008
I'm a 44 male and I was never much into Family Affair as a kid, but now I am just glued to this show. What have I been missing all these decades? Family Affair is a absolute gem of a series. I am loving every minute going thru the DVDs.

This particular episode is arguably the centerpiece of the five year run. How they put together such an action packed gut wrenching subject matter into 26 minutes is a miracle. Today, they would have drawn it out over 3 maudlin episodes and it still wouldn't have had the same intense impact that this masterpiece has even 40 years later.

It should have won awards for writing, directing and especially acting; not only for Eve Plumb who is nothing short of wonderful, but especially for Anissa Jones, God rest her little soul, who really nails it here. She is really stellar!! This is HER moment to shine in the series and she just glows!

It would have been awesome to have Eve do the audio commentary on the DVD. (C'mon MPI... think about it for the re-release of Season 3.)
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It was a different America in 1951
23 May 2008
Can you imagine A list stars of today talking about the Declaration of Independence, Christianity and being a blessing to the people of this country?

Sure, it was a bit stagy and scripted, but this little documentary was so refreshing to see today and just goes to show how far the entertainment field has fallen. It actually makes me very sad.

The Christophers are still a great organization.

7 is for content, not actually entertainment value.

I loved this and can't wait to show it to others who would appreciate it.
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Bacon, Jolson and Lee - the unfortunate "sequel"
23 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Due to the surprise gross receipts of The Singing Fool, Director Bacon, Star Jolson and Sidekick Lee were rushed back to WB to produce something worthy of the former. What they produced was a weak imitation of The Singing Fool and SIWS bombed. It was a bomb then, it still is 80 years later. Rarely does lightning ever strike twice. SIWS is a really good example of that.

I have been a huge Jolson fan for 30 years, since I was a teenager. He may be the world's greatest entertainer, but he really shows his acting limitations here. His upbeat scenes are fine but anytime he is supposed to show some emotion, and that's most of the time, none of it is genuine. It's forced, certainly nothing organic. I've seen better acting in high school productions... or in an Ed Wood movie.

In his defense, he was given some really crappy dialog. "Early talking" is no excuse. They had great writers on b'way. Why not bring 'em over to H'wood? Oh that's right, WB was too cheap for that back then.

SPOILER One of the many examples of bad dialog and bad acting is when Little Pal gets hit by a car, Jolson with wide eyes exclaims "Oh my God, it's MY baby!" is truly an unintentional hysterical moment in the history of film. The reaction I had was, to be sure, not the one Bacon had in mind when he was directing this turkey.

I'm not sure if Davey Lee can act. He certainly was cute and lively. He had the best moments in the movie, the courtroom scene being one. I do think that there was genuine fondness between Jolie and Lee and that rings loud and clear here. This was the only thing that was successfully carried over from the first film to the second. I'll give Bacon the credit for that. In fact, years later in The Singing Kid, his scenes with another child actress, Sybil Jason, are even more phenomenal. So Jolie had some panache working with children. He should have done more that.

It would have been nice to have, in these first few Jolson films, some A list co-stars. Imagine Helen Morgan as his wife and Adolph Menjou as the doctor!! Most of his early films tend to suffer from being "all about Jolson". Imagine a Jolson and Morgan duet!! I suppose that at this stage in his career that Jolson didn't want to share the marque with anybody on his level, hence, the forgettable supporting actors. In the long run, that was a bad decision on his part as Jolson's infamous ego has hurt the watch-ability of the early films today.

Speaking of mediocre, the songs are just that. Little Pal did stay in his rep for the rest of Jolson's life. Not sure why, it's too much like Sonny Boy, which is the better of the two and its by no means a pop masterpiece.

The best scene in the film is a brilliantly directed dream sequence of Little Pal dreaming his father is singing... Little Pal... (what else?) to him. It's a really, really nice, very imaginative scene.

In conclusion, I still love Jolie. By far, this is the worst film he ever made. It is a curiosity only for Jolson fans like me. The good news is that as the years progress, the scripts got better and he got better and more relaxed as an actor. His ego was more or less in check when worked with A list people like Dick Powell, Frank Morgan, Kay Francis, Don Ameche, Alice Faye, Ruby Keeler and ... Helen Morgan. (Still no duet though - what a loss!) It is a shame that Jolson went out of style, or something, by the end of the '30 as we lost what could have been a wonderful fatherly character type actor in the '40s.
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Just saw a very good DVD-R copy
3 May 2008
I've been waiting 30 years to see this film. I played the soundtrack album as a teenager and through my 20s. Recently, I located a reasonably priced dvdr and I watched it this morning. It was in widescreen, probably even a 70mm print, stereo, the colors were quite good, very little fading, certainly not remastered but I'm very very happy with this clean copy.

Now for the film. It's pretty good. I wouldn't say it's great though there are great scenes in it. Perhaps Premminger may not have been the right director for it, but I'll say this. For me the center piece of the film was the hurricane scene. Marvelously staged by Premminger. One of the great weather scenes of all time.

In fact, I'd go as far to say that the acting scenes are better than the musical scenes, not that the musical sequences are bad. Not at all. They did lack... something though. Perhaps it was the fact that there are no close ups and very few medium shots. It was almost like watching a filming of a stage production. Perhaps that was the feel that Premminger was going after. In the end it may not have been the right choice, but so it goes. It is far from a ruined movie.

Having said that, not everyone loves the singers on the soundtrack either. I always have. They are perfect for this film. I love the singing voices. The actors lip-sinking are excellent for the most part. I just wish the songs were staged more imaginatively. Sportin' Life's two numbers are fine, but the intimate numbers don't even feel intimate. They just feel... far away. In spite of that, you cannot deny the power of the music. And in the end, that is what comes through loud and clear. Once again, maybe what Premminger was trying to do was to stay out of the way of the incredible music he was working with. I believe he had the right idea but perhaps went too far in that direction.

The acting is terrific. Top kudos goes to the great Brock Peters who acts and sings the part of Crown. He is the ultimate meany. We just want him to leave poor Bess alone, and he doesn't. As proud, arrogant and nasty as he is, Sammy Davis Jr's classic rendition of Sportin' Life is the slick devil himself and a very charismatic one at that. Arguably, Davis's best film acting. Poor Bess just can't handle two bad men. I'm glad the Hermes Pan gave Davis a tap dance number to do.

Dandridge and Poitier, reportedly not impressed by being in the film, really are very sweet together. I don't know about chemistry... there was more chemistry between Dandridge and Peters than there was between Dandridge and Poitier. Still, it worked out fine for Dorothy and Sidney.

Even so, I think they should both be proud of the work they did on this film. They both managed to bring more than one tear to my eye. Their characterizations where very 3D and believable. Sidney Poitier's Porgy, however, seems almost out of place in catfish row. I couldn't help thinking he was Mr. Braithwaite in "To Sir with Love", very educated and well mannered and spoken, fallen on hard times. He probably wouldn't have been my first choice for the part of Porgy, but hey, he was a huge star at the time, so why not? Dorothy's Bess was as perfect as her Carmen Jones, in fact even more vulnerable this time around. Carmen was probably the flashier part for her to do.

A very very good film indeed, it is two sticks short of what I would call a classic. It just doesn't make the ultimate classic grade. Still, there is no reason on earth why the Gershwin estate has decided to keep this beautiful film, even with all of its flaws, hidden from the public as they have. Premminger may have made some odd choices as a director, but the film is nothing to be ashamed and embarrassed about for anyone involved with it. It is what it is and there are a lot worse movies than this that are embarrassing out on DVD and in theaters today. Porgy and Bess is not one of them.
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incredibly insulting and not at all funny
3 May 2008
The commenter from Walla Walla got it right. The Joe Besser stooges shorts are masterpieces by comparison to this total waste of film. It's not even remotely funny or even amusing. Instead of laughing, I was angry at someone as minimally talented (and I am being nice) as Ted Healy beating up on my stooges. Talk about a third rate comic, this guy is worse than that. I guess they had to start somewhere. Maybe they were all funny on the vaudeville stage together, but they were not in this thing. Stay the heck away from this film. It is not worth wasting 20 minutes of your life. I'm not even going to mention where I saw it to spare you the pain.
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Helen's follow up to Applause
24 March 2008
How did Helen Morgan, who gave a remarkable, searing performance as Kitty Darling in the 1929 film Applause, a film most consider to be one of the great early talkies, follow that masterpiece up. It would be hard to top Applause to be sure, but Roadhouse Nights, which is at best only an average B movie, makes it seem even worse than it really is if you area fan of Helen Morgan as I am.

The bad news for Helen fans is that there is so little of Helen on film that we will even take a mediocre vehicle such as Roadhouse Nights rather than have nothing at all. Personally, I wish she had chosen her material a little better.

Roadhouse not a total waste of time. Helen sings one dynamite song and she briefly displays a rare potential as a comedienne. She does rise above the material. Perhaps comedy was something she should have looked into a bit more.

What's really interesting is that it feels as though a lot of the scenes were filmed in one or two takes as the actors, including Helen, flub lines more than once. It's like you're watching a rehearsal for a play.

Also on hand are Charlie Ruggles who I had never seen before and he does the comic drunk bit pretty well. Jimmy Durante is rather annoying and hadn't learned to act for film yet. He's way way over the top as if he were still on a vaudeville stage.

Overall, the film gets better as it races to its 68 minute conclusion so don't give up in the first half hour. But unless you are a die-hard Morgan, Durante or Ruggles fan, there is little reason to tune in. That is painful for me to say. I want more people to know who Helen Morgan is. If you have never seen her before, please don't start here. Start with Applause... and then there is Showboat. Her first and last... perfect bookends to an all too short acting career on film... and life.
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Terrific little film
3 March 2008
Frankie and Johnnie brilliantly captures the sleazy atmosphere of Riverboat life in St. Louis, 1870. The art direction, cinematography, and costuming must be applauded especially taking into consideration that Republic was certainly not MGM.

The dialog and the direction keep things moving to it's final twist. (I was shocked!! Maybe others wouldn't be.)

For those who are of the politically correct brand, you guys will not like the fried chicken eating wedding sequence with Frankie's comment being, "They (black people) are so simple... so happy... they are not afraid of themselves." I guess one could look at it as a backhanded complement. But even I, who is far from buying into political correctness, had to squirm in my seat. I suppose it is that scene that will keep this otherwise nice film from getting a DVD release. What a shame we are so squeamish. (I'm not, but some are.) But the film takes place in 1870, it was made in 1934. People actually thought like that back then. It proves we've come along way with a long way to go perhaps, but what a measuring stick it is.

Then there's Chester Morris as Johnnie who should have been a big A list star. This film proves what a great actor he was. He could teach a thing or three to the people passing for actors today.

If for no other reason, this movie is worth watching for the legendary singer/actress Helen Morgan in a rare starring role, the other being her incredible tour-de-force in Applause (1929). She may have not have been my first choice for this part, but she does manage to pull it off and she puts her own spin on it. She does have great depth as an actress. It's shame she didn't do more leads. Unfortunately, she only sings two songs, but they are two good ones.

All in all, it's a really good and different type of movie. Highly recommended if you are a fan either of the stars or just want to see a good story well told by good filmmakers and actors and are sick and tired of the garbage coming out of Hollywood here in 2008.
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no redeeming value
26 February 2008
You can find this miserable waste of celluloid in those bargain basement 20 movies for $6 type of sets. Some of those films are really good! But not this one.

If you purchase one of those sets, please skip over this movie. If I can save one person from wasting 53 minutes of their life, this posting will be worth it.

Where o where did republic come up with this poor excuse for a cast? There are no obscure names here, obscure suggesting they were once well known. No has-beens, suggesting actors once had a decent career. The best thing I can say about the leads is that they looked pretty good. I can't comment on the acting since there wasn't any acting. There was some over acting from that annoying second rate Allen Jenkins type character - so incredibly unfunny. The leads were just a waist of space - and they couldn't sing either - and this was a musical. In fact, not one of them could even so much as carry a tune. I really hated the male lead's voice which was just a lot of bad vibrato.

There was only a couple of songs. None of them good.

So we are down to a bad attempt at comedy (writing and acting), terrible music, non existent direction, and putrid acting. Did I mention the horrid attempt at comedy yet? No charm, no fun, no nothing.

Other than that, it was great.

Shame on you, Republic Pictures. Stay out of the musical business.

Do not watch this film.
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State Fair (1962)
Much better than you think!
24 October 2007
For 45 years or so, this remake of State Fair has been unfairly judged going back to the original reviews. In spite of that, it was a hit then and it should be a hit today. It's a great family film, the kind they don't make anymore, plus morals - something we don't have in movies today!! Jose Ferrer really outdid himself as a director. He keeps his young actors in line and the cute little plot moving along. It's got beautiful photography and wonderful choreography from Nick Castle.

For even longer than 45 years, the world has been pretty critical of Pat Boone which has been undeserved. Well, he shines in this one! Those acting lessons from Sandy Meisner really paid off in his scenes with Ann-Margret. He's simply terrific and "in the moment". Not only does he have a great set of pipes, he looks wonderful without his shirt, he does acrobatics and that duet with Ann "Willing and Able" is just about the sexiest... no, the hottest number to come out of a musical from that era. West Side Story didn't have a number like that! Wow-wee! Pat should have been a big movie star based on what I saw in this movie as well as a the great recording artist he was at that time.

Ann looks awesome is shorts and her big number, "Isn't it kind of fun" is really well done.

All in all, the movie has really aged well and people should check it out with their families and decide for themselves. Don't listen to those grumpy people who don't like this movie (or Pat).
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Very sweet little show :)
22 October 2007
Buried on Disc 2 on the King and I DVD is the pilot episode for Anna and the King.

The fact that it made me want to see all 13 episodes must be saying that the pilot did its job. Yul was of course, outstanding as a small screen king. Samantha Eggars was a great choice for Anna. The writing was very thoughtful and the sets were very pretty for a 30 minute sitcom.

Actually, I didn't think it was a sitcom per se until the laugh track jarred me out of the show. This was the quiet muffled version of the laugh track that we grew up hearing in shows like Andy Griffith, Green Acres, Doris Day and MASH. It was really out of place in Siam. Nothing would have been so much better. But really, this is a very minor point.

As family sitcoms go, this one is charming and delightful and actually has aged better than many shows from that same era.
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Life Is Worth Living (1952–1965)
A masterpiece from secular television.
10 October 2007
Okay, get this. I'm pitching a prime time major network television show. It's about this Catholic bishop giving a 30 minute monologue each week. It's not so much Catholic based, not even Christian, as said bishop is well versed in literature, philosophy, and politics. Whadya say, Mr. TV Exec?

Never in a million years would a show like this get put on TV today! But in TV's infancy... what a breath of fresh air!

My oh my... how far downward our society has fallen. This show proves beyond all others from this or any other era that our country's intellect has been washed away. Can you imagine someone trying to pitch a show to go on ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox today? Or even secular cable? 55 years ago it wasn't so far fetched at all. In fact, the Bishop's ratings were pretty high. And this was pretty esoteric stuff he was talking about. It's pretty sad that I cannot imagine the MTV generation sitting still for this, not that he's slow moving, he's not, but he's got so much to tell us and black and white kine-scopes are going to keep the current generation from embracing his wit, wisdom, love, and... how to give a public speech. (I used to teach public speaking to high school students.) There is no one better, no one.

I'm in my 40s. I guess you would call me an evangelical, charismatic Christian, certainly not of the Catholic brand. However, I go out of my way to watch Bishop Sheen on EWTN every Friday night now. My brain gets stimulated. He's so spot on and so inspired by the Holy Spirit, it's exhausting. The Bishop had a gift; it came from Him.

It is amazing to see how prophetic he was. He was dead on about where this country was heading.

Thank you EWTN for broadcasting the best show on your network!! And thank you Bishop Sheen Archives in Rochester, NY for restoring these programs. I just wished you would have left the original titles and credits alone. I don't get the new narration and the Bishop's bio at the end of every program. That's nit picky, I know. Still, I feel so blessed by Bishop Sheen and his ministry more than any other Christian broadcaster.

I look forward to meeting him in Heaven one day. Bye now! God love you!!
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What my Chinese (PRC) wife thought of FDS
7 April 2006
Speaking for myself, I have been a huge fan of FDS since the '70s when I bought the soundtrack album (on Decca) at a used record store for $7. I saw it on TV one new years day i think 1980 and it's been one of my favorites ever since. Not only is it one of R and H's best scores, Alfred Newman's arrangements are simply lush and beautiful. The cast and the director are all top notch. The screen play is delightful, perhaps a bit long, but rather too long than eliminate one of the great songs, some of which were already edited down from the original Broadway version which was directed by the great Gene Kelly. I have often wondered what would have happened if he had directed the movie. On stage, I do like the full two versions of The Other Generation, for example.

My wife is from the Peoples Rep. of China. Shes 28 and has been in the USA for 15 months as of this writing. I was going through my stuff recently in storage and came across of my heavily yellowed copy of CY Lee's novel FDS and thought my wife would enjoy it. She did. So i thought well now it's time to break out my old VHS copy which i hadn't seen since 1990. it was playable but storage hasn't been very kind to it. C'Mon DVD!!!

Her final comment was "cute". Benson Fong's Mr. Wang reminded her of her own father. Even though my wonderful father in law is a hard line communist, I see the obvious paternal, controlling similarities between them. He made her very nostalgic for her home land and her family. If we ever have any sons, he will probably be like Wang San in many ways and she could see the old man's reaction to his youngest son's could be very similar between her father and our son yet to be conceived.

What she thought was laughably bad was "A Hundred Million Miracles" trying to be passed off as a real flower drum song. She said, "if they sung that in China as a flower drum song they would have been stoned to death." She almost lost interest in the movie at that point especially since the movie and original play deviate from the novel at that point. So she didn't buy that at all. Sammy Fong's lecherous behavior was also realistic for a Chinese businessman. My wife related to that too.

She didn't buy some of the costuming especially young women wearing hats. Married women wore hats in the '50s but Mei Li apparently wouldn't.

Speaking of Mei Li, she totally bought her character both in the book and the movie. Very realistic portrayal and Miyoshi looked like a typical peasant girl albeit Miyoshi is Japanese not Chinese and that was evident immediately.

Linda Low, though not a big part of the novel, if at all, (I have forgotten if that character appears in it), was another realistic character, even today in 2006!! She reminded both us of, well... shall we say... materialistic girls you could meet everyday in Shanghai, the ones that unsuspecting foreigners need to be careful of. In any event, Nancy Kwan has another fan in my wife. We have a copy of Suzie Wong - book and movie - in China.

For myself, it was interesting seeing the movie after having lived three years in the PRC and what an admirable job the creators of the movie did in keeping with the culture. They missed a few things obviously, but for two Jewish boys from NYC, R and H as well as Joseph Fields libretto did an awesome job of keeping it real, much more so here than with the King and I which both play and movie are banned forever in Thailand because the Thai people find it so offensive.

As far as David Hwang's remake of FDS goes, I really can't comment on it because I haven't read it or seen it. I don't know if I really want to although I am curious just because I have been a supporter of FDS for so many years. If the idea for the remake is to resemble the novel more, than I am all for it. I love the novel and I think the original play and movie missed opportunities for beefing up the Helen Chao character better. She just kinds of disappears with no mention of her suicide after the hauntingly beautiful "Love Look Away" a show stopper if there ever was one. That is a flaw.

I just love Sammy Fong. How can you have FDS without Sammy Fong? He is just so sleazy and brilliant and wonderful invention by the creative team. How can you do FDS without 'the other generation" in any version. That's the whole point of the both the novel and the original play as well as the movie - the generation gap and the cultural gap. In portraying that, FDS, the original play and movie, succeed on pretty much every level If the idea to create a new version of FDS was because the movie and play portrayed negative stereotypes, my wife who is Chinese has to disagree. She loves the characters in this movie; in many ways, they brought China to life for her and what it is like living in a totally new culture, not understanding anything at all, or in her case thinking you know a foreign culture because you have worked with foreigners and finding it's completely different over here.

Kudos and thank you to RandH, Ross Hunter and his team in creating a movie that has aged so gracefully, (as has Ms. Kwan) for the most part, and making serious cultural and generational issues that will probably never go away fun. This movie will be current in 100 years.
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The Jackie Gleason Show (1966–1970)
Charming and very classy
12 November 2005
It's the color honeymooners as the good life channel calls them and thank you good life, for bringing them back.

If it looks like the great one is resting on his laurels, so be it. He deserves it. Where the '50s version of the honeymooners was hysterical and gritty, the late '60s version emphasizes Miami (ad nausea - it still tickles me tho since i grew up in ft. Lauderdale in the '60s-'70s.), color, a large budget and awesome musical numbers. The comedy is still funny in fact even sidesplitting from time to time, but in this version, it seems to be all about CHARM as opposed to innovative comedy. Sure, Gleason and Carney are a TEAM and a delightful team, like going over to a favorite uncle at thanksgiving. It's a team that has paid their dues and now are reaping the rewards and just relaxing and having fun. THere's nothing wrong with that. IT's just not as funny and innovative as these episode are remakes of the '50s episodes which was where the innovation was.

THe composers of the songs can stand proud of their accomplishment at writing a damn fine musical a week (or every other maybe?) and their creations can stand along side anything on Broadway at the time or even now. Perhaps there can be a musical review on stage featuring these great songs. I especially love the song from the Italy episode which Sheila mccrae sings with a Italian boy. what a beautiful song.

Mccrae and Jane Kean are always criticized for not being the beloved Audrey Meadows (or Pert Kelton for that matter. I saw one extremely rare Dumont show where she played Alice. she was truly frightening.) and Joyce Randolph. But Sheila and Jane are top notch singers and I love the hear them belt out Alice's and Trixie's songs. It's funny because I can't picture Sheila and Jane in the old '50s show just like i can't picture Audrey and Joyce in the '60s show. Gleason and Carney aren't singers at all, but they can sure put over a great song nonetheless. There are no comparisons.

THe only thing i find regrettable is that good life TV is only showing honeymooner episodes and there are only 40 of these hour long color musicals. I wish they would show the other non-honeymooners episodes. And now that I live in a city where I cant get good life TV, I wish someone would come out with an authorized DVD of four complete seasons of the Jackie Gleason show from Miami.

But thank you good life TV for bringing back great Saturday night TV and a heck of a lot of charm and class.
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Disappointing, dated, and not very funny
20 July 2004
I did laugh once. The bit where she's trying to break eggs is priceless and I LOL'd. Other than that, it's rather boring and predictable, a tedious 114 minutes. Tracy-Hepburn, in fact the screenwriters and director Stevens all did much better work in their sterling careers. This one just doesn't hold up very well at all. Unless you are a die-hard Tracy-Hepburn fan, which admittedly I am not, I'd recommend passing on it. I'm not some snot-nosed teenage kid brought up on color, wide screen and FX. I adore old romantic movies in BW from Hollywood. Just not this one.

Actually, I do like the movie's message. I think it does explore many of the issues that are current in today's society such as how do you have a two career family and who is raising the children. From that stand point, it's very modern. The whole scene about the Greek boy was sad and pathetic. Tess Harding totally loss sympathy, in fact it's rather eerie when she saw nothing wrong with allowing the little boy, fresh from an orphanage, stay home alone all by himself while she goes off and gets some damned award. Priorities. No, you CAN'T have it all. One has to choose. Unfortunately, kids are routinely sacrificed in this way today.

Only the ending is a cop out by today's standards and Tess Harding would never, I don't think, sacrifice her career to be a stay at home mother. She's just too selfish and a narcissist. It would have made more sense for Sam Craig to sacrifice his career, if anybody had to. A proper ending would have been a compromise on both of their careers.

A better movie on the same theme of two career families (also with a cop out ending unfortunately) is THE THRILL OF IT ALL, a Day-Garner pairing. This one is funny, energetic, everything that WOMAN OF THE YEAR is not.
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