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10/10
Rosie's debut
30 November 2007
This was one of the films the U.S.A. channel used to show before they got their current boring line--up. A sweet musical comedy,featuring Rosemary Clooney befriending a young refugee and helping her to stay in country and be a star. Not much plot but light and airy entertainment with some good songs. Anna Maria and Rosie make lovely singing stars. The supporting cast is great,including the comics who play Rosie's friends. It proved Paramount was just as capable and MGM,making musicals. I wish this one was on DVD,hopefully there'll be a groundswell of interest so people can buy it.Another good Rosie picture is Here Come the Girls,with Bob Hope and Arlene Dahl.Paramount hoped Rosie would replace Betty Hutton as their resident singing star but the decline of musicals and Rosie's decision to be a wife and mother prevailed and she did mainly television.
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10/10
At Last
28 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting version of singer Jane Froman's career and her near tragic accident during a plane crash during the war,almost losing her legs. Picture plays havoc with the facts but in a sentimental way that makes it palatable. Jane Froman was a very successful radio singer but unlike the movie,she had bad luck with a film career. A tendency to stutter limited her chances as an actress. The stage shows she did had short running lives too. I've been a fan of this film for years. It's too bad the rich,contralto singing is no longer in fashion. The scenes with the servicemen were a bit schmaltzy but Susan Hayward manages to carry them off. She was very effective in the hospital scenes. The nurse played by Thelma Ritter,incidentally,was made up by the writer.
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10/10
Phyllis Diller rocks
22 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie when I was a kid and loved it. Phyllis and Bob Denver were a hoot as was the parade of fun character actors in the piece. I laughed out loud when Bob's scent machine went wrong with skunk oil. It was also hilarious when Bob's father heard Phyllis' wacky laugh and figured he could use it to scare the crows. But I think the biggest laugh for me was when everyone in town was coming to tar and feather poor Phyllis and the scent machine sent off love gas,making everyone instantly start kissing and hugging. The two main guys in town that were heading the mob suddenly start kissing on Phyllis. This movie and boy,Did I Get a Wrong Number are my favorite Phylis Diller films. Universal should put out Saleslady,The Art of Love ,and A Man could get killed.
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10/10
Alice glows
3 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Charming,funny movie with Don Ameche playing two parts,a baron and a nightclub entertainer. The entertainer has Carmen Mirande for a hot-tempered girlfriend so it's fun already. Alice Faye plays the baroness looking lovely in her Travis Banton gowns. I especially liked the gold dress and magnificent ruby bib necklace she wears. Surprisingly,Alice doesn't sing much,on the DVD it shows a number that was cut. The film has a short running time so it's odd they cut it out. The numbers Carmen does are fantastic. The film is more of a romantic comedy with songs than an actual musical. I laughed out loud at scene where don Ameche carries Alice upstairs and film dissolves to hand thrusting in and out of a drum,seems Hitchcok wasn't the only one who could do suggestive scenes.
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1/10
Poor Jayne
18 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
For someone with such a sunny personality,it's odd Jayne showed up in this low-budget lamebrain outing. Jayne showing her all was the main selling point of this opus. The picture is cheap looking and in grainy black and white,hardly the vehicle for the golden girl of the fifties. The story,such as it is,moves along very dully and proves boobs and Jayne do not a picture make. Certainly Jayne could handle comedy and one wonders how this might have been in more skilled hands. Supposedly Jayne required a whole bottle of champagne before she'd doff her clothes. The notorioty of the film gave Jayne a lot of unsavory publicity and probably ended her career in mainline movies.
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My Reputation (1946)
10/10
Barbara shines
22 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Surprisingly,this film has never been set up as a woman's lib type film which it certainly is. Barbara follows all the conventional rules,marriage,children,then it all falls apart. Her husband dies,her two boys are leaving for boarding school,everything is all arranged but what is Barbara to do. Her mother wants her to be in permanent mourning like she has for 25 years and be her companion. Barbara tries to fill her life with volunteer work and fending off advances from her friends' husbands,who all seem to think she's accessible since she's a widow. The entry of George Brent as a new man on the scene wakes her up and makes the neighbors gossip/ Barbara has done nothing wrong but the rule of the day is she causing a scandal,even her sons are mad at her. Her pal Eve Arden talks her into a skiing trip where she finds romance with Brent. The director said Max Steiner's score was one of his less pompous ones and it's used well through the film,serving as a love song,triumphant march when Barbara goes to Brent's apartment and a beautiful farewell scene at train station. I loved the part where Barbra enters Brent's apartment and exclaims its' beauty when all of a sudden she sees the bedroom and the music stops with a thump. Definitely a movie to see,not on tape or DVD unfortunately,wish it were. By the way,the Max Steiner score was reused for The McConnel Story starring Alan Ladd and June Allyson.
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10/10
Bonita shines
9 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I was growing up I loved kid's adventure books but passed on Nancy Drew,she was for girls only. When I actually read one I was surprised how phony the whole thing seemed, Nany was perky and perfect with an ideal life style. A widowed,indulgent father,a loving housekeeper,a generous allowance ,her own car,no home work and no chores. The Warner Bros. series wisely trimmed the fat,eliminating Nancy's girlfriends who helped her in cases,making Ted,not Ned,more prominent. In a couple of the movies he tries to avoid her and her schemes but she gets him involved anyway. It's highly unlikely the series could have continued,both leads were maturing out of the teen-age stage,Bonita left Warner bros. for MGM,so that was that. Interestingly,the series involved murders,not missing treasure or stuff like that. Bonita plays Nancy like a real girl,not perky and perfect with every step,she messes things up even with her enthusiasm.
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10/10
really good musical
30 May 2007
It was getting obvious that Fred Astaire was getting a bit old for such young leading ladies but he had such natural elegance,it still worked. This fun spic directed with a sure hand by Vincent Minneli is Hollywood's look at Broadway shoes with its frantic opening night jitters,dealing with flops,the optimism of the chorus kids. One movie book complained the picture was phony,that the stars never mingled with the chorus people,it just wasn't done. Lighten up,this is a frothy musical,maybe it would have been nice if the stars did mingle with the rest of the cast. There seemed to be a lot of tension during the making of this film,Nanette Fabray got the cold shoulder from the rest of the cast and didn't know why. The costume designer Mary Ann Nyberg got no cooperation from the MGM wardrobe department. The simple net coat she dsigned for Nanette took several days to put together with different sleeves each time, When Freed wanted Cyd Charisse to wear a copy of Nyberg's simple white dress with broomstick pleated skirt, The wardrobe department cut it seven different ways on seven different days,pushing the cost of the dress up to $1000. Nyberg finally confronted the head of wardrobe with facts and figures and she was able to to do her work with no interference. Thankfully all that backstage business didn't hurt the film,although it's amusing showing Ava Gardner in a cameo playing herself being sweet to reporters unlike real life. I love the costumes and musical numbers,the DVD has the out take "Two-faced Woman' another treat. It's a real dynamic number and one of Cyd's few solo spots,one wonders if Astaire didn't want anyone moving into his spotlight so he suggested to Freed the number had to go.
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Adventures of Superman (1952–1958)
10/10
love that redhead
16 May 2007
I always had a crush on Noel,she was one neat lady. I loved her wardrobe and the way she filled it out,plus her nice speaking voice. For a tiny redhead,that was one real built lady. Does anyone know if she supplied her own clothes or were they purchased for her? I read in a Superman book that the cast generally wore the same outfits so they could use footage in different episodes. For such a popular show,the cast was really underpaid. They were paid by the week and the company would churn out two episodes a week,with no residuals or anything. I'm glad Noel is still around to see her fans. I was always surprised that she retired after the show ended but I suppose people linked her too strongly with the role of Lois Lane. I liked Phyllis Coates as Lois,too,by the way. Phyllis was a bit more physical and Noel was more feminine. Plus,Noel got to be in the show when they switched to color,now you could see her glorious red hair. The episode where she was mistaken as a long dead Eqyptian queen showcased her nice figure. Her followers dressed her in a Cleopactra type outfit and were planning to bury her alive in secret tomb. Luckily,Superman saved the day. I didn't like new version of Lois and Clark,she was portrayed as too business and no femininity at all,what a disappointment. I'm glad when they did the first Superman movie,they stuck to the classic image,
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10/10
a bit of a mistake
8 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary about Hollywood censorship and it's rarefactions. Poor Mamie Van Doren,the censors didn't like her and automatically put any film with her in the banned category and killed off her career. I loved bit when she explained about the pyramid bras. U could extend your breasts across the room but had to be covered up,no cleavage. Another bit surprised me,when Douglas Fairbanks jr. talks about the exploitation of children,he shows a miniature Mae West singing to Cary Grant,supposedly this was a child. Actually it was a midget whose specialty was an imitation of Mae West. Check out the naughty Porky Pig cartoon,it's hilarious.
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10/10
Big Bad John rides again
29 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is the movie that made John Wayne a millionaire. When Republic pictures agreed to make the film,studio head Herbert J. Yates insisted that his favorite leading lady, Vera Hruba Ralston be given the female lead. John protested until Yates agreed he could form a production company and own a piece of Wake of The Red Witch,his next outing. John did and Wake gave him over a million dollars in salary. I guess he should have thanked Vera for his success. Anyway,Kentuckian is a very good film with the Republic stock company backing John and Oliver Hardy playing his sidekick. I always liked Vera Ralston and thought she looked good in period films. She actually looks like portraits of women of the era rather than a conventionally movie star. Republic excelled in action scenes and the final stampede of wagons and horses is much more exciting than they do nowadays.
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Partners in Crime (1983– )
10/10
winner
17 April 2007
Being an Agatha Christie fan,it bothers me when someone adapts one of her works and never bothers to read the source material. This outing has an enjoyable cast,crisp direction,nice period touch in the sets,cars and costumes. Much to my amazement,they actually followed the original stories. Francesca Annis is fun as Tuppence,James Warwick muskies a great Tommy and Reese Dimsdale is fun as Albert,the office mainstay. It's a glance at English Life in the twenties in the upper brackets. Manor houses,servants,costume balls,things that are out of date nowadays but fun to look at. Too bad Francesca and James never reteamed for N or M,or By the Pricking of my Thumbs. The other adaptions I liked were "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" with Francesca and James,and "The Seven Dials Mystery" with Jame Warwick,all of them excellent.
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6/10
Annie shines
23 March 2007
The film of Bye,Bye Birdie is fairly entertaining although the cast complained director George Sidney made it more of an Ann-Margaret movie than the stage show. The beginning number was written for the screen to showcase Annie. The most startling thing was I bought an album of her singing from the early sixties and was surprised how small and weak her voice was,I guess they really built up the volume for the movies and her singing did improve when she did stage shows. A lot of the storyline is dated and did it seem that a lot of the numbers were a bit much? They seemed to dwarf the simple storyline. Poor Annie,she looked like an angel but when she got into her dance moves she seemed a bit slutty to be a simple teen-age girl the story called for but it perked the movie up so I guess that was all that was important. I love Paul Lynde and Maureen Stapleton in the cast. Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh were fun,too. Not exactly a classic but fun to watch. If Lyndsay Lohan is supposed to do a remake,can she sing and dance? I haven't heard anything about her in this respect.
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10/10
definitely the best
23 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is the first live action comedy movie Disney did and it's great. Cute premise of boy turning into sheepdog and defeating nest of spies. Lots of slapstick and funny situations. The entire cast is first rate. It also has leisurely pacing that really is interesting,Disney hadn't quite got to the era where all the comedy is whacked on the head full center and nothing left to the imagination. I recommend the DVD very much,it has both color and black and white versions of the film plus commentaries from the cast that are very interesting with background of the making of the film. It's also interesting to see how much the cast changed. Hard to believe this movie is 44 years old.
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Black Orpheus (1959)
10/10
must see
15 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I usually don't go for art films but I'm a fan of Greek Mythology so this had an interesting twist to it. It's definitely a movie u have to watch with no interruptions,the pulsating music and spirited performances move u along swiftly to the inevitable sad climax. The cast is all newcomers and do very well in their roles. It's fascinating to see the poverty of Rio but the carnival lifts everybody up like a religious experience and provides an escape from their dreary lives. The photography is first rate. Supposedly some of the Carnival footage is from a film Orson Welles shot in 1941 called It's All True but he was so long shooting it,RKO cancelled the production. The director of Orpheous staged a fake carnival on a side street in the Rio slums with 200 extras,much to his delight the entire neighborhood got excited about filming and the crowd swelled to 20,000,making it a really lavish spectacle,complete with dancing and costumes. The Criterion DVD has great sound and color. I usually like to use the subtitles but for some resin they don't match the English soundtrack so it's best to leave it off,unless u want to hear the original Portugese.
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All About Eve (1950)
10/10
let's hear it for Ann Baxter
9 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I like this movie,it's full of stinging wit and dialogs,although it's written by a male chauvinist,Joe Mankiewitz. The notion seems absurd nowadays that women can't have a career and marriage,too,but it has to be taken in the context of the times. The only problem I have is Eve is so transparently phony that I'm surprised the supposedly hip theater crowd doesn't see right through her. Anyway,I love the comeuppance scene where Addison tells Eve about all her lies and how she belongs to him. Ann's voice drops from sweetly phony to guttural scowling with panache. It's almost a shocking transition. Everyone in the cast is good but I like Ann Baxter. Incidentally,Claudette Colbert was supposed to be Margo but she dropped out because of a back injury. The idea was there was supposed to be a similarity between Margo and Eve.
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4/10
PC strikes again
17 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I've watched this cartoon ever since I was young so it came as a surprise when it popped up on cable,cut! The bigger cat hypnotizes the little cat into being different celibates, Frank Sinatra,Bing Crosby,Jimmy Durante and for years he was also Rochester,Jack Benny's African-American sidekick,now this funny bit is snipped out. I suppose the powers that be thought this might be offensive but I still miss it.Having seen classic cartoons for years it's surprising that someone decided they have to do some judicious editing to make them more palatable for today's audiences. Racial jokes are cut,as are any gags about suicides. With all the violence and bad language on Morten cartoons,it's your call if this is a good thing or not
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2/10
not Mark's best
6 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Since leaving Studio 2000,Mark Slade's gay porn career has suffered. This latest outing has lackluster performances,bad photography and poor sound quality. It lacks the polish and sheen of his earlier efforts. Despite the sexy cover on the DVD,Mark does not have a tryst with his on camera son nor does he have a lot of scenes in the film. For some reason,Mark tries to inject acting scenes into the skimpy scenario that are beyond his range. He's a nice looking,hulky man with a wooden countenance that resists showing any emotions. It's OK for your collection but not one of Mark's best,the guys in the film could have been better looking and a lot more active.
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10/10
one of Betty's best
20 December 2006
Betty's last major film for her home studio Pararmount was one of her best. Her acting is toned down,her singing is warm and mellow. Vocal surgery had kept her from the shouting type of singing she did so in a way this was a more mature role for her. Ralph Meeker is good as her husband Benny Fields. The sets,costumes and color are very lush and typical of the big studio's fifties product. Billy Bird is a riot as Betty's companion. Ironically,in real life Blossom Seely did retire so Benny Fields could be the star of the family but his career fizzled and he retired a year later,also. There was a soundtrack issued at the time but it hasn't resurfaced. I never was a big fan of Hutton's but thought her role in this film was very good.
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10/10
Entertaining space epic
31 July 2006
Neat little epic about starfish shaped aliens coming to Earth to warn it of impending Clayson with another planet. Oddly enough,viewers complains about the cheap costumes of the aliens,if they listened to the story,the aliens wore protective costumes to function in Earth's atmosphere because their actual shape would horrify the earth people. The special effects are very good,par for the course for fifties sci-fi. Definitely a must for your video shelf. The color is a bit faded but it's still a nice film to watch. The dubbing is well done and the musical numbers are fun. Probably not the classic film one would like but it still good. I'm a big fan of Japanese sci-fi.so it goes well with my collection.
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10/10
Horray for Eleanor
12 May 2006
Really exciting tale of mail-order bride coming to South American plantation owner to share his life and troubles. Eleanor Parker is surprisingly strong and beautiful as the bride,Charlton Heston is properly strong and macho as the husband. When army ants threaten the plantation Eleanor decides to stay and fight. I love scene where Charlton says "you're quite a woman" Eleanor slings back "you're right,I am." Great supporting cast including William Conrad as the inspector,Abraham Sofar as the loyal servant. If you're fans of older films,he played similar role in Elephant Walk with Liz Taylor. Real creeper scene where fat worker gets covered by ants. The emotional story is good,too,when Charlton finds out his bride was married before and the pain is causes him since he likes everything new on his plantation. This film is a prime example of Paramount at it's best,beautiful sets,costumes,photography,music. An era we'll never see again except in the movies, definitely a film to watch.
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10/10
Doris' best role
5 January 2006
This film is the story of 20's singer Ruth Etting and her marriage to Marty Snyder. When Doris sings the old standards,it's great but MGM tacked on two numbers that sounded OK but they threw the ambiance off. It plays with the facts as usual,Ruth Etting was well into her thirties before she went Hollywood. In real life Ruth Etting was a quiet,refined woman stuck in a bad marriage. Despite what the film says,Ruth had many friends who just accepted Marty as her husband. Ruth was no ambitious tramp conniving people out of work so she could take their place but I guess it made a better story. The song Ten Cents a Dance was actually written for a stage show.
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6/10
Yvonne shines
28 May 2005
Fairly entertaining melodrama of girl who is paid off by rich widow for supposed intrigue with her,deceased rich husband. Yvonne buys into gambling casino in the Caribbean. Naturally,she attracts the attention of the local men, including her old boyfriend,a spoiled society guy who dumped her years before. Republic was struggling to stay afloat in the fifties,still pushing out forties-style movies on a changing movie audience. Yvonne is very watchable as always and makes the most of her role. She has a good supporting cast,including a young James Arness (tv's Matt Dillon.)The photography and location work are very nice. Not a classic but pleasant time filler.
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5/10
lesser Hitchcock
18 May 2005
Hitch claimed he only directed the script as written as he had no feel for the material. It's an OK comedy but did anyone else notice how annoying Carole Lombard's character is? Even the people around her are a bit offbeat. She is so annoying shrill and dreary one wonders why Robert Montgomery is working so hard to get her back. Alright for your Hitch collection but not really a fantastic film. It's a look back into the social mores of yesterday as Montgomery exposes Carole as a married woman so the store she's employed at fires her as it's the store's policy not to employ married women. One wishes the characters could have been played a little more warmly instead of the tart,sharp way they were directed by Hitchcock. Since he wasn't crazy about the project,he might have injected a bit more cynicism than he thought.
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6/10
Teasama!
31 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Hilarious Russ Meyer flick shot in the desert with big-breasted babes,lots of car chases and illogical inserts of naked women. Charles Napier is fun as corrupt sheriff running drugs for his boss,slimy Franklin Bolger with the help of nasty Enrique,the Mexican sidekick. Everyone is having sex,Franklin with Racquel,Harry with Racquel,Enrique with Racque,Harry with his girlfriend Cherry,Cherry with Franklin,Cherry with Racquel,all set to Russ Meyer's endless cutting back and forth with scenes that make no sense at all. Racquel is supposedly the town hussy,living with Enrique,but she likes Harry and his girlfriend. There's lots of simulated sex,bare bottoms and boobs,a quick frontal shot Of Charles Napier,and lots of gory violence. The plot is hard to follow but twist ending pulls it all together,or does it? You'll have to see for yourself. A true laugh-fest because everyone takes it seriously although the viewer is laughing their heads off by the time it's through.
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