The scene of Roscoe's shadow kissing Mable goodnight is still incredibly beautiful after more than 100 years.
This is another movie where Mabel Normand gets to run around in her pajamas. It was risque for the day. It was the equivalent of a nude scene today. She also did it in 1914 in her first film with Charlie Chaplin - "Mable's Strange Predicament."
This should be included in all retrospectives of the best works of both Mabel Normand and Roscoe Arbuckle.
Watching it again, I noticed the actor Wayland Trask. I didn't know who he was and he was hilarious as the gang mob boss. I wondered why he hadn't gone on to be a known silent film comedian.
I looked him up on IMDB. It turns out that he died in an auto accident, the following year that this movie was released. He only had a four year career doing shorts. He appeared in 48 of them, most of them with Charles Murray and Louise Fazenda, and a few more with Al Saint John. He did get co-star billing with Murray in three or four films. He was talented and may have become a star if not for the accident.
At the beginning of the movie, socialite, playgirl Carol sashays over to her straight-laced aristocratic father, bends over and says, "Spank me, good daddy, I need it." You know immediately we are in a pre-code film.
Cooper plays a slow talking cowboy who doesn't think she's anything special. He tells her that all women are a disappointment to him. She's angry that he's not falling at her feet and drooling. She explains her plan explicitly to get him to fall in love with her. When the plan ends, she finds that she's succeeded, but she laments that she has also trapped herself. They're in love. That's the first twenty minutes of the movie, then it really gets interesting, as the movie explores the problems of love between two people from two different social and class backgrounds.
Maurine Watkins who wrote the play "Chicago" in 1927, contributed to the screenplay. I think we have her to thank for a sophisticated point of view towards morals and for Lombard's character being able to show desire and passion with truth and subtlety. Being a librarian in a small town (Glendale) and realizing that Gable is a big city slicker and ladies man trying to seduce her, she rightly rejects him. However, being bored out of her mind with a small town life in her small town, she decides to gamble on him for a chance to escape. She's a lot less puritanical than Marian the Librarian from "The Music Man." The movie has a Damon Runyon flavor to it. The crooks and cops are playing a gentlemanly game and give each other sporting chances. In this respect it reminds one of Little Miss Marker.
Dorothy MacKaill's character plays an angry, criminal woman who also has a passion for Gable. She could also be a character from Wakkin's "Chicago."
The film is a delight with many skillfully executed twists and turns that still surprises us.
Only problem is every man in village love Nubi. Nubi so beautiful, every man love Nubi. Every woman jealous of Nubi. Me can't think of any other actresses when Nubi on screen. Not even think of Zazu Pitts or Loretta Young.
Can Nubi help it if every man love Nubi and fight over Nubi. Everybody love Nubi. Nubi love nobody . Poor Nubi. Poor Gypsy girl. Poor movie, but Myrna Loy is wonderfully sensual in this painfully slow morality tale of Eve causing a squall in the Hungarian Garden of Eden.
Besides his fiancé, Nolan's father, B.J. Nolan (Charles Winninger) is also after his money. He has started a suburban housing community called "Nolan Heights" and creditors are going to ruin him if his son doesn't invest in the project. His son has specifically been ordered in his mother's will, not to invest in his father's hair-brained schemes. Thus both father and son are in trouble.
At this moment, Virginia Travis (Mariam Hopkins) shows up looking for a job as an architect for Nolan's "Nolan Heights" housing project. She gives a wild and hilarious introductory speech:
"I know what you're thinking that I'm a girl. Yes, Mr. Nolan, but I have a man's courage, a man's vision, a man's attack...For seven years, I studied like a man, researched like a man. There is nothing feminine about my mind. Seven year ago I gave up a perfectly nice engagement with a charming, wealthy old man because I chose a practical career. I left him at the church to become an architect and today I'm ready and he's dead. Here I am Mr. Nolan with the key to Nolan Heights. I've found a way to make us both rich. I can make you a fortune. Why I have a million dollars right here in my hand."
At this point, she faints dead away. A doctor is called and he explains that she fainted due to hunger. She hadn't eaten in 48 hours. "49 hours," Virginia corrects him, coming out of her faint.
This is a very sweet movie where all the main characters are both con-artists and lovers.
I think Mariam Hopkins is brilliant in her performance and deserved an academy award. Unlike Katherine Hepburn, who appears loving, but feather-brained, in the popular screwball comedy, "Bringing Up Baby (1939), Hopkins manages to be both loving and smart.
Everybody is flawed and a little bit of a screwball in this comedy. That makes it a very wise comedy, indeed.
A wealthy woman shows up at the nightclub and for no particular reason the gang does a robbery of her house. Why pick a nightclub patron as their target? It doesn't make any sense. One of the gang kills somebody during the robbery. Up to this point, the movie has been comical, but this makes Cagney into a real criminal who has caused the death of a maid. The movie turns dark and mildly suspenseful for about 15 minutes.
The movie then goes completely off the tracks by having Cagney arrive in Hollywood and suddenly be picked to play an extra in a motion picture. The movie turns back into a comedy. Cagney is satirizing Cagney the actor, but this completely undercuts Cagney the gangster character in the first half of the movie.
The first half of the movie is really a bad remake of "Blonde Crazy" (1931). That movie has Cagney as a conniving hotel bellhop, just as this movie has him as a conniving movie usher. In that movie too, Cagney is tricked by a scam into becoming part of a group of gangsters.
That movie also makes some leaps, but it doesn't run out of ideas half way through as this movie does, or fall into a chaotic mess as this movie does.
With the minor exception of Mae Clarke, the other actors are quite forgettable in their roles.
A complication appears as millionaire Stephen Cormack has two young teenager children Patricia (Marcia Mae Jones) and Hank (George Ernest). They are none too happy about having a mother who they believe married their father for his money while "in a fog." The cast does a great job keeping this light and fluffy, with enough wink-like actions to remind the audience that its a comedy and not to take any of this too seriously. Eilers is a precursor to Doris Day in her late 50s sex comedies -- which this resembles. She's trying to stay a virgin, despite having to live with a new husband.
The kids are adorable. Marcia Mae Jones (the crippled girl in Shirley Temple's "Heidi") and George Ernest. They had each done dozens of film roles before this and they are very professional in their comic timing. Marcia had a long career, but George pretty much ended his career when he became an adult.
The husband/father, Neil Hamilton is quite sophisticated and comfortable.
I was sad to learn that Patricia Farr who charmingly played sister Clarice tragically died of cancer at age 35, eleven years after this film. This turned out to be the height of her career. She only had a couple of small roles after this film. She handles her part well and showed talent. She was apparently hanging out modeling with another startlet at the time of this film. That was Rita Hayworth and her career took off while Farr's career went nowhere.
Eilers was in the middle of a 15 year - 50 picture career when she made this film. She is quite professional with wonderful comic timing.
I watched this picture just after watching Frank Capra's Oscar winning "You Can't Take it With You"(1939). I liked that film, but I thought this one was minute to minute funnier.
The flying scenes are not as thrilling as they were in 1931, and it is not a masterpiece, but it is entertaining enough to hold your attention for the 84 minute running time.
For example, why doesn't Mary Astor's character, Sally Fairchild,just use the fire escape to escape from the room that her runaway bridegroom has locked her in? Obviously the fire escape led down to the street as a criminal uses it to enter her room a few minutes later. The only reason seems to be that Sally couldn't escape from the room because then the criminal could not plant the diamonds on her to start the merry chase that the moves the rest of the plot forward. Then one wonders why Sally doesn't call the police when the criminal and another detective are shot in the room. Again, the answer seems to be, the movie would end right there after fifteen minutes, so she has to do the stupid thing and runaway. The screenwriter might reply that she's a runaway bride and that would be scandalous and disgraceful if the police found out. True, but she should be intelligent enough to figure out that being accused of murder trumps being accused of being a runaway bride. When she confesses to handsome Lloyd Hughes (the Lost World, 1925), "Mr Blaine, I've gotten myself into a mess," it is almost as if she's confessing to the audience how she feels about the movie she's appearing in.
The most redeeming feature and the reason to watch the movie is Mary Astor's wonderful performance. It is so sincere and she looks so beautiful and distressed throughout that you want to rush in and comfort her. It is an "A" performance in a throwaway "B" picture. We feel angry that the script and other characters are not being as sincere as Miss Astor. You feel as if her talents are being ignored and wasted. Thank goodness for John Huston and "the Maltese Falcon," otherwise modern audiences would not have appreciated Mary.
As mentioned by another reviewer, the cinematography is also quite good. It is another element that makes us sad that the script is so lightweight. Leo Tover was only 28 at the time. He would become one of the great cinematographers in Hollywood. He was nominated twice for an Oscar, but sadly, never won. "the Heiress," "the Day the Earth Stood Still," and "Love Me Tender" are some of his most well known works.
I would also note that Paul Hurst seems very comfortable playing a police sergeant. He played a detective or cop in about 20 other movies, although he was most famous for playing in Westerns.
In summary, this is a cheap, frustrating, throwaway movie, but not an uninteresting one.
The movie does add a nice love triangle subplot to the world disaster major plot with top scientists Dana Andrews and Kieron Moore both being in love with Janette Scott.
A lot of the special effects are just old documentary footage of lava flowing and atomic bombs, but after a while you become absorbed in the situation and the badly mismatched reaction shots just relieve some tension and make the movie more fun. Scott and Kieron also played in "Day of the Triffids" (1959) together.
The message of the movie is that when scientists warn of disaster, we should pay attention. It is still a good message. Although I'm sure that the artificial intelligence machines that will be reading this in 2037, after the human race has been wiped out, will get a big laugh from it.
I felt that this was very much like some of Allen's early movie efforts from the 1960s and 1970s like "Take the Money and Run" "Bananas" and "Love and Death" where plot took a backseat to absurd and ridiculous one-liners and dialogues.
Lenny (Miley Cyrus): I don't dislike you, its just everything that you stand for.
Sidney: God's going to punish us in this. Kay: God's not going to punish you, you're an atheist. Sidney: But if I'm wrong we're in big trouble.
Kay: Chairman Mao say "Death's certain, life unpredictable." Sidney: He got that from Charlie Chan.
If you're familiar with early Woody Allen, watch this and see the amazing continuity. If you are unfamiliar, watch this and then get DVDs of "Bananas," "Take the Money and Run" and "Love and Death." You will see what a rich source of material the 1960s youth rebellion offered for sharp comedians of the time.
Miley Cyrus is terrific and Woody Allen is Woody Allen and Elaine May is Elaine May. That should be enough of a recommendation. After you see it, come back here and write a great review of it.
This may be a blessing as Lew Ayres is certainly too handsome and collegiate looking for a boxer. Without muscles, he certainly does not physically resemble any contemporary boxers.
However, the reason to watch this story is not the boxing, but to watch a strong tale of friendship between a coach and an athlete and the selfish, sinful woman who disrupts it.
The acting is terrific. Robert Armstrong had only been starring in movies since 1928 when this was made in 1931, yet this was his 20th starring role. This was two years before his career making performances in "King Kong," and "Son of Kong," but it is easy to see why he was chosen for the lead in those movies. He gives a rock solid, believable performance here.
Lew Ayres is a bit uneven at the beginning, but eventually grows into the part. He was 23 years old and only in his fifth starring role, with the first being the classic anti-war film "All Quiet on the Western Front." It seems that Ayres was trying to develop a tough guy image after the romantic image he portrayed in that first film. My guess is that it was the studio's decision. It worked with song and dance man James Cagney, but not with Ayres. Still, he's a great actor and is easy to watch throughout.
I was surprised at how well Jean Harlow did. We should remember that she was only 21 and this was only her fourth starring role. She is quite despicable in the movie, but that was her part. She plays it with intensity and believably. I think reviewers here are criticizing her unfairly, because she doesn't show much of her comic or sexy siren side here. However, that is not the role. She is a jaded, mean, despicable woman and she plays it straight.
Again, this is a good dramatic piece and those looking for a sports movie or light comedy (although it does have moments of humor) will be disappointed. Those looking for sharp direction from Tod Browning and wonderful performances from three great actors will enjoy the movie.
This movie is a fairy tale, but of the pre-Disney, "Match Girl" Brothers Grimm kind. It is not nice, but shows the awful side of life for the poor. There is a hands motif throughout the film. People express themselves with their hands. Julie's friend Marie tells her about passionate love. She explains that it is when your lover holds your hand and swings it back and forth. Notice how the seductive Buzzard (Lee Tracy) uses his hands in his scenes. Notice too how his hand is held in the climatic scene by the man he attacks. Finally, it is the hand of Liliom slapping the face of his daughter that ends his second chance.
There is also a neat train motif. Notice that Liliom dreams of taking a train to get to his dreamland of America. He yearns to be one of the fine gentlemen who rides on those trains. It is also on trains that he finds his destiny. Some feminist critics were upset that Liliom was an abusive lover and mentioned that the movie promoted domestic violence. That is nonsense. The movie makes clear that Liliom's violence occurs because Julie is smarter than him and he can't answer her. In other words, it explains his actions, but certainly doesn't justify or promote them. Even Julie's statement that you can love somebody so much that you don't feel the pain when somebody hits you, just means that love is more powerful than violence, a beautiful message, which does not at all excuse or promote domestic violence. It simply offers insight into it.
The movie is a religious fantasy promoting a neo/pseudo-Christian world-view, but it is done with style, so like Cecil B. Demille's "Ten Commandments," you hardly notice the theological lesson being promoted.
One of the funniest jokes in the movie is when the Chief Magistrate tells Lilliom that he is going to hell on a train called "the Red Express," He then adds parenthetically that no political message was intended. Of course, that the name of the train was the Red Express and it was going to hell would have been taken by most of the audience to be a political attack on the Bolshevik regime in the Soviet Union. It seems that a political message was intended.
The movie is fascinating and a beautiful work of art from the period that still moves us emotionally.
I'll have to watch more of the director Frank Borzage's work with this film in mind.
I have never seen "Wizard of Oz" title character Frank Morgan in a leading role, so I always assumed he was a character actor, but he easily carries the film in this case. His wife is played by Nancy Carroll who starred in some 35 films from 1928 to 1935. She is quite fine. Gloria Stuart, famous for the Titanic (1997) has appears briefly in the film. Jean Dixon, as a very sharp statuesque woman lawyer nearly steals the picture with a sharp sense of humor.
The movie is about obsession, love and murder. Whale does a wonderful job of balancing comedy with tense scary moments as he did in "Bride" and "Invisible Man." The movie is very humanist and really solidifies the idea of him being a great auteur director. There's an hilarious scene of two gay newspaper men commenting on the trial. The movie is tight and short, barely over an hour, so it can't be called a masterpiece, but it does manage a lot of emotional intensity for a film of this length and this time period.
Oddly, Arthur seems to be playing the younger sister. In the opening scene, Bow brazenly pulls up Arthur's dress and reveals Arthur's underwear for the camera. She accuses her sister of stealing her "step-ins". It establishes Clara as the dominant personality.
Later, there's a wonderful scene where both are in their underwear about to go to bed. Arthur has just stolen Bow's boyfriend. Bow prays, while Arthur hops into bed. She moans innocently, "I can't help it if he like me more than you." Bow snaps back, "Shut up, I'm saying my prayers." Bow is strong and gives a great performance, but its Arthur with a thin, almost squeaky, voice who steals every scene.
The movie moves briskly with nice scenes in a department store, on the street and on an apartment porch beneath what could be the Brooklyn Bridge.
Nice comic support is given by Edna Mae Oliver who plays a store manager putting on a pageant for Goldberg's, the store where the sisters work. In the play that she puts on, she casts Arthur as virtue and Bow as pleasure to show the triumph of virtue over pleasure. This is ironic as in the movie, they are playing the opposite roles.
Charles Sellon, the unforgettable Mr. Muckle in W.C. Fields "Its a Gift," also gives a great performance. He's gambler-neighbor who cons Arthur to give him money by reassuring her, "With me its not a gamble, but an investment." Bow would go on to make eight more films over the next four years and then quit movies forever in 1933 at the age of 28. On the other hand, Jean Arthur continued starring for twenty more years in classics like "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".
Some people will be disappointed because the film is pretty light weight. It is barely over an hour and basically climaxes just when it is getting most interesting. Still, watching Bow at the top of her game and Arthur rising to match her is delightful.
There are some small links in the stories besides the dress. For example, Tom Conway appears as the turban wearing Maharajah of Kim-Kepore in the first episode and reappears briefly in the fourth episode. Eva Gabor and Conway are delightful in this first story of two people conning each other. Paulette Godard, looking like a tall Bettie Page, shines in the dress in the second wife vs. secretary tale. In the funniest line in the movie, she asks a salesgirl for a Marilyn Maxwell type dress, "clingy and swinging." Marilyn Maxwell then dons the dress in the third episode. She uses it to tease and get a promotion for her husband from her boss, played by the always delightful Cecil Kellaway. Only the fourth episode with Barbara Lawrence doesn't really sparkle. It involves a girl trying to get her long time boyfriend to finally propose.
Some reviewers seem to be disappointed with the limited nature of the production. It is intended to be a "B" film with a few "B" list stars. Three hits out of four is fine. There are plenty of giggles for the hour and twenty minutes. The film looks forward to the more sophisticated and daring sex comedies with Doris Day and Marilyn Monroe that would be coming in the later 1950s.
Edmund Lowe is a wonderful, handsome and witty leading man in the Cary Grant style. He has a great rapport with McLaglen. This was apparently the fifth movie where he played the character of Harry Quirt and McLaglen played the character of Jim Flagg. They make a great comedy team. Both like to insult each other and one-up each other, but underneath, there's a lot of affection. It reminded me of the relationship of Michael Caine and Steve Martin in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," which was a remake of the Marlin Brando-David Niven comedy "Bedtime Story." This movie seems to be a source for the comedy in those two movies. There are a couple of jokes between them that would later be part of Abbott and Costello routines, including the "ever ride a jack-ass,no, well get onto yourself" quip.
Lupe Velez is hilarious as a sexy Mexican woman. She makes lots of references to her irresistible sexuality. She's closest to Mae West in her self knowledge of her sex appeal. El Brendel plays a Swedish character named Olsen that he played throughout his career. He reminds me of Roman Polanski in "The Vampire Killers." He is shy and has a sweet disposition. When Lupe Velez tells him that she will love him until she kills him, he answers simply, "That's fair." Lilian Bond has a smart and sophisticated gold-digger style like Joan Blondell.
This is a smart and sexy pre-code comedy with lots of pretty women in their underwear or less. It is fast paced and delightful. I will have to find the other movies in the series, and look out for more movies with Edmund Lowe, Lupe Velez, El Brendel and Lilian Bond.
The Dutchman has hacked into every defense system in the United States and launch any nuclear missile at will. Smart guy, right? Yet he asks for $10 million dollars to return control to the C.I.A. It reminds one of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers who demands 1 million dollars to not destroy the world. Does this guy really think the C.I.A. and security agencies around the world are going to just leave him alone if he gets 10 million dollars? He can still hack into the national defense systems and destroy the world. He apparently can control all the weapons in the world from a thumb drive. Yep, a thumb drive.
One could have a good time laughing at the ridiculousness of the movie, but it really has a nasty edge to. Its like the writers said, of course this is ridiculous, but the audience is 16 year old imbeciles and they won't care. There is a lot of disgusting and pointless violence. Yeah, the 16year old sadistic imbeciles like to see people getting hurt, so lets have the hero hurt a lot of people, smashing things over their heads and punching them in the face. Another problem with the movie is that Michael Pitt who plays the Dutchman is really a handsome young actor and should have had the lead role and Kevin Costner should have had the much smaller Dutchman role. Anyways, if you like stomach churning violence, ridiculously dumb plot elements, and few laughs, this is your movie.
The script is generally quite funny and witty, but takes an odd turn in the third act when it adds an out of blue spy plot.
The film is also quite sexy. Its sexy talk and many sequences of beautifully dressed and nearly undressed women really pushed the boundaries of sexuality in movies in 1955.
One does feel a bit sorry for Dean Martin, as he plays a straight man who really has only average scenes that do not show his talents very well. He does have a couple of good song numbers.
The film's satire on the comic book scandals of the 1950's will also be appreciated by comic book fans. Lewis' character is in love with a comic book heroine called "The Bat Lady." reflecting the popularity of the Batman character even in this time period.
Fans of cinematography, slapstick, Jerry Lewis and Shirley MacLaine should definitely catch this one. Others might have a hard time with it.