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Thieves Like Us (1974)
Just a word about the prevalence of Coke----
Back to the 30's, folks. I was there, I know. It wasn't that you saw Coke everywhere, it was the only soft drink you saw. There were no machines with a choice. There was a big red Coke cooler sitting at the service station, another outside the grocery. Some of them were serviced by the local ice company, that is; no motor, just ice. A lot of times they had a padlock on them, in other places you just lifted the lid, helped yourself and left your nickel. Later they graduated to some with slots where you could put your nickel. No point in showing people in this movie drinking anything else, except maybe iced tea. No one else had the coolers, and so all you saw was Coke. Add to that the amount of fountain coke we drank. And it took Robert Altman to make us all think about it.
Wow! How long can you hold your breath?
I found this movie to be suspenseful almost from the get-go. When Miss Stanwyck starts her narration it's only a few minutes until you realize that trouble is coming. The deserted area, the lock on the deserted gas station door, everything sets you up to wait for it...here it comes. At first you think it will be about the little boy, but all too soon you start holding your breath watching the tide coming in. I found this movie to be really stressful, even though I had watched it before and was prepared for the denouement. Now a movie that can keep you in suspense even when you have seen it before deserves some sort of special rating, maybe a white knuckles award?
Miss Sadie Thompson (1953)
Poorest of the sequence
I have seen the Joan Crawford version of this story, called Rain, and also Gloria Swanson's version, called Sadie Thompson. They are both well worth seeing still, in spite of their age. But even the color and Rita couldn't save this one. This one just made me want to cry, all that waste. Gloria's face is so beautiful in the silent version that it takes your breath away. And Joan Crawford acted the hell out of the part when she did it. Poor Rita, she had one good musical number and that was pretty much it. There was great pathos in the two original movies, but this one was just pitiful. You want to see Mr. Davidson, the missionary? Take a look at what Walter Houston did to that part.Anyway, the scenery was beautiful and the technicolor was bright, and that's about as much as I can say for this movie.
One Man's Journey (1933)
Very confusing, this movie.
Very confusing, this movie. There were automobiles, but apparently no vaccination for smallpox, which also seemed to be caused by dirt, according to the doctor. I'll bet that came as a surprise to the smallpox bacilli. I can actually remember when doctors made house calls, so I'm not going just on hearsay. Doctors, and everybody, had to wait to collect sometimes, and I'm sure there were times during the depression when eggs, a chicken and even potatoes were very welcome. I just think this movie went overboard on the sentimentality. I like a good old sentimental movie as much as anyone, but this one just slathers it on like butter. Makes you yearn for a little vinegar. I would say this movie is about as far removed from real life as you could get. Even the car wreck was clean.
Party Wire (1935)
Keep an eye out for Walter Brennan.
If you didn't grow up in a town like this, you might think the plot was exaggerated, and that people didn't really act like this. But they did. From the old man with his jug to all the members of the First Self Righteous church, these are all characters from my home town. Even the party line was familiar, but these old gossips didn't need the party line to spread gossip about every one in town. And it didn't need to be anything specific, just a whiff of anything different, and they were all off baying like hounds.
I was very unhappy that there was no real chemistry between the leads in this movie. I have seen Victor Jory as Indians and as every sort of criminal, but as a romantic lead he is a total dud. A handsome profile, a great voice, but as snake eyed as they come, and I kept waiting for him to hiss. A shame Jean Arthur didn't have someone more attractive to play opposite her.
Nanny 911 (2004)
Don't confuse Supernanny with this show.
I don't know how two shows with the same premise can be so totally different. Perhaps it's the nannies. Supernanny Jo from Supernanny is a pleasant, friendly and outgoing young woman. All the nannies from Nanny 911 are stiff and icy, even with these young children. In one episode, Nanny Stella had to show the children how to hug and cuddle, and she looked extremely uncomfortable doing it. This was a family who seemed unable to show any affection, although they had 6 children under age 5. If you want someone to come in and TELL you how to do it, then you need Nanny 911. If you want someone to come in and SHOW you how to do it, then you need Supernanny.
Excellent exercise in practical psychology
This show should be required viewing for any parents who have ever felt at a loss with their young children. The nanny, Jo, is a very personable, pleasant young woman. She shows by example what should be done with children and parents. I will admit that her schedules can be a little much, but if they suffice to get the family working together, then I guess the viewers can stand it. The thing I like the most about it is that she teaches the parents to play with their children and enjoy them, instead of just disciplining them. Discipline is necessary, but you don't need as much of it if you are enjoying your children and loving them. A child needs to know where the lines are drawn, so a naughty spot is a handy gadget until they understand for themselves. But discipline, or correction, will never take the place of leading the way, instead of pushing from behind. The reason Jo leaves half way through the show, is to allow the parents to see if they can handle it yet by themselves. This shows up any weak spots in the parents' approach and can be corrected easily in the last 10 minutes of the show. Wouldn't you love to see what this looked like if they actually had to shoot it in 60 minutes? By the way, don't confuse this show with Nanny 911 which has several different nannies, assigned to 'cases'. Those nannies are very standoffish and mostly it consists of telling the parents what they are doing wrong.
The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947)
It's hard to make a bad movie with Bogart & Stanwyck,
It's hard to make a bad movie with Humphrey Bogart and Barbara Stanwyck, but they certainly accomplished it here. It must have been hard on Bogart and Stanwyck, too. Bogart's playing a psychopath here, only you can't really see it to begin with. And the cutting didn't help any either. He's in love with her in Scotland, then he's back with his first wife who is dying, (according to their little girl) then she's dead, he's married to Stanwyck and there's another woman on the scene. I knew nothing about this movie when I watched it, and I'm ashamed to tell you how long it took me to figure out that he was a nutbucket. I just thought it was an extremely bad movie. Not that I consider it normal to go around killing people, but you are led to believe that he is just in love with Stanwyck. It's a really stupid plot, too. You have to sign the poison book in England to get the unnamed poison, and he not only does that, he apparently signs his real name. I guess that should have been the clue that this guy is not operating on all cylinders.I score this higher than I probably should have, but I find it hard to score a Bogart/Stanwyck film below a 5, just because they were on the screen.
Meet Millie (1952)
Real antique, but the casting was SO good
This is a real antique, but the casting was so good that two of the supporting characters were still working just a few years ago. Marvin Kaplan, who is still turning up in guest shots, and Florence Halop, who was one of the bailiffs on Night Court. Elena Verdugo is a lovely lady who also had a part in Robert Young's Doctor show, as his nurse. This show was pretty basic, the usual boy-girl type thing, but the comic abilities of Millie' mother, Florence Halop, and the neighbor boy, Marvin Kaplan, kept it pretty lively. I don't really know what the title had to do with it. This type of comedy is still with us; just maybe not as good as they were. Or maybe we are just more sophisticated.
The Gorilla (1939)
Gorilla Gargantua the Great
In reading the other reviews of this movie, I became aware that there was something else that needed to be said. The reason gorillas became such a horrifying idea and spectacle was not really the Murders in the Rue Morgue. Back in 1937, a floundering Barnum and Bailey, Ringling brothers circus was about to go bankrupt. That year they came in to possession of a gorilla, who had been damaged by having acid thrown in his face. He was called Buddy, and became a pet to some people who after 7 years sold him to the circus, after waking up during a thunder storm to find Buddy in bed with them. The publicity that the circus used was mind-boggling, and since his face was scarred from the acid, he looked the part. I saw him myself, and admit that he was a frightening sight, shut in his tiny cage. He was billed as Gargantua the Great, man-killer, etc. He saved them from bankruptcy. He died in 1949 at the young age of 20 of pneumonia, primarily because everyone was afraid to approach him. The autopsy showed that he also had decayed and impacted teeth. It's hard to find information on him today, in spite of the fact that he was the headliner for 12 years.
Astounding who you see in old movies..
This short is very entertaining, if as nothing else than a time capsule. The car, the clothes, the hair styles, everything is exactly as it was then. It's a long way from our times, too, just notice the chauffeur and the doorman!! And working as a taxi dancer couldn't have been all that great either. However, the thing that astonished me the most was not Ruth Etting's singing, which I guess I expected to sound more like Doris Day, who played her in "Love me or Leave me". I don't mean it was bad, just different. But the thing that astonished me the most was seeing Marie Wilson, in a bit part as a taxi dancer, 20 years before she starred in "My Friend Irma". She is not credited, but you can't miss her. Her voice inflection is unmistakable, and oh, those big eyes! If you enjoy going back 75 years to see how things were, you would probably enjoy this short a lot.