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Discussion Starter #41
LET ME IN (2010)
Blu-ray

Director:Matt Reeves
Writers:Matt Reeves (screenplay), John Ajvide Lindqvist (screenplay "Låt den rätte komma in")
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins

Let Me In is something unique, I feel, in the annals of horror cinema , a movie that stays true to its source material, while never feeling anything less than completely and utterly fresh and original throughout. This is a re-make of a Swedish film called "Let The Right One In" from 2008 and both films come from the novel of the same name by Swedish author Tomas Alfredson.

Let Me In takes place in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the winter of 1983. 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is raised by his divorcee mother, does not have any friends, enjoys playing with his Rubik's Cube and eating Now 'n' Laters. His school life is not much better, he is constantly bullied for not fitting in. All his problems are answered when the amazing Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves into the apartment next door. She is a self assured twelve year old who helps Owen overcome his bullying problems, gives him someone to love and their friendship blossoms.

However all is not right with Abby who is played by the highly capable Chloe Moretz, (Hit Girl in Kickass). Abby is a vampire, she "needs blood to live" and she will do anything to get it, indeed even jump on an innocent persons back as they go for a nice jog and feast on their blood. Her performance is remarkable and the chemistry with her and Kodi Smit is all the more special when you take into account they are very young actors.

Kodi Smit-McPhee, the young boy at the heart of this tale, Owen, he's just plain sensational. He looks awkward, acts awkward, and is so naturalistic and unforced that all you can think is "wow, this kid's got a hell of a future in front of him." As for the vampire girl, Abby, herself, Chloe Moretz proved in Kick-*** that she's a youthful force to be reckoned with (she literally stole the show in that movie), and she cements that impression here. It's certainly rare for a film aimed at a decidedly adult audience to count on two very young actors to carry the story, and these two certainly do. Their performances are gripping, believable, and just plain downright extraordinary.

The film itself is a masterpiece thanks to the performances of both Kodi and Chloe, that are nothing short of brilliant. Let Me In is a modern horror classic. 9/10


 

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Discussion Starter #42
Mercy Street (2016)
PBS Original
Blu-ray 4 disc set
This is also on Prime Video to stream
Follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War - New England abolitionist Mary Phinney and Confederate supporter Emma Green.

Starring: McKinley Belcher III, Suzanne Bertish, Norbert Leo Butz, Gary Cole, Peter Gerety, Shalita Grant, Hannah James , Brad Koed, Luke Macfarlane, Donna Murphy, Josh Radnor, AnnaSophia Robb , Tara Summers, Wade Williams,Mary Elizabeth Winstead .
PBS has done it again. This is a great period piece with great acting. The characters grow with each episode in strength and depth of character. There is an authenticity to this film that makes it captivating.At the center of the sprawling cast is Mary Phinney (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Boston widow and abolitionist sent to be the hospital's head nurse, and Emma Green (Hannah James), a southern belle in the town's leading family who volunteers as a nurse in the hospital to help the Confederate soldiers neglected by the Union staff. Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) is the forward-looking civilian doctor who clashes with the veteran military surgeon who prizes authority over modern medicine and Gary Cole is loyal Southern patriarch attempting to balance his Confederate loyalties with keeping the peace under military occupation.
This intense series, which is based on the real Mary Phinney's memoirs, shows how gritty life was in a Civil War hospital. Although the show is fictional, the stories based on Phinney's writings and other published memoirs of the era offer some insight into the way medicine was practiced at the time, as well as the way the turbulent political, economic, and social climate of the time affected the lives of those living in the Southern border town.

The first original scripted drama produced by PBS in over a decade, Mercy Street is a medical show by way of a historical drama, an American story that takes its cues from British period pieces and fills its cast with strong American actors. The first few episodes set up the conflicts, both political and personal, and establish the contradictions among the characters, but the series really comes alive when the personal stories begin to drive the drama and the conflicted characters find themselves torn as their loyalties are tested. I found this melodramatic drama to be very entertaining with its engaging characters, excellent costumes and set pieces coupled with the historical elements taking place during the Civil War . Highly recommended .

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Mercy Street (2016)


Great Deal on the Blu-Ray's 12 hours of viewing for 16 bucks.
Mercy Street [Blu-ray]

Mercy Street: Season 2 [Blu-ray]
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Enola Holmes (2020)


When Enola Holmes-Sherlock's teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.

Director: Harry Bradbeer
Writers: Nancy Springer (novel), Jack Thorne (screenplay)
Stars: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin

The film has serious production value. The period piece customs are wonderful. The set design and the outstanding cinematography transport the viewer back in time to England, 1884 - a world on the brink of change. The world of this film is a pleasure to disappear into.

There's a choice make by the production to have Enola break the fourth wall repeatedly throughout "Enola Holmes." She's not always sharing plot information, she also with a wink -and a -nod inject humor almost treating the viewer like a trusted confidant. It works brilliantly as Millie Bobby Brown is able build an emotional connection and becomes a very likable character for our emotional investment.


Millie Bobby Brown brings the teenage sleuth to life , with an energetic and effervescent performance as the smart, cunning and ingenious Enola Holmes . The film is well-made, well-paced and beautifully crafted family feature that has something for everyone to enjoy. And hopefully the first of a series of films.

 

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Discussion Starter #44
Director:André De Toth (as Andre de Toth)
Writers:Jay Dratler (novel), Karl Kamb (screen play)
Stars:Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt

Married insurance adjuster John Forbes falls for femme fatale Mona Stevens while her boyfriend is in jail and all suffer serious consequences as a result.

In Pitfall, de Toth has largely removed the noir film from the urban settings of the large, looming city, populated by gangsters and cops, and placed it firmly in the suburbia of America populated by the everyman (or everywoman). By creating a domestic noir, de Toth taps into feelings of familial incarceration which is more easily related to by, and perhaps more disturbing to, the everyday Joe. While very few of us would act on any of our impulses the way Forbes(Dick Powell) does, it would be folly to suggest that many haven't occasionally felt trapped in our own domestic or employment rut. In this context, Pitfall serves as a moral cautionary tale with great effect, even though the ultimate punishments seem misplaced.

One other characteristic standard that de Toth manages to turn upside-down in Pitfall is that of the femme-fatale. In other reviews or comments on this film, I've frequently seen Mona Stevens (Lizabeth Scott) referred to as the femme-fatale of the story. My own view is quite different as I view Mona as the doomed innocent. Mona's lone faults are that she commits with her heart and she attracts the wrong men. Of the three men in her life throughout the film, one is arrested for embezzling in order to provide her gifts, one is a sadistic stalker and one is a philandering husband who manages to place her in further peril. In none of these instances is Mona responsible for leading the 'innocent' male characters towards their doom. Instead, it is the actions of the men who lead Mona to hers. Indeed, Mona's respect for the sanctity of marriage and the family, only further imperil her to the point of requiring forceful self defense in an act that may ultimately mean jail or death for herself, while the cheating Forbes is returned to his loving, though damaged, family. Clearly it is Mona who suffers the most of the pair at the hands of the film's homme fatal (plural hommes fatals) An ultimately seductive and dangerous man; a womanizer.

Dick Powell I find him completely believable as a guy who's become unhappy and dissatisfied with his life. I think Powell brought a depth to his noir roles that gives his characters a complexity not always found in others. Lizabeth Scott, is marvelous, not only looking fantastic but also jumping across a wide array of emotions effortlessly, and she makes the scenes with Powell believable. Raymond Burr, who is absolutely menacing, a characteristic that most viewers would later associate him with through Hitchcock's Rear Window. Sadly, his screen time is far too limited.

Though the film has remained relatively unknown for a number of years, especially when compared to more famous "noirs", Pitfall is a gem of a movie with a whole lot to love about it.
Pitfall represents something of a zenith on several fronts. As a unique and subtly complex noir.

 

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Discussion Starter #45
Director: Guy Green
Writers: Elizabeth Kata (novel), Guy Green (written for the screen)
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman

What does a patch of blue mean?

"A patch of blue"
comes from one of things Selina remembers from her childhood before she became blind. When she was a small girl, too small to see out the window, she could only see a patch of blue sky above the windowsill, and that was one of very few colors she remembered. I found this profoundly interesting.

Selina D'Arcey is blind, yet she sees the world anew through the eyes of kindly Gordon Ralfe (Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier). An awkward Cinderella raised by a bigoted, abusive mother, Selina is white. She does not know that the man helping her learn to dial a pay phone or find the restroom is black.

Elizabeth Hartman was granted a ten-week leave from the Broadway play, Everybody Out, the Castle is Sinking, in order to film A Patch of Blue at M-G-M Studios according to American Film Institute . Elizabeth Hartman's luminous screen debut as Selina earned her a Golden Globe Award as Most Promising Newcomer. Hartman's runs the emotional gamut in her performance, she is outstanding. Hollywood politics and crippling depression ended her career and eventually led to her taking her own life. It's a sad story, but we'll always have A Patch of Blue to remember her by.


On the veteran side as Selina's blowsy, bitter mother, Shelley Winters won her second Oscar for her ridiculously shrill and violent performance. Winters was superb; she truly is unnerving . As directed by Guy Green (Oscar-winning cinematographer for Great Expectations, 1947), the performances are timeless in A Patch of Blue. So is this fine film's heart-soaring impact. A pioneering interracial melodrama. I love a Hollywood tear-jerker. The Patch of Blue is a fine example . 9/10
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Shakma (1990)
Limited Edition of 3,000 Code Red Blu-ray

In a film as predictable as this, it was a pleasant surprise watching "Shakma" rip , mame and maul

Shakma (also known as Panic in the Tower) is a 1990 American horror film directed by Tom Logan and Hugh Parks. It stars Christopher Atkins, Amanda Wyss, Ari Meyers and Roddy McDowall.



"Shakma" has a lot going for it. A rabid baboon killing a team of medical school jackasses is inherently entertaining. Six medical students and a professor are locked inside a medical building with a murderous experimental baboon when an innocent game of Dungeons and Dragons turns deadly.



Yup, the acting was so painful . You know it is a sad day when as an actor when you are shown up by the likes of Sam - Christopher Atkins! Our hero. Atkins acting compared the the rest of the cast was "Oscar worthy". Truth be told Christopher Atkins was more than decent in he's role. The stand-out is baboon TYPHOON as SHAKMA" . He does nothing but chase the students into various rooms throughout the building, whereupon he screeches and throws himself repeatedly against the door until he gets bored. I cannot even begin to describe how much doors **** Shakma off. He absolutely hates the things and it is totally gut busting hysterical to watch.... As absurd as this film was I enjoyed watching "Shakma" rip, mangle and maul the entire eminently forgettable cast. I can see how this film has gained a small cult following over the years.

Shoo , Skakma , shoo ! Leave sexy Tina..... "A Nightmare on Elm Street" alone.

 

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Discussion Starter #47
Downton Abbey(2010-2015)
PBS Blu-ray
season 1-6


A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early twentieth century.

Creator: Julian Fellowes
Stars: Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Penelope Wilton, Allen Leech, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Fifi Hart, Jim Carter ,Phyllis Logan and Oliver Barker
One may not think that a show centered around stuffy British aristocrats and the legion of butlers, maids, cooks, footmen, and valets who serve them would make for riveting drama. But Downton Abbey proved as engrossing as any period drama I have seen , sucking viewers into the world of the Crawley family and their servants as both groups navigated the shifting social landscape of the early 20th Century. Downton Abby proved that a humble network like PBS can compete with the titans of the TV landscape.

Downton Abbey is the embodiment of excellence. Well written with intelligent and inspiring storylines. The cast is superb and the show rises above the mediocrity. 10/10

 

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Discussion Starter #48

All Creatures Great and Small
MASTERPIECE
on PBS

Stars:
Nicholas Ralph, Anna Madeley, Samuel West , Rachel Shenton , Callum Woodhouse
Premiere Sunday, January 10 – February 21, 2021 on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
I have no knowledge of the source material as I never read the books nor watch any the original series or films. So this is a fresh viewing experience for me. And I really did not know what to expect.

The opener of the Masterpiece on PBS is truly charming truly heartwarming. Everything you want a British masterpiece PBS show to be, with fabulous characters , endearing animals, wit and humor. Fabulous cinematography of the Yorkshire Dales Countryside that I found to be spectacular.

This is quality fellow feeling television, coming right when I could really use it. I'm very much looking forward to see where this masterpiece on PBS series takes me emotionally.

 

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Discussion Starter #49 (Edited)
Night of the Lepus
(1972)
Shout ! Blu-Ray.
Best $ 22.00 bucks I ever spent.



One of the finest..erm...funniest eco-vengeance cinematic horrors ever captured on celluloid .

Director:William F. Claxton
Writers:Don Holliday (screenplay), Gene R. Kearney (screenplay)
Stars:Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh aka (Marion Crane) , Rory Calhoun , DeForest Kelley aka (Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy ) dammit Jim I'm a doctor not a killer rabbit specialist.

A Rabbit that has been injected with hormones and mutated blood, escapes from a laboratory and grows into a giant rabbit; and others soon follow. They start to go on the rampage and eat people, horses and cattle.
"Night of the Lepus" resembles an offering of Atomic Age cinema from the 1950s, with camerawork to sell the illusion of average rabbits as unconquerable murderers, keeping humans on the run as they work out plans to fight back. Splashing ketchup on animal faces and bodies helps the gore factor. So hysterical.

"Night of the Lepus" is so thoroughly entertaining. The trick of "Night of the Lepus" is that while it deals with a supremely silly premise, it takes everything seriously, trying to examine the rabbit apocalypse with complete concentration on the animal world eco-vengeance details of the uprising.

What makes Night of the Lepus so memorable is the use of live rabbits, the kind you would find in any local pet store. The filmmakers use quick cuts, close-ups, slow motion and just about every other cinematic trick to make the rabbits look as menacing and bloodthirsty as possible. They really wanted to scare or worry people with the possibility that huge rabbits could wreak havoc.

With its horde of man-eating bunnies and straight-faced performances by an especially earnest cast, Night of the Lepus falls into movies that are so bad, they're good. It is a must watch.
8/10


 

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Discussion Starter #50
Night of the Comet (1984)
Blu-ray /DVD
A comet wipes out most of life on Earth, leaving two Valley Girls fighting against cannibal zombies and a sinister group of scientists.

Night of the Comet is that rare movie that's effective as both a science-fiction movie and a parody of a science-fiction movie. I have always had a soft spot for 'Night of the Comet'. What really makes Night Of The Comet such a joy isn't the nostalgia rush it provides, but the two central characters Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney . These girls just get on with it, dealing with the apocalypse with resourcefulness, crackerjack wit, and machine guns. 8/10



 

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Discussion Starter #51
WandaVision (2021)


Homage to Classic TV history, WandaVision was a deliciously strange series premiere. I’m very impressed.
Elizabeth Olsen has wit ,style and charm in spades. Olson is stunningly gorgeous. Her comedic style was full of suave effervescence. Paul Bettany is doing a creative, humorous, fantastic job. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany deliver the comedic goods. I wasn’t excepting to laugh so much. Olsen and Bettany play well off each other and sell the comedic factor brilliantly. Expertly produced and spectacularly written. I will admit I am not up on the lore but I am invested and with seven more episodes after this one . Excited to see where this delightful strange series take me. This is wonderful television .
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Cat People (1982)
Blu-Ray
First Time View
A young woman's sexual awakening brings horror when she discovers her urges transform her into a monstrous black leopard.

Director: Paul Schrader
Writers: DeWitt Bodeen (story), Alan Ormsby (screenplay)
Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, John Heard , Annette O'Toole
This is a fabulously strange and weird piece of cinema . The casting of the exotic and otherworldly beauty of Nastassia Kinski could not have been bettered, and the rest of the cast is excellent as well . Annette O'Toole is also extraordinarily beautiful . Her character plays juxtaposition wonderfully against Kinski. Malcolm McDowell is his usual oddly wonderful creepy self. The theme song (Putting Out Fire) written and performed by David Bowie is a classic. Both the score and the incidental songs, are just as good. Most of it is an eerie, synthesized score by Giorgio Moroder. One must not forget the fierce and regal black leopard. What an amazingly stupendous specimen. The big cat really adds to the film.


Director of Photography John Bailey shoots those wonderfully atmospheric New Orleans locations to perfection, and the whole film has a sensual vibe that is both unsettling and alluring. Sex and death have made for odd bedfellows since since "Moby Dick was a minnow" , and have been subjects for the arts (horror especially) for about as long. There's an intriguing, surreal story here, and great performances from a seemingly odd combination of actors. I think this film is presented as thematically tantalizing as I've seen in an 80's flick.
Cat People is surreal somewhat underappreciated work of horror cinema .

 

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Discussion Starter #53
Super 8 (2011)
Blu-ray/Special features on DVD



During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town.Super 8 follows a group of kids (yes, they ride bikes) who are making a film for a film festival - and yes, it is shot on Super 8 film. One night while working on their film at a train station, a spectacular train wreck happens - this crash is the highlight of the film, it is amazing. After the train wreck things are amiss in the small town that they live in. The Air Force arrives and a cover up begins.

Director:J.J. Abrams Writer:J.J. Abrams Stars: Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler
There is a story-line in the film that follows the main character Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) and him dealing with the death of his mother. This eventually ties in with another character and their father. This story line is the one used by Abrams (who wrote this film) for the emotional punch. The story line about the train wreck, Air Force and the strange creature is for the ; I must add , superb action.

Super 8 is a love letter to Steven Spielberg (who also served as an executive producer on this flick) from J.J.
Abrams. It is made with a keen eye to replicate Spielberg's visuals from his early days. The film pays a lot of homage to Spielberg and that is one of this films greatest aspects.


I learned a bit about J.J. Abrams as I watched the Blu-rays special features . Super 8 is all about celebrating the past, from its early-80's time period setting to the subject matter that motivates the celebratory heart of the film itself. J.J. Abrams is thanking the Romero's and Spielberg's and Lucas's and Carpenters of the world with a cinematic love letter, a celluloid portrayal of who he was and what their influence did to cause him to become what he is today.

I thoroughly enjoyed this entertaining film . The kids that make up the group are all fantastic. Elle Fanning is especially good in the film. Super 8 kept me interested the whole time because I didn't quite know what was going to happen from one moment to the next and I loved all the little touches of nostalgia that Abrams put in.

 

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Discussion Starter #54

Great film noir classic. Humphrey Bogart finally achieves actual stardom as he stars in Raoul Walsh's rousing gangster caper adapted for the big screen by John Huston from the novel by W.R. Burnett. Bogie , who became a major movie star in 1941, same year in which Maltese Falcon was also released. Although Bogie is the main character in the movie, top billing went to Ida Lupino, who plays a gangster's moll. I am impressed by the performance of Ida Lupino, notice her dialogue and facial expressions , fabulous . Lupino was one of the great B actresses who delivered A level performance on camera and also sitting in the directors chair.


Bogie is Roy "Mad Dog" Earle, a newly-released ex-convict, who intends to make one last score with a small mob hiding out in a mountain cabin. A caper that would lead to a police chase in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.


Also starring Arthur Kennedy, Joan Leslie, Alan Curtis, Henry Travers, Jerome Cowan, Barton MacLane, Henry Hull, Elizabeth Risdon, Cornel Wilde, Donald MacBride, Paul Harvey, Isabel Jewell, George Meeker, Willie Best & John Eldredge. 9/10

The Beautiful Ida Lupino
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Earth
vs.
The Flying
Saucers

(1956)
Blu-Ray
First Time View


Extraterrestrials traveling in high-tech flying saucers contact a scientist as part of a plan to enslave the inhabitants of Earth.


Special Effects master Ray Harryhausen 's realistic stop motion dynamation work here helps bring home this terrifying tale of flying saucers who visit earth. Far from kind or contemplative, these aliens are aggressive, scary and abduct humans to suck the knowledge out of their brains. The film is grounded in real world science too. Hold on to your hats the 'Differential analyser' yup... how cool is that name. It was one of the first advanced computing devices to be used operationally by NASA . A mechanical analogue computer. Great stuff.

This movie also has a lot of hardware scenes and it's grounded in a real world grittiness which lends a very grim non-campy movie style to the whole production. Harryhausen skillfully edits in actual Department of Defense combat footage that masterfully gives the film an ominous and threatening impression . Harryhausen also animated the falling masonry when saucers crash into various government buildings and monuments in order to make the action appear realistic. The man is just brilliant.


The film was released in black and white. However on the blu-ray using the angle button ( I have never used this feature before till this viewing) you may switch between colorized and glorious monochrome B&W. But this is not a Ted Turner controversy of colorizing against the original artistic intent .


I think this is one of the best of the early American horror science fiction films from Columbia Pictures it holds up very well. Hey, it was made in 1956--take it for when it came out and appreciate the grim fear of "Earth vs. The Flying Saucers." 8/10

 

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Discussion Starter #56
Director:
Thornton Freeland
Writers:
Cyril Hume (screen play), H.W. Hanemann (screen play)
Stars:
Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien ,Ginger Rogers ,Fred Astaire

There was pre-code golden age of cinema lasting only four or five years - from the end of the silent era to the beginning of the Hays Code, the severe censorship rules which sought to turn cinema from naughty to nice, but in actuality sapped them of their truth and energy.

As a finale, of those smiling girls strapped to planes soaring up above the landscape.
Real footage from Flying Down to Rio (1933)


'Flying Down to Rio' is a classic pre-Hayes code talkie, and its characters have a quality of frankness which endears them to modern audience far more than many later films, whose stilted, conservative quality is somewhat alienating. You'd be surprised at what they could get away with in those days - it would be forty years before a film could get away with a line like that spoken by a starlet of her South American rivals - this is pretty sexy stuff in terms of transparent clothes; not a bra on the hundreds of candidates. And the original dirty dancing before it was outlawed, and that crack about what Brazilian women have "below the equator."
Also, this being the first Astaire-Rogers pairing.Entertainment, pure and simple.Although slightly dated in some ways it still has a great deal of appeal for those who enjoy well staged musicals. Sure there were more streamlined musical productions to follow at a later date, but I feel this one has an exciting atmosphere as far as musical content is concerned (dancing), not to mention the episode, as a finale, of those smiling girls strapped to planes soaring up above the landscape. I wonder if they'd dare to do such high flying films again in our time.
Dolores del Rio certainly was exquisite, which no one can deny. The teaming of Fred and Ginger here is probably well documented many times over by others so suffice to say they sure started something in the history of dance! Pass the popcorn please and just enjoy.
8/10
 

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Discussion Starter #57
MODERN TIMES(1936)
Blu-ray

Director:
Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)
Writer:
Charles Chaplin (as Charlie Chaplin)
Stars:
Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman

Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) is the final film to feature the great actor,director,writer's most easily recognizable incarnation: The Tramp. Here is a character that is so ingrained in the collective conscious of modern film audiences that many recognize him despite the fact that they have not seen a single Chaplin film. Which is the cap I was in until recently . Now I own several on Blu-ray.
With the advent of synchronized sound and dialogue, the world of silent film making began to slip into obscurity with audiences and studios now viewing it as obsolete and undesirable. Nevertheless, Chaplin continued his passion for the subtle craft by creating City Lights (1931), which many critics and academics consider one of the greatest films ever made, but by the time Modern Times was released, Chaplin was one of the last directors left clinging to a dying art.

Timeless Charlie Chaplin satire savagely critiques the industrial age and its dehumanizing effects on the working class. After his monotonous assembly line job leads to a stay in a mental asylum, Chaplin is released and encounters ever so lovely hobo Paulette Goddard. Soon, his desire to make a better life for his new love leads to a side-splitting series of failed jobs and prison stays.

Modern Times is also one of the most stirring love stories ever put on film. The only character who is on the same level as The Tramp is a young, homeless woman who is referred to as "The Gamin" and is played by Chaplin's then-wife, Paulette Goddard. These two are brought together by the fact they have almost nothing except the will to live and continue forward, despite adversity. Both are nameless, neither has a home, and they each have no money or material possessions.

Final shot is among Chaplin's most famous and most moving. The final image of Modern Times refuses to let the film end on an exclusively tragic note and demonstrates that the individual is still alive and may yet find his way in an ever-changing world. 9/10

Trivia

The Chaplin-Goddard Marriage: Was It Legal?

Charlie Chaplin. Famous for his tumultuous early marriages, his third "marriage" to actress Paulette Goddard has been the source of much scrutiny and doubt. Some say the issue even cost Goddard the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind.

The pair met in 1932, when Goddard was still a chorus girl, and became fast friends and lovers, Paulette even moving into Chaplin's Beverly Hills home. He bought her contract from producer Hal Roach and cast her in his classic Modern Times, which took two years to develop and film. After the release of Modern Times in 1936 the couple went on a tour of the Orient where they supposedly married secretly aboard ship. However, no official paperwork was ever provided to substantiate the claim which had the potential to further harm Paulette Goddard's career. They went on to co-star in Chaplin's next film, The Great Dictator, but the relationship began to fizzle. When the two decided to part ways in 1942, Goddard obtained a quickie divorce in Mexico and allegedly received a handsome settlement.

Goddard went on to become a major star at Paramount and Chaplin (after a nasty paternity suit) married his final wife, Oona O'Neill in 1943.

 

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Discussion Starter #58
How the West Was Won (1962)
Blu-ray



Underrated . This is one **** of an epic film . Loaded with many favorite stars James Stewart, John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Carroll Baker, Lee J. Cobb, Henry Fonda, Carolyn Jones, Karl Malden, George Peppard, Debbie Reynolds, Richard Widmark, Robert Preston, Eli Wallach, Brigid Bazlen, Walter Brennan, David Brian, Raymond Massey, Agnes Moorehead, Harry Morgan, Thelma Ritter, Mickey Shaughnessy, Russ Tamblyn, Spencer Tracy ...Narrated by (voice) Just rap your brain around these actors .


Karl Malden, Agnes Moorehead, Debbie Reynolds, Carroll Baker,


Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Preston, and Thelma Ritter


Filmed in panoramic Cinerama, this star-studded, epic Western adventure is a true cinematic classic. Three legendary directors (Henry Hathaway, John Ford and George Marshall) combine their skills to tell the story of three families and their travels from the Erie Canal to California between 1839 and 1889. Spencer Tracy narrates the film, which cost an estimated $15 million to complete. Westward expansion shows scenes of the Indian's sorrow, the white man's greed, river pirates, outlaws, lawmen, and life and death on the Western plains. Dozens of marquee names worked with over 12,000 extras, 630 horses, hundreds of horse drawn wagons, and a stampede of 2,000 buffalo. The human cost of the concept of Manifest Destiny is revealed in all its colorful and violent glory. How the West Was Won garnered three Oscars, for screenplay, film editing, and sound production.

John Ford



A story as big, as brash, and as exciting as the west itself. You have to hand it to everyone involved, this is one mammoth viewing experience. This covers generations as well as historical events like no other movie has attempted to do. I think the wisest decision was having multiple directors so each time period has a different feeling and vision. There is no denying the spectacle, the adventure, and the romance in How the West Was Won. It really is true to say they don't make them like this any more.




Cinerama "How The West Was Won" - Hollywood Premiere (1963)
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Two Women (1960)


Director: Vittorio De Sica Writers: Alberto Moravia (novel), Cesare Zavattini (adaptation) Stars: Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Raf Vallone, Eleonora Brown


A moving, WWII Italian neorealist film . Sophia Loren's performance is astoundingly good. As is Eleonora Brown who plays her daughter,"Rosetta". Loren deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar This film is about the ravages of war and what it does to an entire people but it concentrates on a mother and twelve year old daughter who have lost the ability to interact with one another but find it again after their shared tragedy. It's an extremely powerful film that leaves you worn out from your emotional bond with Loren, becoming the first performer to win an Oscar in a non-English role.


Unquestionably, this is a emotional and compelling film, showing the will of "Two Women" who struggle In the aftermath of the Second World War. A fine example of what Italian cinema has contributed to an international audiences. Superb Italian film. 9/10



Two Women aka La Ciociara [Blu-ray- Region Free]
Two Women aka La Ciociara Blu-ray- Region Free 2016: Amazon.co.uk: Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Eleonora Brown, Vittorio De Sica, Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo: DVD & Blu-ray
 

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Discussion Starter #60
The
City of

the
dead
(1960)

Blu-Ray

A young college student arrives in a sleepy Massachusetts town to research witchcraft; during her stay at an eerie inn, she discovers a startling secret about the town and its inhabitants.
Director:John Llewellyn Moxey (as John Moxey)
Writers:George Baxt (screenplay), Milton Subotsky (story)
Stars:Patricia Jessel, Dennis Lotis, Christopher Lee, Venetia Stevenson

The City of the Dead's opening scene is worth the price of admission; to coin a phrase. Absolutely spellbinding. Actress Patricia Jessel as (Elizabeth Selwyn) / (Mrs. Newless) plays a double role and her cold demeanor gave the film the foreboding element with her performance.

Patricia Jessel in The City of the Dead (1960)

A young coed (Nan Barlow) uses her winter vacation to research a paper on witchcraft in New England. Her professor recommends that she spend time in a small village named Whitewood. Of course, she is naive to the malice that surrounds her. The town is draped in eerie fog and everyone around is sinister. It isn't long before she finds herself the object of a Satanic ritual. The creepy mood and atmosphere this film creates is brilliant .


The film is years ahead of it's time, it looks in glorious monochrome black-and-white, which adds a noir depth to the spooky proceedings. Desmond Dickinson, the cinematographer, teases mood from the very pores of the air in this modern example of ancient fear. The dramatic sinister moments are stylized with taut vocal choral works that truly highlights the films malevolence .

The film climax plays out perfectly brilliant between the witches and investigators. I won't spoil it, but it's genuinely powerful. I'd recommend this one today. It really holds up and the horror - preferring to evoke nightmarish imagery and its sense of impending doom in whispers rather than screams - is very effective.. The film, is a proud example of intelligent supernatural horror cinema.

 
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