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Discussion Starter #141

Grand Hotel (1932)
Sexy Pre-Code Crawford Meets Sexy Pre-Code Garbo

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director:Edmund Goulding
Writers:Vicki Baum (by), William Absalom Drake (play) (as William A. Drake)
Stars:Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford

Grand Hotel is a 1932 American pre-Code drama film directed by Edmund Goulding and produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. To date, it is the only film to have won the Academy Award for Best Picture without being nominated in any other category.
Grand Hotel has proven influential in the years since its original release. The line "I want to be alone", famously delivered by Greta Garbo, placed number 30 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes. In 2007, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"
The film was also seen as an artistic achievement in its art direction and production quality. The art director, Cedric Gibbons, was one of the most important and influential in the history of American film. The lobby scenes were extremely well done, portraying a 360° desk. This allowed audiences to watch the hotel action from all around the characters. It changed the way sets were made from that point onward. The art deco and luxurious sets are a sight to behold.



The multiple intersecting storylines featuring different characters in Grand Hotel was a revelation in how to tell a cinematic story and had a huge influence on how films were made after its release in 1932.

Production Head Irving Thalberg's idea to use all of MGM's greatest star power in the same film was a revolutionary idea. With the film's publicity boasting "the greatest cast ever assembled," Grand Hotel delivered all of the studio's top talent at the same time. It was a calculated gamble that paid off and soon became a common format for big budget studio pictures. It was Hollywood's first all-star film. Grand Hotel was a risk that turned into a huge hit for MGM. Its success gave a boost to the careers of all involved, and helped MGM survive an economic depression.

Grand Hotel was influential in contributing to the ongoing myth of the Great Garbo, remembered forever as talented and beautiful as well as complex, elusive, and aloof. Her Grand Hotel character Grusinskaya's oft repeated "I want to be alone" line became synonymous with the actress herself and contributed to her mysterious image that followed her throughout her life.

Joan Crawford was kind of a 'chick,' with her roguish eyes and ... Crawford's dark-haired beauty contrasted with Greta Garbo's . Crawford she is truly a stunning beauty !!! The word glamorous came in to use right about that time, and it was perfect to describe young Joan Crawford.
Joan Crawford's role as the ambitious stenographer Flaemmchen in Grand Hotel was responsible for giving her career a big boost as she moved towards A-list stardom as a leading lady. Having successfully transitioned to sound film, this part gave her the chance to hold her own against some of Hollywood's heaviest hitters, including Garbo, one of her idols.

This is a brilliant, star-studded film . GRAND HOTEL is Essential.Melodramatic...and MAGNIFICENT. 9/10
 

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Discussion Starter #142 (Edited)
Director:J. Lee Thompson
Writers:Alistair MacLean (novel) (as Alistair Maclean), Carl Foreman (written for the screen by)
Stars:David Niven, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn Irene Papas , Gia Scala

You've probably heard of this one! Ha,ha. It was a big hit in its day, with a multinational cast of stars and a solid hook on which to hang its story! I definitely remember as a teenage boy in the 70's Scowering the TV Guide wondering when The Guns of Navarone was going to be on Late Night television.


William Holden was the first actor sought to play Mallory. He asked for $750,000, plus 10% of the gross. He was turned down, and Gregory Peck was cast.

We start with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and David Niven as Allied saboteurs assigned an impossible mission: infiltrate an impregnable Nazi-held island and destroy the two enormous long-range field guns that prevent the rescue of 2,000 trapped British soldiers. Blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman (High Noon, The Bridge on the River Kwai) was determined to re-establish both his name and credibility after spending most of the 50's working in anonymity. To accomplish this, he decided to bring Alistair MacLean's best-selling novel, The Guns of Navarone, to the screen.
Supported by an all-star cast and produced on a grand scale, the film was an enormous success, receiving seven 1961 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture) and winning for Best Special Effects. Although Foreman achieved his goal, it was MacLean who would wind up the true beneficiary; his novels became the source for many high adventure screen epics, including Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare. However, it is The Guns of Navarone that remains not only the best of the MacLean adaptations, but one of the greatest action/adventure spectacles ever produced.

The big guns at the end are totally ominous , but impressive; and it's satisfying to see the Nazis who've been running the things get blown to smithereens! I am definitely going to add this to my Blu-ray collection . Great action, adventure flick !

 

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Discussion Starter #143

A Hard Day's Night (1964)
First Time View

A day and a half in the life of the Fab Four leading up to a televised concert gig. The boys seem to be constantly on the run, from their crazed fans and from their manager, who is constantly trying to rein them in. Sir Ringo Starr however is arrested and still isn't in the studio half an hour before air time. With Sir Paul McCartney's grandfather available for additional comical relief, the group performs a dozen or so songs.
Wilfrid Brambell in A Hard Day's Night (1964)


My second album purchased in 1972 at the age of 8 years old.
174945
"The Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals," The film surprised critics and film-goers alike. Previous rock-and-roll movies had been little more than showcases for the latest music, aimed at exploiting the youth market, cheaply made and melodramatic. Then along came A Hard Day's Night, one of the most finely crafted films ever made about rock-and-roll.

Despite the seeming spontaneity of A Hard Day's Night, just two scenes-John in the bath) and the press conference -were improvised. The film's realism was a masterpiece of cinematic illusion, natural lighting, and tight cutting.

Helping spread the "Beatlemania" that raged worldwide in the mid-1960s was A Hard Day's Night (1964), a semi-documentary comedy about 36 hectic hours in the life of the Beatles -- George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. This was the British pop group's first film; many still consider it the best.

Director Richard Lester later acknowledged that A Hard Day's Night was put together quickly because it was thought The Beatles might be a passing vogue with little staying power. The movie was made in six and a half weeks, on a budget of only $500,000, and aimed primarily at English audiences. Premiering in theaters only three months after shooting began, the film became an international sensation and an instant classic.
"A Hard Day's Night" was written by Lennon, with McCartney's help. The songs include "I Should Have Known Better," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "Don't Bother Me," "All My Loving," "If I Fell," "Can't Buy Me Love," "And I Love Her," "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You," "This Boy (Ringo's Theme)," "Tell Me Why," "She Loves You" and the title song.
174946
 

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Discussion Starter #144


The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
First Time View
Charles Laughton is Quasimodo and the stunning Maureen O'Hara is Esmeralda ! O'Hara is definitely worth the price of admission.

In 15th-century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director:William Dieterle
Writers:Sonya Levien (screen play), Bruno Frank (adaptation)
Stars:Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Cedric Hardwicke
Charles Laughton's biographer, Simon Callow, has called The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) the actor's last great screen performance, certainly the last in which he endured physical hardship and tapped his most painful inner conflicts to create a character.Charles Laughton endured a daily five-and-a-half-hour makeup session to become Quasimodo, the mocked and vilified bell ringer of Notre Dame. The result was one of his best performances: out sized yet nuanced, heartrending yet inspiring.

Released in 1939, the film is one of an amazing lineup of movies - including Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gunga Din - that have earned that year a reputation as the greatest in Hollywood history.

. The Hunchback of Notre Dame marked the first U. S. screen appearance of Maureen O'Hara, a protégée of Laughton's since her appearance in Jamaica Inn (1939). Maureen O'Hara is the gypsy Esmeralda, whose simple act of pity frees the emotions within him. When she is wrongly condemned, he rescues her from hanging, sweeping all of Paris into a fight for justice. .
The cinematography is stunning and the entire film has an incredible atmosphere to it. With huge sets, rousing scenes and a versatile throng portraying a medieval Paris of cutthroats, clergy, beggars and nobles. ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ (1939) is one of Hollywood’s grandest spectacles. Highly recommended. 9/10

FILM FACT: Award Nominations: Academy Award® for Best Original Music Score for Alfred Newman. Academy Award® for Best Sound for John Aalberg. For this production RKO Radio Pictures built on their movie ranch a massive medieval city of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the largest and most extravagant sets
ever constructed.

 

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Discussion Starter #145


I Married a Witch (1942)
First Time View
I Married a Witch (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] is available !

Veronica Lake Is mesmerizing as an Alluring Witch!

A beautiful 17th-century witch returns to life to plague politician Wallace Wooley, descendant of her persecutor.
Director:René Clair (as Rene Clair)
Writers:Robert Pirosh (screen play), Marc Connelly (screen play)
Stars: Fredric March, Veronica Lake, Robert Benchley

Veronica Lake (Sullivan's Travels) casts a seductive spell as a charmingly vengeful sorceress in this supernatural screwball classic. Many centuries after cursing the male descendants of the Salem puritan who sent her to the stake, this blonde bombshell with a broomstick finds herself drawn to one of them-a prospective governor (Design for Living's Fredric March) about to marry a spoiled socialite (I Want to Live's Susan Hayward). This most delightful of the films the innovative French director René Clair (Le million) made in Hollywood is a comic confection bursting with playful special effects and sparkling witticisms.

This is a fabulous movie poster!

Veronica Lake cannot be denied as one of cinema's most charming, ravishing, and deliriously pleasant actresses ever. Her peek-a-boo hair falling just so over her right eye to her leans in towards her man is quite fun to watch. Veronica Lake was a petite girl at 4'11'' and only 20 years old here, but with a sultry appeal and alluring playfulness in I Married a Witch which is captivating. Lake steals the show with her jaw dropping blonde witch Jennifer as she wickedly casts spells in order to ruin a man's life, only to fall for him in this delightfully romantic comedy. Her effortless beauty, otherworldly aura, charismatic screen presence, cute soft voice, adorable flirting, and graceful movements all cast a spell of charm over you.
Lake is a screen icon . I can see why she was a hot number in the 40's and she could act too. I did some research on her . What a troubled soul and pitiful woman in the end . It is rather depressing story. Dying broke , and a horrible alcoholic at 50 years of age . Made me even more grateful that I sobered up at the age of 30 , give or take . It amazes me so many Hollywood people can't get their s*** together with drugs and alcohol and die young. Veronica Lake was a tremendous Talent and gone far to soon .
Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch (1942)


 

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Discussion Starter #146
Oscar-winning police drama about racism has heavy themes.The film won five Academy Awards, including the 1967 awards for Best Picture and Rod Steiger for Best Actor.

A black police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.
Director:Norman Jewison
Writers:Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), John Ball (based on a novel by)
Stars:Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates
While traveling in the Deep South, Virgil Tibbs, a black Philadelphia homicide detective, becomes unwittingly embroiled in the murder investigation of a prominent businessman when he is first accused of the crime and then asked to solve it. Finding the killer proves to be difficult, however, especially when his efforts are constantly thwarted by the bigoted town sheriff. But neither man can solve this case alone. Putting aside their differences and prejudices, they join forces in a desperate race against time to discover the shocking truth.


It's a pleasure, all too rare, to watch two splendid actors pitted against each other with equal force such as Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger in the exceptional murder mystery, In the Heat of the Night. Oscar-winning police drama about racism has heavy themes. An excellent Sidney Poitier performance, and an outstanding one by Rod Steiger, makes In The Heat of the Night an absorbing contemporary murder drama, set in the deep, red-necked South.
Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night (1967)


"60s Groovy Style Poster Art"

The music for the movie was composed by Quincy Jones.
(Vocals – Ray Charles )

 

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Discussion Starter #147
Fear the Walking Dead: Season 6 Episode 8
The Door
Now that this is how to reengage your audience after a long hiatus. Zoe Colletti as Dakota is a tremendous young actor. Wow, she really brought it. I think she is going to be a big star moving forward in her career. To me I felt empathy for her character Dakota. What a troubled soul brought on by the horrible post-apocalyptic world and the stiffening toxic relation ship with her sister Virginia. The events totally got me by supersize. The show-runners wanted to shake up the drama , well...... Job well done ! Season 6 is tuning out to be very good television .
Zoe Margaret Colletti
 

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Discussion Starter #148
An epic tale following a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.

Creator: Joss Whedon
Stars: James Norton, Laura Donnelly, Ann Skelly.

HBO’s The Nevers centers around a group known as the Touched, each of whom possesses extraordinary powers, known as turns. It would be fine to say it ended there but with with steampunk gadgets, an incredible cast of players.
Laura Donnelly as Amalia True: One of The Touched, with the ability to see glimpses of the future. The most irresponsible, spontaneous, and psychologically broken hero of 19th-century London, and a danger to the British elite. She is dedicated to her cause and never turns down a drink.
Ann Skelly as Penance Adair: Amalia's best friend, and a Touched with the power to 'see' electrical energy patterns and a skill for inventing. She is both religious and heretically progressive.

Olivia Williams as Lavinia Bidlow: A rich spinster supporter of the "Touched" (aka metahumans), who also runs The Orphanage where many of the main characters live.
Eleanor Tomlinson as Mary: is a singer. This talent comes in handy by singing a song that only affects the Touched.
Amy Manson as Maladie: An unstable member of The Touched living underground. Maladie is not only in charge of a band of renegades, she is on a killing spree.
The protagonist, Laura Donnelly, is pitch perfect and helps to ground the cast, the story-line, and the fantastical elements moving all around us including a giant who is a girl. A litany of nuanced characters keeps this otherworldly tale grounded. Suspenseful sleuthing and action-packed battles move the story along at a rapid clip.

Supernatural realism, complex storytelling, fantastical powers.

If you're a fan of steampunk sci-fi, fantasy, Victorian England, lavish wardrobe , this series you should put on your radar.
 

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Discussion Starter #149

Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon.

Directors:Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton
Writers:Helen Deutsch (screenplay), H. Rider Haggard (novel)
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger, Richard Carlson

In 1897 Africa, a famous guide agrees to help a woman and her brother search for her husband in unknown territory they find the skeleton in the mines, and are rescued from a wild native.

Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton direct this Oscar-winning romantic action-adventure, loosely based on H Rider Haggard's classic novel about the quest for legendary African riches.

This is the second adaptation of the novel of the same name by H Rider Haggard and this is considered by many to be the best adaptation of the book .


The movie sees Stewart Granger play the role of Allan Quatermain, a hunter and guide with plenty of experience who agrees to help Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr) and her brother John Goode (Richard Carlson) search for her husband, who has vanished in Africa whilst looking for the nominal mines.

Stewart Granger gives a good performance in his role as the man who acts like he is determined to help find out where Elizabeth's husband is.

He suits his role very well, while Deborah Kerr is excellent ans stunning in her role as Elizabeth, the woman who begins to fall in love with Allan whilst going on the long journey. Kerr mentioned in an interview that she had always wanted to go to Africa and this would be an experience she would never forget. Richard Carlson is decent as John Goode, Elizabeth's brother who joins in the search.

Absolutely Stunning, Deborah Kerr in King Solomon's Mines (1950)

Deborah has a most amazing locks of red hair which she cut off in the middle of the film


There is a decent supporting performance to be had from Hugo Hass as Van Brun, a white man who the trio encounter along the way.

The direction from Bennett and Marton is excellent because they allow the facial expressions to be seen to a strong effect throughout, while the script is written to an excellent standard by Helen Deutsch as she makes the movie really easy to follow.

The technical aspects that stand out best are the camera and editing. The camera makes very good use of the locations the movie uses and also captures the tense moments well, which deservedly get the edge-of-the-seat status, most notably with one scene that involves a lot of cattle. The sound in this particular scene is very decent as you have to listen quite carefully. The movie is edited to an excellent standard throughout and the music is enjoyable to listen to.

The movie managed to win 2 Academy Awards: Best Cinematography (Color) and Best Film Editing and those awards were absolutely deserved. The movie also rightly got a nomination for Best Picture.
“KING SOLOMON’S MINES” FILMED ON LOCATION IN EASTERN AFRICA IN KENYA, UGANDA, TANZANIA (THEN KNOWN AS TANGANYIKA) AND THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (THEN KNOWN AS THE BELGIAN CONGO).




Overall, this version of King Solomon's Mines is an excellent adaptation of the novel of the same name, thanks to the very good performances, along with the decent direction and well written script. It also works so well due to the brilliant camerawork and fantastic editing. MGM tag line : 'Into this strange and wild interior of darkest Africa, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer sent a motion picture on safari . . . where no white woman had ever been before' Great epic film. 8.5/10
 

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Discussion Starter #150

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
The Essentials - Judgment At Nuremberg
Top Rated Movies #145
In 1948, an American court in occupied Germany tries four Nazis judged for war crimes.

Director:Stanley Kramer
Writers:Abby Mann, Abby Mann (based on his original story by)
Stars:Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark Maximilian Schell Judy Garland Montgomery Clift William Shatner

For the patient star-watcher, a revelation. In its day, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG was a sensation ; the first film to deal seriously with the trials of Nazi war criminals. The chief Allied judge, Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy), has been sent to Germany after failing to be reelected to the bench in New England, a political payoff that does not go unnoticed by his adversaries. Prosecuting attorney Tad Lawson (Richard Widmark), an Army colonel, indicts several Germans who have committed war crimes in enforcing Hitler's mad mandates. Defense attorney Hans Rolfe (Maximilian Schell) roars that his clients were merely upholding Hitler's laws, and that to place them on trial is to judge all of Germany. Meanwhile, Haywood, in his off hours, wanders the ancient city of Nuremberg trying to understand what went wrong with a whole people and a great culture.

Tracy delivers a performance of great intelligence and intuition. He creates a gentle, but towering, figure, compassionate but realistic, warm but objective.
Maximilian Schell the role , acts with electric effect and he brings to the film a fierce vigor, sincerity and nationalistic pride.
The rest of the cast in this three-hour-plus picture is equally distinguished: Marlene Dietrich is the widow of a German general who was executed for ordering the slaughter of captured American soldiers at Malmedy.

Burt Lancaster is an intellectual German judge who unwillingly aided the Nazis.

Montgomery Clift is a dim-witted victim of sterilization who testifies for the prosecution.

Judy Garland is a woman who "polluted the Aryan race" by having sex with a Jew.
Though unrelentingly bleak, JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG is absorbing from beginning to end. Dietrich and Tracy contribute polished, seemingly effortless work; at the other end of the thespian spectrum are Clift and Garland, who turn in harrowing, nakedly emotional performances. These are star turns, to be sure, but the Hollywood-style interplay between image, portrayal, and reality is fascinating to behold. 9/10

Awards & Honors

Judgment at Nuremberg received Academy Awards for Best Actor (Maximilian Schell) and Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Abby Mann). It also garnered nominations for Best Picture, Director (Stanley Kramer), Actor (Spencer Tracy), Supporting Actor (Montgomery Clift), Supporting Actress (Judy Garland), Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Rudolph Sternad, George Milo), Cinematography, Black-and-White (Ernest Laszlo), Editing (Frederic Knudtson), and Costume Design, Black-and-White (Jean Louis). Kramer was also given the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, presented to producers whose work reflects "a consistently high quality of motion picture production."

Other honors included Golden Globe Awards for Schell and Kramer (Actor, Director) and nominations for Best Motion Picture Drama, Supporting Actor and Actress (Clift, Garland), Best Film Promoting International Understanding.
 

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Discussion Starter #151 (Edited)


Little Caesar (1931)
Little Caesar is a 1931 American pre-Code crime film

Can you name the notorious mobster that the title character is modeled on in Little Caesar (1930)? If your answer is Al Capone, you are correct. In a performance that became a prototype for all future movie gangster portrayals, Edward G. Robinson captured the essence of a ruthless killer like Capone with his portrayal of Cesare Enrico Bandello.
The first "talkie" gangster movie to capture the public's imagination, Mervyn LeRoy's Little Caesar started a cycle of crime-related movies that Warner Bros. Rode across the ensuing decade and right into World War II.

The violence in Little Caesar may seem tame by today's standards -- although seeing a proper print of the movie, such as the TCM print does restore some of that impact -- but it was shocking at the time, and proved riveting and even seductive, especially because it was tied to a very charismatic performance by Robinson. Between his portrayal and the sounds of pistols and Thompson sub machine guns, the movie was a sensory revelation and liberalized the violence that had been suggested purely by visuals in such silent gangster classics.
As for the actual filming of Little Caesar, Edward G. Robinson's aversion to the sound of gunfire was obvious from the beginning. According to LeRoy, "Every time he squeezed the trigger, he would screw up his eyes. Take after take, he would do the same thing. In the end, we had to tape up his eyelids to make sure it wouldn't show." Offscreen, Robinson was just the opposite of the vicious thugs he played onscreen. He was a kind and gracious gentleman and had a great appreciation for the fine arts - particularly painting, which he took up as a hobby. Although Little Caesar is considered one of Robinson's most memorable performances, it was overlooked by the Academy Awards committee that year (the film only received one Oscar nomination for Best Writing Adaptation) and forever typecast Robinson in this type of role .


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Little Caesar is a 1931 American pre-Code crime film distributed by Warner Brothers, directed by Mervyn LeRoy, and starring Edward G. Robinson, Glenda Farrell, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. The film tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons. The storyline was adapted from the novel of the same name by William R. Burnett. Little Caesar was Robinson's breakthrough role and immediately made him a major film star. The film is often listed as one of the first full-fledged gangster films and continues to be well received by critics.

In 2000, Little Caesar was included in the annual selection of 25 motion pictures added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and recommended for preservation.The Library of Congress maintains a print.

"Style A" theatrical release poster of the 1931 American film Little Caesar.
 
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