Exiled in Pittsburgh
- Mar 23, 2012
Just wanted to note that "Nobody's Fool" is now streaming free on Amazon till end of Sept. It's a small movie about nothing important, but Paul Newman makes it a great watch.
"My Man Godfrey" is one of my favorite comedies, and is one of my favorite films from this time period. It gets billed as a screwball comedy (which it is), but this movie does have a serious side as well, when William Powell's character launches a campaign to help out his former "forgotten man" compatriots in the second half of the movie. I do concur that Eugene Pallette as Mr. Bullock gets the best lines in this movie."My Man Godfrey"-Gregory LaCava-1936
This has a funny and clever trailer. The introduction credits are also worth seeing (they run in lights across drawings of buildings.) Ted Tetzlaff is director of photography. The script is by Morrie Ryskind and Eric Hatcher from his novel. I'm not sure why MGM loaned out William Powell;"The Thin Man" assured his status as a top leading man. He picked hisex-wife, Carole Lombard, as his co-star. This was a solid comedy cast:Eugene Pallette, Misha Auer, and Gail Patrick.
The story starts engagingly; a scavenger hunt brings some of the idle rich to the dump to find a forgotten man.
Godfrey Smith chooses to go with Irene(Lombard) rather than with her sister Constance (Patrick). Irene wins the contest and she hires Godfrey as the family Butler.
Of course there is a developing love story between Godfrey and Irene. In this dysfunctional family it is barely noticed. Godfrey tries to be the best butler he can be. He also must conceal his secret. Constance has a nasty streak, and she tries to make trouble. Mrs. Bullock wastes time and money with Carlo (Misha Auer). Mr. Bullock has the best lines:" All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people." Or how about: Life in this house is one subpoena after another."
The film had a bundle of Oscar nominations, but didn't win a single one. It made money, but Universal needed Diana Durbin to become solvent again. The film is considered by many to be one of the best screwball comedies. It has its moments, but I find Lombard's performance annoying and lacking. Powell is great, but the romance is central to the story. It does not seem plausible to me.
This is available every where since it went into the public domain. The print on Prime is excellent. I should warn you that my opinion is not shared by most viewers.
For me, James Gleason is usually a welcome addition to the cast of movies from this time period. Cary Grant carries the film for me, and both Gleason and Monty Woolley add a nice touch as well. "The Bishop's Wife" is a very good film and one of the better Christmas movies around. "Miracle on 34th Street" is also mentioned here, for me that one is one of my top four Christmas films of all time, I just love it."The Bishop's Wife"-Henry Koster-1947
Goldwyn was totally dissatisfied with this production. He fired the director and brought in a new director. The film opens with a well dressed stranger walking down a busy street. He stops to help a blind man cross the street. Then he notices a women lifting up one child to better view a Christmas window. As she does this her baby carriage begins to roll along the sidewalk. Just before the carriage rolls into the side street, the stranger
stops the carriage. She is both thankful and contrite as she promises the stranger never to let this happen again. We, the audience, have immediately recognized Cary Grant. We find out that he is named Dudley. We are never sure if this is his first or last name. He later declares to Bishop Brougham that he is angel. Cary Grant
was originally cast as the Bishop with David Niven playing the angel. Grant opposed the change, but Koster eventually won him over. Dudley has immense charm and charisma on screen, Cary Grant trademarks; it certainly would have been a different picture with the roles as originally cast.
Hollywood excelled in this type of pleasant fantasy. This picture was shooting simultaneously with "The Miracle of 34th Street." 'The Bishop's Wife" is barely remembered today. It never achieved a spot in the holiday film rota. Still this is well acted, well scripted, and well shot. The supporting cast particularly Elsa Lanchester as the maid and Joseph Gleeson as a taxi driver is solid.
The Bishop has lost his way. His push to build a great cathedral occupies all his time. His marriage to Julia (Loretta Young) is suffering. He is unhappy, and the joy is gone from his life. He prays to God, and Dudley is the answer. Dudley has his own problem, he falls for a human woman, Julia. He stops himself, and in addition to solving the cahedral situation, Julia and Bishop Henry are reunited. Along the way Dudley helps the delightful Professor Wutheridge (Monte Wooley) to write a significant book on Roman history. This is not
a prequel to Wim Wender's "Wings of Desire." This is Hollywood whimsy of the late 40's, well done and enjoyable. This is available on Prime and on free streaming elsewhere. Highly recommended.
I believe that Koster made the right choice; Grant owns this role. The ice skating sequence is a delight. Grant is a total pro, and it is a real pleasure to view this performance.For me, James Gleason is usually a welcome addition to the cast of movies from this time period. Cary Grant carries the film for me, and both Gleason and Monty Woolley add a nice touch as well. "The Bishop's Wife" is a very good film and one of the better Christmas movies around. "Miracle on 34th Street" is also mentioned here, for me that one is one of my top four Christmas films of all time, I just love it.
Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart are my favorite movie actors of all time, with James Stewart not far behind them at number 3. Totally agree with what you say about Grant in "The Bishop's Wife", so much that is hard to imagine the Grant and Niven roles being reversed. And Niven was hardly a slouch actor. One of my favorite movies is "A Matter of Life and Death", which I have mentioned before in this thread. Niven is absolutely wonderful in that film, but the role of Dudley and Cary Grant is the perfect match.I believe that Koster made the right choice; Grant owns this role. The ice skating sequence is a delight. Grant is a total pro, and it is a real pleasure to view this performance.
I've seen it, but I probably should rewatch it. I have a feeling that she is an actress definitely worth following.I find her to be consistently very good. Have you seen her in "Molly's Game?" If not, you should add it to your list. Another fairly recent, very well done film that didn't really find an audience.
I find her to be consistently very good. Have you seen her in "Molly's Game?" If not, you should add it to your list. Another fairly recent, very well done film that didn't really find an audience.
I can't claim to be totally familiar with her work, but I thought Jessica Chastain was very good in "The Martian", which is definitely a terrific movie.I've seen it, but I probably should rewatch it. I have a feeling that she is an actress definitely worth following.
I concur with the above, "Shape of Water" is an excellent film. Del Toro also directed "Pan's Labyrinth", which I feel is just a bit better, and that is saying something. Nothing wrong with a career which produces these two very fine movies."The Shape of Water"-Guillermo del Toro-2017
Hey, I even liked his Hellboy films. Del Toro continually surprises me. I found out in my research that this romance was a childhood dream dating back to his seeing "The Creature from the Black Lagoon." Del Toro also references Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast." He wanted the beast to stay a beast as did Marlene Dietrich. This film is told through three incomplete or perhaps marginal individuals: a mute, a homosexual, and a black woman. The mute, Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is fascinated by music, particularly dance music. Often in myths music enraptures the beast. The homosexual, Giles (Richard Jenkins) is an artist driven to attempt to create Jello adds. The only person with whom he communicates is Elisa. The black woman, Zelda Fuller (Octavia Spencer) is Elisa's defender. She is intensely practical; Elisa is romantic. All three of these characters are observers rather than actors who move their world. All three are outsiders.
The insider is Robert Strickland (Michael Shannon); he captured the monster in the Amazon. He is white, male, heterosexual, and part of the military who plan to use this amphibian to help the space program. Zelda and Elisa are part of the janitorial staff. Giles lost his job at an advertising agency; probably because of his sexual orientation. The film is set in 1962, remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? It begins in this time period. The Russians are ahead in Space; it is hoped that by studying the amphibian monster that the US will gain some advantages for their astronauts. Strickland's idea of communication with the "Monster" is to poke it with an electric cattle prod. Elisa gains the creature's trust with the magical combination of music and hard boiled eggs.
Del Toro began working on the creature in 2011. He financed the development with his own money. He also put up the seed money for the underground secret government lab. He creates his own myth set in a period of American history which he despises. Remember "King Kong"; it was beauty that killed the beast. In this case beauty frees the beast. Sally Hawkins isn't conventionally beautiful. Her beauty is soul deep. She is able
to touch outsiders. She believes the beast sees her as she is; she intuitively knows how to communicate with this monster. Of course he isn't a monster in her eyes. The combination of the suit, the actor (Doug Jones) and some computer magic create an individual worthy of being loved for who he is. There is a magical dance sequence lifted from an Astaire and Rogers number in "Follow the Fleet." When the decision is made to kill
the monster and to dissect him; Elisa is forced to develop a plan to free him. Things don't work out as planned, and she needs the help of not only Zelda, but an undercover Russian agent posing as one of the projects scientists (Michael Stulhberg) to bring off the escape plan.
This is just short of a must see for me,near great. Surprisingly, it was a moneymaker big time. This is very unusual for Best Picture Winners recently. It was budgeted at 19 million; the world wide gross was over 194 million. If you haven't seen it you should, the DVD extras are excellent. It is available to stream for for free. It won 4 Oscars:film, director, music, and production design. Del Toro wrote, directed, produced, and probably did dozens of other non credited jobs. He is very hands on. One interesting tidbit about him is that he built a second house to house his collection of comics, graphic novels, and films.
I'm pretty much in agreement with the above review. "White Heat" is one of those movies that we will watch anytime we find it on television. While I think it is very good, there is no question in my mind that my wife likes it even more than I do, she is quite enthusiastic about this film. She is a Cagney fan, and she just loves his energy in this movie. And there is no question that Cagney is indeed the show in this one. One scene that isn't mentioned in the above review that I just love is when Cagney gives a little ventilation to someone who is complaining about not being able to breath well in the trunk of a car. Of course, he does it with the use of a gun."White Heat"-Raoul Walsh-1949
Cagney returned to Warner Brothers after several years as an independent after winning the Oscar in 1942. He was disappointed that he was continually cast as a bad guy in gangster films. He was allowed to choose his scripts. So what did he choose, a gangster film, but what a gangster film. If you can access the Warner DVD, you can luxuriate in the extras. The director, Raoul Walsh, was a studio stalwart. His first big film was Douglas Fairbanks' 1924 "Thief of Baghdad."
The writers, Cliff and Roberts, weren't well known. The character of Cody Jarrett is based on several gangsters beginning with Francis Crowley. The relationship with his mother was based on Ma Barker. The train robbery which opens the film was based on a real event in 1923. It was Cagney's idea that Cody was a psychopath with
migraines/seizures and mother problems. The train robbery brings in a huge haul, $300,000, but it puts the gang under huge scrutiny by the Treasury Department. The gang had left behind one member whose face was scalded by steam. He later freezes to death. When his body is found, a connection to the gang is made when the fingerprints of a member are found on a cigarette pack.
Jarrett is almost caught so he leaves his mother (Margaret Wycherly) and his wife (Virginia Mayo) behind and travels to Illinois where he pleads to another robbery. This robbery will only get him a two or three year sentence. The train robbery left 4 dead and it was a federal crime. The Treasury Department sends in an undercover agent (Hank Fallon/Vic Pardo) played by Edmund O'Brien. Cagney liked O'Brien so he did things like show him his poetry. Pardo saves Cody's life from a falling piece of machinery. He has a setup escape plan with
the Treasury Department.
Back home in California one of the gang members, Big Ed Sommers (Steve Cochran) is taking over the gang and Cody's wife. Ma Jarrett is wise to the plan. She visits Cody in prison and tells him that she will take out
Big Ed. Cody tells her not to. Ma is killed, Cody is informed when the inmates are eating. Cagney pulls a fast
one. With 300 extras on scene and unscripted he goes crazy literally. This is one of the top prison scenes ever. The best is yet to come. Naturally, Cody escapes, but not with the Treasury Department plan. When he gets free he confronts his wife. Again Cagney broke with the script and really frightened Virginia Mayo. He liked her and he had her play a leading role in his next picture, "West Point." He kills Big Ed. Then he plans another job. This is a payroll for an oil company.
That takes us to the final scene one of the most memorable in cinema history. The Treasury Department and the local police are there, all his fellow gang members are dead, some by his hand, and he climbs to the top of the tanks. "Made it Ma. Top of the world." The top of the world phrase occurs a half a dozen times in the film. He fires his shotgun into a tank and everything explodes. On the ground with other Treasury Agents,
Hank Fallon says: "He finally got to the top of the world...and it blew up in his face.
When Cagney's films are ranked, this portrayal is #1 or #2. There are other wonderful bits, for instance when he sits in his mother's lap. Margaret Wycherly deserves cudos; this is a memorable performance. This film in common with other top Cagney films has a continuous forward motion. If you enjoy Cagney; this is a must see. Remember, he improvised many of the best bits. He really could act. Available on OK RU for streaming.
Wow, what a performance!
just reading that air conditioning scene comment made me smile.I'm pretty much in agreement with the above review. "White Heat" is one of those movies that we will watch anytime we find it on television. While I think it is very good, there is no question in my mind that my wife likes it even more than I do, she is quite enthusiastic about this film. She is a Cagney fan, and she just loves his energy in this movie. And there is no question that Cagney is indeed the show in this one. One scene that isn't mentioned in the above review that I just love is when Cagney gives a little ventilation to someone who is complaining about not being able to breath well in the trunk of a car. Of course, he does it with the use of a gun.