On "No Down Payment": Anne said...This is what makes me wonder if Jeffrey Hunter and Patricia Owens'scharacters had even consumated thier marriageThe kid's got a broken radio, Jeff pulls out a screw driver and sets to work.Tony Randall gets smarmy with Jeff's wife and he's a frozen bystander...if Tony was mashing a radio, I think Jeff's character would have sprun into action. March 9, 2013
On "Trooper Hook": Vienna said...Wonderful review ! I haven't seen TROOPER HOOK for a long time but hope it becomes available on DVD. You describe Joel and Barbara's characters so well. An unusual role for Barbara. I guess she chose to do it for that reason. March 11, 2013
Anne said...Thank you for writing about this little gemOne can see this film on the encore west channel now and then and it's astonishingly good. With a budget not enough for a modern office pastry cart, it shows what can be done with excellent writing and acting....and directing. I love how we see the tiny stage from afar, then we see it though Nanches legs, we are right behind him, and we now know he's on their trail...it makes him almost a gonzilla of a threatChildren: let Mr. McCrea and Ms Stanwyck show you how it's done.They are hotter across a dusty feed store than many buck necked couples in love scenes today.March 7, 2013
On "Any Number Can Play": Vienna said...I love this film. Great cast, though I hate seeing Audrey Totter so totally wasted. All Audrey seemed to do was stand around with a glass in one hand and cigarette in the other.I thought Alexis Smith did well ,playing a woman whom I 'm sure was meant to be older than Alexis who was probably about 30 at the time.Great to see Mary Astor though,again, what a small role. And Marjorie Rambeau is always a joy.It could have been a play, with the only sets the gambling club and Gable's house.An unusual role for Gable and he was convincing.March 1, 2013
On Anita Sharp-Bolster: Vienna said...I've just see Anita in THE LONDON BLACKOUT MURDERS and she is so good as another battle-axe character , but with a touch of comedy . Nice tribute. Thanks.http//:dancing lady39.wordpress.com February 2, 2013
On Victor Jory - On Stage and Screen: Vienna said...Thanks for great tribute to Victor Jory whom I like, especially in a couple of films where he isn't the villain! In FIGHTING MAN OF THE PLAINS, Victor does his best to help Randolph Scott and becomes a good friend to Scott's character. Such a contrast to Victor's usual roles. I also liked him in a little B, THE UNKNOWN GUEST where he is the leading manI had no idea Victor and Alexis Smith did two plays together - thanks for the information. Oh to have seen them!January 24, 2013
On And Then There Were None: Ryan said...I bought this years ago on DVD, and it's still my favorite movie version of this story. The cast was perfect, and to tell you the truth, though I love the book, I almost prefer this ending. I think it's the hopeless romantic in me.February 19, 2013
Monday’s post which mentioned the movie “In a Lonely Place” (1950) brings to mind one side of Humphrey Bogart’s many film characters for discussion. Crazy Bogie, the man you love to report to the authorities.
In “The Two Mrs. Carrolls” (1947), Mr. Bogart plays an artist, living a quiet life in the English countryside with his second wife, Barbara Stanwyck. He murdered his former wife, and he seems to have similar designs on Miss Stanwyck, but first he has to paint a really ugly picture of her. Were he just a mean guy who wanted the insurance money, we could easily dismiss him as evil, but there is something more intriguing about Bogart’s murderer that makes him hard to dismiss. He manages to affect a loneliness in his psychosis that at times elicits more sympathy than fear. He suffers in his paranoia, and appears physically pained with outbursts. If both Bogie and Stanwyck, and the script, are a little over the top at times, it’s still a thoughtful characterization of trying to make us see things his way.
“In a Lonely Place” (1950) shows Humphrey Bogart as a snide Hollywood screenwriter, quick to anger, who is under investigation for a brutal murder. We follow his budding relationship with his new girlfriend, Gloria Grahame, and navigate the highs and lows of their romance, of the suspicion under which the police hold him, and Miss Grahame’s growing suspicions in the same dizzying way Bogie navigates the winding Los Angeles streets at night in a nearly out of control convertible.
Here again, we see a guy who could be a killer, but whether or not he is, there is still something amiss, something askew in his prickly personality that begs for sympathy. He regrets his outbursts, but cannot stop himself. He is defensive, paranoid, quick to wound, and quick to hurt others. But he’s not a nut we can just dismiss as being a nut. He is intelligent and articulate. There’s so much more to his grand persona that is real and valid and logical, that the nuttiness seems only a quirk, until it brings danger, until it’s almost too late. In true film noir fashion, he brings his own downfall.
“The Caine Mutiny” (1954) is so fine a movie it deserves it own discussion sometime for the many great performances in the ensemble cast. Here Bogart is the mercurial Captain Queeg, whose irrational displays cause his men to revile him and mutiny against him. Bogart is excellent in the role (though I would have loved to have also seen Lloyd Nolan, who played the part on stage). He is fearful and fretful, vengeful and bitter, paranoid and deceptive. Mr. Bogart plays the gamut of emotion, and makes us, as with the other characters, see how it could happen, and see the dismal sadness and lack of confidence in a person’s life that would alter his psyche and remove that under-appreciated but most important aspect of a person’s humanity, his self control.
Bogart is older in this part, and looks it, and at times looks tired, at times looks exactly like a man who knows he looks old and tired and is desperately trying to hide it. One common thread in all three of these “crazy” characterizations his Bogart’s seeming empathy with the character, playing him not as a “type”, but from the inside, somewhere deep, and intimate, and troubled. In one film he touches his forehead in a reflex reaction to accusation. In another, his hands shake when he lights a cigarette. In another, he fumbles with steel marbles to comfort himself. His technique runs to more than just a crazed expression. There is so much going on his eyes as haunted as it is threatening, silently begging for help before he strikes.
Meet Me in Nuthatch - A publicity stunt to attract tourists to a small dying town results in the entire community turning the clock back to 1904. It is local Christmas tree farmer Everett Campbell’s idea, after watching the film “Meet Me in St. Louis,” his young daughter’s new favorite movie. What begins as half practical joke and half desperate ploy initiates the rebirth of Nuthatch, Massachusetts. Tourists do come, along with the media. To Everett’s dismay, his campaign to save their community results in also attracting representatives of a chain of theme parks who want to buy Nuthatch 1904. Everett now stands to lose his town in a way he never imagined, and the community is divided on which alternate future to choose. A local drug dealer, the longtime enemy of Everett, may hold their future in his hands unless Everett can pull off his most spectacular, and dangerous, practical joke.
“…a comforting, pleasant read that stays with you even after the last page is turned. After finishing the book, I found myself still musing about the relationships and how they'd changed and progressed. This book was a nice, hot chocolate sort of read.” Grace Krispy, "MotherLode" blog book review.
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