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
“Horse Feathers” (1932) is about winning a college football game. You have to remind yourself of that from time to time, because so much else happens in the maelstrom of Marx Brothers shenanigans, that football seems hardly the issue. What is the issue? Everything, and nothing.
Groucho, the default leader of the group, is newly arrived college dean at a school dying to beef up its football program, because after all, that’s what college is all about. There’s nothing more important than football. I suppose I could interject a line here about Penn State, but we’ll just let that go.
Although, Groucho would not have let that go.
Zeppo, the handsome, singing, otherwise comically untalented brother, plays Groucho’s college boy son. He spends a good part of the movie chasing the lovely Thelma Todd, who I think we last saw here in “Bargain of the Century” (1933). Unfortunately, as is the case in Marx Brothers movies, Thelma does not really get to show off her marvelous comedic talent; instead she can do little more than react to their antics. This was her second film with the boys, however; she also appeared with them in “Monkey Business” the previous year.
Thelma plays a “college widow”, aka, a vamp, who in this case is trying to obtain the team’s secret plays using her feminine wiles. There are moments, such a very funny canoe ride with Groucho, where she is less than subtle about her objectives.
Harpo is a dogcatcher, and Chico works at a speakeasy. Which you cannot enter unless you know the password, SWORDFISH.
It’s pretty neat that Harpo peels a banana as if it had zippers on either side. In the early 1930s, zippers were just beginning to be used in some clothing, but hadn’t really been used widely by manufacturers in until the end of the decade.
I also like the way Harpo orders a scotch in the speakeasy by pantomiming a highland fling.
We have another topical reference when Thelma tumbles out of the canoe and pleads Groucho to throw her a lifesaver. Of course, he throws the candy. And the “Jumping Anaconda!” line which refers to the stock that dropped like lead during the Crash.
Harpo and Chico are recruited to kidnap the star players of the rival school, but are kidnapped themselves instead. By the end of the film, they are recruited as students to play on the team, with hilarious results.
The songs are melodic, and silly. When Chico gets a chance to show off his piano playing and Harpo gets a really lovely harp solo, some movie fans feel that this brings the action to a grinding halt, but it is for this very reason that I like the musical solos. It’s a moment of calm in the storm that is incongruous because everything about the Marx Brothers is incongruous. That they are so talented musically seems just another absurd thing about them. A harp solo in the middle of chaos doesn’t fit; and for that reason according to the Marx Brothers doctrine, it fits.
Still, in case we fidget, Groucho breaks the fourth wall while Chico has his piano solo and tells the audience, “I’ve got to stay here, but there’s no reason you folks shouldn’t go out into the lobby until this thing blows over.”
Oh yeah, and then there’s football. Have a look here at the climax of the big game, where, naturally, anything goes.
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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