Friday, August 22, 2014

Sunset Boulevard

sunset blvd
MOVIE REVIEW OF Sunset Boulevard (1950) NR
Director: billy wilder Runtime: 1 hrs 50 min (110 min)
joe gillis ..... william holden
norma desmond ..... gloria swanson
max von mayerling ..... erich von stroheim
betty schaefer ..... nancy olson
sheldrake ..... fred clark
morino ..... lloyd gough
artie green ..... jack webb
undertaker ..... franklyn farnum
1st finance man ..... larry blake
2nd finance man ..... charles dayton
cecil b. de mille ..... cecil b. deMille
hedda hopper ..... hedda hopper
buster keaton ..... buster keaton
anna q. nilsson ..... anna q. nilsson
h. b. warner ..... h. b. warner
ray evans ..... ray evans
jay livingston ..... jay livingston

cop dragging body from pool ..... fred aldrich
prop man #1 ..... ralph montgomery
prop man #2 ..... joel allen
courtier #1 ..... gertrude astor
courtier #2 ..... eve novak
courtier #3 ..... frank o' connor
courtier #4 ..... virginia l. randolph
accordonist ..... danny borzage
homicide captain ..... ken christy
sheldrake's secretary ..... ruth clifford
mac ..... john cortay
camera operator #1 ..... archie r. dalzell
camera operator #2 ..... arthur lane
assistant coroner ..... eddie dew
tailor ..... peter drynan
hisham ..... julia faye
phone standby ..... al ferguson
connie - betty's roommate ..... gerry ganzer
1st salesman at men's shop ..... kenneth gibson
2nd salesman at men's shop ..... archie twitchell
newsreel cameraman ..... sanford e. greenwald
creighton hale ..... creighton hale
grip on deMille set ..... chuck hamilton
camera assistant #1 ..... james hawley
camera assistant #2 ..... edward wahrman
police sergeant ..... len hendry
doctor ..... e. mason hopper
1st assistant director ..... stan johnson
2nd assistant director ..... bill sheehan
little woman outside paramount gate ..... tiny jones
police lieutenant ..... howard joslin
violinist ..... perc launders
party guest ..... william meader
hairdresser ..... gertrude messinger
man on golf course ..... harold miller
hog - eye ..... john ‘skins’ miller
dancing party guest/ paramount studio employee ..... lee miller
gordon cole ..... bert moorhouse
fat man ..... jay morley
bernice ..... bernice mosk
police captain ..... howard negley
josey ..... robert emmett o' connor
detective ..... jack perrin
sidney skolsky ..... sidney skolsky
black man ..... emmett smith
rudy ..... roy thompson
giggling girl on phone at party ..... yvette vickers
actor on deMille's ‘samson & delilah’ set ..... henry wilcoxon
undetermined role ..... joe gray
undetermined role ..... ottola nesmith



You'd think they'd learn in the movies that when there is somethmg wrong with your car, the nearest spooky mansion in the woods is probably not the first place you want to pick to use the phone to call for help. It happened to Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick) in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975. And you know where it got them.

But this tendancy for misfortune by way of automobile malfunction didn't start there. It actually was around a quarter of a century earlier in 1950, when a struggling screenwriter named Joe Gillis (William Holden) is evading a couple of debt collectors. Joe comes upon a flat tire while driving, and this tire unfortunately happens to be attached to his car. So he turns into the semi-secluded driveway just off of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. It is the grand mansion of a former silent motion picture star named Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). He is admitted on the misconception that he is the undertaker for the household pet…who happens to be a monkey!

It is apparent to Joe that, aside from the original overall spookiness of the place,the only permanent residents are Ms. Desmond and her butler Max (Erich von Stroheim).

Ms. Desmond seems to be caught in the days when she was a star of silent films. She is also under the impression that the world has not changed (except that the pictures have gotten inferior). She has the goal of starring in a new picture. She believes she can go to her former director, Cecil DeMille (Cecil B. DeMille), and star in a breakout film. When Joe shows up at the house, Norma gets him to stay so he can "edit" her manuscript she has written.

Joe, meanwhile, has secured some work at the Paramount studio, and he finds himself attracted to another editor. Norma sees this as a threat to her relationship with Joe, which is actually nonexsistant.

The remainder of the movie is better left to viewing, knowing that intrigue and suspense fills in the plot.


I don't want to brag, but I will, because you won't believe me anyhow.

I have always been of the impression that I will someday produce a written work of fiction suitable for publication. Of the many ideas I've had for a unique novel (I think that's redundant) was to have the narrator (story told in the first person) turn out to have been dead all throughout the tale he has been telling. Hopefully not spoiling the plot too much, that is exactly what happens in Sunset Boulevard.

I will admit that I have never seen Gloria Swanson in anything other than this movie. FYI, I plan to remedy that ASAP.

As of this writing, I know enough to say that Gloria Swanson plays the role of Norma Desmond to the hilt. Her background as an actual silent film star gives her the first-hand experience to be able to bring us into that world 30 years later.

Whatever the case, it seems a bit silly today and perhaps even when this movie was made. But it becomes interesting when you realize that at one time, the methods used by Norma Desmond were taken very seriousely.

In order to truly enjoy and appreciate this movie and all of its values, you must put yourself in the place of each character, separately, and experience the story from each point of view. It becomes a journey though time with a character who refuses to leave her own past in the past.

While watching this movie, I found myself wondering what it must have been like to see Gloria Swanson playing the part of Norma Desmond at a time in reality when that sort of performance was not normally seen.

Although the plot of Sunset Boulevard is not a documentary of silent movies, the writing and the performances make you forget that it's not.

Bottom line…I suggest you tie a rope to your ankle while you watch this movie so you can be pulled back out of the closet if the 20s when it's over!


Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating.
You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • joe : You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big!
    norma : I am big. It's the pictures that got small.
  • max : We have to be very careful. No sleeping pills, no razor blades. We shut off the gas in Madame's bedroom
  • joe : She's not forgotten. She still gets those fan letters.
    max : I wouldn't look too closely at the postmarks.
  • norma : Valentino said there's nothing like tile for a tango.
  • norma : [to security guard] Teach your friend some manners. Tell him without me, he wouldn't have ANY job. Because without me, there wouldn't be any Paramount Studio.
  • de mille : Norma, why don't you just sit here and watch. You know, pictures have changed quite a bit.
  • joe : If you get $100,000 for it, buy me some chocolate creams. If you get an Oscar, I get the left foot.
  • betty : Look at this street. All cardboard, all hollow, all phony, all done with mirrors. You know, I like it better than any street in the world.
  • norma : No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
  • norma : All right, Mr. De Mille. I'm ready for my close-up.

Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.

cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10/10

Thanks for Visiting!!!

Please comment below

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple
MOVIE REVIEW OF The Odd Couple (1968) G
Director: gene saks Runtime: 1 hrs 45 min (105 min)
felix ungar ..... jack lemmon
oscar madison ..... walter matthau
vinnie ..... john fiedler
murray ..... herbert edelman
roy ..... david sheiner
speed ..... larry haines
cecily ..... monica evans
gwendolyn ..... carole shelley
waitress ..... iris adrian

sports announcer ..... bill baldwin
home plate umpire ..... al barlick
hotel clerk ..... john c. becher
bartender ..... ted beniades
chambermaid ..... billie bird
bowler ..... patricia d. bohannon
first base umpire ..... augie donatelli
scrubwoman ..... ann graeff
public address announcer ..... jack lightcap
butcher ..... joe dalma
go - go dancer ..... angelique pettyjohn
janitor ..... harry spear
cop ..... ralph stantley

...And as themselves...
matty alou ken boyer
heywood hale broun jerry bucher
roberto clemente tommy david
jack fisher bud harrelson
cleon jones ed kranepool
vernon lalo bill mazeroski
maury wills



In today's society, it would be grounds for a diagnosis of OCD. Maybe this is one of the many reasons I am so attracted to this movie. I am afflicted with OCD. However, there is a line, and Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon) crosses it several times over. Actually, taking Felix on his own doesn't seem like as much an absurdity. It's when you stick him in the same apartment with Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) that the sparks start flying.

These two are really best friends. They have to be in order for Oscar to provide Felix with a place to stay. This is exactly what this movie is about. Every Friday, Oscar hosts a poker game in his apartment with Felix and four other guys; Vinnie (John Fiedler); Murray (Herbert Edelman); Roy (David Sheiner); and Speed (Larry Haines). This Friday, Felix doesn't show and the gang is worried.

It turns out Felix has been kicked out of the house and is wandering the city thinking about and trying to kill himself…emphasis on the ‘trying.’ He ends up at Oscar's apartment anyway, and the gang is panicked for what he might try to do from this 12th floor apartment. Oscar says he can stay with him. Little does Oscar know what he is in for.

Oscar is the epitome of sloppiness and Felix is Mr. Clean himself. They say that opposites attract. Neil Simon doesn't think so. The idea of having a maid and butler at your service sounds pretty ideal. Unless it's Felix Ungar.

Oscar likes sloppiness. But his friend is in trouble, so he concedes to give a little and let Felix keep house, long as Felix stays out oh his way…which he doesn't. Still, Felix was going to commit suicide (or so he intended). But then Felix cleaned up the last straw. Oscar gets excited about a couple of girls he met in the elevator. He has invited them over for a &quo;double date&quo; with cocktails and dinner in his apartment. He thinks it will help Felix get out of his slump from being thrown out of his house.

When the girls arrive, however, somehow Felix manages to screw Oscar's plans up for the evening by relaying his own recent catastrophy with his wife Frances. This Oscar cannot overlook. Now Felix is being thrown out again

Once again the poker gang is worrying about Felix when they are told that he is out on his own again, so they set out to scour the city to look for him (or his body). From here the laughs continue until the end when…you guessed it…see the movie! One hour and forty-five minutes never passed so quickly!


I am a big fan of Niel Simon; as I am a big fan of Jack Lemmon; as I am a big fan of Walter Matthau. To have them all in one story is just gut-wrenching! For fans of the television show with Tony Randall as Felix and Jack Klugman as Oscar, be prepared for the step up to real comedy. Don't take that wrong, but there is no way that Randall and Klugman and television writers can even come close to Matthau and Lemmon in a play by Niel Simon.

Just reading the script puts me in stiches. Unlike many other decent comedies, The Odd Couple relys on absurd dialogue for laughs, and gets them every time. But wait…there's more…when you take that absurd dialogue and add the visual comedy of a cmedy team tnat was made in comedy heaven, I just don't have sufficient words. (Case in point…they made 10 great movies together.)

Speaking for a moment on behalf of the actors, both leads have comedy credit on their own to be proud of. Lemmon is notorious for great solo comedy such as The Out-Of-Towners (1969). Incidently, he is just a great all-around actor. See Days of Wine and Roses for an example.

Walter Matthau proves he can bring on his own laughs in The Bad News Bears. The duo is double the fun. Even more recently, they prove they still enjoy badgering each other in Grumpy Old Men (a rare case whereas I find the sequel, Grumpier Old Men to be just as entertaining as the first movie).

Back to this movie, though, although showing up for only small parts, John Fiedler and Herb Edelman are there to support what I thought couldn't be a funnier movie.

As for the tech stuff…who cares? The comedy is the only thing that is important here. Alright, the music is pretty good, too. And even THAT'S funny!


Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating.
You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • oscar : I got brown sandwiches and green sandwiches. Which one do ya' want?
    murray : What's the green?
    Ooscar : It's either very new cheese or very old meat.
    murray : I'll take the brown.
  • roy : If he's laying in a gutter somewhere, who would know who he is?
    oscar : He's got 92 credit cards in his wallet. The minute something happens to him, America lights up.
  • murray : A suicide telegram? Who sends a suicide telegram?
    oscar : Felix the nut, that's who.
  • felix :[to Felix] Where are you going?
    oscar : To the john.
    felix : Alone?
    oscar : I always go alone. Why?
    felix : No reason. You gonna be in there long?
    oscar : As long as it takes.
  • felix : We don't always watch TV. Sometimes we read. Sometimes we talk.
    oscar : Yeah, I read and you talk. I try to work and you talk. I go to sleep and you talk. We got your life arranged pretty good, but I'm still looking for a little entertainment.
    felix : What are you saying — I talk too much?
  • felix : Oscar, what is it? Is it the cooking…or the cleaning? The crying?
    oscar : I'll tell you exactly what it is. It's the cooking, the cleaning, the crying. It's the talking in your sleep. It's those moose calls that open your ears at 2:00 in the morning. [honk…honk]. I can't take it anymore, Felix. I'm cracking up. Everything you do irritates me. And when you're not here, the things I know you're gonna do when you come in irritate me. You leave me little notes on my pillow. I've told you 158 times, I cannot stand little notes on my pillow—&quo;We are all out of Cornflakes–F.U.&quo; Took me three hours to figure out that ‘F.U.’ was ‘Felix Ungar.’ It's not your fault, Felix. It's a rotten combination, that's all.
  • felix : You're a wonderful guy, Oscar! You've done everthing for me.If it weren't for you, I don't know what would have happened to me. You took me in here. You gave me a place to live. You gave me something to live for. I'm never going to forget you for that, Oscar. You're tops with me!
    oscar : If I've just been told off, I think I may have missed it.
  • felix : You mean move out this minute?
    oscar : Yes. This minute. If you can do it sooner, I'd appreciate it.
    felix : In other words, you're throwing me out.
    oscar : Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones!
  • vinnie : C'mon. Let's go back. He'll show up.
    oscar : I know. He'll kill himself just to spite me. Then his ghost will come back following me around the apartment haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning, haunting and cleaning.
  • oscar : Aren't you going to thank me, Felix?
    felix : For what?
    oscar : The two greatest things I've ever done for you—taking you in, throwing you out.
  • felix :[to Oscar] So long, Frances.
    oscar :[to Felix] So long, Blanche.

Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.

cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

Thanks for Visiting!!!

Please comment below

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Sprinkle 19

Director: iain softley Runtime: 2 hrs ( 120 min)
prot ..... kevin spacey
dr. mark powell ..... jeff bridges
rachel powell ..... mary mcCormick
dr. claudia villars ..... alfre woodard
howie ..... david patrick kelly
ernie ..... saul williams
sal ..... peter gerety
doris archer ..... celia weston
dr. chakraborty ..... ajay naidu
maria ..... tracy vilar
bess ..... melanee murray
russell ..... john toles - bay
joyce trexler ..... kimberly scott
betty mcAllister ..... conchata ferrell
navarro ..... vincent laresca
simms ..... mark christopher
steve ..... brian howe
abby ..... mary mara
natalie powell (age 6) ..... tess mcCarthy
gabby powell (age 9) ..... natasha dorfhuber
josh (age 10) ..... brandon michael dePaul
michael powell (age 21) ..... aaron paul
sheriff ..... william lucking
walter fleen ..... kelly connell
duncan flynn ..... peter maloney
david patel ..... lance nichols
stuart hessler ..... paul linke
danny trexler ..... christopher jason brown
dominic mcAllister ..... greg lewis
homeless veteran ..... clarke peters
sara porter ..... kateri walker
rebecca porter ..... katya abelski
babbling man ..... norman alden
jennifer ..... moet meira


A mysterious man (Kevin Spacey) appears in a crowded train terminal out of nowhwere…literally. He has no luggage, and seems to be awed at absolutely everything and everyone around him. He clearly has no intention of harming anyone, and seems to be very happy to be where he is.

So, naturally, the authorities haul him off to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan. Initially, he is escorted to the office of Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges), Chief of Clinical Psychiatry.

This man, who calls himself Prot(long o vowel), is far from threatening. He obviously has a sense of humor, but no physical expressions or reactions to signify it.

He claims to come from a planet named K-PAX, which, says Prot, is about 1,000 light years away from Earth, in a constellation we call Lyra.

At first, he is the only one of his collegues who accepts the vague possibility that Prot is actually who he says he is, and is, in fact, from a planet called K-PAX. The institute is managed more in the fashion of a community rather than a hospital, so everyone is on a semi-formal basis with the residents and the staff.

As Dr. Powell spends the duration of the movie trying to analyze and figure out Prot, Prot himself is observing the residents of the Institute as they characterize themselves through incident and reaction.

In some cases, Prot changes the residents' attitude toward being ‘locked up.’

Dr. Powell takes Prot to meet some of the collegues of his astrophysicist friend (Brian Howe), who also takes an interest in him.

We learn that Prot does have past history involving tragedy. However, Prot describes it as having happened to a friend who is a native of Earth. This is where everyone's stories, because they are all so believable and apparently undebatable, begin to revive the wonder and doubt of the movie and it's several angles.


Talk about twisting the towel dry (but still getting wet)!

That might be the wrong way to start this review. It sounds as if I believe this topic to have run its course. On the contrary. Let me start a few paragraphs back, at the actual beginning of my thoughts…

Mainly, this movie is an insight into the lack of logical thinking, but also how two different cultures may develop completely different lifestyles and sets of values, each maintaining their respective cultures as the only logical way to live.

When Prot first encounters Dr. Powell, the expected conversation ensues, whereas the alien seems to have all the answers to the problems of the domestic inhabitants. This seems to be a common theme among many horror/sci-fi-alien movies.

On the other hand, Prot comes to Earth to study and learn the ways of the people of this planet. Of course he learns, observes, and criticizes our ways and customs, but he also teaches the residents of the hospital (and Dr. Powell himself) that there is a world beyond the social norm, and to be labeled mentally deficiant may show some insight into the labeler.

While (as anyone who has ever seen an alien/other species movie knows) the superior species of the universe has developed a slew of horrendous flaws. The alien race, which is, of course, perfect and technologically advanced beyond all imagination may not have developed lifestyles that any sane person from Earth would choose voluntarily.

For the entire movie, you (and Dr. Powell) are challenged to decide who Prot really is, where he is really from, and what really is his history.

Movie stereotypes such as these are exploited shamelessly in K-PAX, and the theme has been used over and over in the past (e.g. Cocoon, Batteries Not Included, E.T.). They are themes, though, that survive without becoming redundant. For some strange reason, we seem to enjoy the exploitation of our own flaws. By the same token, we enjoy redeeming ourselves by creating other superior beings with little, often social disturbances that tremendously outweigh our piddly frustrations.

As an added aspect, you just cannot write a story such as this, without having the characters described as crazy (pardon my lack of political savvy) as being the only ones who see beyond what is generally accepted.

As long as writers and actors keep the individual stories fresh (i.e. This isn't your father's Oldsmobile.), this type of movie will always make you think.

And speaking of thinking…from where do you think Prot comes? What exactly is his true story?

Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Prot : I've been here many times before. But what brought me here first? I don't know. Pure curiosity, I guess. I'd never been to a Class BA-3 planet before.
    Dr. Powell : Class BA-3?
    Prot : Early stage of evolution. Future uncertain.
  • Dr. Powell :[Ignoring Rachel] Oh, look. They've published my letter.
    Rachel : I spoke with Natalie about going into the after-school program next year…in case I go back to teaching. And this morning my head fell off, but I was able to sew it back on with dental floss. Waxed, of course.
    Dr. Powell : Dental floss? Sorry, I wasn't listening.
  • Dr. Powell : You were born, right? K-PAXians have babies?
    Prot : Oh, yes, much like on Earth. But unlike you humans, the reproductive process is quite unpleasant for us.
    Dr. Powell : Could you compare the effect to something that I might understand? Like a toothache?
    Prot : It's more like having your nuts in a vice, except we feel it all over. And to make matters worse, the sensation is associated with something like your nausea, accompanied by a very bad smell. The moment of climax is like being kicked in the stomach and then falling into a pool of mod droppings.
  • Dr. Powell : How do you know right from wrong?
    Prot : Every being in the universe knows right from wrong, Mark.
  • Prot : You humans. Sometimes it's hard to imagine how you've made it this far.
  • Dr. Powell : Prot, it's one thing to take an interest in your fellow patients. It's quite another to make them think that you can cure them.
    Prot : You seem overly upset, Mark. To borrow a phrase from Navarro, ‘you need to chill.’ For your information, all beings have the capacity to heal themselves, Mark. This is something we've known on K-PAX for millions of years.
    Dr. Powell : Listen to me. On this planet, I'm a doctor, you're a patient.
    Prot : Doctor. Patient. Curious human distinction.
    Dr. Powell : It's not your job to cure Howie…or Ernie…or Marie or anyone else. It's mine.
    Prot : Then why haven't you cured them yet?
  • Dr. Becker : It's a pleasure to meet you, Prot. I'm Doctor Becker. This is Doctor Flynn, Doctors Papel and Hessler.
    Prot :[shaking hands with and nodding at each one in turn.] Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor…How many doctors are there on this planet?
  • Prot : Kids. Come here. [has barking conversation with Shasta, the dog] Okay. [to the kids] She says she doesn't like it when you hide her favorite tennis shoe. And she doesn't hear so well in her left side so…
    [Shasta barks again]
    Prot : …so don't sneak up on her anymore.
    Natalie : No way.
  • Prot : I believe I mentioned my taking a trip up north, Mark…in this very garden.
    Dr. Powell : ‘Taking a trip?’ You're a patient here. You don't leave here without a discharge. And don't give me this ‘beam of light’ shit, because I don't buy it. What would you say if I told you that I don't believe you took any trip at all, to Iceland or Greenland, or anywhere? That I don't believe you're from K-PAX? I believe you're as human as I am.
    Prot : I would say you're in need of a Thorazine drip, Doctor.
  • Dr. Powell : Let's hope extra-terrestrials qualify for Medicaid.
  • Prot : Why is a soap bubble round?
    Dr. Powell: Why is a soap bubble round.
    Prot: You know, for an educated Man, Mark, you repeat things quite a bit. Are you aware of that?
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

Thanks for Visiting!!!
Please comment below

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Sprinkle 13

Director: gus van sant Runtime: 2 hrs 8 min ( 128 min)
harvey milk ..... sean penn
cleve jones ..... emile hirsch
dan white ..... josh brolin
jack lira ..... diego luna
scott smith ..... james franco
anne kronenberg ..... alison pill
mayor moscone ..... victor garber
john briggs ..... denis o' hare
dick pabich ..... joseph cross
rick stokes ..... stephen spinella
danny nicoletta ..... lucas grabeel
jim rivaldo ..... brandon boyce
david goodstein ..... zvi howard rosenman
michael wong ..... kelvin yu
art agnos ..... jeff koons
dennis peron ..... ted jan roberts
denton smith ..... robert boyd holbrook
frank robinson ..... frank robinson
allan baird ..... allan baird
tom ammiano ..... tom ammiano
thelma ..... carol roth silver
mary ann white ..... hope tuck
mcConnelly ..... steven wiig
dianne feinstein ..... ashlee temple
carol ruth silver ..... wendy king
gordon lau ..... kelvin han yee
phil burton ..... robert chimento
lily ..... ginabel mochado
morning show host ..... velina brown
riot cop ..... richard gross
medora paine ..... camron palmer
assistant sheriff ..... cully fredricksen
sylvester ..... mark martinez
priest ..... mark e. stanger
chamber clerk ..... jesse caldwell
don amador ..... cleve jones
pizza delivery man ..... drew kuhse
robert hillsborough ..... eric cook


This entire movie is an account of the short, but significant and effective political career of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn). Although the entire movie is not told as a narrative, the movie is supposed to be a portrayal of the recordings made by Milk as he reflected, in the movie, in solitude, into a tape recorder. The movie periodically flashes to this scene, with Harvey sitting at his kitchen table, speaking into a microphones.

The film begins with real archive news footage of police officers raiding public establishments such as restaurants and movie theatres. Included in this footage is the public announcement of the assassination of Mayor Moscone (Victor Garber) and supervisor Harvey Milk.

The first theatrical scene has Harvey meeting his soon-to-be friend and partner, Scott Smith (James Franco) at a train depot. They have a night together (which just happens to be Harvey's 40th birthday) and become partners.

Harvey and Scott start a photography shop in a small (six blocks square) Irish-Catholic district in San Francisco called The Castro. The other shop owners are not happy about it, but they leave it alone, and eventually, the business is accepted.

When Harvey sees the violence all around his neighborhood, he decides to run for San Francisco Supervisor.

He finds that, even with a legitimate cause and backing, there are always those who will fight you and attempt to stand in your way. He learns the ins and outs of politics, often not agreeing with them. He learns how others in government often play ball with each other. Friends often takes on a different meaning.

Although, being California, and a highly Liberally populated state, the politics are some of the most ruthless (looks like the disease has done nothing but spread in 35 or so years). Among the opponents to Harvey's movement are Anita Bryant, a very out-spoken, religious, anti-gay activist, and her go-to guy, State Senator John Briggs.

Not only is Milk fighting the anti-gay movement (i.e. Proposition 6), but he is also fighting the idea of using politics to fight the issues rather than truly believing in the issues at hand.

Dan White (Josh Brolin) , another supervisor, asks for Harvey's help in keeping a mental health facility out of his district. Harvey votes against the bill, which puts this friendship on the rocks.

Harvey is a fighter with a strong following. Anita Bryant moves her cause throughout the nation, but Harvey moves his followers just as swiftly…causing riots in the streets. He is losing support, though, so it is suggested that he focus his political efforts somewhere else in addition to the gay rights movement. As it is sort of a comic relief to the serious tone of the story, I will not reveal here which cause he chooses, but I will say that it sure does beat the crap out of Anita Bryant's movement of the moment. (See the movie to find out why that's so funny.)

Dan White retaliates against Harvey for not supporting his bill by voting No on Milk's gay rights bill. From this point on, White is vengeful against Milk, and does not support him in anything else. Harvey, however, does get the backing of the Mayor (Victor Garber) and most of those on the Board of Supervisors.


Obviously, in reviewing a true story, there's not much room for criticizing the plot. Also, not being previously familiar with the story or the people involved previous to this viewing, I will not attempt to evaluate the validity or accuracy of facts.

As far as the movie in itself and the performances, they are superb. Though it was not intentional on my part, this does seem an appropriate movie on which attention is to be focused. (Don't you love my perfect sentence structure, Mrs. Holley?)

Although it might be hard to overwrite unpleasant memories of Sean Penn and his days with Madonna, as an actor, he is fantastic as Harvey Milk.

I also want to extend praise to Josh Brolin, playing the part of Dan White. Nothing in specific, which I believe is the best type of praise. His overall performance is unbelieveable..

I have not seen Sean Penn in many performances in quite some time. It's hard to imagine Harvey Milk being portrayed by the same actor who played Jeff in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. However, if you've seen I Am Sam,you can see how Sean Penn is very talented at portraying several varied types of characters.

As I have said before, spoiler is not in my cache. If you know the real story, watch this movie to compare it to the history books. If you are not familiar with that part of political history, this is a terrific movie from which you may learn something.

Critics's personal note: I am very disappointed that some 30+ years after this movement, conservatives and the tea party are rallying up the same issues that were fought for so hard in the '70s.

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some of you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Harvey : My name is Harvey Milk, and I wanna recruit you.
  • Anita : I believe that, more than ever before, that there are evil forces, roundabouts, even perhaps disguised as something good, that would want to tear it down, the very foundation of family unit that holds America together.
  • Briggs : Sir, my bill has procedures for identifying homosexuals.
    [Further heckling]
    Briggs : You can argue with me. You cannot argue with God.
  • Harvey : Privacy. In this movement, at this time…I'm not saying this as a supervisor…privacy is the enemy. And if you want real political power…if that's what you want…try telling the truth for a change.
  • Harvey : A powder blue pen to sign the city's first gay rights law.
  • Scott : Congratulations to you. Looks like you're part of "The Machine" now.
  • Scott : Happy 48! Looks like you're going to make it to 50 after all, Mr. Milk.
  • Harvey : This is not just jobs or issues, this is our lives were fighting for.
  • Harvey : And how do you teach homosexuality? Is it like French?
  • Harvey : Dan, even Ronald Reagan is against Proposition 6.
  • [After Jack's suicide.]
    Scott : Harvey, look at me. You did everything that you could.
    Harvey : No, I didn't.
    Scott : So, what more could you have done?
    Harvey : I could've come back at 6:00 or 6:15.
  • Harvey : I like that. A Homosexual with power. That's scary!.
  • Harvey : Any witnesses?.
    Cop : Yeah. Just a trick. Jerry Keller.
    Harvey : Jerry's not his trick. He's his lover.
    Cop : Hey, call it what you will. All I know is, he's our only witness. He said he can't identify the attacker.
    Harvey : You'd have a dozen witnesses if they thought you boys had any interest in protecting them.
  • Briggs : My proposition promises to protect our children from these gay perverts and…these gay perverts and pedophiles who recruit our children to participate in their deviant lifestyle, including the ones who do it in our public schools. The time has come for us to root them out.
    [Gets booed off the stage.]
  • Dan :[drunk] Hey, I gotcha a little somethin'.
    Harvey :[under his breath] You didn't have to…
    Dan : ‘You didn't have to’ I knew you were gonna say that. Why do people always say that? ‘ You didn't have to.’ I mean, of course, right? But that's what they always say. They always say things like that…Always.
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2 cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

Thanks for Visiting!!!
Please comment below

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Pumpkin 27

MOVIE REVIEW OF Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Not Rated
Director: frank capra Runtime: 2 hrs 9 min ( 129 min)
clarissa sanders ..... jean arthur
jefferson smith ..... james stewart
senator joseph harrison paine ..... claude rains
jim taylor ..... edward arnold
governor hubert hopper ..... guy kibble
diz moore ..... thomas mitchell
chick mcGann ..... eugene pallette
ma smith ..... beulah bondi
senate majority leader agnew ..... h. b. warner
president of the senate henry ..... harry carey
susan paine ..... astrid alwyn
mrs. emma hopper ..... ruth donnelly
senator macPherson ..... grant mitchell
senator martin monroe ..... porter hall
senate minority leader barnes ..... pierre watkin
nosey ..... charles lane
carl griffith ..... william demarest
bill cook ..... dick elliott
peter hopper ..... billy watson
jimmy hopper ..... delmar watson
otis hopper ..... john russell
hopper boy #1 ..... harry watson
hopper boy #2 ..... gary watson
hopper boy #3 ..... baby dumpling (larry simms)
h. v. kaltenborn ..... h. v. kaltenborn - radio announcer
sweeney farrell ..... jack carson
barber ..... gino corrado
reporter ..... dub taylor


Senator Sam Foley has died, leaving an empty seat in congress. It is the responsibility of Governor Huber Happy Foley (Guy Kibbee) to choose a replacement.

Back west, a guy named Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) is the leader of a Boy Scout-type group of boys called the Boy Rangers.

The governer flips a coin to make his decision. Should he appoint the handpicked stooge of his corrupt political boss Jim Taylor (Edward Arnold), or a reformer named Henry Hill? The coin is no help, as it lands on its edge against the side of a local newspaper. The story on the front page of said newspaper concerns the acomplishments of the aforementioned leader of the Boy Rangers, Jefferson Smith.

Governor Foley sees this as his opportunity to worm his (and his corrupt buddies) way into the midst of congress and continue to bask in the approval of Taylor. Taylor's agenda includes a dam-building scheme to be constructed on the very spot where Smith is advised to propose a bill that would pay for the development of a national boy's camp.

Smith is taken aside by Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains), and is advised to propose a bill. Although Paine is the oldest and best friend of Smith's late father, he is nevertheless corrupted by Jim Taylor's political machine. This suggestion to propose a bill is just a scheme to keep Smith out of the way of the dam-building plans. However, since the sites of the to projects are one and the same, this just escalates the tension and the determination of Smith to actually DO something with this newly acquired seat in the government.

Taylor's political machine realizes that their plans are backfiring, and that Smith is not the doormat that Taylor thought he was going to be.

In order to avoid Smith ruining Taylor's plans, he hits below the belt by wiring all the papers to print stories (i.e. twisted and false stories) of Smith's ulterior motive to profit from his proposed boys' camp bill. Fraudulent evidence is fabricated to show that Smith already owns the land on which he is proposing to develop the camp.

Smith tries to enlist the boys back home to spread the good word of his proposal through the Boy Rangers' self-published newspaper. However, Taylor's machine quickly confiscates that publication, and attacks the boys, replacing that with his own fraudulent stories of misconduct and deception by Smith.

Not to be overthrown by this political corruption, Smith enlists the assistance and the confidence of his secretary, Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur) to complete his Boys Camp bill. He intends to present the bill to congress regardless of Taylor's political machine and its attempts to kill it. To do this, Saunders enlightens him to the filibuster, and Smith takes full advantage of it.

As I hope you realize by now, I am not a fan of the spoiler. That is the gist of the story. The rest concerns the conflicts that ensue when this one senator from a small town takes on the powerful forces of a corrupt congressional machine in order to do what's right.


It is amazing just how relevant this movie is to current politics. Although it is not specified to which party the corrupt senators in the movie belong, in today's political battlefield, they would have Republican written all over them.

When this movie was made (1939), although there is no doubt that scandal existed in government, it was not usually exposed and broadcast to the public as much as it is today. Therefore, I imagine (I can only speculate, as my existence was still another 36 years away) that this story was much more of a shocker when it was first released. What is rather shocking, though, is that in that time, government (i.e. congress, mostly right-wing conservatists/tea-party extremists) has not only failed to improve, I believe it has actually gotten worse. This contradicts what I would expect to be the normal order of events (kind of like a Starburst® candy). More media coverage and exposure, as we have today, would suggest a decrease in corruption. However, all you have to do is to turn on the news (respectable shows such as The Rachel Maddow Show…NOT Fox News or The O'Reilly Factor) to see that nothing is sacred anymore in politics.

You will probably notice that this review is not quite as in-depth with regards to plot as that to which I normally strive, but I fear that expansion would send me on a rant about current politics, and that would NOT be something you would want to see. (I also apologize… I realize that that last sentence was a grammatical nightmare!) Nevertheless, I will drift your attention to one event in the movie that made me raise my eyebrows, because at the time this movie was made, this was not an issue…the filibuster.

Previously, the filibuster was a rarely used tactic to stall a bill or proposal from a vote, or an insertion to proceedings with that same goal, and to give a congressman as much opportunity to present his case as he can endure. (Yes, in days of yore, it was required that the congressman presenting the filibuster remain standing throughout his presentation. If he sat down, he relinquished the floor.)

In today's lazy and irresponsible congress, one is no longer held to that requirement. In fact, I would not be surprised to learn that it took no more effort than leaving the senate chamber for a burger to enact a filibuster! No surprise as to why very little productivity is seen in congress today. Unless, of course, the issue concerns whether or not the congressmen will be able to catch their flights to go home for vacation…then procedure flies! And there it is…I am now entering into the realm of personal political criticism…back to the movie…

I will leave you to create your own treasure hunt to find connections (intentional and otherwise) to current politics…have fun with that one! 😏

On the filmmaking end of this review, I always find it interesting to watch (and review) the movies of this era (1920s to 1970s). There are, or so it seems, a smaller pool of actors, directors, and other significant names dominating Hollywood. As this movie exhibits, you will see names repeated more often. This extends beyond pretty boy actors with little talent and huge egos.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington sees several familiar names that will probably become household names if you are a regular reader of this blog. To name a few: director Frank Capra (It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It WIth You (1938), Meet John Doe (1941), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), the list goes on…), James Jimmy Stewart (You Can't Take It With You (1938), The Shop Around the Corner (1940), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Rope (1948), Harvey (1950), Rear Window (1954), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Spirit of St. Louise (1957), Night Passage (1957), Vertigo (1958), Anatomy of a Murder (1959),The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962),Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Harvey (1972), The Shootist (1976), again, the list goes on…), Jean Arthur (The Canary Murder Case (1929), The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu (1929), The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1930), If You Could Only Cook (1935), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), Shane (1953) ), Claude Rains (The Invisible Man (1933), The Clairvoyant (1935), Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), King's Row (1942), Now, Voyager (1942), Casablanca (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Strange Holiday (1945), Nortorious (1946), Deception (1946), Lawrence of Arabia (1942) ), Edward Arnold (Whistling In The Dark (1933), Duck Soup (1933), Diamond Jim (1935), Remember Last Night (1935), Meet Nero Wolfe (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), Meet John Doe (1941), The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941), Three Wise Fools (1946), Annie Get Your Gun (1950) ), Harry Carey (The Last of the Mohicans (1932), Barbary Coast (1935), Beyond Tomorrow (1940),Angel and The Badman (1947) ), Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach (1939), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Gone With the Wind (1939), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), Swiss Family Robinson (1940), Our Town (1940), The Long Voyage Home (1940), Three Wise Fools (1946), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Pocketful of Miracles (1941), High Noon (1952) ), Guy Kibbee (Flying High (1931), Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936),Rich Man, Poor Girl (1938), Our Town (1940), Fort Apache (1948) ), H.B. Warner (Conquest (1928), Charlie Chan's Chance (1932), The Crusader (1932), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), The Garden Murder Case (1936), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It With You (1938), The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939), Topper Returns (1941), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), Sunset Blvd. (1950), The Ten Commandments (1956) ), Charles Lane (Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take it With You (1938), The Invisible Woman (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), It's A Wonderful Life (1946), The Music Man (1962), It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) ), Dub Taylor (You Can't Take It With You (1938), Them! (1954), Dragnet (1954), A Star Is Born (1954), No Time For Sergeants (1958), A Hole in the Head (1959),The Cincinnati Kid (1965), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969), Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), Tom Sawyer (1973), 1941 (1979) )…yeah, and that doesn't even approach exhaustive.

As my continuing efforts to expose you to quality and true entertainment and talent moves on, I encourage you to take the suggestions listed, along with any others you might find, and really watch them with interest. And if…I'm sorry…WHEN you find another movie you enjoy that features these people, jot a note, either at the end of the post here, or in an email to me, or in the suggestion question in the weekly survey, suggesting it as a possible subject of review. Don't be discouraged if you don't see your suggestion appear in the survey right away or for quite some time. I keep all suggestions for future consideration…i.e. no expiration datel

Finally, a few examples of these connections to which I made reference that come from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

First, Auld Lang Syne is heard near the beginning of this movie…it is also sung in the final scene of It's A Wonderful Life. Both movies are directed by Frank Capra and feature James Stewart (Jeff Smith/George Bailey), H.B. Warner (Senate Majority Leader Agnew/Mr. Gower), Thomas Mitchell (Diz Moore/Uncle Billy), and Charles Lane (Nosey/Mr. Potter's Real Estate Salesman).

Before I go on, I apologize for the lack of specificity in this next connection, but I thought it too good to completely ignore. There is a point near the end of Mr. Smith… where the Senate President (Harry Carey - yes, an unfortunate name - rather cruel parents if you ask me) is attempting to call order to the Senate chamber by banging his gavel. After a sustained banging for quite some time produces no response, he gives a priceless expression with a smile attached, and gives up, tossing the gavel aside. The connection, (again, I apologize for being vague and seemingly clueless here, but it was too good to ignore) : there is another movie in which this scene is almost duplicated. In this other movie, the setting is a legal courtroom, and different actors and specific situations are involved. I just cannot, for the life of me, remember whiich movie this is! If you know, I would really appreciate a heads-up so I can sleep. Some possibilities include: A Miracle on 34th Street (1947), You Can't Take It With You (1938), or A Smokey Mountain Christmas (1986). See my sneaky ways of getting you to sit on your duff to watch movies instead of engaging in physical activity?…You're welcome!

Finally, a short list of quotes I think are worth repeating. You may recognize some of you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:

  • Mr. Smith : I suppose, Mr. Paine, when a fella bucks up against a big organization like that, one man can't get very far, can he?
    Paine : Nope.
  • Mr. Smith : There was a bus outside, and I just naturally got aboard.
    Saunders :[sarcastically] Most natural thing in the world.
  • Diz : I'll see ya' later, Saunders. I gotta go out and think this over.
  • Paine : Jeff, these bills are put together by legal minds after long study. I can't understand half of them myself, and I used to be a lawyer. Now come on, forget it. When the time comes, I'll advise you how to vote.
    Mr. Smith : Yes, I know you will, sir. But that's just the point. There's no reason for me to be here at all.
  • Paine : At the expense of some of the furniture, Susan, you've made another conquest.
    Susan : Not old Honest Abe?
    Paine : And with Honest Abe's ideals. A rare man these days, Susan.
  • Mr. Smith : Dog-gone-it…you ever have so much to say about something, you just couldn't say it?
    Saunders : Try sitting down.
    Mr.Smith : I did…I got right back up again.
  • Saunders : Father was a doctor. He thought more of ethics than he did of collections. Speaks well for Father, but it wasn't so…now look, we'd better get back to this.
  • Paine : This is a man's world, Jeff, and you've got to check your ideals at the door, like you do your rubbers.
  • Paine : Mr. President, will the senator yield?
    Senate President : Will the senator yield?
    Mr. Smith : No, sir, I'm afraid not. No, sir. I yielded the door once before if you'll remember, and I was pracitically never heard of again. No, sir. And we might as well all get together on this yielding business right off the bat now.
  • Mr. Smith : If I yield for only a question or a point of order or a personal privilege, that I can hold this floor almost until doomsday.
  • Mr. Smith : I call the chair's attention to uh…rule 5 of the standing rules of the Senate, section…section 3…‘If it shall be found that a quorum is not present, a majority of the senators present’…and that looks like me…‘may direct the sergeant at arms to request, and if necessary, compel the attendence of the absent senators,’ Well, Mr. President, I so direct.
  • Diz : This is the most titanic battle of modern times. A David without even a slingshot rises to do battle against the mighty Goliath, the Taylor Machine, allegedly crooked from the inside and out…and for my money, you can cut out the ‘allegedly.’
  • H.V. Kaltenborn : This is H. V. Kaltenborn speaking. Half of official Washington is here to see democracy's finest show, the filibuster, the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in it's most dramatic form. The least man in that chamber, once he gets and holds that floor, by the rules, can hold it and talk as long as he can stand on his feet…providing always, first: that he does not sit down, second, that he does not leave the chamber or stop talking.
  • [Mr. Smith is talking extensively on the floor of the congress. He pauses, puts his fingers into his mouth, and whistles. Startled, all the senators jump in their seats, and turn to look at Smith.]
    Mr. Smith : Ah, that's alright. I just wanted to find out if you still had faces.
Here is my personal rating of this movie. This rating is out of ten meows.
cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2cat head 2 10 /10

Thanks for Visiting!!!
Please comment below