Saturday, September 27, 2014

❝On Golden Pond❞





Sprinkle 18

MOVIE REVIEW OF ❝On Golden Pond❞ (1981) PG
Cast
Director: mark rydell Runtime: 1 hrs 49 min ( 109 min)
ethel thayer ..... katharine hepburn
norman thayer, jr. ..... henry fonda
chelsea thayer wayne ..... jane fonda
billy ray ..... doug mcKeon
bill ray ..... dabney coleman
charlie martin ..... william lanteau
sumner todd ..... chris rydell
boy on jetty ..... troy ganty




WARNING: THE NEXT SECTIONS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…



WHAT I KNOW

Norman (Henry Fonda) and Ethel Thayer (Katharine Hepburn) are going up to their cabin on Golden Pond to celebrate Norman's 80th birthday.

When they arrive, their daughter, Chelsea (Jane Fonda) shows up to introduce her parents to her fiancée, Bill (Dabney Coleman) and his son, Billy (Doug McKeon).

Chelsea and Bill are on their way to a business engagement, so they are dropping off Billy for a week. Billy does not get off to a great start with Norman and Ethel on account of he resents being left out in the middle of nowhere with a couple of old people. Norman is harsh, but before very long, he and Billy have bonded in a cautious way, and Billy starts to enjoy his stay.

On the surface, the movie focuses on the relationship between Billy and Norman. However, it silently addresses the wavering relationship between Norman and his daughter, Chelsea.

Most of the significant scenes take place in the Thayers' boat, out on the pond…usually fishing.

Chelsea and Bill return with a surprise for Norman's birthday party, and relationships across the board are re-evaluated.

Finally, when everyone has left, the couple load up the good china and all the luggage. The movie ends with one last confirmation of Norman and Ethel's love and commitment to each other.


WHAT I THINK

The loons are calling!!

If you take nothing else away from this movie (shame on you - you weren't paying attention), you will know that when the loons cry, they are either welcoming you home, or wishing you farewell.

I saw a bit of irony between the actors and the characters they play in this movie. Specifically Henry and Jane Fonda. Of course, there is the obvious connection in that they are father and daughter in real life; they likewise play father and daughter in the movie. This, incidentally, was no coincidence…but that's another blog. In the movie, Chelsea (Jane Fonda) has always felt somewhat estranged from Norman's (Henry Fonda) love. She has always felt that he wanted a boy, and that he was just angry at and unhappy with her.

I, however, got the feeling that Norman just felt awkward and uncomfortable around his daughter. Norman loves fishing and diving. In his mind, these are things men and boys do. He was at a loss as to what to do with a little girl, not knowing that she just wanted to be with her dad, regardless of the activity.

Norman Thayer…now there's a character! Crotchity old man? Sure; but charming on the inside. Listen to the reality and ultimate truths in his criticisms, and you'll be right up there with him, grinding your teeth at the world. It becomes apparent, however, that his seeming bitterness can be warranted. First of all, as mentioned above, he regrets having not connected with his daughter as she was growing up. When Billy (Doug McKeon) arrives, he realizes that he had been disappointed that he had not had a son. He realizes (although it takes him the whole movie and a blatent spelling out) that this has taken a toll on Chelsea, and affected her entire life.

It is also apparent (although he tries to avoid it) that Norman is afraid of becoming ‘old.’ He is very aware of it…perhaps too aware of it. It is his 80th birthday, and he realizes his memory isn't as sharp as it used to be…and he is scared.

Any fan of Katharin Hepburn will recognize her signature shaky delivery and her no-nonsense attitude. Despite her husband's curmudgeonly attitude towards life. She knows he loves her, and she has come to turn that into an atmosphere of fun and happiness - somewhere around 50-some-odd years worth.

As I had mentioned at the beginning of this rant, there is irony abound with the actors here and in real life. Of course there is the obvious family connection - Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda, father and daughter in real life, play characters Norman and Chelsea Thayer, father and daughter in the movie.

But it goes beyond that. Jane's personal relationship with her father was a strained one. This was the only time the two had made a movie together. You can see the sentiments in Chelsea and Norman that were meant to be a message to real-life father and daughter through on-screen father and daughter. After finally making a movie together with his daughter, Henry Fonda won an Academy Award for best actor for this film, and died five months later.

Aside from the profanity, which in this very rare case actually adds value to the story, this is not only a film the whole family can see together, it is a film the whole family should see together.

At the end of the movie, for 4 or 5 minutes, Norman shows his true colors (after the rest of the family has vamoosed, of course); it is that along with the calling of the loons and the incredible soundtrack that makes you bring out the tissue box, ready to rewind (I watched this on VHS) and start the movie again.




MEMORABLE DIALOGUE & NOTEABLE ENCOUNTERS

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:




  • Ethel : They're a nice, middle-aged couple. Just like us.
    Norman : If they're just like us, they're not middle-aged.
    Ethel : Of course they are.
    Norman : Middle-aged means middle of life. People don't live to be 150!
  • [Knock at the door]
    Norman : Someone's at the door!
    Ethel : It's ME you old poop!
  • Billy Ray : I hear you turned 80 today.
    Norman : Is that what you heard?
    Billy Ray : Yeah. Man, that's really old.
    Norman : You should meet my father.
    Billy Ray : Your father's still alive?!
    Norman : Nah. But you should meet him.
  • Billy Ray : I just had a birthday, too. I turned 13 two weeks ago.
    Norman : Yeah? We're practically twins.
  • Bill : How's it feel turning 80?
    Norman : Twice as bad as it did turning 40.
  • Norman : You like that word, dont'cha? Bullshit.
    Billy Ray : Yeah.
    Norman : It's a good word.
  • Billy Ray : Hey Norman, can I ask you a question? How did you get Ethel, anyway?
    Norman : I sent away for her. Two box tops from Quaker Oats.
  • Norman : You wanna dance? Or would ya' rather suck face?!
RATING
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

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

❝The Great Race❞







great race
MOVIE REVIEW OF ❝The Great Race❞ (1965) NO RATING
Cast
Director: blake edwards Runtime: 2 hrs 40 min (160 min)
professor fate/ crown prince frederick hapnick ..... jack lemmon
the great leslie ..... tony curtis
maggie dubois ..... natalie wood
maximilian meen ..... peter falk
hezekiah sturdy ..... keenan wynn
henry goodbody ..... arthur o'Connell
hester goodbody ..... vivian vance
lily olay ..... dorothy provine
texas jack ..... larry storch
baron rolfe von stuppe ..... ross martin
general kuhster ..... george macready
frisbee ..... marvin kaplan
mayor of boracho ..... hal smith
sheriff ..... denver pyle
baron's guard #1 ..... william bryant
baron's guard #2 ..... ken wales


Uncredited
barflies ..... victor adamson
  ..... frank ellis
  ..... joe ferrante
  ..... silver harr
  ..... al haskell
  ..... rod mcGaughy
  ..... robert robinson
  ..... danny sands
  ..... tom smith
  ..... max wagner
1st man in saloon ..... richard alexander
2nd man in saloon ..... clegg hoyt
saloon brawlers ..... bill catching
  ..... sol gorss
  ..... chuck hicks
  ..... roy jenson
  ..... boyd ‘red’ morgan
  ..... hal needham
  ..... gil perkins
  ..... alex sharp
soldier #1 ..... greg benedict
soldier #2 ..... chuck hayward
townsman #1 ..... bill borzage
townsman #2 ..... kenner g. kemp
townsman #3 ..... philo mcCullough
townsman #4 ..... bert stevens
townswoman ..... sarah selby
policeman ..... paul bryar
vice chairman ..... robert carson
master of ceremonies ..... charles fredericks
executive board member ..... harry harvey
man in bear suit ..... chester hayes
palace guard ..... bob herron
texas jack's henchman/ baker in pie fight ..... charles horvath
1st woman in west ..... patricia king
2nd woman in west ..... joyce nizzart
starter ..... frank kreig
bettor ..... mike lally
russian ..... francis mcDonald
chairman ..... j. edward mcKinley
reporter ..... king mojave
boy eating popcorn ..... richard mosier
conductor ..... joe palma
cowboy shooting gun in saloon ..... harvey parry
texas jack henchman ..... jack perkins
mayor-Domo ..... raoul retzer
baker #1 ..... hal riddle
baker #2 ..... johnny silver
cowboy/ dancer ..... christopher riordan
woman in tobelsk ..... maria schroeder
auto worker ..... jerry schumacher
freight agent ..... charles seel
first employee ..... paul smith
bishop at coronation ..... robert r. stephenson
trombonist in marching band ..... frank d. strong
prison guard ..... john traux
driver-Contestant in green car, #3 ..... dale van sickel
unknown ..... art stewart




WARNING: THE NEXT SECTIONS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…



WHAT I KNOW

In order to summarize this movie, I'd have to describe several other movies in their entirety.That is what The Great Race is in itself. Is it possible to make a parody of a parody? This comes darn close.

You can start with Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)…not funny, but that comes later. Now add It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). There's the ‘funny.’ Then we need some more generic GRS stereotypes such as the literal and conspicuous twinkle in the eye of the dashing hero in the perpetually clean white suit; and the villain dressed in black with the maniacal laugh and the cynically twirlable evil moustache; you know, the one often spotted standing next to the beautiful lady who is tied to the train tracks. We throw in the inevitable Stan Laurel-type ‘Egor’ sidekick, only this one's from New Jersey, and they call him ‘Max.’

The parallels wouldn't be complete, of course, without the ‘princess’ element. So, that's there, too, but she is hardly in distress.

A little more specific to this movie…On the one hand, The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) makes a living as a daredevil-type stuntman during the beginning of the 20th century. He is popular, always succeeds, and is 100% good-guy.

On the other hand, Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) and his sidekick Max (pre-Columbo Peter Falk). Fate is the over-the-top evil villain (is there any other kind?) who is despised, never succeeds, and is 100% evil. Max is his assistant who is often more on top of things and aware, though this is questionable as well.

Leslieis to endorse a car for a major automobile maker, and Fate sees this as opportunity to discredit him and put himself in the limelight.

The race is on…literally. The challenge is a car race from New York, west to Paris. Leslie is to drive the ‘Leslie Special’, while Fate uses his own custom-designed ‘Hannibal Twin 8’ All along their journey of follies, they are accompanied by suffragette reporter Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood), who proves to be invasive and determined, but also apparently needed by the men.

WHAT I THINK

I consider this one of those movies where you never watch it because you've literally forgotten just how funny it actually is. (I've also said this about Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory(1971).) The cast (although not all original choices–see‘trivia’ below) is perfect. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play evil and good-guy like they were born to do just this one thing. Peter Falk doesn't let in too much of a hint of his later role as the lieutenant without a first name, but that just makes Max better and funnier. Natalie Wood's character is so irritating and nerve-wracking, you just want to throw her overboard…until you realize that…she's right! Superb performances by all.

I especially enjoyed the many special appearances by those such as Larry Storch and Denver Pyle. There's even a special appearance by the one and only Jack Lemmon! (Yes, you read it right, and I did not make a mistake.)

You would think (as I did) that a movie such as this, that I praise so highly, and being one with an actor such as Jack Lemmon, would warrant an entire website full of quotable dialogue…I found that not quite the case. Now wait…it's not that the dialogue is not worth quoting…it's more of the idea that there isn't enough dialogue to quote! A majority of the humor in this movie comes in the form of sight gags and physical phunny stuph! Not to worry, though, what is there to be exploited has been listed below.

A trait also brought forward from other successful ‘villain vs. good-guy’ movies, many of which are not intended at the time of production to be funny, was the hat of the villain, in this case, Professor Fate. Unless he does it himself, his hat NEVER falls off! Even as he slips off the tediously floating disc of ice into a chilly ocean, the top hat of Professor Fate remains firmy atop his crown!

Almost finally,I urge you to take note of the notes. Yes, the music in The Great Race is worth NOTEing, not just as good accompaniment to a great comedy, either. Parts of the music that are meant as background are composed to contribute to the feeling of the silent-movie era when vaudeville was all the rage.

Now, as that was ‘almost finally,’ I arrive here at ‘finally.’ Just one observation of mine to which you may or may not agree (let me know below). When the racers stop in the town of Boracho, the ‘Woman-in-the-Moon’ sure reminds me of Martha Raye! Ya' think? (It's not, though.)🙍





MEMORABLE DIALOGUE & NOTABLE ENCOUNTERS

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:

  • professor fate : Push the button, Max!
  • maggie duBois : Since it is my job as a reporter to be there when the first car crosses the finish line, it will be necessary for me to win.
  • fate : Genius, Max! Positive genius. What's next?
    max : Car number five, the engine falls out.
    fate : [evil laugh] Car number five [evil laugh]…[stops laughing]…Max…we're number five.
  • leslie : Are you a native of Boracho?
    lily olay : I ain't no native, I was born here!
  • lily : I say…I gotta go up an' git on that thar moon again.
  • fate : Bury the hatchet.
    leslie : And you know who has the hatchet.
    max : He doesn't have a hatchet. I promise you. He doesn't even have a whole moustache. Now why can't we settle this whole thing underneath the blanket?
  • max : C'mon Professor, rise and shine.
    fate : Rise and shine?!
    max : It's 7:30.
    fate : Then you rise, you shine.
    max : He's always like this in the morning.
    fate : I'm not always like this in the morning. This particular morning I happen to be seasick.
    maggie : Too much champagne.
    fate : I'm not sick from champagne, I'm sick from the sea.
  • fate : Why you thimble-headed gherkin.
  • leslie :[measuring thickness of the iceberg on which they are floating] Another foot.
    fate : Another foot. Ahhh.
    leslie : Thirty-seven inches to go.
    fate : Ah. Thirty-seven inches to go. Ha-zaaa. At the rate we've been melting that's good for about one more week.
    leslie : You'd better keep it to yourself.
    fate : Oh. Of course I'll keep it to myself…until the water reaches my lower lip. And then I'm gonna mention it to SOMEBODY!
  • max : How long does it take to open a can of beans?
    fate : The eternal struggle takes time, Max.
    max : What struggle? She's got a can opener.
    fate : You cork-brain, I'm talking about man-woman, sex, conquest.
  • max : Eh, Professor. Up an' at 'em.
    fate : Up an' at 'em?!
    max : It's 7:30. Up an' at 'em.
    fate : Up an' at 'em?!
    maggie : Don't yell.
    max : He always yells like that in the morning.
    fate : You idiot! [mocking Max] Eh, Professor, up an' at 'em! Max. Eh, Professor, up an' at 'em!…It's 7:30.
  • fate : Push the button, Max!
  • max : You give 'em beads. That makes 'em friendly.
    fate : Obviously, they don't know who I am. [stands up an shouts] I am Professor Fate!
    [Silence…Fate sits back down]
    max : You wanna try the beads?
  • fate : Escaped?!
    kuhster : With a small friar.
    fate : Leslie escaped with a chicken?
  • max : Here comes the Marines!
  • baron :[standing by the window] As a very wise English gentleman once said: ‘He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day.’ So, until another day, Mister Leslie [throws his foil at Leslie]. Please excuse me…I have a boat waiting. [Jumps out the window to a rowboat waiting below. The boat crashes apart upon impact, and the Baron is left floating in the moat below] [Yes, this is more of a sight gag than a quote, but I just couldn't ignore it…I warned you!]
  • hapnick :[taking a bite of pie off of his face] Brandy!…[drunken laughter]Throw more Brandy! Throw Brandy! More Brandy! Brandy! Throw more Brandy! [another pie hits him in the face]…mmm…Rum…I never mix my pies! [more laughter]
  • hapnick : More pies! More pies! Baker! More pies!
And of course…
  • fate : Push the button, Max!


TRIVIA

Here is some interesting trivia from this movie⇒
  • Note that the cars entering the race are all built with a right-hand drive system! That's not very American!
  • Here's something to keep you up at night: Charlton Heston was originally offered the part of ‘The Great Leslie’! If that had happened, we wouldn't be having this conversation!BACK TO CRITIQUE
  • Natalie Wood's voice was dubbed by Jackie Ward for her performance of The Sweetheart Tree.
  • In exempli of the versatile acting talent of Jack Lemmon, I refer you to the part of this movie where he plays the drunken Hapnick. He is very funny as the swaveling (I just made that word up) drunk character who runs the country. Compare this to the character he portrayed in Days of Wine and Roses. He plays a drunk in that movie, too, but a completely different kind with a completely different attitude and character. Both performed with perfection.


RATING
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

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Friday, September 12, 2014

❝Rope❞







rope
MOVIE REVIEW OF ❝Rope❞ (1948) PG
Cast
Director: alfred hitchcock Runtime: 1 hrs 20 min (80 min)
david kentley ..... dick hogan
brandon ..... john dall
phillip ..... farley granger
mrs. wilson ..... edith evanson
kenneth ..... douglas dick
janet ..... joan chandler
mr. kentley ..... sir cedric hardwicke
mrs. atwater ..... constance collier
rupert cadell ..... james stewart



Uncredited
man walking in street after opening credits ..... alfred hitchcock




WHAT I KNOW

I plan to review several movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the future. This presents a unique dilemma for me as a critic. Although the Hitchcock library is well-known by movie enthusiasts such as yourself, it is possible that there is an ending, or even an entire premise with which you are not familiar. Therefore, in the spirit of Hitch, my plot summaries for these movies will be minimal and more basic than usual.

For Rope, this means extremely terse explanations. With its roots in the real-life story of two students at the University of Chicago, this movie tells the story of Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger). They are two college students who decide they are going to commit the perfect murder. In this case, ‘perfect’ is read ‘getting it done without getting caught.’

No spoiler here; within the first few minutes, the victim, classmate David Kentley (briefly portrayed by Dick Hogan) is dead by strangulation. He spends the rest of the movie unseen in a wooden box.

So far, Brandon and Phillip have achieved their goal. However, the duo (especially Brandon) wants to throw a little more excitement into the scheme. They throw a party at their apartment for family and friends of David, with him in a box right there in the living room! In fact, at the last minute, Brandon decides it would be even more interesting if the buffet table for the party would do double duty as the coffin.

Among the few guests at the party are David's father (Sir Cedric Hardwicke) and Rupert Cadell (James Stewart), a professor from the college. Cadell holds the belief that the idea of murder may in certain circumstances, actually be a privilege rather than a crime. (That's forced irony, folks!)

The majority of the movie is a period of suspense to see if or when David's body will be discovered, in effect rendering the boys' experiment a failure. I can almost guarantee that you will not be certain of the duo's fate until the very last few minutes of the movie. I will even go as far as to say that even when the movie is over, a definitive outcome is not apparent.


WHAT I THINK

Interesting fact—If it were not for Alfred Hitchcock and the many other authors whose stories made it to his cameras, seats would not have edges! Of course, with Alfred Hitchcock films, the only consistencies are the inconsistencies!

Rope uses a little-used technique of shooting which attempts to make the film appear as though the entire movie was filmed in one continuous shot. Of course, this is not really the case. For one thing, in 1948 when the film was made, one reel of film only allowed for a maximum of 10 minutes before another reel would need to be started.

Hitchcock overcame this problem by taking a camera behind a actor's dark jacket or a wall. This blacks out the screen, giving the opportunity for a cut to go unnoticed.

The absence of music (background) gives the movie a feeling of closeness with the viewer. Try this to see how this works: Watch a sitcom on television, then watch a motion picture. The sitcom usually has some sort of musical riff between scene transitions (not always welcome, e.g. Seinfeld), but is otherwise silent in the background. You feel like the action is right there in your living room. The movie has background music throughout most of the film. Turn off the sound on the movie and notice how strange it feels…almost makes you squeamish.

Most movies are not famous for their directorial qualities. Even with movies associated with director (e.g. John Carpenter, Martin Scorsese), often the audience does not realize exactly what aspect of the movie is being lauded. In fact, when someone asks, for example, who wrote Christine, it is not surprising if the answer comes back, "John Carpenter." (BTW…If you are one of these people, the correct answer is Stephen King.) The creator of the story often gets ousted of due recognition. Unfortunately, it is a great story that is popular, but because of the popularity and familiarity of the director's name, it is that name that receives the praise and often, the awards.

This is almost the case with Rope and many other movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. However, in this case, the direction actually is the hot point of the film. Sure, it is an intriguing story; very suspenseful. But I believe it could have been rather dull without the talent brought in by Hitchcock. I would be interested to see the play onstage, directed by someone else.





MEMORABLE DIALOGUE & NOTABLE ENCOUNTERS

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:

  • brandon : Now the fun begins.
  • phillip : Rupert only publishes books he likes, usually philosophy.
    janet : Oh. Small print, big words, no sales.
  • brandon : [Rupert] thinks murder is a crime for most men, but —
    phillip : A privilege for the few.
  • mrs. atwater : [Cary Grant] in that new thing with Bergman. What was it called now? 'The some thing of the something',…No, no, that's the other one. This was just plain 'something'.
  • mrs. atwater : I must say I've had a perfectly dreadful time getting tickets for that new musical…what's it called? You know…?
    rupert : ‘The Something’ with what's-her-name?
    mrs. atwater : Mmm-hmm.
  • mrs. atwater : When I was a girl, I used to read quite a bit.
    brandon : Oh, we all do strange things in our childhood.
  • rupert : You know, Phillip, I wish I could come straight out with what I want to know. Unfortunately, I don't know anything…I merely suspect.
  • rupert : It's not what I'm going to do, Brandon, it's what society's going to do. I don't know what that will be, but I can guess.


TRIVIA

Here is some interesting trivia from this movie⇒
  • Inspiration for the 1929 play Rope by Patrick Hamilton, and subsequently, this movie, came from a murder case in 1924 involving two college students from the University of Chicago named Nathan Leopold, Jr. and Richard Loeb. The duo kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old boy named Robert Franks. The motive was determined to be simply the desire to commit the perfect crime. The original murder, however, was committed with a knife.
  • It is well-known that Alfred Hitchcock purposely inserted himself in a cameo appearance in all but a few of his films. In Rope, he can be spotted right after the opening credits, walking along the sidewalk with a woman.
    In the earlier stages of filming, his famous profile was shown as a neon sign outside the apartment window. That cut was rejected and changed to the scene on the sidewalk.


RATING
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

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Friday, September 5, 2014

❝Marty❞






marty

MOVIE REVIEW OF ❝ Marty ❞ (1955) NR
Cast
Director: delbert mann Runtime: 1 hrs 30 min (90 min)
mrs. pilette ..... esther minciotti
aunt catherine ..... augusta ciolli
angie ..... joe mantell
virginia ..... karen steele
tommy ..... jerry paris
clara ..... betsy blair
marty pilette ..... ernest borgnine



Uncredited
mr. snyder ..... james bell
the kid ..... walter kelley
bachelor ..... kick brkich
lou (Bartender) ..... charles cane
leo ..... paddy chayefsky
andy ..... john dennis
6-Year-Old boy ..... steven hecht
man in bar #1 ..... john beradino
man in bar #2 ..... paul hoffman
irish lady in bar ..... kathleen mulqueen
butcher ..... silvio minciotti
joe ..... robin morse
ballroom extra ..... jerry orbach
ralph ..... frank sutton
churchgoer extra ..... hal taggart
mrs. rosari ..... minerva urecal
jerry ..... alan wells
unknown ˜ joe bell
unknown ˜ marvin bryan
unknown ˜ doris kimper
unknown ˜ glenn strange
unknown ˜ john milford




WARNING: THE NEXT SECTIONS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…



WHAT I KNOW

Marty Pilletti (Ernest Borgnine) really is a really nice person. That may appear redundant, but I mean ‘really’ in two ways. ‘Really’ meaning he is extraordinarily nice; and ‘really’ as in "I'm not kidding around."

So why is he 34 years old and still alone? He hangs around with his friends on the weekends when they go out to the clubs and dance halls and other "pick-up joints." Yet at parties, as Marty himself says, he's the only one they always have to find a date for.

Marty is not only focused on girls, though. He lives at home wth his Italian mother Theresa (Esther Minciotti), and he holds down a steady job as a butcher. He likes what he does, and he does it well, but his friends and family give him guff for not getting married. He isn't much for the ‘one-night-stand,’ but he's connsidering how nice it would be to have a family. At least that's what he's told. His cousin Tommy (Jerry Paris) and Tommy's wife Virginia (Karen Steele), however, aren't exactly encouraging in that respect. Athough they love each other, they are fighting with each other all the time.

Marty sees all this going on around him, and attempts to find a girl. First he listens to his best friend Angie (Joe Mantell), who suggests calling a girl they had met a few months prior, and asking her out. Marty calls the girl, but she refuses him. Marty begins to believe that it's just too late for him and that he'll just end up a bachelor.

Then he meets Clara (Betsy Blair), a ‘nice Catholic girl’ who appears to be in a similar situation. They are both shy and reserved, but they are attracted to each other and end up spending the evening together, walking and talking into the early morning.

In the meanwhile, Marty is considering buying the butcher shop where he works. The owner is retiring, and Marty has plans to unite the other competing supermarkets and delis in the area. He questions this when he is considering his relationship with Clara and the possiblility of marriage.

The story is focused around Marty's inner contemplation of trying to separate and recognize what he wants for himself from what others are telling him he should be doing.

WHAT I THINK

This is a movie every teen should watch, and watch again every ten years.

It is sad to say that you will probably never see a movie like this one ever made again. This is actually ironic, because my reason is that it is one of the most realistic storylines I have seen. In these days of ‘reality shows,’ you'd think they'd be everywhere. Truth is, people such as Marty Pilletti are reality, whereas those on The Bachelor are pretty boys living in a shell of insecurity and often ill-conceived (yet still false) ego. Although it may seem that Marty might never find a suitable companion with which he may share his life, I'd say he is more likely to be the one to find the perfect one for himself. Instead of istening to those who are tellng him he needs to find someone, and that they are ahsamed of him for not having a wife at his age, he realizes that he has found that person in Clara, a girl none of Marty's friends have ever met.

This is a unique role for Ernest Borgnine. He usually plays the ‘heavy.’ His role in this film completely foils that image. He plays both types of roles convincingly to the hilt.

This movie shows us that people can believe that what they may be hiding of themselves could possibly be more legitimate then they are led to believe.

I have never seen such a truthful, heart-felt, thought out script. Also, along those lines it seems out of place to mention dialogue, but that plays a significant role in the authenticity of this movie. Think of the dialogue as presented in the movie Guys & Dolls. On screen, the lines are presented with specific diction and precise accuracy, reminding you of the way it would be presented on the stage. Similarly, the lines in Marty are presented in a flowing pattern that actually adds some unexpected interjections and ‘little’ words often avoided on screen. The specific one I noticed was the word ‘because.’ When this word is included, the actor actually says ‘because’ as opposed to the more commonly used ’❜cause.‘ It seems a small matter, but it also seems to to make a dramatic impact on the feel of the entire movie.

I can truthfully say that Marty has become one of my favorite movies of all-time. (BTW…I still hate that expression, albeit being the most appropriate in this case.) Not to mention one of the most surprising to have shown up on that list.




MEMORABLE DIALOGUE & NOTEABLE ENCOUNTERS

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:

  • mrs. canduso : I hear your kid brother got married last Sunday.
    marty : That's right. It was a very nice affair.
    mrs. canduso : Marty, you oughta be ashamed of yourself. All your kid brothers and sisters've got married and have children. When're you gonna get married?
  • angie : Boy, you're gettin' to be a reeal drag, ya' know dat?
    marty : I been lookin' for a girl every Saturday nght of my life. I'm 34 years old. I'm just tired of lookin', that's all. I'd like to find a girl. Everybody's always tellin' me ‘get married, get married, get married.’ Doncha think I want to get married? I wanna get married. Everybody drives me crazy.
  • marty : Whatever it is that women like, I ain't got it.
  • aunt catherine : I got a letter from my husband's cousin i Abruzzi. His mother died.
    mrs. piletti : Oh?
    aunt catherine : Do you remember Emilio DiGiiorgio who owned the tavern in Abruzzi? He died.
    mrs. piletti : Oh?
    aunt catherine : You know who else die?
    mrs. piletti : Who?
    aunt catherine : You know the old man who live upstairs in this house. Old Irishman…always drunk. He gets pleurisy. He stay two weeks in a hospital. Yesterday, he died.
    mrs. piletti : I like to visit you, Catherine, because you've always gotta such'a cheerful news.
  • clara : Well, I don't know them, but as a rule, I don't think a mother-in-law should live with a young couple.
    mrs. piletti : Where you think a mother-in-law should go?
    clara : Well, I don't think a mother shoould depend so much upon her children for her rewards in life.
    mrs. piletti : That's-a what'a they teach you in'a New York University. In real life, it no work out like this. You wait'a till you are a mother.
  • marty : Tommy, give me a couple of minutes, because I promised Mr. Terri I'd let him know by tomorrow. You and Virginia can fight anytime.
  • joe : You know, the way I figure, a guy oughta marry a girl twenty years younger than he is, so that when he's forty, she'll still be a real pretty doll a' twenty-one.
    leo : That means he have to marry the girl when she was one-year old!


TRIVIA

Here is some useless (to most of us) trivia from this movie⇒
  • Jerry Orbach of TV's Law & Order, made his film debut as an extra on the ballroom floor…look for him!
  • Marty's friends often talk about there being a lot of ‘tomatoes’ somewhere. ‘Tomato’ refers to a girl.
  • Ernest Borgnine was the very first ‘center square’ on the premier of the television game show The Hollywood Squares in October of 1966.
  • In 1955, Ernest Borgnine won his 1st and only Oscar Award (beating out Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracy, and James Cagney), Golden Globe, BAFTA, National Board of Review, and New York Film Critic Circle Award for his role in Marty.
  • Ernest Borgnine co-starred with actor Frank Sutton in this movie. About ten years later, the two would star in their own rival television series…Sutton played Sergeant Vince Carter in Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. across from Borgnine as Commander Quinton McHale in McHale's Navy.


RATING
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

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Sunset Boulevard






sunset blvd
MOVIE REVIEW OF Sunset Boulevard (1950) NR
Cast
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

Uncredited
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



WARNING: THE NEXT SECTIONS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…


WHAT I KNOW

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.


WHAT I THINK

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!



REMARKABLE DIALOGUE

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.


RATING
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

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