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Postby Big Magilla » Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:03 pm

I first saw the Roz Russell version of My sister Eileen in the 50s and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the Greenwich Village scene of the 30s. I hadn't seen it again until the late 90s when Columbia issued it as a double disc laserdisc set with the Betty Garrett-Janet Leigh-Jack Lemmon musical version. That one's at least it color with some good location filming, but the music pales in comparison to Comden-Green-Bernstein Wonderful Town. This is a story whose time has passed both literally and figuretively, but I still like Roz's dynamic performance. Most reviews of the film don't mention the 3 Stooges. Their appearance at the end is supposed to be a surprise.
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Postby Mister Tee » Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:37 am

Because Keith was absent from Countdown, I ended up watching most of Eileen, and confirmed my 30-year-old opinion of it. In addition to the problems BJ noted, I'd cite a failure to even marginally open up the material from its stage origins -- people enter and exit just like they're inside a proscenium; Jerome Chodorov feels far more the auteur here than Alexander Hall (whose Mr. Jordan I genuinely like).

It was a strange kick to see the Stooges turn up. Can't imagine why I didn't remember that from my previous viewing.

One thing struck me oddly about the material: I recognize this is Ruth McKenny's take on her own experiences with her sister...but why did it fit so firmly into what I'd call the Jane Austen archetype? Once again we have the slightly air-headed beauty, for whom men all swoon, and the tart, less-attractive but far brighter older sister who ends up getting the man-of-status at the end (a "formula" Austen mined to a degree with Elizabeth/Jane in Pride and Prejudice, but more or less perfected with Elinor/Marianne in Sense and Sensibility).

McKenny isn't the only subsequent writer to use this set-up -- Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a variation on it -- but I'd say Austen deserves credit for coming up with it first. (Or is there some literary antecedent of which I'm not aware? Anyone?)

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Postby The Original BJ » Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:56 am

I watched My Sister Eileen. It struck me as perfectly amiable, but rather limp -- for a farce, the pace is just too slow, and the jokes aren't sharp enough. (Plus, too many scenes are stretched out to absolutely unnecessary lengths.) The myriad of kooky characters who arrive at Just the Wrong Time suggest a less funny version of You Can't Take It With You (complete with arrest/trial sequence!)

Roz keeps things mostly afloat with her brazen comic charms, although her character -- a quick-witted journalist -- recalls a similar part she played in a much better film from a couple years earlier (the film that SHOULD have earned her her first Oscar nomination.)

That said, having finally seen all five Best Actress nominees from this year, I must say that 1942 was really a terrific year for the leading ladies. In addition to the five perfs nominated (fine work from five of my favorite actresses), there were grand comedic turns from Claudette Colbert and Carole Lombard, another great performance from Greer Garson, and, going by LA release dates, Ingrid Bergman's iconic role. I'd struggle to limit myself to 5, a number I sometimes find myself stretching to reach in this category these days.

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Postby Damien » Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:13 am

Mister Tee wrote:I'm not suggesting it's particularly good, but the non-musical My Sister Eileen -- one of Rosalind Russell's five best actress nominations -- is scheduled for TCM tomorrow night at 8PM.

I've never much cared for the material (I hate movies that end with the aspiring writer selling the story we've been watching for two hours), but I point it out because it's hard to track down. I recall seeing it in the mid-70s, but haven't noticed it on any schedule since. (The Janet Leigh musical is on far more often)

SPOILER ALERT

I was very disappointed with the film when I saw it at the Regency in the late 70s, but it does contain -- totally unexpected and out of place -- a cool cameo by the Three Stooges.

Thanks for the heads up, though, Tee. I'll record it just to have it.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Mister Tee » Sun Aug 19, 2007 9:36 pm

I'm not suggesting it's particularly good, but the non-musical My Sister Eileen -- one of Rosalind Russell's five best actress nominations -- is scheduled for TCM tomorrow night at 8PM.

I've never much cared for the material (I hate movies that end with the aspiring writer selling the story we've been watching for two hours), but I point it out because it's hard to track down. I recall seeing it in the mid-70s, but haven't noticed it on any schedule since. (The Janet Leigh musical is on far more often)

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Postby Mister Tee » Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:20 am

Thanks so much for highlighting this, Damien. I'd despaired of ever seeing it, figuring it, like Holiday, had been permanently pre-empted by the late-30s remake. I'd never have known it under this title.

And, for those who need reminding, it's an actual Academy Award Winner, for original screenplay.

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Postby Damien » Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:56 pm

Howard Hawks's rarely seen 1930 version of The Dawn Patrol is on TCM Tuesday morning 8 am Eastern Daylight time (under the title "Flight Commander").
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Damien » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:41 pm

The rarely shown This Above All is on the Fox Movie Channel this Wednesday at 8am Eastern time (and will again be shown on April 29th and May 21.) The World War 2 drama, directed by Anatole Litvak, won Best Black-and-White Interior Decoration of 1942, and was also nominated for Black-and- White Cinematography, Sound Recording and Film Editing.

Now if only Fox Movie would show another 1942 rarity, The Pied Piper, sometime.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby Big Magilla » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:38 pm

I've always wanted to see this. It has a solid reputation as a gothic thriller. Ida Lupino and Isobel Elsom were both singled out by the NBR for their performances
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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Mar 08, 2007 3:26 pm

Damien wrote:For completists:

TCM Thursday night at 11:30, Ladies In Retirement, a 1941 nominee for Black and White Interior Decoration and Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Does this movie have any quality reason for recommendation? The title seems familiar enough I (perhaps irrationally) suspect it must be at least decent. Am I wrong?

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Postby Damien » Thu Mar 08, 2007 1:57 am

For completists:

TCM Thursday night at 11:30, Ladies In Retirement, a 1941 nominee for Black and White Interior Decoration and Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby dws1982 » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:52 am

Fu ck.

I set my DVD recorder for tomorrow night at 11:30, not tonight. I'm usually too much of a dumbass to even remember to set the recorder until the movie's half over, so I guess I'm at least making some progress.

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Postby Big Magilla » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:19 pm

Both Cheers for Miss Bishop and the 1939 version of The Man in the Iron Mask are on DVD - why Love Letters isn't reamins a mystery.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Postby Damien » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:58 pm

Thanks for pointing out Love Letters, Daniel, a film I truly love. It is full of that unbridled 1940s passion, extravagantly romantic, and operatic in its emotions (which is to say that the faint of heart might find it over the top).
"Y'know, that's one of the things I like about Mitt Romney. He's been consistent since he changed his mind." -- Christine O'Donnell

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Postby dws1982 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:00 pm

At 12:30 AM EST, TCM is showing William Dieterle's Love Letters, a nominee for Actress (Jennifer Jones), Art Direction, Song, and Score. I know Damien is a pretty big fan of this. Ayn Rand, of all people, wrote the screenplay. This isn't available on DVD, and doesn't show up on TV very often, so this may be your only chance for awhile to see it.

Some other 30's/40's films not on DVD that TCM airs in the next few days (many of these may be for Oscar completists only):
Captain Fury (1939, Art Direction) Fri, 6:15AM
My Son, My Son (1940, Art Direction) Fri, 8:00 AM
The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944, Art Direction, Special Effects, Score) Fri, 12:00PM
Way Down South (1939, Score) Sat, 6:15AM
Girl's School (1938, Score) Sat, 7:30AM
Cheers For Miss Bishop (1941, Score) Sat, 8:45AM
The Man In The Iron Mask (1939, Score) Sat, 11:45AM


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