What was the last movie you saw?

Randy M.

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She wore a yellow ribbon - John Ford [1949]
Probably [one of] John Wayne's finest film. And John ford's direction is beautiful. Between Ford and Winton C. Hoch as Cinematographer, the whole thing flows and looks like a series of animated Remmington paintings.
Agreed, and it set the course for Wayne for probably 20+ years. He did better playing older than he really was up until he was that old. (Uh, yeah. I'll just go with that.)

Wayne had a weird career early on, initially playing lead in a big-budget Western that flopped, then relegated to B-movies (and that's being kind to many of them), then made a star by a big-budget Western (Stagecoach) and maybe fading just a bit before Ford used him again after WWII and the Sands of Iwo Jima got him an Oscar nomination. From then on, probably the most consistently bankable star in the movie business until his death.

Randy M.
 

Jeffbert

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GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (1957)

NEARLY EVERYBODY WAS IN THIS FILM:

-Wikipedia

Funny, perhaps, ironic to see Kelly as Morgan Earp. It must have made the making of the one Star Trek episode a bit more interesting, than most.

Does anyone remember the short-lived TV show Struck by Lightning? Jack Elam's starring role lasted only 3 or 4 episodes, but I remember it, every time I see his face.
 

Jeffbert

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Agreed, and it set the course for Wayne for probably 20+ years. He did better playing older than he really was up until he was that old. (Uh, yeah. I'll just go with that.)

Wayne had a weird career early on, initially playing lead in a big-budget Western that flopped, then relegated to B-movies (and that's being kind to many of them), then made a star by a big-budget Western (Stagecoach) and maybe fading just a bit before Ford used him again after WWII and the Sands of Iwo Jima got him an Oscar nomination. From then on, probably the most consistently bankable star in the movie business until his death.

Randy M.
:D TCM ran a bunch of John Wayne B-grade Westerns several months ago. His horse was named 'Duke.' I watched a few of them, but the plots were so boring and predictable, 1 or 2 were all I could stand, even given the short 1 hour or so running times.

On a different subject, TCM is showing serials Saturday mornings. I believe a new one starts this Saturday, sometime between the 8AM MGM cartoon & 10 AM Popeye.
 

Nozzle Velocity

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With that face and attitude, he couldn't help it!
No doubt, but they can change that with lighting and camera angles. They used to refer to it as "giving Actor X the camera". In the old studio system it was often a promise to get a wanted actor into a film. "We'll give you the camera." Those static two-shots of Dean and Connery are just sad.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Wayne had a weird career early on, initially playing lead in a big-budget Western that flopped, then relegated to B-movies (and that's being kind to many of them), then made a star by a big-budget Western (Stagecoach) and maybe fading just a bit before Ford used him again after WWII and the Sands of Iwo Jima got him an Oscar nomination. From then on, probably the most consistently bankable star in the movie business until his death.

Randy M.
Yes, but that first big budget Western was amazing. "The Big Trail," 1931. (IIRC) A very early attempt at Cinemascope. The photography is gorgeous, and some of the scenes have to be seen to be believed. They basically followed the Oregon trail in real life to film it. And the scene where they lower the wagons and cattle on ropes down into a canyon? No special effects. They did it for real. It's mind-blowing.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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Battle of Blood Island (1960)

Produced by Roger Corman, but directed by another guy. Low budget war drama based on a story by, of all people, Philip Roth. Two American soldiers are the only survivors of a botched assault on a Japanese-held island. One is wounded. The first half of the film is them surviving while hiding from the enemy, occasionally having a hand-to-hand battle to the death with one. They find all the Japanese soldiers dead by suicide halfway through the film, indicating that the war is over. Now they wait to be rescued, a prospect that seems dim indeed, and get on each other's nerves. At the very end, more American soldiers show up, and there's an interesting twist.

They get rescued just before the island is scheduled to be used as a test site for an atomic bomb.

It's more of a two-man drama than an action film. On that level, it's of some interest.
 

Randy M.

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Yes, but that first big budget Western was amazing. "The Big Trail," 1931. (IIRC) A very early attempt at Cinemascope. The photography is gorgeous, and some of the scenes have to be seen to be believed. They basically followed the Oregon trail in real life to film it. And the scene where they lower the wagons and cattle on ropes down into a canyon? No special effects. They did it for real. It's mind-blowing.
Unfortunately, I've never seen it. Sounds like I'd like to, though.

Apparently few at the time actually saw it, too. Hobbled Wayne's career for years after, and didn't help the director, Raoul Walsh much, either, though he also recovered later.

Randy M.
 

Jeffbert

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Just recorded another 4 or 5 Bond films. Cannot wait to see how the top villain disposes of those who have failed. As I recall, there is an elevator with a trapdoor in its floor. That guy had thought he had gotten away. Sad. ;)
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Unfortunately, I've never seen it. Sounds like I'd like to, though.

Apparently few at the time actually saw it, too. Hobbled Wayne's career for years after, and didn't help the director, Raoul Walsh much, either, though he also recovered later.

Randy M.
There is an excellent Blu Ray of it. Actually, the movie was shot with two cameras at once: one for widescreen and one for standard ratio, then they edited the two versions the same. The Blu Ray has both of them. The widescreen one is the one to see first, naturally, but comparing the two is fascinating in itself.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Here you go. The wagons-down-the-cliff scene begins at about 1:02:40. And keep in mind this was all done in real life, live before the cameras:
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Legend of Hillbilly John (1972)

Directed by John Newland; screenplay by Melvin Levy

Offbeat supernatural film based on stories by Manly Wade Wellman. The stories are true classics of backwoods fantasy, as the wandering balladeer John confronts evil magic in the Appalachians. The author knew and loved the area, and his stories were full of authentic folklore and language. The movie is best described as a well-intended attempt to capture the special flavor of the stories, hampered by an extremely low budget and some inappropriate choices. The episodic plot can be divided in a prologue, three tales, and a coda.

Prologue: The film starts with a character called Mister Marduke (and the reference to the god/demon Marduk is definitely intended) who is a dowser by trade, and who possesses enough magic to change clothing in an instant. He addresses the audience directly, telling us about the Devil, listing His many names (one of which, by the way, is the Army Corps of Engineers) and telling of those who choose to defy Him. John's grandfather chooses to become one such, by singing a defiant song against the Devil while playing a guitar with silver strings. Too bad he made the strings from Kennedy half dollars, which aren't pure silver. He is killed, a fact shown by having the film break! John takes up the task, and Mister Marduke, who is always around as both a helper and a tempter, it seems, shows him where some old Spanish coins, pure silver, are buried.

The First Tale: (Based on the story "The Desrick on Yandro.") John runs into a greedy undertaker whose grandfather made a deal with a witch, in which he was to receive magically created gold in exchange for spending a year in her arms. The grandfather backed out of the deal. He leads the fellow to her "desrick" (a sort of cabin) where the witch, 75 years later, is still a lovely young woman. She offers him the same deal and he accepts. You can tell this will turn out to be a bad idea.

The Second Tale: (Based on the story "O Ugly Bird!") John finds a dead woman under a pile of coal on a strip mine, and is then attacked by a huge, monstrous bird. The creature comes to life through stop-motion animation. Not up to the level of Ray Harryhausen, but not bad. It's definitely ugly, too, which helps. Only the silver strings on his guitar keep him from being killed. It seems that the strip mine is owned by the local warlock, who rules his neighbors with an iron fist. The Ugly Bird is something the warlock produces out of himself, and John has to battle it to save the terrified folks in the area. (In a nice bit of irony, they come to fear him as much as they did the warlock.)

The Third Tale: (Not based on a story, as far as I can tell.) John runs into a bunch of sharecroppers cheated by their oppressor. (Interestingly, the sharecroppers and the oppressor are all African-American, and only the oppressor's lackey is white.) With the help of an elderly sharecropper's African magic, he defeats the bad guy.

Coda: John wanders off to fight more evil. The last scene shows him approaching Washington, D. C. ; make of that what you will.

The individual stories tend to be quite short, with evil defeated very easily. At times the dialogue really captures the feeling of the stories, and is likely to go over the heads of those not familiar with them. The authentic backwoods flavor is mixed with 1970's hippie stuff, which is disconcerting. Overall, it gets an E for Effort.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Cry of the Owl (Le cri du hibou, 1987)

French director Claude Chabrol's adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. A man with a history of mental instability, now going through a divorce, spies on a young woman through the windows of her house. He's not really a stalker, although that's clearly not the most rational behavior. He simply sees her as a symbol of the happy life he lacks. She finds him outside one night, invites him in, they talk. She's engaged to be married, but soon breaks it off and declares her love for him. Clearly she's not completely psychologically healthy either. The guy she was going to marry attacks the peeping tom, but gets knocked into a nearby river. The peeper pulls him out, but he disappears, presumed dead. All the evidence points to the peeper, who falls deeper and deeper in the web of assumed guilt. Suffice to say that not all is as it seems, and several deaths follow. That makes it sound like a plot-driven thriller, but it's really more of a dark psychological drama, with the characters pulled this way and that by their own actions, as well as by circumstances. Beautifully filmed, in a rather quiet and icy way, with little in the way of on-screen violence until the very end.
 

Steve S

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The Levelling (2016)

An intense film - beautifully shot, with fantastic performances across the cast, and with (I felt) hints of folk horror. It is available on BBC iPlayer for a few more weeks and is well worth a watch.
 

Victoria Silverwolf

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The Playbirds (1978)

Completing a trilogy of films with the same plot -- psycho kills women who appear in girlie magazines -- after my reviews of Cover Girl Killer (1959) and The Centerfold Girls (1974). This one stars the famous British sex star Mary Millington -- tragically dead by suicide not long after this film -- as a policewoman who goes undercover as a nude model after a series of women who appeared in the magazine are strangled. The movie comes across as an odd mixture of a sex comedy without the comedy and a thriller without the thrills. Tons of full female nudity. Lots of scenes of horse races, which really have nothing to do with anything. There's a police investigation which fails to accomplish anything. Lots of red herrings -- the publisher of the girlie magazine, whose sales have gone way up due to the publicity; the magazine's photographer, who has a history of violence; a religious maniac wearing a sandwich board with random Bible quotes, marching around London's sex shop district shouting out apocalyptic rantings; a member of Parliament speaking out against pornographers, who is a secret voyeur -- but we see the deerstalker-wearing killer right at the start, so they are meaningless. I'm going to spoil the ending, because the film deserves it. The killer murders the policewoman and the movie ends. It's a truly mean-spirited conclusion to a lousy little film.
 
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