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Archive for the ‘Classic Movies’ Category

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Source: Joan Collins Archives

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Unlike Seven Thieves which I blogged about a couple weeks ago Joan Collins and Paul Newman, really are the only two reasons to watch Rally Round The Flag Boys. Joanne Woodward is pretty cute and funny in it, Jack Carson is great as the stumbling awkward U.S. Army Captain who tries to come off as a lot tougher than he actually is. Jack Carson is simply one of the top comedic actors of his generation.

But the first hour of this movie is pretty funny with Joan playing this beautiful (if not gorgeous) rich housewife in this small town about an hour outside of New York City who really only has one problem. Her wealthy business executive husband never sees her. The man is either working all the time at the office, out-of-town on business (or with his mistresses’s) or going out with his mistresses. I added the mistress part myself to make it sound funny, but the point being the man is never around and never seen with his beautiful adorable wife Angela Hoffa (played by Joan Collins) in the entire movie. And Joan can get kinda prickly about little things like never seeing her husband. Even if he gives her an allowance that makes her a millionaire.

But Angela comes across Harry Bannerman (played by Paul Newman) early in the movie when he gets to the train station in their small town coming back from work and his wife is too busy to pick him up. Angela just happens to be there perhaps thinking this might be the night where she actually gets to spend some time with her husband, but of course he’s still not there and still at work. And offers to drive Harry home. And that is where Angela and Harry who are neighbors get to know each other a little bit and find out that they have something in common. Which is they don’t get to see their spouses very often.

Harry’s wife Grace Bannerman (played by Joanne Woodward) is the busiest housewife in Putnam’s Landing if not America as a whole. Except she’s not very busy at home (if you get my drift) but instead is more like a First Lady and is involved in every civil activity known to man. At least in Putnam’s Landing and isn’t around much for her husband Harry, but he works a lot as well and doesn’t see his wife a lot either. They have a townhall meeting in Putnam’s and the Mayor there announces that the U.S. Army wants to open a base there, but won’t tell them why they need the base there. And his wife is appointed to run a new committee to deal with the new Army base coming to town. And appoints her husband to be the liaison between the town and U.S. Army about the base coming to town. Harry just happens to work in public relations and is in the U.S. Naval Reserve so is very qualified for this job.

To get back to Joan Collins which is really the only reason why I’m writing about this. There are two very hysterical scenes in this movie where Joan is her usually adorably funny self. Perhaps three with her picking up Paul Newman early in the movie and driving him home. But the first one being where Paul drives Joan home from the meeting because his wife stays late at the meeting and Joan invites him in to her home. And they have a hilarious but innocent party where they get drunk and do a lot of dancing and fall back down the stairs together after trying to go upstairs.

The other scene being where Joan follows Paul to his hotel in Washington where he’s there to talk to the Pentagon about his new role in Putnam’s and gets to his hotel room and Joan is there waiting for him. Harry makes it real clear that he’s happily married and doesn’t want to get involved, but Angela doesn’t take no at least not very easily and makes a big play for him. And Harry’s wife arrives there and sees them together. After that the movies gets really silly and looks more like musical comedy than anything else.

I saw this movie a few months ago and have it on DVD and tweeted that and shared that on Google+ as well that the only reason I saw this movie was to see the adorably funny Joan Collins in it. Joan actually saw that and liked it. Saw this movie over the weekend to refresh my memory about it and to prepare for this piece. Take Joan Collins out of this movie and replace her with a much more ordinary woman who doesn’t have Joan’s comedic ability and talent like a Deborah Kerr or someone like that (no offense to Deborah Kerr) and I don’t have much incentive to watch this movie, at least not a 2nd time. This movie is an example where a great actress and actor can pull the movie together by themselves. Especially if that actress is as beautiful, adorable, sexy, and funny as a Joan Collins.

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Source: James Neff- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward 

James Neff: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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Source: Joan Collins Archive

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Just to be personal for a minute. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot lately, because I really love Joan Collins the entertainer. The great actress, the great wit, etc. The beautiful baby-face, voice, keen intelligence, and honesty as well. She reminds me a lot of Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor who all had those qualities as well. I have 3-4 Joan Collins movies on DVD and got the urge to see one of her movies and was also thinking about Ocean’s Eleven from 1960, (the original and best Ocean’s) and decided to look at Seven Thieves again. Saw the movie about two weeks ago and saw this blog piece about it on Joan’s blog and that is why I’m writing about it now.

I swear other than maybe Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins must have been the cutest woman in France when this movie was made. She’s her always beautiful, adorable, and witty self in this movie. And she relates very well with Rod Steiger. (The lead on the caper in the movie) If you’re familiar with Ocean’s Eleven 1960 and like that movie, you’ll like Seven Thieves as well. Except this time in Seven Thieves the beautiful lead actress (Joan Collins) has a major role in the movie. Angie Dickinson had an important, but fairly small role in Ocean’s. You only see Angie for maybe 10 minutes in Ocean’s.

Joan is not just the lead actress in Seven Thieves, but she’s in most of the movie. She’s part of the planning of the caper and in on the caper, as well as escape later on in the movie. With Edward Robinson playing the mastermind of the caper and Rod Steiger as his director sort of like a head coach for a football team reporting to a general manager.

If you like a movie full of stars, a star-studded affair (so to speak) then you’ll also like Seven Thieves. Ed Robinson as the mastermind of the caper. Rod Steiger playing the manager of it. Eli Wallach as the top lieutenant. And of course Joan Collins as the beautiful and adorable distraction and serving as the lookout so the men can get into the safe and get the money out of it before they’re caught.

And again to get back to Ocean’s Eleven where in Ocean’s they crew there is in Las Vegas to rob several casinos all on the same night, which granted lets say takes a lot more balls and more ambitious (to be cleaner) Seven Thieves takes place on South France on the Mediterranean. Where all the members of the crew are from somewhere other than France. But the crew other than Rod Steiger has been there for a while specifically to case the joint (so to speak) and prepare for this job. And like in Ocean’s where the whole crew is from somewhere other than Las Vegas and even Nevada, the crew in Seven Thieves are not even French.

I believe Seven Thieves is a great caper heist type movie. One of those movies where the brains of the operation (played by Ed Robinson) where the crew that is put together is working with each other for the very first time and you have the lead character as far as the man running the operation (played by Rod Steiger) who doesn’t know anyone in the crew other than the man who hired him and is put in a tough situation. Doesn’t know who he can trust and what each member brings to the operation. And keep in mind all the crew members are criminals. Which is never the most trust worthy bunch. (To say the least) Not even criminals tend to trust criminals.

And the manager of the crew is having to get to know all his members while the process of the caper is put in place. The preparation and then the execution of the caper. And also any movie that has Ed Robinson, Eli Wallach, Joan Collins, and Rod Steiger as well, you’re going to get a lot of good humor in. (The nature of the characters) Which makes for a very entertaining movie.

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Source: Lillis Lismauya

Lillis Lismauya: Seven Thieves 1960- Full Movie

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Ben & Elaine

Ben & Elaine

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I saw The Graduate for the fourth, or fifth time Sunday morning. Not exactly keeping count. When I was killing time and waiting to meet a friend that I got together very early with on Sunday. My friend and I had this little minor debate going on whether, or not Anne Bancroft, who I think is the star of this movie, whether she is overrated in this movie. This movie, is Ann Bancroft’s defining role. She is known as Mrs. Robinson and for very good reasons. Because she played a beautiful, sexy, very cute, witty, intelligent, seductress who knew exactly what she wanted and what she didn’t want. And how to get what she wanted and stop what she didn’t want.

My friend and I, off an on, the last couple of weeks, have been discussing whether Anne is overrated physically, or not. I agree with my friend, that she’s not the best looking women of the 1960s, or from her generation lets say. But I haven’t heard anyone suggest that she is. But she was a very cute, beautiful, sexy women and a hell of an actress and her role and how she played it, is critical to this movie. It’s the Dustin Hoffman character, not the actor, but Ben Braddock, who I’m not impressed with. He’s just graduated from college with a college degree. And has no idea what the hell he wants to do with his life. He sort of has the personality of a hit man. Someone who speaks in very short if not one word sentences. Who prefers to be by himself, someone what emotionally distant and doesn’t show much if any emotion.

And that is pretty much what makes The Graduate work. A beautiful sexy cute witty intelligent women, in Mrs. Robinson, who is not happy with her marriage and perhaps life in general. Who uses Ben Braddock, who is lost and doesn’t know where he’s going, to fill whatever void that she has with her husband. Which is physical attraction, attention, sex, the feeling that she’s still beautiful and sexy. Which of course she is, but perhaps her husband, played by Murray Hamilton, has lost something perhaps downstairs and up. But the thing is, the people around Ben, his family actually do care about him and want him to be happy and they along with Mr. Robinson, set up Ben with the Robinson’s daughter. Elaine Robinson, played by the beautiful and adorable Katharine Ross.

That is pretty much how this movie goes. Mrs. Robinson, doesn’t want Ben to date her daughter. She wants Ben as his sex partner and doesn’t believe Ben is good enough for his daughter. But the date goes on anyway and Ben at first tries to comply with Mrs. Robinson and intentionally makes the date horrible for Elaine and is distant the whole time and takes her to a strip club even. Great way to lose a date if that is your goal, but discovers that he’s been a real asshole, to be blunt about it. And that he’s really hurt Elaine who didn’t deserve it. And tries to make it up to her and they have a really good date after that.

Again, Mrs. Robinson, doesn’t want Ben with her daughter. To the point that she tells her about the actual affair that she had with Ben. And even goes to far and tells Elaine, that Ben raped her. Which of course didn’t happen. And Elaine dumps him and goes away for graduate school and Ben spends the rest of the movie trying to win her back. The first forty-five minutes of this movie, are very good and very funny. Mrs. Robinson, tries to seduce Ben two times and swings and misses. Ben, probably feeling way to guilty to take her up on her very generous offer. The third pitch, is thrown by Ben this time and he offers himself to her and invites her to a hotel. This is a great movie about people who aren’t very happy with themselves. And don’t know where they’re going until they get there.
Movie Zoom: The Graduate 1967 Official Trailer

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Tony Rome
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Wow! Jill St. John, Gena Rowlands, Sue Lyon, I mean this movie is a freakin baby-face fest. Three hot sexy baby-face goddess’ in the same movie. This movie could’ve been, well garbage to keep it clean, but as long as Jill, Gena and Sue looked the way that they did and were as good as they were in the movie, I would’ve still watched and recorded and seen it over and over as much as I have already. But take the baby-face goddess’ out of this movie and you still have one hell of a detective moving involving pi’s and the police.

Tony Rome plays a former cop now turned private detective now living in Miami, who is somewhat of a underachiever and lazy as a detective. And when not working cases prefers to make his money the easy way. I mean the man lives on a boat that he won in a card game, for crying out loud. He’s a gambler and a bit of a hustler, but people around him respect him and know how good of a detective he is. And that’s how he gets his latest client, well really clients, the Klosterman’s.

This movie starts with Rome played by Frank Sinatra getting a call from Ralph Turpin his ex-partner played by Robert Wilkie, who is now the house detective at a Miami hotel. Turpin finds a young hot baby-face adorable women Diana Pines played by Sue Lyon. As drunk as Jim Morrison on a four-week binge lying dead asleep in bed. Turpin also discovers who she is by going through her identification. The daughter of the biggest real estate developer in South Florida Rudy Klosterman played by Simon Oakland. Turpin doesn’t want to drive Diana home and deal with Klosterman, because Turpin is a bit of a crook and doesn’t want any further trouble.

That is where Rome comes him because Turpin calls his ex-partner Rome down to the hotel to drive her home and not release the name of the hotel and gives him two-hundred bucks for it. Diana’s father is really upset and worried about his daughter and wants to know what is wrong with her. And hires Rome to find out. Turns out Diana is missing a diamond pin that is supposed to be worth a thousand-dollars or something, but the pin is really made of glass and worth twenty-bucks instead. Every person that Rome works for in this movie is somehow either involved in organized crime, or has friends who are.

Every time Rome gets close to something, someone dies and the evidence leads back to him. So he has both organized crime and Miami police after him. Because the mob lets say wants the pin that they believe is worth thousands of dollars, even though it is really worth a couple cheap lunches if that. But Rome keeps getting closer and keeps digging until he finally solves the case. If you like great writing, action, drama, gorgeous, baby-face adorable women and comedy, you’ll love Tony Rome because it has all of that plus a lot more.
Neon Dreams: Tony Rome 1967 Official Trailer

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California Suite
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I’m sorry, I wish I could’ve found a better video that would’ve shown all three couples, or groups in this movie that would’ve given you a better idea about what this great romantic comedy is about. But I guess you’re going to have to take my word for it, or see the movie yourself. But this is one my favorite comedies of all-time that I saw again on Friday in preparation to write this blog. This is one of the smartest written and funniest written comedies of all-time, with one of the funniest casts that you could put in a movie. People who should all be in the Comedy Hall of Fame, when you’re talking about Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Walter Matthau, Alan Alda, Michael Caine and Jane Fonda.

California Suite is about four out-of-town couples coming to Los Angeles. There, should I go on, is there really anything else you need to know about this movie, I mean isn’t that enough, can I retire now? Fine, I’ll go on, but it is about three out-of-town couples coming to Los Angeles for sort of a little vacation. You have an African-American foursome coming to LA from Chicago. A Jewish-American couple from Philadelphia to attend a, well Bar Mitzvah, what else. A then there’s a divorced couple. The women coming from New York and the man coming from the San Francisco area. And they are meeting in Los Angeles for some reason and they are meeting to talk about their daughter’s future. Apparently little Sally doesn’t like living with Mom and wants to live with Dad instead.

The divorced couple played by Alan Alda and Jane Fonda is interesting to me for several reasons and I’ll give you a few of them. One, the humor in the movie matches Al and Jane, lets call them very well. It is as if the humor in this movie was written for them as far as all the sarcasm and quick-witted jabs and one-liners they deliver in the movie. Alda and Fonda have a very similar sense of humor in real-life, if not the exact same humor and they are both great comedic actors. It’s as if Alda is doing this movie on M*A*S*H as far as the humor between him and Jane. Jane Fonda has a great line in this movie where she tells Bill her ex-husband, “Billy you’re not a hopeless romantic. You’re even worst, you’re a hopeful one”. Sounds like a line she could’ve come up with on her own.

Then there’s the Chicago couple where Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, well their characters that is take their wives out to Los Angeles from Chicago on vacation. They are both doctors and best friends and yet they try to kill each other in this movie. If you are familiar with the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you’ll love this part of California Suite as well. But this time the two men don’t just know each other, but they are best friends and have their wives with them. It is was one disaster after another for them in LA. Starting first in a rental car coming from the airport to their Beverly Hills hotel. The car overheats and they have to pull over and they all get out, but lock the keys in the car. And it just gets worst for them after that.

Then the couple from Philadelphia played by Walter Matthau and Elaine May. For some reason they fly to Los Angeles separately and the Matthau character meets up with his brother who he hasn’t seen in like forever. His brother played by Herb Edelman, I guess is single and perhaps coming off his fifth divorce and is a playboy. And gets his brother drunk at dinner and sets him up with a hooker to be there for his brother when he gets back to his hotel room. They get drunk together again and do God knows what. The next morning he can’t wake his hooker up and wife is on the way and you can imagine the type of problems he’s now dealing with. And it is really Walter Matthau at his funniest.

This is not a movie for people who only like cookie-cutter humor and need to of heard a joke like ten times from late night TV or their favorite comedians or sitcoms, or whatever before they can understand the one-liner and smart ass cracks in the movie. And the humor in this movie also moves very fast with one great one-liner after another. So you not only need to pay attention to what you’re hearing, but do it quickly, because another quick joke is on the way. Played with I’m sure a lot of comedic improv in it as well, especially in a comedy that has Walter Matthau, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor in it. And I believe is one of the best comedies of all-time.
Sony Pictures: California Suite 1978 Trailer

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Same Time Next Year might be the best romantic comedy of all-time. And if it isn’t, it might be the smartest romantic comedy of all-time and definitely in the top one percent of both categories. Because I don’t believe it was trying to be funny, but the movie was just so natural. With the two main characters George and Dorris played by Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn, who were just so real with both having noticeable flaws that came out often especially George. And the two both looking for something different in their relationships.

The only part of the movie I do not get is the opening scene. Why would two happily married people be out in the country by themselves having dinner by themselves? What were they doing there all alone when they are both happily married with kids. But that is how the movie and this love affair that is only one weekend a year, but for the next twenty-six years starts. And this would actually be a movie that should’ve had a second chapter. To see how this couple made out because both of their spouses die in the movie.

What I also love about this movie is when George and Helen weren’t making love in the movie, the rest of the movie was conversational between this couple. And you get to learn so much about them. About how vulnerable and lacking in self-confidence George was. And how unsure he was and easy to blame himself about things and how bad of a liar he was. To Helen wanting a stronger man in his life stronger than the man here husband was. These are two very good caring people, but two real people looking for something different in their lives.

Northern California Coast

Northern California Coast

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with the great Taylor/Burton combo is supposed to be a drama but I always laugh throughout this movie, which I’ve seen now four or five times and saw again over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot for some reason but for me this movie turns into a 2-hour comedy that is so great that Turner Classic Movies with Robert Osborne did a special about it about a year and a half ago and brought in actress Ellen Barkin to give an expert analysis of it.

If you are not that familiar with this movie perhaps you are very young, with not much respect for movies that weren’t made in this century, which I’m afraid is very common among the younger generations. Think of Married With Children or The Honeymooners from the 1950s, which are about married people who seem to love each other but can’t go very long without pissing the other off and spend a lot of the marriage beating the hell out of each other verbally.

Virginia Woolf is one long argument between a couple, George and Martha, who have lost their son (fantasy perhaps?), with the mother especially not ready to accept this reality and not quite there mentally and taking out her anger on her husband, who is the father of their son. He is having issues with his wife about why their son is no longer there, and they go through these issues as they are entertaining guests. The man is in direct competition with George to the next professor at their school, yet they do not know each other very well.

I laugh through most of this movie because the shots that they take at each other are dead on because they know each other so well. The sarcasm is so direct and on target, and even though they are supposed to be entertaining guests, they can’t stay out of each other’s way for most of the movie and even bring their guests into the never-ending argument about what happened to their son and why he is no longer with them.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?

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