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Quote: ...[font=Raleway, sans-serif]and the star of Pt2 is the steely-eyed [/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif]Glenn Morris[/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif] (also from the US team). I found myself really cheering him on as he competes in the grueling Decathlon. He went on to take the lead role in [/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif]1938's 'Tarzan's Revenge'[/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif]... so maybe Tarzan-fan [/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif]bionicbob[/font][font=Raleway, sans-serif] is familiar with him?[/font]

My knowledge of Glenn Morris is limited.  I knew he was former Olympic athlete but not the specifics of his achievements.  In his one outing as Tarzan, he was unremarkable.  Produced by Sol Lester, Tarzan's Revenge was different in tone from the competing MGM flicks, with greater emphasis on comedy and kid/family friendliness.  It is a style Lester would perfect when he took control of the Tarzan franchise when it moved to RKO with Weissmuller.
(04-07-2018, 06:14 PM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Director: Michael Curtiz & William Keighley
Country: United States
Length: 102 minutes
Type: Adventure, Romance

To be honest, I'm not sure what parts of the Robin Hood myth were original, or invented for this first hit talkie adventure but this has all the scenes you'd expect. The fight with Little John, the Archery competition (and the splitting of the arrow), the rescue from the hangman, the unveiling of King Richard, the badinage with Maid Marian and lots of swashbuckling up and down stairwells. I've watched 1938's 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' quite a few times and it sits alongside 1991's 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' and Disney's animated version in my perfect Robin Hood trifecta.

Agreed!  Flynn's Robin Hood I can watch endlessly.   He is up there with Guy William's Zorro as one of the most perfectly casted swashbuckling heroes ever!

Though for me, the DEFINITIVE version of Robin Hood has to be the 1984-86 series Robin of Sherwood.  

(04-15-2018, 02:09 PM)bionicbob Wrote: [ -> ]for me, the DEFINITIVE version of Robin Hood has to be the 1984-86 series Robin of Sherwood.  

I loved that too back in the day. I'm always waiting to find the blu-ray boxsets for a reasonable price and rewatch the series (or wait for it to come to Netflix).



79 years ago...

[Image: 41911709201_c05804d3cf_o.jpg]

The Baker's Wife (1938)
Director: Marcel Pagnol
Country: France
Length: 133 minutes
Type: Comedy

'The Baker's Wife' ('La Femme du Boulanger') looks to be out-of-print on Amazon-UK and not widely available even when it was. A youtube upload looks terrible with English subtitles that are inaccurate and incomplete. So I decided to gamble and order an expensive blu-ray I found on Amazon-France which claimed to have English Subtitles. It paid off because the 4K-scan on the disc is absolutely stunning quality (I don't think I've seen a 30s film look better), the subtitles were excellent and I enjoyed the film enormously.

[Image: 27042645087_f9d3cb0b45_z.jpg]

^ This isn't a production photo, it's a frame from the blu-ray! Smile

The story concerns a small French country town and it's eccentric residents. The new baker's wife runs off with a handsome shepherd and he is left so distraught that he can't bake anymore. The townsfolk rally round to get the wife back, make their baker happy again and get some decent bread at last. You could re-shoot the script today and not change a thing because the dialogue is frank, modern, bawdy and full of wit. I look forward to watching 'The Baker's Wife' again and seeing other films starring the superb Raimu. The blu-ray was worth every Euro.



The first Howard Hawks film in the book next.
80 years ago...

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Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Director: Howard Hawks
Country: United States
Length: 102 minutes
Type: Comedy

I can't believe I'd so far managed to avoid seeing or even knowing much about this celebrated Comedy until now. Katharine Hepburn is on fire as a self-assured and care-free heiress who blusters through life, confident that if she says something is so, it will be (or the world will simply remake itself for her). A hapless and closeted Paleontologist (Cary Grant) encounters her by chance, gets drawn into her chaotic and inescapable orbit and 102 minutes of farcical Comedy-gold ensue.

The film is also a Romance but mostly a one sided affair, interestingly it does not end with Grant and Hepburn declaring their love for each other, it ends with him just giving in to her with a sort of jovial sigh. All this is cleverly reflected in the subtext. Grant being a hen-pecked Paleontologist who has lost his "bone" being rather suggestive. The scenes of hunting and leopards mirror Hepburn as the hunter and Grant as her prey. A scene where Hepburn hilariously forces Grant to dress in a fluffy ladies nightgown could be seen as her emasculating him. When somebody asks Grant why he has dressed this way, he exasperatedly shouts out "Because I just went gay all of a sudden!" and there is apparently some doubt about among film scholars as to which sense of the word is meant. This is one I shall be re-watching many times I'm sure.



Next up is a proper John Wayne/John Ford Western.
79 years ago...

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Stagecoach (1939)
Director: John Ford
Country: United States
Length: 96 minutes
Type: Western

'Stagecoach' isn't the first Western but it is the first of many in the book and it's already the genre fully formed.  A diverse group of strangers are thrown together in a few tight spots (including a stagecoach) and we find out the truths and lies about their beautifully drawn personalities through conflict. I'm sure Tarantino had this film on his mind when he made the recent 'The Hateful Eight'. The chase across the salt flat is as thrilling as a chase ever was. A young looking John Wayne (I thought he was born old!) plays the main character in an ensemble cast, including rough/tough George Bancroft and the hilarious Andy Devine. They are all out-shined by Thomas Mitchell (who won an Oscar) as a shambolically drunk Doctor, managing to still show him as an ultimately brave and kind man. One of the golden rules of watching movies should be to watch anything with Thomas Mitchell in it.



Next up is the first film from Japan in the book.
78 years ago...

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The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Country: Japan
Length: 142 minutes
Type: Drama

'The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums' ('Zangiku Monogatari') is the first film from Japan in the book (and probably the earliest I've ever seen), so it's difficult to gauge where this film sits in the technical progression of Japanese Cinema. I don't think there is a single close-up in the whole thing, much like the earliest silent-films, which often makes understanding the character's emotions difficult (even in HD). However, the extensive use of long tracking-shots and meticulous lighting and framing display a high level of technical skill. So I can only conclude that keeping everything in medium and long shots was an artistic choice. When all the characters wear kimonos, have similar haircuts and I'm unfamiliar with any of the actors, never getting a good luck at their faces sometimes became confusing as to who was the brother/cousin/sister/daughter/uncle of who.

The plot follows a young and initially talentless Kabuki actor and his difficult journey towards greatness, which is the other problem. While I have a fair understanding of the social strata of period Japan relating to Bushi, Daimyo, Ronin, Metsukes, the Shogun etc from several books and films, I knew almost nothing of Classical Japanese theatre. From the film, I think they were treated like modern Rock-Stars but of noble lineage. That the young actor was very bad and then is later very good, was just something I had to take on trust because it all looked like ritualised melodrama to me. I think you'd have to be more familiar with the genre to get the most out of this movie but I didn't dislike it overall.



Next is another Busby Berkeley extravaganza.
78 years ago...

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Babes in Arms (1939)
Director: Busby Berkeley
Country: United States
Length: 93 minutes
Type: Musical

'Babes in Arms' is another step towards the full-flavour Musicals we are used to now. Characters have a couple of numbers where they burst into song for no other reason than to express their feelings but mostly it's still just random songs that get sung because they are being rehearsed or performed. You don't have to have the film be about musical performers to have a musical guys, they almost get it Big Grin.

The plot is about the kids of a washed-up Vaudeville troupe putting on a show. There is a half-hearted subplot about the town prude trying to reform these kids but they are presented as way too straight-laced and square for this to work fully. They needed to be portrayed as free-spirited bohemians, too wild for the well to do set but decent and kind all the same (a bit like a 30s 'Captain Fantastic', or even 'The Goonies'). Knitted tank-tops, sharply pressed slacks and tweed jackets = youthful rebellion!

I don't think I've ever seen a young Mickey Rooney film before, so he blew me away here, such energy and charisma. Things are going pretty well until the third-act when suddenly everybody including Rooney and Judy Garland decide to black-up and sing a song about how great it is to sing Minstrel songs Dodgy . Also the numerous joke references to Clark Gable started off as funny but the shear number began to seem like naked cross-promotion of their fellow MGM star. The end recovers with an interesting and rousing musical extravaganza celebrating what it is to be an American, with (then) topical references to the rising dictatorships in Europe.

Annoyingly the film's DVD seems to be out-of-print and very expensive, so I had to rent it on Amazon Digital... and I hate renting digital content Angry .



Next up is another Frank Capra classic.
78 years ago...

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Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Director: Frank Capra
Country: United States
Length: 130 minutes
Type: Political, Drama

I love Frank Capra films and I love Jimmy Stewart films but somehow I never got round to viewing this 11-time Oscar Nominated picture. One man who passionately believes in the ideals on which the US Government was founded, is confronted by the realities of Washington when he is appointed to the Senate. Stewart is perfect casting as the noble and naive young Senator. Claude Rains is totally superb, essentially playing the antagonist but with such depth you can't help but feel for him. Jean Arthur is also perfectly suited to the role of a cynical Senate Secretary, who just might have a spark of hope left. 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' is defiantly a film about dignity, truth, hope and justice but it's also a film about corruption, lies and despair. Seeing the characters torn between the two extremes is where the drama lies. Smith's heroic third-act filibuster is manor-from-heaven for Political-Junkies like me.



Even for 1939, I found it odd that no mention is made of the absurdity of Arthur's character being the Political brains of story but being a woman, has no actual voice in this male-dominated world. It's something a modern remake would have to address. However, in a welcome turn for a 30s Hollywood film, there are at least a few shots of African-Americans being shown positively and equally. Like is in this powerful scene where old/young/black/white gaze up at the Lincoln Memorial with tears in their eyes:



Next, we are off to see the Wizard!
(05-09-2018, 03:35 PM)TM2YC Wrote: [ -> ]the Wizard!

...or more likely...

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