Posts Tagged ‘B&W’

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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944/Warner Bros./Dir. Frank Capra)

A little while ago, I posted a list of movies that you can watch at Halloween that aren’t horror movies. When I posted that, I “missed” one important movie. I put missed in quotes because I didn’t miss it so much as decide that I would rather do a review on it. While not a perfect movie, nor even a perfect comedy, it is enjoyable and it does work as a film. It’s one of m favorite Cary Grant performances, and that is really saying something. And hey, it takes place on Halloween!

Here’s the thing though, the best thing to do would be to go into this movie totally blind. I’m going to spoil some things about this movie, but one of the biggest spoilers is on the back of the box. For best results, don’t read anything and just go watch it. As of right now, it’s on Netflix Streaming (but who knows what tomorrow might bring, right?) so just go watch it. Seriously, don’t even bother reading this review because you should just go see it.

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The Great Train Robbery (1903/Edison Studios/Dir. Edwin S. Porter)

Made in 1903, this is possibly the earliest western movie, although even the director of this movie would disagree with that statement. Not important, but he thought another movie was the first western, however I don’t think it was a proper narrative film like this is. See, before this time, most movies were just an event. Not even a series of events but a single scene with the camera simple pointed at whatever was happening. The earliest movies are quite frankly, dull. Unless you’re a movie nerd, or a history nerd, most of the “first” movies in history hold little to no interest because they were primarily just pointing a camera at a city street and capturing what was there. This was back in the day when simply seeing a picture move was enough to get riled up over. Now it’s true that there were movies with plot and editing and before this, but The Great Train Robbery was the first one to really bring everything together in a way that made it a big hit. One might say that this one proved there was something to this whole movie making thing. If you’re able, go out and buy Edison – The Invention of the Movies, which is where my copy of the movie comes from. If you get other versions, you may not get some of the brilliant use of colors that this one has.

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Last year, I almost wrote this review. Several things got in the way and I crapped out. However, this year I did actually write the review, so all is well.

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The Jack Benny Program (1960 CBS dir. James V. Kern)

There is something to be said about a man who could remake the same episode a dozen times and have it called “tradition” rather than “pointless repetition.” What it mostly says is that the guy was some kind of genius. So here is the lowdown on the traditional Jack Benny shopping episode: Jack has trouble deciding on a gift for Don Wilson and proceeds to drive the clerk (played by Mel Blanc) out of his skull with his alterations to that gift. Normally he buys an expensive present and changes his mind about this aspect or that aspect and then goes a head and decides to get the cheap gift by the end of the episode. Is that what happens here? No idea, to be honest I still haven’t watched it. Let’s lay down a fiver right now though. If Jack buys a gift, changes his mind several times and drives Mel Blanc insane, you owe me five bucks. Six if it’s a gift for Don Wilson. If it’s any conciliation, this probably won’t hurt much. I might be a little painful, but most likely it’ll just come off as dated.

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The Beverly Hillbillies: Turkey Day (1963 CBS Dir. Richard Whorf)

The Beverly Hillbillies is to the south what a Minstrel show is to blacks. It’s nasty, ugly, and carries a lot of very offensive jokes that just are not funny. This episode is in black and white, and it’s hard to think of a time when this was on in prime time, instead of weekday afternoons. Actually, in this day and age it’s hard to imagine this hateful crap was on screen at all. There can be no mystery as to why so many people in America think people from the south are stupid when watching this. This is practically a cavalcade of bigotry, and I hate every moment of it. However, I bought the thing and I need to have a review for this slot so I guess I’d better get to it.

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Alice in Wonderland (1933 Paramount Dir. Norman McLeod)

Why did Tim Burton feel he needed to make a dark version of Alice in Wonderland? A nightmare-inducing version was made in 1933, and remains as horrifying as ever. Even in its cut down 77-minute version, it can scare an entire orphanage for months of sleepless nights and it wasn’t even trying. It’s just that the make-up is pretty creepy. I’m in my thirties, I’m not particularly squeamish and just the opening credit sequence is creeping me the hell out. I’ll explain about the open credits. See, Paramount wanted to exploit the fact that Lewis Carroll’s 100th birthday had caused a resurgence of interest in the Alice stories. This movie is based on one of the many stage plays going around at that time. In order to pull the studio out of a jam, they put all their biggest stars in the movie. However, the make-up jobs were so over the top that almost none of these big name actors could be recognized. The movie was sort of a massive, amazing, epic, almost studio ending… flop. Yeah, it crashed, burned, and took out a small village. Mae West had to shake her money maker like she’d never shook before in order to save the studio after this thing. A lot of people claimed the failure was that the actors couldn’t be recognized, I say it’s because the make-up creeped out strong men and scared weak and feeble women. Anyway, that’s a long enough opening paragraph, let’s dive in and see what we’ve got shall we?

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The title card rarely has any room for a joke.

Under The Cherry Moon (1986 Warner Bros. Dir. Prince)

YUP! Directed by Prince himself. You just… just let that sink in for a moment, won’t you? Yeah, I could say more in my opening statement, but why? Doesn’t that first line tell you what you need to know? Well, not completely. This isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, even if it’s not perfect.

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Murder, My Sweet (1944 RKO Radio Pictures, Dir. Edward Dmytryk)


The title was changed because people thought with Dick Powell in the lead it might be a musical. No, that’s a fact actually.

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