Saturday, April 29, 2017

Film Round-Up

It's been a while since I've posted about films I've recently watched, so here I go.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie: I wasn't sure what to expect from the movie. I don't think the later seasons of the show were as funny as the first three. And after all this time... But I loved it. It was a lot of fun. In a way it reminds me of Veronica Mars: The Movie: I'm not sure if people who didn't love the show will really appreciate the movies. At least non-show film-watchers won't recognize and know the history of many characters.

Scarlet Street: I found this on TCM one afternoon. I had missed the first 10-15 minutes but didn't think this was a problem because I'd seen the film before. (A few weeks later, I caught the beginning.) But, as I watched I realized I didn't remember it. It wasn't that I confused the film with The Woman in the Window. I remember that film clearly: the same director and main cast of Scarlet Street. I haven't seen The Woman in the Window in years but it was weakened by the "it was a dream" ending. I read somewhere that the studio (International-RKO) required director Fritz Lang to film the "dream" ending. I prefer Scarlet Street and its "real" ending. Robinson is awesome as the mild-mannered, hen-pecked clerk who thinks he found the woman who understands him. He is an actor of great range--far beyond the Little Caesar-type gangster that most people remember. Dan Duryea shines as the pimp/boyfriend of Joan Bennett, the object of of Robinson's affections. Duryea is always great as a sleaze--I especially loved him in Too Late for Tears and The Little Foxes--the latter is only his second screen credit. Joan Bennett is good at Kitty--she's playing roles of sweetheart and artist--but in reality she's a scheming opportunist.

The Maltese Falcon (1931): The first of three versions by Warner Brothers holds up well although it pales in comparison to the iconic 1941 version. (We should all forget about the 1936 version Satan Met A Lady--even Bette Davis couldn't save that one.) Ricardo Cortez is underrated; he does a good job as Sam Spade. I also liked Bebe Daniels. But I missed Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Elisha Cook Junior. All three were much more memorable than their 1931 counterparts. I disliked the 1931 ending when Sam visits Ruth Wonderly in prison. The 1941 ending with Spade and Polhaus discussing the "stuff that dreams are made of " is stronger and quoteworthy.

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