Saturday, September 3, 2022

Weekend Open Thread


  1. Finally got around to watching ELMER GANTRY (1960).

    The first half is kind of a rough watch because Burt Lancaster is so buffoonish and revivalism is so whack...and fascinating...but more whack than fascinating. You don’t have to see a lot to get fully disturbed.

    But I love the second half when it’s the grifter/conman himself who’s like “let’s get real”. If you don’t know the plot, he falls in love with Jean Simmon’s ambitious preacher woman - except she’s delusional and thinks she’s actually saving people (not only taking their money). I like the questions I feel like the movie is asking: which of the two is more dangerous? And which of the two is more innocent? I think it’s the innocent but delusional one who’s more dangerous (her).

    You know I really miss these movies from the old days that were really tight dramas and ended with some inspiring lesson about humanity. I just don’t think they make them anymore. Do you know of any? Maybe it’s not possible these days. Burt Lancaster’s other famous movies were the same - Sweet Smell of Success, A Child is Waiting, and though I don’t really remember Judgement at Nuremberg or The Rose Tattoo very well...I think he’s always giving some humanity lessons in his performances. He’s a serious actah.

    Another thing I love about ELMER GANTRY- it’s just a personal thing - is the hair/makeup/costume work. They slap a ton of funky makeup on his face and splay his hair going in every direction and put him in suits that make him look like he has no neck (no collar showing and high ties) for the first half - it all adds to his buffoon look. In the serious moments in the second half his hair is always just-so so that it looks really handsome - totally different, clean makeup and suits with thick white collars emphasizing his thick neck and a different (lower) neckline in his suiting making him look taller, to (I don’t know men’s suiting well enough to know the kind of suit). Anyway in the second half you remember he’s a very good looking man. Hair, makeup, costume - tada!

    1. Mm, no, in reading about The Rose Tattoo, which I only saw once longer ago than I can remember, it's written by Tennessee Williams but it doesn't carry the same story weight as a lot of Burt Lancaster's other films.

    2. Elmer Gantry is another film I have intended to watch over the years. Burt Lancaster is one of those actors who completely threw himself into his roles. The Swimmer is also high up in my watch. Have you seen any of his genre films, Meredith? He started out with crime films in the 1940s. Criss Cross (1949) is worth seeking out.

    3. Thanks, Casual! I'll queue them! I liked Burt Lancaster a lot more after seeing Elmer Gantry. And I thought it was inspiring. I can't tell from the online reviews if other people read the ending that way or not, but...I think I'm reading it correctly? There's usually not that many ways to read those type of endings...You let me know what you think when you see it :)

  2. Howdy Gang!!

    Quick guess is most of you follow F This on stuff like twitter however a few may not. FYI the F This crew has setup a patreon. I just went over and signed up this morning. Super easy, super fair, $1 or $5 options. This site has created a wonderful positive community with consistent content...that takes a TON of work and passion. Articles, reviews, podcasts, video shows, marathon events, monthly themes, support of other podcasts, etc. The patreon is a great way for us to help them keep up the great work. So...if you have the means....jump over and sign up!!!

    Peace .n. F This Patreon Supporter since 10m Ago, 2022.


  3. As the summer winds down, I was catching up with films on my DVR.

    THE WITCH’S MIRROR (1962, dir. Chano Urueta) – One of my watches from last year’s Scary Movie Month, I took the DVD out to start getting myself into the mood for it this year. I was reminded again how strange a mixture of horror elements this Mexican production is: supernatural revenge, Eyes Without A Face, and a Hands of Orlac plot. The effects are not great and the pacing is slow at times, but there is an undeniable charm to the film.

    ONLY TWO CAN PLAY (1962) – One of the few actors I consider brilliant is Peter Sellers. His capacity to get lost in a role amazes me. I have Turner Classic Movies again to thank for the opportunity to watch a couple of his lesser-known British films this week. Only Two Can Play is about a librarian (Sellers) who wrestles with his family life, an unfulfilling job, and his desires for other women. The blending of the serious and the comedic gave Sellers one of his best roles. Swedish actress Mai Zetterling is fun and charming as a well-to-do wife filling her time with dalliances.

    YOUR PAST IS SHOWING / THE NAKED TRUTH (1957) – A delightful British farce about the repeated attempts by the victims of a blackmailer to kill him. One of the victims is the Peter Sellers, but the rest of the cast is just a funny as he is. The mystery writer and her daughter were my favorite characters. If you like British humor that is both clever and silly, this should be a good watch.

    KID BLUE (1973) – Such a pleasant surprise. Though far from being one of the essential westerns, there is a lot in Kid Blue to like. Dennis Hopper, channeling his crazy vibe, plays the title character, an outlaw in Texas who decides to try the straight life in a small town. It is one misadventure for him after another in a world that he does not fit into. Hopper is supported by a tremendous cast (Warren Oates, Ben Johnson, and Peter Boyle). The narrative is extremely idiosyncratic in a 1970s way with a strong anti-capitalist streak.

    DUEL AT DIABLO (1966, dir. Ralph Nelson) – It is the U.S. calvary versus a band of Apaches in this western starring James Garner and Sidney Poitier. The film manages to entertain and features some beautiful scenery. The influence of the spaghetti western is obvious with the more explicit violence, and the attempt to put the viewpoints of both the American military and Native Americans on equal footing is emblematic of the changing face of the genre in the 1960s.

  4. THE FRENCH DISPATCH (2021). Wow, I liked this movie a lot. As in A LOT. I dug this world, and I found each story to both amusing and moving. I kind of want to see a TV series based on this, but that would go against the point of the film depicting the end of an era (era). I enjoyed this so much I want to watch more Wes Anderson now.

    THE GREY MAN (2022). This movie has slick production design, cool movie stars, and tons of action, yet I feel something is missing. The idea is that the hero operates in the "grey area" between good and bad, and maybe that doesn't make him relatable? I don't know.

    MYSTIC PIZZA (1988). In the they-don't-make-them-like-this-anymore category, I'm not sure what genre this is. It's not a comedy, but it's too light and fluffy to be a drama. I guess it's a straightforward romance? I liked it enough, but I will probably never watch it again.

    And I finished my PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN rewatch with parts 4 and 5. Part 4 has the awesome mermaids, but it's the sore thumb of the series. Everything is so clean and brightly lit. Where's the atmosphere? As for 5, I'm a bigger fan of it than most folks. I've always liked how it (mostly) wraps up the loose ends. Bring me that horizon, yo-ho!

    1. Wasn't the 4th Pirates movie the first of the series in 3D? Probably they tried to counter the darkness of 3D screenings with a brighter outlook? At the same time, I remember seeing this one in the cinema, and the actors looked liked standees...

  5. I've been listening to way too many old F This Movie podcast, so i'm now making a list of movies i need to rewatch or forgot to watch at the time (especially the end of year ones)

  6. One of my best friends, with whom I watched a ton of movies, just moved to another city. We surely plan to visit each other quarterly, and keep our traditions alive, but it will be way more spare, which is pretty sad. On a happier note, we managed to watch everything that we have laid out in the last couple of weeks before her departure...

    First, we had two more movies from 1924 on hour personal 1000-movies to-watch-list, THE GREAT WHITE SILENCE and THE THIEF OF BAGDAD. The first is an interesting documentary about the unsuccessful British Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole, which suffers under the "comedic" bits of the narrator (they are not funny, racist at times). The latter is a fantastic epic movie, with a great Douglas Fairbanks, and some pretty good special effects that still brought joy and laughter. If you haven't seen it, I want to recommend this old gem.

    Second, we wanted to complete my "road tip movie journey", which we managed with the following bunch: DAYS OF HEAVEN (Texas - beautiful), MISSISSIPPI BURNING (Mississippi, brutal, I love this movie, yet I'm fully aware about the surrounding controversy), THE LONG WALK HOME (Alabama, dramatic kitsch like THE GREEN BOOK), THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (Florida, first time watch, didn't work that well for me), and finally DO THE RIGHT THING (New York, 2nd time this year, great great movie).

    By the way, if anyone of the people posting here want to meet up during my stay in the US, write me please. I'll be in New York, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida (also in Nevada and Arizona, not alone though). We could watch a movie together. :D