Friday, December 26, 2008

Best Picture Nominees: The Front Page (1931)

It is difficult to judge Lewis Milestone's version of Ben Hecht's and Charles MacArthur's play The Front Page without comparing it to its definite remake, Howard Hawks' His Girl Friday. Pat O'Brien is Hildy Johnson, a reporter about to leave his job and get married, who is lured back into his old trade by his editor Walter Burns (Adolphe Menjou) and a story to good to be passed up. The bantering between the journalists in the court house's press room is the major thread of the film. A pity that the sound quality of the version I watched did not pay justice to the scenes.
A good early sound film with interesting camera movements and clever use of the relatively new medium, The Front Page is a good and effective film, albeit a bit sexist with its suggestion of women interfering in men's friendship and business. That's another reason why I prefer His Girl Friday, with Rosalind Russell playing a female Hildy Johnson and supplying this film with the gimmick that puts it on a level above the original.
So far it is the best of the 1931 nominees I've seen.

1931 rankings so far: The Front Page, Cimarron

Still to watch: East Lynne, Skippy, Trader Horn

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Picture Nominees: Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)

A rather forced, supposedly magical entry from 1941, this film suffers from a contrived storyline that might have satisfied early WWII audiences, but does not hold up today.
Boxer Joe Pendleton dies, is sent back to earth to take over the body of a misogynist millionaire, who then is killed as well, then settles into a body of another boxer. Along the way, he manages to convince a girl who fell in love with a millionaire, to fall for the 2nd boxer, as both people are really Joe Pendleton (confusing, eh?)
It is hard to understand how Mr. Jordan won two Oscars for writing, considering this plot. The best thing in the film is Claude rains as benevolent Mr. Jordan, an angel-like figure who helps Joe Pendleton on the journey through two bodies.
So far, this film ranks 7th and lowest among the 1941 BP nominees, even behind Suspicion, for which I don't care very much.

1941 rankings so far: Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, How Green Was My Valley, The Little Foxes, Sergeant York, Suspicion, Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

Still to watch: Blossoms in the Dust, Hold Back the Dawn, One Foot in Heaven

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Love Bette!

I know, I'm lazy. Very lazy. But as, at the moment at least, I'm doing this blog for myself only, the motivation to post new stuff is very small...ahem

But there is one thing I want the world to know (The world... so me...whatever... ;)):
That Bette Davis is the greatest actress that ever graced this planet. Every movie I see with her convinces me again and again of her divinity and each new laugh-out-loud quote by her makes me believe that she was quite a character, one that is not found anymore among our current, colourless actresses...
Just check out this one: "Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it's because I'm not a bitch. Maybe that's why Joan Crawford always plays ladies."
Or: "Until you're known in my profession as a monster, you're not a star."

For more of the like, just go to Davis's trivia section of IMDb. Great quotes, I can tell you!

To discover the Davis, I advise everyone to watch "All about Eve", her best performance, and also one of the greatest films of all time. Other great films are "Jezebel", "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", "Dark Victory", to only name a few.

So, go check her out and you'll certainly agree with Bette when she says: "I'm the nicest goddamn dame that ever lived!"

Have fun! ;-)