onyxlynx: BxW F. Lang & T. von Harbou each reading. (Fritz Lang Thea von Harbou)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
IMDb seems to be having some sort of problem at the moment, so I can't point you at the entry for Glenda Farrell or Barton MacLane, who were the stars of the series, but yesterday afternoon I sat through either three or four Torchy Blane movies with several more promised later that day.  (There were seven nine in all.)  (ETA:  FINALLY!)

This was not a series I had heard of; I think that I might have run across one and shrugged.  These were Warner Bros. movies and therefore slightly more tethered to reality (prices are mentioned).  Glenda Farrell, who if I remember correctly turns up in The Maltese Falcon, plays Theresa "Torchy" Blane, girl reporter for a Great Metropolitan Newspaper in what seems to be New York City.  Ms. Blane's long suffering fiancé and rising detective on the force, Steve McBride, is portrayed by Barton MacLane.  Together, they fight crime solve murders, Torchy being the intuitive but smart half of the team (Steve isn't bumbling, but he has a certain rigidity of mind.  Hey, is this sounding familiar yet?).  Other newspapermen (Torchy seems to be the lone female in that office) and policemen make up the stock company of characters supporting the two stars; one of this mob was William Hopper with *gasp* dark hair.  (He generally has one line per movie, and his voice has that tickle of familiarity.)

The murder mysteries are typical '30s mysteries, that is, timing, coincidences, lies, and impossibilities.  Probably the less said about the romantic-comedy side, the better.

There weren't many people of color in these movies; I suspect the average is one per film.  (The shoeshine guy was Italian.)

[personal profile] laughingrat , you said something about a book?

onyxlynx: BxW F. Lang & T. von Harbou each reading. (Fritz Lang Thea von Harbou)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
Dave Kehr reviews Things to Come (being released on DVD & Blu-ray) and makes the case for its influence:
This retro-future, where rusting automobiles are pulled by horses, colonnaded halls are heated by bonfires and ragged mobs march by torchlight, may have been a vision of hell to a progressive like Wells, but for the romantic neo-tribalists of the present generation of movie heroes, it looks like a land of opportunity, free from corporate oppression and technological tyranny.
laughingrat: Young David Manners in costume for "The Tempest." (David Manners)
[personal profile] laughingrat
There are actors who, when they show up in a movie, cause one to groan inwardly, “Oh lord, not him.” For me, David Manners has always been one of those actors. Seeing him in Dracula* or The Mummy, I found him impossible to like: handsome, sure, but bleating, strident, poorly-timed, and cheesy. Is it any wonder the monsters held such fascination for the heroines, when David Manners was the only other option?

I couldn’t help but wonder if I was selling him short--can a person really build a Hollywood career out of being handsome but annoying?--so when it came time to do a [community profile] classicfilm post, I thought I’d check out a few of Manners’ other films and see what he was really made of.

David Manners in The Tempest, his first acting role. Image courtesy of Davidmanners.com

Manners got his start acting on stage, and made far more films than I’d initially realized. He retired from cinema early, eventually becoming an artist and author, and passed away in 1998. (You can check out a full bio, filmography, and other info at DavidManners.com, a wonderful site assembled by a personal friend of Mr. Manners.) Through a cunning combination of library loans, YouTubery, and visits to the Internet Archive, one can actually see several of Mr. Manners' films, although some have not been issued for home viewing, and at least one is lost entirely.

The films, and where they are found )

FYI: Copyright is always a funny thing with the stuff that's up at YouTube--at least one other Manners film, Beauty and the Boss, seems to be available there, but in sections. However, upload restrictions and a desire to stay under the radar of copyright-violation hunters cause our intrepid content providers to do things like chop the films up into several segments, use partial titles, not use a cast list, and other things which may make them harder to find. Bearing this in mind when seeking one's favorite early sound pictures on YouTube may be of some use.

I thought this month's "work" watching some of David Manners' stuff would be a real slog, but instead, it was an education. I can honestly say I really like the guy now, and I feel like I got some more insight into a film era that I enjoy, but don't know a lot about. I hope at least a few people read this and opt to give a movie or two on the list a try!

Bonus image: David Manners and Katharine Hepburn in A Bill of Divorcement, included because it is charming. Image courtesy Dr. Macro.

*"David then asked me why I loved Dracula so. He went on to say, 'You know, I'm so awful in that film!'" --Dracula, Davidmanners.com

I Forgot

Mar. 26th, 2010 01:27 pm
onyxlynx: Badly-drawn teacup with steam and eyepatch (Pirate Teacup)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Captain Blood's on tonight!
laughingrat: Buster Keaton (Go West)
[personal profile] laughingrat
Guess who's going? *grin*

One of my favorite movie posters for one of my favorite movies. "King Kong" could be viewed like "Nosferatu," too, in that there's several different versions by now. Has anyone here ever sat down and done a viewing of all three films? Do you have a favorite version?

One of my DW friends felt that Peter Jackson's version was pretty racist; I told her it seemed like he tried to be less racist than the original, which after all is pretty darn racist. Turns out she hadn't seen the original in some time, so wasn't able to compare. Anyone got an opinion one way or the other? I'm not offended if you disagree with me--it's an open question to me. :)


Jul. 28th, 2009 11:06 am
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx Lynx" arranged so that one y is superimposed over the other. (Yellow background grafix)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
Next Friday, August 7, Oakland Paramount will be showing The Women and I'm thinking of going to see it, as I haven't seen it in 20-30 years (not that it wasn't shown enough on TV; mostly that I've been without that device for several years now, and I wasn't interested in my teens/early twenties--I did manage once to sit up to 3 am to see Grand Hotel, but didn't experience it as a movie until the '80s.  In a theater), and the remake did not exactly cover itself with glory.

The synopsis (I kept typing 'sysops' there.) contains the following sentence:  "This movie is so catty there should be a scratching post at the theatre's entrance!"

I expect funny clothes, stereotypes, and somewhat contemptuous attitudes toward women (Clare Boothe was satirizing; also something of a conservative; she married Henry Luce, who founded Time, and was an ambassador during a Republican administration).  I plan to be grateful that I live now and not then (for many reasons).

It may be that mere cattiness isn't all that funny anymore.


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