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Forbidden Hollywood Collection - Volumes One & Two


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7 hours ago, pherank said:

I just watched Ava Gardner, Robert Taylor and Charles Laughton in The Bribe (1949) on TCM, and I noticed that she seemed to be getting away with very little makeup, which I liked.

I'm trying to envision holding Andy Hardy near and dear to my heart, but it's just not working.

An MGM noir, as it happens. :)  Not the kind of project that the director, Robert Z. Leonard, was generally associated with. Great supporting cast.

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13 hours ago, dirac said:

An MGM noir, as it happens. :)  Not the kind of project that the director, Robert Z. Leonard, was generally associated with. Great supporting cast.

Should have been good, but wasn't. Vincent Price and Laughton make things more interesting but the script isn't all that impressive. So probably could have been anyone in those particular roles. And there's definitely no heat between Gardner and Taylor - I can't really think of when Taylor ever demonstrated much heat. He's on my dud list. It happens that TCM had recently shown His Kind of Woman from 1951, with Vincent Price in a very oddball role that was quite fun. I was hoping for more of the same kind of thing, but The Bribe wasn't even a slow burner to me, just slow and fairly predictable. Oh well.

Edited by pherank
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And there's definitely no heat between Gardner and Taylor - I can't really think of when Taylor ever demonstrated much heat. He's on my dud list.

How true. No matter how sparky the lady, Taylor had a hard time getting those colored lights going.  Gardner and Taylor were supposedly having an affair, but any heat generated didn't make it into camera range. The exception in my recollection is Lana Turner in Johnny Eager, which also features one of Taylor's few good performances.

I've never seen His Kind of Woman because I find Jane Russell unwatchable in anything other than Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Not even Mitchum and Price could tempt me. Did you like it overall?

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On 7/13/2021 at 10:41 AM, dirac said:

How true. No matter how sparky the lady, Taylor had a hard time getting those colored lights going.  Gardner and Taylor were supposedly having an affair, but any heat generated didn't make it into camera range. The exception in my recollection is Lana Turner in Johnny Eager, which also features one of Taylor's few good performances.

I've never seen His Kind of Woman because I find Jane Russell unwatchable in anything other than Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Not even Mitchum and Price could tempt me. Did you like it overall?

Yes, but with reservations - it ends up being so goofy and weird that I kind of have to like it. I'm a supporter of goofy-weird. Is it a gem of Noir filmmaking? No, not really.

Basic plot: a gambler (Robert Mitchum) accepts a mysterious job that will take him out of the country (to Mexico) for a year - for a reward of $50,000.
Price plays a famous movie actor (a ham) spending time at the same Mexican resort, who seems to be a hunting enthusiast primarily. And Price keeps trying to interest Robert Mitchum's character into going hunting, which of course makes us think that something nefarious is going to happen around that, but there's a twist to all that. Price gets to be a good guy in the end (which in itself is interesting). Mostly it's a lot of talking and scheming, and Mitchum and Russell being...charismatic(?) It is notable that Mitchum and Russell did NOT have an affair during production of this film.  😉

 

Edited by pherank
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Mitchum and Russell were also in Macao, clips of which seem unwatchable today, though I may have thought differently when I saw it years ago in a good print von Sternberg showed in a class he once (or twice) gave. I guess Sternberg got the Macao job because of Shanghai Express and Shanghai Gesture. (Interestingly parts of Shanghai Express were filmed in a little alleyway that the Santa Fe RR tracks go, or then went, through, not far from original Trader Joe's in Pasadena). William Wellman also gave – or rather spoke at – a class, Albert Johnson's, and told a story (which I may have posted before) about seeing Robert Mitchum for the first time. Mitchum was hitchhiking, walking forward along the side of the road with his thumb out, maybe somewhere between Palm Springs and LA, I'm not sure. Wellman said he knew immediately that Mitchum would become a big star from the way he moved his ass. In effect his swagger was his screen test.  I remember thinking how amazing it was that someone of Wellman's generation would comment, and rather glowingly at that, on the sensuality of another male. It was struggled with but just not talked about.

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6 hours ago, miliosr said:

But what a part! Ain't there anyone here for love?

" Nobody chaperones the chaperone. That's why I'm so right for this job."

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Mostly it's a lot of talking and scheming, and Mitchum and Russell being...charismatic(?) It is notable that Mitchum and Russell did NOT have an affair during production of this film.

 

Physically the two of them are well matched and they look great together. I just find Russell's "acting" unacceptable; I don't think there was another major female star as capable of blighting a movie through her amateurishness until the advent of Ali MacGraw.

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19 hours ago, dirac said:

Physically the two of them are well matched and they look great together. I just find Russell's "acting" unacceptable; I don't think there was another major female star as capable of blighting a movie through her amateurishness until the advent of Ali MacGraw.

LOL. Now you're getting into the era of 60s and 70s "fresh faces".

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On 7/18/2021 at 7:01 PM, pherank said:

LOL. Now you're getting into the era of 60s and 70s "fresh faces".

Cybill Shepherd, anyone? 

Not a great time for female stars. Nobody really breaks through beyond Streisand and Fonda. On the other hand, Jill Clayburgh probably doesn't become a star at any other time.

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4 hours ago, dirac said:

Cybill Shepherd, anyone? 

Not a great time for female stars. Nobody really breaks through beyond Streisand and Fonda.

I think that Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn broke through.

If you focus on the word "star" rather than "actress" you could include Raquel Welch and Ann Margaret.

 

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4 hours ago, lmspear said:

I think that Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn broke through.

If you focus on the word "star" rather than "actress" you could include Raquel Welch and Ann Margaret.

 

Good points. Women did become stars but not in the numbers they did in the big league days of the Golden Age and the "woman's picture," and I think only Streisand and Fonda were up there with the men in box office and staying power. If I remember right by the late seventies Christie was playing the old Evelyn Keyes role from "Here Comes Mr. Jordan." Shirley MacLaine became big in the Sixties but she was mostly playing prosties, not exactly peacock parts.

Ann-Margret can be quite good and in a different era for women she might have done more and better good work, although she made some bad decisions.

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Your thoughts on Vanessa Redgrave, Faye Dunaway, and Gena Rowlands, please, Dirac.  There was the late career success of Ruth Gordon in "Rosemary's Baby" and "Harold and Maude".

Edited by lmspear
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Jane Withers has died at the age of 95. She was too young to have been a part of the Pre-Code era and yet she lived long enough to be one of the last surviving stars of Hollywood's Golden Age.

The Norma Shearer page I follow on Instagram had a cute photo of Jane and Norma together at a USO event in 1941.

And speaking of Norma, Wikipedia lists August 10th as her birthday. (Her actual birthday may have been the 11th but she celebrated it on the 10th.) Regardless -- happy birthday to Norma Shearer!!!

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Thank you for posting, miliosr. An obit for Withers in the  NYT.

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Jane Withers, a top child star in the 1930s who played tough, tomboyish brats in more than two dozen B films and achieved a second burst of fame as an adult as Josephine the Plumber in commercials for Comet cleanser, died on Saturday in Burbank, Calif. She was 95.

 

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On 7/25/2021 at 5:00 PM, lmspear said:

Your thoughts on Vanessa Redgrave, Faye Dunaway, and Gena Rowlands, please, Dirac.  There was the late career success of Ruth Gordon in "Rosemary's Baby" and "Harold and Maude".

My apologies for not replying sooner, lmspear, and thank you.  Dunaway is an interesting case - she hit it big in her twenties with Bonnie and Clyde and then lost her way for some time until coming back big in the middle-late Seventies. Unfortunately she didn't have the great post-Network career she should have had, for reasons both personal and professional. She was great in Mommie Dearest but the performance stuck to her and also she was hitting her forties. I always liked her a lot. She's a real star with a great face for the camera, and she can act.

On those occasions when I've seen Rowlands she struck me as an admirable actor with a tendency to go overboard, so I'm not really well versed enough in her career to comment. (I'm not a big fan of the movies directed by the late John Cassavetes.) 

Redgrave hasn't had a conventional star career but then I doubt if she wanted one. She got off to a good start from the beginning, with Laurence Olivier announcing her arrival into the world onstage at the Old Vic with Dad at his side.  It's interesting that, like Meryl Streep, she was never a movie ingenue - both of them were almost thirty when they became movie stars.

 

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