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Something for the Birds (1952)
Odd but enjoyable early 1950's comedy
In some ways, this is a rather odd early 1950's movie regarding environmental concerns and big business lobbying. It's nice to Patricia Neal in a real romantic comedy. I'm not a van of Victor Mature, but he does well here. One of the main reasons for this movie is wonderful Edmund Gwenn, who made such a splash for 20th Century-Fox in "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Mister 880". He's wonderful here. Very nicely done comedy and quite a surprising find.
All Rise (2019)
Great new show
I don't know why people don't seem top like this. I think it's the best new hour program on any of the Networks. Literate, well acted and well written.
Great movie...lousy DVD quality
Love this classic 1940's costume comedy, but the DVD-R that was finally made available from Universal is blurry and lousy. One of their worst quality releases, sad to say.
The Cobweb (1955)
I think it's a satirical comedy
The movie is so bloody serious and ridiculous that at least by 2018 eyes, I think it's a comedy. I laughed at all sorts of absurdities and overwrought situations in the film. Perhaps it was a serious drama back in 1955, but it's a hellava hoot now.
I can't believe that anyone at MGM in 1955 ever green-lighted this absurd drama...and I'm surprised at the cast Minnelli was able to obtain. This is certainly one of the all-time camp classics of the 1950's.
Rufus Jones for President (1933)
It's a satire, albiet not a particular successful one. Great performances
To see the legendary Ethel Waters at her prime, as well as such an early performance from Sammy Davis, Jr. makes this a must-see. This despite the rather stupid attempt at satire. It did little to advance the mid-1930's plight of Black folks, other than giving the actors paying jobs!
Enjoy it for the historic performances and try to ignore the pretty awful stereotypical goings-on.
5th Ave Girl (1939)
Good concept and actors, but dull, screenplay and not very funny
This is a misfire for Gregory LaCava. Usually his movies have that spark and brightness...not this one. Everyone looks so bored and lacking in emergy. It's mainly the fault of the screenplay, not the actors.
It's a low B screenplay for a low-A movie, unfortunately.
A Woman Rebels (1936)
I think this RKO melodrama distills Hepburn's strengths in her early years even better than in her celebrated performance of Jo March in "Little Women". Kate was not the kind of actress who could play common or weak (although she was common but strong in the under-appreciated "Spitfire"). During this period, she mostly played strong and independent characters.
"A Woman Rebels" is a very good story about a Victorian woman who dares to be independent at a time when women were expected to get married. A career was considered out of the question. I think it's very well written and directed with good performances, especially from Herbert Marshall and Van Heflin (in his debut film performance).
Yes, My Darling Daughter (1939)
Decent period film with great acting
It's clear that Warners was attempting to repeat the same success they had with "Four Daughters" right down to casting a number of the same actors. Rolland Young and Fay Bainter (along with the wonderful May Robson) are among my favorite character actors of the era.
Priscilla Lane is just fine, but Jeffrey Lynn really isn't a particular good actor. Yes, he was fine in "All This and Heaven Too", but he's dull as dishwater in "A Letter to Three Wives". Joseph Mankiewicz referred to him as a "leaner" - a weak actor. He was right.
All in all, it's a very watchable Warners programmer of the late 1930's. I can think better ways to waste my time.
Holiday Affair (1949)
Surprisingly well written classic
There's no question that this was a modestly made movie and it wasn't much of a success, either. Totally forgotten, it was rediscovered by TCM and now is considered a Christmas Classic, which is clearly is.
All of the acting is really quite good, other than Wendell Corey's typical one-dimensional style of acting. Since his part is of a rather conventional, dull lawyer, I guess he does what's required.
What most other people seem to suggest that it's a rather thin story, it's well conceived and really quite well written. Janet Leigh's son Timmy in the movie is picture perfect too.
What's really a revelation is to see Robert Mitchum play such a nice, light comedic part. Despite his usually off-the-cuff persona - on and off the screen - he was really a gifted and talented actor and this film really shows how charming he could be.
This film is really a nice treat.
Storm in a Teacup (1937)
I agree with most of the other reviews, but there's lots more brilliance that has not been mentioned. James Bridie take a very funny swipe at American 1930's slang (the new maid and a funny reply by the Lord Judge).
I don't think of this as being at all Capra-like. None of his films has this kind of snappy, clever satirical dialog.
I've come to really consider this film of the best British comedies of the 1930's.
The current (2013) DVD issue is part of "The Vivien Leigh Anniversary Collection" and is a really great print. Buy it and you'll see!
The Vagabond Lover (1929)
Flat Vallee debut but love Marie Dressler!
Rudy Vallee was rushed into this film before anyone bothered to teach him how to act in front of a camera! He's wooden, looks down instead of looking directly at the person he's talking to, and generally looked extremely ill at ease.
The story is not bad and it does move along well for a sound film of this period. Not much interesting camera movements.
What is the best thing is wonderful Marie Dressler's turn as a society matron. She's just plain terrific.
By the late 1930's and into the 1940's, Rudy really blossomed into a first-rate character actor. His work in the Preston Sturges films are really great. His parts in George Stevens' "I Remember Mama" and the Cary Grant-Myrna Loy comedy "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" are very good, as well.
Society Doctor (1935)
CHESTER MORRIS is the star
Decent mid-1930's MGM drama, but this ain't no Robert Taylor vehicle...this is a Chester Morris film.
Morris' career faltered around the time that Taylor's career was taking off. This is a shame since Chester was a much better actor than Taylor could ever hope to be.
This film has a great supporting cast including Billie Burke, Henry Kolker, and Virginia Bruce does a nice job as the female lead.
I saw this film on TCM and if you see it listed, I suggest you give it a chance.
It's no classic, but a good solid period film.
Quality Street (1937)
One of the best of Hepburn's 'lousy RKO films'
Despite many of the other reviews, I find this film (along with her "A Woman Rebels"), one of the best of the films that originally did poorly at the box office and contributed Hepburn's career downturn in the late 1930's.
It IS a precious little comedy of errors, but it's also quite a hoot. Besides Hepburn and Fay Bainter's good performances, there's amusing supporting performances from Cora Witherspoon, Eric Blore, and especially from Estelle Winwood, who made so few films during this era, despite being a seasoned stage actress. Her part is very funny and she plays it beautifully.
Give this film another viewing and you'll enjoy it. The only real issue I have with the film is (in typical 1930's/1940's fashion), Katharine Hepburn's makeup after 10 years is not much different from what she looked like at the start of the film.
Gregory Ratoff's great performance
Typical for an early RKO production, the screenplay and direction could've been tighter, but I found this to be a very entertaining film.
There's more than a hint of anti-Semitism in that Gregory Ratoff's Abe Ullman character is basically in charge and more than partly responsible for the great success of the store. As Barrymore grows older and his children are less than interested in keeping the business alive, Barrymore is very harsh and unfair to Ullman's expectation that he might be able to receive the partial ownership of the store that his hard work and management has clearly earned. Their showdown scene is touching and very intense.
Wife vs. Secretary (1936)
Brilliant comedy-drama with some real issues about business
I know this is 1936, but this really illustrates how far women have come in the workplace.
Jean Harlow's character, Whitey, really is a first-rate secretary. In a later era, she would've been Van's (Clark Gable) assistance, instead of a secretary. Her affection for her boss is one of respect initially not lust.
Myrna Loy's character is the typical, educated high society wife. She knows nothing about his business, and it never occurs to Van to let her in on the secret plan he has to buy another magazine. So, when he goes to a convention to sell the magazine owner on the proposed sale, his wife knows nothing about this scheme. She assumes the worse when Whitey is called down assist in the purchase procedures.
This is all innocent, but, of course, due to the times, the wife becomes convinced that there's a rendezvous in process.
This is an excellent made film, and it's one of Gable's best performances. Harlow and Loy are perfect and supporting cast including May Robison and a young James Stewart are picture perfect.
My Little Margie (1952)
Great 1950's sitcom and the sets were fascinating
Loved the show...The other comments are spot on.
I wanted to add this bit of trivia about the show's location and the set design.
First off, I lives in New York for a number of years and the outside of their 'hotel' looks nothing like any building I ever saw in New York! Also, all of the rather high styled furniture used in the Albright's apartment was of California origin; Glenn of California, etc. Much of it was very classic West Coast mid-century modern pieces, yet's it's simply not reasonable to have imagined that this lot of West Coast furniture would've been used in an upscale New york apartment.
Bottom line, the choice of furnishings give this sitcom away as being a West Coast production, unlike "I Love Lucy", which looks like it COULD'VE been shot in New York!
The Opposite Sex (1956)
Wretched in every way
I'm not a big fan of MGM's classic splashy musicals, but this one is really such a load of poorly written crapola. Of course, the basic story is great; a groundbreaking Broadway play that ran 666 performances, and an even better 1939 film.
To my eyes, everything's wrong with this stinker.
And, I'm not the only who feels this way...just read most of the other reviews!
Only Agnes Moorehead gets the chance to give a good performance; a sophisticated type of part she was not offered too much.
Everyone else is quite horrible.
Words and Music (1948)
Inaccurate tacky late 40's musical
This and WB's "Night And Day" are classic examples of how the major studios could distort 1920's and 1930's musical history to what they think was appropriate fact for 1940's audiences.
There's hardly any accurate about this account of Rodgers and Hart's career.
Everyone's dressed in 1947 clothing, even though much of it takes place in the 1920's. MGM was incapable of showing the way things really were (only Minneli's "Meet Me In St Louis" was close to being visually correct.) To top it off, let me be one of the apparent few to consider Mickey Rooney's way-over-the-top typical performance and extremely modest voice. I just don't understand how he became such a huge star.
Love It or List It (2008)
The most obnoxious new program on HGTV
The program is an interesting premise; Canadian homeowners (probably from Toronto) have a house that no longer meets their needs. So they look for a better one while their current house is updated with funds provided by the homeowners.
The problem is, they have selected some of the most difficult, wining, snotty people living in Toronto. During the whole process, the homeowners bitch and belly ache about every update being done to their house, and they hate each house being showed to them.
I rather like Hilary but real estate David belongs on Selling New York or Selling L.A., because he's even more snotty than the homeowners.
I really dislike every aspect of the program that I've seen thus far...and believe me, I don't expect to see any more episodes!
Last Holiday (1950)
It's finally out on DVD from Criterion
Like other J.B. Priestley stories ("The Old Dark House" and "An Inspector Calls") this one has a surprise ending and a dramatic story laced with humor and irony.
Brilliant cast including Alec Guinness, Kay Walsh, Beatrice Campbell, Wilfred Hyde-White and plenty of other sturdy, talented British character actors.
Everything great about this film, although the Criterion print is quite dark.
For those of you who enjoy the best of British Cinema, this is a great film to own.
Unfortunately, Criterion deleted the film only 2 years after they released it. There must've been some problem with the rights.
The Talk of the Town (1942)
It's one of those priceless comedies with serious social drama built in!
Not only is this about the best performances Jean Arthur and Ronald Coleman, this is about the best performance Cary Grant did in the 1940's.
The supporting cast is first rate; it's nice to see Edgar Buchanan getting such a big non-Westerns role. Leonad Kinsky and Rex Ingram are great too. And Charles Dingle repeats the same type of brilliant, oily performance that he showed in "The Little Foxes".
The plot moves from light comedy to screwball comedy to serious social drama in the flick of an eye and it all works.
An essential 1940's film that should be in everyone's DVD library.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)
Thalberg has nothing to do with superb production
Other than Dick Powell being miscast, the entire film is superb. A previous reviewer mentioned Thalberg, who worked at Universal then MGM. He had nothing to do with this Warner Bros. production.
Grant Mitchell and Veree Teasdale, two rather overlooked character actors are especially good here. (As usual, supporting performances in 1930's films are often the best thing about a particular film.)
It's nice to see James Cagney in a rare change-of-pace performance. He's very good, indeed.
The young Mickey Rooney is a bit much here, but I guess that's what the part called for.
Libeled Lady (1936)
Brilliant classic comedy, but is it Screwball?
All of the prior comments are right on the money about this brilliantly written and acted 1936 comedy, but I would question is it really deserves to be considered a "Screwball" comedy.
Like all furniture from the 1930's is classified as "Art Deco", many very funny comedies from the pre-war sound era is called "Screwball", and I would suggest that for a comedy to be properly classified as "Screwball", it has to be a bit more crazy, a bit faster, and not quite as situational.
This wonderful certainly has some 'Screwball" elements, but it's as much of a high comedy.
I wish people who classify films of the 1930's would be a bit more thoughtful about which film belongs in a category without rewriting the style.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Here's 1 person who hates this movie
I know this film is considered a classic among classics, but as a knowledgeable fan of 1920's music, I always thought this film was the most typically bad example of rewriting late 1920's/early 1930's history. Yes, the settings and costumes are more proper to the period than other films, but the arrangements of the music is strictly 1952.
Also, I must put in a plug; I have always thought that Gene Kelly was the most overrated Dancer/Actor of that era.
So, while I'm sure that my comments won't change anyone else's love for this movie, I, for one, have always thought it was another typical 1950's musical attempt at history with no grains of truth.
Deadline - U.S.A. (1952)
Just about the best drama about the Newspaper business
Richard Brooks wrote and directed this amazing film about the death of a quality newspaper. The detail about it's day-to-day workings are fascinating.
Besides Bogart, in one of his very best roles, you get to see why Ethel Barrymore was considered one of the greatest actresses of the Twentieth Century. She's marvelous here.
The supporting cast is really strong, but I have single out both Ed Begley and Jim Backus. Begley usually played mean types; here he's playing a honest, hardworking assistant to Bogart and he's really good.
Most people don't know how good an actor Backus was. His performance here, as well as is in "Pat & Mike" show that he really had the chops to pull off a dramatic role, although both characters have their light side.
The only that bogs down the film is Kim Hunter as Bogart's ex-wife and "love interest". She's a great actress, but she way too youthful for this part and after her performance in "Streetcar", this seemed a bit phoned-in. It's not Hunter's fault....it's the part.
This is one of the remaining major Bogart films that have not yet come out on DVD, and it would certainly be appropriate for Fox to get with it.