1940's Hall Of Fame Part I

Tools    





I'm glad you liked it cricket

I had thought that some of the outdoor scenes looked a tad inauthentic, but I've since read that it was on location filming so what do I know.
It was shot amidst the real ruins of Berlin, however Staudte used a lot of floodlights to make sure the buildings and sky looked exactly how he wanted them to, and he also spent hours with his photographer searching for the most interesting looking areas to film. Most of the daytime shots were filmed as is, but anything around dusk or at night were very highly staged with lightning, which is probably why they didn't look real to you.



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
All good ones too

I was thinking you have meant Petrified Forest when you were talking about a younger more naive Bette.
That be the one. I'm not sure but I believe there may be one or two others from the 30's she may have portrayed a more gentle character.

All About Eve.. duh. No idea how i forgot about that one.
I nearly did too. I had to run down the IMDB list - could only remember one other movie (The Letter) without it. Hell, couldn't even remember the name to Petrified Forest

And thanks Mark for the link - will definitely have to check that out.
__________________
They say: that after people make love there's a kind of melancholia, the petite mort, the little death. Well, I'm here to tell you, after a romantic night with yourself there's a very acute sensation of failed suicide. ~Dylan Moran



Nothing good comes from staying with normal people
Right, enough talking about it, let's just see what happens: I'm putting on Arsenic and old lace now.
__________________
Why not just kill them? I'll do it! I'll run up to Paris - bam, bam, bam, bam. I'm back before week's end. We spend the treasure. How is this a bad plan?




Arsenic and Old Lace
(1944)

Frank Capra's movies are known for having a certain charm and human spirit with a bright note at the end of the show.

Arsenic and Old Lace was completed in 1941 but not released until 1944. Coming from the tail end of the 1930s, you can kind of get the feel of the 1930s screw ball comedy here.

I really liked the cast, especially Priscilla Lane, she's a real doll in this and is a natural at comedy. So is Jack Carson who played the cop who dreams of being a playwright and Peter Lorre who's hilarious as Dr Einstein. And the two older actresses who played the two eccentric aunts, were priceless. Does anybody remember the TV show The Waltons, I swear the idea of The kooky Baldwin sisters who served recipe in their big mansion in The Waltons came directly from the Brewster ladies with their spiked Elder Berry wine.

Cary Grant is on record for not liking his performance in Arsenic and Old Lace, he especially didn't like the couple of reactionary mug shots he does to the camera. I thought they worked well and were fitting for the style of film. I thought Cary was great in this.

Now I feel like watching more Frank Capra films.



Nothing good comes from staying with normal people
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)


"Oh, no! Not the Melbourne method, please! Two Hours!"

I hoped that the continuation of the HoF would be of the same calibre or better than "Pursued", and I got my answer: It was.

Arsenic and old lace would've been the fastest talking movie I'd ever experienced if it wasn't for Bringing up Baby, but while I had some problems with it, that isn't the case here. I really enjoyed Arsenic, and I think much is thanks to the characters. Cary Grant's portrayal of a theatre critic driven to the brink of madness (if not over it) by his crazy family is a study in the act of the double take. His fellow actors work as a base for him to jump off of, seeing as they are relativley low-key for the majority of the movie. With perhaps the exception of Teddy (John Alexander), Grant himself comes off as the craziest/most manic of them all. The aunts seem the picture of sanity compared to Grant, rushing around, screaming into telephones and inadvertedly threatening to kill someone. His new bride (Prisilla Lane) comes closer to his level of frenzy and has some funny scenes as well, but at the end she's confronted with something that demands answers and is placated by a forced makeout session, something that bothered me. She seemed a rational character, but it felt like the writers didn't know how to complete the chain of events in such a way as to not ruin the happy ending, so they just dropped it.

Returning to Grant, though, it's his drive, the bottomless energy that sets the movies pace. Without it, this would be a fairly dark story about a serial killer returning to his childhood home and doing away with the family.

As such, I've got to mention Raymond Massey as he really delivers the other stand-out role as somewhat of an antithesis to Grant's comedic energy. He's quiet, menacing and moves with an deliberate, studied slowness that works into his already imposing presence. He's the dark tone of the movie, invading the (somewhat) serene home and threatens it's inhabitans. He also brings with him a comedic side-kick in the form of Peter Lorre, creating a duo that harkens back to the saying of opposite attraction. This also results in one of the best exchanges of the movie:

WARNING: "Arsenic and old lace" spoilers below
Jonathan realizing that the aunts kill count's equal to his and him getting annoyed by the fact, as well as the breakdown of the count between Lorre and Massey.

I liked Lorre in this. He's still the smiley, soft spoken, slimey little man he always plays, but here he gets something of a redemption as he works as a voice of reason to Massey's character, steering him away from following his natural inclination sometimes, but often failing.

I aslo loved the way they shot the film, especially from inside the aunts' house. They stayed downstairs almost constantly, shooting in a way that was remenicent of a play (which the movie was adapted from) and lending power to a character whenever he/she were on the upper floor looking down on the rest of the cast. We hear mention of a laboratory that is ment to have belonged to the aunts' father, but we never see it, letting the audience themselves picture it in an effort to make it more forebowding and mysterious (again, feels like something a play would do to not need build a whole set for something that isn't the focus of the narrative). The lighting was also well done, creating suspence and (I'm guessing) covering up for the lack of natural looking dummies. I hadn't seen that particular trick done before and I enjoyed it.

Overall, a fun movie and something new I can watch come Halloween in the Comedy/Horror department along with "Evil Dead" and "Dead Alive". You were right GB, It wasn't anything like "Delivery Man" (thank christ), and I can now add another comedy to my positive list. Good nom and fun film.



Nicely written write up Clazor! Gee, ya make me want to watch the movie again I can really feel your enthusiasm, glad you liked it and GBG will be happy....Oh, and you mentioned Dead Alive, that's her second favorite comedy



Damn, think i'm going to be the lone dissenter on Arsenic. I've watched it twice, the first time with my mum who really loves it. I didn't like it then so i decided to rewatch it on my own later thinking that my mum knowing it so well that she was laughing before certain jokes even happened hurt my viewing, but nah i didn't like it again. It's a well made film with some good performances that is surprisingly dark for its time but i don't find it funny personally. And i'm kinda on Grants side about his performance not being that good, wouldn't say he was bad but he was disappointing since he is one of my favourite actors and him being in a dark comedy sounded amazing.




Laura
(1944)
Dir. Otto Preminger
Starring: Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Gene Tierney

Laura
is a film I've been looking forward to watching since it was nominated. I like film noirs, and I love Vincent Price, though it's strange to see him in something that's not a horror film. Also for once, Price wasn't my favourite performance. Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker was particularly great, stealing the show and keeping my attention even though I didn't like his character. He was still well written and a great part of the story, I just mean that I thought he was a despicable, unlikeable person.

Unfortunately I can't say much about the cinematography. I was too busy listening to the dialogue and being mesmerized by the actors, which is definitely a big plus for Laura because that's not normally the case when I watch these kinds of films. It wasn't until the final act when I started paying attention to the visuals. My favourite shots were rather late in the film: Lydecker and his shadow in the stairwell, and the image of the clock and it's shadow growing as the door opens behind it. The cinematography in the whole final act was great, so I'll definitely have to watch this again sometime soon and pay attention to the composition of the rest of the film.
Attachments
Click image for larger version

Name:	Laura.jpg
Views:	305
Size:	215.3 KB
ID:	28011  



Damn, think i'm going to be the lone dissenter on Arsenic. I've watched it twice, the first time with my mum who really loves it. I didn't like it then so i decided to rewatch it on my own later thinking that my mum knowing it so well that she was laughing before certain jokes even happened hurt my viewing, but nah i didn't like it again. It's a well made film with some good performances that is surprisingly dark for its time but i don't find it funny personally. And i'm kinda on Grants side about his performance not being that good, wouldn't say he was bad but he was disappointing since he is one of my favourite actors and him being in a dark comedy sounded amazing.
The word screwball has been mentioned. Chances are you won't be the lone dissenter.
__________________
Letterboxd



I'm glad to see a few good reviews for Arsenic and Old Lace. It's one of those movies that I love so much and I watch it so often that when Hubby walks in the room and sees it on again, he usually comments something like, "That movie AGAIN?!".



Arsenic and Old Lace
(1944)


Cary Grant is on record for not liking his performance in Arsenic and Old Lace, he especially didn't like the couple of reactionary mug shots he does to the camera. I thought they worked well and were fitting for the style of film. I thought Cary was great in this.
I've heard that Cary Grant thought his performance in Arsenic and Old Lace was so over-the-top that it's his least favorite performance, but I strongly disagree with him. I think his performance is perfect in this movie. As Clazor noted, it makes Mortimer look like the crazy person in a house full of sane people.


Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

As such, I've got to mention Raymond Massey as he really delivers the other stand-out role as somewhat of an antithesis to Grant's comedic energy. He's quiet, menacing and moves with an deliberate, studied slowness that works into his already imposing presence. He's the dark tone of the movie, invading the (somewhat) serene home and threatens it's inhabitans. He also brings with him a comedic side-kick in the form of Peter Lorre, creating a duo that harkens back to the saying of opposite attraction. This also results in one of the best exchanges of the movie:

WARNING: "Arsenic and old lace" spoilers below
Jonathan realizing that the aunts kill count's equal to his and him getting annoyed by the fact, as well as the breakdown of the count between Lorre and Massey.


Overall, a fun movie and something new I can watch come Halloween in the Comedy/Horror department along with "Evil Dead" and "Dead Alive". You were right GB, It wasn't anything like "Delivery Man" (thank christ), and I can now add another comedy to my positive list. Good nom and fun film.
I agree with you about the scene in your spoiler. It's one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

I'm surprised to see you compare Arsenic and Old Lace to Dead Alive. I don't consider Arsenic and Old Lace to be a horror/comedy. IMO, it's a dark comedy, with nothing horror about it.

I haven't seen Dead Alive, (and I'm sure that I never will), but I read about it when it was nominated in the ill-fated Comedy HoF. (I don't think you were here for that HoF.) Dead Alive was called one of the goriest movies ever made. It was even banned in some countries because of excessive gore. I'm not sure how you can compare that type of movie to Arsenic and Old Lace.

But regardless, I'm glad that you liked Arsenic and Old Lace. Maybe this will put you back on track to giving some classic comedies a chance.


Damn, think i'm going to be the lone dissenter on Arsenic. I've watched it twice, the first time with my mum who really loves it. I didn't like it then so i decided to rewatch it on my own later thinking that my mum knowing it so well that she was laughing before certain jokes even happened hurt my viewing, but nah i didn't like it again. It's a well made film with some good performances that is surprisingly dark for its time but i don't find it funny personally. And i'm kinda on Grants side about his performance not being that good, wouldn't say he was bad but he was disappointing since he is one of my favourite actors and him being in a dark comedy sounded amazing.
I'm not surprised that you didn't like Arsenic and Old Lace, only because you and I seem to have complete opposite tastes in just about everything TV and/or movie related.

Thanks for giving it a second chance. I'm sorry you didn't like it.


The word screwball has been mentioned. Chances are you won't be the lone dissenter.
All I can ask is that you watch it with an open mind, and think of it as more of a dark comedy than a screwball comedy. I won't say that it's not a screwball comedy, because that would be a lie, but it has a lot more going for it than the average screwball comedy, especially some top-notch performances from just about every actor and actress in the movie.
__________________
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



I will give it a fair shake. Capra and Grant I am about half on half off with at this point. I want to love everything, except Japanese doodles of course.



cricket's Avatar
Pimpin' ain't easy
I will need some help finding some links for Waterloo Bridge, The Little Foxes, and Murderers Among Us.
I sent you one for The Little Foxes; I'll resend it. I watched Murderers on Dailymotion and haven't looked for Waterloo Bridge yet.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
The link of Murderers on Dailymotion is actually one of the few that worked for me so that's where I'll be watching it. So, like camo mentioned, that should be a good spot. Do you have a decent library near you rauld? You may find Waterloo there. I got very lucky with most of the list at my local library.

Glad to hear you liked Laura, Cosmic. I've always enjoyed that one and rewatches are very worthwhile to see the aspects you missed previously.

And glad you like Arsenic, Clazor and CR. I'm with GB with the countless rewatches of that film. There are times I do find Grant a little too manic, but in the end, it DOES work for the contrasts of the lucidity of his family.
As far as favorite moments with Massey and Lorre I really love when Lorre is discussing how his next procedure will be better and Massey warning him about past blunders. Neither one ceases and its all done on top of one another's dialogue. Both trying to talk over the other and yet neither raises their voice or tone. Brilliant scene.




The Little Foxes (William Wyler 1941)

I've seen this three times now. It's one of Bette Davis' top rated films. I'm surprised this was not more well known at MoFo, it should be...and now it is

Bette Davis' make up! Very effective at defining her icy cold character. Perc Westmore was her personal makeup artist. The Westmore family has been doing makeup in Hollywood since the start of films. The Westmore name appear on countless films, including many of the noms here, so I thought I pay them some justly deserved credit.

Bette's makeup is quite effective at making her unattractive and harsh looking!....And if you think that's just the way she looked in 1941, check out the photo of her from 2 years earlier in Jezebel, where she played another southern belle.



Bette Davis is amazing here, she could have played her character large, loud and colorful...she often did, but she was no ham and knew what type of performance would best support the film. I'm a huge fan of Miss Davis and I've seen over 40 of her films. She's always amazing.

My favorite characters were:

Patricia Collinge/Birdie (the mom from Shadow Of A Doubt)...Hers was the most heart breaking character and most importantly she's the mirror that shows us the suffering the 'little foxes' inflicts on those around them. Her character worked well as a warning to what might befall Teresea Wright, if she doesn't get away from her mom and change her ways.

Jessica Grayson/Addie who played the head house servant. Films like The Little Foxes and Gone With the Wind gave black actors a chance to play more substantial roles and develop real characters on screen, than they always would have had. I liked Addie she's just about the only sensible character in the movie and she's not afraid to speak her mind or sass Bette Davis! I loved the line when she's washing Zan's (Teresa Wright) hair:

Addie: Hold still, Zan.You had pretty hair when you was little.
You was a mighty pretty little girl.

Zan: Addie, will anybody think I'm pretty now?

Addie: Someday some fool of a man will, I reckon.
Seems there's always somebody for somebody.
But you'll do, baby. You're too young to worry
about such things.

But for me, the standout character, the character that made this movie is Dan Duryea. This was Dan's first movie and launched a very successful career as a character actor, later he had his own TV show. Much like James Dean did, Dan Duryea packs little extras into his acting, like putting a cigar into his mouth and dropping it back in the box when no ones watching. Or fidgeting about. I loved his little roll around the living room in the wheel chair, very naughty. One of my favorite scenes is the shaving scene with him and his dad.

That's enough writing, great nomination.
Attachments
Click image for larger version

Name:	a.jpg
Views:	516
Size:	100.0 KB
ID:	28025   Click image for larger version

Name:	the-little-foxes-parlor-scene.jpg
Views:	473
Size:	206.2 KB
ID:	28026  



Nothing good comes from staying with normal people
I'm surprised to see you compare Arsenic and Old Lace to Dead Alive. I don't consider Arsenic and Old Lace to be a horror/comedy. IMO, it's a dark comedy, with nothing horror about it.
I didn't so much mean to compare Arsenic with Dead Alive, it's rather more like I'm filing them under the same genre headding. Dead Alive's famous for being an utter bloodbath of a comedy, as well as for being directed by Peter Jackson (even if that fact only became important after he directed the LOTR films). It's a fars, a zombie outbreak set in a comedy. It's this basic similarity, a violent, dark comedy, that makes me link the two movies. They may not show it, but 12 murders have taken place in the house (11 if you're picky) and the murderers had a mentally unstable man help them get rid of the body.

As to the no horror part in the quote above, disregarding the fact that Massey looks like Boris Karloff...

*Sidesteps a howling Jonathan Brewster rushing in and conks him on the head with a baton*

...he calmly tells his brother he's going to torture him for two hours, ending with his demise. Again, they wont show this, and he gets interrupted before he starts, but he fully intends to do it.

Do you still claim there isn't any horror element to this story?



...he calmly tells his brother he's going to torture him for two hours, ending with his demise. Again, they wont show this, and he gets interrupted before he starts, but he fully intends to do it...
I didn't like that scene, it was too gruesome to think about. The rest of the movie was funny, but not that scene.



Nothing good comes from staying with normal people
Dead Alive should be censored on this forum after the catastrophes it has caused here
What happened? I've heard talk of this catastrophical Comedy HoF, but never heard what went down. I'm getting curious here.