Citizen Rules...Cinemaesque Chat-n-Review

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Badlands of Dakota (1941)
Director: Alfred E. Green
Writers: Harold Shumate (story), Gerald Geraghty (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Stack, Ann Rutherford, Frances Farmer, Broderick Crawford, Richard Dix
Genre: Romance, Western

In the wild western town of Deadwood, Dakota Territory, a powerful man (Broderick Crawford) sends for a childhood sweetheart to marry (Ann Rutherford). Sending his younger brother (Robert Stack) to fetch her, the two fall in love which causes the older brother to join a gang of outlaws. Meanwhile Calamity Jane (Frances Farmer) joins forces with Wild Bill Hickcock (Richard Dix) to repeal a Sioux attack. CR

I watched this for Frances Farmer, but found it's a fun little western-drama-with a bit of romance and historical characters thrown into the mix. It has a lot of stars and I found they were all pretty good. The cast is impressive. Besides the listed actors the film also has: Hugh Herbert &
Andy Devine in comic rolls and Lon Chaney Jr.

The plot itself is pretty broad but action packed. This isn't a serious drama or hard hitting western. But there's lots of shooting and riding and best of all we get to revist the town of Deadwood where Wild Bill Hickcock was killed while playing poker. To this day the react that infamous shooting of the legendary man.

This is a public domain movie and so can be found on Youtube. It's not the best copy but it's watchable.





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The Naked Spur (1953)

Director: Anthony Mann
Writers: Sam Rolfe, Harold Jack Bloom
Cast: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker, Millard Mitchell
Genre: Western, Action-Thriller

"A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers."

The Naked Spur is one damn good western! It's intelligent, exciting and it kept me on my toes. It reminded a bit of Treasure of the Sierra Madre in just how desperate people can get, when huge sums of money are involved. The on-location shooting in the wilderness of Colorado does wonders for the film. I mean the trees and mountains should get an acting credit! The film has a rugged beauty that amplifies the story at hand.



Speaking of actors, hot damn! this has got a talented bunch. That's Robert Ryan as the free wheelin' hombre with a price on his head. And that little filly with the dirty face is none other than Janet Leigh, before she took that infamous shower at the Bates Motel.

And the grisly looking prospector is played to flamboyant perfection by Millard Mitchell. He's quite colorful and so is Ralph Meeker in a slimy way...He's an ex soldier with a dubious past and a dishonorable discharge. Oh, and the man with the gun, is the bounty hunter played by legendary James Stewart. Who's not as nearly as kindly as you might think.



This is properly called an action-thriller-western. The scenes of climbing the cliff side and later of trying to cross a raging river (no not that river, it's a BIG one!)...those scenes rival in excitement anything I've seen in any western.






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Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)

Director: Stephen Frears
Writers: David Rose (idea), Kathy Rose (idea)
Cast: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Guest
Genre: Drama Comedy


A filthy rich London widower of social means (Judi Dench), buys a rundown old stage theater in London and reopens it with the help of a brilliant but demanding theater producer (Bob Hoskins). After initial success they run into financial difficulty, so during WWII they open an all nude girl review show. CR



Yes, Mrs Henderson Presents is based on a true story! I was surprised that there had been a full nude showgirl stage show back in the early 1940s. But it happened for real at the Windmill Theater.

It's a good movie as it functions as a spicy behind-the-scenes look at how a stage theater is run. In that way it reminded me of The Chorus Line, and that's where the similarities end. We do get to see some of the musical revue numbers performed, complete with nude beauties in the background. The undressed women were not allowed to move, at all, that was the law. They got away with being nude in a very clever way...you'll just have to see the movie to find out how they did it.



The only thing I found shocking is Bob Hoskins in a full nude shot, ugh! I did not need to see that! Though to be fair it was brief and for comic relief. And the movie does have it's funny moments but the comedy is of the intelligent from circumstance type, not slipping on bananas kind.

Judy Dench, Bob Hoskins and Christopher Guest were all spot on and dressed to the nines to boot. But it's the lovely ladies and the splashy shows they put on that's the real eye catcher.





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Mrs Henderson Presents (2005)[b][size=5]
I absolutely LOVED this movie, even more than you did, rating it a box of popcorn higher than you did, but I'm glad you liked it.



I absolutely LOVED this movie, even more than you did, rating it a box of popcorn higher than you did, but I'm glad you liked it.
I was totally thinking of you when I wrote the review. I thought you would like it as it was about the theater.



I quite enjoyed Mrs Henderson Presents too (same rating as you CR), I thought Dench & Hoskins played off each other nicely in it. It's set in the UK though so it's theatre btw
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Cavalcade (1933)

Director: Frank Lloyd
Writers: Noel Howard (stage play), Reginald Berkeley (screen play)
Cast: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor
Genre: Drama, Romance, War


"The triumphs and tragedies of two English families, the upper-crust Marryots and the working-class Bridges, from 1899 to 1933 are portrayed. "

It's sad that this Academy Award Best Picture winner is largely forgotten today. I found this multi generational story to be rewarding. It starts on New Years Eve 1899 and follows two families and their children, through the next three decades. It presented a tapestry of love and life, as the various couples in the film experience the events of the 20th century that unfold around them, forever changing them.

One path is taken by the well-to-do rich family who have two sons, and the other path is taken by their head butler and his wife who buy a small pub...they have a daughter. As the decades go by the men go off to war and societal values change. These changes effects the two couples based on how strong or weak their love is for each other.





As the children grow up and become adults their lives too are shaped by the events that take place in the first part of the 20th century. One son finds true love and spends the perfect night with his fiancee on-board a doomed ship, the Titanic. The other son finds love with the daughter of the former butler and maid. He's sent off to WWI like his father was sent off to the Boar Wars some years earlier.

I was struck by the serenity of acting by the cast and especially by Diana Wynyard who plays Lady Jane Marryo. She bears a striking resemblance to Norma Sheerer. There are no big names in this movie as it was made by one of the smaller studios Fox.



Cavalcade
is an interesting study of cultural, time and people and how events shaped them.


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Thelma & Louise (1991)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Callie Khouri
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt
Genre: Adventure, Crime, Drama


Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Ridley Scott, Callie Khouri and a 1966 T-Bird convertible is what makes 1991's Thelma & Louise one helluva a special movie!

When Thelma & Louise hit the screens almost 30 years ago it caused a sensation...and a back lash against the film that some called irresponsible film making, and some called male bashing. There were worries that little girls would see the film and become gun slinging wild women who drove their cars off cliffs! I just watched the film, then watched the commentary track with Geena, Susan and script writer Callie Khouri. And they talked at length about how this film was reacted to. I'll just say I loved it!



The movie starts off like a drama-comedy but then turns serious with an attempted rape and beating on Louise (Geena Davis) by a local low life at the bar. What happens next is telling and sets the tone for the movie. After the man stops attacking Louise and she's safe, Thelma (Susan Sarandon) in a fit of indignation and rage shoots and kills the unarmed man. The film never says that's a good thing, and indeed this is what makes the two women go on the run. We then watch their lives for the next few days as they try to survive on the open road. We see their friendship and understanding of each other deepen, until it's so deep that they can't bear to be separated, even at the final tragic ending.



I think it's the personal story of these two women and the way the two actresses give them life that makes me really care about their plight. The chemistry between the two is dynamite. I don't know if it's circumstance or not, but both have red hair and that too seems to fit the film.



Much of what makes Thelma & Louise dynamic is the script written by Callie Khouri. This was Callie's first big movie and you can tell it's a script that she poured her soul into. Callie gives Thelma and Louise depth, she gives them a back story and she transforms them by the journey that they take.



Shout out to Ridley Scott. We all know Ridley does world building and set details like no one else. Here, Ridley is in fine form with so many rich shots and sets that are truly stunning enough to be a stand alone photograph!

This was the first big film Brad Pitt ever starred in. He's quite young here and does one helluva job as the colorful and roguish JD. I couldn't help but wonder if J.D. might be an acronym for James Dean. Pitt reminded me of James Dean in Giant.

My only complaint: I wish this movie was longer, as I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of it!



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I've not seen Thelma & Louise for a long while but do remember enjoying it quite a lot at the time. Makes me feel really old when seeing the initial release dates of some movies



I won't dance. Don't ask me...
I,m glad that yoy liked T&L, Citizen. I agree with you in 100 percent that those two actress made this movie a masterpiece. As you wrote the chemistry between them is very intense. The story is logic and psychologicaly authentic, ladies are pushed to kill the guy and nobody feels pity for him.
Speaking of bad influence on young girls... I guess there was no many movies about strong women thirty years ago, especially in this kind of movies. The portray of a woman is very different nowadays films,isn't it.



I won't dance. Don't ask me...
One more thing, Citizen. I like the way write about movies. It's not a review, you just point out few details and thanks to this you put my attention for something I hadn't noticed before, like JD. Good job



I've not seen Thelma & Louise for a long while but do remember enjoying it quite a lot at the time. Makes me feel really old when seeing the initial release dates of some movies
Hah, yes. Saw Thelma & Louise in theaters too
Hm, I thought the same
Ha, you guys all have the same idea....So do I!...I'll say to my wife, 'we're watching a newer film tonight, Thelma & Louise'....then I do the math and figure out it's 27 years old Time flies when you're watching good movies



I,m glad that yoy liked T&L, Citizen. I agree with you in 100 percent that those two actress made this movie a masterpiece. As you wrote the chemistry between them is very intense. The story is logic and psychologicaly authentic, ladies are pushed to kill the guy and nobody feels pity for him.
Speaking of bad influence on young girls... I guess there was no many movies about strong women thirty years ago, especially in this kind of movies. The portray of a woman is very different nowadays films,isn't it.
I personally like watching films with women as the lead characters, because those movies often have more depth and soul to them, especially if the script writer is a woman.
The portray of a woman is very different nowadays films,isn't it
That's interesting Ms. M that you mention that. In what way would you say films today portray woman differently than 30 years ago?



I'm going to "buck the system" here with an unpopular view, but I remember disliking Thelma and Louise when it came out.
I'm probably due for a re-watch as I only saw it once at the time of it's release.

I don't remember the details, but I do remember it was one of those movies where I was irked at some of the reactions and kept saying things to myself like, "Why didn't they just go to the police - they could have avoided all this trouble." I'm sure there was probably an answer in the plot to my question.

But it left me feeling like those horror movies where you say, "Why not just leave the house? Don't go in the basement, that's stupid, leave the house and go call the cops even if you were getting high - their priority will be the guy slashing people with a giant knife rather than the joints in your pocket." When you see the characters not do the logical or sensible thing, you're kind of pissed at them and don't mind seeing them get killed for their stupidity.

Now, I could be totally off base with this analogy since, as I said, I really don't remember the details of the movie.

Since it was such a hit I'm sure it was deeper than the plot I remember: two ladies on a trip who are victimized, engage in vigilante justice, become outlaws and then just commit suicide. (Hey, now that I described it, it does sound pretty good!) !



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[left]
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Callie Khouri
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt
Genre: Adventure, Crime, Drama
LOVED this movie as much as you did and enjoyed reading your review, I agree with everything you said...instant classic featuring, for my money, the best performance of Sarandon's career. I think she should have won the Oscar that year, but I think Geena also being nominated hurt her chances, but they were both better than the winner that year, Jodie Foster. Reading your review has definitely motivated a 5th re-watch.



LOVED this movie as much as you did and enjoyed reading your review, I agree with everything you said...instant classic featuring, for my money, the best performance of Sarandon's career. I think she should have won the Oscar that year, but I think Geena also being nominated hurt her chances, but they were both better than the winner that year, Jodie Foster. Reading your review has definitely motivated a 5th re-watch.
Thanks Gideon...If you can find the commentary track to watch with the movie, it's fun! I seen this on DVD and it had a ton of deleted scenes. It was great to see the scenes, and some of them really added more to the backstory. I wish there was a deluxe version of the movie with most of the deleted scenes included.