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Watched Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry, 2000) this afternoon - it certainly has a very good central performance from Jamie Bell (with Julie Walters as his instructor giving her usual dependable support) and a solid soundtrack but, however laudable the content, it's ultimately a rather formulaic piece without a great deal of depth.
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NomsPre-1930 Countdown


Mumble is awful!



Shall We Dance

Mark Sandrich
1937

Light-hearted musical romance that unfortunately takes too long to find any sort of stride and only has limited Astaire/Rogers chemistry leaving it something of a disappointment.

For me the primary reason for watching a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire musical is to see the couple create a little magic on the dance floor, sadly though there's none of that on show in the first half of this and what there is in the second half is nowhere near enough to compensate. In fact the first half lacks any real spark at all, with only the occasional piece of dialogue that attempts to raise a smile from the audience (though not many actually land) and the odd dance sequence (most of which are neither overly impressive or long enough to really satisfy).

Thankfully the second half is at least a definite improvement, the audience finally being given some song and dance numbers which involve both leads, and it is only with the first of these at the Roof Garden that the movie finally feels like it has any life. The later roller-skating sequence is certainly technically impressive, as is the bit-part played by Harriet Hoctor in the finale, but overall the movie still feels very light on 'magic' moments.

Shall We Dance neither delivers enough of what it's primary target audience are looking for nor compensates by way of other material that is of a high enough quality and as such I can't really give it more than a



Shall We Dance

Mark Sandrich
1937

Light-hearted musical romance that unfortunately takes too long to find any sort of stride and only has limited Astaire/Rogers chemistry leaving it something of a disappointment.

For me the primary reason for watching a Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire musical is to see the couple create a little magic on the dance floor, sadly though there's none of that on show in the first half of this and what there is in the second half is nowhere near enough to compensate. In fact the first half lacks any real spark at all, with only the occasional piece of dialogue that attempts to raise a smile from the audience (though not many actually land) and the odd dance sequence (most of which are neither overly impressive or long enough to really satisfy).

Thankfully the second half is at least a definite improvement, the audience finally being given some song and dance numbers which involve both leads, and it is only with the first of these at the Roof Garden that the movie finally feels like it has any life. The later roller-skating sequence is certainly technically impressive, as is the bit-part played by Harriet Hoctor in the finale, but overall the movie still feels very light on 'magic' moments.

Shall We Dance neither delivers enough of what it's primary target audience are looking for nor compensates with other material that is of a high enough quality and as such I can't really give it more than a

While I agree that Shall We Dance isn't the best of the Astaire/Rogers movies, you have to admit that this scene was funny:

(Sorry for the poor quality, but it was the only video that I could find of this scene.)
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While I agree that Shall We Dance isn't the best of the Astaire/Rogers movies, you have to admit that this scene was funny:

(Sorry for the poor quality, but it was the only video that I could find of this scene.)
Have to say I would have found it funnier if it hadn't gone on for so long - should've moved to the punchline after the third or fourth iteration of word spelling imo.



Haven't forgotten this thread even if I have been concentrating more on 'Silent Era' watches of late - did manage to (very) loosely combine the two this morning with The Delicious Little Devil (Robert Z. Leonard, 1919) which is a light-hearted drama with a fair bit of exaggerated acting that ambles along acceptably enough (if rather unremarkably) with the odd amusing moment before oddly shifting first into farce and then melodrama for a few minutes toward the closing stages.


And then followed up this afternoon just as loosely with Dancing Mothers (Herbert Brenon, 1926) which is a watchable drama that although quite modern of tale is all in all a rather dated affair.
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Watched On With The Show! (Alan Crosland, 1929) just now - a light-hearted musical drama with a side of mystery and aspects of romance that unfortunately just doesn't manage to mix its array of genres particularly well. The script is lacklustre and, possibly as a result, performances rather mixed. The song and dance numbers too are variable, with the highlights for me being both numbers performed by Ethel Waters and Joe E. Brown's little dance routine. Despite being based on a play the narrative actually feels somewhat cobbled together at times and the runtime of nearly an hour and three-quarters is far too long for the content imo.


Also gave Das Spielzeug von Paris [Red Slippers] (Michael Curtiz, 1925) a squint this afternoon, the tale is a fairly conventional one with some lavishly designed sets that thankfully occasionally receives a much needed sense of joie de vivre courtesy of Lili Damita, though it's not enough to counteract some rather wordy intertitles that become intrusive and break the flow to make it a quite frustrating but otherwise competently made watch imo.
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Gave Orphans Of The Storm (D.W. Griffith, 1921) a go this morning, unfortunately far too melodramatic in places for my taste and the tale does drag somewhat at times including a climax that is overly drawn out (especially when the outcome is never really in doubt anyway).
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Also watched Herr Tartüff [Tartuffe] (F.W. Murnau, 1925) which is a nicely playful piece in places employing a costume drama (pared-back version of Molière's Tartuffe) as a film-within-a-film that's well acted and directed, making it a rather enjoyable watch.
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Watched Cabiria (Giovanni Pastrone, 1914) today, an epic period drama that perhaps tries for a little too large a scope and for me does suffer from being a little like a school lesson in places whilst also going too far into melodramatic territory at times but it certainly utilises some impressive sets, does provide entertainment when let do so and has some nice subtle camera movement here and there alongside generally decent enough effects.



Gave Elizabeth (Shekhar Kapur, 1998) a spin this afternoon and whilst the political intrigue was enough to keep matters of interest (especially so in the second half) and visually it's ok, sadly as a whole I found it somewhat lacklustre (especially so in the first half) and some of the lesser casting choices didn't work well for me (Eric Cantona being particularly poor imo).



Watched A Royal Night Out (Julian Jarrold, 2015), a light-hearted fictional drama (though supposedly with its roots in an actual event) set on the night of V.E. Day that could have been an interesting idea and presents the era fairly acceptably but unfortunately for me generally proved annoyingly trite, rather predictable, far too implausible and dreadfully clichéd. It at least would perhaps have been more tolerable had the focus been more on the mischievous Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) rather than trying to incorporate a little depth with Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and her newfound friend Jack Hodges (Jack Reynor).
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Watched The Young Victoria (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2009) which is certainly nicely turned out in terms of set design and costumery and although rather sedate for the most part it's reasonably engrossing, nicely acted and quite a charming watch imo.
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Picked up the baton again with Mary, Queen Of Scots (Charles Jarrott, 1971) - a film that packs plenty of intrigue into its runtime and generally manages to entertain even if some of the dialogue and performances fail to convince (Glenda Jackson does deliver a worthy Queen Elizabeth though) and despite the sets and locations the whole just feels a little lacking in grandeur.



Gave Smashed (James Ponsoldt, 2012) a look, sadly it's not as realistic as it could have been, the overall feel being that of a sanitised made-for-tv movie, and the scene when she finally confesses to the school principal is embarrassingly poor, but Mary Elizabeth Winstead invests the lead with enough personality to make the whole watchable.
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Watched Prayers For Bobby (Russell Mulcahy, 2009) this evening, a reality based made-for-tv presentation that has merit in terms of story and should benefit from having Sigourney Weaver in a pivotal role but a rather stiff script and formulaic score constrain it from being above the norm for the medium in the first two thirds and even though the final third does sees a slightly more powerful and effective presentation in places it's still a pretty average affair.



This morning's viewing for the thread was Journeyman (Paddy Considine, 2017), it's a fairly predictable tale that's struggles a little for realism in places and for me is not in the same league as his Tyrannosaur but it's still a reasonably effective and worthwhile watch that successfully generates a little discomfort when it wants to.
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Gave Things We Lost In The Fire (Susanne Bier, 2007) a watch this morning and whilst the acting is generally decent enough the story is mediocre (incorporating its share of both twee and clichéd moments) and the overuse of 'intimate' camerawork very nearly made me turn it off before the second act.



Watched Amish Grace (Gregg Champion, 2010), being based in reality lends it a certain gravitas but as a made-for-tv movie by Lifetime it's also naturally overly saccharine and as emotionally manipulative as possible.
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