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Author Topic: FilmStruck
Timothy-
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Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 12, 2018, 13:38
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I just checked wikipedia, which conveniently had a link to an e-book edition of the Complete Father Brown. This enabled me to reread the story, and find that my memory was a tad faulty. The victim was a judge, and the key clue was that the prosecutor was bald and could mistake his image in the mirror with the judge's. There seem to have been only 2 shots fired, both of which hit the mirror; Father Brown later concludes that large pieces of falling glass took out the planter.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 12, 2018, 13:41
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I watched a little of the seventh episode, The Dagger with Wings, and I can see a possible reason why this show lasted for only one season. It’s another change-of-will-based one. Boring. A totally forgettable episode so far, despite the devil worshipping. I'm not sure if I'll make it through it.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 12, 2018, 13:46
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The victim was a judge, and the key clue was that the prosecutor was bald and could mistake his image in the mirror with the judge’s.

Yes, but you had the gist of it. The Big Clue for Father Brown was that the killer must have had a passing resemblance to the murdered judge because the murderer shot at the mirror. (Later he plunked him out in the garden.)

I don’t remember the motivation for the murder. In the episode the real murderer is the prosecuting attorney who is handling the murder case of the judge. The plot, in this case, is surely far better than the rather lackluster dramatization of it.

In the dramatization, one bullet hits the mirror and another is shown lodged inside some kind of copper planter. If there was more to it than that I must have missed it because I was zoning out a bit.

Timothy-
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Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 12, 2018, 13:58
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The story as written doesn't necessarily match the story as shown. The judge was big investigator of traitors and spies, and after leaving a meeting of legal minds early, he went to his bungalow where he had his files. Presumable the prosecutor knew he had damning information on him.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 09:58
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They’re featuring Elizabeth Taylor on FilmStruck this month. I watched a couple of her movies that I had not seen before.

Raintree County. This is the little sister of Gone with the Wind. The general plot and scope certainly share a number of similarities.

The cast is good: Montgomery Clift, Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Nigel Patrick, Lee Marvin, Rod Taylor, Agnes Moorehead, and even a small part at the end of the movie with DeForest Kelley.

My advice? Watch Gone with the Wind again and skip this one. I think Taylor pales in comparison to Vivien Leigh as the high-spirited Southern belle. I’ve become a fan of Montgomery Clift but am of the opinion that as part of a small ensemble cast he’s at his best. But I don’t think he can hold the starring role very well all by himself. He certainly doesn’t in this one.

I think a valid opinion of this movie is contained in this reviewer’s comments:

The first excruciating hour of the picture is almost enough to drive audiences out of the theater. Since GWTW was long, Raintree County is long--and unfocused. In one particularly vapid scene Monty and Eva Marie Saint linger amid the widescreen splendor of well-scouted, photographically appropriate locations. As the two exchange graduation presents with Laurel and Hardy-like formality, the script calls for Eva Marie to coyly break into girlish giggles and say things like `Isn't that niiieeccce?...We think the same things. Isn't that crazy? Tee-hee-hee-hee-hee.' Privately, Eva Marie must have been wondering what crime she might have committed to have caused fate to whirl her from the triumph of her 1954 performance in On the Waterfront to this swampy mess.

At 188 minutes (that’s over 3 hours), my gut tells me that a particularly talented editor could have made an okay movie out of this if shortened a bit. But these “epic” movies just must be endured to some extent. I know we watch movies for entertainment, but there is also the “just sit down and eat your spinach…this is an epic movie” aspect.

Still, although I think Elizabeth Taylor is great in a a few movies, including Cleopatra, her performance as the Southern belle seems affected throughout this one….with one notable exception. She’s in the loony bin for a time. Clift comes to visit her and bring her home. Taylor’s portrayal of this battered and tattered Southern belle is suddenly quite exceptional. But it’s unfortunately a relatively short scene.

Then I moved onto:

Reflection in a Golden Eye. Another strong cast with Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Brian Keith. At this stage, Brando seems somewhat bored with acting. His subtle nuances that were masterful in “On the Watefront” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” (both from the 50s) seem exaggerated or off-key in this 1967 film.

Taylor plays an army brat wife of Major Weldon Penderton (Brando) who is stationed on a base in the South. For some reason (and we have no idea), Brando is a deeply angry man. For Taylor, he is just a mere plaything. She’s having an affair with Brian Keith.

The ranking general of the base was Taylor’s father’s chief-of-staff. Taylor thus have privileges that go far beyond being the wife of an Army major.

Horses are central to this, as is nakedness. Someone must have saw seen the play, Equus (the movie with Richard Burton would come later in 1977) and become enamored with it. But other than to try to replace a proper plot with a bunch of Freudian gunk, I can’t imagine why the movie takes this direction.

I think if you want to watch Liz Taylor act in a movie which is pretty much only about how people’s lives can be so screwed up, you’re better off going with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and do it properly at 220 volts. And maybe somebody else can watch this and tell me what the character of Anacleto is all about.

This is a somewhat strange movie. It might have been good if Huston hadn’t gone down the cul-de-sac of trying for showy symbolism. As it is, it’s watchable enough for the star power. This is one of Brian Keith’s best. And, oh yeah, a couple people, of course, die in an attempt to make the plot make sense or have some meaning. But I think it clearly misses on this account. You have to decide whether this movie is full of “cheap shock value,” as one reviewer wrote, or “a chilling descent in dark sexuality and madness” as did write another.

Anyway, enough beating of this dead horse (which is another plot point from this movie). My search for truly great Liz Taylor movies that I have not seen goes on. I’m sure I’ve seen this years ago (or part of it), but I’ve got Ivanhoe and The Comedian queued up. Both feature Liz Taylor.

Timothy-
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Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 10:52
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From the wikipedia description, the very ending of Raintree County is very good, but I doubt it's worth struggling through the rest of it. The most interesting thing I encountered in their description of Reflection in a Golden Eye is that Julie Harris (Eleanor Lance in The Haunting) plays a very appropriate role. And it wasn't exactly beating a dead horse.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 16:11
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From the wikipedia description, the very ending of Raintree County is very good, but I doubt it's worth struggling through the rest of it.

By the time you get to this ending, you’re worn down, the impact is lessened. If you’re like me, you see the winner here is Eva Marie Saint who very quickly and comfortably inserts herself as the next Mrs. Shawnessy to be, magical tree or no magically tree.

The symbolic ending of finding the raintree (still not sure which species…in the movie it had yellow flowers) seems tossed in to justify a movie that really didn’t have much of a point. I’m glad the kid found the tree, but there’s little backstory about the tree to make it meaningful except for people talking about how meaning it supposedly is. An early flashback scene of someone planting the tree, and thus seeing the circumstances and what they meant, would have added a lot. As it was, it was just a plot point that the movie kept telling us was very meaningful. We have to take their word for it, I guess.

I don’t mean to be petty, but Elizabeth Taylor is a drop-dead gorgeous woman. But whoever outfitted her with her costumes in this ought to be shot. Taylor has a nice ass but the clothing she was wearing made it look all malformed and droopy.

I do think that Julie Harris is terrific in this, perhaps the best. But there was just way too much angst-wearing for three people: Brando, Harris, and the naked soldier stalking Taylor. Taylor, strangely, may have been the sanest person in this one.

Timothy-
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Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 16:56
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So the raintree is basically their macguffin. I'm pretty sure Hitchcock had already brought up the concept by then, but he could hardly copyright it. And Harris's mental instability is why I thought it appropriate that she also played Eleanor Lance, who sort of commits suicide at the end of The Haunting.

Brad-
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 18:32
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Yes. Definitely a macguffin. Had it been part of an exquisite movie, it would have fed off of and enhanced the combinatorial vibes of tragedy and triumph.

An awful aspect of "Raintree County" is the real-life problems of Montgomery Clift who had a huge drinking problem at this time. It was in the middle of the making of this picture that he had his automobile accident that crushed his jaw. They did a heck of a good job at the time reconstructing him. The details are awful. His ennui or depression so deep that even best-pal Liz with the big hooters couldn't pull him out of it. And post accident her quick actions may have saved his life. I guess back then nobody took away anyone's keys or confronted them. They were probably all smashed at the party anyway. Such a sad story.

Timothy-
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Post Re: FilmStruck
on: April 23, 2018, 19:10
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Drunk driving plays a key role in Irving Wallace's novel The Prize. Andrew Craig, American Nobel laureate in literature, drove home drunk from a party and had an accident in which his wife was killed. His alcohol habit got even worse and he's written nothing since. His wife's sister takes care of him, occasionally reminding him of what he did. But at one point while he's in Sweden, he has a conversation with a muckraking tabloid journalist who had already pointed out at a meet-and-greet with the laureates that Craig hasn't written anything in years. Knowing how disgusted he is with her (especially after a Swedish official described the overwhelming case of Peace laureate Carl von Ossietzky), she explains all the research they did on him -- she even knows the details of the car breakdown that caused his accident. Not surprisingly, this has a major effect on his life. (They do it very differently in the movie version starring Paul Newman.)

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