Following a circuitous path, I watched Howard Hughes’ 1943 The Outlaw with Jane Russell. I had always heard how buxom a picture this was. Well, the Decency Board must have cut it down considerably because there’s very little cleavage in this one.
This is a strange movie. Yes, it’s bad. But bad Westerns are hardly rare, having been cranked out for pennies by the studios. This one is bad in a way I hadn’t seen before (or heard before….a really goofy soundtrack). One reviewer calls the movie “a fascinating mess.” Yes. That’s it.
Apparently the only career this wrecked was that of Jack Beutel who played Billy the Kid, although I’m not sure how much of a career there ever could have been. He makes Jane Russell almost appear like an actress. But maybe that’s not fair to him. His performance was certainly dumbed-down by Hughes.
The circuitous route to this movie started with a DVD my brother lent me. Rules Don’t Apply is a 2016 film by Warren Beatty who plays Howard Hughes. It’s a star-studded cast much as flies are studded around a cow pile. Hughes suffered from mental issues, particularly later in his life. But it will occur to you if you watch this (and I could make it only halfway through) that you’d have to have some mental issuea to begin with to want to make this movie, let alone appear in it.
One reviewer wrote “Hey, watch The Aviator instead with Leonardo DiCaprio as a more dashing Hughes.” This was available on Netflix so I switched over to this. It’s better than Rules Don’t Apply but that isn’t saying much. I gave up on this one about halfway through although I might try to finish it later. DiCaprio is totally miscast as Hughs but Cate Blanchett does an interesting impression of Katharine Hepburn.
There are two scenes in the movie so far that are worth watching. Hughes and Hepburn (I hadn’t known this) were a item for a while. I did some back-story reading on Google and this was a passionate and deep relationship for both that nearly came to marriage. In one scene, Hughes takes Hepburn up in his plane and they buzz all over Hollywood. Eventually he lets her takes the controls of the plane. Hughs does eventually teach her how to flaw. A nice moment.
The other good scene (although somewhat painful to watch) is when Hepburn takes Hughs back to her Connecticut home to meet the family. It’s a strange mix which includes her ex-husband who is a regular part of the clan. What a completely screwball libtard family whose Messiah was Roosevelt.
Going by this movie, Hepburn’s mother was a complete kook. Hughs may have had his eccentricities, but he has nothing on this family or this mother. The mother goes on an on about Roosevelt and inserts her politics aggressively into a family meal and corners Hughes on his views. Are you a socialist? Etc. Hughes demurs from confrontation until he’s had enough and says to the old liberal bitch, “The only reason you’re a socialist is because you already have your money. I believe in working for a living and building something.” Or words to that effect.
Anyway, I may get back to this movie. But I moved onto The Outlaw from here just out of curiosity. I had always wanted to see that and now I can say “I wish I had those two hours back.” Oh well.
Thankfully, I did run into a gem of a movie on Amazon Prime Video called The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill House. Set in the mid 1800’s in England, Paddy Considine plays Detective Whicher. There are three other episodes of this that were made and that are also on Prime: “The Murder in Angel Lane,” “Beyond the Pale,” and “The Ties That Bind.” The first one was good enough I hope to take a look at them all.
The Murder at Road Hill House is supposedly based on a true story. There’s a murder inside a prominent upper-crust family. The local Chief Constable is inept and likely corrupt as well. The Home Office asks that one of London’s best detective be sent down to rural Wiltshire and sort this all out.
This is well-acted by everyone involved and makes you realize (sorry, Agatha) just how noxious many of Agatha Christie’s plots were. In particular, as one reviewer wrote, “the acting is very well done, casting fantastic, costume and set design magnificent, and the storyline is doled out in such a way as to pull you along, unwary to the end, when the fish is landed and the lines tied up.”
Christie’s stories are generally a hair-brained scramble. This one proceeds logically and we can follow the inspector around and get drawn into it as if we his assisting sergeant.
I don’t know how closely this follows real life. The series is based on the books by Kate Summerscale. The books have a very lukewarm rating at Amazon so I wouldn’t expect much from them, nor from the rest of this series. But the first one was quite good.