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The Ugly Dachshund (1966)
Not up to Disney's standards
I must agree with the reviewer who said "Dean Jones was just collecting another paycheck," that pretty much sums it up.
I realize this is Disney and did not go into it expecting Oscar worthy drama, but in our home we really enjoyed the earlier films "The Absent-Minded Professor" and "The Shaggy Dog". Family friendly, and entertaining for the adults as well as the kids, as were a number of Disney films throughout the late 1950's to the 1970's.
"The Ugly Dachshund" does not measure up. I recently found the DVD for only a few dollars and remembered going to see this at the drive-in back when it was new. And we had dachshunds back in the 1960's, so I was expecting some happy memory associations. What a disappointment. There are a few cute sequences of the dogs making a mess out of the house, nothing that hasn't been captured equally well on television sitcoms of the day. Outside of this, the story is boring, the couple don't like each other and are trapped in an unhappy marriage, the film manages to drudge up remarkably little sympathy for even the dogs.
I don't think we'll watch this one again anytime soon. If you're looking for wholesome Disney family films of this era, I'd recommend The Shaggy Dog, Freaky Friday, The World's Greatest Athelete, or even The Barefoot Executive. All of them far better than this trouser cloud. This one is a dull and unhappy expenditure of 90 minutes with little entertainment to offer.
Youth Runs Wild (1944)
Excellent film from a usually weak genre
Youth Runs Wild is an unusually good film for this genre, and given it's short running time and engaging story-telling, I recommend it.
Most Hollywood films of the war era make every effort to depict American family life on the home-front as unrealistically perfect. Those filmmakers who strayed from this prerequisite story often found their efforts on the cutting room floor. Conversely, Youth Runs Wild makes an honest and enjoyable effort to depict the more flawed reality and with a storyline that is not too marred by the passage of time. Our story here deals with what at the time was a relatively new problem in America; parents called away from their household and family obligations to support the war effort and leaving adolescent and even younger children with insufficient supervision. The resulting consequences could just as easily serve as a warning to the parents of today called away from their obligations far too frequently in the less justifiable quest to obtain material possessions.
For what is essentially an exploitive low-budget second-feature, Youth Runs Wild must be credited for its excellent casting. Both A-Listers and unknowns impart depth and warmth to their characters, and the largest contributing factor to the film's impressive honesty is that none of these people are purely good or purely evil.
I think the most touching and heartbreaking event in our story occurs when Danny's parents force him to end his relationship with his girlfriend next door, Sarah. This is exactly the kind of situation that occurs in many a home in real life. Danny has become truant from school, begun to get into all kinds of trouble, and is developing a real surly attitude at home. Sarah's parents would not be considered a good influence by anyone, Danny's parents naturally presume the apple does not fall far from the tree and blame Sarah for Danny's delinquency and forbid him to see her anymore. While entirely well intentioned, it is the worst thing that happens to him in the whole film, they have removed the most positive influence from Danny's life and nothing good comes of it.
The character of Sarah is well played by an unknown Vanessa Brown. This type of character was often given to Cathy O'Donnell, who would never have been able to give Sarah the underlying level of pathos that Ms. Brown does. Once Danny is removed from her life, Sarah attaches herself to the local bad girl, Toddy played by Bonita Granville who is always wonderful in this type of role. Toddy leads her into a sordid nightlife, badly sanitized to meet 1940's standards of acceptability, but I think even contemporary audiences knew the life Toddy led her to was not being a simple "hostess", but a shill for a clip joint and probably eventually prostitution. Toddy does, after all, live rather well for an essentially orphaned girl in small town middle America.
It might not stand up to repeated viewings for some, and as others have pointed out, Turner Classic Movies' print of Youth Runs Wild is rather beat-up looking; but I would describe this as unusually good work for this particular genre and certainly worth investing an hour of your time. Honest and thought-provoking character film.
Thirteen Women (1932)
Perfect Rainy-night Fright Film
This campy little coo-coo bird has to be seen to be believed. Beware of anonymously sent bouncy balls. I first saw this film many years ago on the early American Movie Classics (before it was destroyed by commercials and awful movies); I made of point of watching it because I was reading Myrna Loy's autobiography at the time and she mentioned this film.
Modern viewers may be a bit surprised to find that there is really nothing new in film-making; everything in the psychological thrillers and slasher films over the years that terrified you is done here, and better. Like the rest of the reviewers, I am nearly insane with wonder at what the famous missing 15 minutes might hold (I know a scene further developing the Peg Entwistle character was deleted), but the existing version of this film is a tight, entertaining hour of suspense.
Exotic and beautiful Ursula Georgi sets out across America to reek her revenge on those upper crust white gals that ousted her from her school sorority and ruined her chance in life to "pass" as one of the elite. If you can actually locate the book this is based on, it's a very enlightening read, for therein we learn that poor Ursula was whored out as a young girl. An orphanage finally placed in her in the sorority with the rich white girls to save her from her life of degradation and exploitation. I believe Ms. Loy must have read the novel, she plays Ursula with a clear awareness of the horrors of her young past. By ostracizing and then kicking her out of the sorority, the rich snobs destroyed her chance to escape and live among the rich and respectable. No wonder she is murderously furious with them. A round robin letter, horoscopes of dread, the stink-eye from Ursula and former sorority sisters end up in the obituary column one by one.
Even today, this hour long film is tensely paced and engaging. Ricardo Cortez is always a pleasure to watch, a smooth, beautiful man and a superb actor who brings a touch of class to all of his work. Young Myrna Loy is beginning to show the prowess that would make her one of the most successful of all 20th century actors. If you love 1930's films, this is a very unique and interesting one, you won't be sorry.
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
Where has the art director gone?
I'm going to side-step the whole Lana Turner murder plot and just address the big flaming hole in this film.
About ten minutes into the film, we flashback about twenty years to approximately 1944, where we remain for at least an hour. No one changes. Not one bit. Everyone looks exactly the same, even wearing the same 1964 costumes and hairstyles. Someone was thoughtful enough to give Luke a 1940s automobile, which he drives down a street full of 1960's cars! (In 1944, there shouldn't be a Corvair parked across the street). Besides the hair and clothes, all the homes are decorated in the same 1964 decor they had prior to the flashback (oh, those AWFUL grays that just ruin Hayward's "studio"...!) It doesn't really matter what redeeming qualities the film might have outside of this, and I didn't really see much, you can't just insult the hell out of your audience with a lousy flashback that is only twenty years earlier because the characters say it is, and expect them to respect the rest of the film. This is really, really bad; the so-called flashback is the worst art and set direction I have ever seen.
The Big Cube (1969)
It works, barely
Actually, I'd recommend it if you like Lana Turner.
The Big Cube does have some serious problems. The plot isn't really one of them, it should have worked. Here it is just addled with too many terrible actors, and in need of a better screenwriter. It is, for example, completely unreasonable that daughter Lisa should decide her stepmother hates her and is turning her father against her, simply because they disapproved when they came home to find Lisa and her friends drinking, dropping acid, and stripping! OF COURSE they objected! My daughter should have received considerably more than a disapproving glare from me. The daughter's character is poorly fleshed out, never very believable, and it is further annoying that she has a foreign accent shared by no one else in the family.
It is likewise unbelievable that Adrianna would have automatically rejected her step-daughter's suitor and withheld her inheritance. Adrianna, from what we see in the film, has no idea the boyfriend is a drug pusher or a gigolo, it would seem more probable that she would have had a wait-and-see attitude toward this. This is typical of the numerous instances where our screenwriter chooses expediency over logic, and/or there is more of the screenplay that did not make it to the final cut. Perhaps Adrianna did have clues and they just ended up on the cutting room floor.
Also, Pamela Rodgers character is just disturbing. On Laugh In, her "Stupid Girl" character is often amusing, but when we see it here with nudity and indiscriminate drug usage, it becomes far more base and demeaning. It is typical for the film, all of the "hip" young people are clearly written by someone far too old and out of touch to be writing these characters, and they write them mean-spirited and ill-intentioned with no conception of anything positive that might exist among the younger generation. I often had the impression that the original idea and the actual script are several persons removed from one another.
There are a few things in the film's favor. It is a lovely film to look at, the Mexican exteriors are gorgeous, and on the DVD the color is transfered very nicely. Lana's hairpieces are unfortunate to say the least, but actually would not have been considered nearly so atrocious at the time this was filmed. And most of the music is actually pretty good, not that you'd rush out and buy the record, but not at all bad considering the source. But the main thing that carries the movie, and which it would totally fail without, is that Lana Turner takes it completely seriously. The sincerity she places in this rather absurd character lends the movie its only credibility, and gives us a glimmer of what might have been if only the screenwriter had been half as professional and dedicated to his craft. Lana is clearly playing Adrianna as she should have been, overlooking many of the more stupid things they have her doing and saying.
While it does not really hold up to repeat viewings, for my fellow Lana Turner fans I'd recommend it. It's a rather amusing rainy evenings entertainment if you haven't seen it before.
The inconvenient truth
Major points off for biased approach and conclusion-selective delivery. For example; using a known propagandist like Priscilla McMillian without revealing her connections to US intelligence organizations is a dishonest trick to play on an uneducated viewer.
The film indeed raises more questions about how or why Oswald would have committed the crime for which he has been accused than it ever answers. Indeed, it seems to be leading clearly to the conclusion that he could not have done it, and then, seeming to have realized their "error", they pitch in the unsubstantiated Walker accusation, the fake backyard photographs, and all join together to reach a conclusion entirely unsupported by the evidence they have presented. This is especially low yellow-journalism for a show with Frontline's prestige.
Executive Action (1973)
Base the merit of the film on the merit of the film
This is a quite good film; I based that on a) when we played the DVD in our home, it was not stopped or interrupted for any reason, we were engaged enough to not be distracted, and b) you will note that those IMDb reviews which "hate" the film are not taking issue with the film itself, but that they do not believe there is a conspiracy and are therefore compelled to belittle or insult anyone offering a differing opinion.
On the movie's merits alone, it does present a provocative case, it certainly gives rise to at least room for question. I was a bit surprised at some of the conspiracy evidence raised, being it was 1973, but one does tend to forget that we really knew almost as much then as we know today. Burt Lancaster, Robert Ryan, and Will Geer are excellent in their respective roles as rather loosely defined business tycoons and intelligence establishment types who plan and execute the assassination of President Kennedy, based on sincere albeit misguided and backward motivations. This is liberally inter-cut with documentary and newsreel footage of actual events to place our characters in specific time and place, and this is also done quite well.
The viewer, however, will never for a moment believe our characters are actually IN 1963. While it has no bearing on the validity of the points being raised, it is obvious the filmmakers put forth a wholly inadequate effort to make 1973 Dallas look like 1963 Dallas, not at all. The styles of men's fashions (all of the characters are men), haircuts, eyeglasses, shoes, etc., were dramatically different in '73 than '63, but throughout the film our characters are dressed in garish ill-fitting 1970's fashions and wearing shaggy unattractive 1970's haircuts (indeed, both Lancaster and Ryan are sporting the worst do's of their entire careers here). Post 1963 model cars populate the streets in the background. While the central characters are given period correct cars (1959 and 1962 Chevrolets), they are beaten into a state of disrepair quite unlikely for 1963, when they would have still been relatively new cars. Dealey Plaza is used only in long shot, the close shots of the characters entering the Texas School Book Depository or the Dallas County Records Building substitute inaccurate and poorly matched back-lot facades. I do not believe the mansion where they meet is located in Dallas (it actually looks like stately Wayne Manor from Batman). The hit-men arrive in Dallas and lodge in what is obviously a 1970's hotel room. Most "period" pieces in the 1970's are abysmally done, look at American Graffiti or Grease. If this sort of immaterial detail bothers you, this film will drive you nuts.
This aside, this is an excellent study that proposes a theory which is in no way precluded by the known facts. It could have happened in this manner and is indeed believed to have by many well studied researchers.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
I was there, it was awesome
I must concur with the other reviewers who have commented on the eerie accuracy of this film. I too attended high school in Texas in the 1970's, and this film is so flawless in recreating this time and place it lends the impression you were being documented without your knowledge. If you are of an age and background that permits you to relate to Dazed & Confused on this level, it will give you an unusual affinity for the film. This is exactly how we dressed and wore our hair, those are the cars we drove, the music we loved, that looks exactly like my high school (with only slight variations in paint colors), those seemed to be my teachers, and all of these people were the people I knew then. There is no question but that the author of this piece had to have been one of us.
As someone who was there, I hope I can clear up or offer some insight into a few of the points people have raised about the film. The drug use; well, it was the 70's. In my high school, really hardcore drugs such as heroin were virtually unknown, we talked about it but never saw it, but both marijuana and LSD were as common and available as sand in your shoes. My generation had a very permissive attitude toward these substances. My own clique would never have had the brass ones required to actually partake on campus, as getting caught would not have meant a detention but a trip to jail; on the other hand it was not infrequent to find us stoned in class. But we did leave campus to blow a joint, absolutely, (usually in either the home of one of us who lived nearby or a van that belonged to another of our group, parking at the shopping center down the street). In D&C we see Slater and some of his friends smoking weed right in the schoolyard, that didn't happen in my school. There wasn't a single teacher at my high school who would not have immediately recognized the odor of marijuana and sought out the source. With the clarity of thirty years hindsight, I remain of the opinion that we frankly had a healthier attitude on this subject than do so-called role models of today. Bad drug problems are bad drug problems, but the recreational use of marijuana is substantially less detrimental than either alcohol or tobacco, which both get a free pass because they're legal. Marijuana also failed to serve as a "gateway" drug in our clique, none of us were led by it into harsher substances. I'm glad I'm not in high school today.
One point of particular discussion I have noticed here on D&C's IMDb page is the movie's rather brutal depiction of hazing, "busting the freshmen". Several have reported that this did not occur at their school. You were lucky, and be glad of it. I attended high school in Dallas in the 1970's and this absolutely was a part of our life. I, like all girls, was spared the brutal whippings that Mitch and his friends have inflicted upon them by the seniors, but it absolutely happened to incoming freshmen boys and was generally sanctioned, or at least overlooked, by the adults in charge. For the record, YES IT IS ASSUALT AND BATTERY. Dang! What else do you call violently beating someone with a board until they cry? Battery, plain and simple. Outrageous, mean spirited and cruel, and frankly the homoerotic ass-fixated nature of this hazing paints a far more unflattering psychological portrait of those dealing out the punishment than of those receiving it. As girls we were at least not physically assaulted, but we did undergo some nasty initiation rituals, but usually only those of us trying to get into an organized club, not just all of us en masse simply because of our age (this is also depicted quite accurately in the film, what those poor girls endure from that bitch to get on the cheerleading squad, God love 'em). And it is likewise plainly obvious in the film just as it was in real life, the senior boys learned this bizarre monkey-like behavior from those bastions of simian progress, their "coaches", roles universally filled by academic failures who represent the Wooderson's of the future.
As disturbing as the hazing is, it belongs in the film because it was there, it was real, it was a part of our lives in that time and place, and I felt a delicious satisfaction when that one kid's mom met O'Bannion at the front porch cocking a shotgun. "I don't think so, creep!" You go girl! As both Mitch and Sabrina deal with the initiation rituals in a manner that is respected by their older peers and grants them access to the cool clique, it is too intrinsic to the storyline to be removed or whitewashed. I might add this is the only movie I have ever seen that captures this.
In summation, this is a movie directed at a rather specific audience. My friends who are of dramatically different age or grew up in a different part of the country do not generally relate to this movie nor enjoy it on the same level, although they often find it entertaining. But if you, like the filmmaker, were a Texas high school student in those amazingly permissive 1970's, and didn't particularly hate your life at the time, I think you'll absolutely love it. Highly recommended.
In Cold Blood (1967)
One of the top 10 movies of all time
Easily one of the ten best movies of the 20th century. In Cold Blood is brilliant in the simplicity and realism of its storytelling, and absolutely riveting.
Robert Blake walks away with the film. The story seems to be presented almost entirely from Perry's viewpoint, despite Dick being the leader and planner of the pair. The viewer will invariable perceive Dick as being more unstable, immature, and generally feel like Perry would not have been pulled into this nightmare but for Dick and his need to be somebody and pull off a big score.
Based on a true story with particular attention to accuracy, In Cold Blood depicts the story behind the brutal and senseless murder of a rural Kansas family one cold, windy night, because Dick has bought into an age-old rural myth about prosperous farmers having a safe full of cash in their home. As "prosecutor" (a character that isn't given a name in the script), played by Will Geer, so astutely points out, their lives are bought for only $10 a head. Director Richard Brooks wisely chooses not to share with us the gruesome details of the murders until the end of the film, prior to this we only know it has happened and watch the lives of Dick and Perry slowly unravel as they attempt to escape not only being apprehended by law enforcement, but also Perry's own ever-escalating sense of impending doom. He repeatedly makes remarks, "No one ever gets away with a thing like that," and "I can't help thinking we left something behind that belongs to us." Dick is neither mature nor moral enough to feel any compelling sense of guilt over their crime, only irritation at Perry's. Indeed, after they are caught, it is Dick who breaks first, and suddenly faints when finally confronted with irrefutable proof that places the two men at the scene of the crime. I felt somewhat sorry for Perry from the very beginning of the film, and more-so as events progressed, but I only loathed Dick.
The genius of the film is the engaging manner in which the story is played. We do not for a moment think we are watching actors portray characters, but that we are watching the actual participants and events as they occurred. The story is unrelenting, taunt, the run time slightly in excess of two hours feels more like just a few minutes.
For those of you who are interested in such things, I noticed a couple of the "Goofs" listed here on the IMDb page for In Cold Blood are incorrect or exaggerated. Such as the "reversed" process shot, at the beginning of the film, as Dick and Perry are driving across the bridge into Kansas. To begin with, this isn't even a process shot, the camera is actually positioned in the backseat and the image you see beyond the windshield of the car is real. A large cargo truck located to the left front of Dick's Pontiac creates the optical illusion that they are going backward because it is traveling at a greater rate of speed, but closer examination will reveal that they are indeed going forward and it is an actual shot filmed from a moving vehicle.
As I previously stated, this is one of the ten best works of 20th century cinema, not recommended for the very young due to some course language and implied and inferred violence (no actual in your face gore as a modern film would resort to), but a thoroughly excellent film.
Pajama Party (1964)
The best of the beach films
While none of them would qualify as brilliant film-making, this is easily the best of the drive-in "beach" movies produced by American International Pictures between 1963-67. This is the only beach movie I've ever sat all the way through without looking at my watch, and the IMDb rating of 3.0 it has as of today's date is unduly harsh.
One of the reasons Pajama Party is more enjoyable than the rest is the absence of Frankie Avalon. We only see the back of his head throughout the film, his character only being revealed in the closing segment. For once, Annette (I believe her character is called Connie is this particular outing) is not subjected to Frankie's rather sexist treatment; in the other films he expects her to be chaste and faithful to him alone while he looks at other women and studiously avoids any kind of committed relationship until the finale'. In Pajama Party, the Frankie character has never existed, and Connie instead falls in love with Go-Go, with the biggest obstacle in their relationship presented by the fact that Go-Go is a Martian sent on a scouting mission to precede the invasion of earth by Don Rickles and some other Martians up to no good. Tommy Kirk does pretty well with the awfully shallow part of Go-Go, his only weak point being the unfortunate ballad he has to sing in the convertible with Connie (driving down the highway with the top down, yet there is no wind or noise !).
The entertainment value in these films today is their ability to provide us with escape into an easier, more innocent time. Those of you familiar with my Mrs. Astor reviews here on IMDb know this is usually my primary objective with any old movie. This film is one non-stop romp through an endless carefree teenage summer. The kids must fight for their right to party against invading Martians, con-artists, and of course quasi-Nazi Erick von Zipper and his Rat Pack, who in this film are outraged that the teens have left footprints on "their" beach (our writers must be running out of reasons to justify Von Zipper's existence by this point).
Guest stars Dorothy Lamour and Buster Keaton add much to the movie. Ms. Lamour is wonderful as the manager of the local dress shop. Mr. Keaton frequently appears in these films as an Indian, he has a brilliant scene here with the perfume counter girl, which can be attributed more to his fifty years of comedic work than any fit of genius that might have been borne by the writers of 1960's beach movies. The real spark of life in Pajama Party is brought by guest star Elsa Lanchester, always an absurd delight, here she is the aunt of the Jody McCrea character he's always named Chunk or Hunk or Junk, in this one he's named Lunk. Our third set of bad guys, headed by the Maytag Repairman, are out to steal Aunt Wendy's millions, and she is a delightful airhead who manages to continually foil their plots without ever really being aware of their presence.
The film is further populated by the usual band of teens, all of the American International beach films have more or less the same cast, including Donna Loren, a singer far more talented than the material she is given, and Candy Johnson, who must surely be the most violent go-go dancer in the history of the world.
TRIVIA NOTE: It's interesting how a bit of trivia can get out into the movie fan community and be repeated by dozens of folk who apparently don't verify it first. While numerous sources credit Teri Garr's first movie appearance as being in the 1968 film "Head" starring The Monkees, she does in fact appear in 1964's Pajama Party. I recently heard TCM Host Ben Mankowitz state that Ms. Garr "appears just to the right of Annette Funicello in every major scene", a comment that I have also seen repeated verbatim on other IMDb reviews. Interesting, but untrue. Ms. Garr plays the second model in the fashion show sequence (which begins approximately 37 minutes into the film), but the character of Connie does not even arrive at the dress shop until the fashion show is over. Teri Garr can be seen dancing to Annette's right in the final musical number, Pajama Party, but this is hardly "appearing to Annette's right in every scene of the movie".
You may also spot Toni Basil. She is the girl in the red bikini in the first dance sequence, and the girl in the silver bikini at the fashion show. Slow it down, you can tell it's her pretty easy by the shape of her face.
In summation, if you're interested in beach movies or just want some fun post-Camelot escapist entertainment, Pajama Party is the best of the lot. It will keep you smiling and tapping your foot and rooting for those clean wholesome kids. I wished I could just hop into my giant yellow convertible and tool down to the beach for the summer without a care in the world.
Someone set off a Stink Bomb at the World's Fair
Good Lord! There seems to be no concept of time in this film, everything happens instantly. A farmer picks up Elvis and his slimeball business partner hitchhiking to the fair, and they are instantly such good friends that he trusts Elvis to accompany his seven year old niece to the fair all day. At the fair, Elvis meets a nurse who is about as exciting as wet unsalted mashed potatoes with a side of lukewarm water, and instantly he falls in love with her. He comes on like a creep and she hates him (as if she had any better prospects), but when the little seven year old girl is (temporarily) orphaned the next day, she naturally seeks out Elvis whom she's only known two days now to come live with, and the ensuing nonsense from this most unbelievable of stories brings Elvis and Miss Yawnsville together. Meanwhile Elvis' business partner (they fly a crop-duster for cryin' out loud!) is the biggest douche in the whole world, who steals their money and gambles it away. No one knows they've gone to Seattle so why it is Elvis doesn't just beat this creep to death and dump his body in the Sound is the greatest mystery of the entire film.
The entire nuance of this unfortunate film can be summed up in the World's Worst closing number "Happy Ending", in which all of the film's potentially disastrous events are miraculously wrapped up in a mess of fairy dust, and Elvis and Miss Yawnsville march through the fair grounds singing Happy Ending accompanied by a marching band that appears out of nowhere and is apparently present to follow around tuneful fair-goers (???). Near the end, Elvis stops and buys all the balloons off of a balloon vendor and gives them to his stupid twit girl, at which point the now empty-handed balloon vendor does what anyone would do, he just gets down and boogies in the street to that far out marching band music. I nearly vomited on myself.
Live a Little, Love a Little (1968)
The WORST Elvis movie EVER!
This is easily the worst Presley vehicle ever, which would bring us pretty close to the worst film ever made. It is measurably worse than even the revolting "Happy Ending" song at the end of "It Happened At The World's Fair", and here I thought that moment when Elvis buys all of the vendor's balloons for his girl, and then the balloon vendor gets jiggy to the marching band was the epitome of bad cinema and could not be topped. I usually enjoy the random Elvis flick if for no other reason but the memories of a time when we were innocent enough to sit through it. This one, however, ought to be called "Live a Little, Wish You Were Dead a Little", and makes "Stay Away Joe" look like Olivier playing Othello.
Here, Elvis plays Greg, who is essentially a hippie free-lance photographer except for the Establishment haircut. After a fun morning of reckless driving, he ends up at the beach where he is abducted by a woman who's name changes depending on the scene and who is speaking to her. Clearly Michele Carey was selected for her resemblance to and ability to mimic Elizabeth Taylor (if I watched this without my glasses, I would have thought it was late 1960's Liz playing the female lead). She sics her dog on Elvis until he runs into the water and catches convenient movie pneumonia, then she keeps him doped up out of consciousness in her beach pad so long he loses his job and his apartment so she moves his stuff into her house before he awakens without even telling him (the audience does not know about it either, until Elvis tries to go back to work and his boss has him beaten up for no reason except he deserved it for making this movie, and tries to go home and finds some hateful woman in a slip living in his house).
Rather than having her arrested for kidnapping, larceny and assault, he goes out and gets two jobs to repay the back rent Miss Crazy Pants had to spring for when stealing all of his belongings. Job one is working for Don Porter at a Playboy type magazine, job two is upstairs working for Rudy Vallee at a snobby fashion magazine. I think the two-job shuffling is supposed to be the comedy, too bad it isn't the least bit funny, unless you'd laugh the 100th time you saw someone run up and down stairs in fast-motion to silly music. The predominate obstacle that keeps Greg from falling for his abductor is her other love interest, the dreadfully miscast Dick Sargent (let's face it, either Porter or Vallee, even given their advanced ages in 1968, would have made far more believable competitors for Miss Crazy's affections).
There are a variety of uninteresting and unfunny twists and turns, I kept waiting for something, anything to happen that would make all of this make sense. It never did. Entertainment totals approximately three minutes and is comprised of Elvis' rendition of "A Little Less Talk" (which I can listen to on CD without this painful movie inflicted upon me) and a funny five second bit where Elvis flops on the couch and Crazy Pants has apparently disassembled it so it flies all to pieces when he lands on it. That's it, folks, busted furniture, the only laugh in this entire film. No amount of mod sixties clothing, music, or décor can salvage this high-heaven stinker and it should be avoided at all costs. Viewing this can create an unnatural desire on the part of the audience toward the self-infliction of grave bodily harm.
It ought to be called Sucktown.
This is easily the most disappointing, least gratifying movie of the entire so-called blacksploitation genre, which, by the way, are films we generally enjoy a great deal in our home. Rather than being "exploitation" or demeaning, these films actually provide a priceless insight into an era. Well, not Bucktown.
In this story, Duke returns to Bucktown to operate the night club left to him by his recently deceased brother. He quickly learns that the city is entirely controlled by a corrupt police force, bleeding protection money out of all the local businesses. Duke resists, and determines that he will rescue the city from the corrupt police. Unfortunately, he does so by calling in a posse of his friends (these people are vaguely explained as some former black-militants who have worked with Duke on "jobs" in the past) and they simply murder the entire police department in cold blood. And literally in the presence of hundreds of witnesses who do nothing to stop it. Ignorance is not a justification for murder, and it would have been much more entertaining to see the Cracker Police suffer for their actions as opposed to merely getting whacked in the street. While revenge is a ubiquitous and generally satisfying theme in films of this genre, it is a far cry from seeing Pam Grier track down the thugs who off'ed her family, cuss them out, give them a jujitsu ass-kickin' and set their 'fro on fire. That has art (and a reason for existing) and merits a level of respect that is quite undeserved by simply shooting someone in the back. Of course, in this bizarre tale, she is playing a woman completely under The Man's thumb, afraid of the Crackers who run her town and oppress her people. Indeed, her advice to Duke is, "Run, man, they gonna kill you!"
Following the sickening and gratuitous violence, we are expected to believe that the town's mayor wholeheartedly condones the actions of Duke and his friends, congratulating them and offering to throw a parade in their honor, as opposed to, say, calling the district attorney to press capital murder charges against them and have them taken into custody. Duke's posse declines the parade and instead opts to fill the numerous vacancies on the police force created by their recent killing spree. They immediately prove to be even more corrupt than their Cracker Police predecessors (to quote the mayor, "They are ten times worse than what we had before!"). Now Duke finds he must again rescue the citizens of Bucktown from corrupt, protection-racket law enforcement officials and again make it safe for decent folk to operate a prostitution business in the streets. Unfortunately, Duke has already lost all moral high ground and sympathy due a hero, as he was a willing participant in the murder of the original police force. I wouldn't have cared one way or the other if he had rescued Bucktown or gotten plugged himself at this point. I suppose we are to be entertained by the clever way Duke has to outsmart the new Police Goons, but in reality the film has now just become an opera of gratuitous violence, Duke murders all of his former friends and allies in cold blood with the same absence of compassion he had when gunning down the Cracker Police. Duke is a pig.
Finally, when everyone in town but Duke, Aretha, and the employees of the local brothel are dead and bleedin' in the street, our hero and heroine walk off into the night as though they had some admirable qualities or redeeming values; they don't. Duke is merely a murderous thug and Aretha his enabling misogynist accomplice. If you are interested in this genre of film, by all means, I highly recommend them, see Coffy, Foxy Brown, Truck Turner, Blacula, Sheba Baby but if in the process you should run across this DVD, throw it as far away as you possibly can! Drop it like it's hot! It should be treated as one would treat a glowing puddle of nuclear waste! There is no single film in the entire Blacksploitation era that is not dramatically more entertaining, satisfying and populated with more sympathetic and admirable characters than this piece of slime, obviously written by and targeted at some hormonally imbalanced high school sophomores.
Employees' Entrance (1933)
Excellent Depression Era Film
I have never been a fan of William Warren's, but this is the perfect role for him. I usually find him thoroughly unlikable and obnoxious; imagine my surprise when he is cast in just such a role and pulls it off so perfectly I find I must now respect his prowess as an actor. Well done, WW! In Employees' Entrance, we find Warren playing Kurt Anderson, an unapologetic cad who rules the Franklin & Munroe Store like a dictator. He is so flawless at playing someone so reprehensible, I loved hating him, I hoped he'd win. I especially loved him telling off the rich fops who run the store in the opening board room scene, "Do you think YOU did it?!" he demands in reference to the store's unprecedented success. I worked for a man like that once, I was crazy about him. No one ever got more work out of me. And the viewer actually doesn't feel too terribly sympathetic to the people Anderson fires throughout the movie, so much as they wonder why they were ever stupid enough to make such silly suggestions or resist Anderson when they had no ideas of their own.
As the great department store enters the great depression, things get even tougher, and Anderson must drive his staff even more ruthlessly than before; but he does this to protect their jobs. And what an eye-opening time-capsule! The Franklin & Munroe store is said to employ 12,000 people...you'd be lucky to find 12 in a department store today! Imagine a store that actually provides SERVICE.
Note the pre-code relationships between the characters: Anderson sleeps with Madeline twice and neither character seems to feel it is the end of the world as would have been required of them in films just a couple of years later. Further, Anderson literally pimps Polly out to divert the attention of a troublesome board member. She doesn't mind; not because she's easy but because she's figured out how to work the system.
Lots of faces familiar to the Depression-era movie fan. Alice White is perfect as Polly Dale, perhaps the most amusing character in the film. Loretta Young plays Madeline with more depth than was probably written into it. Ruth Donnelly is her usual self as Miss Hall, and Allen Jenkins has an unbilled but significant role as the security chief, Sweeney. Wallace Ford is surprisingly good as Martin West; the scene where he flirts across the store with Madeline by holding up sheet music with titles like "I want to call you Sweetheart" and "You're Beautiful" is adorable.
I highly recommend this entertaining film.
Cause for Alarm! (1951)
Yes, it IS film noir
While some obviously object to classifying Cause for Alarm! as film noir, that is indeed what this is. This happens to be my favorite genre of film, so I like to think I've learned at least a little about it over the years.
A wide variety of factors compose film noir (a term, I might add, that was created retrospectively and not used at the time by the people making these movies). The heyday of film noir would be about 1945-1955, although excellent examples of the form were made both before and after this period. Unlike the western or the musical, no one ingredient of the film noir is essential, with the possible exception of black and white cinematography. It is a much broader genre than others. They are, in general, rather gritty and hard edged stories about highly imperfect characters, often dealing with mishaps of fate or of their own shortcomings. Both accident and coincidence seem to be around every corner. Crime is so frequently a theme that the private investigator is a ubiquitous presence in these films. Happy endings are not required and not always offered. There is extensive use of flashback, and the stories are very often narrated by one of the central characters recalling an event that has now passed. The stories are visually presented in a wide array of unusual and often low camera angles and making enormous symbolic use of light and shadow. The films include suspense thrillers, police and crime dramas, social message pictures, and many a romance gone awry. And while it may appear to the untrained eye the land of film noir is a place where everyone wears a trench coat and it is always night time and always raining, it ain't necessarily so.
The presence of daylight in Cause for Alarm! does not disqualify it as a subject of film noir at all. As all film noir take place on planet Earth, it is no secret that these people experience some degree of sunshine in their lives. Cause for Alarm! meets many of the noir criteria; a conflict born out of human imperfection and malice, narration by a central character, terrific use of the interplay of light and shadow in the interior scenes, the innocent fighting the wrongful accusation. I was at first bothered that the interior of the Jones' home seems infinitely smaller than is suggested by its exterior, but upon subsequent viewings I have decided this was probably a deliberate technique of the film makers to reinforce the sense of stifling oppressiveness in Helen's unhappy home. THAT is film noir.
On to review this picture specifically, I highly recommend it. I have not been particularly familiar with Loretta Young's work, but this is an excellent film. The story is quick, taunt, and engaging. Helen's husband, George, deranged by illness, has set about to frame her for murder upon his impending death. Helen, who has been selflessly devoted to George's care, is horrified to learn of this only moments before he dies, and must retrieve a letter she has just mailed for him (to the District Attorney) or she will surely be accused of murdering him and sent to prison. You feel Helen's panic, the sense of urgency, even the sweltering heat of that "Tuesday in July" (a stereotypical noir touch, by the way). We know very little of Helen and George prior to this, only brief flashbacks dealing solely with their courtship; and this in my opinion serves rather cleverly to make the characters more broadly identifiable.
There are a half dozen ancillary characters; besides the husband there is the doctor and old family friend George perceives as Helen's partner in crime, a concerned neighbor lady, a miserable snotty aunt, an amusing neighborhood boy pretending to be Hopalong Cassidy, and the world's most annoying mailman. Had I been Helen, that damn mailman would have received the thrashing of his life and lay on the sidewalk bitching about his pension plan to the grasshoppers while I walked off with the letter I had forcibly removed from his possession! Like most noir, this film is low budget and has a short running time, but is quite technically competent, well acted, and most entertaining. In our home, we like to assemble weekend "film festivals", four to six films of a similar time period, style, or star; we like to pair this one with Claudette Colbert's "Secret Fury" and a few others for a nice evening of early 1950's Americana-noir.
My Wife's Best Friend (1952)
Cute Anne Baxter vehicle
This is not likely a movie you will subsequently set up all night discussing, but it is cute and more typical of Miss Baxter's pre "Eve" fare than post Eve.
As Virginia and George Mason are flying off on their vacation, their is serious aircraft trouble and they believe they are going to perish on the plane. In the heat of the moment, George suddenly confesses to Virginia that he had an affair with her best friend Jane. Much to his later chagrin, the plane is safely turned around and taken back to the airport, and now he must live with the consequences of his confession.
This, by the way, is played as light, charming 1950's marital comedy, and in that vein it works pretty well. Virginia occupies herself with ways in which to punish her husband and bring further recognition to her status as victim. Cecil Kellaway is very entertaining, as always.
The only real drawback to the film is that the Jane character is played in a manner that will strike modern audiences as an obvious lesbian. It is impossible to believe either George would stray from the very cute and sexy Virginia for the mannish and pushy Jane, or that Jane would be interested in ANY man. I don't think this may have read this way to 1950's audiences.
This film is rarely ever shown, I don't know why, much worse films get a great deal more air time. If you have a chance to see it, do. It's a nice little show.
Much better than is to be expected
I loved this movie, I found it very entertaining and would recommend it.
I'm often surprised at the points people get hung up on in reviewing movies. They are, after all, FICTION. The main "controversy" surrounding this plot seems to be Sue Ellen's job. I have done office work for over 25 years and yes, it is entirely possible that Sue Ellen could have landed that position without too much trouble. Maybe not inside of five minutes at the first firm she walked into, but using a faked resume, as she was, she could have obtained a pretty soft office job without too much trouble. Some firms I've worked for would verify your more recent work experience, but many others never verify anything on a resume, and I've never once in all my years known of anyone to verify the education one claimed to have. Indeed, I've often kicked myself that I could have claimed to have some precious, worthless high dollar degree and no one would have questioned it.
Beyond this, the movie is awfully good for this genre of film. We see the children unexpectedly learning valuable life lessons and it changing them into better people. It's really a rather wholesome movie considering the time period and target audience. I've let my nephews, nieces, and grandchildren watch in my home, there is nothing more objectionable than the very occasional swear word in it.
One of my favorite movies from an otherwise dry period in Hollywood, highly recommended.
Underrated film, quite good if you're in the mood for it
I have to admit, I enjoyed this movie tremendously when I watched it alone, and later when a group of friends watched it in my house I was embarrassed by how much they hated it. You have to be in the mood for it.
Cher must be commended, to carry off a movie when you spend exactly half of your screen time tied to a chair is pretty remarkable. The interplay between Tony and Margaret is much better when it is just the two of them, Ryan O'Neal doesn't bring much of anything to his part and the film declines somewhat when he enters the home.
The only real annoyance is the HORRIFIC injections of Mazurski as some kind of freak shrink that is supposed to be funny; it may well be the single unfunniest and most unnecessary character in the history of film. You could totally fast forward through every second Masurski is on the screen and it would only improve the film.
I think women will like this a lot better than men, but it's a good film and very underrated. For most of 1996 it was my favorite film.
How to Murder a Millionaire (1990)
It's a shame this was just a throw-away piece of fluff movie of the week, and won't likely be aired again, as it's really cute. We happened to tape it at the time and have watched it every once in a while over the years.
Based on the same premise as the first episode of I Love Lucy, Beverly Hills housewife Irma Summers (Joan Rivers) mistakenly believes her husband is trying to murder her. The mounting evidence eventually causes Irma to flee her home, and on the streets she hooks up with the maid of her best friend, Teresa, played by Thelma Hopkins (already a veteran TV actress at this point in her career, following Amen, Gimme A Break, Busom Buddies, and The Tony Orlando and Dawn Show).
The characters are very one dimensional (particularly Morgan Fairchild as Irma's friend) and the plot only grazes such weighty topics as the have's and have-not's in our society without ever managing to get too serious. It plays like a special hour-long episode of a sitcom, but with the talents of Hopkins and Rivers, it's a cute movie and fun to watch.
To Die For (1995)
One of the few really good films of the modern era
I'm a little hesitant with my rating of 8 because this isn't really a film to be taken too seriously; having said that, I was glued to the screen and it holds up to repeat viewings so that says a lot.
It's peculiar that the closing credits of this film bear the usual disclaimer that "any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental" when the film is in fact the story of New Hampshire school teacher Pamela Smart, who did indeed co hearse a teenage student into murdering her husband in pretty much the exact same manner as depicted here. Writer Buck Henry has changed the characters name, occupation, and a number of the irrelevant details, but this is unmistakably the Pamela Smart story.
Played as dark comedy...! The heretofore unimpressive Buck Henry redeemed himself in my eyes with this wickedly amusing script.
While peppering us with the kind of mirroring observations about the shallowness and stupidity of the media and the society it reflects which makes us both laugh and squirm with more than passing discomfort, the top-notch cast masterfully play out the excellent script in such a mesmerizing fashion you simply will not believe nearly two hours are gone when it is over.
Nicole Kidman in particular displays intelligence and acting prowess I never imagined her capable of; she is in practically every frame of the film and while her character is truly despicable, you can't stop watching. The three teens, played by Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, and Alison Folland (who stands out as the easily led girl with a not too subtle lesbian infatuation on Suzanne Stone) are engaging. Perhaps the best of the cast after the lead is Illeana Douglas as the deliciously smart ass sister-in-law, she had me in stitches! From the opening credits of rushing reporters superimposed over headlines and newsprint, to the closing credits overlaid with the rather brilliantly selected Donovan song Season of the Witch, this one is a must see film from an era of otherwise bland cinema.
It Happened to Jane (1959)
One of the most underrated of Doris Day's films
This has to be the most underrated and overlooked of the comedies from Doris Day's later career. I'm surprised at the relatively low score it has received here on IMDb, as it's a really fun and entertaining movie (particularly following the unfortunate Tunnel of Love she appeared in the prior year).
Rather than the lush, opulent interiors and wardrobe we usually look forward to in a Day comedy, this one is stunning for its exteriors. Filmed in New England in the summer of 1958, the film exudes idyllic small town splendor. Day plays Jane Osgood, a widowed entrepreneur (all "independent" women in 1950's TV or movies are either widows, as in Lucille Ball's later television work, or impossible-to-marry shrews like Joan Crawford in The Best of Everything). Osgood operates a budding lobster business, and when an expensive shipment is ruined by the laxity of the railroad, she takes on railroad magnet Harry Foster Malone in a highly publicized David & Goliath lawsuit. Ernie Kovacs is particularly memorable in his portrayal of Harry Foster Malone, an obvious and amusing allusion to Orson Welles' Charles Foster Kane, which was of course an allusion to William Randolph Hurst. In her legal battle, Osgood enlists the aid of local attorney and old friend George Denham, the man she's "supposed" to be with and just doesn't realize it, played well by a young Jack Lemmon. Throughout the course of the story, the film seems to at regular intervals inject some rather insightful observations on a multitude of thought-provoking topics, including the place and nature of democracy in a capitalist society, the overwhelming power wielded by big business, even the (at the time) ever expanding place of television in our lives and its ability to influence and inform. And all of this in a comedy!
The only negative I can think of is the inclusion of perhaps the worst musical number ever put on film. Jane Osgood is the den mother of the local boy-scout troop (naturally) and at the camp out in her back yard she leads them in a sing-a-long of the single most stupid, dreadful and endless song you ever heard in your life. "Be Prepared" well they warned you! It starts out as amusingly bad, but then seems to last about fifteen or twenty minutes until you think you'd rather take your own life than hear one more note. Any self-respecting boy scout over the age of five would kick you right in the nuts if you asked him to sing this wretched torturous piece of nonsense.
This aside (it is unfortunately not that uncommon in films of this era), this film benefits well from a strong, well written script and an excellent cast. It is actually much more intelligent and heart-warming than any of the Doris Day-Rock Hudson pairings, and while it is a very different kind of film, it can hold its own against any of those. Highly recommended, but be prepared to hit the "mute" button when those boy-scouts start singing!
Texas Justice (1995)
Actors do well with terrible script
Locklear and Strauss are badly addled with a terrible screenplay here, but they both turn in fine performances.
Given the length of the film, one would think a great deal more actual detail could have been given to the viewer. So much was left out, and so much more was just wrong. A good example is the infamous house on Mockingbird Lane. At the time this film was made (and even today) the mansion is still standing and it would seem that the actual house could have been used for exterior shots (or even architectural renderings), but instead, a completely different house was inexplicably used. The house on Mockingbird Lane was extremely modern and minimalist in design (by late 1960s standards), and the producers of this film instead used the generic tasteless quasi-European Tudor McMansion of the 1990s. Pointless stupidity.
And this script fairly reeks with similar factual missteps, and for no justifiable reason. As a native Texan who closely followed the trial at the time (you couldn't be here and NOT follow it), this sort of thing is extremely irritating. If the viewer can get past that, both Peter Strauss and Heather Locklear turn in fine performances (one of Locklear's best) and seem to have some genuine understanding of the characters they are portraying. Given the scarcity of film on the Cullen Davis trial (the only other instance I am aware of is an episode of A & E's American Justice devoted to the subject), I recommend this as the best of the very little that is offered.
Send Me No Flowers (1964)
The best of the three Hudson/Day comedies
While not terribly well received here on IMDb, this is in my opinion the best of the three Hudson/Day/Randall teamings. While Pillow Talk remains fresh and sharp fifty years later (with Lover Come Back being a rather unfortunate and less enjoyable recycling of the same script), it is Send Me No Flowers that gets the most air-play of the three in our home video library.
From the superb opening theme song performed by Doris Day, we are transported into the beautiful suburbia of yesteryear. Rock Hudson's George Kimball is absolutely hilarious as the king of all hypochondriacs (if you've ever known such a person, you'll die laughing). And for 1964 it makes some rather amusing and insightful observations into the nature of medicinal advertising. Ms. Day plays wife Judy Kimball; she is a delight as always and it's perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the screenplay that at last Hudson and Day are married and thus involved in a relationship that extends beyond never-realized innuendo. Randall plays the usual right-next-door character attached to Hudson's, Arnold Nash, and again this is the best of the virtually identical characters he plays in the three movies they made together.
Being the hypochondriac that he is, Kimball misinterprets a conversation he overhears at the doctor's office and subsequently believes he is dying. Once he and his accomplice Arnold absorb the blow, they set about to find a suitable replacement husband for Judy to marry once George is gone. It's really a rather touchingly honorable intention and also generates the bulk of the misunderstandings that constitute the remainder of the film.
There are some negatives, these are things we see through our 21st century eyes and were certainly never intended to be offensive at the time. These mainly revolve around Day's character; Judy Kimball is a beautiful and intelligent woman, but is given no other pastimes in the entire course of the film other than playing golf and preparing her husband's breakfast. And despite being beautiful and intelligent, George apparently considers her to be too big of an idiot to ever possibly survive without him, and thus he must find a man to take care of her once he is gone. She has no children, no occupation, doesn't understand a mortgage, can't write a check to the gas station correctly, her greatest interest is in the impending divorce of a neighbor she doesn't even know and she apparently doesn't even know what she pays for groceries. We are clearly shown George's greatest dread as he imagines a number of scenarios in which Judy evidently has no judgment whatsoever and is easy prey to any slick con artist that should come along once she is widowed. It might also be said that this is absolutely typical of the way virtually all women are depicted in movies and television of this era.
Like all three of the Hudson/Day/Randall comedies, this one is lush and colorful, with exquisite sets and wardrobe. The supporting cast are excellent, particularly Paul Lynde as the cemetery proprietor and Edward Andrews as Kimball's exasperated physician. This film carries a warm, comfortable feel of a happier bygone era and packs lots of laughs. Highly recommended.
Yours, Mine and Ours (1968)
The best family film I've seen
This is easily the best family picture I've ever seen.
Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, and Van Johnson are all perfectly cast and play their roles with skill and realism. Ball in particular is given one of her warmest, most human roles here, and this is indeed my favorite of all of Ms. Ball's films for that reason. All of the ancillary adult characters and the children as well are well cast and given some degree of depth (and let's face it, it would be quite challenging to fully flesh out the characters of 18 different children in a movie that runs under two hours). Most of the kids we deal with directly in this film do seem real enough, as opposed to the annoying child actors that usually populate family films.
Based on a true story, widow Helen North relocates her brood of eight children from Seattle to San Francisco, where she runs into widower Frank Beardsley, the father of ten, while working as a nurse in the base infirmary. Although there is instant chemistry between the two, they decide against a relationship while on their first date, when they realize the size of their combined families. To the rescue comes Frank's best friend, Darrel, who manages to maneuver the two back together by setting them each up with a comically mismatched date and sending them to the same restaurant.
One of the movie's strengths is that it's not all build-up, as old time romance movies tend to be. Here we actually get to see Helen and Frank married in the first half of the film and then what their family life is like afterward. While it may appear on the surface to be a series of mundane occurrences (doing laundry, tending to a sick child, grocery shopping, family dinner arguments, a young girl's first party dress, Christmas morning, even the military precision necessary to feed 18 children breakfast and get them off to school), it works on a much deeper level and shows the viewer the great selfless compassion and love the parents have for the children, and ultimately the children have for the parents. While not as hip as the same year's "With Six You Get Eggroll", this depiction of a decidedly more old-fashioned family is more endearing and really more entertaining.
I feel compelled to also address some of the peculiar complaints posted here by previous reviewers, not a subject I would normally delve into in this forum. For starters, the actual ages of Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in 1968 do not bother me in the least, nor do they detract from the film in any way I can see. A good actor can easily portray a character 10-15 years younger or older than themselves, which is what is done here. I would expect the parents of near-grown teen-agers to be mature adults, and it would have been far more distracting if they hadn't. Further, it is always refreshing to see a romance between grown people instead of some 17 year old juvenile delinquents, which is the usual cast of a romance movie. And for whoever complained about Lucy's nails, c'mon!! Good Lord! Yes, it IS possible. I have cleaned, kept house, prepared meals, grocery shopped, gardened, raised children, done laundry, sewn, and even performed the occasional minor car repair with "long manicured nails" my entire adult life (which I will admit dates back to the time of this film). It can be done with little more than a competent manicurist.
Having said that, one of the truest tests of an excellent film is "re-watchability", and this one gets watched in our home every single Christmas and a half dozen more times throughout the year. Highly recommended.
**Note: While the DVD of this movie is unfortunately in the incorrect full-screen format, Turner Classic Movies occasionally airs this film and they show it in its proper widescreen format.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
In a lot of ways this film points out exactly what is wrong with the musical genre in my opinion.
Here we have a very entertaining story, the Daisy Gamble character is fascinating (although it is absolutely implausible that Daisy would have ever been engaged to a yutz like Warren), but the entire production would have been immensely better with all of the songs removed. Ms. Streisand's opening and closing songs are fine, but the majority of the songs within the movie are terrible and only disrupt and distract from what is otherwise a cute story. Yves Montand's songs are particularly dreadful, even his swear-word strewn finale' "Come Back To Me" is regrettable. Whoever told him he could sing?! If you can overlook the terribly annoying songs (just fast forward, when people stop flailing their arms about, they're usually through singing), it's really fun movie.