The Sound of the Crowd

Random Confessions Of The ’80s Man

So I’ve still been enjoying watching Turner Classic Movies this month; since last we spoke of it, I’ve seen:

Clash Of The Titans. Ah, to be 10 years old again. Actually, one thing about this movie is better as a (chronological) adult: Judi Bowker was sexy and I had no idea.

Incidentally, this movie has been referenced twice recently on Veronica Mars, where Titans star Harry Hamlin plays a recurring role.

His Girl Friday & Desk Set. One of the things I’ve been noticing in these ’40s movies based on plays is how many of them take what we now think of as the “Kevin Smith” approach to their scenes. That is, one set, actors, and long takes. Curse you, MTV generation. Oh…wait…

Kiss Me Kate. I thought I’d seen this adaptation of the musical version of Taming Of The Shrew before, but I’d completely forgotten about the new framework with an actor playing composer Cole Porter. It remains a good adaptation, particuarly notable to me for featuring a young Bob Fosse in a supporting part. Fosse would go on to become one of my favrorite directors; this movie is also the first time he was allowed to choregraph one of his own dances (“From This Moment On”) on film.

Nice documentary about Howard Hughes too.

The radio exploitation movies have been mixed somewhere between nice, embarassingly dated, and crap. The first Great Gildersleeve movie was kind of fun at first, especially seeing which actors from the radio show were reprising their characters and which were not. But the second got bogged down in badly dated racial material of the “feet, do your duty!” school. The Lum & Abner movie was crap, even with Chester Lauck & Norris Goff playing their characters, they don’t seem to have taken to filming.

Speaking of radio comics, this past Friday was Abbott & Costello day. I know a lot of people like their films but I tend to prefer them on radio, probably because I like verbal humor more than slapstick. But I did discover a teriffic picture previously unknown to me at the end of the day:

The Time Of Their Lives. A very atypical Abbot & Costello picture (fans of the day rejected it for that reason, according to some reports). It features Costello and the amazingly pretty and talented (Keitha was crushing on her hard) Marjorie Reynolds as Civil War ghosts, and Abbott as the descendant of a man who betrayed them. Reynolds, who was apparently pregnant during the making of the film, was brunette in it, though blonde in the wartime picture linked above.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre remains a classic, of course. I don’t have to show you any stinking reasons why.

Finally saw The Caine Mutiny. There’s much more to it than I’d thought–I just knew about the balls and the strawberrys and stuff.

This morning caught the end of George Washington Slept Here and the beginning of The Horn Blows At Midnight, which generally reckoned to be one of Jack Benny’s better and one of his worst movies, respectively. Niether deserve it, (from what I saw) but after all this time, there’s no making ‘em any good.

And then I just caught The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, which is what sent me here for this update. Has anyone else ever noticed that Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil is, among the many other things that it is, kind of a cockeyed tip of the hat to this movie? I mean, I haven’t seen this anywhere else. But it just occured to me that in Walter Mitty the hero saves himself, the day, and the girl by virture of his daydreaming. Whereas in Brazil…I’m just saying if I were programming a film festival, here’s two films I’d put together.

Things to look forward to: Late Wednesday night or early Thurday morning (depending on which coast you’re on) they’re showing My Man Godfrey. And Friday is Hope & Croby Road picture day…

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