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Are Negulesco "Fox Studio" films dreck or film classics?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Armin Jager

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Posted February 03 2005 - 09:26 AM

Oh yes Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image !!!
I find Fox announcements at least as exciting as Warner's, the Noir Line with such rare films like Hangover Square and Nightmare alley and now again a nice couple of films in the Classic line, my Gene Tierney collection will look quite good at the end of the year. All her essential films between 1943 and 1950 are or will be available in the next months, if films like Tobacco Road or Way of a Gaucho would appear I'd be perfectly happy.
In the light of this it's forgivable that Fox continues to think that their glossy Negulesco films are classics.

#2 of 24 ONLINE   Thomas T

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Posted February 03 2005 - 04:07 PM

Re: "In the light of this it's forgivable that Fox continues to think that their glossy Negulesco films are classics"

Well, they may not be classics to YOU, Armin, but to some of us these "glossy" Negulesco films are indeed classics and a most welcome part of their Fox Studio Classics line.

#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Derek Estes

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Posted February 03 2005 - 04:43 PM

Quote:
Negulesco films are indeed classics and a most welcome part of their Fox Studio Classics line.
Agreed! I can't say how thrilled I am that Best of Everything, is finally being released.
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#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Armin Jager

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Posted February 03 2005 - 05:54 PM

Quote:
But I have to disagree with you, Armin, when you say that with those 4 releases (Laura, Leave her to heaven, Night and the city and Razor's Edge)all of Gene Tierney's essentials will be out on dvd. What about Son of Fury, Heaven Can Wait, Dragonwyck, A Bell for Adamo, Whirpool and Where the Sidewalk ends? Not to mention That Wonderful Urge and The Iron Curtain, that, while not unanimous, are two which I'm very fond of.

Heaven can wait will be released by Criterion, Dragonwyck is planned to be released in Germany, Whirlpool and Where the Sidewalk ends are available in Great Britain. Night and the City and the Ghost and Mrs.Muir are available by Criterion and Fox.
I can't comment on the other four pictures (Son of Fury is 1942) since they are never shown on German TV or were never shown here at all, but they don't have such a high reputation.
Which doesn't mean that I wouldn't buy them and every other Tierney picture Posted Image. I have both French Tierney picture books and in the stills from the obscure China Girl Gene Tierney looks beautiful beyond description :b.

Quote:
Well, they may not be classics to YOU, Armin, but to some of us these "glossy" Negulesco films are indeed classics and a most welcome part of their Fox Studio Classics line.

Obviously EVERY picture has some fans, but I try to assess the quality more or less objectively. I love Jacques Tourneur as a director but I'd never declare City under the Sea or The Comedy of Terrors as great films which some fans seriously do while it's bloody obvious that they show a director stifled by his producers.
Negulesco's Fox films get weak ratings by the imdb-users, by all movie guides and movie histories. If they are classics than every older film is. It's glossy trash and the devotion of a handful fans won't change this, Negulesco's career is a depressive study of decline.

#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted February 03 2005 - 10:33 PM

Quote:
Negulesco's Fox films get weak ratings by the imdb-users


Well, that settles it then...
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:03 AM

Quote:
It's glossy trash and the devotion of a handful fans won't change this,
armin, so you are the final word n this?
dont the opinions of others count.
is yours an opinion, or is it the definitive say?

how do you know how many people think these films are classics?
have you polled, EVERYONE?
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#7 of 24 ONLINE   Thomas T

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:19 AM

I don't want to get into a big defense of Jean Negulesco's Fox CinemaScope period, Armin but ...

I nearly spew out my morning coffee onto my computer screen reading your "defense" that the IMDb users have declared Negulesco's late Fox period as persona non grata therefore we should abide by their decision. A glance at the top 250 films of all time by the wise IMDb "users" declaring Shawshank Redemption superior to Citizen Kane and Lord Of The Rings more respected than Vertigo invalidates their imprimatur ... for me, at least, but you may, of course, continue to use them as a resource for your movie recommendations.

Next thing you'll be telling us that Douglas Sirk did "glossy women's pictures and melodramas" and we can all delude ourselves that they are classics, too.

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Armin Jager

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:46 AM

Quote:
I nearly spew out my morning coffee onto my computer screen reading your "defense" that the IMDb users have declared Negulesco's late Fox period as persona non grata therefore we should abide by their decision. A glance at the top 250 films of all time by the wise IMDb "users" declaring Shawshank Redemption superior to Citizen Kane and Lord Of The Rings more respected than Vertigo invalidates their imprimatur ... for me, at least, but you may, of course, continue to use them as a resource for your movie recommendations.

I begin to worry about my use of English. I said Negulesco's late films get weak ratings by the imdb-users AND the essential movie guides and histories. I've NEVER found in all my movie books any friendly words about Negulesco's Fox period , they get exactly zero attention in film studies and deservedly so.
Regarding the imdb-users you should differentiate betwen older and newer movies. The older ones don't get that much votes by casual and less knowledgeable moviegoers and I find the ratings quite convincing. There's a occasional underestimation of some films like DAUGHTERS COURAGEOUS or ANNE OF THE INDIES, but mostly the rating are agreeable.

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted February 04 2005 - 06:59 AM

I've NEVER found in all my movie books any friendly words about Negulesco's Fox period

And that might be part of the problem. Rather than reading about films, perhaps you should spend more time watching them. Making wholesale blanket statements about films and or their directors based on what you’ve read and citing it as gospel makes little sense to me.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted February 04 2005 - 07:21 AM

IMO, I found Negulesco's films made late in his career not a match to his Warner films, but I thought more than a few of them were very entertaining films. Woman's World, How to Marry a Millionaire, Road House and The Best of Everything were quite entertaining to me and there were a couple more films that I liked which weren't mentioned. Anyhow, I always considered him one of the best film noir directors and I think Warner made a mistake letting him leave the studio.

An interesting discussion that should be continued in Movies.





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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Armin Jager

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Posted February 04 2005 - 11:44 AM

Quote:
Rather than reading about films, perhaps you should spend more time watching them. Making wholesale blanket statements about films and or their directors based on what you’ve read and citing it as gospel makes little sense to me.

I merely pointed out that the official film histories ignore and dismiss Negulesco's Fox films, classics are films who get some significant recognition.
I spend more than enough time watching films for the university, but it can't hurt to read a few books to put things in perspective.
Before the admin jumps at us again, I'd merely like to add that I really don't want a glossy soap opera or glossy comedy in every Fox Classics wave. Seeing three Negulesco's and Return to Peyton Place under the same label like My Darling Clementine or The Ghost and Mrs.Muir makes me faint. I agree with others that the Classics line shouldn't include too young films.

#12 of 24 ONLINE   Thomas T

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Posted February 04 2005 - 04:27 PM

Armin, Armin, Armin!

"... I really don't want a glossy soap opera or glossy comedy in every Fox Classics wave"

But it's not all about what YOU want, is it?

"I merely pointed out that the official film histories ignore and dismiss Negulesco's Fox films ..."

Pardon my ignorance but I was not aware that there are "official" film histories which designate which films are to be branded official classics and which are not. And just who licenses these "official" film histories so we may not confuse them with "unofficial" film histories.

"... classics are films which get significant recognition"

Recognition from whom? Vanity Fair magazine devoted a lengthy article last year on The Best Of Everything in their March 2004 issue interviewing people such as Budd Schulberg, Gavin Lambert and Robert Evans. Or doesn't a "glossy" (oh, the irony!) magazine count, just a dry piece of analytical academe.

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Charles Ellis

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Posted February 05 2005 - 06:42 PM

It may be dreck to some, but to me The Best of Everything is a prime example of classic Hollywood melodrama like another Fox Studio Classic, Peyton Place. They may not be the critical darlings like the Universal soapers of Douglas Sirk, but they're very entertaining. I think some people here are being a bit snobbish in regards to Jean Negulesco's melodramas- people seem to forget that he directed Jane Wyman to an Oscar in Johnny Belinda, which is as soapy as you can get!! I will be getting The Best of Everything before the other two films Geremia P. mentioned- although it has a devastating performance by Anne Baxter as the tragic Sophie as well as great turns by Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney, The Razor's Edge is downright boring at times, whereas TBOE is a thrill a minute with its sensationalism. This film made dinero for Fox, and has lots of fans cheering its DVD release, which is a lot more than I can say for The Razor's Edge! As for Anna and the King of Siam, I have yet to see it.

Some of you (and you know who you are!) may throw bricks at me for my next statement, but I would love to see Valley of the Dolls released as a Studio Classic! Like Peyton Place (and its sequel), and The Best of Everything, Valley of the Dolls was based on a bestselling novel and was a big boxoffice hit. What I'd reallly love to see is a DVD boxed set with the four aforementioned films and an earlier Fox potboiler, Forever Amber as The Bestsellers!!!
Bring "The continuing story of PEYTON PLACE" home on DVD: the one that started it all- from Dallas and Dynasty to Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl!!! Starting this May, see the legendary saga starring Mia Farrow, Ryan O'Neal, Barbara Parkins, and Oscar-winner Dorothy Malone on DVD thru...

#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Derek Estes

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Posted February 05 2005 - 06:49 PM

I agree with Charles. The Best of Everything is by Far my favorite of the three films, and I have seen them all, and for the most part enjoy them all!
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#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Armin Jager

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Posted February 05 2005 - 08:52 PM

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Anna & The King of Siam and The Razor's Edge will be mine. As for The Best of Everything, I have to agree with Armin Jäger that it is dreck. And please, please... no more comparisons of Negulesco with Sirk. The ground is beginning to shake.

Thanks for the support. Those who complain that Negulesco doesn't get much praise contrary to Sirk should ask theirselves why it's so. Sirk hardly bribed all those people who rediscovered him.
I wouldn't mind if some people like The Best of Everything if this wouldn't be so demeaning towards every really good picture who was written, directed and performed with great care. To put such trash made only for the box office on the same level as a Sirk film is simply insulting to real artists. There's a diference between a interesting and intelligent melodrama and one which merely adds tons of senseless plot complications and throws in some reactionary messages.
Just read all 3 external reviews on the imdb for The Best of Everything which I'd like to post if I would be allowed to do so.

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Ken Koc

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Posted February 06 2005 - 02:50 AM

After reading this thread...which seems like a lively debate about "Art" and Art which is debated like this usually is, depending on the point of view, "Art.", I wanted express myself.
These are films that represent mid to late 50's with all its now considered "kitsch" sensibilities.. They may not be art (which is subjective) but they do reflect an era of glossy film making that displayed the styles (costumes, art direction and cinematography, acting) of a decade in our country . To me they seem to reflect the innocent naive time of the Eisenhower 50s. It very interesting to see the numerous "coffee table" type books about the 50s that refer and display photos from these films to show the style of the 50s.
To me If they are viewed in that context without applying today sensibilities they are enjoyable "time capsule" films that are classic in their own way.
Recently a restored print of "Best of Everything" played to sold out performances at a massive movie palace in San Francisico.
I'm ready for a DVD of "Womens World" which many photos were used for Diane Keaton's 1985 book, "Still Life...full color motion picture stills more real than life itself"
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#17 of 24 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted February 06 2005 - 06:41 AM

Actually melodrama (female and male versions) has quite a lot of strong support by the professors here at USC--and I believe Peyton Place has at one point in years past been used in the Intro to film class (probably for genre study: female melodrama). But he is right, I don't see Negulescu in the index of my first history/reference film textbook I had at hand (nor is their a Negulescu film on the Sight and Sound list). However Douglas Sirk most definitely is mentioned. But Douglas Sirk admitted to smuggling/encoding/layering his films with rich meaning despite the pulp genre origins. What's more Sirk would definitely be remembered byecause Fassbinder claimed so much influence and heaped praise upon his work.
 

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted February 06 2005 - 06:49 PM

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And that might be part of the problem. Rather than reading about films, perhaps you should spend more time watching them. Making wholesale blanket statements about films and or their directors based on what you’ve read and citing it as gospel makes little sense to me.
Shouldn't this be MORE how people try to OBJECTIVELY determine a film's quality, rather than, as you suggest, watch it yourself and then make a declarative statement that the film is great/awful?? Ideally you do BOTH, but as I understand it he has viewed several of these films.

I thought that when someone jumped in here with a thread saying "I just saw Citizen Kane and it sucks" most people repsonded by citing how strongly it is regarded by many historians/critics/viewers, rather than coming back with "Oh yeah, well I loved it so your wrong".


I don't even have an opinion on Negulesco. I just see a guy who tried to back his case with MORE than "that's what I think" and got told to do just the opposite.

Citing other sources that counter his is fine and were he to hold up IMDb as the end all-be all (which he didn't) then I can see questioning it. But when he cites both populist sources like IMDb and more serious opinions (historians, though this is vague I admit) on the matter I think he is trying to make a case beyond that this is just something he thinks.

He acknowledges that every film will have its fans, and that's true. He doesn't deny your right to enjoy the films. My goodness, am I to believe that if he questioned Criterion putting all their current and planned releases on hold to do a super special edition of House of the Dead that the rest of you would say, "not my cup of tea but good for them because I'm sure the film has its fans"?

He's just saying that not every "special release" is as special as another. I hope that's true because there is a Criterion DVD for Armageddon and some part of me would like to believe that there are just a few other films more special than that one. Posted Image

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Claude North

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Posted February 08 2005 - 06:33 AM

I wholeheartedly applaud Fox's upcoming release of The Best of Everything. As for its being released under the "Fox Studio Classics" banner, well, I think it is more of a marketing thing than a definitive statement of what is a classic and what isn't.

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

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Posted February 08 2005 - 01:04 PM

Quote:
As for its being released under the "Fox Studio Classics" banner, well, I think it is more of a marketing thing than a definitive statement of what is a classic and what isn't.


You got that right. The FSC line is all over the place. It includes some bona fide classics like All About Eve and Grapes of Wrath along with some genuinely terrible flicks like Peyton Place and Three Coins in the Fountain.

On topic, of the smattering of Negulesco movies I've seen, I've thought they varied from decent to terrible. I didn't like Fountain or Titanic at all, and I felt How to Marry a Millionaire was moderately fun solely due to its charming cast. I guess this means I'd put my vote in the "Negulesco = dreck" category...
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