Haven’t done one of these since March, so I’ll keep it brief – I’m finally catching up on Twilght Time stuff since Nick’s passing.
THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN
Early Cinemascope (or Cinnamonscope as my daughter used to call it), corny soap opera, but very appealing performances, a great title song, and it all moves along quite well, not to mention some gorgeous scenery. I’m actually not going to say anything about the transfer’s color – I’m going to wait until others chime in before having that fun. I will say it’s reasonably sharp for early scope and it’s blemish-free.
I always want to like this more than I do. I was disappointed in it when it came out and I haven’t really changed my opinion watching it again. You can’t beat John Ford is the simple answer. The best of the film is Van Heflin, who, in my book, is always superb. Slim Pickens is always fun, Ann-Margret looks stunning and is very good, Stefanie Powers doesn’t have much to do but look sensitive and mournful, Red Buttons thinks he’s doing vaudeville, Bing Crosby was probably thinking there’d be an Oscar nomination for playing a good-natured drunk, Michael Connors still had a bit too much “Touch” in him, Keenan Wynn is always amusing, Bob Cummings does many comedy “takes”, and Alex Cord is not John Wayne. Gordon Douglas is always a competent director and there’s some decent action. If I recall the DVD of this, it was very brown and muddy – this is an attractive transfer with good clarity and better color.
MELVIN AND HOWARD
Believe it or not, I never got around to seeing this film. I’m a Demme fan but find him an erratic director, the best of him being the atypical Silence of the Lambs. I know this is a critics’ darling, this film. But seeing it for the first time, I wasn’t bowled over by it, frankly. Once it became obvious that Jason Robards, Jr. wasn’t coming back after the first scene and that it wasn’t really Melvin and Howard but Melvin and everybody else, I just wasn’t that interested, despite some good scenes and some terrific performances, including a great one by Paul LeMat. But in one scene (and a short reprise at the end), Robards is so good that once he’s gone the film never quite attains the magic of those first ten minutes or so. The transfer seems to me to be kind of typical not new transfer from Universal – it’s fine, color’s nice and all but I’m sure it could look better. Still for fans of the film, I’m sure it will do the trick.
THE SNAKE PIT
I saw this movie on TV when I was very young, maybe seven or eight and it seriously freaked me out, as did another Fox movie, Dante’s Inferno. I thought poor Olivia would never get out of the looney bin and it also seemed like the movie ran about six hours thanks to her ordeal. It’s rather antiquated now, of course, but Ms. de Havilland is really good in it, as is Leo Genn as her doctor. Transfer seems fine to me – not a lot of grain and a lot of opticals in this movie.
Overall, an enjoyable batch o’ movies.