Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV

Robert Crawford

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A great looking 4K/Dolby Vision Digital of "King Creole" (1958) starring Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Malthau, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Paul Stewart and Vic Morrow. One of Elvis's best films directed by Michael Curtiz. Again, this Black and White film looked beautiful in 4K/Dolby Vision. I haven't seen this movie in over 20 years and it was like seeing it for the very first time. The movie takes place in New Orleans and is about a high school dropout turned singer that is being pushed and pulled in different directions both romantically and competing night clubs. A good film with a terrific cast.
 

Robert Crawford

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Also, I watched one of the best TV movies ever made "Brian's Song" (1971) starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and Jack Warden. The true story about the friendship of two NFL football players with the Chicago Bears. A very sad movie in which I tear up every time I watched it. Hell, during my first viewing back in 1971, I think I was balling like Michael Jordan's emoji.:) Just a great little film at 74 minutes or so. Some great highlight film of the actual Gale Sayers in this film too. What an electric football player that had to retire early at 28 years old due to injuries, but he was so good he still got elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. Can you believe the Bears had two first round picks in 1965, and they chose Sayers and Dick Butkus, both iconic HOF players.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Today's viewings on the TCM app and Criterion DVD. More later about these two films in which "Algiers" (1938) was almost an exact remake of "Pepe Le Moko" (1937). I always preferred the original (1937) film, but maybe that's just me. Though, Boyer and Lamarr were really good in the 1938 movie. By the way, that Boyer film always brings back the memory of Pepe Le Pew's famous pick up line "Come with me to the Casbah".:laugh:
 

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Also, I watched one of the best TV movies ever made "Brian's Song" (1971) starring James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and Jack Warden. The true story about the friendship of two NFL football players with the Chicago Bears. A very sad movie in which I tear up every time I watched it. Hell, during my first viewing back in 1971, I think I was balling like Michael Jordan's emoji.:) Just a great little film at 74 minutes or so. Some great highlight film of the actual Gale Sayers in this film too. What an electric football player that had to retire early at 28 years old due to injuries, but he was so good he still got elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. Can you believe the Bears had two first round picks in 1965, and they chose Sayers and Dick Butkus, both iconic HOF players.
Yes, it is one of the greats. I am about as far as a person can get from being a football fan, and I gladly sat through this several times and cried every single time. What a shame the two stars were pitted against each other at the Emmys and likely split the vote allowing someone else to win that year, Keith Michell in one of his Henry VIII broadcasts, certainly a worthy winner but no more so than either Caan or Williams. Jack Warden did win in his supporting category, and the show won as Outstanding Dramatic or Comedy Program. It also earned the distinguished Peabody Award.
 

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Today's viewings on the TCM app and Criterion DVD. More later about these two films in which "Algiers" (1938) was almost an exact remake of "Pepe Le Moko" (1937). I always preferred the original (1937) film, but maybe that's just me. Though, Boyer and Lamarr were really good in the 1938 movie. By the way, that Boyer film always brings back the memory of Pepe Le Pew's famous pick up line "Come with me to the Casbah".:laugh:
No, it's not just you. The original IS better. Lamarr IS more beautiful.
 

Robert Crawford

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Robert Crawford

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A tearjerker of a movie "Waterloo Bridge" (1940) starring Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. I watched it on the TCM app, but, it's always been a tough movie for me to watch in its entirety. A really good film as I try to revisit it every 15 years or so which reminds me I need to watch the original 1931 film that I have on DVD too.
 
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A tearjerker of a movie "Waterloo Bridge" (1940) starring Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor. I watched it on the TCM app, but, it's always been a tough movie for me to watch in its entirety. A really good film as I try to revisit it every 15 years or so which reminds me I need to watch the original 1931 film that I have on DVD too.
I prefer the grittier original so ably directed by James Whale and featuring a wonderful Mae Clarke in the leading role. However, I must admit that the 1940 was the first version I saw on the big screen, and my love for the gorgeous Leigh did color my expectations and made me weep a bit. But when I saw a 35mm of the Whale version, it impressed me so that it became my favorite. Let's enjoy, or cry, with both.
 
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The 1940 one has that MGM gloss while the 1931 Warner version is so much grittier, and I think I prefer it, but both are fine films.
 

Robert Crawford

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The 1940 one has that MGM gloss while the 1931 Warner version is so much grittier, and I think I prefer it, but both are fine films.
I like the actors in the 1940 version more and it’s not even close in that regard.
 

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Oh, not me. I'm a big Mae Clarke fan. Even met her once. One of my favorite actresses. Fascinating to watch in almost any film. I like the way she often breathily underplays her lines, often revealing a kind of inner hurt or trepidation, in a way you don't really see in most actresses of her day. Something very naturalistic about her performances. Even in some of the little b-films she was in.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Oh, not me. I'm a big Mae Clarke fan. Even met her once. One of my favorite actresses. Fascinating to watch in almost any film. I like the way she often breathily underplays her lines, often revealing a kind of inner hurt or trepidation, in a way you don't really see in most actresses of her day. Something very naturalistic about her performances. Even in some of the little b-films she was in.
Well, she naturally knew how to take a grapefruit to the face.:laugh:
 
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bujaki

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Oh, not me. I'm a big Mae Clarke fan. Even met her once. One of my favorite actresses. Fascinating to watch in almost any film. I like the way she often breathily underplays her lines, often revealing a kind of inner hurt or trepidation, in a way you don't really see in most actresses of her day. Something very naturalistic about her performances. Even in some of the little b-films she was in.
James Whale used Mae Clarke most effectively in his films. I discovered her while watching a lot of her films during the Universal cycle at MoMA. After that I looked for her other films and found that her acting was very rewarding, even in small parts. As you state, there's something very naturalistic and unaffected about her performances.
 
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Well, she naturally knew how to take a grapefruit to the face.:laugh:
Between the passage of time and changes in culture, I suppose that 'grapefruit' scene doesn't come close to its original audience impact. I often asked people who saw it new in 1931 (including my relatives) if they recalled it, and always heard back what a disturbing scene it was to them. EVERYBODY remembered it. That kind of treatment of a woman, seen right up there on the big screen, was downright horrifying to them, and I heard this repeatedly.

It really is a devastating scene. Clarke is this pathetic little wren, a lowly 'pick-up' who is shown over the breakfast table trying (and stumbling) to see herself as part of a new relationship. Part of a stable normalcy of a new 'couple.' And at this intensely vulnerable moment, she gets not only wrath from Cagney, but also a grapefruit in the kisser. It's a moment of such stark brutality and uncomfortable sadness. The audiences of 1931 viscerally got this. It was a gut-punch.
 
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It was sad to see her in tiny bit parts late in her career. From leading lady of “Frankenstein” to role of shop clerk in “The Catered Affair” in the mid 50s.

She was later embroiled in a lawsuit when an aging female TV horror host showing “Frankenstein” stated that she WAS Mae Clarke. The actual star sued and lost.

I like her version of “Waterloo Bridge” ...probably because I cannot deal with Robert Taylor.
 
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