Author Topic: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project  (Read 3092 times)

Teproc

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Re: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project
« Reply #160 on: August 26, 2017, 02:15:16 PM »
Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945)

A noir with an initially interesting premise that gradually becomes silly to the point of absurdity, and the wettest blanket you've ever seen as a protagonist. I thought MacMurray was a vacuum of charisma in Double Indemnity, but that's only because I hadn't yet stared into the abyss that is Tom Neal here. A whiny abyss, too. Ann Savage's unhinged performance is really the film's saving grace, chewing the scenery as the villainous and domineering Vera... not that there's much to dominate, but still.

4/10

1SO

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Re: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project
« Reply #161 on: August 28, 2017, 09:31:40 PM »

Pillow to Post
"Love is a beautiful thing."
"I get two hours of it every Saturday night at a movie. That's enough for me."


I hate to be down on Ida Lupino, because she's so talented and rarely mentioned except as a pioneer female director in Hollywood. She also happens to be a great dramatic actress, but her wonderful toughness doesn't naturally soften for comedy. In Pillow to Post I can see her trying to be funny, with broad expressions and a delivery that's trained instead of instinctual. The artificial performance only further drags this overly-complicated plot away from screwball into TV sitcom land.

The supporting cast is TV sitcom gold, with Sydney Greenstreet, Ruth Donnelly, child star Robert Blake and Willie Best. (Best will activate your racism reflex, but he has most of the best lines.) There's also a sweet musical performance by Louis Armstrong and Dorothy Dandridge.

Rating: * * 1/2, #45 out of 83 for 1945

Possible Nominations: none

pixote

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Re: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project
« Reply #162 on: October 06, 2017, 12:56:56 AM »


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  (Elia Kazan, 1945)

It took me two tries to watch this movie, and now I'm struggling even more to write about it. I'm not sure what the block is. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is, on paper, exactly the kind of film I've needed lately but I could only muster up minimal enthusiasm for it. Elia Kazan's direction might be partly to blame there; I've never been a huge fan of his filmmaking. Young Peggy Ann Garner carries much of the film, impressively so. I'm eager now to see her in something else perhaps Junior Miss, the other film for which she was honored with the Oscar for best child actress of 1945. I just wish I'd been more affected by the surrounding story. I could really have used a good cry. I'm glad, at least, I was finally inspired to take this book off my shelf.

Potential Nominations: Art Direction, Juvenile Performance

Grade: B-

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

pixote

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Re: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project
« Reply #163 on: November 26, 2017, 12:22:45 AM »


Scarlet Street  (Fritz Lang, 1945)

Review here.

Grade: C+

Possible Nominations: Best Actor (Edward G. Robinson)
     

My Name Is Julia Ross  (Joseph H. Lewis, 1945)

Review here.

Grade: B-

Possible Nominations: Hidden Gem



I doubt there's room on my ballot for either of these, but I'm happy to have watched them.

pixote
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

Teproc

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Re: 1945 Retrospots: Discovery Project
« Reply #164 on: January 07, 2018, 02:50:47 PM »
Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945)

My first Joan Crawford film! She's quite good. The film very much feels like the adaptation that it is in that it is more of a succession of events than a coherent story, with characters going through huge events and undergoing massive changes in a matter of minutes. We rarely get the time to sit with the characters (aside from Mildred herself), which proves especially problematic with Mildred's older daughter. There's a lot to unpack there, and the film doesn't let the character breathe enough for the developments around her to really work. It leaves a lot on the performers' shoulders, which works well with Jack Carson and Eve Arden, who play their characters big (and entertaining), less so for Ann Blyth as Mildred's daughter, Bruce Bennett as her first husband and, to a lesser extent, Zachary Scott.

Having not read the source material or seen the Todd Haynes miniseries (which I'm curious about now), I didn't know the noir structure of a flashback and a bit of a murder mystery was the film's invention, but I found it worked pretty well: now it looks like a genre mashup, but weren't noir just called melodramas at the time ?

The other problem I have here is one that goes with the period, and that's the ending. I'm guessing it's a Hayes Code thing, but it undermines the whole film and especially Crawford's performance as Mildred so badly that you can't just overlook it: it's there in the film, and it's pretty terrible.

6/10

Potential nominations:
Actress (Joan Crawford)
Supporting Actor (Jack Carson)
Cinematography

 

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