Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 2013

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 07 May 2014, 14:05

Oh, and a quick note on audio commentaries. I had the misfortune of listening to the Penelope Spheeris one for Wayne's World last night :( This made the Paul Heller one for Enter the Dragon feel like a Bey Logan commentary. Fucking atrocious! I've never heard anyone pat themselves on the back as much as this woman does here. And just overall, a terrible excuse for a commentary. Had to stop it around 40 min. in, as I couldn't take it anymore.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 07 May 2014, 18:56

RetroRobot wrote:... I've never heard anyone pat themselves on the back as much as this woman does here. And just overall, a terrible excuse for a commentary. ...


Did you ever listen to the Cannonball Run Hal Needham and Producer Albert S. Ruddy commentary? The amount of back-patting there was pretty hilarious. Yes I finished it. I don't listen to commentaries anywhere near what I did several years ago where I had to watch/listen to everything on the DVD. Now I tend to eschew most commentaries, though still watch most of the extras.

Also I watched another one of yours All Through the Night (1941: Vincent Sherman). I'm still not sure what to take of it. There is fun little extra on it that goes over supporting characters. I'm a big Peter Lorre fan so his role in the film as well as him being talked about in the extra was quite fun. Nice seeing all the supporting characters in that film though (funny both Lorre and Conrad Veidt were leading actors in Germany.)

I should probably take care of a Mark film next (next in line for recommended films) :).

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 07 May 2014, 19:30

Keep in mind that I held a gun to my own head and HAD to pick ten movies of every year. So while the list is what it said, my ten faves of every year, not all of them are masterpieces. Though I quite like All Through the Night... but probably mostly for Bogart and Lorre. Oh, and did you notice a fresh faced Jackie Gleason?

Haven't heard the Cannonball Run AC, I have a bare bones version. Sometimes I like comms by people directly involved with the film (directors, stars, producers etc.) but I think my favorite ones are mostly the ones by film experts, as they are more objective in their analysis and can speak freely on any potential shortcomings and the likes.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 07 May 2014, 19:44

RetroRobot wrote:Keep in mind that I held a gun to my own head and HAD to pick ten movies of every year. So while the list is what it said, my ten faves of every year, not all of them are masterpieces. Though I quite like All Through the Night... but probably mostly for Bogart and Lorre. Oh, and did you notice a fresh faced Jackie Gleason?
...


I did not know that until I watched the extra (on extras) and was like ahh ha. So young there. I'll watch anything with either Bogart and Lorre in it so I was happy watching it, I just had a little hard time keeping interest. The comedy makes sense for 1941, though I think it would have had a completely different tone if it was made in 1942. Good to actually hear some German in it from German speakers (subtitles actually translate correctly.)

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Markgway » 07 May 2014, 22:30

Bogart made so many great movies.

All Through the Night isn't "a classic" but it's a lot of fun.

Across the Pacific is another that falls into that category.
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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 07 May 2014, 22:36

I just bought Across the Pacific so it will be watched sooner than later as well as the rest of the non-watched in that Bogart set I just bought (I have already seen The Maltese Falcon many times). I need to eventually buy a copy of Sahara.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 19 May 2014, 19:45

I took care of Kiss of Death (and have been having a little discussion in a different forum on the acting of Victor Mature.) Regardless of what you think of Mature in the film, Richard Widmark is awesome. I've known about the wheelchair throwing down the stairs scene for years, but finally got to see it. Widmark is in his cackling glee supremacy here and shines whenever he is in it. It is easy to see how influential his character is and probably even typecast himself a bit (at least for awhile.)

Is the commentary any good? I know someone who does not like it.

I have not seen the remake with Nicolas Cage though.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby saltysam » 19 May 2014, 20:32

Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things 2.5/5 Early Bob Clark/Alan Ormsby comedy/horror has some dreadful acting,an awfully slow build up but once it gets going is enjoyable enough.

Deathdream (aka Dead Of Night) 2.5/5 Another early Bob Clark effort this relentlessly bleak slow burning horror concerns a soldier thought killed in Vietnam returning home out of the blue to his grateful family.but things aren't what they seem..well done movie worth catching
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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 19 May 2014, 21:05

Think you missed the thread you were aiming for there, salty :)

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 19 May 2014, 22:44

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I took care of Kiss of Death (and have been having a little discussion in a different forum on the acting of Victor Mature.) Regardless of what you think of Mature in the film, Richard Widmark is awesome. I've known about the wheelchair throwing down the stairs scene for years, but finally got to see it. Widmark is in his cackling glee supremacy here and shines whenever he is in it. It is easy to see how influential his character is and probably even typecast himself a bit (at least for awhile.)

Is the commentary any good? I know someone who does not like it.

I have not seen the remake with Nicolas Cage though.


Kiss of Death is a solid flick in my book. Mature is hit and miss with me. Though he never annoys me. Haven't heard the commentary yet. The remake is actually a decent 90's crime flick..... if you buy David Caruso as a lead. Not the biggest fan of him, but here and in Jade I buy him..... only just.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Markgway » 19 May 2014, 23:13

RetroRobot wrote:Think you missed the thread you were aiming for there, salty :)


He posts here so infrequently now that he's forgotten where everything is...
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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 27 May 2014, 22:04

Markgway wrote:Bogart made so many great movies.
All Through the Night isn't "a classic" but it's a lot of fun.
Across the Pacific is another that falls into that category.


Agreed. Not a classic, but fun nevertheless. Bogart is always watchable at worst and one of my favorite actors at his best. Title is wrong, but because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it forced some rewriting of the plot locations. Notice that the cover has one of the antagonists in a uniform I don't think he ever wears. Also note that both the cover and trailer have spoilers :). Nothing new.

I'm interested in early depictions of martial arts so it is interesting to see Judo (and Jujitsu mentioned) in here with Bogart getting thrown for good measure with a bit of philosophy thrown in.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 27 May 2014, 22:14

Yeah, this is probably the earliest martial arts depiction (where it's specified) from Hollywood that i've seen. I used to think it was Blood on the Sun, but that was three years after this.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 27 May 2014, 22:27

RetroRobot wrote:Yeah, this is probably the earliest martial arts depiction (where it's specified) from Hollywood that i've seen. I used to think it was Blood on the Sun, but that was three years after this.


Though there is a lot more Judo in Blood on the Sun. The Awful Truth (1937) has a scene (and mentions it) with Jujitsu.

American book reference: I found a mention of jiu-jitsu in a 1920/21 novel (Compton MacKenzie's Rich Relatives; he's the same writer as Sylvia Scarlett). I believe in Sylvia Scarlett jujitsu is mentioned though I have to double check this.

Earliest movie instance I have seen with martial arts (no mention of art name):

Sidewalks of New York (1931: Zion Myers, Jules White)

This is the earliest American film where I have seen martial arts in it. Buster Keaton gets picked apart by an Asian-American kid (unfortunately not credited and IMDB does not have his name) who picks him apart with a variety of Judo throws like the Tomoe-nage (circle throw). Later Buster does the same to a bunch of criminals making this a much early appearance of Judo than James Cagney’s in Blood on the Sun (1945).

One thing to consider is that some of these moves would be incorporated into professional wrestling and at least one move the inappropriately named “airplane spin” is a wrestling move – though if you know a Judo origin of this move please tell me. Judo is never actually mentioned in this film and some reviewers call these “wrestling moves”, but given that kayfabe wrestling was slowly on the rise at this time and the kid who takes him apart early is certainly no wrestler I would consider this source of the fighting Judo.

The co-director Jules White, who would later helm lots of Three Stooges shorts (in fact one short he produced for The Three Stooges called “Disorder in the Court” would lift a gag from this film) and would direct Keaton in some of his Columbia shorts was never one of the best fits for Keaton. He never really knew how to handle Keaton and his directorial style was always to do things louder, faster and more violent. However, Keaton does handle action well as he is still in good shape at this time. The boxing scene is a mix of City Lights (1931) and Keaton’s own Battling Butler (1926) and is with the Judo is among the highlights in this film. The plot certainly is not (as I have avoided writing about it; if I do a proper review then plot points will be added) and his co-star Cliff Edwards is OK (they also star in Doughboys which I have not seen), but not much of a presence.

I am Keaton fan so I have been getting all of the films he is in. This is available on a DVD-R from Warner Bros. Archive Collection. This is an OK film but his silent era is by far the best bet if you want to start with Keaton where he had much more control of the material. He made the mistake of signing up with MGM which took away his creative control (though some good films were made like The Cameraman (1928)) which led to him drinking more (a bad marriage also contributed to this) and eventually being let go by MGM. Luckily he kept working and saw a resurgence of the popularity of his early work before he died in the 1960s.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 27 May 2014, 22:50

Interesting. When did China start doing MA themed films... 1920s? And what about Japan? Not counting news or demo reels.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 27 May 2014, 23:10

RetroRobot wrote:Interesting. When did China start doing MA themed films... 1920s? And what about Japan? Not counting news or demo reels.


That's a good assignment to try to figure out. I know China had wuxia films in the 1920s like The Burning of the Red Lotus in 1928 which was extremely popular (how great would that film be to find) and caused a lot of influence. But I think David Bordwell has answered this one the best in Planet Hong Kong:

The first martial-arts films were silent-era productions of Shanghai studios. Films like The Nameless Hero (1926) and The Hero of Guandong (1928) centered on the adventures of swordsmen and swordswomen. They came to be known as wuxia pian, “films of chivalrous combat.” Stylized fighting, derived from the opera tradition, is said to have been introduced in Li Feifei, the Heroine (1925). The eighteen-part serial Burning of the Red Lotus Monastery (1928–1931) was the prototype of the fantasy swordplay movie; already there were flying daggers, weightless leaps, and palm power, the ability to shoot bursts of energy from one’s hands (Fig. 8.2).


Japan I am not sure of. So much of Japan's pre-WWII films have been lost (a lot of Chinese silent movies as well.) I'll look into this more.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Markgway » 28 May 2014, 00:55

Judo fight from BLOOD ON THE SUN:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlejMy9zLdI

Nostalgic fun.

Shame that in those days the actors weren't allowed to do any of their own stunts or fights. Cagney probably had to persuade his brother (the producer) to let him take punches.
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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Ivan Drago » 03 Jun 2014, 22:14

Akira Kurosawa's bio-pic of Sanshio Sugata from 1943 - is that the earliest extant Japanese feature with martial arts?

I'm told Kenji Mizoguchi wartime 2-part 4 hour version of 47 Ronin has not a single fight scene!
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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 03 Jun 2014, 22:37

Ivan Drago wrote:Akira Kurosawa's bio-pic of Sanshio Sugata from 1943 - is that the earliest extant Japanese feature with martial arts?

I'm told Kenji Mizoguchi wartime 2-part 4 hour version of 47 Ronin has not a single fight scene!


Sanshiro Sugata is the earliest I have seen non-weapons martial arts in a Japanese film. I have a very long review on that film on KFC. I have not seen that version of 47 Ronin (I really would like Criterion to release that film or at least have a non-OOP R1 or BD version available.)

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Jun 2014, 17:27

Passage to Marseille (1944: Michael Curtiz):

This movie has a flashback within a flashback within a flashback. An advanced narrative technique especially for Hollywood 1940s. I thought that aspect worked fine (seriously no where near as difficult as say Memento), though I wonder how it played out to audiences in the 1940s.

James Wong Howe is such a brilliant cameraman. There are several outstanding scenes of not just German Expressionist chiaroscuro, but movement and placement as well. I've just read several reviews on this and they do not mention him making me think he is quite underrated. Every time I see his name as the cinematographer I know the film will at least look good.

I think the firing on the downed Germans from Bogie's character was kind of a sour point, but you can see several parts of the film that skirt production code especially since this was a propaganda film (one of the Frenchman was an escaped wife killer with an axe nevertheless.) I do wonder if Bogie's war crime was possibly a reason for it not being mentioned much today (though if you know the code you can pretty much guess Bogie character's fate). If more was made of it in the script it would have worked, but it was quickly forgotten leaving a distaste for some brilliant scenes beforehand.

But this is overall an interesting period piece so I can understand its inclusion on your top 10 list retro. I'm glad I watched it.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 10 Jun 2014, 17:37

I think some of the stuff you mention makes it more gritty than some of its contemporaries, which make it stand out. I like darker stuff when it comes to war films of this era, since a lot of them are straight laced, flagwaving hero tales. Sure, it has propaganda elements, but I feel it's better implemented here than many other films of the same ilk. Also, it makes the list for Bogey, as I can watch him in anything, and have never disliked a performance from him.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 10 Jun 2014, 17:52

RetroRobot wrote:I think some of the stuff you mention makes it more gritty than some of its contemporaries, which make it stand out. I like darker stuff when it comes to war films of this era, since a lot of them are straight laced, flagwaving hero tales. Sure, it has propaganda elements, but I feel it's better implemented here than many other films of the same ilk. Also, it makes the list for Bogey, as I can watch him in anything, and have never disliked a performance from him.


For the most part it worked for me to (except the scene I mentioned.) I can watch anything with Bogart in it and your list has been a reason to catch up on a few of the lesser known ones (critically and popularity.) I think Michael Curtiz is a good director as well and Wong Howe's cinematography is outstanding. I think I only have one more film in that Bogart set now in Action in the North Atlantic. Well I still have to watch the extras on this current film as well.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby RetroRobot » 10 Jun 2014, 19:11

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think I only have one more film in that Bogart set now in Action in the North Atlantic


Another propaganda piece, but still a good one.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby Masterofoneinchpunch » 23 Jun 2014, 22:15

RetroRobot wrote:
Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think I only have one more film in that Bogart set now in Action in the North Atlantic


Another propaganda piece, but still a good one.


Definitely a propoganda piece, but a solid one. Good use of strategy which is not always done well (one of the big reasons I love Red Cliff) and certainly a paean to the Merchant Marines which I have not seen much of in the movies.

I did not like the use of the cats (one part to anger the public which angered me damn Germans, the second more annoying part when he brought it on top -- damn plot contrivance .)

And now I've seen this one. Overall good film. I noticed it gets no academic appreciation out there (no mention on any canon lists), but this is one of the better WWII films. I've improved in this area thanks to RetroRobot :). I don't know when I'll make it to the Tarzan films you have down though.

Hmmm, IMDB Has Raoul Walsh as uncredited director. I wonder what scenes (if he did) did he do.

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Re: Master's Top 10 Hollywood/English Films from 1930 to 201

Unread postby grim_tales » 27 Jun 2014, 08:37

It would indeed be very interesting to see early Chinese/HK films with martial arts in.
AFAIK Burning of the Red Lotus is considered lost.


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