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Old 03-06-2010, 11:29 PM   #201
sabotai
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
Le Capitaine Fracasse (1929)




Directed by: Alberto Cavalcanti
Starring: Pierre Blanchar, Lien Deyers
Length: 92 min.
Genre: Adventure / Drama


Description from Netflix

In this recently recovered and restored swashbuckler, the titular character begins the story as down-and-out Baron de Solignac (Pierre Blanchar), who joins a theater troupe and assumes the name Captain Fracasse. When he isn't performing various feats of derring-do, he and his archrival, the dastardly Duke de Vallombreuse (future screen idol Charles Boyer), vie for the hand of the troupe's innocent leading lady, Isabella (Lien Deyers).

Review

Bad movie. That's about it. Nothing was done better than "average", a lot was done poorly.

My Rating: 3 / 10
IMDB Rating: 6.9 (79 Votes)
Average Netflix: 2.2 / 5 (1,426 Votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-22-2018 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:48 PM   #202
sabotai
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Hallelujah (1929)



Directed by: King Vidor
Starring: Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney
Length: 100 min
Genre: Musical

Plot from Wikipedia (edited)

Sharecroppers Zeke (Daniel L. Haynes) and Spunk Johnson sell their part of the cotton crop for $100. Cheated out of the money by a woman named Chick (Nina Mae McKinney), in collusion with her gambling-hustler friend Hot Shot. Spunk is murdered in the ensuing brawl when Zeke struggled with Hot Shot over a gun. Zeke heads back home and reforms his life, becoming a minister.

Some time later he returns and preaches a rousing revival. Now engaged to a virtuous maiden named Missy (Victoria Spivey), he finds that Chick is still interested in him. She asks for baptism but is clearly not truly repentant. Tragically, Zeke throws away his new life for her.

The film then cuts to Zeke's new life; he is working at a log mill and is married to Chick, who is secretly cheating on him with her old flame, Hot Shot. When Chick and Hot Shot decide to cut and run just as Zeke finds out about the affair, Zeke follows after them. The carriage carrying both Hot Shot and Chick overturns, and Zeke catches up to them. Holding her in his arms, he watches Chick die as she apologizes to him for being unable to change her ways. Zeke then chases Hot Shot on foot. He stalks slowly through the woods and swamp while Hot Shot tries to run but continues to stumble until Zeke finally kills him.

Zeke spends some time in prison and is released on probation. The film ends with Zeke returning back to his family at the cotton crop after serving time in prison. His family is more than happy to welcome him back into the flock.

Review

The movie wasn't that bad, but I'm not much of a musical guy. The singing was pretty decent. Parts of the plot were absolutely absurd. Zeke released on probabtion for killing two people? And when he returned home, everything is forgiven? Just like that? Ok, I can see his mom and dad being happy to have him home, but why would Missy want him back? Twice he was seduced by Chick, once out of his money and the other out of his life. And she just takes him back?

I can count the number of musicals I've seen in my life on one hand. Maybe absurd plots are a part of them. But the acting was also pretty atrocious. Perhaps that's a part of musicals as well.

I guess I'll see. I've still got 4 more musicals to see in 1929 alone.


My Rating: 4 / 10
IMDB Rating: 7.1 / 10 (468 Votes)
Netflix Rating: 3.1 / 5 (2,076 Votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-22-2018 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:11 AM   #203
sabotai
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And now I'm caught up. I'm about half way through 1929. Here are the rest:

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man With A Camera) (Russia - Documentary) - Netflix Watch It Now
The Love Parade (Musical)
The Broadway Melody (Musical)
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (Musical) - Recorded from TCM
The Vagabond Lover (Musical) - Record from TCM
Queen Kelly (Drama)
The Divine Lady (Drama) - Recorded from TCM
The Iron Mask (Adventure)
The Kiss (Greta Garbo Romance) - Recorded from TCM
The Locked Door (Mystery) - Recorded from TCM
The Cocoanuts (Marx Brothers Comedy)

I had to cross "Their Own Desire" off. It's not on Netflix and I was sure I recorded it off TCM but I must have deleted it because I can't find it. I'll add it back in if it turns up.

As you can see, TCM has been a great help. Time to start watching these.

Last edited by sabotai : 03-14-2010 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:25 PM   #204
sabotai
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Can't believe it's been almost a year since I updated this. I went to catch up on TV shows that made it to DVD, modern movies, etc. and just lost track of how much time had gone by.

Anyway, here's a quick list of reviews.

The Broadway Melody
- The first "all-talkie" to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It's a story of two sisters that head to New York to become big stars. A love triangle emerges as the boyfriend of the older sister becomes infatuated with the younger. Not exactly "Best Picture material IMO. I think it scored points mainly for being "all-talkie" plus it had a technicolor scene (lost). One of those "Best Pictures" to win mainly for technological achievements rather than being the best movie. 5/10

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 - Remember those TV shows where they would have actors from a lot of different shows? They were basically commercials for upcoming shows and to highlight talent? I have vague memories of them....anyway, this was like them. Nothing but actors coming on, doing a song or a skit and then it was off to the next star. A TV Variety show before TV. And like variety shows on TV, this was pretty terrible. 2/10

The Vagabond Lover - In order to get a big star talent to hear their music, a band breaks into his home in the dead of night and start playing. However, the guy isn't home and the police come. Since the big talent was new to the area, no one knows what he looks like so the band leader, to avoid jail, says that he is, in fact, Mr. Big Shot. Hilarity ensues. Well, not much hilarity, but I did like some of the songs. It follows the standard case-of-mistaken-identity plot line with a predictable outcome. Maybe not predictable at the time, but movies are still following this standard plot outline. 6/10

The Locked Door - Another film that pretty much highlights the difference between now and then. A woman accepts a date with a man who ends up taking her to a "rum boat". Basically, a ship that heads into international waters so it can serve alcohol during prohibition. When the ship drifts into US waters, it's raided and a photo is taken of the woman with the guy. 18 months later, she's married to someone else and the douchebag starts dating her younger sister. She tries to protect her sister, but it would be a huge scandal if it got out that the two have a (brief) past. 7/10

The Cocoanuts - My first Marx Brothers film. It was actually a bit of a let down. I thought Harpo was hilarious in it, but not so much the others. Groucho runs a hotel in Florida, Zeppo assists him and Chico and Harpo are the bad guys looking to steal from the guests. Not all that funny IMO. Hoping they get better in the future. 5/10


Ok, that's it. Too long in 1929 and too ambitious with my movie list. (I always do that! Get into something and then go overboard with it. ) Looking back at previous posts, I've been in 1929 for a year and a half! I'm moving on to 1930. For now on, no more than 12 movies for a year, and I'll do my best to come under that. That should cover the major Academy Awards movies a some of the movies that aren't "Academy" material, but classics nonetheless.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:23 PM   #205
sabotai
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Films of 1930

Not sure if I could have gone overboard with 1930 films even if I wanted to. Slim pickings as many of the Oscar winning and nominated pictures aren't available on DVD yet.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Been waiting for this one)
Anna Christie (Greta Garbo drama)
Hell's Angels (Howard Hughes directed film of WWI)
Morocco (Romantic drama starring Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich and Adolphe Menjou)
L' Age d'or (French surrealist film)
Animal Crackers (Marx Brothers)
With Byrd At The South Pole (Documentary)
Zemlya (Soviet film by Dovzhenko)
The Big Trail (John Wayne Western - hist first starring role)
Murder! (Alfred Hitchcock)
City Girl (F.W. Murnau directed film)
Abraham Lincoln (D.W. Griffith directed)

Last edited by sabotai : 12-27-2010 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 03:34 PM   #206
sabotai
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1929

Movie Rankings

I gave out a lot of 6s and 7s, and some of them deserved lower. Got to give a little more range there. No standouts either. No 8s or higher. Forget it, this year doesn't deserve rankings. Just a big old helping of "Meh".

Looking at the winners and nominees fro the 2nd Academy Awards, it was a drop off from the 1st. The First had movies like Wings and Sunrise. The winner for Best Picture in the 2nd Academy Awards was The Broadway Melody. Bleh. Bring on 1930.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:33 PM   #207
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Glad to see you getting back on this one

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Houston Hippopotami, III.3: 20th Anniversary Thread - All former HT players are encouraged to check it out!

Janos: "Only America could produce an imbecile of your caliber!"
Freakazoid: "That's because we make lots of things better than other people!"


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Old 01-09-2011, 02:43 PM   #208
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Just read into this for the first time and I have say it's a very impressive exercise. Too cool.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:21 PM   #209
sabotai
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All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)



Directed by: Lewis Milestone
Starring: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray
Length: 130 Minutes
Genre: War
Based On: The novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque



1929-1930 Best Picture
1929-1930 Best Director
1929-1930 Nominated for Best Writing
1929-1930 Nominated for Best Cinematography

An anti-war movie that's very nor subtle with its anti-war message.

The movie is told from the German side in World War 1. It starts off with a classroom of high school students. The teacher is preaching about serving your country. He gets all of the kids worked up and they all march off to join the army. The training sequence of scenes reminded me a lot of Band of Brothers. The instructor is a strict disciplinarian and tries to make the recruits give up.

But just as quickly as they got there, they were sent to the front lines where the movie really begins. As the movie goes on, soldiers drop off one by one as they try to survive in the trenches and carry out missions. The film shows several scenes where soldiers are sitting, just waiting for the combat to begin again. Like I said, the movie doesn't pull any punches, and the soldiers who aren't killed seem to have their spirit killed. In the middle of the movie, there is even a philosophical discussion over the causes of war, and near the end one soldier returns to his old classroom to talk about the horrors he had scene, much to the dismay of the same teacher who convinced him to join in the first place.

All Quiet on the Western Front was way ahead of its time several areas. The themes, the content of the dialogue. Not so much in the acting and camera work as extreme close ups and exaggerated emoting is a constant in all post-silent movies. Although I don't mark these things against the movie, they still stand out to me regardless of how many silent and early talkies I watch.

The movie was received well in the US, but not so much in Europe. In Germany, they saw a lot of anti-Germany messages in the movie, and the Nazi's banned it when they came into power. The film was also banned in several other countries. However, not in Japan where it won the 1931 Kinema Junpo Award for Best Foreign Film (Sound).

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.1 / 10 (26,810 votes)
Netflix Rating: 3.6 / 4 (302,110 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% critics, 85% audience

Last edited by sabotai : 05-22-2018 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:11 PM   #210
sabotai
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Hell's Angels (1930)




Directed By: Howard Hughes, James Whale, Edmund Goulding
Starring: Ben Lyon, James Hall, Jean Harlow
Length: 127 minutes
Genre: War

1929-1930 Nominated for Best Cinematography

An almost opposite film from All Quiet..., Hell's Angels is a fun aviation movie set during WWI.

It's the story of two brothers who join the Royal Air Force and share a common interest, a woman named Helen (Jean Harlow). They are studying at Oxford, along with a German student and friend, when World War I breaks out and they join their respective nation's air force.

Roy (James Hall) is in love with Helen, but after he introduces her to his brother Monte (Ben Lyon), she targets Monte. Insert standard love triangle plot. And while Monte is brave with the women, he is a coward in combat and tries to get out of action when possible. Roy nearly wavers in his duty when he finds out Helen had been playing him, but in the end he joins in on an important mission and literally drags his brother along.

The climax of the movie is an epic air battle between British and German fighters after the British bomb a German supply yard. The battle lasts for quite some time and is very impressive for 1930.

The film took over 2 years to make. Part of the reason was Hughes' involvement causing the first directer to quite, but the major contributor was the arrival of sound. Hughes wanted to incorporate sound into his film, which required him to recast the female lead. He had a Norwegian actress, Greta Nissen, in the role of Helen, but she spoke with a Norwegian accent, so she got the boot.

The movie made twice as much as it cost and was a huge success for Hughes. It had its serious moments, including the ending, but for the most part, this was a fun movie with a hectic, adrenaline filled fighter combat climax that is a completely different movie from the seriousness of All Quiet on the Western Front. But they were both great movies.

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.7 / 10 (2,339 votes)
Netflix Rating: 3.3 / 4 (35,976 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% critic, 56% Audience

Last edited by sabotai : 05-22-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 09-19-2015, 06:59 PM   #211
sabotai
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Morocco (1930)



Directed By: Josef von Sternberg
Starring: Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Adolphe Manjou

Length: 91 minutes
Genre: Romance

4th Academy Awards
Nominated for Best Directer, Best Actress, Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography

Won Best Foreign Language Film at the 1932 Kinema Junpo (Japan) Awards.


I found an old text file that had the ratings for several movies I watched but never wrote up for this dynasty. I'm going to finish out 1930 with the ratings for those movies and start this thing back up in 1931. I will be far more picky with the movies I watch, though. No more 15-20 movies per year.

I'm not going to write up any reviews because I did watch these movies 4-5 years ago. I barely remember them.

My Rating: 6 / 10

IMDB User Rating: 7.3 / 10 (3,588 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% critic (5 votes), 72% Audience
(1,310 votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:05 PM   #212
sabotai
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The Big Trail (1930)



Directed By: Raoul Welsh
Starring: John Wayne, Marguerite Churchll, Tyrone Power Sr., El Brendel
Length: 122 minutes
Genre: Western

One thing I do remember from this movie was that the Native Americans were not portrayed in a racist way. I was honestly surprised by that. There were some aggressive groups, but also groups that Wayne's character interacted with as friends.

My Rating: 7 / 10

IMDB User Rating: 7.3 / 10 (2,313 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% critic (8 votes), 65% Audience
(1,951 votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:10 PM   #213
sabotai
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City Girl (1930)



Directed By: F.W. Murnau
Starring: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan
Length: 89 Minutes
Genre: Drama


My Rating: 5 / 10

IMDB User Rating: 7.9 / 10 (1,791 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 80% critic (4/1 votes), 80% Audience
(373 votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 06-30-2018 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:23 PM   #214
sabotai
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Animal Crackers (1930)



Directed By: Victor Heerman
Starring: The Marx Brothers, Lillian Roth, Margaret Dumont
Length: 97 Minutes
Genre: Comedy


I remember finding it funny, just...left me missing the silent film comedy of Lloyd, Keaton and Chaplin.

My Rating: 7 / 10

IMDB User Rating: 7.7 / 10 (10,260 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% critic (22/1 votes), 90% Audience
(10,155 votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:11 PM   #215
sabotai
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And that closes out 1930. On to a year I was looking forward to and I finally got to it...1931, year of the monster movie. Dr Jekyll and My. Hyde, Dracula and Frankenstein all released in this year.

Moves for 1931

À nous la liberté (French musical comedy)
City Lights (Chaplin comedy)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Horror)
Dracula (Horror)
Frankenstein (Horror)
I Was Born, But… (Japanese drama)
Little Caesar (Crime Drama)
M (Crime drama)
Monkey Business (Marx Brothers comedy)
The Public Enemy (Crime Drama)

If I have time and feel like watching them, I have a few movies on the bench...

Kameradschaft (German drama)
The Maltese Falcon (Crime Drama)
Svengali (Horror)
The Champ (Drama)
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Old 09-20-2015, 11:35 AM   #216
sabotai
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Dracula (1931)



Directed By: Tod Browning, Karl Freund
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan
Length: 85 minutes
Genre: Horror


It was actually kinda hard to take the film seriously as I kept remembering all of the scenes from Dracula Dead and Loving It. I'm probably going to have the same problem when I get to Frankenstein.

Bela Lugosi plays the perfect Dracula...well of course he does, everything about Dracula today is still modeled off his performance in this movie. But still, his portrayal of Dracula is fantastic.

In these early "talkies", a lot of the scenes are still acted like in the silent movie. A lot of emoting, over the the top movement, etc. In one early scene, Dracula goes in for the kill...very slowly. Arms out, the women slowly backing away....perfect for a silent movie, not so much in a sound version. It's interesting how adding sound to a movie makes it feel like it should be much more realistic. Probably similar to watching a play, ballet or musical on stage vs. a movie.

And the ending was very anti-climatic. Just a short chase scene and then it was over.

Spoiler


That's the negatives. The positives are that it was very well acted IMO (silent movie style performance aside), especially from Lugosi, and that, well, it's Dracula. And who doesn't love the story of Dracula?

My Rating: 7 / 10

IMDB User Rating: 7.6 / 10 (30,381 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% critic (41/4 votes), 82% Audience
(44,039 votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 02-17-2018, 02:07 PM   #217
sabotai
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Been a few years. Going to try this again.

M (1931)



Directed By: Fritz Lang
Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Gründgens
Length: 111 minutes
Genre: Crime Drama

National Board of Review: 1933 Best Foreign Film


A Jack The Ripper type serial killer is targeting children on the streets of Berlin, and the city's cops and civilians are losing their collective minds over it. People are openly accused on the streets merely from talking to children.

One of the sequences in this movie that really stood out was when a criminal organization was having a meeting over the killings (how they were bad for business) and the police were also holding their own meeting. Fritz Lang cut between the scenes as they happened. It's been a long time since I've watched a lot of these movies, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen two scenes jump back and forth like that.

From a "film study" perspective, the movie is great. This was Fritz Lang's first 'talkie' and he experimented with the new technology. Sounds off camera, having the killer whistle a tune to identify him, lots of new ideas thanks to the new sound technology of the day.

The negatives would be that, even for 1931, some of the acting is way over the top, and some of the set designs are hilariously cheap. There's one scene that takes place in a night club/bar I think. It's hard to tell just by looking at it because it's just one big empty room for the most part.

My Rating: 6/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.4/10 (113k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% critics (51), 94% Audience (35k)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 02-20-2018, 10:24 PM   #218
sabotai
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City Lights (1931)



Directed By: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers
Length: 87 minutes
Genre: Romantic Comedy


Ah...a silent movie. I never thought I'd actually miss watching them, but I do. Especially after watching the first 'talkies'. Silent movie were never actually silent. They were filled with music, and in some cases sound effects, through the entire movie. Since the beginning of silent movies in the 1890s, it was expected that the movies would be shown with live music being played.

Ironically, it took the 'talkies' to appear before we actually got actual silence in movies. In many of these first sound pictures, there's a lot of silence in between dialog and what little sound effects were used. It's very off-putting. Watching one of these old movies with sound, you can just feel something is off.

Anyway...back to City Lights.

Rated by many as Chaplin's best movie, it's everything you'd expect from a Chaplin movie. The Tramp meets and falls for a blind flower girl. He also becomes friends with a suicidal, alcoholic millionaire who never remembers the Tramp when he's sober. They get into a lot drunken hijinks, much to the chagrin of the millionaire's butler.

My favorite scene in the movie was the boxing scene. The Tramp finds himself in need of money, gets recruited into a boxing match and has to fight someone who looks (and demonstrates that he's) much tougher than the Tramp. Hilarity ensues.

I really enjoyed the movie, but I'd say The Gold Rush still ranks as my favorite Chaplin movie.

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.6/10 (127k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% critics (43-1), 96% Audience (26k votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:02 PM   #219
sabotai
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I was Born, but... gets bumped because it was released in 1932.

東京の合唱 (1931)
English Title: Tokyo Chorus



Directed By: Yasujirō Ozu
Starring: Tokihiko Okada, Emiko Yagumo
Length: 90 min.
Genre: Silent Drama / Comedy

The movie starts out with a group of children messing around during morning drills at school. The teacher making it clear every time he write a note in his notebook over bad behavior.

Flash forward to adulthood now. The biggest trouble maker of the group works for an insurance company and is married with 3 children. His oldest wants a bike and is promised it because his father will be getting his bonus at work. At work, one of the older employees is fired, just 1 year before he earns his pension, because he had a few life insurance policies cashed in shortly after they were taken out. Outraged, our main character goes into the manager's office and stands up for the employee. He ends up being fired, too.

Unable to buy his son a bike, his son acts out and is inconsolable. Tokyo is going through a economic slump and work is hard to find. His daughter even gets sick and has to be hospitalized for a brief time. The family resorts to selling some of their cloths to pay the bills. They did end up keeping their promise to their son, and found a way to buy him a bike.

The father ends up running into his old school teacher. He no longer teaches and instead owns a small restaurant. He offers our protagonist a job, and promises to help him find work as a teacher. The work is humiliating to our protagonist. He wants around the streets of Tokyo holding a banner and passing out flyers. Even worse, his wife sees him and is mortified (her being unaware that he's helping his old teacher). When our protagonist explains the situation to his wife later at home, she understands, and even offers to join him in helping his old teacher at the restaurant.

The movie ends with a bit of an open ended ending. The old teacher comes through, and finds our hero a job. The catch is that it's in a rural town far from Tokyo. They agree to take the job, but their facial expressions are very conflicted. It's hard to tell by the ending if they actually took the job or if they stays in Tokyo and continued to help out the old teacher.

I liked the movie, but I think my enjoyment was more about seeing a window into 1930s Tokyo than the movie itself. All of the professionals walked around in western style suits and hats, but when they weren't working, they wore traditional Japanese clothing. Most of the streets in Tokyo were still dirt roads. It looked like a weird fusion of modern (for the time) western culture and traditional Japanese culture.

Prior to watching this, I watched the 10 surviving minutes of a movie called "I Graduated, But..." which was released in 1929 (also directed by Ozu). In it, I could see a Harold Lloyd "Speedy" poster on the wall of the main character's house. He also wore a hat similar to that of Lloyd's.

In a little of 2 decades, Ozu will direct a movie called Tokyo Story (1953), which is regarded as one of the best Japanese movies ever made, and I'll be watching as many movies of his as I can until then to see how his style evolved. This particular movie (Tokyo Chorus) is known for being the first film of his where he used a low-angle camera frequently.

My Rating: 7/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.4/10 (1k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 4 critics rated fresh, 81% of Audience (3.7 / 5 ; 454 votes)
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Old 03-04-2018, 02:42 PM   #220
sabotai
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Frankenstein (1931)



Directed By: James whale
Starring: Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles, Boris Karloff
Length: 80 min.
Genre: Horror


The first scene of this movie is Henry Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz digging up a grave. Scene 2 is them cutting down someone who was hanged. Scene 3 is of Fritz stealing a brain from a college. So, you know it's going to be a good movie.

I'm sure everyone knows the basic plot. "It's alive!", monster escapes, town hunts it down and kills him.

I enjoyed this one a bit more than Dracula. The acting was not silent-style acting. No over the top body language. The acting was more subtle, more suited for sound. Of course, the monster was over the top...but, you know, he's a monster. The actor, Boris Karloff, was also wearing 11 pound shoes (11 pounds each) to make him look taller.

This movie started Karloff's career as a movie-monster actor. He'll play Frankenstein's Monster several more times, Imhotep in 1932's The Mummy, as well as other. And along with him, Jack Pierce, the makeup artist behind Karloff's now iconic version of Frankenstein's monster. They go on to have a long lasting partnership in this genre.

My Rating: 7/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.9/10 (54k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% critics (45), 87% of Audience (3.8 / 5 ; 41k votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 05-25-2018 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:45 PM   #221
sabotai
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Kameradschaft (1931)



Directed By: G. W. Pabst
Starring: Alexander Granach, Fritz Kampers, Daniel Mendaille, Ernst Busch, Elisabeth Wendt Gustav Püttjer
Length: 90 min.
Genre: Disaster Drama


This story is based on the real-life Courrières mine disaster in which 1,099 miners died. Rescue teams from both Paris and Germany contributed to the rescue attempts.

The movie takes place in 1930's Europe at a mine on the border of Germany and France. A few scenes show the tension between the French and German workers. There are many out of work miners as the world economy has taken a nose dive. Interesting how the world's economy has become a central point in movies from the US to Germany to Japan. I remember in Tokyo Chorus, Hoover was even mentioned by name.

A fire on the French side gets out of control and causes a collapse. German rescue workers show up to help with the rescue attempt. At one point, three miners break through the bars set up in the mine at the French-German border. They weren't going to help (I don't think...) but they end up helping an old miner and his injured grandson, who represents the child labor used in mines in those days.

The movie ends with two speeches about camaraderie (Kameradschaft) between the miners, one in French and one in German. The last scene is the recreation of the bars separating France and Germany in the mine.

As for my rating, this movie was dreadfully boring. Being a Disaster Drama movie, the effects and stunts were center stage, and despite my best efforts to get myself back into a 1930s mentality when watching these movies, the visuals didn't draw me in. Nice to see what state of the art visuals in German cinema were in 1931, but as far as how much I enjoyed watching the movie: I didn't.

My Rating: 4/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.4/10 (925 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, 83% of Audience (3.8 / 5 ; 181 votes)
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:05 PM   #222
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The Public Enemy (1931)



Directed By: William A. Wellman
Starring: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods, Joan Blondell
Length: 83 min.
Genre: Crime Drama


1931 Best Writing, Original Story Nominee

Cagney's 4th film and first starring role. He was originally going to play a supporting role, while Edward Woods was cast as Tom Powers, the main character. The director thought Cagney fit the role better, so he switched them. And for over 80 years since, people have been doing their best Cagney impression while saying lines that end in ", see?"

This movie reminded me a lot of Goodfellas. Not in story or characters, but more in narrative style. It starts off showing how Tom Powers (James Cagney) started getting into organized crime as a child, teenager and then adult. It didn't glamorize gangsters. It was a pretty gritty, violent movie for the 1930s. At this point, the Hays Code had been written and published, but wasn't being enforced. That happens in a few years (1934).

The movie also shows how prohibition was a windfall for organized crime. The characters went from barely surviving to being flush with money. But with more money also came more violence.

I really liked this movie. But I also have an affinity for gangster movies. After all, The Godfather Part 1, The Godfather Part 2 and Goodfellas would easily make my Top 10 movies ever list. I'm never not in the mood for a good gangster flick.

My Rating: 8/10

IMDB User Rating: 7.7/10 (15k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (28), 84% of Audience (3.9 / 5 ; 7k votes)
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Old 03-19-2018, 10:11 PM   #223
sabotai
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And that will bring 1931 to a close. I tried to watch À nous la liberté but the video quality was very bad and I didn't feel like sitting through it.

1931 Movie Rankings
1. The Public Enemy - 8/10
2. City Lights - 8/10
3. Tokyo Chorus - 7/10
4. Frankenstein - 7/10
5. Dracula - 7/10
6. M - 6/10
7. Kameradschaft - 4/10

1932 Movie Watch List
Hell's House (Drama starring Bette Davis)
Freaks (Horror)
Scarface (Gangster)
Grand Hotel (Drama starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore - Best Picture winner)
I Was Born, But... (Japanese Drama - directed by Ozu Yasujirō)
Movie Crazy (Harold Lloyd comedy)
The Most Dangerous Game (Horror)
I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang (Crime Drama)
A Farewell To Arms (War Drama)
20,000 Years in Sing Sing (Crime Drama starring Tracy Spencer and Bette Davis)
Vampyr (Horror)
No Blood Relation (Japanese Drama - directed by Naruse Mikio)
White Zombie (Horror)
The Mummy (Horror)

I recently subscribed to a streaming service called Filmstruck. It has two collections and I signed up for both, Filmstruck's collection and The Criterion Channel. It's mainly what has allowed me to start this back up. Lots of old movies on it. Some movies I still do need to rent through Amazon, but not too many.

The one big downside to Filmstruck is that it actually still uses Flash Player (lol...) on its website.

They have a lot of Japanese movies. The three main directors of this time period were Ozu Yasujirō, Naruse Mikio and Mizoguchi Kenji and Filmstruck has many of their films, so expect to see a few Japanese movies every year. Mizoguchi's films on Filmstruck start up in 1936.

Kurosawa Akira starts up in 1943 as does Kinoshita Keisuke.

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Old 03-19-2018, 11:45 PM   #224
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Since it's been 7 years since someone besides you posted in the thread (unless I skipped over one), I thought I would break the streak and say I love this dynasty. Thanks for the effort you put into it.

P.S.-Don't take any long breaks. Like Ice and Fire, I may be dead before we get anywhere near the end.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:18 PM   #225
sabotai
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Thanks for following.

As long as there isn't a massive exodus of old movies off streaming platforms, I'll keep doing this now. When the big shift from DVDs to streaming happened, older movies were left behind and for a good long while there were hardly any old movies available. Netflix still barely has any. Thankfully other streaming services have come along (finally!) to fill that market for the old movies.

Another reason was that I cut the cable cord. I used to record movies off TCM like crazy. When I got rid of cable, I lost that tactic, too.

And now streaming has caught up and then some. Not sure how many of the movies from Ozu, Naruse and Mizoguchi I would have gotten to see (not to mention foreign movies from other countries) had I still needed to rely on DVD rentals and TCM.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:52 AM   #226
sabotai
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White Zombie (1932)



Directed By: Victor Halperin
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazier
Length: 66 min.
Genre: Horror


The birth of the terrible B-horror movie. It was low budget, had terrible acting, terrible lighting, terrible camerawork, terrible editing, and the dialog was absurd. Bela Lugosi is the film's only redeemable quality.

Credited as being the first feature-length zombie movie, the zombies here were not rotting dead bodies, but living people more in a hypnotized state. Bela Lugosi plays a Haitian witch doctor with a group of zombies he controls.

The movie takes place in Haiti. Madeleine is set to marry one man, but a rich plantation owner wants her for himself. He enlists the help of Legendre (Bela Lugosi) and he says there's just one way to stop the wedding. The rich guy resists at first, but in the end poisons Madeleine and turns her into a lifeless zombie. The spell is finally broken when Legendre is killed and she reunites with her fiance.

If you like terrible B-movies, you might like this. Otherwise, holy shit was it fucking awful.

My Rating: 3/10
IMDB User Rating: 6.4/10 (7k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% (16-2), 57% of Audience (3.4 / 5 ; 7k votes)
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:00 PM   #227
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Really surprised at the low rating for M. I thought it was a masterpiece and by far the best movie of that year. Only City Lights was close.

FWIW, this was my top 10 for 1931:

1. M (Fritz Lang)
2. City Lights (Charles Chaplin)
3. Miracle Woman (Frank Capra)
4. The Smiling Lieutenant (Ernst Lubitsch)
5. An American Tragedy (Josef Von Sternberg)
6. Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg)
7. Platinum Blonde (Frank Capra)
8. The Public Enemy (William Wellman)
9. Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy)
10. The Royal Bed (Lowell Sherman)

As for 1932, I would definitely recommend adding Trouble in Paradise to your watch list.
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Old 03-22-2018, 01:52 PM   #228
sabotai
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I probably should have watched a few 'warm-up' 1930s movies before jumping into M. If I were still splitting my rating between "Entertainment" and "Historical", the later would have gotten a 9 or 10 for its influence and all of the editing and camerawork. I just didn't enjoy the movie that much.

As for Trouble in Paradise, I can't find it outside of buying the DVD. It doesn't even have a listing on justwatch.com
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:38 PM   #229
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The Most Dangerous Game (1932)



Directed By: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Starring: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong
Length: 62 min.
Genre: Adventure, Horror
Based On: "The Most Dangerous Game" short story by Richard Connell (1924)


Apparently I'm way off on this one. Critics love it, 100% on RT with 77% with fans, IMDB has it at 7.2. Personally, I thought the movie as awful.

The movie starts off with a world famous big game hunter on a ship with several other people. They are having an plot-obvious conversation on if the big game hunter would be willing to trade places with his prey. The ship wrecks and the big game hunter is the only survivor.

He makes his way to a large house. He meets a Russian Count named Zaroff who happens to love hunting and has read everything our hero has written on hunting. He also meets two other shipwreck survivors, a brother and sister. The sister warns the big game hunter that something weird is going on.

Our hero and the sister sneak around and find Zaroff's trophy room and it's filled human heads. Zaroff shows up with the brother, now dead as he had just been hunted. Zaroff tries to recruit the big game hunter to hunt with him, he refuses, and then Zaroff decides to hunt the hunter. Our hero ends up winning and escapes the island with the sister.

So yeah, like I said, I'm apparently way off on this one. I thought just about everything about this movie was bad. I'll give it credit for the acting. It wasn't filled with silent-era style acting like a lot of movies at this time. So it gets a point there. And it gets a point for some nice action scenes. However, I hated just about everything else in this movie. It was just barely over an hour long, and I was checking how much time was left before I even hit the 30 minute mark (27 minutes, to be exact). One of the worst movies ever going by my "How long did it take for me to check how much time was left" standard.

My Rating: 4/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.2/10 (8k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (16-0), 77% of Audience (3.6 / 5 ; 3k votes)
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Old 04-20-2018, 04:54 PM   #230
sabotai
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20,000 Years In Sing-Sing (1932)



Directed By: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Louis Calhern
Length: 78 min.
Genre: Prison / Crime Drama


Tommy Connors (Spencer Tracy) is sent to Sing-Sing on robbery and assault His associate tells him he'll be taken care of while in prison, but the warden stops that before it gets started. Connors enters prison thinking he's going to own the place, but the warden's punishments work. Connors refuses to take part in an attempted jail break.

Meanwhile, his girlfriend Fay Wilson (Bette Davis) tries to keep the pressure up on Connors' associate Joe Finn to push for a new trial, but she ends up hurt in a car accident and isn't expected to live. The warden, now trusting Connors, allows him 1 day pass to go see her.

Turns out, the accident was no accident and Finn was responsible. Finn shows up, they get into a fight, and Fay shoots Finn. Connors takes the gun, flees, and eventually shows back up at the prison. He takes the fall for the shooting despite Fay's objections and is executed.

This movie was boring. It got going a little in the middle. Most of what I just described was Act 2. Acts 1 was the warden breaking Connors. The vast majority of Connors' antics are something you'd see in a high school drama. They were incredibly childish, and not at all menacing. He's a hardened criminal, but he's doing shit a punk in 9th grade would do.

Some nice action in the middle, like I said, and Act 3 was all waiting for his execution. 20 minutes of nothing happening, then he's dead.

My Rating: 3/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.1/10 (2k votes)
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Old 04-21-2018, 11:49 AM   #231
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生さぬ仲 (1932)
Nasanu naka
English Title: No Blood Relation




Directed By: Naruse Mikio
Starring: Okada Yoshiko, Nara Shinyou, Tsukuba Yukiko
Length: 79 min.
Genre: Family Drama
Based On:


Naruse's oldest suvriving feature length film.

The film starts off with a purse snatching. What jumped out at me was the use of a "zoom in" on the title card of the word "Theif!". It was jarring, in a good way. And Naruse did this several times in the movie which was very effective.

Throughout the movie, Naruse used a lot of camera movement. A lot of "zoom ins" (cameras at the time could not zoom in, so the zoom in was really a use of a dolly to pull off the effect), along with panning, tracking shots, etc. Unfortunately, cameras being what they were back then, a lot of his camera movement (especially the zoom ins) meant a lot of out of focus shots as well. But I loved the experimenting he did on the movie with the camera, as well as the editing. I even saw a few overlays with the title cards. This journey has gone on for a long time, but I can't remember seeing a title card overlayed on top of a shot before. It was just a few times, a "Later that day" over video of a tree. Something like that.

As for the story, the movie is about a successful actress returning from Hollywood. She had left for America several years ago, leaving behind a husband and child. He had remarried, and the child had grown up thinking her step mother was her mother. And that was the explicitly stated (by one of the characters) theme of the movie: Giving birth to a child does not make you a mother, raising a child makes you a mother.

The actress, with the help of her criminal brother and his lackey, takes advantage of the family's financial struggle to get her former mother-in-law to bring the child to her home. The second part of the movie is the step-mother's attempt to get the child back.

The plot was very "meh", a few "well that was a hell of a coincidence" moments, and a very over the top happy ending. The actress leaves all her money to her child, the child goes back to her family and the actress, along with her brother and his lackey, head to America.

I loved the film from a "film study" perspective, but didn't enjoy the story much.

My Rating: 6/10
IMDB User Rating: 6.9/10 (253 votes)
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:49 PM   #232
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Movie Crazy (1932)



Directed By: Clyde Bruckman
Written By: Vincent Lawrence
Starring: Harold Lloyd, Constance Cummings, Kenneth Thomson
Length: 98 min.
Genre: Comedy


It has its moments, but not one of Lloyd's better movies.

Lloyd stars as a man who dreams of being in the movies. He sends in a letter along with a headshot (accidentally sent someone else's picture) and gets a reply to come audition in Hollywood.

When he arrives, he immediately gets into trouble as he's grabbed randomly to be an extra in a scene and ends up ruining every take. He meets the love interest of the film by trying to help her get the top of her car up in the rain. That goes horribly, and he's injured in the process. She brings him into her home to help him with his injury, and so begins their on and off romance. The main source of the conflict is that she has a role in a movie, and in full makeup, wig and speaking with an accent, Lloyd doesn't recognize her, so she tests him in various ways. He always fails them.

The end of the movie sees Lloyd fight another actor on the set of a movie (Lloyd is unaware that they are shooting a scene when the fight starts). This actor has also been harassing the love interest and threatening Lloyd throughout the movie. One of the heads of the studio sees the fight and thinks it's part of the shoot. He laughs nonstop and the movie ends with the studio head giving Lloyd a contract.

Some of the gags in the movie were hysterical. Some were not at all. And some could have been, but were ruined with how they were filmed.

For example, in the beginning of the movie, Lloyd gets the letter from Hollywood. In his excitement, he runs into his house and shouts about how he got a reply. He absentmindedly forgot to put the car in park. His father, who is upstairs and drawing a bath, runs downstairs to see what the commotion is about.

A minute later, they hear the car crash and look outside. His father scolds him for being careless and says he doesn't know where he gets it from. Cue water dripping down from the ceiling. Now, we all get the joke. We all know what happened. Just have the father realize what he did and have him run back upstairs.

But that's not what happens. They all look up. A full second or two of them looking up. A full 2 seconds long shot of water coming through the ceiling. A full 2 seconds long shot of the family again. A full 2 seconds long shot of the tub overflowing. WE GET IT. We got the joke 10 seconds ago!

And jumping to the end, the comedic fight scene went on for way too long. It had a few funny moments, but I was ready for the fight to be done a good minute before it finally ended. And in between a bad start to the movie and the way too long fight scene at the end, was a movie that was funny half the time and very much not the other half.

I'll give a shout out to the test screening sequence. That was hilarious and my favorite part of the movie.

My Rating: 5/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.2/10 (1k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, 67% of Audience (3.7 / 5 ; 167 votes)
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Old 05-05-2018, 08:42 PM   #233
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Freaks (1932)



Directed By: Tod Browning
Written By: Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon
Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates
Length: 62 min.
Genre: Drama, Horror


The movie is a tale of the personal relationships among the carnies of a circus act, mostly on the 'freaks'. One of the little people, Hans, is engaged to another little person, Frieda, but once a pretty trapeze artist starts flirting with him, he starts to fall for her. She is Cleopatra and is in a relationship with a circus strongman, Hercules. She toys with Hans and Hans pulls more and more away from Frieda.

Cleopatra learns that Hans is actually very wealthy, so she gets Hans to leave Frieda for her and they get married. She starts poisoning him at their wedding reception but ends up lashing out at the rest of the 'freaks' when they start singing "Google gobble, google gobble, we accept you, one of us".

The freaks, and eventually Hans, realize she's up to no good, catch her in the act of continuing to poison Hans, and chase her down as she tries to flee. That last part is when the "horror" shows up.

At first, I was disappointed in the movie. I had thought it was going to be much more of a horror movie than it was. I built the movie up in my head over the years to something it probably wasn't going to live up to. But after thinking about it for awhile, I think it was a really good movie. The pace was really good, the directing was good. An overall good movie.

Fun fact: The actor who played Hans was a member of the lollipop guild in the Wizard of Oz. Frieda was a villager of Munchkinland as well.

My Rating: 7/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.2/10 (1k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, 67% of Audience (3.7 / 5 ; 167 votes)
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:34 PM   #234
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A Farewell to Arms (1932)



Directed By: Frank Borzage
Written By: Benjamin Glazer, Oliver H.P. Garrett
Starring: Helen Hayes, Gary Cooper, Adolphe Menjou
Length: 85 min.
Genre: Romance
Based On: the novel "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway


Academy Awards
Winner: Best Cinematography
Winner: Best Sound, Recording
Nominee: Best Picture
Nominee: Best Art Direction

Looks like the masses are with me on this one over the Academy and the critics. This movie was fucking terrible. A 6.6 in IMDB for a major movie isn't good, neither is 52% on RT.

Our "hero" Frederic Henry, played by Gary Cooper, is an ambulance driver from America and his "best friend" (I guess), Rinaldi, played by Adolphe Menjou (who was great as always), is an Italian doctor. The movie takes place in Italy during The Great War.

Rinaldi convinces Frederic to go out on a double date. Rinaldi's girl is named Catherine (Helen Hayes) and Rinaldi sets Frederic up with a woman named Helen. Well, our "hero" decides to be the world's worst wingman. Frederic and Catherine had run into eat other briefly the night before during an air raid. Frederic was drunk and creeped out Catherine. Now, even though she recognizes him as the guy that creeped her out the night before, decides to go fro a walk with Frederic because, as I said, Frederic is the world's worst wingman.

So, Frederic then rapes Catherine. I know, I know, 'it was a different time', but I'm pretty sure when a guy goes in for the kill, if the woman is saying "No, please, no", that was rape in any time. So he totally rapes her, and after the two of them fall in love.

Their relationship is against army regulations, so when he is sent back to the front, she is transferred to Milan on Rinaldi's suggestion. Soon after, Frederic is wounded in an attack and Renaldi sends him to Milan for treatment. Half the time, it seemed like Rinaldi was helping Frederic, the other half of the time he was getting the way trying to split them up.

When Frederic is sent back to the front after he recovered, the two lovers write each other often. However, neither of them receives the other's letters (Renaldi's interference again). Frederic then deserts the army to go find Catherine, while Catherine had gone to Switzerland to have his child (she had kept that little fact from him). When she finds out her letters were sent back unopened, she faints. She has the child stillborn and Frederic gets there just in time to watch her die...of something. The end.

Garbage. Total garbage of a movie.

My Rating: 2/10
IMDB User Rating: 6.6/10 (4k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% of Critics (12-1), 52% of Audience (3.2 / 5 ; 5k votes)
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:49 PM   #235
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I missed the dynasty comeback - I'll be following

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Old 05-13-2018, 09:49 PM   #236
sabotai
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生れてはみたけれど (1932)
umarete wa mita keredo
English Title: I was Born, But...



Directed By: Ozu Yasujirō
Written By: Fushimi Akira, Ozu Yasujirō
Starring: Saitō Tatsuo, Aoki Tomio, Sugawara Hideo
Length: 100 min.
Genre: Drama


Awards
1933 Kinema Junpo Award for Best Film of the Year

There are two types of movies that start off with a few strikes against them for me. The first is romantic movies. These, by far, seem most prone to 'paint by numbers' movie making. The same for it's offshoot, the romantic comedy.

The other type is a movie about kids. I don't find it especially entertaining to watch kids act like brats for an hour and half, so the movie better be exciting or funny (or both).

The story follows two young brothers, Keiji and Ryoichi. They have just moved into the Tokyo suburbs. The same neighborhood as their father's boss. The two brothers immediately get on the wrong side of a local bully, and to avoid him and his gang, they skip school. Their father follows them to the school the next day to make sure they go.

A local delivery boy who is older than the rest of them agrees to help the brothers. He threatens and humiliates the bully, and the two brothers become kings of the neighborhood. They immediately start acting like despots.

One of the neighborhood's kid, Taro, invites some of his friends, including the brothers, over to watch home movies. His father likes to make them at work and around the city. He also happens to be the brothers' father's boss. In the office videos, they see their dad acting like a clown and every one laughs. They realize their father is not an important person in the company and are humiliated.

At home, they start acting up and throwing tantrums. It was an epic meltdown. But the next morning after a failed hunger strike, they reconcile with their dad, and show signs that the hierarchy amongst the boys in the neighborhood was breaking down some and they all were just going to be friends.

Near the end, the father says to his wife (paraphrasing) "I wonder if they'll lead the same sorry lives as us." Only if they're lucky, considering what happens in Japan over the next 10-15 years.

Okay, so, I didn't enjoy the movie much. The kids were brats and the movie wasn't especially funny. There were some chuckles here and there, but not consistently funny. From a technical and artistic standpoint, it was definitely a "must watch" on any film study list. And I can see why people in general would love this movie. There's no head scratching from me for why this film is so highly rated, it's just not the type of movie I personally enjoy.

My Rating: 6/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.1/10 (4k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% of Critics (23-0), 90% of Audience (4.1 / 5 ; 1k votes)
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:04 PM   #237
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A Farewell To Arms is a great book, though. Admittedly the first time I read it, I hated it. Second time I read it, I thought it was pretty good. Third time I read it, I loved it (for fun undergrad, UArk grad, UNLV grad respectively). Hem's obscenely tight, layered prose gets lost in translation to film. Just how it is.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:32 PM   #238
sabotai
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The only Hemingway book I've read was The Old Man and the Sea. That was way back in high school and I remember liking it, but I can't remember many details about it now. I should add some of his books to my to-read list so I can learn from his prose to help with my own writing career that I'll get around to starting.

I just read the plot summery for the novel, and that sounded like a much better story then the movie I watched. Seems like they changed a lot of the middle and end in the movie.
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Old 05-13-2018, 10:45 PM   #239
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Grand Hotel (1932)



Directed By: Edmund Goulding
Written By: William A. Drake
Starring: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beary, Lionel Barrymore
Length: 112 min.
Genre: Drama
Based On: 1929 Novel "Menschen im Hotel" by Vicki Baum


Awards
Winner: 1932 Academy Award for Best Picture

"Grand Hotel. Always the same. People come. People go. Nothing ever happens."

The movie takes place at the Grand Hotel in Berlin, Germany, and included an all-star cast.

We follow the intertwined storylines of several characters, John Barrymore plays Baron von Geigern, a man who has follow on hard times and has debts to pay. Greta Garbo plays depressed and seemingly washed up ballet dancer Grusinskaya. Joan Crawford plays Flaemmchen, a stenographer hired by General Director Preysing (Wallace Beary), who owns a large company, to type letters and meeting notes for the week. Lionel Barrymore plays Otto Kringelein, a low-level accountant who works in Preysing's company who has been given just a short time to live, so he takes his life savings to blow it all by living the high life at the Grand Hotel.

All of the characters run into each other and interact, but the main plot gets going when the Baron breaks into Grusinskaya's hotel room to steal her pearls. She returns before he can make his escape and hides in her room. While there, he watches and listens to her and, wouldn't you know it, falls in love with her.

But her tour in Berlin is up, and she's off the Vienna soon. The Baron tries several schemes to make some money, even steal it, but they all fail. He insists on paying his own way even though Grusinskaya is wealthy and can easily afford to pay his way. The Baron at last tries to steal from General Director Preysing. He's caught in the act. He tries to talk his way out of it, but Preysing grabs the phone to call the police. The Baron walks towards the balcony and Preysing, overcome with rage, hits him with the phone, killing him.

Grusinskaya's manager and staff get her out of the hotel the next morning, managing to keep her from hearing about what happened to the Baron.

MGM went all out for this movie and it got them the Oscar. I liked the movie, but I wasn't blown away by it. One of the early scenes of the movie is a long take of various guests checking in. I thought that was incredibly well done. Well acted, well directed, overall good, enjoyable movie that gives a look into what the 1930s considered glamorous.

My Rating: 7/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.6/10 (14k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% of Critics (31-5), 77% of Audience (3.8 / 5 ; 7k votes)
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:52 PM   #240
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Short programming update: The ratings and reviews for Hell's House look pretty bad, and I've seen enough bad movies for 1932. So I'm swapping it out in favor of Wooden Crosses, a highly regarded French WW1 movie. I'm also adding Where Now Are The Dreams of Youth?, the second movie done by Ozu Yasujirō in 1932.

So that leaves Wooden Crosses, Vampyr, Where Now Are The Dreams of Youth?, and I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang left.

I watched Scarface a few days ago, and I'll write up that review soon.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:01 PM   #241
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I liked I Was Born But..., Movie Crazy, and Freaks much more than you did, but I'm glad you didn't like A Farewell to Arms. It's weird because I usually love Borzage movies (7th Heaven, Lucky Star, Man's Castle), but this one is terrible and I especially thought Helen Hayes was awful in it. There's another movie she did called The Sin of Madelon Claudet, which she won the Oscar for and she's probably even worse there.
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:54 PM   #242
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Scarface (1932)



Directed By: Howard Hawks
Written By: Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John lee Mahin, W.R. Burnett
Starring: Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Osgood Perkins, Karen Morley
Length: 95 min.
Genre: Crime Drama / Gangster
Based On: 1929 Novel "Scarface" by Armitage Trail


This movie committed a terrible storytelling sin, but I'll get to that.

It's the 1920s, Chicago. The movie starts off with Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) assassinating "Big" Louis Costillo. He whistles a tune before he does it, a la the killer from M. This gives his boss, Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins) control of the Chicago South Side with Tony as one of his top lieutenants.

The completely loose cannon Tony eventually starts shooting up places controlled by the Irish gangs. Johnny explicitly told him not to, but Tony does it anyway. This makes Tony, and Johnny's entire gang, a target for the Irish gangs run by O'Hara.

While this is going on, Tony also has his eyes set on Poppy (Karen Morley), Johnny's girlfriend, and makes several attempts to win her over. At one point, the two are openly flirting with each other in front of Johnny at a club.

Tony sends his best friend, Guino Rinaldo, to assassinate O'Hara, setting off an all out gang war. The Irish hit back with a drive by using Thompson sub-machine guns. Tony laughs as they fire. He can't believe they made a machine gun you can hold in your hands. They manage to get one and return to base with it. The movie has several scenes in a row that are nothing but violent gunfights and killings. They even recreate the Saint Valentine's Massacre during this sequence.

Johnny is not pleased at all with what is going on, and believes Tony is trying to take over his business. He arranges for Tony to be hit. Tony survives, makes it to Johnny's place with his friend Guino. As Johnny whistles his tune, Guino kills Johnny.

Johnny flees the city until things cool down. In that time, Guino gets into a relationship with Tony's sister Cesca (Ann Dvorack). As soon as Tony returns and sees this, he guns down Guino. The police are called and move to arrest Tony. In his apartment, Cesca comes to kill Tony but can't do it. She loses her mind and fights the police along with Tony. She gets shot, she dies. Tony acts like he's going to give himself up, but makes a run for it, and is gunned down as he flees his apartment building.

So what was the sin? The movie preached its theme, and you can mostly thank the censors for that. It starts off with a few title cards saying "Gang violence is out of control, we must demand the government do something". In the middle of the movie, some nameless character gives a monologue to several other nameless characters about what must be done to stop gang violence.

In just about every gangster type movie I've seen, whether it's The Public Enemy from 1931 to Goodfellas and Menace 2 Society in the 90s, they let the story speak to the horrors that gangs bring on communities. They don't need to explicitly state "hey guys...this is bad, k?". Theme should come through a story. It doesn't need to be explicitly starting on a billboard that you display to the audience in the middle of the movie.

After reading about many of the changes the censors were demanding, it's good that Howard Hughes who produced the movie told Hawkes to ignore them. However, some of the things the censors insisted on made it in, and it detracted from a good gangster movie that already did a damn good job of showing how awful and detrimental to your life the gang lifestyle was. This is something I'll never understand. I simply can't understand how anyone can watch Menace 2 Society, Scarface, Goodfellas, The Wire, The Shield, The Public Enemy.....and think that they glorify gangs. They do the exact opposite!

Okay, with that out of the way, I really did like the movie ignoring all of that bullshit, but it could have been a lot better.

I did think the acting was really good. It starting to feel like, after a few years of sound becoming the norm in America, that actors and directors are adjusting to the new normal in movie making. Actors emoting with their bodies in silent pictures works great...not so much with sound, and thankfully the movie industry learned that quickly.

Overall, good gangster movie. Could have been better, especially without all of the overt moralizing.

My Rating: 7/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.8/10 (21k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% of Critics (36-0), 86% of Audience (3.9 / 5 ; 25k votes)
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:55 PM   #243
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymcg421 View Post
I liked I Was Born But..., Movie Crazy, and Freaks much more than you did, but I'm glad you didn't like A Farewell to Arms.

I knew we'd find one we agreed on eventually!
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:05 PM   #244
Izulde
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I was starting to get excited, because I thought Gun Crazy was coming up soon, which is my favorite B/W movie not named Casablanca. Turns out it's not that 1930s like I thought, but 1950. Bah.

This is still my favorite dynasty thread of all time, though.
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:08 PM   #245
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1950s? No worries, I should get there in....19, 20 years tops.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:33 PM   #246
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Short programming update again, scratch Where Now Are The Dreams of Youth? from the list. I didn't realize until I started watching it tonight that it's literally a silent movie. No music at all. I thought about still trying to watch it, but about 15 minutes in, I turned it off. I'll still watch it in spurts here and there (as I plan to for Ozu's other, earlier work that I haven't seen yet), but I'm not holding up the dynasty for it. Maybe I'll do something like a retrospective on those movies later.

All the rest of the movies have been watched. I'll give my reviews over the next few days. Spoiler Alert: We're ending 1932 on a high note.
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Old 05-28-2018, 06:39 PM   #247
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Vampyr (1932)



Directed By: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Written By: Carl Theodor Dreyer , Julian West
Starring: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Jan Hieronimko
Length: 73 min.
Genre: Horror


This movie was a sound/silent hybrid. Early on, much of the story is advanced through title cards, even though the movie has sound. This, funny enough, gave it a somewhat modern feel, as, like in a silent movie, there was music through most of the movie. The reason seems to be because the movie was being made in 3 languages, Dreyer kept the dialog to a minimum.

The eerie soundtrack, little dialog, and great use of shadows and visual effects made this a great mind-fuck movie.

While staying at an inn one night, Allan Gray is woken by an old man coming into his room. He leaves a package on the table and leaves. The note on the package says "To be opened upon my death". Gray follows the man, guided by shadows, to an old castle.

From there, all kinds of weird ship happens.

This movie was mostly panned by critics on release, and it seems Dreyer didn't direct another film until the 1940s. Maybe 1932 wasn't ready for Mindfuck Horror. I thought it was great.

The visual effects and camera work were top notch, as they usually were for directors from Europe. They had an eye for it the way movie makers from other parts of the world just hadn't developed yet. Although Dreyer's previous movie was The Passion of Joan of Arc, which I did not care for. At least, back in 2009 when I watched it. I wonder if my opinion on it would be different now...

One downside, at least from watching it on Filmstruck, is that the title cards are in German. It does show subtitles, but the subtitles are white, and the text on the title cards are white, so the subtitles are hard to read during the titlecards, downright impossible a few times. Fortunately for me, while I'm not fluent in German, I know enough that I got the gist of what each title card said.

A creepy, mind-fuck of a horror movie, great visual effects, one of the best movies on 1932.

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.6/10 (12k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% of Critics (30-0), 82% of Audience (3.9 / 5 ; 6k votes)
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Old 05-28-2018, 07:15 PM   #248
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Les croix de bois (1932)
English Title: Wooden Crosses




Directed By: Raymond Bernard
Written By: Raymond Bernard
Starring: Pierre Blancher, Gabriel Gabrio, Charles Vanel
Length: 115 min.
Genre: War
Based On: The Novel "Les croix de bois" by Roland Dorgelès, published in 1919


France's take on an anti-war war movie. Their answer to "All Quiet on the Western Front".

In this movie, a young, idealistic soldier has joined up for the war, and he's really eager to get in on the fighting. The regiment he joins tells him, too bad, the fighting is just about over and the war will be done shortly. The movie begins in 1914 (que 'foreboding music')

The first main sequence occurs while the regiment is on the front line. They hear digging going on underneath them. German sappers. They know that the Germans will eventually plant a bomb, but there is no where for them to go. Their commanding officer tells them they have to stay put, and downplays the danger. In one scene, they start to panic when the sounds of digging stop. After a few tense moments, it starts up again.

Shortly after the regiment is relieved and are taken off the front line, there's an explosion. They made it out just in time...not so much for the men who replaced them,

The action really picks up halfway through the movie. A massive battle occurs and goes on for 10 days (and for the rest of the movie). The action scenes during the battle were incredible. Easily the best "battle scenes" of any of the war movies I've watched so far. John Ford and Howard Hawkes both would repurpose the battle shots in their movies.

At the end of the battle, everyone is dead, that young, eager soldier being the last to die (maybe...it was a bit ambiguous as to whether he died or not...but probably)

Two issues. The first half hour of the movie did drag quite a bit. It took its time getting going, as most war movies tend to do. But this was pretty boring for the first 30 minutes. Secondly, it got a bit over the top with the melodrama at times. One of the characters really milked their death scene.

But those two issues aside, the battle scenes were incredible, and overall this was up there with All Quiet on the Western Front and unfortunately this movie seems to have been largely forgotten.

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.8/10 (944 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A, 91% of Audience (4.2 / 5 ; 335 votes)
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:40 PM   #249
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I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)



Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy
Written By: Howard J. Green, Brown Holmes
Starring: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson, Noel Francis
Length: 93 min.
Genre: Crime / Prison Drama
Based On: The Autobiography "I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang" by Robert Elliot Burns


6th Academy Awards
Nominees for Best Picture, Best Actor (Paul Muni), and Best Sound, Recording

1932 National Board of Review
Winner: Best Film

(The 6th Academy Awards were given to films released from August 1st, 1932 to December 31, 1933, a 17 month period. After this, the Academy Wards would be given based on calendar year, Jan 1st to Dec 31)

At the end of World War 1 (still just called 'The World War' for obvious reasons) James Allen (Paul Muni) returns home, but his family and old boss are set on him picking up where he left off at his old job. The war changed James. He worked with the Corp of Engineers in the army and wanted to stuff like build bridges. He reluctantly takes up his old job, though, and almost immediately starts getting into trouble being late.

He leaves that job to go chase his dreams. But work is hard to come by and he ends up traveling the country in search of a steady job. He even tries to sell his war medals, but the pawn shop has a box full of them. He eventually gets into trouble with the law when he is forced to take part in a robbery. He runs when the cops show up but is quickly caught. The judge is merciless. He ran. He had the money in his pocket. Off to hard labor for 10 years.

I thought the movie was great. One part The Fugitive, one part Shawshank, meaning, half of the film is in prison, half is after his first escape. He escapes for several years, but someone turns him in and he voluntarily goes back when he's assured that he'll only need to serve 3 months and then receive a pardon. Surprise, the state goes back on its word and over a year later, Allen escapes a second time. This time, he stays in the shadows, only visiting the woman he loved once, telling her that he has to live the rest of his life on the run.

Muni was great, even better than in Scarface. The supporting cast (most of them) were great. Good action on the escape scenes. Overall, a great fugitive/prison movie.

My Rating: 8/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.1/10 (10k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% of Critics (21-0), 91% of Audience (4.1 / 5 ; 3k votes)
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:46 PM   #250
sabotai
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1932 was looking like a so-so year for me, but I finish off with three 8s in a row.

1932 Movie Rankings
1. I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang - 8/10
2. Vampyr - 8/10
3. Wooden Crosses - 8/10
4. Scarface - 7/10
5. Grand Hotel - 7/10
6. Freaks - 7/10
7. I Was Born, But... - 6/10
8. No Blood Relation - 6/10
9. Movie Crazy - 5/10
10. The Most Dangerous Game - 4/10
11. 20,000 Years in Sing-Sing - 3/10
12. White Zombie - 3/10
13. A Farewell to Arms - 2/10

Last edited by sabotai : 05-29-2018 at 10:03 PM.
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