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Old 05-14-2019, 08:49 PM   #301
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
It Happened One Night (1934)

Directed By: Frank Capra
Written By: Robert Riskin
Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert
Length: 105 min.
Genre: Romantic Comedy

1935 Oscar Winner - Best Writing, Adaptation - Robert Riskin
1935 Oscar Winner - Best Actress - Claudette Colbert
1935 Oscar Winner - Best Actor - Clark Gable
1935 Oscar Winner - Best Director, Frank Capra
1935 Oscar Winner - Best Picture

One of 3 movies to win all of the Oscars that make up "The Big Five", Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Writing (either of them) and Best Picture. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Silence of the Lambs are the other 2.

Claudette Colbert plays a rich woman, Ellen Andrews, who has eloped with a man against her father's wishes. She's in Florida and her new husband is in New York. She escapes her father and sets off on a road trip (by bus) to get to NY. Her father hires detectives to find her and bring her back (apparently a thing a father could do in the 1930s was kidnap his adult daughter).

Peter Warne (Clark Gable) is a journalist who has just been fired from his paper. He hops on a bus to New York to speak to his former employer in person. He meets Ellen on the bus and they don't get off to a good start, but he quickly figures out who she is. He'll help her avoid attention and get to New York for exclusive rights to her story.

What follows is a series of misadventures that see the couple suffer set back after set back, and along the way, wouldn't you know it, they fall in love.

Fairly standard rom-com. The basic beats have been there since the early films of Harold Lloyd and they're unchanged here. They hate each other, they love each other, they miscommunicate and then a chase-style scene.

I know you all know how I feel about rom-coms by now, but this one did have its moments. And it was very well acted. There was a scene where they are hitchhiking. The cars constantly pass him but one stops once she shows her leg. This scene might be one of the most parodied and referenced scenes in cinema history. And I thought the scene where they act like an arguing married couple to throw off a few detectives was very funny. But overall, underwhelming for an Oscar winner.

This film came out at just the right time. Its release date was February 22, 1934, and some of the scenes here were a bit scandalous. The Motion Picture Production Code, aka "Hays Code", would go in full effect by the middle of 1934. I doubt this movie would have passed the test with all of the scenes of a man with a married woman in a room together.

My Rating: 6/10
IMDB User Rating: 8.1/10 (84k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Critics (55-1), 93% of Audience (4.2 / 5 ; 33k votes)
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:18 PM   #302
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock
Written By: Charles Bennett, D. B. Wyndham-Lewis
Starring: Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre, Nova Pilbeam, Frank Vosper
Length: 75 min.
Genre: Crime Drama

The daughter of a couple on a trip to Switzerland is kidnapped when her parents come into possession of information concerning a planned international crime. He father doesn't talk to the police, on the orders of the kidnappers, but tries to find his daughter on his own.

It's hard to judge a movie like this on its own merits, considering many aspects of it has been parodied for longer than I've been alive. There were a few Calculon style dramatic pauses that I'm sure were dramatic back in 1934, but now are just comically bad.

Trying to put things like that aside, I thought the movie was good-ish. It was fast paced, but made a few leaps in logic to keep the pace up, and I thought it was well acted. It still feels like during this time, Hitchcock still hadn't quite become "Alfred Hitchcock". If I watched this movie without knowing who the director was, I would never have guest Hitchcock. It was just indistinguishable from many of the other movies I've seen. I might even say that Hitchcock at this stage of his career was simply mimicking other directors and hadn't yet begone to try to find his own style.

Overall it was a decent, well acted crime thriller, but had a feeling of blandness to it.

My Rating: 6/10
IMDB User Rating: 6.9/10 (15k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Critics (28-4), 67% of Audience (3.5 / 5 ; 8k votes)
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:21 PM   #303
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
Quick programming note, I'm cutting Man of Aran from the list. I've tried a few times to watch it, but I can't understand what they are saying and there are no subtitles. I think it's a combination of their thick Irish accents and poor audio quality.
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:03 PM   #304
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
The Rise of Catherine the Great (1934)

Directed By: Paul Czinner
Written By: Marjorie Deans, Arthur Wimperis
Starring: Elisabeth Bergner, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Flora Robson
Length: 94 min.
Genre: Historical Drama

The story of how Princess Sophie Auguste Frederika of Anhalt-Zerbst became Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.

The movie starts with Grand Duke Peter declaring he doesn't wish to be married and storms off as Princess Sophie (soon to be named Catherine) is walking to meet him. After she arrives and finds the Grand Duke has run off, Sophie also runs off, declaring she will not marry him either. Wouldn't you know it, the two run into each other having no idea who the other is. She wins him over, he finds out who she is and then he leads her back where they came from and announces he will marry her.

The Grand Duke turns out to be one easily manipulated and insecure man. On his wedding night, someone makes an offhand comment about Sophie using her "womanly charms" on him. This causes him to cheat on Sophie on their wedding night. And then he continues to spend his time drinking and whoring.

She eventually does win Peter over for a time (because she keeps loving him despite him being a total chad), but when Empress Elizabeth dies, Peter takes full control and begins a public affair which ends in Peter going out of his way to humiliate Catherine. In the end, Catherine seizes the throne in a coup d'état.

I didn't like this one. A lot of times, Catherine came off as naive. Other times, just downright stupid. I know it's hard to have historical dramas be free of contemporary morality, but it was pretty thick in this one.

There was one scene that felt incredibly anachronistic. When Empress Elizabeth dies, Grand Duke Peter takes over, even though it's pretty much an open secret that Catherine had been running the empire for some time now. Peter takes control and tells Catherine (paraphrasing but the last line is word-for-word) "We're drawing up new laws for government. There will be no more women in positions of power. You'll be back in the kitchen where you belong!"

Back in the kitchen? Since when the hell is an empress, whether the head of state or married to the head of state, ever 'in the kitchen'? It just felt like such an absurd thing to say.

It's also incredibly fast paced as it's trying to get to every major moment in Catherine's rise. Obviously, not very historically accurate, and I didn't think it was particularly well acted either. And no creativity at all in the camera (I know, I've become a film snob). Not a good movie.

My Rating: 4/10
IMDB User Rating: 6.5/10 (510 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A Critics, 53% of Audience (3.4 / 5 ; 41 votes)
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:17 PM   #305
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: The Satellite of Love
The Gay Divorcee (1934)

Directed By: Mark Sandrich
Written By: George Marion Jr., Dorothy Yost
Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Length: 107 min.
Genre: Musical Comedy

Ginger Rogers plays a woman looking to divorce her husband. He has been refusing, so she sets up a plan to have him catch her with another man, hired by her and her aunt. Fred Astaire runs into her at the airport and becomes enamored with her, and the two keep running into each other, though she keeps rejecting him as she's set on her plan.

I'm sure Fred Astaire was wildly talented at what he did, it's just...I don't get tap dancing. I'm sure it takes a lot of talent, but it doesn't look like it does.So all of the song and dance numbers with him blending ballroom dancing with tap dancing didn't do anything for me.

It did have a few laugh out loud moments, but those were few and far between. Astaire and Rodgers do have a lot of on screen chemistry. The back and forth in their dialog flows, but the plot was bare and the dancing was, well, tap. And I don't get tap.

My Rating: 5/10
IMDB User Rating: 7.5/10 (6k votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% Critics (12-0), 82% of Audience (4 / 5 ; 3.3k votes)

Last edited by sabotai : 08-12-2019 at 09:20 PM.
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