Fading Fast

Connoisseur
breakfast_at_tiffanys500pix.jpg

Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961 with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney

TCM's current series, Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror, discusses the racism, sexism, prejudices and stereotypes in movie history. It's been a smart and honest approach so far that doesn't elide the ugliness, but does recognize that, effectively, it's a part of these movies that can't be effaced, nor TCM argues, should it.

If you want to watch these movies, you can't avoid seeing these odious period cultural norms (some of which were already dated at the time as culture moves forward haphazardly). For Breakfast at Tiffany's, the TCM discussion rightly points out the terrible, racist and insulting character of Mr. Yunioshi played by Mickey Rooney. His portrayal of a buck-toothed, bumbling and immature Japanese man is awful, insulting and cringe worthy.

The truly crazy thing about Mr. Yunioshi is his character fits neither the sophisticated style, nor the forward-looking social commentary, of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Sadly, it's just an awful and demeaning part of an otherwise outstanding film.

Having seen Breakfast at Tiffany's more times than I'll admit unless under extreme interrogation methods, my relationship with this movie is like visiting with a life-long friend. Each time, I focus on a different aspect of the movie as I have long since absorbed the plot.

For newbies, the plot is Audry Hepburn, as Holly Golightly - a young New York City partier, socialite wannabe, gold digger and courtesan - having her confidently cynical approach to life disrupted by her upstairs neighbor, George Peppard.

He, like Holly, makes his living from wealthier New Yorkers who, no other way to say it, pay to have sex with these very pretty people. While Peppard is weary of his demimonde lifestyle and immediately sees the value of real love with Hepburn, it takes Hepburn the length of the movie - as her various marry-someone-rich plans continue to fall through - to see its value too.

The story is a good one, but what captured my attention this viewing is Breakfast at Tiffany's style. Though being, at times, sad, morose and bleak, every scene, even the most dispiriting, is visually appealing. Bus depots, the NYC Public Library, police stations and even strip clubs are all stylishly beautiful in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Despite Hepburn's and Peppard's problems, you want to live in this world (if it would have you).

When a depressed Ms. Hepburn, suffering from a case of what she calls "the mean reds," sits on her window sill, with one foot resting on the fire escape singing the melancholy Moon River, she's in jeans and a grey sweatshirt with her wet hair wrapped in a towel, yet she looks fantastic.

A five-and-dime store never appeared more attractive and color coordinated than the one where Hepburn and Peppard don and then abscond with plastic Halloween cat and dog masks. It's not the disheveled Woolworth of my youth, but like a store designed by Andy Warhol at the height of his Pop Art powers.

The wardrobes - where one assumes half or more the movie's budget was spent - are a trip though early sixties cool with Hepburn wearing the best little black dress (not the famous opening-scene evening gown) possibly of all time. She has so many wardrobe changes that several of them take place on screen and serve to advance the plot (see Hepburn preparing to go to Sing Sing or in the cab after her time at the local precinct).

But she's matched outfit change for outfit change by Peppard's cougar-provided sartorial splendor (note his insane closet). Even said cougar, Patricia Neal, strikes a style note. She sweeps in and out of scenes while treating Peppard like the kept man he is, but with so much over-the-top style you kinda like her, or respect her, or are scared of her, or something, but you are aware of her panache.

Even at the end, when all pretense is stripped away and the two lovers, broke, spiritually broken and soaked to the bone, are standing in a garbage-strewn alley (has garbage ever looked so artfully arranged?), with a wet cat pressed between them, their world is still visually enticing.

None of this even touches on the other style icon of the movie, New York City itself. Maybe that can be the focus on my next viewing. Director Blake Edwards had a style vision for this movie that carries so consistently from scene to scene that it serves as a narrative technique. Yes, there's an engaging story, talented acting and much pain and sorrow, but Breakfast at Tiffany's is also an insanely beautiful trip through early-sixties New York City from the opening to closing shot.

TCM deserves Kudos for its honest, unvarnished look at movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's. But being blunt, it's also a self-preservation effort by TCM to get in front of woke cancel culture as its survival depends on these movies being "acceptable" viewing. TCM has one product - old movies - so it can't afford for them to be the next thing tossed on this unforgiving generation's bonfire of the vanities.


N.B., I live three blocks from Holly Golightly's apartment building in NYC. It's still there and looks reasonably similar to how it did in the movie, umm, not that I, uh, err, walk by it often just to look.

The "mean reds."
tumblr_n7acjqWeFh1qbilh4o1_r1_640.jpg


A Pop Art Five and Dime.
Shoplifting Masks at Five and Dime.gif


Early '60s cool.
audrey-hepburn-george-peppard-breakfast-at-tiffanys-1961-DT6XT4.jpg


Best LBD ever.
Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Breakfast at Tiffany's)_24.jpg


She (far right) is paying him (far left) to sleep with stylish her and she (middle) knows it.
George-Peppard-Audrey-Hepburn-Patricia-Neal-Breakfast.jpg


I'm not much for "Hollywood" kisses, but this is a darn good one.
Petó_Breakfast_at_Tiffany's-2.jpg


And the apartment today.
hglaptnyues.jpg
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
View attachment 57420
Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961 with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney

TCM's current series, Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror, discusses the racism, sexism, prejudices and stereotypes in movie history. It's been a smart and honest approach so far that doesn't elide the ugliness, but does recognize that, effectively, it's a part of these movies that can't be effaced, nor TCM argues, should it.

If you want to watch these movies, you can't avoid seeing these odious period cultural norms (some of which were already dated at the time as culture moves forward haphazardly). For Breakfast at Tiffany's, the TCM discussion rightly points out the terrible, racist and insulting character of Mr. Yunioshi played by Mickey Rooney. His portrayal of a buck-toothed, bumbling and immature Japanese man is awful, insulting and cringe worthy.

The truly crazy thing about Mr. Yunioshi is his character fits neither the sophisticated style, nor the forward-looking social commentary, of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Sadly, it's just an awful and demeaning part of an otherwise outstanding film.

Having seen Breakfast at Tiffany's more times than I'll admit unless under extreme interrogation methods, my relationship with this movie is like visiting with a life-long friend. Each time, I focus on a different aspect of the movie as I have long since absorbed the plot.

For newbies, the plot is Audry Hepburn, as Holly Golightly - a young New York City partier, socialite wannabe, gold digger and courtesan - having her confidently cynical approach to life disrupted by her upstairs neighbor, George Peppard.

He, like Holly, makes his living from wealthier New Yorkers who, no other way to say it, pay to have sex with these very pretty people. While Peppard is weary of his demimonde lifestyle and immediately sees the value of real love with Hepburn, it takes Hepburn the length of the movie - as her various marry-someone-rich plans continue to fall through - to see its value too.

The story is a good one, but what captured my attention this viewing is Breakfast at Tiffany's style. Though being, at times, sad, morose and bleak, every scene, even the most dispiriting, is visually appealing. Bus depots, the NYC Public Library, police stations and even strip clubs are all stylishly beautiful in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Despite Hepburn's and Peppard's problems, you want to live in this world (if it would have you).

When a depressed Ms. Hepburn, suffering from a case of what she calls "the mean reds," sits on her window sill, with one foot resting on the fire escape singing the melancholy Moon River, she's in jeans and a grey sweatshirt with her wet hair wrapped in a towel, yet she looks fantastic.

A five-and-dime store never appeared more attractive and color coordinated than the one where Hepburn and Peppard don and then abscond with plastic Halloween cat and dog masks. It's not the disheveled Woolworth of my youth, but like a store designed by Andy Warhol at the height of his Pop Art powers.

The wardrobes - where one assumes half or more the movie's budget was spent - are a trip though early sixties cool with Hepburn wearing the best little black dress (not the famous opening-scene evening gown) possibly of all time. She has so many wardrobe changes that several of them take place on screen and serve to advance the plot (see Hepburn preparing to go to Sing Sing or in the cab after her time at the local precinct).

But she's matched outfit change for outfit change by Peppard's cougar-provided sartorial splendor (note his insane closet). Even said cougar, Patricia Neal, strikes a style note. She sweeps in and out of scenes while treating Peppard like the kept man he is, but with so much over-the-top style you kinda like her, or respect her, or are scared of her, or something, but you are aware of her panache.

Even at the end, when all pretense is stripped away and the two lovers, broke, spiritually broken and soaked to the bone, are standing in a garbage-strewn alley (has garbage ever looked so artfully arranged?), with a wet cat pressed between them, their world is still visually enticing.

None of this even touches on the other style icon of the movie, New York City itself. Maybe that can be the focus on my next viewing. Director Blake Edwards had a style vision for this movie that carries so consistently from scene to scene that it serves as a narrative technique. Yes, there's an engaging story, talented acting and much pain and sorrow, but Breakfast at Tiffany's is also an insanely beautiful trip through early-sixties New York City from the opening to closing shot.

TCM deserves Kudos for its honest, unvarnished look at movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's. But being blunt, it's also a self-preservation effort by TCM to get in front of woke cancel culture as its survival depends on these movies being "acceptable" viewing. TCM has one product - old movies - so it can't afford for them to be the next thing tossed on this unforgiving generation's bonfire of the vanities.


N.B., I live three blocks from Holly Golightly's apartment building in NYC. It's still there and looks reasonably similar to how it did in the movie, umm, not that I, uh, err, walk by it often just to look.

The "mean reds."
View attachment 57411

A Pop Art Five and Dime.
View attachment 57412

Early '60s cool.
View attachment 57413

Best LBD ever.
View attachment 57414

She (far right) is paying him (far left) to sleep with stylish her and she (middle) knows it.
View attachment 57415

I'm not much for "Hollywood" kisses, but this is a darn good one.
View attachment 57416

And the apartment today. View attachment 57419
As you note, I too have watched Breakfast At Tiffany's (more than) a few times and have greatly enjoyed the experience each and every time. I must tell you I greatly admire and am somewhat envious of your ability to dive so deeply into the movie(s), evaluating the experience in such detail and sharing it with your readers in a way that is at ones fascinating, educational and makes the movie under review, so much more enjoyable for the rest of us. A truly great review, as always! ;)

PS; Every time Hollie GiLightly lights up another cigarette, I cringe thinking of the damage it could do to that beautiful singing voice of hers. Just saying....
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
As you note, I too have watched Breakfast At Tiffany's (more than) a few times and have greatly enjoyed the experience each and every time. I must tell you I greatly admire and am somewhat envious of your ability to dive so deeply into the movie(s), evaluating the experience in such detail and sharing it with your readers in a way that is at ones fascinating, educational and makes the movie under review, so much more enjoyable for the rest of us. A truly great review, as always! ;)

PS; Every time Hollie GiLightly lights up another cigarette, I cringe thinking of the damage it could do to that beautiful singing voice of hers. Just saying....
Thank you so much for your very kind comments. I enjoy sharing these movies with everyone.

It's so hard to watch all the smoking in these old movies. I am just old enough to have, as a kid, seen the end of the "everyone smokes" era (the '70s) and, even still, can't believe how much smoking went on.

It's so nice that, other than occasionally on the street, you no longer even run into smoke accidentally.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Late-Spring025_WEB_cropped.jpg

Late Spring from 1949, a Japanese movie with English subtitles staring Chishû Ryû and Setsuko Hara

A small budget can be a forced gift to filmmakers as it often requires them to focus on storytelling, character development and capturing beautiful, simple moments. Director Yasujiro Ozu leverages all of these to produce a gem of a movie in Late Spring.

Twenty-seven-year-old Noriko lives at home with her widowed professor father Shukichi. While she does most of the housekeeping, it is a surprisingly modern relationship where her father will help at times around the house while giving her a lot of space to live her life. If she doesn't like something, she speaks up and he takes notice.

But overall, they just have a comfortable, well-oiled-machine existence where they are glad to see each other at the end of the day. However, everyone around them - aunts, friends, business associates - wonders why pretty twenty-seven-year-old Noriko isn't married. As much as you want to tell them all to mind their own business, their point - what will happen to Noriko as her father ages - can't simply be dismissed.

Shukichi sees the problem, while Noriko doesn't want to hear about it. After a close male friend of Noriko - he seemed like he could have been "the one" for her - marries another woman, an aunt arranges a meeting with an eligible young man.

When that man asks Noriko to marry him, indirectly through family, the way arranged marriages were done at that time in Japan, Noriko faces a crisis. She sees the logic of marrying this good man, but doesn't want to give up her happy existence with her father.

Shukichi, who will lose his daughter since the bride is, generally, "absorbed" into her husband's family, creates a touching fiction about a woman he's considering marrying to encourage his daughter to marry. That's it; that's the plot and it makes for an engaging, heartfelt and beautiful film.

There is a wonderful low-key love and understanding in this father-daughter relationship that director Yasujiro Ozu reveals with poignantly "small" gestures. When Noriko and Shukichi take the train into the city, he offers his seat to her, but she says no as she knows her aging father will be more comfortable sitting. Equally touching is when dad quietly brings Noriko toast and tea as he senses her hurt after learning her close male friend has become engaged to another woman. These gestures are subtle yet quite moving.

Yasujiro uses a similar "simple" technique of letting the camera alone comment on the reality, struggles and beauty of post-war Japan such as filming, from an inbound train, a crowded, but recovering, industrial center with many large American companies amidst the smaller (for the moment) Japanese ones. Later, during a family trip to Kyoto, Yasujiro lets the camera show the beauty of "old" Japan as it quietly pans stunning ancient temples set amidst gorgeous rolling hills and cherry blossom trees.

It's 1949 and Japan is a recovering country with many signs of American influence, presented here in a positive light. The short scene of Japanese children, clad in American uniforms, playing baseball is a fun example. But the heart and soul of this movie is a moving father-daughter relationship where neither wants their world to change, but both know time will not allow it to stand still. Late Spring is a love letter to the end of that phase of their lives. It's sad, heartwarming, but hopeful and, just maybe, a metaphor for Japan and its evolving relationship with its American "parent" in 1949.
 

TKI67

Elite Member
View attachment 57420
Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961 with Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen and Mickey Rooney

TCM's current series, Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror, discusses the racism, sexism, prejudices and stereotypes in movie history. It's been a smart and honest approach so far that doesn't elide the ugliness, but does recognize that, effectively, it's a part of these movies that can't be effaced, nor TCM argues, should it.

If you want to watch these movies, you can't avoid seeing these odious period cultural norms (some of which were already dated at the time as culture moves forward haphazardly). For Breakfast at Tiffany's, the TCM discussion rightly points out the terrible, racist and insulting character of Mr. Yunioshi played by Mickey Rooney. His portrayal of a buck-toothed, bumbling and immature Japanese man is awful, insulting and cringe worthy.

The truly crazy thing about Mr. Yunioshi is his character fits neither the sophisticated style, nor the forward-looking social commentary, of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Sadly, it's just an awful and demeaning part of an otherwise outstanding film.

Having seen Breakfast at Tiffany's more times than I'll admit unless under extreme interrogation methods, my relationship with this movie is like visiting with a life-long friend. Each time, I focus on a different aspect of the movie as I have long since absorbed the plot.

For newbies, the plot is Audry Hepburn, as Holly Golightly - a young New York City partier, socialite wannabe, gold digger and courtesan - having her confidently cynical approach to life disrupted by her upstairs neighbor, George Peppard.

He, like Holly, makes his living from wealthier New Yorkers who, no other way to say it, pay to have sex with these very pretty people. While Peppard is weary of his demimonde lifestyle and immediately sees the value of real love with Hepburn, it takes Hepburn the length of the movie - as her various marry-someone-rich plans continue to fall through - to see its value too.

The story is a good one, but what captured my attention this viewing is Breakfast at Tiffany's style. Though being, at times, sad, morose and bleak, every scene, even the most dispiriting, is visually appealing. Bus depots, the NYC Public Library, police stations and even strip clubs are all stylishly beautiful in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Despite Hepburn's and Peppard's problems, you want to live in this world (if it would have you).

When a depressed Ms. Hepburn, suffering from a case of what she calls "the mean reds," sits on her window sill, with one foot resting on the fire escape singing the melancholy Moon River, she's in jeans and a grey sweatshirt with her wet hair wrapped in a towel, yet she looks fantastic.

A five-and-dime store never appeared more attractive and color coordinated than the one where Hepburn and Peppard don and then abscond with plastic Halloween cat and dog masks. It's not the disheveled Woolworth of my youth, but like a store designed by Andy Warhol at the height of his Pop Art powers.

The wardrobes - where one assumes half or more the movie's budget was spent - are a trip though early sixties cool with Hepburn wearing the best little black dress (not the famous opening-scene evening gown) possibly of all time. She has so many wardrobe changes that several of them take place on screen and serve to advance the plot (see Hepburn preparing to go to Sing Sing or in the cab after her time at the local precinct).

But she's matched outfit change for outfit change by Peppard's cougar-provided sartorial splendor (note his insane closet). Even said cougar, Patricia Neal, strikes a style note. She sweeps in and out of scenes while treating Peppard like the kept man he is, but with so much over-the-top style you kinda like her, or respect her, or are scared of her, or something, but you are aware of her panache.

Even at the end, when all pretense is stripped away and the two lovers, broke, spiritually broken and soaked to the bone, are standing in a garbage-strewn alley (has garbage ever looked so artfully arranged?), with a wet cat pressed between them, their world is still visually enticing.

None of this even touches on the other style icon of the movie, New York City itself. Maybe that can be the focus on my next viewing. Director Blake Edwards had a style vision for this movie that carries so consistently from scene to scene that it serves as a narrative technique. Yes, there's an engaging story, talented acting and much pain and sorrow, but Breakfast at Tiffany's is also an insanely beautiful trip through early-sixties New York City from the opening to closing shot.

TCM deserves Kudos for its honest, unvarnished look at movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's. But being blunt, it's also a self-preservation effort by TCM to get in front of woke cancel culture as its survival depends on these movies being "acceptable" viewing. TCM has one product - old movies - so it can't afford for them to be the next thing tossed on this unforgiving generation's bonfire of the vanities.


N.B., I live three blocks from Holly Golightly's apartment building in NYC. It's still there and looks reasonably similar to how it did in the movie, umm, not that I, uh, err, walk by it often just to look.

The "mean reds."
View attachment 57411

A Pop Art Five and Dime.
View attachment 57412

Early '60s cool.
View attachment 57413

Best LBD ever.
View attachment 57414

She (far right) is paying him (far left) to sleep with stylish her and she (middle) knows it.
View attachment 57415

I'm not much for "Hollywood" kisses, but this is a darn good one.
View attachment 57416

And the apartment today. View attachment 57419
A wonderful review of a wonderful movie. I wish Mr. Yunioshi could have been edited out of it. The city in that era, the style of the time, and the music are iconic. It is odd that another movie of that general time and place that I love, also a movie with a dark side, is The World of Henry Orient, and it, too, is stained by some awkward and unnecessary treatment of racist stereotypes. But when I watch it it brings back a flood memories of the city at that time.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
A wonderful review of a wonderful movie. I wish Mr. Yunioshi could have been edited out of it. The city in that era, the style of the time, and the music are iconic. It is odd that another movie of that general time and place that I love, also a movie with a dark side, is The World of Henry Orient, and it, too, is stained by some awkward and unnecessary treatment of racist stereotypes. But when I watch it it brings back a flood memories of the city at that time.
Thank you. As you note, the time travel is wonderful. I haven't seen "The World fo Henry Orient," but will keep an eye out for it now.
 

TKI67

Elite Member
Thank you. As you note, the time travel is wonderful. I haven't seen "The World fo Henry Orient," but will keep an eye out for it now.
I hope you happen across it. I would love your take. I was about the same age (as the kids in the movie)/when we lived in Manhasset. Taking the LIRR to town and terrorizing the east side were always fun.
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
MV5BYTYzMjNiZjgtNjgwNy00YTFhLThkZDItYzRmNDdmZWY3OTExXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTk2MzI2Ng@@._V1_.jpg

Possessed form 1947 with Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey and Geraldine Brooks

In her post-War movies, Joan Crawford was put in nearly every combination of a bad relationship or bad marriage imaginable. Sometimes, she's the aggrieved party and sometimes she's the "witch" from hell. Other times, she's just cracker-house crazy.

Most of these movies aren't that believable, but are pretty good soap operas. Crawford is usually too old for the role, but powers through it anyway by dint of presence and talent. Plus, her movies made money.

Possessed starts out pretty good as a confused Crawford is found wandering the streets of LA in an almost trance-like state (similar to Ida Lupino in 1943's The Hard Way - everything is recycled). She eventually is taken to a mental ward where we learn what happened to her through flashbacks revealed under analysis.

It's a boldly self-assured mid-century psychoanalysis on display here where mental "diseases" are confidently diagnosed and tied neatly together with their symptoms. The field of psychiatry only learned later what it didn't know. But in the mid twentieth century, psychoanalysis, at least in movies, is amazingly precise.

Crawford, we discover, had been a nurse to oil tycoon Raymond Massey's invalid wife. She was also having an affair with a younger man, Van Heflin, who's a playboy that she took seriously despite his warning her not to.

When Heflin breaks off the affair because Crawford keeps hounding him to marry, she agrees to marry Massey on the rebound. Massey's invalid wife and Crawford's patient had, by this point, committed suicide. Even when Crawford tells Massey she doesn't love him, he still pushes for marriage. (Pro tip: do not marry someone who outright tells you they don't love you.)

Complicating matters, Heflin is an engineer now in Massey's employ. Further complicating matters, he begins having an affair with Massey's daughter, Geraldine Brooks, now Crawford's stepdaughter (hey, it's a soap opera). Greatly further complicating matters, Heflin, who wouldn't marry Crawford, asks Brooks to marry him.

Crawford, whose character only had until now, at best, a tenuous grip on reality, starts to spiral out of control when she sees her former lover and, now, step daughter engaged. She (for no good reason) begins to believe she killed Massey's first wife. She (understandably) also fantasizes about killing her stepdaughter.

I guess it's a good job of acting by Crawford, but somewhere along the line it becomes a bit too much to really believe as everyone around her seems to miss her obvious spiral into crazy-town until it's too late.

Despite that, and too many coincidences, the movie still touches you as we've all known a woman (or man) deeply unable to accept being dropped by a boyfriend (or girlfriend). It's the heart and soul of the movie and it's powerfully poignant to see, especially when it's ramped when Crawford's former lover becomes engaged to a much-younger woman. That has the potential to make someone go nuts, like it does Crawford here.

Most of these post-war Crawford soap operas are worth the watch if you're in the mood for overly complicated and only marginally believable stories with a lot of backstabbing, broken hearts, salaciousness and, often, murder. On most days, sadly, I usually am.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
View attachment 57523
Possessed form 1947 with Joan Crawford, Van Heflin, Raymond Massey and Geraldine Brooks

In her post-War movies, Joan Crawford was put in nearly every combination of a bad relationship or bad marriage imaginable. Sometimes, she's the aggrieved party and sometimes she's the "witch" from hell. Other times, she's just cracker-house crazy.

Most of these movies aren't that believable, but are pretty good soap operas. Crawford is usually too old for the role, but powers through it anyway by dint of presence and talent. Plus, her movies made money.

Possessed starts out pretty good as a confused Crawford is found wandering the streets of LA in an almost trance-like state (similar to Ida Lupino in 1943's The Hard Way - everything is recycled). She eventually is taken to a mental ward where we learn what happened to her through flashbacks revealed under analysis.

It's a boldly self-assured mid-century psychoanalysis on display here where mental "diseases" are confidently diagnosed and tied neatly together with their symptoms. The field of psychiatry only learned later what it didn't know. But in the mid twentieth century, psychoanalysis, at least in movies, is amazingly precise.

Crawford, we discover, had been a nurse to oil tycoon Raymond Massey's invalid wife. She was also having an affair with a younger man, Van Heflin, who's a playboy that she took seriously despite his warning her not to.

When Heflin breaks off the affair because Crawford keeps hounding him to marry, she agrees to marry Massey on the rebound. Massey's invalid wife and Crawford's patient had, by this point, committed suicide. Even when Crawford tells Massey she doesn't love him, he still pushes for marriage. (Pro tip: do not marry someone who outright tells you they don't love you.)

Complicating matters, Heflin is an engineer now in Massey's employ. Further complicating matters, he begins having an affair with Massey's daughter, Geraldine Brooks, now Crawford's stepdaughter (hey, it's a soap opera). Greatly further complicating matters, Heflin, who wouldn't marry Crawford, asks Brooks to marry him.

Crawford, whose character only had until now, at best, a tenuous grip on reality, starts to spiral out of control when she sees her former lover and, now, step daughter engaged. She (for no good reason) begins to believe she killed Massey's first wife. She (understandably) also fantasizes about killing her stepdaughter.

I guess it's a good job of acting by Crawford, but somewhere along the line it becomes a bit too much to really believe as everyone around her seems to miss her obvious spiral into crazy-town until it's too late.

Despite that, and too many coincidences, the movie still touches you as we've all known a woman (or man) deeply unable to accept being dropped by a boyfriend (or girlfriend). It's the heart and soul of the movie and it's powerfully poignant to see, especially when it's ramped when Crawford's former lover becomes engaged to a much-younger woman. That has the potential to make someone go nuts, like it does Crawford here.

Most of these post-war Crawford soap operas are worth the watch if you're in the mood for overly complicated and only marginally believable stories with a lot of backstabbing, broken hearts, salaciousness and, often, murder. On most days, sadly, I usually am.
Great review of a movie that sounds to be well worth watching....actually sounds good enough to have a DVD copy in one's personal video library. Jeez Louise, it's coming close to the point were a larger DVD storage cabinet will be needed, LOL. ;)
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Great review of a movie that sounds to be well worth watching....actually sounds good enough to have a DVD copy in one's personal video library. Jeez Louise, it's coming close to the point were a larger DVD storage cabinet will be needed, LOL. ;)
Thank you. Do you keep your DVDs (and CDs) in their original cases? About ten years ago, we moved ours to books with "sleeves" (see pic and link below) and it reduced the space they took up by ~90%. It was a project, but well worth it.

Also, with streaming, we've stopped buying DVDs and CDs as most of it is out there on our two streaming services, Amazon and Netflix or, for music, on the free ones like Pandora. And even if not, for a small one-time rental fee, we can usually watch what we want.

Hence, we save a bunch of money a year and still pretty much have access to everything. That said, I respect that some people want to own the item and have it in their personal library.

71Ch1aBcMIL._AC_SL1300_.jpg

ref=sr_1_6
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
MV5BMzcxNzQ1YmUtNjFmZC00YmRkLTg3NmYtMzI4ZGIzYmM5NGE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA2MDQ4Mg@@._V1_.jpg

Flower Drum Song from 1961 with Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, Kam Tong and Miyoshi Umeki

Flower Drum Song is Rat Pack style meets an Americanized view of 1960s San Francisco's Chinese community seen through a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical filter with an overlay of everything that is the wonderful Nancy Kwan.

I'm not the target audience for this movie as, after The Sound of Music and Fred Astaire movies, my passion for musicals falls off a cliff. Yet, despite only a few of the song-and-dance numbers capturing my attention, the rest of Flower Drum Song's crazy kitsch made for a fun couple of hours of light entertainment.

A Chinese father and daughter, Kam Tong and Miyoshi Umeki, arrive illegally in San Francisco to honor a marital contract made years ago in China that promised Miyoshi to, now, fully Americanized nightclub owner Jack Soo. But Soo is dating and stringing along Nancy Kwan who wants to get married.

Kam and Moyoshi stay at wealthy and traditional Chinese patriarch Ben Fong's house where Miyoshi meets Fong's playboy son James Shigeta. Miyoshi immediately falls in love with him, but Shigeta, fully Americanized, denies the attraction he obviously feels as he rejects the "old" ways of arranged marriages, especially as his father clearly favors this relationship.

Thrown into the mix is Shigeta's younger brother who is a more American boy than Father Knows Best's Bud Anderson. Pushing for the old ways are several aunts and sisters, except for the one who has become Americanized herself. Most fun, super Nancy Kwan, realizing that she might lose Soo to Miyoshi, begins dating Shigeta and quickly ropes him into engagement to make Soo jealous. Don't worry, it's somewhat easier to follow on screen.

It's really a silly and innocent sixties romcom full of mix-ups and misunderstanding - think a Doris Day and Rock Hudson movie - set in San Francisco's Chinatown with a lot of singing and dancing. After a bunch of lightly hurt feelings, a few on-again-off-again engagements and some reshuffling of partners, at the end, as you knew would happen all along, the right people get together and all is good.

By today's standards, there are a lot of things wrong with the representation of Chinese culture, but there's also this: the movie's message is that all people are alike under their surface and cultural differences with the same dreams, wishes, desires and fear.

If you keep score of this stuff, all the light-hearted joking made over old Chinese customs is easily offset by all the jokes about American cultural silliness. None of it is meanspirited and, by standards of its day, it was pretty respectful to everyone. I loved that the Chinese kids raised in America can easily out-American everyone else.

Flower Drum Song's style is pre-hippies-sixties exaggerated cool, the sets are obvious, the Technicolor is too amped up and the song-and-dance numbers will either appeal to you or not, but if you just go with it, it kinda sorta works...or not. On another day, I probably would have turned it off, but it was just the nonsensical escape I needed on the day I watched it. Little of it is real, but it is fun.


Super Nancy Kwan in Flower Drum Song.
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Thank you. Do you keep your DVDs (and CDs) in their original cases? About ten years ago, we moved ours to books with "sleeves" (see pic and link below) and it reduced the space they took up by ~90%. It was a project, but well worth it.

Also, with streaming, we've stopped buying DVDs and CDs as most of it is out there on our two streaming services, Amazon and Netflix or, for music, on the free ones like Pandora. And even if not, for a small one-time rental fee, we can usually watch what we want.

Hence, we save a bunch of money a year and still pretty much have access to everything. That said, I respect that some people want to own the item and have it in their personal library.

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What follows is how I am presently storing my DVD's:

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The ring binders you suggest will surely save a whole lot of storage space! Thanks for the suggestion. ;)
 

TKI67

Elite Member
Great review of a movie that sounds to be well worth watching....actually sounds good enough to have a DVD copy in one's personal video library. Jeez Louise, it's coming close to the point were a larger DVD storage cabinet will be needed, LOL. ;)
Does anything like a cinematic version of Spotify exist?
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Does anything like a cinematic version of Spotify exist?
Streaming services abound, but DVD acquisitions are just one of many collections with which I have burdened myself. Books, clothes, shoes/boots, firearms, knives, Eagle Art, fitness paraphernalia including really old Indian Clubs and medicine balls, and the list goes on and on...can be found secreted within my hoard! Mine is not a storage problem as much as it is an addiction to collecting problem. I've been thinning the hoard since we relocated from just under a 4000 square foot nest to 2200 square feet and no basement! LOL. ;)
 
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Fading Fast

Connoisseur
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The Great Lie from 1941 with Bette Davie, George Brent and Mary Astor

"Was it a nice wedding?"

"Ooh, the usual thing, 'do you,' 'I do,' 'kiss the bride,' 'have some cake'."

- Bette Davis describing her wedding to George Brent


As is the wont of code-era movies, two people, George Brent and Mary Astor, who think they are married, find out, owing to some technicality with the license, they aren't. So, they get a do-over and can either remarry or say "phew!" Brent, after less than a week married to mean and selfish Astor, says "phew" and races out to marry his true love, Bette Davis.

That one event would be the soap-opera highlight of most people's lives and would be their "wow-'em" dinner-party story for the next forty years. But Warner Bros. was just getting revved up.

Astor, smarting from the publicly embarrassing loss of her husband to Davis, informs Davis that she's carrying Brent's baby (they were married for a week, after all) and intends to use the baby to steal Brent back from her. That fires things up a bit.

We're not done though. Brent, an independently wealthy flier, without knowing about the baby, takes a high-level war job in Washington and is lost flying in Brazil. After a failed search effort, he's declared dead.

Ms. Astor, with Brent now gone, is much-less interested in keeping his baby. She agrees to secretly give it up to Davis in return for, get ready for it, money.

After hiding out together during Astor's pregnancy - think living with your worst enemy in isolation for four or five months - Davis goes home saying the baby is hers while Astor returns to her single life without looking back.

Three months later, Brent walks out of the jungles of Brazil and returns to Davis who lets him believe she's the mother of their baby. All is going well for the couple - Brent loves both Davis and his son - until Astor blows into town dropping sarcastic hint after hint to Brent about the true mother of his baby right in front of Davis.

Privately, Astor informs Davis that, once again, she plans to steal Brent back using the baby as her leverage. This woman has no scruples.

Had I'd been on the murder-trial jury, I'd have voted to acquit Davis. But Davis somehow decides not to kill Astor and, instead, confesses the entire tale to Brent. Astor, then, tells Brent she's taking the baby and wants him to come with her. Does Brent give up his son or his wife?

The ending you can probably guess, but otherwise, you'll just have to watch this fun, ridiculous soap opera to see what happens.


N.B. #1 If you do see it, look for Bette Davis' double slap delivered with cool efficiency to hysterical Mary Astor; it belongs in the top-five of all movie-slaps*.

N.B. #2 While Mary Astor does more than yeoman's work as the bitch ex-wife from hell, it still seems like Davis' usual sparring partner in these types of movies, Mariam Hopkins (see The Old Maid or Old Acquaintance), should have been in the role. Maybe she was tired of taking the, seemingly, obligatory slap from Davis in these movies.


* Sadly, I couldn't find a GIF of the slap - it belongs in a GIF - but I did find this clip. For best effect, start watching at 3:50 in:
 

TKI67

Elite Member
Streaming services abound, but DVD acquisitions are just one of many collections with which I have burdened myself. Books, clothes, shoes/boots, firearms, knives, Eagle Art, fitness paraphernalia including really old Indian Clubs and medicine balls, and the list goes on and on...can be found secreted within my hoard! Mine is not a storage problem as much as it is an addiction to collecting problem. I've been thinning the hoard since we relocated from just under a 4000 square foot nest to 2200 square feet and no basement! LOL. ;)
I know there are streaming options, but the thing about Spotify is that it has pretty much everything...Country Joe, Mose Allison, Scriabin...
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
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What Every Woman Knows from 1934 with Helen Hayes, Brian Aherne, Donald Crisp, Lucile Watson and Madge Evans

"I'm six years older than he is. I'm plain and I have no charm. I shouldn't have let him marry me. I'm trying to make up for it."

- Brutally honest Helen Hayes discussing her marriage.


Ordinary-looking-and-almost-freakishly-petite Helen Hayes is on a path to spinsterhood in What Every Woman Knows. So her three well-meaning-but-bumbling brothers offer to pay for a poor young man's, Brian Aherne, education in return for his agreeing to marry Hayes once he graduates.

Set in Scotland and even with tongue in cheek, there are a thousand things wrong with this negotiation based on today's values, but it's still a fun scene where Hayes is, effectively, tossed onto the pile of chips in the center of the table and pulled out a few times. Then, Hayes herself, kinda liking the idea of being married to the young man in question, throws herself back in to seal the deal.

Despite the generally light tone, the movie turns serious at several points preventing this charming effort from slipping into farce or slapstick. Once Aherne has completed his studies, Hayes offers to let him out of the pact, but he bluntly states that a bargain is a bargain and marries Hayes even though he doesn't love her. Both, in their own way, did the stand up thing.

Hayes, clearly in love with Aherne, becomes the woman behind the man as his political career catches fire owing, mainly, to her efforts, which she hides even from her clueless husband. A career move to London has Hayes continuing to surreptitiously direct his political future, but Aherne - now exposed to a superficially more elegant and sophisticated class of women - begins to stray (enter pretty Madge Evans).

In a movie that thankfully avoids many cliches, Aherne, contemplating leaving Hayes, doesn't treat her like an annoying obstacle. He truly struggles with the fact he married her as part of a bargain and she's been a good wife even as he fell in love with another woman. Hayes, too, struggles with the morality of holding a man by obligation and not of his free will.

The resolution has, of course, Hayes, unnoticed, moving the chess pieces around so that Aherne sees what he'd be giving up and what he'd be getting were they to divorce. Despite landing where you'd expect it to, this is no Hallmark movie as its surface charm has real-life grit just beneath.

Putting our 2021 indignation aside allows us to see this 1934 movie is subversive for its day as most of the men are either strutting peacocks, like Aherne, or harmless bumblers like Hayes' well-meaning but foolish brothers. Whereas, most of the women are smart and shrewd operators who quietly run things off stage. This low-budget effort, which seems almost simple, punches well above its moral and intellectual weight class.


N.B. Look for Lucille Watson playing Hayes' cagey and wise London mentor as this old-pro stage actress made an incredibly smooth transition to "talkies." In What Every Woman Knows, she provides a combination of verve and gravitas to her few crucial scenes. Oh, and yes, she's another woman who is smarter than the bloviating men in this one.
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
View attachment 57739
What Every Woman Knows from 1934 with Helen Hayes, Brian Aherne, Donald Crisp, Lucile Watson and Madge Evans

"I'm six years older than he is. I'm plain and I have no charm. I shouldn't have let him marry me. I'm trying to make up for it."

- Brutally honest Helen Hayes discussing her marriage.


Ordinary-looking-and-almost-freakishly-petite Helen Hayes is on a path to spinsterhood in What Every Woman Knows. So her three well-meaning-but-bumbling brothers offer to pay for a poor young man's, Brian Aherne, education in return for his agreeing to marry Hayes once he graduates.

Set in Scotland and even with tongue in cheek, there are a thousand things wrong with this negotiation based on today's values, but it's still a fun scene where Hayes is, effectively, tossed onto the pile of chips in the center of the table and pulled out a few times. Then, Hayes herself, kinda liking the idea of being married to the young man in question, throws herself back in to seal the deal.

Despite the generally light tone, the movie turns serious at several points preventing this charming effort from slipping into farce or slapstick. Once Aherne has completed his studies, Hayes offers to let him out of the pact, but he bluntly states that a bargain is a bargain and marries Hayes even though he doesn't love her. Both, in their own way, did the stand up thing.

Hayes, clearly in love with Aherne, becomes the woman behind the man as his political career catches fire owing, mainly, to her efforts, which she hides even from her clueless husband. A career move to London has Hayes continuing to surreptitiously direct his political future, but Aherne - now exposed to a superficially more elegant and sophisticated class of women - begins to stray (enter pretty Madge Evans).

In a movie that thankfully avoids many cliches, Aherne, contemplating leaving Hayes, doesn't treat her like an annoying obstacle. He truly struggles with the fact he married her as part of a bargain and she's been a good wife even as he fell in love with another woman. Hayes, too, struggles with the morality of holding a man by obligation and not of his free will.

The resolution has, of course, Hayes, unnoticed, moving the chess pieces around so that Aherne sees what he'd be giving up and what he'd be getting were they to divorce. Despite landing where you'd expect it to, this is no Hallmark movie as its surface charm has real-life grit just beneath.

Putting our 2021 indignation aside allows us to see this 1934 movie is subversive for its day as most of the men are either strutting peacocks, like Aherne, or harmless bumblers like Hayes' well-meaning but foolish brothers. Whereas, most of the women are smart and shrewd operators who quietly run things off stage. This low-budget effort, which seems almost simple, punches well above its moral and intellectual weight class.


N.B. Look for Lucille Watson playing Hayes' cagey and wise London mentor as this old-pro stage actress made an incredibly smooth transition to "talkies." In What Every Woman Knows, she provides a combination of verve and gravitas to her few crucial scenes. Oh, and yes, she's another woman who is smarter than the bloviating men in this one.
View attachment 57740
Well said, my good man. Your impressions of the movie are persuasive in convincing the reader that this film is well worth watching, just considering it's instructional value alone! It is on my list to be watched. ;)
 
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