Thread: And the best Black and White movie ever is:

  1. #2926
    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post
    Next up is another movie I've been wanting to see since I was a kid after my mother raved about it: The Picture of Dorian Gray.
    Not a bad movie at all. Three stars, tops. It's weakened by a less-than-memorable lead actor.
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  2. #2927
    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post
    No. Susan Sarandon did.

    I don't think Streep deserved the nod. But everyone else did. My point was, who to give it to? That was a tough year to pick just one.
    I understood , but that was a year I can not have an informed opinion on , not seeing the bulk of the nominees work. I know bad acting when I see it but the nuances of "good acting" sometimes elude me. That leaves the picture's overall appeal and the actors fit in it for me. For example , do you agree that Tom Hanks is an excellent actor because he makes it look so easy , better than say Jack Nicholson coming at you with a completely different tact?

  3. #2928
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post
    I mentioned that Taxi Driver is on Sunday night and it reminded me of something: the 49th Academy Awards. Take a look at the nominees for Best Picture:

    All the President's Men
    Bound for Glory
    Network
    Rocky
    Taxi Driver

    I thought Bound For Glory was a good movie, I just don't know that it deserved a Best Picture nod.

    But anyway, can someone explain to me how the fuck Rocky won Best Picture? Especially in light of the competition. The other three on that list are better movies. Indeed, other than BP, director, and editor, Rocky didn't win any of the other biggies. Network won for actor, actress, supporting actress, and original screenplay. All the President's Men won for supporting actor, unoriginal screenplay, sound, and art direction. Even Bound for Glory won for cinematography and best original song score (whatever the hell that is). Rocky didn't even win for original song; A Star is Born did.

    WTF.

    Poor Taxi Driver, arguably the best of the bunch, didn't win shit.
    I think a lot of films are a tough watch for some people so they of course, turn away. Rocky was simple. A hero and family type thing.
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  4. #2929
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    The Third Man is on right before Casablanca tomorrow. I might have to watch Key Largo again. I just saw it not too long ago, but I never tire of it. It has such great atmosphere and a killer cast. Really, can a cast get any better?

    As much as I enjoy Casablanca and watching Ingrid Bergman in anything (especially "Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde"), I just saw that a few weeks ago. I'll certainly enjoy Lauren Bacall, though.

    I've tried and tried but I just can't plug in to Casablanca. You really admire Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde don't you? I agree about The Third Man. It could only work in B&W for me. Joseph Cotton was great.
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  5. #2930
    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    You really admire Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde don't you?
    It's the 1932 version that I love so much, although the 1941 shown above is very good. Nothing compares to Fredric March in '32 and Barrymore in 1920. Those are the ones to watch.
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  6. #2931
    Member since 7/13/2000 Hal...'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycsteve View Post
    I know bad acting when I see it but the nuances of "good acting" sometimes elude me...
    For example , do you agree that Tom Hanks is an excellent actor because he makes it look so easy , better than say Jack Nicholson coming at you with a completely different tact?
    This is such a loaded topic. lol

    One way to put it is good acting makes you forget who you're watching, especially if that actor is a "star". You want to see primo acting? Watch Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth in The Godfather II. It's a masterclass in subtlety. Or watch what I call the "English Greats": Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson, and Guinness. Nowadays, Daniel Day Lewis is probably the best of his generation.

    I've always said my favorite actors are Bogey, Cary Grant, and Edward G Robinson. I should qualify that: they're my favorite stars. My favorite American actors are Henry Fonda, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford, all of whom I think people always under-appreciate, especially when compared alongside the big names of the Method school: Brando, Steiger, Dean, and later, DeNiro, Pacino, and Hoffman. Incidentally, those Method actors were taught at the Actor's Studio, with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler (his wife) as teachers.

    FWIW, Gielgud is probably my favorite English actor. Max Von Sydow is another favorite of mine, altho he's Swedish. The Swedes also have a rich tradition of excellent actors (Liv Ullman, Bibi Andersson, Stellan Skarsgard, etc).

    As to your question, I would say no. In fact, I would never consider Hanks "excellent" the way Nicholson usually was in his heyday. IMO, Hanks is comparable to the movie stars of the Golden Age. Although, there's no way Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, or John Wayne could have put in a performance the way Hanks did in Philadelphia. Which, I will add, was a well-deserved Oscar win. So, maybe Hanks is more in the same group as Fonda, Newman, and Redford, all of whom "make it look easy".

    BTW, I was just reading an interview with Jane Fonda, yesterday, where she was talking about her father. Talking about acting made him very uncomfortable because he had no idea what he was doing. I got the impression he ran on pure instinct, which is pretty impressive. Incidentally, Newman also studied under Strasberg. Redford studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and did a lot of stage work before turning to TV and movies.

    Aside from Redford, one thing they all have in common is that "everyman" quality like Hanks does. Redford's too much of a pretty boy (or was).

    But back to Nicholson. What made him such a big name was that his acting style was... visceral. Who else could have played the young lawyer in Easy Rider, Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Jack Torrance in The Shining, and the Colonel in A Few Good Men? I can think of maybe an actor here or there that could have played this role or that one, but one person who could play all of them? I don't know of anyone. BTW, I didn't mention Five Easy Pieces, his breakout role, because I still haven't seen it yet.

    One thing I will add is that good acting means you know your lines and your marks. Usually, the camera takes care of the rest, if you're talking about movies. That's what all the stars of the Golden Age learned when playing bit parts and supporting roles early in their careers. The viewer, via the camera, often imparts thoughts & emotions onto the character. That's what I mean by the camera taking care of the rest. This is what directors and producers have understood for years and why their first concern regarding actors was usually looks or how the camera perceives them; what they mean when they say, "the camera loves them", which is a magnetism that transcends the film. So, in general, "stars" are good actors. Although, not always. And that's usually the fault of the director. A good director will say "cut" when the actor fucks it up. My favorite scene to point out bad acting is the conversation in the VW bus between James Earle Jones and Kevin Costner in A Field of Dreams. Costner blows it a time or two. And, btw, bad acting is just as often overacting and I often think Steiger is often overacting.

    Excellent actors (and direction) draw you into the story and make you forget you're watching a movie.

    Lastly, the reason I mentioned A Few Good Men earlier is because after Terms of Endearment, it's kind of easy to dismiss Jack's career as just resting on his laurels. But in AFGM, Nicholson is Col. Jessup. The first time I saw it, I sort of had the feeling that his testimony in court toward the end of the movie was gimmicky. But after other viewings, I realized Jack was firing on all cylinders and Rob Reiner's direction was perfect for Jack's monologue and I doubt anyone else could have pulled off that scene the way Jack did.

    I feel like I was kind of all over the place. Sorry.
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  7. #2932
    Member since 7/13/2000 Hal...'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    I think a lot of films are a tough watch for some people so they of course, turn away. Rocky was simple. A hero and family type thing.
    Yeah. I know that sometimes how much money a movie makes can be a factor, too. I just found it hard to believe Hollywood got suckered in by a more sentimental movie, which they have a tendency to shun.
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  8. #2933
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    I think a great actor disappears. You no longer see that actor, you're watching a character. Nicholson used to do that but in his later roles he just kind of played "Jack". But I guess he earned it. But to illustrate what I am saying, I read an interview Lauren Bacall regarding the movie The Aviator. She knew all these folks in real life and the magazine (probably EW) wanted her take on who nailed it and who didn't. In typical Bacall fashion, she didn't hold back and held some actors feet to the fire. But she skipped one so they asked her, "But what about Cate Blanchett, playing Kate Hepburn?" And Bacall said, "I'm sorry, but Cate Blanchett was never in that movie. All I saw up on the screen was my old friend, Kate." Blanchett looks nothing like Hepburn, other than being tall and thin. But it's true, the second she appears you know exactly who she is. She's not imitating Hepburn, she's fucking channeling her. Or for a lesser film, take Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Essentially, Meryl is not the star of the movie. Blunt and Hathaway have far more screen time. But every time Miranda is in the room, you don't see that familiar face, you see a woman who will not be trifled with.

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  9. #2934
    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post
    But back to Nicholson. What made him such a big name was that his acting style was... visceral. Who else could have played the young lawyer in Easy Rider, Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Jack Torrance in The Shining, and the Colonel in A Few Good Men? I can think of maybe an actor here or there that could have played this role or that one, but one person who could play all of them? I don't know of anyone. BTW, I didn't mention Five Easy Pieces, his breakout role, because I still haven't seen it yet.
    There was a Pittsburgh AM radio host who put it a great way at the time. He was referring to "Rain Man." He stated that Tom Cruise was very good in that movie. But, the difference between the very good Tom Cruise and the great Dustin Hoffmann was that Hoffmann could have played either role.
    Orange is the new stupid.

  10. #2935
    Member since 7/13/2000 Hal...'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    ...take Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Essentially, Meryl is not the star of the movie. Blunt and Hathaway have far more screen time. But every time Miranda is in the room, you don't see that familiar face, you see a woman who will not be trifled with.
    My ex was watching it when I walked in about of the way through. I watched the rest of it. Meryl's performance is quite possibly the best acting job I've seen from a movie made in the last 40 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    There was a Pittsburgh AM radio host who put it a great way at the time. He was referring to "Rain Man." He stated that Tom Cruise was very good in that movie. But, the difference between the very good Tom Cruise and the great Dustin Hoffmann was that Hoffmann could have played either role.
    Agreed.


    Another actor who's a fave of mine is Jonathan Pryce. I first saw him in Something Wicked This Way Comes. He then cemented his reputation with me in the Terry Gilliam film, Brazil. But then, he's another one of those Shakespearean trained English actors.

    Of newer actors/actresses I've quickly come to admire is Olivia Colman. I saw her in The Favourite in which she played Queen Anne. I wasn't even aware of who she is - altho, there was something vaguely familiar about her (she was also in the very funny Hot Fuzz, not that I remembered her). But I thought she did an amazing job opposite Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. I found out later that she won the Oscar for Best Actress for this role. She also played Margaret Thatcher's daughter opposite Streep in The Iron Lady.
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  11. #2936
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post

    Of newer actors/actresses I've quickly come to admire is Olivia Colman. I saw her in The Favourite in which she played Queen Anne. I wasn't even aware of who she is - altho, there was something vaguely familiar about her (she was also in the very funny Hot Fuzz, not that I remembered her). But I thought she did an amazing job opposite Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. I found out later that she won the Oscar for Best Actress for this role. She also played Margaret Thatcher's daughter opposite Streep in The Iron Lady.

    She's terrific in the TV shows Broadchurch & The Crown
    Ian

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  12. #2937
    Okay, one more time:

    Orange is the new stupid.

  13. #2938
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    A lot to cut into. Do we sometimes judge an actors ability by the part they are playing or the type film they are in? If you don't like the film, is it possible, even though it's your favorite actor, to look at him or her in a lesser light? Tom Hanks, for instance, does not impress me at all. I find him to be rather stiff without a lot of emotion. Somewhat vanilla. To his credit, he has had some good parts but for me, because he's in it, I tend to watch something else. Unlike Bette Davis of which I could watch just about anything. But this is why we often reference these classic films. Today, it's more persona, an attractive face reciting lines and little else. I think in those days, quality of the skill of acting mattered. Of course there are good actors but they are few and far between. Maybe, again, it's the type of material they are asked to bring to life today. Maybe good acting is being hidden.
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  14. #2939
    Member since 7/13/2000 Hal...'s Avatar
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    Ron asked me about Dorian Gray and I realized I hadn't commented on it.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray. Maltin gives it 3 stars. I think it's closer to 3. George Sanders is terrific in it as is Angela Lansbury. Ron said, "It's weakened by a less-than-memorable lead actor." At first, I agreed he isn't all that good. But as the movie progressed, I thought he was just fine in the role. I also think he was partially chosen for his features, which are mask-like. Just the sort of thing you'd want from an actor playing Dorian Gray. Donna Reed almost seemed wasted in it. But man was that woman gorgeous.

    I already mentioned Ice Station Zebra but to add a little more... I had been wanting to see this since I was a kid and especially after I found out it was Howard Hughes' favorite movie. There was something about it that was slightly low budget. Indeed, some of the sets looked more like what you'd see in a TV movie. Still, they got nearly all of the stuff on the sub right and it was pretty exciting for much of the first two acts. Patrick McGoohan was terrific in it, which shouldn't come as a surprise. I've always liked him. One thing I was surprised by was that Rock Hudson was quite effective in it. I've never seen many of his movies but I always thought he was kind of a light weight. The same for Ernest Borgnine - after From Here to Eternity and Marty, of course. But I thought he was good, too. I also noticed a couple of old actors I hadn't seen in a long time. One was Ron Masak, whose name I had to look up on IMDb. He was in a shit-ton of bit parts on '70s TV shows. I mostly remembered him from guest spots on Bewitched and Love American Style. But I'm digressing.

    As I already mentioned, I thought the third act could have been stronger. It was obviously supposed to be tense with a possible double agent and a Mexican standoff with the Soviets. Instead, it fell a little flat. Not to mention some of the FX weren't of a very high quality. I mean, seriously, dudes are firing mortars and all they're creating are explosions slightly larger than an M-80??? This could have been a solid 3 star movie (maybe even 3) with a higher budget and had the third act been tightened up a little. Who knows? Maybe Alistair MacLean's novel had a less than satisfactory ending, too. I've never read it.
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  15. #2940
    Quote Originally Posted by Hal... View Post
    . One was Ron Masak, whose name I had to look up on IMDb. He was in a shit-ton of bit parts on '70s TV shows. I mostly remembered him from guest spots on Bewitched and Love American Style. But I'm digressing. .
    He was also in my favorite Rockford Files episode. But where I really recognize him from is Murder She Wrote, where he played the sheriff of Cabot Cove (replacing Tom Bosley, after he went off to do that show where he played the priest who solved crimes with the help of a nun, played the sister of a certain pair of hair metal playing twins).

  16. #2941
    I've actually never seen Ice Station Zebra.
    Orange is the new stupid.

  17. #2942
    Good comments on what makes an exceptional actor from Hal et all. I can't disagree with anything said , but I think it's a subjective thing. It's similar to judging music and musians talent for me. I know when something / someone is just bad , but when it comes to splitting hairs on what's exceptional vs good or just plain pleasing I'm not the one to give a definitive answer, I'm really not qualified as I don't play just an enthusiastic listener. Similar to movies and acting. Bad is easy to identify. Gradiations of good/very good are above my paygrade. I still don't know if a scenery chewer like Nicholson is better than an everyman like Hanks. I do enjoy Nicholson's flash and character choices and generally find him more fun to watch. Also I think ones perception of an actors performance is influenced by the package it comes in. Good acting and a good movie add up to more than the sum of their parts. For example this years supporting actor award went to Brad Pitt. I think it was totally deserved , probably in no small part due as much to the overall movie as to his performance. He fit in perfectly into a well crafted movie. Maybe Kurt Russell acted better in The Hateful Eight , but I wasn't as happy with the movie itself , which soured my enjoyment of the work of those involved.
    I do think post-method actors are better than the classic Hollywood mainstays overall. JMO.

  18. #2943
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    I've actually never seen Ice Station Zebra.
    Certainly a cold war attitude here Ron but it's a nice film.
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  19. #2944
    Two good ones on tonight with Cary Grant and Irene Dunn.

    "Talk of the Town" with Ronald Coleman (4 stars - highly recommended)

    "My Favorite Wife" (3 stars)

    plus

    Tomorrow at Noon, "It Happened One Night" (4 stars)
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  20. #2945
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    I've tried and tried but I just can't plug in to Casablanca.
    I've seen it maybe a dozen times.

    The first couple, it was a nice period film noir. Once I got familiar with the story (and the reality behind the story), it became a powerful drama of extraordinary times. The last couple times I've watched it, the crushing emotional content, which unfolds slowly and inexorably and is so much bigger than any character in the movie, had me overcome with emotion. Now I think it's an understated masterpiece that packs a tremendous wallop once you know what it's about.

    It's kinda like "Arrival" in that way. The first couple times through, you cannot possibly comprehend the emotion hidden in those opening scenes. Once you understand the arc of the movie, those scenes are just devastating.

  21. #2946
    Not sure how I missed it, but "Jezebel" (1938) with Bette Davis (her second Oscar) is on this afternoon at 4:00.
    Orange is the new stupid.

  22. #2947
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    I caught the end of Gunga Din yesterday afternoon, just in time for the big ambush getting busted up. They must have had at least a couple thousand extras in that sequence.
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  23. #2948
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronmac View Post
    Not sure how I missed it, but "Jezebel" (1938) with Bette Davis (her second Oscar) is on this afternoon at 4:00.
    Just a great film, Ron. Better than that other overblown thing. Since I missed it, was it a good print? I ask because I've seen good and bad ones.
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  24. #2949
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I've seen it maybe a dozen times.

    The first couple, it was a nice period film noir. Once I got familiar with the story (and the reality behind the story), it became a powerful drama of extraordinary times. The last couple times I've watched it, the crushing emotional content, which unfolds slowly and inexorably and is so much bigger than any character in the movie, had me overcome with emotion. Now I think it's an understated masterpiece that packs a tremendous wallop once you know what it's about.

    It's kinda like "Arrival" in that way. The first couple times through, you cannot possibly comprehend the emotion hidden in those opening scenes. Once you understand the arc of the movie, those scenes are just devastating.
    Mr. Carlberg, It does no good. It doesn't spark the same feelings in me, hard to explain. Not that it's boring, it's just flat.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  25. #2950
    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    Just a great film, Ron. Better than that other overblown thing. Since I missed it, was it a good print? I ask because I've seen good and bad ones.
    It's on TCM in 15 minutes. Last I recall, it was a very good print. TCM usually has the best prints, but some movies (and this might be one of them) have yet to be properly restored.
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