Showing posts with label Michael Curtiz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Curtiz. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25, 2013

DIVE BOMBER (1941)

Made prior to America's involvement in WWII, DIVE BOMBER is an extravagant propaganda piece filled with wall-to-wall with airplanes, bombastic music blaring, cigarette smoke, dedicated men willing to give the greatest sacrifice for their country and women who just love a man in uniform.  The story is pretty entertaining...a military doctor (Flynn) wants to solve the problems of altitude sickness, especially the blackouts that occur during a steep dive.  He enters flight surgeon school, but Flynn's dashing ways clash with pilot/teacher MacMurray (whom he had a previous run-in with) and senior doctor Bellamy, but after some headbutting they see how dedicated he is to the cause and join his cause.

DB is dated, but I still enjoyed it.  The vivid Technicolor photography wonderfully captures all of the great older aircraft and Navy ships as well as the sprawling military base.  Strong acting and the interesting subject matter make the film fly by despite the 132 minute running time.  Is it historically accurate?  I have no clue, but it is a fun watch. Check it out!
As best I can tell this is the filming location.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

20,000 YEARS IN SING SING (1932)

I cannot see this film holding any kind of interest with modern audiences.  Convicted of a number of charges, including robbery and assault with an automatic weapon, cocky gangster Spencer Tracy is sentenced to a long haul at Sing Sing Prison.  In struts into the joint thinking his money is gonna make his time easy, but the tough love warden isn't interested in his stinkin' money.  He truly wants to reform him!  Haha.

Anyway, Tracy and the good-hearted warden butts heads a little bit, but for the most part it's pretty boring.  The highpoint of the film is a prison break scene, but even then Tracy is only a bystander.  One day Tracy gets a message that is girlfriend (Bette Davis) is sick and dying.  She's not even in the hospital, but just laying in her own bed "dying".  So the warden decides to give Tracy a chance to prove himself and gives him a 24-hour, unchaperoned furlough to go visit his "dying" girlfriend.  Right about then I gave up any chance of this film being good.

Compared to the same years I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG this film looks like a joke.  Good acting, but the story was complete hokum and I could never believe that Tracy was a tough guy.  Skip it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

MILDRED PIERCE (1945)

Housewife Mildred Pierce isn't happy at home. Her husband recently lost his job and he just isn't bringing in the bacon it takes to provide their two daughters with singing lessons, piano lessons and nice clothes...especially eldest daughter Veda who's a Grade-A cunt. Mildred and her husband separate and Mildred secretly gets a job as a waitress. Before long she knows all the ins and outs of the restaurant business and opens up her own place. It's a success, but will it be enough to satisfy the spoiled Veda? And what of the men in Mildred's life? Oh yeah there's also a murder to solve.

Told in long flashback form during the investigation of a murder, the 1945 film version of MILDRED PIERCE differs greatly from James Cain's thrilling hard-boiled novel of the same name. The reason for the changes is there's just no goddamn way that story could have been told in 1945. Usually I'm strongly against changing a story so radically from the author's original vision, but the screenwriters here (including William Faulkner!) did an excellent job. Add onto that some outstanding acting and you got yourself an really good movie. I've seen MILDRED a number of times now and it's always a pleasure and strikes me as a very mature film for 1945. Highly recommended.
Jack Carson should be remembered more than he is.