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Let's Kill Ward's Wife

I liked it.
I thought I would like it. But then I didn't. And then I thought it was strange. So I thought I would stick with it to see where it went. After the inciting incident takes place, it starts to pick up noticeably. In the end I was glad I watched it. Some truly classically funny moments.

Now I see some people didn't like it. Well, to each his own. Some people are just not ready for this kind of movie. I told my wife it was like "Dexter" on steroids. She wanted to watch it. Just as it began to get interesting, she quit. She doesn't have my patience.

I was fascinated in the credits with all the like names. So I looked it up here and on Wikipedia. I still can't get my head around how all the actors are related to each other. Wikipedia lists the budget at $5 mil. Where did all the money go? Not to the actors, director, writer or producers. It's all on location so no studio money. I think Wikipedia got this one wrong. I'd be surprised if the film cost more that $100,000.

The movie is rude, it's crude in spots. But Foley has given us some of life's "truisms" in ways never shown before. For that I give him kudos. A worthwhile effort. I gave it a 9 to try to balance out all of the unfair negative reviews. The acting was superb. The writing really had its moments. Give it a shot.

The People vs. Dr. Kildare

Many Problems ... Few Solutions
Don't get me wrong. I love the Dr. Kildare series. But there are problems.

First off, the title. The title indicates that this is a criminal case, not a civil case. The suit is in actuality, Marlow vs. Kildare, et al. If it were "The People",the district attorney would be prosecuting.

Secondly, Lionel Barrymore is as irritating as possible as Dr. Gillespie. Why in the world Dr. Kildare would want to work for him I just can't imagine. But that's not just this movie ... it's every Dr. Kildare film. A lovable yet irascible curmudgeon would be, i.e. Charles Laughton at his worst. But Lionel Barrymore is just ridiculous.

It was fun seeing Red Skelton, but losing Nat Pendleton in this one is disaster. I look forward to Nat Pendleton every bit as much as Lew Ayres and Laraine Day.

But at least Dr. Kildare was not guilty of misdiagnosing as he was in the last two episodes. Now there are really major problems with those two.

Marie Blake gets one good gag per picture. They should have used her more. She misses Nat Pendleton, too.

They never miss an opportunity to use "Nosey Parker", as if Nurse Parker is the origin of the phrase. Sorry, it's not true.

Bonita Granvillie has been maligned unjustly here. Her character really is only doing what anyone in the same circumstances would do. She wasn't out to get Dr. Kildare or Blair General Hospital. She honestly felt that she was the injured party and that she should recover damages if damages were due. I liked her in this part. I even thought her lawyer did a good job for her in the courtroom. I thought Tom Conway's character wasn't much of a courtroom brawler. He let her lawyer walk all over him.

This is supposed to be a medical drama, not a courtroom drama. And, as always, not enough alone time with Lew Ayres and Lariane Day. Also missed Samuel S. Hinds and Emma Dunn for the first time. Oh, well ... this series is winding down. So sad.

Shichinin no samurai

Awful ... Just Awful. But, to each his own.
Much has been said here about why would anyone bother reviewing a film they didn't like. I almost didn't. But then I thought about the emperor's new clothes. Somebody's got to cry "Foul!"

And "Foul" it was. Mind you, this is only my opinion. I respect your right to fall in with the majority who evidently think this film is the Cat's Pajamas. I did give it a 2 because it does have some good lines. And, after all, Shakespeare did say "The play's the thing." The story is a good story, though it too is not believable. We want to believe that hard-bitten professionals in any field of endeavor beneath it all have a heart of gold. And we might have too, had any of the character been believable. Not a one. I wanted to call it "overacting", but alas, it was just bad acting. Should I mention "whiney-face"? Could an actual person have carried that expression around permanently?

There were those who suggested that detractors didn't like the film because it was "old" or in "black and white". I watched this ponderous film last night because I thought I should. I was prepared to be enthralled. James Coburn said he watched this film 12 times in 12 days. That was enough for me. By the time the film was mercifully over, I wondered who had been holding a gun to his head for those 12 days.

I like old. I like black and white. I don't like bad. I especially don't like bad that so many have told me is good. So after I watched this last night, tonight I watched Jean Simmons in "Home Before Dark". Made in 1958 (only 4 years newer) and also in black and white. A ways into the movie, I suddenly realized that these two films could be compared on a basic filmmaking level. Jean Simmons can actually act. In fact, all of the supporting cast can act, too. The characters were believable. Maybe not in an actual sense but at least in the sense of "suspended disbelief". Can't do that with Seven Samurai. Much has been said of the fine score of Seven. No. Other than tribal drums, nothing seemed to fit. Just the opposite for Home. It had a score that really fit what was going on on the screen at the time.

I could go on, but my rant is assuaged and I'm too tired to write more.

For those of you who have not seen the film, the following is for you: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME. EVERYBODY ELSE IS WRONG.


The Emperor's New Clothes?
Wow! Okay. Wow! If I had been in the audience at the first showing in Cannes, I would have felt I was amongst kindred souls.

Great reputations don't impress me. I have to see it myself. I have given it the benefit of the doubt by bothering to read several of the comments here. I'm glad there are those of you that got something special out of this film. A good editor with a sharp knife could have improved this film considerably. Even that would still not be enough for me.

Certainly the cinematography was beautiful. I just returned from a trip to Sicily and that was the initial motivations for viewing this film. It turns out that even that was not enough for me.

I don't mind that Antonioni's motivation for doing the film was to explore the delicacy of human relations. I do mind that he disguised his purpose for so long. Okay, I get it that Anna brings it on herself to encourage Sandro's wandering eye. But Claudia's motivation is a mystery to me. Antonioni spends too little time motivating Claudia. Even the kiss on he boat is not nearly enough. Sandro didn't appear to be THAT good a kisser. Where Antonioni DID spend his time was largely wasted. The interminable search for Anna on the island. In real life real characters would certainly search thoroughly. But we don't have to see ALL of it. Other directors and editors have discovered ways to shorten the screen time and still give us the impression that a serious and thorough search was made. And Claudia's "running down the hall" scene ... hello? What about abandoned town of Noto scene? The deeper meaning was lost on me. If this is a part of the "new" language and "new" images everyone is talking about, well, I just don't like it. I spent 30 years in the movie biz and if I learned one thing, it's that screen time costs money. If it doesn't have a direct bearing on the plot, don't put it in. Again, if Antonioni is just breaking this rule to give us a new way at looking at movies, I don't like it.

It's okay if it's not important to Antonioni as to what happens to Anna. But I feel that it is unfair for him to expect us to pay to see his movie and not tell us. We are regular folks and have a regular curiosity. But by the time this ponderous epic was finally at an end, I really didn't care either.

And as to the ending, this really didn't do the women's movement any favors, did it? Like the "battered woman syndrome", she takes him back almost immediately. Bummer.

I will give it another look. So many have said you need at least two viewings. Many have also said that it helps considerablu to read what critics have said in order to completely understand it. This is just wrong on so many levels. If a film can't stand on its own, it's just poorly done. I have seen many films that I have gotten more out of each time I see them, but they were always films that were worth re-watching after a first viewing. I can't say that for me this is one of them.

I gave it a 6 for the cinematography.

Safe at Home

Never saw it but ...
... heard a great deal about it at the time. The girl who played Amy ... I knew her as Brenda Klemme, now Brenda James ... was the daughter of a very good friend of mine. I never saw the show because my family and I were living on a sailboat in Mexico during the time it was on the air. I was told that the pilot was picked up because Ted Turner himself saw it and was enchanted by the Amy character. A few years later my family and I all went to see "Patriot Games" and suddenly there appeared Brenda ... the redhead Harrison Ford sees in the rest room which reminds him of the redheaded terrorist. Yesterday I was watching "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and there was Brenda again jumping off the screen at me. So, there is life after "Safe at Home" for some of the actors.

The Dick Van Dyke Show: I Was a Teenage Head Writer
Episode 19, Season 2

First Ottoman Step-around
This particular show is important in the history of the series because the opening credits for the very first time show Rob stepping around the ottoman rather than stumbling over it as he did in the first eighteen episodes of season two. The flashback nature of this show is physically apparent only in the wisps of additional hair that appear on the top of Mel Cooley's head. Otherwise, Laura, Sally and Buddy look unchanged by the time regression. And since it represents Rob's very first week with the Alan Brady Show, the setting should be in the "old" writer's office. It isn't. And since this show is without Richie or guests, only the "A" team is represented.

One More Train to Rob

One of the Best Westerns
George Peppard is excellent with outstanding support from John Vernon and Diana Muldaur. A great old-time western with twists and turns, humor, action and Victor McLaglen at his best. It is certainly his best western movie.

I would love to be able to see this again. I'm sure it will come to DVD someday, but what's holding it up?

I haven't seen in on television in years. Have people totally forgotten about this lost jewel?

I've been watching for it to come available for years. I hope a number of others who have seen it bother to comment in the hope that it may affect the decision to release it.


Contains Spoilers Because the Filmmakers Spoiled the Movie!
It's wrong. It's just wrong. What a waste of everyone's time. The actors, the crew, the audience.

The script has a nice, tight little package showing how Crawford got away with it. Leave it alone. Just walk away. But, NO! They couldn't do that could they? Even the movie "Double Jeopardy" got it wrong. The legal rule of double jeopardy applies to not being able to be tried twice for THE SAME CRIME! In "Double Jeopardy" she was trying to correct a mistake of the court system (see "People Will Talk" 1951 which will properly explain the whole thing.) When she killed her husband for a second time, it was a DIFFERENT CRIME … no double jeopardy applies. Now "Fracture" comes along and says now that she's dead we can try you all over again. Guess what? They can't! It's still the SAME CRIME! Just because you now have a different result doesn't make it a different crime. If this were true everyone who had ever put someone in a coma and then the victim died some years later could be retried. They can't. Why couldn't the filmmakers invest in one hour of a criminal attorney's time? It would have saved them lots of grief.

And what's this business about claiming "now we have the bullet?" So what? All that proves it that the bullet came from Detective Nunnally's gun. Crawford says "I don't know how he did it but somehow Detective Nunnally shot my wife. It's his gun. Oh, the video of me going into their hotel room? That's not me. Prove it." And just how was Crawford supposed to pull this slight of hand trick with switching the guns back? Their guns were twenty-five feet apart in the ensuing scuffle. Remember, they each laid them aside before talking? Are we really supposed to believe that Crawford ran to the front door, switched the guns and ran back again while Nunnally was agonizing over the body? Possible maybe. Plausible no.

Beacham's futile attempt at a stay on pulling the plug on Crawford's wife … why didn't it occur to him to use the telephone? A call from the District Attorney's office saying "I have a stay and it will be delivered shortly" would in real life have been enough. Just drop this whole part of the storyline. It makes no sense.

Speaking of making no sense, what happened to Nikki Gardner? She just melted away.

The excuse that Hollywood has a responsibility to show that crime is always punished? Hundreds of movies have broken this code since the early fifties. So what's new? Other than that, good movie. Should have just stopped right after the trial, followed by a narrated epilogue giving some plausible explanation as to how the guns got switched and informing us that Ryan Gosling and Rosamund Pike live happily ever after. The audience can live with that. But this Deus Ex Machina ending just won't fly.

Island of Love

I liked it ...
I know that this film may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it. I least I have the memory of having enjoyed it. It has many years since I've seen it. I still check regularly to see if has come to DVD or VHS. I would love to see it again.

Tony Randall is good as usual. Robert Preston and Walter Matthau, while they may not be at their best, are nevertheless still Robert Preston and Walter Matthau. The star power coupled with the pure scenic beauty of the locale is enough of a reason to bring this film to the public again. There are many others of lesser quality which are released today. Why not this one?

The Gay Divorcee

Why not on DVD?
This is the most enjoyable, if not the best, of the Astaire/Rogers hook ups. What in the world is taking so long to get this out on DVD? I would have thought it would have been an early pick, particularly since Hollywood is so anxious to slam anything to do with traditional values. It's unfortunate that the storyline treats marriage as a casual thing, to be taken so lightly. That notwithstanding, it is still a very enjoyable film.

The password bit ... "Fool ... chance ... love ... etc" is one of the funniest sequences in all of filmdom.

The supporting cast is superb! Please. Bring this to DVD soon!

Columbo: A Case of Immunity
Episode 2, Season 5

A Great Exchange!
One of my all time favorite Columbo episodes. Peter Falk is at his bumbling best and Hestor Elizondo is simply fantastic.

But what really deserves comment is the writing. A particularly memorable exchange occurs between Columbo and a chief suspect, Hassan Salah, played by Hector Elizondo. As I remember it goes something like this:

Columbo: Oh, no, you couldn't possibly have done it. You know, sometimes I can just look at someone and say "He couldn't possibly have done it." And when I first met you I said to myself "He couldn't possibly have done it."

Salah: That's very reassuring, Lieutenant. How often are you right?

Columbo: Oh, only about twenty percent of the time.

***** You really have to see it to fully appreciate it. It is truly classic.

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