Fun Opportunity to See Harry Carey in Starring Role
Oftentimes conventional western that regularly heads off in unconventional directions. Harry Carey (senior, not junior) is delightful as very odd character Bill Barker. Head of dancehall girls/prostitutes is named Mrs Mustache! Just read that Harry Carey, Jr is 82 and made more than 40 westerns in his career. Catch his old man in this one for a treat and movie history.
Belle Epoque has many layers. At it's core is a romance which is surrounded and disguised by a classic sex farce that is itself enveloped by a philosophical tale all wrapped up in a bittersweet historical setting. Spain is, as throughout it's history, in a political struggle. In this case, a battle between the dying monarchy and the emergent republic which is,as these things go, a mild one leaving most Spaniards to enjoy their lives during this "Belle Epoque". Those familiar with it's history know that this is the short calm before the storm of the Spanish Civil War in which the Republic is replaced by the Fascist dictatorship of Franco through a bloody war. My favorite setpiece is the dance where Violeta wears Fernando's uniform and dresses him in a ball gown and wig; the rest must be seen to be believed! A lovely film! And why the devil isn't it on DVD!?
You'll laugh and you'll cry and you'll take delight in being human; perhaps as fine a piece of ensemble acting as there is. Can, I believe be compared with Broadway Danny Rose as an bright and beautiful light on the human condition. Enjoy!
Taylor's role is very well written if not so well acted.
What made this film work for me was the stark contrast between the American political experience, that of freedom, and the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany. This is dramatized beautifully by the role Taylor plays as a naive American totally overwhelmed and frustrated by the citizens and workings of the Nazi police state. He blusters, he whines, he begs but seems unable to grasp how the lives of people living under such a regime are so totally different than his own. It would be fascinating to watch this film with,say, a Russian audience circa 1980. As far as I know, this film is not available on video; Catch if you can -Highly recommended!
If you can tell yourself that you are seated in a Broadway theatre enjoying the first night of a George S Kaufman play, you will be delighted. The dialogue is wonderful especially if you like it a little bitchy and the actors put it over beautifully. Kay Francis is marvelous as usual but much credit goes to Verree Teasdale as Irene, Ms Francis' more than capable foil. By the way there are a couple of delightful scenes sans Ms. Francis especially one in which Ms Teasdale and Walter Connolly are "enjoying" an evening at home. Of course the political plot is rather ridiculous and should be ignored except as it moves the story along setting up the witty verbal contretemps. If you just like to "watch" movies, avoid this one. But if you love language and wit you won't be disappointed. And if I were trying to find a play for a community theatre, this sleeper would suit me fine.
This trash is so unselfconscious it really makes you wonder about the producers and director! I couldn't help but laugh. For sleaze collectors this rates a 10! Plenty of nice ample flesh however. I wonder how much the actors were paid and what the budget was. The film probably made money even by Hollywood accounting principles.
Just an addition to other comments; this film while definitely Hollywood has a European feel to it. There is a definite desperate,cynical air to it that would make you think it's director was a continental director transplanted to the US. I checked and Griffith is from Virginia. However, he was educated in Europe-this of course proves nothing but maybe he was influenced by familiarity with European film. Anyway this "feel" I get from the film makes it more interesting to me. But whatever it is worth seeing just for the great cast!
Don't quibble with details;it's not meant to be realistic.
Taken at face value this film is a little ridiculous. So don't see it as a war story;see it as an allegory. Here's the deal: GIs really miss the good old USA. They are miserable, stuck in a strange foreign land. One gets the idea of how to bring home to them in the guise of his girl. She arrives and they suddenly feel safe and home again. Note there are none of the expected plot turns such as jealousy and sexual competition. All the guys are happy to have her there;they don't desire her;she makes them happy just by being there. She is the girl next door; the unchanging symbol of the USA, home! Yet, she begins to change; she is "polluted" by mixing with the strange foreign environment they carefully avoid. She becomes different,unsettling in the same way the good old USA is becoming changed by the tumult of the 60s back home. This foreshadows the way the guys will feel when they return home to a strange,now foreign USA. I saw an interview with the director and he described this film as a Vietnam War movie. If that is what he meant it to be it is a really bad one. Try it my way ; it makes much better sense.
No punches pulled coming of age story,cold as ice (or Norway)
This film is in color but it felt black and white. Maybe because it is set in Norway but maybe because it's meant to be (and is) a cold, realistic vision of a young boy struggling with adolescence. I understand that Kornstad was an amateur; if so he gave an incredible performance, one that seemed to capture the director's vision. This story will probably not appeal to the viewer looking for the usual comedic coming of age tale.
I loved Lardner's short story and didn't really expect movie to have same punch. That said I love this movie; yeah, I'm a sucker for old movies. They didn't go on forever, had good pacing and terrific dialogue. This one fits the category. Joe E Brown is "goshdarnit" fun as Ike and just can't help himself. I've known people like this who have an excuse for everything. Yes, it's one joke but it's a funny one!