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#21 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:44 PM

Lawrence, not much to disagree with above. I forgot we have this thread for the director, I'll moved my review to here. I'll look at Clyde's review later (reading it right now).

I liked the film slightly more than you, but really can't disagree with what you state and my review resembles yours in many ways. Luckily at least two of the Basil Rathbone films take place in the Victorian age (the first two released) and a few others like The House of Fear work well in the newer era.

Don't forget Christopher Lee played Sherlock Holmes in at least three movies (two TV). He points this out in the interview on the disc stating he is the only one to play Sherlock as well as Mycroft (I have no idea how true this is).
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

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#22 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 01:36 PM

Why do you recommend One, Two, Three? I thought it was an awful movie. In the box it's one of several duds along with The Fortune Cookie, Kiss Me Stupid! and Irma La Deuce. Actually just from watching the MGM Wilder box, I was a little surprised at how uneven Wilder's work was.


I still have not gotten to these films yet. I finally took care of watching Avanti! Monday. Without having seeing those I still feel most of Wilder's work is quite strong, but I have watched all of what is considered his classics and a few of his minor ones.

Avanti! has the same problem that The Apartment does, both films tack on happy endings that seem to contradict the prior emotional arc of the narrative. The Apartment would be as flawless as Ace in the Hole and Sunset Blvd if only the film didn't tack on the ending of Shirley Maclaine leaving the party and running back to Jack Lemmon and end with them giggling over each other saying "I love you more" "Noo..I love you more!" I don't hate happy endings or anything...but this is such a great black comedy about two very destructive people....it was a cop out IMO, likely to appease the studios.

I would have probably been ok with the ending of Avanti! if the Lemmon character had been a bit more developed and the transition of him understanding and becoming like his father was fleshed out a bit better. I actually think the same point would have been made and with better results if they didn't copulate near the end of the film, then agree to meet the next year to continue the affair. I don't know that I believe that Jack Lemmon's character had developed to the point that he would initiate the affair and thought that whole sequence was a bit sudden (though obviously coming). ...
Just my opinion, feel free to call me nuts. :)


Nuts. Just kidding of course. I enjoyed the film, but I think I've liked it a little less than all those who have seen it here. At first I was enthralled with the dialog and situations of a stereotypical American in Jack Lemmon. Damn his character got annoying (in a good way). The benefit of that is we all know that his character is going to turn as the movie progresses (typical romantic comedy turn). Interesting point that Ian makes about the Lemmon character not being developed enough. What is correct about this is how much time could have been given to expanding his character but was spent more in situational comedy -- most of it quite good though. I did feel that the pacing was a bit elongated as I found myself less interested in these characters as time went on. I kept expecting more to happen.

The ending certainly felt a bit too wrapped up, neat and tidy and in its own way annoying.

I really don't think of them as destructive, but more as needy. One thing I found quite interesting and mostly Hollywood was the fact the overuse as Pamela Piggott (that is just a horrible name pun) as fat. I can understand the woman thinking of herself as overweight, but she really wasn't that big compared to normal standards (even during the early 70s). Almost the same feeling one gets with Renée Zellweger in Bridget Jones.

Clive Revill as Carlo Carlucci was outstanding in his supporting role with his dry wit, demeanor and verbal skill.

Reading through several reviews, I noticed several have mentioned this as a black comedy. I think one problem of seeing more many films and especially acerbic black comedies (like when you eat too much hot sauce you can't really tell when things are hot anymore) I don't really think of this movie as such with a small exception of the moving of the bodies (nothing like The Trouble With Harry). There is certainly moral implications with the movie, especially the ending, but nothing really extreme.
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My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#23 clydefro

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:04 PM

After watching my Spanish DVD of Buddy Buddy I can see where most every criticism of it that I'd read comes from, yet I still found it harmlessly enjoyable. It feels somewhat stagebound, having originated from a Francis Veber play, and Matthau is meaner than usual while Lemmon is whinier and more annoying than most would prefer. Those portrayals are largely necessary, though, to remain faithful to a story that needs to go over the top if it hopes at all to work. I think Matthau's performance is what works best, and, surprisingly for a Wilder film, the supporting players are all various levels of ineffective. I kept thinking that Wilder must have really wanted to make The Odd Couple and instead settled with having Matthau play a hitman for the mob. It's that same dynamic for Matthau and Lemmon, and how much one tolerates and enjoys it should predict the amount of love for Buddy Buddy. Still, there are a few laughs left to be had from the Wilder-Lemmon-Matthau triangle in this and it's not outright terrible.

I can't in any way recommend the Spanish DVD because it's not anamorphic for a 2.35:1 movie and the transfer is crummy.
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#24 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:02 PM

Clyde, how many more Billy Wilder films do you have left? Also what do you think of Irma la Douce?
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

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#25 clydefro

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:41 PM

Clyde, how many more Billy Wilder films do you have left? Also what do you think of Irma la Douce?


Two - The Emperor Waltz and Fedora. I've been in no hurry to watch the former but it might surprise me. TCM has it scheduled for March 1. Fedora has eluded me but I believe it's been restored and Olive Films picked up the license for DVD release. Hopefully that still comes to pass.

Irma La Douce is too long. Wilder was prone to making his pictures too long in the I.A.L. Diamond years but Irma, for me, is the worst offender. I suppose there's some value in having Lemmon and MacLaine together again. The color is nice and so is Shirley MacLaine. Even so, I can't think of another Wilder-directed movie I enjoyed less. Kiss Me, Stupid made me uncomfortable but I've grown to respect it more since my viewing. Irma registers only with bad memories and little desire for a revisit.

#26 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:53 PM

Two - The Emperor Waltz and Fedora. I've been in no hurry to watch the former but it might surprise me. TCM has it scheduled for March 1. Fedora has eluded me but I believe it's been restored and Olive Films picked up the license for DVD release. Hopefully that still comes to pass.

Irma La Douce is too long. Wilder was prone to making his pictures too long in the I.A.L. Diamond years but Irma, for me, is the worst offender. I suppose there's some value in having Lemmon and MacLaine together again. The color is nice and so is Shirley MacLaine. Even so, I can't think of another Wilder-directed movie I enjoyed less. Kiss Me, Stupid made me uncomfortable but I've grown to respect it more since my viewing. Irma registers only with bad memories and little desire for a revisit.


I certainly agree that Irma La Douce (as well as many in the I.A.L. Diamond era) being too long. I liked it more than you, but I doubt I will revisit it anytime soon (it was the last film I watched last year). I could easily seen that story shortened. I suppose it is easier to forgive the accents (missing) then the relationship between Lemmon and MacLaine. I suppose it is there to make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but it doesn't make it funnier or more interesting. It was more screwy then anything else, with the ending being the most ridiculous.

The color is nice, but those green stockings did make me feel a bit queasy like the use of green in Playtime or Satyricon.

I liked Jack Lemmon's English character, but it certainly reminded me of later Jerry Lewis and even later Jim Carrey. It was almost like an earlier cross between Lewis in the The Family Jewels and Carrey's Fire Marshall Bill.
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
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#27 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:33 PM

Blu-ray Less Wilder

Nice write up from our very own clyde on, of course, the lack of BDs for Billy Wilder. I like the ending to it:

"Fedora meanwhile, the fourth and final of Wilder’s unreleased pictures in R1, reportedly was picked up by Olive Films. Let’s see which one happens first - Buddy Buddy given a purple underside by Warner Archive, Fedora out via Olive, or any Wilder film on Blu-ray."
Under Construction:
My Criterion Collection (408; I Own and Have Watched):
1-16, 18, 19, 20, 21(2nd), 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51(1st & 2nd), 52, 52, 53, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86. 87, 88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151(1st), 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 180, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201, 202, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 224, 226, 227, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 260, 263, 266, 267, 268, 271, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 297, 298, 300(2D), 301, 302, 304, 305, 306, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346, 347, 348, 349, 351, 352, 353, 354, 357, 358, 359, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 378, 379, 380, 383, 385, 386, 387, 388, 391, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 402, 404, 405, 408, 409, 410, 412, 413, 414, 415, 416, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421, 422, 424, 425, 427, 428, 429, 430, 431, 432, 433, 434, 435, 437, 439, 441, 445, 446, 447, 448, 451, 453, 455, 456, 457, 459, 460, 461, 462, 465, 470, 475, 476, 478, 481, 482, 487, 490, 497, 498, 499, 500, 501, 503, 505, 512, 524, 525, 526, 528, 529, 530, 531, 539, 540, 543, 556, 565, 572, 578, 579, 580, 586, 596, 650, 664, 677

Previous Editions: 2,
Eclipse: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 23, 26, 33

“Empty your bladder of that bitter black urine you call coffee.” – The Tick

My HK movie reviews
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#28 Izo

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:25 PM

Some Like it Hot


Such a wonderful film, even if I do feel it's somewhat overrated. The narrative conceit that gets the mobsters to Florida is just a little too convenient, and there are some other leaps of logic that prevent the film from being my favorite Billy Wilder movie, but you really can't argue with the wit or the performances. Jack Lemmon is wonderful, and Tony Curtis' Cary Grant impression ("Who talks like that!?") kills me every time. On top of all of this, the film is just so damn smart and adult and naughty. They really don't make them like this anymore.

#29 Lawrence

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:08 AM

I was in Berlin last week and next door to the film museum was this tacky restaurant/dinner. I didn't stop and look at the menu as it was shut during the day and to be honest it's not at all the type of place I'd go to. I snapped a quick shot of it and thought of you lot on here (especially Clyde).

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#30 clydefro

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 08:23 AM

^Nice. I don't know the history of that place but it was also there 10 years ago when I was in Berlin. In a way, I'm kind of happy to see it still around.

#31 Izo

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 03:02 PM

Possible spoilers for those who haven't seen The Lost Weekend.


I finally got around to The Lost Weekend, one of the two films that won Billy Wilder an Oscar for direction, as well as for Ray Milland's performance and best picture. I liked the movie, though I definitely don't rank it among Wilder's very best work, despite the sharp, intelligent writing and Ray Milland's really wonderful performance. Despite all that was right with the film, there are some pretty glaring issues, I thought. The worst of these is the sharp U-turn of the ending, which really feels like a cop-out after the 95 minutes of darkness that preceded it. I know Wilder wouldn't have been allowed to resolve the film with a suicide, but the complete 180 that Milland's character makes in the course of about 30 seconds at the end of the film is just wildly unbelievable. Really, up until this point the film is really pretty emotionally accurate with its portrayal of alcoholism - even if it does tip into the side of melodrama and general over-the-topness several times.

#32 clydefro

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:38 PM

^ I think it's somewhat widely regarded that The Lost Weekend was so well honored at the Oscars because, foremost, Wilder had come up short the previous year for Double Indemnity, and it was a tackling of a "serious" subject in alcoholism (though there had certainly been fair and nuanced depictions of alcoholism in Hollywood earlier).

I still need to see The Lost Weekend again. It's been a few years since my one and only viewing.

#33 Izo

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:57 PM

It's definitely a good movie, though it's not half as interesting as, say, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is, which I've also watched in the last month. That's another film that has its share of problems, but it compensates in being absolutely fascinating.

I don't feel like I have a whole lot to say on the Holmes film. I loved it in a lot of ways, and had a few problems with it as well. For example - and forgive me because I am really wretched when it comes to some of the more technical aspects of filmmaking - I don't know what sort of lense Wilder and his D.P. chose to use on the film, but the whole thing looked sso relentlessly flat that it occasionally seemed to me to be a bit lifeless and the characters would almost disappear in the sets. In all honesty, that was my biggest gripe with the movie, which I did actually love despite the few issues I thought it had. I would have loved to see Wilder's cut of the film.

#34 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:55 PM

I certainly agree that Irma La Douce (as well as many in the I.A.L. Diamond era) being too long. ...


The Fortune Cookie

I felt this was a bit long as well though he did cut three minutes of the film after it was first shown. Certainly not a dud though, so far there have been no duds among the work of Wilder that I have seen. A pleasent enough comedy with the first pairing between Lemmon and Matthau. Did not realize until looking at the trivia that Matthau had a heart attack on the film. But Lemmon and Matthau work so well together with their interactions that would lead to great movies like The Odd Couple.

I was not particular happy with the Boom Boom racial aspect towards the end. It did not help that he was already overly working himself sick for Lemmon's character. It seems that this character has had the most complaints on controversy on the writing I have read on this film.

"The Snake Pit" segment was quite good in the cinematography and Sig Ruman (Stalag 17) in his second to last film appearance was excellent in his small role. "Then we have lost the patient, but we have found an honest man."

I'm looking at Some Like it Wilder by Gene D. Phillips on Google Books. Some good information about the film, but like usual when you want to get all the info, the pages are missing :). Anyone read this book?
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#35 Lawrence

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:57 PM

I notice that no one mentions Witness For The Prosecution at all in this thread. I watched it a few weeks back and thought it one of Wilder's best films. Laughton is at his best and the plot is the sort of thing Hitchcock might have overdone, but Wilder just handles it perfectly. Like all the Wilder films I've loved, it was perfect, he has a great ear for dialogue, you never feel that actors improvise with his scripts It even managed to sucker punch me with the ending. I also saw The Spirit of St. Louis which was a really good Sunday afternoon film. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, since the subject doesn't really appeal to me. Lindburgh seemed nice too, not at all like the nazi sympathizer he's supposed to be. ;)

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#36 masterofoneinchpunch

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:04 PM

I notice that no one mentions Witness For The Prosecution at all in this thread. I watched it a few weeks back and thought it one of Wilder's best films. Laughton is at his best and the plot is the sort of thing Hitchcock might have overdone, but Wilder just handles it perfectly. Like all the Wilder films I've loved, it was perfect, he has a great ear for dialogue, you never feel that actors improvise with his scripts It even managed to sucker punch me with the ending. I also saw The Spirit of St. Louis which was a really good Sunday afternoon film. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it, since the subject doesn't really appeal to me. Lindburgh seemed nice too, not at all like the nazi sympathizer he's supposed to be. ;)


I had wrote on both of those films on the original .com site. Unfortunately I did not keep the writing (though it was small). With Witness For the Prosecution I think of it more as a Laughton film than a Wilder one, but a film I really like. Laughton just dominates the movie. I have been quite successful in lending that movie to older movie fans. Wilder, if I remember correctly, did not usually allow his actors to improvise. He was pretty much stay on the script.
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#37 Lawrence

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 01:09 AM

^
Ah the lost contents of the original sites, lost forever. Sometimes I almost forget about those miserable days. Sometimes. :lol:

I agree though Laughton does dominate the film, in fact it may be the main reason I liked it so much. But Wilder is the sort of director that gives more on multiple viewings. He doesn't seem interested in flash camera moves, yet despite that (or maybe because of it), his work is really solid. Correct me if I'm wrong but he doesn't work with the same director of photography on every film does he?

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#38 clydefro

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:47 PM

Quick hits on The Fortune Cookie and Witness for the Prosecution:

The three-film stretch of Irma La Douce, Kiss Me, Stupid and The Fortune Cookie is the only point where I think Wilder lost the plot in his directing career. These are films that, while never without redeeming qualities, all feel too long, unfocused and generally lazy. They also show Wilder being passed by to some extent. There's no good reason The Fortune Cookie should be over two hours long. I can also see in these films what Wilder detractors tend to hold against him. Again, I don't think they're bad movies, but they are good evidence of a filmmaker out of touch and they've probably aged as poorly as anything he ever did.

Witness for the Prosecution is another story entirely, and a pretty strong example of Wilder's flair for adaptation. It doesn't easily fall in with the accepted notions of Wilder's work but he directs the material as well as one could probably imagine. It is indeed a Laughton showcase, and yet Wilder also coaxes strong performances from the rest of the cast (particularly Dietrich). I do believe Wilder was later quoted as saying that Laughton was the best actor with whom he ever worked. In some ways, it's one of Wilder's more anonymous directing jobs, at least among his better films, but I'd honestly struggle to think of anyone who would have made it even marginally better. The film is highly enjoyable, even if I could never include it among Wilder's very best by virtue of it lacking the director's most obvious signatures.

Wilder did work with a few different directors of photography. At Paramount he liked John Seitz, who did both Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd. Then he moved on to Charles Lang and later he worked with Joseph LaShelle a few times. All prominent names, if not quite the visual artists we might most recognize today. Christopher Challis, whose work on The Small Back Room was so brilliant, shot The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

#39 Lawrence

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:33 AM

Thanks for your input Clyde. Wilder is one of those directors where I'm determined to see everything. It's still only Sherlock Holmes that has left me disappointed so far.

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#40 Duke Togo

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 05:11 PM

The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Well, I wasn't sure what to make of this one at first. For the first fifteen to twenty minutes neither Tom Ewell or the comedy in general were really working for me. It really takes off though once Monroe's character enters the picture, and it is from that point that Ewell's overly-dramatic monologues really had me in stitches.

The film is a tease, always creating these hot situations with Monroe that fizzle out every time, either by circumstance or by Ewell suddenly finding his passion and loyalty for his wife renewed. The daydream sequences are the best, and I especially loved the bit at the piano, both fantasy and real. Things really reach the point of ultimate sexual tension once Monroe removes the temporary wall separating their apartments. It isn't much sooner after she says they can do this all summer that ,once again, all sorts of other factors return to interrupt. Rinse, repeat, though you never get tired of giving it another try.

Even though things are constantly postponed you never get the impression of danger from other men, who all seem to share and support this seasonal summer infidelity. The film ends so much sooner than expected, I really had not realized that running-time had passed so quickly, but I suppose that is the only ending I should've been prepared for. I felt this film was part of some essential cannon as I was watching it, but it seems completely ignored in this thread, which is a surprise. No fans? It will be interesting to see if any of the tension will remain once I revisit the film, though I will at least have a head-start and understanding with Ewell's character.




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