The Golden Age of Hollywood

A companion thread to my "What's the Last DVD You Purchased?" thread. I thought it might be fun to discuss what we all are watching or have recently watched. Below will be my first post in this thread.

Kevin

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This evening we watched the Sony animated film Transylvania Hotel 2 (2015). I have to say that this film was actually as good and maybe even a little better than the first film. The moral message that it's alright to be different seems to be a common theme in kid films these days but the writers pull it off in a rather endearing and charming way in this one.

Also been watching the 1942 serial called Spy Smasher on YouTube. Really fun and wild adventure serial that has some great fight scenes. It's perhaps a little childish by today's standards but that's what makes this series fun for me. In 1942 the Nazi threat was very real and I imagine a lot of people needed a hero on screen or real life. The episodes start with the beginning notes of Beethoven's 5th symphony also known as the "victory" symphony. Those notes would also be used in Morse code for victory da da da dahh da da da dahhh! So, i'm pretty certain that the opening theme of the serial is not by chance but by choice.

Also, worked through the Nick Carter series of three films (Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939)Phantom Raiders (1940) and Sky Murder (1940). All starred Walter Pidgeon as Nick Carter. Of course Nick Carter was a pulp character brought to life in these "B" pictures. I've never read the stories or even heard the radio dramas but I did enjoy the series. The final film was actually the best and I kind of wish the series had continued. Of course at this time Walter Pidgeon was an up and coming star but you can see he had star power and charisma.

So, what are you all watching?

Kevin

Hey Kevin, great topic.  I'll have to catch that Transylvania Hotel 2.  Saw the first one a few years ago with son Evan.  Even though he's 14 now, and probably thinks TH2 is a bit childish for him now, it sounds good from your comments.  I love these  modern animated movies these days, when they get it right.

Spy Smasher and the Nick Carter series sound interesting, and things I haven't heard of, so thanks for highlighting those.  Interesting about the series theme.

I'm watching, or have been trying to watch more like it, Five Star Final from 1931 starring Edward G Robinson and Marian Marsh.  Aline McMahon's in it too.  And a cast of true personalities as they used to have in those precodes.  I keep trying to watch it late at night and fall asleep!  But I shall get there yet.  Still working too many days/hours (but that's another story).

I've been watching a lot of episodes of How I Met Your Mother, because its become my son's favourite TV show lately, having taken over from Malcolm in the Middle which we were watching just before Christmas.  I missed all these shows when they first came out.  Catching up on them on a retro station we have here.

I'm also quite terrible ... watching The Real Housewives of Cheshire!  I know its train wreck TV but I kinda like watching these English ladies' and I like their accents.  The storylines are terrible!  I'm just liking seeing lovely houses and clothes etc., and I guess not too taxing on the brain after 11 hours at work!   I watch RH of New York on occasion too, but not into the rest of them.

I must see Casablanca!  Caught part of that when I was on holidays, and it looked great.  Had to stop watching because I'd missed the beginning, and want to watch all of it from start to finish.  But was drawn in very easily.

You have not seen Casablanca? Fer shame fer shame! (shakes head sadly). How have you missed one of the greatest films of all time?

I've not seen the Real Housewives of Cheshire. Is it an English version of the American soap?

I've seen most of Edward G. films but Five Star Final does not register with me. I'll have to check it out. I love Marion Marsh and Edward G. and so I'm sure I'll love the film.

As far as current or recent TV shows the only one we watch with any regularity is Big Bang Theory (we don't have cable or satellite and so we are limited to using a hang on the wall antenna and we mostly only have it for American football season). I think that show is just brilliant. We have been trying to watch the 6 part return of the X-files. Tonight's episode was off the beaten track for them and a bit humorous. I can't recall the original series having too many intentionally humorous episodes.

As for getting your son to watch Transylvania Hotel 2 with you just tell him you have a "monster" movie you would to watch with him. I bet he enjoys it. LOL

Kevin

Yes, I must sheepishly admit I have not seen Casablanca and also Maltese Falcon.  And I've recorded both of them now!  Yes, Casablanca looked really good. I know I'm going to love it.  I want to give it the time it requires and not watch it in many parts.  My new job just doesn't work well for movie watching, and I do find that frustrating!  

When my son's not watching How I Met Your Mother, the other show he watches is Big Bang Theory. We do love that one, and watch it together.

And shall take that tip about telling him its a "monster" movie!  That could work.

Yes, Real Housewives of Cheshire is an English version of the originally American series.  They even have Real Housewives of Melbourne (Australia) these days.  But I think I like the Cheshire ladies the best.  But just wish they'd come up with some decent themes/storylines to use.

Shall check back in once I've watched Casablanca (or sooner).... :D

Not seen Casablanca? ...  ....   ..   ......!  (I'm spitting feathers).  

By the way, I'm talking off the top of my head here, so I may be wrong, but isn't Five Star Final the film that featured a hastily-added Boris Karloff in the cast?

Not seen Casablanca

... . .. ....!

I've been watching 'The Man From UNCLE' DVD set that I got recently.  Also, I got over 100 eps of 'Burns and Allen' and the complete set of 'Sgt. Bilko,' the last two bootleg.  Needless to say, I've been having a glut of classic television.  In addition, we thorougly enjoyed watching MURDER, HE SAYS.  However, I would have to say that the most touching film I've seen in years is a recent one (IMO, 2006 can still be considered recent.) entitled TAKING CHANCE with Kevin Bacon.  It's a true story dealing with our veterans and is one that flat out made we weep several times.

We watched two films tonight. Bought a new 12 inch subwoofer for the surround sound stereo system and so we had to watch something that would show off that. My wife requested "Star Trek - Generations" (1994), and so I couldn't help saying... OK! I really love that film and the more I see it the more the story grows on me. I mean how many films do you get to see Captain Kirk die twice? LOL The moral message about time being a companion on our journey becomes more meaningful the older we get as well. I also can't help but get a little teary eyed when Data finds his cat Spot. The crash scene of the Enterprise 1701-D is amazing and with the new subwoofer quaking the house it was even more intense. Our chairs were virbrating as the ship is trying to come to a stop on Veridian III. Great stuff!

Next we watched Barbara Stanwyck and William Holden in "The Golden Boy" (1939). Fabulous drama and a good fight film. Ultimately though it is a retelling of the prodigal son. The fight scene was very well done and directed. I can't imagine how it was filmed to get that many people at Madison Square Garden for a filmed fight but it looked real. I can only assume that actual footage was interspersed with the filmed shots. Adolph Menjou was stellar as always as was Babs! This was William Holden's big break in films and he owed it all to Barbara Stanwyck.

Kevin

Watched a few films this evening. The first one was "My Past" (1931) with Bebe Daniels, Lewis Stone, Bob Lyon and Joan Blondell. The story revolves around an actress named Doree Macy, played by Daniels, who falls in love with a young attorney who is married. We also learn that hse had been involved on and off with Lewis Stone's character for several years and he's in love with her but she's in love with Robert (played by Lyon, who incidentally was her real life husband). Robert however, happens to be married and Marion (played by Blondell) tries to warn her that Robert is just out for a good time while his wife is away in Europe and that he'll go back to her when she does. Anyway, he does and the real drama begins.

Next we watched the Blu-Ray that arrived today of the Michael Curtiz silent film called "The Undesirable" (1915). Really a beautiful film visually and a tearjerker of a story. Highly recommended for those who love silents and even if you don't. Well worth the $15.00 Amazon is asking. The restoration is breathtaking and probably one of the finest I have seen in a silent film. The score written by Atilla Pascay is just gorgeous! When you think of all the great films that Curtiz would make this clearly shows that he was a good director from the start.

Finally we watched an old "B" Western starring Russell Hayden and Ann Savage and Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys called "Saddles and Sagebrush" (1943). Nothing really special here about the story but the singing was good old cowboy music (not Western swing) and Ann Savage was quite a beauty to behold! Also Dub Taylor plays his famous sidekick role of Cannonball. I'm not sure how many films he played the role with Hayden but it was several, but he would also play the role in other Western films as well.

Kevin

You watch great movies!  Love the sound of all of those!!  Particularly "My Past" of course.  But think purchase of "The Undesirable" is in order.  I purchased Blu-Ray Sunrise awhile back, still need to watch that!  I believe that's awesome.  I heard its known as the best silent movie EVER!!

Good idea for a thread, Kevin!

Last night I watched The Major and the Minor, a very implausible but fun romantic comedy starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland, which was also Billy Wilder's directorial debut. I don't think the movie could be made in the same way today, because Ray Milland's character was very attracted to a girl he thought was only 12, and I don't think that would be considered very funny nowadays. Of course, the character wasn't 12, she was a full-grown woman who impersonated a child in order to get a reduced train fare, but it takes almost to the end of the movie before Milland's character finds this out.

Now I'm watching the end of Broadway Melody of 1936 on TCM. What amazing dancing by Eleanor Powell! It's nice to see Robert Taylor and Jack Benny in this, too. I've never seen this movie before. I almost didn't recognize Eleanor Powell at first in her platinum blonde wig.

Coming up on TCM: Calamity Jane, starring Doris Day. I saw this once before, long ago. I own a copy, but I've never felt the urge to see it again. Sometimes it's easier to accept what TCM shows than to pick something out of my collection. I'm trying to work with the movies on in the background, but it's a challenge to stay focused on my work!

 

Last night I watched An American In Paris for the first time. I've always loved the Gershwin brothers music, but somehow never saw this film untill now.

The story line is perhaps a little flimsy. But it really only needs to be strong enough to hang the musical numbers on it. And what musical numbers! "I Got Rythmn", "S'Wonderful" and "Our Love Is Here To Stay" among others AND the final "An American In Paris" ballet.

The music, great and talented performances by Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron and Oscar Levant, and wonderful color. When it comes to musicals, MGM sure knew how to make 'em.

This is not one my favorite musicals and seldom watch it. I've never been fond of the ballet part. I will admit that there are some great Gershwin songs in this film though. I'll give it another go one of these days and see if my opinion changes.

Kevin

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