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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964)
UNCLE Feature Film
Who has this now? Anybody know? Is it still Tarantino? Or JJ Abrams? Or maybe Joss Whedon? I'm worried that like most big screen remakes of TV shows, it'd be painful if it wasn't one of them. However... I saw a script for this recently, it was totally fierce, twisty plot, cool action sequences. It updated the characters while also respecting the source. It didn't make it a joke or wipe out what went before but re-imagined the concept in a contemporary setting with a real sense of history. I'm a huge fan of the show and really felt this captured what I liked about the original and built something new out of it. Anybody interested, contact me, I can show you an excerpt.
Page Miss Glory (1935)
Another unsung gem.
Like "Front Page Woman," this is a comedy I'd never heard of and only discovered because of TCM. Fast paced dialogue played with relentless Looney Tunes energy make this a sharp spoof of media manipulation and public gullibility that holds up well nearly 70 years later. Marion Davies inhabits her slow witted small town girl thrust into the limelight. Dick Powell parodies himself as the Hero of the Air who falls in love with her picture and proposes before they've ever met. Pat O'Brien and Frank McHugh share a wonderful rapport as the con artists behind it all. Only Mary Astor seems wasted as she has little to do though she does it with elan. Treads similar territory to `Nothing Sacred' or more recent offerings like `Simone' and `Wag the Dog.' Highly recommended.
Front Page Woman (1935)
Sassy Newspaper Comedy on TCM
Rival reporters Garfield and Devlin are also a couple who delight in scooping each other often to the detriment of their respective papers. Brent and Davis are charming together and have an easy rapport. Curtiz's workmanlike direction and the rapid fire dialogue still hold up well, helped by the story's hesitation to endorse traditional male/female roles. If this proto-screwball comedy has a flaw it's that Garfield never seems a savvy enough rival for Devlin despite topping him to keep their endless competition going. Reminiscent of `The Front Page' and `His Girl Friday.' Recommended.
More like a sequel to the TV series
What a total waste of time. The new Shaft takes forever to get started (the story begins at least three times) and never really finds its way eventually degenerating into recycled action set-pieces where not one villain can shoot straight enough to hit the hero(you can actually see them waiting for him to shoot them) and cars flip over! The clumsy writing also features the kind of lame dialogue where everybody repeatedly tells the hero how fabulous he is just in case the audience might not think so on their own, and plotting so dimwitted the climax renders pointless everything that preceded it. Where Gordon Park's Shaft offered a gritty evocation of 70's New York and a commentary on contemporary racial and sexual politics while re-envisioning the classic detective hero, the new Shaft comes off as little more than another big budget homage to bad 70's TV. Probably the only time I haven't minded people rudely talking during a movie, it was nice to have something to pay attention to.