Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Inaccuracies in the summary by Jim Beaver
The summary is more appropriate to the inferior Greta Garbo version of Camille where the film is given a Hollywood-style happy ending. In that version Marguerite dies, but reunited with her lover Armand, and in his arms. Marguerite's illness is also down played throughout the film, presumably not to harm GG's beautiful image.
The Nazimova version is a true tragedy. We know she is fatally ill from the first scene. Her consumption can be seen as symbolic - when the original story "La Dame aux camelias" was written consumption was known as the love disease. Sufferers waste away like doomed lovers, and as they lost weight, took on a pale beauty.
To Marguerite, her love for Armand is a way out of her sordid way of life. But when she becomes aware of what her love is doing to Armand, she gives up her hopes of happiness in order that Armand can have a normal future without being dragged down by her past. She dies believing Armand now despises her for leaving him for her previous rich protector, unaware that Armand has ever discovered the truth about her motives. Clutching the book "Manon Lescaut" that Armand gave her, and which is so symbolic in their relationship, her last words are "let me sleep and dream".
A superb and timeless film.
Psychological depths displayed in key scene
This film is excellent, but one scene stands out. This is a dream sequence which exposes the conflict in Megan's mind concerning General Yen. Very Freudian!
Megan is dreaming. A sinister Fu Manchu-like figure is approaching her. It is General Yen wearing traditional Chinese clothes with a skullcap and a long gown. Long talon-like fingers extended to claim her. It is clearly a fear-of-rape dream, made worse by Megan's horror of everything oriental, especially General Yen.
Suddenly a masked figure appears, clad in a dashing military uniform. He leaps on to the balcony, shoots the sinister Chinese, and sweeps Megan into his arms. Megan gazes at her savior. He is leaning over her but she isn't objecting this time. Suddenly her romantic rescuer rips off his mask. It is General Yen.
This is Frank Capra at his best.
The Kid Brother (1927)
Not nearly as good as his earlier work
What a disappointment! Compared with SAFETY LAST or the witty and charming GIRL SHY, this is a retreat to the crude slapstick of the one-reelers.
The last episode of GIRL SHY was so good it was copied decades later in the GRADUATE, but there is nothing worth copying here. The old gag about hiding behind the body of a horse is recycled, and the washing up routines are lifted from Keaton's THE NAVIGATOR. Neither are there any magic moments here such as the Shakespearean bust of Lloyd in GIRL SHY.
Most reviewers give this 4 stars - just goes to show they don't know their job.
Girl Shy (1924)
The definitive Harold Lloyd film.
Slapstick takes a back seat to wit and charm - especially wit. This is the Harold Lloyd film that contains the often-quoted scene where Harold imagines he is a latter day Shakespeare. One episode is so good it was copied decades later in THE GRADUATE. I won't say what it is immediately recognizable.
The only disappointment is that one of the original day-dream sequences was cut following adverse comments at the preview. Apparently the audience wasn't into wit, and got bored waiting for more slapstick. (Nothing changes.)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Great film, but not the definitive Maltese Falcon
The Maltese Falcon was John Huston's first chance at directing. He was 40 years old and he probably knew that if he failed he might never get another chance. And if that had happened, the Maltese Falcon would probably have been cut down and issued as a B film.
Everything was against Huston. He had been lumbered with an aging second-rank actor, Bogart; a fading actress Mary Astor who was quite unsuitable to play a vamp; a beginner Sydney Greenstreet; and Peter Lorre who was type-cast as the same psychotic type he had always played since he starred in Fritz Lang's 'M' in the 1920s. The studio wasn't going to waste money on a new script, and had simply dusted-off the one that had been used in the 1931 Maltese Falcon. And in 1941 the plot would have seemed ridiculously old-fashioned, with it's fanciful history of the Black Bird, and talk of Constantinople, Hong Kong, the 'Russian', etc.
What is miraculous is that Huston pulled it off so beautifully and created a film perfectly in tune with the mood of the times. It's not Film Noir as is so often claimed. There isn't the disturbing psychological tension that you get in real Film Noir from 1944 on. Neither is it the sleazy world of Dashiell Hammett - where's the sex element?
Huston recasts the story in the early 1940s mould where the hard-boiled hero was king. Huston adds little touches to build up Bogart's tough-guy persona. Bogart takes guns away from the gunsel (which is quite unnecessary to the plot), and Huston also adds a typical hard-boiled scene in a hotel lobby.
Nor can Bogart be allowed to appear as sleazy as Sam Spade was in the original book, so his affair with his partner's wife is played down - in fact in typical 1940s misogynist-fashion poor Iva gets all the blame! Neither does our hero strip-search Miss Wonderly as he does in 1931. And at the end his motives are the standard 'a man's got to do what a man's got to do' with no hint of the sleaze Dashiell Hammett envisaged. In the original story his secretary Effie is horrified at what he has done.
In the 1931 version, Effie (played by Una Merkel) comes across as a believable character, but here she has been turned into a 1940s cliché. She is no longer a vulnerable teenage secretary for Sam Spade to paw, but a 'pal' who rolls cigarettes for him. This is to become part of Bogart's persona. In the Big Sleep a young female taxi driver is eager to give out her phone number to this middle-aged man, and another young woman closes her bookshop early just to get the chance to drink hard liquor with him - believable, it ain't!
But it is to Huston's credit that he created all this and made such a superb 1940s-style film. There are only a few respect in which the film fails, and those are due to the changes Huston was forced to make in the 1931 script. For example, to suit Bogart's persona he has to live in a 'modern' high-rise building with elevators, not an old fashioned apartment block - and that precludes the fire escape by which Joel Cairo sneaks into Spade's apartment in the 1931 version. The scene in the 1941 version lacks the logic of the 1931 version.
Similarly when Miss Wonderly says to Spade "But I thought you loved me, Sam!", the viewer might wonder how that came about. They have only seen each other a few times, and probably for less than an hour in total. The answer is a missing episode which the censors would never have passed in 1941. I won't give away what happens, but it's worth watching the 1931 version for that alone. In fact the scene where an apartment gets ransacked is as close to Film Noir as you can get.
The 1941 version is a great film, but it's not the best version of the Maltese Falcon. In my opinion that has to be the 1931 version. The dialogue is exactly the same, the story has better inner logic, and when you get right down to it and compare the Miss Wonderly's, the sexless Mary Astor couldn't hold a candle to Bebe Daniells.