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The Groove Tube (1974)
Yes, its dated.
Much of Groove Tube is satirical so it would be nice for the viewer to have as many personal references, as possible, to that which is being satirized.
There is no way to fully appreciate Kramp Easy Lube's kitchen segment unless you had to endure the original Kraft recipe TV segments. Shapiro's "way too calm" narration and hand movements are classic but the ridiculous directions are mostly funny because none of us could follow Kraft's original directions either.
I give credit to those younger people that see the creativity in this film but I understand where many don't get it.
"Trying to tell a stranger 'bout rock and roll".
As to Mr. Shapiro, I, too, have wondered for years how a perfect successor to Mad Magazine, and predecessor to SNL, can just drop off the map of creative irreverence. Maybe I don't want to know.
In any case, Ken Shapiro's genius lives on in the digital world and this old baby boomer is grateful.
Too bad that there are those that don't appreciate this cinema milestone
Think of the styles of Hitchcock, Welles, Scorsese and Kurasawa and watch this movie again. Do you think that they were influenced by Lang? The pacing and camera work were groundbreaking.
Lorre's acting was seamless. A deft combination of silent and talkie techniques that should inspire any actor.
If Silence of the Lambs is a shot of tequila, M is a snifter of fine, aged brandy to be savored with a calm appreciation.
It helps to revisit the cinema of 1931. Was Grand Hotel (that year's Oscar winner) or Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde (Spencer Tracy got the Oscar for that "horror" movie)nearly as daring or innovative? In today's world of CSI and Law and Order SVU, there may be those that have a difficult time understanding the gem that M truly is.
Well, filet mignon ain't for everyone.
Pasqualino Settebellezze (1975)
A Must See Masterpiece
I've watched this movie dozens of times in the last thirty years and it's still a treat. I just bought the new DVD version and I'm in love with Lina again.
It's a roller-coaster ride with scenes of the grotesque against visions of sublime beauty. And, Thank You, Lina, for the courtroom scene of poignant conversation without words.
The theme of the movie is simply that we too often accept survival as an excuse to abandon honor, integrity and fundamental humanity. There is a leftist tone that may put some off but that shouldn't detract from the basic message.
The simple message is told with flawless visuals, hypnotic music and acutely fine acting.
Please enjoy this important part of cinematic history.
A Christmas Carol (1938)
"What's Christmas without chestnuts?" and Christmas Carol
I would like to say that every version of Dickens' tale is excellent in its own way but that would include Henry Winkler's "American Christmas Carol" and "Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol". Of course, then there's Albert Finney's musical "Scrooge" - Thank you very much.
But, rather than quibble about which is the best version, I will say that Dickens' story is the best illustration of the Christmas essence. Religion and commercialism aside, Christmas is about giving to mankind to better yourself and Scrooge is the poster child of that sentiment.
Now, as to Reginald Owens' version of the tale, just a couple of quick points:
This film is lighter and brighter than the others. The Lockharts are almost "cartoonish" in their portrayals. There is a cuteness in this one that makes it a bit more fitting for small children than the Sim/Scott/Stewart versions. Nephew Fred(Barry MacKay)is infectiously good natured and a fitting opposite for Owens' mean, old Scrooge.
As to Reginald Owens, his meanness is nowhere near the other Scrooge's but his character fits the overall nature of the film. I just wish that they would have tried harder with his facial makeup. In some of the scenes, he looks an awful lot like the scarecrow in "Wizard of Oz".
This version may be "A Christmas Carol Lite" but it is very watchable and entertaining.
"God Bless Us, Everyone."
A Different Way to View Crumb
First, I liked this movie very much. But, as you can see from the previous comments, this is a movie that you'll either love or hate. But its hard to be indifferent to it. Zwigoff does a wonderful job of setting a mood that allows you to examine an artist who is depraved, perverse and, yet, insightful.
Everyone seems to come away from the movie with an idea that Robert is spared the obvious insanity of his two brothers because of his art. But I see it differently(hence the title of this comment). Even Robert admits that his brother, Charles, was a better cartoonist. Another way to view Robert's "success" and his brothers' descent into "crazy" is fame. Crumb was an involuntary icon of the 60's. Where would Robert be today if he wasn't recognized and rewarded in the 60's? If Zap comix had turned him away for his misogynist and racist comics, would he have had the subsequent female relationships that seemed to normalize his existence? What would his fantasizing over a high school yearbook and habitual masturbation meant if he was an unknown sharing a room with his brother at Mom's house?
When I watch this movie, I am always mindful that Robert's obvious genius would be lost were it not for his luck at being discovered. I suppose that is an obvious statement but, in Crumb's case, fame has managed to gloss over many unacceptable characteristics. And, maybe, that's not such a bad thing.
The film lightly touches on Crumb's relationship with his son and daughter. For some reason, Crumb's bumbling attempts at affection with his children were a bit disturbing. Or maybe its just that Crumb's fixation with wrestling and piggyback riding lingers in your mind when he hugs his daughter.
On a lighter note, I've noticed that no one has mentioned the soundtrack of this movie. Designed to be in keeping with Robert's love of old American music, the music helps to define the subject. I wonder why Zwigoff made no mention of Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders band.
Crumb comments against the crass commercialism of America. And, yet, I first saw this movie at a theater in Baltimore where the lobby was chock full of Crumb comic picture cards, mugs, etc.
Crumb, the movie, is a crazy world of contradictions and well worth the ride.
The Producers (1967)
Hitler as Comedy
First, Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder played their characters with genius. "Over the top", for sure, but in an exceedingly entertaining way. I'm surprised when folks criticize their portrayals and go on to praise Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles. "Over the top" is Mel Brooks' endearing style. So, if you laughed at Frau Blucher, Igor, Mongo, Hedley LaMarr and Lili Von Shtupp, you'll be right at home with Bialystock and Bloom.
Second, its easy to understand that some folks have a difficult time with Hitler/Nazis as comedy. For the rest of us, comedy is born from adversity. Mel Brooks understands that laughter and ridicule are the best ways to disarm your enemy's ability to continue to terrorize you. Even in WWII, it was deemed wise to trivialize Hitler in political cartoons. The Producers gives us a more frivolous version of Chaplin's Great Dictator. "Survivor humor" is, and always has been, everywhere. Hitler has no special reprieve from ridicule. On the contrary, as Franz Liebkind points out, laughing at Hitler is a disgrace to his memory. And that should be good enough for all of us.
For those of you that enjoy a funny movie with wonderful acting, I highly recommend this flick. I just watched it again and it has weathered the years, like it's brothers Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, without becoming "dated".
As an aside to the commentators that were personally offended by this movie because of their direct connection to the horrors of WWII, I was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 and I can't imagine anything funny about that day and the events surrounding it. Nevertheless, something tells me that, someday, someone with find something humorous in that disaster and, maybe, that's not such a bad thing.
Yes, the best of many versions but.........
Christmas is our chance to celebrate the best part of humanity and Christmas Carol continues to exemplify that celebration. I fully agree that there are charming moments in every version of this tale but Mr. Sim's portrayal is most loyal to the spirit of the story.
But, rather than add to the extensive praise of this film, I wonder if anyone else has noticed the "mysterious man in the mirror"? In the Christmas morning scene, in Scrooge's bedroom, a seated man shows in the bedroom mirror. I guess it was a crew member and no one noticed when the film was edited. I guess, in all the dozens of viewings on TV, this film blooper was not noticeable. But, with DVD and better video, there he is. Somehow the "man in the mirror" does not diminish my enjoyment of the film. On the contrary, he's kinda added to its charm.
Hey! Maybe its Marley come back to check on his partner's reclamation?
Whatever. "Dennis.......... Polka!"