Wednesday, 31 August 2011

”On this block there’re lots of ‘Babes’.”

One of the things that really make me unhappy is the unfortunate habit of cutting out scenes of classic movies for the German cinema release..
Sometimes on DVD releases the missing parts are cut back in – with new (and by that different) voices or just with subtitles.
Well and of the film I am going to talk about now I apparently miss 6 minutes – which is a shame – because I really, really love this flick!
This means that I might have a different sensation about this film than you – and I might point out things which are wrong from the “original” view. I apologize for that – and hope that some day I will be able to catch those missing 6 minutes.. (I do soo hope it's just part of the credits..)
Anyway - stop the lamenting - start the talking - but first...
...have a hint:
(These are the most important accessories in this film..)

What? A telefon and firearms (apparently colt official police revolvers..) didn't help you??

Ok - how about some movie posters?

~ See? This scene in which Humphrey Bogart carries that girl – it isn’t in the film.. He only touches two women (I checked that..) – and that’s each just a gentle touch on their arm to direct them..
- Blimey!! Did they cut out the “too erotic stuff” for us demure Germans???!? Oooh.. shucks! ~

Don't you know it yet? Well.. - maybe now:

Once upon a time there was a group of organized criminals - called by the press "Murder, Inc."- what would be now known as the Kosher Nostra. In 1944 Luis "Lepke" Buchalter - one of those big mobster bosses - was electrocuted in Sing Sing after it was verified that he was guilty of murdering two persons. His partner Albert Anastasia was set free.

From this events Martin Rackin made a screen script which in 1951 would become one of the most violent films of its decade. It was directed by Bretaigne Windust for a few days - then he became seriously ill and Rauol Walsh took over - after Humphrey Bogart who was the star of the movie asked him to do so..
The film is:


Please notice the badge saying:

"Suitable only for adults" ...

In a nutshell:
Since four years district attorney Ferguson (Humphrey Bogart) is on the hunt to prove that Alfred Mendozza (Everett Sloan) is guilty of committing several murders resp. delegating his men to commit them – and tomorrow the big trial will happen and Mendozza will for sure be on death row - because Ferguson has the perfect witness: Rico (Ted de Corsia), Mendozza's partner.
But then Rico becomes nervous - because even out of the prison Mendozza has his ways and means – and Rico dies due to a self inflicted accident..
Only one night is left to go through all files and notes to find the clue that will bring Mendozza to the electric chair..

“Ever have a tune run through your head and you can’t remember the words?”
Watch out for:
  • Bob Steele (here: Robert Steele) as Herman – a stone-cold contract killer.

  • Harry Wilson as B.J. – Herman’s side kick.. You’ll notice him – quite a familiar face.. - though he is hiding it in the picture above.. But at least you can spot Bob Steele..
  • King Donovan - another familiar face... - as Sgt. Whitlow - and in real life married to Imogene Coca.

  • A rather young Zero Mostel doing a really good job as Big Babe Lazick..

  • The amazing performance of Ted de Corsia! He goes from scared to death back to ice cold and again back to very nervous. This, folks, is brilliancy!

      I might be wrong but I think he is speaking with an accent in the original version – he isn’t in the German dubbing. What I found quite ok – because an accent doesn’t matter here at all, does it? But as I said - I could be completely wrong..
    • You know what: Whatch out for the whole cast! A-MA-ZING!!

    • This was Humphrey Bogart's last film for Warner Brothers.
    • The German title is DER TIGER (= the tiger):

    ~ At least the German poster shows Ted de Corsia quite outstanding.. ~

    • Though Raoul Walsh did the major part of directing this film he didn't want to be credited for what he felt would be Bretaigne Windust's break through.
    • The UK title is MURDER, INC. , the Italian LA CITTÀ È SALVA (= the city is save) and the French is LA FEMME À ABATTRE (I am pretty sure this means: The woman to be killed).

    You should watch this film if you...
    • ... are a fan of real life crime adaptations like PUBLIC ENEMIES (2009) ~ watch that one!! Please!!! ~ or BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967).
    • ... want to see Zero Mostel in a not so funny part.

    • ... are fine with brutality that - compared to today's standards - is less shown than happening in your head ..
    • ... are fond of tough dialogues - real snappy dialogues.. classic film noir dialogues:

      Babe Lazich: "Who calls him on the phone?"

      Philadelphia: "If you're a good swimmer you can ask the guy who found out. He's at the bottom of the river."

    ~ ouch! ~
      - Philadelphia is personated by Jack Lambert - really good, too!

    From real to reel..
    • The language the gangsters use is based on that what the actual mobsters used: "hit" and "contract" for "victim" and "murder". Public learned those meanings during the trial of Louis "Lepke" Buchalter.

      He was the model for the film character Mendozza. "Lepke" is a Yiddish affectionate form for Louis - like "my little Louis" - though Buchalter was no small fish in the pond of "Murder, inc."..

    • The district attorney Ferguson is based on Burton Turkus - the attorney back then during the trial - whose book was released about the same time than this film. In 1952 he hosted a TV show and became known as MR. ARSENIC.

    • Rico is based on Abe "Kid Twist" Reles.

      Like Rico he was about to testify - but fell out of a window of the suite where he was housed by the police. He died due to that - it was never stated wether it was an accident, suicide or a murder. The news papers titled very tastefully:

      "The canary who could sing but couldn't fly."

      His nick-name "Kid Twist" is said to be related to his use of a rope to kill his victims.

    Quotes corner:

    "They made me kill my girl."

    Michael Tolan as Duke is also awesome.. Another one who turns from "ice to puddle".. Never good to start having feelings for the victim it seems..

    “If you run somebody runs after you. So walk.”
    “That butcher is going out of here - a free man.”
    - Everett Sloan as Mendozza -

    Have a look:

    It's a bit short and the quality is mediocre - but it was the best I was able to find..

    I love this line: "You better take a friend with you."

    Let's face the music:

    • The song, which is played on the sidewalk loudspeakers is KISS ME SWEET.
    • The originaly score was written by David Buttolph.

    Murphy's law:

    When Rico leaves the hide-out you can spot a member of the crew in the window of his car - the first time I saw it I thought that it must have been one of the mobsters - but in that scene they didn't were jackets - and they were on the porch..

    ~ This picture after they found a mass grave of the Mendozza firm's victims reminds me of the pictures I saw of the concentration camps in WWII.. all those empty shoes.. ~

    This film really gets me - I watched it three times now - and still find it exciting. Most of the story is told in flashbacks - because Ferguson and his team try to find the missing proof of Mendozzas guilt - it works really fine here.

    I don't think that the production was very expensive - but it really is a great bit of cinematography. And this cast.. outstanding! The story is rather modern - and I can imagine a remake of this film quite well.
    ~ Actually I did a list with my new cast.. - so if Hollywood calls: I am prepared.. ~

    I like that Everett Sloan as Mendozza is not shown for most of the film - in the beginning they talk of him like he was the epitome of evil: "He smiles at me.. ... He'll never die! ... He's not human.."

    This is obviously more of a guy-film: there are only few women in this film – and those are wives, victims or maybe they own the place where the hoodlums meet or the victims live - oh and I think I spotted a nurse somewhere...
    Well, that's just what we females do: having a bit trouble, making a bit trouble, healing a bit trouble..

    The End? Wait and watch!

    Thank you very much for listening!

    Yours (very well) and truly,

    Irene, who actually is feeling horribly whenever she hurts any living thing..

    Oh - there's just one more thing... (9)

    Ahh.. middle of the week.. time for a cup of what-ever-you-fancy..
    .. as demonstrated by Claude Rains and Cary Grant:
    Enjoy, gentlemen!
    ~ well.. and folks around here.. ~

    Tuesday, 30 August 2011

    Memorable Film And TV Characters (3): Nick and Nora Charles

    Why it's Nick Charles and his lovely wife Nora. The ace detective who retired once he married Nora to settle down and enjoy life and all the pleasures that come with it. Namely large quantities of alcohol consumption.

    It helped that Nora came from a very rich family and the pair could travel and do whatever they wanted. The couple were wonderfully played by William Powell and Myrna Loy for an amazing six films. I love all the films in the series but the earlier ones are the best.
    Nicky, I don't think you should be playing in the house with that....

    Nick is the type of guy who doesn't want to get involved but always does before too long. He may be retired but murder and trouble just seems to follow him everywhere. He would like to be left alone to continue to relax and drink but a dead body always seems not far away. He doesn't like it but Nora loves it. She loves nothing better than to be involved in a nice juicy mystery, much to the dismay of Nick. They are both comical and always seem to be having fun no matter how dire the situation may get. 
    Ahhhhhh....the loving couple...

    Nick is a pretty smart chap as he manages to solve the mystery before the final reel. Nora always look fabulous and shares in her husband's triumph, with some witty remarks of her own. They made one of the silver screen's most entertaining couples. I loved how Nora always called Nick..Nicky. They just seemed so great together as husband and wife. Another trademark of the series was the class of people that Nick used to hang around when he was a full time detective. Nora's interaction with them was always hilarious. As was Nick's meeting her upper crust family members.
    Hey don't forget me!

    So here's to Nick and Nora Charles, my favorite onscreen couple and film's best husband and wife. Oh and Asta too. I can't forget him, now can I?
    Nora, Asta and Nicky...

    Check out the video below for some of Nick and Nora's most witty lines...

    Monday, 29 August 2011

    Some puppy love.. (2)

    It's Dog Tuesday again!! (well - here it is already..)

    And today we have actually three guests - and a very happy looking dog:

    Let's see.. That would be

    Carole Lombard,

    ~ you're welcome, Monty.. ~

    Gary Cooper,

    ~ well, how about him, Patti? ~

    Leslie Howard

    ~ for yours Irene.. *sigh* ~

    and that beautiful dog for all of us.. ;")

    ~ well - of course all belong to themselves.. or all of us.. or no one at all..

    - Any wishes for future posts? ;") ~

    What I'd like to "ad".. - Favorite Musical Tournament

    Excuse me? May I have your attention for a moment?

    Thank you!!

    ... some of you don't have rythm - like Fozzy Bear in THE MUPPET SHOW
    (he has a little help by Rowlf):

    ...others won't dance - like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in ROBERTA (1935):

    ...or like Gordon MacRae in MOONLIGHT BAY (1951), are too cool and too smart to like songs.. :

    (don't you just adore Doris Day in this???!?
    It's one of my favourite films of hers..)


    You all can go and vote at Dawn's SINGIN' AND DANCING BACK IN TIME - where Monty is doing the fabulous FAVORITE MUSICAL TOURNAMENT!!

    Hear me??

    Please go and vote for your favourite musicals!!

    Be quick because Wednesday August 31 the first round about the 20s/30s musicals will end!

    And to get into the right musical mood:

    here we have Shirley MacLaine and Gene Kelly doing one of the best musical parodies I know

    - it's from WHAT A WAY TO GO (1964)

    - and I am very sorry that the picture quality isn't better..

    Thank you all so very much for listening - and voting (?)

    Yours (very well) and truly


    Just by the way: the pictures I posted here are from German musical WIR MACHEN MUSIK (1942) (= We make music) - so they won't affect your decisions..

    - the girl in the light-colored dress is Ilse Werner (famous for being able to whistle quite beautifully - remember the intro of WIND OF CHANGE by The Scorpions?? M-hm.. ) and the ~ very handsome *ahem* and quite funny ~ man is Georg Thomalla - who actually was the German voice of Jack Lemmon and Danny Kaye and some others, too ..

    Sunday, 28 August 2011

    REAR WINDOW (1954) is one of Hitchcock's best films ever.....and one of my personal favorites

    I rank Rear Window as my number 2 all time Alfred Hitchcock film, just behind The Lady Vanishes and just ahead of Psycho. Window is a treat for the viewer with gorgeous cinematography and excellent camera work from Hitch. The story is simple enough: maverick photographer Jeff (played by the great Jimmy Stewart) is laid up in his New York apartment with a broken leg. He is being cared for by his very upscale girlfriend Lisa (the luminous Grace Kelly) and his nurse Stella (the always reliable Thelma Ritter). With little to do Jeff begins spying on his neighbors across the courtyard and what neighbors does he have. You have a highly limber blonde dancer; a troubled songwriter; a lonely woman who can't find a date; a busybody old lady; a couple with an energetic little dog; and last but not least the couple directly across from him with a very large man named Lars Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr-before Perry Mason) and his sickly wife. Well amidst all the goings on between Jeff and Lisa-she is ready to marry, he not so much and Stella's constant needling, Jeff notices strange things between Lars and his wife. Before you know it, the wife has gone and Jeff suspects foul play. It takes a little convincing to bring Lisa and Stella to his way of thinking but eventually they agree. The police, on the other hand are a different story. So the trio decide they need proof and with Jeff hobbled with a cast on his broken leg, Lisa and Stella decide to do the leg work (no pun intended).

     Did you see what he just did?

    What follows is a game of suspense taken up to the highest level. Rear Window is a near perfect film with fabulous performances. Stewart is solid as always as is Ritter, who gets to say most of the film's best lines including "Nobody ever invented a polite word for a killin' yet". And Burr makes an effectively creepy bad man. But it's Grace Kelly who makes the movie for me. She just lights up the room whenever she comes in and the banter she trades with Stewart is pure bliss. I believe this to be Ms. Kelly's best film performance ever. Yes even better than her Academy Award winning role in The Country Girl. She never hits a wrong note as Lisa, and is a true joy to watch. Rear Window is one of the best films ever made and one of the best from ol Hitch.

    The lovely Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont, one of her best film roles ever

    Saturday, 27 August 2011

    “They may not admire my person but I assure you, they dote on my purse.”

    Sometimes I struggle with my looks.. I am used to that.. Sometimes I struggle with the looks of Hollywoodstars - especially when they are supposed to be ugly - and still look gorgeous.. - or when the make-up-department changes some familiar and usually very distinctive faces - e.g. look at this nose:

    This, dear friends, is your hint for the film I am going to talk about.. Any ideas yet?

    Hm.. ok...

    Then I'll go on:

    Once upon a time.. ..Charlotte Brontë wrote a book which became a beloved classic and which was adapted for the big screen several times – one time it was rewritten by the great Aldous Huxley, John Houseman and Robert Stevenson, who was a member of the Brontë-society - and who also directed the film, which was brought to you by 20th Century Fox. You might know it:

    JANE EYRE (1943)

    hm.. this film poster seems to give the wrong oomph!pression..

    not much better.. Still floating hair and a naked shoulder?? Please! This isn't Brontë-porn, folks!

    aah - yes, that's the kind of image that fits it at least a bit better...

    In a nutshell:

    Jane Eyre (Peggy Ann Garner) is an orphan. Because her aunt by marriage Sarah Reed (Agnes Moorehead) wants to get rid of the rebellious child she sends it to Lowood – a school headed by rigid Mr. Brocklehurst (Henry Daniell) whose very strict rules lead to the death of Jane’s only friend Helen (Elizabeth Taylor).

    Years later the grown up – but still a bit stubborn - Jane (Joan Fontaine) starts to work as a governess for Adèle (Margaret O’Brien - speaking with a very cute French accent) at Thornfield Manor. Little Adèle is the ward of Mr. Edward Rochester (someone who resembles and sounds like Orson Welles .. ;"p .. ) – owner of Thornfield Manor and a bit uneasy to be with.

    Nevertheless he and Jane go very well with each other and finally fall in love – but there are some obstacles: like the very pretty heiress Blanche (Hillary Brooke) who is after Mr. Rochester and there is also a dark secret in Mr. Rochester’s past, which might be related to the strange screams at night and the accident which almost burned Mr. Rochester during his sleep…

    ~ you think this is the final scene? Ha! You have no idea... ~

    Watch out for:

    • Elizabeth Taylor as Helen - her appearance is rather short and she is just sweet and not very much Martha of WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?-ish. (->1966)

    • Star of silent movies Mae Marsh as Leah.

    • Hillary Brooks performance as Blanche Ingram - nasty lady that blonde.. Just btw - though she spoke through her whole career with an English accent - Miss Brooks actually hailed from Astoria, New York - she just wanted to have kind of a trade mark.. - isn't that simply marvellous?

    • Agnes Moorehead – as always excellent – and I adore her saying “wicked”.. ;”)

    • Henry Daniell as Mr. Brocklehurst – I love to hate that man! Honest: I think he is always great when he is mean!!


    • Though you might get the impression while watching this film: the beginning which is read from the pages of a book called JANE EYRE (I wonder why..) – it is not the original beginning of the novel - so please don't try to impress someone by memorizing this as the novel's beginning.. ;")
    • There are some relations with Daphne Du Maurier’s REBECCA (which is apparently loosely based on JANE EYRE): a plain looking and kind of mousy heroine, a hero who is a bit uneasy, dark secrets in his past, the very similar end.. – well, and Joan Fontaine played the heroine in JANE EYRE (1943) as well as in REBECCA (1940).

    • This was Elizabeth Taylor’s third appearance in a movie - the 7th flick for Peggy Ann Garner and the 8th film Margaret O'Brien did.

    ~ Look: other females have hairstyles
    Peggy Ann Garner and yours Irene just have hair.. ~

    • Joan Fontaine’s sister Olivia de Havilland played Charlotte Brontë in DEVOTION (1946).
    • The German title is DIE WAISE VON LOWOOD (= The orphan of Lowood) and it was released in Germany in 1947 - which is comparatively early: e.g. THE THIN MAN SERIES weren't released here till 1969..

    • Edith Barret who personated Mrs. Fairfax – a lady of “a certain” age – was actually 36 – just ten years older than Miss Fontaine..

    ~ this, dear friends, is the Hollywood idea of a plain looking female.. *sigh* anyone carpooling with me to a plastic surgeon?? - maybe we'll get a group discount.. ~

    Let’s face the music:

    Bernard Herrmann who wrote the score for this film also used parts of this for the opera he started to write – WUTHERING HEIGHTS after the novel of Charlotte Brontë’s younger sister Emily

    You should watch this film if you..

    • .. wish to know the story (well the main part..) of a classic novel – without fighting your way through a bit dull passages (yeah – I said it: There are passages in JANE EYRE that I found actually dull to read.. the whole passage about several chapters what Jane lives through after she left Thornfield Manor.. that really gave me a hard time.. I was very fine with the Rochester and gothic atmosphere parts though.. but after all I am more of a WUTHERING HEIGHTS girl.. )

    • .. like your main characters not too lovely.

    • .. want to see each and every movie in which little girls talk with phony French accents and try to make grownups watch them dancing.. (Yes, I am talking to you Miss O'Brien! Go to your room!! )
    ~ awww... look at all these fluffy frills.. Somewhere in there is a child - I am pretty sure of that..~
    • .. have a soft spot for mad women.

    • .. like mystery gothic romances.

    Quotes corner:

    Maybe one of the best-known-literary-children-quotes ever - when asked how to avoid to end in hell little Jane Eyre answers:

    I must keep in good health and not die.

    No more questions, your honor...

    Never ending story:

    There are soo many adaptations of this novel - I just learned that I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) is losely based on it, too.. Great idea for a double feature show, isn't it?

    Let's have a look:

    ~Don’t you just adore that girl in the beginning of the clip – and all those novels?? I love that! ~

    Uhm.. ok. I got to confess that – not caring about what you will be thinking of me..: I am mesmerized by Orson Welles' fake nose in this film! I am frequently staring at him..

    Anyway: I love this story. I love that the heroine shouldn’t be overwhelming beautiful.

    Yeah – it’s Joan Fontaine – not quite an unattractive woman.. that’s true.. but they at least tried to make her look a bit more boring.. Problem is: Joan Fontaine has a beautiful face! That lady looks like an angel!!

    ~ oh my gosh! This woman is incredibly ugly! Quick - lets give her an paper back to hide that grotesque face..


    Yeah, sure... ~

    The hero is supposed to be unattractive – which actually means: very attractive to yours Irene.. Yeah, ok.. Orson Welles isn’t really my cup of anything.. I am struggling with myself whether I do like him or not.. – but he doesn't look like Orson Welles and it's Rochester and it's mighty dark in the halls of Thornfield Manor.. – anyway: it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

    I love the scene in which Jane is thinking that she hears Mr. Rochester calling for her in the thunderstorm – actually it makes me always a bit chuckling.. which can be related to the pathos in it.. And I simply adore Mr. Rochester’s Great Dane Pilot.

    And though this film has with Joan Fontaine, Elizabeth Taylor and Agnes Moorehead three of my favourite actresses and I love it – I still must confess, that this isn’t my favourite version of JANE EYRE – that would be the 1996 version with Ciarán Hinds as Mr. Rochester..

    ..well, till now that is.. – because the 2011 version will released in Germany not before December – it was aired in the USA in March.. (!!! – IN FRIGGIN MARCH!!! .. ~ curse you, German cinemas!!! ~) anyway - this could change everything:

    Because Mr. Rochester is personated by one of my modern favourites: Michael Fassbender – plus one of my favourite modern actresses Sally Hawkins is in it, too – yeah.. a great cast beside them with Judi Dench, Jamie Bell and Mia Wasikowska – but: aren’t you listening?? Michael Fassbender!! Blimey.. Hm.. I think I know one film I will write about in December – in case it will be actually in German cinemas then.. Oh! Woe is me..

    Well, till then I still can watch this very cute version of JANE EYRE with such a beautiful cast - and so many great talents. Maybe woe isn't that much me..

    ~ Don't you just love this picture? Looks like Orson Welles told Joan Fontaine a dirty joke - and she is not amused.. ~

    The End? - Wait and watch..

    Thank you very much for listening!

    Yours (very well and ) truly


    - not even plain looking in a Joan Fontaine way..