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For Warner Bros., 1936, we take a look at two stage-to-film adaptations: Three Men on a Horse, a Warners-style farce about gangsters, discontented suburbanites, and the power of greeting card poetry, and The Petrified Forest, a drama by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert E. Sherwood about gangsters, disillusioned novelists, and the allure of French poetry. We discuss the studio’s handling of suburban satire and Leslie Howard’s handling of the role of thematic spokesman. It’s an all-star episode, with the other players including Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart (in his first important film role), stage star Sam Levene, Warners comedy stalwarts Frank McHugh, Joan Blondell, and Guy Kibbee, Eddie Anderson in a pre-fame appearance, and Lorenz brother Teddy Hart in a well-deserved Screen Actors Guild award-winning performance. And it doesn’t end there. As Bette Davis would say in The Petrified Forest, “It’s a little bit crazy!”  

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  Three Men on Horse [dir. Mervyn Leroy]

0h 29m 13s:                  The Petrified Forest [dir. Archie Mayo]

           

Studio Film Capsules provided by The Warner Brothers Story by Clive Hirschhorn

                                   

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

 

Check out this episode!

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In this Special Subject episode, we try to get a handle on Andrei Tarkovsky by looking at a couple of our favourites, in which Tarkovsky tries to get a handle on his mother (and faith, and memory, and guilt, and nostalgia, and the nature of womanhood, and the possibility of human connection): Mirror (1975) and Nostalghia (1983). We talk Tarkovskyan dream and “reality”; the interweaving of autobiography and fiction, representations of your own death, different kinds of doubles, mystical dogs, and amazing hair. 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  MIRROR (1975) [dir. Andrei Tarkovsky]             

0h 59m 00s:                  NOSTALGHIA (1983) [dir. Andrei Tarkovsky]                                                   

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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In this week of our (slightly-out-of-order) Oeuvre-view of Clara Bow’s career, The Saturday Night Kid (1929), directed by A. Edward Sutherland, is paired with True to the Navy (1930), directed by Frank Tuttle. We see two starkly contrasting Claras separated by just seven months: in Sutherland’s working-class drama, she’s heroic but bad-tempered, burdened with a flighty love interest, a manager who has it in for her (Edna May Oliver), and a snake of a sister (pre-stardom Jean Arthur interpreting realism as “shrill and whiney”). In Tuttle’s comedy, she’s a soda fountain girl who scams sailors with her boss, which leads to complications when she falls for a handsome gob played by Fredric March (who decides to introduce Method acting into this broad slapstick comedy for some reason). Elfin Clara gets involved in some satisfying brawls and tells off gangsters with a temerity that equally tiny Barbara Stanwyck would soon make her trademark. Obviously, this is what you had to do in Brooklyn. Also of note: a brief but impactful appearance by an uncredited Louise Beavers.

 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  The Saturday Night Kid (1929) [dir. A. Edward Sutherland]          

0h 19m 47s:                  True to The Navy (1930) [dir. Frank Tuttle]

                                       

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

 

Check out this episode!

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MGM, 1936: the studio of stars, glamour, and conservatism. Or so goes our thesis, which we attempt to complicate by taking a close look at two movies that make romantic rivals of Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy: Clarence Brown’s melodrama Wife vs.Secretary and Jack Conway’s atypical screwball comedy Libeled Lady. Indubitably the protagonist of the former and top-billed in the latter’s star-fest, Harlow plays class underdogs that lend a pointed populism to MGM’s aspirational fantasies. We examine MGM’s representation of options for career women in Wife vs. Secretary and find it open to a subversive reading. 

 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  WIFE VS SECRETARY (dir. Clarence Brown)

0h 50m 00s:                  LIBELED LADY (dir. Jack Conway)     

           

Studio Film Capsules provided by The MGM Story by John Douglas Eames

                                   

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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In this week’s Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, we’re finally there: Clara’s first two sound films, both from 1929. First, we engage in an extensive analysis of Dorothy Arzner’s The Wild Party, Clara’s talkie debut. The star plays a college girl rebelling against the Victorian strictures on campus sexuality, but yearning for the loftier aims of her studious roommate and the handsome new anthropology professor (played by Fredric March). One of 1929’s great films, The Wild Party is a winning mixture of Austenesque coming-of-age moral trajectory and polymorphously perverse sensuality that only Bow and Arzner could pull off. But then, we get something much odder: Lothar Mendes’ Dangerous Curves takes two tendencies of the Bow persona, her active heroism and her comic pathos, to their logical extremes. The result this produces at the movie’s climax has to be seen to be believed. (Hint: it involves risking death in a clown suit.) But is Mendes crazy enough to pull off this crazy plot? And can the leads form a convincing romantic union after the sexlessness that’s been imposed on them? 

 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  THE WILD PARTY (1929) [dir. Dorothy Arzner]

0h 55m 43s:                  DANGEROUS CURVES (1929) [dir. Lothar Mendes]

                       

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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We look at four noirish British films distributed in the United States by Eagle-Lion: Waterloo Road (1945, directed by Sidney Gilliat), I See a Dark Stranger (1946, directed by Frank Launder), The October Man (1947, directed by Roy Ward Baker), and The Blue Lamp (1950, directed by Basil Dearden). We explore the mental and physical landscape of wartime and postwar England and such subjects as militant Irish politics, English policing, and scapegoating as dramatic structure and social reality, and evaluate the performance of Dirk Bogarde’s hair. 

 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  Brief Eagle-Lion Preamble

0h 04m 56s:                  WATERLOO ROAD (1945) [dir. Sidney Gilliat]   

0h 30m 46s:                  I SEE A DARK STRANGER (1946) [dir. Frank Launder]

0h 58m 20s:                  THE OCTOBER MAN (1947) [dir. Roy Ward Baker]

1h 22m 16s:                  THE BLUE LAMP (1950) [dir. Basil Dearden]                         

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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In this week’s Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, two of Clara’s best directors, Victor Fleming and Dorothy Arzner, present us with two very different versions of Clara that are both nevertheless logical developments of her persona. In Fleming’s Hula (1927), Clara is a wild child of nature and a real loose cannon, pitted against “civilized” ladies who are far more destructive, with another (Hawaiian) colonial setting. In Arzner’s Get Your Man (1927), a much more restrained Clara is an American heiress in France who finds herself romantically thwarted, not by British honour this time, but by European aristocratic codes. Neither are any match for her, of course. We discuss Clara’s signature desiring gaze, Clive Brook’s sweaty manliness, Buddy Rogers’ sulky callowness, and cute dog scenes. 

 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  HULA (1927) [dir. Victor Fleming]

0h 46m 41s:                 GET YOUR MAN (1927) [dir. Dorothy Arzner]                          

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

In this Studios Year by Year episode, 1936 begins with Paramount, and we take a look at two movies about gun-running that star Gary Cooper, but have little else in common (despite using the same cinematographer). We don’t find much to love about Cecil B. DeMille’s tribute to Wild West mythology, The Plainsman, starring Gary Cooper as an insufficiently hirsute Wild Bill Hickock and Jean Arthur as a whip-happy Calamity Jane; but Dave waxes enthusiastic about Lewis Milestone’s The General Died at Dawn, an off-kilter Popular Front movie that’s half-Hitchcock espionage romance, half-poetic realist manifesto. You know it’s wonderful, and we know you’re wonderful too.


Time Codes:
 

0h 01m 00s:                  THE PLAINSMAN (dir. Cecil DeMille)

0h 40m 23s:                 THE GENERAL DIED AT DAWN (dir. Lewis Milestone)

           

Review paragraphs from – The Paramount Story by John Douglas Eames

                                   

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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In this episode of our Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view, two films from 1927, the curious love triangle (quandrangle if you’re generous) melodrama Children of Divorce, directed by Frank Lloyd (but maybe really Josef von Sternberg), and William A. Wellman’s Andy-Hardy-Goes-to-War aerial spectacle, Wings. Elise says “Jamesian”! Dave says “Verhoevian”! (Shouldn’t it be “Verhoevenian”?!) We contemplate Clara Bow as a precursor to Judy Garland (but with more nudity) and as a waifish Kate Croy crossed with early Jerry Lewis.

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  CHILDREN OF DIVORCE (1927) [dirs. Frank Lloyd & Josef von Sternberg]  

0h 36m 30s:                  WINGS (1927) [dir. William A. Wellman]

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

 

Check out this episode!

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A four-film Special Subject episode, Joan Harrison, Producer, Part 1 looks at: Phantom Lady (1944), The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945), Nocturne (1946), and They Won’t Believe Me (1947). These idiosyncratic noirs and Jamesian melodramas by the former Hitchcock screenwriter and honorary family member interrogate gender roles, flip gendered tropes, and deconstruct male resentment of women in ways that faintly anticipate Elaine May’s work. We also discuss the Negative Capability of George Raft, the void-like charisma of Robert Young, the appealing androgyny of Ella Raines and very different vibe of Susan Hayward, Geraldine Fitzgerald’s ability to be sexy and Victorian at the same time, and George Sanders’ subtle way of showing us his soul dying inside of him. It’s a big episode! 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:                  Brief introduction to Joan Harrison

0h 19m 08s:                  PHANTOM LADY (1944) [dr. Robert Siodmak]

0h 48m 41s:                 NOCTURNE (1946) [dir. Edwin L. Marin]

1h 15m 08s:                  THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF UNCLE HARRY (1945) [dir. Robert Siodmak]

1h 43m 41s:                 THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME (1947) [dir. Irving Pichel]                               

+++

* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

*Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Find Elise’s latest film piece on Billy Wilder and 1930s Romantic Comedy

*And Read lots of Elise’s Writing at Bright Wall/Dark RoomCléo, and Bright Lights.*

Follow us on Twitter at @therebuggy

Write to us at therebuggy@gmail.com

Check out this episode!

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