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Father Knows Best (1954)
My favorite show from the 50's, happy to finally see an episode on TV land
I was so pleased today, being a baby boomer, to turn on TV land and see three hours of 50's television. From 9am to 12pm I saw, Burns and Allen, the Honeymooners, an hour episode of the Lucy-Desi comedy hour, Hazel, and last but not least an episode of Father Knows Best. Kudos to TV land for this three hour bonus which is supposedly going to happen every sunday morning all summer long. Why does it only have to happen on Sunday mornings? I want more of these shows from my childhood.
Father knows Best was one of my favorites. As has already been said by others, the show had wonderful values, laughter and pathos. Jane Wyatt was always my favorite TV mother. Why has she never been included in specials about favorite tv moms? Yes, she always dressed nice and wore pearls but I remember the particular episode when she was wearing a long shirt and pants to clean the house and she had a smudge of dirt on her face. That was when Jim was bringing home a women who was a famous author, someone he had been friends with. You never would have seen June Cleaver with a smudge of dirt on HER face. Jane (Margaret) was always there for her kids but she was so very human too. She lost her temper several times and once told her kids that they were brats. She made faces behind their backs once when she wanted to clobber them. She did what I never saw any other tv mother do, but what our own real mothers would do.
The whole cast was pretty wonderful. Bring back this show to tv again. There are plenty of baby boomers who would like to see it again and maybe it would be nice for it to get a whole new audience of a new generation.
The Trouble with Harry (1955)
The most delightful dialogue I've ever heard in a movie
I watched this movie again yesterday for the umpteenth time and never cease to smile at the wonderful dialogue full of witticisms throughout the picture. There are three perfect things about this picture. The screenplay as I have just mentioned, the breathtaking scenery, and the marvelous casting. Where in Vermont was this movie filmed? And are all of those lovely places the same as they were in 1955 or have they been taken over by development and the urban sprawl of the last couple of decades?
John Forsythe and Shirley McLaine in early roles were the perfect low key hero and heroine of this picture. Anyone more well known at the time would not have come across the same as they did. Mildred Natwick and Edmund Gwenn were also perfect. But back to the dialogue. The wonderful scene in the General Store when Miss Natwick admired the large teacup, the scene on the porch when Shirley was explaining about her failed wedding night and how "she had worked herself up to a certain enthusiasm", and don't miss all of Edmund Gwenn's comments as he waits behind a tree in the woods for all of the people, who have stumbled across Harry's body, to leave. These scenes are just a small mention of the perfect dialogue in this picture.
Hitchcock's sense of humor and subtlety was very prevalent in this film. I consider it one of his very best.
I was not one bit disappointed and I read all four books.
They say opinions are like hind ends and everyone has one. Well, here is another hind end opinion. I went to see the movie on its opening day in America and I just loved it and I am almost 50 yrs old. I have always been a lover of fantasy and these books were certainly the best fantasy books I have ever read plus I was not in the least disappointed in the movie. They did an awesome job. Yes, there were a few changes and omissions here and there, some differences in characterizations and story line but not so much different that it ruined the story. Over all, very well done.
I don't know how anyone could be disappointed in Daniel Radcliffe. He was Harry! Yes, his character was more low key than Ron and Hermoine but he had to be that way. It was a good balance between their characters. Ron is supposed to be funny, Hermoine is supposed to be bossy and Harry is the straight guy. I thought he was perfect. Ron (Rupert) and Hermoine (Emma) were perfect in their roles also and Rupert's character shone during the climactic chess scene. The other children were also very good. Neville and Oliver Wood did their roles perfectly and Draco Malfoy was good but didn't seem to be quite evil enough. Something was a little lacking there. I enjoyed the other Weasley brothers and hope to see more of them in the next film, especially the pranksters Fred and George who had too little time in the movie but that was understandable because there's only just so much you can fit in to get the story told.
As to the adults, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid and Alan Rickman as Snape just seemed to walk right out of the pages of the books into their roles. When I first read the book, I pictured Alan Rickman as Snape immediately and was very pleasantly surprised when he got the role. Ian Hart was also good as Quirrel as was David Bradley as Filch. David Bradley played a similar role in the Masterpiece Theatre production of "Our Mutual Friend". I agreed with many that Maggie Smith was too old to play Professor McGonagall, having pictured a woman in her early 50's for the role. However, she was so excellent in the part that in her case age was irrelevant. I was disappointed with Richard Harris as Dumbledore. He certainly looked the part but he seemed too feeble and quiet. You had to really strain your ears to hear some of his last lines of dialogue. Yes, Dumbledore is a very old wizard but the strength of characterization he had in the book seems to be lacking a little in Mr. Harris. I thought Sean Connery would have been a much stronger Dumbledore and would have looked fine with the white hair and beard.
As for the scenes. I was absolutely riveted to my seat during the chess scene. It was the highlight of the film. The Quidditch match, the mirror of Erised and Diagon Alley were also standouts. Though during the Quidditch match there seemed to be a lot of shots of Harry just sitting there in midair watching the match when he should have been looking for the snitch. Yes, I noticed that Harry was sometimes digital but it was such a small portion that how could anyone think that it wrecked the scene? I wish they had introduced all of the members of the Quidditch team. The part involving Norbert the Dragon was rather brushed off in the movie as were the ghosts. Where was Peeves? And John Cleese's part as Nearly Headless Nick was way too small though what little he did was very good. Those moving pictures on the walls were awesome. The finale in the great hall lacked the excitement of the book as the whole school realized that the Gryffindors were beating the Slytherins. It just didn't seem to be enough.
The things I didn't like were much less than the things that I did like so all in all it was excellent. Do not take small children, please! A little boy sat on his dad's lap behind us and kept saying he wanted to go home because he was scared. Several scary scenes for the little ones. I hope this film gets a nod during Oscar time. The three child stars deserve a special mention and Robbie Coltrane certainly deserves best supporting actor. 4 stars!!
The Searchers (1956)
This movie needed a sequel!
This movie was always my favorite western that I have seen many times over the years but I still have questions about it like the others I have read on here in the comments, that will probably always go unanswered. I always wondered what exactly Debbie's life would have been like after she came "home". Ethan was actually her only blood relation and he left her with the neighbors. Laurie would have felt only jealousy for her because Martin left her for 5 years to look for Debbie. Laurie made a very disparaging comment about Debbie being with Comanche men and I also noticed how Laurie did not look in her direction as she passed by her at the end. I think Martin would always continue to be protective of Debbie making Laurie's hatred and jealousy never ending. Yes, this was not in the movie but how could it have been otherwise? This movie made me care for the main characters wondering what would happen to them afterwards except for Laurie. I did not care for Vera Miles performance at all. I suppose I can understand how she felt, wanting to be with the man she loved but she just came across as whining and selfish and irritating. I also did not feel that Debbie would have been quite happily content to go back home with her uncle. In actuality, she would have fought to stay with her "people". And what happened to Ethan? He just went away from his niece never to see her again? This movie just screamed out for a sequel. The new story could be of how Ethan came to love his niece again and Debbie's adjustment in her new life. I thought John Wayne's characterization of Ethan was flawless. Also wonderful were Ward Bond and Jeffrey Hunter. The scene when Patrick Wayne first came in was priceless. John Qualen and Olive Carey as the Jorgenson's seemed to be rather mismatched. I also liked Antonio Moreno's small part as the Mexican. The scenery in this film was awesome. I wondered at the work and the trouble involved in being on location for this film with the many Indian extra's being used for all of the fighting and village scenes.
I will still watch it again and again but will always wonder what happened after Ethan "rode away".
It Started with Eve (1941)
An enjoyable comedy
I liked this movie very much and maybe that's because I am a baby boomer and prefer movies made in the 40's and 50's. Because I have always liked Deanna Durbin I bought this movie from Amazon.com and was very pleased with it. The scene when Deanna sang "Going Home" with Charles Laughton standing in the background was very moving. I thought they were a great team together and it really seemed like they had a great affection for each other. I was a bit annoyed with Robert Cumming's characterization, being a wimp and having no backbone to stand up to his father but then that's where the story lies. I thought Deanna's acting was very good and believable and her singing scenes (though unnecessary,except for "Going Home") did not detract from the story. This was quite an enjoyable light comedy and I would recommend it for anyone who likes movies of the 40's. The performances of Charles Laughton and Deanna Durbin definitely make this picture a treat.
The Spiral Staircase (1946)
A perfect heroine for this scary thriller!
Like many others who remember their first old movie experience from their childhood I remember first seeing this movie when I was about 12 years old. It was a Saturday evening when I watched this film, my parents had gone away for the evening and I was hurting and sore from having had 4 teeth pulled earlier in the day. I don't remember being particularly frightened though I might have been at the time. I just associate this movie with having 4 teeth pulled so will remember it for that reason. I loved the movie when I first saw it and still love it having seen it many times during my life.
There is some sort of surreal quality about it that makes it different from other old films at the time. The eery sounding music, the horrible staring eye and one scene in particular when Helen was coming home from the cinema and was almost to the house, she ran a stick along the fence and the wind and the rain came up so fast that she was almost caught by the murderer before she could run for the house. My favorite performances in the film were Dorothy McGuire with her wonderfully expressive face and the always perfect Ethel Barrymore and Elsa Lanchester and Rhys Williams as the servants. A wonderful old thriller to watch again and again.
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
A picture I've always remembered because of it's uniqueness!
I saw this movie as a child in the 50's and it fascinated me so much that I have never forgotten it though I never saw it again until last night when I watched it again on video. It brought back all of my earlier feelings about it. When I first watched it my family only had a black and white TV so I missed the color sequences which on seeing now give the film such an added beauty. The stop motion sequences, the marvelous stairway and the trial scene with an aerial view of it give the film so much uniqueness and wonderment. I thought the whole cast was perfect but as a child Roger Livesey's Dr Reeves was my favorite character and that hasn't changed. I loved his voice. Many of the English films of the 40's done by the Rank organization had such beautiful cinematography and this was no exception. Was that little boy in the beginning on the beach playing his flute like Pan, naked? An interesting touch though very discreetly shown. I'd recommend this film to anyone who loves the old films of the past. Truly a delight for the eyes and mind.
Pride and Prejudice (1980)
I liked both "Pride and Prejudice's"!
I enjoyed both this one when I first watched it on Masterpiece Theater and the A&E production. Colin Firth was certainly a more sexy Mr. Darcy but David Rintoul had his personality more down pat and was more true to the real Mr. Darcy in my estimation. Elizabeth Garvie was more the true Elizabeth as well, she wasn't considered to be a great beauty in the book but her character portrayal was true to the book. I thought all of the sisters and the parents were perfectly cast. Mr. Bennett, Moray Watson, gave a marvelous performance as the wise and witty father. This program may have been considered a bit slow moving to some but I enjoyed every minute of it.
War & Peace (1972)
A beautiful epic where I first discovered Anthony Hopkins
I was more into the romance of the show rather than the battle scenes but I watched the entire production when in my early 20's. I thought Morag Hood was a good choice for Natasha, resembling in appearance and actions, a young Audrey Hepburn who had originally played Natasha in the 1950's production. This was the first time I ever saw the young Anthony Hopkins and was very impressed by his kind and sincere portrayal of Pierre and was also impressed by Alan Dobie as Andre! Well, lets face it, I thought they were both extremely handsome!!! As I said I wasn't into the historical aspect of it but enjoyed the storylines of the important families, the Bezuhov's, Rostova's and Bolkonsky's.
Route 66 (1960)
My favorite 60's show!
I was about ten when this show premiered and watched it with my parents every friday night between Rawhide and Twilight Zone. As you can see Friday was a good night for TV. I was fascinated with the show and its two stars, both of whom I had crushes on. They were both so natural in their acting and always delivered some words of wisdom by the shows end. The fact that the show was always on location made it much more interesting to watch. I was sorry too when Nick at Night quit airing it in the 80's. I watched as many of the reruns as I possibly could and even now have a few on tape. It's a show I think that still holds up today because of its uniqueness and naturalness.
A wonderful Biblical Film!
I saw this movie when it first came out when I was about 7 yrs old and fell in love with Charlton Heston. I have seen it at least 25 times since and feel that indeed this was his best performance. His face was so expressive in conveying all the emotions. Notice the two water scenes when he receives and gives water to Jesus. In the first his face shows hope for the future and in the second when Jesus looks at him, all the hatred and bitterness disappear forever. Both scenes had a great inpact on the film.
The Real McCoys (1957)
A wonderful look back of nostalgia!
I watched this show fairly frequently as a child but now that I am an adult I appreciate it much more. I am so impressed with the acting and stamina of Walter Brennan. For a man in his late 60's, he had to memorize tons of dialogue and work so hard it must have been a strain on him, however it never showed in his performance. His wonderful love/hate friendship with George MacMichael (Andy Clyde) was a highlight of the show. I was very sorry when Kate left the show, though it wasn't the same, I still enjoyed it because I loved watching Walter. I am so glad that TNN is showing reruns of this show.