Hunka Hunka Burning Love

Classic Black and White Movies and Oldies

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Posted (edited)

Anyone into old black and white movies?  I recently watched "The Apartment" with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.  Charlize Theron had mentioned on the Oscars that movie made quite an impression on her.  It was quite good!

Another good one to see is "A Patch of Blue" with Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Hartman.  I watched it way back as a kid, and it still is a classic movie.

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Young Frankenstein is a black and white classic, even though it was purposely made in B&W to look older.  "What Knockers!  "Why, thank you doctor!"

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I had a chance to watch "Some Like It Hot" with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe a few nights ago.  It was overall a pretty good movie with some funny comedic elements.  Marilyn has a surprisingly :blink: revealing dress in that movie for the time that still arouses the senses with today's standards.

I saw "Roman Holiday" with Audrey Hepburn last night, and it was an entertaining  adventure through Rome.  If you haven't seen it, try to catch a viewing.  Maybe a little old fashioned and simple by today's standards, but it's a classic nonetheless. It's interesting how much feeling an actress can express in just a brief moment through her eyes...

Although not a black and white movie, I saw "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as well, and I found it a little difficult to keep interested in plus the dialogue was slightly convoluted I found at some points.  Not a favorite for me.

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I watched "Bringing Up Baby" starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn last night.  It's a slapstick comedy that apparently was only mildly successful in the day, but more recently it was considered one of the 100 greatest American films of all time.  I thought the film was pretty good with some funny antics at a golf course and dining area earlier on.  Katherine Hepburn was sure a looker back then.  :whistling:  Cary Grant's acting was a little inconsistent at times as the bumbling paleontologist, and Hepburn's character seemed a little too rambling and crazy at some points.  I don't know if I'd call it a good movie, but it was entertaining for the most part.

I must be on a B/W viewing spree as I saw "Sabrina" shortly after.  It stars Audrey Hepburn (no relation to Katherine), William Holden, and Humphrey Bogart.  This is the classic movie about a young woman falling for the wrong guy.  Hepburn was quite good in the lead role, but I think the age difference made things a little difficult to accept as well as Bogart's stoic acting.  There just didn't seem to be that chemistry onscreen somehow.

Caught the finale of the Walking Dead - ugh.. disappointing and a yawner.  :sleep1:  Faithfully watching all the episodes of the season only to be left with this?  It was so predictable.  :rolleyes:

Somewhere in there I also saw "The Seven Year Itch" with Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell.  It started off promising and interesting with funny dream sequences of the lead character's fantasies, but the inner conflicts and erratic behavior left me wondering if he was a little on the psycho creepy side.  :wacko:  Marilyn was her usual dreamy voiced self with the bubble-headed personality.  Sort of a forgettable movie.  I don't even remember what happened at the end...

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Posted (edited)

I had a chance to catch a late night viewing of "From Here to Eternity," with Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Montgomery Clift, and a skinny Frank Sinatra!  Montgomery is like a dead ringer for a young Tom Cruise.  Set at the Schofield barracks on Oahu right before the Pearl Harbour bombing, it entwines the stories of a young army soldier (Clift) who refuses to box for his Captain's league and the second in command who has a dalliance with the Captain's wife.

The famous beach kissing scene is an iconic image from American cinema.  It seemed shorter than I expected though, and the change in feeling shortly after seemed like an odd contrast which spoiled the previous scene for me.  I found the movie engaging for the most part and Clift's character interesting to a degree.  Lancaster's interest in the Captain's wife is a puzzler from the get go for such a well regarded soldier.   The ending I thought was bitterly ironic, but I'm no film studies major so maybe it was fitting and summed up the whole theme of rebel versus army?

 

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Posted (edited)

I viewed the black and white 1949 comedy "My Friend Irma" starring Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Marie Wilson, and Diana Lynn.  I believe it was a radio show before they made it into motion picture.   The humour actually holds up pretty well even today.  It's interesting to see Martin and Lewis paired up in their early days.  If you enjoy mildly campy humour it's worth a watch.  Whoa and did I forget to mention how gorgeous the two lead actresses were?  :wub:   Hubba hubba!  :dribble:

As well I caught "La Vie En Rose" with subtitles which dramatizes and chronicles Edith Piaf's tortured life and rise to stardom and eventual decline.  Although not a black and white or oldie, it was an interesting trip through the challenges that Piaf went through during childhood and revealed her passion for her art through song.  Poignant yet defiant at points, you really get a good sense of who Piaf was as a child growing up, a reknown French performer, as well as a lover and friend.

Oh how could I forget to mention that I watched "Blue Hawaii" with Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman a few nights ago.  Although it's a popular Elvis movie with some famous songs, the story was pretty lacking and seemed pretty much just an excuse for Elvis to show off his acting chops while touring through Hawaii.  It was neat though to see Hanauma Bay way back when...

Next up will be "Casablanca" and the "King and I" I think...

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1 hour ago, Hunka Hunka Burning Love said:

Oh how could I forget to mention that I watched "Blue Hawaii" with Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman a few nights ago.  Although it's a popular Elvis movie with some famous songs, the story was pretty lacking and seemed pretty much just an excuse for Elvis to show off his acting chops while touring through Hawaii.  

You moved to technicolor! I was getting worried :cry2: 

Being Abbott and Costello are proudly hanging on my :popcorn:wall I watched some of their movies last week. I loved Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein! Funny! :laughbounce2:

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The River of No Return.  Marilyn Monroe's best movie.  And, it was shot in Alberta.  Most memorable scenes, where she fell off the raft, and the lead male actor gave her a leg massage to get the blood flowing, and when these two bad guys tried to take advantage and got put on foot and their rifles and horses taken  by the guy whose was trying to protect his son and the dance hall girl he was with.  Then at the end, he realized she was the one for him and vice versa.:thumbup:

Edited by steve454
left out an n in taken
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Posted (edited)

I used to love watching Abbott and Costello reruns as a kid!  :roflmao: Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were a great duo as well.

Just watching "River of No Return" right now... scenery looks very familiar... have to watch "Niagara" later on...

I caught "The King and I" with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr over the weekend.  It was quite the production in terms of set and costume design.  The show within a show of Uncle Tom's cabin was mesmerizing to watch.  I thought it was pretty good overall, but the ending seemed a little out of place.

It was a weekend with Deborah Kerr so "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant was next on the list.  It's the classic movie referenced in "Sleepless in Seattle" as the ultimate chick flick movie.  It started off pretty good, but it seemed to drag excessively at some points of the film.  I almost fell asleep while they were visiting the grandmother... if you are patient it does pick up right near the ending and is well worth the watch.

I also had the opportunity to view "Casablanca" for the first time.  Somehow it never really interested me over the years, but since it's highly regarded as a classic I had to give it a go, and I'm glad that I finally did.  Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of an emotionally scorned and bitter man is well played out, and his feelings for Ingrid Bergman are both tangible and painfully evident.  

EDIT:  Marilyn Monroe was pretty hot in "The River of No Return," plus it was interesting to see that she sang all of her own songs.  Robert Mitchum was his usual tough guy self.  There was one ackward scene where Mitchum literally jumps Monroe's bones in the forest which by today's standards (and maybe back then) crossed some boundaries.  The "massage/warming" scene was definitely interesting.  :whistling:  Overall it was a pretty basic cookie cutter western with not many surprises.  I did recognize where they filmed the scene where the raft goes over some rapids.  It's a short drive from Banff Springs Hotel.

Here's some photos.  They go over this drop:

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And float towards this bend in the river to the left.  There's a small beach at the corner where they launch rafts.

c0f75e0fd0.jpg

Back view at the Banff Springs Hotel

c0f775dd6d.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Watched "Singin' In the Rain" yesterday, and it was a great show with wonderful performances from Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye.  Debbie Reynolds looked so young in that film at age 19, and her resemblance to her daughter, Carrie Fisher, was quite noticeable!  Apparently Kelly was suffering from a terrible 100 degree fever when he performed the famous dancing in the rain scene.  Kaye's physical comedy still holds up today and was quite amazing.

 

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Just finished watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in "Top Hat."  It's the movie where he sings "Dancing Cheek to Cheek."  I've never seen a Fred Astaire movie before, and this one was a great one to start off with.  It's a light comedy/romance, and the dance scenes are simply astounding.  Astaire had some amazing dance moves, and Rogers did a superb job in her own right.  This one's definitely a good watch just to see Astaire's cheeky quips, amazing footwork and delightful mannerisms.

Edit: I had to watch this classic a second time as it was such a great movie...

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Posted (edited)

Got a chance to catch "Swing Time" with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers a few days ago.  It's about a man who misses his wedding and runs into another woman who he falls for instead.  The story seemed to be a little insensitive to the fact that Astaire had a fiance waiting in the wings for him, but it was hard to deny the chemistry between the two leading characters.

The four dance routines are considered the best ever performed on film by some people.  Unfortunately the ending falls a bit short with what appeared to be a strangely over the top scene which could have been done better I thought.  It's still worth a watch if you get a chance.  I'm not a big fan of dance, but it is just mesmerizing to see how well Rogers and Astaire move with one another and how light they appear on their feet.

 

 

 

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Got to see "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Netflix (Roman Holiday is on Netflix as well) tonight.  It stars Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell as two friends travelling on a cruiseship who get into some trouble when Monroe flirts with a rich man.  

The famous song "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" is performed in this movie.  Overall it was just okay.  Monroe is her usual vacuous self while Russell plays the more in tune with reality best friend.  The guy playing the PI had no chemistry and character to him making Russell's interest feel pretty forced.  Monroe shines during her Diamonds performance, and she steals most of the scenes with her captivating beauty.

 

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Viewed "Notorious" with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman tonight.  It's a 1946 movie set in Brasil about the daughter of a Nazi party member who helps American agents reveal Nazi members continuing their work in South America.  Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it definitely had a much darker theme than the other films I've been watching.  Bergman shines as the troubled woman of ill-repute, and Grant provides the steely love interest who is conflicted by his affections for Bergman.

While a little slow in places, the story weaves it's way to an uncertain ending.  Although there was a lot of smooching ah romantic exchanges, Cary didn't seem to have much onscreen chemistry with his counterpart early on.  He does have a scene where his eyes convey his true emotions though which was well acted.  Worth a watch, but it wasn't a favorite.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notorious_(1946_film)

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i'm loving this assembled video

 

and TOKYO BOOGIE WOOGIE 1947 too

with his humoristic  2013 

 

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I had a chance to watch "Royal Wedding" with Fred Astaire and Jane Powell as two stage siblings who each find love outside of their profession when they visit England.  This movie has a couple of classic moments, one involving Astaire jumping onto a wall and dancing on the ceiling of a hotel room.  For a 1951 movie now in the public domain it was done quite well as they must have had the entire room rotate on a support of some sort.  Quite amazing and well done for the time.  The story was a little lacking for me, but overall for the two famous scenes it was worth the watch.

 

In addition I watched "Funny Face" with an older Fred Astaire starring opposite a 28 year old Audrey Hepburn.  The 30 year age difference was a bit of a stretch to fully accept their romance as real, but I read that it was a dream for Hepburn to be able to get a chance to dance with Astaire on film.  Hepburn was her usual charming and lovely if slightly aloof self whose character seemed overly focused on the (ficticious) study of Empathicalism.  Paris serves as the backdrop for some very good moments.  I haven't seen too many old movies that actually filmed on locations abroad.

Astaire has an impressive dance scene where he works with an umbrella and a trench coat.  The song and music weren't that memorable for me, but the talent shines through nonetheless.

Lastly I caught "To Catch a Thief" with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.  Filmed on location in Cannes and the French Riveria, it is an Alfred Hitchcock classic that follows Grant as "The Cat," an infamous jewelry thief who is suffering from his notoriety amongst his peers and the authorities when several robberies take place. Grace Kelly is stunning in this movie, but her chemistry with Grant seems lacking.  Maybe it is just the large apparent age difference that makes their relationship difficult to find tangible.  I found it a bit of a sleeper.

To-Catch-A-Thief-Grace-Kelly-and-Cary-Gr

 

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I love those, and when I went to UCLA, I got to see many of the oldies in very rare prints on the big screen at their film school.  One of the leading film restoration people was at UCLA and so some of them looked pristine.  You couldn't see them that way anywhere else.  

It was amazing to my classmates and me at the time what impact those old movies had on the big screen.  It became apparent that black and white truly was an advanced art form.  We had been used to seeing old black and white movies on the television, back in the days before nice screens, too.  So the contrast between how those movies hit us on small screens vs. how they hit us on big room-filling screens was dramatic.  It made me fall in love with movie history.

I also lived near a revival house, so I got to see many old films there, and many foreign films as well.  A lot of them were incredibly good.  It's too bad more people can't tolerate subtitles, because there is a world of film out there just as good as American stuff, especially the old stuff.  A lot of our best and most influential directors and film scorers in America were actually imports from Europe who came over fleeing Hitler.

Hitchcock remains a huge favorite of mine.  He said Shadow of a Doubt was his favorite, and it's an old black and white starring Joseph Cotton as the "merry widow killer."  He has a relationship with his niece, played by Teresa Wright, that is very loving and trusting ... until she starts to suspect ...

I have so, so many favorites from that era ... French, German, American, and Japanese ... even some old Spanish ones ... and from the "New Wave" era too, both French and German.  I feel extremely lucky to have seen many of those films, and even more so to have seen so many on the big screen.  

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There is a huge plethora of incredible productions that should be viewed and appreciated.  I hope future generations find some time to look back and take in some of the wonderful films from the past as they give insight as to where we came from and allow us to glimpse into the classic storylines from yesteryear.

I have absolutely zero dancing talent, but I find it still fascinating to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers dance on screen.  You get to see the growth and maturity of film direction, cinematography, editing, and musical scores over the decades.  Some films work well and others could have been worked differently, and it is interesting to see and think about why certain film choices were made.

With today's Youtubers and short attention spanners, I wonder whether these golden oldies will at some point fade away due to lack of interest.  It will be a shame if that ever happens.

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In many ways they have.  I used to work in a video store in college days -- decades ago -- and when asking for recommendations, almost everyone would resoundingly reject black and white movies.  This was back in the day when Ted Turner started ruining great black and white movies by colorizing them, rendering everyone an equally pink faced and using a very narrow, often pastel color palette.  Almost all the men seemed dressed in an odd tan or a fuzzy looking light or dark blue.  Those were your three choices, and that's on a good day.  A room full of men often looked like they were all wearing the same suit.  It looked atrocious, sometimes quite funny ... and people would leap for that over a black and white.

But more than that, they didn't want anything "old."  Usually that meant ten years, but sometimes it even meant 5 .. or less.  

And what I think is a great and permanent loss -- MTV came along, and so did MTV style cutting. Michael Bay is the epitome of it, but he's just the biggest name in a long development of hyper-directing viewer attention with rapid cuts and often narrow shots with single subjects and often flat depth of field.  This has ruined the feeling of openness and choice, of real lived-in worlds, in most movies today.  You can no longer look around the screen and choose for yourself what to see.  You can't have any surprises, or notice anything different.  What you get is only what will be spoon-fed to you.

So the incredible technique, pacing, and visual artistry of old masters like Renoir, Orson Welles, Davjd Lean, and William Wyler is largely lost to today's viewer.  They may never see them again.  It's hard to imagine ever again seeing a shot like Peter O'Toole, in Lawrence of Arabia,, slowly emerging from the desert like a mirage until his face fills the frame and you see the stunning blue of his eyes and have to wonder what they have seen.  Or the vast, soul-dwarfing landscapes of The Good, The Bad & the Ugly or Paris, Texas.  Or the tableau of Renoir, with many interesting lives and actions happening within the frame all at the same time.  

Where we once had Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers -- even Bruce Lee -- in full frame so we could see exactly how incredible their athleticism and grace was, how much ground they covered and how they really moved through space, we now show dance moves in rapid cuts that focus on single body parts, often neither demand nor reveal the athleticism or special grace of anyone, and can simply be shots of stuntmen and women with the audience never the wiser.  When Fred and Ginger and Bruce moved, you knew you were witnessing something amazing.  Something that could make you want to stand up and clap and cheer.  Now?  Action scenes are almost interchangeable movie to movie and actor to actor, and any actor can be a dance or action star.  It has become easy to smell a rat, but hard to be wowed.

It's the same with sound design, too.  And even character design.  In old movies like the first The Thing, by Howard Hawks, any actor at any time could be saying something interesting or even the best or funniest thing, from the foreground or in the background.  Today, stars go through scripts, sometimes with their own script advisors, and do their best to take out every good line, or every line that turns attention away from themselves, and give it to themselves or get rid of it completely.  Today it's the lead actor who talks, and everyone else is either playing up to him or left with the unhappy job of fixing bad writing by providing two tons of awkward exposition to get us past the part that makes no sense or has no context.  Supporting characters and sound design are nowhere near as interesting anymore.

What we have is a simplified, hyper-controlled, dumbed-down universal style in Hollywood.  Movies may feel "proficient" now, but they have lost their openness and expansiveness and become narrow exercises.  Before, you could watch a movie.  You could listen to it.  Now you have to.  You could discover it.  You could wander around outside the ropes.  Now it has been discovered for you in advance, and you are obliged to stick to the itinerary and follow your minder. 

There is nothing wrong with having a style.  But there used to be a lot more of them.  And many of them were very, very good.

 

Edited by Dingfelder
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The modern swing dancers are incomparably better in every way to those classical dancers, mostly due (in my opinion) to the easily available exchange of information, and the low low cost of dance education and transportation.

For example, the classic Hell's a Popin are fairly basic if frenzied dance moves that most of us Lindy Hop dancers can do without much difficulty.

In contrast, THIS is find much harder to do.

 

...while this is easy...

 

This is impossible though not swing:

'bout my skill level and smoothness...

With the state of Pros these days...

 

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I actually thought the black and white videos were very impressive plus the last one by the pros. The dubstep one was great.  The others were good.   I think like with anything, there is an evolution of techniques and style over time.  I think we have to remember the era in which they were performed as that gives it some context.  I'm sure when you look at gymnastic routines from the 30's and 40's they don't compare technically to modern day performances, but they still had their grace and style in their own right.  We've come a long way, baby.  

 

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30 minutes ago, Hunka Hunka Burning Love said:

I actually thought the black and white videos were very impressive plus the last one by the pros. The dubstep one was great.  The others were good.   I think like with anything, there is an evolution of techniques and style over time.  I think we have to remember the era in which they were performed as that gives it some context.  I'm sure when you look at gymnastic routines from the 30's and 40's they don't compare technically to modern day performances, but they still had their grace and style in their own right.  We've come a long way, baby.  

Hunka...here you are! It is actually more peaceful over here! I think the last B&W movie I watched was Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm always around... lurking in the shadows... ready to pounce on any EUC weaknesses and failures... :ph34r:  ^_^

Black and white film is one of those lost arts that should be revisited.  There's just a certain character to it that makes it quite appealing for some reason when it's factored down to grey scale.  I don't know what it is.  Ah maybe I'm just too nostalgic for the "good ol' days" that weren't actually so good at times (Great Depression, WWI, WWII, etc).  Films like Top Hat sure were able to cheer people up in the theatres when reality was much more bleak.

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