Carousel

Carousel. 20th Century Fox 1956.

Before watching the movie:

On the surface, this looks like just as much fluff as State Fair, but the setup sounds rather dark. It’s a man’s one more day to get it right with his family after a fatal accident. Moreover, one summary I saw specifically calls him abusive, though that’s probably from subtext. Depressing themes in a musical? Not something one would expect before the late 60s.

But then it manifests as flowy dancing around a carnival, so it can’t be entirely bleak.

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Do Not Disturb

Do Not Disturb. Arcola Pictures 1965.

Before watching the movie:

This is being promoted as a romp with a wife who invents a lover to get revenge on her husband for spending more time with his secretary. Apparently it also involves travel to Europe, but I’m not clear how big a part of the movie that is. I suspect the story starts with them relocating for business reasons, and then the new secretary at the new office gets too much of the husband’s attention.

This is based on a play, so I’m expecting some really good dialogue, very long scenes, and a handful of location scenes in Europe because movies feel obligated to Open Up a play.

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Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly! Chenault Productions 1969.
Hello, Dolly! Chenault Productions 1969.

Before watching the movie:

I’m sure there are other movies that reach this level of substanceless fame, and probably ones that I’ve reviewed here before, but while I know I’ve reviewed well-known movies nobody actually seems to discuss the content of before, I can’t think of one so big yet so mysterious.

I roughly know its time period, but mainly because Wall-E used some clips. Otherwise, it’s somehow the codifier of what a classic musical film is, to the point that it’s taken as a generic for “musical”. But it’s theoretically in that position because it’s good and because it’s influential. But the mold got overused and eventually musicals started defying it. Later on Broadway reinvented Disney reinvented Broadway, but that’s beyond the scope of a review of Hello, Dolly! Continue reading

Sherlock Holmes (1922) (aka “Moriarty”)

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Sherlock Holmes (/Moriarty). Goldwyn Pictures Corporation 1922.

Before watching the movie:

I was somewhat concerned to see that this movie is also silent and based on the Gillette play, but a glance at the first paragraph of the synopsis tells me this is definitely a different adaptation. Not being familiar with the text of the play I can’t say if the differences were added to this production or subtracted from the other one. This looks hopefully more engaging.

When I first attached a disambiguating year to a title, I never expected to do two movies with the same title back to back. I can’t say it’s just because there were fewer movies to get confused with back then, since even the past decade has seen multiple productions simply titled “Sherlock Holmes”. So it’s worth noting that in Britain it was titled Moriarty.

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Sherlock Holmes (1916)

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Sherlock Holmes. Essanay Studios 1916.
Sherlock Holmes. Essanay Studios 1916.

Before Watching The Movie

Not very long after I started this blog, I realized that I was reviewing so many Sherlock Holmes films that they would probably qualify for their own genre category. It seems like I’ve covered more than is tagged there, but it’s still a healthy sampling.

My fondness for Sherlock Holmes stories far predates Yesterday’s Movies, so I find myself running out of eligible and desirable films to review. The list of adaptations seems endless, but once I apply my criteria for a review selection, they’re just about dried up. As well, I have no intention of leaving recent and future films to age into eligibility before watching them, so I’ve decided to give Sherlock a retirement sendoff with a themed month of some of the most notable films.

It is only right, then, to begin with the silent film adaptation of the very first official adaptation of Doyle’s work. William Gillette was given an attempted stageplay by Doyle and tasked with rewriting it into something serviceable, and also starred as Holmes. Holmes’s iconic deerstalker hat, calabash pipe, and “Elementary, dear Watson” all came from Gillette. This is a historic piece of Sherlockiana.

Bonus mini-review: Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900) – In his first-ever film appearance, the world’s greatest detective is no match for camera magic.

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Desk Set

Desk Set. 20th Century Fox 1957.
Desk Set. 20th Century Fox 1957.

Before watching the Movie:

I can’t recall if this is something I saw come up specifically referenced by somebody as a story about a woman tasked with automating her research department and it turns out even just alone she’s better than the computer, or if this is unrelated and just came up in my algorithmic recommendations.

All I know for sure is that Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn apparently do a lot of verbal sparring, and I’m a big fan of verbal sparring, especially by legends. I guess I haven’t seen all that much of Spencer Tracy. It may just be Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and nothing else. But I know he’s highly regarded and that William Shatner in particular looked up to him.

It says this is a romantic comedy, and I’m wondering if the center couple is both Tracy and Hepburn. They seem mismatched in age.

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Dracula

monster_month

Dracula. Universal Pictures 1931.
Dracula. Universal Pictures 1931.

Before watching the movie:

The Ur-vampire story. Everything classical vampires are comes from this movie. While the movie is based on a book, the movie has more range and probably took some liberties.

I’m not sure I’ve ever directly experienced Dracula played straight, not in parody or playing off the legend as “another monster/baddie”.  By pop culture osmosis, I think I have a basic understanding of the plot, but there could be something new to me here.

This movie made Bela Lugosi and Dracula inseparable. I’ll definitely be looking out for how much of that is from the performance and how much from the popularity of the whole film.

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