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Elaine J. Campbell (Rancho Mirage, CA United States)

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Bandwagon, the
Bandwagon, the
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars ISN'T FRED ASTAIRE THE QUINTESSENCE OF JOY!!, March 25 2002
This review is from: Bandwagon, the (VHS Tape)
In this age of angst (to say the least), what better elixir than Fred Astaire, who is pure joy himself. Sure, he had problems professionally and in life like the rest of us, but you know what? The essence of this man transcended all of that, and I believe that is why we are all so drawn to his films today. Not only that, but this film takes place when the movies were leaving hoofers (tap dancing) behind, and moving into the realm of modern dance and ballet. Even in those territories, Fred holds his own. It is my belief that the decline in the producing and popularity of musicals from the late 40's and 50's to this day is because we left tap dancing (primal rhythm) behind for a mode that was too effete for most people to be affected by.
As for the film, great!!! Have to admit the last production bored me, but is was worth the rest of the film. Shall we cherish Ms. Charrise now or later. I say always!!

Seven Years in Tibet
Seven Years in Tibet
by Heinrich Harrer
Edition: Paperback
71 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CONTINUALLY AMAZING ADVENTURE STORY., March 13 2002
This review is from: Seven Years in Tibet (Paperback)
I avoided reading this book for many years due to the poor film that was made of it. I figured the book would be equally as poor.
I warn any reader of this review not to make the same mistake that I did. The book is almost totally unlike the movie, which starred a greatly miscast Brad Pitt, and interjected subplots born in Hollywood, rather than Harrer's fine book.
There was no need to embellish one of the most fascinating, amazing and adventurous stories ever told, and a true one at that. Most of the time I couldn't believe what I was reading, including the first half of the book which recounts Harrer's and Aufschnaiter's arduous two year-long trek over Tibetan mountains, or the Tibetan people and culture of the last part of the book, so different than any country that I know of.
A glimpse of the Dalai Lama as a boy is revealing (interested in math, languages and geography, but feeling no closeness to horses, of which he had many); life in the monasteries, and in Lhasa itself.
This is such a different book, as I suppose Tibet was (is?) different. It is also a cry for the return of Tibet to the Tibetans. Almost anyone reading this book will join that cry.

Top Hat
Top Hat
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars IN CONCURRENCE WITH AMAZON.COM REVIEWERS: THE BEST!, March 11 2002
This review is from: Top Hat (VHS Tape)
The Best! because there seems to be more musical numbers than in the others I have seen, but also this film contains more comedy as well. It could stand on its own as a fine comedy if the music were taken away. And vice versa.
Edward Everett Horton appears more relaxed and as if he is having more fun in this film than in "The Gay Divorcee." And its good to see the other players from this film: Erik Rhodes as the dress designer (Tonetti in "The Gay Divorcee,") and Eric Blore as the valet (the waiter in "The Gay Divorcee"). Helen Broderick is appropriately droll and world-wise as Horton's wife, and I read that Lucille Ball plays the salesgirl in the flower shop. I frankly didn't recognize her (will have to watch it again, something that isn't hard to do!).
As for Fred Astaire, take away his singing, and his acting is supurb. Take away his acting, and his dancing is superb, etc., etc. It's easy to underestimate his talent because he makes it all look so easy. But he was surely our greatest all-around musical star. Ginger Rogers is more subdued in this film, perhaps due to the part. She is strikingly beautiful, and holds her own with Astaire all the way.
The Best! But the others I have seen (about three) are also terrific. You can't go wrong with this team and their wonderful backup players.

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
VHS
4 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars THE CONSUMMATE MOVIE!, March 7 2002
As a Turner Classic Movie, Robert Osborn says in his introduction to this film that Cary Grant and Myrna Loy were "old pals," since they starred in two earlier films together. Loy said making the film was "pure heaven," while Grant said he liked working with Loy because, to paraphrase, she was a true actress. The film was also shot in sequence, a rarity in cinema making.
This must explain why Grant and Loy seem so relaxed and at ease with one another, and with the exemplary story and script, fine direction by H.C. Potter, and surely one of the best performances by both Loy and Grant, this film really excels. It is thoroughly interesting and enjoyable. And Melvyn Douglas is no slouch either; in fact, he also is terrific. Plus there is Louise Beavers as their housekeeper, and the two daughters are just right (played by Connie Marshall and Sharon Moffat).
The story is about affluent city people who get so cramped and frustrated with apartment living that they opt to buy a house in the country. As the film's title reveals, the viewer is ultimately in for a session of house building. All because these two delightful characters lead with their hearts despite their total inexpertise, leaving their heads somewhere back in the city. Logic and common sense are offered by their steady friend, a lawyer (Melvyn Douglas). But he always gives them too much when it is too late. Nevertheless, the result satisfies all (even if Grant's character does have to get up at 5:00 a.m. for the rest of his working life in order to commute on the only morning train), especially the film viewer. There's lots of laughs and lots of smiles. It leaves one with the sense of having had lots of fun. I think Loy and Grant did too.

Gay Divorcee, the
Gay Divorcee, the
VHS
6 used & new from CDN$ 6.33

5.0 out of 5 stars TOP KNOTCH ASTAIRE AND ROGERS!, Feb. 27 2002
This review is from: Gay Divorcee, the (VHS Tape)
Believe it or not, the prime production number in this film, "The Continental," lasts for 17 minutes. Yet it is so full yet compact, it goes by in a whirl (pun on pun!). Astaire and Rogers are dancing dreams -- and when he croons Cole Porter's "Night and Day" to her, if you're not in love, you'll wish you were.
There are a whole string of wonderful character actors in this movie, beginning with the two major supporting players, Alice Brady and Edward Everett Horton. The waiter (played by Eric Blore) is very comical, and the actor who played Tonetti (Erik Rhodes)seems born to portray that part.
There is also a production number with the not-yet-a-star Betty Grable in the lead. That she will become a star is easily seen by her vivaciousness, presence, dance and song ability, and beauty of face and figure. She has no speaking lines.
What's to say about a movie that, at its conclusion, keeps you dancing around the house for days, lifts your spirits and puts you in a light and jolly mood. I'm still under its spell as I write this review. Open your heart to it, and you will be too!

Mr Peabody & Mermaid [Import]
Mr Peabody & Mermaid [Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars HERE WE SEE A DIFFERENT WILLIAM POWELL ..., Feb. 26 2002
than we see in some of his earlier films such as The Thin Man series, I Love You Again, Love Crazy and My Man Godfrey. He has put aside his witty, comedic genius to portray a gentle, sensitive and serious man confused and frightened by the advent of old age.
And we see a very young Ann Blythe, whose career blossomed, then was cut short when she retired upon marrying to raise a family. She has no dialogue (mermaids cannot talk, although they sing very well), yet she is a master of facial expressions, tender, naive emotions and even cries at the drop of a hat albeit underneath the sea. She is perfect for the part.
The film is about their relationship, with a secondary theme about Powell's wife (excellently protrayed by Irene Hervey), who is attracted to a local while on vacation and is experiencing temptations involved in long marriages (and perhaps her own trepidations about leaving middle age behind).
Mermaids have fascinated me since reading Hans Christian Andersen. And whimsy honestly portrayed is delightful. This is a gentle, tender and dear movie. There are some good laughs in it, and the outcome is more lifelike than ideal. Did she really exist, or was she a hallucination? We are given a lifetime to ponder this.
The psychiatrist making an appearance at the beginning and at the end of the film is played by Art Smith, and his acting is excellent. Besides Powell and Blythe, he really stands out.
But it is the different William Powell who as usual holds center stage; his acting which appears so easy is for all to admire.

I Love You Again
I Love You Again
VHS
5 used & new from CDN$ 17.75

5.0 out of 5 stars MY WHAT FUN!!, Dec 26 2001
This review is from: I Love You Again (VHS Tape)
Get ready to chuckle and laugh throughout the whole film. Powell is at his comedic best, and Loy is dreamy and gorgeous. Can't think of two people who belonged together professionally more that this enchanting and dynamic duo, with the possible exception of Rogers and Astaire.
The story line is a riot: Powell has had amnesia for some years, and led a stuffy, collective life, much to frustration and ultimate despair of Loy, his wife. A chance blow to the head restores him to his old, true self: it seems he is now a confidence man. A bank book of his former self induces him to return to and try to slip into his forgotten former life. All is laughter and fun from here on.
The deer stalking scene is the comic highlight of the film, as well as a solo trek on the dance floor by Powell. The lines between him and Loy are clever and fascinating, and one just can't say enough about this move except: Relax and Have Fun!

Bright Eyes [Import]
Bright Eyes [Import]
VHS
9 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars WELL ISN'T THIS MOVIE TERRIFIC!, Nov. 26 2001
This review is from: Bright Eyes [Import] (VHS Tape)
Sure it is because we get to see Shirley singing her trademark song in grand fashion: ON THE GOOD SHIP L0LLIPOP.
But get out your hankie or Kleenex before you view it. You will need it.
Rewind and watch her sing this song again. And again, and again...You'll never get tired!

Curly Top
Curly Top
VHS
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.00

5.0 out of 5 stars GOTTA BE ONE OF SHIRLEY'S BEST., Nov. 25 2001
This review is from: Curly Top (VHS Tape)
Shirley Temple, whose career as a child star was over by the age of 10 (and who, according to her very good autobiography, reaped a mere $18.00 from it when she asked her father for her reapings upon her second marriage), shines and super-shines in this adorable and heart-rending film.
She and her sister are orphans. A mysterious benefactor adopts them and they enter a life of luxury, but also a life of love. Rochelle Hudson is delicately beautiful as the sister, and John Boles is excellent and exceedingly handsome. I wonder what happened to them both?
"Animal Crackers" and "When I Grow Up" are the top numbers, as well as several sung by Boles and Hudson. All works out as it should be.
There's just something very moving about this movie. It's a genuine heart-tugger.
And Shirley is simply a delight! So glad the camera caught this amazing little girl with such a natural talent shining through her girlhood.

Love Is Better Than Ever [Import]
Love Is Better Than Ever [Import]
VHS
3 used & new from CDN$ 29.88

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars LIGHT ROMANTIC COMEDY AT ITS LIGHTEST!, Nov. 23 2001
This film cannot be separated from its history. It was filmed several years before it was finally released, and originally titled "The Light Fantastic." The reason for the delay was the sad fact that, coming from his big hits in the two films on Al Jolson, soon after this film was completed, its star, Larry Parks, was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was blacklisted. He never made another film, but became a businessman.
Elizabeth Taylor is touted as leaving teenage-hood behind and becoming a romantic ingenue in this movie, despite the fact that she filed for her first divorce (from Nicky Hilton) during the filming.
As for the film itself, Parks plays an almost Runyanesque Broadway character, a theatrical agent whose greatest thrill in life is hanging out at a Broadway saloon with his buddies. Enters a chance meeting with a Connecticut dance instructor (Taylor), never been kissed yet sure this is the one she wants to spend her life with, and the film is off with tricks galore by Taylor and her ally, her father (played admirably by Tom Tully), to snatch the desired husband.
This is light, and this is froth. The children of the dancing school are fun, and the film moves rapidly. It is also an early directorial task by the revered director, Staney Donen, and a chance to say goodbye to Parks, whose young and convincing talent we never should have lost.

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