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Josef Bush (Phoenix, AZ)
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American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
by Kevin Phillips
Edition: Hardcover
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.24

5.0 étoiles sur 5 FROM A REPUBLICAN POINT OF VIEW, June 27 2004
I finished the book just this morning, after taking my time with it, and my first impression is, MAN! everybody should read this thing (alternating chapters with Machievelli's THE PRINCE.)
Originally, beginning it, I was annoyed by the plodding, greyish tone of the writing. I expected something far more inflamatory and biased, and so I put it down then picked it up, then put it down, etc., until I was about a third of the way through it. By then the weight of the accumulated facts hit me, and I was astonished to realize that the conservative tone of the presentation of the material added greatly to its effect. (Naturally, I expected something from a wild-eyed yellow dog Democrat, but not at all.) So I raced through to the conclusion and, yes, there is an extensive bibliography, though it is not given as a separate section. Make your own notes.
I'm old enough to remember all the Bush scandals and squeak-throughs -- including the very suspiscious timing of the release of the American hostages by Iran -- and I must admit my suspiscions first began years ago when, watching WW II newsreel footage, I asked myself how it came to be that a motion picture camera and crew were present on an aircraft carrier flight deck when they hoisted Geoege Herbet Walker Bush out of the drink after he ditched his plane? Co-incidence? or OSS-CIA timing and stagecraft? Did they photograph any other fliers of ditched planes? And, is that how you become a WW II hero?
Really, one hell of a book!

Flame/New Orleans,the
Flame/New Orleans,the
VHS

4.0 étoiles sur 5 WITH OR WITHOUT BANGS, May 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Flame/New Orleans,the (VHS Tape)
Dietrich played french ladies of dubious reputation so often, and to such great effect, its no wonder they loved her, and that she died in Paris. Remember her as Bijou Blanche in SEVEN SINNERS?
Here, in Renee Clair's confection, she has Ward Bond/Bruce Cabot to play against. Now, whether or not she ever had Bond/Cabot, as she had most of her other leading men, we'll never know. But, from the lack of sparkle in their duets together, probably not. On the other hand... Oh, well. It was wartime, and really sexy, really attractive leading men were scarce.
But, this is a mistaken identity antibellum movie, in which Dietrich plays (or almost plays) two different women. (Not to worry: Nothing psychological. Its all a misunderstanding.) We can tell one from another because one has bangs, and the other doesn't.
What's the difference? Its a parade of costumes. It could just as easily have been a vehicle for May West. Or some off-Broadway concoction for drag queans. It's a vol-au-vent; just a puffed confection made only to make you laugh. Some people enjoy watching pretty women change clothes. Does EVERYTHING have to be serious?

Flame/New Orleans,the
Flame/New Orleans,the
VHS

4.0 étoiles sur 5 CONFUSED?, May 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Flame/New Orleans,the (VHS Tape)
Bruce Cabot and Ward Bond were one and the same person. He (or they) had interchangeable careers, but notice, you never saw them together in the same movie, did you?

Flame/New Orleans,the
Flame/New Orleans,the
VHS

4.0 étoiles sur 5 WITH OR WITHOUT BANGS, May 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Flame/New Orleans,the (VHS Tape)
Dietrich played french ladies of dubious reputation so often, and to such great effect, its no wonder they loved her, and that she died in Paris. Remember her as Bijou Blanche in SEVEN SINNERS?
Here, in Renee Clair's confection, she has Ward Bond to play against. Now, whether or not she ever had Bond, as she had most of her other leading men, we'll never know. But, from the lack of sparkle in their duets together, probably not. On the other hand... Oh, well. It was wartime, and really sexy, really attractive leading men were scarce.
But, this is a mistaken identity antibellum movie, in which Dietrich plays (or almost plays) two different women. (Not to worry: Nothing psychological. Its all a misunderstanding.) We can tell one from another because one has bangs, and the other doesn't.
What's the difference? Its a parade of costumes. It could just as easily have been a vehicle for May West. Or some off-Broadway concoction for drag queans. It's a vol-au-vent; just a puffed confection made only to make you laugh. Some people enjoy watching pretty women change clothes. Does EVERYTHING have to be serious?

Lifeboat
Lifeboat
VHS
Offered by vidsale
Prix : CDN$ 23.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 15.99

10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 BANKHEAD -- HITCHCOCK, May 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Lifeboat (VHS Tape)
Tallulah Bankhead was one of the 20th century's best actresses, taking over from Ethel Barrymore as the Toast of Broadway and the London stage. She made few films, and this is her best role. (For a very long time the joke was that Bankhead's stage roles were taken over by and became film hits for Bette Davis. Certainly that's true with Hellman's THE LITTLE FOXES.) Here, one has the opportunity to observe how an actress of supreme talent, handles a role in which everything is shown; in which practically nothing can be hidden. Every would-be actress ought to study not only what she does, but more importantly, what she doesn't do, for as a stage acress par excellence all through her younger years, some movie people thought her too big for the screen. Probably she wasn't, but simply needed a good director. Here, she got the best in the business, and the results show.
Hitchcock was fascinated with women, with actresses, and particularly beautiful ones. And, if Connie's beauty here, is not young, and fresh, it is nevertheless, compelling. She is like a thoroughbred mare among mules and cab nags in an auction pen of chance. She stands out because of her breeding. She has lines. Her costume? A white silk blouse, good nylons, a full-length mink coat, and a diamond bracelet. And, of course, that wonderful mane of hair.
If you study Hitchcock, it would make a wonderful double bill to see LIFEBOAT and STAGE FRIGHT close together. Here, he studies Bankhead; in STAGEFRIGHT he studies Dietrich; two fair-haired actresses of wildly differing personal style, but of exceptional power and interest. And, what they have in common and what both display in these two films, is their unusual, and unusually expressive voices. Bankhead was a famous radio actress for many years, as well as a stage star. Dietrich too was a radio actress, and all her life was a singer and recording artist. The trick in working with an artist with an exceptional voice, is to carefully trim and arrange the dialogue in such a way as best to show off the voice's characteristics.
Admirers of Lesbian Chic might want to imagine what Ann Sheridan, or Barbara Stanwick, Rosalind Russell, Ruth Hussey or Lizabeth Scott or any one of a number of others might have done with this "Contralto" role: You know, the wise-cracking, hard boiled newspaper dame. The role is a Type, very popular during the 30's, and with a lesser actress and a lesser director, we might have gotten a good movie out of the material, but not a black-and-white masterpiece, like this one. After all, what if CASABLANCA had been cast with Ronald Raegan and Heddy Lamarr?
You can watch this movie over and over. A director's tour de force, the trick, I think, is to watch for Hitchcock's cutting sequences; the way he manipulated the editing around the actors' speeches within the episodes. Extremely clever. So good, the seams are nearly invisible.
Its a great propaganda movie, but of an unusual kind; far subtler than most. Its a great Camp, or G/L movie, but again, far subtler than most. Its a great Murder movie too, etc., etc...

Desire [Import]
Desire [Import]
VHS

4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 WHAT SOPHISTICATION LOOKS, SMELLS AND SOUNDS LIKE, May 2 2004
Ce commentaire est de: Desire [Import] (VHS Tape)
Now that movies have degenerated into (male) car crashes, or (female) dike-rap, one returns to films like this one to try to imagine what all of Cole Porter, Cary Grant, Edward and Wallis, Duke Ellington and Fred Astaire were all about. It isn't enough to say, merely "Style;" Camp has pretty much sullied that word for two generations, now. But style -- or that combination of concept and high finish that a furniture manufacture calls The Bogart Look -- exists, or existed, once, and one can see it here, live and bubbling like a genie of mirth climbing out of a champagne bottle.
The plot is simple enough: a beautiful European jewel thief on the run accidentally meets and falls in love with a naif but excruciatingly handsome American guy in a very good suit. They go through the choreography of flirtation in back-lot Southrn Spain, surrounded by a stellar crew of supporting players with wonderful accents.
Dietrich, again in her version of the Dolores Del Rio look, wearing a dress nobody else in the world could wear, sits at the piano and accompanies herself in the song, "You've Got That Look." It is too insane! It is wonderful. It's a performance you'd have paid a hundred bucks (in 1940's money) for in a good New York hotel boite, but Lena Horne or Eartha Kitt or even Hildegarde would have given it to you.
This is all about the Romantic Feature Film as comic art. It ought to be required reading for all the film wanabees who hope to direct, and somehow get the chance, but turn out low-brow drivel like When Harry Met Sally. You can (and maybe you should) watch this movie over and over, the way you enjoy anything rare and precious. Like the Marx Brothers comedies, it has healing power, and pre-war value.
Every element in it is expertly integrated. It's a short movie, really, but so perfectly realized you have the impression of having had either a convincing halucination, or a true life experience.
Champagne for the eyes.

The Counterfeiters: A Novel
The Counterfeiters: A Novel
by Andre Gide
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 11.55
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unique, Unforgettable, March 19 2002
By now I think I've read THE COUNTERFITTERS about five times in perhaps twenty or twenty-five or more years. It is impossible to describe, adequately, in 1,000 words. One can say about it only that it is one of the truly 20th Century novels -- what Gide thought of as a psychological novel -- and has many of the characteristics peculiar to modern 20th Century art. It is daringly erotic; it is asymetrical and does not depend on 'plot;' it is both intensely emotional and very detatched; it is a survey of both personality and character, without benefit of religious or moral cant.
I've picked up this book and begun reading at random any number of times. I've read this book through from cover to cover almost as often, and every time I've picked it up, it has shown me a new side of itself; it has twisted in my mind like a living thing refusing to be trapped. It is a new book every time; an astonishment. A living masterpiece of fiction.

Devil Is a Woman [Import]
Devil Is a Woman [Import]
VHS
2 used & new from CDN$ 24.95

5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Most Beautiful Black and White Film Ever Made, Feb. 25 2002
Ce commentaire est de: Devil Is a Woman [Import] (VHS Tape)
I am not sure if I glimpsed this film when I was a child or not, but if there ws any US distributin before the film was pulled, I probably did. I saw all the Dietich films, long before I knew what they were about.
The crowd scene, the carnival scene that begins the film is one of the most amazing pieces of crowd conrol and deftly choreographed effects ever recorded. It is lengthy and sets the tone of the entire move, for much of the action of the film takes place in the form of flashbacks as two comrades -- one older and one younger -- talk about a 'Certain Woman.' She is the notorious beauty, Concha, played by Dietrich to perfection, in her version of the beauty of Dolores Del Rio.
This is one of those pictures which are really, 'events' in the sense that going to the ballet or witnessing an operatic performance is an 'event.' The detail work in every frame, every face, every costume, every shadow, every highlight on the thousands of baloons and streamers is precisely worked out with super-human skill, and all funciton as a pedestal for Dietrich's fantastic beauty. With this film, and this image, she changed the tradition of Hollywood Beauty to suit herself. Women did not look the same anymore because they did not want to look pre-Dietrich.
The story: A governmental functionary befriends a peasant girl while a train is trapped in a snowstorm. With the girl's mother, he becomes her 'sponsor.' Their relationship is stormy. She uses his money to gain her independence and becomes a successful cafe entertainer in another town. He follows her there and his passion is rekindled. He beats her into submission. Later, he offers to marry her. She avoids that, but manages to get him to buy out her contract with the theatre, and runs off with a handsome young bullfighter. Humiliated by the ensuing scandal, the Official (played with marble dignity by Lionel Atwill) resigns his commisison and settles in town. It is during the carnival that a na tive son of the city (Cesar Romero) returns incognito, and falls for Concha who now appears to be a Courtesan of great renown. It is over coffee that the older man tells the story of his relations with the scandalous beauty, an asks the young man to forsake her for his own safety. He agrees. Concha, however, has other things in mind. She encourages the yong revolutionary to fall in love with her and to agree to take her to Paris with him if she can secure the passports. He agrees, gladly, but their plans are frustrated when Concha's older lover finds them together, and challenges her younger love to a duel. They fight, and the older man is seriously wounded. She visits him in the hospital to say goodbye, and manages to secure passports for herself and her young lover. Preparations are made. Tickets are bought. At the frontier, for some inexplicable reason, she does not join the young man on the Paris-bound train, but returns to her old, wounded lover.
This is one of the sexiest and most passionate, wittiest, driest and most wry and ironic treatments of love and obsession ever filmed. There are thousands of visual jokes, and many verbal ones. There are double, tripple and quadrouple entendres everywhere. This is film has much in common with Italian comic opera -- not because of the Russo-Spanish music on the soundtrack -- but because of the visual music of the entire cinematographic space. I first saw a restored print at the Art Museum in Los Angeles about ten years ago, but have been waiting and hoping for this masterpiece for more than forty years. Unfortunately, the Video medium does not allow for the exravagant luminosity of the beaded screen, but what remains is more than enough to make this one of the gems in any colletion of cinematic masterpieces. And it is wonderful, sophisticated fun. It fizzes!

Stage Fright
Stage Fright
VHS

4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Kind of Battle of Angels, Oct. 1 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Stage Fright (VHS Tape)
I've watched this movie countless times. It is one of my very favorites. It combines all of the hallmarks of Hitchcock mystery thrillers, with the unusual device of a combative pairing of two American film stars, Jane Wyman and German-born Marlene Dietrich. This dark against light struggle between women is not altogether foreign in Hitchcock films; one thinks of the pairing of Suzanne Plechette and Tipi Hedrin in THE BIRDS, but in that film the Plechette character is killed off early. Here, the dark-haired Wyman character who dominates the very first scene, survives until the very last scene. However, the fair-haired Dietrich character has equal screen time, and though they often appear separately, they do sometimes play together in the most unusual way and to the most peculiar effect.
Stage Fright is a murder mystery based on the Selwyn Jepson novel, and I would do the new viewer the greatest injustice by beraying even a little of the plot. Outside of the particulars of the homicide in question, this is a movie about deception and betrayal within the context of the Theatre and its tradition; of theatrical people and their lives which, to an outsider, seem to be little more than imposture and artifice. The film then, is an elaborate structure of mirrors, smoke and lies.
Among the aspects of STAGE FRIGHT which set it apart from other films of the period, is the exceptional musical score by an obscure composer, Leighton Lucas. So sophisticated and expressive is it at working to enhance the story, one is reminded of later Hitchcock films like VERTIGO. First class work.
The costuming is superbe. Dietrich as Musical Star and Comedienne, Charlotte Indood, wears Dior throughout, and the coutourier created for her two dresses which play a key part in the articulation of the crime. Both dresses are made of some ineffably gauzy silken stuff, so insubstantial and smoke-like, that one of them -- a pale, probably blue dress and absolutely plain -- can be balled up with one hand by Dietrich's lover, Richard Todd, and stuffed into his sportscoat at the armhole without beraying even the slightest bulge. That dress' twin is dark, and probably a navy blue.
I mention this incidence of the two dresses because although dresses have important messages to deliveer about the women who wear them in Hitchcock movies, in no other film of his does costume, wardrobe and dressmaking play so crucial a part in defining the roles of the actresses, as they go back and forth within the story, altering their appearances and changing their identities to suit their frequently devious purposes.
The dark-haired Jane Wyman, who often played in American films with her hair bleached and permed, here plays with a very simple bob. Her makeup is quiet, but not austere. Her clothing is classic, in that it is anglo-saxon clothing as we've seen it for half a centrury or more. It is conservative in cut, modest and discreet. She wears, for example, in the scene where she lures a detective into a confidential chat, what appears to be a double-breasted camel's hair coat which, to the casual observer appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, but upon closer inspection appears to be of the finest goods, and could be worn today, some fifty-two years later, without apology, anywhere.
One could go on and on about the clothes the actresses wear, and use all available time and space without mentioning the supporting actors in the piece, from Kay Walsh, Alister Sim, Michael Wilding and Richard Todd, to Dame Sybil Thorndike, Charlotte Greenwood, and the incomparable Miles Malleson. If any movie depended on perfect character work, and demonstrated it well, this movie does just that. The secondary characters alone are worth the price of admission; even Hitchcock's daughter. In fact, the English cast is so fine, one is often tempted to wonder what this movie might have been like if Hitchcock had cast instead of Dierich, Googie Withers, or Gertrude Lawrence, Vivian Leigh or Valerie Hobson in the Charlotte Inwood role. Certainly it would have been different, and there was no shortage of talented, beautiful actresses in London, then, as there is no shortage today. But, however she got the role, Dietrich brought with her one invisible ally none of the others possessed, and perhaps one which even Hitchcock did not expect. She brought her voice, and with it, just occasionally, she managess to tie together what might have seemed to her to be a somewhat too flabby, too comfy assemblage of little gray people, by displaying unexpectedly and to great effect, a shining thread of ironic sarcasm like a skien of stainless steel, holding the project together, and reminding all of us with the crack of a whip, that this is, after all, a story about a calculated murder.
This film is rather like one of Goya's etchings; a study in lights and darks, an intimate entertainment, meant to be looked at closely and quietly, and savored. Stage Fright is adult entertainment, in the very best sense of the term.

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