Wednesday, December 05, 2012

December

During December (and probably well into January), I was going to be re-watching all of the James Bond films, in order, including the ones I'm not fond of.  I was going to start on the 1st, except that Netflix has Dr. No on long wait right now.  Grrrr.  They are messing up my grand plan!  The question then becomes, do I start with From Russia with Love and come back to Dr. No when I can get a copy?  Or wait?  Come on, Netflix, it's not like it's an obscure flick!

So, instead, I got Road House (1948), with Richard Widmark, Cornell Wilde, and Ida Lupino.  I had mixed feelings about this film.  I really loved the first half.  The first half of this film great.  Then we had a courtroom scene (yawn), and then the movie lost momentum and tension for me and sort of wandered around until it finally ended.  This does seem to happen with a lot of noir movies of this time period.  I had the same split feelings for They Drive By Night.  First half is great, second half... not so much.  Probably, not coincidentally, has a courtroom.  I know there's a few other films too, but I can't think of them off the top of my head.

The first half of the film is tense, sexy, and intriguing.  I loved Cornell Wilde as the sensible business partner in Richard Widmark's business.  He's the one who manages the finances, looks after Widmark, and in general really keeps the road house of the movie's title running smoothly.  I loved the scene where he meets Ida Lupino's character, a singer from Chicago that Widmark's brought back to sing at the road house.  It was beautifully filmed, with smart dialogue.  Ida Lupino was also great as the singer who both Wilde and Widmark fall for.  And I loved Celeste Holm as the fourth member of the group.  She might be my favorite character in this movie. Of course, this film is very early in Widmark's career, which means his character's not playing with a full deck, and his character's full psychotic rage will come into play.  I much prefer Widmark's later films where he's playing heroes, or morally ambiguous shady characters.  But he sure can play violent-crazy like nobody's business when he wants to. 

Unfortunately, the second half of the film lacked all the real tension of the first half and seemed to depend instead on the audience being worried about what Widmark will do.  That isn't enough for me, and where I wasn't sure where the first half was going (I admit, I had not actually read the Netflix DVD sleeve which gives the plot synopsis before watching the movie, so I did not know what it was about or where it was going), the second half was predictable and just made me roll my eyes.  But the first half sure was entertaining!

7 comments:

  1. Hmm...well, if you watch Dr. No first, it will give you a bit more background on From Russia with Love, but I don't think it's paramount that you MUST watch Dr. No first. Though I get a shiver every time they show Sean Connery's face for the first time. I own them on DVD, so I may have to have my own Bond viewing party... =D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My other option is to review Dr. No from memory, since I've seen it a quite a few times, but I really wanted to see all the films again in order, to have them fresh on my mind. It's been a couple years since I last saw it, at least. I do own my favorite Bond films on DVD, but not all of them. Hm... maybe I should just buy it! It is one I like a lot. :-D

      Delete
    2. Yes! Buy it! That can be a Christmas gift to yourself. :)

      Delete
  2. I liked how you yawned after mentioned the courtroom scenes; I did a bit of yawning myself this week sitting on a trial as a juror! Lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tom - you actually got picked, eh? Every time I get called in for jury duty, I never even make it into the jurors room.

      Delete
  3. I bought some Bond blu-rays last month - the Bond 50 editions. The Bond 50 DVDs only have commentary - no extra features.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That seems to be more and more prevalent, that the blu-rays have all the content, and the DVDs are just bare bones. I know that's probably meant to push people to buy blu-rays, but it really annoys me. DVDs aren't going away just yet.

      I did see the pics you posted of your blu-ray collection! Pretty cool.

      Delete