Archive for October 10th, 2011

by John Greco

The plot is moldy and packed with jingoistic Americanism that mingles in with the sweet sentimentality and attitude of its subject, the songwriter, actor, playwright, dancer and producer, George M. Cohan. (1) It is brought to life by the super talent of the staggering James Cagney and Warner Brothers great house director Michael Curtiz. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is pure Americana popcorn fluff. The war years saw a rash of nostalgic and historical musicals which included, “Lillian Russell” (1940), “Shine On Harvest Moon” (1944), “A Song to Remember” and “The Dolly Sisters”, (both 1945). Released in 1942, with America now involved in the Second World War, “Yankee Doodle Dandy “was surely a patriotic shot in the arm to the American public. (2) Today, it remains a product of its times, shown on TCM or dropped into your DVD player every 4th of July. In his autobiography James Cagney states this is his personal favorite of all his films.

Cagney rarely danced in films, he previously danced a bit in 1933’s “Footlight Parade,” and in “Taxi” from 1932.” He also did a duet with Bob Hope in his cameo appearance as George M. in “The Seven Little Foys,” so it must have came as a surprise to some moviegoers when one of cinema’s magnificent tough guys, better known for his roles as Tom Powers or Rocky Sullivan, began hoofing on screen at the age of forty two, though with the energy of a twenty five year old. (more…)

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman and George Clooney in "The Ides of March"

by Sam Juliano

Bob Clark sits squarely in the Wonders in the Dark winner’s circle this week after a fabulous week spent at the New York Film Festival, where he attended some showpiece screenings, reporting back to the site on this past Saturday with a stellar round-up.  The musical countdown is now officially in the 20’s with Allan’s Sunday posting of The Love Parade.  With 128 comments and running, Pat Perry’s splendid review of Mary Poppins inspired one of the most fiery threads at the site, while virtually every other post in the project attracted spirited interest.  Joel Bocko has officially launched his newest Sunday venture at the site, which will be aimed at addressing significant films that have not yet been reviewed here.  The first post covers James Whales’s horror classic Frankenstein, and Bocko called upon one of the film’s most impassioned fans, Dennis Polifroni, to illuminate the Universal landmark.  Jamie Uhler’s “Getting Over the Beatles” series continued with another remarkable installment, and Jaime Grijalba posted on the newest Nobel Prize winner in literature.

Yankee and Phillie fans are surely dazed after their teams made early exits in the baseball playoffs, while football watchers just observed the sixth week of the NFL season.  Pumpkins, witches and the orange and black are now in vogue, even while summer temperatures continue to defy the norm for this time of the year.  Later today Lucille and I will be meeting up with Joel Bocko, Maurizio Roca and Bob Clark at the Film Forum to see Godard’s Weekend, and it is anticipated we’ll have a picture to post on next week’s diary.

Lucille and I (and friends Broadway Bob and Tony Lucibello) attended a bevy of weekend films, including two matinee screenings of Nikkatsu features at the New York Film Festival.  SUN is from 1956; SUZUKI from 1957.  We took in:

Sun in the Last Day of the Shogunate  *** 1/2  (Lincoln Center) Sat. afternoon

Suzuki Paradise Red Light District   ***    (Lincoln Center)   Sunday afternoon

Sons of Tennessee Williams   **         (Quad Cinemas)     Saturday evening

The Ides of March   ****        (Edgewater multiplex)     Sunday evening (more…)

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