Archive for the ‘Richard Boone’ Category

Call Me Mister

10 Nov

Call Me Mister – directed by Lloyd Bacon. Musical Comedy. GIs on their way home from war are entertained by a dueling husband and wife. 96 minuets. Color 1951.


Laughter is a door and a room. The door is the joke. The room is laughter itself, a room which one remains in hardly remembering the door at all. For once one is in the room of laughter, the door of the joke is at one’s back. We’re laughing because we’re laughing. We can’t even remember what we’re laughing about.

Betty Grable is like that. One does not estimate the talent she had, if one is to enjoy the skill. What one does do is get oneself lost in the brightly colored room which she is. Good nature exudes from her, and it is real. Set in the most vulgar and phony and energetic of all musical comedy settings – the Fox Musicals – she is down to earth, truthful, human. As an actress she is vulnerable to influence, high responsive, humorous, feisty, has a reasonably good opinion of herself, and is confident of her gifts, such as they are. She one of the two greatest actresses of musical comedy, the other being Judy Garland. But Garland made very few movies playing a grown woman, whereas Grable went on right up to her forties.

She started in film in 1929, when she was thirteen, tricked up in a G-string and hoofing it in the chorus. You can see her as a teenager dance “Knock-Knees” with Edward Everett Horton in Rogers and Astaire’s The Gay Divorcé (RKO 1934), and she is cute as a bug’s ear. She made many minor musicals, even one with Judy Garland, but was still in her early twenties when musical comedy star, Alice Faye left Fox and Grable took her place. Grable had a huge acting and dancing experience behind her by the time this happened. When you see her, mark her speed. Watch her move through the paces of “I’m Going To Love That Man Like He’s Never Been Loved Before,” a big hit from that era. Look how ready and eager she is! It’s refreshing. And authentic.

Like Marilyn Monroe who patterned herself somewhat on Betty Grable, Grable had a complexion for color film. She photographed idealistically. And you sure can see it here, where elaborate hairdos do not distract you from it.

She made a number of films with Dan Daily, and he was her only true co-star because true equal. Unlike the other moustaches, he could really dance. And you can see how well both of them do this as they contrive to put on a show for returning servicemen from Japan.

The story is the usual Betty Grable story of a woman whose man is two-timing her – except that she’s got a bigger career than him –– so there!

Except she’s not that hard-boiled. Naw. She lands her man. Our Betty deserves a love.


Because she is a love.


The Night Of The Following Day

20 Oct

The Night Of The Following Day – Directed by Hubert Cornfield. Crime Drama. Four kidnappers hole up in a beach house to generate ransom, and things fall apart. 92 minutes Color 1968.

a cloud over the stars

Cornfield’s commentary is worth the trip, for he remains justifiably vindictive regarding Brando’s destructive misconduct while filming this. But that’s not the problem. The actors are fine, including Brando. The trouble is that the story itself lacks power because we are not offered any way to invest in any of these people, including the kidnappee. Moreover, the film does not generate suspense, and that is probably due to the arrangement of the shots. It is Brando’s last picture as a male beauty. And he really is beautiful — in a blond wig, no less. He is trim, he is buffed, he is dressed all in black. He is forty-four. After this he declines into the soda fountain of his belly and, to the indignation of God, attempts for the rest of his life to attain artistic ruin, which, in his case, was an impossibility. So the greatest actor of his time throws away his sex appeal on the one hand and his career on the other through the mere mischief of an ice cream cone. But this is his last moment with all four burners and the oven and the broiler working, and there are scenes in this picture well worth seeing because of that. We witness again and for the last time his extraordinary power, physical command, and generosity. He performs with an intensity astonishing to this day and with a reserve in which he is unsurpassed because he has so much to hold in reserve. Richard Boone appears in it with him, but his character is given insufficient scenic development, so he remains enigmatic in the wrong way. The great treat is Rita Moreno. Who knows how she came to be cast in this part, but on the commentary the director says she is the best actor he ever worked with, and you can see why. She is immediate, game, always present. She is susceptible to whatever is thrown at her. Her scenes with Brando are daring triumphs of the actor’s art. It is insulting to the world that she was confined to hotsie-totsie parts all her long career in film, when it is clear that she has a classical instrument, and should have been working in classical roles. This is an actor who right now should be playing Hecuba in Euripides’ The Trojan Women. Contemplating this dream, consider this: besides Hecuba there are three great roles in that play, Andromache, Hector’s wife, Cassandra, Hector’s mad sister, and Helen of Troy, and that Rita Moreno at one time or another in her life, could also have played any one of them.



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