Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Warner Archive Wednesday ~ Death of a Soundrel (1956)

"Business is the art of getting something for nothing" - Clementi Sabourin (George Sanders)

Death of a Scoundrel (1956) is a wonderful B movie directed by Charles Martin and starring my beloved George Sanders. Sanders, known for playing rapscallions and cads very well, was a perfect fit to play the title role of Clementi Sabourin. Clementi (Sanders) is a Czech refugee who has escaped to America, which he sees as a land of milk and honey. And rightly so because with a lot of machination and scheming, Clementi goes from rags to riches in a very short period of time.

The beginning of the film shows Clementi dead and sprawled on a bed in his mansion. As the film progresses we learn about the events that led to his untimely (or one could argue very timely) demise. Death of a Scoundrel is definitely a family affair. Sanders' then wife Zsa Zsa Gabor plays Mrs. Ryan, a wealthy widow who does some insider trading with the stock savvy Clementi. Their relationship is a strange mixture of business and pleasure. Sanders' real life brother Tom Conway plays a very small role as his on screen Gerry Monte/Sabourin. Both stars are past their prime but the years have really done a toll to poor Tom Conway's features. He looks so sad and lost and you can't help but feel sympathy for both the character and what his brother does to him as well as the actor himself.

Also in the film is Yvonne De Carlo, an actress I was not familiar with but was happy to watch on screen. As the film progresses, her character Bridget Kelly goes from a poor pick-pocket to a glamorous business woman. Bridget is the most interesting of all the characters as you see her develop whereas a lot of the other characters stay as they are.

One could say that Clementi (Sanders) was the original Gordon Gekko (Wall Street). He's motivated solely by greed. Clementi is a businessman, schemer, womanizer, gambler, risk taker, manipulator, in other words, he's a shark. George Sanders will make you an offer you cannot refuse.

Mrs. Ryan (Gabor): Money is not Everything
Clementi (Sanders): But it's the closest thing to it.

Often times, overly dramatic acting comically competes with a movie's plot line. In this instance, the dramatics were as fun to watch as the story itself. Both Carlos and I immensely enjoyed this film and I would recommend it to those who enjoy watching schemers play.

Warner Archive Wednesday - On (random) Wednesdays, I review one title from the Warner Archive Collection. Movies selected are rented from Classicflix or purchased from Warner Archive, Classicflix or TCM.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rear Window (1954) Timelapse

Rear Window Timelapse from Jeff Desom on Vimeo.

EDIT: The video was taken down. If I see a new version up online I'll replace this one. Otherwise, I'll delete this post after a few weeks.

This is an interesting video. Not really sure what it's trying to accomplish but very cool nonetheless. It takes shots from the vantage point of the "rear window" from the film and puts them all together. It must have taken hours upon hours to piece together! What do you think?

Side Note: I've been a bit out of the loop lately in terms of blogging and social media. I've been having numerous health problems and lately, it's been difficult for me to find a new-to-me film that I enjoy. I might start revisiting favorites on a more regular basis. Also, all this talk about people watching TCM, going to film festivals, meeting all sorts of cool film people, having time to watch loads of movies, writing wonderful classic film posts, has got me really depressed. It makes me feel like less of a legitimate classic film fan and I've lost a lot of that joy that movies used to give me. I have numerous ideas for posts I want to write but I've lately lost the will to write them. I've taken a step back so that my feelings of envy can subside and I can continue to be supportive of others as well as get back some of that classic film joy that's been missing in my life. I hope to be back on the blogging bandwagon soon enough!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Come Fly with Akana

The New York Times Sunday edition has a wonderful article about Ron Akana, a Hawaiian flight attendant who has been in the business for 63 years. Wow! He was one of the first male flight attendants for United Airlines when he started back in 1949. In the article, he says that he was the flight attendant on board to fly the entire cast of From Here to Eternity (1953). He took care of Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Clift, served numerous martinis to Burt Lancaster and set up an in-flight bed for Deborah Kerr. He's also met Red Skelton, Sammy Davis Jr. (WOW!) and Bing Crosby. Kudos to Mr. Akana for his years of service. I'm sure he's got many wonderful stories to tell.

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