Tag Archives: movies

Paul Robeson – Ol’ Man River

An evening pause: From the 1936 movie adaptation of the Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein Broadway musical Showboat. While some of the visuals are a bit overstated and feel a bit preachy, this is still the best movie version of this song I have seen. Rather than strut about with big visuals, the film focuses on Robeson, who sings the song introspectively, as if it is something he is thinking.

A bit of trivia: The film’s director was James Whale, the man who made the 1935 classic The Bride of Frankenstein.

Hat tip Edward Thelen.

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Buddy Ebsen – I’m nuts about you

An evening pause: Ebsen is joined by Eleanor Powell, Jimmy Stewart, Una Merkel and Sid Silvers in this dance number from the 1936 film, Born to Dance.

Ebsen is remembered most for playing Jed Clampett in the tv comedy series, The Beverley Hillbillies, but he started out as a dancer in movies.

Hat tip Phill Oltmann.

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Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – They Can’t Take That Away From Me

An evening pause: Another movie pause tonight, this time showing the films themselves. This clip includes two performances of this song, from two different Astaire & Rogers films. The first, from Shall We Dance? (1937), has Astaire singing the song, knowing that the Rogers character is leaving him. Of course she ends up not going.

The second clip is from The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), their last film together and done after a split of ten years. They knew then this would be their last film, and now the words have a meaning far greater than the story in the film. When they exit at the end of this song, they know it is pretty much for the last time.

Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

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First movie of solar eclipse rediscovered

The first movie ever made of a solar eclipse, taken in 1900, has been rediscovered and restored.

The film was taken by British magician turned pioneering filmmaker Nevil Maskelyne on an expedition by the British Astronomical Association to North Carolina on 28 May, 1900. This was Maskelyne’s second attempt to capture a solar eclipse. In 1898 he travelled to India to photograph an eclipse where succeeded but the film can was stolen on his return journey home. It was not an easy feat to film. Maskelyne had to make a special telescopic adapter for his camera to capture the event. This is the only film by Maskelyne that we know to have survived.

I have embedded the movie below the fold.
» Read more

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Dick van Dyke and Julie Andrews – Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

An evening pause: With high hopes for the new year.

Hat tip Edward Thelen, who I thank for trying to offer me videos from a source other than youtube. Unfortunately, by the time this appeared, it was gone at that source and I had to rely on youtube.

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A Christmas Carol

As I have done in the past, to celebrate this Christmas day I give you the classic 1951 version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim It remains the best version, by far.

Dickens did not demand the modern version of charity, where it is imposed by governmental force on everyone. Instead, he was advocating the older wiser concept of western civilization, that charity begins at home, that we as individuals are obliged as humans to exercise good will and generosity to others, by choice.

It is always a matter of choice. And when we take that choice away from people, we destroy the good will that makes true charity possible.

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First Man: Trivializing the lunar landing

First Man movie flightsuits, without American flag

This past weekend movie-goers finally got to see the world premiere of First Man, a movie based on the biography with the same title telling the life story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the surface of another world.

Prior to the movie’s release there was some controversy when Ryan Gosling, the actor playing Armstrong, said that they had left out the scene on the Moon when the astronauts planted the American Flag because their goal was to highlight Armstrong’s personal story as well as the global nature of the achievement.

Star Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, defended director Damien Chazelle’s decision to omit the star-spangled moment when asked about it in Venice. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it, ” Gosling said per the Telegraph. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

The Canadian actor added that based on his own interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends, he doesn’t believe the pioneering astronaut considered himself an American hero. “I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero,” Gosling said. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.” [emphasis mine]

Many on the right including myself, strongly criticized this statement. The movies director, Damien Chazelle, immediately responded, saying he was not trying to devalue the importance of the American achievement but to focus instead on telling Neil Armstrong’s personal story. “My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”

I decided I had been unfair to criticize the film without seeing it, and decided I would make a rare trip to a movie theater as soon as it was released to see it and then review it.
» Read more

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Director of Neil Armstrong movie responds to flag critics

The director of the movie about Neil Armstrong, First Man, has issued a statement about criticism the movie is getting for not showing a scene of Armstrong and Aldrin planting the American flag on the Moon.

Below is Damien Chazelle’s statement in its entirety:

In “First Man” I show the American flag standing on the lunar surface, but the flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon. To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.

I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon — his point of view as he first exited the LEM, his time spent at Little West Crater, the memories that may have crossed his mind during his lunar EVA. This was a feat beyond imagination; it was truly a giant leap for mankind. This film is about one of the most extraordinary accomplishments not only in American history, but in human history. My hope is that by digging under the surface and humanizing the icon, we can better understand just how difficult, audacious and heroic this moment really was. [emphasis mine]

That he did show the American flag on the Moon is encouraging to me, and makes me think that the criticisms about this issue being leveled at the film, including mine, are possibly unfair.

At the same time, I have witnessed too often the desire of Hollywood to denigrate the United States, so I remain suspicious. Getting eyes on the film to get another perspective would I think be very helpful. I might myself have to view it to give my own perspective.

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Hollywood once again reveals its distaste for America

The just released new Hollywood movie detailing the life of Neil Armstrong, First Man, has so far gotten rave reviews.

Sadly, however, there is one detail about the Apollo 11 mission that the filmmakers decided they couldn’t include, even though it was in many ways the entire point of the mission. They made a conscious decision to exclude any mention of the planting of the American flag on the surface of the Moon.

Star Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, defended director Damien Chazelle’s decision to omit the star-spangled moment when asked about it in Venice. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it, ” Gosling said per the Telegraph. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

The Canadian actor added that based on his own interviews with Armstrong’s family and friends, he doesn’t believe the pioneering astronaut considered himself an American hero. “I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero,” Gosling said. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.” [emphasis mine]

This is bunk. All the astronauts who flew to the Moon were very aware that they were warriors in the Cold War against the Soviet Union and communism, and did it very consciously so that the U.S. could win that space race, for the U.S. Planting the flag was thus for them a very important aspect of the mission, maybe in many ways the most important.

That these Hollywood filmmakers purposely excluded that moment only illustrates to me once again the hostility, even hate, that the modern elitist culture has for the United States and everything it has stood for since 1776: freedom, blind justice before the law, and individual responsibility. Here it appears they are making an effort to separate that very decidedly American culture, which made the lunar landing possible, from that achievement. They want to honor Armstrong as an individual, but do not want to give any credit to the country and culture that sent him to the Moon. Instead, they want to claim that the Apollo landings were merely “a human achievement.”

For shame.

This makes me very unwilling to spend any money to see this movie. Why should I support the work of such intellectually dishonest people?

I must add that I have already been emailed by several readers who are similarly outraged. I wonder therefore if this will turn into something that will actually hurt ticket sales. I suspect not, as too many Americans today do not care very much about these issues. They will go to be entertained, and many will buy into the lie that the Apollo missions was an achievement not of America but of the entire global world, working together in love and peace.

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The Amazing Paul Frees

An evening pause: You have heard his voice, many times. This highlight reel, suggested by Jim Mallamace, includes just a few, all amazingly different:

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion
Boris Badenov
Pillsbury Doughboy
Lion and Mouse
Voyages Through Inner Space
Burgermeister Meisterburger
The Beatles Cartoon
Morocco Mole
Ludwig von Drake

He was a contemporary of Mel Blanc (most famous for providing the voices for Warner Brothers’ cartoons), was as good, but is far less well known.

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