Take 3: In Name Only Review

One of the reasons why I love participating in blogathons is because it gives me the opportunity to watch films I might have never seen otherwise. In Name Only is a fantastic example! Before signing up for The Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon, I had no idea that this film existed. After searching Carole’s filmography on IMDB and discovering the ability to rent the movie, I felt that In Name Only was a good choice for this review. Even though I had heard of Carole Lombard before, I had never seen any of her films. My participation in this particular blogathon gave me the opportunity to finally check out her acting work! Another surprise I discovered was that the film is based on a book! The source material for the project is Memory of Love by Bessie Breuer. Similar to my discovery of the film, I was not aware of this book’s existence before I watched the movie. Maybe in the future, I’ll check this story out! But, for now, let’s check out this review of In Name Only!

In Name Only poster
In Name Only poster created by RKO Radio Pictures. Image found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:In_Name_Only.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Like I said in the introduction, this is the first film from Carole’s filmography I’ve ever seen. Despite this, I was impressed with her performance in this film! Her portrayal of Julie Eden showcased an on-screen personality that appeared down-to-earth. Whenever her character was frustrated by the divorce process, her performance became heart-breaking. Carole’s sad demeanor created the opportunity for audience members to sympathize with Julie. Prior to watching In Name Only, the only film from Cary Grant’s filmography I’d seen was The Philadelphia Story. Because that movie was a romantic-comedy, it gave me the chance to see Cary take on a more dramatic role in this picture. Throughout the story, Cary’s character, Alec Walker, embodied the serious and charming nature of a gentlemen. For more sad and heart-breaking moments, his performance was very captivating to watch. A great example is when Alec is staying at the hospital. Since his health is deteriorating, his mental health is also affected. This is portrayed very well by Cary, as he adopts a distant stare and disjointed speech pattern that reflect his character’s state.

 

The on-screen chemistry: I enjoyed watching the on-screen performances of Carole Lombard and Cary Grant! One reason is their on-screen chemistry. Every time they appeared in a scene together, there was always a sense of genuine sweetness between them. This allowed their characters to appear like they truly loved one another. It also makes viewers want to see this on-screen couple resolve their issues. For me, the quality of Carole and Cary’s on-screen chemistry helped me stay invested in their characters and their relationship!

 

How the topic of divorce was handled: In my review of Marriage on the Rocks, I talked about how the movie’s view on divorce made me feel uncomfortable. This was because of the one-sided perspective the movie presented. When it comes to In Name Only, the topic of divorce was handled with maturity and reverence to all the parties involved in the film’s story. While there was an antagonist, this creative choice was meant to show the audience that divorce can sometimes become messy and complicated. Unlike Marriage on the Rocks, In Name Only treats divorce as a realistic yet difficult situation. I’ve never read the book this movie is based on. However, I’m hoping the book handled the subject of divorce as well as the film did.

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When I saw this postcard, I knew it had to make an appearance in this review! Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
What I didn’t like about the film:

A drawn-out conflict: I understand the divorce process can be very time-consuming. But within the context of the film’s story, this conflict was drawn-out for the majority of the run-time. It got to the point where I could see audience members becoming just as frustrated as the protagonists were. Now, I’m not sure if this shared frustration was intentional on the screenwriter’s or author’s part. However, I do know that because of this creative choice, it didn’t leave a lot of room for a pay-off.

 

Under-utilized characters: As I was watching this film, I came across some under-utilized characters. Maida’s friend, Suzanne, is just one example. The actress who portrayed this character, Helen Vinson, did a really good job with the role she was given. But her character wasn’t able to do much in the story. This caused Helen to have very little material to work with.

 

Run-time that was a little too long: IMDB says that In Name Only is an hour and thirty-four minutes. However, I feel some minutes could have been shaved off. Had this movie’s run-time been an hour and fifteen or twenty minutes, certain events in the movie could have happened sooner. It also could have gotten rid of scenes that felt like time-wasters. One of these scenes, to give you an example, was when Maida was talking to her in-laws during a car-ride.

Carole Lombard Blogathon banner
The Carole Lombard Memorial Blogathon banner created by Crystal from In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood and Vincent from Carole & Co. Image found at https://crystalkalyana.wordpress.com/2019/09/25/announcing-the-carole-lombard-memorial-blogathon/

My overall impression:

Even though In Name Only is the first film of Carole Lombard’s I have seen, it is a film that I did like! There are aspects of the movie that could have made the overall project stronger. However, its merits overshadow them. The biggest highlight is how the story handles the subject of divorce. Throughout the story, I could sense the creative team knew exactly what they were doing. The screenwriting provided a sense of realism to the narrative, giving the characters thoughts and feelings that might emerge from a situation like this. The divorce itself was also taken very seriously. If you’re interested in watching a film about this topic, please pick In Name Only over something like Marriage on the Rocks. As I’ve said before, I feel that starting or ending a romantic relationship is not something that should be taken lightly. In Name Only not only recognizes that, but highlights that through the interactions of the characters.

 

Overall score: 7.4 out of 10

 

Have you ever seen Carole Lombard’s movies? If so, which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Marriage on the Rocks Review

When Maddy, from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films, announced her 2nd Deborah Kerr Blogathon, I was eager to participate! I had reviewed Edward, My Son last February, so I was familiar with who Deborah is as an actress. Originally, I was going to review Black Narcissus. But due to technical difficulties with my DVR, I chose to write about Marriage on the Rocks instead. The idea of a struggling couple working through their problems in Mexico sounded like an interesting concept for a comedy. I was curious to see what effect this particular location would have on the aforementioned couple and how they would be transformed along the way. Also, I haven’t reviewed a comedy in a little while, so I thought it would be a good idea to expand the cinematic horizons of 18 Cinema Lane. Since this is my first blogathon in 2020, let the review for Marriage on the Rocks begin!

Marriage on the Rocks poster
Marriage on the Rocks poster created by A-C Productions, Sinatra Enterprises, and Warner Bros. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/24787/Marriage-on-the-Rocks/#.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: This is the second acting performance of Deborah Kerr’s I have seen (the first was from the movie, Edward, My Son). What I’ve noticed about both performances is how much effort she puts into her roles. Even if the movie itself doesn’t hold up, Deborah still puts every piece of acting talent she has into each of her characters. In her role as Valerie Edwards, she was very expressive with her facial expressions and actions. This added to the memorability of her performance! Marriage on the Rocks is the first movie of Frank Sinatra’s I’ve ever seen. While I am familiar with Frank as a singer, I had never seen any of his acting performances before. The most notable aspect of Frank’s portrayal of Dan Edwards was how at ease he was in this role. His performing experiences related to stage presentations and programs like The Ed Sullivan Show, as well as prior movie experience, seemed to work in his favor when it came to his performance in Marriage on the Rocks! The aforementioned film is also the first time I have seen Caesar Romero act in a movie. I liked his performance because of how lively and energetic it was. It was also consistent throughout the movie, just like the performances from the rest of the cast!

 

Ernie Brewer’s house: The house of Ernie Brewer, portrayed by Dean Martin, was featured in the film on several occasions. Despite the living room being the only shown part of the house, I really liked the architecture within this space! When characters enter the house, they and viewers are greeted by walls and columns of exposed stone. As characters walk into the living room, they will come face-to-face with the room’s most prominent feature: the fire pit in the center of the room. Another fantastic element of this space is the wrap-around deck. While the deck itself is featured in only one scene, it serves the purpose of giving characters and viewers a perfect view of the ocean. Whether this location is a real-life home or a pre-constructed set, it definitely could make almost anyone want those elements as part of their own living space!

 

The opening credits: Sometimes, creative teams will come up with interesting ways to present their film’s opening credits. Marriage on the Rocks is a perfect example of this. Throughout this segment of the movie, stick figure cartoons can be seen next to people’s names and roles within the project. These stick figures were not only given to the cast, but also to the crew. When the director was introduced in the credits, he was given his own stick figure, which presented him sitting in a director’s chair. I found this to be a cute and creative way to grab the audience’s attention before the official start of the film!

2nd Deborah Kerr Blogathon banner
The 2nd Deborah Kerr Blogathon banner created by Maddy from Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. Image found at https://maddylovesherclassicfilms.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/announcing-the-2nd-deborah-kerr-blogathon/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Comedy that was barely funny: On IMDB, Marriage on the Rocks is classified as a comedy. However, as I was watching this film, I found myself laughing only four times. Like I’ve said before, comedy is subjective. But, for me, I don’t find dysfunctionality to be hilarious. Also, the jokes themselves go on for too long. It feels like the screenwriter was having difficulty finding the punchline. There are also no breaks from the comedy, which made these jokes seem like run-on sentences. Personally, I found this aspect of the film to be an unenjoyable part to my movie-viewing experience.

 

The movie’s view on marriage and divorce: I watch movies to be entertained. While I appreciate a good message/lesson within a cinematic story, that’s not what compels me to watch any particular film. In Marriage on the Rocks, however, the overarching view on marriage and divorce made me feel uncomfortable. I personally feel that starting or ending a romantic relationship should not be taken lightly. This movie would say otherwise, portraying these two aforementioned concepts like they are effortless. Even the way most of the characters talk about marriage and divorce is concerning. One example is how David Edwards sees divorce as a way to manipulate his parents into giving him anything he wants. There were a few characters in this movie whose views were different from the overarching ones the film itself adopts. But, for most of the film, these characters are looked down upon. All the things I talked about made the views of the movie seem one-sided and skewed.

 

Problems that almost never get resolved: While watching Marriage on the Rocks, I could tell the screenwriter was trying to adopt a “comedy of errors” kind of story. But if any screenwriter is going to write a script with this kind of comedy, they need to remember that the errors have to reach a resolution. In this film, the majority of these errors don’t achieve a satisfying solution. In the rare case when one does, other problems arise because of it. The Hallmark movie, Holiday Date, is a great example of how this type of story can be executed well. In the 2019 release, the male and female protagonist experience a series of mishaps while visiting her family for Christmas. Despite this, they always found a solution that made everyone happy. Unfortunately, this never happens in Marriage on the Rocks. If anything, it made the characters’ situations even more complicated.

 

A drawn-out story: According to IMDB, Marriage on the Rocks is an hour and forty-nine minutes. To me, though, it felt like the movie was three hours. The problem here is how drawn-out the story is. This script takes a simple sounding concept and makes a bigger deal out of it than necessary. The narrative of this film could have been either a mini-series or a short film. This would have allowed the necessary plot points to be reached sooner and the script to be tighter. When I look back on it, there were things that happened in this movie just to satisfy the film’s run-time. The ongoing “second honeymoon” joke is a good example of what I’m talking about.

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Colorful travel suitcase image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/beautiful-illustration-of-travel_2686674.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/watercolor”>Watercolor vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

When I chose to review Marriage on the Rocks, I thought this would be a comedic version of Expecting a Miracle. While I haven’t seen the 2009 released Hallmark film, I’m aware of what the story is about. Unfortunately, Marriage on the Rocks was not even close to what I expected. Yes, there were things about it that I liked. Ernie Brewer’s house is just one example. But, for me, this movie contained more negatives than positives. As I said in my review, the movie’s view on marriage and divorce is one of the biggest missteps this project took. I didn’t find it to be funny or entertaining, just one-sided and out of touch. Later this month, I’ll be reviewing another Frank Sinatra picture called High Society. Hopefully that one will be more enjoyable than Marriage on the Rocks was. Despite the fact it’s only the beginning of the year, I think I found a contender for worst film of 2020.

 

Overall score: 4.7 out of 10

 

Have you seen Marriage on the Rocks? Do you have a favorite film from Deborah Kerr’s filmography? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List 2019

Now that the Christmas/holiday shopping season has begun, it feels like the perfect time to bring back a tradition that I started last year. Returning to 18 Cinema Lane is my Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List, where I share the movie related things I’d like to receive as gifts! Just like the first one, there will be four categories that each item will be listed under. If you need more of an explanation, you can check out my first Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List at the featured link. Also, like last year, each item is something that I think could be realistic. Before I start this list, I just want to say that the only image in this post that is not one of my screenshots is the Three Wise Men themed wish list image.

A Movie Blogger’s Christmas Wish-List

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Three Wise Men themed wish list paper image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Something You Want

  • In last year’s Christmas Wish-List, I shared that I would like to see Stuart Townsend and Marguerite Moreau star in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie together. While I still want this, I’d also like to see other actors and actresses from the Queen of the Damned film appear in a Hallmark Hall of Fame project. If you read my review of Swept from the Sea, you would remember that I enjoyed Vincent Perez’s performance in that film! Even though I’ve only seen two of his movies, I believe that Vincent would be able to use his acting talents to bring a Hallmark Hall of Fame story to life. I also wouldn’t be opposed to seeing these actors or actresses working behind the camera, such as directing or producing the film. According to his IMDB filmography, Matthew Newton, who portrayed Armand in Queen of the Damned, has written, directed, and produced a few films. Maybe, one day, he could help create a Hallmark project. Like I said in last year’s Christmas Wish-List, I’m not sure if there’s anything preventing these actors or actresses from appearing in a Hallmark film or if they’ve ever gotten along well enough where they would want to work together again. But if Hallmark wants to coordinate a mini Queen of the Damned reunion, I would be on board for that decision!

 

  • On Wikipedia, when I was deciding which film to choose for a blog follower dedication review, I came across a movie titled The Wife of Monte Cristo. Monte Cristo and Haydee are one of my favorite couples from pop culture. However, in different adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo, Haydee is either not featured in the film or she appears in the film for a brief period of time. Haydee and Monte’s relationship is also barely talked about. What makes me want to see this film is how it not only focuses on Monte and Haydee’s relationship, but also allows Haydee to become a more prominent character. Currently, the film is not airing on Turner Classic Movies. But I would love to review it for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Clean Movie Month!

 

  • In the movie, Easter Under Wraps, the protagonist, Erin, brings the most adorable suitcase on her trip to Washington. While I’m not shopping for luggage anytime soon, I would love to own a suitcase that looks like Erin’s! Based on the photo, it appears to be perfect for a weekend trip. I also really like its color. I don’t know what the suitcase’s inner material looks like, but I would want it to have my blog’s logo printed on it.

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Something You Need to See

I’ve said on 18 Cinema Lane before that I would really like to see the movie, Words on Bathroom Walls. But, as of late November to early December 2019, it seems that this film still does not have a distributor. If you are not aware, a distributor is a studio that releases a film. Because Words on Bathroom Walls doesn’t have a distributor yet, it means the film hasn’t been given a premiere date. I hope that this movie finds a distributor sooner rather than later so people can finally see it!

 

Even though When Calls the Heart is a television show, there are still movies that bridge the seasons together. So, this Wish-List request counts for this section. Ever since the show’s season five finale, I have noticed that Tom Thornton has received very little acknowledgement. It’s gotten to the point where it seems like Elizabeth is ignoring Jack’s side of the family. I realize that the issue lies in the screenwriting. Because the screenwriters don’t make an effort to include Tom in the story, they don’t bother to recognize his existence in that world. As a fan of both Tom Thornton and When Calls the Heart, all I ask is for the screenwriters to make more references to Jack’s brother. If Max Lloyd-Jones cannot make an appearance on the show, that’s understandable. But the most important thing is for Tom’s importance to get recognized more often.

 

This Wish-List request is similar to the previous one. In my spoiler-zone review of Avengers: Endgame, I talked about how Bucky was, to a certain extent, treated like an afterthought in that film. Ever since then, not only do I feel like Bucky is still being seen as an afterthought, but it seems like the fans of the character are being treated like an afterthought as well. In this case, the problem lies with Disney and Marvel, as they have made very few efforts to acknowledge these fans and get them excited for The Falcon & the Winter Soldier. It also doesn’t help that they are doing this to a co-lead character of an upcoming TV show. For this request, the only thing I ask is for Disney and Marvel to stop treating Bucky and his fans like afterthoughts. No matter what you’re a fan of, no person should ever feel this way. Besides, fans are the ones who can make or break the popularity of a piece of entertainment.

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A movie related piece of clothing or accessory I’d want to wear

For this category, I have two choices. The first is Rachel’s pill-box hat from The Trouble with Angels! In my review of the movie, I featured three pictures of this hat. It is the coolest pill-box hat that I’ve ever come across and I’d love to own one that looks like it. The second is Paula’s choker necklace from Gaslight! I also featured a picture of it in my review of the film and this piece of jewelry is just adorable. Because Gaslight was filmed in black-and-white, it’s difficult to determine what color the necklace was meant to be. But, if I owned a necklace like this, I would like to be able to interchange the ribbon to coordinate with any outfit.

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Gaslight choker necklace picture

A book I’ve read that I’d like to see adapted into a film

When it comes to books I’ve read in 2019, most of them were either already turned into adaptations or I felt they didn’t need to become adaptations. However, there was one book where the more I read it, the more I could see it as a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series. This book is Murder on Ice by Alina Adams! When it comes to mystery series on Hallmark’s second network, there have not been any collection of films revolving around athletics. In Hallmark’s library of films, there are only three movies I’m aware of that prominently feature figure skating. If the Figure Skating Mystery books were adapted into a movie series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, it would fill those two voids that I just mentioned. I even pictured which actors and actresses could portray some of the characters. Despite the fact that Hallmark’s second network is saturated with mystery series at the moment, I think that an adaptation of Murder on Ice could bring something new to the table.

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What are your thoughts on this year’s Christmas Wish-List? Are there any movie-related things you’d like to receive as a gift? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

 

Take 3: Gaslight Review + 155 Follower Thank You

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d use this review to express my gratitude toward my readers and followers by taking a suggestion from one of my readers. Back in July, when I reviewed Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Emily, from The Flapper Dame, recommended a film called Gaslight. As I told her, I had heard of the film, but had never seen it. Fortunately, I had this movie on my DVR for several months. This means that I now had an excuse to finally watch this film! I don’t often receive film recommendations on 18 Cinema Lane. But, when I do, I try my best to review each film and acknowledge the person who told me about it. This happened when I reviewed The Santa Incident last December. Since I have acquired several suggestions within my year of blogging, I have created a list to keep track of the films. This is so I know which ones I’m able to rent or record on my DVR. Maybe I can find a way to create a tradition around these suggestions!

Gaslight poster
Gaslight poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Loew’s Inc. Image found at http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/166/Gaslight/#.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Prior to watching Gaslight, I had seen a few of Ingrid Bergman’s films. But, to me, her portrayal of Paula is one the best I’ve seen from her filmography! What makes this performance so good is how expressive Ingrid is. She’s able to change her expressions at a moment’s notice, causing Ingrid’s portrayal to appear fluid and natural. I was pleasantly surprised to see Angela Lansbury star in this film! I’ve never seen any of Angela’s live-action films, as the only live-action project of hers that I’ve seen is Murder, She Wrote. However, it was nice to see her portray a character that is different from what I’m used to. Angela brought a sense of sass to her character, Nancy. Her interactions with the other characters was interesting because of how different her personality was from the other members of that household. Though her on-screen presence was limited, Angela found a way to shine with the material she was given!

 

The lighting: I wasn’t expecting anything special from the film’s lighting. But, when I watched Gaslight, I found the lighting to be one of the most memorable parts! In the London scenes, when it was night-time, the lighting reminded me of a noir film. What I mean by this is how the light is primarily dim and obstructed by another source. In the case of Gaslight, this source was fog. A common practice in this film was the use of shadows. This helped add a sense of mysteriousness to the story, as there was an uncertainty about the people who caused those shadows. One scene that used lighting in a creative way was when Paula and Gregory entered the drawing room of their London home for the first time. In this scene, the only light came from the outside. This means the shadow of the window’s blinds reflected off of these two characters.

 

The set design: Gaslight takes place during the Victorian era. As I’ve said in reviews for other period films, the sets in this movie appeared authentic to that specific time period. It shows that the creative team truly cared about the film they were making. It also shows that thorough research had been done during the pre-production stage of the project. The sets were very massive in scale, presenting the grandeur that would have been found within the world of these characters. It also helps that the architecture made these structures feel life-like. My favorite of this collection is the hotel where Paula and Gregory spent their honeymoon. While the exterior was the primary focus of this scene, it was still impressive to look at. The location itself seemed inviting and charming, like it would be a prime destination for anyone’s vacation.

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Sketch of London image created by Archjoe at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-houses-of-parliament_1133950.htm’>Designed by Archjoe</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Archjoe – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Some of the accents: Like I’ve said in other reviews, accents in films can be hit or miss. In Gaslight, the accents sounded authentic and believable. But there were times when it was difficult to understand what some of the characters were saying. This was the case for Gregory Anton. At several moments, I found myself rewinding the movie in an attempt to hear what he was saying. This definitely took away some enjoyment from the film.

 

Some under-utilized characters: In this movie, I found some of the characters to be under-utilized more than they should have been. One example is the neighbor of Paula and Gregory, who Paula met on a train prior to the couple moving to London. Based on her first encounter with the protagonist, I thought she was going to play a larger role in the overall narrative. Sadly, it just felt like she was there for the sake of being there. Had this character been removed from the story, I don’t think it would have made much of a difference.

 

The mystery’s resolution: When a movie features a mystery, its resolution usually takes place during the film’s climax. This decision is made to not only make the moment feel big and action-packed, but it’s also made to get a reaction from the audience. I will not spoil Gaslight for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie. But I found this mystery’s resolution to be anti-climactic. The scenes involving the resolution were well-written and interesting. However, they failed to feel big or action-packed. Something that hurt them was how one particular confrontation was not shown on screen. I understand that this film was released during the Breen Code era. However, the confrontation’s absence took away from some of the climax’s excitement.

Gaslight choker necklace picture
Is it just me or is Paula’s choker necklace just the cutest piece of jewelry? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

My overall impression:

Gaslight is the third mystery movie I have reviewed this November. Maybe it’s to make up for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries taking a break from making mystery films due to the Christmas/holiday season. In all seriousness, I think the mystery aspect of Gaslight was the best out of those three films! While it had its issues, it was still the most compelling. I can now agree with Emily, from The Flapper Dame, that this is a good movie! Even though it is a “slow burn” story, it works for the overall picture. This allows for the events to happen at their own pace, which made elements of the story grow organically. If you have the patience, this is a movie you might enjoy. As this review is meant to celebrate receiving 155 followers on 18 Cinema Lane, I’d like to thank each of my followers for choosing to support my blog. When I first started my blogging journey, I never imagined achieving such a large number of followers this quickly. However, I’m very thankful for the success I have earned. I’d also like to thank Emily for recommending Gaslight to me. I appreciate when readers leave comments on my blog, so I was more than happy to choose this movie for this review!

 

Overall score: 7.5 out of 10

 

Have you ever seen Gaslight? Are there any movies you’d like to recommend to me? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Twilight of Honor Review

When Tiffany from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society invited me to join The Second Annual Claude Rains Blogathon, I was familiar with Claude as an actor. I’ve seen five of his movies, as I reviewed Caesar and Cleopatra back in September. While looking through his filmography on IMDB, I discovered that Claude starred in a film called Twilight of Honor. Because I happened to have this movie on my DVR, I figured it would be a great choice for the blogathon. This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about a courtroom film. Last year, I reviewed two movies from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Darrow Mystery series. What I enjoy about those films is the mystery component featured within the narrative. It creates an intriguing and interactive experience for the audience. Will I find a mystery in Twilight of Honor? Keep reading if you want to find out!

Twilight of Honor poster
Twilight of Honor poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twilight_of_Honor_FilmPoster.jpeg.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The overall cast in this film was pretty good! Everyone’s performance appeared believable, especially for their character’s situation. Even though Claude Rains was in the film for a limited amount of time, his portrayal of Art Harper was memorable! He brought a pleasant persona to his character and was a joy to watch on screen. The lead star, Richard Chamberlain, also gave a good acting performance! His character, David Mitchell, had a healthy balance between the seriousness of a lawyer and the charm of a gentleman. That’s because his acting abilities were well-rounded enough to pull off this specific kind of portrayal. The supporting cast was just as talented as the starring cast! Joey Heatherton was a standout in this film as Laura-Mae Brown! With an on-screen personality that was feisty and bold, Joey found a way to shine among her co-stars. Her character certainly brought an interesting element to the story.

 

The dual screen special effect: Whenever one of the characters shared their perspective on the case, the screen was split to show the flashback on one side of the screen while the character was speaking. After this was shown, the flashback was presented in a full-screen format. This element made the project appear ahead of its time. Because the ‘60s weren’t known for experimentation with technology in film, it makes the creative team behind this movie appear innovative. I respect their decision to try something new. They took a creative risk and it worked in their favor.

 

The Clinton house: At one point in the movie, David visits the widow of the murder victim, Mrs. Clinton, at her house. Despite this location being featured on screen for a short amount of time, this house looked very appealing on film! The way it was staged and decorated gave the impression that the creative team was going for: the living environment of an affluent family. From the winding staircase to the large door-frame, everything about it spoke volumes about the characters that lived there. It was also just a nice-looking place in general. I’m not sure if this was a real location or a set, but the people associated with bringing this place to life did a good job in doing so.

Claude Rains Blogathon banner
The Second Annual Claude Rains Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/round-up-the-usual-suspects-the-second-annual-claude-rains-blogathon-is-coming/.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The run-time: Twilight of Honor is almost two hours. Because of this, it makes the story feel drawn out and some scenes last longer than they need to. One example is some of the courtroom scenes. I understand that court cases in film take time to be explored and discussed. But, personally, I don’t think this particular story needed to be as long as it was. If this movie was an hour and ten or twenty minutes, then the script could have been a little bit tighter and the run-time would be more condensed.

 

Very little intrigue: When I first heard about this movie, I was expecting the story to have a mystery element. Similar to programs such as Matlock, Perry Mason, and Hallmark’s Darrow Mystery series, I was ready to figure out whodunit. Sadly, that’s not the kind of story Twilight of Honor is. It’s a courtroom drama with a surface level narrative that’s “cut and dry”. Because the story was so basic, I found the final verdict to be anti-climactic. It wasn’t a boring story, but it wasn’t exciting either.

 

David and Susan’s relationship: I have nothing against David and Susan’s relationship. The issue I have with it is how little emphasis it was given in the film. David and Susan’s relationship feels rushed and under-developed. They are seen spending so little time with each other that when their relationship does progress, it just comes out of nowhere. There’s no build-up to where this relationship ends up. It just seems like it was placed in the movie just for the sake of being there.

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Scales of Justice image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by freepik – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Twilight of Honor is not what I expected it to be. That intriguing, courtroom mystery that I was looking to ended up becoming a straight-forward drama with a simplistic story. Because of that, I found the movie to be just ok. While there were things about it that I liked, the story itself could have been stronger. But that doesn’t mean that the movie is void of purpose. Twilight of Honor does have its place in film history with the use of the dual screen special effect that was featured in the movie. It also gives people a good excuse to watch Claude Rains perform on screen. This isn’t one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, so far. But it’s definitely not one of the worst films I’ve seen either. I’m glad that I saw Twilight of Honor, though, because now I can have an honest opinion about it.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

What do you think of this review? Which movie from Claude Rains’ filmography is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Word on the Street: James Dean will be Brought Back in Upcoming Film

Despite what the title suggests, this is not a joke. I actually came across this story when I saw Amber, from Hallmarkies Podcast, comment about it on Twitter. After the negative reaction this piece of movie news caused on the aforementioned social media platform, I knew I had to talk about it. There are several movie bloggers that I know who specialize in writing about the Classic Film Era, so I assume they’ll have thoughts on this topic as well. Two days ago, on November 6th, Alex Ritman, from the The Hollywood Reporter, reported that the creative team behind a film called Finding Jack will incorporate James Dean through the use of CGI. In this article, Alex wrote that the film’s directors, Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, “obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family”. In relation to this, Anton Ernst said “We feel very honored this his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact. The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down”. As for the specifics on how Finding Jack’s creative team will bring James back, Alex states “that Dean’s performance will be constructed via “full body” CGI using actual footage and photos. Another actor will voice him”. According to the article, Finding Jack will begin preproduction on November 17th, with the intent to release the film next Veterans Day.

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I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of this decision for a number of reasons. Even though James Dean’s family approved of this idea, James Dean himself did not. Because he’s been gone for several decades, he has been unable to stand up for himself and give his consent. Bringing him back by using his image without his permission is not only exploitive, but also manipulative. This opportunity gives Finding Jack’s creative team the ability to use James’ image to their liking, not how James himself would have wanted. This situation kinds of reminds me of how I felt about the film, Edward, My Son. I mentioned in that review how, because of the creative team’s choice not to feature Edward on screen, it denied any actor the opportunity to receive a “standing ovation” they had probably worked hard to achieve. In the case of Finding Jack, any actor is denied a chance to add another project to their filmography because this creative team wants to capitalize on a deceased star’s popularity. The decision to bring back James is this manner is also quite cruel. Fans of James Dean are understandably upset that he passed away at such a young age. With Finding Jack’s creative team incorporating James into their film, they are giving his fans and their audience false hope, whether or not it was intentional. I’m guessing that this is a one-time decision, but fans would probably rather see him in more than one project. If fans of other decreased stars find out about this decision from Finding Jack’s creative team, they might want to see them come back in a similar fashion. Personally, I think this creative team’s intention could lead to bad results. It could also open up a can of worms that may never close again.

 

What are your thoughts on this story? How do you feel about the idea of bringing back deceased stars through technology? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

Here is the link to the article I referenced in this post:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/afm-james-dean-reborn-cgi-vietnam-war-action-drama-1252703

You can visit Amber’s official Twitter account by typing @amberbrainwaves into Twitter’s search bar.

Take 3: Platinum Blonde Review + 150 Follower Thank You

Last month, I received 150 followers! But because of how much time and energy was devoted to writing my editorial for Pale Writer’s Gothic Horror Blogathon, I decided to publish this review in early November. The movie I selected, Platinum Blonde, was released on Halloween in 1931. Since I reviewed Vampyr for my previous blog follower dedication review, I chose Platinum Blonde because, based on the synopsis, it gives the impression that it has a lighter tone. It’s also the first movie of Jean Harlow’s that I’ve ever seen. I discovered this actress through The Jean Harlow Blogathon, hosted by the blogs Musings of a Classic Film Addict and The Wonderful World of Cinema. Even though I didn’t participate in this blogathon, I was introduced to Jean and her contributions to the world of film. Before I begin this review, I want to thank each and every one of my followers! I’m not only impressed by how quickly I reached this milestone, but also by your continued support of 18 Cinema Lane!

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Platinum Blonde poster image created by Columbia Pictures. Image found at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PlatBlonde.jpg

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I was very impressed by the acting performances in Platinum Blonde! This is because all of the portrayals were consistent and expressive. One good example is Robert Williams’ performance. Throughout the film, his portrayal of Stew Smith was charismatic. He almost always had something witty to say and also had an appealing persona. Robert had good on-screen chemistry with both of his female co-stars as well. Jean Harlow had a pleasant on-screen presence while portraying Ann Schuyler. Her personality was charming and she helped create a character that was different from stereotypical expectations. Jean also had a good on-screen relationship with her co-stars. I really liked seeing this film’s supporting cast! Louise Closser Hale was a standout as Mrs. Schuyler! She was very expressive and her performance was memorable from start to finish! This cast would not have been the same without her.

 

The set design: Most of this story takes place in and around the Schuyler home. Despite this lack of variety in locations, the interior and exterior of the house was spectacular! The layout of the entryway and foyer reminded me of Norma Desmond’s house from Sunset Blvd., from the metal gate to the large, curving staircase. Everything in the Schuyler house was massive in scale. This environment represented how larger than life the family is. Even the small details found in the home highlighted this lavish lifestyle very well. One perfect example is the carved artwork on Ann and Stew’s headboard. While the exterior was shown on screen for a limited amount of time, it had a pleasant presence on film! In the scene where Ann and Stew share a kiss for the first time, the backyard appeared as a private oasis. From the lighted fountain to the flower arrangements, this space looked very inviting.

 

The cinematography: I wasn’t expecting anything special in Platinum Blonde when it came to the cinematography. But I was pleasantly surprised by the cinematography I did find in this film. In some scenes, when a character would walk up the stairs, the view from the camera looked down on the characters. This presented an illusion that the environment surrounding these individuals was grand in scale. Another scene that had interesting cinematography was when Mrs. Schuyler and the butler, Smythe, were on the balcony looking down on the living room. Because the camera angle came from a ground level perspective, it gave the audience the idea that most of Ann’s family looked down on Stew, both literally and figuratively. It also alluded to the differences in socio-economic standing.

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What I didn’t like about the film:

Under-utilized characters: At the beginning of the film, the character of Bingy Baker was introduced. I thought he would experience one hilarious situation after another while also finding true love. Sadly, this particular character received a very minor role. It also seemed like he was there just for the sake of comic relief. Bingy is an example of how some characters in this movie were under-utilized. If this character were removed from the story, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

 

An unexplained conflict: The start of the film features a conflict about Ann’s brother’s, Michael’s, relationship with a dancer. This is how Stew came to be introduced to the Schuyler family. While the characters kept saying that the situation was bad, they failed to explain why it was bad. With the conflict of Ann and Stew getting married, the audience was given reasons why this was a problem through the visualization of certain events. But this was not the case for Michael’s conflict, as it evidently seemed to be swept under the rug.

 

A somewhat unhealthy relationship: As I already mentioned, Platinum Blonde’s major conflict revolved around Ann and Stew’s relationship. While there were times when it seemed like they cared about one another, there were also times when their relationship came across as unhealthy. For most of the film, Ann and Stew do not make compromises. The audience gets to see them talking to one another, but these two characters don’t communicate about important martial issues, such as which place they will call “home”. At one point, one member of this relationship becomes hypocritical toward their spouse. Even though this film was created in the early ‘30s, I still found elements of this relationship to be kind of concerning.

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My overall impression:

On Wikipedia, Platinum Blonde is labeled as a “romantic comedy”. But, in reality, the movie is a cautionary “fish out of water” tale. The reason why I chose to review this film is because I thought it would be lighter in tone. However, Platinum Blonde wasn’t as light-hearted as I expected. Sure, there was at least one romance and some humorous moments. But it wasn’t enough to live up to the title of “romantic comedy”. Despite this disappointment, I did like some elements of this movie. One of these was the cinematography. Because of the camera angles, the scenery was not only complimented, but ideas and themes were able to visually present themselves. Platinum Blonde wasn’t the worst thing to be put to film, but it definitely could have been stronger.

 

Overall score: 6 out of 10

 

Are you a fan of Jean Harlow? Which film from the ‘30s do you want me to review? Tell me in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen