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Tag Archives: Cary Grant

Flick Clique I: March 20-26

poster_bladerunnerBlade Runner (1982). Purely from a visual standpoint, Blade Runner is one of my all-time faves. BUT I hadn’t seen it in at least twenty years and was wondering if it still holds up. Christopher came across the ’90s director’s cut on DVD recently (the DVD itself, a rudimentary 1997 effort with static menus, is worth a writeup in itself). The special effects depicting a rain-soaked, over populated Los Angeles of 2019 still impress, going well beyond what I expected. It looks very much like current CGI effects, but much more natural and enveloping. It’s as much a credit to the effects team as the production design and costumers, all of whom created an unprecedented, grimy environment (which has become a cliché in the ensuing decades, unfortunately). We both enjoyed seeing the creative use of different L.A. locales, such as the Bradbury Buidling and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis-Brown House. I also dug the product placement logos for now-defunct companies like Pan-Am and Jovan (are they still around?). Harrison Ford as replicant hunter Rick Deckard still comes across as stiff, but this is one example where the stiffness works in his favor. Sean Young as Deckard’s robotic love interest is drop dead gorgeous, especially when wearing a quasi-Joan Crawford striped dress for a total femme fatale effect. This director’s cut deletes the narration, inserts a strange little scene in which Deckard dreams of a unicorn, and ends more abruptly with Ford and Young facing an uncertain future. The plodding dialogue and action in the second half remains exactly the same. Despite that, the film remains an influential object of intrigue.
False Pretenses (1935). Another micro-budgeted comedy of mistaken identities from my Comedy Kings 50 Movie DVD set. This one stars the curiously obscure Irene Ware as a poor waitress who is dating a loutish man (Edward Gargan), one whose bad behavior causes her to lose her job. Walking home that night, she comes across Sidney Blackmer, a drunk who just lost his fortune. Instead of taking his life, Blackmer takes Ware under his wing and grooms her into a lady in the hopes that she can snag a rich husband, and thus earn him a finder’s fee. Definitely a sub-Frank Capra tale, made quick and cheap, but there’s something appealing about Ms. Ware’s casual charm. Her naturalism is miles beyond someone like Nancy Carroll (see below), which only leads me to believe she was born to early to achieve true stardom (Brit blogger Movietone News has a nice appreciation of the actress). Blackmer and the rest of the cast are somewhat predictable, but there is a bit of spark in Betty Compson’s supporting role as a chatty socialite.
Hot Saturday (1932). Another pre-Code corker from the same DVD set that gave us The Cheat and Merrily We Go To Hell. Despite having an early role for Cary Grant, Hot Saturday doesn’t hold quite as much interest as those other two flicks. The film follows the fortunes of bank employee Nancy Carroll, a fun loving gal whose fascination with playboy Grant gains her an unsavory reputation with both her peers and the cluck-clucking gossips in the small town she lives in. It’s a Depression-era Peyton Place, even more so when rakish Randolph Scott shows up as Carroll’s paleontologist ex-flame who wants to marry her. The story ventures into typically soapy territory, mitigated by the contrasting acting styles amongst the three leads. Carroll is intriguingly stylized in a dated Betty Boopish way, with Grant oozing charisma but still somewhat hemmed in and mannered at this point. Only Scott seems vaguely human, if bland. Probably the coolest segment in this film is the musical interlude “I’m Burning for You,” a hot little jazz number sung by a jaunty blonde singer (not credited, alas).