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General Discussion / Re: 2017 MLB Thread
« Last post by Tony Bensley on October 20, 2017, 09:26:37 PM »
Regarding the NLCS, I don't have much to say other than, unlike last year, the Cubs simply had nothing left against the Dodgers after just barely squeaking by the Nationals.  It's too bad that Vin Scully no longer calls the Dodger games.

I'm hoping that Houston can hang on tonight against New York, although I suspect the Yankees will win Game 7, as the remaining available Astros starters have had zero success against them in this series.  In my opinion, for Houston to have ANY chance in a Game 7 situation against New York, they'll have to score early and score often, something that has eluded them throughout this ALCS series!

Of course, Houston has to wrap up tonight's game first!  They were leading the Yankees 3-0 at the end of 6, the last time I checked.  It's too bad that Justin Verlander can't also pitch Game 7!

CHEERS!  [pie]
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Music That Sucks / Re: #9: Fleetwood Mac
« Last post by Desmond Of The Outer Sanctorum on October 20, 2017, 02:25:55 PM »
I've always wondered who did the vocals for "Go Your Own Way" and "Second Hand News" and one or two other tracks.
Lindsey Buckingham, in both cases named.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Sherlock Jr. (1924) - Buster Keaton
« Last post by metaldams on October 20, 2017, 02:09:49 PM »
      Umbrella Sam, nice catch on the MUD AND SAND poster.  All of these years watching this film and I never noticed that until you pointed it out.  I of course noticed the Mary Pickford picture, but that's more front and center.

      SHERLOCK, JR. is a very special film to me as it was my introduction to Keaton and got me into silent comedy in general.  Before this, I saw four Chaplin Essanay shorts from 1915 on TCM and was not impressed.  These days, I appreciate those Essanay shorts for what they are....early Chaplin and ahead of their time, but there's a huge difference between 1915 and 1924, so starting out with mature silent films (basically, the 20's) is best for the newbie.  First viewing of SHERLOCK, JR. blew me away instantly.  I was blown away by the creative gags, the dangerous stunts, the wit, and Keaton's demeanor in general.  I've been on board ever since.

      As far as the length, SHERLOCK, JR. is a short feature.  Basically, anything 40 minutes or more and at least four reels is a feature.  SHERLOCK, JR. just squeezes by.  Since this week's film routinely is called a Keaton feature, I am consistent.  Chaplin's first directed feature, in my eyes, is not THE KID, but SHOULDER ARMS, and I also count THE PILGRIM.  They're the same length as SHERLOCK, JR.

      The plot of SHERLOCK, JR. is really not the point of the film, so I do not consider the minimal plot a flaw.  Yes, the plot is resolved early on.  The point of SHERLOCK, JR.; besides being a great comedy, is that we can aspire to be what we're not in dreams and live out fantasy, and to dig even further, movies are also an avenue where we can live out fantasy.  Not that I'm a fan, but how the Hell else do you explain all these super hero movies that are coming out today?  The majority of Keaton's dream takes place in a movie, so the two are definitely intertwined.

      Pre dream Keaton is a wanna be detective and lover, and he's not very good at either (staying true to the proverb at the beginning of the film).  He gets outwitted with the pawned watch, overshadowed by his rival for his girl, and when he is with his girl, is hilariously too timid to make a move towards her.  The scene where Keaton and Kathryn McGuire are next to each other and Keaton gives the ring and proves to be a timid love maker are the closest to Harry Langdon Keaton ever got....and I love Langdon. 

      OK, so Keaton's inept in real life, but in his movie/dream, he's always one move ahead of his rivals.  He knows not to drink the poison liquor, he knows to grab away the explosive pool ball, he pre plans his escape when the rivals let down their guard and expose the pearls through that brilliant window gag, and he saves the girl nonchalantly and gets her in the end.  When we return to real life, Keaton is again inept at making love to his girl, so what does he turn to for advice?  The movie on the screen in front of him, impersonating, rather timidly, every move the leading man makes towards his lady.  The very last gag which ends the film, which I won't give away for those who haven't seen it, is one of the most hysterical endings ever and takes the impersonation thing further than Keaton can go.

      The physical comedy is wonderful and at times dangerous.  Keaton really broke his next falling down from the water pipe by the train but didn't know about it until years later!  The motorbike chase is awesome and that really blew me away first viewing....still does.  The timing and mechanics of some of that stuff, like the stuff with the trucks and bridges especially, is breathtaking.  I also love Keaton shadowing his rival early on, again, an act that must've taken great rehearsal and timing.  Oh, and the transition scene into Hearts and Pearls where Keaton enters the movie screen and keeps transitioning into different surroundings is also brilliant, as is the ghost Keaton who enters the screen.

      Really, one of the greatest movies ever made and a perfect introduction to silent film for any doubter.  A very important film in my life.

10/10
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 19, 2017, 10:32:48 PM »
The silent version....don't have much to say except I agree it's the sound version minus the sound gags and was just made to be shown in theaters yet equipped with sound.  In other words, 100% commercial, 0% art. 

Umbrella Sam, if you're you're going to participate, I'll seriously consider doing the other Laurel and Hardy films when we finish Keaton.  I'm definitely enough of a fan, it's just that participation was minimal before and combined with doing Stooge films at the time, it was too much work for too little feedback.  The last film I did was THE MUSIC BOX.

Glad to hear you’ll consider doing them, and, yes, I do intend to participate if you do. Hopefully by then I’ll be all caught up with the other shorts.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by metaldams on October 19, 2017, 06:12:31 PM »
The silent version....don't have much to say except I agree it's the sound version minus the sound gags and was just made to be shown in theaters yet equipped with sound.  In other words, 100% commercial, 0% art. 

Umbrella Sam, if you're you're going to participate, I'll seriously consider doing the other Laurel and Hardy films when we finish Keaton.  I'm definitely enough of a fan, it's just that participation was minimal before and combined with doing Stooge films at the time, it was too much work for too little feedback.  The last film I did was THE MUSIC BOX.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Berth Marks (1929) Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 19, 2017, 10:15:53 AM »
So, early on when I decided to start catching up with the Laurel and Hardy reviews, I happened to catch this on TCM and hated it. Watching it again, I tried to go in with the thought that it couldn’t have been as bad as I remembered. I was right; it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It was worse.

The opening seems promising enough. We get a decent exterior shot and the sequence of Laurel and Hardy trying to find each other is pretty good. This is the last time you’ll see me say anything good about this short. While I can sort of see what they’re going for with the incomprehensible conductor shouting out the train’s destinations, it kind of comes across as hypocritical considering the sound quality makes it hard to hear some of the other actors as well. If you want a better version of this gag, see the beginning of CITY LIGHTS.

Then we actually get on the train and this is where things really go downhill. The short is trying to depend on the humor of crowding in trains, which can be a problem in real life, but doesn’t necessarily make for good entertainment. Already the short is beginning to feel too boxed in and we’re not even to the worst part yet.

So then we get to the berths and Stan and Ollie try to get into the berth. As mentioned before, A PAIN IN THE PULLMAN also tried this idea, but to much better effect. The reason for this is that A PAIN IN THE PULLMAN relied on more than just trying to get on the upper berth. There were supporting players who were there to react to the Stooges’ antics and Bud Jamison’s impatience also helped to carry the scene. Here, it’s just Stan, Ollie, and the sound of a crying baby, which gets real annoying, real fast. It also doesn’t help that it briefly cuts to a shot of the fight between the other passengers. That shot makes you wish you were watching that instead of Laurel and Hardy awkwardly falling off the berth repeatedly.

Then we get to the worst part of this short, the actual upper berth scene itself. This takes the whole boxed in idea to a new level. The camera is way too close to them, to the point that you can’t even tell what they’re doing half the time anyway and the other half, as mentioned before, just makes you feel claustrophobic. For some reason, they thought having Laurel and Hardy trapped in such a confined space was such a good idea that they tried to milk the gag for all it was worth (or in this case, all that it wasn’t worth). It goes on...and on...and on...and on! I was constantly wishing for it to just move on to something else and when it finally is over, the short ends. Instead of focusing on them losing everything on their trip to Pottsville, why couldn’t we have just started them in Pottsville and have them perform their vaudeville act? I know the technology wasn’t entirely there yet, but it would have been much more tolerable than this.

I know it seems wrong to be so harsh on such an early sound output, but UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE was also an early sound output and that short had a much better understanding of how to use Laurel and Hardy’s physical talents. It understood that they needed space to work with and it gives it to them, yet it’s still able to work within early sound’s limitations by keeping the camera in place.

As you can tell, I despise this short. So far, this is the worst Laurel and Hardy film that I have ever seen, and that’s including ATOLL K! All I can say is, stay way away from this short at all costs!

2 out of 10
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Umbrella Sam on October 18, 2017, 10:47:38 PM »
Well, I just watched the silent version of UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE and thought I’d briefly share my thoughts. If I were to pick the silent film with the most annoying use of title cards, it would come down to this and THE PATSY with Marion Davies. I give them credit for trying to make certain theaters not feel left out, but when you start off depending so much on this new technology, the silent version is naturally going to come off as weaker. The phonograph is one example, along with the fight between the Kennedys, which feels very lacking without sound.

However, I do think Tony has a point when he says that some gags still work. Stuff like setting up the table, which doesn’t require sound to make it funny, still works fine and I also think that the whole “Mr. Hardy” and “Mrs. Kennedy” bit works better in this than the sound version, since it doesn’t feel as slow and drawn out. The only other difference besides the lack of sound is the editing. It’s edited to be a bit more fast-paced in order to both be more like a silent film and downplay the importance of the sound-based gags. For example, in the end of the sound version, when Laurel falls down the stairs, Hardy runs over and we hear what results from this, whereas in the silent version, it just ends with Laurel falling and we don’t see Hardy run over to the stairs.

I’m not going to give it a rating since it’s basically just a trimmed-down version of the sound version, but if I had to pick between the two, I’d still pick the sound version. The silent version is still alright though and is the version to pick if you can’t get past the sound quality in the other version.

It's too bad that the existing silent version of their followup, BERTH MARKS (1929) has never enjoyed home video release, as I've read that for some viewers, it plays better than the sound version, especially during the lengthy and tedious upper berth sequence (I'd suspect the inserted cards might actually break up some of the monotony, in that instance? ;)).

Monotonous title cards or the upper berth sequence from BERTH MARKS? Both are bad, but the title cards are the lesser of two evils.
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Tony Bensley on October 18, 2017, 09:40:34 PM »
For me, the UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE (1929) silent version is a mixed bag.  While the gag involving Mrs. Hardy (Mae Busch) and the phonograph is all but ruined (An untimely inserted dialog card doesn't help, either!), in my opinion, some of the other gags work just as well, if not better in the silent.

For several decades, up until the late 1970s, no playable copies of the soundtrack were known to exist, which meant that UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE only appeared on early television as a silent.  Just ponder that fact for a moment!

I'm glad that both versions exist in some form!  It's too bad that the existing silent version of their followup, BERTH MARKS (1929) has never enjoyed home video release, as I've read that for some viewers, it plays better than the sound version, especially during the lengthy and tedious upper berth sequence (I'd suspect the inserted cards might actually break up some of the monotony, in that instance? ;)).

CHEERS!  [pie]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by Tony Bensley on October 18, 2017, 08:58:25 PM »
Where can you find the silent version of the film?
The silent version is on one of the out of print LOST FILMS OF LAUREL AND HARDY DVD volumes, although I don't recall which volume, at the moment.

It's also currently available for viewing on YouTube:


CHEERS!  [pie]
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Weekly Episode Discussions / Re: Unaccustomed As We Are (1929) - Laurel and Hardy
« Last post by CurlyFan1934 on October 18, 2017, 07:48:01 PM »
      The silent version existed for movie theaters who at the time were not yet equipped to show sound films.  As far as I know, that's the only reason a silent version exists.  Think I'll watch that version now, should be interesting.
Where can you find the silent version of the film?
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