RSS feed for Catherine
  • Prince: Sign 'o' the Times

    Prince: Sign 'o' the Times 1987

    ★★★★★ Watched 24 Apr, 2016

    if you need me, i'm in a sex coma, try again later

  • Purple Rain

    Purple Rain 1984

    ★★★★½ Watched 24 Apr, 2016

    having a legitimately hard time coping with how sexy Prince is in this. the performance footage/scenes are astonishing. and throughout the film, the camera is captivated by Prince like he's a larger than life Hollywood actress. he's all poses and stares and PRESENCE. the camera lingers on his face, so often in low-angle close-up. shout-out to the great Morris Day.

  • Street of Chance

    Street of Chance 1930

    ★★½ Watched 26 Jan, 2016

    William Powell and Kay Francis appeared onscreen together six times (I’m not counting Paramount on Parade, since they don’t appear in it together) from 1930-1932. Films #3 & 4, Street of Chance and For the Defense, establish their first complete iteration as co-stars. What I mean is that these are two William Powell films with Kay Francis in important supporting parts (she plays a long-suffering wife and a long-hopeful girlfriend). Their last two films together, Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage,…

  • For the Defense

    For the Defense 1930

    ★★½ Watched 02 Feb, 2016

    William Powell and Kay Francis appeared onscreen together six times (I’m not counting Paramount on Parade, since they don’t appear in it together) from 1930-1932. Films #3 & 4, Street of Chance and For the Defense, establish their first complete iteration as co-stars. What I mean is that these are two William Powell films with Kay Francis in important supporting parts (she plays a long-suffering wife and a long-hopeful girlfriend). Their last two films together, Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage,…

  • Three from the Gas Station

    Three from the Gas Station 1930

    ★★½ Watched 04 Feb, 2016

    Though I liked it considerably less (the three men really grated on me), Die drei von der Tankstelle, even more than Monte Carlo, is the truly innovative musical of 1930 (this puts aside the groundbreaking Under the Roofs of Paris, which I’m not re-watching for this project). This film was huge in Germany. The biggest film of the year. Bigger than The Blue Angel even, Germany’s first talking picture. It was also banned by the Nazis in 1937. The self-assured…

  • Monte Carlo

    Monte Carlo 1930

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Jan, 2016 1

    Ernst Lubitsch is accurately credited as a pioneer of what we’ve come to recognize as the movie musical. 1929’s The Love Parade is often credited as the first narrative musical, and his follow-up, Monte Carlo, continues building on the accomplishments of the former. The first Hollywood musicals were an infamously rushed and immediate fad within the larger game-changing development of sound. For each Sunny Side Up or Rio Rita, there were countless embarrassingly slipshod spawns that quickly grew tedious, not…

  • A Notorious Affair

    A Notorious Affair 1930

    Watched 23 Feb, 2016

    it kills me that this is so bad because Kay Francis is SO GREAT as the vamp

  • Golden Dawn

    Golden Dawn 1930

    ½ Watched 08 Feb, 2016 2

    i feel pretty confident in saying this is probably the worst movie i've ever seen

  • The Big Trail

    The Big Trail 1930

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Jan, 2016

    This is going to sound really hyperbolic and dramatic, but I’ve honestly never seen a film that looks quite like this. There’s a reason for this; it was the first major on-location outdoor sound film (the first sound film shot outside a studio was Walsh’s previous In Old Arizona) and was shot on a short-lived 70mm format developed by the Fox Film Corporation called Grandeur (aka Fox Grandeur). Films would have to wait over two decades for the promise of…

  • Romance

    Romance 1930

    ★½ Watched 19 Jan, 2016

    My least favorite of the 1930 films I’ve written about so far. In it, a bishop (Gavin Gordon) looks back on an early experience with love that goes nowhere. It isn’t tragic (though it’s treated as such), and it doesn’t even have the weight of feeling individually formative for the character. Gavin Gordon is downright laughable as a romantic co-lead for a woman as inscrutable as Garbo. Romance is the doldrums, folks. It’s a quintessential example of an early sound…

  • Fast and Loose

    Fast and Loose 1930

    ★★½ Watched 13 Jan, 2016

    Fast and Loose is an early practice run for what would soon become the screwball comedy (thank you Miriam Bale for bringing this film to my attention!) (also note that Preston Sturges is given credit for dialogue). It’s got spoiled characters, flirtatious spats and clashing courtship, a ruse, and class consciousness. In fact, it’s got a class-as-obstacle reversal. By the end it’s the working class romantic partners (Charles Starrett and Carole Lombard respectively) of the wealthy Lenox siblings Marion and…

  • Follow Thru

    Follow Thru 1930

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Jan, 2016

    I just finished reading Richard Barrios’s A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film, and am steadily working through the musical subseries of my 1930 watchlist. The majority of the book details the initial explosive–>burnout wave of the movie musical, from 1928-1930. The ubiquitous popularity of musicals in 1928-1929 quickly gave way to oversaturation. By 1930, audiences and critics were outright disdainful of any musicals coming their way, their success and subsequent failure so instantaneous it left…