Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Don't look for the Titanic

The comic mystery, especially with a husband and wife more or less solving the case together, was a thing back in the 1930s and 1940s, starting with The Thin Man and not really losing steam until World War II changed public tastes. A movie from later in the cycle was A Night to Remember.

This time out, the married couple is played by Brian Aherne and Loretta Young. Aherne plays Jeff Troy, a mystery writer, while Loretta Young is wife Nancy. As the movie opens, Nancy has just rented out a basement apartment in Greenwich Village which looks like it could have been rented by Ruth and Eileen from My Sister Eileen, both movies having been made at Columbia. Nancy has picked this apartment because she thinks it might give Jeff some ideas. This being Greenwich Village, there are bound to be a bunch of quirky people living in the building.

The couple gets to the apartment early, before the electric has even been turned on or anything has been delivered. That serves as a plot device for the apartment to be empty and dark for the first several scenes, with some humor about bumps in the night and somewhat. It also gives an excuse for the couple to leave the apartment long enough to get dinner, and for someone else to come into the apartment while they're at dinner.

While they're out, they find a couple of things. One is Polly Franklin (Lee Patrick), who owns the restaurant next door; she also lives in the building they do. But they also overhear a guy on the telephone making a call to meet somebody. The thing is that the meeting location is in the basement apartment they've rented. They get home and find some strange things have gone on while they've been out. But that's not the strangest thing of all.

The next morning, the police come knocking on the door saying there was a complaint of somebody sunbathing out in the courtyard. That's a euphemism, as it's actually a murder victim, and the reveal is done in such a way that Jeff and Nancy each believe that it was their spouse who died. In fact, it's the guy they overheard in the restaurant saying to meet in the basement apartment.

So now there's a murder case. And pretty much anybody who lives in the building could be a suspect. Jeff, being a mystery writer, starts investigating, and we fairly quickly hear the various residents conspiring together. Obviously they all know something about the dead guy, and they all perceive that Jeff might be a danger. But who did it, and why?

I have to admit that this A Night to Remember isn't my favorite of the films in this husband-and-wife murder-mystery genre. I think it's because the plot doesn't really work in the sense that the clues don't fit together in a satisfying way, while Jeff solves the case much too quickly. I can see why a movie like this got made, however. With World War II going on and with the genre having been popular for several years, why not another comic mystery to try to keep the homefront entertained opposite all that tough news going on in real life? It's just a shame that the movie doesn't quite gel.

Monday, February 19, 2024

El jardinero

Dirk Bogarde was TCM's Star of the Month back in September, and one of his movies that I recorded, never having heard of it before, was The Spanish Gardnener. Recently, I watched it, and now I can do a review of it here.

The movie opens up at the British consulate in Madrid. A young boy, Nicholas Brande (Jon Whiteley), is looking out the window while the executive secretary converses with him. Behind closed doors, we here a conversation between the ambassador and Nicholas' father Harrington (Michael Hordern). The ambassador is berating Harrington for a bunch of reasons, such as Harrington inducing his wife to leave him, which is why Dad is raising the boy alone. Meanwhile, Harrington gets sent to a job at some backwater on Spain's Mediterranean coast.

It might be good for young Nicholas, because there's a change of environment in more ways than one. Dad thinks Nicholas is sickly, which is why the kid hasn't been sent to the sort of consular boarding school that the children of all the other people in the Foreign Service get sent to. Instead, Dad's been home-schooling the kid. Nicholas isn't really sickly at all; it's just Dad's way of being overprotective.

Dad earns enough that he can employ the Garcias, a butler/chauffeur (Cyril Cusack), and his wife Magdalena as a maid. The previous occupants didn't keep up any sort of garden at all, which for Harrington just won't do. So Harrington sets about hiring a gardener. He finds one in young José (Dirk Bogarde), and José takes to his work.

Nicholas being cooped up in the house all day because fo his alleged sickness, and because he doesn't have any positive male role models in his life, Dad being overbearing and Garcia coming across as a bit mean, Nicholas starts to put José on a pedestal. This makes Dad exceedingly jealous, and Dad does everything he can to try to break of the relationship the boy is developing with José, despite the fact that José is probably the best thing for Nicholas. Meanwhile, Garcia figures out what's going on, and takes the opportunity to frame José while taking advantage of the Brandes.

The Spanish Garderner is based on a book by A.J. Cronin, a British author I've mentioned a couple of times before in regards to his medical-themed novels that were turned into movies. Cronin also had a decided moral view, and that unfortunately serves to make The Spanish Gardener a bit of a strident movie in the sense of the viewer getting the point already while the movie feels it needs to tack more on to make the viewer understand.

The other problem with the print that TCM ran is that the movie was filmed in Vistavision and Technicolor, but the print is in 4:3 and the colors look quite faded. A restoration, if possible, would definitely be in order.

Bogarde doesn't do a bad job, although it feels like he isn't being challenged. That, and pretty much nobody in the movie is convincingly Spanish. Taking all that in mind, it's not hard to see why this one isn't so well known to American audiences.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Panama Lady

I had a couple of Lucille Ball movies on my DVR, although I don't think they were all from her day in Summer Under the Stars. One that I wasn't certain I'd seen before, and definitely hadn't blogged about before, is Panama Lady.

The movie starts with a shot of Lucille Ball, playing a woman named Lucy, walking along a crowded sidewalk in New York. Ominous music wells up, which is a sign that Lucy is being chased, so she walks into a bar to try to escape. But the man chasing her, McTeague (Allan Lane) finds her, and wants her to go with him. Cue the flashback to why she doesn't want to go with him....

We don't just go back in time; we also go back in space, to Panama, in a bar that served the people who came down to the Canal Zone, then under American ownership, either to work there or on their way through to one or another place in South America. Lenore (Evelyn Brent), owns the bar, although it's doing badly enough financially that she can't really support the floor show of which Lucy is a part.

Lucy has a boyfriend in Roy (Donald Briggs), but she doesn't realize that he's an adventure-seeker who is currently involved in running guns to one or another opposition group in South America. She even stows away on his plane to try to escape Panama, but she's found out and sent back to Panama. There, she meets the aforementioned McTeague. One of Lucy's "friends" slips McTeague a mickey, and when he passes out the friend steals McTeague's money and flees, leaving Lucy holding the bag.

McTeague gives Lucy two choices, and one of them isn't much of a choice. The non-choice is jail, and the other one is to go down to South America with McTeague, who is prospecting for oil on a plot of land that he hasn't really registered as a claim with the authorities. Lucy doesn't particularly care for it, but she doesn't really have any way of getting out. She also has to deal with McTeague's indigenous maid Cheema, who doesn't like her at all.

Lucy had left a crude map at Lenores bar, however, and after a while Roy is given the map so he is able to find the place. Roy is going to rescue Lucy and they can live happily ever after. Except that since all of this is a flashback, we know that Lucy winds up in New York pursued by McTeague, not Roy. That's because Roy discovers that McTeague still hasn't had time to file the paperwork, and that McTeague has likely hit oil. The lure of easy money, combined with the fact that Roy isn't a good guy, means that Roy isn't really going to rescue Lucy....

As I was watcing Panama Lady it seemed awfully familiar to me. That's because the movie is a remake of a movie from the early 1930s called Panama Flo, and I believe it's that earlier movie that I'd already seen (although I search of the blog says I haven't blogged about that one either). Panama Lady was made well before Lucille Ball became a comedy legend, at a time when RKO still didn't know what they had. Ball, of course, is a better actress than just being zany in later years might lead people to believe, and she certainly had the range to carry off a role like the one she has here.

The material, however, is pedestrian, and feels dated, which it is since it was lifted from a pre-Code. Still, Ball does well with it, and makes the movie worth at least one watch.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Charlton Heston does comedy!

Charlton Heston is the sort of actor that when you think of him, you don't necessarily think of comedy, at least not intentional comedy. But he did do at least one, which TCM showed when Heston was their Star of the Month back in October: The Private War of Major Benson.

Heston plays Maj. Benson, who as the movie opens is commanding a bunch of men in some sort of training exercise. He's a decidedly by-the-books officer, making the men drill the portion they're working on over and over until they get it right. In response, one of the men gives Maj. Benson some choice words. The only thing is, Benson can't really do anything about it, since the words are his own words, that he had said in confidence some time back. Except that those words which weren't supposed to go anywhere wound up in Newsweek magazine for all the world to see.

For that, Benson gets called to Washington, where Maj. Gen. Ramsey (Milburn Stone) is exceedingly displeased. To punish Benson, Ramsey gives him a new assignment. Ramsey knows a school that has a junior ROTC program, except that it's not going very well. It's to the point where if they don't pass their next inspection, they're going to lose their ROTC affiliation, and that's going to drive the parents to pull their boys out of the school, putting it in jeopardy. Perhaps Maj. Benson can make the students pass inspection.

And then Benson gets to the school and finds... it's a Catholic military school, run by Mother Redempta (Nana Bryant), who also happens to be the sister of Maj. Gen. Ramsey, which would explain why he knows about this school and its problems. Also there are the new doctor, Kay Lamber (Julie Adams), who is also clearly there as a love interest to Benson; and John (William Demarest), the school's janitor/handyman since the nuns can't do that stuff themselves; and the boys, ranging in age from high single digits to high school age.

Oh, the boys. At this point the movie becomes a fairly predictable piece in which Maj. Benson is strict in part because that's the only thing he knows, while the boys are partly incompetent and partly rebelling against Benson's authority. It's a bit of a surprising cast of boys, too, considering what they went on to: Sal Mineo, David Janssen, and Tim Considine are among them. Considine plays Cadet Hibler, whose father knows a bunch of people in Washington. When Hibler has had it with Maj. Benson's discipline, he and the other boys write to his parents. They come for the parents' weekend, and, finding what Maj. Benson is like, take it to Washington, which threatens Benson's career in the Army.

Charlton Heston is one of those actors who I think wouldn't have been that adept at most comedy. But The Private War of Major Benson is a lot closer to the sort of movie where he's not being so funny as much as having everyone else around him be funny, as well as having a script structured to take Heston's talents and build the humor around that. The movie turned out to be a commercial success, and I think it's easy to see why. It's the sort of material that's comforting because it's predictable.

The Private War of Major Benson was never going to turn Charlton Heston into a comic actor. But it's a good enough movie that's worth a watch.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Conquest

One of those movies that I had noticed on the TCM schedule several times but never got around to watching was Conquest. So with that in mind, the most recent time it was on the TCM schedule, I finally made a point of getting it on the DVR in order to be able to watch it and do a review here.

The movie starts off with an intertitle stating that the action is set in Eastern Poland in 1807. Now, for those who know your history, you may recall that over the previous roughly 40 years, Poland's neighbors: Prussia, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, had cooperated to take bits and pieces of the country until there was no longer a Poland as an independent entity. Count Walewski (Henry Stephenson) has worked for the last king, but now his estate is in Russian territory, and the Russians come in to commandeer the estate, running the horses into the house. This greatly distresses him and his young wife, the Countess Marie Walewska (Greta Garbo).

However, it's a chaotic political situation as Napoleon (Charles Boyer) has been moving from the west. Soon, the Countess' brother Paul (Leif Erickson) arrives to inform the Walewkis about this. And it's not long before Napoleon does make it as far as the Walewski estate and even is the guest of honor at a party there as he sets up what is a vassal buffer state in the Duchy of Warsaw. But at least the Polish people get to have something of their own for a little while. Anyhow, it's at that party that Napoleon first meets Countess Waleska. The two quickly develop an attraction to each other.

But, there's a problem. Both of them are already married, even if it is a marriage of convenience for both of them: Walewska needed the sort of money and a good name that the Count could provide, while Napoleon needed a wife who could produce him an heir and was from a place that could serve as a political ally on the grander European stage, which is why he married Josephine.

Fast forward a couple of years. Both Napoleon and Waleska are still married to their respective spouses, but they've both been unfaithful. Seemingly happily for Marie, her husband is willing to seek an annulment. And Napoleon, not having been given an heir by Josephine, is planning to get an annulment of his own. So it's with this in mind that Marie heads off to Vienna where Napoleon currently is.

They resume their relationship, and Marie even winds up pregnant with what is presumably Napoleon's child. Sadly for Marie however, she can't really offer anything of political advantage for Napoleon, so he decides to get married to an Austrian princess instead. This is only 1810, which means Napoleon still has the disastrous 1812 invasion of Russia ahead of him, as well as the first exile to Elba, the triumphant return to France, and then Waterloo before finally being sent way too far away to St. Helena. Marie pines for her Napoleon through all of this....

Conquest is the sort of material that may be it bit hokey for some, setting a silly romance against the backdrop of Great Events. But it's all based on real people, and how much of a relationship Walewska had with Napoleon is still a matter of debate. (DNA testing suggested that the real-life Marie may in fact have borne Napoleon's son.) And Conquest was made at MGM, which is exactly the right studio to make a costume drama like this, with all the gloss they could bring to the material. Garbo does a good job as Countess Waleska, but the movie is really Boyer's; after all, Napoleon in a proment place in any movie is going to be the natural focus.

Conquest is a fine example of the MGM magic in action, and definitely a movie worth watching.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Me and Mrs. Jones

One of the "stars" that TCM put the spotlight on in the 2023 edition of Summer Under the Stars was the Nicholas Brothers. They weren't really stars per se, being mostly a dance act. One dramatic movie in which only one of the two brothers, Fayard, appeared, was The Liberation of L.B. Jones, so naturally TCM included this as part of the brothers' day. I finally watched it and can now do a review on it here.

The movie opens up with a pre-credits sequence of train going down the tracks, with the camera highlighting three people on the train. Those are the newlywed couple of Steve and Nella Mundine (Lee Majors and Barbara Hershey respectively), and a black man who looks rather nervous: "Sonny Boy" Mosby (Yaphet Kotto). Sonny Boy jumps off the train not long before it gets to its destination. A police car is stopped at the crosing, and they spot Sonny Boy, harassing him because this is 1960s Tennessee, they're white, and he's black.

The Mundines are also getting off in the town of Somerton. They're met at the station by Steve's uncle, Oman Hedgepath (Lee J. Cobb). Hedgepath is the big white lawyer in town, and Steve, having recently graduated from law school and having passed the bar exam, is being given the position of partner in the newly-named Hedgepath and Mundine. At the law offices is L.B. Jones (Roscoe Lee Browne). He's the undertaker for the town's black population, which seems like about the closest thing to a black middle class Somerton is going to have. Jones is there looking for Hedgepath to represent him as he's looking for a divorce from his adulterous wife Emma (Lola Falana).

Hedgepath turns Jones down, which clearly has something to do with the racial politics of the small-town South of the late 1960s. Mundine doesn't understand why his uncle doesn't want to take the case, having spent a bunch of time in the bigger city at law school and obviously having developed more modern attitudes on race relations, and even offers to take Jones' case himself. Hedgepath doesn't want those attitudes to take over, so when Mundine offers to take on the case, he has a sudden change of heart and takes the case himself.

The reason Hedgepath decides he wants to take the case after all is because Emma has decided to contest the divorce. Emma has been having an affair Willie Joe (Anthony Zerbe), one of the cops in town, and more importantly, a white guy. Hedgepath understands that a white judge and jury in a divorce case isn't going to belive L.B. Worse for him, however, is when Willie Joe goes to see Emma. She tries to get money out of him, and he badly beats her and frames L.B. for it.

As for Sonny Boy, he had left town years earlier after being brutalized by the white cops. Where L.B. Jones is clearly a symbol of the Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King school of thought of integration by being peaceful and virtuous, Sonny Boy is part of the W.E.B DuBois and Malcom X strand that thought "by any means necessary". Sonny Boy doesn't want to get in more legal trouble than what forced him to leave town in the first place, but when he sees what the white man is doing to poor L.B., he might feel forced to go back to any means necessary....

As I watched The Liberation of L.B. Jones, I couldn't help but think of MGM, even though this movie was made at Columbia. What made me think of MGM is how they made a lot of stuff back in their heyday that was glossy but unadventurous, something that I even think I mentioned in regards to the Spencer Tracy movie Fury which dealt with mob justice. The Liberation of L.B. Jones is another of thse movies that feels like it was made a decade or two too late. It wants to say Important Things, but the Important Things have passed the movie by and instead we get a warmed-over set of pulled punches.

That's unfair to the cast, however. They all do the best they can with the material, and the performances are mostly pretty good. (I will say that Cobb feels like he's done this sort of character enough that he's not really putting as much effort into it as he did in, say, On the Waterfront.) The Liberation of L.B. Jones is another of those movies that's definitely worth one watch, but feels like it could have been a lot better.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Smart Girls Don't Talk

I'm always amazed by how many movies there are from the golden era of the Hollywood studio system that I hadn't really heard of before the showed up on TCM, let alone seen. A few months back, TCM ran a Virginia Mayo movie from Warner Bros. called Smart Girls Don't Talk. I recently finally got around to watching it off of my DVR in order to be able to do a review on it here.

The action opens up at the Club Bermuda, a relatively fashionable place in one of our big cities run by Marty Fain (Bruce Bennett). The only thing is, the club allows gambling, so several men come in, a gang led by a man named Johnny Warjak. When the maitre d' asks for their reservation, they say they don't need one, and proceed to go in and rob the place, taking cash and patrons' jewelry much like the gang in Uptown Saturday Night.

Fain doesn't really want to get the police involved, since he wants to maintain his reputation. To that end, he asks the patrons to inform them of what they lost, and he'd reimburse them. Not that he's planning to reimburse everybody, of course, since he knows some people are going to try to scam him. One guy, for example, claims to have had $10,000 in cash on him. Fain takes the money off the guys gambling debt, but then cuts the guy off and demands payment of the outstanding debt in short order. Smart guy.

Meanwhile, one or Fain's men recognized Warjak, so Fain approves of his underlings trying to follow Warjak and his men to get the goods back. But no violence, please. The underlings need to remember that Fain wants to keep his good name and keep out of the papers if at all possible. But it's a bit of fairly obvious foreshadowing that things aren't going to go the way Fain wants.

And then there's Linda Vickers (Virginia Mayo). She says she was wearing diamonds worth $18,000, which is a huge sum for the late 1940s, and you have to wonder where she got that kind of money. Fain doesn't believe her, but she's a nice-looking woman so Fain plays along. When Linda says she's got an insurance policy for the jewels, Fain insists that she take him back to her apartment and produce the policy immediately. Not a bad way to try to get into a hot woman's apartment.

But in some more obvious foreshadowing, they get to the front of the club only for the valet to inform them that Linda's car isn't readily available, the excuse being that due to the popularity of the club that night, Linda's was one of the cars that needed to be moved to an auxiliary lot. Smart readers will already know what's going on, but for anyone who hasn't figured it out, the story doesn't take that long to put two and two together.

The next morning, police detective McReady knows on Linda's door. The newspaper headling informs that Warjak was shot dead, and that a "mystery car" went driving off. The police have information that her car was found abandoned, so it's a logical next step for them to go asking Linda if she has any information she can provide them, such as her whereabouts at the time of the killing.

There's not much mystery here, but the movie gets more complicated when Linda's brother, "Doc" (Robert Hutton), having finished medical school, returns to town to be closer to family and take a nice new doctor's job. Of course he doesn't like the idea of Linda seeing Fain. But when Fain gets shot, he asks for Dr. Vickers to provide emergency treatment so that the police don't find out....

Once again, it's not hard to see why Smart Girls Don't Talk is one of those movies that isn't well-remembered. It's not that it's at all bad; it's just that it's a programmer from after the war when the studio system was already beginning to give way from the old paradigm, with prestige movies becoming bigger and little movies becoming a bit more overlooked. Still, everything here is competent, if a bit by-the-numbers if the studio was trying to churn out content the way studios would really need to start doing in a couple of years once television really took off.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

PRC Love Triangle

Just in time for Valentine's Day, we have an appropriate movie courtesy of TCM and their spotlight on B movies from last summer. The movie in question is Lighthouse.

After a brief title card about the significance of the lighthouse, we get to the action, in a lighthouse just off the coast on an island. Sam (Don Castle) is the assistant lighthouse-keeper, to Hank (John Litel). He develops a toothache, which is really just an excuse to go ashore. There, he's got a girlfriend in port in the form of Connie (Julie Lang), who works at the cannery with her best friend JoJo (Marion Martin).

Or, at least, Connie used to work at the cannery. She just got fired from the cannery because her boss had been putting the moves on her and she said no, considering that she's got a boyfriend in Sam. Back in those days, you couldn't really sue for sexual harassment. But with Sam coming ashore, Connie tells him that now would finally be a good time for the two of them to get married, and that perhaps this would be a good time for him to stop putting it off.

That's a problem because Sam already has a wife. At least, she's an estranged wife who kicked Sam out and she keeps pestering him for money instead of granting him a divorce. Sam can't marrie Connie until he can get a divorce. Eventually, Connie feels that she just have to go over to the lighthouse and beg Sam to marry her since he hasn't visited her in a couple of weeks, and communication wasn't so much back in those days.

The first tine Connie see when she goes over to the island is Hank, who informs her that he in fact is the manager and Sam is the manager. Hank doesn't yet know about the relationship between Connie and Sam. So when Connie goes into the house, she sees the picture of Sam's wife, and figures that it must be Hank's wife. Hank kindly points out that it's Sam's wife. This gives Connie a ridiculous idea: she's going to woo Hank and get him to marry her, just to get back at Sam!

Unbelievably, she does get him to propose, and the two get married and take up residence at the lighthouse. They get back to the lighthouse, at which point Sam finds out who Hank's new wife really is. Dramatic tensions ensue.

Lighthouse was released by Producers' Releasing Corporation, the same studio that made Edgar Ulmer's ultra-low-budget classic Detour. Lighthouse isn't quite as cheap, but it's definitely made on a low budget. That having been said, it's surprisingly good for a low-budget movie that has a relatively predictable plot. It's absolutely worth watching if you can find it.

Monday, February 12, 2024

A Dream of Love

I was watching something recently off my DVR -- I think Dirk Bogarde in The Spanish Gardener, since I've got a post on that coming up in a week or so and since the movie TCM aired immediately following was one with Bogarde as Franz Liszt -- and TCM ran a new-to-me short: A Dream of Love.

The movie starts off with an orchestra playing Franz Liszt's Liebestraum, which translates to "Dream of Love", hence the title of the short, befor informing us that this is a story about one of the great loves of Liszt's life that inspired the song. Go back in time to late in Liszt's life, where he's working at a monastery and gets a package that's got a bunch of flowers. That goes back in time to earlier in Liszt's life....

The young Liszt, trying to become a successful composer, needed to pay the bills, which he did by giving music lessons. One of his students was a 17-year-old girl named Caroline St. Cricq, daughter of a Baron and Barones and as such much above Liszt's class. The two fall in love and Liszt takes her to see some Gypsies, which gives them the chance to play a bit of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, the most famous of Liszt's Rhapsodies and the song used in the Tom and Jerry classic The Cat Concerto. Caroline's parents discover the relationship and are horrified, forcing the two to split up.

The first think I noticed as I watched this short is that it was directed by James A. FitzPatrick, of Traveltalks fame. Then I saw the copyright date, 1938, which made me think that MGM must have made it to go with one of their prestige movies, The Great Waltz, which was about fellow composer Johann Strauss Jr. And then in looking it up on IMDb, I saw why the movie is so disjointed and it feels like there's almost nothing that actually happens in the movie.

IMDb gives the movie a running time of 37 minutes, but the version TCM ran was only 17 minutes! And apparently the 17-minute version is the only one known to exist. Obviously, if a 37-minute short is cut down by half, there's a lot of narrative that's going to get cut out and what's left might not make a lot of sense, which is certainly the case here.

With TCM not announcing shorts on their schedule, I don't know when it's next going to be on TCM.

Briefs for February 12-13, 2023

I blogged yesterday about Knights of the Round Table airing later this afternoon, but there are a couple of movies worth mentioning, although you may not see them by the time you find this post. First up is Pride and Prejudice at noon, which is still on my DVR and which I blogged about several months ago. And tomorrow at 9:30 AM is the great foreign comedy M. Hulot's Vacation, which I think would be a great way to get people interested in foreign films. North by Northwest, which I don't think I've done a full-length blog post on largely because it's one of those very well known movies, shows up at 3:45 PM Tuesday.

Over on FXM, it doesn't look like there's anything that I haven't blogged about before. But I think it's been a while since I mentioned From the Terrace (3:30 AM Feb. 13), which is worth a mention for Myrna Loy's drunk before it turns into a Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward melodrama. It's a moderately fun one, however. From the Terrace is followed at 6:00 AM by Cavalcade which won Oscar's Best Picture of 2023 although it's really not the best picture of the year. Still worth a watch.

Not all that much in the way of birthdays today, although it is the actual birthday of Abraham Lincoln, who was a subject of a whole bunch of movies since the Civil War is a pretty important part of US history. The holiday is next Monday, and as I understand it is still officially called Washington's Birthday while everybody calls it Presidents' Day.

As for deaths, I probably should have mentioned Carl Weathers at the beginning of the month, since Rocky is such a well known movie along with its sequels. And it's not as though that's all he did.

Finally, I came across an article about Warner Bros.' possible shelving of Coyote Vs. Acme. The idea sounds like a fun one, although I have no idea what the execution is like. As for why it's getting shelved, I have no understanding of the finances of the movie studios, or media conglomerates in general. So why a movie like this would get canned is not something I get. One only wonders whether there's some personal conflict driving it.