show episodes
 
Join Dave and Elise every week for a buggy-ride of cinematic exploration. A bilingual Montreal native and a Prairies hayseed gravitate to Toronto for the film culture, meet on OK Cupid, and spur on each other's movie-love, culminating in this podcast. Expect in-depth discussion of their old favourites (mostly studio-era Hollywood) and their latest frontiers (courtesy of the TIFF Cinematheque and various Toronto rep houses and festivals). The podcast will be comprised of several potentially n ...
 
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show series
 
For Paramount 1938 we have two semi-comedic, quasi-historical tales of charming rogues, If I Were King (directed by Frank Lloyd, with a screenplay by Preston Sturges), starring Ronald Colman as medieval bohemian poet Francois Villon, and The Buccaneer (directed by frenemy of the podcast Cecil B. DeMille), starring Fredric March as Louisiana pirate …
 
For our Noirvember episode, we look at four Anthony Mann noirs, Railroaded! (1947), T-Men (1947), Raw Deal (1948), and Side Street (1950). We follow Mann as he ascends from Poverty Row to a collaboration with one of film noir's most distinctive cinematographers, John Alton, to the big-time at MGM, with his protagonists only getting more sweaty and …
 
This Universal 1937 episode stays paused on the pivotal moment in the studio's history, with another James Whale/Deanna Durbin pairing: Whale's last hurrah, The Road Back, and Durbin's second outing, One Hundred Men and a Girl. Whale's film, based on a Remarque novel about Germany between the wars (familiar territory for the pod), compromised by Na…
 
In this week's Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, Margaret Sullavan takes on the Nazis in Frank Borzage's The Mortal Storm (1940) and Fannie Hurst in Robert Stevenson's Back Street (1941). We discuss the subtleties and broad strokes of this early Hollywood depiction of Nazi Germany, Borzagean heroism, and performative fascism. Turning to Back Street, w…
 
Halloween is always a good time to ponder the horror of incarnation, familial feeling, and our alienation from God. While there are strict horror movies that tackle these subjects, Ingmar Bergman definitely puts his own twist on them, and so we bring you Halloween with Bergman. In The Silence (1963), a woman dies in a hotel room in a foreign countr…
 
For RKO 1937, Katharine Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from effervescent-but-repressed to robot-with-a-heart-of-gold in the last entry in her latest series of box office bombs, the J. M. Barrie dual-identity farce Quality Street (directed by George Stevens), and her brief return to critical and commercial viability, Stage Door (directed by Greg…
 
In this week's episode of our Margaret Sullavan Acteurist Oeuvre-view series, we look at a couple of thirds: Sullavan's third film directed by Frank Borzage - the crazed melodrama The Shining Hour (co-starring Joan Crawford) - and third (and most famous) pairing with Jimmy Stewart: the melancholy romantic comedy The Shop Around the Corner (directed…
 
In our Fox 1937 episode this time around we cover a couple of oddities that nevertheless provide a good snapshot of the studio's latter 30s. Charlie Chan at the Olympics, starring Shakespearean-trained Swedish-American Warner Oland in his final year as Honolulu's Chinese Sherlock Holmes, flaunts racially integrated American Olympic teams at the Sum…
 
In this week's Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, we follow Margaret Sullavan to MGM, watching two films from 1938, Three Comrades and The Shopworn Angel. Borzage's film, based on Erich Maria Remarque's Lost Generation novel about Germany between World Wars, could not be more different in tone from H. C. Potter's love triangle melodrama, but both centr…
 
For this pass at Warner Bros. 1937, we have two more vehicles for Dave's favourite actress, Kay Francis: Confession, Joe May's scene-for-scene remake of the German melodrama Mazurka; and Michael Curtiz's Stolen Holiday, a version of the Stavisky affair with Francis, Claude Rains, and Ian Hunter making up the Curtiz Triangle and Orry-Kelly, as usual…
 
Our Summer in France series concludes with a look at the dynamic duo of poetic realism, director Marcel Carné and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. We discuss their first collaboration, Jenny (1936), and two noirish Oedipal fever dreams, Le quai des brumes (1938) and Le jour se lève (1939). We also look at a Carné film from the period in which Prévert …
 
In this MGM 1937 episode, we look at two star-studded historical romances about charismatic political leaders and their mistresses: Conquest (directed by Clarence Brown), with Charles Boyer's Napoleon Bonaparte and Greta Garbo's Marie Walewska, and Parnell (directed by John Stahl), with Clark Gable's Charles Stewart Parnell and Myrna Loy's Katharin…
 
Our third Margaret Sullavan Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode features another odd juxtaposition: Next Time We Love (1936), a melodrama of ideas that pairs Sullavan with Jimmy Stewart for the first time; and The Moon's Our Home, a (flat) screwball comedy in which she co-stars with ex-husband Henry Fonda (1936). We do some deep reflecting on love, gende…
 
For our Paramount 1937 episode, we look at two movies starring Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray: Mitchell Leisen's comedy/melodrama Swing High, Swing Low and Wesley Ruggles' screwball comedy True Confession. Topics include our surprise at Leisen's go-for-broke portrayal of male abjection and MacMurray's risk-taking in Swing High, Swing Low; the qu…
 
Our second Margaret Sullavan Acteurist Oeuvre-view entry delivers emotional whiplash as we move from King Vidor's Civil War drama So Red the Rose (1935), in which Sullavan plays a southern belle who's forced to mature when the world she knows collapses around her ears, to William Wyler's comedy The Good Fairy (1935), with a screenplay by Preston St…
 
In this episode we cover three films from the period of Jean Renoir's flirtation (or fornication?) with Communism: The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936), The Lower Depths (1936), and La Marseillaise (1938). We discuss how Renoir's depiction of the French Revolution differs from the one familiar to the Anglo-American world, uncover the woman behind the…
 
In this Studios Year by Year episode, we witness the changing of the guard at Universal in 1936, in which James Whale's Show Boat brings down the Laemmle Era, and Deanna Durbin's first feature, Three Smart Girls, ushers in the Bankers Era. We find good things to say about both, but we're not gonna lie, most of the episode is devoted to Edna Ferber/…
 
This week on the pod, we get started with our new Acteurist Oeuvre-View series: Margaret Sullavan. We were expecting solid entries from the selective Sullavan, but weren't fully prepared for John Stahl to match his Back Street achievement with Sullavan's screen debut, Only Yesterday (1933). We discuss its relationship to Opühls' Letter from an Unkn…
 
RKO, 1936: Anne Shirley and Katharine Hepburn have father trouble. In Make Way for a Lady (directed by David Burton), Shirley gets hysterical at the thought of indulgent 20th century dad Herbert Marshall developing a sex life; while in A Woman Rebels (directed by Mark Sandrich), Hepburn blames stern Victorian dad Donald Crisp for her sexual aberran…
 
Dave's first Summer in France Special Subject is devoted to two lesser-known Max Ophüls movies starring Edwige Feuillère that were made just before the Nazis occupied France and Ophüls fled to Hollywood, Sans lendemain (1939) and De Mayerling à Sarajevo (1940). We consider the two films in light of those dire circumstances and Ophüls' oeuvre, argui…
 
Clara Bow gets a wonderful finale to her (unfortunately foreshortened) career in our final Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode devoted to her. Fox comes through with two excellent vehicles: Call Her Savage (1932), directed by John Francis Dillon and brilliantly shot by Lee Garmes, a delightfully lurid Pre-Code that nevertheless contains a critique of whi…
 
Our studio this week is 20th Century Fox, the year is 1936; two fascinating movies of dubious historicity (in the details, at least) by the ever-reliable Henry King, possibly Fox's most characteristic director. First up, Ramona, a sympathetic depiction of North American settler colonialism from the perspective of Native Americans (unfortunately, as…
 
Two more Tuttles for our penultimate Clara Bow episode, a couple of odd genre experiments: "musical romance" Love Among the Millionaires (1930) combines a star-crossed-lovers melodrama with comedy bits featuring vaudeville and future Broadway child star Mitzi Green and a lot of random songs; while No Limit (1931) offers gambling dens, stickup men, …
 
For Warner Bros., 1936, we take a look at two stage-to-film adaptations: Three Men on a Horse, a Warners-style farce about gangsters, discontented suburbanites, and the power of greeting card poetry, and The Petrified Forest, a drama by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert E. Sherwood about gangsters, disillusioned novelists, and the allure of French poetr…
 
In this Special Subject episode, we try to get a handle on Andrei Tarkovsky by looking at a couple of our favourites, in which Tarkovsky tries to get a handle on his mother (and faith, and memory, and guilt, and nostalgia, and the nature of womanhood, and the possibility of human connection): Mirror (1975) and Nostalghia (1983). We talk Tarkovskyan…
 
In this week of our (slightly-out-of-order) Oeuvre-view of Clara Bow's career, The Saturday Night Kid (1929), directed by A. Edward Sutherland, is paired with True to the Navy (1930), directed by Frank Tuttle. We see two starkly contrasting Claras separated by just seven months: in Sutherland's working-class drama, she's heroic but bad-tempered, bu…
 
MGM, 1936: the studio of stars, glamour, and conservatism. Or so goes our thesis, which we attempt to complicate by taking a close look at two movies that make romantic rivals of Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy: Clarence Brown's melodrama Wife vs.Secretary and Jack Conway's atypical screwball comedy Libeled Lady. Indubitably the protagonist of the former…
 
In this week's Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, we're finally there: Clara's first two sound films, both from 1929. First, we engage in an extensive analysis of Dorothy Arzner's The Wild Party, Clara's talkie debut. The star plays a college girl rebelling against the Victorian strictures on campus sexuality, but yearning for the loftier aim…
 
We look at four noirish British films distributed in the United States by Eagle-Lion: Waterloo Road (1945, directed by Sidney Gilliat), I See a Dark Stranger (1946, directed by Frank Launder), The October Man (1947, directed by Roy Ward Baker), and The Blue Lamp (1950, directed by Basil Dearden). We explore the mental and physical landscape of wart…
 
In this week's Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, two of Clara's best directors, Victor Fleming and Dorothy Arzner, present us with two very different versions of Clara that are both nevertheless logical developments of her persona. In Fleming's Hula (1927), Clara is a wild child of nature and a real loose cannon, pitted against "civilized" l…
 
In this Studios Year by Year episode, 1936 begins with Paramount, and we take a look at two movies about gun-running that star Gary Cooper, but have little else in common (despite using the same cinematographer). We don't find much to love about Cecil B. DeMille's tribute to Wild West mythology, The Plainsman, starring Gary Cooper as an insufficien…
 
In this episode of our Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view, two films from 1927, the curious love triangle (quadrangle if you're generous) melodrama Children of Divorce, directed by Frank Lloyd (but maybe really Josef von Sternberg), and William A. Wellman's Andy-Hardy-Goes-to-War aerial spectacle, Wings. Elise says "Jamesian"! Dave says "Verhoevian"! …
 
A four-film Special Subject episode, Joan Harrison, Producer, Part 1 looks at: Phantom Lady (1944), The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945), Nocturne (1946), and They Won't Believe Me (1947). These idiosyncratic noirs and Jamesian melodramas by the former Hitchcock screenwriter and honorary family member interrogate gender roles, flip gendered tro…
 
Our Universal 1935 Studios Year by Year episode examines two movies about the shenanigans of the idle rich, but that's where the resemblance ends. James Whale's Remember Last Night? (1935) is a Thin Man parody heavy on the class satire and absurdism, while Lowell Sherman's swan song, Night Life of the Gods, is about a wealthy scientist who discover…
 
Our first Clara Bow movie of this episode, Kid Boots (1926) allows Bow to show off her slapstick skills again in a surprisingly compatible pairing with Eddie Cantor. Then we turn to the second masterpiece of the series so far, the famous-but-somehow-still-underrated It (1927), directed by Clarence G. Badger. We marvel at the full flowering of the B…
 
RKO 1935: we look at a couple of starring vehicles for two of the Queens of the Lot. First up is Anne Shirley in the deliberately slight and quietly charming Chasing Yesterday, paired with another father figure, O. P. Heggie (also her kindred spirit in the previous year's Anne of Green Gables, from which she took her screen name and which was also …
 
In Part 1 of our look at Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' cinematic pairings (part 2 is penciled in for January 2023), we discuss Mark Sandrich's The Gay Divorcee and Top Hat, William A. Seiter's Roberta, and George Stevens' Swing Time. What formula does Sandrich set up for the stars, and how do the other films acknowledge and/or depart from it? Wha…
 
For our Fox 1935 episode of The Studios Year by Year, we look at two films about forming idyllic communities within a nightmare society: Henry King's One More Spring, Fox's version of a Depression movie (based on a novel by Portrait of Jennie author Robert Nathan); and John Ford's Steamboat Round the Bend, another Will Rogers satire of Southern mor…
 
This week's Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode sees our star's debut at Paramount, in a supporting role in Dancing Mothers, followed by a starring role in what is sometimes considered her best silent film, Victor Fleming's Mantrap (both 1926). Bow plays two versions of an amoral child-woman, one irritating and one dazzling. We contemplate the …
 
**Originally released February 26, 2021** A Warners, 1935 Borzage/Kay Francis/George Brent double feature: Stranded, in which Francis plays a sort of socialite social worker who's romanced by Brent's conservative he-man construction boss; and Living on Velvet, in which Francis is determined to overcome Brent's insouciant death-wish. As usual, Borza…
 
This week, we get closer to Clara Bow's Mature Period with her first big hit, the college movie The Plastic Age (1925). But first, another 1925 pairing with the stalwart Donald Keith. My Lady of Whims. The two films show the flexibility of the flapper archetype, with Clara as a socialite-turned-bohemian in the first and as a hard-partying college g…
 
Our Valentine's 2021 episode has something for everyone, couples and singles. Something to make everyone feel deeply unsettled, that is. The subject of these two John Cassavetes movies, Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) and Love Streams (1984), is the difficulty of making any kind of meaningful human connection. Gena Rowlands, Cassavetes' wife and freque…
 
MGM, 1935, and two David O. Selznick Dickens adaptations: George Cukor's David Copperfield and Jack Conway's A Tale of Two Cities. Hollywood invents a cinematic language for Dickens, using a mixture of American and British actors, and miraculously pulls it off, in what Dave considers Selznick's finest hour as a producer. (We know he means with the …
 
In this Clara Bow Acteurist Oeuvre-view episode, two crime films from 1925: The Primrose Path, directed by Harry O. Hoyt and produced by Hunt Stromberg for Arrow Film Corporation (which folded the following year); and Free to Love, another Schulberg production, directed by Frank O’Connor. The Primrose Path, a bizarre mishmash of Griffith and gangst…
 
Paramount, 1935: we have two very unusual and very different movies, which nevertheless share the theme of private worlds and the possibility of communication between them. First up is Gregory La Cava's Private Worlds, about the inner lives of psychiatrists and the permeable boundary between sanity and insanity. It stars Claudette Colbert as Dr. Ja…
 
It’s our epic episode on the three Imitations of Life! Hear us discuss Fannie Hurst’s massively popular 1933 novel and its two popular film adaptations: John M. Stahl’s restrained 1934 version, the first Hollywood movie to look seriously, if cautiously, at the impact of white supremacy and racial inequality in America, and Douglas Sirk’s strategica…
 
A stunning episode of The Studios, Year by Year: a great year for Universal, 1934, gives us The Black Cat, the one big studio success of Edgar G. Ulmer, icon of marginal filmmaking; and James Whale’s under-discussed One More River, based on the novel by John Galsworthy. Elise concocts a reading to justify her early, confused understanding of The Bl…
 
Our second Clara Bow episode pairs a couple of sharply contrasting films: a child star comedy, Helen's Babies (1924), directed by William A. Seiter, and a didactic melodrama, Capital Punishment (1925), directed by James P. Hogan, with a story by producer B. P. Schulberg. Bow has supporting roles in both; but has occasion to display her lack of inhi…
 
For 2020, we're dreaming of a Noir Christmas! First up, a quick and dirty discussion of the 1988 remake of D.O.A., directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel of Max Headroom fame and starring Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. It's sort of like American Psycho with English professors. A comparison we didn't make in the episode, but wish we had. Next: the …
 
For RKO 1934, we take an appreciative look at two unloved Katharine Hepburn movies (now, although the public liked them well enough at the time): John Cromwell's Spitfire and Richard Wallace's The Little Minister, based on a novel by J. M. Barrie of Peter Pan fame. Dave suggests an alternate trajectory for Hepburn's 30s box office decline. Elise ra…
 
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