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 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 12:00 PM   
 By:   filmo   (Member)

my mistake. i meant kenneth v. jones.

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 12:01 PM   
 By:   filmo   (Member)

my mistake. i meant kenneth v. jones.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 12:47 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

If you want a sensible movie about them thar Romans, done with good taste and meaning.....
This is where the money's at ! big grin



I saw it once on the box. Actually, within the limitations of what it is, 'Jupiter's Darling's acceptable fun. George Sanders singing is something to behold. And funnily enough, it covers an early period of their history that never gets a look-in in movies.

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

speAking of biblicly oriented films, has anyone heard the music to kennrth stevens' A STORY OF DAVID and do they have any opinions on this score to be released one day in the future? thanks alot.

I was thinking that must be even more infrequently shown than THE BIG FISHERMAN but I see that it plays on the European MGM Movie channel. The UK has MGM HD but I haven't noticed it scheduled on that channel. I'll have to watch out to see if it ever appears.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 1:11 PM   
 By:   Chris1770   (Member)

I apologize for my unpleasant tone. I just think that it's kind of an audacious thing to propose that a director's personal belief system, perhaps comparable in some ways to religious beliefs, had such an important and supposedly obvious/unmistakable effect on the content of his films without specifying any one of these beliefs or even attempting to support the theory with a description of a single shot or line of dialogue from one of these supposed "Masonic" films. It also supposes that we all know exactly what is meant by "Masonic" in this context, and you must be able to at least imagine how insulting to the intelligence this kind of sweeping statement can be without substantiation.

Take what Kent Jones wrote above:

". . . nourished by Masonic teachings and quite possibly by his early exposure to the Mormons when he was growing up in Salt Lake City, but he believed it and sometimes bent plots inside out to accommodate it."

Doesn't that seem a remarkable thing to say without giving ANY example?

So now Borzage's both a Mason AND a Mormon?

What are we even talking about? Scholarly-sounding people throwing around terms like Masonic and Mormon without connecting the dots, as if we all know what all this means already, nudge nudge, wink wink. What's the point? Am I being hypersensitive?




I share your explicit reservations against "wink wink - hint hint" mentality. I really would have thought that it was more common knowledge Borzage being a mason and showing its influences in his movies. Dumont is quite explicit about that subject matter (giving references to Mozart, "Die Zauberflöte" in particular), and Dumont explains the masonic workings in certain movie plots in great detail. When I find the time I go and check the book again for a quick summary. Allthough, I really recommend the book if you are in Borzage.

 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

And he has a point. The recent films re Rome are all 'macho, bruto', 'I'm a lad and I'm ugly' nonsense. Adolescent appeal. And the Greeks get even worse treatment. '300' for all its technical skill, was vomit-inducingly disgusting. We've gone from over-reverential cornball to 'vomit in yer face'. Very few manage good taste and 'meaning'.


If you want a sensible movie about them thar Romans, done with good taste and meaning.....
This is where the money's at ! big grin




Oh how I wish one of our favorite labels would get this soundtrack out on CD. Unlike many other MGM musicals, this never had an LP release.



I'm with you, joec (and CH-CD), and I suspect our own John Archibald would add his name to a list for a soundtrack recording of JUPITER'S DARLING as well. Ron Pulliam would join in, and I'm sure there are others, particularly if the membership of the CASTRECL site were informed of the releases, too.

JUPITER'S DARLING was quite expensive to make in its time, and a financial failure, and essentially ended Williams' days at MGM (as well as director George Sidney's long run), but it is quite delightful, I think, and very tongue-in-cheek.

Both the "slave market" dance with Marge and Gower Champion, as well as their dance with a pack of elephants, are extremely imaginative, given the limitations of the setting and expository content. And Williams' one underwater number, "I Have A Dream" is fabulous---what with the underwater statues of Roman athletes come-to-life---all with abundant "muskels" and swimming skills. (I've always heard these were swimmers from the USC polo team.)

Also very inventive and excellent is the Champions' slave dance number cut from the film and seen as an outtake on the Laserdisc release. This SHOULD have been left in the film---it is one of the best of the MGM outtakes---but, of course, the thinking probably was that this gave M&G too much onscreen time in the film, to the detriment of Williams. (There is also quite a bit of erotism to the number, so its possible the censors may have had a hand in its elimination.)

The songs, by Burton Lane and Harold Adamson are melodic, too---or stick-in-your-brain memorable....."Hannibal, Oh Hannibal, the high-and-mightly Hannibal!".....and I've always remembered them fondly over the years.

Though there was never a soundtrack, curiously enough, I came across a seemingly legit collection of Howard Keel performances on CD quite some years ago, and his "Don't Let This Night Get Away" was included. It seemed to be the raw song recording, without any opening orchestral introduction, and was in mono, but still....I've enjoyed even that for many years.

My two unanswered questions about this film are: Why didn't they let Williams sing for herself (instead of the dubber, Jo Ann Greer)? Williams was certainly capable enough and sang in half her films, but in others, didn't. Curious. My other unanswered question is: Why is there a major picture and music cut in the middle of the underwater ballet? Both occur simultaneously and are quite obvious. What was cut out? Was the ballet too long?.....with those nearly naked boys swimming around with Esther was there too much skin? We'll probably never know.

As for a soundtrack CD......over the years I kept pressing Lukas to try some of the as-yet-unreleased FULL musical soundtracks from the MGM films---particularly DEEP IN MY HEART, JUPITER'S DARLING, THE STUDENT PRINCE, ROSE MARIE, THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY, TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE, THE MERRY WIDOW, THE TOAST OF NEW ORLEANS, DANGEROUS WHEN WET, PAGAN LOVE SONG, BILLY ROSE'S JUMBO, among many others---and in stereo, if possible.

There were apparently licensing problems with the Lanza shows and RCA, and the DEEP IN MY HEART eventually came out (incomplete) on download, and Lukas, himself, put out THE BELLE OF NEW YORK (which was previously available on a download).

But, with the exception of a few key musicals (5000 FINGERS OF DR. T, GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS, THE GLASS SLIPPER, etc) all of which have composer or genre elements beyond their musical leanings, he always seemed disinterested in, unfamiliar with, or, more likely, afraid to take a financial chance on the musical genre. This was, of course, during the days of the 3000 print runS and I'd agree that while once-upon-a-time you could have sold 3000 copies, today's market would not sustain that for an old MGM musical, however famous it once was.

This leads me to another question. With Lukas' direct connection to the Turner/WB library via Rhino, and Lukas' often-times cooperation with Bruce Kimmel and Kritzerland on background scores, and Bruce's interest in musicals.....why couldn't Bruce, working through Lukas, put out some of these great old MGM musicals (as well as the Fox musicals), in 1000 pressings, and on Kritzerland???

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I caught it on a VHS tape (4:3 ratio from TV) that was sitting in my dad's collection yesterday. It was watchable although the print being used for show was contrasty and without a great deal of definition. The subplot interplay was quite interesting. The titles started off squeezed, as did the first shot of the shepherd with the lamb over the shoulders walking toward camera, which then quickly unsqueezed mid shot. The Big Fisherman With the Big Hair is what my thoughts were/are. The scenes with Keel banging heads together was fun. Hell, the whole romp was fun.

Edit: Susan Kohner looks remarkably similar to Natalie Wood.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 2:41 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

(Didn't Douglas realize how that sort of plot device is usually the stuff of comedy?)


Hey, don't blame Douglas 'til you've read his book. He did a much better job IMHO of telling this tale than the filmmakers.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 2:52 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

Edit: Susan Kohner looks remarkably similar to Natalie Wood.


I got to see Kohner in person at a Q&A after a screening of "Imitation of Life" at the Academy Theater in N.Y. A lady stood up from the sudience to say "I KNOW I've seen you in SOMETHING, but I can't remember what." It was tempting to shout out "Maybe WEST SIDE STORY?!"

Kohner did play Natalie's sister once, in "All the Fine Young Cannibals" (1960). I wonder if Kohner's career suffered at all for the resemblance? I think she sounds a little like Natalie too.

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 5:07 PM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)



I'm with you, joec (and CH-CD), and I suspect our own John Archibald would add his name to a list for a soundtrack recording of JUPITER'S DARLING as well. Ron Pulliam would join in, and I'm sure there are others, particularly if the membership of the CASTRECL site were informed of the releases, too.


This leads me to another question. With Lukas' direct connection to the Turner/WB library via Rhino, and Lukas' often-times cooperation with Bruce Kimmel and Kritzerland on background scores, and Bruce's interest in musicals.....why couldn't Bruce, working through Lukas, put out some of these great old MGM musicals (as well as the Fox musicals), in 1000 pressings, and on Kritzerland???



Wow! ...great idea, M.

Over to you, Bruce & Lukas......and I hope this is an idea that floats your boat ?

Surely, 1000 copies wouldn't be too many to press ???

I must admit, M....daft as it is, I do have a soft spot for "Jupiter's Darling"....and I too, quite often find "Hannibal, Oh Hannibal..." rattling round my head !

Insolitus , est is non? big grin




 
 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 7:48 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I will join those voting to have more MGM + Fox musicals released on cd - and I agree with the Man(derley) that JUPITER'S DARLING would be a great one to start the series.

I am big fan of the work of Marge and Gower Champion - and they certainly have some outstanding song and dance numbers here -- why is this amazing team so little remembered ? I wont mind having a CD release of their last film outing too - THREE FOR THE SHOW with Betty Grable & Jack Lemmon -- pretty sure it was in stereo too.

Also I love hearing George Sanders singing for himself (and beautifully) in JD - I believe that Lerner and Lowe offered him the role of Henry Higgins as a result of this performance (he declined).

 
 Posted:   May 18, 2013 - 10:03 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

 
 
 Posted:   May 19, 2013 - 2:02 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)



Seriously off topic, but I wish I had seen this in my LP collecting days -- perhaps a release by Kritzerland backed with the one solo LP Marge + Gower did entitled( I think) LET'S DANCE .

 
 
 Posted:   May 19, 2013 - 2:47 AM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

I'm just wondering how we got from The Big Fisherman to a George Sanders LP. I remember it was a long journey, but I've forgotten the way. smile

 
 Posted:   May 19, 2013 - 3:44 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

And I thought this thread was about Lukas Kendall.

And he cast his net high and wide . . . and there didst he find his gang of followers. And they came dutifully unto his temple to buy FSM CDs.

And he saw it was good.

 
 Posted:   May 19, 2013 - 11:33 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

...

 
 Posted:   May 20, 2013 - 7:54 AM   
 By:   CH-CD   (Member)



I have to say, I agree with you on this.

I'm not a Mason, in case anyone's curious, but I spent, as some here know, a long time examining Carl Jung, who made the clever link between archetypal symbolism as used in ALCHEMY, and sequences and metaphors in dream analysis. Consequently, I'm reasonably familiar with that sort of symbolism Masons and other esoterics (?!) use (how many Masons are nowadays, certainly not the rank and file ...?).

That such symbolism and sequences appear left, right, and centre in many, many movies IN NO WAY suggests any inherent affinity for Freemasonry. I don't mean their handshakes etc., but the IMAGERY and the 'gnostic' roots of that. They may not like it, but the so-called 'secrets' are out of the box, and have been for a long time now, thanks to depth psychology and mythography. Sometimes these things can be dangerous in the hands of fools,
but no group has the right to claim custody of this stuff.............




Well !....as you can see in this still from the movie.....there are clearly Masonic rituals going on, behind the curtain ! big grin





 
 
 Posted:   May 20, 2013 - 8:23 AM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

For those who haven't seen the film, this is the delivery of John the Baptist's head, as witnessed by the heroine, Fara. (She just happens to walk into the unguarded palace at this opportune moment.) The visual design, with all those billowing curtains, is the gaudiest thing in the movie. Whether it suggests Rembrandt I will leave others to decide. Certainly a Rozsa or a Waxman could have made much of this scene. I can't recall anything memorable in Malotte's treatment.

As for Masons and Mormons, what's the big deal? If Borzage had some experience with those beliefs, why shouldn't they find their way into some of his movies? Just read the book.

What BIG FISHERMAN exemplifies to me is Hollywood's hopeless fascination with a very minor episode. The Salome business figures only very briefly in a single gospel passage (Matt. 14), and you could easily relate the story of Peter or Jesus without mentioning it. But the movies love to raise this sordid episode to the level of a major subplot. It's not hard to guess why.

 
 Posted:   May 20, 2013 - 10:07 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

What BIG FISHERMAN exemplifies to me is Hollywood's hopeless fascination with a very minor episode. The Salome business figures only very briefly in a single gospel passage (Matt. 14), and you could easily relate the story of Peter or Jesus without mentioning it. But the movies love to raise this sordid episode to the level of a major subplot. It's not hard to guess why.




That's to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Interestingly, Zeffirelli's 'Jesus of Nazareth' exists on DVD in two forms, one edited to remove anything not suitable for kiddies I think, omitting the circumcision/ presentation at the temple scene with Ralph Richardson as Simeon, and the entire Salome/ Baptist's death sequence.

Obviously the Salome thing is dramatic, and appeals to the lurid style of Hollywood potboilers, but also has its precedents in many great classical musical works of course. And it's visual, and opens the story out to a wider audience.

But also, there are two other layers. Firstly, it enables more of the POLITICAL story to emerge, about despots and their weaknesses and the vulnerability of the 'messenger'. That's as true today as it ever was. How many despots allow people to disappear or languish in prisons? In many parts of the world this is still important, and not trivial.

Secondly, it's an important metaphor symbolically, as it ever was. A certain aspect of the corrupted side of a 'negative' feminine aspect will try to destroy the 'male' (in myth!) LOGOS of ETHICS and INTELLECT (the 'head'). So the power and pleasure principles always try to remove the 'head' which can stay ethical. (That's not about sexism, or genderising virtues and vices: one has to get beyond that, and look at the underlying metaphor.)

So, politically, psychologically, and even spiritually it's a part of the gospels too. Pasolini brought all that out WITHOUT a striptease. It depends on how you handle it, but the story itself is not 'sordid', as many people across the Maghreb and Middle East still remember. For Herod read Saddam etc..

George Stevens too handles the thing very subtly in GSET, and who would want to miss Jose Ferrer's magic performance?

 
 
 Posted:   May 20, 2013 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Rozsaphile   (Member)

I do not doubt that the Herodian material is full of dramatic and symbolic promise. What I'm questioning is the motives of the commercial filmmakers who dwell on it while ostensibly treating something else.

Isn't the friendly Herod seen in I, CLAUDIUS a different figure altogether? I take him to be Herod Agrippa I, whose death in A.D. 44 is reported in the novel and also in Acts 12.

 
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