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Old 04-30-2009, 11:33 PM   #1
Ralph Sir Edward
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Hello Toppie! The MR Book, Film, and Chowder Society talks Topper...

Let the gaiety begin. Was that really Milton Berle in a bit role toward the end of the movie in the hotel?
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:14 AM   #2
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
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I finished the book but, I have to finish watching the movie.

Now, I'm going to have to check for Milton Berle
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Old 05-01-2009, 07:45 AM   #4
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BRRNNNNGGGG! BRRNNNNGGGG!

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Old 05-01-2009, 09:28 AM   #5
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:29 AM   #6
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:43 PM   #7
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well i've just finished watching topper. it's still charming. what really strikes me watching these films is the utter insouciance of practically all the characters, most obviously the kirbys of course ; even in the face of death they hardly bat an eye and take it all in stride. i wonder how much of that spirit in this film and others made around the same time was partly a reaction to the various troubles of the era, an attempt to escape from worries and cheer people up.

topper is not my favorite cary grant film although i do love it (and you know i'll watch anything with cary grant !)... but now i want to watch the awful truth, which may be my favorite, or one of them at least. it was also made in 1937, so it should be in the pd as well, right ? sir, do you know ? it doesn't seem to be available at the internet archive...
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:41 PM   #8
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I read the book first and just finished watching "Topper". Loved it!

The book was more enjoyable to me due to the expanded antics with the addition of the Colonel, Oscar, and Mrs. Hart on their little trips. In the movie, it was fun watching and listening to the different women (Mrs. Topper, Marion, and the society ladies). It brought to mind the behavioral differences and beliefs of my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to myself.

Your comment, "even in the face of death they hardly bat an eye and take it all in stride" is what I saw as I was growing up. My mother's family was a mix from the Indian reservation and the farmers of the dust bowl area. It was pretty much; don't complain, feel grateful for what you have, and just get it done. They were the masters of reuse everything and/or make whatever is needed to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Later, as the family became more well-off, they continued to hold on to that same philosophy. (Of course, it was major excitement to buy and examine all the new "inventions" of the day!)

I know that "Topper Returns" is movie PD but, couldn't find "Topper Takes a Trip" in movie PD. I checked back at Feedbooks and downloaded Thorne Smith's other books to read.

Zelda, "The Awful Truth" looks like a fun movie. I wasn't able to locate that either.
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:08 PM   #9
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Zelda, Dreams, about public domain and movies...

The only sound movies in the public domains are due to errors and mix-ups. In the US, the "everything in the Public Domain" date starts in Dec. 31, 1922. Anything after that date is still under copyright unless the rule weren't properly carried out. That means, that at the 28 year mark (with one year grace), the copyright had to be renewed, formally, by the copyright holder. If it wasn't, the work fell into public domain. So certain movies weren't renewed properly, and fell into the public domain, but most were properly renewed. The Awful Truth was properly renewed, and isn't in the public domain. Since the US 1976 revision, nothing up for renewal after 1978 could fall into the public domain, it was automatically stretched to 70 years, then 95. My condolences, mon cheris. That is why the motion picture industry is behind all the copyright extensions, because their old stuff still generates lots of revenue...

Feeling good was part of the 1930's, (post code) movie making. There was so much misery around, that people wanted to see something happy for an hour or two. It's part of what made the Golden Age of Hollywood Golden...

As to Topper Returns, I'd love to see it too. But it has never been released on anything but VHS...
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:08 PM   #10
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i read the book a few months ago for the first time and i remember being surprised how much is left out of the film (although, if they had put everything in, it would probably have been eleventy hours long...). i think the film is more naïve and innocent in a lot of ways, which goes back to the whole insouciance idea. although the film does hint at the fight between marion and george kirby it never seems very serious, and marion and topper don't get nearly as involved.

going back to what you say about thinking of your grandmother etc... that's one of the reasons i love watching old films like that. my grandmother didn't grow up in the US and i'm pretty sure the 30's looked pretty different for her (well, partly because she was born in 1925, so she was just a kid still for most of them) but still i love seeing the films of that time (and they remind me of my grandparents nonetheless) ; everything seems so much more elegant and gorgeous ! nobody was lounging around in sweatpants. everyone in those films is always well-dressed and gorgeous looking. and every little object was a work of art, even if it was an insanely loony one : geoge kirby's car !!! it looks like some kind of alien spaceship !

my grandfather (born in 1908, but again i'm pretty sure the 30's looked a lot different where he was) wore a suit every day. he even wore suit pants and a shirt with buttons to work in the garden or fix things around the house ; just slightly older ones. and when i look at old photos of my grandparents from when they were young, they're all so well-dressed and lovely ! even in the middle of the war they always made an effort.

i can't help thinking, when i watch those films or look at old photos of my grandparents, that we've lost something of the art that went into daily life at that time, even for people who weren't rich as cresus like the kirbys or topper and living the high life. it makes me nostalgic for a time i never experienced, and for the aesthetic of that time.

my grandparents were far from rich and led a fairly modest lifestyle. like yours they knew how to do or make everything themselves. my grandfather could fix anything, he even resoled his own shoes. he had a beehive in the garden for honey, and one grapevine from which he made wine, and he made pickles from the cucumbers he grew in the garden... my grandmother sewed and knitted and made a lot of her own clothes (and mine, later on), but she always looked like a fashion plate. and she never bought jam because she had fruit trees and strawberries in the garden and made it herself. but i think that sort of ressourcefulness is a part of the same esthetic (although i'm sure marion kirby never made jam in her life !), finding value and beauty in mundane, everyday things, or rather making mundane, everyday things into something of value and beauty.

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Old 05-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #11
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Dreams, did you spot what I think is Milton Berle?
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #12
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Zelda, Dreams, about public domain and movies...

The only sound movies in the public domains are due to errors and mix-ups. In the US, the "everything in the Public Domain" date starts in Dec. 31, 1922. Anything after that date is still under copyright unless the rule weren't properly carried out. That means, that at the 28 year mark (with one year grace), the copyright had to be renewed, formally, by the copyright holder. If it wasn't, the work fell into public domain. So certain movies weren't renewed properly, and fell into the public domain, but most were properly renewed. The Awful Truth was properly renewed, and isn't in the public domain. Since the US 1976 revision, nothing up for renewal after 1978 could fall into the public domain, it was automatically stretched to 70 years, then 95. My condolences, mon cheris. That is why the motion picture industry is behind all the copyright extensions, because their old stuff still generates lots of revenue...

As to Topper Returns, I'd love to see it too. But it has never been released on anything but VHS...
stupid copyright !! it's outrageous that the awful truth still isn't pd. you can get it though ; i've got in on dvd so i know it's out, and i just checked and it's available on netflix as well (i don't know how that works exactly though). i'm not sure i've seen topper returns either, now that i think of it... i may have.

Quote:
Feeling good was part of the 1930's, (post code) movie making. There was so much misery around, that people wanted to see something happy for an hour or two. It's part of what made the Golden Age of Hollywood Golden...
yes, definitely. it's human to want to escapte to somewhere happy and light-hearted when life is miserable. and i have to admit i'm grateful that it happened that way... it's too bad we seem to have lost that as well.
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:31 PM   #13
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i read the book a few months ago for the first time and i remember being surprised how much is left out of the film (although, if they had put everything in, it would probably have been eleventy hours long...). i think the film is more naïve and innocent in a lot of ways, which goes back to the whole insouciance idea. although the film does hint at the fight between marion and george kirby it never seems very serious, and marion and topper don't get nearly as involved.

going back to what you say about thinking of your grandmother etc... that's one of the reasons i love watching old films like that. my grandmother didn't grow up in the US and i'm pretty sure the 30's looked pretty different for her (well, partly because she was born in 1925, so she was just a kid still for most of them) but still i love seeing the films of that time (and they remind me of my grandparents nonetheless) ; everything seems so much more elegant and gorgeous ! nobody was lounging around in sweatpants. everyone in those films is always well-dressed and gorgeous looking. and every little object was a work of art, even if it was an insanely loony one : geoge kirby's car !!! it looks like some kind of alien spaceship !

my grandfather (born in 1908, but again i'm pretty sure the 30's looked a lot different where he was) wore a suit every day. he even wore suit pants and a shirt with buttons to work in the garden or fix things around the house ; just slightly older ones. and when i look at old photos of my grandparents from when they were young, they're all so well-dressed and lovely ! even in the middle of the war they always made an effort.

i can't help thinking, when i watch those films or look at old photos of my grandparents, that we've lost something of the art that went into daily life at that time, even for people who weren't rich as cresus like the kirbys or topper and living the high life. it makes me nostalgic for a time i never experienced, and for the aesthetic of that time.

my grandparents were far from rich and led a fairly modest lifestyle. like yours they knew how to do or make everything themselves. my grandfather could fix anything, he even resoled his own shoes. he had a beehive in the garden for honey, and one grapevine from which he made wine, and he made pickles from the cucumbers he grew in the garden... my grandmother sewed and knitted and made a lot of her own clothes (and mine, later on), but she always looked like a fashion plate. and she never bought jam because she had fruit trees and strawberries in the garden and made it herself. but i think that sort of ressourcefulness is a part of the same esthetic (although i'm sure marion kirby never made jam in her life !), finding value and beauty in mundane, everyday things, ar rather making mundane, everyday things into something of value and beauty.

If I can steal from Maurice Chevailer a little, "Thank heaven for intelligent girls".

You are right about the different times. As to why, I almost don't know where to start. Blame it on the Beatles, if you will. The sixties revolution in the US caused a total revulsion of standards for just about anything. Some came back, but dress never did. And the social environment changed as well. Making jam takes time, and work and heat and sweat. I know, as I watch my parents do it as a kid. We were relatively poor, and having a massive garden and making preserves made a major dent in the cost of living. However, being around boiling pickles (with onions being boiled for hours on end) was not on my list of pleasant memories. Nor, I hate to admit, was standing on a bus stop, waiting for a bus, in San Antonio, Texas, for months on end at 35-38 C. In the glaring sun as well, wearing an undershirt, a long sleeve shirt, a vest, a suit coat, and a tie. They look great, and feel good at 15 C, but summer was 6 months long where I grew up. (you don't have to answer this, but when was the last time you wore a girdle...)

A song from the 19th century US summed it up - "Putting on the agony, Putting on the style."
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:34 PM   #14
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yes, definitely. it's human to want to escapte to somewhere happy and light-hearted when life is miserable. and i have to admit i'm grateful that it happened that way... it's too bad we seem to have lost that as well.

But we'll always have Paris.....(Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca)

As long as we have the old movies, we'll still have the good feelings....


(That's why I try to make Red adventures "feel good" as well as noir....)
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:51 PM   #15
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I read the book first and just finished watching "Topper". Loved it!

The book was more enjoyable to me due to the expanded antics with the addition of the Colonel, Oscar, and Mrs. Hart on their little trips. In the movie, it was fun watching and listening to the different women (Mrs. Topper, Marion, and the society ladies). It brought to mind the behavioral differences and beliefs of my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mother to myself.

Your comment, "even in the face of death they hardly bat an eye and take it all in stride" is what I saw as I was growing up. My mother's family was a mix from the Indian reservation and the farmers of the dust bowl area. It was pretty much; don't complain, feel grateful for what you have, and just get it done. They were the masters of reuse everything and/or make whatever is needed to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Later, as the family became more well-off, they continued to hold on to that same philosophy. (Of course, it was major excitement to buy and examine all the new "inventions" of the day!)

I know that "Topper Returns" is movie PD but, couldn't find "Topper Takes a Trip" in movie PD. I checked back at Feedbooks and downloaded Thorne Smith's other books to read.

Zelda, "The Awful Truth" looks like a fun movie. I wasn't able to locate that either.

Dreams, you need to remember the times that Thorne Smith wrote in. It was during Prohibition, and alcohol was a daring thing offically (as it was illegal). Sex couldn't be talk about, even after James Branch Cabell's Jurgen trial. It had to be hinted at. (And it was in the book, to the limit of the times.) His book were about the constraints of society, and rebellion against those constraints. Today, we have no constraints, and discerning people miss them (at least philosophically). Given the Hayes Code at the time (married couple shown with twin beds!), and the length of the book, I think the movie did a good job. The right length of story for a movie is about 50-100 pages...
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Unutterably Silly The MR Book, Film, and Chowder Society is now taking suggestions for the next movie! Ralph Sir Edward Lounge 15 05-08-2009 06:34 PM


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