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Thursday, May 21, 2009

BAND OF ANGELS (1957)


The 1954 re-release of GONE WITH THE WIND/’39 (in ‘Perspecta’ which cropped the image for that wide screen look & jiggered the sound for faux-stereo) was so commercially successful that Warners & M-G-M each tried to duplicate the Civil War & romance formula. M-G-M made RAINTREE COUNTY/’57, a big, expensive dud with Liz Taylor as a mixed-race vixen and Warners’ made this budget-conscious dud with a hopelessly over-parted Yvonne De Carlo as . . . yep, a mixed-race vixen. (Her amateurish perf all but killed her movie career.) Bona fides were theoretically in place with Clark Gable reprising his Rhett Butler characterization (in slightly pickled form) and Max Steiner crafting a frankly unmemorable score. Raoul Walsh was near the end of his amazing directing career, but there’s little he could have done with this talky non-starter even in his prime. Sidney Poitier has the only interesting role as an educated slave chaffing at Gable’s kindly treatment, but he joins everyone else in this New Orleans based tale in speaking the most execrable French you ever heard.

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