Sunday, November 18, 2018

South of the Border

This is my entry in the Rock Hudson Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Love Letters to Old Hollywood.

The Undefeated (1969):

The Civil war has ended.  Unfortunately for Col. John Henry Thomas (John Wayne), the news comes a couple of days late.  His cadre of Union soldiers has just demolished another cadre of Confederate soldiers.  Thomas is distraught over the needless slaughter of men who should have lived to an older age.

Thomas and a group of loyal companions decide to round up a herd of wild stallions, the goal being to sell the herd to the States.  Thomas is joined by a cast of soldiers that include many names of which you have probably heard; Roman Gabriel as Blue Boy, the adopted Indian son of Thomas; Ben Johnson, a frequent guest star in Wayne movies, as Shortgrub, Thomas's second-hand man; Dub Taylor as the cook McCartney (That's MR. McCartney to you...).  The men round up horses and prepare to sell them.

But the people who represent the United States are trying to back out of the deal.  They are only prepared to take 500 of the 3000 horses Thomas and his crew have captured.  They also try to weasel out on the agreed upon price of $35 a head, instead insisting on $25 a head.   But Thomas insists it's all or nothing, and at the previously agreed upon price to boot.  He instead decides to take a counter offer from representatives of Emperor Maximillian in Mexico, and heads to Mexico with his herd.

Meanwhile, Col. James Langdon (Rock Hudson), of the former Confederate States has decided there is no use in living in a country that doesn't meet his standards and decides to pack up his former crew and their families and go to Mexico themselves, to offer their services to Emperor Maximillian. 

He has with him a cast of his own famous names like Jan-Michael Vincent as Lt. Bubba Wilkes, the potential husband of his daughter; Merlin Olsen as Little George, his burly blacksmith;  and Bruce Cabot as his First Sergeant, Newby.

Langdon burns down his ranch, rather than sell it to carpetbaggers, or leave it for them to take over and goes on a trek towards the border with his crew.  Both Langdon and Thomas have to deal with agents who are determined to prevent them from crossing the border, but both end up safely in Mexico.  (Or so it seems they are safe, anyway, but you know it's not going to end so quickly, don't you...?)

Eventually the two groups do hook up.  At first there is some animosity after Langdon learns that Thomas was on the other side.  But the two become somewhat partners as the former Union soldiers band together to help the former Confederates defend themselves against a band of Mexican banditos.  Later, Langdon invites Thomas and his buddies to a 4th of July celebration.  Which  ultimately breaks out in an old-fashioned, all-out (but good natured) brawl.

But all is not well in Mexico.  The Juaristas (the rebels who oppose Maximillan and his French rule) are on the rampage, and before this movie is over, both the Thomas contingent and the Langdon forces are going to have to come to terms that Maximillan's days are numbered as ruler of Mexico.  There is of course a rousing ending, and both forces do end up friends t the end.  Butwhat else would you expect from a Wayne movie?

There are a whole host of other recognizable faces in this movie other than those mentioned above.  Lee Meriwether plays Langdon's wife, but you will (or should) al;so be able to spot Royal Dano, John Agar, Richard Mulligan, Paul Fix and a host of other character actors who showed up in dozens of TV and movie westerns (and other genres of film).   See if you can count them all. 

Time to saddle up and head back to the ranch.  Drive safely, folks.  And watch out for banditos and rebels on the way home.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Spaced Out Computer

This is my entry for The Greatest Film I've Never Seen Blogathon hosted by Moon in Gemini

Preface:  It may seem incongruous to the theme of my blog, but the truth of the matter is that, up until this blogathon, I have never watched 2001: A Space Odyssey in its entirety.  I tried to watch it one morning after coming in from doing my paper route when I was about 20, but I was tired and fell asleep sometime after the caveman segment of the movie.  I could remember the caveman segment pretty well, even before i watched it this time, but nothing else seemed familiar.  Not, at least, as from having watched it.

Of course, anybody who hasn't been living in a cave for all their life knows at least something about the evil computer HAL and the travails of the astronauts who have to deal with him/it.  And maybe you have seen the climatic sequence of the ending, which I have.  But everyting that occurs between the end of the caveman sequence and the finale was pretty much new to me.

I missed out on seeing this on the big screen last week.  A local theater chain has what they call "Flashback Cinema" in which every Sunday and Wednesday they devote one of their theater screens to showing classic movies on the big screen.   I didn't miss it because I had other things to do, however.  I missed it because I didn't know it was showing.  How great would it have been if I could have seen it in a theater.  I vow to pay attention to see what's coming from now on... (I did get to see "Patton" on the screen this week, and I will review it very soon.)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968):

The opening of this movie really gets you ready for what's coming.  A blank screen with nothing but the soundtrack playing, but what a soundtrack.  The opening features the initial fanfare from Richard Strauss' opus "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (called "Sunrise").

The actual movie opens on the dawn of man.  A tribe struggles to survive by picking berries in a stark and barren environment.  Not only do they struggle against predators, a rival tribe chases them away from their watering hole. But then fate (in the form of aliens, although we do not yet know it) intervenes and puts up a black monolith in their midst.  The monolith hums to them, which, I guess, inspires them to figure out how to use bones as weapons, thus enabling them to take back their watering hole from the bullies who took it before.  A pure case of natural selection interfered with by outside intervention.  Obviously the aliens don't have the Prime Directive on their planet.

Flash forward some few million years.  To wit: 2001 A.D.  (Fitting, since the title of the film is 2001: A Space Odyssey, don'tcha think?)  On the moon a discovery has been made.  A giant black monolith (just like the ones the cavemen ran across.)  It has been buried under the surface of the moon for umpteen millions of years.  And it didn't get buried by erosion or natural movement of the sands; it was buried intentionally, by some alien force.

Dr. Heywood Floyd (William Sylvester) is dispatched to investigate the monolith.  He is burdened by the fact that a cover story about an outbreak of an epidemic has limited visitation to the moon base by other countries, including the Russians.  (Remember, the movie was made in 1968, prior to the end of the Cold War, so friendship and cooperation with Russians and the United states and its friendly allies was limited.)  Floyd ends up sending a crew of astronauts to Jupiter, to which it turns out the monolith is sending messages.

18 months later, the crew of the spaceship Discovery One is now approaching Jupiter.  Three of the five crewmen are in hibernation leaving Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood) to carry out necessary work, with HAL 9000 (voiced by  Douglas Rain) to operate most of the technical aspects of the operations. HAL (a name, BTW, which has been pointed out as being one letter off from IBM) runs nearly everything, but has intelligence beyond what was possible, at least in terms of the 1968 timeline of the movie's production.  It also has a secret programming which neither of the awake astronauts knows about.

As a result, what HAL does on occasion is perplexing to the tw, and they discuss the possibility of shutting HAL down.  They think they are being secretive by discussing this in one of the space pods, but HAL can apparently read lips and discovers their plan.  HAL creates a ruse that lets him kill off Poole, and Gets Bowman out of the spaceship, then refuses to let him back in.  He also shuts down the containment system keeping the other three astronauts alive.  (HAL, as they say, seems unwilling to go gently into that good night...)

The rest of the movie is rather confusing (at least it was until 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which cleared up some of the confusion, although maybe not all of it...)  The clasasic space child scene at the end may also be familiar to some of those uninitiated with the film.  My suggestion is you watch both 2001 and 2010 in conjunction to get some sense of the story, but even by itself 2001 is pretty phenomenal.  And maybe one of these days I'll still get a chance to see it on a big screen.

 Time to fire up the jets and head back to Earth.  Drive safely, folks.



Thursday, November 15, 2018

The 10 Day Movie Challenge

The 10-Day Movie Challenge:

On Facebook, my friend Rachel (Hamlette) challenged me to this cool little project:

I have been nominated for the 10-day Movie Challenge. Every day I must select an image from a film that has impacted me in some way, present it without a single explanation, and nominate somebody to take the challenge.

As stated above I wasn't allowed to make an comments (or even reference what movie it was...)  However, as I told her when she did this same thing on her blog, it only said I couldn't comment on Facebook, at least as I read it.  It may be against the rules to even do it here, but then I've never been one to follow the rules...

Day 1: Turk 182.

The ultimate in one man against the system.  Timothy Hutton battles City Hall to get benefits for his brother Robert Urich, who was injured trying to do his firefighting job while he was off duty (and drunk, but that's not really the point.  OK, so it is with the City Hall).  Hutton becomes a one-man vigilante, wreaking havoc by leaving "Turk 182" stenciled over the landscape.  ("Turk" is his brother's nickname and "182" was his badge number as a firefighter.)

Day 2: El Dorado

Couldn't possibly do this without at least one John Wayne movie.  I chose El Dorado, which  is basically a remake of an earlier movie, Rio Bravo. And it is also my all-time favorite Wayne movie.   I like this one better, mainly because I think his co-star, Robert Mitchum, is a better actor than Dean Martin.  Besides which, how do we know if Dino was just acting or if he really was drunk?  John Wayne was the epitome of good guys in white hats (although many times his hat wasn't white...)

Day 3: The Warriors

This was the second feature in the first drive-in movie trip I ever made on my own (as opposed to with my parents).  I no longer remember what the primary feature was that evening (which just goes to show how memorable that one was...), but I definitely remember this one.  The outfits the gangs wore stayed with me.  Compared to the head bad guy pictured above, which is pretty sedate, some of those gang threads were pretty cool.

Day 4: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

This one, if I were tied down to it, would probably be my favorite movie of all time.  The movie itself, if you read the review linked above, is a trip in itself.  John Lithgow (pictured above) is over the top as the villain of the piece.  I watch this one at least once a year, and every time I see stuff I missed before. 

Day 5: A Clockwork Orange

As a film, A Clockwork Orange is somewhat of an acquired taste, especially if you are not into violence.  The movie ranks as one of only two movies that were originally rated X that got Oscar nominations for Best Picture (the other was Midnight Cowboy, which actually won the award).  Depending on your political and moral views, you may find the ending a bit flawed.  My love for the movie has a lot to do with the ending, however, because of my love for movies of one man fighting the system and eventually winning.

Day 6: They Live

I can't say enough about director John Carpenter.  He is my favorite director.  And although I could have included any one of the 5 movies Carpenter directed with Kurt Russell, this one stands out in the theme I gravitated towards in this series I picked (that of one man, or sometimes a group of men, fighting against the system).  I wish I had a pair of those sunglasses.

Day 7: Star Wars

Did you really think I was going to leave this one out?I was 15 when it came out, and I was enamored with the story.  Star Wars is the epitome of one of those "movies that define a generation" that some highbrow critics refer to as being the big picture for a certain age group.  And yet, it manages to rope in new converts even now, some 40+ years later.  Not that's staying power. 

Day 8: Pleasantville

Gee, the whole idea of bringing a modern-day sensibility to one of those happy-go-lucky TV shows of the 50's just rings a bell with me.  Tobey Maguire, whom I have only seen as SpiderMan in any other movie is the best part of this, but Reese Witherspoon is the girl I wish i'd known in high school...

Day 9: An American Werewolf in London

How much did this one have an effect on me?  Well, I saw it once a week for every week it was out in the theater.  And probably would have watched it even more if work and school hadn't interfered...  This one is one of the first to combine both comedy and horror into one movie, and it deserves a place in both genres Hall of Fame.

Day 10:Patton

This one had more of a peripheral effect on me than a direct effect, at least as far as my childhood goes.  Somewhere back in the dawn of this blog I mentioned that my family went to see Patton at the drive-in.  I don't remember much of that outing, but because of the language in the movie, my father refused to allow us kids to go to another PG movie.  I actually had to beg and argue to get to see Star Wars.  And if you've seen Star Wars, you already know there wasn't a filthy word one in it.  I appreciate Patton even more today than I probably would have at age 8 or 9, which is how old I was when we went to see it at the drive-in. Patton is my hero because he is such an individualist.  BTW, I got to finally see this in it's full form on the big screen just yesterday, and it is as phenomenal as it is on a TV screen.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Phoning It In

This is my entry in the Grace Kelly Blogathon hosted by The Wonderful World of Cinema and The Flapper Dame

Grace Kelly was an up and coming Hollywood starlet who chose the good life of being Monegasque royalty over the glamor of being Hollywood royalty.

But in the pre-history of becoming Princess Grace of Monaco, Kelly made several prominent pictures for Hollywood.  In only her second film she soared to fame as the wife of Gary Cooper's Marshal Kane in High Noon.  From there it was just a hop, skip and a jump to being one of Alfred Hitchcock's favorite leading women, starring in not one, not two, but three of Hitch's films in the space of two years.  In succession from 1954, Hitchcock filmed Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, all of which featured Kelly as his leading lady. 

Arguably the most well known of these was her role as Jimmy Stewart's girlfriend in Rear Window, but she excels in all three roles.  In Dial M for Murder, Kelly plays the wife of a former tennis player, Tony Wendice.

(Just a side note:  I wonder what Alfred Hitchcock had against tennis players.  The villain in this movie; a former tennis player.  In Strangers on a Train, one of the main characters is a tennis player.  I'm not entirely sure, but I would be willing to bet that either of the two villains in Rope played tennis.  Tennis players cropped up in Hitch's Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series, too.  Could it be that at some point in his life, Hitch had been jilted by a former lover who left him for a tennis pro?)

Did you know Dial M for Murder was originally filmed in 3D?  It was.  It accounts for some of the odd angles that the film has.  The movie was shown in it's 3D format during the first few days of it's original theatrical run, but played to low numbers of audiences, so a hasty decision was made to throw out the 3d format and just run it in it's regular 2d form.  Both were available.  The 2d gorm was given to theaters without the ability to show 3d movies.  after the debacle at 3d movie theaters, they all used the flat form instead.  I wonder if someone had spiked Hitch's drinks to get him to agree to film a 3d movie.  It certainly doesn't seem like his themes would lend themselves to that format. At rany rate, the 3D craze was already dying out by this time, anyway.

Dial M for Murder (1954):

There are two kinds of marriages.  One is a happy marriage where the two spouses are in love with each other, no matter what comes their way.  In a Hitchcock film, this would be tantamount to disaster.  After all, who would get interested in a suspense film where everything was hunky-dory?

 In the Wendice household, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) has become aware that his marriage to Margot (Grace Kelly) has been falling apart for some time.  It seems Margot has been carrying on an affair with an American crime novelist, Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings).

Divorce is not an option for Tony.  He married money.  If he divorced Margot, he would be out of the house, but also out of money.  So he devises a plan to murder his wife, thus insuring that he keeps his extravagant lifestyle going.  To that effect, he blackmails a former college class mate, C. A. Swann (Anthony Dawson), to commit the murder. Tony has some information on Swann's activities that he threatens to reveal if Swann does not agree.

Tony arranges an alibi for himself and leaves a key to the apartment for Swann to use.  He then arranges an elaborate ruse which involves him, Tony, calling home to arouse his wife out of bed so Swann can strangle her while she is on the phone.  Unfortunately for Swann, Margot is not willing to go gently into that good night. She ends up stabbing Swann with a pair of scissors.

Now, instead of having a dead wife, Tony has a dead would-be murderer on his hands.  And he must somehow deal with the presence of the man in his apartment.  Of course, the police are called and the situation develops as how to resolve the situation.  Tony uses every wiles available to try to avoid his complicity in the event, and as a result, Margot is arrested because she apparently killed Swann because he was blackmailing her for her affair with Mark.

In reality, it was Tony who was blackmailing her.  He of course knew about the affair, hence the reason he wanted to murder his wife, rather than divorce her.  The police inspector investigating the story, Chief Inspector Hubbard (John Williams), initially believes that Margot is guilty and she is convicted and sentenced to die. 

But he becomes suspicious, and during his subsequent investigations becomes convinced that Tony had something to do with it.  But how to break down Tony's alibi?

Thus the final reel becomes a battle of wits.

Well, folks, time to make that drive home.  Drive safely.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Battle Plans

This is my entry in the Claude Rains Blogathon hosted Pure Entertainment Preservation Society

In the history of Hollywood, there have often been actors and actresses wh, at the end of their carrers, often took less than stellar roles in less than auspicious films, probably just to help pay the bills.  Basil Rathbone, for instance, a phenomenal star who was best remembered for being THE Sherlock Holmes in his early career, made two (if not more) sub par movies at the end of his career (Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet and  Hillbillies in a Haunted House).

Claude Rains, who burst on the scene in a memorable role in which you never see his face (until the end of the movie) as the titular The Invisible Man.  He went on to star in dozens of movies, including as Humphrey Bogart's friend (and foil) in Casablanca, Jimmy Stewart's mentor (and foil) in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ingrid Bergman's foil in Notorious, and Bette Davis' husband in Mr. Skeffington, all of which earned him nominations for Oscars (but which he didn't win.)

Battle of the Worlds (1961):

On a remote island observation post, Fred (Umberto Orsini) and his girlfriend, Eve (Maya Brent) make plans to transfer to the mainland, not only so they can get married, but also so they can get out from under the thumb of the head of operations on the island, Professor Benson (Claude Rains).  There are not many people on the island who actually like working with Professor Benson because he is pretty much an obnoxious twit, someone who thinks he is smarter and better than anyone else in the world.

Claude Raims is almost virtually unrecognizable in his coke-bottle glasses and uruly (and white) hair.  He lives in seclusion, even on the remote island that has a half dozen or so fellow scientists working.  Somewhat derisively referred to as "the Old Man" by his felolow scientists, he lives in a greenhouse away from the rest of the crew.  He is wholly dedicated to his god, "calculus" (a study in the field of mathematics, for those of you who may not know).

The scientists become aware of an object coming towards the Earth.  "The Outsider", as it is called, seems to be on a direct collision course with Earth.  But Professor Benson insists that his calculus tells him t will pass only about 95,000 miles outside of Earth's orbit.  But, they wonder, why did the outpost on Mars not get word of it's impending arrival first.  It turns out there was a magnetic storm on the outpost that severely curtailed communications. (rather inconvenient, unless it was necessary for the plot, I'd say.)

It turns out Professor Benson was right.  The object did pass about 95,000 miles away from Earth.  Well, not exactly.  It comes to a complete stop 95,000 miles away.  But then it begins to orbit Earth.  And worse it seems to be moving closer to Earth with each orbit.  Clearly the planet is being controlled by some alien intelligence.  Benson is adamant that the alien planet should be bombarded forthwith with bombs to destroy it before it can cause havoc on Earth, but superior bigwigs decide it must be investigated.

A rocket ship sent to investigate is destroyed by a horde of flying saucers.  THe saucers, being computer controlled, may have a flaw that can be exploited however.  (Sounds vaguely familiar, huh?  Maybe the writers of Independence Day saw this movie before they wrote their script.)  The devil is in the works however, when it is discovered that the alien race that has been running the system have long been dead.  The planet and it's invasionary tactics have been running on remote control.

This is not the worst movie I have ever seen (I doubt anything will ever surpass Teenage Zombies for that role).  It is, however, probably the worsst movie of Claude Rains' illustrious career.  It has some good parts in it, but the special effects ar pretty lame, although we can't fault that too much.  It is not Hollywood big budget stuff, it's an Italian film.  As anyone who has watched a few Spaghetti Westerns outside of the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone niche knows, Italian movies can be iffy.

Time to fire up the jet engines (I wish) on the old Plymouth.  Drive home safely folks.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Angels in Transit

This is my entry in the "They Remade What?!" Blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies.

Remakes don't usually compare too favorably with the originaal in the cinema world.  In fact, just the term "remake" can usually inspire a kind of "Oh God! You can't be serious!" kind of response in the average aficionado of cinema.  Especially if said aficionado is enamored of the original.  Just ask any fan of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Psycho what they think Gus van Sant's so called "homage" to the classic and you are probably in for a rant of unprecedented proportions.

On rare occasions the remake does turn out to be acceptable even to fans of the original.  On even rarer occasions, the remake turns out to be astoundingly better.  I'm thinking in particular of the 1941 John Huston/Humphrey Bogart version of the classic Dashiell Hammett novel The Maltese Falcon.  The Maltese Falcon was so much better than the 1931 version or the remake from 1936, Satan Met a Lady, that it is now considered the definitive version of the book.

In 1941, a play called Heaven Can Wait garnered the attention of Hollywood.  The play was so good that, instead of actually being produced on Broadway, it went directly to the studio.  Re-titled Here Comes Mr. Jordan, the film was so good, it gained the attention of the Academy, where it was nominated for 7 awards, of which it won two.  It suffered from being pitted against How Green was My Valley.

In 1978, the film was remade, using it's original title of Heaven Can Wait.  This movie, too was so good, it also gained the Academy's attention.  It was nominated for 9 Academy Awards.  Unfortunately the competition included The Deer Hunter and Midnight Express, both of which deserved every award they won.

For your enjoyment I include here all the awards for which both movies vied for awards.  You make the call on whether the Academy was right:

1941 Academy Awards:

Best Picture: Here Comes Mr. Jordan lost to How Green Was My Valley
Best Director: Alexander Hall lost to John Ford (How Green Was My Valley) 
Best Actor: Robert Montgomery lost to Gary Cooper (Sergeant York)
Best Supporting Actor: James Gleason lost to Donald Crisp (How Green Was My Valley)
Best Screenplay: Won
Best Original Story: Won
Best Cinematography (Black and White): Joseph Walker lost to Arthur Miller (How Green Was My Valley)

1978 Academy Awards:

Best Picture: Heaven Can Wait lost to The Deer Hunter
Best Director: Warren Beatty and Buck Henry lost to Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter)
Best Actor: Warren Beatty lost to Jon Voight (Coming Home)
Best Supporting Actor: Jack Warden lost to Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter)
Best Supporting Actress: Dyan Cannon lost to Maggie Smith (California Suite)
Best Screenplay: Elaine May and Warren Beatty lost to Oliver Stone (Midnight Express)
Best Original Score: Dave Grusin lost to Giorgio Moroder  (Midnight Express)
Best Cinematography: William A. Fraker lost to Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven)

Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) and
Heaven Can Wait (1978):

(Note: The two movies are so similar that I chose to combine the two into one overall review)

Joe Pendleton (1941: Robert Montgomery; 1978: Warren Beatty) is an athlete who is up-and-coming for stardom.  (In the 1941 version Joe was a boxer.  In the 1978 version, after a deal to try to get Muhammad Ali to star fell through, Joe became a football quarterback).

Joe's trainer and best friend Max Corkle (1941: James Gleason; 1978: Jack Warden) tries desperately to keep his star in top shape.

Joe runs into some bad luck and ends up dying (1941: in a plane wreck; 1978: in a bicycle vs. truck accident) and is taken to Heaven by his escort (1941: Edward Everett Horton; 1978: Buck Henry).  Joe, however, refuses to accept that he is dead.  He argues his case with the head bigwig at the transport station, Mr. Jordan (1941: Claude Rains; 1978: James Mason).

 It is discovered that Joe was NOT scheduled to die until 50 years hence.  The escort made a mistake and pulled his soul a moment or two too early.  But getting Joe back to his original body proves to be problematic.  Max had Joe's body cremated.  The solution that Mr. Jordan comes up with is to have Joe transferred to another body, one that is scheduled to die forthwith.  But Joe is adamant that the body he gets be in primo physical condition because he intends to fulfill what he considers to be his destiny (1941: be the boxing champ; 1978: play on the LA Rams team in the Super Bowl).  He rejects several options in due course because they don't fit his ideal standards.

Finally, Mr. Jordan introduces Joe to Leo Farnsworth, a millionaire.  Leo's wife, Julia  (1941:Rita Johnson; 1978: Dyan Cannon) and his personal secretary, Tony Abbott (1941:  John Emory; 1978: Charles Grodin) are secret lovers and have been plotting Leo's murder.

Joe initially rejects this option, too, until he sees Betty Logan (1941: Evelyn Keyes; 1978: Julie Christie).  Betty is on a mission to get Leo to change his mind about a rather illicit business affair.  Joe decides to be Leo, just long enough to help Betty get her problem resolved.

Of course, Julia and Tony are devastated that their first attempt at murder has not succeeded, but they refuse to give up.  Joe, as Leo, causes consternation not only with them, but also with his business associates.  Seems that Leo had a history of stepping on other people to get to the top.  And his new attitude is at odds with that.

In the meantime, Joe hires Max to help him personally train Leo's body to try to achieve his ultimate sports goal.   To do that, he somehow first has to convince Max that Leo is really he, Joe, in another body, making Max complicit in the affair that only Joe and the escort and Mr. Jordan know.

Joe eventually wangles the cards in his favor with his new body, but the dream is not exactly as he plans.  The rest of the movie I'm leaving as a surprise.  If you only decide to watch one of these, I recommend it be Here Comes Mr. Jordan, simply because I think Evelyn Keyes is one of the hottest women from the classic film era.  Both are well worth the view, though.  The remake has the advantage of getting to see Warren Beatty get his ass creamed by real football players cameoing as the real Los Angeles Rams.  (A story goes that a couple of the real players plotted to give Beatty a real taste of being sacked in one of the scenes.)

Above all, avoid at all costs the Chris Rock remake Down to Earth, which follows basically the same plot, but is absolutely horrendous. (if the fact that it stars Chris Rock didn't already give that away...)  But if you are of a more salacious bent, the theme was revisited in a pornographic film Debbie Does Dallas...Again.  But I can't comment on it, since I have never seen it.  Honest!

Well, folks, it's time to fire up the old Plymouth.  And, just in case, if some new blogger comes along and tries to convince you he is me, it just MAY be true.... Drive safely.