30 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Friday Minute
No. 86 | April 30, 2010

Deal Me In


Our theme this week

Card games at the movies

Featured this week (theme introduction)
Monday         —   The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Tuesday         —   Rounders (1998)
Wednesday    —   The Sting (1973)
Thursday        —   Born Yesterday (1950)

Casino Royale (2006)

casino royale

Casino Royale was the first of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, published in 1953.  The 1967 film spoof doesn’t qualify for canon status with Bond-philes (though star David Niven was apparently one of Fleming’s favorites to play 007), but the 2006 film makes the official list as Bond 21.  The “franchise reboot” stars Daniel Craig as a darker and tougher incarnation of the MI6 agent, once again at the beginning of his career.

In an update to the novel (and ’67 film), Bond’s game is not baccarat but Texas hold ‘em.  His opponent remains Le Chiffre (“the cipher”), this time a banker (a prescient choice for the villain) who is a supporter of terrorists, a mathematical genius, and a formidable foe at the poker table.  Bond is still earning his license to kill, but his license to gamble with government money (just like a banker himself) is revoked after he blows his $10 million tournament buy-in.  New funding from his CIA man keeps Bond in the game for another shot at a showdown with Le Chiffre.

Casino Royale is the second Bond film for Martin Campbell, who also directed the first of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 films, GoldenEye, in 1995.  Both were big hits at the box office.  Daniel Craig reprised his role in Quantum of Solace (2008) and is set to appear in Bond 23, though because of financial problems at MGM, production on the latter has been suspended indefinitely.


Casino Royale
Martin Campbell, director
Daniel Craig is James Bond, Mads Mikkelsen is Le Chiffre

  


James Bond, the gambling man
Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig are James Bond


Quote of Note
“Some of the boys are saying that if we ain’t gonna fight we could just settle the whole business with a little high-stakes poker.  Wouldn’t that be a sight?  A bunch of fellas sitting in the middle of this field drawing cards.”
—Sergeant Pepper (Tom Everett), Dances With Wolves (1990)


Final Friday Five, the monthly mini-quiz

1.  Fill in the blank with the name of a card game to complete the film title.

The ___ (Bette Davis)
___ Grams (Naomi Watts)
The ___ at Remagen (George Segal)
Kind ___ and Coronets (Alec Guinness)
The Milagro Beanfield ___ (Rubén Blades)

2.  Name the actor who appeared in ten films directed by Preston Sturges.

Joel McCrea
Eddie Bracken
William Demarest
Robert Greig
Brian Donlevy

3.  Put the five films co-starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in order of release date.

Desk Set
Adam’s Rib
Pat and Mike
State of the Union
Woman of the Year

4.  For the films listed below, match the original with its remake.

Originals
Death Takes a Holiday
The Heiress
Infernal Affairs
I Am a Camera
Wings of Desire

Remakes
Cabaret
City of Angels
The Departed
Meet Joe Black
Washington Square

5.  Fill in the blanks to complete the five film titles (one missing word per title).

Go, ___, Go! (1959; Alan Freed)
Dance, ___, Dance (1940; Maureen O’Hara)
Run, ___, Run (1998; Franka Potente)
Die, ___, Die! (1965; Boris Karloff)
Gone, ___, Gone (2007; Casey Affleck)

Answers here.

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 30 Apr 2010 @ 06:12 AM

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 29 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Thursday Minute
No. 85 | April 29, 2010

Deal Me In 


Our theme this week

Card games at the movies

Featured this week (theme introduction)
Monday         —   The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Tuesday         —   Rounders (1998)
Wednesday    —   The Sting (1973)

Born Yesterday (1950)

born yesterday

Two sexes can play that game.  The game of cards in Born Yesterday is gin.  The lesson is:  don’t underestimate the dumb blonde.

Her name is Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday), and she’s not nearly as dumb as you think.  She accompanies her crude and crooked tycoon boss Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) while he’s in Washington to peddle influence (we have made progress:  these days it takes a more refined class to buy off politicians).  Meanwhile, Brock hires a tutor (William Holden) to give Billie an “education.”  What she learns, among other things, is to think for herself.

The performances carry the picture, and Holliday, in reprising the role she played on stage, steals the show.  What’s more:  she stole the Academy Award for Best Actress, competing in a year against two of the most sensational performances in the history of movies.  Gloria Swanson (Sunset Boulevard) and Bette Davis (All About Eve) never did finer work, but went home empty-handed on Oscar night.  Schneider!


Born Yesterday
George Cukor, director
Adapted from Garson Kanin’s play
Trailer

 


Born Yesterday
Judy Holliday, William Holden, Broderick Crawford
The Gin Game (scene starts at 3:50)

The Gin Game (scene continues for first minute)


Quote of Note
“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
—Rick (Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca (1942)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 28 Apr 2010 @ 09:28 PM

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 28 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Wednesday Minute
No. 84 | April 28, 2010

Deal Me In


Our theme this week

Card games at the movies

Featured this week (theme introduction)
Monday         —   The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Tuesday         —   Rounders (1998)

The Sting (1973)

the sting

“You can’t con an honest man” always has struck me as a suspect piece of wisdom—but the converse is a truism I can agree with.  A crooked man can be conned.  When it happens, it’s fun to watch, and that’s a good part of the pleasure behind The Sting, a clever and stylish period piece starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  It’s a Depression-era story made for a Watergate-era audience with the uplifting moral that the good guys are sometimes better cheaters than the bad guys.  (The look of the film is mostly appropriate for its 1936 setting, including Norman Rockwell-like illustrations for the titles.  The music, however, borrows from an earlier time, with a memorable score largely based on the ragtime of Scott Joplin.)

The film is expertly plotted, as con men Henry Gondorff (Newman) and Johnny Hooker (Redford) set up and execute an elaborate sting to swindle crime boss Doyle Lonnegan, played by Robert Shaw.  One small part of the operation is the “hook,” a high-stakes poker game on the Chicago train, in which Lonnegan is foiled by his own cheating.

The Sting was a big hit with critics and with audiences—the Best Picture winner of 1973 and #1 film at the box office the following year. 


The Sting
George Roy Hill, director
Paul Newman, Robert Redford


The Sting
Paul Newman, Robert Shaw
“The Hook”


Quote of Note
Beckert
:  I can’t help what I do!  I can’t help it, I can’t.
Criminal:  The old story!  We never can help it in court!
Beckert:  What do you know about it?  Who are you anyway?  Who are you?  Criminals?  Are you proud of yourselves?  Proud of breaking safes or cheating at cards?  Things you could just as well keep your fingers off.  You wouldn’t need to do all that if you’d learn a proper trade or if you’d work.  If you weren’t a bunch of lazy bastards.  But I—I can’t help myself!  I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me, the fire, the voices, the torment!
—Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre), M (1931)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 28 Apr 2010 @ 08:42 AM

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 27 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Tuesday Minute
No. 83 | April 27, 2010

Deal Me In


Our theme this week

Card games at the movies

Featured this week (theme introduction)
Monday         —   The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

Rounders (1998)

rounders

Rounders has nothing to do with that game from the early days of baseball.  Rounders are people who make a living playing cards.

Matt Damon is a law school student who loses big and walks away from the game—for good, so he tells his girlfriend (Gretchen Mol).  But it’s not easy staying out of the action when his buddy, played by Edward Norton, is released from prison.

Damon and Norton both give impressive performances, and their too-smart-for-the-room dialogue helps make it a memorable film.  John Malkovich, in a performance that can only be called Malkovichian, plays a Russian mobster known as Teddy KGB.

Though it did modest business at the box office, Rounders drew a loyal following and was in part responsible for the recent popularity of Texas hold ‘em and for the glut of televised poker during the past decade.


Rounders
John Dahl, director
Matt Damon et al.


Rounders
Matt Damon, John Malkovich


Quote of Note
“Eddie.  The guys and I were talking, we want to invite you to our card game on Friday night.  Would you like that?  Only thing is, you can’t cut!”
—George (Biff Yeager), Edward Scissorhands (1990)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 27 Apr 2010 @ 06:32 AM

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 26 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Monday Minute
No. 82 | April 26, 2010

Deal Me In 

“Shut up and deal.”  That last line of The Apartment (my second-favorite last line of a Billy Wilder movie) is great advice.  I’ll spare the small talk this week.  We have room at the table.  Pull up a chair and get in on the action.

Our theme this week
Card games at the movies

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

 the cincinnati kid_french

Steve McQueen is Eric Stoner.  Edward G. Robinson is Lancey Howard.  They are known as the Kid and the Man, and they play poker.  That in a nutshell tells you where the movie is headed.  Howard is the top player around and Stoner is the up-and-comer out to take his spot (not to mention, his pot).  It’s a classic matchup.  Their final showdown, a game of stud.

The film was one of the first films of note for director Norman Jewison.  Also of note, it marked a return to film writing for Ring Lardner Jr., who had been banned during the blacklist; he co-wrote the script with Terry Southern.  A strong supporting cast includes Joan Blondell, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, and Tuesday Weld.


The Cincinnati Kid
Norman Jewison, director
Trailer


The Cincinnati Kid
The Final Hand
Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Blondell


Quote of Note
Poker should not be played in a house with women.”
—Mitch, (Karl Malden), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)

…58…59…60.

Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 24 Apr 2010 @ 08:28 AM

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