Timeline Radio 4-16-18
Two young men who were friends at Sunset Hill Elementary School visit about their love of movies and those films that make their lists of top choices. Shane Alexander Hills has made a study of directors, screen plays, and actors and he will share a few of his favorites.
 
Paul Miles Schneider is a fountain of information about films and film stars of the past. He too has a few favorites! 
 
 
 
 
 
Shane and Paul will provide you with their lists of favorite films which will be posted with the podcast of this Timeline program. 
 


1. Pass the Gravy

Year Released: 1928

Director: Leo McCarey

Length: 23 min

IMDB Rating: 7.0

Where to Get It: Free on YouTube

Shane’s Comments:

Feuding neighbors Shultz and Davidson make peace when their children become engaged, but the rivalry is sure to revive once Shultz discovers that Davidson’s son killed his prize rooster for supper. Directed by Leo McCarey, famous for Duck Soup (my favorite Marx brothers film). Also, edited by George Stevens who went on to direct Shane, and won Oscars for directing A Place in the Sun and Giant. This movie is one of ten Hal Roach productions with Max Davidson, who at the time was nearly as famous as Buster Keaton. It was included in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1998. It represents short-form silent comedy at the peak of its form before talkies took over.

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2. Trouble in Paradise

Year Released: 1932

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Length: 1 hr 23 min

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

My introduction to Ernst Lubitsch and the famous "Lubitsch Touch." Sophisticated style, subtle wit, elegance, polished nonchalance and audacious sexual nuance. Lubitsch was an exile from Germany who recruited several other important directors from Europe, including Billy Wilder and Fritz Lang. A famous Lubitsch quote: “I grew weary of comedy with dramatic relief, or drama with comic relief. So, I have endeavored to provide no relief of any kind to anyone.”

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3. Bombshell

Year Released: 1933

Director: Victor Fleming

Length: 1 hr 36 min

IMDB Rating: 7.3

Where to Get It: I could only find this on eBay

Shane’s Comments:

Jean Harlow, a Kansas City native who died at age 26 of uremic poisoning, stars in this playful send-up of Hollywood culture in the 1930s.

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4. The Thin Man

Year Released: 1934

Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Length: 1 hr 31 min

IMDB Rating: 8.1

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Former detective Nick Charles (William Powell) and his wealthy wife Nora (Myrna Loy) investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it. The Thin Man series was created by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, a husband-and-wife team who also wrote It's a Wonderful Life, Easter Parade and The Diary of Anne Frank. Nick and Nora are modeled after Albert and Frances.

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5. Ruggles of Red Gap

Year Released: 1935

Director: Leo McCarey

Length: 1 hr 30 min

IMDB Rating: 8.1

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Charles Laughton, a powerful, Oscar-winning dramatic actor, stars as a butler who is gambled away to a wealthy rancher (Mr. Ruggles) in Red Gap, Washington. It is especially impressive to watch Ruggles of Red Gap after having recently seen Mutiny on the Bounty, for which Laughton won as Oscar. In Mutiny, Laughton is a fierce, unlikable character. In Ruggles, he completely transforms into a comedic role as a butler who hopelessly outclasses the family that he has been forced into.

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6. Bringing Up Baby

Year Released: 1938

Director: Howard Hawks

Length: 1 hr 42 min

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Rapid-fire dialogue between Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. He's a socially awkward paleontologist and she's a spoiled socialite. They are an endearing pair. The final scene is classic, but no spoiler here. If you see one Grant/Hepburn picture in your lifetime, this is probably the one to see.

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7. Ninotchka

Year Released: 1939

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Length: 1 hr 50 min

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Another Lubitsch classic, written by Billy Wilder (my hero) and Charles Brackett. Stars Greta Garbo as a severe, die-hard communist. Love ultimately softens her.

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8. Ball of Fire

Year Released: 1941

Director: Howard Hawks

Length: 1 hr 51 min

IMDB Rating: 7.8

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper star in this comedic combination of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and My Fair Lady. In this case, Gary Cooper – a professor working on the slang section of an encyclopedia – is the student. Stanwyck is a nightclub singer who is being hunted by the police. She does a fabulous "Drum Boogie" number with Gene Krupa during the first 15 minutes of the movie. The slang word play is a lot of fun.

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9. The Lady Eve

Year Released: 1941

Director: Preston Sturges

Length: 1 hr 34 min

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Barbara Stanwyck, one of my favorites, is irrepressible in this sweet Preston Sturges comedy. She's the daughter of a con artist on a ship. She's trying to seduce Henry Fonda because he's rich, but then she falls for him.

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10. To Be or Not to Be

Year Released: 1942

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Length: 1 hr 39 min

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

Jack Benny and Carole Lombard in another Lubitsch classic. This one is especially daring because it mocks the Nazi party and uses a stage play to fool them. Jack Benny's narcissism is hilarious. Carole Lombard, who was married to Clark Gable at the time, died shortly after this film in a plane crash.

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11. Roxie Hart

Year Released: 1942

Director: William Wellman

Length: 1 hr 15 min

IMDB Rating: 7.1

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

You cannot watch this movie and fail to fall in love with Ginger Rogers. Same basic story line as Chicago. This was on Stanley Kubrick's top ten list.

12. I Know Where I’m Going!

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Year Released: 1945

Director: Michael Powell

Length: 1 hr 31 min

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

An English daughter of a rich man sets off on a journey to win the heart of a famous, wealthy bachelor. She does this with great certainty, and simply tells everyone she meets that she's already the man’s fiancé (even though she has not met him yet). She ends up falling for a simple but handsome man who could see right through her.

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13. Adam’s Rib

Year Released: 1949

Director: George Cukor

Length: 1 hr 41 min

IMDB Rating: 7.6

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn are married to each other, but they are also attorneys on opposite sides of a murder case. In one scene, Spencer Tracy is spun around over the head of a female body builder in the courtroom to prove a point.

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14. That’s My Boy

Year Released: 1951

Director: Hal Walker

Length: 1 hr 44 min

IMDB Rating: 6.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc or YouTube

Shane’s Comments:

Jerry Lewis is an asthmatic disappointment to his macho father. He is sent off to college and expected to play football. Dean Martin has been planted on the team to help him out. One of the best Martin/Lewis films.

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15. Casanova’s Big Night

Year Released: 1954

Director: Normal Z. McLeod

Length: 1 hr 26 min

IMDB Rating: 6.8

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc or YouTube

Shane’s Comments:

Bob Hope, at age 51, played a tailor’s apprentice who assumes the identity of Casanova. He accidentally becomes a pawn in a political scheme to dishonor a young woman from Venice who is waiting to marry a prince. Bob Hope engages in cowardly sword fights, always seeks a kiss from a pretty woman, and makes clever sideline remarks throughout the movie. Woody Allen said that this was one of his favorite comedies, and he was sick of having to defend it while pretending to like Some Like It Hot.

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16. Smiles of a Summer Night

Year Released: 1955

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Length: 1 hr 28 min

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

Ironically, Ingmar Bergman, probably one our world’s premier cinematic dramatists, achieved international fame for this comedy, recognized as “best poetic humor” at Cannes in 1956. Interestingly, the next year in 1957, Bergman directed one of his most acclaimed dramas, The Seventh Seal.

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17. The Court Jester

Year Released: 1955

Director: Melvin Frank

Length: 1 hr 41 min

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful king. Danny Kaye and his verbal/physical acrobatics are a must-see if you have not seen this.

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18. The Apartment

Year Released: 1960

Director: Billy Wilder

Length: 2 hrs 5 min

IMDB Rating: 8.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

This movie won five Oscars. Three for Billy Wilder as writer, director and producer. One for Jack Lemmon. One for Shirley MacLaine. Impossible not to love those two together. Fred MacMurray from My Three Sons plays a lecherous boss.

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19. Divorce Italian Style

Year Released: 1962

Director: Pietro Germi

Length: 1 hr 45 min

IMDB Rating: 8.2

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

A married Sicilian baron falls in love with his cousin and vows to wed her, but with divorce illegal he must concoct a crime of passion to get rid of his wife. If he can catch his wife in the arms of another man, he has the right to kill her. In this movie, Marcello Mastroiani (as the baron) is inspired by another movie, La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life), which he had actually starred in.

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20. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Year Released: 1963

Director: Vittorio De Sica

Length: 1 hr 59 min

IMDB Rating: 7.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

In one of three comedic vignettes, Sophia Loren is arrested for selling black market cigarettes to support her unemployed husband. An Italian law says that she cannot be jailed while pregnant or within six months after giving birth. So, to stay out of jail, she continues having children. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, who is one of my all-time favorites for bringing us Bicycle Thieves and Shoeshine.

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21. Seduced and Abandoned

Year Released: 1964

Director: Pietro Germi

Length: 1 hr 45 min

IMDB Rating: 8

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Agnese, a 15-year-old Sicilian girl, is seduced and impregnated by Peppino, her sister Matilde's fiancé. Soon Vincenzo, Agnese's father, discovers everything. He wants to force Peppino to marry the dishonored Agnese, but Peppino runs away and Vincenzo sends his son Antonio to kill him. At this point, Agnese goes to the police to try to stop events. They're all taken to court. But events can't be stopped, and there's still time for a fake kidnapping. A happy end is still possible. Billy Wilder recommended this movie.

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22. Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands

Year Released: 1976

Director: Bruno Barreto (only 21 years old when he directed this)

Length: 1 hr 50 min

IMDB Rating: 7.1

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

In a small city of Brazil, a woman named Flor marries a man named Vadinho, but once married she finds that he is a good-for-nothing. She works teaching cooking and he takes all of her money to gamble. After Vadinho dies, Flor marries Tedoror, the owner of a drugstore. Flor is happy with her new husband but misses the love life with her previous husband. When one day the ghost of Vadinho comes back to pursue her. She’s the only one who can see him, but he hangs around naked with her in bed with her husband, at church, and walking through the town together. She can’t shake him, so she keeps him around as a ghost.

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23. Bullets Over Broadway

Year Released: 1994

Director: Woody Allen

Length: 1 hr 38 min

IMDB Rating: 7.5

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

Shane’s Comments:

In New York in 1928, a gangster is secretly a playwright. He does not want his thug friends to know this because he fears that it will undermine his credibility as a tough guy. So, he enlists the services of a struggling playwright (John Cusack) as his proxy. Diane Wiest, a Kansas City native, won an Oscar for this one. While shooting the picture, she felt that her performance was so awful that she asked to be replaced. Lucky for her, Woody kept her on the movie.

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24. Rushmore

Year Released: 1998

Director: Wes Anderson

Length: 1 hr 33 min

IMDB Rating: 7.7

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

A disruptive but passionate student in a boy's private high school sets up clubs and always has a special project. He is a mediocre student but fascinated with everything. He has a unique father-son type of relationship with a depressed millionaire (Bill Murray), and ultimately brings him together with a wonderful woman. But not without a lot of chaos in between.

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25. Amelie

Year Released: 2001

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Length: 2 hrs 2 min

IMDB Rating: 8.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

Shane’s Comments:

Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. A very quirky, clever and enjoyable movie. You will never look at garden gnomes the same way again. She is France’s answer to Audrey Hepburn.

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Bonus Material

Here are few that were recommended by a fellow film enthusiast, Paul Miles Schneider.

Midnight

Year Released: 1939

Director: Mitchell Leisen, from a screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett

Starring: Claudette Colbert (Eve Peabody), Don Ameche (Tibor Czerny), John Barrymore (George Flammarion), Francis Lederer (Jacques Picot), Mary Astor (Helene Flammarion), Elaine Barrie (Simone), Hedda Hopper (Stephanie), Rex O’Malley (Marcel), Monty Woolley (the Judge).

Length: 1 hr 34 min

IMDB Rating: 7.9

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

  • National Film Preservation Board, USA in 2013
  • 1939 tough year: Gone with the Wind, Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, and Wuthering Heights.
  • The story is essentially Cinderella.
    • Eve = Cinderella
    • John Barrymore = Fairy Godmother
    • Two princes: Don Ameche & Francie Lederer

Description: American showgirl Eve Peabody (Claudette Colbert) arrives in Paris from Monte Carlo during a rainstorm with nothing but her clothes (an evening gown). With no money and no place to stay, she persuades soft-hearted Hungarian taxi driver Tibor Czerny (Don Ameche) to drive her to nightclubs looking for a job in exchange for her doubling his fare. After an unsuccessful search, Tibor buys her dinner and offers to let her stay overnight at his apartment while he finishes his night shift. While attracted to Tibor, she slips away.

Seeking shelter from the rain, Eve sneaks into a black tie classical concert. Without an admission card, she uses the pawn ticket for her suitcase. Stephanie (Hedda Hopper), the hostess, learns that an imposter got in using a pawn ticket, and interrupts the concert to ask if "Eve Peabody" is there. Eve tries to slip away, but is intercepted by Marcel Renaud (Rex O'Malley), who invites her to play bridge in another room. The other players are Madame Helene Flammarion (Mary Astor) and Jacques Picot (Francis Lederer), a wealthy ladies' man. Eve introduces herself as "Madame Czerny" and is partnered with Jacques.

Helene's husband, Georges (John Barrymore), enters the room and notices the woman who left during the search for the gatecrasher. Pretending to recognize Eve as the wife of "Baron Czerny", he chats with her. When the game ends, Eve and Jacques owe their opponents a few thousand francs. Eve thinks she must try to pass an IOU, but discovers 10,000 francs in her purse. Jacques insists on escorting her back to the Ritz, where she claims she is staying. Eve is stunned to find a lavish suite reserved for her.

Meanwhile, Tibor searches for her. He recruits his fellow taxi drivers by organizing a pool, where everyone puts in five francs and whoever finds Eve wins the money.

The next morning, Eve awakens to find that "her" luggage has arrived: a set of expensive trunks containing a complete wardrobe. Her car and chauffeur are waiting outside. Eve is mystified and frightened until Georges arrives, her mysterious benefactor. He explains that Helene and Jacques think they are in love. Last night, he noticed that Jacques had eyes only for the "Baroness". George proposes that Eve encourage Jacques and break up his affair with Helene. Georges will pay her well if she succeeds, and Jacques might even marry her. He gives her an expense account of fifty thousand francs and invites her to the Flammarion estate in Versailles for a weekend house party.

Jacques becomes thoroughly captivated by Eve. While driving to the party, the couple are spotted by one of the taxi drivers. He collects the prize money from Tibor, who cannot believe she is staying at the Ritz under his name. Meanwhile, Helene learns that Stefanie accused the wrong person of being the gatecrasher. Suspecting the "Baroness", Helene has Marcel retrieve Eve's suitcase.

At the Flammarion estate, Eve and Jacques arrive together, much to Helene's jealousy. When Marcel arrives with the suitcase, they search its contents and find a photograph of some showgirls, one of whom looks like the "Baroness". Helene is about to expose Eve when "Baron Tibor Czerny" is announced. Tibor informs the hosts that he has come to be with his "wife". Later in private, Tibor professes his love for Eve, who hints that she feels the same way, but she is still determined to marry for money.

The next morning, Eve suspects that Tibor is about to reveal his true identity, so she explains that the Czerny barons are prone to fits of delusional madness, a story confirmed by Georges. Tibor appears as a taxi driver, but the Flammarions simply humor him, and he walks away in anger. Jacques offers to help Eve get a divorce and then marry her.

Eve appears in court for a sham divorce. Although Tibor is angry with her, he accepts payment from Georges to go along. During the proceedings, however, Tibor pretends to be insane, knowing that this will prevent a divorce under French law. Finally cured of her infatuation, Helene leaves arm-in-arm with Georges, while Tibor and Eve head to the marriage bureau—much to the surprise of the judge who just denied their divorce.

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The Women

Year Released: 1939

Director: George Cukor

Starring: Norma Shearer (Mrs. Stephen Haines – Mary), Joan Crawford (Crystal Allen), Rosalind Russell (Mrs. Howard Fowler – Sylvia), Mary Boland (The Countess De Lave – Flora), Paulette Goddard (Miriam Aarons), Joan Fontaine (Mrs. John Day – Peggy), Lucile Watson (Mrs. Moorhead), Phyllis Povah (Mrs. Phelps Potter – Edith), Virginia Weidler (Little Mary), Marjorie Main (Lucy), Virginia Grey (Pat), Ruth Hussey (Miss Watts), Hedda Hopper (Dolly DuPuyster). Butterfly MacQueen *film debut (Perfume Counter Maid), Dennie Moore (Olga). “Terry” (fighting dog at beauty shop who played Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”).

Length: 2 hrs 13 min

IMDB Rating: 8.0

Where to Get It: Amazon Streaming

  • 130 speaking parts (roles) in the movie, all female.
  • Directed by George Cukor
    • Told Ros Russell: “Don’t play it like a heavy, just be ridiculous. You’re breaking up a family, and people will hate you.”
    • Told Paulette Goddard, “Look, kid, just forget those female tricks of yours and try to give me the best imitation you can of Spencer Tracy!'”
  • From the play by Clare Booth Luce
    • Screenplay by Anita Loos (wrote the book Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). Uncredited help from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Donald Ogden Stewart (Philadelphia Story screenplay).
    • Phyllis Povah, Marjorie Main, Mary Cecil (Maggie), and Marjorie Wood (older maid in the powder room at the end) originated their roles in the play.
    • Opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and ran for 666 performances (1936-1938). Revived twice.
  • Technicolor fashion show sequence (gowns by Adrian)
    • Cukor didn’t like it and wanted it cut.
  • Remade twice
    • “The Opposite Sex” 1956 (a musical starring June Allyson, Dolores Gray, Joan Collins. (This one had men in it).

“The Women” (2008) – Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes. (dir. Diane English)

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Vivacious Lady

Year Released: 1938

Director: George Stevens

Starring: Ginger Rogers, James Stewart

Length: 1 hr 30 min

IMDB Rating: 7.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

IMDB Description:

A professor marries a nightclub singer, much to the consternation of his family and friends back home.

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The Thrill of It All

Year Released: 1963

Director: Norman Jewison

Starring: Doris Day, James Garner

Length: 1 hr 48 min

IMDB Rating: 7.0

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

IMDB Description:

A housewife's sudden rise to fame as a soap spokesperson leads to chaos in her home life.

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Radio Days

Year Released: 1987

Director: Woody Allen

  • Core family: Michael Tucker (Martin, the father), Julie Kavner (Tess, the mother), Renee Lippin (Ceil, her sister), Josh Mostel (Abe, Ciel’s husband), Joy Newman (Ruthie), Dianne Wiest (Bea, Tess’s other sister), Grandma and Grandpa, and Seth Green (Joe).
  • Other characters: Mia Farrow (Sally White), Danny Aiello (Rocco), Wallace Shawn (Masked Avenger)
  • Cameos: Diane Keaton (band singer), Don Pardo (Guest That Tune host), Danielle Ferland (child star), Kenneth Mars (rabbi), Tito Puente (Xavier Cugat band leader), Larry David (communist neighbor), Rebecca Schaeffer (communist’s daughter), Jeff Daniels (Biff Baxter), Kitty Carlisle (radio singer), Mercedes Ruehl (ad exec), Tony Roberts (Silver Dollar emcee), William H. Macy (radio voice actor).

Length: 1 hr 28 min

IMDB Rating: 7.3

Where to Get It: Amazon Disc

IMDB Description:

A nostalgic look at radio's golden age focusing on one ordinary family and the various performers in the medium.

 
 









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