Monday 30 July 2018

9 - 60s NYC, Hellzapoppin, Eurohorror, England made Me, Man on the Eiffel Tower

Been watching a few 60s-set New York-ish films from the early 80s to analyse their cinematography.   The Idolmaker (1980 - Ray Sharkey is magnetic, a sort of Armand Assante/Kevin Spacey hybrid, but it comes most alive in the rather anachronistic musical sequences) and Baby, It's You (1983 - not my sort of film, though Rosanna Arquette is appealing and the setting is shot like a romance-records best-of album ad, down to using Jack Jones' frightful Wives and Lovers). The thing is a lot of these films have Alan Parker syndrome. They feel like ads. That 60s Italian-American milieu seems to lend it to strong brief images, but often they can't hold a film. Or the Wanderers (1979), which has a few strong images (the identical fat men in Hawaiian shirts), but no real plot. And some of the teens look ancient.
Lady in White (1988) is a bit of a soft-focus, tonal mess. Half-would be Spielberg family adventure, half-Tales from the Darkside. At times, it looks gorgeous. But it shifts.

Watched or attempted to watch Hellzapoppin (1941 - B/W) - some inventive jokes but it is everything people think old zany comedy is. It's awful. It feels like a bad Two Ronnies musical number crossed with bad Morecambe and Wise and bad Python.

Rewatched Arsenic and Old Lace, but the highlight was John Alexander as the joyously insane Teddy Roosevelt Brewster.

Mill of the Stone Woman (1960) - Attractively shot but lifeless Euroschlock.

Aatank (1996) - Made over  a decade to the point several of the cast were dead for a number of years by the time it was released, this is a mess. Bollywood Jaws - scenes clearly shot ten years before or after coming consecutively. Some tonally off Asha Bhosle numbers fill time.

Princ  Bajaja (1971) - Typical Czech fairytale with a rubbish bird-creature and pigtailed old men. Hero has an eyepatch.

Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949) - Directed by Burgess Meredith, who appears and looks as old as he did thirty years later as does Wilfrid Hyde-White. Charles Laughton is Maigret, but the production is weak. Every frame looks like someone's last known photograph. People pronounce the name as "McGrey". Not great. Typical detective programmer shot in faded cheapo color processes.

England Made Me (1973)  - Cheap and unmemorable adaptation of Graham Greeene, that changes the setting from Sweden to a Nazi Germany with wonky swastikas.  Thought it was Simon Gipps-Kent as young York, but no, ironically, it is future Herr Flick and Stillorgan resident, Richard Gibson.

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