Thursday 6 December 2018

Comedy - 27

Gregory's Girl (1981) - It's nice, but the football stuff kind of disarms me. I prefer Forsyth's other stuff.

Without A Clue (1988) - An agreeable romp.

Hot Millions (1968) - Peter Ustinov and Maggie Smith in a confusing transatlantic heist movie. Banking boredom. But there is Lynda Baron. So, that's why Arkwright was so fond of Nurse Gladys. Written by Ustinov. It feels quite cheap, money spent on Karl Malden, Bob Newhart and Cesar Romero, so it feels a bit ITC. And lots of stuff for Ustinov. It stops for romance between Smith and Ustinov.

How To Murder Your Wife (1966) - Some of the visuals are appealing, but the actual plot isn't. Jack Lemmon's character is a hideously unlikeable schlub who should just have stuck to his guns. I can see why this is Basil Fawlty's favourite film, and not in a good way.

 The Road to Wellville (1994) - Typical Alan Parker awfulness. Tries to be a comedy, but despite jolly performances, there are no jokes. Very PBS.

Beat The Devil (1953  - B/W) - Weird to see Peter Lorre directly billed above Edward "Zastor from Meglos" Underdown (a kind of poor man's Le Mesurier, except he did play one of the official military superiors in Dad's Army). A typical Europudding. Didn't find it funny. Ensemble nonsense, excuse for a holiday. Trivial. Bogie is old and ill.

Secret Agent (1936 - B/W) - Still-closeted Gielgud as a romantic lead, Peter Lorre as some kind of gypsy. Odd mix of light comedy and thrills from Hitchcock that doesn't stick in the memory.

Some Like It Hot (1959 - B/W) - It's alright, but it's not my sense of humour. Maybe, because it's such a routine concept.  And I find Joe E. Brown an acquired taste, maybe because of his resemblance to Joe Dolan's brother/manager, Ben. Maybe because I'm not interested in the plot that the film doesn't capture me.

A Canterbury Tale (1944 - B/W) - It's charming, but it's quite an acquired taste. Sgt. John Sweet, an actual American soldier isn't great, especially put up to Charles Hawtrey as a stationmaster and the likes of Dennis Price. His "aw shucks!" delivery is quite grating, but then he wasn't an actor. Burgess Meredith, who script-edited the film was original choice, and of course, he would have been great. It is beautifully made, though.

The Loved One (1965 - B/W) - I do want to like this film, but Robert Morse is miscast as the English lead, it's all over the place, it's basically a proto-Altman feel coated in Britishness. Paul Williams aged 25 is somewhat convincing as a 12 year old, or as a lesbian. It's another Mad, Mad, Mad series of cameos. Oh, look, it's Gielgud. It's Robert Morley. It's Roddy McDowall (who should have been the lead - he doesn't quite convince as an American). Liberace? Dana Andrews! Rod Steiger!

Holiday Camp (1947 - B/W)  - Odd film, working class British sentimentality isn't my thing, but this adds the dubious curiosity of Dennis Price as a Neville Heath-type deluded sex killer amongst the Huggetts. It does get quite grim when it is supposed to be jolly, but that is what being in a holiday camp is, with more overwrought romance.  Touching performance by Esmond Knight, who was actually blind.

The Huggetts Abroad (1949 - B/W) -  Baffling sequel with Jack Warner and co. Teenage Petula Clark sings a song in a babyish voice.

Laughter in Paradise (1957 - B/W) - Sporadically amusing, light but not particularly hilarious comedy with Alastair Sim and George Cole.
Left, Front and Centre features a horror film called "Spider Man from Mars" starring Carl Martini, Gilda Geve and Elaine Lang, and Eamonn Andrews and Gilbert Harding as themselves. Folly To Be Wise (1953- B/W) is a rather wearing military farce in a church hall, despite Miles Malleson and young Janet Brown before the Thatcher years.
 The Green Man (1956 - B/W) is baffling, and despite a good cast and a nice, explosive conclusion, it meanders too long to be rendered almost nonsensical.
Geordie (1954) is actually quite fun (at first), with Paul Young as the titular wee lad who becomes large Bill Travers thanks to Francis De Wolff as Charles Atlas. Weird seeing Stanley Baxter in an actual old film, and not a parody of one. Bill Travers is physically perfect, but a little too stoic to be the elder Paul Young, and he doesn't look 21, but he does the naif thing well, perhaps a little too well. There's a vintage WH Smith. Australia is badly recreated. But it's a bit tonally weak. It's a light drama not a comedy.

The Goose Steps Out (1942 - B/W) - Interesting to see John Williams before becoming Hollywood's go to Brit posho with Will Hay (costarring with Charles Hawtrey). I have to say I find pre-war Ealing comedies infinitely more interesting, and this has interesting things. I find Will Hay a better lead than say Alec Guinness, and there's jokes using models and FX. Unrecognisably slim Peter Ustinov is forgettable. Also has a young Barry Morse, long before disbelieving Richard Kimble or propping up endless tax shelter nonsenses.

The Kid (1921 - B/W) - I'm not quite a fan of Chaplin. I find him sentimental, though I admire his technical ingenuity. The fight at the end is fun, with the flying bits and lots of feathers.

City Lights (1931  - B/W) - The rubbish picking scene and the boxing match are fun, but again I can see why Chaplin loved Norman Wisdom.

The Gold Rush (1925 - B/W) - Lots of visual variation. Silent comedy is probably more akin to animation than modern cinema.

The Circus (1930 - B/W) - There's a clown with a bucket on his head.

A Woman of Paris (1925 - B/W) - Chaplin directs. Nice romantic drama, but not quite my thing. It ust passes the time.

Modern Times (1936 - B/W) - Some fun innovation with video screens, but then it's all "Smile" and sentiment.

The Great Dictator (1940 - B/W) - Some of the overblown ranting is a bit much, but it is all for show. Probably Chaplin's best.

Monsieur Verdoux (1946 - B/W) - Strange, somewhat stagey tonal mess.

Limelight (1952- B/W) - I admire it, but not quite my film.

 A King In New York (1957 - B/W) - Ditto, like a sentimental romcom flipside of The Mouse That Roared. Noo Yawk Sid James cameo. Not to be confused with Abel Ferrara's too blue music video gangster trash.

Tried Sunset Boulevard, but noir doesn't grab me, and I find Gloria Swanson's performance slightly too much of a caricature. And

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