Tuesday 27 August 2019


Journey's End (1930 - B/W) - Slow, stagey, very silent-esque war movie from Gainsborough and James Whale.

Beau Ideal (1931 - b/w) - Why am I watching this dud flop adaptation of Beau Geste?

Gorilla Ship (1932 - B/w) - No ape suits in this tedious, badly-shot maritime drama from Butcher's.

Tangled Destinies (1932 - b/w) - Terrible, blurry poverty-row aircrash with from Frank R Strayer, behind the Vampire Bat and the Gorilla Ship.

Sherlock Holmes (1932 - B/w) - Clive Brook and Reginald Owen as Holmes and Watson. Ho-hum. Rewatch

The Wild Boys of the Road (1933 - B/W) - Exuberant juvenile melodrama. Double ok.rued.

 A Study In Scarlet (1933 - b/w) - God Sherlock as played by Reginald Owen barely registers. Rewatch.

Tarzan the Fearless (1933 - B/W) - BARELY A FILM.

HOUSE OF DANGER (1934 -B/W) - Onslow Stevens in another dreary old dark houser.
See also  Pathe-distributed claptrap Sinister Hands (1932 - b/w).

The World Moves On (1934 - b/w) - Schmaltzy John Ford time-stretching love across the ages nonsense, made worse by Stepin Fetchit getting his hand paralysed.

Double Alibi (1940 - b/w) - Dull Universal mystery.

Pilot X (1936 - B/W) - Poverty row air ace rubbish with John Carroll.

Beloved Enemy (1936 - B/W) - Oirish twaddle, Brian Aherne plays "Dennis Riordan", basically Michael Collins, but Michael Collins if he wasn't shot. A strange romanticised alternative-history take on the Irish Civil War, which is set in the 30s and the whole Treaty thing is ignored, but hey - if you want a British officer, of course you get David Niven.

Captain Calamity (1936) - Grand National South Seas adventure with Movita, shot in a lurid colour process that lifts it to merely passable.
See also Isle of Destiny (1940), with Gilbert Roland, which because it only now exists in b/w, feels even boilerplate.

Ellis Island (1936 - B/W) - The title is a misnomer. Another rural Chesterfield gangster snore.

We're in the Legion Now (1936 - B/W) - Cheapo Foreign Legion antics again, from Grand National, with Reginald Denny.

Great Guy (1936 - B/W) - Grand National sink themselves via inserting James Cagney into a poverty row crime pic.
See also Something to Sing About (1937 - B/w), which at least has a literal cat-fight in a boxing ring.

Behind the Headlines (-1937 - B/w) - RKO journalism filler. A duplicate review.
So here's a replacement - Forty Naughty Girls (1937 - b/w) - RKO filler.

Hot Water (1937 - B/W) - One of myriad Fox sitcoms starring the Jones family.

Murder at the Baskervilles (1937 - B/W)- Arthur Wontner playing Sherlock Holmes (based on his own stage portrayal of Sexton Blake, confusingly) in a rather stiff Silver Blaze.
See also Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour (1931 - B/W), The Sleeping Cardinal (1931 - b/w) and The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935 - b/w). Wontner's final performance as Sherlock Holmes was in a 1943 BBC adaptation of "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" with Carleton Hobbs as Dr. Watson, who would later succeed him as Holmes on radio, perhaps the definitive radio Sherlock.

Souls at Sea (1937 - B/W) - Another period drama with Gary Cooper, about slavery. George Raft looks uncomfortable in period garb.

Mr Boggs Steps Out (1938) - Poverty-row com with Charlie Drake/Benny Hill hybrid Stuart Erwin and Helen Chandler.

Room Service (1938 - B/w) - Hmm. Not the Marxes at their best.

He Couldn't Say No (1938 - B/w) - Nonsense about a statue with Jane Wyman and Frank McHugh.

Storm over Bengal (1938 - B/w) - tedious Republic Raj fifty-minuter.

Carlotta: The Mad Empress of Mexico (1939 - B/W) - Low-rent Mexican period drama about its colonial history, with Lionel Atwill.

The Light That Failed (1939 - b/w) -  Ronald Colman and Ipa Lupino in a  typical backlot colonial romance.

Irish Luck (1939 - B/W) - Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland in silly barely-Oirish hotel mystery.

Angels over Broadway (1940 - B/w) - Sir Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Thomas Mitchell and Rita Hayworth in a confused-tone noir/would-be comedy/musical without songs.

Torrid Zone (1940 - b/w) - Double-ok.rued this average Jimmy Cagney tropical western.

Half a Sinner (1940 - B/W) - Average 40s B-comedy with Heather Angel.

King of the Lumberjacks (1940 - B/W) - Forgettable pseudo-Northern with John Payne.

The Case Of The Black Parrot (1941 - B/W) - Forgettable mystery with Eddie Foy Jr, America's Clive Dunn.  Not much parrot action.

International Lady (1941 - b/w) - Basil Rathbone,  charmless one-time Michael Collins decoy George Brent and Ilona Massey star in a wartime propaganda dramedy. It's not much cop. It needs Nigel Bruce eating fish and chips.  Extensively ok.rued.

Manpower (1941 - B/w) - A typical noir, with Raft, Robinson and Dietrich added. Double-ok.rued.

Footsteps in the Dark (1941 - b/w)-  Watched the first 20 minutes, but gave up and ok.ru-skimmed the rest of this silly Errol Flynn comedy mystery.

Murder by Invitation (1941 - B/w) - Why do I keep watching Monogram old dark housers?

The Shanghai Gesture (1941 - B/W) - Nasty, unwatchable Orientalist yellowfacery with Gene Tierney harrassed by a dragon lady and a fezclad Victor Mature.

Who Is Hope Schuyler? (1942 - B/w) - Why am I watching this confused-identity Fox B-picture with Ricardo "I'm the REAL Sam Spade" Cortez.

Moontide (1942 - B/w) - Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Claude Rains and Thomas Mitchell in a film that if it weren't shot in B/w wouldn't be considered a thriller. Double-ok.rued. It's about lounging about on a pier.

High Sierra (1941 - b/w) - Bogie wanders about hillbilly country. Double-ok.rued.

I Wake Up Screaming (1941 - B/w) - Betty Grable cries. Victor Mature has a fedora. Laird Cregar is sinister. Elisha Cook Jr does his face.

Desperate Journey (1942 - B/W) - Samey WW2 propaganda with Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan. Double ok.rued.

The Lady Has Plans (1942 - B/W) - Another forgettable WW2 comedy with Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland.

Captains of the Clouds (1942) - So used to the still of Cagney in the cockpit in b/w that it was a shock to see the film is beautiful Technicolor.  Typical faux-Canadian air force yarn. Actually shot in Canada too. Triple-ok.rued.

Bombs over Burma (1942 - b/w)/lady from Chungking (1942 - b/w) - PRC-produced poverty row propaganda with Anna May Wong.

Counter-Espionage (1942 - B/W) - Episodic procedural, blandly shot with Warren William's Lone Wolf in the Blitz.
The Lone Wolf in London (1947 - B/w) - Gerald Mohr takes over in an unconvincing film set in a very rural-seeming London.

Fly by Night (1942 - B/w) - Richard Carlson in a bland screwball noir.

This Gun for Hire (1942 - B/w) - Laird Cregar shines, but it is basically typical noir. Veronica Lake just a haircut.

The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942 - B/w) - Tonally out of whack, oddly poignant at times, silly at most tropical comedy starring Charles Laughton.

Holy Matrimony (1943 - B/w) - Gracie Fields and Monty Woolley in faux-British identity mixup.

Adventure in Iraq (1943 - B/W) - A low-rent Saharan odyssey with turbanned Iraqis doing sacrifices. With General Lowe's boy John Loder as the stiff lead.

Edge of Darkness (1943 - B/W) - Errol Flynn plays a Norwegian fighting Nazis, but despite the Scandinavian setting, it still feels like a Jack London Northern. Doubled Ok.rued.

Action In The North Atlantic (1943 - B/W) - Bogie in a fedora but on a battleship. Double-ok.rued.

The Dark Tower (1943 - B/W) - Anodyne circus thriller/variety show with Ben Lyon, Anne Crawford, David Farrar, Herbert Lom and  "Bill Hartnell". From Warner Teddington

Lassie Come Home (1943) - Is this supposed to be Middlesbrough? Elsa Lanchester and Donald Crisp sound a bit Geordie. But they say it is in Yorkshire. Roddy McDowall is awfully posh for a working class kid.  Son of Lassie (1945) is even more ridiculous. Is Nigel Bruce's grandad Duke in the Home Guard? June Lockhart as Elizabeth Taylor sounds American. It looks colourful, but it's not my thing. And the Nazi attack is ludicrous. The Washington-set Courage of Lassie (1946) even less so.

London Blackout Murders (1943 - B/W) - Ridiculous Blitz mystery with a ridiculous courtroom set and John Abbott

The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944 - B/W) - A fun atmosphere, but it drags and doesn't know where to go. It wants to be both an adaptation of Twain's work, and a serious biopic. Ok.rued excessively.

To Have Or Have Not (1944 - B/W) - Hemingway is not my thing. Though it looks good.

Sudan (1945) - Another awful faux-Egyptian load of bull with the baffling non-presence of Maria Montez.

The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (1945 - B/W) - Another charming but dangerous roue played by George Sanders, yawn.  Though he could play them well.

House on 92nd Street (1945 - b/w) - Middling Fox noir, about spying. Not to be confused with the more melodramatic House on Telegraph Hill (1951 - b/w).

Black Angel (1946 - b/w) - Another rote noir with Lorre.

Monsieur Beaucaire (1946 - b/w) -Rote period-com with Bob Hope.
See also My Favourite Brunette (--1947 - B/w) - which I found a rather meh screwballer.

Forever Amber (1947) - A lurid, but rushed and unsuccessful adaptation of a popular bonkbuster. Cornel Wilde is stiff. Richard Greene deputises for Vincent Price. The period setting feels artificial.

Seven Were Saved (1947 - B/W) - Cheapo Paramount mockbuster of Lifeboat.
See also Minesweeper (1943 - B/w), another nonsense from Pine-Thomas.

Calcutta  (1947 - b/w) - Alan Ladd in the sort of potboiler that inspired Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Terry and the Pirates-type schlock, even though Edith King's buxom Madam is a character. Very familiar with the poster for this, having stared at it in my old Halliwell's Guide.

Key Largo (1948  - B/w) -   Hmm. It's hard for me to judge noir. I suppose it is well-made. This is why I'll never be a professional critic, I suppose.

State Department file 649 (1949) - Dull colour thriller set in China with the inevitable Ricahrd Loo, Philip Ahn and Victor Sen Yung.

Malaya (1949 - B/w) - Another dreary foreign noir with Spencer Tracy, James Stewart and Sydney Greenstreet. Double ok.rued.

Tripoli (1950) - Another bland tropicana by Pine-Thomas, with Maureen O'Hara as a French aristocrat in the Barbary war, with Howard Da Silva and John Payne.

Panic in the Streets (1950  - B/W) - Too documentary-like for its own good.

Good Humor Man (1950 - B/w) - Baffling overlong ad for the US equivalent of Walls/HB, with Jack Carson in a rare lead, outside  the likes of Mildred Pierce.

Detective Story (1951 - B/W) - Dreary Broadway play with Kirk Douglas. Double-ok.rued

Behave Yourself (1951 - B/w) - Forgettable dog-centric romcom with Shelley Winters and Farley Granger.

Sudden Fear (1952 - b/w) - Mutton-dressed-as-lamb Joan Crawford is both terrorised but loved by toyboy Jack Palance. Women's picture disguised as noir.

Operation Secret (1952 - B/W) - Ridiculous, tedious WW2 actioner with Cornel Wilde, Karl Malden and Dan "I created Twink" O'Herlihy. Ok.rued

Kansas City Confidential (1952- B/W) - Another Southern noir. Young Lee Van Cleef.

The Crimson Pirate (1952) - not a pirate fan, but this has Burt Lancaster and some charming visuals. Dublin spirit animal Noel Purcell is unexpectedly ripped. Ok.rued doubled.

Rogue's March (1953 - b/w) - Another nonsensical khyber movie with Peter Lawford and Richard Greene.

Carnival Story (1954) - Anne Baxter, Steve Cochran and George Nader in an Agfacolor circus melodrama. Circus dramas are usually boring.

On the Waterfront (1954 - b/w) - Brando mumbles as everyone else shouts the dockyard down. Sorry.

They Were So Young (1955 - B/w) - Sensationalist German Lippert-coproduced sex slave folderol in South America with Raymond Burr.

House of Bamboo (1955) - attractively-made Sam Fuller mystery in Japan, but not the thing I enjoy following.

Back from Eternity (1956 - b/w) - Moaning in the jungle with Robert Ryan, Anita Ekberg and Rod Steiger.

Finger of Guilt (1956 - b/w) - Bland Brit noir from Merton Park with Richard Basehart set between a film studio and Newcastle.

The Killer is Loose (1956 - B/W) - Dreary suburban noir with Joseph Cotten.

Flame of the Islands (1956) - tropical timewaster from Republic with Yvonne De Carlo.

Istanbul (1957) - Fat, plastic-faced, prematurely aged Errol Flynn in a Universal backlot exotica mystery with Crossroads star John Bentley and Martin "Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz" Benson,  billed over Nat "King Cole", who sings "When I Fall in Love", which is the only highlight.

Nights of Cabiria (1957 - B/W) - I find Giulietta Masina grating, like a female Norman Wisdom.

Stopover Tokyo (1957) - Tiresome Mr. Moto adap with Robert Wagner as a white tourist replacing Moto, and Joan Collins as a Welsh secretary.

Across the Bridge (1957 - b/w) - Fair British stab at mimicking US noir, with Rod Steiger.

Timbuktu (1958 - B/W) - Victor Mature in the backlot desert for  another depressing colonial dive.

Me and the Colonel (1958 - B/W) - Who thought to put Curd Jurgens and Danny Kaye in an anti-buddy comedy?

Face of Fire (1959 - b/w) - Sporadically touching, Scandinavian-shot quasi-western with Cameron Mitchell as a burnt-faced simpleton and James Whitmore, plus Lois Maxwell to signify it was shot in Europe. By Albert Band.

Nefertite, Queen of the Nile (1961) - Turgid Italian epic, worth it only for Vincent Price at his queeniest, draped in leopard print and gold like a Cairo drag act impersonating Bet Lynch.

Antinea, Journey Beneath the Desert (1961) - Haya Harareet stares in this version of L'Atlantide. "Rad Fulton", Jean Louis Trintignant and Gian Maria Volonte costar in this vividly coloured but profoundly boring modernisation.

La Chambre Ardente (1962 - B/w) - Julian Duvivier's dull old dark houser has a genuinely nasty twist but it feels like another attempt to do Diabolique. Ok.rued, but watched the last half hour, almost but not quite gripped.

Arabesque (1966) - lurid, psychedelic heister with Gregory Peck, Sophia Loren and Kieron Moore as an Arab greaser. A trifle that loses all sense.

I Killed Rasputin (1967) - Slow, stiff dramatisation. Gert Frobe is almost unrecognisable as Rasputin. Peter McEnery mopes about as Prince Felix. Heavily ok.rued.

The Chastity Belt (1967) - Terrible Italian comedy with Tony Curtis in medieval Italy.

What's So Bad About Feeling Good (1968) - Irritating Peppard-Tyler Moore sub-Mad World hijinks about a happiness virus that turns people into hippies.ok.rued.

They Call Me Trinity (1969)/Trinity is Still My Name (1970) - What are the jokes?

And Soon the Darkness (1970) - A rewatch. It's inconesquential. Would work as a short.

Carnal Knowledge (1971) - More terrible Jack Nicholson new-age New Hollywood bobbins.

Ten Days Wonder (1972) -Tedious Chabrol, Orson Welles on autopilot, while Marlene Jobert and Michel Piccoli mope.

Day for Night (1972) - Truffaut fakes footage of behind the scenes for a fictional film. Insufferable.

Sacred Knives of Vengeance (1972) - Typical Shaw kung fu folderol.

The Black Hand (1973) - Lionel Stander plays the Godfather. Blatant imitation, down to Corrado Gaipa popping up.  The chipboard bordello sets are clearly recycled from a western. An attempt to recreate period America looks horribly tacky and false.

The Squeeze (1977) - Stacy Keach's accent is, well, it sounds vaguely Irish at times, but he is otherwise quite convincing. If only they told him to do it posh. But a solid, Euston-ish thriler, authentically grimy, full of Double Diamond, aged World Cup squad posters and Freddie Starr. Stephen Boyd for once lets his own accent loose, dropping all Mid-Atlantic pretensions, and going the full Frank Carson.

Jaani Dushman (1979) - a bonkers, confused Bollywood horror involving drag, talking mirror-men, haunted houses, an ape monster and Amrish Puri, and the Pan Book of Horror Stories.

Fast Company (1979) - Glossy but bland American-obsessed Canadian racing film only known because somehow, the director was one David Cronenberg.

Sayonara Jupiter (1983) - Finally saw this, and it's not good. It's overlong, slow, it lacks an epic sweep, has weird dream sequences, the model stuff is nice but despite a laser chase, it hews more to 2001, and the mainly amateur international cast are just there to be dubbed in Japanese. Ok.rued.

Beatrice (1987) - Overlong medieval sub-Verhoeven teen drama with Julie Delpy.

Veerana (1988) - Overlong, insane but lethargic Bollywood horror from the Ramsay Brothers.
Purani Haveli (1989) is a ridiculous, overlong Bollywood musical-giallo.
Bandh Darwaza (1990) - The Ramsays' attempt at a Hammer Dracula. Set in 1989 India, it dawdles until a spectacular pyromanic climax. Star Ajay Agarwal is an imposing Drac. And later appeared in the 1994 Jungle Book and Shekhar Kapur's Bandit Queen

Johnny Handsome (1989) - An attractive mess, but Morgan Freeman gives good genial-sinister.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

78 - UA stuff, mainly.

Raffles (1939 - B/W) - Focuses less on adventure, more on romance. A strange, trying version of "modern London". Still, Niven at his smoothest. A remake of the extremely close Raffles (1930 - B/W). Ok.ru.

Three Broadway Girls (1932 - B/W) - Typical romantic comedy with Joan Blondell.

Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932 - B/W) - Douglas Fairbanks in almost a documentary manual.

Cock of the Air (1932 - B/W) - Chester Morris in a  wartime light-drama with the rhythm of silent cinema. ok.rued.

What, No Beer (1933 - B/W) - Hmm, not Keaton at his best. Sound's win, cinema's loss. Ok.rued.

The Bowery (1933 - B/W) - Typical 30s juvenalia with George Raft and Jackie Cooper.

The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933 - B/W) - A stage farce and a documentary. Laughton so immerses himself you can't not but dislike him.

Adventures of Don Quixote (1933 - B/W) - Basically a panto with Chaliapin Sr and George Robey.

The Mystery of Mr. X (1934 - B/W) -Unmemorable whodunnit set in a horribly false Victorian London full of anachronisms, with Robert Montgomery. Double-Ok.ru

Search for Beauty (1934  - B/W) - Buster Crabbe in another variety show themed around a futuristic beauty thing. Ok.ru.

The Last Gentleman (1934 - B/W) - I can now do a very grating impression of George Arliss.

The Devil Diamond (1937 - B/W) - Forgettable poverty row juvenile adventure thing with Frankie Darro.

Night Must Fall (1937 - B/W) - Robert Montgomery's Welsh (?)/Oirish/Canadian accent is bloody awful. He's a gurner. Double-ok.ru.

History is Made at Night (1937 - B/W) - Frank Borzage romance. Charles Boyer uses Senor Wences to charm Jean Arthur.
See also Algiers (1938 - B/W).

Storm in a Teacup (1937 - B/W) - Vivien Leigh romances Rex Harrison. Did Rex get surgery?

Knight Without Armour (1937 - B/W) - Dietrich and Donat in another identikit exotic romance.

THE BEACHCOMBER (1938 - B/W) - My main carryover was that Elsa Lanchester plays a character called Miss Jones, who's a posh spinster-type. Now, I want to see a version of Rising Damp/The Banana Box with Charles Laughton as Rigsby.

Gunga Din (1938 - B/W) - Utterly dreadful Colonialist pap.

Fast and Furious (1939  - B/W) - Neither, but a screwball comedy with some fedoras, Franchot Tone and Busby Berkeley.

Eternally Yours (1939 - B/W) - David Niven romance.

Slightly Honorable (1939 - B/W) - Forgettable romcom with Pat O'Brien.

Captain Caution (1940  - B/W) - Unremarkable pirate fare with Victor Mature and Alan Ladd in a minor role.

Pot O'Gold (1941 - B/W) - Silly James Stewart musical romance, vaguely Oirish in tone.

Sundown (1941 - B/W) - Typical desert romance with Bruce Cabot, Gene Tierney and George Sanders.

Roadshow (1941 - B/W) - Goofy, but reasonably mirthfree Hal Roach carnival comedy.

Larceny Inc. (1942 - B/W) - Tonally awkward, grating baseball-related Ed G. Robinson crime-comedy. Double-ok.rued.

White Cargo (1942 - B/W) - Did people really take Hedy Lamarr seriously as a black woman? Yes, I know they make her half-Egyptian and half-Portuguese, but still we're supposed to think her as black, even though she technically isn't. This is almost as bad as that Crown Court with the blacked-up Leontyne Price-type. Double-ok.rued.

To Be Or Not To Be (1942 - B/W) - Interesting array, but I don't get the characters.

Journey for Margaret (1942 - B/W) - As schmaltzy as a bag of sugar. World War Two thing with Margaret O'Brien as a crying orphan in a backlot blitz. With Robert Young, Myrna Loy and Nigel Bruce. Ok.ru twice.

THE DEMI-PARADISE (1943) - Olivier does comedy. Seems to be playing multiple characters.

Lady of Burlesque (1943 - B/W) - Another variety show setpiece with Barbara Stanwyck.

Hi Diddle Diddle (1943 - B/W) - Nothingy romcom enlivened by Leon Schlesinger animation

None But the Lonely Heart (1944 - B/W) - Grim faux-Cockney melodrama with Cary Grant, Barry Fitzgerald, Ethel Barrymore and George Coulouris as the cast of EastEnders. Grant doesn't look good in a flat cap. His Cockney accent is odd. Double Ok.rued, barely.

Once Upon A Time (1944 - B/W) - Disney shopping cart-movie-type schmaltz with Cary Grant and a performing caterpillar. Double-ok.rued to get more frames.

Passport to Destiny (1944 - B/W) - Routine comedy, lifted by the idea of Elsa Lanchester as a Cockley charlady fighting Nazis.

Song of Open Road (1944 - B/W) - Okru.ed this forgettable teen musical, despite Edgar Bergen and W.C. Fields. Ok.rued.

Wilson (1944) - A sumptuously mounted but sentimental view of the President. Weird to see Alexander Knox in something American. Is Vincent Price wearing a false nose?

Paris Underground (1945 - B/W) - Doesn't know if it is a noir or a female buddy-thing in WW2 with Constance Bennett and Gracie Fields.

The Man in Half Moon Street (1945 - B/W) - Period melodrama later remade as Hammer's The Man Who Could Cheat Death, starts off stagnant. Has a neat ending set a London rail terminus. OK.ru.

The Locket (1946 - B/W) - Half-hearted melodrama/gaslighting noir with Robert Mitchum.

Breakfast in Hollywood (1946 - B/W)- Nothingy variety show with Spike Jones and Nat King Cole.

Copacabana (1947 - B/W) - Basically just the musical numbers from a  Marx Brothers film, but only Groucho and Carmen Miranda.
Love Happy (1949 - B/W) - The Marx Brothers and a small Marilyn Monroe appearance. Feels like retreading. Plus the boys are noticeably older.
Also saw The Cocoanuts (1929 - B/W). It lacks something. Sound cinema hadn't developed beyond vaudeville, really.

The Naked City (1948 - B/W) - A documentary-style noir. Not even Barry Fitzgerald as a Muldoon helps.

Kiss the Blood off my Hands (1948  - B/W) - Burt Lancaster wanders about a very fake Universal backlot England, while Robert Newton hides in shadows. Clocks on poles!

Sin of Harold Diddlebock (1948 -  B/W) - Preston Sturges and Harold Lloyd, not at their best.

Luck of the Irish (1948 - B/W) - Awful Oirish twaddle with Tyrone Power finding alleged leprechaun Cecil Kellaway.

So This Is New York (1948 - B/W) - Nothingy travelogue with humourist Henry "not Harry" Morgan.

Here Comes Trouble (1948 - B/W) - Forgettable but sporadically electrifying Hal Roach comedy featurette.

I Was A Male War Bride (1950 - B/W) - It doesn't work as a drag comedy. Cary Grant looks like an Egyptian rent boy.

Quicksand (1950 - B/W) - Mickey Rooney and Peter Lorre in what might have been good in 1939.

The Man With My Face (1951 - B/W) - Dull Puerto Rico-shot tropical noir with Barry Nelson in two roles.

Ace in the Hole (1951 - B/W) - Captures the uneasy discomfort of being in a desert.

Hotel Sahara (1951 - B/W) - Peter Ustinov gurns in a fez.

OK.rued noir Mystery Street (1950 - Ricardo Montalban in a fedora skulking about), The Prowler (1951) and The Scarf (1951 - B/W), almost identikit.
The Phenix City Story (1955 - B/W ) - Documentary, somewhat aimless though well-staged. But not my thing.Weird to see a young and pretty Richard Kiley.

Venetian Bird (1952 - B/W) Overromanticised tourist-trap mystery with Richard Todd.

The Green Glove (1952 - B/W) - Typical war-weepie-actioner with Glenn Ford.

Mutiny (1952) - Angela Lansbury in a skevy faded-color Poverty Row seafaring "epic" on a shoestring.

Down Three Dark Streets (1954 - B/W) - Broderick Crawford in a forgettable suburban noir.

His Majesty O'Keefe (1954) - Nicely colourful but kind of empty, but weirdly exciting to see Burt Lancaster and Andre Morell as co-leads.

Richard III (1955) - Is this deliberately Jackanory-ish?

The Monte Carlo Story (1956 - B/W) - Ageing Dietrich/De Sica travelogue.

God's Little Acre (1958 - B/W) - Preachy kind of Southern slice-of-life. Some nice setups.

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1959 - B/W) - John Mills and Ernest Borgnine play Aussie larrikins. The latter's accent only seem to come in at the end of sentences, to the extent I wondered if he was even bothering with any accent at all.

The Last Woman on Earth (1960) - Corman dreariness in Puerto Rico.

The Hypnotic Eye (1960 - B/W) - Dreary Allied Artists schlock. A lobby card for it sits in my local pub. Ok.ru.

Barabbas (1961) - Typical biblical "epic". Weird to see Lawrence Payne billed over the likes of Douglas Fowley, with kaiju-level destruction.

Darna vs the Planet Women (1975) - Filipino's national superheroine in one of numerous cheap films. This has  bad wigs, Catholicism, bad dances, amateurish attempts at tokusatsu and so on. Like most Filipino movies, it's ninety per cent wandering about suburban back streets. It's not very glamorous or exciting. See also Darna and the Giants (1974).

Captain Barbell (1986) - Filipino Captain Marvel knockoff gets adapted. Cheap, reuses John Williams off-cuts and an unfulfilled sequel hook featuring Darna.

Darna (1991) - Badly lit, tacky, plotless adaptation.

Junoon (1992) - An American Werewolf in London-Bollywood style! An Indian tiger in India. The tiger makeup is interesting but silly. He looks like Floyd Pepper. It plays the story straight, as tragedy, but it looks ridiculous. And it draaags.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

51 - MGM stuff/psychotronica

Morocco (1930 - B/W) - Marlene Dietrich does her thing, but otherwise, a typical colonial Hollywood romance of the era.
Garden of Allah (1936) - Early colour Arab-exotica.
Angel (1937 - B/W) - Dietrich in a typical European comedy-romance-drama.
See also The Devil is a Woman (1935 - B/W)   and Blonde Venus (1932 - B/W)

The Miracle Woman (1931 - B/W) - Early Capra/Stanwyck. Melodramatic religious drama, overcooked. Odd to see David Manners not fighting Dracula.

Strangers of the Evening (1932 - B/W) - Another forgettable crime-comedy with Zasu Pitts and Eugene Pallette.

Friday the 13th (1933 - B/W) - Amiable but baffling anthology. Written by Sidney Gilliat and one George Moresby-White (not me), a Gainsborough horror-comedy with Jessie Matthews and Max Miller and Edmund Gwenn and Gordon Harker and Ralph Richardson. There's a nice model Big Ben.

The House of Rothschild (1934 - B/W) - George Arliss and Boris Karloff in turgid period drama.

Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936 - B/W) - Posh Brooklyn and rough rural England. Sentimental clap.
See also Captains Courageous (1937 - B/W). God Freddie Bartholemew was a little shite.
Although, weirdly his bit in the very un-British-at-times David Copperfield (1935 - B/W) are the best.

One Million B.C. (1940 - B/W) - Caveman Victor Mature learns the power of nervous laughter.

Castle in the Desert (1942 - B/W) - Recycled Charlie Chan.

Una Luz en la Ventana (1942 - B/W) - Goofy Argentine vampiredom from Narciso Ibanez Menta

le loup des malveneur (1942 - B/W) - Arty French pseudo-horror with a lot of Renoir folk.

Eyes in the Night (1942 - B/W) - Routine mystery from MGM, with a dog. See also Grand Central Murder (1952 - B/W).

The White Cliffs of Dover (1944 - B/W) - Another identikit MGM wartime morale-booster. Ok.rued extensively.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946 - B/W) - Basically an excuse for a sex film during the Hays Code.

Humoresque (1946 - B/W) - Joan Crawford weepie on the magic of music, or something like that.

Blonde Ice (1948 - B/W) - Ruthless but incompetent noir from Film Classics.

Behind Locked Doors (1948 - B/W) - Boilerplate noir in a prison by Budd Boetticher.

Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951 - B/W) - Despite Walter Pidgeon, the presence of second lead Robert Beatty hints at the truth - just another rote semi-pulp British B-feature.

The Big Heat (1953 - B/W) - Lang doing another boilerplate noir.

Saadia (1953) - Barely recognised Mel Ferrer with a thick head of hair. Unenjoyable Arab melodrama.

The Devil Makes Three (1953 - B/W) - Unmemorable thriller, with action man Gene Kelly in the snow. With his Republican roots, he should have made an IRA actioner.

The Witch (1952 - B/W) - Ealing esque Finnish horror from Joseph Brenner/Dan Sonneu.

Marty (1955 - B/W) - Basically the proto-indie drama about people wandering about real locations. Not quite my thing.

The Killing (1956 - B/W) - Aimless, wandering Kubrick noir. Lacks the solid chipboard-set base most noir have.

The Decks Ran Red (1958 - B/W) - Otherwise mundane maritime melodrama with the intriguing novelty of James Mason and Dorothy Dandridge as lovers.

Doctor Without Scruples (1959 - B/W) - Dreary murderous doctor melodrama with Wolfgang Preiss.

Watusi (1959 - B/W) - Dreary remake/repackaging/sequel of King Solomon's Mines. Can't even afford a soundtrack, so just some bloke whistling "I'll take the High Road".

I'm All Right, Jack (1959 - B/W) - A typical ordinary "satirical" British comedy. At least, Malcolm Muggeridge plays himself. And there are Vikings. But it feels like it has two endings. Interesting that John van Eyssen has a tiny role as one of myriad reporters. Though billed last is Basil Dignam, Dave Lodge (¬) and Keith Smith (together - yes!).

EL FANTASMA DE LA OPERETA (1959-  B/W) - Mexican comic Tin Tan in a bemusing variety-show besieged by Claude Rains cosplayers.

Viridiana (1961 - B/W) - Did Bunuel invent the telenovela?

Father Came Too (1963) - Stanley Baxter as the straight man? What kind of lunacy.

The Long Ships (1964) - Preposterous epic. Sidney Poitier does a silly Arab-African accent, and dresses like Little Richard, as a "Moor".

TRILOGIA DO TERROR (1968 - B/W) - Arty Brazilian horror, with a few Coffin Joe vets.

Death in a Red Jaguar (1968) - Dull German spy movie with George Nader as Jerry Cotton.

Harold and Maude (1970) - Jaysus, Hal Ashby invented the Wes Anderson film. Insufferable quirkiness. And hey, here's the other terrible thing it does - it bigs up Cyril Cusack, but he literally appears in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him part. Yes, I'm standing up for local talent.

Golden Horns (1972) - Surreal, visually appealing Krofttesque Gorky film fantasy.

Neither The Sea Nor The Sand (1972) - Susan Hampshire falls in love with a bloke in a jumper (Michael Petrovitch) who dies, but then comes back as a zombie. Mills and Boon with a walking corpse. They walk into the sea together. Michael Craze, in a biggish role ("he gets AND" billing) shouts, in a middle-class voice.

Drakula Goes to R.P (1973)  - Amateurish, ramshackle comedy with Filipino comic Dolphy, that heavily uses a bootlegged version of If by Bread as its love theme.

Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975) - Noisy, incomprehensible she-vampire flick in modern Mexico with ex-Mrs. Delorean/TV chef, Christina Ferrare.

Bacalhau (1976) - Desperate, incompetent comedy supposedly a Jaws knockoff from Brazil. Also known as Cod!

El miedo no anda en burro (1976) - Goofy, kiddy Mexican comedy (hence Santo starlet Gloria Mayo) about an Indian girl and her chihuahua, and a villain in a Harryhausen cyclops mask.

Espectro (1978) - Eduardo Fajardo and Daniel Martin contact aliens and get swallowed up by snow, or some bollocks. Being a Spanish genre film, Victor Israel pops up.

NO GRAZIE, IL CAFFE' MI RENDE NERVOSO (1982) - Unfunnily manic giallo with Il Postino himself, Massimo Troisi.

Legend of the Eight Samurai  (1983)- Nasty, mean-spirited Chiba-Sanada-Fukusaku Earthbound redo of Message from Space.

Blue Ice (1992) - Utterly bland (HBO coproduced) ITV-ish spy thing with Michael Caine as a spy  named Harry (no, not that one, though this being the same year, Guy Doleman played not-Colonel Ross in Murder, She Wrote, Len Deighton must have been grinding teeth at the fact his characters were turning up without his permission) who runs a jazz club with Bobby Short and Charlie Watts. Watched Short in a much better PBS documentary on Vaudeville, which was genuinely brilliant, though. And worth it just to hear Ben Vereen talk about "pantos".

Saturday 10 August 2019


Le testament du Docteur cordelier (1959) - A silly, goofball, drunken Mr. Hyde ruins this quite serious film.

Cimarron Strip - Knife In the Darkness (-1968) - An episode of telefilm series Cimarron Strip, starring Stuart Whitman and Jill "Elizabeth Poldark-Warleggan" Townsend and Percy Herbert, fresh from Carry On Cowboy, who looks distinctly out of place in a US western series, but there he is, as the regular sidekick. Written by Harlan Ellison, it's strongly made. Typical western larks infused with the gothic horror sensibility. A tache-free Tom Skerritt turns out to be Saucy Jack.

The Scarecrow (1972) - PBS teleplay with Gene Wilder dressed as David Battley as a kind of American Worzel Gummidge during the 17th century witch trials.

A Cold Night's Death (1973) - Small, cramped but unnerving two hander - Robert Culp and Eli Wallach trapped in an Arctic base with monkeys.

Scream of the Wolf (1974) - Just Clint Walker and Peter Graves in turtlenecks drinking whiskey and discussing wolves.

The California Kid (1974) - Botched attempt to do the American Graffiti school of 70s-50s nostalgia, combining it with horror. Martin Sheen probably the right age for the character, were it made when it were set.

Phantom of Hollywood (-1974) - It descends into typical TV movie folderol, but the opening bits, with the frantic cutting back between the MGM backlot, as it waits for demolition, and what it was, using old stock footage, is gorgeous. Though the studio is called, "Worldwide Films", with a chintzy logo more fitting of a B-movie distributor, the films, footage, stars of Worldwide all are MGM. Andy Hardy, Mrs. Miniver and The Wizard of Oz, even the likes of Garrison's Gorillas and the Rat Patrol, we are told are Worldwide. Jack Cassidy is both the Phantom and his brother, surprisingly making more of an impact as the hunchbacked assistant. Skye Aubrey, the lead plays the daughter of studio boss Peter Lawford. Ironically, she was the actual daughter of MGM overlord James Aubrey.  Cassidy, as the Phantom, sounds weirdly Irish/Cornish.

The Strange and Deadly Occurrence (1974) - What's going on here? Not even Robert Stack knows.

The UFO Incident (1975) - Estelle Parsons and James Earl Jones provide convincing performances in quite a shonky true-life telepicture about real-life interracial couple Betty and Barney Hill's encounter with malicious aliens.

Search for the Gods (1975) - Forgettable Von Daniken-ish pilot with Kurt Russell, Stephen McHattie and Victoria Racimo searching for some ancient astronaut's amulet given to Aztec/Native Americans, while London-based sinister European collector Albert Paulsen and his right hand man Raymond St Jacques chase them. Features stock footage of Trafalgar Square.

Time Travellers (1976) - Shonky Irwin Allen pilot, a semi-reboot of theTime Tunnel. Victorian Chicago represented by sets from Hello Dolly and tinted clips of In Old Chicago.

Whistle And I'll Come To You (-1968) - More a documentary than a drama. Kind of slow. Like all of these shows, the same structure.

Lost Hearts (-1973) - The best of the Ghost Stories for Christmas. Wonderful Joseph O'Conor performance. Great creeps. The Ash Tree (-1975), another MR James is less memorable, however. Typical BBC costumier.

The Signalman (-1976) - Slow, but the visuals, the crash and Dirty Denholm's haunted face especially are wonderful.

Stigma (-1977) - Yet another Ghost Story for Christmas. SLOW, DISTANT, LOTS OF JCB ACTION FOR MY DAD. A bit Cronenberg. Plus BOWLES!!! See also the equally middle class The Ice House (-1978)

Good Against Evil (1977) - Failed pilot for an Exorcist alike series. Lots of padding and Dan O'Herlihy shouting in Latin.

Ants - Panic at Lakewood Manor (1977) - Typical US TV of the era, bland thrills interspersed with familiar faces and lots of "jiggle".

Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park (1978) - Feels like a Kroftt Brothers half-hour dragged to feature length.

The Darker Side of Terror (1979) - Mundanity about cloning with Robert Forster and Ray Milland.

The Fall of the House of Usher (1979) - An opulent but rather silly adap, based on an overrated story. Weird to see Robert Hays in a serious role.

Disco Beaver from Outer Space (1979) - Baffling HBO special from the National Lampoon team, spoofing cable of the era. A spoof of Sunday classics has a subtitled Importance of Being Earnest with single entendres and Oirish puppets for some reason.

The Mysterious Two (1982) - Why was this intended as a pilot? How would John Forsythe as space-Jim Jones work weekly?

Alice at the Palace (1982) - Meryl Streep in pink dungarees in a Lewis Carroll adaptation via the Good Old Days for PBS. Very baffling American idea of music hall. Astonishing that at her prime Meryl was doing sub-PlayAway nonsense like this.

Frankenstein (1984) - Showtime/Yorkshire adaptation with Robert Powell as the scientist, David Warner in mud as the monster, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud, with Terence Alexander and Susan Wooldridge, and not given above credit, Edward Judd and the Bill's Roberta Taylor, and Michael Cochrane who is billed higher than Wooldridge and Alexander in the end credits, as Clerval, but only billed there. Shot on video. Feels like an episode of Brass. Also a bit Doctor Who-ey.

Starcrossed (1985) - Boring space-romance drudgery with James Spader.

Top Kids (1987) - A Norwegian TV movie, this is a US-shot, sub-Spielbergian edutainment romp with Honey I Shrunk The Kids/Big star Jared Rushton as one of a bunch of BMX-riding time travelling hacker kids. Also featuring a bizarre cast - Jacques Perrin, Fabio Testi, Cyrielle Clair, Jose Carreras as Enrico Caruso and Niki Lauda as himself. Yes, really.

Firstborn (1988) - Overlong at 2 hr 45, but it works just about. Charles Dance secretly donates his sperm as he and a slightly sleazy Philip Madoc (great to see in a leading role in something that doesn't look cheap) decide to create an ape/boy hybrid. Unlike the ape-boy in the near-contemporaneous Chimera, Gordon is outwardly a normal, healthy human boy, though initially he resembles a baby in a wig and a cave-man suit. He unknowingly beds his sister (Gabrielle Anwar), yet wants to be a priest because he has no capacity for violence, but elder priest Ralph Michael disowns him because Gor's existence is an insult to God. Adult Gor actor Jamie Foster, despite this showcase never did much else. Marc de Jonge from Rambo III and Roshan Seth appear way down the cast list.  A decent score by Hans Zimmer too. From when the BBC were getting tired of telefantasy, so it's interesting to see something with a proper cast, foreign locations and all on film.

Running Against Time (1990) - The sort of thing you watch as a kid because there's time travel, only to be bored rigid.

The Gathering Storm (2002) - Oh, God. It tells us that Winston Churchill was a grouchy but loveable eccentric, and is shot like a family film. It has a treacly, Hallmark-level artifice rather than the grim period detail I was expecting. Albert Finney's performance is Rumpole-esque, I can see why ITV tried to cast him in an ultimately unmade reboot of The Bailey. He even has Reginald Perrin-style fantasy sequences seeing Marlborough in his garden. Ronnie Barker comes out best, as the butler, who is basically Norman Stanley Fletcher.

Friday 9 August 2019

58 (used to be 36, but I did immerse myself in many of the ok.rued)

Women of All Nations (1931 - B/W) - Another all-star vaudeville mess.

The Lodger (1932 - B/W) - Inferior non-Hitchcock talkie version with Ivor Novello. Weird to see YOUNG Jack Hawkins.

The Lost Patrol (1934 - B/W) - Typical John Ford foreign legion masculinity with McLaglen and Karloff.

Mysterious Mr. Wong (1934 - B/W) - Bela Lugosi is an unconvincing bargain-basement Fu Manchu.

One Frightened Night (1935 - B/W) - Primitive Mascot old-dark-houser.

Crime and Punishment (-1935 - B/W) - Peter Lorre in a cliffnotes distilled version of the film.

Captured in Chinatown (1935 - B/W) - "Yellow" tedium with Tarzan the police dog.

Postal Inspector (1936 - B/W) - Bela Lugosi B-flick. Tries to make the post office exciting.

Its Never Too Late To Mend (1937 - B/W) - More period panto from Tod Slaughter.

I'll Give It A Million (1938 - B/W) - Amiable but forgettable comedy with Peter Lorre and John Carradine.

Service DeLuxe (1938 - B/W) - Ordinary screwball comedy with the novelty of Vincent Price as romantic lead.

They Made Me A Criminal (1939 - B/W) - Typical gangster/juvenile fluff with John Garfield and the Dead End Kids. At least, I consider it attractive fluff, but it's not my thing. Yes, I sound like a child.

All Through the Night (1941 - B/W) - Double-Ok.ru. Terrible, almost self-parodic Bogie Nazi-fighting noir. The fact it has both Jackie Gleason and Phil Silvers in it, too is interesting.
See also Passage To Marseille (1944 - B/W).

Among the Living (1941 - B/W) - Mediocre murder thing with Susan Hayward.

They Met in Bombay (1941 - B/W) - Rosalind Russell and Clark Gable do cheesy screwball adventure in India. Double-Ok.ru

Whispering Ghosts (1942) - Milton Berle hunts for ghosts. Willie Best does black drama school acting.

Phantom Killer (1942 - B/W) - Mantan Moreland bugs his eyes in another old dark house thing.

Lucky Ghost (1942 - B/W) - Not much ghost, not much luck. William Beaudine directs a race pic with Mantan Moreland.

The Black Raven (1943 - B/W) - PRC house peril. George Zucco gurns as he is kidnapped. A cowboy wanders about.
See also Morey Amsterdam's The Ghost and the Guest (1943 - B/W).

A Game of Death (1945 - B/W) - A repackaged Most Dangerous Game.

Strange Illusion (1935 - B/W) -  Tedious "young man" noir from Edgar Ulmer.

The White Gorilla (1945 - B/W) - Oh, jaysus. Stock footage ahoy.

The Strange Mr. Gregory (1945 - B/W) - Typical Monogram mess.

Scared Stiff (1945 - B/W) - More Jack Haley squeamishness.

Leave Her To Heaven (1945) - Lush Sirkian noir, but never finds a handle beyond the look.

The Unseen (1945 - B/W) - Lesser, noirish, non-supernatural followup to the Uninvited, with Gail Russell, Joel McCrea, Norman Lloyd, and BBC sitcom star Richard Lyon.

The Cat Creeps (1946 - B/W) - Forgettable Universal darkhouser with Noah Beery Jr.

Swamp Fire (1946 - B/W) - Buster Crabbe vs Johnny Weissmuller! Not very exciting.

My Favourite Brunette (1947 - B/W) - Bob Hope goofs about in an uninteresting mystery.

Who Killed Doc Robbin (1948 - B/W) - Failed attempt to create a New Our Gang/Little Rascals.

Road House (1948 - B/W) - Typical rural Widmark/Lupino noir.

The Velvet Touch (1948  - B/W) - Rosalind Russell melodrama in noir drag. On DVD.

City Across The River (1949 - B/W) - Dingy urban noir.

Also ok.rued
The Verdict (1946),   paltry wartime-noir-romances Lancer Spy (1937 - Lorre and George Sanders in his starring debut), The Conspirators (1944 - B/W - Double-ok.rued), Hotel Berlin (1944 - Double-ok.rued) and Background to Danger (1943 - double ok.rued), Three Strangers (1946 - Lorre in a half-noir, half-Maugham-type anthology), Green Hell (1940), On Borrowed Time (1939 - double-ok.rued SCHMALTZ!),  Sirocco (1951, the Aldi Casablanca), The Phantom of Crestwood (1932), The Great Garrick (1937), the downbeat Dangerous to Know (1938 - Anna May Wong dies as Anthony Quinn plays chopsticks on the piano), The Web (1947), the nothingy Karloff-does-heroic Devil's Island (1939), Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons (1960), I Thank A Fool (1962), and the truly awful Man of a Thousand Faces (1957 - Cagney way too old and sentimentalised). Plus Fritz Lang's You Only Live Once (1937), Hudson's Bay (1941 - faux-Canadian period romance with Paul Muni, Gene Tierney and young Vincent Price) and the unremarkable You and Me (1938). The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948 - B/W), the turgid Maria Montez vehicle Mystery of Marie Roget (1942), the third-rate comedy vehicle Genius at Work (1946 - B/W). All of which I found unmemorable. So I didn't quite finish them.

Pharaoh (1966) - A wondrous looking Polish epic set in Egypt, but I have never seen so much blackface in a serious context.

Thursday 8 August 2019

Psychotronic post-1950 72

House by the River (1950 - B/W) - Staid, violent noir by Fritz Lang.

So Young, So Bad (1950 - B/W) - Paul Henreid in reform school schlock. Anne Francis and Rita Moreno pop up. Produced by the Danzigers.

The House in the Square (1951 - B/W) - Slushy time-travel fantasy. Tyrone Power falls in love in the 18th Century. By Roy Ward Baker.

Cloudburst (1951 - B/W) - Typical Hammer thriller lacking in much action.

The Hoodlum (1951 - B/W) - Cheapjack gangster crud with Lawrence Tierney.

Geisha Girl (1952 - B/W) - White saviour thing with Martha Hyer, basically My Geisha is a spy.

Models Inc. (1952 - B/W) - Hal E. Chester-produced noir made for mild titillation.

Beware My Lovely (1952 - B/W) - Ida Lupino reacts as Robert Ryan looks over, menacingly, and walks out. Again, I watch noir just to see if my taste changes.See also on Dangerous Ground (1951 - b/w).

The Hitchhiker (1953 - B/W) - Ida Lupino directs arguments in the desert.

The Kidnappers (1953 - B/W) - Syrupy faux-Canadian Scottish western-type almost-CFF-like thing with Theodore Bikel and Jean Anderson.

The Blue Gardenia (1953 - B/W) - Typical 50s noir by Lang, but hey - at least, Nat King Cole sings a song.

Attila (1954) - Despite Sophia Loren and Anthony Quinn, a typical peplum.

Pickup on South Street (1953 - B/W) - Grimy, repetitive Widmark noir. Young Richard Kiley! Sam Fuller directing.

Secret of the Incas (1954) - Raiders with Heston. An artifact of exotica. Peru looks like Wicklow.

Human Desire (1954 - B/W) - Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford repeat the same scenes  on a train and on land.

Suddenly (1954 - B/W) - Sinatra does noir. Not great. Typical desert town wandering.

 Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1954) - The thing is it looks like a typical cheapo colour 50s adventure, but Dan O'Herlihy's performance lifts it, despite him calling himself an Englishman with his 40s "Irishman-with-slight-elocution-lessons-but-still-recognisably-Irish" Eamonn Andrews-type accent.  I recently learnt that O'Herlihy, one of the Great Men (to quote TV Cream) is the one who gave Irish showband/panto/cabaret/tabloid star Adele "Twink" King her nickname.

Sabaka (1954) - Faux-Indian tedium with Karloff and June Foray in a rare live action role, in walnut juice, but not doing an accent. Which I was disappointed in, because I was looking forward to the Queen of Voice Acting's attempt at subcontinental twang.

Magnificent Obsession (1954) - Not quite my thing. It's nicely shot, but even the way it is shot feels sentimental.  Proper Sirk.

Hanussen (1955 - B/W) - Hmm, boring, respectable post-war biopic of a German paranormalist who knew Hitler, allegedly.

The Female Jungle (1956 - B/W) - AIP crime banality with Jayne Mansfield.

The Sword and the Dragon (1956) - Colourful Soviet time-passing fantasy.

Liane, Jungle Goddess (1956) - German jungle girl nonsense, shot in colour. A Tintin-esque Hardy Kruger is badly dubbed with a deep American accent.

Manfish (1956 - B/W) - Lon Chaney Jr. mugs in Caribbean-shot maritime peril shabbily put together and purportedly based on Poe. See also 16 Fathoms Deep (1948).

Nightfall (1957 - B/W) - Snowy noir with Anne Bancroft. Typical 50s noir look.

The Girl in the Kremlin (1957 - B/W) - Cheap and nasty Soviet tedium with a hardly girlish Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Wild Strawberries (1957 - B/W) - Bergman chronicles a holiday.

The Living Idol (1957) - Mexican Rene Cardona Cat People-type thing with Steve Forrest and James Robertson Justice. Quite nicely shot. But it draaags.

The Invisible Avenger (1957 - B/W) - More dreary adventures of the not-very-Shadow-y Shadow.

Violent Playground (1958 - B/W) - Decent crime picture, despite bad Irish accents, David McCallum sounding like Steel. Peter Cushing is a priest, sadly not doing Irish, and it's unexpectedly multicultural, Tsai Chin and Michael Chow as central characters.

Clavillazo y El Castillo de los Monstruos (1958 - B/W) - Silly, irritating sub-Cantinflas comic Clavillazo does silly naivety schtick in this silly comedy.

The Bloody Brood (1959 - B/W) - Unlikeable Canadian JD film with Peter Falk.

Green Mansions (1959) - The Audrey Hepburn superhero film. Well, kinda. Future Super-Friend Rima is a kind of Peter Pan-Tarzan. This is an odd adap, although Lee J. Cobb's incredibly watchable, strangely Guinnessesque performance as her "grandfather" is oddly believable.

Rocket Attack USA (1961 - B/W) - Amateurishness from Barry Mahon, roughly based on the Cold War.

Spiritism (1961 - B/W) - Mexican seance gubbins.

Piccadilly null Uhr 12 (1963 - B/W) - A subpar krimi, based on Francis Durbridge, rather than Wallace, cashing in on German TV's obsession with Durbridge. Still, Kinski appears. Odd phone boxes.

24 ore di terrore (1964 - B/W) - Terrible, sleazy giallo that begins at an airport, like every giallo. Pino Colizzi from Jesus of Nazareth the only identified member of cast.

Cave of the Living Dead (1964 - B/W) - Krimi-ish pedestrianism  gothic with Wolfgang Preiss.

Adventure at the Centre of the Earth (1965 - B/W) - Nonsensical Mexican cavern runaround.
See also the ridiculous singing robot/cowboy movie Ship of Monsters (1960 - B/W).

The Fool Killer (1965 - B/W) - Strange western a la Night of the Hunter with Edward Albert and Anthony Perkins.

Secret Agent Super Dragon (1966) - Idiotic Beach Party-ish faux-American Eurospy.

Aladdin and his Magic Lamp (1967) - Sumptuous but hard to follow Soviet adaptation.

Death on the Run (1967) - Forgettable Eurospy in Greece. Michael Rennie as M.

Maroc 7 (1967) - ITC-ish Eurospy.
See also The Syndicate (1968).

The Honey Pot (1967) - Godawful, smug Rex Harrison in an overlong, godawful, smug, alleged comedy. Double-Ok.rued.

Death Laid an Egg (1968) - Nonsensical giallo set on a chicken farm.

Clegg (1970) - Sleazy proto-Euston, though with a weird psychedelic layer, from Lindsay Shonteff.

Night of a Thousand Cats (1971) - Stock footage of moggies and yachts. Not much horror.

The Oval Portrait (1972) - Unusually opulent looking but slow Mexican-Canadian Poe with Barry Coe and lots of pink dresses.

Frankenstein '80 (1972) - Sleazy faux-German, not very futuristic Italian schlock.

Stateline Motel (1973) - Sleazy, unlikeable, faux-American Italian crime shite with Ursula Andress, Barbara Bach and Eli Wallach.

Steppenwolf (1974) - Max Von Sydow suddenly goes from film reality to a videotaped NTSC Chromakey nightmare-land.

Welcome to LA (1976) - Like the Never Say Never Again for Robert Altman fans.

Gold of the Amazon Women (1979) - Ooh, a promising beginning, Amazon women on the New York rooftops devolves into a bizarre, jolly, plotless wandering in the jungle.

Plague (1979) - Tedious Canadian tax shelter thriller. Along the lines of the Andromeda Strain, it reuses Kate Reid from that film, and has scenes in "Knightsbridge Infirmary", with Canadian-accented English folk. Lots of London stock footage/second unit.

Nightmares (1980) - Sleazy Aussie slasher.

Amin - The Rise and Fall (1981) - British-Kenyan biopic starring talentless lookalike Joseph Olita, supported by the likes of Geoffrey Keen, Andre Maranne, Louis Mahoney and Thomas Baptiste. Funded by British-based Kenyan-Asian corner shop magnates, Jonathan Ross is apparently one of the Israeli soldiers at Entebbe. One of the few biopics of Entebbe to portray Dora Bloch's relatives as English rather than surly Jewish Americans. Former hostage Denis Hills plays himself. Veteran UK stuntman Alf Joint's accent as the American Ambassador is non-existent. He tries to talk fast in order to sound American, but he sounds more Australian than anything.

La Cage Aux Folles II (1981) - Interesting, the wonder of .baffling Italian-French comedy.

Mystere (1983) - Unexciting giallo with Carole Bouquet in Hong Kong.

Americana (1983) - David Carradine passion project. Dave tries to rebuild a merry-go-round, Barbara Hershey looks on in bafflement.

The Aurora Encounter (1986) - Shonky, sentimental, vaguely Christian Texan western ET knockoff with Jack Elam. A kid with progeria plays the alien, and it feels so exploitative.

Deathrow Gameshow (1987) - Amateurish nonsense that licks the needed glitz.

Curse of the Blue Lights (1988) - Ambitious, promising but eventually dull horror.

Alice (1988) - Jan Svankmajer's Jackanory.

Split (1989) - Dreary but ambitious yet tacky and horrifying VT virtual reality weirdness. Has Vindaloovian-type googly-eyed chin-monsters.

Deadly Spygames (1989) - From the guy who did the Psychotronic Man, starring Troy Donahue and Tippi Hedren. Shot on VHS, with a cute robot in the prologue, and somehow shot in the Bahamas, even thanking Prime Minister Sir Linden Pidling.

Cthulhu Mansion (1991) - A 30s-style old dark house film made by JP Simon with Frank Finlay in a turban.

The Clown at Midnight (1998) - A very anodyne post-Scream Winnipeg-shot slasher balanced with an extraordinary performance by Christopher Plummer at his most mad, channeling his transgender mad-aunt in The Silent Partner, plus Margot Kidder.

Wednesday 7 August 2019

August psychotronica - 82 - pre-1950 - part 1

The Avenging Conscience (1914) - Silent 'orror/old dark houser.

Outward Bound (1930 - B/W) - Ok.rued this incredibly soppy, sentimental film, later remade as Between Two Worlds. Leslie Howard was wimpy, to quote my mother. Ok.ru.

Philo Vance: The Benson Murder Case (1930) - William Powell does some explaining. Primitive, simplistic.

The Speckled Band (1931 - B/W) - Peculiar, almost Melies-esque adaptation with Raymond Massey as Sherlock and a young, angelic Angela "Mrs. Bridges" Baddeley.

Rasputin and the Empress (1932 - B/W) - Overlong, stretched, but there's some nice imagery, and Lionel (one of many Barrymores in this) is very powerful, almost more so than Baker or Lee.   Ok.rued.

The Crooked Circle (1932 - B/W)  - Forgettable hooded cult "comedy" with Ben Lyon.

The Wayne Murder Case (1932 - B/W) - Another forgettable old dark houser with cops and Regis Toomey.

The Flaming Signal (1933 - B/W) - Starring Flash the Dog, Noah Beery and Mischa Auer, a drudgery tropical island/motel adventure.

Sucker Money (1933 - B/W) - More turban-based tedium with Mischa Auer.

King of the Jungle (1933 - B/W) - Buster Crabbe does an Aldi Tarzan.

A Shriek in the Night (1933 - B/W) Another dark-housey GINGER ROGERS policier with old ladies reading tec-mags.
Drums o' Voodoo (1934 - B/W) - Sack Enterprises, so primitive it feels like real footage of a voodoo ceremony.

Mystery Liner (1934 - B/W) - Forgettable Monogram Edgar Wallace about an electro-ray on a ship.

Beggars in Ermine (1934 -B/W) - Passable Lionel Atwill parable on disability from Monogram.
See also The Sphinx (1933) - a less interesting Atwill vehicle from Monogram, and Lady in the Death House (1944 - B/W), also with Atwill, a weird prison-y noir.

Maniac (1934 - B/W) - Forgettable, primitive exploiter.

The Ghost Walks (1934 - B/W) - Invincible Poverty Row nonsense.
See also Death from A Distance (1935 - B/W).

The Great Impersonation (1935 - B/W) - A country house runabout allegedly about spying. Lots of faux-posh folk. From Universal.

A Face in the Fog (1936) - More forgettable "mystery" from Sam Katzman. Fedoras ahoy.

The Dark Hour (1936 - B/W) - Forgettable mystery in a house, lots of bald men arguing, from Chesterfield.

The Rogues' Tavern (1936 - B/W) - Middling old dark houser with Wallace Ford.

Love on the Run (1936 - B/W) - Screwball "larks" with Gable and Crawford. Ok.rued.

The Shadow Strikes (1937 - B/W)    - From Grand National, typical crime nonsense from Poverty Row. The titular hero looks like a cheap knockoff fancy dress costume.                   
The Shadow Returns (1946 - B/W) - Boring Monogram comedy-mystery. The titular hero barely appears, and nothing like his pulp/comic incarnation.

The Dybbuk (1937 - B/W) - Baffling but interesting Yiddish horror.

The Hurricane (1937 - B/W) - It looks nice, but it hasn't aged well.

West of Shanghai (1937 - B/W) - Boris Karloff in yellowface. Hourlong propaganda pulp.

Love from a Stranger (1937 - B/W) - Flailing, stagey Agatha Christie quota quickie with Basil Rathbone being suave (that's 90 per cent of the film) and Joan Hickson as a Cockney eejit maid. Which is very strange. She's like a white female Mantan Moreland. You'd barely recognise this to be Miss Jane Marple.

Sinners in Paradise (1938 - B/W) - Typical jungle "comedy", but James Whale adds a few odd eccentris.

The Black Doll (1938 - B/W) - Forgettable Universal Crime Club-er.

They Drive by Night (1938 - B/W) - British noir with Ernst Thesiger as a tweedy killer and Emlyn Williams as a posh but uncouth/stubble-faced and unlikeable lead.

The Invisible Killer (1939 - B/W) - Telefon forty years early, and devoid of excitement. From PRC.

Buried Alive (1939 - B/W)  - Boring prison-set PRC.

Strange Cargo (1940 - B/W) - Gable and Crawford suffer in the tropics. I suppose it is well-made, convincingly tough and raw.

Island of Doomed Men (1940 - B/W) - Forgettable tropicana with Peter Lorre.

The Great McGinty (1940 - B/W) - I don't get Preston Sturges. Nice twist, though.
See also the period caper The Great Moment (1944 - B/W), Hail The Conquering Hero (1944 - B/W), Christmas in July (1940 - B/W), The Palm Beach Story (1941 - B/W).

Shadows on the Stairs (1941 - B/W) - Warner faux-quota quickie in a boardinghouse.

The Spell of Amy Nugent (-1941 - B/W) - Shonky Brit horror. Didn't recognise the titular role, but turns out it was Diana King, later Mrs. Peacock in Are You Being Served? and that annoying pink hatted lady in Fawlty Towers - The Wedding Party. Written by Miles Malleson.

Hatter's Castle (1942 - B/W) - James Mason, Deborah Kerr and Robert Newton in quota-pleasing bodice ripper.

Fingers at the Window (1942 - B/W) - Typical  fedora-filled noir  in a dark street. Basil Rathbone appears.

Journey into Fear (1942 - B/W)  - It looks good, but loses momentum. Poor Orson.

Across The Pacific (1942 - B/W) - Bogie and Mary Astor endure middle-age romance, goes from noir to commando movie. Sydney Greenstreet reminds me of a fat Jared Harris. Double-ok.rued.

Tiger Fangs (1943 - B/W) - Jungle junk with Frank Buck.

Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher (1943 - B/W) - Bloody Edgar Kennedy.

Dummy Talks (1943 - B/W) - More acts than story in this clubland mystery with Jack Warner.

Isle of Forgotten Sins (1943 - B/W) - PRC tropical nonsense with Gail Sondergaard in a sarong.

The Ghost That Walks Alone (1944 - B/W) - Another forgettable run-around-a-mystery-house  from Columbia.

The Woman in the Window  (1944 - B/W) - Being Lang, at least it looks good. And it has boy scouts.

Waterfront (1944 - B/W) - Forgettable PRC/Carradine wartime suspenser set in a pub.

White Pongo (1945 - B/W) - Typical jungle nonsense.  See also Nabonga (1944 - B/W) and Call of the Jungle (1944 - B/W) and Jungle Bride (1933 - B/W).

Bewitched (1945 - B/W) - Possession melodramatics with Phyllis Thaxter. Ok.rued heavily.

Phantom of 42nd Street (1945 - B/W) - More no-budget private eyes wandering about, aimlessly chatting up dames and thesps.

FRENZY (1945 - B/W) - AKA Latin Quarter, a camp, upper-class romance, full of silly costumes,  about a mad artist. Like a posh Tod Slaughter. Dailymotion.

The Ghost of Rashmon Hall (1946 - B/W) - Quick ghostly programmer with Valentine Dyall, made by future-Telly Savalas provincial travelogue auteur Harold Baim.

Black Angel (1946 - B/W) - Forgettable noir with Peter Lorre.

The Dark Mirror (1946 - B/W) - Twin nonsense with Olivia De Havilland and Olivia De Havilland playing Joan Fontaine.

The Perils of Pauline (1947) - Actually a Betty Hutton musical biopic.

Fear in the Night (1947 - B/W) - Poverty row noir starring a pre-Star Trek DeForrest Kelley's wobbly country head.

Secret Beyond The Door (1947 - B/W) - Fritz Lang's Clemenesque thriller. A big-budget Universal thing, with an out of place Redgrave.

 The Long Night (1947 - B/W) - Henry Fonda wanders about a lot, Vincent Price has white hair and Elisha Cook pulls his face.

The Ghost Goes Wild (1947 - B/W) - Republic spooky bumbling with Edward Everett Horton.

Adventure Island (1947 - B/W) - Misleadingly advertised as being in color. Island junk with Rory Calhoun.

Three Weird Sisters (1947 - B/W) - Welsh period drama with noirish ambitions, by Dylan Thomas. Slim Hugh Griffith alert!

Moss Rose (1947 - B/W) - Vincent Price and a miscast Victor Mature in a faux-Victorian mystery with Peggy Cummins murdering a Cockney accent.

He Walked by Night (1948 - B/W) - Just Richard Basehart looking moody.

Arch of Triumph (1948) - Bloated noir epic with Charles Laughton and Ingrid Bergman. Extensively ok.rued.

Rope of Sand (1949 - B/W) - Burt Lancaster noir, the main novelty being it is set in Sarth Ifrika.

The Bribe (1949 - B/W) - South American-set noir with Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Charles Laughton and Vincent Price. A bit Casablanca retread. Though Laughton sweats appealingly. Ok.rued heavily.

Alias Nick Beal (1949 - B/W) - The Devil and Daniel Webster as noir. Ok.ru.

Alias the Champ (1949 - B/W) - Republic wrestling picture. Undistinguished.

Omoo-Omoo the Shark God (1949 - B/W) - Screen Guild stock footager based on a Melville story, with Ron Randell.

C-Man (1949 - B/W) - Very New York noir with Dean Jagger, but otherwise very cheap and forgettable.

Black Magic (1949 - B/W) - Joyless Orson Welles period suspenser/biopic of Cagliostro.

D.O.A. (1949 - B/W) - Drifty noir.