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.


  1. The Squeeze is unexpectedly good, quite nasty in places, and Keach is very effective (don't suppose he has been back in Britain for a while, though!). Think it was Boyd's last before he died playing golf, like Bing Crosby. Though as he was planning on being a Scientologist, it might have spared him some unfortunate experiences, tragic as it was (only 45!).

    David Cronenberg is one of those movie business types who loves fast cars and motor racing, hence Fast Company. One of the last chances to see poor Claudia Jennings, if nothing else.

  2. He was supposed to be in the Wild Geese, but at least that gave Jack Watson a big movie role after years of small roles and graft both in telly and in variety.