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".

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