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.

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.

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.

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