Wednesday 18 September 2019


Dirigible (1931 - B/w) - Nice modelwork in a soppy Fay Wray romance.

Skippy (1931 - b/w) - Ok.rued. Unexpectedly likeable. No wonder Jackie Cooper not Oscar-nominated.

A Man's Castle (1933) - Spencer Tracy/Borzage weepie.

The Captain Hates the Sea (1934 - B/w) - Alleged comedy
See also Hell-Ship Morgan (1934). Ok.rued.

Remember Last Night (1935 - b/w) - Another forgettable James Whale mystery-comedy, aside from the blackface number.

The Circus Queen Murder (1935 - B/W) - A variety show in mystery drag, with Dwight Frye.

San Francisco (1936 - B/w) - Typical period disaster melodrama-romance.

Roaming Lady (1937 - B/W) - Another forgettable aerial adventure with Fay Wray.

Exposed (1938 - b/w) -  Primitive, ragged Universal quickie with journo Glenda Farrell.

Five Little Peppers And How They Grew (1939) - Proto-sitcom kidvid.

The Earl of Chicago (-1940 - B/W) - Forgettable Robert Montgomery comedy.

A Dangerous Game (1941 - b/w) - Another forgettable duo comedy with Andy Devine mugging.

Reunion in France (1942 - B/W) - Another sentimental wartime puff with John Wayne trying to do serious acting.

The More the Merrier (1943 - b/w) - I think you need to watch screwball comedies with an audience.

They Came to A City (1944 - B/w) - Ealing agitprop utopia. Films about utopias are boring.

Murder My Sweet (1944 - b/w) - Do I have to critique a noir?

Seven Keys to Baldpate (1947 - b/w) - Not my thing, but better mounted than the average dark-houser.

The Pirate (1948)
See also The Buccaneer (1958).

Walk A Crooked Mile (1948 - b/w) - Another Columbia noir that I caught cos it was free.

The Magic Face (1951 - b/w) - Primitive continental fantasy about Hitler, with Luther Adler.

Storm Over Tibet (1952 - b/w) - Have I seen this unremarkable Himalayan Columbia potboiler before?

Scandal Sheet (1952 - B/w) - Columbia newspaper drama with Brod Crawford.

Assignment Paris (1952 - b/w) - Dull faux-French noir on the Columbia lot with Dana Andrews.

Paris Model (1953 - b/w) - Dull Paris fashion-com on the Columbia lot with Paulette Goddard.

Innocents in Paris (1953 - b/w) - Starring Alastair Sim, Ronald Shiner, Margaret Rutherford, Claire Bloom, Claude Dauphin, Lawrence Harvey and Jimmy Edwards, plus Colin Gordon, Frank Muir, Peter Jones, Stringer Davis, Richard Wattis and way down the credits, one Louis De Funes. Not much cop.

The Maggie (1954 - b/w) - Scottish whimsy, cloying Para Handy fan-film. Double-ok.rued.

Valley of the Kings (1954) - Triple-ok.rued this average Robert Taylor Egyptology saga.
Not to be confused with the Ancient epic chintz of Land of the Pharaohs (1954).

Where There's A Will (1955 - B/W) - Alleged rural comedy with Leslie Dwyer and George Cole.

The Secret of Magic Island (1955) - Barely an hour, padded out by animals doing human things. That's magic?

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter (1957) - The sort of fare soon to be consigned to TV sitcom.

The Diplomatic Corpse (1958 - b/w) - Another rote British crime story, about foreign crime. But weird to see a youngish Robin Bailey as the heroic lead.

The Lineup (1958 - B/w) - Average well-made noir, with Eli Wallach, a TV spinoff.

City of Fear (1959 - B/w) - Another forgettable noir for Vince Edwards.

Bottoms Up! (1960 - b/w) - Adaptation of Jimmy Edwards' sitcom Whack-o. Some nice bits. But Melvyn Hayes wears walnut juice. It's all typical Beano-ish antics. Martita Hunt is the special guest, but there's a young Richard Briers lurking somewhere.

Life is a Circus (1960 - b/w) - Delayed by a year or so, it is big budget enough and Val Guest tries to direct well, but the Crazy Gang are now old men (by 1960 standards, i.e. their late fifties/sixties), and it's  a bit sad. When Lionel Jeffries' bald looks were more sinister because he had enough youth left in his face. It becomes Alf's Button Afloat  again, but as a regional touring production.

A Matter of WHO (1961) - Generic Terry-Thomas vehicle.

Drylanders (1963 - B/w) - Early nfb drama, a bit How We Used to Live. See also Les Brules (1959 - B/w).

Penelope (1966) - Duff Natalie Wood comedy with Ian Bannen in a Hollywood lead.

The Terrornauts (1966) - Charles Hawtrey gives some good reaction, but this, clearly made alongside They Came from Beyond Space to reuse props and sets from the Dalek films is a slog, even if it is less than an hour in its most common version.

You're A Big Boy Now (1966) - Dreary Coppola nonsense with an annoying lead.

The Ernie Game (1967) - Another dreary NFB drama. Weird to hear Alexis Kanner c.The Prisoner with a real hoser accent.   Kanner's Mahoney's Last Stand (1972) is more of the same.

Waiting for Caroline (1969) - Another Canadian art-drama.

The Reckoning (1969) - Play for Today-ish kitchen sink Scouse Irish gangster saga with Nicol Williamson.

Some Will, Some Won't (1970) - WIlfrid Brambell an oddly unconvincing old man, but I think it is the fright wig. A decent cast fail to enliven stiff direction in a duff remake of Laughter in Paradise.

$ (1971) - OK.rued this unmemorable heister.  So unmemorable it was called the Heist elsewhere.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) - Arty bollocks.

OK... Laliberté (1973) - Arty semi-erotic NFB comdram.

Le Silencieux (1973) - Rather dreary, unfocused po-faced French espionage with Lino Ventura, Leo Genn and Robert Hardy.

ixe-13 (1973) - Arty but beautiful pop-art spy-fi musical from the NFB.

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) - Did Scorsese deliberately style the opening to mimic Mario Bava? Otherwise not quite my thing, but it did spawn a US sitcom.

Prisoner of Second Avenue (1976) - Neil Simon tedium.

Voyage of the Damned (1976)-  Unexpectedly beautiful and poignant, every face a star. Victor Spinetti (who I best remember dragging up in CITV's Harry and the Wrinklies) unexpectedly good. And then when you don't think it gets any better, Bernard Hepton turns up in shades.

The Gumball Rally (1976) - Quite fun but episodic.

Ti-Mine, Bernie pis la gang... (1977) - Another Quebecois drama that didn't do much.

Galyon (1978) - Late-period Ivan Tors "adventure", shot in South America, starring Lancashire-born conservationist Stan Brock as a conserrvationist-adventurer hired by Lloyd Nolan to rescue Ina Balin. Amateurish, badly constructed, and Brock is basically another Cliff Twemlow, but with the face of a muscled-up Johnny Briggs.

Barbarosa (1982) - A great-looking, cinematic, quite Australian western (directed by Fred Schepisi), starring Willie Nelson and a mugging, Boris-like Gary Busey.  By ITC.

Subway (1984) - Besson arty fluff, seemingly no plot.

In A Shallow Grave (1988) - American Playhouse homoerotica.

Palais Royale (1988) - CBC-sponsored Dennis Potter fan film.

TRUST (1990) -Hal Hartley indie drear. Produced by Central TV.

Thousand Pieces of Gold (1991) - Another American Playhouse. televisual, but interesting to see a serious Chinese-American western.

Reckless (1995) - grating Christmassy American Playhouse magic realism with that Farrow woman.
Palookaville (1995) - A blandly quirky, televisual PBS-coproduced heister.

Ok.rued-doubled these.

House of the Seven Hawks (1959) - Dull maritime mystery.

Purple Noon (1960) - Typical Euro homoerotica.

Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970) -  I didn't realise America had Massey Fergusons. Savage, uncompromising final feature of William Wyler. Roscoe Lee Browne seems too strong a man to be brutalised.

The Last Detail (1973) - Another dreary Nicholson "joint".

Norman, Is that You (1976) - Preachy, but quite revolutionary comedy. It's not especially funny, but the idea - Redd Foxx tries to adjust to his son being in a mixed-race gay relationship, that idea but from the black perspective is especially interesting.

Fun With Dick and Jane (1976) - Very bland and TV movie-ish.

The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (1981) - Sub-Hal Needham hicksploitation.

Tuesday 3 September 2019

53 - INC. Lone Wolf

X Marks the Spot (1931 - B/W) - Tiffany poverty row crime tat.

Atlantic Adventure (1932 - b/w) - Typical Columbia poverty row B-com.

Trapped By Television (1936 - B/W) - Columbia B with Mary Astor. Is that a miniature car chase...

Adventure in Manhattan (1936 - B/W) - Joel McCrea in another forgettable theatrical comedy mystery. Double-ok.rued.

The Toast of New York (1937 - B/W) - Amiable but unfunny Cary Grant/Edward Arnold period comedy.

The Rains Came (1939 - b/w) - Decorative but inaccurate faux-Indian odyssey with Tyrone Power in walnut juice and Maria Ouspenskaya doing her normal performance.

Hold That Ghost (1941 - B/w)/Abbott and Costello in the Navy (1941 - B/W) - The former's another musical old darkhouser. THE LATTER is another naval musical.

A Night To Remember (1942 - B/W) - Brian Aherne in another allegedly comic fedora-heavy mystery.

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) - Not Hemingway fan, me. Still, it looks nice.

The Song of Bernadette (1943 - B/W) - A two and a half hour pro-Lourdes slog.

Nine Girls (1944 -b/w) - Another old dark-houser with the added novelty it is aimed at bobbysoxers.

Road to Utopia (1945) - Just more excuses for patter and musical numbers with Bing and Bob and Dorothy. Plus one interesting joke about the North Pole.

Jennifer (1953 - B/w) - Another gaslighting noir with Ida Lupino.

Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954 - B/W) - Just another hard-boiled, unlikeable prison movie, this time from Don Siegel.

The Detective (1954)  - Father Brown pilot. Amiable, kind of lost in tone, too twee for its own good. Double-ok.rued

Joe MacBeth (1955 - B/W) - Dreary British quota quickie faux-American gangster take on Shakespeare, with Sid James as Banquo.`

Footsteps in the Fog (1955) - Almost proto-Hammer in style, but firmly Gainsborough territory in its manner. Double-ok.rued.

He Laughed Last (1956) - Forgettable Blake Edwards gangster-com.

The Houston Story (1956 - B/w) - William Castle takeoff of the Phenix City Story, with Gene Barry surrounded by short people.

Suddenly Last Summer (1959 - B/W) - Possibly interesting story of southern Cannibalism harmed by the presence of that Taylor woman over-emoting as an innocent. A haze of flashbacks.

Surprise Package (1960- B/W) - Idiotic Greek-set comedy with Yul Brynner as a gangster.

The Defector (1966) - Downbeat Cold War spy-er with a nearly dead Montgomery Clift.

The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969) - overlong Incan epic, despite Christopher Plummer in brownface looking like a Portugeuse transvestite and barking.

Hell Boats (1970) - Almost more like an Italian war movie than a British one, despite Ronald Allen as second lead, Philip Madoc as chief Nazi in a role almost exactly like his Dad's Army character that one perhaps can fit this into the DACU.  Has a love triangle that isn't really a triangle but a bit of jealousy from an outside man in James Franciscus. There's a comedy Israeli/Palestinian.

The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970) - Earnest and at least it is trying, but this attempt at dramatising the life of the first post-op American trans-woman is hilarious. Director/veteran woman's picture specialist Irving Rapper shoots it like a 50s Sirkian romance, except his soft-focused leading lady is 18-year-old John Hansen, a well-built twink who although at times passable in drag, the bad wigs and unflattering 50s wardrobe don't do him any favours.

Dr. Popaul (1972) - Nonsensical, silly Chabrol comedy with Belmondo and that awful woman from Boyle/Laragh.

Play it Again Sam (1972) - I find Allen kind of pretentious. Ditto Annie Hall (1977).

Pope Joan (1972) - Psychedelic mytho-biopic bollocks.

The Candidate (1972) - It's well-made, I suppose, but  not a fan of 70s political dramas.

The Ruling Class (1972) - A sterling cast fail to hold a band of sporadically appealing but admittedly pointless vigenttes and musical numbers, which descend into nonsense, though a nice spooky images remain. Even William Mervyn relishing a big juicy part on the screen cannot salvage a self-indulgent morass of increasingly ludicrous but infuriating vignettes. Though the finale is great in its Prisoner-esque WTF-ery? Though what on Earth is Carolyn Seymour? It has a kind of echt-Lindsay Anderson feel, especially because it has Graham Crowden.

Watched all six Lone Wolf and Cub films (1972-74) plus the Corman compilation Shogun Assassin (1980). Not a fan of samurai films per se but they make gore spraying a form of art.

Footprints on the Moon (1975) - arty, impenetrable giallo involving Florinda Bolkan dreaming of astronauts Kinski and McEnery.

Aloha Bobby and Rose (1975) - Another self-gazing New Hollywood road trip with a tragic end.

Drive-In (1976) - A teen sex comedy that seems self-hating, with a fine country soundtrack including a title theme by the Statler Brothers, "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?" that moans about how the screen's filled with sex, and the demise of the B-movie cowboy, like your grandad.

Skatetown USA (1979) - Young Patrick Swayze and Bugsy Malone in godawful excuse for roller-disco.

The Mountain Men (1980) - Unsuccessful, strange but aimless western with Charlton Heston and Brian Keith as mountain men trailing unconvincing Indian Stephen Macht.

The Mosquito Coast (1986) - Harrison Ford does Fitzcarraldo. It's well-made, but deliberately unlikeable.

New York Stories (1989) - An excruciating volley into whimsy. Though the Jewish mother (Mae Questel)  berating Queens in Woody Allen's segment is actually not bad.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1990) - Interesting to see Donald Sumpter billed over Joanna Miles. Like an average ITV comedy-drama. Written/directed by Dr. Miriam Stoppard's husband.

Drop Dead Fred (1991) - Mayall is lost in the Hollywood post office. Would make a good double bill with True Identity, in terms of "seminal British comic of the 80s gets a Hollywood break in the 90s and wastes him". It's bland in that 90s way.

The Last Seduction (1994) - A typical 90s erotic thriller lifted by nice scenery and a decent lead in Linda Fiorentino. But the highlight is the extended cut, where because this is an ITC film, our anti-heroine watches William Tell, with Conrad Phillips and Nigel Green.

Also watched Roy Andersson's films.

A Swedish Love Story (1970), a misty, arty teen love story feels newer than it is, more 1975-77.
Songs from the Second Floor (2000), You the Living (2007) and A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (2014) belie Andersson's background in advertising. They feel like low-key compilations of ads. Some interesting. Most less so. The terraced street-train's fun. But you really need to pay attention.