Tuesday 1 October 2019

74 - Universal roundup

East of Borneo (1931  - b/w)-  Och, another Universal early period Orientalia. Ok.ru.

A House Divided (1931 - b/w) - Undistinguished melodrama with Walter Huston and Helen Chandler about a fishing couple.

Graft (1931 - b/w) - Typical journalism drama with Karloff.

Doomed Battalion (1932 - b/w) - A wartime weepie/propagandier.

SOS Iceberg (1933 - B/W) - German-Universal docudrama dreariness with Leni Riefenstahl.

Don't Bet on Love (1933 - b/w) - Ginger Rogers and Lew Ayres in an average romcom.

Bombay Mail (1934 - b/w) - Another period Raj nonsense.

Diamond Jim (1935 - B/w) - Preston Sturges western-ish tweed.

She's Dangerous (1937) - Meh.

Wings Over Honolulu (1937 - B/W) - Ray Milland in a  rote aviation drama.

We Have Our Moments (1937 - B/w) - Tedious romcom with young David Niven.

Night Key (1937 - b/w) - Karloff lifts an otherwise dreary crime story. Ok.ru.

Midnight Intruder (1938 - b/w) - Louis Hayward in an abysmal Universal b-movie.

Honeymoon Deferred (1938 - b/w) - Dreary Universal romance.

Wives Under Suspicion (1938 - b/w) - More Universal weariness from a B-crimer.

Mystery of the White Room (1939 - b/w) - Dreary medical mystery.

Behind the Eightball (1940) - The Ritz Brothers are excruciating. They're interchangeable too. They have the same personality. Ok.ru

Dark Streets of Cairo (1940 - b/w) - Terrible Universal backlot mystery.  See also Raiders of the Desert (1941 - |B/w), with an oddly council estate-looking Arab state.

Tight Shoes (1941 - b/w)  - I don't get Runyon. Ok.ru-doubled.

Flame of New Orleans (1941 - b/w) - Marlene Dietrich film, typical swashbuckler.

Halfway to Shanghai (1942) - George Zucco and Peter Lorre in more oriental exotica.

Lady on a Train (1945 - b/w) - Deanna Durbin tries noir.

Ivy (1947 - B/W) - Average Hollywood-British melodrama with Joan Fontaine.

A Double Life (1947 - b/w) - Turgid docudrama with Ronald Colman as Othello.

A Woman's Vengeance (1948 - b/w) - Another misty Universal Hollywood British melodrama with Charles Boyer, based on Huxley.

All My Sons (1948 - b/w) - Noirish family drama with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster. Not my thing.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948 - b/w) - Mawkish romance. Did this spawn the trope of mute mermaid?

One Way Street (1950 - b/w) - Another cut/paste border noir, with James Mason.

Thunder on the Hill (1951 - b/w) - Ok.rued this odd faux-British melodrama with Claudette Colbert set in a nunnery. Almost convincing.

The World in his Arms (1952) - Typical techniclor pirate programmer lifted via Gregory Peck.

Back to God's Country (1953) - Faux-Canadian, very Western Northern with Rock Hudson. Ok.ru.

Desert Legion (1953) - Pound-shop Antinea/L'Atlantide with Alan Ladd.

Bengal Brigade (1954)  -Rock plays a Raj soldier. Can't take any of these brownfaced tales of India seriously, especially if made by Americans. Indians with Northeastern American accents and swamps in the Bay of Bengal.

Tanganyika (1954) - Snooze.

Yankee Pasha (1955) - Jeff Chandler in a western-infused take on the typical Arab colorama, but still your ordinary Arab colorama.

The Purple Mask (1955) - Tony Curtis is an Aldi Pimpernel.

The Great Man (1956 - b/w) - Average analysis of a man by Jose F.

Joe Butterfly (1957) - Excruciating though penguinesque turn by Burgess Meredith as a Lorre-ish Japanese fella.

The Midnight Story (1957 - B/w) - Another bog-standard Uni noir with Stony Curtis.

The Perfect Furlough (1958) - Dreary icy  Tony Curtis-Blake Edwards romcom.

The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960 - b/w) - Silly quasi-biblical folly with a tour bus, Mamie Van Doren and the devil himself - Mickey bloody Rooney.

In Search of Gregory (1970)  - Dreary romance with John Hurt and Julie Christie. Lots of Italian scenery.

Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) - PBS-esque nostalgic drear.

At Play in the Fields of Our Lord (1991) - a three-hour cannibal film for the art.


A Shot in the Dark (1941 - b/w) - Another identikit Warner mystery cheapie.

Tanks A Million (1941 - b/w) - Identikit Hal Roach wartime propaganda com.

Over my Dead Body (1942 - b/w) -Another identikit, allegedly comic journalism cheapie mystery, with Milton Berle.

Fly by Night (1942 - b/w) - Again, another identikit comic mystery in a gas station, with Richard Carlson. See also Hay foot (1942).

Dangerous Blondes (1943 - b/w) - Another allegedly comic cheapie in a radio studio, with Evelyn Keyes and William Demarest.

Midnight Manhunt (1945 - b/w) - Astonishingly not by Monogram, but Paramount, but you'd never tell with this poverty row-ish George Zucco mystery.  See also No Hands on the Clock (1941 - b/w).

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950 - b/w) - James Cagney in a noir/western hybrid.

Mister 880 (1950 - b/w) - Average Burt Lancaster rom-com.

The Great Rupert (1950 - b/w)- Schmaltzy Puppettoonery.

The Jackpot (1950 - b/w) - James Stewart  in generic sitcommery.

Shamus (1958) - A rare film made in Belfast before the 21st century and indeed pre-Troubles. Almost amateur, but distributed by New Realm, shot in colour, about a kid who befriends a dwarf dressed as a leprechaun. But it has no plot, really.

Castle in the Air (1952 - b/w) - Twee Scots comedy with David Tomlinson, Margaret Rutherford and the  inevitable Gordon Jackson.

Trouble in the Glen (1954) - The Scottish spiritual sequel to the Quiet Man. The best thing is Orson Welles' bizarre, not-very-Hispanic turn as a South American laird, Margaret Lockwood is his same-aged daughter, Forrest Tucker's the Yank (this is a more Republic film than the Quiet Man), heavil ok.rued. Has a scmaltzy subplot with a wise little girl with polio.

The Birds and the Bees (1956) - Alleged comedy with David Niven and the annoyingly pathetic George Gobel.

The Night we Dropped A Clanger (1958) - Identikit wartime caper, with Cecil Parker, Brian Rix, and guest stars William Hartnell and Leslie Philips. Yes, the Doctor's a sergeant.

The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959) - Clifton Webb has lots of kids like he always does, except this is in the turn of the century.

It Takes All Kinds (1969) - Silly, tonally-confused Aussie actioner with Robert Lansing and Vera Miles. Future Australian staple Rod Mullinar plays a small role. It feels like most Aussie films of the 60s/very 70s, i.e. it's basically a TV production.

The Grasshopper (1970) - Sub-Susann/Harold Robinson transatlantic tripe as Jacqueline Bisset (who's supposed to be from British Columbia, but she must have not heard the second word) becomes a Vegas showgirl, shags Jim Brown and sees some sky-writing in the air.

The Front (1976) - Woody Allen drama abotu blacklisting, zzzzz.

The Castaways of Turtle Island (1976) - A 2 hour 20 minute comedy from France with Pierre Richard on a desert island. Snooze.

Meetings with Remarkable Men (1978) - Lots of famous British character actors playing Armenians with mixed results. Colin Blakely looks like Khalid Kelly.

Hoodlums (1980) - Marketed as a comedy, but a terrible, supposedly serious vanity project for Nai "Nocturna" Bonet. Michael V. Gazzo pops up in another post-Godfather riff.

Purana Mandir (1984) - Another identikit, overlong though memorable but baffling Bollywood Ramsay horrorthon.

The Assisi Underground (1985) - Ben Cross fights Nazis in the Vatican. James Mason, Maximillian Schell and Edmund Purdom (at the same time, in the similar but better The Scarlet and the Black) look on. Cannon's attempt at privilege. Visually interesting but clearly cutdown from a planned miniseries so it doesn't make much sense.

Bernadette (1988) - Cannon's dodgy, preachy adaptation of the story of Lourdes.

Business as Usual (1988)-  A Cannon/FilmFour coproduction starring Glenda Jackson, John Thaw and Cathy Tyson, with several McGanns, Craig Charles (then married to Tyson, god help her), James Hazledine and Ian Puleston-Davies. But it's a sub-Bleasdale drama about Scousers. That ends with the credits rolling over Glenda and John making out poignantly.

The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish (1991)- Finally completed this dreadful, laugh-free Continental cash-in on a Fish Called Wanda with Goldblum, Hoskins and Natasha Richardson.


  1. My Favorite Spy, Nun's Story, Sidewalk Ends, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, the Apartment, Kiss me Gently, Father Goose

  2. Hugo Haas' Bait, Hold Back Tomorrow, Strange Affair, The Other Woman, Pickup, Girl on the Bridge, Edge of Hall, plus We Go Fast, It Shouldn't happen to a dog, the Stork pays off, Mr. And Mrs. North, Blonde Alibi, Having a Wonderful Crime, Opened by Mistake, Fuller Brush Man, Operation Diplomat, the Happy Road, the Last Hurrah, Designing Women, High Cost of Loving, Half a Hero, Bachelor of Hearts, 3 men in a boat, Lucky Jim, Devil's Disciple, MisterScoutmaster, Toy Tiger, Happy Anniversary, Meet me Tonight, Mrs. O'Malley and Mr. Malone, Next to no Time, Meet me Tonight

  3. About the only film made in Belfast in the 1970s I can think of is Naked Massacre, one of the grimmest horrors of the decade, based on the Richard Speck murders. I don't know what the producers' thought processes were, but they must have had a reason to film there. Can't have been tourism.

  4. That was mostly shot in Dublin.

    Red Ball Express, Guy Named Joe, Tortilla Flat, Tall Target, Fallen Sparrow, Remains to be Seen, Separate Peace, Tropic of Cancer, State Secret 1950, They met in a Taxi, Human Cargo, Remote Control, Tread Softly Stranger, Mind Benders, She Had to Eat, Night School, The Prisoner, Imitation General