Friday 29 November 2019


A Farewell to Arms (1932 - b/w) - Typical Hollywood tearjerking war romance. Weird to see Helen Hayes young.

Palooka (1934 - b/w) - Forgettable Jimmy Durante vehicle/adap of the comic strip Joe Palooka.

Brown on Resolution (1935 - b/w) - Typical WW1 army thing, notable for being John Mills' first lead.

Night Train To Munich (1940) -  The Lady Vanishes... again.

My Son, My Son (1940) - Forgettable American story of life in Manchester, with Louis Hayward.

Cottage to Let (1941) - Typical 40s wartime thriller made in Britain, with Leslie Banks, Alastair Sim, John Mills, Michael Wilding and a fifteen year old George Cole.

Bowery at Midnight (1942 - b/w) - Now, I thought this was a Bowery Boys/Lugosi comedy for Monogram. It's actually a Monogram crime thing with Lugosi. Unmemorable.

Berlin Correspondent (1942 - b/w) - Generic wartime thriller with Dana Andrews.

Son of Fury (1942 - b/w) - Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, George Sanders, Elsa Lanchester, John Carradine and Master Roddy McDowall star in this typical swashbuckler.

Adventures of Tartu (1943) - Wartime propaganda with Robert Donat.

The North Star (1943 - b/w) - hollywood Ukrainian propaganda with Erich von Stroheim.

The Monkey's Paw (1948 - b/w) - An atmospheric but forgettable adaptation. Megs Jenkins plays the mother, despite being actually younger than Eric Micklewood (one of the British Intelligence men in Kentucky Fried Movie) who plays her son and  almost young enough to be her on-screen husband Milton Rosmer's granddaughter. She would later reprise the role at a more suitable age in an episode of Orson Welles' Great Mysteries.

The Great Lover (1949) - Another anodyne kiddy-themed Bob Hope film, this time as a scoutmaster. Weird to see Roland Young and Roland Culver billed over George Reeves.

Britannia Mews (1949 - b/w) - Maureen O'Hara plays an Irish-accented London girl.

We Were Strangers (1949 - b/w) - Forgettable, forgotten Cuban saga with John Garfield, Jennifer Jones, Pedro Armendariz and directed by John Huston.

The Man in Black (1950 - b/w) - Hammer quickie with Valentine Dyall, watchable only to see that Sid James was always old.

Outcast of the Islands (1951) - Trevor Howard in ludicrous brownface-heavy tropical melodrama.

Hans Christian Andersen (1952) - Danny Kaye on autopilot. Weird live-action/ballet hybrid.

The World in His Arms (1952)  - Another generic swashbuckler, with Gregory Peck.

White Witch Doctor (1953) - Susan Hayward and Robert Mitchum in a boilerplate jungle romance.

Man on a Tightrope (1953)`- Fredric March, Terry Moore, Gloria Grahame, Cameron Mitchell, Adolphe Menjou, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Beatty, Alexander D'Arcy and Richard Boone star in a typical circus yarn.
See also The Big Show (1961).

Lilacs in the Spring (1954 - b/w) - Errol Flynn and Anna Neagle in a forgettable semi-colour musical. Features Sean Connery's debut and singing ghostly Chelsea Pensioners.

I am a Camera (1955) - Cabaret with Julie Harris, Laurence Harvey, Shelley Winters, Ron Randell and Anton Diffring.

The Ten Commandments (1956) - Like westerns, to me, biblical epics are very samey.

Jacqueline (1956) -  Catherine Cookson adap moved from Tyneside to Belfast, with lots of blarney, plus a disconcertingly beardless Noel Purcell, Liam Redmond, Cyril Cusack as Parrot-Face Davies, and Richard O'Sullivan when he had an Irish accent.

Harry Black and the Tiger (1958) - Generic adventure in India with Stewart Granger.

Odds Against Tomorrow (1959 - b/w) - Noir only atypical cos Harry Belafonte's in it.

The Story of Ruth (1960) - Generic, simultaneously expensive-looking but cheap-feeling epic, with Stuart Whitman in his he-man idol stage.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960) - MGM colour version of the saga, with boxer Archie Moore as Jim, Tony Randall,Finlay Currie and John Carradine. Michael Curtiz helms a decent, acceptable version of the story, but Moore isn't a good actor, and it feels neutered.

A Dog of Flanders (1960) - Sentimental but colourful Fox dog-story, not to be confused with the Disney version of Greyfriars Bobby, which also has Donald Crisp.

Seven Thieves (1960 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson, Rod Steiger and Joan Collins in a confused caper. Set on the Riviera, shot brightly in b/w, so it's noir one thing or another. It's almost a pilot for Mission Impossible.

The House in Marsh Road (1960 - b/w) - Forgettable haunted house quickie that resembles every other British thriller b-picture of the era.

Panic (1963 - b/w) - Glyn Houston stars in a forgettable boxing-noir quickie.

The Pawnbroker (1964 - b/w) - Feels like Corman's the Intruder, being an exploitation message picture even though it is much higherbrow, it is still AIP.`

Maya (1966) - Disneyesque elephant saga that spunoff a TV series, with stars Jay North (previously the Aryan-American Dennis the Menace) and Bollywood boy actor Sajid Khan. This has Clint Walker as the pilot-only lead for theatrical release, only to go conveniently missing for the TV series, which like the film, actually shot on location in India (and featured the likes of Prem Nath, Amrish Puri and Kabir Bedi).

Judith (1966) - Even-then-dated romance with Peter Finch and Sophia Loren in Israel.

SORREL FLOWER (1967) - Bog-standard mysterious French drama with Mireille Darc.

They Saved Hitler's Brain (1968?) - A hodgepodge of random footage, nowhere as interesting as it sounds.

Più tardi Claire, più tardi... (1968 - b/w) - Forgettable, dated gothic horror with Gary Merrill.

Counterpoint (1968) - I'm sure I reviewed this forgettable backlot war movie with Heston, Maximillian Schell and Anton Diffring but it must have gotten lost.

La Piu Bellla Coppia Del Mondo (1968) - Begins with a jungle quickie sketch, but is a pop comedy starring Walter Chiari and Adriano Celentano.

Negatives (1968) - Sleazy nonsense about sexual roleplay with Glenda Jackson, Diane Cilento, and Special Guest Star Maurice Denham, who spends his scenes in bed.

It's Your Move (1968) - Grand Slam Part 2, but nowhere near as fun, just Edward G. Robinson, Terry-Thomas, Adolfo Celi and George Rigaud in a villa.

Submarine X-1 (1969) - One of those cheap British-made UA war films with a US minor star supported by British TV actors. Here, it's James Caan before he rose to actual stardom opposite future Emmerdale staple Norman Bowler. Very ITC in its appearance.

Slaves (1969) - Dionne Warwick, Burl Ives and Stephen Boyd in an indistinguished, cheapskate sub-Mandingo exploiter.

El Che Guevera (1969) - Even more incompetent than the Omar Sharif film it is mockbusting. With Francisco Rabal as Che and John Ireland as a Yank.

The Happy Ending (1969) - Pornographic muzak with Jean Simmons, John Forsythe and "Robert" Darin.

Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970) - Sleazy romantic drama, I can see why it has never been revived, even though it got plaudits for Carrie Snodgress. It's rough.

Rosolino Paternò, soldato/Operation SNAFU (1970) - Robards, Landau and Falk in a forgettable Italian comedy.

Gregory and his Angel (1970) - Schamltzy Mexican family film about a little girl angel guiding Broderick Crawford.

Ransom Money (1970) - Also with Broderick Crawford, this is an Al Adamson-ish story about a boy with a big flashy-light sci-fi bomb hoisted on his neck. It's supposed to be a serious drama.

My Lover, My Son (1970) - Inexplicable, unwatchable tale of Romy Schneider and Dennis Waterman as mother and son. Yes, really.

The Molly Maguires (1970) - Lush but kind of boring Irish saga in Pennsylvania with Richard Harris as an Armagh man vs Sean Connery as an Irishman. Frank Finlay's Welsh accent as the police captain sounds vaguely Tom Hardy-as-Bane-ish.

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970) - Idiotic story of disabled folk, with Liza Minnelli, narration in song by Pete Seeger, plus Ken Howard and Fred Williamson who is distractingly out of place.  And Nancy Marchand without her CGI-ed floating Livia Soprano head.

Moonfire (1970) - PIlot-ish trucker yarn. Makes Nazis, rocket science, bikers and interracial trucker buddies (Charles Napier, Richard Egan and Sonny Liston) boring.

Who Says I Can't Ride A Rainbow (1971) - Messy family film about Jack Klugman as an inner-city farmer in Greenwich Village. Confused. The first credited movie role of Morgan Freeman as a character named Afro.

T.R. Baskin (1971) - Typical 70s grim romantic-comedy-drama with Candice Bergen as a possibly-teenage prostitute seducing Peter Boyle.

Honky (1971) - Afterschool Special-like interracial romance with Brenda Sykes. Screen debut of John Hillerman.

Little Murders (1971) - More Simonesque drudgery.

The Touch (1971) - Bergman unites Max Von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, a shouty, beardy Elliott Gould and Benidorm's Sheila Reid in a typically cold venture, only this time it's in English.

Black Girl (1972) - Very televisual (it was made by Cinerama/ABC) play adaptation by Ossie Davis, with Leslie Uggams.

Pete 'N' Tillie (1972) - Typical beige-y 70s comdram with Carol Burnett and Walter Matthau.

 The Cremators (1972) - Terrible. People terrified by giant flashing lights.

Unholy Rollers (1972) - Claudia Jennings stars as a roller derby champ in a down and dirty, confused, messy sorta-comedy-drama produced by Roger Corman. It attempts a bit of Altmanish Americana, and yet goes a bit crazy with some unauthorised derby on a public road, and a weirdly 50s theme tune.

A Place Called Today (1972) - Sleazy, unlikeable racial politicker with Lana Wood.

Ground Zero (1973) - Amateurish Golden Gate Bridge bomb actioner, which astonishingly got a UK theatrical release. Why? God knows.

PETE, PEARL AND THE POLE (1973) - Tony Anthony and Adolfo Celi in a suspiciously  rural-located New York-set crime saga that though indebted to the Godfather, feels like a comedy even though it isn't.

A Delicate Balance (1973) - Typical, reserved, colourless American Film Theatre production, with Paul Scofield and Katharine Hepburn.

The Three Musketeers (1973) - A bit too goofy and pleased-with-itself to be enjoyable. Oddly Ken Russell-esque ball sequence.

The Day of the Wolves (1973) - Ropey though ambitious heist thriller involving a twist where the thief is a kids' TV host.

Little Mother (1973) - Interesting, ambitious but ultimately flawed Radley Metzger attempt to go mainstream, in a rather Harry Alan Towersy biopic of Eva Peron, except it isn't, and it's clearly set in the 70s. Christiane Kruger is not-Evita, while Siegfried Rauch is her husband, Mark Damon is a love interest, and Anton Diffring the Cardinal. Made in Yugoslavia. Written by a Dubliner, Brian Phelan, who also wrote the Niall Toibin-Pierce Brosnan TV movie Murphy's Stroke and RTE drama The Treaty.

The Rites of Frankenstein (1973) - Jess Franco nonsense. Zoom-shots, characters in period shot wandering about, Dennis Price waiting to die...

The Candy Snatchers (1973) - This is critically acclaimed, but I didn't get it. Sleazy exploitation crime thriller about an overage, kidnapped schoolgirl.

Cinderella Liberty (1973) - Typical New Hollywood romance-with-an-edge with James Caan and Marsha Mason.

The Front Page (1974) - The 30s in the US don't fascinate me. This feels like every other 30s post-Sting Hollywood film, despite being by Billy Wilder. The name Jennings Lang is a sign. It feels adequate, nothing more, nothing less.

The Gambler (1974) - Sleazy, unlikeable James Caan crime, clearly written by a perv. Oh, yeah, James Toback wrote it.

Conrack (1974) - Affecting, naturalistic story based on the real-life white teacher who taught a group of illiterate black kids  in the South Carolina islands who live a backward pre-technological life. Jon Voight is ironically cast, knowing his bigoted modern ways, and the kids are the actual kids from Pat Conroy's memoir, playing themselves.

When The North Wind Blows (1974) - Dan Haggerty in the snow with a tiger. Typical Sunn Classics wilderness schlock.

A Black Ribbon For Deborah (1974) - Forgettable giallo with Gig Young and a circus.

Hester Street (1975) - Very PBS drama with Carol Kane. Directed by Joan Micklin Silver.

Shampoo (1975) - Oh, feck off, Hal Ashby.

Galileo (1975) - Peculiar choirboy-narrated semi-musical play. You can tell, though that Topol will recycle his performance here as Zarkov in Flash Gordon, so that's nice.

Johnny Firecloud (1975) - Amateurish Dave Friedman sub-Billy Jack Native American vigilante nonsense.

The Bullet Train (1975) - Generic Japanese actioner with a bit of a disaster slant, with Sonny Chiba.

Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976) - Generic Southern Bonnie and Clyde-meets-country-and-western car chase exploitation with Marjoe Gortner and Lynda Carter.

All This and World War II (1976) - Insane. A mix of documentary and classic film footage from/about World War Two, soundtracked by an all-star band singing Beatles songs. The Bee Gees, Rod Stewart, the Quo, David Essex,Roy Wood, Lyndsey De Paul, Peter Gabriel, Keith Moon, Leo Sayer, the Four Seasons, Tina Turner, Jeff Lynne, Helen Reddy, Bryan Ferry and Frankie Laine... Yes, really.

Lifeguard (1976) - Sunny yet inwardly grim Sam Elliott vehicle, like a darker pilot for Baywatch, down to Parker Stevenson. Features teenage stalkers and suicide. Boring.

Birch Interval (1976) - Eddie Albert and Rip Torn in sentimental 40s-ish Amish family drama.

Julia (1977) - Redgrave, Fonda and a debuting Streep in 40s-style Holocaust woman's picture from Fred Zinnemann. Shot in the UK, hence Maurice Denham.

The Baron (1977) - Calvin Lockhart does a film about indie filmmaking, almost a blaxploitation version of Hollywood Man. It doesn't make much sense, but it has some heart and Joan Blondell as a crime boss.

First Love (1977) - Another post-Love Story romantic dirge with William Katt and Susan Dey, and some football.

Stunts (1977) - Low-budget, almost televisual excuse for action with Robert Forster, for New Line.

The Dragon Lives Again (1977) - If Al Adamson worked in Hong Kong and didn't care about copyrights...

The Redeemer - Son of Satan (1978) - Odd but clunky slasher disguised as an Omen knockoff.

Youngblood (1978) - Odd, rough-edged, grim coming of age AIP late-period blaxploitation.

King Frat (1979) - Silly, stupid, somewhat inventive in its grossness, but with a cast of students including an unconvincing Indian chief, all of whom are in their forties - at least.

The Secret of Nikola Tesla (1980) - Staid Eastern bloc biopic with guesting Orson Welles, Strother Martin and Dennis Patrick.

Windows (1980) - Talia Shire and Elizabeth Ashley (as a psycho) in Cruising for lesbians. At least, being directed by Gordon Willis, it is well-photographed.

Raggedy Man (1981) - Peculiar sun-kissed nostalgic romantic drama with Sissy Spacek, Eric Roberts and Henry Thomas that has a sudden last-act swerve into slasherdom. Almost Charles B. Pierce-ish.

Force Five (1981) - Basically A Fistful of Yen as a feature. Even the guy playing the Senator looks a lot like Derek Murcott as the British Intelligence man. Master Bong Soo Han is in the same role.

Six Pack (1982) - Kenny Rogers, Erin Gray and Diane Lane try to do something like a Disney version of a Hal Needham movie. Forgettable kiddy fluff.

Heidi's Song (1982) - Animesque Hanna-Barbera attempt at expensive animation. Unmemorable kiddy filler.  A few dodgy painted backgrounds and props show that even though money was spent, corners were still cost. The character animation is significantly more detailed than the average H-B cartoon, but the backgrounds wouldn't look out of place in Jabberjaw.

The King of Comedy (1982) - Rupert Pupkin really reminds me of Brendan O'Carroll. I find it a little too slick (too mid-80s in style), and too elongated, and I can see why it flopped. it's almost too dark that it feels like the black jokes are hard to notice.

Diner (1982) - Not my thing. It stills feels very early 80s, despite the 50s setting.

Silkwood (1983) - Almost too dry for its own good. Has Meryl Streep singing.

Variety (1983) - Film4 thing about porn in New York. Aimless.

The Survivors (1983) - Robin Williams and Walter Matthau in a film that feels like a typically Canadian attempt at comedy, but isn't Canadian at all.

Eureka (1983) - It looks stunning, but being Roeg, it's quite incomprehensible. The  British Columbia stuff is lovely. Cameo from Ian "Huck Finn" Tracey. It's very music video-ey. John Boorman said it was "the best picture ever made - for an hour", before it dilutes into a tedious courtroom drama with Norman Beaton and Emrys James.

Angelo My Love (1983) - Peculiar docudrama starring actual Manhattan Romani, directed by Robert Duvall. A confused halfway point between drama and reality.

Christine (1983) - The choice of un-50s music for the flashback doesn't work. It feels a bit goofy, Robert Prosky is great, but it feels like a Tales from the Darkside segment.

Better off Dead (1985) - Some bits of invention, but a mostly insufferable teen comedy. The animation helps.

The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987) - The first of that initial whirl of prestige Irish films that dominate the scene today. This is bolstered by an underrated and underseen Maggie Smith performance, doing a perfect Irish accent. For once, Bob Hoskins' American accent works, because he's not actually American. He's an Irishman who went to New York and now won't shut up about it. Prunella Scales is also oddly convincingly Irish, at the point of her career c. After Henry where she seemed to look ten years younger than she was as Sybil.

Casino (1995) - It's a fascinating story, but seeing it dramatised doesn't grab me.
Ditto Goodfellas (1990).

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