Monday 30 December 2019


The Flirting Widow (1930 - b/w) - Typical 30s romantic comedy of manners, with Basil Rathbone. Not my bag.

Grumpy (1930 - b/w) - George Cukor's first film, an average, stagey proto-talkie about a grumpy old Englishman. A melodrama.

Sidewalks of New York (1931 - b/w) - Halfway between a silent Buster Keaton film and a talkie kid gang movie, and never quite gels. Almost forgettable if it weren't a Keaton film.

a nous la liberte (1931 - b/w) - Modern Times stole from Rene Clair to the point of plagiarism.

Payment Deferred (1932 - b/w) - Charles Laughton adds authenticity to an average Hollywood-British melodrama.

Before Dawn (1933 - b/w) - Generic old dark house thriller with Warner Oland.

Kid Millions (1934) - Eddie Cantor musical, not great, until the astonishing proto-Wonka climax in color.

Stamboul Quest (1934 - b/w) - Forgettable MGM period drama/semi-actioner.

Jalna (1935 - b/w) - Bland, unmemorable faux-Canadian family drama with Nigel Bruce.

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937 - b/w) - I find Eddie Cantor annoyingly gormless.

The Good Old Soak (1937) - Why did I watch this drunken Wallace Beery drama...

Busman's Honeymoon (1940 - b/w) -Robert Montgomery is a terrible Americanised Peter Wimsey.

Scattergood Baines (1941)/Scattergood meets Broadway (1942 - b/w)/Scattergood Survives A Murder (1942 - b/w) - Forgettable rural comedies with Guy Kibbee, radio spinoffs.

The Wild Man of Borneo (1941 - b/w) - Generic "loveable eccentric in a small town" programmer with Frank Morgan.

The Sea Wolf (1941 - b/w) - Typical 40s seafaring fare.

This Woman is Mine (1941 - b/w) - Second-rate maritime drama with Franchot Tone and Walter Brennan.

Arabian Nights (1942) - Maria Montez tosh, with Sabu. Basically a panto. There's even comedy crossdressing.

Thunder Birds (1942) - Forgettable Fox color air display schlock. On dvd.

There's One Born Every Minute (1942 - b/w) - Elizabeth Taylor's debut, a forgettable sitcom thing.

Nightmare (1942 - b/w) - A dummy death is the highlight of this Universal crime-thriller with Brian Donlevy and Diana Barrymore.

Mission to Moscow (1943 - b/w) - Hoary old biopic/propaganda of Ambassador Walter Davis, with Walter Huston.

This Land is Mine (1943 - b/w) - Preachy WW2 fare set in a fantasyland with Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara and George Coulouris.

Schweik's New Adventures (1943 - b/w) - Nothingy propaganda piece made by the British. Pro-Czech.

Assignment in Brittany (1943 - b/w) - Dreary Jean Pierre Aumont wartime noir.

White Savage (1943) - Colourful but lacking in every department, typical Maria Montez. In some shots, Sidney Toler (playing a sinister Charlie Chan-if-he-were-a-villain) is not wearing either yellowface or hair dye.`

Laura (1944 - b/w) - On DVD. It's a romance disguised as a thriller. It looks gorgeous. But it's a bit too lovelorn with itself. Dana Andrews comes across as childish.  Second time attempting this.

Club Havana (1945 - b/w) - Generic noirish musical from Edgar Ulmer, for PRC.

Molly and Me (1945 - b/w) - Sentimental Gracie Fields comedy that is worth it for the embryonic middle-stage Roddy McDowall, who is extremely camp and lispy and twinky - at the difficult teen stage. He's lost his child star cuteness, he's not quite the character actor he'd evolve into. And he does the Galen nose-thing. There's also a dog in a bowler hat.

Dark Passage (1947 - b/w)/The Enforcer (1951  - b/w) - Generic Bogie.

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948 - b/w) - Barbara Stanwyck noir/woman's picture. I can appreciate the style, but it feels quite average.

Force of Evil (1948 - b/w) - A typical noir. A little too brutal and nihilistic for my liking.

Flamingo Road (1949 - b/w) - Tiresome antebellum melodrama with Joan Crawford that later spawned a Dallas-alike soap.

Spy Hunt (1950 -  b/w) - Forgettable European-set Universal spy B-flick with Howard Duff. Makes the idea of black panthers loose in the Alps dull.

The Miniver Story (1950 - b/w) - A bare-faced retread of the first film, that despite being made in Britain at Borehamwood, has to recreate the look of the original film so it still looks like it was made in Burbank.

Kim (1950) - Walnut juice-faced character actors ahoy in this cutesy Dean Stockwell-centred take on Kipling.

State Secret/The Great Manhunt (1950 - b/w) - Douglas Fairbanks Junior, Jack Hawkins, Glynis Johns and Herbert Lom are in a ludicrous Launder/Gilliat attempt at a serious Hitchcockian thriller set in a comedy Ruritania.

Peking Express (1951 - b/w) - Lazy male-centred remake of Shanghai Express with Joseph Cotten.

The Lemon Drop Kid (1951 - b/w) - Typical sentimental Bob Hope froth, that launched the song Silver Bells.

Hidden Face (1952 - b/w) - A strange, dreamlike Hammer quickie noir with Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott and Andre Morell.

Naked Alibi (1954 - b/w) - Why do I still watch noir? Sterling Hayden, probably.

Affair in Trinidad (1952 - b/w) - Gilda 2 - This Time It's Rusted.

Red Ball Express (1952 - b/w) - Generic occupied Europe WW2 fare with an interracial balance including Sidney Poitier.

Girdle of Gold (1952 - b/w) - Amiable but forgettable Welsh b-comedy with Esmond Knight in a lead.

The Thief (1952 - b/w) - A strange, never entirely successful modern silent by Ray Milland. It feels contrived in the way it avoids dialogue.
Not to be confused with the bland, generic WW2 Milland Eady Levy-bait The Safecracker (1958 - b/w).

Big Jim McLain (1952 - b/w) - Cutesy, heroic but insidious anti-commie fascist nonsense from John Wayne as a commie-smasher in Hawaii.

Stalag 17 (1953 - b/w) - Generic, obnoxious, smarmy wartime semi-comedy.

East of Sumatra (1953) - Jeff Chandler and Anthony Quinn in generic foreign action nosh.

The Brute (1953) -Still feels like typical Mexican cinema of the 50s, even if directed by Bunuel.

Dial M for Murder (1954)/North by Northwest (1959) - Rewatched these Hitchcocks. They're sort of like the Bible. Even if you find them three star material, you can't really criticise. Plus the terrible The Wrong Man.

Dangerous Mission (1954) -Early Irwin Allen. Unmemorable color crime film with Victor Mature chasing Vincent Price in the ice.

The Dam Busters (1954)- It does the utterly unremarkable aviation war-actioner genre well enough.

Heart of the Matter (1955) - Average British social drama, Trevor Howard in colonial saga by Graham Greene. Got the DVD.

The Mountain (1956) - Generic mountaineering tosh with Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner as brothers who look like grandfather and grandson.

Reach for the Sky (1956 - b/w) - Utterly generic wartime heroism.

Smiley (1956) - Ralph Richardson and Chips Rafferty costar in an Aussie Dennis the Menace-type thing about a sickly sweet naughty-innocent schoolboy. It spawned a comic in Eagle spinoff Swift. A sequel, Smiley Gets A Gun (1958) with a recast Smiley and Sybil Thorndike plus Chips followed.

The Long Haul (1957 - b/w) - Dreary sub-Hell Drivers provincial trucker noir with Diana Dors and Victor Mature.

Congo Crossing (1957) - Dire 50s African jungle tosh, despite Peter Lorre.

The Pride and the Passion (1957) - A Technicolor epic that could easily be a cheapie, were it not for the cast.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) - Typical Tennessee Williams, well-made but overheated.

Violent Road (1958 - b/w) - Efficient though average rocket-themed version of The Wages of Fear, with Brian Keith.

The Gazebo (1959 - b/w) - Sitcommy, slapsticky but unmemorable thriller with Glenn Ford and Debbie Reynolds.

Wind Across the Everglades (1959) - Piratey Everglades western-ish thing with a sexy Christopher Plummer in his debut and Burl Ives, but a western potboiler in pirate drag.

Never so Few (1959) - Frank Sinatra  leads a good cast in a tedious jungle peril.

Cone of Silence (1960 - b/w) -Generic aircraft thriller with Peter Cushing and Michael Craig and George Sanders.

Secret of the Telegian (1961) - Nonsensical pseudo-invisible man movie from Japan.

The Guns of Navarone (1961) - Perfect Christmas entertainment, overlong so ou can talk about something else and having dinner in between. Rewatch.

Waltz of the Toreadors (1962) - Generic Peter Sellers-as-old-dotty-general tosh.

Freud (1962 - b/w) - Overlong, hoary, psychedelic John Huston biopic - half-staid, half-weird, never quite fitting in. Has the stars of BBC's Trainer in Susannah York and David McCallum.

The Leopard (1963) - It looks gorgeous, but it is basically a prototype Europudding miniseries.

The Cool Mikado (1963) - Early Michael Winner musical, memorable but  resembles an episode of an ITC series with songs. Starring Tommy Cooper.

Alone Across the Pacific (1963) - It looks nice, but it is basically a fake documentary with some stuff in San Francisco at the end.

A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964 - b/w) - Leo McKern is good, but it's a tonally unsure programmer.

The Americanization of Emily (1964) - Seems to forget for a while it is supposed to be a Julie Andrews vehicle. Confused if it is a satire of wartime romances or a wartime romance.

The Chalk Garden (1964) - Turgid, sentimental soapie with Hayley and John Mills and Deborah Kerr.

The Dirty Game (1965 - b/w) - Dreary all-star Eurospy noir despite Terence Young co-directing one of the installments.

The Glass Bottom Boat (1966) - Generic, sunny but unfunny Doris Day comedy. At this point, she's a little too old to be the silly girl. On DVD.

The Face of Another (1966) - Slow, slightly creepy-in-the-wrong way Japanese take on Seconds, a man forced to wear an uncanny valley mask.

The Battle of the Mods (1966) - Ever wanted to see a British rock and roll film if made by the Edgar Wallace krimi gang... This is it. It begins in a  Liverpool that looks like West Germany with a lot of fog and blurry old terraced buildings. And not a Scouse accent to be heard. Then, cuts across Europe.

Woman Times Seven (1967) - Another all-star indulgence for Shirley Mac.

Weekend (1967) - Apocalyptic Godard bullshit.

Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) - Overlong, sleazy, unenjoyable bonkbuster with Marlon Brando and Liz Taylor looking lost in what is supposed to be Long Island (and was, plus interiors in Rome, hence Gordon Mitchell appearing), but because it's John Huston directing, it looks like Ireland. This was supposed to launch Robert Forster.

Trans-Europ-Express (1967 - b/w) - Slightly pervy artiness without a plot from Robbe-Grillet.

Hotel (1967) - Another nonsensical mockbuster.

The Milky Way (1969) - Bunuel sends two vagrants into a chocolate bar full of surrealistic nonsense.

Hellfighters (1969) - John Wayne is Red Adair, and it goes on and on, delving into soapie romance.

Gaily, Gaily (1969) - Gormless Beau Bridges in an unfunny coming of age sex  comedy based on Ben Hecht.

Pound (1970) - Robert Downey Sr nonsense about humans in a dog pound. Surrealist bullshit. Features a little blond boy playing with the dogs. That's Downey Jr (Robert not Morton).

Five Easy Pieces (1970) - Dreary New Hollywood nonsense.

Ryan's Daughter (1970) - The village doesn't look like a real Irish village. It looks like an apocalyptic landscape. It doesn't look far off something from Beneath the Planet of the Apes. Robert Mitchum sounds like he is going down to Winnipeg to get some Moosehead for the hockey.

Hoffman (1970) - Based on a novel by Irish writer Ernest Gebler, seemingly pervy Peter Sellers pays Sinead Cusack to spend a few nights with him, and in the end, she leaves Jeremy Bulloch for him.

Donkey Skin (1970) - Jacques Demy and Catherine Deneuve's Tales from Europe. Typical garish, somewhat tacky fairytale. The end has a helicopter land to shatter reality.

A New Leaf (1971)- It's sweet, but the kind of New York humour of that era leaves me cold. Don't ask. I've tried. I've tried.

Follow Me (1972) - Forgettable romantic comedy with Topol, Mia Farrow and Michael Jayston. Has Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and the Evil of Frankenstein used to play the same film.

In Celebration (1973) - From the American Film Theatre, practically a Play for Today, with a pre-Compo Bill Owen in a lead doing his Compo voice, alongside Alan Bates and James bloody Bolam sounding like Terry Collier if he became Bob Ferris in Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Northern Grimness.

The Conversation (1974) - I found it kind of over-self-conscious and unthrilling. Typical Coppola.

Heartbreak Pass (1975) - Not a western fan, and previously attempted this, but once you give it time, it becomes an interesting murder-mystery with Bronson and a great cast of character actors.

Framed (1975) - Generic hicksploitation with Joe Don Baker.

Royal Flash (1975) - It's typical Richard Lester swashbuckling nonsense, despite the brilliant cast. David Jason livens the screen in a tiny role as a moustachioed mayor. It is weird seeing Sir David in a proper film.

Insiang (1976) - Grim, well-made but tough to watch rape revenge from Lino Brocka.

Foxtrot (1976) - Mexican Europudding with Peter O'Toole, Max von Sydow and Charlotte Rampling having sex  in Majorca.

Greased Lightning (1977) - TV movie-like racing biopic with Richard Pryor.

3 Women (1977) - Creepy, pervy, if it weren't Altman, it might be an erotic thriller.

A Wedding (1978) - Shambolic, voyeuristic, cluttered Altman study of a wedding.

Born Again (1978) - An early example of well-budgeted Christian cinema. Starring Dean Jones as  real-life  reformed Watergate figure Chuck Colson, plus Dana Andrews, Jay Robinson, ex-IRA man George Brent,Raymond St. Jacques, Anne Francis and Billy Graham, plus a rough lookalike of Nixon and future Babylon 5 star Peter Jurasik aged 28 unconvincingly cast as Kissinger. If Larry Buchanan or Larry Cohen was a Christian, this is imagine how their films would look like.

Real Life (1979) - Aside from the fire of Tara scene, this Albert Brooks film parodying PBS' The American Family feels like a five minute sketch stretched to a feature, hence repetitive scenes of a camera-helmet.

Nostalghia (1983) - Arty Soviet-Italian coproduction on the life of defection from Tarkovsky.

Ladyhawke (1985) - Richard Donner's direction and a key cast mean it is  better assembled than most junky fantasies but it meanders.

Club Paradise (1986) - Despite the SCTV cast, it feels like a proper cast trying to enact a teen sex comedy.

Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1988) - All Guy Maddin films are the same.

Santa Sangre (1989) - Jodorowsky's tackiest, squirmiest picture.

The Wild East (1993) - Post-apocalyptic Kazakh western.

The Watermelon Woman (1996) -  An interesting film from Cheryl Dunye, about a young black lesbian filmmaker's search for a mysterious black actress of 30s poverty row films. However, to quote Joe Bob Briggs, there's too much plot in the way of the story, with stuff about Dunye's character's personal life, which although entertaining, could have been pruned slightly. But in all, a fine discovery.

Bleak Future (1997) - Very FMV game-y spoof. Amateurish but energetic post-apocalyptic comedy.

Peut-Etre (1999) - Post-apocalyptic Jean Paul Belmondo stuff with lots of Euro-skangers in tracksuits with spiky hair.

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