Tuesday 21 January 2020


It Happened One Night (1934 - b/w) - I don't get screwball comedies. Is it cos I'm asexual?

Satan Met  A Lady (1936 - b/w) - Early Maltese Falcon with Bette Davis, forgettable fluff.

Made for Each Other (1939 - b/w) - Lombard and Stewart in a bog-standard romantic drama.

Vigil in the Night (1940 - b/w) - Carole Lombard stars in this faux- Yorkshire Hollywood AJ Cronin tearjerker. Typical Hollywood Faux-British drama, but with some actual Northern accents in the form of Will Hay/George Formby stooge Julien Mitchell in one of his few Hollywood sojourns and Peter Cushing doing his Shopkeeper-in-From-Beyond-the-Grave accent.

The Moon and Sixpence (1942 - b/w) - Sentimental fictionalisation of Gauguin with George Sanders.

The Jungle Book (1942) - I saw this as a kid, and didn't like it. Twenty years later, I now see it as trying to be a faithful adaptation, but with aside from Sabu and Noble Johnson (an African-American!), a mostly-browned up cast, it feels not too distant from the Maria Montez vehicles that Sabu would end up in. It has beautiful colour and production design, but it can't decide if it is a prize piece of pulp or a rather slow, faithful adaptation. It's not quite as good as the thrilling, colourful Thief of Bagdad (1940), with Sabu.

Bombay Clipper (1942 - b/w) - Nothingy Universal B-picture.

The Falcon and the Co-Eds (1943 - b/w) - Generic, sub-Lewton RKO mystery folderol.

Mademoiselle Fifi (1944 -b/w) - Generic period romp from Val Lewton.

Spellbound (1945 - b/w) - Not weird enough.

Mr. Ace (1946 - b/w) - Undistinguished political drama with George Raft and Sylvia Sidney.

Colonel Effingham's Raid (1946 - b/w) - Forgettable regional comedy from Fox.

Diary of a Chambermaid (1946 - b/w) - Typical Hollywood romance with Paulette Goddard and future Irish resident Hurd Hatfield. Despite Jean Renoir at the helm.

The Strange Woman (1946 - b/w) - Edgar Ulmer-directed period gothic programmer with Hedy Lamarr and George Sanders.

Sleep, My Love (1946 - b/w) - Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche and a very hammy George Coulouris in another mad woman noir. By Douglas Sirk.

A Scandal in Paris (1946 - b/w) - Generic swashbuckling period piece with George Sanders.

Whistle Stop (1946 - b/w) - Generic noir with Ava Gardner and George Raft.

The Other Love (1947 - b/w) - Swiss semi-noir romantic dirge with David Niven and Barbara Stanwyck.

Dishonored Lady  (1947 - b/w) - Hedy Lamarr in unmemorable noir.

The Macomber Affair (1947 - b/w) - Tiresome safari with Joan Bennett, Gregory Peck and Robert Preston.

Born To Kill (1947)  - Typical noir. Lawrence Tierney feels like a tough dragged onto the stage. Elisha Cook does his face.

Carnegie Hall (1947 - b/w) - Tedious concert film with soap elements. By Edgar Ulmer.

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1947 - b/w) - George Sanders and Angela Lansbury (convincingly adult at 22) in another old Hollywood piece of tiresome period romantica.

The Woman in Brown (1948 - b/w) - Forgettable UA-distributed cheapie courtroom noir.

The Argyle Secrets (1948 - b/w) - Film Classics poverty noir with William Gargan.

Conspirator (1948 - b/w) - Sub-Hitchcock MGM British thrill-romance gaslighter with Robert and Elizabeth Taylor swapping nationality.

The Men (1950 - b/w) - Marlon Brando's early role in an awkward story of disabled vets.

The Sound of Fury (1950 - b/w) - Unmemorable noir with Lloyd Bridges.

The Second Woman (1950 - b/w) - Forgettable gothic with Robert Young, sub-Rebecca.`

The Admiral was a Lady (1950 - b/w) - Forgettable cheapo comedy with Edmond O'Brien.

The Magnificent Yankee (1950 - b/w) - Louis Calhern is solid, but this is an average political biopic.

The  Kangaroo Kid (1951 - b/w) - Australian western with Jock Mahoney, could easily be American, just as forgettable.

The Well (1951 - b/w) - Vivid if somewhat caricatured noir-docudrama about a little girl who falls down a well. Problem is she's black.

Another Man's Poison (1951 - b/w) - Bette Davis and husband Gary Merrill in a cheap, undistinguished British thriller, the highlight of which is Davis' climactic manic laughter.

The First Legion (1951 - b/w) - Charles Boyer and Leo G. Carroll in preachy religious schmaltz.

When I Grow Up (1951 - b/w) - Ill-fated child star/Disney boy Bobby Driscoll stars in this schmaltzy circus-themed family bonding story.

The Lady Says No (1951) - Despite a surrealistic dream sequence involving drumming James Robertson Justice and cannibal bait David Niven, forgettable comedy for Joan Caulfield.

Three Steps North (1951 - b/w) - Dreary Italian noir with Lloyd Bridges.

The River (1951) - I like the cinematography, but Renoir seems far too interested in Esmond Knight and his awful family.

People will Talk (1951 - b/w) - Sentimental comedy with Cary Grant. Everett Sloane is annoying. It has an odd tone, and bores with his constant politicking.

Moulin Rouge (1952) - I cannot take this seriously because of Jose Ferrer's ridiculous appearance as Toulouse-Lautrec with his false legs hiding his walking on knees, plus he plays his own dad.

Bwana Devil (1952) - Terrible African nonsense with Robert Stack and Scottish Nigel Bruce, only remembered for being the first 3-D feature. The action is forgettable.

Actors and Sin (1952 - b/w) - Forgettable Edward G. Robinson-starring Maughamesque two-story.

Dangerous When Wet (1953)  - Esther Williams goes around the fake Channel and swims with Jerry Mouse.

Wicked Woman (1953 - b/w) - Typical low-rent noir.

Return To Paradise (1953) - Sentimental alleged comedy tropicana with Gary Cooper.

Personal Affair (1953 - b/w) - Eady level bargain suspenser with Gene Tierney, Glynis Johns, Leo Genn and teen Nanette Newman.

The Man Between (1953 - b/w) - Dowdy Cold War romance with James Mason, Claire Bloom and Hildegarde Knef.

Shield For Murder (1954 - b/w) - Dreary copboiler with Edmond O'Brien an unlikely ladies' man.

Storm Fear (1955 - b/w) - Dreary snowbound Cornel Wilde noir.

A Bullet for Joey (1955- b/w) - Raft and Robinson in a basic noir, the only difference the nominal Montreal setting.

Mr. Roberts (1955) - Sentimental rot.

The Naked Street (1955 - b/w) - Bland gangster melodrama with Anthony Quinn and Anne Bancroft.

Desert Sands (1955 ) - White Arabs galore in this western-like Foreign Legion silliness with Ralph Meeker and Arab girls dressed like teens at a diner.

The Big Knife (1955 - b/w) - Intriguing but sluggish Aldrich meta-noir with Ida Lupino, Jack Palance, Rod Steiger and Miss Shelley Winters, as she is billed, which makes her sound like a drag act.

Not As A Stranger (1955 - b/w) - Ludicrous medical school drama, Sinatra and Robert Mitchum (looking weirdly like Bill Murray at times) are unconvincing as students. Olivia De Havilland even more so as the "older woman". Lon Chaney Jr. pops up.

The Harder They Fall (1956 - b/w) - I didn't enjoy it, but it aptly captures what I feel boxing was of that era. Bogie's last film. He looks rough, but then he never looked healthy.

Nightmare (1956 - b/w) - Generic, nothingy noir with Edward G. Robinson and Kevin McCarthy, paranoid as always.

The Boss (1956 - b/w) - Generic gangster melodrama with John Payne.

Bandido (1956) - Generic Mexican-set western with Robert Mitchum.

Flight to Hong Kong (1956 - b/w) - Dreary Asian travelogue with Rory Calhoun standing and walking about.

The Sharkfighters (1956) - Dreary war fare with Victor Mature.

Time Limit (1957) - Grim war trial with Richards Widmark and Basehart.

Jungle Heat (1957 - b/w) - Lex Barker in a forgettable tropic timewaster.

The Big Boodle (1957 - b/w) - Dodgy adventure with Errol Flynn in Cuba.

Paths of Glory (1957 - b/w) - A well-made war movie, nothing more, nothing less.

Anna Lucasta (1958) - Forgettable African-Americanisation of a Paulette Goddard vehicle starring Sammy Davis Jr and Eartha Kitt.  I remember the poster in a David Thomson book.

The Gun Runners (1958 - b/w) - To Have Or Have Not with Audie Murphy and Eddie Albert. Typical 50s tropicana B-movie dreck.

Ten Seconds to Hell (1959 - b/w) - Confused, tedious post-war Berlin actioner with Jack Palance and Jeff Chandler as Germans. Weirdly a Hammer production, despite a mainly US cast and crew - Robert Aldrich as director.

A Terrible Beauty (1959) - Richard Harris gets a weird "and" "co-starring" credit after anyone, but he gets his own caption, even though this was an early role. Robert Mitchum and Dan O'Herlihy (around the time he accidentally christened Adele King Twink during a ballet recital) star. Joe Lynch has no tache or stubble. Tiresome Norn Iron-set Oirish action. My grandad met Mitchum on this. Didn't like him.

Captured (1959 - b/w) - Never meant to be seen outside military procedures, this is a taut little military information film about the dangers of fighting with the Red Chinese. Weird to see Bernard Fox in a grim POW setting pre-Hogan's  Heroes.

The Man in the Net (1959 - b/w) - Curtiz and Alan Ladd reduced to this forgettable lynching cheapie.

Ocean's 11 (1960) - Jeez the Rat Pack were smug.

X-15 (1961) - Cheerless proto-Right Stuff from Richard Donner, with Charles Bronson and Mary Tyler Moore.

Paris Blues (1961 - b/w) - I suppose this Paul Newman-Sidney Poitier-Louis Armstrong-Diahann Carroll-Joanne Woodward jazz yarn accurately captures the 60s jazz era, but it's not  an era I am bothered in.

Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title (1966 - b/w) - Terrible poverty row It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World filled with cameos, but starring a Dick Van Dyke Show-era Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie.

Viva Maria! (1965) -  Beginning in an Irish castle ruin, this is another IRA Mexican Revolution Eurowestern (like  A Fistful of Dynamite), it's almost fun, but it feels quite mechanical and suffers from that weird French sense of humour. And it's also a musical, Brigitte Bardot and Francoise Dorleac do music numbers. It's a bit confused. Like A Fistful of Dynamite, it is completely historically inaccurate, shifting the Revolution to about ten-fifteen years early.

Made in USA (1966) - Fuck off, Godard.

La Musica (1967) - Artsy nonsense with Robert Hossein and Delphine Seyrig, from Marguerite Duras.

Tobruk (1967) - Cheap-feeling Gene Corman war movie that despite having Rock Hudson and Geore Peppard when they were still film stars, still feels like a TV show from the era.

Shock troops (1967) Possibly Costa-Gavras' best film. Gritty, unlikeable, clinical but captures the horrors of war via a men-on-a-mission movie. With Bruno Cremer and Michel Piccoli leading a solid cast. Produced by Harry Saltzman, this was  a major flop.

Le Demoniaque (1968) - Dreary but sunny French Eurospy-ish James Hadley Chase thriller.

A Touch of Love (1968) - Standard though decent pregnancy drama, Sandy Dennis quite convincing as a British student, Ian McKellen playing himself thanks to Margaret Drabble basing the character on him. Feels a bit telly, but then it is Waris Hussein.

Coogan's Bluff (1968) - Clint Eastwood IS McCloud. With Susan Clark as the not-ill-fated-for-a-change love interest. It's weird seeing Clint in something relatively TV-like, being a Universal production of the late 60s. No wonder it spawned a series, though one with a different, less realist, more fantastical character. You wouldn't see Coogan fight Dracula or team up with Adam Faith to fight the IRA at Buck House.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) - Always found this smug.

The Gypsy Moths (1969) - A soap opera with skydiving.

The Love God (1969) - It feels like a Disney comedy gone dirty, because of Don Knotts and his sexy entourage (including trans woman Aleshia Brevard). It's an odd film. It doesn't quite work. I can see why it flopped. Dispiriting, as Leslie Halliwell puts it.

Three Into Two Won't Go (1969) - Dreary Rod Steiger-as-Northern relationship drama, as teen strumpet Judy Geeson splits him from Claire Bloom. Written by Edna O'Brien, directed by Peter Hall.

They Call Me Mr. Tibbs (1970) - Generic blaxploitation-with-class from Sidney Potter (sic).

Devil in the Brain (1972) - Dry Sergio Sollima family drama/semi-giallo with Micheline Presle, Maurice Ronet and Keir Dullea, but ace Morricone soundtrack.

L'attentat (1972) - Roy Scheider (in a cameo, essentially) and Nigel Davenport (as an American, really?) stand out like sore thumbs in this extremely French and therefore alienating conspiracy thriller from Yves Boisset. With Cremer, Piccoli, Trintignant...Gian Maria Volonte is the titular assassinated North African dictator, and Jean Seberg is unrecognisable. She could be any other dowdy, almost-middle aged faded Euro-starlet.

Two People (1973) - Overlong, empty, meandering Love Story of a divorce with Lindsay Wagner and Peter Fonda.

Leonor (1975) - Juan Bunuel does a medieval fantasy-horror with Michel Piccoli, Liv Ullman and Ornella Muti. It looks nice, but is slow, and trapped between art and schlock.

The Hunter will Get You (1976) - Jean Paul Belmondo and Bruno Cremer in a serviceable but repetititve chase-actioner.

The Buddy Holly Story (1978) - Despite being way too old, Gary Busey still convinces as Buddy Holly, even though it does reek of that very 70s faux-50s quality.

New Year's Evil (1980) - Family row dramatised as a telethon dramatised as a slasher.

Le Professionnel (1981) - Belmondo is a great, weary presence, but this is a confused film. It feels too classy to be an exploitation actioner, but there's sleazy elements i.e. the naked Anita Harris lookalike being tortured. Great soundtrack, even if it is mainly Chi Mai (Theme to the Life and Times of David Lloyd George).

Thief (1981) - Not exactly my cup of tea, but stylish, with substance, and feels aggressively modern for the era. Willie Nelson's kind of wasted, though.

Archangel (1990) - Experimental Guy Maddin WW1 weirdness.

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