Sunday 26 January 2020


Danger Lights (1930 - b/w) - Forgettable peril with Jean Arthur as an Irish bride.

Bird of Paradise (1932 - b/w) - Primitive but suitably exotic vehicle for Dolores Del Rio and Joel McCrea.

Blind Adventure (1933 - b/w) - Forgettable London-set faux-quickie with Robert Armstrong and Ralph Bellamy.

Dangerous Corner (1934 - b/w) - Unmemorable JB Priestly parlour room mystery with Melvyn Douglas.

Transatlantic Merry Go Round (1934 - b/w) - Jack Benny variety show-with-a-mystery-subplot on a cruise.

The Last Days of Pompeii (1935 - b/w) - Preston Foster is annoying. Basil Rathbone sneers and is camp. Overwrought Roman melodrama about fatherhood.

Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935 - b/w) - Another generic Old Dark House pic.

The Informer (1935 - b/w) - It doesn't work because of how horribly Oirish and unconvincing the whole venture is.

One Rainy Afternoon (1936 - b/w) - Failed vehicle for Francis Lederer, opposite Ida Lupino. Another "man-about-town" comedy that doesn't last in the head.

When Thief Meets Thief (1937 - b/w) - Forgettable quota thriller with Douglas Fairbanks romping around London.

Blind Alibi (1938 - b/w) - Terrible B-picture with Richard Dix feigning blindness and Ace the Wonder Dog.

Young in Heart (1938 - b/w) - Smile-worthy but hardly rib-tickling con comedy with Douglas Fairbanks Jnr, Janet Gaynor, Roland Young and Paulette Goddard.`

Pacific Liner (1939 - b/w) - Victor McLaglen in an undistinguished actioner from RKO.

The Mad Miss Manton (1939 - b/w) - Generic crime-con despite Stanwyck and Fonda. Hattie McDaniel gives it her all as the maid (what else, sigh...).

The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939 - b/w) - Basic Hal Roach fedoras 'n' cops slapstick with Joan Bennett. Victor Mature appears briefly but recognisably.

Eternally Yours (1939 - b/w) - Nothingy romance with David Niven doing magic and  Loretta Young.

Band Waggon (1940 - b/w) - ArthurAskey and Stinker Murdoch run a pirate TV station atop BBC Broadcasting House.

Swiss Family Robinson (1940 - bw) - Not great, Disney shouldn't have buried it. It wasn't worth it.

You'll Never Get Rich (1941 - b/w) - Typical dance flick with Fred Stair (sic) plus Rita Hayworth.

Once Upon A Honeymoon (1942 - b/w) - Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant in a sentimental anti-Nazi romcom, with obvious modelwork and Nazi Walter Slezak.

Whistling in Dixie (1942 - b/w) - Unfunny hillbilly horror-comedy with Red Skelton.

Tortilla Flat (1942 - b/w) - Hedy Lamarr, Spencer Tracy and John Garfield are unconvincing Mexicans.

A Guy Named Joe (1943 - b/w) - Sentimental MGM claptrap with Spencer Tracy's ghost and Irene Dunne. A very unconvincing England at the start, despite a tiny Edward Hardwicke. Another Junior Watson.

Guest in the House (1944 - b/w) - Generic noir, though Anne Baxter is memorably mad, and falls off a cliff.

The Story of GI Joe (1945 - B/W) - Sentimental but heavily authentic feeling story of Ernie Pyle, with Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum.

Betrayal from the East (1945 - b/w) - Forgettable RKO war-progaganda.

Bells of St. Mary's (1945 - b/w) - Sentimental Catholic propaganda.

Having Wonderful Crime (1945 - b/w) - Generic B-picture with Pat O'Brien and Carole Landis.

Conflict (1945 - b/w) - Generic noir with Bogie and Greenstreet, plus Alexis Smith.

It's In The Bag (1945 - b/w) - Bland 40s comedy with Don Ameche, Jack Benny and Fred Allen. Baffling to non-Americans.

Boom in the Moon (1946 - b/w) - Godawful Mexican comedy with Buster Keaton slumming it.

The Green Years (1946 - b/w) - Strange MGM Scottish answer to How Green Was My Valley, with Dean Stockwell doing a strange accent as an Irish orphan raised in Scotland. Features Hume Cronyn in Paw Broon mode, with Jessica Tandy, pregnant with their child during filming as his daughter, despite being two years older than her on-screen father/off-screen husband, and of course, they look the same age. It all goes downhill when Dean mutates into the wooden Tom Drake, as bland as Stockwell is offbeat.

Nobody Lives Forever (1946 - b/w) - A generic noir, despite John Garfield's presence.
See also Out of the Fog (1941 - b/w) with annoyingly cheery Oirish Thomas Mitchell, The Fallen Sparrow (1943 - b/w, with Maureen O'Hara), Dangerously, They Live (1941 - b/w) and the To Have and To Have Not remake The Breaking Point (1950 - b/w).

Nocturne (1946 - b/w) - Undistinguished noir with George Raft about a composer and his framed lady friend (Morecambe and Wise favourite Lynn Bari).

Brief Encounter (1946 - b/w) - Meh. It has been parodied so many times that it kind of loses that power.
See also The Passionate Friends (1949 - b/w)- Lean one of dozens of filmmakers who were convinced Ann Todd was eternally young.

Riffraff (1947 - b/w) - Decent-for-what-it-is B-noir starring Pat O'Brien and sinister-but-at-times-ludicrous Walter Slezak.

Smash-Up (1947 - b/w) - Unmemorable melodrama with Susan Hayward.

Body and Soul (1947 - b/w) - Well, made-atmospheric, but I'm not a boxing fan.

The Farmer's Daughter (1947 - b/w) - Swedish Loretta Young is annoying. Joseph Cotten looks bored.

Christmas Eve (1947 - b/w) - Forgettable Maughamesque anthology with George Raft and Randolph Scott.

Ride the Pink Horse (1947 - b/w) - Typical border noir, but possibly an influence on Touch of Evil.

Sinbad the Sailor (1947) - Sir Douglas Fairbanks Jr (yes, I know it was only an honorary knighthood, but he lived in the UK, and his accent was sort of RP) isn't bad as Sinbad,  His schtick is he's a storyteller, and he brings relish. But it is routine panto-ish Arabian Nights fantasy. Walter Slezak in yellowface leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, while Maureen O'Hara is nominally ludicrous as an Arab princess, even though I know Middle Eastern folk can be red-haired, like that Iraqi general who looked like Denis Lill.  It is an accomplished production unlike the later Son of Sinbad (1955), a ramshackle amount of exotica tack with Dale Robertson a cardboard lead and even Vincent Price fading into the tacky backgrounds and reused outfits and sets.

The Girl from Manhattan (1948 - b/w) - Rote Dorothy Lamour comedy, with Charles Laughton doing it for a cheque, probably.

Red Light (1949 - b/w) - Bland noir with George Raft trucking.

Too Late for Tears (1949 - b/w) - Forgettable noir with Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy.

Home of the Brave (1949 - b/w) - Based on a novel about Jews, but to avoid too many films about anti-semitism, James Edwards was cast and so this is an early Hollywood war film with an African-American lead. Solid World War 2 fare, though a little gung-ho for my tastes.

Jigsaw (1949 - b/w) - Dreary Danziger's anti-xenophobia noir with Franchot Tone and lots of cameos from big stars who did it for the cause not for the money, because it's Danziger's - the cheapest men in Britain.

The Lucky Stiff (1949 - b/w) - Unamusing alleged comedy with Brian Donlevy.

The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) - Fred Stair and Ginger Biscuits in a faded-Technicolor musical.

Caged (1950 - b/w) - Underrated, grim, tough women's prison film, possibly the best of its genre.

My Favourite Spy (1951 - b/w) -Generic Bob Hope vehicle.

Double Dynamite (1951 - b/w) - Groucho needs Harpo and Chico, not Jane Russell and Sinatra.

The Tall Target (1951 - B/W) - Unmemorable though interesting western-ish Lincoln-themed Victorian train thriller, with a young Ruby Dee.

Remains to be Seen (1953 - b/w) - Genre-confused comedy-musical-sleepwalking-thriller with June Allyson, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury and Dorothy Dandridge.

The Desert Rats (1953 - b/w) - Typical WW2 gung-ho commando stuff that is also the Desert Fox Part 2. For once, Burton plays Welsh.

The Moon is Blue (1953 - b/w) - Generic romcom with William Holden and David Niven, and the quickly-forgotten Maggie McNamara. The highlight is a fake ad involving Henry VIII.

Appointment in Honduras (1953) - Ann Sheridan and Glenn Ford in a forgettable jungle actioner.
See also  other RKO exotica like Escape to Burma (1955) with Robert Ryan and Barbara Stanwyck and sets reused from Sinbad, Macao (1952 - b/w) with Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum, and Pearl of the South Pacific (1955) with Virginia Mayo.

The Beachcomber (1954) - Robert Newton, Glynis Johns and Donald Sinden in a remake of the old chestnut. Colourful but not very good. Donald Pleasence makes  an early appearance in walnut juice.

The Barefoot Contessa (1954) - Typical romantic drama with Ava Gardner as Rita Hayworth. Typical Hollywood melodramatics. Humphrey humphs. Marius Goring tries to be Hispanic.

Hell and High Water (1954) - Samuel Fuller directs Richard Widmark in this serviceable submarine thriller with some interludes around the world that were either shot on location or convincingly faked using back projection.

The Teckman Mystery (1954) - Otherwise average 50s thriller with Margaret Leighton that has an intriguing twist re - the villain being the protagonist.

A Town Like Alice (1956 - b/w)- 50s Tenko (Jean Anderson!) meets outback romance.

Omar Khayyam (1957) - Bland exotica at its most undistinguished. Despite the setting, Yma Sumac is wheeled out.

12 Angry Men (1957 - b/w) - A good TV play.

A Face in the Crowd (1957 - b/w) - Being Irish, to me Andy Griffith is Matlock. The Andy Griffith Show I don't think ever even made Ireland. This film is not my thing. He is a revelation. He seems to be the character, but he wasn't.  He seems to be a folksy aw shucks Will Rogers-type, but he's a monster.  Not quite the sort of film I'd call something I'd like, but Andy Griffith in this may be one of the best performances I have ever seen. Even from the start, people think he's funny but he comes across as fearsome despite the humour. There's an underlying threat.

The Devil's Disciple (1959 - b/w) - Colonial-era America-set boredom with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas versus bewigged military bods Harry Andrews and Larry Olivier.

Classes Tous Risques (1960 - b/w) - Unexciting, rather dreary, grim gangster film with Lino Ventura and Belmondo.

The Fugitive Kind (1960 - b/w) - Depressing Tennessee Williams nonsense with Anna Magnani and Marlon Brando too old, Joanne Woodward going mad and rare product placement for  Barr's Royal Crown Cola.

Make Mine Mink (1960  - b/w) - Another generic Terry-Thomas vehicle.

Irma La Douce (1963) - o comedy should be 2 and a half hours and this expensive AND sentimental.

Psyche 59 (1964 - b/w) - Dreary psychodrama with Patricia Neal, Samantha Eggar, Curt/Curd Jurgens, Ian Bannen and Beatrix Lehmann.

Topkapi (1964) - I've always found Melina Mercouri scary, perhaps even creepy. As a child, I wondered, "Am I supposed to be like her or feel intimidated?" Even Maximillian Schell feels off in a heroic role, and cuddly Peter Ustinov as a Brummie is left to carry this misbegotten Eurocaper. Ustinov is the lead but  Jules Dassin is obviously more interested in the wretched Mercouri.

Hide and Seek (1964 - b/w) - Ian Carmichael, a Prunella Scales-esque Janet Munro, Hugh Griffith and Curd Jurgens star in a forgettable  thriller-comedy.

The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966) - Another overlong schtick-heavy comedy full of Alan Arkin looking like Kulvinder Ghir, mugging.

Cast A Giant Shadow (1966) - Overlong Zionist all-star propaganda.

The Blonde from Peking (1967) - Forgettable Eurospy with Mireille Darc, Claudio Brook and Edward G. Robinson, based allegedly on a James Hadley Chase novel.

Marat/Sade (1967) - A load of agitprop shite.

Bullitt (1968)- A thin B-movie idea stretched to infinity.

Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) - It only works with the Richard Williams animation stuff. The rest is kind of samey.

The Devil's Brigade (1968) - Overstacked, unconvincing, flatly shot war epic with William Holden and a galaxy of character actors from Dana Andrews and Richard Jaeckel to Richard Dawson and Jack Watson.

OSS 117  - DOUBLE AGENT (1968) - Terrible, simultaneously large but quite cramped Bond imitation with John Gavin, himself a nearly-Bond against Curt Jurgens, in proto-Stromberg mode, whose base is a tiny office in a rundown mansion in the jungle, and his sidekick a gormless George Eastman. It's a typical Eurospy, with big aspirations and globe-trotting but unable to afford ace set design and with dubbing, unable to get properly characteristic acting. Everything is surface. Also, Luciana Paluzzi pops up doing Fiona Volpe from Thunderball again, essentially.

The Damned (1969) - Homoerotic Nazi nonsense. It's not art. It's smut.

This Stuff'll Kill Ya (1972) - HG Lewis hillbilly tosh. God Tim Holt looks rough.

The Gore Gore Girls (1972) - Herschell Gordon Lewis' last true gore-opus. Even more ramshackle and much sleazier than normal, plus Henny Youngman.

Medusa (1973) - Unadventurous George Hamilton thriller.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - I find this crass, tacky and obnoxious. The opening Denton bits have a nice Aussie New Wave feel, apt considering director Jim Sharman was an Aussie. And Charles Gray is fun, but no, I never warmed to this.

The Tenant (1976) - Roman Polanski cosplays as Gail from Coronation Street in this pervy, nonsensical, creepy Eurohorror, which despite the director, is no different from any Eurohorror. It even has a dodgy dub by Robert Rietty.

Quadrophenia (1979) - Basically a TV play. It'svery shoddy with period details. There's ads for Heaven Can Wait, despite all the posters of Cliff, and parents watching B/W Avengers and Ready Steady Go is supposedly new.

Apocalypse Now (1979) - What a load of tosh. A Namsploitation film about surfers trned into an over-elaborate epic. Cluttered. Plus Coppola  like so many wastes Colleen Camp.

The Jigsaw Man (1984) - the 80s British film at its skankiest despite having both Sir Michael Caine and Lord Olivier, it has all the charm and style of an episode of Dempsey and Makepeace, with a sub-LeCarre espionage plot involving doubles, the points of interest include Susan George's flat full of product placement for Fairy liquid, Perrier water and a David Hockney calendar, and David Kelly using a funny accent.

Fort Saganne (1984) - Sumptuous but not-particularly-endearing French flop - Zulu Dawn meets March or Die, complete with Catherine Deneuve. From that period when every French film either had Philippe Noiret or Gerard Depardieu.

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