Tuesday 7 January 2020


Reaching for the Moon (1930) - Forgettable Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. comedy.

Prestige (1932 - b/w) - Melvyn Douglas in another generic colonial romance.

Liliom (1934 - b/w) - Charles Boyer in a carnival-ish, somewhat Cocteau-esque fantasy by Fritz Lang.

Night Life of the Gods (1935 - b/w) - Time-killing animated statues comedy with Alan Mowbray.

Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935 - b/w) - Preachy religious drama with Conrad Veidt.

13 Hours by Air (1936 - b/w) - Dreary disaster movie with Fred MacMurray, Joan Bennett and both Hammer American Quatermasses in Brian Donlevy and Dean Jagger.

Fury (1936 - b/w) - Wrong-man drama with Spencer Tracy, bland, slightly preachy programmer despite Fritz Lang directing.

Slave Ship (1937 - b/w) - Tedious maritime drama with Wallace Beery and Mickey Rooney.

Port of Seven Seas (1938 - b/w) - Another forgettable Wallace Beery drama, with Mad Maureen O'Sullivan, by James Whale.

Enemy Agent (1940 - b/w) - This Universal spy caper is deathly dull.

The Chcolate Soldier (1941 - b/w) - Nelson Eddy alleged comedy. Hard work.

They Dare Not Love (1941 - b/w) - Bland wartime romance by James Whale, despite small roles from Peter Cushing and Lloyd Bridges.

I Married A Witch (1942 - b/w) - A basic, somewhat likeable but basic romantic screwball-comedy with some fantasy elements. Veronica Lake, never an actress, only a haircut.

Alaska Highway (1943 - b/w) - Generic, undistinguished Paramount western in the snow.

The Impostor (1944 - b/w) - Jean Gabin in a stodgy French foreign Julian Duvivier Universal noir.

Sudan (-1945) - Slapsticky, sub-Stooges comedy abounds in this schlocky Maria Montez thing set  in Egypt (despite the title). Rewatch.

The Corn is Green (1945 - b/w) - Terrible Welsh racist caricature-ness from Hollywood, Bette Davis miscast.

Night in Paradise (1946) - Nonsensical Eastern fantasy about Aesop, with Merle Oberon and Thomas Gomez.

Temptation (1946 - b/w) - Torturous Universal gothic romance in Egypt.

Song of Scheherazade (1947) - Yvonne De Carlo in a plotless musical exotica allegedly about Rimsky-Korsakov.
See also Slave Girl (1947) - De Carlo fully in the Maria Montez mould, but it lacks any style and the only highlight is a talking camel?!?!

Call Northside 777 (1948) -  Generic, documentary-like noir with James Stewart and Richard Conte.

Casbah (1948-  b/w) - Pepe le Moko - the Universal exotica musical.

Noose (1948 - b/w) - Bland British noir with Carole Landis and Derek Farr.

Sword in the Desert (1948 - b/w) - Dreary pro-Israeli propaganda. Interestingly has Dana Andrews and Liam Redmond together before Night of the Demon.

The Reckless Moment (1949 - b/w) - Suburban noir-melodrama. Not quite my thing, but James Mason is solid, and his Irish accent is decent, but it's hard to judge, because his voice is so unique and so singular that it kind of overrides the accent.

An American Guerrilla in the Philippines  (1950) - A typical war movie with Tyrone Power and lots of folk done up as Filipinos.

Captain Carey, USA (1950 - B/W) - Undistinguished melodrama in the war with Alan Ladd.

My Forbidden Past (1951 -b/w) - Stodgy period drama/noir with Ava Gardner and Robert Mitchum.

Lorna Dorne (1951) - A dated film, even for the era. Richard Greene struggles to emote under his doubloon.

The Golden Horde (1951) - Another identikit bit of Universal exotica with Ann Blyth and some Mongols and ex-Sexton Blake David Farrar as an English knight.

Flame of Araby (1951) - Terrible desert Arab nonsense from Universal with Maureen O'Hara. Yes,I am queer enough to continue watching this shite.

Valentino (1951) - Dreadful biopic with the wooden Anthony Dexter.

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951 - b/w) - Daffy but there's something Ealing comedies that don't appeal.

Clash by Night (1952 - b/w) - Fritz Lang does a suburban kitchen sink drama with Barbara Stanwyck. Not quite my thing, but he tries.

Lure of the Wilderness (1952) - Jeffrey Hunter in a bland redo of Swamp Water.

Three for Bedroom C (1952) - Bland comedy with a post-Norma Desmond Gloria Swanson.

Kangaroo (1952) - Desperate Aussie western with Maureen O'Hara.

Scandal at Scourie (1953) -Average romantic drama with Rigsby's favourites, Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon.

King of the Khyber Rifles (1953) - Average actioner with Tyrone Power fighting browned-up stuntmen in turbans.

Botany Bay (1953) - Tedious shipbound antics with James Mason and Alan Ladd.

The Story of Three Loves (1953 - b/w) - James Mason, Leslie Caron, Kirk Douglas as Burt Lancaster, Moria Shearer, Zsa Zsa Gabor and a horribly bratty Ricky Nelson in a romantic anthology. Sub-Powell and Pressburger. Its theme is the theme from the South Bank Show by Paganini.

Ring of Fear (1954) - Bright but uncaptivating circus mystery with Mickey Spillane as himself.

The Seekers (1954) - Early New Zealand-shot fare from Universal with Jack Hawkins, Glynis Johns, Noel Purcell and an exceedingly twinky, curly-haired Kenneth Williams. It feels like a lost world fantasy movie, not unlike what Universal would do on the lot, but with a better cast. Inia Te Wiata plays the cannibal Maori chieftain, who yes, is a complete racist caricature, but at least, he's played by an actual Maori unlike the main girl, played by Laya Raki, one of those myriad "exotic" sorts who were European but lied about their ethnicity.  It's actually quite fun, and Ken Annakin's direction feels more dynamic than it should.  It feels weirdly Hammer-ish. A discovery of 2020.

Brigadoon (1954) - Van Johnson and Gene Kelly in a Scotland that looks more like a post-apocalyptic fantasyland.

Black  Widow (1954) - Turgid melodrama-noir with Ginger Rogers and Gene Tierney.

The Flame and the Flesh (1954) - Turgid melodrama with Lana Turner and Bonar Colleano.

The Big Combo (1955 - b/w) - Relatively well-made but otherwise average but-above-average-for-Allied Artists noir with Cornel Wilde.

Simon and Laura (1955) - Dull romcom set at the BBC with Kay Kendall and Peter Finch.s

Untamed (1955) - Tyrone Power in an Irish western in Africa. Basically a western with African tribesemen.

Jupiter's Darling (1955) - Howard Keel and Esther Williams in aquatic peplum tosh.

The Prodigal (1955) - Miserable if lurid biblical tosh with Edmond Purdom and Lana Turner.

A Man Called Peter (1956) - Richard Todd as a top US chaplain. Loses momentum when it leaves Glasgow in the first ten minutes.

The Iron Petticoat (1956) - Generic Bob Hope comedy with Katharine Hepburn. Not even being made in Britain helps.

Written on the Wind (1956) - Douglas Sirk's soap operas I can see they're well-made, and some have power, but this doesn't really appeal.
Ditto All that Heaven Allows (1955), The Tarnished Angels (1957 - b/w), Has Anybody Seen My Gal (1952), All I Desire (1950 - b/w).

That Certain Feeling (1956) - Dreary Bob Hope comic-strip-com.
See also Beau James (1957) - Bob goes serious.

While the City Sleeps (1956 - b/w) - Generic noir, despite Fritz Lang direction and Vincent Price as a camp masseuse.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt (1956 - b/w) - Ditto. Descends into courtroom tedium.

The Sun Also Rises (1957) - Interesting that the film that unites Tyrone and Errol is not a swashbuckler but Hemingway. It's overlong, it's bloated, it's basically a holiday for the cast, but there is something poignant seeing these two former icons of male adventure, both about to die prematurely. Flynn is so burnt-out that he's now a supporting player.

The Enemy Below (1957)/Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) - I don't enjoy submarine movies.

Mark of the Hawk (1957) - Another middling African sojourn with Sidney Poitier.

The Lady Takes a Flyer (1957)  - Shonky aviation romcom with Lana Turner and Jeff Chandler.

Five Steps to Danger (1957 - b/w) - Dreary noir with Sterling Hayden.

This Angry Age (1957 - b/w) - Tawdry DeLaurentiis melodrama.

John Paul Jones (1959) - Lacklustre Spanish-shot Bronston epic with Robert Stack. Interesting to see Peter Cushing centre stage in such an epic billed above the likes of Bruce Cabot.

Three Murderesses (1959) - Baffling French 3 girls comedy with Mylene Demongeot, Pascale Petit, Jacqueline Sassard and Alain Delon and his lovely back.

A Stranger in my Arms  (1959 - b/w) - Sub-Sirk soap opera with June Allyson and Jeff Chandler.

Killers of Kilimanjaro (1960) - Forgettable Warwick eady levy exotica schlock.

Wild River (1960) - Another rural epic drama that I suppose is fine, but I don't warm to.

Atomic War Bride (1960 -b/w) - Dreary Yugoslavian apocalypse.

No Kidding (1960) - Unfunny comedy where Leslie Phillips and Geraldine McEwan look after some kids, including Francesca Annis.

The Honeymoon Machine (1961) - Inoffensive, bland studio romcom with Steve McQueen, about to be too big for this kind of trifle, and Jim Hutton and Paula Prentiss, who ended up being stuck in this kind of trifle.

The Spiral Road (1962) - Lurid, walnut juice-heavy Indonesian-set drama with Rock Hudson, Burl Ives, Gena Rowlands, Geoffrey Keen in an obvious wig and a browned-up Reggie Nalder.

Dark Purpose (1964) Ross Hunter-ish giallo melodrama with Shirley Jones, Rossano Brazzi and George Sanders.

Weekend at Dunkirk (1964) - Repetitive Jean Paul Belmondo wartime saga, with  Catherine Spaak, Kenneth Haigh, Ronald Howard, Nigel Stock...

The Fortune Cookie (1966 - b/w) - Zippy if generic Billy Wilder comedy. On DVD.

Great Catherine (1968) -Terrible, raucous alleged comedy, much overacting by Zero Mostel and Peter O'Toole, while Jeanne Moreau smirks. Intended to launch Kate O'Mara as a movie star.

The Odd Couple (1968) - It's alright, but not my humour.

The Fixer (1968) - Alan Bates goes on a long slog through Jewish Russia, and we have to go with him. Pity.

Tante Zita (1968) - Joanna Shimkus, or Joanna, Lady Poitier stars in this arty, pervy Euro-nonsense.

Midnight Cowboy (1969) - It's certainly a memorable, visual film that captures 60s New York, but it also repulses.  It does feel like what it is, which is a film about America by Brits. And maybe because of the East Coast location and Filmways coproduction, it's not exactly a studio picture.

The Haunted House of Horror (1969) - A mess of a slasher, but there's some nice stuff in there. But fingers in the pie (the casting of Frankie Avalon, a cluttered script) mean this British slasher doesn't come off as it should.

The Statue (1971) - This David Niven sexcom about Esperanto and a ceramic dick isn't quite as bad as I expected. It has a young John Cleese at the height of Py-thonnnnn (as Americans say), and it has grainy footage of BBC Television Centre, which is always a plus, before cutting to a replica of the beloved building's interior in Cinecitta, which is also always a plus.

Alfredo, Alfredo (1972) - Average Italian comedy that somehow has Dustin Hoffman.

The Heartbreak Kid (1972) - Typical 70s dramedy with Charles Grodin. Lots of dinner scenes.

The Great Gatsby (1974) - Soft-focus New Hollywood romanticism with that awful woman.

Flesh of the Orchid (1975) - Atmospheric but dreary-in-that-French-way adaptation of a James Hadley Chase novel, a sequel to No Orchids, starring Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Simone Signoret and Alida Valli.

Picnic (1955) - A tedious period drama.

The Turning Point (1977) - Shirley MacLaine has the look of Cilla Black. It's a well-made film, but it doesn't do anything. I am not a fan of the ballet.

Fire Sale (1977) - Mediocre ensemble comedy with Sid Caesar and Alan Arkin.

Manhattan (1979) - Is Mariel Hemingway  supposed to be a normal seventeen year old or one with the brain of a forty year old? If it was shot in colour, it'd feel sleazier.

Fame (1980) - It doesn't feel like a proper film, just an endless montage of nonsense. Odd that this became a kids' show.

Gallipoli (1981) - Peter Weir's best film.

Back Roads (1981) - Dreary road movie with Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
See also Dennis Quaid in the similar hicksploiter Tough Enough (1983).

A Midsummer's Night Sex Comedy (1982) - Woody Allen and pals do a Bergman fanfilm.

Madman (1982) - A typical, grim slasher.

Betrayal (1983) - Patricia Hodge, Jeremy Irons and Ben Kingsley are in a love triangle backwards. Based on Pinter. Could have been a TV play.

The Dresser (1983) - Tom Courtenay is flamingly annoying.

The Hotel New Hampshire (1984) - Tony Richardson's American Play-Animal House.

Ginger and Fred (1985) - It's basically an Italian TV special with a story, and there's nothing wrong with that, especially if by Fellini, and he gets Italian light ent in a way Peter Chelsom gets British light ent.

Emma's War (1985) - Sullivans-esque thing by Clytie Jessop with Miranda Otto and Lee Remick.

Underworld (1985) - Oh shit, this is awful. Larry Lamb in action hero mode in a proto-Nightbreed from Clive Barker. Dirty Denholm, over-acting gangster Steven Berkoff, Art Malik, Miranda Richardson and Ingrid Pitt fail to help.
Rawhead Rex (1986), the followup though is almost an encapsulation of my childhood.

Bad Medicine (1985) - Duff comedy set in a South American banana republic with Alan Arkin, Steve Guttenberg, Julie Hagerty, Gilbert Gottfried and Eileen Way as Arkin's mother.

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