Thursday 16 January 2020

60 - mainly ok.rued precisely

The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939 - b/w) - Standard biopic.

Untamed (1940) - Typical faux-Canadian romance with Ray Milland.

Watch on the Rhine (1943 - b/w) - Dreary wartime romance with Bette Davis.

Bedelia (1946 - b/w) - Margaret Lockwood Gainsborough-noir.

Under Capricorn (1949) - Found it dull. Basically Hitchcock doing an (Australian) western.

Joe Palooka in Humphrey Takes A Chance (1950 - b/w) - Slapsticky, unmemorable comic strip comedy from Monogram.

The Flame and the Arrow (1950) - Burt Lancaster shines, but this feels cheap and B-movie compared to his later swashbucklers. And it lacks the British character talent of the later films.

Ten Tall Men (1951) - Burt Lancaster in tedious foreign legion fare.

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952) - Religious propaganda lifted by a solid Frank Silvera performance.

My Cousin Rachel (1952 - b/w) - Hollywood Gothic bastardisation of Du Maurier with Richard Burton and Olivia de Havilland.

Plymouth Adventure (1952) - Glossy, insubstantial Puritan ship-soap with accurate but offputtin American accents galore.

Inferno (1953) - Basically an average western in the modern era, with Robert Ryan and Rhonda Fleming, by Roy Ward Baker. Its novelty was it was in 3-D.

Niagara (1953) - Dull, confused chase thriller around a campsite with Marilyn.

Guerrilla Girl (1953) - Intriguing, expressionistic but hapless-despite-ambition faux-Greek New York cheapie with Helmut Dantine as a Nazi. Radley Metzger was an assistant director.

The Bridges of Toko-Ri (1954) - Typical Korean War aviation propaganda.

Black Tuesday (1954 - b/w) - Again, watched this noir only cos of Edward G. Robinson, an actor who I like despite him being in films I mostly find uninteresting. I'm not a gangster man.

The Silver Chalice (1954) - Paul Newman hated this, his debut, a typical two hour plus semi-biblical potboiler, the 50s equivalent of a superhero film. Jack Palance is Simon the Pharisee. It's ludicrous, hard to take with an almost sci-fi, unrealistic smooth look. But it is camp. Also Lorne Greene's proper film debut (he'd been the voice of NFB newsreels for years). He brings gravitas as Saint Peter, and looks as old at 39 as he always would. Newman plays a heroic youth called Basil. Yes, how the Americans say it.

Betrayed (1954) - Generic Dutch-set war film with Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Victor Mature, an ancient-even then Wilfrid Hyde-White, much organ music, Ian Carmichael and Anton Diffring with a monocle.

Hell on Frisco Bay (1955) - Glossy but empty studio color crime film with Alan Ladd, Edward G. Robinson, Fay Wray and a young Aussie named Rodney Taylor.

Prince of Players (1955) - More early Richard Burton, this time as Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes. Padded out by Shakesperean recreations as tedious as the rest of the film.

The Glass Tomb (1955 - b/w) - John Ireland and Honor Blackman in generic carnival-set Hammer quickie.

The Left Hand of God (1955) - Tedious God-bothering with Bogie and Gene Tierney in China.
See also Satan Never Sleeps (1962) with William Holden.

The Ship That Died of Shame (1955 - b/w) - Despite the criminal subplot, this is an average marine war film with Richard Attenborough and George Baker.

Lust for Life (1956) - Not much interested in Van Gogh, sentimentalised too.

The Man Who Never Was (1956) - Decent, solid, above average British war movie with a convincing Clifton Webb. Lampooned by the Goons. Weirdly, Churchill is played by Peter Sellers' voice in this. Really beautifully shot. Oswald Morris as DOP.

Love in the Afternoon (1957 - b/w) - Generic Wilder, on a Monogram budget.

Sea Wife (1957) - Typical romantic melodrama of the era, with Joan Collins and Richard Burton.

Merry Andrew (1958) - Silly Danny Kaye circus musical set in a bizarre view of 50s England.

The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958) - Soppy colonial Japanese melodrama with John Wayne and sideburns. Up there with Phobia as John Huston's least.

The Journey (1959) - Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in a dull Hungarian Cold War epic. David Kossoff and Robert Morley pop up, as does "Ronny" Howard.

The FBI Story (1959) - 2 and a half hours of FBI expose with James Stewart. Almost an anthology, doesn't work with a weird gung ho family sitcom tone. Even the South American Nazi stuff doesn't work.

The Music Man (1962)- A certain kind of all-American musical doesn't gel with me in its Rockwellian perfectness. This is an example.

The Double Man (1967) - Dreary ski-spy thriller with Britt Ekland and two Yul Brynners.

Our Mother's House (1967) - Annoyingly chirpy-creepy story of some sinister kids who give their annoying "father", Dirk Bogarde what he's getting. Obnoxious kids headed by Pamela Franklin include Mark Lester.

Before Winter Comes (1969) - Tonally confused, nothingy David Niven-John-Hurt-Topol vehicle.

The Sicilian Clan (1970) - Typical solid Eurocrime with Delon, Gabin and Ventura.

Watermelon Man (1970) - This is an intriguing curio, but it doesn't work, because what was intended as a wrongheaded idea of a progressive studio comedy with a white comedian blacking up is turned on its head, by getting angry black man Melvin Van Peebles in, who turns in something not unlike what Robert Downey Sr. was doing at the time - an experimental satire. He gets Godfrey Cambridge to whiten up, but he still looks like an African-American, a light-skinned one, as a white racist who turns black overnight. It feels confused, as to whether it's a sub-Jerry Lewis studio comedy or what Van Peebles would do with Sweet Sweetback. If it was by a white filmmaker, the lead character, Jeff would reunite with his wife and perhaps turn white again, but here, he tears his family apart and then decides to go out on his own and become a proud black man. There's novelty captions and Paul Williams, and it feels

The Horsemen (1971)  - Typical Europudding turgidity with Jack Palance and Omar Sharif as Afghan father and son. Set in the present day, but doesn't feel it. Almost a modern Maria Montez film.

Klute (1971) - Sleazy and unlikeable, not my thing.

Murphy's War (1971) - Unlikeable Irish-in-Venezuela war film with a drunken Peter O'Toole.

Black Gunn (1972) - Below-average studio exploitation with Jim Brown, technically a British production by Robert Hartford-Davies.

Ludwig (-1972) - No, I didn't sit through the whole four hours. Why should I?

40 Carats (1973) - The Graduate Goes To Greece.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1973) - It looks nice, but clearly Zeffirelli is ogling star Graham Faulkner, who probably got scarred for life, and as a result, didn't have the career people expected. Within a year, he was guesting on BBC soap Angels.  Alec Guinness looks like Padre Pio.

A Touch of Class (1973) - Typical 70s romantic comedy, nothing new.

The Phantom of Liberty (1974) - Feels like a generic French comedy despite Bunuel.

Cry of a Prostitute (1974) - Henry Silva and Barbara Bouchet in  a grim, sleazy Eurocrime that goes very odd.

Lucky Lady (1975) - Liza, Burt and Hackman and an incongruous Michael Hordern in a terrible tropical Sting.

Section Speciale (1975) - Costa-Gavras is too clinical a filmmaker for my taste.

Padre Padrone (1977) - Lovingly directed rustic moping from the Tavianis.

New York, New York (1977) - It tries too hard to be MGM, and ends up looking too false.

Caravans (1978) - Michael Sarrazin, Anthony Quinn, Jennifer O'Neill as a fridged maiden, Christopher Lee in this relatively tedious pre-revolutionian Iranian Europudding scored by Mike Batt.

Thank God It's Friday (1978) - Tacky and insubstantial disco comedy with Jeff Goldblum and Donna Summer.

Orchestra Rehearsal (1978) - It's an intriguing effort, it breaks the wall, it descends into madness, almost a bit Goodies, but it feels as if Fellini was told by Rai to make a South Bank Show-type documentary on the arts, and it resulted in this. Released in the US by New Yorker Films. Saw it on the Arrow disc.

The Long Riders (1980) - A typical New Hollywood western.

Wholly Moses (1980) - A good cast fail to help Life of Brian USA.

La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo (1981) - Dry and unsatisfying alleged comedy by Bertolucci, with Ugo Tognazzi.

Night of the Shooting Stars (1982) - The Tavainis' rustic cinema at its best, still feels like an Italian anthology series, but it was coproduced by Rai.

Gorky Park (1983) - Weird accent from William Hurt. Stolen by "and Alexei Sayle" and Henry Woolf, and Rikki Fulton.

Malena (1999) - Was that a real insect they killed?

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