Friday 28 February 2020


Lights of New York (1928 - b/w) - Under-an-hour experimental gangster pic, semi-sound picture.

The Hole in the Wall (1929 - b/w) - Nothingy, basic Colbert-G. Robinson drama made when sound was a novelty.

Thunderbolt (1929 - b/w) - Disjointed semi-sound/semi-silent with Fay Wray and Richard Arlen. Almost noir from von Sternberg.

MATA HARI (1931 - B/W) - I don't get Garbo. Too icy.
Knockoffs followed. After Tonight (1933 - b/w) with Constance Bennett, who did similar shtick in Madame Spy (1942 - b/w). Madeleine Carroll in I Was  A Spy (1933 - b/w). And Dietrich did Dishonored (1931 - b/w).

The Star Witness (1931 - b/w) - Oddly slapsticky William Wellman courtroom/crime drama with Walter Huston and forty-odd Chic Sale as a doddery comedy pensioner.

The Impatient Maiden (1932 - b/w) - Elements of James Whale's style seep into this otherwise generic 30s romantic comedy.

Take A Chance (1933 - b/w) - Forgettable musical that launched "It's Only A  Paper Moon".

Stage Mother (1933 - b/w) - Maureen O'Sullivan and Franchot Tone in a melodrama musical about a stage mother that would have felt fresh at the time, but now feels old hat.

By Candlelight (-1933 - b/w) - Generic musical comedy of the 30s, by James Whale.

Gabriel Over The White House (1933 - B/W) - Walter Huston is proto-Trump in a tantalising glimpse of what might have happened if Josef Goebbels ran MGM.

The Affairs of Cellini (1934 - b/w) - Goofball Anachronistic swashbuckler with Fredric March and Fay Wray and Constance Bennett.

Private Worlds (1935 - b/w) - Colbert/Boyer romance.

The Riverside Murder (1935 - b/w) - Stagebound quota quickie with Alastair Sim.

Barbary Coast (1935 - b/w) - A Joel McCrea western with a jazzier setting and Edward G. Robinson.

Black Sheep (1935 - b/w) - Another forgettable cruise drama on a cruise. With Claire Trevor and Edmund Lowe.

L'Equipage (1935 - b/w) Annabella and Charles Vanel in a reasonably solid WW1 romance.

Ceiling Zero (1936 - b/w) - James Cagney and Pat O'Brien again, in another 30s Air Force saga.

Crown v Stevens (1936 - b/w) - Undistinguished quota quickie with Patric Knowles, from Michael Powell.

Le Grande Illusion (1936 - b/w) - I suppose because not having much interest in WW1 means that I didn't get much out of this, despite Gabin's big old comforting teabag of a face.
See also Renoir's Rules of the Game (1939 - b/w)

Klondike Annie (1936 - b/w) - Mae West in a typical 30s musical comedy in the frozen North.
See also Night After Night (1932 - b/w), She Done Him Wrong (1933 - b/w), Belle of the Nineties (1934 - b/w), the western Goin' To Town (1935 - b/w), Go West Young Man (1936 - b/w), Every Day's a Holiday (1937), The Heat's On (1943 - b/w).

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937 - b/w) - Well-made/well-intentioned mawk.

Dead End (1937 - b/w) - The almost-Gotham gothic of the setting is gorgeous, but the actual characters don't. Then, it is Bogie's gangster scrapes with Joel McCrea and the Dead End Kids that are the focus.

Hotel Du Nord (1938 - b/w) - Wasn't much interested in this Marcel Carne romance featuring pre-Hollywood Jean Pierre Aumont. Maybe, French romances aren't my thing.

L'Assassinat du Père Noël (1941 - b/w) - Confused, treacly but atmospheric noir/drama by Christian-Jaque with Harry Baur who was then tortured by the Gestapo.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942 - b/w) - It feels compromised, too ambitious for its own good.

The Cross of Lorraine (1943 - b/w)/The Seventh Cross (1944 - b/w) - One has Gene Kelly, the other Spencer Tracy, but they're basically the same film. Both have Hume Cronyn in them (though the Seventh Cross adds Jessica Tandy), both about concentration camps, both use the same sets. Watched both and couldn't remember what was in which. For years, I thought these were the same film.

Carnival of Sinners (1943 - B/W) - Shonky attempt by occupied France to do Lewtonesque chills, by Jacques Tourneur's da, Maurice. Only some spooky masks in the climax and an expressionist flashback register. Jean Davy, who costars, later ended up as the old patriarch in Chateuavallon.

Magnificent Doll (1946 - b/w) - Not quite my thing, but a solid period love triangle between Ginger Rogers, David Niven and Burgess Meredith.

The Crimson Key (1947 - b/w) - Undistinguished B-crime with Kent Taylor.

They Made Me A Fugitive (1947 - b/w) - Atmospheric Brit noir with Trevor Howard, an excellent funeral parlour matte with RIP on the  roof, and the usual sub-Patrick Hamilton music hall scrapes and BBC radio announcements.

The Devil Thumbs a Ride (1947 - b/w) - Junky Lawrence Tierney b-noir.

The Emperor Waltz (1948) - A typical mittel-European musical comedy, with  .

Drunken Angel (1948 - b/w) - Kurosawa does the yakuza film for the art.

I Love Trouble (1948 - b/w) - Undistinguished Marlowe ripoff with Franchot Tone. 

Intruder in the Dust (1949 - b/w) - Preachy racial relations wrong man melodrama despite a winning Juano Hernandez. 

Beyond the Forest (1949) - Bette Davis fails to convince she's a dark-haired young temptress.

La Ronde (1950) - Sumptuous but interchangeable romance with Anton Walbrook and Simones Simon and Signoret.

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950 - b/w) - A generic by-the-numbers noir with Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney.

Teresa (1951 - b/w) - Pier Angeli and the bland John Erickson in Fred Zinnemann's attempt at doing a sensual Italian drama. It's weak.

The Big Night (1951 - b/w) - John Drew Barrymore annoys me. No wonder he never became a star.

Trent's Last Case (1952 - b/w) - Forgettable British courtroom/crime drama with Orson Welles and Margaret Lockwood. Republic going straight.

Don't Bother to Knock (1952 - b/w) - Widmark, Marilyn and Anne Bancroft in a well-performed melodrama that perhaps lacks the thriller bam! it needed.

My Son John (1952 - b/w) - Preachy Communist blacklisting drama with Robert Walker, Van Heflin and Helen Hayes. A load of fascist old toot.

Forbidden Games (1952 - b/w) - It's nicely shot, but I guess French rural life doesn't appeal.

The First Time (1952 - b/w) - Sub-Cheaper by the Dozen family comedy with Bob Cummings and Barbara Hale.

This Woman is Dangerous (1952 - b/w) - Joan Crawford is like a sneaky mother-in-law.
Director Felix E Feist also did Tomorrow is Another Day (1951 - b/w), an overlong B-noir with Steve Cochran and Ruth Roman.

Sailor of the King (1953 - b/w) - Dull navalsaga with Jeffrey Hunter.

The Loves of a Woman (1953 - b/w) - Micheline Presle and Massimo Girotti in a bucolic seaside romance by Gremillion. Forgotten. Well-made but undistinguished.

Obsession (1954) - Undistinguished colour melodrama in France, with Raf Vallone.

Drive A Crooked Road (1954 - b/w) - Cheap, undistinguished  noir (despite a Blake Edwards script) with Mickey Rooney in a racecar.

Senso (1954) - Visconti period gloss. Farley Granger looks vaguely like he's trying to look like Ian Dury.

Chiens Perdus Sans Collier (1955 - b/w)  Not-terrible Jean Gabin flick, about Hue and Cry/War of the Buttons mad young fellas.  It ends with drowning and a tightrope act.

Bob le Flambeur (1956 - b/w) - Melville bores me. All stories of conflicted French bastards.

Odongo (1956) - Disney-esque African adventure spun off from Safari (1956), a typical Eady Levy-bait Warwick exotica drama.

Zarak (1956)  - Ludicrous, tacky brownface-tastic Indian saga with Victor Mature. From Warwick, who got Mature to do a cheaper, near-indistinguishable near-remake, The Bandit of Zhobe (1959).

Death in the Garden (1956) - Bunuel gets a sense of authenticity from the Central American neverland setting, but it's weird seeing Georges Marchal as the hunky adventurer, as he was later the craggy star of dreadful pan-European Channel "French Dallas" soapie Chateauvallon. It does go a bit 40s jungle adventure/zapata western.

Tears for Simon (1956) - Typical Rank suspense-tearjerker blandness distributed by Republic, with product placement for Procea bread and HP.

The Power and the Prize (1956 - b/w) - Dreary international jetset melodrama with Robert Taylor and Burl Ives about the glam world of metal production. Has a slightly convincing Hollywood London, though that's because the stock footage used has Polo ads on buses.

The Unholy Wife (1957 ) - Bland B-movie with Rod Steiger fighting with Diana Dors.

He Who Must Die (1957 - b/w) - Mercouri-Dassin passion play gubbins.

Kill Me Tomorrow (1957 - b/w) - Hoary, boilerplate British crime movie with Pat O'Brien, Lois Maxwell, George Coulouris and Tommy bloody Steele and boxer Freddie Mills.

Maigret Sets A  Trap (1958 - b/w) - Dry, unsatisfying, televisual vehicle for Jean Gabin. Nasty shock ending.

From The Earth to the Moon (1958) - One of the few big SF movies of its era that I had not seen. It's utterly generic steampunk Jules Verne ephemera. It hits the same beats that Master of the World would three years later. Joseph Cotten and George Sanders fail to add anything. It looks nice, but it never hits.

Stage Struck (1958) - Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg and "introducing Christopher Plummer" in a stolid RKO coming of age drama about an acting student on Broadway. Glynis Johns' name appears in bright lights, as does Eric Portman and Margaret Leighton and Maurice Evans.

Cover Girl Killer (1959 - b/w) - Junky, surprisingly sleazy Harry H Corbett thriller.

Sea Fury (1959) - 70-year-old Victor McLaglen seems drunk in this average Rank maritime adventure for Stanley Baker.

Marie-Octobre (1959 - b/w) - Dry, depressing drama about a Resistance reunion, by Julian Duvivier.  Has Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, and wrestling on a telly.

Moment of Danger (1960 - b/w) - Early Europudding with Dorothy Dandridge cast as white, Trevor Howard, Edmund Purdom and Michael Hordern. Typical family-friendly erotically charged wannabe-noir.

Leon Morin, Priest (1961 - b/w) - Slow story of Emmanuelle Riva and Jean Paul Belmondo as a priest. But it's a waste of Belmondo.  He doesn't even do a single stunt. There's a spiral staircase in the film. Surely, he could have fallen

The Miracle Worker (1962 - b/w) - Patty Duke is ferocious as Helen Keller, which is odd, because it's quite a schmaltzy story.

Drums of Africa (1963) - Tired old jungle claptrap. 

Bitter Harvest (1963) - Janet Munro (as a dislikeable tart) and John Stride in a Welsh drama that tries to be contemporary, with soap ads and swinging London, but feels like a leftover from the 50s. Based on Patrick Hamilton's 20,000 Streets Under the Sky. A grim end hints that despite the Rank color cinematography, this is a kitchen sinker.

Chateau en Suede (1963) - A confused, messy, oddly still attempt by Roger Vadim and Monica Vitti to do an old dark movie. Its title in the US, the Nutty, Naughty Chateau suggests something infinitely zanier. It seems to go back and forth in time, but hey, Vitti reads Spirou comic.

Bande a part (1964 - b/w) - Godard eejitry.

Le tigre aime la chair frache (1964 - b/w) - Chabrol tries to do From Russia with Love and Goldfinger (with Daniela Bianchi from the former, and a junkyard car-lifting from the latter). Stolid. The sequel,  Our Agent Tiger (1965) is in color, and thieves from Thunderball, but despite the gloss, is a typical Eurospy snore.

Pierrot Le Fou (1965) - Godard at least allows Belmondo to do some action, but  it's a load of aimless arty gormlessness. Is the whole paint-yourself-blue-and-stick-a-load-of-dynamite-on-your-head some kind of Looney Tunes/bandes desinees parody? Anna Karina does read Les Pieds Nickeles.

Mister Buddwing (1966) - Experimental, dreary amnesia drama with James Garner supported by Katharine Ross, Angela Lansbury, Suzanne Pleshette, Jean Simmons...

Tant qu'on a la santé (1966) - Surrealistic Pierre Etaix tribute to George Melies. See also Yoyo (1965 - b/w).

We Still Kill the Old Way (1967) - Sunny, arty but sluggish Elio Petri thriller.

Woman in Chains/La Prisonniere (1968) - Clouzot's final film, an over-arty sexy thriller with people standing in the middle of waves, random car crashes, psychedeic bollocks (In one case literally), and lots of bits of French TV. Charles Vanel, Joanna Shimkus (Lady Potter), Michel Piccoli costar.

Le Grand Amour (1969) - Some Milligan-ish surrealist slapstick with moving beds enlivens a dullish generation gap French romantic comedy by Pierre Etaix.
See also Etaix's Le Soupirant (1962 - b/w).

Pigsty (1969) - Nonsensical apocalyptic surrealism from Pasolini.

Clerambard (1969) - Baffling period eejit comedy with Philippe Noiret.

Ostia (1970) - Pasolini-written surrealist bullshit.

Groupie Girl (1970) - RTE light ent star/Basil Brush stooge Mr. Billy Boyle, Richard Shaw, Donald Sumpter, James Beck (yes, Private Walker) star in this grotty, not-a-pretty-but-maybe-not-that-unrealistic-a-picture-of-groupies sexploitation pic.

Ned Kelly (1970) - A dud western, with Mick Jagger and Taggart in Australia, but the music is Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. It's almost ashamed to be Aussie.

Angel Unchained (1970) - Biker and buggy trash with a young Tyne Daly. Typical 70s biker nonsense. Greek silent actor Pedro Regas plays an elderly native called "Injun".

Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971) - Pervy gay-triangle between Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson and Murray Head, with a solid cast - Peggy Ashcroft, Tony Britton, Maurice Denham,  Jon Finch in a role so tiny he's billed below June Brown as "Woman Patient". But it captures the early 70s, with its chemist scenes, and 70s Lego, and News of the World, and a little gurrier boy played by one Daniel Day-Lewis scratching a car with a knife. Nothing to do with Ireland despite the title bar DDL and Harold Goldblatt, but still gets filed in the Irish section at  video shops.

Drive, He Said (-1971) - Sporty Jack Nicholson hippie bull.

The Decameron (1971) - Pasolini sex comedy. Indifferent from dozens of other Italian sex comedies.

The Organization (1971) - Undistinguished blaxploitation programmer that just happens to have Sir Sidney Potter (sic) as Mr. Tibbs.

Les assassins de l'ordre (1971) - Dull Jacques Brel thriller by Marcel Carne.

The Canterbury Tales (1972) - A British sex comedy directed by Pasolini, for the art. Tom Baker gets his plunger out.

The Fighting Fists of Shanghai Joe (1972) - Typical duff late spaghetti western, with flourishes and coolie-wearing, ponytailed Chinese lead brought in to cash in on the martial arts boom.

The Honkers (1972) - Country and western rodeo bull with James Coburn.

The Scientific Cardplayer (1972) - Lively but nothingy comedy-drama with Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Domenico "Volare" Modugno and an overtly-mugging cry-baby performance from Alberto Sordi.

I Escaped from Devil's Island (1973) - Shot in Mexico, but because it's Corman, it could easily be somewhere just outside Manila.  Jim Brown and Christopher George star in a grim, tedious mockbuster of Papillon.

Billy Two Hats (1974) - Nonsensical western with Desi Arnaz Jr and Gregory Peck  as a mad Scottish cowboy. Shot in Israel with British money by Canadian Ted Kotcheff.

The Mouth Agape (1974) - Depressing realist drama with Nathalie Baye about terminal illness.

Chanoc in the Snake Pit (1974) - Mexican jungle comic trash.

Hallucination Strip (1975) - Nonsensical late-period hippie Eurocrime with Bud Cort and Marcel Bozzuffi.

L'Histoire d'Adele H (1975) - Truffaut period colonial gubbins.

Blonde in Black Leather (1975) - Monica Vitti and a Dana-esque Claudia Cardinale star in a goofball Italian premake of Thelma and Louise. Almost a distaff Spencer and Hill vehicle.

Marathon Man (1976) - There's nice setpieces, but it feels too pleased with itself to work as a good, solid thriller.

Bound for Glory (1976) - David Carradine is masterful as Woody Guthrie. It's weird to think he made this - a big-budget Best Picture nom while still doing Corman trash. But it's typical country and Western romantization that leaves me cold.

Beyond Good and Evil (1977) - Arty tawdriness from Liliana Cavani, with Dominique Sanda, Robert Powell and gay wrestling in the nuddy.

Peppermint Soda (1977) - Charming tale of French Cliff Richard fangirls.

Last Feelings (1978) - Typical Italian dying boy mush from Ruggero Deodato, a standard genre in Italian filone of the period. Released in cinemas by GTO in UK/Ireland, found a bootleg DVD of this in a charity shop in Bray, ripped from the Video Gems UK VHS. 

Just A Gigolo (1978) - Despite having Marlene Dietrich and David Bowie, this is basically a sex film. It's another Salon Kitty.  Dietrich at near-eighty looks a bit Cilla Black.

The Last Metro (1980) - Overlong miniseries-like saga of WW2-era Paris with Deneuve and Depardieu, by Truffaut.

The Mystery of Oberward (1980) - Antonioni and Rai make this, released in cinemas,  despite looking like a telenovela because it was shot on video.

The Witches of Eastwick (1987) -  Soapy supernatural Nine to Five, despite the incongruously Australian look that Miller brings to it (even though Vilmos Zsigmond did the cinematography).

The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988)-  An autobiographical rant by special effects wiz Mike Jittlov.

Wednesday 26 February 2020


The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914 - b/w) - Extraordinary strange Melies-esque production by L Frank Baum himself.  Harold Lloyd pops up in blackface. Hal Roach is a (not-cowardly) lion.

Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp (1917)  - Tinted panto from Fox, enacted by a cast of mainly children with moustaches.

From Morn to Midnight (1920 - b/w) - The Third Man's Ernst Deutsch stars in this woodcut-like expressionism.

Poil de Carotte (1925 - b/w) - Nicely photographed silent comic poignancy about a red-haired kid.

Hindle Wakes (1927 - b/w) - Ambitious, atmospheric silent Northern Grimness, by Maurice Elvey.

MALDONE (1928 - B/w)/Gardens de Phare (1929 - b/w)/La Petite Lise (1930 - b/w) - French silents/early sound work by Jean Gremillon. Something about early French cinema distracts me. It's slightly melodramatic yet languid.
Dainah la Metisse (1932 - b/w) is a striking enough jaunt along a cruise.

Le Capitane Fracasse (1929 - b/w) - Cavalcanti does a typical silent swashbuckler.

The Shakedown (1929 - b/w) - William Wyler boxing comedy. Very late 20s. The silent version exists, the sound version made simultaneously is lost.

Seven Footprints to Satan (1929 - b/w) - Astonishingly shot Benjamin Christiansen Hollywood Satanism.

The Informer (1929 - b/w) - Semi-silent adaptation. The posh accents work better than the Oirish brogues of Ford. Because it is more common for Irish people to sound posh like that, see Shane Ross.

Atlantic (1929 - b/w) - Slow German Titanic.

Her Man (1930 - b/w) - Undernourished comedy with Helen Twelvetrees.

Bad Girl (1931 - b/w) - 30s Fox romcom by Borzage.

The Yellow Ticket (1931 - b/w) - Shonky Russian drama with Lionel Barrymore and young Olivier.

Tiger Shark (1932 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson goes fishing.

Captain Applejack (1932 - b/w) - Precode Warner sexy pirate-dreamers-in-England comedy.

Night at the Crossroads (1932 - b/w) - Jean Renoir directs his brother Pierre as a blandly unmemorable Maigret. Though that may be the point.

Children of Montmarte (1933 - b/w) - French drama about orphans, with Madeleine Renaud who'd sort of reprise this matronly role as a nun in The Longest Day

The Ghost Camera (1933) - Strange, indecipherable filler with Ida Lupino and John Mills.

Ace of Aces (1933 - b/w) -Rote aviation with Richard Dix.

Pleasure Cruise (1933 - b/w) - Another forgettable cruise-comedy, with Roland Young.

Little Friend (1934 - b/w) - Vehicle for Nova Pilbeam, typical 30s child-stardom.

L'Atlante (1934 - b/w) - Jean Vigo-directed thing about some people on a ship. Responsible for the New Wave.  Slightly too gentle. It also probably invented slow cinema.

Of Human Bondage (1936 - b/w) - Unusually threadbare Bette Davis-Leslie Howard romance, the highlight of which is a Hollywood recreation of a WH Smith.

The Road Back (1937 - b/w) - James Whale's semi-sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. Ropey Americanised German-set antics on the backlot.

On The Night of the Fire (1939 - b/w) - Allegedly proto-noirish British crime quickie with Sir Ralph.

The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942 - b/w) - Baffling Clouzot comedy.

On Approval (1944 - b/w) - Light comedy with Clive Brook and Googie Withers. Typical posh comedy of manners that plays well in regional theatres, but I don't get.

Hungry Hill (1947 - b/w) - Oirish tat with Margaret Lockwood and Dennis Price, who also starred in the colour Gainsborough melo Jassy (1947) - the same year.

Escape (1948 - b/w) - Did I see this British thriller before with Rex Harrison, Peggy Cummins and William Hartnell (In a dual role - under the pseudonym Patrick Troughton, he plays a shepherd)...

Daybreak (1948 - b/w) - Basic Brit noir with Joan Collins' husband Maxwell Reed an unlikeable not-quite-presence, Eric Portman, Ann Todd and Bill Owen.

Impasse des Deux Anges (1948 - b/w) - Allegedly a comedy about angels, but I found it a dark, sinister film with Signoret and Meurisse pre-Diaboliques, from Maurice Tourneur, who has the style of his son Jacques.

Louisiana Story (1948 - b/w) - Pleasant CFF-ish Lopert-distributed Cajun docudrama.

Lust For Gold (1949 - b/w) - A Glenn Ford western, with Ida Lupino, which reveals that it is actually a noir. There's even a modern framing device.

The Red Pony (1949) - A children's western, lifted with some weird animation touches. Republic aiming for the A-list.

Prince of Foxes (1949 - b/w) - Generic Tyrone Power swashbuckler, with Orson Welles at the point he began to swell.

Bride of Vengeance (1949 - b/w) - Shonky Borgiasploiter with Paulette Goddard swashbuckling.

Gone to Earth (1950) - Stylish but overwrought melodrama from Powell and Pressburger, with Jennifer Jones nursing a fox and Cyril Cusack tackling his inner John Mills, and George Cole.

Stromboli (1950 - b/w) - Rossellini directs Ingrid Bergman. Everything looks nice. The ending is spectacular. It feels like a different kind of Italian film at the end.

You Never Can Tell (1951 - b/w) - Baffling, not funny but strange dog-reincarnated-as-Dick Powell comedy.

The Red Inn (1951 - b/w)- Baffling Fernandel comedy, though nicely shot.

The White Sheik (1952 - b/w) - Silly Alberto Sordi comedy, directed by Fellini.

Carosello Neopolitano (1954) - Beautiful, colourful Italian musical, like Powell and Pressburger's Italian imitation. With Sophia Loren.

Monsieur Ripois (1954  -b/w) - Oswald Morris' sped-up photography makes one remember this French drama set in London. Product placement for Canada Dry.

Marguerite de la nuit (1955) - Yves Montand and Michele Morgan in a story about a deal with Satan. Passed me by, but the ending with a cardboard train in a station with a photographic blown-up rural backdrop like in a Two Ronnies sketch was oddly memorable. Otherwise sentimental.

Les carnets du Major Thompson (1955) - Jack Buchanan in a French comedy partly set in Ireland, by Preston Sturges.Sub-Ealing.

Magic Fire (1956) - Sloggy Trucolor Republic biopic of Wagner. Republic try to make Alan Badel a star.

Demoniac (1957) - Bland French thriller with Jeanne Moreau. Generic French rural crime, from the men behind Diabolique.

The Burglar (1957 - b/w) - An atmospheric seaside climax in this B-noir from Paul Wendkos, with Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield. `

Baby Face Nelson (1957) - Generic gangster stuff with Mickey Rooney.

That Woman Opposite (1957 - b/w) - Unmemorable French-set Brit quickie suspenser with Phyllis Kirk, Dan O'herlihy and Petula Clark.

China Doll (1958 - b/w) - Tired Frank Borzage wartime romance between Victor Mature and Shaw Brothers starlet LiLiHua. Funny that Ward Bond plays a priest who helps the Chinese, as Bond was such a fascist that apparently Frank Sinatra literally pissed on his grave.

Tamango (1958) - Europudding proto-Mandingo. At least, Dorothy Dandridge is lovely.

The Restless Years (1958 - b/w) - Over-melodramatic teen saga with Sandra Dee and John Saxon.

Macario (1960 - b/w) - Surrealist Oscar-nominated Mexican study of the Day of the Dead.

Austerlitz (1960) - Gance's epic, with a theme that DID NOT inspire Telstar, despite the similarities, though it might have inspired the theme to the High Chaparral.  It is a slog, in a cast that includes Jean Marais, Rossano Brazzi, Martine Carol, Jack Palance, Claudia Cardinale, Vittorio de Sica, Orson Welles, Leslie Caron and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Napoleon is the moon-faced gurner Pierre Mondy, a man better suited to his career voicing Asterix cartoons.

Le Trou (1960 - b/w) - Depressing prison drama from Jacques Becker.

Suspect (1960) - Pandemic drama with Peter Cushing in Quatermass mode, Tony Britton, Virginia Maskell, Ian Bannen and a serious Spike Milligan. Surprisingly forgettable.

l'Assassino (1961) - Italian political dryness with Mastroianni.

Viva L'Italia (1961) - Tired, unengrossing biopic of Garibaldi by Rossellini. With Tina Louise, of all people.

La Notte (1961) - Tiresome Antonioni.
See also L'Avventura (1960 - b/w) and l'Eclisse (1962 - b/w).

Judgement at Nuremberg (1961 - b/w) - It's like the depressing version of Witness for the Prosecution.

Station Six-Sahara (1962 - b/w) - A kind of low-rent exploitation Ice Cold in Alex.

Il Demonio (1963  - b/w) - Skeevy, arty horror with Daliah Lavi.

Le Mepris (1963) - F*ck off, Godard.

This Sporting Life (1963) - At least, Richard Harris attempts an accent, slightly less tortured than his other attempt at Northern in Highpoint, but as with Colin Blakely, there's bits where they slip back into Irish. By the end, he's given up. Even though he otherwise convinces as the rugby ace. Seeing William Hartnell lust over him - well, well..  We see a copy of Jack and Jill comic in Harris' character's daughter's hands, predating other IPC comics' appearances in The Wild Geese and Juggernaut. Future Lindsay Anderson cohorts Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe pop up in tiny roles. 

French Dressing (1964) - Bits of Ken Russell's style crop up in this early film by the classical music enthusiast about a British Cannes, featuring James Booth, Roy Kinnear, Marisa Mell and Robert Robinson as himself.

Black Orpheus (1958) - Visually pleasing, but it's arts programming.
Not to be confused with the languid, up-its-arse Lumumba biopic Black Jesus (1968) starring Woody Strode.

The Sleeping Car Murders (1965 - b/w) - Montand, Signoret, Piccoli and Trintignant in a Costa-Gavras political giallo.

Marie Chantal contre Dr. Kha (1965) - Idiotic, talky French Modesty Blaise from Claude Chabrol, with Akim Tamiroff a striking villain, but in a remote holiday home villa as his base.
La file aux yeux d'or (1961) - Also with Marie Laforet, a pervy, NASTY psychodrama. 

Hawks and Sparrows (1966 - b/w) - Toto comedy but directed by Pasolini. Might be Pasolini's nicest film. Feels almost like  a parody of Italian art cinema.

Pretty Poison (1968) - TV movie-esque, though Tuesday Weld sticks in the memory.

La Piscine (1969) - Alain Delon-Birkin erotica.

The Horrible Sexy Vampire (1970) - Rote Euro horror.

Bloomfield (1970) - Sub-Champ story of an ageing Israeli football player (Richard Harris, who directed this, hence the unlikely casting) and his little Cockney fanboy (Kim Burfield). Brian Moore plays himself. The only film to have its world premiere in Limerick.

Raphaël ou le débauché (1971) - French period drama with Maurice Ronet. Not my kind of thing. Well-made, arty tragedy.

Call of the Wild (1972) - That new one may have Harrison Ford pushing eighty with a cartoon dog, but this has Charlton Heston pushing fifty with a real dog, It's very skeevy, being a Towers picture.

Tout Va Bien (1972) - Godard does something about Yves Montand and Jane Fonda at the American Broadcasting "System", but it's a load of fourth wall-breaking fucking-mouthing.

Un Amleto di meno (1973) - Cannes-entered Italian Ken Russell-ish Hamlet.

Ganja and Hess (1973) - Ambitious but not sure if it is art or genre.

Three Tough Guys (1973) - Now, this is an oddity. Neither blaxploitation or Eurocrime, but somewhere between the two. Despite the title and poster, Fred Williamson is the baddie, and Isaac Hayes and Lino Ventura are the heroes. Made by Duccio Tessari for DeLaurentiis in Chicago, it's a peculiar blend of Europe and America. It's the mean streets of Chicago, but Jacques Herlin wanders about, like a Gallic Jackie Wright from the Benny Hill show, in a headscarf.

A Sense of Freedom (1979) - STV-made crime biopic with David Hayman.

fais gaffe à la gaffe! (1981) - Terrible French comedy with a young Lorraine Bracco, then a Radio Luxembourg DJ (meaning she shsres the honour with the dubious likes of Lord Haw Haw and Sir Jim'll Savile)

Acqua e Sapone (1983) - Nothingy may-december barely legal Italian nonsense with Carlo Vedone, Natasha "Demons" Howey and Florinda Bolkan.

Dreamchild (1985) - Had long wanted to see this. But it's typical, almost psycho-sexual Dennis Potter fetishisation of the 30s and Lewis Carroll mixed in with some lovely Henson stuff that belongs elsewhere.

The Night Overtakes Me (1986) - Beautiful but tough Czechoslovakian concentration camp magic realism by Juraj Herz.

Die Katze (1988) - Gotz George stars in a TV-ish German cop drama. Quite taut.

Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988) - Rutger Hauer talks American, moans to Anthony Quayle and drinks.

Cutting Class (1988) - Is it supposed to be a slasher parody?

The Rainbow Thief (1990) - Just seen this in the IFI, and wow. Maybe because I find Alexandro Jodorowsky a bit of a creep, I think this may be his best film. Shot in Poland, with interiors in Shepperton, but set in a vague, Mittel European-looking possibly-Britain (red-top newspapers with titles like the Echo display headline about "The Tories", the cast have British accents but German names and a currency called credines) which, in its Nowhereland feel has a Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory vibe, though the dubbing of various small parts makes it feel like one of those German children's serials imported by the BBC.  The cast is insane - Peter O'Toole is hammy and Jodorowsky didn't get along, as an aristocrat who lives in a sewer chamber, with a Spit the Dog-type dog-skin puppet called Cronos, that he thinks is his long-lost dog, but Omar Sharif as the titular thief is a joy. Watching it, I couldn't help thinking that he would have been a brilliant Doctor Who (in the film that was constantly being announced in the late 80s/early 90s). Christopher Lee is enjoying himself as the rodeo-wheelchair-riding uncle of O'Toole, who spends most of his time in bed singing to a bunch of prostitutes headed by Linzi Drew. Sheila Keith adds some weight, but only appears at the beginning. Britain's then-tallest man, Chris Greener (who I mainly remember from Mrs. Merton being on the show alongside Debbie McGee and Kriss Akabusi) is an imposing foil. Ian Dury is the spivvy barman, and Brian Hibbard of the Flying Pickets is a transvestite fortune teller/belly dancer. It is odd. It feels like a kids' film, but there's nothing really that makes it so.

Being Human (1994) - Robin Williams mopes through time and space, and there is no point. By Bill Forsyth.

Grace of My Heart (1996) - Illeana Douglas is heartbreaking, but the music has that Idolmaker problem of sounding not quite right (though not quite as incongruous as the Idolmaker).

Wednesday 19 February 2020


Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 - b/w) - A simple story but it is told well. Though Laughton seems restrained.

Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935 - b/w) - Americanised Colonial bull.

Another Thin Man (1939 - b/w)/After the Thin Man (1936 - b/w)/Shadow of the Thin Man (1941 - b/w)/The Thin Man Goes Home (1944 - b/w)/Song of the Thin Man (1947 - b/w) - I don't really get screwball comedies, so maybe Nick and Nora just don't gel with me. Or I'm annoyed by William Powell's hair.

Bullets Or Ballots (1936 - b/w)/San Quentin (1937 - b/w)/A Slight Case of Murder (1938 - b/w) - Undistinguished Warner Brothers  gangsters tat despite  in 1. Edward G. Robinson, Bogart, 2.  Pat O'Brien, Bogie again, and 3. Robinson again respectively.

Last Train from Madrid (1937 - b/w) - Generic Universal  Spanish Civil war/actioner with Lew Ayres, Gilbert Roland, Dorothy Lamour and future Spanish game show host Anthony Quinn.

Le Quai des Brumes (1938 - b/w) - Noir with Jean Gabin and a dog. French noir is much scrappier than US  noir, so it is much more like a dog, so it makes more sense to feature a dog.

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939 - b/w) - Typical MGM weepie, except actually made in England.

Poison Pen (1939 - b/w) - Robert Newton and Flora Robson in a flaccid village crime quickie.

Of Mice and Men (1939 - b/w) - Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr have chemistry. Even if it looks like they just wandered onto a western. Chaney overplays the slowness to the point you expect him to lap-dissolve into a wolfman.

You Can't Take It With You (1938 - b/w) - Surely, the fireworks scene was an influence on Carry On Up The Khyber. Typical sparky Capra.

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939 - b/w) -Elizabethan England as a Hollywood medieval fantasyland.

The Sea Hawk (1941 - b/w) - Entertaining though predictable pirate adventure, but hey, Flora Robson as Elizabeth I and her monkey.
See also more Errol in Captain Blood (1935 - b/w).

Dive Bomber (1941) - Errol Flynn aerial warfare propaganda.

Meet John Doe (1941 - b/w) - Lesser Capra.

Random Harvest (1942 - b/w) - Ronald Colman and Greer Garson in a weepie that is set in an almost-convincing England, but the obvious MGM sets (hey, that's from Mrs. Miniver!) firmly place it in fantasyland.

Millions Like Us (1943 - b/w) - Gainsborough factory girl propaganda. Baby Gordon Jackson alert.

The Lamp Still Burns (1943 - b/w) - Gainsborough nursing saga.

Till We Meet Again (1944 - b/w)  - Have we met before, Mr. Milland?

Fanny by Gaslight (1944 - b/w) - Typical Gainsborough. I remember watching this with Grandad, who whooped, "I met him" when James Mason popped up.

Destiny (1944 - b/w) - A padded supernatural/sentimental rejected segment from Flesh and Fantasy.

Give Us The Moon (1944 - b/w) - Generic romantic comedy with Vic "Churchill's son in law) and Margaret Lockwood, and a futuristic early television.

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) - Un-pc tosh based on Shaw. Insane cast includes Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains, Stewart Granger, Stanley Holloway,Flora Robson, Francis L Sullivan (another Professor Challenger, on BBC radio), Cecil Parker, Ernest Thesiger, Michael Rennie, Leo Genn, John Laurie, Felix Aylmer, Valentine Dyall and the uncredited cast includes Cathleen Nesbitt, Jean Simmons and as an extra, a teenage boy named Roger Moore. Was simultaneously one of the most popular British films, yet also a massive flop.

Objective Burma (1945 - b/w) - Errol Flynn in what feels like a dry run for every Korean War movie, except this is about Burma in WW2, obviously.

Madonna of the Seven Moons (1945 - b/w) - Bobbins melodrama where Phyllis Calvert has a rape that turns her into a mad gypsy.

Cluny Brown (1946 - b/w) - Typical faux-Brit comedy of manners with Jennifer Jones and Charles Boyer.

Caravan (1946 - b/w) - I discovered this film in a book about Gerry Anderson age 7 and wanted to see it in the hope that it was about a dieselpunky hi-tech motorhome. Instead, it's Stewart Granger as a Englishman who moonlights as a boot-polished gypsy. Anderson was a teenage editor's apprentice. My gran's pal, Mary McDonald was a fan, apparently.

The Magic Bow (1946 - b/w) - Stewart Granger stiffly mimes to Yehudi Menuhin.

Captain Boycott (1947 - b/w) - Stewart Granger does an American accent to sound Irish.

Blanche Fury (1947) - Valerie Hobson is trapped between Stewart Granger and Michael Gough. In color.

The Man I Love (1947 - b/w) - Ida Lupino is a club singer in a sorta-noir/musical. Robert Alda is the male lead. A cheap servicer.

Johnny O'Clock (1947 - b/w) - Forgettable noir, despite Lee J. Cobb.

I Walk Alone  (1948 - b/w) - Generic noir with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster and Lizabeth Scott.

The Snake Pit (1948 - b/w) - Too depressing for its own good.

WOMAN HATER (1948 - B/W) - Unfunny romcom with Stewart Granger, by Terence Young.

One Touch of Venus (1948 - b/w) - Bland romcom with Ava Gardner as Kim Cattrall in Mannequin.

Adam and Evelyne (1949 - b/w) - Standard romantic drama for Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger.

Battleground (1949 - b/w) - Generic snowbound WW2 saga with Van Johnson and Ricardo Montalban.

Rashomon (1950 - b/w) - Like a kabuki arthouse film.

Highly Dangerous (1950 - b/w) - Lippet B-pic with Margaret Lockwood, Dane Clark and Marius Goring, plus Naunton Wayne and Wilfrid Hyde White, about Mittel European biological attacks which is solved by rationed sugar.

The Damned Don't Cry (1950 - b/w) - Generic Joan Crawford melodrama.
See also the sleazy-but-sentimental Oirishness of the Story of Esther Costello (1957 - b/w).

Tales of Hoffman (1951) - The Beige Shoes.

Smuggler's Island (1951 - b/w) - Duff faux-Oriental action with Jeff Chandler.

Royal Wedding (1951 - b/w) - Just a bunch of innovative dance numbers clung together by a royal-riding plot.

Appointment with Danger (1951 - b/w) - Generic noir with Alan Ladd and Phyllis Calvert.

Song of Paris (1952 - b/w)/The Crowded Day (1954 - B/W) - Bids for respectability by Adelphi films. The former a romantic comedy with Dennis Price and Mischa Auer, the second a workhouse comedy with John Gregson driving a Genevieve knockoff and featuring a young Prunella Scales and Sid James, but they are interesting because they are British Poverty Row trying to appeal to the Rank circuits and failing.

L'Amore In Citta (1953 - b/w) - Forgettable anthology despite Risi, Antonioni, Fellini and er... Lizzani.f

Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) - Rita Hayworth in an overstretched color Maugham adaptation. Just Jose Ferrer and Aldo Ray leading a bunch of lusty soldiers.

I Vitelloni (1953 - b/w) - Early Fellini, nicely shot but lots of baffling Italian comedy.

Cosh Boy (1953 - b/w) - Interesting juvenile delinquency by Lewis Gilbert. James Kenney is a somewhat unconvincing lead, Joan Collins is his girlfriend, but the highlight is Hermione Gingold as a prostitute. Plus Hermione Baddeley is in this too. But then there's the titular anti-hero's sidekick, Alfie, played by the messy-haired, flute-voiced Ian Whittaker (a future production designer, and the one link between the Revenge of Frankenstein and Frankenstein Unbound), in his mid-twenties, resembling a kind of post-pubescent delinquent Jimmy Krankie.

Mogambo (1953) - Generic jungle adventure. Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Donald Sinden have dinner on safari.

Split Second (1953 - b/w) - Basically a western in noir garb, with a nuclear bomb test instead of rampaging Apaches.

Hell's Half-Acre (1954 - b/w) - Hawaiian noir with Wendell Corey, Evelyn Keyes, Keye Luke and the one good bit - Elsa Lanchester as a cabbie.

The Wild One (1954 - b/w) - Ludicrous and hard to take this bunch of bikers seriously.

The Rose Tattoo (1955 - b/w) - Good performances but the same old Tennessee Williams.

Above Us The Waves (1955 - b/w) - Samey war fare with John Mills and Dirty Denholm Elliott.

The Mysterians (1956) - A typical 50s SF plot riffing on The Day the Earth Stood Still given a funky Japanese treatment.

Between Heaven and Hell (1956) - Generic Robert Wagner warfare.

Wicked As They Come (1956 - b/w) - British cheapie with Arlene Dahl, Herbert Marshall and Ken Barlow-alike Philip Carey. The first twenty minutes are the most interesting, because it's a gritty US tenement, with Sid James as an abusive stepfather and a chintzy British view of US TV. But then once it goes to the UK, it goes all cheap and British.

The Counterfeit Plan (1957 - b/w) - Forgettable UK crime flick with Zachary Scott and Sydney Tafler.

The Flesh is Weak (1957 - b/w) - Forgettable UK crime flick with John Derek.

A Raw Wind in Eden (1958)  - Bland color desert island romance with Esther Williams and Jeff Chandler.

The Black Orchid (1958 - b/w) - Italian-American gangster melodrama-romance with Anthony Quinn and Sophia Loren.

Screaming Mimi (1958 - b/w) - Padded out by Gypsy Rose Lee burlesque, this is a rote B-picture where Anita Ekberg MIGHT be a killer. Oof.

The Last Angry Man (1959 - b/w) - Bland TV play adap with David Wayne, Paul Muni, Billy Dee Williams and Betsy Palmer.

No Trees in the Street (1959  - b/w) - J. Lee Thompson-directed grimy noirish slum melodrama with Sylvia Syms, Herbert Lom, Terence Morgan and David Hemmings. Introduces the already-well-established Melvyn Hayes.

Beyond the Curtain (1960 - b/w) - Bland British Euro-action with Richard Greene, Eva Bartok and Marius Goring.

Goodbye Again (1961 - b/w) - Ingrid Bergman and Yves Montand in a Euro-melodrama with Anthony Perkins.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962 - b/w) -It defiantly captures the setting and everything you want to say about it, i.e. you wouldn't want to visit it every month. Michael Redgrave feels too starry, though but that may be the point. He's not like Courtenay or Bolam or Thaw.  John Thaw actually looks young, for once but then he is playing young.

Boccaccio '70 (1962) - A mix of baffling Italian sex comedy as art, though the last one is fun, by De Sica, as it has the combination of Sophia Loren and Italian telly.

Toys in the Attic (1963 - b/w) - Dean Martin and Geraldine Page in another Southern melodrama.

Red Desert (1964) - What are the comics in this? Tintin comic spinoff/compilation Michel Vaillant. Richard Harris (who seems to always appear in films that have comics - The Wild Geese and Juggernaut have IPC product placement, but alas Harry Potter cut out the racist anti-Muggle comics from the books) still comes across as a bloke from Limerick, the big bogger head on him. It's a film about nothing.

The Best Man (1964 - b/w) - Bland politicking with Cliff Robertson and Henry Fonda.

The Party's Over (1965) - Unusually sleazy Guy Hamilton pic about beatniks, Oliver Reed, Louise Sorel, Ann Lynn and Eddie Albert and Catherine Woodville appear, but it is stolen by the uniquely featured, bald, almost Ronald Lacey-esque Maurice Browning, who f was Hattie Jacques'secretary and cowrote the Cool Mikado.

The Art of Love (1965) - Unfunny faux-French romcom with James Garner, Dick Van Dyke and Elke Sommer.

The Lace Wars (1965) - Rene Clair's last film, a dopey colour period swashbuckler with Jean Pierre Cassel.

Moment to Moment (1966) - Terrible sub-Harold Robinson melodrama with Jean Seberg and Honor Blackman contending with the fact Seberg's plank-of-wood lover may have accidentally been murdered, or something. Typical Universal backlot transatlantic tripe.

Grand Prix (1966) - It's slow, ironic for a film about motorsport.

Funnyman (1967) - Like a Sesame Street sketch crossed with an exploration of a comedian's life, with Peter Bonerz.

Justine (1968) - Eurovision star/Tyrone's daughter Romina Power in Harry Alan Towers/ Jesus Franco erotica. It looks gorgeous. But of course, it's pervy as a bush full of Razzles.

Terror in the Jungle (1968) - This film is a story to be told. I'd heard about it, mainly from Chris Alexander of Fangoria. It's the sort of film that has no one you're even vaguely familiar with. Yet it treats it cast of unknowns as if they were stars. It sets up characters  on board a plane, who we are presume are going to be Irwin Allen-type protagonists. There is a pop band - well, a bunch of craggy middle-aged men in Beatle wigs who are allegedly a pop band, but look more like rejected doubles for various Doctors Who. But then everyone dies. All these people of limited or no talent who are acting their heart out. Even the nun is eaten by a puppet croc.    However, the cast are so interchangeable one thinks you see them again, but no it's just another bunch of actors. It has that Florida exploitation look, of the films of HG Lewis or Ted V Mikels. A little Hollywood in miniature. But the only character who survives is this kid called Henry who escapes in a nun's coffin, and thus the film becomes a sub-sub-Disney story of a kid Tarzan who trawls the jungle of Peru. Actual Peru.  Except when it is Griffith Park. Then, it becomes a lost world film, or a mondo film, and Henry's dad comes to rescue him from a lost tribe of white people browned up, and Henry's stuffed toy leopard comes to life.  And then there's quicksand. It has three directors, neither of whom had any knowledge of the other.  One of whom was Tom DeSimone,later behind the likes of Hell Night.

Easy Rider (1969) - Countercultural biking. Nothing more, nothing less.

Battle of Britain (1969) - You can't deny it succeeded in its ambition. They literally recreated the Battle of Britain. With a few anachronistic details and haircuts.

Cromwell (1970) - Almost worthless because it ignores the Irish stuff, and not only casts a proud son of Limerick as Ireland's most dreaded enemy but also allows him to use his own accent. Still, some of the war scenes have a kind of Bava-ish look.

Vanishing Point (1971) - Just Barry Newman driving very fast, very recklessly, while blind Cleavon Little witters on.

Fata Morgana (1971) - Herzog's mondo movie. Literally repeats itself to the sound of Leonard Cohen.

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1971 - b/w) - The ultimate in Dwarfsploitation.

The Godfather (1972) - It's a typical slice of Hollywood bonkbustery that because it was directed by Coppola rather than a Daniel Petrie or a Charles Jarrott or a Terence Young or an Edward Dmytryk, it isn't seen as that. But when you read the original Puzo novel, it's a prime slice of pornographic muzak.

Aguirre - The Wrath of God (1973) - More a documentary than anything, just with fictional characters. Even a bird flies through mid-scene.

Three Wishes for Cindarella (1973) - Tales from Europe - The Next Generation.

Lenny (1974 - b/w) - Lenny was a creep. This is an icky, confused, arty mess.

Scent of A Woman (1974) - Vittorio Gassman smells Agostina Belli. And because he's blind, he gets creepy about it.

Heart of Glass (1976) - Herzog does a period drama. See also The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) with its Granville from Open All Hours-esque elderly teenage hero.

The Shootist (1976) - John Wayne goes out on a whimper, despite a cavalcade of guest stars. It's almost like Wayne is attending his own funeral. But it feels pretty much like every other late-period western Wayne made, despite Don Siegel directing and Dino De Laurentiis producing. But there's little Italian influence here.

All That Jazz (1979) - Bob Fosse shows us inside his mind. At once, afraid of himself and proud of himself.

The Supergrass (1985) - The Comic Strip presents... guff.

Hell Squad (1986) - A bizarre Cannon actioner that feels like a cross between a 1950s b-picture and an Andy Sidaris venture, with a bunch of busty babes going to rescue an Ambassador's son in a shonky Middle East, complete with veteran character actor Marvin Miller as the Sheik.

Jacquot de Nantes (1991) - A heartfelt tribute to the life of Jacques Demy, by his wife Agnes Varda. Excellently crafted.

Carlito's Way (1993) - DePalma tries to be Scorsese.

Richard III (1995) - Shakespeare re-enacted in the style of a 1980s Pan-European miniseries about a famous dictator.

Last Man Standing (1996) - Walter Hill wants to make a western. The studio want a gangster movie.

La Antena (2007) - A load of surrealist sub-Jeunet toss in the style of Guy Maddin.

Wednesday 12 February 2020


The Last Laugh (1924 - b/w) - Beautifully made Murnau story. Emil Jannings had a great face.

The Blue Angel (1930 - b/w) - Attractive but somewhat saccharine proto-talkie with Dietrich and Emil Jannings hamming it up.
See also Desire (1936 - b/w) - a typical melodrama with Gary Cooper and Dietrich.

Rome Express (1932 - b/w) - Bland train melodrama with Conrad Veidt. A quota quickie with a bigger budget.

Arsene Lupin (1932 - b/w) - The Barrymores are interchangeable in this cop vs thief thriller.
The sequels, Arsene Lupin Returns (1938 - b/w, with Melvyn Douglas) and the Universal cash-in Enter Arsene Lupin (1944 - b/w) are more rote B-movie crime fare, the latter clearly a doomed pilot for a series of Rathbone Sherlock-type procedurals.
See also the French adaptations Signe Arsene Lupin (1937 - b/w) and Arsene Lupin, Detective (1959).

Bureau of Missing Persons (1933 - b/w) - Serviceable B-policier with Bette Davis and Pat O'Brien.

Spring Tonic (1935 - b/w) - Lew Ayres and Claire Trevor in a musical quickie.

Sylvia Scarlett (1935 - b/w) - Preposterous. As a boy, Katharine Hepburn looks like a lesbian. Which she allegedly was.

The Dawn Patrol (1938 - b/w) - Exciting chases enliven a typical 30s WW1 pic. With Niven, Rathbone and Flynn.

Destry Rides Again (1939 - b/w) - Typically, slightly goofy western.

The Lion Has Wings (1939 - b/w) - Powell's propaganda cavalcade.

Second Chorus (1940 - b/w) - More Fred Stair.

Pier 13 (1940 - b/w) - Forgettable Fox cheapie with Lloyd Nolan.

Dangerous Moonlight (1941 - b/w) - Typical 40s wartime romance.

Kid Glove Killer (1942 - b/w) - Forgettable terrorism quickie with Van Heflin.

Nazi Agent (1942 - b/w) - MGM B-film with Conrad Veidt. Typical war propaganda.

A Yank on the Burma Road (1942 - b/w) - Typical propaganda cheapie with Barry Nelson.

A Stranger In Town (1943 - b/w) - Generic political comedy with Frank Morgan.

The Purple Heart (1944 - b/w) - Fox anti-Japanese propaganda with Dana Andrews.

Crimson Canary (1945 - b/w) - Forgettable Universal crime quickie with jazz by Coleman Hawkins, starring Noah Beery Jr.

Where Do We Go From Here (1945) - Color pioneer/pirate fantasy musical froth with June Haver, Fred MacMurray and Anthony Quinn.

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946) - Uninteresting Son of Robin Hood cheapie.

I See A Dark Stranger (1946 - b/w)- Alias the Adventuress. Atmospheric Oirish Republican gubbins with Deborah Kerr, but hey, actual Dublin.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946 - b/w) 'Salright. But it's overlong. There's barely an hour of plot.

State of the Union (1948 - b/w) - Politics doesn't interest me. Tracy, Hepburn and Lansbury.

12 O'Clock High (1949) - So generic I could swear I logged it before.

Gas House Kids in Hollywood (1947 - b/w) - PRC's flop answer to the Bowery Boys, with a grown-up Alfalfa Switzer, it's more so the Little Rascals - post puberty.

Rope (1948 - b/w) - Heh. The Americanisations feel shoehorned in in this excellent-shot but still essentially what-it-is - a play.

Act of Murder (1948 - b/w) - Courtroom drama with Frederic March as a euthanizer.

Obsession (1949 - b/w) - Generic British noir/thriller with Robert Newton wandering about post-Blitz London.

Reign of Terror (1949 - b/w) - Gothic poverty row take on the French Revolution by Anthony Mann.

Lady Without Passport (1950 - b/w) - Hedy Lamarr noir, unmemorable travelogue/Hispanic Casablanca knockoff.

Target Unknown (1951 - b/w)  - Ropey Universal war programmer.

A Streetcar named Desire (1951 - b/w) - Typical Tennessee Williams natters.

Ruby Gentry (1952 - b/w) - Generic Southern melodrama.

Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) - Pleasing faux-Australian color dancing in water from Busby Berkeley, with Esther Williams, Victor Mature and Walter Pidgeon.

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952 - b/w) - Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas and Gloria Grahame in a lush, atmospheric if somewhat generic Hollywood melodrama.

The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) - Typical grating Ealing whimsy.

Young Bess (1953) - Despite Charles Laughton as Henry VIII, a bland vehicle for Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger.

 Knights of the Round Table (1953)  - Lush Arthurian epic with Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner and Mel Ferrer, and Gabriel "Sutekh the Destroyer" Woolf in a rare, and surprisingly large on-screen role. The first of several Arthurian productions to be shot in Ireland.

Terror On a Train (1953 - b/w) - Glenn Ford and Maurice Denham in a quota quickie with an MGM budget but a quickie runtime.

Turn The Key Softly (1953 - b/w) - Early Joan Collins vehicle alongside Yvonne Mitchell. Serviceable women's prison noir.

Green Fire (1954) - Stewart Granger and Grace Kelly in a rote South American redo of King Solomon's Mines.

Happy Ever After (1954) - Silly Oirish comedy that prefigures Neil Jordan's High Spirits, with David Niven, Yvonne De Carlo, George Cole and Barry Fitzgerald.

The Purple Plain (1954) - Generic wartime romance with Gregory Peck, Bernard Lee and a BAFTA-nominated Maurice Denham.

The Far Country (1955) - James Stewart western, only difference is it is in Canada.

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) - A B/W crime quickie given a huge budget and color and a major star (Spencer Tracy) and actual locations.

The Cobweb (1955) - Tedious MGM asylum drama.

Bhowani Junction (1956) - Hard to take seriously, when you have the likes of Francis Matthews browned up and Ava Gardner in a sari, while Stewart Granger is left stiff and British.

Action of the Tiger (1957) - Warwick-like Eady leveller Arab action folderol with Van Johnson and a browned-up Herbert Lom. Sean Connery in this somewhere.

Desk Set (1957) - Typical romcom with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Basically an ad for IBM.

The Hunters (1958) - Bland Mitchum/Wagner aircraft drama.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959 - b/w) - Flawed attempt to turn a noir into a roadshow picture.

The Angry Hills (1959 - b/w) - Grim B/W Europudding melodrama in Greece with Robert Mitchum.

From The Terrace (1960) - Tedious melodrama with Paul Newman.

A Flame in the Blood (1960 - b/w) - Boring courtroom melodrama with Don Ameche and Efrem Zimablist.

A Raisin In The Sun (1961 - b/w) - That Sidney Potter's a good dancer, in't he, Rodney? It's always weird seeing John Fiedler in the flesh, with his Piglet voice.

Guns of Darkness (1962 - b/w) - Sericeable but bland South American melodrama with David Niven, Leslie Caron and David Opatoshu.

Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) - Another tired Southern melodrama.

8½ (1963 - b/w) - Overlong, indulgent paean (pain) to the women in Fellini's life.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)/The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) - Demy combines the style of Hollywood musicals with the self-indulgent navel-gazing of the New Wave.

633 Squadron (1964) - Serviceable WW2 action.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) - America's greatest entertainers play gangsters like a bunch of rich infants.

Catch Us If You Can (1965 - b/w) - Godawful, wandering Dave Clark Five musical, John Boorman's directorial debut.

The Trap (1966) - Peculiar western romance with Rita Tushingham as a mute in 19th century British Columbia taken in by hunter Oliver Reed.

The Sand Pebbles (1966) - A gorgeous slog through the Orient.

The Graduate (1967) - It looks nice and the Simon and Garfunkel soundtrack's a keeper but Bancroft and Hoffman kind of look the same age.

The Hell with Heroes (1967) - Backlot-bound, anachronistic WW2 toss with Rod Taylor and Claudia Cardinale.

Valley of the Dolls (1967) - Ridiculously awful. Sharon Tate couldn't act for toffee. And Patty Duke at the end looks like a Hobbit hooker. Trampiness does not suit her.

The Girl and the General (1967) - Confused mess of an Italian alleged tragi-comedy with Virna Lisi and Rod Steiger.

Escalation (1968) - Boring Italian pop romance by Gabriele Ferzetti.

Sol Madrid (1968) - Dull TV-ish vehicle for David McCallum.

The Rain People (1969) - Forgotten Coppola story of Shirley Knight as a countercultural housewife who goes on a  trip with eejit James Caan.

Husbands (1970) - Captures life but this Cassavetes picture feels too ugly and tough for its own good at times.

Spring and Port Wine (1970) - Television-obsessed Bolton-set comedy drama, blandly Northern, James Mason and Diana Coupland the parents of Rodney Bewes and Susan George. Would make a double feature with the darker The Family Way, also set in Bolton.

On the Buses (1971)/Mutiny on the Buses (1972)/Holiday on the Buses (1973) - The sequels are better. But it shows the desperation and lack of creativity. It's not even Carry On. It's sub-Children's Film Foundation.

Desperate Characters (1971) - Grim, unlikeable Shirley MacLaine vehicle, but Kenneth Mars had a range that people underrated and just cast him as the silly German guy. He had a slight Laird Cregar vibe in his youth, and was vocally dexterous (his animation CV heaves). Gerald S. O'Loughlin looks like a hunkier American Leonard Rossiter.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972)/Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1974) - Alan Arkin and Sally Kellerman nonsense. The latter is more interesting, but because of Mackenzie Phillips and Charles Martin Smith, and Harry Dean Stanton, which feels like a different film.

Baxter! (1973) - Strange attempt by Lionel Jeffries to do a Hal Ashby/Mike Nichols-type film about Scott Jacoby as a confused kid with a speaking impediment

White Lightning (1973)/Gator (1976) - More naturalistic, more authentic relics of the South than the Smokeys. Plus is it just me or was Burt Reynolds cooler without the tache? He seems more of a presence, something of an American Connery. No wonder Broccoli wanted him as Bond.

Breakout (1975) - Jokey Charles Bronson-Robert Duvall hackwork.

Face to Face (1976)  -Too harrowing for my tastes. Bergman at his most cold.

Serail (1976) - Unmemorable psychodrama with Corin Redgrave and Leslie Caron.

Woyzeck (1977) - Kinski and Herzog on autopilot.

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) - It looks nice. It has a solid atmosphere. It might be Herzog's best. Even though a lot of it looks like the Onedin Line.

Kung Fu Executioner (1981 - b/w) - Hong Kong Godfather knockoff.

The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) - Heaven's Gate's schlockier little brother.

Fitzcarraldo (1982) - Fuck off.

Moon Over Parador (1988) - Typical late 80s studio comedy, with Richard Dreyfuss and his brother as an American who has to replace a dictator. With Raul Julia, and Sammy Davis Jr and Ed Asner as themselves.

Cobra Verde (1988) - Late Herzog-Kinski. Feels like a German TV docudrama.

Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (1990) - A visually pretty but fragmentary mess.

Thursday 6 February 2020


Storm at Daybreak (1933 - b/w) - Average faux-Eastern European MGM epic.

42nd Street (1933 - b/w)  -A groundbreaking musical. Not what I'd enjoy, but it is well-formed.

Anna Karenina (1935 - b/w) - Garbo moans.

Ninotchka (1939 - b/w) - Typical screwballer.

Johnny Apollo (1940 - b/w) - Tyrone Power in undistinguished gangster drama.

For Freedom (1940 - b/w) - Maurice Elvey-helmed WW2 propaganda piece with WillFyffe. A mix of documentary, stock footage and drama. Endlessly padded.

Destination Unknown (1942 - b/w) - More forgettable William Gargan action.

Busses Roar (1942 - b/w) - Studio b-picture about a bus bomb. Unmemorable. Willie Best does his thing.

This Above All (1942 - b/w) - Sickly sweet sentimental blitz saga on the Fox lot with Tyrone Power, Joan Fontaine and a tache-less yokel Nigel Bruce.

Crash Dive (1943) - Anne Baxter, Tyrone and Dana Andrews in generic WW2 sub-related propaganda.

Tomorrow is Forever (1944) - Chintzy Orson Welles/Claudette Colbert/George Brent romantic melodrama.

None Shall Escape (1944 - b/w) - Shonky western-set-doubling-as-Germany Nazi trail cheapie with Alexander Knox.

Rome Open City (1945) - Neorealism, well-constructed but not my bag, but it works.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945 - b/w) - Well-made Oirish sentimentality.

The Bishop's Wife (1947 - b/w)/Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948 - b/w) - Cary Grant carries on. Not my type of humour.

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947 - b/w) - Ealing neorealism.

Unfaithfully Yours (1948 - b/w) - Seeing Rex Harrison murder his wife is too close to home, knowing what he did to Carole Landis.

Against the Wind (1948 - b/w) - Ealing noir/average wartime resistance yarn with Robert Beatty and Simone Signoret. Nicely shot prison scenes.

Helter Skelter (1949 - b/w) - David Tomlinson and Carol Marsh star in this BBC-set Gainsborough variety show, but the cast include Jon Pertwee billed over the tache-tastic duo of Terry-Thomas and Jimmy Edwards. Typical variety show comedy, with lots of acts mushed together and a limited, loose plot.

On Our Merry Way (1948) - Fonda, Laughton (in the restored cut), Lamour, Meredith, MacMurray, Stewart and others in this sentimental radio-sourced anthology from Arch Oboler.

Fixed Bayonets (1951 - b/w) - Typical Korean war material from Sam Fuller.

Diplomatic Courier (1952 - b/w) - Average European-set espionage noir with Tyrone Power, Hildegarde Neff, Patricia Neal and Karl Malden.

Viva Zapata (1952 - b/w) - Preachy faux-Mexican Brando.

Come Back Little Sheba (1952 -b/w) - Overblown Southern melodrama.

High Noon (1952 - b/w) - Just another western. Gary Cooper - an old face on a young-looking body. Forgot that Lon Chaney turns up.

The Yellow Balloon (1953 - b/w) - Atmospheric J. Lee Thompson quickie where Andrew Ray is a schoolboy who falls into London street crime.

The Juggler (1953 - b/w) - Kirk Douglas lollops about Israel doing Senor Wences impressions.

The Million Pound Note (1954) - Average 50s smiler comedy with Gregory Peck.

Summertime (1955) - Brief Encounter Abroad.

The Virgin Queen (1955) - Bette Davis in thick makeup and baldcap plays a sexless Liz R in this ridiculous slice of Fox period pulp with Richard Todd and Joan Collins. Rod Taylor, who the aul wan confuses with Todd ("which fella's the Australian?") appears as a Welshman.

Yangtse Incident (1957 - b/w) - Weird to see Richard Todd and William Hartnell billed over both Akim Tamiroff and Keye Luke, in this well-assembled British war saga.  Tamiroff, an Armenian is an unconvincing Chinese , with his accent, but he could be an Uyghur.

China Gate (1957) - Sam Fuller-directed Indochine war saga. Nat King Cole is a surprisingly convincing badass who has a non-diagetic  musical number (which breaks reality).  Angie Dickinson is an unconvincing Eurasian.  Interesting little film ripe for rediscovery.

Hot Spell (1958 - b/w) - Overbaked drama, despite Shirley Booth wondrously showboating alongside Anthony Quinn.

Strangers When We Meet (1958) - RIP Kirk, great actor and presence, but utterly despicable human being. But this is a typical soapie melodrama. Weird to see a serious Ernie Kovacs.

Expresso Bongo (1959 - b/w) - Interesting satire, but casting Cliff Richard playing a satire on Tommy Steele who is altered to be less of a parody kind of kills the joke, and Laurence Harvey is intolerable.

Crimson Kimono (1959 - b/w) - Routne but groundbreaking Japanese-American crime film by Sam Fuller, a reversal of House of Bamboo, with James Shigeta.

Solomon and Sheba (1959) - Typically camp biblical epic (Jean Anderson especially), with Yul Brynner drafted in to replace the corpse of Tyrone Power. Gina Lollobrigida does her thing.

Murder Inc (1960 - b/w) - Dreary TV-ish gangster schlock with Peter Falk.

Tunes of Glory (1960) - Tonally confused drama, has the feel of a caper, with Alec Guinness looking like a DC Thomson comic idea of a Scot, with outrageous red hair, and there's a cheery Scotland the Brave-driven theme, but it's actually a depressing, dark drama shot like a comedy. It even mentions Muffin the Mule.

Breathless (1960 - b/w) - Fuck off, Godard.

Conspiracy of Hearts (1960 - b/w) - A US teleplay about nuns saving Jewish kids from Nazis adapted as a typical, stiff war movie/women's picture starring Lilli Palmer and Sylvia Syms. Of course, David Kossoff has to pop up.

Who Was That Lady (1960 - b/w) - A Martin and Lewis comedy except it is Tony Curtis instead of Joseph Levitch.

A Touch of Larceny (1960 - b/w) - Dreary James Mason-Vera Miles-George Sanders comedy.

School for Scoundrels (1960 - b/w) - Typical Ian Carmichael comedy.

Madison Avenue (1961 - b/w) - Dana Andrews in last-minute attempt to revive his career in an undistinguished romantic ad-drama.

Sanctuary (1961 - b/w) - Tony Richardson Hollywood bollocks, Southern gothic with Lee Remick.

Underworld U.S.A. (1961 - b/w) - Gritty, unlikeable Sam Fuller noir.

West Side Story (1961) - It breezes along.

Inherit the Wind (1961 - b/w) - Powerful, despite being a courtroom drama. But hey, WGN product placement!

Days of Wine and Roses (1962 - b/w) - Blake Edwards tries to be Billy Wilder. However, it was interesting to see a Felix (Jack Lemmon) from one universe interacting with another Oscar (Klugman). A slight too depressing for my taste.

The War Lover (1962 - b/w) - Typical wartime saga with Steve McQueen, Shirley Anne Field and annoying American Michael Crawford.

The Servant (1962  - b/w) - James Fox and Dirk Bogarde, now there's two terrible toffs. It has a distractingly bright, almost video-like texture. Technically an AIP picture. Nice to see Wendy Craig in a big part.

The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) - Tried watching this overlong Scandinavian-set Nazi melodrama with Richard Widmark, Lilli Palmer and Hugh Griffith before, but after Scorsese recommended it, tried again. Nah.

Advise and Consent (1962) - Typical Washington discussion.

Escape from East Berlin (1962 - b/w) - Forgettable, unexciting cheapie with Don Murray, Christine Kaufmann and for once in actual Germany, Werner Klemperer, pre-Hogan's Heroes.

Act One (1963 - b/w) - Dreadful Broadway biopic of Moss Hart with George Hamilton. A pre-fame Cary Grant/Archie Leach is played by American-accented Robert Powell-alike Bert Convy.

The Thin Red Line (1964 - b/w) - Cheap and nasty adaptation with Keir Dullea and Jack Warden in uniforms with stick-on-emblems.

36 Hours (1964 - b/w) - James Garner and Rod Taylor and Eva Marie Saint in a Roald Dahl adap (for legal reasons, initially an unofficial adaptation but then Pat Neal noticed when offered the script). The first ten minutes in ably capture Dahl's tone with the evil Nazi English charlady in the fake BOAC office, but it all goes a bit pear-shaped once we go to Lisbon. Ably uses Taylor's wonky American accent as a German-American. It feels padded.

Kiss Me, Stupid (1964 - b/w) - Autopilot Wilder. Celebrity paradox - George (and Irene Ira) Gershwin wrote the story, but is mentioned. Nice to see Ray Walston in a big lead.

The Train (1964 - b/w) - Somehow never found this film enjoyable or entertaining.

Fate is the Hunter (1964 - b/w) - Turgid aircraft drama with Glenn Ford, Nancy Kwan, greyed-up Rod Taylor and Jane Russell as herself.

Wild Seed (1965 - b/w) - Naturalistic teen docudrama with Michael Parks and Celia Kaye.

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) - Just another generic bundle of lies scraped together and called a biopic. Heston isn't really Michelangelo. Rex Harrison just horrid enough to be the Pope.

The Bedford Incident (1965 - b/w) - Dry wartime submarine antics with Widmark and Poitier.

King Rat (1965 - b/w) - Not a panto, despite the title, but Geoffrey Bayldon is billed over Richard Dawson, a peculiar mix of British character faces (Rossiter, Gerald Sim, Alan Webb, John Ronane, Reg Lye) and American-based RentaBrits plus Fox, Mills, Courtenay, Denholm Elliott, a typical WW2 POW "joint".

Blow-Up (1966) - Tries to be a genre film, but refuses. A load of prettily-shot Swinging London nonsense. Product placement for the Daily Mail and Peter Bowles jar with the countercultural tone.

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966 - b/w) - Sandy Dennis and George Segal are annoyed by the shouting of Burton and Taylor, and so are we.

The Group (1966) - Jessica Walter, Elizabeth Hartman, Joan Hackett, Shirley Knight, Joanna Pettet, Candace Bergen, plus Kathleen Widdoes and Mary Robin Redd are the titular gang of college students in this epic. Stodgy, but it's interesting to see Larry Hagman in  a crack at film leading man status, plus Richard Mulligan and George Gaynes and Hal Holbrook turn up. Feels like Sandy Dennis should be in there too, but she isn't.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - That Sidney Potter's a good actor, inne Rodney? He's marvellous in this. But it's a typical preachy Hollywood "black people are okay, m'kay" treatise. It even has a treacly theme.

Up the Down Staircase (1967) - Peculiar but interesting high school film with Sandy Dennis as a teacher, plus Eileen Heckart, Jean Stapleton and a rare lead for Irish actor Patrick Bedford, who had a mostly UK-based career, including appearances in two separate body-snatcher-type British SF series, ITV's Undermind and BBC's Counterstrike. This was his one attempt at film stardom post-a Tony win for his role in Philadelphia, Here I Come!

The Road to Corinth (1967) - Lush but bog-standard-in-most-respects Eurospy from Claude Chabrol.

Bye Bye Braverman (1968) - A decent cast and a proper immersive dive into New York of the era help this otherwise unpromising-sounding Jewish comedy.

The Ruthless Four (1968) - An interesting western, almost SF of the past. Van Heflin gives too good a performance for this kind of film. Gilbert Roland looks great for his age.

Sweet Charity (1969) - What is this supposed to be, Fosse? A Hollywoodisation of Fellini in musical form?

Last Summer (1969) - Excellently produced but depressing teen-drama. Tried watching it before, but after reading about Catherine Burns, who got nominated for an Oscar for her heartbreaking performance, but never rode to the heights of costars Barbara Hershey, Bruce Davison and Richard Thomas, gave it a go.

Catch-22  (1970) - Thought I had reviewed this already. An unwatchable crack of countercultural shite. M*A*S*H with the wrong Alan.

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1970) - Hateful.

Ulzana's Raid (1972) - An interesting western, focusing on the Natives, with a shoehorned Burt Lancaster. But it looks so flat and TV, compared to the Italian stuff from the era.

Sans Mobile Apparent (1971) - French 87th Precinct with Jean Louis Trintignant, Dominique Sanda and Sacha Distel, at the height of his crooning stardom.
See also another French Ed McBain, the creepy Quebecois Anglophone Claude Chabrol Europud that is Blood Relatives (1979).

Sleuth (1972) - A rewatch. Hmm. I find it hard to like, yet I love the set.

Black Mama, White Mama (1973) - This isn't made to be a good film. It's just made so we can see Pam Grier and Margaret Markov kick ass and do the Defiant Ones, and it does that, so it achieves its goal.

Breezy (1973)  - Amiable Clint Eastwood-directed romcom about an older man (William Holden) and a hippie teen (Kay Lenz) who fall in love. Happily ends, unlike a few other films of the era (Fools with Jason Robards).

Black Samson (1974) - Simultaneously horribly grim and outrageously camp blaxploiter with the awesomely built Rockne Tarkington and his pet lion fighting nasty gangsters William Smith and a tache-less Titos Vandis.

Innocents with Dirty Hands (1975) - Chabrol does an average 70s erotic thriller with Steiger and Schneider.

Pipe Dreams (1976) - Gladys Knight goes to Alaska, in a vanity vehicle produced by her real-life abusive husband.

Family Plot (1976) - Hitchcock does a TV movie of the week for Universal TV, but it got released in cinemas. About as cinematic as a Columbo. Actually, less so.

Hitch-Hike (1977) - Extraordinarily odd Italian horror/thriller/treatise of the horror of man, with Franco Nero, Corinne Clery and David Hess, set in a wonderfully odd recreation of New Mexico or Nevada or the generic modern American west in Italy. It's an Italian spaghetti western setting a hundred years later. With fake KFCs and Euro-Texaco stations.

F.I.S.T. (1978) - Not an action, but a sweeping drama about Hoffa, with Sylvester Stallone. Sheffield doubles for Cleveland (Walter Spencer's factory name is visible). Gene Corman produces, but it feels like one of his brother's gangster pictures with a budget. Norman Jewison directs.

Hero at Large (1980) - John Ritter is mistaken as a real superhero while promoting a cheapo-looking movie, Captain Avenger in a cheesy, TV movie-like comedy.

Chinese Stuntman (1981) - Bruce Li gives it his all, but the cut-price production cuts through.

Housekeeping (1987) - Bill Forsyth struggles in Canada.It has a very Vancouver indie feel, a la My American Cousin.

The Fourth Protocol (1987) - A decent if overlong Michael Caine vehicle, a thriller based on a Frederick Forsyth novel, clearly indebted to Le Carre (Ian Richardson basically does Bill Haydon again), with a stonking cast (Pierce Brosnan as the evil Soviet baddie, Ned Beatty, Joanna Cassidy, Julian Glover, Michael Gough, Ray McAnally, Ian Richardson, Anton Rodgers, Caroline Blakiston, Joseph Brady, Matt Frewer, Betsy Brantley, Alan North, Ronald Pickup, Mick Ford, Philip Jackson). It begins with Michael Bilton as Kim Philby getting shot by Russians (all played by Americans or Irish actors doing American-ish accents) and then Brosnan tries to plant a homemade nuke at a US air base. It feels exceedingly Thatcher's Britain. Wrestler Big Daddy appears in a cameo, as Brosnan's introduction to decadent western television is World of Sport.

Withnail and I (1987) - It's just a jumped-up Screen Two or Film on Four.

Madame Bovary (1991) - Dull-but-worthy Chabrol-directed Flaubert adap with Isabelle Huppert.

Heart and Souls (1993) - Schamltzy sub-Burton retro-fantasy comedy with Robert Downey Jr.

Canadian Bacon (1995) - Poor John Candy. Michael Moore is a gobshite, anyway. Still, Anne Murray sings the most haunting song of my childhood.

Ronin (1998) - A decent 70s Europudding thriller that happens to have been made in 1998.

Run Lola Run (1999) - Like an episode of Tatort for the post-Lock Stock gen.

Love is the Devil (1999) - Proto-BBC4 biopic with Derek Jacobi as Francis Bacon  and pre-Bond Daniel Craig, plus Adrian Scarborough as horror-book maestro Daniel Farson. Sleazy nonsense. It feels so telly that it is impossible to imagine this in a cinema.

Flower of Evil (2003)  - Slow Chabrol mediocrity.


Love Comes Along (1930 - b/w) - Early talkie musical comedy with Bebe Daniels.

Forbidden Adventure (1931 - b/w) - Pre-code kiddie comedy about kids wandering about. A mess. Edna May Oliver does her thing.

There's Always Tomorrow (-1934 - b/w) - Tedious romance with Frank Morgan and Binnie Barnes.

Stanley and Livingstone (1939 - b/w) - Mix of staid jungle theatrics and actual travelogue footage with Spencer Tracy and Richard Greene.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938 - b/w) - Not as amazing as the title suggests. Another Bogie/Edward G crime story.

Confessions of  A Nazi Spy (1939 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson-helmed propaganda, with California badly doubling for Germany.

Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940 - b/w) - Another Edward G. biopic, solidly furnished, lush but full of unconvincing mittel-Europeana.

The Old Maid (1939 - b/w)/All This and Heaven Too (1940 - b/w)/The Great Lie (1941 - b/w)/In This Our Life (1942 - b/w)/Deception (1946 - b/w) - Bette Davis women's pictures.

They Won't Believe Me (1947 - b/w) - Even the title is generic in this Robert Young noir.

Mark of the Renegade (1951) - Bland exotica Mexican-set swshbuckler with Ricardo Montalban.

Act of Love (1953 - b/w) - Tiresome Kirk Douglas-Dany Robin romance. The only novelty is that Leslie Dwyer is billed over Sydney Chaplin and Brigitte Bardot.

Santiago (1956) - Nothingy Alan Ladd western, only distinguishing factor is it is set in the Chilean swamp-jungles.

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe (1959) - Pretty romantic comedy directed by Jean Renoir that is deliberately styled to look like his dad's paintings.

The Siege of Syracuse (1960) - Forgettable peplum with Rossano Brazzi as Archimedes.

The Colossus of Rhodes (1960) - Sergio Leone's debut. A typical pelum, but with some spectacular tableaux (the raid on the titular statue), but with Rory Calhoun and the Gordon Mitchell-ish Georges Marchal, star of Chateuavallon, it feels interchangeable with the other sword and sandal marathons.

Five Miles to Midnight (1961 - b/w) - Unmemorable stalker-ish Eurothriller with Sophia Loren and Anthony Perkins in France.

13 West Street (1962 - b/w) - Undistinguished Alan Ladd vs JDs cheapie.

All Fall Down (1962 - b/w) - Unlikeable melodrama with Warren Beatty as someone called Berry-Berry, Eva Marie Saint, Brandon de Wilde, Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury playing older. Saint plays Beatty's (admittedly "old maid") girlfriend, Lansbury his mother. Saint is older than Lansbury.

Zotz (1963 - b/w) - Disney-esque Tom Poston as an absent minded professor nonsense from William Castle.

A Fistful of Dollars (1964) - A generic western with some verve, and with that verve, it created a genre.

The Crooked Road (1965 - b/w) - Overlong ITC-ish thriller with Robert Ryan, Stewart Granger, Marius Goring and Nadia Gray  in "Jugoslavia".

Man in the Wilderness (1971) - Despite having a sailing ship on wheels, John Huston, Dennis Waterman and Henry Wilcoxon as a Native American chief, this Richard Harris western is a slog through Spanish sludge. Remade as the Revenant.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) - I don't get Python and this is just Gilliam prepping for Jabberwocky.

Alice in the Cities (1974 - b/w)/Kings of the Road (1976 - b/w) - Wim Wenders just driving about the autobahns looking at towns.

Les Magiciens (1976) - Utterly generic Eurocrime with Franco Nero and Gert Frobe. Proof that Claude Chabrol is a hack.

Brubaker (1980) - Typical prison flick with Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman and a cameo by Orinoco Womble.

On Golden Pond (1981) - It's ITC on autopilot, so it feels like a  Movie of the Week.

The Vindicator (1986) - Serviceable Proto-Robocop from Canada with Pam Grier.

Shallow Grave (1994) - Horrible, ugly, dated film-on-Four but it has Chris Tarrant. It seems a pretty random melange of elements from three different stories of Taggart.

Magnolia (1999) - Huh?

The 13th Warrior (1999) - Flop attempt to revive the Peplum, mixing Arabs and Vikings. No Sidney Potter.

Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) - Like a syndicated Europudding TV series' entire run pulped down to two and a quarter hours.

Monsieur Batignole (2002) - Gérard Jugnot stars and directs in a story of a Rene Artois-esque French bloke protecting kids in WW2. Typical French Cesar bait.

Dancing lady (1937 - b/w) - Routine musical, but early Stooge action alert.

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) - Rewatched it, and isn't it fantastic?

Saturday 1 February 2020

109 (110 including the Cover Girl dupe)

The Jazz Singer (1927 - b/w) - Al Fucking Jolson. For once, Warner Oland looks white. The DVD cover completely downplays the most notorious element about Jolson.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930 - b/w) - A groundbreaking film, but having these realistic war scrapes in the Universal Little Europe village, well it feels ridiculous. But still powerful.

City Girl (1930 - b/w) - FW Murnau at Fox. Maudlin but well-made.

Platinum Blonde (1931 - b/w) - Jean Harlow in a typical romcom of the era.

I'm No Angel (1933 - b/w) - Mae West/Cary Grant comedy, not the sort of thing I usually enjoy. Why doI watch this? Because it's education.

The Song of Songs (1933 - b/w) -Generic Marlene Dietrich melodrama.

Born to be Bad (1934 - b/w) - Forgettable Fox comedy with Loretta Young and Cary Grant.

Top Hat (1935 - b/w) - I don't get 30s society comedies, but hey, with Fred and Ginger, the dancing will be good.

Mary of Scotland (1936 - b/w) - Typical faux-Scottish period inaccuracy with Katharine Hepburn as the Queen of Scots, and swamps in Scotland.

Holiday (1938 - b/w) - I don't enjoy screwball comedies. Don't ask.
See also Bringing Up Baby (1938 - b/w).

Heidi (1938) - Garish Shirley Temple vehicle, with Jean Hersholt hidden in a big  beard.

Young Mr. Lincoln (1939 - b/w) - Typical 30s Hollywood biopic with Henry Fonda, by John Ford.

The Roaring Twenties (1939 - b/w) - A well-made, possibly definitive gangster movie of its era.

The Mark of Zorro (1940 - b/w) - Typical 1940s swashbuckling and western combined, with lots of walnut juice and Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone unconvincing Mexicans.

The Stars Look Down (1940 - b/w) - Typical AJ Cronin working class melodrama by Carol Reed.

The Grapes of Wrath (1941 - b/w) - Typical Hollywood Americana of the era.

The Bride Came C.O.D. (1941 - B/W) - Bette Davis and James Cagney in a ghost town bickering.

How Green Was My Valley (1941 - b/w) - Sentimental tosh. It doesn't feel like Wales. It feels like Oireland. Half the cast is Irish, after all.

A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941 - b/w) - Shonky Blitz-era Hollywood morale booster with Tyrone Power.
See also the spiritual Naval-themed sequel, the even shonkier Wing and a Prayer (1944 - b/w).

Buck Privates (1941)/One Night in the Tropics (1940 - b/w) - I don't really get Abbott and Costello. Sorry.

One of Our Aircraft Is Missing (1942 - b/w) - Hugh Burden first billed for once (and oddly enough, later in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing). Typical WW2 larks from Powell and Pressburger.  First post-credits sequence?

Cover Girl (1944) - Just another 40s musical with Rita Hayworth, plus Gene Kelly.

Fallen Angel (1945) - Dana and Otto try to do Another Laura.

The Wicked Lady (1945 - b/w) - A solid period bodice-ripper, but almost too close to parody.

Mildred Pierce (1946 - b/w) - Typical noir with women's picture elements or a typical women's picture with noir elements.

Anna and the King of Siam (1948 - b/w) - Yellow Rex Harrison and Irene Dnne in faux-Thai gubbins that inspired The King and I.

Here Come The Huggetts (1948)/Vote for Huggett (1949 - b/w) - Baffling 40s comedies with Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison  and Petula Clark.

Train of Events (1949 - b/w) - A great train smash climaxes a boilerplate Ealing drama split into segments. Still,Miles Malleson with a tache and bald cap.

Portrait of Jennie (1949 - b/w) - Nicely Melies-esque, but it's pretty Oirish (there's a subplot about a pub's Michael Collins painting) and Jennifer Jones as a child is ridiculous (are they using Darby O'Gill-style forced perspective?). And Darby O'Gill is in this.

Adam's Rib (1949 - b/w) - Courtroom romcom. It has spark, but I don't warm to courtrooms or romcoms.

In A Lonely Place (1950 - b/w) - Typical Bogie noir.

The Magnet (1950 - b/w) - James Fox is a little Scouse toff, who being a member of the Fox clan, you want to punch.

All About Eve (1950 - b/w) - It's well-made, but it's not my kind of thing per se. But I can see why it works. Anne Baxter always has madness in her eyes, and I like that.

David and Bathsheba (1951) - Generic biblical cobblers with Susan Hayward and Gregory Peck.

Quo Vadis (1951) - The gladiator movie at its most queer, mainly because of the sheer drama queen performance of Peter Ustinov as Nero, in his tiara and purple dress, singing with a harp in his hand.  The rest is typical 50s epic preaching and generic spectacle, but Ustinov was born to play the self-obssessed, Trumpian cherub.

Circle of Danger (1951 - b/w) - Ray Milland in a tedious quota quickie with ballroom scenes, Marius Goring and Naunton Wayne. Has Milland as an American in Wales. It tells, but doesn't show.

Angels one five (1952 - b/w) - Typical war gubbins.

Roman Holiday (1953 - b/w) - It's just high-class Queensploitation.

From Here to Eternity (1953 - b/w) - Feels smaller than I imagined. Somehow always remembered it being in color.

The Red Beret (1953) - Miserable, stiff, staid British war generica with Alan Ladd shoehorned in.

The Robe (1953)/Demetrius and the Gladiators (1953) - A two-part film. Beautifully staged biblical cobblers. Jay Robinson clearly inspired Kenneth Williams as Caesar. Victor Mature is outacted by both Richard Burton and William Marshall (cast in a role way beneath him).

Salome (1953) - Stewart Granger and Rita Rayworth in tacky clor Biblical pulp. Charles Laughton is Herod. There's dancing sequences. Alan Badel is the Baptist. Arnold "Kodos the Executioner" Moss and Judith Anderson (as Herodias) pop up, while there is some PG-rated gore because hey, this is Biblical, so it is safe, so we can have a bloodied, decapitated head on a platter.

The Glenn Miller Story (1954) - Average schmaltzy biopic.

You Know What Sailors Are (1954) - A 50s Rank comedy, generic in its outline but actually an unfunny if attractively garish adventure-comedy with Donald Sinden, Sarah Lawson, Akim Tamiroff as a North African dictator, Naunton Wayne, Martin Miller as a mad scientist,   and Ken Annakin bringing a 50s exotica feel to the setting.

3 Coins in the Fountain (1954) - Touristy studio romance. Rossano Brazzi and Louis Jourdan (hey ,a Frankenstein and a Dracula) play Italians who seduce Americans.

East of Eden (1955) - Typical 50s epic melodrama of the era.

D-Day, the 6th of June (1956) - Typical British WW2 antics with Robert Taylor and Richard Todd, except it's really the Fox lot. Features ads for Bovril.

Heaven Knows Mr. Allison (1957) - Deborak Kerr plays Sister Clodagh again essentially, but this time she's with Robert Mitchum on an island.

An Affair to Remember (1957) - Generic romance, a weepie with Deborah Kerr as "an invalid". It portrays the BBC recording suite as a dining room with a photo of the Queen in the back. Probably the same BBC in Escape from the Planet of the Apes.

The One Who Got Away (1957 - b/w) - An atypical WW2 movie shot in a typical WW2 movie style, following the hardships of Nazi twink Hardy Kruger as he treks along, eventually to the frozen wastes of Sweden-as-Canada.

Il Grido (1957 - b/w) - From Antonioni-on-oni, arty Italiana.

Funny Face (1957) - Audrey and Fred Stair. Typical plush musical.

The Hidden Fortress (1958 - b/w) - George Lucas' shooting style in Star Wars (plus plot and character) cribbed from this, and hey, Kurosawa does it better, because Kurosawa was a genius and Lucas is a hack.

The Quiet American (1958 - b/w) - Awful, overlong Graeme Greene adap with Mediterranean-looking Vietnamese ladies and Michael Redgrave trying to save the thing, because his costar is the baby-faced soldier boy himself, Audie Murphy, a great man but not a  great actor.

Dunkirk (1958 - b/w) - A muddled but competent Mills-Attenborough teamup/ensemble piece featuring Bad Flanagan and Chesney Allen, and directed by Barry Norman's dad.

The Defiant Ones (1958 - b/w) - Sidney Potter and Stony Curtis go on  a run together while Lon Chaney Jr and Theodore Bikel lag behind.

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1959 - b/w) -  Tati is an acquired taste.

Spartacus (1960) - A typical epic, but it's well-made.

The Mountain Road (1960 - b/w) - Dreary war film with James Stewart and Lisa Lu.

Elmer Gantry (1960) - Wonderfully shot, but way too long.

North to Alaska  (1960) - Generic Northern with John Wayne and Stewart Granger joined by the of-the-time likes of Fabian, Capucine and Ernie Kovacs.

The Children's Hour (1961) - Shirley and Audrey in an overcooked melodrama about lesbian teachers.

The Nun's Story (1961) - Well-made People's Friend stuff with Audrey Hepburn and an all-star cast of good character actors. Weird to see Rosalie Crutchley over Colleen Dewhurst.

Le Doulos (1961 - b/w) - Melville, good for what it is. But not my kind of actioner.
Also saw Un Flic (1972), which at least has some fun modelwork.
See also the overlong Le deuxième souffle (1966).

The 300 Spartans (1962) - Generic peplum antics with a budget and a cast.

La Dolce Vita (1963 - b/w) - I don't quite enjoy this era of Fellini. Too show-offy.

Tom Jones (1963)  - Obnoxious period romp.

The Leather Boys (1964 - b/w) - Kitchen sink biker exploitation pic set in Butlin's, with added Rita Tushingham and homoerotic overtones and Dudley Sutton. As grim as that sounds.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) - The same old story told with a galaxy of stars (mis)cast as the biblical standbys. Dorothy McGuire is the world's oldest virgin.

Mirage (1965 - b/w) - Serviceable but unmemorable NYC thriller with Gregory Peck.

The Mona Lisa Has Been Stolen (1966) - Forgettable Euro-caper with George Chakiris in period France.

Hawaii (1966)/The Hawaiians (1970) - Sluggish but beautifully shot epic adaptation of James Michener's novel. Max Von Sydow for once looks young and fit.

The Family Way (1966) - Kitchen sink drama for the British Invasion era. Same Bolton locations would reappear in Phoenix Nights. John Mills plays Hayley Mills' father-in-law. That must have caused words between characters. John Comer is her character's putative dad. But this isn't a film about incest, so I digress.

Fellini Satyricon (1969) - Beautiful but offputtingly tacky camp.

A Severed Head (1970) - Annoying Iris Murdoch-Dick Clement spouse-swapping sexcom with Remick, Holm, Attenborough and Bloom.

Fiddler on the Roof (1971) - It looks nice, it sounds nice, at times, but it is a slog.

Shaft (1971) - Such an authentic capturing of New York of the era that you can smell the moisture.

American Graffiti (1973) - Annoying. somewhat mature teens help George Lucas' career.

Love and Death (1975) - It looks gorgeous, great use of Prokofiev, and there are some nice jokes but Allen's presence just sours it. A lot of jokes recur. "A piece of land", "A lock of her hair".  James Tolkan is fun as Napoleon. Weird to see Howard Vernon in something lush. At least, it doesn't outstay its welcome. In fact, it feels like there is not much plot. It's supposed to be this great grand epic, but i has a TV movie length.

Interiors (1978) - Almost a thriller from  Woody Allen. No comedy, but no thrills. Cold and clinical. And depressing.

Being There (1979) - Peter Seller plays an eejit who watches PBS and Mumbly (not Muttley, Mumbly - his Columbo-ish cousin/stand-in), so people think he is smart. He switches over from Sesame Street to Mr. Rogers, so he must be watching rival PBS stations. He gets exploited, enjoys seeing Shirley MacLaine wank and then turns out to be Christ reborn.

Stardust Memories (1980) - Fuck off.

Nine to Five (1980) - The topic of three women in the workplace and the bland mainstream US comedy look of the era puts me off, but I didn't expect the weird noir/animation touches.

Zelig (1983) - So well-crafted that it is not at all funny. It's just a PBS doc.

Cheech and Chong's Corsican Brothers (1984) - Like the final chapter of History of the World Part 1, but even worse.

My Life as a Dog (1985) - Likeable CFF-ish antics.

Colonel Redl (1985) - Overlong miniseries-like exploration of the Austro-Hungarian empire, with Klaus Maria Brandauer.

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) - The sort of relationship comedy I don't gel with. Plus it feels creepy when you realise it's about Allen and Farrow's sisters.

The Mission (1986) - At least, it looks nice.

Big Trouble (1987) - Unmemorable mainstream comedy directed by John Cassavetes.

Radio Days (1987) - Mia Farrow looks more 80s when in 40s gear.

September (1987) - Just Denholm Elliott and Elaine Stritch moaning and drinking, like in a Tales of the Unexpected.

Another Woman (1988) - With Ian Holm in this, and Denholm, Stritch, Ferrer elsewhere, did Woody have a hard-on for Tales of the Unexpected... Forgettable sub-TV movie drama.

Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - Allen at his most tiring and quasi-intellectual.

Cinema Paradiso (1990) - It looks nice. And Philippe Noiret is always good.

Alice (1990) - That awful Farrow woman, but at least Allen gives Keye Luke stuff to do.

Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf (1991) - More Binoche-Carax-Lavant arthouse bullshitting about the homeless of Paris.

Ulysses Gaze (1995) - Harvey Keitel travels back in time to Soviet Russia, or does he?

Hurlyburly (1998) - Like most 90s ensemble satires, it has dated horribly, but it has Kevin Spacey at his most charismatic and attractive (peroxide blonde hair - he looks Plummer-esque in some shots, other times like Bob Mortimer as the grandson in the Eagle has Landed-parodying pre-titles of the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer). Damn you, Kevin, why did you turn to be such a horrible faux-Southern monster? What a crock of shite. The film, that is.

Faust - Love of the Damned (1999) - Tacky (it's Spanish, what do you expect - class) Brian Yuzna-directed superhero-demon grossness.

Shin Godzilla (2016)  - Tiresome reboot.

Incident in a Ghostland (2017)  - Dull, quiet, LOUD, LOUD, dull, dull, LOUD, LOUD, dull, dull, dull.