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.

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