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.

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