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.

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