Sunday 8 March 2020


L'Age D'Or (1930) - Experimental silent.

The Front Page (1931 - b/w) - Typical quick-talking, witty but not rib-tickling journalistic bout between Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien.

Flying High (1931 - b/w) - Bert Lahr without the lion's outfit - another Joe E. Brown. In fact, Brown became a star because Lahr was unavailable. The highlight is some dieselpunk proto-helicopter slapstick.

Devil and the Deep (1932 - b/w) - Tallulah Bankhead, Charles Laughton, Gary Cooper and Cary Grant in generic 30s pre-code revenge drama.

Hell's House (1932 - b/w) - Poverty row reform school malarkey with Bette Davis and Pat O'Brien.

The Sign of the Cross (1932 - b/w) - Turgid DeMille still stuck in the silent era.

Air Mail (1932 - b/w) - Generic air circus with Pat O'Brien, by John Ford.

Bombshell (1933 - b/w) - Generic Jean Harlow romcom.

The Mayor of Hell (1933 - b/w) - Proto-Bowery Boys with Cagney.

Bureau of Missing Persons (-1933 - b/w) - Routine gangster-com with Bette Davis and Pat O'Brien. Watching a lot of O'Brien, I realise I find O'Brien more interesting once he got older and more Irish. Realised this was a duplicate.

Laughing at Life (1933 - b/w) - Convict pseudo-western with Victor McLaglen, a typical Poverty Row Mascot production.

A World Gone Mad (1933 - b/w) - Poverty row guns and fedoras with Pat O'Brien.

Heat Lightning (1934 - b/w) - Rural drama with Aline McMahon and Preston Foster.

Autumn Crocus (1934 - b/w) -Ludicrous, unconvincing Early Ealing with the terrible Ivor Novello.

Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934 - b/w) - Generic musical with Dick Powell and Pat O'Brien.

The Gay Divorcee (1934 - b/w) - Supposed to be set in England, but too interested in dancing for any realism.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934 - b/w) - Standard Hollywood faux-English period epic, but Laughton steals it, playing Norma Shearer's dad, despite the lack of age difference. Luckily, she had silver muttonchops attached to his face.

I've Got Your Number (1934 - b/w) - Pat O'Brien and Officer Dibble go out with Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell. Nothing you haven't seen before, bar some fake-psychics.

Shanghai (1935 - b/w) - Dreary melodrama with Charles Boyer and Loretta Young about mixed-race relationships.

In Caliente (1935 - b/w) - Typical musical comedy with Dolores del Rio, mariachi bands, Leo Carrillo (the man not the beach), Glenda Farrell doing her journalist schtick and Pat O'Brien.

The Gilded Lily (1935 - b/w) - Bland romance with Claudette Colbert, Ray Milland and Fred MacMurray.

China Seas (1935 - b/w) -Generic nightclub exotica romance with Gable and Harlow. Derived somewhat from the jungle cruise of Red Dust (1932 - b/w).

China Clipper (1936 - b/w) - Ropey Bogie-Pat O'Brien exotica. See also Isle of Fury (1936 - b/w).

Rembrandt (1936 - b/w) -Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Gertrude Lawrence and Mr. Grimsdale star in a solid biopic.

Back in Circulation (1937 - b/w) - Pat O'Brien and Joan Blondell do a generic journalism screwballer.

Suez (1938 - b/w) - Victorian desert potboiler with Tyrone Power and Loretta Young.

Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938 - b/w) - Generic singing cowboy nonsense with Dick Powell, Pat O'Brien and Priscilla Lane.

St. Martin's Lane (1938- b/w) - Charles Laughton, Rex Harrison and Vivien Leigh appear in a film that begins with a shot of the Gaiety, London showing a show, Going Greek, billing Fred Emney and Richard Hearne. A typical tragicom, though Laughton is brilliant.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939 - b/w) - Despite being called Huck, Mickey Rooney is playing himself.  Less convincing in drag than he was in yellowface or brownface.

The Kid from Kokomo (1939 - b/w) - Generic Pat O'Brien comedy.
See also Here Comes the Navy (1934 - b/w, which begins as comedy and descends into docu-propaganda), that film's semi-sequel, the inaccurately pulpily titled Devil Dogs of the Air (1935 - b/w), The Irish in Us (1935 - b/w) - with Cagney and De Havilland, or the Oirish in Us,  Page Miss Glory (1935- b/w), Busby Berkeley's Garden of the Moon (1938 - b/w, with Jerry Colonna supporting O'Brien), and Boy Meets Girl (1938 - b/w) with Cagney.

They Knew What They Wanted (1940 - b/w) -  Carole Lombard and Charles Laughton play Renee and Renato. Oddly touching.

They Drive By Night (1940 - b/w) - Typical trucking noir with Raft and Bogie.

It All Came True (1940 - b/w) - Bogart is the gangster relief in this musical drama.

Moon Over Burma (1940 - b/w) - Bland exotica with Dorothy Lamour, Preston Foster and Robert Preston (isn't there a joke in Rising Damp that they're the same person?).

South of Pago Pago (1940 - b/w) - Jon Hall is in the South Seas again, here with Victor McLaglen and mad Frances.

The Fighting 69th (1940 - b/w) - Generic WW1 fare, almost feels like a western.

Castle in the Hudson (1940 - b/w) - Actually a John Garfield prison flick, with Pat O'Brien and Burgess Meredith.

Flowing Gold (1941 - b/w) - Garfield, O'Brien and Frances Farmer in a typical western in oil drag.

It Started with Eve (1941 - b/w)/Because of Him (1946 -b/w) - Deanna Durbin musical comedies, not my thing, but Charles Laughton's in them, so I watched them.
See also His Butler's Sister (1943 - b/w)

The Man from Down Under (1943 - b/w) - Sentimental nonsense lifted by Charles Laughton's winning performance.

Murder in the Big House (1942 - b/w) - Generic Van Johnson quickie.

Stand by for Action (1942 - b/w) - Generic naval antics with goofy nursery scenes, with Charles Laughton, Robert Taylor and Brian Donlevy.

Destroyer (1943 - b/w) - Generic naval movie with Glenn Ford and Edward G. Robinson.

Tampico (1944 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson wartime B-picture.

Storm over Lisbon (1944 - b/w) - Republic nonsense with Erich von Stroheim and the appalling Vera Hruba Ralston.

Abroad with Two Yanks (1944 - b/w) - Faux-Aussie propaganda.

Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944 - b/w) - Sitcommy family comedy about middle-aged family man Edward G. Robinson going to war.

Journey Together (1944 - b/w) - Dickie Attenborough is trained by Edward G. to be a pilot. Propaganda.

The Keys of the Kingdom (1944 - b/w) - Gregory Peck in Church Propaganda by AJ Cronin.

Man Alive (1945 - b/w) - Goofy sub-Topper supernatural comedy with Pat O'Brien.

Nob Hill (1945) - Bland family musical with George Raft.

Tangier (1946 - b/w) - Maria Montez does Casablanca and the audience has to suffer.

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson nurses Margaret O'Brien. MGM schmaltz.

Crack-up (1946 - b/w) - Bland forgery noir with Pat O'Brien.

Saigon (1948 - b/w) - Dreary exotica with Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd.

The Big Clock (1948- b/w) - Thought I'd seen this Laughton/Milland noir before. Just feels like it.

Time of Your Life (1948 - b/w) - Did I see this James Cagney comedy before?

House of Strangers (1949 - b/w) - Over-melodramatic but richly detailed noir with Richard Conte, Edward G. Robinson and Susan Hayward.

A Dangerous Profession (1949 - b/w) - Bland fedora action with Pat O'Brien and George Raft.

Rhubarb (1951 - b/w) - Sub-Disney codswallop with baseball, Ray Milland and a cat.

The Blue Veil (1951 - b/w) - Ropey faux-British Jane Wyman melodrama despite the dynamic duo of Charles Laughton and Cyril Cusack.

Criminal Lawyer (1951 - b/w) - Nondescript Pat O'Brien B-flick, see also Okinawa (1952 - a war film where they use comic strip titles as code), Inside Detroit (1956 - b/w)

Abbott And Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) - Seems ashamed of both the duo and Charles Laughton, wants to be a musical instead.

Hong Kong (1952) - Indiana Reagan!

Angel Face (1952 - b/w) - Generic noir with Jean Simmons and Robert Mitchum. 

Fort Algiers (1953 - b/w) - Dreary legionnairy with Yvonne De Carlo. Raymond Burr and Leif Erickson black up. Yes, it's a western in blackface.

Jamaica Run (1953) - Ropey Ray Milland tropicana.
See also Lisbon (1954)  with Maureen O'Hara, and the non-Milland O'Hara vehicle Malaga (1954).

Main Street to Broadway (1953 - b/w) - Forgettable coming of age drama propped up by a ton of stars as themselves, Rex Harrison and Lili Palmer, Helen Hayes, Cornel Wilde, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead and Agnes Moorehead.

An Alligator Named Daisy (1954) - Bland musical comedy with Donald Sinden.

Seven Samurai (1954 - b/w) - Great filmmaking, but I find that samurai films are the westerns of the east. I have the same interest, or lack of, in them.

Slightly Scarlet (1954) - Rubbishy color noir with John Payne, Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming.

Rogue Cop (1954 - b/w) - Dull sub-Dragnet antics with Janet Leigh and Robert Taylor.

Phone Call from A Stranger (1952 - b/w) - Typical noirish late-period Bette Davis-on-autopilot.

The Desperate Hours (1955 - b/w) - Bogie and some idiots hold some WASPs headed by Fredric March to ransom. And not much happens.

Ransom (1956) - Glenn Ford and Donna Reed's son gets kidnapped and held for ransom. A slog, but you almost think it's a downer but then you realise, "No, this is a film from 1956."

Shadow on the Window (1957 - b/w) - Solidly forgettable noir with Philip Carey.

Step Down to Terror (1958) - Roughly made Uni TV-esque remake of Shadow of a Doubt with Charles Drake, Colleen Miller and Rod Taylor.

Party Girl (1958) - Cyd Charisse and Robert Taylor in a peculiar gangster-drama/musical.

The Last Hurrah (1958 - b/w) - Generic political scenario that John Ford brightens with an incredible cast.

A Hole in the Head (1959) - Dreadful Frank Sinatra family comedy.

Legion of the Damned (1969) - Umberto Lenzi war film, a faux-British epic with Jack Palance dubbed with a sporadically Scottish accent.

Death in Venice (1971) - It's well shot, and not that boring, to be honest, but I can't take it seriously, because of Stella Street's parody of Bogarde as basically his character in this, doesn't the lad look like Cybill Shepherd?

Disciple of Death (1972) - Ultra-amateur weirdness from Mike Raven.

The  Big Sleep (1978) - A film I have a soft spot for, because it's so odd. Michael Winner transposes Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) into Eustonland, with the likes of Don Henderson and Colin Blakely, and Derek Deadman, plus various other British and Hollywood vets. I wonder knowing Winner's background as a proto-Tarantino film fan who got his chance to make his films and utilise the faded stars he loved as a boy (this has Richard Todd and John Justin, Prince from the Thief of Bagdad as the deceased bookseller, Geiger), if he was making a tribute to the quota quickie B-films made by the likes of Hammer, with an ageing, past-it US actor, and this film is set in that world, a sleazy Britain where Richard Boone hangs out in pubs and runs a Dunlop garage, while John Mills talks to Marlowe, while watching Miss World in a comfy 70s living room, and James Stewart lives in a massive old house deep in the Home Counties. Marlowe reads the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail.

The Warriors (1979) - Tacky wanderings of a bunch of unlikeable, poncey poseurs.

A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) - A little too "grim" for its own good, but some charming performances. And with Christy Moore and Belle and Sebastian on the soundtrack.  And "from the Central Junior Television Workshop".

The Dish (2000) - Like Australian Heartbeat.

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