Thursday 12 March 2020


Remote Control (1930 - b/w) - Bland comedy about radio. Out on Warner Archive.

Enchanted April (1933 - b/w) - Bland 30s comedy romance programmer, allegedly based on the novel.

The Merry Frinks (1934 - b/w)  Proto sitcom goofing with Aline MacMahon and Guy Kibbee and Hugh Herbert and Allen Jerkins.

Jane Eyre (1934 - b/w) - Hour-long compact version from Monogram, with Colin Clive, Virginia Bruce and Our Gang member-turned-Irish kiddie TV host Jean "Aunty Poppy" Darling.

Marie Galante (1934- b/w) - Bland globetrotting romance with Spencer Tracy.

Man Hunt (1936 - b/w) - Tiresome mugging from the Clive Dunn-esque schtick of Chic Sale, in this William Gargan-Ricardo Cortez comedy.

Meet  Nero Wolfe (1936 - b/w) - Basically a pilot for a series, with Edward Arnold, Lionel Stander and Rita Hayworth.

Human Cargo (1936 - b/w) - Generic gangster fire with young Rita Cansino/Hayworth and Brian Donlevy.

The Last Gangster (1937 - b/w) - James Stewart-Edward G. Robinson gangster generica.

Submarine Patrol (1938 - b/w) - Generic naval saga from John Ford, with Richard Greene.

Missing Evidence  (1939 - b/w) - Forgettabe B-picture from Universal, with Preston Foster.

Opened by Mistake (1940 - b/w) - Generic alleged comedy with Charles Ruggles.

The Stork Pays Off (1941 - b/w) - Generic B-comedy with Victor Jory not playing an Indian.

Repent at Leisure (1941 - b/w) - Forgettable B-picture starring Kent Taylor.

We Go Fast (1941 - b/w) - Generic comedy with Lynn Bari and Gerald Mohr.

Mr. and Mrs. North (1942 - b/w) - God Gracie Allen is annoying.

Thumbs Up (1943 - b/w) - Serviceable Republic music hall-set propaganda with genuine ex-music hall artistes Elsa Lanchester and J. Pat O'Malley.

Summer Storm (1944 - b/w)  -MGM period saga on autopilot, with George Sanders and Hugo Haas.

Strange Affair (1944 - b/w) - Forgettable comedy mystery with Evelyn Keyes, Allyn Joslyn and Hugo Haas.

Days of Glory (1944 - b/w)  - Jacques Tourneur does more WW2 propaganda with Gregory Peck(Ory).

Mrs. Parkington (1944 - b/w) - Generic romance with Rigsby's favourites, Pidgeon and Garson.

What Next, Colonel Hargrove (1945 - b/w) - Amiable but bland wartime comedy with Robert Walker and Hugo Haas.

A Bell for Adano (1945 - b/w) - Oh God, another propaganda faux-European drama from Fox.

Two Smart People (1946 - b/w) - Forgettable romantic thriller set at a carnival with John Hodiak and Lucille Ball.

Blonde Alibi (1946 - b/w)  - Shonky Universal B-noir.

Specter of the Rose (1946 - b/w) - Odd Republic ballet-noir.

It Shouldn't Happen to A Dog (1946 - B/W) - Another quickly-made identikit mystery-comedy.

 My Girl Tisa (1947 - B/W) - Plodding period romance between immigrants Sam Wanamaker (before he moved to Britain) and Lilli Palmer (ditto), and Hugo Haas.

Life with Father (1947) - Bland family period comedy with William Powell, Irene Dunne and that awful Taylor girl.

Merton of the Movies (1947 - b/w) - Forgettable meta Red Skelton vehicle.
See also Half a Hero (1953 - b/w).

The Foxes of Harrow (1947 - b/w) - Overlong Southern epic with Maureen O'Hara and that awful Sir Rex Harrison.

Macbeth (1948 - b/w) - Maybe, Welles' best film. The limits of Republic thrust this adaptation into this expressionist sword and sorcery hellscape.

A Run For Your Money (1949 - b/w) - Generic comedy Welsh Ealing vehicle for Donald Houston and Meredith Edwards, with Alec Guinness, but stolen by Hugh Griffith.

Orphee (1950 - b/w) - It's art. It's hard to judge art, sometimes.

Deported (1950 - b/w) - Jeff Chandler picture, routine except it is shot in Italy as opposed to Little Europe.

Last Holiday (1950 - b/w) - Drab sentiment with Alec Guinness.

Mrs. O'Malley and Malone (1950 - B/W) - Forgettable comedy mystery.

Pickup (1951 - b/w) - Generic poverty row vanity noir from Hugo Haas.
See also The Girl on the Bridge (1951 - b/w), Strange Fascination (1952 - b/w), Bait (1954 - b/w), One Girl's Confession (1953 - B/W), The Other Woman (1954 - b/w), Hold Back Tomorrow (1955 - b/w), Hit and Run (1957 - b/w), all either with Cleo Moore or the interchangeable Beverly Michaels, or Beverly Michaels or the interchangeable Cleo Moore. The thing is I somehow find these films fascinating. Haas is an interesting presence, and he is definitely an auteur. His style is odd. Sentimental stories of grotty middle-aged European immigrants in America and the women in their lives.
The Edge of Hell (1956 - b/w) is a study of a man and his dog, and gets quite expressionist and surrealist.
Lizzie (1957 - b/w), a higher-grade production with Richard Boone and Eleanor Parker, produced by Kirk Douglas' Bryna company, has less of that trademark Haas poverty about it. It has Johnny Mathis in it, as himself, singing a song or two, and people whose faces you have seen in colour,
Night of the Quarter Moon (1959 - b/w) - Julie London wears thick eye makeup to look mixed-race, but looks more like a lost Robbins sibling (the Scouse showbiz family).  Inept, from Haas, originally by Republic. Nat King Cole is in it, the actual Nat King Cole, not that Scouse brickie who had a tan and won Stars in their Eyes.

Death of a Salesman (1951 - b/w) - I suppose it is a decent adaptation of the play.

Hurricane Smith (1952) - Generic pirate adventure with Yvonne De Carlo and the only man who is actually an island, John Ireland.

Meet Me Tonight (1952) - Bland Noel Coward stage play anthology.

The Captain's Paradise (1953 - b/w) - Generic Alec Guinness comedy.

Malta Story (1953 - b/w) - Generic WW2 war story with Alec Guinness and Jack Hawkins leading a cast of faces.

Fair Wind to Java (1953) - Typical Republic attempt at prestige. It's basically a Maria Montez film but with an even worse lead in Vera Hruba Ralston in brownface and  drawn-in brows. Fred MacMurray and Victor McLaglen crew a sailboat. Robert Douglas is a British-accented villain in a turban and mask.  There is treasure, and a "sexy" native girl.  Some nice matte paintings, though.

About Mrs. Leslie (1954 - b/w) - Drab, average Shirley Booth-Robert Ryan romance.

Crime Wave (1954 - b/w) - Generic Sterling Hayden B-crime vehicle.

Johnny Guitar (1954) - Despite being a gloriously trashy piece of camp with Joan Crawford in the lead, theme by Peggy Lee, and Sterling Hayden as Johnny Logan (yes, Sean Sherrard took the name for his Eurovision-winning alter ego), it's also a very generic western, at the same time being a very unusual western.

Orders are Orders (1954) - b/w) - Despite Sid James, Tony Hancock and Peter Sellers, this forgettable comedy is actually a vehicle for radio's PC 49, Brian Reece.

To Paris with Love (1955)  -Bland romantic comedy with Alec Guinness.

The Swan (1956) - Ridiculous Hollywood romantica with Grace Kelly playing her future self, and Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan.

Soho Incident (1956 - b/w) - Forgettable Brit crime by Ian Stuart Black, with Faith Domergue, Lee Patterson, Martin Benson, and a fair-haired, clean-shaven Bernard Fox, years before he grew the tache and moved to the US and spent the rest of his career being possessed by the spirit of Nigel Bruce.

The Big Money (1956 - b/w) - Blandly amiable Ian Carmichael vehicle.
See also Lucky Jim (1957 - b/w).

Three Men in a Boat (1956 - b/w) - Bland adaptation of the classic, with Laurence Harvey underplaying it while David Tomlinson and Jimmy Edwards ham it up.

Bachelor of Hearts (1957) - Forgettable sub-Doctor in the House nice-young-men comedy with Hardy Kruger playing on his teen idol status. Product placement for Frank Chacksfield.

Designing Women (1957) - Luscious 50s comedy with Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall and Dolores Gray. Not my thing but it looks good.

The Happy Road (1957 - b/w) - Gene Kelly and Michael Redgrave in a CFF-ish runaway kid thing.

All Mine to Give (1957)  - Dreadful wepeie where Scottish parents in the Midwest 1850s, Cameron Mitchell and Glynis Johns die leaving Patty McCormack and her siblings.

The High Cost of Loving (1958 - b/w) - Bland romcom with Gena Rowlands and José Ferrer.

Treat Softly Stranger (1958 - b/w) - Bland British noir with George Baker and Diana Dors.
Not to be confused with Walk Softly Stranger (1950 - b/w) or Dors' best bombshell-era performance, Yield to the Night (1956 - b/w).

Toy Tiger (1958) - Jeff Chandler chastises some grating boyscouts.

Happy Anniversary (1959 - b/w) - Bland romcom with David Niven.

Elevator to the Gallows/Lift to the Scaffold (1958 - b/w) - John Gorman, Roger McGough and Mike McGear are not in this Malle noir-boredom. Though Lino Ventura is.

Merrill's Marauders (1962) - Jeff Chandler's last film, a typical down to Earth realist look at war from Sam Fuller, but it feels generic after a while.

Air Patrol (1962 - b/w) - Dreadful set-on-the-Fox-lot C-movie with helicopters the gimmick.

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - It most certainly is, but it certainly isn't that funny. It's way too long.

The Heroes of Telemark (1965) - An interesting cast (Douglas, Harris, Redgrave, David Weston, Diffring, Mervyn Johns, Eric Porter, Roy Dotrice, Barry Jones, Barry Jones, Ralph Michael, Geoffrey Keen, Maurice Denham, Robert Ayres, Alan Howard, Karel Stepanek, Faith Brok, Elvi Hale, George Murcell) in what feels like a dry run for Where Eagles Dare.

In Cold Blood (1967 - b/w) - Dreary, overlong true-crime.

Captain Apache (1972) - Peculiar, unsuccessful but interestingly odd faux-blaxploitation gothic Anglo-Spanish paella and chips western with Lee Van Cleef as a singing Indian out for revenge.

Wanda Nevada (1979) - Brooke Shields-Peter (and Henry) Fonda comedy-quasi-western for the under-twelves and paedos.

Miracles (1989)  - Is this Jackie Chan film set in the 30s?

Lionheart (1990) - Ludicrously enjoyable Euro-themed Eurotrash rich guys vs martial artists  nonsense with Jean Claude van Damme, and Clement von Franckenstein.

Liquid Dreams (1991) - Cyberpunk video fodder, quite stylish.

Seen on DVD

21 days together (1940 - b/w) - Forgettable vehicle for Leigh and Olivier.

Guadalcanal Diary (1945 - b/w) - Generic war stuff with Anthony Quinn and baby Richard Jaeckel.

Deadly Nightshade (1953 - b/w) - Generic British B with Emrys Jones.

The Student Prince (1954) - Ludicrous MGM musical froth, with Edmund Purdom (but notoriously the voice of Mario Lanza, who walked out after filming).

Sabrina (1954 - b/w) - Bogie and Aud and Bill Holden romantic comedy. Durr.

Alexander the Great (1956 - b/w) - Richard Burton in a generic epic. Cushing and Wyngarde over Helmut Dantine.

Terror in a Texas Town (1958 - b/w) - A strange western, with Sterling Hayden's Swedish whaler versus Sebastian Cabot. But still, it's a western and I can't really stand westerns.

The Wild Affair (1965 - b/w) - An odd, not entirely successful comedy, not funny but interesting to see a colorblind-cast Nancy Kwan.

The Stoolie (1972) - Early film from John G. Avildsen, a rare film lead for Jackie Mason, and like Avildsen's pre-Save the Tiger films, it's gloriously grubby. It's not as well-made a film as Joe, but it has a pseudo-Troma aesthetic as grubby as its star in underwear.

Madhouse (1981) - It looks great being an Italian slasher shot in the US, and a memorable Ortolani soundtrack, but it's quite generic.

Falling in Love (1984) - Bland romance antics with De Niro and Meryl.

Wheels on Meals (1984) - Generic Hong Kong comedy with Jackie and Sammo.

Harlem Nights (1989) -  Three generations of African-American comedy (or American comedy, in general), Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy in Murphy's directorial effort. It looks gorgeous and authentic, but it's not funny.

I.D. (1995) - Grim football hooliganism with Reece Dinsdale radically cast against type, alongside Sean Pertwee and Warren Clarke, who almost looks more like Michael Elphick here. Directed by Phil Davis, of all people, with a thanks in the credits to British B-movie mogul/ITC associate Monty Berman.

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