Tuesday 17 March 2020


Wings (1927 - b/w) - The over-sentimentalised modern soundtrack grates.

Anna Christie (1930 - b/w) - Decently made, though the same film Garbo always made.

Trader Horn (1931 - b/w) - Godawful racist bullshit. Remade as the silly, sub-TV movie Trader Horn (1973), with Rod Taylor.

The Bad Sister (1931 - b/w) - Forgettable Bette Davis semi-feature.

Flesh (1932) - The Wallace Beery wrestling picture. Not very good.

Babes in Toyland (1934 - b/w) - Laurel and Hardy in fairytale land.

Black Fury (1935 - b/w) - Not an adventure but Paul Muni is a miner.

Break of Hearts (1935 - b/w) - Forgettable romance between Katharine Hepburn and Charles Boyer.

Blackmailer (1936 - b/w) - Forgettable B with William Gargan.

As You Like It (1936 - b/w) - Stagey, almost fairytale-like Shakespeare with a twinky Oliver.

The Final Hour (1936 - b/w) - Forgettable Ralph Bellamy cheapie I could have sworn I'd seen before.

The Awful Truth (1937  - b/w) - The kind of screwballer that passes through me.

Big City (1937 - b/w) - Inner-city melodrama with Luise Rainer and Spencer Tracy.

Black Legion (1937 - b/w) - The novelty of this Bogie gangster B is that it has Klan hoods instead of fedoras.

The Drum (1938) - Typical story of colonial derring-do and brownface.

Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) - Serviceable, colourful adaptation.

Beau Geste (1939 - b/w) - Typical desert action. But then, this is the template to all desert adventures.

The Women (1939 - b/w) - The ultimate women's picture. Kinda repetitive.

Bachelor Mother (1939 - b/w) - David Niven and Ginger Rogers in typical screwballing. See also 5th Avenue Girl (1939 - b/w).

Mr. Skeffington (1944 - b/w) - Bette Davis period tosh.

Blood and Sand (1941) - Sumptuously mounted Spanish bullfighting cobblers with a fine cast - Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, Alla Nazimova, Anthony Quinn, J. Carrol Naish, John Carradine...

A Woman's Face (1941 - b/w) - Joan Crawford melodrama.

Ball of Fire (1941 - b/w) - Typical screwballer with Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and Dana Andrews.

Woman of the Year  (1942 - b/w) - Typical Tracy/Hepburn romcom.

Lady Gangster (1942 - b/w) - Forgettable Warner quickie.

The Big Street (-1942 - b/w) - Typical romantic drama with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball.

The Princess and the Pirate (1944) - Bland Bob Hope antics. Making the same film again.

Bataan (1943 - b/w)/Back to Bataan (1945 - b/w) - Samey WW2 propaganda. Basically two halves of the same film.

Brewster's Millions (1945 - b/w) - Forgettable adaptation.

A Walk in the Sun (1945 - b/w) - Dana Andrews, John Ireland, Lloyd Bridges, Norman Lloyd, Richard Conte go to war.

Anchors Aweigh! (1945)/On The Town (1949) - The thing about these films, is that despite all the dancing magic, the most amazing thing is the shape of Frank Sinatra's head. As someone noted on Cookdandbombd.co.uk, like Jimmy Greaves, his head changed shape as he got older. Even in the four years between the two films, Sinatra's head looks to quote Reeves and Mortimer, "slightly different!".

The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947 - b/w) - Endearingly weird Rosalind Russell noir, almost like hallucinating, halfway between a noir and a variety show including a debuting standup named Sid Caesar.

Fiesta (1947)/Holiday in Mexico (1947) - Two sides of the same coin. One has Ricardo Montalban, the other Roddy McDowall. Both have Hugo Haas. 

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947 - b/w) - Cary Grant deals with Shirley Temple, who is still trying to look cute as a nineteen year old but looks ridiculous. See also That Hagen Girl (1947 - b/w).

No Minor Vices (1948 - b/w) - Bland Dana Andrews-Lilli Palmer-Louis Jourdan comedy.

The Winslow Boy (1948 - b/w)/The Browning Version (1951 - b/w) - Still can't differentiate them. Both star Hitchcock British leads (Redgrave, Donat), both have surnames in the title, both about schoolboys.

The Three Musketeers (1948) - Brash, colourful adaptation - with an incredible cast. It's nothing real special, just a decent adaptation of the tale, even though I'm not really interested in the Musketeers.

The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) - Errol Flynn still in his prime, roughly. The theme unfortunately I cannot disassociate from its use in the Goonies.

Sitting Pretty (1948 - b/w)/Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949 - b/w)/Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell (1951 - b/w) - Clifton Webb makes the same film again. The first has Maureen O'Hara and Richard Haydn. Later spawned a US kidcom.

A Foreign Affair (1948 - b/w) - Bland foreign wartime nonsense with Marlene Dietrich. Surprisingly, by Billy Wilder.

Father is a Bachelor (1950 - b/w) - Silly, amiable sub-Disney comedy with William Holden adopted by a bunch of kids. Features an alternative birthday song, "Merry, Merry Birthday" to a tune approximating My Darling Clementine.

A Woman of Distinction (1950 - b/w) - Bland 50s comedy with Rosalind Russell and Ray Milland.

Father of the Bride (1950 - b/w)/Father's Little Dividend (1951 - b/w) - Well-made but bland A-rate Hollywood romcoms.

The Wooden Horse (1950 - b/w) - Generic WW2 prison movie.

Born Yesterday (1950 - b/w) - Judy Holliday slightly annoys me, maybe because her voice I'm sure was used as the template for the duff idiot girlfriends you'd have in the Simpsons romancing Mayor Quimby.

The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951 - b/w) - A blond Robert Stack goes to Mexico to become a bullfighter in ludicrous Republic-aiming-for-an-A-hit tat.

Kind Lady (1951 - b/w) - Ludicrous Victorian potboiler with Maurice Evans and Angela Lansbury and Ethel Barrymore.

A Place in the Sun (1951 - b/w) - Hollywood studio drama at its  most finely crafted but generic.

An American in Paris (1951)/The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954) - Always get these films get confused, as to which one has Roger Moore. It's the latter, but they're both set in the same city, the shonky MGM idyll of Paris.

What Price, Glory (1952) - John Ford and Cagney do to wartime France what the Quiet Man did to Ireland.

The Band Wagon (1953) - Great spectacle, but not very funny. With Jack Buchanan, Nanette Fabray and of course Fred Stair.

Executive Suite (1954 - b/w) - Typical MGM fluff.

Rains of Ranchipur (1955) - Ludicrous Indian saga with Richard Burton looking ridiculous in brownface.

Strategic Air Command (1955)/Bombers b-52 (1957) - One has Karl Malden, the other Jimmy Stewart. But they're the same film.

New Orleans Uncensored (1955 - b/w)  -Dreary Bill Castle Dragnet-alike.

Battle Cry (1955) - Overlong, dreary New Zealand-set war film. Tab Hunter feigns heterosexuality, while the words "Saipan operation" bring to mind a major incident in Irish international football.

Blackboard Jungle (1955) - The "teens" look silly dancing to Bill Haley. Even Sidney Poitier looks ancient, only because he looks the same he would for the next fifteen years, the ageless Adonis he is. Vic Morrow looks almost as old as Glenn Ford, but still positively cherubic compared to his usual self.

Baby Doll (1956 - b/w) - Overripe Southern melodrama.

Patterns (1956 - b/w) - Dreary teleplay adaptatin with Van Heflin.  See also The Bachelor Party (1957 - b/w) - despite sexy Carolyn Jones and Jack Warden in Crazy Like A Fox mode, the lead is the void Don Murray.

And God Created Woman (1956) - Apart from Bardot, an unremarkable colour soft-sex opus.

Autumn Leaves (1956 - b/w) -  Overripe melodrama with Joan Crawford and Cliff Robertson.

Bitter Victory (1957 - b/w) - Bland Burton warfare.

Until They Sail (1957 - b/w)/Two Loves (1961) - The former has Jean Simmons, Paul Newman and Joan Fontaine, and the other has Shirley MacLaine, Laurence Harvey and Jack Hawkins, but they're both tedious Hollywood romances set in a not-really-accurate version of New Zealand. Two Loves adds Maoris.  27 year old Nobu McCarthy plays a Japanese-American Maori schoolgirl. Afro-Puerto Rican Juano Hernandez plays a Maori chief. He's the best thing in the film.

Bonjour Tristesse (1958) - Messy, weepy teen drama with David Niven, Jean Seberg and Deborah Kerr.

The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) - The stuff in 50s London, full of Capstan and a 50s Robinson Crusoe picture book is evocative, but the stuff in China/Wales is ludicrous, especially with Robert Donat and Curt Jurgens seemingly not wearing any makeup bar the odd bit of liner. But then again Ingrid Bergman is miscast too.

Auntie Mame (1958) - It's overlong, but Rosalind Russell is great, even though it is a series of vignettes. But watching it, a little voice in my head, "Why did they never do a version of this with Pat Routledge?"

The Brothers Karamazov (1958) - Overlong but beautifully shot even though it feels as Russian as Boris Badenov. Weird seeing a cherubic William Shatner.

Al Capone (1959 - b/w) - A great Steiger performance in a film that feels a cut above the Corman dreck it was released alongside.

Butterfield 8 (1960)  - Elizabeth Taylor is a hooker. Serves her right.

All in a Night's Work (1960) - Bland romcom with Shirley MacLaine and Dean Martin.

Back Street (1961) - Ludicrous weepie, a remake of a ropey (1932) melodrama also done in (1942), this time with Susan Hayward and John Gavin, but with its Little Europe renderings of Paris and London, it's just like every other Ross Hunter production.

The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961) - I watched this, and suddenly found myself crushing on Roger Moore, despite him being my favourite Bond since I was old enough to properly like Bond. Rog's playing an American in the RAF who falls in love with Angie Dickinson's doctor. The trouble is, his accent keeps going out. He begins every sentence as Rog, and then slips into something vaguely American. He just talks quieter. But he's supposed to be from Boston. Like The Singing Nun, another attempt to do The Nun's Story. This even has Peter Finch. The funniest thing is that Woody Strode is a witch doctor and he wears this cossack hat and thick liner, and he looks like he's a drag act doing a Boney M tribute.

Walk on the Wild Side (1962 - b/w) - Silly bonkbuster with Lar Harvey and Jane Fonda.

Hell is For Heroes (1962 - b/w) - Generic American idea of WW2 with Steve McQueen, Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Bob Newhart, a strange ensemble of US stars of the era.

Love with the Proper Stranger (1963 - b/w) - Endearing though average New York love story.

Black Like Me (1964 - b/w) I know James Whitmore is supposed to look ridiculous, but that ridiculous? He's like a shaven gorilla. Maybe whiting up costar Roscoe Lee Browne might have worked better.

The Pumpkin Eater (1964 - b/w) - Snooze. At least, Yootha Joyce turns up. So, Max meets Mildred. (obscure reference to Anne Bancroft ITV-com Freddie and Max). And there's a nice telly and radio prop. 

Behold A Pale Horse (1964 - b/w)  - Dry Spanish nonsense with Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif being shifty.

Love Has Many Faces (1965) - Pornographic muzak.

Battle of the Bulge (1965) - Overlong and unconvincing.

Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965 - b/w) - Steve McQueen and Lee Remick in a bleak country tale.

Rosie (1967) - Rosalind Russell is so grating she gets institutionalized.

The Wild Child (1969 - b/w) - Despite being by Truffaut, being in B/W makes it feel like a 60s French kids' TV serial like Robinson Crusoe or the Flashing Blade.

Anne of the Thousand Days (1969) - Typical Tudor historica. Not my thing.

The Getaway (1972)  - Way too long for what should be a brisk B-feature.

Junior Bonner (1972) - The theme sounded like a  lesser James Taylor. Turns out it is his brother Alex, but written by one Brian Potter, presumably before he moved back to Bolton, opened a club that flooded. Knowing that there were quite a few McQueen refs in Phoenix Nights, I wonder was it a subconscious lift.  Rodeo riders bore me. But rodeo clowns fascinate me.

WC Fields and Me (1975) - At least, Steiger is decent casting, unlike the similarly wretched Gable and Lombard (1976).

Sharks' Treasure (1976) - Cornel Wilde shows off his chest.

Bittersweet Love (1976) - Dull TV-ish Canadian tax shelter-esque (though actually an American production shot in the US, and set in Canada) incest nonsense with Meredith Baxter, Scott Hylands and Robert Lansing and Lana Turner.

Autumn Sonata (1978) - Bergman at his best. I.e. stilted, cold and so on, but that's the point with Bergman.

An Almost Perfect Affair (1979) - Is Dick Anthony Williams' character based on Fred Williamson? A tedious romcom set in Cannes, but it captures Cannes in the 70s.

The Falls (1980) - I don't like Peter Greenaway, but I really enjoyed this. Maybe because it's very like Look Around You, but also because it begins in Arklow. That's right, it begins in Arklow. Yes, Arklow. I know. Arklow, Wicklow. Can you believe it? Lord Snooty pops up too.

Air Crew (1980) - Overlong but really nicely shot, atmospheric Soviet disaster film.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) - It's joyful but it's the kind of country and western stuff my parents adore but I don't get.

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