Monday 23 March 2020


For Love or Money (1933 - b/w) - Forgettable Robert Donat vehicle.

Typhoon (1940) -  Paramount Dorothy Lamour tropicana. Samey, compared to her other films.  See also Aloma of the South Seas (1941) and Rainbow Island (1944).

Maryland (1940) - About horse-racing. So boring. Hattie McDaniel does the mammying.
See also Scudda Hoo, Scudda Hay (1948), The Homestretch (1947) and Home in Indiana (1944)  which is about posh American sulky racing. Willie Best does his "black drama school" acting.

Chad Hanna (1940) - Basically a western in the circus with Lamour and Henry Fonda.

Northwest Passage (1940) - Dreary colonial western with Spencer Tracy.

Virginia (1941) - Another colour melodrama, with Madeleine Carroll, Sterling Hayden and Fred MacMurray.

Blossoms in the Dust (1941) - Weepie with an orphanage, Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon

Shores of Tripoli (1941) - Bland colour war propaganda with John Payne, Maureen O'Hara and Randolph Scott.
See also Salute to the Marines (1942), the same but with Wallace Beery and Keye Luke as a Filipino.

The Forest Rangers (1942) - Modern western with Fred MacMurray, Paulette Goddard and Susan Hayward.

Lady in the Dark (1944) - Peculiar musical. There's a fourth-wall breaking panto horse and Ginger Rogers looks like 80s Cilla Black.

An American Romance (1944) - Overlong, uninteresting story of Brian Donlevy becoming an industrialist.

The Story of Dr. Wassell (1944) - More military propaganda, with Gary Cooper nursing the troops of the Pacific.

National Velvet (1944) - Mickey Rooney is only slightly more convincing as an Englishman than as a Japanese neighbour. At least, his dad was from Glasgow. It's setting feels so ludicrous. Rural England by way of suburban California. Set in the late 20s but looks simultaneously like 1944 and 1904. The sequel, International Velvet (1978) which ditches Elizabeth Taylor for Nanette Newman, being a Bryan Forbes production feels much more realistic - with its 70s BBC crews, and Osmonds posters and Guardian readers and boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. It also styles Tatum O'Neal like Princess Anne, and makes her a showjumper.

Cover Girl (1944) - Typical Rita Hayworth musical. With Gene Kelly playing his role from Xanadu, itself a remake of the slushy Hayworth vehicle Gone to Earth (1947).
Tonight and Every Night (1945) - Morale-boosting Hollywood Blitz-set Rita Hayworth vehicle.

A Song to Remember (1945) - Cornel Wilde is ludicrous as Chopin.

Yolanda and the Thief (1945) - Fred "Fred Stair" Astaire dances in a mythical South American state.

Born to Wed (1946) - Van Johnson-Esther Williams-Lucille Ball romcom.

Captain from Castille (1947) - Massive bloated epic about the discovery of Mexico, with Tyrone Power and Cesar Romero.

Reap the Wild Wind (1947) - Ray Milland, John Wayne, Raymond Massey amongst the cast of what feels like  a Republic  seafaring cheapie with a massive Paramount budget.

An Ideal Husband (1947) - Worthy but rather dull Korda adaptation of Wilde.

The Pearl (1947 - b/w) -  A discovery. It feels exciting, with a verve, rare for Mexican cinema, even with RKO money and Pedro Armendariz. A Steinbeck adap.

High Barbaree (1947 - b/w)  - Tropic thriller with Van Johnson and Thomas Mitchell, in a dry run for Glencannon.

Desert Fury (1947) - Lizabeth Scott is devastating in this otherwise boilerplate noir in color with the gormless John Hodiak and Burt Lancaster.

Apartment for Peggy (1948) - Romantic nonsense with William Holden.

The Swordsman (1948) - Faux-Scottish pish with Larry Parks.

The Loves of Carmen (1948) - Silly Spanish-set Rita Hayworth (seemingly channelling Maureen O'Hara) nonsense, with Glenn Ford in a ludicrous outfit.

The Prince of Thieves (1948)/Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950) - More bland color Robin Hoods from Columbia.

That Lady in Ermine (1948) - Mittel-European Lubitsch operetta with Betty Grable, Cesar Romero and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Little Women (1949) - June Allyson feels miscast.

The Secret Garden (1949) - Oh so sentimental. Margaret O'Brien and Dean Stockwell aren't very English, but the film is stolen by Doncaster lad Brian Roper, as Dickon, the only Yorkshire thing about the film. Aged 19  playing roughly 10 or 12, but looking at least 14, he has a strange alien, elfin aura, like a cross between David Bennent and Jimmy Clitheroe, with a strong echo of the overaged schoolboys in Dennis Potter plays. And the Doncaster accent brings to mind Granville from Open All Hours. He later returned to the UK, reprised the role in a BBC version and then appeared with similarly aged schoolboys in the BBC Billy Bunter series.

Samson and Delilah (1949) - Marathon biblical antics.
See also The Egyptian (1954), which stars Edmund Purdom, but Victor Mature is credited first (well, first male, Jean Simmons is billed first overall), because he's the icon of this kind of genre.

Mother is a Freshman (1949) - Silly mother/daughter love triangle with Loretta Young and Van Johnson.

Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)/Belles On Their Toes (1952) - Slushy family comedies.
See also Take Care Of My Little Girl (1951).

Half Angel (1951) - Samey Joseph Cotten-Loretta Young romcom.

The Barefoot Mailman (1951) - Everglades western with Robert Cummings, Terry Moore and Arthur Shields very much doing his brother Barry Fitzgerald.

I'll See in You in my Dreams (1951) - Another story of opera, with Doris Day, Danny Thomas, a spinning Variety and Count John McCormack as a character.

Sound Off (1952) - Mickey Rooney vehicle. Utterly rote, written by Blake Edwards.

Scaramouche (1952) -  Ludicrous secret identity swashbuckling with Stewart Granger.

Halls of Montezuma (1951)/Red Skies of Montana (1952) - Serviceable, workmanlike Richard Widmark actioners.

Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) - Abbott and Costello farce. It has a charming panto look.

Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (1952) - Tiresome Fox nostalgia about vaudeville and American life via a barber played by David Wayne.

The Will Rogers Story (1952) - There's a reason why Will Rogers Jr never eclipsed the success of his father. Another terrible post-Jolson Story biopic of a turn of the century showbiz legend, a la Man of a Thousand Faces, the Buster Keaton Story, the Eddie Cantor Story.

The Wild North (1952) - Stewart Granger treks along Canada. It looks nice, but it feels kinda empty.

The Prisoner of Zenda (1953) - Basically a colourisation with different actors, of the far less stiff (1937) version.

Our Girl Friday (1953) - Just remembered watching this blandly cheery British desert island comedy (also starring Kenneth More and George Cole) that my grandad called Joan Collins "Jane Collins".

Miss Robin Crusoe (1953) - Goofy exotica.

Diamond Queen (1953) - Dodgy exotica swashbuckler with Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl.

FORBIDDEN (1953 -B/W) - Sub-Casablanca in Macau with Tony Curtis.

The Long, Long Trailer (1953) - Lucy and Desi annoy each other with a caravan, and prototype the end of the Italian Job.

Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953) - Rote swashbuckler with little swashbuckling, Cornel Wilde gloats.

The High and the Mighty (1954) - John Wayne does Airplane. But nowhere near fun, despite Roberts Stack and Newton. It's way too long. And fails to interest.

Woman's World (1954) - All-star women's picture.

The River Girl (1954) - Sophia Loren rustic drama, written by Pasolini.

A Bullet is Waiting (1954) - Jean Simmons and Rory Calhoun in a modern-set western. Seems quite gritty, then Brian Aherne turns up, resolves everything, and everyone jumps into a jeep with a dog named Shep and drives into the sunset, smiles on everyone's faces.

Queen of Babylon (1954) - Generic Italian peplum with Norman Stanley Fletcher favourite Rhonda Fleming.

Dragnet (1954) - Just an episode of the TV show, but longer and in colour. Not quite my thing, even though Jack Webb has a presence.

Pirates of Tripoli (1955) - Dodgy Sam Katzman exotica. See also Prince of Pirates (1950), The Magic Carpet (1951 - with Lucille Ball?!?), Mask of the Avenger (1951), Hurricane Island (1951), Captain Pirate (1952), Siren of Bagdad (1953), Slaves of Babylon (1953), Serpent of the Nile (1953 - homoerotic overtones with Raymond Burr's Marc Antony), Prisoners of the Casbah (1953), Charge of the Lancers (1954), Drums of Tahiti (1954), the Iron Glove (1954 - starring Robert Stack as an Irish Jacobite named Wogan), and non-Katzman lookalikes; Monogram/Allied Artists' Aladdin and His Lamp (1952) and The Adventures of Hajji Baba (1954 - John Derek riding around, with a ridiculous Nat King Cole-sung theme that's constantly played), and Fox's Lady in the Iron Mask (1952).

Interrupted Melody (1955) - Eleanor Parker mimes to opera in faux-Australia while Glenn Ford and Roger Moore with a tache look on.

Kismet (1955) - Lush Arabian Nights musicalia.

War and Peace (1956) - Zzzzz. Herbert Lom's Napoleon is surely a distant relative of Insp. Dreyfuss.
See also De Laurentiis' own cash-in, Tempest (1958).

Enchanted Island (1958) - Typical tropical nonsense with Dana Andrews fighting off cannibals.

The Geisha Boy (1958) - Mawkish nonsense with Jerry Lewis and a Japanese orphan.

Edge of Eternity (1959) - Generic though efficient Don Siegel-helmed desert noir with Cornel Wilde.

The Flying Fontaines (1959) - Terrible circus film with Michael Callan.

Queen of Pirates (1960) - Italian pirate nonsense with Gianna Maria Canale.

The Tartars (1961) - Orson Welles chews the scenery in a forgettable Italian cash-in on the Vikings.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962) - Overlong, dreary though visually lush remake of the old silent, with Glenn Ford miscast as Valentino.

Siege of the Saxons (1963) - Dopey medieval Arthurian/Robin Hood hybrid, though nice to see Jerome Willis and Francis de Wolff in big starring roles with their own "you have been watching" footage-credits. Janette Scott looks like her mum Thora Hird.

Bedtime Story (1964) - The sub-par prototype for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

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