Friday 6 March 2020


The Silver Horde (1930 - b/w) - Northern with Joel McCrea.

Half Shot at Sunrise (1930 - b/w)/Hook, Line and Sinker (1930 - b/w)/So This is Africa (1933 - b/w) - Whiny voiced Wheeler and Woolsey, you can see why some comedy duos are forgotten.

Silver Dollar (1932 - b/w) - Almost a western, with Edward G  Robinson.

Dark Hazard (1934 - b/w) - Generic Edward G. gangsterdom.

Murder in the Clouds (1934 - b/w) - Warner Bros aviation nonsense with Lyle Talbot.

Money Means Nothing (1934 - b/w) - Monogram cheapie comedy-drama, I think.

Screwball Tractors (1936 - b/w) - Joe E. Brown slightly annoys me, but the stunt involving a bulldozer is interesting.

Country Gentlemen (1936 - b/w) - Silly Republic vehicle for Olsen and Johnson.

Thunder in the City (1937 - b/w) - Edward G. Robinson, Arthur Wontner and Nigel Bruce (one Holmes, another Watson) in a peculiar British comedy. Ralph Richardson is in it  too

Nick Carter - Master Detective (1939 - b/w)/Sky Murder (1940 - b/w)/Phantom Raiders (1940 - b/w) - Goofy pulp/radio adaps with Walter Pidgeon. Eddie Constantine played the role in two silly French Eurospy films, Nick Carter va tout Casser (1964 - b/w) and  Le Tréfle Rouge (1965).

His Girl Friday (1940 - b/w) - Screwballing.

Ten Days in Paris (1940 - b/w) - Anodyne Rex Harrison vehicle.

Remedy for Riches (1940 - b/w) - Folksy episode in the Dr. Christian series with Jean Hersholt.

Dreaming Out Loud (1940)/The Bashful Bachelor (1942 - b/w)/So This is Washington (1943)/Two Weeks to Live (1943 - b/w)/Partners in Time (1946 - b/w) - Vehicles for radio sitcom Lum and Abner, a kind of 30s/40s hillbilly Still Game/Last of the Summer Wine.

Freedom Radio (1941 - b/w) - British anti-nazi propaganda with Clive Brook.

Hotel Reserve (1944 - b/w) - James Mason spying malarkey. Mason wears a baseball shirt and looks very camp.

Candlelight in Algeria (1944 - b/w) - British attempt to do Casablanca. Young James Mason looks and sounds very like Michael York.

Doll Face (1945 - b/w) - Generic musical "putting on a show" vehicle with Carmen Miranda and Perry Como.

The Seventh Veil (1945 - b/w) - James Mason falls in love with his supposed teenage ward Ann Todd. Don't worry. They're the same age. And God it is obvious. And Todd isn't quite good enough to make you think she's a teen. She's no Chrissie from Victoria Wood - As Seen On TV.

Heartbeat (1946 - B/W) - Medium Ginger Rogers romance with Basil Rathbone.
See also Sin Takes A Holiday (1930 - b/w) with Rathbone and Constance Bennett.

End of the River (1947 - b/w) - Sabu, Esmond Knight, Robert Douglas and Torin Thatcher in a well-meaning but ponderous up-its-arse epic about an Indian in Brazil (a Native American, but it's Sabu, so the wrong kind of Indian, but being a 40s film, at least they got some kind of Indian).

The Upturned Glass (1947 - b/w) - James Mason on autopilot.

Snowbound (1948 - b/w) - Generic Robert Newton adventure.

Green Dolphin Street (1949 - b/w) - Overlong faux-NZ antics.

Boys in Brown (1949 - b/w) - Richard Attenborough and Dirk Bogarde in borstal, and we have to watch.

The Spider and the Fly (1949 - b/w) - Guy Rolfe in  a faux-French sub-Lewton thriller.

Man on the Run (1949 - b/w) - Derek Farr, Mr. Grimsdale, and Laurence Harvey and "Kenneth Moore" (sic) in a samey British mystery with an equally generic title. Set at BBC TV centre.

The Blue Lagoon (1949) - Kind of stilted, Donald Houston and Jean Simmons are Brooke Shields and Chris Atkins. Noel Purcell is Leo McKern.

For Them That Trespass (1949 - b/w) - Dreary Oirish-themed period romance with Richard Todd.

My Daughter Joy (1930 - b/w) - Boring Edward G. Robinson/Peggy Cummins melodrama.

Grand National Night (1950 - b/w) - Forgettable  proto-Dick Francis cheapie with Nigel Patrick, Noel Purcell and Michael Hordern.

Madeleine (1950 - b/w) - Typical period brocade from David Lean, with the always-too-old-for-her-parts Ann Todd.

Happy Go Lovely (1951) - Forgettable British musical with the grating Vera-Ellen, David Niven  and Cesar Romero.

The Broken Horseshoe (1953 - b/w)/Operation Diplomat (1953 - b/w) - Adaptations of BBC serials. Typical mystery folderol. Robert Beatty and Guy Rolfe respectively play Dr. Mark Fenton.

Home at Seven (1952 - b/w) - Typical 50s wrong man story with Newnes/IPC product placement, directed and starring Ralph Richardson.

The Man who Watched Trains Go By (1952 - b/w) - Colourful if not particularly exciting continental journey for Claude Rains, Marta Toren, Marius Goring and Anouk Aimee.

Lady in the Fog (1952 - b/w) - Hammer-produced early quickie with Cesar Romero as Philip Odell, the BBC tec played by Robert Beatty on radio.

The Brigand (1952) - Bland Hispanic/Arabian nonsense with Anthony Quinn and Dexter.

House of the Arrow (1953 - b/w) - Oscar Homolka is a bungling detective in faux-French quickie.

The Large Rope (1953 - b/w) - Utterly forgettable Donald Houston-as-a-convict cheapie.

The Long Memory (1953 - b/w) - The trouble with watching so many 50s British thrillers together is that they all blend to one. This one is no exception. But it has John Mills and a weird folk-y theme song sung by a toothless aul lad.

A Day to Remember (1953 - b/w) - Nothingy "lads' day out" drama with Stanley Holloway, James Hayter, Bill Owen and Donald Sinden.

To Catch A Thief (1954) - Froth.

Front Page Story (1954 - b/w) - Jack Hawkins edits the Daily World, which is a newspaper situated on Fleet Street across from the Liverpool Echo. Tedious melodrama involving atomic spies and Elizabeth Allan as a wife who everyone thinks died in a plane crash, or did she...

South of Algiers (1954 - b/w) - Generic 50s British desert adventure with Van Heflin.

Playgirl (1954 - b/w) - Feels cheap and tawdry, even for a Universal B-film. Shelley Winters is the femme fatale in New York.

Beautiful Stranger (1954 - b/w) - Ginger Rogers - mutton dressed as lamb, Stanley Baker-  lamb dressed as mutton. Riviera-set secret-life-of-husband tediousness.

The Sleeping Tiger (1954 - b/w) - A second-rate US noir with Alexis Smith, relocated to the UK, with bloody Dirk.

The Love Lottery (1954) - The only Ealing comedy to feature Humphrey Bogart (in a cameo), this David Niven vehicle is a massive, unfunny folly, an attempt by Balcon to do a Hollywood film. Peggy Cummins enters a competition to marry Niven, as movie star Rex Allerton. Later, possibly unintentionally remade as Win A Date with Tad Hamilton!

5 Against the House (1955 - b/w) - Brian Keith and William Conrad dress up as novelty cowboys in false taches and rob Reno. Kim Novak sings. Typical 50s noir gubbins.

Cast a Dark Shadow (1955 - b/w)  - One of numerous films with similar titles. Here is Dirk bloody Bogarde looking like he'd rather tend to his garden.
See also The Woman in Question (1950  - b/w) - Dirk Bogarde goes around doing a bad American accent at a carnival. Too distracted by Duncan Macrae's extraordinary face.
See also Hunted (1952 - b/w) and Once A Jolly Swagman (1948 - b/w).
Penny Princess (1952) at least has Peter Butterworth gurning, which is always worth it.

Now and Forever (1956) - Frightfully proper British juvenile delinquency with Janette Scott. Has some Daily Express product placement.

Eyewitness (1956) - Rank thriller with Donald Sinden, Nigel Stock, Michael Craig, Leslie Dwyer, Nicholas Parsons and Richard Wattis, and Daily Express product placement and TV news bulletins. Unremarkable, mainly set in a hospital.
See also Tiger in the Smoke (1956 - b/w).

The Long Arm (1956 - b/w) - Generic if solid police procedural partly set in Wales with Jack Hawkins and John Stratton, who I know less as a juvenile lead and more as an older character actor in various things.  Has clues hidden in a Daily Mail.

The Weapon (1956) - Republic cheapie shot in Britain about a kid who finds a gun. Features ads for Oxo, the Star newspaper, Kellogg's, Co-Op, Lyon's Mint Chocs and some BBC radio announcements. Steve Cochran is a charmless lunk, but George Cole is there.  It feels padded.

The Hideout (1956 - b/w) - More B-movie drear with Ronald Howard and Lyon's Corner House.
See also The House in the Woods (1957 - b/w) - with Dirty Mickey Gough.

The River's Edge (1957) - Dreary western noir with Ray Milland and Anthony Quinn.

The Vicious Circle (1957 - b/w) - John Mills tries to solve the murder of a German actress. Gerald Thomas adaptation of a Francis Durbridge script.

Johnny Trouble (1957 - b/w) - Mawkish tough guy/old lady drama with Ethel Barrymore and Stuart Whitman.

Torpedo Run (1958) - Starring Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine and featuring Robert Hardy in his brief window of Hollywood action, a very generic naval submarine saga.

Bell, Book and Candle (1958) - Typical romantic comedy with magical flavouring.

Nowhere To Go (1958 - b/w) - Grim crime movie with George Nader and Maggie Smith.

Strange Awakening (1958 - b/w) - Sub-ITC exotic would-be noir with Lex Barker.

The Two Headed Spy (1958 - b/w) - Another war film with the dependable presence of Jack Hawkins. They're all the same, really.

Please Turn Over  (1958 -b/w)  - Quasi-Carry On from Gerald Thomas. Energetic but not especially rib-tickling story of a teenage girl who writes a bonkbuster. Thomas needed Talbot Rothwell.

Subway in the Sky (1959 - b/w) - Tedious military base cheapie with Van Johnson and Hildegarde Knef. Something about Johnson reminds me of Adam West, and yes, I know, Johnson was a Batman villain.

The Cow and I (1959 - b/w) - Actually quite gripping Fernandel vehicle. Did Michael Winner ever see this? Basically Hannibal Brooks with a cow.  Though the parting with the cow is rather rushed and inconclusive. At the end, it is hinted he is going back to the cow.

Tiger Bay (1959 - b/w) - Well-made thriller, though it escalates into a weepy melodrama. And Hayley Mills, maybe she's playing it too good as she's very grating.

Libel (1959 - b/w) - Despite Morley and Hyde-White, this is like the less witty, more melodramatic, tiresome version of Witness for the Prosecution. It has Dirk Bogarde with preening silver hair and the lost-looking Paul Massie fighting over Olivia de Havilland.

Hell's Angels on Wheels (1968) - Typical biker trash.

The Psychic (1977) - For once, Fulci actually does a reasonably straight, atmospheric film, though the usual Italian ludicrousness seeps in, including a theme that seems to be trying to emulate the girlish vocals of Pino Donaggio's Carrie soundtrack.

Escape from Alcatraz (1979) - Generic prison escape. Though solidly done.

Lady in Red (1979) - Corman does Dillinger. With its cheap sets and energetic performances from Pamela Sue Martin, Robert Conrad, Robert Forster, Christopher Lloyd and Louise Fletcher, there's a slight "adult production of Bugsy Malone" vibe.

Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) - Wacky but unfunny Hunter S Thompson roman a clef with Bill Murray supporting Peter Boyle as a whitewashed Oscar Acosta.

Scarface (1983) - Garish and overlong.

Cujo (1983) - It seems almost ashamed that it is a film about a killer dog.

Jaws 3 (1983) - It's just as bad in 2-D.

ZU - Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983) - It's gorgeous, even for one not into wuxia.

Over the Top (1986) - Over-eroticised shots of trucking and hairy arms. Typical 80s big-budget action schlock.

I Want To Go Home (1989) - I had to buy this, because a film set in the world of bandes desinees which mentions Druillet, Crepax, Vionnet, Tardi, Bilal, Mezieres (Valerian and Laureline cameo), but centres on an American cartoonist played by the legendary songwriter Adolph Green, and has a character who turns into Mickey Mouse, Charlie Brown, Garfield, and costars John Ashton, Gerard Depardieu, Linda Lavin, Geraldine Chaplin, Micheline Presle.  Green has an extraordinary face and energy that is astonishing for a 75 year old. He feels authentic. He doesn't feel like an actor, because he wasn't. He feels like the ageing, bitter creative that he is.  Written by Jules Feiffer, it is a satire on the French intellectual admiration of Jerry Lewis.  It's actually quite fun, even though it's quite Ray Cooney, but anything about the French-Belgian comics scene fascinates me.

Pure Luck (1991) - Bland comedy vehicle for Danny Glover and Martin Short. The usual waste of an SCTV cast member.

Wolf (1994) - I already knew Prunella Scales was in this blandly mainstream Universal Jack Nicholson werewolf movie, but seeing a youngish-looking American actress  who looked a lot like Sybil, then realising, "Oh, my, it is!". Om Puri is good, though unrecognisable in old age makeup as an Einstein-look exposition-mystic professor. The Morricone soundtrack is solid, though clearly recycled from some European miniseries. It sounds familiar.

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