Friday 8 May 2020


The Dawn Patrol (1930 - b/w) - I suppose it wasn't a routine WW1 drama when it came out. Weird seeing Neil Hamilton as a handsome lead, but his voice didn't change in the thirty-five years between this and Batman.
Sweet Mama (1930 - B/W), Scarlet Pages (1930 - b/w), The Widow from Chicago (1930 - b/w) - Rote First National crime fare.

Behind Office Doors (1931 - b/w) - Rote 30s news-y drama with Mary Astor.

Laughing Sinners (1931 - b/w) - Rote melodrama with Joan Crawford that introduced Clark Gable.

A Bill of Divorcement (1932 - b/w) - John Baryrmore/Katharine Hepburn melodrama.

The Nut Farm (1935 - b/w) - Forgettable movie making comedy from Monogram.

Air Hawks (1935 - b/w) - Ropey though efficient serialesque actioner with Ralph Bellamy.

Hearts in Bondage (1936 - b/w) - Civil war rota from Republic.

It's Love I'm After (1936 - b/w) - Rote screwballer with Bette Davis and Leslie Howard.

Paradise Express (1937 - b/w) - Routine Republic serial-style thrills, but in an hour.

Lady Beware (1937 - b/w) - Forgettable Monogram comedy.

The Hollywood Stadium Mystery (1938 - b/w) - Ropey poverty row mystery with Neil Hamilton essentially playing Commissioner Gordon thirty years early.  See also The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935 - b/w).

Vivacious Lady (1938 - b/w) - Routine Ginger Rogers vehicle.

We Are Who Young (1940 - b/w) - Romantic schmaltz with Lana Turner.

I Take This Woman (1940 - b/w) - Romantic tosh with Hedy Lamarr and Spencer Tracy.

The Mortal Storm (1940 - b/w) - Routine war melodrama with Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart.

The Earl of Chicago (1940 - b/w) - Faux-British not-a-comedy with Robert Montgomery.

Kitty Foyle (1940 - b/w) - Rote weepie with Ginger Rogers as an elderly teenager.

Escape (1940 - b/w) - Norma Shearer and Robert Taylor in a typical WW2 melodrama.

The Primrose Path (1940 - b/w) - Forgettable semi-rural drama with Ginger Rogers.

Anne of Windy Poplars (1940 - b/w) - Rote schoolmarm drama.

Men of Boy's Town (1941 - b/w) - I haven't seen Boy's Town (1938 - b/w) in fifteen years but this sequel with the main cast back is pretty consistent.

Babes on Broadway (1941 - b/w) - Oh, the blackface. See also Babes in Arms (1939 - b/w).

The Little Foxes (1941 - b/w) - Southern melodrama par the course, with a camp black butler.

I'll Wait for You (1941 - b/w) - Lower-rung studio romance.

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942 - b/w) - Overwrought musical biopic, with James Cagney reading Variety on his deathbed.

Ship Ahoy (1942 - b/w) - Red Skelton on a boat mugging. Oh, and Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Powell.

The Big Street (1942 - b/w) - Routine romance with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball.

Lost Angel (1943 - b/w) - Routine melodrama made purely so Margaret O'Brien can cry.
Music for Millions (1944 - b/w) - Typical schmaltz with Margaret O'Brien.
See also Big City (1948 - b/w).

Song of Russia (1944 - b/w) - Anti-Soviet propaganda with an orchestra and Robert Taylor.

The Valley of Decision (1945 - b/w) - Routine melodrama with Greer Garson romancing miner Gregory Peck.

They Were Expendable (1945 - b/w) - A fitting title for this naval John Wayne vehicle.

The Enchanted Cottage (1945 - b/w) - Not as magical as it sounds. A slushy MGM romance with Robert Young.
See also the turgid The Trial of Mary Dugan (1941 - b/w).

The Secret Heart (1946 - b/w) - Claudette Colbert, June Allyson  and Walter Pidgeon appear in  a dreary melodrama.

The Hoodlum Saint (1946 - b/w) - Ropey depression era melodrama with William Powell, Esther Williams and Angela Lansbury, whose singing is dubbed, despite being Angela goddamm Lansbury.

Mourning Becomes Electra (1947 - b/w) - Overwrought, overlong melodrama with Rosalind Russell, Michael Redgrave, Leo Genn and Kirk Douglas.

Killer McCoy (1947 - b/w) - Rote boxing yoke with Mickey  Rooney, Brian "Quatermass McGinty" Donlevy and Ann Blyth.

Night Song (1947 - b/w) - Rote musical-themed romance with Merle Oberon, Dana Andrews and James Bond himself, Hoagy Carmichael.

Cass Timberlane (1947 - b/w) - Rote Lana Turner vehicle, with Spencer Tracy.

Song of Love (1947 - b/w) - Routine orchestral romance with Katharine Hepburn, Robert Walker and a Spaceyesque Paul Henreid.

Enchantment (1948 - b/w) - Slushy Rumer Godden adap with Teresa Wright, David Niven, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll and Evelyn Keyes. Actually feels kind of convincing in its British locations.

Easy Living (1949 - b/w) - Rote sporting saga with Victor Mature and Lucille Ball.

The Doctor and the Girl (1949 - b/w)  - Janet Leigh and Glenn Ford star in what could easily be another Dr. Kildare movie, but isn't.

The Great Sinner (1949  -b/w) - Gregory Peck melodrama, typical MGM of the period.

Madame Bovary (1949 - b/w) - Routine MGM adaptation with Jennifer Jones and James Mason.

Edward, My Son (1949 - b/w) - British-made MGM drama, typical weepie with Deborah Kerr, Spencer Tracy and the likes of Mervyn Johns.

My Foolish Heart (1949 - b/w) - Routine women's picture with Susan Hayward, Dana Andrews and Kent Smith.

East Side, West Side (1949 - b/w) - Rote melodrama with Barbara Stanwyck, Ava Gardner, James Mason and Van Heflin. See also B.F.'s Daughter (1948 - b/w).

The Green Promise (1949 - b/w) - Interchangeable rural melodrama with wee Natalie Wood.

Roseanna McCoy (1949 - b/w) - Dopey version of the Hatfields and McCoys, with Joan Evans, Farley Granger and Richard Basehart.

Geraldine (1953 - b/w) - Republic comedy, a forgettable vehicle for Stan Freberg.
Not to be confused with the Pat Boone vehicle Bernardine (1957).

Goodbye Again (1933 - b/w) - Rote Warren William (or Joan Blondell) vehicle.

Studs Lonigan (1960 - b/w) - Routine Irish American epic on a sub-Corman budget.

The Gallant Hours (1960 - b/w) - Tedious WW2 biopic with James Cagney.

Exodus (1960) - Three hours long, but it looks nice. Though Jill Haworth's fridging wasn't needed.

The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) - Lush epic with Peter Finch, James Mason, Yvonne Mitchell, John Fraser and Lionel Jeffries.
Not to be confused with Oscar Wilde (1960 - b/w) with a miscast Robert Morley and John Neville as the bitchy lovers Oscar and Bosie.

Never On Sunday (1960-  b/w) - Melina ****** Mercouri.

A Majority Of One (1960) - Another Japanese-set comedy with Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinnes, whose accent and makeup is more Hispanic than anything.

The Misfits (1961 -b/w) - Still a western.

The Explosive Generation (1961 - b/w) - Rote JD trash with William Shatner as a beleaguered teacher.

Something Wild (1961 - b/w) - Carroll Baker has a breakdown. The gaggle of faceless schoolgirls is a haunting image, though.

By Love Possessed (1961) - Lana Turner makes the same film again.

The Young Doctors (1961 - b/w) - Routine soap opera of the era. Even the title would be used again.

Hero's Island (1962) - Ropey pirate film with James Mason as Brian Blessed on Bull Island. Not that Bull Island, sadly. He doesn't interrupt a much maligned Irish satire show.

Pressure Point (1962 - b/w) - Sidney Potter meets racist Bobby Darin. Slightly preachy but the flashbacks are suitably nightmarish.

Two for the Seesaw (1962 - b/w) - Grim two-hander between Shirley MacLaine and Robert Mitchum.

Jessica (1962) - Angie Dickinson, a Maximillian Schell-esque Gabriele Ferzetti and Maurice Chevalier in this typical goofy Italian romantic comedy.

The Happy Thieves (1962 - b/w) - Routine heist comedy with Rex Harrison and Rita Hayworth.

The Caretakers (1963 - b/w) - Routine mental hospital drama with Joan Crawford, Polly Bergen and Roberts Vaughn and Stack.

Love is a Ball (1963) - Typical rote 60s romantic froth with Hope Lange and Glenn Ford.

A Child is Waiting (1963 - b/w)/I Could Go On Singing (1963) - The last days of Judy Garland. She seems haunted, burnt out, and tired. So do the films.

Call Me Bwana (1963) - Goofy sci-fi comedy in Africa with Bob Hope, Anita Ekberg and Lionel Jeffries as David Kossoff, known only because as it was an Eon production, it is featured in From Russia with Love.

The Ceremony (1963 - b/w) - Laurence Harvey is pursued by Irish character actors in Spain.

Girl with Green Eyes (1964 - b/w) - Absolute filth, despite the Tayto cameo and a copy of Look and Learn seen.

A Rage to Live (1965 - b/w) -Rote melodrama about hellraising with Suzanne Pleshette.

I'll Take Sweden (1966) - Sweden looks so Californian that Frankie Avalon makes it into a beach movie, and Bob Hope sits there, befuddled. See also The Facts Of Life (1960).

Khartoum (1966) - It looks incredible, but Oliver blacked up, well he has more dignity than his Othello, but he still seems painted as a typical Arab baddie.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967) - Annoying musical with Robert Morse.

Fitzwilly (1967) - Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Feldon and John McGiver in a film for years I presumed was Disney. It ain't.

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (1967) - Obnoxious sexcom psychedelia.

Billie (1967) - Ropey sub-Disney musical - Patty Duke is very lezza as a girl on the boys' track team.

Hostile Witness (1968) - Ropey sub-Edgar lustgarten British crime quickie with Ray Milland, Sylvia Syms, Felix Aylmer, Raymond Huntley, and the likes of Richard Hurndall and the inevitable Ballard Berkeley.

Inspector Clouseau (1968) - Alan Arkin is Clouseau. The trouble he plays it seriously. He doesn't dominate the scene like Sellers. And it's very weak, but it does have a newsstand that sells the Beano, Wham! and various IPC Marvel reprints. It feels like a lesser prototype for Pink Panther Strikes Again. And despite the decent British cast - Frank Finlay, Barry Foster, Patrick Cargill, Beryl Reid, Clive Francis, Geoffrey Bayldon, it sorely misses Lom and especially Burt Kwouk.

Paper Lion (1968) - American football comedy based on the exploits of journalist George Plimpton. Alan Alda's fun, but his accent as Plimpton is well, he's Alan Alda.  He doesn't sound the faux-British intellectual Plimpton was.

Impasse (1969) - Rote Burt Reynolds pre-fame actioner with sterling action.

Where It's At (1969) - Peculiar Swiss/Vegas-set psychedelia with David Janssen.

Number One (1969) - Charlton Heston does American football and has sex. As boring as that sounds.

Popi (1969) - Alan Arkin plays a Puerto Rican who to support his kids, they go on a desert island and pretend to be illegal immigrants. Yes, really.

The Adventures of Gerard (1970) - Napoleonic sub-Flashman Europudding by Jerzy Skolimowski, but Eli Wallach's a fun Napoleon.

Halls of Anger (1970) - Calvin Lockhart gives a decent performance in what feels like a slight US redressing of To Sir With Love, but with more black faces, and Jeff Bridges.

The Last Picture Show (1971) - It's a picture of a place, and it feels real, but I wouldn't want to visit there again.

There's A Girl in My Soup (1971) - Sellers and Hawn do it. With another fictional ITV region - Lion Television (alternative ABC-TV, governed by British Lion rather than Associated British?).

200 Motels (1971) - Frank Zappa docudrama that being made on VT, is almost a kind of like a Sid and Marty Krofft project.

The Visitors (1972) - Ropey home  movie from Elia Kazan, with a young James Woods.

Hammer (1972) - Rote boxing drama with Fred Williamson that manages to be watchable despite the basic, mediocre plot because of the blaxploitation dressings and solid character actors.

A Visit to A Chief's Son (1974) - Robert Halmi's first production, a semi-autobiographical story of a photojournalist and his son in Africa. Richard Mulligan looks about fifteen years younger than he did just three years later in Soap. Here, he's fit and youthful, and his hair's still dark. Johnny Sekka is the African guide. Sub-Wonderful World of Disney.

Moonrunners (1974) - Routine moonshining car chase film with narration by Waylon Jennings. Yes, this inspired the Dukes of Hazzard. Jim Mitchum is as always like an animated waxwork of his da. He reads DC comics' Weird Mystery Tales.

Nightmare Honeymoon (1974) - Grim rapey horror, from MGM?!?!

That's the Way of the World (1975) - Lesser New Hollywood filler with Harvey Keitel.

The Sunshine Boys (1975) - It captures the 70s NY entertainment scene, with Joel Grey in Goodbye Charley on a  Broadway marquee, John Kani and Winston Ntshona in Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Walter Matthau (in incredibly convincing if not especially prophetic makeup) dissing General Hospital, although I wonder does the Munsters exist in this universe, or are there two Al Lewises in the entertainment scene, a la Mike Reid/Read or Harry (H) Corbett. F. Murray Abraham worked with both (he's in this and They Might be Giants). Features CBS hq. Maybe the best Neil Simon adap.

Carrie (1976) - I never watched this in full before, because I always expected it to be terrible. One thing I didn't realise before is that the prom is only at the hour or so. I always imagined it to be the last ten minutes. Plus everyone looks so old. The camera is always leery. The performances are unconvincing. It looks and sounds like softcore porn. The soundtrack is marvellous. I kept imagining a schlockier sequel, with a title like "Carrie Lives", starring another actress as Carrie, who'd be seen rising from an unconvincing graveyard set that'd literally explode, and now powerless but alive, going on a road trip as a runaway, to find her telekinetic overlord father.

Semi-Tough (1977) - I didn't realise Lotte Lenya was in this, and actually did not understand how Lotte Lenya could appear in a good old boy comedy opposite Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh and Carl Weathers.

Coming Home (1978) - Jane Fonda gloats as Jon Voight wheels along. Bo-ring.

Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978) - If you ever thought the one thing that could improve Love Story was if instead of Ryan O'Neal, it was Paul Sorvino, then this is for you.

Hair (1979) - Outdated hippie nonsense.

The Champ (1979) - It's overlong. It'd be much better if an hour. It's like seeing Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder on holiday.

Voices (1979) - Slightly pervy romantic drama with Michael Ontkean and Amy Irving playing deaf.

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