Reviews written by registered user

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397 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
No, he didn't play "Himself.", 4 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tom Harmon (ol' # 98 for the Michigan Wolverines, husband of actress Elyse Knox and father of Mark Harmon and Kelly Harmon)took a back seat to no one on the football field (except the Minnesota Gophers) or, later, in the broadcast booth, but, on film, he managed to find himself in two of the all-time bad sports movies..."The Spirit of West Point" and "Harmon of Michigan." The latter, if it had been a true-life biography of Tom Harmon, might have made a passable film but after a short prologue, narrated by sports writer Bill Henry who is not the same as actor William Henry, that semi-recaps Harmon's football-playing days at the University of Michigan, it quickly develops into a mess that indicates the director and writers used the technical adviser, Coach Jeff Cravath, only to put plays on the blackboard. Once Harmon,(supposedly playing himself but the character he plays here has more character flaws than the law allows), graduates from Michigan, he marries his college sweetheart Peggy Adams (Anita Louise), turns up his nose at the prospect of playing professional football---a poor-paying and not-that-well respected job in 1941---and starts a vagabond tour of coaching tank-water colleges. Authenicity went out the window when the narration ended, as did any kind of time tracking, as everything that follows seems to happen in a single football season. Tom takes an assistant coach job at a cow-pasture college under Jimmy Wayburn (William Hall) and lasts one day before Wayburn fires him. Then he signs to play for a College All-Star team doing exhibition games against pro teams, but his team-mates, hacked because Tom gets star billing, lay down on him and he gets smacked down hard on every play. One of the leaders willing to let Harmon get slaughtered is old Michigan teammate Forrest Evashevski (also not playing himself since this is a fictional film), a life-long friend in real life and Godfather to Mark Harmon and a long-time respected coach at the University of Iowa. Harmon wins the game by himself, but decides this isn't his cup of tea. He hangs around the house a few weeks, then gets a job as an assistant under old-time coach Pop Branch at a college that has three buildings on campus and a football stadium seating 100,000 fans. He helps Pop win a few games (still ticking along in what appears to be the same fall football season), but the alumni at Webster College are tired of losing, fire their coach and hire Harmon away from Pop. Harmon takes over the Webster team in mid-season and becomes the all-time example of a hard-ass coach willing to win at any cost, including installing a screen-pass play that depends on an illegal blocking scheme---the Flying Wedge---to make it work. His Webster team begins to thump their opponents by large scores, usually leaving the other team battered and bloodied by the use of the illegal blocking scheme. They win four or five games which, based on the writers time scheme, would have them playing 20 games a season in what was then a nine-and-ten game season. Plus, the press and other coaches around and about, are up in arms about Harmon's tactics, but the jerks refereeing the games evidently haven't read the rule book nor the newspapers and throw no penalty flags against his team. Well, one referee does once, but he never officiated nor had lunch in that town again. It, by any reasonable calendar must now be July of the next year in a season that should have ended in December, and hard-case Harmon's team is going up against Pop's team (where Harmon coached earlier in this never-ending season) and Pop drops by and tells Tom he ain't all that fond of Tom's coaching methods, but Tom poo-pahs him off, and then sends his team out and they gleefully dismantle Pop's fair-playing team by 109-0. But Webster's quarterback Freddie Davis (Stanley Brown) suffers a concussion running a play Harmon calls just to run up the score even higher---Harmon evidently didn't read the script because nobody using their own name would want this character perceived as Himself---and it's nip-and-tuck whether Freddie will get out of the hospital alive. It gets even stickier when Freddie parents drop their hospital vigil long enough to tell Tom they are right proud that he is Freddie's coach. Say what? Tom sees the light and reverts back to the good old boy he started out as. Written by Les Adams {}

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The South falls again, 13 August 2009

A couple of southern theatre exhibitors decided they could make a western (or, in this case, a Southeastern) just as bad as the worse of those coming from Hollywood and proceeded to prove they could be not only as bad, they could be much worse. They ensured their success at obtaining this goal by hiring Don Barry as the director. Barry was the best choice, as only the egotistical-and-sad Barry could direct (or believe) a film in which he starred as a lady-killer whose charms women could not resist.(The Susan Hayward real-life swimming-pool incident not withstanding.) Jesse James (Don Barry), leaves Missouri for Mississippi, and immediately charms all the women in the cast out of their bloomers and garters, even though three of them towered over him. His first conquest is the banker's daughter who helps him loot the bank in exchange for a promise of marriage; he wanders over to the saloon and runs the crooked partner of the proprietress out of town, takes all of his-and-her money and leaves her, between kisses, hounding him for her share; the third one, the saloon singer, actually makes a mark out of him as she cons him into a boxing match against a professional fighter and he loses the fight and his money, but he holds the singer and the fighter up as they leave town and gets his money back; and then he romances and swindles Cattle Kate, a replay of what he had done somewhere before to Kate and the "gotcha-again" Kate even ends up behind bars. But no film that contains a cat-fight between Peggie Castle and Lita Baron can be called a complete waste of time

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The man liked stairs, 18 November 2008

Aside from Reinhardt, Leopold Jessner was considered the most-advanced director in the German theater. The hallmark of his stage productions was the use of stairs, and his critics coined the word, "Jessnertreppin", as a short-club to beat him with in their newspaper reviews. In his only film, "Hintertreppe", he uses stairs to dramatize both the social status of the characters and their emotional relationships. For the greater part of the film, only three people are seen, and the lighting, described by Carl Vincent as "seeming to come from within the characters," is used to convey the sense of isolation. Based on the comments on this site page, most of them missed whatever it was Carl Vincent was so taken with. So did I while watching the USA 16mm under the title of "Backstairs."

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A little history for those who track comings and goings..., 13 November 2008

In October of 1937, with the completion of a new two-story building on the M-G-M lot, the company announced a new production division called Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Cartoon Studios to be housed in the new building at 10202 W. Washington Blvd, Culver City and, those who wished to talk to anybody at Metro's Cartoon Studio could dial (or have the operator do it)REpublic 0211, which meant R-E-0-2-0-1. On Octobert 14, the company announced the hiring of 31 key men, to go along with the other 200 employees that might be needed.

Head(s) of Production: Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising

General Manager: Fred Quimby

Directors: Robert Allen, William Hanna and Isadore Freleg (all three had formerly been with the Harman-Ising unit, while Freling had had experience with Charles Mintz, Walt Disney and Leon Schlesinger, according to the M-G-M publicity department.)

Production Supervisor: C. G. Maxwell (formerly with Disney and Harman-Ising)

Writers: Harry Hirschfield, "Pinto" Colvig, Ray Kelly (formerly with Van Beuren), Kin Platt (formerly with Disney), Henry Allen (from Harman-Ising), Joseph Barbera (from Terrytoons), Allen Freleng (from Schlesinger's shop.) In-Between-Department Head: Edmund Schultz (from Mintz and Universal) Painting and Inking Head: L. S. Gobel Music Department Head: Bert Lewis (six years with Disney) Camera Department Head: E. J. Moore Cameraman: Jack J. Stevens Character and Settings Design Head: Charles Thorsen Contract Animators: Ben Clopton, Sam Stimson, Gary Meyer, Bill Nolan, A. J. Zander, Richard Bickenbach, and Cecil Surry.

Sound Technician: F. McAlpin Finish Layouts: Willie Hopkins and Karl Karpe Other Layout: Ernest Nordli, Dan Gordon and George Gordon The first cartoon series under the new expansion program would be based on the syndicated newspaper feature, "The Captain and The Kids.

Not a bad line-up, even if some didn't stay very long, albeit some stayed for a lifetime.

Nearing the end of Brooklyn Vitaphone Studios, 11 November 2008

After April 26, 1939, the Ina Genet unit, producing the Mechanix Illustrated series, with Genet directing and writing the series,in association with Fawcett Publications, was the only production set-up retained, after the April shutdown, and still producing shorts at Warners' Brooklyn studio. Sam Sax, the Brooklyn studio head, had already sailed for his Teddington assignment, for Warners, on April 21, 1939. The unit finished ten entries of the series for 1939, and four for 1940 before the plant was closed as a full-tine facility for Warner Brothes short subjects, and the production of shorts was moved entirely to the west coast operations of the company.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The Pink Lady Caper, 15 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Secretary Emily Borden (Virginia Gilmore) is in love with her boss, Henry Summers (James Ellison), but he is romancing society-babe Constance Powell (Janis Carter) and is too busy to notice. Co-worker Ralph (Dan Duryea) is interested in Emily but Emily has no interest in Ralph. Emily's grandmother (Alma Kruger) gives Emily the complicated plan she used to trap Grandpa and Emily, rather than saying "you gotta be kidding" goes along with it. First, she sends Hery a series of anonymous notes professing deep love for Henry, and signs them "The Pink Lady." The Pink Lady" asks Henry to meet her at the beach. Henry arrives and is startled to find Emily at the beach, but makes no connection between her and "The Pink Lady." But he takes note that Emily is something of a looker and takes her to dinner. Back in New York, Henry is told by an underworld character (part of Grannie's scheme" to stay away from "The Pink Lady. As far as Henry knows, he has never been around "The Pink Lady" to begin with but, to ensure that he will not encounter her, he decides to take an out-of-town business trip, and bring Emily along to attend to company-business affairs. Ralph has his eye on this situation and follows when Emily and Henry go out of town together, as Ralph is not buying the taking-care-of-the-office excuse. Alone with Emily for the first time, while they are attending to office-business, Henry realizes he is in love with her. But when Ralph breaks in, Henry gets mad and leaves. The repentant Henry tries to make up with Emily but she will not see him. So, he visits her home and, though she isn't there, he finds out that Emily is the mysterious "Pink Lady." He leaves a note for Emily saying he will be in the park at a specified time, and signs it "The Pink Lady."

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Stock Footage Intrigue, 14 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

American and English intelligence services are aware that three atomic scientists are to meet in Tangier, pool their secrets, and sell the results to the Rusky Communists. American secret agent Steve Gordon (George Brent),posing as a black-market operator, has established contact with Kozad (Bert Freed), wealthy head of the Communist (because he is not in Russia) and his three henchmen Korvich (Shepard Menken), Rosnov (Richard Karlan, and Ivan (Michael Ross, billed as Mike Ross.) Steve's two co-agents, neither aware that Steve is a C.I.A agent, are sharp-faced Tony (John Harmon). owner of the Crossroads Cafe, and Police Inspector Rabat (Dan Seymour, fetching as always in a Fez), of the Tangier Police. In the café, Steve meets Millicent (Mari Aldon), fetching as always in-or-out of anything, and she is posing as an American tourist. She attach's herself to Steve. Steve is advised to meet an English girl at the airport, Nadine (Dorothy Patrick), who can recognize one of the scientists plotting to sell out the free world, but instead meets Olga (Alix Talton), who is posing as Nadine. The latter has been kidnapped by Kravich and Rosnov---Ivan had the day off---but escapes. Olga is somewhat put-out about that and she promptly kills Kravich, while Ivan is even more convinced about the value of a one-day holiday. Steve gets a secret code-paper from a safe in Kozad's home. But on his way to take it to the American legation, he is slugged by the well-rested Ivan. Meanwhile Nadine has resurfaced in the company of Steve, and she and he are captured by Rosnov, Ivan and Millicent, and the latter being in on the snatch, makes Steve think that she may not be the innocent-American tourist he was led to believe she was. In fact, Millicent turns out to be the daughter of Kozad, and tells him she and her father have known all along that Steve is an American agent, and she has intentions of killing him. But Inspector Rabat and his men enter the room, and Millicent is unable to kill Steve, which makes Steve very happy, and also Nadine, who may not be quite the tweedy twit-Brit she is posing as.

5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Adele Jergens dresses up the stock footage., 14 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's in B&W, has a sultry dame, much crime, set in the 40's, and many dark scenes, so the biggest surprise is that somebody hasn't dubbed this "film noir", since that seems to be the revisionist guidelines of late. Whatever, any film that has the two leading ladies called "Nylon" and "Flo-Flo" deserves some attention just for that. This one has Nylon (Adele Jergens, born to play a character named Nylon), an American dancer fleeing Morocco after her employer gets into trouble with the police, and she stops off at Tangier on her way to Gibraltar, and that begs the question of why this wasn't titled "Woman from Morocco." $50,000 is stolen from the ship's safe and the captain tells the police that the purser was the thief and that he had to kill him in self defense, but the purser must have hidden the money before he got dead. The purser isn't in any position to make a disclaimer. Everybody buys that with the exception of an insurance detective (Stephen Dunne) who, along with the audience, suspects the captain of being the thief. With Nylon's help, he discovers that her old Morocco employer was actually the thief and was working with the captain. By: Les Adams (

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Time to get it correct, 23 August 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

DETECTIVE LLOYD (the correct name of this 12-chapter serial) was produced/financed by Action Pictures Inc., the serial-producing unit of Universal Pictures Corporation, headed by unit-manager/producer Henry MacRea. It was filmed entirely in London and the cast was made up completely from actors in UK films and the UK stage, and other than the writers and MacRae, all of the crew members, such as cinematographer Desmond Dickinson, were UK-based. It is an American-company production, and it is a USA country-of-origin film, and "Lloyd of the C.I.D" is the UK aka-title and not the primary nor country-of-origin title. The UK-version also differs in that the title of the first chapter was "The Green Spot Murder" on country-of-origin prints, and was changed to "The Green Spot Mystery" on the UK-aka "Lloyd of the C.I.D" version. The UK certificate board was seldom fond of 'murder' in any title, even the first chapter/episode of an America-produced serial. And Chapter Nine in the USA-primary title "Detective Lloyd" was "The Fatal Plunge" but was changed to "Imprisoned in the Tower" on the UK prints.

Henry MacRae gave the lead role of "Chief Inspector Lloyd of the C.I.D" to an Australian-born actor named Claude Saunders, then appearing on-stage in a London play. For the film, MacRae changed the actor's name to Jack Lloyd, in one of those actor-and-characters share names deals. There was already a Jack Lloyd who had appeared in some earlier Universal films. Saunders' only film experience had come a few years earlier in an Australian-film, and the title role in "Detective Lloyd" appears to be his only other cast-credited film, albeit by two different names.

The plot centers around a sacred amulet that once adorned the royal arm of the boy-Pharaoh Tutankhamen and is now in the possession of Lord Randall Hale of Deep-Deen Manor. The zealous and ruthless priests of the Temple of Amenhotep want it back, and a gang of international crooks are also after it, led by Giles Wales aka The Panther (and it's never a secret just who The Panther is to the audience and most of the cast, which is why actor Wallace Geoffrey gets to show off his disguise-talents several times.) Scotland Yard Detective Lloyd, in the serial correctly called DETECTIVE LLOYD (and known in the UK as "Lloyd of the C.I.D") strives mightily to see that the amulet remains with Lord Randall Hale, especially since Detective Lloyd is rather fond of Hale's perky niece from Canada, Diana Brooks.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Poverty Row Rides Again, 2 August 2008

Cherokee Charlie (George Chesebro) and Snake (Yakima Canutt), a french-accented whip-wielder, are selling rifles to the Indians. To stop this, the Army sends agent Andy Thomas (Rex Lease), who poses as a sombrero-wearing renegade and adds a highlight for the audience trying to decide if his Spanish-accent is worse than Canutt's French accent. It isn't. Andy, Charlie and Snake converge on a wagon train which is under attack. Pa Carter (George Morrell, who shows up later as a soldier)is killed and Andy is attracted to his daughter Sue (Janet Chandler) and makes a buddy out of her younger raccoon-hat wearing brother Dickie(Bobby Nelson.) Andy, claiming to be from Taos, proves he a real cyclone of the saddle by riding Cherokee's horse (played by Black Fox the Marvel Horse, according to the credits, and owned by rodeo-performer Mable Strickland), and winning him on a bet. This ticks Charlie off,and he has Snake attach a knife to the end of his whip---the backlash is deadly if there is a miss---and kill two Indians to start an uprising. The Range Ranglers (Jack Kirk, Glenn Strange, Jack Jones and Chuck Baldra, employing another offshoot name used by "The Arizona Wranglers" band)sing four songs---"Going' Home", "The Old Wagon Train", "There's No Place Like Home" and "Range Riders"---which may or may not be in some of the chopped-up video tape versions of the film. Written by Les Adams {}

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