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Histoire immortelle (1968)
offbeat, rarely shown O Welles shortie
It's an Orson Welles, so we know it will be weird and artistic, and odd. It opens with an old, lonely, rich man (Orsen Welles ) speaking with his assistant Levinsky in Macau. Mr. Clay (Welles) had heard the story of an old man who could not impregnate a young girl, so he paid a sailor to do the job. Clay wants to make this fantasy come true, so he instructs Levinsky ( Roger Coggio) to set up the fantasy for him. The assistant finds Virginie Ducrot (Jeanne Moreau) and convinces her to go along with the scheme. Orson Welles narrates the story, but as usual, the film would only be improved by eliminating the narration and just letting the story happen. Welles always seem to overdo the directing and story-telling; most of his films would have been btter if he had just relaxed and let the story happen. Original story by Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen ... (Out of Africa..) Norman Eshley is the sailor they pick up to "do the job" and complete the fantasy. Welles looks like death warmed over, while Eshley is young, clothes tattered but looking reasonably virile. It's pretty short, at only 62 minutes, but its interesting, historically for the Dinesen and Welles connections. I guess this would fall right in the middle of Welles' career, but with his make-up, he looks so old. This was only the second project for Eshley, but he does a fine job here. It gets a little silly... at one point, the lovers tell each other they are seventeen, but CLEARLY they are both older than that. Moreau was FORTY, and looked it. It's okay, but no big thang. Has kind of an O'Henry, ironic ending. Entertaining enough.
yawn. is this film still on ?
Cheesy, cheesy, cheesy... like a big bowl of melted Velveeta. At the open, some group is breaking into some building, killing everyone in sight. They seem to be after "the ambassador"... the acting is pretty shady, along with everything else. The actors all say each line as if that one line is the most important line of the film. My favorite actor name in here is Clement von Franckenstein (really!)... he is the ambassador. Erin Grey probably best known for Buck Rogers and Silver Spoons, is The Mayor. I did not enjoy this at all... even the robots were arguing about what the "prime directive" is, when they decide to take over. Bad script, bad acting, bad direction. Don't waste your time. Some films are so bad, they are funny or fun, but it just doesn't happen here. Maybe it was meant for the kiddies, but there is a whole lot of cussing, so I wouldn't let the munchkins watch it! Find something else to do.
Hidden Agenda (1999)
so-so eastern block who-dunnit
The script appears to be someone's first attempt at an Eastern-block who-dunnit-spy-intrigue mystery. Kevin Dillon is "David McLean", in our story, on his way to visit his brother. Apparently, the brother has been murdered, but David meets lots of folks who knew Michael. We aren't given any clues as to what's really going on, just lots of secretive looks and car chases by "people" coming after him. The CIA seems to want a disk he finds in a locker, and "Monika" (Andrea Roth" ) knows more than she is telling, but instead of telling David what's going on, he (and us, the viewers) are left in the dark so more people can chase him around. The Stazi secret police are involved, and the bodies start piling up. It pretty much comes to a screeching halt when then they hole up in an apartment about halfway through the film. It's less than satisfying, but it IS part of a four- film thriller set I found, so it is mildly entertaining. Very clichéd, even down to the sound levels jumping way up and way down throughout the film. So typical.
The Northern Kingdom (2009)
so many goofed up families
Dorothy Lyman directs and stars in this collection of stories of a harder life in New England. We see overlapping lives and connections in this story written by Nancy Fales-Garrett. We watch an LGBT couple, the family of a soldier returned from war in Iraq, various spouses, sons, daughters, siblings, and they all see the meteor shower. Lots of yelling, typical of any family I guess. It opens with the narrator telling us about the horse she had to put down when it got sick. A little odd, but it does forewarn us about the stories of weirdness and hardships still to come. Everyone is a little off their rocker, and the moms and wives aren't sure how to deal with that. I get the feeling that one or more of these stories are the writer's own experience, but it's a little convoluted, since there are so many conflicts and story lines going on here. The acting is all pretty good; actually, it's really good. it's the script that needs tightening up. An entertaining 108 minutes. Some dark stuff in here, but interesting to watch. i'm surprised that it has such a low rating as of today, but it IS based on only 30 votes. Definitely NOT for the kiddies.
Court of Lonely Royals (2006)
murder and mayhem galore
Interesting concept... kind of a Star Chamber, but here the Aussie police use a bunch of Gen X-ers to do their dirty work. Written, directed, produced by Rohan Hoole, and it looks like this is the only thing he has done so far. Lots of special effects going on -- liberal use of airbrushed, soft lighting, tricks with lighting, negative film, black and white photography. Also lots of prostitution, explicit sexual activity and drug use. And that's all within the first ten minutes! Two chicks meet up in a hotel, on different errands, and they become besties, going on special "assignments". We're not always sure what's going on, but that's part of the charm, I guess. Are they friends? Lovers? Co-workers? A whole lot of cussing. Weird lighting. Lots of killing. Kind of a "Week in the Life of...." diary. Pretty entertaining, but those who need a clean, straight forward plot probably won't like this one. There are some funny lines in here, but sadly, there are so many blanks in the IMDb character list, we're not sure who said which lines. Not a bad first project for Hoole. Script is a little weak, but the acting is pretty good. Probably didn't need all the special effects, but it's entertaining enough.
One More Tomorrow (1946)
pretty good love triangle...
Some great, fun Hollywood stars in this one! Jack Carson, Ann Sheridan, Dennis Morgan, Jane Wyman. Keep an eye out for John Loder as "Owen".. who looks and sounds EXACTLY like Laurence Oliver. Who copied who? Tom (Dennis Morgan) needs to choose between Christie (Sheridan) and Cecelia, but "stuff" gets in the way. Jack Carson is along for comic relief. Also watch for Reginal Gardiner.. plays Jim Fisk here. Sheridan and Gardiner will work again together in "The Man WHo Came to Dinner", a better film x 1000. Tom's father, played by Thurston Hall, (was in Topper..) steps in and interferes with the works. Some fast talking. Things move along, kind of. Based on the play "Animal Kingdom". The same guy, Philip Barry, wrote "Philadelphia" and "Holiday", both of which starred Katherine Hepburn, and were HUGE successes. Same fast plot, fast talking, good rapport between the actors. A fun watch, but not quite as solid plot as those two other stories. Directed by Peter Godfrey. Story starts out strong, but kind of loses steam about half-way through. Gets a bit maudlin.
Bonefish and Barracuda (1955)
black & white bit on fishing
Peter Roberts narrates in this film, made on Androstown, Bahamas. We follow Lee Wolf as he and the guide Ivan Johnson, chase after fish in the shallow flats. Short, light, bamboo poles are all that are needed to bring in bonefish and a HUGE barracuda. Roberts was known pretty much exclusively for short documentaries; this one is pretty dry (despite being filmed in water!) The third film directed by Howard Winner (he only directed six!), its a shortie from RKO Pictures. Only eight minutes. Ain't no big thang. Those big into fishing will probably find it pretty interesting. Maybe also interesting for the early black & white photography of the location.... I'm sure it doesn't look anything like that now!
Ireland: 'The Emerald Isle' (1934)
one of Fitz's more so - so Travel Talks
Not the best Travel Talk in James Fitzpatrick's collection. He was doing this from 1925 to 1955, so this was plunk in the middle. He made twelve in 1934 alone, so he probably wasn't putting much time into each one. And this one is directed by "Ruth FitzPatrick".. who must have been a family member of some sort. Can't find any record of a wife. In this episode, we're off to Ireland, and granted, its in glorious Technicolor. Bright whites, beautiful blues. We DO get to see the girl's red hair. The camera lingers on the old couple standing in front of their house for a VERY long time. We can't hear what they are saying, so its a little weird. They could be from anywhere in this shot. Fitz talks about the legend of the highlighted castle, and various bits of info. There are SO many fun other features he could have mentioned. The beehive formations, the peninsulas, all the castle ruins. the tiny little country roads. Watch the other ones. They are better.
Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969)
offbeat, cult film. crazy hippies!
ALL over the map. Silly. Fun. Kind of a John Waters film, but it's not one of his. Tara Steele (Holly Near) is an overweight daughter of Astrid (Jennifer Jones) and Willy (Charles Aidman) going through the typical issues of girl who doesn't feel accepted by her age group. Jennifer Jones is probably best known for her 1940s' roles in Portrait of Jennie, with Joseph Cotten, and Song of Bernadette (won the Oscar). Lots of slow motion. Jordan Christopher, lead singer of the real rock group "Wild Ones", has a pretty major role here, playing a Jim Morrison type, shirtless, shoeless, and tripping out, singing at the party. Lou Rawls as Joe.... Roddy McDowell as Santoro. Some big names in this obscure, wacky film. Fortunately, this IS now available on Blu Ray! Lots of Humphrey Bogart references. Odd connection, but Jennifer Jones DID make Beat the Devil with Bogart in 1953. Holly Near also has a REALLY interesting Bio on wikipedia at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_Near .. also an interesting collections of stills shown here and there through-out the film. Lots of blood dripping from famous photos of movie stars, politicians and generals. Skydiving, for some reason. Spooky organ music. If you like weird, offbeat cult films, you will LOVE this! There's almost a plot, but just barely. First, Stuyvesant (Christopher) falls for Tara, then he falls for her mother. Then he sings a song about it. "Mother Lover". This was the first film role for a LOT of the cast, and that's part of its charm. Why is it rated so low??? Some nudity.
Written and directed by Robert Thom, who accomplished a lot of in his short life. Died at 49. No details.
Big Jack (1949)
W Beery's last film.
Big Jack starts off in 1802, with a man (Richard Conte) about to be hanged in Maryland. Marjorie Main is Flapjack Kate. The larger than life actor Wallace Beery is "Big Jack" (Big Jack Horner... not Little Jack Horner). Jack is sick. Conte is Meade, the new doc, who heals him up, and has to decide if he will join the gang, which Jack leads. Jack even brings back a girl for Meade. Good stuff happens. Bad stuff happens. Lots of lessons learned. Beery plays it WAY over the top, while Conte plays it pretty straight. Its a strange combination of an old western, humor, with a sort of "history of medicine" story worked in. Oddly, it works out quite well. Lots of fun banter between Beery and Main. Last film Beery made. Well worth the time.
I'm surprised that it only is rated 6.5 as of today. Now that TCM shows it, I would expect more people to see and rate it. Directed by Richard Thorpe. Story by Robert Thoeren, who was born (and died) in Europe.