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|646 reviews in total|
Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov star as a married couple, in this caper to raise money. They want to make enough dough to open their own restaurant. Even if what they have to do for the money is a little illegal. Like a John Waters film, the script is goofy, and no-one TRIES to be funny, they all just be themselves, and its hilarious. Here, we have the bonus of seeing some big-time stars in their early roles -- Robert Beltran, so famous from Star Trek, is Raoul, the Mexican wheeler dealer in his very second role. Some great "cameos" (BEFORE they were stars...) Ed Begley(swinger), Edie McClurg(swinger), and of course Buck Henry(swinger AND banker). Not to mention John Landis. A pretty funny scene at the adult bookstore when Paul goes to buy "supplies". Also some funny stuff going on at the swinger's party about an hour in. "Howard", one of the guests really WAS an LA DJ, which explains why he says what he says.... it's all pretty funny. nothing too complicated. all neatly wrapped up at the end. Written and directed by Paul Bartel. (who, incidentally also wrote and directed "Class Struggle in Beverly Hills", which ALSO starred Robert Beltran... )
So fate puts two men together on an ocean voyage; Father Halligan, a man of the cloth with good intentions, and Joe Brewster, with less than an honorable past. Van Johnson was in his prime here, and could play just about anything. Paul Douglas is Brewster, and usually played the thug, due to his appearance. Brewster takes the priest's clothes and his identity, and makes a run for it when the boat docks in Roma. There are some funny lines at dinner on the cruise, the passengers have a good sense of humor, and tell some clever jokes, but for the most part, it's a pretty serious suspense drama. Also some beautiful scenery of Rome, as we travel around. 1950 had actually been a holy year in the Catholic church, so Buckner, the writer, used that as a basis for the story. What better theme to include the battle of right and wrong than a story based on a priest? We hear over and over again how Father Halligan is trying to decide if he should turn in Brewster. Lots of jokes about safe-crackers and what it was like in Sing Sing. Pretty good story, if you buy in and go along for the ride. We see all the beautiful, old historic landmarks of Rome, and have an adventure along the way. Directed by Clarence Brown, who had directed so many Garbo films, and was nominated for SIX Oscars! Shows on Turner Classics now and then. Kind of a "feel good" story, but not real meaty.
Jane Powell and Dana Andrews star in this exotic, south seas story by Herman Melville. Sailor Aber Bedford falls for island beauty "Fayaway". Mean whaler captain Vangs tells the men they have only ONE hour ashore. There's a cheesy fight scene on the beach, when two of the sailors decide to stay on the island, but that's the beginning of the trouble. One of them has an infection from a knife wound, and they have stumbled into the cannibal part of the island. Don Dubbins is "Tom", the wing man. I think part of the charm of this film is that not many people were traveling in the 1940s and 1950s, so seeing a film about "south sea adventures" was extra fun. The story itself is okay. But why would sailors WANT to stay in the village where they could be killed by the natives? They had numerous chances to leave. Run-of-the-mill love story. Boy meets native girl. Boy falls for native. Can this work out, or will their traditions get in the way? Directed by Allan Dwan... he only directed one more film after this one. Pretty good film, mostly for the island adventure theme.
"Suggested" by The Cost of Living, according to the opening credits... a play from way back. The sound and photography are pretty shaky, but a hundred years later, this is one we're still lucky to have around at all. The sound is WAY off from the actors saying the lines. Badly in need of restoration. Some rich folks get held up on the side of the road. Co-stars Wallace Ford and Gloria Shea, as young lovers Kenny and Julie. Not much of a plot, really. Girl tries to get family to like boyfriend, even though he's having a hard time finding a job. Directed by Chris Cabanne, who apparently was known as "the dullest director in pictures", and I can see why. Slowwww.. ain't no big thang. Film showing on "Comedy Films" Channel.... haven't seen this one on Turner Classics. Only 40 votes at this point in time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
SPOILERS -- Annoying. Some annoying things in this film... I'm sure some of that is the black-face, the white person imitating a black person in such a racial, stereo-typed manner. But it's a little insulting that just everyone buys into the silly make-up and silly accent on Marion Davies, as she plays Lucille, the black maid, who is really a spy. As someone else pointed out, they break into song every couple of minutes. ( "Sleepy Head" by the Mills Brothers is actually quite well done.) The plot here is secondary... every now and then they stop singing to pretend the the Civil War is going on around them. Dramatic scene where "the maid" has to give evidence against a fellow spy, her friend, in the name of duty. Gary Cooper is in here, ostensibly co-starring. Some other fun cameos in here -- Sidney Toler, Hattie McDaniel, Sterling Holloway, Curly Howard. There's a skeleton of a plot in here, but I wish they had used more plot and less music. Davies, singing "Once in a LifeTime" as she swings, is just ridiculous. She did successfully jump from silents to talkies, but only made a couple more films after Operator 13. Much debate over whether the Hearst connection actually helped or hindered Davies' career. This one is okay. I was pretty surprised at the high rating, but it is only the result of 1000 votes so far. Gets better as it goes along. Directed by Richard Boleslawski, who died young a couple years after making this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another chapter in the James Fitzpatrick Travel stories. The columbia river. We watch as the first Americans catch the salmon as they work their way around the waters. Crater Lake ! back in 1943 -- during WW II. According to Fitz, they were lured there for the camera by a pile of food. SO Wrong. But the landscape it so beautiful. The reflections. The colors, the mountains in the distance. Quite the patriotic ending wrap-up, as we WERE in the heart of the war. This one is OK. The landscape is just beautiful, but its a little sad to see them catching the salmon that are trying to spawn, and what they were doing to the bears just for our viewing entertainment. fortunately we know better than to lure the bears like this just for entertainment. These travel diaries show in between films on turner classic channel.
Reading the plot description, this one sounds like an updated version of "Petrified Forest". the opening two minutes looks like it was filmed near the mountains and deserts of palm springs. and everyone is so forthcoming with the exact location, time, and details of the atom bomb test. ah the good ol days. The first of only SIX films that Powell directed himself. Simple enough plot... gang holds group hostage, although this film has the added suspense of an impending bomb test right where they are hiding out. Lots of banter about not being heroes... a bit of "Key Largo" thrown in. It's not bad, but you'd think he wouldn't want to hang out in a location with all the feds (and a bomb test) nearby. Intentionally or not, Dottie (Jan Sterling) looks and sounds like Lana Turner, another Dick Powell connection... kind of. They starred together in "Postman". Eh. Not great. Never really gets going. 900 votes on Turner Classic, so they must not show this one very much.
The ever-zany Jerry Lewis is down-on-his-luck Wooley the Magician, who signs up for a USO gig to try to get more bookings. Of course his rabbit Harry steals the show. Marie MacDonald is the mean, selfish movie star Lola Livingston. Suzanne Pleshette (in her first film role) is Sgt. Pearson, in charge of the show. About the first half of the film is spent watching Lewis trip over suitcases as he tries to find the rabbit. Goes on waaaay too long. Then he trips over Lola and her dress, and causes another scene. I guess we knew there would be a lot of falling and tripping in a Jerry Lewis film. One funny scene with the rabbit wearing an ice pack after a rough day. Pretty good. Enjoy the laughs, but don't try to make too much out of it. Another great scene where Harry the rabbit slides down the banister. Secondary plot where Wooley befriends a child. Directed by Frank Tashlin who did it all! He wrote, animated cartoons (funny story about Bing...), directed, and knew a thing or two about what works in comedy. Geisha Boy is pretty fun... and Lewis keeps use of his high pitched voice to a minimum. Showing on an over-the-air daytime movie channel.
ANY opportunity to see Frank Morgan (The WIZARD !) is going to be an adventure. This came out the same year as Wizard of Oz, but which one do we remember ?? anyway... Henry inherits a property out west, and the local farm-hands are up to some no-good shenanigans. Character actor Guy Kibbee is the Judge, who helps figure out what's going on. At about 17:25 minutes, they dub out whatever Henry says after throwing the knife. The silence is deafening. Weird dubbing. Henry walks around trying to run the ranch while they are plotting around him. Virginia Weidler is in here as Molly. She was the extra precious little daughter in "The Women". She croaked quite young at 41... heart issues. The actor playing "Danny" (Owen Davis) also died age 41... drowning. Only 300 votes as of today.. Turner Classics must not show this one very often. Directed by Ed Marin..... who ALSO died young at 52. Marin had directed a bunch of the "Maisie" films, as well as a slew of westerns. It's pretty good. Plot is kind of jumpy, but any film with Morgan and Kibbee can't be all bad. Check it out if you can catch it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hugh Griffith is rich British guy Henry Russell. He croaks and leaves his fortune to his family, if they can accomplish certain ironic tasks that they find repulsive. (Griffith was HILARIOUS in "Start the Revolution" in 1970!) Fay Compton had started in the silents and had a long career on stage and film... was in The Haunting. One of Audrey H's early films -- she was only about 22. Only has a small role as a cigarette girl in this one. A whole bunch of "siblings", British actors from way back, who are unfamiliar to most of us. A tad dry, but has a good, steady plot. We watch as the various stories unfold, with varying degrees of success. One just can't get arrested, no matter how hard he tries. Some twists at the end... some are successful in their tasks, some are not. It's entertaining at least. Kind of a precursor to "Easy Money", with Rodney Dangerfield, but this one has a different ending. Directed by Mario Zampi, who worked with writer Michael Pertwee on seven films! Pertwee had written the screenplay for the comedies "A Funny Thing Happened..." in 1966 and "Mouse on the Moon" ! On Turner Classics. Pretty Good !
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