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Not to be taken seriously
If you expect an action-packed monster horror movie, don't watch this. You won't like it. It's terrible.
If, on the other hand, you are a connoisseur of really bad movies, this one is right up your street.
Imagine Jaws VIII, Godzilla VI, and E.T. IV mixed up together. The only thing wrong with this film is that it wasn't directed by Edward D Wood, Jr.
The Chairman (1969)
Cold war oddity
Gregory Peck is a scientist. He is sent on a mysterious mission to China, where it turns out a scientist has developed an amazingly beneficial enzyme, and thinks Peck is the only man who can work out how to duplicate it for mass production, cure all known diseases, etc. Peck and said scientist are idealists who want to share it with the world, while the US and Chinese governments just want it for themselves. And, to make the whole thing more credible, Peck is equipped with a micro-transmitter in his brain which monitors his physical status and bugs his every conversation, including the one he has after playing table tennis with Chairman Mao.
It sounds silly, and, frankly, it is, but the espionage and the attempts to detect it are fairly tense, and Gregory Peck indulges in a fair number of good old humanitarian rants which suggest that Chinese totalitarianism and US militarism aren't necessarily wonderful things either.
I rather enjoyed it.
In Which We Serve (1942)
That this film was a propaganda effort is not in doubt. As a morale-boosting call to the British people to do their bit uncomplainingly, with the whole country, high and low, all in it together, it was a remarkably well-made movie.
For an audience which did not have to suffer the Blitz or rationing, it is only a piece of history.
As a window on how the British were in the early part of WW2, it's an excellent document, but as cinema entertainment, it is simply a way of passing time harmlessly.
The President's Analyst (1967)
This is more a comment on one of the previous comments: to wit, that the lines about the CEA and FBR sounded dubbed.
They probably were.
With the movie virtually in the can, Coburn and Flicker were summoned by a studio exec. The studio exec presented the representative of the FBI, who was objecting to the movie being made. They pointed out that it had already been shot, so it was basically impossible. So the FBI demanded that it make no reference to the FBI or CIA. So Flicker and Coburn and the rest changed all the names.
Bombers B-52 (1957)
Propaganda with free implausible plot thrown in
This film lays it on with a trowel. By the end of it, you will admit that:
i) the B-52 is the most fantastic bomber ever ii) every man in the Air Force is utterly dedicated to the safety of the United States iii) the mechanics are extremely important, despite not being officers iv) everyone in or around the Air Force is a fine example of good American decency
The plot on which the pictures of the B-52 are hung is very silly indeed, as well as entirely predictable.
Sinbad, the Sailor (1947)
This is a cinematic realisation of the lavish Arabian Nights storybooks you read as a child. They don't put a foot wrong: it's all very predictable and undemanding, and everyone plays their appointed parts very satisfactorily. Enjoyable nonsense.
Genghis Khan (1965)
Dismal attempt at epic
It must have seemed a good idea at the time, Omar Sharif as the charismatic leader of the Mongol Horde, uniting the tribes and being generally heroic.
But this really is unwatchable dross for the most part.
The only good bits are the unintentionally funny ones, in which James Mason plays the chief courtier to Robert Morley's Chinese Emperor. They don't quite manage to be successful caricatures, however hard the script writer tried to make them so, but they do have the immense advantage of being horribly miscast.
Ridiculously twisted Winner movie
Michael Winner's films aren't complete without a lot of blood, and this one has enough to fill a bucket or two.
James Coburn is the retired hitman who comes back in to kidnap a certain Karl Stegner, a mysterious and very wealthy man wanted by the IRS and various other federal agencies.
Coburn teams up mainly with OJ Simpson, with some dubious assistance from Sophia Loren, and we have a 70s high-tech sort of caper. Lots of gadgetry, most of it explosive, large quantities of double-crossing and shooting, plenty of pretty shots of the Caribbean from floating gin palaces, and a plot of such ludicrous over-complexity that it's silly.
It was obviously immense fun to make: several very large houses get burned down, bulldozed and otherwise trashed. As do various means of transportation. With lots of explosions and shooting.
It's implausible and it's almost impossible to understand why anyone would do what these people do, but apparently this is what they do. Bullets fly and things blow up.
There is an awful lot of frenetic activity, constantly accompanied by the sound of gunfire with regular scenes of conflagration.
Did I mention that there's a lot of shooting and explosions in this? In case I didn't, there is, as well as a very confusing plot.
It's not a very good movie.
Doctor in Distress (1963)
We have Dirk Bogarde doing his gentle, sensible young doctor character again. He has a polite, gentle romance with Samantha Eggar amidst the medical high jinks.
This is my favourite of the Doctor In The House series, though, because it's the one which gives most screen time to James Robertson Justice as the impossible Professor Lancelot Spratt. He is, for most of the picture, a patient, and given how he behaves when he's a consultant surgeon, it is hardly surprising that he is the most unco-operative and demanding patient in the annals of medical science.
JRJ makes full use of the opportunities offered, playing every scene for all it is worth (but, thank goodness, *only* for what it is worth - he doesn't extravagantly overplay it) and with obvious relish.
The job of the rest of the movie is to provide the canvas for him to display on, so it's not as though it's anything difficult or consequential.
Enjoyable fare for a weekend afternoon.
Coming to America (1988)
The basic thing that's wrong with this movie is that it's too much of a good thing, and they don't know when to shut up.
It's not so much a plot which moves ahead scene by scene, but a series of sketches plonked next to each other in the hope that a coherent storyline will emerge.
Many of the sketches are very funny. There are some great pieces of observational comedy: you can always get a good laugh out of having a naif confront the idiocy of modern urban life.
But they milk every sketch until it's dry. If they'd cut 60 seconds off each one, the whole thing would have been a great deal tighter.
It's all very well done, but if they'd done a bit less, it would have been a lot more entertaining.