Reviews written by registered user
Jim Tritten

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126 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Are all these reviews accurate?, 12 August 2016

I have to admit, when I watched this series, I was jarred by some of the inaccuracies I could see without being a specialist in the West. The costumer cut corners and used the same uniform for Custer over the entire series. Yes, he was a general at one point. But this rank ended after he was mustered out of the volunteers. When he came back into the regular Army is was as a Lieutenant Colonel. During this time, the time with the 7th Cavalry, he would not have worn a general officer's rank on his shoulders. The costumer obviously either was told to save money or paid insufficient attention to detail. Viewers will likely never find out. Then too there is the detail of John Tunstall being portrayed as an American when he was British by birth and presumably by speech. So when I read all of the other historical inaccuracies listed in these reviews, I wonder what else was wrong and if so much was wrong, then what was the point of The American West. Clearly not historical accuracy. In fairness, I did learn some new facts, only to have them disputed on these pages. With so much doubt cast about the facts, the viewer can only speculate about the slant and underlying purpose of The American West. When they could have known better, why did they produce something that is fraught with controversy? Good entertainment, but incorrectly classified if The American West is labeled as a documentary.

7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Possibly Worse Than Plan 9 From Outer Space, 25 May 2009

This is a very hard movie for anyone with actual naval service to watch. Clearly the producers did not bother to hire a technical adviser and it shows (or if there was a technical adviser he was ignored). There are so many things wrong about how the US Navy is portrayed and technology that it is hard to fit them all into a short review.

The USS Scotia, ostensibly a US Navy nuclear submarine looks more like a Russian Alpha class. Any submarine would crush at the depths played out in the story and would be incapable of radioing while underwater. Neither people nor plankton could survive outside any submarine at the depths portrayed in this movie. And there would not be light that deep.

The time setting is "today" but the USS Abraham Lincoln is a World War II battleship. And it, nor any other ship that large, could possibly travel 75 knots. There is a real world Abraham Lincoln but it is an aircraft carrier and more likely to have acted as a flagship. Uniforms are wrong and not only do the rating badges and insignia change from scene to scene but they are incorrect in the first place. And it is the "US Coast Guard" and not the "American Coastal Guard." Then there is the portrayal of personnel. A British-accented woman as the commander of a mini-sub? First of all, it is possible for a foreign-accented person to be an officer in the US Navy but not at all possible for a foreign citizen to be one. And despite advocates, there are no women permitted to serve on submarines – conveniently ignored in this movie. If there were women in the "Silent Service," they would be expected to adhere to grooming standards and not wear fashionable nail polish, garish lipstick, headbands, or ornamental earrings. The men are equally out of standards for grooming.

But even if women did serve, the placement of an ex-wife as the commander of a very small unit that includes the former spouse is suspect. And even if they were to serve together, the interaction between the two goes well beyond anything expected between two military professionals.

If you can get past all of this, which I admit is hard for anyone who has actually served, then there are other problems galore with the story. The first half hour is not particularly interesting because it is mostly an explanation of technical and scientific jargon. Captain (wearing Major General's stars) Nemo does not appear for way too long. Then quite honestly, the film just gets boring even though it is set underwater and features an obviously psychotic antagonist and many challenges to our heroes. Why did they think they needed the nightclub scene? I didn't mind the inventions that kept the plot going. I could even get into the plot to shift mankind above the sea to underwater - the new Atlantis. But I am not sure about whether it was the writing, the directing, or just the acting that made we want to ignore the words that came out of the mouths of everyone on the screen. Could it have been all three? The color is excellent and I did not have any problem with the sound that a few others had.

At least Plan 9 From Outer Space had……..wait; there is not much to offer for that either. Well, this one was in color.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Penny a Pound, Please, 1 December 2008

This is not a great movie but it is a hoot. I mean where else can you see gangsters coming from the big city using aircraft to bomb their prey and disrupt a cattle drive. The accuracy of those ex-World War I pilots was uncanny and the secret ability of a hand grenade to blow up a dam should be exploited for modern day ordnance specialists who can only dream of such power in a small package. And all these gangsters wanted was a penny a pound to "protect" cattle from threat of non-delivery – very reasonable I would think.

Silent film star George O'Brien is effective as the hero and enjoyable to watch in his role. His biography is most interesting and worthy of your time. Charles Middleton is excellent as the heavy but I still prefer him as Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon serials. Maude Eburne turns in another great character actor performance.

The film quality of the version "Wings Over Wyoming" that I just saw on TCM was a bit grainy but the joy at watching such a unique B movie more than compensated. Some of the aviation sequences were likely lifted from other filming but what the heck, who cares. Better than most B Westerns and worth watching because it is so different.

Cross Fire (1933)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A very different Western, 6 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Surprisingly good movie that suffers only from some strange editing that makes transitions awkward at best. The writing of the script appears to have been done with the most unexpected insertions that take what might otherwise be a stogy "B" Western and presents the viewer with new and interesting directions. There is a Western murder mystery with the real killer framing someone else, embezzlement from within, imported gangsters with a machine gun, a World War I French component, boxing, the horse vs. car debate, and of course the love interest. The "bad guys" are a group of old-timers that were once the leading citizens of King City. I just loved the shot of the hero and his horse jumping off the cliff into the river and escaping the posse.

Check out the full credits – a very interesting mix.

Tom Keene is first-rate in a serious role that predates his appearance in "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Betty Furness is the believable love interest before becoming the New York City Director of Consumer Affairs and a panelist on TV game shows. The always excellent veteran character actor Edgar Kennedy includes this film in his over 400 film credits. Lafe McKee and the other old-timers are a real "hoot" as they figure out ways to hold up a truck and live off the land.

King Kong's Merian C. Cooper gets top billing as Executive Producer, David Lewis as Associate Producer, and David O. Selznick is uncredited as the Producer. Cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca and film editing by a young Frederic Knudtson. Yakima Cannutt is an uncredited stunt double.

Recommended as something very different for anyone who thinks that they have seen everything in the classic Western.

13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Amnesia Victim Mystery, 22 January 2008

Concise little mystery in which the hero needs to piece together who he is after suffering amnesia and realizing he is the major suspect in a murder case. Walter Abel does a credible job of not knowing who he is and working on the little clues that develop with the assistance of a girl he meets in the park. Margot Graham, Britain's Jean Harlow, does an excellent job of helping a stranger, believing him against all the evidence to the contrary, and, of course, developing a relationship.

The movie opens with a man stumbling forward in the fog – appropriate for the story line – and then wandering into Mason Park. Not much to go on to figure out his identity: initials in a hat band, theater tickets, and foreign cigarettes. Obtaining the aid of a female friend, they set off to the police station for assistance. Just before entering, the newspapers arrive and report on the murder of producer Richard Denning by a man in a pin stripe suit. Guess who is wearing a pin stripe suit? There is a very cute little scene that follows where Abel buys new clothes at a store run by an amateur detective. There are a couple of nice scenes that are as probably as good as it gets in this type of movie. One overhead shot of Abel jumping from a rooming house window stands out. Another notable is the use of the title of the novel on which the film is based as the title of a play that is important to the story.

The hero is never in danger – he just uncovers bits and pieces of his life and deals with them in turn. Naturally the actions of the police and the real villain(s) thwart Abel's attempts to return to normalcy. About mid-way through the movie, the plot gets a little confused as the hero is introduced to a series of people who know him and have obviously been placed in the story to provide an alternative answer to "who killed Richard Denning." A flashback near the end of the movie reveals the hero's non-complicity in the murder and explains all of the clues that have pointed to him. Still it is not quite enough to have the viewer or the police reach the correct conclusion on the actual murderer although the motive is reasonably clear. In the end, justice is served and boy gets girl.

Alan Hale does a great job as the detective inspector and Eric Blore is his usual excellent butler. The beautiful Erin O'Brien has a brief but memorable part.

Recommended. I watched this movie during the same month that TCM highlighted the Whistler series. It is much much better.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Psychic detective, 12 November 2007

A mediocre movie at best. The plot has promise – kidnapping, adultery, and a psychic FBI agent – but something falls apart in the execution of the concept for a film into an actual theatrical event. Must be the screen writing. The story drags at times and it seems like an eternity before the heroes can figure out what the viewer has already determined as obvious. And that is with the aid of a psychic detective – the scenes where she senses what has occurred are interesting but do not result in moving the storyline forward by leaps and bounds. But then the summing up at the end dumps a whole lot of facts on the viewer that seems to come from nowhere. Then too there is the parallel plot of medical problems with the heroine that remains unresolved at the end.

Let's review what is good about the movie. Shauna Black is certainly nice to look at but one can only wish that Laura Vandervoort would have had a larger part. The "ending" that opens the movie is revealed to be an incomplete truth about three quarters the way through and the real ending could have been a real show stopper. Jennifer Beals does yeoman's work with the material she has been handed – she deserves better. Finally the movie yields the best-dressed software company secretary in many years.

Not much to recommend here.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Perhaps best of the Lone Wolf Series, 13 October 2007

Enjoyable wartime mystery featuring the Lone Wolf as a double agent in London. Ninth in the series, and written in 1942, this entry is directed by Edward Dmytryk (his second in the series). The plot revolves around the theft of plans for a beam device and whether they will be sent to Berlin by a new radio photo transmitter. The Lone Wolf uses sound as the means to learn the secret hide out of the spy ring and scenes of the Blitz are used to show audiences the devastation being doled out on America's British allies. Despite the predictability of the story line, the film is more than a bit enjoyable, and one of the best of the series.

Warren William stars as the suave former jewel thief Michael Lanyard with his faithful sidekick and butler, Eric Blore. Also features Hillary Brooke as the love interest and Forrest Tucker as one of the Nazi spies. Although not credited, it certainly appears that a young Lloyd Bridges also appears albeit with a mustache. If true, he would have had a busy year since he also appears to be listed in over twenty other movies in 1942.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
"Did they ask if it was open?", 12 May 2007

Last of ten in the series with Warner Baxter playing the part of Dr. Robert Ordway, former criminal turned psychiatrist. The series ran from 1943-1949 and always involved the outsider specialist trusting and then helping hapless victims of the criminal justice system.

This entry opens with Dr. Ordway talking about the impending parole of inmate 9815, Stephen Carter (Stephen Dunne), after serving three years for a crime of arson that he did not commit. The plot thickens when the accused is implicated in the murder of the man who took his job when in prison. The solution should not be a surprise.

Lois Maxwell is not nearly as good looking or glib as she will become years later as Miss Moneypenny in seventeen James Bond movies. She plays the same role as a gate keeper for the head of the firm.

Prolific character actor Whit Bissell plays Pete Bellem who records and keeps playing a song that seems to be central to the strange comings and goings on at the Bellem Music Company…"In the house where I was born" …"When I was just a boy. A recording of Pete's song becomes a critical part of the plot.

Robert Armstrong looks a bit tired as gangster George 'Goldie' Harrigan. His new girlfriend Inez Gray, played by Adele Jergens, is best featured in a revealing negligee.

Interesting introduction to the new technology of piping recorded music over phone lines to paying customers rather than having them order selected records at a juke box.

The police are incredibly poor shots until the end. The writing is above average in this entry with such lines as, following an incomplete response to the police asking an alternate way out of an apartment building, "Did they ask if it was open?" Recommended.

7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
When a knife thrower kills he does not stab – he throws the knife . . . like this!, 5 May 2007

While visiting an old friend in Paris, the Prefect of Police, the Crime Doctor gets involved with the complex stabbing murder of an old man supposedly by his son. The suspect is described as a worthless idler who suffers from some war-induced psychological problems. But is he capable of murder? The beautiful Micheline Cheirel (in her last film role) plays the love interest – married and loyal to the suspect but also the daughter of a knife-thrower who is an old friend of the murdered man.

The Crime Doctor always seems to know who is lying and telling the truth in the absence of any evidence to support his theories. The defendant's lawyer does not practice criminal law and the defendant does not appear to care whether he lives or dies. Is the only defense insanity? If he gets off the murder charge due to insanity, who inherits? What about a fourteen year-old contract between the murdered man and the knife-thrower? How many more murders? Intrigue in the art world leads the Crime Doctor to the solution.

Interesting dance apache sequences. Directed by future horror-meister William Castle. Fair.

7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another, 21 April 2007

Good entry in the Crime Doctor series where our hero, Dr. Robert Ordway, inadvertently gives poison to a man in diabetic shock. The police are willing co-conspirators to the Crime Doctor's sleuthing in this case but there will be additional murders before a final resolution.

The real issue is not murder but a business being run out of a funeral parlor. The dying diabetic mumbles something before passing that is later revealed to be from Hamlet: "God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another" (Hamlet 3.1). What could possibly be going on in the funeral parlor in the evening? Direction by future horror meister William Castle results in some excellent shots of where something sinister is implied with off-screen mayhem. Recommended

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