81 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
A Good Who Done It Movie
10 November 2004
"The List of Adrian Messenger" is one of John Huston's unknown gems. It was made in the early 1960's before the cultural revolution hit the world. The movie shows how uncomplicated the world was. It shows the difference between right and wrong behavior.

It's only flaw is using superstars in small roles: Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra. Only Robert Mitchum had a good part in his friend's movie. The starring cast were not as well known but could have carried the movie without the help of the super stars.

The movie stars George C. Scott in one of his first starring roles. His English accent is pretty good. The rest of the cast is superb. The actors:

Dana Wynter, Jacques, Herbert Marshall, and Clive Brook were probably given one of their last good roles in a movie. Only Gladys Cooper was able to make another good movie a few years later, "My Fair Lady". It is fun to see the director's son, Tony Huston, play Ms. Wynter's son. He does a pretty good job for an amateur.
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The Hindenburg Flies
10 November 2004
The director, Robert Wise, made a very good movie on the Zeppelin disaster, the Hinderburg. The movie's only flaw is that almost everyone has an American accent. The language familiarity looses authenticity. You can't tell the difference from the Americans to the Germans. The American actors should have used German accents.

The superb cast is headed by George C. Scott,Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning. It is fun to see many television actors get their chance to be in a good movie. Rene Auberjonois, Robert Clary, Roy Thinnes, and Joanne Cook Moore shine. Only William Atherton was able to make several good movies as a supporting actor.

After all these years, nobody knows the truth on the Hindenburg disaster. However, the movie tells an interesting story. The movie's version sounds compelling. They claim the Hinderburg was blown up by a saboteur.
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Best Prohibition Movie
13 July 2004
"The Roaring Twenties" is like "Citizen Kane" it has everything in it: drama, humor, musical numbers, romantic triangle, and history. This is James Cagney's best movie in the 1930's. This movie was made in 1939, which is considered the year that made the most classic movies. Also, this is the best movie featuring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. They made a great team. Cagney was water and Bogart was oil.

Another great team was Cagney with Gladys George. Too bad they never worked again. Gladys George played a saloon singer. This was her best role. Cagney's other leading lady was Priscilla Lane. Ms. Lane played the girl next door who dumps Cagney and falls for Jeffrey Lynn. Ms. Lane and Mr. Lynn starred in a few movies together in the 1930's. This is their best movie.

The supporting cast is superb and the movie moves. It is never dull. Thanks to the director, Raoul Walsh.
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Last of the Good Epics
23 June 2004
"The Agony and The Ecstasy" is one of the last good epic movies in the 1960's. The director, Carol Reed, is responsible for this interesting history lesson between Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) and Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison). This is Rex Harrison's best dramatic performance. "My Fair Lady" ruined Red Harrison's chances in doing more dramatic roles in the movies.

It is absurd to consider Charlton Heston for Michelangelo. The feud between Mr. Heston and Mr. Harrison on and off the set works for the movie. There are other people in the movie, but you only care about the working relationship between Michelangelo and Pope Julius II.

Diane Cilento plays Contessina de Medici, Michaelangelo's married lady friend. She is wasted in this movie, but her performance is not a distraction. The supporting cast is fine, but insignificant to the story.
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A 1940's Entertaining/Recruiting Movie
20 June 2004
"To the Shores of Tripoli" is light drama/comedy about new Marine recruits going through boot camp in the 1940's. This movie is made to look like a Twentieth Century Fox musical. There is too much color in the movie. It makes the story look less real. The colors are too bold and bright. You don't see any war scenes, just training scenes. Of course, there is a spoiled, rich Marine recruit (John Payne) in love with two women (Maureen O'Hara and Nancy Kelly), who wants to get out of the Marine Corp. Randolph Scott, who plays the drill sergeant, has the best role in the movie. He trains the recruits and tries to convince John Payne to stay in the Marine Corp. This is a terrific recruiting movie. It is fun to watch. A bit of trivia: both actors have worked with both actresses several times. John Payne made five movies with Maureen O'Hara,and Randolph Scott made three movies with Nancy Kelly. The supporting cast is full of recognizable faces of the 1940's. Only Harry Morgan is known by name because of his fame from television.
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Western Union (1941)
Interesting History Lesson
19 June 2004
Fritz Lang directed two great westerns: "Western Union" and "The Return of Frank James". The Frank James movie equals "Jesse James". "Western Union" is one of Randolph Scott's great westerns. I have never seen Robert Young in a western before; he is terrific as the telegraph employee. This is the only movie I can think of that is about the telegraph company opening up in the west. It is a high-geared story about the telegraph in the west, a triangle love story, and about loyalty.

The supporting cast is superb. Dean Jagger, who made a few westerns, plays the telegraph manager. Virginia Gilmore, who plays Mr. Jagger's sister, is the love interest in the movie. Ms. Gilmore had a short career in movies. She quit films in 1952 and became a drama coach. She is primarily known as the first Mrs. Yul Brynner. It is great to see Slim Summerville in a movie with Mr. Scott again. They were in two other great movies: "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Jesse James".
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Rare Comedy for 14th Century
14 June 2004
"Decameron Nights" is a fun movie to watch about a mismatched couple (Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan) from Italy in the 14th century. This is their second movie together. The first movie was "A Letter from a Unknown Woman", which was a superb and sad romantic movie.

"Decameron Nights" is just the opposite - it's a romantic romp with humor. There are three stories about the couple and the audience is made to guess which story is true about how they met. Both Ms. Fontaine and Mr. Jourdan made few comedies. This is their best. Both serious actors are funny. It is fun to see a young Joan Collins in a supporting role. Binnie Barnes and Godfrey Tearle are a superb supporting cast. Ms. Barnes was given a rare chance to shine in a movie.
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Startime (I) (1959–1961)
The Odd Couple in a Drama
1 June 2004
I never heard of "Startime" playhouse on television in 1959. Audie Murphy made a few appearances on television. His performance in "The Man" episode was not good. Mr. Murphy played a disturbed former soldier who is trying to kill his former buddy's mother (Thelma Ritter). Ms. Ritter is terrific. Mr. Murphy tried to keep up with Ms. Ritter. Their scenes together were good, but when he is alone and trying to act like a psycho, he overacts.

The script is not very good. It doesn't explain why he wants to kill his buddy's mother, however, you can't stop watching the entire one-hour show. Another performance that was over Mr. Murphy's head was in "The Quiet American". Mr. Murphy was best in westerns.

The highlight came after the show was when Mr. Murphy spoke to the audience, apparently, it wasn't a routine thing to do for the star of the show, but Mr. Murphy wanted to. It was nice to see this quiet man, standing in front of his sponsor's car, praising his leading lady, the other actors, and the sponsor. That segment showed you a glimpse of the real man. What a waste, when Mr. Murphy died in that plane accident in 1971.
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Humoresque (1946)
Hollywood Actress Meets Method Actor and Makes Magic
30 April 2004
"Humoresque" is Joan Crawford's and John Garfield's best movie. It is one of the best tortured love stories ever made. It is about two misfits - one rich idle lady and one poor talented male violinist, who fall in love and make everybody including themselves miserable. Even though the movie is in black and white, it is very glamorous looking. Joan Crawford and John Garfield never looked better. Too bad they never worked again. As a favor, Mr. Garfield appeared briefly as an extra in Ms. Crawford's next movie with Henry Fonda.

The supporting cast was superb. As the parents, J. Carrol Naish and Ruth Nelson were never better. Unfortunately, Ms. Nelson was blacklisted for thirty years so she did not have the career she should have had in the movies. The other supporting actress was Joan Chandler, who played Mr. Garfield's childhood sweetheart. This is the only performance I can remember her in. She was terrific. It seems Ms. Crawford did not mind other actresses getting good parts in her movies. Hurrah for Joan!
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Tartu is Entertaining
17 January 2004
"Sabotage Agent", also known as "Adventures of Tartu", is a first-rate British spy thriller. It is a quick and entertaining movie about a British spy, whose mission is to destroy the poison gas factory in Rumania.

Robert Donat is very good as the British spy who poses as a Greek and a Rumanian. His performance is spirited and his accent is amusing. His accent seems to be the same for the Greek and the Rumanian, but who cares, it is a fun movie to watch about a serious subject.

The supporting cast is perfect. Both his leading ladies are lovely and fill the bill: Valerie Hobson and Glynis Johns. Ms. Johns is still working today. Never seen Walter Rilla before or since, but he gave a good performance as the German officer, Otto, who is one of the villains, who loves Ms. Hobson's character.
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