Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
What's wrong with you people? Senses must be numbed from watching all those yawn-inducing "Beaver" re-runs. It's a highly contrived premise, of course (even Seinfeld is contrived. What kind of comedy isn't?). Every time I watch it I marvel at the comic timing and wonder how many times they had to rehearse this business. This stuff is no more silly than anything Charlie Chaplin ever did, and I could imagine how someone like Red Skelton would ruin it with his imbecilic mugging and posing. Lucille Ball got rich and famous doing the same silly stuff, but with little of the same polish. The only thing that didn't surprise me the first time I saw this was the big gal at the end. You could see that one coming.
I often wonder how so many viewers can claim they get laughs from a film this bad; to me, it's like describing a train wreck as funny. This disaster is just too embarrassingly pathetic to be amusing. How the likes of Thomas Mitchell and Walter Huston got shanghaied into this project defies comprehension. Miss Russell's looks just aren't enough to lessen the agony of watching her expressions of utter perplexity -- although I've managed to do so twice with considerable and painful effort, just to make sure I hadn't somehow missed something between the lines (such as they are) and so I could say I didn't review a picture I've never seen. One of the more torturous moments, which became especially excruciating the 2nd time around, was the Indian sequence where the hysterical sound track mixes "Don't Bury Me On The Lone Prairie" with a polka-paced demolition of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony, a combo likely concocted by the same moron who came up with the idea of basing the entire, imbecilic soundtrack on those two pieces. No, I don't think it's amusing at all; it's just awful, and such a depressing waste.
I note a number of misconceptions about this great old flick, or maybe some viewers are missing a few things. Sure, Harry Carey refers to some of the tribes-people herein as savages. But, look, on a daily basis they will kill you, cook you, shrink your head, and eat what's left. If that isn't savage, I'd like to know what is. The tribes-people pictured here aren't the Dead End Kids waiting for a weekly visit from their case worker. Yes, Carey refers to his man Friday as a black so-and-so, but the so-and-so comes off looking highly noble in the script, and Carey pays him due tribute. As for Carey playing the part of a hardened Congo guide, he does a mighty fine job of rendering a realistic character, just as would John Wayne, Charleton Heston, or Clint Eastwood. In the War on Poverty days I could see some misguided soul casting Anthony Perkins in the role, but it seems to me Mr. Carey does a superb job. Another reviewer remarked Carey falls in love with the rescued captive; I disagree. Carey had pledged to protect her and return her to civilization. One person from whom he tries to protect her is the naive, erotically smitten Duncan Renaldo ("Peru"), whose character is the opposite of Trader Horn's. Trader Horn knows what's out there and what to watch for; Peru is a total newbie whose missteps could get everyone killed and cooked, including himself. I think this film's characters, story, and production handily outdo any jungle flick made since then. Kinda scary, too. So scary, in fact, and so real, I wouldn't recommend it for the kiddies. Revisionist historians stay clear; in 1931, this is really what Darkest Africa was like.
An OK mystery, but I don't get some of the rave reviews here. Were we all watching the same film? Anyone who was paying attention had the murder method figured 15 minutes before Powell catches on. Gathering all the suspects in one room is another weak ploy by writers not nearly as clever as The Thin Man crew (after all, Powell has already seen the film of the killer, already has the evidence, and already knows whodunnit, so what's the point?). You can see most of the laughs coming long before they happen, very few are actually funny, and the rest don't make any sense. Give it a 6 for effort, especially since there are so many good performances from most, though not all, of the crew. Powell is much better than the material. Arthur just seems unable to work with lame jokes and comic devices that keep falling flat (can you blame her?). The problem is a weak, contrived script. Did the writers really think we wouldn't guess who walked off with the gelatin on Powell's scalpel? Gimme a break. Ignore the humor and you have at least a decent mystery. As for the laughs alone, I give it a 2. I understand this was one of RKO's biggest hits in 1936. Must have been the big names that brought the crowds in. Frankly, I would have asked for a refund.
At a mere 77 minutes, this delicious serving of pure hilarious cynicism still seems a bit long while you're watching it -- maybe because the writers at times invest too much in milking all they can from certain scenes. But when this satire rolls, it really rocks. Too, too bad that so many film makers of today lack both the insight and the skill to produce a match for this old chestnut. Carol Lombard gives her usually fine performance playing a character who gets too deep into her once-innocent scheme to back out gracefully. She does some over playing here, but isn't that the way Lucille Ball played Lucy for so many years? Frederick March turns in one of his best performances, Walter Connolly and most of the others are right on-key. You can add this to W. Wellman's long list of very professional directing gigs. And warn everyone -- this is one movie you DON'T walk into in the middle!
I have seen some strange comments on movie sites, but the general consensus is clear: not only should this be MGM's best musical ("Singin' in the Rain" being a contender, of course), but it is the ONLY time Hollywood managed to improve on a great Broadway hit. Obviously some of Cole Porter's saucier wit had to be toned down for 1953 -- but note, there was little toning of most of the lines that were taken directly from Shakespeare's original. This is simply a fantastic production, and director Sidney wisely avoided the Busby Berkely soundstage look to stay with the smaller scope of a theatrical stage. Even the costumes are right out of Commedia dell'Arte wardrobes that Shakespeare stole for his Elizabethan staging. And like Shakespeare's original, "Kate" is done with brilliant color and often electric vaudevillean energy. The great additions, of course, are Porter's best Broadway score, Hermes Pan's most sizzling choreography, Ann Miller's best dancing ("Too Darn Hot" was almost, for that time, too darn hot). Howard Keel is at his peak with his reading of "The Life That Once I Led". One could go on and on. Don't miss this lively, literate, very entertaining musical.