Reviews written by registered user
|15 reviews in total|
I have been following some of the criticism about this film. The story is lacking, to say the least. Huge parts of this movie are at best illogical if not outright absurd and factually wrong. Who cares if the non existent US Army Headquarters in Germany is actually the Czech Embassy in Berlin. Who gives a damn that it is not explained how the A-Team goes past the wrongly labeled Norwegian border-control. Who complained that even the original television series lacked a real story? This being said I can only confirm what some reviewers already stated: The A-Team is an all-fun action movie that does a lot of credit to the original series. The characters have been updated nicely and they all fill their predecessors' shoes very well. The tongue-in-cheek spirit has been kept alive and even the somewhat action-overloaded final was well made. If you have seen the abominable Starsky and Hutch you will be aware how much a remake can go wrong and please remember: This is not a Shakespeare adaption.
This movie is basically trash. The original by Jack Higgins, which I
have read would have made a very nice thriller for the big screen if
just converted and not completely torn apart to produce something that
might have been cut together from a trashcan. The original novel might
not be Higgins best but is still highly enjoyable, set in the Virgin
Islands with charming recognizable characters and a distinct plot. A
Nazi submarine is found by amateur diver Henry Baker. Inside he finds a
diary and the so-called Windsor protocol. Recognizing the importance he
takes it to a friend in London, Rear Admiral Travers, who refers it to
the prime minister. Sean Dillon, a much wanted terrorist is then
trapped in Yugoslavia and forced to help Charles Fergfuson of Group 4
(A security service answering only to 10 Downing Street) to recover a
book containing names of people who would support the Nazis after the
war. Here begins a murderous race between Dillon and Max Santiago,
brought into the race by a British politician who's father is one of
the most important names in the book. There is no reason to change the
location (despite the cost perhaps?) and no reason to mess up the
appearance of the main character(s) and certainly no reason at all to
make a sequel called the Windsor protocol.
Would someone please see that justice will be done and make a proper film version of this book?
All in all I would consider this a nice TV Production that keeps to the
book as well as can be expected. The Actors in themselves are good
value and the scenery is quite beautiful. But (I suppose with German
productions there always has to be a 'but') it is soooo German. Just
with the German Pilcher-films the actors do not really manage to give
the whole thing an Italian feeling. For some reason or other Germans
cannot really act anyway, meaning that their acting will always be
recognized as acting. Corinna Harfouch once said that film-making in
this country is like everything work. There is apparently little fun on
the set and therefore it is always a visible effort. There are smallish
things that would already help. As when somebody knocks on a door the
other person should not say 'ja' as happens here but instead use the
Oh well - I suppose the filmmakers should know their job by now. I f you like Brunetti you will find it OK, if you care for the Italian feeling forget it and if you just want a solid German crime film go for it.
When first I read announcements in German papers that new films about
Brown were going to be made I was sceptic, especially when it turned out
that they were going to be made Pfarrer Braun and set in Northern
As I read that Ottfried Fischer would be in the lead my interest was
I must say that my hopes have not been betrayed. For one Fischer looks a
credible Father Brown, being quite heavy and not without a certain wit.
the other a credible story gave all the other actors a chance to deliver,
not outstanding, decent performances.
In this first part prison priest Guido Braun from Hamburg is being moved to the small island Nordersand on the northern coast of Germany for playing the detective. Nordersand was chosen for a wholesome un-murderous atmosphere but as soon as Braun gets there he is involved in the first incident for the last 20 odd years.
Not remarkable but interesting is the choice of music for the film. The theme from the older German Father Brown films with Heinz Rühmann comes to new life here. It was cmposed by Martin Böttcher, responsible for a number of Edgar Wallace themes and perhaps more important the Winnetou films.
All in all this production may be considered a successful venture and at any rate a nice bit of TV entertainment.
Where has the elegance of earlier Christie adoptions gone? I watched this
movie not long after reading the book which is possibly not one of the
greater works of Agatha Christie but its adaption would certainly have
deserved a better treatment. Gary Nelson (famous for a number of pretty
TV series) and Scott Swanton made it a true `Three Act
First Tragedy: The Setting The original story is set in England and on the Riviera. It seems that Acapulco was chosen to return to magnificent settings as known from `Death on the Nile' and `Appointment with Death' or `Evil under the Sun'. However this goes wrong in this movie as the locations are nowhere near as picturesque as in those earlier films. Having Cartwright and Poirot flying back to Los Angeles after the first murder make the whole film look really American (which, alas, it is). The Riviera, as in the book, seems to me a much more likely setting for the great retired detective and a knighted actor.
Second Tragedy: The People Captain Arthur Hastings (evidently used instead of the character Satterthwaite) has lost his title and obviously moved from Argentine and is surrounded by a lot of Americans. To make Sir Charles Cartwright and American actor takes a lot of character from the original person. There is no real reason for having Dr. Strange changing his his first name from Bartholmew `Tollie' to Wallace and Angela Sutcliffe becoming Stafford in the book. With Captain Freddie and Cynthgia Dacres it seems more obvious to me. Dayton, forgive my being a snob, is certainly more easy a name for Americans. Same with Hermione Lytton Gore and Lady Mary Lytton Gore. They became Jennifer (thank god they kept the `Egg') and Daisy Eastman. They did not only change the names with Oliver Manders Murial Wills / Anthony Astor but also their characters. For Manders was not really the playboy type and Wills was a much sharper yet shy looking
creature in the book. Ricardo Montoya therefore seems more suitable and Janet Crisp / Martin Bloodall sounds much more sensational. Apart from Hercule Poirot, Reverend and Mrs Babbington as well as Miss Milray seemed the only people who where allowed to be what they are in the original story.
Third Tragedy: The Actors To begin with, Sir Peter Ustinov, once a remarkable (if not quite true to the book) Poirot is reduced here to an old man, without any real elegance left (In L.A. we find him lying on a sofa with a cardigan and ruffled hair L ). Jonathan Cecil gives his usually poor and bumbling performance as Hastings and is not even left his title. (Same as in "Thirteen at Dinner" and "Dead Man's Folly") One should have expected somewhat more inspired acting from Tony Curtis. AC's Cartwright was elegant, interesting and cunning actor. He used to change his bearing in different situations. He also was a "young boy" deeply in love with Egg. Tony Curtis reduces him to an aging playboy with a distinct lack of drive. Lee McCain, Emma Samms, Fernando Allende certainly do not appear to be giving all they could and Diana Muldaur, Nicholas Pryor, Lisa Eichhorn and Marian Mercer are a very mediocre supporting cast. Concetta Tomei, an otherwise known theatre actress could have done much better. Dana Elcar, Philip Guilmant and Jacqueline Evans are not worth mentioning (That may partly be due to their short screen time).
I have seriously tried to find something positive about this film but I did not quite succeed. What is the point in using the correct card game (`My family') with which Poirot makes houses while he considers the case when nothing else seems to ring true. Where is the point in changing names and places, giving the whole movie an American TV-series look. Why not film it in the old fashioned style? Perhaps Warner Brothers did not consider it necessary to spend more money on AC. If they had they could have made it a success. At least they left the basic storyline unchanged.
It is to be wondered why the "Dinner For One" has never been a smash hit in the UK. It is a fact that it has been around for decades. Yet only two people have mastered this sketch in an unforgettable way: The artist Freddie Frinton and his graceful partner May Warden. During a visit to Blackpool, German entertainer Peter Frankenfeld and his colleague Heinz Dunkhase witnessed their great performance and managed, with some hardship, to persuade Frinton to come to Germany to film this most peculiar dinner. Frinton was not at all keen on Germany and its inhabitants and he would not perform in German either (This was perhaps a very wise decision). He also insisted on the tiger over which he stumbles more than once in 18 minutes. The ice bear, that has been organised by the producers had a bigger head than the tiger and this, according to Frinton would really have sent him flying. For eighteen years the Butler James had faithfully served Miss Sophie and her late guests. He would drink at least 4 pints of Sherry, Champagne and Port, always the same procedure as last year, and he would give his mistress a hand up when she decides to retire promising to do his very best. Frinton died five years after the filming just three weeks before the sketch was to be shot once more, in colour. (Sadly enough one of the German TV-stations attempted this once more a few years ago. With German actors and in German. Quite a disaster, if not downright sacrilegious in my opinion.) It is a pure joy to watch this sketch, same procedure as every year and I hope for many a repetition in the future.
This movie is a fine work of art. Changes to the original story are very scarce and the acting is quite flawless. So is the period feel as well as camera and directing. Denholm Elliot was magnificent as Smiley. "So sad - so few of us left" (Shane Hecht in the novel, for those who have not read it.)
First of all. I do not like Peter Haber as Beck. That does not mean, that I do not appreciate him as an actor but simply because I consider him unfitting for the role. The first series, of which Roseanna is a part, is perhaps not as dramatic as the second one but it has Gösta Ekmann as Beck and Rolf Lassgard as Larsson. Two brilliant actors who bring the characters from the books to life in an astonishing way. Even if the plot is transported from the 50's to the 1993 it still has the right feel about it. Shot on location in Motala (A Swedish smalltown on the lake Vättern) it has a pleasant atmosphere about it. And as I already pointed out: It is not quite as dramatic as the second series and it certainly does not need it. The book were meant as crime novels and not action thrillers - so why force them into the latter? * * * * * * * * out of * * * * * * * * * *
And that is understated! The film does take a lot of liberty with the original story. But not only that. Stewart Granger who might not be a bad actor after all is certainly not a Shelock Holmes. And who in those days would have appointed a person as looking like Mortimer as Medical officer of any district in those days. I mean - why create a mysterious character where there is no need of one. One thing however is remarkable in this case. According to the book Mortimer is "a fellow under thirty". Anthony Zerbe was 36 when this film was made. Still older than the original Mortimer yet younger than Lionel Atwill in the film from '39 who was then 54 or Francis de Wolff who was 46 in 59 when Terence Fisher chose to make his film or Denholm Elliot in the '83 version who was then already 61. The Set has been commented on in several critics and there is nothing much to add to this. The costumes are all right, I guess (even if it seems that the whole male population of London was wearing Inverness Capes) but why did Holmes have to wear that ridiculous Bow-Tie in the beginning. One thing however should be mentioned: Bernard Fox. I have not seen any other performances of his but I did like him as Watson. He is not quite the bumbler as in many other Holmes films but has in fact some rather bright moments in this one. Anyway he is not unlike the Paget Watson.
It really is a disaster that only SIGN and HOUN were filmed with Ian Richardson. No other has been portraying Holmes in such a smooth and witty way - not even Rathbone whom I always considered a bit too perfect and too cold. The setting is a worthy one and the costumes in the Hound of the Baskervilles just as in Sign of the Four are brilliant and the acting of all the characters is quite convincing. Unfortunately Watson is a shade too Brucian. I think it is a pity that some characters like Arthur Frankland were left out in the film and the situation of the latter's daughter, Mrs Lyons (beautifully portrayed by Connie Booth of `Fawlty Towers' fame) was changed. Yet the addition of the character Geoffrey Lyons is of interest. Brian Blessed gives his wife a real hard time and a spot of trouble to Holmes and Lestrade. Denholm Elliot is a nice choice as Mortimer as are Shaw and Clay in their roles. The telling of the legend in the beginning is excellently done, by the way and leaves nothing to wish for. 9 out of 10.
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