Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
It is hard to believe that for the past eight years, we have been treated to the goings on of Dr. Gregory House, MD and his ever-changing hired/fired/rehired medical team! An engrossingly, entertaining ride it has been, to say the least! On the one hour Swan Song retrospective that aired tonight, it was stated that out of all the characters, in order for the show to work, they had to get the Gregory House character nailed perfectly! I still laugh every time I read or hear about how the producer commented about how he was glad an "American" actor nailed the video audition, as he didn't have to worry about him (The very British Hugh Laurie!) not understanding the medical terms! Rather than give a long-winded review (I had to type the minimum 10 lines required by IMDb.com), I will simply state that this is one of the most truly bizarre, yet ultimately satisfying, and oddly endearing endings any series has ever had!
While this film is hardly the classic that Ninotchka is, it can be
hardly faulted for it, as even Garbo could hardly be expected to top
her stellar performance in that great comedy! I was actually quite
surprised how good this film is, especially given the volume of
negative press it has received through the years. Garbo, even in a
slightly lesser effort, is still leagues ahead of most actresses of her
day (I find Joan Crawford to be especially overrated!). Besides her
forever enigmatic image, she was, perhaps surprisingly, quite adept at
comedy. This film actually did very well in its day.
The reasons of Two Faced Woman ultimately being Greta Garbo's last film are a bit complicated and multi-faceted. A big reason why she didn't make any films after this one was the especially strong European Box Office returns that her films enjoyed during the 20's and 30's were, with few exceptions stopped dead in their tracks by the coming of the Second World War in 1939. No doubt, the U.S. entry near the end of 1941 also impacted in a number of ways, effectively keeping Greta out of films during the remaining war years.
Garbo was actually coming out of retirement in 1949 to do a film for MGM. Sadly, the project got cancelled, and Greta was apparently humiliated by the experience, and didn't wish to be in that position ever again.
There are likely other details that I have missed. Suffice it to say, the film itself had nothing to do with Garbo's permanent retirement from film! If you haven't seen Two Faced Woman and get the chance to do so, check it out!
Having recently viewed the outstanding Spanish version of Chickens Come
Home (Politiquerias), I decided to view the Spanish version of Blotto
(La Vida Nocturna). I did this, having read a review stating that,
unlike the exceptional performing acts that lifted the former, the
really bad acts in the latter served to bring it down. Unfortunately, I
have to agree with that reviewer's assessment. The four performing acts
were bookended by the pointless opening & closing (& utterly
unimpressive!) solo dancers. The horrible second act was a definitely
not attractive female (or female impersonator--frankly, I couldn't tell
which!) dancer slapping a balloon around until it breaks. There was
absolutely nothing redeeming about it, the clothing was beyond awful, &
the performance was clumsy in an utterly unfunny way. I've seen kids in
a park do funnier things with a balloon without trying. Its my
understanding that the performance was meant as an Isadora Duncan
ballet parody. As she died in 1927, she must have been writhing in her
grave over this sad act! I know it seems as if I'm being mean here, but
honestly, what was the casting director thinking when he/she let this
act in? I had to watch it twice to make sure it really was that bad!!
It was a shame that the following act, a male singer, who was obviously
the best of the bunch, was mostly unseen. It was also the one instance
where the English language would have helped this gringo to better
appreciate the message behind the song that moved Stan to tears!
Despite all of this, I give this film a six out of ten, because the acting performances are all very good. Linda Laredo (who sadly died in 1931 at the young age of 24 from peritonitis!), turns in a very good performance as Stan's cunning & vindictive wife. I did notice though, that she seems to be trying not to laugh during the scene at the nightclub when she's at her table with her rifle. An untrained eye probably wouldn't notice it, however (I watch too many movies, LOL!).
Watching this film & Politiquerias back to back gives one an interesting perspective on how performing acts can raise or bring down the level of a movie. While Politiquerias works on so many levels, La Vida Nocturna is more for Laurel & Hardy completists of which I am admittedly among.
It is a crying shame that of all of Laurel and Hardy's films, this one
is by far the easiest to obtain, at least in North America, along with
"The Flying Deuces" (They're nearly always packaged together!). A word
of advice to anyone who has never watched a Laurel and Hardy film who
happens to purchase one of these DVDs: Watch "The Flying Deuces" first!
It is a very enjoyable film released by RKO Radio Pictures in 1939.
Seeing Stanley looking obviously and profoundly ill is not the way you
want to start your L&H experience! It'll probably be your last!!
With that said, this film does indeed have some merits, the premise of Stan and Ollie forming their own island government certainly had potential! Sadly, a number of things sank it: 1/ A director who seemed more interested in filming scenery (Leo Joannon spent three days filming a lake because he thought it was a suitable photographic subject!). 2/ Stan fell ill shortly after production finally began. In many scenes that might have otherwise been funny, his profoundly sickly appearance makes me feel like his trials are inhumane rather than amusing. Stan was reputed to be ill during the filming of "Swiss Miss," but there is no need to be informed of it in "Atoll K." It is all too painfully evident! What could have been done with this story at Roach ten years earlier, or at least with Stan in better health, with or without a better director makes the end result all the harder to bear!
I've always enjoyed this film very much! The first time I saw it was on
the Global Television Network in Canada when I was 12 years old back in
1976. They showed Laurel and Hardy features on Thursday nights that
summer, and I got to see quite a few of their Hal Roach features,
though sadly, I managed to miss "Sons Of The Desert" and would not get
to see that wonderful film until about 1983.
Anyway, "Saps At Sea" is a Laurel & Hardy film that I have come to appreciate more as the years go by. I think that it really nicely sums up the friendship that the characters Stan & Ollie had with one another. They always stuck together through thick and thin (no pun intended!), and that dynamic is definitely evident here.
Sadly, this film was to be the swan song for both Ben Turpin (who appears briefly in a hilarious cameo as a cross-eyed plumber); and Harry Bernard, who does a memorable turn as a Harbor Patrolman. Harry would succumb to lung cancer in November, 1940 at age 62; and Ben Turpin would die on July 1st of that same year from heart disease at age 70.
Rychard Cramer as the antagonist Nick Grainger manages to be both menacing and hilarious at the same time! I was surprised to find out that five years earlier, he had appeared in a short titled "Dizzy & Daffy" (obviously about the famous Dean Brothers!). Kind of funny, considering he dubbed Stan & Ollie as Dizzy & Dopey!
I definitely agree with other reviewers who have stated that one's first Laurel and Hardy experience probably shouldn't be one of their latter day 20th Century Fox/MGM films, though some of those aren't all that bad for passing the time. Definitely avoid Utopia/Atoll K/Robinson Crusoeland (Yes, this movie has three titles!). Just the fact that Stan Laurel was so obviously appallingly ill, alone should be enough incentive to avoid this as your first Laurel and Hardy encounter. It will likely be your last!
Sorry I'm getting so off topic here. "Saps At Sea," in my opinion, is in many ways, the last true Laurel and Hardy film, and is certainly a worthy introduction for would be L&H fans!! (Mine was "Blockheads," another fine film).
I was very sad to hear about "Uncle Bobby's" passing. When I lived in
Toronto during the mid-seventies, I used to watch his show quite
On one occasion, I got to meet him when my class went to visit the "Uncle Bobby Show" set. He seemed to be a rather decent fellow. The fact that my father was also originally from Britain probably struck an additional chord with me.
It was also a thrill to see Bimbo the Clown up close. To this very day, every time I listen to Jim Reeve's "Bimbo" song, it reminds me of him singing the Birthday song.