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Every time she wrote a book based on a nursery rhyme,Agatha Christie
released one of her best :"hickory Dickory death" "the crooked house"
"five little pigs" "a pocketful of rye " ...and the all time murder
mystery best seller "and then were none" was entirely based on "ten
little n....." "A pocketful of rye" is certainly one of the most
underrated Christie's book.It's perhaps the only one which ends with
Miss Marple on the verge of tears ,a scene which was kept in the
episode,with the fateful photograph.Besides ,the film begins with Miss
Marple and Gladys ,so as to make us feel how Marple cares for her
In the book ,Miss Marple appears relatively late in the plot,and most of the time ,she works behind the scenes ;whereas the inspector goes on questioning the numerous suspects,the old maid just watches them,and has conversations ,often which bear no connection with the crimes .Mrs Christie shows her sense of humor when she depicts her heroine explaining the solution to the cop as a teacher would teach arithmetic to a studious pupil.
One of the characters,the old aunt,has been removed ,but the movie does not suffer for it ,because this lady who spends her time playing patience ,lives in another world.On the other hand,it was necessary to keep the old crazy McKenzie woman (and the news item about the uranium deposits which is read by Marple at the beginning-and not by the inspector-) By and large,the book is very faithful to the novel.Two brief crude sex scenes were not really relevant (we do know that the Young attractive Mrs Fortescue is her golf teacher's lover without it).
Julia McKenzie is a marvelous Marple .But other actors stand out: Rose Hainey in the thankless part of Gladys ,brittle,naive ,victim of a cruel world ,who desperately stammers when she is questioned ;Helen Baxendale as the mysterious cold Mary Dove (more a hawk than a dove ,in fact).Ralf Little ,as the unfortunate sergeant fond of chocolates,a good comic relief .Rupert Graves ,the young gay in Ivory's remarkable "Maurice" ,is exactly as Mrs Christie describes Lancelot:handsome,charming and cheerful.
This is certainly one of the best episodes in the brilliant Marple series,because the plot was complex,and the screenplay well written .
NB :"sing a song of sixpence"(....)influenced John Lennon for two songs: "cry baby cry" (the White Album) ,and mainly "clean up time" (Double fantasy),which has almost the same lines about the king and the queen.
The comedies of the French fifties are rather cheesy ,but hindsight
often displays their charm.Not always ,sadly.
This one is abysmal,a dreadful potpourri of incompetent directing ,writing,with actors left to their own devices ,overplaying all along the way ;as for the screenplay ,there's no plot at all ,except for a series of desultory sketches ,none of which is comic.The vocal group ,Les Freres Jacques, performs three songs ,their fans might be interested .Dora Doll ,the French Gloria Grahame,portrays an actress about to play Mérimée's "Carmen" ,Louis De Funès appears now and then as a poet waiter .
Marcel Pagliero,the director,appears in the flesh and,considering the results,he should have worked behind the scenes .Forget this drivel and do choose his "La P. Respectueuse" or his best effort "Un Homme Marche Dans La Ville".
.....when I look at Audie Murphy's filmography ;apart from Huston
,Siegel and Mankiewicz,it's mostly B movies .That does not mean they
were not good;this actor sometimes got excellent screenplays:"no name
on the bullet" is a good example.
Like "hell bent for leather","ride on a crooked trail" -which perfectly depicts the hero's life till...-is a case of mistaken identity.The story may seem trite ,but the characters are colorful and there's more humor than in the average western.
Walter Matthau as the grumpy kind-hearted judge accentuates the comedy side of the film.Henry Silva restores the balance .
In his movies ,boyish Murphy has always had a bizarre Relationship with women (in one of his roles,he's alone in a fort and he's got to teach them the soldier job):here he sleeps in the bathtub and cooks breakfast for his "wife " Gia Scala (the future traitor in "guns of Navarone" ).There's actually a good chemistry between the two stars who must pretend they are husband and wife ,which gives good lines when Murphy says that "this bank is almost his" and his companion,very interested in the place too,has to be involved in women's club ,which is not her cup of tea (in both senses of the term).
Even more interesting is the friendship between Murphy and the little brat ;both are waifs ,raised in bars ,and if the judge considers his marshal a little as his adoptive son,the cute Jimmy feels that he might find a family too .Anyway,both the judge and the kid ,who leaves the house he 'd like to call home,guess there's something wrong: two married persons share the same bedroom and the same bed ,every kid knows that.
Jimmy is a strong kid who knows what he wants : we see him study -which is very rare in westerns-,and finally he plays a prominent part in Maybe's redemption.
The only (external ) review of this harmless unpretentious little
comedy is so negative I hardly dare to write my comment.IMHO ,it's
certainly not more stupid than "Trois Hommes Et Un Couffin" (remade as
"three man and a baby") which was made some thirty years after.
Here the baby spends the whole movie in a suitcase (you read well).Darry Cowl came first in his year in the prestigious engineering school "Poly Art Technique" (a spoof on the Ecole Polytechnique ) but only because of an epidemic which brought all the other examinees down.Besides,he is an unwed father and his auntie (Jeanne Sourza ) wants this glorious nephew to marry her daughter who has other plans:she is in love with a crooner.
Auntie's hubby is a radio broadcast emcee ,unbeknown to his missus;all the characters Wind up in the studios where the champion tries to win the "five million cash" (check the title) ,in a show sponsored by Volubilis cosmetics.
Hindsight displays the charm of this fifties farce ,a little cheesy ,as easy to watch as to forget .Its sole ambition is to make the audience laugh,so why deny yourself a bit of fun?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
" Valdez, Il Mezzosangue" is in sharp contrast to Bronson's late
seventies action-packed movies.There's a pastoral ,almost ecological
feel to it;one very violent scene of flogging and that's it.
SPOILERS Chino is a half-breed ,who lives on the fringe of white society;the day he tries to integrate well in this group,by marriage to a rich landlord's sister,racism emerges and his dream of a family (in which ,although he seems jealous ,his protégé can find a real home)is short-lived.It looks like a movie-for-the-whole-family but it is not: its conclusion is not what the audience expects :no happy end ,the establishment wins.
All that concerns horse -breeding is really excellent: we feel Chino's love for his animals ,particularly in the scene when Bronson takes care of the mare that gives birth;the friendship with his Young protégé ,and the boy's impressive nightmare .Marcel Bozuffi ,a very efficient French actor ("Z")plays a good villain,without overplaying :his face full of hate is enough to show his contempt for Chino.On the other hand ,the love affair between Chino and Catherine (Jill Ireland ,Mrs Bronson)does not convince,being too predictable with a touch of male chauvinism ("Women should not ride horses")
Veteran John Sturges,helped by an obscure Italian director,proves he can age gracefully.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an offbeat western ,with a strong documentary side.Gary Grimes is the all-American-boy who wants to experiment the hard cowboys life.And it avoids the usual clichés of the genre;after a bloody odyssey,we are not sure that the boy has grown into a man,like usually in this kind of screenplay.When he rides away,after the massacre,all we can guess is that he has probably lost his faith in God (if he had any) .No love interest, unless the scene with the hooker counts -here again the lad does not behave like he is supposed to .And no sentimental side either ,the Farewell-to-mom scene ,is so short that she has not even the time to ask him whether he will come back. No real friendship with the men,except perhaps from the boss.Bewildering.
A movie made of three independent stories,all dealing with cunning
Segment one (Spanish):how to sell a streetcar If the Eiffel tower was already "sold" to naive tourists (see "Les Plus Belles Escroqueries Du Monde"1963 ,4th sketch by CLaude Chabrol),why not a tram?Two crooks make a well-to-do peasant believe that owning a streetcar is very lucrative;a bit repetitive,inferior to the before-mentioned short.
Segment two (Italian) :how to pretend you're dying to catch the populace's attention.
An Italian would like to stay in a comfortable hospital where he is well fed ;but he is not ill anymore.So he pretends he is,the press picks up the story of the "poor sick lad who is denied a bed in a hospital" ;even politicians try to cash in on the situation.Rather successful,but the ending is not satisfying,leaving the principal overplaying.
Segment three (French):mariage bureau
Two lazy men (Darry Cowl and Jacques Bernard ) join with an unscrupulous woman (Maria Pacôme) to "help" lonely hearts find their soul mate ;they actually want to take advantage of rich women's gullibility.Some good moments: the gingerbread full of messages of love ,the wedding with a "Député"'s daughter ,the penal colony ..which is actually a performance ;it is funny ...in places .
In former times,they left their children in front of the churches
....(see DW Griffith's "orphans in the storm".
Still in 2015,they leave their pets ,cats and dogs ,on the wayside when they have a vacation.
A couple leaves an old lady on the wayside ,with a message pinned on her coat.
The movie was unfairly slagged off when it was released ;the review on "La Saison Cinematographique " trashed everything from the screen play to the actors who "ham it up along the way".The "Dictionnaire Des films " did better :they ignored it.
Tony Gatlif ,who remains unsung and unsuccessful ,is a director who has always looked into the fringe groups:the gypsies in "Les Princes " ,their tragic fate in WW2 in "Korkoro" or the immigrants in "Je Suis Né D'Une Cigogne" .
His three heroes are outcasts too ;against all odds ,"Mamie" is adopted at first sight by Robinson (the name is not unwarranted:he's really a
Robinson Crusoé of life).And by his pal Gaspard ,willy-nilly .This odd menage à Trois tries to pick up the pieces and to do an old house up in order to open a refreshment room (shades of Duvivier's "La Belle Equipe" (1936)) In his ruthless review ,the writer blames the three friends' Joie De Vivre" and the good vibes all around.There are in our society people who got a raw deal and he should rather thank the Gods for not being part of them.And I do think he did not understand the ending:it's not only because he is in love with the girl's mother that Gaspard go away:it's because he considers immature Robinson as his son,a son who will probably turn his new café -if he is allowed to open it,which remains to be seen- into Salvation army.Even though he lost everything,Gaspard HAD a family,Robinson was a waif:Vincent Lindon' s hangdog look is deeply moving.When he finally finds a family,Gaspard gives and "will return only for a Pastis and a slice of mozzarella".
Suzanne Flon is wonderful as the shameless old lady who demands pasta shells with butter;Vincent Lindon ,in an almost Capraesque character,matches her every step of the way ;this part predates his harrowing roles in Lioret's future movies such as "welcome" and "Toutes Nos Vies".Gerard Darmon makes up for the melodramatic side with some welcome humor.
If you are looking for sex ,violence or special effects,it may not be your cup of tea;if you are looking for something warm,something different,don't think twice!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Both Carroll Baker and Jean Sorel began their career with great
directors: the former was Lucky enough to be directed by George Stevens
,Elia Kazan (who gave her her lifetime role "baby doll" ),John Ford.
The latter was best remembered for his movies with such luminaries as Duvivier,Bunuel and Visconti:but even in these works ,his good looks went against him and his male co-stars easily outclassed him.Besides,he resembled Alain Delon and there was no room for both of them.
More than Clouzot's "LES Diaboliques" which anyway inspired hundreds of thrillers ,it's Clement's classic "Plein Soleil" (aka "purple noon" ) ,which put Delon on the map ,that provides the movie with two of its more important scenes:the murder on the boat ,and even more the final shot which is a complete ripoff.
That said ," paranoia " is probably the most satisfying of all Baker's soft porn extravaganzas :unlike "Cosi Dolce Cosi Perversa","or "Il Diavolo A Sette Facce" ,this one has a relatively firm screenplay ,with several unexpected twists ,and a few good scenes of its own:Constance's lesbian side ,the flash forwards (Maurice killed by the harpoon) and chiefly the film which scares the criminals (a great moment of suspense).
The cinematography is more painstaking than in your average B movie and there's a good use of the wide screen which takes advantage of the location.Maurice utters a few words in his first language ("Charmante N'Est-Ce-Pas?"),and there are soft erotic scenes .Miss Baker is not very credible as a racing driver(!) but she's really a babe.
NB:in the eighties,CB made a Volte face and went back ,for a while ,to great cinema: in "ironweed" ,she was convincing as Jack Nicholson's wife.
Jacques Daniel-Norman 's best efforts are two detective films such as
"120 Rue De La Gare" and "La Femme Que J'Ai Assassinée"."Le Briseur De
Chaines is also a movie to be recommended .
"Cur Sur Mer" ,on the other hand,is a rubbishy film,in which good actors such as Jean Tissier,Jacques Charon and Pauline Carton are lost in an awful mess;intended as a musical,for the romantic male lead is crooner Andre Claveau ,this is a desultory farce in which the average viewer won't laugh once (unless the chairman's beard stuck in a vice counts).
As for the story ,if this is what you call a story,it takes place in Cur Sur Mer ,an imaginary kingdom vaguely inspired by Monaco;a prince comes to buy fabric to make dresses for a royal wedding;all the staff of the factory winds up in this sunny place where they step over girls in bathing suits to the tune of "Au Clair De la Lune".
This abysmal flick might or might not help Daniel -Norman become Tino Rossi's director for two musicals ;the first one "Son Dernier Noel" ,was not devoid of charm and was a good Xmas -movie- for- the -whole -family;the follow-up ,"Tourments" is routine melodrama.
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