Reviews written by registered user
mlraymond

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240 reviews in total 
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Jitterbugs (1943)
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Not classic L and H, but an appealing comedy with some genuine laughs, 10 March 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw this movie years ago on the late show one night, and was charmed by it. The low key, gentle humor, and likable love interests make for an entertaining little movie.

Vivian Blaine is really cute as the night club singer who falls for nice guy con man Bob Bailey. He's not really a crook at heart, and soon is reformed by true love, combining forces with Stan and Ollie to get back the money fleeced from Vivian's aunt by a trio of crooks.

Stan Laurel is very funny and surprisingly convincing, as the wealthy dowager character he pretends to be. Tough gal Lee Patrick putting on a bogus Southern accent, and trying to seduce first Laurel and then Hardy is a hilarious sequence. Watching Oliver Hardy waltz gracefully with Lee Patrick is a sight worth seeing.

This is a nice, fun little movie if you're not expecting Laurel and Hardy in their prime. They're still funny and endearing characters.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Strangely compelling story of love and madness, 27 January 2011
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some good performances and an intriguing storyline make this low budget Fifties thriller worth catching. My only complaint is that it feels sort of truncated, like too much had to be condensed, or perhaps censored from the original pulp novel by Fredric Brown.

Anita Ekberg is perfect as the sad Virginia/Yolanda, who inspires practically every man she meets to fall in love with her. She has a vulnerable, almost naive quality, that arouses a male protective attitude very understandable in her two admirers, Doctor Green and reporter Sweeney.

Philip Carey is adequate as Sweeney, but Harry Townes walks off with the movie in the complex role of the hopelessly obsessed psychiatrist.It's a performance to be studied and appreciated over and over again.

Maybe not a genuine classic, but pretty good. It would have probably seemed pretty daring for the time it was made. Definitely worth seeing.

The Hunt (1966)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Disturbing, thought provoking Spanish film is compelling drama, 25 March 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

La Caza/The Hunt is a somewhat cryptic film, in which information about the characters is revealed gradually and sparingly, through limited dialogue, and more is implied through the visuals. Unsettling drumbeats in the background help to set an ominous mood from the beginning.

The tragedy that occurs by the end of the movie is difficult to comprehend by any normal standards, but seems inevitable, as the planned hunting trip turns sour through a long, hot day. Three former friends in modern Spain set out on a rabbit hunting excursion, and find their friendships stretched to the breaking point, as minor annoyances build toward more frequent and angrier confrontations. Essentially, all three of the older men are suffering from a midlife crisis, and are trying to cope with feelings of failure. The young man who accompanies them is the only one unaffected by the increasingly bitter mood of the former friends.

This film is not easy to watch, but the performances are excellent, and the story gripping. The actors are totally natural and believable, in their roles of the former friends who can longer tolerate each other.

Definitely recommended.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A favorite movie from the Sixties, 5 March 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I haven't seen this movie in years, but it used to be on TV a lot when I was a kid. I saw it at least two or three times and really loved it.I never knew that others had seen it and liked it when they were younger, too. I remember some scenes fairly vividly, including the tribal medicine man diagnosing the little girl's doll, Robert Taylor telling a snake to get out of the schoolroom, the oldest daughter waiting at the bus station to run away, and Johnny finding her and taking her home with him, Robert Taylor expressing his gratitude when the old Chief rescues Taylor's children from a fire.

I've never forgotten this movie. It was a really powerful adult drama to me at the age of thirteen or fourteen.

Any chance of this movie ending up available for home purchase?

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Curious episode that works in odd way, 20 October 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Return of the Archons is one of the Star Trek episodes I didn't much care for years ago, but has grown on me.The characters and themes seem close to the edge of outright silliness at times, but somehow, it works. The sense of a genuinely strange society, that the Enterprise crew have stumbled onto, is conveyed well. Seeing Captain Kirk dressed as if he were on his way to the gunfight at the OK Corral is odd enough to be memorable, along with the medieval dungeon they find themselves in, the hooded robes and staffs of the Lawgivers, and the obscure lingo about the Body, etc.

It's certainly imaginative and creatively done for a low budget TV show. Charles Macaulay, as the mysterious, seemingly benevolent Landru has such a marvelous voice and presence that I wish his character could have had more screen time.

One of the most oddly memorable scenes is that that of their host Reger showing the landing party to their quarters, and the following scene of them waking the next day, with Kirk sleeping standing up in a blanket, and Spock lying on his back in a bunk bed. The incongruity of the solemn Spock sleeping in a bunk bed is an image that tends to stay with me.

10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating study of a despicable family, 3 October 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Vladimir Pozner's skillful adaptation for the screen of Lillian Hellman's original stage play Another Part of the Forest is an almost forgotten classic, that deserves a wider audience. Performances are uniformly excellent, even in the smaller roles. Superb editing helps to create an absorbing and compelling drama of a particularly nasty family in post-Civil War Alabama.

Fredric March nearly steals the picture, with his malevolent portrayal of a tyrannical father, who enjoys pitting his offspring against each other. Ambitious older son Benjamin ( Edmond O'Brien) wants to get up in the world and make money, something his controlling father Marcus is determined to prevent. Weakling younger son Oscar ( Dan Duryea) is a joke to everyone else in the family. Spoiled daughter Regina ( Ann Blyth) is the only one of the three children to win any favor from their dictatorial father, but she is also expected to remain under his thumb. Both Regina and Ben have big plans they are keeping secret from Marcus. But a family as full of intrigue and conspiracy as this one is like a bomb with a slowly burning fuse. Eventually, there is going to be an explosion.

There are fine supporting performances by John Dall as the restless former soldier John Bagtry, who wishes to find a war somewhere to go fight in, Betsy Blair as his nervous, fragile cousin Birdy, Dona Drake as the floozy girlfriend of the weaselly Oscar, Fritz Leiber as the sadly dignified Colonel Isham, and most of all, Florence Eldridge as the ignored and ill-used wife of Marcus Hubbard, Lavinia.

Razor sharp dialogue and performances makes this a true delight to savor. Hard to find, but well worth the effort.You won't like this family, but you won't forget them.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Offbeat Corman cult movie tries really hard to be funny, but..., 30 July 2009
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As per the advice given by another poster here, I did see this movie while under the influence of alcohol some years ago, and it may have seemed slightly funnier, but just barely.

I think the main problem is that it tries so hard to be funny, that it just ends up being embarrassing.The goofiness and outlandish action of Corman's other movies Little Shop of Horrors and Bucket of Blood somehow do work, but this just doesn't.

As odd as this may sound, there are characters you can get involved with and care about in the other two movies, even if they're somewhat cartoonish figures like Mr. Mushnik and Seymour. Maybe the problem is that there is no real plot or point to any of the characters or action in this film. The characters simply aren't interesting or funny, where you actually feel for would-be beat artist Walter Paisley and put-upon errand boy Seymour Krelboind. The worst offender is the dimwitted gangster who makes animal noises. He makes the Three Stooges look like comic geniuses for the ages.

Corman was certainly capable of making interesting movies and even funny ones. I can't help but laugh every time I see Not Of This Earth, with the three intoxicated hobos singing " For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" to their alien host, just before he zaps them with his deadly stare. That brief moment is funnier than anything in the entire dreary hour or more of Creature From the Haunted Sea.

Onibaba (1964)
An amazing film that holds the viewer spellbound, 27 July 2009
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of those Japanese films where ordinary daily life is shown as eerie enough in itself, with murder and treachery simply part of the routine of getting up and earning a living. A subtext of superstition and the supernatural adds to the grimness of the tale, without ever confirming or denying the occult powers that may be at work.

Visually alone, the film is stunning, in its depiction of an immense grassy plain in medieval Japan, apparently occupied by only two or three dwellings. The main characters are two women who survive by trapping and killing wounded samurai warriors, who have wandered from the battlefield nearby. After killing the men, the mother and daughter-in-law sell the armor and weapons they have taken from the victims, to a merchant who trades food for arms.

Their activities are shown in horrific detail, including dumping the bodies afterwards in an almost bottomless hole in the field, but the movie does not condemn them for doing what it takes to survive in the war and famine -plagued world they have to live in. Their men are off at war, and it seems to have been going on for a long time. The profiteering trader states that it can't last forever, so he must enrich himself now. At one point, the older woman bitterly declares that it serves the samurai right to end up getting killed this way, since they started the endless wars that have reduced all the peasants to desperation.

When a former neighbor returns after deserting, he tells them that the younger woman's husband was killed in battle. He and the young widow begin an affair, much to the displeasure of the older woman, who fears being abandoned and left on her own, if the two should decide to marry. One night, a stranger bursts into the hut while she is alone, and their meeting leads to a plan to put an end to the affair, but things don't work out quite like she had hoped for...

The photography is truly compelling, along with the sound editing; mostly night time scenes of the waving grass, and the isolated hut where the women live, the ominous pit in the field, deep enough to have an echo, the silent lake where they gather water, the almost tangible heat that makes sleep difficult.

The performances are excellent, from the three primary characters to the supporting players. Onibaba has the power to hold the viewer completely in its strange spell of mystery and madness. A must see for anyone who likes Japanese movies depicting this period.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
No classic, but surprisingly effective chiller nonetheless, 19 July 2009
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The main problem with this movie has been pointed out already by other viewers: not the low budget, or the recycled music, which is pretty well used, or the basic story, etc, but that many of the characters are pretty annoying. Jessica, the sweet young thing with the psychic gift, is just too bland to be much of a real heroine, and the hero does very little. Boyd, the sleazy ranch hand is supposed to be unlikable and he does a good job, as does the big, Lenny like guy as a well meaning , but simple character. The drunken artist is understandably P.O.'d at the way his model/fiancée Linda is acting.

The characters and performances that really stand out for me are Andra Martin as Linda, doing a very good job as the nice model, who turns into a really sensuously sinister character, under the influence of sorceror Gideon Drew. Considering he spends most of the movie as a disembodied head, Robin Hughes is very good as the undead magician.Once he's back in one piece, he delivers some effectively menacing lines quite well.

The aforementioned are probably the best performances, but the third memorable one stands out as being one of the most presumably unintentionally dislikable characters in a movie. Aunt Flavia as written is certainly not very appealing, but the actress portraying her makes her so obnoxious that she nearly sinks the picture. Other posters have referred to her "dental drill voice" and that they hoped the bad guy would get her before the picture was over, or a tree would fall on her, and I concur.

Ever since one poster referred to " the closet gay leading man", I've been forced to look at the movie differently. A couple of posters have mentioned a vaguely lesbian subtext to some scenes involving Linda and Jessica, and I have to admit, seeing the two good looking ladies sharing a bed was kind of exciting, but any possible undertones of that nature would have to have been pretty well hidden for a Fifties movie.

It certainly isn't a good movie by most standards, but it does have a kind of creepy atmosphere that works fairly well. I think it's worth seeing once, any way.

The Eye Creatures (1965) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Bad but fun, if you have a high tolerance for cheesy monster movies, 10 July 2009
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original Invasion of the Saucer Men was no masterpiece, but it's generally agreed that this remake is far worse.Most of the intentional humor is pretty lame, and there's an amateurish quality about the film-making that at least proves the original movie was competently done.

That being said, it must be admitted that this movie does manage to be kind of entertaining, if you have nothing better to do some evening.

The young couple make a cute pair.The familiar presence of AIP leading man John Ashley is like meeting up with an old friend, and the sweet young thing played by Cynthia Hull is really pretty and appealing.

It's fun to see how much of the music you can identify from other movies. In a couple of romantic scenes, there's an instrumental version playing of a song Annette Funicello sang in one of the Beach Party movies. When people are dancing at the bar, there's an instrumental from AIP's Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow. And I'm convinced a lot of the scary music is taken from Roger Corman's The Undead. Whether all this was intended as a sort of inside joke, or just making use of stock music, I don't know. I'm also pretty sure that there's at least some music from Hammer's Dracula, Prince of Darkness.

The movie is kind of fun, if you don't have high expectations. Though made in the mid-Sixties, it has a sort of Fifties feel to it not too different from the original version.


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