Reviews written by registered user
|630 reviews in total|
Very enjoyable and well done film noir bolstered by an outstanding
performance by Robert Ryan as the head bad guy. Robert Mitchum is the
Police Captain goaded and ridiculed by a snarling Ryan; they go back a
long way, you see, and Mitchum's virtue and purity bewilders Ryan.
There are lots of recognizable Hollywood character actors that populate
the cast, adding weight and gravitas to the story. Not sure it's
necessary at this late date to summarize the plot, but suffice it to
say that Ryan has a stranglehold on all the key politicians in this
city, which sometimes looks like New York, other times not. And so
Mitchum is determined to break Ryan's hold and put him in jail. It's
not as easy as it sounds.
I could watch film noir all day long and this was one of the best of the genre. Can't find a flaw in it, except to say that it comes off as a little stagey at times, as though adapted from the stage (it's not). And no one could project menace like Robert Ryan.
"70,000 Witnesses" is an extremely old football movie with stars who
are long gone. It is a murder mystery which works until the murder and
murderer are uncovered by Det. David Landau, one of my old time
favorites. Johnny Mack Brown is the murdered player, and Philips Holmes
is the leading man of the piece.
Much footage is shot in the Los Angeles Coliseum and some stock footage of games is used. This, as reviewers have noted, is supposed to be the big game between State and University, a clever use of school names. All goes well until the last half hour. Then takes place one of the most labored and preposterously contrived solutions to a murder in modern forensic science, which I thought was an anticlimax to a fairly good mystery up to that time. I was surprised to learn that it was a hit in its time, which just goes to show that you can fool some of the people some of the time - especially if it's a depression era audience.
Always loved Charlie Chan movies, especially with Sidney Toler. He was
the first CC I ever saw, as they were always on TV in the 50's. As I
got older I appreciated Warner Oland, but Sidney was first. I also
realized that the CC films with Oland were better than the later ones.
"City In Darkness", however, was a disappointment, and, as several reviewers mentioned, Harold Huber spoiled the whole show for me. He chewed the scenery and was a grating presence whenever he was on screen. He had a pretty big part, so you couldn't get away from his outrageous overacting and using a poor imitation of a French accent. That, and the final scene was confusing - you had to remember when all the suspects were in the room with the murdered man, which was supposed to be before (or after?) midnight. Too bad, but with a long-lived series like CC's they were bound to come up with a clinker.
The plot and storyline of "The Wedding March" has been done before.
Rich boy meets poor girl, rich boy gives up poor girl to marry rich
girl - similar to "The Student Prince" without music. Erich von
Stroheim looks very young as the prince, Fay Wray looks very pretty as
the poor girl, and Zasu Pitts looks like Zasu Pitts as the rich girl.
No bad acting performances in this picture as the cast are all very
competent. I'm passing on a recap as every reviewer gives one.
What sets "The Wedding March" apart are the sets and the costumes. Scene after scene is meticulously staged for optimum effect, and apparently no expense was spared on either props or costumes. This is part of the reason von Stroheim ran into problems with the heads of several studios, as he usually went way over budget, incurring the wrath of many producers. It is rumored that, for instance, he would insist that extras wear underwear with a royal monogram in his period pieces so that all concerned would feel intimately connected to the production!
Charley Chase was one of the funniest old-time movie comedians, and
made hundreds of two reelers. "The Pip From Pittsburgh" is not one of
his best but is representative of Charley's everyman style, presenting
'everyman' in various goofy situations. Here, he is accompanied by the
tragic Thelma Todd, who would become the victim of one of Hollywood's
unsolved murders just three years later. She had a genuine flair for
comedy and could be called an early Carole Lombard.
As stated, the humor is pretty ordinary in "The Pip", because I am thinking of many other Charley Chase shorts which were funnier. But I am not going to lowball a short by one of Hollywood's funniest - not on your life. If you haven't seen him before, just know that he is even funnier in some other shorts.
How to separate truth from fiction in Rachel Weisz's character in
"Complete Unknown" is the key to the story of a biologist who has led a
deceptive life laced with a ton of 'fertilizer'. She has so many
falsities in her life story she can't keep them all straight. She
appears at a party at Tom's (Michael Shannon) house as the date of his
best friend and beguiles the group with so much fabrication that they
begin to see through her. But not as fast as Tom, who dated her at some
time previous and knows that she isn't even using her real name.
"Complete Unknown" is a character study, about which the moral is 'know thyself' (unless, of course, you don't want to). Lot of good chemistry between Shannon and Weisz, who play off each exceptionally well. The story becomes increasingly beside the point as watching the two display their acting chops. In sum, a silly story held together by two pros. It's an 'indy' which won't get a lot of exposure but is a treat from an acting standpoint.
They're all here. Lovelorn wife, old cop trying to stick around,
gangsters with neat nicknames, forensic lab work, stool pigeons, etc.
There is also an uninteresting back story about a job the wife is
trying to get for her husband-cop, to "keep him safe". Think of a
familiar plot device and it's here in "Scene Of The Crime".
That said, this picture holds your interest - it's a good story, when all is said and done. Good acting from start to finish and there are lots of good character actors; John McIntyre, Norman Lloyd, Gloria DeHaven, Jerome Cowan, and many others. I disagree with a reviewer above in that the picture held my interest right to the end, although I am a big fan of noir films. I did think that Van Johnson was a curious choice for the title role. I always thought there wasn't a mean bone in his body, not tough enough to play a detective in a gritty noir.
Lastly, the music director was Andre Previn, and the theme music at the beginning and end was good. He also wrote two songs that were unworthy of him, but they were played in a strip joint and fit into the setting with their trite tunes and lyrics. Despite all of the preceding, I rated it a seven, which means I think it's worth your time.
The only reason to see "Broadway Thru A Keyhole", is because for
perhaps the one and only time you can see Russ Columbo, Texas Guinan
and Blossom Seeley in the same movie. They were all famous in their own
right for other things than motion pictures, but here they are. All
downhill after that, as the story is a pedestrian love triangle between
Paul Kelly and Columbo, and with Constance Cummings as the hypotenuse.
It was supposedly fashioned after the lives of Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler
and a gangster, but that doesn't make it a better or a more interesting
The music was written by the team of Bert Gordon/Harry Revel but the songs are not good ones and none became a standard. This was the biggest letdown when watching the movie, even more so than the uninspired screenplay. I guess the only thing to recommend it is the novelty of the appearance of the three stars in the same picture. The title is merely a tantalizing come-on for a small return.
"Ignacio de Loyola" traces the life of St. Ignatius from childhood up
to his exoneration at the Inquisition at Salamanca in 1537, and
subsequent departure for a university in Paris to further his studies.
In between he experiences a transformation from a soldier of the king
to a soldier of Christ.
It is an intense transformation, having pledged his life to a princess then switching allegiance during his recuperation from a battle wound to a life in the service of God. His wound left him with a limp, a mark of dishonor since he could no longer soldier. It is here that the narrative acquires interest, as the earlier battle scenes had an artificial quality, as though filmed on a sound stage. It takes off as he finds his true calling and is accompanied by some excellent, well written dialogue, especially in some admirable speechifying instances. The overall quality of the script sets 'Ignacio de Loyola" apart from most other films made nowadays and accounts for my rating.
This movie will probably get a bad rap from critics due to its religious nature, but "Ignacio de Loyola" is about much more than that. It is about change, a change of mind and of lifestyle, a change of values and the discovery of what was front and center all the while, what really counts in life. Ignatius Loyola is a saint, but came by it the hard way - steeped in the temporary and ignoring the spiritual. We can all relate to that.
That's the way film critics would characterize "June Bride", but that
doesn't give due diligence to a movie that's first class in several
respects. The outstanding cast is what puts this picture over, and the
pairing of Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery was inspired. Always
thought Montgomery was one of our best actors, capable of drama, war
movies or comedy and does not disappoint here. I liked him ever since
"Private Lives" (1931) opposite Norma Shearer. Sophisticated and
urbane, like William Powell.
Bette Davis is a curious choice for the female lead as comedy was not her strong point, but she is good here and works well off Montgomery. Contrary to some reviewers above I thought the chemistry between the two was good. It also has an excellent supporting cast headed by Fay Bainter and Tom Tully. I thought the script was delicious and kept waiting for the next sharp riposte between the two principals, but the ending is unworkable in 2016 due to its chauvinistic tone. It worked in 1948, but how long ago those days seem now.
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