Reviews written by registered user
|41 reviews in total|
Francesca Annis and James "anyone for tennis ?" Warwick are Tommy and
Tuppence in this movie length introduction to the trying television
series based on an early series of novels by Agatha Christie.
This particular novel, one of her terrible "Herzoslovakia" ones has been adapted in attempt to save something from it. A treaty with USA is lost in the sinking of the Lusitania and needs to retrieved to save the international situation and prevent a revolution. Christie was probably referencing this to the pre-WW1 political situation in central Europe, where the changing of secret alliances between the imperial powers led to the outbreak of war in Yugoslavia - the book was written before WW2 (published 1922).
Tommy overhears a conversation in a manky house in Soho and they become embroiled in the affair. Product placement The Daily Mirror (which owned the LWT licence at the time).
A curious soapy film about an insurance agent in Melbourne returning to
Adelaide where his brother and family live. They run a garage on
Military Road in Adelaide (still there) which is struggling.
Ben Mendelsohn is an apprentice and Frankie J. Holden his brother. In the first scene set in the past, a contemporary trade van drives past (I bet the clothes they wear in these scenes were bought straight off the rack at Harris Scarfe).
There is more interest in seeing the old places in Adelaide that have gone ; Magic Mountain and The Wizard's Cavern in Glenelg (replaced with ugly tower blocks owned by Chinese investors), South Road going up to the overpass, the old Colonnades at Noarlunga, Castle Plaza on South Rd just after it was built, Commercial Rd in Port Adelaide, the Marion bowling club, the Cowleys Pie Cart next to the Adelaide Railway station that sold those terrible pie floaters.
Product placements South Australia Brewing (Southwark and West End), Modern Motor magazine, Peter Jackson cigarettes, Chiko rolls, Vegemite, and Castrol.
Christopher Lee is Fu Manchu, an oriental megalomaniac searching for a
poison made from the black hill poppy grown in Tibet, in this drama
(not a comedy, like the namesakes with Peter Sellers) set in prewar
Its an adaption of a series of cheap newspaper stand novels of the "yellow peril" variety written before WW2, which were themselves, like the similar "Sexton Blake" novels, inspired by a Sherlock Holmes story by Conan Doyle.
There's a nice vintage car chase, although in an early scene contemporary postwar vehicles (including an Austin A30) are shown in a street. A scientist, apparently wealthy and owning a telephone, lives in what looks like a very shabby and derelict house possibly a house due for demolition used by the film crew. The mistakes seem odd, as the car chase appears quite expensive and despite being a "second movie at the drive-in" its been made into colour (although by a rather poor process with a lack of blue).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Richard Attenborough, Ronald Shiner, Sidney James, Margaret Rutherford,
Googie Withers, Thora Hird, Marius Goring, Stanley Holloway, Eric
Portman, Dennis Price, David Tomlinson, Peter Ustinov, and just about
every other contemporary British actor have roles in this film about
the life of the British inventor of the motion film camera, produced
for the postwar "Festival Of Britain".
William Friese Greene, a dedicated and spendthrift inventor starts work as a photographer's assistant and then starts his own studio. He starts a partnership with a Scottish man which he later falls out with. His first wife dies and he re-marries but after some period, she divorces him.
There's a lot of Victorian music hall songs in this film about a man who travels from Leybourne in the north down to London to help his brother get a job in a boxing ring. After he sings a song in a bar ("an 'alf of 'alf an' 'alf"), he is taken on as a singer and later gets a job in a music hall, which is a dinner theatre, not like on "The Good Old Days". A parliamentary enquiry aims to shut down music halls for intemperate behaviour. Stanley Holloway is "The Great Vance", a rival in another music hall. Songs include "Don't bring shame on the old folks", the risqué "Come On Algernon", "'it 'im on the boko", "Strolling in the park" , then a series of drink related songs (which all sound very similar) - "Ale, old ale", "I like a drop of gin", "Burgundy, claret and port", "Yo ho ho rum", "The brandy and seltzer boys", "A glass of sherry wine", and the title "Champagne Charlie". Then "The daring young man on the flying trapeeze", and the risqué "Hunting after dark", and "By and by".
Long, slow running "New Romantic" adaption of an early Agatha Christie
novel written by Pat Sandy and made for "ITV on the week end" to tie
with a series concurrently shown.
James "anyone for tennis ?" Warwick and a group of bright (silly) young things are up in the country at a manor when they put eight clocks in a friends room so they can get him up early. He is found dead the next morning.
A confederate called "The Seven Dials" is eventually suspected. A formula is attempted to be stolen why didn't they just copy it ? Sir John Gielgud in a few scenes shows up the mediocrity of the rest of the strictly made for TV cast.
The early novel was fairly ordinary and the script sticks strictly to that. The early parts of the film (which remind me of that Monty Python sketch a bit) are quite jolly but then it drags quite a bit later on.
Adapted from a radio play not very much ! this entirely stage set
domestic drama has the actors doing monologues and sotto voce to the
non existent audience.
It follows the domestic travails of a family, including the birth of a child at their house, the woman the wife of a particularly annoying Richard Attenborough, and a "dreadful situation" between a beatnik fiancée and his girlfriend's younger sister and her callow witless boyfriend.
There are also a couple of love intrigues and an old man with an amazingly dull "radio" voice. Sidney James has a brief cameo as a cabby.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, like all women, is from Venus in this mercifully short
science fiction film that is determinedly Z grade in dialogue and
production budget despite being filmed expensively in colour
A group of astronauts in 1985 go on a routine mission to a space station and end up in Venus. The planet is controlled by a woman leader and a "posse" (snigger) of healthy young girls with legs up to their backsides, but still strangely non sexual in that way they are in old American films.
That's except the leader who is a bit of a minger. Oh I don't know though, apart from the face the rest of her is all right. I think Americans must eat too much processed meat.
The robot like acting of Gabor doesn't add much to the razor thin plot, I only give it five stars because it's science fiction and hilariously misogynistic.
Just a point - this is not a parody or a joke, it's a straightforward light entertainment program of the era. There were dozens of these sort of programs made for radio and television, all with the same sort of dumb aw-shucks jokes and mindless sexism.
Introducing the background to the television series, this film starts
just before the War with Alf Garnett recently married and living in an
attached house in the East End. Then it switches to the contemporary
era, the world cup match in 1964 and the councils decision to demolish
the house and move them to a high rise in Essex.
----------- I'd just like to point out a few factual errors promoted by Speight :
The housing in the east end demolished by Wilson was of very poor quality and in many cases falling down. It was poorly made in the first place and the east end was one of the most heavily bombed areas in the War. Garnett has an outside flush toilet but many houses only had a "short drop" toilet and relied on a nightcart service. When the Thames valley flooded in the early 1960s, there was a big outbreak of Tyhoid fever - this is when it was decided to demolish the area.
Speight has Garnett travelling long periods to work - in fact the container port was moved to Folkestone after the building of the Thames barrage (the bulk port had moved decades before) as the large ships could not enter so there was very little employment in the area.
While its technically true about the high rise (they were an elderly couple and the children were not on the lease but sponging), families were given semis not flats so the story is misleading.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pretty straightforward rendition of the Agatha Christie novel, with a
few broad industry in-jokes. Unfortunately the novel was one of those
tired Christie types relying on the "hidden illegitimate child" device
that Christie used for about half her novels.
Angela Lansbury, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis ("funny man, I wouldn't be surprised if he dyed his hair") and Elizabeth Taylor star in this period film in an early 1980s looking 1953. This was a rather stony period for the British film industry - and it shows. There isn't much attempt to make it look like 1953, and the cars and stuff just look like manky old cars (which of course is what they were in 1980). It isn't a patch on the British TV adaptions made more recently.
I was surprised to see it was a cinema release as it looks very much like a telemovie of the period, and is very similar in style to the ABC America television series of the same period.
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