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|26 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this a few nights ago for the first time in many years, and it retained its impression on me. It is not just one of the creepiest teleplays I have ever seen (and there ARE such mummy displays in Mexico) but one of the most moving. Lovely Pina Pellicer plays a widow with young children who must come up with a way to support and feed her and her children after her husband dies. The most moving part occurs just at the end when she stands before her home mummy display and speaks to her husband, begging him to understand and forgive her for what she has had to do to survive. What happens then is reminiscent of the scene in the Boris Karloff "The Mummy" when Im-Ho-Tep is recalled to life when the young Egyptologist reads from the Scroll of Thoth. One of the most memorable of all the Alfred Hitchcock entries!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Beast of Hollow Mountain might look a little primitive now, but for its time it was an odd, but first-rate meld of Western and horror. I remember seeing this at the theater when I was about nine years old, and it frightened me terribly. That steer head! The suspense was terrific--where is the monster? Instead of paying attention to the screen, I kept looking behind me, wondering if the monster was going to pounce on me from behind! However, when the Beast finally appeared, he was well worth waiting for--great stop-motion special effects. I especially liked the Beast's tongue, which rippled out now and then in a threatening manner. However, the film has an annoying brat who must be suffered, though he has one of the best scenes in the film when he turns around and sees--guess what? It also has unintentional humor, as the lovely lady, Sarita, and the boy are fleeing from the Beast and take shelter in a broken-down adobe ranch house. Even then, I thought, "That's not much of a shelter!" I'd love to see this film again. It's a natural for a rainy Saturday afternoon matinée and quite good for its type.
Mary O'Hara's trilogy, "My Friend Flicka," "Thunderhead," and "Green Grass of Wyoming" have been a treasured part of my life since I was a child. However, the three films made from them vary widely in quality, meaning specifically to their relationships to the books upon which they are based. "My Friend Flicka" is by far the best of the three, and "Thunderhead, Son of Flicka" (as it was renamed) was not bad, though each contains minor changes from the books. However, "Green Grass of Wyoming" is a total disappointment. The plot is changed so much that it bears almost no resemblance to its source. For instance, "Crown Jewel" is made into a harness horse instead of a "superb English Thoroughbred," as she is described in the book, and Burl Ives appears in a totally unnecessary role. Forget this film and go to your local library and read the book (if you can find it). This is one case in which the book is far better than the film!
As others who have reviewed "Fool's Parade," I am deeply regretful that it has never made it to VC or DVD, because it is a total gem! It was last run on television more years ago than I can remember, but it must have been before the VCR came along or I should have taped it in a minute. As a West Virginian myself, I recognize the local color, unique names, and general ambiance of this film. The whole cast is excellent, but some stand out. I have a friend who says she absolutely hates George Kennedy because of the slimy character he portrays (Dallas Council). Morgan Paull plays religious half-wit Junior Kilfong, who kills atheists when Dallas points them out to him, and marvelous Anne Baxter, with her painted-on black eyebrows, just steals the whole movie as Cleo, a patriotic madam fallen on hard times. Her lifelong heartbreak is that she is not allowed into the "DARs," even though her great-great-great-great or however many grandmother served the Colonial Army and died in the doing ("As surely as if she'd died in battle!") *Sob* I remember when "Fool's Parade" was shown on television, and the reason that Cleo's grandmother died was censored. However, the censoring made it sound worse than it really was! How I wish I could see this jewel again! Don't miss it if you get the chance!
There are no words fulsome enough to describe "JT." I remember seeing it many years ago, the first time it was shown. Seldom had I been moved so much by anything. Apparently scores of other viewers felt the same way, because it was run again a week later. I remember that Doris Day (a great animal lover) introduced this second showing, saying that the first had been "a happening." And so it was. JT, a little black boy being raised by his mother and grandmother, trying to bring him up right despite all the odds against him, finds a purpose in his life when he finds, adopts, and cares for a scroungy black and white alley cat. "JT" has a kind of double ending, the first so tragic, so sad, and the other hopeful. One gets the impression that JT will finally grow up, because of the responsibility he took for the cat and that the cruelty of his life, the fate of the cat, will make him a man that his mother and grandmother can be proud of. I always associate "JT" with Christmas and, thankfully, I taped it. Watch "JT" if you ever get the chance. Trust me--you will cry--
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Christmas in Connecticut" is an absolute gem, and a must-see for Christmas! Elizabeth Lane, a precursor to Martha Stewart, is a magazine columnist and the ne plus ultra of homemakers--the perfect wife, mother, and domestic goddess. Only thing is, she is none of these things--a total phony. Unfortunately for her, she is about to be found out. Her publisher, Mr. Alexander Yardley (a brilliant comic turn by Sydney Greenstreet) gets the bright idea of inviting a famous war hero to Elizabeth's "perfect farm" for the Christmas holiday. Only thing, there is no farm, "perfect" or otherwise. The comedy involves how Elizabeth is to keep her real identity under wraps so she will not lose her job. Elizabeth's colleague, John, happens to have a farm in Connecticut, so that solves that problem. However, he wants to marry Liz, but she does not want to marry him. He offers her marriage, though he knows she doesn't feel the same way about him that he does about her. He makes the offer anyway, and assures her that he is willing to wait. And here Barbara Stanwyck, as Liz, delivers one of the most devastating put-downs I have ever heard. With perfect innocence, she replies: "Could you wait that long?" OUCH! In addition, the scenes between Una O'Conner and S.Z. Sakall are hilarious. They don't seem to like one another (though one suspects they really do). They are rivals in the household, and S.Z. Sakall's mangled English is equaled by Nora's strangled pronunciation of his name ("Mr. Basternook"). "My name is FELIX!" It is amazing how Christmas-y these black and white films are. Great character work by all involved. Don't miss this one!
I watched "Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair" again yesterday, as I do every year at fair time. Do not expect a profound masterpiece here; the humor is corny and some of the jokes are telegraphed, but you will laugh your head off anyway. Pa thinks up several ways to earn money to help his daughter, Rosie, with her college expenses. Probably the funniest is when he gets the bright idea to apply for unemployment. Rosie reminds her pa that one has to have worked before one can get unemployment. Apparently the only work Pa has ever done is to sire his brood of 14 children ha. The broken-down old mare that Pa has been tricked into "purchasing" has a secret that turns her into a real terror, and here we find one of those "telegraphed" jokes. "Emma" runs away with Ma at the reins, and they charge across a plowed field straight toward a scarecrow. You will just know what is going to happen, but I just about collapse in gales of laughter when it does--twice! The writers of this series used similar situations more than once, such as in one where the farm animals get into the moonshine, and, in this case, when a couple of crows pick at Ma's cement-baked loaves of bread and the obvious happens here, too! "Ma and Pa Kettle at the Fair" is a worthy member in the series, so just settle back and enjoy the yuks!
I have always associated The Snow Goose with Christmas, as I believe one of the few times I saw it was at this time. Unfortunately, this was before the VCR came along, so it is now lost to me and everyone else who was lucky enough to have seen this masterpiece. I have read the story upon which it is based, and one of the few changes was that the injured snow goose was named, by Philip, "Le Princesse Perdue," or "The Lost Princess." In the film she is called by Frith (Jenny Agutter), "Fritha," after herself. The casting could not have been better. I must admit that I have never liked Richard Harris, but I make a very big exception here. He is brilliant beyond description, as is Jenny Agutter. I remember reading that the story caused quite a bit of controversy when it first came out, as some people thought it was unfitting for a "normal" girl to have a (you know what kind of) relationship with a deformed man. This was not stressed in the film, as I recall. In any case, the end is just heart-wrenching. Please, please, whoever has control of this gem, make it available again to all of us who remember it, and to those who will fall in love with it as we have!
I attended a symposium, dinner, and talk-- in Alexandria, Virginia, in October, 1990, sponsored by Virginia Bader, cousin to the legless RAF ace, Douglas Bader. She had invited General Adolf Galland and Air Vice Marshall Johnnie Johnson and their wives as guests of honor. I was too shy and in awe of General Galland, so I never actually met him (something I shall always regret), but I did meet AVM Johnson. I said, "I am honored, sir," and I meant it. At the talk that followed the symposium, someone in the audience asked Johnnie Johnson what he thought of "Piece of Cake" (which I had seen). He said, "It was bullshit!" Whereupon General Galland and the whole audience simply cracked up. He was there, so I guess he should know--
If I remember correctly, I only saw this flick once, and that was many years ago. Therefore I don't remember much about it except that it was so bad, it was hilarious. First of all was William Shatner in his usual hammy, overacting mode (did he have any other?). As a horse lover, I could not help but notice that Alexander's famous horse, Bucephalus, was played by an American Saddle Horse, which breed was not developed for many centuries after Alexander's time. However, I must recommend "Alexander the Great" mainly because it contains probably my favorite line in motion picture history. Alexander says of Bucephalus, "Did I not tell you that among horses he too is a God?" This stinker is worth seeing for that alone!
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