Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Start of a beautiful friendship
Humphrey Bogart (Rick) and Sydney Greenstreet (Ferrari) each own a café/bar in Casablanca which is frequented by those wishing to make an exit to Lisbon and a new found freedom. Casablanca is on French soil and Claude Rains (Renault) is the Captain in charge who must co-operate with Nazi Conrad Veidt (Strasser). The two cafes are riddled with black market shenanigans and into this town wanders Resistance leader Paul Henreid (Victor Lazlo) and Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa). In order to make it to freedom, an exit visa is required and this is what Henreid and Bergman are after.
An entertaining film with a good cast and very amusing dialogue. Bogart rattles off some classic lines but it's Claude Rains whose delivery tops the charts. One moment that I found funny is when a grateful couple approach him and enthusiastically let him know that they will be at his office at 6:00am to collect their visas. "I'll be there at 10:00" is his reply. The moral of that is don't be so keen, it gets you nowhere. A good lesson for anyone starting a new job.
"Here's looking at you" gets a bit clichéd but it doesn't matter. I never cared for Humphrey Bogart and his man who stands alone image. It always struck me as cold and unpleasant. However, I'm starting to really like him these days.
One daft thing about the film is how the Nazis didn't find the visas. The hiding place is pretty obvious if you ask me. A couple of last points - remember next time you get to a roulette table number 22 - and the French National Anthem is way better than the dreary UK effort.
You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
Rita the Refrigerator
Adolphe Menjou (Acuna) is brilliant as the man in charge of everything. He owns a hotel and is very blunt to his guests and his employees. His dialogue throughout is very funny and to be looked upon as a blueprint in life if you don't want to spend time pussy-footing around an issue. Menjou has 4 daughters who he would like to marry off in age order. This film is concerned with him marrying off frosty second daughter Rita Hayworth (Maria) to a suitable young man. Unfortunately for Menjou, Fred Astaire gets dragged into the proceedings. Menjou can't stand Astaire and their conversations together are very amusing. Throw in some songs and dancing and this is a good entertaining film.
Rita Hayworth's dancing was a revelation to me in this film. She keeps up with Astaire and it is these dancing sections that we are watching for. The supporting cast are all good and the film is a lightweight comedy that works well. We also get to see Lina Romay singing with Xavier Cugat's band.
In Which We Serve (1942)
For God's sake, change the tune
Noel Coward is captain of HMS Torrin, a British Navy destroyer, and he expects his crew to obey his philosophy. His ships are happy and efficient, so he likes to believe. The story is told in flashbacks as survivors cling to a dinghy after HMS Torrin is sunk.
It's a propaganda film that is meant to rouse feelings of discipline and dedication to country in time of war. Everyone seems to put the ship before themselves or their loved ones. Even the sailor's wives put the ship first and understand that there is a higher purpose beyond their own personal happiness. From that perspective, it's all a bit ghastly for me, I'm afraid. I found the film dragged and also was very choppy a bit here then another bit there. It could have had a more focused storyline.
All the women are pretty awful in this. Celia Johnson who plays Coward's wife speaks in that laughably bad clipped English and seaman John Mill's mother as depicted by Kathleen Harrison (Mrs Blake) is just plain annoying. Coward's delivery is machine gunned at you so it's not always clear what he is saying. However, set against this, there is some amusing dialogue in parts. Overall, the film is too long and I'm not sure about the propaganda message of join the war effort and expect heartbreak. Err, OK, it's a no thanks from me then.
Orchestra Wives (1942)
Pardon me, have you got a match
Glenn Miller's band go on tour and so we get some swing music to enjoy. For a storyline, we get naïve small-town girl Ann Rutherford (Connie) hooking up with trumpet player George Montgomery (Bill) and becoming part of the troupe of back-stabbing orchestra wives. After a simpleton start, she plays them at their own game with admirable determination and this leads on to a good slap or two or three. Everyone reunites in the end for a quality musical finale.
The story isn't much it's contrived and has leaps of absurdity but that's not the point. Watch it for the music. The film is encased in between two show-stopping numbers. We begin with "People Like You and Me" and end with "(I've Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo" and these two pieces are the film's highlights. The last includes a dance routine from the Nicholas Brothers that shows what gymnasts they are as well as crazy dancers. Both these songs also include Tex Beneke singing along with the Modernaires. As regards the Modernaires, there is a very noticeable blonde singer who immediately reminded me of Betty Hutton. Well, I found out after watching the film that it's her sister. Far less blustery, though, thank goodness.
In terms of acting, I don't know why people refer to Glenn Miller as being a wooden actor. Maybe he is but he's perfectly fine as himself. It's irrelevant. I did feel that there was not enough of pianist Cesar Romero (St. John) and bass player Jackie Gleason (Ben) and too much of the love interest between Montgomery and Rutherford. Neither of these two leads were particularly interesting more like a couple of wet fishes. Montgomery is actually quite a nasty character in the beginning with his treatment of soda jerk Harry Morgan (Cully).
So, if you fancy life on the road as an orchestra wife, don't forget to pack your hoover. And be prepared for a fight. And, of course, good music.
Take a Letter, Darling (1942)
Take a Top Hat
Advertizing Agency Partner Rosalind Russell (A M McGregor) hires painter Fred MacMurray (Tom) as her secretary in this male/female role reversal story that both Russell and MacMurray are very at ease with. MacMurray breezes his way through the film in a very aloof Boris Johnson kind of way, while Russell is excellent in her role.
MacMurray doesn't convince as an artist but it really doesn't matter. Russell is funny as a woman in control who knows that it's a man that she needs for happiness in life. It's not a revelation of a movie but it is easy-going and enjoyable.
Opera Hat or Top Hat? Don't be a flub!
The Glass Key (1942)
This story takes place in the political world of re-election and it's full of complications as to who is allying themselves to whom. One thing is certain and that is that politician Brian Donlevy (Madvig) and gangster Joseph Calleia (Nick) are on opposite sides. When Richard Denning (Taylor) is murdered, the plot to undermine Donley takes off. But it's not an easy story to follow. People's relationships needed to be clearer from the start. Goodness knows what Alan Ladd (Ed) is there for.
I've never been an Alan Ladd fan. His popularity totally baffles me. He has just never convinced me as a tough guy. Rather like Elisha Cooke Jr. In this film, he hangs around Donlevy as his best friend, obeying Donlevy's every request. A bit like his bitch. Actually, very much his bitch. He goes adoringly out of his way to please Donlevy, taking some serious beatings which I assume fulfils his homosexual need for male physical contact. He can't get anything sexually out of Donlevy so he turns to the homosexual physicality that William Bendix (Jeff) seems to enjoy indulging himself in. Ladd and Bendix share this latent homosexuality. Or should I say blatant homosexuality. Ladd also has a really creepy smile and shouldn't be allowed to emote on screen.
A further point about Ladd is his inability to act. His bland monotone is delivered as if he is a depressive or possibly autistic. You're not going to have a barrel of laughs with this guy. In fact, in real life, there is debate as to whether or not he committed suicide. I think he did.
I was slightly disappointed with this film but I guess it depends on whether or not you like Alan Ladd. The funniest moment comes after Bendix has possibly gone too far with one of his beatings and Alan Ladd tells a waiter "You better get an ambulance in case he's alive" to which Bendix replies "You better get an undertaker in case he isn't" Very funny best bit of the film.
It Started with Eve (1941)
Pass the cigars
Wealthy socialite Charles Laughton (Mr Reynolds) is on his deathbed. His son Robert Cummings (Johnny) comes to his bedside and Laughton has a final wish - he would like to see his son's fiancée. Cummings rushes out to get his fiancée Margaret Tallichet (Gloria) but he can't find her. In a desperate moment he asks hat-check girl Deanna Durbin (Anne) to stand in and pretend to be Gloria. Laughton takes a liking to Durbin and problems arise the next morning when Laughton starts to improve. How long can the pretence be maintained? Especially as Laughton keeps calling for Durbin .
This film is funny and easy-going. All the cast are good, the best being Deanna Durbin and the worst, for me, was Robert Cummings and his slightly wimpy nature he is playing for farce and I think he just goes a little over the top. He just rushes around a little too much. There is also a good performance from Catherine Doucet as Mrs Pennington. Her manner is spot on with her disapproval of the proceedings and her habit of fiddling with her pearl necklace to exhibit her anger and anxiety is perfectly executed.
As regards the story, it's complete nonsense so just go with it. The characters provide the comedy to keep things going, although you have to feel sorry for Margaret Tallichet. She hasn't done anything! She is definitely given harsh treatment in this film. You could even go as far as to say that Deanna Durbin is the evil one hence the title referring to Eve.
As for the music interludes, Deanna only sings one turkey "Going Home". It comes at a sentimental point in the film and so it helps to lay on that rubbish quite thick. Can't stand nonsense like that. However, her other two songs, both sung with her piano accompaniment are an enjoyable experience, especially the Spanish one. And she has an entertaining Conga dance scene with Charles Laughton towards the end of the film.
A Woman's Face (1941)
Great plastic surgeon
Joan Crawford (Anna) is on trial for the murder of her boyfriend Conrad Veidt (Torsten). We follow her story in flashback as told by selected witnesses before the judge makes his decision.
This is an entertaining film with many memorable scenes, eg, Anna contemplating killing the child Richard Nichols (Lars-Erik) by unlocking the safety gate as he leans against it while travelling on a cable car. You just know that she's capable and the scene is very tense. Another is the scene where Crawford has gone round to blackmail Osa Massen (Vera) about having an affair and a situation unfolds where Crawford slaps Massen. She does it several times and she really means it! The main characters all do well with Crawford stealing the show as the bitter woman with a scarred face who has reconciled herself to a life of blackmailing others. Crawford's performance allows the audience to sympathize with this rather nasty character as the film evolves. The minor characters are OK but the film does contain an extremely annoying Donald Meek who plays 'Herman' the barman. He plays for comedy. He's not funny.
It's an engaging film - far-fetched but go along with it and it will entertain you.
Pirate radio is always best
Nazi soldier Jeffrey Lynn (Kurt) returns home on the night that his brother Philip Dorn (Eric) is due to make an illegal Resistance radio broadcast. The brothers are at odds in their beliefs but Lynn is unaware of how his brother feels and his role with the Resistance. One of Dorn's allies is Kaaren Verne (Sylvia) who plays violin at a club. She becomes the focus of Lynn's romantic interests but he remains unaware of her involvement in the Resistance. Will the Nazi brother suss out what is going on? And will he inform on his brother and the woman he loves to Gestapo chief Martin Kosleck (Heller)?
This film is better than expected and there are several tense scenes, eg, when Verne is sent to collect some radio equipment and must change her routine in the last seconds as Gestapo officers wait to arrest her. There is also a good scene between Gestapo secretary Mona Maris (Gessner) and Lynn as she points out a few home truths to him. I liked Philip Dorn and felt that it was his film and he should have been given the headline credit. He has a powerful scene when he goes to confront his Nazi brother about what course of action with regards the reporting of Verne that he will take. Dorn cannot afford the wrong decision to be taken and is prepared for what he may have to do. Another good scene involves Dorn and fellow Underground member Peter Whitney (Alex) as they confront Resistance traitor Wolfgang Zilzer (Hoffman).
The only poor acting comes from a couple of Resistance figures as they try to leave a club un-noticed. They stand out a mile in terms of suspicious behaviour. I'm afraid they get what they deserve for being so crap. Otherwise, the acting is very good all round. It's a pity that they bring some complicated poem into the proceedings - no way would anyone remember that clunky thing.
Overall, a good film. The Gestapo team reminded me of the French Resistance UK comedy of the 1980s "Allo Allo". Kosleck and Maris have that similar fetishized imagery working for them as was exploited by Gestapo officer "Herr Otto Flick" and his secretary "Helga". There is definitely some kind of repressed kinkiness going on. The scene with the boots and the whip and Kaaren Verne draped over a seat. Definitely. The only detail missing is revealing that Kosleck is wearing ladies lingerie throughout the whole film.
Mystery Ship (1941)
FBI agent Paul Kelly (Allan) and reporter Lola Lane (Pat) are due to get married for the billionth time when a secret assignment is handed to Kelly and his friend Larry Parks (Tommy). This leads to the cancellation of the wedding and a secret trip on a ship filled with the country's most notorious criminals.
The film is OK, nothing too standout. It starts in a jokey fashion and takes a while to get going. There is some tension once we get onto the ship as there is a power struggle between villains for who is top dog. There are a few unrealistic sections, eg, the lack of numbers in officers escorting these villains and the lack of shooting from the officers when unrest breaks out. We also get a rather gentlemanly Trevor Bardette (Madek) who is quick to concede defeat to the better man. I don't think so! However, Cy Kendall (Condor) makes a good thug.
The film wraps up rather quickly and it's all rather unrealistic. Where on earth are all these villains being deported to given that they are all American?