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Musician Ray Milland (Rod) and his sister Ruth Hussey (Pam) buy a house
on a whim whilst holidaying in Devon. It seems quite a cheap price and
the purchase is conducted over a few sentences. The owner Donald Crisp
(Commander Beech) seems very keen for the sale. He also stipulates to
his grand-daughter Gail Russell (Stella) that she is never to visit the
house. It is where she spent the first 3 years of her life. She
disobeys as she develops a relationship with Milland. And the house has
some other occupants
.. unworldly ones
It's an enjoyable film with a strong cast although Russell plays things rather too vulnerably for a 20 year-old. Milland throws in some humorous touches but he succeeds in keeping things in the scary, spooky film genre as opposed to the comedy ghost story genre, which is always a let-down. So, he should be congratulated for making the crossover. This is a good ghost story with genuine chills, scary scenes, a story with a twist and a great ghost effect. Lots of atmosphere in this one.
It's 1936 Germany and 7 prisoners escape from a concentration camp. The
Commandant vows to get even and has seven trees cleared to hang each
man from as he is captured. Can he see his plan fulfilled? We follow
the plight of one of the prisoners Spencer Tracy (George) as he
attempts to avoid capture and escape the country.
The film starts off with a narration by Tracy's fellow escapee and leader of the breakout - Ray Collins (Wallau). Unfortunately, half an hour into the film and this guy is still narrating. Tracy has barely spoken at this point and it gets irritating. We don't need this narrator, let Tracy lead the proceedings. So, I'm afraid the film loses a mark for this. As it also does for the final half hour or so when the character of waitress Signe Hasso (Toni) is introduced. She serves no purpose whatsoever and is clearly put into the film to provide a love interest which just doesn't work. The age gap is ludicrous - Tracy is like her dad and would have no time for such a distraction given his circumstances. Lose another mark.
However, outside of this, the story is gripping and you, just like the main character, don't know who to trust. The best in the cast is working class citizen Hume Cronyn (Paul) who is extremely likable but you still just don't know what will happen with him. There are several sequences of note including a couple in which Tracy roams around a couple of towns alone and witnesses other escapees getting captured. But, most of all, the audience can feel the tension in Paul's bid for freedom. Who should Tracy trust? The seventh cross is waiting for him
Alan Curtis (Cliff) and Frank Fenton (Sam) are on the run after Fenton
has committed a robbery. They split up and we follow the route that
Curtis takes and the women that he meets along the way. Once he comes
across Gloria Jean (Jane), his life will change forever.
This film has two flashback sequences at the beginning to explain how Curtis is an unlucky victim in life. He distrusts women and he is told to feel compassion for others if he wants to find happiness in life. The main part of the story happens once Curtis comes across Jean and her very likable father Frank Craven (Clem). Jean is blind and seems to live in a fairytale world where she works alongside Mother Nature. Don't annoy her. Cliff does...........
The film is short and ties up rather too conveniently but it's still worth watching. It is also worth noting that this film is an expanded version of a rejected segment from the film "Flesh and Fantasy", a film also worth seeing. As such, we get this episode as the main story involving blind Gloria Jean with some extras thrown around this to develop the role of Curtis. This doesn't quite work as we sympathize with him throughout these added on scenes, while he is actually pretty horrid during the main course especially when he goes hunting!
The cast are all good including the 4 main women credited. Rather oddly, it appears that all 7 of the main cast no longer had film careers once the 1940s had passed.
Bobby Watson plays Hitler in this film that charts his rise to power
from his days at the end of World War One. The film takes us through
the famous moments including the Munich beer hall putsch, the writing
of Mein Kampf, the burning of the Reichstag along with throwing in many
of the famous characters of the time Goebbels, Hess, Himmler, Goring,
etc. It's fast moving and it's educational so worth paying attention.
The film also touches on the subject of his niece, "Geli", as played by
Poldi Dur . Hitler's niece died in 1931 but her death by suicide has
been shrouded in mystery.
The film doesn't have an ending as such as it was made in a time when Hitler was still around. so it concludes with some patriotic propaganda as to how he must and will be stopped. The cast are good and look very similar to the real thing. Certain elements of the tale are left out no Eva Prawn but the film scores for being different. It provides a glimpse of this man's psychopathic disregard for life and does so without even touching on the concentration camps.
It's a story of the Titanic and it is clear that it influenced the
director of the most famous version that goes on for 3 days. What
scores points for me with this film is the focus on the wealthy owner
of White Star Sir Bruce Ismay (Ernst Fritz Fürbringer) and his role
in the tragedy. It's known as a German propaganda piece, but this isn't
where the propaganda is. There is almost certainly an element of greed
and stupidity as Ismay strives for glory. That's a fact, especially
born out by the saving pennies on health and safety by not providing
enough lifeboats. You also have to question why the Captain increased
speed through the iceberg infested waters when every other ship would
have slowed down. It's probably (definitely) pressure from Ismay. The
propaganda comes from the First Officer Hans Nielson (Petersen) and his
voice of reason throughout proceedings. He is the only German aboard
the ship and the only man you can trust to know what the right thing to
do is. This is despite him never actually doing anything about it as he
is only obeying orders. He should have ignored orders but then that is
not the message the Nazis would have wanted to put across! And the
Titanic wouldn't have sunk with Nielsen at the helm.
The Titanic is always a good story so the film is entertaining. I think this version is interesting and had some good scenes the lowering of a lifeboat from the passenger point-of-view as well as telling a complete story as it includes the inquest at the end. Of course, this is where we see the injustice from the point of view of the First Officer and it is an injustice. The final caption blaming capitalism for the sinking is, I'm afraid, true in this case. Greed and profit were paramount. As well as the lookout probably needing binoculars/glasses (standard issue on all ships at the time for anyone in the crow's nest), which incidentally, were not provided by Ismay and his great plan. Yet more cost cutting!
Painter Pierre Fresnay (Brissot) arrives at a secluded mountainside
hotel that has been cut off by an avalanche. He carries a box with him
and has a rather unpleasant attitude which alienates him from the other
guests there. The police may or may not be on his tail as they arrive
to ask about a man they have been chasing. When his box is stolen by
supernatural forces, he decides it is best to come clean and tell his
tale. We are then thrown into a flashback story that explains his life
and how he came to have this box, and what its significance is as well
as what is inside. It's a story of selling your soul to the devil and
things come to an end at this mountainside hotel.
It's a good film that keeps you gripped. Fresnay is thoroughly dislikable at the beginning of the film but due to his predicament he wins you over and you understand why he is this way. A small man in a bowler hat, Palau, seems to follow him around. His appearances keep the tension going as he can change fortune but not necessarily in a good way. Fresnay has this box that gives him instant success, wealth, love, etc but it comes at a cost. His love interest is Josseline Gael (Irene) who is pretty straight-talking and whose behaviour also seems influenced by whether or not Fresnay has the box. Her real life story is interesting as she was married to a member of the French Gestapo and was jailed the following year to this film being made. She was subsequently stripped of her French citizenship whilst her husband was executed by a firing squad in 1946.
An annoyance at the beginning of the film is that everyone speaks too quickly so that you just about have time to read the subtitles let alone look at the picture of the actor's faces speaking the lines at the same time. It can be frustrating. You need to accustom yourself to this and then things get OK. The plot's theme is interesting and there are good sequences including a line-up of masked men, all previous owners of the box, who have a brief tale to tell. Fresnay's ability comes from painting with his left hand and he signs his name as Maximus Leo. Is this name significant? Yes it is.
What would you do if your debt kept doubling everyday and the debtor required payback? Easy, go to the bank and get a loan. Not sure why Fresnay didn't do that. But, then again, the devil doesn't play fair, so would probably conjure up a bank shortfall on that day. Maybe the best thing is to just enjoy the success you've got while it lasts. Fresnay fights back.
Crime writer Allyn Joslyn (Barry) and his wife Evelyn Keyes (Jane) set
out to solve the murder of Mary Forbes (Isabel Fleming) at a
photographer's studio. The police are also trying to figure things out
led by Frank Craven (Inspector Clinton). It's a comedy detective film
that also stars William Demarest (Detective Gatlin), so be warned.
Shame it's a comedy. The film's title lends itself to a film-noir storyline. Anyway, whilst there are some funny moments, this is offset by annoying comedy characters that fail to generate any laughs Demarest being one, and housekeeper Minerva Urecal (Mrs Swanson) being another. The story is slightly complicated and it's all pretty meaningless but Evelyn Keyes stands out and is fun to watch. And the luminous paint is cool.
If you see William Demarest on a cast list, it's a dead cert that the film is one to avoid. He's his usual unfunny self here with exaggerated expressions, unrealistic reactions, obvious and badly executed pratfalls and way too much screen time. This film was doomed.
The film starts with a ship full of marines in the South Pacific. They
are bonding and joking around and you may well feel that this is a film
about homosexuality and that it's actually called GuadalAnal Diary.
Well, after the scene has been set, it actually turns into a war film.
The cast of characters are assigned a mission and attack a Japanese
occupied island. What lies ahead of them? This is based on a campaign
that happened for real.
It's a good film with memorable scenes including a platoon's total annihilation bar one soldier Anthony Quinn (Soose) who literally runs for his life. The most memorable character is probably William Bendix (Taxi), possibly because he is the loudest, but he provides an effective everyman speech as the end looks imminent for him and his comrades as they are holed up sheltering from a bombing campaign. The words are simple and they are followed by an "Amen" that is said by Lloyd Nolan (Hook) . I think it's Nolan I can't remember. Someone says it though. It switches the scene from being potentially corny to being a moving episode.
Definitely one of the best war films of this year (1943) along with "Hostages", "A Guy Named Joe", "Bataan", "The Adventures of Tartu", "Five Graves To Cairo", "The Strange Death of Adolph Hitler" and "The Silver Fleet". Check them out.
Sergeant Jack Lambert (Sergeant Watson) recounts a personal story to
his new recruits who are crying out for action at a British army
training camp. His story concerns an occasion when he was isolated in
the African desert in a unit of 9 men. They stumbled across a small
derelict shelter during a sand storm and, from this location, they held
off against Italian troops who came calling.
Lambert is trying to instil a British mentality that gives a little bit extra and that is conveyed by the phrase "umpetty poo", which itself is a terribly unfunny reworking of the French "un petit peu". It sounds similar once it is pointed out to you but it really is quite desperate and unimaginative. Still, Lambert does prove himself in the imagination department as his story is clearly made up. Those 9 guys would be dead in reality.
The Italians are portrayed as wine-loving cowards and we get to see them running away on a few occasions as our British troops whoop like girls pretending to be larger in number than 9. It's just too much for the Italians "whoop" "whoop". The film is OK as it goes but there is something lacking.
It's 1885 and drifters Henry Fonda (Gil) and Harry Morgan (Art) ride
into a backwater town where they learn that a popular cattleman has
been shot dead and had his cattle stolen. The townsfolk are keen on a
quick lynching for whoever is responsible and Fonda and Morgan go along
with the posse to detract suspicion from themselves. They don't approve
of what is happening along with a few others but they are in the
minority. This town wants vengeance. Unfortunately, for whoever they
find, vengeance is not the same as justice.
Once it gets going, the film is pretty tense as you side against the majority mob led by ex-Army Major Frank Conroy (Major Tetley) and local cowboy Marc Lawrence (Jeff). The audience can sense what the outcome will be but can't quite believe that the film will see it through. I kept expecting that turning point to come and change the course of events. What happened was quite shocking.
The cast are all good and the film has a compact running time and effective setting, especially that tree. I don't know how you get a tree like that. My wife reckons that it was struck by lightning. Could be? The film has a bleak ending but I guess we all make mistakes in life. We just have to move on.
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