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marxsarx

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121 reviews in total 
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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Combination of Gritty and Sappy That Doesn't Work, 6 February 2005
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mild Spoilers Ahead - Please Take Note.

I Cover the Waterfront is a 1933 movie featuring Claudette Colbert. Film buffs may wish to see it because she is in it. She is a vivacious actress and has screen charisma.

The film also has other things to commend it such as the photography of the waterfront circa 1933 that is interesting. There are also some engrossing plot elements involving the smuggling of illegal Chinese immigrants and the use of huge sharks in the process.

Ernest Torrence is also interesting in his role as the father of the Claudette Colbert character. Ben Lyon is okay as her character's love interest. I must say that all the performances in this movie did seem to be a bit forced and unnatural and I felt this throughout the film.

My reaction is that the overall cinematic synergy of I Cover The Waterfront is not good. The film at times is gritty and hard hitting and at other moments tries to be sappy and cutesy. The combination does not work well in this film. For that reason, it is far from a classic or enjoyable film and is more important from the standpoint of being an antique. I would only recommend it for film buffs interested in Claudette Colbert or in films of the period. I rate it a 70 percent or a C - on my scale.

The Apocalypse (2000) (TV)
33 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
Revelatory, 1 January 2005
10/10

I was blown away when I happened upon this film while channel surfing on TV. Richard Harris is tremendous. The story captured my attention immediately.

The biblical and historical underpinning of this account seems as solid as a rock. The account of what happened to John on Patmos is engrossing and whether based wholly on historical research or or embellished by the author's imagination, I believe it is close to what actually occurred. I highly recommend this film to all believers. I hope to find it on DVD.

I also found the other actors in this film to be outstanding, especially the actress playing Irene and the actor playing Valerius.

Apocalypse is inspiring. Don't miss it.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Secret Agent Takes Us on a Wild Ride, 15 July 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



Secret Agent

The Secret Agent is a relatively early film from none other than renown director Alfred Hitchcock. I believe it was directed during what is referred to as his British film period before he came to Hollywood, U.S.A. to direct movies circa 1940.

*** MILD SPOILERS AHEAD ***

Although made in 1936, The Secret Agent is set in 1916 A.D. during World War I. It is interesting to watch The Secret Agent while keeping in mind major world events that had not yet occurred such as World War II. This movie would be great to use for discussion in a history class about World War I.

The death of a British agent ( John Gielgud) is faked and he is sent to Switzerland with the new name of Ashenden. He is involved in espionage, or spying with a strange man called The General (Peter Lorre). A fake Mrs. Ashenden (Madeleine Carroll) is issued to him as his wife and partner in espionage. Thus begins a journey of adventure, intrigue and death. A young Robert Young, who much later would star in Marcus Welby, M.D. on TV, has a prominent role in The Secret Agent .

The Secret Agent is an oddity, even for Hitchcock. It is a romantic espionage mystery thriller with large doses of comedy which sometimes border on the macabre and I'm not kidding! Peter Lorre's character is a dark, sinister thug who is also a hilarious as well as pathetic womanizer. Madeleine Carroll and Robert Young are quite flirtatious and cheeky even while embroiled in deadly serious espionage. It might take a moment to adjust to a youthful John Gielgud in the starring role as Ashenden if you are familiar with his famous role as the butler in the comedy Arthur which came along many years later in his career.

I won't spoil the plot for you, but it is sufficient to say The Secret Agent takes you on a wild ride.

For those of you who are familiar with and are fans of some of Alfred Hitchcock's earlier movies from the 1930's and even the 1920's, this movie could be to your liking. For fan's of his Hollywood movies from the 1940's through the 1970's, this movie will be quite a culture shock.

I rate The Secret Agent a 73 out of 100 or a C –. It is a must see movie for serious Hitchcock fans but it lacks some of the depth of character development in his better films, of which there are many.

Other folks interested in seeing a 1930's Hitchcock film might try starting with The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Thirty Nine Steps (1935), both excellent, or Young and Innocent (1937), which is a good movie. Alfred Hitchcock was a prolific director, especially in his early years and he has left behind many films to choose from. Marxi.

2 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Modest Payoff After a Very Slow Build Up, 11 July 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison stars Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum and is directed by the great John Huston in 1957. Although I had never heard of this movie, it piqued my interest so I bought it. This movie is available in a widescreen DVD edition and the transfer is lovely.

The most striking feature of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is its lush scenery and beautiful cinematography. Unfortunately, the second most striking feature of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is that it is a dull movie that doesn't get going until the last few minutes of the film. It has an extremely long and slow build up to what turns out to be a decent ending.

*** Mild Spoilers Ahead ***

Don't be fooled by the Fox War Classics banner on the DVD cover. This movie has a war time setting, but principally it is not what I would categorize as a war story. Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is about a relationship between a nun stranded alone on an island in World War II and the U.S. Marine that washes up on the island shore in a raft. The very talented Deborah Kerr and the tough guy Robert Mitchum, who is often good in the right role, didn't convince me that their characters were growing close, let alone falling in love. There was something intangible missing between them and without it, the movie is boring. Of the two performances, Robert Mitchum's is the flattest. I was surprised to learn that Deborah Kerr received an Oscar nomination for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. I think she has done much better work, especially in a movie called Separate Tables.

If you are a Robert Mitchum or Deborah Kerr fan, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is worth watching out of curiosity. Otherwise, there are lots better choices out there from these two actors. The same goes for John Huston who directed two movies I think highly of: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Misfits.

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison rates a 70 out of 100 or a C - -. Marxi

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
For Fans of Vintage Who Done It Movies, 10 July 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One Frightened Night

One Frightened Night is a mildly interesting vintage movie from 1935. A group of relatives and business associates gather at the home of an elderly gentlemen who has decided to give away his fortune before an inheritance tax takes effect that night at midnight (Oh, for the good old days!).

Of course a long lost granddaughter shows up, it begins to thunder and lightning and folks begin to end up dead. One Frightened Night is a who done it mystery that does manage to keep you guessing until the end.

*** Mild Spoilers Ahead ***

The movie begins with creative credits involving a window shade and the arm of a man. The crusty, cantankerous and wealthy old man is played deliciously by Charley Grapewin who later turned up in The Wizard of Oz. He was the best part of the movie. Mary Carlisle was terrific in her role as one of two women claiming to be his long lost granddaughter and Regis Toomey was okay in his role as a playboy who needs to grow up.

The biggest drawback of One Frightened Night for me was that the overall story never completely eluded the feel of a poorly made B movie. At times the movie came to life due to the liveliness of some of its characters and then the poor production values intruded to detract from this movie.

Also of interest in the movie was the participation of Hedda Hopper who played a daughter of the wealthy man Jasper Whyte. She of course, went on to become a famous Hollywood gossip columnist, which would seem a good thing considering the hammy job of acting she delivered in this role. And then there is Wallace Ford, who was just okay in this movie and who was also underused. Christy Cabanne, the director, would use Wallace or Wally Ford again in his later movie, The Mummy's Hand, in which Wallace Ford gave a wonderful comedic performance in what was also a much better movie.

I rate One Frightened Night a 69 out of 100, or a D + +. I recommend it to only die hard fans of vintage movies. Marxi.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Best recommended only to vintage film aficionados, 6 July 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***** Mild Spoilers Ahead *****

A mother dies and her infant son is cared for by by an unscrupulous man who sends him to a workhouse. Oliver Twist, now a young lad, escapes and runs away to London, where a band of thieves led by the crafty and incorrigible Fagin, whose specialty is taking young children and making pickpockets out of them, gets Oliver in his grip. A kindly and wealthy gentlemen ends up taking Oliver home with him, but once again the band of thieves gets Oliver in their clutches. The drama revolves around Oliver Twist and whether he will end up with the scoundrels or whether he can be saved by the kindly old gentleman. In case you don't already know the ending to this classic tale, I'll stop here and let you watch for yourself.

There are apparently numerous versions of Oliver Twist, which I have not seen. This one seems to be panned by critics as sub par.

Personally, I found the movie interesting and watchable, although it is nowhere near a classic. I liked the young actor who played Oliver. In fact, the movie was inhabited by interesting characters including Irving Pichel as Fagin, a memorable woman named Nancy, the young thief called The Artful Dodger, the old man who became Oliver's benefactor and his niece who lived with him as well as others.

Some comments have been that the acting in the movie was poor, but I humbly disagree on that point. I credit the vast majority of the movie's actors with doing a nice job of bringing their character's to life. The problem, I fear, lies with the director who obviously was into cheesy shots of the child smiling and inserting hammy silently movie style scenes that were overly dramatic and detracted from a movie which was unfolding rather nicely otherwise.

Oliver Twist gets a 70/100 on my scale, a C – –. It is an interesting vintage movie of the classic book, but it's nowhere near a classic. This version is probably best recommended only to vintage film aficionados.

Them! (1954)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic - One of The Better Movies Made of Any Genre, 26 June 2004
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



***** FANTASTIC *******

"Them" is a great movie. From the eerie howling of the wind to the deafening silence in the underground sewers, this movie has a way of making an impact on you before you realize you are hooked.

First rate acting, dialogue, photography, musical score and pacing make this movie a gem. This story is still fresh after nearly 50 years and it only gets better with repeated viewings. It's a keeper. Even if you are not a sci fi buff, you'll still like this one.

******* Mild Spoilers Ahead *****

A child wandering in the desert is picked up by two police officers. "Them" begins as a simple detective mystery and soon turns into one of the most engrossing science fiction movies ever made. Something of biblical proportions has occurred in the desert of New Mexico after testing of nuclear bombs there. As a matter of fact, it could destroy all mankind. A police officer, a government agent and two scientists embark on the adventure of their lives. There is nothing second rate or "B" Movie about "Them". It is one of the better movies I've seen of any genre.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
In Search of Revenge Against The Enemy, 6 June 2004
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***



********** MILD SPOILERS AHEAD **********

Run Silent Run Deep is set in the World War II era. It's the story of a submarine captain (Clark Gable as Captain Richardson) whose sub was destroyed in the Bungo Straits (I don't know if this is a real or fictional place). A year later, the captain gets a chance to take another submarine and crew back to the Bungo Straits to sink the Japanese ship that destroyed his sub.

Captain Richardson is determined to to get back at the enemy, even if it means jeopardizing the lives of his new crew and stretching to the limit his prerogative as captain of the Nerka. He also infuriates the second in command aboard the sub, Lieutenant Jim Bledsoe (Burt Lancaster) whose shot at being the captain of the Nerka was taken away by Captain Richardson when he convinced his superiors to install him as its captain in place of Bledsoe.

Run Silent Run Deep is a strong movie. It is holding up well after 46 years (it was made in 1958). I love the minute details that are apparent and the care the director took in setting up each scene. The quality shines through in this movie.

The story held my interest as did the characters and the action. As with many war movies which have numerous characters, I had to watch the film a couple of times to figure out who each character was. To my pleasant surprise, I began to appreciate other details in Run Silent Run Deep. It is a movie which seems to be growing on me with repeated viewings (I've seen it three times). Interestingly enough, another film directed by Robert Wise, The Day The Earth Stood Still, is a movie I enjoy watching over again and have seen six times.

There are oceans of things to like about the movie Run Silent Run Deep. There is a wonderful performance by Burt Lancaster and a very good one by Clark Gable. The Director, Robert Wise (The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Sound of Music, West Side Story and Star Trek The Motion Picture) did a very very good job of tightly directing Run Silent Run Deep without any major gaffes. The dialog seems to be just right ... not too much nor too little... authentic yet dramatic ... not over the top but with some depth to it. All of the supporting actors including those in minor roles do well. Jack Warden is on target in a supporting role. The cinematography is very good. You will surely love the musical score by Franz Waxman that is perfectly suited to Run Silent Run Deep and which keeps the movie sailing.

Who knows but perhaps with a couple more viewings I'll give Run Silent Run Deep an even higher rating than 76/100. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes war movies and especially World War II movie buffs.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Symbolizes The End of The Era of The American Western, 10 May 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Cowboys: There is something bittersweet about the Cowboys. It symbolizes the end of an era, the era of the western movie. It pays homage to its greatest star who symbolized it more than any other, John Wayne.

John Wayne's dominance at the box office was coming to an end. The movie itself has an air about it that something is dying, of looking back on a bygone era or time and of of a new generation replacing it... and what was dying was actually the western movie as a popular type of American movie. John Wayne's character Will Anderson was dead by the end of The Cowboys. It's symbolic that Will Anderson the character as well as John Wayne the actor had his glory days behind him. A generation that that would do things differently and who mostly had never seen one of John Wayne's early black and white western movies was now in the saddle. Western movies were becoming an anomaly by 1972 as were mega stars such as John Wayne.

It's also symbolic that we hear John Wayne cursing on screen in the Cowboys, ending the more innocent time in movies when this was unacceptable and certainly not in westerns. It's a sad milestone.

********* MILD SPOILERS AHEAD *******

The Cowboys is a story about a man who ends up with only a bunch of boys instead of grown men to help him on his cattle drive. He help them become men and contemplates his own life along the way.

John Wayne is better than ever. Fresh off his Oscar win for True Grit, John Wayne was his usual brilliant self. There are some true John Wayne moments in this film that nobody can pull off like he can. One of my favorites is when John Wayne is sitting in the school room while one of the boys is stumbling through trying to read a passage. His character Will Anderson rolls his eyes just a little while never breaking a smile. It's a classic scene and terrific stuff. John Wayne had amazing comic timing.

Alas, the director, Mark Rydell, seemed to force too many of the scenes and situations so that by the end of The Cowboys, everything had a bit of a contrived feel to it along with feeling a bit heavy handed and preachy. The Cowboys is an average movie that was based on a great idea with a great star. Mark Rydell went on to direct one of the best movies ever in my estimation which is on Golden Pond with Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda. I only wish the director had just a bit more experience when he had done The Cowboys with Wayne. This mediocre movie would have been golden in the hands of a John Huston or John Ford.

The score, by John Williams is said to be marvelous on the movie packaging. I couldn't disagree more and I found it very bland. Once again, a person involved in this film, John William, went on to do much better stuff. I just saw Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone with a John Williams score. Now that was a marvelous score!

All in all, The Cowboys is worth watching to see John Wayne in one of his twilight performances. Not one of Wayne's best, but an interesting part of his movie career. I gave it a 7 out of 10, or a C -.

Another film from fairly late in John Wayne's film anthology that I would recommend more highly is The Comancheros from 1961. That one is a crowd pleaser.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Good Movie With One Major Weakness, 9 May 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

******** SOME MILD SPOILERS *******

Master and Commander is an adventure on the high seas. It gives us the depiction of a cat and mouse game between the captains of two ships. It's a good movie with one weakness.

The major weakness of this movie is that it ultimately looks at every character in an analytical way. The result is that I admired the characters but never became attached to them. This might not be bad news for a character study, but it isn't particularly beneficial to an adventure movie.

The perspective of Master and Commander is from the captain and crew of one ship. The captain is played by Oscar winner Russell Crowe. There is tremendous attention to detail and the actors give marvelous portrayals of their characters. Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany (together again from the movie A Beautiful Mind) shine as do several other actors especially the actor who played the young officer who lost his arm.

It is interesting to see what the quality life of the sailors was like in that time period. Beautiful photography and lavish sets abound.

There are numerous men aboard the ship living in tight quarters and the men from different walks of life with some being officers, one a doctor and the rest crew men on the ship. This naturally leads to some conflict and tension.

For adventure movie lovers, Master and Commander is a good choice. You'll probably be satisfied although not swept away (no pun intended).

There is another difficulty, however, for this movie. I believe it is overshadowed by Pirates of the Caribbean which is a tough movie to compete with. There will be inevitable comparisons, and Pirates of the Caribbean will come up the winner.

I rate this movie a C. It was better during the second viewing and I think time will be kind to this movie.


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