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planktonrules

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16832 reviews in total 
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Where''s the adventure?!, 23 October 2014
1/10

Despite this film being brought to us by Tiffany Studios, it is FAR from a high class and quality production. "Wings of Adventure" is incredibly slow, dull and full of too many story elements that just make you wonder is anyone liked this movie when it debuted.

The film begins with a pilot and his completely unfunny comic relief friend having engine problems and they are forced to land their airplane. However, instead of getting back to the Army, they are soon kidnapped by Mexican rebels--sort of like Pancho Villa...except the leader seems about as Mexican as bratwurst! Soon, they are forced back to the revolutionary headquarters where absolutely nothing happens for the longest time. Sure, they eventually escape...but it seems to take forever because the film is so low energy, talky (like many of the early talking pictures) and features a leading man with the same charisma as blue cheese. By this point, this stupefyingly dull film just about made me comatose--mostly because with the word ADVENTURE in the title, you'd think it would be exciting and full of action...which is isn't! Instead, there are lots of irrelevant musical numbers and romance...very unconvincing romance at that. The bottom line is that the film is never enjoyable in the least. Heck, instead of seeing this film, you'd be better of bashing yourself in the head with a mackerel! Dull and pointless and cheap.

What might have worked in a film comes off as silly and poorly written as a half hour of television., 22 October 2014
3/10

The main plot idea of "Never Explain" could have worked...but here in this edition of "Four Star Playhouse" is definitely didn't. This Quinn Martin story is interesting but is also so very rushed that what the characters do often makes little sense. Additionally, the dialog...ugghh!!

When the story begins, a brand-new social worker meets with her boss, some psychologist. Most of what they say is a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo-- the sort of stuff that no real therapist would ever say and the conversation is really annoyingly written. The gist of it is this--she's been assigned to investigate the parenting of a free-thinker (David Niven). It seems that he's a single dad and never sends his kids to school and she is determined to save the poor children. However, the kids are very happy and the dad seems to be doing a fine job of home schooling--although it clearly in unorthodox. What's next? See if you dare.

As I mentioned above, the dialog is often quite terrible--and I think it was a good idea for Quinn Martin to go into producing and not writing (he was later responsible for mystery shows like "Cannon" and "Barnaby Jones")! Here is just one example of how the social worker talks: "...the importance of the social intelligence quotient for personal fulfillment cannot be overestimated." Huh?!! Additionally, she never really listens to determine why the father is behaving like he is--she knows EVERYTHING without even investigating. Later, when the show ends, the plot REALLY gets bad, as they shove about 30 minutes of action into 30 seconds--with the most ridiculous and contrived ending imaginable. All in all, a cringe-worthy episode from start to finish and ample evidence that Martin had no idea what a social worker or psychologist talked or acted like in real life. A silly piece of fluff and nothing more.

Banned because of racism?!, 22 October 2014
6/10

I noticed that one of the reviewers talked about how this cartoon was banned because, in part, it was considered racist. Well, after seeing it, I have absolutely no idea who might have considered this racist--as all the characters were black and white and none looked like white or black folks-- just cartoon animals. I seriously doubt this was banned for this reason, though I could have seen some folks objecting to the violence---though I love cartoon violence and wish cartoons had more!

The cartoon is basically a rip-off of two then famous characters. Two of the characters in "The Black Duck" bear much more than a passing resemblance to Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse--and I can only assume that the Van Buren Studio knew this. Also, I strongly suspect this was originally a silent cartoon and sound was added later. This is because the cartoon runs too fast--which is what happens when you play many silent films at the speed of a talkie (which is 24 frames per second instead of 16-22 for a silent). This made the characters mouths move VERY fast when they were talking and they weren't even close to being in sync.

As for the story, a shepherd of ducks (the Mickey wannabe) gets mad at the lone black duck in his flock of ducks and tosses him aside. Later, when the baddie arrives and steals the ducks, the black duck comes to the rescue. Racism not apparent throughout.

Overall, this is a cute little cartoon and the violence and adult content (super tame by today's standards) make it enjoyable because you don't expect such nastiness in olde tyme cartoons. Worth seeing.

Ouch...., 22 October 2014
3/10

Little Bosko's mother asks this little kid to take some cookies to grandma's house. However, his imagination gets the best of him and he imagines all sorts of strange things--such as giant frog-like genies, flying carpets and Stepin' Fetchit-like characters. It all makes very little sense and seems like a combination of Cab Calloway, the Nicholas Brothers and LSD.

What can you say about this cartoon other than the obvious?! "Little 'Ol Bosko in Bagdad" is a VERY dated cartoon short that abounds with racial stereotypes which would make most of us cringe today. Back in 1938, making fun of black people and portraying them as less than others was the norm-- and folks thought this sort of humor was quite funny. Today, it naturally makes us cringe and it's not surprising that the film was yanked from circulation. However, for historians and the curious, it can be seen or downloaded from archive.org.

On the positive side, the animation is pretty good and the cartoon is in color. On the negative...just about everything else.

Okay, though it gets a bit better as it progresses., 21 October 2014
6/10

I think if "Shadowed" had been made for some other anthology series I might have appreciated it more. However, "Four Star Playhouse" was such a brilliantly acted and written show that my expectations for it are extremely high--so it was a tiny bit of a disappointment. It was good...mind you.

When the show begins, Burt Stroude is (Dick Powell) is approached by the husband of one of Stroude's old flames and she apparently is begging to see him before she dies. However, this is a very sticky situation. First, it turns out that Stroude's affair with the woman occurred when she was still married--to the guy begging Stroude to see her! Second, Stroude is in line to become the state's next senator...and a scandalous situation like this might harm his chances. Third, Stroude is now married--and his wife knows nothing about this romance.

This is a decent program. The acting, as usual, is wonderful. The plot, however, is a bit slow in unfolding. My advice--keep watching, as it does get much better towards the end. And, like any episode of "Four Star Playhouse", it is worth your time.

Not bad...and an interesting chance to see a heavy play cop for a change., 21 October 2014
6/10

"Tiger at Noon" is written by Sidney Sheldon--the famous fiction writer and writer for "I Dream of Jeanie". It stars Stephen McNally as Lt. Kellogg and Anthony Caruso as Danny Arketto.

The show begins with the Lieutenant taking a day off to spend it with his son. Surprisingly, he sees a well-known hood, Arketto, out with his son-- and the cops have had no idea that Arketto had any family. So, knowing the guy has a son, Kellogg thinks perhaps he might have a way to capture the mobster. However, at the same time, a fortune teller has warned him about danger--dangers that all seem to be coming true when he investigates the Arketto case.

Overall, this is mildly interesting plot-wise. However, it was nice to see two very famous big and small-screen heavies starring in this one. Worth seeing but far from the show's best.

Fresh Hare (1942)
Ouch...the last 30 seconds!, 20 October 2014
6/10

"Fresh Hare" is one of several Warner Brothers cartoons that has been pulled from the market because of its racial insensitivities. While offensive, the company sure made worse (such as "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs"--which would probably give the politically correct out there heart attacks if they see it). Now I am not excusing the ending--it was pretty offensive and I could see why the powers that be decided to yank this from the market.

The cartoon finds Elmer Fudd as a Mountie out to get his man....I mean, rabbit. It seems that the screwy rabbit has crossed the line too many times and he's wanted by the authorities. What follows is generally quite funny and is well animated. However, completely out of left field comes a final weird and not very funny joke--one that leads to Bugs, Elmer and the rest of the Mounties putting on an impromptu minstrel show. Overall, much of the cartoon is cute and enjoyable and the ending is just plain odd and rather offensive.

Charming and entertaining if not believable., 20 October 2014

Janice (Martha Hyer), George (Niven) persona of Bart

This episode of "Four Star Playhouse" stars David Niven and while the story isn't exactly believable, it certainly is charming and entertaining. It begins with George (Niven) being run over by someone in a car. It appears to be deliberate but later, after leaving the hospital, George tells his friend what really happened. It all began some time ago. A charming, rich and pretty lady, Janice (Martha Hyer) sees George and thinks he's someone else--Bart, a rich Texas oil man. While he SHOULD tell her who he really is, Janice is charming and he soon finds himself falling for her. Eventually, however, it all leads to the car--and a sweet finale. As I said, it isn't really believable but it works well because Niven was a fine actor and the writing was really nice. So, like nearly all the episodes of the series, this one is excellent and worth seeing--which you can do by downloading it for free at archive.org.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A rare misfire for Boyer and "Four Star Playhouse", 20 October 2014
3/10

The show begins with a great playwright, Paul (Boyer) learning that his driver is sick and he'll need to drive himself across the Mexican desert. On the way, he meets up with a strange Mexican young lady who asks for a ride--little does he know that she has matrimony on her mind!

"Four Star Playhouse" was a wonderful but mostly forgotten 1950s anthology series. Despite its title, many big-time Hollywood actors and actresses starred in these half hour teleplays and most were simply wonderful due to the great writing and acting. In particular, I have really enjoyed the episodes starring Charles Boyer. However, I must say that "Desert Encounter" took me by surprise. It really was not well written at all and the script seemed very contrived and unconvincing.

An unusually sensitive and positive portrayals of American Indians., 14 October 2014
8/10

The assumption is that back in the old films, American Indians were always on the warpath and were basically evil. While that might be true in a few films, most westerns (especially the B- westerns) made a much worse mistake--they acted as if the West was completely independent of these indigenous people. In other words, they were mostly absent from the films. Because of this, it was great to see "The Cowboy and the Indians"---a highly unusual film for its time due to its focus on the natives as well as its sensitive portrayal of them. Because of this, this film manages to rise above the humble roots as a B-movie.

When the film begins, Gene (Gene Autry) has just bought a ranch and he is angry. After all, the local tribe has their sheep grazing on the land and they are clearly trespassing. In a huff, Gene goes to confront them. However, his anger quickly dissipates when he sees the sorry state that they are in--with malnutrition and illness wracking these people. Soon, he's determined to investigate why they are so poor and hungry. It seems that a scum-bag named Martin and his cronies are exploiting the natives and are stealing from these already destitute people. Gene's anger has been aroused and with a nice doctor and a war hero member of the tribe (Jay Silverheels), he's determined to bring justice to the west.

Like most of Autry's westerns, this is set in the present day and the film goes way out of its way to present the Indians far better than they'd been shown in the past. They are seen as heroes, patriots and all-around decent folk. Additionally, while they need help, they are not helpless nor are they stupid--as the two leading American Indians in the film are extremely well- educated and do NOT talk in broken English (this must have been a relief for Silverheels who OFTEN was forces to utter lines that made him sound a bit like Charlie Chan--with very few objects in sentences!). Overall, a wonderful change from the typical western of the day and a film well worth seeing.

By the way, if you do see the film look for Hank Peterson as one of Gene's friends--he later played Mr. Zipfel on "Green Acres". Also, at the end, Gene croons one of his biggest hits from earlier in his career, "Here Comes Santa Claus"--and it's a classic.


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