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bkoganbing

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12266 reviews in total 
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Hunting a Moriarty, 24 September 2016
4/10

Crime, Inc. is one of those films that had it been done at a major studio it might have been a classic. It bears some resemblance to the MGM classic The Secret Six that starred Clark Gable, Wallace Beery, and Jean Harlow a decade and a half earlier.

It also borrows a bit from Sherlock Holmes in that there is a thesis that crime is a tightly controlled business and there's a Moriarty like head of it in this city. When the identity of this particular Moriarty is revealed we can understand why the police have been powerless to crush the crime syndicate.

The stars of this PRC film are Tom Neal as a crime reporter, Martha Tilton as a nightclub singer, and Danny Morton who is an independent operator and won't join the crime syndicate. Tilton is his sister and Morton's been a confidential source for Neal.

A nice group of character players are in this one and they make it worth a look, people like Harry Shannon, Grant Mitchell, Sheldon Leonard, Don Beddoe, and Leo Carrillo. Most interesting is Lionel Atwill as a mob attorney, offbeat casting for him, but it works.

But pedestrian direction and a script with enough holes in it to look like it was used for target practice consign Crime, Inc. to a mediocre fate.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Challenges for all the Reagans, 23 September 2016
8/10

Season 7 of Blue Bloods started with all the Reagans engaged in some crisis or other. Donnie Wahlberg is before the Grand Jury for the shooting death of a known serial killer he had history with in previous episodes. He has to convey to the Grand Jury that the world is indeed better off with the serial killer no longer breathing. He also is working a case and ironically has to save a young witness from being killed by the Albanian mob and it's a close run thing.

Tom Selleck gets an unusual request from a cop's widow, to prevent her son from joining NYPD, find some pretext to flunk him out. Not easy and not his department really because this young man is a stellar cadet at the Academy.

Will Estes encounter with a mayoral candidate in a drunk driving incident may have permanent blow back for the Reagan family especially the commissioner. What he does might give a lot of us ordinary citizens a reason to stand and cheer, but his father serves at the pleasure of the mayor and Selleck has served two of them. That's unusual in and of itself as there most certainly is politics in the job as Blue Bloods does show. That's a story line we'll have to see how it develops. John Thomas Cramer is one of those bloviating politicians that I really hate.

This is a good start to the season.

Alchemy, 23 September 2016
2/10

Before writing this review I took a look at Vanadium in Wikipedia and found that it is rarely found as a stand alone element. That it has many industrial uses, but did not find that it is used to manufacture gold which is also an element in our periodic table. So this entire film was so much fertilizer.

But the plot here is that some outlaws have captured a chemist and they have him working on trying to turn Vanadium into gold. A plot straight out of the Middle Ages for an American western where the villains are trying a hand at alchemy.

That's the mission the Frontier Marshals have to rescue the chemist from the outlaw's alchemy. Bill Boyd and Art Davis go undercover where these two break into song at some of the craziest moments. Lee Powell who didn't sing works from the outside.

Be assured justice was done, but not to the viewing movie going public who had to endure this claptrap.

Don't bale out on this, 23 September 2016
5/10

No stars in this PRC film, but a nice group of character players take center stage in Shake Hands With Murder. As business partners and possibly a romantic couple Frank Jenks and Iris Adrian provide a lot of laughs.

Adrian and Jenks are in the bail bond business and clearly Adrian is the brains. Jenks comes up with the marvelous idea that if they get a higher class of criminal to go bail for, the business will get bigger. So he goes bail for Douglas Fowley who's been charged with embezzlement of some high yield bonds. As this has taken just about all the capital the firm has, Adrian appoints herself to locate Fowley and stick to him like glue.

Fowley will need friends especially after the head of his firm Herbert Rawlinson is found dead. As Adrian and Jenks were also in the vicinity they are all three in the same leaky boat of criminal justice.

Shake Hands With Murder is your typical paper thin PRC production. But the three leads and the rest of the cast keep it entertaining and lively.

You always have to wonder though when you see a film like this what it might have become with a major studio doing it.

Offbeat casting for a conman, 23 September 2016
6/10

This B picture from Warner Brothers is primarily made to exhibit the talents of some players that the Brothers had high hopes for, Jane Wyman and William Hopper. Both made successes of themselves but not at Warner Brothers.

Public Wedding is the story of conman Berton Churchill in a role that normally would be reserved for Raymond Walburn as a man with an ever flowing spiel of con and Jane Wyman as his stepdaughter whom he has schooled in the arts. They've got a sideshow exhibit of a whale's mouth that's circling the drain financially. Churchill hits on an idea to hold a public wedding. The idea being who doesn't like to go to a wedding and enjoy the reception afterward. Wyman will be the bride and at the last minute they rope in struggling young artist William Hopper for the groom.

I'll say no more because it really gets hard to follow as Wyman and Churchill go through an amazing string of cons at which Hopper just looks bewildered by. Some of them are even designed to benefit him. Along the way Marie Wilson and her ingenuous manner get swept up in all this.

Wyman at this beginning of her career was getting roles at Warner Brothers that Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell were turning down. Like Olivia DeHavilland, Wyman kept trying to tell the Brothers she could do better. She didn't really until 1945 with strong leads in The Lost Weekend and The Yearling. But she moves that dialog along at a clip the other two would envy.

William Hopper as we know was the son of Hedda Hopper and that fact alone would have guaranteed employment. Eventually his success came on TV's Perry Mason as Paul Drake. Here he's just one of several young leading actors coming up, among others was Ronald Reagan.

Churchill is the real star here. Usually he's stuffy upper class gentleman, here he goes to town with this bit of offbeat casting. You will love his scenes with Marie Wilson.

Public Wedding, a little gold nugget among the B picture dross.

The Caper of the Gate, 23 September 2016
4/10

One of the earliest surviving motion pictures is that of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons heavyweight championship bout held in Carson City, Nevada in 1897. That historic event is the backdrop of this film Vigilantes Of Boomtown where some crooks are planning to steal the gate proceeds from the fight.

Boxing at the time was illegal in many places, but not for the most part in the rough and tumble west. Why Peggy Stewart is so adamantly opposed to the fight is beyond me. But that's part of the plot.

The Corbett camp is using the Duchess's ranch as their training camp so Red Ryder and Little Beaver get into the plot that way. There's also perennial western villain at Republic Studios Roy Barcroft who has some history with Red Ryder and is hoping to meet up with him and settle accounts at the same time he pulls off the caper of the gate.

Roscoe Karns has a really nice role as Billy Delaney, Corbett's legendary manager who Stewart's dog takes a real 'liking' to.

Still Vigilantes Of Boomtown is a subpar entree in the Red Ryder series.

Cowboys versus gangsters, 23 September 2016
4/10

Rex Bell who married Clara Bow and then went on to be Lt.Governor of Nevada after leaving the screen stars in this film with cowboys versus gangsters. This was done for Monogram Pictures with a minuscule budget and a lot of stock footage.

Nevertheless the film has its interesting points concerning the cowboy and gangster culture clashing in the modern west of 1932.

Bell's gone east to be a newspaper reporter and gets himself shot in the middle of a gang shootout. Rest is what the doctor prescribes and Bell goes back to his old ranch a little bit away from Cheyenne.

Where he finds that the local Cattleman's Association is just a dressed up protection racket and run by one of the gangsters he left on Broadway.

All I can say is that the ending clearly marks this as a pre-code picture. And look to the classic story in the many versions of The Virginian to see how things were handled.

Bell's no great actor, but he looks good tall in the saddle. Clara Bow sure thought so. Preston Sturges regular Al Bridge is one of the gangsters and Gabby Hayes has a scraggly beard, but a huge walrus mustache and his character is named just that, Walrus.

B western fans might like this.

The considerably less, 22 September 2016
6/10

The class structure in New York City gets a good exposure in this Blue Bloods episode. Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez catch a case involving the murder of a resident in an apartment complex. It's Ramirez here who clues Wahlberg in on how it works.

In their wisdom to come up with affordable housing in Manhattan the city will only approve building new structures if 20% is set aside for the middle class. This building does just that with even different entrances for those who are chosen by lot for those apartments and all the perks therein are for the 80% paying four figure monthly rent and those paying considerably less.

A considerably less well off kid is the murder victim here and the class and social structure of the tenants has a lot to do with the solving of this case. The housing crisis in Manhattan has for years been written and talked about. I'm not living in New York City in my retirement years because of it. Manhattan is like living in Elysium.

This Blue Bloods is educational as well as entertaining.

What you do for love, 22 September 2016
7/10

Two main story lines involve what people will do for love. Joseph Siravo and Katherine Narducci are a married couple and Siravo kills an intruder in his home. Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez have the case and as it turns out the intruder was a well known contract killer. It's a question of who wants who dead. And the information to break this one comes from the Organized Crime Task Force and the victim's own girlfriend. It's also a question of why.

The second plot line involves Bridget Moynahan defending against young attorney Eric Todd who is saying that his mother was wrongfully convicted of participation in a robbery 11 years ago. Here Todd maybe new to the law, but he's good. Just how good were the police though?

My favorite scene is with Moynahan and Todd commiserating after their story is over. I think you'll like it as well.

The patriarch settles a score, 22 September 2016
6/10

Len Cariou whose function in Blue Bloods is normally to preside over dinner and dispense advice to the younger generations gets involved here. Forty years ago as a patrolmen he witnessed the death of a fellow officer and the case was never solved. A perpetrator was identified and you won't believe how he was apprehended. Getting a conviction is another matter because after 40 years retired police chief Cariou is the only witness left.

Donnie Wahlberg and Marisa Ramirez catch an interesting case themselves literally when a wounded man runs past them with a determined perpetrator looking to finish him off and anyone else who might get in his way. In the end it looks like he has a pair of perpetrators to apprehend.

Nice to see Cariou get a bit more to do in this Blue Bloods.


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