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In The Captain's Paradise Alec Guinness is in the title role and this
is a man who thinks he has it made. He pilots a ferryboat from British
Gibraltar to the City of Tangiers on the African coast. And he's got a
wife on both sides to satisfy all his needs. Of course the women don't
know about each other.
In Gibraltar is proper wife and mother to two children Celia Johnson. She is for the man who likes to come home to a prepared meal, pipe and slippers, and a good book. But over in Tangiers is the sensuous and sexual part of his nature is Yvonne DeCarlo. With her Guinness wants to go out clubbing and one of the highlights of the film is him doing one wild mambo with DeCarlo.
I have to say that Guinness's Henry St. James is one of the most chauvinistic characters I've ever seen portrayed on screen. Obviously no one woman will do for him, so he makes sure he gets all bases covered. If neither met a certain need I'll bet he'd have found a third or a fourth somewhere although that juggling act would have been something to see. These women truly exist to serve him and he never takes into account their needs or that people change over time. That proves to be his undoing.
The Captain's Paradise got an Oscar nomination for Original Story and it is a pretty neat story. Guinness, Johnson, and DeCarlo give superb performances and so does Charles Goldner who plays his first mate on his ferryboat and learns his secret, but keeps it as he admires Guinness's romantic adroitness.
A great one for Alec Guinness fans.
Two strangers Richard Jaeckel and Jackie Cooper become linked when
Jaeckel surprises Cooper at gunpoint and slips a belt on him with an
bomb attached and able to be detonated by remote control.
Fortunately the Ironside team is around when Jaeckel directs Cooper to see Commissioner Gene Lyons. Jaeckel says he's representing some cockamamie People's Revolutionary Army and he wants to prisoners from Soledad and one from Chino released and a private plane to be transportation.
As it turns out plain greed is the real motive not anything as grandiose as Jaeckel claims it. And his big mistake is to up his demands and ask for Raymond Burr as a hostage. Though I will say the outcome was a close run thing.
Check this one out.
Cinderfella is Jerry Lewis's Cinderella story with role reversal. Jerry
is once again a poor schnook living on an estate with his stepmother
Judith Anderson and stepbrothers Henry Silva and Robert Hutton. All of
them treat the furniture better than they do Lewis. Anderson is hoping
to make a match for Hutton with Ruritanian princess Anna Maria
Alberghetti as the family fortune is dwindling.
A tale as universal as Cinderella need not be repeated. We all know what happens in the end. Lewis is under the careful guidance of Frank Tashlin who knew how to get the best performances from him, especially as a solo artist.
Harry Warren and Jack Brooks wrote some rather serviceable but forgettable songs for Lewis though why Alberghetti didn't have a number who knows. I'll bet she did and it was cut.
Standing out in the supporting cast are Ed Wynn also restrained for him as he was one of the zaniest performers ever as Jerry's fairy godfather. Imagine if after Francis Ford Coppola's epics Cinderfella was made what The Godfather might have looked like. And Judith Anderson was properly sinister as the stepmother.
Jerry's fans will appreciate this and it's not bad. But personally the Rodgers&Hammerstein television musical is still best.
With such people as Charlton Heston, Richard Burton, Robert Shaw, and
Montagu Love playing Henry VIII you get the idea it's both a plumb role
and a serious part. But the big screen never a Henry VIII like the one
that Sidney James gives us in Carry On Henry VIII.
Henry gets a couple extra wives in this one, dropped nicely between Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard. One's going to the block as the film opens. After that James gets a present of French princess Joan Sims cousin of King Francis I of France and that seems like a good bet to solidify an alliance.
But on the wedding night it turns out Henry can't stand her garlic breath. Not only is it on all that French food, but the woman uses it like chewing gum. James is set to fling her out and he lights on a new truly bosomy queen for his taste.
But that upsets the balance of power in Europe. Not to mention the machinations of Kenneth Williams as Thomas Cromwell and Terry Scott as Cardinal Wolsey.
Then there's poor Charles Hawtrey who is the king's equerry and Queen Sims believes that her needs come first if the king isn't meeting them, maybe Hawtrey will. That was quite the seduction scene.
Medieval England never saw history like this, but Carry On Henry VIII gives out with a lot of laughs.
If what I saw in this film was a sample of John Huston's behavior than
I don't know how he lasted as long as he did in the film industry. This
film based on a novel by Peter Viertel purports to show some of the
difficulties in getting Huston to settle down and make the African
White Hunter, Black Heart will never go down as one of Clint Eastwood's better projects. According to the film, protagonist John Wilson is having a touch of Hemingway, he's in Africa and what do they do in Africa, but go on safari. Eastwood's made his mind up that he's got to go toe to toe with a bull elephant before shooting it.
All this is chronicled by Jeff Fahey playing the author who narrates the film and from whose eyes we see all the action. And studio boss George Dzundza is about to tear the hair from his head with all the delays and Eastwood's procrastination. Dzundza is almost a caricature of the Jewish studio moguls of the time, but frankly my sympathies were with him. In real life he'd have canned Eastwood and brought in another director to get the film made.
This was an important step for the American film industry. 20 years earlier with Trader Horn MGM shot that one with all kinds of problems shooting there in the tropics by people who weren't used to it. The African Queen and King Solomon's Mines set a new standard because the public did not want to see cheap back lot jungle sets any longer. So Dzundza has a lot riding on it.
I have to say that this particular Clint Eastwood project did not please me.
One of the bloodier episodes of The Untouchables is this one where
Victor Buono who cut his gangster teeth in the opium trade is setting
up road houses just outside Cook County which the Capone organization
controls. Buono is smart because he's using imported Canadian liquor
instead of bathtub rot gut that the organization has and he's bought
that particular county lock, stock, and barrel.
When Bruce Gordon orders one of Buono's roadhouses hit, it's a bloody massacre with innocent bystanders hurt. There is a very tender scene with Robert Stack at the bedside of a dying Anne Whitfield who was one of those bystanders.
Buono's delivery service is an a broken down airshow run by three World War I aces and Ed Nelson crashes and is later captured by Frank Nitti's hoods. It all leads to a bloody climax.
I have to say that in the end all that was accomplished was that The Untouchables did Frank Nitti a favor and got rid of his burgeoning competition. Still it's a good story, but a bloody one.
Some of the people from in front of and behind the camera of True Grit
bring us this easy going country story starring Glen Campbell and Kim
Darby. It's not quite in the same caliber as True Grit however.
Glen Campbell is returning from Vietnam to his home in the metropolis of Ralph, Texas which is a stone's throw from the Arkansas border. He goes his separate ways from Joe Namath a fellow Marine and returns home to his sister Leigh French and drip of a brother-in-law Dom DeLuise. Glen is never without his guitar and never turns down a song request. However he'd like to make a living at it and hopes to get a big break on the Louisiana Hayride country radio show, a rival of sorts to the Grand Ole Opry.
After that it's an episodic adventure with him delivering a stolen car from conman Pat Hingle to New York, of course Glen doesn't find out it's stolen until he's on the road. During the course of the film he gets involved with would be actress Carol Lynley, hippie chick Tisha Sterling, and eager young bride Kim Darby. Guess whom he winds up with.
Glen's singing of several country/western ballads makes the film easy to take and glosses over a lot of his lack of acting ability. Had he come along thirty years earlier Campbell might have been a good singing cowboy star, but those days have passed. No real plot in Norwood just a series of incidents on his journey to New York and back.
Whatever else it is Norwood is not True Grit, but Glen Campbell fans might like it.
I have a feeling that over at RKO they heard that MGM was doing The
Ziegfeld Follies and decided to do George White's Scandals. White who
was an actor as well as producer appeared in his own shows and in
adaptions over at 20th Century Fox. Here however White is played by
But White himself is extraneous to this story which concerns two backstage plots. White's number one assistant Philip Terry falls for Martha Holiday whose mother back in the day was chorus girl in the Scandals but who married English nobility and retired. Now Holiday is trying out but lets no one know including Terry. Holiday also has Jane Greer as a rival who is pretty ruthless about getting her way.
The second story concerns those lovebirds Jack Haley and Joan Davis who are both in the Scandals. They'd like to get married, but Haley promised his dear old parents that he wouldn't until his sister did. Unfortunately his sister is Margaret Hamilton and if you think the Wicked Witch intimidated the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz wait until you see her in this film. They even hire a professional escort for her in Fritz Feld who falls down on the job.
That last one is pretty silly, but the players make it work. The best song in the score is the revived Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries which was introduced in the 1931 version of the Scandals on Broadway. It was introduced by Rudy Vallee and too bad they couldn't have gotten him to do it in the film. Vallee and White however came to a nasty parting of the ways and I doubt Rudy would have made himself available for this film.
It's not MGM and it shows, but George White's Scandals is a decent enough film and it also features Gene Krupa and his band and Ethel Smith on her Tico Tico organ.
Fans of the Wizard Of Oz might like to see Haley and Hamilton as brother and sister. No one is putting a smile on Margaret Hamilton's face.
One must wonder what Winston Churchill thought of Carry On...Up The
Khyber as he took the possession that Great Britain had over India as a
rather serious affair. No doubt he read a whole lot of pulp fiction
about the British army in India and did serve their for a spell as a
For those in the British public who were enamored of British Imperialism this might not be their kind of film. But those who like a few chuckles and an occasional belly laugh will appreciate the satire of those pulp fiction stories that Carry On...Up The Khyber spoofs.
Sid James is the territorial governor of that northwest most part of India that contains the Khyber Pass which for about a century was most critical for the British in India to hold whether the natives objected or not. The 33rd Foot and Mouth Highland regiment guards the pass, known to one and all as the 'devils in skirts'.
Through the misadventures of Private Charles Hawtrey it is revealed that this regiment is not so tough after all because they do wear an undergarment under those kilts That's enough for the local rajah Kenneth Williams to rouse the locals to take up arms against the British and once again they fight with their backs to the wall.
As you can see this is loaded with innuendo and a few very specific jokes that Hollywood wasn't as eager to deal with as the Carry On troupe was. Another good one from the Carry On folks.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've Got A Horse was a film set to display the talents of its star
Billy Fury together with several other British bands of the 60s and the
gimmick on which the picture is based is its star's real life and well
publicized love for animals. If Fury were alive today he'd probably
would have had a place like Doris Day has for dogs and cats in Carmel.
But it's more than dogs and cats that Fury likes as the title indicates. Put it simply the star buys a horse, loses the horse, and then gets another horse. Between all that Fury gives us several numbers along with other musical acts.
Fury was considered the British Elvis Presley and the film is structured like an Elvis film except with a lot more numbers. In fact it's almost like a series of musical videos put together to tell a very slight story.
But people came to see him sing and Billy Fury's fans did get their money's worth. A film for folks who are nostalgic for the era and a chance for Americans to see him perform as he never quite made it over here.
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