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Madness of the Heart (1949)
And they all lived happily ever after
This is what would have been called "a woman's picture" when it was made.As mentioned elsewhere it has echoes of Rebecca but without the mystery or suspense.It has moments of utter incredulity.It is difficult to know is more laughable the car crash which disposes of the husband and the attempted murdered or the "meeting cute"at the end in an attempt to add on a happy ending.These clichés represent some of the more laboured attempts at drama.There are many others such as going blind and then given a chance a chance at a one in fifty successful operation.This is strictly for Lockwood fans.Otherwise don't waste your time.
To See Such Fun (1977)
Turned out nice again
A compendium of British comedy films from the 1930s to the 1970s compiled by Herbert Wilcox and Michael Grade.Contrary to the comments of an American reviewer I not only remember all the artistes but actually saw some of them live and I am nowhere near eighty.There was no narration on the copy that I watched,there are a few introductory cards for certain sections.The problem with this film is that too many sequences are too short to get into,with the except in the case of Sid Field.This is unfortunate because I am not keen on Field.A fair number of the films featured were in colour but the film is totally black and white.
Lifetime of Comedy (1960)
Hodgepodge of comedy films
The fact that this film comes from the Fancey company should tell you everything.Not only do you get scenes from silent films but from sound shorts featuring Buster Keaton,Bing Crosby and Danny Kate which are all treated as if they were silent.It has a really awful Mickey mousing music score,lots of Pomona,and a really corny commentary spoken by the king of grappling commentaries Kent Walton.The problem is that if you like silent comedy this film will be a rather painful experience.The best of these type of films were produced by Robert Young son.Contemporaneous with this film Chaplin and Lloyd were rereleasing to the cinemas their silent classics with musical tracks that suited the scene.
The Last Waltz (1936)
This is the English version of a French film.It was made in Paris.It is a typical operetta of the mid thirties.The ministers of a Ruritanian country demand that the Prince gets married.They bring a countless and three of her four daughters to court.The Prince is attracted to Vera but she falls for a Count in his court who has been escorting the daughters.However all problems are resolved by the arrival of the fourth daughter who marries the Prince.It is difficult to understand the popularity of these type of films.The humour is ponderous and the musical numbers have little appeal or interest.Matters are not helped by the fact that one of the male leads does not have a particularly good voice.So this is not a very good example of the genre.
Battle of the V-1 (1958)
Budget limitations don't affect entertainment value and interest
This film must be the first from British studios to use the discovery of the V1 as its main theme.Not till the sixties would the topic be dealt with by a major studio.This film deals with the essentially true story about the way that the Polish partisans by obtaining parts of the rocket so that the details of the rocket were known well in advance of their onslaught on June 13 1944.It is unfortunate that the leading role was played by Michael Rennie,never the most expressive of actors.However there is an interesting supporting cast including Christopher Lee and Edmond Knight.The film is very entertaining but currently being shown in that ghastly flourishing process.
Village of Daughters (1962)
Humour relies on Italian caricatures
For some reason Eric Sykes did not have a hand in the screenplay.If he had then surely it would have been funny in parts.He didn't and it is not remotely funny at all.This despite John me Mesurier as a priest with a truly dreadful Italian accent.Every aspect of this film is a caricature of Italian manners but with as many clichés as you could conceive of.They even bring in the mafia to try and impart some humour into an otherwise tame and limp finale.Lots of familiar English character actors such as Warren Mitchell,Martin Benson,Graham Stark and Mario Fabrizi appear but unfortunately they cannot help.What was Eric Sykes trying to do singing under the end credits?
Off with his trousers
This film showed the sad direction in which the film industry was headed.This film was released at a time when Rank closed hundreds of Odeons and Gaumonts including my local.An acknowledgement that they had run out of ideas to compete with television.Actors agreeing to appear in rubbish such as this was their acknowledgement that they were not going to bother with the quality of the script just play the part and take the money.Brian Rix typically spends most of his time with his trousers off.His type of broad farce doesn't come over well on film and this film represented the tail end of his film career.Most of the rest of his acting career was spent at the Whitehall Theatre
A Tale of Five Cities (1951)
A rare outing for Cellano as the film's star
Bonar Cellano was a popular supporting actor in the UK till his early death in a car crash,which his friend Michael Balfour survived.His family were circus acrobats,which no doubt accounted for the scenes early one using his acrobatic skills.I disagree with the other reviewer,I believe his performance was perfectly acceptable.I do agree that this film is very clunky and not very satisfactory.His quest to 5 cities clearly coincides with the distribution deals made by the co producers.However the result is an uneven and patchy film.Again as mentioned by the other reviewer the scenery is interesting.Seeing the bombed cities where no reconstruction has taken place.
Little Red Monkey (1955)
Heard the song now I've seen the film
Around 60 years ago I remember the title number being played on the radio.Lyrics were added and it was sung by Jimmy Edwards.The film is rather less memorable being a fairly routine spy thriller starring an ageing Richard Conte as the parachuted in fading American star for the benefit of the American distributors.The DVD has some interesting trailers and an alternative beginning.This is far longer and much less puncture than the actual beginning.There is an intrepid reporter trying to ferret out a story,ignoring the fact that the government would quash any story with a D notice.Still this film was very topical at the time with the defection of Burgess and MacLean.
The Guv'nor (1935)
Admission shines as usual
George Armies was one of the most unlikely film stars ever.He became a star in his sixties as a result of his star turn as Disraeli.He was given the honour of being called "Mr".Though for some reason he was never given a knighthood,maybe because he spent so much time in film studios.This film was atypical of his roles in that he was not playing the leading player in a biopic.However as in most of his films he is helping to extricate people from problems that are not of their making.Here the obnoxious villain is played by Frank Cellier.By the time this film was made Arliss was almost at the end of his career which would end in 1937 with Doctor Syn.