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bill-790

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25 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Low budget Korean War story not bad., 23 March 2011
6/10

This film brings back memories. I grew up in Fullerton, California, and most of the films I saw in the 1950s played our local Fox theater. I suspect that's where I saw "Flight Nurse." Haven't seen it since, but I do remember it. As I recall, it was the second film on a double bill.

"Flight Nurse" was a low budget effort, to be sure. As with many such productions, its low budget did not mean low quality. The cast was certainly competent and the script okay if not exceptional.

One scene stands out in my mind, a bit of comic relief. As I recall, several of the film's characters found themselves next to a base ammo dump. One of them was doing something not considered safe practice, perhaps getting ready to throw away a lighted match. Anyway, one of the other characters criticizes the match-thrower and points to a sign posted next to a pile of bombs. The sign says "We want this ammo to explode, just not here!" The setting of this film, Korean War medical evacuations, is an interesting one. Your time won't be wasted if you watch this film, especially if you do not expect it to be another "Sands of Iwo Jima" or "Sgt. York."

Mutiny (1952)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Viewers may "mutiny" when they watch this one, 12 December 2010
4/10

"Mutiny" is surely one of the weakest films of 1952. Yes, it's in color (though the color photography isn't so hot) and, yes, the cast includes some solid actors. On the other hand production values are minimal and the screenplay is worse than routine. The results are decidedly below par.

What can we say about the director? Edward Dmytryk had directed several excellent films before he tackled this one. I should mention, among others, "Murder, My Sweet," "Cornered," and "Crossfire." After "Mutiny," he went on to direct "The Caine Mutiny," "Soldier of Fortune," and "The Left Hand of God." So how did Dmytryk get roped into doing this one? Someone more familiar with the man's career will have to explain that one. Suffice it to say that "Mutiny" places pretty far down the list of this fine director's works.

Its short length is in its favor, but that's a rather weak virtue. (Even though it is a short movie, one wishes it were even shorter.) All in all, this is not a good movie. Unless you have absolutely nothing better to do, I strongly recommend that you skip this one.

Northern Lights (2009) (TV)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
My reaction to this film is much warmer than the frigid Alaskan scenery., 2 October 2010
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm puzzled by the reactions of those who trash this film. It's no world-beater, but it's a fairly entertaining film most fans will probably enjoy viewing. Nothing particularly novel here, but it's well enough done for a TV movie and if nothing else has some great scenery.

Possible spoiler: There is one serious flaw in the script. The newspaper editor is murdered and the killer tries to make it look like suicide, even leaving a phony suicide note on the editors computer. The problem here is that there is no mention of any attempt to ascertain whether there were powder stains on the dead man's hand.

I was put off by the existing reviews before watching, but now think those reviews are unfair. We're not talking about a classic work of cinema here, but I have seen really bad movies, and this one is certainly better than those.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Here's what a Ranger vet said about this movie., 25 July 2010
6/10

He was not impressed! And the guy I talked to was a U.S. Ranger who took part in assault landings in North Africa, Sicily, the main Italian landing, and finally at Anzio. (He was captured by the Germans at Anzio and ultimately escaped, making his way eastward to the Russian lines. But that is another story.) My friend was fairly critical of the action portrayed in the movie, despite the fact that another Ranger was the technical adviser.

As for the movie itself, it is only slightly above mediocre. Although I am a big fan of older black and white movies, I must say that the lack of color here is a negative. Also, based on memory, too many scenes were shot on a sound stage. A film noir is fine shot that way, but an A level war movie should have more impressive production values. After all, WWII was not fought in a blimp hanger.

Suez (1938)
7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Watch out for that sand storm!, 24 July 2010
7/10

I can't argue with those who say that "Suez" shows us little if anything about the actual building of the canal of the same name. Still, I recommend this film to those who can put aside historical inaccuracies in order to enjoy a well made period film featuring some very good actors. In addition, the viewer will be treated to one of the great disaster sequences of American film. I refer to the giant sand storm which comes near the end of the film.

Tyrone Power is very good in this film, and you have to keep reminding yourself that he was only in his early to mid twenties during production. Power is a clear case of a great movie star who was a much better actor than many give him credit for. Check out "Nightmare Alley" if you need further evidence.

I will say this about the film with respect to the real Suez Canal project. "Suez" makes it clear how important such a canal was going to be and why various nations either favored or opposed its building.

Again, if you want to know the complete history of the canal, go to an encyclopedia. If you want to enjoy a very glossy example of 1930s A-budget film making,"Suez" will not let you down.

4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Quite a disappointment considering the cast., 24 June 2010
4/10

Another reviewer used the word "trite" to characterize the plot of this film. Amen to that! As for the film as a whole? How about lame? Really lame!

Since this was a 1940s Warner Brothers production featuring several of that studio's stalwart players, I had high hopes when I saw it for the first, and almost certainly ONLY, time. But, really, this is a silly story that is hardly ever funny and simply makes everyone involved look foolish. (Butterfly McQueen absolutely sobs her way through this movie. Makes you wish someone had taken her apron and gagged her with it!)

I love the WB product of the 1940s, but this is really a let down. Don't expect anything like "Christmas in Connecticut"!

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Colorful and breezy, but it never really gets out of Culver City., 9 June 2010
6/10

Randall Brandt is exactly right. This is a "Holiday in Mexico"? Produced by MGM at the height of its power, glory, not to mention financial resources, and yet the darned thing never gets outside a Culver City sound stage? Couldn't they at least have sent a camera crew to Mexico City to film some establishing shots in the major thoroughfares, parks, museums, etc.? Very disappointing.

This might just as well have been titled "Holiday in Burbank."

As to the story, it's flimsy at best. In its favor is the rich Technicolor photography which has never been equaled, plus some good musical numbers. The cast is good, with Walter Pidgeon in his most ambassadorial form as the father of the spunky young Jane Powell. Jose Iturbi and his sister play some great piano, as well!

Worth viewing, though at 128 minutes it's a bit long. "Holiday in Mexico" is an example of how Hollywood used to view (or didn't view) other countries.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A bumpy ride that benefits from its reasonably short length and solid leading man., 26 April 2010
7/10

I hardly recognized Veronica Lake when she first appeared. That short hair was a surprise! Too bad she had so little success beyond her first few successful films.

"Slattery's Hurricane" is a well polished black and white action film that does hold the viewer's interest. It's not a great film, nor even an exceptionally good one. Still, I would recommend it for a number of reasons. Widmark is good as always, and the location work and flying scenes are interesting. Also, at 87 minutes it is pretty well paced. I see in the cast that nearly half a dozen actors had their scenes deleted. That's a sign that the producers decided to tighten the film up a bit, and I think they probably were right in doing so.

As I said, it's worth a look, if only to see how Hollywood in the late 40s was breaking the bonds of the sound stages in which such a high percentage of movies were made prior to that time.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Taylor should have passed on this one., 23 April 2010

"The House of Seven Hawks" would have been much better had it been produced by Robert Taylor's old employer, MGM.

Instead, the film turned out to be quite a disappointment for Taylor, a man who had been a major star for two decades. I will say this; the opening is quite intriguing. Taylor's character agrees to transport a man from England to the Continent by boat, and does so. After arrival, however, he soon discovers that this simple business deal is quite a bit more complicated than what he expected.

Sadly, the film does not take advantage of this clever opening. From that point on, it is rather routine.

As others have suggested, this ends up being a rather lackluster B effort not close to the level of the films Taylor made for MGM. In that regard, this movie is similar to the 1959 efforts of Alan Ladd, a man whose great success in the 1940s and early 1950s was followed by some very mediocre productions. (In Ladd's case, the actor himself was largely to blame due to very poor judgment regarding choice of film projects.)

My admiration for Robert Taylor has grown over time. He was a better actor than many gave him credit for. (I recommend his performances in "Bataan" and "Johnny Eager.") Sadly, this particular movie, though watchable, did nothing to enhance his reputation.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A generally impressive Ladd vehicle., 10 February 2010
7/10

The other reviews pretty much explain what this movie is all about. I would like to add a couple of thoughts.

First, this is probably Alan Ladd's last quality production. The photography and locations are all very good, and the cast is solid. Compare those aspects with Ladd's subsequent films, such as "Man in the Net" and "Guns of the Timberland." Those two are definitely disappointing, not up to the standards of a star who excelled in films such as "This Gun for Hire," "The Blue Dahlia," and "Shane".

Second, the ending undermines the film's impact. Viewers who have seen "The Asphalt Jungle" will attest to the fact that the very grim conclusion of that classic seems inevitable and fitting. In the case of "The Badlanders," I suspect that Ladd himself rejected any such ending (if in fact such had been contemplated).

(By the way, the same can be said for an earlier Ladd film. "Thunder in the East" also has a happy ending that virtually defines the term deus ex machina. Had the principles all been killed in that one, it would have had a tragic quality that would have made it much better.)

"The Badlanders" is a good film (though not a great one) despite the above criticism. Had it appeared right after "Shane," it might have been a major hit. Unfortunately, by 1958 Alan Ladd's personal decline was all too evident. Perhaps it was too late for a Ladd film, even a good one, to break through.


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