Reviews written by registered user
heathentart

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32 reviews in total 
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More Igmar Bergman than "The Virginian.", 14 June 2010
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is truly an obscure and arcane script. Indian lore, the slaughter of a species, justice and retribution all come into play. Morgan Starr, the new boss of Shiloh, and the youngest hand, Randy Benton, travel a long distance to sell a herd of cattle to an unscrupulous Indian agent for the "benefit" of the tribe he controls.

Hopes are raised amongst the tribe when a herd of long-gone buffalo is sighted. Two Hawks, and his son, Tonka, steal Starr's and Benton's horses to go see the truth for themselves. If there are buffalo, it could presage the return of the tribe's strength and freedom from the reservation.

The script jumped around a lot, trying valiantly to encompass many themes. It is marginally successful, and it deserves a star for trying, but there was too much to pack into a 76-minute-or-so script.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Graphic depiction of animal cruelty unseen since "The Misfits", 17 May 2010
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's a good episode, but do not allow small children to watch, or any adult who loves animals. Even though, intellectually, you know the animal wasn't tortured as depicted, it is still incredibly painful to watch.

A brutal man, and his gentler brother, are at the heart of this story. The horrid brother is desperate to sell horses to the Cavalry, and has no compunction about torturing animals to do so.

It's very Cain and Abel in a way, and has a good lesson to learn.

But, if you love horses, as I do, it's painful to watch.

Of course, if you enjoy today's R-rated bloodfests, with limbs going flying and everyone drenched in fake blood, this won't disturb you at all. Which is, honestly, pitiable.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Absolutely adorable and fun to watch!!, 13 April 2010
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I originally gave this film a 7, but because of the lion, I upped it to 8. "Fearless Fagan" is a fun movie for all ages. Carleton Carpenter is one of our most talented performers, writers, musicians still living. He made movie history with Debbie Reynolds when they were both kids, singing "Aba Daba Honeymoon" or, as I called it as a kid, "that monkey song." "Fearless Fagan" is about a young man, just 21, who is chased down by the draft board and...um.. coerced into inducting into the Army. He has a big problem, though, the titular "Fearless Fagan," his pet lion. Hilston (Carpenter) has had Fagan since he was a four-day-old cub, and they've never been separated.

The basis of the film is slight - trying to keep the lion on base without being found out - and how a Hollywood singer (Janet Leigh) gets involved is contrived, but it's a sweet, fun movie.

There's a tense scene at the end, that even I, the cynic, believed. But don't fear, this ends happily.

The movie is suitable for family viewing and, while not an "important" film, is important for the fun involved. Enjoy yourselves.

A last note: there is no information on IMDb for Fagan, the lion. The screen credits mentioned nothing either, which I think is awful. The lion was amazing, and I was prepared to adopt him myself.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Misidentification of the stalwart Champion, 9 April 2010
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, so shoot me. I enjoy Gene Autry's movies, anachronisms (missing from this one) and all.

Gene is helping out a very pretty senorita (Ann Rutherford) from a dastardly man bent on acquiring her ranch for pennies. There's a race between Thoroughbreds and Mustangs to see who'd make better Pony Express ponies. As if there's any doubt!! Mustangs rule!! Smiley Burnette is his usual funny self, doing a wonderful number as a matador against a two-man bull. LOL!!! Classic. He also gets to be the pivotal man who unmasks the evildoers. What a talented man! I've submitted a correction to the cast list. "El Diablo" the black stallion mustang of the film is identified as Champion, Gene's famous horse. El Diablo is a black with a small white star on his forehead. Champion is the first of his line - a dark sorrel with a white blaze down his face, and white stockings (3, I think) that Gene rides throughout, except for the pivotal horse race.

Obviously two different horses. The sad thing for me is there is no documentation about "El Diablo," including breeding, training, etc. Just another hard-working animal that gets no recognition.

If you've enjoyed any of Gene's other movies, you'll like this one. If you prefer Clint Eastwood's kind, don't even bother watching.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
I gave it a *3* for the horse, Lonestar., 2 April 2010
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a loud, loud, LOUD and brash story about a louder man. It's a freaking wall of noise from beginning to end. So much so, that the actors who speak in normal tones seem to be whispering.

I don't understand the *funny* in yelling. And when you have an entire cast just wailing from first to end, you can't give a rip about the story, if there was one.

Stupid, stupid, STUPID script with loud-mouthed actors. Take a gander at Buddy Ebsen screaming his lines. Not funny. Just stupid.

Trust me on this, the cast sucks. Best actor in the bunch, with the best lines, is the pinto, Lonestar.

The only improvement, it seems, is that Dennis O'Keefe finally learned to rachet it back in his future films. What a relief!!

2 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
It smells from beginning to end., 10 January 2010
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You need energy to keep up with "The Front Page" and "His Girl Friday," from which "Thrill of Brazil" stole the story. You need a frontal lobotomy to sit through TOB.

I don't like manic movies. The Marx Brothers always give me headaches. For me, pacing is important and "Thrill of Brazil" has none. You are never allowed to take a deep breath and regroup, but are kept listening to the hue and cry of dialogue, singing and dancing.

The music is eminently forgettable, with little charm and less enjoyment. After seeing the fourth, or was it fifth, dancing number with the same rhythm, same costumes, same dance steps... well, ho-hum.

I wish I could say something - ANYTHING - nice about this movie. The actors had a hard row to hoe and, unfortunately, didn't acquit themselves well. Keenan Wynn was just plain loud. There was no charm to his portrayal, no attractiveness to his character. He was so oily and slimy and underhanded, I wished for someone to shoot him within the first 20 minutes.

I wouldn't waste your time. I'm sorry I wasted mine.

1 out of 10 only because there was no 0.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp, brave, courageous and bold..., 13 September 2009
7/10

Long live his fame and long live his glory, And long may his story be told.

I can remember the theme to this day. The original TV program was a regular stop on my viewing schedule as a kid. My adulation of the legendary lawman composed of many hours pouring over books about Wyatt Earp and those wild West days.

Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone is a nice walk back in memory, but it doesn't play half as well as during the Western craze on American TV. It's wonderful seeing the old series, interspersed in new footage with an older, wiser Hugh O'Brien, BUT, it would work so much better if they just bring back the old series in its entirety.

The "current" story just doesn't ring true, hence, the entire film is choppy and uneven. Too bad, IMO, as "Wyatt Earp" was one of the best TV shows ever produced.

I give it 7/10 because of the old footage, but would've given it a 9/10 if the "current" story was better.

Outback (1989)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Lovely period costume drama with great horses, 11 September 2009
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Wrangler," as it is known in the U.S., is a horse drama with great style and period detail. It's named "Minnamurra" in the Australian market, as that is the name of the cattle station property in dispute in the film.

Minnamurra is a large cattle station, held by the Richards family, with patriarch, James; his wife, Caroline; son, Rupert; and feisty daughter, at the center of this film, Alice May Richards, played by Tushka Bergen.

Ms. Bergen is a lovely, wide-eyed redhead with glorious hair, speaking eyes and a almost-tomboy manner. Her character, Alice, is bound to Minnamurra, their breeding stallion, Barbicon, but is also drawn to two men, one eagerly, Jack Donaghue, drover and militant unionizer; and Ben Creed, businessman and venture capitalist, whom she regards warily with great distrust.

Also in the film is the enemy of James Richards, who is trying to wrest ownership of Minnamurra, named Allenby. He's the dirty deed doer who will do anything to get what he wants. Unfortunately, in the film, he's a one-dimensional character who doesn't really have much of a presence in the movie.

This film has the look and feel of the old Merchant-Ivory movies of the 1990s. Sumptuous settings, opulent lifestyles, elegant people in a monied, elegant time.

The storyline isn't exactly as the one for "Australia" (2008), but it is similar to Nicole Kidman's vehicle.

The story is fraught with contention, albeit in a very gentlemanly manner. Alice Richards knows her father is having problems in holding onto the family station, and she finds herself deeply involved in solving the family's situation. There is no gore in this film, some violence, but of the bloodless variety. The worst part is an explosion where two men get killed. Other than that, the movie is certainly is fine for children to see.

The most exciting part, at least for me, is the horse drive - the cinematography is glorious throughout and very striking visually. There is one scene that shows the magnificent dichotomy of Australia's geography: during the horse drive when the horses go from arable land to complete desert sand in one stride. It's an incredible shot.

While this isn't a compelling story or film, it is certainly enjoyable. The two heroic men, from whom Alice must choose, are played by Jeff Fahey and Steven Vidler, as Ben Creed and Jack Donaghue, respectively. The arch enemy is played by Shane Briant, whom I recognized from other projects. Most of the cast is unknown to me, as they are either Australian or British, but all the company do their parts exceedingly well.

Look for an historical figure in this film, Lord Kitchener, the 1st Earl Kitchener of Boer War fame in South Africa. He plays a vital role in the film.

"Wrangler" or "Minnamurra" is a nice, enjoyable viewing. It's not a monumental film, but a good experience for the whole family. (Well, okay, except for some hard-core guys who'll think this is a chick flick.) I rated it 6 out of 10, as it looks great, has some interesting plot points, but overall, it doesn't delve deeply into any of them.

Unless I missed it, they never explain what Minnamurra (an Aboriginal word) means. A shame, really.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A sweet affectionate tale from times gone by, 10 September 2009
7/10

Was there ever an animal actor as compelling and affecting as Lassie? Regardless of the sex confusion (the first Lassie was actually a male, not the female the dog portrayed), Lassie was competent in his roles, this film being no exception.

The story is simple and heartfelt, based upon a true event - a terrier who so loved his master that, when he died, would faithfully guard and sleep on his dead master's grave. Hence "Greyfriar's Bobby" and his story was born. Take the time to look it up online, it's a wonderful story of love, devotion and how a town got involved in the life of one, poor dog.

The cast is delightful, filled with my favorite character actors from the 1940s - Donald Crisp, Edmund Gwenn, Reginald Owen, Alan Napier - wonderful actors no matter what the role.

According to IMDb, some of the filming was done at the actual location of Greyfriar's Churchyard. If true, it brings a beautiful touch of authenticity, even if Lassie is a collie and not a terrier.

This film is especially good for children to watch, as it teaches a lesson about devotion and loyalty and the heavy price one might have to pay for both. But the denouement is uplifting and joyous, and very special to watch.

I've loved this movie since I was a child, and now almost a half-century later, it still holds up,.

Treat your children and yourselves to a sweet, uplifting experience. The "Challenge To Lassie" is worth your time.

6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Plays real good, like a noir should, 9 September 2009
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've always liked Barry Sullivan's work, but never saw him in a dark, noir role like his Steve Kiever, man on the run.

The films has a lot of the noir standards: dark environs, some nasty losers, and the set-up, murder and finally the solution.

Kiever is an insurance agent who gets deep into a twisted scam of mobsters, insurance companies, and cops. The plot is fairly simple -crooks stealing insured jewels, then working with Kiever to return them to the insurance company for payment. Ya see, the insurance guys pay less than the insurance claim would have paid. So the jewels are returned, the mobsters make more than they would using a fence, the insurance company goes along - "No Questions Asked." Everything is fine, Kiever has a super girlfriend in the form of gorgeous Arlene Dahl, he's making money hand over fist - And then there's a murder.

This is a good movie which I enjoyed greatly. I have a personal interest because the film was made in the year of my birth, and I've always been interested in what things were like then.

"No Questions Asked" is a nice way to spend a coupla hours. A cold drink, some popcorn, turn the lights down and settle into the couch. Life is good. :)


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