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zpzjones

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102 reviews in total 
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Lost film or not, 11 March 2017

I don't know where previous poster Safarijcg saw this film(as of 2001). By all accounts it's a lost film with no known prints. If this survives, I'd love to know where I can go see it. The lead actress is Elsie Janis who wrote and stars in this comedy. It was released with several titles, ie: "Madcap Betty" and in the UK "The Merry Madcap".

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Only John Hawkesworth was missing, 23 February 2015

How could anybody who has ever seen and loved the original Upstairs, Downstairs show not love Thomas & Sarah, the only spin-off series from the former show? In reading some of the other comments, viewers say T&S doesn't have this or didn't have that as opposed to what 'Updown' had. People!, it's not supposed to. If one remembers, the characters Thomas Watkins and Sarah Moffatt were the chauffeur and under-house on the original Updown having left at the death of Edward VII, in May 1910. This new show is about them and their adventures, or misadventures, depending on how you look at it. It takes place roughly 1910-1912, but certainly before WW1. In Updown Sarah and many of the other characters always talked about their adventures away from 165 Eaton Place, where they had been, ...for instance James Bellamy had taken Sarah to Paris near the end of series one or earlier when Sarah had first left she had been with a circus for two years. But we never see her and James at Paris, just talking about it. Here in T&S much more is played out. T&S has more location photography that only some Updown episodes had ie the trip to Scotland in the final series. In T&S we get to see the kinds of things Sarah always bragged about to Rose in Updown when they used to share the same bedroom in the first Updown series. The decision to do more adventurous stories and location work is a good extension or extrapolation from the original Updown which was more studio bound, but couldn't help to be with a much larger cast and more subplots. The decision to shoot Updown & T&S on videotape is why these two period pieces are quite viewable today.

Alfred Shaughnessy(1916-2005) is the main producer/writer T&S and in 1990s commentaries on Updown, we learn he had grown up in large wealthy houses and knew about the era just preceding his 1916 birth, the prewar era in which T&S takes place. It seems the only person missing is Shaughnessy's writing partner from Updown, John Hawkesworth. On his own and right after Updown ended in 1975, Hawkesworth produced "The Duchess of Duke Street", with as much attention to period detail as Updown and T&S. When T&S began in 1978 Hawkesworth was about to produce the excellent WW2 series "Danger UXB", so his absence from T&S is understandable. The final episode has a 'Jules & Jim' nature to it joining Thomas and Sarah with a grieving landowner named Richard De Brassey whom Sarah falls for and wants to marry. Others have commented on how this episode ends and what was later to be contemplated with a second series. The finale ends ambiguously with Thomas and De Brassey going into a burning barn. We later see Sarah at a graveside attending the burial of one of them, the name is not on the wooden coffin or is surrounded by a wreath or laurel of flowers. Just my opinion Thomas faked his death in the fire and used the opportunity to flee Sarah, leaving her to marry De Brassey, and go to America as he always wanted to seek his fortune.

A wonderful adventure back to the Old West through time travel, 19 August 2014
9/10

One of my favorite time travel movies. This is a film that's taut and well-made and probably a tad too adult for the Saturday morning kiddie type crowd. It really should appeal to the viewer who has his thinking cap on and can appreciate attention to historical detail. In late 1982 the hero, an off road motorbike racer, named Lyle Swann, unwittingly gets caught in the middle of a time-travel experiment and is transported to the Old West of 1877. In the strata of science-fiction and time travel, this is believable since he's alone in the middle of the desert and cannot ascertain that he's been transported through a time warp. As the film progresses Swann meets several people in 1877: outlaws, an attractive woman named Clare Cygne from Louisiana, a priest Quinn heading a small town and two US Marshalls. The outlaws led by Porter Reese appear to be Civil War veterans from the Confederate side when Reese makes a crack about 'General Lee would have won the war if he had Swann's motorcycle'. The filmmakers add a nice touch and nod to Mark Twain. When Clare pulls out a copy of Twain's "Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", written in 1865, viewers paying attention to the scene will recall that Twain is the author of one of the most famous time travel stories "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" written in 1889 and which probably inspires this film. Clare asks Swann if he can read and if he's read any Mark Twain and Swann responds telling Clare he has and that "Tom Sawyer" is Twain's most famous book. Since the old-west part of this film takes place in 1877, it wouldn't have been unusual that Clare would not have heard of "Tom Sawyer" as it had only been published in 1876. Other nice touches of realism are the showcasing of a community of outlaws living in a outlaw camp. The viewer may ask what are those outlaws doing for food, for clothes, bathing, laundry altogether basic survival. When one outlaw is shot early in the film his cohorts pick his body of clothing & belongings before the vultures get to him. The priest and Clare work together bartering with Mexican locals, trinkets, guns, and food stuffs.

The film showcases several adult themes ie: profanity, gunshots, mild sex scene. It's amazing the film was released with a PG rating but remember this was 1982, two years before the Motion Picture ratings system was upgraded to include PG-13 and NC-17. The director keeps the film accurate to its 1877 time frame and shows elements in a western that are realistic such as the profanity and the renegade woman Clare who is a gunslinger, ?prostitute and adventuress. This film gets away with telling mature elements in Western that were not up to that time seen in conventional westerns especially going back to b/w films in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Had Timerider been made in the early 70s it might have been better received. If it had come out in the 40s or 50s as a film noir western it would certainly be a classic but with a compromise. There would not have been no cursing, no scrib gunshot wounds, the sex scene would not be explicit, though for 1982 the scene given is mild. More explicit sex scenes can be viewed in daytime soaps.

GRANDFATHER PARADOX An interesting aspect of this film is the application by some of the 'so-called' Grandfather Paradox. Hmmm! This supposedly applies when Clare and Lyle have sex and she questions him about the pendant around his neck. He tells her that his great great grandmother took it from his great great grandfather after an incredible night and the great great grandfather was never seen again. At the end of the film Swann is rescued by helicopter by the scientists responsible for transporting him to 1877. The head scientists tells Lyle that Clare cannot come back with them to 1982 by which time Clare snatches Lyle's pendant from his neck. When Clare takes the pendant this essentially repeats the story of Lyle's great great grandmother: END OF STORY!.....No mysterious paradox, Clare merely snatches the pendant. At this point many viewers who have seen the film think that Clare's actions reveal her to be Lyle's great great grandmother. I thought this too at one time but this is IMPOSSIBLE. Even if time-travel was real, Lyle Swann could not be his own great great grandfather or father his own great grandmother who would be the child Clare would conceive after the night of sex with Lyle. IMPOSSIBLE, even if time-travel were real a person could not literally go back in time and father his own ancestor. A person has to come from somewhere, he has to have a history. Swann could sleep with his great great grandmother, impregnate her and it would be a completely different individual. (Remember when the two of them were going over the Mark Twain books she tells Swann her real name, Clare Cygne, which if she was his great great grandmother, he should have known her name. Or it should have sounded familiar. A flag should have gone up in Swann's head as to her identity.)This puts an end to the Grandfather Paradox. ...The pendant, a seemingly valuable trinket as Lyle had been handed down to by his mother, is probably something from the 19th century and now it's returning to it's original time when Clare snatches it. If Clare is pregnant by Lyle she'll merely hand it down to her offspring and he/she will hand it down and so forth but there is no reason Lyle will ever see it again as it will be a totally different set of people and circumstances who will receive the pendant.

The film gets 3 1/2 stars out of 4.

Lovelace (2013)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Safe biopic for those not familiar with Lovelace's true background, 14 January 2014
4/10

Maybe Lindsay Lohan had a point of bowing out of this sh##. This biopic came off pretty much like I expected. A paper-mache treatment of Linda Lovelace's story peppered with her alleged tales of victimhood. I remember watching an episode of Sally Jessy back in the 90s and the topic was Lovelace and as a guest was Harry Reems. Stupid Sally Jessy got to the end of the show and asked Reems if he was 'gonna apologize to Lovelace'. Reems said, '...for what?' Sally's question and Reems response pretty much sums up Lovelace's picture of herself as victim. This movie concentrates on Lovelace's Deepthroat movie but ignores the numerous loops she appeared in before DT and the one porno after DT called Linda Lovelace for President. As others have mentioned Lovelace had sex with dogs on film and also liked getting urinated on by men and/or women. Strong stuff for sure but on the 35th anniversary DVD rerelease of DT former porn great Eric Edwards(one of the guys who got to pee on her) said that Lovelace would seek him out to be a sex partner in films with her. She also performed in loops with Chuck Traynor, her dirtbag mentor and the guy who is accused of abusing her.

The casting of this movie really doesn't work. Amanda Seyfried is too 'Little Bo-Peepish' to play Lovelace, though imho Lindsay Lohan wouldn't have worked either. Seyfried would have been a lot better cast as Carol Connors the goofy blond assistant to Reems in Deepthroat. Today Connors is known as the mother of legit actress Thora Birch. As cast Seyfried is too wide-eyed and innocent and visually doesn't resonate the hellish life Lovelace had lived by age 22 when DT was made. Lovelace had had an illegitimate child(given away for adoption) and was a veteran of numerous stag-loops and as such comes off world-weary. The recreation of some of the key scenes in DT are the only amusing, though momentarily, thing about this timewaster.

White Tiger 1923, 15 March 2012

Fortunately this 1923 Universal film by Tod Browning survives for us to view and evaluate. Made right after Browning's OUTSIDE THE LAW this film has all the feel of "Outside the Law" even to the point of looking like it re-uses some of the "Outsidethe Law" sets. Browning's stars in this film are perhaps his favorite muse, Priscilla Dean who appeared in "Outside the Law" and many other Browning films, Wallace Beery, Raymond Griffith and Matt Moore. Even the same cameraman William Fildew is on hand. If you're familiar with Tod Browning's films you'll recognize that he's treading on territory that he would later use at MGM in such films as THE UNHOLY THREE, THE MYSTIC and THE SHOW. In fact Raymond Griffith has a mustache and is dressed wearing a familiar striped shirt almost identical to John Gilbert's in 1927's "The Show". So one gets the feeling that Browning is never really finished saying what he wants to say where as many of his films, such as "White Tiger", keep returning to the same theme. Sources state that "White Tiger" was made in 1921 but not edited and released until 1923 which is probably why it bears such a striking resemblance to "Outside the Law". As in "Outside the Law" and the later "Unholy Three", the story in "White Tiger" has three to four criminals on the run after a jewel robbery, held up in a claustrophobic environment, each having to deal with the other's foibles. In "Outside the Law" it was an apartment on Nob Hill in San Francisco and in "White Tiger" it's a log cabin in western New York. The sense of mistrust amongst the criminals is just as tense as it is in both the 1925 "The Unholy Three" and it's 1930 sound remake.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
I Figure I Had to Comment, 15 March 2012

The Notorious Lady(1927): This film is a well shot and preserved late silent, 1927, from the First National Studios and before they were absorbed by Warner Brothers. As many silent lovers know, much First National material is lost. This film has a nice cast led by Lewis Stone and Barbara Bedford. Others in the cast are Lloyd Whitlock, Earl Metcalf, Ann Rork, E. J. Ratcliffe and Francis McDonald. A tidbit of info, both Lewis Stone and Francis McDonald had appeared in First National's NOMADS OF THE NORTH in 1920, a still surviving film. Without letting too much out of the bag on the scenario, the story is about a man running from a manslaughter/murder sentence after an affair concerning his wife. He goes to Africa, has a native girl fall in love with him and catches what looks to be malaria. The film plays like any one of the MGM Tarzan films from the 1930s, just without the Tarzan. Buxom Ann Rork, whose father produced this film, as the native African girl did only a few films like the lost First National THE BLONDE SAINT and she's made up almost exactly the same. In fact her makeup is reminiscent of Raquel Torres Polynesian girl in MGM's WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEA. Rork of course later married into wealth into the Getty oil family. All in all this is a decent King Baggot directed drama film from the close of the silent era.

Mystery film "The Paris Hat", 9 February 2012

There is no evidence this film was ever produced, at least not in the United States. It has been alleged to have been a D.W. Griffith directed film but Griffith did not make a film with this title in 1908, or any other time in his career. Lionel Barrymore, in 1908, was living in Paris, France with his first wife Doris Rankin. He was going to art school there, much of it financed by his sister Ethel Barrymore, and also became a father there when Doris gave birth to a daughter, Ethel Barrymore II. The daughter died there in France before 1908 ended(New York Times). The only tangible possibility that this film was made with Lionel in the cast, is that it was made in France under a French title later Americanized. It's not difficult to speculate Lionel moonlighting into a film incognito and more for the reason that he needed the money for his young family. Ethel Barrymore, quite successful on the stage early in her career, married in early 1909 and sent Lionel a letter that she could no longer support his art school and that she wanted to begin a family of her own and needed her money. Hence Lionel and Doris returned from France in late 1909.

Pregnancy Pact (2010) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Plays like an extended ABC Afterschool Special, 3 January 2012

I don't know the complete facts upon which this movie is based. All I know is what was splattered across the cable media and other concerning teen pregnancy spike in Gloucester Massachusetts. While the story is considered fiction based on true events, unplanned teen pregnancy in the United States has always been an issue going back to at least the 1970s. I generally thought the film was well acted especially by the young teen girls. When the phrase 'Pregnancy Pact' is used one gets the vision of the girls stacking their hands up high and saying "All For One, One For All", sort of like Alexander Dumas 'The Three Musketeers'. I just found it humorous. Since ABC doesn't do Afterschool Specials anymore, Lifetime has picked up the task and this film has all the feel of a traditional afterschool special.

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
One of the first films to show married couple in the same bed, 8 March 2011
6/10

Interesting story that doesn't know where it wants to go - I won't be as harsh on this film as other posters. That's perhaps because I know a little about the personal lives of two of it's stars, Burgess Meredith and Paulette Goddard. I just watched this on Kino's DVD. It's one of those rare films with multiple directors and long thought lost. Burgess Meredith and Paulette Goddard get things started for us n the opening and make a cute couple(they were married in real life at the time) and she calls him Oliver, Meredith's real life first name. Meredith plays a newspaper guy and for some reason asks the question "has a child made a difference in your life?" He is IMO trying to get an answer to make something tick for his newspaper article and/or for personal reasons ??. Though this is a scripted film the question, one get's the feeling, is a personal one for Meredith and Goddard, for in real life in 1944 Goddard suffered a miscarriage of their child, probably devastating to both of them. Unless you know that bit of trivia you won't pay but fleeting attention to the conversation between Burgess and Paulette. As stated in the summary this film has to be one of the first motion pictures to show a husband and wife sleeping together in the same bed, which is impressive considering the Breen Production Code in effect at the time. Married couples however would continue to sleep in twin beds until TV shows like The Brady Bunch in the late 1960s. The film pairs off into too many directions first with James Stewart and Henry Fonda, then with Fred MacMurray and William Demarest. Stewart and Fonda were friends in real life and that holds something for fans of the pair but their story is aimless. The duo put on a variety show reminiscent of today's American Idol. MacMurray and Demarest would famously work together again in the mid 60s on My Three Sons, after Demarest replaced William Frawley who became ill and died. MacMurray and Demarest have their comic moments especially with a precocious(in a bad way) little boy called "Sniffles". Demarest is too old for the kind of physical slapstick he's subjected to here. All in all another aimless scene. Dorothy Lamour shows up as a cutie who later dons a sarong in a musical revue. A voluptuous piece of cheesecake, famous for playing the island girl in the Crosby-Hope 'Road' pictures, her stay is all too short. This film should have stayed focused on the interesting beginnings with Meredith and Goddard. Meredith himself is not involved enough in the linking stories to make the finale cohesive. He finds what ever answer/lesson he's looking for but the audience has been shuttled from one minor point to the next. Paulette at the close of the film reveals that she's pregnant(only in the story) and she and Meredith rejoice at end. Their story should have been the main focus of the film and dare the subject of talking about pregnancy which I get at the conclusion that that's what the story was about. Instead we're taken from one inconsequential story to the next without logical tie-in to Meredith and Goddard. That's why I think so many people miss the point and poo-poo the film. But if you know the different junctures of the film especially the part with Burgess Meredith and Paulette Goddard you should be able to enjoy the picture.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Early non-western John Wayne, 2 February 2011
6/10

I first caught a glimpse of this film on a Sunday morning on a local independent station. The film was abruptly pre-empted for a college wrestling match or something. Until recently I was not able to revisit this film in it's entirety, but I remembered one thing that stood out, Evalyn Knapp. She is a mixture of silent actress Bessie Love and talkies Jean Harlow and Barbara Stanwyck. The obvious attraction to this film today is the presence of John Wayne in the male lead. Got to give him credit for doing something other than riding a horse and for trying his hands at something purporting to be drama. Others have complained that this movie was put on DVD and not restored to better condition. Got to understand one thing, this film has been in the public domain for so long it is lucky that it survives in any condition. It is a poverty row film, from something called Showmen's Pictures, sheesh never heard of em. The negative and first generation materials of this movie have probably long since gone out of existence and all that remains is the sub-par 16mm prints floating around in public domain. It was available on several low budget home video labels during the videotape years. Albeit the original print quality probably wasn't all that good to begin with but the picture is what it is. The plot of this movie has been reiterated by some of the other posters so it need not be repeated by me. So I'll get back to the thing that stood out for me before that college game interrupted my original viewing, Evalyn Knapp. She is perhaps the real star of this near 'dog' of a picture and she provides the grasping factor of 'cheesecake'. While she is presented as Wayne's love interest the producer's(and I agree) felt that she could add eye candy value to a hard to sell low budget by wearing slinky form fitting dresses. For being the female lead, we first see her in the film 30 minutes in and she is given nothing more to do than utter several lines and walk in and out of scenes with several tight fitting dresses. Arthur Hoyt(from the silent LOST WORLD)plays a secretary to Wayne's dad and ogles Knapp on several instances and who could blame him. So for many a depression era out of work guy in the audience he would be glad to enjoy a few minutes of Miss Knapp's figure before leaving the theatre back to the miserable reality of the Great Depression. So there's nothing more to be gotten out of this flick but Evalyn Knapp does really save the flick for this viewer and on a historical basis it provides a glimpse into John Wayne's early dramatic abilities.


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