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1323 reviews in total 
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"Man alive! Where did a DUDE learn to shoot like that?", 25 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Daniel Bone (Eddie Albert) is a New York gunsmith. Seeking greener pastures, Bone heads to a Wild West town appropriately called Arsenic City. Along the way, he meets a woman named Lisa Crockett (Gale Storm) who is also headed west seeking her fortune. She has a map that leads to her late father's goldmine. But there are others who want Crockett's map and they will do anything to get it. Fortunately for her and whether she likes it or not, Bone saves her skin time after time.

At it's absolute worst, I'd still call The Dude Goes West harmless enough and a bit of fun. At it's best, however, it's often quite funny and gives Eddie Albert a chance to shine in a leading role. His character, Bone, is a fish out-of-water and this often leads to the funnier bits. It's very reminiscent of his character, Oliver Wendell Douglas, that he'd play 20 years later. There's a scene where Bone is lecturing the townspeople about the importance of the American judicial system that sounded straight off of Green Acres. All it needed was a fife playing in the background. Albert is joined by a very able cast featuring Storm, Gilbert Roland, and Barton MacLane. The films's pacing is nice and at only 86 minutes, it never feels tired. While the plot is often predictable, it's still fun to watch the events unfold. Some of the comedy may seem corny by today's standards, but it works just fine to me.

Overall, a 7/10 from me.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Plays like a 50s era sitcom, 10 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Why all the hate? I actually quite enjoy the short Young Man's Fancy. To me, it plays a bit like a 1950s era sitcom - just a little longer. It's not perfect, but I think it's rather "sweet". The highlight for me has to be Bonnie Bakin as Judy. I'm surprised to see she didn't do more. She had a nice, all-American quality to her that worked on-screen. I love her use of the word "squishy". Another positive for me is the direction. The whole thing moves at a snappy pace. And, some of the comedy works as well in that 50s sort of way. It won't have your laughing-out-loud, but it does bring a smile to my face.

Young Man's Fancy isn't perfect by a long stretch. Problems include the friend's disturbing interest in electrical appliances (but it had to be included somehow) and some of the acting (particularly Jean Hayworth as the mother).

Like most people, I've seen this short courtesy of MST3K. It's one of my favorite things they ever did. I'd give the MST3K treatment a 9/10, but I'm rating and writing about the short itself. And, I think it would stand-up okay on its own. I'll give it a 6/10.

Lured (1947)
"There's a homicidal maniac loose somewhere in the vast honeycomb of London.", 9 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A homicidal maniac is loose in London, murdering young women he meets through newspaper personal ads. When Lucy Barnard goes missing, her friend Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) agrees to help Scotland Yard catch a killer. Along the way, however, she falls in love with number one suspect Robert Fleming (George Sanders). Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he can't be the killer, can he?

Despite all the flaws in Lured, it's just too much fun not to give it a positive rating. The cast is strong. I really enjoyed watching several of them play against character. Sanders usually played men in charge of their environment. It was interesting to watch him play a character who has lost control of his situation. Lucy is obviously best know for her work in comedy. While she a few funny moments in Lured, I was really impressed with her efforts in the more dramatic parts. George Zucco, an actor I know best playing Egyptian priests or mad scientists, gets a chance to do comedy. He's more than up to the task. Throw into the mix the talents of Boris Karloff, Charles Coburn, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Alan Mowbray, and Alan Napier and you've got one impressive cast.

Beyond the cast, other positives I found in Lured, include: fabulous costumes, nice cinematography, a witty script, and plenty of atmosphere.

But as I said, Lured has it's share of flaws. Chief among them is that there's really not much of a mystery. I found it way too easy to spot the killer. And his motives are a bit muddled. If he did it because he loved Sandra, then why kill all the other women? If he did it because he loved Fleming (as some suspect), then why frame him? There's a lot of plot inconsistency.

Finally, as much as I enjoyed watching Lucy and Karloff in their scenes together, it doesn't really fit with the rest of the movie. It almost felt like this part came from another film. These scenes really do nothing to advance the plot.

Even with the multiple problems, like I said, Lured is a fun movie. A 6/10 from me.

How to steal a submarine, 8 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Champions are called in to help find a stolen submarine carrying four nuclear missiles. A ransom demands $5 million in gold or London will be destroyed.

Overall, The Search is a good, exciting episode. We see The Champions use several of the abilities we've seen before - super-strength, super-hearing (tracking the guy through the woods at night was great), and telepathically communicating trouble. A couple new skills are presented: super-cipher (the ability to quickly calculate and change a missile's course) and, what I'm calling, super-hunches (the ability to locate a missing submarine by intuition without a shred of real evidence). The episode features some real drama in The Search as the nuclear missile is actually fired at London. At the time, I wasn't sure how they were going to work that out. A nice supporting cast, decent looking sets, and quick-paced direction make this one a winner.

I'm not sure why The Search has a low rating compared with some of the other episodes. I'm giving it a 7/10.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tries too hard to be funny, 7 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm rating and reviewing these educational shorts based on two factors: 1. Is the short entertaining (intentional or not)? and 2. Does the short do what it was intended to do - educate?

So, is Magical Disappearing Money entertaining? Not really. The problem is that the short tries way too hard to be funny and generally fails. The attempts at slapstick are pretty lame. Also, I found the main character, the grocery witch, terribly unappealing.

Was Magical Disappearing Money educational? That depends. If you're a dolt who doesn't understand basic concepts like how to read a price tag, then yes, you might learn something. But if your IQ approaches room temperature, I doubt there's much here you didn't already know.

Overall, I'll rate this one a 3/10.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Infantile Impulses, 7 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've watched several "educational" shorts recently and I've been thinking about how best to rate these things. I'm going to begin rating these shorts on two factors: 1. Is the short entertaining (intentional or not)? and 2. Does the short do what it was intended to do - educate?

Is Act Your Age entertaining? Yes it is. Watching a grown man throw himself on the ground, kick his legs, and basically cry was hysterical. Other good bits included the creepy principal's conversation with the student in trouble and the ludicrous plan the boy comes up with to act his age. Unintentionally, Act Your Age is gold!

Is Act Your Age educational? I doubt it. Other than some basic woodworking skills, there's not much to learn - certainly nothing about how to control infantile impulses. Educationally, it's a waste.

Factoring in entertainment and education, I'll give this one a 5/10.

"Bentley would kill Bentley.", 6 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Toward the end of the Civil War, Union officer Maj. Tom Wolcott (Glenn Ford) is hot on the heals of a band of escaped Confederate prisoners headed for the Mexican border. The mission is especially important to Maj. Wolcott as the Confederates have kidnapped his fiancé, Emily Biddle (Inger Stevens).

Overall, A Time for Killiing is a real mixed bag with the bad generally outweighing the good. One of my chief problems is inexplicable character motivation. Characters are liable to do just about anything from scene to scene. There's no consistency, with Maj. Wolcott being one of the worst offenders. The direction and plot are also weaknesses. The direction is often flat and the script does little to provide surprises. And there are moments where scenes go from location to indoor sets that's often jarring. Add to that overly bombastic and repetitive music, inappropriate comic relief, and Max Baer, Jr., and the problems are obvious.

Despite its problems, there are positives. Some of the acting is quite good. Ford gives his excepted quality performance. Stevens is both good and beautiful. And I was also impressed with Harry Dean Stanton (always good) and Todd Armstrong in supporting roles. Another plus is the scenery. When the production is on location, the scenery is breathtaking.

I'm giving A Time for Killing a 4/10.

"My first wife was the second cook at a third-rate joint on 4th Street.", 6 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Crooked politician Paul Madvig (Brian Donlevy) decides to go legit by riding the coattails of a respected reform candidate, Ralph Henry. Madvig is taken by Henry's daughter, Janet (Veronica Lake), but so too is Madvig's right-hand man, Ed Beaumont (Alan Ladd). Beaumont would do anything for Madvig including suppressing his feelings for Janet. Throw in the murder of Janet's brother, Madvig as suspect #1, a powerful hood Madvig double crosses, a DA who's on-the-take, a series of poison pen letters, and a brute named Jeff (William Bendix), and you've got the makings of a classic noir/mystery.

The Glass Key is the kind of movie I can watch over and over. There's always something new and fresh to pick-up on. The plot may not be as convoluted as something like The Big Sleep, but there are more than enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. The final twist at the end when the murder is revealed is very nicely handled.

The cast in The Glass Key is very strong. Ladd and Lake's on-screen chemistry is once again on full display. Their subtle glances during their first meeting is brilliantly played. I wish they would have made a dozen more movies together. Donleavy, Joseph Calleia, and Bonita Granville are all in fine form. Bendix is an actor I've never really cared much for, but here, he's perfect. The perverse pleasure he seems to get from beating the living daylights out of Ladd is a fine piece of acting. The scene with Bendix and Ladd sharing a drink has to be one of the oddest but most compelling I can remember seeing in a long time.

Technically, I've got very few complaints. The movie looks like a million bucks. Scenes are drenched in that noirish lighting I enjoy. The film is nicely paced with few dull moments that don't advance the storyline. Stuart Heisler's direction is on-point and, as i indicated, he skillfully handles the final reveal. It''s a very well put together film.

I've got a few complaints, but most are minor. If I'm pressed to mention one it would be the final scene. A Hollywood "happily ever after" ending is just not appropriate for the twisted tale that came before.

Overall, a very fine film that I'll rate an 8/10.

"The girl, caucasian, brown hair and eyes. Height 5 -7, weight 135 pounds... extremely well distributed.", 5 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Johnny (Frank Sinatra) and Mibs (Jane Russell) are bank tellers who would like to marry, but money gets in the way. Quite by chance, Johnny saves a mysterious big-time gambler and is rewarded with $60,000. As luck would have it, at the exact same moment, a large bank outage is discovered. How can Johnny prove the money is really his and stay out of jail when he doesn't even know the name of the mane who gave it to him?

I'd call Double Dynamite harmless enough with a couple of moments of comedy that rise to a level that makes the whole thing slightly above average. The comedy bits come from Groucho Marx. I've never really cared much for the post-Marx Bros' Grouch (and I'm including You Bet Your Life). Most of Groucho's later work is a shadow of what he did early in his career. But here, he has a few moments that are very nearly laugh-out-loud funny. The scenes where he poses as a millionaire and entertains the bank president are nicely written and staged.

Other than Groucho, the rest of the movie is pretty routine. Sinatra is too milk-toast and Russell can't act. The musical numbers aren't overly memorable and are so infrequent they don't really fit with the rest of the film. Double Dynamite does feature a strong supporting cast including a favorite of mine, Nestor Paiva. The ending is reasonably entertaining. The discovery of the missing bank money is actually clever.

Overall, a 6/10 from me.

Patriotism (1972)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
What is Patriotism?, 4 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The purpose of this documentary is to answer the question, "What is Patriotism?", for a group of school-age children. I'm not a school- age child and I thought I knew the definition. But after watching Patriotism, I'm not so sure. According to this short and a very creepy Bob Crane, patriotism is just about anything you want it to be. Planting a tree, setting the dinner table, sharing your baseball glove, and painting a trashcan a hideous shade of yellow are four examples of patriotism. Another head-scratching answer to the question presented in the short is that patriotism is going into nature and "looking . . . really looking". Huh? Yeah, I don't get it either.

So, does Patriotism succeed as an educational short? Well, that depends on how twisted your definition is. If you agree with the makers of this film, then, yeah it does what it sets out to do.

I've rated Patriotism a 6/10 - not because it's particularly good, but because it's very funny for all the wrong reasons.

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