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Pretty People in Front of Pretty Pictures Highlight this Rather Tepid
and Somewhat Lame Class Warfare Study that Seems More Concerned with
Photography than Psychology. Matt Damon is a Bland, Supposedly Talented
but Mostly Lucky, Mr. Ripley that is Neither Engaging or that
Jude Law Comes Off Better and Philip Seymour Hoffman is Riveting in Another Show Stealing Supporting Performance. With All the Talent Included in this Film it Ends Up being Average at Best and a Big Disappointment at Worst. Gwyneth Paltrow is OK but Unremarkable and Cate Blanchett is Virtually Wasted as a Befuddled Onlooker.
Overall, it is Worth a Watch for All that Eye Candy but the Story is Jagged and Jumps Here and There Without Much Flare. Individual Scenes are Impressive but the Total Work Never Comes Together as Much More than a Slick and Glossy Travelogue Masquerading as a Thriller. It does Manage a View Inspired Turns but is Shallow where it Needs Some Deep Analysis of the Titular Character.
The Strength of this Documentary is that it was Made Only a Few Years
After Jimi Passed On. But of course, the Filmed Performances, Mostly
Shown in Near Entirety, are a Goldmine for Newbies and a Welcome
Flashback for Die-Hard Fans.
Many Headliners and Friends are Interviewed and Offer then Recent Recollections of Their Initial Introduction to Hendrix's Guitar Playing and Style and the Word is "Blew my mind."
Nothing Like it Before, and as Pete Townsend of "The Who" says..."Jimi made the guitar an instrument". Seems Simplistic and Obvious but Before Hendrix the Guitar was Mostly an Ensemble Part with an Occasional "Lead" Spotlight.
But, Jimi Hendrix Made it THE Spotlight, THE Instrument, THE Focus, Taking it to Unexplored Heights and Boldly Went Where No Guitarist had Gone Before. This is a Near Perfect Introduction and Reflection to a Humble, Insecure, Musical Genius, that was and is a Sign Post to that "Twilight Zone" Counter Culture Explosion of the Late Sixties.
A Must Have Visual and Audio Timecapsule for Anyone Interested in Rock, Heavy Metal, Pop, Blues, Soul, and Psychedelic Music (Acid Rock). An Incredibly Insightful and Delightful Look at a Time and Place, and a Musician and Man, that will Never be Forgotten.
Off Center, Obscure B-Western with Intelligent Intricacies Not Usually
Found in the Glut of Westerns Before Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher
Got Hold of the Reins. It is Full of Wordy and Philosophical Exchanges
Among a Cast of Severely Flawed Characters.
The Evil Personified Raymond Massey, Brutal, Tyrannical, and Sadistic Oversees a Man Made Hell of a Mining Camp and Spouts Things Like if He Meets the Devil, They will Get Along Just Fine.
Dane Clark is the Closest Thing to a Hero but is On the Run from the Law, as is Ruth Roman, the Only Female Character that Spends Half the Film On Her Back (due to a violent stagecoach crash).
There is an Alcoholic Bible-Thumping Judge, and an Undersized Motor Mouth that Clearly has a Lot of Issues. Robert Douglas as Massey's Counterpart, a Lawyer that is Also Hobbled from the Crash and Matches Wits with the Dictatorial Massey is Comfortably Contrasted.
Also, Surprisingly, the Movie is Filmed in Color and that is Really the Only Bright Thing in this Cynical, Underseen, Little Gem. Dark with a High-Brow Script, the Major Disappointment is the Gunfight Finale that Cuts Away in Midstream that Almost Looks Like They Just Ran Out of Money (it is absurdly abrupt).
Overall, a Western that has been Ignored and Forgotten but it Really Is Something Special, Different and a Refreshing Cerebral Change from the Genre Tropes, Especially Early in 1950.
Ambitious Arabian Nights Adventure that has Found Itself in the Fond
Memory Banks of Grown Up Children and Child Like Adults. Viewed from a
Pre-CGI Perspective and from an Age of Innocence that was Soon to be
Bombed Into Oblivion, this is a Remarkable Achievement.
The Appeal is Obvious, Mostly as Escapism Fantasy into a Foreign Landscape and World from Long Long Ago with its Stunning Architecture and Vibrant Colors Meshed with a Culture Complete with Flying Carpets, Blue Skinned/Multi-Limbed Goddesses, Genies, Horses that Take to the Air, and Other Fantastic Flourishes.
The Incredible Set Design, Lush and Lavish Color Schemes, Gaudy Costumes, and a Standout Musical Score All Add to the Movies Universal and Timeless Appeal. However, it's Not Without Some Clunkiness. Leading Man John Justin has Absolutely No Screen Presence and is Extremely Stiff Almost to the Point of Distraction.
The SFX are Mostly Impressive but it Must be Pointed Out that there are Times When they Do Draw Attention to Themselves. June Duprez as the Princess has a Beauty that is Standard and Nothing Resembling Royalty or Fictional Females of Supreme Enchantment.
Conrad Veidt as the Villain and Sabu are More than Passable. There are Many Highlights, the Most Mesmerizing is the Spider Battle and Overall "Seeing Eye" Temple Scenes that are the Best in a Movie that is Filled with Such Things. The Genie SFX are Inconsistent and the "Real" Wooden Exaggerations Like the Foot and Ear, as Like a Few Other Attempts Here and There are Hopelessly Dated.
Overall, a Charmer that Can be Forgiven its Limitations Because the Best Parts are Oh So Good and the Film does Wonders to Transport the Audience to a Land Beyond the Senses. Must See Viewing for Film Historians, Fantasy Film Fanatics, and Children from 6 to 60.
This Follow-Up to Svengali (1931) is a Similar Story but the Lush
Art-Deco Production and the Stylish Direction from Michael Curtiz Makes
this a More Sprawling and Grander Film if Not a Better One.
There are Many Highlights. Pre-Code Daring is Evident Throughout Dealing with Drug Addiction (Cocaine), Sex, and a Number of Scantily Clad Dancers, Mostly Ballerinas Warming Up, and Spicy Dialog with Innuendos Galore. A Bloody Axe-Wielding Ending with a Phantom of the Opera Feel and to Lighten Things Now and Then, Charles Butterworth's Smooth Talking Nonsensical Dolt.
Also, Boris Karloff a Heartbeat Before Frankenstein (1931) in a Very Small but Noticeable Role as a Sadistic Child Abuser, and Marion Marsh as a Doll-Faced Dancer that Can Light Up the Screen. Then there's John Barrymore's Lead Performance that is Captivatingly Evil and Playful at the Same Time. Donald Cook as the Love Interest and Barrymore's "Golem" is OK and Camera Friendly but Unremarkable.
Overall, the Film is Rich in Ingredients as it Globe Hops and Most of the Money Evident on Screen was Not Recovered at the Box Office Forcing WB to Cancel Barrymore's Pricey Contract. Definitely Worth a Watch for Movie-Buffs, Pre-Code Enthusiasts, Art-Deco Fans, and Early Sound Techniques. The Look of the Movie is Outstanding.
Extremely Low-Budget War Film about the Very Last Days of the Korean
War. It is a Thoughtful, Well Researched Little Movie that Introduced
Robert Redford to the Big Screen and has a Few Other Notables...
Director Sydney Pollack Before He Changed Occupations as a Sgt., Tom Skerritt (also a debut), and John Saxon in a Show Stealing Role as a Psychopath that is Completely Divorced from Reality.
Saxon and Redford are the Leads Playing Polar Opposites. Redford as a Naive Rookie and Saxon as an Insane Killer Relishing His Environment. There are Some Deep Subplots for such a Short and Inexpensive Movie and the Look is Like Good Television of the Era with Echoes of "Twilight Zone" and Foreshadowing "Combat".
Centralizing the Movie is an Orphaned Korean Child "adopted" by the Maniac Saxon and Redford Doing what He Can to Rescue the Kid Before it is Too Late. The Politics and Intricacies of the War and its Negotiation Table Necessities are Included and Some Dialog About the Method of the "Police Action" Madness.
A Strong Cast and Good Camera Work Along with a Haunting Score and Script, Make this a Sleeper for War Movie and Anti-War Movie Fans. A Film that is Virtually Unknown but is Definitely One that's Worth a Watch. Not Only for its Soon to be Star Power but for its Raw and Real Characters and its Offbeat but Very Realistic Tone.
Ultra-Low-Budget "Vanity" Project for Robert Mitchum. He Recorded the
Infectious Radio Hit that Unfortunately is Not Used in the Movie. Just
Alternate Versions. It was an Unexpected Drive-In Hit where it was
Dumped by the Releasing Studio that had No Faith in this Odd Little
The Acting is Inconsistent and Amateurish at Times, Although Some Say that is Part of its "Bastardized" Charm. The Story is a Good One and at the Time Very New. The Film has a Quirky Charm from the Beginning and it Looks Like Nothing Out of Hollywood, Resembling a Highly Independent Production Made by Just a Few Determined Folks.
The Energy also Wavers On and Off with Mitchum's Love Interest Mostly to Blame, it Features the Lounge Singer Keely Smith, who could Sing a Lot Better than She could Act. James Mitchum, Bob's Son, is Given a Shot and Plays the "Virginal" Brother with Just Enough Believability to be Passable.
The Rest of the Cast gets by OK, but it is the Odd Nature and Bare Bones Production that Makes This a Must See. Some Good Car Crashes Although the Chases are Lackluster. This is a Movie that has a Strong Reputation and 1950's Greasers and Gearheads Loved It.
Early British Wartime Effort from Director Michael Powell. It has a
Light Touch with Some Amazing Noirish Flourishes. A Male-Female Team of
Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson are Thrown Together Against Some Nazis
and the Adventure Takes Them Through London Blackouts and Underground
Cement Caverns with Secret Entrances and Ominous Elevators.
Beneath Nightclubs with Gaudy Fashions and Cuisine and Floor Shows Like "White Negro" that are Quite Bizarre, as is a Musical Group of Female Banjo Pickers with Artificial Glass Legs. It is All Rather Surreal.
Our Heroes get to Engage Banter with Some Sexual Innuendos and a Bondage Scene as They Combine Efforts for an Entertaining Romp that May be a bit Heavy on the Humor but the Thing Works Wonderfully.
It is Michael Powell's Inventive Camera Work and Expressionism that Makes this Stand Out and One can See that the British were Developing, as were Their American Cousins, a Seemingly Unconscious Style of Filmmaking that would Become Known as Film-Noir in its Various Degrees of Genre Bending and Definition.
Loretta Young was Considered One of the Most Beautiful Stars in
Hollywood for a Few Decades with Substantial Acting Ability. Once She
Gained Enough Clout She Would Flaunt Her Hypocritical Conservative
Views Anytime She was Able.
Carrying Around a Swear Box, for example, where Co-Stars were Required to "Feed the Kitty" Anytime an Off Color Word would Dare be Uttered in Her Presence. She Would Later Hide Her Illicit Affairs and Illegitimate Child from the World, All the While Professing to be a Good Catholic Woman.
But Early in Her Career She would Show Up in Pre-Code Movies Like This One with Not Only "Sin" in the Title but Questionable Behavior On Screen. This is One of Those "Pre- Coders" that doesn't Quite Live Up to its Title. It's All Mostly Innocent Stuff Here, Fluffy and Easy Going.
The Always Stiff David Manners is Her Suitor and After Loretta is Literally Thrown Out on the Street for Staying Out Late in Her Kansas Hometown, and is Told Bluntly that She is the Daughter of a Tramp and was Adopted, Unruffled She Hops the Train to Follow Manners to the Big Apple.
Things then Unfold at a Brisk and Somewhat Unbelievable Soap Opera Pace as Truths are Revealed and Big City Showbiz Life is Cartwheeled Through the Otherwise Mundane Romantic Plot. Spunky and Breezy Una Merkel Steals Every Scene She's In, Dancing and Undressing to the Delight of Audiences and the Camera.
Worth a Watch for Pre-Code Completists, Loretta Young Fans, and for the Unforgettable Una Merkle Lingerie Show, but Don't Let the Title Fool You, this is Venial Sin Compared to Others of its Type.
The More You Watch the Films of B-Movie Director William "One Shot"
Beaudine the More You Appreciate the Man's Efficient Style and Flare.
In this Monogram Quickie with Film-Noir Overtones there can be Found
Noir Lighting Pattern Flourishes and Hard-Knuckle Fisticuffs.
Also, the Nightclub Scenes are Effective and Somewhat Sleazy, as is the Gaming Racket and Gang Rivalry that Keeps the Thing on the Edge. It is a Bit too Conventional in its Rap Up to be Pure Noir, it Nevertheless Engages Throughout its 65 Minute Running Time with Nods to Income Tax and Politics.
The Look is B-Movie Great and the Cynical Protagonist Returning from the War Where He was a Pilot Gives Free-Rein for the Script Writer to Banter with Wartime-Jargon that is a Hoot. For Example a Bar is Referred to as a "Fuel Dump" and Leaving a Lover is Called "Bailing Out".
Beyond Competent the Movie Rises to Must See Status for Fans of Film-Noir, B-Movies, WWII Aficionados, as Well as Those Looking for Some Mid-Forties Thrills on the Cheap.
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