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Amélie (2001)
Don't worry, I won't tell you the ending!
29 July 2004
I saw this film for the first time last year. Like most French comedy (including 'Les Visiteurs') it's quirky, and I like it! The plot is very simple and involves a shy French waitress (the Amelie of the title) surreptitiously making those around her happy. The parts I really like are the little nods to previous classic movies, including the part where she takes her revenge on the greengrocer and day-dreams about becoming 'Zorro' and carving a 'Z' on his door. Another interesting part is when she dons a headscarf and sunglasses (a la Audrey Hepburn in 'Charade') and leads Nino on a wild goose chase around Montmatre. Personally I quite like this film, it's unusual, and I love the ending. But don't worry, I won't tell you what happens!...
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(possible spoiler)
24 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
It looks like this movie has had quite mixed reviews, but personally

I love it! It's outrageous, irreverent and absolutely hilarious. The

special effects are amazing and the gags just keep coming.

There are so many witty lines that it's hard to remember them all.

One of my favourites is when Bruce Willis and Goldie Hawn plan

to murder Meryl Streep (who plays Willis' wife). They concoct an

elaborate plot to push her car off Mulholland Drive, but Willis ends

up pushing her down the stairs instead. After the deed is done he

phones Goldie Hawn and breathlessly exclaims, "Helen? I did it!

She's dead, she started shouting at me and I couldn't take it any

more and I pushed her down the stairs and she's dead!" There is

a long pause on the other end of the phone, then Hawn slowly

asks , ". . . which part of the plan didn't you understand?".

Meanwhile, Streep is not dead, but is slowly standing up at the foot

of the stairs with her head on backwards!

Isabella Rosselini is good as the mysterious Lisle von Rhuman

and, at times, looks and sounds uncannily like her mother, Ingrid

Bergman. The film is not everyone's cup of tea, I know, but it's a scream!
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Moonfleet (1955)
8/10. . .needs, perhaps, a little more action
24 June 2004
I think I would give this film 8/10. The plot involves a young boy

(Jon Whiteley) who arrives in Moonfleet after his mother dies and

finds Jeremy Fox (Stewart Granger), the leader of a gang of

smugglers who was once in love with the boy's mother.

The cast is very good, although I think George Sanders should

have been given a bigger part as he was excellent in such

classics as 'The Portrait of Dorian Gray' and 'The Private Affairs of

Bel Ami'. Joan Greenwood (who used her husky voice to good

effect as the overly-cheerful DJ in the cult TV series 'The Prisoner')

appears as Sanders' wife. Also Viveca Lindfors (who was later to

play excellent cameos in both 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Stargate')

stars as Jeremy Fox's scheming mistress, Mrs Minton.

Granger, as usual, is gorgeous.

The good thing about his film for me, having just bought a

widescreen TV, is that it's in Cinemascope, so it fits the screen!
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Best part: the garden party
24 June 2004
This must be one of my favourite Holmes movies out of the 14 that

Rathbone and Bruce appeared in. The films always worked best

when set in Victorian England, unfortunately only this one and it's

predecessor 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' were. The cast is

brilliant, George Zucco makes a suitably creepy Moriarty and Ida

Lupino is brilliant as the tragic Miss Brandon. It was nice to see little Terry Kilburn (who played several

characters in 'Goodbye Mr Chips' in the same year) playing Billy,

Holmes' servant/ assistant. The plot involves Professor Moriarty's plan to steal the Crown

Jewels whilst distracting Holmes with a series of mysteries for

him to solve. Holmes makes the understatement of the century after Miss

Brandon's brother is murdered by saying, "rest now, Miss

Brandon, you've had a terrible day." For me, Basil Rathbone is the best screen Holmes, followed

closely by Jeremy Brett. Also, the fight at the end between Holmes and Moriarty on top of

the Tower of London is very good.

Best part: Rathbone wearing a straw hat and white suit, dancing

and pelting out "Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside!" in a

cockney accent! . . . an absolute scream!
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Did knights speak Brooklynese?!
23 June 2004
I watched this merry movie the other day and enjoyed it

immensely, even though it was about the hundreth time I'd seen it.

It's a wonderful 'family' movie, in that it isn't offensive or overlong-

it's fun. My favourite part has to be the song "busy doing nothing", sung by

the unlikely trio of Bing Crosby, Cedric Hardwicke and William

Bendix (the first and last time they ever sang together!). There are nice touches all the way through, including the 'echoes'

every time king Arthur requests something: "MORE HOT WATER! . . . more hot water. . ." Or "CLOSE THE DOOR! . . .close the door. . ."

to which Murvyn Vye's Merlin replies, "the door closeth sire." While we are on the subject of Merlin, I'm surprised that with a

voice like his he didn't appear in more of Hollywood's costumers.

I've only ever seen him in one other film, and that was 'Green Fire'

(1955). Of course, I have to mention William Bendix's portrayal of 'Saggy' or

sir Sagramore. He turns up in Bing Crosby's prison cell

shame-faced and apologetic for calling him (Crosby) a dragon and

says the following: Saggy: If only there were ought we could do. Crosby: Well, ain't there ought? Saggy: Nought. Whoever heard of a knight of the round table with a thick Brooklyn

accent?! I usually detest musicals but this, along with 'White Christmas', is

an exception. The duet between Rhonda Fleming and Bing Crosby

('Once and for always') is brilliant. It's hilarious when he says she's

pretty, to which she replies enthusiatically, "oh, thou art pretty too

sire!" and he, looking round apprehensively says, "no, say I'm cute

or something!"
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Don't build your hopes up!
21 June 2004
I had to comment on this movie- it was looking all forlorn with a grand total of '0 votes'! Well, here goes. . . I taped this film from the TV, because I'm a huge Stewart Granger fan. I have to say that I didn't keep the film! It's not the worst movie in the world but I've seen better. There's a vague suggestion of a plot that goes something like this: A reporter (Robert Ryan) arrives in a country somewhere in the Balkans and exposes the dirty dealings of it's dictator (Granger). Of course, he's eager to leave the country with this information, and the dictator's wife, who happens to fall in love with him. One of the better scenes is one where Granger 'poisons' Ryan to get him to talk then, while the latter writhes in agony, puts his feet up and reads the newspaper! There's a lot of backstabbing and skullduggery and you come away feeling more than a little disappointed. I'll stick to Granger's earlier films in future- Ryan's too, for that matter.
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Original is always best.
21 June 2004
I have this movie on DVD and it's one of my favourites. It's similar in plot and style to "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), and even features most of that film's actors (Basil Rathbone, Eugene Palette and Montague Love). Tyrone Power is great in the lead role. He plays the hero/ fop in much the same way as Leslie Howard did in "the Scarlet Pimpernel"- although, I have to admit, I think Power's is far superior to Howard's. There are some wonderful witty lines, most of which the fans have already pointed out, including Captain Paquale's: "oh dear, his bath water was tepid. It looks like poor Lolita's married life will turn out to be the same." Another one of my favourite scenes is the one where Rathbone's villain , after winning Eugene Palette in a sword fence, remarks, "you should have become a soldier rather than a man of the church". He then opens a chest containing the taxes that Zorro has reclaimed, exclaiming, "Santa Maria! No wonder you chose the church!" Rathbone's Captain Pasquale is a great character, brilliantly written and acted (it's amazing to think that he was 21 years older than Tyrone Power, but still made a brilliant fencing opponent). Gale Sondergaard, who plays Inez Qunitero, was to appear opposite Rathbone again in "Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman". All of the characters are wonderfully cast in this brilliant example of a good, old fashioned swashbuckler, the kind they can't seem to make any more. I really enjoyed "The Mask of Zorro" (1998) with Antonio Banderas, but it still isn't a patch on the original.
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Aren't the villains just the best?
18 June 2004
I saw this film for the first time when I was about five years old and just fell in love with it, it's an absolute masterpiece of early Technicolour. My favourite characters have to be the villains, Claude Rains and Basil Rathbone. Rains, despite his stature (note that he spends most of the film sitting down) still has amazing screen presence (watch his eyes when he says the line, "Get up, sir Ivor, and give him your place... GET UP, GET UP, sir knight!"). Of course, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland are brilliant as the leads.

The duel with swords at the end between Flynn and Rathbone (three guesses who wins!)is one of the longest and most spectacular on film, beaten only by the duel in 'Scaramouche'(1952) which was a few seconds longer at nine minutes. This style of story must have been popular at the time because 'The Mark of Zorro', starring Tyrone Power, was made shortly afterwards and is basically Robin Hood in California! Eugene Pallette and Basil Rathbone reprise their roles in 'Zorro' as priest and villain respectively. It may interest you to know that one of the sword fencing instructors for 'Robin Hood' also worked on the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy... amazing!
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