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1020 reviews in total 
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Monogram War Time Cheapie, 25 January 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

FOREIGN AGENT - 1942

This war time flag-waver was put out by bottom feeder studio, MONOGRAM. If their films look like they were filmed in a week, it was because they were! These low budget efforts were all for the cheaper movie house's double and triple bills.

In this one, we have Nazi agents doing what they can to sabotage the US war effort. The main plot revolves around the blueprints of a special searchlight. The Nazi types kill the inventor but fail to find the papers. That is because the inventor's daughter, Gale Storm, has them hidden.

Storm, is an actress, and singer who shares an apartment with stunt-woman, Patsy Moran. She is also stepping out with fellow actor and soon to be undercover FBI man, John Shelton. In for comic relief is truck driver Lyle Latell, who is also Moran's squeeze. (The plot holes in this one Latell could drive his truck through) Hans Schumm plays the head of the Nazi spy ring with help from Lithuanian-born Ivan Lebedeff doing a terrible job of pretending to be a Japanese spy. There are also several American criminal types helping the Nazis for cash.

The story stumbles along forever with sub plots that go nowhere, and a couple poorly staged fistfights. By the time the end rolls around the viewer is ready to commit hari-kari.

If it was not for Moran and Latell, the film would be a total waste of 64 minutes. Though, the 20 year old Miss Storm shows a few flashes of talent. Storm would move up the film ranks to better studios and bigger budget projects. She would really hit it big in the mid 50's with several successful television series. These were, MY LITTLE MARGIE (1952-55) and THE GALE STORM SHOW (1956-60) Film noir fans will recall her from roles in ABANDONED, THE UNDERWORLD STORY and BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAWN.

The director was William "One Shot" Beaudine. There was no such thing as a re-take on a Beaudine production.

It has its Moments, 24 January 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Shadow of Suspicion - 1944

This is a brisk, if sometimes confusing programmer from bottom feeder studio, Monogram. Monogram, along with Producers Releasing Corporation were pretty well the end of the trail for actors on their way down. Drunks, has been actors and never will be types filled the ranks of the studio. Now, having said that, Monogram, did upon occasion turn out a decent film. This one is sort of in the middle, not great, but not a waste of time either. The just over an hour runtime helps.

Private investigators Peter Cookson and Tim Ryan are sent to Chicago to keep an eye on some very expensive jewels. The New York head office suspects that something might be amiss at the Chicago end. The two men are undercover. At first the viewer thinks perhaps the pair, are really there to steal the jewels themselves.

Cookson, a smart talker with the ladies, is soon mixed up with Marjorie Weaver, the assistant to Chicago store manager, Pierre Watkin. Watkin is the man Cookson and Rice are keeping an eye on. Anyways, Cookson and Rice spot Watkins replace the real jewels with some fakes. It turns out that Watkins is in cahoots with a diamond stealing mob run by his mother Clara Blandick.

Cookson and Rice in turn steal the jewels from Watkins. This all leads to a couple of fist fights with the crooks, as well as a few guns being pulled. It takes a timely rescue by the Police to save the day for the heroes.

The film would have been better served, if they had played the action straight up as a crime drama. The weak attempts at humour really do not add anything to the plot. It has its moments though, with Cookson showing he had some talent. Noir fans will know him from 1946's, FEAR with Warren Williams and Anne Gwynne.

The director was long serving b helmsman, William "One Shot" Beaudine. He earned this moniker by never taking more than one take for a shot. Studios, such as Monogram, loved him as he used less film stock than other directors, thus helping their bottom line. The man worked from 1915 till 1968. Nobody is sure just how many films he directed. It could be anywhere from 350 to over 500.

A Hypnotic Episode, 24 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Her Master's Voice Affair - 1966

This is the 60th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

This one has UNCLE agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum assigned to escort a scientist, Dale Ishimoto, home from the airport. Upon arrival, they discover Ishimoto's daughter, Victoria Young going through papers from her father's safe. There are also a couple of THRUSH types on the prowl. A fight breaks out between the boys from UNCLE and their THRUSH counterparts. The bed guys manage to escape.

Miss Young appears to be in a hypnotic trance. A slap to the chops pulls her back to reality. UNCLE of course smells a rat in the cheese cupboard. They decide that something is amiss at the all-girls school Miss Young attends on Long Island. Vaughn goes undercover as someone looking for a place to send a girl for some proper schooling. Agent McCallum gets to stay with Young and keep an eye on her.

It seems THRUSH is using the school to brainwash all the students. They then send the girls to gather info from their fathers, who are all wealthy industrialists or government types. The school is operated by Estelle Winwood with help from THRUSH boss, Joseph Ruskin. They have trained the girls to be triggered when a certain bit of music is played to them. The girls have no recollection of their actions.

To cut to the quick here, there is a wild chase through the school grounds with the girls under orders to kill Vaughn. It is only the timely arrival of McCallum and UNCLE boss, Leo G Carroll that saves the day.

Not bad.

Fast moving B Feature, 23 January 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

EYES OF THE UNDERWORLD – 1942

This low budget programmer from Universal Pictures is a remake of a 1929 film of the same title.

Richard Dix is the Police Chief of a mid sized burg with a problem. That problem is that there is a ring of car thieves operating in the city. With the war-time restrictions on rubber and new cars, both are in high demand. The thieves steal cars, take the tires for the black market and sell the car parts as scrap. The better vehicles are repainted etc and sold as used cars.

A local car dealer, Lloyd Corrigan is the front for the racket Gangster, Edward Pawley runs the show. The crooks stay one step ahead of arrest because Deputy Police Chief, Joseph Crehan, is on the take. He warns Pawley and his mob when the Police are close.

Police Chief Dix is popular with the city council types because he has cleaned up the town. The recent car stealing is the only blot on his 3 year tenure in charge. Dix is a widower devoted to his young son, Billy Lee. Also in the mix, are, Lon Chaney Jr as Dix's chauffeur, Wendy Barrie as Dix's secretary and Don Porter as a undercover cop.

Marc Lawrence, a big city town mob type is in town checking on the operation. He gets captured when the cops get a lucky break. Lawrence agrees to talk, but only to Chief Dix in private. Now we find out that Dix is himself an ex-con. He had done time in the same prison as Lawrence. Dix had straightened himself out and is now a good guy. The gangster threatens to spill the info if Dix does not help him escape. Dix has Lawrence returned to his cell while he ponders what to do.

That evening, he offers his resignation to the city council but it is refused. Now news comes that Lawrence has broken jail killing a cop will doing so. Now of course Dix's past rears its head and Dix is thrown in jail himself. The council thinks he helped the gangster in his escape.

His chauffeur, Chaney, offers to find and kill Lawrence. (Chaney is also an ex-con)Dix, with the help of Barrie, Chaney and a few cops who think he is being framed, escapes.

Needless to say this soon leads to a less than friendly meeting between the gangland bunch, and Dix. Guns are pulled, and plenty of lead is soon flying, with all the proper people being on the receiving end. Lawrence is captured and dragged in front of the city council. There, he admits Dix had nothing to do with his escape. He also fingers the Deputy Police Chief, Crehan and car dealer Corrigan as gang members. The two are soon slapped in bracelets.

This is an enjoyable time-waster that zips right along with a runtime of just over an hour.

Lon Chaney was at this time, just hitting his stride as Universal's "monster" of choice in the MUMMY and FRANKENSTEIN series of films. While never an "A" star, Chaney worked steady making 4 or 5 films a year for most of his career.

Big time silent star Dix, made a successful transfer to talkies, but ended up mostly in lower grade fare. He is best known for the string of THE WHISTLER films he made at the end of his career.

The director of this little ditty was Roy William Neill. Neill was best known for his very serviceable work on the last 11 Basil Rathbone, SHERLOCK HOLMES films. Film noir fans will recall his work from , BLACK ANGEL. Also familiar to noir fans is man who supplied the story, Maxwell Shane. Writer, producer and director Shane was involved in, FEAR IN THE NIGHT, THE GLASS WALL, HELLS ISLAND, NIGHTMARE and THE NAKED STREET.

The Natives are Restless, 23 January 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Indian Affairs Affair - 1966

This is the 59th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

This episode has to be seen to be believed. It is hands down the worst episode I've seen so far. The nasty THRUSH bunch are holding the Chief of the Cardiac tribe, Ted deCorcia, hostage in Oklahoma. They have a Japanese scientist, Richard Loo, hiding on the tribe's land building a miniature hydrogen bomb.

The THRUSH boss, Joe Mantell, kidnaps the daughter of the Chief to force him to help. The girl, the drop dead beautiful, Angela Dorian, is at college in NY. She works part time at a go-go club.

Well, anyways, UNCLE hears about the bomb and sends agents David McCallum and Robert Vaughn to straighten out the THRUSH types. The villains are all dressed like cowboys and the Indians are all on motorcycles.

The episode is just downright stupid. If not for the presence of knockout Miss Dorian it would be a total waste of time. Dorian would become Miss September in 1967's edition of PLAYBOY.

Guest Star Arden shines, 22 January 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Minus X Affair - 1966

This is the 58th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE agents David McCallum and Robert Vaughn are assigned to look into the work of scientist, Eve Arden. She is working on a brain enhancing drug that increases the senses five-fold. There is also a serum that has the opposite effect. It dulls the brain by five –fold. The agents arrive just as THRUSH is raiding the lab. There is a brisk shoot out with the THRUSH men all eating concrete.

The agents question Arden about the drug and why would THRUSH want it. Arden convinces the UNCLE types that the serum is months away from being perfected. What UNCLE does not know is that Arden actually works for THRUSH boss, Theo Marcuse.

The THRUSH bunch, have kidnapped her daughter, Sharon Farrell, to force Arden's compliance with their wishes. Agent McCallum is sent off to rescue the fair damsel while Vaughn is to watch Arden.

Needless to say Vaughn is soon gobbled up by THRUSH and prepared for a spot of torture. THRUSH boss Marcuse plans on using both serums to break into a US Army site and steal valuable secrets. They spike the guard's coffee with the minus drug and soon the guards are all behaving like 6 year-old children.

The UNCLE types manage to escape and come a calling on the THRUSH villains. The mandatory fisticuffs and gun battle takes place with THRUSH being vanquished. Miss Farrell is saved but Arden goes down with some unneeded lead in her back.

A pretty good episode with old pro Arden looking like she is having a ball. Look close and you will see Paul Winfield in an early role.

Martin Landau steals the show, 22 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Bat Cave Affair - 1966

This is the 57th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE agent David McCallum gets involved with a crazy THRUSH type, Martin Landau, who is asking for a billion dollars. He says he can close down air traffic around the world. At the same time, Agent Robert Vaughn is the Ozarks checking on a woman who has esp. The woman, Joan Freeman passes all the tests UNCLE can throw at her. It looks like she truly has the second sight.

Freeman warns UNCLE that Agent McCallum is in danger from the evil Count Zark. (Martin Landau) Vaughn flies to Europe with Freeman to rescue McCallum. There are the normal captures and escapes needed before THRUSH's plan is foiled. It seems that Landau has been training millions of bats to fly into aircraft lanes to disrupt radar. Yes bats!

This one plays out more like an episode of GET SMART than anything to take seriously. But Landau is a hoot has he does a Bela Lugosi take with his character. Landau would win an Oscar playing Lugosi in 1994's ED WOOD.

UNCLE is after the MAFIA, 21 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Round Table Affair - 1966

This is the 56th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE agent David McCallum pursues Mafia Boss, Bruce Gordon, to Europe to arrest him. Gordon however escapes to the tiny Duchy of Ingolstein. When McCallum follows, he is arrested himself and tossed in prison. Ingolstein has been bought up by various criminal types as a no extradition haven.

Agent Robert Vaughn is then sent to rescue McCallum. He first approaches the young Ruler of Ingolstein, Valora Noland. Noland is in an all-girl school learning how to be a proper young woman. Vaughn informs Noland of what is happening under her uncle, Reginald Gardiner, who is the regent.

Vaughn and Noland return to her Duchy to straighten out the mess. This proves much harder than expected. It seems the criminals are sinking so much money into the local economy, that the country would go bankrupt without them. UNCLE resorts to a few underhand plays to get the mess cleaned up and the bad types arrested.

A strange episode that is a bit hard to fully explain, but it is well worth a watch.

Thrush wants to blow up California., 19 January 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. – The Project Deephole Affair - 1966

This is the 55th episode of 1964 to 1968 spy series, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. The series ran for a total of 105 episodes. The first season was filmed in black and with the remainder shot in colour. Robert Vaughn plays agent Napoleon Solo while David McCallum, plays Illya Kuryakin, Leo G Carroll plays Mister Waverly, the boss of the secret agency known as U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement) Their main enemy is THRUSH, an organization out to take over the planet.

UNCLE agents Robert Vaughn and David McCallum are assigned to bring in a scientist, Ralph J Rose, into UNCLE headquarters. There is a problem though, THRUSH types have the hotel where Rose is stashed, surrounded. They want to get their grimy hands on the man as well. In charge of the THRUSH crew is Barbara Bouchet.

UNCLE gets a bit of good luck when hotel guest, Jack Weston, tries to skip on his bill by sneaking down a fire escape to the alley. The THRUSH types mistake Weston for the scientist, Rose. They shoot Weston with a knock out dart intending to capture him. But they are foiled when UNCLE reinforcements arrive. Uncle instead grabs up the man.

UNCLE now decides to use Weston as bait to draw out THRUSH. UNCLE wants to know why THRUSH is after the scientist. They send Weston to the same conference Rose was to attend. THURSH bites at the bait, and soon have Weston and his guard, David McCallum under lock and key.

Now the big THRUSH boss (in more ways than one) shows up. The man, Leon Askin is drilling a hole down into the lower part of the San Andreas fault line. He intends to plant a huge bomb and drop California into the sea. He needs help getting his drill alignment just right. That is why they were after geologist Rose.

Weston now come clean and tells Askin that he is not the man THRUSH thinks he is. Of course the villains do not believe him and threaten to kill McCallum if he refuses to help. Weston agrees to do what he can, and goes over the blueprints. He gives the drillers new instruction on setting the angle etc.

What happen is the drill hits a pocket of oil and out it comes a gushing. At the same time, Robert Vaughn does the nick of time rescue. The nasty THRUSH agents are killed or captured. This includes the drop dead looker, Bouchet.

This one is a fun episode which has Bouchet going by the moniker, Narcissus Darling. Bouchet would later play Miss Moneypenny in the 1967 James Bond spoof, CASINO ROYALE. STAR TREK fans will recall her from the episode, "By any other Name", Leon Askin was known to a generation of TV watchers as General Albert Burkhalter in the long running comedy, HOGAN'S HEROES.

The Revolt is on., 17 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

DANIEL BOONE – The Tamarack Massacre Affair -1965

This is the 44th episode of the long running 1964-70 series about the life of American frontiersman and explorer, Daniel Boone. The lead is played by Fess Parker. Also in the mix are, Ed Ames, Patricia Blair, Veronica Cartwright and Darby Hinton. This episode is from season two, which was the first season to be filmed in colour.

In this episode, the revolution against Britain is on and the men of Kentucky are being trained to fight the British. In charge of this training is Robert Lansing. The man is something of a hothead and wants to attack the local Indian tribes in case they are going to join the British.

At the same time a woman, Dina Merrill, is found wandering in the woods. She is found by, Mingo (Ed Ames) and brought to the fort. There she tells a story of a massacre by a tribe that Daniel Boone (Fess Parker) is arranging a peace treaty with.

Lansing wants to head out and attack the tribe in revenge. Cooler heads prevail and Parker leads the group to have a look at the site of this massacre. Needless to say the whole thing is a plot by the British to draw the Americans out from the fort. Then the Brits can wipe them out. Lucky for the group, Parker and Ames tumble to the plan and bushwhack the British instead.

Not the best episode, but it is not a waste of time either as there is plenty of action to entertain the viewer.


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