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Captain Scarlett (1953)
One of the Worst Films I Have Ever Tried to Watch - Greene Fences Like a Clydesdale
I began watching this thing 30 minutes ago. I stopped watching this thing 15 minutes ago. I couldn't take it any longer. It has nothing going for it. You'd have to be drunk out of your mind to even laugh at this 'film'....except the 2 Munchkin soldiers bound together and swinging from a tree limb and yelling "Help!!!" like little girls.
First appearance of Richard Greene had his head tilted at an odd angle like a pud trying to escape from someone's trousers on a sunny day....and it grins.
Terrible directing, casting, music, color, acting, dialog, fencing, wit, choreography, costumes - even the scenery is awful.
Greene fences like a Clydesdale - clump clump clump.
"I am a stranger only to those who do not know me." Whoa. Great stuff.
I can't watch the rest. Even the chick is ugly.
Useless. At least back in VHS days, I could have taped over the film. With a DVD, all I have is a round pocket mirror or a frisbee of death.
Not worth what it cost me which was nothing.
The Maze (1953)
Very disappointing film...'and a bowl of tomahto soup'
I had heard about this film for years and didn't realize until last night that i had inherited a copy from my late friend's collection and it had been sitting on my shelf for more than 10 years.
He would type of his VHS video labels - very neat, but tough to read sideways. In this case, he had used VHS tape made by Polaroid and the word "Polaroid" was printed in much larger letters than his typed words "The Maze", so for years my eyes just swept right by it on the shelf.
His copy was taped from some TV station from their "The 1 O'Clock Movie". No clue where from.
So - that said - it was very disappointing. "The Maze" is a great title and I wish more of the action had revolved around the maze. The story was ridiculous and the ending even more so.
When the old lady saw the seaweed on the floor, I immediately thought "Lovecraft", but when she remarked "and a bowl of tomahto soup" I had to replay it twice. Is that what she really said? The blond lead was a total Marilyn Monroe clone (poor man's version) and Richard Carlson looked awful in that "I am ill or troubled" make-up.
ps - Someone had begun to tape RIDERS TO THE STARS after THE MAZE. RTTStars was directed by Richard Carlson, but sadly the tape was stopped.
Dancing in the Dark (1949)
Total misfire with near nothing going for it except the supporting cast and Powell
This looks like it was meant to be a June Have film...one that she turned down.
Dreadful film. Only worth watching for William Powell and people like Adolph Menjou. Mark Stevens - not so hot. Betsy Drake. The worst. Can't act sing or dance. Whines well. Magnificent cleavage, though. Yeah, right. You could play Scrabble on her 'chest'. No way any guy was going to wait two years for her. That dancing! Snakes on a plane.
Really, Bill Powell is the only reason to see the film, except to see how badly a play can be transfered to film in one case such as this - badly vs THE BANDWAGON just a few years later which is a masterpiece.
Another EGR winner - good cast, good story, good stuff!
Not a bad little Columbia film from 1943; unheralded, but brisk and well made.
EGR plays a retired naval officer now building ships during WW2. His old ship has been sunk and is being rebuilt. When it's done, he re-ups and gets assigned to the new incarnation of the USN destroyer, the John Paul Jones.
Through a connection, he aces out Glenn Ford from his position, though Ford is far more qualified and up-to-date in his naval knowledge.
EGR continues to irk everyone on the ship by riding them too hard and constantly babbling about the old JPJ. Finally, he strikes a fellow officer and is demoted and loses his position and must ask the re-instated Glenn Ford if he can even still serve on the JPJ. Ford doesn't like EGR, but says OK.
The ship has a couple of test shake out runs where many things go wrong and the ship is finally assigned mail duty instead of the much desired combat duty. Tired of EGR and embarrassed by the ship, many men request a transfer off the JPJ until EGR corners them all and tells them the history of JPJ the man and his ship's battle with a British ship. The men are riveted by the tale of the bravery of the man and his crew who, against all odds, defeat the British ship as their own ship burns and sinks before which JPJ had yelled his immortal line to the British when asked if he was surrendering - "I have not yet begun to fight".
The men stay on and find their ship in the middle of a battle with a Japanese submarine. The JPJ is torpedoed and is sinking and many of the man have abandoned ship as ordered. EGR asks permission to stay aboard to weld the damaged part of the ship....and they only have 2 hours before the Jap sub will surface and sink them for sure.
Can he do it?
Good male cast of characters- EGR Glenn Ford Edgar Buchanan Leo Gorcey Regis Toomey Edward Brophy Lloyd Bridges plus Marguerite Chapman as EGR's daughter.
Leo Gorcey gets a good quote at a dance as he asks a girl to dance with him - "Hey, squirrel. Wanna twirl?"
Edgar Buchanan at the same dance is asked by some woman what he will spend his paycheck on - 'Oh, I dunno. Some of it on beer. Some of it on women. The rest on something foolish, I guess'.
Robinson tells his shipmates about the British in the Revolutionary War - 'Don't let anyone kid you. Those Limeys could fight!'
And Leo Gorcey holds his own with EGR during the big JPJ story when EGR asks him to read the plaque that has the immortal line on it and Gorcey doesn't need to read it now and stares right up at the camera and EGR and quotes - "I have not yet begun to fight".
Some good special effects in the film and snappy dialog. Well worth viewing.
DESTROYER was issued on GOODTIMES HOME VIDEO in the 90s and wasn't easy to find then.
Fourteen Hours (1951)
Paul Douglas carries this film
It's been perhaps 15 years since I have seen this picture and despite the strong and competent cast of Hollywood favorites, it's Paul Douglas who carries this film on the strength of the sincerity and warmth he brings to his character.
Paul Douglas was 42 years old, entering middle age, before he made his first film of any consequence in 1949.
He came from a long career in radio as a very popular announcer at CBS in the 1930s and 1940s who was often the man at the mic for the Glenn Miller show for Chesterfield cigarettes. With Judy Holliday, he scored a major Broadway success in BORN YESTERDAY (though the film role went to Broderick Crawford). He was signed to a contract by 2oth Century-Fox and spent most of the next ten years successfully appearing in dramas, comedies, fantasies and even some science fiction before passing away prematurely in 1959.
FOURTEEN HOURS is typical of the appeal he brought to his many films. It's based upon a true incident, though the film is opened up for the sake of the large and screen-worthy cast.
Paul Douglas is a NYC cop pounding a beat who gets the call of a jumper on the 14th floor ledge of a downtown building. Once the experts appear, Douglas is sent back on the beat, but turns out the potential jumper doesn't want to talk to them. He wants to talk 'to that cop who was here before'. They find him, bring him back and the story continues from there.
It's not a faultless film, but that doesn't matter. It's a great period piece and a showcase for Douglas.
Excellent direction and camera work, including location shooting in a NYC long vanished.
I recommend it without reservation.
And cheers for Paul Douglas who has never gotten the acclaim he deserves.
Blue, White and Perfect (1942)
Better than the other Shayne Fox video releases so far
I'm working my way through the 4 film video package and this is the most entertaining one so far in my opinion. Not that it is a good film, but it has fewer drawbacks than the other two (Sleepers West & Michael Shayne, Private Detective.) The plot - Michael Shayne is following German agents who are stealing/smuggling industrial diamonds to Hawaii.
Of course, in all these drawn out MS melodramas, it takes him half the film to get on board and on with the show. Onboard, he meets George Reeves and reacquaints himself with an attractive woman. Everyone gets good service from steward Curt Bois.
As in all these MS films (so far), several scenes go on way too long with pointless dialog - presumably to fill out the storyline and running time. However, this film was less padded than the other two. Amen! Since MS and the ship are headed to Hawaii and there is a tag on the steamer trunks with a date in bold writing "Dec 6th", I thought they would be arriving the day before Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese. But, no......The film was released in early 1942 so I do not know what to make of the steamer trunk date.
The ending of the film has MS running off to Manila after a corpse falls out of a closet with a knife in his back and a mysterious note pinned to him. MS bids his sexy blond honey adieu and exits screen left for Manila. I dunno.......I don't expect much or try and dope out these films too much.
Good to see George Reeves in an early film. Mary Beth Hughes as MS' g/f looks good. Lloyd Nolan is good in all these films, I should add. The city sets in the early part of the film are nice. I'm not sure what the title means.
All in all - lightweight 'mystery' entertainment from the early 40s from a major studio.
Sleepers West (1941)
Unmysterious 'mystery' put me to sleep in the West
I just saw SLEEPERS WEST and it has little or no relation to a 'good film'. It's hilariously all over the map (haha) with completely improbable characters dropping in. The "farm woman" was a great example of that.
There are long stretches of the short film where the actors are pretty much on their own simply filling the film out while trying to be charming. The Louis Jean Heydt and Mary Beth Hughes characters just ramble their sad stories and histories to each other for no real reason. Nolan and Bari stay in there and keep throwing punches from beginning to end. At least Bari and Hughes are pretty. The train setting is nice. Some of the other MS films have snappy cars. I think I saw a LaSalle in MS-PD.
I ID'd 3 of the black actors, Ben, Mantan and Snowflake. They all were in so many films. And there was George Chandler as the rube with the car. He was head of the SAG once.
Bari and Hughes were in ORCHESTRA WIVES together.
That was one weird close up of LJH looking at MBH at one point.
Really not much one can say. Nice, crisp B&W! :) Anyway, it is pointless to attack and impossible to defend these paper-thin 'mysteries'. They are very disposable and if they had never been filmed, the world would be pretty much the same.
Garden of Evil (1954)
Highly over-rated except as a travelogue
Beautiful location photography and a good score by Bernard Hermann...and that about warps it up for GARDEN OF EVIL.
Gary Cooper seems very bored with his part.
Richard Widmark seems there for a vacation and doesn't want to get too worked up, either.
Cameron Mitchell and the Mexican dude really get excited over their thinly written parts.
And Susan Hayward, once again, gets a part that suits her non-acting ability.
Do Cooper or Widmark get any close-ups in this film? Almost everything in the film is a medium or long shot. They get chased by Apache Indians, but there is no visual way to really prove it. The camera seems about a mile away.
This is one of those vapid tales that seems to write itself in a rolling and banal manner.
Hayward comes charging into town to get help for her trapped husband in a gold mine. The boys ride out with her and it takes half the film for them to get there - perhaps a 3 or 4 days ride. It takes about 90 seconds for them to rescue him (Hugh Marlowe). They stay around the gold mine for a while and then ride back to town with Apaches on their trail.
And that's the picture.
These characters have little emotional involvement to involve *you* in the film. Why is everyone in the film so pre-involved with the other characters? They don't know each other. They have little or no history together. Does the film want us to believe that Susan Hayward is that alluring that these men become near instantly attached to her? She has nothing to offer except gold and sex.
The film is little more than a beautifully colored cartoon with nicely staged horse-riding sequences and gorgeous panoramas in Cinemascope.
A near total misfire of a western
Ever wonder why some films have faded from view and are little spoken of? RAWHIDE is a great example and contains many reasons for its general obscurity.
Things go wrong the moment Susan Hayward arrives on the scene. This woman cannot act and her character is completely overbearing and obnoxious.
This is simply a badly written story made worse by bizarre performances by Hugh Marlowe, Dean Jagger, George Tobias and the thoroughly freakish Jack Elam who is either the highlight or the low-light of the film.
Jack Elam gives all to his role with his eyes bugging out, licking his lips and his teeth, sticking out his tongue and his jaw and positioning his head in every freakish position that he can. And he gets close-ups! All he needed was to have his head spin around a la Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST.
Hugh Marlowe is awful and doesn't seem to realize he is in a movie.
Dean Jagger mutters much of the time as the semi-simpleton of Marlowe's band of gold robbers.
George Tobias plays an ethnic in the manner of El Brendel, yet looking like Alfonso Bedoya in THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE.
Tyrone Power does the best of all with a cookie-cutter character.
On the other hand, the location shooting in Lone Pine is very attractive and the digital restoration made the image quality look near to real life, but in black and white.
I can't envision myself ever watching this grueling film again.
Hear My Song (1991)
Sometimes quiet, sometimes laugh out loud comedy
Jolly fun as we get to see and hear Franc Sinatra, plus the potential of seeing Bing Krosby "with a "K"" as a disgruntled Franc Sinatra concert goer calls out from their seat.
A...ummm....'crafty' young music promoter must keep his girlfriend happy by finding the reclusive and out of country tenor Josef Locke who had romanced her mother (voted "Miss Dairy Goodness of 1952") back in the day and wishes to see him again.
The promoter heads for Ireland to find Locke and convince him to do just one more performance in England.
Problem is Locke cant come back to England because of a huge tax debt and a very eager and waiting tax collector.
Result = much fun and quite a bit of excitement.
Fine performances by all.
I saw this film once or twice about a decade ago, so please forgive and small diversions from the actual plot due to memory.