Reviews written by registered user
|51 reviews in total|
I am with the reviewer Sean Hooks, who wrote, "I honestly cannot recall
the last time I saw a film this bad," and the reviewer Bradley, who
wrote, "The editing was so poorly executed that I thought my Wifi went
down." -- the funny thing is, i too had exactly the same thought, for
I love train films. Aside from some poorly filmed Walschaert valve gears, this movie offers nothing in the way of train footage. You can find better Walschaert valve gears footage on a home video of a G-Scale Bachmann ten wheeler model running in someone's backyard.
But, i hear you object, it stars Johnny Depp! No, actually it misuses Johnny Depp. It is, like, if Johnny Depp was a slightly overfed puppy, say a pudgy shiba inu puppy, and someone put cute little Willie Wonka clothes on him and made him die slowly, slowly, slowly, while ghastly pseudo folk guitar tones droned on and on and this missgeburt appeared in your Facebook feed and when you tried to report it for violating community standards, you got a message from Facebook saying that, no, actually it was fine, because Johnny Depp will be a dead shiba inu puppy now for all eternity.
I confess that "I Confess" is the ONLY film to which i have given a
rating of "1" in all the years i have been coming to IMDb and rating
films. It is a ghastly, embarrassingly bad, over-acted, under-plotted,
intensely smarmy and "reverential" social drama. I had high hopes for
it because it was on an IMDb list of "100 best film noir movies." What
a joke! It is not a film noir movie. It is not a police procedural. It
is not a psychological thriller. It is not an action thriller. It was a
downright waste of film stock when it was released -- and now it is a
downright waste of electrons.
The only, and i mean the only, only, only reason to watch this movie is to get a nice look at the architecture and clothing of the era. Hitchcock never disappoints as a film director when it comes to the long shot, the composition of black and white, the interplay of light and shadow. Okay. That's out of the way. Turn the damnable thing into still frames and have done with it.
There is no way to write a "spoiler" for this mess because it doesn't have an actual plot. Well, actually, it has what i call a "buzz-buzz plot" -- that is, the whole thing hinges on the type of scene that marks a failed script, where one character turns to another and says, "Here's what i want you to do ... i want you to (sound drops) buzz buzz buzz (scene cut)." That is it. THAT, friends, is the plot.
Mongomery Clift is completely unconvincing as anyone's former love-interest or as a World War Two veteran or as a priest. His idea of emoting is to clench his jaw a little.
And as for the classic goof with Anne Baxter's costume (detailed here in the "goofs" section) it is more than a little "goof" -- it is a jaw-droppingly obvlivious loss of filmic continuity that will make your head spin.
The jumbled use of about 16 different forms of post-War French and British and American and Mittel-European accents is just the kind of thing that makes me wish that i was watching "The Third Man" with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten instead of this waste of Brian Aherne's time.
Oh, and "reverential." I did mention that above. Please, if you want "reverential," do yourself a favour and watch "Going My Way" with Bing Crosby." Great film.
Okay, i am done. My one consolation is that i will never have to watch this movie again.
A fairly routine "cozy" murder mystery in which a hated person is
killed in an enclosed environment (in this case a jazz nightclub),
witnesses are threatened, and all the suspects are rounded up in the
final reel by the bumbling police for a revelatory showdown outlined by
a non-professional detective (in this case a newspaper reporter). The
plot is handled well enough -- it's just an over-used device.
What sets this movie apart from other films of its ilk -- both white-cast and black-cast -- are the interesting and well-played musical interludes and the comedic turn by F. E. Miller as Sgt. Slim. Miller is better known as the vaudeville (and film) partner of Mantan Moreland, but both had separate film outings as well. Both are always worth watching, alone or as a pair. Also notable here is Buck Woods, as a valet who has some memorable scenes ranging from the dramatic to the comedic.
This film is available in a cut-up print. As another reviewer noted,
the acting is uneven as well. However, let's forgo all of that.
What we have here is some AMAZING documentary footage of black soldiers at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in world War II. This material is PRICELESS. The value of this footage is unknown to scholars because the plot synopsis generally cited, from a University of California book on African Americans in film, which is quoted verbatim by the TCM and AFI sites, incorrectly names the camp phonetically as "Fort Watchuka," a stupid, stupid error, propagated all over the internet. In reality, Fort Huachuca was the home of the famous black Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Regiment, renamed in 1935 as the 25th Regiment. Background information on African Americans in the military is supplied as well: The character of "Gramps" Tucker speaks about his service in the Spanish American War and the bravery of Black soldiers at Mindanao, Philippines. Rodney's father served in WWI in France. (By the way, the same oft-cited synopsis also lamely states that Rodney's father lost his memory in "a traffic accident." I distinctly heard the actor say, "a tragic accident.") The print i have, a DVD from Alpha Video, is titled "Where Is My Man To-Nite."
As with many Sack Amusement releases i have seen over the years, a reel of burlesque dance acts and "exotic" night club material has been grafted into this film with no attempt to link it into the plot. There is a title card that reads "Featuring the Original 'Brownskin Models'" but no other performers are credited. This footage was probably NOT in the original release. Featured are a jump-blues or proto rock'n'roll band with the monogrammed initials "J.B." (Jackie Brenston???) and "H.Y." on the drums and bandstand. The drummer and guitarist are excellent! Then we see several dance acts -- a West Indian-themed one, an "Apache dance" with hair-pulling, a rather ill-trained chorus line, a contortionist dance, a jitterbug (with the tall woman and short man found in many All Negro Cast movies of this time period), a very good break-dancer, and a couple of comedians. This errant reel has nothing to do with "Marching On" in any way -- but here it is, and it is quite pleasing as a documentation of early 1940s break dancing and jump-blues.
Also, for train spotters, there is LONG footage of a train (Southern Pacific, i presume) approaching Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and a scene inside a boxcar.
I would have rated this film with 1 star, but it got an additional 1
for Lloyd Nolan's brave performance as a security officer and an extra
1/2 for Ida Lupino as a shrewish wife, and an extra 1/2 for Ralph
Meeker's role as a truculent drunk bad dad.
But the MUSIC! Oh my God. The music. The horrible synthesizer music bubbling away like little rodential heartbeats as we are supposed to feel fear, tension, drama, interest, or some other emotion which we cannot feel because the music is popping like popcorn farts! Oh, Lord have mercy. If you are the kind of person who can't take bad music, please, be cautious -- the sound track may damage your internal organs.
Also this film is a wasteland of bad late 1970s architecture, as it was filmed right before Post-Modern architecture saved us all from architectural cultural suicide. Just keep reciting your mantra, "Later on there would be good architecture. This was not the end of the world." Oh, and there's this insane fainting-gas stuff. The teens buy it at the local convenience store, no doubt. Another reviewer suggested the idea came from "Batman." I concur.
And i will offer a sparkly reward to anyone who can tell me the name of the book that Ida Lupino is reading on her bed when Ralph Meeker comes home after a long day in the armoured car industry. My TV was too small to zero in on it, but i have the feeling that if i could have read that title, i would have been rewarded by some sort of fabulous in-joke. Or maybe not.
Lloyd Nolan is okay. Ida Lupino is okay. Ralph Meeker is okay. The rest of this movie is insanely useless except to people who want to watch cars crash into one another over and over and over and over again.
"August Weekend," adapted from a great ensemble-cast story by Faith Baldwin, stars, among others, Valerie Hobson, Paul Harvey, Claire McDowell, and Betty Compson. Those who enjoy such "weekend at the country estate" stories along the line of Aldous Huxley's "Crome Yellow" will recognize the genre and surely appreciate the deft plot, which pits the stock-market rich against the socially prominent who are financially impoverished, and drags the servants and gardeners along for the ride. Lots of fun 1930s touches here too -- "The Proletarian Handbook" among them. The plot is complex, so don't think that a quick viewing is in order. Each individual has a story to tell, and repressed sexual desire drives those who are not fueled by a desire for wealth. Excellent social observations can be found amidst the old-school styling of the script. Enjoy!
This little screwball romantic comedy has a whole lot going for it. The
lead character, Joe Miller, played by Ray Walker, is a very funny
schtick comedian, and Julie Bishop (billed as Jacqueline Wells) plays
his dream-girl most convincingly.
The rise-fall-redemption plot of Joe's self-confidence and pep, which take him into show biz, and his arrogance and drunkenness, which cause his on-air debacle, follows a predictable story-arc, but there are lots of very funny lines, delivered with genuine wit, and enough of a competition with another suitor to bring tension to the drama.
If "The Loudspeaker" had been made in the late 20th century, Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, or Jim Carey would have gotten the role of Joe Miller. What we have instead is a tightly constructed, fluffy pancake of a show, well worth watching in its own right. Character actor Charley Grapewin is charming as "Pops," and sweet Mary Carr does a walk-on as a star-struck land-lady.
Best of all, for those who follow old movies for other reasons than the story-line, it must be noted that we have some great 1934 vintage "stuff" on display here: live steam locomotive action filmed at a real railway depot; a Horn and Hardardt's automat set filled with vintage chrome goodness; a fabulous art deco penthouse that should rate a mention in any book on art deco set decoration; a lot of gorgeously chic gowns from an unexpectedly high-class wardrobe department, considering the film's probable budget; and an otherwise-unfilmed but very hot threesome of African American jazz and scat singers billed here as The Brownies Trio. (Sensitive viewers are advised to overlook the radio sponsor's logo of a smiling Black cook and the fact that The Brownies are dressed in silver-spangled Aunt Jemima outfits. Relax -- just enjoy the music!) I liked this one a lot -- unpretentious, well directed, a clean print (from Alpha Video), and lots of vitality make it a perfect little mid-1930s gem -- kinda like the very small diamond on the ring that Joe gives to his gal before he becomes a star.
This is a strange movie. Most of the cast members speak English with
Spanish or French accents, there is a crypto-Lesbian, a crypto-Gay man,
some serious senorita knife throwing (by the delightful Guatemalan
dancer Blanca Vischer, whose line delivery is so astoundingly lame it
is almost cult-worthy), a bizarre Samba-esquire ancient fiesta dance to
the Moon (totally wacko), some glorious shots of a nice Mexican steam
locomotive, an incredible singing performance by the remarkable Del
Campo (WHAT A VOICE!), and more cute double-entendres than you can
shake a stick at. (He: "My love for you is like a rushing river that
can't be stopped!" She: "I'll dam it.").
Oh, and the lead horse -- Del Campo's horse -- my god, what a beautiful animal. He's a tall black Arabian-style guy. A stupendous horse. There's a nice dun too, and a blaze-faced horse who doubles first as a bandito pony and later as an Army mount. Really, for horse fans, this movie is a treat because these animals are not from the usual Hollywood remuda -- these are some fine Mexican horses, well bred, well caparisoned, and very well ridden. If that black guy had been in America, he'd have been some Western star's steady ride very soon. As it is, this may be his only starring film. Kinda like Blanca Vischer.
I ran across this in a load of cheap public-domain movies of the
Monogram/Chesterfield/PRC type and, boy was i surprised! What a snappy
little comedy-drama this one is! The script by John W. Krafft is a
humdinger, and if the actors had all been A-list types (think Carole
Lombard and Jimmy Stewart or Jean Arthur and Henry Fonda) and the
settings has been filmed at Warner's instead of on Poverty Row, we
would be hailing "Lady Luck" as a classic along the order of a Preston
Sturges piece. It really is that zingy.
Cultural and racial stereotypes are lovingly exploited for inoffensive comedic effect: Patrica Farr plays Mamie Murphy, a spunky Irish American manicurist who has to fight off the wolves in the fancy hotel barbershop where she works. (Also, as a completely irrelevant aside, her voice timbre and accent remind me a lot of Judy Garland. Strange but true.) Duncan Reynaldo (pre Cisco Kid) plays Tony Morelli, a slick Italian mobster and nightclub boss. He's saddled with a jealous Latin spitfire of a girlfriend named Rita (Iris Adrian). Mamie is picked to win the Irish Sweepstakes -- but then another Mamie Murphy shows up, a warm-hearted Irish washerwoman, no less, played by the underrated Lulu McConnell. The two women team up to pose as aunt and niece, and agree to split the profits from the race.
Young Mamie's frustrated true love is an all-American boy reporter, played by William Bakewell, but she dumps him for a British "financial sculptor" (i.e. a chiseler) played by Jameson Thomas, but although he poses as a wealthy suitor, he is so broke he has to borrow money from his equally British valet, the delightful Robert Corey, just to take Mamie out to Morelli's night club. Then murder -- or at least a bit of gun play -- enters the scene when meek, bespectacled Mr. Hemingway (Arthur Hoyt) is informed that Conroy has been seen at Morelli's in the company of his bullish blonde wife Cora Hemmingway, played with mesmerizing lesbian overtones by the alternately brooding and baby-talking Vivian Oakland.
Along the way we get dancing chorus girls, a French maid, the wonderfully laconic checkers-playing Irish detective James O'Reilly (Lew Kelly at his very best), a babyish Irish hood (Claud Allister) who gets his first manicure and wishes his mother were still alive to see his clean fingernails, a smiling black shoeshine guy who does a towel-dance on Morelli's shoes, an incomprehensibly accented Latino head barber (Pedro Regas), a freaked out and eye-rolling black elevator operator (Ray Turner), and the hilarious team of Charles Lane and Joe Barton as Feinberg and Goldberg, a pair of fast-talking Jewish celebrity agents ("You wanna be notorious? Call Feinberg, Goldberg, Rosenberg, and O'Rooney." ... "What? You think business comes to a stop just because a guy's been killed? Sign here.") Oh yeah, a guy does get killed. But that's not the point -- this is just a sweet little depression-era confection that is more lovable that you'd expect from a plot synopsis. It's not A-list stuff, but it's well worth the few bucks you'll spend to buy it on DVD. Oh, and by the way, speaking of DVDs, except for a few pops and cuts, the print i got from Alpha Video was an extremely crisp, clean, and evenly exposed copy with excellent sound quality that showed off Charles Lamont's directing and the nice set decorations, and caught every bit of the snappy patter. "Lady Luck" is my sleeper selection of the month. Try it -- i think you'll like this one!
This movie has a bit of the quality of the many movies adapted from
Saturday Evening Post or Collier's magazine short stores. It is tidy,
neat, and well paced, with a satisfying resolution in a manner that
makes such films (and stories) pleasing but not amazing.
Vivian Tobin did not make a lot of films, but she is quite charming here as Lola, a spunky Broadway actress who marries a wealthy but spineless socialite (Paul Fix). Unfortunately for Lola, her husband is under the complete domination of his wealthy and narcissistic mother (Sarah Edwards). The couple has a child, but then tragedy intervenes in the person of a psychopathic book-maker (Harold Huber) and a not-so-kindly judge (Lloyd Ingraham).
Suffice it to say that Lola's next five years are rough, but she manages to make a go of it, thanks to the help of a gentle older woman (Mary Carr) and her helper (the extremely tall Jane Keckley), a gregarious suitor (Russell Hopton), and a passel of young kids, including the boisterous pair played by Cora Sue Collins and Dickie Moore. And then, just when you thought this would become a tear-jerker of a "woman's movie," danger strikes, and it turns out that everybody has a gun, even poor downtrodden Lola! This is not the usual last reel wrap-up to the semi-Stella-Dallas set-up we've been watching up to that point.
To say any more would be essentially to spoil the film, for in a plot as economical and precise as this one, each scene leads to the next in a way that cannot be teased apart for examination without deconstructing the entire edifice.
I'm pretty sure that at 62 minutes, the print i saw had been chopped for television, and the cuts seem to have come at all the predictable character-building spots, but still, it's better to have seen it in this form than to have missed it altogether. It's a nice little first feature for a double-bill home-showing of old-time movies.
|Page 1 of 6:||     |