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There is only one Bond movie that I can't take into account, "Casino Royale" (1966 version) of which I have only seen parts (couldn't stand it). I havn't found any really good villains in the later movies, which I think is why I don't like them. I don't think Craig is the problem, I think they need some great villain actors - and give them enough space to let us appreciate them.
Puppet on a Chain (1971)
Must-see for swedes
An action movie with Sven-Bertil Taube as the hero, driving a SAAB 99 no less, opposing the terrific Vladek Sheybal, you just can't pass over that one!
For those who don't know, Sven-Bertil Taube is the son of Evert Taube, legendary Swedish singer and composer. Evert Taube is to Sweden pretty much what Washington is to USA, a national symbol. Sven-Bertil is also one of the most prominent artists singing Everts tunes.
So, how well does Sven-Bertil do as action hero? Well, seriously, he isn't the strongest I have seen. As pointed out by others, he doesn't quite have the presence of Connery or Moore, to pick the main ones from the same time. That isn't necessary his fault though. The director is also part of that.
One weakness in the movie is the casting of the female actors. They are way too similar. I have seen this before; a producer has a certain favorite look for females, picks a number of girls close to that look, and then puts the best of those in the parts. That is no way to do casting.
But the casting of the males is a lot better. Vladek Sheybal is pretty much the best you can get, and I like the others too.
A disturbing detail is the sneaked-in female nudity. We see topless women in a few scenes, never really needed, but I guess that was put in as an extra excitement for the male audience. Today that looks cheap and sexist, but I guess that topless bars were new and thrilling at the time.
The boat chase is indeed well done. The "sound torture" scene is quite over-the-top, but I really enjoy Vladek Sheybal as sadist. The ending may seems a bit standard, but I note that it is absolutely no worse than 90% of all action movies, and has the good taste of not throwing in some forced double ending like a lot of action movies do. The hero turns out not to be invulnerable after all, and the ending fits the theme without overdoing it. Not genius, but I definitely have seen worse!
Overall, the movie was well worth seeing. I didn't expect much, and it delivered a bit more than expected.
Come on George! (1939)
Lighthearted comedy for dark times
In order to appreciate a George Formby comedy, you must put yourself a bit in the time it was made. The world was at the start of the second World War, people needed something really harmless as distraction, and the very harmless ukulele player Formby was exactly that.
The movie follows a pretty straight forward recipe, with George as a naive nobody getting a chance for success and taking it, with some complications on the way. There are competitors who want to stop him, there is a misunderstanding that gets him accused of theft, and there is a pretty girl to fall in love with. There is little question of how the movie will end, few surprises, it is mainly a question of how you get there.
The movie is enjoyable, pretty funny, but rarely laugh-out-loud funny. It has gags but they are not always funny, like the young boy "Squib" (which I can't find in the cast) who is mostly annoying, a very cliché "Dennis the menace"-style boy. In the gag department, it can't compete with a Marx movie, they tend to have a higher tempo with more really funny gags. It is funniest when it isn't forcing laughs at us (like at the fair). The funniest humor is in Formby's character, dumb as a brick but kind as a nun. Part of the comedy, unique to Formby, is the ukulele- playing to silly songs.
Some effects are extremely cheesy but perfectly fine for 1939 - live with it. Some gags are old, just live with that too. Just get into your old school feeling and enjoy a British comedy classic for what it is. Who cares if it is dated, it is Formby, with a bigger horse grin than The Lamb, I mean Maneater.
Take a totally fabulous voice actor, with a famous Schwarzenegger imitation... and fill out with 45 minutes of absolute rubbish. That is what we get here. The act is extremely repetitive, dominated with cheap run-of-the-mill sex jokes. With a talent like this, how about spending more than 5 minutes in the lavatory writing the script? I am not offended by bad language or dirty jokes... "I hate a dirty joke, I do, unless it's told by someone who... knows how to tell it!" And Pablo doesn't. His movie/celebrity impersonations are great, but 1) you can't rerun the same joke over and over this way and 2) making sex moves isn't funny for that long!
His Schwarzenegger imitation is in there, but it is the ONLY worthwhile material, the only really good jokes on the DVD! The rest are all fillers.
I am sorry for being negative, but I had hoped for something better, and this was just a waste of time.
Duck Soup (1933)
Great for the Marx fans
This movie is without doubt one of the best Marx movies - for those who have seen a few before. It failed at the box office, and many reviews here at IMDb, mostly from people who never saw a Marx movie before, are not very positive.
This all makes sense if you think about it. Duck Soup has an unusually high tempo, several very well done scenes. The plot is questionable, but Marx movies are not about plot. But with that tempo, you really need to be used to the Marx concept. If you are, you will have a really good time.
But if you are not so used to Marx, I would say that the ones to start with are "A night at the opera" or "A day at the races". The latter was my favorite as a child, and even after watching all Marx movies, they are still on par with Duck Soup for me.
Duck Soup is a good comedy, but I don't think it deserves to be called the best of all time. My prime alternatives for that prize are The Great Dictator, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Blues Brothers. The Great Dictator is really the one to compare to, also being a political comedy. I do like Duck Soup, it is an iconic movie, but as a parody of politics and war, how can it match Chaplin's finest hour?
Episode with a healthy different ending
I liked the ending of this one. Instead of the standard courtroom confessions, we got a drama with a suicide attempt and no confession from the killer at all (in view).
The story is as convoluted as most Perry Mason episodes, although it has a pretty obvious killer - unless you let the script side-track you, which it does its best to do. The viewer is slightly under-informed about things like traveling times, but nothing out of the order as far as I could tell. One of the better episodes of the season IMHO.
There was one detail that I found strange and somewhat out of line: The introduction of Rennie shows that he has some kind of intimate relationship, or at least trying to get it, with Rita. That is never followed up. Maybe that was just showing how irresponsible Rennie was? I guess so.
The case of the clumsy script
This is the weakest PM episode I have seen so far. Not only is the plot convoluted, with a crippled circus owner and a fake marriage out of pity. I accept that, I like PM episodes with some complexity. The actual murder is the worst part, simply because it is practically impossible.
First, the clown act is unreasonable. A clown running around shooting blanks with a real gun is not funny, not to mention that it must be illegal. The act could work with an obvious toy gun, with much smaller charges making less noise. The sillier the better. A real gun is out of the question.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no way a gun can be fired as described and hit anything other than by pure accident. It would take multiple shots to get even a half-decent aim. Not to mention synchronizing with the clown! The idea is impossible, a one in a million thing. Even with a rifle and a steady aim, it would be unlikely to succeed.
I also find it disturbing to combine violence and circuses. A murder on stage is a horrible event, where it is hard for the audience to tell jokes from reality. This is not a major fault of the story, rather the effect it is trying to play on, but something that made it awkward to watch, detracting from my enjoyment.
The rest is routine. Perry, Della, Paul and Tragg are just the way we like, what we love them for. No Hamilton Burger though. The courtroom confessions are quite formulaic after four seasons, but I suppose they had to stick to the formula when it worked. Well, I like it so I don't really mind. I just want a bit better plots than this one.
First-class one-villain thriller
This was a masterful gem that had escaped me until now. I have a rule of thumb: The fewer villains, the better the story. Why? Because fewer villains means less pointless high body count shootouts, and you must replace it with something else, which tends to be something better. One such example is the first Dirty Harry movie. This is certainly another one.
Much of the movie's quality and believability is carried by the heroine (Julie Sommars) who reacts perfectly to the claustrophobic situation. The villain (Robert Lang) hardly ever speaks in the whole movie, but that only makes him more spooky.
As a bonus, the first victim (Trisha Hocker?) is extraordinary beautiful, and makes a great performance in the few seconds she gets, transitioning from happy to worried to scared just right. A beautiful death scene, with the only flaw that she couldn't hit the head as hard to the stairs as a dying woman is likely to do. A perfect teaser!
Another high was the elevator mind games, where the two try to outwit each other by guessing what the other is doing.
This is great work for a TV show, done by people who knows suspense better than many modern movie makers.
The Ghost Train (1941)
Pretty decent horror/mystery plot spiced with Arthur Askey
Some comedians work a lot on running gags, which means that you must understand the gag before it gets funny. I believe Arthur Askey is playing such strings here. I never heard about him before (I guess he was mostly forgotten when I was born), and found him less than amusing during much of the movie, but I thought the same of other comedians that I came to love. That said, I can't imagine ever rating his humor as highly as e.g. the Marx brothers. Actually, I thought that some of his gags would have been funnier if he had remained silent - like Harpo, or like old silent movies. As I see it, he is more fooling around than doing well thought out and well timed gags. But he is amusing at times, and he looks funny.
But to the story, he is spice, not substance. Well, maybe a little. He makes the abandoned station feel smaller than it is, by annoying the other people. And his obnoxious ways did make the train late which put them in the station in the first place.
The story felt rather stupid until the plot was unrolled. Maybe not the most original plot ever, but it was pretty well packaged and made perfect sense.
Not a top movie, rather a simple low budget B movie aimed at Askey fans. I ended up finding it worth watching.
Good but not great episode
Compared to the top, this episode just doesn't stand out, but has relatively much "filler" material, and doesn't take advantage of its strongest moments.
On the positive side, we see gang member Kyle Murdock () again, which means the great character actor Dennis Fimple. But his part isn't really that big. He is often seen but not given much to work with.
The whole plot, with people lying about why the woman wants to kill her former boyfriend, gets pretty tedious. Heyes is sent back all the way back to town on a futile mission just to fill time. And did I mention that Kid Curry is missing in most of the episode, and even Heyes isn't a central character.
The episode would have gained much by exploiting the magical moment when she suddenly tries to kill the man she said she was there to save. That scene should have been a lot longer, leading us gently into seeing it coming, building suspense, and combining well-composed camera angles to see what happens. Instead it is just a quick bang-bang and the effect is lost.
It is still a decent AS&J episode, but far from the strongest.
Fairly complex and very funny episode
The second episode of AS&J is on par with the first, a wonderful story about ownership, theft, and gambling. Two people claim the right for the "McCreedy Bust", but who is right? On top of it all, McCreedy is fond of gambling, not always clean, but Heyes isn't easy to fool. The "ace of spades" scene is a highlight, complete with the most competent laugher I've seen (Peterson, played by Edward Andrews if I read the cast right). This is also where the "five full hands" trick makes it debut.
First-rate episode, no less, packed with strong scenes with fun themes, and with a wonderful cast full of good character actors (Burl Ives, Cesar Romero, Edward Andrews). Just watching those actors is a joy in itself.
The only thing it lacks, if you care about it, is mortal violence. People are fairly nice to each other here... physically, that is. But this is Alias Smith & Jones. It isn't about killing people, it is about all the rest you can do in a western, and it makes a great job in exploring the alternatives.