Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Les lèvres rouges (1971)
A mile wide and an inch deep. Typical of the endless "soft sleaze" films cranked out by the hundreds for a couple of decades in Europe. Some disrobing of the cast just for the sake of having skin in the film. Lip-service is given to the Elizabeth Bathory legend but they could have substituted any old legend because no depth is explored here in any way.
Fine cinematography, great fashions and a faux expensive look are achieved. Good winter seacoast atmospherics but to what end? No substance is to be found here- Delphine Serig looks attractive in an expensive, shallow Euro-aristocrat sort of way. Can she act? I dunno- that's really not why she was hired here. Her purpose is to appear attractive, Euro-aristocratic and shallow. In other words, pretty much just superficial.
The leading man is indistinguishable from all the other hundreds of mediocre Euro film guys of the era. I don't know his name- does it really matter? Danielle Ouimet is the only cast member who manages to impart any humanity onto the screen during these proceedings- I would say that she shows promise as an actress, although its hard to tell because not much acting is required here by anyone. I would watch more of her films if I ever happen to run across them.
If you like to use up endless hours viewing shallow European pretty pictures this film is OK for you. But it is.... a mile wide and an inch deep.
10 Stars for Robinson
I am rating this film "8" because of Edward G. Robinson. He personally deserves a "10" on a scale of 10. I have seen this film several times and have yet to notice any flaws in Robinson's performance. So, I believe it is literally flawless.
Two of the best actors around shine along with Robinson. Nina Foch was a highly skilled hard-drama actress, and Hugh Marlowe was generally above-average in every project he appeared in.
A very heavy crime/court drama, maybe even a little too heavy-handed at times, "Illegal" features some outrageous legal maneuvers by Robinson's character that you don't want to miss.
And you can't get a more forceful crook on film than Albert Dekker. Once again we find that if someone goes to work for Dekker's character in a film, they are going to get nothing but trouble. Dekker's overpowering acting style and sheer presence has impact as always.
Watch this bravura film performance by Robinson. You will be beyond impressed by his skill and perfection.
The Unfaithful (1947)
Lies in marriage.. or infidelity in marriage- worse?
I appreciate the overall theme and believe it has merit in its outlook on marriage. And Lew Ayers gives a near-Oscar-worthy performance. He and Eve Arden are so good, you can recommend this film just for the two of them.
Plot-wise I have some problems. Yes the husband failed and pretty much set himself up for some of his marital woes. But Mrs. is a real piece of work. Maybe you understand the infidelity point generally during wartime- OK its wrong but understandable in some cases. But I believe the writers here have blown it. Her immense quantity of lies, and serial lying, lying in a sworn police statement (a legal criminal document) are just too much. Lying to police, district attorneys, the press and public. A fundamental series of lies to her own lawyer, who also is a loyal old friend who trusted her.
As to her complaint about loneliness- I don't buy it because near the end she is proposing to simply go her sister's house to live. Why could she not go stay with sister during the war (could have paid those servants a retainer and traveled) or have her sister visit her in the lonely house? Couldn't she have easily afforded to bring in out-of-state family to visit her in Los Angeles? And she wasn't leading an empty life- she worked with Red Cross and numerous other organizations.
I question the writer's over-assassination of her character traits. She's supposed to be a cheating wife- but she is also portrayed as the least trustworthy, chronic liar in the history of film. I don't understand how the husband and the lawyer could possibly continue any relationship with this remarkably prolific liar. This despite the fact that in many cases relationships can and do continue with cheating wives and/or husbands.
If a cheating husband told this many lies to this many people post-affair, he would be placed in alimony purgatory by the system and ridden out of town on a rail. Not for the infidelity, but for extent of his lies to everyone.
So I believe this film has some serious flaws as written.
The Good,The Unusual, and The Unexpected
The writers and producers of "Hellfire" seem to have wanted to throw away the formulas and cliché's usually found in Westerns. They put an emphasis on character development to bring us vivid characters, performed very well by superior b-movie actors.
This movie marked the beginning of my long-time infatuation with Marie Windsor. View it and your own Marie love affair will begin. She brings us a rare combination of strength and beauty and her performance is to be admired by both men and women. About 15 years before Jane Fonda saddled up, Marie gives us a precursor to Fonda's "Cat Ballou" but in a more serious acting style with less emphasis on comedy.
Bill Elliott underplays as usual but his role calls for it, and this is probably his best film performance. His performance beautifully compliments the dynamic Windsor. Yes, Elliott is known for underplaying- but underplaying is not always a bad thing. Elliott proves that here.
Elliott, Windsor and a restrained Forrest Tucker form a remarkably effective 3-way acting ensemble that is fascinating to watch, as aided by some great screen writing.
In the 1940's or today you don't always need big names or budget to make a successful film. Just watch "Hellfire" straight through and let the characters and unusual plot twists grab your attention. You will be entertained.
The color filming is good and all the supporting actors are first-rate. Look for the great Harry Woods in a small part- I wish he could have had a bigger role because every performance by Woods is essentially a screen acting clinic.
A Lawless Street (1955)
Very good cast elevates a routine western
You might notice that Randolph Scott is trying very hard in this film and is committed to a good performance, and this is one of his best. He tried noticeably harder in movies that he produced (understandably) like this one versus the studio-contract films he endlessly tromped through for many years.
Scott, like many leading men, also noticeably worked well with respected superior actresses like Angela Lansbury here, as opposed to just random movie actresses and bimbos. Scott ups his game here and their scenes together are good.
Excellent supporting players are on hand including the avuncular Wallace Ford, perennially versatile and noted actor Michael Pate, and others. John Emery, almost unknown today but part of the Hollywood fabric for a long time, makes a too-rare Western villain appearance as a rotten saloon owner. Middle age and many years of sins are etched in Emery's face. He is perfect for this role. Some fans will undoubtedly remember Emery from the sci-fi classic "Kronos".
Angela Lansbury- what can I say but just note how she distinguishes and elevates this movie. You know what I mean- she's Angela Lansbury.
So the formula routine plotting and the clichés are uplifted in the end result of "A Lawless Street". I can recommend it for Western fans and for fans of the individual actors involved.
Land of the Pharaohs (1955)
Spectacular in an expensive sort of way
"Land of the Pharaohs" is on many Guilty Pleasure lists and deservedly so. You know it is only for entertainment purposes. Joan Collins as well as the character she portrays are over the top campy and not to be taken seriously. Her cruel, selfish Queen is utterly devoid of any redeeming qualities, utterly ruthless and wicked- in other words, delicious fun to watch.
Most of the acting is high-quality, especially the legendary Jack Hawkins who is magnificent as usual although Yul Brynner or Charleton Heston probably would have fit the role better.
Beautifully filmed with a very expensive look it is a movie with an obviously lavish budget. Despite the extravagance, I can fully understand why it didn't do well at the box-office. Focused on death and monuments it can be seen as somewhat depressing and has a grim, doomed aspect overall amid the splendor.
Unless maybe written by Edgar Allan Poe, how is a film about a tomb going to attract a great public to the theater? The answer is: it didn't. It is not an adventure about getting to a tomb such as Indiana Jones-type films, it is basically only a film about a tomb itself.
Death, murder, slavery, a tomb. If not handled just right these subjects can't succeed alone. Here they do, but just barely.
Circus of Horrors (1960)
Horror done with gusto
The film-makers and cast of "Circus of Horrors" are delivering what they advertise. It is an in-your-face, flat-out horror production. It is psycho creepy from the very first opening scenes right thru to the end.
The murders are done with imagination and gusto and the body count keeps piling up. In addition the young women are gorgeous and some of them actually can act (the ones that can't-who cares, they still look great). The producers basically say: Folks, you asked for this stuff, we promised it and you are going to get it.
It should be noted that the wide-screen color filming is spectacular, the costumes are great and it is all set against the background of a real circus.
Diffring proves his superior acting skills here as he does an outstanding, surprisingly convincing job as the doctor seeking perfection in weird ways. Whether this type of role or as villains one word can summarize Diffring's acting: effective. I still remember sitting in a theater in the 1960's (I believe it was Where Eagles Dare) and his chilling delivery of the line "I shall personally rearrange this officer's splints". He's very effective always.
This film is entertaining, psycho-nutty, a bit different and beautiful to look at. Don't miss it.
Leisurely, bright, pretty...horror?
The title is "Maniac" and there is a maniac character in the film of course. However, much of it is filmed prettily in sunshine with lovely stars engaged in romantic activities. In the lovely French countryside on beautiful days.
Oh, and did I mention that there is a little horror element included? Well not enough of it and it is not directed in a really suspenseful manner although the horror subject matter itself is horrific. Very leisurely, you might say Euro-style or even slow, this film cannot build up any suspense to give the brief horror activities enough punch.
The characters stand around a lot, drink at the bar, talk and picnic and seemingly have nothing to do, and so we really can't develop much interest in them, although they are undeniably attractive.
Quite a contrast to the nail-biting suspense of "Psycho" or the wacky unpredictability of Joan Crawford's "Strait-Jacket", both from the same era.
Beautifully filmed, but that's about it.
Stronger Than Desire (1939)
Good Courtroom Drama
Some say that 1939 was the best movie year ever. Well, rack up another good one for 1939: "Stronger Than Desire".
This is sort of an under-the-radar women's picture that is not your big splashy ballyhoo project but it is worthwhile being just what it is. Beyond the murder, criminal trial etc. it should be mentioned that the lead actresses Virginia Bruce and Ann Dvorak stay totally in character and deliver some true emotion, seriously and no kidding. You can tell they were both committed to their roles and to this film's point of view.
It has a rather ordinary plot but it is elevated by excellent performances and overall film craftsmanship that is far beyond the b-movie budget. All the acting is first-rate. For example, even the little girl gives a superior child-actor performance. And the gigolo/heel part is very well written and performed- you will be convinced that this guy is really evil.
This film has some cautionary points to make and an effective overall theme that some things are stronger than mere desire/flirtation. You will "get it". "Stronger Than Desire" is a good example of a lawyer/courtroom type film, with emphasis more on drama rather than accurate legal proceedings.
Flash Gordon (1936)
Enter Flash's hero world
This serial proves that with vivid characterizations and fast pacing a mesmerizing and entertaining world can be created for viewers. Once you enter Flash's serial adventure hero world in chapter one, you can't get out and will view all in sequence as you are transported to a fun fantasy place.
The beautiful blonde (no I am not referring to Dale Arden yet!) Buster Crabbe is a true athlete and proves it. He is not a fake CGI hero but is graceful athletics personified. You won't tire of him, episode after episode. He has a sword fight versus Prince Barin in about episode 8 or 9 that is well choreographed, forceful and athletic and as fine a scene of sheer vigor as you could find in any film.
Fortunately we have a cast of intelligent actors who play it all straight, not tongue in cheek. It works and in this case the result brings us extremely vivid characters.
Now, as to the other beautiful blonde, Jean Rogers, I can't add much to what others have said. I can only agree that she is stunning in this serial, plus she can act and has a screen "presence" beyond her exceptional beauty.
These episodes are perfectly entertaining, amazingly well paced and directed. No actor is allowed to just walk thru a corridor or tunnel- they must stride, march or run through it. And why have I not mentioned the 1930's sci-fi technology? Because it is really secondary to entertainment value and because it is consistent and becomes a part of the overall Flash Gordon fantasy experience.
Start with chapter one and watch through- you will be entertained.