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Horror Express (1972)
Too much a take off of an old John W. Cambell Jr. story
Not too bad. Like the Discussion Groups said - "Not bad for a dollar from Wal-Mart". The basic theme seems to be lifted from 'Who Goes There?" written by that classic Sci-fi writer and editor, John W. Cambell Jr., back in the 1940's. A movie was made in the '50's called "The Thing". A little was changed in locale and mode, but the underlying concept of a creature from outer space whose genes live on in it's captives is straight from the short story. The greater horror of the story type was in the movie "The Thing". None the less, it is worth watching and the Hollywood chant is, if it sells once, it will sell again. I'm glad I got it, but I would be disappointed to pay much more than a dollar for it.
Dixie Jamboree (1944)
Not worth watching
I pulled this movie from the Indianapolis Library soon after the death of Frances Langford. I wanted to remember her and this was the only thing Indianapolis had easily available. Her singing is OK with incidental songs, but that does not justify the time to watch it. Another commentator said it was an hour and a half. My copy is sixty minutes or so. Maybe that's for the better. The whole thing is a bit too stereotyped. The concept of the crooks is a bit much. Kibbee and Butterworth do the thing they do rather well. If you are a fan of those two, then it might be worth while seeing them in one of there last works.
Pride and Prejudice (1980)
Doesn't match the book closely enough for me
I have a copy of all the PnP versions I can find - audio, 1940, 1980, 1995, even the new version set in Salt Lake City. I've even made a point of seeing the Bollywood (India) version (colorful), and shall purchase it when available on DVD. I have all the books of Austen on my PDA - good for reading at boring meetings. I have read PnP over twenty times, seen the various videos an equal number, and listen to the audio many times on long drives across the USA. I consider myself somewhat familiar with the original.
After watching the 1980 version a few times I see many quality points in acting and in direction. Many of the acting variations, however, are in the spirit, but not the fact, of the book. These add some to the movie but are not the PnP of the purist. I believe the characters are cast a little older than I would prefer. The 'Jane' actor is without doubt the most attractive of all versions, however. Her smile is winning.
The main problem I have with this version rest mostly with the changes made in the script flow. Key phrases are sometimes made in the wrong context. Some portions that I look for as a 'catch' phrase in some of the key quotes are dropped. Sometimes, and I consider this the worst of the lot, they even have the wrong character saying a line.
I understand the use of train of thought which is often used by Elizabeth, but it seems a lazy way to tell the story. The book has the advantage here, of course. Better would have been discussions with Jane - her foil in many scenes. The changing of sites for some dialogs in areas inconsistent with the book lead me to believe that the writer and director were more interested in saving money and production time rather than furnishing a top quality rendition. But, I repeat, there are many areas in which I think the directing choices are very well done.
All of this said, I find, after the third or fourth viewing over several months that I do enjoy the version. But for unequal reasons I put it overall at the same level as the 1940 version - which is, none the less, also very worth watching.