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478 reviews in total 
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Seeking "The Sea Spiolers", 6 January 2015

This was a good, but not great, action film made by Universal in 1936, about fighting the seal pirates off the coast of Alaska.

As with other films by the #1 star of all time, it obviously has commercial value even today.

The movie was re-issued to theaters in 1949.

Oddly, virtually all Universal pictures from this era were reissued to theaters either by Realart Pictures or by Universal. "The Spoilers" is one example: reissued over-and-over to theaters, then by VHS, DVD, etc. But not "Sea Spiolers."

"Sea Spoilers" was offered a few times in bootleg on eBay; not lately.

Incidentally, Humphrey Bogart is being pushed right now as the #1 star of all time. Love Bogart, but #1 he is not.

Truly a Legendary Movie, 25 December 2014

I first heard about this movie 60 years ago when I was 14 years old. Last night I found it by channel hop on TV. The movie is 4 hours and I saw just part of it, but I'd like to add Review #2 to IMDb. This played "roadshow" just like "Mom and Dad." With Mom and Dad (reputed to be the only movie to have an actual sex scene, which it DID NOT in fact have) the film is interrupted while they hawk sexual hygiene books to the audience. With "Lawton Story" they did the same think, selling Bibles. My understanding is that each film played only one theater in the US at any given time; along with the book selling scheme.

"Lawton Story" is a beautiful film to watch. The Cinecolor looks way better than you'd expect. The first thing you notice is the acting. You might say it's amateur-like; but that's because 100% of the cast are amateurs, people living in Lawton, Oklahoma; where the film was made. In a few minutes, a person can get used to this. The good point is that the dialog is NOT Hollywood style, but entirely taken verbatim from the New Testament.

After 65 years, this is still a remarkable and unique film. Particularly in light of such dreadful and stupid 2014 flops --- Son of God, Noah, Exodus --- three Bible films which have nothing much to do with the Bible.

Adolf Hitler would love this piece of propaganda., 20 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It doesn't matter to me about Clark Gable's dance routine or Norma Shearer's horrible over-acting; it's the "message" of the movie that matters. This well-titled film could easily pave the way to Hitler's march across Europe --- which was just beginning in 1939.

It makes me wonder about Robert E. Sherwood (author), the Pultizer committee at Columbia University, as well as Clark Gable and MGM (which lost thousands on this travesty.

Most Anti-War propaganda pieces are empty headed, but not all. "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930) warned German youth about the false promises of war mongers; and if Germany had listened they would not have wrecked Europe and killed millions, only to have their country reduced to rubble. (Berlin was still mostly rubble when I was there in 1965, ten years after the war.)

The clear message of the film is the doctrine of moral equivalence; that is to say that Nazi Germany was morally and intellectually equal to the countries they attacked; those who fought back. (Gag me, please)

Arizona (1931)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Definitely NOT just for die-hard John Wayne fans., 15 May 2014

A very solid good picture from 1931 is finally seeing the light of day via the new TV channel, GET/TV. We watched it last night.

First of all you need to know the picture and sound of this 83 year old film is much better than might be expected. Perhaps withheld because of long term friction between Columbia Pictures and John Wayne.

Set in West Point and later in Arizona, Wayne plays a football hero who finds it necessary to break up with a girl he realizes he doesn't love. He soon finds out she's the b...h from hell, and her reaction will impact on several other people.

The script and acting is just fine.

Ludwig (1972)
2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
History Re-write for the Tabloid Trade, 22 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based only on the first half of this film (divided into 2 DVD's) I'd rate the film 9 out of 10. The film brings into focus how Ludwig falls forever in love with Sissi, the Queen of Austria; a girl clearly out of his reach but who ties him into knots with her beauty and personality. Romy Schneider returns from the 3 Sissi movies agreeing to play the part only if she could play it with honesty, including all her disillusion with her marriage as well as being queen.

Ludwig realizes Sissi has caught on to his flaws, that he's a very insecure man who clings to better people to create an aura of stature. His ill-fated solution is to propose marriage to Sissi's sister, Sophie; if you can't get the one you love then grab up her sister. Truly heartbreaking, even for royalty and all their power.

All this is destroyed in Part Two wherein Visconti fabricates a homosexual theme, putting it into graphic terms. In 1972, this was supposed to be daring and brave filmmaking. This theme negates the unrequited love theme we've just spend two hours on. The important thing is that history does not show any hard evidence of Ludwig being homosexual. Because he was lonely from the loss of his true love, and backed away from marrying the sister, he's given a bum rap; here sensationalized by a cinema hack.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The Rape of Nanking --- Cleaned-up Version, 14 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Flowers of War is a gritty and well-made film with a story set in a "protected area" of Nanking during the worst atrocity to occur anywhere in the Pacific war.

With sensitivity to a squeamish audience used to the fake horror of B movies, you'll see the slaughter of many unarmed civilians and the very brutal rape of the schoolgirls hiding in the Safety Zone but broken into anyway by Japanese soldiers. You'll see gang rapes followed by the immediate and pointless murder of the victims. You will see a supposedly "nice" Japanese officer who loves music et cetera but will later enslave all 13 schoolgirls for gang rape at a Japanese celebration.

What you will NOT see is the true depiction of the horrors inflicted on the civilians of Nanking by the Japanese. No depiction of pregnant girls being raped then cut open and having the fetus stabbed, no rapes of little children, cut open if that was necessary to effect the rape. No, it's all cleaned up, or nobody would watch it. (Will this account even survive the IMDb review?)

Witnesses to the Rape of Nanking are/were numerous and diverse. Lots of foreign nationals witnessed the crimes. There is even actual movies taken of the crimes -- at the time they were happening.

Personally, I'm not anti-Japanese. World War II was a long time ago and the leadership of Douglas NacArthur following the war changed the Japanese forever. I've visited Japan as a tourist and purchased five Japanese cars. But history is history. The Flowers of War is well worth your time; but keep in mind this is the cleaned-up version of true and prolonged horror.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Drab, depressing, and false. A bore!, 25 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Given the credits of talented filmmakers involved in this project, how could they have come together to create such a dismal, depressing and downbeat mess; based on one of the happiest stories in the Bible.

OK, so Ruth's story was happy. Why not add a heavy dose of human sacrifice, training little girls to be butchered on the alter of the Moab's silly looking tin god. Then make Ruth a trainee involved in this perversion. (All this nonsense was invented for the movie.) Elena Eden was introduced in this role, and that's where her career ended. Not entirely to blame, nobody could have saved this awful movie.

I thought it was interesting that the Moab's (whose "god" was a stupid-faced metal statue, incapable of doing anything, and often in need of repairs) would question "the invisible God" of the Judeans. How little has changed in 3000 years.

The Grey (2011)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
CGI Wolves can't hurt you!, 12 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The undemanding, love anything audience of 2011/2012 cheats itself by putting up with too much Bad Movie-making. For one thing, the F word is used between 500 and 1000 times. Lazy writing, but accepted.

CGI wolves can't kill you, can't bite you, can't scratch you, can't scare an intelligent audience. There have been wolves in movies for over 75 years, scary as hell, but only since CGI do they look plastic and silly. Yet many empty-headed moviegoers go mostly for the CGI.

Even CGI wolves would choke on the menagerie of born losers portrayed in this movie. Shallow people, devoid of personality, saying MF-this and MF-that; so easy to write, so easy to portray.

I rated the movie 7 because I was expecting a halfway decent "freezre your butt off trekking through Alaska wilderness" movie. Got just that.

Prometheus (2012/I)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
In Space No One Can Hear You Laugh -- or Snooze!, 10 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Settled into Washington DC's fine AVALON Theatre, with curved screen and excellent stereo, we were anxious for veteran filmmaker Ridley Scott's latest effort.

It seemed, for about 40 minutes, that the movie might be breaking new ground in originality; but disappointment set in Big Time at about the point when the two space nerds get strangled by the snakes. Can anybody say "boring." It came to pass that we would get very little plot, no character development, and no suspense; just CGI nonsense and lots of noise. Nothing scary. Not the snake scene. Not the alien abortion. Nothing! Why? No reason to care about the cardboard characters.

"Alien" was loaded with suspense. Even "Alien Resurrection" (wynona Ryder and the monks) was suspenseful. Both had character development and actual plots. In 2012, movies are aimed at the empty-heads and a swirl of CGI colors along with lots of noise is all they require to score a movie a "10". Think about the role models for the young audience: Be a dumb-bell in school and you might land a job in space exploration.

Not to be too negative, it was enjoyable as a Bad Movie. Shame on you, Ridley. You did a good job on CBS's "The Good Wife" but not here.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nothing like the 1978 movie; really quite good!, 10 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The 1978 film gave us a smug-face Warren Beatty, a dead sports star, hopping around like a rabbit and talking about eating his "curds and whey" but unlike Little Miss Muffet a spider does NOT come along and eat Beatty, thus saving the audience.

The 1943 film is a very fine comedy, filmed in stunning 3 strip Technicolor, overloaded with clever lines and fine performances.

Don Ameche is dead and having his life reviewed by the Devil, for possible admission to Hell; but that doesn't work out.

Ameche is a rich playboy, but when he takes one look at Gene Tierney it's love at first sight and marriage ASAP. Similarly, when I first saw Miss Tierney (in "Return of Frank James") I was stunned by her undeniable beauty. Too bad I was 10 years old and she was then 30.

Heaven Can Wait certainly sells the idea of taking maybe 10 minutes to decide on a lifetime commitment. Older and wiser now, I can see that marriage with Gene would not have worked out. After a while, I can't long stand her screen personality, and I like a slimmer build in the upper measurement. I'd try to end it, "Gene, dear, you're much older, but..." BUT... I'd look at her beautiful face and be sunk all over again!

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