Reviews written by registered user
RebHarkness

4 reviews in total 
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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Still relevant after all these years, 22 December 2005
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

8 out of 10 only because it shows its age now. A classic comedy from the Cold War years, based on the novel by Leonard Wibberly, "The Mouse that Roared" features Peter Sellers as three separate characters, a few years before he played a different three in "Dr Strangelove", and, as it turned out, might be seen as a comedic premonition of Kubrick's film. The "Mouse" is the pencilpoint-size Duchy of Grand Fenwick somewhere in the heart of somewhere in the center of Europe. The nation's economy is heading toward the tank. What to do? Taking their cue from the USA's Marshall Plan that saved post-WW2 Europe from economic disaster, the Prime Minister and the Loyal Opposition decide the most practical thing is to declare war on the United States--and lose, thereby bringing in loads of US foreign aid. The Fenwickian Army books roundtrip passage to New York and, upon arrival, invades the city, thus making the rest of the movie a wonderful little romp thru political and diplomatic pomposity. The reply to the line about the Geneva convention still sends me into several seconds of bellylaugh. And because it's a war movie there is, well, yeah, I guess it's combat. And because it's--well, heavens! one simply must have a love story, mustn't one? Read up a bit on the Marshall Plan and the Cold War--just a paragraph here and there, you don't need a semester--then make a family evening with this delight of a comedy, and then you can discuss current events with your kids. In it's initial Berkeley, CA, run (early '60s)it was held over for 26 weeks. The following year it ran again and was held over 20 weeks.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Make a special place for this one on your shelf..., 13 August 2005
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...if you don't have it yet, that is. If you've seen this version of "Captains Courageous" you know that all the effusive praise on these pages is a collective understatement. I concur completely: THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THIS ANYMORE. Saw it on TV in the early 1960s and I cried--and have so every time I've seen it since. I think this version could have a movie-theater run today that would turn most of the current Hollywood producers an embarrassed lime green. Just two quotes which I think belong on the Memorable list-- Manuel: "I gotta sing every time I get mad. It drive those flying fish outa my stomach, you know?" And-- Manuel: "You touch that kid I tear you apart, see? Me, Manuel talking', I tear you apart, see? So don't get me mad, Long Jack. I get all crazy and sick inside."...Keep the nose-&-tears tissue handy. Oh yes--want to own it on DVD? Go to amazon.com, conjure up the title. When the list appears, click on the 1937 one, mouse to upper right corner and vote for it to let the whoevers know that a DVD edition is the right move.

18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A map, a boy, a ship, pirates, treasure--and friendship., 24 July 2005
9/10

Yes, 9 stars from me, certain I am! This version's my favorite treasure-hunt-pirate movie, it ought to be on DVD just as it is, not colorized. I know, Beery's basically the same guy he played in most of his talkies. But someone at MGM had a flash of casting genius cuz Beery is the spittin' image of the Sea Cook in Winslow Homer's illustrations for the novel, and he wears the role like his favorite pair of--um--shoe. And even if the only English accents seem to come from Nigel Bruce (most prominently) and (who else? can't recall), somehow this cast makes their variety of UnitedStatesian accents work. They pull it off. There are a few differences between the novel and this movie version, but darn few and so what. There's no shortage of remakes & won't be. I'll take this version! Saw it on TV three or four times in my teen yrs, having read the novel when I was 12, and the differences were never significant to me. I've seen Disney's, which I liked on the Disneyland telecast, but, while Robert Newton is a definitive Long John Silver and the quintessential adventure-tale pirate--people today say Arrrr! because of his performance--Bobby Driscoll's Jim Hawkins never quite did the job in my opinion. (And Jack Palance is another great actor and his Long John Silver terrific but the version he's in is embarrassingly bad. Haven't seen the Charlton Heston.) Gotta go with this MGM version, Jackie Cooper's pout and all (but does Cooper have Presence!). From the opening scene, in which we are introduced to Jim Hawkins and Billy Bones (Lionel Barrymore having the time of his life! and setting the standard for the rest of the cast), and the unfolding story giving us as motley & mangy a bunch of pirates as ever were--among them Charles McNaughton as Black Dog, Charles Bennett as a creepy Dandy Dawson, Douglas Dumbrille as Israel Hands, and "Chic" Sale as loony Ben Gunn--to the last frame of the last scene this is a downright exciting adventure, and I think it does Robert Louis Stevenson proud (yep, even w/the minor differences). To your kids: I suggest finding an edition of the novel w/ Winslow Homer's illustrations, read that first, cuz there's nothing like the original, with justright illustrations for a bonus, and your imagination. Then sit your parents down & watch this MGM version with 'em. You'll have a fine family evening. Yes, you will, sez I!! Now get me a noggin' o' rum!!!

13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A great western--and unique to the genre., 19 July 2005
9/10

I agree completely that Beery's westerns deserve reassessment. All reviews are, of course, subjective so w/ that said, I stand up and cheer for this movie. It may be "formula" but that don't mean it's just another western (didn't I hear somewhere that there are really only seven basic plots anyway?).. Beery as a western hero is like no other: big, brawling, boozing, foolish, canny, tougher than leather, dedicated, out for himself, loyal to his friends, don't ever mistreat the weak in his presence, funny as hell, and, you know it, mighty darn good with a gun. And Leo Carrillo is the perfect partner/sidekick. Yeah, the plot focus could've easily been gold or silver, or even oil--happens to be borax in Death Valley and Beery & Carrillo are muleskinners. It's how the story is told. This movie's a humdinger. BEERY's WESTERNS DESERVE TO BE ON DVD! Oh yes--and Tugboat Annie, Min and Bill, Stablemates, Hell Divers........