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Bernard Herrmann's music
Just saw this on TV.
Amazed that almost the whole music score is a plagiarism of Hitchcock's Psycho score by the great Bernard Herrmann.
It sounds as if whole sections have just been lifted from the soundtrack album.
I'm amazed Southern Television got away with it, unless they paid a royalty.
Or maybe just thought they were too small and insignificant to anyone to find out?
All those violins were unmistakable.
Columbo: Double Exposure (1973)
First rate Columbo
I particularly liked this episode because of Robert Culp's excellent acting and star presence. Falk as always is immaculate, but the sparring with Culp when both know that Columbo knows he did it, is as good as McGoohan, which is the best there is.
The tiny nuances on Culp's face as the plot unravels are priceless, his arrogance at believing himself much cleverer than Columbo, his taunting about the lack of real evidence, even his inane grinning at the end at the irony of being found out by his own method. A great Columbo.
Some great comedy and repartee as the murderer is stalked on the golf course spoiling his game with that undertow of seriousness in finding the clues for the knock out evidence.
Columbo: Negative Reaction (1974)
Up there with the best
A very entertaining Columbo, with many exceptional comedy moments. Falk embarrassingly putting his cigar ashes in his pocket in an immaculate home. The lovely Joyce van Patten's nun mistaking him for a hobo after he is out all night and unshaven and more crumpled than usual. The hilarious Larry Storch as a super nervous driving instructor. I have only left 1 mark off just because Dick van Dyke is such a nice guy I can't take him seriously as a murderer, even with that unflattering beard, but that's just me. Falk's acting is faultless, picking up the dust on the clock on the mantelpiece etc. The final trick of unmasking the perpetrator is interesting and unusual. A treat.
Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
Fine old fashioned pioneer movie.
I've seen this several times and warm to it the more often I see it. The nostalgic narration is not too obtrusive and works well to knit everything together.
Gable growls his way through a usual tough guy that melts gradually through the film, a fine vigorous performance as pioneer man, even singing and dancing (of sorts!). Montalban has an interesting role (virtually without dialogue) at the beginning of his career. Whitmore has a small part and looks every part the mountain man. Menjou is a revelation if you saw him in Paths of Glory, as a fine second fiddle who you would want as your friend. Hodiak is good as an impassive, proud and upright Indian. Napier (West's Batman's butler) as an aristocratic survivor of Waterloo! And Maria Marques a comely and well acted female lead.
The music is sweeping and fits fine, the photography absolutely superb, the Technicolour very very very beautiful, the native Americans portrayed as human beings with a history. Some nice comedy moments at the marriage. A romance virtually a silent movie with man and wife not speaking each others languages. The savagery and danger of early life not skimped. The final showdown is thrilling and realistic.
Old Hollywood showmanship but the ending brings a lump to my throat as the son describes his father's life and the wisdom he passed on.
The Angry Silence (1960)
excellent kitchen sink drama from a bye-gone age
to anyone who lived through these times and these types of factory settings this film resonates.
The Burke character of the communist agitator invokes criticism of left bashing but anyone who had experience of the British motor/engineering industry in these times knows that it is much closer to the truth than many people want to believe.
However to those that think the film has right wing bias you only have to look at how the useless fat cat directors are portrayed (having no knowledge of the business they are taking large salaries from), hardly an advertisement of capitalism. Plus even the "sympathetic" management end up not supporting the worker who supported them, as bad as the agitator in their own way.
Good performances all round, outstanding from Richard Attenborough, Pier Angeli, an unusually good turn by Michael Craig and dependable Bernard Lee as the dim union man manipulated easily by the agitator.
A style of film-making gone now but interesting social commentary of the times. Recommended for social historians and affectionados of good acting.
Columbo: By Dawn's Early Light (1974)
a pinnacle of Columbo episodes
maybe my favourite Columbo and maybe the best too.
Just look at McGoohans eyes behind that stiff and unyielding exterior, particularly in the one scene where he unbends a little in the office interview with the Lieutenant. No wonder he won the Emmy for this performance.
The contrast in his style with Falks is the highlight of this episode, no wonder they became good friends with many invitations to come back as yet another murderer and also to direct. They bounce off each other superbly taking an already high quality TV series into new realms.
Casino Royale (2006)
not a Bond film
this is really a Bruce Willis or Arnie film, not a Bond film at all.
The pre-credit sequence is boring with zero humour or panache in Craig's delivery of the punch line.
Judy Dench is looking old and completely out of place in a film that is supposed to go back to the beginnings of Bond. And we have the oldest cliché in the book of Bond at odds with his superior, blah blah, done in every cop film since the dawn of time.
The Sony product placement is just crass throughout for a Sony/Columbia picture. Is this a movie or an advert? The title song is instantly forgettable with lyrics mumbled.
The cartoon credit sequence is the poorest graphics since Dr No, simply boring with no imagination or wow factor. It looks cheap compared to the great graphics we have come to expect and makes the whole film look cheap compared to greater Cubby Brocolli efforts.
Craig is not debonair, tall, dark or handsome and has no wit or class, totally miscast as Bond. He would be better as the villain's No 2 henchman rather than Bond.
The idea that the world's terrorists depend on a legitimate casino game to fund their activities is as ludicrous as Moonraker's laser guns or Die Another's invisible car, but this is the whole plot of the film.
There are 3 good action sequences and the rest is FAR too long. The love story bit dialogue between Bond and Vesper particularly is yawn inducing with no chemistry between the actors on screen, and Vesper's suicide at the end particularly contrived and unbelievable. The whole end sequence of destroying a Venician building shows no imagination and is obviously just tagged on as an afterthought.
In conclusion it's just another formula action film with none of the class and features that make a good Bond film. The hero could have been any cop/agent/private investigator so the whole has none of the distinctive and memorable scenes that always went into a Bond film.
A big disappointment.
The Sunshine Boys (1975)
a class movie about a non-class act!
question: how do you steal a scene from the expert of expert scene stealers Walther Mathau in full, furious and brilliant Grumpy Old Man mode? answer: quietly, deadpan, and with perfect timing as George Burns does here.
I know nothing of Vaudeville but this remains a favourite film, the two leads are hilarious, the script funny, the direction and pacing very fine. Richard Benjamin is very funny as straight man - trying to get at Burns through the window etc. Even the small parts are great.
There are so many funny scenes, Mathau messing up the commercial, Burns repeating his answers as if senile...
a turkey to include in a top ten list of all turkeys
Connery is far too old for this kind of caper, even if this were some kind of acceptable entertainment that did not completely waste 2 hours of your life. The scenes of this 70 year old man fighting and "running" to avoid a hail of fire from multiple heavy machine guns were just laughable, having to be cut every 1/2 second because without the editing it would look ridiculous - even with the editing it looked ridiculous. I mention this because did not see it mentioned anywhere else here where the other aspects of this disgraceful production are well documented and entertainingly described with far better imagination than anything shown by the film-makers. One to rank with Connery in 'The Avengers' as a complete waste of everybody's time, talented actors, and audiences shown no respect for the ticket money they've shelled out.
film for ALL ages
Let's get this out of the way... I hate Hollywood movies by number, Disney schmaltz, stereotyped screenplays, and endings and plot devices you can see a mile off... so why do I like this film? Basically the story is a true and affecting one of loyalty beyond death, and the kind of love a dog gives a loving master which could easily have me reaching for the sick bucket in the wrong hands. Well directed by Don Chaffey who went on to much work on TV series like Danger Man, The Prisoner, The Avengers, Mission Impossible etc in a simple unassuming manner which perfectly fits the low key style required to get just the right emotional punch and uplift at the end.
A well constructed screenplay gets us off to a favourable start but the acting all round hits exactly the correct note. Donald Crisp is really excellent as the crusty Scotsman, and lifts Laurence Naismith (Moore and Curtis' boss in the Persuaders) to the same level in their long running feud scenes and affecting melting to friendship through common love of the little dog at the end. Andrew Cruickshank (in the original Dr Finlay) is wonderful as the Lord Provost in the crucial highpoint turnaround scene. The comedy turns like the officious policeman and the court reporter who lets the kids into court are spot on. Even the kids are fine.
The actors stick close to a style suitable for a Disney movie but the clever understatement (helped by the character motivation not wanting to appear too weak in loving a stray dog) make the unfolding story and ending carry a real emotional punch. Yes, it's corny but based on a TRUE corniness, and that's what makes it stand out among Disney (and other!) films. Beautiful colour throughout and if you've ever been to Edinburgh you will like the recreation of the old city. The music is also excellent, the strings perfectly complimenting the Scottish theme with bagpipe like harmonies.
Recommended for children of all ages up to 110.
Get a box of tissues out for the last quarter of an hour and enjoy!