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35 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A serious case of the blarney, 29 September 2015

It is a fact that, for several decades - the 70s included - the Irish were depicted as stereotypical hard drinking, blarney-kissing, unreliable and romantic fools, often played by non-Irish actors with fair to middling success at cracking either the Northern, but mostly Southern Irish accents. That's a shame as it does a disservice to an isle which has produced so many noteworthy people such as W.S. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and far more besides.

In this episode of Columbo, practically every assumed Irish trait is employed, and the result is, at worst cringeworthy, at best fair. In fact, I found myself wondering when a leprechaun would appear. Clive Revill, a New Zealander and otherwise respected Shakespearean actor, hams it up and falls somewhere in between an English, Scottish and what can only be described as a faux Southern Ireland accent. This is a real missed opportunity, as the script and plot is of a good standard. Revill's facial expressions are excellent - the only problem is when he opens his mouth you cringe and literally wonder where in-between London and Dublin his accent will happen to be. I say 'missed opportunity' because the singing puts me very much in mind of the late Luke Kelly of the Dubliners, and I found myself imagining what the eloquent and sharp-witted Mr. Kelly could have done with this role. Likewise a certain Richard Harris would have been truly excellent. So all in all, this can only be described as a serious case of the Blarney. It's fascinating, but for all the wrong reasons as it's ultimately a study in how to blow a great plot by casting the wrong actor. Such an oversight is forgivable for vehicles such as 'Mary Poppins', but sadly not for the likes of Columbo.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hitchcock's finest hour, 24 April 2015

This has been described as his favourite Hitchcock film and I'm inclined to agree with him. From Joseph Cotton's utterly believable inhabitation of the central character to Teresa Wright's dawning realisation of the facts, this is a very absorbing piece of cinema. As usual, there are some beautiful set pieces and the director really engages your attention, which is really all that one can ask as a viewer.

I find it quite sad that Cotton never landed an Oscar for this, or for any of his other roles for that matter, as he really had what it took. As a side note, for any 'It's A Wonderful Life' fans, you will immediately spot the presence of a certain Henry Travers - aka Clarence the angel.

In summary, for me this is the definitive Hitchcock film, and should be in any discerning film buff's library.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Little Gem, 24 April 2015

This is a film that has been in the back of my mind for a while to watch, and it was over in the Columbo podcast website that a buddy of mine brought it to the forefront. This stars Leslie Nielsen in a very different kind of role that we're used to seeing him in, and it has to be said that he makes a credible leading man. As for the supporting cast, the sinister Dr. Morbius is characterised very well by Walter Pidgeon and his daughter, Altaira, is played nicely by Anne Francis. What with the presence of Robbie the robot, built at a cost of $125,000, and - for, what must have been at the time, an extremely novel alien landscape - one has to say that an excellent job has been done all round. One can certainly see the seeds of future sci-fi staples such as Star Trek. A must for all sci-fi fans and even those who aren't will derive at least some kind of enjoyment from this. Finally, as for the plot, this is based on 'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare, who surely brings with him his own credentials.

Husbands (1970)
Deals with male mid-life crisis head-on, 24 April 2015

The chances are that, if or whenever you hear the name 'Peter Falk', you instantly associate it with the excellent award winning TV detective series, 'Columbo'. If you stretch your mind a bit, you may even recall that he appeared in a couple of films such as 'The Great Race' or 'It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'. If that's the extent of your knowledge of this actor, then you are missing out on a number of excellent performances, one of which appears in this film. Essentially 'Husbands' covers the unravelling self-confidence of three close friends, who suffer the loss of their close fourth friend, and the plot effectively deals with the subsequent fallout. It is, by turns, humorous, black and difficult to watch at times, but for me, it was a brave attempt to capture this subject on film. John Cassavetes, who not only stars in the film but also directs, was known as a pioneer of American cinema - particularly for using the POV genre - and with films such as this, it's easy to see why. In terms of the main three actors, each brings a depth, but not only that, a true tragi-comedic element, to their characters, which are highly believable. It would be difficult to single one of the main three actors out for particular praise, such is the balance and interplay. Highly recommended, not only for men of a certain age but also for women seeking insight on the mind of men.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The definitive mob movie, 24 April 2015

Chances are you may have heard of this film, then again maybe you haven't. Anyway, let's cut to the chase. 'The Godfather', running at just under three hours, boasts at least four set pieces which will have you at the edge of your seat. The director takes care in familiarising us with not just the Corleone family, but also their staff and associates, which really engages the viewer. We are also witness to the transformation of a certain Michael Corleone. There are elements of tragedy in this film which sows the seeds for future perpetrations of revenge, and the ultimate message that I took away was that man has the capacity to cause absolute carnage, which clearly we already know: I suppose that it does no little harm to remind ourselves of that fact. In terms of the acting, it superlative with everyone putting in credible performances. Given that the director was under incredible pressure to make this a success, it is a fantastic feat and still holds up today as the definitive mob movie. However, let me put all that to one side and reserve special credit to Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola who have created quite possibly the best and most recognisable soundtrack in movie history. If you don't already have it, I recommend that you buy 'The Godfather Trilogy' album: there are songs on the album which, if they don't send a shiver up your spine, will reduce you to tears, such is the poignancy of these compositions. I strongly believe that this film would not have been what it is without this soundtrack - it is that crucial to the overall structure.

Sometimes it pays not to listen in, 24 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a cool little piece from Francis Ford Coppola, starring Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a detective whose speciality is surveillance. The plot is great and really plays with the viewer's psychology, leading to a genuine feeling of foreboding. Great support too not only from John Cazale but also from Harrison Ford, who is genuinely creepy. The whole thing adds up to a couple of hours well spent. Look out for an uncredited performance from Robert Duvall. As for the soundtrack, it does very well to keep the viewer on edge and again adds to the overall experience. The ending is absolutely great, as Caul becomes ever more paranoid and ultimately unravels. Great.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Haunting love story that transcends time, 24 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sometimes one happens upon a film which one wouldn't have even known about unless it is found by accident. This, for me, is one of those films and I couldn't be happier to have found it. Having done a little research on the actor Joseph Cotten, he is on the record as stating that this is the favourite of all the films he starred in. With some choice actors in support in the form of Jennifer Jones, Ethel Barrymore - of the famous Barrymore acting clan - Lilian Gish and Cecil Kellaway, everyone plays their parts beautifully. As for Cotten, he has never been in finer form, as his usual melancholy charm is perfectly suited to this film. In essence, the plot revolves around a struggling artist who is yet to find his niche and, indeed, his muse. That muse turns up in the form of Jennie, played beautifully by Jennifer Jones. This film is notable for the fact that it is mostly in monochrome i.e. black and white, but the final reel uses a green tint and sepia. In terms of the direction, it is wonderful and some effective but subtle special effects - for which it bagged an Oscar - are put to very good use. Probably one of the greatest ever love stories committed to film and I'm so glad to have seen it.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
There are better films out there, 19 April 2015

Having watched Alfred Hitchcock's 'Shadow Of A Doubt' just yesterday, then viewing 'CK' today - both of which star Joseph Cotten - I was struck that these were two distinctly different genres. However, for me, what makes a film is how it engages with the viewer, and for me, there is no comparison between the two. That is to say I was underwhelmed with 'CK' and it just didn't engage me. That is not to say that there are not some very nice set pieces of cinematography in it. I would imagine that, back in 1941, this was so different to anything out there that it was regarded as quite groundbreaking. But in fact, I actually prefer Welles's 'Touch Of Evil' (reconstructed version) to 'CK', however that's only my opinion.

In summary I would say, rather than being influenced by top 100 film lists and getting enticed into the whole 'rosebud' PR stunt, watch what Hitchcock described as his own favourite film i.e. 'Shadow Of A Doubt'. You won't be sorry.

The Moreno Brothers?!!!, 28 March 2015

Oh what a marvellous episode, with Donald Pleasence on sparkling (forgive the pun) form. Columbo also seems to really enter into the spirit of things (oh, sorry - there I go again). What I also loved was the way Mr. Carsini created havoc in the restaurant, literally incandescent with rage and, of course, this turned out to be a pivotal part of the story line. The support from the Maitre 'D (played by Vito Scotti) and wine steward (Monte Landis) really helped make this a memorable scene, especially the bit at the end of the scene where they are sampling the wine and clearly some great rapport between these two actors. Also memorable was the early scene with his brother who has the audacity to mention the Moreno Brothers, to which Adrian Carsini literally explodes 'The Moreno brothers?!!! The Moreno brothers?!!! 69 cents a gallon Moreno Brothers?!!!' A really nice touch at the end when Columbo produces the wine. I think that's one of the things I love about his character - the humanitarian aspect even in the face of such desperate goings on.

For me, this was the first episode to contain transparent humour, which was a really nice touch.

One other thing I noticed was the use of NBV (non-verbal behaviour) in this episode, not just by Adrian Carsini, but also by Columbo. Watch it again and see how many times you spot cast members use NVB rather than talking.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Terrifically atmospheric, 20 January 2013

This is certainly one of the best in the series of SH films, with a wonderfully atmospheric feel to it right from the outset. Snippets of information about certain characters build up the tension nicely, and a solid supporting cast - particularly Sally Shepherd as the sinister Mrs. Monteith - really gets things going. Throw in a suitably creepy old stately home and it all adds up to an entertaining 69 minutes. Nicely paced direction from the ever-present director, Roy William Neill, directing one of his final films before his untimely death at just 59 the following year. Neill was to direct another four Sherlock Holmes films before his final film noir 'Black Angel' and this one is certainly amongst the pick of the crop. Rathbone excellent as usual. Bruce and Hoey (as Inspector Lestrade) bounce off each other in terms of humour. An excellent twist at the end guarantees satisfaction.

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