The film is good. It isn't great though - just compare it with Reed's "The Third Man" and you'll see the difference between a master piece, a work of a superb team, and a reasonably well-made picture. However one mustn't forget that "reasonably well-made" pictures aren't so easy to do, and thus "The Berlin Express" seems to me to be a good movie.
The actors are superb - all of them. Joaquim de Almeida and Maria de Medeiros are especially good in it. Another one I liked a lot was the one who played the murderer. When I read the book that was almost exactly as I pictured the murderer to be. Anyway I recommend the film to every one and give it 7 out of 10.
"Rancho Notorious" isn't a conventional western, I suppose. It's more like a western with an European touch - Fritz Lang's touch (and also Marlene Dietrich touch). I liked the film, but I don't think it is very good. Still it isn't as bad as Marlene Dietrich used to say on interviews. "Rancho Notorious" reminds me of "Johnny Guitar" (more or less the same kind of photography, the older woman, etc.). But "Johnny Guitar" is, in my opinion, a much better movie. If you are a M. Dietrich fan you should see this film. There is only one thing I don't like with Dietrich in color: her red lips. The shade of that lipstick is not very pretty... on the other hand, she was a beautiful woman.
If you like Fritz Lang you'll enjoy the movie like I did.
Anyway I think there were very good things about it: the actor who plays Garrett is good, the wardrobe, make-up and set designs were very good, the scenes on location show us beautiful places, the photography is excellent.
Really the only thing bad about it is the way the director handled the script and how he told the actors to play it. It could be a lot better, but still I liked it and watched all the episodes.
The other theme is of course that dependence between the brother and the two sisters. The sisters depend on him for money and he depends on them to be taken care of.
I can't help comparing Siodmak's work with that of Alfred Hitchcock. It always looks like Hitchcock could do better, but then you would loose Siodmak's touch and I don't think that would be good.
The Spiral Staircase doesn't resist 100% to the test of time, but it is still great suspense and great direction - especially the beginning and the end. I also liked the actors very much. The only one I didn't enjoy so much was George Brent, but then I never like his acting in any picture. The rest of the cast is perfect.
Sometimes the story gets a little boring - most of the times it happens when Ethel Barrymore is talking - but that is, in a way, good, because it gives you that sense of desperation and anxiety. You never know when will the killer attack...
The end is not very surprising but it doesn't let you down. The sequence of events is very well planned and filmed.
It's a good film and if you see it at a tender age I don't doubt it will scare you.
All the actors are very good and even the smallest roles are played wonderfully. Lisbon looks beautiful as ever. Don't miss it! I liked this film very much.