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Cruz Diablo (1934)
7/10
Interesting film
17 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film on youtube and it is a curio at best but fun to watch. This takes a page out of the Errol Flynn swashbucklers but in black and white and not as exciting as his films. In a way, it slightly resembles a silent film swashbuckler in the style of John Gilbert (Bardleys the Magnificient) or Ramon Novarro (Scaramouche) with a dash of Robin Hood/Mark Of Zorro (but not as fun as Douglas Fairbanks). The premise is similar in terms of attacking the rich to help the poor and leaving a signature mark behind. However, there is a nastiness to the main character that does not make him quite as endearing. Nevertheless, there are the usual sub-plots of mistaken identity, rescuing a love from a bad person and all trying to rectify it by the end. Look quick for Rita Hayworth in a group dance sequence.
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White Hunter (1936)
7/10
Interesting Fun Adventure Tale
3 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is a standard, but well made adventure tale starring Warner Baxter. Warner Baxter is Captain Jim Clark, a cynical African safari guide, agrees to lead a group composed of munitions manufacturer Michael Varek, his wife and his daughter. Varek slumps over when he sees that their guide is Clark, but after he regains his composure, neither the Vareks nor Clark acknowledge that they know one another. When they are alone, Varek's wife Helen tells her husband that she is afraid of being at the mercy of Clark, whom they earlier knew as Clark Rutledge, but Varek reminds her that he whipped Clark before and will do it again. That night, Helen enters Clark's tent. When he eludes to their common past and the fact that he is a fugitive wanted by Scotland Yard, Helen denies that she had anything to do with his predicament and reminds him of a previous romantic night. When Varek calls her, she grabs Clark, but he puts her off, and she returns to her husband's tent. The next day, Varek tells Clark that he and his wife have decided not to shoot that day, so Clark goes with Toni, Varek's daughter and Helen's stepdaughter, to shoot lions. After the African beaters cause a lioness to leave her cub in the open, Toni takes the cub with her to bed that night. The lioness follows the cub's scent and makes its way to Toni's tent. Toni stifles a scream, and Clark knifes his way in from the side, grabs the cub and throws it to its mother, who licks it and carries it away. Helen then sees Toni holding hands with Clark and tells Varek, who surmises that Clark is trying to get back at him through his daughter. The next day, Toni attempts to get Clark to kiss her, but he resists. When Varek questions Toni and she indignantly says that she loves Clark and will marry him if he asks her, Varek tells her that he knew Clark years ago and that Clark left England after a "nasty mess." That night, Toni tells Clark that whatever happened in London makes no difference to her, and he kisses her goodnight. He then finds Helen waiting in his tent, and when she tries to flirt and offers to leave Varek, Clark ignores her. When Varek sees Helen leave Clark's tent, he rebukes her. The next day, Varek tells Toni that he and Helen are separating. He explains that Clark was in love with Helen when he married her, and that Clark is now trying to get back at him through Toni. Varek then confronts Clark and acknowledges that Clark has won. When Varek asks Clark how much he wants, Clark cynically demands the past eight years of his life. Varek offers to clear Clark's name even if that means that he himself might be ruined, but Clark says that it isn't enough. During an elephant hunt, Varek aims at Clark, but cannot pull the trigger. Just then a violent windstorm approaches, and when Varek and Clark return to camp, they find that Toni is gone. Clark searches for her and hears her scream when she sees a leopard on a limb above her. When Clark finds her, the leopard pounces on him, and they fight until he is able to shoot the leopard with his pistol. Although the leopard has mangled him, Clark carries Toni to camp and gives her to Varek before slumping over. Later, Varek can't watch as Clark's servant singes his wounds with a hot spear. As Varek gets ready to leave, Clark refuses to accept his thanks and apologies. Toni then overhears what really happened eight years ago: Varek wanted a munitions contract from the government and used Helen to steal information from Clark, then an undersecretary in the war office. When the scandal broke, Clark had to leave the country, and he has since been hiding from the police. Varek again offers to clear Clark's name, but Clark says that he no longer wants to go back because the jungle is now home to him. Surprising everyone, Toni says goodbye to her father, rather than to Clark, and Clark embraces her as they watch the Vareks' plane leave.
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Il mago (1995 TV Movie)
5/10
Grandfather tale of love
21 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film online recently. Anthony Quinn is kind of a scruffy guy who is known for his vagrancy and big ideas. He is scoffed by most people and gets into many physical altercations. The one bright thing in his life is his young ward (grandson). They have adventures together and he definitely learns to care about someone other than himself. Due to the rough neighborhood, there is rumblings of things to come. Ultimately, the ending is downbeat. Quinn plays his role with a Zorba the Greek feel. He tends to overact a bit in this tale. I saw it without subtitles
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Good Old Soak (1937)
7/10
Typical 30's vehicle with Wallace Beery
8 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is a well made, well done production with Wallace Beery with an all too familiar storyline that he was routinely doing in his career at this time. He was a drifter coming back to town and checking in on his family and slowly trying to ingratiate back into their lives by turning back on his demons by being a more positive person. His ex-wife was Janet Beecher but there was no chemistry between them, which made it easier to believe they did not like each other but hard to imagine that he would want to get back together to make their 'family' whole again. There was an all too familiar storyline in trying to impress his son and win back his love and respect (of course, many plot twists try to prevent and hinder them from reconciling). It still is an interesting watch if you have not seen and request TCM if you can for them to view.
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Big Town Girl (1937)
7/10
Typical B picture but with the wonderful Claire Trevor
11 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a fun, not too surprising "B" picture from the Fox Studio that Claire Trevor did quite a few in the late 1930's. She escapes a very sordid relationship with a bad guy who goes to jail and changes her name to start fresh and a new career in a department store. While there she is caught singing and in a quick New York Minute she is now being promoted as a singing star in disguise. She uses veil, mud packs, etc to keep her disguise as a 'singing countess' and there is one reporter who wants to uncover who she really is for a good story. However, when she is exposed and the ex-boyfriend sees who she is, there will be trouble in store.

This is a typical programmer but always delightful to have Claire Trevor in a lead role (though the movie is just over an hour in length). I viewed this film online, so it is out there for people to find and view.
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5/10
Dated Short Comedy by the Sad Faced Clown
16 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this film online and it is definitely dated and formulaic for its time. There is plenty of stereotypes, such as having actor, Fred 'Snowflake' Toones reading a book on 365 ways to make fried chicken (ouch). The plots are quite similar in Harry Langdon shorts. The typical short of his will have mistaken identity, getting lost and turned around, police involvement and then rushing late to his own wedding. Most of this happened and it was entirely predictable. Also, this is done in a quite haphazard way and none too believable. Harry tries gallantly to make this work, but it is definitely a tired old formula. Only for Langdon buffs is my recommendation.
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8/10
Well Done Pre-Code Film
13 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and it is a well made and wonderfully acted pre-code film. Warner Baxter and Dorothy Mackaill are excellent as the two leads and have a romance that is full of twists and turns. Zasu Pitts is a good supporting character and appears so much more youthful in this role and as the film progresses, she develops a good sense of the world. Nella Walker is good as well, as the insensitive and unkind mentor to Dorothy and trying to sabotage her happiness for wealth and position. Warner Baxter is devilishly charming in his role and he and Dorothy make a good pair. However, this is Dorothy's film and she is effective as the conflicted heroine, torn between money, love, family loyalty and friendship.
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7/10
Rediscovered film
30 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This was found in the New Zealand archive and is now online for all to view. The lead is Elaine Hammerstein who comes across as a feckless, not too sympathetic flapper, who rushes into marriage to escape from her family. However, just because she marries, she is still way too immature and careless and routinely takes off from her husband (at night) to go dancing with friends or out to drinks. He patiently waits for her to come back and keeps hoping that she will turn her life around. After a long bender where she decides to leave him, a traumatic experience then foreshadows for her that changes her destiny forever. Look quickly for Constance Bennett as a sympathetic showgirl who you root for her to encourage the husband to leave his unfaithful and uncaring wife.
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8/10
Fun, frothy 30's comedy
20 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a delightful 30's comedy with Ray Milland and Olympe Bradna as a secretly married couple who cannot reveal their marriage (which happened abroad) and try to thwart his marriage to a rich heiress to save his family from bankruptcy. The family is the typical daffy characters: arrogant dad, befuddled mom, spoiled sister and various servants who have plenty of one liners. The charming part is seeing Olympe Bradna pretending to be their maid and getting to know the family and win over their hearts as she shields from them the truth of their marriage. Enjoyable thirties comedy that is worth a look and can be found online
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5/10
Weird Western with Myrna Loy
17 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and it was a very rough print with faded black and white photography. George O'Brien and Lucile Browne and the leads with Myrna Loy as 'the other woman' who out-acted both of them and should have been the lead. This is a revenge western with George O'Brien plotting to get back at the family who murdered his father and enacting his own brand of retribution. Myrna Loy's character is left to hang in the balance and we never find out what happened to her which may either be a missing reel or a plot point that was never resolved. This is a curio to see early talkie westerns but not a memorable movie. See if you are a Myrna Loy fan in seeing all of her movies.
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8/10
Nice Drama with two great stars
10 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and it is not the usual funny comedy that Myrna Loy is known for in this time period but a marital drama that takes place over a ten year period. Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy are newlyweds and over the course of ten years, we see their romance, fun times, heartbreak, infidelity, money problems and abandonment. The film is done in flashback by their mutual friend, played by Ian Hunter, who is wonderful in the film. Also, Claire Trevor plays an interesting role of a friend who betrays them at the end. However, the ending makes you wonder if Myrna ended up with the wrong person because of everything she had been through in the past ten years. This reminds me of a harder version of Penny Serenade because you do not feel as close to the characters as you do in 'Penny Serenade' but that is what makes it interesting because they are more real and visceral to watch. The timeline is also realistic in it spanning from 1925 to 1935. There are the appropriate markers in the timeframe of the movie that also make it believable. Check this out if you get the chance.
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Rough Romance (1930)
5/10
Average Early Talkie Outdoor Drama Potboiler
7 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online, but have also seen this on Ebay available for purchase. This is an early talkie outdoor logging drama potboiler with an average cast, but noticeable is John Wayne in an early role. The main thrust of the story takes place in a logging town and the rivalry of the different factions of landowners to control the river and the woman in the middle (Helen Chandler). Helen Chandler's character is stuck in the logging town and she wants to get out and experience life, if not a dance, where she can wear the prettiest dress (big dreams Helen!). There ends up a death, another shooting, accusation of murder, betrayal and a confession that wraps up this potboiler in less than an hours time. John Wayne is seen briefly in the beginning as a lumberjack, look for him fast but you cannot miss him since he is taller than everyone else in the scene.
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Human Cargo (1936)
7/10
Interesting Potboiler with a now famous cast
7 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film through the UCLA Film and Television Archive (though they sent me to their Paramount Lot to view since the print was being restored at the time). Since that time, this was shown at Cinecon Film Festival in 2014 in Los Angeles. This starred Claire Trevor in her usual role as a reporter trying to uncover the facts about illegal aliens being smuggled into the country and then used for slavery since their wages go to the gangsters who smuggled them in the country. Rita Hayworth is a nightclub performer who knows more about the operation than she would like, and is used to get a story for the reporters and ends up getting shot. Claire and Brian Donlevy do a great job as reporters with an easy banter and this is a very topical movie (even more so in today's climate). This is a movie that was worth saving and glad it is being shown more today.
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6/10
Routine Tale of Gambling and Romance
6 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a standard tale of husband and wife live a party lifestyle and he works in a gambling hall and she occasionally models and sings. Because they want to start a family, wife feels the need to change their situation. Situation is changed and husband gets a new job, and then a promotion, but is tricked into a bad business deal and wants to go back to his old life. Husband returns to gambling and loses wife and son. Wife goes into fashion, gets a new boyfriend and does well for herself until she hears about her husband's shady deals. Ann Sothern is always a delight in any role and she performs with her usual panache and verve. Bruce Cabot is wooden throughout the entire film and incapable of expressing any emotions (has the same look on his face whether happy or sad). Irving Pichel was the bad guy with a conscience and was just adequate. Look fast for the Nicholas Brothers do a dance routine in the club.
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5/10
Average
3 May 2015
This was a mild drama/comedy about a silly young man who wants to help a heiress receive her power of attorney over her rude and feckless guardian. I viewed this film online and mostly to see if I could see Merle Oberon in a bit role. The acting ranges from sweet to over-the-top (especially Bobby Howes) especially with a running gag that grows tiresome after awhile. The leading lady is pleasant, but forgettable and there is nothing that will last in your memory. There is a sequence of drama but is actually a comedy of errors that keeps the ending from happening due to a silly misunderstanding. If you are a Merle Oberon fan, then you may want to see this film but if you can find her, good luck, for it is not too easy. The print and quality are good and clear, but no great shakes in the cinematic department of film.
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6/10
Interesting Pre-Code Drama
18 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is the original version (later remade) of Bob Hope's Thanks for the Memory (without the cool songs) and was viewed online. Storyline (beware of spoilers): After Steve Merrick has his first story published, he proposes to his girl friend Anne, who refuses on the grounds that she loves him for all the wrong reasons. They finally agree to marry for one year, stipulating that if they are not happy at that time, they will separate. After one year, Steve and Anne are still happy. Steve, however, is jealous of Anne's friend, Gilbert Morrell, a publisher who urges Steve to give up his day job and concentrate on writing. Against Steve's wishes, Anne gets a job at their friend Biney Hatfield's Paramount theater, and Steve quits his job. Steve writes at home, but becomes frustrated with household chores and with relying on his wife for an allowance. He becomes suspicious when Anne spends evenings after work with Gil, and angrily decides to throw a going-away party for their neighbor, Luella May Carroll, who has been trying to seduce him for months. Anne confides in Gil that she is pregnant, but she does not want Steve to know. Gil gives her some money as a loan so she can quit work if she needs to. When Anne gets home she finds their friends there, but no Steve, who eventually comes in with Luella. He is angry because he feels like a "kept man." When Anne shows him the check from Gil, telling him it is his first payment for his book, he sees it is made out to her and accuses her of having an affair. They separate but after three months meet again to sell their apartment, and make plans to divorce so Anne can marry Gil. While showing the apartment, they realize they are still in love, however, and reunite, with Steve delighted at the prospect of becoming a father.

Carole Lombard was still pretty stiff before the camera, there was no sign of her fun loving personality to come and Norman Foster was all bluster but no substance as her husband. However, this is an interesting curio to check out and observe.
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7/10
Cool Mystery with interesting cast
9 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and it is a fairly entertaining and intriguing mystery with Ellen Drew and Robert Preston. Here is the storyline: Board members of the New York Faulkner Corporation demand that their president inform them why $20 million is missing from the company fund. President Bjorn Faulkner refuses to answer and that night meets with a mysterious associate who uses the pseudonym "Anton Haraba." A struggle breaks out between the two men, and Faulkner is apparently murdered when his body falls from the balcony of his penthouse apartment. Kit Lane, Faulkner's private secretary, is arrested for his murder because she is found in the penthouse where she rushed after the dead man's hand hit the intercom to her apartment. Board member Steve Van Ruyle, who recently inherited his position from his uncle, is distressed to learn that his $3 million may have disappeared. He convinces the frantic Faulkner board members that Kit must have been in on an embezzlement plan with Faulkner. With the consent of the board, Steve bails Kit out of jail in order to find out her involvement and soon gets his hands on Faulkner's private diary, in which Haraba's name is noted, followed by a series of numbers and dates. Kit is indicted for Faulkner's murder and the circumstantial evidence at the trial weighs heavily against her. Now sympathetic to Kit, Steve convinces her defense attorney to adjourn the trial to Faulkner's apartment, where he expects him to prove that Kit neither had the time nor the ability to emerge from Faulkner's private elevator and hurl him from the balcony on the night of his death. However, when an attorney proves that Steve bribed the elevator repairman to slow the elevator for the demonstration, Steve escapes with Kit and finds refuge in the apartment of Oscar, a drunken stranger. Kit studies Faulkner's statuette of Atlas supporting a globe, which Steve had pocketed, and notes that several cities marked with jewels represent the cities in which Faulkner had investments. She realizes that she can spell out the name "Haraba" with the first letters of each city and that the investments listed in the diary come out to $20 million. With the further realization that Faulkner intended to go to each city on the date indicated and withdraw the money, Steve convinces the board members to buy them a ticket to Havana, the last city in the book. In Havana, Steve and Kit impersonate a married couple and after an exhaustive search at various hotels, learn that Haraba is checked into their own hotel. They page Haraba, knowing that whoever he is, he must be the killer, and while Steve instructs the hotel bartender on how to mix his favorite unique drink, Kit goes to her room to change. She is shocked to find Faulkner there and realizes that he killed Haraba and dressed him in his clothes so that the mutilated corpse would be identified as he. Faulkner takes Kit to his room and at the same time, Steve is arrested by the Cuban police. They take him to get Kit, and when he finds her gone, he is tipped off by a waiter going to Faulkner's room with his favorite drink concoction, about which only Kit could know. He rushes to Faulkner's room in time to save Kit from death, and New York police inspector Donegan, working with the Cuban police, arrives to arrest Faulkner. Kit and Steve are freed and rather than continuing to impersonate a married couple, they marry.
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Shanghai (1935)
7/10
Interesting Movie with two strong leads
5 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Loretta Young and Charles Boyer make for an interesting pairing (though Boyer hardly seems the obvious choice for a mixed race character. However, the theme of bigotry because of race and unrequited love between two people was very well done. Also, the dialogue of how society perceives their romantic entanglement made for effective storytelling and formed the basis of this story. Both leads are really strong in this tale and Loretta is at her most beautiful both in appearance and strength of character. This was viewed online and the print was really good. Though they were not paired at the end, the meaning of why they were separated was very touching and bittersweet.This is worth a look and should have wider distribution.
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4/10
Bizarre Penultimate Film of Veronica Lake
26 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this film in French (it was shot in Canada) and it is a definitely a film of the 60's (in the style of 'The Trip' or 'Head') with a band playing its music throughout the background, psychedelic trips, and a Romeo and Juliet love story that is thwarted by a possessive mother, add in a killing and an attempted murder and the outcome is this mess of a movie. Meredith MacRae and Peter Kastner have the love story, which the song 'footsteps in the snow' is played over and over when they are together, which also references their own footsteps in the snow, being on a bridge with the sun behind them and their over powering love. There are scenes of young girls and guys playing in the snow in bikinis and shorts as well as 60's drug/alcohol use, which are totally out of place and strange. There is Veronica Lake (who looks really good) as Meredith's overprotective mother who goes to great lengths to break them up. She adds the only professionalism to the movie. The ending is especially bizarre and totally off which makes one wonder if the scriptwriters/director were taking drugs whilst making this film.
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7/10
Good film with a GREAT performance by Claude Rains
25 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS.....

Viewed this film online and Claude Rains makes the most out of a 'typical' older man/younger woman/stranger in town plot device and breathes fresh life into it with his characterization. Because of his performance, his colleagues also rise to the occasion which raises the bar for this film.......the story goes: In 1906, in a small New England town, Abby, the young wife of a middle-aged, Puritanical Civil War historian and museum curator, Elisha Hunt, meets New York lawyer Bruce Eldridge. Bruce is engaged to a beautiful, wealthy widow named Phyllis Cantwell, who has recently bought a house up the hill from the Hunts. Although he used to be an ambitious political statesmen, Bruce has abandoned his aspirations and become a playboy among Phyllis' upper-class social set. While Elisha is away giving a lecture, Abby attends a local auction at the Abernathys' and makes a modest bid on a chair for Elisha, but is outbid by Phyllis. When the townspeople are too afraid to bid on a gramophone because they think it is an instrument of the Devil, Abby buys it in defiance of Phyllis' snobbish friends. With the gramophone are recordings of arias sung by world-class tenor Enrico Caruso, which Abby listens to over and over again, falling in love with the music. When Elisha comes home and finds Abby dreamy-eyed over the music, having burned her bread, he tells her that Abernathy hanged himself after the auction, and forbids her to keep the gramophone. She gives it to a friendly grocer named Mr. Willis, and while Elisha is away, she plays it night after night on a nearby hilltop. One night, Bruce, hearing the music, visits her, and they fall in love. Bruce dresses Abby up and takes her out for an evening of music and dancing, after which they enjoy an innocent kiss. After Elisha returns home, village deacon Parry tells him that a shameless heathen has been singing in the valley day and night, provoking Elisha to accuse Abby of disobeying him. He is about to destroy the gramophone with an axe when Abby breaks into tears, begging him to let her have her music, but not telling him that it represents her only link to Bruce. In the following weeks, Abby becomes increasingly distant from Elisha. When she receives a Caruso record album from Bruce in the mail, Elisha confronts her, and she admits she spent an innocent evening with Bruce, and that the music has changed her. Elisha angrily smashes the album and, at Sunday morning church service, publicly denounces Abby as an adulterer. She defends herself and runs from the church, then takes a train to New York to see Bruce. Upon Abby's arrival, there is a surprising plot twist which brings her back to her husband.......

The ending is really well done and the performances match up to the drama that is created.
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7/10
Interesting Re-make with top leads
24 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and though they were not in the 'prime' of their stardom (Richard Dix, Dolores Del Rio Chester Morris), they enacted their roles capably and highlighted the action with this movie which is an interesting remake of Submarine (1928).

Spoiler Alert: Ace Navy diver, Jack Dorgan and his aide for many years, Robert Mason, are separated when Jack receives orders to relocate to San Diego as a diving instructor and Bob is named chief petty officer of a submarine. In San Diego, Jack is consoled when he realizes his dream of owning a house but soon becomes bored with his new lifestyle and decides to go out for a night on the town. At a dance hall, Jack meets Carmen, a beautiful taxi dancer. Jack is immediately infatuated with Carmen, who tells him a misleading hard-luck story. Jack believes Carmen's story and asks her to marry him. Before they can go on a honeymoon, however, Jack is sent away on a salvage job. Carmen becomes bored and soon returns to her job at the dance hall. One night, Bob, who is on shore leave, visits the dance hall and falls in love with Carmen. Carmen does not reveal her marriage, and she and Bob enjoy one another's company for the remainder of the time that Jack is away. When Jack returns home, he is incensed to find Bob in Carmen's arms and throws Bob out of his house. Back at sea, Bob's submarine collides with an old shipwreck and sinks. Several crew members manage to escape and they alert the Navy. When Jack is called in to rescue the stranded crew, he refuses to help because Bob is on board. Carmen is outraged at Jack's behavior and confronts him, explaining that Bob is not guilty of any wrongdoing. Jack realizes how foolish he has been and rushes to the submarine site, where the trapped men are close to asphyxiation. Attaching an air hose to the submarine, Jack saves Bob and the rest of the crew. After recuperating, Bob and Jack are sent to China, and Carmen returns to the dance hall.

What is great about this movie is the interesting take on loyalty and friendship with the Dolores Del Rio character coming between them but she ultimately decides what is the 'right thing' to do and because of her actions---ends up alone and the guys re-start their friendship.
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Man in Hiding (1953)
6/10
Well made but "B" type thriller
23 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Saw this film online and worth a look.

Spoilers: A mystery made mysterious by the writers via misleading clues, lack of cohesion and glaring loopholes begins when Speight (Kieron Moore) escapes after being found guilty of murder, and his wife, Thelma (Lois Maxwell), believes he is after her because she is in love with another man and has changed her name. Lawyer Bishop and friend (Paul Henreid), playing a hunch, finds Speight at the scene of the crime and learns he is after the real murderer and not his wife. They shift through several men as suspects, all of whom seem to know his wife rather well. It is well done but no great shakes in the thriller department. The acting ranges from good to shaky and look for Kay Kendall in a small supporting role.
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6/10
Fun, lighthearted frolic
21 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and while it is no great shakes in cinematic history it is a fun filled romp with a wonderful supporting performance by Eve Arden. It has to do with mistaken identity, the use of royalty in disguise and being with commoners, putting on a show musical, the egotistical star of the show as well as romance between the various characters. All of these stories have been done, but it is still a cute and well done musical with the background of Earl Carroll and his Vanities production. One never believes for a minute that any of these actors could pull of royalty but it is fun nonetheless and perfect to watch on a lazy weekend afternoon.
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Carnival (1935)
Well Done Film
31 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed this film online and it was a well made and performed though possibly on a smaller budget than usual and the ending seemed very rushed and put together, since the build up to the climax was more comprehensive and cohesive. Though this was made a year after the 'code' there are still some material that is alluded to premarital sex and getting away with a crime. Here is the storyline: Puppeteer Chick Thompson travels the carnival circuit with his close friends, Daisy and "Fingers" MCoy, a pianist who occasionally dabbles as a pickpocket to benefit his friends. Chick's wife dies during the birth of their son "Poochy," and Daisy, who is attracted to Chick, volunteers to help him raise the child. When the carnival pulls up stakes three weeks later, Mr. Lawson, Chick's father-in-law, who never approved of his daughter's marriage, legally restrains Chick from taking Poochy with him during his travels with the carnival on the grounds that it is not a suitable environment for a child. After abducting the boy from the authorities, Chick and Fingers decide to leave the carnival and hide out with him. Two years later, the carnival announces the appearance of "Doc Crawford's Australian Marionettes," which is actually Chick's new act. Daisy, who is happy to be reunited with Chick, helps shield his identity from a woman from the children's care society, who then mistakes Poochy for the happy child of Daisy and "Doc." Daisy convinces Chick that the only way to stop the authorities' harassment of him would be to find the right kind of mother for Poochy. At the state fair, Chick and Fingers enlist the carnival folk to check out the local midway populace, as Chick still does not realize that Daisy would gladly accept his marriage proposal. Chick falls for Miss Holbrook, a nurse at the baby incubator exhibit, but then discovers that she is already married. Discouraged by Chick's failure to ask her to marry him, Daisy leaves him and the act. At the fair, Chick enters Poochy in a "perfect baby" contest, in hopes that winning the $500 first prize would convince the welfare authorities that he is a good father of a healthy child. Unknown to Chick, Fingers scams the contest, and Poochy's first place finish is short-lived when the judges discover the ruse. About to be jailed, Chick becomes frantic when Poochy disappears. He and Fingers escape from the detectives, and alert the carnies that they are in trouble with screams of "Hey Rube." Chick finds Poochy and hides him in a box in his tent, leaving the child alone as he and Fingers flee from the authorities. In the confusion of the stampeding crowds, the tent is set ablaze. Chick thinks his son has died in the flames, but returns home to find that Poochy was saved by Daisy. When Chick and Fingers are later sentenced to six months in jail, Chick realizes that his child will be lost. He quickly pays two dollars to marry Daisy on the spot, hands her Poochy, then kisses her goodbye to serve his time. Fingers thanks his jailer as he is locked up and confides to cellmate Chick that the key he filched may shorten their stay.
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Wonderful Print of the Gaynor/Farrell Pairing
31 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Viewed an excellent print at the MOMA Film Study Center in NYC and it was also a well done storyline with an excellent performance by Janet Gaynor. The storyline was definitely Pre-Code for it is obvious that they were living together prior to marriage as well as having an intimate sexual relationship, but it was done in a tasteful and realistic manner. The chemistry between the two actors is evident and the plot whilst silly at times, it is made convincing by the two main performers and the supporting cast.

Here is the storyline: Vicar Smedge brings Mary Ann, a naive orphan, to work as a drudge for London boardinghouse keeper Mrs. Leadbatter. One of the tenants, John Lonsdale, a frustrated composer who is disdainful of popular music and people he feels are beneath him, insults Mary Ann's "vulgar sentiment" when she pays the rent on his newly-delivered piano because he does not have enough to pay the draymen. When John criticizes Mary Ann's red hands, his friend, Peter Brooke, comforts her and tries to account for John's angry mood by telling her that five years earlier, John broke off from his father, a wealthy shipowner, and that he is struggling now to avoid admitting failure. After John apologizes to Mary Ann and explains that he criticized her hands because women in his family always wore gloves, he kisses her cheek and grudgingly agrees to keep her canary, whose night warbling has bothered Mrs. Leadbatter. Soon Mary Ann obtains gloves and enjoys John's goodnight kisses. After impresario Granville Gascony writes to John to say he likes his composition, John excitedly gets ready to leave. Mary Ann begs to go with him as his housekeeper, and he agrees, but when Mrs. Leadbatter learns that he has kissed Mary Ann, she locks her in her room. John pays Mrs. Leadbatter the back rent he owes and puts a note in the canary cage for Mary Ann to meet him at a tailor shop if she still wants to join him. Later, at a cottage by the sea, John and Mary Ann frolic on the beach. As she happily prepares his lunch, he plays a piece from his new operetta, which lacks a story. Just then, Mrs. Leadbatter and Vicar Smedge arrive with news that oil has been found on a farm left by Mary Ann's father and that she is now one of the wealthiest commoners in England. Although Mary Ann would prefer to remain with John, Mrs. Leadbatter and the vicar insist that arrangement is impossible unless they marry. When John refuses, saying that he would only be marrying her for the money, Mary Ann disconsolately leaves after giving John the canary. One year later, at the intermission of John's operetta "Mary Ann," John sees Mary Ann, who, despite her wealth, lives simply in the country near her birthplace. After she castigates him for having been too proud to marry a servant, he agrees that he was, but asks her to return. She refuses and he admits that he never realized the love that surrounded him until it was gone. Sometime later, as John is composing and remembering Mary Ann, she knocks on his door and puts on her gloves. John pinches himself, and after he is sure that he is not imagining her, they embrace.
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