Reviews

6,869 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
North Shore (1987)
6/10
It's No POINT BREAK....
17 October 2019
Matt Adler loves to surf in the local wave machine pools. He'll enter art school in the fall, so he decides to head to Oahu's North Shore to surf the big waves. After a rocky start which proves to him that he doesn't know anything about the people and culture, he is succored by old-line board shaper Gregory Harrison, who teaches him about waves, water and the joys of soul-surfing.He also has an affair with local lovely Nia Peeples.

It's a nice mixture of teenage lover/learning about life, with handsome young people for eye candy. The real joy in the movie is Peter Smokler's cinematography, with plenty of handsome pictures of waves, water and sky. There was a flurry of surfing movies in the 1980s, and this one makes an effort to say something deeper than, say POINT BREAK. It's not terribly successful at that, but the visuals are outstanding.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Stop-Motion Dream Sequence
17 October 2019
A girl playing in the park has her doll broken by some mean boys. An elderly man drives them off. She cries and naps, dreaming of 'Le Bazar Electrique' where the dolls and plush toys come alive.

The effect is accomplished through stop-motion. Emile Cohl had worked a great deal with the technique in 1908 and 1909, using the technique to build up geometric and representational images. Now it was being used, not as the point of a film, but as a technique in story-telling, a means of showing something to advance a story, part of the grammar of film rather than the point.

It's part of the evolution of the art. If you take a look at the movies from the Lumieres' first show, you can see that they are all experimental, seeing if techniques or ideas would work. Now, we don't even notice references to them. They are so obvious, antique and simple. The year this film was made, regular production of hand-drawn story cartoons had begin at J.R. Bray's factory, another track in the evolution of animation. Not all change is progress, but Bray's studio was and so is this.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Crime Rave (1939)
6/10
Wait For The Wagon
17 October 2019
Leon is having another slow day at his haberdashery shop when two men and a woman enter. They've just robbed a bank and are looking for a hide-out. They pretend to want to buy the shop, so Leon takes them home to wife Vivian Tobin. Meanwhile, a cousin shows up unannounced. As Leon gradually figures things out, the situation goows more dire. It's not helped by the fact that his brother-in-law, cop Bud Jamison is rehearsing three fellow officers in barbershop quartet. They're busy.

It's a pretty good episode in Leon's long-running series of comedy shorts for RKO. A lot of faces pop up n them and in this one in particular that you don't associate with short subjects: Frank Faylen, veteran of more than 190 features and TV's DOBIE GILLIS is here as one of the robbers.

There is something very peculiar about the layout of Leon's house. The upstairs corridors are about 12 feet wide!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Potboiler
17 October 2019
Orphaned Shôtarô Hanayagi has been raised by the noble Ichijirô Oya, who has had him trained as a swordsmith. In gratitude, Hanayagi gives his benefactor the sword he has forged. However, it breaks in battle. Oya is disgraced and under house arrest. An imperial favorite offers to plead on behalf, if Oya will give him his daughter, Isuzu Yamada, in marriage. Oya refuses to sell his daughter and the bad guy kills him and flees. Miss Yamada asks Hanayagi to forge her a sword to kill her father's murderer. He studies under a great swordsmith, who is killed by ronin, leaving Hanayagi and his fellow apprentice, Eijirô Yanagi, to accomplish this task. However their master died, telling them that no sword should be forged that will not serve the Emperor. Can they succeed.

Kenji Mizoguchi's movie is mostly a straight potboiler with a truncated script an a cheaply shot battle scene (the erratic way that squibs go off betokens this, as does the sword fighting), and poorly coordinated special effects. Clearly there was no money for extra takes. Where it is fascinating is in the scenes of forging and tempering steel, with flashes of light and the bell-like sounds of hot, ringing steel. It's not enough to make this a great movie, or even a particularly good one. However, given this was shot in late 1944 and released in February of 1945, I'm sure Mizoguchi was glad to have the work.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
The Rackets Try To Smash Back
16 October 2019
Chester Morris is a gun-toting G-Man who gets a chance to be a straight lawyer for the D.A.'s office. He's bored and wasted, bailing out playgirls for his boss and handed no-win cases. When the father watches his son's murderers walk, Morris calls some of his old friends and beat a guy until one of the racketeers confesses. This convinces the powers-that-be that he's the man to run a special investigation.

It's an astonishingly brutal movie for 1938, not just for the violence. That was standard for the issue, and the standard lampshading applied. You never saw the gun being fired and the victim crumpling in the same shot. No, the brutality, and the thing that makes me wonder how it got past the censors under Joe Breen, is the disrespect it shows to the authorities, stating plainly that legal investigation won't get the job done, with the shoot-out that kills the villains and sets the world a-right inevitable. There's signs of brutalizing hoods and so forth. It's clear to me that the Hays Office let this one slide past The Swedish censors were not so accommodating. They turned down a license for its exhibition.

Otherwise, a standard affair, with Chester Morris looking like Dick Tracy.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Three On A Match Means Someone Will Die!
16 October 2019
Three grade-school friends grow up to be Ann Dvorak, Joan Blondell and Bette Davis. Ann does best, marrying rich man Warren William and having a son, while the other two struggle. However, she wants to enjoy life, so she goes off with Lyle Talbot. After Williams gets back his son and the other two ladies start looking after him, Dvorak and Talbot drop pretty hard into drugs and rough company like Humphrey Bogart.

The story spends a lot more time on showing the audiences the terrible, terrible world of sin, which looks like a lot of fun until Bogey shows up. Clearly, Warners were trying to do something interesting with Miss Davis, putting her in this movie with the two more popular starlets. Apparently she and director Mervyn Leroy had disagreements on how to play her character. In days to come, Bette wouldn't take that from anyone, but at this stage she was trying to make her bones at Warner Brothers and Leroy was one of their leading directors.

It's nice to see Warren William in a sympathetic role, and DP Sol Polito's camerawork is first rate.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Whether He Can Afford It Or Not
16 October 2019
Leon Errol gets the bright idea that he can save money by marrying his daughter, Suzi Crandal -- later star of HOW I BECAME A NUDIST -- to a client's son. He rents them an apartment, but his wife, played by Dorothy Granger, thinks he's renting a love nest.

It's a fairly standard entry in Errol's long-running series of comedy shorts for RKO, filled with the usual misunderstandings, sputterings, and come-uppances for Leon. It's not a deal-changer for fans of old comedy, being more akin to the situation comedies of TV than the slapstick comedies that Clumbia's shorts department specialized in. However, for those who enjoy well-timed misadventures, it will please.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Home Work (1942)
6/10
Switching Places
16 October 2019
Leon Errol tells wife Vivian Tobin that all she needs to get through the housework is to get some system in place. Because a process server is down at the office, he stays home and tries to do the housework himself, with the usual disastrous results.

It's a chestnut of movie comedy, with husband and wife switching jobs, with each failing miserably at their tasks. Leon is aided, if that is the word, by Tom Kennedy, so it isn't. Tom shows up to repair the radio and winds up cutting every wire in the house, long before Bluetooth and wireless routers may that possible.

The comedy is aided by Dorothy Granger, who plays Leon's secretary in one of her 45 or so appearances in the series.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
What! And Give Up Show Business?!
16 October 2019
Kamatari Fujiwara and Kan Yanagiya play a pantomime horse in a traveling troupe. Fujiwara spent five years as the hind legs, and has now played the front legs for ten. There is no actor, he explains, who can play the front legs of a horse better than he. He is always studying real horses to perfect his technique. Yanagiya has five years experience as the back legs. The troupe is playing the sticks at the moment. When the horse's head is damaged, Fujiwara balks. The substitute head looks too much like a fox. It interferes with his art. So the head of the troupe, in concert with the local man who is sponsoring them, gets a real horse to take their part, and demotes them.

Mikio Naruse's comedy takes a look at show business from the uncertain underside: the tiny distinctions that soothe the ego, the compromises and lies that must be told to placate the sponsors and get some money out of them. Fujiwara are Yanagiya are ridiculous, slow, and pompous. For them, however, it's a tragedy and that humanizes their foolish characters.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Just Looking For A Home
15 October 2019
When the landlord raises the rent $10 a month, Leon Errol won't stand for itt. He has wife Betty Jo Allen pack their belongings, rents a new apartment -- paying nine months' rent and getting the last three added on -- and hires moving man Eddie Gribbon. When they get there, the building has been condemned! The three of them begin a trek looking for a place to rent that takes up the rest of this funny comedy.

Leon Errol's RKO shorts series was a haven for old movie comics, and this is no exception, with Gribbon, Bud Jamison, Fred Kelsey (as a cop, naturally) and James C. Morton making appearances. <iss Allen was still fairly new to the movies, but she would gain a following on radio and in Columbia shorts as Vera Vague.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Skit
15 October 2019
Leon Errol needs a new bath tub installed. The plumber says he can do it for $100, but Leon spots an advertisement for a tub for $39.99. If he installs it himself, he tells wife Kitty McHugh, he can save $60. By the time he's done...

It's written and directed by comedy writer Al Boasberg, and is really just a skit, expanded slightly to include the wholesaler's yard and the street outside Leon's home. He's not even "Mr. Errol" in this one, he's "Mr. Green." The result is a short subject that is amusing, but not particularly suited to Leon's strengths.... although, like any clown, he performs the skit well enough.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Wedded Blitz (1942)
6/10
Cheating On Him With Him
15 October 2019
Leon Errol and new wife Marion Martin are very lovey-dovey. He comes home not only for dinner, but for lunch. Because he is working in a movie playing several roles, he comes home in make-up and costume. What the snoopy neighbors see, however, is that several different gentlemen are calling on her with much smooching. Eventually, they tell Leon.

It's a nice, silly short in Leon's long-running series for RKO, albeit one without much in the way of Errol's usual tics and slapstick falls..... until the end, of course. He does get to use a variety of voices and accents, including one bit where he does a fine imitiation of W.C. Fields. It's a very nice progression of gags that ends, as things usually doLeon, with him getting the worst of it.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Yôsô (1963)
6/10
For Those Who Already Believe
15 October 2019
The Empress has been ill, despite all the prayers and temples built. Raizô Ichikawa, a Buddhist monk from the mountains is brought to the palace in accordance with a prophecy and lo, the Queen gets better. Celebrations are proclaimed, but on Ichikawa's advice, they are stopped. A tax holiday is proclaimed for the poor, and the rich and powerful are terrified. A rebellion is raised, and crushed, but despite the growing accord between the monk and the Empress, court intrigue continues.

It's set in Japan's Nara Era (710 - 794 A.D.). The story is loosely based on Empress Koken-Shotoku and Dokyo, a Yamabushi mountain warrior monk who practiced a rugged, intense form of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Teinosuke Kinugasa's movie strikes me as complicated. It is a clear story of compassion set against the implacable intricacies of the powerful ever seeking more power. It is also intensely Japanese in a way that is not clear to my Western mind, a modernized -- and thus incorrect -- view of the island nation when it was struggling to find its own mythic identity. In many ways it seems to me that it could have easily been slanted in the other direction, becoming variation of the death of Rasputin.

Kinugasa is a fine director, and his actors are skilled. Nonetheless, when dealing with mythology, it is important to remember that the symbol may remain the same, but its meaning changes in every era, and for every individual. With its black-and-white characterizations, this seems to me a hagiography. It will speak strongly and clearly to those who already believe its message, but be meaningless adulation of clay idols to those who do not.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ringside (1949)
6/10
Not A Knockout, But A Winner On Points
14 October 2019
Tom Brown is an aspiring middleweight boxer. His brother, Don 'Red' Barry is an aspiring middleweight..... I mean an aspiring concert pianist. Tom is engaged to Sheila Ryan, the daughter of his manager, Joseph Crehan. Don has been studying under William Edmunds, who admires his command of the piano, but worries he plays without passion. Tom wants the title bout with champion John Cason, so he can marry Sheila and send his brother to study in Europe. When he gets it, however, he not only loses; he's blinded. He had bet everything on the match, so there's no money for an operation, no money to send Don to Europe, no money to marry Sheila. So Don puts his plans on hold and starts boxing, to make enough money for an operation for his brother and to fight Cason.... and do to him what Cason has done to his brother.

It's a Lippert production, so if it sounds like a Poverty Row boxing picture from before the war, that's not surprising. What is surprising is the way B movie director Frank MacDonald makes it an enjoyable feature. Here are all these people who have known each other for decades, and they act like it, taking care of each other, and cracking chestnut jokes that sound lifelike and amusing.

The boxing sequences, which make up half the movie are well shot by Ernest Miller. Cason looks like a mean man who enjoys pummeling his opponents into the ground. He was a well-respected stuntman, but he delivers his lines well. Also excellent as a weaselly little gambler looking to get even with the brothers, and make a few bucks in the process, is Tony Canzoneri. He had been lightweight champion in the early 1930s.

It's certainly not a great movie, but it tells its story efficiently and entertainingly.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Truth Aches (1939)
5/10
Fooling Some Of The People Some Of The Time
14 October 2019
Leon Errol gets fired for telling his boss the truth. His work buddies take him out for a few drinks. Driving home to wife Anita Garvin, he runs out of gas and doesn't get home until the next morning. By that time, she suspects the worst. Acting on his friend's suggestion, he tells them about being waylaid by gangsters and fighting his way out. They believe him, because the gangsters are in the news. They call the police, the newspapers, and soon, Leon is in the news. The next night, driving home, he gives a lift to a couple of men who happen to be..... guess who.

It's always good to see the beautiful Miss Garvin on the screen, but her talents are wasted here. If you wanted a beautiful woman to cut a man down to size and make the audience laugh, it was Anita. Here, she spends the time being worried.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
If Not More
14 October 2019
Claire Carleton wants to quit as Leon Errol's secretary. Her husband, Lee Trent, thinks she's carrying on with Leon. Meanwhile, Leon's wife, Dorothy Granger, is consulting with her psychic/real estate agent for a new apartment when their lease is up. Leon spots them and thinks she's carrying on with him, egged on by taxi driver Emory Parnell. It may not end well.... but it will end funny in this episode of Leon's long-running comedy series from RKO.

Dorothy Granger had broken from the extra ranks at Hal Roach's studio about 1930. She co-starred in a couple of Charley Chase's shorts before moving on. From 1932 through the early 1950s, if you wanted a pretty brunette with great comic timing, you couldn't do better, and she appeared in about 250 features and shorts, 45 or so of them in Leon's series. She made the transition to TV with the Abbott & Costello show and worked through about 1960. Twice married, she passed away in 1995, 83 years old.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Fired Man (1941)
7/10
The Two Mrs. Carrolls.... I Mean Errols
14 October 2019
Leon Errol works at a department store. When a customer complains about the goods, he gets called into his manager's office and fire. He accepts it meekly, then tells a tale of woe that has the customers saying maybe they were at fault and pleased at being able to get Leon his job back. One afternoon, he ropes fellow clerk Rebel Randall into his tale as his wife and mother of their babies. The customer is so touched he insists the couple come to his beach house, sends for the babies. They're having a fine time with the harmless charade, when up turns the customer's wife's friend, Virginia Vale, who is Leon's wife!

It's a fine set-up for a comedy in which Leon is always trying to leave and never succeeding. Even better, Miss Randall and Miss Vale show themselves to be fine farceurs, with Miss Randall's blank-faced confusion at what is going on particularly funny.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
You Don't Want To Buy A Television Says Movie Star
14 October 2019
Leon Errol's wife wants a television, just like the neighbors'. Irene Ryan is selling them from the store/station, and she tries to flirt Leon into a purchase. Mrs. Errol sees this on the neighbors' set, and starts after her husband, along with a private detective.

The set is too expensive, but Miss Ryan's friend has one she's willing to sell at a discount. So you know that eventually everyone -- the Errols, the girlfriends, their boyfriends and so forth, are going to wind up together, except for Leon, hanging on a telephone pole outside a window. Leon's antics are a lot of fun in this one, and he does a very funny, full-body triple take.

And yes, there were television sets in 1940.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
In Room 303 (1947)
6/10
Remakes
14 October 2019
In this remake of his 1941 short subject MAN-I-CURED, Leon Errol and his business partner are in the Boston Hotel Room set at RKO -- I guess it's the Boston one, since that's where the action is supposed to take place), where they run into Peggy Maley. The shenanigans involve her, her boyfriend/hotel detective Jay Norris, a mink coat, and two or three other people. It's fast, it's funny, if not as funny as the first one.

Leon Errol had ahieved fame on the Broadway stage, then came to the movies. Eventually he settled at RKO for his series that ran from about 1933 through his death and 1951, frequent supporitng comic in features and whatever trouble he could get into with his combination of slapstick -- he was famous for his 'rubber-leg' eccentric dancing, his 'Lord Epping' character, and when in his usual comic persona, quick double takes.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
An Old Story
14 October 2019
Leon Errol has been stepping out every evening on wife Joan Blair. When an old friend comes to visit her, they devise a plan to scare Leon back to the straight and narrow. The friend sells Leon a ticket to a costume ball. There, Leon flirts with a beautiful masked stranger.... who is actually his wife!

It's not the first time this plot has appeared in the movies. In 1908's A MASKED BALL, it's D.W. Griffith who winds up making love to his wife of the screen (and reality), Linda Arvidson, at a costume party. Leon's version, of course, depends on Leon's tics and quirks and screen personality. This movie is nicely done, even if it all has been done before.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A Clean Sweep (1938)
7/10
It's A Dandy!
14 October 2019
Edgar Kennedy lost his job at the bank a few months ago. He hasn't told wife Vivien Oakland. He's been leaving home at the same time every morning, meeting with his friends at the park, and bringing home money from the savings account. It's almost gone, so he takes a job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door.

There are lots of fine gag sequences for Edgar to go through in one of his wonderful comedies of frustration. Kennedy was a longtime screen comic, having worked at Keystone near its beginning, when he still had a head of hair. As he aged, he wound up at Hal Roach's studio, playing cops and other minor authority figures for people like Laurel and Hardy to battle. His long-running RKO short series, THE COMMON MAN, began in 1933 and continued to his death in 1948, along with lots of work in ensemble comedies and as a supporting comic. Today, he's best remembered as the lemonade seller who battles with Harpo Marx in DUCK SOUP. That, however, is just one of 450 screen appearances.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Man-I-Cured (1941)
8/10
Delightful Confusion
14 October 2019
Robert Smith, wants to get married to hotel manicurist Joan Barclay. This will never do for the nephew of a man with an incompetent butler! Leon and wife Eva Puck head to the hotel to stop the wedding. There he mistakes manicurist Dorothy Granger -- yes, the same Dorothy Granger who usually played his wife in his long-running RKO series -- for Smith's fiancee. Leon and she have encountered each other before and she's glad to see him back, which annoys her current boyfriend, house detective Tom Kennedy.

That's an awful lot to cram into 20 minutes, along with Leon's blithering and dithering, sticking women into trunks and Dorothy crouching on top of a shower. When it comes to well-timed comedy gags, the more the merrier say I, and this sets them up and knocks them down very well. It's particularly good to see Miss Granger do a goodly percentage of the gags. Usually all she got to do in the series was shout at Leon and occasionally bust some ceramic bric-a-brac on his head.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Mail Trouble (1942)
5/10
Too Many Inlaws
13 October 2019
Leon's father-in-law, George Cleveland is driving him crazy. Leon wants him gone, but that's the trouble with men. They don't leave unless they have someplace to go, and George doesn't have one. So Leon decides to marry him off, whereupon he will, presumably, go to live with his new wife. But neither George, nor Leon's wife, Vivian Tobin, are interested in that, so Leon writes a matrimonial agency, including a picture of George, fit to tempt the blind. When a letter comes, Leon intercepts it and discovers that prospective bride Anne O'Neal is on her way.

This hardly seems like Leon Errol territory. In his long-running series of shorts for RKO, I had noticed no in-law before. That's because this is an adaptation of an Edgar Kennedy short, MAID TO ORDER (1939) in which Edgar does the same thing, with the same unfortunate results.

I prefer the Kennedy version.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
River Patrol (1948)
1/10
Worth Seeing For Its Badness
13 October 2019
There's a gun battle on the Thames and John Blythe's assistant is killed. But there something far more dire; the Home Office is upset because someone is selling nylons cheap! So Blythe and assistant Lorna Dean tramp the Docklands until they wind up at Wally Patch's gambling club, where they sell him a few cases of bootleg whisky.

Patch's real racket is buying a lot of stockings in France, killing the seller with his sword-cane and tossing the body overboard. Meanwhile, Miss Dean is kidnapped and stored right next to a telephone, where she can call her boss to rescue her and Blythe, who is knocked around by Patch.

Not only are there obviously mismatched shots; not only is the score bucolic Romantic music (with boogie-woogie for the gambling club) played off scratchy wax cylinders until the 38-minute mark of this 45-minute movie, but this seems to have been shot in Hammer's legendary Marleybone Studio, where each stage was about the size of a bedsit, but.... well, it's worse than even that.

Stunningly awful.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Steve Sekely In The Dog House
13 October 2019
Jean Parker is on death row, with hours left until her execution, with fiance Douglas Fowley the man who pulls the switch. Criminologist Lionel Atwill thinks she's innocent and that Marcia Mae Jones (who always wears a hat; where's she going?) know who committed the murder actually is.

It certainly is an interesting idea, even if the 'only hours to prove the condemned is innocent' plot is ancient. It's effective, though, and it's nice to see Atwill in a good-guy role. He played them occasionally over the years, but was always more in demand, especially among the cheaper productions, for player some sort of monster in human form. However, I dislike his constantly interrupting the flow of the story to tell us what is going on. This looks like a money-saving device on the part of the producers. All director Steve Sekely had to do was continue the camera set-up of him and a couple of other players at a table, narrating. It may have been cheap, but it interrupts the story flow, distances the audience from the action, and ultimately reduces the movie to about ten minutes of Marcia Mae Jones telling Atwill she'll tell him about the guy he thinks did it tomorrow (after her sister is dead) and Sam Flint as the governor in a diner eating hamburgers, not knowing about the confession that will stop them from shooting lightning bolts through Jean Parker.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed