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Funny comedy and hidden gem
13 January 2009
Although I am a fan of movies from the 1940's and 1950's I somehow had never seen this film before. This is one of those delightful comedy sleepers like "Champagne for Caesar". I happened to see it listed on the DIRECTV TCM channel view-on-demand list and downloaded it to my DVR via the internet for viewing.

The cast performance is excellent from the major players down to the minor characters.

My favorite scene is when Mrs. Blair titters and flits about as she informs the party guests that her son-in-law is going to give a singing performance.
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Christmas noir
18 September 2003
Forget your pre-conceived expectations about seeing a movie about Chandler's Marlowe. Just sit back and enjoy a film where the movie-makers were playing around and having some fun. The first joke is the movie credits which have a Christmas theme--you would think a heart-warming holiday family movie was being screened. The movie relentlessly extends takes on and on to the limit although some cuts are noticeable during camera pans. Robert Montgomery is usually bad, but here he is so pitiful it is a riot. Audrey Totter comes through with the most feline performance I have ever seen. I like to watch this movie every five years or so.
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Shown in real time
16 August 2003
Like the film "The Set-Up", this story is shown in real time. The story of a hapless ordinary guy who is pulled by a woman into a situation where he ends up in deep danger has been done in many noir and non-noir films. It's still entertaining if the couple and the villains are interesting. This and some humorous moments (like the tv viewer and the homeless man) make this film worth a viewing.
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Full of cliches
28 June 2003
An early scene in this film shows a car chase where the vehicle plows through a fruit vendor's cart. This should alert you that this film is full of the standard shoot-em-up gangster movie cliches. This includes stairway shoot-outs, a tower sniper, car chases, a motorcycle chase, a helicopter chase, two-fisted gunplay, and a flaming vehicle falling down an embankment. The only interesting thing about this movie is the Philipine shooting location.
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Based on a bestselling novel
6 June 2003
At first, I thought this was going to be a standard murder-mystery story. A police detective doggedly pursues slim clues all over the map to find a murderer. However, when the events which led up to the crime are revealed through flashbacks, the story takes an emotional turn which even brings tears to the detective's eyes. Like most Japanese movies, it starts slowly but comes alive at the end. I recommend it.
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Juvenile (2000)
Robots, time machines, space aliens
26 April 2003
Four youngsters find a small robot named Tetra. Tetra has returned from the future to save the earth from alien space invaders. Some of these invaders morph into human forms and appear to be earthlings. One of the boys hides Tetra in his closet where he busies himself building the combat tools he will need. To get the materials for his projects, the youngsters raid the local junkyard for usable scrap parts. There is a final showdown battle with some nice special effects. A light, family movie for any age.
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DVD here at last!
24 March 2003
I'm glad to see this movie is finally available in the US on DVD. I saw this years ago in a Los Angeles theater and have been looking for it on tape or DVD ever since. There was an expensive DVD version available in Japan and also an Asian VCD version with poorly-visible subtitles. The English sub-titles on the US DVD are large and clear. The movie has a nice ensemble cast and is very funny! There is a long tracking shot at the beginning which introduces most of the characters. The other reviews will give you more details.
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A funny look at instant foreign pop idols
21 February 2003
Hennan is a shy college graduate who visits Thailand to see some ancient ruins, but encounters Momoyama, a strange promoter of pop singers. I call him strange because he often tears sheets from a roll of pink toilet paper attached at his waist. Momoyama makes Hennan an overnight singing sensation, but just as Hennan is getting used to the adulation, his girlfriend Reko shows up and asks him to return to Japan. The climax occurs at an outdoor concert where the Thai audience swings their arms to form the letters Y-M-C-A while Hennan sings that Village People song.
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Dog Star (2002)
A fantasy romance
26 January 2003
Shiro is a seeing-eye dog whose blind master is run over by a truck. The master re-appears to Shiro and says he can't enter heaven until he has done a good deed so he grants Shiro one wish. Shiro wants to be human so he can visit the girl who raised him as a pup. Complications arise when the human Shiro falls in love with the girl who is now grown up. A fantasy comedy with a good canine performance by actor Toyokawa.
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Peking Man (1997)
Re-creating ancient humans
26 January 2003
In 1929 the fossil of a 500,000 year old man is discovered in China. In 1941 the Japanese army confiscates this find, but during the war the remains disappear. Based on these factual events, this movie takes off with a science fiction story involving a space rocket which places a satellite in orbit containing a secret cargo. The satellite crashes on a remote island and footprints are found in the sand leading away from the crash site. A story of how an ancient primitive cave-dwelling family contends with the scientists who want to study them.
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A pleasant road trip
24 December 2002
The plot is a simple one but the characterizations and travel episodes fill the movie out. When the travelers near their destination, the film shows an affection for small towns as we look out the car window and see the old buildings and the residents passing by. I was surprised to hear a performance of the song "Can-Can Musume" which I haven't heard for over 50 years.
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Turn (2001)
A nice fantasy/romance.
22 November 2002
Forget about references to "Groundhog Day". This movie has little resemblance to that comedy. This film is an interesting fantasy/romance which held my attention all the way through. It has a quiet subdued ending which reminded me of the ending of Chaplin's "City Lights".
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Fall Guy (1982)
Entertaining romance/comedy
10 November 2002
A bit player in samurai films does a favor for the hammy star actor by marrying the star's pregnant girlfriend. This movie includes a funny peek at samurai filmmaking. There's a memorable sequence of a filmed samurai battle scene on a staircase and the aftermath.
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Funny at times
6 September 2002
This movie is funny whenever Leo Carillo and Herbert Huber are together onscreen. Interesting to hear Ida Lupino before she completely lost her British accent. Mischa Auer has a subdued role--that was a disappointment. Note that Butch and his gang is made up of Hollywood gangster-actor look-alikes.
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A sleeper with some great scenes
27 April 2002
There is a gem of a scene in this movie when the parents of the newly married couple meet to discuss the newlywed's problem in "getting their marriage started". Somehow the subject gets around to Billy, a fellow who is talked about but does not appear in this film. Although the two fathers are too dense to know it, the audience figures out something important which happened concerning Billy.

The closing scene is also great when Ezra Fitton makes two observations which are both sad and funny.
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The Uninvited (1944)
Nice music theme
5 April 2002
I had never heard of this movie but happened to watch it and was glad I did. It has a nice theme song (Stella by Starlight), but this theme is subdued and almost non-existent through much of the film (unlike "Laura"). There's also a rare substantial movie appearance by actress/writer Cornelia Otis Skinner.
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