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Tour de force by Derren Nesbitt
Nesbitt has always been one of my favourite actors.However I never expected to see him in such a role.He is onscreen virtually the whole time and totally dominates it.In the end rather sad and touching.
Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1937)
maybe a prophetic film
The plane,which is the maguffin of this film,can be stopped in midflight.Roll on to 1944 and you have rockets being programmed to do the same thing.Other than that this is a fairly routine detective film.
Union Pacific (1939)
Run of de mille
The problem with de mille was elephantitus.Never make a film run for under 90 minutes,and have multiple sub plots which add nothing to the story.Here Stanwyck has a dreadful oirish accent and her presence does little for the film.After about an hour you realise you are not even half way through and you loose track,pun intended.
The Alamo (1960)
Redeemed by battle
I saw this on its west end showing in 1960,presumably in 70mm.I remembered the music and photography.They hold up better than the film which is only memorable for the battle scenes.Amusing that reviewers want the full version.How much verbage can people take.The first half is very talky and slow.Wayne was clearly out of his depth as a director.
Barbara Mullen gets the opportunity to star in this amusing short.Interesting to see how easy it was to access Parliament,and that a bomb hoax was treated in such a comical way.
The Woman from China (1930)
a mysterious film
This film is not listed in any reference book that I have. It was supposedly made in 1930,at a time when silents were all but dead.This leads me to suppose that it was never released.
Gibb McLaughlin plays a Chinese merchant who wants his wicked way with the heroine.Full of racial stereotypes,overheated drama and hammy acting.Directed by Edward Dryhurst who had a long career in dim and tv.Subtlety and originality were clearly not in his dictionary.
Life at the Top (1965)
Dont always wish for what you dream
Well it was more of a shotgun than a dream marriage.So in this sequel it all rather goes pear shaped for Joe Lampton.Jean Simmonds now plays the rather cynical wife.Donald Wolfit as eversteals the scenes.However in the end Joe realised he is in a prison of his own making.
Charley Moon (1956)
Rather an odd film
This film incorporates a lot of stage performances including a panto.There is some half hearted attempt at a story.Bygraves,no actor,is supported by the always watchable Dennis Price.Thirties variety star,Florence Desmond,makes a brief appearance
of its time
May have worked in the sixties but not now.When they are on the balcony at the wedding,the camera looks down Park Lane towards Hyde Park Corner.On the left is a building site.This was where Kordas London Films were headquartered. It is now the Intercontinental Hotel.
A Case for PC 49 (1951)
a polocemans lot is not a happy one
Except that is when getting to grips with glamorous Christine Norden who was this countrys blonde bombshell for a short period.Based on a radio series with lots of mini climaxes.
Why such a high rating?
Shouldn't it be 0.4 rather than 4.0?No doubt the vote of the Norman Wisdom fan affected this.Norman Wisdom,the little man with the big ego,unsuccessfully tries his hand at straight drama.The film is an unmitigated disaster and unwatchable.
High Jump (1959)
Every cliche you can think of
The first big problem with this film is the accent,nor less the accent,attempted by Lisa Danielly.This must be the worst attempt at an Italian accent ever.The film is acted in cramped sets,with overloud music and corny dialogue.
Alive and Kicking (1958)
It is difficult to know what possessed such fine actors to agree to appear in such an appalling mess of a film.Maybe money.I wonder if they bothered to read the script first.This was a period when films with an Irish theme were popular at the box office.However it is quite clear from this film that the genre was played out.
Eskimo Nell (1975)
one of the better british sex comedies
This is one of the best of the British sex comedies.This is particularly so when it satirises the British film industry.The American ffilm executive is meant to be Deke Hayward European head ofAIP.Interesting to see London in the sixties
Nice views of Malta
Having visited the island 16 months ago I was able to recognise many of the locations in Valletta.That is about the only memorable aspect of this film.One gets fed up pretty quickly with Mark Lester.Peter Vaughn makes an effective villain.
The First Born (1928)
Out for the count
It would have been better if someone other than Miles Mander had directed.That way they could have restrained his overwrought dramatics.By the way the censors would see the scenario,so the lack of speech would not have been a restraint to their activities.
Red Joan (2018)
judi dench only on screen about a quarter of the time
Given that this film is sold on the name of Judi Dench it is disappointing that she is only on scree for a quarter of the film.The story is rather routine and it is difficult to keep track of characters,particularly given the continuing switch of periods.
Hide and Seek (1964)
Carmichael becomes involved in a series of unlikely events which are rather bizarre but are linked by a plot by communists to kidnap him and take him off by sub.Because there is no clear narrative it becomes difficult to understand or care what is happening.Also Carmichael is no Cary Grant.
Into the Blue (1950)
Michael Wilding stows away in a dingy attached to a yacht chartered by overacting Jack Hulbert and Constance Cummings.We don't find out why for nearly 40 minutes.Turns out he inadvertently got involved with a smuggling gang.Wilding was at the peak of his stardom.However he is not a particularly good actor.Leaden direction by Wilcox and to the plodding nature of the narrative.One of Wilcox's worst efforts by a long way
For Those in Peril (1944)
Tribute to air sea rescue
This is a typical understated tribute to the Air Sea rescue service.David Farrer is the Captain who doesn't have to bark out orders.There is a lot of exciting action,notwithstanding the use of unconvincing models.
Feet of Clay (1961)
uninspired Danziger thriller
This is a typical low budget Danziger thriller.The story is a copy of many earlier thrillers.Man cofesses to a murder,end of story.Well no its just the beginning.Vincent Ball was not charismatic enough to carry a leading role as he shows here
The Right Age to Marry (1935)
Trouble at mill
This is one of 43 quota quickies made by George Smith in the 1930s.Many of them directed by McLean Rogers.This one highlights the difference in manners between North and South,a sort of mini J B Priestley.It is actually quite effective in its own unamb itious way.It was made for distribution,in the UK only by RKO.
Man in the Middle (1964)
Robert Mitcham was in his prime when he afe this film.However like all stars he didnt always chose roles that fit his persona.He is a rather unlikely defence lawyer called upon to defend a somewhat disturbed Keenan Wynne at a courts martial. Trevor Howand gives an effective performance in a supporting role.Lionel Bart composed the music.
The Young Mr. Pitt (1942)
A Donat film is never dull
Donat lived only a couple of miles from where I live.The house has a blue plaque and a covered drive to save him him from adoring fans.This is a typical wartime biog,when you see Napoleon, see Hitler.The film covers a lot of ground and has a linking narration. This obviously makes it rather episodic. Robert Morley is good as Charles Fox.
The Black Rose (1950)
BadgesBadges?We don't need no stinking badges
It is a bit disorienting when you see a Mexican actor playing a chines e character in a thirteenth century period load of rubbish.Add to that Orson Welles with his obviously fake nose,it is difficult to take it seriously.Tyrone Power looks ten years older then his then age.The French actress is unintelligible.