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The following are just a few films that I love.
The Passionate Friends Charulata The Fabulous Baker Boys They Might Be Giants The Secret Garden(1993) Scaramouche The Awakening (2011) The Guard Pickup on South Street The Dark Corner House Of Flying Daggers The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Ikiru The Stranger Within A Woman (1966) The Human Condition Trilogy Nothing But a Man The Quiet Duel Millions Like Us Cornered The House by the River Daybreak (1948) There Was a Father Sisters of the Gion The Whole Wide World The Years Between The Magician Blanche Fury A Patch of Blue The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Farewell My Lovely (1944) Priceless Nayak: The Hero Begin Again The Innocents The Tomb Of Ligeia How To Steal A Million The Towering Inferno Adam's Rib My Best Friend The Thief of Bagdad (1924) Random Harvest The Wicked Lady(1945) The Man in Grey(1943) Dragonwyck Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison Ice Cold in Alex Black Narcissus A Matter Of Life and Death The Life and Death Of Colonel Blimp I Know Where I'm Going The Red Shoes The Spy In Black Menilmontant (1926) Roman Holiday Mr Skeffington The Go Between Walk The Line(2005) Dogfight (1991) Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962) Shadowlands The Remains Of The Day The Only Son Pandora and The Flying Dutchman The Hours The Primrose Path Private Hell 36 The Sundowners(1960) The Goddess (1934) Sunday In New York Conspiracy of Hearts Apres Vous Scenes From A Marriage The Virgin Spring Shame(1968) A Room With A View Howards End The Wings Of The Dove Torch Singer (1933) The Little Foxes Twentieth Century Grand Hotel Zodiac Oranges and Sunshine Mary Queen of Scots(1971) Sense And Sensibility (1995) The Trouble With Angels Lawrence Of Arabia The World Of Suzie Wong Breezy The Music Room Odette Ju Dou They Flew Alone Sundays and Cybele Carve Her Name With Pride The Nun's Story All About Eve Girl With Green Eyes The Bitter Tea Of General Yen My Best Friends Wedding Paris When It Sizzles The Indiana Jones Trilogy The Queen of Spades Le feu Follet Lady Jane Dodsworth White Christmas The Train Robbers Waterloo Bridge (1940) Only You (1994) Silkwood The Accused Creature from the Black Lagoon The Thin Man The Big Heat The Pelican Brief Silver Streak Bigger Than Life Spin(2003) The Hardcore Life(1979) To Have and Have Not Out Of Africa Catch Me If You Can The Legend of Hell House The Changeling(1980) La Strada Falling In Love The French Lieutenant's Woman The Householder Broken Blossoms The Painted Veil (2006) Sabrina (1954) The Odd Couple The Odd Couple 2 On Golden Pond (1981) The Lion In Winter(1968) Pretty Woman Ordinary People Finding Neverland Ladies In Lavender Mahanagar To Kill a Mockingbird Her Majesty Mrs Brown Dead Poets Society Three Days Of The Condor The Day After Tomorrow True Grit(1969) Street of Shame (1956) The Lady Vanishes Rebecca Suspicion Vertigo The Birds Saboteur Shadow of a Doubt The Man Who Knew Too Much To Catch a Thief Topaz Family Plot Notorious Lifeboat Marnie North By Northwest Gaslight(1940) The Omen(1976) Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World Ladyhawke Candleshoe The More the Merrier Missing The Legend of Bagger Vance Heat and Dust The Penalty (1920) Seabiscuit Late Autumn Top Hat The Gay Divorcee Jaws The Emperor's Club Wolf A Night to Remember Footsteps in the Fog Charade Alien Aliens Elizabeth Late Spring Scent of a Woman Erin Brockovich Network The Silence of the Lambs Captain Blood It's A Wonderful Life The Abyss Wuthering Heights(1992) Apollo 13 The Mummy The Mummy Returns Mr Smith Goes To Washington My Favourite Year Last Chance Harvey The Patricia Neal Story Victim Scott Of The Antarctic Whistle Down The Wind Niagara San Francisco Husbands and Wives The Black Swan (1942) Frankie and Johnny Gallipoli The Bad And The Beautiful The Glenn Miller Story Fearless(1993) Double Indemnity Mrs Henderson Presents Sophie's Choice Outsourced(2006) The Fugitive Chocolat Class Action That's Life(1986) The Mudlark The Card (1952) Gone With the Wind Portrait Of Jennie The Banger Sisters Last Orders The Apartment Some Like It Hot Clean and Sober A Man of No Importance Sky West and Crooked Daddy Nostalgie Anne of the Indies (1951) The Chalk Garden Miller's Crossing Paisan Shoeshine Jagged Edge The Life of Oharu
My favourite Actors and Actresses.
Claude Rains Stanley Baker John Mills Ian Richardson Geoffrey Rush Mark Ruffalo Eric Portman William Holden Michael Caine Aidan Quinn Sidney Poitier Raymond Burr Takashi Shimura Brian Cox Bob Hoskins Gene Hackman Peter Finch Alan Rickman Sean Pertwee Jon Pertwee Jonathan Hyde Timothy Dalton Dirk Bogarde Charles Dance Colin Firth Alec Guinness James Stewart Geoffrey Palmer Bernard Hepton Jeremy Brett Denzel Washington Stephen Dillane Gary Oldman John Hurt Errol Flynn William Powell Richard Burton Gene Wilder John Hallam Rod Taylor Yaphet Kotto Kevin Spacey Max Von Sydow Andy Garcia Colin Jeavons Ed Harris Morgan Freeman Al Pacino Peter O'Toole Roy Scheider Dean Stockwell Joel McCrea George Sanders Edward Everett Horton Leslie Howard DeForest Kelley Morgan Freeman Dick Powell David Warner Roscoe Lee Browne Robert Hardy Anthony Quinn Walter Huston David Wenham Krister Henriksson Michael Goodliffe Cary Grant Albert Finney Richard Crenna Robert Loggia Vincent Price Ross Martin Patrick Malahide Robert Walker Sr Gordon Jackson Hugh Jackman Tom Hanks Gregory Peck Kevin Kline Denholm Elliot Lon Chaney Sr Sam Neill Mark Harmon Daniel Craig Robert Newton Stewart Granger Paul Freeman James Purefoy Anton Walbrook Jonathan Pryce Geoffrey Keen Shashi Kapoor John Thaw Edward Mulhare Peter Sellers Christopher Cazanove David Niven Alec Guinness Robson Green Roshan Seth Bruce Greenwood Gary Cooper Richard Armitage Roger Allam Victor Garber Vivien Leigh Deborah Kerr Judi Dench Maggie Smith Ingrid Thulin Sharmila Tagore Helen Mirren Helena Bonham Carter Winona Ryder Sylvia Syms Gong Li Lingyu Ruan Ingrid Bergman Bonnie Hunt Sarah Lancashire Gene Tierney Stephanie Beacham Cate Blanchett Rachel Weisz Kate Winslet Ava Gardner Archie Panjabi Greer Garson Jenette Goldstein Meryl Streep Anne Revere Audrey Hepburn Setsuko Hara Nicole Kidman Marilyn Monroe Emily Watson Julianne Moore Kathleen Byron Jean Arthur Dorothy Dandridge Laura Linney Katherine Hepburn Barbara Stanwyck Eva Green Lee Remick Ziyi Zhang Elizabeth Taylor Madhabi Mukherjee Greta Garbo Maggie Cheung Joanne Woodward
My favourite TV series and miniseries.
Kojak Cold Case The Jewel In The Crown All Creatures Great and Small The West Wing May To December The Twilight Zone(1959-1964) The Adventures, The Return, The Casebook and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes Mad Men NCIS JAG Yes,Minister Yes,Prime Minister The Mallens Poldark(1975) Jane Eyre(1983) Doctor Finlay(1993-1996) Ironside John Adams Only Fools and Horses Friends Frasier Elizabeth R The Persuaders Shadow of the Noose Cheers One Step Beyond(1959-1961) The Streets of San Francisco The Blacklist Quantum Leap The Champions Penny Dreadful Alleyn Mysteries Reilly Ace Of Spies Monk The X Files The Day of the Roses Happy Valley Sex and The City I, Claudius Ballykissangel Inspector Morse Endeavour Game Of Thrones Cadfael Tenko Spiral Between the Lines (1992-1994) Those Who Kill(2011) UFO The Bill Cracker Prime Suspect(UK series) Star Trek Star Trek Deep Space Nine Bleak House(2005) Bleak House(1985) North and South(2004) Inspector George Gently Rome
My favourite directors.
Michael Powell Kenji Mizoguchi Billy Wilder David Lean Ken Loach Steven Spielberg Yasujiro Ozu F.W Murnau Satyajit Ray Ida Lupino Martin Scorsese Stephen Daldry John Ford Gillian Armstrong Frank Capra Richard Attenborough Jean Renoir David Fincher Yimou Zhang James Ivory Mikio Naruse Pierre Salvadori Alfred Hitchcock Akira Kurosawa Peter Weir Anthony Mann William Wyler Joseph Losey
My favourite film and TV composers.
John Barry Rachel Portman John Williams Zbigniew Preisner Jerry Goldsmith James Horner Howard Shore Thomas Newman Bernard Herrmann Alex North Ryuichi Sakamoto Alfred Newman Quincy Jones Ennio Morricone Ramin Djawadi William Alwyn Carter Burwell
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I Walk the Line (1970)
A Gregory Peck film that should be much better known
I Walk The Line is directed by John Frankenheimer, has a screenplay by Alvin Argent and is based on the novel by Madison Jones. The film stars Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld, Estelle Parsons, Ralph Meeker and Charles Durning.
Peck plays Henry Tawes, a married Sheriff in a small American town. The story takes place during the depression years. Henry's ordered life is turned on its head when he meets the Alma(Tuesday Weld). The pair are drawn to one another and begin an affair. Henry struggles with his feelings for the much younger woman.Henry also has to deal with Alma's terrible father (a terrifying Ralph Meeker)and his own devious deputy(Charles Durning).
Peck is utterly convincing as the man struggling against his own feelings and willing to risk all he has to have Alma. I think he gives one of his best performances here.
Weld is excellent as the flirty Alma, who is torn between her way of life and the possibility of a different kind of life with Henry.
Estelle Parsons doesn't get much to do as Henry's wife, I would have liked a few more scenes of her character, Parsons delivers a solid performance despite the short screen time.
The film has a soundtrack by Johnny Cash, the theme song is that most famous of Johnny's songs Walk The Line; and it fits the story perfectly.
I think it's a real shame that this is not one of Gregory Peck's better known films. His performance here is one of his best.
A deaf child learns to cope in a hearing world
Mandy is directed by Alexander MacKendrick. The film stars Jack Hawkins, Mandy Miller, Phyllis Calvert and Terence Morgan.
I enjoyed this one very much. I'm extremely impressed by the performance of Mandy Miller as Mandy, she has the difficult task of conveying what her character is going through by facial expressions only; and she does such a fine job and is utterly convincing and natural in the role. I'm going to try and check out more of her work. She is so good in this film, perfectly conveying how introverted and shy Mandy has become.
Mandy(Mandy Miller)is born deaf, her parents Christine and Harry(Phyllis Calvert and Terence Morgan)raise her at home. Because she can't speak, she can't communicate with her family or anyone else and as she gets older she becomes hard to control.
Eventually she is taken to a residential deaf school, which is run by Jack Hawkins progressive teacher, Searle. Here, Mandy can at last make friends and learn how to communicate in a hearing world. The growing friendship between Christine and Searle, that so easily could have developed into a romance is touching and well conveyed by Hawkins and Calvert.
I really hope that people who saw this back at the time of release came to understand that deaf people(and anyone else with a disability)are just as normal as anyone else. I hope this film helped educate people about those who are deaf.
I loved the part where Mandy's mum discovers the teacher she has been talking to perfectly normally is actually completely deaf, but can lip read and use her voice normally; that scene perfectly shows that deaf people can exist just as normally as those of us who can hear.
Deep Waters (1948)
A story to warm your heart
Deep Waters is directed by Henry King and has a screenplay by Richard Murphy, which is based on the novel by Ruth Moore. The film stars Dana Andrews, Dean Stockwell, Jean Peters, Ann Revere and Cesar Romero.
Donny(Dean Stockwell) is a young orphan boy who is placed with a no nonsense, but kindly woman(Ann Revere). Donny's caseworker Ann(Jean Peters)is in love with local lobsterman Hod(Dana Andrews)who befriends the boy.
Donny has had a troubled past and is wary of adults, he is happiest when he is on his own fishing. As time goes on he gradually realises that bad grown ups are the minority.
Filmed on location in Maine, there is some lovely scenery to enjoy. The film is one of those that leaves you in a good mood at the end. A feel good story that is quite poignant in places.
We are also given a glimpse into how the women of the town cope with the dangers fishing puts their men in. There is a very well done storm at sea sequence which is also very suspenseful.
This is a film that I wish was longer, so we could spend more time with the characters.
Great performances from Ann Revere, Dana Andrews, Dean Stockwell, Jean Peters and Cesar Romero(who plays Andrew's friend and fellow lobsterman.)
The Hanging Tree (1959)
Hope at the Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree is directed by Delmer Daves and Karl Malden. The film has a screenplay by Wendell Mayes and Halsted Welles which is based on the novel by Dorothy M. Johnson. The film stars Gary Cooper, Maria Schell, Karl Malden, George C. Scott and Ben Piazza.
I was very impressed with Cooper's performance here. Frail is a much darker and complex character than we are used to seeing Cooper play. I loved his scenes with Maria Schell. The title song by Marty Robbins is extremely catchy; once the film is over, go back and listen to the song again, it is all about Frail and the story about to unfold.
Newly arrived Doctor Frail(Gary Cooper)saves the life of a gold thief(Ben Piazza). He then makes the other man work for him in return for the Doctor's silence about the crime. A young woman called Elizabeth (Maria Schell)is injured during a stagecoach robbery, Frail tries to look after her and protect her from the unwelcome attentions of a local man (Karl Malden). Frail finds himself struggling with his own growing feelings for Elizabeth.
The film keeps you guessing until the end about the true nature of Cooper's character. Malden is excellent as a lecherous local who tries to take advantage of Schell's character. George C. Scott appears in his film debut, he plays a faith healer who hates the fact that Doctor Frail is taking away his customers.
Good performances all round, and some stunning location work help to make this a must see.
Jet Storm (1959)
Attenborough and Baker are the only reason to watch this
Jet Storm is directed and written by C. Raker Endfield. The film stars Richard Attenborough, Stanley Baker, Paul Eddington, Diane Cilento, Harry Secombe and Hermoine Baddeley.
I have mixed feelings about this one. Excellent lead performance by Richard Attenborough and solid support from Stanley Baker. Nice to see Paul Eddington and Harry Secombe.The rest of the film isn't as good though.
Most of the passengers seem way too calm and unconcerned with the terrifying situation they find themselves in (that couple who play cards and joke throughout the whole thing among others). I found the lack of reaction quite laughable to be honest; I know we have the stiff upper lip here in Britain, but these passengers are all taking it to a whole other level.
Ernest Tilley(Richard Attenborough) is a bereaved father, who puts a bomb on a passenger plane. He plans to detonate it to kill another passenger who killed his daughter. The pilot(Stanley Baker)has to discover where the bomb is and find a way to talk the man out of his plan.
Also, I was left wondering as to how Attenborough's character knew that the man he was after would be on that particular flight, on that particular day? There are some tense moments. Attenborough gives a very good performance, the scene between him and the boy near the end was quite moving. There is a very impressive and dramatic scene(you will know it when you see it) that was really the only highlight of the film.
I had been looking forward to seeing this for a while, but was left quite disappointed. It has its moments, but they are few and far between. A mixed bag, but well worth a look for the performances of Attenborough and Baker.
Griffin and Phoenix (1976)
Grief, loss and love
Griffin and Phoenix is directed by Daryl Duke and is written by John Hill. The film stars Peter Falk and Jill Clayburgh.
Geoffrey Griffin(Peter Falk)and Sarah Phoenix(Jill Clayburgh)meet at a lecture, they enjoy each others company; after getting talking they realise they want to spend more time together. Their friendship turns into love. Tragedy lies just around the corner though, because they are both dying.
Neither wants to tell the other the truth, they just want to enjoy the time left to them. They are forced to face the truth when Phoenix discovers Griffin has a book about coping with terminal illness; she thinks he has been snooping around in her life and has found out about her illness, the book was actually for him to read for himself. During an emotional confrontation and argument on the beach, they confront and discuss the truth.
We see how they deal with their illnesses and how they work on their relationship.
This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen. Falk and Clayburgh are both excellent, their performances are so honest; you feel their pain and fear and you want both characters to be happy, even though we know that is only possible for a short time. The argument on the beach is a highlight for me, so powerfully acted. The scene where Falk takes his anger and grief out on his car really got me too. The hospital room sequence completely tore my heart out, beautifully acted by both Falk and Clayburgh.
A moving film about love and loss. There is a remake, which is good but doesn't come close to this version.
Police Squad! (1982)
How this only lasted six episodes is beyond me. This is just as funny as the film series. Did the humour go over peoples heads at the time of release? When the film proved a success, you would have thought someone would have tried to revive this series.
The sight gags are priceless and the title sequence(in Quinn Martin style)cracks me up. The Rex Hamilton, as Abraham Lincoln! bit gets me every single time.
Frank Drebin(Leslie Nielson)investigates and solves crimes with the help of his colleagues. As in the films it is Nielson's line delivery and physical comedy that make many scenes funny, he plays it straight and that makes the ridiculous situations even funnier.
As with the films you have to pay attention in every scene here, because there are things happening in the back ground to make you laugh too.
If you love Leslie and The Naked Gun and Airplane films, then you should check this series out.
A Dorothy L. Sayers Mystery (1987)
Peter and Harriet solve crimes
I love this miniseries so much. I think it is such a shame that more episodes starring Petherbridge and Walter were never made.
The stories are very well done and there is a solid supporting cast. The reason I love this series so much though and return to it again and again, is for Peter and Harriet's relationship. Peter saves her and falls in love, but she feels indebted to him and although she loves him she doesn't want to admit it. Petherbridge and Walter are perfect together and do such a good job of conveying the characters feelings for one another.
I have seen the Ian Carmichael series and for me it is not as good as the Petherbridge version. Petherbrige conveys Wimsey's intellect, but he also makes him funny, charming and tragic in a way. Carmichael's Peter just comes across as dull.
Gentleman sleuth, Lord Peter Wimsey(Edward Petherbridge)solves crimes with the aid of his loyal manservant Bunter(Richard Morant). Peter saves the life of novelist Harriet Vane(Harriet Walter)and falls in love with her. Harriet likes him but doesn't seem able to return his feelings. The pair keep getting brought back together solving crimes and mysteries, the more time they spend together the more their feelings for one another grow.
A very enjoyable mystery series. Petherbridge gives possibly a career best performance, I wish he had played Peter in more episodes.
The Mummy Returns (2001)
Past lives and airships
The Mummy Returns is directed by Stephen Sommers and has music by Alan Silvestri. The film stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Oded Fehr, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alun Armstrong, Patricia Velasquez, Freddie Boath and The Rock.
Set several years after the first film, this sequel finds Rick(Brendan Fraser)and Evelyn(Rachel Weisz)now married. The couple have a young son called Alex(Freddie Boath). The trio are in Egypt looking for artefacts, they come across an ancient bracelet which once belonged to The Scorpion King(The Rock).
The Scorpion King sold his soul to the Anubis, in return he had command over an evil army and was seemingly invincible. Unbeknown to the O'Connell's, followers of Imhotep have once again raised him from the dead, his former lover Anck Su Namun(Patricia Velasquez)has been reincarnated and the pair want the bracelet of Anubis to command the armies so they can dominate the world. Alex tries on the bracelet and discovers he can't take it off, Imhotep and his followers kidnap the boy. Rick, Evelyn, Jonathan (John Hannah)and Ardeth Bay(Oded Fehr) try and get him back and foil this evil plan.
Evelyn keeps having strange visions which we soon discover are past memories, she is revealed to have been the daughter of the Pharaoh murdered by Imhotep.
This film has much more action than the first one, it's a non stop thrill ride and has a cracking score. The special effects are once again not all that great, especially those for the mummy and Scorpion King.
I didn't like Evelyn turning out to have been an ancient princess or what is revealed about Rick, I think that takes something away from the film. In the first film and for the first part of this sequel, Rick and Evelyn are just normal people who come up against out of the ordinary things, they find the strength and courage to fight those things. Making them connected to the past takes away their normality, learning that these things were meant to be just seems unnecessary to me.
The cast once again deliver good performances, Oded Fehr is hysterical as the badass Ardeth Bay. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is chilling as Lock-Nah one of Imhotep's supporters, he's great at playing villains and is very intense here.
Worth a watch, but it's not as good as the first film.
The Mummy (1999)
If you call that a kiss
The Mummy is directed by Stephen Sommers and has music by Jerry Goldsmith. The film stars Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, Arnold Vosloo, John Hannah, Kevin J. O'Connor, Jonathan Hyde, Patricia Velasquez and Oded Fehr.
If you like the Indiana Jones trilogy this film is for you. A good blend of adventure, action, romance and horror.
Librarian Evelyn Carnahan(Rachel Weisz)and her brother Jonathan(John Hannah), find a map with directions for how to get to the ancient Egyptian city of Hamunaptra.
Adventurer Rick O'Connell(Brendan Fraser)has been to the city before, he agrees to take the siblings there after Evelyn saves his life. As the group begin their adventure, they soon discover another group of people are making their way to the city too. Descendents of the bodyguards of the Pharaoh are following all the explorers, to ensure that what is hidden in the city stays hidden.
Once at the city an ancient book is discovered. Reading aloud from it a curse is unleashed which reawakens mummified high priest Imhotep(Arnold Vosloo). He then pursues the group needing their body parts to restore himself fully to life. Imhotep was buried alive as punishment for murdering the Pharaoh. With the help of Ardeth Bay(Oded Fehr)who is one of the bodyguards, the group must work together to try and destroy Imhotep and save themselves.
I think there is a bit too much humour in this film that makes scenes that should be very scary less so. Imhotep should have been portrayed as being even more evil and there should have been some more horror scenes.
The scenes with the mummy look pretty bad, it's obviously computer generated, it would have been better if the mummy scenes were done for real like in the 1932 film, with Vosloo wrapped up and crumbling makeup applied to him.
As it is though this is perfect family viewing, younger children can enjoy it without being too scared.
The growing romance between Rick and Evelyn is so sweet to watch, Fraser and Weisz work very well together and do a good job of showing us how much these characters are beginning to mean to each other.
The entire cast give solid performances, Weisz is the standout for me, independent, adventurous and proving that brains and words can be powerful weapons too. Fraser is very good as the tough adventurer who will do what he has to in order to get the job done and protect the woman he loves.
Goldsmith's score is epic and one of my all time favourites amongst his work. The cast returned for The Mummy Returns, that is an enjoyable sequel but not as good as this one. The third film starring Fraser but not Weisz is best forgotten.
Adam Adamant Lives! (1966)
Adam is a man out of time
Adam Adamant Lives! was created by Richard Harris and Donald Cotton. Dr Who producer Verity Lambert also produced this series.
Edwardian adventurer Adam Adamant(Gerald Harper)is frozen in 1902 by his arch enemy. In 1960's London, he is found by workmen and revived.
Aided by Georgina Jones (Juliet Harmer), Adam continues to fight criminals and tries to adjust to a much changed world. I love the scenes in the first episode where Adam ventures out into 1960's London, he is disorientated and overwhelmed, Harper and the camera and sound capture that so well.
Harper is superb as Adamant, in this character and his performance you can find traces of John Steed and Simon Templar. He is so suave and classy, he can defend himself very well and you certainly don't want to get into a fight with him.
I love the relationship between him and Georgina, scenes between them are my favourites in the series.
I'm not really a fan of remakes, but I think a new series of this set today would work very well if done right.
The Seventh Veil (1945)
Music and love
The Seventh Veil is directed by Compton Bennett. The film stars Ann Todd, James Mason, Hugh McDermott and Herbert Lom.
This film is filled with strong performances, Ann Todd in particular is worthy of great praise. Todd convinces as a teenager and as troubled older woman, this is one of her very best performances.
Francesca Cunningham(Ann Todd)tries to commit suicide by jumping into a river, she is rescued and taken to hospital. Francesca has sessions with psychologist Dr. Larson(Herbert Lom)to try and discover why she is suicidal. Larson puts her under hypnosis and learns about key events in her life that have led to her to where she is now.
As a teenager Francesca was sent to live with Nicholas(James Mason), a distant relative who raised her. Francesca had a passion for music, Nicholas trains her to become an extremely skilled piano player, he is controlling and doesn't like her having a life of her own.
When Francesca grows older she falls in love with outgoing band leader Peter Gay (Hugh McDermott), the pair want to marry but Nicholas forbids it. Nicholas takes her abroad where her piano playing is perfected and she goes on to become a world renowned pianist. Francesca seems to long for something more in her life and becomes very unhappy. Dr. Larson speaks to the men in her life and lets Francesca decide which man she want's to be with.
I didn't like the ending, up until this point Nicholas comes across as cold, distant and controlling. Towards the end of the film he does become warmer and gentle but that change comes to late in the film for the ending to be believable.
Mason doesn't get much to do apart from look brooding and distant. The film highlights what a good actress Ann Todd was. There's some beautiful piano music to enjoy throughout the film. Worth a watch but the ending doesn't work for me.
Paintings and train crashes
Crack-Up is directed by Irving Reis. The film stars Pat O'Brien, Claire Trevor and Herbert Marshall.
Art curator George Steel(Pat O'Brien)goes crazy and breaks a door at the museum where he works. He is convinced he has been involved in a train crash, there are no reports of any crash happening when he claims. It turns out the authorities are investigating the museum because of some art forgery.
Steel, his girlfriend (Claire Trevor)and an Inspector(Herbert Marshall)try and get to the bottom of what is going on.
The film has it's moments, but I just found the fake memory plot to be a bit much. If they wanted Steel out of the way so much why not just fire him? That bit comes across as extremely far fetched.
The film is very enjoyable and O'Brien in particular is excellent. There is strong support from Marshall and Trevor.
The dangers of going undercover
T-Men is directed by Anthony Mann. The film stars Dennis O'Keefe, Alfred Ryder, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw and Wallace Ford.
Based on a true story. Two US Treasury Agents, Dennis O'Brien(Dennis O'Keefe)and Tony Genaro(Alfred Ryder)go undercover in a gang to uncover a counterfeiting ring. The pair must try and make sure their real identities are not discovered. They also have to contend with a menacing heavy, played by the terrific Charles McGraw.
I absolutely love this one. The film has an almost documentary look to it. There's lots of suspense and one scene where one of the agents has to stand by helplessly while the other is in danger is heartbreaking and tense, a superbly performed moment by both O'Keefe and Ryder.
The documentary look of the film makes what you're watching seem more real, as does the narration. This is a very tense film highlighting the risks taken by those who do this sort of work.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Scary and deadly games for the guests
House on Haunted Hill is directed by William Castle. The film stars Vincent Price, Elisha Cook Jr., Richard Long, Carol Ohmart, Alan Marshal, Carolyn Craig and Julie Mitchum.
Millionaire Frederick Loren(Vincent Price)and his wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart)invite five guests for Annabelle's birthday party. They are pilot Lance Schroeder(Richard Long),Mr. Pritchard (Elisha Cook Jr.)the current owner of the house, Nora Manning(Carolyn Craig), Dr. David Trent(Alan Marshal)and Ruth Bridgers(Julie Mitchum.
This is a party with a difference, the group will have to spend the night in a famous haunted house. The guests will be paid ten thousand dollars each if they stay(and survive)the whole night. As the night goes on some very frightening and strange events occur and things take a deadly turn.
Are there really violent spirits haunting this house? Can the group trust one another? This film is a perfect mix of horror and comedy, there are some very scary moments(the ghostly apparitions and the blood stain)and two terrific twists.
Vincent Price is the highlight amongst the cast, his character is a very clever and observant man and Price gets the films best lines. Elisha Cook Jr. steals every scene he's in as the man who believes in the ghosts and is obsessed by the murders that occurred in the house.
This is great fun and it's a film that I never get tired of watching, perfect viewing for Halloween or a dark and stormy day.
Tomorrow at Ten (1963)
Tomorrow at ten is directed by Lance Comfort. The film stars John Gregson, Robert Shaw,Alec Clunes, William Hartnell, Kenneth Cope, Piers Bishop and Alan Wheatley.
A shifty criminal called Marlowe(Robert Shaw)kidnaps young Jonathan Chester(Piers Bishop)the son of a wealthy man. Marlowe takes him to an abandoned house and locks him in.
Marlow has put a bomb which is set to go off the following day in a toy left with the boy. Marlowe goes to the boys father (Alec Clunes)and demands fifty thousand pounds, in exchange for the money Marlowe will take Chester to his son. If the police become involved Marlowe won't say where Jonathan is, this will mean he will be killed when the bomb explodes.
Jonathan's nanny phones the police when Marlowe comes to speak to Mr. Chester. Tough police Inspector Parnell (John Gregson)is sent to deal with the situation. Parnell tries to intimidate Marlow, he want's to arrest him but is prevented from doing so by his boss (Alan Wheatley). Parnell must try and get Marlowe to reveal some information about where Jonathan is before it's too late.
I've never been much of a fan of John Gregson, but he really impressed me in this, playing Parnell as a no nonsense copper who treats criminals exactly how they deserve to be treated. Robert Shaw is very good as the deranged Marlowe, he manages to steal every scene he's in with just a look.
The supporting cast all deliver solid performances and there's lots of suspense. Is it believable that Mr. Chester would be allowed to be left alone with Marlowe when time was running out? Probably not, and I think that is a flaw for the film; it doesn't make this any less enjoyable though.
Good performances and plenty of suspense help make this well worth a watch.
The Naked Edge (1961)
Blackmail and suspicion
The Naked Edge is directed by Michael Anderson, has a screenplay by Joseph Stefano which is based on the novel by Max Ehrlich. The film stars Gary Cooper, Deborah Kerr, Diane Cilento, Ray McAnally, Peter Cushing and Eric Portman.
This is a cracking thriller, filled with plenty of tension and good performances. The film struck me as being very similar to Hitchcock's Suspicion, focusing on the wife beginning to doubt her husband and fear for own safety a little.
George Radcliffe(Gary Cooper)witnesses a murder and robbery. Donald Heath(Ray McAnally)is arrested for the crime, he strongly insists that he is innocent but at the end of the trial he is found guilty and sent to prison.
Some time later Radcliffe's wife Martha(Deborah Kerr)receives a blackmail letter which claims George was the killer. Martha slowly finds herself beginning to doubt her husbands innocence and becomes frightened of him.
George says he is innocent and is hurt that she could doubt him. Martha tries to get to truth and even meets the blackmailer(a sinister performance by Eric Portman)to try and get to the truth. Up until the final scene we're not sure just how innocent or guilty George is and that adds to the suspense and tension the film builds up. Cooper plays the character in a way that you can see guilt if you look for it, you can also see innocence too and you're never entirely sure what to make of him.
Cooper and Kerr are excellent, I think it's a real shame that they never made other films together. Diane Cilento is very good as the wife of Heath, she knows her man is innocent and will stand by him no matter what, she believes George is the real killer. Eric Portman is creepy as the mysterious blackmailer.
I think the music spoils the film, it is much too loud and intrusive in scenes where music wasn't needed. Apart from that this is a very good thriller.
Time After Time (1979)
Today I'm an amateur
Time After Time is directed by Nicholas Meyer. The film stars Malcolm McDowall, David Warner and Mary Steenburgen.
This is a very interesting sci-fi thriller. I've always been curious about other time periods and am a big fan of time travel stories. In this film we get to see a characters reaction to arriving into what is for him a far distant future and how he reacts to what he finds there. Wells is overwhelmed by the advanced technology, the skyscrapers and lifestyle he encounters.
Wells also learns that mankind has not advanced away from being violent, if anything violence has become more common in the future and has even lost shock value somewhat, due to how often violent acts occur now. It makes you realise that we can be advanced in some areas but still cannot get rid of violence. Perhaps we should focus more on getting rid of that impulse instead of focusing on creating new technology etc.
London in 1893, novelist and inventor H.G Wells(Malcolm McDowall)builds a fully working time machine. Wells and some friends are shocked to discover that Jack the Ripper is one of their friends Dr. Stevenson(David Warner), Stevenson escapes into the future in the time machine. Wells decides to go after him to bring him back to face justice. Wells sees that the time machine has travelled to America in the year 1979. When the time machine takes him forward he discovers he's in the city of San Francisco. He begins his search for Stevenson.
Wells is helped by Amy(Mary Steenburgen)who works in a bank and exchanges his British currency for him. The pair slowly begin to fall in love and Amy has to come to terms with the fact that Wells is from the past. Can Wells stop Stevenson and return him to his proper time?
McDowall is excellent as the determined and bewildered Wells, David Warner is chilling as Stevenson, the scene where Stevenson explains to Wells that in the past he was a freak because of what he did, but here in the 70's he is an amateur is performed so well by both actors. Mary Steenburgen is very funny as Amy, the feisty woman who ends up embarking on quite an adventure. McDowall and Steenburgen fell in love while they made this and they married the following year.
The film is a very good thriller and a great time travel story. My favourite scenes are where Wells go forward in time, the rotating restaurant scene and Wells chasing Stevenson through the hotel.
There's many San Francisco locations featured in this film including the foyer of the Hyatt Regency Hotel(this also features in the Towering Inferno, High Anxiety and an episode of The Streets of San Francisco.)
The final mission for Kirk and his crew
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is directed by Nicholas Meyer. The film stars William Shatner, Christopher Plummer, David Warner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Brock Peters, Iman and Kim Cattrall.
This final big screen adventure for the original crew is a fitting end. This film is a good blend of action, adventure, intrigue and comedy.
The Federation and The Klingon Empire are tentatively beginning to make peace with one another. There are some within Starfleet who don't trust the Klingons, there are also Klingons who don't want to make peace. Kirk(William Shatner) and his crew are sent to negotiate with Klingon Chancellor Gorkon(David Warner). Joining the crew as helmsman(Sulu has now been promoted to Captain)is Vulcan Lt. Valeris(Kim Cattrall).
The Chancellor's ship is fired upon and Federation personal beam aboard and assassinate the Chancellor. Kirk and McCoy(DeForest Kelley) beam aboard and try and help, but they are charged with his murder and sent to a Klingon penal colony. The crew must try and uncover the identity of the real assassins and rescue Kirk and McCoy.They must also deal with a villainous Klingon General called Chang(Christopher Plummer).
The cast are all superb and the film shows that to achieve peace enemies must try and trust each other before there can be even a hope of peace. Gorkon knows the negotiations won't be easy, but he is willing to try despite that. Kirk is angry and distrustful due to what happened to his son David, but he soon learns that he must set aside his hate so there can be a better future.
There would be more big screen adventures with Captain Picard and his crew, but this is the last time we see the original crew all together. That final scene on the bridge is very touching.
Other people Bones, not us
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier is directed by William Shatner. The film stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, David Warner and Laurence Luckinbill.
This is such an odd film, it has some good moments but on the whole is pretty bad. The camping scene between Kirk, Spock and McCoy is one of the most beautiful and well written scenes involving them in the whole series, it really captures their friendship and Kirk's speech about dying alone is really touching.
The Enterprise crew are sent to rescue some ambassadors who are being held hostage by Spock's half brother Sybok(Laurence Luckinbill). Sybok has a strange gift to be able to sense peoples deepest inner pain and free them from it. Sybok takes command of the Enterprise and sets off on a quest to find God.
The scene where the main trio come face to face with their pain is well done, but I find it hard to believe that friends as close as they are would never have discussed these things with each other. No way could Spock have remembered his which is shown to have occurred at his birth, that just seems so silly.
This film focuses well on the strong friendship between Kirk, Spock and McCoy but the story itself is pretty bad. Shatner does a good job of directing but it's a shame the plot isn't better.
Jerry Goldsmith returns as composer, his score for this is one of the most beautiful in the entire series. Worth a watch if you want to see all the films.
Time travel and whales
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is directed by Leonard Nimoy. The film stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig and Catherine Hicks.
Kirk and the crew are returning to Earth to face the consequences of their actions during the third film. A mysterious probe is sending a signal to Earth that is interfering with communications and causing severe storms.
The crew discover the probes signal is the sound of humpback whales, which are sadly extinct in the 23rd century. The crew travel back in time to the 1980's to find some humpback whales, and bring them back to the future so the probe can detect them.
Upon arriving in the past, Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Chekov and Scotty must adjust to a chaotic world. Spock (Leonard Nimoy)is struggling to readjust to his life, he is more Vulcan now than he has ever been and this means he doesn't understand human humour as much as he used to, this leads to many hysterical scenes between him and McCoy.
Kirk is helped by whale expert Gillian(Catherine Hicks)and their growing relationship is really sweet to watch.
This is a really funny film, I crack up every time I watch this during Scotty's "hello computer scene" and Chekov's interrogation. McCoy's amused reaction to Spock covering up his pointed ears is priceless and don't even get me started on Kirk's reaction to Spock swimming with whales. McCoy's reaction to 20th century medicine is great too.
The cast are all superb and the film is such good fun.
Where's the logic in offering me a ride home?
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock is directed by Leonard Nimoy and has music by James Horner. The film stars William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Christopher Lloyd, Robin Curtis, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Merritt Butrick, Mark Lenard, Judith Anderson and Leonard Nimoy.
This is a very good film and pretty underrated compared to some of the others. It has several moving scenes and is really funny too. McCoy trying to charter a ship in an alien bar is hysterical. The mind meld scene between Kirk and Sarek is very moving and Christopher Lloyd is excellent as the cunning Klingon Captain. It's a bit odd that Carol Marcus isn't in this film, you'd think she would have wanted to study the Genesis planet.
The Search for Spock is set shortly after the events of The Wrath of Khan. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew are returning to Earth, Kirk is devastated by Spock's loss and is struggling to come to terms with it.
David(Merritt Butrick) and Lt. Saavik(Robin Curtis)have been assigned to the Starfleet ship Grissom, they are in orbit of the Genesis planet and are studying how the planet is evolving. That sector is off limits now to anyone apart from their science team.
When the Enterprise returns to Earth, Kirk is told the ship is to be decommissioned. Dr. McCoy(DeForest Kelley)appears to be having some sort of breakdown and Kirk is visited by Spock's father Sarek(Mark Lenard).
Sarek pleads with Kirk to return Spock's body to Vulcan(at the end of the previous film he was buried on the Genesis planet), he tells Kirk there is a ritual that could restore Spock to life. It is discovered that McCoy is now carrying Spock's memories and personality within his own mind, that is why Spock melded with him at the end of Wrath of Khan.
Spock's memories must be taken from McCoy and placed back into Spock's mind. Kirk, Scotty, Sulu, McCoy and Chekov steal the Enterprise and head to the Genesis planet.
Rogue Klingon Captain Kruge(Christopher Lloyd)has found out about the Genesis device and realises the potential it has to be a weapon. He and his crew head to the Genesis planet.
This film has some very interesting things in it, such as the mystical Vulcan ceremony that can restore life and the accelerated development of the Genesis planet. It makes you think also about the positives and negatives of building a device like Genesis.
Although it's great that Spock lives again, I think this lessens the impact of his sacrifice at the end of The Wrath of Khan. I think it would have been better if he stayed dead, and then we could see the impact on Kirk and McCoy and how they coped with that loss.
Well directed by Nimoy, with strong performances from the cast. Shatner is good as the devastated Kirk who will stop at nothing if there is even the slightest chance of saving Spock. Robin Curtis is good as Saavik, but it is a shame that Kirstie Alley didn't reprise the role.
Doohan, Takei, Nichols and Koenig get more to do in this film and that's great to see. DeForest Kelley steals every scene he's in as a very different Dr.McCoy.
Sacrifice and revenge
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is directed by Nicholas Meyer and has music by James Horner. The film stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Ricardo Montalban, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Kirstie Alley, Paul Winfield, Merritt Butrick and Bibi Besch.
This second Star Trek film more than makes up for the disappointing first big screen outing. The Wrath of Khan is a perfect mix of action, revenge and horror and there's much more character focus. The film is all about friendship and sacrifice, if you are a Star Trek fan, then there is a death scene in this that will make you cry.
Starfleet vessel The Reliant is under the command of Captain Terrell(Paul Winfield). Their mission is to find a lifeless planet on which scientists can test a new device called Genesis, a suitable planet is located and Terrell and Chekov(Walter Koenig)beam down.
On the surface they discover the superhuman Khan(Ricardo Montalban)and his exiled followers. In the TV series episode Space Seed, Khan and his crew tried to kill the Enterprise crew and steal the ship. Kirk had them exiled to a planet in this system. Khan is desperate for revenge against Kirk.
With the aid of some mind controlling creatures that burrow into the victims ears, Khan controls Terrell and Chekov. Stranding The Reliant's crew on the planet, Khan and his followers leave in search of Kirk. Khan learns about Genesis and in his hands it could become a devastating weapon. The device is on space station Regula One, where Dr. Carol Marcus(Bibi Besch)and her son David(Merritt Butrick)head a science team.
The Enterprise, now under the command of Spock(Leonard Nimoy), is on a cadet training mission. Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) is aboard to see how the cadets perform. Receiving a distress call from Dr. Marcus the ship heads to the space station and encounters Khan.
Kirk must find a way to outwit Khan, save his crew and prevent the Genesis device being launched.
The theatrical version is excellent, but the directors cut is the one to watch. In the directors cut there's an excellent sickbay scene between Kirk and McCoy(DeForest Kelley). Also the identity of the young injured engineer is revealed, this knowledge makes the scene where he's carried by Scotty(James Doohan)much more poignant.
The entire cast are superb, Ricardo Montalban is terrifying as the deranged Khan.
Kirstie Alley makes her film debut here, as the half Vulcan and half Romulan navigator Lt. Saavik. There are many lovely scenes between her and Shatner, as Saavik tries to understand Kirk's reckless nature and he in turn teaches her that you can't always play by the rules.
There's some great banter between Kirk, Spock and McCoy and a touching scene between Kirk and McCoy on Kirk's birthday.
The film also explores the concept of a no win situation, and how in such a situation how people react. The personal loss at the end proves you can win in one way, but you lose in another.
I love James Horner's music for this, I think there's a real similarity to his score for Battle Beyond The Stars. I love the new red uniforms, they are so much better than the ones in The Motion Picture. The special effects are just as good as those from the first film.
This is considered by many fans to be the best Trek film and I agree, it's also my favourite. The film is exciting, thrilling and moving. The film also has some moments of real horror in it, such as the ear burrowing creatures and the sickening discovery awaiting Kirk, McCoy and Saavik on the science station.
Stunning special effects
Star Trek: The Motion Picture is directed by Robert Wise and has music by Jerry Goldsmith. The film stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Persis Khambatta, Majel Barrett, Grace Lee Whitney and Stephen Collins.
Ten years after the original series ended Star Trek fans were able to see a Star Trek film on the big screen. The special effects in this film are truly stunning, the model of the Enterprise looks so real and is much more impressive and believable than any of the computer generated ships could ever be. Goldsmith's music is gorgeous and has a real epic sound to it.
Sadly the story and characters just don't impress as much as the effects and music.There is a distance between Kirk, Spock and McCoy that shouldn't be there, these three are the closest of friends and yet the audience doesn't witness their bond like you do in the TV series. In this film most of the characters have little to do except look at things in awe. Yes the film is stunning to look at, but it doesn't hold your interest.
A strange cloud that contains something inside powering it is moving towards Earth, it has destroyed ships and space stations in it's path. Starfleet orders the refitted Enterprise to intercept it and try and make contact.
The Enterprise is currently under the command of Captain William Decker(Stephen Collins), Starfleet command order the now promoted Admiral Kirk (William Shatner)to assume command of the ship(due to his first contact expertise) and head the mission. Decker is kept on as First Officer. Kirk has all his former command crew join him on the mission. The only person missing is Spock(Leonard Nimoy)who has been spending time on his home planet. Spock senses the strange cloud and joins the Enterprise later to contact it.
New to the crew is navigator Lt. Ilia(Persis Khambatta). Ilia is a former girlfriend of Decker, during the mission she disappears from the bridge when it is scanned by the cloud. An android is found on the ship that looks like Ilia but isn't, the android has been sent to gather data on the ship and crew.The unusual end for Decker and Ilia is interesting and is one of the most fascinating moments in the whole film, too bad that it is not explored in more detail.
If you want films that are closer to the series and focus more on the characters then watch the sequels, especially the second film, The Wrath of Khan.
The highlight of the film for me are the two spacedock sequences. In the first Kirk takes a shuttle ride with Soctty(James Doohan)to see the refitted Enterprise. In the second the Enterprise leaves spacedock to begin her mission. The destruction of the ships and the space station are also very well done.
Ilia is an interesting character, if you watch the directors cut you get to know more about her and her abilities. I like her relationship with Decker, they haven't been together for a while but still care about each other a great deal.
Not the best film in the series but worth watching if you want to see all the Star Trek films.
Run Wild, Run Free (1969)
A beautiful film
Run Wild, Run Free is directed by Richard C. Sarafian, has a screenplay by David Rook which is based on his novel. The film stars John Mills, Mark Lester, Sylvia Syms, Bernard Miles, Fiona Fullerton and Gordon Jackson.
Philip (Mark Lester)has been mute since he was a small boy. He always wanders off and prefers to be on his own. His parents (Sylvia Syms and Gordon Jackson)love him very much, but they have long since given up on any hope of finding out what's wrong with him.
When Philip is around ten years old, he befriends a pony out on the moors, the two become inseparable. A kind Colonel(John Mills)who lives nearby accepts Philip how he is. The Colonel sees Philip likes animals and teaches him more about animals and nature.
Philip befriends Diana(Fiona Fullerton)when she helps the Colonel teach Philip how to look after a falcon. As Philip spends more time with the Colonel, Diana and the animals he gradually starts to become less withdrawn. Tragedy and hope lie just around the corner.
This is a beautiful film that I had never heard of before catching it on TV. Mark Lester does a very good job of portraying Philip's despair and desperation, he has to convey everything with his emotions and his eyes. For one so young he gives an excellent performance.
John Mills is excellent as the kind Colonel who loves animals and helps Philip connect better with people. I love his scenes with the falcon.
Sylvia Syms and Gordon Jackson are good as the frustrated parents, I would have liked a bit more focus on their struggles.
Fiona Fullerton doesn't have much to do but is very good too.
The animals steal all the scenes they are in, especially the enchanting falcon. This is another film highlighting the special bond that can be created between human and animal and how that friendship can be just as meaningful as one between humans.
A beautiful film featuring some very good performances.