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7/10
The price of unpunctuality
20 January 2023
Warning: Spoilers
I watched YOLO last night and this morning I can't recall much of the hilarity and comedy noted by a few other reviewers. Oh, OK, there was the unnecessary and annoying early sequence with the shopkeeper complaining about stolen apples, and the landlord and his wife plucking up courage to ask Fonda and his wife to leave.

The film became increasingly sombre, then depressing, as the fugitive couple's plight worsened. Given that the Hollywood mores of the 1937s dictated that a criminal, however hard done by, had to receive retribution, the end was predictable.

Interesting to see Barton MacClane get third billing after I'd seen him further down the cast list in so many Westerns, but his was a very flat performance. Also interesting to note Guinn "Big Boy" Williams in a straight role as a prison guard rather than as a comic sidekick.

I have a little difficult in assessing what sort of personality the Fonda character had. Three times inside and still so young suggested a weak, criminal character, and Fonda, though an excellent actor, seldom did weakness. But what a cluck: starting a new job and very much on probation, he's 90 minutes late on a delivery run because he's checking out a new home. And then Sidney moves into it without telling him - just as he loses his job for unpunctuality.

I wasn't convinced by the last-minute reprieve that was still too late, as Eddie could still have been implicated in the robbery despite the bank van being found with someone else inside. And Joan seemed very nimble for someone who was pregnant - unless she and Eddie were on the run for a very long time.
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6/10
Not THAT bad but
11 January 2023
Good marks for the scenery and the photography, and I thought that the "Death" voice over was quite effective and that the plot had potential. There seemed to be a steady flow of Native Americans to be shot, some by long-distance revolvers, one of which, early on, appeared to have twelve chambers. Lots of arrows piercing pads under clothing, and there was a miraculous recovery from a lance wound. There was a semi-nude bathing scene and, I infer, a rape victim.

Two-thirds of the way through, my attention started to wander, and I wasn't sorry when it ended.

I watched the film on YouTube - it was one of those where the opening title frames are omitted (perhaps for copyright reasons).
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The Way Out (1955)
6/10
Very humdrum
21 December 2022
The seven previous reviewers have said it all. I felt no sympathy at all for the fugitive, who had no redeeming features. Obviously the film's emphasis was on his nice, devoted wife and her efforts to help her husband flee, but there were times when I wondered how plausible some of the actions were. It's one of those films where watching it again might help me understand it better - or determine actual flaws in the plot.

John Bentley and Sidney Tafler took the acting honours, with a very mixed range of support cast. The acting of several of the women failed to impress, notably that of the woman in the bathrobe. And it was strange that the publisher called his secretary "Terri", which was the name of Mona Freeman's character.

I've often wondered about vehicles' lights in these old films. IIRC, in Britain side-lights only were permitted on roads with street lamps, but out in the country there were times when the vehicles seemed to have no lights at all. (Perhaps the "night" scenes were filled during the time, with a back filter??)
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Massacre (1956)
7/10
Welcome variation from the 1950s' Westerns
8 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I watched "Massacre" (for the second time) courtesy of YouTube, and thought that it compared well with the usual B Westerns of the 1950s. It's not often that.we get to a film devoted to Federales, the South American scenery made a change and, for once, the hero didn't ride off at the end with the love interest.

Given the many times that films cast white actors in races other than their own, Dane Clark and James Craig did well enough as Mexican officers, though Martha Roth did not convince as a Mexican. Nor did the actor playing young Juan Pedro, but I see he actually was a Mexican!. And the villagers' chieftain was a bit comical.

Nice to see some attention to detail, such as the jangling spurs that another reviewer has commented on, and the Federales had at least one pack-horse of supplies; all too often patrols of soldiers in films of various genres are a long way from anywhere with no signs of sustenance, not even saddle-bags.
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7/10
Entertaining if a little confusing
2 December 2022
I thought better of TCOCP than other IMBD reviewers, and it seems to have kept to the actual events better than many films "based on facts". Michael Martin Harvey did very well in portraying Peace's various personalities and he bore a resemblance to some of the varying portraits that exist of the murderer. But it was difficult to imagine him attracting so many women - though I suspect that the actresses were better looking the women they portrayed, as is suggested by contemporary drawings, and one authority on Peace states that Mrs Dyson was an "'attractive woman, buxom and blooming ... and ugly men can be notably successful with women". Certainly Chili Bouchier spoke with remarkably refined accent - though this was not nearly as incongruous as that of Robert Cameron playing an Irish rough, John Habron.

I spent some minutes trying to work out who Roberta Huby as "Mrs Thompson" reminded me of - it was Miranda Richardson playing Elizabeth 1 in "Blackadder"!

I struggled a little to keep up with Peace's exploits, and it may be that the film showed them in a different sequence to what actually happened. I was surprised when, just before his execution, he referred to his children, as I don't think that they had been mentioned before.
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6/10
Reasonable enough for the very low budget
23 November 2022
I've just watched the latest screening of this film on Talking Pictures and, considering the low budget, thought it reasonable enough. Apparently it was also known as "The Great Armoured Car Swindle". "Hi-jacking with a blonde as the bait" is the claim on a poster, exaggerating the influence of the nightclub girl on Eric, and as for the crime "that baffled Scotland Yard" there was no evidence of this in the film.

Apart from the 1960s' scenes of Gatwick Airport, the most noticeable aspects were Peter Reynolds' "elevated" hairstyle and the cumbersome camera with flashbulb he used for clandestine photography! It's been suggested that he was wearing a hairpiece, in which case it was a bad one; and if it was his real hair ...

The plot was very predictable. Reynolds portrayed a weak man well enough, though Dermot Walsh was uninspiring as the "hero"

Considering they came from a country neighbouring the USSR, some of the citizens of Lalvador seemed very English, and the plot was basic - though comparably so to those of many other films.

There are some good now & then photographs of locales on the Reelstreets website, though there are no modern ones of Gatwick - presumably because of security and access considerations.
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6/10
First two-thirds good, last one-third formulaic
15 November 2022
The first two-thirds of the film (which I watched courtesy of YouTube) were quite good, and at times John Bentley belied his 47 years by appearing tough - though he should have kept his shirt on rather than display his flabby torso. The scenes in which the father in his wheelchair followed the villain pursuing his daughter were well directed.

But with the move to Somaliland the film became formulaic, with no fewer than FOUR hackneyed encounters with animals. Bentley seemed to follow a very crude small map with incredible ease, as well as finding his way through some well-lit tunnels to conclude his quest.

I thought that the floor show at the beginning was a little daring in that the girls were "cheeky", but only because the film had a 1950s look to it. Then I realised that it had come out in 1963, a year after "Dr No", with a sensual Ursula Andress, a virile Sean Connery, colour and exotic locations. No real comparison!
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7/10
Well-photographed Western
8 October 2022
I'd seen this film not so long ago and have just watched it again, as "Last of the Comanches", on YouTube. I guess it's nearly all been said in other reviews.

Its other title, as given here on IMDB, was not particularly appropriate, as sabres only featured at the end. Strange that the only survivors of the attack on the town were cavalrymen - one might have thought that there would have been a few civilians, even an alternative to Julia Lanning, one of so many attractive women implausibly making perilous journeys in Westerns' stagecoaches.

And how remarkable that, despite being short of water for several days, the men remained clean shaven. (Perhaps Sergeant Trainor insisted on them shaving dry?)

The two captured Indians looked very scrawny and unimpressive.

But these are criticisms of minor flaws in a generally entertaining film.
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7/10
Rather good for a low-budget film
6 October 2022
Considering the low budget and a cast of unknowns, this film was very good. Several basic goofs have already been noted: the 1914 tank, the unmilitary haircuts and beards, for example. Perhaps the most jarring event was the soldier-deserter being handcuffed to a hospital bed on the eve of his execution, which was carried out immediately outside the hospital.

A frequent gripe (usually relating to Westerns) that I have with depictions of solitary horsemen on long treks through remote country is that apart from a modest saddle roll they seldom have saddle-bags carrying food and other necessities. (Heck, even I on a six-hour walk take a rucksack of bits & pieces with me.)Thus it was with Billy's extended quest for his sister.

Here and there the acting was somewhat uninspired.

IMDB gives the film's length as 94 minutes, but the version that I saw on YouTube ran for 108.
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Laura (1944)
7/10
Over-rated
6 October 2022
Generally a good film by the standards of the 1940s though, as others have noted, the plot creaked at times.

The standards of the time also meant that actual sex had to be hinted at, leaving viewers to form their own impressions. At least one reviewer here on IMDB saw Waldo as gay, which I didn't, though the lesbianism of Laura's maid was detectable. (According to IMDB, the actress, Dorothy Adams, was uncredited, though her brief appearances were striking.)

Given that so much emphasis has been placed on McPherson's infatuation with a supposedly-dead woman, this didn't come over that strongly in the film. And though I can understand many men falling instantly for Laura, her doing so for McPherson so quickly seemed implausible.

Vincent Price had a formidable screen presence, though I did wonder whether the jacket he wore in his first scene was too big, even for him; but then men's clothing of that era was generously cut - all those baggy trousers!
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6/10
Great first half, implausible second
5 October 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I've just watched "Hollow Triumph" for the second time. It started off very promisingly, especially with the way that Muller's gang planning the raid was filmed. And depicting the various expressions on the casino gamblers' faces was done brilliantly.

But it deteriorated from the point when Muller snatched a photograph of Bartok's face, the end result being more like a studio portrait than something taken in a street. And how did no-one - except the cleaner-lady - notice that the scar on Muller's face was on the wrong cheek? This puzzled me so much that I had to check back on my recording to see that I hadn't missed something.

On a very subjective note, I found Muller/Bartok's affected smoking to be annoying. (OK, I know that smoking, especially in Hollywood films, was prevalent in those times.)

A good, surprise ending.
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Sharpe: Sharpe's Justice (1997)
Season 5, Episode 2
7/10
Interesting insight into the young Sharpe
12 September 2022
Warning: Spoilers
"Sharpe's Justice" follows on from "Sharpe's Revenge". In both cases, Sharpe finds his reputation being trashed. First, it's Ducos creating a very contrived plot to implicate him in theft and murder - (and one that I found unconvincing and easily refuted). But our hero is absolved by a deux ex machina in the form of one letter.

Then in "Justice", it takes another letter, from a man of dubious repute, to absolve Sharpe again when his actions would be questionable in the eyes of "Horseguards" and his detractors - the more so after he has been named in newspapers as responsible for the violence against civilian protestors - and after he's killed at least one yeoman. A full-scale enquiry would have been obligatory to look at the facts. Still, for dramatic reasons at the end he gallops off back to France.

And in both episodes, a character who later influences the plot just happens to be in a tavern to help it along: the French NCO when Frederickson is enquiring about Ducos's optician and Hagman when Sharpe is made unwelcome in a Yorkshire pub.

It's strange that he and Harper seldom wear their shakos - and travel from London to Yorkshire with absolutely no sign of them or of personal possessions. And how convenient that Lady Anne Camoynes was in the locality, and so on hand to assist Sharpe.

These quibbles apart, I found "Justice" a reasonable episode in the overall series, giving an insight into Sharpe's youth - albeit as perceived not by Bernard Cornwell but scriptwriters.

Interesting to see Philip Glenister and Douglas Henshall in supporting roles before they starred in popular detective series.
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5/10
Very much a B movie - if not C
29 August 2022
Mildly entertaining, but a weak plot was poorly scripted. As has been mentioned several times, why go to all that bother of infiltrating Mark Sheldon - when a team of inspectors could have been sent in; there seemed to be very few guards to resist them.

Mrs Danel was impossibly glamorous for her surroundings, though I appreciate the need for some sex interest.

I hadn't come across Robert Wilcox before; he reminded me of Tyrone Power with a touch of Glenn Ford. War service interrupted his career; indeed he made only three films afterwards, with alcoholism presumably inhibiting his being cast in anything significant.
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Sharpe: Sharpe's Gold (1995)
Season 3, Episode 1
6/10
Weakest episode
26 August 2022
Warning: Spoilers
It's probably 20 years since I last saw "Sharpe's Gold", but I've just viewed it again. My main recollection was of the two stupid women riding unescorted around Spain without any supplies or equipment looking for their father/husband who disappeared some months before - and of the daughter just happening to spot "Dada's" paintbox in the middle of nowhere.

By halfway through my latest viewing last night I had begun to think that this to be a very inferior episode - and then I read comments here on IMDB and realised that I wasn't the only one.

What a ham-fisted way for Sharpe to deliberately lose the shooting contest - by dropping the bullet he was loading. How could an ace rifleman completely miss the target? It would have been far more believable for him to have missed the bull by two or three inches.

Would senior members of Dublin society fraternise with private soldiers?

El Casco's cooing at Ellie was puzzling and embarrassing to watch.

The Aztec element has been derided in other reviews. And why blow up the caves where the Aztec gold was hidden? Wouldn't it have been an useful addition to Britain's war chest?

I can understand Wellington wishing to pardon the deserters to fill his depleted ranks, but were we meant to taken their spontaneous cheering as an indication that they would become dependable soldiers (or were they just relieved not to be hanged or flogged).

The only bright spot was Peter-Hugo Daly's role as the villainous Sergeant Dodd (he was to return as the even more evil Sergeant Bickerstaff in "Sharpe's Challenge").
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7/10
Plods along pleasantly for most of the time
25 August 2022
At 137 minutes, a bit on the long side, though it plods along pleasantly enough. And just as action looms (along with the Confederate raiders), there are three protracted emotional "men-off-to-the war" scenes. When the action at the river finally happened, it was presented very well on screen.

A time-worn Gary Cooper looks too old for his role, and acting kudos go to Anthony Perkins and Richard Eyer as his sons - and to Sammy the Goose (apparently played by three different birds). And it was good to see Robert Middleton as an affable nice person - I associate him with "nasty-guy" roles.

I was not convinced by how easily the rag-tag raiders moderated their behaviour, even releasing the goose after Eliza's pleas. These scenes would have been more realistic had the troops been commanded and controlled by a Southern gentleman.
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7/10
In retrospect, does the plot hold together?
20 August 2022
A good film with a strong and effective cast, but Major Horn's plan that he revealed towards the end seemed very contrived and dependent on various factors panning out. It wouldn't have succeeded had the two police vehicles succeeded in stopping the fugitives, likewise with the South African aircraft's attempt to divert their light aeroplane.

I would have liked to have seen more of Patrick Allen as the District Commissioner, and Rutger Hauer dominated the screen in his few scenes.

As others have said, the brief sex scene was intrusive and unnecessary.
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Samar (1962)
7/10
Literally a bit of drag here and there!
16 August 2022
I viewed "Samar" on the Fast32 streaming service and was generally impressed: good locations, a very large cast of extras and a reasonable plot.

Inevitably, I suppose, in the circumstances there were a couple of implausibly attractive women, but even more unlikely the male leads remained clear shaven throughout and seemed to benefit from a travelling laundry service, judging from the whiteness of their clothes.

The trek up the mountainside was epic in the numbers of people involved, but it went on a bit long and became almost as much a drag as the hauling of the carts.

George Montgomery was a reasonable actor and starred in many films that didn't overimpress. Perhaps this is one of his best.
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Taggart (1964)
6/10
Hero gets to meet four attractive women
2 August 2022
This film started well and then got silly, as hero Taggart gets to meet four attractive well-coiffured women in a very short space of time, managing to keep clean-shaven when being pursued. Lifted from mediocrity by Dan Duryea (at his nastiest), several familiar support actors, and some good cinematography.

The abandoned mission looked in very good shape.
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6/10
Flawed adventure film with overweight hero
31 July 2022
Warning: Spoilers
This film had a reasonable plot but included several flaws, some of which have already been noted. Jon Hall was overweight for an action man and seemed to carry a great deal of cash, even allowing for Charlane returning some of her share of his wallet after he'd been mugged. For a former OSS man he was very foolish to turn his back on Kevin as he phoned for the police. Escaping from the caves with Mary looked ridiculously easy - they just strolled out. (Usually in these circumstances a small hole has to be widened first.) And how convenient that the exit was a short walk from where the explosives had been put on the track.

Perhaps the most inspiring members of the cast were Michael Fox as Captain Tamil and Donna Martell in her brief appearances as the Nawob's daughter.
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Slavers (1977)
5/10
Good cast, but failed to impress
1 July 2022
After watching a fuzzy copy of this film on the Fast32 streaming service, I gave "Slavers" just five points (still above the average rating). I'm wondering why, with it having so many plus ingredients: a strong cast (albeit some past their prime), excellent scenery, a reasonable plot, a good firefight - and I don't object to female nudity (with Britt Ekland briefly going topless, somewhat gratuitously, whereas the native women's near-nakedness was at least authentic).

Maybe it was the subject matter: the distasteful exploitation of Africans by Europeans, Arabs and their own countrymen. Since the film was made, there's been increasing concern about many countries' "colonial past" and perhaps it's today's zeitgeist that made me feel uncomfortable about that of the 1880s.
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3/10
Cartoons and pantomime
27 June 2022
Childlike cartoons for the opening credits, a lot of chat with the merchant (was his "selling" board a satire on modern practice?), one of the most unconvincing Arabian princesses in the history of Cinema, a pantomime brawl, then girlish chatter American-style in the harem, at which point I gave up.

The only plus point was Rock Hudson looking great in Arab dress.
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The Rover (1967)
7/10
Promising ingredients but dull overall
20 June 2022
Conrad, Quinn, Young, Hayworth (plus Johnson and Dawson) and Schiaffino. Excellent photography, good locations. But ...

The early scenes were promising, but when Quinn reached the all-but- deserted village the film started to drag and never picked up pace.
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6/10
Roger Moore acting against type
16 May 2022
Contrary to some reviewers' comments, I thought that Roger Moore acted well enough here, portraying emotion such as when talking about his dead wife.

Rod Steiger and Elliot Gould were both good, though I assume that the former's hairpiece reflected what a police lieutenant, rather than a Hollywood star, could afford.

When the reason for the murders, murder attempts and general mayhem became apparent, it was something of an anticlimax as they didn't seem that necessary. The attempt to run down Dr Stevens in the passageway was particular hamfisted.

I'm tempted to see if I can buy a copy of the book on which the film is based, in the hope that it might fill in the several plot holes.

It was strange how the private detective, Morgens,chose to meet Stevens in a particularly isolated and forbidding area

As others have said, the ending was unsatisfactory and suggested there might be more trouble ahead.

Like other reviewers, I was half-hoping that Moore would switch into his Bond persona when he was being beaten up, but I guess that would have prompted me to complain that his Stevens character was not macho enough to do that.

I'm tempted to see if I can buy a copy of the book on which the film is based, in the hope that it might fill in the several plot holes.

EDIT: I bought a copy of the book, which the film generally followed, though the former did include two meetings at their homes that Dr Judd had with the sex-mad ex-actress and the lover of a gay patient at their homes. But the book did end on a clear and positive note, unlike the film - why did they have to tack on that final scene? One or two plot holes were explained, but not convincingly.
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5/10
Mediocre, with many flaws
10 May 2022
The best thing about "The Oregon Trail" was that it prompted me to research the tensions between Britain and the States over Oregon in the early 1840s. Apart from that, the film was mediocre. Some of its deficiencies have already been mentioned in other reviews, not least the terrible backdrops early on and the anachronistic rifles (to which might be added the anachronistic army uniforms, notably hats).

Its initial premise was suspect: sending a reporter on a five-month journey to check out rumours that soldiers in civilian clothing were accompanying wagon-trains. Neal Harris had no reliable means of getting his dispatches back to his editor, and if they had been printed they would have been dated; as it happened, his objectives were overtaken by events.

I can't see McMurray as a great ladies' man, even when he displays a sweaty chest. His flirting with President Polk's secretary (did he have a female secretary, I wonder), didn't convince, nor did his instant rapport with Shona.

After days of water shortage and dust, Prudence Cooper's hair looked remarkably well-groomed and there was a terrible lack of continuity when a settler took an arrow in his chest, only for it to appear in his back a couple of seconds later.

Plus points for John Carradine as the eccentric settler with his apple trees and for John Dierkes as mountain man Gabe Hastings.
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6/10
Good enough
2 May 2022
After watching TBoK for some thirty minutes, this started to remind me of a Hammer film, my having missed the reference to Hammer in the opening credits.

Other reviewers have noted its shortcomings, such as uniforms that would not have kept their brightness for very long, artificial-looking studio sets and Ronald Lewis's unremarkable performance - certainly he's no Tyrone Power, who played a similar role - of a mixed-race officer - in "King of the Khyber Rifles".

To which might be added: easily-reloadable rifles used by both sides that were not produced in 1850 and the risible scenes of key characters bouncing along, ostensibly on horses, against back projection as they led their men into battle.

The English countryside served well enough for India for most, if not all, of the film, and, dare I say it in 2022, so did the blacked-up "Indians".

At least the ending was a bit of a surprise, not least because of the hundreds of men that suddenly appeared in a film that up to then had only featured a score or so at any one time. Now I know that scenes were lifted from "Zarak", I plan to watch that film to see how many.

Worth a little more than the 5.4 average rating. I thought.
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