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I've Got Your Number (1934)
The trials and tribulations of a telephone repair man
Watching this, if you didn't know, you would think that a telephone repair man back in the day could do anything. That's what makes this film so laughable.
A tops in his field telephone repair man goes throughout his workday solving telephone related problems. Along the way he tries his suave ways on the lady clients he meets. In the midst of all this he meets a girl who finally falls for his lame charms. She in turn gets unwittingly involved with a scumbag who uses her to rob her boss of some bonds. Then...telephone repair man to the rescue.
Words can't describe how lame this film is. Pat O'Brian didn't have much range as an actor and it shows in this. There are so many laughable moments I can only mention a few cause it would ruin for anyone who wants to watch this lame time piece.
First off, what telephone repair man has the skills to cut any kind of live electrical wires? One scene has a building burning and for some reason they need him to get to the top of a burning building and cut telephone wires. Who knows what purpose this serves but in the process he decides there are live electrical wires and he just takes some pliers/snips and cuts them. This is beyond ridiculous. Not gonna happen folks unless he intended to make himself a charcoal briquette in the process.. After this he jumps off the building and lands in a fireman's net to safety. With this act he's the king of the day. LOL..what a joke.
The funniest of all is the end fight scene. It could very well be the worst fight scene in film history. To set up this fight I'll start off with..they kidnap the repair man and are dragging him back to their car to leave and the whole of the telephone repairmen from the company come to his rescue. Mind you, all these crooks trying to take him away are all armed. When the repairmen arrive and decide to try and save him, all these crooks just run at em like it was WWI. I mean, these guys have guns and they decide to fight? Gimme a break. The fighting in this is so funny it's worth watching just for that. It's so bad you'll spit up you soda and chips while watching it. I will say this was an early 30's film so they hadn't gotten the realistic look of fighting by then but if your a filmmaker and want to do a film with fighting, watch this and see what not to do.
For me, this was a real joke of a film. Not even funny or believable at any point. Bad script, stupid premise and 65 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
Passport to Suez (1943)
Light Comedy WWII Spy Drama
I think when you go into a film and see that there aren't many actors you recognize you immediately think.."Uh-Oh". This is one of those films.
A well known American person (or spy) gets a call and goes to North Africa. He's suppose to talk to some important people there but gets kidnapped and told if he doesn't co-operate they will kill his butler. He does but the kidnappers (who are nazi's with pretty amazing non-German accents) already know he will tell his superiors so they work out a plan to get what they want (the plans for the minefields in the Suez Canal) in reverse. Throughout all this we get a butler who constantly gets kidnapped and harassed and spies that, if you aren't blind or stupid, you figure out pretty early on. Will they get the plans before they get caught?
This one wasn't terrible but wow was it pretty easy to see who the double agent was. I mean very early on you see in span of 5 minutes 2 separate incidents that show no other perpetrator but 1 and throughout the film your suppose to be guessing who the culprit is. The fact that it had a young Lloyd Bridges didn't really help cause his role is very minor. The casting for the 3 main leads was good and were noted character actors but the leftovers weren't really that impressive. For a mild B-grade film it was fairly entertaining because of the Casablanca feel it has to it but it's still just a nothing special type of film.
The butler is the highlight for me. Also watch for the heavy who looks painfully like William Conrad of Jake and the Fatman fame. If you've got a spare 71 minutes then try this one and see some mild WWII spy intrigue.
Desert Fury (1947)
An almost Noir with another case of bad acting by Lizabeth Scott
Wow Lizabeth Scott was no winner of an actress. She is just dreadful. I can't see how any producer thought she was gonna be the next big thing back in this day and time. She's basically a short version of Lauren Bacall with half the talent.
A noted gambler comes back to town to lay low. The town holds bad memories for him because his wife died in a supposed car accident there. It haunts him all the while he's there. He gets involved with a lot of the old friends he knew from there including an old flames daughter. She's young and stupid and is basically clueless about everything. The local deputy likes her and she the same but she decides to take to the local thug/gambler instead. Her mother and the deputy warn her about him but she doesn't care. She goes against their advice and soon...sparks will soon fly.
I didn't go into this one with high hopes because I saw Lizabeth Scott's name in the cast. She was never anything special and in this she show's why. Her portrayal of a 19 year old "I'll do what I want" daughter of a local gambling house owner is just laughable. We get a young Burt Lancaster as the Deputy and the great Mary Astor as the mother but when your working with Lizabeth Scott, all the talent there was in this oozed away with her terrible performance. I mean this one had a really decent cast. With John Hodiak and Wendell Corey playing the heavies I thought maybe it could work but nope. The really unbelievable performance by Ms. Scott threw all that other talent right out of the window.
I personally have no problems telling any one to save your time and watch something else but this film has one good thing going for in that there's a little twist in the film you try and try to figure out but won't...until the end. The twist is actually pretty good and after I learned it I had one of those "A-ha" moments. It may be a nothing moment to other viewers of this film but it sewed up a lot of questions I had.
No Man of Her Own (1932)
The only pairing of Lombarde and Gable...pretty good
You would think that since this is the only film with these 2 big stars it would be a big one...don't expect anything groundbreaking.
A Card Sharp has his way with a lot of suckers in the city but a pesky cop keeps on his tail and he decides it's time to get out of town. He heads to a small town and tries his suave city ways on a bored local girl. She sees right through him but she likes him. They immediately fall in love but she wants marriage. He thinks he'll just have some fun but she won't have it. They flip a coin and she wins. They get married. He gets back to the city thinking he'll keep her around for a few months and send her back home. Only thing is, he doesn't foresee her taking charge and loving him...for real. She finally realizes he's a Card Sharp and tries to convince him to stop...He won't.
Carole Lombard is as beautiful as ever but this early effort doesn't show what she had in store with the screwball comedy antics she had in store for her later films. This one is a fairly ordinary light comedy/drama. Don't expect fireworks considering the 2 leads and you'll be fine.
My Geisha (1962)
Beautifully shot but an average story and a casting miscue can't save this one
Now this one was a real Technicolor treat. The scenery in this one is just gorgeous. Unfortunately the story and 1 casting mistake can't make me like this film.
A famous comedy star is always directed by her husband. He wants to go out on his own and do a film without her so he can prove himself as a Director. The studios want none of it and barely give him a budget to work with so her agent and herself conspire to try and fool him by slipping her in the title role as a Geisha. Will he find out it's her and what will he do?
This one had a lot I liked but the casting of Bob Cummings was a dreadful mistake. His day and time was in the 40's comedies and by this time....he was far past his prime. His annoying portrayal of a leading comedy star who can't stop marrying women or keep his hands off of them just doesn't work. One scene he comes close to just about forcing himself on the Geisha character and let me tell you...it's a very uncomfortable watch for a "suppose-to-be-comedy". He just can't pull off the handsome leading man in this. It's a laugh in itself. The coup of this film was Yves Montand. A great French film star but for the life of me, how blind could he be not to see or figure out the Geisha was his wife? It's just not plausible that your married to someone and around them all that time and you don't get a hint that it's her. Shirley McClain is her usual stellar self. She had a nice run in the late 50's and mid 60's. She never fails to entertain but even she can't save this thing. The master himself, Edward G. Robinson, does a fine job playing her agent. Once again though, he can't save this from a negative review. The ending is pretty obvious but again, believable?... Hardly.
I think my main gripe is those Hollywood Endings we got stuck with. Within a few years we got films with some plausible consequences to bad behavior in films but this absolutely needed a different ending.
Watch this one for the fantastic scenery shots of Japan in the mountains. I doubt you'll ever see any better. Other than that, move along little doggy.
The Hurricane (1937)
Amazing special effects and a decent story but...quite a bit of over-acting and some poor casting
This is another one of those films from an A+ Director that's just not one of his best unfortunately.
A Pacific Island is home to some peaceful natives. One is a Captain on a ship and has been promoted rapidly up the ranks. He gets married before he goes on his next trip to Tahiti then sets off. In Tahiti he gets into a fight and breaks the jaw of a local important official with connections. He has done nothing wrong but defend himself but he gets 6 months in jail anyhow. They tell him to hold out and it'll be over soon but he can't wait to get back to his wife and proceeds to repeatedly escape and get recaptured. The last time he tries and succeeds but kills a guard accidentally. Throughout all this he has to deal with a sadistic guard who eventually becomes the warden and repeatedly taunts him. The Governor of his home island is not swayed by his innocence from because the law must be upheld regardless. When he finally arrives home, at the same time, a hurricane arrives.
The whole story is really about choosing what's right and wrong with the justice system. The Hurricane is only in the last part of the film...and the best part. John Carradine plays his usual scumbag self as the prison guard without a conscience. I do believe he was the original bad guy in film as he has played those roles since he's been in films. Looking at him you know he's no good but that was his niche so he was typecast with it....effectively I might add. The over-acting comes in the form of Raymond Massey. It's just ridiculous to see him play this holier than thou island Governor who plainly sees the injustice happening and he just keeps his mantra going..."the law must be upheld". It's really a theater type of acting that makes it really corny to watch. If you've ever seen John Barrymore act in film then you'll know what I mean. His type of acting performed by Raymond Massey was not needed. The miscasting came in the way of Jon Hall. Wow what a terrible actor. He is easily one of the best looking male actors in history but if you notice his screen credits after this film, you'll notice they're all B grade stuff. Why you say? Simple...he was a terrible actor. I have never seen him in anything other than this but it's plain to see why he never succeeded in major roles. He needed some serious acting lessons.
The real reason to see this film is last 15 to 20 minutes. The special effects in this are stunning. I have never seen a film about a Hurricane more effective than this. You will feel absolute terror for these people in the end. You will find it hard to believe how realistic these effects are. Even by today's standards it's a 10 on the wow factor.
See this one for the special effects..and maybe to take a notch out of your John Ford film catalog. Other than that it's nothing special imo.
Vivacious Lady (1938)
Ginger Rogers finally goes out on her own...and it's a winner
This is a real favorite of mine. We get to see a young and un-Astaire'd Ginger Rogers film. She doesn't get all the credit though. A stellar cast with jimmy Stewart and Charles Coburn round it out.
An Associate Professor goes to NY to find and bring his cousin back home. He finds him in a Dance Club and he refuses to come until the lead girl dancer/singer marries him. He decides to hide from his cousin but it doesn't work out. The Singer immediately has a connection with his cousin and they get married the same day. Now, they both have to go home and tell his overbearing Professor of the University father that they are married. It won't be an easy task.
I've never been a big dance/musical fan so it was a real treat to see this early Ginger Rogers comedy. It was one of the first I saw of hers and it still remains one of my favorites. She's very sweet and appealing when she meets Jimmy Stewart but when they get back to his small home town, she has to deal with a girl that "thinks-she's-his-girlfriend". After this, the real Ginger Rogers spunkiness comes out. She's a pistol in this one. There is some dancing in this but it's pretty minimal. Watch Charles Coburn play the stodgy father of Jimmy Stewart. He never falters in these roles and this one is no different. Jimmy Stewart is his usual shy and clumsy self and rarely misses in films he was in. Again, this one is no different.
On a side note...towards the end in the train scene, watch for Willie Best as the train porter. He barely says a word but he doesn't have to to make you laugh. For a small part he really does get the most of it. Such a funny moment it had to be mentioned.
Just a sweet funny comedy all the way around. Not a bad word to say about this one.
The Brothers Rico (1957)
Pretty good crime drama...with a weak/unbelievable/predictable ending
This one I didn't have a clue what it was about when I decided to watch it. Being that Richard Conte was in it I expected more of the same with him. Lo and behold, he finally gets a role that's a little different from his usual bad guy/scumbag roles.
Eddie Rico runs and owns a laundry service in Florida and does really well for himself. He and his wife can't have kids so they decide to adopt but something in the way of and old acquaintance needs a favor derails his plans. His wife demands he doesn't do what they want but he has no choice...he's a former account for the mob. He still believes his old connections are "OK" so he tells her not to worry. His old friend from years back wouldn't steer him wrong. Turns out his brothers were involved in a killing and their bosses think one of them is going to squeal so they disappear. He's ordered to find them under the guise of they just wanna make sure "they're safe" under wraps. Eddie doesn't realize he's being used to find his brothers so his old connections can kill his brothers.
I will say that right up until the end this is a pretty good little film. For the lack of cast it had they really picked some decent B grade actors to make this believable. The tension and watching Conte play this clueless ex mob guy railroad his brothers to their death is sad. He thinks you really can be left alone when you leave the mob, but in reality, you can't. He's naive in this regard.
Richard Conte has always played the scumbag roles but this one is a tad different. He's an old mob accountant who really has no violent or bad guy tendencies. The real down point of this film is the end. It's beyond unrealistic. It just about wastes the entire film's effectiveness. Throughout you realize that this guy is not gonna get revenge through violence for them killing his brothers and he would turns states evidence instead. It's a pretty transparent conclusion throughout but the real "yeah right" in this is turning states evidence and his life in the end resumes to normal. This wouldn't happen lol. I've read enough news stories and books in my life to know that would never happen. He would have been relocated somewhere else with a new name. Not in this. Keeping up with every things ends up alright theme of Hollywood in the 50's, they just about give it a "G" rating ending.
Outside of the ending this is a really decent film. Not a great cast but it was well written and solidly acted without a doubt. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it for someone to see. Well worth the time.
The Male Animal (1942)
One of those films I can watch over and over
This is one of those films that's slipped through the cracks of being mentioned as funny for it's day. My guess is it wasn't very popular but I'm glad it exists, cause it made me laugh.
A professor of a local college is married to the pretty girl from the same college. She was the popular one and he was the smart bookish type. It works until her old college boyfriend shows up and. Amongst all this he decides he's gonna read a letter for an English class to show his students about how good the composition is. Turns out the letter is considered "red" or commie and the school's trustees don't want it read and threaten his job if he does. He has too many things too concentrate on like the letter and his wife's old boyfriend trying to rekindle their old romance so he gets drunk and decides the best thing to do about his wife is to let her do whatever she wants....basically....give up and quit the relationship. What will be will be.
An All-Star cast really brought the best out in this one. Look out for Jack Carson and Eugene Palette. They really did a great job with their roles. Eugene Palette plays the stodgy ant-commie trustee perfectly. It couldn't have been played better. De Havilland got this role at the right time being she was at the right age to play the perky former college cheerleader.
This film has a lot going on in it. It's got too many characters and inter stories to mention. It's just funny and well written all the way through. It wasn't lost on me the heavy handedness of the "free speech/ant-communist" undercurrent they laid on this film but it doesn't detract from the fun too much. If you happen upon this one...grab it...watch it...and laugh.
Hollywood Hotel (1937)
Almost a remake of Bombshell but with a Busby Berkeley touch
For my viewing taste...this is far better acting and story wise than Gold Diggers of 1935.
A vocalist in Glen Miller's band gets a call to go to Hollywood. When he arrives, we get to see what actors get to go through to break into the business. When the vocalist arrives, within hours, he gets a call to be a big stars date at her world premiere. Problem is...she's a stand-n and he doesn't know it. After this we get a lot of shenanigans and really funny stuff throughout.
You won't get any depth with any Busby Berkeley film but you will get style. Unfortunately there's very little musical or dance value in this one but that doesn't mean it hurts what it is. There are 2 numbers and the biggest is in the middle where the all the singing waiters and customers at a car hope have some fun. Not a lot of the Busby Berkeley extravaganza you're use to but thats not bad. You have to remember, by this time, Busby Berkeley and his style of films were on their way out and he was adapting so we get no masterpiece of choreographed dance and singing. We get a film with good actors and a pretty good script/idea.
Flat out though, watch Bombshell with Jean Harlow, and notice the similarities. The spoiled brat star and her do nothing father and dumb/worthless sibling. Not far into this I was grinning. They tried "slightly" to take from a fine film like Bombshell but with some singing. It actually works quite well.
Watch this to see Busby Berkeley segway into real mainstream non-musical stuff. I really enjoyed it. Lots of stars and painfully funny situations made me itch to write a review.
Christmas Holiday (1944)
Don't expect Christmas cheer with this one
I've never really understood the fascination or the popularity of Deanna Durbin. I've seen a few of her films and she's just not much of an actress. I guess because in most she tries to be a comedienne and to me...it doesn't work. Not so in this case.
A solider is heading home to marry his girlfriend. Just before he leaves he gets a dear john letter saying she has married someone else. He thinks he can change things by going back early but weather conditions strand him in a small town near New Orleans. He ends up at a bar and then a "Cat House" where he meets a singer who's also one of the regulars at the place. He listens to her life story and it's a tragedy. She tells of her fast marriage to a nice guy gambler type but was really a go nowhere type to begin with. He ends up killing somebody and from there it's remembrances and tales of the past. Maybe his girlfriend marrying someone else doesn't pale in comparison to this girl's life.
They don't say it outright but basically Mrs. Durbin plays a prostitute who happens to sing in a Cat House. It's inferred slightly but it only enhances how down and out her life had become. I imagine this was a different type of role for Deanna Durbin so she took it. This is no comedy or uplifting tale. It's a down and out film about where life can take you after bad things happen.
I liked it for what it was. It's not perfect but it's entertaining and a load off to see Durbin do something other than bad comedies.
No Man of Her Own (1950)
A really solid drama with suspense right until the end
Now this one was a total surprise. I had no idea what this one was gonna do but wow....what a story.
A woman who's pregnant by her loser boyfriend begs him to take her back or give her some money. She needs something as she's about to have a baby. He won't talk to her but he slides her a Train ticket to San Fransisco under the door and she takes it. She boards the train and meets a nice couple and the woman happens to be pregnant also. They give her her husbands seat and they become friends on the ride. The train crashes and they declare the wrong person dead and she takes the place of the pregnant dead girl on the train. She only does this cause she has no way of taking care of her baby. Unfortunately her new family is so nice and caring it just guilts her throughout the entire time. After a while, her old boyfriend finds his way back and tries to blackmail her. He'll take the child way and tell her new family she's a fraud. After this, it's a wild ride.
I was really pleased after seeing this one. Lyle Bettger plays one of the nastiest most worthless characters you'll ever see on film. This guy has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Waiting for the end of this film will keep you right on the edge of your seat. You feel nothing but empathy as Stanwycks' character is not a cheat or wannabe fraud but a mother who has to take care of her child somehow. This was her only option.
Take a look at this fine film and start by sitting right on the edge of the couch , cause that's where you'll remain until the end of the film.
Saved by Claude Rains but...not a lot of Deception
I was so looking forward to this one but when I was finished I was glad it was over.
A former European Cello Player finally comes to America after the war. His old girlfriend sees his name in a recital advertisement and she goes and sees if it's actually him...it is.They reminisce a bit and catch up on how he'd been in a prison camp for a while. They go back to her place and he notices for a girl who says she's broke or doesn't have much money she sure has a lot of nice things. She tells him she teaches students who give her these things instead of money but he is suspicious. He trusts her, barely, then they immediately get married. After this, she basically lies through her teeth the rest of the film. That's it. For the "Deception"...read below.
The real Deception in this film is that she's a "kept" women of a famous composer. She still loves her old flame from back when and they decide to get married and this displeases her Sugar Daddy. He proceeds to do everything to pull the strings in her life to prevent him from telling her new husband what she really is.
Bette Davis had a run of these films in the 40's but this one is not on the top of her best list. She has great chemistry with Claude Rains with the films they did and in this...it's no different. This is Claude Rains film though folks. Plain and simple. Bette Davis is good like she always is but Claude Rains over the topness is just that...over-the-top. He pokes and prods her throughout and she can do nothing about it. He's a composer genius and he thinks that's enough to do whatever he wants...whenever he wants and he does this...with flare. Paul Henreid is wasted in this. He has done so many other better films. He's just nothing special in this.
I won't spill on the ending but it's a good one. This is not even remotely close to my favorite Bette Davis film and for good reason. It's nothing to write home about imo. For a title like Deception I expected a lot more but got a loss less. It comes down to this...girl finds long lost love...they marry...she's a kept women...her sugar daddy lover is not pleased at her marriage...she lies and prevents her new husband from finding out...pretty good ending. (Fin)
Tales of Manhattan (1942)
Six tales about a lucky..or unlucky...coat
I expected an early 40's cheer me up type of film but got a really entertaining look into how a Tops and Tails coat effects the lives of everyone it comes into contact with.
I could go into each of the 6 stories but it would take too long. A coat is designed by a tailor and his best sewer decides to quit and throws a curse on the coat. After this, we get 6 really interesting stories on how the coat will effect each one. With loads of star power from Charles Boyer to Edward G. Robinson and Ginger Rogers. There are just bags full of great actors in this and they all do a very good job for each of their stories. Some are funny and some are uplifting. If I were to pick one of the bunch that I really liked it would be the one with Edward G. Robinson. Watch a master at work. He's just a superb actor and in his section of this fine film, he shows you why he's so well regarded.
Not a lot to say about a film with so much to see. Just trust me. Give it a watch and see a lot of familiar faces give you 2 hours of entertainment you won't forget.
The Other Love (1947)
Fair to Middlin' melodrama
I've always liked Barbara Stanwyck. She's one of a handful of actresses who could make a film even if it was ordinary. This is not one of those films.
A concert Pianist heads to a Sanitarium for a stay to convalesce. She's told very little about why she's gotta be there but she acquiesces and stays. The doctor continually averts her attention from her condition to the "things are gonna be alright" type of philosophy. Over time she gets bored staying there and questions why he never tells her the results of his tests on her so she decides to go out into the local town. She meets a race car driver whom she likes and decides she's had enough of the Sanitarium and goes with the race car driver...but not for very long.
This was one of those films that never ends up telling you what she has but it's pretty clear by the X-rays she gets and a few comments in the film that she's suffering from an advanced state of Tuberculosis and will not recover. The Sanitarium is just a place to go to die basically. Back In the day when this was rampant these places were rife with this illness. Among all this she falls in love with the Race Car Driver and the Doctor. You basically deal with a woman who's dying and she doesn't realize it. It's good for a decent cry but Stanwyck has done better. It's not bad In any way but it's a pretty generic drama of it's day. It doesn't stand out amongst others of the time.
Decent cast with an ordinary story means you should decide for yourself. I liked it for what it was but this isn't a Stanwyck film I would hang my hat on.
The Great Lie (1941)
A solid drama from Bette Davis but not her best
I liked this film right off. Very well done but at this time Bette Davis had so many dramas being released there are too many that are better...or stand out more...than this one.
A fairly free-spirited guy who thinks he got married to a famous concert pianist has been told by his Lawyer that the marriage didn't take cause she wasn't fully divorced until the next week. He takes a few minutes and decides to go visit his on again-off again girlfriend to see what she thinks. She already knows he's married from the society papers but he doesn't tell her the marriage was null and void. He still loves his old girlfriend but decided he should tell the other girl to marry him again and tells her to meet him on a certain day. She can't cause she has a show to do but does have time to get married if she hurries but...she doesn't show up. He marries his old girlfriend instead.
Soon after he gets involved in some flying and cartography and his plane crashes over the jungles of Brazil. His would have been wife tells his new wife she's pregnant by his baby. From this is where the real story starts. I would love to sit here and tell you more but it would really just be cheating. You have to see the story line itself to believe it. This is where 2 fantastic actresses make this thing really work.
This is a really well done film. Well acted all the way through. I can see why Bette Davis' favorite actor to work with was George Brent cause they really have decent chemistry on screen. The real star in this to me is Mary Astor. She has a smallish role in this but very pivotal as the spoiled/bratty pianist who tries to control everything...and if not, hell hath no furry. She really lights up the screen with her nastiness in this. She's top notch.
A film without a doubt worth a look but there are many others that work better from Ms. Davis during this time period...like Mr. Skeffington, Now Voyager or Old Maid. This film is no slouch but when you watch these others and compare, you'll see what I mean.
Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
Pales in comparison to the Original
When you see the original then see this, it's like seeing Chinatown then seeing The Two Jakes. Not even remotely close to being as good as the original.
A seasonal only hotel opens for the summer and some wealthy folks come to town for a visit. A rich heiress and her kids show up and whilst there, the daughter is suppose to marry a richer man than her mother. She doesn't care for him but the mother pushes her because of the money. The son has been married and divorced 4 times...and marries...again while there. Among all this the heiress decides she'll put on a ply to benefit the "Milk Fund". When a no-goo producer hears about he tries to milk her for all she can. Mixed in you'll see people that are suppose to be married marrying others and goldigging women setting up a man to get his dough and blackmails him.
My complaint was that this is the "meanest" of the Busby Berkley musicals. I mean I know this is suppose to be comedy and all that but the original was way more fun. This is just not what I expected in the Gold Diggers series. The real surprise is the girl who sets up the guy by forging/faking a letter of intent and she tells her lawyers to sue. Before this she tries to take $7,500 from this guy who's holding it cause it's the receipts for the play that is to support the milk fund. I mean, does this girl have any conscious? Stealing money from the Milk Fund? Geez.
It doesn't help that the cast in this is just not up to the the task. There are a few known ones but this early on they weren't very established. You'll notice Adolphe Menjou and Dick Powell. You also get to see Gloria Stuart but she wasn't an A-list actress during that time.
The musical number at the end is all Busby Berkley for sure. He does it like only he could do. Very entertaining but this is not the best of this series by a long shot. I guess to me it's almost always the case that most sequels aren't near as good as the originals. This one just doesn't hold a candle to 1933.
Man in the Attic (1953)
A highly entertaining Jack the Ripper yarn
I didn't have high hopes for this one. I'm not much of a Jack Palance fan but in this, his film personality works to his advantage.
Murders are gripping the city of Whitechapel and by coincidence, a mysterious Lodger comes to let a room. He carries a black bag and wears a Ulster. The landlady thinks him odd but she rents him 2 floors. The 2nd for his sleeping and the Attic...for his "experiments". He meets the landlady's daughter and he's smitten but he has a problem with her, he doesn't care too much for actresses. Not all, but most of the Ripper murders are, or were, actresses. Could he be the one?
I was thoroughly surprised at how much they let the suspense go on until the end. The keep you guessing until it's over. Jack Palance finally has a role he can really fit in. He does a real good job of playing the "could" be Ripper. The real tragedy of the film is Constance Smith. Reading about her life after she left film (not long after this), is sad. I think so because she has some real screen presence. She is the light of this film. I mean she is just perfect as the daughter and she has some real personality. It's a shame she didn't accomplish more than she did. "Aunt Bee" has a role also and she's quite good as the nosy landlady.
Just give this one a try and see I'm right. You may think you've seen all the Jack the Ripper films but try this and and you'll get a really nice surprise. Really well done. Right up until the end you'll be asking yourself..."Is Jack Palance the Ripper?...or isn't he?"
The Quiet Earth (1985)
Tries to be "On the Beach" but doesn't come close to the effect it's looking for
If you've ever seen "On the Beach" then you'll immediately know that this film is about the end of the world. Of course both have different story lines. With this you'll get some kind of Global US run Science experiment has gone wrong. With "On the Beach" you get a Nuclear explosion has happened and they're waiting for it to reach Australia.
Oddly enough both of these films are based in Australia but this one needed a lot of script work. To make it interesting. It didn't happen. My guess is that this was suppose to be similar to the aforementioned film but they disguised the premise as a Global Science experiment gone wrong instead of Nuclear War. This film didn't have the star power to carry it off. You'll sit and watch the only 3 people left in Australia sitting around talking about life and wondering what happened. The one lead is a scientist on the Science project and knows what needs to be done to reverse the effect. During all this we get the 3 people left on earth looking back on how they got there or what they were doing before this happened.
I wished I would have come across another title to fill my time but this was what was around. If your looking for a Nuclear End of the World scenario type of film then try Threads or On the Beach or the Miracle Mile. All of these are way more effective and have a far superior cast than this low budget Australian flick.
The Price of Fear (1956)
Decent for what it is but I think they could have did some better casting
This is one of those films where the lead was way past her prime. Merle Oberon may have been a "fair" actress back in the 30's and 40's but she was an after thought in this one.
A highly successful lady accidentally hits a man and kills him. Problem is, she was drunk. A racetrack owner who is part owner, is being pursued by his new co-owner finds her car and steals it. She's in the process of calling the police to tell them about the accident but sees an opportunity and tells them instead...her car was stolen. What he doesn't know is his old partner was killed and they've set him up to take the fall. Basically, 2 deaths attributed to him. Between all the basics of this we have a really punk of a bad guy and a weaselly stooge who does his dirty work. It's an obvious frame throughout.
The film itself is not bad for what it is but the casting imo was just not that great. Merle Oberon was probably offered this cause no one else in the cast was a star. I never understood how she became a star in her day. She did a few romantic comedies early on I thought were pretty good but she's so average in dramas and everything else. This one is no different. Another issue is Lex Barker. When you see him you'll know why he's in it. He's good looking and was hunk material. His acting is a case of the "wooden" kind. You could probably tell he wasn't Julliard trained. The others all play the villain and good guy roles fairly solid but it's not enough. A definite case of the side players out-playing the leads.
This is classified as a noir and I would say that it is. It has really great lighting and the "feel" of a noir. Ultimately it feels like a "50's" noir and not a 40's one. All in all, not a bad film. Just don't think your gonna add this one to an "all time greatest" noir list....cause that ain't gonna happen.
The Man on the Eiffel Tower (1949)
Pretty good...but could have been a whole lot better
When I saw this one I was stumped because it seemed familiar. You know those films where the agitator/criminal taunts the police right in front of them and they have to figure out the clues while he sits and watches? This is one of those films. There are loads of films like this but the first I thought of was "Best Seller" with James Woods. Obviously the content is different but it's the same premise....Crook thinks he's smarter than the police and we wait for the forgone conclusion.
A super smart sociopath overhears a couple at a bar. The guy says he wishes his Aunt were dead so he could inherit her money. The sociopath hears this and leaves a letter telling him he'll do it...and he does. This guy has no moral compass whatsoever. He preys on weak minded people his old professor says and he is just way smarter and always a few steps ahead of everyone else. He enlists the help of a hapless guy to rob the place at the same time. Of course the guy doesn't know it's a setup and they nail him for the murder. From this we get the sociopath taunting police. They know he's done it but he makes them figure it out themselves. He doesn't count on the head detective being so dogged and persistent. His downfall? He's talks too much and he's too smart for his own good.
You would think with Charles Laughton in a film you would get an outstanding performance but in this...it's an average script and an average film. Laughton's talents were not wholly wasted...but mostly they were.
Franchot Tone was certainly way past his prime by this time. He looks older in this than he actually is. It's not for the films sake it's who he was. By this time a pretty heavy drinker. He reminds me a lot of Robert Taylor. All looks and no substance and in this his old 30's style of acting was far out of place in this. It's not that he did a bad job but it's that they could have found a better actor to do it. Watching this you can tell it was done on a budget so seeing him in this wasn't a surprise.
The real star of this film is the color film and landscape shots of Paris. This was filmed just a few years after WWII ended and you get to see, in color, how grimy and dingy it really was. There's a scene were Franchot Tone runs on the roofs of apartments and houses and it's just really dirty. Other shots show Paris as just not a very well kept city. Things may have changed by now but in this, it's a stark reality to see what it was like after the war.
Not a bad film but when you see this, my guess would be that you'll say I've seen something like this before. There are lots of these films premises' out there but I think this was one of the first where the criminal taunts the police in plain site. It's OK, but don't expect an A+ experience. Just wait for the shots of Paris in color and gaze at what it was like back in 1948. At least that's worth a look.
No contest on which is the best version of The Hound of the Baskervilles...This is it
If you come upon these rare old Soviet Sherlock Holmes variations I would advise you to jump on them quick, you'll see the best of any variation or story that's ever been done.
All that being said, that in know way takes away from what Jeremy Brett or Basil Rathbone accomplished. Each actors interpretation is different than another's but if you want a version that is true to the story, then this is the one...hands down.
Seeing these old Soviet versions are a real treat. You would think that they would try and sneak some anti-capitalist or pro Soviet type of propaganda in this but as far as I can tell, this is straight from the story itself and just pretty darn entertaining. With these bare bones versions of the Sherlock tales you'll get a setting they want you to believe is in London circa the time they were told but you can plainly see that the backdrop is Soviet with the architecture and style. Even with this, it's very charming the Soviets take on the Sherlock series.
I can't tell anyone enough how good this series is. They couldn't have picked a better pair to play the title roles. These were parts these two were made for. Make an effort to find these series of TV movies from cold war days and be ready for a real treat from the Iron Curtain. I'll bet cash money you'll love every minute of these hard to find gems.
Tough Guys (1986)
Two screen icons in their last good role
Of course Kirk Douglas did quite a few more films after this but he didn't do em with this kind of fun in mind.
Two former train robbers get parole after 30 years. Now they have to decide what to do when they get out. They're 65 and 72 years old and don't have a lot of skills. On top of that they don't fit in the 80's way of life. Their parole officer tells them they cant see each other for 3 years as per condition of their parole. They both have a heckuva time adjusting to this new existence and finally decide to go back to their old way of life.
This is one of those 80's gems that I never forgot. Two great actors in their last good film doing what they do best... Acting tough and being guys....Tough Guys. Burt Lancaster is the straight man and Kirk Douglas has all the good lines. Keep a watch out for Eli Wallach...he steals almost the entire film with the small role he has. Yes you will see a very young Dana Carvey pre SNL.
Grab this 80's flick and have a laugh cause I'll bet it won't be too hard to do.
Three Strangers (1946)
So close...but no cigar...Karma will get you every time
I read the back story on this film and how long they wanted to make it....Along with the top "A-list" stars they wanted for it and for the life of me...I can't see them in this. Who they chose was dead perfect.
Two men follow a beautiful woman to her apartment but for her...it was by design. She shows the men a Chinese goddess of fortune and at a certain time of the the year, if 3 strangers all wish on it then it will come true. Peter Lorre plays an aloof crook who doesn't care if he gets caught or not. He's just chillin' the whole time through this. He decides that he has a lottery ticket for a horse race in his pocket and that they should wish on that to win. If they do it's 30,000 pounds to the winner. Split 3 ways that's 10,000 each. The real story is the stories of each of the 3 strangers lives outside that wish they made upon the Chinese goddess of fortune. Peter Lorre is a crook who's hiding out with one of his accomplices waiting for another crook to get out of jail. He's on trial for murder and they sit and wait for him to get free. Sydney Greenstreet is a sheister estate lawyer who funnels his clients funds into stocks and what not and he chooses a wrong stock and loses the money in the process. He needs this lottery ticket for a horse race to win. Geraldine Fitzgerald plays a shifty no-good wife of a prominent official who's in the marriage for all the wrong reasons. He's left her a long time previous but she wants to make up with her husband for all her wrongs but she only wants to so no other woman will have him. She knows he can't get a divorce without her consent so he's stuck and she pulls the strings. Problem is that she needs money and this ticket could help her out.
This is a really winding story of 3 losers who if they would just do one thing right in their life then Karma would probably help them out. As it stands though, these are 3 people who deserve their fates because they created them.
A really creative idea for a story and really well done. A great ending you see coming but it's still good any how. All 3 leads were cast perfectly for what this film has to offer. Give this one a shot and wait for the ending to see what Karma is all about.
I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
Susan Hayward...Queen of the "Bio's"
Nobody did as many biographical films as Susan Hayward or did them as well. This one is no different. She was easily the second coming of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
Lillian Roth was a semi-popular performer in vaudeville and silents back in her day. Having to deal with not having a childhood, she goes through her early life with a stage mother and no real life of her own. She's told to do everything and never really learns what it's like to be on your own without help. After the passing of her one true love she takes to booze and it becomes her undoing. With this you'll get to see a "sanitized" version of her autobiography in this depressing film.
I'll say first that if this was a very watered down version of her book then it must have been a horrific life up until she got into AA. This film will depict some seriously bad drinking and behavior. No wonder she hit rock bottom. Susan Hayward just unloads a whale of a performance. The best part of this film is towards the end when she's on skid row in LA and comes back to NY. Watching her go through the DT's is not a fun watch. No wonder Mrs. Hayward is such a revered actress, she nailed this performance right from the start. I wouldn't put all the blame on her mother for being one of the earliest stage mothers on record cause in the end, she had to make choices and did she make some bad ones. I don't think she could pick a husband if she had help. The absolute worst choices for marriage. Maybe the booze made her see through "watery" eyes but these guys were not the best of the crop. Being married 5 times in the span of around 20 years and getting her finances drained by 2 of em would have, or could have, made most women say...I gotta go in another direction.
If you think your alone in the world of alcohol and can't seem to see a future for yourself, watch this fine Biopic of a once "mildly popular" performer of her day go through hell and back and then you'll see, if she could do it...you can to.