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Utterly unfunny, undecided genre, very limited actor.
2 February 2018
I cannot imagine what people saw in this film. Frankie Howerd is irritating to me, not because he was more gay than Liberace (no problem there) but because the movie is not about him being gay. His character is supposed to be straight, but he was such a bad actor that he behaved all the time like a drag queen. The first few minutes of him --coming in and out of a window while complaining like Jim Parsons on steroids-- painfully last forever. Clumsy Howerd wasn't even capable to decently imitate driving; the mimic he does with the bus' steering wheel is incredibly idiotic. And throughout the film he keeps playing his one-note supposedly funny character, which manages to ruin the other film-noir plot the producers threw in. If forgiveness is granted to Howerd on the argument of his not being an actor but a comedian, then he should have been a comedian (i.e. funny). He wasn't. At some point the screen writers seem to find hilarious to make him fall in a ditch of dirty water. It is clear this type of pie-in-the-face humor is strictly for blue collar types. This is not what we foreigners have in mind when we praise British humour. Margaret Rutherford adds another insufferably rude character to the screen. The sole redeeming factor here is the beauty of an unrecognizable young Petula Clark as the stewardess, and Belinda Lee's sex appeal. Regrettably not reasons enough to like the film.
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Blackout (1950)
What were they thinking?
20 June 2014
A blind man stumps by mistake into a murder and, as he doesn't know who, why or where, nobody believes him. The premise is interesting, but from there on the film spirals down and rapidly acquires a US made Republic Serial flavor, where the hero is again and again stupidly putting himself in trouble with the baddies but luckily --as the baddies aren't that clever either-- saving his neck every time. The hero breaks and enters and breaks and enters, and he is so lucky --did I mention he is lucky?-- that he not only survives but twice he easily finds decisive clues that the baddies --did I mention they weren't clever?-- left carelessly around for him to find. Everything but going to the police; obviously, that would be too absurd. We all know that amateur detectives are always much more competent than Scotland Yard's trained detectives. To help, all the time Reed is walking around with a marmoreal face that seems to scream: "look how handsome I am". Perhaps to compensate all his beauty, the female lead is quite plain and, in the final take, she looks downright ugly. I had much higher expectations, especially being this a British film. (Perhaps I was so predisposed because the most recent British film of that era I watched was "Obsession"... and that is entirely another matter.)
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Great premise, great idea, insufficient stimulus
18 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Everybody seems so enthusiastic about this episode. So am I, to the extent of the message it transmits, the cautionary tale, the moral it proposes. But going down to the script details, I find the neighbors' behavior insufficiently supported. After all, they start attacking each other on the flimsy basis of a power shortage, a few electrical disturbances and, above all, the sci-fi opera plot described by a teenager in the vaguest of terms. The boy is not even quoting any scientist on that; he just describes the argument for an alien-invasion movie. And the neighbors go on believing this fantasy with no question. In spite of the Norman-Rockwellian appearance of Maple Street, I wouldn't wish to live in such a non-thinking neighborhood.
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Blue Bloods: To Tell the Truth (2011)
Season 1, Episode 18
Police are incompetent and viewers are idiots (apparently)
22 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't disagree more with the other review. BB makers are decided to do whatever to create suspense. And that includes showing the police as utterly incompetent while thinking viewers wouldn't notice. * SPOILERS!!! (Lots of them). First, in the initial shootout, while Salazar, the drug lord himself, kills his target with one shot (he does it IN PERSON and with no mask so he could be identified later? How nice of him to accommodate the screenwriter!) Danny (a trained officer) at almost pointblank is unable to even put a bullet remotely around the bad guy, who then escapes easily. * Later the police learn that in the past the drug lord has killed horribly all his witnesses, but Danny is not worried. No protection is given to him, while he calmly discusses with his wife arrangements to take her and their children to a safe place (someday; no need to hurry...). * Danny learns of Salazar's whereabouts from the mobster's girlfriend. In spite of being the bad guy one of the FBI-most-wanted who has a number of hit men and hoodlums working for him, Danny prepares (and carries out successfully) a setup with the sole assistance of his partner; no other police officer participate (how good is he! How self confident!). * At the press conference, against implicit but evident warnings --the police chief refuses to answer questions about identities-- the prosecutor betrays the identity of the witness (Danny Reagan) but nobody thinks much of it. * (Only after the bad guy is in custody) Danny sends a police escort to take his wife away but apparently the officers underway took the wrong bus (or were not pedaling fast enough) because the bad guys arrive first to the house and impersonate the police officers. Seemingly, Danny did not consider necessary (or convenient) to send to his house officers whom his wife might know, so she goes out of the house with these two perfect strangers who, lo and behold, then kidnap her. * While the police know that all past witnesses against Salazar were killed, nobody thinks necessary to give protection to the drug-lord's girlfriend, who then is kidnapped and killed. What a surprise!

No need to go any further. This episode was horrible, and I am done with Blue Bloods.
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The Substitute (1993 TV Movie)
Hitchcock all around
17 February 2009
A viewer praised the score by Gerald Gouriet (never heard of him, I guess he is a Canadian). Question is: If the music was supposed to be a homage to Bernard Herrmann (the composer of Hitchcock's Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest, Marnie) then Mr Gouriet did a great job. Otherwise, it is just too much musically a copycat. Perhaps director Donovan prescribed the similarity on purpose, as many visual passages in this film have been resolved in the non-realistic -almost oneiric- way Hitchcok staged some scenes in his films. A case in point: when Josh is reading the newspaper microfilms at the library, titles (in red) are superimposed over the pages of the newspaper. When Josh is dreaming, color turns red. When the camera shoots down on the smiling and hopeful faces of students is another moment where viewers realize a professional director is holding the reins. All in all, as a TV movie is clearly above average. Watchable, well acted by everybody.
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Body Armour (2007)
Involuntarily funny
19 April 2008
Action scenes --especially those taking place in Barcelona-- are filmed as if in slow motion, with telegraphed blows. The characters behave oddly. The former hit-man --whose life has been threatened by fellow gangsters intending to stop him from giving testimony before the courts-- is paraded by his bodyguard (the movie's hero) all over Barcelona. The bad guys are incredibly clumsy as well: horrible aiming with the guns and slow motion movements, thus allowing the hero to conveniently kill all of them. The two police officers assigned to assist in the protection are dumb: they open the door at a simple knock, without preparing themselves (and, lo and behold! both are instantly killed by the bad guy, at the other side of the door). And so on. One point for the effort of making an action movie in an unusual environment. They should keep trying: it was a good idea. But, even though it is a relatively simple genre, shooting these action films takes some practicing and learning too.
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The episode I remember best
28 January 2007
Carlos Varela (Carlos Thompson) and, as usual, a pretty woman (here played by Suzanna Leigh) embark on an elegant Mediterranean cruise to impart a painful lesson to a couple of card sharks (a retired self-appointed Colonel and his sister-accomplice, a middle-age woman by the name of Mamie) who have, in the past, taken advantage of the ship's passengers in the game of bridge.

Step by step, Varela dismounts the tricks the couple use to cheat and finally, with the assistance of his butler Chin (Burt Kwouk) who is waiting the table, he replaces the stack with a prepared set where the cards have been arranged under a combination shown in Eli Culbertson's book (where the cheaters receive all the best cards but, alas, the turns to play are extremely inconvenient for them, so they end up losing big time). Bridge players should enjoy this episode very much.
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Coolest character ever
28 January 2007
The series told the adventures of an Argentine businessman, owner of an import-export company seated in London. The character was first introduced in an episode of Man of the World, a 1961-62 series starring Craig Stevens as world-rambling photographer Michael Strait.

The original name was Carlos Borella, or Barella. Even though that family name sounded adequately Argentine (because it sounds Italian) it does not exist, and it probably was a misspell of the Spanish name Varela, so in this series, the name was corrected accordingly.

Carlos Varela was played by the Argentine actor Carlos Thompson (for almost 30 years married to German actress Lilly Palmer until her demise, in 1986) who was exceedingly handsome and 40 years of age at the time. The character often dressed on a white suit, worn a hat and he was always incredibly suave & debonair. (At the time I was aged 11 or 12, and I wished I could look and act as cool and assured as Varela-Thompson.)

Each episode, Varela was called to exotic locales, to solve problems where his company or his friends were involved. He never carried a gun and things were always solved with wit over brute force.

It was a favorite of mine (although I admit that I paid far more attention to the imposing central character than to the plots) but evidently there were production problems. Perhaps they had the only too common low ratings, or perhaps what happened is what I read somewhere: that, unlike his Spanish or his German -which were fluent- Mr. Thompson's command of English was somehow limited and that created shooting difficulties. (If there were language problems, they don't show at all in the ten episodes were we can hear Thompson speaking fluent English). At any rate, something went very bad with this series, since from episode 10, Thompson/Varela was replaced by British actor John Turner (as Bill Randall, a friend of Varela, who is supposedly gone away on a trip...)

Claudio DG Argentina
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Man of the World: The Sentimental Agent (1962)
Season 1, Episode 6
A striking new character
28 January 2007
In spite of my efforts, this comment is biased. I am Argentine, and this episode introduces the character of an Argentine businessman, owner of an import-export company seated in London and Panama. The character, named Carlos Barella (or Borella in the closing titles) is played by handsome, suave and debonair Argentine actor Carlos Thompson. At the beginning of the episode, Strait is arrested in Cuba for photographing something he shouldn't. Desperate, Strait's assistant recruits the assistance of Barella, who has connections with the Cuban government. Barella travels to Havana, finds the incriminating photos Strait took and discovers that an Argentine scientist is being kept prisoner to work for the Cubans. So, under the not-so-distant surveillance of the local secret police he plays a memorable nocturnal scene of kisses and hugs with another American photographer (gorgeous Shirley Eaton) inside a parked car. At some point, in a sleight-of-hands he replaces himself with an inflatable dummy, so he could sneak away from the police -to go rescue the scientist- while Eaton's character stays behind, hugging and kissing the dummy. I won't reveal more; this episode is available at stagevu.

Evidently, the Borella-Thompson combination was striking enough to entice British producer Harry Fine to launch, in 1963, a short-lived series on the character, also named The Sentimental Agent. In the series, the legendary Burt Kwouk played Barella's sidekick.

I remember at the time -I was 11 or 12 y.o.a.- that I liked Man of the World very much, but mostly I was fascinated with the impeccably sophisticated, wordly, ladies' man, elegant Barella.
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The Invisible Man (1958–1960)
It was "my" invisible man.
28 January 2007
Early in my infancy, Richard Greene's Robin Hood was, for me, the real, the only portrait of Robin Hood. At that time, I could not notice the budgetary constraints, especially noticeable today in the minute sets where action took place. In the same way, this 1958 Invisible Man was, for me, the true depiction of the Invisible Man: a type of superhero, always fighting for justice. I was eight years of age at the time, so I was very surprised when I learned, later, that Wells original character was not a hero, but a very troubled man.

I enjoyed the I.M. effects very much and I never spotted a wire; however, quite often, things like telephones, pens and cigarettes behaved strangely when lifted by the invisible man: they tended to somehow oscillate, a movement not to be expected from an object supposedly held by a hand (invisible or otherwise).

Nevertheless, it was good and fun. ALL 26 EPISODES ARE AVAILABLE FOR WATCHING OR DOWNLOADING at Internet Archives dot org (Classic TV Section) or at Uncle Earl's Classic TV web site. Don't miss them.

I also agree with the previous commentator that ITC, very markedly at that time, usually offered products of a superior quality. I'm an admirer of Ralph Smart (the producer of this series), who would be later responsible for the excellent and unsurpassed Danger Man (Secret Agent Man) starring Patrick McGoohan.
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Earth 2 (1994–1995)
Good premise, but no ideas to keep it going.
22 January 2007
I was confused reading one after another so laudatory reviews; I began thinking that I really wasn't paying attention when they aired the show. But then, I found a review from Canadian blogger Geno Sajko, who resumes EXACTLY the outstanding feature I most remember about the show: "... they have kids doing stupid things getting them into trouble (taking the show to a attempted comedic level), and characters who acted so stupidly - not believably. Too many episodes around some dumb tw*t doing something stupid after being asked not to, thus costing time, food, supplies etc, then rescuing them."

In a hostile or at least unknown environment, people acted like they were strolling through a Kentucky prairie. The Martin couple behaved like Lost in Space's Dr. Smith, always furthering their own agenda and finally creating problems for all, themselves included.

My vague -and perhaps mistaken- recollections also include an absence of visual attractions: In my mind, people are walking all the time on dirt; all around looked like brown dust, and that's all there was.

Actors were excellent (and often gorgeous), but the characters were unable to gain my sympathy.
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