Movies

‘THE BLUE GARDENIA’ (1953) – when film noir was king.

April 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

  As far as film noirs go, The Blue Gardenia rests somewhere near the middle of the genre. It has its moments, but the hurried ending detracts from its overall effectiveness. Indeed, if we didn’t know better, we could be forgiven for thinking that the production suddenly ran out of money, causing director Fritz Lang to suddenly yell, ‘Cut! That’s a wrap.’ A pity really because, [...]

COVER GIRL (1944) – the one and only Rita Hayworth.

April 15, 2017 // 0 Comments

                         Released in the closing years of World War Two, Cover Girl was an ordinary musical comedy featuring Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth, supported by Phil Silvers, Otto Kruger and Eve Arden. With the singular exception of ‘Long Ago and Far Away’ the tunes are dull and mostly tuneless. The choreography, too, is routine and un-memorable, despite Kelly’s [...]

‘A Place in the Sun’ (1951) – an American classic?

April 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

  In 1906 Chester Gillette murdered his pregnant girlfriend Grace Brown on Big Moose Lake in upstate New York. A jury concluded that he rowed her out onto the lake with the sole purpose of drowning her, struck her over the head with a tennis racquet, and watched her sink beneath the waters. Two years later he went to the electric chair at the Auburn Correctional Facility. The papers boasted [...]

Indiana Jones – the good and not so good.

April 11, 2017 // 0 Comments

As shooting on this picture drew to a close, Paramount executives arranged a little surprise for its star Harrison Ford. Chained to a rock and about to be flogged by a turbaned torturer, he was astonished by the sight of Barbra Streisand dressed in black leather and brandishing a phony bullwhip. As she delivered the first lash on his bare back, she chanted: ‘That’s for Hanover Street, the [...]

The musical – a couple of duds.

April 9, 2017 // 0 Comments

                                     Movie musicals have been around for decades. The studios quickly became aware of their potential as cash cows the moment silent movies became talkies. Most pundits would probably agree that the genre suffered a mortal blow with the release of both Camelot (1967) and Paint Your Wagon two years later. Personally, I disagree with lumping [...]

‘MAME’ (1974) – the end of the ‘Lucy’ era.

April 5, 2017 // 17 Comments

        Lucille Ball’s Mame was one of the worst ‘flops’ in motion picture history. Other bad movies lost far more money, but few were brought undone simply because their leading performer was so woefully miscast. The picture is, of course, a musical remake of Rosalind Russell’s Auntie Mame (1958), for which Ms. Russell was unsuccessfully nominated for an Oscar. It [...]

‘CHANGELING’ (2008) – a genuinely ‘true’ story.

April 3, 2017 // 11 Comments

  It is a pleasure to be able to write about a ‘true story’ that has been made into a movie without the end result having made the original tale almost unrecognizable along the way. Changeling (2008) should not be confused with the term ‘based on a true story’, a description that all but guarantees any resemblance to what really happened will be entirely accidental. This movie sticks [...]

‘LOVE ACTUALLY’ – the ultimate ‘feel-good’ movie?

March 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

There have been a great many ‘feel good’ movies made down through the decades, but in my opinion Love Actually (2003) resides at the top of the list. My wife and I have watched it many times and it never seems to lose its appeal. The performances are strong, the script is easy on the ear and not too complicated, and the score throughout is ideal for the fare being dished up. And whoever [...]

‘CAT BALLOU’ (1965 – LEE MARVIN’S MASTERPIECE

March 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

  There have been very few genuinely funny westerns made. James Garner’s Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) was, in my opinion, the very best ever, but two Lee Marvin films were not far behind it. One was Paint Your Wagon, released in the same year and hilarious, but it probably fits into the ‘musical’ category, despite being set in the Old West. The other was Marvin’s classical [...]

Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ – 1967 & 2005.

March 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

      I have seen the original 1967 version of The Producers a number of times because I enjoy many of scenes and the script is very funny indeed. When you consider that I simply cannot abide Gene Wilder in anything, it is no small compliment to the rest of the cast that I keep returning to the film despite his irritating presence in it. Zero Mostel is extremely funny and Kenneth Mars as [...]
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