speedracer5

I Just Watched...

14,459 posts in this topic

The Spider Woman Strikes Back (1946) - Unusual mystery/thriller from Universal Pictures and director Arthur Lubin. Jean (Brenda Joyce) has just been hired on to be an assistant to reclusive blind woman Zenobia Dollard (Gale Sondergaard). It doesn't take long before Jean begins to suspect something isn't quite right with her new job, the least of which is Zenobia's manservant Mario (Rondo Hatton). However, the truth about her real value to Ms. Dollard will be a horrifying revelation to Jean. Also featuring Milburn Stone, Kirby Grant, Ruth Robinson, Norman Leavitt, and Hobart Cavanaugh.

The title and cast make this sound like a sequel to a Sherlock Holmes movie, but it isn't. Sondergaard is enjoyable as always, one of the most sneeringly delectable of screen bad girls. Brenda Joyce is a bit bland, though. The plot that Sondergaard's character has concocted is certainly unique! This is short (less than an hour), and isn't flashy or deep, but it's a fun bit of entertainment.   (7/10)

Spider_Woman_Strikes_Back_-_hs_600.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Creeper (1948) - Muddled mystery/thriller from 20th Century Fox, Reliance Pictures, and director Jean Yarbrough. Nora Cavigny (Janis Wilson) is a high-strung young woman with a severe phobia of cats. When murders start occurring with the victims showing signs of being mauled by a cat, Nora becomes a suspect, despite the presence of some shady scientists conducting experiments with cats. Featuring Onslow Stevens, Eduardo Ciannelli, Ralph Morgan, June Vincent, John Baragrey, Richard Lane, Lotte Stein, and Philip Ahn.

There's a lot wrong with this one, including a turgid script, mediocre direction from Yarbrough, and a bunch of workmanlike performances. There's some unintentional amusement provided by the love triangle between Baragrey, Wilson, and Vincent, as Baragrey is hopelessly smitten with the wild-eyed, often hysterical Wilson, which infuriates Vincent, as she has a thing for Baragrey, and she shows it by being catty (no pun intended), churlish, and thoroughly off-putting. This would make a good triple bill with The Catman of Paris and 1957's Cat Girl.   (5/10)

"Ma'am, I think something's wrong with your cat."

MV5BYzY2MWRlNjYtZDhiMi00MGU5LWI4NzYtMTYx 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Amityville: The Awakening - Franck Khalfoun - 2017 -

starring Jennifer Jason Leigh (as the mom) and Bella Thorne, McKenna Grace and Cameron Monaghan (as her three children) -

this horror film is a surprising and interesting addition to the franchise -

and has a deeply disturbing relationship between the mom and her comatose son -

suffice it to say, if I talk about it in any detail, I will spoil it for me -

for devotees of the horror franchise -

and for anyone interested in the lengths that a mom will go for her son -

errily realized and directed -

with a knockout performance from Cameron Monaghan that will chill you to the bone -

amityvilletheawakening_7.jpg

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, rayban said:

"Amityville: The Awakening

For me, that one was in a dead heat with Tom Cruise's The Mummy for worst film of 2017. I think the Cruise film ultimately takes the top (or bottom) spot, though, as it had more money and more talent involved that should have produced a better movie.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Seven Cities Of Gold (1955) Director: Robert D. Webb, stars Richard Egan, Anthony Quinn, Michael Rennie, story about colonial California. It was actually quite well done, kept my interest, though you have to chuckle it has Jeffrey Hunter and Rita Moreno playing the native brother and sister. A big color frontier epic that I've never seen before 7/10.

Seven Cities of Gold Poster

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Strange Door (1951) - Period-piece suspense from Universal Pictures and director Joseph Pevney. Crazed French nobleman Sire Alain de Maletroit (Charles Laughton) has young rogue Denis de Beaulieu (Richard Wyler) brought to his castle, where Maletroit forces Denis to agree to marry his niece Blanche (Sally Forrest), and failure to agree to do so will result in the young man's death. It's all part of some scheme by Maletroit to torment his brother Edmond (Paul Cavanagh), who is imprisoned in the basement dungeon guarded over by Voltan (Boris Karloff). Also featuring Alan Napier, William Cottrell, Morgan Farley, and Michael Pate.

Based on a work by Robert Louis Stevenson, this has high-quality production values, an unusual sympathetic turn from Karloff, and Laughton having a lip-smacking good time as the evil Maletroit. The film is largely undone, though, by the less than compelling leads. Wyler and Forrest are both bland performers and have nary a scintilla of screen charisma between them.    (6/10)

strange+door+1.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Sound Barrier (1952) - British aviation drama from London Films, writer Terence Rattigan, and director David Lean. The film depicts British efforts to refine jet-engine aviation with the eventual hope of breaking the sound barrier. Aircraft company chief J.R. (Ralph Richardson) is single-minded in his drive for success, much to the dismay of his daughter Susan (Ann Todd), whose husband Tony (Nigel Patrick) is J.R.'s main test pilot. Also featuring John Justin, Dinah Sheridan, Joseph Tomelty, Jack Allen, Ralph Michael, and Denholm Elliott.

Many viewers will find this too dry and even dull for long stretches, and history buffs may be annoyed at the historical liberties taken with the subject. However, Richardson gives an amazingly subtle performance, one that has a true arc throughout the film, and it makes the whole thing worthwhile. Patrick and Todd grated on my nerves a bit, but that may have been necessary for the later dramatic turns in the tale. The movie won the Oscar for Best Sound, while Terence Rattigan received a nomination for Best Writing, Story & Screenplay.   (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck

MV5BZmFjNWUwMzMtYzllNS00ZWQwLTkwZDgtNmNh

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE NEVERENDING STORY (1984) Score: 3/5 

Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Gerald McRaney, Alan Oppenheimer, Deep Roy. 

I read the book before watching this, and let me tell you, that really was a "never-ending story." Approximately 400 pages of a long, drawn-out story that easily could have been reduced by at least 100 pages. At least. 

Bastian's mother has recently died, and his relationship with his father is nearly severed after this tragic event. Bastian makes his way to school one morning, and is chased by some neighborhood bullies. He hides inside of a book shop and "borrows" this intriguing book (promising to return it later). Bastian ends up being late to school, and decides to not even go to class; instead he goes up into the school's attic (which, for some reason, looks like a small wildlife museum) and reads the book until he has finished (several hours after school has ended for the day and everyone has gone home). 

The story ultimately breaks the fourth wall when the Childlike Empress reveals to the story's hero, Atreyu, that a human child is the key to saving their land of Fantasia, and Bastian becomes aware of this, and saves Fantasia from the Nothing sweeping the nation by giving the Empress a new name. He decides to call her "Moon Child." 

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the child actors. They were much better than Luana Patten. 

Related image

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015) Score: 3.5/5 

*Warning: This is a Tarantino film; do not watch if you are sensitive to violence/blood.* 

Starring: Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Channing Tatum. 

Seven men and one woman are snowed into a cabin during a blizzard, and have to get along until the snow clears, and they can all get to the nearest town (Red Rock). Russell stars as a bounty hunter who has with him a female charge, played by Leigh. Jackson and Goggins were their traveling companions; these 4 meet 4 other mysterious folks. Strange things start happening, and Russell starts to suspect there's something fishy going on. 

I liked this. I thought it was very well constructed, and the characters/acting was fantastic. 

Image result for the hateful eight (2015)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Stone Tape (1972) - British made-for-TV ghost story, from the BBC, writer Nigel Kneale, and director Peter Sasdy. An electronics firm sets up shop in an old country mansion, only to discover that one chamber is haunted. Company manager Peter Brock (Michael Bryant) decides to use all of their cutting-edge equipment to record the ghostly visitations, but computer programmer Jill Greeley (Jane Asher), who seems to be the most psychically attuned person there, thinks that they are meddling in something that they should not. Also featuring Ian Cuthbertson, Michael Bates, Reginald Marsh, Tom Chadbon, John Forgeham, Philip Trewinnard, and James Cosmo.

I've read that this ranks among the most well-liked British TV fright films. I always enjoy when a story brings together the worlds of hard science and the supernatural, and Kneale, the noted creator of the Quatermass stories, is one of the best at it. This is no exception, and the film's title has become shorthand for a certain type of haunting in parapsychology circles. However, the movie loses a lot of appeal whenever it deviates from the main plot and tries to throw in some corporate maneuvering. I also wasn't crazy about most of the performances, which were often played too big and on the verge of hysteria. Lead actor Bryant seems to shout 90% of his dialogue for no good reason. Still, haunted house fans should probably give this one a watch if it comes there way.   (6/10)

Source: YouTube

 stonetape1.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks N&N34 for your view of THE NEVERENDING STORY. I've always wanted to see it but actually hearing the basic storyline kind of kicks my butt to the library. I thought it might be maudlin' but aside from the Mother dying, it sounds like a decent fantasy. Although what kid stays in school longer than they have to?

And thank you too Lawrence for bringing THE STONE TAPE to my attention. Never even heard of that one, but I particularly like "haunted house" stories. And especially like you mentioning the "science/supernatural" combo aspect, making it more interesting to me in particular.

(although whenever I grill a ghost chaser about HOW their equipment really works, they can never explain. I think they just try passing off light meters as ghost meters)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just watched The Devil's Bride last night. Somehow I'd never seen it before and I'm a big Hammer horror flick fan. Especially, ones that have Christopher Lee. It was pretty good, but not as good as his Dracula movies. Charles Gray was great too. He's a great villain as he was in the James Bond movies. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Maze (1953) - Jaw-dropping Gothic-style mystery/horror, originally released in 3-D, from Allied Artists and director William Cameron Menzies. Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst) is thrilled when her fiancee Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) inherits an ancestral castle in Scotland, but when he fails to answer any of her letters, or to return to the U.S. on the established date, she and her aunt Edith (Katherine Emery) travel there themselves to see what's going on. They find Gerald much changed, humorless and grim, and hiding a dark and terrible secret, something connected to the large maze located on the castle grounds. Also featuring Michael Pate, John Dodsworth, Hillary Brooke, Stanley Fraser, Lilian Bond, Owen McGiveney, and Robin Hughes.

There's a certain mood attained in the film's early stretches that, while not original, is effective in establishing a sense of gloom and menace. However, all of that is thrown to the wind thanks to the film's incredibly silly finale, when the dark family secret is revealed. It's one of the single most ridiculous moments that I've ever seen in films, and it renders the entire movie one stupid joke. It's laughable enough in its visuals alone, but then Carlson provides the situation with an even dumber explanation for what we've just seen.    (3/10)

maze_1953_poster_03.jpg?resize=560,438

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Maze (1953)

ribbit ribbit ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Thanks N&N34 for your view of THE NEVERENDING STORY. I've always wanted to see it but actually hearing the basic storyline kind of kicks my butt to the library. I thought it might be maudlin' but aside from the Mother dying, it sounds like a decent fantasy. Although what kid stays in school longer than they have to?

And thank you too Lawrence for bringing THE STONE TAPE to my attention. Never even heard of that one, but I particularly like "haunted house" stories. And especially like you mentioning the "science/supernatural" combo aspect, making it more interesting to me in particular.

(although whenever I grill a ghost chaser about HOW their equipment really works, they can never explain. I think they just try passing off light meters as ghost meters)

I actually enjoyed it. It was entertaining enough. The transitions between the real world and Fantasia were well done, in my opinion. It’s definitely not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I liked it. Falkor, the luck-Dragon, was my favorite character in it (besides Atreyu, the child hero). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back from the Dead (1957) - Supernatural horror from 20th Century Fox, Regal Films, and director Charles Marquis Warren. Husband Dick (Arthur Franz) and wife Mandy (Peggie Castle), along with Mandy's sister Kate (Marsha Hunt), go for a fun vacation at his beachfront house. Things take a turn when Mandy hears some bad music, flips out, and later wakes up possessed by the spirit of Dick's first wife, Felicia. As if that wasn't bad enough, Felicia also ran with a bad crowd (the devil worshiping kind), and they have plans for the new Felicia. Also featuring Don Haggerty, Marianne Stewart, Otto Reichow, Helen Wallace, James Bell, Evelyn Scott, Jeanne Bates, and Ned Glass.

This is a competently made B picture, and if you're a fan of the genre, you should be at least mildly entertained. The acting is fine, and the script serviceable. I always appreciate the presence of Ms. Hunt.  (6/10)

Source: YouTube

MV5BMjAxOTc5NTIyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQz

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942) FXM Retro

Directed by Harry Lachman

Average bio of the famed author, featuring Shepperd Strudwick (billed as John Shepperd) and Linda Darnell as one of his “loves.” The other “love” is played by Virginia Gilmore, who ends up marrying somebody else. It’s a little distracting to hear everyone calling Poe “Eddie,” but you get used to it eventually.

A quick running time of 67 minutes keeps this film from getting too dull. Much of the second half deals with Poe’s inability to get publishers to a) publish his work, and b) provide copyrights. Thus, he is unable to keep a job and provide for Darnell, who eventually becomes ill.

Strudwick is actually pretty good as Poe, even though I would never consider him a romantic lead. Ironically, a few years before filming, Strudwick recited “The Raven” at a dramatic tryout at the University of North Carolina, but lost the competition.

Darnell is lovely as the doomed wife. Production was held up because she had lost 14 pounds prior to filming and needed to gain some weight back so she could fit into her costumes.

Jane Darwell is fine as Darnell’s mother. Thomas Jefferson and Charles Dickens make cameo appearances. However, no one refers to them as “Tommy” and “Chuckie.”

One of the trade papers reported that Director Harry Lachman, who had a pet talking Minah bird, toyed with the idea of having it appear in various scenes in the film, croaking “Nevermore.” This sounds a bit far-fetched. However, a raven does appear early in the film. It was played by a “professional” named Jim, who already had over 200 films to his credit. Jim earned a whopping $50 a day for his trainer.

I have to admit, I thought this would be a stinker, but I was pleasantly surprised.

SPOILER:  Director Lachman was undecided as to whether Linda Darnell’s death should be shown on screen. “We would like to show it,” he said, “but perhaps in this day when there is so much tragedy the movie audiences would rather that we left Poe and Virginia at the height of their romance.” You’ll have to watch the film to see how it was handled.

kfx6mLf.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in awe at the amount of movies LawrenceA watches. My goal is to start watching that many movies. LawrenceA, your posts are always nice to see on here and I look forward to them.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caught a bit of "Let's Make It Legal" last weekend, with Robert Wagner, Marilyn Monroe, and MacDonald Carey. TV over the bar; closed-captioned / no sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LE SOLDATESSE (1965) AKA THE CAMP FOLLOWERS  Director: Valerio Zurlini, Stars: Tomas Milian, Mario Adorf, Anna Karina, Marie Laforêt 

The Camp Followers Poster

 

Prostitutes from Athens are transported by truck for the pleasure of the occupying Italian Army in this World War II drama. The 15 women are driven by a young lieutenant who gives a ride to a fascist major. Tension mounts between the two soldiers as the truck is attacked, and some of the women are killed. Love blossoms between one of the prostitutes and the lieutenant, and he encourages her to return home knowing he will never see her again. 7/10

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cat Girl (1957) - Uncredited remake of Cat People, from AIP, Insignia Films, and director Alfred Shaughnessy. Leonora Johnson (Barbara Shelley) learns that she's from a family line that is cursed to turn into a murderous cat when emotionally stressed. This causes issues when she sees the guy she likes making time with another girl. Featuring Robert Ayres, Kay Callard, Ernest Milton, Lily Kann, Jack May, Paddy Webster, John Lee, Edward Harvey, and Martin Boddey.

Anyone who has seen the 1942 version will view this one with skepticism, and it certainly falls short of that moody classic. Attempts are made to replicate a few scenes, but they just can't quite measure up. The sole recommendation for this take on the material is lead Barbara Shelley, who does her best with the part, and looks good doing it.   (5/10)

catgirl.jpg

cat-girl-2.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Crime In The Streets" - Don Siegel - 1956 -

This engrossing film is an extremely persuasive look into the heart and soul of a juvenile delinquent -

that young man is played very compellingly by John Cassavetes in his screen debut -

he is soaked in a forbidding kind of anger -

and he wants to spill it over everyone and everything -

he is especially mean to his waitress mother and his little brother -

he needs to kill -

and he makes plans to kill an elderly man who had the courage to slap him -

in the end, he is finally able to see the depth of his despair -

and he makes an effort to reform -

the film is sharply directed by Don Siegel, who achieves a rare kind of screen intensity -

and it is beautifully acted by its' ensemble cast, especially James Whitmore (as a concerned social worker), John Cassavetes (as the young man on the brink of madness) and Peter Votrian (as the little brother, Richie, who loves his older brother deeply and wants to save him) -

don't miss this one, "it packs a punch" -

eof-style-wise-this-is-how-we-do-it-rebe

(In 1956, a new kind of crime was out there on the streets.)

crime-in-the-streets-4.jpg

   

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, rayban said:

"Crime In The Streets" - Don Siegel - 1956 -

crime-in-the-streets-4.jpg

   

Cassavetes always reminds me of a seriously demented Jerry Lewis

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

THE NEVERENDING STORY (1984) Score: 3/5 

Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Gerald McRaney, Alan Oppenheimer, Deep Roy. 

I read the book before watching this, and let me tell you, that really was a "never-ending story." Approximately 400 pages of a long, drawn-out story that easily could have been reduced by at least 100 pages. At least. 

One of THE most gorgeously iconic symbols of the 80's-Fantasy Summer of Love (and poster child for "Why 'real' soundstage 80's movies were better before CGI"), and all you can say is "Eh, it was better than the book"??  ;)

But, as I already had it on Blu, I digress:

-----

The Merchant of Venice (2004) - With Sony joining the MGM and Paramount Orphans on streaming, more of the rare Sony Classics indies have started turning up on the Usual Streaming Suspects, and after constantly missing this disk at the library, I finally managed to find it on Vudu and PlutoTV's free-download movies.  

Ever since Kenneth Branagh moved on and went commercial, there's been a new push for more indie directors to be the next generation for restaged or period-accurate "Real Shakespeare" movies that "translate" the dialogue into English with more natural settings, and this is one of the better ones.  (Just barely ahead of Ralph Fiennes' modern Baltic-war version of Coriolanus (2011), and I still haven't gotten around to Ethan Hawke's street-gang version of Cymbeline (2014).) "Venice" is one you don't often see revived, since modern productions can't quite get around the squicky question of "Was Shakespeare serious?" in the play's implied anti-Semitism (Shakespeare was a hardcore Catholic, but if so, why do we get that famous "defense" speech?)--But "1984" director Michael Radford takes the question off the table by putting it in accurate period setting, and saying that even if Shakespeare wasn't, 16th-cty. Venice was:  We get a realistic historic depiction of the religious fanaticism of the Venetian geto, almost as bad as Berlin's, and get a sense of how many times our hero had "spit upon" our antagonist in the street.

Shakespearean actors say there's really only two ways to play Jewish moneylender Shylock, either as conniving stock period-stereotype villain, or as tragically sympathetic victim.  Radford's historical setting certainly plays up "Victim", but aging Al Pacino is absolutely electric in the role, since he's played that combination of roles before (and played the role onstage), and knows how to do BOTH--Watching Pacino's mix of "Righteously wounded revenge", we're basically watching him play old Michael Corleone from Godfather 2&3 with a period-accurate Jewish accent.  You literally expect Pacino's Shylock to confront Jeremy Irons as the Merchant with "I knew it was you, Antonio..."

(As you can see, the modern problem with post-Branagh "Real Shakespeare", is that new 00's-10's actors are trying to make Shakespearean dialogue so "conversational", it's all thrown about in quick natural mumbles.  If you're watching this on disk, English subtitles are highly recommended.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monster from Green Hell (1957) - Giant bug movie from DCA and director Kenneth G. Crane. Americans scientists, including square-jawed Dr. Quent Brady (Jim Davis), are conducting experiments to learn what effects cosmic radiation will have on living creatures. After sending up a rocket loaded with animal specimens, it later comes down in the central African jungle region, where soon reports of giant creature attacks make the headlines. Brady travels to Africa to find out what they've created and defeat it. Also featuring Robert Griffin, Joel Fluellen, Barbara Turner, Eduardo Ciannelli, and Vladimir Sokoloff.

This cheap creature feature has bad effects and a poor script. Things aren't helped by the presence of Davis, who I've always thought of as one of the worst actors to ever have a lengthy career. Ciannelli, Fluellen and Sokoloff all look mildly embarrassed to be there.   (4/10)

MV5BYmJlNjVkMTctOTAyNi00OWE3LThiMDAtMjVk

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us