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I Just Watched...

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1 hour ago, Thenryb said:

Had the same experience with High Society earlier. Had forgotten how utterly awful it was.

Is that the Bowery Boys movie?

High Society Poster

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The Upturned Glass (1947)  -  7/10

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Interesting British thriller with James Mason as a doctor trying to solve the murder of his mistress. When he finds the culprit, instead of turning them over to the police, he plots to kill them. Also featuring Pamela Mason and Rosamund John. The structure of this film isn't quite like anything I've seen before, although I can't go into it without spoiling the last act. Suffice it to say, I found it intriguing, and Mason was excellent in the lead.

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Variety Girl (1947)  -  7/10

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Musical comedy that's more of an excuse to have a parade of movie star cameos, along with a smattering of top-shelf musical performances. Mary Hatcher and Olga San Juan star as Hollywood hopefuls trying to break into the business with assistance from Paramount production assistant DeForest Kelley. I liked Olga San Juan a lot, finding her hilarious and attractive, and Mary Hatcher has an excellent voice. The star cameos include Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, Alan Ladd, Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott, Dorothy Lamour, William Bendix, and many others. I especially liked the bits with Bob Hope, both solo and with Bing Crosby. The musical highlights include Spike Jones and His Orchestra, and Pearl Bailey.

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The Web (1947)  -  7/10

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Solid crime thriller/noir with Edmond O'Brien as an attorney who's hired to act as a bodyguard to wealthy businessman Vincent Price. Ed takes a shine to Vincent's executive secretary Ella Raines, but when O'Brien thinks he's been used as a stooge to do Price's dirty work, he vows to set things straight. The cast, which also includes William Bendix, Fritz Leiber, and John Abbott, is good and the story engrossing.

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22 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Other Love (1947)  -  6/10

I'd think the "other love" involved women wearing tweed or men who were friends of Dorothy.  😕

Or maybe Arthur Kennedy and Hope Lange in Peyton Place.

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38 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Web (1947)  -  7/10

Where did you find this one?  It doesn't seem to be on DVD at all.

When I was visiting my relatives in Germany back in 1989, this one was on one night, dubbed into German of course since they preferred dubbing to subtitles.  I didn't stay up to watch it, and haven't seen it anywhere since.  :(

I did see Psycho and Mommie Dearest dubbed into German....

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1 minute ago, Fedya said:

Where did you find this one?  It doesn't seem to be on DVD at all.

Online. It was ripped from an old AMC showing.

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Polar (2019)  -  3/10

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Crass, stupid, cliched action/black comedy from Netflix. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Duncan "The Black Kaiser", a notorious assassin who has retired but is now the target of a team of younger killers sent by his old boss. The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens, Kathryn Winnick, Matt Lucas, and Richard Dreyfuss. Ultra-violent, garish, striving for irreverence yet achieving only moronic obnoxiousness, this was a complete misfire and an embarrassment for nearly all involved. I watched it for Mikkelsen, one of my favorite European actors of the last two decades, and he underplays his role here nicely, but it doesn't make up for the idiocy of the rest of the movie.

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An Act of Murder (1948)  -  7/10

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Moving drama concerning respected judge Fredric March learning that his wife (once again played by his real-life wife Florence Eldredge) has terminal cancer. After much soul-searching, he decides to ease her suffering and end her life, after which he immediately turns himself over to the police for prosecution. Edmond O'Brien plays his defense attorney, a man whom the judge often clashed in the past, and who is dating the judge's daughter, played by Geraldine Brooks. This is a sobering look at the issue of euthanasia, and was ahead of its time. The performances are all sterling, with Eldredge very affecting as the quickly-deteriorating wife. The film's courthouse exterior, built for this production, would be used in many more films and TV shows in the future, most notably in Back to the Future

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Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) 

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The when-not-if sequel to Francis Coppola's hit with Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), and which sank quickly at the theaters for not following in its parent's footsteps--Coppola had other projects, tried to give it to another director, and ended up with one of Kenneth Branagh's first few attempts at non-Shakespeare movies, which Coppola later tried to distance himself from.  It's also one of the most omnipresent of the Sony/Columbia Orphans, just about every-darn-where on streaming (if your service has "Gattaca", "Fifth Element", "Resident Evil", "Last Action Hero", "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" and "Dracula", rest assured this one will be nearby), and I'd thought I should finally get around to streaming it just to be curious about why it hadn't lived up to its pedigree in the theaters.

It's actually not bad, now that we know what to expect:  Branagh's since moved away from Shakespeare (after "Hamlet", he could never get another one back in theaters), and now specializes in gloriously overproduced period epics with costume/production-design abandon.  Back in 1994, we didn't think of Ken as "the director of Marvel's Thor and Disney's live-action Cinderella", but now that we do, it's a full-tilt exercise in period-production budget.  Like Coppola's film, the idea was to (claim to) go back and explore the themes of the original novel, and Ken's performance and Frank Darabont's script does a good job with that, showing Victor Frankenstein as a privileged rich-kid medical student destroying everything for his one personal obsession, in a Regency-steampunk lab powered by electric eels instead of Universal-Horror lightning.  Robert DeNiro is intended to play the monster, and does a good job with the book's idea of a verbose creature who questions his own existence, but he's playing it a little too DeNiro--With just a few stitch-scars and a big cloak, he comes off not so much as an unearthly creation, but more like the escaped criminal that Pip met at the beginning of "Great Expectations".

It's good viewing if you take the movie at its own face value--There's one scene that deliberately tries to copy Coppola's abstract, dreamlike "Dracula" style, presumably to give in to Francis's complaints, and it sticks out from the rest of the movie like a sore thumb.  The movie goes at Branagh's own wildly enthusiastic cosplay pace, and like his Hamlet movie, Ken's default style seems to be, when in doubt, shoot the scene Big.  The story's attempt to top itself at every plot point does start going a little overwrought by the climax, but we realize that while he may not have made a Coppola followup, what he's done is create the world's most expensive Hammer film...Which is not always a bad thing.

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4 hours ago, EricJ said:

and ended up with one of Kenneth Branagh's first few attempts at non-Shakespeare movies,

How could you forget Dead Again? :lol:

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53 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

GOD HELP ME, I liked DEAD AGAIN...

I did too.

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Now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind seeing DEAD AGAIN on TCM, seems like a perfect fit to me.

note: it has been a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time since I've seen it, I might think it was a bit silly after all these years....

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B.F.'s Daughter (1948)  -  5/10

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Lumpy romance burdened with a lot of half-baked political and economic debate. Wealthy industrialist B.F. (Charles Coburn) is in an ongoing war of words with leftist radio show host Keenan Wynn. B.F.'s daughter Barbara Stanwyck falls for leftist professor Van Heflin, who's an associate of Wynn's. Can two people of different backgrounds and political ideologies make a marriage work? Also featuring Spring Byington, Richard Hart, Margaret Lindsay, and Marshall Thompson. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and moving up to the outbreak of WWII, the script comes down firmly on the side of Stanwyck/Coburn and the right/capitalist/big business. That's no surprise, and the film is an indicator of where things were politically in the real world at the time. The clash of beliefs may sound more relevant than ever, if only they'd done something more interesting with it.

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Kiss the Blood Off My Hands (1948)  -  7/10

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British-set noir with Burt Lancaster outstanding as a former G.I. and P.O.W. suffering from PTSD and given to bouts of violence. After accidentally killing a pub worker, Burt hides out with Joan Fontaine. It's one of those "she starts out as a hostage but quickly falls for her captor" stories that feel a bit creepy but are common in crime fiction. Her gentle nature causes him to want to be better, but Robert Newton, as a slimy crook, threatens Burt with blackmail over the pub killing unless Burt assists in a crime. Excellent shadowy cinematography from Russell Metty and a good score from Miklos Rozsa add to the atmosphere.

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I just watched A walk Among the Tombstones  (2014) with Liam Neeson.  I postponed watching it until after I read the book by Lawrence Block.  As normal, the book was much better than the movie and has received some above average ratings.

If I had not read the book I would have found it hard to follow.  Some characters/scenes from the book were briefly introduced for sensationalism whereas in the book they were integral to how the mystery was solved.  Also as usual there were changes made for no apparent reason and lessened the story in the book.

I give it a 2/4 - at best.

 

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Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)  -  7/10

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Phony stage mentalist Edward G. Robinson suddenly begins having real psychic visions that foretell the future, with tragic results. Also featuring Gail Russell, John Lund, William Demarest, Jerome Cowan, Virginia Bruce, Onslow Stevens, Richard Webb, and Douglas Spencer. Robinson is as good as usual, and Russell's sad eyes are put to excellent use. I was really enjoying the grim darkness and building dread of the film's first half, but the second bogs down a bit too much in people trying to debunk Robinson's gifts. I still liked the film, though, and it's should be of interest to noir fans as well as fans of the supernatural.

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Rogues' Regiment (1948)  -  7/10

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Enjoyable hokum with Dick Powell as an Army Intelligence officer who goes undercover in the French Foreign Legion in Vietnam. He's hunting for fugitive Nazis, with one particularly dastardly SS officer said to be in the vicinity. Little does he know that it's actually his Legionnaire cohort Stephen McNally. Also featuring Marta Toren as a French chanteuse, Vincent Price as a sleazy fixer who plays all sides against each other for profit, Carol Thurston inexplicably playing an Asian once again, and actual-Asian-Americans Richard Loo and Philip Ahn. It's interesting to see that the native revolt against French occupation in Vietnam was already film subject matter in 1948. Powell's not bad assaying one of his later-career cynical tough guys, while both Price and McNally are at their villainous best.

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10 hours ago, Fedya said:

How could you forget Dead Again? :lol:

I didn't, but I TRIED to forget Peter's Friends

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37 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Rogues' Regiment (1948)  -  7/10

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This is one of Dick Powell's tough guy films from the late 40s that is harder to locate today. It did play on AMC once upon a time when that was a good channel for film buffs. Sigh.

As you said, Lawrence, it's a fun film, with noteworthy black and white photography which really adds to the moody ambience. If memory serves me correctly, Stephen McNally's villainy is a standout.

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Silver River (1948)  -  6/10

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Uneven western with Errol Flynn as a former Union Army officer cashiered out due to insubordination. He decides to become a gambling house proprietor, which brings him to Silver City, a burgeoning mining community. He butts heads with willful mine owner Ann Sheridan. Also featuring Thomas Mitchell (playing a drunk again), Bruce Bennett, Barton MacLane, and Tom D'Andrea. Flynn was reportedly a bad boy behind the scenes, to the point where Jack Warner was threatening to sue him, and Flynn and director Raoul Walsh never worked together again. Ann Sheridan, too, felt this was a terrible film, although I wouldn't go that far. It has its moments, and Flynn's drunkenness doesn't show up on screen. His character comes across as a bit more morally dubious than usual, and whether due to an underwritten screenplay or Flynn's issues, his performance doesn't shed a lot of light on his inner workings. That ambiguity makes things a bit more interesting to me.

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4 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Night Has a Thousand Eyes (1948)  -  7/10

 

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