Reviews written by registered user
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Let's just cut to the chase here..."Let's Live a Little" is a terrible
film with little to recommend it. The writing is particularly bad and
it's about the worst film either Hedy Lamarr or Bob Cummings appeared
in during their careers.
When the film begins, Duke Crawford (Cummings) is an extremely harried advertising man. He works all the time and is so busy, he's begun sounding like he's coming unhinged. And, when his latest client is a psychiatrist, she (Lamarr) is also worried he's losing his mind. He thinks they are dating...she thinks he's her latest patient..and the hilarity ensues...or should have.
The humor is very forced and very unfunny. Both actors (particularly Cummings) try very hard to make bad material work...but the film just comes off as stupid and 4th rate...at best.
Reporter Michael Gordon (George Sanders) is passing through Damascus,
Syria from an assignment. Another American reporter arrived along with
Gordon...and soon this other reporter is discovered dead! Michael is
determined to get to the bottom of whoever is responsible for his
murder...and the trail soon heads to a pretty lady, some Nazis and even
the chieftain of the Bedouin tribes! And, again and again, Michael
slips in and out of one dangerous situation after another but you know
he'll be okay, as he's the hero!
This is a decent film--mildly interesting but made even better by the lovely performance by George Sanders, who is, as usual, very smooth and engaging. Well worth seeing and a bit better than the typical wartime propaganda film.
The plot to "Journey Into Fear" is not a complicated one...but it seems
to make the most of it.
When the story begins, Howard Graham (Joseph Cotten) is in Istanbul on business and anticipates leaving the country in the morning. However, a simple night out with a man who also works for Graham's company turns into a murder...and the intended victim appears to have been Graham but as luck has it he was spared. But the local secret police chief (Orson Welles) insists that to protect Graham he'll send him out of the country by slow boat instead of the train in order to avoid Nazi agents. Unfortunately, the Nazi agents anticipated this and soon Graham finds himself aboard a boat filled with murderers. Can he possibly survive?
The story is rather simple but with a rousing ending and nice camera work it makes the absolute most of what it's got. Well worth seeing and a nice example of simplicity making for a nice picture.
When the film begins, you see a flashback of Dean Hess (Rock Hudson) as
a pilot during WWII. By mistake, a bomb falls off his P-51 and hits an
orphanage. He's haunted by this and this might explain why he became a
minister after the war. However, he's still haunted by this mistake and
when the Korean War breaks out, he volunteers to serve. His job is
setting up an airbase for the South Korean Air Force, although much of
his energy ends up being spent helping the many orphans displaced by
In some ways, the film reminded me of the story "Lord Jim"--a guy makes a mistake and spends his life trying his best to do good and somehow atone for his past. It makes for an interesting film and Rock Hudson is just fine in the lead. Worth seeing and very well made.
The intro to this film indicates that this story is universal and could
apply to any war...or any country...and this is quite true. And, this
universality of the story make this an exceptional war film.
When the story begins, some American soldiers are loading trucks with airplane fuel which will soon be transported to the front. However, during this process, a North Korean plane attacks...killing one of the men. The plane soon crashes and a lone man bails out of the craft. Now when the surviving three American soldiers enter the ship, they have a prisoner.
Once aboard the ship, the men contact headquarters and are told that they were NOT to bring the prisoner in with them. In other words, they were to kill him! This is clearly a war crime...and is against the articles of war. The sergeant (Kirk Douglas) clearly seems to LIKE this order...one of the men, one of the privates (Robert Walker Jr.) thinks the order is monstrous and refuses to do it. The sergeant takes delight in goading this private but despite this, he will NOT kill the man. So, the sadistic sergeant then tries to get the other private to do it...
The story is a great look at human nature...the good as well as the bad. And, it reminds us that the German soldiers of WWII were not the only ones who murdered and chalked it all up to 'just following orders'. A very strong film whose only shortcoming is its pacing (it could have been shortened a bit and that would have made a stronger picture).
Robert Mitchum plays Colonel Steve Janowski--an infantry genius who is
stationed in South Korea just before the outbreak of the Korean War.
His job is to help train the South Korean Army to defend their country
in case of invasion...something that occurs in the first few minutes of
the film. The story consists of either the Colonel and his Staff
Sergeant (Charles McGraw) in combat or the Colonel chasing a pretty UN
worker (Ann Blyth).
Generally, the film is well made and the action sequences good, though the overuse of stock footage is a problem common to many war pictures. The viewer might also be surprised because it's a surprisingly bloodthirsty and brutal picture--with footage of charred corpses and the like. Not a war picture for the squeamish, that's for sure...but very well made and acted.
"Pierre of the Plains" is a B-movie. A B is a picture that was intended
as the second and lesser film for a double-feature. And, since it was a
lesser movie, they ran from about 55-65 minutes--far shorter than the
A-movie. While many low-budget studios specialized in Bs (such as
Monogram and Republic), even the big-name studios like Warner,
Twentieth Century-Fox and MGM made Bs...and this one is from MGM, so it
looks a bit better than normal.
Pierre (John Carroll) is a French-Canadianwho always seems to be getting in to one scrape after another. During the course of this film, he gets in fights, ruins a wedding (as he wants the girl for himself), assists a guy with a jail break and gambles. While there is kind of a plot...it's mostly Pierre swaggering about and being a bit of a jerk-face. In fact, this makes the movie a bit tough to take...as he's not particularly likable. Not an awful B- movie...but one with a strange story and a weird anti-hero.
During the era in which "Washington Melodrama" was made, there must
have been a bazillion murder mystery B-movies. However, this film uses
the familiar formula and brightens it up with an A-movie treatment.
This means that instead of a 60 minute (give or take) running time like
a B would have and mostly unknown actors, this one has a few bigger
name actors, a running time of 80 minutes and a nice polished MGM look.
When the film begins, Calvin Claymore (Frank Morgan) is in DC pushing for a war relief bill. His family, on the other hand, are traveling about and he's left alone...alone and lonely. So a Senator decides to take him for a night on the town...at one of the strangest nightclubs in film history!* Morgan meets a nice young lady and soon they begins spending time together...platonic time...nothing sexual. However, after breaking off their friendship before it goes further, her vicious boss arrives at her apartment and he murders her. There doesn't appear to be any evidence the boss was there...but there is about Calvin and soon he'll be the #1 suspect. To help save his butt, his daughter (Ann Rutherford) comes to the rescue.
The acting and plot are quite nice and the film enjoyable. Overall, a very good film with a few noir qualities--such as the incredibly brutal murder--one of the nastiest and most vivid of the era!
*The nightclub features a water show...which makes little sense because it would be difficult for the audience to really see the ladies doing their synchronized swimming. In fact, the only way to really see them well is from above...and filmmakers of the era employed this odd technique quite a few times. Odder yet was when audience members were given fishing rods and were told to try to catch the girls!! Weird.
Bill Ward (Dan Dailey) is in love and wants to marry a lovely lady. So,
he invites her and her parents to his lakefront mansion for the
weekend. During most of this time, Bill's sister, Dulcy (Ann Sothern)
keeps doing things to hurt the girl's father...along with a variety of
other people who happen to get in her way.
In the 1930s and 40s, Hollywood made quite a few movies with kooky female leads. Usually they were played by Billie Burke or Gracie Allen or even Katharine Hepburn ("Bringing Up Baby") but "Dulcy" stars Ann Sothern...and whether or not you like the movie will depend a lot on if you like a leading lady THIS stupid, obnoxious AND selfish. Time and again, Dulcy hurts people because she is an idiot that just doesn't give a crap about them or her actions. One person's kooky is another person's vicious sociopath...and I found Dulcy to fall in that latter category and so I found the film tedious and horribly unfunny.
"The Kid from Texas" is a pleasant B-movie starring Dennis O'Keefe of
all people as a cowboy. William (O'Keefe) leaves his native Texas to
hang with rich swells and play polo. But not surprisingly, the uncouth
cowboy is way out of his element with these folks and the only reason
he seems to stay is that he's smitten with Margo (Florence Rice).
However, after making a fool of himself, he ends up hooking up with a
Buffalo Bill-style wild west show...and now another lady has set her
eyes on him. So what's going to happen next?
This movie is pleasant and the actors do their best. But it also is a movie that seems a bit improbable and silly to say the least. A nice time passer but not much more.
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