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I could add more but this should be sufficient.
If you need more info, feel free to ask!
Sky Murder (1940)
Nick without Nora!
This film is a real treat! People expect a major "film noir" edge and that was not the intent here! Whine all you want but this is for fun! One "critic" said it was fit for "eight year old boys". I disagree. It's witty, fast paced, well acted and directed! Perhaps some of these armchair Siskel and Eiberts should watch a similar film made a year later at Warner's, called "All Through the Night" with Bogie! A humorous spin on fifth columnists at work in the US. I find Donald Meek to be a real riot here. A goof who was remarkably resourceful. 1940 was a tumultuous time in the US, what with the war raging for a year in Europe. A film like this, while avoiding the usual flag waving makes it's point in a humorous light! Pidgeon has Bill Powell's easy going nature as he slowly gets to the bottom of the plot. A pity there weren't more in the series with Pidgeon at the forefront. A great cast of character actors makes this a stand out! Don't miss it!
Tear Gas Squad (1940)
Slam Bang Pow!
Sure it's a "B" film but it has class all the way! From start to finish, snappy dialogue, great performances and a near breathless pace! Nobody could make 'em like Warner's!
Morgan starts out as a wise-ass and get's himself busted from the force. When his brother is murdered by by the hoods he had a part in busting in a robbery attempt earlier... Quoting Bugs Bunny: "Of course you know this means WAR!" Later Superman star, George Reeves puts in an excellent performance as Morgan's druggist Brother.
An excellent supporting cast keeps this film running at a breakneck pace! This film has "A" written all over it and is a "must see". I can't praise it too highly!
I could go on and on, but you should see it for yourselves and decide!
Masha i Medved (2007)
Forget the language, a real gem!
As someone who grew up on classic Russian 2D animation, I was leery of watching anything CGI, no matter where it was produced! I've seen bits and pieces of stuff made by the various animation studios in so-called "3D" animation - they all stink! I don't care what outfit produced it, I hated it.
Well surprise, surprise when I caught Masha and the Bear the first time I was VERY impressed with the quality of the animation and attention to detail. Once again the Russians have proved the grasp they have on the animation media. no matter what format! The series is an updated version of an old Russian folk tale. In this series a terror tot (Masha) is semi adopted by a retired circus bear and there the fun begins! Masha constantly drives the poor bear to distraction with hilarious results. It's on you tube and is easily accessible! Oh yeah, in case you have doubts, how many you tube programs have nearly 11 million hits! Watch it!
Momotarô: Umi no shinpei (1945)
No wonder they lost the war!
A crude primitive excuse for animation! This film was begun in 1942 and not completed and released until just months before Japan's capitulation. The Japanese had been attempting to perfect animation since the early 30's and by this time still hadn't a clue what the hell they were doing! I have a BG in animation and WWII. This story follows the Momotaro (peach boy) legend but updates it. He's the sole human on his side, yet they fight the Brits who are all human. The animation indicates that while the Japanese tried hard, they were still in the stone age as far as mastering animation. Look at the pans of the L3Y's taking off, look at the character turnarounds! Absolute disaster! In reality the taking of Singapore was accomplished by ground troops. Percival and his staff are laughably portrayed as horned demons as per the Momotaro legend. I think the print has been modified and updated. Only good as a curiosity.
A real treat!
Caught this recently on you tube and was very impressed! It had major elements of Trek but with the preachy crap and Shatner's over the top acting! The cast was believable and acted more like real people than the Trek gang. They carouse, drink cognac and often rip on others both to their faces and behind their back. Could you see the Enterprise crew doing that? It's stated that it was low budget and on occasion it shows but the sets were pretty damn good and looked better the Trek as well. Often they had an organic quality that showed a lot of imagination. Some things didn't work - like those silly space suits that looked like early 50's scifi. The miniature work was spotty, sometimes it was good, other times not so! I highly recommend it!
Project Moon Base (1953)
Not perfect but a lot of fun!
I saw this film in the early 60's on TV and remembered little of it. Seeing it again I had a ball! Sure it was bargain basement but it had heart and soul! The cast was excellent. Hayden Rourke who would later play Major Bellows on I Dream of Genie puts in a really campy performance as the general, tongue firmly planted in cheek. It has the feel of Rocky Jones Space Ranger but boasts superior special effects. There's some very clever things going on here! "Do not walk on walls" for example. A very odd film that belies it's humble background and rises above it's budgetary restrictions. Even Dr Wernher (the enemy agent) has a spark of humanity when he helps the major set up the relay but is killed in a fall. When they finally contact the space station and are ordered to get married, I expected the ferry rocket to include a bridal gown and tux. Oh well... Worth watching!
Should be called "DUD-Tour Spoilers !
Really lousy film! I'd heard for years how "good" it was! Are you kidding? Al's on his way to LA to see his girlfriend via thumbing, so far so good! He meets Haskell who gives him a lift while obviously popping nitro tablets for a bad ticker. Haskell does a crash and burn in the passenger seat. Al tries to revive him to no avail. He opens the door and the lifeless body falls out and the head strikes a rock. Stupid Al dumps the stiff and bails, assuming Haskell's identity. He meets up with the queen bitch Vera and things take a dive from there. Vera is totally without any redeeming graces whatsoever. She makes a virtual prisoner out of Al and suggests a scheme in order to extort dough from Haskell's old man.Al and Vera get into it and somehow he manages to strangle her with the phone cord from another room! Are you kidding??? Women are good at screaming! DUH! Al bails and is again hoofing it from a diner until the cops pop him. Absolute drek and a waste of time!
High Flight (1957)
I'll keep this short and sweet!
I'd never heard of or seen this film until recently on You Tube. Yes it's there! I've seen a lot of aviation films, some poor and some very good and others in between. This one copped a "9" on my scale.
They don't get much better then this, the perfect proportion of humor and drama that always keeps you wanting more! What else could you ask for in a genre film about aircraft and the men that man them.
Great acting and the aerial photography is excellent. Seeing the RAF in the 50's in glorious Technicolor and Cinemascope is not to be missed!
I can't recommend this film too highly! It's on You Tube and there's no excuse to miss it! Happy landings!
Great way to take a bow!
MS Palmer, doesn't seem to get it that the cast and crew knew this was the last episode and decided to have fun with it! To me it was the best episode of the series and had me laughing from start to finish. This episode runs the gamut from serious to belly laughs! The over the top music that sounds for all the world like Jack Marshall's scoring to "The Munsters" adds a great comic flair! The bit with Sam reluctantly dressing like an Apache warrior is a hoot, but it works! This episode should not be taken seriously for a moment and I'm sure Mike Ansara would agree. If you've been into film and TV as long as I have, you pick up on these things. It's obvious that everyone involved was having fun with it. Also, should any of you catch this episode on You Tube, take a look at part 2 at 8:42 and watch Frank cut a big grin for the camera as Sam picks him up.
The Cosmic Man (1959)
A literate piece of sci-fi
Until today it's been 46 years since I've seen this film. As a child I didn't see the point and the social ramifications. Sure it's a "B" programmer and loosely based on "The Day the Earth Stood Still" but it has a wonderfully "cerebral" track to it!
Bruce Bennett as the scientist works well. At 53 he was perfect for the part of a nuts and bolts guy with a soul! No bullshit romance stuff, just nuts and bolts! How many "B" sci-fi films of this era can make that claim!
I found myself getting teary-eyed at the end when the usual gun crazy military stooges offed him. If only he'd had Gort!
A surprisingly literate film with a lesson for all mankind. I highly recommend it!
The Buccaneers (1956)
Great series despite it's budget.
For a low budget series this one comes off quite well. The only obvious flaws are the small cast and limited sets. Substituting Cornwall for the Caribbean is an odd choice indeed, but again,they seem to carry it off! Shaw is excellent as "Dan Tempest" the nice-guy pirate. "Dan Tempest" sounds like a Gerry Anderson character from one of his puppet series. There was "Troy Tempest" in Stingray. Compare this series to 1954's "Long John Silver" shot in Australia. The one redeeming factor in that series was Robert Newton reprising his Disney role. All in all an enjoyable series. You could spot Shaw as an up and comer. He reminds me of Richard Greene's Robin Hood from the same era. Low key but he got the job done.
Koshkin dom (1958)
A really great film!
"Koshkin House" was indeed produced in the former soviet union but it has a lesson for everyone. A well to do cat lives with her man servant in a beautiful house. She has the neighbors over for a night of entertainment and impresses the hell out of them - negatively! Meanwhile two orphan kittens keep coming to the house asking for help but are chased away repeatedly. After her "friends" leave the festivities the house burns, making the cat and her servant homeless. The two of them go to their so-called "friends" residences asking for shelter and are rebuffed by all of them. On the verge of freezing to death the cat and her servant come across a little shack and ask for shelter... Are they in for the surprise of their lives! No spoiler here.
The Noose Hangs High (1948)
A&C's funniest film!
I love Bud and Lou but I hate their feature films - except this one! All the stuff they did for Universal had them playing 2nd banana to some two-bit love situation. Donald Curtis, Dick Foran - who cares! I watched A&C for THEM! - not some grade Z romantic comedy with them occasionally stepping in for comic relief! "Noose" is obviously what their TV series pulled from. The boys doing all their shticks from their vaudeville days - and it works...BOY does it work! I loved their TV series because it was just THEM and they were unencumbered by the external plot devices! "Noose" is, in my humble opinion, their best film.
Rock-a-Bye Bear (1952)
Too painful to watch!
What happened to the Barney bear we all loved? This sure as hell ain't him! That's what happens when they took Fred Avery's chain off - he goes nuts! Barney bear, a usually even tempered benign character is reduced to a drooling slobbering monster with no face other than a hole filled with teeth. I don't care if he IS trying to sleep, his violent outbursts and brutal nature are totally out of place and out of character here. I don't find any redemption in this positively awful film. It's something you'd expect from the likes of John K or other punks that take the medium and turn it to crap. This film would shoehorn well into the "new wave" of contemporary animation where "mean" and "cruel" are considered hip and cool! Not only is it not funny or clever in any way, it's just a waste of good animation.
I grew up on Disney's version of Jungle Book. Soyuzmultfilm had done an earlier version of this tale but this version is a stunner! By this time (1973) the quality of Soyuzmultfilm's animation was definitely on the decline. Where this film shines is it's emphasis on character. Baloo looked like an "Asian" bear would and Bagherra as a female??! They really did their homework on this one. Whenever Bagherra appears on screen SHE steals the show, looking for all the world like a piece of living art from the deco era. The voice work was superb as would be expected from Soyuzmultfilm. Anatoly Popanov voiced Shere Khan and sounded a hell of a lot better than did George Saunders. Popanov was best know in "Russia" for his voice work in the famous "Nu Pogodi" series, as a lecherous wolf. The atonal music added real depth and atmosphere. I could go on and on - but not enough space. Not to be missed! See the Russian version.
Cheap but entertaining.
As a kid I watched this on local TV and found it very amusing. In my single digits I rarely paid attention to the perceived budgetary constraints on a film or TV series. I've always loved Robert Newton -no matter what he was in. He carries on his excellent interpretation of Stevenson's one-legged con man. Prior to the series he did a feature film, Return to Treasure Island,(1954), also starring later star Rod Taylor (Yup, he was an Aussie) as Israel Hand no less! The film segued into the series. Newton and Gilchrist stole the series with no effort. Sadly the budget was the demon here. The sets looked like cardboard and you rarely ever saw one of their ships (unless stock footage was used, and the costumes usually look like they were created by a teacher for a sixth grade play. Take a look at the governor's uniform in one episode. Hell they couldn't even afford a parrot! Looking at it nearly 50 years on it's still a lot of fun with spirited performances and well paced direction. Will today's kids, brought up on crap like the Pirates of the Caribbean "franchise" with it's naive premise and foppish "captain", not to mention the typical overuse of CGI go for this? I doubt it, as it requires them to listen and think - besides, it has a plot!
Larceny, Inc (1942)
Why do we all like it but it's ignored?
This film's yet another example of wayyyyy under appreciated Warner's in house director, Lloyd Bacon. Why do people ignore this guy??? He was really good! Look at how he handled Cagney and O'Brien if you need convincing. As usual Eddie G steals the show.....How did he do it? I have yet to see him in a bad performance. This is a great little film that just builds and builds... Everything seems to be going well until Anthony Quinn shows up and throws a monkey wrench into the whole works and the "gang" have to go (reluctantly) legit. Jack Carson, as usual, plays a bumbling but earnest character, a-la his cop "playwright" done the same year in "Arsenic and Old Lace"( released oddly in '44.) Another film made the same year (again, on the eve of Pearl Harbor) was Bogie's "All Through the Night" that also included Gleason and a young Phil Silvers.....All in the same vein! Jeezus, why can't they make 'em like this anymore??
Space Master X-7 (1958)
A solid "B" but better than I expected.
Better than it had a right to be! The premise was good, the screenplay was good, even the acting and direction were good. When I was in grammar school, the film was re-released about 1960 and several of my schoolmates kept referring to the "blood rust", some calling it "blood lust" and telling me about the film, I was jealous! I figured it was some sort of zany shocker but never *sighs* got to see it on the big screen. 2009 rolls around and The Fox Movie Channel runs it and at long last I get to see it......Quite good! I have to admit that I was disappointed only because it was such a literate and well handled film and not something akin to a Corman flick. Paul Frees, one of the most overused voices in H'wood gives an amazingly solid performance as an obsessed scientist. I also like the stock music tracks used as well...I picked up several composers in the mix, not the least was Victor Lazslo. Too slick for it's own good! As a child I would have been bored, but not now.....
All About Hash (1940)
Adios Our Gang
Even by 1940, the buzzards at Metro had raped and pillaged Our Gang into a pathetic pastiche of ho-hum "entertainment" and a forum for finger waving morals.......BARF! Robert Gubatosi (Blake) was at the zenith of his nauseating, whining best when he was in this one......... I won't "HASH" over the plot - pun intended....... Even a clown like Leonard Maltin in his excellent anthology "Little Rascals" book indicates that he'd shed no tears (in so many words) if someone strangled Mickey. What a sickening mess it was........And they'd beat the dead "Our Gang" horse for another four years before Louie B and company had wrung out the last drop of soul that the series had ever had. Even character actor Louis Jean Heydt as Mickey's harried old man couldn't save this piece of crap, and, look for Hugh Herbert as a rather nervous customer that visits Mr. Henry's gas station and almost winds up a crispy critter...
Ships with Wings (1941)
Wonderful comic book stuff - but one of my all time faves!
This film was indeed propagandist in nature, so what? I mean so what? It has reasonably good performances from it's cast, Banks and Rennie really stand out......It's played with that exceptional British axiom, "the stiff upper lip" Stacey is the proverbial "sacrificial lamb" as a result of his indiscretion regarding an associate that wanted to fly....He comes back and gets his revenge on the axis SOB's and winds up going down in flames a-la John Carrol's "Woody Jason" in Dave Miller's 1942 opus: "Flying Tigers"..... This film NEVER fails to come through with the goods. As for the spfx.........Well, they could be better, but, as a long time spfx buff, you cannot, repeat, cannot fault the efforts and pure chutzpah of the technicians - even though it's all very improbable and very much "over the top". Look at Tsuburaya's early efforts at TOHO and Derek Medding's early work with Gerry Anderson. Screw CGI! Perhaps the lighting and photography of the miniature work could be improved, but the actual models themselves were superb and dead on accurate. Bloody good show!
TOTAL (As in Total Television) CRAP!
I remember this series all to well! It was animated by Gamma Productions in Mexico! Forget Jay Ward/Bill Scott who wrote Rocky and Bullwinkle and actually animated the bumpers for that series, the differences in quality are like night and day. Needless to say they had nothing to do with Leonardo or and of it's ilk, that was all handled outa' New York.
I used to know the late Bill Scott.........He was a total egotist, among other things. He told me in the 80's that Gamma Prod. actually used prison labor in Mexico to animate their stuff - yeah that includes Rocky and Bullwinkle! I don't think he was jivin' me because, after his death in '86, I had that info confirmed by others as well.
The only saving grace in Rocky was the writing.......And, to me, it's very dated now. It was funny when I was a kid but is now most tiresome. Leonardo, on the other hand, was tedious and about as funny as a case of clap!
Just 'cause something's "old" doesn't make it "good".
I put Underdog, Leonardo, Tennessee Tuxedo, Go Go Gophers - et all into the same dung heap......They're "TOTAL" crap.
Abroad with Two Yanks (1944)
Bill Bendix in drag?
Are you kiddin'? "Jim Carrey style comedy"?......Sorry, but this film's funny, Jim Carrey isn't!
I've been familiar with Bendix and O'Keefe for some years. Bendix for comedy and O'Keefe for straight roles like The Fighting Seabees among others.
While it's no classic, this film does garner it's share of laughs....Though, as a military historian, I still scratch my head over that oddball cameo on the helmets.
Leonard Maltin gives it a **1/2, callin' it a "breezy comedy".........I guess that works.
I guess where I'm going here is the fact that for about 1/3 of the film Bendix and O'Keefe are in drag! I have to confess that their drag portrayals impress me more than those of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in the fabled "Some Like it Hot". For some odd reason they seem to revel in it on a Bugs Bunny level. You'd never figure a couple of macho tough guys like these to pull it off so well - would you?
Very funny film....Simple - but it works!
Vynález zkázy (1958)
All time favorite
I first saw this film I think about 1963 as a 12 year old on KHJ TV in Los Angeles and was totally hooked on it. years later I realized that it was pretty much based on a combination of Verne tales....The Czech title being "A Dangerous Weapon"....I love it!
I was a graduate of Occidental College in LA...Terry Gilliam proceeded me by some 12 years......Why do I comment on this? - Well, if you watch this film it has Gilliam's shtick written all over it....I only wish I'd had the chance to question him at the college bicentennial in 1986.....I have little doubt that he'd deny that Zeman's films had had any influence on him, but it's a obvious as the nose on your face! Anyone notice that?
I love the Professor Serke, the Count's number one quiz kid. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that he was a character right out of the much later "Wild Wild West"...Couldn't you see him as yet another evil genius out to take over the world?. Victorian gadgets galore!
This film makes me feel as thought I'm part of that era, it makes all of it seem so alive!
Oh yeah, the film would not have had nearly the impact that it's had on me were if not for Lisko's fabulous musical score...It emotes the charm of the Victorian era in a manner I've not seen before or since. It's also interesting that his music has certain synthesizer-Esq qualities as used for sound effects.
Has anyone ever noticed the obvious similarities in the small reconnaissance submarine to Professor Fates' craft in the much later "The Great Race"?.......I doubt it!
Captain Spade........Were he and Bluto twin brothers separated at birth?
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
Empty and soulless
To sum it up in a nutshell, I did NOT like this film! I won't go into my film and TV background but, suffice to say, I have the credentials. I found the two main characters: Dan and Peachy to be utterly devoid of scruples and anything approaching what one would call "the milk of human kindness"....They're human vessels that simply "go through the moves" like some sort of twisted Martin and Lewis opus! As far as I'm concerned they had no redeeming qualities whatsoever! Even a stinker like Ralph Meeker's "Iceman" in "Big House USA" gives one a desire to root for him - even though he's a real schmuck! I was really disappointed at the end when Peachy drops in on Kipling with his bag. I expected for him to pull the huge ruby from it's depths and say that Peachy was living fat and sassy among the natives as their ruler, but nooooo! It brings to mind Addison Richards' ill-fated character Krofton in 1940's "Northwest Passage" where he asks the other rangers if they're hungry......"Hungry? - I'm not!" He just happens to have the severed head of an Abanaki Indian in his bag that he, ahem, uses in place of trail mix.....Get my drift?
Q.T. Hush (1960)
It's desperation time!
I grew up with QT, watching on local TV as a 9 year old...At the time I wasn't so picky about animation...I remember Quincy, Hushes' assistant and Shamus, a hound replete with deerstalker hat, Hushes' "private nose"......There were character villains like "Al Cologne" (as in Al Capone) as well as an Asian goon named "Won Ton" (as in one ton) because of his size.....
Like I said, I wasn't so picky at the time....We had other stuff like this including "Spunky and Tadpole" a rather crude but humorous series about a kid and a bear detective that predated the Scooby-doo bit by over 10 years - but I digress.
Recently I had the chance to view several episodes on tape and was amazed by how cheesy the whole mess looked.
I guess my biggest problem with the series overall was that Dal Mc Kenna did ALL the damn voices....ALL of 'em!........And every one of them sounds the same! Dal's a talented man but even Mel Blanc couldn't pull off doin' everything himself.....
If you want to see something from about 7 years later that was so dumb it was funny, try Batfink.