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Stars in My Crown (1950)
People perhaps were expecting a gun-slinging Joel McCrea
And they didn't get one.
"Stars in My Crown" was Joel McCrea's favorite film. He's cast against type here, playing the parson, Josiah Gray, who settles with his wife (Ellen Drew) and her nephew John (Dean Stockwell) in a small town.
At first he's accepted by the community, who help him build his church. However, not everyone is crazy about him, including Daniel Harris Jr. (James Mitchell) who has taken over his late father's practice.
There are some dark forces at work, including an attempt to take land owned by a black farmer (Juano Hernandez). The violence against him escalates, but he stands firm.
What was interesting to me about this film was that citizens of the town become infected with typhoid. The first one hit is John. When Josiah attempts to continue to work in the community with his flock, the doctor accuses him of spreading the disease as more and more people become ill. The family become pariahs.
This isn't the exact scenario with COVID, though some of the sentiments are the same as people play the blame game and deal with suffering and death in their families.
"Stars in My Crown" is family entertainment, a story of the power of prayer and the need for courage in the face of difficulties. It's a lovely film, and while some may think Joel McCrea was miscast, I don't. Tough, charismatic, and plain speaking, he makes Josiah the kind of pastor any community would be proud to have.
The Queen's Gambit (2020)
I watched The Queen's Gambit because it was so highly reviewed, and I was not disappointed.
One would think if you didn't know chess, this would be a detriment to your enjoyment, but it isn't at all. It's about chess, yes, but it's about a gifted woman's evolution as a competitor, addiction, and as a human being.
All of the characters are wonderful and fully fleshed-out. Anya Taylor-Joy is fantastic as the genius chess player. The series is very well cast.
Hope to see more of this kind of thing on Netflix. Excellent, keeps you interested, and if you're not careful, a binge watch (so start watching early).
Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (2020)
A second film from the Psych gang
Psych, be it the series or a TV movie, is good for what ails you.
It was so great to see the boys together again, and wonderful that Timothy Omundson was able to appear. He seems to be recovering from his stroke - let's hope he continues to recover even more.
James Roday Rodriguez and Dule Hill are a scream as always, and they manage to bring back crazy Woody the coroner, as well as Juliet and the Chief.
My only disappointment was that I wasn't sure where the heck they were. I know they were in Santa Barbara and moved to San Francisco, but then at one point it seemed like they were in Santa Barbara again. Or am I nuts.
Bring on more Psych. By the way, Dule Hill's real wife played his girlfriend, and at the time of her filming, she was 8-1/2 months pregnant. The director was afraid she was going to go into labor at some point during her three day filming.
Emily in Paris (2020)
Paris in the eyes of a young American woman
I am a fan of Lily Collins, so I tuned in to watch Emily in Paris.
The series seems to be geared toward a younger crowd, and if you take it on that basis, you may enjoy it.
The production values good. This is light fare as Lily takes a job in Paris and tries to maneuver in a new culture. What she encounters is a pretty cliched version of Paris: cold people, men with mistresses that their wives know about, lots of guys chasing after a beautiful woman.
I have a feeling that we're going to be seeing a lot more of this type of show - something you don't have to cry during or think about too much, and something pretty too look at. At the moment, that's what people want in entertainment; at the moment, the world is pretty dreary. Anyway, take it for what it is.
Enola Holmes (2020)
I agree with one of the people who posted here. People very often view a film not for what it is, but what they either think it should be or want it to be. As the poster pointed out, this isn't a Quentin Tarantino film. It's well-done family entertainment about the adventures of a young woman, Enola Holmes, as she sets out to find her missing mother.
She's Sherlock's sister, and Sherlock and Mycroft appear in the form of Henry Cavill and Sam Clafin. I did not feel they registered much. The real star is Millie Bobby Brown as Enola. Her mother is played by Helena Bonham-Carter, Frances de la Tour, Louis Partridge, and Fiona Shaw make up a very good cast.
The film has wonderful production values, and I wonder if there are plans for future adventures of Enola. The film is really for teenaged women, and it's a lot of fun, with its emphasis on creative imagination and girl power.
People may tune in because of the Sherlock connection, but it's not really about him. It's about his sister. Amazing how that family keeps growing.
Mr. Reeder in Room 13 (1938)
not very good
Mystery of Room 13 or Mr. Reeder in Room 13 is a 1938 British film starring Gibb McLaughlin, Peter Murray-Hill and Sally Gray. A young man (Murray-Hill) wants to work for "Special Services" and is given an assignment of going undercover in prison to discover who is printing counterfeit bank notes.
After that it gets weird. His girlfriend marries someone else, a crony of her father's. The main character, once he's released from prison, finds unexpected connections to the counterfeit ring and comes up against Gray's husband.
The marriage plot was ridiculous. Fuzzy sound, slow, not much to recommend it except I have always liked Sally Gray.
wonderful musical biography of a great composer and performer
"Rocketman" tells the story of Elton John - it's not an actual biography, though. It's told in the fantasy setting of a music, using many of his fabulous songs.
The timing of events is often inaccurate, songs are used at times before they were written. the story has inaccuracies, but who cares - it's not meant to be accurate, it's meant to be fun. And it is.
Elton tells his story while in rehab, about his cold father, his relationship with his mom and nana, his beginnings playing piano and composing, meeting Bernie Taupin, stardom, lovers, and addictions. One thing not emphasized - Elton supposedly had a warm relationship with his mom's second husband, Fred, whom he called "Derf" - but you really don't get that impression in the film.
Taron Edgerton sings like a dream and makes a terrific Elton. What can I say about the music? I loved every note.
Elton John is a brilliant musician. a flamboyant performer, a humanitarian, and an interesting personality. Even if you don't get his entire story from "Rocketman," you certainly realize that.
Trauma Center (2019)
Home Alone, Hospital Style
This isn't a comedy, but the premise is the same as Home Alone, in that someone is completely isolated as danger lurks.
In this case, a young woman (Nicky Whelan) witnesses a murder and as she tries to get away, is shot in the leg. She winds up in the hospital, where, under the supervision of a police officer (Bruce Willis) she is isolated in an empty unit for her own safety. Unfortunately, the two guys after her are police officers and don't have much problem getting into the unit and killing her guard. Nicky claims she didn't see anything, but they don't care - they want the bullet that's in her leg.
Very tense with a terrific performance by Nicky Whelan.
To tell you the truth, the movie seemed a little cheap - the sound had an echo. Bruce Willis wasn't the usual Bruce Willis - he was sluggish and spoke slowly. The police officers were appropriately menacing.
Standard entertainment with some clever touches and gory scenes.
Murder by the Clock (1931)
I'm a woman....and you want me.
Murder by the Clock from 1931 is so old it creaks. There are precodes and precodes - I find that films done before, say, 1933, are not well paced, the performances are mannered, and everyone talks slowly and takes big pauses in between. And there's an echo.
That out of the way, the cast members proved later on that they were capable of so much more: Lilyan Tashman, William Boyd, Irving Pichel, and Regis Toomey.
The story concerns the will of an old woman (Blanche Friderici) as she decides who is getting her money. That is, if she ever dies - she's so terrified of being buried alive that she has a horn installed in her crypt.
She has two choices as far as to whom she will leave her wealth - her son, the village idiot, or her worthless nephew (Pichel). Pichel's wife (Tashman) is constantly nagging him about getting the old lady's money sooner rather than later.
A domino effect is set up where people start dying - and two miraculously seem to come back to life, though one only briefly.
It's obvious who the mechanic behind the murders is, especially to the lieutenant on the case (Boyd). Will he do the right thing? And can he get the proof?
This is an old dark house mystery with secret passageways, a graveyard, a crypt, and it's dark. Frankly, I found it a little plodding. I thought William Boyd came off the best - he seemed to have found a good rhythm for his dialogue, and his acting was strong. Tashman for me got better as she went along.
I'd say this was a fun film, but you have to be in the mood. The echoes, the slow dialogue, the long pauses, plus the fact that it's hard to see much with the lighting, don't make this a favorite.
The Poison Rose (2019)
slow, copies the old '40s noirs
John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Brendan Frasier, Ella Bleu Travolta, Famke Janssen, and Robert Patrick star in "The Poison Rose" from 2019.
It's not awful, but John Travolta, who has had higher ups and lower downs than nearly any actor in history, is again in a downward slope. Not that I can blame him - at the time the film was made, he had a sick wife who later died, and they had also lost a son.
In 1978, in Los Angeles, your typical gumshoe, Carson Phillips - drinker, smoker, gambler - agrees to return to his home town of Galveston to find out what is going on with an institutionalized woman, an heiress no one has heard from.
The town has nothing but bad memories for him - he walked out on the love of his life Jayne (Janssen). He also is a former football player who threw a game and had to leave town. However, it's a good time to split from LA - some people, probably loan sharks, are after him.
Carson runs into some strange things - and an even stranger doctor (Brendan Fraser with a new look) as he tries to see the heiress, Barbara. He also reconnects with the local mobster who runs Galveston (Freeman).
Jayne has a married daughter Becky (Ella Travolta) - her husband is a well-known football player who dies during a game. Becky comes under suspicion and Jayne begs for his help. Carson starts putting things together, and it looks to be an ugly outcome.
Travolta and Freeman are marvelous together, hard to believe they've never worked on the same film before. Travolta's gift, besides his charisma, is his knack for showing more than one level of a character, even a stereotypical one like Carson Philips or Danny Zucco. It's a shame he sometimes chooses such poor projects.
All of the acting is good. Ella Bleu gets high marks for her performance, and her heartfelt scenes with her real-life dad. Singer-actress Kat Graham who plays a club singer, Rose (but she's not the poison rose - in fact, I don't think there was one), is terrific. And Brendan Fraser is one smarmy, scary dude. Famke Janssen has had something done to her face, which was very distracting, but she's quite good.
The plot has holes in it and also unresolved situations. It's also slow. However, one poster commented that one thing Carson was working on was not resolved, concerning Becky - incorrect. It was resolved. Also, he uncovers some rotten doings at the institution. The point is, he isn't leaving, so it's assumed he can make more inroads.
I loved Travolta and Janssen dancing. Nice to see, Travolta hasn't forgotten his roots.
Whistle Stop (1946)
Ridiculous plot and grainy film are the stars of "Whistle Stop," a low-budget quasi-noir starring Ava Gardner, George Raft, Tom Conway, and Victor McLaglen.
I won't go much into the plot, except that drop dead gorgeous Ava for some reason returns to her home town of Polukaville from Chicago. She's decked out in mink and has a gold cigarette case. One gets the impression her rich boyfriend dumped her, but we aren't given any reason why she's back. Tell me that a woman that breathtaking couldn't have her pick of men in Chicago.
She has a couple of men she left behind - one is George Raft, a bum, and Tom Conway, the town mobster. Of course, her presence sets up terrible jealousy between the men. Victor McLaglen, as everyone has noted, has the best, and in fact the only good role as a bartender.
I have to take issue with one thing a reviewer said - that Ava was too beautiful to be in a melodrama about small town hicks. My attitude is, they have to come from somewhere, and Ava was from Grabtown, North Carolina. I do agree that a woman that beautiful would return to live in her home town.
It was very hard to focus on this film. MGM would start their starlets off in small roles and then gradually move them up to supporting and then leads. This was a test for Ava, along with two other films she was doing. She passed, as if there was any doubt.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Great cast stars in a true-life kangaroo court
Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed this brilliant film about the trial of the Chicago Seven, which took place In Chicago in 1969-1970.
Actually the seven represented different groups, but no matter, they were all painted with the same brush. At the Democratic Party Convention in 1968, there were protests by a group of moderates, led by Tom Hayden and militant "Yippies" led by Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong. Black Panther Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), accused of something else, had his trial finally severed from that of the Seven. These men were arrested and arraigned on charges of Conspiracy by the Nixon administration.
The trial itself was a joke, led by Judge Hoffman (Frank Langella) who had obviously decided beforehand that these men were all guilty of conspiracy and inciting violence.
The prosecution lawyer was the reluctant Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon Levitt), and on the defendant's side, the fiery William Kuntsler (Mark Rylance).
The Yippies as they were called made constant disturbances during the trial, which upset the moderates. Seale was in court without a lawyer and not allowed to defend himself, finally appearing in court bound and gagged.
The Chicago 7 were Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) , Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Danny Flaherty), and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins).
The acting was remarkable, with Cohen and Strong bringing some humor to the situation, Langella perfect as the hateful and prejudiced judge.
Mark Rylance who in my opinion can do no wrong gives an excellent performance as Kuntsler, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a great job as a torn federal prosecutor Richard Schultz. As Bobby Seale, Yahya Abdul Mateen II is fantastic
This is a horrible segment of American history, during times very similar to those of today. The Vietnam War, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians, had made activists out of young people, all of whom approached protesting in different ways - some with violence, others attempting non-violence, and both being thwarted by both Mayor Daley and the police, free with their billy clubs and tear gas.
When former attorney general Ramsey Clark testifies, away from the jury, that under Johnson, there were no indictments because the police started the violence, the judge refuses to let the jury hear his testimony.
In the end, the men (including the attorneys) had racked up hundreds of contempt citations and the defendants were found guilty not of conspiracy, but of inciting a riot. As Ramsey Clark left the courtroom, he advised Kuntsler to "Get started on your appeal" - and as expected, all convictions were reversed, and the judge's career was over.
As for the seven, Tom Hayden became a seven-term Senator; Hoffman committed suicide some years later, Bobby Seale (actually the 8th defendant) is still going strong, as is Rennie Davis; Dellinger, a writer, was actually arrested again in 1996 for doing a sit-in with Abby Hoffman's son; Hoffman himself committed suicide in 1989; Froines taught at university; Rubin invested in Apple but was killed in a car accident in 1994; Wiener went on to work for B'nai B'rith and to this day wants to bring down capitalism.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 is an excellent watch, and also interesting to read about.
The ending of the film, with Tom Hayden's statement and the reaction of the federal prosecutor Schultz - very powerful and to be missed.
The Inner Circle (1946)
entertaining B movie
The beginning of "The Inner Circle" demonstrates why you have to watch and appreciate films by accepting them in the time they were made, not by today's things were different. Detective Johnny Strange (Warren Douglas) needs a new secretary. Forget typing and dictation - he wants touchable skin and good looks.
Strange runs "Action Incorporated," a detective agency, and it turns out he hasn't chosen a secretary - one (Adele Mara) has chosen him and takes over the office immediately.
The fun begins with the appearance of a veiled "Spanish woman," the murder of a radio star, Johnny receiving a couple of knocks in the head, and a police detective played by William Frawley.
The actors make the story fun. Warren Douglas was handsome and had a varied career as a screen writer and actor. Adele Mara is delightful as the take-charge secretary. In real life she married producer Roy Huggins and retired, appearing occasionally on his TV shows. William Frawley, I Love Lucy's Fred Mertz, was very good and less volatile than Fred.
Okay Poverty Row B.
Wanted for Murder (1946)
a look at immediate post-war London as a strangler runs loose.
Eric Portman stars with Dulcie Gray, Eric Farr, and Stanley Holloway in "Wanted for Murder," also known as "A Voice in the Night."
I wish more young people could get into classic films - the look at the past in this film is so interesting. Imagine a record shop, which we've seen in old films before, where someone comes in, requests a record, and an employee plays it on a record player. Twenty years later, the city would be alive with mod fashions and the Beatles.
There's a strangler of young women on the loose, sending postcards to the police before the various murders. Suspicion falls on a young man (Derek Farr) but when he's clear, the chief detective (Roland Culver) becomes suspicious of a smooth, dapper man (Portman) who seems to have been in the vicinity of one of the murders.
Portman's mother is played by Barbara Everest, familiar to people who have seen the U.S. "Gaslight." She suspects her son is disturbed and becomes anxious when he leaves the house. But the Portman character can't seem to help himself. And it seems this predilection runs in the family.
Decent film, worth watching.
Kind of blah
I had a tough time with this film - it didn't really hold my attention.
"Radioactive" purports to tell the story of Marie Curie and her husband Pierre, and their scientific work which resulted in their pioneering work in radioactivity.
"Madam Curie" from 1943 was so much better, in spite of the fact that they drenched Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in flour to make them look old at the end. Since Eve Curie chose Greer Garson for the role (and the film was based on her book), it seems logical that Rosalind Pike saw Madam Curie.
Pike reminded me very much of Greer Garson except that the way Marie is portrayed in the film is as an arrogant, willful, somewhat unpleasant woman. It's not Pike's fault. I don't think the direction is very good.
I also don't know why Hiroshima and Chernobyl were shown. Marie Curie invented polonium and radium, which have nothing to do with these bombs. It just indicates that the research for this script wasn't very good.
I won't go through all the other inaccuracies. The importance of a biopic is that people will become interested and read up on the subject, not to accept everything in the film as fact.
The performances are good. Marie Curie was an amazing woman who broke through a lot of barriers and worked tirelessly, believing in the importance of science.
Somehow I was more swept away by the 1943 version. Radioactive left me feeling kind of blah. Also it was too long.
"The Art Dealer" from 2015 is a somewhat confusing film about the search for paintings stolen from Jews by the Nazis.
This is not a particularly well-made film, and I had a problem with one character who appears in old movies and shows up in the present. Apparently it's the same person (it was definitely the same actor).
The star is Anna Sigalevitch, who is a good actress and deserved better. She has to carry the whole film.
This is certainly an interesting subject, but it's been covered better in "Monuments Men," "Woman in Gold," and even an excellent episode of "Law and Order" starring Karen Allen called "Survivor."
Internes Can't Take Money (1937)
Dr. Kildare's debut
I wonder when they dropped the "e" from interns. Interesting.
Internes Can't Take Money stars Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Lee Bowman, Lloyd Nolan, and Stanley Ridges.
Dr. K. falls hard for one of his patients, Janet (Stanwyck) but she is a very troubled woman. She was sent to prison for two years as she was believed to be part of a robbery, led by her husband. When he was released, he took their daughter. She is now desperate to find her child, and will stoop to just about anything, even stealing from Kildare and taking up with gangster Stanley Ridges.
When Kildare finds out her real story, he tries to help her. He saved the life of another criminal (Nolan), actually in the local bar, and calls upon him for a favor.
Joel McCrea is an adorable Kildare - so handsome, and there was always something guileless about the actor. He plays very well with Stanwyck - in fact, they made six films together.
Of interest, interns in this film made a whopping $10 a month ($180 today) and one woman mentioned she made $27.50 a week ($495.00). When Kildare operates outside of the hospital, he's given $1000, but he gives it back because - you got it - "interns can't take money."
I do love Lew Ayres as Kildare, but McCrea's more aggressive interpretation worked well.
Wish Me Luck (1987)
World War II female spies
Wish Me Luck from 1987 is a three-season series about the exploits of British female spies in France during World War II. The series starred Jane Asher, Michael J. Jackson, Kate Buffery, Jane Snowden, Jeremy Northam, Julian Glover, and Susanna Hamilton.
Seasons 1 and 2 of the late were based on the autobiography (including much of the dialogue and situations) of the British spy Nancy Wake, so there is a high degree of accuracy.
I really saw this as a mixture of several of the great female spies: Odette Hallowes, Violette Szabo, Wake, Virginia Hall, and Lise de Baissac.
Season 1 concentrates on the Buffery and Hamilton characters. The Buffery character was similar to Odette's - the government asked for photos people took while on vacation near the French coastline, and after submitting hers, she was invited to train as a spy. The other character, Mattie (Hamilton) is trained as a radio operator.
In season 2, we are introduced to another radio operator, portrayed by Jane Snowden. Different agents and government officials appear throughout the series. Season 3 deals with the Vercors rebellion of 1944.
I have to say that Season 1 for me was the best - it almost seemed as if Season 2, there was a change in the producers - the show seemed to have a more '70s TV look.
There are many edge of your seat scenes. The series shows the effect of the occupation by the locals, the private lives of the spies, and the danger the spies were in constantly. I really couldn't just watch one episode and stop! It's a binge-watch type of show.
The lives of these British spies were fascinating, and I highly recommend reading about the lives of the real-life women mentioned, and also seeing the film Carve Her Name with Pride, about Violette Szabo.
Flip or Flop (2013)
house-flipping in LA
The amount of nastiness and hatred toward Tarek and Christina on this site is astonishing. As to predictions that they show won't be on long, it's not only been on since 2013, Christina and Tarek now each have separate shows on top of Flip or Flop.
I guess we just live in a world where people need to focus their hostility on something. Let's see - I've read they always make money. So in other words, you've watched what - one show? They have lost money, they have gotten no offers by the time the show ends, they've had no one show up at an open house.
Also what makes any of you think these people do one flip at a time? They have as many as ten going at a time. Despite what you might think, they do know what they're doing.
I've read the prices they buy these flips for are exorbitant. This is southern California - of course the prices are ridiculous! And I've read that they do no sweat equity themselves. Again, you've only watched one episode. They certainly do.
On a show like this, the "surprises" etc. that are shown on a property - they certainly know about them before the cameras start rolling, otherwise, there would be no show. And yes, they go over budget - on the particular flips they show. Again, no drama without it. They have made a ton of money.
I happen to think Christina is a good designer. I love people saying she isn't one. Then how are the houses getting done? And how is she doing designing on a second show?
Not successful? Live in a tract home? Uh, no, they don't. They run a huge business, have a large home which has been shown, and they make a lot of money.
I had a friend on one of these shows - it went pretty well like you see on TV but full price was not paid for the products purchased. That's to the person who complained about them getting things cheaply. These home shows do.
Once they divorced, the hatred toward this couple doubled, intimating that Tarek should check the paternity of their second child. That is disgusting, especially considering she had to have in vitro fertilization.
I watch these shows to see the finished product - I like looking at something that looks great coming from nothing. I don't watch them so I can trash the people doing them and call them con artists. Look up their business on google, and you'll see they're hardly that. They're also hugely popular.
A board game comes to life
The popular board game Clue comes to the screen with a lively cast of wonderful performers, including Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Coleen Camp, and Christopher Lloyd.
It's the old dark house mystery - these were big in the '80s, with films such as "Murder by Death," "Haunted Honeymoon," etc. There are several different endings - when I saw it, the audience was shown all of them, but I understand you can actually choose one in some versions.
All the performances are wonderful, but for me Madeline Kahn and her monologue about her hatred for Yvette - which was improvised - stands out.
Lots of laugh out loud moments as the bodies pile up and secrets are revealed.
Street of Chance (1942)
Burgess Meredith has amnesia
Prolific writer Cornell Woolrich, who wrote Rear Window, No Man of Her Own, and many other mysteries, is the author of "Street of Chance" from 1942. The movie stars Burgess Meredith, Claire Trevor, Frieda Inescort, Jerome Cowan, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, Louise Platt, and Sheldon Leonard.
Frank Thompson (Meredith) is hit by part of a building at E. 22nd and Third Avenue, and when he comes to, has a lighter and a hat with the initials DN. He returns home to his wife (Platt), only to find out she moved away a year earlier. When he catches up with her, she's shocked to see him but welcomes him back. It doesn't take long for him to realize someone (Sheldon Leonard) is after him.
Desperate, he sends Virginia to her mother's and returns to 22nd St., hoping to find someone who knows him under this other name. Turns out his name is Danny Nearing, and police are searching for him, suspecting him of murder.
Though Danny's girlfriend (Trevor), who works for the man whose brother was murdered, tries everything she can to keep him hidden, Frank/Danny knows he didn't kill anyone and wants the truth.
This is a pretty good film, thanks to the performances of Meredith and Trevor. It was easy to figure out, but after you've seen as many of these as I have, they usually are.
Of interest was the old woman who can only communicate with one blink for yes and two for no, Adeline De Walt Reynolds, who began her career at the age of 78, in 1941. She graduated from college at the age of 64. I guess I'd call her a late bloomer. She lived to 99.
John Payne breaks into noir
"Larceny" from 1948 is a kind of an all over the place noir. It starts with a group of con men led by Silky (Dan Duryea) lousing up a scam and being forced to think of something else. He and his cronies come up with the idea of sending Rick (John Payne) to seduce a wealthy war widow (Joan Caulfield) into building a huge war memorial in her husband's memory. He has to lie and say her husband was his best pal in the service.
Meanwhile, Silky's girlfriend Tory (Winters) seems anxious to be with Payne and gets in the way at every turn. Silky isn't happy about this, which could be dangerous.
Payne meanwhile falls for Caulfield and vice versa. It turns into a real mess.
It was okay. Every woman in the film - Caulfield, Winters, Patricia Alphin, who plays a waitress, and Dorothy Hart all act as if they've never seen a man before when they meet Payne. He was handsome, but the characters seemed more like aggressive women from a later era.
The exception would be Caulfield, whose character was more subtle. Dorothy Hart didn't have much of a career, but she was absolutely stunning.
Blues in the Night (1941)
interesting Anatole Litvak noir
"Blues in the Night" from 1941 is an intense noir directed by Anatole Litvak. The stars are Richard Whorf, Lloyd Nolan, Howard da Silva, Priscilla Lane, Betty Field, Jack Carson, Elia Kazan, and Wallace Ford.
"Jigger' Lane (Whorf), an excellent pianist, puts a band together consisting of Leo (Carson) who plays the trumpet, his wife "Character" (Lane), a singer, and two other musicians, Nickie, and Peppi. These are all musicians dedicated to performing the real New Orleans blues.
They travel by sneaking into boxcars. On one of their trips they meet Del Davis, (Nolan) a gangster. Del has a job for him in New Jersey at a club he owns.
That's where the trouble begins. Powell falls for a good-time girl, Kay Grant (Field), though he drops her when he finds out Character is pregnant.
"Jigger" decides to make Kay the replacement singer since Character is told she can't work. They wind up taking off together. By the time the rest of the band locates him, Jigger's in rough shape and has to enter a mental hospital.
"Blues in the Night" is a turgid drama with a highly dramatic ending. The performances are all good. Field pulls out all the stops as Kay, and Lloyd Nolan is an effective tough guy. Howard da Silva and Wallace Ford are on hand giving sympathetic performances.
The brilliant director and controversial figure Elia Kazan only has seven acting credits listed. Here he's an enthusiastic band member .
The music, with the exception of an awful number at a club where Jigger plays the piano, is fantastic, with some great trumpet playing, though the musician is uncredited.
The song "The Man That Got Away" was written for this film. Harold Arlen didn't like the Johnny Mercer lyrics; some time later, he gave the song to Ira Gershwin to add the lyrics.
Spies of Warsaw (2013)
tense pre-WW II spy story
David Tennant stars in "Spies of Warsaw," a 2013 miniseries also starring Janet Montgomery, Anton Lesser, Marcin Dorocinski, and Julian Glover.
Most of the film takes place before Poland was invaded. A military attache, Jean-Fracois Mercier (Tennant) has a network of agents and is assigned to Warsaw to see what the Nazis are up to. Mercier has evidence showing that the Nazis are getting ready to invade. However, he is stonewalled by some of his commanders, who doubt the veracity of his evidence.
In the meantime, he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Anna (Montgomery) who currently lives with a Russian.
I see that this miniseries received some lousy reviews. I can understand that if you've read the book; often, a good book doesn't translate well to screen. I haven't read it.
One of the critiques was that an important part of the book was left out, that is, spying on the Germans measuring the width of the roads in the Ardennes to see if their tanks could make it. I'm not sure what miniseries he watched and gave a rotten review to, but that scene was most definitely in the miniseries.
Another review complained about the locations, saying that it looked like Belfast dressed up to look like another country. The movie was filmed in Poland. I guess I'm not sure what film the above comments referred to.
I thought this movie was tense, and if not action-filled, very absorbing. I was interested in the fact that France was so ardent in her commitment to Poland to save it from the Nazis. We see where that went. And the end of the film is based on a real incident I hadn't known about.
David Tennant, from reading the reviews, was not the Mercier of the book. I still liked him.
A note about accents, a tired topic for anyone who reads my reviews. The people in the film are not speaking English with foreign accents. They're speaking their own language, so accents are not necessary. Some of the actors had them because in real life they have accents, but again, they're speaking their own language and the accent is a dialect.
Why would David Tennant be speaking to French people in English with a French accent? It's ridiculous. You notice that Chekov plays are not done with Russian accents. They don't use accents in Shakespeare. Many early films were set in other countries - no accents (example: The Mortal Storm, Zoo in Budapest).
Lots of Hitchcock features
Saboteur doesn't get the attention it deserves for one major reason. Hitchcock wanted Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Imagine what a "big" film it would have been perceived as with them as the stars.
Instead, he got Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane, both very good, but signalling that somehow this wasn't a major motion picture.
Saboteur has all the Hitchcock elements, some reminiscent of the 39 Steps - the wrong man accused and on the run, a blonde, handcuffs, and pre-North by Northwest, a scene at a landmark, with similar action taking place.
The story concerns a worker, Barry Kane (Cummings) accused of setting fire to a munitions factory and killing his best friend. In fact, Kane saw the terrorist - a man named Frye, who posed as an employee. He sets out to clear his name.
There are some interesting scenes and colorful characters, and the end is exciting - also a bit abrupt, as if Hitchcock ran out of money. Still very enjoyable and worth seeing.