Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Favorite TV series: the original Doctor Who
Favorite actor: Claude Rains/Fred Astaire
Favorite actress: Joan Crawford
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
The Richest Girl in the World
Dorothy Hunter (Miriam Hopkins) is the "richest girl in the world". She switches places with her secretary (Fay Wray) in order to find a man who won't just love her for her money.
I went into this thinking it was going to be a comedy. Boy, was I wrong.
The Richest Girl in the World is a dreary romance film from RKO. The script so awful (and somehow got nominated for an Oscar!), and the film squanders the talent of Miriam Hopkins. She does her best in a thankless role, but she is saddled with the uncharismatic Joel McCrea as her co-star. McCrea is a not particularly good actor at the best of times, but he's pretty awful here. This film is rather like McCrea's earlier film Chance at Heaven, where he plays a unlikable sap whom the heroine somehow falls in love with. Fay Wray and Reginald Denny are good in supporting roles.
Overall, this one's a stinker.
The Monster Walks (1932)
Pretty dreadful stuff
Stupid poverty row horror/mystery film that seems like a cross between The Old Dark House and The Ape Man. When the rich Dr Earlton dies, his paralytic brother (Sheldon Lewis), lawyer (Sidney Brady), daughter (Vera Reynolds), her fiancé (Rex Lease) and the two house servants (Mischa Auer & Martha Mattox) converge on his house for the reading of Earlton's will. However, when a grisly murder takes place, the guests start to suspect an ape Earlton kept in the basement for scientific research may be responsible.
The Monster Walks is a somnambulant attempt at a mystery film, but the problem is that the twist is glaringly obvious. The performances are all pretty bad, with the exception of Willie Best as the chauffeur, who is pretty much the only likable character in the film. The worst offender in the cast is Rex Lease, who has about as much charisma as a rock. Mischa Auer hams it up terribly as well.
The title is misleading, as there's no monster in the film at all. The closest thing to a monster is a guy in a ape costume, but the ape never leaves his cage so he dosen't get a chance to do any walking. However, it's almost worth sitting through the film to Mischa Auer's absolutely hilarious death scene. Overall, avoid this turkey.
The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
Jazz up your lingerie to get your man
Delightful pre-code musical from Lubitsch about Niki (Maurice Chevalier), a womanizing lieutenant in the Austrian army. However, he falls in love with Franzi (Claudette Colbert), the violinist in an all-female band. However, when a wink from Niki to Franzi is seen by Princess Anna (Miriam Hopkins) of Flausenthurm, who believes it was meant for her, it spells trouble for all involved.
Lubitsch does it again. Chevalier is delightful, and the script is so pre-code it's almost unbelievable. The film is all about sex, but sex is never mentioned in the dialogue at all!
I've never been a big Claudette Colbert fan, though she is perfectly alright here. Miriam Hopkins is simply wonderful, making a kind of unsympathetic character seem totally sympathetic. The score is quite delightful as well, with the standout being "Jazz Up Lingerie". The ending, where Chevalier goes off with Hopkins instead of Colbert, is unexpected; I liked it though, cause Colbert's character was a bit of a wet blanket. Overall, a totally charming film.
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1929)
You'll be glad when you see the last of Mrs. Cheyney...
Dashing Lord Arthur Dilling (Basil Rathbone) and old Lord Elton (Herbert Bunston) compete for the affections of the lovely widow Fay Cheyney (Norma Shearer), who is secretly a jewel thief.
Early sound films have a reputation for being badly made and boring, but I disagree. Some early sound films from 1929 and 1930 are exceedingly well made. However, for every film like Bulldog Drummond or The Love Parade, there's a film like The Last of Mrs. Cheyney.
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney is clunky, badly acted, badly paced, badly written and badly directed. It's a mess. It lacks all the charm of the 1937 version. It's also much more stagier than the '37 version. This version doesn't even have the opening meeting on the ship between Mrs. Cheyney and Dilling (one of my favorite parts of that version), yet it still manages to be almost the same length as the latter film.
Norma Shearer is an actress I like much more than most people, but she definitely doesn't have the charm or wit of Joan Crawford. Basil Rathbone turns in an terrible performance as Dilling, and Herbert Bunston's performance as Lord Elton is absolutely dreadful. I did like George Barraud's performance as Charles; he's easily the best actor in the film, and it's a shame he didn't have a bigger career.
Overall, go watch the Joan Crawford version instead. You'll enjoy it a lot more.
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
"The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, and the first of Lady Dilling."
Joan Crawford plays Fay Cheyney, a charming American widow who integrates herself into the social scene in London. She's really a jewel thief working with Charles (William Powell), and they plan to steal the jewels of a Duchess (Jessie Ralph). However, Fay complicates the plan by falling in love with the roguish Lord Arthur Dilling (Robert Montgomery).
First off, what a cast! Joan Crawford, William Powell, Robert Montgomery, Frank Morgan, Nigel Bruce and Jessie Ralph all in the sam film. Heaven!
The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, based on a Broadway play by Frederick Lonsdale, was filmed three times by MGM, first in 1929, then this version in 1937, and then yet again in 1951. This version is very entertaining, though rather stagy in places, especially the second half, but makes up for it by having an excellent ending. Crawford shines as Mrs Cheyney, while Powell is excellent in a surprisingly small role as Charles. Montgomery is full of his usual charm, and Frank Morgan is good as the buffoonish Lord Kelton. The film is paced well enough, especially since it was directed by three different people. Overall, this is a treat for 30s film buffs.
Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40?
After an attempt is made to destroy top-secret supercomputer George, Steed and Miss King investigate George's creator's apparent disregard for the computer.
Despite an eye-catching title and interesting premise, this episode is definitely a dud. Macnee and Linda Thorson don't seem to have any chemistry in this episode, and don't get me stared on her American accent...
The guest cast is good though; the great Dennis Price shines as a villainous butler, while Clifford Evans, Judy Parfitt, Anthony Nicholls and the late Frank Windsor all appear.
Oil well firefighter John R. Ingram (Edward G. Robinson) is actually a escaped convict from a chain gang who was falsely accused. Soon, William Ramey (Gene Lockhart), the real perpetrator of the crime, turns up and blackmails Ingram into giving up his oil well.
Blackmail is MGM doing a Warner Brothers film, looking rather cheap in places. Honestly, a film like this wouldn't have been produced when Irving Thalberg was alive. It starts out interestingly - movies about oil well firefighters is an unusual topic - but gets rather silly when Robinson is sent back to the chain gang. It's all rather like I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. There were some impressive special effects in the opening sequence.
Robinson gives a sturdy performance, while Ruth Hussey and Guinn Williams are good in support. The best performance goes to Gene Lockhart in an offbeat role as the blackmailer. Overall, it's an entertaining film, but nothing special.
The Avengers: Split! (1968)
After a security agent is murdered, the clues point to top Russian agent Boris Kartovski being the culprit - but Steed killed Kartovsky five years before.
Split!, despite an interesting premise, has the feel of a hastily written filler episode. The characters are one dimensional, and there are almost no good comedic scenes, with the exception of Christopher Benjamin as a handwriting expert.
Linda Thorson's performance is not very good here, and the presence of Diana Rigg is sorely missed. There's a glaringly obvious plot twist as well. Julian Glover gives a good performance, but overall, this one's a dud.
Mata Hari (1931)
Entertaining, if melodramatic, film (loosely) based on the life of the infamous WWI spy Mata Hari. Mata Hari (Greta Garbo), a dancer in Paris, is secretly a spy for the Germans. She is tasked with stealing a document from Russian pilot Alexis Rosanoff (Ramon Novarro), but ends up falling love with him.
Mata Hari is a tremendously entertaining film. It doesn't quite live up to the striking opening sequence, but that's a minor problem. It's pretty risqué, even for being pre-code (and I watched the censored version!). Greta Garbo is excellent, but it's easy to see why Ramon Novarro's career took a nosedive soon after this was released, because he's not really very good. Lionel Barrymore gets a good part as a Russian general, while Karen Morley is good in a small part as another spy. Lewis Stone is cast against character as a vicious spymaster.
The film is lovely to look at: it's beautifully shot, and some of Garbo's outfits have to be seen to be believed. Good fun.
Rose of Washington Square (1939)
Thinly veiled bio-pic of Fanny Brice about Rose Sargent (Alice Faye), a singer who rises to fame on Broadway in the 20s, only to face the ruination of her career when her husband (Tyrone Power) is arrested.
Extremely entertaining musical from Fox; I don't even know much about Fanny Brice, but it was a pretty blatant filmization of her life. Faye is charming as usual, while Tyrone Power is dashing as usual. Faye doesn't get too many spectacular songs to sing, which is a shame.
However, the main pleasure of the film is Al Jolson. He plays Faye's former partner who's still in love with her, though Jolson can't compete with Tyrone Power in Te looks department. It was a nice surprise to see Jolson, as I wasn't aware he made any musicals after the early 30s. He's quite touching in his role, and steals the film.
Overall, none of the musical sequences all particularly astounding (although we're treated to Jolson reprising his breathtaking performance of "Mammy" from The Jazz Singer), but it's a very entertaining film thanks to the stars.
Nancy Drew... Reporter (1939)
Nancy Drew - The Reporter
Teen sleuth Nancy Drew (Bonita Granville) has aspirations to be a reporter, and investigates the poisoning of a local woman.
Warner Brothers made four Nancy Drew films starring Bonita Granville between 1938 and 1940, and this was the first one I'd seen. This is an entertaining piece of fluff with no designs to be anything but a cheesy mystery film. I enjoyed Granville's performance as Nancy very much, and Frankie Thomas was good as Ned Nickerson (for some reason renamed as "Ted" Nickerson).
There's some quite funny sequences and the film has a breathless pace. The only letdown is the slightly annoying presence of Mary Lee as Mary (what an original name!) and Dickie Jones (who would sion be voicing Pinocchio for Disney) as "Killer" Parkins, two kids who insist on tagging along with Nancy and Ned. The strangest part of the film (besides seeing Olin Howland dressed up as an old lady) is a completely random sequence where Mary Lee sings a song in order to pay for their dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I was not surprised to read that Lee was apparently a singer for a big band at the time.
Overall, this was a very entertaining film and well worth your time.
You'll Catch Your Death
After various specialists in colds die suddenly, Steed and Tara investigate the Anastasia Nursing Academy and the home of Colonel Timothy - both of which may be more dangerous than they seem.
You'll Catch Your Death is the debut of three-time guest star Jeremy Burnham in the writer's chair. This was a pretty routine episode, with lots of gaping plot holes (such as why the villains would lock Tara in a room with a cabinet full of medical supplies). The guest cast was good, with good performances from Roland Culver and Fulton Mackay. Dudley Sutton (Tinker from Lovejoy) is rather wasted, and Willoughby Gray (also wasted in a pointless bit part) would later play the evil Nazi scientist in A View to a Kill.
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937)
Bulldog Drummond strikes
Bulldog Drummond, his friends Algy and Colonel Nielson and his loyal manservant Tenny go on the trail of Drummond's fiancé Phyllis after she is kidnapped.
Bulldog Drummond got made into films a lot: prior to this there were two films with Ronald Colman, and one each with Ralph Richardson and Ray Milland. However, American actor John Howard played Drummond in a total of seven films between 1937-39.
Howard himself is alright, but the character of Drummond is poorly rutter and seems almost a secondary character in his own film. Much more interesting is Drummond Scotland Yard pal Colonel Nielson, who is some sort of Sherlock Holmes-esque master of disguise. He's played by top-billed John Barrymore, who is wonderful as always, but it's a sign of his declining career that he was appearing a somewhat cheesy B movie like this. If this had been made ten years earlier, Barrymore would have made a good Bulldog Drummond.
Reginald Denny and E.E. Clive both reprise their roles from the Ray Milland film, while J. Carrol Naish gets to do his usual foreign villain schitck. The plot is a somewhat silly runaround with clues being left at various location for Drummond and co.; it's somewhat like an episode of Scooby-Doo. However, it's all over in less than an hour so you don't waste too much of your time.
Super Secret Cypher Snatch
Steed and Tara investigate after secret documents begin to be leaked from Cypher HQ.
Super Secret Cypher Snatch is a completely ordinary episode. It's not paced particularly well, but it holds one's interest and has a couple of good fight scenes. Linda Thorson doesn't get much to do, which is a shame. The villains are underwritten as well.
There are some good things about the episode. John Hough's direction is excellent, and I liked Ivor Dean's performance as Ferret. The rest of the guest cast was good too: Nicholas Smith had a good role as the main villain, and Allan Cuthbertson (wasted in a small role), Simon Oates, John Carlisle and Donald Gee also appear.
Miracles for Sale (1939)
"Obviously a woman!"
A genuinely offbeat mystery film from MGM, Miracles for Sale concerns Michael Morgan (Robert Young), a former stage magician who now makes a living selling illusions he creates for use in magic shows. He has also become dedicated to stamping out fake spiritualists, which leads him to meet Judy Barclay (Florence Rice), after which he becomes involved in an ingenious murder plot.
The final film of director Tod Browning, Miracles for Sale is a fitting final film for the man who made some of the oddest films ever (The Unknown, Freaks, Mark of the Vampire). This film was based on a series of locked-room mystery novels by Clayton Rawson. Miracles for Sale does have a feeling that MGM was trying to set up a series, but this is the only entry in it.
Robert Young, an actor who has failed to impress me in the films I've seen him in, impressed me here, delivering a good performance. The rest of the cast is good, if unspectacular, with Florence Rice being a good damsel in distress, and Frank Craven giving a good comedic performance.
I'm terrible at guessing the murderer I mystery films, so the revelation at the end surprised me, though the solution looks glaringly obvious looking back on it. Overall, Miracles for Sale is an above average mystery film. I was entertained.
Captain Caution (1940)
Captain Caution of the high seas
When her father is killed by the British, his daughter (Louise Platt) and first mate (Victor Mature) take control of the ship to fight the British during the War of 1812.
Captain Caution comes across a sort of cheap version of The Sea Hawk. While Kenneth Roberts' most famous novel, Northwest Passage, was getting the MGM treatment in Technicolor, Captain Caution was being made by Hal Roach (of the Little Rascals fame) on a much smaller budget (and not in color). That's not to say Captain Caution is a bad film; it's completely average.
Victor Mature is suitably dashing as the hero, while Leo Carrillo provides good comic support. Louise Platt, fresh off her role in Stagecoach, is frankly annoying as the female lead, while Bruce Cabot is his usual dull self as the baddie. Alan Ladd was apparently in it as a sailor, but I didn't see him.
There's a couple good action sequences and some nice model work, but other than that, Captain Caution is completely undistinguishable from various other seafaring films in the 40s.
The Avengers: Game (1968)
After several army colleagues of Steed's turn up dead, he suspects a soldier they court-martialed is out for revenge.
Although we're treated to a pretty bad new title sequence, Game is a pretty good episode overall. It's always fun to see Peter Jeffrey, even if he's playing exactly the same role as he did in The Joker. Robert Fuest's direction is very good, especially compared to the somewhat languid direction of some of the other episodes.
Linda Thorson is not as good as Diana Rigg, although she's capable enough. There's a couple of good fight sequences as well. Overall, good fun.
The original bombshell
A famous film star (Jean Harlow) is tired of her image as a sexpot and tries to change it by adopting a baby and various other schemes that are all foiled by a manipulative press agent (Lee Tracy).
I had low expectations for Bombshell, but it definitely surprised me. Jean Harlow gives one of her best performances as Lola Burns, and she handles the comedy scenes like a champ. She's back by a stellar supporting cast: the usually annoying Lee Tracy is excellent, Frank Morgan is hilarious as Harlow's drunken father, Una Merkel is her grifting secretary and Louise Beavers plays her maid. And throw in Franchot Tone, Pat O'Brien, Ted Healy, Isabel Jewell and C. Aubrey Smith and you've got quite the cast.
The script is hilarious, and a perfect example of why Jean Harlow was such a big star.
The Avengers: The Forget-Me-Knot (1968)
When an amnesiac agent comes to Steed's home, Steed and Mrs Peel set out to discover a spy in the organization with the help of trainee agent Tara King.
The introduction of Tara to the series was all but a smooth affair for the production team, and The Forget-Me-Knot was a last-ditch attempt to have a smooth transition between Mrs Peel and Tara.
Overall, it's not a particularly good episode, with a rather silly plot and bad writing, with the villains especially seeming two-dimensional. It's sad to see Diana Rigg go, but Linda Thorson proves herself an able replacement.
Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
Giving him the chair
A fast rising reporter (John McGuire) is worried that his testimony in a murder trial may have been false.
Often called the first film noir, Stranger on the Third Floor. I watched this for Peter Lorre, but he's barely in it, and instead we're treated to the horrible acting of John McGuire in the lead. Despite being 65 minutes long, it drags horribly, with a pointless nightmare sequence and enough plot holes to sink a ship. Oh, and there's Elisha Cook hamming it up as the falsely accused man; I had to laugh when someone said his character was "just a kid".
Margaret Tallichet is good as McGuire's girlfriend, and Peter Lorre is excellent as always. The final sequence with Tallichet and Lorre is well done, but not enough to save the film. Overall, I'd recommend this to film noir completists only.
Mission... Highly Improbable
Investigating the disappearance of a treasury official on his way to look at budgets overruns on a project run by Professor Rushton, Steed is miniaturized and it's up to Mrs Peel to save him.
This definitely lives up to its title as it's definitely improbable. It's lots of fun though, with a good guest cast. The sets are very well done, and Director Robert Day keeps thing moving along at a good pace. The Brigadier himself, Nicholas Courtney, appears in a small role, while familiar faces like Ronald Radd, Francis Matthews, Jane Merrow and Kevin Stoney round out the guest cast.
While the episode is mostly played for laughs, the deaths of the miniaturized Sir Gerald and Gifford are quite horrible: thrown in a trash can and washed down a drain!
Overall, Season 5 of The Avengers was, in my opinion, much more consistently good than the previous season. However, Season 5 only had one excellent episode (Epic) while Season 4 had multiple excellent episodes (Death at Bargain Prices, The Hour That Never Was etc.).
Doctor Who: The Watcher (1965)
The Doctor, Vicki and Steven arrive on the English coast in 1066, while a strange monk observed their arrival with little surprise...
"The Watcher" is a refreshing change of pace after The Chase; in fact, this is the best episode in quite a while.
Peter Purves makes a good addition to the TARDIS crew, gelling well with Hartnell and O'Brien. Hartnell is on top form in this episode, seemingly taking delight in Dennis Spooner's excellent script.
After Richard Martin's bungled direction of The Chase, Douglas Camfield's direction is a refreshing change of pace. The episode is completely studio bound, but the production design and effective use of sound effects and stock footage add to the atmosphere.
The Avengers: Murdersville (1967)
Mrs Peel travels to the picturesque village of Little Storping with her old friend Major Croft, but the inhabitants are far from welcoming...
An episode centered around Mrs Peel is never a problem in my book. This was a very enjoyable episode, with a good idea and good scripting. Diana Rigg is great as always, and there's an excellent guest cast: Colin Blakely, Ronald Hines, John Sharp and future Blakes 7 star Gareth Thomas in an uncredited role. The only problems are a slightly silly helicopter chase scene and the final fight scene which devolves into a pie fight.
The Positive-Negative Man
Steed and Mrs Peel investigate when several scientists who had worked on a top-secret project are murdered.
This is definitely the weakest episode of Season 5 so far. The plot seems a lot like The See-Through Man, but not as good. Unmemorable characters, an unmemorable villain and sub-par writing do this one in. Caroline Blakiston is good as the "top-hush" ministry secretary.
Diana Rigg does get some good lines though, such as "It was a corny situation calling for corny measures".
Chance at Heaven (1933)
A small-town mechanic (Joel McCrea) leaves his girlfriend (Ginger Rogers) for an heiress (Marian Nixon).
An early role for Ginger, Chance at Heaven is an enjoyable little bauble, coming in at just over 70 minutes. Ginger doesn't get much to do, but is very good as always, while Joel McCrea is a competent leading man. Marian Nixon is good as the heiress; however, her character is so scatterbrained it makes Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey look like Einstein!
The film itself is a little depressing, and it's hard to sympathize with McCrea because his character is such a sap. There's also a thinly veiled reference to abortion, one of the worst screen mothers in history and Andy Devine as McCrea's friend. Overall, it's nothing very memorable, but it's enjoyable.