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As for me, I am happy writing reviews when I see movie and television productions which are good or a waste of time. Read my reviews, they are my opinions, not some trolls. Now that Trolls have been banned from IMDB, it is only my reviews that are left standing.
CGI Comes of Age And Successful History
After seeing the previous movies about Midway, I was not sure an update was needed. This movie says - yes, this one was needed. There are several reasons for it. The movies biggest strength is visual and it's next is no trying to over-reach.
Previous versions of this story were melodramatic and hollywoodized beyond reality. This one isn't, and the best thing is no one cast member has such an ego that they attempt to dominate the movie. That is a refreshing change from previous depictions of this story.
Intelligence information is used properly, and the lead up from 1937 to the Midway battle are really well done. The re-enactment of Pearl Harbor is well done. The miracle that the US Carriers were not in Pearl that day is not dwelled upon, just shown. That is the strength of the entire film. It is done as it happened. It amazes me that the 2 locations are Hawaii and Montreal, Canada. It seems like there are more locales, but this is good film making, the story is rock solid, well written, and actually dominates the film instead of the acting. This does not happen often enough in movies.
Loved the history of the characters at the end of the film, and did not realize that 2019 is the year the last of Doolittles raiders on the first bombing run on Tokyo died. It was important that this little side story got into the film. It was important as a morale boost to our efforts in the Pacific in the war. RIP
Haunting picture of Those Left Behind
Some movies are not about plot, but are more about drama. That is this one. It's about people who are effected by the war. It's not pleasant, and it is heart string stuff.
It is a nice little drama. Spirits of those leaving, and delivering the bad news to their loved ones, that is what it's all about. Homer is continuously delivering bad news to others, and loses his own brother. His mother loses her husband. There is not good news. FDR's speech about a long war is in the early opening, and this war was a long war, though America had only just gotten involved in 1942.
It is a story about going on, yet it has painful moments that are iconic. Set in Ithaca, California it was actually filmed in Virginia. Based on a novel, this film digs into emotions and there is some excellent filmography including a great image of Homer, delieving bad news to a woman about her husband death. As she reads the telegram, Homer's image in the mirror, and her image of grief is an iconic image.
Drama is this films hallmark, and for those who like drama, this one is not the same as the Summer of 42 film made years ago. This one is not about a sexual affair, this one addresses losses in a very personal way. When Will Grogan, elder telegrapher dies, it actually foreshadows in real life this actors death. He actually did die working, just like Grogans character. He would work on 4 more films that last year of his life. Silence is golden in drama, and it is used well here.
Low Budget Mirror of John Frankenheimer's Classic
For those who have seen The Manchurian Candidate, this movie is almost the exact opposite. Sinatra here as the killer, is not under the influence of drugs. He does not have an over-bearing mother, and he does not play his cards anywhere near right. Instead he is an American whose shallow, he is shooting the President only to get money. He is killing only to get money. Hi character does not even know who the President is (when the film was made, it was IKE).
It is sort of disturbing this was pulled because of JFK being killed in 1963 along with the Manchurian Candidate. The latter pulling makes more sense. Oswald if he acted alone, might have been brainwashed by the Russians. After all he lived there and married a Russian woman before coming back and shooting Kennedy which would make him the khrushchev candidate. Oswald was not offered money, even though he might be the least compensated killer in American history. Oswald barely had the money for a Texas Theater ticket he did not buy just before he was arrested. A minimum wage worker in a book building shoots an American President. This was a shock.
Sinatra is the most talkative killer in the history of movies. Because of the low-budget, he had to fill in a lot of the stuff there wasn't money for. He is just an ex-serviceman whose a mercenary. His ego is that he won a big medal but he let's a young boy get his goat, teasing him more than once and then getting shot by a gun the kid finds. Kind of cruel justice. This killer has no plan to get away, and for some reason he has a much better rifle than that mail order crap Oswald had.
James Gleason as pops is one of his better roles. He is the guy who used to be a great man, but who now is the guy everybody trusts, and he trusts too much with Sinatras killer. With the exception Gleason, most of this cast is forgettable, other than Sinatra. I am glad they put this one back out, though it is definitely inferior to the latter film where Sinatra is playing a good guy. He carries this film as the polar opposite.
I like action, I like trains, and I like Rymans character. The trouble here is the action and realims get too far stretched. Granted Katherine Heigel as a young teenager can get a little attention. The villian is kind of stupid. In fact the only time I can recall a stupider criminal is when I was in Suddenly.
It seems this gang is kind of elaborate when all they want is money. I mean the goal to threaten to kill everybody should be more than that, as they have no real plan to take over the world. Where's the true fanantic when you need one?
Our hero Ryman, just happenes onto a train with his niece for a vacation trip where these fools take over the train, take everybody hostage, and then try to screw up the national defense of the United states. Meanwhile, Rymans former students just happen to be working for the bad guy. This movie is kind of like a Ford Edsel, the looks of it are good, but the guts don't quite sell.
There's more than a few problems with it, but if you put away your brain and rmember Ryman has a steel plate in his head that deflects bullets and a criminal that doesn't know what a bullet will do to a CD ROM, you can enjoy some of the rest.
The Strange Mrs. Crane (1948)
Definitely Worth A Look Strong Bplus+
Marjorie Lord who passed away in 2015 at age 97, was known more as Mrs. Danny Thomas, but before that in the 1940's she was doing "B" movies. In this she is quite subtle in her role as the woman who wants it all and has both hands on the steering. She has a run in with a crook and leaves him behind, and manages to land herself a handsome older man (Crane) whose running for Governor. The movie starts off politcally charged as he is announcing his running. Lords Crane is interviewed by a reporter about her background and she is deliberately evasive, answering the question about her background with generalities. At this point us viewers suspect something is wrong with Mrs. Crane.
As the story unfolds, she decides she wants an expensive mink coat. The coat turns out to cost much more than the $5,000 dollars the store asks for from her husband. That is because she runs into the crooked man she deliberately left behind, and he wants money to keep his mouth shut. In the process of shutting him out, she spends a bit too long with him, and decides he needs to go, so she stabs him.
The movie has a nice twist here, as another woman who was dating the cad was in the area and gets accused of his murder because her finger prints were on the sharp instrument she stabbed him with. There's a nice little scene where Mrs. Crane is at the same place as the girlfriend when she is arrested for his murder. Meanwhile Crane has to protect herself, having received a letter from the victim blackmailing her prior to killing him.
Then, in only a movie twist, Mrs. Crane gets a summons to be on the jury of the woman accused of her comitted murder. Then, the jury elects her foreman, and take a long time deliberating the case. Mrs. Crane convinces the jury to find her guilty, she had the verdict in her hand, gives it to the court clerk to read. The clerk looks at the verdict and finds it's no shopping list or a verdict.
This B film is kess than an hour, and the small production company did it on a small budget, distributed by Eagle-Lion which was a B distributor. The Direction is clever, and the ending is short and sweet. Currently this movie is a film noir on You Tube. Lord is looking good here and the clever direction and cast brings this off pretty well.
The Most Powerful Advertisement Ever Made
Known as the "Crying Indian" this has to be the most effective advertisement ever made. Iron Eyes Cody, an Italian born actor who played an Indian most of his acting career is the only star here. This ad released on Earth Day in 1971 (the first Earth Day) became the first marching order for the environmental movement. The music to start this is a great drum instrumental
The ad starts with Cody paddling a canoe past a bunch of factories on a stream polluting the air and dumping chemicals into a stream. There is also images of trash floating in the stream.Then he paddles to shore. Once he gets out of his canoe, the shore is littered with a lot of trash. Then someone comes along and dumps more of their trash at Cody's feet.
William Conrad's (Cannon) voice then comes on with this great narration- "Some people have a deep residing respect for the natural beauty that was once this country, and some people don't (car going by dumping more trash). People start pollution, people can stop it." Then you see the tear on Codys face.
All of this in less than 60 seconds. The people who put this together made a great moment in the history of Environmentalism, and you can find it on you tube and judge for yourself.
Just Wait Until I get You Upstairs
Actually, a couple of pretty busy tv script writers came up with a script full of red herrings. Poor Danny, working 2 jobs and not making enough money, reminds me of the economy after free trade where nobody was making any money and working 3 of them which is much later. Of course here, in these times, the wife was not expected to work.
I always like Lt. Tragg and he gets a lot of work in this one. He even has to go out during Lunch hour from Court and find stuff in the decedents car. Then there is the presence of that Maytage Repair man Jesse White. In this case Danny is moonlighting when he has to take the drunken Frank home. He leaves him in his apartment and then the next morning finds out he was murdered after he left.
This episode has the hidden car compartment, with a gun but the murder is comitted with a bookend. This episode has the classic murderer confession on the stand.
The St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)
Good McQueen Vehicle
There's no doubt here, this script was designed for Steve McQueen to star. He does a good job doing so. This is an early effort, based upon on a true story of a failed robbery attempt. The black and white film is designed as a late 1950's B film as the length indicates.
It uses the real St. Louis police (uncredited) who lived and performed in the real robbery. The big 1950's cars are mostly period as the original robbery took place in 1953, and all but one car dates to before that period. It is interesting that the recent remake of this one is rated lower than this original. That proves the remake did not have Steve McQueen and it bombed big time.
The actual locations are ued in the film, and the period is pretty well recreated. All the characters are good in support. This is not a great film, but it is okay.
The Naked Edge (1961)
Cooper Evades The Tax Man & The Law -The Hard Way
The plot here starts in a court room where Cooper testifies and gets an innocent man found guilty in court. The man screams that Cooper lied and he did it. Of course that would be much too easy. Meanwhile, after the verdict, Ratcliff (Cooper) tells Mrs. Ratcliff (Deborah Kerr) that he has made a "killing" on the stock market and is going to invest the money to make them rich, going into business with a large investment.
From there the time passes and 6 years later Kerr finds a blackmail letter addressed to hubby that accuses him of being guilty. He hasn't done anything and has not acted on the letter. Now the Black-mailer shows up. And then....
Cooper is luck this one is in glorious black and white because he is not looking well. That's because all his cigarette smoking has caught up with him and he has advanced Cancer. He is taking an oxygen mask between takes. At times it shows, and this would be his last film. Legend has it he was not told it was Cancer until after filiming was over in 1960. Still his death did not help the film when it was released and it lost money.
Another thing which did not help, this film came out about 7 months after Hitchcocks Psycho. While this film is good, when you try to compare it with that masterpiece, it definitely falls short. In this era, 7 months later Psycho was still playing in movie houses. While this film is okay (Kerr has a strong role), it being advertised with the audience being admonished not to tell anyone the ending, well that had been done in 1959's Anatomy of a Murder. This film was not good enough to overcome these handicaps and sell tickets in the box office.
It is worth a look now especially if your a Cooper or Kerr fan.
He Walked by Night (1948)
Amazing Police-Drama & Noir Together
When I happened upon this on You Tube, it was listed under noir. As I watched the film, I realized it was much more than I expected. It has a great script, and it feels like a highway patrol drama at the start. Then as we get to know the murderer and Richard Basehart's character trying to escape a bum murder rap by the doggedly determined highway patrol, the chase makes this movie go places.
There's only a few people in the cast who were even part way famous eventually. While the story might be loosely based upon a true one, the writing here makes this an excellent view. I was very glad to happen upon it. It is interesting that this came out of Eagle -Lion studios. Another one of their films from the war era would also inspire a television series. While this one inspired Dragnet, with Jack Webb getting a small role and inspiration for the radio and television show, Eagle Lion, a shoestring operation most of it's existance also inspired the cartoon series Scooby Doo when in 1941 they produced Abbott & Costello's "Hold That Ghost".
The film's ending is sort of hinted at about midway through, but rathar then reveal who the murderer is here, it is easy to tell early on that Basehart's character is not the killer. The actresses in this one have better roles than are often given them in this type of film. What sets the film apart is a lot of the atmosphere created in this "B" picture and if you look carefully, you will see some of the same sets Dragnet used on TV later one.
There can be no doubt this was intended as a B film, but it is better than most of the shorter films done this way, and in this style. It would be a while before this was topped.
Under Siege (1992)
Segal is Locked Up & Tested
Segal is a Navy Seal who somehow winds up on the Battleship Missouri just in time to cook (as a cook) for the Captain. Meanwhile the Captain is having a Birthday but is unaware of a plan to take over his ship and steal his Tomahawk Missles. The under commander locks this cook in a cooler. Then the bad guys take over the ship and they also have a stolen Submarine they want to load up with Tomahawks.
There's lots of action as Tommy Lee Jones leads the ship's take over. Then Segal gets out of the cooler and screws up all their plans. There's lots of good action and excitement. To me, these 1992 special effects look much better than the CGI that some later films use. Most of this film concetrates on the action with just a little distraction from a playboy model who is brought in under the guise of popping out of the cake for the Captains Surprise party. She is drugged and out until Segal pushes her cake. From there, she is aboard for the crusade against the bad guys.
There's lots of fights, explosions, and action while the joint chiefs fret about the taking of the ship. Segal is excellent as the good guy and Jones does good in support. There is only one brief glimpse of the skin on the girl so this is a pg action film in the mode of Bruce Lee . Segal's burnt pies are no threat to any great cooks.
Paris Underground (1945)
B Film That's OK
This is a Double feature B picture designed for those great old days in the theaters when they had those things. So it's not a classic. At least the script tells a good war story though there is nothing true about it it as far as I can tell. Still, this has a good cast and a somber mood set by the direction and photography.
Constnace Bennett who stars is only credited with Producing 2 movies, this one and a forgettable adult film in 1935 (actually an uncredited credit). The production here is slick and well done. It has a noir quality to it. The cast brings it over well, though I don't blame the Nazi Captain who is a little disappointed when he finds out the woman he helped is really married. I'd have been too, she is quite attractive. This is a different woman than Toppers wife. Both the main females are looking good.
The story is about an American and British woman who decide instead of escaping Paris when the Nazi's occupy it, become enablers for spiriting shot down Allied pilots out of the country to escape capture. It's a great story as they are credited in the end with getting a lot of them out. The one easy weakness to spot is when the women are first trying to escape they have 2 Black French poodles with them. For a couple of scenes, when they are getting in and out of the car, the poodles suddenly disappear. Then they reappear. That is the type of thing that sometimes happens in B films.
Still all the acting and support is well done and other than a few smae details, the film flows quite well and is approved by the film board. For fans of Constance and Gracie this is worth a look. They have a very good chemistry ad both show acting chops. It is available for no charge on You Tube.
The Upside (2017)
A Good Solid Film
I have looked at the reviews here and I see a whole lot of discourse about this being a remake of a French film. Being negative about remakes is a stupid thing. In fact it takes ignorance to do that. There are so many movies that are remade, that very often unless your an educated person you don't realize a film is a remake.
For example, Ben Hur was made as a classic silent in 1925. In 1959, it was totally remade as a sound film. Both films are classics and in many ways exact copies of one another. I would dare say, anyone who would say well the first one is silent and the other is sound, even though they are pretty much exact duplicates has mental illness. Hey, the greatest scene of both films, the chariot race, was borrowed by George Lucas for a sci-fi film. Yet that is not what the Lucas film is criticized for. So why are we criticizing this film for being a copy of another film?
Well, I have not seen the original. If it is an exact copy, it is not such a bad thing to copy. After all, the story is positive and upbeat. Kevin Hart is restrained into a serious role. Bryan Cranston is great as the quadrolpolgic. Nicole Kidman is great in her most restrained dramamtic role. Neil Burger and the rest of the cast does very well supporting the story. Even though the French film, and this one are based upon a true story, there is some fiction mentioned in the films credits.
If it is scene for scene taken from the French film, then the French film has some problems as there are times the film action either stagnates or stops. I assume if it copies the French film, than that one stops too? I have a feeling that is not the case. n fact, one reviewer says the French film does the same beginning and flash back scenee as this one. If it does, that is a shame as I think the story would actually play better with out this opening, so why does the French film do it? Even this film would be better without it.
What really impresses me is Hart being willing to do a serious role for a change. Like the original painting his character creases in this film, both of these things should be "encouraged." It's painfully obvious after seeing this film that yes, Hart can be a dramatic actor.
Batman: The Zodiac Crimes (1967)
Holy Jumping Juptier
This first 3 parter (it will be followed by another one) pits the Joker & Penguin versus Batman though the Joker is carrying the main scheme enlisted Penguin by breaking him out of jail. There is some electricity added when Joker's right hand woman -Venus - tries to decide between being good or bad.
As the 12 crimes of the Zodiac start to unfold, it appears Batman & Robin are always a step behind the Joker in this part. There's lots of good things about this 3 part set including the most female tension for Batman outside of the Cat Woman episodes. The peril here is a possible crushing blow for the caped crusaders. The series is winding along quite well during season 2.
Does it get better, you bet.?
What I Expected & More Done Very Well
There have been so many Joker actors over the years that I expected this one to be a fractured world of a disfunctional life. What I did not expect is the great script and Phoenix to raise the Joker to a whole new level. When you take this story as a whole you can see and feel why the Joker is who he is. The depth this film establishes is beyond what I expected.
I found some of the reason this works so well is the script writers both have some pretty good films under their belt, in particular The Hangover and that's the perfect writing style to design a Joker script. The Director here directed Hangover too which does not hurt. They really wrote a great script.
It is the actors who make it work. Besides Phoenix, Robert De Niro to me was a major surprise in support. When I first saw that he was doing a Carson type talk show type rip-off, I thought boring, I've seen it done before. Then, as the film moved on, suddenly De Niro brought a special something to the role. I'd say a Best Supporting Actor is possible for the actor here.
Zazie Beetz stuck out to me too, as Joker's well, I am not sure you can classify it as girlfriend but then again you can. To me she not only played her role well, she also had a really strong attraction here which I can not quantitify. Her script is kind of limited and the background of her character is not completed, but her skills are really shown off. Frances Conroy's mom's character is solid too. Brett Cullen for some reason reminds me of Alec Baldwin in looks, and he is fine here though not much script.
The story creates a strong sympathy for Joker, and then shows the horrifying results in a way that has not been done before. There is also this strange thing between Joker's character and young boys that is a tension presented throughout this movie. Joker's character has tension, and an ironic comment on Government which enables him to string out of drugs while receiving supposed sponsored theraphy, then pulls the rug out from under him with budget cuts. I give the movie credit though, as it is not presented that the budget cuts actually caused Joker's problems. He is much more conflicted than that. His involvement with the Wayne family is quite unique. Does mom really know best is the question you have to ask yourself? I never thought that maybe the Joker might need to go on (spoiler) Maury for a DNA test?
There is little to critic in this one other than timeline, as it's not real clear in parts where the date really is. Then again, this movie proves we don't really need to know what time it is to present a well-told story. Most everything fits, as a life fractured in a fractured city is what this is.
We do know how it fits with other films of the saga. It is one of the strongest DC based films in a long while. Timeline was a theme in Hangover, but this drama goes way beyond just a hangover.
The Fat Man (1951)
Radio Noir To Film A Bit Static
There are a lot of good points to this one. The original Smart Fat Man from the radio program is on display nd does quite nicely. Rock Hudson and Julie London do quite well in limited roles. William Castle stretches a limited budget well beyond it's limits, especially considering the large cast. The Damon Runyon story is pretty sharp.
There are parts of the film that get long and tedious. Yet there is a pretty good noir with a surprise at the end. The motive seems a bit tedious, and rge film ending seems grafted on. That pretty much sums this up. Its a surprise, for sure, but it's a pretty well done ending. As for the set up, a Dentist is murdered, and a lot of friends teeth have to be extracted to get the show out of the way,
Tyrone Power Leads A Top Notch Crew in Western Noir
This film has such a good cast, it does not lose a step after killing Edgar Bucannan (Uncle Joe -Petticoat Junction) early on. The plot is about the express stage coast service from the west coast to the St. Louis in the 1800's and how it revolutionized the country at that point. It's focus is on station RAWHIDE which is located almost at the mid-point. A stage runs through here every day.
Besides a great cast, the director of this film is one of the better ones who did several top films in his career. The writer of the script is a very good writer who also wrote "Stage Caoch" for John Ford. So with top writing, great direction, and a stellar cast, this Western is very well done on all levels.
The only surprise with this one is how much of a sleeper it was at the box office. It really seems like this one got over looked. A noir western with raw emotions throughout and a well developed script, they don't get better than this. Only funny thing of note is the fact that Haywards white blouse neer gets dirty no matter how much dirt there is around her. Still, this is a small detail that proves the stars clothes are always clean in Hollywood.
Saving Lincoln (2013)
True Story But Sold short
I have seen a lot of works on Lincoln, and I think it is a great idea to marry up original Civil War Photos in the background of a true story. That being said, for some reason the script writing on this one is lacking, because while it transfers accurate history, it makes it seem less interesting than it should be. For some reason, I did not get the last full measure I expected from this film.
The acting seems hollow, but part of this is the script. There is also a part of the acting as the actor playing Lincoln, especially late in the film, seems too young for the main role. Their effort seems like a lite walk through serious history instead of the passion the role requires. Some of that passion is from the script lacking passion for the actor to get a grip on as well.
I do like the visuals, and the ways this is done, but the body guard angle struggles with script too. Overall, it does not draw me into the story enough and considering this is one of the most interesting eras of US History, I was surprised by what I expected, compared to what I got out of this one.
The Ghost That Walks Alone (1944)
No Ghost To Be Found
It is an interesting premise, a terrible radio show leading to a wedding mis-match, and then a honeymoon at an obscure Inn that is at the end of the season. The Inn features a creepy guy and a strange woman. Then the cast of the radio show barge in on the honeymoon because the awful radio shows needs more rehersals. Everyone has a terrible time, even worse than during the radio show. Meanwhile a dead body is found, put in a box, which promptly disappears.
This was obviously done on a tight budget as a 60 minute B film. While the experienced radio folks bring off the radio sequences, the rest of the coasts energy can not bring this novel based script to life. This one proves a book can be made into a bad film. If you think of it as a Scooby Doo pilot, it is a bad one as Abbott & Costello's "Hold That Ghost" is a much better film.
I kept looking at Lake throughout this film thinking he seemed like a character I had seen, but it's been years since I have watched a Dagwood movie. Since he does play the same character, I think the writer should have stepped out and made a Dagwood Sandwich and not wasted the casts energy. You Tube does have this out there, and if your a fan of Lake or one of the actresses in the film, check it out. Otherwise, even though ghosts are Halloween themed, this is no halloween film either.
The Son of Dr. Jekyll (1951)
Hyde Doesn't Belong Here
The story here is a little weak. Of course trying to follow up on a classic done by Frederick March first and then not quite as well in the 1940's would get a weaker script. The writer who cobbled this story together does not appear to have followed the Robert Lewis Stevenson materials very well at all. There is a story, at least, but the sequel story does not compare to the original.
The cast though not well known actually does a pretty good job. I could tell when I saw this on Svengoolie as their acting beat the heck out of the annoying puns that interrupted it. Columbia did not make a large investment on this one, including hiring a Producer to Direct it instead of going for more experience behind the camera.
The beginning and the ending might have been filmed on the same set on the same night. The fire at Dr. Jeckyl's begins and ends this effort. In between is the same mob and police who appear to have come straight from the original Frankenstein years earlier. None of them make any impression.
While the main cast almost brings this weak script over into a decent film, they fall just a little short. Being about the son of Dr. Kekyll, it makes sense there really is no Hyde. This follow up has little place to go either as it seems to go the same direction as many previous monster films, and actually I prefer the Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde comedy follow-up to this weak plotted effort. At least there is some fun there. This one takes itself way too seriously and just does not quite bring it off. Genetics do not carry the plot.
Penny Serenade (1941)
George Stevens Fare A Bit Unusual
The main cast here is marvelous. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are great. Bullah Bondi is excellent. So is Edgar Bucannan as "Apple Jack". The story is wrapped around records and being just before America enters the war, there is no mention of the military in this one.
Instead we have an iconic couple Grant & Dunne who want to have kids but can't. Then they adopt a daughter and that girl is the center of their lives. Story is told through records playing flashbacks. There is happiness, sadness, and more in this plot.
To me, one major hole is Apple Jack. The movie script makes him Grants sidekick, but his character is not filled out properly. There is no mention of a reason Apple Jack keeps haning around either other than he has no family. So he adopts our Iconic Couple.
There is some music some viewers might recognize. That includes "When Baby Makes Three " which was used on the TV Version of MASH. Overall because of my confusion with Apple Jacks character I rate this one at 7 but that because of acting and direction. Still it's a good film.
The Million Pound Note (1954)
Twain Story With A Twist
Mark Twain's story is converted to the screen play by a respected British Woman which I think helps the story flow better. While this is not the classic script like To Kill A MockingBird Peck would get later, it is a good chance for him to show the talent he has.
Wilfred Hyde-White who would later become more known for television roles is one of 2 brothers making a bet that if they give a poor man a million dollar note that he will able to get anything he wants with tht note. Peck's American character just happens to come along and when he reads the note with the million pounds, he knows he has a month to use the note and then present it back to the brothers intact.
The note acts like a VISA Credit card as no one can change it, and it allows him to buy lots of things on credit including his first lunch. Things snowball as everyone from charities to tailors and a hotel give him credit. Some things in this script show the Twain touches.
For example, Peck enlists a circus Strongman to help guard the note, though the guy can't speak. An American friend uses his name to try to become rich on a gold mine. There are several other subplots on how Grant becomes accepted in British society as an eccentric millionaire.
Then there is the beautiful young red-headed grand-daughter who falls in love with him and not his money, which he really does not have. The film is really quite strong except the ending. The note the brothers put with the million pound note promises him a job when he brings back the note intact/ At the end, the only job he gets is becoming the grand-daughters husband. The borthers wo supplied the note never say what job they are supposed to give him, instead bickering about a disagreement on who actually won the bet, because of the technicality of the granddaughter.
The charity auction sequence in a way is just a part of the plot to advnace the relationship between Peck and the Grand Daughter. It might be the most crass money sequence in the film as it seems a lot of Brits are willing to wait to be paid.
The British way of doing the story makes it entertaining fare. The film is in color, though the sets and location make it look like the film was shot on a shoestring. The quality of the script and the strength of Peck carry this film.
This episode starts off with the most famous trial in history, the Scopes Monkey Trial" which literally put Charles Darwin's theory of evolution on trial. The high school teacher who was on trial is in the first of 3 segments. It is one of the amazing moments that this show came up with. Especially memorable are the names of the 2 imposters. Just to see the first of these 3 challenges is important.
The Strange Woman (1946)
Predictable But Incredible
This is really the first of Hedy's films I have ever watched. I chose well. This is without a doubt a low budget film. That being said, it has a great performance by Hedy Lamarr. That center performance makes it a much better film than it ought to be.
The script, based upon the novel, challenges a leading woman's role as a woman living in a man's world, trying to dominate it. In the process of dominating it, she destroys some people around her, but she also destroys a piece of herself in the process. A strange woman indeed.
I found myself being able to predict ever plot turn after the child sequence in the beginning, but this strange woman's performance is so unusual, that it is hard to classify it as predictable results. She gets what she wants but does so at a huge price to herself as well as those around her. What we have here is a woman who combines Scarlett Ohara of Gone With The Wind with Miss Melanie of the same film, but then also puts forth a strong politcally savy woman into herself as well.
Fine film noir for a grade B picture.
Downton Abbey (2019)
Stuffy Stodgy Royal Aristocratic Fun
I only have seen a few episodes of the TV series. The question though is does this movie succeed on it's own? Yes, it does as the understated but hilarious humor that is done better by the British is much in evidence here.
The film takes place in the past and while the year is not stated, nor important, the setting of it is done well. The original sets from the series are used and the film does not fool around with taking itself seriously, but does well with it's main strength- devloping sublte subplots around it's large character cast.
There is a rebellion, and insurrection, thievery, scandal and cheeky humor, all without viollence and special effects. It is done brilliantly. The audience applauded at the end of the film, quite rightly. This is a very successful turn of tv into a feature film, and that is not done this successfully very often. It does have to skim the surface a bit on some of the plotting, but then to go into too much detail with this many goings on would have required a 3 hour movie. That would be too long and too stuffy. This one is done right.
Even though I have only seen a few snippets of the TV series, I enjoyed this little trip back into the era of stuffed shirts, and sublime plotting. Yes, and there's plenty of room to do this again, in another film. There was a trailer from the producers of this of a film next year set in this era. Will be interesting to see if they can duplicate the success here with a different plot and set of characters.