Independence Day: Resurgence

The first film I chose on our flight from Brisbane to Narita was this one.

Despite all of the negative reviews I thought this was not too bad. Big CG blockbusters like this are just aren’t meant to be taken seriously are they? So, I just watch them for the explosions, shooting stuff up, and general silliness which this had plenty of.

Brent Spiner was by far the best actor in this, his nutty professor character was a hoot. The story was convoluted and confusing at times, as was some of the CG, and there was a little flag waving again of course. But, it had plenty of pretty things to look at, and a huge alien that went berzerb, so that was fun.

The story ended with the possibility of a third film, and I see on the interwebs that there is talk of it at the moment.

Date watched: April 6th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 54

The Limping Man

I chose this one on YouTube because it starred a young Lloyd Bridges (his filmography is very impressive), one of the highlights of the Airplane films.

The Limping Man is a 1953 British noir film about Lloyd’s character getting caught up in the assassination of an anonymous man after he gets off a flight from America (Lloyd’s character was standing next to him when he was shot by a sniper). After that the story follows him, his British ladyfriend, a theatre troupe (including a limping man), and Scotland Yard as they try find find out what the heck is going on.

The story was quite good really, at least until the last minute when all of this turned out to be a dream! As Lloyd’s character was about to land in England from America he wakes up just as he was about to be killed in his dream. He gets off the plane and we see that the passengers and crew were all of the people in his dream! What a cop out!

So apart from that silly ending it was a decent watch, and seeing early 1950’s England was interesting.

Date watched: February 24th
Score: 6/10 (needed a better ending)
Film count 2017: 41

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Morning Call

Also known as “The Strange Case of Dr. Manning” in the U.S.A., this is a 1957 British film about the kidnapping of a doctor married to woman from a rich family. An American detective (played by an Aussie) is brought in on the case, and along with Scotland Yard’s finest, they sleuth out the kidnapper.

So the story is pretty simple, and not overly exciting. But the acting is fine, and the ending was a little unexpected with the doctor discovered dead, but they caught the kidnapper/murderer of course.

There is very little about this on the interwebs. The lead actress was played by Greta Gynt, a Norwegian actress who had a reasonably long career.

Quite forgettable, but it passed 75 minutes away quite painlessly.

Date watched: February 16th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 37

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Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome

I actually watched Blood On The Sun over two sessions, so after finishing that last night I watched this because it was only 65 minutes long, and it starred Boris Karloff.

This is the fourth of the Dick Tracy series, and had a different actor playing Dick. Morgan Conway played Dick in the first two, Ralph Byrd in the last two. Ralph Byrd had actually played Dick in dozens of serials starting in 1937.

Compared to the first Dick Tracy film, this one was heavier on the comedy and lighter on the sleuthing. The jokes were considerably cornier and sillier, especially with the overuse of double-takes by Pat Patton, Tracy’s bumbling sidekick.

Appearing in this was the fab Skelton Knaggs from Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, and Milton Parsons who was in the first film and Cueball.

The star of the show though was Boris Karloff (who got star billing) as a ruthless criminal. He was quite menacing, and was quite a big chap. His character, Gruesome, comes across a nerve agent that instantly paralyses people (the film makers just froze the frame to make them look frozen, including a cat in mid jump) and uses it to easily rob a bank. There was a line in the film where Pat Patton describes Gruesome looking a lot like Boris Karloff. Nice!

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Skelton and Boris

Dick Tracy is of course on his tail, and with the help of Pat Patton, his bumbling sidekick, and Tess Truehart, his lovely gal, he saves the day. It all ends with Pat Patton knocking over the nerve agent, freezing the three of them.

Silly stuff, but worth watching just for Boris alone.

Date watched: January 28th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 22

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The Thirteenth Guest

This is a pre-code mystery comedy film from 1932, and is what is known as a Poverty Row film, a new term for me.

And it’s B-gradiness shows as the production, writing, and actors were bargain basement stuff. Ginger Rogers is one of the main characters, but at the time was still relatively unknown. Also starring, was Lyle Talbot, who would go onto Plan 9 From Outer Space fame.

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Ginger and Lyle Talbot

It is kind of entertaining though, and as it is pre-code there are some rather risqué jokes. The mystery part of the story is quite fun and keeps you guessing as to what is going on. The murderer’s method of bumping victims off is original, an all steel phone that is hooked up to the mains and triggered with a switch hidden in a secret room. One actor’s acting when electrified by the phone was quaint.

Even though talkies had been around for only six years when this came out, the sound was surprisingly good, you could hear everything on the set, although there was an electric hum in the background.

So, this was interesting, mostly because of it’s age, and also to see how budget films were made in the 1930’s.

Date watched: January 22nd
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 17

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Raw Deal

This is a low grade 1948 crime noir film starring a few actors I have never heard of, except Raymond Burr.

The story was about a criminal who busts out of prison with the help of his girl. What they don’t know is that a sadistic mobster who owes the crim some money, facilitated the break in the hope that he would get killed. Also in the story is a social worker who tried to help the criminal go straight, but also was in love with him. So the story is a mixture of the three of them on the lam, a love triangle, and revenge on Raymond Burr.

It was though just an OK story. The acting was fine on the whole, and the photography was dark and moody (most of it took place at night). Raymond Burr was great as a nasty mob boss who liked to play with fire. In one scene he gets ticked off with a woman who was annoying him, so he throws some kind of flambé over her (we didn’t actually see her get flamed).

Raymond was a huge guy with the widest shoulders I have ever seen.

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Raymond starting to get annoyed.

Standard stuff, but worth a watch just for the photography, and Raymond Burr’s evilness.

Date watched: January 14th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 12

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Beat The Devil

I was interested in watching this film because it is called “the first camp movie” on various sites. It is also called a spoof of The Maltese Falcon.

It has an impressive cast: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Gina Lollobrigida, Robert Morley, Edward Underdown (later on appearing in Dad’s Army), was directed by John Huston, and co-written by Truman Capote.

The story involves a band of swindlers who are trying to claim some uranium-rich land in Kenya. The story is actually a bit confusing at times, although I was a tad sleepy while watching this.

So the acting was fine, and the dialogue was snappy and amusing at times. It was just the story which let it down a little, it wasn’t as funny overall as it should have been, and it felt a bit muddled. It was filmed well, and the location in a small seaside town in Italy was good to look at.

Most of the funny parts actually were from the Italian actors who were mostly in the background. There was the drunk captain of the cruise ship the main characters arrived on, and who was always shouting loudly and angrily in Italian at his crew. The ship’s purser was also funny with his dry sarcasm and wit. There was also a bus of rowdy Italians that provided a laugh.

Of the main cast one actor was funniest as the wife of a very British chap. She was a compulsive liar and would make up stories on the spot that were amusing. The actress also played her very well.

Humphrey was just going through the motions. I read on Wikipedia that he had a car accident during filming and lost a few teeth. A young Peter Sellers was hired to do a few of Humphrey’s lines as he couldn’t speak well. I did notice that Humphrey had a lot of saliva on his lips at times, perhaps as a result of the accident.

I didn’t really see this as being camp, or even a spoof, it was just a mild comedy. This bombed at the time, and Humphrey who had put some money into it, did not like the film.

If you are into a little film history, and some witty dialogue, then I can recommend checking this out.

Date watched: January 13th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2017: 11

The pressbook makes it out to be something it is not…

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