I am trying to get back into watching films on a regular basis again, but it is proving difficult, although I have been busy with other stuff recently. So, I randomly chose this 1960 B-grade film on YouTube a few days ago, described as an “obscure B potboiler” on IMDB.
The story involves an ex-criminal whose brother was murdered, and he wants to find out whodunnit so he can mess them up. The coppers are on his case though, hassling him and telling him to “get outta town, and don’t come back”. But, he perseveres and finds the mug that killed his bro, but doesn’t have to do the dirty work of killing him, instead the coppers do that for him as the mug runs at them with a heater.
“Hey copper, stop hasslin’ me man, I’m straight now!”. “No you ain’t, your type will never go straight. Get outta town, and if I see you again you are going straight to the joint!”
Pretty B-gradey stuff, with a bunch of unknown actors and cheaply made, but I found it to be watchable. More B-grade goodness tonight I think.
Date watched: May 26th
Film count 2017: 67
I knew nothing about this, thinking it was a western with Liam Neeson, it’s not, but kind of is. Liam is a retired police officer (he shoots down three bad guys in the street one day, was never the same after that), who now is a kind of PI type. It’s based on some famous series of books by Lawrence Block, and was almost made in 2002 with Harrison Ford. It’s not super great, very cliched, there are a few scenes showing violence towards women which I thought was a thing of the past in movies these days. Certainly should be.
Date watched: 12th May
Film count 2017: 25
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
Film count 2017: 54
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
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
Film count 2017: 37
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!
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
Film count 2017: 22
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.
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
Film count 2017: 17