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Watched Last Night

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  • Seven Days To Noon (1950) Great period piece, with excellent location shots of ye olde London tahhhn, rather than boring matte shots or models! Coincidentally, I was reading a short article in a magazine about the Barbican Centre, saying it was built on the bombed-out remains of Cripplegate Street (I did not know this). Sure enough, a road sign for the street was shown and yes, it was a shell! Little did they know what it would become!

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    • (Hope this applies to TV as well ?)

      Inspector Morse - The Settling of the Sun (1988)

      I am currently going through the complete box set on DVD. Not a favourite episode to be honest, it being mostly set in one of the College buildings and grounds, with just one pub scene - I like pubs !

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      • Their Night Out (1933). Knockabout comedy that starts promisingly enough but runs out of steam about halfway through, despite some clever dialogue and lively performances from Claude Hulbert playing the silly ass as usual and Amy Veness as his battleaxe of a mother-in-law. Judy Kelly plays his wife, Binnie Barnes a villainous vamp, Gus McNaughton the butler and Hal Gordon a dopey policeman to whom everyone and everything is "queer". Top-billed, however, is a slimline and very broad Renee Houston as a buyer from Aberdeen let loose in London nightclubs. A criminal mastermind and stolen jewels are somewhere in the plot too.
        Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 27th October 2017, 07:00 PM.

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        • The Nightcomers (1972). Halloween may be coming, but this is a horror film of a different colour: a truly awful piece of cinema edited, produced and directed by Michael Winner as a prequel to Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw". Indeed, turning screws on your thumbs would be preferable to watching this dragged-out production again with its stilted and uneven dialogue with the name of the person spoken to nearly always included - often a sign of weak writing. Marlon Brando plays the gardener Peter Quint more mischievous than malign, a mumbling and muttering performance with a cod Irish accent, unwittingly corrupting the children Flora and Miles portrayed by Verna Harvey and Christopher Ellis as though they're in a school play. Even veterans Thora Hird and Harry Andrews are defeated by the script and as the tortured Miss Jessel, Stephanie Beacham gives an uneven reading. The sex, nudity and violence seems to have been the excuse for making this, a stitched together mess and a bore to boot.

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          • The Warren Case (1934). Reasonably enjoyable murder thriller with drunken crime journalist Lewis Bevan anxious to recover his status as a star reporter when circumstances appear to throw a sensational case on his lap. Richard Bird plays the sozzled scribbler with Diana Napier and Nancy Burne the ladies in his life, an early appearance of Edward Underdown as the accused and Charles Mortimer and Noel Dainton as the not so plodding plods (John Turnbull must've been away on another case), plus Francis L. Sullivan as a blustering prosecution counsel. From a play by Arnold Ridley, adapted and directed by Walter Summers.

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            • The Secret of My Success (1965). Is down to mother! An amusing episodic comedy about nincompoop policeman Arthur Tate with an unsubtle yen for manipulative ladies without having a clue what's going on. Accordingly, Arthur gets fouled up in a murder investigation, an invasion of giant spiders and South American revolution, but still comes out on top . . . or does he? He's forgotten about another manipulative woman closer to home.
              James Booth stars as the witless Arthur, with Stella Stevens, Honor Blackman and Shirley Jones as the three femmes fatale, Amy Dalby as his doting mum and Lionel Jeffries playing four roles. Written and directed on location by Andrew L. Stone, it's hit and miss stuff with a few good laughs, but a film I've wanted to see again for many years.

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              • Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969). Halloween viewing was the last of the Hammer Draculas to have some connection with the earlier entries and brings the Count to England (as opposed to Europe sur Angleterre) and originally the film was an attempt to have the Lord Courtley character take over as the main villain. However, the distributors would have none of it, so Christopher Lee is back doing little as old red eyes except grimace and expire twice. Here the Count corrupts the children of three apparently upright pillars of society to have revenge on the gents for killing Courtley . . . and bringing the Count back to "life" (). The three are Geoffrey Keen the unpleasant (apparently rather like the man himself), John Carson the thoughtful and Peter Sallis the panicked while their offspring are Linda Hayden, Martin Jarvis, Isla Blair and Anthony Corlan. Ralph Bates overacts like mad as Courtley in true demon king fashion; Hammer went on to have him replace Peter Cushing as Frankenstein, but Ralph was himself later replaced . . . by Peter Cushing. Michael Ripper of course pops up and James Bernard's pounding music is more lyrical than usual. Some interesting angles, close-ups and tracking shots from director Peter Sasdy, although he frequently allows Sir Christopher to look as though there's a foul smell under his nose - probably emanating from the script!

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                • Doctor's Orders (1934). The jollification prescription comes from Leslie Fuller, a funfair "quack" who has real doctor John Mills for a son and he doesn't know his father's true profession. For a change, Leslie's a hard worker in this one, so doesn't really merit the nagging he gets from his missus Mary Jerrold, nor the sniffy condescension from Felix Aylmer, but it's all good if undemanding fun with slimlines Ronald Shiner and William Kendall also in the cast. Directed at a quick trot by Norman Lee.

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                  • Up Jumped a Swagman (1965). A mindless musical showcasing the considerable singing talents of Frank Ifield, as well as his restricted acting ability. Most of these kind of films can be pretty plotless, but this one with its increasing surreal sequences must take a prize for having a flimsy storyline with jewellery shop robbery sideplot that just drifts away into nothing. However, Frank gets a dozen songs to yodel out along the puzzling way, plus there's Annette Andre and Suzy Kendall, as well as Ronald Radd, Richard Wattis and lots of London location footage in Technicolor and Techniscope. Scriptwriter Lewis Greifer obviously threw in the towel about a third of the way in and director Christopher Miles accordingly just goes with the flow.

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                    • What Happened Then (1934). "I'm going to have one last stab at uncle tonight" vows Geoffrey Wardwell as milksop Ray Rudford, which is unfortunate as he's accused of the old goat's murder the next morning. A standard crime/courtroom drama, almost a companion piece to The Warren Case (545 above), with another scenery-chewing role for Richard Bird, prosecution led by Francis L. Sullivan and with direction and adaptation and no doubt shouting by Walter Summers. The mystery of the convenient fingerprints is not difficult to work out, but the film's under an hour so you can just let the likes of Raymond Huntley as the mild-mannered butler, Kathleen Harrison as the screeching maid and George Zucco as the dogged detective take you through the familiar ongoings.

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                      • Who dares Wins (Lewis Collins 1983). I first saw this many years ago and had good memories of it, so we settled down with a glass of wine last night to watch it on the 'Movies 4 Men' channel. Either I've changed or the film has not aged well. A rather over-groomed Lewis Collins (rigid hair, slightly camp wardrobe) does his 'Professionals' moody tough-guy act in this rather good story of a radical people's party taking hostage a group of top-brass and the SAS effort to free them. The first half of the film is all over the place, but it tightens up later on and of course everyone is safe in the end. It looks rather like a TV-movie version of a 'Professionals' story, but maybe that's not so bad. Could have been a lot better though, it just looks cheap.

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                        • The Running Man (1963). Faking his death to swindle the insurance, Rex Black debunks to Spain followed by his wife Stella. He gets a taste for the high life and for arranging some more scams, but then the insurance agent who settled the claim, Stephen Maddox, turns up. Is he onto them?
                          A minor thriller from Carol Reed which has Laurence Harvey as Rex, Lee Remick as Stella and Alan Bates as Stephen and some nice location work in Spain and Gibraltar, but it's quite minor stuff overall and it only gets mildly tense in the last 30 to 45 minutes. Felix Aylmer, Eleanor Summerfield, Allan Cuthbertson and Colin Gordon put in one-scene appearances and as it's filmed out of Ardmore Studios in Ireland, the inevitable Noel Purcell, Eddie Byrne and Joe Lynch (dubbed) turn up too. More surprising are appearances from Ramsay Ames and Fortunio Bonanova as a high-living ex-pat and a Spanish bank manager.
                          The film has the last score of William Alwyn, although the atonal main title music comes from Ron Grainer, accompanied by snazzy Maurice Binder animations.

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                          • Living Dangerously (1936). Initially intriguing but ultimately unbelievable drama with Otto Kruger as a doctor accused of improper conduct who years later kills the other doctor who set him up. Kruger always was better as a villain than as here, a soft-spoken victim, although Francis Lister is suitably reptilian as his former cheating partner while Leonora Corbett is statuesque as the lady in the middle. The British Medical Council's court is of the kangaroo variety with improper and inept counsel and the end of the film is plain silly, though at 68 minutes, the film is just long enough to be tolerable.

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                            • Vault Of Horror- 1973 . I have seen it loads of times, but i enjoy their portmanteau style films.

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                              • Curry & Chips (ITV sitcom, 1969) In my opinion Johnny Speight is or was a first class satirist. Any TV programme or film is better off for having actor Sam Kydd in it. I can watch this series again and again. Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes were good friends in real life and i think it showed on screen here too.

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