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Watched Last Night

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  • There Was a Crooked Man (1960). Finally girding my loins to watch this, I was relieved to find Norman Wisdom is not quite his usual idiotic self in this independent film made by Knightsbridge Productions. He plays a kind of Ian Carmichael role as Davy Cooper, still a bit of a nitwit, but quite resourceful and with his heart and morals in the right place. He joins up with some crooks headed by Alfred Marks for a few jobs and then later to wreak revenge on reptilian northern town mayor Andrew Cruickshank. At times, the comedy seems almost like embarrassed add-ons to a fairly straight story and it does go on a bit too long, but it's reasonably restrained with the slapstick and Norman thankfully hasn't any syrupy songs to perform, although he still gets the girl, Susannah York here, no less. The supporting cast includes Reginald Beckwith, Timothy Bateson, Brian Oulton and Ronald Fraser, who all do well and it's directed by Stuart Burge with some arty dialogue-light sequences.

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    • Someone at the Door (1936). An old dark house comedy thriller with Aileen Marston, Billy Milton, Edward Chapman, Hollywood heavy turned Hertfordshire heavy Noah Beery and demoted to uniformed police sergeant, Charles Mortimer. Breezy Ronnie Martin pretends to murder his sister Sally for the publicity (), but meanwhile in their stately manor, surly butler Price is desperately searching for the hidden proceeds of a jewellery robbery.
      Young Laurence Olivier lookalike Milton is very quickly irritating with his over-the-top-and-round-by-the-back "comedy" in the style of Arthur Askey, and it's down to the rest of the cast to lower the ham ratio and get on with what is otherwise quite an enjoyable effort.
      Someone at the IMDb has added Eliot Makeham to the uncredited cast, but Eliot's not in the film; possibly the uncredited Laurence Hanray has been mistaken for him.

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      • The Long Haul (1957). It's not actually a long haul to watch this crime noirish drama: maybe it's not Hell Drivers, but it packs good entertainment into several lorries (or trucks as everyone calls them) plus it's a great advertisement for Leyland. Victor Mature plays Harry, a driver fresh out the U.S. Army and coerced by his wife played by Gene Anderson to go to stay in Liverpool, where he gets a job with her haulage company uncle. But Harry soon gets involved in the illegal side of things, personified by cigar-chomping Joe Easy, played by Patrick Allen, and his glamour puss girlfriend Lynn, Diana Dors at her most seductive. Harry of course falls for her, but there are many twists and turns on the very rocky road his lorry has to take to Liverpool and Glasgow and points north west.
        Peter Reynolds gives a measured performance for once as Lynn's brother, plus there are roles for Liam Redmond and Jameson Clark. It's pretty gripping stuff, though strangely it's Patrick Allen who puts in the most clichéd performance as the head gangster while Victor Mature is not quite a bland as he often can be. Diana gets lots to do, including getting all wet in a Scottish burn. Written and directed with considerable skill by Ken Hughes, but when will the researchers learn there are no inquests in Scotland?

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        • The Tenth Man (1936). Cheat, financial swindler and, of course, Member of Parliament George Winter needs to hold off his divorce to retain his seat in the General Election, while keeping the lid on his latest series of mega scams. He claims that "people trust Members of Parliament" () and "nine out of ten men are either knaves or fools". Then the tenth man who is neither appears . . .
          John Lodge is very good (and tall) as Winter, with Antoinette Cellier his downtrodden wife, with Athole Stewart his blustering father-in-law, who is certainly one of the nine, plus there's Clifford Evans and briefly, Kathleen Harrison. An enjoyable drama ably directed by Brian Desmond Hurst from a play by W. Somerset Maugham.

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          • There's Always A Thursday (1956). A modest hour long comedy that's cosily amusing with Charles Victor as a nagged clerk who secretly has to pay weekly hush money to his boss's former mistress. Then events conspire to show that Charles is the ladies' man and his whole life changes, or so he thinks . . .
            There are agreeable performances from Charles, Marjorie Rhodes, Jill Ireland, Richard Thorp, Patrick Holt and Frances Day as well as a slightly out of character one from Bruce Seton as Charles's lazy drunken brother-in-law. Passes the time quite nicely, regardless of the day of the week.
            Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 12th November 2017, 08:49 PM.

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            • King Solomon's Mines (1937). Probably the best version of H. Rider Haggard's adventure yarn, adapted though it is to accommodate the vocal talents of top-billed Paul Robeson. Anna Lee's delicate appearance and quickly-disposed of ropey Irish accent belie the feisty character she's playing, but Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young and (the sometimes stiff) John Loder well fill out their roles as Qua(r)termain, Good and Curtis. Nice location photography in South Africa cuts in smoothly with the studio sets and it all fits adequately in its brisk 77 minutes under the direction of Robert Stevenson.

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              • Not last night but recently...

                The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005) Not nearly as bad as I had been led to believe! Obviously, most fans have their favourite version, usually the first one encountered. This is true for me so mine is the radio series, followed by the books. I never really warmed to the TV series and this film, for me, wees all over it! Yes, there are some liberties taken but a slavish re-telling of the story would be pointless.

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                • Originally posted by zabadak View Post
                  Not last night but recently...

                  The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (2005) Not nearly as bad as I had been led to believe! Obviously, most fans have their favourite version, usually the first one encountered. This is true for me so mine is the radio series, followed by the books. I never really warmed to the TV series and this film, for me, wees all over it! Yes, there are some liberties taken but a slavish re-telling of the story would be pointless.
                  The radio series was the best version

                  The pictures are better on the radio
                  For the TV series (which had some interesting graphics) and the film, they had to create too much whereas the original radio show just spoke Douglas Adams' clever words

                  Steve

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                  • A Touch of Larceny (1960) The only touch of larceny here seems to be the theft of any laughs from what the poster claimed was "The season's most outrageous, uproarious comedy!", a claim which would these days be referred to the Advertising Standards Authority, although some people seem to find it funny judging by its 6.9 rating on IMDb. The story involves a philandering Naval Commander (James Mason) stuck with a boring desk job at the Admiralty who takes a shine to the fiancée (Vera Miles)of an old war colleague (George Sanders) he bumps in to one day. As the lady has expensive tastes Mason decides that he will pretend to defect, be libelled by the press and then reappear with a credible explanation of his absence and sue the papers for defamation. If it had starred Ian Carmichael, Janette Scott and Terry-Thomas and been made by the Boultings there may have been a few laughs to be had but as it is it could have been a straight drama without changing the script. The unsuitably cast actors mostly have vacant expressions as if waiting for Guy Hamilton to phone in his direction and even John Le Mesurier fails to raise a grin. Producer Ivan Foxwell got Paramount to back this and they paired it with a Danziger B-movie called Night Train for Inverness on general release on the Rank circuit in March 1960. Many patrons may have preferred watching Denis Waterman search for insulin on the train to Scotland.

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                    • Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post

                      The radio series was the best version

                      The pictures are better on the radio
                      For the TV series (which had some interesting graphics) and the film, they had to create too much whereas the original radio show just spoke Douglas Adams' clever words

                      Steve
                      Zaphod had a better face for radio!

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                      • Paddington 2 (2017) Absolutely brilliant! That Huge Grunt (or whatever his name is) could possibly make a tidy living if he keeps up the good work!

                        The attention to detail in the CGI is extraordinary but, as countless reviews have said, it is soooo funny: both the mem sahib and I were in fits at times.

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                        • I watched Jaws last night. I love films that are set around water.

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                          • Forbidden Cargo (1954). You'd like this one then, Ella, as water abounds throughout, whether it be the English Channel, the Mediterranean or the Thames. Quite an enjoyable crime thriller with noir-ish elements about smuggling that combines Customs and Excise procedure, some glamour and a fair bit of melodrama. The capable cast is headed by Nigel Patrick, Elizabeth Sellars and Terence Morgan, with an "and" for Jack Warner, plus it's always a pleasure to see Greta Gynt. Theodore Bikel plays a very heavy heavy (even moreso that Eric Pohlmannn in this!) and Joyce Grenfell puts in a quieter performance as usual, but is still the eccentric comedy relief. The middle section of the film set in the south of France slows down the pace quite a lot, but things get whipped up well by director Harold French and lighting cameraman Pennington Richards for the very dramatic final scenes.

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