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Watched Last Night

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  • A Hard Day's Night (1964). The grandfather of all pop videos breathtakingly created by director Richard Lester and editor John Jympson which captures the furore of the Beatles cult, though my uncle wouldn't have their music played in his house! The storyline is pretty flimsy involving the lads getting ready for a live television concert and bedevilled by Paul's clean granddad Wilfrid Brambell, but that's only there as the supporting act for about a dozen of the group's greatest songs. Marvellous nostalgic entertainment.

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    • Esther Waters (1948). A Victorian melodrama with a horseracing background which Stewart Granger declined and so gave Dirk Bogarde his first screen credited role, and second billing to boot. Kathleen Ryan is in the lead as the hot-tempered and illiterate but pious servant Esther and we follow her story over the years as Dirk gets her in the family way and disappears, her hard work as a maid and involvement with quiet and unassuming lay parson Cyril Cusack, and the re-emergence of Dirk as a "lucky" bookie. The hokey episodic storyline is helped along by good performances from all concerned, Ivor Barnard, Fay Compton, Margaret Diamond and Mary Clare included, and the elaborately staged Derby Day sequences are extremely impressive.

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      • Only Two Can Play (1961). Married randy Welsh librarian John Lewis seeks promotion as well as as many females he can ogle at. When the wife of the Library Committee comes into his orbit, we follow their attempts to consummate the relationship as he continues his home life. A Launder and Gilliat production, though with a witty script by Bryan Forbes which includes a surprising amount of toilet humour, but which sadly misses the mark as it attempts to bring in more adult themes which don't gel particularly well with everything else including the expected exaggerated performances from Kenneth Griffith, Raymond Huntley, John Le Mesurier and Graham Stark. Peter Sellers seems a bit lost with his characterisation and falls back on silly voices a number of times - he never liked the film as he lost out on it financially - and Mai Zetterling doesn't quite convince as the glamorous man-eater. Virginia Maskell is fine though as Mrs. Lewis, plus there are a few amusing scenes with Richard Attenborough as her arty-farty poet admirer.

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        • Switchback (1997)
          Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover - an FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer,really enjoyable film - partly filmed on the railroad near Pinecliffe,colorado,lovely scenery and a nicely shot film

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          • The Bargee 1964 .

            nowt to do with indian cuisine . This is a tale of life on the waterways of England . Written by Galton & Simpson .

            Starring ... Harry H. Corbett . Ronnie Barker .



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            • I will have to watch the Bargee again sometime Alec - thanks for the reminder

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              • Floodtide (1949). Ambitious David Shields forsakes his family farm to go to Glasgow and work in the Clydebank shipyards. Can he demonstrate his talents and rise to become a ship designer? An auld biler of a patronising film, romanticising a way of life that was really bleak and tough. Soon-to-be-wed Gordon Jackson and Rona Anderson are the drippy leads, Gordon atypically an action hero at one point, and the expected Scottish thesps of the day are all present and correct, with the exception of Finlay Currie and Jameson Clark: John Laurie, Jack Lambert, Janet Brown, Archie Duncan, Alastair Hunter, Molly Weir, honorary member Gordon McLeod plus Jimmy Logan pulling faces and mugging as usual. The constant rumble of the trams going past the houses is evocative, however, plus there's good art direction and some genuine location filming, but the result is still pretty feeble stuff. Completes a viewing of the four technically unsuccessful independent frame production of David Rawnsley (basically green screen gone mad), though there seems to be less reliance on the technique than in its shipmates Warning to Wantons, Stop Press Girl and Poet's Pub.

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                • No Love for Johnnie (1960). Made by the Betty E. Box/Ralph Thomas team, this political drama is somewhat awash with soap opera themes as well as M.P.s in-fighting and manoeuvring for their own personal advantage (sounds familiar?). Northern Labour M.P. Johnnie Byrne struggles to get on in his career as he tries to juggle it with his libido - his dowdy activist wife Alice has left him and he has the hots for Pauline, half his age, while Mary upstairs, who has the hots for him, he treats badly. Which side of his life will win out?
                  Peter Finch goes through the agonies and ecstasies as Johnnie with Rosalie Crutchley as Alice, Mary Peach as Pauline and Billie Whitelaw as Mary. The various Honourable Members jostling for position include Stanley Holloway, Donald Pleasence, Hugh Burden, Mervyn Johns and Paul Rogers with Geoffrey Keen as the newly-elected P.M.
                  There's maybe no love for Johnnie, but the film was romantically released by Rank on St. Valentine's Day 1961.

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                  • BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB 1971 Hammer.

                    Completes my Blu-Ray set of the Hammer mummy films and once again the quality of this transfer is excellent well up with the others. Typically Valerie Leon bounces off the screen in this full colour horror outing. It was sad viewing the making of it also included to hear that Peter Cushing who had started shooting had to leave the project due to his wife being taken very poorly.
                    A good cast in this and worth getting on BR if you have the player.
                    94 minutes 1.66.1 DTS HD audio.

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                    • London Entertains (1951). Well, indeed it might, but this certainly doesn't, except in a perverse way due to its shoddiness. A gaggle of Swiss finishing school girls, heavily made up, indeed bizarrely as far as lipstick is concerned, head for London and start up the "At Your Service" escort agency, but as it's a "U", it's simply to accompany young men around the sights and sounds of the Festival of Britain. Sadly those sights and sounds are exceedingly downmarket, captured as they are in his usual amateurish, all expenses spared home movie style by E. J. Fancey. One of the girls is inevitably his daughter Adrienne, and overseeing them is an extremely self-conscious (at one point unconscious too) Eamonn Andrews. The only others you are likely to know are the embarrassed Vincent Ball and Bill Nagy, though we do get to see those crazy people The Goons in an early iteration, including Michael Bentine. The photography, staging and sound recording are all so crummy, it's not a valuable record of the times and the thing seems much longer than 49 minutes.
                      Someone has added Al (Grandpa Munster) Lewis to the uncredited cast list on IMDb, but it's in fact the credited Joe Baker (as Joe Cunningham) playing the role of Hiram.
                      Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 1st February 2018, 09:13 PM.

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                      • Feet of Clay (1960). Poor old Vincent Ball in another penny-pinching production with inept direction and design, uneven performances and a terribly wordy script: yes, a Danziger special. Vincent is out to prove the innocence of confessed murderer Brian Smith but the confused and unresearched story can't decide if Vincent is a barrister or a solicitor (he sees the client and witnesses without a solicitor present) though he actually behaves as though he's a detective. It centres around a Madame Fagin Hotel operated by Hilda Fenemore and Robert Cawdron with a chain-smoking Alan Browning at the edges as Scotland Yard's finest. Wendy Williams is rather good, but gets little to do as Vincent's probation officer fiancĂ©e, although the best performance is from Angela Douglas who shows up some of her fellow cast members with her restrained performance. There's a nice jazzy score, but it's too loud and tends to come in at inappropriate moments. Overall, however, feat of dismay.

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                        • Derby Day (1952). Very popular in its time, this rather stuffy Herbert Wilcox production hasn't aged very well and has a somewhat pompous air to it. Four separate fluffy and melodramatic stories converge at the Derby and so we get Anna Neagle in one, Michael Wilding, Gordon Harker and Gladys Henson in another, Peter Graves, Suzanne Cloutier and Ralph Reader in the third and Googie Withers and John McCallum in the last. Alfie Bass, Nigel Stock, Ewan Roberts and Sam Kydd also feature, as well as Raymond Glendenning and Brian Johnston on their microphones. A bit of a non-runner.

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                          • Beat Girl (1960)

                            Spoiled rich kid Gillian Hills rebels against stuffy Dad David Farrar and his new French wife Noelle Adam and gets into trouble spending her time with the Beatniks.
                            This seems to have developed something of a cult status, although I couldn't really see why. Some good performances, particularly from Hills and from Christopher Lee and Nigel Green as seedy night club owner and manager respectively, but the dialogue is clunky, all daddy-o's, kicks, and squares and must have seemed outdated in 1960 and the beats including Peter McEnery, Adam Faith, Shirley Ann Field and Oliver Reed are unconvincing.
                            Ollie's dancing has to be seen to be believed...
                            One that hasn't aged well.

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                            • Originally posted by Tigon Man View Post
                              Beat Girl (1960)


                              This seems to have developed something of a cult status, although I couldn't really see why.
                              Possibly the theme tune? One of my personal John Barry favourites. Otherwise, very, as you say, clunky.

                              I watched two films today: Get Out - Oscar-tipped straightforward thriller. (2017) Good fun. and Kill or Cure (1962). What a cast - Terry Thomas, Eric Sykes, Lionel Jeffries, Ronnie Barker, Patricia Hayes, Peter Butterworth, Dennis Price and Moira Redmond, (who I'd just seen in Nightmare) and far better than I remembered it (having seen it last what ... 45 years ago?). Great pace, great story.
                              So - two highly entertaining films, both based around big posh houses with rum goings on afoot...

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                              • Just watched the Ealing drama "It Always Rains On Sundays" (1947) with the brilliant Googie Withers as the disillusioned wife and step-mother, John McCallum as her former lover and now man on the run who re-enters her life and the inevitable Jack Warner as the droll, sarcastic and rather self righteous copper on the trail of McCallum. What a wonderful film, capturing the post-war strain and weary hardship of the East End and the lively characters who fill its streets from petty crooks, market traders, street-wise children and spivs whose stories all intertwine along the way.The rousing climax features a chase with a car, bicycle and trains! Among the drama black humour abounds, like the reading of "The News Of The World" in bed and the attendant question - "Any murders"? Beautifully photographed by Douglas Slocombe and very highly recommended.

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