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Watched Last Night

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  • Broken Journey (1947). Ken Annakin's second feature certainly has a broken plane it in, but unfortunately a rather broken script (by Robert Westerby) with passengers and crew of the stricken craft (all walks as life as ever: a film actress, hanger-on, a boxer, an opera singer, estranged brothers and a man in an iron lung (!)) shallow characterisations and generally thoroughly unpleasant. We certainly get down to it fairly swiftly as the plane crashes nine minutes in, and there are lovely Alpine location scenes, but the weak storyline, though based on a true incident, lets the whole thing down and the cast playing the cardboard characters, who include Phyllis Calvert, Margot Grahame, James Donald, Guy Rolfe, Francis L. Sullivan, David Tomlinson and Raymond Huntley, should certainly have known better. Go by train next time.
    Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 8th April 2017, 11:10 AM.

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    • An American Werewolf in London (1981). I haven't seen this movie in a while - it still feels wonderfully fresh. John Landis (director/writer) succeeds in maintaining a tricky balance between humour, horror and pathos. Rick Baker's make-up effects are still extraordinary. Apparently, Landis wrote the first draft of the screenplay as a teenager (quite staggering, if true).

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      • John Hamilton
        John Hamilton commented
        Editing a comment
        Couple of weeks ago, my daughter and I watched Rick Baker's handiwork in The Thing. She is definately one of the CGI generation but was hugely impressed with how they did it in the olden days!

      • Antonylds
        Antonylds commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, the special effects in The Thing are even better than that in American Werewolf, but Baker (as far as I know) wasn't involved. Rob Bottin was the brains behind the make-up effects.

    • The Blockhouse (1973). A claustrophobic POW drama with some very dark scenes, both literally and psychologically, an oddball dramatic project for Peter Sellers, albeit shot in the Guernsey tax haven. Seven prisoners are trapped underground, have plenty of wine, food and, it seems, air, but little hope of escape or rescue. It's a dismal piece that goes on for far too long and depends upon the skill of the actors: Sellers' subdued performance is nothing special and Charles Aznavour can't act. The best performances come from Peter Vaughan and Per Oscarsson, with Jeremy Kemp, Nicholas Jones, Leon Lissek and briefly and uncredited, Alfred Lynch as the trapped others. There seems to be some question as to whether this was ever formally released (by Helmdale?) and indeed, I think it would have worked better as an hour-long television production.

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      • It's a Two Foot Six Inch Above The Ground World aka The Love Ban (1972)

        Kevin Laffan's stage comedy adapted for the big screen, with Hywel Bennett and Nanette Newman, as a catholic family with six kids. Nanette doesn't want to add to the brood and imposes the ban on staunch Hywel getting his oats.
        Milo O'Shea is the local priest, caught between trying to maintain Hywel's faith in the cloth and Nanette's family planning concerns.
        Broad, unsubtle and not particularly funny, it should perhaps have stayed on the stage. With Nicky Henson, Anghared Rees, Georgina Hale and Madeleine Smith.

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        • Secret Mission (1942). . . . to France for Hugh Williams, James Mason, Roland Culver and Michael Wilding to discover German forces in this enjoyable wartime adventure which has a fair dollop of gung-ho humour. When they get there, Carla Lehmann does not have much of a welcome for them, but there are nevertheless thrills and spills for our heroes as they confound those nasty Nazis. Herbert Lom even pops up briefly in a tiny role, as does Stewart Granger in an even tinier one. An early bit of Where Eagles Dare and just as believable.

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          • The Sleeping Room (2014)

            Yawn! The British horror revivial continues to sleep walk.

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            • Battle of the V1 (1958) - enjoyable WW 2 pic but with a few cardboard cut out Nazis. Polish underground activity filmed largely in Sussex.

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              • The Sandwich Man (1966). Episodic comedy co-written and starring Michael Bentine as the title character (and also playing a jazz club owner) who observes various starry folk getting up to mischief during his daily walk, while fretting about his homing pigeon making it back to base and trying to mend a romance between model Suzy Kendall and car salesman David Buck. The sequences are of course hit-and-miss, and some of the comedy is dated, but there are still some laugh out loud moments. The incredible cameo cast includes Dora Bryan, Harry H. Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Diana Dors, Ian Hendry (really good as a motorcycle cop), Ron Moody and Terry-Thomas. Even the Norman Wisdom slapstick scenes are just about tolerable! Nice 60s views of London too.

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                • It! The terror from Beyond Space (1958). I've been wanting to watch this film for years, as it is claimed by some that it helped inspire Alien. There is certainly a basic similarity (hostile creature in space ship), but that's about it. It has some creepy moments and the creature is wisely filmed in shadow in many of the earlier scenes. Unintentionally amusing at times as regards social attitudes (the two women crew members, a doctor and nurse, also prepare the food and coffee for their male colleagues; people smoke like chimneys - despite the fire risk; the ship has a remarkable arsenal of weapons, including grenades and a bazooka - which spaceship wouldn't?!). Halfway through the film there is a marvellous scene in which 2 crew members have a spacewalk and, unusually, there are no inaccurate sound effects - it belongs in a much better movie.

                  Entertaining enough, but a little disappointing.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Antonylds View Post
                    It! The terror from Beyond Space (1958). I've been wanting to watch this film for years, as it is claimed by some that it helped inspire Alien. There is certainly a basic similarity (hostile creature in space ship), but that's about it. It has some creepy moments and the creature is wisely filmed in shadow in many of the earlier scenes. Unintentionally amusing at times as regards social attitudes (the two women crew members, a doctor and nurse, also prepare the food and coffee for their male colleagues; people smoke like chimneys - despite the fire risk; the ship has a remarkable arsenal of weapons, including grenades and a bazooka - which spaceship wouldn't?!). Halfway through the film there is a marvellous scene in which 2 crew members have a spacewalk and, unusually, there are no inaccurate sound effects - it belongs in a much better movie.

                    Entertaining enough, but a little disappointing.
                    But It! is played by Ray (Crash!) Corrigan!!

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                    • Morning Departure (1950). A typically understated title for what the American distributors more sensationally and for once rather more accurately called Operation Disaster. And there are also typically matter-of-fact everyday job performances in the first part of the film as John Mills and Richard Attenborough et al leave their wives for a routine day in their submarine, but it doesn't turn out to be anything like routine. Joining Fyffe Mills and Bunter on their voyage to the bottom of the sea are James Hayter, George Cole, Victor Maddern and Peter Hammond, while up top the desperate rescuers include Bernard Lee and Kenneth More and the unseen anxious wives are Helen Cherry and Lana Morris. Despite the sudden change in Lord A's psyche halfway through, there are gripping performances from an experienced cast and also more than capable direction by Roy Ward Baker.

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                      • King and Country (1964)

                        As brutal today as it was when I last watched it (too long ago to remember). I always thought it was about 'war is hell' but looking at it now as a much older man, it's about class. Stoically acted by all, with Tom Courtney as the standout and competently directed by JoLo

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                        • Billy Budd (1962). Billy is a strange creature who finds no malice in anyone, but on the sailing ships of the 18th centre, malice abounds, especially in the shape of Master-at-Arms Claggart. And the captain has to reckon with a background of mutinies on British ships . . .
                          Somewhat of an oddball seabound adventure by Herman Melville with Terence Stamp impressive in the title role, plus Robert Ryan powerful though somewhat out of place as the despicable Claggart, and many familiar faces on board including Paul Rogers, John Neville, David McCallum, Melvyn Douglas, Ronald Lewis and John Meillon. Co-writer, producer and director Peter Ustinov plays the weak and torn Captain Vere. A gripping drama that plays out quite unpredictably; just a shame it's not in Technicolor.

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                          • Tigon Man
                            Tigon Man commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Gripping indeed, particularly the Court Martial scene.
                            Some fine performances, Melvyn Douglas as the old sail maker standing out especially.

                        • Orders to Kill (1958). Gung-ho Paul Massie is fairly randomly chosen to go to occupied France in 1944 to assassinate an informer, but when he gets there and encounters his target, he starts to feel quite differently about the mission. A film of two halves, as the training for the mission is mainly treated quite flippantly and even light-heartedly. However, once we get halfway and into Paris, the atmosphere changes and director Anthony Asquith racks up the drama and tension considerably. Enlisting Paul for the job is John Crawford, training him is down to Eddie Albert, James Robertson Justice and Lionel Jeffries and the Parisians are Irene Worth and Leslie French. It's therefore worth sticking around as you might begin to wonder how the oddball tone adopted in the first part of the film is all going to play out.

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                          • Chance of a Lifetime (1950). Another tale of simple country folk from Bernard Miles, although it isn't quite and has industrial strife thrown in too. When management-worker relations break down in a small engineering firm, the boss stands down and a workers' co-operative takes over. But being the boss as well as the employee is not as straightforward as they thought. A kind of off-kilter Ealing type of drama where the conclusion seems to be that things work best if all sides work together. Basil Radford is the harried MD who lets the boys take over and they include Julien Mitchell, Kenneth More and Miles himself, with Niall MacGinnis and Geoffrey Keen in fine belligerent form as the loudmouths plus Hattie Jacques, Patrick Troughton and Sam Kydd among the other toilers. Good performances help to carry the rather predictable storyline.

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