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  • Originally posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
    The Cat and the Canary (1977). Semi-starry cast remake which is possibly closer to the source old play by John Willard than some, but fails to engage the viewer on several counts. Unfortunately, it's badly staged with repetitive camera angles, it's too brightly lit to create any creepy atmosphere and the sound recorded on location echoes distractingly. Also, the actors all seem to pitch their performances at different levels, clearly not sure if they should try to play it reasonably straight or go for outright farce. Honor Blackman probably comes off best, but Edward Fox in particular overdoes his characterisation by a mile. The heroine heiress played by Carol Lynley comes over as not entirely pleasant and Michael Callan and Wilfrid Hyde-White are just, well, Michael Callan and Wilfrid Hyde-White. I think I will stick with the excellent 1939 version with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.
    It's not that good is it Gerald. As you say it can't decide whether it's too be played straight or for laughs.
    I did like the novelty of old Wilfred, still in character and on the home movie, holding up the cards with the credits on though.

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    • The Games (1969). Many films about sport and athletics are notoriously poor and despite a big budget and international locations, this Michael Winner production is no exception with a trite screenplay by Erich Segal, stereotypical characterations and actors clearly uncomfortable with the material. We follow the progress of four runners (Michael Crawford, Ryan O'Neal, Athol Compton and, ahem, Charles Aznavour) in their episodic adventures leading up to their participation in the marathon at the Olympics in Rome. It does feel like a marathon getting through this one even though we have the likes of Stanley Baker, Jeremy Kemp and, well, Ron Pickering in the cast. Of the time racist attitudes and expressions abound, but it's only the word "bitch" which is blanked out when Stanley rails at his protégé Michael for breaking his training and having it off with Elaine Taylor. Nice music by Francis Lai mind you.

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      • PhilipW
        PhilipW commented
        Editing a comment
        MIchael Winner's only film in Scope, I believe.

        The excerpt used by TPTV as a trailer for it was in 4:3. That, in itself, was enough to put me off watching it.

        A 1970 Scope film shown in 4:3 resulting in nearly half the picture missing. That's not on.
        I can only presume that TPTV were given a Pan-and-Scan 16mm version to show. Not worth showing in my opinion.

        FATHOM (1967) suffered the same fate too.

    • No Highway in the Sky (James Stewart, Jack Hawkins 1951) Oh dear. I haven't read Nevil Shute's book, but surely it has to be better than this filmed version. James Stewart seems poorly cast as the shy, awkward scientist who has calculated that the new 'Reindeer' aircraft will crash due to metal fatigue in the tail section after just 1400 hours in the air. Much jeopardy arises when he finds himself on one such aeroplane which is just approaching the magic figure. The 'plane itself is an ugly concoction with a HUGE add-on tail-piece which looks like it was knocked up from pieces of tinplate, not at all convincing, and neither was the effect shot of the craft taking off on its trip over to Gander. Obviously the full-size aircraft wouldn't fly safely with that load of scrap metal at the back, so they had to use a model for this sequence and to say it was badly done is quite an understatement.
      The main attraction was spotting the vast army of 'uncredited' appearances by some big names of the day - Kenneth More, Dora Bryan, Niall McGinnis - even Pete Murray is there, playing a radio operator. Perhaps they had their names removed after seeing the film!
      It's difficult to say what exactly is wrong with this film but it just had me wishing it would be better. BTW I know lots of people love this film, but it failed to push the right buttons for me.
      Last edited by Andy2; 20th January 2019, 01:18 PM.

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      • Bonekicker
        Bonekicker commented
        Editing a comment
        I have never seen the film, but since you mentioned it was about a plane, I had to look into it. The consensus is that, yes, it's a bit turgid (and one personal commented that Stewarts character would seem to us now to have a touch of Aspergers Syndrome), and that that plane looks awfu, or at least the tail does.

        There are a surprising number of aviation forum threads about that plane, and the fuselage has been identified as coming from an old Hamdley Page Halton, which was a civilian version of the wartime Halifax bomber. Apparently the mockup had to be held up by scaffolding, to keep it on the nose wheel.

        Someone did mention that to be fair to the film makers, they did at least try to co meup with something, different, rather than just repaint a hulk, or kluge up some prototype with a respray.

        Shute was, being an actual aeronautical engineer, did know about fatigue, and he was on the money, when you think about the Comet., Lthough I understand that the film explained the problem as 'atomic decay'...

    • Originally posted by Andy2 View Post
      The main attraction was spotting the vast army of 'uncredited' appearances by some big names of the day - Kenneth More, Dora Bryan, Niall McGinnis - even Pete Murray is there, playing a radio operator. Perhaps they had their names removed after seeing the film!
      That's a tad harsh. I've always rather enjoyed this film, and the consensus of reviews are positive. As for the technical aspects, don't forget that it's getting on for seventy years old. You need to cut it some slack.

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      • Night Of The Demon (1957)

        Time at last to enjoy the recently released BluRay restoration in the form of the "original full length (96 min) pre-release version". Squeaky tea-trolley sound effects and the Scooby-Doo style Demon itself notwithstanding, it's always a real pleasure to revisit this dark classic.

        With each viewing I am further convinced that Niall MacGinnis truly steals the show as the dark arts practitioner who realises you can't always stop what you've started. His mounting unease culminating in seat-squirming, barely contained terror as he finds himself sharing a train carriage with doomed Dana Andrews as the clock counts down is palbably tense and wonderfully played.

        Dipping into a few of the various extras included in this thrilling package I was fascinated to listen to a 1972 audio interview with Andrews reflecting on the movie. He didn't rate the demon itself. But his greatest wrath was reserved for producer Hal E. Chester; clearly no love lost there at all!

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        • IDOL OF PARIS 1948 with Beryl Baxter. Period melodrama set in France. An odd little film. A young woman, Theresa, is thrown into the street by her horrible father. She is taken in by a kindly tailor who falls in love with her. She in turn falls for a famous violinist (Michael Rennie). The tailor commits suicide and on and on it goes as she goes from man to man and climbs to the top of the social ladder.
          The interesting plot line is that Theresa is not a horrible character. The men around her tend to be worse than she. She has ethics and is a strong personality, though not a very likeable person.

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          • Originally posted by Tonch View Post
            Night Of The Demon (1957)

            ...But his greatest wrath was reserved for producer Hal E. Chester; clearly no love lost there at all!
            I have come across similar sentiments elsewhere about Chester. He was a guest at the Manchester Festival of Fantastic Films at some point in the 1990s and, though I was there and attended al the talks/screenings, I have no recollection at all of him. We must have met, I have his autograph on a VHS cover, but I can't even think what he looked like. Shows how much an impression he made on me.

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            • Originally posted by Paxton Milk View Post

              I have come across similar sentiments elsewhere about Chester. He was a guest at the Manchester Festival of Fantastic Films at some point in the 1990s and, though I was there and attended al the talks/screenings, I have no recollection at all of him. We must have met, I have his autograph on a VHS cover, but I can't even think what he looked like. Shows how much an impression he made on me.
              Count yourself lucky he never passed you a slip of paper with funny symbols on it !!

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              • Originally posted by cassidy View Post

                Count yourself lucky he never passed you a slip of paper with funny symbols on it !!
                Good point!

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                • Dorian Gray (2009). Not the sort of thing you'd expect out of Ealing Studios, but this is yet another remake of an old standard and given the film's vintage, the sex and gore are considerably more detailed than in previous versions. Ben Barnes plays the beautiful but quickly corrupted title character, led astray by wannabe wanton Lord Henry Wotton, played by Colin Firth. Dorian gets up to all kinds of extreme behaviour while physically remaining perfect, while in the attic his portrait, which is quite more "active" than its predecessors, takes the toll of his sins . It's a while since I read Oscar Wilde's novel, but I think the childhood trauma Dorian suffers is a new addition to the story by writer Toby Finlay, but bringing the last act into the time of the First World War is a definite plus. Director Oliver Parker brings some modern flashiness to the proceedings and the colours adopted for the exteriors often resemble the look of a graphic novel. Excellent costume design too. Once again, however, I think I'd rather stick with the MGM version from 1945, notwithstanding poor old Basil Rathbone, under contract to the studio and desperate to be cast as Lord Henry, was still on loan to Universal for the Sherlock Holmes series and it was George Sanders who got the role. No doubt Basil chucked numerous darts at any attic picture of Louis B. Mayer that was to hand.
                  Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 23rd January 2019, 08:13 AM.

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                  • Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

                    There are a few problems with the narrative but Rami Malik's performance is superb and of course the sound track is amazing. Don't normally watch too many musicals and I seldom get sentimental about them but this one managed to manipulate my emotions nicely for two hours. Not a great movie but great entertainment.

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                    • Watched Privates Progress the other night,having not seen it for years! Terry -Thomas was at his best in it and it reminded me of Sunday afternoons growing up watching those classic British films on BBC,before they were abandoned for the Eastenders omnibus! One thing that perked my curiosity was the German soldiers helmets,they were all scuffed whereas the rest of the uniforms were perfect! Maybe just the way they were stored! Silly thing to come to my mind but I thought I'd mention it!

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                      • Till Death Us Do Part (1969). Everyone's favourite loud-mouthed braggart and bigot Alf Garnett is given the big screen treatment in one of the better translations from television. We see him and Else in 1939, getting through the war with Rita arriving at the tailend of it, and then we skip forward to the 60s with Rita and Mike getting married, the 1966 World Cup final and the Garnetts (minus Alf) moving to a high-rise. All the main TV cast are present and deliver their well-practised characterisations faultlessly, although in the follow-up film three years later, The (Alf) Garnett Saga, Una Stubbs and Anthony Booth were replaced by Adrienne Posta and Paul Angelis for some reason. There is of course coarse language and racist behaviour and I suppose some of the satire will be lost on today's audiences, and I have often thought writer Johnny Speight could be weak on finding suitable endings and so here a few of the very brief sketches are just faded out. However, throughout there is a thread of dying close communities that Alf fears will come about and indeed does by the end of the film. Warren Mitchell will forever be remembered as Alf with his outrageous tirades, but as usual it's Dandy Nichols who is superb as the put-on "silly moo" and "great big puddin' " Else.

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                        • Celia (1949). In its earlier days, Hammer liked to translate radio feature to the big(-ish) screen and here we have Hy Hazell in the awful-hat-mad title role, reluctantly assisting Bruce Lester playing Larry Peter "Inquiry Agent" in one of those "younger husband plots to murder much older wife for her money" scenarios. John Bailey, Joan Hickson , John Sharp and Lockwood West join in the clumping around Hammer's Dial Close "studio", inside and out, in this slight thriller with a fair dollop of humour, all in standard "PAUL TEMPLE" style. Additional dialogue by Roy Plomley, so the murderous husband tells us not only how his intends to dispose of his missus, but also the eight recordings, book and luxury item that he would take if he was cast away on a desert island.

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                          • Fathom (1967). Exceptionally daft light-hearted thriller written and directed by the same team that made Batman (1966), Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and Leslie H. Martinson, but despite some nicely shot set pieces at sea and in the skies of Spain and in the direction of Raquel Welch, it's sadly not a patch on it. The chase for the MacGuffin is an excuse for those set pieces with Ronald Fraser, Richard Briers, Tom Adams and Clive Revill up to no good and it's odd to see Reg Lye as the henchman of top-billed Tony Franciosa. Raquel shows a flair for light comedy and other things.

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