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Watched Last Night

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  • Miracle in Soho (1957). A typically Emeric Pressburger whimsy fable, not exactly Confessions of a Road Workman and what it is he lays, but romance in a Soho street when the asphalt needs to be renewed by randy John Gregson and his fellow roadmen. John soon gets wrapped up in the local scene and particularly with Belinda Lee and the other ladies there, events being watched over by evangelical and teetotal postie Cyril Cusack and possibly also St. Anthony. Belinda's family are emigrating to Canada, or maybe they're not, but Peter Illing, Marie Burke, Ian Bannen and Rosalie Crutchley are an excitable lot. Lots of other familiar faces populate the street, which is an impressive Pinewood soundstage construction designed by Carmen Dillon and photographed in Eastman Color by Christopher Challis. "Being a foreigner" is a theme of the film and the cosmopolitan emphasis of the story is somewhat contradicted by the standard Rank main title of the time which proclaims this "A British Film".

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    • Well it's really "Being a foreigner in London" that is the theme, showing the cosmopolitan nature of London in the late 1950s.

      Emeric Pressburger's story "The Miracle of St. Anthony's Lane" was written for Kurt Gerron to film in 1934. It had been optioned to make a film at least four times and each time the film was not made so the rights reverted to Pressburger. Pressburger said he could retire if he had a few more stories like that. It was finally filmed as Miracle in Soho in 1957.

      It's a good little film but is quite obviously made in the studio.

      Belinda Lee & Ian Bannen give good performances but aren't very convincing as Italians, even second generation ones in Soho.

      Americans please note, it is set in Soho in London, not SoHo in NY

      Steve

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      • Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post

        Americans please note, it is set in Soho in London, not SoHo in NY

        Steve
        It always annoyed me that in an episode of THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.,the very British but long resident in America Leo G. Carroll referred to London's SoHo, the scenes of which of course were filmed on MGM's Lot 2 in Culver City!
        Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 17th April 2017, 04:05 PM.

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        • Mrs Dalloway (1997)

          In 1923, a London socialite reflects on her past failings as she prepares to give a party.
          Sombre, wistful, impeccably acted study of what might have been.
          Vanessa Redgrave, towering giraffe like above the rest of the cast is at her most majestic and there's a role call of fine British character actors to savour.
          With John Standing, Michael Kitchen, Natasha McElhone, Alan Cox, Oliver Ford-Davies, Margaret Tyzack, Lena Headey.

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          • Rogue One (2016). Not being a student of the Star Wars saga, the "subtleties" of this are mainly lost on me, but blimey, the body count must be up there with Terminator 2. The recreations of Peter Cushing and briefly Carrie Fisher are quite eerie and to my eyes, there's just something not right about them, plus Cushing's character's voice is quite different to the original. Like most modern films, I just let the story wash over me and try and enjoy the spectacle, of which there is plenty.

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            • Fire Down Below (1957). It takes a long time for the fire to burn in this nice-looking but slow-moving Caribbean drama directed by Robert Parrish. Dodgy boatmen Robert Mitchum and Jack Lemmon both fall for no-good girl Rita Hayworth and the on-off relationships burn very gradually until we get to the last act of the film. None of these characters are likeable and Rita's performance is utterly dead, apart from a Mardi Gras dance sequence. Others along for the slow boat to Trinidad include Herbert Lom, Bernard Lee, Edric Connor and Bonar Colleano, who are the only pleasant folk in the thing.

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              • Bitter Harvest (1963)A much better (and darker) film than we see at the beginning, it starts with poor young Jennie longing to escape from the dismal family shop in Wales and make her name in the go-getting world of London. By sheer chance she gets her opportunity when a customer drops in and tells her he can help her to realise her dreams. A bit of a pot-boiler morality tale, but nicely shot in colour and Janet Munro is very pretty and appealing. The film does not end well for poor Jennie.
                A word about the music. The theme is played by Mr Acker Bilk, instantly recognisable by his breathy use of the clarinet. It's a great tune, wonderfully arranged and played and suits the mood of the film perfectly.

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                • I'll Get You For This (1950). Standard crime thriller, albeit with nice location filming in Italy, with an overage and overweight George Raft with a lace-edged wombat on his head as the international gambler action man/romantic hero who is framed for murder and ho-hum has to clear his name. Coleen Gray is caught up in it all as the flimsy heroine and, as ever, Greta Gynt shines more brightly as the femme fatale. Unfortunately, she only gets one studio scene, unlike Coleen who drips along throughout. The continental crooks are Walter Rilla, Martin Benson, Peter Illing and Peter Bull, while Enzo Staiola hangs about as an obnoxious brat. The ending's a bit unresolved, but the film's directed with some style and noir-ish touches by Joseph M. Newman and moodily lit by Otto Heller.

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                  • Panic in Year Zero (Ray Milland 1962). We stumbled across this on Amazon Prime and thought we'd give it a go. Neither of us is much of a Milland fan, but the story sounded like it may be passable. Oh crikey. Milland and family (complete with sullen teen girl and heart-throb popteen Frankie Avalon) set out for a weekend break when the nukes begin to fall. Lots of angst, anger and fights over fuel, property and safety. What a strange production this is, much of it looking more like a TV serial than a proper feature. Ray Milland himself produced this and I suspect he used the cheapest of cheap facilities. Still, it helped the bottle of Yellowtail Chardonnay go down....

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                    • Unpublished Story (1942). Wartime Londoners vs. the blitz and fifth columnists flagwaver with the often bland Richard Greene quite good in the early scenes as an intrepid reporter suspicious of the so-called People for Peace movement, aided and hindered by fellow journalist Valerie Hobson. Some good evocations of the blackout with atmospheric lighting by Bernard Knowles and pacy direction by Harold French carries the story along, which has a few humorous touches as well as stiff upper lip-ism. Basil Radford is the civil servant who dogs the publication of Richard's scoop, and Roland Culver, AndrĂ© Morell and Ronald Shiner may be not what they seem. Miles Malleson and Edie Martin do their usual stuff too.

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                      • Resistance (2011)

                        Slow moving love love story, of sorts, set against the background of a successful German version of Britain in 1944. There is some spectacular scenery but nothing really happens and it take a long time to get to the point, and even then I not sure what the point was!

                        Comment


                        • Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

                          Peter Sellers swansong as an Officer of the Leuw Jacques Clouseau, is a sadly patch affair with banana nosed Robert Webber as a French Gangster, seeking to appease his New York Mafia friends, by having Clouseau bumped oeuff.
                          The Panther's never had much of a storyline, relying more on slapstick and stuntwork. This one dispenses with a plot entirely midway through and the last quarter is a tedious chase around Hong Kong with our Gallic hero in various disguises, including a Chinese coolie and a Brando like Mafia Godfather.
                          What fun to be had comes from the brilliant Herbert Lom as an increasingly twitchy and paranoid Chief Inspector Dreyfus.
                          With Dyan Cannon, Bert Kwouk, Tony Beckley, Paul Stewart and Robert Loggia.

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                          • You Must be Joking! (1965). Another flashy caper comedy from Michael Winner. This time five army bods (Michael Callan, Lionel Jeffries, Denholm Elliott, Bernard Cribbins and Lee Montague) are sent on an initiative test to recover six obscure items and the slapstick which follows shows their episodic attempts to complete their task. All shot on location, the film is populated with starry cameos and the leads all do well with their over-the-top performances. Terry-Thomas is the major who sends the shower on their mission, backed by Wilfrid Hyde-White, and along the way they encounter the likes of Irene Handl, James Robertson Justice, Leslie Phillips, Richard Wattis, Miles Malleson, Arthur Lowe, Jon Pertwee and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. The glamour is provided by a dubbed Gabriella Licudi and Patricia Viterbo and Tracy Reed. It's all silly stuff, but good for a giggle after a drink or two.

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                            • Blood From The Mummy's Tomb (1971)

                              The Magnificent Valerie Leon is the Egyptian Queen Tera, sealed up in a sarcophagus by her priests. In the present day she bears more then a passing resemblance to Professors daughter Margaret Fuchs...
                              Handsome looking Hammer, which was beset by problems from the outset, with Peter Cushing having to withdraw from the project after one day, writer Christopher Wicking being banned from the set after a row with the producer and director Seth Holt passing away before the films completion. Despite this it does generally hold together, if a little uninspiring. Worth watching for Valerie L. and a nicely malevolent performance from James Villiers as an avaricious Egyptologist.
                              With George Coulouris, Andrew Keir, Mark Edwards and Rosalie Crutchley.

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                              • RENDEZVOUS "Robert Louis Stevenson's Markheim" (1959). Rogue episode from the Anglo-American half-hour TV series, an updated adaptation of the tale of greed, murder and supernatural temptation. Charles Drake doubles up as the series hero and as Markheim and is as wooden as ever in both roles. Kay Callard and Ferdy Mayne also feature, but the best performance is from Anthony Dawson as the mysterious stranger who suddenly appears (and disappears). Directed by Charles Frend.

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