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  • Originally posted by Andy2 View Post
    The First Man into Space (Marshall Thompson, dir Robert Day 1959). I don't think I've ever seen Marshall Thompson look so gosh-darned serious in any other film. Mind you, if I had a brother as impetuous and unpredictable as he did, I'd probably think twice before giving him the controls of my new high-altitude rocket plane. Not once, but twice he pushes his luck and goes too high, and on the second occasion things get out of hand. What transpires is somewhat reminiscent of the BBC's production of Nigel Kneale's 'The Quatermass Experiment' of 1953, later made into a feature film by Hammer. The horribly-changed astronaut needs blood and goes on the rampage to find it. It's impossible not to feel pity for the poor man/creature as he struggles to breathe and does anything he can to survive. Despite the poverty-row production, this is quite a watchable film.
    Marshall made a couple of other British films around the same time, The Secret Man, which I remember has some great shots of pre-congestion London and the always entertaining Fiends without a Face. He is such a likeable screen presence, it's a shame he didn't make more movies.

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    • Originally posted by Paxton Milk View Post

      Marshall made a couple of other British films around the same time, The Secret Man, which I remember has some great shots of pre-congestion London and the always entertaining Fiends without a Face. He is such a likeable screen presence, it's a shame he didn't make more movies.
      It's funny you should mention 'fiend without a face'. For many years I've been wondering what that cheesy film about rampant brains was. I saw it in my teens (around 1970 I think) and it was very entertaining. The stop-motion climax is particularly notable! I only recently found out its title! Must see if it's on Amazon or Netflix....

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      • Originally posted by Andy2 View Post

        It's funny you should mention 'fiend without a face'. For many years I've been wondering what that cheesy film about rampant brains was. I saw it in my teens (around 1970 I think) and it was very entertaining. The stop-motion climax is particularly notable! I only recently found out its title! Must see if it's on Amazon or Netflix....
        Go for it, Andy, it is cheesy but it's a lot of fun. I have the DVD at home which has a great commentary track from Richard Gordon who also produced the other two Marshall Thompson movies, recommend it giving it a listen, if you can

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        • Sanders of the River (1935). While in its day it was a very popular, to modern day eyes, this London Film adaptation of Edgar Wallace's novel starring Paul Robeson and Leslie Banks is an uncomfortable and even an unpleasant thing to watch, celebrating as it does "the white man's burden" of African tribes. Apart from two scoundrels, all the white men are presented as worthy gods who tolerate the locals as errant children and do a jolly splendid job for the good old Empire by holding them down and keeping the peace to boot. Robeson disowned the film saying it was re-edited to shift its emphasis, but watching the whole, he does play servile to the beloved "Sandi" and his fellow Eric Morecambe-style khaki shorts men throughout, so it's difficult to verify his claim. Still, Robeson gets to sing a few songs, although one of them celebrates wanton killing and another the Lord "Sandi", and after about three repeats, they do get a bit wearing. Director Zoltan Korda was feted for his work, but even by 1935 standards, the technical side is poor and Korda's direction is quite hamfisted.

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          • I don't agree with your comments.Remember Wallace spent many years in Africa and this film may well have reflected the relationship between the District Commissioner and Africans,however unpalatable this might be.
            Robeson came to this country for better film roles than those offered in the States.I treat his comments with a pinch of salt.
            I enjoyed the songs and i find the film very interesting

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            • Originally posted by Gerald Lovell View Post
              Sanders of the River (1935). While in its day it was a very popular, to modern day eyes, this London Film adaptation of Edgar Wallace's novel starring Paul Robeson and Leslie Banks is an uncomfortable and even an unpleasant thing to watch, celebrating as it does "the white man's burden" of African tribes. Apart from two scoundrels, all the white men are presented as worthy gods who tolerate the locals as errant children and do a jolly splendid job for the good old Empire by holding them down and keeping the peace to boot. Robeson disowned the film saying it was re-edited to shift its emphasis, but watching the whole, he does play servile to the beloved "Sandi" and his fellow Eric Morecambe-style khaki shorts men throughout, so it's difficult to verify his claim. Still, Robeson gets to sing a few songs, although one of them celebrates wanton killing and another the Lord "Sandi", and after about three repeats, they do get a bit wearing. Director Zoltan Korda was feted for his work, but even by 1935 standards, the technical side is poor and Korda's direction is quite hamfisted.


              I found this to be uncomfortable viewing when I last saw it about fifteen years ago.

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              • Originally posted by Andy2 View Post

                It's funny you should mention 'fiend without a face'. For many years I've been wondering what that cheesy film about rampant brains was. I saw it in my teens (around 1970 I think) and it was very entertaining. The stop-motion climax is particularly notable! I only recently found out its title! Must see if it's on Amazon or Netflix....
                With the unlikely casting of Kynaston (Mr Quelch) Reeves as the mad scientist. What would Billy Bunter say ?

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                • Well here we are - we streamed Fiend without a Face (Marshall Thompson, Kynaston Reeves, 1958) last night. Another Marshall Thompson sci-fi B-movie, this time concerning mysterious deaths in a village nearby an air-base which is using Atomic Radar. Ahem. Mr Thompson looks serious again, but his mood is somewhat lightened by the presence of an attractive young lady. Anyway, it turns out that the local mad scientist's (Reeves) telekinesis experiments have received an unwanted boost by the radiation from the air-base's reactor and invisible brain-creatures are on the prowl, killing local residents and slurping their brains.
                  We finally get to see these revolting killers in the latter part of the film and most entertaining it is. Human brains with spines still attached trap our heroes in the scientist's house and launch a full-on assault. The effects are nifty, consisting of stop-motion, strings and the odd combination of live action with stop-motion, although this particular effect is used only in very small doses and looks decidedly odd. Very enjoyable, we need more of this. I must look out for the DVD with commentary as suggested by Paxton Milk.

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                  • Gerald Lovell
                    Gerald Lovell commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The film is a wonderful guilty pleasure!

                • Revenge (1971). One of a pair of Peter Rogers productions of the time very unlike the Carry Ons, this is an adult and violent crime thriller well directed by Sidney Hayers with several effective point-of-view shots in important scenes.
                  The Radford family seek revenge on the man they believe assaulted and murdered their small daughter. They kidnap him, throw him in the cellar of the pub where they live and inflict frenzied attacks on him. But their own lives start to collapse with the pressure of having him down there: are they no better than him and indeed, is he the guilty man after all?
                  James Booth is excellent as the father for whom violence is not far away and it's fun to see Joan Collins as a housewife peeling the potatoes and pouring the tea. Ray Barrett is the friend whose daughter suffered a similar fate, but he suffers from planning the thing and then scarpering when it gets too hot. Their victim is Kenneth Griffith at his seediest, a mother-fixated creature with bad eyesight, few words and much unsavoriness.
                  The tight screenplay by John Kruse with its restricted locales is a bit like an extended television play and is not that cinematic, but it still draws you in. The music composed and conducted by Eric Rogers is unlike his usual Carry On pastiches, although when the radio is switched on at one point, it plays his hippies’ dance music from Carry On Camping!

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                  • To Have and to Hold (1951). Another Hammer country house saga and quite a peculiar one. When squire of the manor Brian has a riding accident, is crippled and told he has only six months to live, he decides that in order to save the estate and his wife's future happiness, she mustn't know he's on the way out and he must behave as an absolute rotter in order to encourage the romance between her and his American cousin Max. Then Max's estranged daughter turns up and charms Brian. Whatever next?
                    As I said, it's all a bit of a strange story although the strangest part of all is why Avis Scott as Brian's wife June married stolid Patrick Barr in the first place, then fell for the King of Boredom himself, Robert Ayres as Max. At least Eunice Gayson brightens the proceedings as the daughter as do Ellen Pollock and Harry Fine as June's scheming but dim sister and brother.

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                    • West 11 (1963). Michael Winner's delve into lowlife from a literate script by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Winner thankfully displays little of the flashiness he adopted later in the 60s, and although this is regarded as a crime film, the crime doesn't occur until about 15 minutes before the end. This is more an examination of the life of Joe Beckett, a chess-playing aimless lad played by Alfred Lynch, who realises he needs to focus onto something. Unfortunately, that focus turns out to be in the shape of scoundrel and chancer ex-Captain Richard Dyce, a nice cunning performance by Eric Portman, who inveigles Joe into a plan to murder an aunt for her money. The bulk of the film is about Joe's relationship with the world, with his on/off girlfriend Ilsa, his mother, the church and his elderly neighbour Mr. Gash, played by Finlay Currie.
                      There's an excellent turn from Diana Dors as the lonely older woman who fancies Joe and who Dyce uses, Kathleen Harrison plays Joe's mum, Kathleen Breck (who I remember best as a disembodied head in The Frozen Dead!) is Ilsa and assorted scum include Harold Lang and Peter Reynolds.

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                      • A Boy, a Girl and a Bike (1949). In fact there's a lot of all of them and a lot of ee bah gum-ing in this light cycling comedy with Yorkshire bike mad Honor Blackman, Patrick Holt, Diana Dors, Leslie Dwyer and Barry Letts joined by John McCallum who forsakes his car for two wheels to chase after Honor. Into the mix is Honor's bickering family (Hal Osmond, Thora Hird and Amy Veness) and a bike pinching incident (Anthony Newley put up to it by Maurice Denham and John Blythe) that rivals the missing wallet mystery during Dixon of Dock Green's daughter's wedding as the most dastardly crime of the 20th century (NB Ted Willis wrote the screenplay of this too). The romance between John and Honor suddenly goes nowhere, but it's all nice and cosy with splendid location photography and cheery music.
                        Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 11th February 2019, 09:45 PM.

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                        • Originally posted by Steve Crook View Post
                          A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

                          Actually watched this afternoon on BBC2 (so no ads interrupting it)

                          It still works for me, tears were shed. Not because it’s sad, far from it. It’s joyous and is the nearest thing to perfection that any film has ever achieved (IMHO)

                          Yes, it has a few minor goofs. It’s not quite perfect, but it’s the nearest thing to perfection that I’ve ever seen. It makes me laugh & makes me cry. What more could you want? It’s full of romance, history, romance, philosophy, romance, religion, poetry, romance, drama, oh and did I mention romance?

                          Steve
                          10/10 for me!

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                          • Originally posted by cassidy View Post
                            Witchfinder General (1968) . Vincent Price plays Matthew Hopkins who executed suspected witches around the time of the English Civil War with the help of his torturer John Stearne played by Robert Russell. Gruesome scenes as innocent.. suspects are burned, drowned and hanged . Into the the picture come Rupert Davies as a priest and his daughter Hilary Dwyer who is in love with Ian Ogilvy's soldier. The Witchfinders set their sights on father and daughter while Ogilvy's soldier is away and he returns to wreak a bloody revenge. Patrick Wymark is Cromwell and Nicky Henson is a soldier. Lovely cameo from Wilfred Brambell as a horse trading farmer. A Tigon production directed by Michael Reeves who died aged only 25.
                            Brilliantly parodied by The Goodies as Scoutmaster General

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                            • agutterfan
                              agutterfan commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Don't remember that, but now the BBC has at last released the complete collection on DVD I soon shall. Ecky thump!

                          • Break in the Circle (1954). Val Guest wrote and directed some marvellous films, but sadly this Hammer Cold War thriller is only in the mediocre range. By this point, Hammer, and particularly producer Michael Carreras, were getting more ambitious and as well as frequently having an imported American star, they were able to venture forth from their country houses and have overseas filming. Here it's Forrest Tucker who puts in his regular bellicose but agreeable performance, plus there's Eva Bartok as an undercover agent, Marius Goring as the cool master spy, Eric Pohlmann in an heroic role for a change, Arnold Marlé as a doddery old scientist as usual and Reginald Beckwith as comedy relief and most of them get a trip to Hamburg out of this. The twists and turns of the plot pull the thing down and are just about beyond me to follow, and sadly I only got to see a black and white print so I couldn't admire the extensive location work in Eastman Colour by Denham Laboratories.
                            Last edited by Gerald Lovell; 14th February 2019, 10:19 PM.

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