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    Charlie Chan Volume 3

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on August 26th, 2007

    The third volume of classic Charlie Chan mysteries is a great package of treats, and of course gives us, once again, Warner Oland, the definitive Charlie Chan.

    The Black Camel (1931) only one of the films in this set actually to take place in Honolulu, Chan’s home turf. A beautiful movie star is murdered, and among the suspects is none other than Bela Lugosi as a clairvoyant with murky motives. He and Oland have many scenes together, which is no small part of the pleasures of this entry.
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    Neptune Factor, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 25th, 2007

    Synopsis

    An undersea earthquake leads to the loss of an undersea lab. There is, however, no sign of the wreckage, and so it is presumed that the lab slid deep into a trench. In the faint hope that there might be survivors, the submersible Neptune descends into the depths, where it encounters all sorts of gigantic sealife.

    In my review of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, I said it was the most idiotic sub movie out there. I stand by that, but The Neptune Factor keeps the…
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    Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea — Global Warming Edition

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 21st, 2007

    Synopsis

    When Admiral Walter Pidgeon’s glass-nosed submarine (?) Seaview surfaces at the North Pole after an extended stay underwater, Pidgeon and crew discover the sky is on fire. It turns out the Van Allen radiation belt has caught fire (?!) and life on Earth will be incinerated once the temperature reaches 175 Farenheit (and not, apparently, a single degree less). Pidgeon and co-hort Peter Lorre come up with a plan to launch a nuclear missile into the belt and use the explosion to blow out …
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    Fantastic Voyage

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on June 20th, 2007

    Synopsis

    An overheated Cold War plot sees a scientist, crucial to American interests, felled by a blood clot. The only way of saving his life consists in shrinking a submarine and specialist crew to microscopic size and injecting them into the his body. They must make their way up the circulatory system to the brain and there destroy the clot. But on top of all the hazards they encounter in the body, there is also a saboteur aboard.

    Who could this saboteur be? No way it’s heroic Stephen Boy…
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    Les Misérables

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on May 1st, 2007

    Synopsis

    After serving ten years as a galley slave for having stolen a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean returns to the outside world a bitter man. He is transformed by the saintliness of a bishop who gives him shelter and the gift of the very items he was trying to steal. Starting his life over again, he becomes Mr. Madeleine, highly respected pottery plant owner and eventually mayor. He even adopts young Cosette, whose mother is dying. But the relentless Inspector Javert feels he recognizes Madeleine as …
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    Anna Karenina

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 18th, 2007

    Synopsis

    Anna Karenina (Vivien Leigh) is married to a rigid and boring politician (Ralph Richardson). Despite herself, she falls in love with the dashing young Kieron Moore. Richardson retaliates by cutting her off from her son. And though having an affair is tolerated by upper class Russian society, the couple wind up challenging convention too far, and Anna finds herself completely ostracized.

    In Gone with the Wind, Leigh took a character in Scarlett O’Hara who, on the face of it, …
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    Jane Eyre

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 16th, 2007

    Synopsis

    A young Jane Eyre thinks she is escaping Hell when she is sent from the home of her unloving aunt to a boarding school, but she has simply traded one Hell for another. Despite the attempts of sadistic Henry Daniell, she survives her years at the school with her spirit intact, and, now a grown woman (Joan Fontaine), she goes to work as a governess at the gothic home of Edward Rochester (Orson Welles). She perceives something good behind his forbidding extrior, and finds herself falling in lov…
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    Michael Shayne Mysteries Volume 1

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on April 12th, 2007

    Synopsis

    Lloyd Nolan stars in this quartet of films about Michael Shayne. Less hard-boiled than he was in other media, here he’s an inveterate wisecracker and the films are sometimes more comedies than thrillers. Our boy takes his first bow in <>i>Michael Shayne, Private Detective (1941), where he’s hired to keep an heiress (Marjorie Weaver) out of trouble. But when one of the dubious people she’s been hanging out with turns up killed, apparently by Shayne’s gun, the detective must stay one step …
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    Cinderella Liberty

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 17th, 2007

    James Caan is a sailor whose stopover in Seattle becomes much longer than he expects, as first he has to wait for new orders when a medical exam forces him to miss shipping out with his crewmates, and then his records disappear. During this time, he meets Marsha Mason, a prostitute with an 11-year-old son. Caan falls for both of them, and a finely developed sense of responsibility sees him moving heaven and earth to make life good for all three. His task won’t be an easy one.


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    John and Mary

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 14th, 2007

    Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow wake up in bed together, having just met the night before. Much cautious circling of the one another ensues in the apartment, and as they go their separate ways, more anxious debating follows regarding whether they should get together again. Is Farrow the one for Hoffman, and what about the fact that he doesn’t even know her name?

    This is a film that could only have been made in 1969 (unless your name is Woody Allen), what with its incessant interrogation of character neuroses and a very self-conscious attempt to present us with How Romance Works In The New Scene.
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    The Other Side of Midnight

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on March 10th, 2007

    Terminally naive and beautiful Noelle Page (Marie-France Pisier) is abused and conned by every man she meets. In 1939 Paris, penniless and at the end of her tether, she meets American pilot Larry Douglas (John Beck, looking more like a 70s porn star than a 40s air force pilot). A great romance begins, but then duty calls him away. He promises to find her again in three weeks, but he never shows up. Noelle discovers that she is pregnant, and then finds out Larry is a terminal womanizer.
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    The Mr. Moto Collection – Volume Two

    Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on February 16th, 2007

    These are the other four films featuring Peter Lorre as the mysterious detective Mr. Moto. All but the first are from 1939.

    1938′s Mr. Moto’s Gamble began life as a Charlie Chan film, but difficulties with that franchise’s star (Warner Oland) led to Fox putting the Chan films on hiatus. Keye Luke, Chan’s Number One Son, is here anyway, as is plenty of footage shot for the Chan film. Luke and comic relief ex-boxer Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom do their best to help Moto solve a case of murder in a boxing ring.


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    O. Henry’s Full House

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 24th, 2006

    Synopsis

    John Steinbeck, looking and sounding remarkably like James Ellroy, and coming across as surprisingly two-fisted given the overall tone of the movie, introduces a quintet of stories by O. Henry. “The Cop and the Anthem” features Charles Laughton as a dignified bum trying unsuccessfully to get himself arrested so he can spend the winter in a nice, warm prison (Marilyn Monroe is one of the top-billed, but she has only one brief scene here). “The Clarion Call” has Dale Robertson as a detective w…
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    Peeper

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 23rd, 2006

    Synopsis

    Michael Caine is a down-on-his-luck PI in LA. He’s hired to find the long-lost daughter of a man who is now wealthy, though being hunted by goons. Caine heads off to house of the presumed daughter’s adoptive parents. There are two women the right age here. Which one is he looking for? Could it be Natalie Wood?

    And the questions keep coming, such as who thought Wood would be perfectly cast as a femme fatale? Questions unlikely to be answered. The script is full of would-be witty ban…
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    Chairman, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 13th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Gregory Peck is a Nobel-laureate scientist sent to China to try to recover a new enzyme that allows one to grow any crop in any climate. The operation is being conducted jointly by the Americans, the British and the Russians (!). Peck has a transmitter implanted in his head that relays his physiological conditions and his every word back to base. What he doesn’t know is that the implant is also explosive, and trigger-happy general Arthur Hill might well blow Peck’s top, as it were.

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    Quiller Memorandum, The

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on November 10th, 2006

    Synopsis

    George Segal is assigned by spymaster Alec Guinness to find the base of a group of neo-Nazis in Berlin. Head bad guy Max Von Sydow hopes to pry information out of Segal, specifically where the base of the good-guy spies (the precise organization is vague) is located. Segal’s only help is a schoolteacher (Senta Berger) with whom he begins an affair. George Sanders turns up in a couple of scenes for no particular reason.

    The script is by Harold Pinter – yes, THAT Harold Pinter, and i…
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    Deadfall

    Posted in Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on October 25th, 2006

    Synopsis

    Michael Caine is a jewel thief recruited by Eric Portman and wife Giovanna Ralli for a big job. Caine falls in love with Ralli, but that’s fine with Portman, who’s gay. There are yet more secrets that he has yet to reveal, however, and they could jeopardise the success of the partnership.

    As an example of how not to make a thriller, this is hard to beat. John Barry is undoubtedly one of the great film score composers, but the music should support the film, and not the other way aro…
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