Archive for the Classics Category

The Three Musketeers (1948)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The third talkie version of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, this splashy MGM adaptation is also the first version in Technicolor. Gene Kelly romps his way through the role of D’Artagnan, the upstart cadet who joins veteran Musketeers Athos (Van Heflin), Porthos (Gig Young) and Aramis (Robert Coote) in their efforts to save their beloved Queen Anne (Angela Lansbury) from disgrace. They are aided in their efforts by the lovely and loyal Constance (June Allyson), while the villainy is in the capable hands of Milady De Winter (Lana Turner) and Richelieu (Vincent Price).

What people are saying:

“…enjoyable corn in the ‘Classics Illustrated’ tradition. You can’t believe a minute of it, but neither can you ignore its rollicking bygone Hollywood charms.” 3 stars

“It starts out as a broad slapstick comedy, and when Gene Kelly has the opportunity to showcase his acrobatic skills, it’s good old-fashioned swashbuckling fun. But after the first 20 minutes it turns into mostly heavy drama, and the swordfights are actually few and far between. The problem with the script is that, trying to cover all the characters and subplots of the book, it has no time to develop them enough, and the story lacks a strong central focus. At times you wonder exactly what each person is trying to achieve, and where some of the characters you know are basic have gone (the main example: Richelieu, excellently played by Vincent Price, has only about three of four scenes in the entire film). Still, it’s a good-looking, entertaining production.” 3 1/2 stars

“Of all versions of this movie this is my second favorite, my favorite is the 70’s version. While the overall quality of the cast is much greater in this one it is missing one key component, Rachel Welch. June Allyson is a very attractive woman but she is not the stuff dreams are made of and as such this movie dips in regards of pure lust. The cast of Kelly, Turner, Price, Heflin, Lansbury are stellar, in fact Price is the penultimate Richelieu and wipes the floor over Hestons take. As a period piece the costumes and sets are fun and colorful, which is what films of this time were like, unlike present day versions which equate drab with realistic. It’s a great timeless story and this is a very good version, done very well in all phases of film.” 4 stars

“June Allyson as Constance Bonacieux?? What were they thinking? Were it not for this painful miscasting and surprisingly slow pacing, this movie would be one of the great swashbucklers. Kelly is everything D’Artangan should be, Turner matches any Lady DeWinter the movies have ever supplied, and only Heflin approaches the standard for Athos which Oliver Reed later set. And Price as Richelieu… that says it all. Sparkling 40’s Hollywood production values finish the film off nicely. But June Allyson as Constance Bonacieux??” 3 stars

“The Three Musketeers (1948)” is an extremely simple tale of a man (D’Artagnan) who comes as a peasant to seek war with the three musketeers who run the village. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis are in shock to believe that young D’Artagnan is able to take them on in dual, but he seems persistent enough to give him a chance. This film may have been original during the reading of the original novel/play, but this film is just a great representation, even if it is extremely cheesy, towards the origin story of the three musketeers. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film, but through some action and romance sequences, it becomes a bit laughable and lazily written. It reminded me of early shakespeare at times, which I thoroughly admired for the risk that the director took. To conclude, I truly believe that they could have had a little more background of the characters instead of beginning with the journey of all four men from the start. This is an all around great film with cheese lurking around every corner!” 4 stars

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Invitation to the Dance

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Gene Kelly brings his remarkable talents as star, director and choreographer to this glittering gala of music, dance and pantomime – and the result is a lush, one-of-a-kind musical flight of fancy. The film has three episodes, each with its own distinct period and mood. In Circus, a clown (Kelly) in a small carnival troupe is hopelessly in love with the show’s high-wire walker. Ring Around the Rosy is a satiric tale about a bracelet which travels from the wrist of one fickle lover to another. Sinbad the Sailor blends live action and animation as Kelly dances his way into an Arabian Nights world after rubbing Aladdin’s Lamp. Showcasing talents from ballet companies of New York, Paris, London and Rome, this imaginative tour de force is a must-see for dance lovers everywhere!

What people are saying:

“When watching a Gene Kelly musical one could have the feeling that the musical numbers were interrupted by the story, not the other way round. Here Kelly finds a project with a scope big enough to fit his whole ego, finally doing away with all the story (in the way of words, at least) and leaving us with all the dancing. This criminally unseen impressionistic film opens quite a window into the imagination of one of Old Hollywood’s most prolific artists – and not quite unlike Singin’ in the Rain“, he made a movie looking at the core of what it was about to make an MGM musical: it was about being artsy, it was about being kitschy, about working with archetypes and especially about wearing tights and trying to melt icebergs by smiling at the camera.” 4 stars

“this was Kelly’s pet project- a film with dance, and only dance. No dialogue, only mime, movement and music. However to his disappointment, MGM shelved its release and when it was the film was released badly- it was too arty farty to be popular with the audiences at that time. Well, I love this film. It’s adventurous and interesting, and it’s worth a watch to appreciate all the work Kelly’s put into this work, which showcases some of the greatest dancers across many styles. So go watch this under-rated film and you will be in awe of all the talent shown before your eyes!” 4 1/2 stars

“No wonder INVITATION TO THE DANCE found no audience at the box office. The first two musical sequences, “Circus” and “Ring Around the Rosy” are monumental bores dragged down by pedestrian stories and, in the second one, inept use of camera trickery to speed up the action. But the third, “Sinbad the Sailor,” makes expert use of the Rimsky-Korsakov ballet score and makes dazzling use of animated effects, especially for the dancing between Kelly and a couple of Arabian guards which are highly original, intricate and amusing examples of combining live action with animation. It’s the kind of originality sadly missing in the previously mentioned stories. The “Sinbad” highlight almost makes up for the rest of the film with its own brand of originality–but alas, the first two sequences are enough to turn many viewers away from watching the final segment. Summing up: Easy to see why this one failed miserably to attract a target audience with either high or low brow tastes.” 1 star

“this movie is probably one of the most boring pictures I ever saw. it has got nothing to tell, except for the three little stories that are brutally forced into a concept without inspiration, but filled with unusable ideas. oh yeah, Kelly was a genius alright, but this is a perfect example of how geniuses can BEEP the BEEP up. the stories are already known to the general audience, so what I was searching for, was a novelty about them all. I was bitter when I found out Kelly only repeated himself. the story with the clown made me wonder if I washed my feet today… too bad, this truly is a movie to see while washing your feet, so you can do something useful when the torment begins. second part, the ‘crime’: really stupid and boring, it made me compare the good with the bad, and this seemed to be the ugly. the third part made me realize Kelly repeats himself over and over again, like a little child with a doll or when a kid becomes a teenager. too bad for the whole idea, this movie didn’t reach adulthood for me, it should have stayed in Kelly’s brain.” 1 star

“A series of short skits with Kelly dancing. The first is Circus which is done in a minstrel/vaudeville style. Kelly plays a mime/clown, he acts on the stage and dances in the street with a group. There are only 3 actors listed in this part and they are on stage with him, there is no talking in this part only dancing. The dancing goes from Kelly’s style to ballet with the other two actors. The story is about a guy, Kelly’s clown, falling in love with the girl who is in love with the other guy. It shows how some people will do silly and dangerous to get the person we love, in this case the clown tries to do the high wire act to impress the girl, he falls and dies. The second skit is titled Ring Around the Rosy. It involves 8 actors/dancers with Kelly and the other two from Circus. This is a more present day setting going from parties to clubs. Again no talking during the entire skit, just music. It is a series of performances of mainly couples dancing about love and love lost and temptation. The third skit is titled Sinbad the Sailor and to be obvious it has a Middle Eastern theme. After the initial scenes Kelly and a boy go on a series of animated adventures the most visually striking is when he dances with 2 guards. This is Kellys version of Fantasia and fits into the film as art movement of the early 50’s. It is interesting to view as a history of film as it is very much like watching a play on film. The animation is not as stimulating compared with Disney but it is innovative none the less.” 3 1/2 stars

In Like Flint

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Flint is again called out of retirement when his old boss finds that he seems to have missed three minutes while golfing with the president. Flint finds that the president has been replaced by an actor (Flint’s line [with a wistful look] is “An Actor as President?”) Flint finds that a group of women have banded together to take over the world through subliminal brainwashing in beauty salons they own.

What people are saying:

“Although the film crawls with dime-store beauties, there is a noticeable lack of sexiness in it. Women bent on being tyrants evidently haven’t much time for anything else” 3 stars

“…tries to top its predecessor by sending übermensch Derek Flint to Moscow, outer space, and the Isle of Uppity Brassiere Models … sloppy pacing, shoddy production values, and Lee J. Cobb looking like he’s planning a stern call to his agent.” 2 1/2 stars

“Awesome, super spy and Man of Mystery joins forces with an army of super-hot, ’60s, bikini-clad women (who plan to take over the world with a brain-washing hairdrier) to foil a diabolical plot to take over/destroy the world. Yeah … who wouldn’t like this movie? The movie was almost as good as the Austin Powers spoofs of the Super Spy.” 4 stars

“Basically another in the endless series of Bond-knockoffs of the late 60’s, the second Flynt movie (for some reason I keep missing the first one) is fun enough as a semi-parody. It’s nowhere nearly as offensive/dumb as the Matt Helm stuff. Coburn makes a decent superman spy, although his lanky physique makes him look rather ungainly in the fight sequences (only Ted Danson looks more awkward). It’s your basic Cold War type movie with some women who want to rule the world (and *oh the humanity* are betrayed by the military man they put their trust in, played by a fiendish Steve Inhat) tossed in.” 3 stars

“Derek Flint is back, bashing more heads, wooing more lovely ladies, and thwarting more evil. This time, he’s up against an impostor in the government, a rogue military man, and an army of beautiful woman bent on world domination. Is the super cool master of kung-fu up to the challenge? Do you really have to ask? Wild antics, crazy music, and a bevy a beautiful women. They could have kept these movies going for years. But, unfortunately, this was the last (excluding the TV pilot).” 4 1/2 stars

Dressed to Kill

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on December 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this entry in the Michael Shayne detective series, the smart-alec sleuth is at the altar with his bride when shots ring out from a nearby theater. He immediately runs to investigate. He soon finds a series of murders with one thing in common. They are all related to a single stage production. Each victim is discovered wearing a costume from the drama. Shayne soon discovers that the killer is a jilted porter whose actress-lover dumped him. Unfortunately for the enthusiastic gumshoe, his fiancee, disgusted by his love of solving mysteries, dumps him.

What people are saying:

“At just 74 minutes Dressed to Kill is innocuous fun, though like most of Fox’s mysteries from the period it leans heavily on the charm of its actors rather than the ingenuity of its writing” 3 stars

“…benefits from a powerhouse supporting cast and the effectively moody cinematography of Glenn MacWilliams” 3 1/2 stars

“Alright, this wasn’t fantastic or gripping as a mystery, but it did make me laugh more than most comedies, so I did end up liking it. The abundant smugness was fun to watch by itself, and there were so many witty quips…and it was full of clothes-porn; I probably would have liked just watching it without the dialogue, or the dialogue without the movie. Basically, I liked pretty much everything about this. And the stork line, I copied that down.” 4 stars

“Ohh it was not good. Poor acting, uninteresting characters, and of course I don’t love the hysterical woman/suuuper-awk racial stereotyping…yikes.” 1 1/2 stars

Dressed to Kill is one of the most enjoyable ‘B’ movies I’ve ever seen. Lloyd Nolan is terrific as Michael Shayne, detective, and his supporting cast is superb to say the least. William Demarest is the best hapless police inspector this side of James Gleason, a youthful Henry Daniell plays a stuck up prig to perfection, Milton Parsons is a bad baddie, and we even get small turns from Mantan Moreland and Billy Benedict. The story is reasonably well written, fast paced, and a lot of fun.” 3 stars

Bedazzled (1967)

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on November 23, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Stanley is too shy to admit he’s in love with his co-worker Margaret. He’s ready to give up and take his own life when the devil appears with a bargain. In exchange for his soul, Stanley makes seven wishes aimed at improving his life.

What people are saying:

“Here is a time capsule of ’60s era self-loathing and misogyny captured in brilliant comic form.” 4 stars

“This is one of my all time favorite films. From time to time, scenes and dialog from the film come to mind, and make me smile. To say that this film is a classic in its’ particular genre, Will sound cliche, but it really is. What I love about this film – 1) The acting is great, and Dudley Moore is at his comedic best. 2) The plot, really brings home some important truths about Human aspirations, but in a very humorous way. Lastly, I treasure this film so much, that if I were limited to a library of 20 or 30 films. I would have to include this one.” 4 stars

“…the duo’s best film, Bedazzled brought the spirit of Swinging London plus impudent pokes at religion, politics, and pop culture itself to their new audiences.” 4 stars

“I watched and enjoyed the Brendan Fraser version of this movie and then rented this one once I found out it existed. Ugh. While this old version gets credit for being the original, it is slow and terribly dated. Its clear why people thought they could remake the movie and improve upon it. I’m glad I watched it to know what it was, but while rewatching the Fraser remake is fun at times I would not be able to rewatch the original without thinking it was a chore.” 3 stars

“Despite the feel of a joke too long and a weak ending still a welcome addition to the pantheon of brit comedy. Cook has a roaring good time as George Spiggot, who is supposedly Beezlebub, Mr. Scratch, Mephistopheles, and Legion, (though he comes off as more of a prankster Puck) and he’s trying to get back into heaven with every dirty trick he can pull against lovelorn Dudley Moore a schmuck who sells his soul for the girl of his dreams (Eleanor Bron). Better than the remake, but you’ve heard that saying before, haven’t you?” 3 1/2 stars

The African Queen

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on November 15, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart), the booze-guzzling, rough-hewn captain of a broken-down East African riverboat, teams with a straitlaced, iron-willed missionary (Katharine Hepburn) to take on a menacing German gunboat during World War I.

What people are saying:

“This movie is in the DNA of rom-coms and buddy-cop comedies and fish-out-of-water tales and Indiana Jones (he bickers and fights Germans too! Plus, dirt beard!).” 5 stars

“Not a moment of film is wasted in this finely-crafted story of adventure and unlikely love. Humphrey Bogart is the drunken captain of the river-running heap, the African Queen. Katherine Hepburn is the prim spinster missionary he offers to take to safety when the Germans invade. Learning that there’s a huge German ship on the lake at the end of the river, Hepburn decides it’s their duty to destroy it – although no one has ever successfully navigated the river.” 5 stars

The African Queen breathes authenticity. Tumultuous at times but calmer at others, Bogart’s and Hepburn’s voyage on an African river is always an exciting adventure, surrounded by a colourful, luxuriant jungle. Yet, the brightness of Huston’s film also lies in the remarkable, contrasting pairing formed by the two stars. The African Queen is a very pleasant occasion to meet two of the most superb actors that Hollywood ever knew.” 4 stars

“I am not particularly fond of Katherine Hepburn and Bogart is not my favorite male cast in a romance. However, in this film, both excel to such a degree and the storyline was so good, that I couldn’t help but love the movie. It’s tough to cast older actors into a 1st-time romance, but the background of the story made it possible and realistic. The special effects were a bit flimsy as you might excpect for a 1951 movie, but overall, I felt like I was there. I appreciated the descrection between the two, making it a clean movie throughout. This is definitely an all-time classic and one of Bogart’s best” 4 1/2 stars

“Heard so much about this movie and have finally seen it. Excellent script, casting, portrayals, and cinematography. If anything, this could have been 20 minutes longer. Shows what effect a distant war can have when a few become patriotic – or romantic.” 4 1/2 stars

Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

An African-American scientist develops a formula to regenerate dying liver cells, but it has the unfortunate after-effect of turning him into an albino vampire with a mania for killing prostitutes. A tough police lieutenant investigating the murders discovers the existence of the dual-personality killer, and determines to bring him in.

What people are saying:

“Blaxploitation classic tells the story of Dr. Henry Pryde (Bernie Casey) who is working tirelessly to find a cure for liver disease. He develops a serum that shows potential but, he can’t perfect it without human experimentation. After a failed test on a dying woman, Henry decides to test the serum on himself. The result transforms the valiant doctor into a super strong, violent tempered… white man. Directed by Blacula‘s William Crain, this 70s horror treats it’s story with respect despite how silly it is and Crain, as with Blacula, gets good performances out of his cast that also includes Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man) and Marie O’Henry as Pryde’s love interest, a local hooker named Linda. Sadly, Larry LeBron’s script from an idea by Lawrence Woolner doesn’t nearly make as much use of the classic story it’s based on as did Blacula, nor is Crain able to give this film the Gothic flavor and style he did with that film. It’s pretty much a generic monster movie with Mr. Hyde stalking and killing Linda’s fellow hookers and their pimps and the police trying to find and stop the killer. The obvious blaxploitation elements are present but, seem a bit forced here as opposed to Blacula where they were just part of the characters and their life at that point in time. Still the film does have that 70s nostalgia and is worth a look for those interested in the blaxploitation era of filmmaking. Also noteworthy as, the Mr. Hyde make-up effects on Bernie Casey are by the legendary Stan Winston.” 2 1/2 stars

“Intriguing and entertaining, the film suggests — visually and thematically, if not in so many words — that being white causes a person to become aggressive, brutal and evil, and that the very state of whiteness is a state of corruption.” 3 1/2 stars

“The black Dr. Henry Pride (Bernie Casey) takes a formula that turns him into an evil white man. Here’s another blaxploitation film but this one here is actually pretty good thanks in large part to the very good performance by Casey. The film is over the top in every way possible from the non-stop Kung Fu fighting to the wonderfully funny pimp. The first scene where the evil white guy is about to get jumped by three hoods is priceless.”1 1/2 star

“We watched this on YouTube and found ourselves to be compelled by this ‘so bad it’s good’ 70s flick. Some of the acting in this film is near awful, LOL. (You will recognize the main character.) However, the storyline makes up for it. In addition, it has a funky soundtrack and some moments that are funny if you pay attention to all the little nuances and subtleties.” 3 1/2 stars

“Just so people realize, this film’s title is misspelled. Dr. Black & Mr. Hyde has a great trailer, but the movie itself could’ve been better. VERY strange to see Stan Winston, Johnny Pate, and Tak Fujimoto all worked on this movie, however. Crazy as hell. Fun for blaxploitation B-movie weirdness, and definitely better than Blackenstein. But it’s no Blacula.” 2 1/2 stars