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|The Green Glove: this story centers around the mysterious reappearance of a valuable religious artifact, a green jewel encrested gauntlet. As our hero WW2 veteran Mike Blake (Glenn Ford) pursues the gauntlet's trail having learned of if during the war in France, mysterious individuals likely connected to a Nazi collaborator/art dealer named Paul Rona (George Macready) are also on its trail. Suddenly a dead man, who had previously been following Blake, is discovered and Blake finds himself a murder suspect. Along the way Blake meets and falls in love with a French tour guide played by Geraldine Brooks who adds another twist to the story as she refuses to be left behind despite the danger situation in which Blake finds himself.
The mystery, murder and mayhem actually proves secondary in this movie and only occasionally proves as exciting as it sounds. Here, it's the romance that steals the show. Everytime Brooks is on the screen, she heats it up with her realistic flirting and terrific on-screen chemistry with Ford and Macready. If you're a bit of a hopeless romantic like me, you'll probably enjoy this as much as I did. *** out of *****
The Second Woman (1951) : Ellen Foster (Betsy Drake) is a young woman determined to stand by her man, architect Jeff Callohan (Robert Young) when everyone else seems to think him going crazy. All the signs do point to him being targeted by someone as everything close to him, anything he ever loved seems to be killed or destroyed. Is someone really out to get him or is he really going bonkers after all? Another mystery/romantic drama, this one tends to drag its feet quite a bit trying to achieve some type of melodrama style brooding atmosphere. While it doesn't quite hold up or achieve the sweeping romantic feel it seems to be going for, it does have its enjoyable moments and I love how aggressive Ellen Foster is here in showing her affections for her man, an element that might have been considered a little racy by 1951 standards. ** 1/2 out of *****
Fog Island (1945): Stars George Zucco as Leo Grainger, a man living on an isolated island whose sole remaining purpose in life is to exact revenge against those he believes responsible for the death of his wife. He invites the various suspects to his island for a weekend well aware they well be tempted by the rumors he has a secret stash of loot hidden away there. Your basic old dark house mystery thriller, this one proves fairly predictable as is never quite as satisfying as one wants it to be. Still it does give us the chance to see horror icons Zucco and Lionel Atwill interact, albeit only briefly. This does have some good moments here and there and Sharon Douglas proves a pleasing presence throughout the film. What a looker she was in the 1940s! The print on the Mystery Classics set does clock in at only 69 instead of 72 minutes so some footage is presumably missing here. **1/2 out of *****
They Made Me A Criminal (1939) : Stars John Garfield as bad boy boxer Johnny Bradfield who finds himself on the run after being accused of a murder he didn't commit. On the run, changing his identity, he eventually comes across the Dead End Kids and falls hook, line and sinker for Tommy's pretty sister Peggy who brings out the best in him. The kids are all living on a ranch but the money is starting to run out so Bradfield has to decide whether or not he should risk stepping back in the ring for one more time in an attempt to garner enough doe to buy a gas pump to help support the ranch. Johnny knows full well a wily detective, played by a miscast Claude Rains, is hot on his trail. While not entirely believable on many levels, this is one of those movies that helped create the cliche of the bad boy hero who goes straight for the sake of the good-hearted girl and the little kids who look up to and idolize him. For what it is, it's surprisingly good and involving. Only Rains as the detective proves disappointing as he never seems quite human enough. *** out of *****
Jigsaw (1949) : By the numbers, obviously low budget murder mystery film in which as assistant D.A. (Franchot Tone) while investigating the murder of his journalist friend stumbles across an hidden conspiracy involving a secret facist style racist hate group. Aside from some bright moments from Jean Wallace in her performance as troubled singer Barbara Whitfield, this one feels pretty routine and predictable. Keep a sharp look out though and you'll see a lot of famous people making cameos here including Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, Burgess Meredith and John Garfield to name a few. ** out of *****
Algiers (1938): The police are determined to get a notorious criminal bandit/jewel thief named Pepe Le Moko (Charles Boyer), who's holed himself up inside a seemingly invincible labyrinth of supporters in the Casbah section within Algiers. The police know they must trick him into coming out of the Casbah if they are to ever capture him. Meanwhile a beautiful young French woman named Gaby (played by the then delectable Hedy LeMarr), engaged to a wealthy man she doesn't love, hopes to find adventure and a means of temporary escape within the Casbah and is intrigued by and instantlly attracted to the mysterious, dashing Le Moko. The two eventually dare to fall in love but when the police learn of this, they decide to use Gaby as a lure to bring Le Moko out. Will he risk all for love? This sweeping romance is very well executed. The chemistry between Boyer and LeMarr is terrific. A very moving film, this one really pulls its strings masterfully. **** out of *****
The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West (1976)
Stars Bob Denver as Dusty, a clueless cowpoke helping Skip...a wagon master named Callahan (Forrest Tucker reduced to playing a wannabe Skipper). Basically Gilligan goes west only Gilligan is the only member of the original "Gilligan's Island" gang on board. The rest of the cast does include characters just like those on the show...a rich man and his wife, a young spunky brunette, a hot blonde saloon hostess, and a smart educated man who basically acts like a professor. There's really nothing new here to be found. One is much better off watching some reruns of the real "Gilligan's Island". Apparently 4 slapped together episodes of the short-lived and best forgotten TV series "Dusty's Trail".
* out of ***** stars.
Child's Play 2 (1990)
Well this managed to exceed my low expectations for a sequel. While it never really comes close to recapturing the creepy, unsettling eerieness of the first film, it has its fun moments. The exciting conclusion in particular is an entertaining actionfest with some great FX work even if it does perhaps owe something to THE TERMINATOR. That said, there's loads in this movie that doesn't really hold up to close scrutiny such as it never being explained how Chucky escaped from the basement at one point but couldn't at another and Chucky's slowness to take action at times. Still better than I expected it would be. ** 1/2 out of *****.
Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)
The overall premise is great fun. Giant leeches infest a backwoods Southern swamp and begin chowing down on the white trash locales. Unfortunately lead Ken Clark is unbelievably wooden and the FX is laughable making this film often tough slugging. Nice to see the then gorgeous Yvette Vickers getting a chance to show off some skin and getting a chance to play an early scream queen. Still when a film that runs 62 minutes feels a lot longer than that to watch, well something is amiss. Still this bad movie can be fun if you're in the right sort of mood to have some fun with it. ** out of *****
Hal Holbrook and Lawrence Dane raise this cheaply made Canadian thriller a slight notch in quality as two men battling to survive after their group, a bunch of doctors on a fishing trip, becomes the target of someone with dastardly and evil intentions. The interplay between Holbrook and Dane as they struggle to cling on to hope as well as their sanity in the face of something they never expected is surpisingly good. Unfortunately the rest of this film is not, being largely a combination of the psycho killer stalking through the woods genre combined with elements of Deliverance. It's too bad it lighting is horrible as many scenes are dark, the sound tends to suffer greatly too and the direction is often a bit misguided. Still if one has the patience to stick with this one, it's not too bad of its type as at least it's a departure from the typical dumb teenager slasher. The other thing that most stood for me is there's lots of cussing in this one. ** out of *****
Stars Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor as a pair of star-crossed lovers who have to try and overcome a major test given Taylor's lack of wealth and Garbo's many debts owed to a rich Baron played by Henry Daniell in order for their love to survive. This is a very moving story that really gets the veiwers emotionally because we are made to care so much about its leads even if the story is a little bit dated thematically. Keep the tissues handy for this one if you have a soft heart. ***** out of *****
The African Queen (1951)
Highly entertaining romance adventure set on an African river during World War I. Leads Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn are superb and have sizzling romantic chemistry on screen together. The high adventure aspect of the story is sometimes really hard to accept but if one allows oneself, this is high escapism at its cinematic best as Bogart and Hepburn set out to use the steamrunner the African Queen to fight German forces taking over Africa. **** 1/2 out of *****
Cool and the Crazy (1994)
A TV movie directed by Ralph Bakshi of all people. Surprisingly this one is live action and not animated. Anyways Bakshi's direction as usual is all over the place and the story never seems to find a good clear direction. Set in 1950s America, it does have some interesting things to say about the American Family Ideal. Alicia Silverstone stands out a young woman who suddenly finds herself slave and servant in a much too early marriage and struggles and tries to come to grips with what she needs in order to be happy as do really all the characters in this story. This does have its moments but ultimately if falls short of really convincing an audience of which answer is right I guess leaving things up to the viewer to decide. This conclusion proves somewhat unsatisfactory in this case. ** 1/2 out of *****
Last edited on Wed Oct 31st, 2007 10:29 pm by JaseSF