Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More Films

Scars of Dracula (1970) Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Christopher Matthews, Patrick Troughton. Dir: Roy Ward Baker

A young rogue disappears and his brother and his fiancée track him down to castle Dracula. Sharp pacing can get you through shakier Hammer films, but this drags and is too derivative. The male lead dies early and is replaced with a blander one and the bat effects are awful.


Touch of Evil (1958) Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff. Dir: Orson Welles.

Mexican (?) honeymooner Heston clashes against detective Welles as they investigate a murder. How great direction can turn a good film into a great one: dramatic, arresting and told with visual flair further enhanced by great performances and cracking dialogue. A near perfect thriller.


The Raven (1934) Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lester Matthews. Dir: Lew Landers.

A poe-obssessed surgeon plots revenge against those who deny him the woman he loves. Though shakey round the edges and dated in places, this is an absolute riot with several stylish and memorable sequences that stick in the memory. Lugosi hits the right note in his over-the-top performance.


The Big Steal (1949) Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Ramon Novarro. Dir: Don Siegal.

Soldier Mitchum pursues Novarro who framed him for theft while he is pursued by cop Bendix. I wasn’t engaged, it seemed unsure of whether it was a comedy or drama and would’ve been over quickly if anyone in it used their brains, but it’s generally highly regarded by critics.


Timber Falls(2008) Josh Randell, Brianna Brown, Nick Searcy, Beth Broderick. Dir: Tong Giglio

Beautiful twenty-somethings take the wrong route hiking and naturally meet a house of psychos. Counting the clichés is about as much fun as you’ll have with this derivative affair. Script is wooden, hard to tell whether it’s tongue in cheek or trying to be serious, it is unintentionally funny.


The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965) Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner. Dir: Martin Ritt.

A disenchanted agent takes on one final mission before retiring. The first anti-Bond film. Le Carre’s excellent far-fetched thriller is given a suitably cold edge by stark photography and an excellent performance by a perfectly cast Burton as the weary spy. Excellent and unsettling.



Matt said...

You seem to enjoy giving films a rating that end in a half....

For The Raven, it seems slightly unfair not to mention Karloff's performance, especially given the nice contrast his (relative) understatement gives to Lugosi's more OTTness.

Dave Paul Nixon said...

Leave off, I've only got 50 words and while Karloff is good, as he usually is, Lugosi steals the show, it's really his film.

Maybe I am relying a little too much on the half marks but each one was thoroughly merited.

In reference to a previous post, Space Mutiny was released in some countries as Mutiny in Space for no reason what-so-ever. But did you know that Ryder and his curiously older love interest actually fell in love and got married in real life!

You may also like to know these statistics lovingly put together by a fan and stolen by me from their IMDB entry.

# of times our ostensible "hero" screams in panic: 17

# of jumpsuited extras flung into the air with pneumatic catapults: 14

# of insertions of "Battlestar Galactica" footage: lost count around 40

# of previously seen shots edited in:15

# of times the Enforcers refer to each other as "idiots": 7

# of off-the-shelf glowing balls in the Bellarian scenes: 8

# of times Ryder or Kalgon yells at someone to "MOVE!" or "GO!": 26

# of occasions Kalgon starts laughing for no apparent reason: 18

# of minutes you get to watch grown men trying to kill each other with golf carts: 5

# of railing kills: 24 (may have missed a couple)

Matt said...