Surely no director has cut his cloth according to his means more than M. Night Shyamalen. After a series of big-budget failures, he returned with a series of low-budget numbers like The Visit (2015) and Split (2016) with a couple of forays into television to keep his hand in. And although his movies sometimes don’t … Continue reading “Old (2021) ***”
How often does a government hoodwink a morally upright citizen into deceitful action for the cause of the greater good? In this case physicist Professor James Bower (Montgomery Clift) doesn’t need a great deal of urging because what’s at stake are Russian space race secrets and the man selling them is a Russian scientist he … Continue reading “The Defector (1966) ***”
Can’t believe this romp is getting such sniffy reviews. But the reason is simple enough. Critics don’t watch it with an audience (except possibly of other critics) – on Rotten Tomatoes critics scored this at 63% while audiences rated it 93%. I saw it as part of my Monday Night Cinema Double Bill – along … Continue reading “Jungle Cruise (2021) **** – Seen At The Cinema”
Although Oscar voters dismissed the film’s acting, directing and writing, they made an exception for Edith Head, nominated in the category of Best Costume Design. The movie paraded famous fashions of the period in more ways than one. Head’s idea was to have the girls sporting lingerie that had been seen in movies from the … Continue reading “Fashion Parade in “A House Is Not A Home” (1964)”
Hollywood biopics tended to follow one of two routes – overcoming circumstances or falling victim to circumstances. Polly Adler’s autobiography A House Is Not A Home fitted into neither category. It was more of a survivor’s guide and if there was any element of triumph it was within an unsavory profession and one that sailed … Continue reading “Book into Film – “A House Is Not A Home” (1964)”
Setting aside the Biblical angle and the need to inject as much sin as the censor at that time would permit, this works very well as a historical drama filled with political intrigue, pivoting on the morality/sin axis, and with a terrific battle scene. The set up is superb. Bera (Anouk Aimee), Queen of the … Continue reading “Sodom and Gomorrah (1962) ****”
Selling sin had never been difficult in Hollywood, dating back to the Cecil B. DeMille silent epics and more recently when a series of films challenged the Production Code, the studio’s self-governing censorship system. In most films, however, sex had been a by-product of passion, a couple in love, or a glimpse of nudity. Nobody … Continue reading “Selling Sex – The Pressbook for “A House Is Not a Home” (1964)”
Best remembered these days as the debut film for Raquel Welch (One Million Years BC, 1966), the rest of the film is well worth a look. Hypocrisy had its heyday in The Roaring 20s when prohibition made bootleggers millionaires, helped bankroll other criminal activities like prostitution and encouraged cops and politicians to seek their share … Continue reading “A House Is Not a Home (1964) ***”
Like Skyfall, that rarity, an action film with a solid emotional core. Take away the action and you would still have an absorbing story of a loss, family tension, bickering siblings and an ego-driven pompous father. The action brings family together, initially the two girls, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) rescuing papa Alexei … Continue reading “Black Widow (2021) ****”
Calling this a by-the-numbers spy thriller does this movie no disservice since numbers are crucial to the complicated plot. On the one hand it’s quite a simple set up. Suave high-living art-dealer-cum-spy Michael London (Gene Barry) travels from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express to bid for secret papers in a secret auction. The … Continue reading “Istanbul Express (1968) ***”
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