Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More film reviews for you!

No Orchids for Miss Blandish (1948) - ***1/2. A low-budget British film company tries like heck to make a Warner Bros gangster movie with characters based on Cagney (killed off way too soon), Bogie, Bacall, Ann Sheridan, and Sydney Greenstreet) and nearly succeeds. The ludicrous plot (heiress inexplicably falls for one of her captors) is surrounded by seedy characters and so much abrupt violence that it borders on parody. Bogs melodramatically down at the end before incredible finale. Based on James Hadley Chase’s gritty 1st novel.

Daughter of Horror (1951) -***1/2. Finally got to see this after reading about it in Re Search book Incredibly Strange Films, and it doesn't disappoint. Basically a silent movie by choice with a pulsating cool jazz soundtrack (including screen time for Shorty Rogers) and narration by Ed McMahon. I wonder if anybody ever talked to Ed about his involvement in this indy treasure.

Too Busy to Work (1931) - ***. Lesser known Will Rogers vehicle about a tramp who meets his child after 15 years. Sentimental but not too sticky, Rogers carries film along with Louise Beavers and a young non- crooning Dick Powell.

Gunplay, knife play, racism, child abuse, smoking, fighting, stealing, child labor, rock fights, total mayhem. That’s right, it’s the silent Our Gang comedies! Overall these are very hard to take. Farina is about 0ne year old and is put through some gruesome escapades for the sake of humor, except these shorts aren’t that funny. On the positive side, ‘Sunshine” Sammy Morrison was one heck of a silent film actor.

Loyalty, honor, camaraderie, baseball games, talent shows. that’s right, it’s John Ford’s 1930 prison comedy Up The River (**) starring Spencer Tracy in his film debut, and Bogart in his 2nd film. These are the kind of movies that made being a prisoner look like a pretty good career option to an impressionable youth.