Sunday, October 28, 2012
Central Airport (1933) - ***. Unjustly neglected William Wellman film about barnstorming aviator brothers, Richard Barthelmess and Tom Brown vying for the same gal, Sally Eilers. Some frank Pre-Code sexual innuendo (Barthelmess & Eilers are undoubtedly ‘ living in sin’) and stunt work keep this yarn moving.
The Illustrated Man (1969) - *1/2. Slow, confusing adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story collection. May be worth seeing for Rod Steiger ‘s intense performance but besides that it is hardly worth the time.
God’s Gift to Women (1931) - ** ½. Amusing romantic farce features Frank Fay (who greatly resembles Frank (Wizard of Oz) Morgan) as a self-proclaimed Don Juan who bypasses past conquests (Joan Blondell and Louise Brooks!!) for the heart of Laura La Plante. Already too old for this part, Fay is known primarily as Barbara Stanwyck’s first husband (if remembered at all.) . An alcohol-fueled ego ruined his career, though he did star in the first stage production of “Harvey” in the 40s. Director Michael Curtiz adds some needed style to this Pre-Code relic.
Harold Teen (1934) - **. Carl Ed’s popular 20s comic strip stars was already dated by the time this extremely hokey film version came out. Most of the ‘teenagers’ look middle-aged. Long-limbed star Hal LeRoy does do a remarkable tap dance routine in the finale if you can wait that long.
The Monster (1926) - ** ½. Minor Lon Chaney film is of your basic ‘haunted house’ variety. Top-billed Chaney’s barely in it, instead film relies too heavily on the comedic talents of timid Johnny Arthur. Arthur , memorable in many Hal Roach shorts, is only annoying here.
Mummy’s Boys (1936) - **. Tiresome Wheeler & Woolsey vehicle teams them with Willie Best and plump Barbara Pepper investigating a curse in Cairo. Poor direction by Fred Guiol has actors standing around looking confused. Pepper was lifetime friends with Lucille Ball from their Goldwyn Girl days and Ball gave her small roles on I Love Lucy during hard times. She later played Mrs. Ziffel on Green Acres.