Road House, a review by Antares
Road House (1948) 3.5/5 - Ahhhh, Ida Lupino... if I could have just one woman from the Golden Age of Hollywood, it would be her. No one could play the bad girl types like she did. She had that waifish look, a melodic, warbling voice and the smoking sensuality that made good guys go bad. In Road House, she plays a chanteuse at a lounge owned by Richard Widmark. Widmark's character is completely smitten with her, but when she falls for his good looking friend and manager of the lounge (Cornel Wilde), his jealousy overcomes him and he frames him for embezzlement. He has the judge parole him into his custody, just so he can drive a wedge between the two lovers as he makes his life a living Hell. But this only bonds the two closer, and when the trio go on a trip together, Wilde and Lupino make a break for it, with Widmark in psychotic pursuit.
Not a great film, but it delivers the goods. Once again, Richard Widmark plays the lecherous type to perfection. As I've written before, Mitchum was the God of noir, but Widmark is the Beelzebub.
(From Antares' Short Summations on November 3rd, 2011)
Hue and Cry, a review by Jon
Hue and Cry
5 out of 5
A group of boys discover the local villains are using a comic to secretly pass plans hidden in the stories...
Ealing’s first comedy is also one of its least well-known films, but for my money, this gem is one of the best children’s films of all time and so well made and watchable, anyone can enjoy it, especially considering when it was made and what it stood for.
It’s fantastic, riotous fun with an infectious plot that kids would (or should) dream of being involved in. A group of friends of various ages realise their favourite comic, full of thrilling stories about ruthless villains, is being used by actual villains to plan robberies! Led by Harry Fowler’s Joe, they of course just dive in to get one step ahead and apprehend the criminals themselves. Damn the danger!
The story is just the sort of boys own stuff Enid Blyton built a career on (Famous Five books) and what might one day become elements of Stand By Me or even The Goonies, though played lighter in general, yet more honest, with a healthy dose of realism. That said there are extraordinary scenes that play as traditional thriller. The moment two of the boys visit Alastair Sim’s wonderful author is nail biting, with gothic shadows and Sim’s voice booming out threats (turns out to be a recording and he’s actually the complete opposite!). In the final act, there are moments of true peril in a scene reminiscent of The Man With The Golden Gun, of all things (Joe, in a ruined building, tries to find the leader who remains unseen to us for some time and his laugh, echoing all over, is very unsettling).
The fantastic cast bring the film to life, especially the sparky kids and the banter is great (love the "torture" scene!), similar to a St. Trinian’s (especially the final wonderful scenes with kids swarming through the capital after one sneakily gets a call out on the BBC for “boys looking for adventure!”). They’re supported (not the other way around) by reliable character actors like Jack’s Lambert and Warner, as well as the before mentioned Sim. The plot bats along at a tremendous pace and the production occasionally borders on epic in a way that puts modern equivalents to shame. Each scene and character is treated as genuine. So the villains could be so in any film. There’s a huge fight scene late on and punches are not pulled by anyone. Whistle Down The Wind or Night of the Hunter are other good examples of this realistic style, albeit more serious, that trusts children to understand what they're watching without being spoon-fed and protected by cartoonish contrivance.
Back then, British film had an identity, purpose, style and conscience and the story is set in a fascinating time. Britain was just pulling itself back together following the war, the Empire was all but over along with the outdated class structure. It was a country in limbo and the London of 1947 is a shattered place with entire sections still in rubble. Writer T.E.B. Clarke and director Charles Crichton offer no commentary on the location and turn it into a playground instead, which for children of a certain age is exactly what it was. Whether the film-makers could be so perceptive in 1947, I’m not sure, but it naturally stands for an interesting metaphor. How the kids play in the rubble would be a health and safety nightmare these days though! And we are so much poorer for it. The very last shot sums up the film perfectly for me.
(click to show/hide)
Some of the younger kids are lined up in the choir, all sporting impressive and significant injuries !
” Oh, how I loathe adventurous-minded boys.”
(From A Feeling for Ealing... on March 3rd, 2010)
Tom's Buffy and Angel Marathon, a review by Tom
18. Where the Wild Things Are (2000-04-25)
Writer: Tracey Forbes (Writer)
Director: David Solomon
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Seth Green (Oz), Anthony Stewart Head (Giles), Marc Blucas (Riley Finn), James Marsters (Spike), Amber Benson (Tara), Leonard Roberts (Forrest Gates), Bailey Chase (Graham Miller), Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Holt), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Casey McCarthy (Julie), Neil Daly (Mason), Jeff Wilson (Evan), Bryan Cuprill (Roy), Jeffrey Sharmat (Drowning Boy), Jeri Austin (Running Girl), Danielle Pessis (Christy), David Engler (Initiative Guy), James Michael Conner (Scientist)
I never liked this episode. Though it has some good moments like Xander announcing "Hostile 17" at the frat house. But I never liked the "Riley and Buffy are humping each other thoughout the episode" storyline. And I liked Giles singing at the café and the gang's reaction to this.
(From Tom's Buffy and Angel Marathon on September 12th, 2009)