The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Incredible Shrinking Man Movie Review

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The Incredible Shrinking Man Movie Review

The Incredible Shrinking Man is a 1957 science fiction film directed by Jack Arnold and starring Grant Williams and Randy Stuart. It is a solid, albeit a bit boring movie.

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Yes, smaller than the smallest,

I meant something, too.

To God, there is no zero. I still exist!

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The premise itself is a lot of fun and I liked the plot here for the most part. The beginning was a great introduction and I really liked the first half because it has some very moving sequences that actually explored this issue pretty well. It was great that it wasn’t just action and spectacle, but it focused on actual emotion quite a bit at times.

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The Incredible Shrinking Man Movie Review

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But, the second half was unfortunately a giant let down for me. The entire survival aspect to it was very boring to be honest because those spider sequences in particular were just way too long and repetitive. It was as if the movie suddenly stopped as it really became too slow and dull. And as for that ending, I’ve had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I really respect it for going against the formula and for being such an inspirational, really clever scene. But on the other hand, it did feel out of place as it was quick and sudden, but also very odd and somewhat not fitting for this film.

The characters are pretty good. Scott is fine, but I was honestly annoyed by his voice narration. The narration here was sometimes very pleasant and reminiscent to a book reading experience, but it was mostly typical and excessive. I liked Louise as she genuinely struggled with Scott and his shrinking problem and I really liked their relationship. As for the acting, it is nothing spectacular, but both of the actors deliver solid, satisfying performances for this kind of film.

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The Incredible Shrinking Man Movie Review

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The Incredible Shrinking Man is a strong movie on technical grounds. The special effects are absolutely fantastic for the time. Yes, there were moments where I could see that it was the effects, but mostly they were seamlessly incorporated into the action as Scott felt real for the most time and that is quite an achievement. And I liked that action. I was bored by the spider and construction sequences as those were too long, but that cat scene is definitely the highlight of the movie as it is so memorable and so well executed.

I’ve had the problem with the film’s score. It was definitely good, but it felt excessive at times with an overemphasis on dramatic and loud score during the action scenes and because those were long, the effect of the score was reduced. But the movie is pleasantly dramatic as well as emotional and heartwarming in tone and it does have at times pretty on-the-nose, but also at times clever dialogue. The sound effects are solid, but the pacing is problematic as the film is just 80 minutes long and feels longer which is never a good sign. It definitely is too boring which is unfortunate given its very entertaining premise. But it is unpredictable in its ending and sometimes very sophisticated. And its visuals are the highlights. The Incredible Shrinking Man is in the end a solid blockbuster of its era, but it never comes close to the best sci-fi works of the fifties due to its many annoying detractors.

The Incredible Shrinking Man has a fun premise, a pleasant emotional as well as dramatic tone to it, some very memorable action sequences and an interesting ending, but that ending was still odd, some of the action is too prolonged and dull and the film has an excessive use of narration. It is a solid, but very flawed sci-fi film.

My Rating – 3.5

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Let’s Celebrake (1938)

Let's Celebrake Let’s Celebrake Review

 Let’s Celebrake is a 1938 animated short from Popeye the Sailor series. It is an interesting and sweet, but not as funny entry.

Let’s Celebrake is never unfortunately funny. I never laughed, not even once and that is definitely a big problem this entry never overcame. Another problem is that third act with the dance sequence being sweet, but way too prolonged, lasting for minutes.

However, I still liked this entry because it was very unusual for a Popeye short in that it did not focus on Bluto and action, but instead on Popeye and grandma Oyl who is such a memorable character. I loved Popeye here because he showed his sweet and genuinely wonderful side as he was so nice to the old lady. That entire premise is pretty original and even though it needed more energy in its execution, this was still a fine Popeye entry.

Let’s Celebrake lacks in terms of humor and energy, but it compensates with an original plot and sweet Popeye.

 My Rating – 4

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Jerry and Jumbo (1953)

Jerry and Jumbo ReviewJerry and Jumbo Review

Jerry and Jumbo is a 1953 animated short that is the 74th Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is such a funny entry that is even an improvement upon its predecessor.

Yes, Jerry and Jumbo is the second Tom and Jerry film of 1953 and it is even better than ‘The Missing Mouse‘ which is so great. Its protagonist and his name are obviously influenced by Disney’s ‘Dumbo‘, but thankfully the similarities end there as the plot is very different. I liked Jumbo and this is one of the best films where Jerry befriends an animal against Tom.

I honestly got annoyed by some of the action here as it was very typical and the entire entry could have put its elephant character to an even better use, but it was overall an entertaining and well crafted film with its humor being exceptional. The idea of Jumbo painting himself as a mouse is brilliant and it led to many great scenarios of which the ending is my favorite. That maniacal laughter from Tom is just brilliant and his going insane here definitely leads to one of the best moments ever in the series, so great and just hilarious.

Jerry and Jumbo is such an entertaining, hilarious entry with a good use of its new character and a brilliant ending.

My Rating – 4.2

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Videodrome (1983)

Videodrome Movie Review

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Videodrome Movie Review

Videodrome is a 1983 science fiction horror film directed by David Cronenberg and starring James Woods. It is such a disappointing, disgusting film.

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After all, there is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there?

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Videodrome is a perfect example of a film having a great concept, but eventually being undone by its problematic execution. And that is essentially what happened here. You have a plot that is not only relevant, but also extremely original, especially for the time. And you have the execution which is overly violent and gory and just too disappointing in terms of storytelling and overall impact.

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Videodrome Movie Review

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The characters are so forgettable with neither of them being either likable or memorable and none of them is particularly well developed. I know that horror movies do not have strong characters, but this was slight characterization even for the genre. As for the acting, it is solid, but nothing to write home about. But James Woods is quite solid in the main role.

Videodrome is such a repulsive movie. Yes, there weren’t that many gory moments to be had in its first half, but when they came, they disgusted me how horrible they were. Those scenes with stomach splitting are especially gruesome and unpleasant to watch and I just skipped them because I hate such scenes. I totally get that this is a horror flick, and a body horror one at that, but instead of having just a couple of those sequences, Cronenberg focused way too much on that gore instead of the plot and drama.

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Videodrome Movie Review

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Yes, I found David Cronenberg’s direction here to be very troublesome indeed. The pacing is fine as the movie is entertaining to watch and lasts for just the right amount of time, but it is never particularly likable because it is too violent and there isn’t any character to root for here. That was unfortunate. The premise itself is awesome admittedly and this is one of the most original films of the period. I also liked some of the imagery here and although those violent scenes were repulsive, they were still brought to life really well with some spectacular special effects, especially admirable for its time. Its first half is quite solid, but everything that came in the second half was either annoying or disappointing which is why this film had the potential to be great, but unfortunately that never came to fruition.

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Videodrome Movie Review

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Videodrome is such a disappointing movie with a solid first half and such a terrific and original premise, but the execution is awful with too much gory and plain repulsive sequences, unlikable characters and an unfortunate emphasis on gore instead of good storytelling. It had a great potential, but it was wasted with those poor choices and it ended up being a very frustrating movie.

My Rating – 2.5

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Faust (1926)

Faust Movie Review

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Faust Movie Review

Faust is a 1926 German fantasy film directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Gosta Ekman and Emil Jannings. It is an uneven, but strong silent film with its fair share of powerful scenes.

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All things in heaven and on earth are wonderful!

But the greatest miracle of all is man’s freedom to choose between good and evil!

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This is a classic story and I really enjoyed it here. I loved how entertaining and mostly very involving the film is, but I also loved its strong dramatic side. It starts and ends on such a strong note and there were many really spectacular fantasy sequences to be had here including demons, hell, flying scenes and so many more. However, Faust is incredibly uneven. Its beginning is great, but definitely a bit rushed and its entire second half is very different tonally than the first one. Also, there were a couple of sequences that seemed repetitive to me. The film is mostly strong, but it still felt too uneven.

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Faust Movie Review

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I liked the characters a lot. Mephisto is such a memorable creation and Faust is of course such a well developed main character. Gretchen is also good, but unfortunately most of the others are pretty forgettable when compared to the main characters. In terms of acting, Faust is quite good with Gosta Ekman being solid and Emil Jannings being well cast for the role. But once again I have to admit that I am not a fan of Jannings’ acting because he is too theatrical for my taste. Here that fitted the character, but he was still too goofy in some sequences.

The technical aspects are the strongest in Faust, a movie that is just spectacular in terms of the visuals. F. W. Murnau directed it wonderfully as he is such a fantastic director, but the cinematography is just terrific with some of the imagery here being amazing. I loved the action sequences and I absolutely loved the flying scene as well as every fantasy scene here as the costumes are certainly phenomenal and the effects are magnificent. This movie has some of the best special effects of the silent era and it is just admirable how they managed to create this world almost a century ago.

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Faust Movie Review

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The world building is so strong, but the problem here is that the second half becomes too enamored with its love/infatuation themes and relationships between the characters instead of focusing on the fantasy elements as the first one did. That really disappointed me as it was truly epic in scope before, but suddenly became much smaller and much less ambitious. But that ending is still fantastic and such a strong and memorable way to finish the movie.

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Faust Movie Review

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The dialogue is quite good and I found the use of intertitles to be great as they were never too much in the way of the story, but still explained everything properly. The romance scenes aren’t as good as the action ones, but the fantasy ones are the finest which is why Faust succeeds in spades as a fantasy flick. The score in the version that I’ve seen was very good and very fitting to the action on screen. The pacing is okay, but could have been better nonetheless. And in terms of originality, this is one of the most unique and different films of the period and of any period actually as it truly is a one of a kind experience. Faust isn’t great, but it is still such a good, memorable early fantasy movie.

Faust is very uneven with an inferior second half, not that great acting and forgettable supporting characters, but it is still such a strong, memorable and very unique silent fantasy film filled with amazing imagery, great direction from Murnau, some very dramatic and powerful sequences, an involving plot and some of the best special effects of the period.

My Rating – 4

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The Missing Mouse (1953)

The Missing Mouse ReviewThe Missing Mouse Review

The Missing Mouse is a 1953 animated short that is the 73rd Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a very good, very well crafted work.

I really enjoyed The Missing Mouse. It is actually the best Tom and Jerry short in a while and such a great way to open the year of 1953. The white mouse escaped from a lab and it has an explosive in it. Jerry, painted white by mistake, wants to use this development to fool the cat. This is a traditional, but very well crafted storyline that benefits from great pacing and excellent humor.

Tom is fantastic here as is Jerry who is surprisingly really funny in some scenes. The action is very repetitive in the second act, but it is great in other scenes with some being pretty inventive. Tom’s aging sequence is hilarious. I also loved that ending with that funny Tom’s line being one of the most memorable lines in the whole series. The music is not composed but Scott Bradley here, but instead by Edward Plumb. And although unusual at first, I overall liked it. The same cannot be said for the sound effects which are pretty weak this time around. But those are minor flaws in an otherwise very good entry.

The Missing Mouse has its problems, but it is mostly an entertaining and funny short with a great story, some inventive action and some highly memorable moments.

My Rating – 4.2

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The Secret of NIMH (1982)

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The Secret of NIMH Movie Review

The Secret of NIMH is a 1982 animated fantasy adventure film directed by Don Bluth and it his first feature film. It isn’t as great as some would call it, but it is a very good work for sure.

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Courage of the heart is very rare. The stone has a power when it’s there

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I liked the storyline here quite a bit. Everyone talks about how great this movie’s animation is and it is great, but people forget how great the plot is too. It is fantastic, so unique and incredibly well crafted. I loved its darker and more mature approach as that is the thing that sticks with you the most regarding this movie.

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The great thing about The Secret of NIMH is its mystical nature and the movie has that in abundance. It is so mysterious and at times definitely atmospheric. I loved its structure a lot. It starts on a great note with that opening sequence instantly hooking you into its story, but I loved that it doesn’t explain everything right away and you only get explanations much later on. I also loved that the third act is action packed, but everything that came before it suitably slower and more adventurous than action oriented.

Let’s talk about the characters. The character development is unfortunately the biggest problem this movie never overcomes. The characters here are far from bad as they are perfectly fine, but neither of them is particularly likable or memorable. The film is filled with too many characters, thus not leaving enough room for real characterization and real emotion. Mrs. Brisby is solid and definitely a strong, if a bit boring female protagonist. I liked the role of Jonathan quite a bit. He is never in the movie in any scene, but most of the characters mention him and you feel his importance in the storyline.

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The kids are forgettable, but Auntie Shrew is quite good. The Great Owl is such a mysterious, highly memorable and creepy creation and I loved his sequence a lot. Nicodemus is also very memorable and a great plot device. As for Jeremy the Crow, he is a typical dumb sidekick in the vein of Disney, but he is still a good sidekick whom I honestly liked and found funny at times. As for the other characters, they are okay, but not one of them really stays in your memory.

The Secret of NIMH has a brilliant animation. This is easily one of the best, if not the very best, animated works of the eighties. The animation is fluid, vibrant and always breathtaking to watch. Critics pinpoint to it being the highlight for a good reason as it truly is the best and most admirable thing about the movie. It is wonderfully old-fashioned with traditional character designs, but also some really authentic ones as well. I loved its muted, more darker and more realistic colors and I absolutely loved some of the creepy imagery here. Everything is beautiful to watch and it truly is a stunning, respectable achievement from the animators.

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The Secret of NIMH has one big problem apart from its characters and that is its emotional investment which isn’t there at all. I never really connected with the characters and I was never moved or touched in any way. It is a dark movie and it should be more serious definitely, bt this was just way too cold for my taste.

Don Bluth directed this movie wonderfully and it is obvious that is one of his very best works, admirable for a debut feature. The movie is also really well paced and I loved its attention to detail with the objects, the exposition and the structure all being extremely well crafted. The action is also phenomenal and that fight near the end is one of my favorite sequences here along with the owl sequence that is the most memorable one in my opinion.

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The Secret of NIMH Movie Review

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The tone is too serious at times, but thankfully Jeremy is there to ease it down from time to time with some comedy. I liked the humor and I really liked the dialogue. I also liked its realism as it truly is very realistic for this kind of film. It works wonderfully as an adventure, but even more so as a fantasy as it is very intriguing in its mythology. It is a very original, really authentic animated film. The score is one of the best aspects here as it is well scored, so dramatic and so atmospheric. Flying Dreams is the only song in this flick and I liked it. It isn’t that memorable, but is well sung with some good lyrics and music. Overall, The Secret of NIMH is such a good, if not great movie that is one of the better animated works of the decade.

The Secret of NIMH has its problems including the troubling lack of emotion in it and too many characters with most of them being not that memorable, but the story is so fantastic and intriguing, the score is superb, the approach is refreshingly darker and more mature, there are some truly powerful and atmospheric sequences here and the animation is exceptional and one of the best of the time. It isn’t great, but it is certainly a very good, very authentic animated film.

My Rating – 4

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A Star Is Born (1937)

A Star Is Born Movie Review

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A Star Is Born Movie Review

A Star Is Born is a 1937 romantic drama film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. This is such a good, really moving picture.

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Hello, everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine

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It is about an aspiring Hollywood actress who gets into business with the help of her future husband who is a famous, but fading movie star. I really liked the storyline mainly because it wasn’t nearly as clichéd as I expected it would be. Yes, the way how she got into business was too fast, too unrealistic and those scenes were so rushed, but everything else is pretty grounded in reality and very well realized. And the conflict at the center of the film is so strong and dramatic and those sequences are phenomenal.

A Star Is Born Movie Review

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I found the main character to be incredibly strong. She is such an admirable, but also really likable woman and I found her to be a great role model. Norman Maine is also relatable and such a tragic figure and the relationship between the two is the heart of this film. I liked the other characters as well with Danny being quite endearing and Grandmother Lettie being the standout. I just adored her and she should have been present more. At first, I wanted more from her as well as the whole family, but at least she was in the film’s ending and that structure I liked. She is only present in the beginning and ending and both of those scenes are my favorites here mainly because of her because she is that fantastic and that memorable. Her care for her granddaughter is evident, but her sense of humor is just magnificent as she had many funny lines and she’s just such a charming, wonderful person in the first place.

The acting in A Star is Born is exceptionally strong. May Robson is awesome and it’s a travesty that she wasn’t nominated for a supporting female role at the Oscars. And yes, both Fredric March and Janet Gaynor deserved their Oscar nominations as both are phenomenal. Janet Gaynor sold those more emotional scenes, but March had an even tougher job and he is believable and terrific in those more dramatic, more heartbreaking scenes.

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A Star Is Born Movie Review

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A Star Is Born is technically a strong film, well directed and mostly very well paced. I’ve had some problems with the film mainly the somewhat clichéd script in some areas and the emphasis on the headlines and those montage scenes is overwhelming and I disliked that. But this is mostly a very good, even excellent film that is tonally well presented and emotionally investing. It is not only tragic and moving, but also quite dramatic and meaningful at times. The message at the end is so strong and that finale is absolutely beautiful to witness.

The humor is also really strong and the film is quite charming at times. I really enjoy these movies about Hollywood and this is one of the best of that type as it uses its setting to the fullest extent. I loved seeing the behind the scenes of the industry and that Academy Awards ceremony was one of my favorite sequences. I also loved how the film is heartbreaking and emotional, but never going into overly maudlin territory which I strongly appreciated.

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A Star Is Born Movie Review

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The movie received only one Oscar out of seven nominations and it was for best story which is an okay choice. But all of those nominations are earned with the acting and Best Picture nods being the most deserved. Overall, it isn’t a fantastic film, but in a very weak year for film, it is easily one of the best ones.

A Star Is Born is at times rushed and clichéd, but it is mostly a very entertaining and dramatic look at Hollywood with some very inspirational and heartbreaking sequences. The beginning and the ending are the highlights as those are so good, but the entire movie is very good with excellent performances from Janet Gaynor, May Robson and Fredric March, some great lines and strong characters.

My Rating – 4.5

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She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown (1980)

She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown ReviewShe’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown Review

She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown is a 1980 animated television special and the 19th entry in the Peanuts series. It is such a good, very underrated special.

This entry is one of those that only feature a couple of characters and while that was a problem to me at first, I quickly got used to it. Charlie Brown is only there in the third act and I guess he got the title of the special for traditional reasons. But this is Peppermint Patty’s vehicle and she’s rarely been this good. She gets skating lessons from Snoopy who is an especially harsh coach and she eventually starts and wins a skating competition.

I absolutely adored that whole third act. Even though the grading was fairly ridiculous, I was really entertained watching the show and I loved the musical choices. But that moment where Woodstock steps in when the music player breaks and he starts singing with Snoopy tearing up is just something special. It is one of my favorite Peanuts scenes for sure. Woodstock is so strong and memorable here whereas Snoopy hasn’t been this good for a while now. But the entire special, although being somewhat boring in some scenes, is mostly pretty entertaining and even charming and it is certainly one of the better ones so far.

She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown is an underrated, very good Peanuts special with an entertaining storyline and a fantastic use of Woodstock and Snoopy.

My Rating – 4

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Blackmail (1929)

Blackmail Movie Review

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Blackmail Movie Review

Blackmail is a 1929 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anny Ondra , John Longden and Cyril Ritchard. It is a solid, but very troublesome movie.

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Detectives in glass houses shouldn’t wave clues

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It follows a London woman who is blackmailed after killing a man who tries to rape her. The plot itself is quite good for the most part, but at times very problematic as well. The entire first half is really good. The murder should have happened a bit before, but the build up was well realized and it was a very well crafted half. But the second one was disappointing. I really liked the introduction of Tracy and that blackmailing part was really intense and interesting, but the third act is so ridiculous. It just ended in such a rushed and very unsatisfying manner with Alice not confessing the crime in the end. Very disappointing.

The characters are also problematic. I liked Tracy quite a bit as he was such a great presence and his mannerisms were fun. Frank is also quite good. But Alice is not as she is such an idiotic woman. She murdered in self defense and instead of confessing that to the police, she chose to hide. Also, she still ended up not confessing it at the end. And her role in the scenes with Tracy is so passive as Frank is literally the only one who handled the situation. She is such a stupid, ridiculous woman.

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Blackmail Movie Review

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Blackmail succeeds as a thriller because it does have its intense moments. I absolutely loved the murder itself as it was well realized and those later action sequences were also quite thrilling and visually pleasing. Hitchcock directed this movie wonderfully and this is another strong proof of how great a director he is when even his first films had that masterful style to them.

Blackmail was filmed in a transitioning period for film and therefore it has two versions – silent and sound. I watched the sound one and I have to say that I wasn’t a big fan of it. The sound is quite poor and the choice to film only some scenes in sound did not pay off for me, apart from that silent beginning which is awesome and which features such a fan cameo from the director. But the biggest offender here is Anny Ondra. She was deemed unsuitable for the role because of her thick accent so all of her dialogue was dubbed by another actress leading to such an awkward performance that bothered me a lot. But at least Cyril Ritchard and John Longden gave respectable performances themselves.

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Blackmail is visually such a strong movie. I loved some of the choices in its camera movements and I found its cinematography to be really good. The film looks splendid as is always the case for Hitchcock films. The tone is also good, pleasantly serious and mildly intense. And despite some of those really unfortunate choices in its second half, the script is still solid and it led to some very intriguing moments. The highlights for me were the entire attempted rape/murder sequence and all of the scenes with Tracy as he is such a memorable, really charismatic presence. The film is very well paced and lasts for just the right amount of running time. It is very entertaining to watch and its score is quite solid and accompanies its atmosphere wonderfully. Overall, Blackmail is a very flawed movie which is unfortunate as it could have been great, but it is still a solid and respectable early Hitchcock movie. And even though ‘The Lodger‘ is a much better movie, this one is still worth a watch.

Blackmail is a solid, but incredibly flawed movie. The cinematography is splendid as is its score, the movie looks really good and is quite atmospheric, its first half is really well crafted and some scenes are so memorable, but the second half is disappointing with a very problematic ending, the dubbing of Anny Ondra’s voice led to an awkward performance and her character is a very idiotic one. It is an entertaining and solid film, but unfortunately plagued by those annoying problems.

My Rating – 3.5

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