Heidi (1937)

Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

Heidi Movie Review

Heidi is a 1937 family drama film starring Shirley Temple. It is a very disappointing, at times even annoying adaptation.

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Well, I’ve always had a sheet and coverlet,

but if there aren’t any,

I could sleep under the hay

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

I am a big fan of the book which is why this film adaptation disappointed me immensely. It couldn’t even be considered an adaptation, that’s how much they changed and ruined the source material. Whereas the book is all about the Alps, religion and of course the various benefits of the country, this film is all about Frankfurt and Fraulein Rottenmeier. So ridiculous.

The core of the movie is the relationship between Heidi and her grandfather and that was great. That is the only aspect of it that stayed true to the original and even accentuated their love a bit more which was wonderful to witness. But there is no Peter here whatsoever which is just super frustrating and of course the message is all wrong. They missed the point of the novel entirely. The book showcases the strengths and health benefits of living in the country and Clara heals just as she spends some time in the Alps, but here she heals in the house due to the help from Heidi. I do not understand how could the filmmakers be this clueless. It really bothered me.

Let’s talk about the characters. I really liked Heidi. She isn’t whom I imagined in the book, but Shirley Temple is so wonderful that she elevated the role. I realized watching her why she was so popular during the thirties. Not only is she cute, but so charismatic and obviously talented too. Jean Hersholt also did a really good job and the role was great.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

But all of the other characters are all wrong. Clara is actually better developed than in the book, if a bit too old. But Detie is ridiculously villainous and of course Fraulein Rottenmeier is just silly. She was too over-the-book in the book itself, but here she was written as a straight off villain! She is so evil and so horrible that she became a cartoon character. And an overemphasis on her is what killed this movie. Andrews the butler is solid and sometimes even funny, but all of the other characters are underutilized.

Heidi is actually very well filmed. I really liked the sets, they looked wonderful. Both the village and the mountain looked great which is why the decision to feature more of Frankfurt felt so disappointing. It is well edited and well acted and all around very well made. The humor is interestingly quite solid and some of the moments between the girls were quite charming and heartwarming.

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Heidi Movie Review…………………………………………………………..

They just missed the book’s point which is why it frustrated me. But if you watch it separately from the book (as you basically should as most of it is just way too different to even be considered as an adaptation), it is actually solid and much better than when you compare it. I do understand what they were trying to do as they wanted a shorter, well structured movie, but it still ended up being childish instead of childlike and that is a major difference. The book is sweet and meaningful, but the movie, no matter how well made, is overly cartoony, simplistic and just plain silly at times. I do not hate this movie as it serves its purpose, but as an adaptation, it failed miserably and left me wishing for much more.

The 1937 adaptation of Heidi is incredibly disappointing. Yes, it is very well made, sometimes charming and humorous and Shirley Temple is lovable and she gave a respectable performance, but this movie failed on almost every level as an adaptation because they focused on all the wrong things, they entirely missed the point of the novel and some aspects felt either silly or just downright cartoony.

My Rating – 3

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My Man Godfrey (1936)

 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey Movie Review

My Man Godfrey is a 1936 screwball comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava and starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. It is definitely one of the finest screwball comedies.

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Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The story is about a socialite who hires a homeless man to be her family’s butler. She eventually falls in love with him, much to his dismay. The script here is so stellar and just perfect. Not only do you have a very entertaining and funny story populated with highly likable or amusing characters, but you still have a satire on class relations and truly its social commentary is not only smart and funny, but relevant to this day, thus only further adding to its timeless quality.

My Man Godfrey features absolutely amazing character development, truly an example of how to properly develop characters in a film. Almost all of them are likable, memorable and even funny plus they all felt like genuine human beings and I’ve felt in the end that I’ve just met them. Everyone gets a moment to shine.

Godfrey is fantastic and he carries this entire movie, the same goes for Irene and the two are such a charming couple. I loved his seriousness and elegance and how it clashed well with her childlike and energetic personality. Cornelia is quite memorable as this cold and manipulative brat and their father is very likable. And of course the mother is such a hilarious personality and she made me laugh the most. I liked Molly quite a bit as she’s so sweet to everyone, but only Carlo is the weak link as I felt that he was unnecessary for this movie and that is the only flaw I can find here, but a minor one nevertheless.

The acting is just marvelous with everyone delivering a terrific performance. Alice Brady steals every scene she’s in with a comedic gold of a performance and Gail Patrick is beautiful and memorable. Carole Lombard delivered her finest performance of her career in Godfrey as she’s just a force to be reckoned with. But to me William Powell is the most outstanding of the bunch as he’s one of my favorite comedy actors. Here his seriousness clashed well with the craziness of the others and his facial expressions are just priceless.

My Man Godfrey features probably the best humor of any 1930s films and that is in and of itself a major accolade. Everyone made me laugh and most especially Brady, Lombard and Powell’s characters. So good. The humor is so strong, yet also smart and sophisticated propelled by such a great dialogue. The facial expressions of Godfrey and over-the-top antics from the crazy family were the highlights. Such a memorable and hilarious crew of characters.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

My Man Godfrey is brilliantly made as there isn’t a single flaw in it in terms of the execution. The direction from Gregory La Cava is simply great, the acting is exceptional and the editing is stellar. Truly nothing felt rushed nor prolonged. It lasts for just the right amount of time and is always absolutely compelling to watch.

The script is so good, but it is the dialogue that is one of the standouts. It is as brisk and as sophisticated and biting as you would expect form a 30s screwball comedy which is why it thoroughly succeeds in this genre and why it’s one of its finest representatives. It is also one of the very best that 1936 has to offer and shame on Academy for not nominating it for Best Picture.

Speaking of the Academy, it was nominated for six Oscars. I do not agree at all with the nod to Mischa Auer as his character is the weakest link as I’ve said above, but I thoroughly agree with other nominations with Powell, Lombard and Brady’s performances all being deserving of the nomination. The same goes for the director and the script, but it is ridiculous that it didn’t win any and it just goes to show how clueless they often were during this decade.

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 My Man Godfrey Movie Review………………………………………………………….

The tone is great as it shifts to dramatic and serious at just the right times. The themes and message are evident and of course the film looks good and works perfectly as a chamber drama and a theatrical one as it revolves almost entirely in one house and it makes use of that setting so well. And I have to say that the movie is so charming and so romantic as its romance is so well developed and so wonderful. I loved the ending where she chased him and made him marry her. Hilarious and beautiful.

With such a stellar script, sophisticated and hilarious dialogue, phenomenal humor as the movie consistently made me laugh and such outstanding performances from Alice Brady, Carole Lombard and William Powell, My Man Godfrey is an undisputed classic and one of the finest screwball comedies that is always funny and charming, yet smart and so polished technically too. It features characters that are all memorable, likable and funny and the film is almost flawless in execution and just brilliant.

My Rating – 5

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Topper (1937)

Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

Topper Movie Review

Topper is a 1937 fantasy screwball comedy film directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Constance Bennett, Cary Grant and Roland Young. It is a disappointing comedy.

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I’ll be out before you can say Jack Robinson – only don’t say it for a few minutes.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

It follows a stuffy man who is haunted by the ghosts a fun-loving married couple who want to help him loosen up in order to get to heaven. The premise itself is marvelous and it really had potential for greatness, but the execution is weak and sometimes quite problematic leading to a disappointing movie that is just solid and never as great as it easily could have been.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

The acting is easily Topper’s biggest achievement. Everyone here did such a great job in excellent roles as the characters themselves are easy to define, but memorable and likable. Roland Young is the best and his Oscar nomination is very much deserved. Constance Bennett is also very good and quite charming and she steals every scene she’s in. But Cary Grant disappointed me. Not his performance as he is always great and is the same in this movie, but I expected his role to bigger as I am a big fan of his, but he is the least utilized of this threesome unfortunately.

Topper is well directed by Norman Z. McLeod and mostly really well paced and shot. I really liked its use of nature as that is always hard to come by in a 30s movie, but here it was all the more memorable for it. And I really liked the driving sequences which were of the most entertaining here. All of the characters are great and the wife of Cosmo is also really memorable and sometimes even quite funny.

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Topper Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………………

So what is the problem here? Well, that is the humor. Screwball comedies are my favorite subgenre of comedy as they are always charming and hilarious. But Topper is never hilarious and is in fact rarely genuinely funny which was so disappointing to witness. I don’t know why they didn’t utilize on this awesome premise, but somehow only the first act was quite funny at times and, as I said, those nature and driving sequences were excellent. But the second half is repetitive in its plot and humor and some of the humor as well as the supernatural aspects are very dated to be honest. Most of its supernatural aspects is solidly put together and the special effects are most definitely terrific for its time, but the rules here aren’t as well governed and the physical humor gets pretty repetitive and for a movie with ghosts in it, it is never inventive which was a real shame to see. Those are the reasons why the film left me unsatisfied in the end.

Topper is very well acted with Constance Bennett being very memorable in her role and Roland Young being deservedly nominated for an Oscar, the premise is terrific and some sequences here are charming and funny, but most of it isn’t as funny as it should have been and it is never as inventive or as entertaining as the premise demanded it leading to a disappointing screwball comedy.

My Rating – 3.5

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein Review

Bride of Frankenstein is a 1935 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester and Ernest Thesiger. It is a pretty good, satisfying sequel.

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We belong dead!

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

It follows Frankenstein’s and Dr. Pretorius’ attempts to create a female mate for the creature. Now, as a sequel to 1931’s ‘Frankenstein‘, Bride of Frankenstein just can’t compare in terms of the atmosphere and overall quality. And I don’t understand why some would proclaim it to be a better film when it just isn’t. But, whereas it lacks compared to the original, it more than satisfies in its own right as it is a pretty good, well crafted film and a respectable sequel.

I really liked the story here. It was again very well told and very entertaining to watch. The first act is problematic, but more on that later. The second half is excellent. The creation sequence is again stunning and every scene with the two scientists was the highlight for me. I really liked the new monster and I also liked the ending quite a bit.

The film is interesting for being a much better adaptation of the novel than the original film was. The entire hermit plot point is adapted here and it is as great as it was in the book and there it was my favorite chapter. I liked the hermit character here and those scenes were just so emotional and heartwarming.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

The monster himself is much more human here than he was before and I liked that choice, albeit it led to a more campy territory which I didn’t appreciate. But the character development of the monster was stellar here. Henry Frankenstein is as good as he was before and Doctor Pretorius is such a memorable addition to the cast, so crazy and amusing. The eponymous bride didn’t get much to do, but looked superb due to some amazing make-up. She was quite unforgettable and left a big impression with the little screen time that she received.

Bride of Frankenstein is again a technically polished feature with awesome cinematography, terrific imagery and superb effects and make-up work. The directing from James Whale is again great and he’s such an admirable horror director. The acting is top-notch. Boris Karloff gave an even better performance this time around whereas Colin Clive was satisfying once more. Ernest Thesiger is really charismatic and memorable in a very amusing role and Elsa Lanchester is great as both Mary Shelley and the bride.

Speaking of Shelley, I have to say that I didn’t particularly care for that beginning. It was a solid framing device, but it accentuated that this was a sequel in a very unnecessary way. And that entire first half is very slow, uneventful and definitely dragging. There is just no point to that flashback beginning and that led to a very odd and incredibly rushed pacing. The finale is just immensely abrupt and it was just ridiculous for the bride to be on the screen for less than five minutes. Everything ended really quickly and abruptly and that was all the editor’s fault.

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Bride of Frankenstein Movie Review………………………………………………………………..

Bride of Frankenstein is definitely well crafted and engaging, but it was just too campy for my taste. Some of the scenes were overly exaggerated with the monster’s speaking being particularly silly. I have never been a fan of camp and that is why I disliked it here either. It’s a shame that the editing and its campy nature hurt what is otherwise an excellent film and a really admirable sequel.

Bride of Frankenstein is a very respectable sequel which is once again very well crafted, directed and acted but also more emotional and faithful to its source material this time around. The eponymous bride is very memorable as is Dr. Pretorius and the second half is phenomenal, but the first half is dragging, the editing is very mediocre leading to a rushed and abrupt ending and the film was too campy for my taste. It’s a good film in its own right, but much inferior to the original.

My Rating – 4

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The Lady Vanishes (1938)

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes Movie Review

The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave. It is such a good movie that is one of the director’s best early efforts.

It is about an English tourist traveling by train who discovers that her elderly traveling companion seems to have disappeared. All of the others deny her existence and she, along with her new friend, search the train for some clues. The premise alone here is incredibly original and fascinating even. And thankfully the execution is mostly great as well. The film is very entertaining and almost riveting at times.

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I never think you should judge any country by its politics.

After all, we English are quite honest by nature, aren’t we?

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

I really liked Iris and Gilbert and the two are such a phenomenal couple and they serve as a very fun detective duo two. Miss Froy is such an endearing old woman and what is most admirable here is the choice to make her a spy and a great one despite her age. I loved that. And all of the other supporting characters are quite memorable and most of them are important for the story which is commendable.

I found the acting to be great. Both Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood are so charming together and both gave excellent performances. But May Whitty is even better as wonderful Miss Froy. The Lady Vanishes benefits from some tremendous technicalities including of course the direction from Hitchcock which is finally great as his earlier 30s efforts aren’t as great as they could have been. But here he proved what a remarkable artist he is and that will be best seen in his later works.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The pacing is also excellent despite that first act. Yes, the first act is in my opinion the major flaw of the picture as it is just so incredibly slow, dragging and just way too extended. We basically get over twenty minutes before the train departs and that is just a waste of time. But thankfully the rest is deftly edited with the film flowing smoothly and being very involving all the time.

The cinematography is excellent with some really polished camera movements. The train is such a great setting and is utilized superbly as we get to explore the majority of it. The lack of a score troubled me before, but upon second viewing, I have to agree with Hitchcock’s decision. Yes, that did lead to a more realistic feel to it and it definitely wasn’t necessary. The dialogue is as playful and as fun as you would come to expect from the director. And the film is not only very authentic, but also very memorable with the most unforgettable sequences being the disappearance sequence which is so intriguing and even creepy, the last action sequence which is so well executed and the scenes with the two investigating were awesome.

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The Lady Vanishes Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Lady Vanishes is interesting for being a comedic thriller and I don’t know what I think about that. On the one hand, the humor is pretty good at times and the energy is palpable. But on the other hand, it does significantly diminish the seriousness and the realism of the movie as some scenes are too humorous. But the film still mostly succeeds as a thriller, but most of all, as a great spy film as those elements were very interesting and well crafted. The ending made me smile a lot as it was so wonderful and a beautiful conclusion. In the end, it has its problems, but it’s still the finest 1930s Hitchcock film with only ‘The 39 Steps‘ being able to compete with it, but that one is also inferior to it.

The Lady Vanishes is definitely too comedic in tone and the first act is just needlessly extended, but the film is mostly great with excellent performances and characters, a palpable energy to it, very intriguing spy elements, an authentic and intriguing premise and a very well crafted, consistently involving storyline. It is without a doubt Hitchcock’s finest 1930s film.

My Rating – 4

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Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

Frankenstein Movie Review

Frankenstein is a 1931 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff and Colin Clive. It is such a terrific movie that is one of the best of its genre.

This film is interesting for being very different from the original novel. Not a lot of the plot points here bare any similarity to Mary Shelley’s work and the second half in particular is very much a story of its own. And although that was a bit problematic as I would have liked for the two to have been a bit more similar, I still liked this choice for the most part as it also led to a much more engaging story. And truly, in my opinion at least, this film surpasses the book.

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Look! It’s moving. It’s alive! It’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

I loved the creation sequence, that is of course such an iconic scene by now with its iconic line “It’s alive!” being instantly recognizable. But I liked the visuals and the presentation of watch tower and every scene in it was a winner. Of course, the sequence in which the monster accidentally kills the girl by drowning her is amazing. It is easy to see why it was so controversial back in its day as it is a bit unexpected, especially having in mind that it was accidental and that the monster was good to the girl before. The execution of that whole scene is marvelous and it is such a memorable point in the movie.

The monster trying to kill Elizabeth is also a good scene and naturally that last act is fantastic. The peasants search for the monster in the mountains carrying torches and that mob mentality is so well established here. The use of the old mill is amazing and again a highly memorable set in the movie. And I liked the ending too.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

Frankenstein’s character is faithfully brought to the screen and I loved his initial mad scientist persona, but how we eventually saw how strong his scientific drive is and how he felt bad for the wretched thing that he created. Elizabeth is somewhat forgettable and all of the others don’t get much to do, but the monster himself is excellent, visually interesting, tragic and overall very well depicted. The performance from Boris Karloff is an iconic one for all the good reasons as he is great in this role and I also liked Colin Clive’s performance quite a bit.

Frankenstein isn’t without its detractors. The first act is a bit slow and ultimately forgettable. Also, the film isn’t scary and it even should even been a bit more atmospheric. But the biggest problem is its theatricality as some parts are way too over-the-top, mostly some of the action scenes as well as the monster’s snarls which annoyed me.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

But apart from those three flaws, the film is mostly excellent and it is undoubtedly one of the finest movies of 1931 and one of the best horror films ever made, it certainly should belong on any best horror movie list.

James Whale’s direction is splendid, but the film is also surprisingly well edited and paced. It lasts for just about 70 minutes which is just enough for this story and it is never rushed and is always riveting and very exciting to watch. The structure of the movie is great and in terms of storytelling, it is excellent owing to a superb script.

Frankenstein’s cinematography is mesmerizing! Everything here is absolutely gorgeous to behold. The camera movements are great, the imagery is so memorable and the atmosphere is mostly really well conveyed through some effective black-and-white photography and sets. Those sets are all around magnificent as both the mill and the watch tower are instantly recognizable. The attention to detail is evident and the picture is just a feast for the eyes.

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Frankenstein Movie Review…………………………………………………

It isn’t all that sophisticating as it trades the book’s thematically rich substance for spectacle, but I liked that choice as it fits the film’s sensibilities more. But the film isn’t stupid as it is mostly very realistic and I liked how this creation myth was presented.

The sound effects are very good as is the dialogue and the film’s emotional tone. The monster is portrayed as a tragic figure and there were some truly poignant moments to be had here. But what I liked most about the film is just how unforgettable and influential it is and its importance is evident in almost every scene. It is such a classic horror film for the ages and I loved it both times I saw it.

Frankenstein is such a classic horror film that is instantly memorable and so influential. It is a bit too theatrical at times, but its characters are very well portrayed, the atmosphere is strongly conveyed and the visuals are just magnificent with awesome and instantly recognizable sets. It has an abundance of unforgettable sequences with the creation scene, the girl drowning and the final action sequence being the finest. It is a thoroughly enjoyable, phenomenally crafted film that is one of this genre’s best.

My Rating – 4.5

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Sabotage (1936)

Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Sabotage Movie Review

Sabotage is a 1936 thriller spy film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Sylvia Sidney and Oskar Homolka. It is one of the weakest entries in the director’s filmography.

 

It follows an agent who hides a time bomb in a delivery package to blow up London. Not only is the execution of this plot mediocre, but the story itself is never memorable or intriguing at all. I just was never invested in it. It isn’t a boring movie per say, but it also isn’t particularly involving and it is never riveting.

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Wilful destruction of buildings or machinery
with the object of alarming a group of persons or inspiring public uneasiness
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Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The spy elements here were quite boring and standard and the thriller elements were lacking to the point of this basically being a spy flick, way more so than a thriller. I was so disappointed by the choice to not have any signature intense scenes that we have come to expect from the master of suspense.

 

All of the characters here are quite forgettable. Neither of them stands out and I only liked Mrs. Verloc as she was the most interesting and most relatable character. And Sylvia Sidney also is the best actor and easily gave the finest performance. The choice to kill Stevie was incredibly unnecessary and that sequence was ultimately so subpar when it should have easily been the highlight of the movie.

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Sabotage Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Sabotage is definitely well filmed and it has some very interesting scenes. The cinema setting in particular was great for me and I just loved the inclusion of the Silly SymphonyWho Killed Cock Robin?‘ as that not only warmed my heart, but was also clever as it fitted thematically to the story.

 

Sabotage is solidly scored, but never original at all in its story or characters. And the tone is also odd as it feels comedic at times while mostly being serious and it never strikes the balance. The film is well paced and it has just the right amount of running time and doesn’t feel short. But it never has any momentum to it and not even the ending felt big. That was weird for the director as even his worst movies (‘Murder!) have that suspenseful and memorable ending, but here that was unfortunately lacking. But it isn’t a bad movie, it is perfectly okay. It’s just that comparing it to other 1930s Hitchcock films, it is easily one of the weakest.

Sabotage is well made and it has some quite interesting scenes in it, but it is mostly lacking in terms of suspense, the plot is neither memorable nor authentic, the characters are forgettable and it is so uneventful and never particularly riveting. It is very weak and oddly not suspenseful for the master of suspense.

My Rating – 3

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The 39 Steps (1935)

The 39 Steps Movie Review…………………………………………………

The 39 Steps Movie Review

The 39 Steps is a 1935 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll. It is one of the better early films from the director.

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I know what it is to feel lonely and helpless and to have the whole world against me,

and those are things that no men or women ought to feel

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The 39 Steps Movie Review…………………………………………………

It is about an ordinary civilian who becomes caught up in preventing an organization of spies from stealing British military secrets. This is one of a number of Hitchcock films to use the plot of a man wrongly convicted of crime who is on the run. And this particular storyline is quite solid, if far from great. It is pleasantly thrilling, engaging and mostly well detailed, but it is also way to implausible in way too many scenes with the sequence in which the protagonist is shot but is accidentally survived by a book being just way too improbable and unrealistic, not to mention an obvious contrived plot device.

But for every contrived scene, we get another truly great one and there are a number of scenes here that are not only terrific, but also truly unforgettable. The highlights for me were the entire sequence in the crofter’s house which is just perfectly constructed in every detail, the entire trip down the countryside was awesome and that waterfall scene is instantly recognizable. The film is interesting for revolving outdoors in the majority of its running time which is not only great, but also incredibly rare for the films of this era.

The 39 Steps is too fast paced and too action-oriented which is the reason why it appeals to modern moviegoers, but not as much to me as I personally dislike those things. And even though the action is very well executed and the film is genuinely exciting and entertaining, it was still done at the expense of plot and character development.

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The 39 Steps Movie Review…………………………………………………

The characters are solid, but not great. The exception is Hannay who is an excellent, relatable main character with a very good sense of humor. Annabella Smith is memorable, but Pamela was very disappointing as I expected so much more from her and their pairing. The crofter and his wife are both great and Professor Jordan is certainly good with a memorable defect.

The acting is pretty good as Madeleine Carroll is quite good and of course Robert Donat is terrific in one of his most memorable roles. He is very funny and charismatic here and I did not expect that from him which is why he pleasantly surprised me.

Hitchcock’s directing here is pretty strong and his talent is obvious even more here than in ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ and this movie is a much better and more coherent effort. In fact, it is one of his better efforts of the era and a film which I rate a 4, but only a slight four owing to its many obvious detractors.

The 39 Steps looks really good with some outstanding cinematography and scenery at display. I loved the countryside, that house and every location here is magnificently utilized into its thrilling plot. And it truly does succeed as a thriller and one of the better ones of the thirties for sure. It is pretty exciting and intense in some moments and mostly really well executed.

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The 39 Steps Movie Review…………………………………………………

I also really liked its comedic tone at times as the humor is quite good and I chuckled quite a few times actually. It is deftly edited, but too fast paced. The dialogue is solid and I have to mention the ending which is so great with Mr. Memory being heartbreaking. I just found his character to be incredibly intriguing and moving.

Even though it is too fast paced and action oriented at the expense of character development and some scenes are highly implausible, The 39 Steps is still a pretty good thriller with some intense and thrilling moments, many instantly recognizable and perfectly constructed scenes, quite a good humor and great locations. It is flawed, but highly memorable and atmospheric.

My Rating – 4

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Morocco (1930)

Morocco Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Morocco Movie Review

Morocco is a 1930 romance film directed by Josef Von Sternberg and starring Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich. It is such a slight, really disappointing movie.

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I seem to have the unhappy faculty of causing trouble… wherever I go

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Morocco is one of those movies that were so popular in its time. It is the same as ‘Shanghai Express‘ in that it is not only a collaboration between Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg, but it also happens in a foreign country and it focuses less on plot and more on the experience. I dislike that approach and this movie is even weaker than the aforementioned one mainly because it lacks the star turn from Dietrich and it isn’t as entertaining.

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Morocco Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

The characters are so forgettable. Amy is pretty solid, but Tom Brown is such an underutilized, very disappointing, dull character and he is one of the biggest problems of the film. Marlene Dietrich did a pretty good job in her role and she is as beautiful as ever, but Gary Cooper is nowhere near as memorable as her and that was a problem. Another problem is the chemistry between the two as it was nowhere to be found, at least that’s what I felt. It was so disappointing watching these really good-looking, talented people not creating a spark whatsoever.

As I said, Morocco focuses on its setting a lot and although it does have some interesting scenery here and there, the technical aspects are lacking for the most part. As for its direction and pacing, both are solid, if not great. Josef Von Sternberg is to me an overrated director as most of his movies of the time are pretty weak to me and this is no exception.

Morocco’s highlights are of course that great, memorable ending that is such a strong scene and of course the scene where Dietrich kisses a girl. Although it was too brief and it wasn’t as memorable as I expected it would be, it’s still an interesting sequence, especially for its time.

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Morocco Movie Review…………………………………………………………………..

Morocco’s problem has to be the emphasis on that setting and experience instead of storytelling and characters. The dialogue is pretty solid, but is unfortunately not present as much. The film mostly focuses on the visuals and body language which is why it would have worked better as a silent film in my opinion. The character development is pretty mediocre and the plot isn’t bad, but it is so forgettable and so underdeveloped that I didn’t particularly care for it.

The film does have its charm and it is great watching these two actors together, but it is such a lost potential regardless as both of these actors deserve a better treatment in terms of script and characterization. And the film is mostly predictable, although it ends on an admittedly fine note. It received four Academy Award nominations and it didn’t particularly deserve either of those, but the nod for Dietrich is nice as she really is the best part of an otherwise weak movie that disappointed me a lot.

Morocco does have a good turn from Marlene Dietrich, it is charming at times and it has a couple of interesting sequences, but it is mostly a middling affair with more emphasis on its setting instead of story, characters and memorable romance leading to a film that is underdeveloped and weak in most of its aspects with the character development and script being the worst offenders.

My Rating – 3

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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1934 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Leslie Banks and Peter Lorre. It is a solid and highly memorable, but still very flawed picture.

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Tell her they may soon be leaving us.

Leaving us for a long, long journey. How is it that Shakespeare says?

“From which no traveler returns.”

Great poet

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

This movie is incredibly flawed. I always found it to be a lost potential as all of the ingredients are there, but the execution is weaker than expected. It is so obvious that Hitchcock was still finding his voice as his earlier films are mostly just solid (with the exception of ‘The Lodger‘ which is very good). Here it is obvious from the first scenes that the talent is there, but again it’s also obvious that the experience is still not there.

The plot itself is solid, if not great. The main reason why it bothered me is that it is highly implausible and at times even silly. But it was still pretty suspenseful in certain scenes and at times hugely memorable and just unforgettable. I will talk about the great scenes later, but I have to touch upon the tone now. Yes, the tone is the reason why the whole movie was a mixed experience to me. It is just too jarring as sometimes it was serious and suspenseful, but in other scenes light, comedic and even silly. That bothered me and I really did not like its playful nature at all.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review

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Bob is great and I liked how strong a female character Jill is. But of course Abbott is the highlight as this memorable, even creepy presence and he is mostly a good, satisfying villain. Leslie Banks gave such a good performance and Peter Lorre is delightfully menacing as always.

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a technically polished feature with exceptional cinematography, good acting, solid direction and some really memorable imagery and sets. The dialogue is also pretty good as are the sound effects which are great for the time. The pacing is also solid and it moves at a brisk space and it has economic running time.

But that tone is problematic and some scenes are highly improbable to happen. The thing that also bothered me is the action as those fight sequences looked silly at times and also too playful again and even too comedic, but in an unpleasant way as the film should have been serious given the serious plot it has. And also some of the supporting performances were quite weak and even mediocre.

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The Man Who Knew Too Much Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about the highlights. The most memorable and best sequence in The Man Who Knew Too Much is easily the dentist one. Wow, so good. So thrilling, so entertaining and just so iconic. That scene alone is the representative example of Hitchcock’s prowess as a director. That ending I also really liked, mostly for the fact that the woman intervened and saved the day. That was quite progressive. I also liked the Swiss setting at the beginning as well as the church one later on. That sequence was so inventive and just brilliant. But the standout is the concert stuff as the inclusion of music in its storytelling is amazing and the loud music covering the bullet shot is just ingenious. For all those inventive and memorable scenes, the movie is worth seeing, but it’s a shame that all of the other stuff isn’t as great.

The Man Who Knew Too Much is solidly suspenseful, well made and it has a bunch of memorable and really inventive sequences with the dentist one being the standout, the church scene being so inventive and the concert one being amazing and wonderfully incorporating music in its tension, but it’s a shame that the tone is so weird as the movie is too comedic and silly at times, the plot can also become implausible and some supporting performances aren’t great. This movie showcases Hitchcock’s obvious talent, but it also showcases his lack of experience at the time resulting in the movie that is at times exceptional, but mostly just solid.

My Rating – 3.5

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