Ball of Fire (1941)

Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Ball of Fire Movie Review

Ball of Fire is a 1941 screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. It is a very charming and endearing screwball comedy.

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I love him because he’s the kind of a guy that gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk,

and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears.

Love him because he doesn’t know how to kiss, the jerk!

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

It follows a group of professors who are writing a big encyclopedia. A nightclub performer then comes to live with them for a while in order to provide her knowledge of slang to the linguistics professor and eventually the two fall in love. I found the film’s plot to actually be kind of genius. It is basically a modern retelling of the tale of Snow White and even though it is sort of a parody, it still managed to be original and interesting in its own right. I really liked how both of the subplots were well incorporated into a coherent whole even though its conclusion felt typical and somewhat unbelievable.

The characters are so great. All of the professors were wonderful and endearing. I liked their dynamic and that they worked superbly as a group. They never approached the quality of the dwarfs from the original fairy tale film, but they were still pretty good and memorable in their own right. I also found the gangsters to be surprisingly solid.

Professor Bertram Potts is such a kind and wonderful soul. He is such a likable protagonist. And of course Sugarpuss is the highlight and she is such a phenomenal character. I loved her conflict, the relationship between the two was wonderful and truly all of interactions between her and the others were fantastic.

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

The acting is terrific. Every one of these talented older actors did a great job in their roles. Dana Andrews is also pretty memorable as the main villain. As for Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, I was surprised at how amazing this mix turned out to be. Naturally the clash between personalities is obvious and somewhat unrealistic, but it was still endearing to follow. Gary Cooper is as immensely likable as ever in this movie, if not the most likable. Barbara Stanwyck gave one of her finest performances here, she is professional, charismatic and she carried every scene she was in, whether emotional or comedic. She entirely deserved her Oscar nomination and truly the film’s acting and especially casting are top-notch.

Ball of Fire is truly such a great movie, but it isn’t fantastic as it just never reached that greatness somehow. I guess because it was way too predictable and because I never laughed out loud. The humor is actually very good and some lines and jokes were pretty funny, but none of it was as truly hilarious as I’ve come to expect from screwball comedies. But still, it came close and when screwball comedies from the forties are concerned, the film is definitely one of the best examples.

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Ball of Fire Movie Review……………………………………………………………………..

Ball of Fire is very well edited and paced, never rushed and never slow. It is hugely entertaining from start to finish and it just flew by how fun it was. It provided me a wonderful and entertaining evening. The dialogue is as great as you would expect from everyone involved. Some of the lines felt overly childish and sometimes the film verged into caricaturing its characters, but it mostly managed to stay away from that and instead offer us such a likable bunch of people. The direction from Howard Hawks is expectedly great too.

Ball of Fire is such an immensely entertaining and charming film. It isn’t as hilarious as I’d come to expect from screwball comedies, but it is still pretty funny at times and it is actually one of the genre’s best when it comes to the forties. Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper are superb in their roles as is everyone else too, the story is such a fun rendition/parody of Snow White, the characters are so likable and the film is just so wonderful and fun that you just can’t resist it.

My Rating – 4.5

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Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Foreign Correspondent Movie Review

Foreign Correspondent is a 1940 spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joel McCrea, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders and Albert Bassermann. It is a disappointing movie.

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I’m in love with a girl, and I’m going to help hang her father.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

It is about an American reporter who tries to expose enemy spies in Britain who are involved in a conspiracy in the prelude to World War II. Now the plot is solid, if a bit too of its time. I liked the movie, but it is just solid and being solid isn’t what’s expected from The Master of Suspense. The major problem in terms of storytelling lies in its convoluted nature. I couldn’t get invested in it because there were too many convoluted plot points, not great twists and turns and it was overall needlessly complicated.

Another problem lies in the character development and the acting. None of these characters were remotely interesting or memorable, at least not in my opinion. They are all solid and they are at least somewhat developed, but they just felt typical. Of the actors, everyone did a solid job, but none of them stood out which is weird as this is a really good cast of actors. It basically had no time for either of them to properly get their due and that is exactly what happened here.

If there is one thing Foreign Correspondent got right, those are the technical aspects. Wow, does this movie look great!. The cinematography is amazing and everything looks splendid with memorable imagery. The set design in this movie is brilliant, unforgettable and instantly recognizable from the windmill to the streets to the airplane.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

Definitely the action is very well utilized, but to me it was still overabundant and too much like a modern instead of classic thriller and I am always up for more classic. That is one of the reasons why it disappointed me. The pacing is awfully frenetic and yet at times dull. Very uneven as is the entire picture. The direction from Hitchcock is also problematic. It is obviously quite good, but not as great as you’d come to expect from him as the entire film doesn’t run as smoothly as his other efforts and sometimes it felt to me that it was a pretty weak sum of some great parts.

That is this movie in a nutshell – works great many times as a singular scene, but when taken into context, it mostly falls apart. Now watching it after so many decades, it definitely is interesting as it was made just at the cusp of World War II and it does feel urgent. I also really liked is global feel as it makes use of various locations and nations in it which was a refreshing change in pace for the pictures of the time as was its emphasis on outdoors sequences. Some of the scenes are thrilling and intense, but I wished that more of them were like that. It definitely is more a spy than a thriller flick and its spy elements are certainly better utilized.

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Foreign Correspondent Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………………

In the year of ‘Rebecca in which it came out, it is infinitely inferior and it is one of his lesser works. It is still a solid movie, but not up to his standards. As for its Academy Award nominations, Albert Bassermann’s nod was deserved and of course the visual effects, cinematography and art direction are awesome here, but the nominations for Picture and screenplay were ridiculous to me as the year was too strong for its inclusion in those categories.

Foreign Correspondent looks amazing with absolutely spectacular cinematography, just brilliant and unforgettable set design and great effects, but it is ultimately just a solid movie which is not what you’d come to expect from The Master of Suspense. The script is problematic, the film is overly convoluted, the pacing is all over the place and the characters are forgettable. It is one of Hitchcock’s weakest 1940s efforts.

My Rating – 3.5

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Out of the Past (1947)

Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Out of the Past Movie Review

Out of the Past is a 1947 noir film directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. It is said to be one of the greatest noir films of all time and I have to agree with that assessment.

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Nothing in the world is any good unless you can share it.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Now the plot here is superb. The only problem with the plot and the entire movie is that it is overly convoluted in a typical noir fashion. I understood most of it, but some of the scenes in the second act of the film were too entangled and not properly explained. It also has a lot of twists and turns and a lot of characters, but it manages to be satisfying in most of those areas.

I loved each and every character here. The film features terrific character development and superlative acting leading to fully realized characters with the protagonist in particular being amazing. Kathie I found to be one of the most effective femme fatale noir personalities and she never disappointed. Whit wasn’t as good, but was well incorporated into the storyline.

Kirk Douglas is solid in his role which is his earliest role I’ve seen. Jane Greer also played it really well and she manages to exude that mystery and danger around her wonderfully. But Robert Mitchum shines above both of them and gives one of the definitive performances in a noir film. He is so suave here, so handsome and cool, yet so tragic and sad which is evident in his eyes. He is such a memorable presence and his character is very complex owing to such a great, subtle performance that is one of his greatest.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Whereas Out of the Past features a weaker second act, the first and third one are stellar. I loved how Kathie and Jeff met and those sequences were very romantic and so well shot, but the ending is even better. In fact, it features one of the most memorable ending scenes of the period. I loved how the story ended and although dark, it was essential for this kind of story and you have a great final moment where Jeff’s girlfriend asks about him and if he was going away with Kathie during his last moments. That was so heartbreaking to watch and the entire film is very poignant.

Out of the Past features great twists and excellent character motivations. It truly is a splendid script. But the dialogue is even better and as brisk and clever as you would expect from this type of film. The same goes for its technical aspects which are all terrific. The cinematography is so good and some of the shots are quite inspired, they really contribute to the overall atmosphere which is expectedly dark, moody and melancholic. The score is also great and some of the imagery is very memorable with those scenes in Mexico being the highlights.

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Out of the Past Movie Review………………………………………………

Everything is so well done here, including the film’s themes. It showcases how a woman can ruin a man and this is probably one of the most extreme examples of that, even for noir standards. But it also shows us loneliness in the main character who is one of the most moving and memorable protagonists of any 40s flick. The film grew on me as I at first didn’t love it that much, but after I have watched it entirely and after thinking about it a bit, I started to appreciate it and it truly is one of the best noir films out there.

Out of the Past is very difficult to understand and too convoluted in the second act, but the first act is so well done and the third act is tragic and simply unforgettable. It features one of the finest protagonists of its time period with Robert Mitchum being so memorable in this great role, but it also has superb cinematography, very good story and a very poignant tone to it leading to one of the finest noir films.

My Rating – 4.5

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Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Rebecca Movie Review

Rebecca is a 1940 mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier and Judith Anderson. It is such an authentic mystery.

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Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Now of course Rebecca is an accomplished movie on many grounds, but I’ve had an interesting history with it. When I watched it for the first time, I thought it was just solid. Upon second viewing, I thought it was really good and now, upon my third viewing, I really changed my mind and now I think it is a great film by all means. It really grew on me and I have always respected the films that become better and better every time you see it and this is a great example of that phenomenon.

Rebecca is above all else a great story. It follows a young woman who becomes the second wife of an aristocrat and comes to live in his mansion. But she can’t escape the ghost of his previous, deceased wife whom the servants absolutely adored. It is a testament to Hitchcock’s ingenuity that we never see Rebecca in the film and yet we feel like we met her as she is always present in the conversations between the characters. That created such a weird, even creepy feel to the movie.

I really liked both of the main characters and their relationship is strongly developed. Favell is another strong, sneaky character played wonderfully by typically cold and malicious George Sanders. He was perfectly cast for this role and he delivered in spades. But of course Mrs. Danvers is the true standout character and she is one of Hitchcock’s most menacing and unforgettable villains. Some of her scenes were extremely creepy and atmospheric and I loved that her fascination with Rebecca drove her every move.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Judith Anderson is suitably theatrical in the role and this is the best type of theatrical performance, the one that fits and lifts the role. She gave such an outstanding performance that should have brought her a supporting Oscar. Laurence Olivier is quite good, but Joan Fontaine deserved her Oscar nomination and she maybe even should have won. Despite a couple of overly emphasized moments, she mostly excelled in a difficult main role. The acting in this movie is truly top-notch.

Rebecca succeeds as a gothic tale in spades. It is actually one of the finest mystery films that I have ever seen as it is just always riveting to watch and wonderfully atmospheric. The plot unfolded in a really well crafted and structured manner and all of the twists and turns were satisfying and clever.

I have rarely seen a better looking movie than this one. The cinematography is excellent and some of the imagery here is just unforgettable and I will remember some scenes for years to come. But the art direction is just stunning as the house Manderley is absolutely magnificent to behold with its gothic look and we explore many of its parts leading to it becoming a character in its own right. The score is also fantastic and of course the direction from Hitchcock is brilliant.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

Let’s talk about some of Rebecca’s flaws. Now I still stand by my original assessment that this is not one of Hitchcock’s best films. It is on the list, but certainly not in the top five. And it did not deserve to win Best Picture in an especially strong year for film, ridiculously strong actually. In many other years, yes, but here it was undeserved.

The pacing in particular is troublesome. It takes its time to get there owing to a slow start and some of the scenes were a bit too long in my opinion. The third act of the film I really liked, but it still felt like a different movie with its courtroom drama elements and I can’t help but wonder what this movie would have turned out had the story remained the same as it was in the first half. I definitely liked the conclusion and the ending is particularly striking, but it did have a bit too many twists in it and the final twist, although good, is a bit too convenient.

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Rebecca Movie Review……………………………………………

But it is mostly a very good, respectable film that is even artistic in its look and very original and memorable in its story. It is one of the most successful gothic mysteries ever put on screen. It was nominated for eleven Oscars but only won two and the cinematography win is much deserved. But production design as well as both of the actresses should have also won in my opinion.

Rebecca isn’t well paced, but it is such a strong mystery that is one of the finest ever put on screen. It isn’t one of Hitchcock’s best, but it comes close with top-notch performances, an unforgettable and creepy villain in Mrs. Danvers, very involving and well crafted plot and many memorable scenes that stay with you. It is also one of the finest looking black and white films thanks to some brilliant imagery, an even artistic look to it and amazing production design. Atmospheric and authentic, it is a thoroughly delightful gothic mystery.

My Rating – 4.5

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is a 1948 horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. It is a very good comedy flick.

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I saw what I saw when I saw it!

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

The film basically follows this duo as they encounter Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. What I liked about it is that it is genuinely funny at times and the humor is mostly very satisfying leading to a successful genre film. And although the story is definitely familiar, it is still pretty solid for this type of film.

Abbott and Costello are absolutely fantastic here. This is my first introduction to their work and I have to say that I really liked both of them. Abbott is a great straight man and he wonderfully fulfils that role. But of course this is Costello’s vehicle and he is absolutely terrific. He is not only very charismatic, but also evidently funny and so incredibly likable. Bela Lugosi is really good and at times even great in the role of Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. isn’t as great as he was in ‘The Wolf Man‘, but he’s still a welcome addition and Frankenstein’s monster is the least memorable of the villains mostly because Boris Karloff did not reprise his role from ‘Frankenstein’ and because the monster just wasn’t emphasized nearly as enough as he should have been.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is very well directed and edited while also having pretty good cinematography and some really fun special effects. The effects of Dracula transforming into a bat were pretty neat and visually intriguing. The acting is great as I said before and the film is genuinely atmospheric at times. That is both the film’s weakness and strength. It is definitely eerie at times and it utilizes its imagery and its monsters surprisingly well, but the problem is that it sometimes sacrifices genuine horror for laughs and the mix of horror and comedy isn’t that well established in this particular case.

The movie is immensely entertaining, at least it was for me. Its slight running time flew by and I had a great, amusing time watching at and I laughed most of the time or at least smiled. I have to say that it caught me by surprise how good it was as I did not expect that. The highlights for me were the extended sequence at the beginning where Lou was continually scared and that whole basement sequence was perfectly executed and a lot of fun.

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Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

So the movie is fun, it serves its purpose as a comedy and it flies by. However, it isn’t great as the plot is too simplistic, some characters do not work as much as the others do and the whole third act I really didn’t like. The action at the end was so typical, so uninspired and the movie just became pretty tired at that point whereas it was very energetic before. But the ending itself saved it as ‘The Invisible Man’ was hinted and that was just a lot of fun and done in the most entertaining manner possible. Overall, the film is very good, but not as great as it could have been.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein has a very uninspired third act and some characters work better than the others, but the film is a lot of fun and it was immensely entertaining watching three big Universal monsters in one movie. The atmosphere is effective, the imagery is terrific, the titular duo is just fantastic and the humor is pretty good leading to a very satisfying comedy flick that is also energetic, well edited and just fun.

My Rating – 4

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To Be or Not to Be (1942)

To Be or Not to Be Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

To Be or Not to Be Movie Review

To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 comedy film directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Carole Lombard and Jack Benny. It is a very good, interesting film.

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If I shouldn’t come back,

I forgive you what happened between you and Sobinski.

But if I come back, it’s a different matter

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To Be or Not to Be Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The biggest compliment I can give to this film is that it is a very interesting comedy that is very authentic and rarely have I seen a comedy quite like this one. It is a very intriguing and admirable experiment, even if it isn’t always successful. It mixes satire, situational comedy, slapstick and dark humor in a solid manner, but some work better than the others.

My favorite jokes here stemmed from those uncomfortable situations leading to a very successful dark, situational comedy. But as a satire, it is nowhere near as compelling and I have to somewhat agree with the critics of the day in that it is difficult and sometimes even odd to mix World War II with humor. Sometimes the film managed to do that remarkably well, but sometimes it wasn’t as smooth.

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To Be or Not to Be Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The characters are all terrific and all of them are very memorable, likable and very funny. Carole Lombard is the straight man here, but she was still very charming and excellent in her role that unfortunately ended up being her last. All of the others were also great with Sig Ruman being particularly effective and hilarious as the bumbling Gestapo commander. But Jack Benny is easily the star here which is weird as he never was a star and this is the first time I was seeing him in a movie. But his character is the funniest and he sold every uncomfortable joke really well and gave such a marvelous comedic performance that is very underrated.

To Be or Not to Be is very well directed and although ‘Heaven Can Wait‘ is a much better 40s effort from the director, he still did a really good job in directing this movie. The editing is one of the biggest problems here as I just found it to be very weak and problematic. The film moved too fast resulting in sometimes overly convoluted and difficult to understand storyline which is something that a lot of Lubitsch’s films struggle with. As for the cinematography, it is very good and the dialogue is easily one of its strongest suits. So clever and funny.

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To Be or Not to Be Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The tone of the movie is sometimes weird as they had to balance drama and horror of the war with all of the humor, but they mostly managed to juggle the two seemingly. I found the entire experience, as I said before, really intriguing and authentic as rarely do you see an American movie set in Warsaw and deal with many different types of humor in it. The highlights were all of the sequences with the Nazis as they were perfectly ridiculed. The ending and beginning weren’t as strong, but the entire middle part is excellent and every ridiculous situation that happened was fun to watch and sophisticated in its awkward humor. The adultery was also incredibly amusing and it led to some of the funniest parts in the film. Overall, To Be or Not to Be is very good, but it could have been better nonetheless.

To Be or Not to Be struggles with its difficult tone at times and the editing is problematic, but the performances are excellent with Jack Benny being the standout here, the direction is strong and the film is a very different and unusual comedy as it mixes different types of humor from situational comedy to slapstick to satire to dark humor with the awkward, unpleasant situations being the funniest parts. It could have been better, but it’s still a very memorable, clever and funny Lubitsch film.

My Rating – 4

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Dead of Night (1945)

Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Dead of Night Movie Review

Dead of Night is a 1945 British anthology horror film directed by four different directors and starring Melvyn Johns, Googie Withers and Michael Redgrave. It is an outstanding horror feature.

It follows a man who arrives to a cottage and explains to the people there that they are all just a dream and that he has been having this exact dream for a while. The other guests start to tell the supernatural tales that they experienced and thus we have an ingenious anthology format. Really, I have rarely seen an anthology film done this well and that felt this well connected and natural which is so commendable. The entire storyline is immensely original with its flashback structure and dream within a dream phenomenon. Truly it is a one of a kind, immensely influential film.

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Oh, Mr. Craig.

Now that you’ve met us,

I’m sure that you wouldn’t dream of dreaming about us again

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about its various stories. Hearse Driver sequence is pretty good, but not as good as the rest are. Christmas Party sequence is one of the best segments in the movie. This is a ghost tale done right (unlike the next one, but more on that later). The moment when you realize that the kid Sally encounters is actually dead is a very effective, creepy moment and the entire sequence is really well made and so atmospheric.

Haunted Mirror sequence is undoubtedly the most fascinating story in the whole of Dead of Night. A man sees a different reflection in the mirror. Such a wonderfully creepy and mysterious premise. Again so influential, but above all very spooky and brilliantly crafted. I love when horror films have a great backstory and this one has that in abundance as the detail is meticulous and we get to know everything we should know about this mirror.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Now, as I said above, the Golfing Story sequence isn’t particularly effective and it is the weakest link in an otherwise terrific picture. I get its humor as it is charming in its own right, but then again the film shouldn’t have had any humor in it, at least that’s my opinion as I don’t find it fitting at all. The special effects here are terrific and the premise is really fun plus the characters are amusing with a great dynamic, but it is too lightweight and the humor is overemphasized. It creates a jarring shift in tone as all of the other stories are very serious and dark.

Ventriloquist’s Dummy sequence is the one segment that is probably the most influential of the bunch which really says a lot. The entire film obviously influenced Rod Serling as The Twilight Zone is so similar both in tone and style to this movie, but also in substance. And that is why I loved this movie so much as I adore the show. But this particular story influenced the show the most and it is easy to see why. As is the case with the entire movie, it is a horror, supernatural tale that is incredibly creepy, but could have easily been pulled out in a special effects lacking era such as the forties. The dummy himself is frightening, but the ventriloquist is so relatable and such a tragic figure. The ending alone is tragic and disturbing and the story is always eerie and highly memorable.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

As for the Linking narrative, it is admittedly a bit too difficult to understand at first, but once you get to know each and every character and once the plot untangles, it becomes understandable and very admirable. This is probably the first ever movie with a dream within a dream theme and that flashback structure is very authentic, but also extremely well executed and never forced or filled with plot holes. Craig’s story with a repeated dream is fascinating and inherently mysterious and I loved the ending in which it starts happening all over again.

The characters are all really likable and relatable with the highlights being Craig and Joan. The acting is also very good and each of the actors and actresses gave a very good performance, especially great for a horror film. The same goes for the directors. It is admirable that the film was directed by four different directors and yet it never felt disconnected or jarring (except the golf story of course.

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Dead of Night Movie Review……………………………………………………………..

Dead of Night is technically marvelous. The effects are awesome, the film is beautifully shot with some very effective shots and takes. The tone is suitably very dark and ominous, the atmosphere is strong in almost every segment and the editing is so deft. The dialogue is great as is the sound design and the film is authentic, memorable and always riveting to watch. It is definitely one of the very best that 1940s horror has to ever.

Dead of Night has a jarringly lightweight and comedic segment in its Golf Story sequence, but it is otherwise a top-notch, brilliant anthology horror film with every story being exceptional and so creepy. The entire flashback, dream within a dream structure is incredibly influential, the stories are all very authentic, memorable and riveting and the film is technically stunning with superb cinematography, very good acting and excellent direction and editing. It is one of the very best horror films of its time, a fascinating film that is such an evident influence on The Twilight Zone.

My Rating – 4.5

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Red River (1948)

Red River Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

Red River Movie Review

Red River is a 1948 western film directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne and Montgomery Clift. It is a standard western, solid, but typical.

It follows the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail and the growing feud over the management of the drive between a father and his adopted son. Yes, everything about this movie is very clichéd and what you would expect from this genre. That doesn’t mean it is bad because it is a solid movie, but it still means that it is far from great and certainly overrated as there isn’t anything new or different introduced here.

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Well, I don’t like to see things goin’ good or bad.

I like ’em in between

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Red River Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

John Wayne is excellent in this more mature role for him. Montgomery Clift is an unusual choice for this genre, but he did give a reliably good performance. Walter Brennan is another highlight as he is always great in these supporting roles. The acting is excellent, but the roles themselves aren’t. None of the characters were even remotely interesting to me and they were all pretty standard western archetypes.

Red River’s standout aspect has to be the cinematography which is gorgeous. The film is so well shot that it must be great watching it on the big screen. Some of the scenery is beautiful and the film definitely had a big budget which is evident in every frame. Not only did they obviously employ a lot of extras, but the film also looks and sounds realistic and it is very sumptuous.

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Red River Movie Review…………………………………………………………………………

The score is good, but the sound effects and sometimes the score itself bothered me as they were overloud and too bombastic which was typical for the films of the period. The film is solidly edited, but it is still a bit slow and sometimes very dull mostly because the running time is most certainly overblown and there isn’t much of a plot to be had here and the character interactions, though definitely well executed, are again expected. In the end, Red River is a solid western, but one that doesn’t have anything truly great in it, save for the technical aspects.

Red River is a pretty solid western with truly excellent cinematography, quite good score and superb performances, but the plot is lacking as it is too simple, the characters are also pretty typical and the entire film is very standard for the genre with nothing differentiating it from other westerns.

My Rating – 3.5

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Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors (1945)

Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors is a 1945 anime film directed by Mitsuyo Seyo that is the first ever anime feature. It is technically fine, yet troublesome in plot.

Yes, the plot here is very problematic and not just for the obvious reasons. But let’s state the obvious. This is a shameless propaganda movie and its anti-American and anti-west sentiments are so emphasized that it was painful to watch. It was just straight propaganda. The ending in particular is just unbelievable. How they depicted and drew Americans is so crazy and offensive, but having in mind the bad state between the two countries at the time, it is understandable. But still, this was too much.

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Tomorrow, the final page will be turned in our fight against the enemy

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Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

However, an even bigger problem for me was its lack of a clear structure. The story is just non-existent and the majority of it is very poorly and oddly edited and structured. When you read the plot afterwards, you realize that the movie does have one. But that isn’t clear while watching it, again owing to that mediocre structure. The entire first half for instance consists of just the scenes of animals being taught how to read and work. It’s only in the second half that the film starts to have a more defined storyline.

The lack of character development also bothered me and none of these characters is remotely memorable or even developed in the slightest. Momotaro himself is such a typical hero type and all of the animals don’t get much to do and they all blend in together as they’re so similar.

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Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The score is also solid and the one song that we have here is pretty good and catchy. But the editing is so troublesome, the film is dull and slow, even for its slight running time, and I just found its political aspect overly emphasized and the lack of characterization and strong plot troublesome. It is historically significant, but there isn’t much more to it other than that.

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors is historically significant as the first ever anime film with very good animation and pretty good score, but it is otherwise weak as the plot is lacking, the structure is odd, the character development is very weak and its propaganda approach is overly emphasized. 

My Rating – 3

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The Wolf Man (1941)

The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………

The Wolf Man Movie Review

The Wolf Man is a 1941 horror film directed by George Waggner and starring Claude Rains and Lon Chaney Jr. It is such a good, really well crafted film.

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I believe a man lost in the mazes of his own mind may imagine that he’s anything

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
This is the kind of film that is so effective at telling its admittedly simplistic story. And even though its simplicity was a problem to me as well as its tendency to just give us the obvious in terms of plot points and ending, I still enjoyed the movie a lot as that plot was so well crafted. Not a single scene is wasted here owing to such a good editing as well.
 
I loved the opening scene with that castle shot being breathtaking. I liked the introduction of Gwen and the relationship between the two was great. All of the forest scenes were so effective as they possessed some awesome cinematography and imagery. The transformation sequence is one of the highlights, so well done. And even though I didn’t particularly like the conclusion, it was still far from bad or abrupt.

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
The Wolf Man features some pretty good characterization for a horror flick and Larry is such a well developed protagonist and such a tortured soul that you certainly root for him. I also really liked his father and Claude Rains gave such a good performance. Lon Chaney Jr. is so good in this role and even though his father was most certainly a better actor, he came close here with such a subtle, emotional and complex performance.
 
I really liked the gypsies here and that mystic element in its plot was great and fitting. The film is fueled with that awesome mysterious and ominous quality to it that I really enjoyed. However, it definitely lacks in terms of the actual scares as there aren’t any to be had here. And even the atmosphere isn’t as great as I hoped it would be. Yes, the technicalities are great, but the atmosphere itself felt disappointing to me.
 
The Wolf Man features some terrific shots and it is so well filmed and its intense forest scenes are perfectly accentuated by fog and right camera angles. The make-up is also great as are the effects, especially for its time. But the appearance of the werewolf itself was disappointing as it felt dated to me and not at all scary. But at least the transformation is superbly done.

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The Wolf Man Movie Review…………………………………………………………
The direction, the score as well as the dialogue are all pretty good and I liked the slow build-up here. It may seem slow to some, but to me it was essential and effective. The running time is short, but the film fulfills it with everything you need basically and it is so entertaining and never uninvolving. I also really adored its emotional investment as it is so heartbreaking at times. It is also realistic in the people’s reactions and even funny in some very clever moments with the townsfolk. I liked the various discussions about werewolves and the film is so clever and sophisticated in tackling this subject matter in a very grounded in reality manner. In the end, The Wolf Man did leave me wanting for more actual horror and some originality, but it is so well crafted and made that you can’t help but enjoy it.

The Wolf Man lacks in terms of originality and actual scares, but it executes its story very well as it is so well crafted, edited, directed and of course acted. The imagery is so effective, the characterization is surprisingly good and it is also pleasantly emotional, realistic and above all always engaging, entertaining and just so superbly made that you can’t help but appreciate it.

My Rating – 4

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