Marlburian

IMDb member since June 2005
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Reviews

Risen
(2016)

Unconvincing Yeshua and disciples
I don't normally add to a long list of reviews, believing that no-one ever reads more than a couple, but I just wanted to express how unconvincing I felt were Yeshua and his disciples, whose personalities were so limited that they would never have got me to listen to their preachings, never mind convert to Christianity. Yeshua came over just as a fun sort of chap.

They were far better portrayed in some of the old Hollywood Bible epics.

That apart, the film was good enough.

Disneyland: The Tenderfoot: Part 1
(1964)
Episode 5, Season 11

Three episodes of varying quality
I came across what appear to be the three episodes (or is it just two) of "The Tenderfoot" spliced together (with no input by Walt Disney himself) on YouTube.

We start off with a small group of inexperienced civilians, including Jim Tevis - "the tenderfoot" - heading for Tucson, only to be ambushed by Apaches (in a novel way that I've never seen before in a Western) and rescued by the US Cavalry.

Back at Fort Buchanan, Jim is taken under the wing of veteran scout Mose Carson (brother of Kit) and is appointed "junior scout". In his next engagement with the Apaches, Jim's pistol won't fire and he becomes detached from the soldiers, finding his way to Tucson and a fist fight with a town rowdy.

In what was possibly the second episode Mose and Jim are part of a small group of civilians rounding up wild horses, including a magnificent white stallion that eludes his hunters - who loose their own mounts to Apaches. Mose and Jim set off on foot for the fort and have a stand-off with several Apaches (probably the best scenes in the series).

The YouTube offering ends weakly and features a skilled pianist (not that I found his performances at all rewarding) who proves to be a hapless recruit to the US Cavalry and is chucked off an army post by his commanding officer and flees to Mexico, taking the CO's prized horse with him. Mose and Jim are charged with retrieving the horse in what amounts to a light-hearted caper. This episode is the only one that features women, not that they have much if any dialogue.

Two dependables, Brian Keith and James Whitmore, hold the episodes together. And the white stallion is excellent!

It's difficult to say in which decade the series is set. I would guess that it's meant to be the 1850s, but the uniforms aren't correct.

There were a couple of jarring lapses when it came to night-time sentries. Just two marching up and down the frontage of the fort and none at all when the horse-hunters were camped in hostile territory.

The YouTube program did not include the treasure-hunt featuring Nehemiah Persoff noted on Wikipedia, so I guess that might have been another episode. Certainly what I've described above seemed to have three different segments.

Disneyland: The Tenderfoot: Part 3
(1964)
Episode 7, Season 11

Review for wrong episode
Initially I wasn't sure that the only review to date (Marta's of 21 years ago) related to Part 3 of "The Tenderfoot" series.

I've just watched what I thought were the three episodes spliced together on YouTube (and have just reviewed them together under "The Tenderfoot: Part 1"); certainly there were three separate elements. But an incomplete entry in Wikipedia does refer to a treasure-hunt in the series with Nehemiah Persoff. Further research shows that what I watched was aired on the Disney Channel as an edited-down two-hour feature in the 1990s, so I guess that the treasure hunt was omitted.

A Day to Remember
(1953)

Well-constructed film with nice sub-plots
I don't give many films an "8" but I have for ADTR. It was a very well-constructed film with several worthy sub-plots - albeit several were predictable - and excellent scenes of Boulogne.

All the actors performed well, notably Odile Versois and her "grandmother" with some significant facial expressions conveying far more than words. It was interesting to see Edward Chapman in a sympathetic role, and Bill Owen was excellent.

The only character who struck a poor note was that played by Stanley Holloway, aged 62 when the film was released, whose ogling of women seems very sad - almost offensive - in the politically-correct 2020s.

Certainly not a comedy, but with some light-handed humour, such as Harry Fowler's comeuppance and James Hayter having fun. In contrast the scene in the war cemetery is poignant.

A minor classic.

Red Mountain
(1951)

Strong cast but disappointing
A 1950s Western of which I had been unaware with a strong cast - so I eagerly sat down to watch it. But it was disappointing. I was unimpressed with how the Quantrill story, was adapted to the film's plot and there were the usual shortcomings of Westerns made in this decade - an instant romance, characters remaining clean-shaved despite days of privation, an implausible happy ending, and crude back projection. At least it was in colour and there was plenty of action.

One of Alan Ladd's least impressive films, though worth a footnote in that, unusually, his character transgresses the code of good conduct and fair play expected of a Westerns hero of the 1950s.

Gli eroi di Fort Worth
(1965)

Good sets and photography, insultingly-dismal plot
One dull evening I found this film on YouTube and started watching it, realising after a few minutes that I'd previously tried to watch the first minutes before giving up. This time I lasted an hour.

The "Sugar" character was annoying and the female interest the most unconvincing I've ever seen, as was the plot.

The only redeeming points were good sets and scenery and excellent photography - all wasted on this production.

Massacre Canyon
(1954)

Good enough until the final battle
I came across "Massacre Canyon" on Youtube and two-thirds of the way through watching it was thinking of giving it seven points, but then came the finale. As the other two reviews have remarked, that was one of the dumbest attacks by Native Americans that's ever been screened, with dozens of them cavorting around and allowing themselves to be killed off in dozens by just two men, albeit armed with 16-shot repeating rifles. Wasn't that tunnel a fine piece of engineering for the locale! And the obligatory instant romance ....

Paratroop Command
(1959)

Interminable battle scene
This film was screened on Sony Movies Action the other evening, so I recorded it. I gave up after 15 minutes (so I missed the skinny-dipping scene mentioned by another reviewer). The battle scene (actually just a skirmish) went on and on, and it was difficult to distinguish who was who, not helped by none of the actors being familiar.

The Nebraskan
(1953)

Poor example of a standard Western plot
I don't suppose it could have been THAT bad as I've just watched it a second time to fill in an empty hour or two. I wish now that I'd made a body count of the Native Americans who got killed in attacking McBride's house, sometimes falling off their horses out of sync with the defenders' rifle shots: possibly twenty - a very high casualty rate. At least some of them were only wounded, in contrast to the apparent 100% mortality in similar situations in other films, and they were shown being helped away by their comrades.

I wondered about a right-handed Wade Harper firing his rifle and pistol from the right-hand side of the window, with his body protected only by a shutter. I would have thought that instinctively he would have preferred to have placed himself on the other side, behind the more solid wall.

The curious moving boulders have been mentioned by others. The Native Americans' English could have come from a child's comic book.

And who didn't think there would be an attractive young woman on the stagecoach ...

The Last Blitzkrieg
(1959)

Not as bad as some said
I didn't find this film at all bad. Some have remarked on the amount of stock footage, but in the version I saw on TV there wasn't that much.

To my untutored eye it looked reasonably authentic, notably radio procedures and the way Sergeant Ludwig deployed his men for the attack, complete with a series of hand signals.

But I too noted the discordant white markings on the helmets. The other jarring scene was when soldiers clustered around as a couple of their comrades searched for a booby trap.

I'm never keen on contrived female inclusion in films and at least Lise Bourdin's role was a small one.

I expected redemption from the Van Johnson character but, as others have suggested, what finally happened was a bit much to accept.

Double Confession
(1950)

Messy film evoking English 1950s seasdide resort
The best that I can say about the film is that it's a good representation of a busy day at an English seaside resort in 1950.

But that detracts from the plot, about a double murder, with Derek Farr being the main suspect. But in between answering the police's questions and facing up to the local bad guy (excellently played by William Hartnell), he still has time to meet a young woman on the beach and enjoy all the fun of the fair, including the pair having their fortunes told.

The scenes with Leslie Dwyer as the man with the model boat were intrusive to the point of being cringe-worthy.

I gave up on it with 20 minutes to go, though I gather from one review that's when it gets good - though a number of questions are left unanswered.

Blueprint for Robbery
(1961)

Not at all bad, but could have been "sharper"
I nearly turned off after the first few minutes because the characters in the opening scenes seemed so bland. But I'm glad that I stuck with it because it turned out reasonably well, though as has been mentioned in other reviews the direction could have been sharper. And some of the acting wasn't great.

The only name that I recognised on the cast list was Robert J Wilke in a small role as a police captain; it's the only time I've seen him on the side of the law - usually he's a bad guy.

I laughed when it proved so easy to gain access to the building through an outside door, especially when there were so many security devices inside. And the hoodlums didn't hesitate before entrusting their loot to just one man for more than two years. "That's going to add very badly," I thought.

Cimarron Strip
(1967)

Worthy series that would have benefited from plot and character development
I've just binge-watched all 23 episodes on YouTube and generally enjoyed them, especially identifying guests stars such as Royal Dano, Philip Carey, David Carradine etc.

Stuart Whitman was fine in the lead role, but I wasn't so sure about the other three regulars. I'm normally a fan of Percy Herbert but he was over-the-top as MacGregor and I wouldn't want Randy Boone as my deputy. Jill Townsend looked delightful, but got on my nerves with her hysterics when Jim Crown was missing and she was trying to get help from the townsfolk.

I would have liked to see more development through the series, showing us how Dulcey got to grips with running the saloon and more clarity about her business relationship with MacGregor. And the characters themselves could have been developed more.

Probably 23 episodes were enough.

The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders
(1965)

Pleasant enough film with many familiar faces
The best things about TAAOMF were the settings and the stream of well- known and not so well-known names and faces from British cinema, some in very small roles. Richard Wattis looked quite handsome in his period wig, but Derren Nesbit appeared a bit ridiculous in his period hairstyle - though, to be fair, his character was a foolish fop.

At 32 Kim Novak was a little too old to portray a Moll whom I took to be in her late teens but she did well enough. The great George Sanders provided some weight to the proceedings.

Danger on Dartmoor
(1980)

Pleasant enough children's fim
Digdilem ably sums it up in their review. I watched DoD because I knew Dartmoor and was pleased to recognise various locations. The three child actors were adequate. (The two lads went on to have short acting careers;this appears to have been the girl's only appearance.)

The dog was very good!

I immediately recognised Patricia Hayes in one of her trademark characterisations and initially wondered if that really was Barry Foster in a lightweight production. It was, and at a time when he was immediately recognisable by many on the big and small screen, not least as Van de Valk. Perhaps he took part as a favour to the producer, not that a few days in Devon would have been much hardship.

I'm glad that I watched it.

Identity Unknown
(1960)

Basic film, basic plotline
Seems I'm the first to review this film, which was screened on Talking Pictures TV the other day.

A plane has crashed in Switzerland with only three people known to have survived, but their identities are unknown. Back in Fleet Street, an ace reporter is teamed up with a girl journalist to check the backgrounds of all the passengers and crew. (He resents her at first, but you can guess what happens.) Happily everyone lives in or close to London and the duo complete their mission within 24 hours.

They now have a variety of "human stories": the pilot's wife has just had a baby; one passenger is a vital witness who could testify for a crook facing the death penalty; a somewhat elderly would-be foster-mother is about to adopt two new children; a surgeon is needed to perform a complicated operation on a child; there's a drug-smuggler; and a couple more. The rescue party is delayed, so the journalists and interested parties (the crook's lawyer, for example, and the child's parents) all fly out to Switzerland and wait in a chalet.

Then the rescue team arrives, with the three survivors ...

The film passed 90 minutes or so of Lockdown pleasantly enough, but it was hardly brilliant. A passer-by in Fleet Street staring at the camera has been noted in Goofs, and some of the back-projection as the reporters drove along in their car suggested that the following vehicle was almost rubbing bumpers.

All the cast were adequate, except for Pauline Yates, who didn't convince.

The Rainmaker
(1956)

Too many extended scenes
A worthy film, even if I guessed the ending after I'd read a brief summary of the plot. No doubt showing the theatrical origins, several scenes seemed to go and on and could have done with some editing. As has already been remarked, sometimes the cast seemed about to break into song.

I don't know what ages the characters were meant to be, but Katharine Hepburn was some 14 years older than Lloyd Bridges and 20 more than Earl Holliman. Ironically I thought that Lizzie was quite attractive - slim figure, agile, appealing personality - and it was hard to credit that she'd only been kissed once. But I guess it was difficult to find a plain actress who could carry off the role effectively, most fitting this description being only "character" players.

Burt Lancaster lit up all the scenes in which he appeared - but then he always did, whatever the role.

The Small Voice
(1948)

Worthy low-budget hostage film
I've just see this worthy film on Talking Pictures, Channel 81- and there appears to be a two-part version on YouTube. (Incidentally, IMDB puts the film's length at 67 minutes, but the YouTube offering runs to some 82 minutes, which is confirmed by other listings.)

At first the film was a bit talky and slow, but soon picked up and flowed along reasonably well. Like another IMBD reviewer, I was puzzled about how the three bad guys got guns (and how they'd got out of Dartmoor Prison). As to their getting different number plates, I'd assumed they were stolen from another vehicle.

Low budget, small cast, and most of the film took place inside the married couple's house. Harold/Howard Keel portrayed a chilling character, in contrast to the cheerful ones he often played as his career developed. Michael Balfour all but stole some scenes, playing to type as a criminal of limited intelligence. And Michael Hordern has a few lines to say on his way to become a recognizable face in so many British films.

Ransom
(1974)

Confusing plot
Interesting and enjoyable film but ...

It seems that I was not the only reviewer to find the plot confusing. I didn't get what the Queen's Messenger was up to and, at first, who was fighting whom and why in the concluding fight. Some people seem to believe that Petrie really was a policeman - I think that Tahlvik merely claimed that he was to sow discord between the two gangs. And I had trouble following Tahlvik's "lighbulb" deduction.

The aircraft pursuit was very scenic and seemed to go on for a while. It was remarkable both that the Scandinavian police picked up the terrorist pilot within minutes of his landing in a very remote location and also that they got him back to the airport (presumably by road vehicles) in such a short time.

It's films like this that make my regret the closure of the old IMDB message boards, whose content sometimes helped me - and others - to a better understanding.

An Inspector Calls
(2018)

A reasonable attempt, but failed to measure up to previous productions
I've watched at least two previous versions of AIC and ten minutes into this one (which I watched on YouTube) started to wonder and nearly switched off. Like others, I was not impressed by the acting of the three older actors, though the younger ones did well enough.

At one point I wondered if this was a video of a local dramatic society's production but, as far as I can make out, those involved were a bit more than that, and I gather that they all worked very hard.

Under these circumstances, then, a reasonable effort and there's no reason why it shouldn't be on YouTube (where many DIY efforts are far less worthy).

But who could compare with such "inspectors" as Alastair Sim and David Thewlis?

The Treasure of San Teresa
(1959)

Not THAT bad - good locations
Having read the four IMDB reviews and the external one, I nearly didn't bother to watch my recording of TTOST, as screened on Talking Pictures. In the end I did, and I wasn't too dissatisfied. It was comparable to the low-cost B films shot in London in the 1950s that I enjoy: slightly uninspiring cast, nostalgic 1950s scenes, creaky plot.

I'm unsure how the three main characters all ended up in the same "night club" at the same time some 15 years after they last met, and there were several other plot holes. But the locations - presumably all in West Germany - were good. The finale at the railway station was atmospheric; I wonder whether at times the cameras were concealed - certainly the other passengers didn't have the look of extras.

I was a little surprised that it soon became obvious in a 1959 film that the "night club" was an upmarket brothel. And the outside reviewer was very taken with Nadine Tallier's bath scene - which may have made up for her acting being poor.

Towards the end, one of the girls remarked that she was waiting for "Marius" (Goring) when she should have said "Rudi" (Siebert).

Clive Dunn, then 38 or 39, played the elderly cemetery keeper, complete with specs, anticipating his playing Corporal Jones in "Dad's Army" 12 years later.

The Man
(2019)

Plot holes, unconvincing ending
Oh dear! I'd been hoping that the third and final episode would explain more convincingly the reasons for the trio's behaviour towards Thomas, but the finale left me feeling let down.

Several other commentators have noted the implausibility of Thomas being tricked into arriving an hour early at the restaurant and of his car being towed away late in the evening after just a few minutes of his parking it. (Had this been a further trick by his tormentors, it would have been more convincing.) And surely others in the office would have noticed the dozens of Post-Its on his desk and who had placed them there?

Then, right at the end, a policewoman arrives at Isobel's door within a couple of hours of receiving Thomas's evidence of her racial abuse. In this day and age, that's a remarkable response time. (Oh, OK, everything had to be tidied up quickly because it was the last episode.)

Top marks, though, to Ken Swosu for his acting, with his brief flickers of emotion: disbelief, hope, angst, suspicion, doubt, and to the little girl who played his deaf daughter.

There's speculation there might be a second series, but I suspect that I'm not the only one here on IMDB to say "no thanks".

The Name of the Rose
(2019)

Ponderous, too long but great sets
I finally got to the eighth and last episode on BBC2 having more than once nearly given up. The series dragged on and on and I found it difficult to understand what some of the characters were saying and work out what names applied to them

The series came to life in the last episode but at the end I wasn't sure what all the fuss had been about.

Great photography, some vivid characterisation, but hard work.

World on Fire
(2019)

Curious WWII history
I wondered about last night's episode. Earlier we had seen two Polish men escape from Danzig in September 1939. They make their was over snow-covered terrain and are reluctantly helped by civilians who are later shot by German soldiers. In last night's episode, they rather unwisely attack five Russian soldiers (killing one during his "natural break"), run away and come across a hapless German soldier, who they shoot. A short time later, the pair come across a British unit and join them - albeit briefly. (One Pole is killed, the other runs off his own.)

There are four or five other contemporaneous plots in the series (in Berlin, Paris, Belgium and England), and one features the Battle of Louvain in May 1940, so one may assume that the Poles' latest exploits took place around then. I know that British troops were in Norway around then, but Russians??? And the plot shows no evidence of the two Poles crossing by sea to Norway, and it's a heck of a long way by land.

Incidentally, would any sergeant be capable of being so sympathetic to an officer as wet as Lieutenant Chase? (But no doubt now he's been blooded he'll come good.)

That apart, I welcome Sean Bean acting against type and am more impressed by his scenes and those set in Warsaw than the others.

Poldark
(1996)

Disjointed, flat ending
First, someone has written the wrong "Storyline", relating to the start of the Poldark saga, here on IMDB. This film features events some 18 or so years later, when Ross and Demelza have at least two teenage children, and perhaps ten years after the end of the recent TV series.

One distraction was comparing the characters in the two productions, and the two Rosses and the two Demelzas matched up well. The biggest contrast was in the two portrayals of Cary Warleggan.

As others have suggested, the plot was "bits & pieces" and ended on a very flat note, leaving me wanting to konw about the role of Stephen Claverson. It's almost as if the makers had hopes of a new series but halfway through the first episode realised there would be no more money and crammed everything into it.

One highlight was seeing a young Ioan Gruffudd getting in some sea-time two years before he starred in the Hornblower series.

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