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Beckford (25)


Anyone else notice a resemblance? Vera Miles Revisited Come back, Mrs. Whistler (slight spoilers) Some Reactions to the Region 2 Blu-ray from Carlotta (spoilers) Well, now I can say I've seen it A talent worth remembering More flicker than flame but still has its moments Entertaining chase across the wide open spaces Fumbled at the finish line (Spoilers) There's More to Maria View all posts >


Exceptionally good takedown of all the preposterous plotholes on display here. Brilliantly analysed and argued. It's actually amazing how long the picture remains entertaining - at least until one is eventually overwhelmed by the sheer volume of internal contradictions and needlessly slapdash plotting. Still, thanks, pabloquema, for a very entertaining read. 1. Charlie Chan in Panama 2. The Black Camel 3. Charlie Chan at the Olympics 4. Charlie Chan at the Circus "Charlie Chan in Honolulu" (the first of the Tolers) has grown on me over the years. It's well cast and really pretty neatly thought out. Also I think Eddie Collins, the little comic who guards the animals on the ship, is pretty funny. A chubby little scaredy-cat type, he's also good as a taxi driver in "Charlie Chan in Reno". I was kind of underwhelmed when I first saw it decades ago. But after many viewings over the years, I think I'd now probably rank it at #5. "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island" has plenty of atmosphere but just too many gaping plot holes and lapses of logic. Of course Shirley MacLaine would have been perfect. Song and dance abilities. Acting genius. Great comic chops. Instantly discernible star quality. And she was on the scene at the time. MacLaine's so right for the role I can't help thinking she must have at least hoped to test for it. Have never been enthusiastic about the Mamie Van Doren casting. Good looking for sure - and she could carry a tune, I guess. But her onscreen presence always seemed shallow and limited to me. If they wanted a reasonably priced Monroe type, they should have considered Diana Dors. A fine actress with terrific comedy flair. Seems to me good British actors (which Dors certainly was) often had the ability to assume pretty convincing American accents. I'll bet Dors would have aced the part. Plus she was an excellent singer - even made an LP (called "Swingin' Dors") for Columbia in the late 50's. Redheaded vocalist Teresa Brewer only made one film - a 1953 musical called "Those Redheads from Seattle". But she was extremely good in it. A real natural for pictures. I believe she turned down further screen offers to concentrate on her recording career (still going great guns at the time). Would have been interesting to see if an offer to play Ado Annie in such an event movie would have convinced her to give pictures one more shot. I suspect she'd have been a charmingly feisty delight in the part.. Megowan made me think of Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, but with no sense of humour. Here are the Frankenstein related titles I've enjoyed over the years, both adaptations and off-shoots The Bride of Frankenstein(1935) Son of Frankenstein(1939) The Ghost of Frankenstein(1942) House of Frankenstein(1944) Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein(1948) The Curse of Frankenstein(1957) The Revenge of Frankenstein(1958) Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed(1969) Young Frankenstein(1974) The Bride(1985) Mary Shelley's Frankenstein(1994) Also liked the 2017 biographical film "Mary Shelley" with Elle Fanning. I really don't have ten favorites among his films but there are definitely seven I love: 1. The Ten Commandments 2. The Naked Jungle 3. Touch of Evil 4. Secret of the Incas 5. The Greatest Story Ever Told 6. The Big Country 7. 55 Days at Peking Ben-Hur has its moments - enjoyably massive in scale. But it's one long anti-climax after the chariot race. I guess the best film Heston was ever in was "Touch of Evil", though certainly not because of his performance. He was badly miscast as a Mexican - Ricardo Montalban would've been perfect in the role. Still, I believe it was Heston (a big star with plenty of clout) who convinced Universal to sign Orson Welles as director. And it's Welles as director and actor who really made the picture a masterpiece. Without Heston's determination to have Welles direct, "Touch of Evil" might have emerged as just another programmer. As far as my favorite Heston performance, it's a toss-up between "The Naked Jungle" and "Secret of the Incas". He's perfection in both. Definitely roles he was born to play - and I don't think anyone else could have carried them off quite as effectively. 1954 was definitely a great year for him. I also like his work in "The Big Country", where he nicely holds his own in a film teeming with fine performances. Just watched Warner Archive's new Blu-ray of the 1951 "Show Boat" and it's a dandy. Sound and color are amazing. And the movie remains a winner on all levels. For one thing, I like everyone in the cast. This is the film that introduced me to Kathryn Grayson and I've been a fan ever since. There've been lots of attractive onscreen sopranos over the years but none so meltingly pretty as Grayson. Always thought she seemed like Snow White come to life. As for Ava Gardner, well this is the role that cemented her superstar status at Metro. The picture was a huge moneymaker and audiences fell in love with her marvelous performance as the tragic Julie. No wonder. It's an emotional role and she's very moving in it. I wouldn't change the casting myself. But the above poster's suggestion of Yvonne De Carlo for the part is excellent; she could sing, had recently scored with a sensational dramatic turn in the hit noir "Criss Cross" and was a good physical fit to play a beautiful mixed race woman passing for white in the 19th century south. I'd add the name of Dorothy Lamour, another singing actress who had the right sultry look. Director George Sidney, remembers (in his Bluray commentary) that the studio was at one point leaning heavily toward Dinah Shore and that Sidney tested both her and band singer Ginny Simms for the part. These two were certainly top vocalists but I doubt they'd have come anywhere near the emotional levels reached by Ava Gardner in the role. The studios seldom hesitated to dub musically challenged stars. As it happens, MGM ultimately dubbed Ava (though her own surviving tracks are - to my ears and many others -superior to the ones used onscreen). In fact, it was Ava's recordings that were actually on the popular soundtrack album. If we're imagining non-singers for the part, how about Linda Darnell and Faith Domergue? Both on the scene at the time and both potentially fascinating choices. But - as I said -Ava's perfection in "Show Boat". Very well stated. And I agree with you completely. This is a very entertaining film with some intriguing new spins on the mummy legend. And - yes - the Fred Clark character is a terrific creation. I, too, loved that sweet last minute encounter with the streetwalker. Nice that this veteran actor got such a great part - and ran with it - so late in his career. Yes to the nth degree. I don't like this movie anyway. So patly done and clumsily overplotted. But Cummings is the worst thing in it by a mile. For example (and this is especially apparent in "Dial M for Murder"), he never has a clue how to react credibly when other characters are speaking. Just sticks out like a sore thumb with those amateurish facial expressions of his. The man had a mild facility for light comedy, which he managed to exploit to some degree on his long-running 50's sitcom. But in anything close to drama, Cummings was hopeless. Smug as hell. With that smirk you yearned to wipe off his face. He ruined "Kings Row" singlehandedly. If only the makers had been able to get their first choice, Tyrone Power. Cummings was always laughable (in a bad way) in period films. Just couldn't shake that 20th century vibe. Check out the French revolutionary adventure "The Black Book" aka Reign of Terror. His idea of portraying sophistication was to over enunciate everything and look condescending. And the guy was in some terrific films but almost never emerged as any kind of asset. Was on sufficiently good behavior in excellent pieces like "Saboteur"and "The Chase" that he didn't do serious damage. Probably his best work is in the wonderful comedy "The Devil and Miss Jones". And - even in that - he's just okay, but luckily he's surrounded by a large and inspired cast led by Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. "The Accused" from '48 is an otherwise terrific noir but I wince every time I remember that - in it - Loretta Young falls for him and not Wendell Corey. And in "Dial M" we're to believe that another world class beauty, Grace Kelly, is panting over him. He must have been doing something right though - the man enjoyed decades of fame and I assume had fans. But that's a fan club I've never been tempted to join. If you get a chance track down "The End of the River" a fine British film from 1947. It's co-produced by Michael Powell, director of both your favorites, "The Thief of Bagdad" and "Black Narcissus". It's not as great as those two films but it's still a substantial and absorbing piece of work, set in Brazil where much of it was filmed. And Sabu is the lead. View all replies >