Though the era of feature films made by the Walt Disney Company when Walt was still alive is often regarded as the golden age of Disney movies, 1964 proves that like any other studio, Disney was just as capable of releasing an enduring classic like Mary Poppins as well as tedious swill like Emil and the Detectives.
After a moderately eye-catching animated opening that gave you hope you were in for some intriguing cloak and dagger story, the film instantly fills the screen with such an odious experience, you wonder if you’re smelling 75 year old sauerkraut left over from the catering used at the West German filming locations. Continue reading
For those hoping that The Boy Who Stole the Elephant is like an Anarchist’s Cookbook for how to make off with circus animals, you will likely be underwhelmed with little British orphan boy Davey’s scheme to spirit away his soulmate, Queenie. He simply walks out of the circus tent with her in the middle of the night! While there is a certain genius in the simplicity of this plan, he didn’t count on one thing – James Bond’s biggest toothache of them all, Jaws! Continue reading
Roxie Hart (Ginger Rogers) was a wannabe show girl whose husband shot and killed a talent scout who was in their apartment making a pass at Roxie. A reporter and another talent scout know what type of town Chicago is – the kind of town where violent chippies like Roxie never swing for killing a man. In fact, they not only beat the rap, but they also become celebrities!
The reporter realizes that with her looks, this could be the biggest story he’s ever covered while the talent scout suddenly realizes that she might have enough talent to be a star. They just need her to admit that she’s the one who killed the guy! Continue reading
The Luck of the Irish is a made for Disney TV movie whose preachy message of tolerance and diversity is nonchalantly tossed overboard in the final act of the movie so that its conventional fantasy movie plot of recovering a powerful object from the villains can be served.
A lame attempt to rehab things in the final scene by bludgeoning the audience over the head with the star’s ill-advised attempt to make Irish step dancing cool and in one of the more cringeworthy moments in the history of film, then having him sing “This Land is Your Land” while members of the audience join in only serves to possibly explain why you never heard of any of the actors involved ever again. Continue reading
This is one of the gimpier offerings from William Powell and Myrna Loy, a pair known for their sophisticated brand of comedy that triumphed in such fare as The Thin Man and Libeled Lady. Double Wedding is one of those zany screwball comedies where a wacky guy and an uptight gal have to overcome their natural inclinations to be wacky and uptight before they can admit what we all knew going into things: that they’re really, truly, madly, deeply, in love. Continue reading
Edmund Gwenn won an Oscar for his portrayal of the real deal Santa Claus that for some reason has escaped an old folks home and decided to wreak his holiday brand of havoc on the capitalist pigs at Macy’s, as well as firing up a little girl’s imagination which has been stymied by her divorced workaholic and very sensible mother. He’s also got no use for drunken Santa imposters, pop psychiatry, and doesn’t mind going to trial to prove he is the one and only Santa! Continue reading
Director Frank Capra, known for his movies about the great American underdog, war propaganda films, and for that one where Jimmy Stewart saves Christmas, explores the glorious American family in Arsenic And Old Lace and shows us that the violent, murderous society we pride ourselves on now, isn’t merely some recent invention of the absent parent, video game industry, and liberal media bias. Continue reading
The premise is simple enough: mobster doublecrossed by fellow mobsters gets killed, rebuilt as a cyborg and returns to wreak havoc on those responsible for his death. As director Takashi Miike (Audition, Sabu) notes in an interview contained on the DVD, it was really so simple a premise that it wasn’t conceived by a screenwriter, director, or even a money-grubbing producer, but by a property guy who worked at the studio! Continue reading
This is another one of those screwball comedies made in the 1930s where regular folk are thrown into the strange and kooky world of rich folk. I never tire of seeing the filthy rich act like boobs while falling in love with lower class types. This time the results are very satisfying chiefly because of the witty, if mechanical, script from Preston Sturges and the peppy efforts of Jean Arthur.
Ray Milland is also along for the ride as her love interest and watching the young Milland makes you cringe when you remember that thirty years later he would end up in such fare as X – The Man With X-Ray Eyes and Frogs. Cringe because of how long it would take him to get around to making cool movies! Continue reading
Cary Grant’s second-to-last movie role has him playing a boozy, broken down, self-centered guy who plans to sit out World War II until he gets hornswaggled into being a spotter on a remote island by the crafty Trevor Howard. Those of us who’ve been with Cary for his thirty year career remember him from a variety of great roles in great movies, but most of them involve him being dressed nicely, clean shaven, and with his hair perfectly combed. Father Goose though sees him attempting to stretch his acting chops by look really grubby. Continue reading