The Ghoul (1933)

Long thought lost, The Ghoul resurfaces in its complete form some seventy years after audiences were first bored to tears by it.

Starring Boris Karloff, this is an old time monster snooze-a-rama of the first degree with scintillating scenes of groups of characters standing around yakking at one another, faulty comic relief, limited playing time by the star, and an emphasis on dreary dialogue and static camera work over everything else. While things manage to come alive a bit for the ending, since it all involves a bunch of goofs fighting over an ugly broach, even that wasn’t enough to save this creaky contraption of life-after-death mumbo jumbo. Continue reading “The Ghoul (1933)”

Evelyn Prentice (1934)

Evelyn Prentice follows that time-honored tradition of having a comedy team appear in a dramatic vehicle where the most drama you get is in just how bad they are when they are trying to be deadly serious. This domestic/courtroom melodrama is certainly deadly in every aspect of its execution right down to the irritating little kid who gets trotted out whenever they want to make a point about how much the dad is neglecting his family or how mommy should own up to killing the guy she started running around with just because dad was neglecting the family. Continue reading “Evelyn Prentice (1934)”

Dracula (1931)

Were this any other horror movie where the characters stood around and unconvincingly spewed forth lines and plot points while periodically swiping haplessly at oversized rubber bats suspended on wires as visible as in any Godzilla movie, I would complain about problems involving bad acting, unimaginative direction, a barely explained villain, and an actor playing the villain with such laughably exaggerated gestures and mannerisms that you wonder if he thought this was a Mel Brooks comedy and file it away as just another low budget terror flick that had neither the talent nor the inclination to be anything else. Continue reading “Dracula (1931)”

Double Wedding (1937)

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 “Double Wedding (1937)”

Dangerous (1935)

Bette Davis is just fine in the role of Joyce Heath, the talented and self-destructive actress who is brought back from the brink by the creepily-obsessive adulation of architect Don Bellows (Franchot Tone). The problem is the herky-jerky and sporadic treatment of the problems that Joyce suffers from, notably alcoholism. She seems to be a heavy drinker just so that she can say she’s a down and out has-been, like it was something to aspire to! Continue reading “Dangerous (1935)”

Easy Living (1937)

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 “Easy Living (1937)”

The Black Room (1935)

The Black Room is a slight, but effective little horror film that gives us the pleasure of seeing Boris Karloff as twin noblemen. When there are twins in the movies, one of two things will happen. Either both are really evil (like twins in real life) or there is one that’s evil and one that’s a pretty good guy. When you have one of each, it allows lots of cool stuff to go on, usually involving the bad twin impersonating the good twin so that he can do twice the bad things in half the time. Continue reading “The Black Room (1935)”