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 Last Movie you Watched?

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colly
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:44 am

Really interesting double this evening.



Count Three And Pray (1955) Dir. George Sherman

The adult Western takes on religion - Van Heflin's a southern man returning to his old town after the civil war. Now Heflin was a man about town before the war, he was a man well suited for brawling, drinking, horse racing and hanging round with loose women. But the war changed two things about him.

1. He fought for the North.
2. He became a preacher.

The first created him plenty of enemies, none more so than storekeeper/town baron Raymond Burr, and a posse that burned down his house. Forced to move along, Heflin comes across the old church, that two burned to the ground, with the parson's cottage in major squalor. Its also populated with a very wild young lady - played by Joanne Woodward in her debut film, whos in no mood to be sharin' with him. Much less be subjected to Heflin trying to father some sense into her. And of course, the new-found preacher faces a lot of difficulties due to his past - his enemies want to fight. His old ladies want some loving. He inevitably gambles on a horse race (on Sunday, no less) to accrue the wood to rebuild his church. And he has inner doubts about his suitability to actually be a preacher.

Apart from the subplot with Raymond Burr and Allison Hayes (which is a bit tedious), its very well handled and the Heflin/Woodward scenes especially are very good. Another fantastic Heflin 50s western.



Pillars Of The Sky (1956) Dir. George Marshall

This was the first film I'd ever seen with Jeff Chandler leading the line. Who the hell is Jeff Chandler you ask? His career lasted barely 10 years, yet he appeared in nearly 50 films. He pops up on ioffer all the time, so I got interested. I wasnt disappointed. Jeff Chandler is one hell of a badass.

This film also is a melding of religion and the west - set in Oregon country, Ward Bond is a Christian missionary who has had a mission in the country for what must have been decades. He's converted every Indian around the Christianity, most of the tribal leaders have Christian names, and the children are growing up to be good little Christians, all speak English too. Chandler's the army Sergeant who has a team of (also Christian) Indian scouts, he's one of those classic Western pros who know the land and the people, far above those guys from Washington (and West Point!). And thats where the problems begin. Washington's ordered a fort to be built just outside the Indian territory, and for a road to be built in the land (which sounds a bit like TOMAHAWK, which I watched not too long ago). There's one Indian chief who wants war (like TOMAHAWK) and he's going to get it - because the army's been ordered to march through the territory, much to Chandler's displeasure. After first rescuing two hostages, he returns to the column, and what follows is essentially a death march - an amazingly rough, deadly and expertly filmed sequence that culminates in a massive battle in which the army men secure a hill and just fight off the Indians. After that, I was hoping for the eventual slaughter by the indians, and it almost occurs, but we get a Christian ending that actually works when it could easily have been a cop-out.

There's a hamfisted romantic triangle thrown in (its amazing how many films get slowed down to get a woman in it - thank god it never happened in THE GREAT ESCAPE), but it doesnt hamper it too much thankfully; also apparently theres a European DVD release thats got it in anamorphic widescreen with a good print too. Maybe I'll seek that out one day.

And another 2 facts on Jeff Chandler - he started greying when he was 18, and had possibly the oddest Hollywood death ever; died when he was 42 owing to medical malpractice. Of all the things. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:12 am



Berlin Express (1948)

after an apparent murder on a Berlin-bound train a group consisting of an American (Robert Ryan), a Briton (the excellent Robert Coote), a Frenchman and Soviet (effectively representing the 'Victors') come together to find the killer but also uncover a plan to disrupt unification. The first time I saw the film was when it was shown on BBC2 years ago (as today and indeed the other times since), catching it halfway I found myself staying on that channel. It's no great film and the 'World Peace' aspect (as it's effectively that, we need to stop this otherwise things will alles kaputt...) might rub some the wrong way but I think it's good fun. The best moment might actually be the end. This being said what adds to this film is the postwar locations of Frankfurt and Berlin, still shattered after the war.
Also this was made just before the Berlin Blockade so I'd imagine things would've gone differently if it had happened a little earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:12 pm



The Desert Fox : The Story Of Rommel (1951)
Dir. Henry Hathaway

"From the moment the Bohemian corporal promoted himself to the supreme command of our forces, the German Army has been the victim of a unique situation; not only too many of the enemy, but one too many Germans. "

The true story of Erwin Rommel, the German Field Marshall who was well-respected by the Axis and Allied forces alike, wonderfully portrayed here by James Mason. From the exciting opening raid on a Nazi base by British commandos to the final scene in which Rommel rides off into the sunset on his Panzer to the dulcet tones of Winston Churchill, we have a very well made and powerful drama. Cedric Hardwicke turns in a great performance as Dr. Karl Strolin, Rommel's friend, who is first to challenge him on what he feels about Hitler's leadership, after Rommel was ordered not to retreat or save his men in North Africa, a challenge that will lead to Rommel's death. A cast including Leo G. Carroll, Jessica Tandy, Richard Boone and Everett Sloane keep their native accents, as does Mason, but Luther Adler puts on a German accent and makes for a very camp Hitler! laugh After seeing Valkyrie (which wasn't too bad at all), it's interesting to see another take on von Stauffenberg's assassination attempt on Hitler's life, which is done very well might I add. Very good film on the whole, but it could do with a little less stock WWII footage as it breaks the flow of the narrative somewhat. Worth seeing for Mason.

4/5
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:18 am

He reprises his role (but with small screentime) in THE DESERT RATS which is the story of the Rats of Tobruk, which has got a young Richard Burton leading the line. Havent seen THE DESERT FOX though.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:12 am

colly wrote:
He reprises his role (but with small screentime) in THE DESERT RATS which is the story of the Rats of Tobruk, which has got a young Richard Burton leading the line. Havent seen THE DESERT FOX though.

Desert Rats I found was lacking. Mason's cameo is quite small as you say. Fox isn't too bad though I half-wished Michael Rennie had narrated more films. Something about that voice that makes for good narration.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:47 am

colly wrote:
He reprises his role (but with small screentime) in THE DESERT RATS which is the story of the Rats of Tobruk, which has got a young Richard Burton leading the line. Havent seen THE DESERT FOX though.

Yes, I know. :) Think I'll wait for that one to be broadcast on the telly rather than make a purchase as I'm running out of shelf room. 🐰

Shame to hear that Mason only has a cameo part.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:37 am

Great Expectations - The Alfonso Cuaron version. I really like this film, it's one of 1998's overlooked, yet better movies, but I wish it'd be named for something other than Dickens' work. With Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, set in the Everglades and New York, it obviously doesn't pretend to be a loyal adaptation. As a one-way love story, it works very well, but it's a shame that some other plotlines were neglected in the script, making the ending as undramatic as possible. Still, the first hour or so has got to be one of the most beautiful in 1990s cinema, and I'd say Cuaron's finest direction. The ambience and colours of Finn's childhood in Florida are dreamy. From Robert De Niro's escaped convict making a Cape Fear-esque introduction to Anne Bancroft's wickedly eccentric lonely widow and Chris Cooper's provincial fisherman, the supporting cast charms its way through the film, making up (along with the cinematography) for Hawke and Paltrow's ocassional blandness.
7/10
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:00 pm

G section wrote:
colly wrote:
He reprises his role (but with small screentime) in THE DESERT RATS which is the story of the Rats of Tobruk, which has got a young Richard Burton leading the line. Havent seen THE DESERT FOX though.

Yes, I know. :) Think I'll wait for that one to be broadcast on the telly rather than make a purchase as I'm running out of shelf room. 🐰

Shame to hear that Mason only has a cameo part.

Its the best part of the film, if thats any consolation. ;)
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:43 pm

GeneralGogol wrote:
Great Expectations - The Alfonso Cuaron version. I really like this film, it's one of 1998's overlooked, yet better movies, but I wish it'd be named for something other than Dickens' work. With Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, set in the Everglades and New York, it obviously doesn't pretend to be a loyal adaptation. As a one-way love story, it works very well, but it's a shame that some other plotlines were neglected in the script, making the ending as undramatic as possible. Still, the first hour or so has got to be one of the most beautiful in 1990s cinema, and I'd say Cuaron's finest direction. The ambience and colours of Finn's childhood in Florida are dreamy. From Robert De Niro's escaped convict making a Cape Fear-esque introduction to Anne Bancroft's wickedly eccentric lonely widow and Chris Cooper's provincial fisherman, the supporting cast charms its way through the film, making up (along with the cinematography) for Hawke and Paltrow's ocassional blandness.
7/10

Couldn't agree more, especially about the frequent moments of beauty, especially in the first half. Lovely use of colour, fine cinematography and the film has a good score and some fine songs. Indeed, it's rather unfairly overlooked. And all this praise coming from someone who mostly detests modern films and rates the original Lean version as not only the best thing Lean ever did but also one of my all-time faves.


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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:22 pm



Great Day In The Morning (1956) Dir. Jacques Tourneur

Like TENSION AT TABLE ROCK of the same year, another cracking B-western from the boys at RKO.

Starring Robert Stack (who I wish had become a much bigger star than he did), he's a mysterious Southerner who arrives in Denver with dress-maker Virginia Mayo and fellow drifter Alex Nicol on the cusp of the civil war - the Northerners are wary, his fellow Southerners want his help, yet Stack's playing his own game; he's his own man and is concerned about his own profits, which also wins him a few enemies as he wins the town saloon off town baron Raymond Burr and charms a rather sexy Ruth Roman in the process. And thats just the beginning.

Like TENSION AT TABLE ROCK, there's a SHANE-esque subplot thrown in with a kid, and like COUNT THREE AND PRAY the Raymond Burr subplot doesnt really come to anything, thankfully it gets lost in the much more interesting civil war tensions, which come to a head about 2/3rds into the film. Mayo's a bit bland, but Roman brings the heat, Nicol's good and Stack himself is on song. Terrific stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:36 pm



Dressed to Kill (1980; dir. Brian De Palma)

Hmmm. I can't say that I loved it, but I really appreciate it. I found it very stimulating... as a piece of filmmaking. It ain't Hitchcock to me, but there's a lot that I liked in it. It just felt hit and miss to me. It has some great sequences, then it's got scenes that are merely good. Overall I liked the Angie stuff the best, though I really liked Nancy Allen in this. Worth a frak, she was.

I wish the son had been more developed. That's what I was expecting. If he were of age, then maybe some kind of a fucked up romance with Nancy Allen. That's where I saw it going.

I just thought it could have had more going on, story-wise.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:44 pm



Radio On (1979)
Dir. Christopher Petit

"We are the children of Fritz Lang and Werner von Braun. We are the link between the 20's and the 80's. All change in society passes through a sympathetic collaboration with tape recorders, synthesisers and telephones. Our reality is an electronic reality."

Another film that’s been on my want-to-watch list for quite a while. I only became aware of it about three years ago when my trusty DVD and Blu-Ray Review magazine announced the British Film Institute DVD release in time for the film’s 30th anniversary. A forgotten, British-German co-produced art film, it follows the journey (as clichéd as it sounds) of a man (David Beames) who travels from London to Bristol to investigate the death of his brother who, incidentally, was caught up in an “obscene film” racket. Get Carter similarities aside, what follows is a brilliant study of self-actualisation, regret, loneliness and isolation - when the characters get knocked down in this film, they take a long time to get back up again, quite literally in a scene where Beames is pushed off his bar-stool by an angry regular. Each time Beames reaches a mental breaking-point, his sanity is restored by the soundtrack of the film, his car radio, which often serves as a reminder of the outside world when reporting such topical news stories as the troubles in Ireland, prostitution, the Red Army faction in Germany and the cracking down on the ownership of aforementioned “obscene films.” Unfortunately for Beames, each news story becomes part of his trip. Early on, the Red Army Faction is referenced when he notice a message in graffiti ordering that a militant be released from jail. He later picks up a Scotsman who has served twice in Northern Ireland (and is now a deserter) as well as two German women who hint at having previously sold themselves for sex, in order to get men to help them travel around England in search of a long-lost daughter whom they are fighting over in court with an abusive husband. Each new encounter puts Beames’ mental state to the test. He finds comfort when having a music discussion with a fellow traveller (a cameo role from Sting) and in fact music is one of the central motifs of the film. The film has a distinct English identity, as opposed to a British one. There’s no Union Jack waving patriotism but instead a certain anti-establishment feeling, evident no more so than in the bitter words of the deserter. I’m rambling. Shot beautifully in black and white and featuring some amazing location shoots, Radio On is an absolute masterpiece. It may not be to everyone's taste, it's gruelling, it requires a lot of attention and by the end of the film Beames' character hasn't really got anywhere, but stick with it and it reaps rewards - the ending is certainly something that will stick with you. I should probably have mentioned some of the songs used in the film but I'm no expert in such matters. [/bad grammar]

5/5

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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Lazenby. wrote:
GeneralGogol wrote:
Great Expectations - The Alfonso Cuaron version. I really like this film, it's one of 1998's overlooked, yet better movies, but I wish it'd be named for something other than Dickens' work. With Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, set in the Everglades and New York, it obviously doesn't pretend to be a loyal adaptation. As a one-way love story, it works very well, but it's a shame that some other plotlines were neglected in the script, making the ending as undramatic as possible. Still, the first hour or so has got to be one of the most beautiful in 1990s cinema, and I'd say Cuaron's finest direction. The ambience and colours of Finn's childhood in Florida are dreamy. From Robert De Niro's escaped convict making a Cape Fear-esque introduction to Anne Bancroft's wickedly eccentric lonely widow and Chris Cooper's provincial fisherman, the supporting cast charms its way through the film, making up (along with the cinematography) for Hawke and Paltrow's ocassional blandness.
7/10

Couldn't agree more, especially about the frequent moments of beauty, especially in the first half. Lovely use of colour, fine cinematography and the film has a good score and some fine songs. Indeed, it's rather unfairly overlooked. And all this praise coming from someone who mostly detests modern films and rates the original Lean version as not only the best thing Lean ever did but also one of my all-time faves.



I'd say the same about Polanski's Oliver Twist. Anybody else enjoy that?
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:07 am

I haven't seen the Polanski version but I really admire Lean's Oliver Twist with an outlandish Alec Guinness perfomance and the macabre scenery of London.

It Happened One Night (1934) Dir: Frank Capra




It's the first movie I've seen in a couple of months and there is nothing better than the movie which effectively created the romcom genre, apparently decreased the sales of men's undershirts and not to mention became the first movie to win the "big five" Oscars. Gable and Colbert were both reluctant to do the film and it could easily have been another run-of-the-mill comedy but for Robert Riskin's ingenious and somewhat controversial screenplay which was ahead of it's time.

Frank Capra is a master of presenting an optimism and faith in the common man with a subtlety and sophistication that rarely descends into schmaltz as he would later do in It's a Wonderful Life. Claudette Colbert shimmers and is the epitome of 30s glamour, and her chalk and cheese pairing with Gable's gruff machismo works beautifully. The scene in which they share a motel room, sharing their feelings through a dividing blanket is a classic, as Gable's heart finally melts despite his distaste at her over-privileged background. But Capra's optimism even extends to the wealthy, showing her ostentatious father is also just a man whose love for his daughter is his greatest concern. Another striking performance is from Roscoe Karns as an annoying pervert Oscar Shapely.

Certainly a strong classic that reiterates the pitiful state of hackneyed and lame romcoms coming out today.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:07 pm

The White Tuxedo wrote:


Dressed to Kill (1980; dir. Brian De Palma)

Hmmm. I can't say that I loved it, but I really appreciate it. I found it very stimulating... as a piece of filmmaking. It ain't Hitchcock to me, but there's a lot that I liked in it. It just felt hit and miss to me. It has some great sequences, then it's got scenes that are merely good. Overall I liked the Angie stuff the best, though I really liked Nancy Allen in this. Worth a frak, she was.

I wish the son had been more developed. That's what I was expecting. If he were of age, then maybe some kind of a fucked up romance with Nancy Allen. That's where I saw it going.

I just thought it could have had more going on, story-wise.

Yes, it's going along gangbusters and then suddenly runs out of steam...
the screenplay needed more work
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:09 pm

Le Marginal
Jean Paul Belmondo kicking arse and taking names Bronson style, in a movie that is better than 90% of Bronsons efforts in the same vigilante genre. When it came to plot structure, somehow Bronson and his collaborators nearly always managed to mess up somewhere along the line, no such problems here
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:40 pm

Space Jam

Don't judge me....I'm in a basketball mood....
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:08 pm

The Hound Of The Baskervilles
the first of the Basil Rathbone "Sherlock Holmes" films and far superior to most of those that followed
this is the real deal with Holmes turning on the deductive power and the hound getting a decent work out in the finale
Nigel Bruce and Richard Greene also do a good job of holding down the fort while Holmes is inconveniently absent for the middle third
a detective story that also manages to take advantage of the Victorian fascination with mysticism and the 30s fascination with the horror genre

what better way to spend a stormy Saturday afternoon

classic line
Holmes - "Now if you'll excuse me, I've had a hard day, Watson, bring the needle"


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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:35 pm



Fate Is The Hunter (1964) Dir. Ralph Nelson

There's something thats undeniably great about this film - above all else there's a quiet dignity present. There's no real heroes or villains, just people doing their jobs in an increasingly intriguing and mystic situation. Its a role thats undoubtedly suited for Glenn Ford, always at his best when playing regular men caught/overwhelmed by circumstances that threaten to swallow them whole, and how they fight back - THE BIG HEAT (murder), BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (rampant schoolkids), TRIAL (commies and bigots), RANSOM! (kidnapping) and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR (protecting a threatened woman) all deal with these themes, and of course he plays it for comic effect as well in THE TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON. Thats when he's at his best. And he excels again here. Rod Taylor's having a ball, Nancy Kwan's suitably mysterious yet kindly, Suzanne Pleshette's suitably tortured and Mark Stevens really excels as the soused ex-mate of Taylor. Its all about that dignity - something thats heightened by Jerry Goldsmith's score and the wonderful Black and White scope photography. And this new DVD makes it look magnificent.

Plus, its got Dorothy Malone in an unbilled cameo.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:14 pm



Planet Outlaws (1953)
Dir. Saul A. Goodkind & Ford Beebe

In 1953, Universal decided it would be a good idea to cut their 12 part, 4 hour long Buck Rogers serial from 1939 and rerelease it as a 68 minute feature film with added forward and afterward to justify the production of "space age" nuclear weapons and compare the villainous Killer Kane character to the likes of Stalin (who died the same year) and Malenkov of the Soviet Union. ("Let us hope that the scientists of the free world will devise the weapons and the craft that will make democracy invincible against any enemy. God bless America! ") Kane doesn't use propaganda or fear to brainwash his people, but a bucket-shaped helmet that numbs all thoughts and feelings. Buster Crabbe's Buck Rogers and Jackie Moran's 'Buddy' are our all-American heroes who aim to crush his dastardly Empire, and we follow their adventures in buzzing spaceships to Saturn and beyond. I haven't seen the original serial, but I would imagine Constance Moore's part has been made significantly smaller here (was she a love interest in 1939?). Anthony Warde makes a good villain and Philip Ahn plays Tallen Of Saturn. The so called "wise elders" of Saturn don't make decisions for themselves but just go along with whatever Buck Rogers or Killer Kane say (Rogers says something, they agree, Kane, says something, they change their mind, Rogers says something and they "change their vote" !) laugh There's some really awful acting from the extras, particularly early on from the men who discover Buck and Buddy in suspended animation, but the quick paced adventure (which surprisingly still makes sense considering 3 quarters of it is missing) provides a really fun hour or so.

4/5
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:01 pm

Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers ... wonder did Crabbe ever feel typecast?
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:08 pm

Apparently he played Flash Gordon in one of the Buck Rogers serials in a crossover-type story. Taking the p*** really. laugh
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:59 pm

It's always weird when that stuff happens ... like in Friends where one episode had the 3 guys watching Die Hard, but a couple of seasons later Bruce Willis guest-starred as the father of a girl Ross was dating :suspect: .
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:44 pm



The Bad Seed (1956) Dir. Mervyn LeRoy

Chilling. Disturbing. Exceptional.

Based off a play (and in some scene's it very play-ey), its the story of Rhoda, precocious young daughter of Christine and Kenneth, who is very mature for her age. In fact she's practically perfect in every way. And what she wants - she gets, spoiled rotten (especially) by her father and landlady/honorary aunt. And what very little she wants but hasnt got, she gets - by murder.

Its the horror of childhood delinquency more alive than any film of the 50s, its not the kids from the slums gone wild (BLACKBOARD JUNGLE), its not priveleged kids choked by their upbringing (REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE), its a seed of pure evil. And its only 8 years old. Starring a cast of no names (in films at least, I do believe many of them came straight from Broadway) - I only recognized Henry Jones and William Hopper (as in REBEL, playing the cluelessly distant father) - but dont let that stop you, Patty McCormack is absolutely chilling as Rhoda and Nancy Kelly is similarly terrific as her poor tortured mother, and both snagged Oscar noms. They deserved it, even if they're being hammy. As well as most of the cast. But its fun hammy.

Only thing i didnt really like was the ending - twas slightly gimmicky. But still - another good 'un from LeRoy.
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PostSubject: Re: Last Movie you Watched?   Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:58 am

G section wrote:
Apparently he played Flash Gordon in one of the Buck Rogers serials in a crossover-type story. Taking the p*** really. laugh

He also guested in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. It was quite sweet, as I recall.
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