Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bombay Waterfront (1952)

The Marquis is a serial killer terrorising London. While the police have no leads the amateur detective Paul Temple (John Bentley) is on the case - this is the last in a short series of Paul Temple films - indeed it's alternative title is Paul Temple Returns. In fact Temple is warned off by The Marquis even before he is on the case which is a bit of an odd move to be honest.

Temple and his wife Steve (Patricia Dainton) obviously arn't put off by these warnings and begin investigating the case even though the police led by Ross (Ronald Leigh-Hunt) are not keen for the help...

Everyone is frightfully posh (apart from a rather dated stereotype Burmese servant) and the film proceeds at a decent tempo with an interesting view of early 1950s London. Paul Temple is a bit bland as a detective and somewhat smug but the film has a good supporting cast including Christopher Lee as a rather creepy Egyptologist and Robert Urquhart.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Mystery Train (1931)

This drama is book-ended by train perils. It stars Hedda Hopper as Miriam, a near-bankrupt businesswoman who needs to marry a daughter off to a rich young man to get her hands on his inheritance. Unfortunately she doesn't have one...

Then after a train crash she comes across a young girl called Joan (Marceline Day) who has been wrongly convicted of a crime and now on the run. Miriam makes Joan her "niece" and targets the young man for marriage.

Luckily Joan and the rich young man Ronald (Nick Stuart) fall in love without any more schemes by Miriam. However Joan doesn't want to go through with the plan but Miriam threatens her...

It is an interesting and charming little film which ends with another railway adventure. Some of the dialogue and acting is a little stilted but the film flows nicely. The railway scenes are very well done.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Charlie Shanghaied (1915)

Another Charlie Chaplin comedy short. An unscrupulous ship captain (Wesley Ruggles) wants to scuttle his ship so he can get the insurance money. However he needs a crew for a final fatal voyage...

It just so happens the captain's daughter (Edna Purviance - of course, she often played the leading lady in Charlie Chaplin films of this era) is in love with a tramp (Charlie - of course). The captain gets Charlie to shanghai him some crew... and then shanghais Charlie too.

So its a Charlie Chaplin slapstick farce at sea - causing various mayhem and eventually foiling the plan to blow up the ship. An enjoyable film, especially as there is some actual story to hang the action on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Phantom in the House (1929)

An early talkie, and a bit rough around the edges but an interesting story. A woman (Nancy Welford) kills a man trying to take advantage of her. Her husband (Henry B. Walthall) takes the fall and ends up in prison for fifteen years.

When he finally is released he finds his wife has moved on into high society - and it's overjoyed to have him back - and his baby daughter is now a fully grown woman (Grace Valentine) being pursued by a titled womaniser while in love with Paul (Ricardo Cortez).

Many talkies suffered from rather stilted and unnatural dialogue and static camerawork due to the limited nature of the technology at the time and The Phantom in the House is no exception (though not the worst). Some of the acting is also awkward, actors were still getting used to talking on film though Walthall does really well. However it is an interesting film, with a good if sometimes pretty dark story. Plus it had some truly great set design.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Seven Doors to Death (1944)

Jimmy (Chick Chandler) gets mixed up in a murder case when one of the suspects Mary (June Clyde) jumps on his car - and he promptly crashes it.

Jimmy doesn't think Mary has committed the murder though (maybe because he fancies her - though still wants to charge her for repairs to his car), instead it appears to be someone who lives behind one of the doors in a small shopping precinct which includes her shop. While the police (Michael Raffetto) begin their investigation Jimmy and Mary also look for the killer... before he gets them.

A pleasing B-movie though lacks much in the way of suspense. The chemistry between Jimmy and Mary is good and the film had sufficient humour and energy to make it worthwhile if not particularly Earth shattering.

Monday, June 18, 2018

I'll Name the Murderer (1936)

A neat little murder mystery about the killing of a black mailer and singer (Agnes Anderson) at Luigi's Cafe.

Being a Golden Age type story there is of course an amateur detective who leads the police a merry dance. This time it's newspaper gossip column writer Tommy Tilton (Ralph Forbes).

There are a number of possible suspects including the victim's ex (and target of her blackmailing) Ted (Malcolm McGregor), love rivals and also cafe owner Luigi (Harry Semels) himself who is in financial trouble. Tommy boasts he will reveal the murderer in his column. The problem with his boast is that he doesn't really have much to back up his bravado but the investigation is on.

An enjoyable little film, a bit creaky and low budget but the story proceeds at apace. Tommy is played with plenty of cheek. Whether a playboy is credible as an amateur detective is another question.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987)

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 is a sequel which includes so much of the first movie it means you are quite safe to start with this one. A weird kind of Christmas movie though not very festive in theme being a rather bizarre horror film / black comedy.

Ricky (Eric Freeman) is the brother of the murderer in the first movie, and is in a psychiatric hospital following murders he has committed. He recounts his brother's murders to a psychologist using recycled footage from the first movie...

Then we see Ricky's own murder spree, killing people he thinks are "naughty". Ricky then escapes from hospital, kills a Santa and steals the outfit (thus making the film festive I guess)...

It doesn't sound very funny from the description but is executed so ridiculously you can't help but laugh. The budget was so low they needed to re-use so much old footage and the new footage is pretty ropey and badly acted. Random scenes and dialogue also add to the weirdness. A deserved cult classic, the film has become quite (in)famous for the following scene (which quite frankly is the best thing about the entire film):