Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Nancy Drew... Reporter (1939)

Schoolgirl Nancy Drew (Bonita Granville) is at a newspaper on some sort of work experience gig when she gets onto a real case instead of reporting on a squirrel stuck up a tree. The case involves poisoning but Nancy doesn't think the suspect Betty (Eula Denning) did it. She wants her lawyer father (John Litel) to take the case but he won't do it until there is solid proof she is innocent...

Nancy is helped (usually reluctantly) by her neighbour Ted (Frankie Thomas Jr) to find evidence to clear Betty but stumbles upon a real mystery, just who is a man with a strange ear (Jack Perry) who is involved in the case?

It is light hearted fluff on the whole but features some nice detective work and an amusing set piece in a boxing gym. It also includes a rather strange but endearing musical interlude by a teenage Mary Lee.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Sewers of Gold (1979)

Also known as "The Great Riviera Bank Robbery" this film is based on the true story of a bank robbery in France in the 1970s. It stars Ian McShane as a right-wing terrorist who has the great idea of breaking into a bank safe deposit vault in Nice to raise funds for his fascist uprising. His friend Jean (Warren Clarke) is a bit sceptical of messing with the criminal underworld but soon is persuaded to go ahead with the plan... which consists of getting into the sewers below Nice and then digging through metres of rock.

Although the film has little in way of spark (and we must remember our "heroes" are rather unpleasant thugs who have a liking for swastika wall coverings) it is fascinating to see the mechanics of a bank raid covered in detail. At times it is more like a long version of The Sweeney or Professionals but that is not a bad thing...

Although all the characters are French luckily the British actors use their own accents and not some weird kind of Franglais.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Marked One (1963)

An enjoyably low-budget British crime film. Don Mason (William Lucas) is an ex-jail bird who did time for money forgery. His former gang members think he is still in possession of the plates to print money and give him a going over and when that doesn't work they threaten the daughter he has with his estranged wife Kay (Zena Walker).

Police Inspector Mayne (Patrick Jordan) is also after those plates and keeping Don under surveillance. Don is desperately trying to find the plates, and the identity of who is after them before his daughter is snatched. When Don's photographer friend Chas (Brian Nissen) is found murdered then Don also has to deal with being hunted as the prime suspect...

Kay also has to deal with his slimy landlord boss Benson (Arthur Lovegrove). Its a bit cheap but that adds to the grittiness of early 1960s London. Not a fantastic film but perfectly serviceable.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Extravagance (1930)

Alice (June Collyer) is spoilt, her mother flogs herself to the bone to give Alice everything she wants. When she marries Fred (Lloyd Hughes) she expects things will continue as they have been but Fred's business is struggling and he can't afford to buy her the sable coat she desires. While he is slogging his guts out she is partying all night and leaving him with a pile of bills...

Alice finds a way to raise some money, she meets a sleazy stockbroker called Morrell (Jameson Thomas) who'll help her get money though there is a price to pay. You know what that is.

It is an early talkie and suffers from some awkward dialogue. The overt adultery and greed in this pre-code film is fascinating though ultimately the film is a bit too silly especially the melodramatic ending. Morrell is a great bad guy though.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Girl Gang (1954)

Low-rent exploitative sleaze which seems to have been made on the budget of two joints. Joe (Timothy Farrell) is a "regular guy" - in that he gets kids hooked on drugs and then gets the girls to earn money for him via prostitution and robbery. The latter is shown in the film's first scene where a group of girls ambush and knock a guy out and steal his car for Joe!

Meanwhile June (Joanna Arnold) is Joe's new favourite squeeze (not that he restricts himself to one). In a lengthy segment he shows her how to shoot up heroine and in return she has to bring in a supply of fresh meat for Joe. Wanda (Mary Lou O'Connor) is some of that fresh meat, to join the gang she has to sleep with five guys in the gang and if there are any complications... well there is the drunk ex-doctor (Harry Keaton) handy to sort things out...

Well don't expect much in the way of acting but do expect plenty of leg (by coincidence it is where it is best to give the girls injections). It is a remarkably shameless film. Drug taking, robbery, prostitution, black mail the works!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Money Means Nothing (1934)

Rich girl meets poor guy, they fall in love and then the rich girl tries to adapt to her new, less affluent, life.

So that is the basic premise of this film, Julie (Gloria Shea) is a rich and spoilt Manhattan girl who is obviously looking for a bit of rough trade. She meets Kenny (Wallace Ford) in a run-down but trendy dive after some escapes with criminals. Kenny and Julie finally fall in love and Julie decides to marry him despite opposition from her family.

Julie settles into her new life of poverty in Brooklyn believing that love will solve everything and that money means nothing. Tyre salesman Kenny is not so sure and some dark events threaten to break their lives apart...

So the plot isn't any special but this is a well meaning little film with a decent supporting cast including Edgar Kennedy and Maidel Turner though some of the attempts at comedy don't always hit the mark.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Gigolo and Whore 2 (1992)

So the sequel to this then, silly semi-erotic sexploitation HK fare really.

Rosamund Kwan plays a tough rich girl who buys Alex Fong's business and shunts him from his swanky office. To persuade her to sell Alex back the shares he hires the top gigolo in HK Simon Yam to seduce her (obviously).

The uber stud does his job (so well in fact she forgets she is a lesbian) and she sells the shares... but there is one problem : Simon has fallen in love with her for real. That would be fine except Alex is in love with her too. And to make matters worse the gigolo bar's madam (Veronica Yip) is in love with Simon. But its all sorted out in the end of course amid much mess and hilarity. 

The film is not a cinematic classic though has plenty of silly humour and a fair bit of rumpy pumpy, though at times the film a little boring and rather weird. The picture quality didn't help, for some reason the colours were a bit wrong especially in low-lit scenes.