Thursday, May 31, 2012

UNCERTAIN GLORY (1944)

Less excited than I expected WWII story about Errol Flynn as a prisoner in Nazi-controlled Paris who is literally walking out to the guillotine when an air raid blows up a bunch of shit and he escapes. After a brief taste of freedom he's tracked down and apprehended by an Inspector. During the train ride back to Paris the Inspector reads a newspaper story about how a saboteur blew up a nearby bridge and if the saboteur isn't caught within three days the Nazis are going to execute 100 innocent men. Flynn preys on the Inspector's patriotism and tells him that he'll turn himself in as the saboteur in order to free the innocent men. He's just saying this in order to find an convenient moment to escape. How noble. But of course you would have to be a complete fucking idiot not to expect Flynn to have turn of heart by the end of the film, most likely because of a beautiful girl. And...

That's exactly what happens. How exciting. I was mildly entertained by Flynn just because I'm a fan of his acting style, but even at 102 minutes this movie seemed like it went on for like 150. I own it, because it's part of the "Errol Flynn Adventures" box set, but while I'll definitely be revisiting OBJECTIVE, BURMA! and EDGE OF DARKNESS,UNCERTAIN GLORY will never ever see that light of day again. I hope it enjoys it's spot on the shelf.

Skip it with a vengeance and take a nap instead.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

THE SHAGGY DOG (1959)

Maybe I'm lame, but I thought this movie was pretty funny. Fred MacMurray's teenage son Wilby is a clumsy nerd who's always getting into trouble. His latest experiment: building a rocket in the basement got him into big trouble, (especially after it blasted off through the house and out the roof), but that's nothing compared to what happens when he accompanies his sexy new neighbor to the museum and an ancient ring falls into his pants and turns him into a dog! WTF? And if that isn't enough excitement for you Wilby's father hates dogs, Wilby gets to drive a hot rod while in dog form and he discovers that his neighbors are spies!

Released by Disney back in 1959 THE SHAGGY DOG is totally innocent, but that just adds to the charm of the film. The neighborhood is perfect and safe, the teenage girls aren't cruel, the teenage boys aren't vulgar, the parents are supportive, the pigs aren't dim-witted bullies out to rape the dog to death then plant drugs on his corpse...it's a complete fantasy! Cerealiously though I liked the film and I would watch it again. The entire cast was great (especially Tommy Kirk and Fred MacMurray...the anguished moan he made when he found out Wilby was a dog was classic!), the pace was fast, the story was so crazy I couldn't help but laugh, awesome 50's fashions. THE SHAGGY DOG is fun for the whole family, unless of course you have an asshole in your family.
Strother Martin!

The first appearance of scene hair in a movie?

Annette Funicello

Saturday, May 26, 2012

EDGE OF DARKNESS (1943)

The small Norwegian fishing village of Trollness (pop. 800) has been under Nazi control for the last two years. The citizens have tried a few small things to undermine the Germans (ruining the canned fish coming out of the cannery, starting a few fires, etc.), but without weapons they have no hope of overtaking the 150 Nazi soldiers.

Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan both live in Trollness and are lovers. Flynn is a fisherman and looked upon as the unofficial leader of the Rebellion. Sheridan is the daughter of the only doctor in town and he disapproves in her involvement with the Resistance Movement. To complicate matters even further, her brother and uncle are in cahoots with the Nazis. Also the young German commandant of Trollness is a go-getter and wants to make a name for himself by crushing the Rebels once and for all.

If you were expecting EDGE OF DARKNESS to be overly melodramatic and sentimental just because if came from the early 40's you'd be partly correct, it had a few sappy moments, but at the same time it didn't shy away at all from showing the Nazi's just straight up mowing down town folk with machine gun fire. Also in the most shocking part of the film it strongly implies that Sheridan was raped (off screen) by the Nazi's!!! Holy fook!

Good acting, exciting story (it kinda reminds me of Steinbeck's "The Moon is Down"), asshole Nazi's, nice scenery, plenty of action (and one awesome explosion stunt), a young Ruth Gordon, piles of dead bodies, blood soaked shot of a guy's head after committing suicide with a gun...I say check it out. It's not the most action-packed WWII movie ever, but the story is intriguing and I enjoyed myself from beginning to end. I would love to see a remake.
Nancy Coleman from DESPERATE JOURNEY and Helmut Dantine from NORTHERN PURSUIT.

Look at how young Ruth Gordon is!

Friday, May 25, 2012

DESPERATE JOURNEY (1942)

An RAF bomber is shot down deep in Nazi territory and now the surviving crew, lead by Errol Flynn, must make their way back to England, but not without making a few detours to cause some chaos and crack a bunch of jokes. I was a little bit taken back by the light-hearted nature of the film (because I wasn't expecting it), but once I understood that the film was probably meant to cheer up Americans back home I got into and enjoyed the film for what it was. The chemistry between the leads is good and I was pleasantly surprised to see Raymond Massey as Nazi Major hot on their trail.

For an old WWII film DESPERATE JOURNEY is entertaining enough, but honestly with a cast like that (not to mention director Raoul Walsh) I was expecting more. Worth watching, but nothing to get overly excited about.
Hardy-har-har. You get it? His last two movies co-starred Ann Sheridan.