Review: The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T. (1953)

Director: Roy Rowland Starring: Mary Healy, Hans Conried, Tommy Rettig Release Date: 26th October 1953 (UK) Back when I was a kid, a show called Disney Time formed a staple of the BBC’s TV schedule on public holidays. Disney Time, as its title suggests, compiled musical numbers or famous scenes from the likes of Mary Poppins (1964), Jungle…

Review: Daisy Kenyon (1947)

Director: Otto Preminger Starring: Joan Crawford, Dana Andrews, Henry Fonda Release Date: 25th December 1947 (US) “You’ve got me baffled,” attorney Dan O’Hara (Dana Andrews) tells his rival in love Peter Lapham (Henry Fonda). “I was certain you loved Daisy, but you’ll give her up without a murmur? The least you could do is punch me on the…

Review: Short Night of Glass Dolls (1971)

Director: Aldo Lado Starring: Ingrid Thulin, Jean Sorel, Mario Adorf Release Date: 28th October 1971 (Italy) Over the past year, we’ve looked at horror films from Mexico, the UK, and Japan, as well as the US. During the late 1960s and early 1970s however, horror also enjoyed a boom in continental Europe, especially in Italy. Known as giallo,…

Review: 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968)

Director: Joseph McGrath Starring: Dudley Moore, Eddie Foy jr., Suzy Kendall Release Date: 4th March 1968 (US) The Beatles’ impact on popular culture went beyond music; the Fab Four also changed the course of British film comedy. With the release of A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965), The Beatles brought a carefree spirit to British comedy,…

Review: The Fool Killer (1965)

Director: Servando Gonzales Starring: Anthony Perkins, Dana Elcar, Henry Hull Release Date: 28th April 1965 (US) The history books tell us the American Civil War ended in 1865, but when did it end for those who survived the conflict and for the families to which they returned? Long after the battlefields fell silent, America was haunted by people…

Review: Zabriskie Point (1970)

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni Starring: Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Paul Fix Release Date: 5th March 1970 (UK) Literary critics have long debated whether an author can write a novel for the sole purpose of winning an award, the general consensus being if such a novel was written, the result would be unreadable aside to the few critics the book…

Review: Bikini Beach (1964)

Director: William Asher Starring: Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, Martha Hyer Release Date: 25th July 1965 (UK) As far as pre-credits sequences go, you can’t say Bikini Beach is misleading. The viewer follows the bouncing butt as a nubile young lady in a red bikini and no self-awareness wanders along a beach causing mayhem among gawping male morons. One…

Review: Ulysses (1967)

Director: Joseph Strick Starring: Milo O’Shea, Barbara Jefford, Maurice Roeves Release Date: June 1967 (UK) During my first ever seminar as an English Literature student, our tutor expounded on the superiority of prose over film, and gave as an example a short piece of dialogue from a William Faulkner short story: “The grass smelled green.” “Now,” continued the…

Review: Female Jungle (1956)

Director: Bruno VeSota Starring: Lawrence Tierney, Jayne Mansfield, John Carradine Release Date: 16th June 1956 (US) Certain movies function on their own nightmare logic, where events happen simply because the deluded consciousness behind the camera wills them so. Female Jungle is a minor entry in the film noir canon, with the feel of a copy of a copy of a…

Review: Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)

Director: Max Ophuls Starring: Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians Release Date: January 1950 (UK) I admit it – I didn’t attend film school. As far as criticism is concerned, I am entirely self-taught and played hooky when I wasn’t looking. You can see the result of this dilettante negligence should you care to wade through this section’s…

Review: Godzilla vs Mothra (1964)

Director: Ishiro Honda Starring: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi Release Date: 17th September 1964 (US) Any parent will know a child finds comfort in the repetition of the recent past; ask a mother or father how many times they’ve sat through Cars (2006) or Frozen (2013) with their kids. In an unpredictable world over which they’ve no control,…

Review: Violent Saturday (1955)

Director: Richard Fleischer Starring: Victor Mature, Richard Egan, Stephen McNally Release Date: April 1955 (US) America, the land where fortunes are made and riches lay underfoot for those prepared to dig deep enough; America, where the criminals are cold and the money is hot; America, where as Shelley Martin (Victor Mature) puts it, “every Dad wants to be…

Review: The Flesh Eaters (1964)

Director: Jack Curtis Starring: Martin Kosleck, Byron Sanders, Barbara Wilkin Release Date: 18th March 1964 (US) Ask a cook what sort of fare they most enjoy, and chances are they’ll say a simple meal prepared well. It’s not often that meal involves human flesh, though one of the most common ingredients horror directors throw into their pot is…

Review: Victim (1961)

Director: Basil Dearden Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price Release Date: August 1961 (UK) Cinemas were once more than corporate boxes of multi-screened, ultra-packaged entertainment. Decades ago, when society was less permissive and film more ephemeral, cinemas offered not only escape but also refuge, from poverty, conformity, even persecution. For some entertainment offered inspiration – think of…

Review: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

Director: Chi Liang-Liu Starring: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo Release Date: June 1979 (US) One of the most remarkable trends to hit 1970s cinemas was the rise of the martial arts film, or the ‘chop-socky’ flicks as they were known to grindhouse denizens across America. High on action with a style all their own, nowadays all most people remember…

Review: Seconds (1966)

Director: John Frankenheimer Starring: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph Release Date: 5th October 1966 (US) It’s an open secret Hollywood prefers youth over maturity, though it’s adverse towards reminders, like a lonely individual hearing their neighbors enjoying a healthy sex life in the next apartment. Movie executives are older people who hate the idea of old people…

Review: Fourteen Hours (1951)

Director: Henry Hathaway Starring: Paul Douglas, Richard Basehart. Barbara Bel Geddes Release Date: April 1951 (US) America thinks of itself as the world’s policeman, when it’s also the world’s great showman. The US can make a production out of anything, even suicide, and when on July 26th 1938, twenty-six year old John William Warde walked out onto a…

Review: The World, The Flesh, and The Devil (1959)

Director: Ranald MacDougall Starring: Harry Belafonte, Inger Stevens, Mel Ferrer Release Date: 20th My 1959 (US) The recent publicity for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) provoked discontent from various corners of the internet when a clip from the film showed an Imperial Stormtrooper remove his white protective helmet to reveal – gasp! – a black man, later…

Review: Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Director: Allan Dwan Starring: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara Release Date: 20th November 1950 (UK) Back when I was a kid, if someone said “America,” you thought of John Wayne, ahead of Elvis Presley or the President. Wayne, above all other actors, above all other men, exemplified the tough-guy persona America in its first few postwar decades…

Review: Sherlock Holmes – The Scarlet Claw (1944)

Director: Roy William Neill Starring: Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Paul Cavanagh Release Date: 26th May 1944 (US) New Year’s Day 2016, and the BBC broadcast their long-awaited Sherlock special, ‘The Abominable Bride.’ What makes this particular episode so keenly anticipated by fans is its setting in the late Victorian era of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories, and…