I was, until a few days ago, unfamiliar with the work of director Daniel Birt, except for the interesting THREE WEIRD SISTERS. If this neat little thriller is anything to go by his others films may be worth investigation. To give away any plot points would be unfair as the script, written by Michael Pertwee, twists this way and that like a snake. The film has a dreamlike quality (or should I say nightmare) which is enhanced by the dramatic photography of Erwin Hillier (whose career began with Murnau and Lang and ended with Harryhausen.) The words "Film Noir" are used far too o.ften these days but this seems to me to be a rare example of a genuine British film noir. The cast are more than competent with Richard Todd and Valerie Hobson in the lead and excellent support from Tom Walls as the dogged Railway detective and a nice cameo by Dora Bryan as a slatternly waitress. Rating ***
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Tuesday, 23 May 2017
The Japanese certainly have a flair for horror movies. This film has more in common with William Castle's THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL than it does with the somewhat over praised JUON : THE GRUDGE. The film may not have an enjoyable performance by Vincent Price but it certainly delivers on horror. A group of people find themselves unable to leave a creepy old mansion which is complete with a sinister hunchback caretaker. As cliché demands the hapless characters are picked of with one by one. The film has several different titles and the copy viewed on You Tube is the Italian print (although listed as HOUSE OF TERRORS). The Japanese cast are dubbed into Italian but there are English sub-titles. Alternative Titles : THE GHOST OF THE HUNCHBACK.
Monday, 22 May 2017
Back in November I announced that I would be returning to film reviews in the New Year. Due to various circumstances, both personal and technical, this never happened. The world turns and it is now possible to reopen the Fleapit, While there will be a wider range of posts such as the promised return to reviews (of a sort), broader comments on the film world in general etc. I will, on occasions. continue to list films in my DVD collection. As before, comments are both encouraged and welcome.
Monday, 7 November 2016
|F. W. Murnau|
Before making a career in cinema, Wilhem Fredrich Murnau had been a pilot during the Great War. He is regarded today as one of the greatest exponents of German expressionism and later films fall into a category that is best described as poetic realism. Thankfully his best films are still available. He is one of my favourite directors of the silent era. He was played (not very accurately) by John Malkovich in the film SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE. Films in my collection are: DIE GANG IN DIE NACHT (1921) SCHLOSS VOGELOD (1921) NOSFERATU (1922) PHANTOM (1922) FINANCES OF THE GRAND DUKE (1924) THE LAST LAUGH (1924) TARTUFFE (1925) FAUST (1926) SUNRISE (1927) CITY GIRL (1930) TABU (1931)
Saturday, 1 October 2016
Michael Williams and Wendell Pierce in THE WIRE
Friday, 26 August 2016
Fritz Lang 1890-1976
Films in my collection: DIE SPINNEN (1919/1920 two parts) DESTINY (1921) DR.MABUSE DER SPIELER (1922 two parts) DIE NIBELUNGEN (1924 two parts) METROPOLIS (1927) SPIONE (1928) FRAU IM MOND (1929) M (1931) DAS TESTAMENT DES DR.MABUSE(1933) YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE 1937) MANHUNT (1941) HANGMEN ALSO DIE (1943) MINISTRY OF FEAR (1944) WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1944) SCARLET STREET(1945) HOUSE BY THE RIVER (1950) CLASH BY NIGHT (1952) THE BLUE GARDENIA (1953) THE BIG HEAT (1953) HUMAN DESIRE (1954) DAS TIGER VON ESCHNAPAUR (1959) DAS INDISCHE GRABMAL(1959) DIE 1000 AUGEN DES DR.MABUSE (1960)
Thursday, 25 August 2016
The origins of the German "Krimi" crime dramas go back to Fritz Lang's DR.MABUSE DER SPIELER (1922) which itself owes a debt to the earlier French serials of Louis Feuillade such as FANTOMAS (1914). Lang followed the success of the first Mabuse film ten years later then revived the character in 1960 after his return to Germany - it was this film, DIE TAUSEND AUGEN DES DR.MABUSE and DER FROSCH MIT DER MASKE made a year earlier that really kicked off the "Krimi" as a distinct sub-genre.
I don't think anybody would claim that the krimis of the 1960's produced any masterpieces but they can be entertaining - a bit dull at times, maybe. There were a few c0-productions such as CIRCUS OF FEAR and TRAITOR'S GATE but the krimi remains a very Teutonic sub-genre. The inspirational Dr. Mabuse went of to inspire Claude Chabrol's DR. M (1990) and there has been a recent American remake, so far unseen in the UK. Evidence of the popularity of the character is witnessed by the fact that Gordon Hessler's unrelated SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN was released in Germany as DIE LEBENDEN LEICHEN DES DR.MABUSE. The 1937 film listed below managed to invoke both Edgar Wallace and Dr.Mabuse, not to mention Conan Doyle while, seemingly being unrelated to any. Films in my collection are:
DR.MABUSE DER SPIELER (1922) DAS TESTAMENT DES DR.MABUSE (1933) DER MAN DER SHERLOCK HOLMES WAS (1937) DER FROSCH MIT DER MASKE (1959) DIE TAUSEND AUGEN DES DR.MABUSE (1960) DER FALSCHER VON LONDON (1961) DIE IM STAHLNETZ DES DR.MABUSE (1961) DAS TESTAMENT DES DR.MABUSE (1962) UNSICHTBAREN KRALLEN DES DR. MABUSE (1962) SHERLOCK HOLMES UND DAS HALSBAND DES TODES (1962) DER HENKER VON LONDON (1963) DER GEHEIMNIS DER SCHWARZEN WITWE (1963) DIE WEISSE SPINNE (1963) DIE TODESSTRAHLEN DES DR.MABUSE (1964) DER UNHEIMLICHE MONCH (1965)