Thursday, 23 June 2011


An appealing idea but an absolutely appaling movie. The plot which seems to be a meld of Samurai action and something to do with androids is incoherent and seemingly made up on the spot. The film also features an incredible amount of gore (and I mean GORE) which might appeal to some. Rating : a very generous *

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Fritz Lang had originally been set to direct these stories written by his wife Thea Von Harbou very early in his career but the project was effectively stolen from his by his producer Joe May. By the time it was remade in 1938 Lang was already in Hollywood. In the late Fifties he was lured back to Germany to finally tackle the project himself. A huge production, THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and its companion film THE INDIAN TOMB is essentially a load of old nonsense about plots and counter plots in a Maharajah's palace and a love triangle featuring a prince, a beautiful dancing girl and a German architect. The plot is silly beyond belief with a man wrestling a stuffed tiger, Indian gods, evil priests, murder, tiger hunts, elephants, torture, chases, caves etc. It is also wonderfully entertaining because Lang is intelligent enough to treat his comic book material seriously and straight-faced without pretension and, more importantly, without condescension. Blessed with beautiful Hollywood star Debra Paget, Lang makes good use of her and the actress certainly works for her money. The two dance routines are tremendous with the one in THE INDIAN TOMB featuring a near naked Miss Paget in a way that I doubt would have been allowed in her native American productions at the time. Hero work is adequately handled by Paul Hubschmid. Now restored and released on DVD with some nice extras and a 40 page booklet, the films together offer three and a half hours of great, if undemanding, entertainment. A must for Lang fans. Rating ****

Debra shakes her booty

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Shown as part of BBC's Robert Ryan season of RKO thrillers, this film directed by French born Jacques Tourneur has so many points of interest that it is almost impossible for it not to be entertaining. Part train set mystery (a sub-genre I have a weakness for) and part thriller as a group of foreign nationals (America, British, French and Russian - representing the various power zones of Berlin) band together to track down a peace loving professor who has been kidnapped by the Nazi underground. Essentially a post war (but pre-cold war) propaganda piece complete with philosophising voice over, but it works thanks to Tourneur's fast paced direction (from story by Curt Siodmak) and some atmospheric Film noir style photography by Lucian Ballard. The excellent cast includes Robert Ryan, Merle Oberon, Paul Lukas, Robert Coote, Charles McGraw and Fritz Kortner. Filmed on location in post-war Germany it never quite adds up to the sum of its parts but is never less than entertaining. Rating ***