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November 25, 2017, 02:51:38 AM
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1  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Scarlet Street (1945) on: November 22, 2017, 11:47:41 PM
I like the visuals in The Woman in the Window (shadows, isolated street, etc).

I understand the complaints about the ending, but the story is told before that ending happens, so I'm fine with it.
2  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: A Kiss Before Dying (1956) on: November 22, 2017, 11:44:44 PM
Thanks for the review, Spike. Sorry to see you go, by the way! Thanks for all the great recommendations. I'll try to get to them ASAP.

This film sounds like one I'd like to see, but it's not high on my priority list.
3  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What whodunits did you see/hear/read? on: November 22, 2017, 11:42:01 PM
A handful from the 1920s and 1930s:

Before Dawn

Murder at Glen Athol

The Thirteenth Chair
(the one from the thirties)

The Thirteenth Guest

The Cat and the Canary
(the ones from the twenties and thirties)

These movies offer at least some of these mystery story features: isolated mansions, hidden loot, seances, portraits with eyes that move, blackmailers, bizarre characters, secret passages.

Regarding The Cat and the Canary: normally I like the 20s silent version better than the 30s "talkie" version. This time around, I found myself enjoying the 1930s film a lot more.

Before Dawn: a little surprise awaits certain characters at the end of a hidden staircase....they really should watch their step!

The 13th Chair: Dame May Whitty is the highlight of this film. What a wonderful actress!
4  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Bogie, Cagney, Cooper, Gable, Robinson, Stewart: Greats Of The Golden Era on: November 20, 2017, 01:53:46 AM

In a Lonely Place
The Roaring Twenties
The Petrified Forest


The Public Enemy
The Roaring Twenties
Picture Snatcher
Each Dawn I Die
City for Conquest


The Woman in the Window
The Hole in the Wall
House of Strangers
Thunder in the City


The Shop Around the Corner
Born to Dance
Rear Window
The Murder Man
5  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Public Enemy (1931) on: November 20, 2017, 01:46:34 AM
I like this film and I generally watch it back-to-back with The Roaring Twenties.

Last time I did this, it struck me that the most violent gangster in The Public Enemy (the one who gets killed when he's thrown off the horse) should have talked more like a gangster and less like a gum-chewing teenager.
6  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Scarlet Street (1945) on: November 20, 2017, 01:42:34 AM
I adore The Woman in the Window, even the ending (which has been heavily criticized).

I think that maybe when I tried to watch Scarlet Street a couple of times, I found myself comparing it to The Woman in the Window. Not sure.

Personally, I think that James Cagney played a better gangster than Bogart and Robinson did.

Style of talking? Yup, there were certain styles of speech which were done by all gangster characters during that time, and other styles of speech which cop characters did in the forties, etc. That was fashionable back then.

By the way, I really enjoyed House of Strangers, too.
7  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Rope (1948) on: November 18, 2017, 10:47:06 PM
I love this film. It's one of my favourite Hitchcock films.
8  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Scarlet Street (1945) on: November 18, 2017, 10:45:30 PM
I've given this film a couple of chances. I really want to like it, but there's something about the pacing (or whatever) that just doesn't work for me, unfortunately.
9  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What whodunits did you see/hear/read? on: November 17, 2017, 01:12:22 AM
Lately, I've been watching a few 1930s mysteries set in Britain (some British films, some not). Each time I watch these movies and a few others, I keep wishing that more Agatha Christie mysteries had been filmed back in the 30s. What I wouldn't give to see a 1930s version of Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express, etc. Wishful thinking!

Charlie Chan in London: a young man is about to be executed for the murder of another man. This man's sister is convinced that her brother is innocent and she gets Charlie Chan to help find the real killer. Most of the film takes place in an isolated mansion, which is always a bonus.

The Terror: two crooks help an anonymous boss steal thousands of dollars. The boss betrays them and they wind up in jail for ten years. Once they're out, they go to an isolated mansion where this anonymous boss is supposedly lurking about. The first part of this film is gangster film-style, but after about 10 minutes, it turns into an isolated country house whodunit, as well as a murder mystery. The secret room and the spooky noises which are probably coming from it are a nice addition to the movie, too. Some parts of the film are a bit slow, but overall it's worth a look.  Alastair Sim really steals the show here as one of the crooks. No wonder he became such a big name later!

The Shadow: all the elements of a typical 1930s British mystery here - a blackmailer is on the loose, and this person is likely hiding in the isolated mansion where most of the movie takes place. Some red herrings thrown in, too. A lot like Agatha Christie, though she came up with much more elaborate and surprising endings. This one might be a bit too easy for modern audiences to figure out.

The Mystery of Mr. X: clever story about a serial cop killer who is terrorizing Scotland Yard. A diamond thief is at the wrong place at the wrong time, and he has some work to do to get Scotland Yard to stop thinking that the diamond thief is also the killer. He wants to sell the diamond ASAP and get in with stealing jewelry, etc. Lots of VERY clever twists and turns in this gem.

The Ghost Camera: a young man comes home and finds that a camera not belonging to him is in his car. He develops some of the pictures and he gets curious about the pics (which hint at a mystery) and the camera's owner. Also, the camera is stolen from his home. This man searches for the camera's owner and later, he attempts to solve the mystery of other pictures which he developed. Oh yes, there's murder here, too.

The Ghost Camera is based on a story by an author who wrote a couple of novels which I've read. In one of these other novels, a man who lives alone locks up his house and goes on holidays. At a train station (or somewhere), he overhears someone asking the operator for HIS phone number...and he hears this person talking to someone at his own home! But no one is supposed to be at home! Interesting novel. Too bad it was never filmed.
10  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What whodunits did you see/hear/read? on: November 12, 2017, 03:27:48 PM
Murder at the Vanities (1934):

I've lost count how many times I've seen this terrific whodunit-musical. Probably at least 20 times by now!

While a live performance on stage is going on, a couple of murders take place backstage.

I admit that the mystery itself isn't one of the best I've seen, but combined with the memorable musical numbers, the mystery is just right. The whodunit keeps the musical from getting too sugary-sweet (as many musicals are, unfortunately).

If you see this movie, be on the lookout for:

-several pre-Code elements (example: scantily-clad women in a couple of the early performances)

-a musical number which basically says, "Thankfully Prohibition is over!"

-Duke Ellington and his orchestra in one of the musical numbers (about an hour into the film)

This movie comes very highly recommended by me.  Smiley

I've only seen a handful of musical-whodunits. If only more of them had been filmed! Off-hand, I can only think of four of them, including this movie. It's a very interesting combination, and tough to pull off.
11  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: In Memoriam on: November 12, 2017, 03:21:22 PM
John Hillerman was great in a handful of the Ellery Queen episodes which he did.

May he rest in peace.
12  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: Riff-Raff (1947) on: November 12, 2017, 03:19:41 PM
I know I've seen this film (probably about 12 years ago). I just don't know why I can't remember anything about it! I'm sure that I liked this film....
13  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What whodunits did you see/hear/read? on: November 08, 2017, 07:39:34 PM
A handful from the 30s and 40s which I've seen these past couple of days:

The Case of the Howling Dog: this is my favourite of the 1930s Perry Mason films. I love the storyline! I think I reviewed it last year. I make a point to watch it at least once a year.

The Ninth Guest: I'm guessing that this film was the inspiration for Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. A handful of guests (all known to each other in some capacity) are invited to a penthouse suite, and one by one, they are murdered. Definitely an unusual setting for such a story! Normally these types of stories are set in some isolated location.

....and three (out of four) films based on the same source material (I wish that I could see the original German film):

Secret of the Blue Room: the best of the three films. Terrifying film about three men (they all love the same young woman) who want to prove how brave they are by taking turns sleeping in a room in which three tragedies took place 20 years earlier. The room is in the home where the young woman lives, and they want to prove their bravery to her.

The Missing Guest: the worst of the three films. I really had trouble getting through this one this time around.  It would have been much better if they had laid off the annoying humor. However, this is a 1930s film with a reporter as a main character, so of course the mood is going to be loud, obnoxious, with bad humor. In other 1930s films revolving around newspaper offices, it's fine, but here, this sort of mood is really out of place. Also,  I recommend skipping the first five minutes of this movie. Seriously.

Murder in the Blue Room: almost as good as Secret of the Blue Room. Despite the fact that this is a musical, it was much more atmospheric than The Missing Guest. Not many whodunit-musicals out there! This is one of them.
14  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: The Seventh Juror (1962 French film) on: November 06, 2017, 12:50:54 AM
I watched it again tonight. I couldn't help myself.

Even if that nasty community had wanted to find the killer, it would have been pretty much impossible, because the killer had a number of people who thought that they could give him an alibi (and they were believed, too).

Sadly, this was a society which was happy to put the blame on someone who really wasn't part of the team, so to speak.

By the way, has anyone else here had a chance to see this recently? If so, I hope you'll post reviews!  Smiley
15  Other/Miscellaneous / Off-Topic Discussion / Re: What whodunits did you see/hear/read? on: November 04, 2017, 11:44:31 PM
William Powell doesn't star in The Dragon Murder Case.

Warren William got the part.
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