Monday, February 8, 2021
Friday, January 1, 2021
Monday, December 28, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Format: Amazon Prime Streaming
Director: Rian Johnson
Monday, November 2, 2020
Format: TCM on DVR
Director: Terence Fisher
Frankly I'm surprised I'd never seen this movie before, except: I've always been embarrassed to not have actually read the novel, which I usually like to do first on things like this. For a while as a kid I read my brother's Sherlock Holmes collections, and like many a 13 year old kid, was a fan. Frankly haven't read much since, so if anyone is doing any Christmas shopping for me... could use a nice Holmes collection.
Anyhoo... Peter Cushing was TCM's Star of the Month, and they aired the movie and I decided: heck, now is the time. It's Halloween-ish. Ghost hounds and all.
Cushing plays Sherlock Holmes (to perfection, I might add). Andre Morell is Watson. I was further delighted to find out it co-starred Christopher Lee is the heir to the Baskerville manor and fortune, Sir Henry.
The mystery surrounds a longstanding curse of the Baskerville family, that a demon hound occasionally gets them out on the moors surrounding their manor house. When the latest occupant dies, killed by some large creature, the next in line is summoned home from South Africa to take his place. In London, a Dr. Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes and Watson to sort things out before Sir Henry falls to a similar fate.
The scope of the story plays well to the strengths of Hammer studios - access to solid actors, a limited number of locations, a grisly murder and kind of crazy story. It has that Terence Fisher touch to it of not being overly stuffy, but also not ever feeling exploitative regarding the horror or grisly details while also painting a picture of what has occurred off screen or which was hinted at.
If I have *any* complaint, I could have stood *more* of this movie. It runs 87 minutes, and feels like it could have spent more time building suspects, detailed a bit more here and there, and given more room for Sir Henry's budding romance/ infatuation with the neighbor's comely daughter. And, of course, with Cushing as Holmes such a delight, it would have been great to get more Holmes/ Watson time.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Monday, April 6, 2020
Director: Tom McCarthy
My guess is that you're sleeping on Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made (2020). This would be a mistake. This will be one of the finest movies you could watch this year.
Sunday, July 7, 2019
At long last, I read both The Long Goodbye (1953) and Playback (1958), the last of Raymond Chandler's novels centered upon detective Philip Marlowe.
You'll note a lengthy dry spell between books here, and there's a precipitous drop-off between the two in depth and strength. It's curious as The Long Goodbye feels less like a detective novel and more like an author wrestling with himself, working through the point in his life where he'd enjoyed success and some fame and found neither amounted to much as he was still living with himself as an alcoholic, a writer of genre fiction, and now a widower.*
Friday, January 25, 2019
Format: Noir Alley on TCM on DVR
Murder, My Sweet (1944) is a favorite and one of two Dick Powell movies that made me a fan. Based on the classic detective novel Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler (not yet a classic, obvs, at the time), this movie has as many or more twists and turns than The Big Sleep and maybe doesn't have the popping-off-the-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bacall, but Powell feels more like the Philip Marlowe of the books in my book.
Anyway, I promised not to write up every movie this year, and I'm sure I've written this one up before, so aside from adding that Claire Trevor's evening-look with her up-do is something else, I'll just give the movie a solid rec and what I love about Chandler boiled down to work in a movie. Oh, and Mike Mazurki is pretty great.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
After completing the two Maigret mystery movies, I decided to check out some actual Inspector Maigret novels. Not as big of a deal here in the states, but in Europe, they appear to be quite popular. I found a set on deep discount and after waiting for a month for them to make their way from a shop in the UK to my doorstep (amazing world we live in, what one mouse click sets in motion), I got to crack the set for my plane ride to San Jose.
After reading Hammett and Chandler, it seemed fair to see what was going on with mystery books across the ocean.
Georges Simenon was a Belgian writing in French about a Parisian detective circa 1930 when this book appeared. I am unclear when the translation occurred or how much was changed in meaning - I would expect that after 80 years, everyone is satisfied with what's on the page. It seems reasonable to trust Penguin to do right by these books.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Format: Kino-Lorber BluRay
I watched not one, but TWO Maigret mystery movies. And, shockingly, wrote them both up.
Here's my post over at Texas Public Radio.