Random Film(s) of the Week: Alec Guinness 5-Film Collection

AG5FCOkay, I made the huge mistake of watching the news. A few times within the last week, at that. Something-something about watching a train wreck in slow motion or a time-lapse nuclear explosion at one frame per second somehow caught me up and got me even more annoyed than usual. Needing something a lot more amusing and a lot more entertaining (as trust me, the news is surely not at all entertaining these days), I grabbed the first thing from a stack of movies in the half-backlog stash, and here you go.

Yes, I have a half-backlog. Those are films I’ve seen part of and want to complete or sets I’ve seen a few films from but mean to get to them once completed. Well, those plans usually fail royally what with the up and down health status, but I still use the half-backlog system because it sort of works. Hey, you’re reading this review, right? IT WORKS.

Anyway, I actually bought this DVD set a while back and have already reviewed two of these classics here and here (click and enjoy, please). It got lent out to a few people and made the rounds for a bit (hey, I’ll loan films to anyone I know within mailing distance who’ll return them at some point) before I got back to retrieving this from that aforementioned stack. So, how do the rest of these films hold up? Very well, indeed.

Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: The Man in the White Suit

(thanks, thecinelady!)

the man in the white suit USI recall seeing Alexander Mackendrick’s 1951 film The Man in the White Suit listed as both a comedy and a science fiction film in two separate movie books and as I hadn’t seen it at that time, I was a bit perplexed. Of course, I think I was also about twelve years old, so I was perplexed about a great many things. And in a constant state of perplexed about those great many things believe you me.

Thankfully, once I finally saw this classic a few years later, all my questions were answered – it’s a comedy AND a science fiction film (and a bit of social commentary, to boot). And of course, it’s an Ealing Studios film so it’s just about perfect in every aspect and yes indeed, comes very highly recommended…
Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: Kind Hearts and Coronets

Kind Hearts and CoronetsDid Ealing Studios ever make a bad comedy? I’ve yet to see one, and the streak they were on brought some of the most memorable flicks to lucky audiences that are still great today. One of the best black comedies ever made and featuring Alec Guinness in an amazing eight roles, 1949’s Kind Hearts and Coronets is a truly classic film that’s still as effectively dryly hilarious and fun to watch as ever. If anyone tells you that movies with voice overs that spell things out are “bad” films, sit them down with this one and watch them choke on that thought as they die laughing.

The film manages to be great despite that running narration by its murderous lead character Louis Mazzini, the tenth Duke of Chalfont (Dennis Price) as he retells his family history and lays out how he’s dispatched the assorted surviving members of a wealthy family in a quest for revenge, a title and the affections of two ladies who drop in and out of his life. Granted, you’ll feel a lot more for Mazzini than you do for his victims in the D’Ascoyne family, most of whom seem somewhat deserving of their assorted fates…

Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: Dead of Night (1945)

(thanks, scaringeachother!) 

Even though it’s almost 60 years old, for my money, Dead of Night is still an effectively scary horror anthology as well as one of those classic movies worth tracking down. It’s also a decent comedy when it needs to be and even a bit of drama and mystery gets tossed into the mix. Four different directors (Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden and Robert Hamer) worked on the five stories that make up the film (Dearden directed the framing sections that make up the beginning and ending as well as one of the stories), but it’s a seamless production where no style overtakes another. Of course, being an Ealing Studios release means there’s a huge amount of that British film quality that studio managed to make standard issue and a sort of Good Housekeeping Seal for film buffs who want no junk tossed at them from the balcony. Of course, most film buffs sit IN that balcony, but Ealing’s films were always fit for both stuffy critics above the common folk and those cheap-seaters below tossing popcorn and balled up paper napkins upward…

Continue reading