Film Reviews by LN

Welcome to LN's film reviews page. LN has written 9 reviews and rated 17 films.

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Emma

Austen's pretensions

(Edit) Updated 22/05/2021

I've never read the book or seen other filmed versions of this Austen story. Am more familiar with Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice but I got this solely because I like Doran Godwin who got better known later with Trevor Eve in the 70s series Shoestring.

Classic BBC drama, the sets and background and costumes are first rate and barely remind you this was from the 70s. I think on the whole I like this older version compared to modern ones. The dialogue and manners are curiously spikey and really Emma comes across as a rather mean, opinionated and sometimes vindictive little madam. The thin veneer of social graces shows in her 'to camera' changes of expression after the insincere words and smiles. She's often a bully, only no one seems to notice it. Daddy is a hoot with his obsession with the weather, the cold and room draughts. Harriet Smith comes across as a naive blonde dimwit. The men all seem effeminate.

I've seen the first 3 episodes on disc 1; deciding whether to persevere to the 2nd disc.

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John and Julie

Cute little feel good movie

(Edit) Updated 22/05/2021

From the Long Lost Comedy Classics series.

Nice little mid-50s B movie, 1955, made at Beaconsfield Studios. Julie looks about 6 and John 8, they take off for London against parents' and teachers' wishes and encounter all sorts of difficulties plus odd characters on the way. John and Julie desperately strive throughout to see the Queen on her Coronation day.

Loads of well known faces, Wilfred Hyde White, Moira Lister, Sid James, Peter Sellars, Constance Cumming, Peter Jones, even a brief glimpse of Katie Johnson, who played Mrs Wilberforce in the Ladykillers!

Cleverly interspersed with the real 1953 newsreel footage of festivities, showing the crowds, the state coach and the return procession, even including a glimpse of Churchill. Thousands turned out for this event,

It reminds one it was sadly a rainy day, typical Britain !! Nevertheless all the classic pomp and pageantry that Britain can do so well; must have been something else to behold; indeed quite a day to remember.

Extras on the disc include a few still photographs plus precis of others in the Long Lost Comedy series.

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Brandy for the Parson

Gentle adventure yarn

(Edit) 25/02/2021

From the Long Lost Comedy Classics range. Kenneth More is smuggling brandy and gets leading man James Donald and his girlfriend the feisty Jean Lodge involved by convincing them to transport him across the Channel In their sailboat. Familiar faces, Alfie Bass and a young Charles Hawtrey (pre- the Carry Ons) help out in various parts of the delivery of umpteen barrels from France.

Filmed mostly in various locations in Devon and Dorset, standing in supposedly for Kent (which looks nothing like it!). The soundtrack here is a bit muffled, couldn't make out a lot of the dialogue and there were no subtitles to help. Still, a perfectly adequate story to while away 1 1/2 hours. Cute ponies, a bunch of opportunist boy scouts and a gentleman farmer who wants "in" on the deal, add spark. Nice period piece.

The court scene is in Dorchester; the roads are marvellously empty and in 1952 they're still using identity cards!

DVD has a small stills gallery, and an Also Available feature, advertising Orders is Orders, Miss Robin Hood, Time Gentlemen Please, Make Me An Offer, The Love Match, John and Julie, and You're Only Young Twice.

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Up Jumped a Swagman

Even the title doesn't fit

(Edit) 03/12/2020

This was meant to augment Anglo/Aussie Frank Ifield's career in 1965 but don't think it had much effect. Frank is amiable and gets a chance to sing most of his top hits but the first time young director (or the scriptwriter) seems to have missed the mark completely. It even starts out well, as Frank arrives in England and travels to London to make his mark. Immediately it looks a bit like spoof comedy, as he talks to a tea lady (who mysteriously appears later in a jail) then there's the comedy of an overhead announcement for a departing train seemingly destined for everywhere ending in -stone or -thorpe (I can't remember exactly now I've sent the disc back) - really quite funny. Good, it's a comedy I thought. But once he arrives at Richard Wattis' strange offices it rapidly goes downhill. The story ultimately has no real substance. There are plenty of cute 60s mini-skirted young women including some dancers (one of which later became Mrs. Ifield), he gets involved with a safe cracking mob (!) and it all concludes very unevenly in a street market. To his credit Frank does well in his only film role and doesn't look too uncomfortable on set. It certainly educated me on his multiple hits that were a bit before my time but he's a great singer.

He's also supposedly pursuing one girl while being yearned for by another (the lovely Suzy Kendall).

Sad, as it could have been so much better with a proper story, but it's an interesting period piece view of the mid-60s. Have a look and enjoy the music.

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I Love Lucy: Series

Lucy and Desi, an institution in the 50s

(Edit) 14/09/2020

In B&W of course

I remember watching this in the 50s in the USA. A real institution, a firm favourite and still classic comedy. No smut, no innuendo, purely verbal, physical & visual comedy from consummate professionals, as almost from the 'Off', Ethel loathed Fred but you can't see the cracks.

For some extraordinary reason the disc I got (D24 only because I wanted to see episodes purportedly in London and Paris) is subtitled only in Spanish. What the...?

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A Confession

For Truth

(Edit) 18/05/2020

A true story, about the real murders of two women many years apart, by Christopher Halliwell.

Dramatisation based on "extensive research, interviews and published accounts".

Martin Freeman as the Snr Det Supt Steve Fulcher does technically miss applying the professed PACE rules during an arrest as the suspect suddenly opens up slightly by admitting a further murder (of the daughter of Imelda Staunton and Peter Wight as the parents of Becky). You can feel for Fulcher who is a dedicated officer when he's disgracefully pilloried by his own and you feel the pain of all the others when so many doors to justice are slammed in their faces. Such is the corkscrew logic of strict legal rules without consequent use of common sense when it is applied.

A worthy watch. Enjoyed this.

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Fun at St. Fanny's

Laughs galore

(Edit) 21/02/2020

I've recently watched several Carry On films that barely tickled my funny bone, but this quirky little gem that I'd never heard of before surpasses that in loads of great gags and one-liners that keep on coming. Cardew Robinson plays...well, Cardew Robinson, the "boy" who never matriculated from the eponymous school as the fortune he's inherited is what's keeping the school going, even if mad headmaster Fred Emney is secretly losing that money on the horses.

A very young Ronnie Corbett, Anthony Valentine and Melvyn Hayes are amongst the recognisable boy pupils. Paul Daneman is unrecognisable as Fudge the Porter behind lots of straggly beard. The short bit with Dino Galvani playing Prof. Stromboli hypnotising an entire Police Station is a hoot. Give it a go. Proper Comedy.

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Porridge: Series 1

Creditable

(Edit) 27/09/2019

I really don't like this current mania for redoing old TV classics and Ronnie Barker's Porridge WAS and still IS a classic. However for once this remodelling does stand well against it , 40 years on. Nigel, Fletch's grandson is a likeable rogue and the prison officer looks and speaks like Officer Mackay. Worth a watch.

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The Aphrodite Inheritance

Greek set tragedy, but a mess

(Edit) 20/07/2019

I think it was popular at the time but probably propped up by the Greek locations, the gorgeous Alexandra Bastedo (RIP) and Brian Blessed playing...well gruff, booming Brian Blessed in disguise as a Greek peasant. Watched both episodes and honestly had no idea what was going on. It went backwards and forwards like a yo-yo, everyone double-crossing the other. Someone was after some riches in the form of jewelry, some rich American on a yacht played a snake in the grass wanting to get his hands on it, and the cute Peter McEnery seemed to be having hallucinations whilst investigating his brother's death. Another 70s Michael J Bird production but have just watched his Who Pays the Ferryman, set in Crete, and it was far more interesting and credible.

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