This forum is to jibber and jabber
283 - The Crusades - 7/10 - Jerusalem is conquered by the Saracens and a hermit leaves to gather forces to the cross to retake the Holy Land. Richard III leaves England to avoid an arranged marriage. Some of the battle scenes were good, but the movie itself is very dated and turning it into a romantic melodrama didn't really work for me. This was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and Loretta Young was the biggest name in the film. She plays a princess who marries Richard.
284 - The Sea Hawk - 8/10 - Errol Flynn stars as a British privateer hired by Queen Elizabeth to harass the Spanish in the time just before the Spanish Armada sails. Claude Rains plays one of the main Spanish antagonists. I thought that this was a very nice swashbuckling adventure.
285 - Union Pacific - 8/10 - The Union Pacific railroad is pushing the tracks west in the late 1860s in order to meet up with the Central Pacific railroad. Joel McCrea plays a railroad inspector who works to protect the railroad's interests against those who look to make it fail for financial reasons. Barbara Stanwyck also works for the railroad and is the love interest while Robert Preston portrays an old army buddy and rival in this Cecil B. DeMille picture. I thought it was pretty entertaining with plenty of action.
286 - The Tales of Hoffman - 7/10 - This opera starts with a prologue about a man who is in love with a prima ballerina She sends a note to him about meeting after the performance, but it is intercepted by a rival. The man goes to a tavern instead and regales his friends with three stories illustrating different sides of the woman he loves. The costume and set design were really good so it doesn't surprise me that they received Academy Award nominations. The dancing was pretty good, especially in the prologue. The story itself was okay.
287 - Madame Bovary (1991) - 7/10 - I've never read the original novel, but if this French film is a faithful adaptation of it, I have little desire to read it. The main character marries a doctor to get off her parents' farm. She finds this new life boring and, after a move to a new town, becomes unfaithful to her husband. Other problems soon arise. The actors seemed pretty good, but I didn't like the story.
288 - See Here, Private Hargrove - 7/10 - Robert Walker stars as a somewhat inept journalist who is drafted into the army during WW II. He continues his ways in the army, often finding himself scrubbing garbage cans, though he does get a furlough to visit his girlfriend (Donna Reed) in New York. This is a pretty lighthearted comedy and I thought it was fun.
289 - Maurice - 7/10 - James Wilby and Hugh Grant star in this adaptation of the EM Forster novel. It is a period piece that takes place around 1910-1913 in England and features forbidden love. The acting and sets and so on were good, though the story didn't interest me much.
290 - Valmont - 8.5/10 - Colin Firth, Annette Benning and Fairuza Balk star in this 18th Century tale of French intrigue, seduction, love and betrayal. I enjoyed it a lot more than Dangerous Liaisons, which was based on the play while this movie was based on the original book. I thought the acting was great and it moved at good pace. Henry Thomas was also very good as the young music teacher/love interest.
291 - Waikiki Wedding - 7/10 - Bing Crosby and Shirley Ross star in this musical about a promoter in Hawaii named Tony who doesn't work very hard, but is very successful. When the winner of a pineapple company contest doesn't have a good time on her Hawaiian vacation, Tony tries to show her a good time to prevent bad press. Tony ends up falling for her along the way. There is a lot of singing and dancing in this romantic comedy. It is a lot of fun, even if it isn't a very complicated film.
292 - You'll Never Get Rich - 7/10 - Fred Astaire stars as a dancer named Robert Curtis in charge of a stage production whose boss likes to hit on young women. To cover up an indiscretion from his wife, the boss gets Curtis to go out with a young dancer named Sheila (Rita Hayworth), but the two actually do fall for each other. Curtis joins the army, gets sent to the guardhouse, is put in charge of another show and plenty of other shenanigans ensue. This was a decent film with plenty of good dance numbers.
293 - Dr. Cyclops - 6.5/10 - A mad scientist in the Peruvian jungle shrinks a group of people who have discovered his experiments. They escape and he tries to recapture them. The special effects were pretty good for the time, but the story was kind of dull.
294 - When Willie Comes Marching Home - 7.5/10 - When Pearl Harbor is bombed, William Kluggs of Punxsutawney, West Virginia enlists in the army. He expects to be sent overseas, but instead ends up at a base five miles away from his hometown. At first, the residents are happy to see him, but as the years pass, they become increasingly hostile. He is desperate to go off to war, but his pleas to his superiors fall on deaf ears. He finally gets his chance in 1944. Dan Dailey stars as Kluggs in this John Ford film. I thought it was a lot of fun.
295 - The Atomic City - 7.5/10 - The son of a nuclear physicist working at Los Alamos during the early 1950s is kidnapped by enemy agents in search of nuclear secrets. I thought that this was a pretty good thriller.
296 - Ready, Willing and Able - 6.5/10 - Ruby Keeler and Ross Alexander star in this lackluster musical about a pair of songwriters who want to cast a British star in their new production, but accidentally sign a woman with the same name that they think is the British star. There are some good moments in this film, but overall I thought it was subpar. Alexander committed suicide due to personal problems before the movie was released.
297 - The Men - 7.5/10 - Marlon Brando (in his film debut) and Teresa Wright star in a film about a soldier who is shot and paralyzed during WWII. He ends up in a hospital with other veterans recovering from injuries and has a number of struggles along the way. The doctor and the supporting cast (including many wounded veterans) are pretty good. The story is a bit aimless at times, but overall is good.
298 - Unstrung Heroes - 7/10 - This movie is based on the memoir of Steven Lidz. In the early 1960s, Steven's mother was dying of cancer so he went to live with his crazy uncles for a while. When he starts to adopt some of their ways, his parents want him to return home. The movie was decent, if unspectactular. Andie MacDowell, John Turturro and Michael Richards are the adult stars.
299 - Irish Eyes are Smiling - 7/10 - This biopic of songwriter Ernest Ball features a lot of his songs (surprise, surprise) in a variety of musical settings. Ball was one of the founders of ASCAP and his songs were pretty popular during the beginning of the 20th Century. I have a feeling that there isn't a ton of truth in the movie since it is more of a romance than a biography, but it made for a decent enough show.
300 - Hold That Ghost - 7.5/10 - Abbott and Costello are gas station attendants who inherit a house from a gangster. Lots of shenanigans occur as the pair are stranded in the house along with a few other people during a rainstorm. Other people show up looking for money that the gangster hid in the house. I thought it was a fun movie, though the two scenes with The Andrews Sisters detracted from the movie since they really had nothing to do with the plot.
301 - One Night in the Tropics - 7/10 - A man is about to get married and his buddy signs him up for a $1,000,000 insurance policy that the marriage will go through. Then the man's former girlfriend shows up and is intent on reclaiming his affection. I thought it was a decent film, though it is most notable for being the film debut for the team of Abbott and Costello, though they are in supporting roles here.
302 - Keep 'Em Flying - 7/10 - Abbott and Costello sign up for the Army Air Corps with their friend Jinx, a stunt pilot. I didn't think that this one was quite as funny as their previous films, but it wasn't bad. I think that they might have been a little overworked since so many of these films came out in a short period of time.
303 - Ride 'Em Cowboy - 7/10 - Abbott and Costello are vendors at a rodeo who aren't very good at their job. Bronco Bob Mitchell is a popular western star, but isn't really a cowboy, is interested in a woman who is a rodeo star, but gets injured before she can compete. Plenty of shenanigans ensue in a pretty decent film. Ella FItzgerald has a small role in her film debut and sings a couple of songs.
304 - Far From the Madding Crowd (1967) - 8/10 - In a rural part of England in the mid-1800s, three men vie for the affection of Bathsheba Everdene - the shepherd Gabriel Oak, the wealthy farmer William Boldwood, and the spendthrift gambler and soldier Frank Troy. This has a nice cast with Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Peter Finch, and Terence Stamp. I liked it a lot more than the 2015 version.
305 - Pardon My Sarong - 7.5/10 - Abbott and Costello are bus drivers who accidentally steal their own bus. They end up on the run and accompany a man and woman on a sailing trip which lands them on a tropical island with the requisite natives and volcano. I thought this one was a lot of fun. There was a nice tap dance sequence in the film, even if it (and a couple of the songs) were somewhat superfluous to the story.
306 - Sun Valley Serenade - 7.5/10 - A big band gets a break at an audition and gets a booking at the Sun Valley ski resort. Before they go, they get word that a Norwegian refugee they applied to take as part of an earlier scheme to get a gig has arrived. However, it turns out to be a young woman instead of the child they expected. There is a lot of good music, including Chattanooga Choo-Choo featuring Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers. The skiing action is fun and the movie overall is good.
307 - Who Done It? - 7.5/10 - Abbott and Costello are soda jerks who want to have their own mystery show on the radio. They get invited down to the studio for a Murder at Midnight broadcast, but get caught up in a real murder. I thought a few of the bits were kind of forced, but I liked the chase scenes with the inept cops, the acrobat scene and the rooftop scene at the end. Overall, it was a pretty good film.
309 - Enola Holmes - 8/10 - MIllie Bobby Brown stars as the teenage sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. She was raised and taught by her mother, but her mother disappears on her 16th birthday, leaving Mycroft as her guardian. She doesn't like Mycroft's plans for her and sets off on her own to be a detective. I thought it was a lot of fun and I hope that they make sequels to it. There are six Enola Holmes books so there is plenty of material available.
310 - White Wilderness - 7.5/10 - This Disney nature documentary from the 1950s has pretty good visuals and was interesting.
311 - Dust of Life - 7.5/10 - After the Vietnam War, thousands of boys were rounded up by the government and sent to reeducation camps. These included street children and sons of American soldiers with native mothers. This story follows one boy who is sent to a camp and looks to escape, along with some of his friends, but they know that capture means severe punishment. It was a pretty good film.
312 - Catsplay - 6/10 - This Hungarian film is about two elderly sisters who live some distance apart. Much of the narrative of the film comes from the letters that they write to each other along with the occasional phone call. The film also give brief glimpses into the past when the sisters were young beauties. I didn't really enjoy the film very much and found it fairly dull.
313 - My Favorite Blonde - 7/10 - Just before the U.S. gets drawn into WWII, a British agent (Madeleine Carroll) is trying to get to Chicago to meet her contact and pass on an important coded message. However, she is pursued by a group of German spies who are trying to intercept the message. She enlists the (at first) unwitting help of a small time entertainer (Bob Hope) who is heading to Hollywood with his penguin act. The movie isn't anything really special, but is still fun.
314 - Star Spangled Rhythm - 7/10 - This 1942 film is one of those 'put on a show' morale boosting movies. The story has a security guard (Victor Moore) at the Paramount lot getting visited by his son who is on leave from the navy. The son thinks that his father is a big Paramount executive. With help from Polly (Betty Hutton), an operator on the lot and the son's long distance sweetheart, a tour of the lot is arranged and a show is set up for a large group of sailors. Plenty of Paramount stars appear, including Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Veronica Lake, Paulette Goddard, Dorothy Lamour and many others. I thought it was fun and there were some decent comedy and musical bits. The contortionist scene where Polly tried to get over the wall was pretty good.
315 - The Story of Dr. Wassell - 7.5/10 - Gary Cooper stars as Corydon Wassell, a navy doctor during WWII who helped around a dozen injured sailors escape from Java to Australia when the Japanese were capturing the island. I thought it was a pretty good movie.
316 - Mr. Belvedere Goes to College - 7.5/10 - Clifton Webb stars as Lynn Belvedere, a genius who decides to complete a four year college education in one year. While not as good as Sitting Pretty, I thought this was still fun, about on par with Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell.