Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nugget Reviews - 8

Son of Ali Baba ( 1951 ) Elctr.

A runaway slave gal gets Kasha, the son of Ali Baba, in hot soup with the wicked caliph when it turns out she is in fact a princess who was supposed to be given as a gift to the visiting prince. Or was it a king? Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, Hugh O'Brien, Susan Cabot, Victor Jory. Universal Studios. Directed by Kurt Neumann. 

Piper Laurie and newcomer Tony Curtis were such a success in their first film together, "The Prince Who Was a Thief" that the studio reteamed them in this adventure flick. Son of Ali Baba has a rather lackluster plot ( with leading characters named Kashma and Kiki, how can it not be? ) but does feature some swanky Arabian garb and colorful Technicolor sequences. You'd think with all the possibilities of Arabian adventures they could come up with something more ingenious then the same runaway slave plot....


Tycoon ( 1947 ) 14k 

An engineer, working for a rich tycoon, marries his daughter against his wishes and then must build a bridge the tycoon ordered completed in spite of the setbacks he puts in his way. John Wayne, Laraine Day, Cedric Hardwicke, Judith Anderson, James Gleason. RKO Pictures. Directed by Richard Wallace. 

Even though this film boasts a great cast, it features too much dust and sweat to be enjoyable and the two lovebirds get into a quarrel midway through which bursts the romance aspect of the picture. But....who can resist the Duke? Especially when he practically builds this bridge single-handedly and pushes every setback out of the way...including the birds. "Get outta the way pidgeons!"


The Moonspinners ( 1964 ) 14k 

A girl and her aunt travel to Greece where they meet a mysterious young man who disappears altogether one day. The temperamental hotel owner hushes up his absence which only helps to intrigue the girl even more into his whereabouts, and just what mystery does the Bay of Dolphin hold? Hayley Mills, Peter McEnery, Joan Greenwood, Eli Wallach. Walt Disney Productions. Directed by James Neilson.

Before Hayley Mills got herself a nice bob hairdo and played detective chasing her cat, she took a vacation to Greece with her aunt and got herself involved in intrigue....and muuuurder. At least, attempted murder. The Moonspinners tends to get a bad wrap from critics, even amongst Disney fans, but the film is really quite entertaining and holds up well under multiple viewings ( replay value is always a sure sign of a good film ). Location filming and engaging characters make this is a winner in our book. 


Come to the Stable ( 1949 ) 18k

Two nuns come to Bethlehem to build a children's hospital with no funds, no land and no workers...but plenty of faith! Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Elsa Lanchester. 20th Century Fox. Directed by Henry Koster.

"Come to the Stable" -once a big motion picture - has practically fallen into obscurity. For a long time it was not available on DVD and cable channels neglected to play it, but nevertheless fans have always remembered it fondly. And we're among the fans. A simple but lovely plot, fine acting from all the principal players, humorous supporting scenes and great settings make this entertaining to watch again and again. Celeste Holm steals every scene she is in with her French nun performance and received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress but lost that year to Mercedes McCambridge ( All the Kings Men ). 


Charlie Chan in Panama ( 1940 ) 14k 

Charlie Chan must  investigate a group of travelers, one of whom is suspected of plotting to sabotage the fleet passing through the Panama canal within the next 24 hours. Sidney Toler, Jean Rogers, Lionel Atwill, Mary Nash, Victor Sen Yung.20th Century Fox. Directed by Norman Foster. 

This is one of Charlie's best escapades. The film has a nice sprightly pace to it, a flock of shady characters, nice locales and a good twist ending. Charlie spills some great chanisms too, like "Best to slip with foot rather than tongue". Keep an eye out for regulars Lionel Atwill and Kane Richmond as well as serial star Jean Rogers. 

1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since you gave us nuggets to enjoy.

    This John Wayne fan thought everyone was wasted in "Tycoon". "The Moonspinners" is nice for the scenery and the chance to see Pola Negri. "Come to the Stable" is a gentle treasure.

    I love everything about "Charlie Chan in Panama" - cast, plot, pacing and that dress Jean Rogers wears when she's singing in the cafe. Fave quote is from Miss Finch: "I'm too sallow to wear red and too sensible to have inhibitions."