Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nugget Reviews - 11

Another eclectic mix of films, with a generous sprinkling of Brit comedies thrown in :


Blue Murder at St. Trinians ( 1957 ) 14k


The girls of St. Trinians steal their way into winning a UNSECO contest in order to get a free bus trip throughout Europe. One of the girl's fathers, wanted for a diamond robbery, sneaks along as the new "headmistress", while Policewoman Ruby Gates tails them closely. Lionel Jeffries, Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Lloyd Lamble. Alastair Sim. John Harvel Productions. Directed by Frank Launder.

An entertaining episode in the St. Trinian's series...although it bears a very misleading title. We didn't see any murder in the whole film. Aside from the diamond robbery the biggest crime was the editor cutting out many of Joyce Grenfell's scenes. Or at least it seems like some of them were cut out. Terry-Thomas is marvelous as Captain Ricketts, the manager of a rickety bus line; Jeffries makes a surprisingly good headmistress; but disappointingly Sim only returns to bookend the film in two brief scenes. Overall, a bumpy beginning leads into a fun romp with the naughty gals of St. Trinians.  

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Judge Hardy and Son ( 1939  ) 14k


Andy gets himself into debt anticipating that he will win the $50 prize in a school essay contest, but finds that his debts amount to very little when Mother Hardy gets ill. Meanwhile, Judge Hardy searches for the lost daughter of a poor Russian couple. Mickey Rooney, Lewis Stone, Ann Rutherford, Martha O'Driscoll, Maria Ospenkaya. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. Directed by George B. Seitz.

"Andy Dandy" gets himself into a mess of money and girl trouble in this eighth installment in the Hardy series. Unlike the previous films, Judge Hardy and Son takes on a solemn mood mid-way through when Mrs. Hardy comes near dying. By the end of the film though, Andy's back to his cavalier ways and is whoop-whooping with joy when he gets to take Polly to the Fourth of July fireworks show.

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Good Morning Boys! ( 1937 ) Elct.


A schoolteacher takes his students to Paris and wind up capturing a gang of art thieves who plan on stealing a famous painting at the Louvre museum. Will Hay, Martita Hunt, Graham Moffet, Lilli Palmer, Peter Gawthorne. Gainsborough Pictures. Directed by Marcel Varnel.

Will Hay may have been a big comedian in England but after seeing this film I understand where American and British humor differ. There were some moments of amusement in the scenes themselves but Will Hay did not provide many laughs. I'd take Frankie Howerd over Hay any ol' day. And speaking of Frankie Howerd....

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The Runaway Bus ( 1954 ) 14k


An airport bus gets lost in the fog en route to Blackbush and discovers that a master criminal known as The Banker is hiding on board, with several million pounds in stolen bullion stashed in the boot of the bus. Frankie Howerd, Margaret Rutherford, Petula Clark, Terence Alexander, George Coulouris. Val Guest Productions. Directed by Val Guest. 

It's a lesser known comedy from Val Guest but nevertheless boasts a great Brit cast and a nice little Hitchcockian twist at the end. Great rainy day viewing, and it's nice to see Pet Clark in her post-kiddie-flick-pre-Downtown era. But good luck trying to find a clean copy of the movie.....you'll have to do a lot of squinting to see the actors through the fog. Blimey! 

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Charlie Chan at the Racetrack ( 1936 ) 14k


Charlie Chan takes a sea cruise to the mainland to uncover the murderer of a famous horse breeder. Warner Oland, Keye Luke, Helen Wood, Gavin Muir, Thomas Beck, Alan Dinehart.  20th Century Fox. Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone.

This is the twelfth of sixteen Charlie Chan films that Warner Oland made and we think it's one of the best. There are a lot of really good "Chan" moments in the film as well as some great verbal play between him and number one son, Lee. A slew of Chan regulars have brief roles; there is the swell setting at the track and on board the ship; and the usual suspense thrown in among the comedy ( Chan even gets shot in the leg on this voyage! ).

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