Thursday, August 25, 2016

Nugget Reviews - 21

Colossus of New York ( 1958 ) Elct.

A little boy sends his dad, a scientific genius, to his death and then the grandfather preserves his son's brain for humanity's sake, later putting it in the head of a 10-foot tall robot. John BaragreyMala Powers, Otto Kruger, Charles Herbert, Ross Martin. Paramount Pictures. Directed by Eugene Lourie. 

First off, the title is completely misleading. There is no colossus and very little of New York is to be seen. There is just a 10-foot tall robot that is truly spooky, and an even more terrifying little boy ( played by Charles Herbert ) who is devoid of feeling. The film has lots of potential but anything worth expanding upon in the script was dumped in place of gimmickry. Why did the grandfather put his son's brain in the body of an enormous steel waterproof robot in the first place? Why did he make him strong enough to break steel and hypnotically electrocute people? He even made the robot have ESP! 


Hud ( 1963 ) 14k

A wayward young man finds himself at odds with his father and his nephew when it comes to morals and how to run a cattle ranch. Paul Newman, Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal, Brandon de Wilde. Paramount Pictures. Directed by Martin Ritt. 

Hud is often touted as a classic and, judging from its cinematography, I can see why it was considered groundbreaking. But as for entertainment it fails to make the grade, being just a dreary b/w melodrama ( although watching Newman is a pleasure no matter what film he is in ). Hud is supposed to be the bad boy that you love to hate, but he really isn't all that "bad". The poor guy is looked upon as a menace by his father and his nephew and even if wanted to change, they certainly weren't about to give him half a chance in doing so. 


Mr. Horatio Knibbles ( 1971 ) 14k

A little girl, neglected by her family, befriends a large walking talking invisible rabbit named Mr. Knibbles. Leslie Roach, Gary Smith, John Ash, Anthony Sheppard. Children's Film Foundation. Directed by Robert Hird.  

During the 1950s-1980s, the Children's Film Foundation of England released a number of television movies aimed at 6-10 year old children. Mr. Knibbles is one of those films that a British tyke would have seen back in his youth and then completely forgot about as he got older, only remembering fragments and wondering "What was the name of that movie with the little girl dropping letters off in a tree trunk to have mailed by a squirrel?" I don't blame Mary for believing in the giant rabbit - her parents weren't worth befriending. What decent family would hang dirty paintings of lovers in their dining room? 


The Happy Time ( 1952 ) 14k

In 1920s Quebec a young boy learns about life and love from his father, his uncles, and his grandfather...all of whom have a zest for romance. Charles Boyer, Bobby Driscoll, Louis Jourdan, Marsha Hunt. Stanley Kramer Productions. Directed by Richard Fleischer.

Like most stage-to-film adaptations, The Happy Time was dismissed by critics at the time of its release because it failed to equal the appeal of the original stage production. It's a very entertaining film, however, especially to those of us who cannot compare it to the original. Boyer and Jourdan are delightful, it has a gentle sprinkling of humor, and Richard Fleischer's direction is lilting. Listen to the title song and see if you can guess who is singing it. 


The Slime People ( 1963 )  Fool's Gold 

A band of swamp creatures create an impenetrable bubble covering Los Angeles and then emerge from the ground and spear's LA's citizens to death...for no other reason then because they're slime people. Robert Hutton, Les Tremayne, Robert Burton, Susan Hart. Joseph F. Robertson Productions. Directed by Robert Hutton.

This is one of those films that are so bad they turn into comedy. Robert Hutton was a fair actor in his day but, judging from The Slime People, he had no skill in directing. The movie has too many silly plot inconsistencies and a poor cast. Worst part : it seems like one third of its 76 minute runtime is all "filler" shots of actors walking, close-ups, etc. What slime! 

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