Dennis Price

Dennis Price

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The Horror of Frankenstein Review


OK
This '70s inflected rendition of the Frankenstein story isn't terribly faithful to the original text, but it does feature a grandiose performance by Ralph Bates as the doctor obsessed with resurrecting the dead. His '70s hair and puffy shirt is reason enough to tune in, but duelling femmes fatale Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson remove any doubt about whether Horror has a legacy.

A Canterbury Tale Review


Excellent
Virtually every film that Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made together is a cult classic to some degree (with Peeping Tom a must-see). A Canterbury Tale is one of their lost classics, a quieter, smaller movie that has more heart and less dramatics than much of their later fare.

As the title suggests, the film is a sort of update of the Chaucer book, giving us four WWII-era pilgrims taking the train along the "old road" through southern England which winds up in Canterbury. The action begins with American soldier Bob Johnson (Sergeant John Sweet, credited thusly because he was a real sergeant) getting off at the wrong station on a foggy night. Turns out Canterbury is up the road a bit, and he's stuck in Chillingbourne for the evening, along with land girl Alison (Sheila Sim), and British soldier Peter (Dennis Price). The make out for the hotel but are soon waylaid by this small town's sole criminal enterprise: The Glue Man, who puts glue in women's hair and runs away unseen.

Continue reading: A Canterbury Tale Review

Kind Hearts and Coronets Review


Good
This is often considered a classic black comedy and one of Alec Guinness' best films, but Kind Hearts and Coronets is far from perfect. The protagonist, a young Londoner named Louis Mazzini (Dennis Price), bears a grudge against his mother's family, the blueblood D'Ascoynes, because they ostracized mom. So he rubs out the eight living members of the family (all played by the versatile Guinness) who stand between him and inheriting the dukedom and family estate.

This very British film features a successful surprise ending and a strong supporting cast, especially Joan Greenwood as the bad girl who threatens to be Mazzini's undoing. But Dennis Price is not Guinness' match as a screen presence, and his character is too amoral to be believable, even for a farce, so the film doesn't quite work. It could also have used more Alec Guinness -- in spite of playing eight roles, Guinness doesn't actually get enough screen time. And when Sir Alec is not on screen, the whole thing is a little too slow and contrived.

Continue reading: Kind Hearts and Coronets Review

The Horror of Frankenstein Review


OK
This '70s inflected rendition of the Frankenstein story isn't terribly faithful to the original text, but it does feature a grandiose performance by Ralph Bates as the doctor obsessed with resurrecting the dead. His '70s hair and puffy shirt is reason enough to tune in, but duelling femmes fatale Kate O'Mara and Veronica Carlson remove any doubt about whether Horror has a legacy.

Tunes of Glory Review


OK
After WWII, Alec Guinness gets passed over for promotion of command of his Scottish garrison. This leads to a tussle between he and the new boss, played by John Mills. What follows is the slow decay of morale at the base, followed by the mental breakdown of Guinness in what is often heralded as one of the best performances ever put to film. Too bad then that the story gives Guinness and Mills little chance to shine, as the script is crafted from weirdly insidery Scots arcana (lots of dancing, lots of bagpiping) and interferes with the character study. Interesting counterpoiont to Guinness's Bridge on the River Kwai, but the overall, washed-out look and mopey pacing of the film drag it down.

The Millionairess Review


Weak
The richest woman in England (Sophia Loren -- an Italian, but no matter) woos an Indian doctor (Peter Sellers -- an Englishman, but no matter) who's a helper to the poor and has forsaken material wealth. The tepid setup continues as they semi-wager one another that she can't live a life of poverty for three months while he can't build a fortune out of a small nest egg. Somehow this a) leads to love and b) is meant to be a comedy.

Vampyros Lesbos Review


Grim
There's a lot more Lesbos than Vampyros in this European sexploitation flick, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your frame of mind. The story is fairly obvious from the titles: You got vampires, you got lesbian vampires, you got lesbian vampires feasting on women. As filtered through the drug-bombed haze of Jesus Franco, this mixture of vampires and sun-drenched Riviera setting is nonsense from the get-go, but if you like a little soft gore with your soft core, this is the movie for you.

Continue reading: Vampyros Lesbos Review

Victim Review


OK
Pioneers are often forgotten. We all remember that Midnight Cowboy was the first X-rated movie to win Best Picture, but who remembers what movie first used the term "homosexual?"

It would be hard to tell the story of Victim without it. This film broke serious ground in 1961 by addressing homosexuality in Britain full-on. At the time, Britain had laws against sodomy, which let blackmailers run rampant against gays. The police didn't seem to care, which made things all the worse. Victim tells the story of just such a case, with a gay lawyer investigating the death of one blackmailer's victim, eventually uncovering a number of men under his thumb and finally taking him to court. The catch: our lawyer (played by the semi-closeted-in-real-life Dirk Bogarde) is also gay (or at least was gay), and the trial will ruin his career as he gets his man. (No pun intended.)

Continue reading: Victim Review

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