Everett Freeman

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You Can't Cheat an Honest Man Review


Weak
Poor W.C. Fields has to share screentime with an unfunny Edgar Bergen in the masterfully titled but ultimately lame You Can't Cheat an Honest Man, one of his least successful films. (At least artistically.) Bergen is given an absurd amount of time to do his tired ventriloquist act, which detracts from the only reason someone would want to watch this movie (wherein Fields plays a debt-laden circus owner who's constantly getting into trouble -- what else?). With Fields in such short supply here, it's hard to really get into the big guy's funnier set pieces, and even those often come up lame, like a bit where a woman faints if snakes are mentioned in conversation. Where's the whiskey?

Ziegfeld Follies Review


OK
Who knew they made clip shows into movies? Ziegfeld Follies is two hours of skits, songs, dances, and jokes from the dying days of vaudeville, brought to us by a who's-who of yesteryear performers. The film opens, believe it or not, with a deceased Florenz Ziegfeld, looking down from heaven, dreaming about his perfect variety show. What follows is that dream, put to film.

With a tagline like "The Greatest Production Since The Birth Of Motion Pictures," you get a little something like the unmanageable monstrosity that Follies ultimately becomes. Structured as a series of unrelated vignettes, directed by different people (not to mention that screenwriting credit list), it's ultimately just a jumble of parts that add up to less than a whole movie.

Continue reading: Ziegfeld Follies Review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Review


Weak
James Thurber hated this adaptation of his short story, and I'm no huge fan of it, either. Danny Kaye is frenetically interested as Walter Mitty, a man so bored with his job and his life that he daydreams himself into fantastic situations (thug, gambler, wild west outlaw, and so on), with hilarious results. Well, not that hilarious... the film is repetitious to a fault, with Kaye alternately convincing himself he's dreaming his situations and sure they're all legit. It all gets old after half an hour, and you've got 80 minutes to go.

The Glass Bottom Boat Review


Weak
In 1966, The Glass Bottom Boat found Doris Day in the final days of her career (she retired in 1968 at age 44), seen here wearing an ill-advised bob and carrying some lingering pregnancy fat in a procession of increasingly hideous outfits. Those who remember Day as the gossamer girl from Pillow Talk and its ilk will be downright shocked to see Day dressed up in all yellow and looking like a rotting banana.

I'm being a little cruel, yes, but Boat is a pretty thin picture anyway and it doesn't merit a whole lot of sympathy. The story involves a misunderstanding (imagine that!) wherein Day is mistaken for a spy. Eventually she plays the part (when she isn't busy romancing Rod Taylor), when she isn't stuck in compromising positions with Dom DeLuise and/or Paul Lynde.

Continue reading: The Glass Bottom Boat Review

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