Jose Ferrer

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The Sentinel (1977) Review


Very Good
Next time you rent an apartment, you might check to make sure it's not the doorway to hell before you sign the lease. Alison (Cristina Raines, who vanished from the Hollywood scene in 1987) is a suicidal model who figures this old and roomy place will offer a respite from her rough life. When she complains about the weird and loud neighbors (including an unforgettable and deliciously nasty Beverly D'Angelo, who rubs her crotch to, er, completion when Alison is over for coffee), it turns out no one else lives there. Is it a hallucination or demons? Either way, this is one hell of a sick little horror flick. Watching for stars then and now to make their appearances can alone make the film worthwhile.

To Be Or Not To Be (1983) Review


Good
Over a decade after Mel Brooks envisioned a Nazi musical in The Producers, he got his chance to make one for real, in the remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 film To Be or Not to Be. The movie itself is kind of a dud (Polish actor makes do during the Nazi invasion, impersonates the Germans to get out of trouble), but listen for the dirge theme, which was stolen e-x-a-c-t-l-y from the ominous tune periodically underlying Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listen for yourself!

The Sentinel Review


Very Good
Next time you rent an apartment, you might check to make sure it's not the doorway to hell before you sign the lease. Alison (Cristina Raines, who vanished from the Hollywood scene in 1987) is a suicidal model who figures this old and roomy place will offer a respite from her rough life. When she complains about the weird and loud neighbors (including an unforgettable and deliciously nasty Beverly D'Angelo, who rubs her crotch to, er, completion when Alison is over for coffee), it turns out no one else lives there. Is it a hallucination or demons? Either way, this is one hell of a sick little horror flick. Watching for stars then and now to make their appearances can alone make the film worthwhile.

Lawrence Of Arabia Review


Essential
Being the self-proclaimed professional film critic that I am, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I had not seen Lawrence of Arabia (just out in a special DVD edition) until only recently. After all, it's considered by just about everyone to be the masterpiece epic of director David Lean, who also directed films such as Bridge on the River Kwai, and Doctor Zhivago. So one day, a friend of mine loaned me a copy of the video and I sat down and watched it. I was initially skeptical that something made almost 40 years ago would be able to keep my attention for the butt-numbing 3 1/2 hours of its duration. But now I fully understand why this has become the film that other epic films are judged against -- the winner of seven Academy Awards in 1963 for Best Picture, Director, Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Music, and Sound. After watching the film again, I am convinced that it is simply one of the finest works of cinematic genius to ever illuminate the big screen.

Based on the autobiographical writing of British officer T.E. Lawrence during World War I, Lawrence of Arabia depicts Lawrence (played by then-unknown actor Peter O'Toole) as a lieutenant lacking any sort of military discipline whatsoever. Bored with his assignment of coloring maps for the British Army in a dimly lit headquarters building, Lawrence jumps at the opportunity to be re-assigned as an observer for an Arabian prince fighting against the Turkish army. Lawrence quickly sees just how caring and great these desert dwelling people can be and ends up rallying the various tribes together to fight the Turks and help the British turn the tide of World War I.

Continue reading: Lawrence Of Arabia Review

Dune (1984) Review


Very Good
Did you know David Lynch at one time considered directing Return of the Jedi? Legions of George Lucas fans are probably delighted that he never got the shot, because for better or for worse (probably for worse) it might have turned out like the bizarre sci-fi experiment Dune. I've sometimes been accused of defending Lynch even when he's not working at his best. That's clearly the case here, resulting in a compromised megabudget effort where Lynch attempts to indulge his graphic art sensibility and please a mass audience at the same time. It just doesn't fly.

But Lynch fans might find stuff to enjoy in Dune anyhow. After all, there's a floating bug monster that parlays with Jose Ferrer's space emperor in the early going, flanked by legions of somnambulant slaves in black raincoats that probably inspired the villains in Dark City. This is followed by Kenneth MacMillan's puss-faced Baron Harkonnen floating around on wires, plucking out the heart of an angel-faced boy-toy (who was planting Blue Velvet-style pastel flowers only moments earlier), and sharing some homo-erotic blubbering with his nephew Feyd (played by Sting, who can't act but lends the film his charismatic rock star presence). Even when the plot is difficult to follow -- some nonsense involving a trade war over different planets that all made sense in Frank Herbert's original novel -- there's enough giddy comic book theatrics to keep Dune interesting as it meanders along for nearly three hours.

Continue reading: Dune (1984) Review

To Be Or Not To Be (1983) Review


Good
Over a decade after Mel Brooks envisioned a Nazi musical in The Producers, he got his chance to make one for real, in the remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1942 film To Be or Not to Be. The movie itself is kind of a dud (Polish actor makes do during the Nazi invasion, impersonates the Germans to get out of trouble), but listen for the dirge theme, which was stolen e-x-a-c-t-l-y from the ominous tune periodically underlying Raiders of the Lost Ark. Listen for yourself!

Whirlpool Review


Good
Hypnosis is always good for thriller fodder: Here we have poor Gene Tierney, a shoplifter, used and abused by a crackpot hypnotist named Korvo (José Ferrer), much to the chagrin of hubby Richard Conte (a psychologist in his own right). Korvo uses Tierney's Ann Sutton by framing her for his dirty work, but the inability of Conte's supposedly genius husband to put any of the mystery together (or the cops, for that matter), make Whirlpool a rather tedious affair.

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Review


Weak
The sole misfire in Woody Allen's third DVD box set (an otherwise impressive collection), A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy fails because it is almost completely removed from reality in every way. Sure, his usual themes of wanting, betrayal, loneliness, and sexual dysfunction are all explored at length, but putting

The acting is atrocious -- Mia Farrow sounds like she's reading from a cue card the entire film, and Mary Steenburgen and Julie Hagerty are woefully miscast as a troubled wife and a wanton nurse, respectively. Poor Tony Roberts spends the entire film with a rag wrapped around his head. Worst off, however, is José Ferrer, an aging star uncrated, dusted off, and carted in for the occasion. The poor guy does not belong in a Woody Allen vehicle, mangling what comedy there is.

Continue reading: A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Review

Jose Ferrer

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Jose Ferrer Movies

Lawrence of Arabia Movie Review

Lawrence of Arabia Movie Review

Being the self-proclaimed professional film critic that I am, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit...

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