Mark Robson

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Bedlam Review


Very Good
One of Val Lewton's final films, this collaboration with Boris Karloff is also one of his most tragically underrated. The story is reminiscent of Shock Corridor, with a wealthy do-gooder (Anna Lee) investigating conditions in the notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum -- aka Bedlam. No sooner has she arrived than the head of Bedlam (Karloff) has her committed on the spot, whereupon she discovers the horrors of Bedlam firsthand. Lee is appropriately scatterred as the heroine who wants to do good, but Karloff owns the show as the creepy Master Sims. The set is also fantastic.

Continue reading: Bedlam Review

Earthquake Review


Good
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Earthquake Review


Good
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Bedlam Review


Very Good
One of Val Lewton's final films, this collaboration with Boris Karloff is also one of his most tragically underrated. The story is reminiscent of Shock Corridor, with a wealthy do-gooder (Anna Lee) investigating conditions in the notorious St. Mary's of Bethlehem Asylum -- aka Bedlam. No sooner has she arrived than the head of Bedlam (Karloff) has her committed on the spot, whereupon she discovers the horrors of Bedlam firsthand. Lee is appropriately scatterred as the heroine who wants to do good, but Karloff owns the show as the creepy Master Sims. The set is also fantastic.

Continue reading: Bedlam Review

Mark Robson

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