Valerie Hobson

Valerie Hobson

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Bride Of Frankenstein Review


Extraordinary
A horror mega-classic. The sequel to the original Frankenstein is both the basis for Young Frankenstein and the film around which Gods and Monsters revolves. James Whale's film comes off as original and fresh -- and despite a few draggy scenes it's genuinely thrilling and often scary, 70 years after it was made. Filled with classic moments ("She's alive! Alive!", the hair streaks in the Bride (an uncredited Elsa Lanchester), the famous meeting between the haggard monster and the blind man, and the "gods and monsters" speech), this film is fresh and still looks great, thanks to some fabulous technical work behind the scenes. Altogether it's a true achievement. Highly recommended.

Great Expectations (1946) Review


Good
The definitive adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is this one from David Lean, featuring John Mills as the adult version of Pip, an orphan who inherits wealth and status from an unnamed benefactor, and woos the woman of his youthful dreams along the way. The film can be stilted in that 1940s way, most notably during a boxing exhibition in which one fighter has time to apologizing before taking a knockout punch, but Lean does wonders with setting and transforms Dickens' dialogue into something worthy of watching.

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

Bride Of Frankenstein Review


Extraordinary
A horror mega-classic. The sequel to the original Frankenstein is both the basis for Young Frankenstein and the film around which Gods and Monsters revolves. James Whale's film comes off as original and fresh -- and despite a few draggy scenes it's genuinely thrilling and often scary, 70 years after it was made. Filled with classic moments ("She's alive! Alive!", the hair streaks in the Bride (an uncredited Elsa Lanchester), the famous meeting between the haggard monster and the blind man, and the "gods and monsters" speech), this film is fresh and still looks great, thanks to some fabulous technical work behind the scenes. Altogether it's a true achievement. Highly recommended.

The Rocking Horse Winner Review


Excellent
The Rocking Horse Winner - based on a D.H. Lawrence short story - is a little like a long British version of The Twilight Zone. Directed in 1949 by the almost completely unknown director Anthony Pelissier, the film is about a boy named Paul (John Howard Davies) who gets a rocking horse for Christmas, which gets him excited about horse racing. At the same time seemingly unrelated events begin to unfold: The boy's mother (Valerie Hobson) begins to display wanton materialism and a drive for money, which in turn begins to literally pervade the house in the form of reverberating voices which call for there to be more cash.

When Paul hears the phantom-like voice ringing through his room it is like a clarion call to action. He gets atop his rocking horse and begins to ride. The second voice he hears - when he feverishly rides his rocking horse - is one that tells him which horse will win at the local racetrack. (It's all very peculiar to be sure, but don't most good stories ask for improbable suspensions of disbelief?)

Continue reading: The Rocking Horse Winner Review

Valerie Hobson

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