Movies Watched in June 2017 Part I

The first 10 movies I watched in June:


A Raisin in the Sun (1961) Daniel Petrie
The Great Movies, Severna Park Library (2:08)

Moving drama of an African-American family living in a small Chicago apartment. I normally don’t care for film adaptations of plays, but this one contains a powerful story with excellent performances.



Party Girl (1958) Nicholas Ray
FilmStruck (1:39)

This color film noir from Nicholas Ray focuses on two people who want to abandon their mob connections: mob lawyer Thomas Farrell (Robert Taylor) and chorus girl Vicki Gaye (Cyd Charisse). Mob boss and sadistic killer Cookie La Motte (Lee J. Cobb), however, isn’t having any of it. Color and using CinemaScope probably account for making the film look better than it actually is. Taylor does an excellent job while Charisse is good (performing two dance numbers) and Cobb does well in a mostly one-dimensional role.



The Blue Lamp (1950) Basil Dearden
StudioCanal Blu-ray (UK) (1:25)

The Blue Lamp was a huge hit in Britain, winning several awards, but it’s a fairly standard police procedural pairing a young rookie policeman (Jimmy Hanley) with a seasoned about-to-retire veteran (Jack Warner). Dirk Bogarde (above) is quite good as the young criminal whose shenanigans are responsible for most of the action in this one. A nice film, but rather standard stuff, even with the addition of the “social realism” factor that was then coming into play. Enjoyable, but far from Dearden’s best work.



The Lady from Shanghai (1947) Orson Welles (2x)
Indicator Series (UK) Blu-ray (1:27)

Cinematographer Charles Lawton Jr. (as well as the uncredited work of Joseph Walker and Rudolph Maté) is the real star of the show with his unforgettable visuals, especially near the end of the film. Welles plays an Irish adventurer who ends up working on a rich man’s (Everett Sloane) yacht while longing for the man’s wife (Rita Hayworth). Certainly a flawed film, but one all film noir fans must see and should own.


they were expendable

They Were Expendable (1945) John Ford
Warner Archive Blu-ray (2:15)

John Ford’s story of the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron (or PT boat) unit defending the Philippines against Japanese forces in World War II is one of the finest (but rarely discussed) World War II films of all time. Although a fictionalized story, we see the uniqueness of the boats and the men who served on them. The film stars Robert Montgomery as the commander of a PT boat (and he actually was the commander of a PT boat during the war), John Wayne, Donna Reed, and the ever-present Ward Bond.



Underworld, U.S.A. (1961) Samuel Fuller
FilmStruck (1:39)

Previously discussed here


Wake Island (1942) John Farrow
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:28)

A nearly unending series of comedic scenes between William Bendix and Robert Preston make much of Wake Island tedious, so much so that the genuine effectiveness of an otherwise good film suffers. The overall story of a military garrison defending Wake Island from a Japanese attack following Pearl Harbor is effective with many good action sequences. Many people love this film, but I’m afraid the comedic touches took me out of the picture.



Peeping Tom (1960) Michael Powell
Studio Canal Vintage Classics (UK) Blu-ray (1:41)

Previously discussed here


The Mechanic (1972) Michael Winner
DVD – library (1:40)

I truly believe that sometimes it’s best to let your childhood movie memories alone. Such is the case with The Mechanic, a movie I loved when I was 10 years old. Charles Bronson plays Arthur Bishop, a hit man who’s hired to take out one of the top men in the organization (Keenan Wynn) who hires him. The victim’s son Steve (Jan-Michael Vincent), not knowing that Bishop has killed his father, becomes interested in Bishop and the hit-man lifestyle, for all practical purposes becoming a “hit-man-in-training.” Only Steve seems able to quickly (far too quickly) become expert at almost any task Bishop gives him. All of this is thrown together too quickly to be believable (even in a Michael Winner action film!) and even as a 10-year-old I knew where this was going. The action scenes and narrow escapes are just too much and the ending I thought was so cool at age 10 seems totally ridiculous as an adult. I wish I had left this one alone…



Junior Bonner (1972) Sam Peckinpah
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:40)

Previously discussed here

That’s it for this time. Lots more on the way…

Photos: DVD Beaver, Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear, New Granada, The Silver Screen Oasis, CBS News

2 thoughts on “Movies Watched in June 2017 Part I

  1. Pingback: Movies Watched in June 2017 Part III | Journeys in Darkness and Light

  2. Pingback: Movies Watched in June 2017 Part II | Journeys in Darkness and Light

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