Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Capsule Reviews 6/16/10

ISLAND OF DOOMED MEN (1940) Peter Lorre stars as a "kind hearted" man who takes convicts and gives them a second chance on his island. What no one knows is that he uses them as slave labor. Its Lorre in one of his most menacing roles. Here Lorre gets to be so sweet and yet so sadistic. Its a wonderful part where he really gets to go to town. The plot is pure pot boiler (there is questions about Lorre's wife being unfaithful) but its the sort of thing that holds your attention and while its not a classic of the first order its one of those titles that you go "hey that was pretty good" when you run across it while looking for something else. Its a classic B movie.

QUIET PLEASE, MURDER (1942) George Saunders is a forger who steals a rare copy of Hamlet and kills a guard in the process. He then begins selling forged copies to various interested parties. Unfortunately one of the parties has ties to the Nazi's and they are not too happy about the forgery. Things blow up when the middle woman begins to play every side against each other and everyone gets locked into the New York Public Library where more murders and a little larceny occurs as the police try to solve the crimes happening around them. Solid cast really sells a solid little crime drama who's sole flaw is that there is simply too much going on in its brief 70 minute running time. This is one of those films you'll want to put on your list of things to watch out for since its a great deal of fun and worth repeated viewings.

MYSTERIOUS MR VALENTINE (1946) Linda Sterling stars in complicated (at least to start) tale of a young woman who gets a blow out while driving home. Walking to get help she stops in a chemical plant. There she startles a chemist moving a body, and is photographed by a jealous wife who thinks here husband is having an affair. Leaving she finds her car outside and driving away she ends up running over a body in the road.(it will make sense when you see it) Blackmail and murder follow as Sterling tries to untangle the web of intrigue she's found herself caught in. Good but overly complicated, especially for a film running only 55 minutes, this is a film that spins out so many plot threads in the first 10 minutes that it races to tie the remaining time. It doesn't do it badly, its just that the intensity of those opening minutes isn't sustained and the rest of the film seems almost too restrained as a result. I like the film, I just wish the film had maintained the sense that anything can happen that it has at the start. This is very much worth a look.


  1. I really hope Island of Doomed Men is released at some point, would love to see Peter Lorre in that!

  2. Check Sinister Cinema or R&B Enterprises in the side bar