Witty TV and Movie Reviews

  christine lorraine as eva in lazarus the legend 1992 with credits
Photos-top: Still frame of Christine Lorraine/xtinethewriter from her role as Eva in “Lazarus the Legend,” bottom: still frame from “Madman of Lake Erie” by Matthew J. Frazzini, starring Dale Crawford (pictured)

Welcome to the official site of Christine Loraine’s TV and Movie Reviews, the collection point of all the creative programs and movies watched that presently hold CLMR scores. These sometimes humorous reviews and zesty comments can also be seen on Google movie listings publicly, but rather than have them randomly scattered throughout the netherethernet, this collection place lets them all ring out in one review alley.

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72. “Carnival Story” 1954

Although it didn’t look like my movie-type cup of tea, as this circus of a flick unfolded, it became more and more interesting and traveled down avenues this reviewer was not anticipating. It tells the story of a hard-working woman who falls for they typical cad, while she mesmerizes fans with a death-defying act. Just when you think the story line is about to end, the movie continues on another course, so it provides an hour-and-a-half of dynamic viewing time.

CLMR score is 7.9 out of 10.

Jan. 11, 2023

71. The Reckless Moment 1949

Was it just me, or was this movie totally riveting? I wasn’t expecting much from this lesser-known film noire, but I sure did strike the black-and-white sleeper jackpot. I have always been a fan of both James Mason and Joan Bennett of “Dark Shadows” notoriety, but had no idea that pairing them up in an intriguing plot would hold my attention for 77 minutes.

CLMR score is 7.6 out of 10.

June 6, 2020
 70. “Sleepers West” 1941

As an avid fan of train movies, I welcomed the viewing of this movie with great anticipation. Although it didn’t present a very strong plot or compelling storyline, it did include the following statements, which makes it A-OK in my train book:

“Now listen sister”

“That’s nothing unusual for a railroad dick”

“That’s the trouble with these sob sisters”

Nostalgia-wise, the depiction of the worried engineers, old-style sleepers and other train paraphernalia were definitely worth watching.

Wanna know more? Then sit yourself down, put your passenger shoes on, then make like the audience and get viewing.

CLMR score is 5.7 of 10.

February 8, 2020 

69. “Sons of Steel” 1934

This movie surprised this reviewer in several different ways. First, I was completely taken aback by the fact that I suffered all the way through to the oh-so-predictable ending. Second unexpected point was that it never got any more interesting or picked up any good old factory steam as it chugged along on its barely perceptible plotline. It was interesting to learn that back then, lifelong step-siblings didn’t consider themselves to be family, and were perfectly cozy and comfy with the notion of getting hitched. This flimsy flick barely squeaks into the positive column, but it managed somehow.

CLMR is 5.1 out of 10.

July 20, 2019

68. “Midnight” 1934

Nothing like a pre-code movie to get a taste of what movie medicine tasted like way back when. At first, when you realize that super young Humphrey Bogart is one of the stars, you might feel happy and enthusiastic to think you’ll soon have an eyeful of something wonderful cinematically-speaking, but you would be sadly mistaken. His role of cad, heart-breaker and mobster wanna be is not one worth remembering. What is worth mentioning about this black-and-white bomb is the ending, which is exactly why pre-code movies paint such a different societal picture from today – you might initially think someone is about to get a dose of their own medicine, but as it turns out, justice is dealt out by the picked-and-chosen short arm of the law.

CLMR score is 6.1 out of 10.

July 19, 2019

67. “Lively!” 1937

Full disclosure – I adore Carole Lombard. She competes with Bette Davis and Jean Harlow for the #1 spot in this reviewer’s heart. In “Lively!” Carole dazzles as expected, nothing too pizzazz-y here, just enough morsels of her gay ’30s glow to get us by. The key to this movie’s appeal is that it is shown in full, glorious color! That’s right – you get to see all the colorful hue-soaked details of Carole’s lovely hair color, her stunning outfits and the full brunt of how the world was shaded in 1937 beyond the era-standard confinements of black-and-white.

CLMR score is 8.3 out of 10

July 19, 2019

66. “New York Nights” 1929

It might be a film that is nearly a century old, but its presentation is fairly smooth, considering it was produced extremely early on in the talkie phase of cinematography. This movie takes its audience for a ride backward, when people shot each other at large parties and nobody got hurt, and an era when if a wife got really mad at her husband, she would don a flapper dress and wear spit curls and screw around with a mobster. Pretty potent tale woven into a tapestry of old-timey costumes and attitudes.

CLMR score is 7.2 out of 10.

July 18, 2019

65. “Flirtation” 1934

It is so sad the way the sweet little dog,  Corky,  is abandoned in the unforgiving streets of New York City in “Flirtation.” That fact is what tugged most ferociously at this reviewer’s heartstrings. The beautiful canine creature is completely forgotten when its cheese-inventing owner becomes bewildered by what appears to be the first woman he has ever seen. The slow parts are really really slow and the cutesie parts are not that great either, but the dog’s powerful performance makes it worth a look-see.

CLMR score is 6.1 out of 10

July 17, 2019

64. “The Trespasser” 1929

When one considers that this dramatically-woven cinematic tale is 90 years old, it prompts a pause to reflect upon how much good acting and a solid screenplay can make a mental impact on viewers. Within the first few minutes of the film, when Gloria Swanson tells her boss she is eloping, it becomes apparent that back then, if a young woman marries she immediately loses/abandons her job. She she tells her boss “good-bye,” goes off to have a son from a 24-hour marriage, a juicy affair with her boss, and then must face a dilemma as to how to deal with her curly-haired lad’s future.

Perspective-wise this movie, which was filmed and produced just prior to the stock market crash of 1929, was released one week after that historically unpleasant financial event.

CLMR score is 6.8 out of 10, primarily based on the fact that is an early talkie and stars Gloria Swanson.

July 17, 2019

63. “Dark Shadows” TV Show 1967-1971

10 Interesting Observations about “Dark Shadows” 1967-1971

1. Barnabas’ jagged bangs hairdo sort of matches his fangs.
2. If they work at it and concentrate really hard, characters are able to:
a. come back from being dead

b. travel through time

c. build new people from spare body parts, although these freshly-constructed fake folks wake up with varying degrees of intelligence, thus displaying a lack of continuity.
3. Becoming engrossed in “Dark Shadows” prompts the musical part of my brain to debate whether or not the composer for Dark Shadows was influenced by Star Trek music or vice versa.
4. Watching “Dark Shadows” is how you learn the rules regarding the destruction of vivacious vampires, wanton werewolves, wayward witches and other assorted occult clutter.
5. The recycle rate of actors on this scary soap opera is very high. Some of them portray up to five different characters, and all in one comprehensive show! Under one united roof of Collinwood!
6. If you stand too close to Angelique she will stare at you and cause you to be at her beck and call, which is never a good thing.
7. Various mirrors and other wall fixtures can be used as television screens that see into the future or past at any moment without tuning dials, switches or adjusting pesky antennas.
8. “Dark Shadows” presented alternative, non-comedic food for thought during the “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie” TV Era, at a time when it was needed to balance the ever-growing onslaught of fantasy-oriented family programming.
9. Watching “Dark Shadows” is a great way to learn all the dos and don’ts of fortune telling, seance participation, and how to use a OUIJA board.
10. It conveys that it is best to avoid interacting with house ghosts whenever possible as they have a tendency to get “possessive” in more ways than one.

62. “Hello Ladies” – 2013

The only bad thing about this one-season wonder is that there aren’t more episodes! Sort of like the British version of “The Office,” there just are not enough shows to satisfy one’s irresistible craving for that desert-dry mockumentary humor that emanates from across the pond. Actually there is another “bad” thing about “Hello Ladies,” so bad that it’s good – it never fails to occur that somewhere in each episode one might find oneself uncomfortable and emotionally squeamish by the unnatural scenarios that unfold. Did I mention that the anticharming star of this addicting series is indeed Stephen Merchant, co-creator of the original “The Office?”

CLMR score is 8.9 out of 10.

February 20, 2019

61. Vanity Fair – 2018 (seven-part series)

Thoroughly enjoyed this mini-series which kicked off each episode with Michael Palin (insert heart emoji). The acting was superb in most instances, the casting was excellent. Beyond those two relevant factors, the backdrops and costumes were so colorful and ginchy that it made me want to jump through the screen and waltz around wearing one of those ghastly unmanageable hoop skirts. P.S. The young gentleman who portrayed the role of the undyingly loyal Dobbins struck this reviewer as a dashingly handsome young Robert Redford in the looks department.

CLMR score is 8.1 out of 10.

February 15, 2019

60. Bachelor Bait – 1934

Being a devout fan of Pert Kelton is what led me to watch “Bachelor Bait,” in which she portrays a gold-digging dame out to snag a millionaire oil baron-type. You might want to keep your finger near the volume button because she does liven up the movie with a couple of high-pitched screaming sessions. Her makeup, dresses and brilliance of presence make this talkie worth watching. The rest of the cast is adequate, but Pert, as always, livens up the joint whenever she struts onto the set.

CLMR score is 6.7 out of 10.

February 9, 2019

59. Phone Call From a Stranger – 1952

This extremely well-woven tapestry of characters, events, and sub-plots presents an unusual “plane-crash” story that soars off into directions I was not anticipating. Oddly enough, the sole reason I chose to watch “Phone Call From a Stranger” was because of Bette Davis’ billing, but she did not appear until the last corner of the film, and in a most unexpected way. “Phone Call From a Stranger” did tug on my emotions in secluded spots, which is precisely what I did not anticipate.

All things considered, I am scoring this movie a stratospherical 8.1.

February 3, 2019

58. Convict’s Code – 1939

Within the colorless reels of “Convict’s Code,” one might be amazed by the instantaneous transformation from rotten gangster to shiny good guy when the boss man realizes his sis is in love.
It was a pretty swell movie, complete with Freckles, the dame, a cheesy trigger-happy sidekick, and an innocent former football star ex-con who was framed by, well, watch the movie to find out.

CLMR score is 7.1 out of 10

February 1, 2019

57. The Town Went Wild – 1944

What a struggle it was to woefully witness this move all the way to its dim and dull ending. This babies-switched-at-birth tale lacks zing and zest, but then again, it does feature Edward Everett Horton as one of the parents. If not for his inclusion in this eyelid-heavy 1944 stinker, this humble reviewer would have never made it to the closing credits.

CLMR score is 4.2 out of 10.

February 1, 2019

56. Three of a Kind – 1936

A cutesie flick – cleverly presented – some of the dialogue in the first 10 minutes is rather stilted, but it was produced in the early days of talkies, so we’ll give it a pass. Predictable outcome, but heck, it’s 1936 and that’s how things were designed in Hollywood’s infancy.

CLMR score is 5.7 out of 10.

January 31, 2019

55. The Shadow on the Window – 1957

“The Shadow on the Window” is more of a nail-biter than I thought it would be initially. This is a good thing viewer-wise, but a bad thing for my manicurist. Jerry “the Beaver” Mathers does a great justice to his role of dumbfounded child, and the rest of the lesser-known cast is relatively convincing. Although there are only so many plots that can be written around this sort of hostile takeover scenario, this one struck enough of a suspenseful chord to keep my eyes glued to the screen and my nails down low.

CLMR score is 7.2 out of 10.

January 31, 2019

54. Quicksand – 1950

Never a big fan of Mickey Rooney, I admit that he played the part of a young man who sampled a little too much trouble perfectly in “Quicksand.” The moral of the story is never juggle money around to “borrow” $20 to take a fur-loving dame on a date. Or something like that. The film closes with a great big Hollywood handout of a happy-esque sad ending.

CLMR rating is 6.2 out of 10.

January 19, 2019

53. Detour – 1945

Watching “Detour” was sort of a detour to help pass a dark, cloudy winter day. “Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you or me for no good reason at all.” This quote from the movie pretty much sums up the main character’s life, a role decently executed by Tom Neal. The snippy, nasty dame role conveyed by Ann Savage was really well done, though, Camille-esque cough and all. Big-picture-wise, “Detour” lacked some of the finesse depicted in larger-budget productions, but it was still an engaging tale that traveled down a less beaten film noire path and it proved it is worth its weight in black-and-white suspense.

January 18, 2019

52. Go Ask Alice – 1973

Great diary-based movie that offers a seriously accurate glimpse of teen life during the 1970s. A bittersweet tale portrayed by some reasonable acting, headed up by William Shatner as Alice’s understanding and kind-hearted father.

CLMR score is 7.8.

January 15, 2019

51. Turnabout – 1940

Just when I thought no movie ending could surprise me, “Turnabout” proved me wrong. What a cute little movie – completely well-acted by two 1940 lesser-known silver screen talents. For the most part, the role reversal movie is a Hollywood horse that has been beaten so often that it’s difficult sit through. But this nifty little flick was so well portrayed that it was a smooth ride through an entertaining terrain.

CLMR score is 7.1 out of 10.

January 13, 2019

50. Harakiri – 1962 

This heart-gripping flick is a black-and-white adventure into 1962 Japanese Samurai cinematography that will keep you riveted to your seat. It is visual voyeurism in its purest form – reliant upon talent, writing, sub-plots, lighting and heavy wind effects to get its deeply emotional points across. Although I am not one who cares for sub-titles, it is worth the investment of time, effort and energy to absorb the full brunt of the dramatic punches this movie and its tenacious lead character dish out.

CLMR score is 9.6 out of 10. (OMG I can’t believe I scored anything this high)

January 13, 2019

49. Jamestown – the series on PBS

The notion of watching this intriguing program prompted me to invest in the PBS Passport for $5 a month and it is absolutely worth every penny. And then some. It’s like the “reality” version of the old TV show “Here Come The Brides” in a historical setting. The acting is well-executed, the sets are authentic looking, and the costumes are colorful.

This series scores a hefty 8.7 out of 10.

January 10, 2019

48. Let’s Make it Legal – 1951

Like sands through the hourglass figure of supporting actress Marilyn Monroe, McDonald Carey continues to dig himself deeper and deeper into the bad graces of soon-to-be-ex Claudette Colbert throughout this positively predictable storyline. “Let’s Make it Legal” is one of those mood-cleansing films that might evoke positive thought patterns and a smile or two.

CLMR score is 6.1 out of 10.

January 9, 2019

47. Friday the Thirteenth – 1933

Found this unusual multi-layered tale of woe and happiness to be quite engaging. There could have been a little more pizzazz toward the end of the film, but the overall concept of starting at the ending and working backwards is intriguing. Enjoyed “Friday the Thirteenth” quite a bit, might even watch again someday.

CLMR score is 7.7 out of 10.

January 8, 2019

46. Misbehaving Husbands – 1940

Misbehaving husbands? I only observed one husband who came close to doing anything in this negative behavioral category, and he didn’t even really misbehave. His perfectly innocent motives and moves were misinterpreted, so without waiting to get all of the facts, his self-inflated wife immediately filed for divorce. For accuracy’s sake, a more befitting title for this slow-moving cinematic 60-minute event might be, “One Husband Who Really Didn’t Misbehave but Was Accused of Doing So.” I did enjoy the role portrayed by the semi-oblivious husband in question, Harry Langdon, so for that reason alone it squeaks out one of the weakest thumbs-up ratings known to mankind.

CLMR score is 5.0 out of 10.

January 2, 2019

45. Too Many Women – 1942    (aka “Girl Trouble” or “Man Trap”)

Stinks when your love life is built on big lies about big bux, which leads to the arrival of reality’s big whammies. Mucho empty dialogue wrapped around a void of purpose….too many women not enough acting classes… Time-wise, there were many distractions beyond the movie studios, considering the onset of WWII and a lack of on-set male talent due to military service. Or even just a plain lack of talent, as with the chicks in this fumblesome flick. Luckily my respect and admiration for Neil Hamilton was not diminished by this stinker of a movie. If anything, I respect him as the only glimmer of light within this cloudy celluloid mishap.

CLMR score is 3.8 out of 10.

January 2, 2019

44. We’re Not Married! – 1952

Is it a curse or convenience to find out the wedding vows that were taken five years back weren’t real? Depends on which part of the movie you are watching. It was unnerving to see one of my favorite actresses ever, Ginger Rogers, portraying such an abrasive character, but I suppose that is, in itself, a testimony to her acting capabilities. The movie was well-presented, interesting, and maybe just a smidge tritely overbaked in a couple places. Marilyn Monroe does not make her glorious beauty pageant appearance until about 29 minutes into the movie, but it’s worth it to see her pre-superstar sweet self parading around the catwalk as Mrs. Mississippi (now there’s a mouthful and I’m not whistling Dixie.)

Watching the sound fx people behind the “happy” on-air radio couple in “We’re Not Married!” was my favorite part of this cutesy motion picture, in which there is an 80% success rate by the end of the movie. Wonder what that means? Watch this fun flick to find out.

CLMR score is 7.7 out of 10.

January 1, 2019

43. A Bucket of Blood – 1959

After enduring this genre-confused hour-long journey into the bowels of 1959 cinematography, a handful of pragmatic questions ply the mind relentlessly: How come nobody wondered where the cat went? The cop? The blond model? A flunkout flick if ever there was such a societal remnant. So Dullsville that even Beany and Cecil zoned out on this midway course to nowhereland, with a handful of clay and a flair for the so-called invisible, as a solo sax wails and bongos tap out a message of misery.

CLMR score is 5.3 out of 10.

January 1, 2019

42. Hairspray – 1988

Definitely loved the bouffant out of this flick. The exaggerated beehive hairdos and cool dance moves really lit the screen up. I particularly enjoyed the wafting in and out of the TV studio from the home TV set, it really lent a deeper dimension to the presentation. After dancing in my seat for the duration of the movie, I was left with one burning question in the recesses of my overly entertained mind – whatever happened to Ricky Lake?

CLMR rating is 7.8 out of 10.

Happy New Year! 12:16 a.m. on 1/1/19

41. Fitzwilly 1967

Dick Van Dyke’s illustrious characterization of a conman-butler-commander is persuasive, but Barbara Feldon’s screen time was causing yours truly to expect the bumbling Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 to wander into the scene. Overall, the movie was a cutsie-drama wannabe sort of movie with smatterings of outlandish mingled with realistic possibilities. Okay and fun to watch, but nothing extraordinary, except maybe the lack of closure on some of the secondary characters.

CLMR score is 6.7 out of 10.

December 31, 2018

40. Affectionately Yours – 1941

This movie is just a notch away from being a thumbs-down, the fact that it stars both Merle Oberon and Ralph Bellamy are the primary reason it scored above the halfway mark. Speaking of the latter, this is by far not one of Bellamy’s best role selections career-wise. After observing some his other, more stirring performances, this portrayal as the thwarted fiance is just beneath his skill set IMHO. An interesting aspect of this flick is that when it was produced, divorce was a novelty, not the norm. Oh yeah, what an overlooked role for the sultry Rita Hayworth, whose character sort of fizzled away with a lack of established whereabouts, continuity-wise. Lastly, it was sort of fun to see George Tobias attempt to convey a false accent as he warmed up for his upcoming role as Abner Kravitz on “Bewitched,” which erupted two-and-a-half decades later.

CLMR score is 5.1 out of 10.

December 31, 2018

39. Safe in Hell – 1931

Dorothy Mackaill’s dramatic performance as a misjudged, misguided and moralistic occasional lady of the night is remarkable and riveting. I never get tired of watching this incendiary flick of tortured souls, misguided lust and multi-layered sub-plots. The title really does size up the miserable tale spun in this 1931 talkie, and the acting by the criminal characters is pretty darn believable. Nina Mae McKinney’s role as the hotel’s bartender/lounge singer really ties this classic film together. She is one of the greatest raw talents ever to grace the silver screen, and her singsong conversations with the porter named Newcastle make one wish there were more singing bartenders in the world.

CLMR score is 8.5 out of 10.

December 29, 2018

38. It Happened on Fifth Avenue – 1947

This is one of my new favorite old movies. It has a little bit of everything all tossed, like a salad, into a delightful mix of varying levels of flavor. Initially thinking it was a Christmas movie, there was an outlandishly realistic plot that peeled its layers back to reveal a humanistic tale that just happened to take place during the holiday season.

“It Happened on Fifth Avenue” does depict one of the more unusual boy-meets-girl scenarios I’ve seen, one which is based on an altruistic deception of sorts. This quote erupted about halfway through the movie and was so cool I felt compelled to write it down: “That house is as empty as a sewing basket in a nudist camp.” This movie is as full of fun as a laundry basket in a cleaner’s back room. Or something.

CLMR score is 8.2 out of 10.

December 28, 2018

37. Holiday Affair – 1949

This triangulated love story deserves a “love” emoticon and at least two smiley faces. It’s warm, witty and well-portrayed. Not the typical Christmas scenario, and although it did have some familiar looking themes, it varied off of the beaten romance-movie path enough to keep it interesting.

CLMR score is 7.7 out of 10.

December 28, 2018

36. The Holly and the Ivy – 1952

After watching the first few minutes of this movie, I thought, “oh, this looks like an interesting scenario!” However, it was pretty much downhill after that. The storylines you think might be fun do not evolve, and those which do are neither engaging nor surprising. One scene dragged on so long that I took a brief mental nap and tuned it out. This not-too-jolly flick did have a sort of sweet ungrand finale, so the beginning and the end bring the score to over the halfway marker rating-wise. Just barely.

CLMR score is 5.1 out of 10.

December 26, 2018

35. All Mine to Give – 1957

If you’re in search of a happy holiday-esque movie, then don’t watch “All Mine to Give” all the way through. I had never heard of this film or story before, so I was blindsided by it all on Christmas Eve and ended up pretty darn bleary-teary-eyed. Just sayin.’ You know how sometimes a movie can be too well-done for its own good? This is one of those flicks.

CLMR score is 7.5 out of 10.

December 24, 2018

34. Anna Karenina – 1948

Pompous, gorgeous, tragic – the perfect role for Vivian Leigh, whose flawless performance carried the movie across oceans in 1948. Ironically, certain dresses she sported in this film resembled the draperies she designed into dresses in 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.”

CLMR score is 8.1 out of 10

December 22, 2018

33. Never Say Goodbye – 1946

An insanely attractive couple from bygone days are trapped in an on-again-off-again marriage, a scenario which is complicated by their seven-year-old daughter’s matchmaking abilities. Aside from all that razzmatazz, it’s a fun holiday flick featuring Sir Lawrence Olivier at his shiniest and Eleanor Parker at her prettiest.

CLMR score is 7.5 out of 10.

December 22, 2018

32. Hard To Get – 1938

This quasi-musical has just enough wit in just the right old-timey places to make it interesting. I confess, it did prompt flashbacks of the Texaco star man from early childhood seeing Dick Powell’s “service station” uniform with an official looking hat. Definitely worth a popcorn-laden sit-down, although if you’re not fond of randomly-spawned singing, keep the fast-forward button nearby.

CLMR score is 7.6 out of 10.

December 21, 2018

 31. Anne of Green Gables – 1934

Amazing how the makeup artists and wardrobe experts transformed Anne Shirley from a gawky kid into a stunning young lady in under 90 minutes. Seriously, for 1934 they really did an excellent job. Although I didn’t feel like watching a kid-laced flick, I was glad afterward because it was a black-and-white breeze of solid acting, scripting, storyline and directing from back in the days before special effects took over a notable portion of the movie business.

CLMR score is 7 out of 10.

December 21, 2018

30. Meet the Missus – 1937

The ultimate rip-roaring henpecked husband vs. the husband-pecked wife rigmarole storyline. She feeds him too many noodles so she can win promotional radio contests, while regarding him with disdain at his lowly profession of being a barber. It’s only an hour long, but it feels more like 7 or 8 hours. However, it flaunts that secret 1937 ingredient of charm that makes movies from that year irresistible.

CLMR score is 5.1 out of 10.

December 21, 2018

29. High Sierra – 1941

This movie “crashed out” as it evolved into its deep bad-to-worse storyline. Solid performances by Bogart and Lupino, although anyone who thinks this this turbulent matchup will last might be barking up the wrong small-time crook tree.

CLMR score is 8.1 out of 10. (Note – score might be slightly inflated due to Bogart’s mere existence within this black-and-white classic)

December 19, 2018

28. Enchanted Island – 1958

Enchanted island? Really? Where. Define enchanted, a term which brings to mind connotations of blissful existence. This movie’s island this looks scary and miserable. Mutiny, hostile island dwellers, a feverishly ill man who may or may not disappear – hmmm. It’s been like this for the first 1/3 of the flick or so. Maybe it will cheer up soon. Will get back to you… Okay, back… Nice Gilliand-Island-y scenery and palm tree views throughout, although they forgot to cast anyone as the Howells. The 2nd third of the movie perked up a little into a near happy state for a few minutes, then slipped back into a depiction of one of the most un-enchanting island environments ever for the un-grand finale. 
**** SPOILER ALERT *******
It was evident that somebody up there in the director’s chair was intent on turning a miserable moment toward the conclusion into a bizarrely-twistable happy ending, which just did not work for this viewer.
CLMR score is 4.8 out of 10.
December 18, 2018

27. Island of Lost Women – 1959

Although this is one of those B flicks with a title implying all sorts of erotic notions, beneath those visually-invoking words, this movie is nearly impossible to watch through to its uneventful, anti-climactic conclusion. Of course, back in 1959 when it was produced there was no internet, so it was tricky to find scantily-clad, attractive women in any sort of respectable genre, thus this movie’s appeal is easily revealed. And by the way, there are only three women on the so-called island, not flocks of them as the title might lead one to think.

CLMR score is 4.2 out of 10.

December 16, 2018

26. Three Godfathers – 1948

Director John Ford’s selections of breathtaking scenery coupled with razor-sharp cinematography were enough to keep me glued to the screen for this movie. Although some of the desert-crossing and other miscellaneous scenes of tenacious agony were dragged out, the stunning mountainous backdrops made them tolerable. John Wayne in his prime adds points, and the overall depiction of the story itself was stellar. Personally, though, I prefer the 1936 version of the same story because it struck me as warmer, but that’s just moi.

CLMR score is 7.4

December 16, 2018

25. Paths of Glory – 1957

Writing from the perspective of a foreign war military veteran, the notion of being ordered into a futile maneuver beyond reality’s grasp is a scenario every soldier dreads. Blend that concept into a black-and-white World War I Stanley Kubrick film and the result is a thought-provoking glimpse into the underbelly of military discipline.

CLMR score is 8.9 out of 10.

December 15, 2018

24. Isle of Fury  – 1936

What a smooth-flowing film considering it was made in 1936, when moving picture dialogue was still somewhat stilted and continuity was an on-again-off-again commodity. It was striking to see Bogart with a thin mustache, but he grew into it as the movie progressed. A real pearl for its time.

CLMR score is 7.1 out of 10.

December 14, 2018

23. Men in Exile – 1937

A great 1937 lesson that illustrates the difference between right and wrong, between ungrateful and appreciative, and between lies and honesty. Wasn’t expecting to get much from this movie, but it did manage to pack a few black-and-white punches in unexpected places.

CLMR score is 6.2 out of 10.

December 14, 2018

22. The Prowler – 1951

A delicately spun “Web” of lies upon more lies which lead to a ghost town birth and then some. The moral of the story is don’t get too friendly with the male police officer who answers the call for a prowler on the property. Nicely done old B & W overall, worth the investment of time and tube.

CLMR score is 6.9 out of 10.

December 13, 2018

21. O. Henry’s “Full House” – 1952

O. Henry’s “Full House” will most likely evoke some sort of emotion in you at some point in this mixed bag of soul-exposing tales. The leaf story is a real tear-jerker, the poor couple at Chrismas shows a glimpse of holiday activities in bygone days, and Charles Laughton’s portrayal as an elegant homeless gentleman is worthy of the prize “sentence” he so desperately seeks.

CLMR score is 9.1 out of 10.

As an added bonus, here is a great quote from this movie, which was read by the narrator:

“When wild geese honk high in the night and when women without fur coats grow kind to their husbands…the rigors of winter are upon you. Sincerely yours, Jack Frost.” ~~ O. Henry’s “The Cop and the Anthem”

December 13, 2018

20. The Family Man – 2000

Prolonging the inevitable with a lack of continuity is how this reviewer might describe “The Family Man” from an overall standpoint. With regard to this film, paying attention to the foreshadowing enables one to predict what is coming without a whole lotta effort. The somewhat stale storyline culminates with a “The Graduate-esque” dramatic flair. However, both Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni acted out their roles somewhat convincingly, which certainly made the movie more palatable. P.S. Whatever happened to the store-robbing guy who facilitated the whole time-warp thing? His intriguing character could have been developed and explained, thus creating an interesting dimension and more clarity for both the viewer and the reviewer.

CLMR score is 6.7 out of 10.

December 13, 2018

19. Winter People – 1989

Predictable? Yes. Well-portrayed? Also, yes. Beyond that, it is a thought-provoking tale in that it offers a glimpse into what it might be like to have lived during an era where people stayed put, not venturing beyond their own little worlds, becoming entrenched in a rut so deep there is no real escape.

CLMR score is 7.1 out of 10.

December 12, 2018

18. Mr. Love – 1985

No offense, but if producing a movie in which a mild-mannered gardener assembles a harem of a dozen love-starved women, maybe they should have cast the leading man role differently. It would have been easier on the eyes and far more believable to see a semi-handsome, dashingly dapper rogue-ish type or even a smooth and silky Carey Grant-esque fellow. It was difficult to stick through this conglomeration of cockeyed romantic misadventures to the bitter end, but I did, based on the notion it would get better. It did not.

CLMR rating is 4.4 out of 10.

December 12, 2018

17. Mooch – 1971

A cute, scruffy little dog laces together a reason for some of Hollywood’s most renowned faces to be woven into a tapestry of dog-lovers. Among others, featured are the likes of Phyllis Diller, Vincent Price, James Darren, Edward G. Robinson, and Zsa Zsa Gabor narrates. Mooch does wander to the door of the Playboy Club, and Ms. Gabor explains to the pooch that this is where many young girls have been “discovered.” All in all, this is a cute little movie, especially if you like early 1970s cinema, and the notion of watching an adorable, false-eyelash wearing, diamond sporting, fame-seeking Zsa Zsa canine protege.

CLMR rating is 7.2 out of 10.

December 11, 2018

16. Top Secret Affair – 1957

A cocky, self-assured military specimen (Kirk Douglas) gets taken down a few notches by a manipulative, deceitful magazine writer (Susan Hayward), who then gets taken down a few notches by the self-assured military specimen. Betcha can’t guess how it ends…

CLMR rating 6.7 out of 10

15. Saturday’s Children – 1940

If you are drawn to romantic old movies with absolutely no surprises or plot twists whatsoever, then this is a film that’ll whet your pre-WWII movie whistle. It does have dramatic spots and a couple of lighthearted moments, but overall your nails will come out unscathed by the end of this young-married-couple-struggling flick because there’s no reason to bite any of them. It was nice to see John Garfield play a non-criminal role, and it was a little bit painful to see the movie’s references of the Philippines center around misguided Mexican cultural depictions.

CLMR 5.8 out of 10.

14. Thunder Road – 1958

What could be finer than a 1958 B & W crime thriller drama starring Robert Mitchum? One that features two Mitchums, that’s right, two Mitchums in one. Father Robert Mitchum is joined on the set by son James Mitchum, who portrays his dad’s younger brother. Sound interesting? Then give it a look-see, especially if you enjoy a good old moonshine liquor running flick. As a footnote, Elvis Presley was allegedly originally cast to play the younger brother role, which was ultimately filled by the younger Mitchum when the movie studio could not reach a final agreement with Presley.

CLMR rating 7.3 out of 10.

13. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time – 1975

Due to my bizarre taste in movies, I gravitate toward one-star classics, and watching this bad movie seemed like a good idea at the time. With that in mind, this film darker than noire should have been a big hit in my world but it was a zonker. So bad, in fact, that I couldn’t even stand to watch it through to the end. There are about 15 minutes left and I am working up my nerve to try to suffer through the rest of it. The promo photo drew me in with a picture of John Candy, but he’s not in any sort of notable role here. In fact, neither is anyone else for that matter.

CLMR score is 2.3 out of 10

12. Horace Takes Over/One Thrilling Night – 1942

Are the super shaky opening credits indicative of what’s around the celluloid corner? No. Actually, this film offers a semi-well organized mistaken-identity murder twist that affects a couple of newlyweds trying to enjoy their brief honeymoon in a nice hotel. Not great, but not bad either. Don’t let your cold B-movie feet stop you from taking vows to sample this sub-par morsel of low-quality entertainment.
CLMR is 6.2 out of 10.
December 8, 2018
11. Bill and Coo – 1948
This is one of the most adorable critter movies ever, starring birds of various feathers. They were all very well trained, and seemed to enjoy the itty bitty props and tasks they performed with bird-fueled vigor while wearing tiny little costumes. The bird-sized signs and messages in the the little town of Chirpendale were very witty and smile-evoking.
CLMR score is 6.8 out of 10
December 8, 2018
10. A Clockwork Orange – 1971
One of the best morals ever painted into a story with so much violence to punctuate its ethical point. A total and true favorite, made even spicier by its mellifluous backdrop of Ludwig Van, visits to the tantalizing milk bar, and Alex’s ill treatment of his three droogs: Dim, Georgie and Pete
CLMR score is 9.2 out of 10.
December 7, 2018
9. Miss Pacific Fleet – 1935
Absolutely one  of those zany double-edged  cute blonde stories with a smattering of Allen Jenkins and the giggly Hugh Herbert thrown in for good 1935 measure.
CLMR score is 5.9 out of 10.
December 7, 2018
8. Lady Behave! – 1938
Gotta love pre-computer era movies, where people could marry without proof of identity while rip-roaring drunk. In this outlandish gem, the sober sister assumes the drunken sister’s identity and inadvertently falls in love with the drunken sister’s extra husband. The best part? Everyone comes out clean and happy in the end! Of course, that’s the way the Lady Behave! cookies crumbled back in 1937.
CLMR score is 6.4 out of 10.
December 7, 2018
7. The Louisiana Hussy – 1959
A tantalizing cheesy classic complete with sheet-clenching cutaways and cheddary sax music to punctuate the unimaginatively done dirty parts. Believe it or not, this flick was nearly riveting in a cult-grip sort of way.
CLMR score is 7.1 out of 10.
December 8, 2018
6. Behave Yourself! 1951
Shelley Winters’ appearance in her most utmost tip-top physical form is the most captivating part of this movie. The dog barking sound effects are scratchy and annoying, causing this movie watcher to wonder if they wanted viewers to dislike the dog, or if that was the only bark track the studio had available that day? There were too many bad guys to manage, like “Home Alone” on steroids featuring a cute, scraggly dog with a screechy dubbed in bark. Hmmmm.
CLMR score is 4.3 out of 10.
December 8, 2018
5. A Bride for Henry – 1937

This movie’s lesson is “Don’t sleep through your wedding because you over-partied the night before.” Of course, this movie viewer was rooting for the stand-in replacement husband the whole time because he was clearly the better choice on many different  levels. Definitely worth a watch for those who thirst for films from the ’30s that convey a treasure trove of antiquated viewpoints and attitudes.
CLMR score is 7.2 out of 10.
December 7, 2018
4. Traveling Saleslady – 1935
Joan Blondell’s zesty booze-laced toothpaste sales skyrocket and teach her father a lesson in how to not underestimate the power of a woman. Makes one wonder why flavors such as rum, gin, beer and champagne aren’t on the toothpaste menu today – it sure would make dental care fun with a buzz and a party in your mouthosphere.
CLMR is 6.8 out of 10, part of which is based on the weight of Joan Blondell’s eyelashes.
December 8, 2018

3. Killer Dill – 1947

This is a depiction of what happens when a mild-mannered lingerie sales guy decides to pretend to be a gangster to impress a couple of dames. It was interesting to observe how women pined after mobster-esque men with machine guns back then, or at least that’s how it was characterized here. Wish I could recoup the time I invested in watching this dill pickle of a film.
CLMR score is 3.9 out of 10.
December 7, 2018

2. Li’l Abner – 1940
Although I always avoided the Li’l Abner comic strip like the Sunday paper plague, this movie was bizarrely appealing. I confess that it was easy to feel sorry for the poor menfolk scrambling away from the man-crazed womenfolk who acted like drunken, sex-deprived females waiting along the edge of a Chippendale’s runway. It was extremely well-cast and the acting was good enough to shake a Dogpatch stick at to boot.
CLMR rating 7.8 out of 10.
December 8, 2018
1. Vessel of Wrath/The Beachcomber – 1938
A delicious morsel of young Charles Laughton that I had never seen before, so it was savored minute-by-minute the entire time my eyes feasted upon this platter of black-and-white tastiness. Worth the time invested watching threefold. Note: Was it my imagination, or at times did Elsa Lanchester bear a vague resemblance to the instrument-playing dancing dolls in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love?”
CLMR score is 8.3 out of 10.

1991 Christine Lorraine generic beat goofysreunionXtine cropped (3)

Ms. Lorraine reacts to somethink one of her band-mates says during her days as a bassist with The Generic Beat.

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