Resurfaced Short Reviews, Part IV

These are Resurfaced short or quickie reviews written in 2002 or earlier. For more information, please visit this link: Resurfaced Reviews.

The Witness for the Prosecution

The Witness for the Prosecution

Rating

Director

Billy Wilder

Screenplay

Billy Wilder, Harry Kurnitz, Larry Marcus (Play: Agatha Christie)

Length

1h 56m

Starring

Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, Henry Daniell, Ian Wolfe, Torin Thatcher, Nora Varden, Una O’Connor

MPAA Rating

Approved

Basic Plot

An ailing advocate, Sir Wilfrid Robarts(Charles Laughton), for the court of Britain returns home after a short stay in an area hospital. Accompanying him is a hospital appointed nurse, Miss Plimsoll(Elsa Lanchester), who keeps him from over-exerting himself and doing things that might prove hazardous to his health. Not long after he returns, a case is brought to him, Murder. Accused is a young man, Leonard Vole(Tyrone Power), of murdering a rich, middle-aged woman. His wife, Christine(Marlene Dietrich), will appear as a witness…for the prosecution instead of the defense.

Review

This is a well-crafted drama from acclaimed director Billy Wilder. Taking some of the screen’s most powerful stars and great actors, to adapt Agatha Christie’s classic novel and successful stage play, Witness for the Prosecution to the screen. Charles Laughton and the superb Elsa Lanchester give bravura performances and some great two-person dialogue. Tyrone Power is debonaire and Marlene Dietrich is stylish. Put these together and you have one of Christie’s greatest works adapted into one of the screen’s best films.

Review Written

Unknown

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

Rating

Director

Robert Stevenson

Screenplay

Bill Walsh, Don Da Gradi (Book: P.L. Travers)

Length

2h 19m

Starring

Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Reta Shaw, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Reginald Owen, Ed Wynn, Jane Darwell, Arthur Malet, James Logan, Don Barclay, Alma Lawton, Marjorie Eaton, Marjorie Bennett

MPAA Rating

G

Basic Plot

Two banker’s children lose their nanny due to her frustration with them. A change in the wind blows in an assertive nanny who matches the qualifications of the children and not the father. As she helps them magically explore the world around them the father grows increasingly disapproving of her methods, and must eventually deal with his own distance from his children.

Review

A thoroughly delightful film that takes you on dozens of fantastic voyages through partially animated worlds and along the chimney tops of London. From beginning to end, this film is beautifully done and shows in its nearly record 13 Oscar nominations. A few minor problems here and there and the fact that it’s a childrens film keep it from getting a perfect score.

Review Written

Unknown

101 Dalmatians

101 Dalmatians

Rating

Director

Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton S. Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman

Screenplay

Bill Peet (Book: Dodie Smith)

Length

1h 19m

Starring

Rod Taylor, J. Pat O’Malley, Betty Lou Gerson, Martha Wentworth, Ben Wright, Cate Bauer, Dave Frankham, Fred Worlock, Lisa Davis, Tom Conway, Tudor Owen

MPAA Rating

G

Basic Plot

When a dastardly villain has a penchant for fur coats, some young dalmatian pups become her passion and must flee for their lives in this Walt Disney full-length Animated Motion Picture.

Review

The songs don’t stick in ones head as many other Disney films have. The animation is what has become standard for Disney in the 50s and sheds very few new lights on modern animation, but if it works stick with it. Cruella De Vil remains one of Disney’s greatest villains and is rather unstoppable in this film and remains the high point as well as the saviour of the film. Without her, it just wouldn’t be the same. Or as good.

Review Written

Unknown

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

Rating

Director

Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske

Screenplay

Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Bill Cottrell, Dick Kelsey, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Del Connell, Tom Oreb, John Walbridge (Book: Lewis Carroll)

Length

1h 15m

Starring

Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton, Pat O’Malley, Bill Thompson

MPAA Rating

Approved

Basic Plot

Disney version of Lewis Carroll’s Children’s story. Alice becomes bored and her mind starts to wander. She sees a white rabbit who appears to be in a hurry. She chases it into its burrow and then a most bizarre series of adventures begins.

Review

Too many songs and an all-too-familiar plot prevent Alice in Wonderland from being the best it can be. The animation runs into trouble and back 10 years. There are no new significant advances in animation in this film and the record number of songs is just too many for such a short film.

Review Written

Unknown

SpiceWorld

SpiceWorld

Rating

Director

Bob Spiers

Screenplay

Spice Girls, Kim Fuller, Jamie Curtis

Length

1h 33m

Starring

Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geraldine Halliwell, Victoria Adams, Kevin Allen, Devon Anderson, Michael Barrymore, Richard Briers, Simon Chandler, Alan Cumming

MPAA Rating

PG

Basic Plot

The British quintet The Spice Girls romp across England preparing for their first live performance. Along the way they face fans, paparazzi, documentary makers, aliens and a giant Union-Jack clad double-decker bus.

Review

Some films make you want to slap their directors and ask why. This film has too many moments that cause just such a reaction. The opening title sequence gives the film hope that it can’t live up to in the end.

The performance featured at the beginning of the film is filled with terrible lip-synching, giving us chance to long for Milli Vanilli’s return. After that, the film gets better, but often times dips worse.

The whole subplot of Richard O’Brien (Rocky Horror Picture Show) stalking the girls trying to find evil headlines for his boss (played by famed Australian drag queen Dame Edna Everage’s alter ego Barry Humphries) is ridiculously annoying and quite boring. Their plans are generally succesfful, but fail in the end.

Another side trip in the adventure is with a set of Documentary film makers led by Alan Cumming who is one of the brighter spots in the film, if only a 40 Watt one. George Wendt (Cheers) and Mark McKinney (Kids in the Hall) play real film makers wanting to create a cash cow featuring the Spice Girls. Wendt is the producer and McKinney is the idea-ridden writer.

Roger Moore makes a cameo, along with several other noted celebrities of music and film, as the man behind the Spice Girls.

There are several pun-filled moments and some cheeky comedy throughout, but not enough to save the film from being average.

The girls themselves sometimes have a chemistry, but are normally annoying paper-thin characters, but still quite fun. The use of many of their ballads helps to keep the film from sinking into a mire of dance tunes. Overall Spice Girls will entertain its core audience easily, but will do little else for the legion of citizens in the United States.

Awards Prospects

Not a shot in hell.

Review Written

Unknown

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