films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Glenn Miller Story

1954 / 115m - USA
Drama, Music
The Glenn Miller Story poster

Raw Deal

1948 / 79m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Raw Deal poster

Getting a feel for a genre is always a little exciting, even though the genre may not be completely what you're looking. A year or so ago I was pretty clueless about film-noir, having seen a bunch of them now I feel a bit more at ease with its rules and characteristics. I'm also quickly growing bored with them.

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Joe Sullivan lands himself in jail, protecting his partner Rick. Rick owes Joe money and wants to get rid of him, though without taking any blame for the hit. Rick devises a flawed escape plan, hoping that'll become Joe's death. With the help of his girlfriend, Joe manages to escape after all, leaving him with some important choices to make.

Raw Deal is a pretty standard film-noir. Mann is smart enough to keep his film short and concise, but the plot isn't too engaging, the performances are rather bland, and the dialogue is by the numbers. It's fine if you love classic crime cinema, but I'm clearly not part of that niche. Not for me, but there's worse out there.


1947 / 92m - USA
Crime, Thriller
T-Men poster

This reminded me a little of contemporary Chinese crime films. Propaganda for the police, with a clear message to anyone who wants to pursue a criminal career. There's even a voice-over lauding the accomplishments of the law, underlining the cunningness of their adversary just to make them look even bigger and smarter.

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Two United States Treasury agents are picked to infiltrate a notorious counterfeit gang. The gang is incredibly good at what they do, so these men have their work cut out for them. They start all the way at the bottom and meticulously work their way up in the organization, hoping to catch their big fish.

The story is pretty crummy, the voice-over makes it worse, and the performances are incredibly stilted. The stark black-and-white cinematography has some appeal, but it wasn't enough to win me over. T-Men is a pretty drab noir, and little more than a subsidized warning for people willing to go down the wrong path.

The Naked Spur

1953 / 91m - USA
The Naked Spur poster

As someone with a thorough dislike for western cinema, I sometimes forget that so far I've been primarily exposed to the stand-out, notable films in the genre. Festering below that is a pool of purer genre films that don't even bother to try and stand out. It seems that with The Naked Spur, I've finally hit that niche.

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Kemp is trailing Vandergroat, a killer worth 5.000 dollars, all the way through the Rockies. Two more men join the hunt, though unaware of the price on Vandergroat's head. When they finally catch the man, he tries to save himself by trying to set up the bounty hunters against each other. That turns out to be a lot easier than expected.

Stewart is a terrible actor, he didn't magically get any better here. At least he fits in with the rest of the cast, who are equally disappointing. The soundtrack is terrible, the cinematography is bland and the plot is predictable. Add some cliché characters and a sluggish pace, and you have something that is hell to sit through. Unless you love westerns I guess.

Winchester '73

1950 / 92m - USA
Winchester '73 poster

A bog-standard western, and to make things worse, it has James Stewart in the lead. It's a pretty lethal combination already, made even worse by Anthony Mann's tepid direction. I'm clueless as to why this film became a bona fide classic, but that's not exactly a new feeling for me.

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Lin is looking for the killer of his father when he arrives in a small town and enters a shooting competition. At stake is a formidable gun. Lin wins the competition, but his closest competitor steals his prize and runs off with it in the desert. Lin doesn't want to give up so easily, and he begins his pursuit.

Stewart is a wooden actor, completely unfit to play a tough cowboy. The plot is pretty boring, the setting is dreary and I really didn't care much for Lyn's quest. The cinematography and soundtrack are worthless too. I think must rank as one of the worst Westerns I've seen so far.