films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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We're Not Married!

1952 / 86m - USA
Comedy, Romance
We're Not Married! poster

Nightmare Alley

1947 / 110m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Nightmare Alley poster

After seeing del Toro's remake earlier this year, it was time to give the original film a fair shot. I've been watching quite a few noirs lately, so my expectations were pretty dim, also because del Toro's version wasn't all that interesting (but it got by on atmosphere). It seems my expectations were on the money.

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Stanton works in a traveling circus. There he becomes infatuated with a has-been mindreader. He becomes his apprentice and learns how to con people out of their money. When the man dies, Stanton takes over his job. He has bigger dreams though, and he starts to redirect his attention to the rich and wealthy.

The film is more focused on the plot, though there are a few scenes that get a bit more atmospheric (the ending in particular). But like its remake, the film overstays its welcome as there isn't enough intrigue to fill two hours. It's not the worst noir I've seen, but it's not very memorable or special either.

Dark Victory

1939 / 104m - USA
Drama, Romance
Dark Victory poster

The advent of sound is probably one of the biggest game changers in the film business. It's not just the added soundtrack and its impact on the total experience, but also the shift from visual storytelling to literal dialogues that really turned things around. Pick a film from the 30s, and it's hard to miss. Characters just blabber on from start to finish.

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Judith is a feisty woman, but more and more she is haunted by nasty migraines and loss of vision. Her doctor finds a brain tumor and Judith undergoes an operation. The two fall in love with each other and get married, what Judith doesn't know is that the tumor is certain to return.

With a story like this, things are bound to get a little sentimental. The performances are decent but nothing great. The romance is a little daft and the drama in the second half isn't quite subtle enough to leave a big impression. It's a pretty basic classic drama, not something that excites me.

A Night at the Opera

1935 / 96m - USA
A Night at the Opera poster

My third Marx Brothers film and they start to get a little predictable. Only three brothers are present in this one, but that doesn't really shake things up. Each brother has his own particular style of comedy and the film switches between them, while in the background some uninteresting plot develops.

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The Marx Brothers get mixed up in a ploy to get two lover together in an opera. The youngest isn't being accepted as a tenor as he's not given a fair chance to prove his worth. By humiliating the man's enemies and messing up their plans, Groucho, Chico and Harpo try to pave the way for his success.

Groucho's quips and puns have the biggest chance of drawing a few laughs, though there's an equal chance they'll miss target. Harpo's slapstick is terribly dated and Chico isn't particularly funny either. And so A Night at the Opera cycles between the brothers, flipping between passable and dreadful from start to finish. I would've preferred just Groucho minus the rest.