films seen
11/46
average score
1.27*
nationality
USA - 81 years old
status
R.I.P. (1906 - 1987)
more info

If you're looking for oldskool machismo, John Huston is your man. He made a bunch of notable crime/adventure/war flicks and a handful of decent war docs, but I simply don't care enough for classic cinema to appreciate his style.

Worthy but flawed

Let There Be Light

by John Huston
1946 / 58m - USA
Documentary, War
2.5*/5.0*
Let There Be Light poster

Dubious filler

Report from the Aleutians

by John Huston
1943 / 47m - USA
Documentary, War
2.0*/5.0*
Report from the Aleutians poster

Plain forgettable

The African Queen

by John Huston
1951 / 105m - USA
Romance, Adventure
1.5*/5.0*
The African Queen poster

A classic Huston adventure that hasn't aged all that well. The film was shot entirely on location, even so the special effects trickery for some of the more adventurous shots looks more like something you'd expect to see in a cheesy Honda flick. A very dashing film this is not (at least not anymore).

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Samuel and Rose run a church in Africa, until they are raided by German troupes. Only Rose survives the attack, but she has no way of escape. Then she meets Charlie, a rugged fella who owns a boat. Traveling down the Ulonga-Bora is ill-advised, but Rose convinces Charlie there's no other way to escape their predicament.

The effects are crummy and the adventure is merely amusing, never tense. Bogart's performance is questionable at best, Hepburn isn't really on top her game either. At least the film doesn't take itself too seriously, other than that it's a decently paced, but hopelessly outdated film.

The Asphalt Jungle

by John Huston
1950 / 112m - USA
Thriller, Crime
1.5*/5.0*
The Asphalt Jungle poster

A film that is often regarded as one of the very first heist films, also the film that kick-started Marilyn Monroe's acting career. That's a lot of historic weight, no doubt part of the reason why it grew out to be one of the big classics. As someone not too big on noir films, I must say it wasn't the worst I've seen.

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The premise is basic, with a big jewelry heist forming the main focus of the film. The heist itself is relatively short, with more time spent on introducing the characters and more room to cover the aftermath. It's both a curse and a blessing, but at least it sets the film apart from so many others.

The slightly slower pace takes some pressure away from the actors, who aren't forced to act all cool and mysterious all the time. On the other hand, it takes away from the tension, which dulls things down a bit. The cinematography is unremarkable, the story and characters rather plain, but at least the film felt a bit more natural than many of its peers. Still not a big fan though.

The Maltese Falcon

by John Huston
1941 / 100m - USA
Mystery, Crime
1.5*/5.0*
The Maltese Falcon poster

Big nopes

The Dead

by John Huston
1987 / 83m - UK
Drama
1.0*/5.0*
The Dead poster

John Huston's final film is an adaptation of a James Joyce short story. If that gets you giddy, you're probably the target audience of this film. If not, it might be good to check the trailer first before you subjects yourself to it. While it may be rather short, it's the kind of film that becomes quite the ordeal when you start to lose interest.

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Three spinsters are throwing an Epiphany party. The year is 1906, the attendants are all upper class, with a background in the arts. There's some singing, some piano playing, people cite poetry and discuss the finer things in life. I don't think I've ever seen a party I'd rather not attend.

The performances are stiff, Huston's style is formal, the literary dialogues are pompous and the characters are absolutely horrendous. For kicks, someone should plan a double bill with Project X, just the shock effect alone would be worth the price of the admission. This simply wasn't my kind of cinema I'm afraid.

Annie

by John Huston
1982 / 127m - USA
Drama, Musical
1.0*/5.0*
Annie poster

Pretty certain I'd seen this film before, at least parts of it. Maybe I just imagined it though, the film's theme song is so ubiquitous that it's almost impossible to go in fresh. Whatever the case, I didn't recognize many of the specifics, so apart from some familiar songs and a general idea of Annie's character, it was like seeing the film for the first time.

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Aileen Quinn's Annie is the star of the show, at least if you can appreciate the smug, Hollywood-cheese that drips from her performance. It's not easy feeling for a character that appears fake as a cardboard and annoys from start to finish. And it's not like her singing voice is a saving grace either.

The music and songs are pretty terrible, the cinematography is poor for a musical and with a runtime over 2 hours it's a real test of patience. Not that I'm a big fan of Huston's older work, but at least he was visibly comfortable directing darker, noirish films. Annie turned out to be a pretty dire and unattractive musical.

Key Largo

by John Huston
1948 / 100m - USA
Thriller, Crime
1.0*/5.0*
Key Largo poster

A noir film that is very focused on what it thinks its qualities are. I generally appreciate films like that, unless those assumed qualities are the exact things that push me away from the film. This character and dialogue driven noir may think it is very intense, but when it turns out to be the opposite, there's not much else there.

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Frank is a war veteran who decides to pay the family of an old buddy living in Key Largo a visit. When he arrives at their hotel, it turns out a gangster is holding them hostage. Frank is the only one capable of standing up against the gangster, but the war has left his largely indifferent, and he isn't willing to give up his life.

This is a film where gangsters bark and Bogart does his best to play it cool. The setup in the hotel (with a hurricane raging outside) is tailored to be tense and nervous, but the effect is never really there. I got bored by uninteresting characters and a plain narrative. Visually the film has very little to offer, the soundtrack is also an afterthought and the ending left me completely cold. Not good.

Tunisian Victory

by Frank Capra, Hugh Stewart, John Huston
1944 / 75m - USA
Documentary, War
1.0*/5.0*
Tunisian Victory poster

Irritation overload

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

by John Huston
1948 / 126m - USA
Drama, Adventure
0.5*/5.0*
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre poster

San Pietro

by John Huston
1945 / 32m - USA
Documentary, War
0.5*/5.0*
San Pietro poster

A slice of American propaganda that doesn't have much interesting to tell. It's a short but flaccid reconstruction of a military operation in Italy, with less than convincing footage of the battle (probably because it was re-enacted) and a point you could figure out for yourself, without wasting 30 minutes of your life.