films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Angels with Dirty Faces

1938 / 97m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Angels with Dirty Faces poster

Curtiz, Cagney and crime. Another pretty typical noir from the 30s, though I will say that Cagney's spirited performance lifts this one slightly above its peer. Not by much, the premise is extremely basic, and the film hardly makes an effort to rise above it, but at least it's something.

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Rocky is a small-time hoodlum who gets into trouble and has to serve time. He doesn't rat out his accomplice, but when he gets out after three years, he returns to his old gang to pick up where he left. The world has changed in his absence, still, Rocky feels confident that he can pick up his old life.

Angel's with Dirty Faces is a typical rise-and-fall story of a "cool" criminal. Cagney does add some intrigue to his role, but he has very little to play with and with guys like Bogart around him, his impact remains rather limited. Cinematography and score didn't do much for me, then again it's a 30s film, so what did you expect. Baisc noir for noir fans.

White Christmas

1954 / 120m - USA
Comedy, Musical, Romance
White Christmas poster

Mildred Pierce

1945 / 111m - USA
Crime, Thriller
Mildred Pierce poster

The film starts with a murder, the next shot you see shows a woman driving away from the murder scene. The setup is so obvious that you spend the next two hours waiting for the inevitable twist signaled in that very first scene. It's really not the best way to start a movie, though it's definitely not its only weakness.

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Mildred flees her house after her husband is killed. She picks up an old friend, lures him to her house and tries to frame him for the murder. Once at the station, she finds out the police found another culprit. Overwhelmed by guilt, Mildred opens up to her interrogator and reveals what really happened that night.

Mildred Pierce is two hours of narrative. Just endless dialogues, mediocre performances, lazy writing and very little in the way of cinematic prowess. Just a handful of moments where the black & white cinematography makes a positive impression, otherwise this was a pretty boring film. Not my kind of cinema.

The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938 / 102m - USA
Action, Adventure, Romance
The Adventures of Robin Hood poster

I honestly can't recall having seen a good Robin Hood film yet, so my expectation of the '38 version were rather low, regardless of the broad critical acclaim it has received over the years. I don't think I expected it to be quite so childish though. It really feels like a film aimed at younger kids.

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The story of Robin Hood should be pretty familiar to most. I never read the original, so I can't really compare it with that, but the plot here didn't really differ from the one I've known since forever. When Prince John starts oppressing the Saxon people, one of their lords stands up and fights back as the leader of the rebels.

Performances are cheesy, the costumes look cheap, the action is tepid and the rather jolly atmosphere doesn't make much sense. It's quite the atrocious film really, but at least it's decently paced and doesn't take itself very serious. The next couple of years I'll be keeping my distance from Robin Hood adaptations.


1942 / 102m - USA
Drama, Romance
Casablanca poster

Yankee Doodle Dandy

1942 / 126m - USA
Drama, Musical
Yankee Doodle Dandy poster

I read Cagney wanted to make this film to prove to his fellow Americans that he wasn't a communist, but a full-blown patriot. It sure sounds plausible, as this is no doubt one of the most patriotic/American films I've ever seen. And no, that's definitely not a compliment, unless you truly, deeply, wholeheartedly love the Stars and Stripes country, this is almost impossible to sit through.

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A film about the life of George M. Cohan, a musical director, actor and dancer who, after going through his fair share of trouble, made it big and received a medal for his exceptional career. That's two full hours of song and dance with James Cagney, an actor who couldn't really sing or dance.

If it would've been Astaire and Crosby, it might've been a bit easier to swallow, these guys have charm and can actually do this kind of thing. Cagney is just completely terrible here. That and the fact that I got a little nauseous from so much love for a land that isn't mind made this one of the worst things I sat through in quite a while.