films seen
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

1954 / 127m - USA
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea poster

An adaptation of Jules Verne's famous book. I think I read it in my teens and liked it quite a bit, the film adaptation is a different story. Even though there's a star-studded cast and the film no doubt had a decent budget to work with, Verne's adventure end up a bit too cheesy-looking, not at all what I imagined when I read the book.

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A mysterious creature is threatening ships at sea. On land the tales are scoffed at, but the fact remains that quite a few ships are ending up on the bottom of the ocean, so an expedition is sent out to investigate the matter. After months at sea they deem the story false, but then they spot a suspicious-looking machine in the water.

The cheesy decors are certainly charming and the fight with the kraken is a classic, but it's enough to turn this film into a sprawling adventure. There's a bit too much dialogue and a few too many dead moments to keep the momentum going. This would've been a lot better had they cut about 30 minutes of filler material.

The Narrow Margin

1952 / 71m - USA
Crime, Thriller
The Narrow Margin poster

A very simple noir. I honestly don't think you can get more core genre than The Narrow Margin. The setting is reduced to a single train, there's a lot of men in hats trying to be as spiffy as possible, while the damsel in distress has quite the foul mouth of her own. Add a plot twist and that's your classic film noir right there.

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Agent Brown is tasked to get the wife of a notorious gangster to Los Angeles, as she's willing to testify against the Mafia. They take the train, but their journey isn't as inconspicuous as they'd hoped. Before long many people are on Brown's tail, trying to convince him that the woman is better dead than alive.

The performances are rather poor and the setting isn't really put to good use, but the pacing is decent and I do prefer this limited location noirs. There's not much time to get bored and once the little twist has been revealed, the film races towards its finale. It's all a bit plain, but there's some entertainment value here.

Amityville III

1983 / 105m - USA
Amityville III poster