The Spectator

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
Blithe Spirit (2020) Deborah Ross Better if she'd been left to rest in peace, and, after seeing this film adaption, you may well wish the play had been left to rest in peace too. Don't dig it up! Leave well alone! EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2021
The White Tiger (2021) Deborah Ross I watched it once and thought: I could easily watch that again. So I did. Unheard of. And one last thing I want you to know: Bahrani may be a genius. EDIT
Posted Jan 21, 2021
Dear Comrades! (2020) Deborah Ross I have made it sound grim and dour and depressing but the storytelling is fantastically propulsive and while Lyuda is not especially likeable, you empathise with her mounting desperation and horror at the system she had helped create. EDIT
Posted Jan 11, 2021
Sylvie's Love (2020) Deborah Ross Sylvie's Love is an exquisitely styled, swooning, old-school, period Hollywood romance and while it has been described as 'glib' in some quarters, it's Christmas, we've had a rotten year, and it may be just what the doctor ordered. EDIT
Posted Dec 30, 2020
The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) Virginia Graham As the women in [Frankie's] life, Eleanor Parker, his neurotic crippled wife, and Kim Novak, who fights despairingly to save him, are wholly admirable. and the subsidiary parts are amply filled. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2020
Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980) Peter Ackroyd None of this would matter -- or work on the screen -- without the performance of Catherine Hicks as Monroe. She is almost as good as the real thing. EDIT
Posted Dec 22, 2020
Cabin in the Sky (1943) Edgar Anstey The film achieves moments of exuberance and spontaneity which appear to be as much enjoyed by players as by audience. EDIT
Posted Dec 15, 2020
Son of Frankenstein (1939) Basil Wright The Son of Frankenstein is, in short, a missed opportunity for all save the most unsophisticated. EDIT
Posted Oct 14, 2020
Dead of Night (1945) Alexander Shaw From such an excellent whole it seems a pity to single out any parts for special praise, but I thought that the direction, acting and writing of the tale of the ventriloquist's dummy was superb. EDIT
Posted Oct 12, 2020
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1970) Christopher Hudson Valerie and her Week of Wonders, a Czech film about an adolescent girl and her fantasies about vampirism, is so fey and kitsch as hardly to be retained upon the retina, let alone survive in the memory. EDIT
Posted Oct 7, 2020
Faust (1926) Iris Barry If a film version of Faust is to be consistent, it should not, as this does, totter between the extremes of Flemish art and those of pretty picture postcards. EDIT
Posted Oct 6, 2020
The Invisible Man (1933) Peter Fleming The whole production is rather crudely devised, with American accents allowed to intrude disturbingly on the English setting... On the other hand, Hollywood must take full credit for the film's technical ingenuity, which is indeed remarkable. EDIT
Posted Oct 5, 2020
Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) Edward Hodgkin Ferrer... has siezed the part of Cyrano, lifted it out of its mediocre surroundings, and made it human, dignified and plausible. EDIT
Posted Sep 2, 2020
The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) Virginia Graham If this is Hollywood with the lid off, the smell is not pleasant, but it is certainly powerful, and i strongly urge you to take a sniff. EDIT
Posted Aug 31, 2020
Ziegfeld Follies (1946) Edgar Anstey The Ziegfeld Follies is a most entertaining musical of spectacularly colourful settings and beautifully timed camera movements, each calculated to extract the maximum of luxury from acres of adorned studio. EDIT
Posted Aug 25, 2020
Gilda (1946) Edgar Anstey [Ford], more than anyone, gives the film a tense, vibrant quality which overcomes the imperfections of plot. EDIT
Posted Aug 25, 2020
Make Up (2019) Deborah Ross It's a thriller but not quite a thriller, and a horror flick but not quite a horror flick, and a psychosexual fantasy but not wholly a psychosexual fantasy... It may be we can settle only on one thing, and the one thing is this: it is very, very good. EDIT
Posted Jul 30, 2020
Clemency (2019) Deborah Ross A masterwork. EDIT
Posted Jul 29, 2020
I'll See You in My Dreams (1951) Virginia Graham This story, as enacted by Mr. Danny Thomas and Miss Doris Day, is remarkable for its similarity to the life-histories of all the lyric-writers who have ever lived. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
Carrie (1952) Virginia Graham The direction, as might be expected, is as polished as ebony, occasionally lingering a little too long perhaps to suck the substance out of a scene, but never pausing to philosophise or preach. The story is told simply and well. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
Lease of Life (1954) Virginia Graham Despite its many virtues, it lacks the essential factor, that of inspiring interest. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
() Clancy Sigel [Lina Braake is an] understated, gently funny German film about an eighty-one-year-old lady who swindles the bank which evicted her from her apartment. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976) Clancy Sigel [A] cheap, ugly film. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
Obsession (1976) Clancy Sigel Obsession is a laughably bad film. So bad, in fact, that it becomes almost interesting to speculate on why all the critical enthusiasm. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
() Basil Wright When Marguerite Moreno, as the outraged spouse of Zeus, is on the screen, all else is forgiven and forgotten. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2020
Da 5 Bloods (2020) Deborah Ross It may be all over place, but it feels absolutely necessary. EDIT
Posted Jun 11, 2020
A Rainy Day in New York (2019) Deborah Ross The film is mostly plain creepy. And you'll wonder: why, Mr Allen, why? EDIT
Posted Jun 6, 2020
Cats (2019) Deborah Ross The film is flat, without any of the camp, kitsch high energy that characterised the stage show, but its wrongness is never less than mesmerising. EDIT
Posted May 30, 2020
Parchís: The Documentary (2019) Michael Hann It's absolutely fascinating, a window on a world most Anglophone pop fans won't even know existed. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2020
Beastie Boys Story (2020) Michael Hann I came away from it wishing the Beastie Boys were my friends, and feeling glad they still care for each other. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2020
Vertigo (1958) Deborah Ross The storytelling isn't up to much. It drags and drags. EDIT
Posted May 18, 2020
Untamed Frontier (1952) Virginia Graham Though smoothly directed by Mr. Hugo Fregonese, it has little new to offer on the hoof situation. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
Torn Curtain (1966) Ian Cameron It certainly deserves an honourable place among his second-division works, like Strangers on the Train. EDIT
Posted May 7, 2020
True Confession (1937) Basil Wright [True Confession] is a carefully calculated essay in controlled lunacy -- controlled, because it is nearly always true enough to the humanities to remain curiously convincing, lunatic chiefly because of John Barrymore's macabre performance. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2020
The Trouble With Harry (1955) Isabel Quigly Sprightly is the word for Hitchcock's direction; neither moral nor gruesome, neither childish nor yet quite adult, neither in the world nor quite outside it, it gives the impression of taking you straight into a peculiarly vivid dream. EDIT
Posted May 5, 2020
The Lady Eve (1941) Edgar Anstey Mr. Sturges is clearly a good showman. Later in the film he fortunately reveals himself as something even more important -- a gay screen-writer and an imaginative director. EDIT
Posted May 1, 2020
The Assistant (2019) Deborah Ross Garner is superb at conveying her character's increasing concern, degradation and inner conflict. EDIT
Posted Apr 30, 2020
The Goldwyn Follies (1938) Stuart Legg All this might have been excellent fun. and incidentally good satire, if only the scenes of the play itself had been anything but even more ineffectual than the play within the play. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Montana (1950) Virginia Graham Though the film follows the accustomed lines of westerns, and though neither Mr. Flynn nor Miss Smith is anything out of the ordinary, the advent of sheep in a picture of this kind is so unusual that one can scarce refrain from feeling refreshed. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Three Husbands (1950) Virginia Graham A disappointing film. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Men of Two Worlds (1946) Basil Wright With all its faults the film has the great quality of sincerity ; and in many respects it has naiveté which is comparable to that of some of the Soviet films, and which in films of any origin whatever is not to be despised. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
The Canterbury Tales (1971) Christopher Hudson Canterbury Tales is a caricature, utterly lacking in poetry of human feeling, which cannot be excused by Pasolini's ignorance of Chaucer or the contempt he affects for the prudery of the society he lives in. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Goodbye, My Lady (1956) Isabel Quigly A film of remarkable charm, made up of small, intimate touches, sure and exactly suit- able performances, a perfect command of sound --in the Mississippi swamplands -- as well as vision, and a delicacy of taste, humour and suggestion. EDIT
Posted Apr 29, 2020
Marnie (1964) Ian Cameron It is a film of such complexity that, after three viewings, I feel that I have hardly begun to understand it, but each time, new layers of meaning have revealed themselves. EDIT
Posted Apr 28, 2020
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Isabel Quigly A curate's egg of a film, but thoroughly recommended. EDIT
Posted Apr 28, 2020
Iron Mask (2019) Deborah Ross It's the sort of film that, in fact, makes the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise look like a series of elegant, coherent masterworks. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2020
The Day of the Jackal (1973) Christopher Hudson All of this the cinema is properly and effectively equipped to handle. Zinnemann, with the help of an excellent script from Kenneth Ross, has tansferred the novel lock, stock, barrel and silencer to the screen. EDIT
Posted Apr 24, 2020
The Plainsman (1936) Graham Greene The Plainsman is certainly the finest Western since The Virginian: perhaps it is the finest Western in the history of the film. EDIT
Posted Apr 22, 2020
To Each His Own (1946) Basil Wright This one is set in war-time England (a very curious country) and involves that clever, but in this case stultified actress, Olivia de Havilland. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2020
Rear Window (1954) Virginia Graham The acting is impeccable. The novelty appealing. The climax thrilling. The length too long. EDIT
Posted Apr 16, 2020