Category Archives: DVD Review

The Spiritualist (1948) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Also known as The Amazing Mr X, this beautifully shot and gently mocking  ‘Gaslight-meets-Rebecca‘ mystery melodrama also has a Noir style all its own. It also sports a charming performance from the late Turhan Bey who, in what appears to … Continue reading

Posted in Cornell Woolrich, DVD Review, Film Noir, Gothic, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 25 Comments

The Mind Benders (1963) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Dirk Bogarde is the troubled scientist at the centre of this suspense drama combining espionage, brainwashing, sensory deprivation chambers and domestic navel gazing that often feels like a rich inverted pudding, light on the bottom and heavy on top. This … Continue reading

Posted in Basil Dearden, Cold War, DVD Review, Espionage, Oxford, Scene of the crime, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 20 Comments

Twilight (1998) – Tuesday’s Forgotten Film

Originally shot under the title ‘Magic Hour’, this low-key murder mystery has probably received extra attention since the release of the Stephenie Meyer books. If so, some may have been a tad disappointed by the lack of teenage supernatural activity … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Film Noir, Los Angeles, Noir on Tuesday, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Scene of the crime, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Cops | 24 Comments

Noir on Tuesday: HICKEY & BOGGS

A train pulls into a busy platform and a woman in sunglasses gets off and quickly walks away. She goes through LA’s Union Station, still looking largely as it did since it opened in 1939. We dissolve to a street … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Film Noir, Five Star review, Noir on Tuesday, Private Eye, Robert Culp | 7 Comments

DVD Review: HARRY’S GAME

Ex-ITN correspondent Gerald Seymour first came to prominence with his IRA novel Harry’s Game and its success was for once enhanced rather than tarnished by its TV adaptation. This dynamic manhunt thriller, faithfully adapted by Semour himself and adroitly directed by … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Espionage, Gerald Seymour, The Sandbaggers | Leave a comment

Film Top 10: Surprise Villains

O Henry was considered to be the original master of the twist ending in his popular short stories, at least in the sense that this is what he became famous for – and certainly there are a great many movies … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Agatha Christie, Columbo, DVD Review, Film Noir, Giallo, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, Spy movies, Top 10 | 10 Comments

DVD Review: ARCHANGEL

Counter-factual history as an academic discipline has generated fascinating speculation on the roots and causes of historical events, an area previously explored most effectively by such novelists as Philip K. Dick in The Man in the High Castle, Len Deighton with SSGB and … Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Len Deighton, Robert Harris | Leave a comment

Noir on Tuesday: THE SPIRITUALIST (1948)

The Spiritualist (1948), also known as The Amazing Mr X, has recently been rescued from public domain hell in the US and been added to the library of MOD (Manufactured On Demand) titles from the Warner Bros Archive and can be ordered through Amazon or directly from their website. It’s a beautifully shot, highly atmospheric mystery and a testament to the sadly curtailed directorial career of Bernard Vorhaus. Continue reading

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DVD review: THE CHINESE DETECTIVE (1981-82)

Although awesomely prolific in the crime and mystery genre, Ian Kennedy Martin will probably be best remembered as the creator of The Sweeney, even though he didn’t write a single episode of the actual series leaving immediately after setting up the template in the feature-length pilot, Regan. More recently one could still see its influence in the ‘Gene Hunt’ character from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Robbed of the post-modern and fantasy trappings surrounding him, Hunt is very much recognisable as a pastiche of the kind of tough coppers played by Patrick Mower, Lewis Collins and Dennis Waterman in 1970s shows like Target, The Professionals and most potent of all, The Sweeney. Martin however went on to create several other shows with which he was much more intimately involved including the long running feminist procedural Juliet Bravo and perhaps most interesting of all, The Chinese Detective. Continue reading

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DVD Review: CSI GRAVE DANGER (2005)

After helming a thoroughly self-referential episode of E.R. and an occasional acting role in Alias, Quentin Tarantino continued his flirtation with television drama by bringing his full talents to bear on this two-part finale to the fifth season of CSI, the long-running glitzy forensic cop drama that plays like a endoscopic version of Quincy. Employing the buried alive motif from his own Kill Bill, as co-writer and director Tarantino has come up with a 90-minute story that never strays from the series’ ground rules but which is none the less recognisably full of his own obsessions. Continue reading

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The Mind Benders (1963)

THE MIND BENDERS (1963) is an unusual suspense drama, combining as it does a variety of different generic elements, one of Britain’s biggest box office draws now making the transition to more character-based parts and an overall earnestness that leaves one in no doubt of its seriousness of intent. The film came from the team of director Basil Dearden and producer Michael Relph, already known for tackling a variety of topical themes such as race relations (SAPPHIRE in 1959 and, via Shakespeare’s Othello, ALL NIGHT LONG in 1962), medical ethics and religious freedom (LIFE FOR RUTH, 1962) and the UK’s homosexuality laws (VICTIM, 1961) and using the conventions of the thriller and suspense drama to make them more palatable to broad audiences. In that sense it certainly fulfills many of the criteria for the perfect Sunday afternoon viewing, though perhaps compared with their earlier productions one can discern a greater degree of effort in streamlining this story to fit a more commercial genre template. Continue reading

Posted in DVD Review, Spy movies | 3 Comments