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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

I also cover vintage television at my sister site, CLASSICS ON THE TUBE , so please feel free to check that out as well.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Genius At Work (1946)

Starring Wally Brown, Alan Carney, Anne Jeffreys, Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Radio stars Miles & Strager report on the crimes of the mysterious Cobra, not realizing the villain is planning to eliminate them and their clever writer/producer.

We have here one of a series of movies starring the comedy team of Brown and Carney, whose delivery and material aren't all that funny, but this is still an amiable production and entertaining time-passer.  This has been one of the more difficult films on Bela Lugosi's resume to see, and although his role is nothing special, as Atwill's loyal henchman, it's on par with his other appearances in comic mysteries in the 1940s.  This is probably also the only film that affords us a look at Atwill in drag, in keeping with the silly nonsense that characterizes Brown and Carney's work.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Case Of The Velvet Claws (1936)

Starring Warren William, Claire Dodd, Winifred Shaw, Gordon Elliott, Joseph King
Directed by William Clemens
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Attorney Perry Mason must put off his honeymoon with Della Street when a woman demands his help at gunpoint.

A lesser entry in the Perry Mason film series without the pacing and energy of other installments, this isn't a bad movie, and fans of William should enjoy it, but I found it rather routine.  Dodd seems to go from loving Mason to wanting to end the marriage somewhat arbitrarily, and although a plot twist with Mason's client trying to implicate him in a murder is interesting, the supporting players don't have much of an opportunity to flesh out their roles.