The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Review

It’s time for the remake to the film I just reviewed. When you watch both of these films back to back you can really compare their strengths and see which one comes out on top. Ultimately I would say this one definitely beat the original. Both of them are solid and so I wouldn’t say the gap is big or anything but I was really able to get behind the remake. I felt like the main characters were stronger and with the added time you could do a lot more. Although ironically the villains have almost 0 development.

The film starts with Ben and Jo on vacation with their son Hank. They’ve had a pretty fun time of it so far and have a few more stops left. They nearly get into a fight with someone on the bus though when Hank steals something from a lady. They are saved by the intervention of a guy named Louis who is eager to know everything he can about Ben. He asks a ton of questions and every time Jo tries to ask him something the guy ignores or and asks Ben some more questions. Ben loves talking about himself so this is a fine set up for him. After telling Louis where they are staying, how long they will be staying and where they will go next, Louis leaves.

Jo warns Ben that he’s making some big mistakes with giving all the info away but Ben’s confident he’ll be okay. Louis ends up getting murdered but quickly tosses Ben a note. Ben thinks about telling the police but then he gets a call warning him not to tell them anything or Hank will die. Turns out that they swiped Hank away under the guise of a nice neighbor taking him home. Ben tries to gently break the news to Jo but she doesn’t take it very well. The two of them are going to need to try and track Hank down but it’ll be difficult since they aren’t exactly used to dealing with the underground. All they’ve got as a clue is a location from the note.

Like in the first film we get the return of the Church led by one of the villains. This time they aren’t worshipping the Sun though so it’s not quite as outlandish. It’s interesting because this could have been game set and match for the villains if there was any way to leave the Church without being noticed. Unfortunately for the heroes that isn’t exactly possible. In a small setting like that, everyone notices when you get up and the villains have a plan for everything. It was fun to see the various stare downs in there as well.

This time around we don’t get a big shootout climax. In fact, the climax is very low key with things happening quickly but quietly. The ending just sort of happens as we cut away from what would have presumably been the full climax. It’s a solid ending but I do think the first movie has the edge in that area. I was glad Ben went for the shove at one point since it’s always something I feel more heroes should do. Look, if you are being held at gun point and the guy is at your side instead of behind you, just quickly shove into him.

At that angle he can’t hit you in the head and a heart shot is unlikely. So now you’ve got him on the ground and even if you’re wounded perhaps you can hold him down until someone arrives to help. At the very least Hank is safe no matter what so you’ve accomplished your main objective. It’s certainly a whole lot better than just accepting your inevitable death. Because if you follow this guy into a car or a dark alley that’s all that awaits you. At least this way you have a chance.

Hank doesn’t do a whole lot in this film. He’s just a kid after all so he gets kidnapped and tricked but that’s about it. Jo’s a solid main heroine. I wish she wouldn’t panic quite as much when she learns about Hank going missing but after that initial scene she handles the rest of it pretty well. She was key in helping out at the opera as well as executing the big plan at the end involving her songs. She took a fairly large role in getting Hank to safety.

The same can be said for Ben who does his best to take on this criminal enterprise. He may not have experience but he’s got determination which is important. In this version of the film he’s with Jo a lot more while in the first film he was teaming up with the older fellow. The change makes sense since this way both parents get a sizable role here.

As mentioned before, the villains aren’t very memorable though. You have the old lady who starts to think that maybe she’s on the wrong side here. It’s way too late if you ask me though. She was completely fine with kidnapping the child and it was obvious what would happen to Hank in the end. Getting cold feet now doesn’t make her more heroic. The other villains are mainly just here as part of the story but don’t have a lot of character. At best you have the friend of the prime minister who had an interesting personality. He certainly doesn’t excuse failure a whole lot but as a political head he can’t go around shooting people either so he’s in a bit of a bind.

Overall, This was a pretty solid remake. The writing was very good as expected and I thought the characters were an improvement over the first film except that the villains were not memorable. The film had a little more humor than the first film and it all landed pretty well. One of the better gags was the main characters having to rush out all the time to the confusion of their friends and family who had gone over to have some fun with them. It wasn’t quite the house party they had in mind that’s for sure. I’d recommend checking this one out. Unless you want to compare both titles directly and just want to watch one, I would say this is the definitive version of the movie to check out.

Overall 7/10

The Man Who Knew Too Much Review

Whenever you know too much it can be tricky. Knowledge is hidden away for a reason after all and when you find out what it is, you’ve just put yourself in a whole lot of danger. It’s something that the lead characters learn quickly here although it’s not knowledge that they tried to learn so you can’t blame them. It’s a pretty solid suspense thriller with a surprisingly action packed climax.

The movie starts with Bob and Jill enjoying a nice vacation with their daughter Betty. Unfortunately Betty does wreck Jill’s chances of winning a shootout though by causing a lot of noise and distractions. She was goaded on by another character but it was still a tragic way to start the day. Bob and Jill head back in to have a good time but then a mysterious person they didn’t know very well hands Bob a letter and quickly gets murdered. Bob is about to tell the police about this when he reads the letter and sees that it’s a threat. If he tells anyone what he knows then Betty will die.

Bob confirms that Betty is gone and so this threat cannot be taken lightly. Bob needs to find these guys and fast so he heads out with Clive. The reason for urgency is that the cops are slowly gaining ground on the villains as well and if they do catch them, the antagonists may believe that Bob spilled the beans and take out Betty. The heroes will have to go to some dangerous places and dark alleys to find them. Meanwhile Jill has to do her best to stop another assassination attempt from taking place.

There’s a lot going on here which is something you always want to be able to stay about a thriller. Bob goes to different places from street corners to dentists to corrupt churches. In the dentist scene I was impressed with how he turned the situation around. Usually when the villain grabs their tube and starts to hit you with the knockout gas, the character will immediately fall to the ground and have no tolerance for the stuff. It’s not a very impressive look for them but Bob was able to rip it off and take the villain down. Now that was impressive.

In general I thought Bob was very good. He did a lot of the legwork in trying to find Betty and put himself in peril many times. He didn’t crumble under the pressure and kept a cool head about everything. His partner Clive also deserves a lot of credit for sticking with him on the adventures. He had a particularly rough time at the dentist’s office and was still able to keep it moving. He was certainly a loyal companion.

Meanwhile you also have Jill doing her best to handle this. We saw in the opening scene that she is good with a gun so the whole time you’re waiting for the payoff on this. Fortunately it does arrive and as the film’s climax is a giant shootout, that makes sense. This way each character got to contribute which was good. Only Betty didn’t I suppose but as a kid there’s not a whole lot she could do. The villains treated her pretty well at least so the experience wasn’t too traumatic.

The climax was extremely explosive though which is still surprising. The villains decide that they won’t go out without a fight and the nonstop shooting between the heroes and villains commences. The police didn’t look very impressive with their counter strategies though. If you see that your guys are going down one after the other you should probably rethink your strategy of plunging forward. They don’t and so by the end of the film a few villains have managed to take down almost 2 dozen cops. That was pretty crazy and I wish we had seen more tactics.

The main villain here is Abbott who looks shifty from the start. I think it’s safe to say that you’ll figure he is the villain almost as soon as he appears. You have the sinister music/atmosphere when he shows up and there aren’t a whole lot of other suspects anyway. Abbott does make for a good villain though. He seems a little insane but that’s not surprising for a villain like this. He’s the brains of the operation and the rest of the villains are fairly expendable to him. He made it pretty far in this plan.

The only character who didn’t seem to have much of a clue the whole time was Louis. I dunno, I suppose the whole thing wasn’t his fault since he had a mission to achieve but it felt like he didn’t act too cautiously. You’d never know that he was a professional agent with the risks he took. The guy thought he was James Bond with how he would party and hang out. I’m mixed on him since a decent amount of that may have been his cover. If he could have taken a few villains down before going out that would have helped.

The film is very strong all around though. The characters are good and the script is really solid. I’ve probably said this a thousand times but I love the good banter in the old school titles with the heroes and villains. There’s always a very fake polite type dialogue going on between them. If you read the text through an emotionless machine you could think the characters were friends but it’s all in how they talk to each other. The pacing is on point as well.

Overall, The Man Who Knew Too Much is a solid thriller. It is pretty tense with the child being kidnapped and all. We also get some rather atmospheric locations like the fake church. The characters balancing their attempts to save their kid while also being subtle or they will put her in more danger was effective. The cops also looked decent here as they were beginning to find Abbott, I just wish they had looked better in the climax. There’s no scenario where running into a stronghold filled with guns is a good idea without some kind of cover. You gotta be ready to adjust and then fight back.

Overall 7/10

Saboteur Review

It’s time for a film that I saw quite a while ago so it’s about time I did the review. It’s an engaging thriller with a lot of fun characters and a good conspiracy angle. It will definitely hold your attention from start to finish. The film feels short while you’re watching it but the length is on point.

The movie starts out with a few guys at an army base ready for another day. Barry bumps into a rather ill mannered guy named Fry who doesn’t seem to want to be here. Barry doesn’t think much of it but then a fire breaks out. Fry hands Barry a fire extinguisher that was actually loaded with fuel. This would have been the end of Barry but his friend offered to help stop the fire and got the booby trapped device. He dies and now everyone thinks Barry is the saboteur. Barry needs to find a way to clear his name and to do that he will need to find the man named Fry. Fry conveniently escaped at the time of the explosion though and there’s no trace that he was ever here.

You could say that the majority of this film plays out like an adventure film. Barry is on the run from the world and the only hint that he has is a post card Fry dropped that references a farm somewhere. He hitches a ride and makes it over there but it’s not so easy or the film would be 30 minutes long. Lets just say that this is a global conspiracy and Fry isn’t a 1 man army. He has friends that are helping him achieve his goals and Barry finds this out the hard way.

Barry ends up getting captured and put into a tough spot more than once. What makes a lot of these adventures fun though is that the dialogue is really good here. This shouldn’t come as any surprise to you but the script is on point and it helps to enhance the pacing. The characters have fairly layered discussions on the situation. Barry questions why they are even doing this a few times. The villains say they can’t stand the U.S. but as Barry points out, they’ve done rather well for themselves in the country.

I wouldn’t say any of the villains are particularly memorable as far as their names go aside from Fry, but I did like the owner of the ranch a lot. He was really smooth with getting Barry to drop his guard down. He acts nice enough and even has his kid around despite being ready to take Barry out at any moment. Even his maid has a gun at the ready. See, a lot of the villains in this film have a good amount of political influence and have positions aside from being mobsters. It’s part of what makes them hard to stop like in the party scene near the end.

It’s hard for people to believe that these guys are spies. It’s also a hard sell to believe some random person you’ve never met before over people you have lived and chatted with for decades. Barry only has one ally and I hesitate to call her that. Early on in the film he ends up heading to a shack where a blind man allows him entry. They get along pretty well and the guy figures out what secrets Barry is hiding very quickly. He’s without a doubt one of the best characters in the film.

His niece Patricia is not quite as reasonable. She just wants to arrest Barry at any cost and doesn’t believe him one bit. Now, it’s fine that she’s skeptical, it’s not a story that just anyone would buy. It’s all quite incredible but then she shouldn’t lie about it. Be straight with her uncle that she doesn’t believe Barry or let him go but pretending to take him to the locksmith and going to the police instead is pretty fishy.

Now, the uncle’s lock picking friends turned out to be a little dicey as well but leave that for Barry to figure out. Instead it takes a lot longer to get to the destination and gets risky. Right through to the end Patricia is still making calls. I’d give her more props for being heroic if she handled things differently but as it is she just gets in the way. By the time she weakens and joins Barry for good it feels like it’s a little late in the game.

Barry’s a decent main character but I wouldn’t say he’s great either. He could have done a much better job of explaining himself. When Patricia says she’s cold he immediately uses this as an excuse to start flirting as well which just doesn’t seem like a very heroic thing to do. I’d like to see him focus more on trying to stop Fry and saving the world. He doesn’t tend to enter the situations very well prepared but fortunately luck is usually on his side.

Overall, The Saboteur is a pretty good film. The plot is interesting and the dialogue between the characters is a blast. I would say the villains tended to be more interesting than the heroes though. I liked the Uncle a lot with his brief screen time though. Barry and Patricia could have been stronger but I wouldn’t say they were bad either. They just needed some kind of boost to make them better leads. If you’re up for a good spy thriller then this is definitely a solid one to check out.

Overall 7/10

Suspicion Review

Suspicion is a good reminder that you never want to take things too quickly. If you meet someone you probably shouldn’t get married the next week because you still don’t truly know the person. You have to give yourself some time or else you’ll be starring in your own Hitchcock thriller as you get stressed out at all times.

The movie starts with a drunk Johnnie getting on a train. Unfortunately he went to the first class section despite only having a third class ticket. He manages to save himself from disaster by snatching a stamp from the girl sitting across from him. Her name is Lina and while she wasn’t thrilled about this, she allows it to happen. She figures they’ll never meet again at least.

Unfortunately their paths do cross again. Johnnie convinces her to skip Church which shows what kind of example he is setting already and teases/insults her a bunch. She finds this charming though but then he vanishes again. She waits a while and eventually he turns up and asks her to marry him. She agrees…of course. Well, now things should be on the up and up but after they’re married he drops the biggest bombshell. He is broke without a penny to his name. He hopes they can live off of her inheritance but she explains that it still won’t be enough to afford this big house.

Their marriage continues to get bumpier and bumpier as she finds out that he has been lying about everything. He sells her chairs without permission, goes gambling and even steals some money. All of these acts add up but Lina decides to allow them because she’ll allow just about anything. The only issue is…she begins to think that he may be out to murder her. Can Lina escape this situation?

Suspicion does a good job of gradually raising the stakes throughout the film. At first Johnnie is just a playful bully who messes with her hair. Gradually he moves on to breaking and entering, but he does it in a charismatic way where it’s supposed to be quirky as opposed to dangerous. Then he starts lying constantly but each time it is seemingly to Lina’s benefit in the end or so he claims. Then we go to theft and that’s starting to get more serious. Even the cops may have to show up. Finally when you reach the murder tier, it looks insane that Lina is still around but because this all happened gradually, to her it never felt like a sudden rise.

As with many Hitchcock films there is also a lot that is left to your imagination here. You can really read the ending in a two main ways and a lot of sub paths from that branch. The first is that Johnnie is still lying. Certain incidents to which he should not have had a part in involving brandy and a sudden accident would have been his doings. If this is the path you believe happened then he is definitely an extremely dangerous character and Lina is not out of the woods.

If you’re on the second path and do think he was at least genuine at the end then that means Lina isn’t in danger and Johnnie at least had some lines he wouldn’t cross. I’m inclined to believe the second path is what happened, it at least feels that way but I dunno. I wouldn’t say it with a lot of confidence, it’s my pick but you could make rather strong cases for both. Naturally it would change the atmosphere of the ending. If Hitchcock wanted to make it obvious the final scene would be Johnnie offering Lina a glass of milk but that would be rather on the nose.

Suspicion’s greatest strength is how engaging the story is. The extra details also give it a good amount of replay value. There’s a lot to think about here. The writing is good as always and the movie is reasonably long so a lot of things get to happen during the run time. Nothing is rushed in the slightest and the ending is satisfying either way.

It’s a credit to the film that it succeeded despite my not liking either of the two protagonists. I didn’t like Lina because she gets pushed around way too easily. She fell in love with Johnnie right away but it’s hard to see how since both of her first impressions with him weren’t great. In the first he basically steals money from her and in the next he tricks her out of not going to Church and then tries to pull a fast one on her in the garden. He suckers her so many times and she doesn’t seem to care.

She even gets upset at Beaky despite his story making complete sense the whole time. I didn’t like the way she handled some of these moments that’s for sure. Then we have Johnnie as the lead. Well, there’s not much to like about him. He’s a playboy who’s apparently been in numerous affairs already. He is completely untrustworthy and you can’t have a true relationship without trust. It just doesn’t work and would always be doomed to fail.

The whole reason why Lina gets these suspicions about Johnnie is because she knows that she can’t trust him. He is directly responsible for every bad thing that happens in the film. There’s just no excusing the lying all the time. Selling the chairs without telling Lina was also really bad since she kept explaining that they were family heirlooms and could not be replaced. Then you have his whole stealing 2000 pounds from his employer. The list goes on and on and he gets rather terse with Lina for no good reason.

So in a way both main characters made quite the match here but I really didn’t like either one of them. The only good character here was Beaky. He added a lot of fun to the adventure and kept the characters on their toes. He was not smart in the slightest though considering his allergy to drinking. A single sip causes him to have seizures to the point where he nearly dies. In that case why does he continue to drink? You’d think that he would give it a rest then and not put himself in those situations. It’s a shame that he didn’t think things through.

Overall, Suspicion is definitely a very solid film. I would certainly recommend checking it out and see how you interpret the ending. There’s a lot to think about so pay attention to each detail as this goes through to the end. You may find it hard to like or sympathize with the two main characters but just hang in there until Beaky arrives and he shows them what’s up.

Overall 7/10

Notorious Review

It’s time for a classic Alfred Hitchcock film. He’s made quite a few good mystery thrillers over the years and his writing skills are always consistent. That being said, this is definitely one of those plots that doesn’t really age well, or you could make the stronger case that it was never a good plot. As such, the very concept of it limits the execution quite a bit. It’s not a film that is nearly as enjoyable as his average flick, but still retains more dignity than other films of its nature would nowadays.

The movie starts off with someone being arrested as a Nazi spy. He is arrested and taken to the chair, but the government isn’t able to get a whole lot of useful information out of it. As such, Agent Devlin is instructed to locate the traitor’s daughter Alicia, as she has long been opposed to his betrayal. She is reluctant to do so, but Devlin gets her on board eventually. That’s when he learns the truth of her mission, Alicia is to marry the leader of the Nazi faction Alex and gain access to all of the secrets. Devlin has a tough choice to make. He can say no to the order and escape with Alicia or he can go through with the whole thing. Ultimately he is too scared to go with the former option so he ends up going with the latter. That’s where I lost all respect for Devlin and he never quite recovered from that. Alicia is proving to be successful at her role, but can she keep this up or will she ultimately be found out and bumped off?

It’s a mission with high stakes, but it’s such a dicey mission that there is no longer a side to root for. The only sympathetic character here is Alicia. She does a lot of stuff she did not want to do all to help Devlin out. It’s not even so much about helping the country, but just making sure that things go well for Devlin. He’s definitely not a very grateful recipient about this though and constantly treats her coldly. It’s too bad for Alicia, but at least her ending is fairly positive at least. She can be rather proud just like Devlin but you can’t blame her since otherwise she would just be caving in every time. I can’t really blame her for anything in this film, she’s at least doing her best. I don’t agree with her mission, but I blame the ones giving it to her more than her carrying it out.

That’s why Devlin was doomed. He basically spends the entire movie sulking and whining. The guy’s a terrible agent as he couldn’t even guess what the mission was until it was told to him plainly. We’re supposed to take this guy seriously as an elite agent? He’s a scrub and I’ll go more into that later on. Agents can’t let emotions sway them but they constantly do for Devlin to the point where he makes all of the wrong calls. If you’re going to be emotionally driven then at least let it help you out. It’s like Devlin can’t do anything right. It may be harsh, but he was an absolutely terrible character. If anything Alex was far better.

Alex is the main villain and we can’t forget that. However, at least he acts like a decent guy beyond that. He’s polite to Alicia and trusts her quite a bit. He gives her freedom and the benefit of the doubt quite a bit. It’s only once it becomes obvious that she is cheating on him that he turns. Even then he is able to stay in control and goes through with a pretty diabolical plan (Not of his origin but at least he followed it) rather than falling into a panic. He’s the antagonist, but he’s a well written one and just seems like a more quality character than Devlin.

Lets go back to Devlin. As I mentioned, Alex eventually starts piecing it together that Alicia is a traitor. Why was he able to do that? Well, the official plan is that Devlin and Alicia are to meet just about every day at a public park. They will be meeting there every day and could not be more obvious if they tried. Still, somehow they get away with it for a while so then they decide to escalate this. They meet up at the horse races where Alex and his mother are. Keep in mind that he’s the top ranking member of the organization so it would make sense that he has minions and generals watching his every move as well as watching her. Alicia and Devlin don’t take this into consideration and meet up for a while. They’re caught of course. As such, Alicia invites Devlin to the house where they can’t control themselves and are caught in the act once more.

They make so many crazy moves that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a horror movie. Finally they make the worst decision of the film. It’s so huge that you could basically call it a plot hole if we assume that Devlin is even remotely intelligent but we won’t make that mistake. The mysterious dust is being kept in Wine bottles so Devlin has Alicia steal the key so he can check it out. Of course Devlin drops one of the bottles so it breaks. He sweeps it under the drawer and then puts another one in its place. He gives Alicia the key (Too late at this point) and runs away. So…Alicia forgets all about the key. Shouldn’t she have realized that Alex couldn’t get into the wine cellar without it and so he would realize that someone had swiped it? It becomes increasingly obvious that Alicia swiped it and the whole thing is just pretty sad for all parties involved.

You definitely won’t have a positive impression of the government in this film by the end. Their dangerous mission for Alicia proved to be basically pointless by the end. I also feel like they could have all just busted into the building since they knew where the base was and then they could have grabbed all of the bottles. Even having Alicia marry the villain showed that these government guys couldn’t care less what happens to her. That kind of ruthless government isn’t uncommon but it doesn’t make them any less antagonistic.

Overall, Notorious is definitely an engaging film, but one that proves to be more frustrating than enjoyable at times. It’s similar to the Mission Impossible 2 plot and if even that series couldn’t pull it off, what chance does this movie have? Whenever a plot involves an agent having to go all in with the villain the movie is probably doomed. It’s just not a plot that I can get behind, nor do I think that will ever change. If you can get past that then this is a reasonable suspense thriller, but otherwise you’re better off watching almost any of his other installments.

Overall 5/10

To Catch A Thief Review

It’s time for a retro romance thriller from Alfred Hitchcock. It’s not exactly one of his typical murder mysteries since there isn’t really any murder involved in the case. Someone does get murdered, but it isn’t a main focus. It’s more about outsmarting the culprit and claiming innocence. It’s a solidly written film with an interesting plot, but the romance does slow the pacing down and at times makes the story appear to be a little less structured and focused than it could be.

The film starts with a cat burgler stealing from a bunch of rich people. The good news is that is does it at night and so nobody actually gets hurt. The bad news is that he still is robbing them so it’s basically a consolation prise. Meanwhile everyone keeps shooting dirty looks at John. This is because he is an ex thief who used to steal from people until he was thrown in the slammer to do some hard time. He’s reformed, but naturally everyone suspects him and this includes his comrades from the resistance. John figures that the only way to capture this imposter is to don the Cat suit once more and out thief the thief. He’ll catch the guy red handed and take him to the cops. Nobody is going to stop this vigilante.

Here’s the problem with the set up. While this plot is established quite early on, John doesn’t actually lay any kind of trap for the thief until near the end of the movie. Until then he is mainly playing catch up as he gets a little too interested in his research and starts hanging out with Danielle. She isn’t very inconspicuous and so it gets tough for him to be in a position to prevent any thefts. The romance slows the film down quite a bit and also doesn’t make sense for the main character. He seriously has no time for all of this and should be looking for a way to get outside so he can follow The Cat. The thief keeps taunting him with written messages so that should give him more incentive. One of John’s friends even tries to murder him at one point so he really can’t trust anyone.

John is just a character that can be a little hard to root for. He is a decently interesting main character, but comes off as rather generic at times. Switch him out for any other main character of the old days and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. Playing up his ex-thief skills a little more would have probably helped his case if you ask me. The fact that he was having a lot of trouble with the new Cat didn’t help his case. The intro was his best scene as he tricks the cops and uses a rather elaborate plan to escape his fate of being arrested. Those are the kinds of skills that you would expect to see from a man who was revered as being really skilled back in his hay day.

Frances is another ex criminal and she admires John’s skills. She believes that he should become the Cat again and steal enough so that he can be rich. Then they can retire to an island. John’s gone past his life of crime and never wants to look back though. The film does seem to tip its hand a little with some of the mystery surrounding Frances, but maybe the directness of the plot is supposed to make you second guess yourself. It can be a rather effective technique can used correctly. Danielle is the actual main heroine though and she definitely deserves some props for being rather intelligent. She sees through John’s stories with ease and even pokes holes in them. You usually see characters figure out a story, but sometimes you don’t get the explanation. This film makes it clear how she was able to figure out the truth and with her connections it makes sense that it would be easy. She is not the most trusting of characters though and her partnership with John gets rocky for quite a while. I definitely think she over dramatizes the situation at times.

Danielle’s best scene is certainly the car chase that happens while she reveals that she knows John’s secret identity. Not only does it show that she does have enough skills to hold her own against him but she is able to drive at a speed where he even gets nervous. This time John is the one who panics as they zoom from turn to turn. A single misstep would have meant their demise so it’s easy to see why he’s nervous. It was decently a long car chase that would make the Fast and the Furious folks proud. It’s easily one of the best parts of the film.

On the other hand, her mother is always as cool as a cucumber. She got her riches thanks to her husband being a crook so she’s not phased by any of this. She’s a really fun character to have around even if her screen time is rather short. Her scenes still end up being rather critical. In general I’d say that the supporting cast was pretty solid and at times they were more impressive than the main characters. The writing did a good job of developing the characters and since you didn’t know who you could trust the whole time, it added to the tense atmosphere.

The cops look rather inept the whole time, but what else is new? At least they do talk a good game and their outright aggression towards John is nice as they aren’t even pretending to like the guy. If they are able to catch him in the act they will bring him in, dead or alive. John isn’t unnerved about this, but the cops are certainly serious. Of course, things do have to be spelled out for them by the end before they actually get it.

Overall, To Catch A Thief is a fun film with a good premise. It just gets bogged down by the shallow romance and some pacing issues. While I wouldn’t say the film was too long, I do think it mixed up its priorities. Seeing a few more of the thefts in motion would have helped to establish this new Cat as a pro and having John watch from afar would have also legitimized him as an actual expert in the matter. We just don’t get to really see him in action enough to actually buy into the hype. Some jewels were stolen from the target while John was in the building after all. He even knew that the people there would be targets so that’s an example of him not living up to his reputation. This film isn’t as good as Hitchcock’s classic murder mysteries, but it’s not bad. It’s always good for a film maker to experiment with different genres after all and so long as they don’t turn out bad I’d say that it was worth it. I’d recommend checking out this film.

Overall 7/10

The Trouble with Harry Review

“The trouble with Harry is that he’s always grabbing the beer. I try to tell him to let go, but he just ends up pouring himself another glass. What about the rest of us? Why don’t we get any beer? Ah well, there’s only one way to end this. Hand me that Axe Suzy, our little Harry problem is about to end. ….come here Harry” This film is also part mystery as you don’t really know who killed off Harry. The film gradually introduces more and more suspects with that question looming in the background. Nobody has an alibi and every character in the film wanted to murder Harry. Still, they couldn’t have all been in on it….could they?

The film starts off with an old man by the name of Captain Wiles. He was shooting anyone who couldn’t fight back to prove that humanity is the race with the biggest inferiority complex when he accidentally shoots a man. This man is named Harry and Wiles realizes that this could stain his reputation. He decides to hide the body so he can bury it, but that’s when an odd chap by the name of Sam shows up. Sam likes to draw just about anything and a murdered man will do just fine. It doesn’t take much convincing for Sam to join in on the operation and bury Harry. Things get complicated when Wiles tells Sam that a lady from down the road recognized Harry’s corpse and was glad about it. Her name is Jennifer and it turns out that Harry was her husband. Meanwhile, Wiles decides to forget about all of this so he runs off to a neighbor’s house. The resident goes by the name of GRAVEly. GRAVEly isn’t particularly surprised to learn of Harry’s demise and she takes the whole thing in stride and even asks Wiles to head to her cabin in the middle of nowhere later that day. Alone of course. Wiles has been in a war before so he figures that nobody can actually be a bad person here in the homeland right? He leaves his shovel and gun at home and heads to the carriage.

So, those are the key players. With the exception of Miss GRAVEly there are no obvious hints on the suspects so you want to keep an eye on all of them. While the plot sounds like an intense thriller murder mystery, it’s actually more of a comedy. You may have guessed that though when you realized that the plot was completely subverting the usual tropes. Everyone wanted to destroy Harry so they’re all pretty happy to hear that he’s dead. Since none of them have any alibis that also makes it a little harder for the cops to figure out what is going on. Yes, the cops do play a role in this and one of them in particular is eager to get to the bottom of this rabbit hole.

One thing that the film does really well is achieve the old school effect of a classic film. The atmosphere is quiet and happy as a little town ought to be. The characters are pretty nice and reasonable with the exception of Sam. The opening scene is also a lot of fun as we see Wiles continually have to abort his mission of hiding the body when random people walk up the hill. Nobody cares about the dead corpse though as some just continue reading while another one steals from the corpse. It’s a cruel world out there, that’s for sure.

To counterbalance the happy scenes, we also have some jump scares here as well. There is a haunted closet in the living room of Jennifer’s apartment and it has a tendency to open on its own. It’s almost as if someone is watching the cast, but that couldn’t be…right? Wiles is the only one who seems to notice this throughout the film, but he is too nervous to actually open the closet. It added a nice element of danger to the film and also helped with the humor in a sense. This style of humor definitely worked pretty well throughout.

My only real negative with the film would be Sam. He just comes off as a real sketchy fellow who uses terrible pick up lines for flirting. He doesn’t even seem to care that Jennifer has an impressionable little kid who is listening to what Sam is saying. The whole romance felt off from the start and I definitely couldn’t buy into it. Especially since he only gave her about an hour to think over his extremely sudden proposal. As I mentioned earlier, the rest of the characters were decent even if they were all a little corrupt at times. Wiles first inclination was to hide the body instead of telling the police. That was a bit iffy. The next door neighbor was also happy to run with this and likewise for Jennifer. They all became accomplices to the act whether they committed it or not by not telling the Police. You’ve always gotta tell the proper authorities instead of listening to your impulses to hide and bluff for the rest of your life. Wiles starts to learn this the hard way as his guilt begins to catch up with him. He brings in a lot of the comedy moments as well due to his age.

Miss GRAVEly wasn’t as interesting as some of the other characters, but she was so suspicious that she helped fill in the tension. After all, if you need someone to start digging up graves, who better than Miss GRAVEly? Jennifer’s kid was a little annoying but at least he didn’t appear much. I certainly don’t care much for his taste in toys. It was pretty sad to watch and it’s why we need video games to entertain kids instead of dead animals. We don’t want them to turn into hooligans as they grow up.

Overall, This was a well written film and it was definitely an engaging adventure. I don’t want to give away who the culprit was. That’ll be for you to figure out when you watch the film. I will say that you’ll be shaking your head at Sam a lot though. He certainly incriminates the whole cast quite a few times by leaving pictures of Harry around and just giving the cops a hard time in general. He’s certainly not the smartest guy on the block, nor is he the nicest. He makes a living off of art but constantly shoos his customers away. It’s no wonder why nobody wants to buy his art. The ending will also rub you the wrong way as he takes advantage of a rich old guy. The rich guy is just as guilty for not walking away, but it was complete highway robbery. As long as you can get past Sam, the rest is solid though. Just watch out for the jump scares!

Overall 7/10

I Confess Review

It’s time for a retro film from Alfred Hitchcock. The style is certainly a little different from his other films in the sense that you wouldn’t necessarily know that it was by him. Most of his films are more mystery centered whereas here you do know who the villain is the whole time and the tension is on whether Logan will crack under the pressure or not. It’s a fun film where you have to decide if he’s making the right move or not.

The premise is fairly simple. Logan is a Catholic priest and one day he finds out that the man whom he hired to work at the church murdered a man. Unfortunately, the murderer is the one who told him while in the confessional box. It is strictly forbidden for a priest to use any knowledge learned during this period so Logan must decline to help the police with the investigation when they ask him who the murderer is. Unfortunately, the evidence now makes it look like Logan is the murderer and he can barely provide a defense for himself. Is this the end of the line for him?

Keller is the actual murderer and he evidently doesn’t care if anyone likes him by the end. He’s always trying to make Logan look bad and also doesn’t seem very remorseful for murdering someone. He goes crazy by the end to conveniently help the police realize the truth, but the character isn’t ultimately all that important in the story. Logan can shut him down at any time. As mentioned earlier, it really comes down to whether or not he will abide by the code.

His faith is strong and he never ends up buckling and telling the police what he knows. He does a good job in his Catholic beliefs. I’m a Christian myself and luckily we have no such custom. I definitely don’t fault Logan for not talking since he did well according to his beliefs, but I felt like he could have handled the situation a little better. Aside from not wanting to talk about anything relating to the murder, he also didn’t want to talk about anything related to Ruth, which caused more issues. This meant that he did not even want to create an alibi for himself and effectively made himself look all the more guilty. Not to mention that he tried to dodge the questions and sidetrack the arguments a lot of the time.

Even if he didn’t outright say that Keller was the killer, Logan could have easily explained that he knew who the killer was, but couldn’t say because of the confessional rules. That would have at least given the police something to go with and I don’t believe that this is against the rules. Of course, it could come down to the fact that Logan may have thought of this as “cheating” the rules. It’s like a “lie of omission.” I still don’t believe in the concept, but many do consider it to be a form of lying and essentially cheating the concept of a lie. You’re telling a lie without actually saying anything. If Logan subscribed to that way of thinking, then maybe he felt that he couldn’t even admit that this had anything to do with a confessional. I personally disagree with his stance.

I do think that ommissions are not the same as lying. Take for example the classic example used for the lying debate. 2 Nazi’s walk into your apartment and you are hiding Christians in your attic so they say “Are you hiding Christians in the house?” You have quite a few options without actually lying and they all involve sort of skirting around the whole lying concept. One option is to respond via a technicality. Maybe your home is an apartment, a villa, or something that’s not technically a house. Then you can easily respond with a No and it’s not a lie. You could use an exclamation like “What” “How dare you accuse me of such a thing!” which is not actually lying, while still insinuating that you are saying no and then depending on what they follow up with, you can say no to the question without saying no to the original one. There are many such loopholes that you can exploit in many scenarios, but it does boil down to the fact of whether or not you consider this to be cheating the rule. By the way, I am of the side that believes lying is the better course of action than telling the truth in that case. You are committing a sin no doubt, but saying yes means that you will be killing the people in your house and taking away their choice of life. If it’s just your life on the line, then by all means it’s best to tell the truth and proudly accept your fate as a Christian. When other people are in danger, then self sacrifice is the concept that I subscribe too (Whether or not you have the courage to back up your tough words is another story though) and you are willingly sinning, but I believe that it is different from simply sinning for personal gain. You will have to answer for each and every sin, but I believe that the lives you saved and your willingness to repent and move on from the situation is counted as well.

Back to the film, if Logan believes that admitting to the confessional being the issue of why he can’t talk to be a loophole of the Catholic rule, then he naturally cannot even say this since it would go against his beliefs. It all depends on his feelings on the subject. Either way, he was definitely put in a tough spot, but Logan was a good character. I got worried when he was stranded with Ruth for a night, but he did a good job and handled the situation appropriately. Logan’s a solid lead character and while his actions were frustrating, he did the best that he could.

Most of the other characters were pretty annoying or unlikable. The only other really good character would be the detective. He did a good job of grabbing the facts and showing the other characters who was really in charge of the situation. You could almost root for the guy if you didn’t know that he was already on the wrong side. He meant well and that definitely counts for something. The Prosecutor was also decent and he knew how to have a good time. He would have won the cup game if not for the phone.

Naturally, Keller’s not a likable villain. He comes across as rather petty. His wife was better even if she acted a little too late considering that Keller never seemed like the most respectable guy out there. The other priests didn’t help Logan out all that much, but they were likely praying for him. They were just in a tough spot since it was hard to help him and they definitely understood his plight by the end of the whole ordeal. I did like the priest who had the bike with him, that was a fun gimmick to have.

Meanwhile, Ruth was surprisingly very antagonistic for most of the film. Her treatment of her husband was very uncalled for and she could never rebound from that. She married him for no real reason since she claims to have never loved him and immediately tried going back to Logan only to find out that he had put up the friend zone already. Sometimes, the friend zone card can be quite effective and it’s always great to see it played during a film. It’s one of the ultimate moves to pull in real life as well.

Overall, I Confess was a solid film. The mystery was already known, which always forces a different approach for a mystery. The courtroom drama was intense as always, although without a real defense, it was more one sided than I would have liked. I certainly recommend this film if you’re looking for a classic tale of whether the world can crush you enough to make you relinquish your beliefs or if you can find a way to persevere. It’s a good adventure with a well thought out plot. I don’t remember all that much plot hax at the moment, but I’m sure that I could think of some if I focused!

Overall 7/10

The Wrong Man Review

The Wrong Man is a unique film in the sense that it is a drama and a drama film. Those two sound almost the same though so it was probably just an error on the Google Search…maybe. I always like good retro films as the writing is always strong. I’d call this film a success although I did have one issue with the film that was decently sizable and kept it from being an epic 8. There’s another issue that holds it up a little in the realism angle, but it doesn’t affect the final score. Hitchcock says that this thriller is even more intense than some of his “fictional” ones and he’s probably right as the mix of court room drama and mystery made this a solid experience.

Manny is your average joe. He has a steady job and is known as a very dependable fellow around the neighborhood. Everyone knows him as a nice guy, but he is suddenly confronted by the police one day to answer for a list of crimes. He has apparently committed theft and assault several times. When asked, Manny claims innocence to all of this, but he is telling the truth or is he just trying to get off easy? Only time will tell!

This is supposedly based on a true story and I can believe it as I’m sure that cases like this have happened in the past. That being said, if we’re treating the story as if it really happened, then some scenes really stretched that line in the movie. There was one part where the cops decided to have Manny copy the letter that the criminal wrote to see if their handwriting was the same. It turns out that they were almost identical and Manny also made the same typo that the crook did. That was a little much if you asked me and at that point, I just figured that Manny had a split personality and did do the crimes. I think that this makes more sense than the alternative that the film gave us. That was the only scene that hurt its credability in terms of realism, but one scene is all that you need for something like this.

The only problem that I actually had with the film was the part where Manny’s wife went insane. It happened so suddenly as she was fighting for his innocence one day and the next, she had quickly fallen into despair. Apparently she had already been dealing with this, but the sudden breakdown was still a bit much. It was also very unnecessary to the film if you ask me. The film really would not have changed almost at all if she had stayed strong. The film would have also been more fun that way and Manny could have had someone else on his side. We do get a happy ending for her after a timeskip, but it just furthers the point that this plot was really shoehorned in.

Back to the realism part for a second. It is a little iffy how two of Manny’s witnesses just died so mysteriously. I suppose that mystery films need some red herrings, but everything was conveniently against Manny. He probably would have been doomed in court, but at least he had the character witnesses of his boss and the hotel owners. What he lacked in evidence and proof, Manny made up for with personal connections. I ended up liking his lawyer even though the guy seemed a little fishy at first. He pulled through when it counted and noticed that the jury was very bias and against Manny so he quickly called for a rematch. It was a very good choice on his part and I had barely even realized what the jury was doing. This guy certainly knew his stuff.

Manny was also a good main character. He could have handled the situation a little better I suppose, like talking to the owners of the shop a little more. It’s possible that it would have helped them realize that they had the wrong man. Manny also acted a little suspicious when his wife started to talk to the lawyer about possible witnesses and he quickly made an excuse to leave. Extra red herrings I suppose. The wife was likable before she went insane. A decent heroine, but that subplot hurt her.

I did like the cops as they tried to give Manny a fair shake the whole time, despite the fact that they had basically decided he was guilty from the start. I guess they figured that lying to his face would calm Manny down. The fact that they did call his wife was very iffy though. That just felt shady. These are the cops, not the mafia. What’s with all the secrecy? A few times, you would have thought that they weren’t on the level,but since this is based on a true story, I disregarded that notion since it would have been a little too fantastic. (In the original sense of the word, not good, but just unbelievable) “An innocent man has nothing to fear” is a line that the cops use quite a lot and it’s a memorable one. While it is only mostly true, it’s still something to keep in mind when you’re falsely accused. If you’re a modern film lead, you could even crack a bunch of jokes despite the severity of the situation.

As you would expect, the writing and the script are spot on. Even when Manny and the cops are starting to get a little heated, they use sophisticated burns to stop each other. Another suspicious character was Manny’s step brother, but he ended up being on the level so that was good for the lead. Manny certainly couldn’t afford to have any more enemies in this film. His two sons were also all right I suppose, but you could also call them filler and I’m glad that their roles weren’t any bigger.

The main draw of the film is simply the suspense as the mystery hooks you in. I thought that the film was very enjoyable and the mystery was handled well. I also really liked the court scenes and still love those. There wasn’t as much back and forth as usual since we mostly only saw it from the attacking side, but it was fun nonetheless. The film’s decently long, but doesn’t drag out. I would have liked to have scene the fake Manny a little more, but it wasn’t necessary to the plot I suppose. While the characters looked similar, I still don’t see how it fooled so many of the characters.

Overall, The Wrong Man is a good retro film. The suspense is certainly real and Manny is put through the ringer. The court case was fun and I liked all of the cop interrogation scenes. They were definitely enjoyable and the cops were portrayed as they should be. They knew their job and completed the mission without a whole lot of difficulty. It was also fun to see the old meatstore owners take out the criminal near the end. They definitely had gusto! I certainly recommend this film if you’re looking for an old fashioned mystery and a story about a man who must prove his innocence no matter the cost! There are no real negatives in this film aside from the wife’s subplot so you can just kick back and enjoy the show!

Overall 7/10

North by Northwest Review

Looks like it’s time to check out one of the classics by Hitchcock. This film plays out like a James Bond adventure in many ways, which is good and bad. The film is certainly nice and long so there is enough time to fit in quite a few plot points, but the movie ends up being one of Alfred’s weaker ones. It just can’t hold up to some of his other classics, but gives it a good effort.

Roger was just an ordinary joe for a while. He had a good job and he was satisfied with how his life was going. One day, he is kidnapped by a group who claims that he is actually Mr. Kaplan. Roger is angered by these accusations, but he drinks a beer and is nearly tricked into driving off a cliff. He regains his wits in time to survive, but how will he prove his innocence? The police are irritated by his driving while drinking trick and then Roger is framed for murder. With everyone after him, it’s going to be tough for Roger to escape. This will take all of his extreme skills.

As I mentioned, the film is a little like James Bond. One of the ways in which it is similar is how long the film is. The plot is constantly changing as the film goes on and new situations present themselves. It’s safe to say that you won’t see the ending coming from the early parts of the film because of how many transitions are present. Length can be a tricky thing, but this film handles it rather well even if I do prefer the first half of the film to the second.

See, at first, Roger is just your average joe. He is framed so he tries to clear his name after he escapes the country. We get to see him jump on trains and outrun the government. The second half has him become more of a special agent as he tries to deal with the villains. The film turned into a bit of a spy movie as we had special agents and villain organizations. Still pretty good, but a pretty big shift.

In an unfortunate similarity to James Bond, Roger begins to like one of the antagonists and they have several prolonged scenes of trying to start a romance. It goes on for quite a while and these scenes are what brings the film down. Even when Roger is trying to enact a plan or get revenge on the enemies, he takes the time to flirt and ignore the fact that Eve wants him to just leave her alone. How many times do you have to be betrayed to get the message right?

The “heroes” are also more than a little shady. I’m talking about the council who is aware of Roger’s plight. Not only do they do nothing to help the guy, but they actively try to destroy him at one point as they don’t want to risk Eve’s safety so they allow Roger to walk into a trap with one of the airplanes. (Or was it a helicopter?) It’s hard to forget that Eve was in on it so the romance should have been over and done with it. None of that “It wasn’t personal Roger” talk could get out of that one.

Roger’s mom is a pretty funny character to have around. She doesn’t take the situation seriously at all and puts Roger in many tough plights. As far as she is concerned, Roger is guilty and just making up stories to make himself look better. She had to miss a show because of Roger and I like to think that she is holding it against him for the whole movie and that’s why she’s giving him such a hard time. Missing the opera is certainly not fun.

Roger was a likable character for a while, but then he went James Bond and it was all over. The guy stopped being the epic protagonist that he used to be, but he still had his moments. The auction plan was brilliant as he did a good job in summoning the police. He started to act with more confidence in the second half of the movie as he finally began to gather his bearings and accept his role. It’s easy to root for the guy even if I don’t care for his character.

Eve is in a tough spot right from the start. She is forced to make quite a few tough decisions. It’s hard to say whether she makes the right ones or not, but then she shouldn’t have continued to mess around with Roger. There was no reason for it and endangering the mission is not cool if she was still planning to take it seriously. The main villain is fairly dull. He talks a good game…but he really doesn’t have much of a role. He’s simply the villain and there’s not a whole lot to say about him. He actually still liked Eve the whole time until he found out about the treachery as she was his girlfriend before she ever defected. He simply underestimated the power of morality and money.

As with most spy type films, there is a bunch of plot hax to be found here. Right from the start actually as Roger is held a gun point while in a very high class restaurant. The place is bustling with people and nobody notices this. Roger isn’t exactly subtle about the situation and the gunmen don’t really try to quiet him down. You’d think that the place had been deserted and the no witnesses part comes back to haunt Roger. Roger also walks right into a government establishment and allegedly take out a powerful politician. Where were the guards and how did nobody notice that Roger did not actually commit the act? These are the kinds of questions that you will have to ask yourself as you watch the film. Plot hax like this doesn’t really hurt the film, but it will make you shake your head a little.

As expected of such an old film. The writing is very good and the characters all sound respectable. Even the villain is polite in a passive aggressive way as he threatens Roger. I was surprised to see that the soundtrack was also very quick and ready to go. You don’t expect such a colorful soundtrack in such an old movie, but we had some nice tunes. That helped the film really be complete.

Overall, This is another compelling installment by Hitchcock. The main thing that holds it back is the relationship between Eve and Roger as it doesn’t make sense and is unnecessary. Once Eve sold him out to the villains, that should have been the end of that. We hardly needed more flirting after that. The film is quite long and the film uses this effectively. You’re in for a good ride in this film despite its faults. I recommend this film if you’re really into the James Bond films and you would probably like it even more than I did. However, if you’ve seen some of Hitchcock’s other thrillers like Dial M for Murder, you may find it to be a bit lacking. This film was extremely close to getting a positive rating after all, but I don’t do .5s so it had to be held back.

Overall 5/10