Tag Archives: Basil Rathbone

The Dawn Patrol

Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Jack Warner (executive producer)
Hal B. Wallis (executive producer)
Robert Lord (associate producer)
Written by John Monk Saunders (story)
Seton I. Miller
Dan Totheroh
Starring Errol Flynn
Basil Rathbone
David Niven
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date December 24, 1938
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Dawn Patrol is an excellent film about the futility of war and the waste of human life that they cause. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone are great in this but it is David Niven as Scotty who steals the film in my opinion. Scotty goes from being a happy-go-lucky pilot who thinks that war is an adventure and not really caring about anything. His persona slightly changes after he is recovered  and he briefly confronts the German who shot him down, but it is not until his own brother has enlisted and is sent up with the squadron to tackle the hated Von Richter and his men in what will be certain doomed for an inexperienced rookie that his character changes completely.

The film is not so much about war, although there are some great aerial scenes (many of which were taken from the 1930 Howard Hawks version), but about the way it changes the men who have to fight it.

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Directed by Michael Curtiz
William Keighley
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Norman Reilly Raine
Seton I. Miller
Starring Errol Flynn
Olivia de Havilland
Basil Rathbone
Claude Rains
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Sol Polito
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) May 14, 1938
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States

Out of all the films that I have watched this month The Adventures Of Robin Hood would have to have been the most fun. It is a terrific film, the kind that are rarely made in Hollywood any more. The last really fun film that I can remember Hollywood making would have to be the first Pirates Of The Caribbean film, and like that film it is not just the viewers having all the fun, you can tell that the actors enjoyed themselves too.

Of the actors Tasmania’s own Errol Flynn provides an iconic performance as Robin Hood. When people think of Sir Robin of Locksley the only actor who comes to mind is Errol Flynn, even though there have been several adaptions of the Robin Hood story, proving that this is indeed the definitive version. It is so good to hear Flynn’s distinctive Aussie twang, especially as this was made at a time when most Australians who were performing in Australian films were trying to sound anything but Australian. It would not be until the 1970s that Australian films would embrace their own Australian-ness and stop trying to be British, which makes Flynn’s performance so much more ahead of its time. Later this year Russel Crowe will have his work cut out for him in matching Flynn’s performance when he dons the green tights to play Robin.

For every great hero you need a great villain for him to match wits with. We have that here in the treacherous Sir Guy of Gisbourne, as played by Basil Rathbone. Guy is cunning and will do anything to get Robin, who not only eluded him but humiliated him in one of the films great scenes also. Rathbone of course memorably played the nemesis to Flynn here and in the equally iconic Captain Blood as well. Rathbone also played the sword weilding swshbuckling villain in a number of other Hollywood productions, always coming off second best.

There are a couple of other things that I like about the film too. Una O’Connor appears in a bit role as Bess, but this is really just the same kooky character that she had earlier played in films such as Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. She always provides a little bit of comic relief when she appears on screen but thankfully she is a little more restrained here. I also enjoyed the Academy Award winning score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold greatly.

This was a film that I greatly enjoyed watching. As I said it was a lot of fun, the kind of film that I wish Hollywood would till make.

Sherlock Holmes

Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by Joel Silver, Lionel Wigram, Susan Downey & Dan Lin
Screenplay: Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham & Simon Kinberg
Story: Lionel Wigram
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr.
Jude Law
Rachel McAdams
Mark Strong
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Editing by James Herbert Studio Silver Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Village Roadshow Pictures
Release date(s) December 24, 2009 (United States)
02009-12-26 December 26, 2009 (United Kingdom) (Australia)
Running time 134 minutes

It was with much trepidation that I ventured to the cinema to watch Sherlock Holmes. I adit that I am a fan of the old Holmes films that feature Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce from the 1940s and heard that this new film is very different in style to those. I also heard that the new Holmes deviated a long way from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original books. It didn’t help matters that Downey had come out a little while ago making comments about Holmes being the Spider-man of the 19th century. Arrrggghhhhh!

So why did I go to see this film? Well I had little choice in the matter. I received some free cinema tickets before Christmas and decided that today was the day that my partner Priscilla and I went to the movies. I wanted to see Fantastic Mr. Fox but she wanted to see Sherlock Holmes. As any couple will tell you, a successful relationship is built upon lots of compromise and deferring to the female partner at all times. This saves on arguments later even if you have to put up with two hours of boredom.

So, did I enjoy the movie? No! This is exactly the type of dumb movie that I detest. It’s one that uses lots of action and special effects but has no logic, heart or soul. Whilst the film was exciting enough to begin with, by the middle it had became so very excruciatingly boring that I began to wish the thing would just finish so I could go home. Holmes, as portrayed by Downey, is a half-wit who occasionally has genius moments. He is madly in love with Dr. Watson and is fretting that Watson wants to have a heterosexual relationship with another girl. Holmes also knows martial arts and is an amateur boxer.

The film is extremely dumb and has lots of fighting, explosions and allusions to the occult. While I am sure that many of today’s brainless action-movie fans would like it, this is a Sherlock Holmes film in name only. There is no mystery or even any of Homes famous deductions, but there is lots of stupidity, goofy jokes and did I mention the explosions and fighting, which are here in abundance. However while it is no crime for a film to be dumb, as there are many stupid action films that I have quite enjoyed, this film was, as I said earlier, very dull and boring, which is the worst crime that any film can commit. There were also quite a few steampunk-esque inventions in the film, and a Bond like supervillain that made everything even sillier.

Hans Zimmers’ musical score should also be singled out for a special mention as it is extremely tedious and highly annoying. Zimmer deserves a punch in the face for his work on this film but I suppose the annoyingness of the score is entirely appropriate for a very annoying film.

The end of the film hints that there may be a sequel and it is for that very reason that I implore people not to watch this shit. The last thing the world needs is more of this rubbish.

I think that of the audience I watched the film with the nicest comment that anyone made was that this Holmes was ‘different’. Note that different does not mean good.

* Just need to highlight the name of Holmes’ producer Dan Lin, who made a few very dim-witted comments about the proposed live action / CGI Tom & Jerry film recently. Just shows how stupid the people are who produce these blockbusters.