Tag Archives: Universal Studios

Gladiator

Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Douglas Wick, David Franzoni & Branko Lustig
Screenplay by David Franzoni, John Logan & William Nicholson
Story by David Franzoni
Starring Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen
Oliver Reed
Derek Jacobi
Djimon Hounsou
Richard Harris
Music by Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt & Lisa Gerrard
Cinematography John Mathieson
Editing by Pietro Scalia
Studio Scott Free Productions & Red Wagon Entertainment
Distributed by DreamWorks (USA) & Universal Studios (non-USA)
Release date May 1, 2000 (2000-05-01) (Los Angeles)
May 5, 2000 (2000-05-05) (United States)
May 12, 2000 (2000-05-12) (United Kingdom)
Running time 155 minutes
Country United Kingdom & United States
Language English

The other night I watched Ridley Scott’s Gladiator for the first time in a decade. The version that I watched was the extended cut, with a few scenes added to the cinematic version. Russell Crowe gives a great performance as Maximus, the general who after being left for dead becomes a gladiator and challenges the power of the emperor, whilst Joaquin Phoenix is very eccentric as Commodus.

The fight scenes are very good although they do tend to be a little over the top with the gore. I like the way in which the fights were choreographed.

Gladiator was a bit of a gamble for its creators, as the days of sword and sandals epics had long disappeared. Even since 2000 there really have been no good films from this genre.


Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man

Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by Frederic I. Rinaldo
John Grant
Robert Lees
Hugh Wedlock Jr
Howard Snyder
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Nancy Guild
Arthur Franz
Music by Erich Zeisl
Cinematography George Robinson
Editing by Virgil Vogel
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date March 19, 1951
Running time 82 min.
Country United States
Language English

Abbott & Costello Meet The Invisible Man is a hard film to categorize. You’d think that with Abbott & Costello in the film it would be a comedy but it isn’t particularly funny. It is amusing in parts but in others the jokes seem very tired. Perhaps this is because I have watched a few A&C films these past few months and can see how they reused gags over and over and over again.Thankfully Lou is so likable and amusing, and he even gets the upper hand on Abbott in a few scenes.

The movie does work sort of as a mystery/suspense type of film or as sci-fi and to be truthful it’s entertaining enough. It’s still a lot better than the later film where the boys met The Mummy, but it is a huge fall from their classic films of the mid-1940s. The film does also contain lots of references to the earlier Invisible Man films.


Abbott & Costello Meet The Mummy

Directed by Charles Lamont
Produced by Howard Christie
Written by John Grant
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Marie Windsor
Michael Ansara
Music by Joseph Gershenson
Editing by Russell Schoengarth
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date June 23, 1955 (U.S. release)
Running time 79 min.
Language English

This is not Abbott & Costello’s finest hour. They look very old, especially Abbott, and the jokes are old and stale. It’s not scary either, while the mummy looks just like a guy wrapped in bandages. It is watchable but that is the best that I can say about it, this was Abbott & Costello’s second last film together.


Bride Of Frankenstein

Directed by James Whale
Produced by Carl Laemmle, Jr.
Written by Screenplay: William Hurlbut
Adaptation: William Hurlbut & John L. Balderston
Novel: Mary Shelley
Starring Boris Karloff
Colin Clive
Valerie Hobson
Ernest Thesiger
Elsa Lanchester
Una O’Connor
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography John J. Mescall
Editing by Ted Kent
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) April 22, 1935 (LA)
May 10, 1935 (NY)
Running time 75 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I am really trying to catch up with all of the posts. I have fallen a little behind so I am only doing a shorthanded version of the posts and will re-edit them when I get a chance.

in Bride of Frankenstein

Image via Wikipedia

Bride Of Frankenstein was the sequel to the original 1931 monster movie and the one that most people think is the superior film. This is the film where the monster befriends the blind man who teaches him to speak and the film is all the better for it as Karloff is able to make the audience empathise with the misunderstood monster. The monster has a childlike quality which just shows how skillful Karloff’s portrayal is. You are at the same time empathetic to the monster as well as repulsed by him. There is an innocence as if he only murders because he has been shunned by society yet he does seem to know to an extent what he is doing.

The film has quite a bit more camp humour than Frankenstein, something that director James Whale also added to The Invisible Man movie. Examples of this include Ernest Thesiger’s portrayal of Dr. Pretorious and especially Una O’ Connor as Minni. She comes across equally as being funny and annoying.


The Incredible Shrinking Man

Directed by Jack Arnold
Produced by Albert Zugsmith
Written by Novel: Richard Matheson
Screenplay: Richard Matheson & Richard Alan Simmons (uncredited)
Starring
Grant Williams
Randy Stuart
April Kent
Paul Langton
Billy Curtis
Music by Uncredited: Irving Getz, Hans J. Salter &Herman Stein
Cinematography Ellis W. Carter
Editing by Albrecht Joseph
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) April 1, 1957
Running time 81 min.
Language English

This is another of those fifties sci-fi films that I have been watching lately. This movie is about Scott Carey who after being exposed to a radioactive fog whilst vacationing on his brother’s boat, begins to shrink. The first half of the film deals with Scott trying to come to terms on his condition and the effect that it has with his marriage. The smaller he gets the angrier he gets and the more tyrannically he becomes towards his loving wife Louise.

The 2nd half of the film is where the action begins. By this time Scott is small enough to live in a doll house. After Louise leaves the house for the shops, after being directed to by her increasingly angry husband, the families’ cat is accidentally let into the house, where Scott must try to escape it. The cat knocks him into the basement where he then has to battle a massive tarantula. In the film’s climax, after he gets his freedom Scott realises and accepts that he is not going to ever stop shrinking.

“And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears locked away and in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God there is no zero. I still exist.”

The film is incredibly enjoyable although the special effects are quite corny looking by today’s standards, but very effective. The scenes with the spider are scary enough for this arachnophobe to have to cover his eyes whenever it was on the screen. I only hope that the update that is due out later this year and starring Eddie Murphy (whose career of late has been built solely on playing Donkey in the Shrek films and remaking movies from the 1950s) is half as enjoyable.