Archive for July, 2019

GOA4: July 2019 update

Wednesday, July 31st, 2019


Readership for the new edition and GOAJ3. As always, readership figures omit most of the last day of each month, because of the tools available.

All links available from the project home page, as always.

GOA4: 2013-2018

  • The dataset: 207 views, 3 downloads.
  • GOA4: 833 PDF ebooks and one paperback.
  • Countries 4: 201 PDF ebooks
  • Subjects and Publishers: 113 PDF ebooks

GOAJ3: 2012-2017

  • The dataset: 1,463 views, 195 downloads
  • GOAJ3: 3,428 PDF ebooks + 405 copies of first few chapters (C&I 18.3)
  • Countries: 1,044 PDF ebooks
  • Subject supplement (C&I 18.4): 5173 downloads
  • One paperback



Mystery Collection Disc 49

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Hmm. The reviews for Disc 50 appeared on July 3, 2018–one year and 23 days ago. (The discs got out of order in the 60-disc box.) But the, the reviews for a disc from the Warriors set appeared in late July, 2018, so it looks as though it’s taken me a bit less than a year to review these four movies–actually two movies some time during the fall of 2018, and two movies within the last month.

At this rate, I should be done with discs 49-54 by 2023 or 2027…let’s just say that it’s unlike that I’ll complete C&I publication of these old reviews of either collection (or the Spaghetti Westerns collection not yet begun). Too many books to read, too much other stuff to watch, too many walks to take…and from January through June, for a while longer I hope, too much OA investigation to do. Oh, and the new and deproved WP is a nuisance, and no longer seems to accept direct posting from Word. In fact, I’m finding it damnably difficult to cut & paste into the new and improved WordPress… But here’s what I have…

The Beloved Rogue, 1927, b&w. Alan Crosland (dir.), John Barrymore, Conrad Veidt, Marceline Day. 1:39.

I find this one a little difficult to review and rate, and I grant that the dollar value I assign may be faulty as a result. The problem here is that this is a silent movie (there’s a classical music soundtrack that’s not in any way related to the action), and given that I’m not much of a lip-reader, I felt there was a lot I was missing in between title slides.

I guess this is supposed to be historical (but based on a drama with no historical backing), with John Barrymore as François Villon, it comes off as half farce, half near-tragedy, with Barrymore more successful as a clown (and wall-climber). Most of the poems shown on screen struck me as doggerel. Barrymore comes off as a great ham, and that may be intentional.

The print is generally pretty good, but I found it less than entrancing. That may be me. I couldn’t give it more than $1.00.

Submarine Alert, 1943, b&w. Frank McDonald (dir.), Richard Arlen, Wendy Barrie. 1:06.

While it’s a wartime propaganda film, as evidenced by the closing speech, it’s also a pretty decent little spy thriller. The basic plot: all the tankers taking fuel to the fleet are being torpedoed by subs shortly after they leave port—and when the FBI figures out that they must be getting radio tipoffs and starts trying to locate the transmitter, they find that it’s in a different location every night.

So, I guess figuring out that a miniaturized 1943 transmitter is going to break down a lot, they see to it that key radio engineers are fired, figuring that one of them will be recruited to make replacement parts.

There’s lots more, including a little girl needing an operation, a young woman who gets close to the prime candidate for recruitment (a recent immigrant from—gasp—Germany) and is working for the FBI—and clumsy in leaving around a very obviously unique handbag, so he’s on to her. Oh, and using a loudspeaker and overhead light as a makeshift transmitter.

Light on stereotypes, fairly well-acted, lots of plot, lots of action. Incidentally, a few of the IMDB reviews are loony (e.g. one that turns steam into poison gas and more than one saying the firings were because of suspected disloyalty), which isn’t that unusual. Not great but maybe $1.25.

Captain Scarface, 1953, b&w. Paul Guilfoyle (dir.), Barton MacLaine, Virginia Gray, Leif Erickson. 1:12 [1:10]

Here’s the thing: for various reasons, I wound up watching Disc 50 before Disc 49—and I see that I began watching Disc 50 considerably more than a year ago. And Submarine Alert most likely more than six months ago. So don’t be surprised by various discontinuities and changes in rating scale, just as you shouldn’t be surprised if this massive collection isn’t finished before Cites & Insights is.

The sleeve summary is absolutely wrong. It says Captain “Scarface” Trednor uncovers a plot by foreign agents to destroy the Panama Canal (by detonating an atomic bomb on a cargo ship in Gatun Locks) and “decides to fight for what’s right.” In fact, Captain Tred is the leader of the foreign agents who have replaced one ship with another; it’s Sam Wilton, a guy who’s a little too romantic for his own good and needs to get back to the U.S., who saves the day. Anyway, it involves replacing one (torpedoed) ship with another, a crew from several countries (apparently) that’s entirely Russian spies eager to undertake a suicide mission in order to inconvenience Western shipping, a nuclear scientist who’s been cooped up in a Russian—well, not a prison—and is one of only two people who know how to detonate the bomb that’s hidden on this ship, his daughter, and…well, it’s silly but it moves right along.

It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a great movie by any means, but it’s not terrible. The print’s decent. I’ll give it $1.00.

Under the Red Robe, 1937, b&w. Victor Sjöström (dir.), Conrad Veidt, Raymond Massey, Annabella, Romney Brent. 1:20.

I wonder how many movies and TV shows have been set in the era of Cardinal Richelieu? Well, here’s another, with the estimable Raymond Massey in the red robe—but the star is Conrad Veidt, the notorious dueler and gambler Gil de Berault, sentenced to hanging for disobeying Richelieu’s edict against duels—but open to pardon if he captures the rebellious Duke de Foix. (The IMDB record consistently uses “Fiox,” but the signs on the screen unmistakably say “Foix,” and there is, in fact, a Foix in France.)

The most interesting character is the sidekick foisted on Berault by the Cardinal, an expert pickpocket who adds a mild comic touch. There’s Annabella as the duke’s sister (who Berault mistakenly assumes is the duke’s wife), who of course falls in love with Berault. Lots of talk, some action, much discussion of honor and a happy ending of sorts. Decent, but nothing special—another $1.00.

Cites & Insights 19:3 (July 2019) available

Friday, July 19th, 2019

The July 2019 Cites & Insights (19:3) is now available for downloading at https://citesandinsights.info/civ19i3.pdf

This 48-page issue includes the following:

Policy: A Copyright Miscellany pp. 1-33

Four years of items on First Sale, Public Domain and CC0, Piracy and Nostalgia.

The Back pp. 33-48

A year’s worth of audiofollies and a variety of other items from 2014, 2015 and 2016.