Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The Curse of Kwan Yin: Three Strangers (1946)

It’s pretty straightforward, in the end: you pitch me a noir movie featuring Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet, I will drop everything else and watch the hell out of it, and then probably do a post about it.
Which is exactly what happened last night, when I spent one hour and a half with a bowl of dark chocolate ice cream and Jean Negulesco’s 1946 flick, Three Strangers.
And what a bizarre movie it was!

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Charade once again

Today it was an anomalous day – I slept late, I went to the supermarket at lunchtime, and when I got back I made myself some sandwiches and I re-watched for the umpteenth time Charade, the 1963 “mock Hitchcock” movie directed by Stanley Donen and starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

Set in Paris and featuring a great support cast (including Walther Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy), the film is an unusual mix of crime thriller, screwball comedy and romance, and it should not work, but it does.

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The joys of embezzlement

It all started because, while we were recording a podcast about the 1992 TV movie Ghostwatch, with my friend Lucy we started rambling – as we do – and ended up talking about dame Maggie Smith (yes, we tend to ramble far and wide). I mentioned how it always breaks my heart that most viewers know Smith as the old lady in the Harry Potter movies and in Downton Abbey.

I’ve always had a desperate crush for Maggie Smith, and after that chat, I decided to go back and re-watch the movies in which I first found out about this beautiful, extraordinarily talented actress. Travels with my aunt, of course, and Murder by death, the two Peter Ustinov Poirot movies, The Honey Pot, and also a small strange quirky thing called Hot Millions, that I had last seen in the mid ’90s, on the telly, on a long autumn afternoon, and I re-watched last night.

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