The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Hitchcock a year before The Thirty-Nine Steps, and it’s not quite there – it’s got some nice light/dark contrast, it’s got Peter Lorre, it’s got fun set pieces, but it’s not got the magic. And yet it’s still better than 90% of other films.
Smoking? In a chocolate factory?!
Okay, so it’s another not wholly successful early Hitch spooker, but there’s plenty to chew on. Even though Gielgud really doesn’t suit the material, he still has a great little rapport with Madeleine Carroll. Peter Lorre goes like a threshing machine through the scenery.
Awful lot of telephone conversations and dissolve-into-translation notes, mind.
Beneath The Planet Of The Apes
Weirded out reverse ferret on the original’s meditation on racism; now it’s all about the anti-militarism! If you stick with it, you’re rewarded with one of the best racecar-into-brick wall endings ever (figuratively speaking; otherwise bet on Vanishing Point).
Slashed budget aside, not dwelling on the loss of the leading man, and swiftly skimming over the iffy crowd scene ape costumes, a fine follow-up. Wonderfully depressing climax, too.
Escape From The Planet Of The Apes
Whilst its contemporary setting makes for a sometimes painful watch (as does some of the acting), interesting ideas abound in this second sequel.
Cornelius (Roddy McDowell) and Zira (Kim Hunter) end up on 1973, human-dominated Earth, and reverse the set-up of the original film. We meet Dr Otto Hasslein. Seeds are sown…