Sunday, November 10, 2013

In-Class Movie: "Pursuit to Algiers" (Rathbone, 1945)

“Well, I kept my knowledge to myself, and waited to see what would come of it.”

--Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Adventure of the Black Peter”

Austin: So we return to the magical world of Sherlock Holmes and Watson ruled by Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. We've had fun in the past, but this is the first time where we really delve into their time when they spent in 1940s European espionage. We've seen Sherlock Holmes in plenty of different time periods like 2012 and 2012 so we know that there is a wealth of stories that can arise from placing this iconic character in a new situation.

We'll get into the duo stopping Nazis later for today they're just escorting a Prince to safety. By stagecoach? By train? By armored car? Nope. BY A BOAT MOTHERFUCKERS! 

"Watson, fetch my nautical themed deerstalker."

The boat is filled with subjects just like Death on the Nile and there is plenty of false identity going on just like Death on the Nile. Also they occasionally stop like in Death on the Nile. It's very strange to see the most iconic detectives ever take its lead from the most popular mystery writer of all time. Especially when the results aren't that satisfying.

I'll get into this more in a bit, but I found this to be very disappointing mostly because at just a bit over an hour this seemed to be stalling for majority of its run. Am I just being mean or did you find some charm in this one?

Leigh: I've never wanted to go on a cruise. The main reason is that I feel that I would be too bored. Everyone who has been on one always says that there's so much to do but I don't think watching badly put together productions while eating buffet food would entertain me much. Some people might enjoy it, I think I'd be bored out of my mind. And then there's the little factor of EVERYONE ON THE BOAT BEING A POSSIBLE KILLER. Seriously, this movie made me want to never go on a cruise even more than before I watched it. What's the point of trying to relax when at any moment someone could open your window and throw a knife at you. Unless it was a theme cruise where you have to try to figure out the murderer. Then that might be fun. Someone should get on that. 

But this boat only had like 12 people on it. Surely it wouldn't have been hard to look at the other passengers and say, "Hey, those guys are trying to murder this innocent man. We should lock them up or something, how about it?" Instead, Holmes just calmly goes about, solving every little "mystery" on the boat while singlehandedly defeating the murderers at every step. I like Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce for the most part but this movie seemed half assed and convoluted. It felt like one of those that made it more complicated so that the mystery was more "clever" when it was just complicated. Why couldn't the murderers have been on the boat the entire time? Why couldn't they have been disguised as someone else? Why did they Princess Bride it and just waste time? You're right, it really did seem to be stalling but I think that's just because of the nature of boats and cruises. It's a hurry up and wait situation which just ends with me getting distracted by Candy Crush. 

Austin doesn't know what he just posted a picture of. He's more of a Plants vs. Zombies 2 kinda guy.

So we both admit we don't like it. What would you have done to make it better?

Austin: First off, I was on the same mindset with you about cruises until I took one. Extremely relaxing and fun. The productions aren't cheesy and really aren't a major part of it. I recommend one unless it's filled with murderers then solve it or take the next one.

My biggest problem with this movie is that it's so miscalculated. Sherlock is barely in it. Watson is the main character in this movie and Nigel Bruce is in his most Nigel Bruce-est. He's a complete buffoon and can not tell a secret if his life depending on it. When they try to do a wink to the audience of him telling the story about the giant rat of Sumatra, it's so obnoxious that even Sherlock leaves the room. It's fine for Watson to be the audience surrogate, but we also use Sherlock to use a test for what's accurate. When Sherlock says something there's a 91% chance of it begin true. Having him waiting in the wings for most of your hour just also feels like a stalling pattern to delay solving anything.

"Holmes, my good man, I appear to have lost my spoon."

These guys made a bunch of short films; I don't know what it was about this plot to make them want to push it to an hour. Was it the idea of them being on an ocean liner? Or was it enough of an Agatha Christie story to make it seem like it would be successful?

Leigh: They definitely could've cut down some scenes and some of the setup. The whole plane thing could've been a mention in dialogue and we didn't need to go to the plane. I think that it should've been a short, about 30 minutes or it needed to be reworked. Show more of Holmes. I know that Watson and the audience are supposed to be kept in the dark the whole time, but everything is a secret for about five seconds before Holmes tells Watson everything anyway. The only secret he kept was that their steward was actually the Prince (not Prince, although that would've made for a much more interesting movie. I'd watch that.) Holmes goes on and on about how Watson can't keep a secret and yet he basically tells Watson everything anyway. Honestly, I wouldn't trust either of them with a secret. They both suck at it. 

"Surprise! I was Sherlock Holmes the whole time."

So, if it were up to me, cut the ridiculous set up, cut the side mystery with the singer, have the bad guys on the boat the whole time. That could've been a fun mystery for Holmes to figure out since there were so many possible choices of bad guys. Or, have the old lady that Watson was skeptical of the whole time be the ring leader. That would've been fun and then Holmes would've had to fight an old lady, something that would've spiced this movie up and didn't make it seem like we were stranded at sea.

Next time, there's blackmail, a scandalous affair and murder! All in a good day's work!

And now Austin with the final word!

Austin: Why couldn’t Watson stay at home straight flippin’ copies?

No comments:

Post a Comment