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John Howard Reid

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Review Great Cinema Detectives, Best Movies of Mystery Suspense & Film Noir
Wednesday, August 19, 2009  7:05:00 PM

by John Howard Reid



Mystery/Suspense
As promised, here in full is the review by editor Ross Adams, just published in the movie enthusiast''s magazine, "Dress Circle", dated August, 2009.

 

GREAT CINEMA DETECTIVES

A diverse range of characters and movies appear within the pages of "Great Cinema Detectives: Best Movies of Mystery, Suspense and Film Noir" by John Howard Reid: Abbott and Costello, Charlie Chan, Margaret Rutherford, Humphrey Bogart, Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Tom Conway, Edward G. Robinson, Richard Basehart, George Sanders, Robert Mitchum, plus many, many more. So what have all these great movie identities got in common? Simply, they all starred in detective and mystery films.

Margaret Rutherford of course was outstanding as Miss Marple in a number of "murder" pictures based on the characters created by Agatha Christie. All of them are reviewed in this book.

As for Abbott and Costello, they starred in "Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff", while heavies like Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum were featured in films like "The Harder They Fall", "The Maltese Falcon" and "His Kind of Woman".

Ronald Reagan's name appears frequently, and of course no book about mystery movies would be complete without Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone. Among the other screen greats who are represented by appropriate films are Dennis Price, Jack Hawkins, William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart, Vivien Leigh, Irene Dunne, Walter Huston, Peter Ustinov, Lauren Bacall, Dana Andrews, Merle Oberon, Robert Ryan, Ida Lupino, Errol Flynn, Raymond Massey, Alan Ladd, Cary Grant, Norman Wisdom, and of course Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, both synonymous with suspense pictures. And dozens of other great actors.

Many of the titles take us back to a different era. Who can remember Anna Karenina, Bulldog Drummond, Berlin Express, Calcutta, Charlie Chan, City That Never Sleeps, Farewell My Lovely, Harder They Fall. His Kind of Woman, House of Wax, Jane Eyre, Johnny Apollo, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Flying Scot, Night Train to Munich, The Thin Man, Three on a Match, Town on Trial and Wages of Fear (that spellbinding edge-of-the-seat thriller)?

In all, this book contains 192 reviews. John Howard Reid takes you through this myriad of films in his usual thorough style, listing the complete crew and all the actors and the parts they played in the movie, plus production and release dates in the U.S.A., Great Britain and Australia. He then gives a short synopsis and his own comments. For most films, he also provides an alternative review from other critics.

As with his other books, reproductions of posters and lobby cards in fully glossy color appear on the front and back covers, while black-and-white reproductions are gathered together at the front and back pages of the book. "Great Cinema Detectives" features a particularly attractive cover that highlights a lobby card from The Maltese Falcon on the front and an eyepopping poster of Calcutta on the back.

I can thoroughly recommend "Great Cinema Detectives: Best Movies of Mystery, Suspense and Film Noir" to all fans of detective and mystery movies. I regard it as one of John Howard Reid’s most informative and interesting. It is an invaluable guide not only to film buffs, but to all collectors of movie entertainments, whether they be film fans or DVD enthusiasts. True, you may not necessarily agree with some of the comments presented in this book, but that is the beauty of publications such as this. They give readers and viewers something to think about. The comments may even make you change your views about a particular film. And readers may also be tempted to buy a DVD of a particular movie after reading JHR's expertly presented information.

 

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