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Reviews Written by
Mr. R. D. M. Kirby "Dick Kirby" (Suffolk, UK)

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Kindergarten Cop [1990] [DVD] [1991]
Kindergarten Cop [1990] [DVD] [1991]
Dvd ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Price: £3.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Zhere iss no bartroom!, 23 Mar. 2014
Detective John Kimble (Arnie) is, naturally, a tough cop, having set his sights on nailing deeply unpleasant drugs-dealer Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson). But when Kimble’s star witness is murdered via an overdose of drugs by Crisp’s mother (Carroll Baker), he has to track down Crisp’s wife (who, with their son now has assumed a different identity) who can provide the necessary evidence to convict her husband of drugs dealing.

Discovering the name of the school which Crisp Jr. is attending, Kimble and partner Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed) set off to find mother and son; but when O’Hara - who is supposed to masquerade as a teacher - comes down with a stomach-bug, it’s Kimble who has to become the teacher.

It’s a scenario which shouldn’t work but thanks to Arnie’s flair for comedy and Ivan Reitman’s skilful direction, it does, and the way in which Arnie deals with the children (and vice versa) is hilarious. The younger Mrs. Crisp (Penelope Ann Miller) becomes Arnie’s love interest and the whole enjoyable film is well-supported with an excellent cast; but I think acting honours really go to Arnie's sidekick and Cullen Crisp's dreadful mother.

One of those rare films which really is suitable for all the family.

Peacemaker, The [DVD] [1997]
Peacemaker, The [DVD] [1997]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Offered by Jasuli
Price: £7.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Crackerjack!, 24 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Peacemaker, The [DVD] [1997] (DVD)
This really is a crackerjack of a film – basically, the plot revolves around 10 nuclear warheads which have been stolen in Russia by a rogue general, for onward transmission to a terrorist/freedom fighter group. Dr. Julia Kelly (Nichole Kidman) is the US boffin assigned to the case, since she has the know-how on how to neutralise an atomic warhead; Lt. Col. Tom Devoe (George Clooney) is the US Ranger officer conscripted into the investigation because although he possesses no scientific experience, he has the hands-on experience and the contacts ‘to get things done’ and the way in which they spark-off each other is very cleverly directed by Mimi Leder. Dussan Gavrich (Marcel Iures) is the idealistic terrorist, obliged by tragic family circumstances to effect a ‘spectacular’ and Armin Mueller-Stahl is Devoe’s chum, the cunning Dimitri Vertikoff, who helps him ‘get things done’.

And there are spectacular (and believable) car chases, some clever gun battles and the dodgy director of a transport company realises it might have been prudent to have accepted Devoe’s bribe, after his nose is introduced to the top of a coffee table. The stunts are coordinated by G.A. Aguila who makes a very fine job of them.

Hans Zimmer’s music is very good, although I did seem to recognise bits of Prokofiev’s 2nd. Piano Concerto in the score and I did notice at least one soldier, initially murdered on a train who makes a miraculous recovery to appear, yet again as a soldier, later on.

But the action is never-ending and the dialogue is both witty and compelling. The film was made getting on for 20 years ago but the plot is as up-to-date as today.

Well worth watching.

A Fair Cop
A Fair Cop
by Michael Bunting
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, 19 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Fair Cop (Paperback)
I wanted to review this book for two reasons; first, because I felt a great deal of empathy with the author since over 45 years ago, as a young constable I too found myself in the dock, falsely accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. I had arrested a man who had assaulted another officer and during the violent struggle which ensued, the man’s thumb was broken. The fact that the case was chucked out was due to (a) two other officers were with me and we all gave a truthful account of what happened, (b) the whole incident was witnessed by a member of the public who was able to corroborate our story and (c) the arrested person gave a false name, refused to have his fingerprints taken and a gutless sergeant let him get away with it and bailed him. It transpired that he had previously escaped from prison and at the time of his arrest, he was on bail for other serious offences and the magistrate had no hesitation in convicting him and freeing me.

But that’s the luck of the draw; I got very little backing from my contemporaries who saw this as an ideal opportunity to either gloat over my predicament or treat me as a social pariah. However, I knew I was innocent, just as Michael Bunting knows he was. Unlike Mr. Bunting, I was able to get on with my career in the Metropolitan Police and make a success of it. Consequently, I have very strong feelings about police officers who are crooked and also those who are wrongly accused and unjustly convicted.

I didn’t expect this book to be so well written; but it is, very much so. I’ve known several police officers who were sent to prison but they – quite understandably, perhaps – were not forthcoming about their experiences. It took a great deal of courage for Michael Bunting to commit his very raw emotions to paper.

The book makes reference to this case being referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Has it been successful? I hope so; seldom have I heard about so blatant a miscarriage of justice.

You must forgive me for banging on about my own experiences; I did so to show the reviewers the very thin line between innocence and guilt, commendation and condemnation.

I can say without hesitation that this is an enthralling book and I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in British justice; whether it is correctly administered or not.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2014 11:51 AM BST

Pimpernel Smith (1941)
Pimpernel Smith (1941)
Offered by rdowns33
Price: £22.89

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, 19 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Pimpernel Smith (1941) (VHS Tape)
This was an unashamed, patriotic flag-waver for the war effort and as such, it succeeded magnificently. As well as starring in the film, Leslie Howard produced and directed it, too. The story is an updated account of a Scarlet Pimpernel character, who rescues 28 scientists, statesmen and musicians from the clutches of the Nazis. This is Professor Horatio Smith, who’d have us believe he’s a bumbling, absent-minded and rather misogynistic Cambridge Don, dreamily in love with a Greek statue; of course, not a bit of it because the next moment, he’s in Nazi-ruled Germany with a group of his students, spiriting even more oppressed academics out of the repressed regime.

It’s a good, clever story. True, there’s some rather creaky sets, and Hugh McDermott (a Scot with an extremely contrived and unconvincing American accent) is really irritating. But that matters little; Francis Sullivan is good as the chocolate-guzzling, over the top General von Graum and the rest of the Nazis are all portrayed, as you’d imagine, as a bunch of dim-wits. Mary Morris very nicely plays Ludmilla Koslowski, who replaces the professor’s odd infatuation with the statue and there’s a very charming performance of a salesgirl, played by the extremely attractive Suzanne Claire, real name Charlotte Cunningham who unfortunately appears to have had a very short-lived film career.

But it’s Leslie Howard’s film, all the way through. His quotation from Rupert Brooks is marvellous and right at the end of the film, when he gives his, "You are doomed, Captain of Murderers" speech, it's enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.


David Niven: The Man Behind the Balloon
David Niven: The Man Behind the Balloon
by Michael Munn
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 18 Feb. 2014
I admired David Niven as being a great screen presence and when he wrote `The Moon's a Balloon' I thought it was terrific. He was one of those people - and there's not many of them - who successfully made the transition from raconteur to author.

Graham Lord wrote a very good account of Niven's life, as well, as did Sheridan Morley but Michael Munn, in my opinion, has not.

Quite frankly, it is unbelievable, with the most salacious comments reserved for people who are now dead. Having read this book, I was astonished that the author had not entitled it `Me and my mate, Dave'. Much of the alleged conversations were between author and subject; there's a perpetual `I said', `He said', the vast majority of which simply does not ring true and the theological passages were so nauseating, they made me want to throw up.

I started by saying that Niven was a great screen presence and it's true - he was also a very interesting man, with a man's failings. Let's remember him from those other books - not this one.

Peter Fleming: A Biography (Oxford Lives)
Peter Fleming: A Biography (Oxford Lives)
by Duff Hart-Davis
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-hole!, 18 Feb. 2014
The fact that the author, Duff Hart-Davis was Peter Fleming's Godson must have helped enormously when he came to researching this excellent biography but the fact remains, Mr. Hart-Davis interviewed a huge number of other people to bring this book together and to make it so fascinating.

This book is a testimony to a brave, self-effacing and very talented man; I don't believe anything else could have been added to improve it and I hope that in the future, nobody else tries.

One of the best biographies I've ever read.

Winning Is Not Enough
Winning Is Not Enough
by Sir Jackie Stewart
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Name-dropping, 18 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Winning Is Not Enough (Paperback)
I’m not a big fan of Formula one but I am of people involved in the death-defying racing of those cars, who made a success of their lives – and Sir Jackie Stewart certainly did that. Suffering from crippling dyslexia, he nevertheless went to the top of his profession and when that ended, went on to endorse and promote much-needed safety measures at those events.

So – a great man, triumphant in one of the most demanding professions – has he written a great book? I don’t think so. The racing aspect is well-catered for but so much of it is self-promoting, promoting for others and name-dropping with almost gasp-producing regularity.

All credit to Sir Jackie for his achievements but at 562 pages, this book could have been edited to half that number and been all the better for it.

Flash Gordon: The Complete Series [DVD]
Flash Gordon: The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Larry 'Buster' Crabbe
Price: £21.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Nostalgia!, 13 Feb. 2014
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I first saw these serials when I was a wee nipper in the 1950s at Saturday Morning Pictures in London’s tough & colourful East-end; rather than running the risk of being clobbered by missiles chucked from above if I’d sat in the stalls, my mum gave me the extra threepence so that I could sit in the circle. For years, I believed that the stirring music was written for those serials alone, until I later discovered that it was Liszt who’d written Les Préludes.

And now, I can see why I was so entranced by ‘Buster’ Crabbe’s dashing athleticism and the sexiness of Jean Rogers who was always on the point of suffering a fate worse than death at the lascivious hands of evil Charles Middleton but not, of course at the end of an episode; the erotic images which we pre-pubescent nippers would have carried in our minds would have been too much to bear for a whole week and could have led to depraved habits.

The reviewer who likened the space ships to Fairy Liquid bottles set on fire hit the nail right on the head; but the fact is, then, we didn’t see it that way. Now, with assorted CGI effects, Flash & Co. wouldn’t have stood muster; but this is now and that was then. It’s a lovely, thrilling nostalgic science fiction ride of – in my case – 60 years ago

Ulysses (1954) Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn
Ulysses (1954) Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn

3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I thought, 11 Feb. 2014
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This DVD has a fundamental drawback; the soundtrack is in Thai, with English sub-titles. It took me several attempts at the set-up to change it to an English soundtrack and to do away with the Thai sub-titles; yet when it was played again, it reverted to the Thai soundtrack once more.

So much for the disastrous DVD; what of the film? Kirk Douglas was one of my favourite actors and it was 60 years ago when I saw him in ‘Ulysses’. I admired him very much; an athlete and an excellent actor, one not afraid to take parts which were unsympathetic to the audience or films which were clearly going to be box-office flops.

The story of Ulysses’ journey home to Ithaca following the sacking of Troy is told mostly in flashback, and depicts the blinding of the cannibalistic Cyclops, Ulysses demanding to hear the song of the sirens and his encounter with Circe, the Sorceress.

I should think that the investment of the co-production of Carlo Ponti and Dino de Laurentiis was substantial in this early ‘swords & sandals’ epic where the ‘lip-sync’ was tragic but certainly no worse than most of those of the period. But overall, it’s not really good enough; Douglas holds the film together and he needs to. The sets and locations are good, but although Sylvana Mangano is good in her duel role as Circe and Ulysses’ wife, Penelope, the small part of Antinous by Anthony Quinn could have been played by just about any beetle-browed heavy and although Rossana Podestà as Princess Nausicaa is fetching eye candy, she too could have been played by just about any seductive Italian beauty. As for the rest of the cast, well, most of them look as though they’ve been pulled off the streets, bunged a few lira and told to put on some odd looking costumes and some dodgy beards.

But the sea scenes are very well staged and the finale, including the ‘bow drawing’ is excellent as Ulysses, practically single-handedly extracts a suitably demonic revenge on the suitors who impudently took full advantage of his absence; in fact, this is the best part of the film.

Now, I wish I'd relied on my memories of when I first saw this film; I suppose it's worth a look but not on this useless Thai DVD.

The Scourge of Soho: The Controversial Career of SAS Hero
The Scourge of Soho: The Controversial Career of SAS Hero
by Dick Kirby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read, 10 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This has become a Catch-22 situation. Amazon refuses to allow authors to comment on their own books - and quite right, too. However, because I purchased a large number of copies of this book from Amazon to distribute to friends and colleagues, Amazon keep banging on at me to review the book - even though I wrote it. But then, people to whom I sent copies have tried to review the book on Amazon and have been refused, because they, personally did not purchase the copy from Amazon - and that's quite right. It was purchased from Amazon, but not by them.

Therefore, they can't review the book but because I'm the author - and Amazon don't want me to review it - Amazon still want me to, because I purchased the books from them. It all adds up to a rather ridiculous situation; do Amazon want to sell books or not? If readers of the book want to post a review, saying how much they enjoyed it, that should encourage visitors to the site to want to purchase a copy - through Amazon.

At the end of the day, does it really matter how the reviewer acquired a copy of the book? The point is, they have a copy, they've read it and they want to communicate their comments to the Amazon website, for good or ill.

So, I guess it's down to me. Is this a good book? Oh, I think so, I think it's great but then again, you'll think I'm biased; and you'd be right!

Read the rest of the reviews on this site; you may agree with them that the book's worth a read. And if you do, let Amazon know your views on this ridiculous policy. In fact, Amazon have now asked dissatisfied readers to contact them at and I hope you will.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 13, 2014 9:46 PM BST

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