Traitors, The (1962)

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An Anglo–American team uncovers a nest of spies!
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UK / 66 minutes / bw / Ello, Rank Dir: Robert Tronson Pr & Scr: Jim O’Connolly Story: J. Levy, J.P. O’Connolly Cine: Michael Reed, James Bawdon Cast: Patrick Allen, Jacqueline Ellis, James Maxwell, Zena Walker, Ewan Roberts, Harold Goodwin, John Bown, Jeffrey Segal, Anne Padwick, Jack May, Mark Singleton, Sean Lynch, A.J. Brown, Victor Platt, Reed De Rouen, Anton Rodgers, Michael Corcoran, Sheldon Lawrence, Robert Raglan, Fanny Carby, Henry De Bray, Arthur Barclay, Frank Wilson Taylor, Mike Martin.

NATO Security is concerned because, in the wreckage of an air crash in Munich, they’ve discovered a roll of microfilm related to a top-secret nuclear-rocket project based in Woking, England. General Waring (uncredited) of NATO calls in the British Security Service in the shape of its incompetent boss, Colonel Burlinson (Roberts), and his assistant, John Lane (Allen). They agree that Lane should take over the case and they Continue reading

o/t: Movie Scientist Blogathon 2017

And, once more, thanks to Christina Wehner and Ruth at Silver Screenings, the Movie Scientist Blogathon returns. This year, as you’ll have deduced from the image above (upon which please click for more info), the ‘thon runs September 8-10.

Noirish is planning to contribute a piece on the, er, classic Lon Chaney Jr-starring noirly sf horror piece Indestructible Man (1956), which is very, very scary, so best staple your socks on.

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Millie (1931)

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Helen Twelvetrees in a melodrama for the ages!
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US / 85 minutes / bw / RKO Dir: John Francis Dillon Pr: Chas. R. Rogers Scr: Chas. Kenyon, Ralph Murphy (i.e., Ralph Morgan) Story: Millie (1930) by Donald Henderson Clarke Cine: Ernest Haller Cast: Helen Twelvetrees, Lilyan Tashman, Robert Ames, James Hall, John Halliday, Joan Blondell, Anita Louise, Edmund Breese, Frank McHugh, Charlotte Walker, Franklin Parker, Charles Delaney, Harry Stubbs, Louise Beavers, Harvey Clark, Aggie Herring, Geneva Mitchell, Hooper Atchley, Lillian Harmer.

Willows University student Jack Maitland (Hall) captures the heart of poor but lovely redhead Millicent “Millie” Blake (Twelvetrees) and persuades her to elope with him. Three years later they’re installed in a luxury New York apartment with Jack’s mother (Walker) and the couple’s infant daughter Connie (uncredited). In theory Millie should be content that she has all the good things in life, but in reality Jack is neglecting her—being frequently away “on business”—and she’s much of the time forced to relinquish her child to the cares of a governess (Harmer). So she’s delighted when one day, out of the blue, she gets a phone call from her childhood friend Angie Wickerstaff (Blondell).

Angie (Joan Blondell) and Helen (Lilyan Tashman) are cutting corners.

Angie has come to NYC to live with her pal Helen Reilly (Tashman), and suggests the three of them meet up at a local café; what she doesn’t mention on the phone is that Continue reading

Night of Evil (1962)

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A moron’s act of violence initiates a years-long cycle of tragedy!
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US / 83 minutes / bw / Galbreath, Astor, Sutton Dir & Pr: Richard Galbreath Scr: Louis Perino Story: Lou Perry (i.e., Louis Perino) Cine: David Holmes Cast: Lisa Gaye, William Campbell, Lynn Bernay (i.e., Lynette Bernay), Burtt Harris, Sammy Mannis, Earl Wilson, Remo Pisani, George Diestel, Don De Leo, Joe Garri, Patricia Dahling, Eric Anthony Pregent, Gary Gage, Carlton Kadell, Maurice Copeland, Barbara Bricker, David Dunstone.

A Z-movie that punches very far above its weight in most respects, this somehow transcends its hackneyed trope of a young woman spiralling inexorably downward into degradation.

Its introduction doesn’t inspire much confidence that this might be the case, consisting as it does of the cliché of a po-faced narrator (Wilson) telling us earnestly that the movie’s contents are, despite the promises of sensationalism that lured us into the cinema, both serious and high-minded:

The picture you are about to witness is based on newspaper and court records. It is a true story. To protect the innocent, some of the names, places and incidents have been changed.

It all began in the fall of 1957 . . .

Dixie Ann Dikes (Gaye), approaching 17 and living with foster parents Cora and Edgar Watkins (both uncredited), has a nice young boyfriend in Kent Fitzroy (uncredited).

Lisa Gaye as Dixie.

However, football jock Johnny (Harris) believes that, as the star of their high school team, he’s entitled to first dibs on the pretty girls. Continue reading

o/t: reading during May

Just seven books this month, but a couple of them were pretty long and all are nonfiction. As usual, the links go to my notes on Goodreads.

 

Trent’s Last Case (1952)

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Orson Welles, Margaret Lockwood and Kenneth Williams amid a glittering cast!
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UK / 86 minutes / bw / Imperadio, Republic Dir & Pr: Herbert Wilcox Scr: Pamela Bower Story: Trent’s Last Case (1913) by E.C. Bentley Cine: Max Greene Cast: Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles, John McCallum, Miles Malleson, Hugh McDermott, Jack McNaughton, Sam Kydd, Kenneth Williams, Henry Edwards, Ben Williams, PLUS

  • Eileen Joyce
  • Anthony Collins
  • and members of the London Symphony Orchestra

This is the third of the four (to date) screen adaptations of Bentley’s supposedly subversive mystery novel. The other three have been:

  • Trent’s Last Case (1920) dir Richard Garrick, with Gregory Scott, Pauline Peters, Clive Brook and George Foley (silent)
  • Trent’s Last Case (1929) dir Howard Hawks, with Raymond Griffith, Marceline Day, Lawrence Gray and Donald Crisp (silent)
  • Trent’s Last Case (1964 TVM) dir Peter Duguid, with Michael Gwynn, Kenneth Fortescue and Peter Williams

. . . and I’m sure my true love would spifflicate me if I didn’t mention the unrelated (beyond the title)

  • Trenchard’s Last Case (1989 TV) dir Mike Barnes, an episode of the Bergerac TV series (1981–91) starring apparently droolworthy screen idol (there’s no accounting for taste) John Nettles

Philip Trent (Wilding) is a monied artist and amateur sleuth. In the past, the editor (uncredited) of the Daily Record has commissioned from him dispatches written while he’s been investigating his most sensational murder cases, and what could be more sensational than the murder of ruthless international financier Sigsbee Manderson (Welles) in the grounds of his stately Hampshire pied à terre, White Gables?

Or was it murder? So many of the circumstantial details point to suicide.

The dead man’s widow Margaret (Margaret Lockwood) gives evidence to the coroner’s court . . .

. . . where Philip sketches John . . .

. . . and gardener Horace Evans (Kenneth Williams) also gives evidence.

Philip reaches White Gables the day after Manderson’s body has been discovered by the subgardener, Horace Evans (an almost unrecognizably young Williams), and, with the help of the widowed Mrs. Manderson’s uncle, Burton Cupples (Malleson), talks his way into the house, where he discovers his old pal and rival, Inspector Murch (Kydd), heading the Continue reading

o/t: it’s back! – Todd Mason’s Overlooked A/V: links to reviews, etc. of films, tv, radio, podcasts, stage drama, museum shows, videogames and more . . .

After a short hiatus, here’s the welcome return of Todd’s ever-rewarding roundup, Click HERE to be taken to Todd’s Sweet Freedom blog and all the individual links.

A. J. Wright: Whispering City; Marilyn McCoo

Alice Chang: Dark Souls; PlayStation 4; Persona 5; Ori and the Blind Forest

the Allan Fish Online Film Festival 2017

Anne Billson: Diamonds Are Forever (Cat of the Day)

The Big Broadcast: 21 May 2017

Bill Crider: Our Miss Brooks (1956 film) [trailer]; She’s All That [trailer]; Return of the Lash; The Man in the Iron Mask (1939 film) [trailer]; Mainly Millicent: with Roger Moore as James Bond (1964)

Bob Freelander: The Last Detail (1973)

Brandon Smith: Underrated 1987 films

Brian Arnold: The Milton Berle Show: 1966 episode with guests Adam West, Van Williams and Bruce Lee

Brian Busby: The Critical Age; The Patriot (1998 film)

Brian Lindenmuth: John Tuska on western film and westerns generally; films from Dorothy M. Johnson’s fiction

B.V. Lawson: Media Murder; Mystery Melange

Chuck Rothman: Whale Rider

Colin McGulgan: The Flying Scot; The Wild One; The Earth Dies Screaming; The Shakedown

Comedy Film Nerds: Steve Byrne; David Huntsberger; Jackie Kashian: spoiler discussion of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2; Steve Gillespie

Cult TV: Special Branch: “Intercept”; The Frighteners: “Bed and Breakfast”

Cynthia Fuchs: Nerve; Patriots Day; The Neon Demon

Dan Stumpf: Return to Warbow: Sing and Like It; The Hustler

Dana Gould: Eddie Pepitone; Ken Reid; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?; Lizzie Borden

David Cramner: backgammon in film and literature; Aldous Huxley on TechnoDictators

David Vineyard: This Man is News

Earl Green: Trying Times (courtesy Brian Arnold)

Elgin Bleecker: Naked City (1948 film); Line of Duty

Elizabeth Foxwell: Shield for Murder: 99 River Street; George V. Higgins speaks (1985); House by the River; David C. Raskin: Lie Detection and the Judicial System (1975 lecture)

Evan Lewis: The Maltese Falcon and related matter: The Adventures of Sam Spade: “The Kandy Tooth”; The Maltese Falcon (1941 film); Satan Met a Lady; The Maltese Falcon (1931 film); &…Star Trek Continues: “Pilgrim of Eternity”; The Brasher Doubloon

The Faculty of Horror: The Descent

George Kelley: Cabaret (current stage production); The Grace Kelly Collection

Hal Horn: Underrated 1987 films

How Did This Get Made?: Stealth; My Stepmother is an Alien

Iba Dawson: The Get-Down; Turner Classic Film Festival 2017: Ntrate; Pre-Code Films

International Waters: Graham Elwood; Guy Branum; Caroline Mabey; Lucy Pearman; host Dave Holmes; Bil Dwyer, Ophira Eisenberg, Tom Bell, and Holly Burn

Ivan G. Shreve Jr.: Spotlight Scandals; the color episodes of The Andy Griffith Show; The Mysterious Airman; Trials of O’Brien; Never Let Me Go; Calvin and the Colonel; Feel My Pulse; Afraid to Talk; Crime Does Not Pay: “A Thrill for Thelma”; Blondes and Redheads: Pre-Code Comedy Classics, Volume 2; Swiss Family Robinson (1940 film); Early Women Filmmakers

J Kingston Pierce: Roger Moore; more on Moore

Jack Seabrook: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: “The Gentleman Caller”; “Return of Verge Likens”; “Bed of Roses”

Jackie Kashian/The Dork Forest: David Huntsberger; Bryan Cook; Renee Camus; Al Madrigal (on Lee Child); Scott Rogers

Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Feud: Bette and Joan; The Pied Piper (1942 film); Five Stars: Teresa Wright, Ann Blyth (surprise!), Joseph Cotten, Paul Lukas, Wallace Ford

Jake Hinkson: Dekalog; They Live by Night

James Clark: The Wind Will Carry Us; Ten (2002 Iranian film)

James Curtiss: Underrated 1987 films

James Reasoner: Whispering Smith; Stagecoach: The Texas Jack Story; Broken Trail (2006 telefilm); My Favorite Brunette

Janet Varney/The JV Club: Christine Lennon; University of Chicago Sex Week Panel; Kristina Rodgers

J.D. Lafrance: Frantic

Jedidiah Ayres: Small Crimes

Jerry House: I Married Joan; The White House Correspondents Dinner; The Burns and Allen Show (radio): “What’s Wrong with Gracie”; Mr. I. A. Moto: “Project 77”; Postmark for Danger; The Lady from Chungking; The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: last episode; The Clock: “Nicky”; This is Your FBI: “The Friendly Killer”; The Adventures of Topper

John Grant: Un Crime; A Time to Kill (1955 film); Wrong Number (2002 film); Powers Boothe; “Tragic Error”; The Mysterious Doctor; Inquest; The Purple Gang; “Los Crímenes”

John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die

John Varley: Death Race 2050; Empire of the Sun

Jonathan Lewis: Rage (1972 film); The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave; The Treasure of Pancho Villa; Ghost Town (1988 film)

Judy Gold/Kill Me Now: Felicia Michaels

Karen Hannsberry: Great Villain Blogathon; Five Stars: Jean Harlow, Norma Shearer, Barbara Stanwyk, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis; Hold Your Man

Kate Laity: “Witches” at September Gallery

Ken Levine: next season’s sitcoms; sitcom writing underachievement

Kim Newman: Kaboom; Don’t Let Him In; Cobra Woman

Kliph Nesteroff: The Steve Allen Christmas Show (1961); The Paul Lynde Show (with guest Jodie Foster).[..a vintage example of sub-par sitcom writing…]; East Side, West Side: “The Beatnik and the Politician” with Alan Arkin

Kristina Dijan: The Invisible Ray; Union Depot; Great Villains Blogathon; The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Laura G: Disneyland; Split Second; Dina Merrill and Roger Moore; Daredevils of the Red Circle; Challenge to Lassie; Spencer’s Mountain; All the King’s Men; Hollow Triumph; The Big Heat; Iron Man (1951 film); The Man Who Cheated Himself; Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 2017

Lindsey D: Eyewitness (1956 film); Let’s Make It Legal; Topper Returns; Extraordinary Tales; Two on a Guillotine

The Long Shot: Tim Baltz; Helen Hong; Paul Danke; Jordan Brady

Louis Fowler: South Bronx Heroes; The Firm

Maria Alexander: What Star Wars (including the radio series) meant for me…

Mark Anthony Lacy: Top 12 1960s sexploitation films

Martin Edwards: Dead Man’s Evidence; Don’t Talk to Strange Men; Crimefest; Allied; Thriller of the Year (stage); Danger by My Side; Stranger in Town

Marty McKee: The Return of Count Yorga; Prescription: Murder (Columbo pilot); Silent Rage; Around the World Under the Sea: Night Patrol; Jungle Moon Men

Mildred Perkins: The Dressmaker

Mitchell Hadley: New York City-area television, 22 May 1968; Roger Moore; TV Guide 18 May 1968

Movie Sign with the Mads: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai; The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Noel Vera: Takaw Tukso (“Passion Play”); MNL 143

Patti Nase Abbott: 30 Rock; 1984 (1984 film); Late Night with David Letterman; A Quiet Passion

Patricia Nolan-Hall: Ricardo Cortez; Simon and Laura; Five Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, James Cagney, Laurel and Hardy, John Wayne; A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Dial M for Murder (1954); Little Boy Lost; Me and My Pal; The Far Country

Paul D Brazill: Dog Soldiers; Last Cab to Darwin; Len and Company

The Projection Booth: The Lost One; The Ninth Configuration; Who is Arthur Chu?; Mommie Dearest; Wanda Whips Wall Street; Rick Marx; Tami Stronach

Raquel Stecher: The Beguiled; Dancing Lady; What’s Up, Doc?; The China Syndrome

Ren Zelen: Something Wild

Rick: The African Queen; Five Stars: Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, David Niven, Katherine Hepburn; Young Sherlock Holmes; Billy Wider; Marlowe; equestrian films

Rod Lott: Wolves at the Door; The Circle; Rest Stop: SST: Death Flight; SnakeEater; SnakeEater II: The Drug Buster; The Belko Experiment

Ruth Kerr: Night Nurse; You Can’t Take It With You; Five Stars: Ida Lupino, The Nicholas Brothers, Thelma Ritter, John Wayne; Stella Dallas; TCM Classic Film Festival

Salome Wilde: A Woman’s Face (1938 Sweden and 1941 US); Laird Cregar; Five Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Gabin, Ida Lupino, Lauren Bacall, Peter Lorre; Nazi noir: The Murderers are Among Us; Turn the Key Softly; noir and the Oscars; Finger of Guilt (aka Intimate Stranger)

Scott Cupp: Arsene Lupin; The Giant Claw; The Neanderthal Man (1953 film); Reaper: Pilot

Sergio Angelini: Last Resort; The Woman in Green; The Marseilles Contract

Stacia Kissick Jones: Johnny Guitar; Gas-s-s-s

Stacie Ponder: The Fog

Steve Lewis: The House That Dripped Blood; The Murder of Dr. Harrigan; Hero; Company Business; Medicine Man (1992 film)

Television Obscurities: The Halls of Ivy: “The Old Professor Forgets His Umbrella”

Todd Liebenow: Underrated 1987 films

Tynan: Roman Holiday; Blue Jay; East of Eden

Vienna: The Jimmy Stewart Museum; Ricardo Cortez; Charles McGraw

Wayne Dundee: Arizona Bushwhackers

She Devil (1957)

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The fruitfly serum transforms her into a femme fatale!
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US / 78 minutes / bw / Regal, TCF Dir & Pr: Kurt Neumann Scr: Carroll Young, Kurt Neumann Story: “The Adaptive Ultimate” (1935 Astounding) by John Jessel (i.e., Stanley G. Weinbaum) Cine: Karl Struss Cast: Mari Blanchard, Jack Kelly, Albert Dekker, John Archer, Fay Baker, Blossom Rock (i.e., Marie Blake), Paul Cavanagh, Helen Jay.

Dr. Richard Bach (Dekker)—who appears to be both a brilliant surgeon and president of Grand Mercy Hospital—arrives home from a foreign business trip to discover that his protege, close friend and housemate, medical researcher Dr. Dan Scott (Kelly), has developed a new serum, one that in animal tests has effected miraculous cures for what should have been terminal illnesses/injuries.

Hannah Blossom Rock (i.e., Marie Blake) welcomes Richard (Albert Dekker) home.

The theoretical underpinning of Dan’s work could be regarded as a sort of bastard offspring of various pseudo-Lamarckian theories of evolution:

Dan: “. . . the new research I mentioned before you left. It’s a project designed to prove that the cure of any disease or injury is essentially a product of adaptation.”
Richard: “Oh, yes. You were proceeding on the theory that all living organisms possess the ability, in more or less degree, to heal themselves.”
Dan: “By adapting themselves to any harmful change in their environment. A lizard, for example, will shed an injured tail—grow a new one. A chameleon will change its color for self-protection.”
Richard: “And you hope to develop a cure-all serum from insects, since they are the most adaptive of all living organisms?”
Dan: “Exactly. So I have developed a serum from the most highly evolved and most adaptive of all insects—the fruitfly. It’s the one insect that’s known to produce a higher percentage of mutants—or changelings—than any other.”

A fruitfly (uncredited).

Incidentally, that sentence of Dan’s—“It’s a project designed to prove that the cure of any disease or injury is essentially a product of adaptation”—contains multiple misunderstandings of the way that science works. First, unlike mathematics, science doesn’t deal in proofs. Second, any project that decides its desired result from the outset is profoundly unscientific, for reasons enlarged upon in my book Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology and Politics in Science (2007; new, revised and vastly expanded edition expected *koff koff plug plug* in March/April 2018 from See Sharp Press).

Dan (Jack Kelly) explains his breakthrough to Richard (Albert Dekker).

Likewise, fruitflies are not at all “the most highly evolved of all insects” (it’s precisely because they’re so rudimentary that insecticides are so ineffective against them) and I don’t think it’s the case that they’re especially adaptive: it’s just that individuals have short lifespans and thus there are more generations within any particular period of time; more generations per (say) month means more mutations per month, making fruitflies a good experimental subject for students of heredity.

But I digress.

Returning to the plot: As noted, Dan’s experiments on animals have been highly successful, the only oddity being that the leopard he cured has now turned black. He’s keen to experiment on a human subject. Despite initial concerns about the ethics, Richard agrees to set him up with a patient who, while facing imminent, inescapable death, is yet compos mentis enough to give consent to the experiment.

Kyra (Mari Blanchard) was on the brink of death . . .

. . .  but now look at her!

That patient proves to be Kyra Zelas (Blanchard), at death’s door because of tuberculosis. Within hours she’s not just cured but Continue reading

o/t: the Medicine in the Movies Blogathon

Charlene of Charlene’s (Mostly) Classic Movie Reviews announced this some little while ago, but I learned about it just yesterday. Charlene has most kindly allowed a very late enrollment from me, so expect my post on the blistering quasi-noirish medical-sf “classic” She Devil (1957) to appear on Saturday.

In the meantime, to learn about all the other excitements that will be appearing over the weekend, click on the picture below.

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Wrong Number (2002)

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Not sorry?
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Canada, US / 97 minutes / color / Northern Eagle/Triton, Tsunami Dir: Richard Middleton Pr: Ken Nakamura, Tim Riley Scr: Richard Middleton Story: Lorna Lambert Cine: Walter Bal Cast: Brigitte Bako, David Lipper, Kane Picoy, Barry Blake, Eric Roberts, Cas Anver (i.e., Cas Anvar), Simon Peacock, Jo Marr, Karen Cliche, Chip Chuipka.

I went into this not expecting a huge amount but found it to be one of the more engaging neonoirs I’ve seen in a while.

Starting from the opening credits, our intermittent narrator is Josh Grey (Roberts), recently murdered by person or persons unknown. As he tells us,

“They say sometimes there are three sides to every story—his side, her side, and the truth. This is one of those stories.”

And he’s right. Even though we might expect him, as someone speaking from the afterlife, to know the truth of the matter, he’s guessing as much as the rest of us are as we watch a set of narratives in which it seems just about every narrator is an unreliable one.

Eric Roberts as Josh Grey.

Brigitte Bako as Dana Demotte.

Let me qualify that “set of narratives” remark. There are plenty of movies—a classic recent example is the wonderful À LA FOLIE . . . PAS DU TOUT (2002; vt He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not) starring the equally wonderful Audrey Tautou—in which we’re presented with first one and then another account of a sequence of events, the second account forcing us to radically reappraise our initial impression. In Wrong Number the variant accounts are presented almost as if part of a single narrative: we’re never quite sure who if anyone is the false narrator.

I should add that Wrong Number has a lot of the feel of a (very good) TV movie. But pay attention to Continue reading