Burden of Evil (2012 TVM)

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How can a cop cope with the serial killer who murdered her husband?
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Canada / 90 minutes / color / Incendo, Dir: Michel Monty Pr: Jean Bureau, Serge Denis, Josée Mauffette Scr: Tom Gates Cine: Daniel Villeneuve Cast: Natalie Zea, Ron Lea, Ricky Mabe, Graham Cuthbertson, Michael Ironside, Vincent Hoss-Desmarais, Alexandra Valassis, Andrew Johnston, Chad Connell, Éleonore Lamothe, Ellen David, Jennifer Morehouse, Mark Hauser, Tarah Schwartz, Alex Weiner, Bobby Lamont.

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Natalie Zea as Detective Caitlyn “Kate” Conner.

A couple of years ago, Detective Caitlyn “Kate” Conner (Zea) managed to identify the serial killer Kyle Randall (Mabe), whose m.o. was to kill—to “butcher”—men who’d abandoned their families; unfortunately, she was never able to nail him.

Today her husband Jamie (Connell), also a cop, is lured by Randall into a deserted warehouse, where Randall shoots him the back, killing him, then seemingly allows himself to be caught.

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From a position aloft, Kyle (Ricky Mabe) . . . Continue reading

Breaking the Girls (2012)

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Who’s deceiving whom in this absorbing Strangers on a Train riff?
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US / 87 minutes / color / Myriad, Tapestry, Future, Light Iron, IFC Dir: Jamie Babbit Pr: Kirk D’Amico, Andrea Sperling Scr: Mark Distefano, Guinevere Turner Cine: Jeffrey Waldron Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Madeline Zima, Shawn Ashmore, Kate Levering, Shanna Collins, Davenia McFadden, Tiya Sircar, Melanie Mayron, Manish Dayal, Billy Mayo, Sam Anderson, John Stockwell, Jennifer Ann Massey.

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Orphaned scholarship law student Sara Ryan (Bruckner) works nights at a bar called The Roost. One evening one of her customers is a child of extreme privilege, the visibly flaky, unstable Alex Layton (Zima); hardly has she sat down than another customer, Tim (Dayal), crassly propositions her. Sara sends Tim packing and the two women exchange pleasantries.

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Alex (Madeline Zima) gets chatted up at The Roost.

But not for long, because into The Roost stumble Sara’s classmates Brooke Potter (Collins), Brooke’s toady Piper Sperling (Sircar) and Brooke’s boyfriend Eric Nolan (Ashmore), son of their law professor (Anderson). Brooke loathes Sara because Sara’s a scholarship girl and because Continue reading

Bad Company (1931)

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A psycho mobster falls for his sidekick’s wife, with lethal consequences!
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US / 76 minutes / bw / RKO Pathé Dir: Tay Garnett Pr: Charles R. Rogers Scr: Tom Buckingham, Tay Garnett Story: Put on the Spot (1930) by Jack Lait Cine: Arthur Miller Cast: Helen Twelvetrees, Ricardo Cortez, John Garrick, Paul Hurst, Frank Conroy, Harry Carey, Frank McHugh, Kenneth Thomson, Arthur Stone, Emma Dunn, William V. Mong, Edgar Kennedy, Robert Keith.

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It has been claimed that this is the first movie to feature what would later become an iconic cinematic figure in such movies as WHITE HEAT (1949): the psycho gang boss. That boss is played here by Ricardo Cortez, an actor whom one might have assumed to be too bland, too suave, for the role, but in fact he renders it excellently.

Helen King (Twelvetrees) is in love with Steve Carlyle (Garrick), and when he proposes to her aboard the Dalton—the yacht belonging to her brother Markham “Mark” King (Conroy)—she says “Yes!” with all her heart. What she doesn’t know and won’t learn until very much later is that Steve is the protégé of mob leader Goldie Gorio (Cortez). What Steve doesn’t yet know is that King is in actuality the mysterious “Mr. Davis,” the mob boss who has control of the city’s West Side—the East Side is Gorio’s—and that the two bosses have been covertly maneuvering the lovers toward each other:

King: “In the old days, when two powers were at war, the daughter of one royal family was given in marriage to the son of the other. The result was permanent peace.”
Gorio: “So, besides getting the dame you want, Goldie Gorio and, uh, King gets themselves a setup with no interference, hijacking or rough stuff.”
Steve: “That’s great.” [to King] “And you’re willing to hold still for your own sister marrying a hoodlum that’s liable to ‘get his’ any minute?”

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Goldie Gorio (Ricardo Cortez) is full of faux charm.

Steve wants out, so that he and Helen can live a normal life together, but that’s not an option:

Gorio:You’re getting out? There’s only one way out, and you’re too young and beautiful to Continue reading

Intruder (2011)

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Who came to the lonely housewife’s aid?
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US / 20 minutes / color / Senese Films Dir & Scr: Billy Senese Pr: Brinn Hamilton, Billy Senese Cine: Jeffrey Stanfill Cast: Jennifer Spriggs, Josh Graham, Kayte Miller, Jeremy Childs, Craig Armstrong, Iain Montgomery, Adonni Samuels.

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A nifty little psychological thriller that declines to speak down to its audience—in fact, you might find yourself immediately replaying it to try to confirm in your own mind exactly what happened.

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Samantha (Jennifer Spriggs) gazes wistfully at her sleeping daughter Allie.

Rendered a paraplegic by his injuries, soldier Nathan (Graham) is being looked after in their small, dismal apartment by his wife, Samantha (Spriggs). She’s at the end of her tether trying to cope with both him and Continue reading

Treacherous Crossing (1992 TVM)

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Based on a John Dickson Carr radio play, a vicious plan to drive a new-wed bride insane!
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US / 84 minutes / color / OTML, Wilshire Court, USA Network Dir: Tony Wharmby Pr: Bob Roe Scr: Elisa Bell Story: Cabin B-13 (1943 radio play) by John Dickson Carr Cine: Brian West Cast: Lindsay Wagner, Angie Dickinson, Grant Show, Joseph Bottoms, Karen Medak, Charles Napier, Eric Avari, Cameron Watson, Jeffrey DeMunn, Scott McCray, Robert Meadmore.

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A TV remake of the John Dickson Carr adaptation DANGEROUS CROSSING (1953) dir Joseph M. Newman, with Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie. If you’re familiar with the original then, to be honest, you’ll find that the remake doesn’t have very much new to offer, and of course it lacks Crain and Rennie. On the other hand, Wagner’s interpretation of the abandoned wife who fears for her sanity is arguably on its own worth the price of admission.

It’s New York City in 1947 and the crowds along the dockside are waving at the passengers aboard a luxury liner that’s preparing to depart for Europe. Among those waving passengers are freshly wed Lindsey Gates (Wagner) and cynical wife-on-holiday-from-husband Beverly Thomas (Dickinson); they meet and promise to spend time together during the voyage.

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 Lindsey (Lindsay Wagner), full of hope for her new married life.

Conspicuously not by Lindsey’s side is her adoring new husband, Kenneth, a composer and former writer of Broadway plays, who promised to meet her in the bar after embarkation. Lindsey waits and she waits, assuming he must have gotten delayed while sorting out some detail with the purser, perhaps. When one of the crew (McCray) suggests he might have gone back to their cabin, she looked there . . . only to discover that her key doesn’t fit the lock. Further inquiries reveal she’s been booked aboard the passage under her maiden name, Lindsey Thomas, and in a different cabin, 240B rather than 236B, a single rather than a double. In vain does Lindsey protest:

“We were just in Room 236B—it’s full of yellow flowers, he carried me over the threshold . . .”

Yet the maid who supposedly tended to the young couple’s cabin, Belinda (Medak), has no memory of Kenneth or of the yellow flowers in 236B; all she can remember is Continue reading

Tragica Notte (1942)

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A tale of twisted love and vengeance!
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vt Tragic Night
Italy / 81 minutes / bw / Scalera, Farrenia Pancro C.6 Dir: Mario Soldati Scr: M. Bonfantini, E. Cecchi, D. Cinelli, E. Giachino, L. De Caro, M. Soldati Story: La Trappola (1928) by Delfino Cinelli Cine: Massimo Terzano, Otello Martelli Cast: Dori Duranti (i.e., Doris Duranti), Carlo Ninchi, Andrea Checchi, Juan de Landa, Amelia Chellini, Adriano Rimoldi, Giulio Battiferri.

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In open country near the remote mountain town of Monticiano, a band of masked men lure the gamekeeper Stefano (Ninchi) into an ambush and beat him unconscious. During the struggle, Stefano is able to wrench a button off the jacket of one of his attackers so that later he’s able to identify the man as Nanni (Checchi), owner of the local trattoria. It’s not surprising that Nanni should have been seeking revenge: Although the regional bigwig, Count Paolo Martorelli (Rimoldi), has no particular objections to the activities of poachers on his land—in fact, in their youth he and Nanni habitually went poaching together, to the ire of Paolo’s father—the overzealous Stefano caught Nanni a while back and got him sent to jail for a couple of months. The fact that the spell in jail came almost immediately after Nanni’s marriage to his beloved wife Armida (Duranti) naturally increased Nanni’s bitterness.

Tragica Notte - 1 Nanni lies in wait

Nanni (Andrea Checchi) lies in wait for his foe.

Yet Stefano doesn’t publicly denounce Nanni for having thrashed him—quite the opposite, he covers up the crime, pretending that Continue reading

Thirteenth Guest, The (1932)

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How many of the long-ago guests is the killer prepared to kill?
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US / 69 minutes / bw / M.H. Hoffman, Monogram Dir: Albert Ray Pr: M.H. Hoffman Scr: Frances Hyland Story: The Thirteenth Guest (1929) by Armitage Trail Cine: Harry Neumann, Tom Galligan Cast: Ginger Rogers, Lyle Talbot, J. Farrell MacDonald, Paul Hurst, Erville Alderson, Ethel Wales, James Eagles, Craufurd Kent (i.e., Crauford Kent), Eddie Phillips, Frances Rich, Phillips Smalley, Harry Tenbrook, Robert Klein, Adrienne Dore, William B. Davidson.

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Naturally I discussed here on Noirish the remake of this movie—Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943) dir William Beaudine, with Helen Parrish, Dick Purcell, Tim Ryan et al.—before I got round to tackling the original. Ça va.

The plots of the two movies are virtually identical, so I’ll just go for a quick account here.

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On her 21st birthday Marie Morgan (Rogers) arrives at the old Morgan home for an appointment with family lawyer John Barksdale (Klein). Although the place is dilapidated, phone and electricity have been installed. She bears a letter from her long-deceased grandpa containing the enigmatic instruction “13—13—13.” Yes, 13 years ago the family gathered here around a table at which the 13th chair was empty. Soon after, Grandpa died, leaving almost all of his fortune to the eight-year-old Marie. And now she’s due to inherit.

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Ginger Rogers as Marie.

There’s a noise.

She goes to look.

A shot rings out.

There’s a scream.

Some while later the cops arrive in the form of Continue reading

Suddenly (2013)

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Ray Liotta and Erin Karpluk in an interesting (albeit highly flawed) remake of a noir classic!
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vt Code Black: President Down
Canada / 90 minutes / color / Odyssey, Nasser Group North, Province of British Columbia Film Incentive BC, CPTC, Insight, Cinedigm Dir: Uwe Boll Pr: Kirk Shaw Scr: Raul Inglis Story (uncredited): Suddenly (1954 screenplay) by Richard Sale Cine: B. Uegama Cast: Ray Liotta, Erin Karpluk, Dominic Purcell, Don MacKay, Cole Coker, Tyron Leitso, Michael Paré, Steve Bacic, Garry Chalk, Brendan Fletcher, Darryl Shuttleworth, Chris Shields, Haig Sutherland.

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This is a remake (albeit this goes unacknowledged in the credits) of the well regarded 1954 movie SUDDENLY, dir Lewis Allen, with Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason and Nancy Gates. For obvious reasons, then, I won’t go into the plot in too much detail.

En route to his vacation, the US President is going to make a brief, hitherto unannounced stop in the remote small town of Suddenly. The secret services, led by Agent Dan Carney (Bacic), descend on the town a few hours beforehand to establish security measures in cooperation with local Police Chief Grant (Chalk) and his two deputies, Reg Anderson (Fletcher) and Tod Reed (Liotta)—the credits get the latter character’s wrong, listing him as Tod Shaw.

Suddenly - 2 It's a wonder Tod is still maintained by the PD

It’s a wonder Tod (Ray Liotta) is still maintained by the PD.

Suddenly - 2a And it's largely because of the goodwill of Chief Grant that he is

And it’s largely because of the goodwill of Chief Grant (Garry Chalk) that he is.

But a domestic terrorist group, the Committee, has got wind of the whistlestop visit and sent in a trio of fake agents, Baron (Purcell), Wheeler (Leitso) and Conklin (Paré). These three take over, with her permission, the home of Continue reading

o/t: Todd Mason’s latest Overlooked A/V:: Films, Television, Radio and more

Todd has posted on his fab Sweet Freedom blog yet another amazingly useful roundup of the good a/v-related stuff that’s currently swarming all over the blogosphere. Click HERE to go to his page and discover all the individual links.

Adam Ferenz: The Fly (1986 film); The Matrix
A. J. Wright: Cathy O’Donnell
Anne Billson: David Lynch; posters as art
Bhob Stewart: Vic and Sade; Trouble the Water; Jazz on Summer’s Day; game show scandals

The Big Broadcast 21 August 2016:
7 p.m. Yours Truly Johnny Dollar
“The Chesapeake Fraud Matter” Parts 4 + 5 (CBS, Original airdates October 20 and 21, 1955)
7:30 p.m. Burns and Allen
“George’s Allergy Problem” (NBC, Original Airdate September 5, 1946)
8 p.m. Gunsmoke
“Kitty’s Killing”, episode 285 (CBS, Original airdate February 2, 1958)
8:20 p.m. The Adventures of Superman
“Airplane Disasters at Bridger Field” Part #6 (Mutual/MBS, Original airdate May 9, 1940)
8:30 p.m. Dragnet
“Sullivan Kidnapping” (NBC, Original airdate September 10, 1949) *
9 p.m. The Whistler
“Murder at Twin Pines” (CBS, Original airdate April 10, 1949) *
9:30 p.m. Dimension X
“With Folded Hands” (NBC, Original airdate April 15, 1950)
10 p.m. Suspense
“The Man Who Knew How” (CBS, Original airdate August 10, 1944)
10:30 p.m. Inner Sanctum
“Birdsong For a Murderer” (CBS, Original airdate June 22, 1952)

Bill Crider: So Fine [trailer]
Bob Clark: Akira
B. V. Lawson: Media Murder
Classic Movie Salon: A Hatful of Rain; this week’s Sunday discussion: Mister 880
Colin McGuigan: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939 film)
Cult TV: The Prisoner: “Living in Harmony”; “The Girl Who Was Death”
Cynthia Fuchs: The Host (2013 film)
David Alexander: House of Secrets (1936 film)
Elizabeth Foxwell: The 20th Century-Fox Hour: “Deception”; heist films featuring women thieves
Eric Hillis: Conversation Piece (1974 film)
Faculty of Horror: The Babadook; Goodnight Mommy
George Kelley: Muscle Shoals; Indignation
“Gilligan Newton-John”: Carry On Christmas

How Did This Get Made?: Gods of Egypt
Iba Dawson: Mae West; Noir in color
Ivan G. Shreve Jr..: Chicago Confidential
Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “The Woman Who Wanted to Live”
Jackie Kashian: Karen Rontowski on tarot, comedians, etc.
Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show
Jacqueline T. Lynch: Seven Days in May
Jake Goldman: NET Playhouse: “Between Time and Timbuktu” (Kurt Vonnegut adaptation)
James Reasoner: Guns in the Dark

Janet Varney: Jessica St. Clair
Jason Abbey: Female Prisoner Scorpion
Jason Bailey: The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996 trainwreck film)
–courtesy Bill Crider
Jerry House: The Patchwork Girl of Oz; X Minus One: “Skulking Permit”
John Grant: The Ninth Guest
John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die: the episodes reviewed
John Varley: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Jonathan Lewis: Sabata
Karen Hannsberry: The Strange Love of Molly Louvain
Kate Laity: Tutti Frutti
Ken Levine: The Night Before; lost and found scripts
Kliph Nesteroff: The Frances Langford Special

Kristina Dijan: Naked City (tv series)
Laura G: The Deadline (1931 film); Arizona Bound; About Face; The Reluctant Dragon; TCM in November
Lesley Gaspar: The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947 film)
Lindsey D: Internes Can’t Take Money
Lucy Brown: Leaving (tv)
Maltin on Movies: Mel Brooks
Marilyn Ferdinand: The Incredible Shrinking Man
Martin Edwards: A Game of Murder; One of Us (BBC TV)
Marty McKee: Man on a Swing; Supertrain: “Express to Terror”; HellBound

Mildred Perkins: Stacy
Mitchell Hadley: Cleveland/Columbus television, 26 August 1971; TV Guide, 21 August 1971; sitcoms
Movie Sign with the Mads: Suicide Squad
Noel Vera: You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting; Lilia Cuntapay (aka Antoinette Jadaone)
Patricia Nolan-Hall: Night Must Fall and Robert Montgomery
Patti Nase Abbott: Sabrina (1954 film); wait staff in drama
Paul David Brazill: The Woman in the Window
Pop My Culture: Andre Gower and Ryan Lambert
Raquel Stecher: Song of Russia; CapitolFest
Rick: The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band
Robert Hornak: E. T.: The Extraterrestrial
Roberto Curti: Unlikely superheroes of Italian cinema

Rod Lott: Observance; Killing Spree; The Bat People;
“Rupert Pupkin”: Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon; Wild in the Streets
Ruth Kerr: American Madness with Constance Cummings
Salome Wilde: quick takes: The Damned Don’t Cry; I Confess; Johnny Eager; I Walk Alone; The Devil and Daniel Webster; Ladies in Retirement; The Bat; Elevator to the Gallows; Danger 5: Season 2
Sarah Jane: Underrated films of 1976
Sergio Angelini: The Pearl of Death
Stacia Kissick Jones: Doc Hollywood
Stacie Ponder: films I love
Stephen Bowie: TV series that took a while to find their feet
Stephen Gallagher: TV drama anthologies and adaptations; Jurassic Park when new
Television Obscurities: Slattery’s People
Tim Lones: WJAN, Canton, OH
Tynan: October: Ten Days That Shook the World; She Done Him Wrong
Victoria Loomes: You’ll Never Get Rich
Vienna: Hitchcock’s left turn with Psycho; Ingrid Bergman
Walter Albert: The Kiss Before the Mirror