Quan Min Mu Ji (2013)

What really happened when a popular singer was murdered?

vt Silent Witness
China / 115 minutes / color / 21st Century Wink, Tik, InLook Vision, Shanghai Yinrun, Anhul, Beijing Media, Beijing New Film Association, Shenzen Dream Life, Beijing MaxTimes Dir & Scr: Fei Xing Pr: Xiao Pingkai Cine: Zhao Xiaoding Cast: Sun Honglei, Aaron Kwok, Yu Nan, Deng Jiajia, Zhao Lixin, Ni Hongjie, Chen Sicheng, Tong Liya, Weitong Zhou.

Silent Witness - 0 opener

This is generally billed as a courtroom drama, and the description’s not incorrect. But it’s not complete, either. Most of the movie happens outside the courtroom, and in the convoluted narrative we’re given not one but three or arguably four interlocking interpretations of events. (This sounds more similar to RASHOMON [1950] than it actually is.) The effect is rather like one of those old John Dickson Carr novels where the detective gives what seems a watertight solution to the mystery only to break it down, expose why it couldn’t be true, and then present a completely different explanation. But Quan Min Mu Ji isn’t a light-hearted Carr exercise; there’s a genuine noirish sense throughout that no one here is going to find a happy ending, that the best anyone can hope for is a choice of tragedies.

Silent Witness - 3 Yang Dan makes her point in the underground garage

Yang Dan (Weitong Zhou) makes her point in the underground garage.

Singer Yang Dan (Zhou), unfaithful mistress of the powerful businessman Lin Tai (Sun), has been murdered in an underground parking garage, and the evidence is overwhelming that it was Lin’s daughter Mengmeng (Deng) who committed the crime. Mengmeng hit the chanteuse with Continue reading

Ninth Guest, The (1934)

The ninth guest is . . . death!

US / 67 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: R. William Neill Scr: Garnett Weston Story: The Invisible Host (1930) by Gwen Bristow and Bruce Manning, and The Ninth Guest (1930 play) by Owen Davis Cine: Benjamin Kline Cast: Donald Cook, Genevieve Tobin, Hardie Albright, Edward Ellis, Edwin Maxwell, Vincent Barnett, Helen Flint, Samuel Hinds, Nella Walker, Sidney Bracey.

The Ninth Guest - 0 opener

Using a public phone, an anonymous caller sends a telegram to each of eight individuals inviting them to a “small party” in their honor to be held next Saturday at 10pm at the Manville Penthouse. Who are the eight?

  • Dr. Murray Reid (Hinds), the ethically flexible dean of Raeburn University, who has just, on the instruction of corrupt politician
  • Tim Cronin (Ellis), dismissed a junior member of staff,
  • Henry Abbott (Albright), for being too damn’ radical. Cronin, aided by his beautiful lover, the sharp-witted shyster
  • Sylvia Inglesby (Flint), has just engineered the electoral downfall of rival
  • Jason Osgood (Maxwell) of the Good Government League by exposing his candidate, Burke (uncredited), as a thirty-years-ago felon.

The Ninth Guest - 2 fit into text if poss

  • Mrs. Margaret Chisholm (Walker) is a hypocritical society dame whose yea or nay can determine acceptance or rejection by the parasitic set, while
  • Jean Trent (Tobin) is a lovely and successful but somewhat shallow actress whose childhood sweetheart, author and journalist
  • James “Jim” Daley (Cook), saw through her some while ago but still loves her dearly.

And each of them, as we’ll discover, is guilty of . . . something!

The Ninth Guest - 1 Iffy academic Reid

Iffy academic Dr. Murray Reid (Samuel Hinds).

The eight invited guests—the ninth guest, as we’re soon enough told, is Death!—sure enough turn up at the penthouse at the appointed hour, finding it luxurious and well supplied for the promised party with one obvious exception: there’s no sign of Continue reading

o/t: Todd Mason’s overlooked A/V: the links to reviews, interviews and more

Yes! It’s here again — the invaluable roundup of great a/v articles and reviews from around the intertubes. Click HERE to be taken to Todd’s Sweet Freedom blog and the individual links.

  • Adam Ferenz: Ex Machina
  • Allan Fish: Dark City
  • Anne Billson: Robert Altman
  • Bhob Stewart: Laurent Nicholas animation; Del Close; NPR Jazz Profiles; etc.
  • The Big Broadcast 14 Aug 2016
    7 p.m. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
    “The Chesapeake Fraud Matter” Parts 2 + 3 (CBS, Original airdates October 18 and 19, 1955)
    7:30 p.m. Our Miss Brooks
    “Weekend at Crystal Lake” (CBS, Original airdate August 21, 1950)
    8 p.m. Gunsmoke
    “One For Lee”, episode 284 (CBS, Original airdate January 26, 1958)
    8:20 p.m. The Adventures of Superman
    “Airplane Disasters at Bridger Field” Part #5 (Mutual/MBS, Original airdate May 8, 1940)
    8:30 p.m. Dimension X
    “The Martian Chronicles” (NBC, Original airdate August 18, 1950)
    9 p.m. Dragnet
    ”Eric Kelby” aka “Body Buried in Nursery” (NBC, Original airdate September 3rd, 1949)
    9:30 p.m. Gang Busters
    “Four Feathers” (CBS, Original airdate January 21, 1950)
    10 p.m. The MGM Theatre Of The Air
    “Stamboul Quest” (MGM syndication, Original airdate July 14, 1950)
  • Bill Crider: Buck Privates [trailer]; Hold That Ghost! [trailer]
  • Brandie Ashe: The Iron Giant
  • B. V. Lawson: Media Murder
  • Christianne Benedict: Gravity
  • Classic Movie Salon: The Man Who Cheated Himself (last week); A Hatful of Rain (this coming Sunday)
  • Colin McGuigan: Three Hours to Kill
  • Comedy Film Nerds: Jackie Kashian on Suicide Squad; Samuel Prime
  • Cult TV: Dixon of Dock Green; Man at the Top
  • Cynthia Fuchs: Zero Days
  • Dan Stumpf: Mae West;
  • David Schleicher: Inception
  • David Vineyard: Blowing Wild;
  • Dean Treadway: Fahrenheit 451
  • Ed Howard: The Thing (from Another World)
  • Elgin Bleecker: Broadchurch (Season 2)
  • Elizabeth Foxwell: Shed No Tears; Twelve Angry Men (2005 stage play for radio); Man with a Camera: “Blind Spot”; Edgar Wallace PC Lee Stories (BBC Radio 4)
  • Eric Hillis: Monique; Underrated in 1976
  • Faculty of Horror: Ghostbusters
  • George Kelley: The Call of the Wild (1935 film); It’s Only a Play (stage); Batman: The Killing Joke
  • “Gilligan Newton-John”: sales of television programs in the US syndication market
  • How Did This Get Made?: The Phantom
  • Iba Dawson: Film noir in color
  • Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Chicago Confidential; A Woman’s Face; Heaven with a Barbed Wire Fence; HDNet Movies, FXM and MGM HD channels
  • Jack Seabrook: Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “Cell 227”
  • Jackie Kashian: Ashley Esqueda on late night television; Amy Dallen on Hamilton and more; with Maria Bamford in Montreal
  • Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show
  • Jacqueline T. Lynch: Keeper of the Flame
  • Jake Hinkson: Noir City Chicago 8 festival
  • James Clark: Stranger Than Paradise; Knight of Cups
  • James Reasoner: Fugitive of the Plains; Captains of the Clouds
  • Janet Varney: Justin Kirk; Andrew Burlinson; Mark Gagliardi
  • Jerry House: The First World Fantasy Convention, 1975 (audio); Mr. I. A. Moto (NBC Radio); Son of Ingagi; “Bug Vaudeville”
  • Joel Bocko: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion;
  • John Grant: The Fleischer Animations; Država (aka The State); Return from the Ashes; Phoenix (2014 film); Nausicaa; 1984 (1984 film)
  • John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die: the episodes reviewed
  • John Varley: Eight-Legged Freaks
  • Jonathan Lewis: Power of the Press; Shotgun (1955 film); The Ultimate Warrior (1973 film)
  • Karen Hannsberry: The Damned Don’t Cry
  • Kate Laity: Boom!
  • Ken Levine: Trapped in elevators; notes; new commercial broadcast series
  • Kliph Nesterhoff: The Mike Stokey Show; Gary Mule Deer
  • Kristina Dijan: August Film Diary; Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon
  • Laura G.: The Maverick (1952 film); The Mouthpiece (1932 film); Ridin’ for Justice; Stop, You’re Killing Me; The Navajo Trail; Fixer Dugan; Winter Carnival (1939 film); Flame of the West
  • Lesley Gaspar: Safe in Hell
  • Lindsay D.: Big Leaguer
  • Lucy Brown: Dancing on the Edge
  • Maltin on Movies: Phil Proctor of The Firesign Theatre
  • Martin Edwards: The Reeds; Joy Swift’s Original Murder Mystery Weekends
  • Marty McKee: Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow
  • Mildred Perkins: The Crazies (1973 & 2010 films)
  • Mitchell Hadley: NBN Television restoration; 21 August 1968 M-SP tv listings; TV Guide, 17 August 1968
  • Movie Sign with the Mads: Valley of the Dolls
  • Noel Vera: Batman: The Killing Joke; Super
  • Patricia Nolan-Hall: New York Confidential
  • Patti Abbott: Laura (1944 film); film comedy; Roc; Don’t Think Twice
  • Paul Brazill: The Weekenders: The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith
  • Pierre de Plume: Sleeper
  • Pop My Culture: Epic Lloyd and Mary Doodles
  • Raquel Stecher: Holiday Affair
  • Rick: The Big Clock; swimming pools in film; Plimpton! (tv series featuring George Plimpton)
  • Robert Ham: Underrated films of 1976
  • Robert Hornack: King Kong (1933): Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  • Rod Lott: Kill Squad; The Hills Have Eyes II; Baby Ghost; Corpse Mania; Sausage Party; The Boy Who Cried Werewolf; Guyana: Cult of the Damned; Mars Needs Women; Blood (2009 film); The Cave of Silken Web; Hellhole
  • Ruth Kerr: The Classic Movie History Project; He Ran All the Way; Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon
  • Salome Wilde: Mr. Holmes; Gods and Monsters; Moonrise; My Top Ten Film Noir Psychopaths; Brit Noir and Jean Simmons; John Sturges: Western/Noir; Fritz Lang; Miklós Rózsa
  • Sergio Angelini: What Have You Done to Solange?; And Soon the Darkness
  • Stacia Jones: It’s a Date; My Fellow Americans; The Russian Woodpecker
  • Stacie Ponder: The Haunting of Julia; The Night Evelyn Came out of the Grave
  • Stephen Bowie: Playhouse 90: “Alas, Babylon”
  • Stephen Mullen: The Island of Lost Souls; Things to Come (1936)
  • Steve Lewis: The Killing; Treasury Men in Action: “The Case of the Deadly
  • TV Obscurities: Kyle MacDonnell
  • Tynan: High and Low; Love in the Afternoon; In the Mood for Love; The Set-Up; Living is Easy with Eyes Closed
  • Victoria Loomes: Terence Fisher, Christopher Lee and Dracula
  • Vienna: The Enforcer (1951 film); Cary Grant
  • Walter Albert: She (1935 film); Lady on a Train
  • Yvette Banek: The Three Musketeers (1948 film)

Phoenix (2014)

After her return from the death camps, why do people want to own and exploit her?

Phoenix - 0

Germany / 98 minutes / color / Schramm Film Koerner & Weber, Tempus, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk, arte, Piffi Dir: Christian Petzold Pr: Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber Scr: Christian Petzold, Harun Farocki Story: Le Retour des Cendres (1961) by Hubert Monteilhet Cine: Hans Fromm Cast: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf, Michael Maertens, Imogen Kogge, Valerie Koch, Eva Bay, Megan Gay, Frank Seppeler, Daniela Holtz, Kathrin Wehlisch, Michael Wenninger, Claudia Geisler-Bading.

This is the third screen adaptation of Monteilhet’s novel; the first was J. Lee Thompson’s Return from the Ashes (1965), which I discussed here a few days ago. If you watch the two movies back to back, as I did, it’s blatant that they’re both based on the same work; but at the same time there are so many differences—the two are faithful and unfaithful to the novel in certain but different ways, while in many respects they’re poles apart in terms of “feel” and subtext—that really it makes sense to treat them as independent of each other. (The second screen adaptation, which I haven’t seen, was Le Retour d’Élisabeth Wolff [1982 TVM] dir Josée Dayan, with Malka Ribowska, Niels Arestrup, Clémentine Amouroux and Roland Bertin.)

In order to discuss this movie meaningfully, I’m going to have to talk about its ending. To be honest, it’s not one of those movies where a spoiler’s going to destroy your enjoyment—it’s a very satisfying tale even if you know what’s going to happen—but you’ve been warned. (Besides, I’ve missed out various of the other major plot turns.)

It’s 1945 and onetime Berlin cabaret singer Nelly Lenz (Hoss), hideously facially disfigured after a year in Auschwitz, is brought back into the city’s US sector by her old friend Lene Winter (Kunzendorf), who’s part of the Jewish committee clearing up the postwar mess.

Phoenix - 1 Lene (foreground) introduces Nelly to the wreckage that was once her home

Lene (Nina Kunzendorf, foreground) introduces Nelly (Nina Hoss) to the wreckage that was once her home.

Lene seems to have taken it upon herself to control every aspect of Nelly’s life. She arranges for Nelly to have reconstructive facial surgery at the hands of plastic surgeon Dr. Arzt (Maertens)—Nelly shows a first sign of rebellion here, insisting that he attempt to restore Continue reading

Return from the Ashes (1965)

After her return from the death camps, does her unscrupulous husband want to love her . . . or kill her?

UK, US / 107 minutes / bw / Mirisch, UA Dir & Pr: J. Lee Thompson Scr: Julius Epstein Story: Le Retour des Cendres (1961) by Hubert Monteilhet Cine: Christopher Challis Cast: Maximilian Schell, Samantha Eggar, Ingrid Thulin, Herbert Lom, Talitha Pol, Vladek Sheybal, Jacques Cey, Jacques Brunius, Eugene Keeley.

Return from the Ashes - 0a

Occupying the same sort of territory as The THIRD MAN (1949), this is the first of—to date—three screen adaptations of Monteilhet’s novel. The other two are:

The latter is covered here.

Return from the Ashes - 0b

It’s the winter of the liberation of France from the loathed Nazi occupation. Aboard a train bound for Paris, a disobedient small boy, Robert (Keeley), opens the door and falls out into the night and presumably his doom. All of the passengers in the compartment are distraught, save one. The woman in the corner (Thulin) seems completely unmoved by events. The others are prepared to be critical of her until they notice the numbers tattooed on her forearm; she’s a Jewish survivor of the concentration camps, and her seeming imperturbability is born not from heartlessness but from traumatic alienation and the crude reconstructive surgery that’s been done on her face.

Arriving in Paris, she books herself into a cheap hotel under the name Julia Robert, even though, as the desk clerk (Cey) points out, according to her papers her name is Michele Wolff-Pilgrin. She tells him she wishes to hide under an assumed name for a while . . .

Return from the Ashes - 1 The Michele we first meet bears the scars of her ordeals

 The Michele we first meet (Ingrid Thulin) bears the scars of her ordeals.

Soon, in a prolonged flashback, we learn her story—and that the face she now bears is not the one she had a few years ago, before the torment of the camps and a clumsy reconstruction job after injury.

A widow, by the latter half of the 1930s she was working as a successful X-ray clinician in a Paris hospital. From her late husband she inherited a stepdaughter, Fabienne, whom she rarely saw, just shuffling her around from one English boarding school to another.

One night at her local chess club Michele ran into the impoverished would-be professional chess player Stanislas “Stan” Pilgrin (Schell), who took her for three games of chess to the tune of ninety francs. Later that night, even though she recognized he was a scoundrel, she Continue reading

Država (2013)

A strange Serbian psychological tale in which nothing need be as it seems and reality is eerily malleable!

vt The State
Serbia / 75 minutes / color + some bw / Connections, Echo Dir: Jelene Marković Pr: Jelene Marković, Saša Radojević Scr: Saša Radojević Cine: Ana Božinović, Ksenija Livada Cast: Ana Stefanović, Jelene Marković, Milutin Petrović, Aleks Tsimerlis, Amra Latifić, Ljuma Penov, Svetlana Bajić, Stefan Arsenijević, Miroslav Hristodulo, Vlasta Velisavljević, Šaban Jašan, Ivan Tokin.

The State - 0 opener

Like the Norwegian movie Blind (2014), which I discussed on this site a few weeks ago, Država involves us in the lives of imaginary people. There the resemblance more or less ends because, while Blind presents itself as a fairly seamless whole, Država is content with a much more fragmentary approach, with constant reminders that what we’re watching is a mere artifice. Even despite those reminders, the movie succeeds in getting us involved with the characters, perhaps largely because of a very strong performance from the engaging Ana Stefanović in the central role.

A movie director, Jelene (Marković), is in the process of dreaming up her next feature, looking for inspiration as she rambles in and around Belgrade. She decides her central character will be Maria Pavlović (Stefanović), an attractive lecturer in media studies whose mother died some while ago and whose father is sick in the hospital with something unspecified. Initially Jelene imagines that Maria has a dog, but she soon decides the woman would be better off without it.

Maria visits her father, Dr. Pavlović (Velisavljević), and finds him in surprisingly good fettle. However, he’s paranoid about enemies who, he believes, will ensure he never leaves the hospital alive. Even though Maria has already encountered the creepy Dr. Hristić (Arsenijević)—and repels his amorous attentions (but she’s used to that)—she pooh-poohs her father’s concerns. Yet Dad insists they go out into the hospital gardens so that he can tell her his secret.

The State - 1 Hristic tries to chat up Maria

Hristić (Stefan Arsenijević) tries to chat up Maria (Ana Stefanović).

Years ago he was working in the Congo among cancer victims when he discovered it wasn’t really cancer that was killing them: they were being poisoned. He’s still racked with guilt because Continue reading

o/t: Todd Mason’s Overlooked AV: reviews, interviews and more in re: films, television, radio, museums and more . . .

Yet another of Todd’s invaluable roundups. Click HERE to be magically transported to his Sweet Freedom blog, where you’ll find all the individual links.

  • Allan Fish: The Prestige
  • Anne Billson: Cloud Atlas
  • Anuk Bakvist: On the Silver Globe; Letters from a Dead Man
  • Bhob Stewart: The Spine and Chris Landreth; Department of the Interior and Apple Computer ad campaigns; comics
  • The Big Broadcast 31 July 2016
    7 p.m. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
    “The Molly K. Matter” Parts 3 and 4 (CBS, Original airdates October 12 and 13, 1955)
    7:30 p.m. Philco Radio Time starring Bing Crosby, with special guest Jack Benny
    (ABC, Original airdate March 3, 1948)
    8 p.m. Gunsmoke
    “Ugly”, episode 279 (CBS, Original airdate December 15, 1957)
    8:20 p.m. The Adventures of Superman
    “Airplane Disasters at Bridger Field” Part #3 (MBS, Original airdate May 3, 1940)
    8:30 p.m. Dragnet
    “Auto Burglaries – Myra the Redhead” (NBC, Original airdate September 1, 1949)
    9 p.m. The Six Shooter
    “The Coward” (NBC, Original airdate September 27, 1953)
    9:30 p.m. Exploring Tomorrow (hosted by John W. Campbell, Jr.)
    “Telepaths” (Mutual/MBS, Original airdate May 7, 1958)
    10 p.m. Counterspy
    “The Case of the Hijacked Country” (ABC, Original airdate April 20, 1950)
    10:30 p.m. Screen Guild Theater
    “Strawberry Blonde” (CBS, Original airdate October 5, 1941)
  • Bill Crider: Hairspray (2007 film) [trailer]; The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015 film) [trailer]
  • Bob Clark: Neon Genesis Evangelion; Paprika; Ghost in the Shell; Until the End of the World;
  • B. V. Lawson: Media Murder (and more) (and for good measure)
  • Classic Movie Salon: Wild Strawberries (discussion on 7 August)
  • Colin McGuigan: Madigan; Apache Territory
  • Comedy Film Nerds: Betsy Kalin; Juan Manuel Rocha; spoiler episode: Star Trek Beyond
  • Cult TV: Are You Being Served?
  • Cynthia Fuchs: Under the Sun; Nerve
  • Dan Stumpf: Tension (1949 film); Room 43 (aka Passport to Shame)
  • David Cramner: Mathematics and movies; “good” assassins; TED Talks: “Marcus du Sautoy: Symmetry, reality’s riddle”
    David Vineyard: Jigsaw (1962 film); Jamaica Run; Hannie Caulder
  • David Schleicher: Inception
  • Dean Treadway: Quatermass and the Pit
  • Elgin Bleecker: 7 Marilyn Monroe films
  • Elizabeth Foxwell: The Fat Man (1951 film); Book TV: Molly Guptil Manning: When Books Went to War; Mollé Mystery Theater: “The Gioconda Smile” (and other adaptations of the Huxley story); Kirk Douglas at UCLA; Web of Evidence (aka Beyond This Place)(1959 film); Bank Shot (1974 film)
  • Eric Hillis: A Kind of Loving
  • George Kelley: The Bourne Trilogy
  • “Gilligan Newton-John”: The House That Dripped Blood
  • Iba Dawson: Iba’s Mom’s Favorite Films
  • Ira Brooker: Underrated films of 1976
  • Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: The Lieutenant (1963-64 tv); Star Trek series on the H&I network
  • Jack Seabrook: The Hitchcock Project so far; Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “Touché”
  • Jackie Kashian: Robin Ryan on roller derby; Joe DeRosa on horror films and Paul Giamatti; Rory Scovel on golf
  • Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show
  • Jacqueline T. Lynch: The Mortal Storm; Address Unknown; Storm Warning; Planet of the Apes (1968 film) revival and the perfect theater
  • Jaimie Grijalba: Southland Tales
  • Jake Hinkson: Robert Ryan
  • James Clark: Knight of Cups; Blow Out
  • James Reasoner: The Talk of the Town; Saddle the Wind; The 5th Wave
  • Janet Varney: The JV Club
  • J. D. Lafrance: Repo Man
  • Jerry House: The Roy Rogers Show: “The Case of the Mysterious Puppet” (Mutual/MBS Radio); The Stranger (1946 film); Denninger the Mentalist: Dorothy Killgalen; She-Demons; Bob Newhart: “The Driving Instructor”; The CBS Radio Mystery Theater: “The Old Ones are Hard to Kill”; Jail Bait (1953 film); Suspense: “Post Mortem” (CBS Radio)
  • John Grant: “La moglie”; Le dos au mur; The Dark Tower (1943 film); Before Dawn (1933 film); Anna Lucasta (1949 film); Wild Ones on Wheels
  • John Greco: The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film)
  • John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die: the episodes reviewed
  • Jonathan Lewis: Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum; Forty Guns; Night Unto Night; She Gods of the Shark Reef
  • Karen Hannsberry: Red Headed Woman; Dance, Fool, Dance
  • Kate Laity: The Viktor Wynd Museum; My Little Pony; “Punk 1976-78” at the British Museum; Georgiana Houghton at Courtald; “Conceptual Art” at the Tate Britain; Radio Girls; Tate Modern and the Switch House
  • Ken Levine: Starting on The Simpsons; Ratings in radio; Radio storytellers; braindead plotting on Brain Dead; writing dialog
  • Kliph Nesteroff: Paul Krassner; The Bill Dana Show (NBC TV 1964)
  • Kristina Dijan: The Mind Reader (1933 film); Queen Bee; Charley Varrick; Bicycle Thieves; July Film Diary
  • Laura G: Count the Hours; Crashing Hollywood; The Saint in Palm Springs; Arizona Legion; The Fighting Gringo (not a Trump campaign film)
  • Lee Price: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
  • Lesley Gaspar: Buster Keaton
  • Lindsay: Blonde Crazy
  • Lucy Brown: The Village
  • Martin Edwards: Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; The Passenger (1971 German tv series); Harrowgate Crime Festival; Spooks: The Greater Good; The Secret Agent (BBC-TV 2016)
  • Marty McKee: Maniac! (1977 film); Kill ‘Em All and Come Back Alone
  • Michael Shonk: Court Martial (1966 ABC-TV series); Beyond Reasonable Doubt (syndicated US radio series, 1939-40)
  • Mildred Perkins: Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Mitchell Hadley: TV Guide, 21 July 1956
  • Movie Sign with the Mads: Valley of the Dolls; The Warriors; Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Noel Vera: The Captive Virgins
  • Patti Abbott: The Kings of Kallstadt (among the worst films seen); The Fisher King
  • Patricia Nolan-Hall: Hal Roach
  • Paul Brazill: Topsy-Turvy
  • Prashant Trikannad: The Intern
  • Raquel Stecher: The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg
  • Rick: The Olympic Games in film
  • Robert Hornak: Dr. Strangelove
  • Rod Lott: Zoombies
  • Roderick Heath: The War of the Worlds (1953 film); Zardoz; The Time Machine (1960 film)
  • “Rupert Pupkin”: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978 film)
  • Ruth Kerr: Reunion in France
  • Salome Wilde: Hangmen Also Die!; The Wrong Road; Penny Dreadful
  • Sam Juliano: Killer Klowns from Outer Space; It! The Terror Beyond Space
  • Sanchin Gandhi: The Truman Show; District 9
  • Sanford Allen: Ceres; the Juno mission
  • Scott Cupp: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920 film)
  • Sergio Angelini: The Bourne afterbirth
  • Stacia Jones: “Big” noir
  • Stacie Ponder: Witchery
  • Stephen Bowie: The Defenders (CBS-TV)
  • Stephen Mullen: Plan 9 from Outer Space
  • Steve HL: Anthology: Pilot Episode: Theodore Sturgeon, Helen Hayes, et al. (NBC Radio)
  • Steve Lewis: Employees Entrance; The Brotherhood; Second Chance (1953 film)
  • Television Obscurities: NBC 1969-70 Monday Primetime; W.E.B. (NBC 1978)
  • Theresa Brown: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941 film)
  • Todd Mason: readings on record by Theodore Sturgeon
  • Tynan: Elevator to the Gallows; The Mark of Zorro (1940 film)
  • Victoria Loomes: A Thousand and One Nights (1945 film)
  • Vienna: Shack Out on 101; Cary Grant Festival in Bristol; Marni Nixon
  • Walker Martin: PulpFest 2016



o/t: The Fleischer Animations

(This is my contribution to the Classic Movie History Project, a blogathon being run by Movies Silently, Silver Screenings and Once Upon a Screen. Please excuse the rather hurried picture selection/editing. This offering is adapted from the essay in my 2001 book Masters of Animation. I’m hoping to get a new edition of the book underway at some stage.)

                           Fleischer - 0

Max Fleischer (1883–1972)
Joe Fleischer (1889–1979)
Lou Fleischer (1891–1985)

Dave Fleischer (1894–1979)

Born on July 19, 1883, in Vienna, Max Fleischer was the second of the seven children of Austrian tailor and amateur inventor William Fleischer and his wife Amalia. Max’s elder brother Charles and younger sister Ethel played little part in the story of the Fleischer studio, while the youngest child of the seven, Sol, died in infancy of typhoid; but the remaining four brothers together, each to a greater or lesser extent, created an animation business that for nearly three decades rivaled Disney and, but for circumstances, might today occupy the position in our world that Disney occupies.

The story of the Fleischer enterprise is largely the story of Max and Dave. Max was a young child when his parents emigrated to New York, fleeing antisemitism in their native land. Born in New York were Joe, on February 28, 1889, Louis, on July 16, 1891, and Dave, on July 14, 1894. William’s children, as they grew up, all in one way or another inherited the inventing trait. Charles invented various devices that are well known to us today, such as the conveyor-belt system at supermarket checkouts and the first device for getting toothpaste into tubes. For Max, Joe, Lou and Dave, however, their inventive flair was to take them into moviemaking, and specifically into animation.

Fleischer - Gulliver's Travels 3

From Gulliver’s Travels (1939).

After a fine start in the New World, William’s tailoring business foundered, unable to compete in price with the new mass-produced clothing that flooded the market. The family had to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and once there shifted home frequently, ever in search of somewhere cheaper to live.

Max showed an artistic bent from an early age—although nothing like his younger brother Dave. He derived an education and training from the Mechanics and Tradesmens School, the Art Students League and the Cooper Union. He had high hopes of getting a job in the art department of Brooklyn’s Daily Eagle, but when he applied in 1900 there were no vacancies; instead he had to take a job with the paper as an errand boy. Over the next four years he was able to work himself up to become a staff artist, learning the techniques of that trade—mostly to do with photography, although for a short while he drew a comic strip for the paper called Little Elmo. Much more important in the long term was that he became friendly with John Randolph Bray, then working for the Daily Eagle but soon to become a pioneer of the animation industry.

Soon after Bray’s departure from the Eagle to pursue a freelance career, Max got a job in Boston as a photo engraver and retoucher with a firm called the Electro-Light Engraving Company. In 1914 he took a job as a commercial artist at the Crouse–Hinds Corporation, and from there he moved on to become Art Editor of Popular Science Monthly. It was while in this latter position that his long-standing interest in animation became a central focus; what with his love for art and drawing and the love for gadgetry that he’d inherited from his father, animation seemed to offer an ideal combination of both worlds.

Fleischer - Color Classix - All's Fair at the Fair

From the Color Classics cartoon All’s Fair at the Fair (1938).

Nine years younger, Dave, who showed astonishing artistic flair from a very early age, had to curtail his rudimentary artistic training because the family ran out of money for tuition fees and because his penchant for cartooning rather than doing the prescribed artistic exercises maddened his teachers. His father then employed him to go around the windows of department stores, drawing the clothing he saw on display there, so that William could copy the patterns! Dave’s first job related (fairly remotely) to the movies was as Continue reading