o/t: the Allan Fish Online Film Festival 2017

This sixteen-day festival — in honor of the late Allan Fish, cineaste par excellence — will be running on the excellent cinema (and other stuff) website Wonders in the Dark on May 11-26: click on the image or HERE for further details of the impressive line-up of contributing writers.

For what it’s worth, my own contribution to the festival will appear on WitD on May 21 and be cross-posted here on Noirish on that same day in place of my scheduled Saturday post for May 20.

A Time to Kill (1955)

Who’s the bad apple?

UK / 62 minutes / bw / Fortress, Associated British–Pathé Dir: Charles J. Saunders Scr: Doreen Montgomery Cine: James Wilson Cast: Jack Watling, Rona Anderson, Russell Napier, Keneth [sic] Kent, Mary Jones, John Horsley, Joan Hickson, John Le Mesurier, Alastair Hunter, Hélène Burls, Alan Robinson, Dandy Nichols, June Ashley.

Downtrodden doctor’s wife Florence Cole (Jones) is having to make blackmail payoffs at the abandoned Brixley Grange to a mysterious hooded figure.

Florence (Mary Jones) makes another payoff.

Her crime? She once had an affair with local analytical chemist and ladies’ man (I never before thought I’d put those two phrases in the same description) Peter Hastings (Horsley). She’s having a confrontation about it all with her pompous husband Julian (Kent)—

Julian: “How often, I wonder? How many others have there been? No . . . I don’t really want to know. If I did, I’d have to kill you.”

—when the phone rings. It is none other than the cad Peter, saying that he and visiting lady friend Madeline Tilliard (Ashley) have been poisoned by strychnine. Julian grabs his little black bag and is soon there—though not soon enough for Continue reading

o/t: Todd Mason’s Overlooked A/V: the links to reviews, essays, discussions of film, television, live performance, podcasts and radio and more . . .

And another installment of Todd’s useful roundup of great movie and other a/v writing on the intertubes. Click HERE to be taken to Todd’s Sweet Freedom site and all the individual links.

A. J. Jacobs: Alabama actresses before 1960
Alice Chang: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Anne Billson: The Life of Oharu
The Big Broadcast: 23 April 2017
Bill Crider: Beau Brummell (1954 film) [trailer]
Bob Freedlander: The Big Heat; Experiment in Terror
Brian Busby: Tour de Force
Brian Lindenmuth: films based on the fiction of Lewis B. Patten
B. V. Lawson: Media Murder
Colin McGulgan: Money, Women and Guns
Comedy Film Nerds: Faith Choyce
Cult TV: George and the Dragon
Cynthia Fuchs: Headshot; Queen of Katwe
Dan Stumpf: Big House, U.S.A.
The Dana Gould Hour: Kliph Nesteroff, Drew Friedman; Pete Aronson
Elgin Bleecker: Charade
Elizabeth Foxwell: First Edition: “Elmore Leonard” (1984 long interview)
Eric Hillis: Hard Times; The Entity
The Faculty of Horror: 2016 in review
George Kelley: Dead Again; Teen Titans: The Judas Contract
How Did This Get Made?: Escape from LA (see Movie Sign with the Mads)
Iba Dawson: Feud: Bette and Joan
International Waters: Andy Kindler; Scott Thompson; Sara Morgan; Chris Morgan
Ivan G. Shreve Jr.: Ducks and Drakes; Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?; Fast Break; Crime Does Not Pay: “Desert Death”
Jack Seabrook, John Scoleri, Jose Cruz, Gilbert and Peter E Enfantino: 2016 film, tv and more highlights (and less so)
Jackie Kashian/The Dork Forest: Rebecca Sugar on musicals
Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show
Jacqueline T. Lynch: Night and Day; De-Lovely
Jake Hinkson: Chicago Film Society
James Reasoner: Lady on a Train
Janet Varney/The J. V. Club: Amy Shira Teitel
J. D. Lafrance: Glengarry Glen Ross (film)
Jedidiah Ayres: On the Job
Jerry House: “Max, the Heartbreaker”; 1960?? Jimmy Cricket! (ABC Radio 1947 documentary of sorts featuring Disney voice actors)
John Grant: The Medusa Touch; La Foire aux Chimères; Flesh and the Spur
John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die
John Varley: Poltergeist (1982 film); The Night Manager
Jonathan Lewis: The Funhouse (1981 film)
Judy Gold/Kill Me Now: Cathy Ladman & Leslie Popkin; Laurie Kilmartin/Part 2
Karen Hannsberry: Great Villains Blogathon, Day 1
Kate Laity: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
Ken Levine: belaboring the joke; WGA labor action
Kim Newman: Mindhorn; I Start Counting; Drive, He Said
Kliph Nesteroff: Here Come the Stars (1968 television); The Phyllis Diller Show
Kristina Dijan: Children of Paradise; The Dark Tower (1943 film)
Laura G.: The Richest Girl in the World; Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival; Other Men’s Women; Wanted! Jane Turner; Ladies of the Jury
Lindsey D.: Broadway Babies; Rome Adventure
The Long Shot: Betsy Sodaro
Maltin on Movies: festivals
Martin Edwards: CWA Annual Conference
Marty McKee: Superman and the Mole Men; The Golden Gate Murders
Mildred Perkins: Dracula’s Daughter
Mitchell Hadley: Atlanta television, 27 April 1977; TV Guide, 23 April 1977
Movie Sign with the Mads: Escape from New York; The African Queen
Noel Vera: Hell or High Water
Patricia Nolan-Hall: Speedy; Hammett’s Kasper Gutman in film
Paul D Brazill: The Bed-Sitting Room
The Projection Booth: The Red Shows; eXistenZ
Phil Nobile, Jr.: Roger Moore on Live and Let Die (courtesy Paul Brazill)
Raquel Stecher: Panique; The Graduate at 50
Rick: The Fortune Cookie
Rod Lott: Attack of the Morningside Monster; Beware! The Blob
Ruth Kerr: Great Villains Blogathon
Salome Wilde: The Scarlet Hour v. Pushover
Scott Cupp: Night of the Lepus
Serena Bramble: The Light Between Oceans
Sergio Angelini: Inspector Morse: “The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn” (Sergio points us to Chris Sullivan’s post on this episode.)
Stacia Kissick Jones: Macbeth (1948 film); Daisy Kenyon
Stacie Ponder: The Haunting
Steve Lewis: Desire and Hall at the Sunset Motel; Nine Lives are Not Enough; The Black Tent
Stephen Bowie: UK television: The Man in Room 17; It’s Dark Outside; The Plane Makers; Public Eye
Stephen Gallagher: The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Television Obscurities: Your Television Babysitter (Dumont Network, 1948-51)
Todd Mason: Soundstage, Jazz Casual, Playboy’s Penthouse and other jazz television and film footage featuring Lambert, Hendricks and Ross or Bavan
Tynan: The 400 Blows; Divorce, Italian Style
Vienna: That’s Entertainment!
Walker Martin: Windy City Pulp Convention 2017
Yvette Banek: The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film)

Medusa Touch, The (1978)

John Morlar has a gift for disaster!

UK, France / 109 minutes / color / Coatesgold, ITC Dir: Jack Gold Pr: Anne V. Coates, Jack Gold Scr: John Briley Story: The Medusa Touch (1973) by Peter Van Greenaway Cine: Arthur Ibbetson Cast: Richard Burton, Lino Ventura, Lee Remick, Harry Andrews, Alan Badel, Marie-Christine Barrault, Jeremy Brett, Michael Hordern, Gordon Jackson, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, Michael Byrne, John Normington, Robert Flemyng, Philip Stone, Malcolm Tierney, Norman Bird, Jennifer Jayne, Avril Elgar, James Hazeldine, Wendy Gifford, Shaw Taylor, Gordon Honeycombe, Adam Bridges, Joseph Clark.

I read the Peter Van Greenaway novel upon which this is based—one of the odder of his oddball, semi-fantasticated Inspector Cherry detective novels—quite a few years before I had a chance to watch the movie, but even so I know my viewing was affected by memories of the book. Now that many more years have passed, I was better able to enjoy the movie on its own terms.

Van Greenaway wasn’t the most fluent of writers and one had to work quite hard to read what were billed as thrillers, but I tackled several and became rather fond of them: they certainly had a greater intellectual heft than the vast majority of the crime and thriller novels with which they shared a bookshop shelf. The Medusa Touch was the one I enjoyed the most. In the movie adaptation Inspector Francis Cherry of the Yard is replaced by a French cop called Brunel, improbably working in London on some kind of exchange deal between the Yard and the Sûreté. However, as Brunel was played by Lino Ventura there are no grumbles from anyone among the extensive Noirish staff.

Brunel (Lino Ventura) begins his investigation . . .

. . . aided by the loyal Sergeant Duff (Michael Byrne).

The movie opens with successful novelist John Morlar (Burton) being beaten to death by an unidentifiable figure wielding a handy statuette. Or not quite to death, as investigating Inspector Brunel (Ventura) and his English sidekick Sergeant Duff (Byrne) discover while snooping around Morlar’s apartment. Even though the man’s brains have apparently been spilled out on the carpet and the paramedics have declared him dead, he suddenly Continue reading

La Foire aux Chimères (1946)

“Can you imagine the torture of feeling the sun’s warmth without being dazzled by its light?”

vt Devil and the Angel; vt Carnival of Illusions
France / 93 minutes / bw / Cinéma, National Dir: Pierre Chenal Pr: Ralph Baum Scr: Jacques Companéez, Ernst Neubach, Louis Ducreux Cine: Pierre Montazel Cast: Madeleine Sologne, Erich von Stroheim, Louis Salou, Yves Vincent, Claudine Dupuis, Jean-Jacques Delbo, Margo Lion, Pierre Labry, Georges Vitray, Georges Cusin, Merove, Line Renaud, Gustave Gallet, Annette Poivre, Frouhins, Denise Benoît, J.P. Moulinot, Dora Doll, Howard Vernon, Devienne, Paul Delauzac.

I watched this in the form of the restoration done by the French Ministère de la Culture’s Archives du Film du Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie. As you’ll see from the screengrabs, the picture quality is a little soft; what you can’t see from the screengrabs, of course, is that the sound isn’t of the best. Even so, the restoration is very watchable and the movie itself quite enchanting, with a dark streak of noirishness revealing itself in the later stages, after the earlier Beauty and the Beast fairytale is over.

Erich von Stroheim as Frank.

It’s the 50th birthday of Frank Davis (von Stroheim), the man in charge of the printing of banknotes for a major bank. Frank is a lonely man and a prickly personality as a consequence of the facial disfigurement he suffered some long while ago—in combat or in an accident, we’re not told. (I think we’re meant to assume it was an accident involving the acids with which, as an engraver, he must work.) His subordinates, especially the younger ones, despise him for his irascibility and his humorlessness. Here’s an exchange early on in the movie as Continue reading

Todd Mason’s Overlooked A/V: the links to reviews, etc., of films, television, radio and more

Once more the invaluable listing of media-related articles and reviews from around the web. Click HERE to be taken to Todd’s Sweet Freedom blog for the individual links.

A.J. Wright: Alabama Jones

Alice Chang: Gravity Rush 2

Anne Billson: Night on the Galactic Railroad

The Big Broadcast: 16 April 2017 archived
7 p.m. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
“The Cui Bono Matter” Part 5 (CBS, Original air date February 17, 1956)(Running time 14:45)
7:15 p.m. Treasury Star Parade
“An Easter Story” (US Treasury, Original recording date 1942)(Running time 14:31)
7:30 p.m. The Jack Benny Show
“Walking in the Easter Parade” (CBS, Original air date April 17, 1949)(Running time 26:06)
8:00 p.m. Gunsmoke
“The Correspondent” (CBS, AFRTS rebroadcast, Original air date November 23, 1958)(Running time 18:28)
8:20 p.m. NBC Live Report
“FDR Greets Easter Egg Rollers” (NBC, Original broadcast date March 29, 1937)(Running time 6:55)
8:30 p.m. Dragnet
Program #60 “The Big Dare” (NBC, Original air date August 3, 1950)(Running time 26:52)
9:00 p.m. The Six Shooter
“The Crisis at Easter Creek” (NBC, Original air date April 15, 1954)(Running time 29:49)
9:30 p.m. Our Miss Brooks
“New Egg Dye” (CBS, Original air date April 9, 1950)(Running time 29:36)
10:00 p.m. Marian Anderson Concert
“Live at the Lincoln Memorial” (Original broadcast date April 9, 1939)(Running time 29:02)
10:30 p.m. Lights Out!
“The Flame” (CBS, Original air date March 23, 1943)(Running time 23:19)

Bill Crider: The Golden Arrow (1962 film) [trailer]

Bob Freelander: Rumble Fish; Tales from the Hood

Brian Lindenmuth: Gunfight at the OK Corral films

B.V. Lawson: Media Murder

Classic Movie Salon: discussing All the Presidents Men

Colin McGulgan: The Lady from Shanghai

Comedy Film Nerds: Troy Conrad; Jordan Brady

Cult TV/Bob: The Avengers (with Diana Rigg): “Small Game for Big Hunters”

Cynthia Fuchs: Heal the Living; Miss Sloane

Dan Stumpf: Skipalong Rosenblum

The Dana Gould Hour: Stephen Tobolowsky; Maggie Rowe

David Cramner: The Dark Valley

David Vineyard: Fistful of Diamonds

Elizabeth Foxwell: Candles at Nine

The Faculty of Horror: the films Resident Evil; Silent Hill

George Kelley: Batman: The Animated Series: The Joker Collection

Graham Chapman/Eric Idle and John Cleese

How Did This Get Made?: The Lake House

Iba Dawson: I, Daniel Blake

International Waters: Amber Nash, D’Arcy Carden, Susy Kane and Humphrey Ker

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.: Alcatraz Island; Missing Witnesses; Over the Wall; Broadway Musketeers; Bob Hope Salutes the Troops

Jack Seabrook: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: James Bridges adapts Margaret MIllar’s “Beast in View”

Jackie Kashian/The Dork Forest: Julie Dixon Jackson on genealogy and genealogy television

Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin: The Jackie and Laurie Show

Jacqueline T. Lynch: Rhapsody in Blue (1945 film)

Jake Hinkson: Edward Herrmann and audiobooks

James Clark: Close-Up (1990 Iranian film)

James Reasoner: The Shakiest Gun in the West

Janet Varney/The JV Club: Felicia Day; Giulia Rozzi

Jason Abbey: The Big Heat

J.D. Lafrance: Tombstone

Jedidiah Ayres: Go for Sisters

Jerry House: Linnea Quigley’s Horror Workout; Superman (MBS/Mutual Radio); The Blue Beetle (CBS Radio)

John Carpenter: guilty pleasures

John Grant: “Crime Scenes: Donald Westlake on Film”; House of Mystery(1961 film); The Laws of Motion

John Scoleri: Dark Shadows Before I Die: the episodes reviewed; Dr. Phibes Rises Again and Caroline Munro

John Varley: “The White Helmets”; Stalag 17

Jonathan Lewis: Two on a Guillotine; The Night Visitor

Karen Hannsberry: The Hollywood Museum; movies that make KH cry

Ken Levine: Elizabeth Montgomery; Fridays; Friends: The Musical

Kim Newman: The Transfiguration; Bloody Muscle-Builder from Hell

Kliph Nesteroff: The Mike Douglas Show (1966 episodes); Late Night with David Letterman: Irwin Corey (1983)

Emma Thompson’s 1988 BBC sketch comedy series Thompson, episode 4

Kristina Dijan: Classic films to watch this year; Crisis (1950 film); Rawhide (1951 film)

Laura G: Lovin’ the Ladies; Smart Woman; Millionaires in Prison; TCM Classic Film Festival

Lindsay D: recent films; Always Goodbye; Our Song; Three Loves Has Nancy

The Long Shot: Nick Mandernach

Louis Fowler: Three for the Road

Maltin on Movies: J. K. Simmons

Martin Edwards: Fear is the Key

Marty McKee: Charley Varrick

Mildred Perkins: The Andromeda Strain (1971 film)

Mitchell Hadley: Television, Baltimore/Washington DC 18 April 1972; TV Guide, 15 April 1972

Movie Sign with the Mads: Valley of the Dolls

Noel Vera: Toni Erdmann

Patricia Nolan-Hall: Boots Malone

Patti Abbott: Dead of Night

Paul Brazill: Nil by Mouth; Big City Blues

The Projection Booth: La Grande Illusion

Raquel Stecher: America, America; Carl and Rob Reiner; TCM Classic Film Festival red carpet

Rick: Sleeping Beauty (1959 Disney)

Rod Lott: The Dungeon of Harrow; Seedpeople

Ruth Kerr: Chinatown

Salome Wilde: Dead Ringer

Sanford Allen: Raw

Scott Cupp: Paul

Scott Drebit: Underrated 1987 films

Serena Bramble: Gloria Grahame

Sergio Angelini: The Marseille Contract (aka The Destructors)

Stacia Kissick Jones: Torch Song; Flamingo Road (1949 film); The Delinquents; S.O.B.

Stacie Ponder: 20 favorite horror films

Stephen Bowie: Peyton Place (television)

Stephen Gallagher: A British writer in US tv

Steve Lewis: Dead Again

Thompson (BBC 1988) episode 1 part 1

Television Obscurities: Life is Wild

Tynan: Solaris (1972); A Clockwork Orange

Vienna: Greta Garbo

o/t: Dial B for Brexit: how Hitchcock would explain Britain’s current politics

The European council’s Donald Tusk likened Brexit and the snap election to a Hitchcock film. Here’s how the director might have plotted a Theresa May movie

Peter Bradshaw

Wednesday 19 April 2017 15.10 BST

The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, says that, what with the Brexit shock and Theresa May’s snap election, our political events have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock – cheekily quoting the celebrated director’s maxim that a good film should start with an earthquake and then get the tension to rise relentlessly.

Earthquake plus tension? This feels more like . . .

Read the rest HERE.

House of Mystery (1961)

Mordre wol out!

UK / 54 minutes / bw / Independent Artists, Anglo–Amalgamated Dir & Scr: Vernon Sewell Pr: Julian Wintle, Leslie Parkyn Story: L’Angoisse (n.d.) by Pierre Mills and Celia de Vilyars Cine: Ernest Steward Cast: Jane Hylton, Peter Dyneley, Nanette Newman, Maurice Kaufmann, Colin Gordon, John Merivale, Ronald Hines, Colette Wilde, Molly Urquhart, George Selway, Freda Bamford, Roy Purcell, John Abineri, Pearson Dodd.

Vernon Sewell bought the screen rights of the Pierre Mills and Celia de Vilyars stage play L’Angoisse and went on to film it no fewer than four times, of which this was the fourth. The other three were The Medium (1934), Latin Quarter (1945) and Ghost Ship (1952); I’ve already written on this site about Latin Quarter—a far more ambitious effort than this offering. What puzzles me is that, despite supposedly being based on the same play, the two movies—the 1945 one being cheerily Grand Guignol and this one being a fairly straightforward, sub-M.R. Jamesian ghost story of the kind you might expect the BBC to broadcast around Christmas—don’t seem to have a huge amount in common. Moreover, while the seemingly supernatural component of Latin Quarter can be more or less rationalized, that’s far from so in this case.

So why am I talking about the movie here? Is it just because I’m a confirmed Nanette Newman fanboy? Ahem. Heaven forfend. Nothing of the sort. Surely. The raison d’être of this entry is that the movie’s a variant of Latin Quarter, which most certainly is of interest within the broadish parameters of this site.

Nanette Newman as Joan.

Somewhere near Barnstaple in North Devon, in the UK’s southwest, a househunting young couple, Alan (Hines) and his unnamed wife (Wilde), arrive at Orchard Cottage. It’s spacious and lovely and it’s in its own grounds, and it’s remarkably cheap:

Alan: “Darling, this is the one that’s £2,500.”
Wife: “Well, the price is ridiculous. Must be falling to bits or something.”

Later, just to remind us how things have changed a tad since 1961, certainly in the area of house prices, Alan qualifies: “Must be worth at least £6,000.”

They’re met at the door by a rather creepy middle-aged woman whom they assume to be the caretaker. She starts to tell them about the house, and the Continue reading

The Laws of Motion (2014 TVM)

Eh? Father Brown goes noir?

UK / 43 minutes / color / BBC Dir: Paul Gibson Pr: Jonathan Phillips Scr: Tahsin Guner Based on the character created by G.K. Chesterton Cine: Alan Beech Cast: Mark Williams, Sorcha Cusack, Alex Price, Nancy Carroll, Tom Chambers, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Amelia Lowdell, Cian Barry, Oliver Mellor, Lisa Jackson, John Burton.

What’s this? An episode of the BBC’s Father Brown TV series on a site called Noirish? I know I have a deliberate policy of casting my net as wide as possible here, but surely this is ridiculous. Have I gone bonkers?

Probably yes, but in this instance there’s a rationale behind the seeming madness.


A while ago I read—I’ve long forgotten where—that this particular episode is a DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) riff, and so, eager as ever to find noir-related curios, I tracked it down. Certainly the cast list backed up the claim—two of the characters are called Walter MacMurray and Phyllis Stanwyck, which seems a bit of a dead giveaway.

And yet . . .

Audrey (Tracy-Ann Oberman) receives a slap in the face.

Audrey MacMurray (Oberman) is a ruthless businesswoman of middle years and a person of great cruelty in her private life; as one character observes, she chews people up, spits them out and delights in so doing. Her hobby is driving racecars, and today, somewhere in Gloucestershire, she’s partaking in the Continue reading