Murder in the Blue Room (1944)

US / 60 minutes / bw / Universal Dir: Leslie Goodwins Assoc Pr: Frank Gross Scr: I.A.L. Diamond, Stanley Davis Story: Geheimnis des Blauen Zimmers (1932 screenplay) by Erich Philippi Cine: George Robinson Cast: Anne Gwynne, Donald Cook, John Litel, Grace McDonald, Betty Kean, June Preisser, Regis Toomey, Nella Walker, Andrew Tombes, Ian Wolfe, Emmett Vogan, Bill MacWilliams (i.e., Bill Williams), Frank Marlowe.

The third Hollywood remake of a German movie, Geheimnis des Blauen Zimmers (1932), its two predecessors being Secret of the Blue Room (1933) and The Missing Guest (1938); I haven’t seen the latter.

This time the story—including its mystery elements—has been reworked quite extensively to make the movie something akin to a musical comedy.

The Three Jazzybelles: left to right, June Preisser as Jerry, Betty Kean as Betty, and Grace McDonald as Peggy.

The remake was initially meant as a Ritz Brothers vehicle, but fortunately that fell through. In their place we have The Three Jazzybelles (geddit?), a seemingly nonce team-up of Grace McDonald, Betty Kean and June Preisser. This trio offer enough fun and talent that I had a quick look around to see if there were perhaps more Three Jazzybelles movies. Continue reading

Bushwhackers, The (1952)

vt The Rebel
US / 69 minutes / bw / Realart Dir: Rod Amateau Pr: Larry Finley Scr: Thomas S. Gries, Rod Amateau Cine: Joseph F. Biroc Cast: John Ireland, Wayne Morris, Lawrence Tierney, Dorothy Malone, Lon Chaney (i.e., Lon Chaney Jr), Myrna Dell, Frank Marlowe, Bill Holmes, Jack Elam, Bob Wood, Charles Trowbridge, Norman Leavitt, Stuart Randall, George Lynn, Gordon Wynne (i.e., Gordon Wynn), Gabriel Conrad, Eddie Parks.

Bushwhackers - 0 opener

Noir Westerns are a somewhat rare breed, although not as rare as perhaps one might at first assume: The OX-BOW INCIDENT (1943), PURSUED (1947), BLOOD ON THE MOON (1948), The TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948), RIMFIRE (1949), SPECIAL AGENT (1949), COLORADO TERRITORY (1949), The CAPTURE (1950), MAN IN THE SHADOW (1957), The BADLANDERS (1958) and NO NAME ON THE BULLET (1959) are examples from the “classic” era, while RED ROCK WEST (1992) is notable among the more recent offerings in the subgenre. The Bushwhackers, although very much a borderline piece of noir, is obviously of considerable genre interest—not just because it has a noirish cast to die for but also because it’s full of noirish memes: corruption of the local law authorities, a ruthless local kingpin who will stop at nothing, an equally ruthless femme fatale, a plucky newspaper editor who finally speaks truth to power, a craven cop, a hero who seeks to avoid violence but is eventually driven to it . . . The list could go on.

Jefferson “Jeff” Waring (Ireland) swears to himself at the end of the Civil War that “I’ll never raise a gun against a man again.” Disgusted by the ongoing struggle in the South, he heads west, finally finding himself in butt-end-of-nowhere small town Independence, Missouri, where he’s “adopted” by Continue reading