The Decision of Christopher Blake (1948)

US / 75 minutes / bw / Warner Bros. Dir: Peter Godfrey Pr & Scr: Ranald MacDougall Story: Christopher Blake (1946 play) by Moss Hart Cine: Karl Freund Cast: Alexis Smith, Robert Douglas, Cecil Kellaway, Ted Donaldson, John Hoyt, Harry Davenport, Mary Wickes, Art Baker, Lois Maxwell, Peter Godfrey, Charles Middleton.

A B-feature of curious ingenuity. Part of me says it’s in no conceivable way noirish; another part of me suggests that, because of the ingenuity I mentioned, it’s of at least borderline interest to the genre. My mental jury is still out.

Ted Donaldson as Chris.

Young Christopher Blake (Donaldson) arrives home from summer camp to discover, even though they try to hide it from him, that parents Ken (Douglas) and Evelyn (Smith) are separating and intend to divorce. Ken does try to explain matters to his son, but . . .

Chris: “I hope you’re not going to tell me about babies, Dad. I took a course on that in school.”
Ken: “You did? I mean, uh, you did. Oh, ah, that’s fine, fine.”
Chris: “Anyhow, I don’t believe it.”

In the end the person who inadvertently breaks the news to Chris is a stranger, Evelyn’s lawyer’s secretary, Miss McIntyre (Maxwell).

Lois Maxwell as Miss McIntyre.

Chris doesn’t take the news well. Living at home with Continue reading

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-5), episodes #1-#4

The great movie (and more) website Wonders in the Dark is currently running the second (and, according to plan, final) “TV Countdown,” in which a diversity of writers are penning essays about their favorite series and other TV items. I know very little about TV, so didn’t participate in the earlier countdown. However, WitD’s Sam Juliano, knowing me better than I know myself, told me that this time around I was going to be the one to tackle Kolchak: The Night Stalker—the series is, after all, in its way noirish.

Me being me, I went a bit overboard on the enterprise. So, while my piece on the series will be appearing in a few days’ time on WitD (and I’ll try to remember to put a link here when that happens), I’ve split off the individual entries on the two Kolchak movies—already posted on Noirish HERE and HERE—and will over the next few days be posting to this site my illustrated notes about the twenty episodes.

Episode 1: The Ripper

Aired September 13 1974

US / 52 minutes / color / Francy, Universal, ABC Dir: Allen Baron Pr: Paul Playdon Scr: Rudolph Borchert Cine: Donald Peterman Cast: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Beatrice Colen, Ruth McDevitt, Jack Grinnage, Ken Lynch, Marya Small, Robert Bryan Berger, Roberta Collins, Mickey Gilbert.

A reworking of Continue reading

Anna Lucasta (1949)

A liberated young woman refuses to be the floozy her family wants her to be!

US / 86 minutes / bw / Security, Columbia Dir: Irving Rapper Pr: Philip Yordan Scr: Arthur Laurents Story: Anna Lucasta (1944; play) by Philip Yordan Cine: Sol Polito Cast: Paulette Goddard, William Bishop, John Ireland, Oskar Homolka, Broderick Crawford, Will Geer, Gale Page, Mary Wickes, Whit Bissell, Lisa Golm, James Brown, Dennie Moore, Anthony Caruso.

Anna Lucasta - 0 opener

In the small town of Mayberry, Pennsylvania, ex-farmer Joe Lucasta (Homolka) rules his Polish–American family with a drunken fist—or tries to, anyway, his position of power having been largely usurped by his thuggish son-in-law Frank (Crawford), married to Joe’s daughter Stella (Wickes). Others in the household are Joe’s wife Theresa (Golm), his son Stanley (Bissell) and Stanley’s wife Katie (Page). Frank and his slavish follower Stanley are essentially layabouts and Stella’s a small-minded shrew. The most frequent line of dialogue employed by the family is “Aw, shuddup.”

Anna Lucasta - 7 Joe, in typically snarling mode

Joe (Oskar Homolka), in typically snarling mode.

The only sympathetic characters among the tribe are Katie, who seems an order of magnitude more intelligent than the others, and Continue reading