Broadway Jungle (1955)

vt Hollywood Jungle
US / 61 minutes / bw / Amart Dir & Pr & Scr: Phil Tucker Cine: Saul Resnick Cast: Norman Wright, June Gilmore, George Robeleto, Bruno Metza, Hal Braun, Delia Figueroa, Val Russell, Earl Graves, Eve Miller, Paul Doro.

Broadway Jungle - 0 opener

A movie to keep in mind should you ever discover you’ve run out of Ed Wood movies to watch.

In Hollywood, fledgling director Fletcher Mathering (Wright), harassed by the landlord for rent, explains that he has finally found a backer for his new movie, Death Takes a Spree, and so should soon be flush. That backer proves to be George “Georgie-boy” Gomez (Robeleto), a local hood who, we discover, has stolen the money he’s proposing to pay to Fletcher from Boss (uncredited), a vicious gangster. Georgie-boy’s sole provision is that the movie should star Lena Little (Gilmore), an actress whose star has faded for all but a certain hood who will always carry a gun in his pocket for her.

Boss, having discovered the theft, sends a mute hitman, Bruno (Metza), to rub Georgie-boy out. Considerately, Bruno waits until Georgie-boy has Continue reading

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Merton of the Movies (1947)

US / 82 minutes / bw / MGM Dir: Robert Alton Pr: Albert Lewis Scr: George Wells, Lou Breslow Story: Merton of the Movies (1919) by Harry Leon Wilson, and Merton of the Movies (1922 play) by George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly Cine: Paul C. Vogel Cast: Red Skelton, Virginia O’Brien, Gloria Grahame, Leon Ames, Alan Mowbray, Charles D. Brown, Hugo Haas, Harry Hayden, Tom Trout, Douglas Fowley, Dick Wessel, Helen Eby-Rock.

This was the third movie version of Wilson’s novel and the hit Broadway play based on it. The earlier versions were Merton of the Movies (1924) dir James Cruze, with Glenn Hunter, Charles Sellon, Sadie Gordon and Gale Henry, and Make Me a Star (1932) dir William Beaudine, with Joan Blondell, Stuart Erwin, Zasu Pitts, Ben Turpin and Charles Sellon, the latter reprising his role as Pete Gashwiler. There was also a Kraft Theatre version: Merton of the Movies (1947 TVM) with Eddie Mayehoff and Patricia Englund. Cruze’s 1924 silent has been lost, and the same may be true of the TVM.

Merton of the Movies - Gloria Grahame

Beulah Baxter (Gloria Grahame), having just told the press she does all her own stunts, prepares to let stuntgirl Phyllis Montague (Virginia O’Brien) do the dangerous bit.

A satire of the movie business, this has no real noir relevance save for the presence in its cast of noir goddess Gloria Grahame (I’ve been working on a piece about Grahame for something else, which is what brought me to this movie), not to mention actor/producer/director Hugo Haas, whose enjoyably dire shoestring noirs have a minor cult following today. There are also some regular noir supports like Ames and Fowley.

It’s 1915 and Merton Gill (Skelton) is a cinema usher in Tinkerton, Kansas, and mad about the movies; his favorite stars are Lawrence “Larry” Rupert (Ames), famed for his detective roles, and the lovely Beulah Baxter (Grahame), famed for Continue reading