LawrenceA

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Everything posted by LawrenceA

  1. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958) - 6/10 British-American western comedy with Kenneth More as a proper English gentleman who finds himself selected to be the new sheriff of the dangerous American frontier town of Fractured Jaw. He unknowingly manages to convince everyone that he's a dangerous gunfighter, leading to the inevitable confrontations. Also starring Jayne Mansfield as a feisty local business owner. With Henry Hull, William Campbell, Bruce Cabot, Robert Morley, Sidney James, Ronald Squire, David Horne, and Steven Berkoff. This is a pretty mild comedy, more of a smiling film than a laughing one. Mansfield looks good but her accent is painful. This movie is noteworthy for being the first western shot in Spain, soon to be a frequent production locale during the spaghetti western boom of the 1960's.
  2. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Screaming Mimi (1958) - 5/10 Weak thriller featuring Philip Carey as a reporter who becomes interested in a series of knife attacks that are linked to mysterious dancer Anita Ekberg. Also featuring Gypsy Rose Lee, Harry Townes, Linda Cherney, Romney Brent, Alan Gifford, and Vaughn Taylor. This one's been discussed recently, so all I'll add is that 1) Ekberg is in top form, and 2) the rest of the movie is pretty weak.
  3. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    St. Louis Blues (1958) - 7/10 Fictionalized biopic of musician and songwriter W.C. Handy (Nat "King" Cole), who bridged the gospel, blues and jazz forms in the early decades of the 20th century. He struggles to reconcile his secular success with the faith of his disapproving father (Juano Hernandez). Handy also faces romantic conflict between good girl Ruby Dee and nightclub singer Eartha Kitt. Also featuring Pearl Bailey, Cab Calloway, Mahalia Jackson, Teddy Buckner, Barney Bigard, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billy Preston. The music is fantastic, and the chance to see many musical giants in one film is incredible. If only the non-singing parts had been a little less pedestrian.
  4. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Not only have I seen, and enjoyed, It's a Trad, Dad aka Ring-a-Ding Rhythm, but it was the subject of my very first post on this website, as I had forgotten the title. And guess who answered my query: http://forums.tcm.com/topic/50967-british-60s-rock-movie/?tab=comments#comment-1036420
  5. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Rock You Sinners (1958) - 5/10 Reportedly the first British rock and roll movie, this features Philip Gilbert as a radio and TV presenter who wants to start a rock and roll television show. To convince the head office, he organizes a concert of the leading rock acts of the day. Also featuring Adrienne Scott, Colin Croft, and Jackie Collins. The only reason to watch this (besides gawking at the youthful Collins) are the musical performances from such "household names" as Art Baxter & His Rockin' Sinners, Tony Crombie & His Rockers, Rory Blackwell & the Blackjacks, Dickie Bennett, Joan Small, Curly Pat Barry, Don Sollash & His Rockin' Horses, and George "Calypso" Browne.
  6. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Ride a Crooked Trail (1958) - 6/10 Mediocre western starring Audie Murphy as an outlaw who is mistaken for a lawman in the next town he enters. The trigger-happy town judge (Walter Matthau) quickly drafts Murphy into becoming the new town marshal, and when Murphy's old gal pal Gia Scala arrives in town, he has to pretend to be married to her in order for her to continue the ruse. The later leads to more trouble when bad guy Henry Silva shows up in town looking for Scala. Also featuring Joanna Moore, Eddie Little, Mary Field, Leo Gordon, Bob Steele, and Morgan Woodward. There's nothing too awful about this, but nothing outstanding or noteworthy, either. Whether or not you're a fan of Matthau will determine whether you think he's amusingly eccentric or annoyingly hammy.
  7. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Restless Years (1958) - 6/10 Teen-appeal soap opera featuring Sandra Dee, in her first starring role, as the sheltered daughter of Teresa Wright. It seems Sandra was born illegitimately, and the neurotic Wright has tried to shield her from the associated stigma, resulting in Sandra being a social outcast anyway. Things start to change when a concerned teacher (Virginia Grey) tries to get Sandra into the school play, and sensitive new boy in town John Saxon asks her out on a date. Also featuring James Whitmore, Margaret Lindsay, Luana Patten, Jody McCrea, Alan Baxter, and Hayden Rorke. This was obviously made to try and replicate the success of the previous year's Peyton Place. The cast is decent, although Whitmore, as Saxon's desperate-to-succeed salesman father, overdoes it a bit.
  8. LawrenceA

    ClassiCategories

    The Luck of the Irish (1948) Leprechaun In Space and Leprechaun In the Hood
  9. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Annihilator (1986) - 4/10 Have you ever watched an episode of The Fugitive and said to yourself, "This needs more Terminators"? Well if so, this failed TV pilot is for you. Newspaperman Richard Armour (Mark Lindsay Chapman) battles against evil robots called "Dynamitards" (REALLY!!!) who take the place of regular folk in an effort to... Also featuring Susan Blakely, Catherine Mary Stewart, Lisa Blount, Geoffrey Lewis, Earl Boen (who was actually in The Terminator), Nicole Eggert, Paul Brinegar, and Brion James (who was in Blade Runner, another killer robot movie). This ridiculous time capsule is so 1980's that it hurts. It's also such a blatant take-off on The Terminator, even down to specific camera set-ups and musical cues, that I'm surprised James Cameron didn't sue. This was also heavily influenced by the style of MTV and Miami Vice. At one point the action stops to show a montage of things that have already happened, along with random shots of other unrelated things (including the Pazuzu statue from The Exorcist!), all set to David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes". The...ENTIRE...song. It's like a really bad music video dropped right into the middle of the story! I gave this a poor rating, and it is bad, but it's worth checking out if you like 80's kitsch or terrible killer robot movies.
  10. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Monsters Demolisher (1962) - 4/10 Producer K. Gordon Murray bought up the rights to a lot of Mexican horror flicks from the 1950's, had them re-edited and badly dubbed, and then dumped them on an unsuspecting public in the early 1960's both in theaters and on television. One particular product he bought was a serial that he then re-edited into 4 features: The Curse of Nostradamus, The Genie of Darkness, The Blood of Nostradamus, and this one. I have not seen any of the other films or the complete serial, so jumping into this one was a bit of a struggle. German Robles stars as Nostradamus, the last vampire, who battles against various forces that want him destroyed. The cast also includes Julio Aleman, Domingo Soler, and Jack Taylor. This is both dull and incomprehensible, although there are nice sets (and some really bad ones), and the costumes are good.
  11. That's great, since none of us give a **** about your opinion, either. So here we all are, not giving a ****.
  12. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Nightmare Honeymoon (1974) - 3/10 Godawful "thriller" featuring Dack Rambo and Rebecca Dianna Smith as newlyweds who get attacked by killers John Beck and Roy Jenson. Beck is a real psychopath, so after sexually assaulting Smith, he leaves them both alive. When they receive no help from the corrupt local sheriff, Rambo and Smith decide to seek revenge themselves, to mixed results. Also featuring Pat Hingle, Jay Robinson, Dennis Patrick, David Huddleston, Dennis Burkley, Jeannette Nolan, Walter Koenig, and Bob Steele in his final role. While this film features many notable, professional actors, and competent, seasoned filmmakers behind the camera, it's infinitely less entertaining than Another Son of Sam. That film had many excuses for being inept, while this one has none, and yet achieves that status anyway. The story, based on a book by Lawrence Block, features dumb characters repeatedly making stupid decisions. There's also a lot of sadistic behavior, particularly John Beck's very lengthy victimization of Smith. I watch a lot of dark, violent flicks, and yet this grew tiresome even for me, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. The only high point was watching Dack slap Jay Robinson around. By the way, despite the timeslot this was shown in, it did not have the TCM Underground intro, but rather the usual late-night one.
  13. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Another Son of Sam (1977) - 2/10 or 9/10 Incredibly bad near-masterpiece of incompetence shot in and around Charlotte and Belmont, North Carolina. A lunatic escapes from an asylum and goes on a murder spree. He eventually ends up in a girls' dormitory on a college campus where he holds a couple of girls hostage. It's up to police Lieutenant Setzer (Russ Dubuc) to save the day. Featuring Robert McCourt, Cynthia Stewart, John Harper, Bill Brown, Bonnie Schrier, Kim Saunders, Pam Mullins, and Larry Sprinkle. Amateurish at every level, with bad dialogue, hypnotically bad editing, shoddy cinematography, abysmal acting, and nonsensical direction. The movie's repeated use of freeze-frame for no explainable reason is a sight to behold. Moronic plot developments abound, as do disorienting scene transitions. This was the most fun that I've had with a bad movie in some time. A phenomenal experience. The copy shown on TCM Underground was presented by AGFA, the American Genre Film Archive, which is an offshoot of the old Something Weird company. They have been putting some of the worst films ever inflicted on society out in deluxe Blu-ray and DVD editions. Another Son of Sam is available as a bonus feature on their Blu-ray release of The Zodiac Killer (1971). Get yours today before it's too late!
  14. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Never Love a Stranger (1958) - 5/10 Gangster tale based on a book by Harold Robbins. John Drew Barrymore stars as Frankie Kane, an orphan who works for racketeer Silk Fennelli (Robert Bray) during the prohibition days. After Frankie learns that he's actually Jewish, he skips town for several years, only to return to take over the rackets himself. Also featuring Lita Milan as the woman both Frankie and Silk want, Steve McQueen as Frankie's friend who stays on the straight-and-narrow, Salem Ludwig, R.G. Armstrong, Douglas Rodgers, Richard Bright, and Walter Burke. This trots out a lot of gangster pic cliches, and Robbins clearly modeled the characters on real-world underworld figures like Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Frank Costello. The film's greatest weakness is Barrymore, a limited actor at the best of times. He just doesn't have the charisma or the skill to make his character interesting. It may have worked out better with McQueen in the lead. I did like Milan and Bray, though. This was the final Steve McQueen film that I had not seen.
  15. LawrenceA

    NZ mosque attack....

    I read a news story that was linked on Yahoo's main page concerning the attack. I made the mistake of looking at the comments below it, as well. Of the 1000+ comments, most of them said some variation of "the Muslims deserved it" or "ISIS has done much worse". A sizable number also put forth that old reliable wing-nut favorite: "it was all a fake, a false-flag operation done in an attempt to make whites/Christians/westerners look bad, and/or inspire more restrictive gun laws". There were maybe 3 or 4 out of the ~thousand comments that were in any way sympathetic towards the victims.
  16. LawrenceA

    The Fruits of White Supremacy-- Murder and Violence

    Quite a few have been linked on this message board, as well.
  17. LawrenceA

    Trump's Biggest Whoppers

    What gave you that idea?
  18. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Narcotics Story (1958) - 8/10* Some have referred to this as the ultimate drug scare film. It's certainly one of the most entertaining. Originally intended as a police training film, it was later released to general audiences on the grindhouse and drive-in circuit. Told in a documentary format, with a stentorian voice providing constant narration, the story follows the descent of a young woman into marijuana abuse, then heroin addiction, and worse. There's a lot of talk about "goof balls" and "tea". Pot smoking is referred to as "blasting a stick". The information about pot-smoking is relentlessly hilarious, including such great observations that "marijuana smokers often become violent, and the infliction of bodily injury and wounds brings laughter"! Or - "Marijuana smokers lack depth perception, so a curbside will seem like the height of a cliff". And this one - "Marijuana users don't comprehend time the way normal people do, so they drive very fast". They apparently had some really killer weed in the late 50's! My rating is based on a so-bad-it's-good scale. The copy I watched had faded color and a lot of print damage, but that just made it more enjoyable.
  19. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Missiles from Hell aka Battle of the V-1 (1958) - 6/10 British WWII film featuring Michael Rennie as the leader of Polish resistance fighters who work to dismantle the Nazi V-1 rocket program. Also featuring Patricia Medina, Milly Vitale, David Knight, Esmond Knight, and Christopher Lee. This is decent if mostly unexceptional. I think I enjoyed the film's earlier passages, set in a prison work camp, more than the routine later sections dealing with resistance efforts. Lee appears as a vicious Nazi guard in the film's first third.
  20. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Man Who Died Twice (1958) - 5/10 Crime drama featuring Rod Cameron as a cop investigating a heroin racket tied into a nightclub. Recently the club's owner was killed, as were some narcotics agents, and the owner's widow (Vera Ralston) may have witnessed it, but she had a breakdown and is an unreliable witness. Also featuring Mike Mazurki, Gerald Milton, Richard Karlan, Louis Jean Heydt, Don Megowan, Paul Picerni, Jesslyn Fax, and Luana Anders. I found this movie routine and derivative, with a dull performance from Cameron and a truly awful one from Ralston, one of the worst actresses in film history. That being said, Mazurki is always a welcome presence, and he has a larger than usual role, and I liked the duo of heavies staying in a hotel and their amusing repartee.
  21. LawrenceA

    Your Favourite Foreign Language Films from 1993

    1992 Hard Boiled, John Woo, Hong Kong El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez, Mexico Indochine, Regis Wargnier, France Un Coeur en Hiver, Claude Sautet, France Man Bites Dog, Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzei & Benoit Poelvoorde, Belgium Once Upon a Time in China III, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong Once Upon a Time in China II, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, Takao Okawara, Japan Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Japan Police Story 3: Super Cop, Stanley Tong, Hong Kong Twin Dragons, Ringo Lam & Tsui Hark, Hong Kong I've also seen: Evil Dead Trap 2, Izo Hashimoto, Japan The Master, Tsui Hark, Hong Kong Wicked City, Tai Kit Mak, Hong Kong/Japan Tokyo Decadence, Ryu Murakami, Japan 1001 Movies You Must See Man Bites Dog, Remy Belvaux & Andre Bonzel & Benoit Poelvoorde, Belgium A Tale of Winter, Eric Rohmer, France
  22. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    City in Fear (1980) - 6/10 TV movie featuring Robert Vaughn as the wealthy new owner of a struggling LA newspaper. He decides to boost sales by having his chief columnist (David Janssen, in his final role) sensationalize a recent shooting. The still-at-large culprit (Mickey Rourke) is emboldened by the coverage to go on a spree of terror (shades of the Son of Sam case), as the police, in the form of detectives Perry King and Pepe Serna, work to apprehend the madman. Also featuring William Daniels, Susan Sullivan, William Prince, Frank McRae, M. Emmet Walsh, Allan Miller, Lane Smith, Christopher Allport, Richard Bradford, and Mary Stuart Masterson. There's a decent newspaper drama at the heart of this flawed effort, and it makes a still-relevant point about the news cycle fueling real-world violence. There's also a lot of talk about the fading out of the newspaper in general, a topic even more pertinent 40 years later. However, the most memorable aspect of the film for me was Mickey Rourke. This was his first filmed role, although 1941 was released first. He's very green, but still compelling, and he makes what could have been a two-dimensional sex killer into a more complex characterization. The film is credited to "Alan Smithee", but the actual director was Jud Taylor, who asked for his name to be removed after the producers added some additional violence that he was not consulted on.
  23. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Machine-Gun Kelly (1958) - 7/10 One of director Roger Corman's better efforts is also the first headlining role for Charles Bronson. He plays the real Public Enemy #1 in this fictionalized telling of his crime career. He's a coward at heart with an intense fear of death, but he's a menace behind his favorite weapon. Also starring Susan Cabot as his gal pal, Morey Amsterdam in his movie debut, Jack Lambert, Richard Devon, Frank DeKova, Connie Gilchrist, Wally Campo, Barboura Morris, Lori Martin, and Michael Fox. This was the first AIP gangster picture, a genre that they would return to often in the decades ahead. Bronson acquits himself well as the psychologically complex character, a brutal thug and a squirming weakling at the same time.
  24. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    The Children (1980) - 4/10 Silly horror tale about a group of school children that are transformed into mindless zombies thanks to a leak at a nuclear power plant. The children, who all have black fingernails, burn people alive with their touch. The local sheriff (Gil Rogers) and the father (Martin Shakar) of one of the kids team up to try and stop them. Also featuring Gale Garnett, Tracy Griswold, Joy Glaccum, Clara Evans, Michelle La Mothe, Peter Maloney, and Shannon Bolin. This low-budget travesty features very shoddy production values and special effects. The cast of largely unknowns is pretty terrible, too. Co-star Shakar had been in Saturday Night Fever, Maloney would soon appear in John Carpenter's The Thing, and Bolin, making her final film appearance, had been in Damn Yankees on stage & screen. This is the kind of late-70s/early 80s horror flick that would never get made today, what with multiple scenes of kids being shot (they just get back up again), and the "heroes" hacking children up with swords and axes. Fun for the whole family!
  25. LawrenceA

    I Just Watched...

    Live Fast, Die Young (1958) - 6/10 Paul Henreid directed this girl-gone-wrong crime drama. Disaffected teen Jill (Norma Eberhardt) runs away from home and heads to LA, drifting into petty crime along the way. She ends up in cahoots with jewel thieves Mike Connors and Troy Donahue. Meanwhile, Jill's older sister Kim (Mary Murphy) comes looking for her, while also coming to terms with her own deep-seated fear of men. Featuring Sheridan Comerate, Peggy Maley, Jay Jostyn, Carol Varga, Joan Marshall, Gordon Jones, John Harmon, and Dorothy Provine. This was entertaining, moving at a quick pace, and with some good tough-girl dialogue. Eberhardt and Murphy both look nice, so that's a plus.

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