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I Just Watched...

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1 hour ago, TheCid said:

Watched The Big Sleep (1973) with Robert Mitchum.  Purchased the DVD several years ago and found it wanting in comparison to Bogie's version.  However, read a couple of posts on here about it being good, so gave it another shot.  Actually it is better than I thought.  Not as good as Mitchum's Farewell My Lovely from the same period, but still good.

Earlier I probably compared it to closely to Bogie's.  Hard not to do, but considering by itself, it flows well and the English setting is acceptable.  Also an opportunity to see several quality English actors.

Of course, as with FML, the lack of censorship adds another element that better explains the plot.

It's 1978 it was made after FML which was 1975. I've mentioned before that it actually follows the Chandler book better aside from being updated and moved to the UK. 

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1 hour ago, TheCid said:

Watched The Big Sleep (1973) with Robert Mitchum.  Purchased the DVD several years ago and found it wanting in comparison to Bogie's version.  However, read a couple of posts on here about it being good, so gave it another shot.  Actually it is better than I thought.  Not as good as Mitchum's Farewell My Lovely from the same period, but still good.

Earlier I probably compared it to closely to Bogie's.  Hard not to do, but considering by itself, it flows well and the English setting is acceptable.  Also an opportunity to see several quality English actors.

Of course, as with FML, the lack of censorship adds another element that better explains the plot.

I've got the Mitchum Big Sleep on disc and keep meaning to watch it - for the first time in decades.

I'm a big fan of his Farewell My Lovely, the music by David Shire, the '40s LA ambience, and, of course, the cast, with a genuine affection for Jack O'Halloran's Moose Malloy. Big as he is he hints at possessing a gentler soul than did Mike Mazurki's '40s take. Having said that, I liked Mazurki, as well.

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

It's 1978 it was made after FML which was 1975. I've mentioned before that it actually follows the Chandler book better aside from being updated and moved to the UK. 

Yeah, I noticed when I looked at the DVD box it was 78 and not 73.  But too lazy to come change post.

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15 hours ago, Hepburn Fan said:

I watched episode one of Last Man Standing on their new Fox network. It was fun with a profound message as well. I am not sure if our friends in Canada can see it, but there is an interesting twist included.

What's the "profound message?"

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3 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Ellen Drew probably doesn't appear on too many lists of famous Hollywood Starlets, but she should. She was a very beautiful woman, with stunning eyes. TCM would do well to feature more of her films. Star of the Month perhaps?

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Pulled her up on Wikipedia.  Had quite an extensive filmography.  She was in a 1960 Perry Mason TV show and since I have the set, I'll have to watch it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Drew#Partial_filmography

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The Strange Case of Dr. Rx (1942) - Murder mystery with horror touches, from Universal and director William Nigh. After a series of baffling murders are committed by someone who leaves calling cards signed "Dr. Rx", private investigator Jerry Church (Patric Knowles) is hired to crack the case. Also featuring Lionel Atwill, Anne Gwynne, Samuel S. Hinds, Mona Barrie, Shemp Howard, Paul Cavanagh, Edmund MacDonald, and Mantan Moreland.

I found this rather too routine and uninvolving. Knowles is blandly competent in the lead, and Moreland provides his brand of comic relief, but most of the remaining characters exist to be suspects, and thus lack depth. Ray "Crash" Corrigan shows up as Nbongo the Gorilla.   (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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44 minutes ago, TheCid said:

What's the "profound message?"

That would be a bit of a spoiler. Guess you need to watch it. The first episode begins with a play on the move to the new network. Last Man Standing has three daughters. One is married to a Canadian. I watched the first episode on Yahoo! View at no cost.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

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Calling Dr. Death (1943) - One of the "Inner Sanctum Mysteries" based on a hit radio series, from Universal and director Reginald Le Borg. Hypnotherapist Dr. Mark Steele (Lon Chaney Jr.) is stuck in a loveless marriage with the cruel and promiscuous Maria (Ramsay Ames). When Maria is found murdered, police investigator Inspector Gregg (J. Carrol Naish) suspects Mark, who seeks solace in the company of his sympathetic nurse Stella (Patricia Morison). Also featuring David Bruce, Fay Helm, Alec Craig, and Holmes Herbert.

This is a short, straight-forward mystery with some atmospheric touches and a handful of good performances. I enjoyed Chaney's whispered inner monologue on the soundtrack, and Morison is beautiful and a welcome presence. I liked seeing Chaney and Naish together in better times, as nearly 30 years later they'd co-star in one of cinema's all-time worst, Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971).    (6/10)

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Captive Wild Woman (1943) - Ludicrous horror tale from Universal and director Edward Dmytryk. "Brilliant" scientist Dr. Sigmund Walters (John Carradine) conducts glandular experiments on a gorilla and transforms it into a human woman who he names Paula Dupree (Acquanetta). Paula shows a talent for working with animals, so she gets a job as part of the animal taming act of Fred Mason (Milburn Stone). However, when Paula becomes jealous of Fred's romance with Beth (Evelyn Ankers), it causes her animal side to reemerge. Also featuring Martha Vickers, Paul Fix, Lloyd Corrigan, Fay Helm, and Vince Barnett.

I'd seen this once when I was a kid, but decided to rewatch it since I'm planning to watch the sequels soon, and I didn't remember much from it. Carradine is good as the mad doctor, resisting the urge to play it too big. I hadn't recalled Milburn Stone being the hero in this, but I read that he was cast due to his similar build to noted animal tamer Clyde Beatty, whose earlier film The Big Cage provided much stock footage. This movie spends a bit too much time with the animal circus act, and not nearly enough with Carradine's crazy experiments, or with the transformed Paula.    (6/10)

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Jigsaw (1968)

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Never heard of of it before its basically an equally Noir-ish but loose remake of Mirage. This time rather than amnesia in Jigsaw a top secret think tank scientist (Bradford Dillman) wakes up hallucinating in a bedroom of a strange apartment. He gets up off the bed and stumbles to the wall he leaves bloody fingerprints on the wall as he rights himself. He makes his way to the bathroom and splashes water on his face. Then he notices a dead woman in the bathtub. He goes out to the living room to call for the police but he can't even remember his name. He looks in his wallet and finds some credit cards with a name Jonathan Fields. He finds the phone book and AAA Detective Agency and he runs out of the apartment house to his office. The detective Arthur Belding (Harry Guardino) thinks he's nuts but agrees to help.

The film also stars Hope Lange, Pat Hingle, Diana Hyland, Susan Saint James, Michael J. Pollard, and Victor Jory.

The Noir stylistics are used in flashbacks sequences and in the depictions of the effects of LSD acid trips and the sequences are pretty well done, we get the 60s counterculture, Rock & Roll, Hippies, GoGo dancers, juxtaposed with a classic style murder and cover up. There is also a nice twist. The copy I watched was de-saturated and somewhat scratched. A restoration would be nice. About a 7/10 as is.  

This is another good example of a Transitional Noir where Classic Style Film Noir cut loose from the old MPPC and updating to the then culture was morphing haphazardly into Neo Noir. Its not anything top notch but it's films like these that TCM should be showing rather that a lot of their usual rotation. This stuff needs to get shown to a bigger audience and be remembered. It just seems to me to be an awfully big hole in the public's film conscious-ness of these non critically acclaimed but decent and essentially the equivalent of "B" pictures with secondary stars, between say the mid sixties to 1980. 

Its was a Universal film, has it ever been shown on TCM?  

 

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Revenge of the Zombies (1943) - Low-budget horror comedy from Monogram Pictures and director Steve Sekely. Private detective Larry Adams (Robert Lowery) is hired by Scott Warrington (Mauritz Hugo) to travel to the Louisiana swamps with him to visit Warrington's brother-in-law, scientist Von Altermann (John Carradine), and discover the true story behind the death of Scott's sister Lila (Veda Ann Borg). They discover the Von Altermann has secretly been working on creating an army of zombie soldiers to serve the Third Reich. Also featuring Mantan Moreland, Gale Storm, Bob Steele, Barry Macollum, James Baskett, Sybil Lewis, and Madame Sul-Te-Wan.

Director Sekely manages to create some genuine atmosphere despite his limited resources. The film's opening and closing segments are shot with a lot of menacing style. The cast is also more interesting than in many Monogram features. I especially liked Madame Sul-Te-Wan as a cackling housemaid.    (6/10)

Source: YouTube

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54 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Revenge of the Zombies (1943) -

Director Sekely manages to create some genuine atmosphere despite his limited resources. The film's opening and closing segments are shot with a lot of menacing style. The cast is also more interesting than in many Monogram features. I especially liked Madame Sul-Te-Wan as a cackling housemaid.    (6/10)

I have avoided seeing this film, partly because I worship King of the Zombies and am afraid that Revenge would not measure up (can any film measure up to King of the Zombies?). King of the Zombies was the first film I ever purchased, on video, from Video Yesteryear. I didn't even own a VCR yet.

I appreciate your homage to Madame Sul-Te-Wan, who was simply brilliant in the role of Tahama in King of the Zombies, a film which actually was Oscar-nominated, for best music score (it should have won). Madame was actually the first black actor ever to receive a formal contract from a major Hollywood studio.

I read Theology in college and did some post-graduate work as well. One of the best books I read in those days was Voodoo in Haiti, by the anthropologist Alfred Metraux. Of zombies, Metraux writes: "Zombi are people whose death has been duly recorded, and whose buried has been witnessed, but who are found a few years later living with a boko (sorcerer) in a state verging on idiocy." Metraux further writes that you must never give a zombie salt. In King of the Zombies, that's how Samantha knows Jeff is not a zombie -- he complains that there's no salt in the food, so she saturates his food with salt, then says "The rule says, if a zombie uses salt, he dries up and gets dead again."

I appreciate King of the Zombies for respecting the rules, which derive from religion and folklore. I hate films like Night of the Living Dead, which make a mockery of the classical zombies, which were so much a part of Haitian culture that they were enshrined in the Article 246 of the old Haitian Penal Code (q.v.). 

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Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Leigh Whipper (the first black actor to join Actors' Equity), Marguerite Whitten, Mantan Moreland (King of the Zombies)

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7 minutes ago, Swithin said:

I appreciate King of the Zombies for respecting the rules, which derive from religion and folklore. I hate films like Night of the Living Dead, which make a mockery of the classical zombies, which were so much a part of Haitian culture that they were enshrined in the Article 246 of the old Haitian Penal Code (q.v.). 

To my mind, in fantasy, there are no rules. That's the joy and the freedom of the genre. I have no problem when a writer/filmmaker plays around with the formula, whether it's with vampires, werewolves, ghosts, mummies, or even zombies. There's room in my world for all kinds of the living dead. I can perhaps understand your frustration with the "theft" of the zombie name by the ubiquitous modern versions rather than the voodoo minions of old, though. I find it amusing that in the hugely successful TV series The Walking Dead, the term "zombie" is never used to describe the creatures. Rather, they refer to them as "walkers", "shamblers", "biters", etc.

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28 minutes ago, Swithin said:

I appreciate King of the Zombies for respecting the rules, which derive from religion and folklore. I hate films like Night of the Living Dead, which make a mockery of the classical zombies, which were so much a part of Haitian culture that they were enshrined in the Article 246 of the old Haitian Penal Code (q.v.). 

Wes Craven's The Serpent & the Rainbow (1988) also pays more direct tribute to the cultural Haitian respect for zombies (while also skeptic-deconstructing it, from the original book source).

But yes, it's hard to realize that it wasn't until George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" in 1978 that culture first popularized the idea that so-called "zombies" were caused by contagious toxic plagues--Anything dated before then usually had a Caribbean voodoo priest/ess in tow, unless it was one of the Italian B-epics about cursed Knights Templar.

(Back when William Castle's estate was trying to do cheap 90's remakes of "House on Haunted Hill", the current owner of RKO's properties wanted to do name-only remakes of Val Lewton titles, and was all set to remake "I Walked With a Zombie"...Until they apparently saw the movie, realized it wasn't those kind, and yes, the title was referring to A singular one.) 😂

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15 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

To my mind, in fantasy, there are no rules. That's the joy and the freedom of the genre.

Yes -- I agree. I actually dislike Night of the Living Dead for many reasons.

Here's an image from Seabrook's The Magic Island (I have a first edition), which basically introduced the subject of zombies to the U.S. Unlike Metraux' scholarly work, Seabrook's book is more sensationalist, but still has value. The zombies in the image have been inadvertently given candy made with nuts which were salted. Seabrook wrote: "But the baker of the tablettes had salted the nuts, and as the zombies tasted the salt, they knew that they were dead and made a dreadful outcry and arose and turned their faces toward the mountain. No one dared stop them, for they were corpses walking in the sunlight, and they themselves and all the people knew that they were corpses. And they disappeared toward the mountain."

The story goes on to say that the zombies find their way to their graves: "...and as they approached the graveyard, they began to shuffle faster and rushed among the graves, and each before his own empty grave began clawing at the stones and earth to enter it again; and as their cold hands touched the earth of their own graves, they fell and lay there, rotting carrion."

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The Climax (1944) - Technicolor musical thriller from Universal and director George Waggner. Boris Karloff stars as Dr. Friedrich Hohner, a hypnotist and murderer obsessed with opera singer Marcellina (June Vincent), who has gone missing. Many years later, a new singer, Angela (Susanna Foster), makes her way to the stage with a voice that's a near copy of Marcellina's. Naturally this arouses Dr. Hohner's obsession once again, but will this also lead to Angela's disappearance...or worse? Also featuring Turhan Bey, Thomas Gomez, Gale Sondergaard, Ludwig Stossel, George Dolenz, Jane Farrar, Lotte Stein, Francis Ford, and Scotty Beckett.

This was Universal's follow-up to the hit 1943 version of The Phantom of the Opera, and in many ways it follows the same formula. The gorgeous sets are left over from that film, and the costumes are sumptuous, with the whole endeavor exuding class. Karloff reminded me a bit of his deranged character from 1936's Charlie Chan at the Opera. There are several musical scenes that should entertain those with a disposition towards light operetta. The movie earned an Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color.   (6/10)

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THE PAGEMASTER (1994) Score: 2/5 

Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Lloyd, Ed Begley, Jr., Patrick Stewart, Frank Welker, Leonard Nimoy, George Hearn. 

Culkin stars as a brainy outcast who would much rather read books and quote statistics than spend time with children his own age and play outside. He wanders into the library one day and meets the eccentric librarian who works there. Culkin goes into another part of the library and while he is looking at a mural on the ceiling, he slips and falls, and blacks out for a while. His soul leaves his body or something, and he is transported to this literary world where all the books are sentient and all the stories come to life. 

Not too much to say about this one; the only part of the film I actually enjoyed was the Ayn Rand reference. 

Image result for the pagemaster 1994

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Cry of the Werewolf (1944) - Supernatural horror from Columbia Pictures and director Henry Levin. After an occult expert is murdered, suspicion falls on a band of gypsies camped in the area. Their leader Celeste (Nina Foch) seems to hold a terrible secret, and she seems interested in Elsa (Osa Massen), a Transylvanian immigrant who had been raised by the now-dead expert. Also featuring Stephen Crane, Blanche Yurka, Barton MacLane, Ivan Triesault, John Abbott, Fred Graff, John Tyrell, Robert B. Williams, Milton Parsons, and Fritz Leiber.

There's a lot of stuff here that I like: the paranormal museum setting; the performances of Foch, Massen, and Yurka; the story elements involving curses, ancestry and spiritual obligation; and many of the scenes are shot with a good sense of mood. However, the script has a lot of problems, and the pacing drags in many places. The resolution is also a bit muddled and unsatisfying. A better movie should have been made with the ingredients at hand.   (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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Something Evil (1972) - TV-movie horror from CBS and director Steven Spielberg. A NYC family buy a farm out in the country. Artist wife Marjorie (Sandy Dennis) finds inspiration in her new surroundings, while ad exec husband Paul (Darren McGavin) stills spends much of time back in the city working. Soon Marjorie begins to hear eerie sounds at nice, and she begins to suspect that something is trying to possess her. Also featuring Ralph Bellamy, Johnny Whitaker, John Rubinstein, Margaret Avery, Bruno VeSota, and Jeff Corey.

This dull effort features adequate TV-movie production values, and acceptable if unremarkable performances from its cast. Director Spielberg, following up on the previous year's Duel, doesn't display any of the skill evident in that. It's not bad, but it's not worth seeking out, either.    (5/10)

Source: YouTube

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The Woman who Sings - 1978 Russian musical about Anna, a down on her luck singer who hates her demanding boss. Her husband divorces her too and her dreams of a job and children seem dashed. Eventually she reads a poem and finds the author and together they decide to make it into a song. She performs the song in Moscow where she finds fame. The story to this isn't particularly interesting but the music is very catchy (even with lyrics like "da-da-da-da-dah-da") and that's all a musical film really needs. Also this films overall style seems to be influenced by the films of Barbra Streisand. 

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Superfly (1972) Stylish Soul Noir

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Ok, so a sort juju magic formula was concocted.

Mario Van Peebles had a vision for a film, a film for the "black community" and with the sheer force of his personality he wrote, directed, edited, and scored Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song and it was an ace formula, the film was something new, raw, exploitative, good, and it made money.

On the other side of the country Gordon Parks did it more conventionally with Shaft. Parks, a 20 year acclaimed photographer for Life magazine had turned to directing and chose as the subject for his second film a unique novel by Ernest Tidyman. Tidyman, another refugee from the print world, freelanced, on a $1,800 advance from Macmillan mystery editor, a story about a black detective hero using the Sam Spade/Phillip Marlowe blueprint. Shaft, the novel sold a half million copies. Shaft the film, this time Hollywood financed, nicely fused together with a black perspective a white (i.e the Private Investigator character) and a black community's idea/essence of what was cool. It was scored by Isaac Hayes and J.J. Johnson, with cinematography by Urs Furrer.

Gordon Parks Jr.'s very stylish direction is one of the first things you notice. As in Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song there are long musical interludes, where in Sweetback they are of Van Peebles running around Los Angeles, here they consist of sequences of Priest's pimped out 1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado driving around Harlem and montages of various drug dealing to Curtis Mayfield's Pusherman.

Another nice surprise that is more that just a Blaxploitation film. Definitely not PC, 9/10.

Fuller review with screen caps in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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The saddest thing about SUPERFLY is that star RON O'NEAL and others involved did the project as an ANTI-drug film,(by making Priest so despicable)  but instead, backfired in that it wound up inspiring and influencing too many young black kids to become dope dealers.  O'Neal often said in interviews that it bothered him a lot that it didn't achieve what was intended.

Sepiatone

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3 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

The saddest thing about SUPERFLY is that star RON O'NEAL and others involved did the project as an ANTI-drug film,(by making Priest so despicable)  but instead, backfired in that it wound up inspiring and influencing too many young black kids to become dope dealers.  O'Neal often said in interviews that it bothered him a lot that it didn't achieve what was intended.

Sepiatone

Yea, in the film it stressed the fact that "the man" left only drug dealing and pimping (with corrupt police acquiescence) as the only routes to easy money left open to poor uneducated black men. 

I guess the Anti-drug angle that he was hoping to stress was that that fact that Priest was wanting out of it. It probably would have helped to show some reasons.

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Across 110th Street (1972) Pseudo Blaxploitation Noir

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One of the first legitimate Hollywood attempts to exploit the Blaxploitation phenomena. This film is not only a stylish and an excellent replica of the Blaxploitation formula but also a throwback to the type of Film Noirs the French called "policiers" otherwise known here as the police procedural. I say "Pseudo Blaxploitation" because it was written, produced and directed by "whitey," at least the music was by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson.

They used that Blaxploitation formula to make a compelling and gritty film. It was directed by Barry Shear (Wild in the Streets (1968), The Todd Killings (1971), written by Luther Davis based on Wally Ferris' novel. The excellent cinematography was by Jack Priestley (a cinematographer and camera operator for 48 episodes of Naked City TV Series (1958–1963).

Across 110th Street stars Yaphet Kotto (Pope), Anthony Quinn (Matelli), Anthony Franciosa and Paul Benjamin.

The film addresses Black and White relations in New York City, Black and White integration into the New York Police Department, the new (for the time) progressive attitudes to police procedures, and the dynamics between street wise Mattelli and by the book Pope.

All the actors are top notch Quinn, Benjamin, Kotto, Ward, Lewis, Bernard, and Fargas are very believable. Franciosa gives a good scenery chewing performance as the torture loving capo.

Its a reasonable facsimile Blaxploitation film with an obvious message, and a good Neo Noir 9/10. Full review with  screen caps here in Film Noi/Gangster.

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Mr. Ricco (1975) Mr. TV Cool's Swan Song

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Director Paul Bogart who made his bones mostly on TV gave us Marlowe updating Chandler P.I., in a 1969 Neo Noir starring James Garner, Halls of Anger (1970) followed, it was an interracial inner city school Drama. His next feature, also with Garner and Lou Gossett Jr., was Skin Game in 1971.

It wasn't until '75 that he directed his second Neo Noir Mr. Ricco. I've found out from just viewing recently on a TCM screening, that it's also another Hollywood nod to the effects of the lucrative and successful Blaxploitation phenomena that exploded on the scene in 1971.

As I mentioned in my Marlowe review, that film was about cool, i.e., "It’s all about cool, cool that aura of quiet intensity along that ever changing cutting edge balance between conservative and excess, the spark between new and old, you know it when you see it." William Powell had it, Noir icons Bogart, Dick Powell, Mitchum, Conte, Andrews, Ford, Holden, and Hayden had it. James Garner as Marlowe had it. Poitier, Belefonte, Jim Brown, and Blaxploitation stars Richard Roundtree, and Ron O'Neal had it.

Dean Martin had it in spades. His 1965 to 1974 The Dean Martin Show came into your living-rooms weekly on Thursdays, and Deano with his well oiled shtick as a tuxedo clad, slightly drunken, work-shy, easy come easy go, happy go lucky playboy, was the epitome of smooth cool. It's too bad we never got an application of that TV persona into a serious Neo Noir when he was about ten years younger. I could see him in the roll of a wise cracking P.I. similar to Dick Powell's Marlowe. All we ever got, that was remotely close, was Dean essentially playing TV "Deano" in the Billy Wilder comedy Kiss Me Stupid.  His overly silly tongue-in-cheek Matt Helm series of films, all James Bond spy spoofs, are basically him goofing his way through burlesqued villains, and a bevy of pneumatic bimbos.

The film is nothing special, no real sparks, but it's an entertaining enough time waster with some nice Noir stylistic cinematography of San Francisco. Martin looks a bit past his due date in this, he's at the end of his career. It was one of his last films. Thalmus Rasulala as Frankie Steele was adequate but he doesn't really get enough screen time to showcase himself, H.B. Barnum III as the boy Luther was impressive. Eugene Roche I remember from his excellent performance in Slaughterhouse Five, he is quite believable here. The rest of the cast consists of Denise Nicholas as Irene Mapes, Cindy Williams as Jamison, Geraldine Brooks as Katherine, and Philip Michael Thomas as Purvis Mapes.

Writing Credits go to Robert Hoban for screenplay, with Ed Harvey and Francis Kiernan for the story. The cinematography was by Frank Stanley (Magnum ForceThunderbolt & LightfootThe Eiger Sanction). The music was by Chico Hamilton. Worth a look for Dean Martin fans. 6-6.5/10. Full review with screen caps in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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