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I Just Watched...

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2 minutes ago, Swithin said:

As a frequent visitor to England (three times a year), I'm happy to assure you that both the cuisine and the weather have improved immeasurably!

On the question of aging, I worked with Eileen Atkins once. She told me one of the reasons she (and many of the older Brit ladies) can get jobs, is that they don't have their faces lifted, like many of  the American actresses of a certain age do. Maybe that's true for the men as well.

That is absolutely the truth; although I think the newer crop middle-aged Brits are more willing to have some work done here and there.

but yes, you absolutely can find British Actors "of a certain age" who look like actual human people and, yeah, it make a difference in the impact of the movie.

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The Maverick Queen (1956)  -  5/10

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Bland western with Barry Sullivan as Jeff Younger (of the infamous Youngers), who journeys to Wyoming to join the Wild Bunch run by Butch Cassidy (Howard Petrie). The Bunch secretly works in cahoots with "respectable" businesswoman Kit Banion (Barbara Stanwyck), whose attentions towards Younger anger Cassidy's right-hand man Sundance Kid (Scott Brady). Also featuring Mary Murphy as a nice-gal rancher that Younger helps, Wallace Ford as a grizzled old cook, Emile Meyer, Walter Sande, Pierre Watkin, John Doucette, and Jim Davis as "The Stranger". Based on a novel by Zane Grey, this western is pure Hollywood hokum. This was the first film released by Republic in their new Naturama widescreen format.

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18 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

That is absolutely the truth; although I think the newer crop middle-aged Brits are more willing to have some work done here and there.

but yes, you absolutely can find British Actors "of a certain age" who look like actual human people and, yeah, it make a difference in the impact of the movie.

Aging naturally - and gracefully - is certainly preferable to so much of the obvious plastic surgery that is embraced by American actors.

Look at Vanessa Redgrave - she has certainly aged - and she looks lovely.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

That is absolutely the truth; although I think the newer crop middle-aged Brits are more willing to have some work done here and there.

but yes, you absolutely can find British Actors "of a certain age" who look like actual human people and, yeah, it make a difference in the impact of the movie.

And Lorna, I hope you never have any work done, because you are beautiful just as you are!

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1984 (1956)  -  7/10

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American/British co-production based "freely" on George Orwell's novel. In a dystopian near future, worker Winston Smith (Edmond O'Brien) begins to question the authority of Big Brother, the oppressive, all-seeing government. He risks prosecution when he begins a romance with equally disaffected citizen Julia (Jan Sterling). Also featuring Michael Redgrave, Donald Pleasence, David Kossoff, Mervyn Johns, Walter Gotell, John Vernon, and Michael Ripper. This was certainly inspired by the successful BBC television adaptation from '54, and it features cast member Pleasence again, although in a different role. This big screen version has better production values, as well a larger scope. It's as excellent an adaptation as could be expected for the time, although I liked the later, ultra-bleak 1984 version the best. This version was directed by Michael Anderson the same year he did Around the World in 80 Days. The YouTube copy I watched was labeled "Hollywood best Greatest blockbuster movie Film", which may be an overstatement.

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Port Afrique (1956)  -  5/10

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Dull exotic mystery with Phillip Carey as Rip Reardon, a former Army pilot who returns with a lame leg to his former home in Morocco. He gets mixed up in a murder that involves pretty club singer Pier Angeli and British creep Dennis Price. Also featuring Eugene Deckers as the investigating police man, Christopher Lee as an artist with a goatee, and Anthony Newley as "Pedro". The best part about it was the character name "Rip Reardon".

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Dodge City (1939)

Grade "A" Technicolor Warner Brothers western which the studio used to introduce Errol Flynn to the genre. Flynn was concerned that with his accent audiences wouldn't accept him as a cowboy. He needed have worried, for the film would be one of the biggest box office hits of its year, and the studio would periodically cast the actor in seven other westerns over the next decade.

Michael Curtiz is in peak form, this being the kind of large scale film he loved to direct. While the story is ordinary and cliche ridden (a two fisted cattleman becomes sheriff of the wild and woolley Dodge City to bring peace to its streets) everything is presented on a big scale.

The film begins with a race between a stagecoach and a train, well shot by Curtiz and beautifully edited. It's an exciting opening to the film. There will later be such familiar incidents as a cattle stampede, a massive saloon brawl, an angry crowd taking the law into its own hands and a shootout on a train. But all are presented in such lavish style that you can forgive the familiarity of it all.

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The saloon brawl, in particular, is on such a lavish scale (and, remember, in vibrant Technicolor) that it must be ranked as a classic of its kind. In fact, the studio would use clips from this brawl to include in a number of their other westerns over the years. It must have been a massive casting call for stunt men, with crashing tables and chairs, in a free for all brawl that must last the better part of five screen minutes (I didn't time it). Ironically hero Flynn is no where to be seen in this sequence. Curtiz has a field day here, as do the stunt men.

The supporting cast is an impressive one, headed by Olivia de Havilland. As per some of their previous films together Errol and Olivia do not get off to a good start in this one. But we know it will be a matter of time before the Flynn charm will work its magic upon her. The two actors do, in fact, share a charming sequence in which they stop to rest in the grass after going horseback riding together. The chemistry between the two actors is potent, Flynn indulges in some charming Irish blarney and it's the kind of light hearted romantic scene that audiences then expected of the pair.

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The rest of the cast features Bruce Cabot and Victor Jory among the bad guys that run the town, Frank McHugh as a newspaper editor who will hire Olivia as an assistant (Flynn has a now politically incorrect moment when he tells Olivia she should be home sewing buttons on some man's shirt instead), a disappointingly wasted Ann Sheridan as a dance hall girl, along with Alan Hale and "Big Boy" Guinn Williams as Flynn sidekicks, the first of three westerns in which they would be so cast.

Alan Hale, in particular, has a great scene stealing performance in this film, with an abundance of humour mixed in. One of the highlight scenes has Hale, as a "reformed" man speaking before a temperance league of the town's women while the sounds of the film's big saloon brawl can be heard next door through the wall. When the wall finally breaks down, as the fight invades the temperance meeting, the "reformed" Hale lets out an excited holler and eagerly joins in the fisticuffs.

This is an undemanding fantasy Hollywood western, with Flynn always looking perfect in beautifully costumed clothes. The actor is still convincing as a man of action, however, and it is clear from this film that he knew how to ride a horse. Bottom line: if unexceptional, Dodge City is still a fun film.

SPOILER ALERT: Perhaps the screenwriters were running out of ideas when it came to the film's climax set aboard a train. Good guys Flynn and Hale are taking prisoner bad guy Victor Jory to another town for justice there when chief villain Bruce Cabot shows up to get Jory back. There's a shootout, a fire starts and Cabot and Jory leap on a pair of horses brought by other gang members riding alongside the train outside to make an escape.

This is where it gets dumb. The bad guys on their horses ride in the same direction that the train is travelling! This gives Flynn and Hale the opportunity to shoot them off their horses (which they do)! A suggestion to future bad guys: the next time you're going to escape by horse from a train ride the animals in the opposite direction from which the train is travelling. That way the good guys won't have the chance to blow you out of your saddles!

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"I can't believe these dummies are riding along with the train. Target practice time!"

3 out of 4

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The Price of Fear (1956)  -  6/10

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Crime drama with Lex Barker as a dog-track operator who runs afoul of gangster Warren Stevens. When a murder is committed, Barker is framed for it, and he's quickly arrested for being in a stolen car. Little does Barker know that the car's owner (Merle Oberon) had just killed a pedestrian in a hit-and-run, which she conveniently blames on whoever stole her car. In a convoluted series of events, Barker and Oberon end up working together to clear his name, while she also schemes to get away with her own crime. Also featuring Charles Drake, Gia Scala, Phillip Pine, Mary Field, and Bing Russell. The complex web of deceit is interesting, although the eventual resolution is a foregone conclusion, thanks to the film era. Character actor Abner Biberman, who also directed, cameos as a police forensic scientist. 

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Crime Wave (1953) Masterpiece of L.A. Location Noir

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The first time I saw Crime Wave I saw something done so well that it became a favorite, it was that memorable. Crime Wave not only has some spectacular on location day and night cinematography but it also has a interesting and compelling story with both the leads and character actors to do it justice.

Directed by André De Toth (Pitfall (1948)). The film's screenplay was written by Cane Wilbur from an adaptation by Bernard Gordon and Richard Wormser of Criminal's Mark, a story by John and Ward Hawkins. The films cinematography was by Bert Glennon (Red Light (1949), and the music was by David Buttolph.

The film stars Sterling Hayden as toothpick chewing hard boiled Det. Lt. Sims. Gene Nelson (who also appeared in Transitional "Tail Fin" Noir 20,000 Eyes (1961)) as ex con Steve Lacey. Phyllis Kirk (House Of Wax (1953)) as his wife Ellen Lacey. Charles Bronson (Death Wish (1974)) as Ben Hastings, four Classic Film Noir vet Jay Novello as Dr. Otto Hessler, Ned Young as Gat Morgan, James Bell as Daniel O'Keefe, Dub Taylor as the Doris Day loving gas station attendant Gus Snider, Fritz Feld as Jess the bandaged man at City Hall.

Hank Worden, made a living from Westerns and was memorable as quite a character from many John Ford/John Wayne Westerns usually playing an off the wall "not quite right in the head" hombre. He was in Film Noir appearing mostly in bit parts, Undercurrent (1946), High Wall (1947), Cover Up (1949), and Neo Noir Hammett (1982). In Crime Wave he is Sweeney, Steve's seemingly speech impediment challenged boss, at the Grand Central aircraft repair company. Worden's last role was in Twin Peaks TV Series (1990–1991). Timothy Carey, plays a more modern Worden contemporary, crazy grinning prototypical beatnik Johnny Haslett he's the scary type with a perpetual leer that explodes into a ___ eating grin, completely 180 from the loveable Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) of six years later.

This is a great late period quickly paced Noir shot in crisp Black and White that hits on all cylinders. The acting by the cast is riveting. A must film for any Film Noir collection. The use of The City Of Angels circa 1953 for both exterior and (in the case of City Hall) interior shots make it highly valuable as a time capsule of what used to be. We get Glendale, Burbank, Chinatown, the Gas Works, Owl Drugs and Union Station to boot.

After watching these on location Films Noir, The Naked City (1948) New York City, Call Northside 777 (1948), Chicago,  The Third Man (1949) Vienna, Act Of Violence (1949) Los Angeles,  Night And The City (1950) London, Crime Wave (1953) Los Angeles, Rififi (1955) Paris, Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Los Angeles , The Lineup (1958) San Francisco, Two Men In Manhattan (1959) New York City, it's harder to believe the old backlot sets. They just can't substitute for reality. This is jarringly displayed in 1965's The Money Trap where the location shoots and what looks like a NYC street set filling in for a Los Angeles ghetto set look as if they are parts of two different movies. Bunker Hill Hollywood's seedy ready made ghetto location was being demolished in the 60's.

Anyway watch Crime Wave for the various vignettes of suspects being booked, the dispatch room, the Chinatown dive flop where Timothy Carey uses a box top for an ersatz lamp shade with a drop cord plug, class. All this attention to the details by De Toth and crew makes this film something special.

Included on the Warner DVD is a not to miss commentary track by Eddie Muller and James Ellroy. 10/10

Fuller review with some screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster pages

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7 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

two things they are not known for are their exquisite cuisine or ability to age "well."

I believe genetics has a lot to do with aging. People with thick skin don't wrinkle in the same way those with fine or thin skin do.

TikiKid is Irish, I never saw such beautiful thin, translucent, porcelain skin in my life-complete with rosy cheeks! I imagine Jean Harlow's skin looked like that. But that thin skin ages quickly, it loses it's elasticity quicker.

Those with thicker skin (like from my "gypsy" heritage) we look about 10 years younger than we are.

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Port Afrique (1956)  -  5/10

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Dull exotic mystery  The best part about it was the character name "Rip Reardon".

Haha thanks for seeing that dullster-I bought that movie poster when I was on a "women pointing guns" kick.

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4 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Port Afrique (1956)  -  5/10

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The best part about it was the character name "Rip Reardon".

Reminds me of Bogart's character's name - Rip Murdock - in Dead Reckoning, a film that plays like a noir parody in many ways, complete with cornball "tough guy" dialogue. It's still a fun film, anyway, if only because you can't take it too seriously, at times.

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The Proud and Profane (1956)  -  6/10

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WWII drama with Deborah Kerr as an aid worker at a Pacific Theater hospital and shore leave station. She's hoping to find info about her husband who's been listed as KIA, but she unintentionally draws the attention of officer William Holden and hot-tempered infantryman Dewey Martin. Also featuring Thelma Ritter, William Redfield, Ross Bagdasarian, Marion Ross, Peter Hansen, Joe Turkel, Claude Akins, Frank Gorshin, and Robert Morse. Holden plays a really detestable heel for much of the film, lying to and manipulating Kerr while being a cruel C.O. to his men. It's a rather brave role for one of Hollywood's biggest stars at the time. Ritter is always a treat, and Kerr is excellent as usual. If only the script had been sharper, and the direction by George Seaton more inspired.

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12 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Haha thanks for seeing that dullster-I bought that movie poster when I was on a "women pointing guns" kick.

Jut so long as you didn't demonstrate that little kick by doing it to your hubby, Tiki.

Or, as Bogart's Rip Murdock might have said in Dead Reckoning, "That's how it goes, schweetheart. Dames. One day they love you. The next day they're ready to blow out your brains with a .45."

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I've seen 'Fer-de-Lance'. Long since forgotten though, that it was a David Janssen feature. Thought it was Ben Gazzara if anybody. Certainly "Herb Tarlek from WKRP", is more memorable than anyone else from the cast.

Anyway its a funny kind of submarine (in that poster art) which has ...windows?

A better TV movie about a US sub is "Assault on the Wayne" with Leonard Nimoy as the captain. Now that had some genuine suspense.

 

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On 2/23/2019 at 7:13 PM, LawrenceA said:

Man in the Vault (1956)  -  5/10

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Substandard crime drama from John Wayne's Batjac production company. William Campbell stars as a locksmith who is forced by sleazy gangster Berry Kroeger into using his skills to rob a safety deposit box in a bank. Also featuring Karen Sharpe, Anita Ekberg, Paul Fix, James Seay, Robert Keys, Mike Mazurki, John Mitchum, and Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez. Campbell's character name is "Tommy Dancer" and I frequently thought people were name-dropping Elton John tunes. While there's not enough Ekberg and Mazurki, there are several scenes shot at Art Linkletter's La Cienega Lanes bowling alley.

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Art Linkletter owned a bowling alley???

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On 2/24/2019 at 1:22 AM, LawrenceA said:

Once more unto the breach! 

Fer-de-Lance (1974)  -  4/10

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Snakes on a submarine! After a crewman (Frank Bonner, aka Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati) buys a basket of snakes (?!?) while on shore leave in South America, he unwittingly sets them loose on his submarine, which is on a joint military and civilian research mission. The chaos the snakes create causes the sub to crash to the ocean floor, and the surviving crew must figure out how to reach the surface before their air runs out or a snake bites them. Starring Mr. David Janssen, Hope Lange, Ivan Dixon, Ben Piazza, Jason Evers, and Robert Ito. I was struck by a heavy feeling of lethargy shortly after the film began, and it became a herculean effort to remain conscious, It was as if Morpheus himself were whispering eldritch incantations into my ear, beckoning me into the land of dreams and nightmares. Luckily I remained awake and aware enough to finish this too-dark, too-slow dud.

 

Hurricane (1974)  -  4/10

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Natural disaster, TV-Movie style, with Larry Hagman and Jessica Walter as a couple trapped in a boat out to sea as the big storm hits; Barry Sullivan as an old coot who refuses to evacuate his home and leave his dogs; Frank Sutton as a loudmouth who also refuses to leave but only so he can party; Will Geer and Michael Learned as meteorologists tracking the storm; and Martin Milner, Lonny Chapman and Barry Livingston as an aircrew surveying the storm from above. Also with Patrick Duffy, Jack Colvin, and Jerry Hardin. This was even worse than the previous film, like an audio-visual tranquilizer dart dosed for an elephant. It was only through frequent, repeated injections of meth-amphetamines directly into the ocular orbits that I was able to remain cognizant of my surroundings. 

 

Killdozer (1974)  -  6/10

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Now this was more like it: a meteor crashes to the Earth, coming to rest on a small island off the African coast. Later an American oil company crew arrives on the island to prep the site for future oil exploration. The crewmen must fight for survival after their bulldozer comes into contact with the meteor, resulting in a transference of some sort of alien, energy-based intelligence into the machine, which promptly goes on a killing spree. Starring Clint Walker, Carl Betz, James Wainwright, Neville Brand, James A. Watson Jr., and Robert Urich. This was based on a  novella by Theodore Sturgeon, and he also co-wrote the script, so it's slightly better than the ludicrous set-up implies. It's still very silly, but everyone plays it straight, and as far as killer motorized equipment movies go, this one is okay.

 

Killer Bees (1974)  -  4/10

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The title says it all. Kate Jackson insists that boyfriend Edward Arnold take her to his family's vineyard estate in California wine country. She learns why he was hesitant once they arrive: the family's vast fortune has been made possible thanks to the family matriarch (Gloria Swanson) and her preternatural control of bees. Also featuring Craig Stevens, Roger Davis, Don McGovern, Liam Dunn, John S. Ragin, and John Getz. This is as terrible as the rest of the killer bee movies, although Swanson is entertaining, sporting Princess Leia hair and a German accent. 

Were the bees menacing? I vaguely remember this tv movie. I'm unsure if I actually saw it

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29 minutes ago, Hibi said:

Art Linkletter owned a bowling alley???

Yep.  And Lawrence Welk owned a luxury-RV resort.

Long before Planet Hollywood, everyone in the 50's wanted to be the next Arthur Murray.

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Ransom! (1956)  -  6/10

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Glenn Ford and Donna Reed's son is kidnapped and held for ransom. Featuring Leslie Nielsen, Robert Keith, Juano Hernandez, Alexander Scourby, and Juanita Moore. Another one that's pretty widely seen that I just hadn't gotten around to until now. It was fine, but didn't stand out much. Reed gets to act more hysterical than I can recall seeing her. I wasn't crazy about the Mel Gibson remake, either.

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1 minute ago, LawrenceA said:

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Haha that's my phone! Kids see it and think it's some kind of steampunk ornament.

I do like seeing your posters in such a small format to experience the entire composition. This recently posted one is so excellent graphically: 

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And wowie-

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The lighting & technique used in that illustration leads me to believe this is a pin up artist's work. The more famous ones have recognizable "style" but I can't ID the artist from such small image. Would like a copy of that image-goes with my Tiki theme.

 

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Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956)  -  6/10

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Early teen-appeal rock 'n' roll pic with John Saxon as the guitarist in a 6-man combo that includes Sal Mineo on drums and Rod McKuen on vocals. John clashes with his parents Edward Platt and Fay Wray, as well as girlfriend Luana Patten. Also featuring John Wilder, Douglas Fowley, April Kent, George Winslow, and Shelley Fabares as "Twinky". It's all very mild and family-friendly, although there is a sub-plot about Fabares getting her first bra (gasp!). Saxon's guitar-playing mimicry is awful, but Mineo nails the drums. The songs, all performed by Saxon's band, were written by Bobby Troup and Henry Mancini, among others.

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9 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956)  -  6/10

Early teen-appeal rock 'n' roll pic with John Saxon as the guitarist in a 6-man combo that includes Sal Mineo on drums and Rod McKuen on vocals. John clashes with his parents Edward Platt and Fay Wray, as well as girlfriend Luana Patten. 

The Chief, Ann Darrow, and the little Disney girl aren't as surprising as "Rod McKuen" on the cast list--

I take it this was his younger years, when Rod actually could sing, unlike his later 60's themes?

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9 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956)  -  6/10

Early teen-appeal rock 'n' roll pic with John Saxon as the guitarist in a 6-man combo that includes Sal Mineo on drums and Rod McKuen on vocals. John clashes with his parents Edward Platt and Fay Wray, as well as girlfriend Luana Patten. 

The Chief, Ann Darrow, and the little Disney girl aren't as surprising as "Rod McKuen" on the cast list--

I take it this was his younger years, when Rod actually could sing, unlike his later 60's themes?

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20 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956)  -  6/10

Rock_Pretty_Baby_(1956).jpg

Early teen-appeal rock 'n' roll pic with John Saxon as the guitarist in a 6-man combo that includes Sal Mineo on drums and Rod McKuen on vocals. John clashes with his parents Edward Platt and Fay Wray, as well as girlfriend Luana Patten. Also featuring John Wilder, Douglas Fowley, April Kent, George Winslow, and Shelley Fabares as "Twinky". It's all very mild and family-friendly, although there is a sub-plot about Fabares getting her first bra (gasp!). Saxon's guitar-playing mimicry is awful, but Mineo nails the drums. The songs, all performed by Saxon's band, were written by Bobby Troup and Henry Mancini, among others.

Well Saxon has a nice jazz box!   (I can't see the head stock so I don't know what brand this is,  but it looks custom;  3 single coil pick-ups is somewhat odd.

John Saxon in Rock, Pretty Baby! (1956)

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