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I Just Watched...

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5 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Caretaker aka The Guest (1963)  -  5/10

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British drama based on Harold Pinter's play, with Robert Shaw as a man who invites a homeless man (Donald Pleasence) to stay in a house that he's renovating. Shaw's brother (Alan Bates) shows up to taunt and chat with the homeless man. A prime example of why I'm an artistic philistine, I thought this was an entirely pointless exercise in nothingness. The performances are good, which is why I rated as highly as I did, but I got absolutely nothing from the "story" (there really isn't one, and that's the point?), and found the whole thing a waste of time. It's considered a masterpiece of the theater, though, so it only goes to illustrate further what a feeble-minded clod I am.

Source: internet

On stage, it is quite effective.

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Blood Link (1982)  -  5/10

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Italian/German/US co-production starring Michael Moriarty in dual roles. He's a professor who subjects himself to an experimental electro-shock therapy, inadvertently awakening a psychic link between he and his long-thought-dead identical twin brother who lives in Hamburg and is a crazed sex murderer. The good Moriarty travels to Germany to stop the bad Moriarty, leading to troublesome times for all involved. Co-starring Penelope Milford (who takes her clothes off a lot) as the good Moriarty's research assistant, Martha Smith (who takes her clothes off a lot) as a German prostitute that hangs out with the bad Moriarty, Sarah Langenfeld (who takes her clothes off a lot) as German lass who helps good Moriarty, Cameron Mitchell (fully clothed) as an ex-boxer, Virginia McKenna, Reinhold Olszweski, and Geraldine Fitzgerald. This very R-rated thriller is a bit of a mess, and it's as gratuitous as can be. Moriarty fans (there must be a few) will like his acting antics, and there's a score by Ennio Morricone, but it often doesn't fit with what's going on in the movie.

Source: YouTube

If you had seen Michael Moriarty in the stage play that established him, "Find Your Way Home", you would've felt that he was destined to be a movie star.

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7 minutes ago, rayban said:

If you had seen Michael Moriarty in the stage play that established him, "Find Your Way Home", you would've felt that he was destined to be a movie star.

I actually liked Moriarty in quite a few things (Bang the Drum SlowlyWho'll Stop the RainQ: The Winged SerpentThe StuffLaw & Order) before he lost it with heavy drinking and extreme right-wing paranoia. I've read that he was in really rough shape for a while, but may have gotten himself together a bit in recent years.

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Michael Moriarty was really good in Bang the Drum Slowly and as the Gentleman Caller in a TV version of The Glass Menagerie (with Katharine Hepburn, Joanna Miles, and Sam Waterston), and he was one of the most believable lawyers ever on Law and Order. But I did not like him in Who'll Stop The Rain?, a movie best remembered, if at all, for brief frontal nudity by Nick Nolte. So I'm never sure what to expect from a Moriarty performance.

 

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Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963)  -  7/10

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Short documentary from filmmakers Robert Drew, D.A. Pennebaker, Richard Leacock, and others. The film looks at the 1963 period when Alabama governor George Wallace was attempting to block the integration of the state's university. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy are determined to see that would-be students Vivian Malone and James Hood are granted admission, but they hope to avoid any violence as tensions mount. An occasionally painful snapshot of a moment in American history that must never be forgotten.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Ceremony (1963)  -  5/10

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Lackluster crime drama directed by Laurence Harvey. He also stars as a condemned prisoner awaiting execution in a North African prison for killing a man during a bank robbery. Harvey's brother (Robert Walker Jr.) and girlfriend (Sarah Miles) plot a daring escape plan to rescue Harvey before it's too late. Also featuring Ross Martin, John Ireland, Jose Nieto, Jack MacGowran, Lee Patterson, Fernando Rey, and Murray Melvin. Too self-consciously arty to appeal to crime or action fans, but still too conventional to wow the arthouse crowd, this picture has some fleeting good moments amidst the dull and uninspired ones.

Source: internet

Talk about not living up to those lurid headlines. For those ensconced in disappointment, try the French version (same title, different story), that'll perk you up.

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Diamond Head (1963)  -  5/10

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Glossy soap opera with Charlton Heston as the macho head of a powerful ranch family in Hawaii. There's a push to make Heston the state's first US Senator, but he seems more concerned about his sister (Yvette Mimieux) dating a native (James Darren). Also featuring France Nuyen as Heston's secret lover, George Chakiris as a doctor and Darren's brother, Aline MacMahon as their mother, Elizabeth Allen, Vaughn Taylor, Harold Fong, Richard Loo, and Philip Ahn. This resembles a dozen or more older melodramas, with important white society families dealing with race issues as one or more siblings date someone who's black, Latino, Chinese, Apache, etc. etc., only this time it's Hawaiian. Of course, the fact that none of the lead characters that are meant to be native Hawaiians are actually played by native Hawaiians renders the endeavor more than a little absurd. Mimieux is asked to do a lot of heavy, emotional acting, but she still came across as an Eloi. 

Source: getTV

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The Alchemist (1983?)  -  4/10

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Fantasy horror tale with Robert Ginty as a 19th century man cursed with immortality by a creepy weirdo (Robert Glaudini). Cut to 1955, and a woman (Lucinda Dooling) who looks just like Ginty's long dead wife is driving down a country road when she picks up a hitchhiker (John Sanderford). All of these characters come together for a wild and wacky weekend of grisly murder and bad special effects. Directed by future Full Moon Pictures founder Charles Band under the pseudonym James Amante, this feels like a Full Moon movie, with ambitions far exceeding the budget and the talent involved. This was shot in 1980/81, with some sources saying that an actual release didn't come until 1983, 1984, or 1985.

Source: YouTube

 

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The Psychic (1991)  -  7/10

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Amiable, if overly routine, Canadian thriller starring Zach Galligan as a college student with psychic gifts. He dreams about a serial killer on the prowl, and tries to warn the disbelieving authorities, while also attempting to date one of his associate professors (Catherine Mary Stewart). Also with Michael Nouri, Albert Schultz, Clark Johnson, Ken James, and Andrea Roth. This was better than expected, with enjoyable characters and intriguing situations. 

Source: YouTube

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The Executioner aka El Verdugo (1963)  -  8/10

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Spanish-Italian comedy from writer-director Luis Garcia Berlanga. A lowly funeral parlor worker (Ninoa Manfredi) marries the daughter (Emma Penella) of an elderly executioner (Jose Isbert), a profession so looked down upon that no other man would marry her. To secure a nice new government-approved apartment, Manfredi must register as a potential new executioner, although the waiting list is so long that there's little chance that he'd ever be called for such unsavory duty.... The cast is terrific, the dialogue frequently hilarious (even subtitled) and the situations humorous with a dark streak of Franco-era commentary running below the surface. Recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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The Fire Within (1963)  -  8/10

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French drama from director Louis Malle. Alain (Maurice Ronet) is an alcoholic reaching the end of a lengthy stay in a sanitarium to "take the cure". He's gone for weeks without a drink, but he's also deeply depressed, and settles on suicide. He decides to travel back to Paris to see old friends and enemies before taking the final step. Also featuring Lena Skerla, Hubert Deschamps, Bernard Noel, Alain Mottet, and Jeanne Moreau. As the plot description alludes to, this is dark, depressing stuff, but it resonated for me for a few reasons. One of my closest friends in high school ended up in much the same place as the main character, formerly regarded as the "life of the party" and the source of endless wild stories by those who knew him, but as he aged, the drinking became a problem, leading to self-destruction. And as someone who has struggled with depression since my early teen years, I could relate to the character's morbidity and sense of hopelessness, warranted or not. Add to this the fact that a close relative of mine attempted suicide this past Thursday night, and is currently hospitalized as a result, and the subject matter was all too familiar. Still, the film is well acted and well directed.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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For Love or Money (1963)  -  6/10

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Romantic comedy with Kirk Douglas as an attorney working for ultra-wealthy Thelma Ritter. She's trying to settle her estate, but she won't leave her money to her three daughters if they won't marry the right kind of man, so she assigns Kirk the task of making that happen. They try to get fitness-nut youngest daughter Julie Newmar to fall for sensible IRS auditor Dick Sargent, wild-and-hedonistic middle daughter Leslie Parrish to get with responsible prison reformer William Windom, and psychologist eldest daughter Mitzi Gaynor to marry Kirk's pal Gig Young. Of course, none of it goes as planned. Also featuring William Bendix, Elizabeth MacRae, Willard Sage, Alvy Moore, Jose Gonzales-Gonzales, Don Megowan, Edy Williams, and Billy Halop. This seems like an attempt to replicate a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie without Doris or Rock. I like Kirk; he's why I watched the movie, but he doesn't mesh well with light comedy. Mitzi fares better, even if she sports an exaggerated Doris Day hairdo. Julie Newmar enlivens all of her scenes, so there's that.

Source: Universal DVD

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On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 10:49 PM, kingrat said:

I wasn't aware that All My Sons had been filmed back in the 1940s, with Edward G. Robinson starring as Joe Keller and Burt Lancaster as his son Chris. This Arthur Miller play seems very timely. As the story unfolds, we learn that Joe Keller and his partner were tried for sending defective airplane parts from their factory on to the military, and some American pilots were killed as a result. Joe was acquitted, but his partner was convicted. Of course, his son Chris wants to marry Ann (Louisa Horton), the daughter of the partner. She was engaged to Chris' brother Larry, who never came back from the war, though Kate Keller (Mady Christians) is convinced her son is still alive. (This plot point resonated with me because my great-aunt refused to accept the money from her son's GI insurance because he was only missing in action.)

Ann's brother George (Howard Duff) is angry with the Keller family because he thinks his dad (Frank Conroy) got a raw deal. Several neighbors also contribute to the story, among them Harry Morgan and Arlene Francis. The fine ensemble cast is directed by Irving Reis, and Robinson and Lancaster really deliver in the big scenes when they confront each other. Russell Metty's cinematography is noirish at times, but calling this noir is definitely a stretch. However, if that's what it takes to get the movie seen, so be it.

The film moves outside the Keller house to include scenes in the factory and a scene in the prison when Lancaster goes to talk to Frank Conroy (Conroy plays this scene exceptionally well, creating a defeated man very different from the arrogant doctor he plays in The Young Philadelphians). In the 1980s there was a production of All My Sons on American Playhouse which was much more of a filmed play. However, that cast was overall even better, with James Whitmore and Michael Learned as Joe and Kate Keller, Aidan Quinn as Chris, Joan Allen as Ann, and Zeljko Ivanec absolutely brilliant as George. Aidan Quinn was a much more vulnerable Chris than Burt Lancaster, which I liked. Michael Learned played Kate quite differently from Mady Christians. Christians is more straightforward: from the old country, not too bright, stubborn, somewhat annoying though basically good-hearted. Michael Learned's Kate is deliberately self-deceiving and manipulative. The way she shuts down George's righteous anger by talking about the grape drink she always made for him is masterful. There is a key scene late in the play between Kate and the doctor where the doctor tells Kate that the two of them are liars, unlike some of the others. Most of this dialogue was cut in the film, which is unfortunate. There's nothing wrong with Mady Christians' approach except that if you know Michael Learned's performance, it just isn't as interesting. I don't know if this American Playhouse version is available somewhere, but it is worth seeking out. Meanwhile, I hope TCM can show the 1940s film, which is from Universal.

Thanks kingrat for turning us posters onto "American Playhouse", or at least sending some of us back down memory lane.  That's one series I wish PBS wouldn't have dropped.  I vaguely remember 'All My Sons' among some of the other offerings from the program.

The ones that stick out to me were 'El Norte' about a brother and sister from El Salvador trying to escape the violence in their country and illegally entering the United States through a series of tunnels and storm sewers between Tijuana and San Diego.  Another play was called 'Northern Lights', which was about an agrarian socialist movement that took place in North Dakota prior to the U.S. entry into World War 1.  'Miss Lonely Hearts' was another good adaptation, as well as 'Andre's Mother' where Sada Thompson and Richard Thomas turn in powerful performances.  Sylvia Sidney also starred in it.  In fact, I just saw it on youtube, and the story was very touching and didn't seem dated at all, even though it aired nearly 30 years ago?

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The Girl Hunters (1963)  -  6/10

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Crime drama/mystery based on Mickey Spillane's novel. Mickey also stars as P.I. Mike Hammer, who has been an alcoholic bum for the past seven years after his beloved secretary Velda disappeared. Police Captain Pat Chambers (Scott Peters) gets Mike sober in order to interrogate a a dying man who may know what happened to Velda. Mike starts his own investigation, during which he meets wealthy society widow Shirley Eaton, who may hold the key to everything. Also featuring Guy Kingsley Poynter, James Dyrenforth, Hy Gardner, and Lloyd Nolan. A decent story and competent direction is undone by the casting of Spillane, who comes across like a constipated Merv Griffin sporting a crew cut and a weak voice. Eaton appears in a few swimsuits, but no gold body paint, unfortunately. There's a good fight scene in a barn between Hammer and a guy who looks like Oscar Homolka's little brother. This was a British production, set in New York, so you get to hear a lot of bad phony American accents.

Source: Amazon video

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Lepke (1975)

Entertaining period piece about Louis Buchalter, known as Lepke, the '30s Jewish New York gangster known as the head of Murder Inc.. Curiously, though, Murder Inc. is never mentioned by name in the film. Although Lepke is seen ordering hits (one killer, in particular, keeps popping up in various disguises to do the dirty deeds) the emphasis of the screenplay is upon the gangster's extortion and drug operations.

Tony Curtis is quite good in the title role, giving an appropriately tense performance, even if the characterization may lack real depth. Anjanette Comer plays his wife, largely oblivious to her husband's activities, certainly at the beginning of their relationship, Warren Berlinger is a loyal lieutenant to the gangster boss and Vic Taybeck, who looks nothing like Lucky Luciano, plays the Italian gangland boss, with whom the Jewish Lepke has an uneasy alliance. The most unusual casting in the film is Milton Berle, as Comer's father from whom Lepke must receive permission to marry his daughter. Berle is surprisingly quite good in his small role.

There is plenty of violence (none of it excessive), a number of famous historical characters make appearances, including Thomas E. Dewey, Walter Winchell and J. Edgar Hoover (only the actor playing Dewey resembles the character he is playing to a degree), and the film adheres to history when it comes to Lepke's end.

A decent gangland screen effort, even if few will regard this film as any kind of classic. Those into the genre will probably enjoy it.

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2.5 out of 4

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12 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

This was a British production, set in New York, so you get to hear a lot of bad phony American accents.

So also get, other than the on location footage shot in NYC a lot of noticeable phony UK locations inbetween them that just don't look right. 😎

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Greenwich Village Story (1963)  -  6/10

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Low-budget indie drama that focuses on a couple who live and work among the oddball denizens of the title locale. Brian (Robert Hogan) is trying to finish his "great novel" while his girlfriend Genie (Melinda Cordell) is a ballet dancer who ends up pregnant, causing a rift in their relationship. Also featuring Tani Guthrie, Sunja Svensen, James Cresson, Aaron Banks, and John G. Avildsen. This is probably the most realistic movie that I've seen about the "beat" crowd. Many local singers and performers are shown, and most of the film is shot on location. The acting is pretty good for this sort of thing, and the cinematography isn't bad, either. If only the story had more substance, this might have been a really noteworthy effort. It's still worth seeing for anyone with an interest in the scene or that neighborhood. Future Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen (Rocky) has an acting role as a friendly painter.

Source: YouTube. The picture is better than most uploaded films, and it's an edition of the movie from the early 80's that has color bookend footage of the area as it appeared then.

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Hands Over the City (1963)  -  8/10

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Italian political drama from director Francesco Rosi. The film deals with the political ramifications of a building collapse in Naples that may have been caused by corrupt construction practices. The man chiefly blamed is wealthy developer and councilman Nottola (Rod Steiger), but he fights back with all of his connections to clear his name and continue with his lucrative deals, facing opposition from leftist politician De Vita (Carlo Fermariello). This is a powerful, incisive examinations of politics, business, power, and corruption. The performances are all excellent from a large, mostly unknown cast. Steiger, who is dubbed in Italian by another actor, is very good. The material may be too dry for some, and not only are there no comic relief moments or romantic subplots, there are no substantial female characters at all. However, the dissection of how politics work is still timely, and universal to any major metropolis. Recommended.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1963)  -  6/10

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Italian adventure/fantasy with Greek demigod Hercules (Kirk Morris) and his pal Ulysses (Enzo Cerusico) getting shipwrecked while battling a sea monster (a sea lion in close-up). They wash ashore in the Middle East, where Hercules is mistaken for fugitive hero Samson (Richard Lloyd). The evil Saran (Aldo Giuffre), Philistine ruler of Gaza, and his cohort Delilah (Liana Orfei) devise a plan to capture them all. The blond Morris (really Italian former Venetian gondolier Adriano Bellini) and swarthy Lloyd (really Iranian bodybuilding champ Iloosh Khoshabe) make for capable beefcake heroes, while the lovely Orfei fills out her costumes well. The sets are good, and I enjoyed a lengthy slap-and-wrestle session between Herc and Sammy in some "stone" ruins. Ulysses is wasted as a character here, and didn't need to be in the title. This was dubbed and released in the US by MGM in 1965, making it one of the last peplum films to get a wide release here before the genre faded away.

Source: YouTube

Hercules (Kirk Morris) at center, with scrawny Ulysses (Enzo Cerusico) to the right of him

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Delilah (Liana Orfei) just hanging out

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Samson (Richard Lloyd) and Hercules prepare to get physical

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Greenwich Village Story (1963)  -  6/10

greenwich-village-story-1963.jpg

Low-budget indie drama that focuses on a couple who live and work among the oddball denizens of the title locale. Brian (Robert Hogan) is trying to finish his "great novel" while his girlfriend Genie (Melinda Cordell) is a ballet dancer who ends up pregnant, causing a rift in their relationship. Also featuring Tani Guthrie, Sunja Svensen, James Cresson, Aaron Banks, and John G. Avildsen. This is probably the most realistic movie that I've seen about the "beat" crowd. Many local singers and performers are shown, and most of the film is shot on location. The acting is pretty good for this sort of thing, and the cinematography isn't bad, either. If only the story had more substance, this might have been a really noteworthy effort. It's still worth seeing for anyone with an interest in the scene or that neighborhood. Future Oscar-winning director John G. Avildsen (Rocky) has an acting role as a friendly painter.

Source: YouTube. The picture is better than most uploaded films, and it's an edition of the movie from the early 80's that has color bookend footage of the area as it appeared then.

Agree they did a pretty good job depicting the beats. I also recommend The Love Statue, which had a lot of sequences shot at the Bitter End. There is also an impressive half hour Johnny Staccato that uses on location Greenwich Village impressively.

I'm surprised it wasn't dumped in the Sexploitation bin with the live model sequence.

I noticed Mel Stewart from Odds Against Tomorrow and Trick Baby was part of the cast. Also Tani Guthrie one of the Bellamy Sisters from I, the Jury (1953).

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

I'm surprised it wasn't dumped in the Sexploitation bin with the live model sequence

It predates The Pawnbroker by one year for showing bare female breasts in a serious film.

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I Fidanzati (1963)  -  7/10

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Italian drama from director Ermanno Olmi. Giovanni (Carlo Cabrini) travels to Sicily to work at a chemical plant, leaving his fiancee Liliana (Anna Canzi) back home in the north. He struggles to decide if the work is worth the loneliness and the culture shock. A sort of companion piece to Olmi's 1961 picture Il Posto, this film replaces that one's humor with a deep melancholy. The modern world is seen as dehumanizing and emotionally distant, and romantic notions are put away in the face of economic need. There's a sparsity to the film that I liked, but in the end I felt the movie paled in comparison to Il Posto

Source: TCM

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Yes, I Fidanzati just seems to end without much story development. I also thought it paled in comparison to Il Posto, which is pretty wonderful. I wasn't especially fond of the only other Olmi film I've seen, One Fine Day. Not bad, but too absorbed in neorealistic method and not amounting to enough.

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Lost City of the Jungle (episode 1)

Just caught this on my Amazon firestick. Good for a few laughs. 

Two things, though. First, I read that Lionel Atwill (who plays the villain, what a surprise) was doubled in some scenes because he was dying. You can see his double below (at left) which looks nothing like him, even disguised with a beard. In fact, he looks like Claude Rains to me:

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Second, in an early scene, you can see the real Atwill (although it's supposed to be his double ... that is, his double in the storyline ... try to keep up ...) Now the chauffeur is unbilled, but is he E.G. Marshall?

c1m2sPW.png

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25 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

Lost City of the Jungle (episode 1)

Just caught this on my Amazon firestick. Good for a few laughs. 

Two things, though. First, I read that Lionel Atwill (who plays the villain, what a surprise) was doubled in some scenes because he was dying. You can see his double below (at left) which looks nothing like him, even disguised with a beard. In fact, he looks like Claude Rains to me:

mbQTmaL.png

Second, in an early scene, you can see the real Atwill (although it's supposed to be his double ... that is, his double in the storyline ... try to keep up ...) Now the chauffeur is unbilled, but is he E.G. Marshall?

c1m2sPW.png

You're sure right. The nose is way off in the top picture. The guy in the back seat looks like Zola. I am afraid to ask what he is doing.

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