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I Just Watched...

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7 minutes ago, laffite said:

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.

He is smoking a cigar (with the wrong hand, which is how the hero determined this was not the real villain, but his double).

In any event, I still think the chauffeur is E. G. Marshall.

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2 minutes ago, scsu1975 said:

He is smoking a cigar (with the wrong hand, which is how the hero determined this was not the real villain, but his double).

In any event, I still think the chauffeur is E. G. Marshall.

I thought you meant that the actor was dying and they needed a double for him.

I see a trace of E.G in that chauffeur. But only a trace. He is too young. I don't think E.G. was ever that young, was he?

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Just now, laffite said:

I thought you meant that the actor was dying and they needed a double for him.

I see a trace of E.G in that chauffeur. But only a trace. He is too young. I don't think E.G. was ever that young, was he?

Atwill was dying in real life, so some of his scenes were doubled (like in the first photo). But in the storyline, Atwill's character has a double (also played by Atwill, in the second photo). I hope that clears that up. As for E.G., yes, he was ever that young. He started appearing in films around 1946 which is when this serial was released.

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Laura (1955)

Television adaption of Vera Caspary's novel, filmed for 20th Century Fox Hour.

It's impossible, of course, for those familiar with the famous 1944 Otto Preminger film to not compare this 43 minute production to that hailed noir classic and, in all matters of comparison, not surprisingly, it fails to measure up. It's the same story again, condensed, of course, because of its running time, about the investigation into the murder of a beautiful society woman and the hardened detective investigating the case who falls in love with her even though she is dead and they never met. As in the film the detective spends a lot of time peering at her portrait that hangs on her apartment wall.

Robert Stack is the (extremely deadpan here) hard boiled detective, with Dana Wynter as the title character. George Sanders, top billed, is cast as the acidic Waldo Lydecker, while bland Scott Forbes is essentially invisible on screen in the role of Shelby Carpenter, Laura's weakling boyfriend.

Wynter, while attractive, sorely lacks the ethereal beauty of Gene Tierney in the original production, making the obsession of various male characters over her less than convincing. Stack and Wynter fail to generate any of the chemistry that had romantically enhanced the scenes between Dana Andrews and Tierney. The love aspects in the film are not as apparent here.

Only Sanders does well as Waldo. His performance, while lacking the effete mannerisms of Clifton Webb in the Preminger film, is still a strong one (he's even rather touching during his character's breakdown at the end) and remains the sole reason why some today may want to see this otherwise pedestrian TV production, directed by John Brahm (The Lodger, 1944). David Raksin's memorably haunting musical score from the film is re-utilized here.

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All of the characters in this TV drama have the same names as their counter parts in the film except, ironically, for Laura, whose last name is changed, for some reason, from Hunt in the film to Howe in this presentation. The character of Ann Treadwell, played by Judith Anderson in the Preminger film, was jettisoned from this version.

There are two videos of this production currently available on You Tube, one of them a noticeably cleaner looking image, if a little on the faint side. Some versions of the TV drama were called "A Portrait of Murder" to differentiate it, I assume, from the film. That is not the case in these YT videos, however, both called "Laura."

This portrait of Dana Wynter's "Laura" will hardly haunt the memories of its viewers the way Gene Tierney's did in the original.

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2 out of 4

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In the Cool of the Day (1963)  -  5/10

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Dismal soap opera starring Peter Finch as an Englishman who falls in love with the ill wife (Jane Fonda) of a colleague (Arthur Hill). Finch himself is trapped in a loveless marriage to a wife (Angela Lansbury) left literally scarred by past tragedy. Also featuring Nigel Davenport, Alexander Knox, Constance Cummings, John Le Mesurier, Alec MacCowen, Valerie Taylor, and Madeleine Sherwood. Dull, unbelievable people in uninteresting situations, with Lansbury standing out as another unlikable character. Fonda is just as bad. 

Source: TCM 

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Eyes of Fire (1983)  -  7/10

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Strange, unique supernatural thriller set in the mid-18th century. A group of American colonists are chased out of town due to their allegiance to a crackpot preacher (Dennis Lipscomb). They travel via a river into "New France" where they set up residence in some abandoned cabins in an area of a primeval forest that the local Natives refuse to enter. It seems the place is haunted by a "devil-witch", a demonic entity that captures the souls of the unwary, placing them into trees and using them as ghostly slave labor. A skilled trapper (Guy Boyd) and a mystical Irish orphan girl (Karlene Crockett) are their only hopes of salvation. Also featuring Rebecca Stanley, Sally Klein, Rob Paulsen, Kerry Sherman, Mike Genovese, and Fran Ryan. This was an independently made feature shot in Missouri, and the limited budget shows in some of the special effects work. However, the location shooting is very good, the acting is adequate, and the story is engaging and unpredictable. Despite its flaws, I liked this one, and appreciated the effort to do something different.

Source: YouTube

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Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie (1963)  -  7/10

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Lengthy documentary originally made for Swedish television by director Victor Sjoman. Sjoman and his crew follow director Bergman as he films Winter Light. There are many interviews with the director, the cinematographer Sven Nykvist, lead actor Gunnar Bjornstrand, and others. The process is shown from writing the script to location scouting to costume fitting and set construction to rehearsal and finally filming. For film nerds, especially those with a taste for foreign films, this is an invaluable document. All others will be bored to tears.

Source: Criterion DVD

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The Insect Woman (1963)  -  7/10

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Japanese drama from director Shohei Imamura. The story follows the life of Tome (Sachiko Hidari) from birth to late middle age. She's the daughter of the village idiot in a tiny rural community. As she grows older, she struggles to support her growing family, first as mill worker during the war years, and later as a prostitute and madam. Hidari turns in a terrific performance. Imamura seems to be subverting the "quietly-suffering noble woman" genre so popular in Japanese film, while also offering a critique of socioeconomic inequalities. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Invasion of the Vampires (1963)  -  6/10

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Mexican horror film  starring Rafael del Rio as Dr. Ulises, who arrives in a country town being plagued by mysterious attacks. Ulises discovers that the source is a nest of vampires led by nobleman Count Frankenhausen (Carlos Agosti). Also featuring Erna Martha Bauman, Tito Junco, Fernando Soto, and Bertha Moss. There's a lot of good spookshow atmosphere, with beautiful vampire women in gossamer evening gowns stalking the fog-enshrouded night. I also liked the music and sound effects, very old-fashioned but fun. There are the usual limits when it comes to the special effects, including a laughable attack by a giant bat that has to be seen to be believed, but overall this was much better than I expected. 

Source: YouTube

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Johnny Cool (1963)  -  6/10

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Crime drama starring Henry Silva as a Sicilian bandit (obviously based on Salvatore Guiliano) who agrees to work with Italian-American mob boss Marc Lawrence. Silva travels to the US using the assumed name of Johnny Cool and proceeds to wipe out all of the competition, meeting up bored society gal Elizabeth Montgomery along the way. Also featuring Telly Savalas, Brad Dexter, Joey Bishop, Richard Anderson, Mort Sahl, John McGiver, Jim Backus, Wanda Hendrix, Joan Staley, and Sammy Davis Jr. as "Educated". Produced by Peter Lawford, and directed by Montgomery's then-husband William Asher, this has a lot of violence, uneven comic relief moments, and shades of scorched-earth nihilism. 

Source: YouTube

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Judex (1963)  -  7/10

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French thriller from director Georges Franju. Channing Pollick stars as the mysterious Judex, an avenger of wrongs who targets a corrupt banker (Michel Vitold). Judex tries to help the banker's innocent daughter (Edith Scob), but he's repeatedly challenged by a clever criminal (Francine Berge) who wants the banker's fortune for herself. Also featuring Jacques Jouanneau, Theo Sarapo, Rene Genin, Benjamin Boda, and Sylva Koscina. This was Franju's loving remake of Louis Feuillade's 1916 serial of the same name. He condenses it down to a 98-minute romp of standard perils and cliffhangers, all done with a sharp modern style. The film benefits by keeping the story set when the original serial was released, and there's a stand-out sequence set at a masquerade party. Fun and entertaining.

Source: Criterion DVD

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Scarab (1983)  -  4/10

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Incredible Spanish supernatural thriller (?) with Robert Ginty as an American reporter working in Europe who stumbles upon the efforts of a South American war criminal (Rip Torn), who is possessed by an Egyptian god, to achieve global domination. The reporter teams up with a mysterious nurse (Cristina Sanchez Pascual) to stop Rip and his cult of followers. This was a really strange one, with a lot of nonsensical plot developments, awkward comedy bits, and copious nudity, as the women in Rip's cult frequently appear topless. Also featuring bizarre costumes, bad special effects, and terrible music.

Source: YouTube

 

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9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Mexican horror film  starring Rafael del Rio as Dr. Ulises,

Heh, before my AM coffee, my mind reader saw it as "Dr Useless".

9 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Ulises discovers that the source is a nest of vampires led by nobleman Count Frankenhausen

Why is the villain in a horror movie always a German? Are the writers always trying to evoke "Frankenstein" or were Germans depicted as the root of all evil after WW2?

And please don't tell us this is "The End", Lawrence.

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10 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Invasion of the Vampires (1963)  -  6/10

 

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That bat (it is a bat, isn't it?) looks like Captain Kangaroo's Bunny Rabbit after a bad night on the town.

 

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11 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Invasion of the Vampires (1963)  -  6/10

16255_1_front.jpg

Mexican horror film  starring Rafael del Rio as Dr. Ulises, who arrives in a country town being plagued by mysterious attacks. Ulises discovers that the source is a nest of vampires led by nobleman Count Frankenhausen (Carlos Agosti). Also featuring Erna Martha Bauman, Tito Junco, Fernando Soto, and Bertha Moss. There's a lot of good spookshow atmosphere, with beautiful vampire women in gossamer evening gowns stalking the fog-enshrouded night. I also liked the music and sound effects, very old-fashioned but fun. There are the usual limits when it comes to the special effects, including a laughable attack by a giant bat that has to be seen to be believed, but overall this was much better than I expected. 

Source: YouTube

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I saw this movie on Saturday Afternoon Tv when I was a child in the 1980s and it burned itself into my frontal cortex. Recently rediscovered it on youtube, and yup- it's pretty memorable (the writers of DONNIE DARKO would maybe agree....?)

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Why is the villain in a horror movie always a German? Are the writers always trying to evoke "Frankenstein" or were Germans depicted as the root of all evil after WW2?

In Mexican films, it may be due to the influx of German immigrants during the 1800's. There were social divides between wealthy landowners of European ancestry and the poorer locals of native or mixed-native descent. 

Then there's the influence of Frankenstein as the ultimate mad scientist, who also happened to be a nobleman. And that whole thing with the two world wars probably influenced the perception of Germans, I'd imagine.

I had a friend that watched a lot of genre films and he always insisted that having German/Nazi villains was the laziest thing (outside of historically appropriate stories, of course). They were later supplanted in pop culture with the Commies, then the Russian mob, then Islamic terrorists, and now it's the Mexican/Central or South American drug cartels. I can see white supremacist/nationalists becoming more frequent bad-guy cliches, as well.

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The Lie (1955)

A 25 minute episode from a television series, The Star and The Story, that is intriguing and even unexpectedly sweet.

Dan Duryea plays a man living in an asylum, cut off from the world and alone, having given up on life after having spent 15 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. He receives an unexpected visit from a woman (Beverly Garland) who tells him that she was the young girl who, many years before, lied, giving false testimony at his trial that she saw him commit the murder. Wracked with guilt for years over her childhood lie and the price he paid for it, she has now hunted him down and, as a widow, offers to help him start a new life with her at her California ranch. Duryea, with nothing to lose, takes up her kind offer - but the anger within him burns deep.

I was surprised at how involving this little TV drama was. For starters you don't quite ever know where the story is headed except there are hints that Duryea appears to want some kind of vengeance.

Both Duryea and Garland deliver sensitive portrayals. Duryea, in particular, has a complex characterization, and fans of the screen tough guy should be especially pleased at the subtle layers to his portrayal. He was the kind of actor who could play it bitter and mean, and for a while you are kept in some suspense as to what his character plans to do, assisted in no little way by the mixed ambiguity of Duryea's performance.

There are at least three prints that I spotted of The Lie currently available on You Tube. Fans of Duryea won't be disappointed.

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3 out of 4

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5 hours ago, TomJH said:

That bat (it is a bat, isn't it?) looks like Captain Kangaroo's Bunny Rabbit after a bad night on the town.

 

I thought it was a deranged Mr. Bunny Rabbit too!!!

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Ladybug Ladybug (1963)  -  7/10

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Effective drama from director Frank Perry. The students and faculty of a small, rural school react to an alarm warning of an imminent nuclear attack. As the children are evacuated (on foot) back to their homes, they discuss their fears, concerns, and opinions on life in the shadow of nuclear annihilation. The faculty members include Jane Cowell, William Daniels, Nancy Marchand, Jane Hoffman, and Kathryn Hays, while Estelle Parsons, James Frawley, Richard Hamilton, Elena Karam, and Judith Lowry play parents or other relatives and adults. The kids, most of whom give good performances, include Doug Chapin, Miles Chapin, Bozo Dell, Dianne Higgins, Alan Howard, Linda Meyer, Susan Melvin, and Alice Playten. I found this a sensitively handled drama on a then-very pressing issue (this was shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis). Marchand is good as always, playing a teacher who slowly, quietly unravels. Daniels, Cowell and Parsons were all making their film debuts.

Source: TCM

 

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On 5/19/2019 at 11:00 PM, LawrenceA said:

In the Cool of the Day (1963)  -  5/10

220px-In_the_Cool_of_the_Day_FilmPoster.

Dismal soap opera starring Peter Finch as an Englishman who falls in love with the ill wife (Jane Fonda) of a colleague (Arthur Hill). Finch himself is trapped in a loveless marriage to a wife (Angela Lansbury) left literally scarred by past tragedy. Also featuring Nigel Davenport, Alexander Knox, Constance Cummings, John Le Mesurier, Alec MacCowen, Valerie Taylor, and Madeleine Sherwood. Dull, unbelievable people in uninteresting situations, with Lansbury standing out as another unlikable character. Fonda is just as bad. 

Source: TCM 

Just for the record, Jane Fonda is on the record saying this is the worst movie she was ever involved with in her mind.

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The Leather Boys (1963)  -  7/10

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British drama with Rita Tushingham as a teenage bride to mechanic and biker Colin Campbell. They soon grow frustrated with wedded life, and Colin starts spending more and more time with fellow biker Dudley Sutton, who may have romantic feelings for Colin. This is another working-class, "kitchen sink" picture, with drab, rainy B&W English scenery and frustrated characters without the ability to properly express their troubles to one another. The film was controversial at release due to the homosexuality, although it's positively tame by today's standard. Co-stars Campbell and Sutton both died last year.

Source: internet

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6 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

In Mexican films, it may be due to the influx of German immigrants during the 1800's. There were social divides between wealthy landowners of European ancestry and the poorer locals of native or mixed-native descent. 

Then there's the influence of Frankenstein as the ultimate mad scientist, who also happened to be a nobleman. And that whole thing with the two world wars probably influenced the perception of Germans, I'd imagine.

I had a friend that watched a lot of genre films and he always insisted that having German/Nazi villains was the laziest thing (outside of historically appropriate stories, of course). They were later supplanted in pop culture with the Commies, then the Russian mob, then Islamic terrorists, and now it's the Mexican/Central or South American drug cartels. I can see white supremacist/nationalists becoming more frequent bad-guy cliches, as well.

Lawrence, what you won't see in today's movies is Chinese villains. A friend of mine co-authored a script for an action movie where the villain was Chinese. He and his writing partner were told that Chinese villains are out, because China is such an important market for action movies.

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The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)  -  7/10

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Gimmicky mystery from director John Huston. George C. Scott stars as a retired detective who investigates the death of a friend, Adrian Messenger, that left behind a list of names that may have been connected to the event. Also featuring Dana Wynter, Jacques Roux, Clive Brook, Gladys Cooper, Herbert Marshall, John Merivale, Marcel Dalio, Tony Huston, and Kirk Douglas. There are also cameos by Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Robert Mitchum, and Frank Sinatra, all under heavy makeup, and most dubbed with other voices. Douglas also uses several heavy disguises throughout. I enjoyed this despite the silliness of the makeup gimmick. Douglas and Mitchum were easily detectable, while the others not so much. I liked seeing Gladys Cooper as a slightly sloshed widow, Clive Brook 30 years after Cavalcade, and Huston's eldest child Tony as Brook's doting grandson. I know from reading Huston's biography (as well as those of his daughter Anjelica) that the director's sole interest in making this were the fox hunting scenes, the last of which he even cameos in as a participant. I can do without seeing that scumbag pastime, but it didn't ruin things enough to make the movie a wash, either.

Source: Universal DVD

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10 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)  -  7/10

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I think the musical score of Jerry Goldsmith adds an odd discordant accompaniment to the proceedings of this fun thriller with a strong European flavour, as well. The ending shows that fox hunting can be bad for the health of more than just the fox.

The gimmick of the disguises of various famous actors seems like just that, especially when some of them remove those masks to reveal their faces at the end.

Somewhere I read that there were strong rumours that one of the actors didn't actually appear in the disguise during the film, only in the mask removal moment. I think it was Lancaster. Take a look at his character in the film and then the mask removal scene at the end, and the makeup is clearly different. Was it actually Burt in the film itself beforehand? Yet another unsolved mystery in the case of Adrian Messenger.

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