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43 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.

Poor Fay Wray. When she was young in the movies she had Gary Cooper, Joel McCrea and Ronald Colman as her film lovers. Now that she's middle aged who does she wind up?

Ed Platt!

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aeons ago, LawrenceA hissed:

Quote

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

I've always kinda liked it; despite the oddness of everything about it. Holden's officer is half Native American indian or something and he resents the attitudes he has experienced due to this. That explains his cold manner, or so we're led to believe.

He plays a wolf towards Kerr and that's entertaining; fun chemistry. The comeuppance he gets though, makes for a strange part of the plot: his character receives a head injury and he is forced to repeat an apology to Kerr over and over from his sickbed. 

p.s. one of two films Holden made where he has a scene walking along a jungle trail and is ambushed by a young soldier with a knife.

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Shake, Rattle & Rock! (1956)  -  6/10

Poster_of_the_movie_Shake,_Rattle_&_Rock

AIP entry in the burgeoning rock 'n' roll movie genre features Mike "Touch" Connors as an Alan Freed-like DJ who tries to help a group of rock-loving youngsters open a club where they can enjoy their new-fangled music. This is met with displeasure by a group of old fuddy-duddies who try to block the club's opening, leading to a court battle. Featuring Lisa Gaye, Sterling Holloway, Douglass Dumbrille, Raymond Hatton, Clarence Kolb, Frank Jenks, Pierre Watkin, and Margaret Dumont. 

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There are performances by Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Annitta Ray, and Tommy Charles. The presence of Fats and Big Joe alone make this film a must-see for rock music historians, which is good since the rest of the film is pretty bad. I had to laugh when, after Domino and Turner had performed a song each, Connors says in his next introduction, "And now for the main reason you're here...Tommy Charles!!!" Charles was a minor singer with a few regional hits in 56 and 57, before moving over to the DJ booth where he remained for the rest of his career. His main, rather dubious, place in rock history comes from when he was an Alabama DJ in 1964 and spearheaded the protests against the Beatles after the famous Lennon quote about being "bigger than Jesus" came out in the US.

 

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The She-Creature (1956)  -  4/10

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Mentalist Doctor Lombardi (Chester Morris) uses his diabolical skills to regress his beautiful assistant (Marla English) into her past life as a scaly fish-monster (?!?), in which form she attacks several people. With Lance Fuller as the hero, Cathy Downs, Tom Conway, Ron Randell, Frieda Inescourt, Frank Jenks, and El Brendel. Also featuring Spike the dog, who would go on to star in Old Yeller. Low-budget AIP nonsense featuring a memorable monster and a lot of old Hollywood stars looking worse for wear.

 

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That menacing figure lurking in the b.g. --there in magenta hues--is it sportin' mammarial glands? Now that evokes some fond recollections. I won't go into them here of course, to spare all our tender sensibilities.

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2 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

aeons ago, LawrenceA hissed:

I've always kinda liked it; despite the oddness of everything about it. Holden's officer is half Native American indian or something and he resents the attitudes he has experienced due to this. That explains his cold manner, or so we're led to believe.

He plays a wolf towards Kerr and that's entertaining; fun chemistry. The comeuppance he gets though, makes for a strange part of the plot: his character receives a head injury and he is forced to repeat an apology to Kerr over and over from his sickbed. 

p.s. one of two films Holden made where he has a scene walking along a jungle trail and is ambushed by a young soldier with a knife.

I bet you liked the mustache and swagger stick. I did.

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It was mighty dashing but the effect was ruined by the cap he donned. You know the kind I mean...

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Star in the Dust (1956)  -  6/10

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Western with John Agar as a sheriff trying to keep the peace leading up to the hanging of Richard Boone, who was condemned for murder. However, Boone had been under the employ of the local ranchers, who in turn were organized by crooked banker Leif Erickson. Boone threatens to reveal their illegal network unless they break him out of jail. With Mamie Van Doren as Agar's gal pal, Coleen Gray as Boone's gal pal, and Randy Stuart as Harry Morgan's gal pal. Also featuring James Gleason, Paul Fix, Stanley Andrews, Robert Osterloh, Kermit Maynard, and Clint Eastwood. Folk singer Terry Gilkyson also moves in and out of the action as a wandering balladeer. This looks slick, and there are a few energetic fight scenes, including one between Gray and Stuart.

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Bachelor Flat (1961)

Terry-Thomas plays a British professor in California who has all the coeds falling for him through no doing of his own.  He's engaged to Celeste Holm, and renting her beach house while she's in Paris.  Then her daughter (Tuesday Weld) runs away from boarding school and returns home.  Except that Mom never bothered to tell either her daughter, or her fiancé, about each other and the impending marriage.  Richard Beymer plays a student who lives in a trailer on the property.

Incredibly unfunny generation gap movie in which the characters tell one lie after another because they're afraid of the truth coming out.  Only, none of the lies are funny, and the movie gets increasingly shrill.  The subplot about a dinosaur bone and Beymer's dachshund isn't very funny, either.

4/10.

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On 2/24/2019 at 4:13 PM, TomJH said:

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.

Dodge-City-1939-Errol-Flynn-Olivia-de-Ha

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!

720full-dodge-city----------------------

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

3 out of 4

When we got our new big screen TV a couple of years back and TCM ran this one, I had to watch it.  What fun, and Flynn never looked more gorgeous in glorious technicolor -- the goldarnest handsomest cowboy ever.  It was actually one of my youngest kids' favorite movies to watch on an old VHS -- it's really nonstop action, except for the love scene and a couple of comical moments.   As an aside, the rival singing between the former Confederates and Yankees in the bar is really just an earlier version of the singing contest between the Germans and the resistance singing the Marsellaise in Casablanca.  Curtiz always new how to reuse a good idea.

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The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1958)  -  6/10

MV5BMTIwNTk5NjkzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTAw 49c4f9b9ea88a39ebb1f270c221b6da7--larry-

Made-for-TV adaptation of the oft-filmed Bret Harte story. After professional gambler Oakhurst (George C. Scott) and a trio of compatriots are run out of town, they run into a young, naive couple (Larry Hagman and Barbara Lord) who have run away to elope. The assemblage decides to camp out overnight in an abandoned cabin, but a snowstorm sees them trapped, and their provisions are growing ever smaller as the days progress, leading to some difficult decisions. Also featuring Janet Ward, Ruth White, John Kellogg, Ford Rainey, and Lane Bradbury.

I haven't seen any of the other versions of this tale, nor have I read the story, so I didn't know where things were headed. It ended up being a very bleak, depressing tale of doom, with some shades of redemptive grace around the edges. Scott, who was 30 at the time, looks lean and commanding, already gifted with his tremendous voice and presence. Hagman and Lord are also both good as the wide-eyed innocents. The production values are limited, with a primitive, live-TV aesthetic. 

IMDb has this listed twice, once as a standalone TV movie, and again as an episode of Kraft Theatre. I think it was most likely just an episode of the show, but I still had it listed as the first movie appearance for George C. Scott. I skipped ahead on my movie year watching because I wasn't certain if this might get pulled from Amazon Prime on the first of the month. I'm glad I watched it, but it's nothing I'll need to revisit.

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27 minutes ago, rosebette said:

When we got our new big screen TV a couple of years back and TCM ran this one, I had to watch it.  What fun, and Flynn never looked more gorgeous in glorious technicolor -- the goldarnest handsomest cowboy ever.  It was actually one of my youngest kids' favorite movies to watch on an old VHS -- it's really nonstop action, except for the love scene and a couple of comical moments.   As an aside, the rival singing between the former Confederates and Yankees in the bar is really just an earlier version of the singing contest between the Germans and the resistance singing the Marsellaise in Casablanca.  Curtiz always new how to reuse a good idea.

One of the fun aspects of Dodge City, other than watching the film itself, is to read about the world premiere the film had in the real Dodge City after Warners was contacted by the city fathers to do so. The studio had a train junket of its stars, not just those from the film itself, but other Warner contract players, as well, including Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Gilbert Roland, Priscilla and Lola Lane, Hoot Gibson, Jane Wyman, Wayne Morris and John Payne, among them.

There was a parade with a buck skinned Flynn waving to the crowds from his horse.

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Speaking of those enthusiastic Dodge City crowds, they were said by some sources to number up to 100,000 and the film was shown in three different theatres there. There was even a wedding, with Flynn acting as best man and Ann Sheridan as maid of honour. Flynn, Bruce Cabot, Alan Hale and Big Boy Williams spent a night together deep in drink and the next day police found Big Boy curled up by a headstone in Boot Hill Cemetery.

DC-Premiere.jpg

dodge%20city%20movie.jpg

 

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Just now, rosebette said:

Holy moses.  This looks bigger than the attendance at Trump's inauguration.

Don't tell Trump that.

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Storm Center (1956)  -  6/10

storm-center-bette-davis.jpg?w=490&h=382

Uneven but very interesting drama with Bette Davis as a small town librarian who comes under scrutiny after complaints are made to the town council about there being a book on communism in the public library. When Davis refuses to remove the book from the shelves, she loses her job as well as her standing in the community, becoming a virtual pariah. Also featuring Kim Hunter, Brian Keith, Paul Kelly, Joe Mantell, Edward Platt, Kathryn Grant, Burt Mustin, and Kevin Coughlin.

The subject matter was controversial, and all involved, particularly co-writer and director Daniel Taradash, went out on a serious professional limb to make this film. It brings up a lot of thorny issues regarding freedom of speech and community welfare, and the price of sticking to one's principles. However, Taradash was not a good director, and the film is clunky and obvious when it isn't being outrageous. That mainly comes from the Coughlin subplot, in which he plays a little boy who looked up to Davis and when the controversy hits, he loses his mind, having terrifying nightmares about books, alienating his friends, and eventually taking dangerous action. It's bizarrely over the top and diminishes the movie's serious subject matter more than a little. Be sure to check out the opening titles, an early effort from Saul Bass.

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21 hours ago, EricJ said:

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.

LOL! Too funny.

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Teenage Rebel (1956)  -  6/10

Teenage_Rebel_(movie_poster).jpg

Don't let the title fool you; this is a standard big-studio melodrama, and not a fun piece of teen exploitation trash. Ginger Rogers stars as a mother struggling to connect with her teen daughter (Betty Lou Keim) when she comes to live with Rogers and her second husband (Michael Rennie) and young son (Rusty Swope). Keim has been raised by Rogers' first husband, and due to their acrimonious divorce, she's never been in her mother's life. Also featuring Warren Berlinger, Diane Jergens, Mildred Natwick, Irene Hervey, John Stephenson, and Louise Beavers. This was based on a play, and Berlinger and Keim reprise their stage roles. The two would marry in 1960, and they remained together until her death in 2010. The script isn't anything groundbreaking, but it works as passable Middle America melodrama. The movie is chiefly remembered now for being the first B&W CinemaScope film. It was also inexplicably nominated for Oscars for Art Direction and Costumes. The little brother is annoying, so of course his name is Larry.

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15 hours ago, TomJH said:

Don't tell Trump that.

LMREO!

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18 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Teenage Rebel (1956)  -  6/10

Teenage_Rebel_(movie_poster).jpg

Don't let the title fool you; this is a standard big-studio melodrama, and not a fun piece of teen exploitation trash. Ginger Rogers stars as a mother struggling to connect with her teen daughter (Betty Lou Keim) when she comes to live with Rogers and her second husband (Michael Rennie) and young son (Rusty Swope). Keim has been raised by Rogers' first husband, and due to their acrimonious divorce, she's never been in her mother's life. Also featuring Warren Berlinger, Diane Jergens, Mildred Natwick, Irene Hervey, John Stephenson, and Louise Beavers. This was based on a play, and Berlinger and Keim reprise their stage roles. The two would marry in 1960, and they remained together until her death in 2010. The script isn't anything groundbreaking, but it works as passable Middle America melodrama. The movie is chiefly remembered now for being the first B&W CinemaScope film. It was also inexplicably nominated for Oscars for Art Direction and Costumes. The little brother is annoying, so of course his name is Larry.

I dont recall this at all. Was this her last film? (until she did that Harlow quickie in the mid-60s?)

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9 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I dont recall this at all. Was this her last film? (until she did that Harlow quickie in the mid-60s?)

It looks like she was in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! in 1957, and then she took her long break from films until 1964's Quick, Let's Get Married, followed by Harlow in 1965. I ain't seen any of 'em.

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Yes, I looked it up later. I remember Oh, Men! on local tv many years ago, but I never watched it. Havent heard of Let's Get Married! Ginger's career took a big nosedive in the 50s...

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Storm Center (1956)  -  6/10

storm-center-bette-davis.jpg?w=490&h=382

Uneven but very interesting drama with Bette Davis as a small town librarian who comes under scrutiny after complaints are made to the town council about there being a book on communism in the public library. When Davis refuses to remove the book from the shelves, she loses her job as well as her standing in the community, becoming a virtual pariah. Also featuring Kim Hunter, Brian Keith, Paul Kelly, Joe Mantell, Edward Platt, Kathryn Grant, Burt Mustin, and Kevin Coughlin.

The subject matter was controversial, and all involved, particularly co-writer and director Daniel Taradash, went out on a serious professional limb to make this film. It brings up a lot of thorny issues regarding freedom of speech and community welfare, and the price of sticking to one's principles. However, Taradash was not a good director, and the film is clunky and obvious when it isn't being outrageous. That mainly comes from the Coughlin subplot, in which he plays a little boy who looked up to Davis and when the controversy hits, he loses his mind, having terrifying nightmares about books, alienating his friends, and eventually taking dangerous action. It's bizarrely over the top and diminishes the movie's serious subject matter more than a little. Be sure to check out the opening titles, an early effort from Saul Bass.

 

I havent seen this film in many years, but the film's descent into melodrama at the end really sinks it. Laughable today. It's too bad, considering the subject matter. Davis is definitely glammed up in that poster art. She doesn't look like that in the movie!

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3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

It looks like she was in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! in 1957, and then she took her long break from films until 1964's Quick, Let's Get Married, followed by Harlow in 1965. I ain't seen any of 'em.

OMG! Ginger plays a bordello madam in Quick! Cant believe she'd play that type of role considering her strict religious beliefs. She and her hubby produced it. I guess that trumped her holier than thou persona. Barely had any release. No wonder I have never heard of it!

After skimming through some reviews on imdb, it didnt get a release until 71 and probably only because it was Elliot Gould's first film and he was big during that period. I dont remember it at ALL. I doubt it got much of a release.

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Three Brave Men (1956)  -  6/10

Three-brave-men-movie-poster-1956.jpg

Cold War drama inspired by a true story. Ernest Borgnine stars as a civilian contractor working for the US Navy who gets fired based on a later background review conducted after evidenced is uncovered that Borgnine had joined a communist-friendly organization during WWII. Borgnine and his family suffer many indignities from their community, so Ernest hires lawyer Ray Milland to try and help clear his name before the Naval Review Board. Also featuring Frank Lovejoy, Dean Jagger, Frank Faylen, Warren Berlinger, Virginia Christine, Diane Jergens, Edward Arnold, Nina Foch, Richard Anderson, Joseph Wiseman, James Westerfield, and Andrew Duggan in his movie debut. Another glimpse at the political and social atmosphere of the day, with solid performances but a sluggish pace.

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When Gangland Strikes (1956)  -  5/10

220px-When_Gangland_Strikes_poster.jpg

Bland crime drama with Raymond Greenleaf as a small town prosecutor who gets blackmailed into throwing a case against mobster Anthony Caruso. It's all to protect his daughter Marjie Millar. Also featuring John Hudson, Marian Carr, Mary Treen, Ralph Dumke, Morris Ankrum, Paul Birch, and Slims Pickens as "Slim Pickett". 64-year-old Greenleaf makes for an off-beat protagonist, while Carr's squeaky-voiced gang-moll keeps calling Caruso "Dukey". Indeed.

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