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13 West Street (1962)

Directed by Philip Leacock


This film is a cut above the trash I usually watch, but it contains its fair share of stupidity.


Alan Ladd, at almost 50, plays a rocket scientist (literally) who is too dumb to fill up his gas tank. So he gets stranded on a lonely street and gets roughed up by a gang led by pretty boy Michael Callan. It’s a little disconcerting to see someone who was once a major star getting the crap kicked out of him, but that’s Hollywood. So Ladd winds up in the hospital, where we get introduced to his wife, played by Dolores Dorn. Ethnic Detective Rod Steiger (he is supposed to be of Polish descent, apparently so he could use the word “****”) investigates the case. Steiger wears a bowtie, but no one will confuse him with Pee Wee Herman. Steiger manages to get a few details out of Ladd, then the case bogs down faster than Rick Perry’s campaign.


Dorn’s brother just happens to be the principal of the local high school, so she enlists Steiger to go with her and see if any of the local kids might be involved. One of the kids spots her, and later, somebody throws an object through her window. Dorn walks outside the house to check. Idiot. A few moments later she gets a threatening phone call. When Ladd gets home a few seconds later, she makes up a story that she was vacuuming the drapes and the machine slipped; thus the hole. Yeah, I’d swallow that story in a minute. Eventually, Ladd gets the truth out of her, and so he proceeds to break numerous laws on his quest to bring the gang to justice. I lost count of the violations, but there is stalking, breaking and entering, obstruction of justice, stealing a police car, hiring an incompetent private eye, and challenging Jack Palance to draw. This would all be worth it if had he been eliminating the gang members one by one in vigilante style; sadly, that is not the case, and he comes off as pathetic at times. Meanwhile, Steiger keeps warning Ladd to cool it.


Steiger, who works even slower than Columbo, finally puts some clues together, one of which is a gang member who hangs himself. In the finale, Callan breaks into Ladd’s house (naturally Ladd's not around) and terrorizes Dorn. Well, terrorize isn’t quite the right word. Annoys might be better. Callan runs off when he hears a police siren, and Ladd (in the aforementioned stolen police car) tracks Callan down, where he proceeds to assault Callan with a cane. Steiger, who by now has switched from bowtie to necktie, arrives in the nick of time and allows Ladd to walk away (well, limp).


There are plenty of familiar faces in the cast, including Ted Knight, Stanley Adams, Henry Beckman, Margaret Hayes, and future soap stars Chris Robinson and Jeanne Cooper. I also spotted future biker-film scuzzball Adam Roarke sitting in the back seat of a car. Michael Callan, who was almost 27 by the time the film was released, almost convinced me he could be a high school student – assuming his high school went up to grade 22.


I went back and forth on whether Ladd was the right choice for his role. He was at the end of his career and did not look well. He spends most of the film on crutches or using a cane (due to the beating, although a cynic might say it was possibly due to his drinking). He just looks plain tired and his speech sounds slurred at times. Dolores Dorn was over 25 years younger than Ladd, which makes things even worse. Steiger is clearly on tranquilizers. I’ve never seen him so sedate. Apparently there was not enough scenery in the budget for him to chew this time.




Ladd tries out the new Texas Instruments desk calculator, so named because it is the size of a desk.






“I’m getting a little tired of talking about Tribbles.”






Shane, the retirement years.






“Doc, why is this woman checking me for a hernia?”






Ladd baptizes Michael Callan.






“Chuckles the Clown ... is dead.”






“When you weighed one hundred and sixty-eight pounds, you were beautiful.”




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> {quote:title=smileys wrote:}{quote}Tribbles?! Wow, that's some pretty fancy face/name recognition for Stanley Adams, Rich. I'm impressed. Either that, or you watch two or three hours of *Star Trek* a day. :^0


> Thanks as always.


I'm glad someone else understands some of my obscure references. Sometimes I do them just for me.

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> I'm glad someone else understands some of my obscure references. Sometimes I do them just for me.


And hopefully, me. :)


Another terrific write-up, Rich. Made me smile, which right now, is not the easiest thing to do.


Can't wait for the next one!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Naked Youth (1961) aka Wild Youth
Directed by John F. Schreyer

There is no naked youth in this movie. And despite the movie poster, there is no chick in a bathing suit. Thus, you can turn off your television right now.

Steve Rowland (as “Switch”) and Robert Arthur (as “Frankie”) play a couple of 30-year-old juvenile delinquents who escape from the “State Honor Farm.” They are helped by Frankie’s underage girlfriend Jan Brooks (as “Statutory”). Meanwhile, in Juarez (and does anybody know how to pronounce “Juarez”?), drug agent Robert Hutton is tracking down a heroin dealer, played by John Goddard. Hutton bumps into Carol Ohmart, who is buying a doll. Guess what she plans on stashing inside the doll.

In short order, the delinquents’ car breaks down, and they hitch a ride with Goddard and Ohmart. The delinquents are trying to get to Mexico; the other pair is trying to get to Dallas. After awhile, I lost track of where anyone was going, but I did conclude the film was going into the toilet.

Eventually, the overage kids commandeer the car and take the doll, unaware of what’s inside it. They disable the car and walk off, which makes no sense, but hey, if it made sense, I wouldn’t be writing about it. Ohmart is now dying for a fix, but the couple has more pressing issues, like finding the nearest comfort station. They find a gas station, and Goddard steals the owner’s car after knifing him. While all this is going on, Hutton is wandering aimlessly around the scenery trying to catch a break.

The juveniles hole up in an abandoned house, which, oddly, is well-furnished. After Switch attempts to deflower Donna and Frankie slugs him, they discover the doll is loaded with horse. Somehow, Goddard and Ohmart manage to find them, and the cross-country tour continues. By this time, viewers are car sick. Finally, and not a moment of these 70 excruciating minutes too soon, we see the climax at some stockyards (yes, cows, hay, all sorts of stuff). Some bullets fly, a knife is inserted, and everyone leaves the theater demanding a refund.

Ohmart, who was extremely sexy as Vincent Price’s wife in House on Haunted Hill, does a pretty good job as the heroin addict. She should have gotten better parts in her career. She was alluring, with a sultry voice, and could act. Hutton is bland as ever. How he managed to get work for several decades is beyond me. Goddard is okay as the drug dealer scumbag. Rowland, with his curly-top hairdo, looks like the poor man’s Sonny Corleone. Arthur brings nothing to the table. When he hears Brooks screaming, he hesitates as he decides whether to drop the firewood he’s holding. Ladies, this guy is a real keeper. Brooks is not attractive, has no discernible talent, and her character is poorly written. When we first see her, she acts like she is the town mattress; in short order she becomes the innocent chick.

The music score may be the most bizarre thing about this film. Composer Dick LaSalle seems to be using motifs from The Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo, and a Courageous Cat cartoon. The IMDb credits list Steve Rowland as singing the title song. But there is no title song, unless I missed it while I was shooting up.

How bad is your job when you can’t even get a hat rack?




Chris Isaak smokes a joint.


Now this is what I call a bargain.


“Frankie, speaking of rabbits, I have a surprise for you.”


A short-lived 1960s fad – “Rock, Paper, Switchblades.”


“All this violence over a pound of Lake O’ Lakes butter.”


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> There is no naked youth in this movie. And despite the movie poster, there is no chick in a bathing suit. Thus, you can turn off your television right now




I don't know if we have said this recently, but THANK-YOU for watching these movies and sparing us. In exchange, we get your great recaps which are always better than the movies themselves.


I think we get the better deal. :)


Also, is that William Windom as the sad sack detective who has no hat rack?


Maybe the producers were hoping to fool the audience with the actors they chose.


Robert Hutton vs Jim Hutton (the better known name and actor)


John Goodard vs Mark Goddard (best known for co-starring on *Lost in Space* )


Steve Rowland vs Gena Rowland (oops, my bad.)

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Hi Lynn:


You're welcome. It is getting harder to find these classics, but I keep looking. I suspect there are quite a few of them, uncut, sitting in Belgium right now.


That guy without the hat does look like Windom, with a little Lyle Talbot thrown in. His colleague looks like Whit Bissell. The two of them spend most of the film hanging around Hutton; I'm still not sure why.



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  • 4 weeks later...

The Rebel Set (1959)
Directed by Gene Fowler, Jr.

Ed Platt plays a character named Mr. T (no relation to Mr. T, and for that matter, to Mr. Coffee). Platt is a bearded intellectual who runs a beatnik hangout. He collects dough from Ned Glass, who sells hot watches. Glass pinches the new blonde waitress. Platt and Glass have a discussion on the beatnik movement:


Platt: “Are you beat?"

Glass: “Oh sure man, cool, way out and long gone dad as they say.”

Another denizen of the club is I. Stanford Jolley, who wears an eye patch and recites incomprehensible stuff like this:

The Marshal has the big say-so in this man’s town,
Tarnished star on the breast of space,
Will the lawman arrest our souls at the railway siding,
Where the big train stands?”

Today, this would earn him a Ph.D. in literature, but somewhere, Robert Frost is hurling.

Platt decides on the big score, and hires three losers to pull a heist. The losers are, in alphabetical order, John ( Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter ) Lupton, Gregg ( Zombies of Mora Tau ) Palmer, and Don ( The Giant Gila Monster ) Sullivan. This is a case of life imitating art, or art imitating life, or people imitating actors. Platt’s idea is to rob an armored car for a cool million. He needs Sullivan because he is an expert with a rifle. He needs Lupton and Palmer for I don’t know what. Each of the losers has baggage; Sullivan has a rich mother who is a pain, Palmer is an unemployed actor, and Lupton is a hack writer.


Platt, Glass, et al board the Los Angeles train for New York. Palmer’s wife, played by Kathleen Crowley, decides to come along for the ride, probably because Palmer told her he has an acting gig in New York. During a four-hour layover in Chicago, the guys rob the truck, and manage to get back in time to board the train. In short order, Sullivan decides he wants to keep most of the money; he then goes belly up. Lupton is next. Meanwhile, Platt, now clean-shaven, wanders around the train disguised as a priest. Finally, the train arrives in Newark (what happened to New York?) and Platt steps off with this remark:

“Newark. I’d know it anywhere.”

He then uses his cane to clobber a cop.

Robert Shayne enters the fray as a police lieutenant (an inspired bit of casting), who is about to arrest Palmer, when Palmer escapes and sets out after Platt in the Newark train yards. The chase scene is one of the funniest on record, as Platt manages to alternately beat down Palmer with a cane, then a chain. Let’s just say the finale is electrifying. Sorry about that, Chief.

I suppose this is a good opportunity to see Gregg Palmer before his weight ballooned. Lest we forget, he was the native in From Hell It Came, who later turned into a walking tree trunk. Later in his career, when he actually was the size of a tree trunk, he had bits in several John Wayne westerns, all with disastrous results. He got slugged by the Duke in The Undefeated, pitchforked by the Duke in Big Jake, and shot in the gut by the Duke in The Shootist. Sullivan, of course, is famous for singing “And the Lord said ‘laugh, children, laugh’” from The Giant Gila Monster, while Lupton is famous for looking like Sterling Hayden after a three-day bender.

The film is not horrible, just implausible. Perhaps my own beat poem sums it up best:

Stanford is Jolley,
The movie sucks,
But seeing Platt with a beard,
Is worth a few bucks.
Hey man.

“Gregg, I’ve kept silent about that wallpaper for years – but your shirt!!!”


Don Sullivan meets the only dame in the country who likes his singing.


Ned Glass announces he is trying out for quarterback of the Colts.


“Reverend, you look just like that fellow from “Get Smart.””


A short-lived 1950s fad – Piping Toms.


When you gotta go …


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> This is a case of life imitating art, or art imitating life, or people imitating actors.




I think it goes without saying that you now owe me not only a new keyboard but a bottle of wine.


The spit take I did over the sentence above required me finishing off the rest of the bottle while I cleaned the computer screen multiple times as I read your recap.


You are the top of the pyramid, the outside of the envelope when it comes to not only recapping these films for us but your dedication in doing so.


I love your writing style!


All hail, Rich!!!!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Girl Gang (1954)

Directed by Robert C. Dertano

Utter trash, but this film does have two things going for it: Joanne Arnold (a former Playboy Playmate) and Timothy Farrell, who is turning into my king of exploitation flicks. Go back a few pages in this thread, and you’ll see Farrell appearing in such classics as Jail Bait and The Violent Years. Here, he plays a scumbag (at which he excels) who gets kids hooked on grass, and then heroin. He has several girls in his employ; they commit thefts to support their escalating drug habits. In the opening scene, the girl gang steals a car from some poor sucker. This guy is so pathetic he falls to the ground while they are stealing his wallet. Then again, maybe it was a clever ploy on his part to look up their skirts. The babes return to Farrell’s fleabag of a hangout, where Arnold is getting ready to take her first joy pop (that’s heroin, for you squares). Farrell charges six bucks a shot. Even if I adjust for inflation, this means my dealer has been ripping me off. Farrell tells us how to prepare the horse, and then injects it into Arnold’s leg. When she is not getting hopped up, she and Farrell play so much tonsil hockey that I kept expecting NHL announcer Doc Emrick to yell SCORE!!

Arnold brings in a young dimwit couple who want to get high, so Farrell supplies the weed. We are treated to a harp glissando every time somebody gets loaded. To get initiated into the gang, the new girl has to have “relations” with 5 boys. This could get expensive; thank God for Sandra Fluke. A few minutes later, Arnold drags a guy into a back room, claiming she wants to get initiated. From behind the door, we hear the guy moaning “oh, nooooooo.” Just a wild guess, but if this guy can resist Arnold, then maybe it’s Timothy Farrell he’s really interested in.

Halfway through the film, we are treated to a 5-minute interlude in which a guy plays boogie-woogie on the piano, and the girls and guys act like they are at a sock hop. This break in the action gives lzcutter a chance to clean her keyboard.


Arnold goes to work for some geezer named Mr. Brown, then goes to work on Mr. Brown, offering up her body in exchange for fifty bucks. I give Mr. Brown credit; he may be the only guy in the history of cinema who can keep his suit on while doing you-know-what.

In the exciting climax, the gang knocks over a gas station. Arnold keeps the attendant busy, if you get my drift, while the new girl cleans out the cash register. She is shot, and the entire cast ends up at Farrell’s dump, where an old drunken quack attempts an operation. The cops break in and charge them with “removing a bullet without notifying a doctor.” A few minutes later, the cops gun down the faux doctor; apparently they got tired of chasing the 65-year-old guy around the set.

Most of the acting is hopelessly inept. The members of the girl gang are atrociously untalented, but, in fairness, that’s what marijuana will do to you. The male actors are uniformly bad, except for Farrell, who manages to make himself an interesting sleazeball. Top honors go to Arnold, for her great looks and borderline acting ability. The filmmakers at least had the good sense to throw her into as many make-out scenes as possible, often in various states of undress.

All in all, it’s probably better to skip this movie, and instead, google images of Joanne Arnold.



“You idiot. That’s not how you take your blood pressure.”



A short-lived 1950s fad – drive-by tailors.TMyByxR.jpg


If you can take your eyes off the dame for a moment, what do you think of the décor?


Initiation in progress.




“Doc, I think you’re supposed to rub that on her, not drink it.”


It might be worth sticking around for 60 minutes to see this.


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{font:Times New Roman}Platt, Glass, et al board the Los Angeles train for New York.


There Platt and Glass save their careers when hired for NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Lupton tries marketing soup under his surname and is sued for copyright infringement. {font}

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  • 3 weeks later...



Any pearls of wisdom on last night's airing of *They Came to Rob Las Vegas* ?


Great old footage of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas but other than that?????


Desert scenes shot in Spain?????


Would love to hear your take on it!

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I won't pretend to fill in for Rich, but I liked it. I thought it was very nicely shot, had a bit better plot than the average heist film, and a few scenes, such as when Elke goes into the casino, near the end, that are almost abstract.

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  • 2 weeks later...

T-Bird Gang (1959)
Directed by Richard Harbinger

This 65-minute thrill-an-hour should be shown at police academies to demonstrate how not to run an investigation.

The film opens with a gang knocking over a warehouse. They bump off the night watchman, who we quickly learn was the father of the film's main character, Frank Simmons, played by the obscure John Brinkley. (Brinkley also co-wrote the script, thus proving he can suck at two things simultaneously.) The only clue to the robbery is his father mumbling about a white thunderbird. Frank has a conversation with Captain Prell, who is played by Z-movie director Coleman "Beast of Yucca Flats" Francis. You can already tell this film is going into the dumper. Prell tells Frank they suspect it's the Hendricks gang, since they pull heists with a white T-Bird. So do they call Hendricks in for questioning? No, that would make too much sense.

Frank decides he will infiltrate the gang to avenge his father's murder, so he hits a bar where Hendricks is known to hang out. Frank immediately runs afoul of one of Hendricks’ goons, who is named "Boy." The two scuffle while Hendricks (played by Ed Nelson) puts a bet on Frank. Frank beats Boy, and for good measure, kicks Cheetah's a**. This impresses Hendricks, who immediately offers Frank a job with the gang. Their first job together is holding up a gas station. Today, the gas stations are holding us up. Anyway, Frank is captured; one of the cops is played by reliable heavy Vic Tayback, billed as Tabback. When Captain Prell hears about this, he agrees to let Frank go undercover. Yes, this is exactly how a police force should work. Don't stake out Hendricks' house, or use a surveillance team – no, that would make too much sense.

One member of the gang, Raymond (played by Tony Miller, the other co-writer), is suspicious of Frank, but Hendricks brushes him off. Meanwhile, Frank is tipping Captain Prell about heists after they occur (yes, I did say "after" – real big help). Frank uses his girlfriend to get messages to Prell, while Frank's girlfriend coincidentally uses Prell in her hair.

This film sinks into tedium pretty quickly. If you can hang around for the climax, Frank finally gets through to Prell and the cops set out to stop Hendricks. We get treated to the usual Brod Crawford-like dialogue: "Unit 27, message received. Units 13 and 17, Unit 27 calling. Unit 13 cut off, Unit 17 follow me at my speed, lay on the siren, give it everything!"

Hendricks and Raymond escape and snatch Frank, but Raymond turns on Hendricks and pool-cues him to death. Then the cops shoot Raymond to death. Meanwhile, the audience is bored-out-of-their-skulls to death.

The acting is lousy, for the most part. Brinkley is especially bad, and looks like a bizarre cross between Sylvester Stallone and Joe Pesce. Francis acts better than he directs, but that's like saying deer droppings don't smell as bad as dog doo-doo. The only saving grace is Nelson's performance as Hendricks. He wears a hat and overcoat on every heist, looking like Dick Tracy. He seems to be an intellectual, likes classical music, spills orange juice on his "ho," is bored by the idiots in his gang, and has a house full of objets d'art, which is French for "crappy stuff." I could spend days trying to figure out who those people are in the paintings all over his house. One in particular was a toss-up between Louisa May Alcott and Charles Middleton.

"You’re telling me that instead of my leg, you prefer this bust of Peter Cushing?"

Guess who has the greater IQ? The chess-player, the text-messager, or the harmonicat?

"Does this overcoat make me look fat?"

"Didn't I see something like this in Airplane?"

"No dear, I said a Yoga Party."

How to flunk a night watchman's entrance exam.

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