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Rage (El mal) (1966) Mexican Film Soleil Neo Noir

 

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Director Gilberto Gazcón fashions an interesting Neo Noir that feels like a Western, is part Inferno, Wages of Fear and Guilty Bystander mixed with a bit of the anxiety of both Panic In The Streets and The Killer That Stalked New York.

 

The film's vivid color palette gives it a pulp-ish paperback cover look, it's similar in that respect to the color Noir Slightly Scarlet (1956).

 

Glenn Ford is compelling as the weathered Doc Reuben even though haunted by his failure to save his wife and child and drinking himself to death he can still keep his skills sharp and show compassion and kindness towards Maria. Stella Stevens at 30 is at the height of her beauty, she is the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold looking for a way out of the life. She is sexy, sassy, and sweet. David Reynoso is great as Pancho he holds his own with Ford and displays his acting chops. The rest of the cast is very good and the landscapes around Durango are beautiful. Very entertaining, but this film needs a good restoration. Café con leche noir. 7/10

 

Full review in Film Noir/Gangster and with more screencaps here: http://noirsville.blogspot.com/2017/07/rage-el-mal-1966-mexican-film-soleil.html

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With the ongoing Hitchcock series currently running on TCM, I decided to rewatch Stage Fright (1950).  The DVD I have has a fairly nice featurette on the movie, and includes a few brief on-screen comments from Robert Osborne - always nice to see our dear old friend again.

 

The movie is OK, not one of the greatest Hitchcock films but still good enough. 

 

 

Reminded me of an old skit I saw recently on those CAROL BURNETT reruns they show on MeTV.

 

RICH LITTLE, spoofing Hitch, invites the viewers to "See my latest motion picture.  It has many elements from my previous  motion picture.  In fact, MANY of my previous motion pictures have elements of my previous motion pictures."  ;)

 

 

Sepiatone

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The Richest Girl in the World:   Nice 1934 film (but released after the Code was being enforced), with Miriam Hopkins and Joel McCrea written by Norman Krasna  who was nominated for Best Story.

 

This film reminded me how unique an actress Hopkins was.    Just so interesting and different in her approach.    She is funny and moving in this film (and also annoying but just at the right moments).

 

McCrea and Hopkins have great chemistry and their initial scenes playing pool and getting drunk are great.    Fray Wray and Reginald Denny are also cast as close friends of Hopkins.

 

The only issue I have with the film is the ending but that type of unlikely, but you know it will occur, happy ending was very typical for films from the era.    Still well worth watching. 

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good call film lover.  I got caught up in it too ;)

didn't realize this was a Premiere 'til I checked MC's data :)

(neither online or NPG indicates)

 

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This is one Amicus that I must have missed during my drive-in days. At least I think it was Amicus and definitely not Hammer but whoever did it, did a marvelous job stirring up the chills. Great acting and great visuals made it a joy to watch amidst all the other fine horrors that day like Horror Hotel and so on.

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Some Like It Violent (1968) Comparatively, an Exploitation "Roughie" Masterpiece
 
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When the "B's" went out of production low budget guerrilla Exploitation Grindhouse "C through Z's" took over. I can count probably just using the fingers of both hands how many of them are worth a look. Some Like It Violent is one of them.
 
The film stars Bob O'Connell as Johnny Scaro, Sharon Kent (who looks a bit like Kathryn Leigh Scott in a blonde wig) as Dolores, and Natara as prostitute Zelda. Scaro's blonde hooker uncredited starred in producer Barry Mahon's (Hot Skin, Cold Cash (1965)).  That's it, the rest of the cast is lost to history and they probably didn't use their real names anyway.
 
O'Connell is a blast to watch, bug-eyed, and channeling Cagney in his his crazed monologues about making on his own it in the streets. The opening sequence of Scaro with a machete chopping up the mannequins is reminiscent of Sam Fuller's intense opening sequence for The Naked Kiss. As with most all of these cheapy productions, the whole range of acting ability and lack of it is apparent and, of course, the requisite T&A is displayed.
 
These bottom of the budget barrel exploitation films bridge some of the the gaps between poverty row B production Noirs and the Hollywood output of Neo Noirs that picked up again in the 70's. Needs a good restoration, worth seeking out, more than just a "skin flick" 6-7/10.
 
Full review in Film Noir/Gangster board,

 

I dug the Naked Kiss but mostly because of the chick's bald head. I'm now trying to imagine a  Kathryn Leigh Scott lookalike bald but I keep seeing Barnabas instead.

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I dug the Naked Kiss but mostly because of the chick's bald head. I'm now trying to imagine a  Kathryn Leigh Scott lookalike bald but I keep seeing Barnabas instead.

She's not bald but wearing a blonde wig probably, below a cropped image. See what you think.

 

a6DZwQq.jpg

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With the ongoing Hitchcock series currently running on TCM, I decided to rewatch Stage Fright (1950).  The DVD I have has a fairly nice featurette on the movie, and includes a few brief on-screen comments from Robert Osborne - always nice to see our dear old friend again.

 

The movie is OK, not one of the greatest Hitchcock films but still good enough.  While watching the beginning, though, I’m struck by what to me is a lack of basic information about who the characters are.  To get things started Hitch throws us into the middle of the action as the Jane Wyman and Richard Todd characters are driving out of London to escape the authorities.  Through a flashback sequence we can derive that Todd’s character (Jonathan Cooper) is intimate with an actress played by Marlene Dietrich, and these two become the main suspects in the murder of the actress’s husband.

 

Who is this Jonathan Cooper?  I don’t think we know anything about what he does or how he came to know Marlene Dietrich’s character in the first place, and how does he know Jane Wyman’s character (Eve Gill)?  I can see that Cooper must know the theater crowd, but when he wants to avoid the authorities, somehow he decides to call Eve’s home to see if she can help him.  When Eve’s mother answers he seems clueless as to what Eve is doing and where she might be. Somehow he knows an acting student (Eve) well enough to ask her for help but not well enough to know what she is doing or where she might be.  (By the way, she’s supposed to already have a big crush on him as well.)

 

From the featurette, there are comments that the opening flashback sequence is problematic for reasons I won’t spoil here, but it is said that Hitch didn’t realize the problem until he saw the assembled film and by then it was too late to change.  Perhaps this would also explain my problem with the beginning of the film.  Of course as things get going you just accept who these characters are and move on.  I just wish there had been a bit more details of the connection between the main characters in the opening to get us into the flow.  Perhaps Hitch is being intentionally brief so he can get to the parts of the story he wants to tell, but for me this translates into a lack of empathy for the characters and then it’s just going through the motions through the end of the film.

I had never seen Stage Fright so decided to tune in last night.  It was a bit talky for a HItchcock film, but I liked it.  I was surprised at how English it was in sensibility and sense of humor.  Perhaps a lesser Hitchcock effort, but if it were on PBS as one of the Mystery series it might do very nicely.  Love the doll scene, Alistair Sim, and Marlene.  Michael WIlding's toupee very distracting, though.

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She's not bald but wearing a blonde wig probably, below a cropped image. See what you think.

 

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Dang, cigarjoe, she really does look like Kathryn Leigh Scott. And am I proud that some of you remember her!

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cmovieviewer said: I’m struck by what to me is a lack of basic information about who the characters are.

 

Way back in my schooling, we were taught Hitchcock learned from this experience and purposely introduced all the charactors & the situation in the first 20 minutes of the movie.

 

I think the idea goes, "If you don't hook the viewer in the first reel, they will lose interest."

 

Re: RICHEST GIRL IN THE WORLD-thanks for your impressions-I recorded this one, as I'm a big Hopkins fan & never saw this one before.

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Across the Hall (2009) Noir Hotel

 

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Sleeper Neo Noir that's surprisingly entertaining, well made, and very interesting to look at. Directed competently and stylishly by Alex Merkin who, to quote IMDb is "A New York native hailing from the prestigious Boston University College of Communication, Merkin is noted as being a "talent to watch" by Daily Variety".

 

The film stars Mike Vogel as Julian, Danny Pino as Terry, Brittany Murphy as June, Brad Greenquist as The Porter, Arie Verveen as Lucas, Natalie Smyka as Anna, Guillermo Díaz as The Cook, Dov Davidoff as The Bellhop.

 

The Director Merkin sticks in a few Classic Noir quotes, i.e., June registers as Kathie Moffet, Jane Greer's character from "Out Of The Past," and Terry later walks under a Theater Marquee that's playing "Nightmare Alley," there may be a few more. The four leads are excellent, the cinematography and music a treat. 7/10  Full review with screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

 

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"Above Suspicion" (1943)--Starring Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, and Basil Rathbone.  Directed by Richard Thorpe.  Based on the 1941 Helen MacInnes book.

 

Crawford and MacMurray play American newlyweds the Myles's.  On their wedding night in England, in the summer of 1939 , MacMurray is picked up by an officer of The Foreign Office and told to do some spying for them, as he and his wife will be "above suspicion".  With Europe at war, Britain on the brink of declaring war (Britain declared war on Germany Sept. 3rd, 1939), and two untrained operatives going into enemy territory, what could Possibly go wrong?

 

Not as much as one would think.  Crawford and MacMurray race through the ridiculously complicated script (for their first meeting with a "contact" Crawford has to wear a hat with a huge rose, be at a certain restaurant at 11:00 p.m., order a certain liqueur, spill it, and hum a tune while mentioning how much she loves the composer's music), solve complicated clues in two minutes or less, and in general play for comedy instead of drama.  Rathbone sneers his way through his part.

 

Film resolutely ignores reality whenever possible.  MacMurray and Crawford insult Nazi officers repeatedly in one scene, and get away with it (Nazi: "Vat is Dope??"); never mind minor details like they just shattered being "above suspicion".

 

There is one blatant steal from Hitchcock; it's the most effective scene in the film.

 

Reality rears its' unwelcome head once, when MacMurray mentions "concentration camps".

 

Lightweight film is not great, not terrible.  Worth a watch.  2.6/4.

 

Source--TCM.

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"Above Suspicion" (1943)--Starring Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, and Basil Rathbone.  Directed by Richard Thorpe.  Based on the 1941 Helen MacInnes book.

 

 

After Basil Rathbone had a great run at playing various costume villains during the mid to late '30s (from Mr. Murdstone to Guy of Gisbourne), aside from playing Sherlock Holmes at Universal, he got stuck in a series of forgettable supporting roles in some "A" productions during the war years. Above Suspicion is a good illustration of the kind of minor films in which Rathbone's skills were largely wasted.

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"The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made" (2004)--Amusing, hour long documentary on the filmmakers' choices for the list. Film is full of highlights/lowlights from the selected movies. Some choices are predictable (1959's "Plan Nine From Outer Space" is #4), some choices I think are underrated (1987's "Ishtar"), some I hadn't heard of (1980's "Great White" is an Italian ripoff of "Jaws" and "Jaws II" that Universal successfully sued and had the American release stopped).

 

Nobody will ever agree on lists like this .  Enjoy this film, and use it as a guide for films to search out or avoid.

 

Source--YouTube.

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Dark Country (2009) Honeymoon To The Twilight Zone

 

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Detour for two on their honeymoon to hell.

 

Inspired by the Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and EC Comics, i.e., it's Tales from the Crypt series, Thomas Jane and Tab Murphy (Gorillas in the Mist (1988)) fashioned the screenplay from Murphy's eerie short story.

 

Directed by Thomas Jane (Jonni Nitro (2000)), with cinematography by Geoff Boyle (Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mutant Chronicles (2008)), and the films music was by Elew, and Film Editing was by John Lafferty and Robert K. Lambert.

 

Thomas Jane's directing is competent with an excellent grasp of Noir stylistics. His acting is fine. Lauren German is very believable as Gina with a top notch performance. Ron Perlman has a nice cameo. Working with a $5,000,000 dollar budget this film fits nicely into the low budget slot once occupied by the old poverty row studio cheapy noirs. Fans of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery will also get a nice jonze from this, at least this fan did. A straight to DVD Sony Pictures Entertainment release 7/10.

 

Fuller review with more screencaps here in Film Noir/Gangster pages.

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Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) youtube

 

Michael Gough plays a mystery writer who arranges to bump off several dames to increase his popularity (and sales of his latest book about murder). One blonde (with ample cleavage) gets binoculared to death, while her red-headed roommate (with ampler cleavage) looks on in horror. Then Gough’s “ho” tells him where to get off, and she is done in by Gough’s assistant, using a hand-held guillotine – you know, the kind you can buy on QVC. By using a pair of ice tongs, Gough offs an old crone who runs an antique store. Well, the list goes on, but you get the idea.

 

Gough, as usual, is hammy over the top, but not nearly as bat-s*** crazy as he is in Konga. He is delicious to watch as he needles Scotland Yard, and vents his spleen at his assistant (Graham Curnow). June Cunningham, as Gough’s chick, has the smallest waist coupled with the largest hips I’ve seen in some time. She also treats the audience to about a 50-second dance in a bar. By the time she is done, every guy watching will figure out his sexual orientation.

 

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Unstoppable (2010).

 

Action thriller about an unmanned runaway train with explosive chemicals aboard barrelling full blast towards populated areas around Scranton, Pennsylvania. Director Tony Scott slowly sets up the situation and builds the suspense quite beautifully in the film's first half.

 

A film like this does not necessarily depend upon characterizations but, of course, the more involved the viewer feels regarding the principal characters the greater will be his emotional involvement. In this respect, Denzel Washington and Chris Pine, as an old time train man nearing retirement and a newbie assigned together the day of the runaway who become involved by happenstance, do as well as can be expected.

 

Action fans will probably be pleased by this increasingly frenetically paced, well executed escapism, a train variation on the popular Speed, which more or less did the same thing in a bus 16 years before.

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

My own enjoyment of the film was compromised by an awareness of various action script cliches.

 

1. The old timer and newcomer with little in common who will eventually bond through their shared experience.

 

2. The money concerned corporate head who barks orders and threatens to fire people eventually exposed as a total jerk by the ordinary grunts on the ground who know more about how to handle an unexpected crisis than he does.

 

3. The strained family relations of the lead characters which will be overcome and strengthened by the crisis.

 

4. The eventual happy resolution, no matter how many complications the script throws at its heroes. I always find the suspense of a thriller like this compromised by the knowledge that the final outcome will always be triumphant. There are no sad endings in action escapism like this.

 

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2.5 out of 4 (If you think about the cliches).

 

3 out of 4 (If you don't think about the cliches).

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TomJH said: Unstoppable 2010: Action thriller about an unmanned runaway train with explosive chemicals aboard barrelling full blast towards populated areas around Scranton, Pennsylvania. 

 

Movie would have been better if train had exploded and cleaned the town out.

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TomJH said: Unstoppable 2010: Action thriller about an unmanned runaway train with explosive chemicals aboard barrelling full blast towards populated areas around Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

Movie would have been better if train had exploded and cleaned the town out.

 

Not a Scranton fan, are we?

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TomJH said: Unstoppable 2010: Action thriller about an unmanned runaway train with explosive chemicals aboard barrelling full blast towards populated areas around Scranton, Pennsylvania.

 

Movie would have been better if train had exploded and cleaned the town out.

They should make a factual film about the real one.

 

The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster occurred in the town of Lac-Mégantic, in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Quebec, at approximately 01:15 EDT, on July 6, 2013, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken Formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-two people were confirmed dead, with five more missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed, and all but three of the thirty-nine remaining downtown buildings had to be demolished due to petroleum contamination of the townsite. Initial newspaper reports described a 1-kilometre (0.6 mi) blast radius.

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Horrors of the Black Museum (1959) youtube

 

June Cunningham, as Gough’s chick, has the smallest waist coupled with the largest hips I’ve seen in some time. She also treats the audience to about a 50-second dance in a bar. By the time she is done, every guy watching will figure out his sexual orientation.

 

 

 

 

Let me guess, June winds up dead. Just once I'd like to see a horror film in which a sexually provocative woman doesn't pay the ultimate price for a lewd lifestyle.

 

By the way, I saw a clip of her dance in the bar and this is a woman who clearly deserves to live (pant pant).

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"The 50 Worst Movies Ever Made" (2004)--Amusing, hour long documentary on the filmmakers' choices for the list. Film is full of highlights/lowlights from the selected movies.... some I hadn't heard of (1980's "Great White" is an Italian ripoff of "Jaws" and "Jaws II" that Universal successfully sued and had the American release stopped).

 

Rifftrax (the guys from MST 3K) do a version of GREAT WHITE (aka THE LAST SHARK) that is available on amazon prime, and also showed up in full on youtube for a while.

 

loser that i am, i think i have watched some or all of it 10 or more times; it's pretty damned funny.

 

it's pretty funny- and quite obviously shot in Italy with almost all Italian actors (save Vic Morrow and James Franciscus.) the soundtrack SCREAMS "Italo-neo realism."

 

eta:

 

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"Mackenna's Gold" (1969)--Starring Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, and Camilla Sparv.  Based on the Will Henry novel.  Directed by J. Lee Thompson.

 

Long, expansive, expensive Western with beautiful location filming is a tale of cursed gold and what happens to those who pursue it.

 

Film opens on a closeup of a vulture's eye.  In 1874, Marshall Mackenna (Peck) is ambushed in the Arizona desert by an old Apache chief.  Mackenna kills the Apache, but not before the chief shows him a map of how to get to Apache gold, and warns Mackenna that the gold is watched over by Apache gods.  Mackenna memorizes the map, then burns it.  Outlaw Colorado (Sharif), leader of a gang of thieves and rogue Apaches, forces Mackenna to lead him to the gold.  The numbers of goldseekers swell and diminish along the way.

 

Film plays like it's half Western, half parody.  There is a bit with a decrepit bridge over a canyon the gang has to cross; it goes on so long it becomes funny.  Peck's character always being right about things also turns into a running joke.  The beautiful location footage is mixed with passable to incompetent studio shots.  I took this as a joke, but the filmmakers could have also run out of money.

 

The actors mostly manage their roles well.  Sharif hits the exact right notes as the crazy Colorado.  Peck seems to have been left out of the joke, and plays his role absolutely straight, which works well for the film.  Sparv plays a walking plot device; if something goes wrong, Sparv is sure to be in the middle of events.  Her role is supposed to be amusingly tiresome, but she just got on my nerves. 

 

The other actors don't have time to develop their roles, but two stood out.  Edward G. Robinson as Adams, the first white man to have found the gold, created a character in just two scenes.  Julie Newmar, as Hesh-Ke, a crazy Apache maiden, is alternately menacing and funny.

 

Eye candy for all; Julie Newmar has an underwater nude scene, and Omar Sharif several shots that don't quite show everything.

 

Quincy Jones' score for the film was nominated for a Grammy (it lost).

 

George Lucas was on the set of this film.  Maybe that's why this movie plays like Raiders of the Lost Ark in the Old West.  Film is definitely worth a watch.  2.8/4.

 

Source--archive.org.  Search "MACKENNAS GOLD".

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Let me guess, June winds up dead. Just once I'd like to see a horror film in which a sexually provocative woman doesn't pay the ultimate price for a lewd lifestyle.

 

By the way, I saw a clip of her dance in the bar and this is a woman who clearly deserves to live (pant pant).

1. Good guess.

2. True.

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"Mackenna's Gold" (1969)--Starring Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, and Camilla Sparv.  Based on the Will Henry novel.  Directed by J. Lee Thompson.

 

MacKenna's Gold is a guilty pleasure for me. I saw it at the show when it was first released and was probably about one of twenty patrons sitting in the theatre that day. The critics bombed the film, which I couldn't understand at the time. But I liked the cinematography, and it certainly had an all star cast even if most of them were just cameo appearances. Edward G. Robinson, brief as his role was as Old Man Adams, made an impression upon me, as well, though hot blooded Julie Newmar was fun in a different kind of way. And don't forget the film's musical song, "Old Turkey Buzzard", as sung by Jose Feliciano.

 

No classic but fun.

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