Friday, January 15, 2021

Against All Flags, 1952

 First Viewing, Signal-watch party

This movie was made in 1952, five years before Flynn's death at the age of 50. He was already well on his way to killing himself with alcohol, and though it was banned on set, Maureen O'Hara said he would inject oranges with vodka and eat them in the mornings. By 4pm he would be unable to work.

Maureen O'Hara plays a pirate captain and she is HOT. And by that I mean sexually aggressive.

This movie has some sword fights in it but not so many that I got bored. I feel the same about sword fights as I do about martial arts battles. Yawn. Until Maureen picks up the sword.

A lot of the costuming and sets are oddly terrible. The colors clash. The exceptions are the pirate's fancy gold-trimmed velvet coats and Maureen's groin-high decorated leather boots. This is where Halloween costumes got their ideas, much like flapper costumes are based on 1950's movies about The Roaring 20s. 

It's a fast story with two beautiful people in gorgeous Technicolor and it took my mind off the state of America for a full hour and a half. Sure there was a spy but he got flogged. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hard, Fast and Beautiful, 1951

First Viewing

Directed by Ida Lupino, this movie is essentially about a stage mother who gets left behind after her manipulations and emotional tricks lead to her daughter's success. Only it's in tennis and not on the stage.

Starring the always magnificent Claire Trevor as her mother, and also a lot of actors who aren't who you think they are. This man is not Howard Sprague from the Andy Griffith Show. 

Notice the back-to-back twin beds. I have never seen this before. I suspect this is a wonderful directorial invention by Ida Lupino and it is marvelous for the economical way it indicates an increasing distance in a marriage.

This is not Steve Allen.

This is not Robert Alda, however it IS the guy from The Hideous Sun Demon. That is also not a 20-year-old Ida Lupino.

This is a good movie. This is also the first movie that I have watched in the morning. I was finding myself getting to the end of the day without having watched anything and didn't want this blog to be about watching the first half of a movie every day. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Viva Las Vegas, 1964

First viewing

This movie is weird. A bit of fluff with the sexiest man ever, Elvis Presley, and the sexiest woman ever, Ann-Margaret. They dance and sing and flirt, after he stalks her until she gives in. Only in the movies does this happen. 

The depictions of historic Vegas casinos and quaint showgirl acts are just adorable. 

Most of the musical numbers are pretty forgettable except for What’d I Say. The girl in the white top is Teri Garr.

 and Toni Basil is the "girl with the red dress on".

William Demarest, a well-known noir actor in the forties and tv actor later, plays Ann-Margaret’s dad. 

Soon it turns into a weird love story about a race car driver and the woman who worries he’ll get in a crash. Then there’s a talent contest. Then some more dumb songs. Then a car race. There are two helicopter scenes. They sure packed a lot in a hour and 25 minutes, the shortest movie Elvis made. 

This is the first movie that I have watched this year while doing something else, if you don't count watch parties. During a lot of the musical numbers I switched over to the news to see if any more white supremacists got arrested. Can’t wait for the first congressperson. I just hope it's not for shooting another congressperson.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Killer Leopard, 1954

Tenth in the Bomba the Jungle Boy series, I watched this boring nonsense because it had Beverly Garland in it. She plays a movie star looking for her husband who has embezzled money from her studio and gone into the jungle looking for diamonds. There’s also a killer leopard. And basic stock footage that implies zebras are found in jungles.

I didn’t really need to watch this movie to distract myself from reading the news. I now have dentist insurance for the first time ever so I made an appointment for a full check-up at the soonest place available, the new dental school, and I was glad to go to the dentist to take my mind off current events. It took three hours, so a big chunk of my day was accounted for. But I am watching a movie and blogging about it every day this year so I picked this one because it was the shortest. It felt longer than my dentist appointment.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Judy, 2019


First and last viewing

Renee Zellweger plays Judy Garland in the last year of her life during her tour in England. She sings and cries and takes a lot of pills. She has the charisma of throw pillow. Flashbacks to her early days in Hollywood padding the length of the film.

Anyway, hoping we impeach the president tomorrow. Again. This time he needs to be removed from office. Jail would be good, too. 

I’ve never been a big patriot. I got in trouble as a kid for not standing for the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance, which I knew was a goddamn lie. I’ve always known this country was founded on unfairness and brutality and labor theft and exploitation and cruelty and empty promises and other lies. I’ve also known that this is a beautiful country with many loving and beautiful and caring people who go on day to day only wanting to live in peace. And now I’m more aware than ever that there are people who don’t want that, who don’t want their neighbors to be healthy and happy. Sometimes they don’t even want them to be alive. And they’re not hiding it like they used to. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

The Scarlet Pimpernel, 1935

First viewing

Huh. Part of popular culture since the play of 1905, I couldn’t tell you what it was about before I saw this movie. Turns out it’s about an Englishman saving French aristocrats from the French Revolution of the 1790s. Back then, rich people were the enemy in countries where everyone was white. 

Merle Oberon is beautiful and completely believable as a Frenchwoman popular in English society married to Leslie Howard, who is much better here than in Gone With the Wind as he switches from well-known ass and fop Percy to the hero who risks his life to save innocent people rich through the accident of birth.

Raymond Massey is excellent as the villain out to find the Pimpernel (p.s. a scarlet pimpernel is a small flower). His ability to wear a ginormous collar is unmatched. Even Dracula never went this big. You know what they say about the size of a man's collar.

The delight however is a Nigel Bruce as the Prince of Wales, someone I will always associate with Hugh Laurie from Blackadder the Third. Check out Sherlock Holmes' Watson here. Imagining the guy behind him is Holmes. Waiting for the 1790s Sherlock reboot.

Current events have me examining revolutions, albeit accidentally. I have noticed that the enemy of American democracy is not as clear as rich against poor, educated versus uneducated, South versus North. The enemies of democracy and the system of voting we’ve had for hundreds of years are those who can’t except human beings as human beings regardless of their skin color or national origin.

Anyway, the pace of this movie is very much of the thirties costume drama variety, and kind of boring, except for the amazing guillotine scenes near the beginning. Barely passed review due to cleavage that’s almost invisible.

I forgot to mention that Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are in it.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Running Man, 1987

First Viewing, Signal Watch Party

A dystopian game show set in 2017 featuring people getting chased and killed by cartoon-like theme wrestlers is the highest rated show in 2017. Instead we had President Gameshow Host treating the presidency like his own tv show only with no prizes.

This film came out the same year as Predator and is not as good. Arnold Schwarzenegger says "I'll be back". Maria Conchita Alonzo exercises in a black lace teddy. Features two future governors, Arnie and Jesse Ventura. Predicted some deepfake face changes and misleading video editing. Maybe had two or three cute lines in it. 

Written by Stephen King without him taking responsibility for it.

Could have been better.


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Bowery to Bagdad, 1955

First viewing

This Bowery Boys movie gave me much delight after a day of sedition by government officials and storming of the White House by right wing racists.

The very old Boys (Leo Gorcey as Slip Mahoney and Huntz Hall as Sach Jones are the primary Boys) find a genie lamp and get mixed up with gangsters. The genie is played by Eric Blore and this is his last film. He was known for playing droll English butler types in the 20s and 30s in such films as Top Hat and other Fred and Ginger movies.

Also featuring long-time actress Jean Willes, who was in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

This was also the last film of Bernard Gorcey, father of Leo and David, two of the Bowery Boys. He played Louie the sweet shop owner in the 4-5 Bowery Boys films made every year from 1946-1958. He was a very busy actor in film and stage and died months after this film was made when his car collided with a bus in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Little Lord Fauntleroy, 1936

First viewing

The story of a boy born in America in the 1880s whose dead father was English nobility being sent to England to live with the lord of the manor. Parentage and inheritance issues happen. Mickey Rooney plays a shoe shine boy. Dolores Costello plays the boy’s mother, she gets treated badly by the aristocracy. Themes of kindness and generosity toward people in need by people who are well-off and in a position to help echo today’s events. It’s a quiet and charming movie. A nice way to kill time while RWNJs are burning down Washington DC.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Unknown World, 1951

First viewing

A James Lippert film featuring atomic bomb fear, scientists creating a machine to burrow into the earth in search of a place for mankind to escape destruction, and absolutely no charm, drama or believability at all.

Take one token lady scientist, mix with a rich guy financing the project to ride along, pill meals, toxic gas alarms, lots of talk of loneliness and the nature of being, well-lit caves, boring deaths, and this film makes Mole People look like an action flick.

Highly not recommended.

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Killer is Loose, 1956

First viewing, Swift Watch party

Very much a B film, short and low budget, but with a great cast. Rhonda Fleming, Joseph Cotten, Wendell Corey and a shit ton of tv actors from the fifties and sixties including The Skipper, O'Hara from Batman and Dr. Hardy from General Hospital make for an often talky police-centered drama that often doesnt make much sense but isnt particularly weird. Kind of tv show quality.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Crowded Day, aka Shop Spoiled, 1954

First Viewing

The stories of several women in post-war England working at a department store around Christmas. The store has its own hostel where the workers live, which is very strange. Bounces around from slapstick to comedic manipulation to tragedy. Bit like Stage Door only not very good.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Vertigo, 1958

First viewing all the way through

Not sure how I managed to go this long in my life without knowing any of the major plot points of this utterly famous film, I guess being clueless and self-absorbed has its benefits. The scenery of San Francisco made me fall in love with my chosen home town even more, even though much of it is long gone. It was nice to see the old green Union Square. The tree ring with the dates on it in the woods was destroyed in one of the 2020 wildfires. I kept thinking of the horrible James Nguyen film Replica.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Johnny Mnemonic, 1995

First viewing, Signal-Watch party

This movie tried very hard and failed to be something “cyberpunk”.  Set in January 2021, it completely failed to predict any tech advances and it’s portrayal of a virus was weak. But I didn’t hate it.

Against All Flags, 1952

  First Viewing, Signal-watch party This movie was made in 1952, five years before Flynn's death at the age of 50. He was already well o...