Sunday, February 28, 2021

Making a Living, 1914

 First viewing.

After last night’s discovery of very early Charles Chaplain I went looking for more. This is his first film and one of some 900 films he made in 1914 (I may be exaggerating). He plays a swindler, not yet in the character of The Little Tramp. This film movies around a lot, lots of running and fighting and stuff. And that sentence is why I’m not a film reviewer.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Good-For-Nothing, 1914

 First viewing

In my further hunt for silent films to watch after everyone has gone to bed and I don’t want to wear headphones, I stumbled on this. Charlie Chaplain plays a bum who gets paid to take care of a guy in a wheelchair so the guy who’s doing the job can go party. It features a lot of hilarious wheelchair fun including adding insult to injury and adding injury to injury. Has a good barroom scene. 

Friday, February 26, 2021

Kick, 1923

 First viewing

I found the Internet Archive a while back but never really explored it. Because of the stress of being away from home and the fact I was in bed after everyone else had gone to sleep and I didn’t feel like wearing headphones, I started looking for silent films. This one is a doozy.

It starts with the premise that cavemen used to beat women then marry them. Goes on to feature a married couple who fight all the time and he drinks and hits her. After alcohol is prohibited he becomes a mouse and she feels unloved. His friend tells him how to make his own beer, he gets drunk and hits her again, and she likes it. I believe this entire film existed to normalize domestic abuse and make people think it was desirable. Ugh. Also, a cat sticks his head through the title cards. Enjoy this photo synopsis.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Passing Parade episode 18, Dreams, 1940

 First viewing

Not a good reason
Part of the long-running series of short films made by MGM this episode features examples of three dreams, or more accurately, nightmares. Why these three is not known. But the first one features Peter Cushing, who I have never ever seen young before.
Hawt but is that a fly on his lip?


The second shows a classic work dream. This is exactly how work nightmares go.

The third is about the dream Lincoln famously had that he was going to be killed that supposedly pushed him to work even harder to win the Civil War.

This is one of those films I jumped on because it was short and when I am at my parents’ house sometimes it’s just not possible to cram a full-length movie into the day.  I had no idea that was Peter Cushing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Knives Out, 2019

First viewing, at mom and dad’s, they were in the same room but not paying attention. This might be the most recent film I’ve watched, it only came out fifteen Marches ago.

I liked it a lot. All the actors and dialogue were great, the pacing was good, it was all done very well. I read up on it and liked the backstory of how it was made, the improv that stayed in the film, and the references to classic mysteries. I also found out Jamie Lee Curtis was married to Christopher Guest and I had not known this.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Brunette, 1950

 First viewing

Just guessing at the date. This Prelinger Archive film is of a certain lady who was famous at the time taking some of her clothes off. I am counting this as a film only because it actually used film.

It was a little weird watching this in my parent’s house. I feel they wouldn’t approve. Also weird because that lady would be older than my elderly mother now. But two minutes was all I could spare on my viewing for the day. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Wild Water, 1957

 First viewing

In 1956-57 RKO made a bunch of sports-related short films, then went out of business. They stayed unviewed until 1994 when they were acquired by TCM, where they’re being shown occasionally. This is one, and it’s about kayaking, on “cold and unruly” water.

The kayaks being used in the film showing the sport in Austria are made from wooden frames with rubber skins on them, with “less strength than a dancing shoe”. People also do crazy shit like this:

Gonna be some weird selections as I am away from home again and much busier than usual. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Crimson Permanent Assurance, 1983

 Many viewings

Yesterday a Victorian home was moved in San Francisco and the video of the house going down the street immediately made me think of the short film that plays before Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. You may not know that the Crimson Permanent Assurance is one of the best films ever made. And I did not know that this existed until just now and I want it so much.

Watch The Crimson Permanent Assurance

Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Giant Behemoth, 1958

 First viewing

Note: behemoth means huge thing so the title of this movie is “giant huge thing”.

Setup: radiation. This guy claims “our faces masked with lead” but I’m pretty sure you can’t see through lead.

Prehistoric sea monster somehow gets radioactive, kills with burning radioactive breath. 

“What was it??” “Behemoth...” dies.

Have you seen the lenses from my spectacles? 

For some reason I just love a monster attacking London.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Gun Crazy, 1950

Many viewings of this one, including once at the Castro Theater at a Noir City film noir film festival in San Francisco. No Noir City this year because of the pandemic and it was awful.

This is my favorite love story. Just two kids crazy in love, no misunderstandings or mistrust or mixed messages. They can’t even split up after a major heist. Even though she’s a killer and he isn’t, it always comes back to their bond of love. Body count: four.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Father Takes a Wife, 1941

First viewing

Sometimes you just know based on the descriptions that a movie isn’t your taste, but you watch it anyway because it has these people in it.

Desi Arnaz and that background, what a coincidence.

But then it boils down to a story about an rich older man, Adolph Menjou, getting married to a famous actress older woman, but not too old, and the disapproval of his family. This is 40-year-old Gloria Swanson, who hadn’t made a movie in 7 years after being the biggest silent movie star ever. She wouldn’t make another film until the spectacular Sunset Boulevard. I am fascinated by her shoulder jewelry. Also, she is wearing two bows in her hair. She’s still youthful, you see.

That’s Broderick Crawford’s mom on the left.

It’s also a story about the older man’s son and his wife being drips. 

Tiny appearance by Neil Hamilton, who was a sex symbol and got more fan mail than any other male lead in Hollywood in the 30s, before winding up his career on Batman.

Then who should show up as a stowaway on the yacht the couple take on their honeymoon to Mexico, but this guy. (He’s wearing dark glasses because he was hiding in a cabinet for a week and the light hurt his eyes. What attention to detail).

Yes, that’s Desi Arnaz. He gets cleaned up later. But man, what more edgy roles could have done for Desi Arnaz. But no, he had just fallen in love with Lucille Ball and that sealed his fate.

He plays a singer who gets dubbed by an Italian vocalist which caused Desi to get mail for years asking why he was singing with an Italian accent. Just having his testosterone around makes Senior and Junior think there’s cheating going on with their wives. This nearly breaks up their marriages, but then the always reliable, never fails solution comes along. The women are both pregnant. Oh, brother. Not a spoiler, because this movie is rather spoiled by existing. Gloria was still big, but the movies were the ones that got small.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Illicit, 1931

 First viewing

I’ve tried to watch this several times over the years and this was the first time I made it through. Not that it’s a bad movie, it’s just so stale that Barbara Stanwyck barely saves it. The poster above is actually pretty accurate, only she’s not promiscuous. It’s just one guy, only they’re not married. This is her first film at the age of 24, ain’t she a peach.

Also features an equally gorgeous if more polished Joan Blondell wasted in a small friend role. 

But it was the clothes that ultimately kept me watching. The credit for costuming is someone I didn’t recognize who went on to do mediocre things so I have a feeling the true designer went uncredited.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Moonshine War, 1970

First viewing.

One of those movies that I stumbled on as it was starting on TCM. Based on a 1969 Elmore Leonard novel, it stars Alan Alda as a hillbilly hiding his moonshine from a group of men trying to find it, steal it and sell it during Prohibition. These men, songwriter Lee Hazlewood (who wrote These Boots Are Made Walking for Nancy Sinatra), Patrick McGoohan and Richard Widmark, are cold-blooded and gun-happy. Patrick McGoohan has a weird accent to go with his weird hat. 

Alan Alda also has a weird accent. Or more accurately, seeing Alan Alda with a hillbilly accent is weird. Let’s just say it does not come naturally to him.

This movie made me think of the Coen Brothers. It has a touch of offbeat comedy that just barely registers.

It also has Teri Garr in it briefly, and also Will Geer, who gets murdered.

Not sure who the audience was for this. The soundtrack was sort of hippy twangy nonsense. Has racism. Can’t say I recommend it but that’s not what this blog is for now, is it.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Space Mutiny, Rifftrax Live 2018

 First viewing of this particular version of Space Mutiny.

Being a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan from way back, I’ve seen the riffed version of this 1988 low-budget Battlestar Galactica rip-off many times. This restored footage version was done as a Rifftrax live event where they broadcast in-person riffing of films to theaters across the country. I’ve gone to many over the years but I missed this one. It’s now on Amazon Prime. This is the unedited Space Mutiny including scenes cut out from the original MST3K version.

It hit the spot on a very stressful day that resulted in being in bed with a headache until about 6pm. Lots of laughs and a kind of soothing effect that only MST3K and Rifftrax can provide. 

Burnt Offerings, 1976

Many viewings, Watch Party hosting this time. Excited to introduce people to this movie!  Read viewer words here! I want this poster SO MUCH...