On Blu-ray: The Vibrant Casts of Home From the Hill (1960) and Never So Few (1959)


Sometimes, no matter what other elements are at play, the pure starpower of the actors onscreen dominate a film. The biggest draw of Never So Few (1959) and Home From the Hill (1960) is the unusual composition of their casts. Both have a fascinating, somewhat off-kilter mix of old and new Hollywood. They are also each dominated by by men, Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum respectively, who are driven by their own passions, with little regard for the rules. I recently watched both on new Blu-ray releases from Warner Archive.

Never So Few could be half as good and still intrigue, because the cast is an astonishing mix of talent. Frank Sinatra plays a World War II army captain fighting the Japanese in Burma. Among his men: Charles Bronson, Richard Johnson, Dean Jones, and Steve McQueen. Add to this crazy mix of talent love interest Gina Lollobrigida (in her first Hollywood film), Paul Henreid, Peter Lawford and, briefly, Brian Donlevy. Though less famous to US audiences, Philip Ahn is also quietly commanding as the local Kachin people’s leader and Sinatra’s strongest ally. It took me a while to get into the action, because it seemed like everywhere you looked, another great actor popped up.

The action alternates between Japanese ambushes and plush party and nightclub scenes, never going too deep into either, with the tense battle scenes having the most excitement. Lollobrigida and Sinatra have a romance, but it doesn’t sizzle, and is even a bit indifferent. While he brings a great weary spirit of rebellion to the role, it was hard for me to accept the slender, almost frail crooner as a tough army captain. Interactions between the men are more lively, with Bronson settling more firmly into his tough guy persona and Jones seeming to relish a quirkier, darker role than he would have in the Disney flicks that brought him fame. Henreid and Donlevy add old Hollywood dignity in a great contrast to all that youthful energy.

The hottest element of Never So Few is McQueen, who is clearly ready for stardom. He gets the chance to show off his action chops and foreshadow all those great motorcycle and car chases with a little racy driving in his Army Jeep. Apparently Sinatra was impressed by the young actor and asked director John Sturges to give him good angles and exposure.

Home From the Hill is a more melodramatic production, though it has plenty of battle scenes of a different nature and even some shocking moments of violence. Robert Mitchum stars as a randy small town Texan who must be crazy because he constantly cheats on lovely Eleanor Parker, who plays his wife. While dodging the bullets and barbs of angry husbands, he despairs over his hapless son (George Hamilton) and grudgingly accepts the stronger bond he has with another, illegitimate son (George Peppard).

This is one of those small town dramas where polite society exists on a tightrope and everyone is on the verge of exploding from repressed anger or passion, and sometimes both. At 150 minutes, it takes longer than it needs to to make its point, but it keeps a good pace. While the subject matter is sensational, it never drifts into camp as this kind of story can. Amidst all the sex, violence, adultery and illegitimate pregnancy, there’s a tragic story and the gravity of that tale is given its due respect.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing copies of the films for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Streaming Diary: 7 Films to Watch on FilmStruck


There’s a darn good reason why so many classic film fans are raving about FilmStruck. I’ve never had so much fun working my way through the offerings of a streaming service. Curation is the key here. Everything is carefully selected, with a balance between artistic statement and pure sensation. Meaning: there’s always something I want to watch because the selection covers so many genres, styles and moods.

That said, the number of films available can be a bit daunting. What to watch? Here are some of my favorites:

Penelope (1966)

Everybody is in love with Natalie Wood in this comedy caper. She plays a bored banker’s wife who robs his new bank in disguise to make up for the lack of attention from her career-obsessed spouse (Ian Bannen). It’s a playful take on a lady with an odd neurosis: she steals without guilt and it is her most profound joy. Her love-stricken therapist (a rare juicy screen role for Dick Shawn) is in dismay that the woman of his dreams is so happily devious. As a detective on the case, Peter Falk hesitates to do his job because he is so charmed by this clever criminal. Depravity is always best played with a smile.

What Price Hollywood? (1932)

Before there were multiple versions of A Star as Born and the films it inspired, Constance Bennett played a waitress who was lifted to stardom in much the same way Esther Blodgett and her other cinematic sisters would be. This time the mentor (Lowell Sherman) is a friend, rather than a lover, but the relationship is just as moving. The story glides along with that perfect pre-code efficiency that would fade away in the decades to come. It is never pulled under by its melodramatic elements and plays with visuals in a then innovative and artistically appealing way.

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952)

The perfectly executed dialogue in this lively adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s stage play about deception and romance is as butter smooth as leading lady Joan Greenwood’s sexy purr. Every line is a dry-witted zinger. The posh setting of the elite is like a playground for its well-tuned cast of players, which also includes Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans, and the haughtily perfect Margaret Rutherford. For all its pretty costumes and classy milieu, it is ridiculously sexy, which accounts as much for how entertaining it is as much the witty barbs.

Petulia (1968)

This drama of a battered society wife who finds solace with a kind doctor is heartbreaking, but also filled with the purest love. That’s why I have subjected myself to its trauma so many times. Julie Christie has made a career of devastating her audience, and here she is at her most endearing and tragic. It’s unsettling to see the volatile George C. Scott in the role of a gentle savior, but that complexity is what makes his performance fascinating. Richard Chamberlin and Joseph Cotten are effectively horrifying as they demonstrate the entitlement and uncontrollable fury of abusive men. This isn’t an easy watch, but it is essential.

The Wicked Lady (1945)

I enjoy Margaret Lockwood as a heroine, but that precisely pointed nose and cloud of dark hair, punctuated by a perfectly situated beauty mark, are best suited to villainy. Here she embraces her femme fatale side, stealing a husband, then some jewels, committing a little murder, and enchanting fellow thief James Mason in the process. You know she’s evil, but the people she scams are so dull and self-righteous you can’t help cheering her rebellion.

Piccadilly (1929)

Anna May Wong plays a scrappy night club dancer in this silent that showcases the eternally cool actress the way she should have been presented in Hollywood. While Wong was capable of playing vulnerable, she was at her best as she is here: bold, clever, and unapologetically ambitious. She’s also glam in a metallic Chinese costume, dancing in the light of four pre-disco disco balls.

Evergreen (1934)

The perfect antidote to a bleak mood. Jessie Matthews demonstrates just why she was the golden gal of classic British musicals. If Fred Astaire wanted to work with her, you know she had to be great. Here she plays an Edwardian era musical hall singer, in an adaption of a role she played on the stage. With a uniquely bright-eyed appeal, she’s a star, but also endearingly humble. A surreal and wonderfully bizarre futuristic number gives all that sunshine a Busby Berkeley-style edge. She’s even better in First A Girl (1935), which is well worth tracking down.

On Blu-ray: Helen Slater and Faye Dunaway in Supergirl (1984)


The 1984 production of Supergirl has always felt like a missed opportunity to me. It has its moments, but suffers from a weak script and story. However, though it was a box office and critical bomb upon its release, it will nevertheless forever be a showcase for Helen Slater’s charming first screen performance. It also benefits from a small, but intriguing turn by Peter O’Toole and the scenery-chomping theatrics of Faye Dunaway, Peter Cook, and the slightly more understated Brenda Vaccaro. I recently had a chance to revisit the movie on the newly released, feature-packed Blu-ray from Warner Archive which includes the original theatrical release and the director’s cut of the film.

Supergirl begins in Argo City, the refuge of those who survived the destruction of Superman’s home planet Krypton. There Kyra (Slater) lives with her parents Zor-El (Simon Ward) and Alura (Mia Farrow). She is fascinated by the magical work of the scientist Zaltar (Peter O’Toole) which gets her in trouble when she launches herself into space via one of his creations. This is how she ends up on Earth, living incognito as boarding school student Linda Lee.

It doesn’t take long for power-mad sorceress Selena (Dunaway) to discover her presence. With the help of her evil sidekicks Nigel (Cook) and Bianca (Vaccaro), she is relentless in her quest to exploit Kara’s power so that she may rule the world.

In her screen debut, Slater showed promise that she has never entirely had the chance to fulfill. Upon its release, some critics found her performance bland, but I enjoyed her understated, humble approach to the role. Slater's inexperience lends her an appealing freshness. 

The pure joy of the scene where Kara/Supergirl discovers she can fly feels more potent because she really is a young performer experiencing a new kind of power. She approaches that moment with a quiet wonder not commonly found in a comic book flick. There’s a serenity to her that makes you lean in, as if to take in the magic she is experiencing.

The love interest is played by Hart Bochner, a dim-witted doofus so charisma deficient that it never makes sense that Linda/Kara would fight for him. Her friendship with O’Toole is more intriguing. In their brief scenes together, they take the action to a different emotional level, where a great actor seems to be recognizing a genuine emerging talent and taking her under his wing.

Supergirl suffers the most from its rambling script and essentially aimless plot. There’s never a sense of real peril, just a bit of toe tapping until you get to the next special effects scene. Those effects, while sometimes showing their age, are generally visually exciting and sometimes surreally beautiful. Dunaway, Cook and Vaccaro also draw some campy fun out of their villain roles. In the end though, it never becomes a cohesive whole.

This was the rare occasion where I was much more inspired by the disc’s special features than the film. I was mesmerized by the vintage documentary The Making of Supergirl, which featured the most pleasantly entertaining behind-the-scenes footage I’ve ever seen. This is mostly due to Slater, who is humble, clever, and game for anything her once-in-a-lifetime role. You can see why the filmmakers cast her and how hopeful they must have been that she would headline a new, successful franchise.

In addition to a rare director’s cut of the film, features on the two-disc set includes commentary by director Jeannott Szwarc and special project consultant Scott Michael Bosco and a theatrical trailer.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Classic Film on Podcasts: 6 More Great Episodes



I'm back with 6 more great podcast episodes for classic film fans! I was delighted to find a few new-to-me shows, in addition to enjoying more fascinating material from my favorites:


Talking Um...Uh... Jimmy Stewart
Episode 9
Kim Novak, ‘Vertigo’ (1958), ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ (1958)


The Jimmy Stewart Museum in the actor's hometown of Indiana, PA has a lovely podcast, hosted by Tim Vanderburg. All of the episodes are worth a listen, as there are great guests, including former co-stars, family, and one of his biographers, and other archival treats like a series of rare interviews with Stewart. I was most touched by this interview with Kim Novak though, where she discusses her loving professional relationship with Stewart. I especially enjoyed the story about how they reunited to present at the Oscars one year and the actor picked her up like they were going to the prom, even presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.



Noir Talk
Episode 12
Film noir before it was famous with Foster Hirsch

It's hard for to imagine a world before film noir. The cinematic style is so popular and such an integral part of movie making. Everything has to start somewhere though, and here author Foster Hirsch discusses his book Film Noir: The Dark Side of the Screen (1981) one of the first to be published about noir and how it wasn't an easy sell for publishers at first. In addition to describing his own journey with noir, Hirsch shares an interesting history of the form.



The Nod
March 5, 2018
Josephine and The Amazing Technicolor Rainbow Tribe

The Nod is one of my favorite cultural podcasts. Hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings are brilliant at tackling complex subjects with compassion and good humor. While they often focus on current issues in black life, there is also a deep historical element to the podcast. I was delighted to hear their telling of the story of actress/singer Josephine Baker and the multi-cultural crew of children she adopted, because it was new to both of them, so they share a sense of wonder and disbelief in the telling. They interview one of Baker's children and explore the meaning and impact of her so-called "Rainbow Tribe" in a compelling way.


The Movies That Made Me
August 21, 2018 Allison Anders 
July 30, 2018 Illeana Douglas

This is the new official podcast for Trailers From Hell. It launched over the summer and it is already one of my favorites. Host Josh Olson and occasional co-host Joe Dante are so knowledgeable and they pick fascinating guests. I loved their wide-ranging conversation with director Allison Anders, which features a great discussion about two directors she admires: Ida Lupino and Anthony Mann. 

Make the Illeana Douglas episode your next stop: her list of top film picks is full of unusual, intriguing titles and they have a hilarious discussion about off-kilter DVD commentaries.



The Noir Factory
Case 20
Ida Lupino: Hollywood Legend

Steven Gomez's Noir Factory is a "fictional detective agency," with every episode a new "case" in the world of film noir. This episode is a great introduction to actress/director Ida Lupino. Gomez has a wonderfully personable podcasting style; as a longtime Ida fan there wasn't much that was new to me here, but it was such a pleasant listen.

For more great film podcasts, check out my previous posts:
Part One, Part Two

Top 30 Classic Movie Blogs on Feedspot

I just learned this morning that Feedspot has compiled a Top 30 list of classic movie sites. I'm honored to be included, because I am in great company. If you are looking for other places to indulge in your classic movie love, this is the perfect way to find a new favorite. There's a lot of knowledge, passion and fine writing to be found on this list.

It's encouraging to see there is appreciation out there for classic films and those who keep their legacy alive.

A Classic Movie Blog: Now on Instagram!


I invite you all to follow the new Instagram account for A Classic Movie Blog:

@aclassicmovieblog


In addition to being a great way to keep tabs on the site, this is the spot for gorgeous classic film-related photos and other bits of fun. So far I've had a blast sharing these amazing images. Come join me!

On DVD: Pier Angeli in Fred Zinnemann's Teresa (1951)


Though she never emerged as a major star, the Italian-born Pier Angeli made a mark on Hollywood with a persona that combined serene self-assurance and melancholy. Here in her Hollywood debut, she plays the titular role of Teresa (1951), a post-WWII drama about Philip (John Ericson), a baby-faced soldier who courts and marries the young Italian, who then comes to America with him after the war. While the story is for the most part about his struggles during and after his military service, the ads for the film feature Angeli, and for good reason. She is the heart and blazing star of this intimate production now available on DVD from Warner Archive.

Teresa begins in the midst of World War II, where Philip is so overwhelmed by fear that he cannot fulfill his duties as a soldier. He is mentored by the more seasoned Sergeant Dobbs, played by Ralph Meeker with more depth than his lines offer on the page. He makes you want to ditch Philip and see what untold tales linger behind those knowing eyes.

Philip meets Teresa, a tender-hearted local villager, and quickly charms her and her family. They are married after the war and following a brief separation, are reunited in America. There they find new worries as Philip’s mother (Patricia Collinge) cannot endure her baby boy marrying, and a foreigner no less. She tortures Teresa with criticism while her weary husband (Richard Bishop) and friendly daughter (Peggy Ann Garner) run interference as best they can.

The screenplay is by Rebel Without a Cause (1955) scribe Stewart Stern, and much like in that film, the characters here are approached with sympathy and acceptance for their flaws. Their weaknesses are made clear, but so is their loneliness and vulnerability.

Collinge is a monstrous mother. It’s clear that her smothering is the root of Philip’s troubles and yet Stern takes you into her broken heart. She has destroyed her family, but not out of malice. Her fears have taken over and she is as much a victim as anyone.

Teresa was John Ericson’s first film for MGM. It is one of a handful of features he would make for the studio before decamping to television for the bulk of his career. He manages to draw some gentle appeal out of an often aggravating character, though you do sometimes wonder if Teresa made the right decision.

It is Angeli who brings life to Teresa though. Still a teenager, she has the emotional grounding and fresh-faced allure that Ingrid Bergman exuded in her early films. In direct contrast to Philip, her Teresa is wise beyond her years, innocent, but aware enough that leering soldiers are to be avoided and that her overprotective brother need not worry so much about her. Unlike Philip, her mother has allowed her to mature and the war has taken care of the rest. 

It’s a performance that should have led to a bigger career. Watching Angeli glow her way through the simplest of scenes inspires longing for more of her magic. It is a bittersweet taste of what could have been.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

In Theaters--Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2017)


From the 1940s until the 1980s Scotty Bowers was the man Hollywood turned to for sexual satisfaction. Be it from himself or the men and women he arranged to service Tinsel Town’s randiest residents, for decades he made a living as a bartender, but built a life offering pleasure just for the joy of making people happy. Long a local legend, Bowers found mainstream attention when he told his story in the 2012 memoir Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars, where he dished about the erotic proclivities of his clients, from Spencer Tracy and George Cukor, to Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. Now in the documentary Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (2017), filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer looks more closely at the man who made a life fulfilling fantasies.

Bowers began adulthood as a Marine, fighting in some of the most harrowing battles of World War II. He returned from the war shattered, traumatized, and determined to create a happier world. As an attendant at a Hollywood gas station, he found his calling, when an invitation for and afternoon of nude swimming and sex with customer Walter Pidgeon inspired him to begin making his own connections between stars and willing partners. He arranged for hook-ups at the station, eventually moving on to bartending, which lessened his risk and gave him more flexibility. While the men and women he recommended made money, he never did and he never had a black book, keeping names and numbers in his head, and thus enabling him to fly under the radar for years.

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood is full of people who love Bowers. A former sex worker credits him with giving him the means to buy a home, another leaves him multiple houses in his will, and parties full of old friends delight in his smiling presence. It is certainly inspiring to see this man in his nineties still active, working, socializing, and sharing his knowledge with eager film historians.

All is not well with Bowers though. His homes are rotting away beneath piles of possessions, much to the distress of his loving, but exhausted wife. While he doesn't attend to basic needs like this clutter or the rotting hole in his deck high in the Hollywood Hills, he is nevertheless in constant motion. As he struggles to climb down from a ladder he should never have ascended, it becomes clear that this is a man who chases sanity by keeping his mind occupied, whatever the risks.

As a child, Bowers was frequently molested by a neighbor, and in book and film he insists that it was a mutually pleasurable experience. It was only the first sexual encounter he would have with a grown man while still a child, but he draws no connection between those moments and his hypersexual adulthood. Still, it seems he knows something is off. After defiantly defending his abuser and insisting what they did together was acceptable he says, “I went along everything…and I never told anyone.” In that moment, shame appears to waver beneath his determination to remain upbeat.

There is also the trauma of the war, which has had the most profound impact on his life. He finally makes himself vulnerable when he discusses these years and the way they permanently marked him. 

These experiences seem to have left Bowers with only a superficial ability to be kind. In focusing on his clients and the nightlife that came with it, he essentially abandoned his common-law wife and daughter, providing them with material comfort and little else. He is likewise unresponsive to the pain of his current wife, who sighs and says she stays with him because of the brightness of his personality, despite the baggage that comes with it. He avoids self reflection, passing over his flaws lightly, determined that he is okay, that everything is okay.

As the AIDS epidemic cast a shadow over party life in 1980s Hollywood, Bowers reluctantly shut up shop, unwilling to risk the lives of the people he only wished to make happy. His legend was secure though and the town he serviced continued to embrace and care for him. Though there are those who feel he betrayed his clients by exposing their homosexuality, fetishes, and infidelities, he has stayed firm in his belief that it was all common knowledge for years. Ahead of his time in many ways, he also never saw anything wrong with the pursuit of pleasure, wherever that path led, and that is why he remains appreciated by many.

In focusing on the trauma lingering beneath Bower’s sunny exterior, Tyrnauer reveals uncomfortable truths that were more easily buried in his memoir. The result is a complex portrait of a survivor who offered acceptance and happiness the best way he knew how.

Many thanks to SIFF for providing a copy of the film for review. It is playing at SIFF Film Center in Seattle, August 24-30 and at other select theaters nationwide.



On DVD: A Baby-Faced Robert Young in The Band Plays On (1934)


I don’t tend to be drawn to sports films, but when they star Preston Foster as a football coach, my interest increases. Now available on DVD from Warner Archive, The Band Plays On (1934) benefits from this happy casting. It also stars an early career Robert Young and a pleasing young cast. In its modest way, it is cheerfully wholesome and playful, with enough drama and hard knocks to keep it from collapsing into a pile of sugar.

Young is one of four young men who are caught stealing a car. In the interest of reform, they are sent to play football with the altruistic Pacific University coach Howdy Hardy (Foster), who turns them into high school sports stars. The quartet moves on to college athletics and gradually find themselves in new trouble, with Howdy again faced with helping them redeem themselves.

The quartet of men, the other three played by Stuart Erwin, Russell Hardy, and William Tannen, have a natural, if unremarkable chemistry. They play well with the female lead, Betty Furness, as Taylor’s childhood sweetheart and Hardies’ sister, who variously mothers, romances and roots for the men. I found Erwin especially appealing in his role: a little less goofy than his persona typically dictates and revealing a more heartfelt performance than usual.

My admiration for the prolific and talented, but underappreciated Preston Foster continued here. He plays a familiar mentor role with great sensitivity, really seeming to feel the distress of his protégées and showing strength in a restrained, but confident manner. Foster is so good at communicating the interior world of his characters. By the end of a film, you know his characters as if they have become friends with you.

This flick was made to be a pleasant time-filler and it succeeds in that goal. I was more engaged than I expected to be.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

On Blu-ray: Ron O'Neal's Finest Moment in Super Fly (1972)


I tend to think of Blaxploitation as a label for flicks made to thrill, with action, sex, and violence. They’re a showcase for charismatic stars and hip music, with a few stabs at social issues. That said, Super Fly (1972), which has a reputation for being one of the best so-called Blaxploitation films, both fits the bill and strays from the formula. This unique, thoughtful drama has plenty to get the blood pumping, but there’s a lot more happening here than a little excitement. I recently had the chance the revisit the film on a new Blu-ray release from Warner Archive.

Like his father, photographer Gordon Parks, director Gordon Parks, Jr. has a knack for cutting directly to the emotions of his subjects. This applies to the way he peers into the uneasy world of Priest (Ron O’Neal), a drug dealer who wants out of the business, and the people who populate his inner circle. Just as importantly, he captures the mood on the streets of Harlem, with observant location shooting, revealing a world where anxious, preoccupied women rush home with groceries and young men on the make strut down the sidewalk with a grace that belies their struggles.

There’s a palpable life force to the city scenes Parks films, like blood rushing through veins. He documents the cracks in the sidewalk and the garbage piled alongside them. Parking tickets flap from windshields. When he moves in on the placid details of Priest’s plush home, you feel the hope in the dealer’s attempt to create a quiet space. He’s born for a quiet, intellectual life, but in a racist society, he’s got to hustle to live to his standards.

Curtis Mayfield’s soulful and soul-searching soundtrack hews closely to Parks’ vision. His lyrics serve as a Greek chorus, commenting on the world of Priest, but also go inside, finding the vulnerability and doubt beneath the hip defiance that is his shield. In a nightclub scene, the singer perfectly embodies those extremes, appearing confident and cool, but also sensitive behind those John Lennon specs.

In addition to being his most popular film, this is the role that reflects Ron O’Neal’s place as an actor. He would eventually perform Shakespeare on Broadway, and here you feel the gravity and impeccable approach necessary in a performer of that caliber. He’s able to communicate his feelings with wounded subtlety, broadcasting a conflicted interior life. Just like Priest, O’Neal was qualified for better things than he received.

In a pivotal moment, Priest makes an angry stand against the establishment, relying on the street smarts he’s acquired in a deadly business to save himself. When he succeeds, there’s a moment where a flicker of doubt breaks through. In a system created to see him fail, he can’t fully trust that he’s managed to push back. That moment describes a lot more than the story of one ambitious dealer and it’s why Super Fly is such a remarkable achievement beyond its style and genre trappings.

I was concerned about what a Blu-ray would do to the rough-hewn feel of the cinematography, but the image stays faithful to the feel of the film, which would not look right with a glossy restoration.

The robust special features include One Last Deal: A Retrospective Documentary, which is full of brilliant expert commentary, film commentary by Dr. Todd Boyd, USC Professor of Cinema, Behind the Hog, a short documentary about the body shop that made Priest’s custom car, a history of the film’s costumes: Behind the Threads, and a revealing interview with Ron O’Neal in The Making of Super Fly.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Classic Film on Podcasts: 6 More Great Episodes


Since I last wrote about some of my favorite podcast episodes, I’ve found many more fascinating shows to follow. Here’s what’s been grabbing my attention lately. All podcast titles link to the episode discussed:


Maltin on Movies
Patricia Ward Kelly

September 8, 2018

Over the past few months, I’ve become a big fan of this podcast hosted by Leonard Maltin and his daughter Jessie Maltin. These two have a lovely, warm rapport, which brings out the best in their guests. While they tend to focus on long-format interviews with current filmmakers and performers, there’s a lot in their back catalog to please classic film fans. I was especially charmed by this episode featuring Gene Kelly’s widow, Patricia Ward Kelly. As many classic film fans know, Ms. Kelly has made it her life’s work to keep her husband’s legacy alive. Here she talks about her history with the legendary dancer and the one-woman show about her experiences with him that she has been performing in various venues. Kelly has a keen eye for detail, which gives her a knack for digging up revealing anecdotes. There’s lots of gems about his life shared here.


FilmStruck
Eva Marie Saint

May 9, 2018

You can never hear too much from actress Eva Marie Saint. Well into her nineties she remains sharp, amusing, and despite experiencing great loss, full of zest for life. On this episode she discusses some of the highlights of her career with host Alicia Malone. She shares several stories about working with Marlon Brando and Elia Kazan in On The Waterfront (1954) and reminisces about her first meeting with Alfred Hitchcock. Though Saint doesn’t delve too much into her personal life, there is a poignant moment when she discusses how she has been dealing with her grief over the death of long-time husband Jeffrey, to whom she had been married for 65 years.


Warner Archive
Only One Ruta Lee
July 6, 2018

To promote the Blu-ray release of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Ruta Lee, who played one of the titular brides, discussed life on the set of the production. She is charming, clever, and an engaging storyteller with many vivid memories of working on the film. I love the way she describes her Bride partner Matt Mattox’s “beautiful, tight buns.” Such a saucy lady!


Criminal
The “It” Girl/Dementia Americana
May 18 & June 1, 2018

This is one of my favorite podcasts. I love it so much it’s the only one I’ve seen live, but it rarely touches on my interest in classic film. Here, in a two-parter, host Phoebe Judge tells the story of Evelyn Nesbit, a Gilded Age celebrity who found success in front of the still camera and no end of drama with the men in her life. This episode only briefly discusses the few movies this pioneering supermodel made, Nesbit is more famous for her connection to a notorious sex and murder scandal than her film career, but it is interesting the way it draws in the world of cinema and its relation to fame.


American Masters
Lena Horne
July 5, 2017

In an interview from 1996, originally recorded for American Masters: Lena Horne, in Her Own Voice, the singer and actress discusses her early years in Hollywood, dealing with racism in the industry, her marriage to Lennie Hayton, and people who felt her civil rights work was counterproductive to the cause. Much of the pleasure of this episode is getting to hear Horne speak in that warm drawl for a half hour.


NPR: Fresh Air
Remembering Actor Tab Hunter
July 13, 2018

When Tab Hunter died in July, NPR’s Fresh Air paid tribute by re-airing a 2005 interview the actor recorded with Terry Gross. He talks about his memoir, being in the closet in the 1950s, his feelings about stardom, and the relationship he had with actor Anthony Perkins. As with Horne, it’s such a pleasure just to hear Hunter’s gently gravelly voice as he reflects on the past.

Do you have a favorite podcast that would be of interest to classic film fans? Do you host a movie-themed podcast? Please share in the comments!

On Blu-ray: Bacall and Peck in Designing Woman (1957)


There’s a particular kind of mood that a film like Vincente Minnelli’s Designing Woman (1957) fulfills. It doesn’t go deep, but sometimes it is the beautiful milieu you deeply desire. Everyone onscreen looks well groomed, even the people who are supposed to be slobs, the sets are gorgeous, the clothes a marvel of construction, every character has something funny to say, and no one ever seems to truly suffer. Now on Blu-ray from Warner Archive, this bit of cinematic eye candy looks even better.

Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall star as a sportswriter and fashion designer respectively, who meet cute, then ugly, then cute again and quickly marry. They barely know each other, which makes adjusting to daily life together an adventure. Her friends are arty, his are gruff. Clearly these social circles are hilariously not going to mesh well. And then there’s Peck’s ex, a sexy, and intellectually substantial showgirl played by eternal film stealer Dolores Gray.

There’s also a subplot about a gangster out to get Peck, but for the most part Designing Woman addresses the problem of how these people who are profoundly attracted to each other are going to bear living with each other. It’s a serious subject approached with hardly a forehead crease of concern.

Peck and Bacall don’t set off fireworks together romantically, but they are a pleasing comedy team. Both are more famous for dramas, but did just fine drawing laughs if they had the right script. This is perhaps the most success they both had in the genre, though Bacall's haughtily hilarious performance in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) is a contender.

Gray owns all of her scenes, firmly equating sex appeal and class. She was made for the colorful, Cinemascope fifties, with her magnetic, if not too showy glamour and penchant for elegantly dominating a room. She’s also got a seductively lovely singing voice which she gets to show off in the production numbers There'll Be Some Changes Made and Music Is Better than Words both of which she is performing for a television camera, an amusing set up in that age.

For a film that looks so good, it isn’t surprising that the idea for it came from costume designer Helen Rose, who also created the costumes for Designing Woman. I'm sure plenty of ideas like that came from staff behind the scenes who didn’t get credit. Here Rose not only got credit, but her involvement was used to promote the film. One of the special features on the Blu-ray is an awkward, but amusing "interview" with Rose, where she filmed responses to pre-written questions for the use of the media.

In addition to the Rose interview, the disc includes a trailer for the film.


Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Quote: Jean Renoir's Support for Ingrid Bergman

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I shall wait until you are falling and then I shall be holding the net to catch you.

-Jean Renoir to Ingrid Bergman when she was enjoying great career success. True to his word, he gave her the lead in Elena and Her Men (1956) when she found herself in slump. The film was a success for both.

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Book Review--Retro-Style Adventure in Stephen Jared's The Chameleon Thief of Cairo


The Chameleon Thief of Cairo
Stephen Jared
Solstice Publishing, 2018

Since his 2011 debut, Jack and the Jungle Lion, I’ve always looked forward to Stephen Jared’s next novel. His retro books are classic movies on the page, trading off between noir and adventure genres. Of the six titles he’s written, the most heartfelt are his Jack Hunter series, which started with that debut, continued with The Elephants of Shanghai (2013) and now reaches intriguing emotional depths in the third installment: The Chameleon Thief of Cairo.

Set in the forties, this series revolves around the adventures of movie star Jack Hunter, his wife Maxine “Max” Daniels and his pilot friend Clancy Halloway. The books have always been engrossing: full of action, romance and engaging characters. I remember being impressed by the flow of the first novel. It really popped.

While The Chameleon Thief of Cairo has the thrills of its predecessors, it also has a lot more emotional depth. The Raiders of the Lost Ark-style excitement of the first two novels has matured into something meatier. Time begins to catch up with Clancy and his conversations with Jack, and a new love he meets over the course of his adventures, paint a richer portrait of these characters.

This time around the period is post World War II. Jack and Clancy are lured to Cairo to rescue an old friend of the latter, but are greeted with a more complex and dangerous situation than they had anticipated. The horror of the war throws a shadow over all they do and see, and it is clear that some are still fighting and for the wrong side.

It is possible to connect with this story without having read the rest of the series, but knowing the history of the characters made it more meaningful for me. I like where Jared is going with Jack Hunter and his crew and look forward to more adventures.

Many thanks to Stephen Jared for providing a copy of the book for review.

On Blu-ray: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)


I’ve always been a bit iffy about Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), as I feel anyone should be about a film that takes an essentially light view of kidnapping innocent young women from their homes. Perhaps that is why so much time has passed since the last time I saw this musical which, subject matter aside, is one of MGM’s greatest artistic and box office successes. Though I am always going to have a sense of unease about this production, it is nevertheless one of the great dance films and it is that element that I enjoyed the most while revisiting the production on a new Blu-ray double-disc set from Warner Archive.

In a busy frontier town, sharp-witted settler woman Milly (Jane Powell) is briskly wooed by burly backwoodsman Adam Pontipee (Howard Keel). Unfortunately, he neglects to mention to his new bride that in addition to her husband, she will be cooking and cleaning for his six brothers. Milly understandably revolts, but she is also in love with Adam. She makes the best of her situation by tutoring the other brothers in proper courting behavior.

The boys get a chance to try their new skills at a barn raising, but the afternoon ends in fistfights with their romantic rivals. Shut out of the town society where their intended brides live, they resort to kidnapping the women they wish to marry. Their escape is made complete by a valley-blocking avalanche. Now Milly must keep the frightened women “pure” until they can escape home in the summer thaw.

Brides was based on the short story The Sobbin’ Women by Stephen Vincent Benét, which was a parody of The Rape of the Sabine Women from Roman mythology. It’s a much rougher story than the film adaptation, with Milly not only suggesting the abductions, but also helping the men to abduct the women at rifle point. Of course mid-century moral conventions required that the film version of Milly have nothing to do with such a plot and show proper indignation.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the plot of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, is that in the midst of the fifties, a mainstream film featured a woman who prevailed over seven men in a war of wills. As much as the men in the film do to deceive, overpower and dominate the women they meet, it is Milly who ultimately controls what happens. She takes Adam to task over his trickery, changes the slovenly habits of a house full of men, and sets the terms for a long winter in which she must care for and protect six young women. Though she is content in playing a traditional caretaking role, every major decision made in her marriage and on her homestead is heavily influenced by her wishes.

As with many musicals though, the plot doesn’t get the bulk of attention, and rightfully so. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is most famous for its athletic and physically challenging dance choreography, performed by the seemingly fearless dancers Tommy Rall, Marc Platt and Matt Mattox, with added gymnastics and tumbling feats from Russ Tamblyn. These men are the core of an astonishing barn-raising scene, featuring dozens of male and female dancers, which is understandably one of the most famous dance sequences to be put on film.

In a relatively small space, the Pontipee brothers face off with an equal number of rival suitors from the town as they try to woo the most eligible young ladies in the settlement. This sizable group of dancers leaps and twirls through the barn worksite. Recalling her time as one of the brides, Julie Newmar remembered the intensity of the atmosphere on set, where the peril to the performers was ever present. Each leap onto a sawhorse, every cartwheel or fast-paced turn, even stepping between beams on the open foundation could lead to a life-changing, or even fatal, injury. That all this raw athleticism was translated into such a visually beautiful number makes it all the more remarkable.

All told, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers works because it appears effortlessly entertaining. The songs are hummable, the stars and their supporting players pleasing, and everything moves at a brisk, breezy pace. It would be legendary for the power of its dance sequences alone, but it really sings because it works on all those different levels. I will probably always feel queasy about the kidnapping, but there’s no denying the MGM magic at play here.

The two-disc Blu-ray includes two versions of the film (which have been made available before in DVD): one made in Cinemascope, the other in standard format, so that MGM could ensure its desired level of quality whatever technical equipment a theater had. I’ve heard of big fans of the film noticing different inflections, etc. between the two versions. I haven’t seen it enough to catch those nuances, though I did notice that the standard version was in dramatically better condition.

Special features on the disc include the 1997 documentary Sobbin' Women: The Making of 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,' which was hosted by Howard Keel and features interviews with several of the key cast members. There’s also a newsreel, a vintage short and a setting that gives viewers the opportunity to browse the songs in the film.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

On Blu-ray: Rory Calhoun Rocks a Toga in The Colossus of Rhodes (1961)


Before Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone made his name with spaghetti westerns, he began his career taking a stab at the sword and sandal genre with The Colossus of Rhodes. It is astonishing that the director’s first credited directing job is an epic-sized production like this one. While he did have some uncredited work covering directing duties on a couple of productions before winning this plum assignment it is an impressive work of genre filmmaking for a director still learning the ropes. The film has now been released on Blu-ray by Warner Archive.

The Colossus of Rhodes is the kind of movie with large crowd scenes, grand set pieces, orgies, betrayal, and slaves who are forced to taste suspicious goblets of wine before they stagger two steps and collapse in the middle of the dancing girls. I suspect I dug it partly because I was in the prime mood for it: drinking a beer, eating take-out and slightly logy from a warm summer day.

The film’s basis is the true story of a massive statue of the Greek sun god Helios (Apollo in the film) that was erected in the harbor of the Island of Rhodes. It follows Darios (Rory Calhoun) a military hero visiting his uncle in Rhodes. There he becomes involved in various plots to bring down Serse, the evil king.

Though packed full of all the earthquakes, battles and coliseum scenes the genre has to offer, Colossus can move a little slow, and ultimately, it goes on for too long. It looks good, but the action never really cooks. Still, it has well-crafted grandeur, beautiful people, hedonism, and the unmatchable Rory Calhoun in a shorty toga, with his twinkly eyes and fluffy forelock.

The deadly Colossus itself is a great prop, clever and horrific. It straddles the entrance to the harbor, and men inside open a trap door and pour flaming oil upon any vessel that passes between its spread legs. True to the cinematic spirit, the statue is shown to be about three times the height of the actual structure, which now only survives in historical renderings.

The Warner Archive disc includes a commentary by film historian Christopher Frayling. Image and sound are good, with the varied soundtrack by Francesco Angelo Lavagnino coming off especially well.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Book Review--Leonard Maltin's Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom


Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom
Leonard Maltin
Good Knight Books, 2018

Before the movie guidebooks, television review gig, and thriving podcast, film critic Leonard Maltin was a teenage cinema fanatic living in New York City. There he had access to archives, rare film screenings, and some of the best performers and creators in the business. He made the most of these connections, writing thoughtful reviews of what he saw, putting in diligent research, and coming to interviews with a wealth of knowledge about and respect for his subjects. Now a great treasure trove of this early work is compiled for the first time in Maltin’s latest: Hooked on Hollywood.

The book is organized into four parts: a collection of essays about film and television, Maltin’s early interviews, a collection of more in-depth later interviews, and a final section which is a fascinating history of RKO studio. Much of the material collected here has been in storage for over forty years, and is as remarkable for the pre-VHS time it captures as much for Maltin’s already well-developed critical and interviewing skills.

Maltin draws honest, candid comments from stars like Burgess Meredith, Joan Blondell and Henry Wilcoxon, who perhaps let their guard down a bit in the presence of this curious and unusually knowledgeable young man. He draws an even more interesting perspective from those in the industry who were not superstars, and thus had the advantage of a perspective out of the spotlight. The conversations with prolific radio, stage, television and film performer Peggy Webber and television and film director Leslie H. Martinson are two of the best, revealing the experiences of a pair of industry legends who are not household names, but have contributed a lot and have a knack for telling a good story.

I enjoyed the earnest tone and thorough research of Maltin’s early writings, but it was the interviews that moved me the most. In his respectful, even reverential treatment of these people who for the most part had been forgotten by the public, or at the very least undervalued, he reminded me a lot of the gentlemanly way Robert Osborne would celebrate industry greats. As much as I have seen Maltin as a promoter and lover of all aspects of film history, I hadn’t seen this side of him before. It wasn’t surprising, but it was a pleasant revelation.

This was an enjoyable, educational read and one I plan to revisit.


Many thanks to Good Knight Books/Paladin Communications for providing a copy of the book for review.

Quote: Joe Dante on Movies

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For any movie, it means what you make it mean….Movies are Rorshach tests. There is what you mean when you make them and then there’s also what people get out of them. And sometimes those two things are not always the same.

-Joe Dante

On DVD: Bebe Daniels Charms in My Past (1931)


With a title like My Past and that cover art with Bebe Daniels giving a “seen all, done all” look, I expected a different film than I got. It is pre-code in tone and deed, but more subdued about it: racy, but not saucy. What I liked best about this film now available on DVD from Warner Archive, is that I found a new appreciation for the charming Daniels.

The plot is familiar: a gorgeous showgirl (Daniels) is loved by a wealthy older man (Lewis Stone), but she’s got the hots for his younger, unhappily married friend (Ben Lyons). It’s all just a framework for beautiful costumes and settings, and reliably appealing performers like Stone, Lyons and the always marvelous Joan Blondell as Daniels’ best friend.

There are some typically pre-code sleeping arrangements and flexible ideas about marriage, but the thing that makes it pop is the chemistry between Daniels and Lyons, who were married from 1930 to her death in 1971. This isn’t a screen partnership with a Bogie and Bacall sizzle, but there’s a warmth between them that elevates the familiar material. It’s pleasant to see them at play together. You feel the affection.

My introduction to Bebe Daniels, as with many classic film fans, was as the distraught musical star Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street (1933). Though she is technically the star of that production, it is Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell who people remember. I now realize this sour, if not entirely unsympathetic character was not the best way to get to know her, much like seeing Norma Shearer for the first time in The Women (1939) is not a great introduction to her persona.

By the time of My Past, Daniels had been in films for over twenty years. She came from a theatrical family and had been before the camera since her silent short debut as a child. Though she faltered a bit at the start of the talkie age because she’d become associated with the overdone musical fad, Warner Bros saw her potential and picked her up for a great run in the 1930s. This film was the start of that period, which also included starring roles in Counselor-at-Law (1933) and in the first screen version of The Maltese Falcon (1931) (in an amusing scene in My Past, she cheekily signs a copy of Dashiell Hammett’s source novel).

Here, for the first time, I finally appreciated what made Daniels appealing to audiences. She’s got the beauty and glamour of a movie star, but there’s always a part of her that feels relatable in a deeply humane way. It’s not the gal pal warmth of Blondell or the weary shopgirl earthiness of early Joan Crawford, but rather an air of truly taking things to heart. It was satisfying to see her take center stage, where her appeal could be fully appreciated.

While this isn’t a remarkable production, it offers many low-key pleasures and will especially satisfy pre-code fans.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Quote of the Week: About Edith "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens

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The critics were apoplectic. They seemed to feel that Little Edie, in particular, was just crazy, and therefore wasn’t capable of giving informed consent for the filming. I totally disbelieve that: Edie managed her life just fine after her mother died. She was eccentric, certainly, but not crazy.

-Muffie Meyer, about Grey Gardens (1975)


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Quote: Stanley Kubrick on Plot

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A very good plot is a minor miracle; it's like a hit tune in music.

-Stanley Kubrick

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Book Review--When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals


When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals
Edited by Vanessa Morgan, B.L. Daniels
Moonlight Creek Publishing, 2016

In search of a light read, I came across When Animals Attack: The 70 Best Horror Movies with Killer Animals on NetGalley and decided to give it a try. It’s a collection of brief essays by an international array of authors with highly variable skills. This unusual read was often hard to put down, though not always easy going.

When Animals Attack covers flicks from the forties to the present day, but for the most part the essays are about films from the 70s through the 90s. The coverage hits where it should: classics like Them!(1954) get attention and the best of the 1970s nature’s revenge heyday is well represented. You get a good sense of the arc of angry creature features, as they evolved from paranoia to parody.

This is not a consistent read where quality is concerned. The writers run the gamut from student bloggers to award winning authors and filmmakers. Gems can be found along that whole range of experience, in addition to much lesser works.

For the most part it doesn’t seem meant to be terribly deep and the generally casual tone of many of the reviews is playful and much like a friend describing a good time at the movies. Still, several of these essays could have used a more thorough edit. There are also some unusual format choices here. My heart was racing by the time I got through the review in which every other sentence was punctuated with an explanation point.

The best of the essays are fascinating though. Among my favorites are those that share the films through a personal, nostalgic lens. I loved Erich Kuersten’s childhood memories of the TV movie Day of the Animals (1977), where he describes simmering with frustration in bed, not allowed to stay up as late as he wishes to watch the films he is curious to see. Warren Fahy shares amusing memories of his many times watching Jaws (1977) in the theater, including one viewing on vacation in Mexico where a theater employee frustrated him by putting a piece of cardboard over the screen during the gory parts in an awkward bit of DIY censorship. A few industry insiders also share their experiences. Beverly Gray worked for Roger Corman for several years, and her insights into of the production of Piranha (1978) provide great perspective on this unique filmmaker and the way he worked.

Ultimately I got the mixed bag I expected from When Animals Attack. There is a bit of wading through less than polished writing, but when the essays connect, they are immensely enjoyable. I was also satisfied to come away with a long list of films to see. In that respect the book is most successful.

Many thanks to Moonlight Creek Publishing for providing a copy of the book for review.

On DVD: Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell in Kansas City Princess (1934)


Throughout decades of movie fandom I’ve seen astonishing sights and transcendent works of art, and yet, if you asked me what I want to see at any given moment, I would probably ask to watch Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell doing stuff. Whatever production they are in, they never let you down, whether individually or as a team. Pure charisma wins every time. I thought this as I settled down to watch Kansas City Princess (1934), which is now available on DVD from Warner Archive.

This is one of five comedies that Farrell and Blondell headlined together for Warner Bros. In it they follow the familiar plotline of two dames on the make. This time they are manicurists with gold digging ambitions. Blondell loses the diamond engagement ring thrust upon her by a volatile gangster (appropriately named “Dynamite”, played by Robert Armstrong) and so she and Farrell hop a cruise ship to Paris to escape his wrath. They hook up with a millionaire to retroactively fund their trip.

It’s not the best of the Blondell/Farrell pairings; I think that honor goes to Havanna Widows (1933), which was more solidly pre-code, but it’s fun to watch them banter as they slide in and out of trouble. You’ve never any doubt that these ladies could talk any man into anything.

Fans of 1930s Warner Bros. flicks are familiar with the amazing players the studio rotated in and out of productions like a community theater group. Aside from the leads though, the cast is not as typically fantastic here. The exception is Hugh Herbert who is game as the easily manipulated millionaire Junior Ashcroft.

The disc image is essentially clear, though with a fair number of specks. The sound has a bit of crackle and pop, but does the job. There are no special features on the disc.

Many thanks to Warner Archive for providing a copy of the film for review. This is a Manufacture on Demand (MOD) DVD. To order, visit The Warner Archive Collection.

Quote: Fellini Describes Ingrid Bergman's Arrival in Rome


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For us in Italy, it was as if the Virgin Mary had just descended upon us from Disneyland.

-Federico Fellini about Ingrid Bergman's arrival in Rome

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On DVD: Dick Miller in Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood (1959)


A Bucket of Blood (1959) perfectly illustrates why producer Roger Corman never lost a dime on a film. Produced in five days, with a budget of $50,000, this dark comedy took a playful swipe at beatnik and art culture with thrift and efficiency, relying on sensational content and bizarre characters for impact. I recently revisited this darkly quirky film on a new DVD release from Olive Films.

It saddens me to live in a world where an intriguing face like Dick Miller’s isn’t considered matinee idol material, but sometimes life gets things right. Often a supporting player in Corman productions, A Bucket of Blood was one of a few films in which the actor starred.

Miller is Walter Paisley, a busboy in an arty beatnik café who aspires to be a sculptor, despite the mocking of his workplace patrons. After struggling hopelessly with a lump of clay, Paisley discovers a novel way to make art when he mistakenly stabs a cat to death and decides to cover it in clay. The resulting sculpture is a hit at the café and, much to his horror, he soon finds himself following up with human subjects. As his reputation as an artist blooms, the hapless busboy suffers guilt and fear of discovery.

In this twist on the House of Wax concept, the villain is neither imposing or outwardly horrific. He’s just a weak, unlucky, and untalented man. The horror is in what he is willing to do in order to escape being ordinary.

This is one of the best films Roger Corman directed, primarily due to the one-two punch of Miller as lead and Charles Griffith as screenwriter. Griffith was expert at creating oddball characters who would never dream that the strange things they do are unusual in the least. He creates a ridiculous world, made all the more wild by the fact that these people are actually quite familiar.

A year later, Corman would direct The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) under much the same conditions, with Dick Miller in a small, but memorable role as a man who eats flowers, Charles Griffith as screenwriter, and a soundtrack which recycled much of Fred Katz’s jazzy Bucket score. The formula worked again.

The Olive disc has good sound and a clean, slightly soft image. It’s great to have this film available in a high quality release.

Many thanks to Olive Films for providing a copy of the film for review.

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