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Sunday, July 22, 2018

RAMBLINGS... MY TOP 10 DRAMAS

I continue with my Top 10 lists from different movie genres.

This list is going to be Drama as you might have guessed and please remember that some of the films that appear on this list and subsequent lists can easily be assigned to other genres as well but I felt they belong in the ones I listed them in.

10. THE LOST WEEKEND 1945...Ray Milland's performance as an alcoholic is stunning and depressing at the same time. Unforgettable.

9. ROCKY 1977...The best boxing movie I have ever seen.

8. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962...Gregory Peck is perfect in this modern American classic that really captured my interest! Well acted and expertly directed.

7. CASABLANCA 1942...Bogart, Bergman and Claude Rains in a beautiful study of human emotion, romance and survival during WW2. Beautiful film and always a staple for me to watch.

6. THE FALLING MAN 1968...I will watch almost anything with Henry Silva. Superb thriller with a great plot and brutal story.

5. BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967...I love the entire cast but Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were perfectly cast as the 1930's gangster duo. One of the best endings I have ever seen and will never forget.

4. GET CHRISTIE LOVE 1974...A TV movie about a sassy, no nonsense policewoman named Christie Love. I was knocked out by this film when I was young and enjoyed the TV series as well. Teresa Graves was a very beautiful woman and died tragically at the age of 54. From the first time I saw it I have never forgotten it.

3. AMAZING GRACE AND CHUCK 1987...Probably a bit of egotism here, but working on this film was a great experience and then seeing it come together and become a great parable for the screen made me very proud.

2. CITIZEN KANE 1941...All I can say is Orson Welles and "Rosebud". Great storytelling.

1. BULLITT 1968...Steve McQueen in a gem of a movie that really became my favorite drama after I had seen it at the behest of my mother many years ago. There are characters everyone can relate to and a car chase that still is the best ever filmed.

There you have my top ten favorite drama films in order of appeal to me. More genres to come soon.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Shawn Michaels is 53, Tisa Farrow is 67, Erica Gavin is 71, and Mary Collinson is 76.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

BAD BLONDE 1953 (KIT PARKER FILMS)

This is one of several film noir's I'll be looking at over the next few days that were made by Hammer films in England during the early 50's before they burst on the scene with their classic horror films.

This little film was directed by Reginald Le Borg and stars the very sexy Barbara Payton as a young wife of a slobbish boxing promoter who seduces a young boxer into a web of murder and deceit.

Tony Wright is Johnny Flanagan, a young up and coming boxer who is discovered in a small town carnival by a man named Sharkey (Sidney James) and shortly after introduced to a fight promoter named Guiseppe Vecchi (Frederick Valk).

Guiseppe's wife Lorna (Barbara Payton) seduces Johnny and before you know it they are expecting a child and both do their best to hide it from her husband. Things soon spiral out of control for Johnny in his boxing career and his life in general.

Lorna controls Johnny thru sex and convinces him to kill Guiseppe, which he does. The court says the death was an accidental drowning, but that does not satisfy the family of Guiseppe.

As with all film noir, many lives are ruined and then ending is a bittersweet one. I have read a lot of bad comments about this film, but judge for yourself. The film is very tight and Payton looks sexier than ever. No man could ever resist her!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Adrienne King is 63.

Friday, July 20, 2018

RAMBLINGS....TOP 10 PICKS/TV SHOWS

I get some comments on this blog which I really appreciate, but I also get people sending my private emails and they are always asking what my favorite films are.

That is a HUGE dilemma for me as I like thousands of films, but what I am going to do is list my 10 favorite films from 9 different genres as well as my 10 favorite TV shows.

I will start today with TV shows and I do hope this answers that burning question so many have asked. Also, if you'd like you can send me your lists. I always like comparing what differences people have.

So here is a list of my 10 favorite TV series.

10. ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERIES 1975-76...This was such an inspirational show for me I produced my first play based on an Ellery Queen story in the 6th grade.

9. SHEENA 2000-2002...Gena Lee Nolan in skimpy attire. Need I say more?

8. BATMAN 1966-1968...I loved everything about this show. It really caught my imagination and caused me to re-enact many of the fights I saw on the show.

7. TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE 1983-1988...Loved this because it's a George Romero production.

6. VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA 1964-1968...Loved all the cool monsters on this show and the leads of Richard Basehart and David Hedison are perfect in their roles.

5. MARRIED WITH CHILDREN 1986-1997... Al Bundy is my hero and yes, I lived this life for 10 years and most of the things the writers came up with on this show are absolutely real.

4. GREEN ACRES 1965-1971...Good clean fun that always takes me back to my childhood. One of the most surreal comedies ever to air on TV.

3. OUTER LIMITS 1963-1965...A wonderful and creative show that captured my imagination with great stories and casts.

2. TWILIGHT ZONE 1959-1964...A true gem of Television. Of the entire 156 episodes there are only 3 I didn't like well at all. The rest are and always will be some of the most entertaining stories ever told. Rod Serling was a genius.

1. KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER 1974-1975...I have watched every episode at least 40 times and it never gets old. Darren McGavin was and still is a joy to watch in the show. It only ran one year, but I NEVER missed an episode. SIMPLY THE BEST!!!

This was a hard list to compile as there are so many that I love. Do you agree or disagree? If interested let me know what some of your favorites are.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Diana Rigg is 80, Camille Keaton is 71, and Kim Carnes is 73.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

COMING ATTRACTIONS....

Some pretty cool stuff coming to Blu-ray in the coming months.

Warner Archive has announced that "Children Of The Damned", the original 1960 horror gem is coming to Blu-ray. This is a long awaited and very welcome release.

On Aug. 28th Severin has announced the released of a 2k scan of "Horror Of Party Beach". This is a day one purchase as this is one of my favorite "guilty pleasures" of all time. A Connecticut lensed film featuring bikini babes, the Del Aires and some of the wildest monsters of all time. "It's the voodoo I tell ya!"

Vinegar Syndrome has announced three great releases for August. They are "Dear Dead Delilah", "Shot" and my personal favorite "Wonder Women". These are simply must haves for horror and exploitation fans. Blue Underground has announced that the greatest Lucio Fulci film of all time, "Zombie" will be getting a 4K Blu-ray release and it will also have tons of extras. I am absolutely in for this one.

I await to see what Shout Factory announces, but I am glad they are bringing an upgrade of "Creepshow" to Blu-ray and I am also waiting to see what titles Kino will be releasing from Universal.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Elizabeth Kaitan is 58.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

THE BIG KNIFE 1955 (MGM)

A truly fine film from Robert Aldrich made during the same year as his stunning "Kiss Me Deadly".

A film noir with Jack Palance as Charlie Castle. a put upon actor who wants out of his contract with a megalomaniac director named Stanley Hoff (Rod Steiger). However Huff has a hidden dark secret about Castle he will reveal if the contact isn't signed and followed.

Palance's character of Charlie is brilliant. Charlie is torn between staying in Hollywood and making movies for HUff, being a free spirit and keeping his wife Marion (Ida Lupino) happy and to stop her from leaving him.

As the film progresses the viewer easily can see how Charlie is being twisted from all sides and how things are starting to close in on him. One by one the characters are introduced and Aldrich gets the most out of every actor. The film is shot almost entirely on one set and this works tremendously to create more tension.

If you haven't seen this gem, I won't give away the ending, but let's just say it's really depressing and quite messed up, but then that is what one expects from a film noir.

The supporting cast is excellent and includes Wendell Corey as Smiley Coy, the studio publicist and yes man to Stanley Hoff, Jean Hagen as Connie Bliss, a wanton woman who tries to seduce Charlie, Everett Sloane as Nat Danzinger..Charlie's agent, Shelley Winters as Dixie Evans Wesley Addy and Paul Langton.

If you haven't seen this, I recommend you do. It's bleak, depressing, dark and damn good entertainment, and yes, it is a scathing look at the Hollywood community back then and to me how it still is today. Based on the storey by Clifford Odets.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Audrey Landers is 62, and Molly Culver is 51.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 1968 (THEATRICAL VIEWING)

I finally got the chance to see this film again on the big screen, and that is a rarity here where I live.

It's very hard to get people where I live to get involved in anything,and classic films is an absolute nill. Only a handful of people showed up for all three showing over this past weekend.

Now, this doesn't interfere with my watching and enjoy my all time favorite film, but I do find a lack of interest startling but no surprising.

I know back in Pennsylvania and Ohio classic horror films, and classic films in general are run all the time and the crowds they get are very impressive. I guess I contribute that to the fact that in the west there is a severe lack of culture and love of classic cinema...I may be wrong, but it's the only conclusion I can draw.

I have been to a few classic film screenings such as "Outlaw Josie Wales", "Magnificent 7" and others and have always been shocked at the small turn out.

Oh well it's all well and good. I had a great time at the 50th Anniversary show for Night Of The Living Dead and it was a good thing that some people besides me showed up...at least a few people have good taste.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Donald Sutherland is 83, P.J. Soles is 68, David Hasselhoff is 66, Catherine Schell is 74, Diahann Carroll is 83, and Sue England is 90.

Monday, July 16, 2018

REMEMBERING GEORGE A. ROMERO

Hard to believe it has been a year already.

It was a year ago today I got the call from a friend in Ohio about the passing of the king of modern horror.

George Romero ushered in an entirely new genre of film making and as I have said before was a friend, mentor and an inspiration for me when I worked in the motion picture business and even more of an inspiration when I made my films.

Nobody ever made films like Romero. His films were raw, emotional roller coaster rides. I saw "Night Of The Living Dead" at a theater here in Twin Falls this past weekend and even though I have seen the film hundreds of times, it never fails to thrill me when I see it.

His follow up, "Dawn Of The Dead" is by far the greatest zombie film of all time and there is no way to describe the way I felt when I first saw it. No other film maker except for Roger Corman has hit me so squarely with techniques and style. It profoundly affected my movie going life, and that is saying something for someone who has seen literally countless thousands of films.

The King is gone, but the Romero legacy will live as long as film is around. However, it just doesn't seem like the same world knowing that George isn't around. He was a talent that can never be duplicated, though many will try.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Ann Turkel is 72, Al Cliver is 67, George Hilton is 84, and Stephanie Beaton is 46.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

VICE RAID 1959 (MGM)

MAMIE VAN DOREN!!!!

I have never seen an Imperial Picture directed by Edward L. Cahn that I disliked. This is another winner.

Richard Coogan is Det. Whitey Brandon who is intent on smashing a top crime syndicate headed by Vince Malone (Brad Dexter). Bradon causes Malone so much trouble that he has his mob send in a beautiful call girl named Carol Hudson (Mamie Van Doren) to set him up and destroy him.

The plan works perfectly and Bradon is taken off of the force and disgraced. However, Brandon isn't going to lay still for this and he sets out to wipe Malone off the map. Carol has her mind changed when her teenage sister comes to visit and is sexually assaulted by one of Malone's men named Phil Evans (Barry Atwater).

Soon after Carol and Whitey work together with the police to bring about the syndicate downfall. In my opinion Cahn never made a bad film and this is a totally enjoyable little crime drama with many familiar faces.

Mamie flaunts every inch of her beautiful body for the viewer, at least as much as was allowable in 1959. She is perfect for the role and does her usually excellent job.

The film is fast moving and I wish it was better known today, but it is available from MGM so I would recommend picking it up. The rest of the wonderful cast includes Carol Nugent, Frank Gerstle, Nestor Paiva, Russ Bender and narrated by John Dehner, who did the marration for many, many Cahn films, and it's always nice to hear him move the story along.