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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MAN WHO WOULDN'T DIE 1942 (20TH CENTURY FOX)

An excellent entry in the Mike Shayne series.

Lloyd Nolan again stars as Shayne in a fine outing. The movie opens during a raging storm as we see several people burying a body in a estate cemetery.

A young woman, Catherine Wolff (Marjorie Weaver) shows up at the estate around the same time and is nervously greeted by her father and step mother. Later that night someone takes a shot at her in an attempt to kill her.

Catherine calls Mike Shayne in on the case and has him pose as her husband since nobody n her family has seen him yet and he is away on business for 3 days. This sets up some rather interesting and sometimes comical situations, but in this film the horror builds and is not faded by the light comedy.

As Shayne digs deeper into the mysterious shooting he finds blackmail, lies and more murder. All of the characters in the film are well played with Weaver and Helene Reynolds being the standouts.

A great little film for both mystery and horror fans, and one of the best of the series. Recommended!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Caroline Munro is 69, John Carpenter is 70, and Marilu Tolo is 74.

Monday, January 15, 2018

MICHAEL SHAYNE, PRIVATE DETECTIVE 1941 (20TH CENTURY FOX ARCHIVES)

Interesting mixture of mystery, film noir and comedy.

Lloyd Nolan stars as Shayne, his first of seven performances as the master detective over the coming years.

In this film Shayne is hired to protect the daughter of a millionaire from gambling and gamblers. Before you know it he is involved in the murder of a racetrack gambler and must solve the case.

This is a very light film noir and has a lot of comedy in it, which isn't a bad thing. Nolan handles the acting chores well with his performance as the Irish detective with a thing for the ladies.

The other performers in the cast include Marjorie Weaver as the young woman Mike is hired to protect, Walter Abel, Eliabeth Patterson as the always lovable Aunt Olivia who reads too many detective novels and helps Shayne solve the murder.

All in all not too bad of a film for mystery fans. If you're one of them, as I am, you might want to check this out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Phyllis Coates is 91, Barbie Blank is 31, and Shane McMahon is 48.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

RIP JEAN PORTER 1922-2018

The petite star of many great films of the 40's and 50's has died.

Her career began in 1936 in several uncredited roles until her first credited role in 1942's short film called "Glove Birds". She had a small uncredited role in the sci-fi film of 1940 called "One Million B.C."

Her other films included "Bathing Beauties", "Andy hardy's Blonde Trouble", "Abbott and Costello In Hollywood" and the film noir classic "Cry Danger".

She married black listed director Edward Dmytryk in 1948 and they were married until he passed away in 1999. Porter died on Jan. 13th at the age of 95 of natural causes.

GREEN ACRES 1965-1971 (SHOUT FACTORY)

I waited many years for this entire show to be released on DVD.

I consider this to be the funniest show to ever air on TV along with Married With Children.

Eddie Albert stars as Oliver Wendall Douglass, a New York Lawyer who has always wanted to be a farmer. Eva Gabor is his wife Lisa, who loves big city living and everything that goes with it.

Oliver drags his wife to a small town called Hooterville and a dilapidated farm house. This sets the scene for an amazing 6 year, 170 episode run. I have to say that this is the MOST surreal comedy show I have ever seen.

Hooterville is populated with unforgettable characters such as Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram), Sam Drucker (Frank Cady), Fred and Doris Ziffel (Hank Patterson/Barbara Pepper), hired hand Ed Dawson (Tom Lester), Hank Kimball (Alvy Moore) and, of course, Arnold The Pig.

All 170 episodes are brilliant and the writing is still a standout today. Oliver tries his best to farm while Lisa does her best to adapt to a new life style. The results are usually hilarious and this is helped by the perfect comic timing of the entire cast. It's hard to say who my favorite character is on the show, but I would say Alvy Moore's portrayal of Hank Kimball should get the prize.

Everytime he shows up and starts forgetting everything including his own name has me in stitches. This is nothing but fun and it has held up very well. The catchy theme song is something almost everyone has heard at one time or another.

If you like good clean comedy I can think of no other show that is better than Green Acres. There are so many great moments in the show I cannot possibly tell them all here, but I do HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get the entire series and have a blast watching 170 episodes of unmatched TV comedy.

Some of the more surreal elements in the show include beeping rocks, invisible furniture, bizarre flashbacks, program credits printed on food and clothes, and much more. Again, all I can say is "SEE THIS SHOW"!!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Marjoe Gortner is 74, Linda Lawson is 82, and Jim Duggan is 64.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

UNTAMED YOUTH 1957 (WARNER ARCHIVE)

Mamie Van Doren!!!

That name really says it all. Mamie is a young woman named Penny Lowe, who along with her sister Jane are caught skinny dipping in small pond and arrested by the local law for vagrancy.

The crooked judge, Cecilia Steele orders them to a 30 day sentence working on a cotton picking farm. The farm is run by Russ Tropp (John Russell) who happens to be the sceret husband of the judge!

His farm is worked by many young people arrested in the county. The judge's son returns and works the farm as well and discovers a lot of nasty things going on, and vows to expose them.

The movie is a showcase for the gorgeous Mamie to sing a few numbers of Rock N' Roll and she easily steals the show. Never in the history of movies has there ever been a woman like Mamie. She exudes sexuality and desire like no other.

The plot is very simple, but it is Mamie that is the reason to see this film. Now if only Warner Archive or someone would release "Girls Town". A fun and Highly Recommended film.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Billy Gray is 80.

Friday, January 12, 2018

TERROR CIRCUS 1974 (CODE RED) BLU-RAY

This was the first film I watched in 2018.

This is also known as "Nightmare Circus" and it has always been a favorite of mine and yet most people I know and most reviews I read say that it is a sick piece of trash.

There have been countless bootlegs and rough copies making the rounds on DVD and VHS, but now Code Red has given us this stunning Blu-ray edition.

Andrew Prine stars as Andre. He helps three stranded showgirls alongside a desert road in Nevada and they more than welcome the help. Andre takes them to his secluded ranch on false pretenses and then the shit hits the fan.

The women wonder into a barn a see many chained and captive women and as they start to leave Andre appears and chains them as well. You see, he is creating a circus of "animals" to train and perform. Meanwhile, the girls' manager is desperately searching for them and trying to get help from the local police and sheriff.

Andre's torment of the women is endless and it is tough to watch in spots, but there is something perversely entertaining about the film. I attribute this to Andrew Prine and his totally over the top performance. He even goes deeper into insanity and believes one of the women to be his long gone mother!!

Oh there is more. Living in a small shed is his mutated father, now a blood drinking monster thanks to radiation from all the atom bomb tests that took place around the farm!

This is not your typical Hollywood film, nor does it have a good ending. It is depressing and bloody. As a matter of fact in one of the extras on the DVD, it is told to us that 14 frames of film from the final attack on Andre by his mutated father had to be cut to avoid an "X" rating by the MPAA.

Too bad that footage no longer is with us. No, this is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love this sick, sadistic film. I have never seen anything like it in terms of plot. Yes there have been other twisted films, but nothing quite like this.

The Blu-ray looks great and it's about time this little guilty pleasure of mine is finally made available. I recommend this film for people who want to see something a little different. Don't believe everything negative you read about the film, see it and decide for yourself. The disc is hosted by the beautiful Katarina Leigh Waters who gives you a little insight to this twisted gem.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Shirley Eaton is 81.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

TWO SECONDS 1932 (TCM VIEWING)

I caught this little gem on TCM a while back, and it's a very interesting film.

Edward G. Robinson stars as a convicted murderer who, in the process of being executed, relives the events that have led up to the last two seconds of his life.

Robinson is John Allen, a riveter who lives with his best friend, Bud Clark (Preston Foster). Bud is a sometimes wild and crazy guy who loves to party and John is a VERY conservative man who is shy and introverted.

John meets a dance hall girl named Shirley Day (Vivienne Osborne) and falls for her. She tricks him into getting drunk and then marrying her. She wants his money, of course. Bud is shocked by this and tries to convince John he should dump the woman and the two have an argument on a high rise during working hours.

Bud accidentally falls to his death and John is so taken with grief that he cannot go back to work. The heartless Shirley begins to hate John and she soon turns to her old job of prostitution to support them.

John's life spirals out of control and he eventually kills Shirley, which brings us back to his being in the electric chair. Robinson was excellent at playing helpless saps caught in a mess they never created, and here is no exception.

His character goes from a life loving man to a helpless, mentally crushed and destroyed man all because of an evil woman. This is a great picture that once you start watching you really get involved in this man's plight.

I believe this is also on DVD from Warner Archive and if you can find it or it shows again in TCM I would highly recommend this unsung gem of the early 30's.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Pat Benatar is 65.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

RIP DONNELLY RHODES 1937-2018

Very prolific character actor has passed away.

In a career that spanned 60 years, Rhodes made hundreds of appearances in many different TV shows and movies. If the name isn't familiar, his face would be.

He appeared in such films as "27th Day", "Neptune Factor", "Gunfight In Abilene", "Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid", and "Glory Days".

All of his TV appearance are too numerous to mention here, but some of them include "Police Story", "The Wild Wild West", "Mannix", "Tarzan", and "Supernatural".

He passed away in Canada at the age of 80 on Jan. 8th.

RIP GRETA THYSSEN 1933-2018

One of the most underrated actresses in films, (in my opinion) has passed away.

The incredibly beautiful Greta Thyssen has died at the age of 84.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark she started her career in 1950. Her career in movies and TV lasted until 1967 when she retired to raise her daughter.

Greta came into my movie loving life when I first saw her in "Terror Is A Man" and then I sought out everything I could about her. She also starred in such films as "Three Blondes In His Life", "Journey To The 7th Planet", and "Cottonpickin' Chickenpickers".

She also appeared in TV shows like "Perry Mason", "M Squad" and "Dragnet". A true European beauty!!