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Sunday, September 22, 2019

THE BIG STEAL 1949 (WARNER)

A strange little film noir that really sets itself apart.

Don Siegel directed this little gem starring Robert Mitchum as Lt. Duke Halliday, a man who, at the beginning of the film is accosted by someone named Capt. Vincent Blake (William Bendix) who attempts to arrest him for theft.

Halliday knocks out Blake and escapes with a suitcase full of money and runs into a beautiful woman named Joan Graham (Jane Greer). The two keep running into each other with somewhat comical results and great banter back and fourth.

Graham's fiancee, Jim Fiske (Partick Knowles) is involved in a huge robbery and she works with Halliday to stop it. This film is actually a cross country car chase with romance and comedy thrown in the noir mix and it works quite well.

Siegel handles the directing chores very well of course and one can easily see where his career was headed, and the rest is history. The film moves along at a very brisk pace and never lets up for 72 minutes.

Mitchum had just been busted for drugs before this was filmed and most actresses didn't want to work around him, but Greer was a personal friend and took the role which a good thing because they work very well together which they would do again in the film noir classic "Out Of The Past" a couple of years later.

A different look at the film noir genre that every fan should see. The rest of the cast includes Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarado and John Qualen. Check it out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Catherine Oxenberg is 58, Debby Boone is 63, and Asa Maynor is 83.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

ILLEGAL 1955 (WARNER)

Good little film noir.

Edward G. Robinson stars as an overly aggressive DA named Victor Scott. His tactics send an innocent man to the electric chair and that changes Scott's life forever.

Scott is humbled by this experience and vows never to make that mistake again, and quits his job and starts drinking. His young assistant, Ellen Miles (Nina Foch) tries to help him get his life back on track.

Scott takes a job defending a lowly criminal and gets him off with some spectacular courtroom tactics which comes to the attention of a top crime boss named Frank Garland (Albert Dekker) who hires him immediately.

Soon Scott is making a very good living but his employer puts him at odds with his old friends and Ellen. Garland uses Scott for a lot of cases, but soon things get out of hand and Scott again sees the error of his ways.

During a big case Garland plans to have Scott killed in order to protect his crime empire. This leads to a most interesting climax. Robinson handles the lead role just perfectly, but what else would one expect from Robinson?

The story is captivating and the movie moves at a very quick pace with no let up until the final End title card. Some argue that this isn't a film noir, but it has all the key elements and I consider it to be one.

The rest of the cast includes Edward Platt, Hugh Marlowe, Ellen Corby, Jan MerlinJay Adler, Henry Kulky, and Jayne Mansfield as "Angel O' Hara" the woman who actually brings down the entire crime empire of Garland.

A great movie experience that every crime film fans should see. RECOMMENDED!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Rebecca Balding is 64, Yvonne Wilder is 82, Teresa Gimpera is 83, and Cynthia Hull is 72.

Friday, September 20, 2019

MAN OF THE WEST 1958 (MGM)

A great western that was ignored when first released in 1958.

Gary Cooper stars as Link Jones, a man with a sordid past who has changed his life and now lives on the right side of the law.

During a train ride he and two others are left behind after a daring train robbery that leaves Link, Billie Ellis (Julie London) a beautiful saloon singer and Sam Beasley (Arthur O' Connell) looking for a place to stay for the night.

The happen upon a place Link used to live and it's soon discovered that the very people who robbed the train are living there now. Dock Tobin (Lee J. Cobb) and his gang are hiding out there and they welcome Link and the others.

It seems that Link was Tobin's protege at one time and Tobin wants it that way again. Link does everything in his power to protect Billie from the gang members, especially Coaley (Jack Lord), who wants Billie in the worst way.

Tobin plans a huge robbery, but nothing seems to go right as everything has changed in the West but Tobin. The climactic shootout is a cinematic delight.

Directed by Anthony Mann, this film was largely ignored in 1958 as times were also changing for movie goers tastes. This was and still is a very bleak and hard hitting western, which at the time people didn't want. The rest of the cast includes John Dehner, Royal Dano and Robert J. Wilke.

Now hailed as a western classic, I cannot recommend this enough. Cooper and London are superb and the film never misses a beat. The violent fight between Link and Coaley is a true highlight.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Sophia Loren is 85, Brinke Stevens is 65, and JoAnna Cameron is 68.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

EVIL SPIRITS 1990 (PRISM)

Strange film from Gary Graver.

Karen Black stars as a woman named Ella Purdy running a boarding house who kills her boarders and then collects their welfare checks and social security.

The house is supposedly haunted and the boarders are a bizarre lot indeed. Michael Berryman is Mr. Balzac, a writer who is constantly eating and spying on Prudys' sexy young daughter named Tina (Debra Lamb) who dances naked in her room.

Ella is always talking to her dead husband who tells her that she is pushing her luck with all of these killings. Arte Johnson is Lester Potts, a Social security man who looks into the mysterious disappearances of several clients, but actually has his own reasons for investigating.

This is a bizarre movie to say the least and some may not like it, but it has a cast to die for including Anthony Eisley, Yvette Vickers, Hoke Howell, Robert Quarry, Martine Beswick and Virginia Mayo.

This is a hard to find item now as it has never had a DVD release as far as I know. If you get a chance you might want to check it out for the cast alone because the plot isn't much and sometimes it's a head scratcher.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

David McCallum is 86, Randolph Mantooth is 74, and Bobbie Bresee is 72.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

10 X 10 2018 (VERTICAL)

Strange film, again purchased by my roommate.

A man played by Luke Evans plots and eventually kidnaps a flower shop owner named Cathy (Kelly Reilly) and takes her to his home and imprisones her in a specially constructed 10X10 room.

It turns out that he has his reasons. He wants to know her real name and her real past.

Her secret is soon revealed. Turns out that she changed her name and everything after she was acquitted of killing three people in a hospital when she was a nurse. It also turns out that one of her victims was the mans wife.

What really surprised me about this film is that you actually side with the kidnapper when everything comes to light. The film was a disaster at the box office, and I attribute that to the rather bland way the entire movie was presented.

It's an allright film, but I think they should have spiced it up a bit with more exploitation elements, but that is just my opinion. If you get a chance and feel like watching it, check it out.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Frankie Avalon is 80, and Veronica Carlson is 75.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

FINAL GIRL 2015 (CINEDIGM)

Interesting film.

The movie starts out with a man talking to a young child about the murder of her parents and suddenly we move ahead 12 years and she is now a beautiful young blonde woman who is being taught to be a killing machine.

Why? Because there is a group of 4 young men who have been kidnapping blondes and then taking them into the woods and killing them in their murder games.

Once her training is completed she is sent to find the men, which she does and they invite her on a date. Once they have her in the woods, the games begin, only they realize they may have chosen the wrong woman as she disposes of the men one by one.

The major flaw for most viewers of this film is that there is absolutely no backstory to anything. Why is Veronica (Abigail Breslin) being trained for this and why are the young men killing the women anyway?

The movie just starts and you feel as if you've been dumped in the middle of something and that can be a bad thing with movies. However, I didn't seem to mind it too much and I found Breslin to be beautiful in her role and sexy as hell.

This was a huge box office disaster, but it still entertained me. If you happen to see this film in a dollar store somewhere and want something to watch, it makes a good time killer, but if you're looking for a tight story line and such you will have to look elsewhere.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Cassandra Peterson is 68, and Pat Crowley is 86.

Monday, September 16, 2019

GIRL FROM TOBACCO ROW 1966 (NASHVILLE CINEMA PARTNERS)

Another Ron Ormond gem.

This is rural drive in fare at it's best. The plot concerns a stolen $100,000 that a convict has hidden in a small town.

The convict is killed but another convict escapes the work farm and tries to find the money and a new life. The young man is "Snake" Richards (Earl "Snake" Richards).

Richards is befriended by Tim Bolton (Tim Ormond) who introduces him to his father, the Rev. E.F. Bolton (Tex Ritter). In the meantime a bunch og gangsters are also looking for Richards and the loot.One of the gangsters is named Blinky and is portrayed by Ralph Emery, who was a long time host of a country talk show on the Nashville Network called Nashville Now.

This color saturated crime film also features some of the same acts also seen in the Ormond production of "The Exotic Ones" and this includes the Harmonica duet which I think is always a treat. Nothing like 60's country music in my opinion.

There is a final showdown between Snake and the gangsters which ends with Snake coming out on top but at a terrible cost. The film doesn't really have any relation to the title it's been given except that one of the daughters of Rev. Bolton acts a lot like a loose woman around certain men in the film, and she even utter a classic line I will never forget and might end up using in certain circumstances.

When she sees an older gangster in a bar the sheriff tells her he is too old for her and she replies "When there is snow on the mountain top, there is also fire in the furnace". It's a gem for sure.

If you get the chance to check this out I would for sure. It's a great little time waster with a great 60's southern flavor and some great music thrown in as well.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Jennifer Tilly is 61, Ed Begley, Jr. is 70, and Linda Henning is 75.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

RIP RIC OCASEK 1944-2019

Another music icon from the 70's and 80's has passed away.

Ocasek was the front man and lead singer for the group The Cars and fronted on most of their greatest hits including "Drive", "You Might Think" and many others.

It seems like all of the people I still listen to in this day and age are passing away quickly. Earlier this week we lost Eddie Money.

Ocasek will be missed by many, many music fans my age but his legacy lives on with the music of The Cars. He was 75.