Archive for December, 2015

Sandra Dee – If a Man Answers

I can’t remember if I ever saw this film – if not it was probably the trailer that I saw – and they seemed to be extremely good at selling the next week’s film and I reckon it was the trailer I saw and not the film.  Bobby Darin who was Sandra Dee’s husband at the time starred in this one.

Image: Sandra Dee

This is a fan’s comment as below – and very good it is :-

This delightful, romantic, funny romp is now available on DVD (as are “Come September” and “That Funny Feeling”), so people can indulge in this fun fest and the chemistry between Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin (then married in real life).

The plot concerns a wealthy young socialite, Chantal Stacy (the lovely and priceless Dee) who as trouble finding Mr. Right, until she meets photographer Eugene Wright (the cute and hilarious Darin). After she marries him, she tries to use her mother’s advice by treating him like a pet, thinking that will make him a more affectionate and attentive husband. It works for a while, until Chantal spills her “secret” to her school friend (a young Stefanie Powers), who, just slightly tipsy, lets Eugene in on it, and leaving Chantal to find a different way to get his attention. Again, she turns to her mother for advice for some jealousy tactics. Micheline Presle is a gem as Chantal’s mother, while John Lund is perfect as Chantal’s protective father. And Cesar Romero is impeccable as Eugene’s “dirty old man” artist father taking part in one of the schemes. And the cute dogs and the new little “addition” to the family . . . . .

Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin were an adorable couple, and this movie confirms it. Don’t listen to the critics’ opinions about this blast from the past – it’s a jewel. It’s great that so many of these older movies are being released on DVD, as they so justly deserve to be. Now a whole new generation can enjoy them!

 

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Run for the Sun 1956 – Richard Widmark

This is a first rate remake of  THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME .   The 1932 movie with Joel McCrae, Leslie Banks (as the mad Count Zaharoff )Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong. It captures the best aspects of the short story, but not all the  details.  The same sets were re-used by the same production group (along with Fay Wray, Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot) for KING KONG shortly afterwards.

 

The hero  is the sole survivor of a shipwreck, and finds himself on an island owned by the villain played by Leslie Banks.  He is a master hunter, is insane, and has found there is only one game worth hunting – “the most dangerous game” or man, the only animal that one knows can think. He gives his “guests” (he has caused the shipwrecks) a good dinner or two, and then they proceed to run for their lives or until he kills them. But Rainsford  is a trained hunter too. So for a change, Zaharoff really has a worthy opponent. The ending of the tale I will not give away.

But this 1956 film is an interesting version of the original. The scene shifts to an isolated jungle area of Mexico. Richard Widmark and Jane Greer are in a plane crash, and are rescued by Trevor Howard and Peter Van Eyck, both of whom are far from welcoming. Widmark is not sure, but he keeps thinking he knows Howard, although he’s never seen him. Then he realizes it’s Howard’s voice – he heard it in World War II, as a Nazi propaganda figure (a British traitor). In short, Howard is a version of William Joyce, “Lord Haw Haw” (see SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE VOICE OF TERROR). Van Eyck is Howard’s brother-in-law.

Howard and Van Eyck have been less than willing to help Widmark and Greer get back to civilization before, because they did not want to have them report them to the authorities – they are wanted for war crimes (at least Van Eyck is). Widmark, when he makes the mistake of discovering who his hosts are, suggests that if they help him and Greer get back, he can take a message to Howard’s loved ones about their safety. Unfortunately, Howard explains, his wife and children were killed in the war by bombing. As it is apparent that Van Eyck wants to see the strangers dead, Widmark and Greer take off to try to get to safety. And then the story follows the lines of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.

But ironically there is a final twist to the tale. Howard has been connected to Van Eyck only by the marriage – personally he has no liking for the man. As it turns out, he would not mind if he could get out of the jungle – away from this remnant of a bloody, horrific past and so the film actually goes onto a somewhat different conclusion. We had better  leave that to the viewer though.

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Strictly Come Dancing – Gleb and Errol Flynn – How very alike they are !!

Whenever I see Strictly Come Dancing – which I do each Saturday evening – and see Gleb Savchenko, I  am  struck with how much like Errol Flynn he looks.

 

Just take a look at these pictures below, and see if you agree

 

GLEB

Above – Gleb Savchenko

 

Errol Flynn

Above – Errol Flynn

 

 

 

 

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Double Feature at the Majestic

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Bomba and The Jungle Girl 1952.

This film in the Bomba series finds Johnny Sheffield both finding out his true identity and dealing with a usurper who has taken the leadership of the Masai tribe.

It seems as though Bomba’s real parents were government agents who knew the truth of the coup in the Masai tribe. Martin Wilkins is the usurper and he reals with help of Suzette Harbin who has the meatiest role in the film that of his daughter and chief enforcer. She’s a real piece of work and goes out in quite a fashion.

Helping Bomba is Walter Sande who is in the Masai village on a survey and his daughter Karen Sharpe and of course that symbol of jungle authority Commissioner Barnes as played by Leonard Mudie, the other recurring character in the Bomba series.

Kansas Territory 1952

The second film on the Double Feature has Joe Daniels  ( Bill Elliott billed here as Wild Bill Elliott ) returning to Kansas to kill the murderer of his bother. Surviving the attempt on his life he arrives to find everyone hates him because his brother was bad. He knew his brother to be good and believes they are all mistaken. When he finally finds the killer he also now realises that the townspeople were right. His brother had gone bad and deserved to die.

 The Majestic Cinema

We can only speculate as to where this cinema was – there used to be a Majestic Cinema in a Lincolnshire town – a cinema which is now sadly no more. Could have been that one.

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Rex Reason

Rex Reason has died

02_1957 Badlands of Montana C

Rex Reason
(November 30, 1928 – November 19, 2015)

Rex Reason has passed away at 86. He’s best known for appearing in the great sci-fi picture This Island Earth (1955), but he’s in some solid 50s Westerns — Smoke Signal (1955), Raw Edge (1956) and Badlands Of Montana (1956, above) with Beverly Garland.

Beverly Garland made loads of films and a previous one to this had been in Killer Leopard  with Johnny Sheffield in the Bomba The Jungle Boy series of fims.

Rex left the film business in the 60s to concentrate on property development.

He had a younger brother Rhodes Reason who we here in England remember well from the fifties TV series White Hunter. I can hear now the intro when the announcer would say in a dramatic voice ‘White Hunter With Rhodes Reason’

Rhodes Reason died in December 2014 so just a year earlier.

Rhodes Reason in White Hunter – Above.

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The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952 – Promotional Jig Saw Puzzles.

I acquired these some time ago – it seemed that Jig Saw Puzzles from the films were in vogue in the early Fifties.

I do have FOUR from the BlueLagoon of 1950 and remember having one or maybe more than one from Diamond City long ago.

Wish I still had them. Well in fact I do have the set of FOUR from The Blue Lagoon 1949.

 

These are extremely rare jigsaw puzzles from Walt Disney’s live-action movie the Story of Robin Hood (1952). Printed in lovely bright colours!

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Coming Shortly from Monogram

This is an interesting promotional advertisement from the very early 1950s.

Coming Shortly

 

Bomba, The Bowery Boys, Blue Grass of Kentucky – a film title I seem to remember because to me as a child it sounded so good.  Don’t think I ever saw the film – must get it.

However I have found this review – as follows :-

A fast-moving racing film with romance, action, and lots of heart, BLUE GRASS OF KENTUCKY rises a cut above most stories of its ilk by virtue of its extremely intelligent screenplay by W. Scott Darling. Lin McIvor (Bill Williams), who owns a racehorse with his father (Ralph Morgan), is in love with millionairess Pat Armistead (Jane Nigh), whom he  refuses to marry because she comes from a higher station in life. The twist is that Lin doesn’t know that his beloved horse was sired by a thoroughbred belonging to Pat’s father. Williams is totally believable in his part, and the direction by William Beaudine, a second-feature director whose career spanned more than 40 years, is nearly perfect. Horse-racing fans will be glad to know that there’s lots of track action, with many scenes shot at Louisville’s famed Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.

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Saboteur – a favourite Hitchock film of mine

Saboteur was shown again on BBC 2 In England yesterday Saturday 5 December 2015. It’s a Hitchcock film I like as it takes us on a roller coaster ride across the USA and back to New York Harbour – as this final scene sequence shows when the hero Robert Cummings and villain Fry played by Norman Lloyd climb out onto the torch of the Statue of Liberty. In this sequence  how varied the shots are. We don’t just get a shot of the statue followed by close-ups of the action, we get this complex series of Matte shots – see below

Maybe this is why I find myself drawn to the sequence – in that it is so unusual and original with shots cut in from every angle.








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Maria Montez

An  article in The Daily Herald of 8th September 1951  -  refers to the death of The Queen of Technicolor Maria Montez. It seems that she stepped into a bath of very hot water, collapsed and died. Her sister found her dead in her flat in Paris and despite strenuous efforts to revive her she sadly passed away. Friends had said that she had previously complained of heart trouble but this was thought not to be serious.

COBRA-WOMAN-MOVIE-POSTER-Maria-Montez-RARE-HOT-VINTAGE

 

She was born in the Dominican Republic and had come to Hollywood

 

 Maria Montez in a famous promotional still for Cobra Woman.

Maria Montez: Technicolor Queen. Born in the Dominican Republic, Montez (born the tongue-twisting Maria Africa Vidal de Santo Silas) was the star of WWII escapist fantasies.  She was cast in a series of movies that are today celebrated as the pinnacle of Technicolor.

In 1942 she was cast in her first leading role in Arabian Nights a film that was  nominated for 4 Oscars and it also had the honour of being the first Universal film to use the 3 strip Technicolor process, thus establishing Maria Montez  on the silver screen.

 

In Cobra Woman from 1944 Maria Montez stars in a dual role as the good twin and the evil twin on a forbidden island. The  glamour and spectacle  of the film is captured in the famous Cobra Dance:

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