Archive for August, 2013

World 3 D Film Expo – Hollywood USA in September.

 Below just a sample of the 3D Films that will be shown at THE  EGYPTIAN THEATRE, Hollywood USA,  from September 6, 2013.

HONDO 1953 

HONDO - 1953, Batjac Prod., 83 min.
HONDO  1953, Batjac Prod., 83 min. Tribute to John Wayne & Batjac Productions CAST:  John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond, James Arness. DIRECTOR:  John Farrow.

                     HOUSE OF WAX – 1953, Warner Bros., 90 min.



THE MAZE  –  as featured before on this Blog.

THE MAZE — 1953, Allied Artists (Paramount), 80 min.


BWANA DEVIL - 1952, U.A., 79 min.

Welcome to 2013 World 3-D Film Expo

“Excitement That Can Almost Touch You!” … “Bwana Devil – A Lion in Your Lap – A Lover In Your Arms!” … “The Hand is at Your Throat — The Kiss is at Your Lips – House Of Wax!”

It’s been 60 years since 3-D literally leapt off American movie screens with films like CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, KISS ME KATE, DIAL M FOR MURDER and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE.  Now, over half a century later, 3-D is back in the mainstream with a vengeance … and so is the World 3-D Film Expo!

3-D today may be technically different than the dual-35mm projector system of the early days – but whether you’re watching James Cameron’s AVATAR or Andre de Toth’s spine-tingling HOUSE OF WAX, there’s that same sense of childlike wonder and pure gonzo fun at watching images float/bounce/stab off the screen straight at you.  There’s no denying it:  3-D is Cool.

It is  kicking off with a special 60th Anniversary screening of the John Wayne western HONDO from 1953.

Also screening  classics like KISS ME KATE, HOUSE OF WAX, REVENGE OF THE CREATURE and IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, all in their original dual-interlocked projector format with a silver screen and polarized glassesalongside gems like the World 3-D Premieres of the Korean War drama DRAGONFLY SQUADRON (one of the last unseen 3-D features from the classic Fifties era) and the long-lost short “COLLEGE CAPERS” (restored from the only surviving print in existence.)   And let’s be honest:  3-D was never meant for a Chekov play, it was always best at pure genre filmmaking – and whether your taste is Gothic Horror (THE MAD MAGICIAN, THE MAZE), Film Noir (I THE JURY, INFERNO), Musicals (THE FRENCH LINE, THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE) or “What on Earth is That??!” (the indescribably deranged ROBOT MONSTER and GORILLA AT LARGE) — it’s here at the 3-D Expo.

Sadly, several of the 3-D features and shorts screened at the previous Expos are no longer available – yet another reason that Expo III is a once-in-a-lifetime event, because for many of the movies showing here, you literally will not see them projected this way again.  For the hardcore film-buffs, another reason not to miss the Expo is that we’ll be showing all of the features and shorts in their correct aspect ratio (many in widescreen); for the most part, these 3-D films have not been seen in their director-intended widescreen versions since their original theatrical play-dates nearly 60 years ago!

Hondo   3D screening



The third World 3-D Film Expo kicks off September 6, 2013 at the Egyptian Theatre, with a rare 3-D screening of Hondo (1954).  Above, that’s John Wayne on the ladder watching as a shot it being set up (that gigantic thing on the lift is the Warner Bros. All Media Camera).

Other 3-D Westerns being shown during the expo: Douglas Sirk’s Taza, Son Of Cochise and Budd Boetticher’s Wings Of The Hawk (both 1953). Julie Adams will be on hand for Wings Of The Hawk.

Who knows how many more 35mm 3-D presentations we can count on?


The Egyptian Theatre was built by showman Sid Grauman and real estate developer Charles E. Toberman. The Egyptian Theatre cost $800,000 to build and took eighteen months to construct.

The Egyptian Theatre was the venue for the first-ever Hollywood premiere, Robin Hood,  starring Douglas Fairbanks, on Wednesday, October 18, 1922.

Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre exterior, 1922


Above:  The courtyard circa 2007

In 1996, the city of Los Angeles sold the theatre to the American Cinematheque for a nominal one dollar with the proviso that the landmark building be restored to its original grandeur and re-opened as a movie theatre. The Cinematheque committed to raising the funds to pay for the restoration and to using the renovated theatre as home for its programs of public film exhibition.

The Egyptian Theatre was re-opened to the public on December 4, 1998, after a $12.8 million renovation. The original theatre seated 1760  patrons in a single auditorium. In the restored Egyptian the building has been reconfigured to add a second screening theatre. The main theatre now accommodates 616 patrons. The smaller, 77-seat theatre is named for Hollywood  Steven Spielberg.


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The Ship That Died of Shame

Really good film this one.I never saw it on the big screen sadly but a number of years ago on TV. It is a good story – as you know it would be from the pen of Nicholas Monsarrat – and well filmed with a cast of top British Actors.  Richard Attenborough plays the heartless – and merciless – character who along with his pal from wartime days gets into smuggling – and worse.

George Baker is the good man here, his friend, who in the end just can’t take what is happening.

People these days when thinking of George Baker would come up  Inspector Wexford or another TV role but I think of him first in the swashbuckling ‘The Moonraker’ and then in this one – The Ship That Died of Shame

 The cast includes such actors as Virginia McKenna, Bernard Lee, and Roland Culver

The Storyline is concerned with the ship of the title  1087 which is a British Royal Navy motor gun boat that has faithfully seen its crew through the worst that World War II can throw at them and it has been a proud and heroic ship.   After the end of the war, George Hoskins (Richard Attenborough) convinces former skipper Bill Randall (George Baker) and Birdie (Bill Owen) to buy their beloved boat and use it for some harmless, minor smuggling of black market items like wine.

 They find themselves transporting ever more sinister cargoes – mainly because of the greed of Richard Attenborough –  counterfeit currency and weapons. Their beloved faithful craft had been utterly reliable and never let them down in wartime, but as if troubled by the work it is now doing,  it begins to break down , as if ashamed of its current use. The crew revolt when they are used in the escape of a child murderer.  At the close of the film George Baker realises that the ship just has had enough and realises she is dying of shame.


 Above – Bernard Lee ‘smells a rat’


This film is based on a Nicholas Monsarrat short story. It is brilliantly crafted and plots the downfall of two men – and the ship that served them faithfully through WWII. The logic of the tale is that the ship itself is so ashamed of the terrible things it is made to do that it “dies” despite the hard-headed sailor’s belief that this is impossible.

Earlier in 1955 (April, in fact), another of Ealing’s fascinating final films – the genre hybrid The Ship That Died of Shame – hit British screens. The ship in question is actually a Royal Navy motor gun boat. These were small, fast vessels, equipped with a mix of guns and big enough to carry a crew of up to 30 men. The Ship That Died of Shame follows the life of one boat, MGB1087, starting from the peak of its wartime glory, through to its postwar inactivity and its rebirth in a new role: a pattern that parallels the lives of its crew.

In a performance that compares well with his crazed delinquent, Pinky, in Brighton Rock (1947), Richard Attenborough gets his teeth into the role of 1087’s spivvish ‘number one’, George Hoskins. A star first mate, whose quick thinking and opportunistic instincts served him well in military life, Hoskins persuades his old skipper, Bill Randall (George Baker), to rescue their derelict former boat. They intend to fill a gap in the black market, pitched by Hoskins as a necessary and almost benevolent activity in a ration-weary Britain.

It’s here that The Ship That Died of Shame parts company with other British war movies, taking a sudden nosedive into murkier waters. The producer/director team of Michael Relph and Basil Dearden navigate into thriller territory as rival gangs, a nervous crew, the port authority and other parties with a stake in postwar dignity – including the boat herself – react to Hoskins and Randall’s new enterprise.

Mixing genres – war, crime, the supernatural – is a risky strategy, but it pays off here. The Ship That Died of Shame opposes the war film’s proud sense of propriety with the deviant cynicism of the crime film. In contrast with the optimism of many of Ealing’s postwar films – with their crowds pulling together; their defence of small communities against outsized corporations; the dreamlike vision of a new Britain forged in history but emboldened by progressive ambition – The Ship That Died of Shame reveals a darker side to the golden years of postwar reconstruction.

 Who’d have thought that the studio that gave us the giddy celebrations of George Formby, Passport to Pimlico (1949) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953) could sober us up with this tale of the sour taste of victory?

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The Blue Lagoon – Jean Simmons

Well I think this film just gets into the FIFTIES although it was actually  released here in England in 1949.  I have memories of the film – not so much about the film itself which I only saw on TV years later BUT my Mother and Dad bought me a jig-saw puzzle of a scene from the film – a scene in which  the two young people on the island are leaning  against an upturned boat on the beach. What an exotic scene that is.

Only recently have I managed to acquire all FOUR in the set, of the puzzles from the film – including the one mentioned.

 Jean Simmons in a beautiful colour shot from the film.

 Jig Saw Puzzle – Emmeline warns Michael above – which was No.4 in the series of four.

Original Film Still above

Another Original  Still from the film – above

Film Still from overseas – above – This picture would definitely be taken in Fiji !!!

Film Poster – above.

There will be more on this film in the future !!

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The Giant Claw – 1957 Columbia Pictures


The Giant Claw is a 1957 science fiction film about a giant bird that terrorises the world. Produced by Clover Productions it was released through Columbia Pictures and starred Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday. It was directed by Fred F. Sears.

It was summed up this way – ‘Arguably the worst sci-fi ever to emerge from a major studio.’


A giant extra-terrestrial buzzard with an anti-matter forcefield is terrorising the world, flying at intense speeds, downing vehicles in flight, chomping on parachuting innocents attempting to escape, and swooping down to cause death and destruction. It’s up to our brave government and scientists to figure out how to penetrate it’s forcefield so that the rockets and bullets we fire from our artillery can end it’s reign of terror for good. Directed by Fred F Sears.  Mitch MacAfee who works with the military to solve the crisis regarding the anti-matter forcefield, hopes to find a flaw, and create a weapon of some sort to remove this shield used to protect itself from invading hostile threats towards it’s body. Mara Corday is Sally, a mathematics genius and Mitch’s love-interest who helps keep him  focused. The giant killer bird swoops down to grab a moving locomotive train from it’s tracks, lands upon the United Nations building, smashing it to smithereens. Falling debris has city folk running for their lives.

 The killer bird has to be seen to be believed.


                                                                THE GIANT CLAW        HALF SHEET    1957 Original

The Giant Claw has been mocked for the quality of its special effects. The bird in particular is considered by many to be badly made, being a marionette puppet with a very odd face. The film is also riddled with stock footage, including clips of the explosion of the Los Angeles City Hall  from War of the Worlds and collapse of the Washington Monument  from Earth vs the Flying Saucers during the bird’s attack on New York City, making continuity a serious issue.


Morrow later confessed in an interview that no one in the film knew what the titular monster looked like until the film’s premiere. Morrow himself first saw the film in his hometown, and hearing the audience laugh every time the monster appeared on screen, he left the theater early, embarrassed that anyone there might recognise him (he allegedly went home and began drinking).

View the trailer  on this Link:      

However, despite all these shortcomings, James Rolfe of Cinemassacre named the Giant Claw as the number one greatest giant movie monster of all time due purely to the bird’s sheer ridiculousness.


Jeff Morrow.

Jeff Morrow turned to film acting relatively late in his career, commencing with the  The Robe in 1953. So he started with a big one.   He spent much of the 1950s appearing in a mix of A-budget epics in supporting parts, or ‘B’ Westerns such as The Siege at Red River (1954) and science fiction films , usually paired with a busty and beautiful actress.

Jeff Morrow carried over much of his acting persona from his radio days to his film acting roles, where his ability to rapidly alter both the tone and volume of his voice for dramatic effect frequently gave sound editors fits. He entered the science fiction/monster movie genre with the 1955 film This Island Earth, followed by The Creature Walks Among Us, The Giant Claw, and Kronos (1957).

                                                                    This Island Earth

Mara Corday – Below

Mara Corday (born Marilyn Joan Watts on January 3, 1930) is a showgirl, actress and model] and a 1950s cult figure probably because of the B movie films she made during the early part of the fifties.

 She signed on as a Universal International Pictures  contract player and there she met actor Clint Eastwood with whom she would remain lifelong friends. With UI, Corday was given small roles in various B-movies and television series. In 1954 on the set of Playgirl she met actor Richard Long. Following the death of Long’s wife, the two began dating and married in 1957.

Her roles were small until 1955 when she was cast opposite John Agar in Tarantula a Sci-Fi B-movie that proved a modest success (with Eastwood in an un-credited role). She had another successful co-starring role in that genre (The Black Scorpion) as well as in a number of Western films. Respected film critic Leonard Maltin said that Mara Corday had “more acting ability than she was permitted to exhibit.”


If someone mentions the names of Jeff Morrow and Mara Corday to me, I straight away think of such films as This Island Earth and Tarantula – and The Giant Claw for that matter – all of them products of a date and time. Such films could never be made now but they still hold a place in any genuine films fans heart I think. They were not that good but at the time – we loved them.

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