Six Months of Movie Morlocks: May – Oct. 2016

It’s been an interesting, busy and to be honest, an extremely stressful year due to some ongoing medical issues I’m dealing with that you can read more about here: Vertigo: Hitchcock was wrong.

In turn, I’ve been terribly lax about updating the blog but due to looming work related developments that I’ll be sharing soon, I thought it was time to finally play catch up with Cinebeats’ readers. What follows are links to some of the most interesting (in my estimation) writing I’ve done for TCM’s Movie Morlocks blog during the past six months.

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Spotlight on AIP with Roger Corman
Mistress of Menace: Barbara Steele in The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Sexual Revolution on Campus – Three in the Attic (1968)
Robert Fuest & His Abominable Creations
Revisiting The Terror (1963) on Blu-ray
TCM Star of the Month: Olivia de Havilland @ 100
Summer Reading Suggestions

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The Whole World is Watching: Medium Cool (1969)
Poster Gallery: Remembering Jack Davis 1924-2016
Fay Wray: The Clairvoyant (1934)
Roddy McDowall: Celebrity Photographer
Angie Dickinson in Cry Terror! (1958)
A Grand & Moving Thing: The King and I (1956)

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Offbeat Otto: Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970)
52 Films By Women: #52FilmsByWomen
Out of the Closet: Tab Hunter Confidential (2015)
My Visit to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Paranormal Police Procedural: Nothing But the Night (1972)
The Amazing, Amazing Mr. X (1948)

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6 Months of Film Writing

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I’m afraid I’ve been neglecting Cinebeats again but I’ve been busy with various personal projects and obligations. I’ve also recently started writing for Publishers Weekly but I thought I’d finally update with some highlights from TCM’s Movie Morlocks. Here’s some of the more interesting (in my estimation) film related writing & entertaining babble I’ve produced in the last 6 months. You might notice that the topics I cover have gotten a little “lighter” in content and that’s by design. TCM’s blog readers generally prefer light reading about familiar topics so I’ve been trying to accommodate them more often.

March, 2015:
Superhero Saturdays on TCM: BATMAN (1943)
Bold! Noble! Daring! BATWOMAN (1968)
William Mortensen in Hollywood
Hammer Noir: A Poster Gallery
April, 2015:
“Robbery & Murder Were Their Code of Living!” – THE CATS (1968)
A Troy Donahue Top 10
Cooking with Sophia Loren
Orson Welles at One Hundred
May, 2015:
Think Pink: The Enduring Appeal of Lady Penelope
Two on the Run: DEADLY STRANGERS (1975)
The Hollywood Style
June, 2015:
Hollywood Comes to Hearst Castle: Memories & Musings
Men Among Monsters: Remembering Christopher Lee & Richard Johnson
Bugging Out! A Poster Gallery
Classic Hollywood Actors Discuss Women, Beauty & Femininity with Arlene Dahl
July, 2015:
Underrated ’65
Elisabeth Lutyens: Horror Queen of Film Composers
Midsummer Reading Suggestions
Q&A: Michael Kronenberg From the Film Noir Foundation
Birdwatching in Bodega Bay
August, 2015:
A Few Fun Facts About Michael Caine
The Kitten & The Cowboy: When Ann-Margret Met The Duke
Mae Clarke: Frankenstein’s First Bride
Closing Act: Shelley Winters

2013 at the Movie Morlocks

jfrancoJess Franco 1930-2013

What follows is a collection of links to some of my posts at TCM’s Movie Morlocks from 2013. These are (in my estimation) the best and most interesting articles I wrote last year but you can read my entire output for 2013 at the Movie Morlocks if you peruse the archives. From this point onward on I’ll be collecting links to my Morlocks’ posts and sharing them here at the end of each month.

Rio – Rififi Style! GRAND SLAM (1967)
A Brief History of the Telefilm
Out, out, brief candle: Jon Finch 1942-2012
This is a Time for Ghosts : THE AWAKENING (2012)
All Love is Mad : MAD LOVE (1935)
Does Oscar gold come with an Oscar curse?
Telefilm Time Machine: DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969)
Tracing My Irish Roots Through the Movies
The Pulp Adventures of Lee Marvin
Telefilm Time Machine: THAT CERTAIN SUMMER (1972)
In Memoriam: Jesús “Jess” Franco (1930-2013)
Lon Chaney Jr. – Lady Killer
Comic Relief with ARTISTS AND MODELS (1955)
Telefilm Time Machine – FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)
GUN AND SWORD: An Encyclopedia of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980
Personal Passions: Alain Delon
Derelict Dancers: Gerard Depardieu vs. Roman Polanski – A PURE FORMALITY (1994)
Hail Cleopatra! Queen of the Nile & Queen of ’60s Style
Arsenic & Ambiguity in David Lean’s MADELEINE (1950)
Final Faces
Francois Truffaut – Friend, Teacher & Film Critic
Someone is Bleeding: LES SEINS DE GLACE (1974)
Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be? : SO LONG AT THE FAIR (1950)
Telefilm Time Machine: Steven Spielberg’s SOMETHING EVIL (1972)
Four Reasons Why I Love Natalie Wood
Julie Harris 1925-2013: “And we who walk here, walk alone.
The Story of Film: UN CHIEN ANDALOU (1928)
In the Trenches with James Whale
Hollywood Goes to the Dolls
Telefilm Time Machine: SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975)
Vincent Price Takes Center Stage
Vincent Price’s Small Screen Successes
Vincent Price & Gene Tierney: A Doomed Romance
In the Kitchen with Vincent Price
Adults Only: HOUSE ON STRAW HILL (1976)
Fighting Prejudice with Sidney Poitier
A Celluloid Revolution – James Dean: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
Telefilm Time Machine: HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972)

The Man of the Hour: Alfred Hitchcock

Back in May when I debuted Klara Tavakoli Goesche‘s video tour of VERTIGO locations at the Movie Morlocks I made note of the fact that: “Alfred Hitchcock’s name seems to be everywhere these days.” It seems that my observation was somewhat premature because I had no idea that Hitchock would became a subject of daily debate among critics & film fans following his top position on Sight & Sound’s controversial, self-important and highly publicized list of what they call The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time. Yesterday, on what would have been Hitchcock’s 113th birthday, the blogosphere and various social networking sites were being bombarded with “Top 5” and “Top 10” lists of Hitchcock films. My inner cynic’s response was; “How in the hell do you narrow down Hitchock’s filmography to a simple Top 5 list? You can’t. And if you can I suspect you haven’t seen many of Hitchcock’s films. Compiling a Top 10 is tough enough but compiling a Top 5 is a fool’s errand.” I stand by that observation because 5 years ago I tried to make my own list of 5 Favorite Hitchcock Films followed by a list of 10 Favorite Hitchcock films and I failed at both. I ended up with a list of “15 Favorite Hitchcock Films” instead.

My own list of favorites hasn’t changed in 5 years but occasionally I regret not including a few. I’m prone to to shouting out SHADOW OF A DOUBT (as longtime readers & friendly acquaintances can attest) when I’m asked what my favorite Hitchcock film is but there are a number of Hitch’s movies that I find equally engrossing for a variety of reasons although Joseph Cotten will always get my vote for giving the best performance in any Hitchcock film. Period! No room for argument there.

Below is an alphabetical list of my own “15 Favorite Hitchcock Films” that I’m reasonably comfortable sharing. As I mentioned 5 years ago, I  didn’t bother numbering the list because their numerical order isn’t significant to me and frankly I kind of enjoyed seeing VERTIGO at the bottom of my list. Don’t get my wrong, I love VERTIGO but it seems silly and reductive to single it out in a filmography that’s loaded with so many great movies. The impact of every Hitchcock film changes for me with each viewing. Some films grow in stature while others lose some of their original luster but these 15 remain my personal favorites.

The Birds (1963) “Can I bring the lovebirds, Mitch? They haven’t harmed anyone.”

Dial M for Murder (1954) “Do you really believe in the perfect murder?” Foreign Correspondent (1940) “I’ve been watching a part of the world being blown to pieces. A part of the world as nice as Vermont, and Ohio.”

Frenzy (1972) “Do I look like a sex murderer to you? Can you imagine me creeping around London, strangling all those women with ties? That’s ridiculous… For a start, I only own two.”

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) “To a man with a heart as soft as mine, there’s nothing sweeter than a touching scene.”

Marnie (1964) “You don’t love me. I’m just something you’ve caught. You think I’m some sort of animal you’ve trapped!”

North by Northwest (1959) “And what the devil is all this about? Why was I brought here?”

Psycho (1960) “She might have fooled me, but she didn’t fool my mother.”

Rebecca (1940) “Sometimes, when I walk along the corridor, I fancy I hear her just behind me.”

Rope (1948) “I’ve always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too.”

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) “The world’s a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?”

Spellbound (1945) “We both know that the mind of a woman in love is operating on the lowest level of intellect.”

Strangers on a Train (1951) “My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer.”

The Trouble with Harry (1955) “He looked exactly the same when he was alive, only he was vertical.”

Vertigo (1958) “Anyone could become obsessed with the past with a background like that!”

On a side note, I’ve been catching up with episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series 1962–1965) lately and really enjoying them. If I get a chance I might write about a few of my favorites.

On Location With Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo

In my latest post at the Movie Morlocks I interview fellow film blogger and all-around groovy gal, Klara Tavakoli Goesche who manages Retro Active Critiques. Klara also makes videos and she recently produced her own short film highlighting some of the San Francisco locations seen in Hitchcock’s VERTIGO. I asked her if I could debut the video at the Morlocks because I thought classic film fans would appreciate seeing where Hitchcock shot his movie and thankfully Klara agreed. She also made time to answer some questions about her blog, video work and favorite Hitchcock films. We’ve been chatting online for a long time but it was  a lot of fun getting to know her better. If you’d like to see Klara’s video and read our Q&A please make your way over to the Movie Morlocks!

On Location With Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo

Spy Games: The Prize (1963)

My latest installment of “Spy Games” is available to read at the Movie Morlocks and this time I’m discussing Mark Robson’s sxy espionage thriller THE PRIZE (1963) starring Paul Newman, Elke Sommer, Edward G. Robinson and Diane Baker. Here’s a little sample from my Morlock post:

“THE PRIZE was based on a bestselling novel by Irving Wallace and scripted by Alfred Hitchcock collaborator, Ernest Lehman. Besides writing NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) and FAMILY PLOT (1976) for Hitchcock, Lehman also adapted many successful stage plays and musicals for the screen including THE KING AND I (1956), WEST SIDE STORY (1961), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) and WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? (1966). Lehman was capable of writing smart amusing scripts with plenty of twists and turns. And THE PRIZE will undoubtedly remind many viewers of an Alfred Hitchcock film even if it never reaches the baroque heights of Hitchcock’s best work. But Mark Robson was also a talented director and THE PRIZE has a lot going for it, including an attractive cast, nice location photography and a terrific jazz influenced score by composer Jerry Goldsmith.”

Follow the link to read more:
“Spy Games: The Prize (1963) @ TCM’s Movie Morlocks

Something Is Always Left Behind

A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945)
A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945)
A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945)
A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945)
Images from A Place of One’s Own (1945)

Summer officially makes way for autumn this week and in celebration of my favorite season I decided to write about the classic supernatural thriller A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN (1945) at the Movie Morlocks. This unusual British film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock’s cinematographer Bernard Knowles and features an exceptional performance from Margaret Lockwood as a young woman haunted by ghosts. It also features one of my favorite horror film regulars, a very young & handsome Dennis Price (THE EARTH DIES SCREAMING; 1964, VENUS IN FURS; 1969, THE HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN; 1970, TWINS OF EVIL; 1971, VAMPYROS LESBOS; 1971, THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN; 1972 and THEATER OF BLOOD; 1973), in his first thriller as well as James Mason. You can read more about A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN if you follow the link below.

Something Is Always Left Behind @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

Barbie Goes Hollywood

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This week at the Movie Morlocks I discuss the latest classic film themed Barbie dolls from Mattel. A brief paragraph from my post:

“For more than 50 years Mattel has been making pop culture history and their celebrity Barbie dolls have become highly collectible. It all started in 1967 when Mattel decided to create a Twiggy Barbie based on the famous British model and actress. Since then Mattel has gone on to create many celebrity Barbie dolls based on classic film and television personalities such as Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Vivien Lee, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Diahnn Caroll, Lucille Ball, Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.”

As always, follow the link for more:
Barbie Goes Hollywood @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog

Alfred Hitchcock Needs Our Help

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From my newest post at TCM’s Movie Morlocks Blog:

“This week the BFI (British Film Institute) launched a new campaign called “Rescue the Hitchcock 9” that asks the public to help them rescue 9 of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest films. The original movies were shot on nitrate film, which is notorious for its incendiary properties. Nitrate film can also decompose over time and film archivists are forced to take drastic measures in order to preserve and restore these old films. The 9 silent films that Hitchcock made during the 1920s have badly deteriorated through the years due to general use and they’re currently in dire need of restoration. Thankfully there is new digital technology in place that can help repair worn and damaged films but the process is time consuming and costly.”

You can read the entire piece here.

Barbie has gone to The Birds

This might be old news to some, but it’s new news to me. I just discovered Mattel released a Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in The Birds (1963) Barbie doll in October complete with attacking birds and a mini reproduction of her fabulous green dress suit. The Birds terrified me when I first saw it as a child and I don’t suspect that a lot of little girls will be asking for a Melanie Daniels’ Barbie this Christmas, but it’s definitely on my holiday wish list!

Tippi Hedren Barbie

I really wish Mattel would hire me to help them design other film-themed Barbies. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who wants a Meiko Kaji as Sasori doll.

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