My favorite moment of this year’s Oscar telecast occurred when a sprightly 82-year-old Christopher Plummer took the stage in a beautiful velvet suit to accept his Best Supporting Actor award. He was incredibly gracious and gave one of the best speeches of the night. It was obvious that the Canadian actor hadn’t lost any of the charm that has made him so appealing to audiences … Continue reading 10 GREAT CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER PERFORMANCES
One of the best films I saw last year was Tomas Alfredson’s TINKER TAILOR SOLIDER SPY (2011) based on John Le Carré’s novel of the same name. It stars Gary Oldman in a career defining performance that’s earned him an Oscar nomination. I hope Oldman takes home the award but I’m not here to talk about TINKER TAILOR SOLIDER SPY. I’m here to discuss another spy film … Continue reading SPY GAMES: The Looking Glass War (1969)
“This is America quaking, this movie, seen the way only a gifted artist can possibly draw his photographic attention to these events . . . the roots and fruit of social turmoil, and the media pervading and even anticipating the event. The media’s involvement in the motion picture, its place in the movie, is more important than the relationship that exists between the girl and … Continue reading THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING: MEDIUM COOL (1969)
Stuart Hagmann’s THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT (1970) is often dismissed today as a dated relic of the early 1970s. During its initial release, it was singled out for being exploitive and failing to be a straightforward adaptation of the book it was based on. Many critics claimed that Hagmann’s direction was erratic and too creative for its own good, which supposedly diminished the film’s political message. When I … Continue reading POLITICS, PROTEST & PROGRESS IN THE STRAWBERRY STATEMENT
The name Mae Clarke might not immediately ring any bells. But the fair-haired, spirited, and sad-eyed beauty was a promising leading lady in pre-code Hollywood before personal disappointments, mental health issues, and a disfiguring car accident took their toll. When Clarke died in 1992 at age 81 most classic film fans remembered her as the woman who gets a grapefruit smashed in her face by … Continue reading MAE CLARKE: FRANKENSTEIN’S FIRST BRIDE
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) is commonly considered the best of James Whale’s two Frankenstein films and while I absolutely love Elsa Lanchester’s iconic performance as the hissing she monster, I prefer the original. There are a number of reasons why I tend to gravitate towards FRANKENSTEIN (1931) over its sequel. First and foremost, it takes itself more seriously and in turn, it’s the scarier film. The fog-shrouded cemeteries are … Continue reading In the Trenches with James Whale: FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
Like any horror film fan worth their salt and of a certain age, I’ve seen badly beat-up and butchered prints of The Terror on TV and video numerous times. The film suffered the unfortunate fate of falling into the public domain decades ago so it became a staple of late-night television and was repeatedly released as part of cheap video and DVD compilations typically sold … Continue reading Revisiting & Reappraising THE TERROR (1963)
Tod Browning’s DRACULA (1931) is rightly hailed as a horror classic while the Spanish-language version directed by George Melford was assumed lost and went largely unseen by modern audiences following its initial release until it was restored and distributed on home video in 1992. Both films were shot at the same time using the same sets but with different casts, which was a typical practice … Continue reading DRACULA VS. SPANISH DRACULA
I recently set aside some time to watch all six of Universal’s Inner Sanctum Mystery films starring Lon Chaney Jr. Seeing these relatively short (60-67 minute) B-movies back to back over a couple of days was a joy and I found new things to admire and appreciate about the film’s leading man. But afterward, I made the mistake of scouring through various film books and poking around … Continue reading Lady Killer: Remembering Lon Chaney Jr.
Jennifer’s gone missing. She was supposed to be looking after her uncle’s sprawling estate, which appears to have been abandoned since the Great Depression, but no one has seen her in weeks. Did she run off with an unknown lover? Did she swindle an undisclosed sum of money from her previous boss and head to Mexico on a cruise ship? Or was Jennifer murdered by … Continue reading What Ever Happened to Jennifer?