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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … Continue reading What Ever Happened to Jennifer?
As a lifelong classic film fan who has seen more movies than she cares to remember, it’s easy to become a little jaded. But every year I manage to come across an old film that becomes a new favorite. In 2016 that film is the amazing, Amazing Mr. X (1948), a low-budget supernatural thriller also known as The … Continue reading Spiritualism & Spooks: The Amazing Mr. X (1948)
Ray Milland sees dead people. Or to be more precise, Ray Milland begins seeing the ghost of his dead daughter in the made-for-TV movie DAUGHTER OF THE MIND (1969) based on a novel by author Paul Gallico (THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES; 1942, BITTER VICTORY; 1957, THE SNOW GOOSE; 1971, THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE; 1972) and directed by Walter Grauman. This is … Continue reading Telefilm Time Machine: Daughter of the Mind (1969)
One of my favorite actresses is the beautiful and enigmatic Kim Novak and one of the first made-for-TV movies she appeared in was SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975). This surprisingly effective supernatural thriller combines elements of classic horror films such as PHANTOM SHIP (1935) and GHOST SHIP (1955) as well as THE EXORCIST (1973) into a spine-tingling original tale set on the stormy seas … Continue reading Telefilm Time Machine: SATAN’S TRIANGLE (1975)
The Spiral Staircase (1946) is a longtime favorite of mine and it has been hailed as a prototype for many of the best giallo films. With thoughts of murder and black-gloved killers running through my mind it seemed like a good time to revisit this classic thriller that features an Academy Award-nominated performance by Ethel Barrymore as … Continue reading The Spiral Staircase (1946)
The legend of Faust is one of the oldest occult tales in the Western world. This German fable has been the basis of countless plays, poems, novels, musical compositions, works of art and films. Faust's story has been reinterpreted many times in various ways but most renderings portray him as an aging unsatisfied scholar who … Continue reading DANCING THE MEPHISTO WALTZ
The setting is London in the early 1900s where a young Scottish woman named Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) is preparing to wed her beau (Don Porter). The happy couple’s plans are interrupted when someone or something begins killing locals at a nearby park. Terrified Phyllis is certain an old Scottish curse that has plagued her … Continue reading AAAHOO! – SHE-WOLF OF LONDON (1946)