In the 1960s anthology (also known as omnibus or portmanteau) films became extremely popular and were attractive to producers who wanted to appeal to a broad range of viewers. The segmented format also encouraged audiences to make multiple trips to the concession stand, which pleased theater owners. Sex comedies were particularly trendy but the most … Continue reading DUELING DELONS: SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968)
“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
Susan Denberg (aka Dietlinde Ortrun Zechner) was blond, beautiful, and unapologetically curvaceous. A German-Austrian Kim Novak look-alike with strong sex appeal and an endearing screen presence. Like Novak, Denberg dated Sammy Davis Jr. while some of her other romantic conquests included Stuart Whitman, Sidney Poitier, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, and director Roman Polanski. Following a … Continue reading FRANKENSTEIN CREATED SUSAN DENBERG
I'm taking a break from my month-long Halloween programming to remember Sean Connery who died today at age 90. If you've been following my writing adventures over the last 15-years or so you will know that I'm a longtime Connery fan and enjoyed writing about the man and his films when time and opportunity allowed. … Continue reading Remembering Sean Connery (1930-2020)
Film buffs tend to have obsessions. We fuss and fawn over particular actors and directors while attempting to see everything they ever appeared in or produced. One of my own personal obsessions isn’t an actor or a director but it’s a tale I enjoy seeing reimagined over and over again in different languages and in … Continue reading FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY (1973)
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)
Michael Reeves Since director Michael Reeves's unfortunate death in 1969 at the age of 25 his life has become the stuff of cinematic legend. His reputation as a sort of Byronic hero who challenged the British film establishment was secured when he died much too young due to an accidental drug overdose leaving behind just … Continue reading MIND OVER MATTER: THE SORCERERS (1967)
When I’m feeling low I tend to gravitate towards what I like to call “comfort viewing” and my comfort viewing is classic horror films. During the cold winter months, cozying up on the couch with a warm beverage and a couple of creaky old black and white horror movies can make even the worse week … Continue reading A Boris Karloff Double Feature
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?
Today Sterling Hayden is best remembered by film lovers for his memorable roles in a number of classic noirs and westerns that air on TCM regularly as well as subsequent standout parts in Kubrick’s DR. STRANGELOVE: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964), Coppola’s THE GODFATHER (1972) and Altman’s THE LONG GOODBYE (1973). Late in life tall and brawny actor … Continue reading Pastoral Suspense: DEADLY STRANGERS (1975)
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)