Murder By Television ~ 1935 -BW

QUICKIE: We've always suspected, but now we know.... Tv kills!

PLOT: The inventor of a new television transmission process refuses to sell his invention to any existing broadcast companies and plans on revealing his invention through a debut broadcast. Midway through the initial broadcast, the inventor is killed and when the police arrive to investigate the death, the inventor's assistant is found murdered. With plenty of suspects to choose from and all with a motive for the deaths, it falls on the Chief of Police and a Federal Agent to figure out who did the crimes

Bela in a non-vampire role! And not a mad scientist either! This movie is pretty good. I had no idea who did it, as everyone had a motive. It's a pretty standard mystery, but what is really great here is the ending. The professor was killed by two frequencies combining to produce a cosmic radiation known as The Death Ray! And no, that wasn't Bela who got killed, it was his twin brother! Those two bits came out of nowhere and sure surprised me. What a crazy surprise ending because of it too.
Mystery Collection: Disc 12 - side A
Watch for free:

Guest in the House ~ 1944 -BW

QUICKIE: PDMR rule: Some women are just bad.

PLOT: A young woman (Anne Baxter), who is emotionally unstable, stays at the home of her physician where she ends up meeting his brother (Ralph Bellamy). The woman becomes obsessed with the man, in spite of the fact that he is happily married (to Ann played by Ruth Warrick), and decides to do everything in her power to win him over and prove her love. The dangerous actions of the young woman leads to some tragic consequences for those involved. Aline MacMahon plays Aunt Martha, Marie McDonald as Miriam the model, and Margaret Hamilton has a small role as Hilda the Maid.

SUMMARY: Not having seen All About Eve I found this movie to be absolutely wonderful. Having read a review of All About Eve on I can understand why critics downplayed Ann Baxters' portrayal of Evelyn as "preparation for Eve" in All About Eve. Hence the futility of reading "critics". I am not a critical person, preferring to focus my time on good things, and skipping over the losers.

I found this movie to be completely engrossing. It sucked me in and carried me along and in the end made me thrilled with the whole ride. Ann Baxter was great, I didn't think she over acted at all. I especially enjoyed how the whole movie got darker and the lighting more dramatic as the emotions progressed. Some have said the characters' gullibility was too hard to believe, and I did agree with that a little, but pushed it away with the rational that times were indeed different then. Also, if one has never interacted with a sick individual, one has no way of knowing what they're capable of. So, their naivety was believable for me.
If I rated movies around here, I'd give this 10 out of 10 stars, I liked it that much. It is a really good film start to finish. And boy, what a finish!

Mystery Collection: Disc 14 -side A
I can't find it online yet.

Eegah ~ 1962 -colour

QUICKIE: Eh Gads! It's Eegah!

PLOT: A teenage girl driving through the desert is confronted by a huge Neanderthal-like man and she returns to the city to share her story with her father, an explorer, and her boyfriend. When her father doesn't return from searching for the creature, the girl and her boyfriend head out to the desert to find him and the girl is taken hostage along with her father. It's up to the efforts of the boyfriend to rescue the father and daughter before the caveman can make the girl his mate.

SUMMARY: I said to my mom that I watched this movie about a caveman that somehow survived until 1950 & lived outside LA and met a girl on the highway and fell in love with her. She said let me guess the plot: he kidnaps the girl and takes her back to his cave. Although he's a caveman she learns he's not such a brute, he's just "misunderstood" because he's different. Either her ex, or current boyfriend gathers a mob and comes to save her. She pleads for Eegah not to be killed and then everybody lives happily ever after. (I should shorten that to HEA.) I was amazed at how close she came to nailing the plot. Yes, it's predictable, but it's still kind of charming in a mildly entertaining way.

Just add in the Dad, who wants to write a book about Eegah, but gets captured by him instead, the boyfriend continually breaking out his guitar and boring us with some rotten music, and that the cops kill Eegah in the end (for crashing a pool party in LA) and there ya go! In almost every scene with Arch Hall Jr., all I can do is stare at his hair. WHAT is going on there?!!??? The top part sticks straight out, totally unruly. I don't know if it's intentional, but it looks dumb. Point, stare, laugh. Anyway, this is the same doorknob who was in Wild Guitar. A really boring film about Arch becoming a rock star.

This film has Arch's Dad, Arch Hall Sr. in it. At least Dad can act better than Jr.. But every film that is a family affair is inevitably bad. Marilyn Manning is the girl Eegah falls for. Richard Kiel (Jaws from James Bond's Moonraker) plays Eegah the misunderstood caveman. He actually manages to be rather funny in playing up to his dead relatives who are seated in his cave. The scene where he gets a shave is also amusing. It's a fun movie to watch with a friend and crack jokes through it. You can't get mad at a film that fails on so many levels. It's a charming little mindless distraction. "Great film" it is not.

available on Google video

Destroy All Planets ~ 1968 -colour

QUICKIE: (sung like BOC's "Godzilla")
Well he spins through the air
with fire coming out his butt
Everyone points at the sky
and then they yell "what?"

Taaaa-DA! There goes Taki-ma.
Ha-HA Gamera!

(ok, I'm no poet)

PLOT: Gamera, the giant flying turtle returns to save humanity when an alien spacecraft approaches Earth intent on world domination. Gamera destroys the alien ship, but a second craft captures two boy scouts to shield them from Gamera. The aliens then place a control device on Gamera to make him attack Tokyo. The boys foul their plans when they manage to reverse the controls and Gamera confronts the squid-like beings in a climactic battle.

SUMMARY: Another great Gamera story where everybody's most beloved turtle saves the day by fighting a monster. These super sci-fi special effects are not to be missed! The alien ship is 5 painted beach balls on a hula-hoop. Our heroe Gamera is a special effect along the quality lines of Godzilla. It is also a Japanese film. With the typical "monster destroys the model town" scene. The begining has a recap of a few previous Gamera battles.

I love how the little boys shout fighting directions at the giant turtle like he wouldn't know how to fight if not for the guidance of an 8 year old boy. It's a cute movie although very typical and very predictable.

Svengali ~ 1931 -BW

QUICKIE: Look deep into my eyes..... now sing baby, SING! .....Uh, owie.

PLOT: Sinister music maestro Svengali (John Barrymore) can control the actions of women through hypnotism and his telepathic powers. When a pupil he has seduced announces she has left her husband for him, he uses his powers to cause her to commit suicide and then he promptly forgets her. He meets a beautiful model, Trilby (Marian Marsh), and becomes infatuated with her, but she, in turn, falls for a young artist called Billee (Bramwell Fletcher) who also loves her. One day Svengali hypnotizes Trilby to cure her headache, but also examines her upper palate and decides it is an ideal cavity for great singing. He hypnotizes her to fake her suicide, and marry him. Svengali uses his powers to make her sing wonderfully and Madame Svengali becomes a sensation throughout Europe. The constant hypnotism takes a toll on Svengali's health, yet he hides it well. At a performance Billee discovers the ruse and begins to follow the pair, upsetting Svengali enough to have him cancel performances too frequently, so they no longer can perform in Europe. They go to Egypt, but Billee relentlessly follows.

SUMMARY: This is a phenomenal movie. Great acting, great story, cool cinematography. Really worth the watch, and don't watch the 1983 remake with yucky Jodie Foster. Gag. She can't hold a candle to everything Marian Marsh brings to the character. Beauty, charm, grace, innocence and vulnerability. I can't believe Jodie could be hypnotized, and I can never "forget" the star, or she's always Clarice to me. John Barrymore is THE man. He's an amazingly good actor, and amusing to boot. That beard is so funny looking I can't take my eyes off it. He has the presence of a real star, yet we get lost in the character because he is such a GOOD actor. Unlike Jodie Foster. Have I mentioned I don't like her? And look at how HUGE the hallways are in those Paris studios. And the costumes! A definite classic. Watch it, you'll love it.

Family Collection: Disc 55 - side B

Watch for free here:

Read the novel for free here:

Becky Sharp ~ 1935 -colour

QUICKIE: It's "Gone With The Wind" in shorthand.

PLOT: Set against the background of the Battle of Waterloo, Becky Sharp (Miriam Hopkins) is the story of Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Becky and Amelia (Francis Dee) are girls at school together, but Becky is from a "show biz" family, or in other words, very low class. Becky manages to insinuate herself in Amelia's family and gets to know all their friends. In the movie we get to see the class distinctions in England at the time, and get a sense of what it was like for the English military at the time of the Napoleonic wars. We also get a clear look at how "orphans" are viewed and treated. Her mistreatment forms her character into a sardonic gold digging social climber. After using various men to raise her status within society, Becky's standing is dealt a serious blow and she is forced to work as a singing girl in a beer hall. Undaunted by her decline, Becky vows to once again gain her status within society and eventually resumes her climb.

SUMMARY: Miriam Hopkins was nominated for an Oscar for her role, but lost to Bette Davis for her film Dangerous. (IMDB) This film was nominated for two other categories at the Venice Film Festival and won Best Colour Film. This was the first feature-length three-color film, the very first film in "Technicolor". It is a remake of Vanity Fair, yet a different film in many respects. So, there is alot of talk about this film and how it compares to the novel, the Broadway play, it's various remakes, and all the hub-bub over the colour. While all of that is interesting, none of it mattered to me before I watched the film. I had just finished watching Myrna Loy as Becky Sharp in the 1932 Vanity Fair, so I was familiar with the story and eager to see this film.

This Becky Sharp is an amazing character. Where so much is implied and quieted down with the Myrna Loy version, Miriam Hopkins is brash, loud and daring. She openly insults people and royality call her "fascinating" for it. She rides higher and higher, with it all culminating one night at a Royal banquet. The battle of Waterloo breaks out and in that moment her world crashes as well.

Sometimes I really enjoy watching movies about people living by their wits and using people. At least Becky is beautiful and vivacious. She enlivens many mens' lives and she should be getting something in return for that. Besides scorn, which she got anyway from the ladies. Many people seem to forget how times were so different in the past and the only way a woman had to get ahead in the world was to play the game and "marry up". No one enjoys poverty, so it was natural for a woman to go after as much as she could. Keep in mind that the men encouraged this behavior in women as well. For if it didn't work, women wouldn't have behaved that way. This movie also hints at the hostility between the classes and just how difficult it is to rise above one's station. But Becky gets it very clearly, which is probabally why she can work the system so well. Society is shallow and built on appearances. Behind closed doors it's a different world.

I loved this user review on IMDB:
"This is "Gone With the Wind" for people who don't care too much about quality. Miriam Hopkins is cast in the Scarlett role - selfish, social-climbing, with no compunctions about using people at whim. The difference is that Scarlett eventually learns her lesson and we have hope, at the end of the story, that she'll live according to the knowledge she's acquired. At the end of THIS story - we're positive that Becky's going to eventually end up in hell, and good riddance. Becky's a manipulative brat who rises to the top, comes crashing down and is eager to start the cycle again."

Family Collection: Disc 54 - side A

Creature Double (triple) Feature: Watch Vanity Fair before this film, then after both, you can watch Reese Witherspoon in the 2004 remake. That's alot of Becky Sharp!

Watch for free Here:

Martin Luther ~ 1953 -BW

QUICKIE: One monk changed the world. Or (singing) "I gotta be me, I just gotta be meeeeeee...."

PLOT: This biographical account of Martin Luther's actions that eventually created the Protestant and Lutheran religions was filmed in conjunction with the Lutheran Church. Niall MacGinnis portrays the monk who's nailing of his list of 95 theses to the church door created a stir so large that it shook the very foundations of the Catholic Church. This film shows the struggle between Luther and the organized church and how the Catholic Church was not fully explaining things he questioned, which led him to be labeled a heretic.

SUMMARY: Imagine my embarassment to find this film nominated for two Academy Awards. Oh well. No accounting for taste and all that. (Mine that is.) I found this film interesting, yet dry and dull overall. However, it's a biography of a monk, so it's not going to have car chases and murders a plenty like most of these classic films do. So, as a biography of a monk, I guess it's pretty entertaining as he does get called a heretic and must renounce his writings to save himself.

Through his phenomenal fortitude and immense courage he stands his ground and refuses to go against his conscience. He "stands by scripture" and preaches of a loving God. He trys to bring religion to the people instead of milking them for money (called "indulgences"). These themes are the main thrust of his movement. He has unbelievable character and is very inspiring in how he faces down the Catholic church in Rome as well as many royal folk. Ok, I guess I'm liking this movie more and more.

Family Collection: Disc 54 - side A

Unavailable on the net to watch for free as far as I can tell.

Mutiny ~ 1952 -colour

QUICKIE: Some girls are really bad and will drive you to do such bad things.

PLOT: Early in the War of 1812, Captain James Marshall (Mark Stevens) is commissioned to run the British blockade and fetch an unofficial war loan from France. As first mate, Marshall recruits Ben Waldridge (Patric Knowles), a cashiered former British Navy captain. Waldridge brings his former gun crew... including "Hook" (Gene Evans) who begin plotting mutiny as soon as they learn there'll be gold aboard. The gold duly arrives, and with it Waldridge's former sweetheart Leslie (Angela Lansbury), who's fond of a bit of gold herself.

SUMMARY: I think Angela Lansbury really makes a difference in this film. For one, because she's the only female and two because she drives the first mate on into the dark side once again. Without her this would have been one more boring "pirates against the captain, everybody after the gold" movie. It IS that story, but it is made much more interesting by the exchange between characters and Waldridge's rise, fall and rise of character. This has ALL your typical high seas, pirate adventure movie stuff: the big sailing ships, pirates, cannons, war, a big storm, getting drunk, sharks, royality disseminating ships, murder, treachery, mutiny, poker, floozies, on and on. It's all here.

I liked this bit:
Hook: "Well, the anchor room ain't no place for a Lady."
Leslie: "With a million in gold at stake, I can forget I am a Lady."

Yes she can, and she does, whole heartedly.

Vanity Fair - 1932 -BW

QUICKIE: Some girls are just bad. Becky goes from rags to riches to rags again.

PLOT: This cinematic adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's novel stars Myrna Loy in her first starring role. Becky (Loy) and Amelia are girlfriends at school together, but Becky is lower class, being an orphan. Becky manages to insinuate herself into Amelia's family and gets to know all their friends. Becky is a woman who wishes to get ahead in life and will not let anything stand in her way. This screen version adds a modern twist to the tale with Sharp using older gentleman to increase her status in society, eventually having everything come crashing down upon her. She manages to ruin her own life, becoming sick, broke, and lonely, and also ruins the lives of many other "loved ones".

SUMMARY: The actual title on the DVD is "Indecent," and additionally subtitled "The Private Life of Becky Sharp." Myrna Loy plays Becky Sharp and seems gargantuanly tall , yet still stunning as she uses all her womanly wiles to get her what she wants in life. Spending her time playing to any rich man who fancies her, usually the old ugly ones. This MillCreek version has abysmal sound quality and the editing is atrocious. Yet, that may be part of it's "charm". I spent some time questioning what was really going on as her "indiscretions" are so implied as to not even be happening. The viewer must fill in the blanks, big time. The ending shows her decline into rags again, yet there's no empathy or emotions on our part for her as the whole movie was rather shallow, simple and dull. This movie was remade in 1935 as Becky Sharp staring Miriam Hopkins and then again in 2004 with Reese Witherspoon starring as Becky.

Family Collection: Disc 53 - Side B

Creature Double (triple) Feature: Watch Becky Sharp after this film, and then you can watch Reese Witherspoon in the 2004 remake. That's alot of Becky Sharp!

The Crooked Circle ~ 1932 -BW

QUICKIE: "Olive Oyl" is stuck in a Haunted House with murderers!

PLOT: The Sphinx Club is a group of amateur detectives who are the bitter rivals of The Crooked Circle, a collection of hooded villains. After The Sphinx Club aids the authorities in catching and imprisoning a member of The Crooked Circle, the evil gang swears revenge by targeting Colonel Walters, a well-known member of The Sphinx Club. Will the Sphinx Club be able to protect Colonel Walters or will The Crooked Circle succeed in their quest to kill him?

SUMMARY: If you've never experienced the thing that is Zasu Pitts, here is a Zasu zinger! In 1933 Mae Questel caricatured Pitt's voice for the character Olive Oyl for the Fleischer Studios animated cartoon version of the comic strip Popeye. Zasu (pronounced Zay-Sue) does her best "Olive Oyl" impersonation walking around whining and ringing her hands or attaching herself to the policeman's laynard. I kept waiting for her to say "ohhh myyyy", but instead it's "something always happens to somebody."

The first time I saw this film I loved Zasu and found her character really funny. I've since seen her in other films where she does this same whining, uptight, fragile-flower routine. So, upon watching this film again I started getting a little annoyed with the constant whining and near hysteria over a piece of dust. But, there are some funny comedy bits here, and it's also a mystery movie as well. It's an interesting mix of mystery and comedy that actually works. The mystery plot holds together well through the camp of Zasu Pitts and James Gleason who plays Arthur Crimmer the policeman. The haunted House is fun with many a secret passage and even a skeleton in the attic!

Horror Collection: Disc 45 - Side A

Royal Wedding ~ 1951 -colour

QUICKIE: Oh what a feeling, dancing on the ceiling!

PLOT: Tom Bowen (Fred Astaire) and Ellen Bowen (Jane Powell) are singing and dancing siblings whose agent Irving Klinger (Keenan Wynn) sends them to do their musical act in Great Britain. Keenan Wynn plays also Irving's British twin brother Edgar. Ellen falls in love with a man she meets during the ship trip. This man is called Lord John Brindale (Peter Lawford). Tom finds his sweetheart from Britain. That lucky gal is Anne Ashmond (Sarah Churchill) who is dancing in Tom's musical. The plot is simple: boy meets girl, they fall in love and must choose between their careers or love.

SUMMARY: This is a spectacular Fred Astaire film where he dances on the ceiling of his room, waltzes with a coat rack, and does elegant duet dances with the gals. The comedy is light, the plot is rather simple, the tunes unmemorable, the dancing is out of this world. If you like song and dance movies this Academy Award nominated movie should be in the top 10 list for best one ever, if only for the rotating room & coat rack dance scenes. PDMR blog rule: "movies end with everybody getting married" is royaly played out here. (teehee)

Family Collection: Disc 46 - Side A

Watch for free:

Manfish ~ 1956 -BW

QUICKIE: We gots a map, so let's search for sunken treasure maties!

Captain Brannigan (John Bromfield) and niave first mate Swede (Lon Chaney Jr.) run the Manfish, a boat in the Caribbean. During their turtle hunting expedition, the men locate a skeleton who holds a treasure map and gold ring. The Captain recognizes the ring as a twin to one the Professor (Victor Jory) wears, who just happens to have the other half of the treasure map. The Professor also has Alita (Tessa Prendergast), a greedy beautiful native girl that he mistreats and Captain Brannigan takes a liking to. The foursome go find the treasure and tensions, hatred and greed runs high and it all ends up in murder.

SUMMARY: Manfish is an adventure film, released by United Artists in 1956. Filmed in Jamaica, it was released in Great Britain as "Calypso". It was based on the stories "The Gold-Bug" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe. The film was released into the public domain after the breakup of United Artists in 1992.

This is a good, engrossing film from start to finish. Two very independent sailors get brought together by their greed of finding the hidden treasure. Each has half the map. The Professor has the brains to decipher the map while the Captain Brannigan has the boat to get the men there. Lon Chaney plays a very different, non-monster role as the sweet and stupid first mate and previous owner of the Manfish (the boat). There's lots of hatred floating around and it's just a matter of time until there's murder. The story is good, the scenery is gorgeous, and the ending of this film is really good. There are slower, more drawn out moments of reality towards the end which I thought we don't usually see that much of in most movies. Like his panic over hiding the body contrasted with the quiet moments of waiting with the bell clanging, just waiting hysterically.
Horror Collection: Disc 44 - Side A

Mr. Imperium ~ 1951 -BW

QUICKIE: It's like a musical Cinderella with a sad ending.

PLOT: This romantic tale centers on a playboy crown prince (Ezio Pinza) who meets up with a nightclub singer (Lana Turner) while they are both vacationing in Italy. Falling in love, the two embark upon a clandestine romance that they are eventually forced to end due to interference from both of their professions. 12 years later, the two meet up again and realize they still love each other, but now she has become a Hollywood star and he has become King of his country.

SUMMARY: Alternate Title of: You Belong to My Heart. Ezio Pinza is a bass opera singer and makes his film debut in this musical where he sings quite a few songs as well. IMDB states that "this movie turned out to be such a stinker that MGM waited to release it until after Pinza's second film, "Strictly Dishonorable"".

I wouldn't call it a stinker, but it isn't a heavily engrossing film either. It's a sweet musical story of love and how life can complicate things. The humour is light, the songs are nicely done. Lana Turner's song of "My Man and My Mule" is pretty funny. Other than that bit of humour, this is a classy film, meaning there's no down and dirty complicated anything... other than the relationship itself being complicated. The costumes and sets are really superb as well. This is such a simple film that I think it's fine for children to watch it. Although the ending is sad because life forces them to part ways again. Cedric Hardwicke showed everybody up with his sublime evil as the Prime Minister intent on keeping the Prince on track.

The ending is noticeably badly edited as it's said briefly that there's a bomb threat against the King if he returns to the throne, and this is why he chooses to go, to "spare" his son's life. So, I can only conclude that there was a scene edited out in reference to the bomb threat. Too bad that was edited out as it would have added much more emotional depth to the lovers parting again.

As of this posting, I can't find the movie online yet, but try a google search yourself. It's a sweet, simple movie for those times when you want something nice and not too deep.

Mr. Robinson Crusoe ~ 1932 -BW

QUICKIE: A man and his dog go play Gilligan's Island.

PLOT: While cruising the South Seas with friends aboard a sailing yacht, it is wagered that Steve (Douglas Fairbanks) can not survive on a desert isle without the accouterments of civilization. After accepting the wager, Steve and his dog swim ashore and begin to recreate their Park Avenue world by way of various Rube Goldberg type contraptions constructed from local materials. Meanwhile, on a nearby island, a young maiden (Maria Alba) flees her arranged wedding. She canoes to Steve's island for safety, whereupon she is dubbed "Saturday". Soon they are attacked by vengeful tribesmen from the neighboring island. Will Steve and Saturday survive?

SUMMARY: Douglas Fairbanks is crazy fun in this silly film. Playing castaway in a manner to put Gilligan and Tom Hanks to absolute shame, Steve bets he can re-create his Park Avenue lifestyle on the island using only his wits. True to his word, within 2 months time he has created every manner of contraption to recreate his life of ease. He captures animals and humans to create servants. He builds a radio and a raised hut that is quite impressive. It's a rather unrealistic story as in real life one would get hurt, and the weather would act up alot. Steve never faces a bad wind. He also gets a monkey to milk a goat and his dog to keep another goat walking on a treadmill. In real life it would take 2 months just to train the animals. But no matter, we watch to be amused by all the ingenious contraptions made from palm leaves and coconuts. Steve's love of life is infectious and bordering on mania, but it gets him through. There's a great climax where his friends return to get him while 2 tribes of headhunters come after Steve as well.

Mystery Collection: Disc 51 - Side - A

Watch for free here:


The Great Gabbo ~1929 -BW

QUICKIE: That's no dummy, that's my better half!

PLOT: Eric Von Stroheim plays The Great Gabbo, a ventriloquist whose slide into madness is complicated due to the transfer of his darker urges towards the personality of his dummy, Otto. Gabbo's lovely assistant Mary (Betty Compson) is in love with him, but she leaves him due to the abusive behavior that Gabbo exhibits towards her. Without Mary's calming influence, Gabbo is driven over the edge and takes out his anger upon Otto.

SUMMARY: As I was watching this film I kept thinking I had seen it before, and I kind of had when I saw The Great Flamarion . Both films feature Erich von Stroheim as an egomaniacal stage performer who loves his female assistant. The woman breaks up the act, leaves him, he goes mad, and they are later reunited only for her to reject him flat out. Each film presents the story in it's own unique and different way, although the story line is so similar.

In this film Erich's character Gabbo is much more of an ego maniac and more crazy evil as well. This film was more disturbing, perhaps because of the dummy? I half expected it to turn into a Chucky film where the dummy turns and talks to Mary. Maybe it's just that dummies, dolls, puppets and such freak me out, they're so unnatural, yet lifelike. The majority of the scenes with the dummy have Gabbo gorging himself on gourmet food and drink while Otto the dummy sings a silly song across the table. (He uses a hand air bulb & long cord to make Otto move his mouth.)

The dance sequences were very entertaining, if not just for the silly costumes and sets alone. After all, it's not every day we get to see a spider and fly portrayed in sequened gowns. I also liked how the couple carried on a conversation during their performance, like we were getting a secret side of the nightly performances. It's not really a musical type of film, this movie has more meat to it than most musicals do.

The story itself was good and it's an entertaining movie. I did keep feeling that something really bad was just about to happen, and yet it never did, so I felt a bit unsatisfied at the end. Even Gabbo's madness is portrayed in such a mild manner that I didn't quite get that he had totally flipped his lid. Perhaps that is a strong point of this film, and most classic films, is that they don't beat you over the head with their overly graphic, in your face bluntness.

Family Collection: Disc 42 - side A

Private Buckaroo ~ 1942 -BW

QUICKIE: Pro-war musical featuring the Andrew Sisters and the Harry James Orchestra.

PLOT: This WW II musical comedy tells the story of a young inductee who has trouble fitting into the military lifestyle. The inductee changes his ways after meeting a retired officer's lovely daughter. Harry James is also drafted and his band decides to enlist to stay with their leader. James and his group decide to entertain the troops by putting on a show. Along for the ride in this film are The Andrews Sisters, Shemp Howard, Joe E. Lewis, Huntz Hall and a young Donald O'Connor.

SUMMARY: What a fun musical movie. But don't look too hard for a deep plot. There's enough of a story to keep the movie going, but this is more of a film showcasing musical and dance talent. The Andrew Sisters do such hits as: Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree, Six Jerks in a Jeep, and Three Little Sisters. The Harry James Orchestra does You Made Me Love You. The ending is VERY pro-war and some parts of this movie border on offensive to me. But, it was a different time and getting "the enemy" was more civilized, if you'll allow me the use of that term there, than today's wars have become. Things were definitely different then. The musical numbers are fun and the story with Bonnie-Belle (Mary Wickes) and Sgt. 'Muggsy' Shavel (Shemp Howard) is very entertaining. The high energy swing dancing from a bunch of teenagers in the finale just blew my mind. Those kids could dance!

Family Collection: Disc 40 - Side A

Watch for free here:

Rogues' Gallery ~ 1944 -BW

QUICKIE: Murder shouldn't be funny, but this one is a laugh a minute.

PLOT: Reporter Patsy Reynolds (Robin Raymond) and photographer Eddie Porter (Frank Jenks)are assigned to interview John Foster (Davison Clark), head of the Emmerson Foundadtion regarding a listening device the organization is working on. Foster evades them and they to the lab to see Professor Reynolds (H. B. Warner), the real inventor. Soon, they are involved in several shootings, blueprints that change hands several times, a corpse in their car that appears and disappears a few times, the loss of their jobs and several people who either think they are killers or candidates for being killed.

SUMMARY: Oh gee, this one really made me laugh out loud alot. It's your typical murder movie and the corpse keeps vanishing so the police doubt there even was a murder. Patsy seems to be the only one with a clue in this whole movie and I love that. Strong female characters in older films are a rarity. Her and her crazy photographer side kick solve the murder, despite being the prime suspects. Jimmy Foster (Ray Walker) is a rival reporter who has a knack for turning up just when Patsy is getting a scoop.

I figured out right away who did it, so if you're looking for a great "who dun it", then this isn't it. It's more of a comedy than a mystery. If you approach it from that angle it'll be more enjoyable.

Mystery Collection: Disc 48 - Side - A
Watch for free here:

The Black Raven ~ 1943 -BW

QUICKIE: Murder, money, mobsters, marriage, and the worst storm imaginable.

PLOT: A remote country inn, "The Black Raven", is the setting for this mystery starring screen legend George Zucco. Zucco is Amos Bradford, the proprietor of the inn that has a series of mysterious guests arrive during a raging storm. Many of the guests unknowingly have connections to each other and things become very interesting when a murder and $50,000 in embezzled money enter the picture.

SUMMARY: First of all, it's not just a dark and stormy night, it's a frickin' hurricane out there! Hollywood was a bit over zealous with the rain and wind machines again. But it provides laughs as we pity poor Andy (Glenn Strange) the servant who continually gets soaked having to park the cars or get the bags. One of the great things about these older films is this over the topness that by today's standards is so unrealistic that it provides us a laugh.

So, at "The Black Raven" Inn various guests show up who are trying to make it over the border to Canada. The roads are all washed out, so spending the night to wait out the storm is the only option. The movie opens with an escaped convict come to kill Amos Bradford (George Zucco) the keeper of the Inn. He gets knocked down and tied up in a back room, and then the guests start arriving. First is Mike Bardoni (Noel Madison), a mob-boss on the run, trying to make it to Canada until things cool off. Next comes the nerdy banker Horace Weatherby (Byron Foulger) who embezzled $50,000 from his firm and is trying to make it to Canada undiscovered. Before he can get a room, Robert Randall (Robert Livingston) and Lee Winfield (Wanda McKay) show up. The couple is eloping to Canada to escape Lee's mob boss father Tim Winfield (Robert Middlemass) who also shows up not soon after the couple.

With all the players in place, it's not long until lives and stories intertwine. Tim Winfield becomes the most hated man at the party. World renowned meanie, he forbids his daughter to marry and roughs up the fiance Robert a bit, who in turn, threatens to kill him. Tim then discovers the identity of the banker on the run and takes his money from him. Mike Bardoni the mobster was trying to get away from Tim himself, and before we know it, Tim the mean mobster is dead. But who killed him? And what happened to that convict tied up in the back room? Add in the bumbling Sheriff (Charles Middleton) and we've got the makings of a classic murder mystery. They don't come much better than this. Ok, maybe they do, but this one is fun and there's some good laughs and you'll be surprised at who did what. YAY for George Zucco, I love him. The scene where he's making googley eyes at his servant is the best moment. Here's a couple zingers for you:

George Zucco: "Too bad you weren't born without a tongue instead of without a brain."

"With your imagination, you could see the Statue of Liberty do the conga!"

I've seen this listed as a remake of "The Rougues Tavern", but having seen both films, I find them very dissimilar. In fact I would not have know this was a remake without having read it on IMDB. It's a quick 65 minute film, and MillCreeks version was sub-par as usual, with frequent complete black screens instead of a movie. Die hard fans might want a restored, unedited version. I heard Roan carries a good version of it.

Mystery Collection: Disc 48 - side A

Watch for free here:

The Bowery at Midnight ~ 1942 -BW

QUICKIE: Bela is a sweet, kind hearted professor who helps the homeless.... psych! He's the same old villain that we love so much.

PLOT: A kindly university professor (Bela Lugosi) operates a soup kitchen with his daughter Judy (Wanda McKay) down in the Bowery, helping those less fortunate than most. This persona is a cover for the professor's true activities, heading a criminal operation out of the basement of the soup kitchen with his gang (Tom Neal, Vince Barnett, Dave O'Brien) who commit a series of daring robberies. When things get out of hand, Lugosi kills his henchmen, who wind up as zombies in the cellar of the soup kitchen. When one of the professor's students (John Archer) accidentally uncovers the truth, he is targeted for death to protect the Professor's secrets.

SUMMARY: Well, I'll give him this, the Professor has the perfect set up going. A college professor by day, he also runs a soup kitchen where a steady stream of criminals come through his mission door and he "hires them" on the spot. The gang does "a job" together and the recent recruit is killed off during the crime. Well, that's the smartest way to keep your nefarious dealings a secret and take a bigger cut at the same time. There's no one left to squeal on you. Of course the police are stumped about who is committing all these crimes. That is until one of the Professor's high society students goes under cover as a homeless person so he can gain some insight into "how the other half lives" as research for his term paper. Of course he too must be killed because he uncovers the Professor's secret identity.

The Professor has an assistant who manages to bring the dead back to life and he keeps the resurrected gang members in a hidden room in the cellar. This part of the movie is never fleshed out and it left me more confused than adding anything to the film. The movie ends with Richard (the student made zombie, yet who is now perfectly normal) making wedding plans with Judy. Yes I KNOW, every film made before 1960 ends with people getting married, but how has Richard become un-zombified? How did he become a zombie to begin with? It's like they took a plot from another zombie making movie and tried to stick it in here. Best not to think too hard about the plot in these films.

Also keep an eye out for the stereotypical "evil black cat" who likes to hang out with the dead . He adds a particularly scary element with his 6 month old baby meows. awwwww. Then Bela retorts: "How often have I told you to keep that cat from desecrating my graves!"

Horror Collection: Disc 36- side A

Three Husbands ~ 1951 -BW

QUICKIE: Your dead friend left you a letter confessing he did your wife.... psych!

PLOT: When a recently deceased playboy gets to heaven and is granted one wish--granted to all newcomers--he requests that he be able to see the reactions of three husbands, with whom he regularly played poker, to a letter he left each of them claiming to have had an affair with each's wife.

SUMMARY: An interesting peek into three relationships and how they all centered around Max the bachelor. The film shows how each couple responds to the letter and in flashback reveals the moment/s when the alleged affairs could have happened. I was a bit disappointed in the end that all three wives took their husbands back, but considering it was the 50's, of course it's going to end that way. A nice, harmless film that doesn't really say much, other than "don't neglect your wife", but is still a nice film to watch. Some "high society" moments, and some fun party scenes. Eve Arden & Billie Burke are a couple of my more favorited actresses, and they deliver character as always.

Family Collection: Disc 35 - side A

A Bride For Henry ~ 1937 -BW

QUICKIE: Rich spoiled brat marries her lawyer who ends up setting her straight.

PLOT: On the day of her wedding Sheila's (Anne Nagel) fiancé Eric Reynolds (Henry Mollison) doesn't show up, sleeping off the results of the previous night's wild bachelor party. Miffed, the woman decides to go ahead with the wedding anyway to teach her fiancé a lesson. Sheila calls her lawyer, Henry Tuttle (Warren Hull), and has him stand in for her missing groom. Although Sheila intends to divorce her new "husband" at the first opportunity, Henry --who has been in love with her for a long time-- is determined to win his "wife's" hand. Helen Van Orden (Claudia Dell) plays an old acquaintance of Henry's that helps open Sheila's eyes to Henry.

SUMMARY: Sheila is everything contemptuous about high society. She's spoiled to the core. So much so that she marries her lawyer to "teach her fiance a lesson". So much for the sanctity of marriage. Most of this film portrays Sheila and her fiance, who shows up for the honeymoon part anyway, they bumble through various adventures and eventually end up in jail. All the while, Henry Tuttle, the groom, is the very image of class and style. Displaying all his myriad talents of diving, tennis, horseback riding, why he's the very image of good breeding in high society. Eventually Sheila's affections sway from Eric to Henry. In the meantime we get to see high society in all it's glory with fabulous gowns and handsome tuxedos, in a lush resort setting. (Except for the jail scene.) A nice, neutral movie. No killing, no violence, no car chases, no curses. Just high society doing it's thing. Very nice.

Family Collection: Disc 35, side B

Watch for free online:

The Villian Still Pursued Her ~ 1940 -BW

QUICKIE: A villain, a maiden, the hero ... and then ... gasp! ... alcohol!

PLOT: The widow Wilson (Margaret Hamilton) and her daughter Mary (Anita Louise) have just learned that old Mr. Middleton, who held the mortgage on their home, has passed away. They are now visited by Middleton's lawyer, Cribbs (Alan Mowbray), who informs them that Middleton's son and heir Edward (Richard Cromwell) plans to foreclose and take possession of their home. When Mary goes to plead with Edward, she soon discovers that it is really the unscrupulous Cribbs who wants to drive them out of their home. When Mary and Edward become engaged to be married, it looks as if all is well. But the calculating Cribbs has a new plan, which begins with luring young Edward into a lifestyle of drinking and dissipation. Buster Keaton plays William Dalton, the friend to Edward who turns him around in the end.

Villain: "You must pay the rent!"
Maiden: "I can't pay the rent!"
Hero: "I'll pay the rent!"
Maiden: "My hero!"
Villain: "Curses! Foiled again."

The rest of the story:

Maiden & Hero marry.
Maiden: "Lips that touch liquor shall never touch mine."
Villain: "Here, Mr. Hero, have a drink."
Hero drinks for 20 years straight.
Maiden: "Oh, my poor husband."

Watch this movie and laugh. Hiss at the villain, clap for the hero. Make some popcorn to throw at the screen. It's a silly melodramatic romp of ridiculous over-acting and predictable plots. Twice they stop the movie to post notes to the theater customers.
Shakespeare is vomiting. We're laughing at the camp. Great fun for all... except Bill. wink.

The Atomic Brain ~ 1964 -BW

QUICKIE: The crazy Dr. successfully transplants brains!

PLOT: A rich, old woman subsidizes a Dr. who uses atomic power to transplant brains. Two sexy (and one homely) foreign housekeepers are hired with the idea of transplanting the old woman's' brain into a young sexy woman's head.

SUMMARY: I knew if I watched enough of these hokey old films eventually the mad scientist/Dr. would succeed at transplanting brains, or mix and matching body parts to create a successful mesh of a human instead of a killer monster. This is that movie! The Dr. transplants the brain of a dog into a man, a cat's brain into a woman, and then a woman's brain into the cat. (Just ignore the size difference there.) The story becomes about the maids discovering what is really going on in the household and trying to escape before they are killed and used as lab rats. The story itself was really interesting and the characters completely believable without the usual over the top trying to be scary stuff. I was surprised at how good this one was and what a great sense of satisfaction I had at the end of the film.

Horror Collection - Disc #32-B

The Admiral Was A Lady ~ 1950 -BW

Stop that girl I think she's cute.....
Stop that girl or I'll have to get a job.....
Stop that girl because I'm in love with her....

PLOT: Four unemployed veterans work hard at staying unemployed and all is going well until "the Admiral" (Wanda Hendrix) catches the eye of Jimmy Stevens (Edmond O'Brien), the gangs' ring leader. Rudy Vallee plays Peter Pedigrew the jukebox king, who bribes the gang to get the Admiral back together with her fiance or else he'll get the vets' some jobs. Hillary Brooke plays Mrs. Shirley Pedigrew (Peter's ex-wife) who has stolen the Admirals' fiance.

SUMMARY: This is just a silly movie from start to finish. Four veterans have set up deals all over town so the gang goes from place to place all day doing little errands, without actually being employed, as then they'd lose their veteran unemployment pension. Once the Admiral starts meddling in their lives we find the deeper reasons for the veterans' lives being what they are. It's a cute and fun movie. Nothing too heavy. The Admiral keeps trying to get back to Wala Wala to get married and the gang has to stop her from leaving through various ruses.

His Double Life ~ 1933 -BW

QUICKIE: A sweet movie based on a misunderstanding. I think it's a 1930's chick-flick!

PLOT: Priam Farrel (Roland Young) is a celebrated artist but a social recluse. When his valet dies of a sudden illness, a mix-up leads to the body being identified as Farrel's. The timid artist then assumes the identity of his former servant, but finds himself faced with constant dilemmas as a result.

SUMMARY: I like movies about painters. I like movies about old high society. I like Roland Young, so I was going to like this movie. Some may consider it boring. There's no gun play, sex appeal nor car chases. No mad scientists and crazed monsters. Unless you count the scores of morons who never let Farrel clarify his identity. What else can the man do to prove who he is but paint?

I love the unspoken morality of this movie: the wife who loves him and doesn't care what his name is, or about his former life, she loves him just the same. The greedy people who crawl through the woodwork of this mans life once he's dead. How we never know how we really effect someone elses' life. Farrel gets to go to his own funeral, and it's a moving and funny moment. It's amusing how people act after thinking he's dead and Farrel is talking to them about himself.

Things get complicated when Farrrel begins painting again, and his paintings are recognized and sold as "Farrels", who should be dead. So he ends up in court and must prove his identity in a very unconventional way. What's very interesting is he can get away with saying over and over, "I don't care, this isn't my lawsuit, I just want to paint!" As an artist, I sympathize with the frustration of the ridiculousness of the bureaucratic world which keeps the artist from self expression. I could read such themes into this movie forever, but I'm tired now. It's a good movie, it may bore some, but I found it simply wonderful.

The Devil Bat ~ 1940 -BW

QUICKIE: Bela Lugosi stars in a (kinda vampirish) bat movie! Can you believe it?!!!

PLOT: (from IMDB): Dr. Carruthers (Bela Lugosi) feels bitter at being betrayed by his employers, Heath and Morton, when they became rich as a result of a product he devised. He gains revenge by electrically enlarging bats and sending them out to kill his employers' family members by instilling in the bats a hatred for a particular perfume he has discovered, which he gets his victims to apply before going outdoors. Johnny Layton (Dave O'Brien), a reporter, finally figures out Carruthers is the killer and, after putting the perfume on himself, douses it on Carruthers in the hopes it will get him to give himself away. One of the two is attacked as the giant bat makes one of its screaming, swooping power dives.

SUMMARY: Wow! Bela Lugosi plays a mad scientist/Dr. (again!) who is doing secret experiments (again!) on bats to make them grow gigantically big. He also trains his monster bats to be killers (again!) when they smell a certain scent. He tricks certain members of the Heath family into wearing the new cologne which has the scent that attracts the killer bat.

Even though the story is so similar to so many other mad scientist plots, this is still a good film and worth a watch. Bela movies are always enjoyable, he's a good actor and really plays it up. I love the scenes where he throws the switch and the electricity makes the bat grow. It's like a tribute to Frakenstein, and it made me laugh and cackle "It's A-live!". Of course, it never made a fried bat.

There's also the boy/girl love story, the rich uncle/father, the newspaper man and the dumb police. This movie has it all folks! But because the plot is such a repeater the movie is just good and not great. Still enjoyable though, Bela movies always are.

Suzanne Kaaren plays Mary Heath the niece/love interest, and Donald Kerr provides most of the comedic relief playing 'One-Shot' McGuire, the newspapers' photographer. Who trys to get a picture of the devil bat while also romancing the Heaths' French maid (Yolande Donlan). Did I forget to mention the French maid?

Sinister Hands ~ 1932 -BW

QUICKIE: It's another game of "Who Murdered the Millionaire?"

PLOT: During a séance at an elderly millionaire's house, the millionaire is murdered. The detectives investigating the crime discover that everyone who was at the séance had a motive for killing the man.

SUMMARY: You will NEVER guess who did this one because it makes no sense at all and no reason is ever given for why he did it. The final scene has the round up of the usual suspects and each one is gone over for their motive and alibis, except the one who really did it. My copy was so badly edited it was laughable. Still, I always like these movies. Lots of proper handsome men in tuxedos, Ladies in satin ball gowns, a huge, gorgeous manor and very civilized, polite murder. I mean, why else do we watch these films, if not for that?

Devil Monster ~ 1946 -BW

QUICKIE: Part documentary, part fishing trip footage, part Hollywood movie.

PLOT: A schooner disappears at sea without a trace. Years later, evidence of possible survivors prompts the mother of the schooner's mate Jose to hire a tuna boat to investigate. They discover the lad living happily on a South Seas island, and, when he refuses to leave with them, they abduct him. However, Jose gets revenge by leading the ship into the lair of a mysterious giant manta ray.

SUMMARY: This film couldn't quite make up it's mind what kind of a movie it wanted to be. It starts as a film where mom and the girl want Jose brought home. Our hero with point and gawk severely over plucked eyebrows decides to go on his first voyage to find Jose. The film then turns into a documentary of the Galapogos Islands, showing us the islands and various sea life and then tries to get back to the reason for the movie: Jose. Yes, they find him happy as a clam on an island, enjoying fame as the big fisherman. Jose has no interest in leaving, so he is kidnapped and brought home. The skipper lets Jose drive, and he goes into the "devil's cove", where the devil monster lives. This thing is some giant manta-ray with a claw, and Jose battles it to it's death, losing an arm in the process. They also catch a giant haul of tuna and head home. Jose returns to the glee of the two ladies. It's really a rather boring fishing film.

The Brain That Wouldn't Die ~ 1962 -BW

QUICKIE: The decapitated head knows allllllllllllll...... & she'll get you, you psycho Dr., you! and your ugly monster in the closet too!

PLOT: After a car crash, a man keeps his wife's head alive in his laboratory. As if this weren't enough, an evil beast pounds and screams from a locked room adjacent to the lab.

SUMMARY: Darling I love you and I just can't let you go! This psycho Dr. has serious co-dependency issues. His girl is killed in a car crash, but he manages to keep her head alive in his creepy laboratory/basement while he's out looking for a body to attach the head to. Unbeknownst to him, the serum is giving his girl super mental powers so she can communicate telepathically with the monster in the closet. Funny how she plots and schemes the DR.'s demise, seeing as she's just a head. Amusing to watch the Dr. scouting bodies for his girl. Just as he finds the perfect body, the monster in the closet ends up killing the assistant, and then the psycho Dr.. The film ends with another fire destroying the laboratory.

Creature Double Feature: You should really follow this film up with (The) Head -1959 -bw which is a somewhat similar story, but the head is successfully attached to a body and the girl freaks out.

View this movie on Google Video: HERE

The Head ~ 1959 -BW

QUICKIE: The psycho Dr. builds a Miss Frankenstein monster, then gets mad that she's not all: "Oh, you put my head on a whore's body, Yay! kissey kissey"

PLOT: (A dubbed German film.) A scientist invents a serum that keeps a dog's head alive after its body dies. When the scientist dies of a heart attack, his crazed assistant cuts off his head and, using the serum, keeps the doctor's head alive and forces it to help him on an experiment to give his hunchbacked nurse assistant a new body.

SUMMARY: HAHA! The psycho Dr is at it again! Chopping up people parts and reassembling them to make monsters "in the name of science!" I love these kinds of movies, even if they are so ridiculous. Here, the psycho Dr. who originally did the successful head/body transplant on a dog is soon going to die from heart failure. He assembles a team of top notch psycho Dr.s and instructs them to transplant a heart from a stolen corpse into him. The surgery goes badly and all that is left to do is keep the DRs decapitated head alive instead. Just like he did to the dog.

At this point the main psycho DR. begins killing various people. He also does a "test run" head transplant on the hunchbacked nurse, turning her into a sexy bombshell. So the Dr. rapes the sex bomb (I think-you can't tell with some of these movies), and since her head was previously a nun, you can imagine the spiritual crisis she's going through. She also gets involved the body's old boyfriend who she reveals the whole horrid story of the surgery to. The jealous Dr. trys to kill the new guy who then brings the police into the whole matter. It ends with a big dramatic shoot-out in the burning building. A very good film.

Creature Double Feature: Watch The Brain That Wouldn't Die ~1962 -BW first! It's a similar story to this movie, only the head is kept in a pan through the whole film and not attached to a body.

Goodbye Love ~ 1933 -BW

QUICKIE: It's hot potato played with gold-digging, alimony seeking ex-wives.

PLOT: A sexy golddigger lands who she thinks is a wealthy big-game hunter from a royal family. What she doesn't know is that not only is he not wealthy, nor a big-game hunter nor from a royal family, but he's only a butler. Complications ensue as he tries to keep up the pretense. He returns home only to find this same woman marrying his boss. The pair scheme to fix it so he can get out of the marriage without owing her alimony, and also fixing his ex-wife's alimony situation as well.

SUMMARY: Apparently, people in 1930's high society have nothing better to do than marry and divorce each other as some trade stocks on Wall Street. This film could easily annoy any feminist, as women are portrayed as nasty, money hungry ingrates, and no one ever marries for love. The film is mainly about the men trying to get out of their alimony situations, while simultaneously romancing new gold digging floozies. It's silly and scheming, but don't take it too seriously.

Country Gentlemen ~ 1936 -BW

QUICKIE: I keep trying to get out but you keep draging me back in you in lousy, dirt-bag-crumb (but we're rich!) good ol' pal o' mine!

PLOT: After being run out of town for trying to sell worthless goldmine stock, two conmen breeze into the small town of Chesterville, where they find themselves accused of kidnapping a young boy to whom they offered a ride. When that misunderstanding is cleared up, the two conmen hatch a plot to unload all their worthless paper on the gullible citizens of Chesterville and swindle the soldiers at the local army base out of their million dollar bonus.

SUMMARY: Oh gosh, this movie has it all. The stupid blonde, the dumb slapstick crook, the crook trying to go straight, soldiers by the handfull, gangsters, a car chase, motorcycles, a love interest, kids, dogs, money, big business, oil, police, misunderstandings, and the big happy ending where everyone is miraculously rich. Again, you'll have to suspend reality to enjoy the movie and leave most of your intelligence at the door as well. The slapstick con man is annoying with his blatant stupidity and how he keeps dragging his "friend" into cons that he's trying to go straight from. Why the hero doesn't just walk out and leave him is beyond my comfort level.

The bad con sets up an office, buys a field and starts to drill for oil. He makes his friend a partner in the whole affair without his consent and before you know it, they're in too deep to get out. Once the local gangsters and the soldiers find out it's all a con they come gang handed after the two cons, tie them up, carry them to the oil well, and throw dynamite down the well. This of course makes it gush oil, causing the lynch mob to instantly befriend the crooks again. Just at that moment the sheriff shows up to tell them there's been gold discovered in their gold mine. Everybody's rich. I don't believe it. I was never annoyed at a happy ending before, but here it was just too dumb and impossible to take seriously. But, "it's only a movie".

IMDB has a user review that talks about other "Olsen and Johnson" films, which leads me to believe this was a popular comedic paring in the movies. This was my first exposure to this duo and sadly, I wasn't very thrilled. It may just be that the plot annoyed me. There was some good comedy and some very funny lines that did make me laugh, but I was more annoyed than amused by the stereotyped characters.

House on Haunted Hill ~ 1959 -BW

QUICKIE: He's trying to kill her, she's trying to kill him, they're trying to kill him, he's trying to kill them, she's dead, no she's not, he's dead, no he's not, they're dead, I think.

PLOT: Millionaire playboy Fredrick Loren (Vincent Price), hosts a party for his 4th wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart) at the "House On Haunted Hill," a house that has seen seven murders, Fredrick invites 5 guests: Lance Schroeder, (Richard Long) a pilot, Ruth Bridges (Julie Mitchum), a journalist, Watson Prichard (Elisha Cook Jr.), the owner of The House On Haunted Hill, Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig), a worker for one of Fredrick Loren's companies, and David Trent (Alan Marshal), a psychiatrist. Fredrick will offer each of them $10,000 to spend a night in The House On Haunted Hill. They all want the money. Mr. Loren's fourth wife, Annabelle, warns the guests that her husband is insane and plans something that night. That's when everyone begins to suspect something's going on with Mr. Loren. At midnight the doors are locked and there's no way to get out. Then when a game of murder begins and no one knows who's doing what, there's no way to call for help because there's no electricity, phones, and no way to get out.

SUMMARY: This is a brilliantly fun movie. We have the typical "spend the night in the haunted house" game with murders, intricate character relationships and lots of mystery as to who did what. There's an annoying guest who supposedly spent a night in the house before and was found in the morning to be near dead and half insane. He regales us with tales of previous murders in the house and how their ghosts now haunt the house. It's a good, creepy fun movie that isn't too scary with the guts and gore. Just inferred scares. Vincent Price is always wonderful to watch.

Big Town After Dark ~ 1947 -BW

QUICKIE: PDMRB rule #9: Some girls are just bad.

PLOT: When Lorelei Kilbourne (Hillary Brooke) leaves her job as the police reporter for the Illustrated Press, Managing Editor Steve Wilson (Philip Reed) employs the publisher's niece, Susan Peabody (Ann Gillis), to replace her. Susan becomes involved with gangsters in plotting a $50,000 swindle against her uncle, which Steve and the returned Lorelei uncover.

SUMMARY: Oh, she's bad! Sweet little Suzie, has a heart of stone. The neat thing about this movie is that you don't get the whole thing all at once. It slowly develops the story and the characters as we go. By the near end of the movie Suzie comes out as the real monster she is in a great scene displaying her greed and viscousness. We're introduced to her as the "innocent college co-ed", and find out later she's "married to the mob"! S
ure, it's the same old newspaper movie story with the "trying to expose the gangsters" plot, and the love interest reporters disrupted by the young reporter thing. But it's still a good, fun film. Maybe because there's a bit more character development going on.

The Amazing Mr. X ~ 1948 -BW

QUICKIE: A woman is haunted by the ghost of her (supposedly) dead ex-husband.
But wait! This time it's a REALLY GOOD movie!

PLOT: On the beach one night, Christine Faber (Lynn Bari), two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul calling out of the surf. She then meets a tall dark man, Alexis (Turhan Bey), who seems to know all about her life. After more ghostly manifestations, Christine and younger sister Janet (Cathy O'Donnell) become clients of the psychic Alexis; but he in turn finds himself manipulated into deeper deception than he had in mind when Christine's ex-husband shows up to blackmail Alexis. Only Christine's new fiance, Martin Abbott (Richard Carlson) has his wits about him enough to see the fraud and deception going on and through his help, everything comes to a climactic, dramatic ending.

SUMMARY: This is a fabulous movie! This was the 2nd time I've watched it and I'm sure I'll watch it another handful of times. It's so very well done and beautifully shot too. High contrast dramatic lighting always thrills me. The story is very well put together and there are many levels here: the naive wealthy, the evil wealthy, the logical wealthy, and the deceptive crooks. I never expected her husband to still be alive, that was a great twist, even if it's been done before. I got lost in the movie and really enjoyed it. I think what makes good filming is the variety in shots. From long views over the sea, to close ups of Christine's desperation, to the indoor expanse of their gorgeous estate. It's visually engrossing as well as intellectually and emotionally. That always puts a film into the top ranks for me: it's got to be pretty! And this movie is stunning.

Bloodlust ~ 1959 -BW

QUICKIE: Finally! Teenagers are hunted like the vermin they are! (Just kidding!)

PLOT: A group of teen-agers vacationing in the tropics take a boat out to a seemingly deserted island. They soon find, however, that the island is inhabited by a wealthy recluse and his staff. While their host is initially hospitable, he quickly reveals his true purpose: to hunt down and kill each of his visitors, as he has done with everyone unlucky enough to set foot on his island.

SUMMARY: This is a redo of The Most Dangerous Game, which was a much better movie than this. Robert Reed (Mike Brady from The Brady Bunch) is the main character, and I can't take me eyes off his naked colored skin tight t-shirt that shows off the tiniest waist I've ever seen on a guy. I swear I could count his ribs.

Anyway, we have your typical gang off innocent teenagers who get detained on an island by a demented hunter. This movie has more of the drive-in movie flavor with screaming girls, gore and violence than The Most Dangerous Game did. TMDG is a classier film with Fay Wray, tuxedos and ball gowns. There's no gore or violence like seeing leeches crawling over a guy as we have here. Suspension of reality is a must again, as SIX people don't have the brains to gang up against one guy in a house loaded with weapons hanging on every wall. (roll eyes). But, how else would we get a movie, right? A pretty decent film on it's own. Having seen TMDG first, I was a little let down, but it's still good enough to watch with friends.

The Gorilla ~ 1939 -BW

QUICKIE: Hard to figure out who the real gorilla is: the detectives, the butler, the father, or the monkey. They all act beastly. heehee

PLOT: When a wealthy man (Atwill) is threatened by a killer known as The Gorilla, he hires the bumbling Acme detectives (the Ritz Brothers) to investigate. A real escaped gorilla shows up at the mansion just as the investigators arrive.
Patsy Kelly is fantastic as the maid with attitude, and Bela Lugosi has everyone suspecting he's the killer because he's the creepy butler.

SUMMARY: Hardly a Horror film, more of a comedy. A good film with the Ritz Brothers playing stupid slapstick detectives. It's your typical wealthy manor with secret passages and the wealthy father whose life is in danger, the beautiful daughter love interest who gets kidnapped, the hero fiance, and the secret G-man detective hanging around. The story is the same old, same old, "wealthy mans' life is threatened", but it's funny with the slapstick of the Ritz bros, the frenzy of the maid, and the over-the-top creepiness that Bela Lugosi really has fun with. An entertaining film.

The Sin of Harold Diddlebock ~ 1947 -BW

QUICKIE: Two men dangle out the window of the 5th floor suspended only by a lion, and other amazing feats brought to you by Mr. Diddlebock's bender.

PLOT: Twenty years after his triumphs as a freshman on the football field, Harold is a mild-mannered clerk who dreams about marrying the girl at the desk down the aisle. But losing his job destroys that dream, and when he finds a particularly potent drink at his local bar, he goes on a very strange and funny rampage (with a lion in tow).

SUMMARY: This movie stressed me out to no end. Diddlebock gets fired because he's a lame-O, boring bookkeeper. He gets over 2 grand from his retirement fund and a gold watch. Out he goes onto the street, and as a drifter talks him into having his very first drink, we cringe knowing the loss of his life savings is imminent. But we're pleasantly surprised as Diddlebock's enthusiasm explodes out of 20 years of suppressed genius and joy. He runs around screaming and over reacting to everything for the rest of the film.

Diddlebock manages to make $15,000 betting on horses, buys a ridiculous checkered suit, a month's of service from a horse and carriage, and a circus. Once he sobers up he discovers the circus is in huge financial trouble. So Diddlebock schemes up a plan to interest bankers to buy the circus off him by taking the lion to the banks, drumming up attention. There's real stupid slapstick humor here and when they hang off the side of the building suspended only by the lion, I was squirming with uncomfortableness the whole time.

There's the great cliche happy ending as Diddlebock discovers that during his bender he married his true love, and Barnum & Bailey buy the circus for $175,000. Rich, famous and married, Awww.

Margaret Hamilton (Wizard of Oz) has a small part as Diddlebock's sister and Rudy Vallee makes an appearance as well. But I was mostly captivated by the lion. And the constant yelling. Still, a good film with many funny bits and very daring stunts.

Wake Me Up When the War is Over ~ 1969 -colour

QUICKIE: Eva Gabor kidnaps a soldier and makes him her love slave!

PLOT: Ken Berry (F Troop) plays American soldier Lt. Roger Carrington. During WW2 he accidentally falls from a plane into Nazi Germany. Luckily, he lands at the lovely Baroness Marlenes' (Eva Gabor- who is only briefly shown in something other than lingerie) estate. The Baroness hides Ken from the intermittent Nazi house searches performed by Mayor Erich Mueller played by Werner Klemperer, who is best loved for his role as Col. Klink in Hogan's Heroes. The lonely Baroness refuses to tell Ken when the war ends, preferring instead to pay the locals to dress up in their old Nazi uniforms and search the house for Ken once a week. Since Ken can't understand German, he lives in ignorance that the war is over. Things get even funnier when after the war, the Baroness hires servants like Eva (Danielle De Metz), who help Ken escape the estate. Since Ken can't speak any German, things go from bad to worse when he tries to make it out of Germany. Jim Backus (Thurston Howell from Gilligan's Island / Mr Magoo) plays an American Col. looking for Ken. Executive Producers are Arron Spelling and
Danny Thomas, so you just know you're in for something stupidly silly.

SUMMARY: The movie starts with some fascinating reel footage of WW2. Amazing to see that. Aside from the seriousness of the reel footage, this is a really silly movie. You must suspend your belief that Ken wouldn't learn ANY German during his five years of being a love slave to the Baroness. Sure, she spoke English, but radios, newspapers, books?.... five years is a looooooong time to be fooling around. But then again, it is Eva Gabor. This movie is just silly and fun. It's that special brand of humor from the 70s where people are over energetically stupid and everything they attempt to do (blow up a tank, destroy a bridge with dynamite, drive a sidecar motorcycle) fails miserably. There's still the cliche happy ending though, as Ken gets saved by the American officers and Ken and Eva get married. Aww. Grab a couple beers, make some popcorn, and have a silly laugh.