Isle of the Dead (1945)

D for Doom and I got to talking about the film “Isle of the Dead” (1945) in the comments of my last post, plus of course today is the last day of the Boris Karloff Blogathon, so I thought I’d post a few pictures. One day I may get around to actually writing about the film. Further Reading: Review from Ferdy on Films Review from Only the Cinema Igloo of the Uncanny’s entry  

The Devil Commands (1941)

Frankensteinia has been holding a Boris Karloff Blogathon all week, which I discovered a couple of days ago thanks to Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and W.B. Kelso at Scenes from the Morgue. Now keep in mind this post isn’t part of the blogathon, I just had this post ready to go and it coincided with the blogathon. My husband and I love watching old Karloff flicks, the ones from the mid-30s to the mid-40s especially, because they’re often short, low-budget affairs that can occasionally surprise you. “The Devil Commands” has moments, but ultimately it sucks on ice. I love the concept of this film, just absolutely adore it beyond measure, which may have been why I was so disappointed when the film failed to deliver. Yet concepts aren’t always as they seem; another Karloff film, “The Black Door”, is the basic unimaginative good twin/evil twin plot executed with a complexity and intrigue that turns it into a really great film. Edward Dmytryk directed “The Devil Commands” but it’s early in his career and he isn’t quite at the “Murder, My Sweet” level of ability. Karloff has a really great look — think psychotic stock broker — and Anne Revere gives a tight, impressive performance. But there’s really only about 25 minutes in the middle of this film that are worth watching, and the supporting cast of dull, lifeless performers almost ruin the good parts. Amanda Duff especially stands out as awful, which is unfortunate as she’s the narrator … Continue reading

Diana Dors

Last month I watched two 1955 Diana Dors movies on TCM: “As Long as They’re Happy” and “An Alligator Named Daisy”. To be honest, I watched ALaTH but could only make it through the first 20 minutes of “Daisy” before giving up completely. While these movies are usually billed as Diana Dors movies, she’s not the star. Jeannie Carson is the rightful star of both movies. In ALaTH, Carson plays one of three daughters of uptight British businessman John Bentley (Jack Buchanan). All three daughters are driving their father mad with their romance-based shenanigans. The youngest daughter tricks a big American singing star to come to the Bentley’s home and musical hijinks ensue. The American singing star is Bobby Denver, played by singer Jerry Wayne. His gimmick is that he cries while he sings, which makes the girls swoon in a very hormonal way. His character reminded me that, as a kid, my parents once told me about an American 50s singer who really did cry when he sang. Now I have to wonder if they saw this movie and thought Jerry Wayne cried when he performed in real life, or if Wayne’s character is based on a real person, or what. John Bailey, the father, is played by the ultimate stage professional Jack Buchanan. His role is to fulfill a standard British comedy element: “It’s not funny until the old guy gets hurt.” He does some dancing in the film and while he is a little stiff, he’s not … Continue reading

Recently Watched: Two Thrillers

October — for me, anyway — was a big month for horror films and thrillers, and now that I have some time on my hands (as I mentioned over on technoknob, although I got the impression said post went over like the proverbial lead balloon) I can finally blog about a few films I watched. Wait Until Dark (1967): This is a film I first saw back before there was such a thing as TCM and, knowing how much my husband loves Alan Arkin, decided to rent it so he could see it, too. Boy, had I forgotten a lot about this film! A tense, engaging thriller, it features criminals who spend their time screwing with a blind woman just because they can. It would have been easier for them to tie her up and search the apartment for the missing MacGuffin, but that’s not their style. Hepburn plays Suzy Hendrix, a woman who has been blind for about a year after a fiery car accident. After her accident she met Sam (Ephram Zimbalist, Jr.) and married him, despite the little fact that he’s a huge raving asshole. While he shows sympathy for the girl next door who has to wear glasses, he scolds and cajoles and manipulates Suzy into being “the World’s Champion Blind Woman.” Suzy, we find, is a lot stronger on her own than Sam gives her credit for, as is the troubled girl next door. Sam, on the other hand, is so dim as to take … Continue reading

The Marie Prevost Project

Edit 07/06/2013: For anyone interested in doing their own project on Marie Prevost, due to problems over the years, you need to know a few things: 1) You can use my blog posts for sources, but they must be credited in footnotes or bibliography (as should any book, blog, magazine, or other source). You cannot just cut and paste sections of my blog into your own work. Please know that I will not just ignore copyright infringement, should it occur. 2) There may be errors in my blog posts. You’re responsible for doing your own research and verifying anything you read. 3) I will not help you with your Marie Prevost research. Please don’t ask. 4) I own some memorabilia, photos, archival docs, etc., but I do not lend them out for any reason. Please don’t ask. 5) Despite any claim you may have heard to the contrary, I have not assisted nor collaborated with anyone in their book or article on Marie Prevost. For more details, read here. This post originally appeared at and a copy at the Internet Archive can be found here. *** Happy Birthday to Marie Prevost, born November 8, 1898. Maybe. Some sources say 1895, some say 1893. Since she was born in some crazy place called Canadia, I suppose we’ll never know. As I hinted a few months ago nearly a year ago during the Twenty Actresses Meme, one of my new obsessions is actress Marie Prevost. Since I’m a glutton for punishment, … Continue reading