Bette Davis Project #10: The Great Lie (1941)

Why “The Great Lie” wasn’t made in 1933 with Kay Francis is beyond me, because this is so obviously a Kay vehicle that it’s impossible to see it any other way. Well, the fact is that it never could have been a Kay movie; it’s based on a Polan Banks novel from 1936 when both Kay and her style of movies were fading out of popularity. To me, that makes it even more strange that WB would choose to go with this film in 1941 when Bette was at the peak of her career. The plot is your basic unnecessarily complicated affair: Pete (George Brent, of course) marries tempestuous pianist Sandra (Mary Astor), a glamorous and world famous diva who enjoys to party as much as he does. After a week of marriage and wild, apartment-wrecking parties, Pete finds out they’re not really married as Sandra’s divorce wasn’t yet final. He takes his own plane to Maryland to talk to Maggie (Bette), the woman he was supposed to marry but didn’t because she thought he was an alcoholic and he refused to stop drinking. Maggie caught cold when she read about Pete’s marriage and spent a day walking in the freezing rain. Maggie quite rightly chews his ass out for showing up a week after he married to whine that he’s made a blunder, so Pete doesn’t tell Maggie that he’s not really married, he just leaves and goes back to his wife. He tells Sandra they aren’t married and … Continue reading

Midnight Warriors: Bela!

The Mike of From Midnight, With Love asks: “What’s guaranteed to make you happy when it comes to Horror, Genre, or Cult cinema?” UPDATE: Here is the post with everyone’s links. Read it today! My calm, reasoned answer: BELA BELA BELA BELA It’s not just Bela Lugosi, though he is top on my list of pretend boyfriends. The camera loves him and his charisma absolutely crackles on screen, even when he’s barely recognizable or in a small role as in “Island of Lost Souls”. But I love the entire genre of pre-code horror films, the way they look at horror as being a skewed individual reaction to universal problems, how the villains have depth because they are psychologically damaged without being psychopathic. Control, lust, and greed are the basic motivators in pre-code horror films, and “White Zombie” is one of the best examples. From the LA Times blog The Daily Mirror. Madge Bellamy was recently the subject of the Movieland Mystery Photo, and this obviously touched-up photo is from the LA Times’ archives. I like this one because it looks like they took a photo of Bela as Dracula and drew a hat and ring on him. What a goofy expression. How did this get released as a promo?

Shatnerthon: The William Shatner Blogathon

It’s summertime. Kids play in the streets, a warm breeze rustles the green leaves, bugs invade your home and form powerful alliances with your pets, and it’s time for Shatnerthon: The William Shatner Blogathon. Yes, good friends, I am doing my first blogathon. Fingers crossed and all that. I’m seriously excited about this and, I can only hope, at least one other person is as well. Don’t make me force my husband to create a blog just so I have at least one participant! The good news is that the rules are simple: Blog about William Shatner. Doesn’t matter what you blog about; anything that bears the golden touch of the Shatman is fair game. You could blog about movies, sure, but you could also blog about TV shows, interviews, musical performances, cartoons, satire, you could even send me a link to something you have already written and submit it for the Shatnerthon! That is how generous I am, my friends. Submit your entries to me in comments or via email, preferrably during the week of July 5th through 9th, but I’m not gonna turn down earlier submissions. I’ll post daily links to every submission I get. And. AND! Everyone who submits an entry to the Shatnerthon will be entered into a random drawing for free DVDs! Two people will win a “Twilight Zone” compilation DVDs, either Volume 9 with “Nick of Time” or Volume 2 with “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” These are an almost $6 value! Very exciting! Note … Continue reading

Duel at Diablo (1966)

The fine folks at Movies Unlimited, and their official movie blog Movie Fanfare, very kindly asked me many months ago to contribute a guest blog article for them. I think it’s a good article, one I’m re-posting below; while I’m not 100% keen on my title for the entry, I did amuse myself with the extremely accurate bio blurb. Several of my blogging friends have gone before me at Movie Fanfare: Moira, Ivan, Lolita, Kate, and many more. It’s worth it to head over there and at least click the guest-blogs tag, because that is a fine group of writers they have collected. *** “Duel at Diablo” (1966) is an odd, unique Western, a rare collage of individual desires in a genre that routinely celebrates the successes of partnership and camaraderie. One of the most talked-about aspects of “Duel at Diablo” is the music which, at first, seems wildly out of place, far too cheerful and lighthearted for the subject matter. But listen closely to Neal Hefti’s score: The theme for the Apache is a strummy guitar track laid over a driving beat that mimics stereotypical “Indian drums”. Underneath the jazzy main theme track is a sweeping, orchestral score that would be right at home during a majestic scenery shot in any VistaVision Western of a decade earlier. The music is as anachronistic as the background of the character of Toller (Sidney Poitier), a civilian businessman who once served as a cavalryman in the same regiment as Scotty McAlister. During … Continue reading