The First Annual Bronco Nagurski: "The Best of Times" (1986)

Today’s entry is for the First Annual Bronco Nagurski Flick Fest at My Floating Red Couch. The fest runs until September 3rd — Read ‘em all here! “The Best of Times” gives me the discombobulations. There are so many quirks. missteps, and mistakes that it overrides any potential good points it might have had. The story, such as it is: The town of Taft, California, is a town of losers. Jack Dundee (Robin Williams) narrates an opening montage of a series of failures the town has endured, up to and including a November, 1971 football game lost to bitter rival Bakersfield. Why a small town like Taft is playing a large city like Bakersfield, I do not know. During that 1971 football game, star quarterback Reno Hightower (not joking) has his knees smashed, ruining his burgeoning football career, and professional doofus Jack Dundee misses the important toss that would have won Taft the game. Dundee still mopes about this and everyone, including his father-in-law, tease him about it. Because this is a town that is still stuck in high school. So many things didn’t make sense! * Reno and Gigi were pregnant by the big 1971 Homecoming game, and unless I’m mistaken, having to get married the second you graduate from high school would have been just as big of an obstacle to overcome as knee problems — especially knee problems that don’t cause any limping, allow you to do physical labor as a mechanic and play a hard game … Continue reading

Diana Dors: Sex Symbol

Miss Diana Dors: Singer, actress, and professional sexpot. One of my favorites. The photo shoot with this silver swimsuit must have lasted for days, considering how many pics are floating around. There is something very Ed Woodian about this one. Yes, I was late again! And for my last entry on Diana Dors week, too. Today’s allegedly good reason is because I am in a tizzy, as some newbie film blogger is stealing my shtick! They’re becoming quite popular, too, because I am a genius, and even pale imitations of me glow like a uranium suitcase in the hands of a modern day Pandora. (Impressed? Of course you are. Excuse me while I practice the Queen’s wave…) Speaking of being popular, as Bryce recently pointed out to me, I have hit and passed the 200 mark for Google Followers. Thank you all. I do appreciate it and I love every one of you, even if I get into tizzies and can only express myself in hipster sarcasm. Have a good weekend everyone.

Diana Dors: The Unholy Wife (1957)

“The Unholy Wife” proves that Diana Dors could, in a pinch, act. It also proves she needed a strong director and a good story, both of which are sadly lacking in TUW. The poster tagline — “HALF-ANGEL, HALF-DEVIL, she made him HALF-A-MAN!” — is pretty much a lie. You see nothing of Phyllis (Dors) to indicate she’s an angel at all. However, what makes her a “devil” is nothing more than her rejection of a checklist of stereotypical female traits. She doesn’t really like kids, she won’t care for her elderly nutball mother-in-law (Beulah Bondi), she doesn’t like being married to a man who apparently had his whatsit shot off in the war (Rod Steiger)… and it’s that issue with his whatsit that makes him “half a man”, not his wife Phyllis. Oh, and she murders someone. This was all kinds of confusing, but allow me to try to explain: The film opens with Phyllis just randomly shooting a gun to scare her mother in law. She pretends there was an intruder in what I assume was part of a cunning plan. Mom-in-law Emma calls the cops. They arrive coincidentally along with Phyllis’ brother-in-law, a priest. The cops are satisfied with Phyllis’ story, priest goes home, Emma goes back to bed, then Phyllis’ boyfriend on the side shows up. They kiss and argue and kiss and he sneaks out, but Phyllis’ young son sees them. Now, the part that confuses me is that some time passes before Phyllis’ plan goes … Continue reading

Diana Dors: Deep End (1970)

Note: This post deals with disturbing themes and sexual content. The pics are safe for work, but the overall post may not be safe for work, for your brain, or for your spirit. You’ve been warned. Jerzy Skolimowski’s “Deep End” is messed up. Oh I know that sounds weak, that I should be calling it “disturbing” or “dark,” but that gives the film an air of propriety that I don’t think even Jerzy Skolimowski intended. I caught “Deep End” a few minutes into it the first time it was on TCM and watched for Diana Dors, who I had already missed — her part is early in the film. I had no idea of its history or cult status, mainly because I don’t focus much on films from roughly the late 1960s to the early 1980s. There are exceptions, of course, but the more mainstream films in that time span don’t do anything for me, they so often seem to be edgy for edginess’ sake and lack soul. When I saw “Deep End” the first time, without having seen the beginning, I was mostly convinced that this was another example of lackluster shock film making of the era, but I wanted to see the whole film to be sure. So I caught it again the second time it was on TCM, and I confess my first impression was more cynical than it should have been. Now, I think Skolimowski fully intended his characters in “Deep End” to be so selfish … Continue reading

Diana Dors: Swingin’ and Actin’

Yes, I’m a little late today, but again I have a very good reason: I spent the evening accidentally covered in ants. Little tiny ants. I had to get a little tiny gun so I could shoot off their antennae and save the world. Today, allow me to treat you to some fine poster art featuring Diana Dors and, inevitably, two of her most famous assets. This is the only album she ever released, although she did sing in several films during her career. The “Swingin’ Dors” album name never gets old. George Brent and Diana Dors. Why have I not seen this movie? Sometimes I just don’t understand myself.

Diana Dors: Early Years

I’ve been on a mini Diana Dors kick lately, so I thought I’d spend the week flashing you all with the ill-gotten contents of my hard drive. The plan is to post once a day this week. We’ll see if that really happens. Diana Dors was a child star, if you can call it that. She started modeling in swimsuits at age 12 and taking them off to pose for art classes by age 15. Her first film role was at 15 as well. By the time she genuinely was 17, she had reportedly been passing as 17 for several years. Here are a few photos of her during her early years that I’ve found online. Tons more can be found at the official Diana Dors website. The Diamond City (1949) Oliver Twist (1948) All of 20 years old.

Recently Watched: Kurosawa #1

Between the recent Akira Kurosawa month on TCM and the always-changing order of my rental queue, I have seen a lot of Kurosawa’s films. “The Bad Sleep Well” was one of the first. Called “Kurosawa’s unofficial Hamlet“ by critic Ed Park, I found the movie to go far beyond the usual adjectives attached to it: Cynical, realist, obsessive. It is also devastating. This movie ruined my life. It ripped out my heart and flattened it with a heavy heel, grinding it into the concrete and then kicking the pieces apart with its pointed toe. There are moments in film that are difficult to watch. They hit you just right, they move you to an extreme that’s uncomfortable. In “The Bad Sleep Well”, there is a moment you don’t see. Someone’s death, the death of a man whose life-ruining obsessive hate still wasn’t enough to right the wrongs done; a death not shown save a lingering shot of an empty, ruined, bloody Studebaker. The worst thing I have ever seen on screen is not seeing that death, only seeing it acted out by a man who can never be himself again. It’s a cliche to say a movie changed your life. Neophytes say that, people whose lives are so devoid of strong feeling that even the slightest stirring of emotion causes them to believe their lives are irrevocably altered. So it’s not easy for me to say, but it’s the truth that “The Bad Sleep Well” changed my life. It dashed … Continue reading

Summer Movie Blog-A-Thon: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984)

This post is part of the Summer Movie Blog-A-Thon hosted by Kate of Silents and Talkies. I chose “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” starring Harrison Ford, Jonathan Ke Quan, and Kate Capshaw’s spiral perm. As a kid growing up in Missouri and later Kansas (ugh), I didn’t watch a lot of films. I saw maybe 10 films in the theater before I was in high school and able to occasionally go on a date or with friends to movies. As a kid, most of the movies I watched were of the CBS Saturday Night movie variety. My biggest memories are of “The Omen” and “The Amityville Horror,” both of which scared the hell out of me. I also recall coming home early on Halloween night in 1980: Behold! Undeniable proof that Halloween happened in 1980! As I already mentioned over on technoknob, I still have that chair and small table, and am in fact sitting between them right now. They’re part of my office furniture. Alas, I no longer have the large stuffed poodle. I curtailed my candy plundering activities that night specifically to get home for the Jeff Goldblum “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and I really wanted to post about that, but finding a copy is depressing and it is expensive, two words I hate. My first theatre movie was “The Boatniks” during its 1977 re-release, seen at The Star Theater in Lebanon, Missouri. While I was tempted to watch it for this blogathon, even at the … Continue reading

Recently Watched: The Megapost

During last month’s Bruce Lee post, I forgot to post this link to Pulp International. They have a huge collection of great magazine covers featuring Bruce, as well as pictures from before he was a star. They are all awesome. Hell, the whole blog is awesome. *** This megapost is a vain attempt to quickly list several movies I’ve recently seen. I say “vain” because you all know how I yammer on; there is nothing “quick” about my posts, but I am going to try this time. I have already lost my copy of “Paris Model” (1953), so please enjoy a few poor quality small photos of posters I found online in lieu of screencaps. I only watched this because El Brendel was in it, assuming it was a movie about models and he was a stagehand or something a la “Pop” in “Cover Girl” (1944). Haha no. The plot of this movie is about 4 women who wear the “same” dress, their stories told in 4 vignettes. It is not the same dress at all, but one original gown and 3 knock-offs. The general plot is that this series of women believe this dress holds such seductive powers that they will con men into doing what they want. My eyes rolled through the entire film, as I’m sure you have guessed by now. In the first segment, Gogo Montaigne (Eva Gabor) is a Paris socialite who buys the original gown entitled “Nude at Midnight”. There is nothing nude about … Continue reading

"In This Our Life": The John Huston Blogathon

  Today’s entry is for the John Huston Blogathon, hosted by Adam at Icebox Movies, running from August 5th through 12th. Both the submissions and Adam’s own entries have been exceptional thus far, and more are coming in the days ahead. I highly recommend checking them out! *** Nobody likes “In This Our Life.” Oh sure, some people enjoy the camp, or like it because Bette Davis plays such a rotten woman, but that’s as far as it goes. I found some really unfortunate reviews of ITOL online, reviews that had major facts wrong, that described the movie as “icky” or “just okay” or even “obnoxious”, that repeated long-discredited rumors about cameos. ITOL doesn’t get a lot of respect, and I — self-appointed champion of the underdog — wanted to change that. About the cameos: There are no cameos in this film save Walter Huston as a bartender. I’ve got a screencap of the guys in the bar, people, so don’t push me on this. See?   ITOL is not a bad film, but it is an odd film, as it’s supposed to be a melodrama in the midst of the languid American South, not like you would realize this without being told. No one bothers with a Southern accent save Billie Burke, and the exterior shots of the house are so unconvincing they look as though they were shot for a New England area film like “Arsenic and Old Lace” instead. It’s undeniably a standard Warner Bros. film, albeit … Continue reading