May Movies on TCM to Watch For

These monthly schedule posts are going away. Between deadlines and a desire to have time set aside for my own projects, I just can’t justify the several hours it takes for me to put these posts schedule posts together. Further, in recent months I have noticed Sundance shows commercials during a lot of their films, plus IndiePlex and RetroPlex show bad prints and shrink down Academy ratio films to almost unwatchable sizes (which perhaps look better on a widescreen television, but who knows). Fox Movie Channel has a lot of repeats, too. It’s just not worth it to list anything but TCM, and so many other bloggers do that better than I ever could. This month, I’m posting a quick list of some pre-codes, Underground, silents and other films you might like. It’s possible you’ll see similar lists from me in the future, but I doubt I’ll make it a regular feature. For great TCM roundups, I recommend my BBFF and runner up SBBN patron saint (he’s the go-to guy when El Brendel is busy washing his hat) Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and his Coming Distractions posts. TCM All times Eastern. Moonfleet (1955) May 2, 6:15 PM Fritz Lang film starring Stewart Granger as a buccaneer and smuggler, whose former lover sends her child to live with him. Starring George Sanders and Joan Greenwood, so that’s three great actors right there. Supporting is Vivica Landfors (four!) and John Hoyt and Jack Elam in small roles. Also, Granger wields … Continue reading

Delays, Delays

Between backhoe-induced insomnia (long story) and several pending deadlines, I won’t be posting a Raiders of Ghost City recap this week. I intended on getting a nice picture from Raiders to post here in lieu of content, but when I did an image search, all the good images I found were from SBBN. Looks like yours truly is the current internet expert on Raiders of Ghost City, which is a hell of a thing to say about me and you’d better take that back before I get really mad. Meanwhile, the coolest picture of Regis Toomey I’ve ever seen, from that classic 1948 movie you’ve never heard of, I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: A Star is Born (1954)

For Film Experience’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot series, my screencap for A Star is Born (1954): There are a dozen iconic shots from A Star is Born: the “Mrs. Norman Maine” finale, Judy reenacting her day at the studio for James Mason, that gorgeous moment when Judy rushes at the camera and it’s blurry because technology simply can’t keep up with her joy. Or the early backstage scenes with red backlighting and ballerinas, an aesthetic that borrows more than a little from the Powell-Pressburger The Red Shoes. I chose the above instead of any of the prettier or more recognizable scenes because it’s a scene I always forget, despite having watched A Star is Born probably about a dozen times, all told. It’s one of my favorite films, and I love every damn second of it: The overzealous off-screen fan mimicking the outdoor breeze, Judy explaining how everything is all “burgered together,” the tiny shower in that travel trailer, all of it. I love it so much that if you asked me on any given day, I’d tell you I have it memorized, and I would be certain I was telling you the truth. It’s not the truth. I always forget the scenes that lead up to that moment above, with Matt Libby (Jack Carson) as the semi-skeevy, semi-adorable publicity agent for the studio, looking down on a passed-out-drunk Norman Maine (James Mason), remembering everything Norman put him through that night. See, Norman Maine is a violent man. … Continue reading

Raiders of Ghost City #7: Bullet Avalanche

Last week on Raiders of Ghost City! Steve is captured by some raider henchmen and pretends to have amnesia. While they get all chin-scratchy about whether he’s really not right in the noggin or not, Carl Lawton, real name Count Manfried von Rinkton, arrives. Lawton is the head of the Oro Grande branch of the Prussians-disguised-as-Americans-stealing-gold gang, and briefs the no good stinkin’ Prussians on their objective: Steal gold, buy Alaska. He wanders into the henchmens’ underground lair in Ghost City just in time to see Steve about to make his getaway. Rinkton puts Steve in a makeshift 1864 version of a Whirlpool Wash-O-Matic trying to torture information out of him, but just as Steve is about to either drown or be clean for the first time in this decade, Idaho Jones arrives and distracts the henchmen. Will anyone survive? If Regis Toomey is listed in the credits, does that mean he’s returned or did he find a new and better life as a featured player in an Ann Sheridan flick? Stay tuned to find out! As always, feel free to follow along on the YouTubes here. *** The intro writers clearly weren’t forced to watch the show they’re summarizing on a weekly basis: Steve is not on Carl Lawton’s trail. He doesn’t know who Lawton is; hell, he doesn’t even know the raiders are Prussians. Nobody does, not even the chinbeards in D.C. The last Steve knew, he was riding off to get Toomey’s killer, the man who shot … Continue reading

Raiders of Ghost City #6: Water Rising

Last week on Raiders of Ghost City! The Civil War ends! Confederate Capt. Clay Randolph discovers the people he has been working for while stealing Union gold are actually Prussians, taking the gold for themselves and not sending it to the Confederate Army as he had thought. He decides to surrender to the authorities and tell them everything he knows about the raiders when Buck, one of the henchmen, rides up behind him and shoots him! Steve goes running off after the killer, but gets his torso caught up in a lariat hung around a tree branch by the raiders. Captured! Meanwhile, in town, Clay manages to give Cathy one of the 1752 coins that have been showing up as clues, but he has no time to say more before the cold hand of Death touches him. As always, feel free to follow along on YouTube here. *** In the recap, there is a little additional footage of Regis kicking it. The new footage is a few lines where he gets closer to revealing who is behind the gold robberies. He croaks before he gets a chance to finish his sentence — and he almost literally croaks, plus crosses his eyes, in a death scene that isn’t as bad as his infamous death in Alibi (1929), but which is not good by any measure. Farewell, dear Toomster. We hardly knew ye.   Coins! There are a series of European coins, all dating to 1752, found on the bodies of those … Continue reading

Elsewhere and a Few Notes

I recently imported about 165 posts from the archives over here to the new blog, but the photos didn’t import, so please bear with me while I try to find the backups and restore pictures. My apologies if the mass import screwed with your RSS feeds. *** Here are a few items I’ve been enjoying lately from around the web: Dan Seeger’s review of Room 237 (2012). From last January, a series of scans of TV ads for NBC in September, 1973, over at Scenes from the Morgue. From Roger Ebert’s blog back in 2008, “Roger’s little rule book.” I am so guilty of “Respect the reader’s time” that it’s not funny, but I’m trying. A new Mayberry Monday! *** And two reviews I’ve posted at Spectrum lately while y’all wasn’t lookin’: Tomorrow You’re Gone (2012): Loathed it. Eden (2012): Meh. *** That’s it for today. More anon.

Happy Birthday Bette!

Bette Davis and her sister Bobby, circa 1917.

Raiders of Ghost City #5: The Fatal Lariat

Last week on Raiders of Ghost City! Steve’s brother Jeff-Jim, wounded after the raiders shot him so he couldn’t spill the beans on their nefarious plans, dies on the way to Sacramento for medical care, thanks to Idaho Jones and his big, beefy manbutt landing right on top of him. Meanwhile, Confederate Capt. Clay Randolph finds himself in a predicament: Alex and Trina don’t like him but need him to give their gold theft ring the appearance of being a Confederate plot. He’s not to keen on them, either, suspecting that the stolen gold isn’t going to help the Confederates at all. Complications arise when Steve sees Clay go into the Golden Eagle saloon and recognizes him from their old West Point days. Clay leads Steve to Ghost City and into a trap, where Steve finds himself in a dark room with men poking their guns through holes in the walls, ready to go off at any second. As always, feel free to follow along on YouTube here. *** Steve gets out of the suggestive situation by dropping to the floor and shooting once through each door with a good two seconds in between shots, as though every raider wouldn’t have just started shooting the shit out of Steve once he got in their sites… and probably shooting each other when bullets passed through opposite walls, now that I think about it. Steve closes his eyes when he shoots his gun.   The U.S. Cavalry shows up too late. Again. … Continue reading

Raiders of Ghost City Post Tomorrow!

It will be up tomorrow, I promise – I forgot today was Thursday! Gee, that “I’m going to post every Thursday without fail” goal of mine sure held up, didn’t it?

White Elephant Blogathon: Same Time, Next Year (1978)

Welcome to the SBBN entry for this year’s White Elephant Blogathon! How the White Elephant Blogathon works: Everyone showing interest gives Paul of Silly Hats Only a bad (or “bad” or “interesting”) film, and he randomly hands them out to participants, who are then surprised or delighted or nauseated by the film they’ve been given. They then blog about it on April Fool’s, though this year there is a little buffer of a few days, so check in at Silly Hats Only in a few days to see all the contributors. *** This year I received the tepid, flavorless, flat soft drink of a film Same Time, Next Year (1978). It’s a film I had seen before and never expected to see again. I am not glad I saw it again. I am, in fact, a bit irritated that I have spent this much time talking about a film that has no merit or usefulness whatsoever, though if pressed I would admit that a canister of the 35mm print of the film could be used effectively as a doorstop, or to prop up a wonky coffee table leg, so that’s something. And I’m also pretty pleased with the amount of organizing and cleaning I got done in my office while procrastinating, hoping the world would end or at least a meteor would hit my house, anything, just so I didn’t have to think about this fucking film again. Based on the hit 1976 Broadway play which starred Ellen Burstyn and … Continue reading