Out of the Past (1947)

“The night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.” Jorge Luis Borge, Labyrinths   “Unlike many of the frivolous noir semi-goddesses, Greer’s sexiness was derived from sheer cunning. She did not rely on the parodistic flirtations so common to the counterfeits of the genre — while entertaining actresses, they lacked…

The She-Creature (1956)

I discovered this movie in the most roundabout way possible. A few months ago I was on a quest to find everything I could about El Brendel and I stumbled across this film, which excited me more than it really should have. A bad 1950s B-movie with The Elster in it? Starring Chester Morris, the…

My Little Chickadee (1940)

“My Little Chickadee” is a light, unpretentious send-up of the American Western filled with one-liners and innuendo galore. Starring Mae West and W.C. Fields, would one expect anything else? The film opens with Flower Belle in a stagecoach heading to her Aunt Lou’s house in the Midwestern town of Little Bend. The wagon is held…

The Big Trail (1930)

When “The Big Trail” (1930) arrived at the house a few weeks ago, it was the last of a long string of John Wayne films I’d decided to watch for what might be called “educational purposes”. To say Wayne is not my favorite actor is to understate the situation, yet I hadn’t given Wayne much…

Cabin in the Cotton (1932)

“Cabin in the Cotton” (1932) is the story of the struggle between wealthy landowners and their farming tenants in the rural South, and is most notable for Bette Davis’ supporting role as Madge Norwood, the beautiful blonde daughter of a landowner. The film begins with a written notice that the producers don’t intend to take…

Casino Royale (1967)

“Critical judgements are irrelevant with a film like ‘Casino Royale.’ Robert Murphy considers it one of those films ‘which ought to be shipped to a desert island and screened continuously by those responsible for them.’” James Chapman, License to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films   “At one time or another, ‘Casino…

Doll Face (1946)

“Doll Face” (1946) is a musical comedy written by Gypsy Rose Lee, based on her early-40s semi-autobiographical play “The Naked Genius”. It co-stars Dennis O’Keefe, Carmen Miranda and Perry Como in one of the only 4 film roles he ever appeared in. The musical acts in “Doll Face” are often cited as the film’s strong…

Skidoo (between the 1 and 3 there is a 2)

The benevolent gods at TCM have decided to bestow a rare treat on us tomorrow night: the 1968 cult film “Skidoo”, directed by Otto Preminger and starring a couple dozen actors who must have wondered what the hell they were thinking. “Skidoo” is on at 2:00 AM Eastern, January 5th, which is late Friday or…

Fitzwilly (1967)

The holidays may be almost over, but there’s still time to talk about one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Fitzwilly.” As usual, this post contains spoilers. This probably won’t be a problem for you, though, as “Fitzwilly” is a notoriously difficult movie to find. Released briefly in 1998 on VHS, never on DVD, and only…

Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

Like most of my film entries, this post contains spoilers. “Robinson Crusoe on Mars” is a science fiction adaptation of the Daniel Defoe classic. Set sometime in the future, it’s a surprisingly modern and compelling imagining of space travel between the Earth and Mars. The Criterion Collection DVD of this film was released in September;…