The Heavy Lifting, Courtesy TCM



I was a bit under the weather yesterday, so I was offline resting my brain and had no idea Kirk Douglas had “left the building” as they say until very early this morning. Needless to say, that wasn’t a good thing to wake up to. Still, at age 103, you could safely say the man lived quite a long life and as an actor, producer and person of some talent and merit for a good deal of those years. Turner Classic Movies has posted two videos about Douglas so far today, but I bet there will be more on a few performances from his individual films at some point.

I don’t have a favorite role of his, but the first film that comes to mind is the monumental and powerful Paths of Glory, which kept an entire theater silent when I first saw in at a Stanley Kubrick retrospective a few decades ago. There are a good deal of other films and performances of his as well to consider, but I’m too weary to cover more here at the moment. I’ll bet on a blogathon of his work in the future that tosses in a few films will likely help some in discovering or recalling the man’s work, but let’s wait and see, shall we?







Random Film of the Week: Dracula/Horror of Dracula (1958)


Now, that’s a title screen, Isn’t it?

draculaAmusingly enough, I was wearing a Famous Monsters of Filmland T-shirt I got as a gift when I ran into an older neighbor in the supermarket last week who mentioned that as a kid, her parents took her to see Horror of Dracula back in 1958. She was only 8 years old, but was a big fan of sci-fi and horror movies, noting her parents were as well, and they’d make trips to the movies regularly. She noted she couldn’t sleep for about a month or so, but not because of Dracula, mind you, as (spoiler!) he’s as dead as a door nail at the end of the film (well, until his revival in the next films), but because of his brides.

She was convinced they were going to come after her for some reason and I noted that I’m sure many people who’ve seen this film sure as heck wanted a nibble on the neck from any of the lovely ladies in that film, vampires or not. Maybe even a few too many nibbles.

She laughed, and said “I know, but there was one in particular… what’s her name? The one that looked like a cat?” I thought for a few seconds and guessed correctly it was Andrée Melly, who indeed did look like a cat, and yes, briefly played that favorite bide of too many others as well. The neighbor let out a loud laugh. “Well that was fast! I guess she made an impression on you, too!”, which made me laugh as well, as there’s a pun in there she didn’t realize she was making. Anyway, we chatted a bit more and I helped her get a big aluminum baking pan off a high shelf for the ham she was making, as family was visiting that weekend. She paid for her groceries and left with a wave, thanking me for jogging her memory.


Meow! Careful. I hear she bites…

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Review: The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

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Hmmm… I was going to post this pic upside down, but I wanted to not spoil the film for those who’ve yet to see it.

Yes, friends, it’s time for another episode of…

Video Store Action Heroes - Banner 9 final

Other posts can be found here, here, and here, so get in your reading, I say,

This month, we’re all going on a cruise, yay!

Well, sort of (just remember to climb the Christmas tree, or else). Ronald Neame’s 1972 classic (co-directed by Irwin Allen) is a star-filled one with impressive practical effects (well, the ship model looks these days like an expensive toy you don’t want to accidentally sit or step on while in the bath) and very cool upside down sets. While it’s not your typical “action” movie, it’s certainly exceptionally well made and packed with more than enough thrills and (wait for it…) spills galore (expect a lot of puns here, friends). As a disaster flick, it certainly wasn’t a disaster at all, raking in 93 million dollars for 20th Century Fox over its time in theaters.


A big movie deserves a big poster, right?

These days (and a poorly received sequel plus a expensive few remakes later) is the original The Poseidon Adventure still a seaworthy film? I say yes, it still holds its water rather excellently if you throw caution to the wind and don’t go overboard with your expectations. Granted, for all its death and angst on display, the film is not as cruel as the 1969 novel was with some of its characters. One could say Stirling Silliphant’s adaptation of the Paul Gallico novel softens the impact somewhat yet still has enough drama for its target audience.

If you’re new to the film, all you need to know is how it starts and sit back to enjoy the rest (and NO, it’s not a true story):

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You better not think this actually happened.

Let’s just say it’s New Year’s (Rockin’, as ships do in bad weather with no ballast) Eve, stuff happens minutes after the happier vibe the film kicks off with that isn’t too good (like any New Year’s party, things can kind of get a little out of hand) and the world is turned upside down for a bunch of people (as I said, like any New Year’s party, things can kind of get a little out of hand). The survivors bond (well, sort of) and have to find their way off the doomed ship before she sinks to a watery grave like a former swimming champ does after a bit of too much exercise.

Uh, did I say this review was spoiler-free? I lied. Here’s the trailer, doing what it needs to to get 1972-era butts in theater seats:

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Turner Classic Movies Finally Gets With The Program on YouTube

Like many of you out there, I love Turner Classic Movies quite a lot, although the popular classic movie site isn’t without its issues. I’m still waiting to see more imports (where are Cul De Sac, {The Mad Adventures of} Rabbi Jacob, The Tall Blonde Man With One Black Shoe and other intriguing foreign films that deserve a wider American audience?) and a more stable Underground (I can be the host, as I have a LOAD of ideas to make it better and more accessible to new viewers to the weird and strange!), but overall I’m happy with most of what they do. That said, they’re finally using YouTube a lot more effectively, posting videos for current programming for the day during the week, which goes a long way towards making folks like me see what’s coming on during the day without having to check the cable guide or just turn the channel on when we crawl home and hope we’ll see something we haven’t yet. Yeah, the frequent rebroadcasts need to be worked on a bit, but for now, I have one LESS thing to gripe about…

It’s here! The Funny Lady Blogathon!

Whee! I made it, Ma! Top of the World! (BOOOOM!) OK, OK, it’s just my first Blogathon submission, that’s all, but still – nice to get some new readers and yep, I’m poking around to contribute more articles elsewhere… OK, back to work… where was I again? Oh, right…(BOOOOOM!!)

Movies Silently

funny lady blogathon movies silently

I am just marvelously excited! The Funny Lady Blogathon has launched! My fellow bloggers have joined me in celebrating the wonderful funny women of classic film!

Some have contributed reviews, some have contributed articles. I invited my Tumblr friends to make animated GIFs for the occasion and they did themselves proud! Come and see all the wonderful treasures that have been contributed!

A special note to participants:

Thank you so much for making my first blogathon a success! Please give me the URL of your post to make it easier for the readers to find your contribution. You can email, tweet, Tumblr message, anything you like.

I have arbitrarily divided the ladies into three categories covering the time when they did their most famous work. It’s just a guesstimate to keep things tidy so don’t be mad if I put someone in the wrong slot.

Blogs with direct links to…

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Random Film of the Week: Play Misty for Me


Play Misty for MeWith Arrested Development back on the block as a hot TV series (well, if you count not actually being on TV as part of a popular pay-to-stream service that’s 100% useless if your internet goes down), I figured I may as well celebrate the fact that I can’t see it (until someone wises up and gets a physical media collection out) by pointing you to this more than pretty decent 1971 Clint Eastwood-directed thriller that may have kicked off the whole “unhinged stalker hookup” sub-genre. OK, put that jaw up, stop doing that double take and pay attention – there’s a point here being made (I think).

AD’s Jessica Walter is in this one, younger, more attractive and save for the psychotically imbalanced character she’s so good at playing in this flick, she’d probably be a great partner for Eastwood’s late night DJ, Dave Garver. Of course, Dave’s not actually a completely nice, innocent guy here, but that’s another thing the film plays with as it tells the tale of lust gone bad…
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Random FIlm of the Week: Love and Death

Love and Death poster Probably the most amusing thing about Woody Allen’s 1975 film Love and Death is how well it works despite practically hitting you over the head with how literate you need to be to get some of the best (and funniest) jokes. On the other hand, you don’t need to be a student of Russian literature or philosophy at all to nearly die laughing when Woody’s character, Boris, is trapped inside a gigantic lit cannon that rolls downhill during the big battle scene and fires him into a tent full of French officers, making him a temporary war hero of sorts.

There are a few other big laughs as well, but the bulk of the film’s humor springs from the one-two punch of Allen’s writing and flawless direction as he captures the moods of his put-upon characters as they go through their dramatically (and intentionally) dreary lives in 19th Century Russia. As bleak as that last sentence sounds, it’s one of Allen’s best comedies because it skewers its subject matter (and subjects) so well that you can’t help but laugh even when the worst is happening…
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Random Film of the Week(end): The Palm Beach Story

You’ll probably need to watch Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story at least twice if you’ve never seen it before. The second time will be to catch some of the rapid-fire dialog you missed the first time out from laughing so hard as your brain attempts to keep up with the wild setups and payoffs the movie hits you with. Sturges’ gift for well-timed comedy direction comes through excellently in yet another gem he also wrote and you have to give the man major credit for letting his actors fly through scenes (and sometimes the scenery) as if they were tossed around sets by small cyclones. Of course, having some great actors throwing those lines around helps quite a bit… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week(end): It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Soon after hearing about Jonathan Winters’ death two days ago, I had the realization that we’re running out of truly great NATURAL comedians that made us laugh without resorting to juggling expletives or putting themselves in the public eye constantly in an ego-feeding frenzy. Granted, trying to get today’s short attention spanners out there to sit down and watch Winters’ best work is going to be a hard sell, but I think Stanley Kramer’s 1963 comedy classic kills a few birds with one stone.

Yes, the movie is too long by today’s standards (hell, it was too long for 1963 standards), but it’s packed to the gills with comedians and comediennes from a huge enough slice of history that you could see the careers of some beginning and ending with this one zany epic. The story of a bunch of wildly assorted strangers chasing down a dead robbery suspect’s stolen loot is still required viewing for anyone who considers him or herself a fan of comedy and the film works so well because no one gets away without taking a few lumps or a pratfall or three… Continue reading

Random Film of the Week: Sunrise: A Tale of Two Souls


Even though it’s well over eighty years old, F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Tale of Two Souls is still one of the most amazing films ever made. For a silent film with a surprising amount of visual effects and innovative camera work for what’s basically a dramatic romance mixed with a morality play. The story manages to resonate on a few levels thanks to stellar acting by the leads, phenomenal sets and cinematography and of course, Murnau’s highly expressionistic direction. A simple tale of a nameless farmer who plans to ditch his wife permanently for the charms of a gal from the city, the film shifts into gear right from the opening sequence, pulling you in to the grand final moments. Continue reading