Thursday, March 31, 2011
I like horror movies too. Today in 1933 Murders in the Zoo was released from Paramont. Featuring the great Lionel Atwill as sadistic killer (and zoo keeper/hunter) Eric Gorman along with some choice bits of pre-code dialogue -"You don't think I sat there with an eight foot mamba in my pocket, do you? It would be an injustice to my tailor" ,
Murders in the Zoo opens with one of the most shocking scenes in early horror cinema. In Indochina Eric Gorman (Lionel Atwill) is seen using needle and thread on a fallen man. We however soon see that he is not stitching a wound; the man rises and looks toward the camera, his hands bound behind his back and his lips stitched shut. Gorman has left him to die in the jungle because he kissed his wife. Back at camp, Gorman's wife Evelyn (Kathleen Burke -the "panther woman" in Island of Lost Souls) asks him if the man said where he was going. Gorman replies, "He didn't say anything," and nonchalantly lights a cigarette. Along with that we also get a fairly graphic snake strangulation, a bridge over an alligator pond (gee, wonder what happens there !?) and an early role for Randolph Scott.
A bit slow at times and the comedy relief by Charlie Ruggles gets old , but definitely worth a look. Available in a terrific box here from TCM’s Universal Vault Collection.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Check out this great film noir tribute put together by 21 year old Serena Bramble. Film Noir guru Eddie Muller ran it at his Noir City festival last year. She has a new video called San Francisco is the Scene of a Perfect Crime, which will be shown at this years festival. Cool stuff.
When most people think of Victor Mature the first thing that comes to mind is CinemaScope and togas. In my opinion he was vastly under rated and when given a good role he could really act. This a shot of him and Richard Widmark in Kiss Of Death from 1947. While most people remember Widmark's portrayal of the sadistic, giggling Tommy Udo, it is Victor Mature who is the main dramatic focus of the movie. Mature plays small time crook Nick Bianco, who being forced to become a "squealer", carries about him a shuffling, world weariness.
Also check out Victor Mature in Violent Saturday soon to be released by Screen Archives thru their MOD program (limited to 3000 copies).
Monday, March 28, 2011
Part of Warner's Film Noir Vol. 4 collection, Andre DeToth's Crime Wave is an almost perfect example of a nice tight little crime film. Starring the great Sterling Hayden and a wonderful cast of character actors including Charles Buchinsky (Bronson), Ted De Corsia, Dub Taylor and of course Timothy Carey. In the words of Lt. Sims (Hayden) - "What do you want, Christmas everyday ....?".
Paired on a DVD with the whacked out and totally demented Decoy starring Jean Gillie, who plays the ultimate evil female noir lead.
Criterion has just announced a new DVD and BD version of Robert Alrich's 1955 atomic take on the classic Mickey Spillane story. This is one of those movies that pretty much floored me when I first watched back in the old laser disc days. Ralph Meeker's Mike Hammer stomps thru the movie like some sort of half man/half animal. Violent, brutal and still ahead of it's time. Plus it's got Jack Elam.