Saturday, December 20, 2008

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) by John Ford with John Wayne

and starring Joanne Dru, John Agar, Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr.

Plot : On the verge of his retirement, the aging Cavalry Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles (John Wayne) deals with a series of attacks by the Cheyenne following the defeat of George Armstrong Custer. Unwilling to see more lives needlessly taken, Brittles takes it upon himself to try to make peace with Chief Pony That Walks (Chief John Big Tree).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Marx Brothers - At The Circus (1939) by Edward Buzzell

and starring Kenny Baker, Florence Rice, Eve Arden, Margaret Dumont, Nat Pendleton.

At the Circus is a 1939 Marx Brothers comedy film in which they save a circus from bankruptcy. It is notable for Groucho Marx's classic rendition of "Lydia the Tattooed Lady." and co-stars include Margaret Dumont, Eve Arden, and Kenny Baker. Plot : The circus strong man (Nat Pendleton, one of the ringer football players in Horse Feathers), and the midget (Jerry Marenghi, who also appeared in a few Our Gang shorts), are accomplices of the bad guy Carter (James Burke) who is trying to take over the circus. In the animal car, they knock Baker out and steal his $10,000. Groucho, as lawyer J. Cheever Loophole, arrives to handle the situation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) Otto Preminger with Frank Sinatra Kim Novak

also starring Eleanor Parker, Arnold Stang, Darren McGavin and jazz musicians Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne. Music by Elmer Bernstein.

Plot : Frankie Machine (Frank Sinatra) is released from prison with a set of drums and a new outlook on life. A former heroin addict, Frankie became clean in prison. On the outside, he greets friends and acquaintances. Sparrow (Arnold Stang), who runs a con selling homeless dogs, clings to him like a young brother, but Schwiefka (Robert Strauss), whom Frankie used to deal for in his illegal card game, has more sinister reasons for welcoming him back, as does Louis (Darren McGavin), Machine's former heroin dealer. Frankie sees his wife Zosh (Eleanor Parker), who is wheelchair-bound after a car crash some years ago. Zosh smothers her husband and hinders his attempt to make something of himself. He thinks he has what it takes to play drums for a big band. While calling to make an appointment, he bumps into an old flame, Molly (Kim Novak)...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Meet John Doe (1941) by Frank Capra with Gary Cooper Barbara Stanwyck

The film, about a "grassroots" political campaign, created unwittingly by a newspaper columnist and pursued by a wealthy businessman, became a box office hit and was nominated for an Academy Award for best original story (for Richard Connell and Robert Presnell Sr.).

Plot : Infuriated at being laid off from her job as a newspaper columnist, Ann Mitchell (Barbara Stanwyck) prints a fake letter from the unemployed "John Doe," threatening suicide in protest of society's ills. When the note causes a sensation, the newspaper is forced to rehire Mitchell. Together, the paper and Ann hire John Willoughby (Gary Cooper), a former baseball player and tramp, to play John Doe. The Doe philosophy spreads across the country, developing into a political movement, with financial support from the newspaper's publisher, D.B. Norton (Edward Arnold), who plans to channel the support for Doe into support for his own political ambitions...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) by Alfred Hitchcock

Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville. It stars Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers and Hume Cronyn.

Plot : A young woman thinks her uncle may be a serial killer.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Big Trees (1952) by Felix Feist, with Kirk Douglas

and starring Eve Miller, Patrice Wymore, Edgar Buchanan, John Archer

In 1900, lumberman Jim Fallon (Kirk Douglas) greedily eyes the big trees in the virgin region of northern California. The land is already settled by, among others, a religious group led by Elder Bixby (Charles Meredith). Jim becomes infatuated with Bixby's daughter, Alicia (Eve Miller), though that does not change his plan to cheat the homesteaders. When Jim's right-hand man, Yukon Burns (Edgar Buchanan) finds out, he changes sides and leads the locals in resisting Jim.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) by Roger Corman

and starring Jonathan Haze, Jackie Joseph, Mel Welles, Dick Miller and Jack Nicholson
A clumsy young man nurtures a plant and discovers that it's a bloodthirsty plant, forcing him to kill to feed it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Panic In the Streets (1950) by Elia Kazan with Richard Widmark

and starring Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes. Jack Palance, Zero Mostel
Shot exclusively on location in New Orleans, Louisiana and featuring numerous New Orleans citizens in speaking and non-speaking roles.
The film tells the story of Clinton Reed, an officer of the U.S. Public Health Service (played by Richard Widmark) and a police captain (Paul Douglas) who have only a day or two in which to prevent an epidemic of bubonic plague after Reed determines a waterfront homicide victim is an index case. Co-stars include Barbara Bel Geddes (as Reed's wife Nancy), Walter Jack Palance (in his film debut) and Zero Mostel — the latter two play associates of the victim who had prompted the investigation.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Never Weaken (1921) by Fred Newmeyer with Harold Lloyd

It was Lloyd's last short film, running to three reels, before he moved permanently into feature-length production. It was also one of his trademark 'thrill' comedies, featuring him dangling from a tall building.
Harold works in an office on a tall building next to his girlfriend Mildred (Mildred Davis). He assumes they will be married, but overhears her talking to a man who says to her, "Of course I will marry you."
Distraught, he decides to commit suicide, blindfolding himself and setting up a gun which will fire when he pulls a string attached to the trigger. But after putting on the blindfold he accidentally knocks over a bulb which pops, and he assumes he has shot himself. At that moment, a girder from the next door construction site swings into his office, lifting him and his chair outside. Pulling off the blindfold, the first thing he sees is a sculpture high on his building which he takes to be an angel, and he assumes he is in Heaven. However a jazz band on an adjacent rooftop garden soon disabuses him of that notion, and he realises he is high above the city.
After several perilous escapades high on the construction site, he finally makes it to the ground, only to realise that the man Mildred was talking to was her clergyman brother, who has agreed to officiate at their wedding.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dementia 13 (1963) Francis Coppola

Dementia 13 is a 1963 horror thriller released by American International Pictures, starring William Campbell, Patrick Magee, and Luana Anders. The film was written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Roger Corman. Although Coppola had been involved in at least two nudie films previously, Dementia 13 served as his first mainstream, "legitimate" directorial effort.
The plot follows a scheming young woman who, after having inadvertently caused the heart attack death of her husband, attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law's will. She pays a surprise visit to her late husband's family castle in Ireland, but her plans become permanently interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family.

Sunday, October 12, 2008