Category: Film

AFTER THE DANCE

AFTER THE DANCE is the one about the innocent guy wrongly convicted and sent to prison who breaks out and becomes a show biz hit but is recaptured and sent back to the pen. What’s interesting about this little programmer is that in some ways it’s a proto-noir.

BATTLE OF THE CORAL SEA

Forget the prequel to Midway tag. It’s a war picture but the sub-genre isn’t naval warfare, but rather a POW picture. The only things representing the battle are the bookends, stock footage (some anachronistic) of naval warfare kind of stuff. The set-up: Cliff Robertson is a sub commander sent out on a recon mission before the aforementioned battle with the strong suggestion that if he has to sacrifice his boat, his men, and himself he must not reveal the dingus, the rendezvous point. Emphasis. So of course that’s just what happens. Japanese Navy frogmen in post war scuba (!) gear attach mines to the sub and Robertson gives up after scuttling the boat. That’s the first half hour.

INVENTING THE ABBOTTS

There was a time when films made for women, the so-called “Women’s picture”, were also entertaining and involving for a wider audience to enjoy. Now they are an exclusively female designed, designated, manufactured and sold product. The “chick flick” of today. There’s got to be more than just endless variations on “who’s going with whom”. The same giggly obsession of 8-year-old girls in the schoolyard matching up their schoolmates. It reminds me of an analogy with duplicate bridge where the same characters and elements can be played a different way each time and still lead to an arbitrary predetermined ending. Maybe there’s a better analogy.

DARK PURPOSE

This is a pretty terrible film, call it at its best – “derivative”. Another snore fest of the innocent American girl falling for a dubious but charming and handsome Italian nobleman, complete with secret door and hidden room containing “the truth”. The star attraction, except for maybe a nearly extinct cult following for the laconic and sardonic George Sanders, is non-existent. There is nothing remarkable about this film either aesthetically, cinematically, or historically.

SKIDOO

More than just another cheesy exploitation flick, more than just another old man ego trip, more than just another dumb-ass the-kids-will eat-this-crap-up Sixties movie, this is the official OTTO PREMINGER take on the times.

WHERE IT’S AT

I have this interest in an as yet unrecognized sub-genre, films “old” Hollywood made in the ’60s to appeal to the new “youth culture”. Think of some sixty-year-old studio exec or agent exclaiming about how the kids love David Niven, their idea of a hip swinger. The most typical film of this genre is PRUDENCE AND THE PILL, which is based on the asinine premise that women couldn’t tell the difference between a birth control pill and an aspirin. Ha ha. Obviously made by people who had never seen a birth control pill FOR people who had heard of but had never seen a birth control pill. Its like the Orson Welles story about the frog and the scorpion – Hollywood was trapped by their very nature.

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2007

Shocking as it may seem, 2007 was the first year I’ve seen less than 500 films in theatres/screening rooms (I remember when that number neared 2000…)  Could it be all those atrocious films released that I for once decided not to waste two hours of my life on?

SENTINELS IN THE AIR

One of a series of self-serving propaganda films made by RKO during the period it was owned by Howard Hughes. This was made circa 1955 (there is one 1956 Dodge seen on a dealers lot, all other cars are 1955’s or earlier). It is a peon to the Air National Guard and emphasizes its importance in defending America – from what? The implication on the minds of audiences at the time was of course that Soviet bombers would penetrate US airspace and attack places like Marietta, Georgia, even though it was a 24-hour ride from the closest point in Russia.

TOP OF THE WORLD

A fascinating picture strictly for those interested in seeing the United States Air Force in a strange interim period when they still operated specialized aircraft left over from WW2 into the 1950s.

CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE

Unintentionally one of the weirdest mainstream movies ever made. Let me put it this way: if you can’t get your hands on a copy, try recording it when it’s on TCM, invite the kids over, and pass a cold 40 around with the holder having to take a slug every time the word “meat” is mentioned. My guess is that you will all wind up in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. Maybe you’ll meet some baby boomer there whose parents were influenced by this film and now suffering chest pains. This film is so meat mad that one suspects that times were so lean at MGM that CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE was an early example of product placement, cooked up by the meat industry. It’s a shame that none of the filmmakers are still around to be grilled.