Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated Action/Adventure - John Knight ""

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Underrated Action/Adventure - John Knight

About John Knight:
"From a North London working class background and a genuine Muswell Hillbilly by birth, Rod Stewart lived across the road from me and Ray Davies and I used to loan each other records. He turned me on to Chet Atkins and I  turned him on to The Ventures. Always been a life-long film fan and when I met Cineaste and later screenwriter
Chris Wicking in the early Sixties he turned me onto lots of interesting films and directors. It's been a lifelong search and I'm still learning at the age of 68,
still so many great people yet to discover.....I am talking vintage films here."

THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK (1950) Lewis R Foster
John Payne, Dennis 'O Keefe, Rhonda Fleming. 
My five choices are all Pine Thomas Productions. William H Pine and William C Thomas became known as  "The Dollar Bills" when they headed up Paramount's B unit because their films always made money.In the Fifties Paramount gave them bigger budgets and starrier casts. Their films though cheesy always looked great and should be on DVD or better still Blu-Ray. Eagle And the Hawk has a Texas Ranger and Union Agent going undercover in Mexico.Overlong and rambling film has great photography (James Wong Howe) and set pieces. Scene where Payne is spreadeagled between two horses charging towards a cliff is a highlight

CROSSWINDS (1951) Lewis R Foster
John Payne, Rhonda Fleming, Forrest Tucker, John Abbott, Alan Mowbray.
Skipper Payne gets rooked out of his boat by crooked Tucker. He becomes involved in a search for a sunken plane full of gold and has to cope with headhunters,crocodiles and a couple of really nasty Brits (Abbott and Mowbray who effortlessly steal the film) He still finds time to woo lovely Fleming...what a guy! Good location photography,not a back lot in sight!

CARIBBEAN (1952) Edward Ludwig
John Payne, Arlene Dahl, Cedric Hardwicke, Francis L Sullivan, Willard Parker, Woody Strode. Pirates lots of swordplay and duels plus for the era,an interesting Black liberation subtext. Naive by today's standards but a step in the right direction. Payne does his usual bare chested shtick but looks positively puny with Woody Strode's magnificent torso on display.

SANGAREE (1953) Edward Ludwig
Fernando Lamas, Arlene Dahl, Patricia Medina, Tom Drake, Willard Parker.
Early in this costumer there is some very sensual role play between the two
super-sexy leads. Just check out their body language! Then screenwriter David Duncan throws every trick in the book to keep things fast moving,. We get sabotage,fires,explosions,extended tavern brawls,swampland duels and the Bubonic plague! Ludwig,Duncan and D.O.P. Lionel Linden later teamed up for the cult classic THE BLACK SCORPION the third greatest "giant bug" movie
ever made.

JIVARO (1954) Edward Ludwig
Fernando Lamas Rhonda Fleming,Brian Keith,Lon Chaney,Richard Denning,
Rita Moreno. The most gorgeous looking of all the Pine-Thomas flicks.The intrepid crew head into the darkest reaches of the Amazon searching for gold and Fleming's missing boyfriend (Denning) Lots of "unrequited lust" between the two very sexy leads. Like SANGAREE this one was made in 3D with everything,including shrunken heads thrown at the audience.


Anonymous said...

I know you're a big fan of these Pine Thomas movies, John. I have to admit I haven't seen any of these, but I'd sure like to now.


Laura said...

John, like Colin I haven't seen any of these films but I love the casts and you've sure got me anxious to check them out now! Love your enthusiastic writeups -- even "the bubonic plague"! LOL. Great stuff.

Best wishes,

Blake Lucas said...

Great choice, especially because so few know these movies now. It was a wonderful time for Technicolor escapist matinee adventure, and as you say, with some sexiness not to mention sexy redheaded leading ladies.

I've seen all of these except THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK but only one of them in a theatre on first release (it was JIVARO). What you say makes me wish we could go back and enjoy them as they were meant to be seen.

Of the two directors, I don't count out Foster even if I like Ludwig more (it's not because of any of these but because of WAKE OF THE RED WITCH). You surely chose Foster's best action/adventure--CROSSWINDS. For those of us who like this genre, that one was just so enjoyable.

Jerry E said...

These Pine-Thomas films are a fun choice, John.
I saw "Eagle And The Hawk" a few hundred years ago on UK TV but it was so long ago that I would really welcome a re-view (a vain hope?). Thanks to you, I now have a copy of "Caribbean" and really look forward to seeing it, especially after Blake's special recommendation!
The rest have escaped me - so far anyway. Great stuff.