Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Underrated '55 - Elijah Drenner ""

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Underrated '55 - Elijah Drenner

Elijah Drenner is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and one of the leading independent producers of Blu-ray/DVD bonus content and Electronic Press Kits. He has produced original content for The Criterion Collection, IFC Midnight, Dark Sky Films, Kino Lorber, Shout! Factory, Vinegar Syndrome and many more. In 2010, Drenner directed the documentary AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE. His second feature-length documentary, THAT GUY DICK MILLER is currently out on DVD and VOD:!content/674015/That-Guy-Dick-Miller

Check out Elijah's Underrated '65 list as well!
Dementia (aka Daughter of Horror) (1955; John Parker)
John Parker's one and only film is the greatest beat-noir, art house B-movie ever made. Told entirely without dialog with striking photography by William C. Thompson (GLEN OR GLENDA), I like to think of this movie as a gender reversed AFTER HOURS directed by Luis Buñuel. 

The Cobweb (1955; Vincente Minelli)
Vincente Minelli's all-star MGM movie about the sexual dysfunctions of the employees in a private psychiatric facility is a richly satisfying, suburban potboiler about the biggest non-issueyou can imagine -- who is in charge of choosing the new office drapes? This is upper-class white people, post-war repression at its melodramatic finest -- all augmented by gorgeous Cinemascope photography courtesy of George Folsey Sr.

Murder Is My Beat (1955; Edgar G. Ulmer)
Edgar G. Ulmer's final Poverty Row noir may not have the seductive power of DETOUR, made ten years earlier, but this solid thriller is made with brisk, competent ease by a director who deserved better. Actress Barbara Peyton deserved better too and she shows credible talent in this, her second-best performance, as a showgirl accused of murdering her lover. Paul Langton is the cop assigned to escort her to jail, not believing her pleas of innocence until the dead lover is spotted alive and well at a train station. 

Creature with The Atom Brain (1955; Edward L. Cahn)
With a script by Curt Siodmak (THE WOLFMAN), directed by B-movie quickie virtuoso Edward L. Cahn (INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN) and produced by Sam Katzman (EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS) -- what's not to love? The reanimated corpses from missing morgue slabs are systematically killing the men responsible for the exile of a former gangster. Richard Denning plays Dr. Chet Walker (with such a great name, he chose medicine over private detecting for a profession?), the man who must crack the case of the radioactive footprints found on the scene of the crimes. Gregory Gaye plays the nazi scientist who uses remote controlled atomic energy to control the cadavers. 

Queen Bee (1955; Ranald MacDougall)
When released from her contract at Warner Bros in 1953 on her own wishes, Crawford made some of the best films of her career. From JOHNNY GUITAR to AUTUMN LEAVES -- she sought after, and got, the kind of roles she was hungry for in the 50s. In this masterpiece, Crawford unleashes her venomous tongue lashes in the role of Eva Phillips, a conniving Southern socialite who hosts her younger cousin, Jennifer (played by Lucy Marlow) while visiting the family. Featuring a great supporting cast of broken spirits; Barry Sullivan, Fay Ray and Mrs. Vorhees herself, Betsy Palmer.   

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