Rupert Pupkin Speaks: February 2018 ""

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane has seen over 5,000 movies. She writes two columns for Talk Film Society; Overlooked & Underseen and Saturday Afternoon Kaiju. She is a member of the Girl Gang. She has appeared on several podcasts including Splathouse and The Screamcast. You can find her on Twitter at @fookthis. You can also find her on Letterboxd at letterboxd.com/fookthis. She has four cats, one husband and one kiddo.


Tokyo Drifter (1966) – Directed by Seijun Suzuki
I’m clearly very late to the Suzuki party but I’m just glad I finally made it. This was my first (but certainly not my last) Suzuki film and I loved every second of Tokyo Drifter. The visuals in this tale about a former Yakuza gang member just trying to get along really knocked my socks off. Once you’ve seen this you’ll think “Ah, that’s where Tarantino got that from.” All hail Seijun Suzuki!
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The Crook (1970) – Directed by Claude Lelouch
The opening scene alone of The Crook puts this in a must watch category if you haven’t already seen this amazing movie from France. Within the first few minutes of putting this on I tweeted out “What the fuck am I watching?!” Jean-Louis Trintignant stars as Simon ‘The Swiss’ Duroc. He’s a thief who has spent some time in prison as well as some on the lam. Lelouch gives zero fucks about narrative structure but it doesn’t matter because it all works itself out at the end and you’ll have a great time getting there.
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A Night to Remember (1958) – Directed by Roy Ward Baker
My husband and I are watching all the Criterion films in order of when they put them out. When it was time to watch A Night to Remember I thought “This might be really dry, especially as I’ve seen this story told many times.” Boy, was I wrong. Apart from that stupid “Jack!” “Rose!” story in Titanic, Cameron’s film is almost note for note the same as Baker’s. Sure it doesn’t have all the special effects of Titanic, but what it does have in terms of miniatures is pretty amazing. And, even though I knew the outcome, I cried at some of the more harrowing scenes.
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Night of the Eagle aka Burn Witch, Burn (1962) – Directed by Sidney Hughes
If you’re looking for a movie about a hot professor who finds out his wife has been practicing witchcraft for years, well, have I got one for you! Peter Wyngarde and Janet Blair are both terrific in this gorgeous looking American-British co-production. It’s what the kids call a slow burn but, boy, when it burns it’s on goddamn fire. We all need a little more witchcraft in our lives.
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Cooley High (1975) – Directed by Michael Shultz
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Glynn Turman star in this terrific period piece from 1975. I don’t know why I waited so long to watch this one but I’m so glad I did. The best of friends, Cochise (Hilton-Jacobs) and Preach (Turman), are about to graduate high school. A night of blowing off steam turns into a nightmare for the two boys. The performances in the film are amazing. Shout out to Garrett Morris who plays the boys History teacher. The soundtrack to Cooley High is A+. Don’t sleep on this one like I did.
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Elevator to the Gallows (1958) – Directed by Louis Malle
Speaking of amazing music, Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows has an amazing Miles Davis score that will haunt you for weeks. This was Malle’s first film and wow, what adebut. Jeanne Moreau is tremendous as Florence, a woman who plots with her lover to kill her husband. Malle turns Moreau into a star with this movie and, in turn, begins an amazing career himself.
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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - The Cinemonster

Fancy Film Fella and Booze Aficionado, Cinemonster can be stalked on Twitter @ElCinemonster or at Letterboxd.
http://bringmetheheadofgdt.com/
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Junior Bonner (1972)
The Peckinpah fan that I am, I had never seen this. Relatively quiet for Bloody Sam but still up to its armpits in masculinity. Great performances. Beautiful and subtle.
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I Drink Your Blood (1970)
Meat Pies, Rabies and Revenge….oh my.
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Possession (1981)
It’s a crime that Isabel Adjani didn’t win every award under the sun for this. Well shot, well plotted, extremely well acted. First time in a while a movie blew me away.
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Joe (1970)
Well acted powerful film shows the toxic cycle that is ignorance, bigotry and insecurity. Peter Boyle is fantastic. Early Susan Sarandon. One of the best of the ‘70s. Sadly, this could just as easily be now.
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Tokyo Tribe (2014)
Singular. Sono.
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Vigilante (1982)
Solid little Bill Lustig thriller has great locations, some fun action and a great cast (Rob Forrester, Willie Colon, Woody Strode, Fred Williamson). Unfairly gets criticized for being a Death Wish knockoff. Stands wel on its own as a good mid level genre pic.
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Feast (2005)
If I’m going to be trapped in a podunk town saloon, under siege by horny man-eating beasts, put Clu Gulager in there with me. Henry Rollins cast against type doesn’t hurt either. If you like fun hyper-stylized blood baths (I do), this is for you.
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Friday, February 23, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - World B Tweet

World B Tweet – worked in movie theatres and video stores almost non-stop since 1987. My first night in a movie theatre was opening night of the first “Lethal Weapon.” I’m a child of the 80’s drive-in scene, the long lost son of Sam Firstenberg, and I can be found talking movies on Twitter (@WorldBTweet) or at https://isawmommykissinggreydonclark.blogspot.com/.


I made it a point to strictly go older films for this list. However, I would like to drop an honorable mention to whomever was kind enough to recommend the delightful family film PADDINGTON to me (I'm eagerly awaiting the U.S. release of the sequel).

I'd also like to give a shout-out to a fantastic trend that continued through 2017 and I can only assume will keep going through the next calendar year-- the remastering of darkly lit horror/genre films. There are so many films from the 70's and 80's that I hated mostly because I couldn't see what was happening in all of the shadows and darkness. Now, due to blu-ray and great production work by some great independent disc companies, I could now find merit in films that previously bored me to tears. To the makers of HOWLING II (1985), THE MUTILATOR (1984), and HUMONGOUS (1982)... I finally see what you were trying to accomplish. Kudos to all of the cool kills and red stuff that were hidden in the shadows for decades.



On to this year's best:
BARBAROSA
Bad distribution patterns and lousy prints had kept me from this one for forever and a day. I finally got my hands on a clean view of it this summer, and, for fans of the Western, it is fantastic. Willie Nelson plays Barbarosa, a mythical gunfighter and bandit, and Gary Busey plays a young man who follows him after he accidentally kills a neighbor. The film is filled with standard Western tropes, but is also laden with great dry humor and many of the quirky touches you'd expect from Nelson, Busey and director Fred Schepisi.

BARBAROSA will not be the Western to appeal to those who need wall-to-wall action and gun battles. There is a good bit of gunfighting, to be sure, but this film is about the characters, and in a great script by William D. Wittliff, the Old West of the Texas/Mexico border may be the best character the film has up its sleeve.

I watched this and BONE TOMAHAWK with a family member who is a true-blue Western fan. He loved them both. BARBAROSA is both very different and as old-fashioned a Western as you can possibly get.
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BUTCHER BAKER NIGHTMARE MAKER (NIGHT WARNING)
I'd feel like the biggest dipshit in the world for, as being someone that has seen just about every single genre film of the early 1980's, not having ever laid eyes on BUTCHER BAKER NIGHTMARE MAKER. I always remember the film for being a huge recommendation of Stephen King back in the 80's, and for the longest time, I certainly did my darndest to find it. It was just impossible. For a while I didn't even realize that BUTCHER and NIGHT WARNING were the same film, so there may even have been a time or two that I passed a VHS copy or HBO showing without even being aware.

After that, I just kind of gave up, figuring it was a lost cause.

Cue 2017. Code Red Bill came up with a beautiful copy and dropped this sucker onto Blu-ray, and it is everything that Stephen King said and more. Grimy, sleazy, suspenseful, sometimes scary and definitely sleazy a second time over, BUTCHER tells the tale of a single woman who's not quite all there (Susan Tyrell) and the nephew (Jimmy McNichol, of the acting McNichol teens of yesteryear) she has taken in and raised as her own after his parents died when he was young. All was good between aunt and nephew for awhile, but now, as he's finishing high school and has plans for moving away to college, things are starting to unravel. He's looking for more control over his life, and she's quickly losing control of hers.

I will drop no more plot points into this except to say when you think it's going one way, it ain't for long. Bo Svenson plays a very dirty cop who may be the biggest villain of the entire piece, Julia Duffy plays the nephew's girlfriend and displays some actorly choices I never thought I'd see from the stately actress from TV's NEWHART, and Bill Paxton appears in a small but significant early role. However, this is Tyrell's film from start to finish, and this is a true one of a kind that will stick with me...well, forever.

Director William Asher helmed BEACH BLANKET BINGO and episodes of BEWITCHED before taking this one on; after this, he went back to TV for eps of HARPER VALLEY PTA and a GREEN ACRES TV movie. How the HELL did he end up here, and how the HELL did he knock it out of the park so easily?
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HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING (1980)
For me, even when they aren't of the highest quality, 1980s comedies are the best comfort viewing in the world. Made by many directors and writers who made their bones on television sitcoms, most humor films from that decade try not to be too offensive or too deep. They simply introduce familiar situations, familiar characters, and familiar settings. Your mind is supposed to provide the rest of the equation. Films like THE LONELY GUY, BEST FRIENDS, and THE FOUR SEASONS aren't necessarily great films, but they go down very easily and are filled with likable characters in relatable situations.

I enjoy watching them all.... which made it very surprising when I realized that, fifteen minutes into turning it on, I had never seen HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING. It felt right in my 80's wheelhouse. How had I let it slip past me?

The film, about three women (Jane Curtin, Susan Saint James and Jessica Lange) trying to find a way to survive the economic crunch, is the exact description of 80's comfort viewing. Nothing bold or new happens during the film (and if I had seen it in a theatre in 1980 instead of my house in 2017, that'd still have been true). However, all three leads are charming (and watching the ground that Lange covered in acting skills between KING KONG in '76 and here is almost breathtaking), Dabney Coleman plays a genuine good guy/romantic foil, and the supporting cast is top notch.

I've seen better films that HOW TO BEAT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING this year, but it may end up turning out that I rewatch this one more than most of those superior films. Comfort viewing is where it's at.
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FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE/RIDE THE PINK HORSE
In June, I tried to do a "You Pick My June" theme where 30 people I talk to on Twitter each gave me a recommendation so I could do one of their picks per day. The task was way too daunting, and I fell way short of the goal. Thirty people were kind enough to give me ideas, and I believe I finally ended up watching sixteen of them. Bad Bob.

PADDINGTON (which I mentioned earlier) was on that list, but the film I loved the most during that month was a film that, if you know what I like, should have been a film I had seen a dozen times, not zero.

I had THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973) pinned down as another standard heist film, a movie that I'd definitely get to when I continued my deep dive into the early 70's, but something that could easily wait awhile. Picture my surprise when the movie turned into a close relative of one of my "handshake films," PRINCE OF THE CITY. Take your main character, who has done some bad things but doesn't want to implicate his friends and co-horts, tighten the screws on him, and watch him squirm.

Robert Mitchum plays the title character, a small-time gangster who steadily realizes that the amount of moves he has left in the game are diminishing by the minute. He tries to do everything possible to keep himself out of trouble, both with the law and with his partners, but it becomes obvious that something is soon going to give.

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE is gripping, bad-ass, and more than a little sad and depressing. Mitchum is fantastic and the film is filled with a ton of great tough guy supporting actors (Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Alex Rocco, etc). I'm gonna need to watch this again... soon.

I won't go into too many details about another film from my June recommendation project, but ABSOLUTELY search out a film I learned about first on Pure Cinema Pod, 1947's RIDE THE PINK HORSE. Fans of noir who haven't seen this one need to find it immediately, as it not only hits all the main checkpoints of a great noir film but it is it's own weird, wonderful beast at the same time. I had never seen much of Robert Montgomery before this, but he is perfect (he also directed), and Wanda Hendrix's work as Pilar stuck with me for months afterwards. RIDE THE PINK HORSE was everything that people had promised me, and so so much more.
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TRUCK TURNER/BLACKENSTEIN
The "Blaxploitation" films of the 1970's came in a wonderful array of shapes and sizes... and skills. No two films can designate how different two films of a genre can be, both in style and plot but, more importantly, in execution. One was fast paced and filled with great moments; the other was a hilarious trainwreck where nothing really went right. I couldn't take my eyes off either one, and I'm so glad they both ended up in my collection in 2017.

Before he made THE ACCUSED, OVER THE EDGE and UNLAWFUL ENTRY, director Jonathan Kaplan gave us TRUCK TURNER (1974), starring the one and only Isaac Hayes as a bounty hunter who becomes the target of a madame (Nichelle Nichols) and a hitman (Yaphet Kotto) when the man he is trying to bring in gets killed.

From the very first scene where Hayes complains that the clothes he is wearing are covered with cat urine to the action-packed finale, this is 100% pure Blaxploitation gold. Filled with way more intentional humor than I was expecting, TRUCK flows smoothly between shootouts (of which there are more than enough). Hayes is perfect as the lead and should have made about a dozen more of these (sadly, this came out as the genre was starting to subside a bit). Nichols is crazy insane as the madame who has a score to settle with Truck (seeing Uhura from STAR TREK lay down a blue streak of profanity may be the highlight of the film). And holy cow-- Yaphet Kotto is so great as the deadly and evil hit man that he's still haunting my nightmares on a daily basis.

TRUCK TURNER is perfect. BLACKENSTEIN (1973) is perfectly unperfect.

I will never be able to fully explain the awesomeness of this film, so I always recommend to those I loan the film to (and a LOT of people have gotten to understand my love for BLACKENSTEIN this year!) to check out the trailer first, even though it may spoil some of the actual film for them. There was no better 3 minutes for me this year than hearing the narrator of the trailer alternate between "Blackenstein!" and "The Black Frankenstein" over and over again, as if anyone was truly confused about the meaning of the title (although I absolutely would go to see a film about the black Albert Einstein as well-- BLACKEINSTEIN!)

The lead performances are, well... stunning. Ivory Stone, as the fiancee of the man who becomes Blackenstein is wonderfully bad, but this is truly the acting battle of the century-- choose your side. Who is the more memorable awful performance, Joe De Sue as Eddie/Blackenstein, or Roosevelt Jackson as the jealous assistant, Malcomb? The decision will keep you awake for weeks.

P.S. Director William Levey was actually allowed to keep directing after this, and went on to make SKATETOWN U.S.A., which is on my list of criminally unreleased films on Blu-Ray. I need to watch both as a double feature for the ages.

P.P.S. - How did we get films about Black Frankensteins, black vampires, black zombies, black exorcists and no black werewolves? Where was my BLACKWOLF, starring Antonio Fargas? Damn you, Hollywood!
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THUNDER (1983)
Italian actor Mark Gregory is now officially my hero. After getting to play the Michael Beck role in the best WARRIORS ripoff, ever, 1990:THE BRONX WARRIORS, I learned this year that Gregory had also taken on the title role in THUNDER, Italy's proud love letter to the Rambo series. It breaks my heart that Thunder has never gotten the true love in the U.S. that Gregory's earlier lead role had gotten, and it's time to fix that now.

Gregory plays "Thunder," a Navajo/Vietnam vet who returns to his hometown to find his tribe's burial ground is being taken control of and built over by greedy businessmen. Thunder spends the next 80 minutes taking on the businessmen, their workers, the local sheriff and his deputies.

Print up a checklist of Rambo plot points and start your drinking game:

1. Rambo just wants to come home and have things like they are; so does Thunder.

2. Rambo gets terrorized by the sheriff; so does Thunder.

3. Rambo has a bow and arrow; so does Thunder.

4. Rambo blows up buildings...well, you get the point.

Much like BLACKENSTEIN, I'm upset we didn't get a cottage industry of "Mark Gregory takes on the 80's" films. Gregory as Jason Voorhees. Gregory as Indiana Jones. Gregory as Victor/Victoria. Gregory plays all five parts in The Breakfast Club. And so on.... the man knew how to rip off all of our classics. Trash, er...Thunder.... we salute you.
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Just The Discs - Bonus - An Indicator Foursome

On this bonus episode, Brian delves into four excellent new releases from Indicator in the UK - CHARLEY VARRICK, BLUE COLLAR, THE BORDER and THE FORTUNE. Check them out at Indicator's website:
http://www.powerhousefilms.co.uk/

Please rate and subscribe if you like the show!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/justthediscss-podcast/id1205661081

Just the Discs is part of the Screaming Pods Network:

http://www.screamingpods.com/project/just-the-discs/

The show is also available on Stitcher:

http://stitcher.com/s?fid=131109&refid=stpr

Or you can listen to the episode right here:


Links to Discs Below:
CHARLEY VARRICK

BLUE COLLAR

THE BORDER

THE FORTUNE

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Film Discoveries of 2017 - Sean Wicks

Sean is a movie obsessed, all-around social media lover, he's very active on twitter (https://twitter.com/wixpix), tumblr (http://seanwicks.tumblr.com/) facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WicksFlicks), and letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com/wixpix/).

My favorite blog post of the year – the annual discoveries list for Rupert Pupkin Speaks.

This was an odd movie watching year for me. It started out weak, initially involved a lot of re-watching, but somehow picked up at the end of the summer and I ended up cracking the 300-film mark before the end of the year (thank you Letterboxd, so that we cinephiles can obsessively track stats like that).

Although my overall choices for discoveries was smaller than in previous years, the list was a solid one and it has been difficult to narrow it down to just a few key ones.

Here we go!

LA POISON (1951; Directed by Sacha Guitry)
Talk about an unhappy marriage. In this French film directed by Sacha Guitry, Michel Simon and Germaine Reuver play a couple bent on killing each other. She has procured poison that she plans (but keeps changing her mind at the last second) to slip into his wine while he plots a way to murder her and get away with it. He even talks to the local priest about it openly! When a lawyer who defends only the guilty brags about his 100% acquittal rate on the radio, the husband sees his opening and visits the attorney with plans for carrying out his evil deed. Who ends up killing whom first I am not at liberty to reveal as that would ruin what is a delightfully dark comedy. The wife spends most of the film completely drunk, so much so that she can barely lift her head off the table, while the husband just mopes around wishing he could kill his wife.

The picture begins with the director walking about the set and locations thanking the various cast and crew members for their hard work on the picture. It’s a light and unique opening to what is a very funny picture, that is thankfully available on Blu-ray disc and DVD from the Criterion Collection for all to discover.
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SISTERS (1972; Directed by Brian De Palma)
My second discovery is another Criterion release. I am torn on the work of Brian De Palma. I recently came to embrace Raising Cain thanks to the recent Scream Factory Blu-ray Disc release, but am still cold on films such as Dressed to Kill.

Sisters is one of De Palma’s earlier films about a murder witnessed by a VERY nosy neighbor played by Jennifer Salt (voyeurism is a big theme in De Palma’s work) who becomes obsessed with proving that a gentleman who had a one-night stand with a model played by Margot Kidder, didn’t leave – well, alive anyway. Why this neighbor is so set in meddling in this affair is beyond confusing. Maybe it is for her own sanity, but after a while you end up cheering for the murderer simply because this other woman is just so annoying.

Like the aforementioned Raising Cain, the picture takes a wild psychological turn that is as unsettling as it is intriguing. Even if you are as lukewarm on De Palma as I am, this is one title worth checking out.
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THE SEARCH (1948; Directed by Fred Zinnemann)
The Search was a purely delightful discovery that I stumbled upon in the best way possible, while killing some time at my local library. It is the heart-warming tale of a Czech boy who has been separated from his mother, and has run away from the American liberators in post-World War II Berlin thinking that they are as bad as the Nazis. He is presumed to have drowned in the escape while the mother begins to volunteer at the hospital he was staying at. Not having given much information as to his identity, she is unaware that he was even there. Meanwhile the very alive boy finds G.I. Montgomery Clift who takes him under his wing. The boy also presumes his mother to be dead, but each of them continue to believe, somehow, that the other is alive.

This is such an uplifting movie and so unexpected a find. Clift is sympathetic as the friendly G.I. who helps the boy adapt to the new post-war reality, but what carries the picture is the message of hope as mother and son believe they will be reunited, even when everyone around them is sure that the other individual is dead.

Ivan Jandl won a well-deserved Oscar for outstanding juvenile performance for this. The film is available on DVD from The Warner Archive.
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THE LUSTY MEN (1952; Directed by Nicholas Ray)
Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men is one of those pictures that has been on my “to be watched” list for years thanks to its high-standing in critical circles. It’s an awkward title for a stand-out motion picture about a washed-up rodeo star (Robert Mitchum) who signs on to be a ranch-hand only to find himself mentoring Arthur Kennedy in the ways of the rodeo. Kennedy just wants to get a nest egg fast, so he can buy a quiet little ranch and settle down to a peaceful existence with his wife, Susan Hayward. But the fast-paced life of a rodeo star gets to his head and he loses sight of his original dreams as he finds fame and fortune. Of course, two men and one woman makes the perfect love triangle and the dynamic between the three stars makes for a great personal conflict, juxtaposed next to the rodeo action which has its own set of cinematic thrills. Ray balances it all perfectly in what truly is an outstanding work.

Available on DVD from the Warner Archive.
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HANGOVER SQUARE (1945; Directed by John Brahm)
I want to know where this gem has been hiding for so long! One of my Noirvember watches, Hangover Square is a Noir tale of an early 20th Century composed (Laird Cregar) living in London who experiences strange blackouts when ever he hears strange musical combinations. A murder occurs during one of his blackouts and he seeks help from a Scotland Yard doctor (George Sanders) who tells him he is innocent. That doesn’t last all that long for the composer meets a music hall dancer (Linda Darnell) who he makes famous by writing music for her. He is brilliant and strange, she is beautiful and young which is not a great combo and leads to some unfortunate incidents brought on by his increasingly darkened mood.

Cregar, Darnell, Sanders and the camera-work make this a picture that demands some attention. There is bonfire scene that is visually stunning, a murder that is brilliantly executed, and oh did I mention a score by Barnard Herrmann?

Recently released on Blu-ray Disc by Kino Lorber Studio Classics.
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THE STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVERS (1946; Directed by Lewis Milestone)
This is another gem of a movie that caught me by surprise during Noirvember.

Another Film-Noir with the deadliest of triangles – the love one involving two men and one woman. The men in this case are street-wise, bad-boy Van Heflin and book-smart, good-boy Kirk Douglas who are both infatuated from childhood with Martha, played in adulthood by the Femme Fatale-ist of them all, Barbara Stanwyck.

As a child, Stanwyck is forced to endure a hard life under her domineering aunt who she accidentally sends tumbling down a staircase to her death. Heflin witnesses it, then lies to protect the girl he is clearly in love with. Years later, Heflin loses his concentration while driving and ends up literally crashing into his hometown that he had been avoiding all these years. Stanwyck is married to Kirk Douglas, another childhood friend who is now the town district attorney. Heflin describes him as looking like a “scared little boy”. The couple do not believe Heflin is in town by accident, but is there to cash in on the dark knowledge from their past life.

A perfect Noir on all fronts, I was mesmerized by this picture and it has joined my list of all-time favorites.

Available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo from Film Chest.
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BACHELOR MOTHER (1939; Directed by Garsin Kanin)
Bachelor Mother is movie strictly of its time. The scenario would never happen in modern day, and thanks to delightful performances from a very funny Ginger Rogers and David Niven, is a complete joy to watch.

Single Ginger Rogers is about to be let go from her job. Mistaken by an orphanage to be the mother of a child that another woman was abandoning, the orphanage reports this to her boss (Niven) who immediately ensures that she keep her job dependent on her keeping the baby. As we know though (and he doesn’t), the baby isn’t hers. Nobody believes it isn’t hers (even though the woman was never pregnant, so it would be easy to prove but nobody seems to consider this step) but thanks to some overbearing orphanage officials, it becomes hers whether she likes it or not. The baby brings she and Niven (a wealthy man, she not so much) together. A series of outrageous comedic errors ensues, each one crazier than the last (and for the characters, more infuriating). Key moments include a dance competition where Niven tries to butt in and confront Rogers about her lack of motherhood skills.

Yet another fabulous Warner Archive DVD release.
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MAN-TRAP (1961; Directed by Edmond O’Brien)
Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to do a good deed. In the case of Matt Jameson (Jeffrey Hunter) saving the life of Korean war buddy Vince Biskay (David Janssen) causes him nothing but grief when Janssen returns years after the war to return the favor. That returned favor comes in the form of a botched and extremely violent heist which makes both men the target of a South American dictator and the authorities.

Hunter’s life isn’t so hot to begin with. He’s working for his wife’s father (the wife is played by Stella Stevens) and the wife is a sexpot who has eyes for every man that walks by her, it seems just to drive Hunter crazy.

What makes this thriller so incredible is not only the stark black-and-white photography, nor the outstanding performances by the three leads, but the lavish and openly sexually liberated, yet ignorantly stifled, middle class existence they live in. The neighbors (which includes Hogan Heroes star Bob Crane) are in a state of constant, drunken partying and seem obsessed by a naughty game called “Braille” where blindfolded husbands must identify their wives by groping all the women. In fact, it’s one of the neighbor’s wives that keeps bringing it up! It’s a surreal scene of middle-class inclusiveness, completely oblivious to anything but their own pleasures while the violent conflict between the two men rages on right under their noses.

Available on Blu-day disc and DVD from Olive Films.
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