Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Film Discoveries of 2018 - Hal Horn ""

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Film Discoveries of 2018 - Hal Horn

Veteran RPS contributor Hal Horn runs the irreplaceable Horn Section Blog ('reviewing the obscure, overlooked and sometimes the very old').

Also read his previous Discoveries lists for Rupert Pupkin Speaks:

On Twitter @halhorn86

RKO wisely allowed legendary Leon Errol to carry a couple of feature films per year in addition to his usual workload of six two-reelers per year throughout the 1940's. Directed as usual by Les Goodwins, Leon again gives us a wild hour of impersonations and flim-flams. There's a great supporting role for Walter Catlett (POP ALWAYS PAYS) as an eccentric southern Colonel and the sadly neglected comedy team of Ben Carter and Mantan Moreland. In the film's highlight, Carter and Moreland present their "incomplete sentences" routine, seamlessly integrating Errol in the home stretch. Well worth watching TCM's schedule to see if they'll repeat it sometime in 2019. Also with Jason Robards, Sr., Florence Lake and Emory Parnell as the sheriff who keeps finding himself in the river after every arrest attempt.

One of the few Forrest Tucker films I hadn't seen yet, a late late show perennial in the 1960's that has virtually disappeared since. Until someone was kind enough to upload a superb print on YouTube---which promptly disappeared in less than a week due to the old "suspended due to multiple copyright infringements" account of the uploader. Too bad---I hope it reappears. Lensed in England by Herbert Wilcox and co-starring Margaret Lockwood and Wendell Corey (THE WILD BLUE YONDER), LAUGHING ANNE tells the tale of titular Lockwood, a beautiful Parisian nightclub singer with an infectious laugh. She's in love with seafaring Corey, but he's married. For that and other reasons she stays with prizefighter Tucker, an embittered man who truly could have been a contender, but ran afoul of underworld figures when he refused to throw a match. Circumstances bring the trio together half a decade later, with Tuck more bitter than ever and Lockwood showing the strain of the intervening years. It's much better than TROUBLE IN THE GLEN, the other 1954 Lockwood-Tucker teaming from Wilcox. From the short story and two-act play by Joseph Conrad, who is played in the prologue by Robert Harris. With Daphne Anderson and comic relief by Ronald Shiner. Needs rediscovery.

A most eclectic cast in this curio: Larry Storch, Brett Somers, Janet Margolin, Alice Pearce and Marlon's sister Jocelyn Brando are just a few who are supporting leads Ann-Margret and Michael Parks in this William Inge script directed by Harvey Hart (SHOOT). Parks (DEATH WISH V) returns home after a three year Navy hitch to discover a much different world than the one he'd left. The biggest difference is a gutpunch: former sweetheart Ann-Margret has married a much older man in his absence. Parks is disillusioned by jobs old and new and longs to make something of himself. His ex is unhappy in her marriage and making advances on him, hindering a potential new romance with Margolin. Parks really does seem to be the "next James Dean" at times here; while he never became a major star, the future Tarantino favorite was undeniably talented. TCM dusted this one off last year; hopefully they'll repeat it. Soapish and often slight, but interesting. Also with Kim Darby (TRUE GRIT). Songs by Dobie Gray ("Drift Away").

Lovable Lupe Velez gets a true vehicle for her considerable comedic talents, drawing on her pre-film experience as a teenage vedette and also getting the dual role, as responsible hard-working Consuela and the titular stage sensation. Directed by Charles Barton, but scripted by two writers with a background in more serious fare, HONOLULU LU is somewhat lacking in strong lines, putting all the mirth on Lupe's shoulders. She succeeds admirably. It's worth watching for her impressions of Gloria Swanson, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn and Adolf Hitler(!!) alone, but Lupe is great throughout. An absolute must is you're a fan of this unheralded great who was only 36 when she passed away three years later. Released two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Look for Forrest Tucker, Lloyd Bridges and eighteen year old Adele Mara in supporting roles.
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