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March 2020 In Review

Needless to say my world like yours has had some major changes these past few weeks. Thankfully my family and I have not been overly stressed during this period of global issues brought on by the Coronavirus. I can only hope that you and your own families have had little or no exposure to this pandemic which seeks to disrupt all our lives. Always looking to remain positive and look towards the brighter/lighter side of things, I can honestly state that I’ve watched more movies this month than I purchased this time around. Not sure when that happened last.

Due to a work stoppage I am pretty much in semi-seclusion in the movie room here at Mike’s Take and with little Brando (who believes he’s a parrot at times) on my shoulder, I’ve gone on a movie watching binge I’m not sure I’ve matched since my teenage years. I’ve also broken with my tradition of taking notes on most every film I watch that was made prior to the year 2000 in case I chose to do a feature on it. So while I have and will continue to spotlight key viewings (links attached)  I’ve decided to just say a few syllables on most titles (Stooge Fans should get that reference) accompanied with either a movie poster or a lobby card which is of course a long standing tradition here in the vault at Mike’s Take.

Here we go….

File of the Golden Goose (1969) – Pedestrian effort but it does have the one and only Yul Brynner.

Green Book (2018)First rate entertainment with rock solid performances from Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Best Picture Winner and I’ve no problem with that. 

BranniganDuke KO’s the mob in England.

Excessive Force (1993)3 reasons to watch …. Lance Henriksen, James Earl Jones and Burt Young

The Hound of the BaskervillesPeter Cushing as Holmes revisited

A Triple Feature of Lloyd Bridges Noir Efforts

The Post (2017) Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep take on the Nixon administration in this Spielberg film standing their ground with the odds stacked against them. Another recommended outing with two of our greatest living actors in fine form.

The Graveyard Lana Turner joins the horror field but probably shouldn’t have

Wheels on Meals (1984) – Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung are always worth checking out for us action fans.

New Orleans UncensoredMichael Ansara and Mike Mazurki play the heavies!  

The Baron and the Kid (1984) Johnny Cash as a legendary pool player works for me with Claude Akins and Darren McGavin also signing on to this telefilm. 

Top O’ the Morning Bing and Barry always a winner in my books. 

Tarantula (1955)Jack Arnold fun from the 50’s era of sci-fi classics. 

Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)Blake Edwards shouldn’t have bothered though Herbert Lom is a pleasure to watch once again. 

Son of the Pink Panther (1993) Better than I recalled with Roberto Benigni carrying on the Clouseau name. 

4 Dollars of Revenge (1966) I’d call this better than average when it comes to the spaghetti western genre. 

It Came From Outer Space (1953)A sci-fi classic from Jack Arnold. Not to be missed. 

Red Line 7000 – A big bore! Disappointing considering this is a Howard Hawks film that feels more like a Frankie and Annette outing. I’d much rather rewatch Rory Calhoun’s low budget Thunder In Carolina anytime. 

Screaming Eagles (1956)Decent men on a mission flick with Tom Tryon behaving like a young James Cagney in any number of Warner Brothers efforts. 

Detective BelliFranco Nero rocks!

Gunfight at the O.K. CorralI can never see this film too often. 

City Slickers (1990)Jack Palance is absolutely perfect in this film. All you need to know. A wonderful revisit. 

The Quiet Man – I can never resist this one. Classic in every sense of the word.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)Tom Savini’s remake is fine but doesn’t hold the power of the black and white Romero film of ’68. Time for a self promo….

Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype – Oliver Reed takes on the dual role

Circumstantial Evidence (1945)Fox film plays like a 1930’s Warner Brothers picture that might have starred Billy Halop, Pat O’Brien and Bogie. 

12 to the Moon (1960)Not much to recommend here other than a cup of coffee to keep you awake. No budget and a near dead Tom Conway stars. 

The Night the World Exploded (1957)Easy to shoehorn in at 64 minutes is this fun end of the world picture with plenty of Styrofoam rocks to dodge if you want to live through the explosion. 

Beyond Evil (1980)A haunted mansion and cult favorite John Saxon. Took me years but I’ve finally seen this one. 

The Mummy (1959) Love this one and why not. It’s Hammer. It’s got Lee and Cushing and one hell of an iconic movie poster. 

Breakheart Pass – Charles Bronson makes like he’s in an Agatha Christie mystery and it’s plenty fun.

The Man With Nine Lives – Boris Karloff thinks he has conquered the secret to suspended animation.

Longstreet (1971)TV Movie / Series Pilot for a James Franciscus mystery show as a blind insurance detective.

Tobor the Great (1954) – No Tobor isn’t Robby the Robot but he sure seems like it. 

Conquest of Cochise (1953)John Hodiak takes on the title role in this William Castle “B” effort that also stars Robert Stack in military blues. 

Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation (1939) – The final Moto film for Peter Lorre and MGM just as WW2 was becoming all too real. 

Magnum Force (1973)The most enjoyable of the Dirty Harry sequels sees Clint tangling with a Death Squad wiping out San Francisco’s undesirables. “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Cat People (1942) A revisit to this Val Lewton thriller thanks to Number 1 Son, Ethan, looking into the films directed by Jacques Tourneur. Might I add it does my heart good to know both of my sons take an interest in film history. 

Quartet   (2012) – Easy to recommend is this charming, poignant tale of a retirement home that caters to opera stars and musicians. A real winner with a cast to match including a devilish turn by Billy Connolly under Dustin Hoffman’s direction. 

Key Largo (1948) As the years pass Bogie has taken on a mythical presence and it doesn’t hurt to have Edward G. Robinson go toe to toe with him. A true classic!

In Society – Bud and Lou go uptown when the call for a plumber comes in with the usual comedic results.

Hammer (1972) – It gets violent when Fred takes on both the mob and William Smith when they try to get him to throw a boxing match. Not likely.  

Port Afrique – Philip Carey tangles with a killer and falls for lovely Pier Angeli. And I do believe that’s a young Christopher Lee making a brief appearance.

Serpent’s Lair (1995)Jeff Fahey falls victim to the the sexiest succubus this side of hell, Lisa B. 

Lady Killer (1933)Cagney plays a small time hood who goes to Hollywood on the lam and makes it big in the movies. It’s a 1930’s version of Get Shorty! 

Blackway   (2015)  Anthony Hopkins and Julia Stiles take on a vicious backwoods killer, Ray Liotta, but it comes up flat overall. At 90 minutes in length maybe an additional 15 might have fleshed it out a little . Sadly, a failing grade.

That’s all folks. Let’s all hope that April brings good news to each and every one of us.

May fortune smile on you in the coming weeks. Brando and I pray you all remain safe and healthy.

8 Comments »

  1. You saw more than TWICE as many films in one month than I did during all of last year! And somehow, my recap post was about eight times longer than yours! Of your 40+ films watched, I’ve seen ten…not bad for me, I think! And the blurb for ‘Excessive Force’ made me laugh out loud: Three reasons to watch…Lance Henricksen, James Earl Jones, and Burt Young…and the first thing I see on the poster, in big letters: Thomas Ian Griffith! Take THAT, so-called lead actor!

    And of your films watched, I’d say I’m most interested in seeing ‘Lady Killer’ and ‘Beyond Evil’. Oh yeah, and that Italian director’s cut of ‘Magnum Force’, with scenes on the poster I never knew were in the movie!

    And finally…loved the shots of Brando, especially that last one!

    • I remember you going on that Dirty Harry binge a while back so you’d be the one to know if that poster is stretching the truth of just what Harry is up to. Ten years from now I’ll look back and realize that one picture of Brando smiling was probably the best one I ever took of him. Captures his personality.

  2. Great selections of films, Mike. I agree on Magnum Force, a really outstanding sequel.
    We have been rewatching the Hitchcock filmography during isolation- such a marvellous body of work.
    To stretch things out a bit out we are now interspersing with Hitchcock homages such as Charade and Arabesque.
    Stay safe; love the Brando photos.

    • That’s a great idea on both the Hitchcock filmography and some of the obvious attempts to capture his style. You’ll have to sneak in Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety and if I might suggest a Hammer favorite, A Taste of Fear/Scream of Fear. All the best from Brando and I during these scary times.

  3. Hi Mike,

    Could you just remind me – was CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1983) the movie in which Inspector Clouseau posed as a trannie on a street corner in a scene somewhere in the first half hour of that movie? If it is, that’s the only memory of that film I have – probably for the better.

  4. Blooming heck Mike that has to be the biggest selection of watched films ever!! Strange I now have more time that I could ever dream of but still struggling to do posts and watch stuff. The reason!!! My PC is hijacked for school work! Well I never, well he is doing his A-Levels and big respect to big fella, he’s dedicated.

    So good to hear you all safe and your weird looking parrot is looking after you! Haha good boy Brando. Good to hear you’re keeping positive. Yeah we all doing well, keeping a good routine seems key. Exercise, lunch and dinner together and walk around the park. Go our separate ways in the evening. With weekends to be random. I’m gonna try a virtual Friday night down the pub with my mates on video group chat. Should be interesting. Anyhow the films. Millions of them! A few I threw into sections.

    Great movies indeed.. Green Book, City Slickers, Magnum Force

    Defo need to see soon…… Key Largo, Hammer and Cat People

    Might get to one day… The Post and Quartet.

    Don’t know, gonna investigate………. Excessive Force, 4 Dollars Of Revenge, Screaming Eagles, Night of the Living Dead 1990?, The Night the World Exploded.

    So cool, big favs from my youth too… Wheels On Meals, Brannigan, It Came From Outer Space…. Gonna be revisiting Brannigan hopefully soon.

    Keep staying cool brother

    • Been a long time since I’ve watched so many in a month. I keep thinking I should binge on one particular topic or actor but then I see something else or the boys suggest something different and I’m off and running. I did finalize the Winds of War with Mitchum miniseries so more on that later in April roundup.

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