September 2020 In Review
As a sports fan it’s awfully hard to keep up with movies when the world of professional sports leagues are all colliding during the ninth month of 2020 thanks to what our planet is going through. So here I am trying to catch a film a day as is my habit while watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Toronto Blue Jays make a push for a playoff position and the Toronto Raptors come up short in their quest for a second straight NBA title. Good thing I’ve never bothered with the NFL. If I cared about football I might never have shined a spotlight on any movies this month.
Now how about that new addition to the movie room I picked up in September? I am referring to my newly acquired Beta Machine and tapes to go with it.
On to the roll call for what’s come and gone in September ….
Calcutta – previously featured Alan Ladd Noir entry but as it’s been released on blu ray I just had to revisit it.
T-Men (1947) – Top notch Noir entry from Anthony Mann starring Dennis O’Keefe and how about that scene between Charles McGraw and Wallace Ford. Unforgettable.
The Car (1977) – A favorite of my youth stars James Brolin attempting to put an end to a Jaws like car driven by some sort of demon from hell.
Six Bridges to Cross – Tony Curtis plays gangster in this “B” for Universal.
Half Way to Hell (1960) – All but forgotten low budget entry included in the Al Adamson Masterpiece Collection.
Breakfast for Two (1937) – A winning screwball comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Herbert Marshall is easy to recommend.
Jitterbugs (1943) – Paying a visit to comedy legends Stan and Ollie never gets tiresome.
Thunder Birds – Gene Tierney leads the way in this technicolor WW2 effort.
Ford V Ferrari (2019) – I truly enjoyed this James Mangold directed flick starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Great period piece of the late 60’s with the pair attempting to build a car for Ford Motors that can compete with Ferrari and win the Le Mans. Based on a true story this one is most easy to recommend to one and all.
Alexander the Great (1956) – Richard Burton takes the title role in this big budget effort that lacks the splendor of other historical productions of the era.
The Quatermass Xperiment – A fun sci-fi entry from Hammer Films.
Invisible Invaders (1959) Both John Agar and John Carradine star in this low budget cult fave that surely must have inspired George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
Seven Seas to Calais – Rod Taylor shines in this swashbuckler.
Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) – Nifty witchcraft thriller from a Richard Matheson script worth your looking into.
Beat the Devil (1953) – I hadn’t seen this since I was a teenager and at the time didn’t think much of it. Years later I realize it’s a black comedy classic and unlike anything else that Humphrey Bogart starred in. An odd retelling of The Maltese Falcon? Perhaps but stands on it’s own merit with a dynamite cast under the direction of John Huston.
Once Upon a Time In Venice (2017) – This Bruce Willis flick tries hard in a Tarantino kind of way but comes up plenty short. But it does have a certain amount of charm with Bruce as a beach bum private eye trying to get his dog back that has ended up in the hands of a local drug lord, Jason Momoa. Now he has to jump through hoops to get him back. The film also has John Goodman to recommend it and it’s not surprising that he’s maybe the best thing about this comedy gangland feature.
Gift Horse – Trevor Howard sails into WW2 battling the Nazis with Richard Attenborough at his side.
The Optimists (1973) – Odd entry in the career of Peter Sellers. He plays a busker who befriends two children who follow him and his little dog about the streets. Not bad but I suspect if I was a child of England I may have gotten more out of it. Nice try Peter.
Night of the Werewolf (1981) – Above average Paul Naschy effort looks beautiful on blu ray from Scream Factory. Effective thriller is well made with plenty of blood letting as Naschy’s werewolf takes on a vampire Queen risen from the dead. Think I’ll watch this one again on the night of the next full moon.
The Black Swan (1942) – Big screen entertainment with Tyrone Power pirating around the South Seas and Maureen O’Hara within sight. Plenty of adventure with Ty facing off against George Sanders and Anthony Quinn for director Henry King and MGM in glorious technicolor.
Johnny O’Clock – Noir entry starring Dick Powell at odds with Lee J. Cobb and Thomas Gomez.
Five Bloody Graves (1970) – Al Adamson directed western has him enlisting Robert Dix, Scott Brady, Jim Davis and old John Carradine in another low budget effort from the schlockmeister. Pretty violent at times and yeah that’s John “Bud” Cardos playing at the very least dual roles. Even if were not supposed to notice. Nice location shoot in Utah is a definite bonus.
Moby Dick (1956) – John Huston’s version of the Melville novel made for a long overdue revisit. Peck really stood out for me on this go around. He commands the screen with a snarl that rarely leaves his face. I also found the F/X superior for their time and they held up in a Harryhausen kind of way. Royal Dano makes a brief appearance near the start of the film and could scare the hell out of any youngster tuning in. Hell he freaked me out. Glad I picked up the Twilight Time blu ray edition.
Duel At Silver Creek (1952) – Another blu ray collection hits the market and I’m revisiting this Audie Murphy oater from Don Siegel. A “B” flick but an enjoyable one with Stephen McNally as the Sheriff and Audie his leather clad Deputy looking to put an end to a claim jumping outfit. Susan Cabot, Faith Domergue and Lee Marvin tag along.
The Equalizer 2 (2018) – Has Denzel Washington ever really made a movie that wasn’t worth watching? Love this character adapted from the old TV show and hoping a third film is in the cards. I’ll take these over those John Wick “video game” sequels all day long. Denzel’s quiet vigilante is once again looking to right the wrongs that are put upon the less fortunate while at the same time seeking vengeance of his own over the death of a life long friend. Loved the first film, loved the second one.
Vice Raid – Mamie Van Doren runs afoul of the law and Brad Dexter.
I can only assume my movie count will increase now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and baseball will be gearing down as the playoffs continue. And even better, October has arrived which means it’s horror month when I binge watch classics from yesteryear and look for a few titles that have passed me by.
Believe me when I say I have a large pile to dig into.
Cheers and stay safe out there …… Mike and Brando.