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November 2020 in Review

While I can’t speak for everyone in this year of the plague that we’re all living through, I’ve been pretty damned busy between home life, work and rekindling my love of singing and playing the guitar. The end result is I chose to watch more films this month than write about. I suspect this trend may continue though I am looking forward to three weeks off to close out the year and may find some extra time to feature some select titles.

As is my custom, I mixed most genres into the previous 30 days and did my best to see something of a more recent vintage. On to this month’s roll call…..

Marnie (1964) – A first time viewing brought upon by the death of Mr. Connery. For me a lesser Hitchcock title and I’m still of the opinion that his overall work post 1960 wasn’t all that worthwhile as a whole.

Dishonored (1931) – Marlene Dietrich as a Mata Hari type at odds with the enemy in the guise of her lover, Victor McLaglen. Another of the famed Von Sternberg/Dietrich pairings.

The Pirates of Blood River – Hammer gives us pirates and Christopher Lee

Mr. Holmes (2015) – Fine performance from Sir Ian McKellen as an aging Sherlock Holmes who is losing his powers of deduction and knows it.

Westward Ho (1935) – One of those John Wayne B’s that sees him tangle with offscreen pal, Yakima Canutt, and with the help of some overdubbing sings a campfire song to the leading lady.

The Wild, Wild Planet (1966) – Love the scale models in this Italian sci-fi adventure from Antonio Margheriti that has a young Franco Nero among the cast members flying about the Universe.

The Terminator (1984) – I’m guessing it’s been ten years or more so I was long overdue for a rewatch. Love the terrifying first 30 odd minutes and damn it sure was good to see old pros Lance Henriksen and Paul Winfield on screen together. Kind of forgot they were in it.

Something to Live For – Alcoholics Ray Milland and Joan Fontaine go looking for sobriety and love in this weeper.

The Black Castle / Cult of the Cobra / The Thing That Wouldn’t Die / Shadow of the Cat / Sat in and watched the Scream Factory release Universal Horrors Volume 6. Harmless fun across the board but the highlight I suppose was to finally see Cat, a very rare Hammer Film starring Barbara Shelley and Andre Morell.

5 Against the House (1955) – Nice cast including Kim Novak, Brian Keith and Guy Madison involved in a Vegas heist. So-so results.

The Walls of Hell (1962) – Better than I expected made in the Philippines WW2 tale with non-stop action led by one time Tarzan, Jock Mahoney.

Hell and High Water (1954) – Richard Widmark gets involved with nuclear weapons and attempting to stop one from falling into the hands of the enemy. Sam Fuller directed.

It’s in the Bag (1945) – Oddball comedy I came across starring Fred Allen but it’s Jack Benny who had me in stitches in an elongated cameo.

Phantom of the Opera (1989) – Gore fest with Robert Englund moving his Freddy act over to the Opera house.

Code of Silence (1985) – One of the better Chuck Norris outings and when you have Henry Silva as the heavy you know Chuck had better be on his game.

The Good Liar (2019) – Solid thriller with multiple layers of mystery. Sir Ian McKellen romances Dame Helen Mirren and is clearly after her money but what is she after? Recommended.

Adventure in Manhattan (1936) – A lesser screwball comedy but it’s still a Jean Arthur vehicle and that’s good enough for me. She’s joined by Joel McCrea making it all the more reputable.

The Wild Geese – Previously featured just as I was starting up the blog when I didn’t have as much to say. Easily the best mercenary on a mission flick of them all. And what a cast of heavyweights.

The Last Sunset (1961) – It’s Rock Hudson vs. Kirk Douglas at sunset. Who’s the fastest draw in the west? And who is going to win the love of Dorothy Malone? Heavy handed but it’s got a great twist just before the final matchup.

Screamers (1980) Alternative cut of Island of the Fishmen that adds Cameron Mitchell and Mel Ferrer into a prologue. A fun variation on the Dr. Moreau theme.

Riot on Sunset Strip – It’s Aldo Ray vs. the teens on the strip causing havoc for local store owners.

They Live (1988) – This John Carpenter film never fails to entertain whenever I tune in for a revisit. It’s an updated The Invaders with Roddy Piper and Keith David wearing the sunglasses that will reveal those out to conquer the Earth. A cult favorite.

The Night Holds Terror (1955) – Three young hoods hold Jack Kelly and his family hostage. So-so but two of those hoods are Vince Edwards and John Cassavetes giving this film instant credibility.

Billy Two Hats (1974) – Outlaws Gregory Peck and Desi Arnaz Jr. are on the run in this western with fine support from Jack Warden as the man out to bring them in Dead or Alive.

City of Industry (1997) – A heist goes bad when Harvey Keitel gets double crossed and he doesn’t take it lying down. Good revenge flick with Harvey in fine form.

The Blood of Dracula’s Castle (1969) – More Al Adamson fun involving the Count played by Alex D’Arcy and spotlighting John Carradine as his manservant. Yeah it’s lowbrow but damn it’s fun for the wrong reasons.

The River’s Edge – Tony Quinn goes toe to toe against Ray Milland for cash and Debra Paget.

The School Teacher (1975) – I never had a tutor growing up but if I had then there is little doubt Edwige Fenech would have held my undivided attention. Atrociously dubbed and lame but then there’s the leading lady…..

Neighbors (1981) – Nearly 40 years have gone by since I last saw this Belushi/Aykroyd failure and time has done nothing to alter my opinion of it. Belushi’s fine and Akyroyd is terrible. The film unmemorable at best.

Strangers On a Train (1951) – Another Hitchcock masterpiece. Seriously….. a masterpiece!

Mutant (1984) – Video era horror flick with Wings Hauser and Bo Hopkins taking on a bunch of Romero like zombies. Far better than one might expect.

The Irishman (2019) – Cracked open the new blu ray from Criterion for my second look at this Scorsese epic. The three leads are dynamite but it’s Pesci who I feel shines the brightest by underplaying his role this time out as opposed to his turns in Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino.

Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – The classic film that sees Colin Clive and Ernest Thesiger introduce both Karloff and us to The Bride. The final ten minutes are iconic in horror cinema and beyond….. “We belong dead.”

How’d you stack up on this long list. Seen any?

Likes? Dislikes? ……

That’s a wrap!.

10 Comments »

  1. Nice mix of new and old films my friend. I agree anything post Psycho from Hitchcock saw him losing a good bit of his steam, though I’ve heard quite a few good things about Frenzy and actually though Family Plot was quite well made. Dubbing of Italian films is just plain awful, after the great job companies like Arrow Video, 88 Films in the UK, etc, did with translated subtitles of the Italian tracks, I never wanna go back, and have actually taken the leap and watch my German discs of the Italian Westerns and some of the Cop films in Italian without subtitles, all those years of Watching ’em really paid off in comprehension. Once again, a nice varied list. Stay safe my friend.

    • Thanks. Family Plot enjoyable but not necessarily memorable like so many of those pre 1960 titles. Nice to see so many foreign titles turning up in original language versions. Even Toho Monster movies finally getting their due with original voice tracks. For years they were the butt of many dubbing jokes. Cheers’

  2. Sorry Mikey but I just had to!
    I really just had to…
    As long as I have breath in my lungs I will always LOVE and be in love with this film.
    You daring to even mention it’s name is all the excuse I need to drop in the likes of this –

  3. Have you seen Shanghai Express (1932) with Marlene Dietrich? I saw it recently and it’s really good. She and Anna May Wong are bad-ass. I wanna do a post, if I could ever find the time!! “Dishonored” added to the list.
    I do fancy seeing “Mr. Holmes” one day. An elderly take on things that sounds intriguing.
    “The Wild Wild Planet” sounds right up my street 🙂
    Keep meaning to get to “Hell and High Water” Likes me some Cold War shenanigans.
    Thanks for the heads up on “The Good Liar”. Will look out for that.
    I really liked “The Night Holds Terror” and been trying to get a wolfy take on it going but still to no avail!!
    Totally agree on “Strangers On a Train” First rate.
    “Terminator” and “They Live” had me fanboy giddy as they always do.
    Crazy great list buddy

    Great to hear you play the guitar and even sing!! What style may I ask? Leonard Cohen? Neil Young? or are you more a Drake man and dropping dope Canadian rhymes? 🙂

  4. Sorry for the lateness, Mike…way behind and hoping to get caught up over the weekend. I won’t flood you with comments over the next few days, but I will be reading every post as I get caught up. And I will be adding The School Teacher to my must-see list!

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Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

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by Brian Hannan

LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE

A Galaxy of Rewind

Lazarus' Lair

NOT Just another WordPress.com weblog

"DESTROY ALL FANBOYS!"

Smashing System Bias Since 1972...

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

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What we've got here is failure to communicate

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it's all about the story, possums...

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