There comes a point in every film buff’s life when you’ve got to ask yourself one question……
“Do I feel lucky?”
Scratch that, damn movie quotes are always bubbling to the surface.
No what I’m wanting to ask myself is, “Am I ever going to see that film?”
Let me explain. There are plenty of movies I’ve yet to see and some I’m embarrassed to even admit too. But those are titles readily available should I make the decision to finally sit down and watch them. Mainstream stuff that for one reason or another I’ve never bothered with. No what I’m talking about are movies that may be lesser known to the general population but have been on my radar for a number of reasons. Might be a genre I’m a fan of or more likely there’s an actor in it that I’ve long been a fan of.
Case in point would be the 1949 Bing Crosby/Barry Fitzgerald movie, Top O’ The Morning. I was beginning to wonder if it was a lost film or perhaps in a legal struggle as to who owns the rights. To the best of my knowledge I hadn’t once come across it on television as a youngster who would comb through the weekly TV Guide in search of late night treasures that would keep me up my well past my specified bed time. And yes I used to sneak back downstairs in ninja gear to our basement and turn the TV back on with the volume oh so low so that Mom and dad wouldn’t suspect a thing. I’d always loved Going My Way and Welcome Stranger with Bing and Barry but the Irish tale that was to be their last pairing seemed to be a lost film. It has yet to turn up on any of those Bing Crosby DVD box sets so I’d almost given up on it. Then out of nowhere TCM played it and I had the PVR at the ready. Thankfully it does indeed live on and now I can place a checkmark beside it.
All of this brings me to some titles that are still yet to surface in my world and believe me when I tell you, I’m not getting any younger so I’m starting to have some doubts as to whether I’ll ever see some of the films I’m about to highlight. Now let me stress that some of these may be down right dogs but that’s not the point. As a film fanatic I’d like to make that determination for myself. Most of the titles you’ll see listed below have next to no votes as to a rating over at the IMDB which tells me they are rarely shown outside of some bootleg copies that might be kicking around. Kick’em my way if you please.
I’d also like to point out I’ve not gone into the TV Movies that were weekly affairs from the mid 1960’s into the late 1980’s. These are tragically neglected and one does have to wonder if in large part they will all but disappear as has the silent film in large numbers.
So if you see something in the my ramblings below, be sure to set me on the right course and remember this was off the cuff so I could just as easily come up with another list next week. So here we go………
Might as well start with the Duke on skates. This 1937 flick has long been a curiosity I’ve hungered for.
Alongside this unlikely hockey movie starring Duke are another pair of titles he made for Universal Studios I’ve yet to locate, Adventure’s End, and I Cover the War. All three titles were released in 1937 and notably none were westerns.
Always one to enjoy a good boxing match I’ve yet to come across some 1950’s titles that include 51’s Iron Man starring Jeff Chandler and Rock Hudson, Audie Murphy taking to the ring in 56’s The World In My Corner or a 1955 fight flick starring Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine. Could there be a knockout among them?
Getting back to Jeff Chandler, he alone represents a number of films that I’ve yet to come across. A Raw Wind In Eden, Because of You, A Stranger In My Arms and Smuggler’s Island are all titles that have so far kept me waiting.
Chandler also made a movie with Jack Palance I’d like to see, 1954’s Sign of the Pagan. Which brings us to Jack. I’ve had no luck in playing witness to some of Euro flicks he made abroad in the 60’s. Beyond All Limits, Revak the Rebel aka The Barbarians, The Mongols with Anita Ekberg, Night Train to Milan, Warriors Five and Sword of the Conqueror. Oddly enough I have a one sheet for that final title in my collection but no film.
Moving on let’s chat up Dear old Oliver Reed. He apparently made two films with Peter Cushing that may not have even seen the light of day. A Touch of the Sun (1979) and another called Black Jack that apparently saw a limited release in 1981. Reed has another film I’d like to take in from ’73 called Dirty Weekend with Marcello Mastroianni. No such luck up till now. One more for good measure. A 1970 release with Ollie and his Brood co-star, Samantha Eggar, titled The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun.
Like Ollie, Richard Harris was known to like his drink and apparently made some titles that have all but vanished as far as I can tell. A 1977 version of Gulliver’s Travels? Something called The Last Word found a release in 1979 where Harris costarred with Karen Black. Miss Black’s film credits alone could fill a book and drive one to drink like Harris in his youth if you tried to locate them all. I see she did star in something called Plan 10 From Outer Space released somewhere on some planet in some galaxy 1995 Earth time.
Alan Ladd and his most famous costar, Veronica Lake, in 1948’s Saigon. The duo made a number of Noir’s together but their final pairing seems to have gone AWOL on me. Over 8000 viewers have rated This Gun For Hire at the IMDB yet Saigon has only garnered a rating from a grand total of 243 people casting a vote. Again, must be a bootleg disc floating around. Knowing this I took a look at the films of Miss Lake and many are nowhere to be found. Bring On the Girls (1945-109 votes), Out of This World (1945-105 votes) or Hold That Blonde (1945-112 votes),
Moving on we have Miss Susie Slagel’s (1946-104 votes), and Isn’t It Romantic (1948- only 55 votes). A 1951 release titled Stronghold costarring Zachary Scott looks like fun but again only 76 votes as to a rating at the IMDB. Lastly she also made a film with another of my favorite 50’s tough guys, Richard Widmark, called Slattery’s Hurricane. At least 409 people claim to have seen this one by casting their ratings vote. But I’m not one of them.
Being a fan of both Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan, I’m still on the lookout for a 1965 spy thriller known under various titles including The Dirty Game or if you prefer, The Secret Agents.
I know I’m not alone when it comes to the famous/infamous Jerry Lewis flick, The Day The Clown Cried. Every now and then I hear rumblings that it’s going to see the light of die. Hopefully I’m still walking above ground when it surfaces. On the subject of Lewis, I’m fully aware he made two 1984 features in France that to the best of my knowledge remain unseen here in North America. To Catch a Cop (1984) and How Did You Get In? We Didn’t See You Leave (1984). Lastly on the subject of Jerry, I was looking forward to seeing a late movie titled Max Rose, that I suppose never garnered enough traction and to be honest I’m remembering it now as I look over his credits. I’ll have to investigate where this 2013 film with a first rate cast disappeared to.
Being a Roddy McDowall fan since childhood thanks mainly to his participation in the Apes films and as a child actor in Lassie Come Home, I’ve been hoping to see a quartet of films he made at Monogram following his childhood years and before cementing his excellent character actor status. Rocky (1948 – 32 votes), Tuna Clipper (1949 – 20 votes), Black Midnight (1949 – 49 votes) and Big Timber (1950 – 43 votes). McDowall actually scored an executive producer credit on these as well as two other films he made for Monogram at this time. Both of which I have seen thanks to appearing on TCM, Killer Shark (1950) and Kidnapped (1948). Maybe they could dig these other four out of some long lost vault.
Just for fun I’ll throw out some one-offs. Robert Mitchum in 1965’s Mr. Moses. John Carradine in 1954’s Half Human. Joseph Cotton in 1951’s Peking Express. A Raoul Walsh flick from 1931 called Women of All Nations that apparently had scenes of Humphrey Bogart deleted and also has Bela Lugosi in the cast! Van Heflin and Ruth Roman in a 1954 adventure known as Tanganyika. Paul Douglas in a 1955 Noir flick called Joe MacBeth inspired by you know who…..
Peter Sellers had me in stitches as a child and still does when I revisit his classics. Which brings us to some maybe not so famous titles on his resume I’ve yet to come across. A straight drama from 1973 titled The Blockhouse. Undercovers Hero aka Soft Beds, Hard Battles (1974) and the notorious Ghost In the Noonday Sun (1973) which will not likely ever surface though I would like to see a recent documentary about the movie called The Ghost of Peter Sellers from director Peter Medak who guided the 1973 film.
Long being a western fan I’ve seen pretty much all of Glenn Ford’s oaters let alone movies. Having said that I can’t seem to sneak in a viewing of a 1951 western he made with Rhonda Fleming called The Redhead and the Cowboy. Speaking of the the Queen of Technicolor, how about a 1951 feature called Little Egypt. It’s scored a lowly 33 votes at the IMDb but how about this synopsis….. A belly dancer causes a scandal with her “suggestive” and “immoral” dancing at a Worlds Fair exhibition at the turn of the 20th century. Add this one to my list of movies I’d like to see before it’s too late!
Everyone’s favorite horror star/gourmet cook/art historian Vincent Price is an actor I always refer to as a good friend. Why not, he’s entertained me since childhood. But that doesn’t mean I’ve come across a pair of peplum flicks he made in the early 1960’s. Queen of the Nile and Rage of the Buccaneers. The same could likely be said of plenty of Hollywood actors who went abroad to film a Toga adventure once they caught on though some are readily available if you look for them. Even Alan Ladd signed on for one which is easily found, Duel of Champions released in 1961.
Since we’ve touched upon Mr. Price, how about Sir Christopher Lee. Here’s a few titles I’ve yet to add to my collection let alone even come across. Beyond Mombasa (1956), The Devil’s Daffodil (1961), Eve (1968), Night of the Askari (1976), Dark Mission (1988) and Cyber Eden (1994).
I’m currently reading a biography of Peter Lorre titled The Lost One which brings me to Peter’s one and only directing effort of the same name. Now it turns out his one is on youtube with subtitles so I will be rectifying this omission on my dance card as soon as I’m done the extensively researched bio from writer Stephen D. Youngkin.
How about a pair of late Charlton Heston titles that seem to have been pushed aside. My Father (2003) and another released following his death. The 2010 flick, Genghis Khan : The Story of a Lifetime from two credited directors, Ken Annakin and Antonio Margheriti. The latter film also stars John Saxon who like Karen Black, it would be highly impossible to locate all of the many films he turned up in worldwide in most any genre. Looking over his credits list he starred in a Filipino movie, Desire (1982) that has a whopping 6 votes at the IMDB. Not high on my list of must sees but another example of just how many titles that are out there leaving me to wonder what or rather where do the negatives and copies disappear to.
Pick any actor that’s been around for years with a lengthy list of screen credits and you’re sure to be left wondering about a few of them. Case in point. Bruce Dern. He’s still cranking them out but looking back I see he starred in a 1972 feature called Thumb Tripping. Only 89 votes cast so again, not sure if this really ever saw the light of day. From what I gather Bruce picks up a pair of hitchhikers played by Meg Foster and Michael Burns. The rest is anyone’s guess.
Foreign films can open a discussion all their own. It’s always been tough to track down films starring the likes of Alain Delon, Klaus Kinski, Marcello, Bardot, Toshiro, Ken Takakura, Belmondo, Gabin, Ventura, Cardinale, Magnani and the list goes on and on. Might be easier overseas but not always on this side of the pond.
I could go on and on but I’ll end it with a 1951 Randolph Scott oater that for some reason hasn’t surfaced in my world.
One more thing before I sign off. Will any of us ever get to see this……