Summer arrives just as The Stanley Cup is awarded and now with hockey on a backburner I’ll have more opportunities to play catch up on all those DVD’s and blu rays I’ve got stacked up. Now if only I’d watch more than I buy ….
As always I do my best to cover any era of film and genres to match. Here we go.
The Amazing Mr. Williams (1939) TCM airing.
A fun comedy in that Thin Man style with Melvyn Douglas as the top detective on the police force and Joan Blondell as his fiance in waiting. Lovable character actor Edward Brophy steals his scenes as a criminal under arrest that Melvyn enlists to double date in order to hold on to Blondell who of course wants her man to quit his job and marry her. But then maybe Joan might find the chase fun if she were to be enlisted to help Melvyn solve his latest case. Plenty of laugh out loud scenes and sure looked like this one could have been given a sequel.
The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947) Mill Creek Noir Archive Volume 1. Far from a Noir film but that aside this is an odd flick starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. She’s lost her husband in the war and wants to meet the five men that he died saving to see if they were worth it. Douglas is a newspaper man who happens to one of them and through hypnosis takes her to meet the others. Not your usual studio fare.
Sky Commando (1953) TCM airing. Dan Duyea takes center stage in the aviation war time tale.
Breakaway (1956) Kino Classics British Noir Vol. 2 DVD. Tonm Conway a a Private Eye plays this much like his role as The Falcon though he’s clearly aged a bit in a mystery tale that also stars eventual Bond girl, Honor Blackman.
The Monolith Monsters (1957) Scream Factory blu ray.
Another Universal sci-fi picture from the golden era stars Shrinking Man, Grant Williams, trying to prevent growing rocks from smashing there way through his town and into the big city thus leading to mankind’s destruction. Far out but fun.
Walk On the Wild Side (1962) Columbia DVD.
Laurence Harvey takes center stage in a role that has Brando or Newman written all over it surrounded by a solid female cast including Anne Baxter, Capucine, Jane Fonda, Joanna Moore and Barbara Stanwyck. Harvey is looking to find his lost love Capucine and take her back to the family farm. Sadly he’ll find her earning a living in Stanwyck’s high priced Cathouse. Heavy drama in a Tennessee Williams style but I kind of liked it.
Violent Midnight (1963) Dark Sky Films DVD. Early slasher film is quite effective but the female nudity caught me by surprise. Not something I expect in a 1963 release. Even if it is an exploitation movie made for the drive-in crowd. Someone is killing young ladies and Det. Dick Van Patten is wondering if the cool dude with the leather jacket on a motorbike is the guilty party. The cool dude? A very young James Farentino making his film debut.
Genghis Khan (1965) Twilight Time blu ray. There’s plenty of marquee value here led by Omar Sharif in the title role yet the film comes off as a second best attempt at those big budget historical spectacles of the era. Stephen Boyd makes a good villain opposed to Omar. Also stars Telly savalas, Eli Wallach, Robert Morley, Woody Stode, Yvonne Mitchell and though I hate to say it, a horribly miscast James Mason as a Chinese philosopher.
Massacre Time (1966) Arrow Video Vengeance Trails blu ray Collection.
Horror maestro, Lucio Fulci, directed this spaghetti western starring Franco Nero and George Hilton. Well done overall with Nero returning to his birthplace only to discover an evil land baron has laid claim to the lands and rules with an iron fist. Bloodshed to follow.
Death of a Gunfighter (1969) Universal Vault Series DVD. It’s Richard Widmark in the title role.
The Naked Zoo (1970) He Came From the Swamp : The William Grefe Collection blu ray. Hippie culture, drugs and free love. AND Rita Hayworth. Honestly this is a dud and it really breaks my heart to see the 1940’s Love Goddess in this exploitation fare. I think I’ll go re-watch Gilda or Blood and Sand or Miss Sadie Thompson to wash this from my memory.
Scars of Dracula (1970) Scream Factory blu ray.
Once again it’s Christopher Lee donning the cape for Hammer and no matter how many times I’ve seen the series, I’m always drawn back to Lee’s Count. Far more violent and sadistic then the studios earlier Lee outings this one costars Patrick Troughton and lovely Jenny Hanley. Officially the fifth film in the series though it doesn’t appear to be a direct sequel to the previous Taste the Blood of Dracula and yes for fans of the studio, Michael Ripper, does indeed play the innkeeper.
Death At Love House (1976) American Home Treasures DVD. Made-For-TV thriller starring Robert Wagner as a writer who along with his wife, Kate Jackson, move into a Hollywood mansion once lived in by a 1920’s Goddess. He intends to write her story and look into the affair that his own father once had with her. Yes the estate is haunted and there’s a spirit that’s taken hold of Wagner. Average effort of the times but as always you have to love the casts that were often assembled for these tele-thrillers. This time we get Sylvia Sidney, Joan Blondell, Bill Macy, Dorothy Lamour and of course, John Carradine.
God’s Gun (1976) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray.
Jack Palance, Lee Van Cleef, Richard Boone, Sybil Danning. What could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything in this Eurowestern that has our cast dubbed in the edition I saw. Van Cleef plays a dual role. First up a Preacher shot down by outlaw Jack and his rowdy gang. Second time around Lee is the vengeful twin brother who haunts the outlaws before gunning them down. Foolish and arguably the worst film in the careers of all involved and yeah that’s gotta be tough to prove knowing some of the paychecks this quartet collected over their lengthy careers.
Suspiria (1977) Cult Films blu ray.
Dario Argento’s masterpiece of terror. This one quite often makes those lists put out by writers in October for their top horror flicks of the season and rightly so. Jessica Harper finds herself in an all girls school overseen by aging witches. Horror and blood aside this is a beautiful film to look at. It’s even better in 4K on blu ray. Highly recommended. Now it’s high time I checked out the remake.
The Sport Killer (1978) Vinegar Syndrome blu ray. Low budget but effective slasher thriller starring a well cast James Luisi as a cop looking to find a killer preying upon young women played by John Karlen. Also known as Killer’s Delight.
Death Hunt (1981) Time Media blu ray.
Highly underrated snowbound outdoor action flick starring Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin. A bit like Rambo for the older set and actually beat First Blood to the screen by a full year.
Hard Rock Zombies (1985) Vinegar Syndrome blu ray. The forerunner for the worst film I will watch this year…..
Death Wish 4 : The Crackdown (1987) Umbrella blu ray. Bronson is back bringing justice to the streets.
Dark Mission : Flowers of Evil (1988) rarefilmm : The Cave of Forgotten Films. Here’s a Christopher Lee flick I wasn’t sure I’d ever see. It’s a Jess Franco effort that features Christopher Mitchum looking to take down a drug operation headed by one time leader of the Cuban rebellion, Lee. Basically it’s Franco with a “larger budget” than normal allowing him to work once again with the legendary Lee and the son of another legend.
High Spirits (1988) MGM DVD.
Nowhere near as bad as I’d heard but far from being a classic comedy ghost tale. Spirits abound in an old castle overseen by Peter O’Toole who nearing bankruptcy turns the castle into a tourist spot and hotel. It won’t be long before spooks Daryl Hannah and Liam Neeson are haunting and falling in love with mere mortals Steve Guttenberg and Beverly D’Angelo.
Maniac Cop 2 (1990) Blue Underground blu ray. A sequel that surpasses the original bringing back to life Robert Z’Dar’s brutish title character. Robert Davi is on his trail, Bruce Campbell and Laurene Landon return though it’s a nearly unrecognizable Leo Rossi who steals the picture as a street wise killer who befriends the Maniac Cop. If you loved the first one then this one is a must.
Maniac Cop 3 : Badge of Silence (1993) Blue Underground blu ray. Robert Z’Dar returns for more bloodletting and violence with Robert Davi once again on his trail. Not bad but weakest of the three films though I must say as a trilogy the Maniac Cop series is very entertaining and worth a look.
I Love Trouble (1994) Touchstone DVD. Star power represented by Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte are lost in this muddled tale that tries hard to be a romantic comedy blended with the plot of a corporate thriller. Yeah it’s a popcorn movie and isn’t bad but when you hire Robert Loggia to appear in a movie you should give him something to do other than a scene or two as Nolte’s boss at the office. Also stars Saul Rubinek, Marhsa Mason and a brief comical bit by Eugene Levy who like Loggia is wasted.
As of late….
Sasquatch (2002) Columbia DVD. Well it did have Lance Henriksen in it.
Ghostbusters : Afterlife (2021) Amazon Prime.
Nostalgia rules and I loved it. Full marks to the late Ivan Reitman’s son, Jason, who directed and had a hand in writing the script for this spirited effort that tugs the heart in all the right places for those of us who were much younger and saw the original o the big screen when it first came out. I won’t play spoiler …… ok, just make sure you watch the closing credits for a good laugh and more nostalgia.
Blacklight (2022) Netflix.
Latest Liam Neeson action flick is not up to par with most of his other flicks of late like The Marksman but he gives it his best shot and still somehow makes it all believable. He’s employed by Aidan Quinn to clean things up for the FBI or CIA or whatever Aidan is running. Of course Aidan isn’t really the good guy and Liam starts to ask questions leading to an inevitable break in the employer/employee relationship with explosive results.
27 films seen.
17 new to me titles.
The most enjoyable revisit? Normally I’d just go with Death Hunt but it’s been a number of years since I’d seen the beauty of Argento’s Suspiria so I’ll go with that one this month.
For the new to me titles I’d suggest you take in that 1939 comedy The Amazing Mr. Williams. Old school fun. For a newer title that’s rather obvious, Ghostbusters : Afterlife.
Feedback and comments always welcomed.
And now that hockey season is officially over, Brando, and I can spend more time watching movies and keeping our eyes focused on the Blue Jays.