I’m not sure how long I can keep up this healthy count now that Baseball season is upon us and the Stanley Cup Playoffs around the corner but as always I’ll give it my best shot. Go Blue Jays Go as we say here in Canada.

On to this month’s round up.


The Man From Montery (1933) and Somewhere in Sonora (1933) Warner Bros DVD. Early John Wayne efforts that clock in at an hour in length. Most notable might be the fact that the opening credits list John Wayne and as his horse, Duke. Yes the Duke himself once rode a horse named Duke in these early efforts and don’t be surprised if you see his long time buddy Paul Fix turn up in one of these as well.

Parachute Jumper (1933) TCM.

The depression has set in for Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and sidekick Frank McHugh. Not to worry because there’s plenty of action ahead in the next 70 minutes. The pair become a trio when Bette Davis joins them in a hunt for work and money. All of which leads to tough guy Fairbanks getting a job as mobster Leo Carrillo’s gunsel. Fairbanks is soon to realize just how crooked his gangster boss is peddling dope and murdering competitors and is having none of it. Keep your eyes peeled early on for a brief role played by Walter Brennan. Harmless fun with a fast paced running time from WB. All that’s really missing is a young Bogie.

Racket Busters (1938) TCM. Surely this is one of those gangland tales that Bogie was bitching about to Jack Warner due to the fact that he was essentially playing the same role over and over. That of a gangster who gets his comeuppance in the final reel. Here he’s a hood muscling in on the truck driving business in the classic Protection Racket game. George Brent opposes Bogie but gives in when he’s down and out until he sees his pal Allen Jenkins is still standing tall and refusing to give into Bogie and his hoods. Typical Warner Bros effort from house director Lloyd Bacon. But it’s still a BOGIE flick which makes it a must see.

The Baroness and the Butler (1938) TCM.

William Powell is once again cast as a butler following the success of My Man Godfrey. As a gentleman’s gentleman, he heads the house staff for the Prime Minister of Budapest. He’s in love with the PM’s daughter played by Annabella and is shocked to learn he’s voted in to the senate as a member of the opposing political party. Powell is always watchable so the film is passable but it’s no Godfrey.


The Glass Key (1942) Arrow Academy blu ray.

There’s movie magic on screen when Veronica Lake meets Alan Ladd. Those eyes of hers have me in the palm of her hand. The film? A solid effort that sees Brian Donlevy as a shady politician knotted up in a murder. Alan Ladd is his gunsel and Miss Lake the victim’s brother. A Dashiell Hammett story costars Ladd’s best buddy William Bendix as a vicious thug who just loves to rough up our hero.

The Hidden Hand (1942) Warner Archive DVD. Reading of the will thrillers always seem to work for me. This black and white chiller follows the usual path of introducing a number of unsavory relatives and characters out to cash in but there’s always one willing to go that extra mile and bump off the competitors. But who?

Find the Blackmailer (1943) Warner Archive DVD. This proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable gem of a “B”. Jerome Cowan plays a private eye tangled up in a blackmailing case involving Gene Lockhart who is running for office. It’s all tongue-in-cheek and played lightly but at 55 minutes in length it’s an easy flick to schedule into a busy day. This could easily have been turned into a series with Cowan’s character.

Golden Earrings (1947) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray. When Dietrich met Milland. Ray is on the run from the Nazis as a spy who encounters a bewitching gypsy lady played by Marlene. She’s hungry for a husband and with a little make-up and some earrings, she turns Ray into a fortune telling Gypsy to help him evade his enemies and seek freedom in Switzerland. The two stars make it work and director Mitchell Leisen delivers a fine war time adventure.

All My Sons (1948) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray.

Heavy drama with Edward G. Robinson once again looking Oscar worthy despite never once receiving so much as a nomination from the Academy over his long and distinguished career. Here he’s a factory owner who may have turned a blind eye to producing faulty airplanes for the military during WW2, letting his business partner take the fall and do the jail time. Eddie’s son Burt Lancaster believes in his father’s innocence despite the lingering suspicions amongst close friends and neighbors. Heavy drama that hits hard down the stretch when the truth of another son gone missing in action during the war is revealed in the end. Highly recommended.


Treasure Island (1950) Walt Disney DVD. I can only assume I’ve seen this as a little tyke watching Sunday Night’s Wonderful World of Disney though I can’t recall it. Robert Newton plays his famous role of Long John silver in this surprisingly violent tale for old Walt. Bobby Driscoll plays the kid, Jim Hawkins, who along with Newton are on the pirate adventure of a lifetime. Still makes for rousing entertainment and if you keep your eyes alert you’ll spot cult actor Patrick Troughton as one of those scurvy cutthroats out to do harm to little Jim ‘Awkins. Recommended.

Another Man’s Poison (1951) Classic Flix blu ray.

A fun Bette Davis entry that pairs her with then husband, Gary Merrill. She’s a crime novelist who has just done in her husband when along comes Merrill, a criminal himself on the run looking to hide out at her estate due to his past association with her now dead hubby who is still lying on the couch. Merrill is swept up into her game of cat and mouse with the local small town doctor who watches from a distant as Bette and Gary learn to hate each other with a real passion. Love the ending. Made in England and directed by Irving Rapper.

Flying Leathernecks (1951) Warner Archive blu ray. John Wayne heads a flight squad with Robert Ryan as his second in command. The pair are at odds throughout over the treatment of the pilots under Duke’s command. Duke plays it tough while Ryan tries to be their best buddy. Plenty of action in technicolor with the necessary break to show the boys have a home life and Duke’s really a nice guy with wife Janice Carter in bright red lipstick at home raising their son. Nicholas Ray directs with plenty of real combat footage spliced into the proceedings.

The Quiet Man (1952) Eureka! blu ray. A John Ford favorite on St. Patrick’s Day.

The Charge at Feather River (1953) TCM.

Before John Ford sent The Duke after Natalie Wood in 1956’s The Searchers, Guy Madison, and a company of soldiers including Frank Lovejoy, Steve Brodie and Neville Brand tread similar territory when they attempt to rescue Helen Westcott and Vera Miles from captivity. Gordon Douglas directs this action packed western which was originally released in 3D and based on the many camera tricks involved I’ll bet it played well at the time.

5 Against the House (1955) Indicator blu ray. Considering the cast involved in this Phil Karlson directed feature I find it a missed opportunity and maybe one that just hasn’t aged well. Guy Madison, Brian Keith, Alvy Moore and Kerwin Matthews are army vets gone back to school which is part of the reason it hasn’t aged well. They’re too involved in silly school pranks for men far beyond teenage pranks and hazing. Keith is mentally unstable and a loose cannon which doesn’t bode well for a heist they’ve planned at a casino. Did I mention Kim Novak also stars as Madison’s love interest? No big deal.

The Garment Jungle (1957) Indicator blu ray. Richard Boone as the heavy? Gotta be good. Boone runs a protection racket keeping unions out of Lee J. Cobb’s garment factory operation. That means getting violent when union organizers try to infiltrate Cobb’s workers. All this changes when Cobb’s son, Kerwin Mathews comes home to work in the family business. He’s pro union. Good role here for a young Robert Loggia as Boone’s number one enemy of the working force.

The Lineup (1958) Indicator blu ray. Must see Don Siegel crime thriller starring Eli Wallach.


Mill of the Stone Women (1960) Arrow Video blu ray.

Splendid release from Arrow, this thriller directed by Giorgio Ferroni plays like a Mario Bava feature crossed with a Bela Lugosi plot from Monogram studios and the Vincent Price 3D classic, House of Wax. Beautifully photographed in color, a sculptor along with a demented scientist drain the blood of young women to keep his own daughter alive via blood transfusions. The bodies are encased in clay to be put on display in his museum at the old mill. Top notch Euro-thriller starring Wolfgang Preiss.

The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray. WW2 yarn is less of an action flick as opposed to a dramatic tale. A British platoon caught behind Japanese lines are imploding against one another as they work their way back to safe ground. Richard Todd plays the company leader with Richard Harris as his second in command who is quick to lose his temper. It’s Laurence Harvey who gets the meaty role as the soldier who has had enough of men behaving like animals and is willing to put his own career and life on the line to stop the platoon from executing/murdering a captured Japanese soldier. Apparently a stage play prior to the film. Costars David McCallum and Ronald Fraser. Easy to recommend.

The Frightened City (1961) TCM. Sean Connery in fine form and on the cusp on superstardom.

Libido (1965) Severin blu ray. Low budget black and white Giallo turned out to be a nifty little thriller starring Giancarlo Giannini making his film debut. Two couples journey to the estate of Giancarlo who witnessed his father murder his mother when he was a child in a violent sexual encounter. Kind of borrows the theme of Price/Corman’s Pit and the Pendulum but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Surprisingly good for those that like those Euro thrillers of the sixties.

The Pink Jungle (1968) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray.

Photographer James Garner and model Eva Renzi find themselves tangled up in a hunt for a lost diamond mine with the gruff George Kennedy. Considering the talent involved this is a B flick though it’s still enjoyable as a whole. Delbert Mann directs while Michael Ansara and Nigel Green costar. Kennedy was just coming off his breakthrough role in Cool Hand Luke scoring above the title billing and even gets to ham it up playing the heavy turned good guy for laughs who in the end just can’t help his greedy instincts. The lipstick scene makes the whole film worthwhile.

Spirits of the Dead (1968) Arrow Academy blu ray. “Artsy” horror flick is rather boring despite a cast including Terence Stamp, Jane and Peter Fonda, Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot. A trio of tales from Fellini, Vadim and Malle. Despite all this talent I still was left scratching my head wondering how it could go so wrong. A curiosity at least for the fans of those involved and I believe this is the only film to have Jane and Peter sharing the screen together.

Number One (1969) MGM/Scorpion Releasing blu ray.

Chuck The Heston reteams with Will Penny director, Tom Gries, for this low key look at an aging Quaterbacks final days on the field. Straight drama with very little on field footage as the story isn’t about a team’s fight for glory but rather Heston facing retirement and seeing very little future for himself off the field. A good performance in a somewhat overlooked yet downbeat film that put’s a decent cast around him including Bruce Dern, Jessica Walter, Diana Muldaur and John Randolph.


Macho Callahan (1970) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray. I had fully intended on spotlighting this David Janssen western until I got about two thirds of the way thru the film realizing there’s not a likable or believable character in the whole damn film. I tossed my notes and stuck around to the downbeat end. Janssen plays an escaped civil war prisoner in an opening almost worthy of Peckinpah. Looks like Janssen has been set up as the hero until he shoots down a one armed David Carradine in the street over a bottle of champagne at the 15 minute mark. Carradine’s wife Jean Seberg wants her vengeance and damned near gets it in a bloody fight with Janssen, Both are pretty much covered in blood when Janssen decides to rape her and low and behold she decides Janssen isn’t such a bad guy after all. Lost me at that point. A waste of a good cast that included Lee J. Cobb, Bo Hopkins and Pedro Armendariz.

Bloody Mama (1970) Scorpion Releasing blu ray.

Shelley Winters takes the title role (Ma Barker) in this Roger Corman gangster tale. She’s on a crime spree not unlike Bonnie and Clyde with her four sons in tow. The unpredictable Don Stroud, Clint Kimbrough, Robert Walden and a young Robert De Niro. Joining the gang is Bruce Dern. Damn fine cast assembled for Corman’s violent tale. Still, it’s Pat Hingle who for my money steals the film as a wealthy businessman the gang kidnap for a large ransom. So much talent on screen this one is hard to ignore.

The Bloodthristy Trilogy (1970/1971/1974) Arrow Video blu ray.

From the studio that brought us Godzilla, Toho, released these three vampire tales heavily influenced by the look and success of Hammer’s Dracula series. The Vampire Doll (1970) is probably the best of the three that sees a young couple trying to locate their missing friends at a secluded mansion with plenty of mystery surrounding it. Atmospheric and beautifully shot that even recalls the Poe/Price/Corman cycle. Lake of Dracula (1971) Bloody chiller with a vampire running amok at a school for girls. Again this is another wonderfully shot vampire tale and I’m so glad I’ve finally seen it after having read about this and the other two films in the series for years. Evil of Dracula (1974) Not quite as well done as the previous two flicks but trust me, I’ll be watching it again anyway. If you love the look of classic 60’s/70’s horror and vampires in general than grab this blu ray set. You won’t be disappointed.

Beware My Brethren (1972) Vinegar Syndrome blu ray. Another one of those thrillers where a warped killer, Tony Beckley, who has a penchant for killing beautiful women has a mother complex. Mom is played by Ann Todd, she’s a religious fanatic who doesn’t want her son playing around with loose women. Better to save their souls and purify them by ending their lives. So-so thriller from genre director Robert Hartford-Davis. Co-stars Suzanna Leigh, Patrick Magee and Percy Herbert.

The Elevator (1974) Rarefilmm : The Cave of Forgotten Films. Another of the mid 70’s disaster ideas. An elevator gets hung up with the likes of Roddy McDowall, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright and the claustrophobic James Farentino. The main thrust of the plot is Farentino has a suitcase full of stolen cash and two partners waiting for him in the garage below played by Don Stroud and Carol Lynley. Tension is mounting and the fact that Stroud has left a dead man in the penthouse above isn’t helping Farentino any. Made for TV.

Armageddon (1977) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray.

I can’t say I found this Alain Delon thriller all that thrilling despite hoping to. Delon plays a psychiatrist called in by the French Police to assist in stopping a would be terrorist who goes by the film’s title as a nickname for the media to run with. I much prefer to see Delon in on the action as opposed to playing mind doctor. Jean Yanne plays the title character who unfortunately carries out a rather unnecessary and distasteful scene to prove a point.

Day of the Animals (1977) Severin blu ray. Animals are on the rampage in this old favorite from the drive-in era.

Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women (1979) Kino Lorber Studio Classics blu ray. Lame TV film that gives the likes of Peter Lawford, Clint Walker and Steven Keats a paycheck when their private plane has an emergency landing on an unchartered island. They’ll not only find headhunters but a dozen or so white women behaving like they’ve been reading Lord of the Flies. Seems they were children during WW2 under the care of a Nun when they were shot down and crash landed on the island. They’re not very friendly but like those cheesy 1950’s Amazon Women flicks, maybe Keats can win them over with a kiss or two.


Scared to Death (1980) Vinegar Syndrome blu ray. Low budget thriller borrows heavily from Alien. There’s a lab produced creature running amok in the sewer systems killing women. Hidden by careful camera work it looks mostly made of rubber and likes to force it’s tongue into the mouths of it’s victims. A fine example of an exploitation flick from the VHS era.

The Violent Breed (1984) Code Red blu ray.

Plenty of Rambo like killings in this Fernando Di Leo effort that sees some bearded guy named Harrison Muller in some jungle looking to put a stop to a drug lords operation. The explosions keep coming and the squibs keep bursting. Why did I tune in? Muller’s CIA boss is Henry Silva and the drug lord is Woody Strode. You’d do better to check out some of the director’s crime dramas.

Waxwork (1988) Vestron Video blu ray.

Damned near perfect example of the horror flicks you never heard of that would turn up at your local video store back in the day. Zach Galligan and girlfriend Deborah Foreman along with another young couple turn up at a House of Wax run by the evil David Warner. The catch here is that if you step into the scene of a display you’re transported to that time and place and will fall victim to the featured boogeyman or killer. End result is you become part of the wax display yourself as one of the bloodied victims. Works as a straight forward thriller with tongue in cheek but also as an anthology terror like those of Amicus. We get vampires, werewolves, gallons of blood and even the Marquis De Sade. John Rhys-Davies and Patrick Macnee also join in the fun.

Fortress of Amerikka (1989) Vinegar Syndrome blu ray. Garbage and features the worst “boob job” I think I’ve ever seen (not that I’m an expert in the field). A bunch of weekend military types go on the warpath to protect the country from anyone who happens along their path. Plenty of bloodletting and carnage included.


Gremilns 2 : The New Batch (1990) Paramount DVD. Joe Dante returns with a follow up to his popular hit of 1984. This time our hero Zach Galligan is in the Big Apple and when Keye Luke’s shop is shut down, little Gizmo, ends up with Zach once again but things get nasty when an army of Gremlins are unleashed in a big office building run by business tycoon John Glover. Not bad I guess but I still believe I would have enjoyed this and the original more if I had first seen them when I was about 12 years old which would have left them as childhood favorites that I enjoy revisiting. Nice to see Dante having old pros turn up as is usual. This time we get Christopher Lee, Keye Luke, Kathleen Freeman, Kenneth Tobey, John Astin and of course Dick Miller.

Waxwork II : Lost in Time (1992) Vestron Video. More fun though not quite as good as the earlier film has Zach Galligan returning to face off with more killers and monsters from the past as he and his girlfriend, Monika Schnarre battle movie villains like Alien and the Frankenstein Monster as they jump thru time and space. There’s even a King Arthur like story that has veterans John Ireland and David Carradine turn up. Best story line has to be the one with Bruce Campbell. Why? Because it’s Bruce “F$&***ing” Campbell. Not to mention it’s a segment spoofing 1963’s classic The Haunting and it’s wisely been filmed in black and white.

Riders of the Purple Sage (1997) Warner Archive DVD.

The often filmed Zane Grey novel offers up a western for real life couple Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. Ed is the stranger who rides into a keg of dynamite. Madigan is a member of a religious sect overseen by the always nasty G.D. Spradlin. She’s a single woman with a ranch of her own and rebelling against the church and specifically the intended marriage that Spradlin is ordering her into. Time for Ed to step in and pull that six shooter. Henry Thomas costars in this Made For Cable effort.

The Roy Scheider as a President Trifecta.

as of late

Morning Glory (2010)

Rachel McAdams stars as a young TV producer who Jeff Goldblum hires on to get his networks morning show up in the ratings contest with the majors. She’s inherited a very game Diane Keaton as a cohost but needs someone to sit in as an equal. How about a grumpy one time news legend by the name of Harrison Ford who is still on the payroll? Ford’s a hoot in this one barely cracking a smile believing the whole production is beneath his talents. I liked it.

Recoil (2011) “Stone Cold” Steve Austin VS. Danny “Machete” Trejo. Better than I expected action flick that finds Austin in a small town looking for vengeance against Trejo and his bike gang who run things. You get exactly what you’re expecting.

Meeting Evil (2012)

Luke Wilson is having one bad day thanks to his meeting Samuel L. Jackson. Luke’s lost his job and looks to be on the outs with his wife. Through an odd meeting with Jackson, he finds himself drawn into a crime spree with the colorful character who is committing multiple murders. Luke’s problems only increase when he’s arrested for all the killings and no one claims to have seen Jackson. A few twists along the way and another film that proves Mr. Jackson is hard not to appreciate on camera. Not bad.

Sinister (2012) Ethan Hawke turned up in this thriller as a crime writer who investigates unsolved cases. For his latest project he moves his family into a home where numerous people were hung to death sadistically in the back yard of the property. Things get hairy when he discovers some 8 MM footage of the murders in the attic. Supernatural events soon begin to overtake him and his family. Hawke’s participation caught my eye.

Paranoia (2013) My interest in this big business tale of espionage and stealing ideas from the opponent is purely based on two actors who once again go toe to toe for the first time since having done so in Air Force One back in 1997. If you said Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman then you’d be correct. The rest of the movie doesn’t matter unless you’ve got a thing for pretty boy Liam Hemsworth. As usual, Gary nails his role as the heavy.

Black Butterfly (2017)

Antonio Banderas shines in this thriller that gets a little too cute at times. He’s a failing writer who picks up a hitchhiker that came to his aide in a roadside diner. Before he knows it the hiker is making himself at home in his secluded cabin. At the same time there is a serial killer leaving bodies on the hiking trails. Kept me interested and reminded me of how much I like Banderas on screen. Hadn’t seen anything he’d been in these past few years. Apparently a remake of a 2008 French thriller of the same name.

Marshall (2017) Netflix. Chadwick Boseman stars as a civil rights laywer, Thurgood Marshall, who gets entangled in a case that sees a black man on trial for his life after being accused of raping a wealthy white woman played by Kate Hudson in the 1940’s. James Cromwell stars as an S.O.B. of a judge overlooking the courtroom proceedings. Good film but not great.

A total of 52 films seen.

33 new to me and 19 newbies.

Of the classic era I really enjoyed my revisits to All My Sons and The Glass Key and if you haven’t seen Don Siegel’s The Lineup give it a look.

Again I must point out I really enjoyed that trio of Japanese vampire tales from the early 1970’s.

Of the more recent movies I guess it was nice to check in on a couple of Harrison Ford titles I’d yet to see that had nothing to do with chasing archaeological treasures or traveling through the universe in space ships and battling storm troopers proving once again he’s still an actor behind the movie hero he’s often portrayed to be.

Spring has now arrived and it’s time to play ball with my best pal, Brando.