Reviews of Classic Film, with artwork and news

LAST UPDATE May 13, 2024

Roger Corman has died

Roger Corman

"Legendary Hollywood Director and Producer" fully applies in the case of B-Movie maestro Roger Corman. He was born April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan. He studied literature at England's Oxford University before selling his first script in 1953, "The House in the Sea," which was eventually filmed and released as Highway Dragnet (1954). He said that the way the film was released versus his script is what drove him to take his salary from the project and use it to become a film producer to manage his next efforts. As a producer, he has 491 credits, as a director 56, and as an actor (typically a very small cameo) 46 appearances.

"Roger Corman Was More Than a Great Producer - He Was an Important Director"The Wrap

"Roger Corman, pioneering independent producer and king of B movies, dies at 98"NBC News

"Roger Corman Was the Low-Budget Filmmaker Who Remade Hollywood"The Daily Beast

"Ron Howard, Joe Russo, John Carpenter and More Pay Tribute to Roger Corman: "Profound Loss to Cinema"Hollywood Reporter

"Five essential films from producer Roger Corman you should check out" MSN LA Times

"American film director and producer who liked to describe himself as the ‘Orson Welles of the Z movie’" – UK Guardian

"How Roger Corman’s sick, bloody Death Race 2000 drove Hollywood crazy" Yahoo News - UK Telegraph

King of the B-moviesThe UK Times

By the 1960s Corman had established himself enough that he could turn his eye to projects that interested him: he filmed several Edgar Allan Poe stories, including The Fall of the House of Usher and The Raven, most of them starring Vincent Price. One film, though, marked a notable contrast from his exploitation movies: The Intruder, made for $80,000 and released in 1962, was made after Corman adopted the Stanislavski approach to film-making, intended to probe deeper into emotions and issues. The film, about a white supremacist, garnered rave reviews for its courageous stand on segregation and civil rights in America’s Deep South but, unusually for Corman, it proved a failure at the box office. He vowed never again to make a statement piece, instead concentrating on films that would make him money. Corman had been little more than a toddler when America was beset by the Depression but he later attributed his penny-pinching obsession to the memory of his early childhood..."

Roger picks through a few of his films that are on the shelves in the "Criterion closet."

ChatGPT and the Cisco Kid

Using Artificial Intelligence services for historical info on classic movies is decidedly hit-and-miss. Below is my effort to talk to an AI at ChatGPT about Cesar Romero

Cinemagraphe: Please provide a list of all the films featuring the character the Cisco Kid as portrayed by Cesar Romero.

ChatGPT: Cesar Romero did not portray the Cisco Kid in any films. However, he did portray the Cisco Kid's sidekick, Gordito, in two films:

"The Cisco Kid and the Lady" (1939)
"The Return of the Cisco Kid" (1939)

In these films, the Cisco Kid himself was portrayed by Warner Baxter. The character of Cisco Kid has been portrayed by various actors in film and television adaptations over the years, but Cesar Romero's role was that of his sidekick.

[Knowing this was an error, I sought to ask a "corrective' question to get the AI back on track.]

Cinemagraphe: Who played the Cisco Kid in the film Romance of the Rio Grande in 1940?

ChatGPT: In the film "Romance of the Rio Grande" (1940), the Cisco Kid was portrayed by Cesar Romero.

Cinemagraphe: Please provide a list of all the films featuring the character the Cisco Kid as portrayed by Cesar Romero.

ChatGPT: Cesar Romero did not portray the Cisco Kid in any films.

TCM Classic Film Tour featuring the "Golden Age of Hollywood" travelling preview KTLA News video

Highway Dragnet 1955

Fast Review Highway Dragnet, 1955: Fast moving tale of a Korean War vet (Richard Conte) being pursued for murder outside Las Vegas for the death of a woman he briefly met at a bar. Did he kill her? Well, he had a violent argument with her after he accidentally implied the picture of her hanging on the wall of the bar shows that she was "beautiful then" but maybe not so much now: a former professional model and now a professional barfly, she really doesn't like that.

More about Highway Dragnet 1955

"The thousand faces of Frankenstein"El Pais

After several years of vampires reigning supreme (that will continue; right now, a version of Nosferatu is being shot with stars), Frankenstein seems to be the trendy creature of the moment because of the ability to tell many things through it: Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Creatures discusses feminism; the Turkish series Creature (released on Netflix) takes on religion. Del Toro is shooting his Frankenstein (Oscar Isaac plays the doctor; Jacob Elordi, of Priscilla and Saltburn, stars as the creature); Penélope Cruz is part of the cast that is about to start filming Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Bride, which reimagines Whale’s second Frankenstein film —the one about finding a mate — and stars Christian Bale as the monster in 1930s Chicago ...

"For the love of Scarlett and Rhett - Turner Classic Movies turns 30" LA Weekly

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, TCM will feature special programming throughout April with conversations with staffers who helped launch the channel, Osborne’s 20th Anniversary Tribute, and classics like Turner’s beloved Gone With The Wind and Orson Welles’ masterpiece, A Touch of Evil."

Partnership between TCM and Warner Bros. Studios for new classic films tour KTLA TV Los Angeles

The 90-minute guided tour portion will be aboard new TCM-themed carts with the focus of the tour being the early days of Tinseltown. “Casablanca,” “My Fair Lady,” “The Music Man,” “Blazing Saddles” and more are highlighted along the tour, with brand new stops related to the films found on Turner Classic Movies."

Queen Bee

Queen Bee, 1955: Joan Crawford rules over a dysfunctional Deep South family - More about Queen Bee.

Under the Cherry Moon - 1987: As a feature film, Under the Cherry Moon is badly made though containing alternatively beautiful black and white cinematography (made on location in Nice, France) and it has efficient editing. The footage telling the story swings back and forth between musical, melodrama, romantic comedy and slapstick. Most of it fails to fit together well. But, if Under the Cherry Moon is viewed as containing all of the eccentric tics that a 1980s music video had which would usually feature a thinly applied story line over the top of the music, accompanied by inside jokes and some mugging at the camera by the cast, which was usually the band or singer (in this case the Minneapolis wunderkind Prince Rogers Nelson), then Under the Cherry Moon might just be the best and most complex music video of all time.
Life Magazine May 1980 with Mary Astor

Web site on Mary Astor is at The Mary Astor Collection

Reign of Terror 1949 - aka "The Black Book"

A pretty good looking copy is online at Youtube in the Classical Hollywood Cinema (The reason this stands out to me is because ragged, dim copies of Reign of Terror circulated for years, and even the copy shown on TCM years ago wasn't this good.)

Twentieth Century with Carol Lombard

Indicator Blu-rays are on sale (for example Twentieth Century with Carol Lombard is $8.00) at Powerhouse Films in the UK. They have US shipping.powerhousefilms

They're also having a "Three for $15" sale, too.

More for the HD wish list: The 1938 Island in the Sky with Gloria Stuart (in fact, why not a box set of Gloria Stuart?)

Powerhouse Films has announced pre-order for HD Disks of Tomorrow We Live (1942), The Shop at Sly Corner (1947), and Obsession (1949).

Kino Lorber has an HD Disk release of the 1992 film Brain Donors. (I remember that before this film came to theaters, the pre-release promotional art had the film titled Duck Feathers, a title that leans revealingly and heavily into the Marx Bros homage that is this movie.)

Availability Question: Why isn't there a decent copy of Director Frank Launder's The Bridal Path (1959) out on disk or on the various streaming services? The last time I saw it was in the 1990's on broadcast TV. Since then its not shown up on DVD, Blu Ray, or even VHS, from what I can tell. It appears sometimes on You Tube in a truncated form, but not for long. A legit, full version doesn't appear to be available, and perhaps there's some tangle over copyright that keeps it off screens.

OPPENHEIMER' wins 7 total Oscars at the 2024 awards

▪️ Best Supporting Actor
▪️ Best Film Editing
▪️ Best Cinematography
▪️ Best Original Score
▪️ Best Actor
▪️ Best Director
▪️ Best Picture

Fiend Without A Face

Review: Fiend Without A Face - 1958

Trouble comes to a small Canadian town when a local United States atomic radar station seems linked to unusual events and then several unexplained local deaths. Amid rising paranoia in the area, an investigation by an American officer turns up a fiendishly unexpected connection to human-thought experiments.

More about the 1958 sci-fi film Fiend Without A Face

Review: Impact - 1949

A fiendish wife plots the murder of her unaware husband (Brian Donlevy), only to have the plan twist around in a completely unexpected direction.

More about Impact - 1949



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