David Carradine - Grey Lady Down Graziella Granata - la Strage dei Vampiri - Slaughter of the Vampires 1964

Grey Lady Down - 1978

Grey Lady Down - 1978

Grey Lady Down - released March 10, 1978 - Director David Greene

Taunt sunken-submarine film with an ensemble cast: Chuck Heston, David Carradine, Ned Beatty, Stacey Keach, and a young Christopher Reeve. After a collision on the surface with a Norwegian ship, the USN Neptune sinks to the sea bottom. Besides the precarious problem of getting the crew to the surface before the situation gets worse (a difficulty that is conquered by the inventive Captain Gates, played by David Carradine), but the sub is also on the edge of a ridge which plunges to a deeper depth, guaranteeing the death of the trapped crew.

Grey Lady Down - 1978Grey Lady Down - 1978Grey Lady Down - 1978Grey Lady Down - 1978

The Fleet's In - 1942

The Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy Lamour

The Fleet's In - released January 24, 1942 - Directed by Victor Schertzinger

Dorothy Lamour and William Holden are at the head of the cast for this WW2 quasi-romance-comedy-musical which is pieced together like a variety show, with numerous song, dance (Lorraine and Rognan) and comedy acts taking center screen. Songs by Johnny Mercer are featured, along with many interludes with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken also provide a lot of comedy, though even with the personalities already listed, it just scratches the surface of all the names which appear in this thinly-plotted tale of sailors participating in a bet on whether the "Sea Wolf" Casey Kirby (played by Wm. Holden) can melt the heart of icy night club singer "The Countess" (Lamour) before the sailors all have to ship out.

The Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy LamourThe Fleets in 1942 - Dorothy Lamour

Speedy - Harold Lloyd 1928

Harold Lloyd - Speedy - 1928Harold Lloyd - Speedy - 1928Harold Lloyd - Speedy - 1928

Speedy - released April 7, 1928 - Directed by Ted Wilde

An action packed final 30 minutes to this film barrels along with Harold Lloyd in his prime with long, complex action-comedy sequences.

Harold Lloyd - Speedy - 1928

King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon's Mines - 1950

King Solomon's Mines - Directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton

Released November 24, 1950

Adventure films based in Africa had been a sub-genre in Hollywood for many decades before King Solomon's Mines showed up in 1950, from the Tarzan films to Trader Horn (1931), but this Technicolor blockbuster with Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr not only upgraded African adventure films, but adventure films in general. With a rapid plot, wide open on-location cinematography of the African people (mostly Masai and Watusi tribes) and landscape (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Belgian Congo), and a streak of post-World War 2 melancholy (though the film timing is actually Victorian) the movie was a perfect fit for American and English audiences. Box office was huge, and only Disney's Cinderella did better that year.

King Solomon's Mines - 1950King Solomon's Mines - 1950King Solomon's Mines - 1950King Solomon's Mines - 1950King Solomon's Mines - 1950

Slaughter of the Vampires - 1964

Slaughter of the Vampires 1964

Director: Roberto Mauri

Low budget Italian horror film that borrows heavily from the basic outlines of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with a vampire noble menacing the happiness of a newly wedded couple who live on a large estate featuring beautiful 18th century outfits, winding staircases, landscaped grounds and sumptuous interior art direction.

What carries this film beyond the predictable story and acting is the well done, economical cinematography. Director Mauri (who also wrote the screenplay) often moves his camera around and he generally executes some first-class storytelling despite the stodgy material. While the conflict between the vampire and the victims is rote, the angles and motion of the camera is frequently interesting and inventive. None of this can salvage the mundane elements of the story, but the movie tries to compete with the quality standards of something higher in calibre like a Hammer film, and visually speaking, often succeeds.

Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964Slaughter of the Vampires 1964

Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford 1928

More Joan Crawford

Madame Medusa - The Rescuers - 1977

The Rescuers 1977The Rescuers 1977The Rescuers 1977The Rescuers 1977

The Rescuers - Released June 22, 1977

Disney's The Rescuers is a curious film in their oeuvre. There is a bleak element of despair in the film which is about the abusive situation of a kidnapped girl who is pressured into cave-diving to access a pirate treasure. Madame Medusa (voiced by Geraldine Page) is a variation on Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations, 1961) but Medusa's obsession isn't with dogs, but with diamonds and her cruelty is primarily worked out on her captive child, Penny (voiced by Michelle Stacy). The film generated a 1990 sequel The Rescuers Down Under which shied away from the sense of loss and darkness that is plumbed in the 1977 movie.

The Rescuers particularly features the art direction work of Ken Anderson and the animation drawing skill of Milt Kahl (1909-1987) who worked especially on drawing the character of Madame Medusa.

The Rescuers 1977Penny - The Rescuers 1977

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Dark of the Sun 1968 - Mercenaries are hired to go into the Congo civil war to rescue civilians and to also bring back a $25 million dollar cache of diamonds. Rod Taylor leads the mercenaries (James Brown, Peter Carsten and others) on a three day mission that soon includes Yvette Mimieux before everything begins to careen out of control.

3 Days of the Condor, 1975 - Robert Redford as CIA analyst Joe Turner, trapped between warring factions within the CIA itself. Confused by why everyone is shooting at him, he goes on the run with kidnapped Faye Dunnaway in tow. Sydney Pollack's direction is tense and has clear storytelling. Max von Sydow is on hand as an amused veteran hitman who learns Joe Turner a thing or two. A great big slice of 1970s paranoia powers the film and lays down the template for many films that have followed afterward.

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