Paul MuniBurt Lancaster the SwimmerSophia Loren Boy on a Dolphin Cary Grant and Sophia Loren - The Pride and the Passion Joan Crawford Van helsing 2004 Kate Beckinsale and Hugh jackman Van Helsing 2004Jackman and Beckinsale 2004Hugh jackman in Van helsing 2004Shuler Hensley as Frankenstein monster - Van Helsing 2004 Simone SImon and James Craig 1941 - Devil and Daniel Websterjames Craig - Devil and Daniel Webster 1941Devil and Daniel Webster movie - 19141 The Mummys Tomb - Lon Chaney JrBetty GableBraveheart Scots

CINEMAGRAPHE

Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert

Spencer Tracy

Spencer Tracy

Anne Baxter

Anne Baxter

Arlene Martel - 1966

Arlene Martel - 1966 - Perry MasonArlene Martel

The Case of the Dead Ringer - Perry Mason, NBC broadcast April 17, 1966. Directed by Arthur Marks


Van Helsing - 2004

Van Helsing 2004 - Directed by Sommers

Van Helsing - Released May 7, 2004. Directed by Stephen Sommers

Amid the first rate action sequences, stunt-work, opulent scenery, costuming and massive use of (circa 2004) CGI, director and writer Stephen Sommers seems to be trying to capitalize and evolve his style from the 1999 The Mummy, which was part monster movie with a big dose of humor and Indiana Jones-style action.

Van Helsing is certainly a lot of fun for monster movie aficionados, but it is so stuffed with side-trips through the pantheon of old horror films that the story in Van Helsing is more of a map through a theme park instead of a cogent tale of how our lead character Van Helsing must protect and save Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) from the mad-plans of diabolical Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh).

Jackman and Beckinsale are not a problem, and are quite enjoyable in these roles, as is the rest of the cast. When they are given some dialogue and moments in between the onslaught of CGI to chat with each other and establish motivations, for a more-forgiving audience, the movie has a lot of charm. But Van Helsing is plagued at times with a pacing right out of a video game, and as wildly inventive as the visuals often are, it's just not a substitute for quality in the simple but overly-stretched story.

There's no denying the eye candy is fantastic and apparently meant to be the main draw for the movie, and there are many nice moments that pop up over and over, such as Shuler Hensley's Frankenstein Monster with a throbbing, glowing psychedelic heart/motor. The sequence of the Wolfman fighting Dracula (who turns into a monstrous flying bat) is something right out of the old Universal monster round-ups of the 1940s, but staged in a way in Van Helsing that was impossible then.

Where Sommers' The Mummy had quirky personalities for the main cast and room for them to do bits of character-establishing business, Beckinsale and Jackman are carved from a grim-avenger template and aren't allowed to to be as human, though they do go into their battle sequences well-equipped with quips. And, of course, they look great as they try to defeat various monsters with hand-to-hand combat and steam-punk style weapons, but it all gets a bit repetitive and Van Helsing would have been better served with maybe ten minutes more of well-done dialogue writing and ten minutes less of CGI.

A wonderful, but bad, movie.

Van Helsing 2004 - Directed by SommersVan Helsing 2004 - Directed by SommersVan Helsing 2004 - Directed by SommersVan Helsing 2004 - Directed by Sommers


The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941

The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941

The Devil and Daniel Webster - Released October 17, 1941. Directed by William Dieterle

Simone Simon - The Devil and Daniel Webster 1941John Qualen - The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941 - SImone SImon with John CraigThe Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941Anne SHirley - 1941 - The Devil and Daniel Webster - 1941


Allison Hayes - 1965

Allison Hayes Case of the Deadly Debt

The Case of the Deadly Debt - Broadcast Apri 1, 1965. Directed by Jesse Hibbs

Allison Hayes 1965Allison Hayes 1965Allison Hayes 1965


Karloff - Fu Manchu

Boris Karloff


Harry Langdon

Harry Langdon


Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Carole Landis

Carole Landis

Best Actress 1932: Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes 1932

The Sin of Madelon Claudet - Released October 24, 1931. Directed by Edgar Selwyn.

More Academy Awards 1932


New Classic film releases to bluray - DVD

The Lost World - 1925 - Flicker Alley - site link

Duel in the Sun (Roadshow version) - 1946 - Kino - no link yet

Hopscotch - 1980 - Walter Matheu - Criterion - Coming in August

They Live by Night - 1948 - Criterion - June 13, 2017


Mamie Van Doren - 1959

mamie Van Doren 1959

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot - with Mask

Bardot with mask


It’s Always Fair Weather - 1955

It’s Always Fair Weather 1955

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - 1943

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943

Frankenstein meets the Wolfman - Released March 5, 1943. Directed by Roy Neill

Film history claims that Lugosi's lines (Bela Lugosi playing the 'Frankenstein' monster here) were cut from the final release because test audiences laughed. This removal takes away an important aspect of the story that is carried over from the previous Frankenstein movie The Ghost of Frankenstein - - which is that Ygor's brain is now in the monster's body.

Lugosi's work as Ygor in Son of Frankenstein and in Ghost were some of the best things about those sequels. Also, that story thread, as we see over and over here, is integral to how the Frankenstein Monster blunders about with arms outstretched due to Ygor's brain having a different blood type than the body, and this resulted in blindness. This irony, along with the "science" and the handicap is all thrown out the window with Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman. Instead we have the monster operating on a sort of cretinous level, moving like a gigantic toddler.

Aside from a few scenes of facial expression, Lugosi hardly seems in the movie at all, obvious stunt doubles handle the (well done) hand-to-hand combat between Chaney's Wolfman and the monster. The stunt double lugs off Ilona Massey in one scene, his makeup obviously inferior to what Lugosi is wearing in close ups.

Ilona Massey (as Baroness Elsa Frankenstein) doesn't have a lot to do except look beautiful while looking offscreen, something done well. Patric Knowles is a doctor enlisted to dissect the monster and finally put it out of business, but instead he (of course) becomes strangely interested in the creature's potential and wants to instead see it at "full power." At that point several electrical machines (Tesla or Strickfaden?) are put into action. The noise level is intense and Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman briefly seems like a fascinating heavy metal music video.

The script (by Curt Siodmak) seems over-simplified and under-written, though it contains the standard elements of mad-doctor science from previous Universal films. Lon Chaney as the tormented Wolfman trying to convince skeptical authority about his homicidal penchants (and here this is pushed to a new level when Larry Talbot realizes he cannot die) is fine, but it doesn't make the film better in other departments. Lionel Atwill, always professional, is onscreen as one of the few people of the village of Vasaria who can keep their head on straight once the name of "Frankenstein" is heard. Maria Ouspenskaya reappears as the gypsy woman from The Wolfman, making this movie a double-sequel, not only for Ghost of Frankenstein but also Chaney's 1941 film.

The climax, which involves a small scale model of a dam and castle, unfortunately looks just like a small scale model. Art direction elsewhere is good, but the feeling of tiredness with the material is evident int he writing and even the special effects, and this movie more than any other previously made at Universal puts us on a direct glide path to Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein in 1948.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman - Lugosi and Chaney - 1943


Mamie Van Doren

Mamie Van Doren

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby


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