Torchy Gets Her Man - 1938
Torchy Gets Her Man - Released November 12, 1938. Directed by William Beaudine
Reporter Torchy (Glenda Farrell) isn't spending any time with her boyfriend (policeman Steve McBride, played by Barton MacLane) because he is on a secret mission working with the Secret Service hunting a counterfeiting ring making phony $100 dollar bills. The only problem is, the "Secret Service" agent is actually a hoax perpetrated by the counterfeiting operation that has fooled Steve and is using him to pass their fake money in exchange for the real thing at a race track.
Torchy snoops around, and with the aid of policeman pal Gahagan (Tom Kennedy) she starts to figure out what is really going on. She also learns about Gahagan's personal system for horse track betting (he is on vacation and is spending the week at the track) and the idiosyncratic method he uses, which contains a strange mathematical system in which 6x6=37, is making him rich against all odds.
The fifth film in the Torchy Blane series contains a lot of humor, punning and Glenda Farrell's unique style of wise-cracking. Though the "mystery" of what is happening between the counterfeiting gang and the race track isn't a mystery at all, Torchy goes through her paces of sorting out the facts faster than the police, and the character's brassy courage and determined nature is a large part of the appeal here . A German Shepherd named "Blitzen" is her partner for part of the film.
Zorba the Greek - 1964
Zorba the Greek - Released Dec 17, 1964. Directed by Michael Cacoyannis
Mild-mannered Basil (Alan Bates) is a Greek who was raised as an Englishman and has come to the island of Crete to try and make a living from his family's abandoned property. While making the trip to the island, he meets Zorba (Anthony Quinn), an itinerant workman who takes it upon himself to look after the naive Basil and to help him reopen a closed lignite mine where the two hope to make a living.
Zorba and Basil are an odd couple but it makes for the film's dynamic story of the quiet Englishman/Greek being pushed out of his aimless life that consists mostly of watching the world around him. Zorba is often exuberant and draws upon a long history of experience (describing his age, Zorba only says "I move fast because I have to").
The Cretan village near them is a part of the story, and the script by director Cacoyannis (from the book by Nikos Kazantzakis) condenses the tale of a beautiful, lonely widow (Irene Papas) who refuses the attention of every man in the area, but Zorba recognizes that only one man possesses the gentleness and refinement to be acceptable to her, i.e., Basil (but the thought of it terrifies the shy man).
Humor and gorgeous location photography punctuate this movie and softens the bitter ironies that accumulate. Anthony Quinn's performance is outsized and boisterous, but diminishes to allow subtle moments, and to let the rest of Cacayannis' story be told. Lila Kedrova (as Madame Hortense) is the aging european owner of a small inn. She is also a former courtesan, stranded on the island (Kedrova won an Academy Award for this role).
Army of Darkness - 1992
Army of Darkness - Released February 19, 1993. Directed by Sam Raimi
Bruce Campbell is a time-traveling discount store clerk who must assist King Arthur in a battle against the "deadites" who are the Army of Darkness of the title. Stunt work, special effects and funny quips moves the simple plot forward as Bruce (as Ash) must locate a magical book (the Necronomicon) that will return him to the modern age, but he accidentally does the procedure incorrectly (he's supposed to say 'Klaatu Barada Nikto," a key line from the film The Day the Earth Stood Still, but Ash fails to remember it correctly) and so unleashes the dead from the earth which then march on Arthur's castle.
Sharon Tate 1967
On the set of Valley of the Dolls
I Walk Alone - 1948
I Walk Alone - Released January 16, 1948. Directed by Byron Haskin
Heller in Pink Tights - 1960
Heller in Pink Tights - Released March 1, 1960. Directed by George Cukor
More Janet Leigh
Captain Kidd - 1945
Captain Kidd - Released Nov 22, 1945. Directed by Rowland V Lee
Frankenstein Island - 1981
Frankenstein Island - Released November 27, 1981. Directed by Jerry Warren
A legendary bad film full of incoherent low-budget invention and showing influences from many older movies, such as Island of Lost Souls and Karloff's Frankenstein. Sometimes praised as an unintended laugh-riot, but only for the very patient or those who can supply their own commentary track.
A hot air balloon crashes near Frankenstein Island, and the crew paddles to shore aboard a blowup raft and once they step onto the island they declare they're going to build a raft (?) They were originally using their balloon to search for another balloon that had disappeared, but after that is established it is not mentioned again for the remainder of the film, which is how many plot threads in the story start and end.
Like curious tourists at a theme park, the group wander about the island. There are many long sections of mundane footage of the group walking in fields, walking into buildings, walking up stairs, and walking back out again, stretching the run time and the patience of the audience. This group often seem to be on a field trip.
They meet unusual people: Sheila Frankenstein (Katherine Victor), great-grand-daughter of the the famous doctor, also a large gaggle of young women who are all dressed in leopard-skin swimsuits. The story tells us they are "aliens," but they are called "amazons" by most of the characters. There is also a very modest laboratory where indecipherable research is barely going on (it does have a Tesla or Strickfaden electrical machine, though).
John Carradine appears in a few places as a large head briefly projected onto cave walls and trees (like the Great and Powerful Oz). Andrew Duggen and Cameron Mitchell also appear in this movie and their characters are likewise strangely out of synch with the story, not that the story really ever gets into synch with any one main idea, but seems to constantly be spinning toward something new and jettisoning what came before.
The Frankenstein monster (in primitive Karloffian makeup) appears finally after over an hour into the tale, but by then the old Gothic monster seems completely out of place, and when he goes into the interior of a building where the amazons are manning a 50-calibre machine gun (?) a brawl breaks out between basically everybody, but it looks more like dancing in a semi-violent discotheque with terrible decorating.
Bad-movie aficionados praise Frankenstein Island for it's on screen disaster and for it having the feel of a bad 1950s or 1960s film, though it is in such bad shape in the storytelling department that it makes something like Plan 9 from Outer Space look like Citizen Kane.
Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck [Illustrated with 310 Photographs] - amazon.com
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