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Sudden Fear (1952)
Soap Opera Overtakes Noir
28 December 2019
Joan Crawford's performance was all theatrics and at odds with empathy for the character's plight, with everything of importance being telegraphed through mannered artificial gestures, camera movement, and melodramatic composition. Also, too much light without deep shadows and shadows. The soap opera finally swallowed the Noir.
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Filled with Inaccuracies and Contradictions
18 October 2019
The so-called experts of the series, also known as 'Discovering (name of film star), clearly do not possess the knowledge they pretend to have. Their factual comments are so appallingly false as to make watching any episode an exercise in foolishness. Don't waste your time.
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Silent Eye (2018– )
Interesting But Horribly Shot
31 August 2019
The conceit of shooting a television series by using a cell phone camera sinks Silent Eye. Too bad, because the story is interesting. This is rather like a modern era Ed Wood undertaking. The producers should have not been so damn cheap.
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12 November 2009
Flat, inept dialog and worse direction. Stereotypes all. Every character spoke in the same, overacted voice. Each and everyone was stilted in performance, except for the singer near the end.

Overall execution was poor. Camera and lighting were as flat as the dialog. Everyone represented a 'type'. There was no reality to the characters, nor was there and tone of clever.

The film only came to life for about three minutes, when a gifted Gospel singer sang words not written by the writer/director.

There could have been a good comedy with the premise, but it never surfaced.
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Bwana Devil (1952)
The First 3-D Color Feature
4 July 2008
I saw it the first day of its first run release at the Chicago Theater in Chicago in 1952. 'Bwana Devil' was the brainchild of radio director, Arch Oboler. - best known for the radio (and early live TV series) 'Lights Out'. Oboler's brother-in-law was Milton Gunzburg. Gunzburg was, I believe, the optician who connected the use of Polaroid lenses to the making of stereoscopic films.

In 1952, television was stomping out movies and movie theaters the way rogue elephants could destroy villages. Hollywood was searching for any gimmick it could use to bring people back to the theaters. Cinerama, a cumbersome early widescreen process had come on the scene. It produced an 3-D like effect. That opened the door for Gunzberg and his brother-in-law. They called their process Naturalvision, raised some money to demonstrate the process, and produced 'Bwana Devil'.

While the story and production values took a back seat to the illusion of depth, the picture was a hit. It was quickly followed by 'House of Wax' and others. Most producers opted to exploit the stereoscopic effects rather than make good movies. 'House of Wax' was one of the rare exceptions. After about a year, audiences tired of the shoddy productions, and Naturalvision eventually disappeared. Into the void Fox introduced CinemaScope, a flat wide-screen process, and helped stem the sinking theater system.

I imagine seeing 'Bwana Devil' in flat projection would be painful. But for those of us who saw it with pristine prints, and quality projection, it was something to behold. Lions leaping off the screen into our laps was something few of us would forget.

It has taken another fifty years for 3-D to return. Today's producers seem not to be making the same mistake as those in the early fifties. I hope so. After all, 3-D is so much more fun than flat.
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Your Favorite Story (1953– )
My Favorite Story
31 March 2008
Adolph Menjou was the series host, not simply the narrator. If memory serves correctly, he was introduced in the standard opening as: "And now, here's your host. Raconteur, gourmet, and man about town... Adolph Menjou."

It impressed me as a boy. I didn't know, at the time, that he named names at HUAC.

The series was one in early syndication, and presented a rather literate adaptation of dramatized short stories. Menjou gave it all a nice touch of class.

  • Arye Michael Bender -
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Garfield Goose WGN Correction
24 December 2007
'Garfield Goose' was a show on WGN-TV, not WBKB. The reason for the confusion is that the lead Character was a hand puppet, designed and operated by Bruce Newton. The amazing Mr. Newton was under contract at the time to WBKB, but was allowed to work for the competition for that one show.

Bruce Newton also appeared as Shorty on 'Shock Theater' on WBKB in 1957. Shock Theater was the brainchild of the incomparable Terry Bennet, who also played the lead character Mad Marvin. Bruce's shorty was made-up to look like the Frankenstein Monster, due to his extreme height. Bruce was a talented artist, and a gentle soul.

Both Bruce Newton and Terry Bennett added immeasurably to the wild creativity that distinguished WBKB from every other television station in America. All worked under a literate, talent loving, visionary named Sterling 'Red' Quinlan. 'Red' presided over a magical loony bin of artists, actors, musicians, writers, comedians, directors, announcers, and personalities as big as The Ritz.

It was a Super Circus of entertainment in a brief, golden time.

I was the kid (literally) who bluffed himself into the candy store, and loved every minute of it.
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The Joey Bishop Show (1967–1969)
Regis was Joey's foil
20 September 2007
I was the series editor for The Joey Bishop (talk) Show, on ABC late night, as I had been on its equally short run predecessor, The Les Crane Show. The Crane show originated in New York as a genuine alternative to the other late night talk shows like Tonight. ABC got cold feet, decided to make the show more conventional, and moved it to Hollywood.

With nothing to distinguish itself from the competition, the tamed down Les Crane Show met a swift death. ABC needed someone new to front the Crane show and hit upon Joey Bishop. The brass were hoping that some of the Rat Pack heat would rub off.

It didn't. In fact, Joey was cold -- rather than cool.

I also need to correct the credits listed in this site. Regis Philbin was the series announcer/foil for the run of the show, not a three time guest as posted. The casting of Regis and Joey made for an odd, and not very humorous pairing.

Joey always seemed uncomfortable as ringmaster. His deadpan act was designed to react to outrageous actions. The show had little in the way of the outrageous about it, leaving Joey with little to react to.

Regis had yet to find the style he would develop a decade later as a morning talk host is Los Angeles, first on KHJ, and then on KABC. The KABC show was moved to New York and syndicated, where it still runs today.

The idea of Regis playing second banana to Joey, a second banana himself, made for a weak relationship in an even weaker show.

The somewhat brittle, but always interesting Dick Cavett took over the time slot, the show was moved to New York, and the guests much more interesting. The Dick Cavett Show, in its prime, was infinitely more interesting than Joey's mercifully short run.

Arye (AKA Leslie) Michael Bender
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