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A lot of fun
The Joe McDoakes behind the Eightball series was one of the most popular shorts from 1942 through 1956. This is the typical story of the hapless protagonist who is plagued by a variety of antagonists; animals, women, automobiles, gadgets, you name it! This series was actually a copy of the Robert Benchley shorts from the late 30's, produced by MGM and greatly enjoyed by moviegoers. In order to compete with MGM and Benchley, Warners came out with their own series in November, 1942. All 62 episodes were directed by Richard Bare who also did a number of TV shows for Warners. George O'Hanlon starred in all of these shorts as the often ill-fated poor slob, Joe McDoakes.
What I found amusing in this episode was the parody on the hit movie "The Lost Weekend" (1945) starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. Perhaps capitalizing on this film or just to employ satire, O'Hanlon is seen pulling up a racing form hanging from a window ledge; his wife totally disapproving of his gambling addiction. In "The Lost Weekend", Ray Milland has a bottle of rye whiskey hanging from a rope off the window ledge, hiding it because his brother and girlfriend both disapprove of his alcoholism. Then in this short, O'Hanlon is next seen pulling another racing form, plus several other things (a navigation tool of all things) that was hidden in a ceiling lamp. In "The Lost Weekend" Milland hides a bottle of whiskey in a ceiling lamp! To top it off, during these scenes, there is a bow saw playing in the background. In "The Lost Weekend", Miklos Rosza employs the use of a bow saw in his award winning music throughout the film.
"The Lost Weekend" was a huge hit in 1945, "So You Want to Play the Horses" was released in 1946, with "The Lost Weekend" still fresh in the minds of moviegoers.
As with all of the Joe McDoakes "So You Want..." series, this one is a lot of fun.
Daughters Courageous (1939)
One of a series of Lane Sisters soaps
Daughters Courageous is actually the second of a four-movie soap series produced by Warner Brothers and all directed by Michael Curtiz. Curtiz, a Hungarian immigrant, was best known for his direction of the early Errol Flynn swashbucklers that graced the silver screen from 1935 to 1941. At any rate, Daughters Courageous employs the same cast of characters from the first and last two movies, Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, and Gale Page play the sisters. Claude Rains, in this particular movie, plays the father who left home nineteen years before. Dick Foran and Frank McHugh play supporting roles as boyfriends and then there's Jeffrey Lynne who broke into films only two years before in a Warner's short feature.
The success of Four Daughters the previous year (it had been nominated for several Oscars) prompted Warner Brothers to do a sequel. The only problem they had was that their new sensation, John Garfield, was written off the script of Four Daughters (in that film he had committed suicide from an automobile crash). So, Warners was in a quandary about how to bring Garfield back to life! The problem was solved when Daughters Courageous went into production. It was actually the same cast as Four Daughters, but they portrayed a different family that was vacationing at the beach. Faye Bainter played a single parent (a daring role in 1939 during the Production Code era) supporting her four daughters with the income she makes through her dress designing business. Garfield plays a neer-do-well who has no future. He captures the heart of the youngest sister, Priscilla Lane and the romance goes as far as an elopement attempt (Lane eloped with Garfield in the first film too).
The film is brilliantly directed and flows along steadily from beginning to end. In my opinion, it is the best of the four films made by Warners. Four Daughters is available on VHS. However, this film is not. If you have the chance to see this film on TCM, make sure to copy it on VHS or DVD.
The Liberated Woman (1972)
An early John Holmes film
I remember seeing this film at one of the local drive-in movie theaters back on New Years Eve, 1973. By this time, John Holmes was a veteran regarding film; he had already appeared in 25 movies since 1968. Granted, X-rated films are not considered great cinema, but this particular one was interesting. The general plot of this film deals with frigidity. It's about a husband who's wife denies him any sort of carnal pleasures. Try as he may, it's no dice in regard to sex. He tries everything from consulting a psychologist, then tries TM and finally has her tied in bondage while he forces her to watch him have sex with a Playboy Playmate. The scene with TM was quite funny as this guy finally gets his wife interested in sex, but not with himself.
I think it's quite safe to say that this movie isn't available in any sort of media; I've only seen it once and that was over 33 years ago! It would be interesting to see this film again just so I can remember some of the things I forgot about!
The Thing That Couldn't Die (1958)
Campy film deserves cult status
I love this movie. Even though I rated it a "4", that's because the acting, the plot and the budget were all slated to the "B" universe even before this movie was released. But that's OK! It is an entertaining film that has a lot to offer!
I remember what Leonard Maltin said about "Plan 9 From Outer Space": a film so bad that it's great! Lacking the UFO - alien plot, The Thing the Couldn't Die relies on the supernatural (divination, a buried head looking for it's body, hypnosis, etc) to tell it's story. The acting is stilted, the camera work second class and the settings are limited, but boy! what a movie! This film is available in the bootleg market. If you find a copy, buy it!
The File on Thelma Jordon (1949)
Another classic film from the film noir era
So much has already been said about this film, so I don't have to elaborate. All I can say about this movie is "oh my!". The reason being is that during the late 40's and early 50's a film about infidelity, even though popular at the time (Nora Prentiss, The Postman Always Rings Twice) was viewed by many as taboo, but that didn't stop them from flocking to the local theater to see it!
What puzzles me is that this film has been ignored. It is a well crafted movie with all the elements of a good film noir. It has crime, it has sex, it has deception and it has corruption throughout and it has great cinematography; what a perfect noir! If you have a chance to see this film on TCM, do yourself a favor and make a copy. You will not be disappointed.
The Marrying Kind (1952)
This movie is excellent!
Judy Holiday never let us down when it came to her movie performances. This is no exception. Holiday made acting look easy and, like Bette Davis, always acted the part with no difficulties. She died much too young and we lost not only an accomplished actress, but also a beautiful person. I know that volumes have been written both about her and her films, so I won't go much into the movie itself.
Many of us have the impression that life was not as complicated back in the early '50's; that it was more wholesome and that people, in general, had better scruples than today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Aldo Ray plays a husband who has pent up anger about being married, not because of incompatibility, but because of financial problems. His obvious obsession with making money clearly shows in this film. The same holds true today. Many people believe that financial success is tantamount to a successful marriage. Again, this is fallacious and proved by the hordes of wealthy who get divorces every year.
The part of Ray's visit to the butcher proves that a successful marriage is based on many things, money not included. He is set straight not only by this incident, but also his friends, his daughter and the divorce judge.
All I can say is, see this gem! It is worth the time to see it. And yes! this film is available on DVD!
Meet Me on Broadway (1946)
It ain't Holiday Inn
I don't know where we would be without TCM. Turner shows us a lot of movies that are obscure and have no hope of ever surfacing on DVD. This film isn't even mentioned in Leonard Maltin's TV Movies and Video Guide, so this vehicle is REALLY obscure. Because of these things, this film doesn't stand a chance at being touted by todays marketing people. However, these films offer us a glimpse of life past, of certain values and lifestyles that may appear "corny" to us today.
This movie has a lot to offer; the music is catchy and well orchestrated. There is also a well choreographed dance routine by three guys And, most important, director Leigh Jason had the right tools in regard to a cast. Much traveled Marjorie Reynolds plays Ann Stallings. Reynolds, a gorgeous, curvy blonde with brown eyes is best known for her performance in Holiday Inn (1942) with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Almost exclusively appearing in B- films, Reynolds made a splash in Paramount's Holiday Inn. She sings and dances just as well in Meet Me on Broadway.
The film is supported by long time actor Allen Jenkins (loaned out by Warner Brothers), Gene Lockhart, known for his villainous and conniving roles as a character actor, but appearing quite tame in this film. Also, there's Spring Byington, another busy actress from the 1930's and '40's. Little known and little used Fred Brady is placed in a principal role as Eddie Dolan. Brady is sort of a Danny Kaye wannabe as demonstrated in both his actions and speech. I feel that this was a major mistake by Columbia as his role appears weak throughout the film. Brady only made a handful of films and quickly went into obscurity several years later.
This film was completed in late 1945 and a welcome site for many moviegoers who were weary of war-related plots. The going theme during this period was "Peace, it's wonderful!". The many trials and tribulations for America were yet to come, so this brief period of time was a respite between the most destructive war in history and what was to follow in the next few years.
Red Planet Mars (1952)
More propaganda than Sci-Fi
I first saw this movie today on TCM. When I saw the title, I was misled into thinking that I was going to be treated to the typical alien-monster excitement that accompanies such films. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was a Red-Scare propaganda film masquerading with a science fiction title. It had all of the anti-communist rhetoric, along with the typical scare tactics of how bad and evil the commies were, contrasted by the western world's freedoms of religion and speech as was viewed by many during those turbulent times. And isn't it a coincidence that the powers-that-be weaved a story about the "Red" planet that featured the evils of the "Red" menace? Apparently "Red" was a popular color in this black and white production.
What was the cause of all this nonsense? Immediately after the conclusion of the second World War a distrust deveioped between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both sides, of course, had their reasons for such distrusts and cannot be elaborated here. However, a lot of anti-Soviet propaganda films were made by Hollywood between 1946 and 1963. One such film, an MGM short called "The Hucksters" (1951) reflects this paranoia with zeal. During an era when the House on Un-American Activities were busy with their "witch hunts" many great actors and actresses were victimized. The Red Planet Mars is a product of a worried Hollywood reacting to this persecution. Incidentally, President Truman, during the election campaign of 1948 called this witch hunt a "red herring". So, we have "red" menace, "red" planet and "red" herring.
There were many such films created during this time period. People were scared stiff of an atomic attack from the Soviet Union (the Soviets first tested an atomic bomb in 1949), so a movie like this capitalized on such fears.
And the movie moguls from this period took advantage of sci-fi films as another avenue to portray the evil Russians, albeit in an alien creature guise. Of course, this was all a sign of the times during this era. What could be worse? alien threat or Communist takeover? This was simply a reflection of the ignorance that dominated the minds of many about both subjects, and ignorance, if left unchecked, breeds fear.
As a science fiction film, this movie falls flat on it's face. However, it is recommended to anyone out there who likes the propaganda slant that this film has to offer.
One of the great classics of all time
So much has been written about this movie that I can hardly add more. This is Otto Preminger's finest hour as a director. He did many other great films (Stalag 17, Fallen Angel), but Laura is his keystone. Personally speaking, I never get tired of this film. Every time I watch this movie, I notice something different, whether it's in the dialogue, the cinematography of Joseph LaShelle, or even the facial expressions of the actors. Even the props are superior in this film. Everything is perfect. And that cast! Dana Andrews, as detective MacPherson, Judith Anderson as Mrs. Tredwell, the splenetic and cynical Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, Vincent Price as Shelby and the beautiful and very talented Gene Tierney as Laura.
For longtime fans of Film Noir and budding enthusiasts, this film is an essential addition to your film library.
Mystery Street (1950)
Don't miss the chance to see this great noir on TV!
That's right! If you're a film noir fanatic as I am, you'll appreciate this obscure film! It has all of the ingredients of a noir; sex, greed, blackmail, murder - it's all here! Plus, there are also many additional surprises; pre-DNA forensic science and one of the first movies to show a skeleton used of non-horror purposes; something unheard of for it's time. The cinematography is second to none for the crime-drama films made during this era. Plus, that's not all! this movie is filmed largely on location in Boston and Cambridge. There are some great views of the city from 1950 which cannot be missed.
And the plot is pure noir too. Henry Shanway (Marshall Thompson) is a victim of circumstances when he is falsely accused of murdering Vivian Heldon (Jan Sterling), a "hostess" from the seedy "Grass Skirt" cocktail lounge. This is only the top of the iceberg. As the movie progresses, Shanway, distraught over his wife's miscarriage, is drowning his sorrows at the "Grass Skirt" which is just across the street from the hospital his wife is in. Heldon is also pregnant, not by choice, from a tryst she is having with "blue blood" James Joshua Hartley (Edmon Ryan) a businessman from the lower part of Cape Cod. Heldon's attempts to see Hartley in order to confront him about her pregnancy are fruitless; Hartley is definitely giving her the brush off. Shanway is the perfect stooge for Heldon as she takes advantage of his sorrow by giving him too much to drink and then offering to drive him home in his own car.
Things don't work out that way as she takes him for an unexpected ride to the Cape in order to read Hartley the riot act. Later that night, they arrive at a hamburger stand near Hartley's home. She dumps Shanway at the hamburger stop and continues up the Cape where she encounters Hartley, who, in turn, kills her, buries her in the sand dunes and dumps Shanway's car in a bog.
Later on in the late fall, an ornithologist (played by a young "elfish" Walter Burke) discovers a skeleton in the sand and the investigation begins. Ricardo Montalbon and Bruce Bennett both play great roles in their attempts to find the murderer. The skeleton is brought to Harvard Medical School and the forensics begin. All this time, Elsa Lanchester, the victim's landlady gets into the act and attempts to black mail Hartley after finding his phone number scrawled by the hall phone in her home. She adds one plus one, and visits Hartley with the attempt to extort money from him. In one scene, in his office, she musters up the courage to look through his desk and finds a gun which she gingerly puts in her handbag. This plot is finely woven, moves quickly and gives the viewer an exciting experience throughout the film.
My advice: see this film! It is a fine example of the noir that was so popular during this special era of film making. What puzzles me is that there is so much "junk" available on the market; low budget horror pics, dumb "girlie" movies, idiotic "bathroom humor" flicks - all available on DVD or VHS. However, a superb movie like Mystery Street remains unavailable. Why?
Gangster Story (1959)
In the early days of television, there was an influx of great actors and actresses who decided to test the waters of this new media. We had the likes of Dick Powell, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Loretta Young, for example. Not so with Walter Mathau. This great actor actually originated from the early days of television and then migrated to the movies. Mathau did countless guest appearances on many television programs before getting his big break in such films as "The Kentuckian" (1955) and "A Face in the Crowd" (1957). This film was only one of a few that he had under his belt until he made "The Gangster Story" in 1960.
Incidentally, this was his directing debut also, so between appearing in television and movies, this gave him the rare chance to show his talent in this aspect. Unfortunately for Mathau, this was his only attempt to direct a movie. The quality of this film in it's cinematography, the acting and the dialogue is way below standard and this probably was the reason why he never directed another film.
This is, at best, a fair film that is a potential cult classic. The plot is transparent and predictable. The supporting acting is stilted and awkward. His real wife, Carol Grace, plays the typical "bimbo" role of standing-by-her-man-no-matter-how-bad-he-is (*sigh*) in this cheesy docudrama. However, because it is an early Mathau vehicle, it is an interesting conversation piece for those who admire his talents.
Not an academy award winner, but an interesting chestnut from a long and illustrious career.
This movie is presumed to be a lost treasure.
The Boston Red Sox or Boston Braves were World Series champions five times within a seven year period from 1912 - 1918. The Red Sox won in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918 while the Braves won in 1914. Back in those days there was no such thing as the New York Yankees winning a World Series. In fact, the first year the Yankees appeared in the World Series was in 1921.
I've never had the pleasure of viewing this movie. I would presume that it is lost, or so badly decomposed in poor storage that we can only guess what it contained. However, we can piece together this particular World Series by looking at the record; the Boston Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.
This World Series took place in newly built Braves Field. Braves Field was the last of the concrete and steel stadiums built during this time period. Designed by Osborne Engineering, it was the largest ballpark ever built (seating around 41,000) with outfield distances stretching about 410 feet to left and right fields and a monstrous 550 feet to direct center. Ty Cobb surveyed the field when it opened in August, 1915 and commented "One thing is sure. Nobody will ever hit a home run out of here." Braves owner, Thomas Gaffney, was a big fan of the inside-the-park home run, therefore the tremendous distances. Therefore, Braves field was, in essence, a pitcher's paradise.
The previous year, the Boston Red Sox lent out Fenway Park (built in 1912) to the Braves when they played the Philadelphia Athletics because it was larger than the old Southend Grounds where the Braves played until Braves Field opened late during the 1915 season. Incidentally, the first regular game attracted around 56,000 fans. Because of the generosity of the Red Sox, the Braves reciprocated by lending out Braves Field to the Red Sox for the 1915 World Series against the Phillies.
The first two games were played at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia with the Phils and Red Sox splitting, Philadelphia winning the first game. The series then shifted to Boston for the next two games with Boston winning both and finally the championship in game five at Baker Bowl.
Apart from the players, Babe Ruth and Grover Cleveland Alexander being the best known, this film is priceless just for the views the camera gave of both ballparks. Baker Bowl is long gone, being abandoned by the Phillies after the 1937 season and razed in 1950. Braves Field last hosted a major league ballgame in September, 1952 and is now part of Boston University. A little known fact about Braves Field was that there were special compartments located next to each dugout solely for the purpose of employing motion picture cameras. It's a sure bet that these spaces chronicled some great games both in the 1915 and 1916 World Series as well as some splendid views of this beautiful ballpark.
Notwithstanding, the camera work at Baker Bowl would have been extremely valuable today for posterity. I certainly hope that a copy of this film still exists so that historians and baseball fans alike can enjoy it.
Big Jim McLain (1952)
A precursor to "Hawaii 5-0"?
I know what you're all thinking. Yes, most of the comments center on the anti-Communist agenda of the late 40's to the mid-50's and rightly so. John Wayne was one of those actors who believed in "CYA" (cover your 'butt') when it came to keeping his job in Hollywood. And rightly so again! With the likes of Wayne and cravens like Elia Kazan, they chose to appease the witch hunters rather than stand up to them. Unfortunately this did more harm than good; many of their associates (great performers like Howard Da Silva, John Garfield and Betty Garrett) were banned for years if not for life.
This movie was a product of those who wanted to convince the modern day inquisition called the House on Unamerican Activities that they were genuine flag waving, apple pie eating homies. Obviously the ruse worked.
However I'm straying from my one line summary here. I'm not sure if anyone else has noticed the subliminal content of this film. Yes, it reeks of good ol' flag waving Americanism vs the no-good commies, but has anyone noticed the "law and order" theme of this film? Has anyone noticed that it takes place in (of all places) Hawaii, which was then only a "Protectorate" of the United States? Hawaii didn't get statehood until 1959, seven years after this film was released.
I really believe (I wonder if anyone else does!) that the movers and shakers of 60's television got the idea of "Hawaii 5-0" from this film. There are quite a few similarities.
First of all, the head honcho is a white guy (Jack Lord, John Wayne). Secondly, they both hunt down criminals (Lord goes after the common garden variety type and Wayne goes after the same, only a little "redder"). Thirdly, both "law and order" agencies are based in Hawaii (why?) and finally, the guys who work with John Wayne in the film are actual Hawaiians whose acting is as stilted and crummy as the Hawaiians who try to act in the TV show!!!
Finally, I ask "why"??? Am I imagining all of this or does someone else out in the ether have the same opinion as I do? Somebody, please tell me if this is so!
Woman in Hiding (1950)
I believe that I have the only copy of this film on tape...
This is a little known classic from the film noir era of the '40's and early '50's. I had the privilege of seeing this movie listed in the TV guide only once and that was in the summer of 1984 on one of the local cable stations. Luckily, we had just purchased our first VCR and recorded it for posterity. I can watch this one over and over again without getting tired of it.
It's a simple plot with the usual sex-crime-greed ingredients that were common in these film noirs. And the cast is super! Howard Duff, Ida Lupino, Stephen McNally, John Litel, Peggy Dow and Taylor Holmes round off the principals featured in this movie. Also, look closely for Jerry Paris (of Dick Van Dyke fame)standing by the magazine counter!
Steve McNally plays Selden Clark, manager of a local mill owned by John Litel. McNally has a tryst with Peggy Dow and conspires to get control of the mill by pushing Litel off a catwalk inside the mill, then marrying the owner's daughter (Lupino), bumping her off and living happily ever after with Dow. Being the case with film noir, this doesn't pan out exactly as Selden Clark anticipates! Sure, he marrys the daughter, but she finds out (too late) that this guy is a psychotic bum. She manages to get away from him by stealing away in her 1946 Ford convertible (nice car!), but her brakes don't work due to some mechanical failure caused by her neer-do-well new husband. She manages to leap from the car before it crashes into the river. Everyone thinks that she's dead, but the body can't be found.
Selden is convinced that she's still alive somewhere and puts up a $5,000 reward for anyone who can produce her. Enter Howard Duff. Duff plays the catalyst in this film; at first thinking that she is a victim of amnesia, cheerfully (and alas) returning her to Selden. He then comes to his senses and manages to rescue her from Selden's clutches. It has a happy ending with Duff and Lupino getting married, as they actually did in real life.
It is amazing that this movie continues to be ignored. Many think that Ida Lupino was great in the early '40's in such films as They Drive By Night and High Sierra, but she was actually better by the late '40's and early 50's (The Man I Love, Road House, On Dangerous Ground, Private Hell 36) and was about to earn the distinction of being Hollywood's first female director (The Hitchhiker, The Bigamist, Not Wanted, Outrage). She was an incredible lady.
This chestnut is practically impossible to find even in bootleg form. Like many of the film noirs of this time period, Woman in Hiding continues to be neglected. This film certainly deserves to be recognized and marketed to the unsuspecting public. It seems that I have the only copy in captivity and it's not going to leave my collection any soon! Seriously folks, if you notice this one listed in the TV Guide, make a copy for your own personal collection. You won't be disappointed.
Ladies of Leisure (1930)
Only the silent version is available on tape
...which makes us ask the question: why??? In 1930 Columbia Pictures produced Ladies of Leisure in both sound and silent form; probably a way to satisfy audiences who either preferred one or the other. Barbara Stanwcyk was a hot item by this time and was heavily marketed by both Columbia and later by First National, Warner Brothers. Frank Capra directed this early Stanwyck vehicle which gives it more credence to have this tape available to all who wish to see it. I saw this film only once, back in 1974 and to the best of my knowledge, this gem has never surfaced again.
I checked TCM to see if this movie was available on tape and only the silent version is. For some reason (litigation?) this film has not been shown, yet deserves to be. I know that another Stanwyck vehicle, (So Big - 1932) was embroiled in litigation for decades, finally making it's "premier showing" on TV just a couple of years ago! Is this the same problem with Ladies of Leisure? Ladies of Leisure is a great movie for those who are interested in Stanwyck's early career in films. It should be available on VHS/DVD or even televised again.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
I had the chance to see this film thirty years ago when in school. For some reason that escapes memory, I didn't see it. However, some of my friends saw it and the one thing I remember about what they said was their comments about the dog doo scene. Being the case that 20 year old minds are still impressionable and "porous", these comments lasted throughout the decades and I finally got the chance to view this "disaster".
Even though this movie is 32 years old, it still has a lot of "shock clout" and should be viewed with caution. Nothing really shocks me much except for the graphic slaughtering of animals or an occasional authentic murder, but this movie was totally disgusting. I wasn't prepared for it.
I'm a big fan of John Waters' movies; Hairspray was probably one of his best, primarily because of the good quality of acting and the plot. Polyester was good too, but inferior to Hairspray in the principals used. These two films far outshine Pink Flamingos. The acting is OK, but the plot is totally gross. Danny Mills who portrays the son "Crackers", a character who is a reject from the incest factory, even though it's not intimated in the movie but should be. Edith Massey the "egg lady" is a totally disgusting person throughout the film, even though she spends most of her time in a crib. Believe me, you'll never want to eat any eggs for a long time after you watch her character on film. And Divine steals the show in his disgusting acts of putting a steak between his legs, performing "soft core" fellatio on Mills, and, worst of all, eating dog doo.
I would imagine that so much has been written (and said) about this film in the past 32 years, so there's no use in beating a dead horse. This film should be watched with a warning: please watch this film with caution!
Fallen Angel (1945)
This should be a hotly pursued video
There is so much to say about the way Otto Preminger directs a movie. His previous success, "Laura" (1944), was a blockbuster, but lacked the murky influence of film noir that was so popular during this time. Sure there was some film noir technique employed in "Laura", but not enough. However, "Laura" still holds it's own even by today's standards and the media, along with the marketing people, have done us all a favor (this time!!!) in keeping this classic alive and popular.
Needless to say, "Fallen Angel" redeems Preminger's ability to present a film in the classic noir of it's time and because of this is competitive with Billy Wilder's "Lost Weekend" (1945) and "Double Indemnity" (1944), both huge successes with audiences. But what about "Fallen Angel"?
Despite the cinematography and the super cast, "Fallen Angel" went to the chopping block via the critics. The critics rated this film as mediocre and audiences stayed away. Alice Faye, in her only dramatic role, left the movies in disgust partly because of what the critics did to this film. Why?
From beginning to end, the viewer is treated to some of the best cinematography that this art form had to offer. The way sluttish Linda Darnell is depicted before the camera is a treat for the eye and enhances her sexuality. The way Percy Kilbride is smitten with Darnell throughout the movie, up to the climax is an essential link to the continuity of the movie as well as with the novel by Marty Holland. The way Charles Bickford sits behind the lunch counter, slowly sipping his coffee sending a message to the viewer that something deep inside him is simmering, ready to explode. We all know that Bickford, along with Kilbride, Dana Andrews and Bruce Cabot all are victims to the whims of the dark Darnell.
And the way the blonde, good and virtuous Faye is contrasted with the dark, bad and selfish Darnell is more proof that this film should be marketed for the masses. The plot is strong, the camera work of Joseph LaShelle and, especially the film direction by Preminger rates this movie as one of the best of it's time.
Yes, this film rates up there with "Laura", "Double Indemnity" and "The Lost Weekend"; all three super classics from this era and available on VHS and DVD. Why not "Fallen Angel"?
Would you consider this a cult movie in about 20 years?
Ten reasons why this movie sucks:
1) Fallen Angel - 1945 Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Alice Faye. 2) Where the Sidewalk ends - 1950 Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney 3) Between Midnight and Dawn - 1950 Edmond O'Brien, Gale Storm 4) The Lost Squadron - 1932 Richard Dix, Mary Astor 5) I Walk Alone - 1948 Kirk Douglas, Lisbeth Scott, Wendell Corey 6) The File on Thelma Jordan - 1950 Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey 7) Woman In Hiding - 1950 Ida Lupino, Howard Duff, Stephen McNally 8) City Across the River - 1949 Stephen McNally, Tony Curtis 9) Strangers When We Meet - 1960 Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak 10) Heaven With a Gun - 1969 Glenn Ford, Carolyn Jones
The above ten classics have never been released on video and ALL OF THEM have a rating far greater than Gigli. Gigli is a classic example of the idiotic marketing practices that go on. Gigli is available on video, simply because the ignorant masses are not told about the great films of the past which are far superior, but neglected. Only the ones who prefer to "go beyond the box" can appreciate great cinema that is practically non-existent in today's movies.