Saturday, May 14, 2016

Susan Slept Here

Originally, SUSAN SLEPT HERE was meant to be a vehicle for young MGM starlet Debbie Reynolds, on loan to RKO.Debbie's co-stars were set to be hoofer Dan Dailey and rising star David Wayne. Although based on a play and produced and written by the co-playwright himself, there were multiple delays, causing Wayne to have to drop out due to a Broadway commitment. A search for his replacement led to Mickey Rooney but in that time, Dailey had to drop out to accommodate a Fox picture he was obligated to do. RKO owner Howard Hughes reportedly courted Cary Grant for the lead but settled on Robert Mitchum...who promptly walked out in a contract dispute. Somewhere along the way, Rooney fell by the wayside, too. Ultimately, Dick Powell was lured out of a self-imposed big screen acting retirement for this, his final picture. One of the great second acts in movie history, light comedian/singer/dancer Powell completely and successfully reinvented himself as a tough guy noir anti-hero and even then went on to morph yet again into a successful producer/director for television.  Alvy Moore, who had replaced David Wayne in Broadway's MISTER ROBERTS, did so again here in the sidekick role and showed great promise himself.

Colorfully directed by former cartoonist Frank Tashlin, it's the unlikely story of a 17 year old juvenile delinquent left to spend the holidays with a middle aged writer. As the screwball happenings of the weekend continue, although the writer really isn't a perv, he does begin to have feelings for his charge and she reciprocates, all leading up to a wonderfully bizarre musical fantasy sequence and some surprisingly naughty bits as we head toward the happy ending.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

John Carradine

Whether in good movies or bad--and he did more of the latter than the former, sadly, John Carradine was always a joy to watch, even as his health failed and it became obvious he was going on autopilot. Carradine at his worst was still more interesting than most of his latter-day co-stars at their best!

Period dramas, westerns, comedies, noir, but most of all horror films. Carradine played Dracula in such a weirdly diverse collection of films ranging from HOUSE OF DRACULA and HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN to BILLY THE KID MEETS DRACULA, 1978's NOCTURNA, and McCLOUD MEETS DRACULA!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title

Back in the 1980s, this little gem of a movie was considered one of the worst movies ever made and rightly forgotten. But how bad could it be with that cast? It became one of my Holy Grails when it came to movies. And eventually I did finally get to see it about 3 decades later. And, hey! It's okay! It's low budget, old-fashioned, filled with one-liners and stunt casting, nice photography and a pretty good musical score. Along with the cast listed above, Stooge Moe Howard appears, too, as does the great cartoon voice actor Henry Corden. Below are some clippings that show the film was in the works several years before the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW ended.

Interestingly enough, I apparently actually saw DON'T WORRY, WE'LL THINK OF A TITLE at the Madison Theater when I was 7 years old as, according to the Newspaper Archives, it played a s a 2nd feature to Bob Hope's BOY, DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER, a picture I definitely remember seeing with my parents at that time! I'd hate to have had to put both of those titles on the three sides of the theater marquee though.