Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Hard Day's Night

I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I caught HELP on its network TV showing. It didn't make a big impression. YELLOW SUBMARINE I saw at the theater when I was 9 and I caught a matinee of LET IT BE when I was 11. It wasn't until after that, I believe, when I finally caught up with A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, the quintessential English rock and roll movie! Ringo really is excellent here, although I remain convinced by his later lack of any substantial acting ability that it was director Richard Lester who brought it out in him. The others are all charm and cheek and even Paulie's grandfather makes an impact. (He's very clean.) Visually and musically, this was a major step up from, say, Cliff Richard's lightweight teen fare. Sadly, much of what followed in the genre was more a step back, leaving A HARD DAY'S NIGHT alone at the top even today!

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Top 10 Jane Fonda Flicks

Politics aside, it's impossible to deny that she is and has pretty much always been one of the most natural film talents ever. Equally at home in farce, slapstick, screwball comedy or searing emotional drama, Jane Fonda has brightened the screen here on her 78th birthday for more than half a century! These--in order--are my 10 favorite Fondas.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Rare Exports

An odd combination of JOHN CARPENTER'S THE THING, A CHRISTMAS STORY and a dash of 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY. Thanks to Martin Grams for the recommendation. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Rare Virginia Rappe-1920

The above comic strip-style ad says 6 reels but reviews at the time said 4 which would make this a short--a long short, but a short. Forgotten comedy star Lloyd Hamilton co-stars with Virginia Rappe, soon to die at Roscoe Arbuckle's now-infamous party a little over a year later.

Below is a brief article written supposedly by Ms. Rappe herself in which she decries Jazz Age party girls and calls for a return to more "Quakerness." Most likely some publicity hack wrote this while Virginia was out being--by all accounts-- the type of girl she was ostensibly against here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Comin' Round the Mountain-1940

Here's one I've never seen and can't even find online anywhere. Looks great, though, and was real-received in its day. The attraction is, of course, that the cast list is loaded down with a bunch of radio stars headed by Bob "Bazooka" Burns and Jerry Colonna and with Covington, KY's own Una Merkel as leading lady. Perhaps even more enticing is the early film appearance (his first?) of Hal Peary as The Great Gildersleeve and Bill Thompson from Fibber McGee and Molly. Even Jack Benny's Don Wilson turns up in what looks like a fairly standard hillbilly feud story, the likes of which were redone endlessly in B films and TV for at least 3 decades! 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


I first heard of WHO? when I saw an ad for it playing second pr third feature at a drive-in in the mid-seventies. As an Elliot Gould fan and a fan of little-known movies in general, I've maintained an interest in it for the last 40 years. Today I finally saw it and quite loved it. It's low budget shows but its photography, direction, and acting all help to bring about a most unusual story. One IMDB user described it as follows: This interesting and underrated movie is not a spy story (well, in some ways it is, but only marginally) nor is it a sci-fi flick or a movie about a robot. What we have here is actually a rather deep philosophical piece on the ultimate unknowability and unprovability of subjective reality. 

A flop in its day, later video attempts were made to make it seem very unlike the think-piece that it is. The comment below that its from the man who directed BUGSY and RAIN MAN is also incorrect. In his commentary, Gould points out that it's a different Barry Levinson entirely.