Thursday, December 29, 2016
Thursday, December 1, 2016
LA CASA DEL TERROR (The House of terror) is a 1958 Mexican comic horror movie in the tradition of ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. In fact, it is SO much in that tradition that it goes so far as to have Lon Chaney, Jr as the Wolfman and also as The Mummy!
The star is Tin-Tan, a prolific South of the Border comic actor in the Cantinflas mold. When the film was later released in America, his role was cut and the rest of the footage was padded out with scenes from a different movie entirely (Al Adamson style) to make it more a straight horror movie.
Chaney looking a tad stout at this point to be the mummified ancient Egyptian he played in a couple of movies more than 15 years earlier.
The rewritten, re-edited US version.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
A couple recent clippings I ran across of my favorite child star, Mitzi Green. Above she's with jackie Cooper in SKIPPY. Her role isn't that big but it's one of my favorite performances from her in an overall excellent heart-tugging comedy-drama.
And below is the announcement of her first motion picture contract from 1929.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Linda Lovelace was, at best, an unconventional movie star. By this point, she had left porn behind her and her Svengali with it. An attempt at stage acting in a sexy farce had flopped but LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT seemed a step in the right direction to continue her stardom on at least a slightly more legitimate level.
Behind the scenes you had producers, directors, and writers from LAUGH-IN, PERRY MASON, and I DREAM OF JEANNIE, as well as the nephew of one of the founders of Archie Comics, all working basically under the guidance of the multi-talented David Winters, a close friend of Linda's (and also of Christa Helm!) who had worked as an actor/dancer, director, writer, and/or choreographer on a dozen award winning TV specials and episodes.
Surrounding Linda with an "all-star cast" of third tier familiar celebrity faces seemed a good idea, too. These included ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz, Marty Ingels, Joe E. Ross, Chuck McCann, Scatman Crothers, Monte Landis, and a man associated with a real President, Vaughn Meader!
The problem was that they were all terrible, trapped in a rambling, pointless, unfunny script, and Linda was--as she herself lamented--still NOT an actual actress.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
In 1978, my parents and I all attended a Saturday night sneak preview of an upcoming movie comedy called FOUL PLAY. Although a major film buff by that point (age 19) I had heard nothing about this picture in advance. The showing was in downtown Cincinnati at the Times Towne Theatre and there wasn't an empty seat in the house. Never in my life--before or since-- have I heard that much laughter in a theater!
I had always liked Goldie Hawn but I had never been a major fan like so many. From this point on, though, I was. This was the first actual acting role in a movie (although not his first film) for TV phenom, Chevy Chase. He was perfect--handsome, charming, amusing, witty, romantic--literally everything the role called for! Sadly, his career choices and real-life attitudes would ensure that he never lived up to the enormous potential shown here in spite of multiple opportunities.
The plot--originally to be called THE BLOOD ON THE POPCORN--is essentially a Hitchcock riff done up as romantic comedy, with a murder, a mystery, and an innocent young woman caught up in a conspiracy.
The great score includes a Barry Manilow song and the great direction is from Colin Higgins who would sadly die far too young with far too few movies left as his legacy. The great supporting cast includes Burgess Meredith, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Roberts, Billy Barty, Eugene Roche and, in a solo career making turn as a piano playing perv, the great Dudley Moore!