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Private Buckaroo
Private Buckaroo
DVD ~ The Andrews Sisters
8 used & new from $5.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can anyone recommend what label has the best print?, December 16, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Private Buckaroo (DVD)
I just bought the Critics Choice version of this film for the "Jivan Jacks and Jills" dance routine to "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" but am very disappointed in the print quality. It's faded with poor contrast and breaks during the aforementioned dance sequence. Can anyone out there recommend what label has the best print available for this film? The number choreographed by Louis Da Pron is fabulous. And for that matter, so are the same groups' routines in "What's Cookin?" made around the same time. Can anyone recommend a print source for that too? Appreciate your help.


The Fall of the House of Usher (Midnite Movies)
The Fall of the House of Usher (Midnite Movies)
DVD ~ Vincent Price
Offered by gamecoma
Price: $34.99
37 used & new from $7.61

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Check out Usher mansion interior on Boris Karloff's "Thriller" episode--"Girl With a Secret", July 10, 2013
Everything about AIP's "Fall of the House of Usher" is impressive. Vincent Price brings all his considerable experience to bear in his sensitive yet sinister interpretation. Mr. Damon and the gorgeous Miss Fahey deliver performances of intensity and conviction, and Harry Elerbe handles the role of the elderly retainer well.

One of the unsung stars of this picture is Daniel Haller's art direction,(with an uncredited assist from Harry Reif). Roger Corman remarks in his biography that he obtained the "scene docks" comprising the Usher manse, from Universal Studios for a minimal outlay, permitting AIP to present the capacious Usher mansion in all its ornate gothic glory.

To see the selfsame Usher interior (while it was still at Universal) check out the "Girl With a Secret," episode of Boris Karloff's "Thriller," TV series. There you will see the Usher interiors reconfigured and dressed by "Thriller," art director Howard Johnson. The interior doors and the Roderick Usher mantlepiece are dead giveaways, while the home's exterior for this same episode is none other than the Alonzo Smith house from the MGM Judy Garland extravaganza--"Meet Me in St. Louis". The film version of Usher's exterior is a matte shot.

More fascinating still is the presence of Miss Fahey and Mr. Ellerbe in this very same "Thriller" episode, (indeed Miss Fahey is the titular secret holder). One can only wonder if they were part of a "package deal" and came with the scene docks?! If so, it is still a felicitous outcome for all concerned.

Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2013 12:16 PM PDT

House of Usher
House of Usher
5 used & new from $41.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dream Come True !, April 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: House of Usher (Audio CD)
Shortly after the release of "Usher" on home video in the mid 80's, I telephoned Les Baxter at his home in California, (ASCAP gave me his number and he answered the phone!). I had fallen in love with this swooningly romantic score, and asked him about the soundtrack recording, (which the closing credits averred). To my surprise, he told me that no sountrack album had ever been issued, that the credit notation was wrong, and that, alas and alack, the original sountracks tapes had been destroyed.

I was crushed to say the least, but he advised that Varese Saraband was due to issue a new recording of the score, (which also never happened).

But Heaven has looked kindly upon us! To now discover that the tapes indeed did survive and to own this album is a dream come true. Rush don't walk to get it.

Kudos to all involved, with a special posthumous thanks to the gifted Mr. Baxter, and his artistic co-horts, Messrs. Corman, Haller, Price, Damon and Miss Fahey for creating this gothic gem. Lush, plush, hypnotic and consistently amazing, you won't be disappointed.

Short Stories 1895-1926 (v. 1)
Short Stories 1895-1926 (v. 1)
by Walter de la Mare
Edition: Hardcover
28 used & new from $25.73

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best--the very best!, January 19, 2012
Thank you Mr. de la Mare:

Weaver of mysterioso, macabre, and numinous dreamscapes, peopled with intriguing children and even more intriguing elderly recluses, your work demonstrates as you once remarked: the best is always at the edges of things. With you as tourguide--may I always remain at the edges, where I may more readily espy Alice's Godmother rattling by in her ghostly stagecoach, or Seaton's Aunt staring down at me from her second story window.

That's where I want to be!!!

Brent C.

Wanted for Murder
Wanted for Murder
DVD ~ Eric Portman
Offered by btrdev
Price: $47.89
13 used & new from $30.68

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a noir--and not very good either., March 8, 2011
This review is from: Wanted for Murder (DVD)
The title pretty much says it all. Eric Portman is wanted for murder in this tedious, unsuspenseful melodrama--most of which is set in very un-noirish sunshine.

What makes this especially hard to endure are the endless scenes of the police inspectors trying to anticipate (and then catch up) with Portman, as they waddle around the station, answering the phone and drinking tea. These scenes which are risible, (and no favor to Scotland Yard) are so padded, that one feels the director felt he needed them to increase the running time. Did he also feel that making the police the perfect model of incompetence would aid the story?

The climax set on a lake with the police in hot pursuit is "Saturday Night Live" material.

And the story ain't much--Portland is the middle aged Mamma's boy, who keeps a clipping file of his previous slayings, (a plot device borrowed from the far superior, "They Drive By Night" (1938) starring Ernest Thesiger).

As for the acting, well who can top Barbara Everest as Portman's mother, who evidently believes she has been cast in a Victorian melodrama of the "East Lynne" school--so many hand claspings and heaven-ward glances does she employ.

Don't be mis-led into buying this sight unseen thinking it's one of those great, esoteric, unknown British noirs. It isn't! Moreover, apart from a carnival sequence the whole thing is staged very unimaginatively.

Thriller: The Complete Series
Thriller: The Complete Series
DVD ~ Boris Karloff
Offered by Dawn's Discount Movies
Price: $69.99
15 used & new from $65.86

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Your Truly Jack the Ripper," commentary gets it wrong., September 14, 2010
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The long awaited (!) and newly released "Thriller" DVD set is the answer to a prayer for all aficianodos of supernatural television.

But we must correct the commentators of "Yours Truly Jack the Ripper," who are guilty of a rather significant error.

In that commentary, the woman playing a street musician with a hand accordian in this teleplay's opening sequence, is mis-identified as Ottola Nesmith, who incidentally contributed effective characterizations in two other "Thriller" episodes--"Pigeons From Hell" and "The Hungry Glass".

In fact, Miss Nesmith does not appear until the sequence in Donald Woods atelier, where she is depicted in black slacks smoking a cigarette. She plays "Rowena" and is the willowy dark haired elderly woman, who later in the story, Adam Williams, picks up and spins around after learning he has won the best painting prize. You'll recognize her in this second scene by her distinctive black flounced outfit.

Theater trained, Miss Nesmith entered films in the mid thirties, after which, as a free-lancer she contributed scores of supporting roles and bits in films, and later television,--clear through the late sixties.

Additionally, in the 1950's she was the slightly dotty hostess of a weekly TV horror movie, which originated in Los Angeles, and wherein she inhabited a spooky Victorian mansion, whilst providing a running commentary on the movie's storyline prior to each commercial.

She is recognizable by her regal deportment, and high pitched, highly cultivated speaking voice, and is in any case, nothing like the squat woman playing the street musician.

Genre fans may recall her as Mrs. Lowwood in Val Lewton's "The Seventh Victim," as well as her grande dame mother role in "The Leopard Man."

Hope this helps to set the record straight.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 18, 2011 7:05 PM PDT

Day the World Ended / The She-Creature (Double Feature)
Day the World Ended / The She-Creature (Double Feature)
DVD ~ Richard Denning
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $8.04
15 used & new from $5.86

1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly bad--don't punish yourself !!!, August 17, 2010
There are many films that would qualify for the list of all time worst, (1972's "Asylum of Satan" would be a superb candidate!) This film, however, beggars disbelief.

The career of Chester Morris is (like Rudy Vallee's singing), is one of the great mysteries of the entertainment industry. Utterly devoid of discernible acting talent, utterly devoid of charm, he managed, nevertheless, to put to service a jutting jaw, a permanent scowl and an inflexion-less voice in a long motion picture career.

That career, was largely over by the time "She Creature" was made, as were the careers of co-stars, Tom Conway, and Freida Inescourt.

The resulting film, is a mish-mash of re-incarnation, hypnotism and "Creature From the Black Lagoon" tropes against production values of ludicrous poverty, (the "wealthy" Tom Conway inhabits a beach side home where the paste board interior walls boast sparkle chips, making his office etc. look like the inside of a 1958 Los Angeles Savings and Loan).

Not to mention, that the script makes absolutely no sense, the dialog is embarrassing, the acting, (by all concerned, though Lance Fuller comes off best) abysmal, and the whole thing is ponderously dull.

No one on the production team seems to have had any idea of what they were doing, (many scenes are under-lit and actors routinely block out the key light of the player with whom they are playing the scene).

The final sequence depicts Lance Fuller and Marla English in a nighttime, moon lit garden, where, (absolutely no kidding here) they both cast their shadows on the cyclorama behind them ! You get the general idea. And unlike a bad film redeemed by campiness, (such as one featuring Acquanetta) this has no redeeming qualities.

One can only imagine what people like Inescourt thought making this. Given the hypnosis theme here, perhaps she and Conway were hypnotized into believing that it was still the 30's and that they were still at Warner Brothers.

You have been warned!

Rasputin:the Mad Monk [VHS]
Rasputin:the Mad Monk [VHS]
Offered by buythebooksllc15
Price: $6.85
25 used & new from $2.75

2.0 out of 5 stars Shelley lifts cheapjack potboiler., August 17, 2010
From the get go, it is apparent that Hammer had no intention of making a film about Rasputin within the full scope of his historical context. In other words, they were not about to shell out the coin to depict crowd scenes, royal processions, military parades or peasant insurrections, though it is possible to imagine the modest Bray studio stretching to the occasion had the will been there.

The word "Bolshevik" is never uttered and we never once catch a fleeting glimpse of Tsar Nicholas much less his daughters.

This, then, in keeping with Hammer's decision to use standing sets, (slightly revamped) from "Dracula, Prince of Darkness" is a backstairs, tabloid account of Rasputin the dissolute diablos.

After all, you don't need crowd scenes to depict Rasputin raping a girl in a barn.

Notwithstanding, art director Bernard Robinson, does what he can. But make no mistake, this is not top flight Bernard Robinson, nor top flight Hammer. We aren't even given an establishing shot, (of the picture postcard variety) of St. Petersburg, and it is only in a bedroom scene with Rasputin curing the Tsarvarich Alexei, (all cream and gold with some magnificent candelabrum) that the visuals recall the peak Hammer of the late 50's-early 60's.

Worse, Hammer cribs a scene from another film, "Anastasia" to use as an establishing shot for the palace ball sequence. This shameless pilfer, would only appear to have been legal, inasmuch as "Anastasia"s producer, Twentieth Century Fox, was also the distributer of Hammer's "Rasputin," thus showing the extent to which the distributer contributed fiscally to the Hammer product, even during a film's production.

Christoper Lee is excellent as the mad monk, particularly in a tavern scene where he hypnotizes Barbara Shelley. It is Miss Shelley, however, who walks off with the film, yet again, showing that she was capable of so much more than she was ever offered.

The rest of the cast is serviceable, though cute as a pearl button, Suzan Farmer is given very little to do except look fetching, an assignment at which she excelled naturally.

For Hammer enthusiasts rather than students of Russian history.

Kitty Foyle
Kitty Foyle
DVD ~ Ginger Rogers
Offered by Best Bargains Inc
Price: $12.99
46 used & new from $2.04

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bundle of cliches., January 20, 2010
This review is from: Kitty Foyle (DVD)
One puzzles over the celebrity attached to this film. What has it, after all, to offer? Whatever the novel's merits, the screen play is a tired collection of pulpy womens' magazine clichés, already quite played out by 1940.

For Ginger Rogers, her lead as "Kitty" is anything but new turf, (and hardly Oscar worthy) and is in fact, both in dialog and situations a retread of many of her thirties roles. In listening to Kitty, one hears echos of Rogers in the 30s in all those working class melodramas--as hat check girl, manicurist, chorine, carnival vendor etc, --the girl whose hard boiled bon mots conceal an inner decency.

Then there are the other hackneyed ingredients. We have, for example, a tired romantic triangle in which the star has her choice of two stalwart, handsome leading men, Gladys Cooper in the mink collar on the camel back sofa (again), Kitty's father, a Faith and Begora tippling Irishman, (a la Charles Winninger the other flustered shamrock pater in all those Judy Garland vehicles), wisecracking plain Jane roommates who eat sandwiches as they let down Murphy Beds, and a really embarrassingly bad scene in which Kitty "tells off" her high born in laws, that seems drawn of equal parts Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, and Joan Blondell.

After hearing her "corn beef and cabbage are better than Beef Wellington!" style denunciation, you'll be on the side of the aristocrats.

It doesn't help that a puffy faced Rogers (then only 30) photographs much older, perhaps owing to an unflattering selection of brunette coiffures. Indeed, she looks MUCH better 10 years later, as witness the "Manhatten Downbeat" section of "Barkleys of Broadway" or "Storm Warning" (1951).

At least this film's sets were able to be re-purposed to much greater advantage, particularly by Val Lewton in his "Seventh Victim," (the speakeasy in "Kitty Foyle" receives better exposure as Natalie Cortez' Greenwich Village living room). Just for fun try to see how many other sets and props from "KF" end up in the "Seventh Victim."

But for all that, even some of "Kitty's" own sets are leftovers, notably one first seen in the Lucile Ball vehicle, "Beauty for the Asking."

Strictly for fans of left-over stew or films with unjustifiably high reputations.


Dracula - The Legacy Collection (Dracula / Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) / Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula / House of Dracula)
Dracula - The Legacy Collection (Dracula / Dracula (1931 Spanish Version) / Dracula's Daughter / Son of Dracula / House of Dracula)
DVD ~ Bela Lugosi
13 used & new from $7.54

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Oh What Do They Know of These Occult Matters" ? --What indeed!, February 7, 2009
"Son of Dracula" succeeds on many counts, (no pun intended) by virtue of its absolutely serious approach towards its material. Unlike other Universal horrors of this period, with their unfunny comedy relief antics, (bumbling, pop eyed police inspectors, burgomasters etc.) director Siodmak wisely eschews such sch-tick, and foreshadows the tragic ending of the story, with an increasingly oppressive sense of doom. In other words, unity of mood.

Indeed every aspect of the production is put at the service of conveying this doom, from George Robinson's highly expressionistic, shadowy photography to Vera West's (Hollywood's most under-appreciated designer) costume design.

The casting is excellent. It has been rightly observed that Lon Chaney Jr. is not an entirely comfortable choice for the Count, and it is certainly true that his Midwestern dialect and general deportment is not even remotely aristocratic. Still, his virility breathes menace, and in a scene where he traps a character in a basement, he evokes genuine dread. All told, he passes muster, and even more so, when you think of what a hokey disaster someone like John Carradine would have been in the part.

Robert Paige is superb--his increasingly manic desperation in the role of the suitor "Frank" goes a long way in lending the yarn credibility. In many ways it's his film. Evelyn Ankers is as always, very easy on the eyes, and though she is given little to do here, she does it fetchingly.

Which brings us the the protagonist, Kay Caldwell, (Louise Allbritton) the melancholic daughter of an aristocratic line, and the proprietress of its creepy plantation mansion--"Dark Oaks." This is a juicy assignment, and Miss Allbritton runs with it to the full.

From the moment she arrives on the veranda, a striking brunette clad in a billowing, peignoir like gown, she delineates her literally spell-bound character by offering the audience a spell bindingly detached characterization.

Who can resist her otherworldly gaze, as, staring outside of the frame, she smoothly articulates her certainty in telepathy, eerily chiding Miss Ankers for scoffing at ESP, and later her asperity at local gossip: "What can they know of these occult matters?-blind fools!" Visually, she is unforgettable, aided by Vera West's outré costumes, (even Miss Allbritton's day wear is mysterious--as witness her scalloped black waistband peplum ensemble with black under-dress, in the will reading sequence) and a black wig, which connects her with another black wigged anti-heroine from that same year--Jean Brooks in Lewton's "The Seventh Victim."

To abet these characterizations, and to conceal what seems to be a somewhat paltry budgetary outlay by Universal, director Sidiomak fills the screen with interesting visuals--Miss Allbritton's unforgettable trek through the nocturnal bayou to visit the gypsy, the gypsy's ensuing death in a bat attack, Chaney gliding across the misty swamp, and unsettling, shadowy close-ups of an unhinged Mr. Paige speaking through the bars of a prison.

Photographer Robinson is with him all the way, and composes and lights his shots to consistently interesting effect, (note the superb introduction to "Dark Oaks," with the camera panning through a creaking gate at night, whilst the whole frame is overlaid with the violent twist of brambles and vines) by foregrounding his shots with interesting objects on right or left--thereby lending depth and texture to his visual tableaux.

The ending with Mr. Paige finding his former love, Miss Allbritton, literally buried within the childhood detritus of her own attic, to which, after placing his ring on her finger, he sets afire, provides a fitting finale. A finale of marked and deeply felt tragedy, as a darkly romantic musical score swells, the camera treks in on Mr. Paige's blank, despairing gaze, his empty eyes lit by the shadows of the flames.

"Son of Dracula" is a deeply romantic dark dream of a film. Recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 28, 2009 10:27 AM PDT

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