Back in the fifties and sixties it wasn’t uncommon for neighborhood theatres – at least in the South – to run a series of kiddie matinees on Saturday mornings, usually during the early part of summer when school ended. The neighborhood kids would pile into a car and some parent would drop them off at the theatre and come pick them up two hours later, after which you’d go to the pool or play softball or hang out at a friend’s house. Some of my earliest movie memories are from this time. Of course, the ones that really stand out are the ones that weren’t actually for kiddies.
Tag Archives: Kirk Douglas
Adventurous film lovers can always rely on Mondo Macabro to expose them to something weird and wonderful like the nutty Indonesian fantasy adventure The Warrior (1981) starring Barry Prima or the diabolically creepy Queens of Evil (1970), an Italian supernatural thriller. Occasionally MM also releases some killer double features such as the twin pairing of the vampire tale Bandh Darwaza (1990) and Purana Mandir (1984) featuring a baby-eating fiend; both of which are featured in Volume 1 of their Bollywood Horror Collection. Still, my favorite double bill from the maverick DVD/Blu-ray outfit is a double dose of Turkish pop cinema that pairs Tarkan vs. the Vikings (1971, aka Tarkan Viking kani), with The Deathless Devil (1973, aka Yilmayan seytan).Continue reading
Sturm und Drang Under Western Skies
One of the more ambitious and offbeat Westerns of the early sixties, The Last Sunset (1961) is an odd duck that has its admirers and detractors with several participants of the film – director Robert Aldrich, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and star Kirk Douglas – being the most vocal about its flaws and unrealized potential. For a frontier tale that attempts to emulate a Greek tragedy on the range, there is an abundance of plot twists and varying acting styles to keep you riveted to the sight of this often visually stunning box office failure. Themes of revenge, incest, and cowardice infused with an overarching cod psychology are baked in a heavy casserole that includes dust storms, a cattle stampede, quicksand, trigger-happy rustlers, embittered ex-Confederates in the post-Civil War years, marauding Indians and a natural phenomenon known as St. Elmo’s fire. Even Leonard Maltin in his capsule movie review for his popular guide calls it “Strange on the Range.”
The Films of Richard Rush: An Interview
Richard Rush has had his ups and downs in the unpredictable world of Hollywood. His more than three decades of filmmaking have included memorable collaborations with such fellow industry legends as Jack Nicholson and cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs as well as long, arduous years in development hell. It took ten years for The Stunt Man to finally reach the screen. Despite it all, Rush remains an eternal optimist with a wonderful sense of humor, genuine love for his craft and a steadfast loyalty to his cast and crew members. The following interview was conducted in April 2010 just prior to the first TCM Classic Film Festival where The Stunt Man was screened and covers some of his films and experiences in the movie business.
It’s not unusual for pre-production publicity on a new film to revolve around the star or the director but it’s particularly rare when it focuses on a construction site. In the case of the glossy 1960 soap opera, Strangers When We Meet, directed by Richard Quine, the real star of the movie was the cliff top Bel Air home that was constructed especially for the film by architect Carl Anderson and art director Ross Bellah. Continue reading
A Walking Plague Called Sheila
Think of the teeming hub of humanity that is New York City and then imagine a person with a highly contagious and deadly disease wandering among the masses, spreading death and panic. Based on an actual case in 1946 – a smallpox scare in which millions of New Yorkers received free vaccinations – The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) is a fictionalized dramatization of that incident. It stars Evelyn Keyes as Sheila Bennet, a modern day “Typhoid Mary” who contracts smallpox in Cuba while serving as a courier for Matt (Charles Korvin), her no-good musician boyfriend, in a stolen diamond smuggling scheme.