Crawdaddy's "Random Thoughts" about Home Video, Film & TV

Matt Hough

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I watched The Locket today, too, my first time seeing it. Loved the complex structure, and Eddie was right that it was complex without ever being confusing.

But I was most surprised that this terrible woman, with the blood of three men on her hands, doesn't pay any harsher punishment than being carted off to a mental institution. I guess that was considered a fate worse than death back then (and mental hospitals if they were like the one in The Snake Pit probably weren't any picnic), but I thought for sure she'd come to an even more terrible end.

I agree with Crawdaddy that this isn't the equal of Spellbound or The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. And the transfer TCM had was really lacking.

Great to have Noir Alley back.
 

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Mental institutions for women in the first half of the last century really were hell on earth dumping grounds. See 10 Days in a Mad-House by journalist Nellie Bly. Much worse than any prison. But if we're looking for the expected or right balance of karmic justice to apply, it won't usually be found in a Noir. Unpredictability is one of the main attractions for me. And yeah, it's good to have Noir Sunday back.
 

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I was always impressed with THE LOCKET's elaborate flashback structure--a flashback within a flashback within a flashback and possibly within one more flashback. I don't recall the exact count. But that was the film's biggest selling point for me. And Mitchum did something for a woman here that, thankfully, he would never do again--without the woman's help, that is--see OUT OF THE PAST and ANGEL FACE.
 

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The film itself, is alright, I thought TCM's video presentation was rather poor, but it was an RKO film so that helps explains it. I don't remember my 2010 DVD from Warner Archive looking that bad, but it was eight years ago since I last viewed that disc so perhaps my memory is mis-remembering the quality of that disc.
I was surprised by the quality of the film on Noir Alley. If you have a chance, can you let us know if the DVD is of better quality?
 

Robert Crawford

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Later tonight, I'm catching a TCM showing of "Fingers at the Window" (1942) murder mystery starring Lew Ayres, Laraine Day and Basil Rathbone. I don't think I ever viewed this film in its entirety so I'll report back later with my thoughts about it.

Yesterday, I finally got around to watching "Fingers in the Dark" (1942). I don't think I ever seen this film. It was okay, but in my opinion, the best parts were with Basil Rathbone. Lew Ayres kind of bugged me in this film. I was never a big fan of Lew Ayres. Not a fan of his Dr. Kildare films. However, it has been many years since I watched any of them which was during my childhood. Maybe, I'll give them another try.
 

Robert Crawford

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Speaking of Dr. Kildare films, I'm in the mood for some Barbara Stanwyck. TBH, I'm always in the mood for Ms. Stanwyck.:)


Anyhow, I'm going to break out my Barbara Stanwyck DVD Boxset and watch the first film that had the Dr. Kildare character in it. "Internes Can't Take Money" (1937) starring Stanwyck, Joel McCrea as Dr. Kildare, Lloyd Nolan, Stanley Ridges and Lee Bowman. I've been meaning to watch this film for the longest time, but never got around to it. That changes in a few minutes. By the way, Stanwyck and McCrea had good film chemistry together in the films they did together.



 
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Matt Hough

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Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware that Joel McCrae was the first Dr. Kildare. I don't have that set, but I'll keep my eyes out for a broadcast of this movie.
 

Robert Crawford

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Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware that Joel McCrae was the first Dr. Kildare. I don't have that set, but I'll keep my eyes out for a broadcast of this movie.
I can confirmed I've never seen this film in its entirety, but some of the scenes seem familiar to me. Anyhow, the film was pretty good. Right off, you can see the film chemistry between Stanwyck and McCrea. Ayres is Dr. Kildare, but McCrea wasn't bad in the role. Nolan didn't have a big part in the film, but he was crucial to the last 30 minutes of the film. Stanley Ridges playing his usual bad guy in his 1930's films.
 

Robert Crawford

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A review of "Trapeze" (1956) being release on Blu-ray by Kino. Kino admitted this transfer is problematic which caused its release delay. I along with others encouraged Kino to release it anyway with warts and all. I've loved the film since childhood and have never seen a good presentation of it over the years. Lancaster is up there, but slightly behind Wayne, Cagney and Bogart as one of my favorite male actors of all-time. The Duke is #1, but those other three are closely behind him. I liked Tony Curtis more in my youth than I do now. Maybe, it's his Brooklyn accent that I recognize everytime he opens his mouth in films. Gina was good to look at, but I always preferred Claudia Cardinale.:) Most likely due to "Circus World" and "The Professionals" viewings in my youth.

https://www.mediaplaynews.com/trapeze-review/
 

Robert Crawford

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Yesterday, I finally got around to watching "Fingers in the Dark" (1942). I don't think I ever seen this film. It was okay, but in my opinion, the best parts were with Basil Rathbone. Lew Ayres kind of bugged me in this film. I was never a big fan of Lew Ayres. Not a fan of his Dr. Kildare films. However, it has been many years since I watched any of them which was during my childhood. Maybe, I'll give them another try.
True to my word, I gave the first two Dr. Kildare films with Lew Ayres another try. I watched both of them using the TCM app on iTunes. First up was "Young Dr. Kildare" (1938) starring Ayres, Lionel Barrymore, Lynne Carver, Ned Pendleton and Samuel S. Hinds. The film was better than what I remembered it. The story line is basically young Dr. Kildare fresh out of medical school choosing to do his internship at a major NYC hospital instead of going into practice with his doctor father in a small Connecticut town.



The second in the film series which started filming just five months later after the first film is "Calling Dr. Kildare" (1939) starring Ayres, Barrymore, Pendleton, Hinds and two young 18 year old starlets. Ms. Lana Turner and Ms. Laraine Day. Both of them looked lovely in this film, but also looked really young. Hell, I almost didn't recognize Laraine Day as she just looked different to me in this film. I don't know if it was her hairstyle or teenage face, but her voice sounded the same. Anyway, this film is basically about the mentor/protege relationship of Gillespie/Kildare going through its up and downs in their first three months or so of their working relationship. Another major development in the film is Kildare having one romance with one of those 18 year old actresses while the other cools her jets for her chance with the young doctor.:) I actually liked this film more than the "Young Dr. Kildare". No doubt due to the presence of those lovely two starlets in the film.



Do you see what I meant about Laraine Day looking different in "Calling Dr. Kildare" and later on when she's older?



 

Robert Crawford

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After another HTF member, Robin9 talked about it in another thread, I decided this morning to revisit the film noir "Johnny O'Clock" (1947) on DVD starring Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Lee J. Cobb, Ellen Drew, Thomas Gomez, Nina Foch and in a small part making his film debut Jeff Chandler. The film is about Johnny O'Clock played by Powell becoming involved in two homicides. O'Clock the junior partner in a gambling establishment in NYC, has a former girlfriend that's now the wife of his senior partner, who still pines for O'Clock. After the two homicides, O'Clock gets involve with one of the murder victims sister while the murders are being investigated by Lee J. Cobb.


Some sharp dialogue throughout the film, but that should be expected from the director/writer Robert Rossen. As I stated earlier in this thread, he was one of the best director/writer in Hollywood. He died much too young at 57 years old, his screen credits include the following films:

The Sea Wolf
The Roaring Twenties
They Won't Forget
Edge of Darkness
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
A Walk in the Sun
Desert Fury
Body and Soul
All the King's Men
They Came to Cordura
The Hustler
Lillith

One of my favorite film lines is one spoken by Jeff Chandler after somebody gets shot outside the room in which a poker game is going on:

Shots are fired between two men.

One Card Player: "What was that?"

Another Card Player/Jeff Chandler: "Somebody got a nasty cough" (That line cracks me up every time I hear it)
 
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Robert Crawford

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I spent most of yesterday and this morning watching the second season of "Iron Fist" on Netflix. During breaks from watching that series I was in the mood for some Gordon Douglas directed films so I revisited two of his film noir type films on DVD. Douglas was an underrated directed in my opinion as I indicated in this thread. Anyhow, the first film I watched was "Walk a Crooked Mile" (1948) about FBI hunting down Communist spies was just a mediocre film to me. It starred Dennis O'Keefe, Louis Hayward, Louise Allbritton and Raymond Burr. Yes, Burr playing another baddie and is easily the best thing about this film besides the usual Reed Hadley narration. IMO, just an okay "Red Scare" propaganda film that was made during the Un-American hearings.



The second Gordon Douglas directed film was "Between Midnight and Dawn" (1950) film noir starring Edmund O'Brien, Mark Stevens, Gail Storm and and Donald Buka. I must admit that I had flashbacks of "My Little Margie" throughout the film, whenever, Storm appears in the film.;) This is an average film noir type film, but I do love the baddie in this film and I always loved re-watching his demise at the end of the film. One of those characters that you can't wait to see him get what's coming to him. The film was kind of brutal for its time, but not surprising considering who directed it. This film about cops chasing after a murderer was one of the first cop "buddies" films.

 
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Robert Crawford

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I spent part of my afternoon watching one of the greatest films I'd ever seen "Captains Courageous" (1937) starring Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Mickey Rooney, John Carradine and the magnificent Freddie Bartholomew. Just a terrific film that always brings me to tears the last 20 minutes of the film. A well deserved Best Actor AA for Spencer Tracy and young Freddie was excellent. A coming of age story about a spoiled, privilege, rich kid learning to be a decent young man by a poor Portuguese fisherman on a fishing schooner out of Gloucester Mass. Just a great story that I loved ever since watching it for the vary first time when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Thanks to Filmstruck app on iTunes. I wish this was on Blu-ray.


 
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Matt Hough

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I have never quite understood why Freddie wasn't recognized by the Academy with a juvenile Oscar especially for either David Copperfield, Little Lord Fauntleroy, or Captains Courageous. These were difficult roles which in many cases carried their respective films which were all highly regarded. Recognition for him would have fit nicely somewhere between the 1934 Shirley Temple inaugural juvenile award and the Mickey Rooney/Deanna Durbin wins in 1938.
 
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Rodney

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Oh yeah, Captains Courageous, a favorite of mine. I'm going to put that on my "to watch" list. Great film, and I wish it was on blu-ray.
 

Robert Crawford

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Noir Alley's showing was "Desperate" (1947) starring Steve Brodie, Audrey Long, Raymond Burr, Douglas Fowley and Jason Robards, that's right, Jason Robards Jr.'s dad. A "B" film noir directed by Anthony Mann at only 73 minutes run time. One of Eddie Muller's best "before and after" comments sessions. Very informative especially about the Brodie's friendship and history with Robert Mitchum and Raymond Burr. This film noir has some big plot holes about a truck driver getting caught up in a robbery and murder by a criminal gang led by Raymond Burr, but the film was very entertaining and had some really great moments. Burr was great again as the villain.


 
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Robert Crawford

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Next week's Noir Alley's choice is "Angel Face". If you have the DVD, I recommend watching it with Eddie Muller's commentary. The following was my thoughts from my last viewing of "Angel Face" about six months:

After watching Noir Alley, I turned my attention to the DVD of Angel Face to listen to Eddie's solo commentary on that film. I always loved this film from my teenage years and always thought it was very underrated as a film noir. Eddie's commentary was excellent with many back stories about the filming of this movie especially how it pertains to Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Howard Hughes and Otto Preminger.

 

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You can't go wrong with a Mann Noir. Desperate moved faster than the Northwest Express and had less fat than under Burr's Fedora. If this was a 'minuscule' budget as Muller explained, there sure were an awful lot of locations and running around. A low budget today has to have less than five locations.

Sure there were some plot jumps and WTF moments, but my only question is what happened to Radak's partner at the end. After Radak is killed and Steve steps out the apartment door and smiles and walks away, I kept expecting the other henchmen to step out of the shadows and blast him. Because this is a Noir, I figured the only happy ending would be Steve's wife cashing in the Life Insurance policy. But if anyone deserved a happy ending after that ordeal, it was Steve.
 

Robert Crawford

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You can't go wrong with a Mann Noir. Desperate moved faster than the Northwest Express and had less fat than under Burr's Fedora. If this was a 'minuscule' budget as Muller explained, there sure were an awful lot of locations and running around. A low budget today has to have less than five locations.

Sure there were some plot jumps and WTF moments, but my only question is what happened to Radak's partner at the end. After Radak is killed and Steve steps out the apartment door and smiles and walks away, I kept expecting the other henchmen to step out of the shadows and blast him. Because this is a Noir, I figured the only happy ending would be Steve's wife cashing in the Life Insurance policy. But if anyone deserved a happy ending after that ordeal, it was Steve.
He got shot in the doorway when they pushed Steve down the steps and he fell down on the Police Detective.
 
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