My Review of ‘Suspicion’ (1941)

Like many a Hitchcock film, this one involves a train. In this instance, a man and woman meet on a train. They are Johnnie Aysgarth (played with debonair suave by Cary Grant) and Lina McLaidlaw (played with shy reserve by Joan Fontaine).

Lina is, of course, swept off her spinster-ish feet by the awesome Johnnie, and they elope. (Like many a Hitchcock film, romance happens fast!)

Well … after the honeymoon is over, it turns out Johnnie doesn’t have a dime to his name and is your basic bum. So, for sure, the honeymoon is definitely over. But Lina does manage to talk Johnnie into taking a job with his cousin, Captain Melbeck (played by Hitchcock favorite Leo G. Carroll).

Unfortunately, Johnnie is truly a loser. A shady, lying bastard of a loser, no less. And, despite assurances from his good-natured, but stupid naïve friend Beaky (played by Nigel Bruce, as if he were Dr. Watson’s halfwit twin), Lina develops suspicions about Johnnie, including the notion that he might want to “take care of” her, as the boys in Pulp Fiction might say—and I don’t mean keep her in the style to which she’s accustomed.

This is one of those movies where viewers have to restrain themselves from shouting at the screen, “Get out of the house!” The ending is … well … it wasn’t Hitchcock’s first choice.

In fact, there are numerous differences between the film and the book upon which it was based. Basically, the novel was rife with infidelity, which was completely laundered from the film version.

The book is much darker, but this is Cary Grant we’re talking here. So, the story’s details required tinkering in order to present Cary in the best light.

This makes for a thrilling and suspenseful film with just a nice ending.

As such, I like the movie, but it isn’t one of my very favorite Hitchcock films. However, despite the tacked-on Hollywood ending, I think it deserves at least one thumb up! 🙂

Posted in Hitchcock, Movie Reviews, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Thriller | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Dementia 13 — Part Five

You’ll be relieved happy to know that this is really the penultimate part of this dreadful mess most unique film.

So … without further delay, here’s Part Five of Dementia 13! 🙂

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Five Favorite Movies About Movies

I’m not usually one to make Top 10 lists about my favorite movies, because I love so many it’s nearly impossible for me to rank them. For me, it’s like trying to pick a favorite book. Aren’t all the good ones awesome in their own way?

However, today I’m presenting for your consideration five movies about movies that I particularly like!

So, in no particular order, here we go!

Boogie Nights (1997)

A gritty flashback to the 1970s porn industry and all the changes that took place over the ensuing decades. The film examines the lives of the porn industry’s participants and the ways in which their lifestyles have put them at risk. It’s a somber film with funny moments.

 

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

One of my favorite films noir for all the reasons I discuss here, and a scathing look at the Hollywood dream from the perspective of a studio writer who falls into the clutches of an aging starlet of the silent screen. A commentary not only on the Hollywood writer’s plight, but the plight of women in film. Not to mention the unrealistic expectations stardom places on women to stay young forever. These problems may be changing for the better, but still need work.

Barton Fink (1991)

Another of the great neo-noir films from the Coen Brothers. It’s about how Hollywood began looking to the East for talented storytellers, the problem being that neither the novelists/playwrights of the East nor the moviemakers of the West understood one another. With many allusions to real-life writers of the era, Barton Fink delves into the mind of a successful playwright enlisted by a studio to create a B-grade wrestling picture. Any wonder that some viewers have judged it a horror film? Especially given some the surreal moments in it, a la David Lynch?

Get Shorty (1995)

Chili Palmer is a mob thug who ends up in L.A. and decides he wants in on making pictures. This film based on the novel of the same name by the awesome Elmore Leonard is a witty, trenchant look at the film industry. It’s not only got the twists and turns of a great crime film, but pokes fun at the movies, as well.

The Player (1992)

With an opening shot stolen from clearly inspired by the opener of Touch of Evil, which I blogged about here, this movie is every screenwriter’s guilty pleasure. It’s a hilarious and biting satire (?) of Tinseltown that borders on the likes of The Day of the Locust, a movie that (sadly) I have yet to see. To say that it’s scathing is really not saying enough.

And as a bonus, here are two more films about movies that I love — both by Woody Allen!

Startdust Memories (1980)

 

and The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985)

Which of these is your favorite movie about movies? Can you suggest another one?

Posted in Compilation, Favorites, Movie Reviews, Movies | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Dementia 13 — Part Four

Hello and happy Saturday! 🙂 It’s time for yet another part of the amazingly weird cheaply made bizarre movie that is Dementia 13!

So … here you are!

And for your further enjoyment … here’s The Slumgullion podcast! 🙂 Made possible in part by the good folks at World O’ Crap.

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Movies, Parody, Public Domain Movies, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Review of ’12 Monkeys’ (1995)

This film is another great blend of neo-noir and science fiction. It also bears the slightly madcap earmarks of a Terry Gilliam-directed movie. Other examples would include Brazil and Time Bandits.

The story is about a prisoner named Cole (played by Bruce Willis) from the year 2035, who’s sent back in time to prevent a deadly virus from being released in 1996. You see, this virus pretty much kills everyone—almost. The few survivors are forced to live underground, because the surface is barren and polluted. The only lead they have in 2035 is the name of a group called the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. And Cole has recurring dreams of a foot chase and an airport shooting.

Unfortunately, Cole ends up arriving six years too early and is confined to a mental hospital, where he’s placed under the care of Dr. Kathryn Railley (played by Madeleine Stowe). That’s also where he meets Jeffrey Goines (played with wacky glee by Brad Pitt), who pretty much chews the scenery with his wild and crazy act.

Now, I’m not going to trot out the whole plot, but it does involve a lot of time shifting and foreshadowing. Plus the Army of the Twelve Monkeys—but not quite in the way the future scientists expect.

The story twists and turns its way through time and geographical location. Apart from the obvious message about poisoning our environment, the film’s subtext suggests that not only is humanity doomed for failing to connect in the here and now, but that we can’t even learn from looking to the past.

In closing, I’ll pose this question. How different is a neo-noir/sci-fi film from a dystopian sci-fi film?

I highly recommend that everyone who enjoys sci-fi of a downbeat tenor see this movie!

Posted in Movie Reviews, Neo-Noir, Science Fiction | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Oscar-winning Cinematography (1927-2016)

Awesome video! 🙂

Screenwriting from Iowa

Compiled by Burger Fiction (“We make videos about movies”):

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Dementia 13 — Part Three

saturday_matinee

Once again, it’s time for the Saturday Matinee! This week we have Part Three of Dementia 13! Hang on to your hat, because things are getting weirder than ever in this film.

Also, here’s my entry into last weekend’s Vimeo Weekend Challenge! 🙂  The requirements were to swoosh between scenes and keep it under one minute.

My Awesome Weekend from Debbi Mack on Vimeo.

Voila! 🙂

PS: From March 5 to March 11, you can get a copy of any of my ebooks on Smashwords for free! Including this one. Just use the code SFREE at checkout! 🙂

i-found-it-at-the-movies-fn_cover

 

Posted in B-Movies, Horror, Parody, Public Domain Movies, Serial Shorts, Short Film | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment