The Alfred Hitchcock Stay-at-Home Special!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “H” (as in Hitchcock—get it? 🙂 ).

The Paradine Case is one of those rare Hitchcock films that I haven’t watched ten or twelve times before. In fact, I just saw it for the first time recently (recently being maybe two or three or five years ago … ahem 🙂 ). It is (ostensibly) a film noir courtroom drama, which sounds more fun than it turns out to be, despite the sheer magnitude of star power involved.

The story takes place in England, where the very beautiful (to the point of captivating men on sight, apparently) Maddalena Paradine is arrested for poisoning her older, blind husband (who also happens to be super-rich). Is she falsely accused or a money-grubbing femme fatale?

To represent her in court, her solicitor (played by Charles Coburn) hires the amazingly handsome and successful trial attorney, Anthony Keane (played by Gregory Peck). And, upon sight of her loveliness, the happily married Keane falls madly in love with Little Mrs. Paradine. Just like that.

Via Diabolique Magazine

What follows is mostly Courtroom Drama 101, with shades of soap opera mixed in. Keane goes all-out to find evidence to absolve his client. He spends so much time visiting her in prison, his obsession with her has become the hit of the prison rumor mill. In fact, half of London seems to talk of nothing else.

And how does the Divine Paradine feel about this? She tells Keane to quit following up on leads. And, whatever else he does, he is not to bring her husband’s (very young and cute) servant into this mess. Which only leads Keane to pursue that lead harder.

Via Derrick Winnert

I won’t tell you the end, but I will say it sucks it’s anticlimactic.

Frankly, the only thing less believable than Keane’s record-breaking bout of infatuation with the Widow Paradine is Mrs. Keane’s bizarre peculiar test of her husband’s allegiance to her. My thoughts throughout these scenes: “Mind games? Must we?” and “You really want your husband to keep representing this ungrateful bitch truculent client?”

I wouldn’t recommend this one for anyone (other than the most die-hard of Hitchcock fans).

Two stars–tops! What can I say? I’m being nice. 🙂 You can watch the movie here, if you insist like. 🙂

While sadly, I didn’t care for this film … I can recommend these ten (much better) Hitchcock films instead! 🙂

And here’s a trailer for the Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary, which you can buy or rent after viewing!

PS: You can also find the film on Kanopy for free, assuming your local library participates.

PPS: I wonder what the Master of Suspense would make of our involuntary confinement situation today. I shudder to think …! 🙂

Posted in Courtroom Drama, Film Noir, Hitchcock, Roundup | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Part Three of ‘Marihuana’

Last week, I did a premiere of Part Two of Marihuana.

As part of the mad rush by everyone collective effort of various creators to provide entertainment choices online in a time of cholera Corona beer COVID-19, here’s the premiere of Part Three! Starts at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, March 28, 2020!

PS: And if that’s not enough, here are 1, 150 more free movies online! 🙂

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

Part Two of ‘Marihuana’

Yes, ladies and gentlemen (I won’t say germs!), given the extremely weird tenor of our times amazing number of online communal gatherings that are taking place right now due to the Awful Virus, I’m giving this whole premier thing on YouTube a shot.

Mind you I haven’t the slightest idea what the heck I’m doing. But I can tell you I’m doing it.

So … for those of you who don’t mind waiting, please join me for the first premiere video of Part Two of this rather insipid peculiar little movie! 🙂

Join me on YouTube and share your opinions/jokes/comments in the chat box!

PS: I’m pretty sure this starts at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. If not, it’ll eventually happen! Really! I’m pretty sure.

PPS: Hello! Well, the event actually did go off. Yay! 🙂

I’d love to see a few more film nerds geeks lovers show up and engage in the chat feature on my YouTube Channel. Maybe next time?

I did get this astonishing remarkable music video on the Facebook page for all this. 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Serial Shorts | Tagged , , , , , ,

My Review of ‘Knives Out’ (2019)

It’s good to see a contemporary film that embraces the old mystery movie tropes, while bending them ever-so-slightly. And one that features a bevy of A-list actors.

Via Forbes

Knives Out has many of the standard whodunit elements: all the characters gather at a big old house in the middle of nowhere. It’s a (dysfunctional) family gathering and they’ve come to celebrate the patriarch, Harlan Thrombey’s, 85th birthday. (Wait! Is that a Harold and Maude reference?) Harlan rather puts a damper on things when he decides to cut them all from his will.

Via Wikipedia

Because Harlan is incredibly wealthy. Just like everyone who publishes crime fiction. Yeah, right.

And did I fail to mention that the movie starts with the housekeeper Fran discovering Harlan dead, with his throat cut? Having gotten your attention with this fairly standard plot device, the story then leaps ahead to a week later, when the police hold everyone at the party for questioning. The various interrogations cleverly jump about in time, revealing flashbacks to things not being revealed by the witnesses and contradicted by what they say. Again, great use of nonlinear narrative.

It reminded me of the movies based on Agatha Christie books and such, and yet with a modern twist on the old formula. (Or has it been so long since I last watched one, I’ve just forgotten?)

For one thing, Daniel Craig plays a private investigator hired by persons unknown to find out who whacked Big Daddy murdered Harlan. Craig plays him with an accent straight out of the heart of Dixie, with an occasional subtle detour toward the British Isles.

Via Bleeding Cool

The family, naturally, all have reasons to kill Daddy get rid of the Old Man. And take great pains to hide as many of them as possible, while secretly lusting over their presumed windfall. (This would be before the “reading of the will,” which I was happy as a retired attorney to see was clearly specified as an unnecessary ceremony, usually confined to the plots of movies this sort.) So you can imagine they’re dumbfounded shock surprise to discover it’s all going to one particular person—Harlan’s nurse, Marta.

Via Forbes

Now, Marta brings another modern aspect into this film. One that nudges the film ever-so-slightly into political territory. A matter of immigration status.

She also has a most unusual condition. Marta is incapable of lying. Actually, she can lie, but it makes her vomit. Which makes her a pretty lousy liar.

Interestingly, she’s played by Ana de Armas, a relative newbie compared with so many of the other actors. Thus expressing through clever casting not only her separate (presumably lesser) status with respect to the pack of vultures hovering over their expected wealth family, but increased conflict with them along with an isolation and vulnerability the others can’t appreciate.

If you enjoy a good whodunit with an almost endless series of twists, red herrings, and all the other trimmings, this movie will not disappoint.

Hint: Just keep your eye on the Old Lady! 🙂

Via Screen Rant

And don’t click on the above image, unless you don’t mind spoilers!

You can buy or rent Knives Out from Amazon. You can also buy the movie poster from them. You can even get the popcorn from them.

You can also buy it from Apple! 🙂

Or watch it on Apple TV!

Or you can overcome any anxiety you have about the coronavirus, go to the damn theatre, and see it on the great big screen, like we did! 🙂 That was, of course, before all the theaters in my state were closed, because of said virus!

Here’s the kind of thing you miss if you don’t go out! 😦

Been running for years! 🙂

Posted in Black Comedy, Movie Reviews, Mystery | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Part One of ‘Marihuana’

It’s time once again for another simply unbelievable amazing movie from the public domain. So, it’s with great trepidation pleasure that I present for you Part One of the lesser-known version of Reefer Madness movie called Marihuana!

Here it is. Aren’t you excited? 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Pre-Code, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee | Tagged , , , , ,

‘The Car’ (B-Movie Review) — Part Four

And now for the Grand Finale of this review!

Here’s where we left off last time.

Now here’s Part Four of the B-Movie Review of the Week. It’s The Car! 🙂

So then Ronnie Cox does something that might actually help. He says something like this:

Ronnie: Hey, James. I think The Car was pissed at your Stupid Girlfriend, because she taunted him/her from the graveyard.

Brolin: What the fuck, man? You been drinking again?

Via Mike’s Movie Cave.

But together (along with the abusive husband, whose name also doesn’t matter) they decide to cut him off at the pass set up shit tons of dynamite in the hills as part of a Killer Car Ambush. And, in that way, they hope to bury the problem (and hopefully kill the Demon Car).

Check out the stunt driving!

Those things are all arranged. And The Car falls for it. After a bit more scrambling and falling, our heroes make it to the top of the hill and blow the canyon to Kingdom Come. The detonation is big, red, and loud—and filled with special effects that emanate a vaguely Satanic vibe.

The Power of Christ commands you!

After it’s over, the remaining surviving characters with speaking parts stand by the crater or pile of rubble or whatever and gaze down at the devastation.

And James Brolin says the fateful words: “It’s over.”

But, apparently, he spoke too soon. Because, according to Wikipedia, the movie ends with shots of the Demon Car cruising the streets of downtown L.A.

And thus began the disturbing trend toward road rage on the L.A. freeways. I guess.

In all the carnage, it’s easy to overlook the benefits of owning a Demonic Killer Car of this model. Some of them include:

1. Unlimited gas supply—apparently!
2. No oil changes needed.
3. No fear of the radiator overheating.
4. It’s bulletproof!
5. The ability to appear and disappear like that.
6. Maximum horsepower and then some.
7. Tinted windows.
8. Totally self-driving.

I could go on, but that would be even dumber than the damn movie. I’ve already
said way too much about it.

But now you’ll never have to suffer through this … mess.

PS: If you’d like to vote on the next movie to be reviewed or uploaded to my YouTube channel, just become a patron of the film arts here! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Saturday B-Movie Review | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Walter Huston in ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre’ for the ‘O Canada! Blogathon’

How to describe this movie. It’s an adventure film. It’s a drama. It’s a Western (or neo-Western). It is also a classic film and, as it happens, one of the first Hollywood movies to be shot on location outside the US (in Mexico).

The story in a nutshell revolves around two unemployed Americans down on their luck (I can’t write that without thinking about Bugs Bunny) who run into a third guy—a grizzled prospector named Howard, who convinces the other two men to search for gold with him.

Via Letterboxd

Now, even though one of the two men is Fred C. Dobbs, Mr. Bottom Line (played by the formidable Humphrey Bogart) and the other is the slightly-less-greedy Bob Curtin (played by Tim Holt), it is the third man (no, not Orson Welles! 🙂 ) who makes this film appropriate for the O Canada! Blogathon.

While Humphrey Bogart may get to deliver a most disturbing and powerful performance as a man blinded by the lure of gold to the point of reaching extreme paranoia about his partners, it is Walter Huston who serves in the audience’s stead as a (mostly) rational observer and giver of advice.

Via Surrender to the Void

Born in Toronto, Ontario, on April 5, 1883, his birth name was Walter Thomas Houghston. Good call on the spelling change, dude. Huston began as a stage actor and established a Broadway career, but switched to movie roles after talkies came into vogue. His acting was critically acclaimed, but it wouldn’t be until later that he’d land the role he’d be most remembered for.

Via Senses of Cinema

As it happens, Walter Huston has roles in two of my favorite films: Howard, in this one, and (the uncredited) Captain Jacoby in The Maltese Falcon. Both films directed by his son, John, no less.

I could write a review filled with references to the onset and growth of Fred C. Dobbs’ madness (“Nobody puts one over on Fred C. Dobbs.”), the encounter with the Mexican bandits (“We don’t need no stinking badges!”), and the tension and suspense Dobbs’ paranoia creates among the three men.

But to focus on the Man from Canada, Walter Huston absolutely shines in his role as 1) the inciting force that sets off the adventure; 2) the wise mentor (let’s just say he knows his gold from his fool’s gold); 3) keen observer of human nature (it is Howard who predicts disaster even before they’ve hit the road, let alone when Dobbs starts going off the rails); and 4) comic relief.

Via 1001: A Film Odyssey

Because this makes me laugh every time.

Apparently, the Motion Picture Academy agreed with me. Huston received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role, as well as a Golden Globe.

As a side note, John Huston won Best Director for the movie, making them the first father and son to win at the same ceremony.

Have I mentioned that Huston was also a singer? Well … he was. 🙂

Submitted with thanks to Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy for co-hosting the O Canada! Blogathon!

PS: Please support the blog on my Patreon page!

Check out the exclusive perks patrons get, including exclusive access to videos like this one! 🙂 Now, I just need to make a few thousand more of these.

Posted in Actors, Adventure, Blogathan, Drama, Westerns | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments