Part One of ‘Quicksand’ (1950)

Time for another interesting selection from the bowels depths of the public domain! 🙂

This time I have a film noir starring Mickey Rooney with Peter Lorre in a supporting role. See if you can wrap your mind around that.

It’s Part One of Quicksand! (which may or may not be spelled with an exclamation point) from 1950!

Yes, really! 🙂

Posted in 1950s Films, Film Noir, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Review of ‘Pepé le Moko’ (1937)

Okay, this is very much a film noir, especially since it’s a French film and they invented the term and it does apply here.

It’s not a bad film. It takes about a half hour for much to happen, which is very, um, continental, I guess. And this guy, Pépé is some kind of wanted criminal/ladies’ man who’s holed up inside the Casbah in Algeria, where he’s extremely good at evading the police.

Pépé’s the kind of guy who can be really, really nice to the people he needs to have on his side, while also being really, really nasty to anyone who double-crosses him.

Anyway, he’s kind of bored with being imprisoned in the Casbah, which resembles an Escher-painted version of a maze. The photography captures well the warren-like hallways twisting through the complex, all connected by secret doorways and rooftop terraces, for greater ease in evading official entanglements.

And there’s a woman, of course. Well, more than one. Pépé’s always coming onto them. Frankly, it gets annoying, but I guess Jean Gabin (who plays Pépé) was some kind of big deal in France at the time. Personally, the guy left me cold.

That is my biggest problem with this movie. The protagonist did not interest me. I don’t even find him attractive. As for his “seductive” act, it prompted more than one eye-roll from me, but then I’ve probably seen one too many Pépé le Pew cartoons.

Yes, I should judge the film based on the values and beliefs of its time. But our hero laid on the bullshit charm with a sludge bucket, so it became slightly cringe-worthy at times.

I could also have done without the completely unembarrassed references to smacking women around. But, hey, I’m not a woman living in Paris or anywhere in France during the 1930s, so maybe they just took that shit in stride back then. Which is, well, kind of the problem, huh?

But the movie did (after that eternal half-hour set up) eventually become interesting enough to make me want to watch more.

Pépé becomes involved with one particular woman and/or her jewelry. And he harbors a desire/delusion about leaving the Casbah. As if he could just walk away, like that.

The police use various tricks to lure Pépé out, but he manages to outfox them or get saved by someone with a cooler head. At one point, he’s prevented from leaving by yet another woman, who seems to be hopelessly enamored of the guy, for reasons that completely escaped this viewer.

What works in this film are the plot complications caused by the characters’ inability to communicate effectively. In short, this story could not be remade and/or updated without substantially rewriting to account for cell phones. (Unless, of course, the multi-leveled, convoluted corridors of the Casbah make for connectivity issues.)

What also intrigued me were the doubts in the back of my mind about Pépé’s intentions with respect to the diamond-wearing lady of his dreams. For a while, it seems that he’s only interested in her jewels. But one senses that maybe—possibly—there might be more at stake where she’s concerned, only he doesn’t want to admit it.

It also struck me that the movie would play very differently for audiences in 1938 than those of today. This is pre-WWII France we’re talking about. And there’s more than a passing resemblance between Pépé, who’s trapped within the Casbah, and a certain Rick Blaine, who’s been exiled to Casablanca.

Technically, this movie is an example of poetic realism. A movement in French cinema of the late 1930s, it’s considered the predecessor to film noir.

Without revealing all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the protagonist loses the girl, the jewels, and everything else. So, yes, it is a film noir.

And obviously not made in the USA. Because the ending would never have gotten past the Hays Office.

There’s a lot to like about this movie, but not necessarily love about it.

PS: Well, at least I know now who inspired Pépé Le Pew. I didn’t like him as a skunk, either.

Directed by Julien Duvivier
Produced by Robert and Raymond Hakim
Screenplay by Julien Duvivier, Henri La Barthe, Jacques Constant, and Jeanson (dialogue) (based on the novel by Henri La Barthe)

Posted in 1930s Films, European Cinema, Film Noir, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

‘Night of the Lepus’ (B-Movie Review) (1972) — Part Three

And now for the final warning installment of this multi-part movie review. Almost as weird fun as watching the movie itself. Without the bad aftertaste having to actually endure watch it.

It’s Part Three of the review of Night of the Lepus! Now, let’s see what those waskelly wabbits have gotten up to! 🙂

So to stop the great big bunny-wunnies, the gang arranges this bizarrely well-coordinated roundup, that involves announcing to a bunch of drive-in theatergoers that movie time is over (for them, not us, unfortunately). They are directed by the sheriff (I think) through a bullhorn to drive off in an orderly fashion and arrange themselves in a line to pen the rascally rabbits in. And they do so with such ease, you’d think they drilled for this moment.

Heading for the last round-up! 🙂

And then they create some kind of electrical circuit involving train tracks. But there’s a slow-moving train holding things up. So … suspense! Will the train make it through in time? Will the movie ever, ever end? And, of course, the answer is yes!

Witness panicked reports from around the world! (Image via Vagabond’s Movie Screen Shots.)

Oh, and the National Guard declares rabbit hunting season is open! So, between the gunplay and the electrical rabbit fricassee along the train tracks, there’s plenty for everyone in town to make rabbit stew.

Electrifying! 🙂 (Image via Celluloid Club.)

Did I forget to mention that Gerry (Janet Leigh, in a part so thankless, she deserves a medal for playing it) tries to leave town with Little Blondie in an old kind of combination pickup truck and RV. But she gets stuck in the soft, sandy dirt of the off-road trail on her map. You gotta wonder what Roy was thinking when he gave her those directions.

Little Sure Shot! 🙂 (Image via DVD Beaver.)

So there’s plenty of opportunity for Gerry and the kid to be threatened by oversized rabbits and for Gerry to fire a rifle at them. She also uses a flare to keep them at bay, wielding the burning device in Mandalorian fashion, as help choppers in.

No kidding. (Image via DVD Beaver.)

And, in the end, all the bad, flesh-eating, catsup-covered bunnies are killed, and the movie concludes with a shot of Little Blondie and her male friend running through a field where small, nice bunnies nibble grass and possibly eat the occasional lettuce leaf or what have you. As nature intended.

That’s all, folks! 🙂
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Contemplating a Change in Covers

Image by yogesh more from Pixabay

My apologies for the weird interruption in movie-related service here. And, also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen another stock photo that so aptly describes my life. 🙂

Anyway, I’m not only considering a change in the covers of my movie review ebooks, but I’ve been putting it off procrastinating thinking long and hard about it.

Okay, so right now, the cover for I Found it at the Movies: Film Noir Reviews looks something like this:

But I’m thinking of changing it to this:

I’m also going to change the cover to I Found it at the Movies: Neo-Noir Reviews.

I’m also trying to cobble together form a Movie Lover’s Club (somewhere other than Facebook, because … well, just because).

Right at the moment, the best place for me to do that is my Patreon page.

I’m running a special offer for patrons at the lowest tier, if you’d like to weigh in on the cover decision.

Just click here to check it out! I’d love to get your vote on this.

PS: This isn’t an April Fool’s joke! But here’s a handy list I found on Pixabay! 🙂

Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay
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‘Night of the Lepus’ (B-Movie Review) (1972) – Part Two

Are you ready for Part Two of this weird fascinating movie about oversized bunny wabbits?

Well, I hope so, because here’s Part Two of my B-Movie Review of Night of the Lepus!

Meanwhile, Blondie the Stupid Kid goes wondering about with a guy she met. And he goes one way while she goes the other and wanders into an old mine. Where she finds a dead body and a huge rabbit with catsup all over his face. Blondie is so horrified at the thought of rabbit with ketchup (is this catsup or ketchup?—I don’t know, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter), she screams her fool head off. And kind of stands there like a moron. Screaming.

“Damn it, guys. I’m still just a doctor, okay?” Image via The Movie Sleuth.

After this, Cole, the Bennetts, and Leonard “Bones” McCoy from Star Trek try to “kill the wabbits” (to paraphrase Elmer Fudd) by blowing them up. And even though a lot of rabbits bite the dust after they’ve blown up all these rabbit holes and the mine opening, more oversized bunnies manage to dig out of the rubble. So, apparently, in addition to now being the size of Easter Parade floats, these rabbits must be anaerobic, since they survived burial under a pile of dirt and rocks. They’re like supervillains, except they’re rabbits and they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.

Catsup or blood? Smeared lip gloss? 🙂 Image via Clayton’s Cinema Countdown.

From here, things go rapidly downhill, between the preposterous close-ups of bunnies bounding past miniatures and all the catsup on their teeth … well, it’s kind of hard to take any of it seriously. Not that I would’ve even if George Lucas agreed to upgrade the effects with CGI. Or given the residents light sabers.

At this point, the movie manages due to sheer lack of caring budgetary constraints to become an extremely dull film. Viewers are treated to frequent close-ups of multitudes of rabbits writhing and jumping about. Often the same shot is used multiple times. Of course, all the rabbits look pretty much the same, so that works, right?

Image via Eric D. Snider.

Anyway, the bunnies are anything but vegetarian. They seem to have little interest in carrots, that’s for sure. They kill some guy whose name I can’t remember and a general store proprietor, whose name escapes me. Eventually, our fearless heroes come to the stunning conclusion that they should call in the National Guard. Brilliant deduction, Holmes!

More to come in the final part of the review next week! 🙂

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My Review of ‘Ashes and Diamonds’ (1958)

WARNING: This review reveals a not-completely-unexpected kind of spoiler! So, proceed with that in mind. Thank you! 🙂

This is the kind of film that has so much to offer of whatever you look for in a movie—suspense, political intrigue, socio-economic commentary, a touch of satire, and even a (whisper-thin) romance. But that description is bound to disappoint some of those who watch the film only on that basis.

If you live where I do (in the US of A), you may never have heard of this film. The fact that this is a Polish drama about post-WWII, Communist-run Poland and not especially kind to either side of the schizoid political situation presented in it probably explains a lot of that. Let’s just say the Polish government quite likely didn’t care for the story.

Image via Just Screenshots.

I’ll give you the set-up. See what you think.

The movie opens near what appears to be a small, crumbling church building. There, three members of the former Home Army (of WWII Poland) are present. Two of them seem to lounge on the grass, as the birds chirp. One of the two wears sunglasses and acts like it’s a day at the park. The second gets up and moves off to assist a young girl who seeks entrance into the old church. Then, there’s also a third man (no, not The Third Man, although I could make a comparison here, maybe … no, never mind), who we meet eventually. That happens after a vehicle approaches and a couple of guys get out of it.

By then, our pals on the grass have moved into action. They have guns, which they use in an attempt to assassinate the secretary of the Polish Workers Party. Unfortunately, they fail miserably and end up killing two innocent civilians.

I’m pretty sure they don’t feel good about failing in their mission, but the guy with the sunglasses over the course of roughly the first half hour or so of the film displays certain changes in his outlook. His name is Maciek and he’s the protagonist who comes to doubt the worthiness of his mission to kill this man.

Now, here’s where some viewers may have a tough time with this film. What we’ve got is a soldier with a nearly-nihilist outlook on life who might actually feel a shred of doubt or mixed feelings about the results of his actions.

Image via The Playlist.

But this man is a human being, forced to witness the sheer unfiltered anguish the surviving family members undergo due to his botched assignment. Knowing what we do now about what the war experience does to a person, it makes complete sense to me that Maciek might develop doubts about what he’s been tasked with, as well as what he’s done before this.

Maciek is not only an interesting character, who displays a kind of rakish charm and devil-may-care attitude about life and death at first, but was played by Zbigniew Cybulski, an actor who was considered the “European James Dean”. Right there, that tells you something.

Drink and be merry?

It is primarily Maciek’s journey toward a potentially new life that we witness over the course of the movie, which mostly takes place at a hotel where post-war celebration is in full swing among the privileged. This movie follows (with certain digressions here and there, both mysterious and oddly humorous at times) Maciek’s transformation in outlook about his mission. Because along with witnessing the grief he’s caused due to his fuck up failed attempt to follow orders and a romantic rendezvous one-night stand with a cute bar maid he flirted with briefly, he’s harboring doubts about his purpose.

Image via Pinterest.

Okay, so there’s that, plus a brief stop at a church, where Maciek recites aloud a poem inscribed on the wall. The bar maid seems to be moved by this, because Maciek delivers the lines with such emotion. Then again, the question is raised, has Maciek actually changed? Keep in mind the story transpires within a tight time frame of no more than 24 hours.

I won’t tell you if he has changed. I will tell you that the second man makes it pretty clear that Maciek shouldn’t defy their orders. As for the third man, he’s drunk and, having crossed over to the winning side, celebrates to excess a job he doesn’t have yet with the happy revelers.

Image via Openload Movies.

How’s that for complications, uneasy alliances, and mixed feelings? If you enjoy a movie that captivates at more than a visceral level, this one is well worth watching.

Personally, I enjoyed the movie, despite its downbeat tone. I rather enjoyed witnessing the murky morality behind everyone’s actions. Along with any uncertainty about who the real bad guys are. And it certainly spurred my interest in Polish history.

One aspect of the film I particularly liked was the dialogue–at least, as it was presented in English-language captions. Made me wish I could get hold of a translated version of the screenplay.

I will also say that, unlike most American films with romance as a plot device, this movie does not have a happy ending. And that’s my only real spoiler.

If you enjoy European movies with a combination of political intrigue and a philosophical bent, ignore the quickie nature of the romance that serves as a plot point and just savor the best aspects of the story. Because there’s a lot of that to savor here, even if things don’t end nicely. Maybe especially because they don’t.

Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Screenplay by Jerzy Andrzejewski and Andrzej Wajda (based (loosely) on the novel by Jerzy Andrzejewski)

PS: If you have access to Kanopy. you can find the movie there and see it for free.

It’s also on the Criterion Channel. Along with a few extras.

PPS: Seven countries, seven posters, one classic film! 🙂

Check out the Spanish version of the poster! 🙂

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‘Night of the Lepus’ (B-Movie Review) (1972) – Part One

For the next few weeks, I’ll be reviewing one of the most horrible terrifying movies about rabbits I’ve ever seen. From the anals annals of 1972, this is Night of the Lepus!

And, believe me when I say, it’s nothing like a Bugs Bunny cartoon or even Who Framed Roger Rabbit! 🙂

According to Wikipedia, this movie is an “Australian-American science-fiction horror thriller film.” If you ask me, that’s a few too many words without a comma.

And they also forgot to add the word ” Western” in there, because the story takes place out West and has lots of old hacks character actors from old Western films.

“Damn it, guys. I’m a doctor, not an animal control agent.” (Image via The Movie Sleuth.)

This movie could also be called an “ecological disaster film”, because ecology plays a big part in the story. It all starts when a rancher named Cole Hillman ends up with way too many rabbits on his spread of land, because their predators (coyotes) have all been killed off. You see? The balance of life!

So he seeks help from married researchers Roy and Gerry Bennett, who are played by Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh, because they probably owed someone a favor we all have to eat, right?

Image via The Agony Booth.

Unfortunately, as eco-sensitive and scientific as this couple is, they do a crap job of watching their kid. She’s a cute little tow-headed blonde girl who notices her favorite rabbit being injected with something that turns out to be bad. And while the parents are yukking it up in the corner aren’t watching, she makes a bunny switch. So the control bunny is switched with the injected one. Naturally, Little Blondie’s cute little bunny scampers off and disappears. For a while.

However, while examining the property, Cole and the Bennetts (which sounds like a lounge act to me) find an animal footprint roughly the size and shape of one of those bathtubs in the middle of nowhere that you see in Cialis commercials. (But not that one! More like the end of this one.) Except with big, scary toes.

Oh, no!!! (Image via Viaje A Lo Inesperado.)

More to come in the next exciting part! 🙂

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Part Four of ‘Inner Sanctum’ (1948)

If you haven’t seen the first three parts of this film, no worries! I’ll include a link to the previous three parts in the video.

But now it’s time to finish off this turkey bring matters to a close!

So, it’s with great relief pleasure that I present to you Part Four of Inner Sanctum!

Posted in 1940s Films, Crime Drama, Crime Movies, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Review of ‘Get Carter’ (1971)

This week’s review is in video-only mode, because it’s kind of hard to transcribe images. 🙂

Nonetheless, here are a few more random images from the film.

Next stop, Strawberry Fair! 🙂

“I’m the villain in the family, remember? ” via Letterboxd

FYI, not exactly a chick-flick, depending on the chick, of course! 🙂

PS: What can I say? I’m a sucker for Michael Caine. 🙂

Posted in 1970s Films, Action Movies, Crime Drama, Movie Reviews, Video | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Part Three of ‘Inner Sanctum’ (1948)

I have to say, it’s simply astonishing bizarre fascinating to see what movies are available for free on the Internet.

A few have been barely comprehensible awkwardly performed and/or directed highly unusual.

And this is definitely one of those! 🙂

So let’s watch Part Three of Inner Sanctum! And see if anyone rids us of that annoying damn kid. 🙂

Posted in 1940s Films, Film Noir, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Web Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Part Three of ‘Inner Sanctum’ (1948)