‘Son of Frankenstein’ (A Bad Movie Review) — Part One

Happy new year to all! (As usual, I’m probably the last to say that. This year.) Well, better late than never, right? 🙂

Anyhoo, let’s get down to business. Here’s the review of Son of Frankenstein! (Part One.)

In what is quite obviously the inspiration for Young Frankenstein, this movie starts with a town meeting in the village of … Frankenstein. The residents are all in a lather and uproar about the coming of the son of—who else?—Baron Von Frankenstein (which makes him Frankenstein, Jr. (I guess)), the Monster creator. Then we see Baron Von Frankenstein, Jr., coming with his wife and son by train. Except, instead of Gene Wilder (who played Franc-en-shteen in Young Frankenstein), the Baron is played by Sherlock Holmes. He and the wife chat merrily as the train rolls through the dreariest landscape ever. But Mrs. Frankenstein thinks the foggy wasteland is lovely.

Via TCM

Anyhoo, they arrive at the village of Frankenstein, where a crowd of citizens has gathered in the pouring rain to meet them. And Sherlock Holmes Frankenstein bloviates at length about the work of his Dear Old Dad and how sorry he is about the whole Monster Thing. Eventually, the crowd gets bored and disburses, but Holmes chatters on, oblivious.

Then, they go to the mansion, which is apparently a set left over from the making of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, judging from the Escher-like stairs to the second floor. Baron Von Sherlock makes himself at home in the library, because houses like these always have one.

Via Movie Coda

But, lo—the Baron has a late-night visitor. It’s none other than the local Inspector Krogh, played by Professor Moriarty! Well, really, Lionel Atwill, but same difference, right? And the Inspector/Professor tells the Baron/Holmes about how his father’s monster tore off his arm, and as a result, he’s forced to do Doctor Strangelove impressions for the rest of his life.

Via This Is My Creation

Meanwhile, the rainstorm becomes fierce. Lightning cracks the sky and thunder crashes. And, while Mrs. Baron Frankenstein is slightly freaked out about the storm and the fact that the mansion resembles a funhouse, the Baron/Holmes seems delighted by the place and finds the storm thrilling.

Later, Baron/Holmes/Frankenstein steals off to the lab-OH-ratory, which looks a bit like a collapsed geodesic dome a la R. Buckminster Fuller. There he runs across Igor (not Eye-gor—yet!) lurking about. Igor had been hanged, but (despite suffering a broken neck) managed to survive—hump and all, thanks to the magic of total suspension of disbelief.

Via Movie Coda

Igor leads Baron Von Holmes to a hidden room, where his dead dad and granddad lie … dead. This is also where the Monster lies, not quite dead, as it turns out. When the Baron/Sherlock reaches out and touches the Monster, he moves! And Baron Von Holmes Frankenstein shouts, “It’s alive!” Holmes Von Frankenstein spits the words out so fast, it’s frankly a bit anti-climactic.

Did I mention that the lab-OH-ratory has a boiling pit of molten … something? Double double, boil and trouble! But, there I go, being Shakespeare.

The Monster is supposed to remain confined to the lab. But Igor it seems has other plans.

Part Two next week! 🙂

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Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Saturday B-Movie Review | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

My Review of ‘His Kind of Woman’ (1951)

This may be one of the most peculiar films noir I’ve seen. I mean that in the best sense, actually.

Here’s the plot:

Professional gambler Dan Milner (played by the awesome Robert Mitchum) has big problems. Believe it or not, he’s deep in debt. So … fairly standard schmuck set-up scenario.

Milner takes this weird job, strictly for the money. For $50,000 (which he takes in installments—not the best arrangement, given the circumstances), Milner must leave the country for a year. All other obligations on his part are the tiniest bit sketchy, i.e., he goes into this blind as a friggin’ bat. The bad news is that he has no idea why he’s being paid to leave the US of A. The good news is that he meets the drop-dead gorgeousness that is fellow tourist Lenore Brent (played by Jane Russell), who sings like a dream.

Via MUBI

Okay, so Milner agrees to this totally preposterous bizarre arrangement. On the installment plan, no less. Not that he had much choice or room to negotiate.

The bulk of the movie involves the arrival of various other guests (and the various interactions among the turistas) at the skanky swanky Mexican hotel where Milner and Lenore hang out. I don’t want to give the whole story away. Suffice it to say that the writers planted many a twist or surprise into the plot.

I’ll mention a few highlights:

Vincent Price plays the World’s Hammiest Shakespeare Actor. Here we have what passes for the comic relief. Price plays the role so over-the-top, he doesn’t eat the furniture, he inhales it.

Via Joseph Black on Flickr

Raymond Burr plays yet another of his thoroughly brutal and despicable B-movie villains.

Via Pinterest

Jim Backus appears as a bumbling investment broker gringo, who ends up in a poker game with a man trying to win back lost money. (Do I detect a theme?) During the game, Milner (using Jedi mind tricks his Pro Gambler’s Knowledge of cards) helps the man win his dough back. The scene bears a passing resemblance to that one in Casablanca.

Via Skiffleboom

Oh, and the ending is just … semi-controlled chaos. Part comedy, part swashbuckler flick. I half-expected to see either Gene Kelly or the Marx Brothers make an appearance.

Finally, Russell is worthy of a mention. She matches Mitchum, witticism for witticism. Such a shame she’s denied (by gender conventions of the time) a role in the grand finale. She could have been a real pistol!

There’s much to like in this jam-packed ambitious and unique little two-hour movie.

Posted in Film Noir, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Part Three of ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’

For the final post of the year, I bring you the last part of this most bizarre mind-numbing unique holiday movie.

It’s Part Three of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

Enjoy! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Holiday Movies, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Part Two of ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’

Although I’ve taken a break from reviewing, I certainly couldn’t just post Part One of this film and leave it at that! 🙂

Goodness, no.

On that happy note, here’s Part Two of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

And happy holidays to all! 🙂

Take your pick! 🙂

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

Holiday Movie Suggestions – Part Four

Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

One last round of short holiday movie reviews before we take a break from reviewing and make out our resolutions for the new year! I actually don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. It just seemed like it was time for me to reevaluate and retool things a bit. And it just happened to fall at the end/beginning of the year. 🙂

Anyway, here’s Part Four of the holiday reviews.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Meet Me in St. Louis movie poster. Lithograph, 1944. Missouri Historical Society, Photographs and Prints Collection. NS 21652. Scan © 2004, Missouri Historical Society.

Okay, this isn’t strictly speaking a Christmas movie, but the story does revolve around holidays and seasons. It’s about the generically-named Smith family who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. And while it starts in the summer of ’03 (as in 1903, she wrote feeling slightly depressed), big plans are in the works for everyone to attend the World’s Fair the following year.

However, Mr. Smith (the one who doesn’t go to Washington) decides to take a position in New York City (so, it’s a work-related move) and the family are crushed between various potentially busted romances, friendships torn apart, educational plans disrupted, musical trolley rides and—worst of all—they’d miss the the World’s Fair.

So, even it if this isn’t a Christmas movie, the film’s drama heightens around the holidays. There’s a fancy Christmas Eve ball and Judy Garland gets to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

Via GlamAmor

If you enjoy musicals and happy ever after, go for it!

 

Holiday Inn (1942)

This movie will not go down in history as one of the greats, in my humble. It’s most notable for featuring Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and “Easter Parade”. It also received Academy Awards for the music. That’s pretty much all she wrote.

I include it here as a kind of curiosity. I watched this years after seeing the movie White Christmas and it struck me as a weird knock-off of that film. But Holiday Inn came first, so I guess White Christmas is the better remake?

The plot is nothing complex. Two guys and a gal, Jim and Ted plus Lila, (played by Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and Virginia Dale) who have a musical act decide to open an inn. It’s called the Holiday Inn, because it’s only open on holidays. There’s a love triangle between them, naturally. Then, another woman named Linda shows up (played by Marjorie Reynolds) and ends up being yet another love interest. She wants to be in show business and eventually worms her way in. Plus, there’s the pull of Hollywood that could tear everyone apart.

Holiday Inn (1942)
Directed by Mark Sandrich
Shown from left: Marjorie Reynolds, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire

Oh, the other good thing about this movie is Fred Astaire. I’m a much bigger fan of Astaire than Crosby.

Of course, I’m willing to entertain an opposing viewpoint! 🙂

My lukewarm feelings about this film go beyond the threadbare plot and corny premise. For one thing, the Abraham Lincoln’s Day minstrel number is seriously excruciating to watch.

For another, there’s a line in the film that’s … slightly bizarre. When the guys try to identify Linda at the beginning, one of them says, “I can only recognize her from behind.” Am I the only one who finds that hilarious?

Plus, the notion of an inn that only opens on public holidays seems like a really bad business plan.

Does this look familiar? 🙂

Ultimately, it’s the song and dance that saves this one. Apart from that godawful minstrel show! 🙂

Posted in Classic Movies, Holiday Movies, Musicals, Roundup | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Part One of ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians’

And now in the spirit of the holidays, it seems inevitable appropriate that we should show you this holiday gem! 🙂

So, no matter what holiday you celebrate during this incredibly festive season, here’s a film you won’t be able to unsee want to miss—Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Part One)! 🙂

Posted in B-Movies, Comedy, Holiday Movies, Public Domain Movies, Saturday Matinee, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘The Night Walker’ (A Bad Movie Review) — Part Three

And, finally, here is Part Three of The Night Walker!

Here’s a quick recap of what came before! 🙂

So, after Babs and Tall Hunk of Edible Flesh are joined in fake matrimony, who should arrive on the scene, but—yes!—Dr. Bellows! He blunders in, blind as a bat, as usual, half his face burnt and sliding off, and looking all judgy in his usual way. And Barbara screams and screams (and screams) again, because this isn’t The Twilight Zone or a dream. It’s just a Really Bad Movie.

So Barbara really freaks out and insists that Barry the Lawyer help her find the places she’s been in these so-called dreams. Because she swears she’s actually been there. So they run around town and they do find the apartment and the church building, which are both abandoned—of course.

And now Part Three!!

When we reach the final third of the movie, Barbara is at home behind the beauty parlor waiting for Barry to call. But—lo!—Joyce is on the phone with Barry and tells him Babs isn’t there. Then, she just puts the receiver down without hanging it up. So, no more calls can come from Barry or anyone else. I knew Joyce was bad news!

Then, Joyce gives Barbara a shoulder massage. And just when it looks like Joyce and Babs might get a bit frisky (if you get my drift), Joyce wraps a towel around Barbara’s throat. Apparently, Joyce is under the mistaken impression that Barbara is into auto-erotic asphyxiation. Barbara snatches the towel away and leaps to her feet, crying, “I’m not one of those girls!”

Then, for reasons I can’t recall, Barbara goes back to the padlocked room upstairs at the big old house. I think this is after Barry pays a call there and claims that Dr. Bellows is alive and tried to kill him. I didn’t keep a flowchart of the action, so sorry about that.

Okay, Barbara arrives in the locked room for the Big Final Scene. And, of course, it’s foggy/smoky and Dr. Bellows appears, white eyeballs and a face like melted cheese (at least, half-melted). But, he tears off his face to reveal … Barry! And The Twilight Zone bad movie becomes a bad movie version of Mission Impossible.

Then Barry explains that he wanted to marry Babs for her money after she became a rich widow. Also, Barry made himself the beneficiary of Dr. Bellows’ will or something. And since he was blind, Dr. Bellows had no idea. But then why does Barry want to marry Babs if he’s the beneficiary of Dr. Bellows’ will or whatever? Who cares, right? None of it makes sense, anyway.

You see, the Man of Babs’ Dreams is actually a private detective that Howard/Dr. Bellows hired to spy on Babs. Then he (the PI) shows up, too, and shoots Barry. But he wants to kill Babs, too, because it was all a big conspiracy between Barry, Joyce (Barry’s wife—sorry, forgot to mention that), and the Hunk of Babs’ Dreams, PI. Except, Barry isn’t quite dead. He recovers from his (apparent) flesh wound and attacks the PI. They fall into the big hole in the floor created by the dry ice/explosion.

And they die and Barbara survives. But never did another feature film again. The End.

Posted in B-Movies, Bad Movies, Horror, Movie Reviews, Saturday B-Movie Review | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments