Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

WHITE CHRISTMAS

Percy Helton gives Kaye and Der Bingle a hard time
WHITE CHRISTMAS (aka Irving Berlin's White Christmas/1954). Director: Michael Curtiz.

Grateful that he saved his life in WW2, singer Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) teams up with his buddy, Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) when they return to civilian life. The two become a rich and successful team, and are called upon to advise the singing sister duo of an old Army buddy. Bob falls for Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Phil has special feelings for Judy (Vera-Ellen). However, there are complications, and the two men follow the gals to their engagement at an inn in Vermont, which turns out to be owned by their former commanding officer, General Waverly (Dean Jagger). Can they do something to win the girls' hearts and save the inn and the general from bankruptcy? The first picture presented in VistaVision, White Christmas is amiable enough, but aside from some standard tunes by Irving Berlin, it's minor, and the plot is a dog. Der Bingle and Kaye play well together, as do the two gals, with Clooney giving a truly warm and sympathetic performance. Vera-Ellen is a terrific dancer primarily, and she struts her stuff in one number with a male partner, and yet another set to the tune of "Mandy" (which I'd always believed was composed by Victor Herbert but is actually a bonafide Berlin tune). One interesting thing about the movie is that while it's basically fluff, it begins with a rather somber sequence overseas near the end of the war -- while the two men sing the wonderful "White Christmas" there are shots of the homesick soldiers, near tears, thinking about their families back home. However, the attempt to create another lump in the throat with a climactic tribute to the general doesn't quite work -- surely a simple reunion would have made more sense, but this is Hollywood and you need a big finish! The performances from the leads and Jagger are all good, Mary Wickes shows up as a housekeeper at the inn (but her scenes are limited, unfortunately), and we even get the ubiquitous Percy Helton as a train conductor interacting with Bing and Danny! The gals' big number, "Sisters," has pretty much become high-camp and the quartet"s "Snow" is Berlin at his worst.

Verdict:  Nice songs and dancing but once is enough. **1/2.

ABOUT MRS. LESLIE

Robert Ryan and Shirley Booth
ABOUT MRS. LESLIE (1954). Director: Daniel Mann.

Vivian Leslie (Shirley Booth) operates a boarding house out of her suburban home and tries not to get too involved in the lives of her tenants. After Pixie (Eilene Janssen), the spoiled teenage girl next door, tells her she should mind her business because she's never been married or had children, Vivian thinks back to her relationship with a man named George Leslie (Robert Ryan), who is a Civil War aficionado. Was he her husband, or wasn't he? .. Since the movie is unpredictable I won't say any more about the plot, but the picture holds the attention. After winning both a Tony and an Oscar for her role in the stage and screen versions of Come Back, Little Sheba, Shirley Booth co-starred in this interesting soap opera although her performance is a trifle uneven. She and Ryan play well-together even if you can't quite see them as a couple. Interspersed with the flashbacks is the secondary love story of dancer Lan McKay (Alex Nicol) and aspiring actress Nadine (Marjie Millar). Although About Mrs. Leslie is in many ways a nice picture, the fact remains that much of it is superficial and doesn't ring true -- some scenes haven't the required impact -- and Ryan's character is not altogether commendable. Great Old Movies' favorite Percy Helton figures in a funny scene wherein he plays a restaurant owner. Alex Nicol [Because of You] gives a good performance, but Marjie Millar, who had a tragic life and early death, can't act, sadly. Nicol later directed The Screaming Skull.

Verdict: Unsatisfying but intriguing soaper. **1/2.

THE GREAT RACE

Blink and you'll miss her: Vivian Vance
THE GREAT RACE (1965). Director: Blake Edwards.

Near the turn of the century, rival daredevils Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) and the Great Leslie (Tony Curtis), among others, embark on a race from New York to Paris [they go way up north and head for Siberia to make their way into Europe]. They are joined by Maggie Dubois (Natalie Wood), a suffragette and wannabee reporter. Along the way -- the very longgg way -- they have assorted misadventures ... Frankly, I only put on The Great Race because I heard Vivian Vance [The Blue Veil] was in it. Unfortunately, "Ethel" -- now playing the wife of newspaper editor Arthur O'Connell -- is a mere "guest star" and is on screen for at best a minute and a half. Boo hiss! Worse, the movie is nearly three hours long. No, it's not awful and there are enough entertaining moments and good acting to keep you watching, but there's no need for this picture to be so long. [The movie is, rather presumptuously, dedicated to Laurel and Hardy, who certainly never needed three hours to make a funny movie!] Probably inspired by the success of such mammoth productions as Around the World in 80 Days and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Great Race is bloated and episodic, with way too many digressions. There is a long and unnecessary detour involving a foppish (or stereotypically gay?) prince who happens to be a lookalike of Fate's, a sequence which could and should have been excised from the final cut, despite some good performances from Lemmon as the prince and George Macready as a conniving member of his court. A sequence for some reason situated in the old west has Dorothy Provine [Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die] -- looking sort of like a monkey with a bouffant hairpiece that threatens to topple off of her head any minute -- belting out a terrible number, but at least it leads into a fairly rousing bar fight. On the other hand, a pie fight that caps the prince sequence goes on too long [keeping in with the "theme" of the movie] and hasn't a single laugh. Oddly, the best scene in the movie is a well-cut and choreographed sword and saber fight between Curtis and Ross Martin that isn't played for laughs but plays. Jack Lemmon is in manic mode (as he was in Luv) throughout the movie but is effective on that sometimes irritating level. Curtis and Wood are Curtis and Wood, although they are well-coached in their line readings. Keenan Wynn, Larry Storch, Macready and Martin make a better impression.

Verdict: Not quite "Blake's Folly" -- but not for lack of trying. **1/2.

ESCORT FOR HIRE

Pete Murray and Noel Thevarthen
ESCORT FOR HIRE (1960). Director: Godfrey Grayson.

Two unemployed actors named Steve Walker (Noel Trevarthen) and Buzz Jenkins (Pete Murray) go to work for a male escort service run by Miss Terry Kennedy (June Thorburn of Tom Thumb). Buzz has his hands full with a glasses-wearing barracuda named Nadia (Jill Melford) while Steve is assigned to sexy Elizabeth Quinn (Jan Holden of The Stranglers of Bombay). Jealous Terry isn't pleased with reports that Steve is coming out of Elizabeth's flat smeared with lipstick, but a worse problem is what Steve finds in that woman's bedroom ... Escort for Hire wastes a provocative premise with a light mystery that plays like a slow, dull TV show, isn't very funny, and has characters saying and doing things that only badly-written characters would say and do. Handsome Trevarthen actually doesn't make much of an impression in this but he had a long list of credits. Godfrey Grayson also directed The Fake.

Verdict: Don't hire these escorts. *1/2.


THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES

Pirate Christopher Lee confronts John Cairney
THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES (1964). Director: Don Sharp.

"That sort of talk's for priests and women."

In the late 16th century Britain and Spain are engaged in war. Diablo, a licensed "privateer" ship whose men are led by Captain Robeles (Christopher Lee), has officially become part of the Spanish armada. When the ship is badly damaged in a sea battle consisting of stock footage, Robeles pulls into a small English port to make repairs. There Robeles tells the apprehensive villagers that Spain has won the war, and they are all now under his command. However, one of the pirates' female captives tries to break free so she can tell everyone the truth, although suspicions are already forming ... The Devil-Ship Pirates, co-released by Columbia and Hammer studios, has the latter's usual production gloss, but is a bit on the tepid side. Christopher Lee is more exciting as a pirate leader than he was in The Pirates of Blood River, and Andrew Kier and Michael Ripper are also in the cast. John Cairney [Spaceflight IC-1]plays the young hero, Harry. Don Sharp also directed the zestier Rasputin, the Mad Monk, also with Lee.

Verdict: Nothing special in this non-horror Hammer. **.

WISEGUY Dead Dog Records Arc

Tim Curry as the diabolical Winston Newquay
WISEGUY. The "Dead Dog Records" arc. 1989.

Because the cost of acquiring the music rights would have been too prohibitive, the "Dead Dog Records" arc from season two of Wiseguy was not included in the official DVD release, more's the pity. In this story undercover agent Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) is assigned to investigate corruption in the recording industry by using federal money to buy the dying Dead Dog Records, which does not sit well with certain government officials who get no thrill out of being record moguls like Vinnie does. Deborah Harry plays a washed-up singer, Diana, who is working in a cocktail lounge when Vinnie decides to engineer her comeback, but he has to reckon with the schemes of near-psychotic music bigwig Winston Newquay (Tim Curry), the former Sam Fishbine, who is also Diana's former lover, a fact that does not sit well with his wife, Claudia (Deidre Hall). Vinnie gets assistance from the enthusiastic Bobby Travis (Glenn Frey), as well as from husband-and-wife record company owners Amber (Patti D'Arbanville) and Isaac Twine (Paul Winfield). Vinnie's producer is a coke-snorting "genius" named Johnny Medley (Paul McCrane), who is difficult to work with, to say the least, and has a sixteen-year-old wife (Pamela Segall Adlon) who is more mature than he is. [This last business is kind of creepy, frankly, but fits into the weird tone of the episodes.] With more humor and craziness than most episodes of this show, the Dead Dog arc was atypical Wiseguy -- for one thing, Vinnie seems more interested in having a hit record than in putting anyone in jail -- but it is marvelously entertaining, and the scripts by David J. Burke and Stephen Kronish, among others, probably influenced the more outrageous serial dramas of today. Highlights include a dress-tearing catfight at a fancy party, a couple making passionate love who wind up crashing through a skylight, and a certain someone who's pissed off Winston being thrown off a rooftop by thugs. The acting from the entire cast is excellent, with McCrane, Frey and Winfield taking top honors, but even they take a back seat to Tim Curry, who gives an absolutely mesmerizing and ferocious portrayal of the devilish, always sleek and sophisticated, Winston Newquay, a fascinating character -- but not one you'd want to know personally. Jonathan Banks and Jim Byrnes also appear and are as good as ever. The song Harry sings, "Brite Side" was recorded by her, but only in a version that has none of the impact of the original.

Verdict: Deliriously entertaining and sharply acted. ***1/2.

PIT STOP

Marcus DeAnda and Bill Heck
PIT STOP (2013). Director: Yen Tan.

In a small town in Texas, Gabe (Bill Heck), who is still close to his ex-wife (Heather Kafka) and children, has discovered that his male lover, still married, wants nothing more to do with him. Meanwhile, Ernesto (Marcus DeAnda) is waiting for his boyfriend, Luis (Alfredo Maduro), to finally move out even as he visits the nursing home where another ex-lover (who left him for another man) lies in a coma. Linda is clearly still in love with her husband, and goes on a date with a chubby but appealing fellow at work, Winston (John Merriman), to whom Gabe is a little cruel. Les (Corby Sullivan) is a gay teacher who goes on a date with Gabe, but is still pining for the married man who dumped him. Will Gabe and Ernesto get past their personal problems and ties and ever get together? Pit Stop, a study of pain, loss and loneliness, is low-key, well-written, and beautifully acted by the entire cast. Bill Heck has a beautifully-delivered speech in his car when he tells Les about the man he had been hoping to spend the rest of his life with and how it all went wrong. Some people see this as having a happy ending, but to me it was rather open-ended. In any case, it could have used another thirty minutes running time, the rare occasion when you think a movie is actually too short. The film is full of interesting and telling little details. Pit Stop may move a lot of people to tears -- either because they have no lover, or because they wish their lover looked like DeAnda or Heck!

Verdict: Notable independent feature with several excellent performances. ***.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES

Roland Young
THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES (aka H. G. Wells' The Man Who Could Work Miracles/1936). Director: Lothar Mendes.

"I must have a whiskey. If I don't have a whiskey my mind will give way." -- Colonel Winstanley, upon discovering that all of his whiskey has turned to water

British clerk George Fotheringay (Roland Young) suddenly finds himself with the ability to make whatever he wants come true, and everyone around him tells him what they would do if they were him. Should he make himself master of the world, or recreate the world for the greater good? The vicar Maydig (Ernest Thesiger) has some definite ideas on that score, but George won't allow himself to be overly influenced, unless it's by Ada (Joan Gardner), upon whom he has a crush. H. G. Wells adapted his own short story, adding many new characters as well as a framing sequence which shows that George's power was a gift from the gods [apparently the filmmakers felt that the audience would want to know exactly how Fotheringay got his powers, even if the answer isn't a terribly satisfying one]. Wells somewhat destroys a modern audience's sympathy for George when he has him trying to use his power to make Joan fall in love with him instead of the man she prefers, which is equivalent to using a date rape drug. Still, even if you've read the story, the film is unpredictable, has some fine effects work, and is very well-acted  by all. Topping even Roland Young [Topper Takes a Trip] is Ralph Richardson [The Heiress] in his excellent portrayal of the rather buffoonish Colonel Winstanley. Thesiger is also fine as the vicar, and there are notable appearances by George Zucco as the colonel's butler, Ivan Brandt as the Power Giver, and an impossibly young George Sanders and Torin Thatcher as his heavenly and cynical associates. Wells gives George a memorable speech at the climax, and the story is in its own way as influential as other works in the brilliant Wells' canon. Lothar Mendes also directed Payment Deferred.

Verdict: Intriguing and amusing. ***.

THE REMARKABLE MR. PENNYPACKER

THE REMARKABLE MR. PENNYPACKER (1959). Director: Henry Levin.

"Morality is a matter of geography."

The progressive Horace Pennypacker (Clifton Webb) has one wife and many children in one town in Pennsylvania, and a whole different family in another town in the state -- sooner or later each family will learn of the other's existence and then what? Mr. Pennypacker answers that question and manages to milk much humor out of a decidedly serious situation. It also manages to be surprisingly frank at times, if a trifle unreal. Webb is, as ever, excellent, and there are fine performances from Dorothy McGuire [Invitation] as unwitting wife, Emily; Dorothy Stickney [Murder at the Vanities] as Aunt Jane; Doro Merande [The Gazebo] as the secretary, Miss Haskins; and Charles Coburn as Grandfather Pennypacker; and there's nice support from Jill St. John as Kate. Ray Stricklyn and David Nelson are two other children, and Ron Ely is a young minister who's fallen for Kate. However entertaining the film may be, there is no denying that Horace's reasons for entering into a second bigamous marriage are rather spurious and self-centered. Still, it's hard not to like the movie on its own terms, and it even has some suspense.

Verdict: Another winning Webb performance. ***.

PRESENTING LILY MARS

PRESENTING LILY MARS (1943). Director: Norman Taurog.

"Peter Pan! Macbeth! The Follies!"

Lily Mars (Judy Garland) is a talented singer, but for some reason she decides to audition for Broadway producer John Thornway (Van Heflin) -- who comes from the same small town and whose father delivered her -- by doing a scene from Shakespeare, in which she stinks. Lily follows Thornway to New York, where he's staging a new show starring Isobel Rekay (Marta or Martha Eggerth). Is Lily a desperate and naive amateur or a coldly calculating, rather pushy worldling who knows full well what she's doing? In this simplistic movie in which the key to Broadway stardom is to become an annoying pest and vamp the producer, we're supposed to believe the former, but I'm not so sure. In any case, things don't work out so smoothly for Lily until the Hollywood happy ending. Presenting Lily Mars was originally a novel by that fine American writer Booth Tarkington, whose books Alice Adams and The Magnificent Ambersons, among others, were turned into pretty good movies. While I've read the first two excellent novels, I've not read Presenting Lily Mars, but it had to be better than this treacle, which is simply a standard Judy Garland Movie when it could have been a whole lot more. That being said, Lily Mars is by no means a bad movie, with Garland in her reasonably effective cutesy mode between child and adult, and Van Heflin, as good as ever, managing to play quite well with her.

The movie has many charming elements. The brother (Douglas Croft of the Batman serial) who steals and collects doorbells. The younger sisters who sob along with Judy/Lily whenever she's upset [they are a cute bunch]. In an early development Judy does a scene outside Thornway's home which causes some of his associates to think he knocked her up and abandoned her, and there's the eyebrow-raising scene when Thornway has playwright Owen Vail (Richard Carlson) stand in for Isobel in a love scene. When Owen keeps it up after the scene is over Thornway tells him to stop kidding around. "Who's kidding?" says Owen, in a scene meant as a joke but which probably caused some fluttering among nervous censors. [Lily watches all this wide-eyed and confused.] Connie Gilchrist [A Woman's Face] makes her mark as an ex-actress who does a number with Judy, who also nails "Tom the Piper" and "When I Look at You." My favorite scene has Isobel giving her black maid, Rosa (Lillian Yarbo of Between Us Girls), a hat that she no longer wants because Lily wears a copy of it. When Isobel sees the maid wearing it, she commands her to throw it out. Later both of them see a chimp wearing the hat, which infuriates Isobel even as the maid, having the last laugh, smiles behind her back.

Spring Byington is wonderful as Lily's mother, as is Ray McDonald as her boyfriend, whom she discards early on. Fay Bainter is also notable if a bit wasted as Thornway's mom. Bob Crosby and Tommy Dorsey also make appearances. Despite a fairly nice if unspectacular voice, Eggerth doesn't make much of an impression, which may be why she was hired -- this, after all, is a Judy Garland Movie and nobody better get more attention than her.

Verdict: Silly but enthusiastic twaddle with a dignified Heflin and energetic Garland. **1/2.

POOL OF LONDON

Earl Cameron and Bonar Colleano
POOL OF LONDON (1951). Director: Basil Dearden.

Several sailors have misadventures and find romantic interests when they disembark in London. The film focuses on two of them, Dan Macdonald (Bonar Colleano) who participates in a robbery in which a watchman is killed; and his Jamaican friend, Johnny (Earl Cameron), who develops a warm relationship with a pretty white girl named Pat (Susan Shaw). Leslie Phillips is another sailor named Harry, and the women include Sally (Renee Asherson), Maisie (Moira Lister),  and her sister Pamela (Joan Dowling); two of them have a zesty "cat-fight" at one point. The most interesting aspect of the film is the dilemma of Johnny, a black man on the outside looking in, and his doomed romance with the sympathetic Pat. Earl Cameron gives a wonderful performance, as does Colleano [Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary?], who has personality and presence if not conventional good looks. There are great shots of London locations (Gordon Dines did the photography), a fine musical score by John Addison [Dead Man's Folly], and Dearden's direction is solid.

Verdict: A nice picture that just misses being a classic. ***.

THE DEVIL'S PARTNER

THE DEVIL'S PARTNER (1961). Director: Charles R. Rondeau.

Nick Richards (Ed Nelson) arrives in a small isolated town looking for his uncle, Pete Jensen, who turns out to be dead of unspecified causes. Jensen may have been dabbling with devil worship and come afoul of some demon. Or does his "nephew" know more than he's telling, not only relating to Pete's death but to animal attacks on various townspeople? David Simpson (Richard Crane), whose girlfriend Nick covets,  is horribly mauled by a once-friendly dog. David's facial injuries have him contemplating suicide and insisting that the girlfriend, Nell (Jean Allison), find another guy -- will Nell turn to Nick for consolation? And who will die next at claws or cloven hooves? The average viewer won't give a damn because The Devil's Partner is slow-paced and has no suspense. The acting isn't bad, however, with Crane [The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd] and Allison -- along with ever-reliable Byron Foulger -- giving the most memorable performances. Edgar Buchanan plays the old Doc, Nell's father, the same way he plays every other character. Rondeau also directed The Girl in Lovers Lane. Allison appeared on such TV shows as The Sheriff of Cochise.

Verdict: A complete mediocrity. **.

BACKSTAGE (1919)

Molly Malone and "Fatty" Arbuckle
BACKSTAGE (1919 silent). Director: Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

In this silent comedy short "Fatty" Arbuckle plays a stagehand at a theater and is assisted by Buster Keaton (whom in real life Arbuckle discovered). They come afoul of a strong man (Charles A. Post) who treats his female assistant (Molly Malone) so terribly that Arbuckle, Keaton and others team up to get even with him. The strong man and the other players go on strike, so Arbuckle, Molly and Keaton have to take their places on stage. Then the strong man sits in the front row of the balcony with plans of his own ... Backstage is a cute picture which shows Arbuckle's appeal as a funnyman. Jack Coogan Sr. plays a multi-dexterous specialty dancer that the boys try to imitate with expected results, and Al St. John is another stagehand.

Verdict: Funny and fast-paced with some good clowning and stunt work. ***.


AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM [Season 2]

Jessica Lange as one weird sister
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM [Season Two]. 2012.

"Mental illness is the fashionable explanation for sins." -- Sister Jude.

In this at times very suspenseful and superior second season of the hit horror show, most of the action takes place in an asylum, Briarcliff Manor, run by nuns. The lead characters include Sister Jude Martin (Jessica Lange), who is in charge of the place, although that opinion isn't shared by the psychotic Dr. Arden (James Cromwell), who conducts sick experiments on the inmates. One of these inmates, and the heroine of the show, is Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), a lesbian who has supposedly been incarcerated for inversion therapy [the main storyline takes place in the sixties] but who actually had been threatening to dig too much into how the miserable institution was run. A present-day framing story has to do with the reappearance of a maniac, Bloodyface, who once had something to do with the Manor, and whose first victim is that annoying mouse, Adam Levine. Other characters include the "nympho," Shelley (Chloe Sevigny); Monsignor Timothy (Joseph Fiennes); sympathetic Dr. Thredson (Zachary Quinto of Star Trek into Darkness); Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), who undergoes a startling change in personality; and deceptively calm serial killer Leigh Emerson (Ian McShane of Young and Willing). Along with a compelling storyline which pits Lana vs. Sister Jude (until everything gets switched around), there are alien abductions, weird monsters in the forests surrounding the asylum, a winged angel of death who makes periodic appearances, and even a self-indulgent but fun rock video with the sisters and patients dancing to "The Name Game." In other words, almost everything but the kitchen sink, but mostly it works. While the show occasionally comes close to veering into "torture porn" territory, it is very well-acted by all mentioned, with a truly marvelous Lange making a much better impression than she did in season one. One could say this season of American Horror Story has the spirit of E.C. Comics.

Verdict: Very entertaining, creepy, and with some excellent performances. ***.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

FALLEN ANGEL

Alice Faye and Dana Andrews
FALLEN ANGEL (1945). Producer/director: Otto Preminger.

" ... and love alone can make the fallen angel rise,  for only two together can enter paradise."

In a small coastal town not far from San Francisco, ex-publicity man Eric Stanton (Dana Andrews) has set his sights on the wealthy June Mills (Alice Faye), whose sister, Clara (Anne Revere), may be a tougher nut to crack. Then there's sexy waitress, Stella (Linda Darnell), who may throw a monkey wrench into Eric's schemes if he's not careful. A murder investigation ensues, which brings in tough detective Mark Judd (Charles Bickford), and a suspect named Dave Atkins (Bruce Cabot). Fallen Angel can be looked upon as a mystery, film noir, or whatever you want to call it, but it's full of such good performances and nice moments that it emerges as a strong (if flawed) and compelling drama. In a different role for her, Faye [On The Avenue] is excellent as a woman who loves someone unconditionally -- she has a particularly good moment telling Eric how she feels about him  --  Darnell [Day-Time Wife] is vivid and vital as the saucy waitress, and Andrews [Boomerang] gives another sharp and solid performance, playing a man who is more complex than he first appears. Revere, Cabot, Bickford, as well as John Carradine as a professor and Percy Kilbride as a cafe owner with feelings for Stella, are all on the mark. The story is, perhaps, wrapped up a bit too neatly, but this is an engrossing and interesting movie.

Verdict: One of Preminger's better efforts. ***.

TOMORROW AT SEVEN

TOMORROW AT SEVEN (1933). Director: Ray Enright.

A masked murderer who calls himself the Black Ace is stalking people in an old mansion. Neil Broderick (Chester Morris of The She-Creature) investigates, alternately helped and hindered by two cops played by Allan Jenkins and Frank McHugh. Vivienne Osborn is the heroine [a scene on a train when she tells a man she doesn't like the work of a certain author, unaware that he's the writer in question, was repeated in Leave Her to Heaven]. The suspects include Grant Mitchell and Charles Middleton [Daredevils of the Red Circle]. Tomorrow at Seven is unexceptional, but it does boast good performances from Morris, Jenkins, McHugh and Middleton, as well as from Virginia Howell as the housekeeper, and Henry Stephenson as Thornton Drake. As Old Dark House movies go, this one is no better nor worse than most of them, although it could be argued that this one just doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense.

Verdict: Creaky but engaging. **1/2.

THE MUSIC BOX KID

Luana Patten and Ron Foster
THE MUSIC BOX KID (1960). Director: Edward L. Cahn.

"The crumbs are the easiest kind of guys to knock off."

In 1920s Bronx, Larry Shaw (Ron Foster) is so ambitious for the good life and money that he goes to work as an enforcer for mob boss Chesty Miller (Grant Richards of The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake). His wife, Margaret (Luana Patten), and priest (Dayton Lummis), are dismayed by the kinds of people who pay a call at their home, but Larry is so determined to "make good" that he becomes the head of Miller's murder-for-hire squad. Shaw then hits on the idea of kidnapping Miller and other hoodlums for ransom, making him the target of all the bad guys in the Bronx. The Music Box Kid, said to be inspired by the life of "Dutch" Schultz, would be a fairly standard crime drama were it not uplifted by a terrific lead performance from the talented Foster [Cage of Evil]. Handsome, gifted, and charismatic, Foster had some very good roles but in the wrong, minor movies; he also did a lot of TV work. The "music box" of the title is a tommy gun.

Verdict: Foster is the whole show. **1/2.


THE MINOTAUR, THE WILD BEAST OF CRETE

THE MINOTAUR, THE WILD BEAST OF CRETE (aka Teseo contro il minotauro/1960). Director: Silvio Amadio.

Theseus (Bob Mathias) saves the life of a banished princess, Ariadne (Rosanna Schiaffino), whose own wicked sister, Princess Fedra (also Schiaffino), wants to kill her, seeing her as a rival and a threat to her power. Fedra is aided in her evil by the nasty Chirone (Alberto Lupo), who tries to manipulate her father, King Minosse (Carlo Tamberlani). Theseus has Demetrios (Rick Battaglia) on his side, as well as others who are secretly working against bitchy Fedra. When Ariadne is sacrificed along with a batch of virgins to the monstrous minotaur in its cavern, Theseus makes his way into the rocky maze to deal once and for all with the horrible creature. While deliberately-paced, The Minotaur is not a bad Italian fantasy film, and the shaggy, fanged minotaur itself is not too shabby. If you're expecting something along the lines of a Ray Harryhausen fantasy film, however, look elsewhere. California-born Mathias won medals in the Olympics, was a former marine, and after his brief acting career wound up became director of Selective Service and a congressman. His performance is okay, and Schiaffino is similarly vivid.

Verdict: Entertaining muscle man-monster movie. ***.


SCHIZO

SCHIZO (1976). Director: Pete Walker.

Samantha (Lynne Frederick of No Blade of Grass) is engaged to be married to Alan Falconer (John Leyton), but she can't shake a feeling of doom or the fear that she is being stalked by her crazy "stepfather," Haskin (Jack Watson of Tower of Evil). Sam seeks advice and comfort from her friend Beth (Stephanie Beacham of Inseminoid) and another friend, Leonard (John Fraser) who happens to be a handy psychiatrist. There's also a young psychic lady named Joy (Trisha Mortimer) who tries to give Samantha a desperate warning. Then bodies start dropping all around Sam ... Schizo is, if nothing else, suspenseful as it drops in its red herrings and clues as to the true identity of the maniac, but it's not especially memorable. Walker also directed The Comeback and House of Whipcord. His movies always just seem to miss.

Verdict: Half entertaining. **1/2.

WISEGUY Season One

Ken Wahl as Vinnie Terranova
 WISEGUY Season One. 1987.

Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) gets out of prison after several months and is the shame of his mother, whose other son is a priest. What Ma doesn't know -- and his brother does -- is that Vinnie only went to jail to cement his cover as an agent for the OCB (Organized Crime Bureau). His first assignment is to go to work for mob boss Sonny Steelgrave (Ray Sharkey), with whom he truly becomes friends. Wiseguy looks at the conflicted feelings of agents who have to get close to bad guys as part of their job, but who get to know them on a personal level and ultimately feel as if they are betraying them. In the first season's second story arc, Vinnie gets involved with hit man Roger LoCocco (William Russ) and his bosses, the nutty brother and sister team of Mel (Kevin Spacey, in his first major role) and Susan Profitt (Joan Severance). Wahl is perfect as Terranova, embodying the toughness he would need as an undercover hoodlum as well as the sensitivity to care not only for victims but on occasion for the bad guys as well (this gets a little sticky at times); his Brooklyn accent gets thicker as the season progresses. The other players already mentioned are also on the money, and there's fine work as well from Dennis Lipscomb as mob accountant Sidney; David Steinberg as a rogue government agent; Elsa Raven as Vinnie's mother; David Marciano as the psychotic Lorenzo; and others. Jim Byrnes is fine as "Lifeguard," an agent who answers all of Vinnie's questions and gives him information, and Jonathan Banks, a superb actor, is simply outstanding as Frank McPike, Vinnie's hard-headed but complex liaison in the agency. Joe Dallesandro is certainly interesting casting as rival mob boss, Patrice. While some of the developments in the series are not credible -- Vinnie proposing to a perfectly psychotic woman at one point -- and Vinnie is sometimes too sympathetic to the criminals (the second story arc in particular has a head-scratching wind-up) Wiseguy is entertaining and well-acted.

Verdict: Not quite a classic show but not bad and often suspenseful. ***.

FREE FALL

Hanno Koffler (top) and Max Riemelt
FREE FALL (aka Freier Fall/2013). Director: Stephant Lacant.

Marc Borgmann (Hanno Koffler), a German in the police academy, has a pregnant girlfriend (Katharine Schuttler) but finds himself attracted to the more open Kay (Max Riemelt), a very handsome fellow male cop. Marc tries to resist his attraction, but the affair has repercussions both on the job and within his family. Free Fall seems somewhat dated for the 21st century -- its story of a closeted, guilt-wracked man, although such men certainly still exist, smacks more of the 1970's. The characters are not developed enough, which is particularly true for Kay, who seems to exist only to be sexy and "torment" Marc. [You might also be left with the sense that Kay is a bit out of Marc's league.] In other words, it's all been done before and done better. Even That Certain Summer, made forty years (!) earlier for American television, was more progressive. The acting is quite good, however. This got much more enthusiastic reactions than it deserved. If taken as a parable that shows how old-fashioned shame screws up a gay person's life it might have some resonance, but that may be giving it too much credit.

Verdict: Downbeat, rather regressive (however unintended), and a little pointless. **.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

GREAT OLD MOVIES

As I had an edition of Great Old Movies posted for Thanksgiving, I am taking off this week. More news and reviews will be posted next week. As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER

THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962). Director: John Gilling.

"I'm not a man of action. Perhaps I think too much to be brave."

Jason Standing (Andrew Kier), a magistrate at a 17th century Huguenot settlement on the isle of Devon, sends his own son Jonathon (Kerwin Mathews) to a penal colony for the alleged crime of adultery. Jason manages to escape and falls in with a group of French pirates run by a Captain LaRoche (Christopher Lee). Being assured that the pirates represent no danger to his people, Jonathon leads them back to Devon, and discovers you can't quite trust the word of a pirate. Other characters caught up in the action include Jonathon's sister Bess (Marla Landi), and her fella, Henry (Glenn Corbett of Homicidal). Michael Ripper and Oliver Reed [Paranoiac] play other pirates. This is a very handsome non-horror Hammer production, with Lee, unfortunately, being more subdued than usual in trying to avoid the stereotype of the fire-breathing pirate chief. There is an unconvincing attack by piranha, but Gary Hughes' score is a plus, as is the photography of Arthur Grant [The Terror of the Tongs]. Andrew Kier offers the most memorable performance.

Verdict: Not bad Hammer historical melodrama with an interesting cast. **1/2.

MILLION DOLLAR WEEKEND

Gene Raymond and Osa Massen aka Stephanie Paull
MILLION DOLLAR WEEKEND (1948). Director: Gene Raymond.

Stockbroker Nicholas Lawrence (Gene Raymond) steals a million dollars cash from the office safe and takes off for a "vacation." On the flight to Honolulu he meets troubled Cynthia Strong (Osa Massen using the name "Stephanie Paull" for the first and, apparently, only time), who is under suspicion of murdering her husband. These two people bond, developing feelings for each other, but they have to deal not only with their own possible guilt but with Alan Marker (Francis Lederer), who tries to blackmail Cynthia but then is content to run off with Nicholas' suitcase full of loot. Nicholas and Cynthia pursue Alan to San Francisco, where Lawrence is desperate to recover the money so he can return it before the theft can be discovered ... Million Dollar Weekend is a good and unpredictable suspense film bolstered by very good performances from Raymond [The Locket] and Lederer [Terror is a Man], and has a lively climax. Osa Massen [A Woman's Face] is okay as Cynthia. The picture doesn't have a lot of style but as the director, as well as star, Raymond keeps things moving. Massen's clothing was designed by Barbara Barondess MacLean, former actress turned fashion designer.

Verdict: Quick entertaining melodrama. ***.

SO RED THE ROSE

Randolph Scott and Margaret Sullavan; guess who loves whom
SO RED THE ROSE (1935). Director: King Vidor.

When the Civil War breaks out it deeply affects the Southern Bedford family, run by patriarch, Malcolm (Walter Connolly), who is married to Sally (Janet Beecher), with whom he has two sons (Harry Ellerbe; Dickie Moore) and a daughter, Val (Margaret Sullavan). Val is in love with a distant cousin, Duncan (Randolph Scott), but he seems completely unaware of her feelings whereas George Pendleton (Robert Cummings) has affection for Val. At first Duncan tries to be neutral, which prompts Val to accuse him of cowardice, not exactly the right way to get a romance off to a good start. But then Duncan joins up with the confederacy and off to war he goes ... This is a more or less forgotten Civil War epic made four years before Gone With the Wind, but it's a creditable film, bolstered by fine performances by Sullavan [The Good Fairy], Connolly, and others; Elizabeth Patterson [Lady on a Train] overacts a bit as old Mary Cherry but is also good. On the debit side is a lot of phony glory and the depiction of rebellious slaves as being both lazy and criminal. Johnny Downs [Trocadero] plays a Yankee soldier, a mere boy, who is temporarily hidden by the Bedfords. The film is well-photographed by Victor Milner -- one especially striking shot shows Sullavan running past a tree into the sun.

Verdict: Anything with Sullavan in it is of interest, but this is not a bad movie despite flaws. ***.

THE FAKE

THE FAKE (1953). Director: Godfrey Grayson.

Paul Mitchell (Dennis O'Keefe of Weekend for Three) is investigating the theft of a couple of da Vinci paintings when he arrives at the Tate gallery in London. Once there, he suspects that the da Vinci in their collection is a fake. One of the main suspects for the forgery is an unsuccessful painter named Henry Mason (John Laurie of Island of Desire), whose daughter, Mary (Colleen Gray of The Phantom Planet), works at the gallery and is appalled and angered by Mitchell's suspicions, which hardly helps him make time with her. Others mixed up in the case include Smith (Guy Middleton), Peter Randall (Gerald Case), and Sir Richard Aldingham (Hugh Williams). Will Mitchell survive this investigation as the forger gets increasingly desperate to avoid capture? The only really interesting thing about this by-the-numbers movie with its TV-like production is that the score is based on Mussorgsky's "Pictures from an Exhibition." The acting is decent.

Verdict: Not quite a fake movie, but close. **.

THE BIG CAPER

THE BIG CAPER (1957). Director: Robert Stevens.

Frank Harper (Rory Calhoun of Night of the Lepus) is the original instigator of a plot to rob a bank that holds a huge Army payroll. Among Harper's confederates are nervous Zimmer (Robert H. Harris of Mirage), pretty Kay (Mary Costa), Harry (Paul Picerni), big operator Flood (James Gregory of Nightfall), and sexually ambiguous Roy (Corey Allen), who wiggles his ass in front of Kay but is also gleefully whipped by Flood in one weird sequence. Harper has second thoughts about the whole business when he learns that part of the scheme includes blowing up a school ... The kinky characters are what distinguishes this otherwise standard caper movie, which has some good performances, especially from Gregory, Harris and Allen. Roxanne Arlen plays a woman who has the misfortune of getting in with the gang.  Robert Stevens also directed In the Cool of the Day and many television shows.

Verdict: Okay caper film with some zesty scenes and acting. **1/2.

TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000

TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000 (1958). Director/writer: Robert J. Gurney Jr.

On an isolated island scientists are working on a machine that can both send and receive items to and from the future. It takes nearly an hour for them to drag the title "terror" from the future, a radioactive woman (Salome Jens) who kills in a panic and runs about like a mutant, clawed chicken with its head cut off. The picture becomes livelier with her appearance, but not much better, as it is basically a low-budget sci fi programmer with a couple of interesting ideas but mediocre execution. Jens is the only actor in the cast who makes any kind of impression, and she went on to better things, such as the excellent Seconds with Rock Hudson. The movie is badly over-scored. Leading lady Joyce Holden was also in The Werewolf.

Verdict: Go out and miss this visitor. **.


THE CORPSE CAME C.O.D.

George Brent
THE CORPSE CAME C.O.D. (1947). Director: Henry Levin.

Beautiful actress Mona Harrison (Adele Jergens) gets a big crate delivered to her, postage due, and discovers that there's a dead body inside it! The corpse belongs to Hector Rose (Cosmo Sardo), a fashion designer for the studio. As handsome Lt. Wilson (Jim Bannon of Unknown World) tries to solve the case, he is helped and hampered by two rival reporters -- Joe (George Brent) and Rosemary (Joan Blondell) -- who are fighting their attraction to one another. Then there's another murder, and a mysterious cache of diamonds. You want to like The Corpse Came C.O.D., because of its premise and its cast -- Adele Jergens [The Fuller Brush Man] in particular is a Great Old Movies favorite -- but this sinks into tiresome mediocrity almost from the first, although the identity of the killer is a mild surprise. The leads do their best to enliven the somewhat leaden proceedings. Adele looks great -- she puts poor Blondell [We're in the Money] in the shade -- but this is not one of her more memorable performances. Such reliable actors as Una O'Connor and Grant Mitchell do their bit and there are quite a few familiar faces, including famous columnists such as Hedda and Louella, who are featured in a prologue about Hollywood. The producers obviously wanted to hedge their bets by using the columnists/critics in the movie, but it doesn't make the picture any better.

Verdict: Dead nearly on arrival. **.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

FLIGHT TO HONG KONG

FLIGHT TO HONG KONG (1956). Director: Joseph M. Newman.

"When a man makes a mistake, all of his friends suffer."

Tony Dumont (Rory Calhoun of The Colossus of Rhodes) has been living well ever since he got in with hood Michael Quisto (Paul Picerni), to the consternation of his fiancee, Jean (Delores Donlon). Tony's rationale is that he was afraid to say no to Quisto. On a flight to Hong Kong Tony meets writer/socialite Pamela Vincent (Barbara Rush) and the two are attracted to each other; the flight is hijacked to assist in the theft of a fortune in industrial diamonds, a theft that Dumont has actually had a hand in. As Pamela pursues Tony -- his fiancee be damned -- Tony's associates Nicco (Pat Conway) and Lobero (Aram Katcher) try to betray Quisto with unpleasant results. But then, drawn to Pamela, Tony makes up his mind to do the same thing ... Flight to Hong Kong is a flavorful, unpredictable crime drama with interesting settings from Hong Kong to Macao, good photography (Ellis W. Carter), and a suspenseful final quarter. Other cast members include Werner Klemperer, Carleton Young and Mel Welles [The Little Shop of Horrors] but the best performances are from Barbara Rush [Bigger Than Life] and Soo Yong as Tony's friend, Mama Lin. Nice score by Albert Glasser.

Verdict: Not bad at all. ***.

CASH ON DEMAND

Peter Cushing and Andre Morrell
CASH ON DEMAND (1961). Director: Quentin Lawrence.

Harry Fordyce (Peter Cushing of Frankenstein Created Woman) is a tight-assed manager of a local bank. One afternoon into the bank walks amiable Colonel Gore Hepburn (Andre Morell of The Plague of the Zombies), who represents the firm of Home and Mercantile, which provides security for the bank. Once Fordyce and Hepburn are ensconced in the former's office, Fordyce receives a desperate phone call from his wife, who tells him that she and their little boy are being held prisoner. Hepburn then coolly tells him that if he wants the woman and child to live, he must help him rob the bank ... Cash on Demand is not only suspenseful, but beautifully acted by the two principals and the rest of the cast. It even manages a moment or two of pathos. It is a real and rare treat to watch those fine actors Cushing and Morell work together. Quentin Lawrence also directed the delightful Crawling Eye/Trollenberg Terror.

Verdict: A little gem from Hammer studios. ***.


ROCKETSHIP X-M

The astronauts explore red planet Mars
ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950). Director/producer/writer: Kurt Neumann.

The first manned spaceship and its team -- consisting of Colonel Floyd Graham (Lloyd Bridges), Major William Corrigan (Noah Beery Jr.), Dr. Karl Eckstrom (John Emery of Kronos),  Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen), and Harry Chamberlain (Hugh O'Brian) -- take off for the moon but somehow, as if they were Abbott and Costello, wind up on Mars instead. Wandering around in stark, red-tinted landscapes, they discover stone age savages and have a depressing realization. The decent production values insure that the sets and FX are less cheesy than they are in similar movies, and there's a nice theme by Ferde Grofe [Albert Glasser was musical director]. The picture was also photographed by Karl Struss [Sunrise] and has a downbeat conclusion. Morris Ankrum gives perhaps the best performance as Dr. Fleming back on earth. There are no giant spiders in this although some may feel it could have used them.

Verdict: Not quite serious sci fi but close. ***.

THE MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES

THE MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (aka Perseo L'invincible/Perseus Against the Monsters/1963). Director: Alberto De Martino.

Perseus (Richard Harrison), an "honorary" son of Hercules, becomes embroiled in a war between two kingdoms, Seriglos and Argos. The ranks of the soldiers from the former kingdom, where Princess Andromeda (Anna Ranalli) holds court, have been depleted by a man-eating dragon that emerges from a lake, and many more have fallen victim to a Medusa in a valley whose gaze turns men into stone statues. Perseus must first manage to conquer the dragon, then decides to free all of the soldiers turned to stone by taking on the nearly impossible task of killing the hideous gorgon. Apparently there were a number of Italian mythological flicks made that, at least in their American versions, featured assorted "Sons of Hercules" and this is one of them. Carlo Rambaldi worked on the monsters: a mechanical dragon with limited movement which nevertheless doesn't look too terrible; and the Medusa, who resembles a tree with one yellow glowing eye and many hair-like stalks. Richard Harrison was an American muscle man hired to star in many Italian epics of this nature; he is still working in films at seventy-nine. The settings and music are effective and the film is modestly entertaining, although not in the league of the original Clash of the Titans, which also features Perseus and Medusa. De Martino also directed Kirk Douglas in The Chosen.

Verdict: Fun Italian spectacle. **1/2.

HOUSE OF WHIPCORD

HOUSE OF WHIPCORD (1974). Director: Pete Walker.

Anne-Marie (Penny Irving) falls for a guy who calls himself "Mark E. DeSade" (Robert Tayman). Unfortunately, Anne-Marie doesn't get the reference, and she goes off with him to meet his parents. Said parents turn out to be a demented former judge (Patrick Barr) and his wife (Barbara Markham), who, with the assistance of two female prison guards, capture and punish "loose" and immoral women for their alleged betterment. House of Whipcord is not the super-sadistic, gruesome field day that one might imagine  -- and some might have preferred -- but it isn't badly acted and holds the attention, although it should have been trimmed of at least twenty minutes. The older actors make more of an impression, with Sheila Keith vivid as the somewhat butch matron, Walker. Director Pete Walker, in the meantime, also directed SchizoThe Comeback (in which Keith was also quite effective), and several other horror films.

Verdict: Not terrible, just kind of ho-hum. **.

CAGE OF EVIL

CAGE OF EVIL (1960). Director: Edward L. Cahn.

Detective Scott Harper (Ron Foster) is bitter because he's been passed over again for a promotion, but the higher-ups feel the man is too free with his fists. Sexy blond showgirl Holly Taylor (Pat Blair) comes upon Harper in his disgruntled state, and cooks up a scheme for the two of them involving stolen diamonds and betrayal. The movie has a good script by Orville H. Hampton (although the narration is unnecessary), but what really puts it over is two very good lead performances from Foster and Blair [City of Fear]. Cahn's direction is typically undynamic. Robert Shayne [The Neanderthal Man], Henry Darrow, and Ted Knight are also in the cast.

Verdict: Rather absorbing low-budget crime drama with good performances. ***.

GRABBERS

Watch out for that mouth!
GRABBERS (2012). Director: Jon Wright.

On isolated Erin Island, where nothing much ever happens, Garda [or cop] Lisa Nolan (Ruth Bradley) comes to work temporarily. Ciaran O'Shea (Richard Coyle), who drinks more than he should, is the island officer she is assigned to. Before long they both have their hands full with alien monstrosities of varying sizes -- one is absolutely huge -- who have slimy tentacles the better to snatch you up with and insert you into their toothy maws for dinner. Scientist Adam Smith (Russell Tovey) and the others determine that people who survive attacks by the monsters have a large amount of alcohol in their systems, so the two cops gather up the island residents to the local pub and get everybody drunk to save their lives; liquor is toxic to the hungry creatures. This is a likable, mildly gruesome horror-comedy that is abetted by good actors playing engaging characters; it's scary and funny but ultimately a little too silly for its own good. The FX and photography are top-notch.

Verdict: Not as much fun perhaps nor as inventive as Attack of the Crab Monsters, but it has its moments. **1/2.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

SEPTEMBER STORM

SEPTEMBER STORM (1960). Director: Byron Haskin.

In Majorca Joe Balfour (Mark Stevens of The Dark Corner) and his buddy Ernie (Robert Strauss of Here Come the Girls) hope that model Anne Traymore (Joanne Dru) will use her feminine charm to convince handsome young Manuel Montoya (Asher Dann) to let them use his boat to find some lost treasure of doubloons. They don't realize that Manuel only pretends to be a wealthy playboy and the boat is really owned by his employer, LeClerc (Jean-Pierre Kerien). A bigger problem is that Ernie may not really be the buddy that Joe thinks he is. September Storm is okay enough, but is much too leisurely-paced to build up much suspense, and is rather slipshod all told. Dru is odd casting. Supposedly this was shot in 3D, but you'd never know it. This was charming Dann's first movie; his other four credits were in television. Kerien made mostly French films.

Verdict: Not even three dimensions could save this. **.

TYRONE POWER EXHIBIT AT THE HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM


I got an email from Nicole Player, Manager of Media Relations & Operations at Weissman/Markovitz Communications:

Since you are an obvious fan of classic Hollywood, I wanted to forward you info about a new exhibit that might be of interest to your readers…

The Hollywood Museum, which houses the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world, is celebrating matinee idol TYRONE POWER’s centennial birthday year with a huge exhibit, opening this Friday, November 14. Tyrone Power was a huge heartthrob back in the 30s-50s and he has a huge following among classic Hollywood buffs like yourself.



 
NOTE: Some of Power's most memorable performances can be seen in Witness for the ProsecutionSon of Fury, The Mark of Zorro, Diplomatic Courier, Day-Time Wife, and Nightmare Alley.

 And here is the press release with lots of details:
 
Hollywood, CA, November 5, 2014 - The Hollywood Museum debuts “Tyrone Power: Man, Myth & Movie Idol,” celebrating Tyrone Power, sexy stage and screen idol of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, and his centennial birthday year with an intimate retrospective curated in collaboration with his son, Tyrone Power, Jr. This special exhibition will take an ‘inside’ look at the life, passions and career of the handsome star of more than 50 films, best known for his swashbuckler roles, romantic leads and striking good looks. The exhibit is on display November 14 through January 11, 2015, at The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building located at 1660 N. Highland Ave. at Hollywood Blvd.

Power was one of the top male sex symbols of Hollywood's golden era, from 1936 to 1958. He became an overnight sensation at just 22 years old and made more than 50 films during his career. Six months after his breakout role in Lloyd's of London (1936), his hand and footprints were memorialized in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Power was nicknamed "King of the Movies" by his fans and was also recognized as “King of the Fox Lot” (20th Century Fox Studios).

“We are delighted to spotlight one of Hollywood’s greatest legends and heartthrobs whose star talents transcended motion pictures, radio, live theater and television,” said Donelle Dadigan, Founder and President of The Hollywood Museum.

The “Tyrone Power: Man, Myth & Movie Idol” exhibition explores Power’s personal life including many illustrious romances, three marriages and three children. The comprehensive collection includes never before displayed items gathered from family, friends, private collectors and The Hollywood Museum archives.

Highlights of the Exhibition includes:

Costumes worn by Power include the iconic matador “suit of lights” from Blood and Sand (1941); embroidered pants from The Mark of Zorro (1940); black tailcoat with silver buttons from Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake (1942); black hat with red feathers from Captain from Castile (1947); navy suit from The Luck of the Irish (1948) and much more.

Costumes worn by Power’s co-stars include a black gown worn by Maureen O’Hara in The Long Gray Line (1955), a pink brocade gown worn by Wanda Hendrix in Prince of Foxes (1949), a crème silk with fur trim jacket and gown worn by Gene Tierney in That Wonderful Urge (1948), a red sequin costume worn by Coleen Gray in Nightmare Alley (1947), a chartreuse ball gown from Marie Antoinette (1938) starring Norma Shearer; a vest worn by Don Ameche in In Old Chicago (1937) among many others.

Behind the Scenes in Hollywood include Power’s silk brocade dressing gown; personal mementos and photos provide a private look at Power’s many romances, three marriages, cars, friends and family.

Hollywood History - Power kept a copy of scripts from all of his movies. The exhibit includes scripts from The Razor’s Edge (1946), Blood and Sand (1941) and three 1937 films: Thin Ice, Love Is News and In Old Chicago. This collection also includes lobby cards, posters, press kits, press books and sheet music from songs in his many films.


Collectors include
Tyrone Power, Jr., Taryn Power, Romina Power, Maria Ciaccia, Debbie Beno, Cindra Reaume Webber and The Hollywood Museum Archives.

For Exhibit Photos: Click here

ABOUT TYRONE POWER:
Power appeared in a wide variety of film genres, from musicals to comedies, from westerns and swashbucklers, to dramas, showing a remarkable acting range. Before he made it in Hollywood, Power began his career on Broadway, mentored by stage actress Katharine Cornell. Scouts spotted him in a play and he was signed by 20th Century-Fox, becoming their top leading man for many years. He worked with most of the famous actors and directors of his time, including directors such as King Vidor, and actors Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, Jeanne Crain, Alice Faye, Al Jolson, Cesar Romero, George Sanders, Loretta Young and Lana Turner, with whom he had a well-publicized romance in 1946. He also had liaisons with Judy Garland and Mai Zetterling.

Power took time out of his career to serve his country as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot in World War II, flying wounded soldiers out of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His father, actor Tyrone Power, Sr., died in the arms of his son while on a film set. Power Jr.’s own life was cut short at the age of 44 when he had a heart attack on the movie set of Solomon and Sheba (1959). Actor Yul Brynner replaced him in the film. During his career, Power turned down a number of powerful roles including Burt Lancaster’s role in From Here to Eternity (1953) and Richard Burton’s lead role in The Robe (1953).

ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD MUSEUM IN THE HISTORIC MAX FACTOR BUILDING:
The Hollywood Museum in the Historic Max Factor Building houses over 10,000 real showbiz treasures and the most extensive collection of Hollywood costumes, star cars, props, posters, photographs and memorabilia in the world showcasing more than 100 years of Hollywood history. Discover the glamour of old Hollywood from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and Elvis Presley. Experience the excitement of today’s Hollywood stars from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, to Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Lo, Miley Cyrus, George Clooney among many others. The Hollywood Museum is also home to Max Factor's world-famous makeup rooms where Marilyn Monroe became a blonde and Lucille Ball first donned her signature red hair. Exhibitions spotlight Marilyn Monroe: The Exhibit, Hannibal Lecter's jail cell movie set from The Silence of the Lambs The historic photo gallery and the official walk of fame exhibit. The Hollywood Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Location
: 1660 N. Highland Ave. (at Hollywood Blvd). Hollywood, CA 90028
Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm
Tickets:
General admissions $15, $12 for students and seniors; and $5 for children five and under.
Museum information: (323) 464-7776 | The Hollywood Museum

Follow the museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

MEDIA CONTACT:
Cheri Warner l Weissman/Markovitz Communications I cheri@publicity4all.com l 818.760.8995