Lightning Strikes Twice


Melodrama is essentially just emotionally supercharged drama. Somehow it has garnered if not a bad reputation over the years then at the very least one which attracts a degree of critical sneering. Its defining characteristics, those heated and indeed often overheated passions and emotions, seem to embarrass a lot of cultural commentators, leaving them unable to assess the strengths and the draw of melodrama with any sense of proportion, something that rarely occurs with other genres. Would it not be odd to kick a western for featuring gunfights, a horror movie for including monsters, or a comedy for having the effrontery to raise a laugh? Yet there is no shortage of critics jostling for a prime place in the line formed up to sling brickbats at melodrama. As a result, few people want to associate their names or their company’s names with melodrama, preferring to slap another label on the product, one which is perceived as having more marketing clout and thus greater respectability. Lightning Strikes Twice (1951) is without doubt a melodrama, with all the heightened atmosphere and feeling that one would expect. However, I have seen it labeled film noir, which is both a disservice to the movie itself and a misleading descriptor for potential viewers.

The opening scene leads us to Death Row where a man, pacing his cell like some caged beast, awaits the hour of his execution after having been convicted of the murder of his wife. Then right at the last moment, following an oddly flipped situation which sees a priest seeking forgiveness from the condemned man, word comes through that a stay of execution has been granted in order to permit a retrial. It is soon learned that the new trial has ended with a jury split right down the middle and unable to reach a verdict. So Richard Trevelyan (Richard Todd) walks free, and promptly drops out of sight. It is here that the main point of view character is introduced: Shelley Carnes (Ruth Roman) is an actress on sabbatical for health reasons and riding a bus through Texas on her way to a dude ranch. By chance and coincidence, for no melodrama would be worth its name without a liberal sprinkling of both mechanisms, she runs into a middle-aged couple who are keen to extend help and hospitality, for reasons which will be revealed later. The upshot is Shelley winds up on a remote desert road in the middle of a huge downpour and is forced to seek temporary refuge in the first house she spies. The one person in residence, and he has only just arrived, is Trevelyan. As he tells his tale to Shelley, she is not unsympathetic. The story is incomplete though and the viewer, as well as the characters on the screen, is left unsure of exactly what happened.

So is this a film noir? Well no it’s not, and the fact is that, despite some gloriously inky cinematography by Sid Hickox, the script is not so much dark as muddy. It plunges the viewer into a dizzyingly complex set of interlocking, interlinking and interdependent relationships where jealousy, infidelity, despair and yearning all jockey for position. The screenplay by Lenore J Coffee packs in as much emotional tumult and turbulence as possible and the stark, broiling desert setting is a fitting location for it all. The ghost of Trevelyan’s late wife is ever present, haunting both the past and present of everybody involved. As in Hitchcock’s Rebecca, our never seeing this character lends her a power in death that is every bit as malignant as her influence in life is said to have been.

Perhaps there is a bit too much doubt or ambiguity injected into proceedings. The truth is that once one strips away the admittedly well rendered atmospherics the mystery at the heart of the film is not that hard to crack. Still,the direction of King Vidor (Duel in the Sun, Man Without a Star, Ruby Gentry) is a visual delight, exhibiting great style and creativity. He frequently captures characters either in reflection or in frames within frames. The effect here is that the full picture is never allowed to emerge, with something always obscured or placed strategically out of sight. This serves to heighten the sense of unease and suspicion, leaving viewers and characters unsure and feeling forever at a loss.

Both Richard Todd  and Ruth Roman were riding high at this point and getting some plum roles. Todd had just recently received great acclaim for The Hasty Heart and had taken the lead in Hitchcock’s Stage Fright. His career saw him take on a variety of square-jawed heroic parts but he was equally effective in more ambivalent roles too. Coincidentally, Ruth Roman was working with Hitchcock around this time as well, as the leading lady in the superlative Strangers on a Train. I’ve always felt she had an air of toughness about her, and while that quality is discernible here she never allows it to override the innate vulnerability which is essential for her role to make sense. If the careers of Todd and Roman were in the ascendancy, then the same cannot be said for Zachary Scott. His star was on the wane and this would be the  last movie he made at Warner Brothers. His part reflects this decline too, a supporting role at best which sees him only appear in the latter half of proceedings and with just one notable scene – an edgy nighttime drive across the desert with Roman. Mercedes McCambridge gives another masterclass in twitchy, quivering frustration as the owner of the dude ranch  – surely no other actress has been as accomplished at portraying dissatisfied, self-loathing types.

Lightning Strikes Twice is available on DVD via the Warner Archive and the transfer looks quite strong. Personally, I like this movie – the stars, director, genre and overall look and vibe appeal to me. However, I realize this type of thing is not going to work for everybody. Again, I feel it is a real stretch to call this a film noir and anyone approaching it on those terms is likely to come away feeling disappointed and short-changed. Sure it has the look of noir at times and one could say it does pause to light up a smoke and cast a glance down those murky cinematic alleys on occasion but it is melodrama all the way, and an enjoyable example of that genre for those who are happy to embrace it.

166 thoughts on “Lightning Strikes Twice

    • I do think the mystery confronting the characters is a bit transparent and, despite a few red herrings, not too taxing to unravel. Nonetheless, the movie offers up a very entertaining ride that looks attractive and it held my interest all the way too.

      Like

  1. I like your choice of film to write about here, Colin, as well as your always-excellent choice of words to paint us a good picture.
    I completely concur over the negative view of melodrama, which is a pity, and the vast over-use of the term ‘film noir’ to describe a ton of films that are no such thing. I would describe all ‘films noir’ as thrillers or crime dramas yet a vast majority of thrillers or crime dramas are not ‘noirs’. I cannot think, for instance, of a single Hitchcock film that could be properly described as ‘noir’.
    As to “LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE”, it is a film I enjoy considerably and would not hesitate to recommend. I’ve long liked Richard Todd. Ruth Roman is an actress I have come to appreciate more and more in recent years; she always felt ‘accessible’ or one of us somehow and not a distant ‘glamour-puss’. Zachary Scott’scareer may have been going South but he was never boring – ever.
    A darned good melodrama!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott is indeed never boring, regardless of the phase of his career. The movie is attractively cast, and well cast in that the actors inhabit their roles comfortably.
      Normally, labeling of movies doesn’t concern me greatly, and I’ve likely been guilty of playing loose with terms myself. However, on occasion, this kind of thing gets my attention due to the fact potential viewers may well end up short-changed or misinformed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Regarding Zachary Scott and his place in the film industry. Ruthless was produced by Arthur Lyons, an agent, not anything to do with the festival in Palms Springs, It was his only production, however, he had a string of top stars one of whom was Louis Hayward, who thought the project and expectations for it were naive. The studio shared some of that and felt the casting was weak, but only $15,000 remained in the budget. Arthur went to Hayward and offered him the part, but Louis’s last price had been $100,000.00. This was Hayward’s solution. Give him back the commission on Repeat Peformance, charge no commission for Ruthless and he would defer the remaining $65,000, making the full hundred. That was workable, the film was shot, the deferment unpaid. Louis sued, and w on, but this turns out to be a lesson in unintended consequences.

        Louis lost Arthur as an agent, and in the short term that had no effect on his career, The Black Arrow and Walk A Crooked Mile sent up at Columbia, and Pirates of Capri an independent film shot in Italy ready to get. It also had no effect on House By the River, but from 1950 onward, while his fees remeaned high for several years, the quality of the project deteriorated. No Arthur Lyons to protect him,. An unintended consequence of doing a misguided but well-intentioned deed. As for Zach, neither he nor Diana nor even Greenstreet were thought able to carry a serious film in release.

        As for Scott, this was no reflection on his work, but the part he was suited for and the exhibitor response to him headlining.

        Like

        • Very interesting. Looking back now, I wonder if the passage of time and the changed perspectives that brings would alter our views of any of those stars. I know I’d certainly watch a movie headlined by any one of those based on my liking for their work. I’ve a hunch, although it can’t obviously be any more than that, that a good many others would feel the same.

          Like

    • Melodrama and “women’s pictures” were sneered at because they were seen as movies aimed at women.

      One of the curious things about Hollywood history is that the rise of feminism coincided with a decline in movies aimed at women. As Molly Haskell pointed out years ago, movies with good meaty roles for women (which were usually melodramas) had largely disappeared by the end of the 60s. Actresses were largely reduced to what were effectively secondary roles as the hero’s girlfriend.

      By the 90s actresses were getting cast as kickass action heroines, which were in fact simply male roles played by women.

      One of the many ways in which the movies of the 30s to the early 60s were better than movies of recent times is that they offered much better careers for actresses.

      Like

      • I think there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the aims and characteristics of melodrama at play as much as anything else.
        That is an interesting observation about the changing nature of roles for leading actresses over the years.

        Like

        • I think the thing I dislike most of all is the tendency to treat melodramas as camp. So then it becomes OK to like these movies as long as you like them in an ironic way. To me that’s even more condescending than just dismissing these films out of hand.

          My problem is that a lot of the movies I love get stuck with that camp label and I know I’m only supposed to like them in an ironic way but I can’t help it – I end up loving them in an unfashionably unironic way.

          Like

            • I have a particular ‘bugbear’. When some other men dismiss a film with a good story that may have general appeal (a melodrama quite likely) as a ‘Chick Flick’. Grrr – as though a bloke shouldn’t lower himself to such fare. What absolute tripe!

              Like

              • Jerry, I agree. A lot of the golden age Hollywood movies that I particularly love were considered at the time to be “women’s pictures” – they were movies very much about women. I don’t see why it should be considered odd that a man would be interested in the subject of women.

                Like

            • When I read online reviews it’s often painfully obvious that the reviewer has already decided before seeing the movie that it’s going to be “camp” or “so bad it’s good” and once they’ve made that decision their viewing of the movie is hopelessly distorted.

              It’s also often obvious with online reviews (and sadly many mainstream reviews) that if a movie has a poor critical reputation the reviewer has decided before even watching the movie that they’re going to give it a smug snarky review.

              Like

                • I agree. And you have a lot more fun with movies if you approach them with an open mind. It’s getting harder and harder to find people able to approach movies with an open mind – too many seem to get annoyed if a movie isn’t the way they would have made it.

                  Like

                  • I’m a simple soul and when I sit down to watch a film I like to relax, watch it straight through as I would have on its first showing on the big screen. In short – enjoy it (hopefully).

                    Like

                    • A film must entertain before it does anything else, any other ambition is practically guaranteed to fail if it does not fulfill that elementary function. Ideally, though a movie ought to able to offer entertainment and have something to say to us ourselves and/or our place in the world. Those criteria need not be mutually exclusive.

                      Liked by 1 person

                  • It’s important to look at any form of art or entertainment for what it is rather than what we would like it to be. I won’t say I always manage to do so but I do try to keep that basic rule in mind out of respect for those who produced the work.

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not seen this one Colin. Mostly I would consider myself a Vidor fan, especially his works in the 20s and 30s but am less if a fan of the later stuff (I once had the great privilege to watching a nitrate print of Duel in the Sun projected at the Festival Hall but I still found it annoyingly overblown) – I certainly need to be in the right mood for melodrama! But this sounds full of good things so will keep an eye out. Thanks.

    Like

    • In contrast, I’d be more familiar with Vidor’s later work and I generally like what I’ve seen of it. Melodrama is not going to work for everyone, no genre will have universal appeal after all. This movie does have the mystery element, the noirish visuals and a fairly compact running time in its favor though, so you might enjoy it more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Talking of King Vidor, I have just bought the Warner Archive DVD of the 1930 film “BILLY THE KID” starring Johnny Mack Brown and Wallace Beery. This quite famous film had so far eluded me and I really look forward to getting to it. With Vidor at the helm it was a prestigious production but I’m not sure how well it did. Mack Brown was a handsome ex-football star who was built up but his time at the top was brief and he quickly found himself in Poverty Row westerns where he went on to become one of the top stars of series westerns.

        Like

  3. Colin
    Thanks for the write-up. “Lightning Strikes Twice” is something that I have never seen. So needless to say it goes on my future watch list.. I have not seen a lot of Todd films, but I do like 1949’s “Interrupted Journey” and 1961’s “The Long and the Short and the Tall”.

    As for Miss Roman, I am a fan of her roles in “Tomorrow is Another Day” from 1951 and 1949’s “The Window”.

    Gord

    Like

  4. Jerry
    You mention Johnny Mack Brown. As it so happens one of my cable channels is having a Mack Brown festival. Titles are, THE COURAGEOUS AVENGER- 35, BRANDED A COWARD-35, BETWEEN MEN-35, THE CROOKED TRAIL,-36, A LAWMAN IS BORN-37, GUNS IN THE DARK-37, THE GAMBLING TERROR-37, BOOTHILL BRIGADE-37, BAR-Z BAD MEN-37, BAD MAN FROM RED BUTTE-40, RAWHIDE RANGERS-41, LAW MEN-44, and the serial, WILD WEST DAYS-37.
    Gordon

    Like

    • Cripes, that’s quite a list, Gord! The first 9 on the list were produced by A.W. Hackel for Supreme Pictures who were simultaneously putting out a group starring Bob Steele. Sometime in 1936 or so they were picked up by the new Republic Studios to distribute. They were low-budget affairs but for old posse-members like me they have a lot of charm.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Today I recorded THE WHISTLER and CRIME DOCTOR off TCM. They are as far as I know the first of their particular series. A treat for me as I have not seen either one before. I think Colin mentioned that he was a fan of the CRIME DOCTOR film. Hope I got that right.

    Gordon

    Like

    • Yes, you did hear that right. Crime Doctor is what we’d probably call an origins story nowadays, getting the back story in place. It’s enjoyable enough but I reckon the next half dozen or so movies in the series are better and just more fun all round before the last one or two (naturally enough I guess) see the quality dip a bit.
      The Whistler series was restored or spruced up and released on disc of course, it would be wonderful if something similar happened to the Crime Doctor movies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m very fond of both those Columbia series. “THE WHISTLER” in particular is a bit unusual. Richard Dix of course so that’s a plus for me.
        On the subject of film series of the 40s I have a huge fondness for Universal’s Sherlock Holmes films. Rathbone and Bruce were priceless.

        Like

          • I’ve seen at least three of Karloff’s Mr Wong movies. I liked them. The Mr Wong of the movies bears no resemblance to the Mr Wong of Hugh Wiley’s original stories. In the stories he’s very young and totally Americanised.

            But Karloff got the role because he had the star power and I like his performances. As played by Karloff Mr Wong is Chinese but Oxford-educated and he is in many ways an English gentleman.

            They have an interestingly different feel to the Charlie Chan movies. Karloff doesn’t play Mr Wong for comedy at all. If you enjoy the crime B-movies of the era you should enjoy them.

            Like

              • I know that the Warner oland Chan films were good productions but, for me, if we are looking at Asian detectives 20th Century Fox’s “MR. MOTO” films with Peter Lorre are hard to beat.

                Like

                • Jerry, I love the Mr Moto movies. Now they’re really really different from the source novels. In the novels Moto is a Japanese spy rather than an international detective. But Peter Lorre is wonderful and the Moto movies are a delight.

                  Like

                  • Of course, today Mr Moto would HAVE to be played by a Japanese actor no one has ever heard of probably.
                    But these tiresome politics aside Peter Lorre is impishly funny and the films are pretty fast-moving.

                    Like

                    • There is a lot of tiresome commentary applied in retrospect to older movies in this regard, westerns have come in for more than their fair share of it too. I’m not convinced by a lot of the criticism presented with regard to the issue, but I think that particular ship has long since sailed and taking it on for discussion rarely leads to any positive or productive result.

                      Like

                    • Of course, today Mr Moto would HAVE to be played by a Japanese actor no one has ever heard of probably.

                      Following that logic no actress should be allowed to play Cleopatra unless she’s actually Macedonian. And no actor should be allowed to play Macbeth unless he’s a Scotsman.

                      Like

                    • As I said, I think the ship has sailed on this one in the entertainment industry, but I again I do agree that there is something faintly ridiculous about the notion of claiming actors can only take on roles which they partially occupy in reality. Acting as an art goes back to the ancient world, the whole tradition of mask wearing in classical theater, and so on – it is founded on the concept of adopting a persona often radically different to one’s own.

                      Like

                • With regard to the Chan films, I actually prefer the Toler entries made at Fox. they are pacier than the Oland ones and really la the atmosphere on thick.
                  Lorre’s Mr Moto is delightful too and it’s just a pity circumstances meant it was impossible to continue with the character a little longer.

                  Like

                  • I always thought I was weird because I preferred the Toler films. I’m pleased that someone else thinks that way.

                    And while I liked Warner Oland I preferred Toler’s performances as Chan. Toler gave the role just a bit more of an edge. I also think Toler was slightly closer to the Chan of the novels. And speaking of the Chan novels, they’re must-reads. Just as the Mr Moto novels are must-reads.

                    Like

  6. Seeing as the conversation has drifted towards unpretentious B movies, I’ll just add that tonight saw me checking out The Last Crooked Mile a sixty minute crime caper from Philip Ford, nephew of John Ford. It has Don Red Barry as a private detective, a kind of quick talking James Cagney clone, on the trail of some missing loot after a bank heist went wrong. He tangles with Ann Savage and Adele Mara, the latter offering some enjoyable comic relief – there’s a nice moment where Tom Dugan’s salesman gyps her out of a quarter for a cheap fan. The dialogue throughout veers between smartass and hardboiled and certainly made me smile on more than one occasion. Definitely worth a look.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The MR MOTO films are a first rate series right down the line. I must admit that I have never seen any of the CHAN film. I should fix that over sight. I have seen several of THE LONE WOLF series. They were watchable quickies.

    Gord

    Like

  8. A move into interesting territory here! The Nick Carter films are very good but then they were from MGM and starred Walter Pidgeon. Chester Morris was an A-list star who ended up in Bs like the Boston Blackie films and was good in them. The Lone Wolf and Perry Mason films both starred Warren William, another very fine actor.
    Do you guys know the two Duncan McClain films about a blind private detective played by Edward Arnold? I really like those too.
    I picked up a copy of “THE LAST MILE” that Colin has just seen about a year ago. A Republic B with Donald Barry, better known for the lengthy series of westerns he made at the studio 1939-44.

    Like

    • I’m a huge fan of Warren William and I’m a huge Perry Mason fan but I’m afraid I didn’t like the Perry Mason movies. They were too relentlessly jokey. It’s a pity. Warren William should haver been perfect casting, but he needed more of his trademark slightly sinister smoothness and less of the comedic stuff.

      If I’d seen the movies before reading the novels I might have enjoyed them more, but after reading the novels the movies seemed like parodies.

      Perry Mason is one of the great characters of popular fiction but he’s never been done successfully on either the big screen or the small screen.

      Like

      • I like the Raymond Burr TV series but it fits more with the style of the later Mason books, which I think Gardner was writing with an eye to the TV show at that point anyway. The earlier books, from the 30s especially and the 40s as well to a certain extent, are in a tougher vein.

        Like

        • For me the Perry Mason of the 1930/1940s novels will always be the real Perry Mason. Not just tougher but much more cynical. Warren William could have done that so well had he been allowed to but Hollywood was never going to permit it.

          The 1950s TV series is entertaining enough but it’s just so bland.

          Like

      • The word success is ill-used, the Perry Mason series on CBS with Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, and William Hopper went through the roof for nine years. In fact, Burr told me everyone wanted to leave after the fifth season, but the network kept throwing more money at them. That is a success, If you did not like it, the viewers en masse remain intact.

        Like

        • I think a good deal of the undoubted success of that show was, and indeed is, down to the warmth that Burr, Hale and the other regulars brought to their roles. It’s a pleasure to spend time with these people and, for myself anyway, that overrides any matters relating to fidelity to the original books regardless of era.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Another thought: Gardner was involved from the earliest stages, in casting, character relationships, and story approval. If he was satisfied, then that must be definitive.

            Like

              • I guess my problem is that I read the early books before seeing the TV series. So when I saw the series my reaction was, who is this guy? He’s not Perry Mason. I like Raymond Burr and I liked his performance but to me he didn’t seem to be playing Perry Mason.

                Like

          • I would still have loved to see a movie or TV series that captured the flavour of 1930s-1940s Perry Mason when Gardner was at his peak.

            Perry Mason has suffered the same fate as The Saint. The 1960s Saint TV series was wonderful in its way and some of the movies with George Sanders were terrific. But no movie or TV series has ever captured the dazzling fun and energy of Leslie Charteris’s 1930s Saint stories. That saddens me.

            In both cases we ended up with TV shows and movies dealing with much later and much blander versions of these characters. That tendency to take something dazzling and exciting and turn it into something bland and sanitised always depresses me.

            Like

            • Again, I really like Moore’s take on The Saint – to tell the truth, I enjoy those shows more than I do the books when I occasionally read them now.
              I try to keep in mind that separate media have separate objectives, separate authors, separate audiences and thus separate interpretations. Comparing them is tempting but unfair too. Where possible, I like to think I’m capable of celebrating different versions and iterations in terms of their own strengths.

              Like

              • Basically I agree. I love the Saint TV series and I love Roger Moore’s performance. Leslie Charteris actually created several quite different versions of the character. They come across as all being the same man but at different stages of his life. In the 30s Simon Templar was an irrepressible overgrown schoolboy for whom his adventures were pure fun with a bunch of chums. The final version of the character was the same man but grown up – older and wiser, and now very much a loner. He still enjoys having adventures but there’s just the faintest hint of melancholy, of the loss of his youthful innocence.

                Roger Moore nails that version of the character perfectly. As a TV adaptation of the later incarnation of the Saint the series is spot on.

                But I would have loved to have seen the earlier version of the Saint make it to the screen at least once. Ian Ogilvy could have done it, given the chance.

                As for Perry Mason, the TV series is good for what it is. I enjoy it. It’s well-crafted entertainment. There’s nothing wrong with it.

                But again, it would have been fun to see the early Perry Mason, the Perry Mason that I really enjoy, make it to the screen at least once. But once the Production Code came in that became impossible which is one of the reasons I find the 1930s movies so excruciating. They couldn’t capture the spirit of the early novels so they tried to do Perry Mason as screwball comedy. I personally think that was a terrible idea. And the 1950s TV version is a Perry Mason in tune with the bland inoffensive moralistic tone of 1950s American network TV. For me the novels of the 30s and 40s are just a lot more fun.

                Like

                • The Saint in New York (1938) the original filmization of the Leslie Charteris novel s the only motion picture or television entry that follows the novel, or any of the novels. It was also an enormous success at its level and gave birth to what followed, none of which I care for.

                  Like

                  • I love The Saint in New York. Louis Hayward was a much better casting choice than George Sanders (a great actor but totally wrong for the part). And I think it is by far the best of the Saint movies.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Dee, I have found these discussions very interesting. I too am a fan of Warren Wiliam and find the Perry Mason films rather disappointing due to their comedic overtones. His films like “SKYSCRAPER SOULS” (1932) and “WIVES UNDER SUSPICION” (1937), serious dramas were more suited to him I feel and he was excellent in them.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Warren William was a pre-code actor. His acting style was perfect for the pre-code era. His last great movie was Cecil B. DeMille’s magnificent Cleopatra. The Production Code stifled his talents disastrously.

                      The tragedy is that he was the perfect actor to play the Perry Mason of the 1930s novels but he ended up being forced to play Mason as an irritating clown. There was no way the Production Code was going to allow William to play the role the way it needed to be played – as a hero, but a hero who was smooth, devious and crafty and who regarded legal ethics and the criminal justice system with barely disguised contempt.

                      Like

                    • Louis Hayward lent a hard edge to The Saint in that film, the book having something of an edge to it too if I remember correctly.
                      Sanders is fine by me – he is very different in the role, but didn’t Charteris change the characterization in his writing over the years too?
                      By the way, there will be a George Sanders movie featured here soonish…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Charteris changed the characterisation of the Saint radically several times. In the early stories Simon Templar is a very young man with all the strengths and follies of youth. In the later stories he’s obviously the same man but much more grown-up. Charteris managed those changes in characterisation very effectively.

                      And yes, Louis Hayward gave the character a much-needed edge.

                      Liked by 1 person

    • It was nice to see Barry in something other than a western. And that’s a good point about the quality of the actors involved in many of these film series, something that can be seen in the better B movies of the studio era in general.

      I haven’t seen the Duncan McClain films but I have read Baynard Kendrick’s Odor of Violets, which was the source for Eyes in the Night. It’s a good book and has recently had a nice reissue as part of Otto Penzler’s American Mystery Classics line.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Colin, Jerry

    You mention the Phil Ford film, THE LAST CROOKED MILE. I liked it as well as several other of Ford’s other B-crime-noir quickies. I recommend HIDEOUT-49, MISSING WOMEN-51 and TIGER WOMAN- 45 ( not to be confused with the 1944 serial of the same name) I have reviews up on IMDB of the 3 films I mentioned.

    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “So many passings lately.”

    Yes. So I feel compelled to note that Jean-Luc Godard has died.

    I’ve never seen his name or films evoked on this blog, and that’s OK because it is about other things (though Godard himself would have known well and appreciated many of the films written about here), but the Swiss/French filmmaker was one of the central figures in all cinema, and one of the greatest directors. I will still say that even if his films after the 60s can be more difficult to appreciate and I have struggled with them at times, because he so profoundly affected me in my formative years as I began to figure out what I cared about in movies and how I saw them. I missed his final film “The Image Book” but seeing a fairly cheap DVD price I ordered it without a moment’s hesitation on learning of his death and will watch it after getting back to some of the earlier classics.

    His first film “Breathless” (1960) was made in the spirit of B movies that everyone here loves, and so I’ll recommend this brilliantly done story of a small-time French gangster and his American girlfriend (Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg), both remarkable characters.

    Given that a subject here is melodrama, including in the present “Lightning Strikes Twice” piece, I’m taking the liberty of linking my MUBI piece on “Contempt” (1963) because it deals with this subject, specifically the persistence of melodrama even for a modernist director like Godard. This is just if anyone is interested to read it.

    https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/the-world-as-one-close-up-on-jean-luc-godard-s-contempt

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice to hear from you, as always, Blake. Thanks for adding in that link. I’ll certainly be perusing it later on.

      And it was remiss of me not mention the passing of Godard, which I did hear of but it simply escaped me at the time. Breathless is such an iconic piece of work, and of course Belmondo is another who left us not that long ago.

      Like

    • His first film “Breathless” (1960) was made in the spirit of B movies that everyone here loves

      I love really really early Godard, when he was still very much influenced by his love of American movies especially film noir and B-movies. And in his early films he takes those influences and riffs on them in genuinely clever and witty ways.

      It is of course very obvious in Breathless but you can touches of that Hollywood influence in movies like My Life To Live and Band of Outsiders as well. Band of Outsiders is such a delightful movie. The famous dance sequence in that movie is one of the great moments in cinema.

      You can see those same influences at work in some of Truffaut’s early movies as well – Shoot the Piano Player, The Bride Work Black and Mississippi Mermaid.

      Like

  11. Folks
    Today TCM is showing the 1931 version of THE MALTESE FALCON with Ricardo Cortez, Bebe Daniels and Dudley Digges. I am recording it as I write. Never seen the film so I am interested in how Cortez does as Spade and Diggs does as Casper Gutman.. Next week TCM is showing a Bogart film I have never seen, CHINA CLIPPER from 1936. Pat O’Brien is the lead with Bogart in support. Either of these films any good?
    Gord

    Like

  12. The Cortez version is a fun movie in its own right. His interpretation of Spade is obviously completely different, this being pre-Code. Where Bogart’s Spade was a man who lived by his own code, Cortez plays Spade as a pretty sleazy guy with no nobility, loyalty or any sense of duty in him. Highly recommended.

    In a few instances the ’31 version is actually better than the ’41 version, and that is due to Bebe Daniels who is sexier by miles than Mary Astor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Margot, I agree. The ’31 version is very much worth seeing. I agree about Bebe Daniels. And for my money Cortez is a better Sam Spade than Bogart. I love the fact that he plays Spade the way he should be played. Spade is not a hero, he’s not a flawed hero, he’s not even an anti-hero. He’s a villain. All the characters are low-life sleazebags and they’re all villains. That’s the whole point of the story. It’s a story without a single character possessing a shred of decency. Welcome to Dashiell Hammett’s world.

      I have the old Warner DVD set that includes all three versions, including the abysmal 1936 Satan Met a Lady. I really should sit down and watch the 1931 and 1941 versions again. Especially the ’31 version, given that my interest in pre-code movies has recently been rekindled.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’ll add my positive thoughts on the ’31 version which I acquired and watched only quite recently. The story is obviously the same in the ’41 film, more or less, but both films can be enjoyed as very separate entities. My own interest in pre-codes has also been re-awakened in recent years, discovering a number of gems like the ’31 film.
        I’ve not seen “CHINA CLIPPER” amazingly, Gord.

        Like

        • I’ve maybe said this before, but I find I cannot get along with Cortez and it’s not just this movie. I’ve have felt the same about anything I’ve seen him in – there is some quality that comes across on screen that simply rubs me the wrong way. I realize I’m probably being unfair.

          Like

            • Yup, that’s exactly the vibe I always get, and I also feel a little guilty about that as I’ve no right whatsoever to make such an assumption. To be fair, it’s probably a compliment on the immersive quality of the guy’s performances.

              Like

        • I’ve not seen CHINA CLIPPER.

          China Clipper is a must-see if you’re an aviation buff. Lots of cool shots of flying boats. The focus is very much on the flying which I liked since a lot of aviation movies get sidetracked too much into other stuff.

          I enjoyed it a lot. As aviation adventure movies go it’s a good one. But them I’m nutty about the romance of flying boats.

          Liked by 1 person

          • dfordoom
            CHINA CLIPPER looks like a film for me then. I love aviation related movies. Speaking of flying boats. About 6-7 years ago I was out on Vancouver Island BC where a couple of the huge Martin Mars water bombers were based. We went out to them for a look. BIG MONSTERS! Boy can those 4 motored beasts drop a hell of a lot of water on a forest fire.
            Gord

            Liked by 2 people

        • My own interest in pre-codes has also been re-awakened in recent years

          Since we’re on the subject of pre-code movies and most of us love westerns, are there any great pre-code westerns? Obviously there were plenty of westerns being made at that time but are there any that have that distinctive pre-code flavour?

          Like

          • Some commenters here can possibly offer guidance on that. As a big fan of the genre, I’m afraid I have to hold up my hand and admit that my knowledge of 30s westerns is pitiful. I think that stems from the fact I fell in love with the 50s iterations (and mid-late 40s ones too) and that there are so many of them to explore. I got drawn deep into the treasures of that era and I guess that meant I neglected the earlier examples.

            Like

          • Law and Order (1932). An early realistic take of Earp and Tombstone. In my book a classic. A lot better than the aforementioned Billy the Kid (1930).

            Like

      • Yes, Spade is really not even an anti-hero, the way Philip Marlowe was. Marlowe for all his toughness was still a crumpled knight in rusted armor, Spade was nothing of the kind. Cortez nailed it.

        I haven’t heard much good about Satan Met a Lady which is sad, considering it has Warren William and Bette Davis in it.

        Like

  13. “Did we get ’em all?” – “Every last man”. 1932’s Law and Order is a bona fide classic. Despite being so old that Andy Devine is skinny and Walter Brennan has hair, the movie (despite occasional lapses ) is utterly compelling with the final shootout at the ‘OK Barn’ fast edited in a rat-ta-tat-tat shooting style that prefigures Peckinpah. Brutal celluloid gun battles weren’t Sixties and Seventies innovations. Check out also another Walter Huston picture, the 1932 gangster epic The Beast of the City. Even Karloff and Jean Harlow go down in a hail of lead.
    Thirties Westerns are mainly remembered for the series B-Western. The best of which (IMHO) were the tenuously realistic offerings of the great Buck Jones and George O’Brien. The latter’s early Columbia offerings now seemingly and scandalously mainly lost to posterity and viewable only in the form of atrocious grey market rips.
    Aside from well known and often discussed Thirties A Westerns such as The Big Trail one lesser known offering from 1931 The Great Meadow comes to mind. A movie so old that Johnny Mack Brown was able to get on a horse without a winch and one effortlessly captures the ‘West of Everything’ pioneering vibe (civilised folk lost in the abyss of wilderness America) a theme that was recently explored in the astonishingly excellent 2021 TV Western ‘1883’. This series and also the dark and authentic Old Henry (2021) have convinced me that the Western isn’t entirely dead.

    Like

  14. I’m offline for a few days and RTHC has been going “Gangbusters”
    Firstly Richard Todd Dee recently reviewed THE BOYS. I was going to comment there but I’ll do it here instead. There was lots of friction between Todd and his young co stars Dudley Sutton and Tony Garnett. Garnett (who later worked with Ken Loach) made a rude comment about the Royal Family and Todd nearly thumped him-Todd was ill at ease with his two young left wing co stars. He was also phased when director Sidney J Furie threw the script away and asked the cast to improvise. The only surviving “Boy” is Jess Conrad who looks an unbelievable 86. All four of The Boys” adored Robert Morley who more or less took them under his wing – Morley was a Socialist I might add. Todd’s career was on the slide at the time with his Associated British contract now ended; however, at that time he did make someinteresting films like THE HELLIONS;THE VERY EDGE and NEVER LET GO. THE BOYS is an excellent movie and I hope for a Blu Ray release uncut and in the correct ratio 2.35.

    Like

    • Good to hear from you, John. By the way, that review of The Boys can be accessed here. Going by the images included, which I assume represent what is on the disc, the cropped ratio is quite apparent at the edges. A pity.
      I think Never Let Go is a very good movie with an unusual yet highly effective part for Peter Sellers.

      Like

      • My copy of The Boys is from one of those Renown Pictures boxed sets and yes the transfer is very problematic. But it was a movie I’d never even heard of and it’s definitely an interesting provocative movie so it was a pleasant discovery. A fully restored DVD or Blu-Ray release would certainly be very welcome.

        Like

          • Yes, I have a soft spot for this company. I’ve bought three of their Crime Collection boxed sets. You usually get maybe nine movies and it works out at about $4 a movie. They’re mostly pretty obscure movies that realistically will never get a fully restored high-definition Blu-Ray release, and to be honest in most cases you just wouldn’t pay $40-60 to get just one of these movies on Blu-Ray. But at four bucks a movie they’re worth seeing. And most of their sets contain at least a couple of incredibly obscure movies that turn out to be unexpectedly very good.

            I think there needs to be room for the expensive high-end Blu-Ray releases and also for these kinds of budget DVD releases.

            In the early days of DVD it was budget DVDs that did a lot to fuel the classic movie collecting boom. That’s how I got hooked.

            Like

            • I’ll not argue with any of that. Blu-ray is an attractive format and I like it a lot but it is costly and there are films where although I want to see them I don’t want it enough to pay the price of a regular BD to scratch that itch. And if I’m saying that as a fairly dedicated movie fan, then what is the attitude among more casual viewers? In an ideal world, everything would be available at very affordable prices and in the best quality, but this is just not possible.

              Like

            • I bought a copy of the Renown Crime Collection which includes THE BOYS at a local second hand book shop last week for £5. It’s quite an eclectic set that also includes the 1947 RKO noir BORN TO KILL under it’s British title LADY OF DECEIT. This is a film that I’ve wanted to see for a while and though I haven’t had time to watch it yet I played the start of the dvd and the print looks quite good.

              Like

  15. As several contributors to this blog seem to be from Australia I thought I would mention a couple of excellent new Noir releases from the very fine Imprint label. I might add that all Imprint Blu Ray’s are region free. Sadly some Australian distributors will not ship to the UK so I try to find UK dealers (Amazon; Ebay that ship direct from Australia NOT via the US especially with the ever weak $ currently trading at 1.14 as opposed to 1.75 pre Brexit. The £ has devalued against the Australian Dollar but nowhere as much as the American one. Firstly Imprint has just released as a stand alone release
    Michael Curtiz’ THE SCARLET HOUR and it’s certainly my “discovery” of the year. I’ve been after this title for ages and for me the film delivered way above expectations. THE SCARLET HOUR is classic Noir with three key elements, a Femme Fatale, an obsessed guy and a heist that goes horribly wrong-that’s all you need to know. The Vista Vision transfer is beyond wonderful.
    The commentary by Alan K Rode is a wonderful added bonus he goes into involving details like knowing how Curtiz could be a
    SOB with fledgling actors Bogart turned up on set to give inexperienced Carol Omhart moral support. Omhart is pretty good in this film in a sub Stanwyck….ish sort of way but Tom Tyron is even more wooded than usual. No worries an excellent supporting cast really pull their weight. I’ve already watched THE SCARLET HOUR twice and again to take in Mr Rode’s wonderful commentary and cannot wait to watch it again. Too bad Carol Omhart never became the star Paramount hoped she would be although she does have a certain “cult” status these days.
    Imprint have also released volume 3 of their superb “essential Noir” series and it’s the best of the lot so far. THE TURNING POINT which I have not seen since the 60’s is a tough “take down the mob” crime thriller in the tradition of THE ENFORCER (1951) and THE BIG COMBO. THE TURNING POINT and THE STRANGE LOVES OF MARTHA IVERS are also soon to be released by Kino Lorber. “Martha Ivers” from Kino will be from the same 4K scan as the Imprint version. THE DESPERATE HOURS in another supreme Vista Vision transfer rounds out the Imprint collection. The one title I was wary of in the Imprint collection was NO MAN OF HER OWN which I took to be another “Woman’s Picture” (I guess we cannot say that these days Woke sort of bloke that I am….sorry Barry 🙂 NO MAN OF HER OWN is part Melodrama then it becomes a tense thriller and finally out & out Noir. I found every second of this film totally involving…highly recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Typos galore as usual I should have stated Carol Ohmart and of course “more wooden than usual” wooded??
    As The Whistler series has been mentioned I might note that seven of the eight films are available as individual Sony MOD DVD discs or as a Critic’s Choice/Mill Creek DVD set. Sadly the best of the series is missing which is,I guess to do with some rights issue and that’s a shame. MARK OF THE WHISTLER is from a Cornell Woolrich original as is the last of the series RETURN OF THE WHISTLER the only non Richard Dix entry. RETURN OF THE WHISTLER saw this outstanding series go out on a high note.

    Like

  17. Wow, there’s a lot of interesting stuff on here! I’m very late to the party but in answer to Dee’s very interesting question re pre-code westerns I can only add to Nick Beal’s excellent comment that in my opinion -No, there were no westerns that would fit that particular bill. You had 1929’s “THE VIRGINIAN”, 1930’S “THE BIG TRAIL” and a whole host of B-westerns or series westerns from Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, George O’Brien, Bob Steele and many more. I love these films (especially Buck Jones) but the only western that might fit the bill, as others have suggested, is 1932’s “LAW AND ORDER”, a terrific western with a cast led by Walter Huston & Harry Carey. The 1953 remake, which was the first big screen western I saw (on general release), with Ronald Reagan has a quite different ‘feel’ and is a fine western in its own right. But that 1932 film is a true ‘classic’.
    The 1930s really was the decade of the B-western until “STAGECOACH” changed everything. 1939 became a big year for big westerns. Before that though not a lot. “THE ARIZONIAN” with Richard Dix in 1935 and a few others only.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jerry

    You also mentioned Bob Steele. I took a quick look at my new Western channel and found some Steele titles. There were of course more, but I just picked out these lower budget ones where he was the lead.

    NORTHWEST TRAIL -40, WILDFIRE-45, BILLY THE KID’S RANGE WAR-42, BILLY THE KID IN SANTA FE- 41, BILLY THE KID IN TEXAS-40, BILLY THE KID’S GUN JUSTICE-40, PINTO CANYON-40, THE PAL FROM TEXAS-39, RIDERS OF THE SAGE- 39, PAROLED TO DIE-38, ARIZONA GUNFIGHTER-37, BORDER PHANTOM-37, GUN LORDS OF STIRRUP BASIN-37, THE GUN RANGER-37, BRAND OF THE OUTLAWS-36, CAVALRY-36, LAST OF THE WARRENS-36, SUNDOWN SAUNDERS-36, ALIS JOHN LAW-35, TRAIL OF TEXAS-35, BRAND OF HATE -34, GALLOPING ROMEO-33, HIDDEN VALLEY-32, LAW OF THE WEST-31. A busy fellow! I see I have my work cut out for a while as i have not seen any of these.

    The channel also has a big collection of Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, William Boyd (including all 69 tv episodes of the Hop a long Cassidy tv show) Allan Rocky Lane, Tex Ritter, Buster Crabbe, George O’Brien, Tim McCoy, The Rough Riders, The Three Mesquiteers, Harry Carey, Randy Scott, Big Boy Willams, and many more.
    Gord

    Liked by 1 person

    • A little trivia……..

      Bob Steele, born Robert Adrian Bradbury, was the son of Robert N (North) Bradbury an American film actor, screenwriter and prolific director of 125 movies between 1918 and 1941, and is best known for directing early “Poverty Row” Westerns produced by Lone Star Productions starring Bob Steele, John Wayne and others in the 1930s.

      Sources – Wikipedia and IMDb.

      Like

  19. Colin,
    I don’t know how I missed your review for NO MAN OF
    HER OWN-perhaps I was in hospital at the time-otherwise
    the title and leading man John Lund would have put me off.
    Just shows how wrong you can be with a title and cast member.
    Good to see some love here for UNION STATION-have you seen
    this one Colin-I guess you would have.
    As good as UNION STATION is THE TURNING POINT
    is even better.
    No I’m not the biggest Lund fan but he’s perfectly cast in
    NO MAN OF HER OWN and was also good in WHITE FEATHER.

    Like

  20. Weekend Duster
    This last weekend I took in the low-rent western from 1934, THUNDER OVER TEXAS. Guinn (Big Boy) Willams headlines with support from Helen Westcott and Marion Schilling. This one starts with a bank robbery then a murder, a kidnapping and several more shootings. We have a crooked bank manager, a crooked sheriff and maps and deeds to the upcoming railroad line. Then they throw in a pre-teen girl getting kidnapped. Local rancher Williams gets tossed into the mix and off we go. Not what one would call a winner of a film. Of note here though is the director, Edgar G. Ulmer, who goes under the name Joen Warner in this production.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Film heads-up

    Coming up on TCM here is the 1965 modern set Burt Kennedy western film, THE ROUNDERS. Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda headline this light comedy. The pair work as ranch hands on various ranches but never seem to get ahead. Alway broke with only an old beat-up pick-up between them. The film keeps the watcher smiling the whole way through. Worth a watch if you have never seen it. Cast includes Chill Wills, Edgar, Buchanan, Denver Pyle and Barton MacLane. Kennedy also did the screenplay.

    Gord

    Like

    • Something tells me I have seen The Rounders once upon a time, but it’s only a vague hunch at best and possibly mistaken. I don’t think there’s much doubt that Kennedy did his best work primarily as a writer, the movies he made with Boetticher are clearly outstanding and in a class of their own but Six Black Horses is pretty good as well.
      Of the films he directed rather than wrote, The War Wagon is fun if slight and depends a lot on star power to carry it all along. I also enjoyed The Money Trap.

      Like

  22. Jeepers, Colin!
    You keep springing titles on me that I have never heard of before. “Six Black Horses” with Audie Murphy and Dan Duryea is one that is new to me.

    Gordon

    Like

      • I too liked THE MONEY TRAP very much. Not the kind of movie one associates with Burt Kennedy but he did well with it. I especially found the reunion of Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth touching, the old chemistry there in those scenes. Most here like Glenn Ford but I’m glad to be the one to say that Rita Hayworth was an underrated actress, much more than just a beautiful star given any opportunity in a good role.

        Even more I like Kennedy’s WELCOME TO HARD TIMES (1967), and consider this Western his best movie as a director. It too has a more serious tone (in fact very harsh and violent at times, especially the opening reels) but he did well with this and found some chances for humor and warmth along the way to the end. Interestingly, he told me that he wanted Hayworth for the unhappy, vengeful heroine and she would have wanted to do the role but somehow was priced out or something without his knowledge (I can’t remember the detail). Though I have liked her in other movies, Janice Rule played it in a hard, cold way and with a phony Irish brogue, all of which frustrated Kennedy, but he could not control her. Hayworth would have brought in some warmth and tenderness. On the other hand, anyone would like the rest of the cast–Janis Paige, Henry Fonda, Warren Oates, Keenan Wynn, John Anderson, et al. As the villain, Aldo Ray is unsurprisingly brilliant–without a single word of dialogue.

        I recommend that anyone seek out this gem if you can find it. The Western was in a difficult period then, as we know, but Kennedy did find the right note for a more pessimistic movie than those to which he was naturally inclined, dramatic without being overblown and not facetious or cynical.

        That said, no doubt he liked comedies best, meaning in his Westerns too, and was especially proud of SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF and the followup SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER with the great Jack Elam coming into his own as a comedic actor and a droll James Garner ideally cast. Though kind of broad, these movies are very funny–Kennedy is so aware of all the classic genre conventions from his earlier scripts.

        The Ranown cycle has his sense of humor while they are all serious films (except BUCHANAN RIDES ALONE, to which he contributed uncredited, is really more of a comedy)–and his screenplays for those perfectly carry the desired rich tone that plays to the all the strengths of Budd Boetticher as a director. That’s one reason why the two always remained friends and respected each other. By the time of RIDE LONESOME and COMANCHE STATION, given the recurring motifs that began in SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, it is apparent that Burt wrote these last scripts for Budd to direct, with Budd’s encouragement. So yes, this is Burt’s greatest contribution (though as noted, he had other good scripts like GUN THE MAN DOWN, YELLOWSTONE KELLY and FORT DOBBS (both Gordon Douglas) and SIX BLACK HORSES, all with his hand very evident especially in the dialogue. Burt Kennedy was always best as a writer–and his own directed films are better when he wrote them–but not being the great director Budd Boetticher was does not take away from his contribution to the Ranowns, among the very best Westerns.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Welcome to Hard Times has been on my “to do list” for a some time now yet regularly gets sidelined by other stuff. Thanks for bring it back to my attention, and I’ll make an effort to to actually get around to it as soon as possible.

          Your comment on how The Money Trap might not be the kind of film automatically associated with Kennedy and then your positive assessment of Rita Hayworth’s work (which I wholeheartedly agree with as it happens), alongside something I read yesterday about Aldrich and Autumn Leaves, reminded me that many of the filmmakers and performers we spend so much time talking about demonstrated great range and diversity, something that gets forgotten on occasion as a result of a tendency among those writing on the movies to seek to pigeonhole people and assign them to categories that has the effect of limiting appreciation for the breadth of their talents over time. Anyway, thinking about Hayworth brought to mind her role in Separate Tables. That adaptation of Rattigan’s plays might, on paper at least, have looked like an odd fit for Hayworth yet she is exceptionally good in a difficult and not so flattering part and holds her own in a cast packed out with some heavyweight acting talent.

          Liked by 1 person

  23. To start the weekend…

    Thanks to several recommends from folks here, Colin and Jerry if I recall correctly. I took in my first film of the weekend, BELFAST 2021. Written, produced and directed by Kenneth Branagh. Set in Belfast in 1969 it is good look at the problems of a family during the “troubles”. Well worth a look in my opinion. Cast includes Judi Dench, Jamie Dornan, Caitriona Balfe and Ciaran Hinds.

    Gord

    Like

  24. Regarding SIX BLACK HORSES I have yet to encounter a good DVD/Blu Ray of this film. There was a Dutch import of several years back but it’s as dark and muddy as other versions. I like THE ROUNDERS and the Warner Archive Blu Ray is stellar. Long time since I’ve seen WELCOME TO HARD TIMES and I remember really enjoying it when I saw it in cinemas. Another very good Kennedy directed film was THE KILLER INSIDE ME (1976) which again had a powerhouse cast: Stacy Keach,Susan Tyrrell, Tisha Sterling, Keenan Wynn, Don Stroud, Charles McGraw, John Dehner, John Carradine, Royal Dano and Julia Adams. Sadly Warner Brothers no longer own the rights to this film. I avoided the remake of this Jim Thompson novel because I dislike the director and in particular the leading man. Kennedy’s 70’s films certainly had star power; his Euro Western THE DESERTER (1976) was no exception: Bekim Fehmiu (rather good despite negative comments) Richard Crenna,Chuck Connors, Ricardo Montalban, Ian Bannen, Brandon De Wilde, Woody Strode, Slim Pickens, Albert Salmi, Patrick Wayne, John Houston. As Apache Chief Mangus Durango was legendary Peplum/Spaghetti Western star Mimmo Palmara (Dick Palmer).Mimmo was impressed with Rod Cameron while they were making BULLETS DON’T ARGUE (1964). Mimmo noticed that American stars liked to leave most of the physical action to the stuntmen but Cameron, older than most of the other guys, liked to get stuck in and do as many of his own stunts as possible-they got on like gangbusters despite Mimmo speaking no English and Rod just a little Italian. THE DESERTER flies in the face of many pro Native American Westerns at the time (LITTLE BIG MAN,SOLDIER BLUE,CHATO’S LAND and so on). With Kino Lorber and Australia’s Imprint plundering the Paramount vaults I’m surprised that THE DESERTER has not had a Blu Ray release.

    Like

    • On Six Black Horses, I have an old Spanish DVD which is just about acceptable, but not anything like the quality I’d be happy with. The film was released by Koch in Germany a while back, but although I thought about picking up a copy, the fact it was on DVD only gave me pause – they don’t usually go the DVD only route unless the elements available are decidedly weak.

      Like

  25. Typo alert!
    THE DESERTER was released in 1970. At least Kennedy’s feel for the (Euro) locations is stellar. Leading man Bekim Fehmiu (an Eastern European screen God) had a short run of Hollywood Blockbusters- BLACK SUNDAY and THE ADVENTURERS. I guess THE DESERTER can be viewed on line but I’m holding out hope for a Blu Ray release.

    Like

  26. Colin-
    I don’t know if you know this but there’s a fairly new imprint Studio Canal Cult Classics-in October they are releasing I, THE JURY the 1953 Biff Elliott,Preston Foster Peggie Castle version. This is wonderful news for me as I don’t have the kit to play 3D movies and with the £ now down to 1.8 against the $ the Classicflix version will be mega expensive. The Studio Canal version will be from a 4K restoration. I don’t know how Studio Canal have sourced Spillane titles but we have discussed THE LONG WAIT and a 4K restoration of that film would be wonderful. I will shell out for Kino’s THE DIAMOND WIZARD unless Studio Canal own that title as well-for me 3D is purely a “Cinema” experience unless of course you have a 65″ TV which I certainly don’t. The huge amount of titles Studio Canal have the rights to is an unknown factor but if this new imprint releases more rare Noir
    then that’s fine by me.
    I don’t know how much longer we in the UK have to suffer this Godawful Truss government, a true chamber of horrors indeed. Can ANYONE name one benefit of Brexit? As for the promised US/UK trade deal…pure fantasy! 😦

    Like

  27. Lightning Strikes Twice!
    It’s a funny old World

    Margaret Sheridan, best known for THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD only made 6 films and by chance she has two 3D Blu Ray releases lined up not only I,THE JURY but also THE DIAMOND WIZARD.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.