Oct 18

Spooky Spoof: Bela Lugosi in The Gorilla (1939)

The Gorilla (1939) is billed as a horror comedy. When released that may have felt accurate. Eighty years onward, it shows more as a spooky spoof than anything, especially when watched with an eye on Bela Lugosi. The Gorilla is one of Lugosi’s lesser known films, released at a time when his career was in […]

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Aug 20

“Road to” Movie Must-See: Road to Bali (1952)

The “Road to” series of seven comedy films featuring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour spanned from 1940 to 1962. Each movie was set in an exotic location designed to spoof popular film settings—from “natives in the jungle” and “Arabian desert nights” to “hijinks on the high seas” and “treasures of the Orient.” Since […]

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Aug 14

Hunter Becomes Hunted: The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

What do you do when you’re making King Kong and you’ve got time on your hands? You film King Kong during the day and you make another movie at night. That’s just what King Kong (1933) directors Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper did. Using the same King Kong jungle sets, Schoedsack and Cooper […]

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Jul 29

Roaring Twenties Sex Symbol Clara Bow: My Lady of Whims (1925)

Clara Bow ruled the box-office in the 1920s, with 1925 the year she appeared in the most films—15 in all. Almost half of her 1925 films are lost, but My Lady of Whims survives. Originally seven reels, the surviving shortened version offers a powerful glimpse of Bow’s star power at the age of 20. My […]

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Jul 20

Bad Blonde: Seductress You Love to Hate

Bad Blonde (1953), released as The Flanagan Boy in the UK, lives up to the promise of its US title. Bad Blonde delivers the key elements of a classic film noir—a seedy underworld, a blonde seductress, a gullible lover, a scorned husband, and two ruthless murders. Note before reading on—contains plot spoilers. The film opens […]

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Jun 17

The “Unseen” Three Stooges

Generations of Americans know the comedy of The Three Stooges from the regular airing of their escapades on television since 1958. A slapstick team, they were beloved for their physicality and the distinct characters of the three active stooges appearing in the skit. A  working comedy team from 1922 until 1970, six stooges performed over […]

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May 21

Locked-Room Murder: The Mandarin Mystery (1936)

A blonde beauty arrives from China to the port in New York City having arranged to sell a one-of-a-king Chinese postage stamp to a well-known collector. Before disembarking she encounters mystery writer Ellery Queen who, smitten with her, makes her business his business. As Queen woos Miss Josephine Temple, he digs into her plans to […]

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May 14

The Enduring Character of Nancy Drew: Nancy Drew… Reporter (1939)

Nancy Drew, the fictional heroine of The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, first appeared in 1930. For 73 years, until the series ended in 2003, Nancy solved mysteries as a teenage high school graduate living in the town of River Heights with her father, attorney Carson Drew and their housekeeper. Over 70 million copies of The […]

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Apr 21

A Story of Lust and Desire: Carnival Story (1954)

Carnival Story (1954) starring Anne Baxter and Steve Cochran tells the story of Grayson’s, an American traveling circus performing in Munich, Germany. Baxter plays Willi, a local girl down on her luck who arrives on the midway hungry and with only the clothes on her back. Desperate, she picks the pocket of carnival barker Joe, […]

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Apr 10

A Slapstick Master Class in Three Chaplin Films (1914)

Experience the evolution of slapstick comedy on film in three films released in 1914: Caught in a Cabaret released April 27, His Trysting Place released on November 9, and Tillie’s Punctured Romance released December 21. Keystone Studios served as production house, Mack Sennett worked as producer and Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand and Mack Swain starred […]

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