Slam_Bradley , you're right about Man, but if you watch it to watch Cganey, all's well. Though I became very interested in Chaney and silent movies after I first saw that movie on TV when I was a kid.
I was fascinated by Chaney before I ever saw a movie with him in it. I'm not a horror guy and never have been, but I always loved the Universal monsters. While they played the talkies on late-night movies, they never played the silent films. But I found Chaney and his make-up in books and magazines about monsters and just was enthralled.
I didn't see any Lon Chaney, Sr movies growing up but I was lucky enough to catch a re-release of his famous Phantom of the Opera at the movie theatre a few years ago, and it was great. You could see why he was so famous - huge screen presence, even under all the make-up. Of course that character became an iconic image that's imprinted on our imaginations, so that's part of the effect too.
Post by Slam_Bradley on Aug 21, 2022 15:09:42 GMT -5
So little time...so many threads. On to 1958.
1958 is pretty top heavy for me.
Touch of Evil - Orson Welles was never able to top Citizen Kane. But he did manage to make one of the very best film noirs ever. There are things here that don't work well (Charlton Heston as Mexican lawyer) and the reviews were lukewarm to critical when it was released. One wonders how much of that was simply the standard backlash to Welles, because Touch of Evil is now, by and large, viewed as a great film and one that has some of the most brilliant photography ever. That opening tracking shot is simply a thing of beauty and would go on to influence a number of film-makers including Martin Scorsese. One of the great films noir.
Vertigo - Another great film that had mixed reviews upon release (I don't know what was up with reviewers in 1958). It has since been hailed as a masterpiece and is frequently viewed as Hitchcock's best films. I likely wouldn't go that far as there are things in the film that leave me a tad cold. But I absolutely recognize the mastery on display by Hitchcock, cinematographer Robert Burks, and truly great acting by Jimmy Stewart as a seriously disturbed man.
Hidden Fortress - Possibly best known by many for its influence on George Lucas, that is unfortunate. By no means Kurosawa's best film, its still a super fun epic, fast-paced, witty and rollicking fun. What more can you ask from a samurai film?
Horror of Dracula - C'mon. It's Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. This is easily in the triumvirate of Dracula ('31) and Nosferatu as the most important vampire films. Gory and sexual it was a turning point in horror and for Hammer films. And...Christopher Lee as Dracula.
The Fly - A seminal SF/Horror film this was a huge box-office success on a super low budget and catapulted Vincent Price into genre stardom. I find that the effects stand up fairly well over time and the film is really just a joy to watch. One can only imagine the fun of being an adolescent and getting to see this for the first time in a matinee or a drive-in.
The Defiant Ones - Excellent adventure/drama that was a huge critical success at the time. Sidney Poitier gives a typically powerful performance. Excellent cinematography and a nice turn by Charles McGraw as a very bad lawman.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad - This is just one of those great childhood fantasy films grounded in the amazing stop-motion work of the brilliant Ray Harryhausen.
Animated shorts were beginning to fade. But Warner still brought out a number of good ones, notably Robin Hood Daffy and Knighty Knight Bugs.
So my favorite. Probably no big surprise it's Touch of Evil. A landmark film noir that is just visually amazing.
Post by Ish Kabbible on Aug 21, 2022 20:17:58 GMT -5
My Top Ten List For 1958
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Damn Yankees Defiant Ones Giant Behemoth Hidden Fortress I Want To Live Night To Remember Run Silent Run Deep Touch Of Evil Vertigo
Giant Behemoth is an old favorite of mine since i was a child. Saw it every time possible on TV which was made quite easy since it showed up often in the afternoon on Channel 9 WORTV local station's Million Dollar Movie.
1958 wasn't as strong as '57. Aside from the obvious picks in Vertigo and Touch of Evil, there isn't a whole lot else. Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds is probably the best foreign film of the year. Mon oncle is great if you like Tati, and there are some early Louis Malle and Claude Chabrol works. Ozu has a decent film in Equinox Flower. Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible is interesting. Anthony Mann's final Western, Man of the West, starring Cary Cooper, is definitely worth a watch.
Post by Prince Hal on Aug 22, 2022 10:15:09 GMT -5
Ish Kabbible, brudda from anudda mudda. I used to watch The Giant Behemoth night after night on "Million Dollar Movie." Loved it! Thought it was the best thing since sliced bread and free lunch. The scene when he picks up a guy in his mouth and chomps him and the ending, with the scientists hearing omn the radio that the same things that preceded the Behemoth's appearance in London are happening elsewhere (Canada, maybe?) smiling rueful smiles at each other.
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
Post by Prince Hal on Aug 22, 2022 10:49:13 GMT -5
Seconding you, Slam_Bradley , on Vertigo. Impossible not to be sucked in to that movie.
Also on Touch of Evil. A tour de force despite Heston's painful accent and darkened skin tone.
Other favorites include
Damn Yankees, which I used to watch on "Saturday Night at the Movies," because I loved baseball, because I enjoyed the book it was based on ("The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant"), and most particularly, because -- how shall we say --I was intrigued by Gwen Verdon as Lola. Puberty was beckoning when I first saw this movie and I followed right. Yowza! I could see why Lola got whatever Lola wanted.
The Last Hurrah is one John Ford's late movies, and he does what he does skillfully. This si set in Boston, based on Edwin O'Connor's novel, which is itself based on the legendary "Robin Hood" mayor of Boston, James Michael Curley. Spencer Tracy is craggy, wise, world-weary as Fran Skeffington, the classic Irish pol who knows his time is coming to an end. As always with a Ford movie, a superb supporting cast, with Basil Rathbone a standout as the leader of the old-line Yankees who detests Tracy.
Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman Feminism hits the drive-in movie circuit. Cool effects and a subversive sub-text. If she'd only met the amazing Colossal Man.
Cowboy took me by surprise. Glenn Ford is a tough trail driver paired with Eastern tenderfoot Jack Lemmon. Sounds like a predictable Mutt and Jeff buddy movie, but it gets better and better as it goes along. Worth a watch, for sure.
Buchanan Rides Alone A lighter, almost self-parodic entry in the Scott-Boetticher series. Not my favorite of those, but still a treat.
The Bravados is a gritty, take-no-prisoners revenge Western with a superb cast. Even Anne Baxter is tough in this one.
Queen of Outer Space is another one I used to watch over and over on Channel 9, Ish Kabbible , not for the cheesy science fiction, but for the cheesecake on display on Venus, a planet populated only by women, beauty queens and models in particular. That Zsa Zsa Gabor plays the brainy leader of the resistance to the evil queen tells you all you need to know.
And need I say, The Giant Behemoth!
"The rarer action is In virtue than in vengeance." -- The Tempest, 5.1
Post by Ish Kabbible on Aug 22, 2022 11:03:37 GMT -5
1958 is possibly my favorite year for cult SF/Horror films.Made this list from what I own in my archives
Attack Of The 50 Ft. Woman Attack Of The Puppet People Beast With A Million Eyes Blob Blood Of The Vampire Brain From Planet Arous Colossus Of New York Crawling Eye Earth Vs. The Spider Fly Frankenstein 1970 Giant Behemoth Haunted Strangler Horror Of Dracula House on Haunted Hill How To Make A Monster I Married A Monster From Outer Space It! The Terror From Beyond Space Missle To The Moon Monster On The Campus Queen Of Outer Space Return Of Dracula Revenge Of Frankenstein War Of The Colossal Beast War Of The Satellites
It's hard to pick a favourite film from 1958; there are a good number of movies that I've seen and enjoyed, but not one that really towers above the rest. So, I think I'm just gonna pick Carry On Sergeant as my favourite, simply because it kicked-off the long-running and perennially popular (in the UK, at least) Carry On series, which became something of a British institution.
Myself, I absolutely love the Carry On films, especially the real classic instalments from the '60s and early '70s. This first entry in the series follows a group of new army recruits who have been called up for National Service (which certainly dates the film), and it is really just a series of misadventures that take place during military training. The title of Carry On Sergeant stems from a phrase that was commonly spoken by British army officers to sergeants, as they went about their daily duties, and, as such, its use here was appropriate to the film's setting (which was not the case for the following Carry On films).
In this film we have future Carry On mainstays Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Hattie Jacques, Kenneth Connor, and Terry Scott, along with future Doctor Who star William Hartnell and English comedian Bob Monkhouse. In particular, Hawtrey and Williams really shine and certainly make the most of the rather slight comedy in the script.
Aside from it being a rather pleasant – if somewhat gentle – comedy, what's really interesting is that Carry On Sergeant features none of the saucy, double entendre and innuendo-laced humour that is commonly associated with the Carry On series. That kind of humour came a bit later, once the series found its groove.
Overall, this is actually a pretty entertaining and charming 1950s comedy film, though it is very much of its time. However, it's probably still the best of the earliest 3 or 4 Carry On films.
Other 1958 films I've seen are...
Ice Cold in Alex, which is a superior – and surprisingly anti-jingoistic – British war film, set in the North African desert during World War II. Directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring the excellent John Mills, the film follows an Ambulance crew who have been separated from their unit and have to make an arduous journey across the desert. The title refers to the prospect of the crew having a cold lager in the city of Alexandria, which is one of the simple pleasures that they use to spur them on. This is less of a traditional war film, with goodies and badies, and more a tale of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.
A Night to Remember, which tells the tale of the Titanic's sinking and which I haven't watched in a long, long time. I remember mostly enjoying it – although I do have a recollection of it seeming a bit long. I'd like to watch this again sometime soon, as I know that it is regarded pretty highly by Titanic buffs for its historical accuracy.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, which I loved as a kid. It's just a fantastic – and fantastical – film, with some really excellent Ray Harryhausen stop-motion special effects. It also has a delightfully overly-saturated Technicolour look to it, which gives everything a slightly surreal or dream-like appearance. This and the other Sinbad films in the series seemed to be on TV on Saturday afternoons a lot back when I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, so they are very much films that I associate with my childhood. As an adult, I will never not watch them if I see that one of them is on telly.
The Black Orchid, which I've definitely seen – and not that long ago either – but which I barely remember anything about. Which I suppose speaks volumes. I mean, I do vaugly remember Sophia Loren's widowed florist, and her son being sent to a school for troubled boys, but beyond that, I'm struggling.
Queen of Outer Space, which is mostly just B-movie, cheesecake nonsense, but I recall it being rather enjoyable B-movie, cheesecake nonsense. Zsa Zsa Gabor turns in a memorable and suitably kitschy performance, and the premise of a planet Venus being ruled entirely by women who all secretly long for the affection and love of men is suitably laughable. Nonetheless, this is actually a pretty fun film.
Dracula – I'm gonna court controversy here by saying that I think this is a bit hammy and a bit dull. I mean, yeah, I get how influential it was at the time and, of course, it must've absolutely terrified cinema audiences back in the day. But having come to the film for the first time in the late-90s, it just seemed rather slow and full of hammy acting. I dunno, maybe that's the point?! But as far as British horror movies go, it's definitely not a patch on the previous year's standout horror flick, Curse of the Demon.
Vertigo, which is an excellent Alfred Hitchcock thriller, with memorable lead performances from James Stuart and Kim Novak. It struck me as a rather fevered or hallucinatory thriller, with an intense plot, desperate characters, and striking visuals. It all culminates in some dark storytelling, with some brilliant twists. Some regard this as Hitchcock's magnum opus, but for my money I'd say that was Psycho. Vertigo is a still very enjoyable thriller though.
King Creole, which see Elvis Presley playing a troubled, high school drop-out, who gets embroiled in the New Orleans' underworld as he's trying to make his name as a singer. It's not quite as gripping as the previous year's Jailhouse Rock, and the last half of the film feels bloated and could've done with some heavy editing. Nevertheless, Presley actually turns in some pretty strong acting here and the whole movie has a brooding, noir-like quality to it, with the humid streets of New Orleans itself provide a great backdrop. The music is mostly excellent, of course, with such stand out numbers as "Hard Headed Woman", "Trouble", the excellent title track.
Last Edit: Aug 24, 2022 16:14:02 GMT -5 by Confessor