When You Get Really Close to a Movie Screen, Film Emulsion Looks like…
Boiling Sand

Here’s another example of studio roulette: Warner Home Video has released DANCE, GIRL, DANCE, a neglected and challenging RKO movie from 1940 which was the penultimate feature film directed by

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Ray Dennis Steckler, director of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies !!? (1964) passed away in Las Vegas this month at the age of 70. Steckler was a man of many talents (producing, directing, acting) and of many noms de cinema: in addition to works he directed under his own […]

How can it be?? BELLS ARE RINGING:  a butt-ugly, proscenium-bound, stand-and-deliver musical film directed by that most polished, chic, and painterly of all studio-era filmmakers, Vincente Minnelli??? In this delish-ly digital DVD, the glaringly phony sets and the consciously theatrical performances almost kill the pleasure of viewing this film.  I say almost because despite its […]

Recently, my friend David was excitedly looking forward to the DVD release of M-G-M’s 1945 THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, directed by Albert Lewin.  That got me thinking of the next collaboration by the DORIAN GRAY creative team: an independent film called THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI (1947). Lewin startled THE PICTURE OF DORIAN […]

[OK, so I fibbed last month when I said no more posts about Australia.] Back in November I was at Manly Beach near Sydney, Australia. It was named Manly because when Captain Cook saw the indigenous males on the beach, he thought them ‘manly.’ So, at Manly Beach, all things are Manly: Manly Italian Restaurant, […]

With the recent passing of Ricardo Montalban, I’d like to reflect on a neglected jewel of a film he made for M-G-M in 1952: MY MAN AND I, directed by William A. Wellman. The screenplay was by John Fante with help from Jack Leonard.  Fante was a key influence on Charles Bukowski and a master […]

[Posted as part of the EARLY HAWKS BLOG-A-THON.] It says it right up there at the beginning: A Howard Hawks Production. So, not only did Hawks direct TODAY WE LIVE (1933), but he ‘produced’ it also. But I put the word produced in quotes because the film is a 1933 product of M-G-M, so above […]

OK, so it’s late at night and you’re the owner of a flea circus who has just witnessed a gangland murder, and have to dispose of the body of William Bendix.  Back at home, Jerry Colonna has moved in with your adolescent son and is giving him repressed memory therapy.  Oh, yes, and you owe […]

Allan Dwan made over 400 movies during a fifty-year period.  When he started directing, there was no such thing as an American feature film:  movies lasted 20 minutes, tops.  He was making movies before Chaplin.  Dwan’s debut behind the camera came only a few months after the East Coast-based movie industry had relocated to a […]

During the holidays, I rented two out-of-print VHS tapes of flawed-but-favorite films:  Sam Wood’s HOLD YOUR MAN and the gothic mystery, THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS, with Humphrey Bogart as a killer and Barbara Stanwyck as his next victim. HOLD YOUR MAN is pure pre-Code MGM:  Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in a comedy-drama scripted by […]

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