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Review: "Tobor The Great" (1954); Kino Lorber Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Hank Reineke

Though heavyweights Columbia and Universal produced as many serials as Republic Pictures from 1929-1956, the latter studio is generally best known for its exciting sound-era chapter-plays. Universal and the less widely known Mascot Pictures were in the game the earliest; both studios began releasing their sound serials in 1929. Mascot would only last six years or so. Universal – choosing to concentrate exclusively on the production of feature films – effectively got out of the serial business in 1946. Republic and Columbia hung on to the production of chapter-plays the longest; they released their final serials in 1955 and 1956, respectively.

Republic wasn’t only a serials factory. The studio was in the low budget feature filmmaking business as well, busily churning out a dizzying array of westerns, adventure pictures, and mysteries. They would test the box-office potentials of the horror film market during the 1940s with limited success. As a second-tier “Poverty Row” studio,
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Tobor the Great

Robot roll call! This also-ran robotic fantasy from the 1950s is precisely the kind of movie one would expect from Republic, a two-fisted anti-Commie tract for juveniles. The studio comes up with an impressive robo-hero, but short-changes us when it come time for action thrills. Still, as pointed out in Richard Harland Smith’s new commentary, Tobor filled the the kiddie hunger for sci-fi matinees, at least until Robby the Robot came along.

Tobor the Great

Blu-ray

Kl Studio Classics

1954 / B&W / 1:85 widescreen / 77 min. / Street Date September 12, 2017 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Charles Drake, Karin Booth, Billy Chapin, Taylor Holmes, Steven Geray, Hal Baylor, Alan Reynolds, Peter Brocco, Robert Shayne, Lyle Talbot, William Schallert

Cinematography: John L. Russell

Production Design: Gabriel Scognamillo

Special Effects: Howard and Theodore Lydecker

Film Editor: Basil Wrangell

Original Music: Howard Jackson

Written by Philip MacDonald, Carl Dudley

Produced by Richard Goldstone

Directed by Lee Sholem
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Kiss of Death

This is the ultimate in screen sadism circa 1947, and it’s all in the debut film performance of Richard Widmark as a too-nasty-for-words hood who likes to shoot people in the stomach. Actually, Victor Mature is not bad in a grim story of a stool pigeon that tries to square himself with the law, and finds himself a target for mob murder.

Kiss of Death

Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame / 98 min. / Street Date February 7, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray, Richard Widmark, Taylor Holmes, Karl Malden, Mildred Dunnock

Cinematography: Norbert Brodine

Art Direction: Leland Fuller, Lyle Wheeler

Film Editor: J. Watson Webb Jr.

Original Music: David Buttolph

Written by Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, Eleazar Lipsky

Produced by Fred Kohlmar

Directed by Henry Hathaway

The older they get, the better they look. Henry Hathaway’s Kiss of Death is
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One of the Greatest Film Noir Stars of Them All? Four Crime Classics to Remember

Dana Andrews movies: Film noir actor excelled in both major and minor crime dramas. Dana Andrews movies: First-rate film noir actor excelled in both classics & minor fare One of the best-looking and most underrated actors of the studio era, Dana Andrews was a first-rate film noir/crime thriller star. Oftentimes dismissed as no more than a “dependable” or “reliable” leading man, in truth Andrews brought to life complex characters that never quite fit into the mold of Hollywood's standardized heroes – or rather, antiheroes. Unlike the cynical, tough-talking, and (albeit at times self-delusionally) self-confident characters played by the likes of Alan Ladd, Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and, however lazily, Robert Mitchum, Andrews created portrayals of tortured men at odds with their social standing, their sense of ethics, and even their romantic yearnings. Not infrequently, there was only a very fine line separating his (anti)heroes from most movie villains.
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Sudden Fear

Joan Crawford controls every aspect of this glamorous, Oscar nominated noir about a murderous marriage double-cross. Good acting enlivens a by-the-book, gimmick-laden plot, with every moment designed to flatter the star.

Sudden Fear

Blu-ray

The Cohen Film Collection

1952 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 110 min. / Street Date December 13, 2016 / 34.99

Starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett, Virginia Huston, Touch Connors, Bess Flowers, Taylor Holmes, Lewis Martin, Arthur Space.

Cinematography Charles Lang

Film Editor Leon Barsha

Art Director Boris Leven

Original Music Elmer Bernstein

Written by Lenore Coffee, Robert Smith from a novel by Edna Sherry

Produced by Joseph Kaufman

Directed by David Miller

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

The Joan Crawford movie Sudden Fear is an efficient and stylish thriller. Although it’s technically film noir, its story of a two-way murder frame-up is sublimated to the actress’s overpowering personality. It’s the first movie where Crawford was able to
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Boomerang!

Elia Kazan's third picture is a hard-hitting noir, a true story that honors the efforts of a noble States' Attorney when confronted with a murder case that was a little too open-and-shut. But a close read of the movie uncovers a miasma of social criticism, hiding behind the self-congratulating official narration. A great show. Boomerang! Blu-ray Kl Studio Classics 1947 / B&W / 1:37 flat full frame / 88 min. / Street Date November 15, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95 Starring Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb, Sam Levene, Arthur Kennedy, Cara Williams, Ed Begley, Taylor Holmes, Robert Keith. Cinematography Norbert Brodine Art Direction Richard Day, Chester Gore Film Editor Harmon Jones Original Music David Buttolph Written by Richard Murphy from an article in The Reader's Digest by Anthony Abbot (Fulton Oursier) Produced by Louis De Rochemont, Darryl F. Zanuck Directed by Elia Kazan

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson

In just his second movie, director
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TCM Celebrates Oscar Nominee Blyth's 85th Birthday

Ann Blyth movies: TCM schedule on August 16, 2013 (photo: ‘Our Very Own’ stars Ann Blyth and Farley Granger) See previous post: "Ann Blyth Today: Light Singing and Heavy Drama on TCM." 3:00 Am One Minute To Zero (1952). Director: Tay Garnett. Cast: Robert Mitchum, Ann Blyth, William Talman. Bw-106 mins. 5:00 Am All The Brothers Were Valiant (1953). Director: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger, Ann Blyth. C-95 mins. 6:45 Am The King’S Thief (1955). Director: Robert Z. Leonard. Cast: Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, David Niven. C-79 mins. Letterbox Format. 8:15 Am Rose Marie (1954). Director: Mervyn LeRoy. Cast: Ann Blyth, Howard Keel, Fernando Lamas. C-104 mins. Letterbox Format. 10:00 Am The Great Caruso (1951). Director: Richard Thorpe. Cast: Mario Lanza, Ann Blyth, Dorothy Kirsten, Jarmila Novotna, Richard Hageman, Carl Benton Reid, Eduard Franz, Ludwig Donath, Alan Napier, Pál Jávor, Carl Milletaire, Shepard Menken, Vincent Renno, Nestor Paiva, Peter Price, Mario Siletti, Angela Clarke,
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Lots of Rooney Flicks Today

Mickey Rooney movie schedule (Pt): TCM on August 13 See previous post: “Mickey Rooney Movies: Music and Murder.” Photo: Mickey Rooney ca. 1940. 3:00 Am Death On The Diamond (1934). Director: Edward Sedgwick. Cast: Robert Young, Madge Evans, Nat Pendleton, Mickey Rooney. Bw-71 mins. 4:15 Am A Midsummer Night’S Dream (1935). Director: Max Reinhardt and William Dieterle. Cast: James Cagney, Dick Powell, Olivia de Havilland, Ross Alexander, Anita Louise, Mickey Rooney, Joe E. Brown, Victor Jory, Ian Hunter, Verree Teasdale, Jean Muir, Frank McHugh, Grant Mitchell, Hobart Cavanaugh, Dewey Robinson, Hugh Herbert, Arthur Treacher, Otis Harlan, Helen Westcott, Fred Sale, Billy Barty, Rags Ragland. Bw-143 mins. 6:45 Am A Family Affair (1936). Director: George B. Seitz. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Lionel Barrymore, Cecilia Parker, Eric Linden. Bw-69 mins. 8:00 Am Boys Town (1938). Director: Norman Taurog. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Henry Hull, Leslie Fenton, Gene Reynolds, Edward Norris, Addison Richards, Minor Watson, Jonathan Hale,
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Jane Russell Passes Away at 89

Jane Russell Passes Away at 89
Iconic actress Jane Russell died Monday in her Santa Maria home due to respiratory problems. She was 89 at the time of her passing.

Jane Russell came to prominence in the late 40s and early 50s, reigning as one of America's most popular sex symbols of that time. She appeared in such hit movies as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Double Dynamite, and Montana Belle. Here last performance onscreen was in the television show Hunter. She had continued singing and working for various causes in the weeks leading up to her death.

During her film career, Jane Russell founded Waif, the Women's Adoption International Fund to facilitate U.S. adoptions of foreign orphans.

Jane Russell is survived by three grown children, a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law. She also had six grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time of her death.

A service will be held to honor Jane Russell at Pacific Christian Church in Santa Maria,
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DVD Review: Sleeping Beauty - Platinum Edition (1959)

Despite the studio.s reputation, Disney never really made all that many fairytales. Of course, they launched their line of animated features with one via 1937.s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but since then, they.ve only produced a few. Of that group, Beauty probably remains the most obscure. Beauty seems to have fallen between the cracks to a certain degree. Of course, its stature as a Disney movie means it.ll always be remembered, but it.s not one that shares the prominence of the others.

Frankly, I can.t argue that it really deserves a greater audience. While the movie certainly displays some excellent elements, it seems somewhat lackluster and unimpressive as a whole.

After a long wait, King Stefan (voiced by Taylor Holmes) and Queen No-name finally bear a child whom they name Princess Aurora. We see a massive celebration in her honor and meet a young Prince Phillip,
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