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3 items from 2015

200 Greatest Horror Films (140-131)

15 October 2015 11:58 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Special Mention: The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Directed by Dario Argento

Screenplay by Dario Argento

1970, Italy

Genre: Giallo

One of the most self-assured directorial debuts of the 70’s was Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. Not only was it a breakthrough film for the master of Giallo, but it was also a box office hit and had critics buzzing, regardless if they liked it or not. Although Argento would go on to perfect his craft in later films, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage went a long way in popularizing the Giallo genre and laid the groundwork for later classics like Deep Red. A difficult film to discuss without spoiling many of its most impressive and famous scenes, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a fairly straightforward murder mystery, albeit with many twists, turns and one of the best surprise endings of all time. But »

- Ricky Fernandes

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The Films of Val Lewton: ‘Cat People’ and ‘I Walked With a Zombie’

6 October 2015 3:17 PM, PDT | SoundOnSight | See recent SoundOnSight news »

Val Lewton, Russian émigré turned horror master, was a reporter, pulp novelist and MGM publicity writer before moving into film. He spent the 1930s as David O. Selznick’s story editor, directing second unit work on A Tale of Two Cities (1935) and script doctoring Gone With the Wind (1939), warning Selznick it would be “the mistake of his life.” While not Hollywood’s most prescient man, Lewton’s professionalism earned Selznick’s respect, and their collaboration led to Rko offering Lewton a producing job in 1942.

Rko was reeling from Orson WellesThe Magnificent Ambersons, an expensive flop forcing a refocus on low budget films. Charles Koerner headed the studio’s B Unit, envisioning a horror series inspired by Universal Studio’s successful franchises. Where Universal culled from established literature (Dracula, Frankenstein), Rko worked from Koerner’s whim: he created a title and left the filmmakers to handle trivia like plot and characters. »

- Christopher Saunders

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Forgotten Actress Bruce on TCM: Career Went from Dawn of Talkies to L.A.'s Punk Rock Scene

25 August 2015 9:02 PM, PDT | Alt Film Guide | See recent Alt Film Guide news »

Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the »

- Andre Soares

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