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THE FATHER OF SCI-FI
George Pal is the father of modern sci-fi. This documentary is one of the most enjoyable I have ever seen. Pal was a hero of mine since I first saw his classic "Destination Moon" in 1950. It was astounding. I watched it over and over and waited for another picture from him. The wait was worth it. WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, CONQUEST OF SPACE, THE TIME MACHINE and NAKED JUNGLE. Each and every picture won Academy Awards for best special effects. This Documentory goes into every aspect of Mr. Pal's life from the early days at Paramount and his Puppetoons to his last movie. The stars that worked for him are interviewed from Charlton Heston to Rod Taylor. This is a real treat.
The Thing from Another World (1951)
THE THINGS THE WORD
When this picture was released in 1951 it was a box office bonanza. It was one of the first intelligent sci-fi films with a smart screenplay. Every year that has past, it is voted as one of the top 10 science-fiction pictures ever made. In every film book it is rated four stars. They tried to remake it in 1982 and it was a a total flop. Every thing about this film was a delight from its wonderful cast to the excellent black and white photography. Never has any film scared so many people. I use to stand at the back of the theatre every night just to watch people jump out of their seat. James Arness started his career as the Thing and Kenneth Toby went on to make many other sci-fi pictures, but none as good as this one. This picture still holds up. Who needs all those endless special effects and brilliant color? There was great color in 1951 but Howard Hawks was right on making this picture in B&W. This is one of the bright spots in the sci-fi world.
The French Line (1953)
RUSSELL IN 3D
This is one of those obscure musicals that RKO made in the 40's and 50's. But in its day it was a box office winner. The publicity behind this picture was fantastic. Jane Russell was a knock-out in 3D but without this new screen process it was still enjoyable. Wonderful charactor Arthur Hunnicut steals the show as was his custom. Gilbert Roland is good as Jane's romantic interest in a different role for him. The songs are good for the most part. Give "The French Line" a try. If you are a Jane Russell fan, you'll love it.
Red Garters (1954)
One of the most uniques musicals ever made, Paramounts "Red Garters" with Rosmary Clooney, Guy Mitchell, Jack Carter and Gene Barry was made entirely on inside sets and the results are spectacular. Director George Marshall has surrounded his stars with splashes of colorful sand, trees and rock and a picture perfect all white town that has to be seen to be believed. The set design was nominated for an Academy Award and should have won hands down. The songs were written by Oscar winners Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It's a rootin' tootin' western funfest made in Vistavision and it shows on your TV.
Third Man on the Mountain (1959)
One of the well hidden Disney classics is Ken Annikens Third Man on the Mountains released in 1959. It stars Michael Rennie as Captain Winters who comes to a Swiss village to climb the Citadel, one of the worlds highest and most dangerous mountains and the peak that claimed the life of Rudy Matt's father, played by James McCarther. It was filmed on location in Zermatt Switzerland where the 14,000 foot Matterhorn stands. It is one of the great adventure films of all time taken from the book Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman. Very few movies have been made about mountain climbing, The Mountain with Spencer Tracy, The White Tower with Glenn Ford and The Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood. But Third Man on the Mountain has the most heart. All of the above films are on video tape.