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Hell's Horizon (1955)
Despite its' low budget, I enjoyed watching this movie. It has a solid cast of familiar faces who went on to star in many TV shows of the 1960s.
It's easy to pick out the many flaws in this movie. It is unfortunate that the only female character wasn't played by an Asian actress.
The exterior shots of the B-29 are all familiar AAF footage which most WWII aircraft fans have seen before. The interior of the B-29 is very realistic. Also the mission briefing is well done.
Above all this is a very entertaining movie, not a realistic portrayal of war.
Will Wright is credited in this episode and he does appear in the original. I have a copy of this episode and there is a 3 minute scene with Wright. He is Mr. Johnson, the store owner who rented the suit for Henrietta Perkins' husband to be buried in. Andy calls him in and threatens to arrest him on numerous charges, including defrauding a widow, if he doesn't return the money to Mrs. Perkins.
This scene was missing from more recent airings, such as on MEtv.
I think the copy I have was an extra on a VHS tape of No Time For Sergents.
As far as I can tell, Rance Howard is not in my copy, so there may be an even longer version out there.
Hard Hitting Drama About Abortion
Tho this DVD is marketed as a cheap exploitation film, Shame of Patty Smith is no such movie. If you are looking for some laughs, ala Ed Wood, you won't find them here.
This is a very well made drama concerning the problem of illegal abortions in this country in the early 60s. Patty is a young woman who is attacked and raped by a gang of thugs and must struggle with the problem of getting an abortion at a time when it was illegal.
She can't afford to go to a professional and so ends up in the hands of a back alley abortionist who is not qualified for the job.
Generally this film takes the position that abortions, in certain situations, should be made legal to prevent women from being forced to go to fly by night abortionists. But the message is low key, for the most part, and is not preachy. There is an element of religion in the film, but once again, it is not heavy handed. It's a very serious drama about a young woman who needs help, but the laws of the time give her little or no choice but to put her life in the hands of a quack.
It is a very well made film with excellent acting and photography.
There are no laughs to be found in this film.
Naked City: Four Sweet Corners (1959)
Mini-Pilot for Route 66 TV Show
According to a book published in 2007 titled "Route 66 The Television Series" by James Rosin, the episode of Naked City titled "Four Sweet Corners" was a mini-pilot for the Route 66 TV series.
Herbert Leonard and writer Stirling Silliphant had the idea for the Route 66 series while they were producing the Naked City program.
They had also decided on George Maharis as one of the leads.
This episode begins with the Maharis character who has just completed his military service, returning to his mother's apartment in NYC. His army buddy, played by Bobby Morris, tags along.
Maharis is shocked to learn that his little sister has grown up fast and is involved with a shoplifting ring. She is arrested but refuses to give the name of the ringleader. Maharis and his buddy track down the ringleader themselves. His sister says she has learned her lesson and will turn over a new leaf.
Maharis' mother pleads with him to stay, but he says he can't. He doesn't know exactly why, but he feels there is more of the world that he has to see. He and his army buddy walk away from the apartment building as it begins to snow.
Blue Desert (1991)
No Common Sense
This movie should win an award for dumbest female protagonist. It's hard to have any sympathy for the Cortney Cox character, Lisa, because every time she is given an opportunity to avoid a threat, she decides to remain. She has a million opportunities to leave this town and the two nuts who are threatening her, but she remains. You have to wonder if Lisa has any shred of common sense because time after time she does the exact opposite of what common sense would dictate.
If being an empowered woman means staying in a mobile home in the desert in a town of strangers and continually letting strange men into your home even when you know they are dangerous and never asking your neighbors for help, then the life span of such a woman is going to be very short.
Comic book artists have very tight deadlines that they must meet each month.
It was amazing to see Lisa working calmly at her drawing board, pencilling, inking and lettering a complete comic while spending her days and nights being nearly raped, chased across the desert in her Chevette by a police cruiser and sticking a 5 inch knife in a police officer's thigh.
All in a days work for "EMPOWERED WOMAN" I guess.
Ensign Pulver (1964)
Not A Remake of Mister Roberts
I have just purchased the VHS tape of this movie and I enjoyed it very much. Mainly for the performance of Robert Walker Jr.
I would like to point out that "Ensign Pulver" is not a remake of "Mister Roberts". Ensign Pulver is the same ship and same characters as Mr. Roberts only with different actors in the leads.
Burl Ives continues the role of Capt. first played by James Cagney. Robert Walker Jr. continues the role of Ensign Pulver first played by Jack Lemmon. Walter Matthau continues the role of Doc first played by William Powell.
Early in the movie, Doc notes that it has been only a few weeks since they found out about the death of Doug, Mr. Roberts(Henry Fonda). Pulver receives a package from someone who was on the ship where Mr. Roberts died. It is medical books that Mr. Roberts wanted Pulver to have because he knew he would like the dirty pictures.
This movie is much more of a comedy than "Roberts" and is alot of fun to watch.
Also in the crew you can spot George Lindsey, "Goober" from the Andy Griffith show, future TV game show host Peter Marshall, a skinny James Coco and a very young James Farentino.
Too bad this movie is not on DVD. Yet.
Worth a look
If you have a chance to see this movie, you should give it a chance. It has more good points than bad. It was shown locally with the title: The Churchill Files. Schneider plays Sam Churchill, an ex-surf bum who does some freelance detective work to make ends meet.
I was drawn into this movie by the opening scene where Robyn Lively tries to hire Schneider to find her missing father. This scene seemed to ring true in that the dialogue seemed like the way real people would have behaved in this situation.
There are other scenes in the film that have this real quality. On the other hand there are some scenes that are typical private eye movie cliches.
This movie has all the elements of the "Big Sleep" and "Chinatown" but these elements have been changed around in a manner that makes them seem somewhat fresh.
I guess this was meant to be a possible TV detective show, ala the Rockford Files. Not a bad effort considering the small budget. Schneider doesn't quite have enough lines on his face to play the over the hill surfer whose life hasn't turned out the way he had hoped, but in some of the scenes he pulls it off.
Violent Road (1958)
Brian Keith at his best
I only saw this movie once on TV about 20+ years ago but I have never been able to forget it. This movie is worth watching because of one actor, the great Brian Keith. If you know him only from the TV series "Family Affair" you don't know what a great screen persona he had. I remember the beginning of the film when Keith as a truck driver stops his rig at a roadhouse to have a drink. First of all back in the 50's, truck drivers had to be strong because power steering was unheard of. Keith has the biceps to convince you he is a trucker. As he approaches the bar a woman or waitress crosses behind him and he gives her an admiring look over his shoulder. This "look" is what he was best at. It speaks volumes. The film works well as the misfit group of truckers set off on their mission. Each one has a chip on their shoulder and it is up to Keith to keep them in line and focused on their mission. You couldn't find a better man for this job. He didn't really want this assignment, but now that he's got it, he's going to see that the job is done! I recall the plot dragging a bit near the end with Dick Foran dying, but this movie is a must see for Brian Keith fans, as well as those who know him only as "Uncle Bill".