Reviews written by registered user
|35 reviews in total|
I was pleased to see that more than a few folks here on IMDb knew who
Mignon G. Eberhart was. "Mystery House" was based on one of Eberhart's
'Nurse Keate' stories. In a nutshell, these stories are all murder
mysteries, all use a medical pretext as a plot springboard, and all
feature a hospital nurse, Miss Keate, plus a detective named Lance
O'Leary (Dick Purcell, in this outing).
Ann Sheridan was the only actress to portray Nurse Keate more than once; --her other showing was in "The Patient in Room 18" --a weaker entry, which starred Patric Knowles as Detective O'Leary. The weakest Keate has to be Marguerite Churchill, who was called 'Nurse Keating' in "Murder by an Aristocrat."
As good as Ann Sheridan was as Nurse Keate, she was easily bested by Aline McMahon's turn as the sleuthing nurse in the Warners' Eberhart story, "While the Patient Slept." Even though Eberhart's characters appeared in several films, it would probably be inaccurate to describe these films as a "series."
In "While the Patient Slept," Guy Kibbee played the oldest O'Leary of them all, --however, he filled the part with character and gusto, --traits that both Dick Purcell and Patric Knowles lacked.
Most of those who commented here, appreciated the film's supporting cast, but largely didn't know who any of them were. I also liked the supporting cast, and think it's worth mentioning some of those actors here.---
1)-William Hopper, who would later become known for his 9-year stint as Paul Drake, in the Perry Mason TV series on CBS.
2)-Anne Nagel, a beautiful actress who never rose above B-movie roles (such as this one). She appeared in films such as "The Mad Doctor of Market Street" and "Murder in the Music Hall.". Nagel also had a Perry Mason connection, although not to the TV series. She appeared as Janice Alma Bromley (the "fake Janice") in the Mason film, "The Case of the Stuttering Bishop."
3)-Ben Welden: A "tough guy" in hundreds of films and early TV shows, Welden specialized in playing hoods, --often as comic relief. In "Mystery House," it's Welden's toupee that figures in the plot. A steady worker, Welden had parts in at least 18 films in 1938 alone, the year of "Mystery House." Some of his 1938 output included: "Smashing the Rackets" "Crime Ring" "The Saint in New York" and "Time Out for Murder." In early television, Welden racked up multiple appearances in programs such as "Space Patrol" "The Lone Ranger" and "The Adventures of Superman."
4)-Dennie Moore, --a marvelous supporting actress, who's Jersey accent kept her typecast in films. She was often cast as a maid, or a shop-girl, or as a 'comic sidekick' to the heroine. Moore is best remembered for her brief (though, pivotal) role as Olga the manicurist, who "spills the beans" to Norma Shearer's character in the 1939 blockbuster film, "The Women."
5)-Elspeth Dudgeon, the elderly actress who played the wheelchair-bound aunt in "Mystery House" was a true wonder to behold. Though often seen in very small parts, where folks cannot remember her name, many viewers marveled at her role as Ernest Thesiger's father, the bedridden Sir Roderick Femm (yes-- she played a MAN - with whiskers!) in "The Old Dark House." In that film's closing credits she was billed as "John" Dudgeon! Personally, my fave screen appearance by Ms. Dudgeon was in Warner Brothers 1936 B-mystery-comedy, "Sh! The Octopus." If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you. I will, however, say that Dudgeon simply steals the movie, near it's climax.
Other supporting-actors who appeared in "Mystery House" include Sheila Bromley, Eric Stanley, and Trevor Bardette (another veteran who has hundreds of screen appearances to his credit).
Any discussion of the Nurse Keate films would be incomplete without mentioning "The Great Hospital Mystery" --produced by 20th-Century/Fox, and starring Jane Darwell. While most of the Eberhart/Keate yarns were filmed by Warners, this lone 20th/Fox effort stands out for many reasons. It features a superior cast of supporting actors. In addition to Oscar-winner Jane Darwell, the cast includes Sig Ruman, Sally Blane, William Demarest, Joan Davis, and Thomas Beck.
If you're an Eberhart/Keate fan, "The Great Hospital Mystery" is the film you must not miss. It's an atmospheric little mystery, best seen late at night....when you're all alone.
I hear more people talking about this short film now, than when it was
made, or at any time since it's production.
I first saw it when I purchased a VHS tape of Divine's live stage show, "THE NEON WOMAN."
That show was taped on 1960's B+W videotape (NOT the same kind of tape on VHS cassettes) in 1967.
When home video first became available to the public, "THE NEON WOMAN" was published on VHS by the New York Film Annex. To fill out the tape, the NYFA included Waters' short film, "The Diane Linkletter Story." That was more than 20 years ago.
Whether or not you like Art Linkletter, the unvarnished truth of the matter is that he conspired with the Nixon administration (in the latter's "anti-drug" campaign) to allow the public to think that Diane jumped out of that upper-story window to her death, while on LSD. The truth is, she had not taken LSD for over a year before she died, and the drug had absolutely nothing to do with her death. Furthermore, an autopsy showed that she had no drugs, whatsoever, in her body at the time of her death. Stretching the truth (to put it mildly) was a common practice by Nixon and his followers (of which, Art Linkletter was one).
When I first purchased it, I knew that this NYFA-published VHS tape was a special treasure. I don't foresee any possible DVD release of this film coming any time soon, although I would love to see the film made available on disc, so others can see it, and own it.
Perhaps, some day, Waters will be able to get it published on DVD, with an explanation of Art Linkletter's shameful "use" of his daughter's suicide to further right-wing anti-drug propaganda.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this film last week, on a trip to Florida to attend the 18th
annual Tampa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which I must admit, has grown
into a fairly large stop on the gay festival circuit.
The more mundane shows (IMHO) anywhere on the circuit are those films which merely try to be gay versions of straight stories. Why such a large number of gay filmmakers still try to be 'mainstream' is beyond me.
"2 Minutes Later" is a crime-fighting/comedy film with some flesh and sex (not excessive, but certainly more than necessary). It tried to equal the sex & violence quotient seen in similar straight films. This film's director, who was present the night I attended, got on stage before the film screened, and said that his film was meant just as fun entertainment; nothing more, nothing less. -- and to the person who accompanied me to this screening, that's what it was. To me it was just a gay reworking of many straight suspense films, with a major plot element (spoiler) borrowed from "Blow-Up." It had a fair amount of tepid comedy added into the mix, justifying the director's statement that it could be called 'light entertainment.'
Much to my dismay, --and very likely to the chagrin of the filmmaker present (and to the management of the fabulous Tampa Theatre, a splendidly renovated 'atmostpheric,' built in 1926) the film was shown through the wrong lens! What I mean is, it appears to have been a film that may have been produced with an aspect ratio of 1:1.85, but it was shown through a 1:1.33 lens. Everyone was just a bit too thin, too tall, --and all the cars were a foot, or so, more compact. I tried to ignore this technical problem (which wasn't easy) and see the film the way it's producer intended me to. It had it's fun moments, but I was glad when it ended. Almost glad, that is, because "The End" credit, itself, brought it's own "oh, no" moment. It came on-screen with a question mark (?) added after a few seconds, a la "The Blob."
The leading lady, who was also present in the theater that night -and who accompanied the filmmaker on stage before the curtain went up, was the best actor in this film. As improbable as her character was, her lines were better than those of the leading man, --who was likely chosen for his shy boy-next-door 'look' rather than for any acting ability. I'm not knocking him, nor the filmmaker, nor anyone else associated with this production. It was obvious that the budget wasn't big, but neither was the thought put into this. Better films have been made on smaller budgets.
It seemed to me that it borrowed an awful lot of bits and pieces from many other films, --besides the obvious big 'bit' borrowed from "Blow-Up."
Overall, a mediocre effort. I rated it 5.
This wonderful hour-long documentary is about events leading up to,
during, and after the Compton's Cafeteria riot, which took place in San
The film clips from mid-to-late-1960's San Francisco struck home with me--- Although I was living in NYC at the time, I endured arrests, hundreds of police raids, --and of course riots-- from the 5-day Stonewall mêlée to the bloody, albeit less well-know, 'Snake Pit' riots that followed Stonewall by less than a year, yet were in the same vicinity (on Christopher Street, plus outside the 6th precinct on Charles Street, and even extending down West 8th Street).
As I watched this documentary about San Francisco, I saw several pieces of very familiar stock footage pieced in,-- including a few shots from the first annual GLF-sponsored gay march in NYC (June 1970).
It was in one of those film clips, there, up on the screen, that I suddenly saw my roommate from 1970, Billy Weaver, AND ME, carrying the biggest and most political banner in that march.-- We painted it on a large bed sheet on our living room floor (and the paint went right through the cloth, forever marking our hardwood floor with: "SMASH SEXISM" in large letters, and underneath that slogan, "GAYS UNITE NOW" in only slightly smaller letters.
Because it was the boldest statement during the march (and, by far, the biggest banner-), it was a magnet for everyone with a camera that day-- including all members of the media.
This is not the first documentary film I've seen in which I suddenly appear with Billy, the two of us marching and holding up that enormous banner (which we had stapled to tall cardboard tubes which each of us held-- the police would NOT allow us to use wooden poles for our banner....)
FYI: That first march was not called a 'Gay Pride March' or anything even close;-- It was called "The Christopher Street Liberation Day March," being named after the 6-man committee (-I was one of the six-) called 'The Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee.'
Our 6-man group was a cell within GLF (the Gay Liberation Front-- of which I was an original member), and we formed that cell within GLF for the express purpose of lobbying the city to allow us to hold a march to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, AND to make sure it was observed every June thereafter.
After seeing this film, I had to wonder a bit about why a documentary telling of an event from the 1960s contained news-footage from June of 1970. It was, of course to illustrate that what happened at Compton was, indirectly, linked to later events.... .....something that is still true today.
The 'Greatest comedy of all time'? Hardly.
A time capsule of mid-20th-Century comic talent? Almost.
Worth buying the DVD to see? NO.
This is simply one of those wonderful, yet rare, 'easy' to understand examples of what is meant by the phrase "the medium is the message." There are some hilarious scenes, and some great lines, but not enough to sustain such a long film-- not on TV, anyway, nor on VHS (and certainly not on the currently available DVD version).
I am one of apparently not too many folks here who saw this film in it's original release. In 1963 I was a junior high school student in New York City. I was old enough to know who all the film's stars were, and young enough to be stunned by the theatrical experience of Cinerama in midtown Manhattan.
Before 'Mad World' was made I had only seen "Windjammer" in Cinerama-- a film that did not appeal to me, content-wise, but as it was shown in a medium that boggled my young mind, I attended as many screenings of "Windjammer" on as many Saturday afternoons as was possible.
When 'Mad World' was released I was well aware of the fact that films made in Cinerama were so few in number that they could be counted on one hand.....and that that small quantity was not likely to climb into the double digits.
Its hard to rate this film on a 1-to-10 scale today, not because of lame reasons like "it does (or doesn't) hold up today" or "the humor does (or doesn't) play well to 21st century audiences." -- Such "then-and-now" comparisons are both tedious and moot. The reason it's a hard-to-rate film is because we are not (all of us here, posting to IMDb) seeing it in Cinerama in it's original release.
But for that one long-ago experience for me, at least, I rated it 9.
I can't expect similar feelings from everyone here (except those of you who were in one of the nation's very few Cinerama theaters in 1963.....staring wide-eyed at that jaw-dropping triple-wide screen....and wondering, as only a 13-year-old can, if such marvels would ever come again.....
When "Animal Crackers" was re-released after decades in hiding (due to
copyright problems), the ticket-buyer & ticket-holder lines at New
York's Sutton Theatre stretched down 57th Street for every showing. I
was dazzled when I first sat through this film-- it seemed as if there
was a kind of magic in the theatre that night. I can remember having
goosebumps when Lillian Roth sang "Why Am I So Romantic?".
I was working as manager of the Paris Theatre on 58th Street when "Animal Crackers" opened at the Sutton, and because both houses were part of the Cinema-5 circuit, I was always able to get passes. -- In this case, because I had also worked as 'relief manager' at The Sutton on many occasions, I was well known to the staff and had entry to that theatre whenever I wanted. --During the 'opening' run of "Animal Crackers," I often walked over to The Sutton when my day's shift was complete at The Paris.
I can tell you that every screening of "Animal Crackers" that I attended was packed. And every time I was present for the film's end, I witnessed a standing ovation-- something that many film producers can only dream of.
I often tried to imagine myself attending a 'live' performance of this show. --As many have mentioned here, "Animal Crackers" was a hit Broadway show, starring the Marx Brothers, long before it was filmed by Paramount.
Rather than complaining that this film is "stagey", many who comment here would do well to remember that a film like this is as close to a Broadway show as millions of people will ever get. The annoying penchant some viewers have for wondering why the film version of a Broadway hit show (especially a musical-comedy) isn't more "opened-up" is both tiresome and moot.
Also, the constant comparison of "Animal Crackers" to other Marx Brothers films (especially the later MGM films) is an 'apples-to-oranges' kind of thing. It would make far more sense to compare it to other early filmed-versions of it's Broadway contemporaries, such as "Rio Rita" or "Flying High" or "Girl Crazy"....
Although the stage show of "Animal Crackers" was on Broadway long before I was born, (and the film's initial premier pre-dates me by almost as long), I am forever gratified to have been able to attend the 1974 "re-opening" of the film in New York, and to see, feel, and participate in, the audiences' jubilant reactions.
I rated this film 10/10. It's a perfect comedy, with (theatre-goers will recognize this-) honest-to-goodness Broadway music-- and with Lillian Roth, too. "Animal Crackers" is a great show in every respect.
A very traditional cartoon for it's time, and in that context it no
doubt delighted the theater patrons who saw it on the big screen during
the 1936 Christmas season.
I can understand how people who are into "The Simpson's", and/or other contemporary animation, might be easily bored, but the tiresome habit of constantly trying to measure the art and entertainment of a bygone era to today's commonplace output is specious and moot.
True, in it's own day, "The Pups' Christmas" does not have the type of high humor one might see in the great Porky Pig cartoons turned out by Warners, nor does it have the multi-faceted cleverness of Max Fleischer's 1930's Popeye & Betty Boop cartoons. However, it IS a beautifully animated piece, and it captures the mood of Christmas quite nicely.
John Leguizamo does drag comedy better than most other men. He has a
spectacular history of different characterizations in his wide ranging
body of work. This is just one of the many, and though not his best,
its damn good and it's what carries this short film.
This 30 minute film, "TIME EXPIRED", is a simple story-- Man goes to jail, man meets drag-queen in jail, man has jail-house-affair with drag-queen, man is released from jail and finds the previously released drag-queen waiting for him.
Much to the dismay of the released prisoner's wife, the man finds himself involved in a not too common love "triangle": man, wife, & drag-queen.
It's predictable, it's not Leguizamo's best, but it's very funny and a great chance to see this genius of wide characterizations at work.
A plain, ordinary, and somewhat dumpy little man lives alone with his
little mutt dog in a shabby apartment in an urban section of Brooklyn.
One day, while walking the streets and looking into store windows, he
sees a pair of shoes that he feels will change his appearance and
hence, his social life. -
After purchasing the shoes, he goes home, gets cleaned up, dressed up, and goes out with his new shoes on. He goes to a depressing, almost empty diner/luncheonette and meets an equally unattractive and dumpy-looking female.
Emboldened by his new shoes, he strikes up a conversation with her and even dances with her to a tune on the juke box. While seated in a booth, we can see under the table that she is skuffing his new shoes with the soles of her shoes. -
After this encounter, he returns home and polishes his new shoes before going to bed. In the morning, when a garbage truck comes to pick up the building's trash, the man's little dog grabs the shoes in his teeth and takes them downstairs and places them by the garbage pail. The garbageman picks them up, throws them in the pail, then empties the garbage pail into the truck. The truck drives away. The shoes are gone.
When the man wakes and realizes that the dog took his shoes, he runs downstairs and looks both ways on the street for the garbage truck, but it's long gone. He slowly walks back upstairs where his little mutt is waiting for him.
This 25 minute film is mostly without dialog, except for the meeting in the diner. All through the film we see how much the dog loves this lonely man. We have to wonder if this devoted little dog, seeing how the new shoes got the man out of their home to meet another person, actually got rid of the shoes to keep the man home with him.
I saw this film on TCM recently. It was screened on a week-end evening, following TCM's premier showing of Powell & Pressburger's famous 1948 classic "The Red Shoes". I looked for "The Shoes" on the IMDb to find out more, but could not find it listed under it's title, nor was it listed under the name of it's star, Buddy Hackett.
I then looked in an old 2-volume set of books I own, titled "Forty Years of Screen Credits". It lists all the film titles for every actor who appeared in anything on the screen between 1929 and 1969 (I bought this 2-volume set in 1970). Well, low & behold, "The Shoes" was listed under Buddy Hackett's name, with a release date of 1961. - I then wrote to IMDb to try to get it listed, and after several months wait, it has finally made it here!
Fortunately I taped BOTH "The Red Shoes" plus this short film, "The Shoes", on the night TCM showed them, so I was able to get this short film's production credits to send to IMDb simply by looking at my own tape recording of it.
With a cast like this, a B-movie mystery just can't miss. But first you
must skip over the juvenile leads, both male and female, and look
beyond them to the talented, polished and very-experienced supporting
Frieda Inescort, past her girlish good-looks stage, gives an outstanding performance as the duplicitous, cheating landlady of the boarding house where the murder takes place. Turhan Bey, then a young actor of considerable skill with an already notable acting history, plays another ethnic role-- the sort in which he was most typecast- that of the mysterious "easterner" --turban and all.
Veteran actors Paul Cavanagh and Miles Mander round out this superb cast. You may recognize both from many 1940's supporting roles; Mander was also a director of early silents.
Beware of nay-sayers who are always trying to compare films of this era with today's output-- Phrases like "it does (or doesn't) show it's age" or "it does (or doesn't) hold up today" are meaningless when viewing films of this genre. In fact, such comparisons are boring and tedious.
This is a fun low budget effort, with an able cast, a crazy plot-line (why not?), and a few hysterical scenes (like the boarder who won't talk to the police because she's lost her false teeth).
Recommended. Don't miss it.
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