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The Shadow (1994)
The original Dark Knight
Bob Kane himself admitted that he was inspired by "The Shadow" when he created Batman. He just took away the guns and made him more gothic. I really like this film, not only on the basis of the professional reputations of everyone involved but it straight out rocks. The special effects kick serious ass and Jerry Goldsmith wrote a fantastic score obviously in the hopes that a franchise could be developed. Considering that Orson Welles played the character on radio one would have assumed the effort in re-familiarizing the intended audience would have been emphasized. But look what happened to "The Phantom". I pray that J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" will be given the respect it deserves. Not that I'm comparing them but I am old enough to realize what is current and what is not.
The Master Demon (1991)
It is what it is.
In defense of the film;
It had a budget that would make Robert Rodriegez of "El Mariachi" fame go into shock... less that the price of a low budgeted screenplay, and was made with a desire to pay homage to John Carpenter's "Big Trouble In Little China" featuring many of the martial artists appearing in that film with the added intention of showcasing the character of "Medusa" for another feature in the works, before the actress's untimely death, about a "warrior princess" that years later inspired "Xena".
Sincerely The film maker.
Kraft Suspense Theatre (1963)
I barely remember the show itself except as more serious competition with the first season of "Thriller" which at the time was more detective, pulp, noir kind of material. I distinctly remember the opening credit sequence with the abstract images floating eerily about a stylized shadow of a pursued man with one of the best themes written for television. John (Johnny) Williams rules.
Only the Valiant (1951)
Extremely violent for the time.
I saw this film twice, both by accident. It is one of those movies that only gets shown at 3:00 am because it is so intense. After seeing this you can understand why John Huston picked Gregory Peck to play Captain Ahab in his version of "Moby Dick". This is a character you can only hate until he redeems himself. The Indians are a serious force of nature whose periodic attacks you fear because the aftermath of each one is so bloody you cringe instinctively which is why I am glad the movie is in Black and White. Gordon Douglas, who also directed one of the greatest monster movies of all time, "THEM", really understands the art of building tension and the pain of violence. Lon Chaney Jr's character goes through some of the same sadistically disturbing drama that Gene Hackman went through when his character was shot in "Bonnie and Clyde". A real nail-biter.
The Wizard of Speed and Time (1988)
For anyone who has tried to make a movie in this town.
I first met Mr. Jittlov when this film was in script form, after Regis Philbin, hosting a more local talk show, implored on the air, after showing one of his amazing short films, for someone to give a man this talented more work. I also first saw "The Wizard of Speed and Time" in its original short film form. Both that and the feature film are unique works of entertainment that pre-date the imagery and style of Tim Burton's first feature, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." Like Mr. Burton, Mike was an animator at Disney whose work went beyond their normal ranges of thinking. I am honored to have known such an amazing talent and grateful that this film exists and will live forever. Any work that acknowledges the only Oscar winning score by one of my favorite film composers, Bernard Herrmann, deserves additional praise beyond its own magnificent merits. It is a film that should be required viewing for all independent film makers who still possess that child-like wonder needed to truly appreciate the magic of motion pictures.
The Cotton Club (1984)
It made sense to me and I loved it.
As a writer who was involved at one time on a screenplay involving this famous club (The Dorthy Dandridge Story) and someone who was an admirer of the performers that played there (Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway et all) AND... as someone who actually met one of the characters depicted in the film. (One of the Nicolas Brothers who was involved with Ms. Dandridge played by Gregory Hines) as well as someone familiar with other fictionalized elements of realities placed strategically in the film for dramatic purposes (My favorite being the George Raft Story as portrayed by Richard Gere), I felt the film was enormously entertaining and important. Francis Ford Coppola went through a lot of hell to get this project finished, as he came on at the last minute and didn't get a lot of co-operation from the suits. John Barry's score was mesmorizing and appropriate. Fred Gwynne, in a return to drama, permanenty erased the stigma of "Herman Munster" (He was in "On The Waterfront" with Marlon Brando) and the disturbing fact that the film's reputation is clouded by an actual murder, make the experience of watching it just a bit different than your average movie experience. It recreated a type of popular motion picture entertainment not seen since the '40's with the added element of intense bloody reality. (Just think of Scorsesse's "New York, New York") If you are in a nostalgic mood and still willing to have the crap shocked out of you on the level of "Godfather" or "Goodfellas", this is the film to see