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An ambulances rushes a patient to the busy "Metropolitan Hospital"
where young doctor Chester Morris (as Bill Morgan) works. He and
likewise handsome Robert Taylor (as Tommy Ellis) think likewise young
William Henry (as Frank Snowden) needs an immediate appendectomy, but
the patient's father wants to wait until his regular doctor arrives. In
order to save Mr. Henry's life, Mr. Morris performs the surgery. While
grateful, the hospital dismisses Morris for brashly offending his
elders. Wealthy hypochondriac Billie Burke (as Mrs. Crane) has Morris
reinstated. She also offers him a job as "Society Doctor" for socially
prominent older women who suffer from mostly imaginary ailments...
You'll have to watch and see if Morris sticks to saving lives at "Metropolitan" or takes the easy job of tending to lonely rich women. Watching along are best pal Taylor and pretty blonde girlfriend Virginia Bruce (as Madge). Taylor is also in love with Ms. Bruce. Just before the story starts to slow down, something shocking occurs at the hospital. The film moves fast and is appealingly presented. Interestingly, Morris and Taylor strip to their waists to scrub before operating. Their physiques are admirable. There is no lingerie scene for Bruce, but she is nonetheless fetching. And hospitals in the 1930s had no guidelines restricting tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption in the workplace, evidently.
****** Society Doctor (1935-01-25) George B. Seitz ~ Chester Morris, Robert Taylor, Virginia Bruce, Billie Burke
In London, idly rich Robert Young (as Neil McGill) sobers up with a
shower and rubdown. He remembers it's his wedding day, but arrives too
late for the ceremony. It's just as well, because Mr. Young goes to
Switzerland and meets attractive blonde Annabella (as Luise
Anzengruber). For the first time Young thinks he's really in love. He
wants to end his selfish playboy ways and marry Annabella, but Young's
family expects him to wed his London fiancée. After this film, bride
the French actress Annabella took a break from movie-making and spent
some time with new real-life groom Tyrone Power. "Bridal Suite"
succumbs to the limited appeal of Young and Annabella as a romantic
**** Bridal Suite (1939-05-26) William Thiele ~ Robert Young, Annabella, Walter Connolly, Billie Burke
Snake-oil salesman Frank Morgan (as J. Daniel "Dan" Thompson) learns a
wealthy sister-in law has died. He quits his crooked "Medicine Man"
traveling show and goes to live with estranged 18-year-old daughter
Mary Howard (as Mary) in her Twin Rapids mansion. Upon arriving, Mr.
Morgan discovers Ms. Howard had to sell the furniture. The penniless
pair move to a New York (36 East 17th Street) boarding house run by
matronly Marjorie Main (as Irma). She and an eccentric group of
theatrical supporting players help maintain interesting this farcical
story. The writers give it a good sense of setting, with the characters
involved in early 1900s theatrical antics. Examples include Morgan
being rejected as a leading man for Sarah Bernhardt, appearing as a
"black-face" voodoo native, and the development of motion pictures.
However, the characters are patchy and the main story is drawn and
**** The Wild Man of Borneo (1941-01-24) Robert B. Sinclair ~ Frank Morgan, Mary Howard, Billie Burke, Donald Meek
The small Connecticut town "Duck Creek" is shaken by the arrival of
handsome Farley Granger (as Rick Livingston). The wealthy young man was
caught "driving like a maniac" (at 85 MPH) and sentenced to 30 days in
the pokey. Duck Creek's young women practically camp out at the jail,
due to Mr. Granger's extreme handsomeness and wealth. The "Small Town
Girl" to watch, though, is bubbly blonde Jane Powell (as Cindy
Kimbell). The judge's daughter, Ms. Powell sings soprano in the church
choir (and elsewhere). She wants to reform Granger, who was all set to
marry sophisticated Broadway musical star Ann Miller (as Lisa
"Small Town Girl" would have you believe Powell and Granger are an exciting young couple. They are not. Watching the dull duo's courtship would be insufferable, if not for the movie's musical numbers performed by Ms. Miller and aspiring young Bobby Van (as Ludwig Schlemmer). Granger has no chemistry with Powell, but Miller makes his kissing scenes simmer. And Powell is a fool to pass on Mr. Van, who looks like he'd be a fun and devoted lover. Miller's highlight is her sizzling "I've Gotta Hear that Beat" and Van's energetic jumping "Street Dance" must be seen. Even better is Van's earlier store-stopper "Take Me to Broadway".
***** Small Town Girl (1953-04-10) Leslie Kardos ~ Jane Powell, Farley Granger, Bobby Van, Ann Miller
The title refers to, of course, the April 1956 wedding of US actress
Grace Kelly and "Prince" Rainier Grimaldi of Monaco. MGM secured the
rights to this mini-documentary; considering the worldwide interest in
the marriage, this must have been a coup for the studio. The actual
film is banal, blathering fandom. We learn Monaco (then) had 4,000
citizens (called "subjects"). By comparison, social media's "facebook"
allows each user to add 5,000 friends. The tiny area is a
"Principality" (of France). Everyone toils hard to make their Prince's
wedding perfect. Not much attention is given to the real purpose for
the Principality of Monaco. It's a place for wealthy European (and
others) to sunbathe and deposit money into the local casinos...
The wealth of Monaco's royal family is obvious, and Ms. Kelly's presence as incoming "Princess" certainly pleased the profiteers. In the ensuing years, she was more of a draw there than at movie theaters. Kelly arrives for her wedding on a yacht, appropriately. The young movie star wears a white hat that looks very much like a flying saucer landed on her head. One can only picture Audrey Hepburn or Greta Garbo putting such a thing on their head, with any grace. Fortunately, Kelly's chapeau is short-lived. She looks her best when touring the palace, looking at "royal" portraits. The cameras are politely distant from the remote couple. Mainly, we learn that it's good to be rich because you can have very nice things...
But we knew that.
* The Wedding in Monaco (1956-04) Jean Masson ~ Grace Kelly, Prince Rainier
After losing his business partner, "Whirling Circus" manager Victor
Mature (as Henry "Hank" Whirling) must borrow a half million dollars so
that the show can go on - a US tour. He gets the money, but must accept
two new staff members to insure a profitable return on the loan.
Joining the troupe are full-figured publicist Rhonda Fleming (as Helen
Harrison) and penny-pinching banker Red Buttons (as Randy Sherman).
Having a female press agent irks Mr. Mature, but you wouldn't want to
bet against a kiss before the closing credits. This being a circus
movie, you might suppose a lion could be let loose, at some point.
Also, figure on one or more mysterious accidents, which might actually
This closely follows the circus picture pattern, especially Cecil B. DeMille's hit "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952). "The Big Circus" has a smaller budget, but producer Irwin Allen makes less look bigger than expected. It's colorful and bland, but must have been a cool way to spend time in the summer of 1959. The cast member shining is former "silent" screen star Gilbert Roland (as Zach Colino), looking incredibly fit as the circus' main attraction. "Ozzie and Harriet" son David Nelson (as Tommy Gordon) is also fit, as a younger model. Bing Crosby's second wife Kathryn Grant (as Jeannie Whirling) is likewise sexy in tights. Looking sneaky and clownish are veterans Vincent Price and Peter Lorre.
***** The Big Circus (1959-07-05) Joseph M. Newman ~ Victor Mature, Gilbert Roland, Red Buttons, Rhonda Fleming
After her mother suffers a high-wire mishap, 10-year-old Virginia
Weidler (as Ethel "Terry" O'Connell) wants to remain with the "Barvin
Greater Shows" circus. She joins lady lion-tamer Peggy Shannon (as
Aggie Moreno), but lawmen think the job is too dangerous for a little
girl. Another problem surfaces when a couple of shady men arrive and
claim ownership of Ms. Shannon's lions. Smooth-talking circus "fixer"
Lee Tracy (as Charlie Dugan) takes charge of the problems. There is a
rather ordinary story, but Miss Weidler is an appealing child. Adults
may have fun watching director Lew Landers and the RKO crew use
lion-tamer Shannon's stunt-woman (or, very possibly, stuntman) and
special effects in the second half.
***** Fixer Dugan (1939-04-21) Lew Landers ~ Virginia Weidler, Lee Tracy, Peggy Shannon, Bradley Page
Washed-up 1990s action film star Steve Guttenberg (as Colton West) is
bound in a chair and beaten. He spits out a tooth and breaks free, but
Mr. Guttenberg knocks over some set pieces. The director yells, "Cut!"
It's only a movie
In real life, Guttenberg is on the freeway going
home when an earthquake strikes. Earthquakes are common occurrences in
Los Angeles, but this one's different. It is accompanied by volcanic
eruptions. Giant, fire-breathing spiders pop out of the earth. Soon,
Los Angeles is crawling with spiders. Guttenberg uses his action movie
acting skills to help his bosom-displaying wife Nia Peeples (as Olivia)
and juvenile-acting son Noah Hunt (as Wyatt) defeat the "Lavalantula"
This is essentially a re-make of G.E. Furst's "Arachnoquake" (2012), which followed in the tracks left most successfully by "Them!" (1954) and "Arachnophobia" (1990). But, getting back to "Arachnoquake" (2012) and "Lavalantula". The plots are so similar, isn't it likely the two Syfy TV Movies were crafted by some of the same people? No, the movies have a completely different cast and crew. So, maybe it's this...
If you were doing a spider movie, where would they come from? The earth, of course, as in earthquakes. They would be big, naturally. That's not enough of a scare, so let's have them breathe fire. Now, how do we get rid of them? How about having our action hero star go after the "queen" spider? There's your movie! So, it's logical the two separate teams came up with the same plot. The second team of writers and producers can claim they don't watch Syfy TV Movies and just came up with the same story. Probably not true, but it has the shadow of a doubt...
Those with their IMDb "Reviews & Ratings" set on "Prolific Authors" may see reviewer Wes Connors state (again), "Spiders don't have queens!" and wonder why the producers, writers and director of "Lavalantula" did not know spiders are not insects. They don't have a "queen" (like ants). This was also true in "Arachnoquake" (2012), so it must be common ignorance. Syfy movies should not depend on science, should they?
**** Lavalantula (2015-07-25) Mike Mendez ~ Steve Guttenberg, Nia Peeples, Noah Hunt, Michael Winslow
Off the coast of Brazil, a conflict erupts between the United States
and Russia. A submarine, ship and weird helicopter are involved.
Unfortunately, another "Mega Shark" is released. The characters thought
they'd seen the last of them over a year ago, in "Mega Shark vs Mecha
Shark" (2014), the best of the four stories in this series, so far.
Baseball-capped Ernest Thomas (as Admiral Titus Jackson) is peeved.
Elsewhere, a giant robot called "Kolossus" is released. A relic from
the US/USSR Cold War, "Kolossus" is in a nasty mood. For some
undecipherable reason, the two monsters meet. Maybe they want to have
sex - it's difficult to tell...
Mr. Thomas makes a wise exit from this disconnected disaster. He was likewise smart as "Raj" on the old TV sitcom "What's Happening!!" Splitting the leading female star duties are spectacled commander Illeana Douglas (as Alison Gray) and tightly-attired agent Amy Rider (as Moira King). Mr. Thomas is the granddaughter of golden age Hollywood actor Melvyn Douglas. Blond Brody Hutzler (as Joshua Dane) has a little fun near the end. Apparently, director Christopher Ray and the crew were given a string of Christmas tree bulbs to use for lighting. The story makes very little sense and is almost impossible to watch with any attention.
** Mega Shark vs Kolossus (2015-05-16) Christopher Ray ~ Illeana Douglas, Amy Rider, Ernest Thomas, Brody Hutzler
Beautiful fashion model, salesgirl and assistant buyer Ann-Margret (as
Maggie Scott) dates handsome boss' son Chad Everett (as Ted Barclay).
When it's time to make out on the sofa, Ann-Margret hits Mr. Everett
violently on the head with an "Objet d'art". Everett survives, but with
a bandaged head. After the credits, Ann-Margret learns she is being
transferred to Paris, where she'll work as a fashion consultant. It's a
glamorous and exciting job. Ann-Margret is courted by famous fashion
designer Louis Jourdan (as Marc Fontaine) and playboy reporter Richard
Crenna (as Herb Stone). Everett also goes to Paris, probably because he
regrets asking Mr. Crenna to look after Ann-Margret. Co-worker Edie
Adams (as Irene Chase) tries to explain Mr. Jourdan needs sexual
satisfaction, but Ann-Margret doesn't seem to understand...
Ann-Margret is an amazing beautiful woman, and director Boris Sagal provides opportunities to see her underclothing. Dressing and undressing scenes are a highlight of "Made in Paris". One standout moment has the leading lady flashing a sexy glimpse of upper thighs while getting up and going to do something impossible to remember unless you're not looking up her short nightie. You could almost see France, but all of this story was done in the US. Of course, you see nothing, but it's Ann-Margret. The actual story is incredibly dull. There is a dreadful "fashion show" segment with stuff Mr. Jourdan's character admits no woman is going to wear. Ann-Margret has a lively dance segment, but this film otherwise wastes its star. The question, "Will her virginity remain intact until just after the closing credits?" is answered.
*** Made in Paris (1966-02-09) Boris Sagal ~ Ann-Margret, Chad Everett, Louis Jourdan, Richard Crenna
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