Crane Wilbur - News Poster


He Walked by Night

Do you think older crime thrillers weren’t violent enough? This shocker from 1948 shook up America with its true story of a vicious killer who has a murderous solution to every problem, and uses special talents to evade police detection. Richard Basehart made his acting breakthrough as Roy Martin, a barely disguised version of the real life ‘Machine Gun Walker.

He Walked by Night



1948 / B&W /1:37 flat full frame / 79 min. / Street Date November 7, 2017 / 39.99

Starring: Richard Basehart, Scott Brady, Roy Roberts, Whit Bissell, James Cardwell, Jack Webb, Dorothy Adams, Ann Doran, Byron Foulger, Reed Hadley (narrator), Thomas Browne Henry, Tommy Kelly, John McGuire, Kenneth Tobey.

Cinematography: John Alton

Art Direction: Edward Ilou

Film Editor: Alfred De Gaetano

Original Music: Leonid Raab

Written by John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur

Produced by Bryan Foy, Robert T. Kane

Directed by Alfred L. Werker

Talk about a movie with a dynamite
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A Century of Female Fandom

Same stereotypes, different name.

If you look at the shining beacon of humanity that is Urban Dictionary, you will find fanboy defined as “a passionate fan of various elements of geek culture (e.g. sci-fi, comics, Star Wars, video games, anime, hobbits, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), but who lets his passion override social graces.”

What about fangirl? “A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor.”

While the former isn’t exactly an endorsement, the latter is a whole different category of harsh — and might have well been ripped from a newspaper written a hundred years ago. Because despite what this 2009 Today article or this 2012 Time article would suggest, calling women the “new” face of fandom is inaccurate. They’ve been there all along. The movie fangirl stereotype is almost as old as the movies — certainly older than their fanboy counterpart. As described by Diana Anselmo-Sequeira in her
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Review: "The Mad Magician" (1954) Starring Vincent Price; Twilight Time Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Hank Reineke

Though Vincent Price would eventually garner a well-deserved reputation as Hollywood’s preeminent bogeyman, it was only really with André De Toth’s House of Wax (1953) that the actor would become associated with all things sinister. In some sense the playful, nervously elegant Price was an odd successor to the horror film-maestro throne: he was a somewhat aristocratic psychotic who shared neither Boris Karloff’s cold and malevolent scowl nor Bela Lugosi’s distinctly unhinged madness or old-world exoticism.

His early film career started in a less pigeonholed manner: as a budding movie actor with a seven year contract for Universal Studios in the 1940s, the tall, elegant Price would appear in a number of semi-distinguished if modestly-budgeted romantic comedies and dramas. His contract with Universal was apparently non-exclusive, and his most memorable roles for the studio were his earliest. In a harbinger of things to come,
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The Mad Magician 3-D

The Mad Magician

3-D Blu-ray

Twilight Time

1954 / Color / 1:85 widescreen / 72 min. / Street Date January 10, 2017 / Available from the Twilight Time Movies Store 29.95

Starring: Vincent Price, Mary Murphy, Eva Gabor, John Emery, Donald Randolph, Lenita Lane, Patrick O’Neal, Jay Novello, Corey Allen, Conrad Brooks, Tom Powers, Lyle Talbot.

Cinematography: Bert Glennon

Editor: Grant Whytock

Original Music: Arthur Lange, Emil Newman

Written by: Crane Wilbur

Produced by: Bryan Foy

Directed by John Brahm

Twilight Time, bless ’em, hands us another treat to go with their 3-D discs of Man in the Dark, Miss Sadie Thompson and Harlock Space Pirate 3-D — and this time it’s a fun bit of 1950s horror — with a hot pair of short subject extras.

There have been plenty of theories as to why horror films became scarce after WW2; it’s as if the U.S. film industry took a ten-year break from the supernatural, and partly
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Catalog From The Beyond: The Bat (1959)

  • DailyDead
How the hell do I introduce a legend like Vincent Price? This is a guy who has starred in scores of horror roles and carried the banner for the genre in an era when the public saw it as little more than a breeding ground for psychopaths and miscreants. There isn’t much that I can say about this man that hasn’t been said a dozen times over, but I do have this: Vincent Price looked very much like my grandma. Or I suppose my grandma looked very much like Vincent Price. Don’t get me wrong, she was a beautiful lady, but she had Price’s ability to raise an eyebrow in a way to convey pretty much any emotion (usually mild annoyance). So for me, sitting down for a Vincent Price flick is like sitting down with a family member. Sure, he’s typically evil to a mustache-twirling degree,
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Mysterious Island (Encore Edition)

Fans that missed Twilight Time's initial Blu-ray release of Ray Harryhausen's Jules Verne spectacle get a second chance with this Encore Edition reissue. It includes an improved transfer and new extras, including an excellent audio commentary with Steven C. Smith, C. Courtney Joyner and Randall William Cook. The show still sends us, and Bernard Herrmann's powerful music score shakes the rafters. Mysterious Island Blu-ray Twilight Time 1961 / Color / 1:66 widescreen / 101 min. / Encoire Limited Edition / available at the Screen Archives Entertainment website; Street Date December 8, 2015 / 29.95 Starring Michael Craig, Michael Callan, Beth Rogan, Gary Merrill, Herbert Lom, Joan Greenwood, Percy Herbert. Cinematography Wilkie Cooper Special visual effects Ray Harryhausen Art Direction Bill Andrews Film Editor Frederick Wilson Original Music Bernard Herrmann Written by John Prebble, Daniel B. Ullman and Crane Wilbur from the novel by Jules Verne Produced by Charles H. Schneer Directed by Cy Endfield

Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
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The Bat | Blu-Ray Review

The Film Detective Archives refurbishes the forgotten 1959 film version of The Bat, an adaptation of a play by Depression era mystery writer Mary Roberts Rhinehart (co-written with Avery Hopwood in 1920), a woman referred to as the American Agatha Christie. A previous film version was made in 1926 by Roland West, followed by a 1930 sequel. Concerning a criminal who dresses in a bat costume and terrorizes people while committing crimes, Rhinehart’s character was the basis for American comic book artist Bob Kane’s creation of Batman. Thus, it’s an intriguing ‘origin’ property for several reasons. This particular version, which stands as the last official directorial credit of writer and B-film director Crane Wilbur, is also rather entertaining thanks to its two headlining stars, the inimitable Vincent Price and a rare leading role for the superb character actress, Agnes Moorehead.

Murder mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder (Moorehead) rents an isolated mansion
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Drive-In Dust Offs: House Of Wax

Whether you’re all for 3D, or have reserved a special place in hell for those awkward glasses, it would seem that it is here to stay. Long before it turned into the latest service fee added onto the bill of your movie going experience, 3D was a fun (and new) twist for film lovers. And with House of Wax (1953), Warner Bros. created not only the first color major studio 3D film, but one of the finest horror films of the 50’s, period.

Released in April of ’53, House of Wax was a pricey venture (1 million Us to produce), but one that Warner Bros. was willing to bank on after the smash 3D success of Bwana Devil (1952), an independent production. By this point, the major studios were desperate to get people back to the movies, as that new and nasty little box called television halved theatre attendance. What they achieved with
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‘He Walked by Night’ is a slow burn procedural, perhaps even a little too slow at times

He Walked by Night

Written by John C. Higgins and Crane Wilbur

Directed by Alfred L. Werker and Anthony Mann

U.S.A., 1948

The very long and arduous investigation tasked of Los Angeles police captain Breen (Roy Roberts) and Sergeant Merty Brennan (Scott Brady) begins on a quiet night, on a quiet street when aspiring criminal guru Roy Martin (Richard Basehart) is accosted by a patrolling officer after the latter sees him trying to break into an electronics shop. Roy is prepared for the confrontation, surprising the unfortunate law enforcement representative with his pistol, killing the man in the process. With one of their own gunned down mercilessly, Captain Breen and Sgt. Brennan tackle one of the most difficult cases of their careers, a story inspired by the newspaper headlines of the time when in 1945 and 1946 a former police officer and army veteran Erwin Walker took the city by storm
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Good and Bad War-Themed Movies on Veterans Day on TCM

Veterans Day movies on TCM: From 'The Sullivans' to 'Patton' (photo: George C. Scott in 'Patton') This evening, Turner Classic Movies is presenting five war or war-related films in celebration of Veterans Day. For those outside the United States, Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, which takes place in late May. (Scroll down to check out TCM's Veterans Day movie schedule.) It's good to be aware that in the last century alone, the U.S. has been involved in more than a dozen armed conflicts, from World War I to the invasion of Iraq, not including direct or indirect military interventions in countries as disparate as Iran, Guatemala, and Chile. As to be expected in a society that reveres people in uniform, American war movies have almost invariably glorified American soldiers even in those rare instances when they have dared to criticize the military establishment.
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‘The Amazing Mr. X’ has a great story and some unexpectedly terrific special effects

The Amazing Mr. X (a.k.a. The Spiritualist)

Written by Crane Wilbur and Muriel Roy Bolton

Directed by Bernard Vorhaus

USA, 1948

Christine (Lynn Bari), widowed for two years, steps out one night on her bedroom balcony overlooking the nearby rocky cliffs and ocean. Something compels her towards the violent waters,, a voice, that of her late husband Paul. Her younger sister Janet (Cathy O’Donnell) gently reminds Christine that more than enough time has elapsed for her to rebuild her life, especially with Martin (Richard Carlson), affable and loving, trying to win her heart. A few nights later, Christine even makes the trek down to the beach where a raspy voice unmistakably calls out her name. To her surprise, a lone gentleman named Alexis (Turhan Bey) is lurking the premises and introduces himself as a spiritualist interested in her case. Tempted by the idea of contacting her dead husband,
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Man of Many Faces – A Review of The Mad Magician (1954) Sony Pictures Choice Collection

The Mad Magician (1954)

Starring: Vincent Price, Mary Murphy, Eva Gabor

Writer: Crane Wilbur

Director: John Brahm

Synopsis (From Sony):

Vincent Price plays Gallico the Great, an inspired inventor of magic acts who longs to perform his creations himself. When he finally gets his chance, the production is closed by Gallico’s cruel manager, who wants a rival magician to perform Gallico’s greatest trick, The Lady and the Buzz Saw. An enraged Gallico turns into a homicidal maniac, taking out his victims with the same methods he used to create his illusions.


The Mad Magician is one of those movies where a man is wronged in the worst imaginable ways, and he goes off the deep end, and you don’t blame him. Matter of fact, you’ll root for him. Losing his hard work to his manager is really just the tip of the iceberg; something of
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Friday Noir: Hope rises from the ashes in ‘The Phenix City Story’

The Phenix City Story

Directed by Phil Karlson

Written by Daniel Mainwaring and Crane Wilbur

U.S.A., 1955

When a neighbourhood, a town, a city, a state or a country is ostensibly run by the wicked and the corrupt, what does it take for the populace to rise up and fight its oppressors? When the patience of the majority runs thin, when their minds are finally set on uprooting the seeds of vice which have infected their institutions and culture, the results can be shockingly effective. Simply ask the former leaders of Lybia and Tunisia, both ousted in a matter of few weeks in early 2011. The stories feel are the more appalling when they occur closer to home however. Even small town America is not exempt from such tyrannical rule, as is seen in Phil Karlson’s provocative 1955 film, The Phenix City Story (yes, that’s P-h-e-n-i-x).

Phenix, Alabama is the setting,
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Friday Noir: Director de Toth balances the gritty with the stylistic in ‘Crime Wave’

Crime Wave

Directed and Andre de Toth

Screenplay by Crane Wilbur

U.S.A., 1954

Sometimes the merits of a film noir come down to how superbly directed and acted it is, simple as that. Truth be told, there are only so many variations of the same story which can be told within the genre for it to be considered as legitimately part of the club. In some ways, those are precisely the sources from which these films derive most of their strengths and memorable qualities. Noir is very much about style, which can be robustly dictated by smart direction and specific acting styles rather than by a script. That is not to say that a script is incapable of guiding the mood and shape of a story, but within noir, it is the former two ingredients which shine brightest more often than not. Director Andre de Toth, fondly remembered as
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Film News: Third ‘Noir City: Chicago’ Festival Opens at Music Box Theatre

Chicago – Diabolical twins, obsessed journalists and jail-breaking thugs are heading their way to the Music Box Theatre. The Film Noir Foundation’s third installment of “Noir City: Chicago” features no less than sixteen restored 35mm prints of must-see cinematic rarities. Ten of these noir classics have yet to land a DVD release, thus making this festival all the more essential for local cinephiles.

The week-long festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 12, and includes criminally overlooked performances from Hollywood legends such as Humphrey Bogart, Anne Bancroft, Barbara Stanwyck, Olivia de Havilland, Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters and Burt Lancaster. Acclaimed noir historians Alan K. Rode (“Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy”) and Foster Hirsch (“Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir”) will be presenting the pictures while offering their wealth of historical and filmic insight.

Among this year’s most priceless treasures is “Deadline USA,” starring Bogart as
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Oscar Season Chat #4: A Conversation with Producer (and Legendary Cop) Sonny Grosso

(Celebrating award week with a look at one of Oscar’s most notable champions: The French Connection. Thirty-nine years ago, Connection – besides being one of the biggest hits of the 1970s – was the top winner at the Academy Awards walking away with gold for Best Picture [collected by producer Phil D’Antoni], Director [William Friedkin], Actor [Gene Hackman], Adapted Screenplay [by Ernest Tidyman], and Editing [Gerald Greenburg].)

“I grew up in a world where Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney …these were the heroes. Not the cops. Cops were the bad guys. Or they were stumbling around, couldn’t find their asses with both hands.”

So says Sonny Grosso, and it is a screen icongraphy he has worked hard to change. Grosso-Jacobson Communications has produced over 750 hours of programming for network and premium and basic cable television in its thirty-odd years. Though its output has run from Pee Wee’s Playhouse to adventure fare like Counterstrike, the most acclaimed of the company’s offerings
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[DVD Review] Film Noir Classic Collection: Vol. 5

Film Noir Classic Collection: Vol. 5, has dusted off eight films of the celebrated genre and adapted them to DVD format. Collections like these, which bring older films to newer light, are godsends regardless (to a degree) of which films are selected, because as timeless as some of these stories and performances might be, the barrier of being stuck in an old format can bury them forever. And these stories deserve to be told. If you watch a few well made noir thrillers you will no doubt see the seeds that were planted in the heads of crime-thriller filmmakers the likes of Martin Scorsese or Michael Mann. Though there are better films in the noir genre that this collection could have culminated, there are also a lot worse. Any fan of noir films or old mysteries and thrillers will be pleased at what this box set has to offer.

Desperate (1947)

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In Case You Missed It: ‘The Bat’

P.S. After seeing ‘The Bat’ 7 out of 8 people will get cold feet tonight!

Okay, I’ve gotta be honest. I don’t even know what that tagline for the 1959, murder mystery, ‘The Bat,’ means, but evidently it’s supposed to be menacing. Much like a majority of the film. It’s supposed to be foreboding and full of danger. It’s not. In the end, fun as it might be for the sheer entertainment value, ‘The Bat’ is nothing more than a stagy, hokey version of a story that had been twice before in the film world.

Based on the stage play from the 1920s, ‘The Bat’ tells the story of a masked killer who strikes his victims with steel claws. Throw into a large mansion, a missing, million dollars,a mystery novelist, and about 84 secondary characters who serve one of two purposes (suspect or victim) and you’ve
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