Moviedrome Mondays: Ace in the Hole (1951)

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Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing legendary director-writer Billy Wilder’s 1951 Film-Noir drama Ace in the Hole, my readers will have to make due with a transcript once again (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 23, 1989 (read here). When it comes to summing up Wilder career as a whole, I do not know If I can go as far as Cox does here in calling him the cinematic equivalent of Vladimir Nabokov. Cox says that he’s completely cynical, without sentimentality, without remorse, and he’s as great a craftsman with film as Nabokov was with words. – well, that depends on what Wilder film he is talking about. This aspect does apply (at least for me) to three of the four Wilder films he mentioned – Sunset Boulevard, this one and Some Like It Hot, but The Apartment contained some unnecessary sentiment. All that being said, Ace in the Hole is undoubtedly Wilder at his most cynical and I rank it somewhere in the top four of my favorite films from him. Also, when it comes to Cox’s closing paragraph on this film, I could not have said what he said any better (read here). If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Billy Wilder films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer


Also, here is a youtube video link to Director/Screenwriter Josh Olson’s Trailers from Hell commentary on the film

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Moviedrome Mondays: The Grissom Gang (1971)

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Unlike the last few entries, this Moviedrome Monday will not feature a youtube video link to presenter Alex Cox’s introduction to Robert Aldrich’s 1971 period gangster film The Grissom Gang. The reason for this is because I could not find a youtube video link to it, so my readers will have to rely on his transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 16, 1989 (read here). Although Cox calls the film efficient, he is not as crazy about it when compared to my reaction. Whereas Cox subtly criticizes it’s use of color, for me, Aldrich and screenwriter Leon Griffiths decision to depict the title characters more as caricatures was more than offset by the vibe that it (and in this case a rarity) came off as fascinating. Interesting pieces of trivia: this is the second Aldrich film to premiere on Moviedrome (the first was …All the Marbles – a.k.a. The California Dolls). This is also the second film adaptation of James Hadley Chase’s 1939 novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish – the previous version (a British production btw) came out in 1948 from director St. John Legh Clowes under that aforementioned name. In case you readers missed it, here is a link to my list of my favorite Robert Aldrich films (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Night of the Comet (1984)

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At the end of this blog entry, I will post a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing director Thom Eberhardt’s 1984 low-budget science-fiction horror comedy Night of the Comet. My readers can read Cox’s transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 9, 1989 (read here). While by no means a great or even very good film, Night of the Comet is throughly enjoyable. I do agree with Cox though that it’s attempts at humor backfires. Nevertheless, the film’s two appealing lead heroines (played here by Catherine Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney) serve as the glue that holds everything together. For those who have seen this film, try spotting early Cox regular Dick Rude as a mutant Stock Boy. Of similar interest, film director/writer (not to mention comic book writer) Joss Whedon cited this film as an influence (particularly concerning Maroney’s character) regarding the creation of the Buffy Summers character from his own Buffy the Vampire Slayer (both the 1992 film and the 1997-2003 television series). For more information on this, read this 2003 interview from IGN’s UK site (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Night of the Comet


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Stardust Memories (1980)

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At the bottom of this blog entry, I have posted a youtube link to Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing Woody Allen’s 1980 comedy-drama Stardust Memories. You can read his transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was July 2, 1989 (read here). True, Federico Fellini’s 1963 Italian classic 8 1/2 may have served as a main influence (especially Gordon Willis black-and-white cinematography), but Allen has denied that his own film is similarly autobiographical (read here). His controversial personal life notwithstanding, Allen was an immensely talented director and writer, not to mention comedian, at one time. Since the mid-1990’s though, he became a hit-or-miss director with more examples of the latter. Nevertheless, I could not have stated what Cox says in that last paragraph of his alone, especially concerning the presence of the always lovely and wonderful Charlotte Rampling (read here). If you are interested in reading my list of my favorite Woody Allen films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Stardust Memories


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: THX 1138 (1971)

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At the end of this blog entry, I will post a youtube video link of Moviedrome Presenter Alex Cox introducing George Lucas 1971 cult science-fiction film THX 1138. You can read Cox’s transcript here. The episode’s original airdate was June 25, 1989 (read here). Although my favorite film directed by George Lucas is still American Graffiti, I do admire  THX 1138 for all of the ideas that Lucas touches upon in his script – even If the results are not always entirely successful. At the very least, it does give us a glimpse of what Lucas would expand upon in his iconic 1977 science-fiction space opera Star Wars.

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to THX 1138


Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: …All the Marbles (1981) (a.k.a. The California Dolls)

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I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing Robert Aldrich’s 1981 sports comedy-drama …All the Marbles (a.k.a. The California Dolls); so my readers will have to make due with his transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 11, 1989 (read here). Not unlike what Cox implies here, If one looked beyond the film’s silly premise – a manager and his female wrestling team (The California Dolls) on the road – you will find a road movie with a lot on it’s mind. While maybe not as memorable as some of the best ones of the period – Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop or Wim Wenders Road Movie Trilogy – there is still plenty to admire here. Interesting bit of trivia: 1981’s …All the Marbles was the final film that Aldrich directed – he died two years later in 1983. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Aldrich films, read here.

Here is a youtube link to the film’s original theatrical trailer below

Moviedrome Mondays: The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

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Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing Jack Arnold’s 1957 science-fiction horror classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, my readers will have to make due with the episode’s transcript (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 4, 1989 (read here). Interestingly enough, as Cox implies in his introduction, the only films that actually properly addressed the theme of nuclear war in the 1950’s (for the most part), were (ironically enough) campy science-fiction horror entries of that aforementioned decade. If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Jack Arnold films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer


Here is another youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer – with Orson Welles providing voiceover duties

 

 

My Thoughts

I am very pleased that most (If not all) of my regular readers were able to comment on my two blog entries relating to actress Kim Cattrall’s Criterion title choices (read here and here) and how it related to my number one favorite Robert Altman film. Since I asked all of you for your opinions, I sincerely feel that it is only fair If I give my opinions on not only her Criterion picks, but also what she says as a whole in the video.  Nevertheless, allow me to divide my thoughts into two categories. The first will cover what films she picked from the Criterion closet and the second towards my extra thoughts.

-The Films-

1.) Heaven Can Wait (1943) (Dir: Ernest Lubitsch)
I too love Ernst Lubitsch like she does. One of these days when I update my blog entry of my favorite Lubitsch films, I will place Heaven Can Wait at number 2 or something. This was Lubitsch’s first Technicolor film and it is most certainly a marvel. A shame that Lubitsch could not have lived longer – it would have been interesting to see how often he would have shot in Technicolor. That Lady in Ermine would have been his second had he not died during production – director Otto Preminger ended up finishing it. Read here for my favorite Ernst Lubitsch films.
2.) Fanny & Alexander (1982) (Dir: Ingmar Bergman)
Though I still consider Persona (also a Criterion title) to be my number one favorite Ingmar Bergman film, I do love Fanny & Alexander as well and yes, it can be viewed as (among other things) an examination of the major changes that happens in a family when an immediate member of it dies. Cattrall sums it up better in that video than I do here 🙂 In case, anyone is interested in what I consider to be my favorite Bergman films, read here. Also, I highly recommend blogger Mitchell’s invaluable guide to the aforementioned director from five years back in 2014 (read here). Read here for my favorite Ingmar Bergman films.
3.) Cat People (1942) (Dir: Jacques Tourneur)
I would be interested in hearing what she loves about this masterful horror film since she did not really delve much into it here. In fact, I wrote a review of it last year on this site (read here). Read here for my favorite Jacques Tourneur films.
4.) Limelight (1952) (Dir: Charlie Chaplin)
I adore Charlie Chaplin’s sound films as much as his silent work and Limelight ranks high up there. I probably would have chosen 1931’s City Lights (another Chaplin title in The Criterion Collection), but all of Chaplin’s work is perfect. Read here for my favorite Charlie Chaplin films.
5.) The Complete Jacques Tati (1949-1974)
Considering that this box-set includes all of Jacques Tati’s work – and I think all of his short films – nobody could go wrong with this choice. Read here for my favorite Jacques Tati films.
6.) A Taste of Honey (1961) (Dir: Tony Richardson)
Admittedly, director Tony Richardson’s films have not aged well – though I still love The Border. Nevertheless, A Taste of Honey and Tom Jones are films that I greatly admire If no longer adore. Still, I do agree with Cattrall that actress Rita Tushingham was fantastic in the former.
7.) Tom Jones (1963) (Dir: Tony Richardson)
Read number 6.
8.) Nashville (1975) (Dir: Robert Altman)
I love this film for the exact reasons Cattrall states in the video link. Not since Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game, has an ensemble piece been this thought-provoking. By now, everybody is probably aware that I just love this film, so once again, read my review right here. Read here for my favorite Robert Altman films. Also, read here for me and fellow blogger Cindy Bruchman’s piece of Altman from a month ago.
9.) Jules and Jim (1962) (Dir: Francois Truffaut)
Anyone who read my blog entry regarding my favorite Francois Truffaut films (read here) is probably well aware that I rank this one very highly. With all that said, I laughed out loud when Cattrall cited Jules and Jim as her first three-way 🙂 What made it funnier is that she said it with a gentle voice 🙂
10.) Repulsion (1965) (Dir: Roman Polanski)
She chose my second favorite Polanski film (the first is Chinatown of course). Interesting bit of trivia: she actually has a supporting role in Polanski’s 2010 thriller The Ghost Writer. Read here for my favorite Roman Polanski films.
11.) Bicycle Thieves (1948) (Dir: Vittorio De Sica)
I would have loved to have heard her thoughts on Bicycle Thieves since it is an undisputed classic of world cinema. Read here for my favorite Vittorio De Sica films.
12.) Sullivan’s Travels (1941) (Dir: Preston Sturges)
I hope The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek gets the Criterion treatment one day, and while The Lady Eve and The Palm Beach Story rank higher for me (the last two are Criterion titles), I do love Sullivan’s Travels a lot. As with other fans of the film (including Cattrall herself), one’s love of it stems from it’s plot of someone who yearns for significance, but in the end, learns that humor has a way of impacting people as well. Read here for my favorite Preston Sturges films.
13.) Wanda (1970) (Dir: Barbara Loden)
I love Wanda every bit as much as Cattrall does. Nevertheless, I can’t do justice here in describing her insightful words on it – just watch the video link.

-Extra Thoughts-

What I really found interesting about the video was Kim Cattrall’s background concerning her love of films. As anybody who watched the video is aware, Cattrall’s mother was an usherette at a movie theater and she may have influenced Kim in a significant way. Once again, here is that Criterion Collection video link below.

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6556-kim-cattrall-s-closet-picks

 

 

Moviedrome Mondays: The Thing from Another World (1951)

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Once again, I could not find a youtube video of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing the 1951 science-fiction horror classic The Thing from Another World directed by Christian Nyby and co-produced by the legendary Howard Hawks. The episode’s original airdate was May 28, 1989 (read here). Not much to say here except as with all classic 1950’s monster movies, it is one that is every bit as thrilling as it is subtly intelligent.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

 

Extra Credit

I wanted to follow-up on my blog entry from yesterday (read here) with something that involves a little more creative participation on the part of my readers. Nevertheless, participation on the part of the reader is optional here and you do not have to participate If you do not want to. After all, just look at the title of this blog entry 🙂 Now some of my readers (that is If you decide to take part in this) may not have seen any of the Criterion titles that actress Kim Cattrall picks out here, but If you have seen them, let me know in the comment section below what your favorite choices of hers are. Also, what aspects of the video came off as the most interesting to you? Once again, here is that Criterion video link I showed you all yesterday.

https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/6556-kim-cattrall-s-closet-picks