Author Topic: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse  (Read 2904 times)

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Kingfish

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2018, 03:18:10 PM »

21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #46 on: August 22, 2018, 03:55:26 PM »
Watched The Wild One (1953) last night.  Hadn't seen it in ages.  I thought it was funny with all of the beatnik talk and many of the members of the rival biker gangs looking like they were pushing 35-40 and most of them looked like yuppies out on a weekend drive. They'd cower and run if they ran into the Hell's Angels.  LOL.  Brando himself is slightly pudgy.

The best acting honor for this film goes to Lee Marvin and not Marlon Brando.  Brando has the screen presence, no doubt, but he seemed to lackadaisacally perform his part.  I found the leading lady, Mary Murphy, appealing but the plot was rather weak.  It was also nice to see Ray Teal.  Everyone has seen the iconic image of biker Brando and that in and of itself is the most memorable thing about the movie.   Oh and rumor has it that the Beatles took their name from Marvin's Biker Gang, The Beetles. At an hour and fifteen minutes though it is a quick watch and is never boring.  Good for a bit of a laugh but probably the weakest of the classic rebel movies made in the 50's.  I'd recommend Blackboard Jungle or Rebel Without a Cause over this. 3.25 stars and I'm being kind.

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Afterwards I watched The Freshman (1990) and found that much more enjoyable with Brando poking fun at himself as a Godfather-like mobster who cons film-school nerd, Matthew Broderick, into working for him.    Light fluff but fun.  3.75 stars

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21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2018, 04:23:25 PM »
Just watched a Warner Pre-Code that I didn't particularly like and that's a first, folks.  It is well-done just depressing.  Set in 1909, Ever In My Heart (1933) finds Mary Archer (Barbara Stanwyck) engaged to lovable lunkhead Jeff (Ralph Bellamy) who has just come back from Germany and brought a German friend, Hugo Wilbrandt (Otto Kruger).  Mary falls in love with Hugo at first sight and she decides to marry him not Jeff.  Jeff accepts Mary's decision with grace and dignity. 

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Their first years of marriage are happy ones.  They have a child, Teddy, and get a little dachshund but then World War I starts.  Things are still ok at the beginning of the War but when Germany sinks the Lusitania, the mood darkens.  The local townfolk start discriminating against Hugo and his family. Hugo is fired from his job as a professor at a local college and can't find work.  Then little Teddy gets sick and dies as they don't have the money to have doctors adequately treat him.  To top things off,  local kids stone the little dachshund and Hugo has to put it out of its misery. DEPRESSING!!!

It gets worse.  Hugo sends Mary off to live with her parents, acting like he is going to join her in a week.  He then runs off to Germany to fight against the Allies.  Mary, dismayed and angered, divorces Hugo and decides to go to the front in Europe as a nurse to help with the Allied War effort.  Who should she find there spying for the Germans?  That's right, Hugo.  I won't say anymore but the movie ends on a tragic note.  I was ready to slit my wrists by the end of it.

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Everything is well-done but I was expecting a naughty film and not a tearjerker. Archie Mayo directs the affair with panache and Stanwyck may be at her prettiest as Mary and it is a great portrayal.  Otto Kruger also is very good as Hugo and you really feel for the guy.  Kruger would go on to play nasty German villains for directors like Hitchcock and kindly doctors in many other films. Prejudice against Germans and German Americans was rife in the middle to late teens and the silent film, Behind the Door, also delved into that topic.  I give Ever In My Heart 4 stars for being well done but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.  It is simply too much of a downer.
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21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2018, 04:56:15 PM »
Some brief notes on 2 other films I watched.  The remake of Poltergeist from 2015 necessitates one question from me.  Why?  The actors give mostly flat portrayals with the exception of Jared Harris. Only Harris has any screen presence. Frankly, I wished that the whole family would have been taken off to another dimension, never to be seen again.  Pointless and poorly done. 1.5 stars.  Stick to the original!

Afterwards, I watched They're Playing with Fire (1984) with Sybil Danning.  Jay (Eric Brown) has the hots for teacher, Diane (Danning), and one day she reciprocates.  They start an affair and she and her husband Michael (Andrew Prine) use him in their scheme to inherit his mother's estate.  This was a B movie made at Roger Corman's studio, New World Pictures.  Way too convoluted but Danning kept things interesting. LOL.  The initial seduction takes place on a houseboat and it brought back memories of my youth where I stumbled into a beautiful woman in a bikini named Mrs. Bonner on a houseboat I was staying at.  I won't go further but man she was something.  Perfect breasts and oh so nicely tanned.

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Sybil did an interview on the blu-ray I watched and she said that the kid, Eric Brown, lacked a lot in the passion department and acted like he didn't want to do the sex scenes with her.  God, she must have hated the kid to air that bit of info to the public.  All I can say is he must've been gay.  Poor guy and now the secret is out.  2.5 stars

Postscript:  Eric Brown also played the lucky student in Private Lessons where he gets it on with teacher Sylvia Kristel.  I wish I had that sort of typecasting. :P

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21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #49 on: August 29, 2018, 08:35:53 PM »
OK.  I have a movie to comment on.  Scarlet Pages is a Warner Bros./First National precode film from 1930 starring the highly lauded stage star Elsie Ferguson in what was her only sound film.  By the time she made this film when she was 47, she was still highly regarded but past her prime and she would retire from acting altogether after this film. 

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   The plot of Scarlet Pages is definitely pre-code.  The film opens up in 1909 where an unwed mother has left her baby at an orphanage so the newborn wouldn't starve to death.  In doing so, according to the contract she signed with the orphanage's administrators, she is denied the right to ever contact her daughter again.
    The movie then cuts to 1930 and the focus is on Mary Bancroft, a highly successful lawyer with political ambitions, the Hillary Clinton of her day except much nicer.  A chorus girl, Nora Mason(Marian Nixon), wanted by the police for murder has come to her office to hire her.  She has just killed her father. She won't say why she killed him but it turns out he was trying to ravish her and she was horrified and killed him with a gun her mother had bought after the father had physically abused her.  Oh yeah, this is precode for sure!  Anyway Mary, suspecting the reason behind the murder, takes up the case,  and defends her.  The rest is a courtroom drama.
    As you can probably guess, it comes out that Nora is really Mary Bancroft's daughter and her father was only her adopted father.  Whew, I bet the state censor boards breathed a sigh of relief at that!  LOL    There is a bit more to this story that I've purposely left out in case prospective viewers don't want everything revealed. 

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 Elsie Ferguson commands the scenes she is in and exudes self-confidence as a self-made success in an era when few women made careers in such fields that men had generally dominated.  Elsie is a bit haughty and smiles a little excessively when giving her lines but that didn't really bother me.  She had made a few silent films, which are now lost, beforehand but mostly kept to the stage.  Marian Nixon as Nora is perpetually pouty through most of the film and overacts her more dramatic lines.  She is pleasant at the very beginning and end of the film but she needed better advice.  Grant Withers  and John Halliday offer reliable support as Nora's boyfriend and the D.A.  The best moment in the film is when the beautiful and leggy Jean Laverty, a fellow chorus girl, struts into the courtroom, sits while flashing the male jury her garter and stocking.  Why haven't I've see her before? Apparently she quit movies soon afterward probably to get married.


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The film though for all its salaciousness is just ok.  It definitely is stagy, and a bit slow.  Within the year, Warners would be making movies much better and with a much faster pace too.

I have a bit of a bone to pick regarding the delegation of 1930 as the beginning of the pre-code era.  There is quite a lot of evidence that many films had been a bit naughty for a number of years before.  That is why the movie studios felt the need to create a production code in 1930. Just a thought and there is plenty of evidence to back my thesis up.  Anyway, I'll give Scarlet Pages 3 stars and that may be a trifle kind but it is the only evidence left of Elsie Ferguson's career.

"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.

21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #50 on: August 30, 2018, 01:36:56 PM »
In the review above I meant to say adoptive father not adopted father.  :-[ I don't think children can adopt parents! LOL
"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #51 on: September 05, 2018, 12:14:28 PM »
Quick Bits.

The Hucksters (1946) with Clark Gable, Deborah Kerr, Ava Gardner,  Adolphe Menjou and Sydney Greenstreet.  Decent melodrama about the advertising business with a humorous performance by Greenstreet.  Gable and Menjou also do well. The Kerr-Gable romance is a bit sappy and I was kind of hoping Gable would have ended up with Gardner.  In the end, I found it rather routine but slightly better than average due to the cast. 3 Stars

Scarecrow (1973) with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino.  Decent road film that unfortunately ends on a depressing note like many other 70's films.  Though I love Hackman, I really liked Pacino in this but it is probably a film that I won't watch again.  The highlight of this film for me was the beautiful cinematography. 3.5 stars

Eraserhead (1976) by David Lynch.  Beautifully filmed black and white debut with nauseating images and a thin plot about a deformed child. It works better as an experimental film rather than as entertainment, and I suppose it was funded by the American Film Institute for that reason. Categorized as a horror film on IMDB, the only thing I was horrified by was the interminably slow pace of the film. I found myself constantly checking the display to see how much time was left.  Apparently Lynch's inspiration for this movie was the contempt he had for the city of Philadelphia which he described in interviews as vile, scary and depressing.  I lived in the Philly area for over a decade and I only have love for the city.  The acting is amateur for the most part with the only plus being the attractive visage and seductiveness of The Beautiful Girl Across the Hall played by Judith Roberts.  Lynch is unquestionably a talented film-maker but I would not have hired him for anything, much less the Elephant Man, after watching this.  2 stars

The Black Torment (1964).  Atmospheric British Gothic horror film that is marred by overbearing histrionics in the script.  It is all about a madman raping and killing peasant girls in the countryside in the 19th century.  Suspicion falls on a returning noble who obviously is being set up but by whom and why?  The cast of relative unknowns is fine but the aforementioned noble has to bellow at everybody and it gets to be a bit much after 30 minutes. Hammer did this sort of thing better. 2.25 stars

Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr.  Highly amusing screwball comedy by King Vidor about a patriotic American reporter trying to escape Russia with an unwilling Communist beauty.  Obviously inspired by Ninotchka, I absolutely loved the two stars  interplay in this one.  Lamarr particularly impressed me and I think she enjoyed making this film more than others.  She has a twinkle in her eyes not present in other performances.  I also loved the tank chase (or is it?) at the climax of the film and there is a hilarious punchline at the end of the movie.  If only Hollywood made movies like this again.  4 stars
"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.

MaxPower

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2018, 05:14:24 PM »
There can be only one.

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Yes ... The Movies! Channel, a somewhat obscure ota channel, is playing a different Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie each Sunday morning. Last Sunday was Pursuit to Algiers...

albrecht

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2018, 08:12:51 PM »
"Threads" [1984]
A better scare than we got with "The Day After" and considering the times and agitations to want war now worth a watch. A sorta documentary/reality style as such in those days but pretty realistic seeming.

Rikki Gins

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #54 on: September 25, 2018, 08:48:21 PM »
Yes ... The Movies! Channel, a somewhat obscure ota channel, is playing a different Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie each Sunday morning. Last Sunday was Pursuit to Algiers...

Pursuit to Algiers was a fun film.  It had Mr. Holmes getting killed in an airplane crash, (supposedly) and then there were some great cat and mouse moves with a bunch of baddies aboard a steam ship.  Those Holmes movies were great.

Zetaspeak

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #55 on: September 29, 2018, 11:32:34 AM »
Beetlejuice (88) was on TV, it's one of those movies every year I have no problem sitting down and watching it, even with commercials. It's funny that Beetlejuice antics against Gina Davis would be considered so "problematic" now but back then it was just wacky lol.

I have not gotten a straight answer if there is a  Beetlejuice sequel in the works. I been hearing about it for a while and that Michael Keaton is on board but never hear any details of it progressing.

21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #56 on: October 02, 2018, 03:55:33 PM »
Starting my October horrorfest yesterday. I watched 2 classic Hammer Horror films, The Gorgon (1964) and The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960).

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     The Gorgon features Peter Cushing as Dr. Namaroff who is not dissimilar from from his Victor Frankenstein.  The general plot is people have been going missing for some 5 years ever since a lovely young lady, Carla Hoffman (Barbara Shelley), came to town to assist Dr. Namaroff.  One evening a young artist, Bruno Heitz, finishes painting for the night and it is revealed that the posing model is pregnant with his baby.  The young couple gets into a spat and they each run off into the night, he to tell the girl's father that he intends to marry her and she to cry her heart out.  The young lady's body is found the next morning and is taken to Namaroff for an autopsy and he covers up the fact that the poor girl has turned to stone and rules her cause of death a heart failure. The young man's body is eventually is discovered hanging.  The artist's father, Professor Jules Heitz (Michael Goodliffe), comes to town to investigate the matter  and he faces obstruction from Namaroff.  Soon after, he is found dead, turned to stone, yet again Namaroff says he died from heart failure and no one can get a look at the body. 

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      Professor Heitz's other son, Paul, comes to town now and due to his suspicion of Namaroff, aroused from a letter Prof. Heitz had written to Paul shortly before he died, digs up his father's body and confirms his suspicion that his father is stone.  Thereafter, Paul begins a doomed romance with Carla and survives an attack from Mageara, the Gorgon.  Paul's mentor, Prof. Karl Meister (Christopher Lee), thereafter travels to the village to aid Paul.

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  There are a few problems with the movie.  The Gorgon is ugly, true, but she looks fake and would have benefited from some Harryhausen-type animation.  Another problem is no one in town questions Namaroff especially when there are viable doubts to the cause of death ascribed by Namaroff to the victims.  Also, a rather unoriginal idea taken from werewolf legends is that the Gorgon only appears on the night of a full moon.  Plus the educated men of the town and country quickly come to believe that the attacks are due to a mythological creature.  They are not the skeptical men of science so common in the age of reason.
   With all that said, the Gorgon is a strong outing for Hammer, and became a personal favorite of director Terence Fisher who provides his craftsmanship to yet another Hammer classic.  The atmosphere in the movie is eerie with the siren singing in the middle of the night in the dark woods.  Barbara Shelley as Carla gives a memorable performance and rarely gets enough credit.  While she has a cold beauty unusual for Hammer actresses, she probably appeared in more Hammer horrors than any other actress.  Lee gives one of his rare heroic performances as the befuddled Prof. Meister. 3.75 stars out of 5.
     
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"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.

21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #57 on: October 02, 2018, 04:51:52 PM »
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Now The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) by Hammer is a most interesting example of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale.  This version emphasizes sex over horror.  Dr. Jekyll (Paul Massie) in this one is dour and dreary but yearns to be loved by his somewhat frigid wife, Kitty, played by the beautiful Dawn Addams.  I say somewhat because she is only cold to her husband and is having a steamy affair with Henry's best friend, the libertine Paul Allen (Christopher Lee).  In this version, the bearded Type B miserable Henry Jekyll takes his potion and becomes the clean-shaven Type A social gadfly Edward Hyde. This Hyde is wicked and is an even bigger libertine than Paul who incidentally initiates Edward into the depraved delights of London town.  Hyde eventually takes a shine to Mrs. Jekyll and yearns to bed her but she will not have it as she only loves Paul.
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This film must have raised alarms with the  Legion of Decency at the time because this film is constantly violating America's production code and this film was a co-production with Columbia Pictures.  I'll give some examples.  Forget about the single beds so common in couple's bedrooms in the 40's and 50's. Couples are hopping into bed all the time in this film. Hyde beds a gorgeous snake charmer who incidentally in her act puts her snake in her mouth simulating oral sex.  Girls are frequently pictured in stockings, garters and heaving bosoms. The word bitch is used repeatedly in the film.

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What horror comes from the piece is how quickly a person can descend into depravity.  It is the constant battle of good and evil but what is good and what is evil?  Good is represented unenticingly by the dour Jekyll while evil represents fun and good times usually at the expense of others.  However, in most cases, the characters in this film are a mix of good and evil and the screenplay touches on the dichotomous nature of humans. Their downfall is usually due to inherent weaknesses in character. The screenplay is very good and writer Wolf Mankowitz must be congratulated.  Director Terence Fisher once again supplies his deft touch to another Hammer classic.
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For me the main weakness of the film to me was the lead played by Paul Massie.  I didn't like his Dr. Jekyll at all and I am constantly relieved when Hyde makes his reappearances.  Maybe that is what was intended.  I liked his performance more in this latest viewing than I did in the past.  It is certainly far different from the sympathetic portrayals of Jekyll played by Spencer Tracy and Fredric March. Meanwhile as I've said, his Hyde is as charming a rogue as ever walked the Earth. Standouts in the film are again Dawn Addams and Christopher Lee as a nicely loungeabout cad who sponges money off of Dr. Jekyll.   You can tell Lee is having fun in this role.   Oliver Reed has a very small part but gives it his all.  If you're looking for a monster movie, look elsewhere. 4 stars for The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll.

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"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.

albrecht

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #58 on: October 02, 2018, 05:17:51 PM »
Starting my October horrorfest yesterday. I watched 2 classic Hammer Horror films, The Gorgon (1964) and The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960).

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     The Gorgon features Peter Cushing as Dr. Namaroff who is not dissimilar from from his Victor Frankenstein.  The general plot is people have been going missing for some 5 years ever since a lovely young lady, Carla Hoffman (Barbara Shelley), came to town to assist Dr. Namaroff.  One evening a young artist, Bruno Heitz, finishes painting for the night and it is revealed that the posing model is pregnant with his baby.  The young couple gets into a spat and they each run off into the night, he to tell the girl's father that he intends to marry her and she to cry her heart out.  The young lady's body is found the next morning and is taken to Namaroff for an autopsy and he covers up the fact that the poor girl has turned to stone and rules her cause of death a heart failure. The young man's body is eventually is discovered hanging.  The artist's father, Professor Jules Heitz (Michael Goodliffe), comes to town to investigate the matter  and he faces obstruction from Namaroff.  Soon after, he is found dead, turned to stone, yet again Namaroff says he died from heart failure and no one can get a look at the body. 

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      Professor Heitz's other son, Paul, comes to town now and due to his suspicion of Namaroff, aroused from a letter Prof. Heitz had written to Paul shortly before he died, digs up his father's body and confirms his suspicion that his father is stone.  Thereafter, Paul begins a doomed romance with Carla and survives an attack from Mageara, the Gorgon.  Paul's mentor, Prof. Karl Meister (Christopher Lee), thereafter travels to the village to aid Paul.

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  There are a few problems with the movie.  The Gorgon is ugly, true, but she looks fake and would have benefited from some Harryhausen-type animation.  Another problem is no one in town questions Namaroff especially when there are viable doubts to the cause of death ascribed by Namaroff to the victims.  Also, a rather unoriginal idea taken from werewolf legends is that the Gorgon only appears on the night of a full moon.  Plus the educated men of the town and country quickly come to believe that the attacks are due to a mythological creature.  They are not the skeptical men of science so common in the age of reason.
   With all that said, the Gorgon is a strong outing for Hammer, and became a personal favorite of director Terence Fisher who provides his craftsmanship to yet another Hammer classic.  The atmosphere in the movie is eerie with the siren singing in the middle of the night in the dark woods.  Barbara Shelley as Carla gives a memorable performance and rarely gets enough credit.  While she has a cold beauty unusual for Hammer actresses, she probably appeared in more Hammer horrors than any other actress.  Lee gives one of his rare heroic performances as the befuddled Prof. Meister. 3.75 stars out of 5.
     
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Somebody stayed up late last night? I think that was coming on TCM after the '74 version of "Murder On the Orient Express," which I watched and enjoyed. I haven't seen the latest version, yet. As with this version a cast of many famous actors and actresses. But I noticed "The Gorgon" was on next but, too late, to stay up after baseball and then that. Haha. I enjoyed the review(s.)

21st Century Man

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Re: The Ellgab Classic/Cult Movie and TV Playhouse
« Reply #59 on: October 02, 2018, 05:22:43 PM »
Somebody stayed up late last night? I think that was coming on TCM after the '74 version of "Murder On the Orient Express," which I watched and enjoyed. I haven't seen the latest version, yet. As with this version a cast of many famous actors and actresses. But I noticed "The Gorgon" was on next but, too late, to stay up after baseball and then that. Haha. I enjoyed the review(s.)

It was on TCM last night?  LOL.  I had it ready to watch on a cheap twofer Hammer bluray along with Two Faces.  Wasn't going to watch the latter but then changed my mind.
"Supernatural, perhaps. Baloney, perhaps not. There are many things under the sun." - Bela Lugosi as Dr. Vitus Verdegast in The Black Cat.