Monday, December 24, 2012

"Red Shoes" Combines Dance, Romance

One of the recognized all-time great movies, “The Red Shoes,” combines ballet, intrigue and romance.  A 35 mm print of this 1948 classic, restored by UCLA, is being shown at the Trylon micro-theater in Minneapolis.  This is reminiscent of the store front theater on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley in the 60s that showed W.C. Fields and Marx Bros. movies long before the advent of VCRs and DVDs.  Historic films get the big screen showing at the Trylon.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

“Jezebel” Movie Not Ms. Goddard’s Best Effort

Sunday school teachers probably need not rush out to buy DVDs of the low-budget 1953 biblical movie “The Sins of Jezebel” with an aging Paulette Goddard as Jezy and muscular George Nader as her lover.  Filmed on a shoestring by the poverty row Lippert Studio, this confusing yarn features opening and closing narratives by a professorial type who failed to enlighten this viewer.
I knew I was in good hands when the opening credits listed Sigmund Neufield as the producer who was famous at poverty row studio PRC for low budget  horse operas. 
Comedian Joe Besser, a later day Stooge, plays Nader’s sidekick.  Besser was also know as Stinky, Lou Costello’s sissy nemesis on the ‘50s Abbott and Costello half-hour syndicated TV show.  Besser was the uncle of Mrs. Prell in Spokane who I knew as a kid because her husband gave our Sunday school class a tour of the KGA (ABC) radio studios where he worked .
From what I concluded, Queen Jezebel was involved in extra marital hanky panky with the handsome army captain played by Nader and also plotted to have Nabob stoned to death.  But she may have been decent to her aged mother.  Who knows?  Others more schooled in ancient history may want to fill in the blanks.
This mess may have been filmed at the Corrigan Ranch and a Hollywood sound stage. 
Lippert Studios also made “Wild on the Beach” with Sonny and Cher and they managed to cheapen what was then a cheap genre, the beach movie.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mamie Headlines 1960 College Spoof

Bypassing the recommended search committee protocol, a small college run by a bunch of zanies mistakenly hires a stripper named Tassles to head up its science department in the amusing 1960 Allied Artists Comedy “Sex Kittens Go to College”
Mamie Van Doren in her finest comedic role plays the erstwhile academic Dr. West  who demonstrates Einstein’s Theory of Relativity using a couple of pistols in a lecture that disturbs both faculty and students alike.
Producer, director and writer Albert Zugsmith has a filed day trampling on the sanctity of higher education which no doubt will delight  some viewers.  Country rocker Conway Twitty provides a musical tribute to Mamie who sings and dances,  Jackie Coogan from the Adams Family does a W.C. Fields imitation as the college benefactor Admiral McFortune.
The last reel of the film dithers into madness with strippers and Louis Nye in a fire engine chase scene that bears no relation to the slim plot.
The manufacturer of the MOD DVD is Desert Island Classics whose video transfer techniques leave a lot to be desired.  This is a movie everyone knows but have never seen.  Now I have it and am I better f or it?