I know I shouldn't laugh every-time I have a Peter Lorre moment, but the way he said "Calm down Boris, baby," it reminds me that playing a child murderer ain't all that bad. I realized he just played around for no reason since he only made one Universal monster movie & was having fun with the fact that he was only there being too funny because he made only one attempt at being a Nazi sympathizer &I had worry about myself because he might be funny (Get Smart, I guess)....
At any rate, Lon just sits there & tries to be scary by just rising up as the Mummy & Boris was like, yeah, I already get the joke. Meanwhile, the part that really gets me is once he's back to his old Wolf-Man makeup, Peter just says I like that & I had a "son of Frankenstein" moment, because all Lon has to do is wear makeup & fall out because he's not the really Lon Chaney. Just scaring the women who don't believe in horror movies.
The only thing left to say is, we did it & Vincent Price is still making more money than Boris "Scare "em to Death" Karloff....
Shemp and a moment of Jules White, with Zion Myers waiting for more obvious comparisons of the Columbia B-Ranch, incredible leftovers & how incredibly comfortable this old discussion still is for a geek like me--not casting any lame comebacks, obviously against anyone else who enjoys the old comfort.
Apparently this stuff this has enough chemistry and sparkle to challenge Bud, Lou, Chico and any other dead comedian I can think of (all except the Besser fan-club).
The nuisance is, I know Ms. McIntyre and Shemp always make it enough, so I'll just say I enjoy the 7/10 split....
I don't know if I should've put a question mark after "Great Man,"--I saw Chaplin and the "Gold Rush" and "The Kid" I think it was on TCM, years ago & thought it was extremely funny then had not watched for years.
Usually--unless it's Lon Chaney--or something dark & grisly, I'm not sure how to speak about a silent comedy; unless it's Buster Keaton & I don't think he's funny. I guess the only litmus test I can use is watching it again & laughing my posterior off, which I did with this film.
I can see many mixed reviews here, but the plot is so simple & screwy, I had to convulse. Chaplin seeing demons or karate-kicking everybody in his path had snot spilling from my nose, so obviously this man is legend. Look forward to more of these....
I guess I can summarize this without being too verbose. It's like any other long-running series--if the material gets tired or too comedic & strays from the horror and starts to lampoon itself, maybe a swift kick in the reboot is necessary. This goes back to Bela "Dracula" Lugosi & just horror in general.
If Part 6 was too comedic, this makes up for it. A darker Freddie, not too much light comedy & just great horror without dissecting it too much. Special mention for Heather looking great & the actress who plays Julie....
Wow, as in no reviews and this being a "Shemp obscurity" made when the team was dying on the vine & this was your podunk rehash of a short that wasn't great to begin with; although the original may pass as "Casablanca," compared to this.
Nothing close to being noteworthy--no Lady Godiva, no new intrigue in what little "new footage" there is. Just pass go & pray to gawd you never may force yourself to watch the stooge movies in chronological order...
Some recycles are better than others: nothing earth-shattering for the boys by this point in 1954; just maybe one of the patterns Jules White had set--Wrap-arounds of new footage as the bookends of the film, with a glut of stock footage in between.
Nothing that will blow you away if you like the original, but pretty good and way better than a "Flagpole Jitters," for example. Having Diana, Ruth and Norma as the new gals ain't bad, either... :-)
You learn something new everyday may be an old saying, but sometimes it's actually true--I already knew a lot of those old comedies borrowed a lot from others, but when you watch the Shemp solo "A Peach of a Pair," then yeah, here comes great fun, regardless...
I guess the best stuff comes from the very beginning: the stooges falling out of the awning--nice no-look punch from Moe on Larry--the census and the football game.
My only problem is where to rank this film with rest of the A & C classics like "Frankenstein" and Hold That Ghost." Certainly, it's in my Top 5, but maybe that's not important--other than the movie being great.
Not too many things hindering the movie (obviously) like too many staged singing and dancing numbers--unless the few here had a bevy of college girls doing it, then I'm okay. >:-)
Lon Chaney Jr. as a somewhat "ill tempered" janitor is certainly another plus for this one (did you swallow those dice?). And there's the classic wrestling match with Lou, that they recycled for the tv show; if I need to compare, I would say this film beats that one...
So, was Larry right about the boys never having an "original" set? Or the part about Columbia squeezing out every nickel for the stooges whenever a good set from an A-feature was leftover?
Seems about right, given that 3 shorts in a row were filmed to make "Fiddlers" and the rest of the medieval shorts--if "Hot Scots," counts as dark and gothic?
Anyway, familiarity definitely describes this one perfect: Old Vernon as the Royal King, pretty girl as the princess and the stooges, just their funny characters. Not as brilliant as "Squareheads," but I guess it doesn't have to be...
Ah yes, the old "Stooge Decline," where the new fangled television sets are killing of the 2-reeler business (if it wasn't dead already) and Jules White has to go "stock footage" crazy.
All that being said, there are a few of these recycled dogs that are average or above that; hell a few might improve on the original. "Loose Loot" comes close to being as classic as "Hold that Lion." It certainly is the best one coming from these waning years of the Shemp trio...
Of course, when are the stooges not violent onscreen? Anyway, I guess the supposed "surprise" about this one is the director, Mr. Bernds, who was known for not being as vicious with the slapstick; as opposed to the great Jules White.
Anyway--for all of that exposition by me--I'm very amused by the opening section of this short. Don't even have to spell it out, except saying "Poor Moe," or "Camel's Hair-brush, must be the hump."
The only part that is less exciting, I guess, is another Bernds standard of using a "hallway chase" during the finale. Nice ending, though, with a lot of slapping going on...
My mind can play tricks on me. Usually, when I think of the worst Universal horrors, I usually forget this or "She-Wolf of London," and with good reason; both are not worth remembering.
I think the only "comedian" worth observing is Shemp & beyond Shemp not really doing anything--aside from being a heavy--the butler is pretty good (Christopher Columbus); but beyond that and whatever "polish" the old John Barrymore is supposed to bring to the movie, the thing is just completely forgettable.
Even the rest of the cast--that may be easy on the eyes--can't bring me back for repeat viewings....
Pretty much the typical Stooge classic, at a time when the Shemp trio was really rolling & not too many "dud" shorts are found during this time period. I guess if I have to nitpick, is that maybe the section in the Emir's palace is not up to the level of the previous scenes--but how could it be.
Maybe the funniest "retaliation" anybody ever had to Moe is Shemp using the "magic handwave" to pull him down to the floor & conk his head repeatedly. And--of course--the kitchen antics of Larry.
Rather than retread my own version of the old "Joe Derita as a stooge debate," I'll just say that when you accept the older 60s stooges for what they are, some of these films do get a bit better, after awhile. A point I already knew years ago seeing these for the first time, but sometimes, it's not bad to take a break from the short subjects and pop in a feature.
"Daze," and "Hercules," still make for slighty better fun, but orbit is still a good one. The plot is cornball as hell (obviously) and the martian makeup won't knock your socks off, but maybe Joe himself has his best perfromance as "Curly-Joe."
I have seen live clips of Derita with Moe & Larry where he seems to flex more persona, so maybe this speaks to the format of the actual Columbia films as to whether or not he was restrained or not overly overt as a comedic dynamo like the obvious Curly, or even Shemp.
Not to mention, a few of his Columbia solo efforts were pretty good...
You have to love most of those old trailers that came with these Universal chestnuts. At any rate, apparently, Chaney playing Dracula was the supposed "ill-buzz," (if that's even a word) for this film for many years. Hell--before I even watched it--I read many a book or video review of how awful it was.
Ok, maybe I can kind of see the point; so Lon Chaney isn't Hungarian--but, then again--he wasn't exactly Welsh when he made the "Wolf Man." Basically, suspension of disbelief has been the mantra of many a movie & this is a damn good one.
Chaney definitely acquits himself in the role of Alucard/Dracula (nevermind the parallels to Chris Lee) and the rest of the cast is first rate. I even forget Ms. Ankers sometimes, because Louise Allbritton is so great as the femme fatale. Frank Craven and J. Edward Bromberg also do stellar work, in what is one of the top 40s horror productions for Universal.
Thank gawd for "Horror Collections" of the last few decades, I suppose; since some of these rarer films from the great "Horror Icons" of the past, are hard to come by & I've spent a lot of hours reading about them.
At any rate, the fun of this one--although, hardly a great movie--is the fact that it was shot at Columbia, so being a stooge fan, it doesn't hurt seeing Lorna Gray and a few other co-stars from those movies pop-up.
The plot itself is simple enough & engaging--I guess any old movie with a mad doctor and a haunted (or gloomy) house will spell itself out. Solid cast, solid direction and one of the old masters of horror make for a good hour of fun...
Cannibals, incest, a dead mailman for no reason--and I really thought Mantan Moreland was funny--and maybe some discreet Satanic overtones; if I don't read into it too much. Maybe not totally Satanic, but enough evil to know it may be a good popcorn movie.
Apparently one of the "Spider-babies," was 17 when the movie was made, or maybe both. Seems fitting, since they're playing the role, but I'll feel bad later for gawking at them. Also, according to the legends, Chaney Jr. actually stayed sober for the duration this movie took to shoot (incredible).
The plot is simple enough to follow--nothing that will shake up the blood & guts department, but for one of Lon's later movies, it beats the hell out of "The Devil's Messenger."
Apparently, you do learn something new, everyday. I knew before buying this movie I would like it (or love it)--I guess learning it was based on a real woman that Elizabeth played either proved I need to do more "book learning" or I just enjoyed it anyway (Lizzie Borden). At any rate, this may be a tad better than "Borden." May have to watch both again to compare the two.
That arsenic goes a long way when you have "daddy issues" or just hate men in general. Also couldn't help but laugh a bit when Liz said "well." I know it's a very common word, but the "Bewitched" fanatic in me can't help but be nostalgic, sometimes.
Well, no more analysis needed--if you love Ms. Montgomery, you know why this movie is of interest...
Do the Marx Brothers movies need to be restored? I guess there is a Blu-Ray, now and I haven't seen "The Coconuts," in a long time, but I remember some knocks on the old Paramount boxset. I see a few spots in this movie where it might need some touching up, but nothing to have a conniption about.
As for the actual movie, it could be the greatest of the Paramount wave of films. Swordfish, ice-men, Thelma Todd, and a great game of football. Nothing that will make me forget the Three Stooges destroying various sports, but the Marx boys are in a class by themselves; no need for too much comparison.
"Duck Soup," doesn't fail, either, but I'm sure all fans know about the fallout after that movie came out. A little further, father....
So--three years after that show ended--and no doubt, Liz wanting to break free from the "good witch" mold, we have Lizzie Borden. Nothing much to spoil with a film this old--Lizzie whacks her father and step-mother and is let off by the system, with a chilling question by her sister at the end.
In between, a lot of courtroom scenes and flashbacks; seeing the tension between the Borden family and the bloody climax in the closing reels. A lot of great acting; nothing a fan of these types of movies or Elizabeth herself would be disappointed with...
Another made for tv movie, I believe. I think Liz did a lot of these after a certain sitcom got cancelled trying to break away from whatever mold Samantha Stephens might have left her in. At any rate, a very good movie. First the young actress playing Liz's character as a teen before she lapsed into a coma, then Elizabeth appears, in a vegetative state, but still beautiful.
Apparently, Ms. Montgomery was in her 50s, but still playing a woman in her 30s--not much of a stretch. Anyway, it's an adjustment to her new surroundings, waking up all those years later. Touching movie at times, with a bit of humor and maybe some nice visuals. I might be thinking about some of the young college students in the film, but nevermind.
If you like Elizabeth Montgomery, then this is good stuff (obviously)....
The last Marx Brothers Paramount feature before they got fired and moved to MGM. I vaguely remember the backstory being that this film bombed, thus why the boys were terminated. Why the hell it bombed, I have no idea--this may be their funniest Paramount. The story is simple enough; a fictional country ousts their leader in order to appoint Groucho as the head man in charge, leading to a war & the intro of Chico and Harpo; and I guess Zeppo was there, too.
Too many funny lines and scenes to cover--Be sure to wash your neck, peanuts, Harpo jumping into the lemonade, the running gag with the sidecar, and the war at the end, especially Harpo grabbing Margaret Dumont's ass. And, Harpo's brief encounter with Edgar Kennedy's wife.
The rest of the Marx Brothers career at MGM is debatable, but they got off to a great start with "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races."
I guess I shouldn't be taken aback by all the references to "Hammer," or how this film is reminiscent of their style. I guess any horror from Britain made during this period might conjure those thoughts, as I was having them myself. The style, the atmosphere, the hot women running around throughout the proceedings.
Of course, I've heard "Roger Corman" too, but I haven't seen much of his work. At any rate, this is good stuff. Not quite Hammer "Dracula," but pleasing to the eyes and the finale is noteworthy. Good B-Movie fun...
It could be--as far as I know, it's not available on a standalone DVD. I found it paired with a double feature disc, so who knows? At any rate, this could be one of Lon's last few standout features or roles. His career hadn't totally sunk into the abyss yet, but he was still solid, whatever else was going on in his life during this point.
As for "Witchcraft" itself, a good B-movie if you don't have high hopes--and that angle may make the movie more enjoyable. Not sure if I should go into too much detail--aside from the obvious--witches, satanic rituals, some nice co-stars (oh, Amy), and a nice, fiery climax where Lon and his niece in the movie get destroyed.
Didn't see that coming, but I suppose she was supposed to be evil, too. Of course, having seen so many horrors, you don't always get out alive if you're supposed to be good in heart. Good, popcorn and horror entertainment...
And a few other co-stars, obviously. I'm not that well versed in "Poverty Row" entertainment, like some of the major studios. When it comes to Monogram or PRC, or a few of those other outfits, it's either hit or miss. The presence of the "Stooges" may be the obvious draw for this one--they definitely provide most of the humor; although Ed Brophy in a Healy type role is great himself. A lot of attractive women running around too--if you're into that sort of thing.
The story--what there is of it--is easy enough to understand. Process servers, a father who doesn't want his son in the entertainment business, some jilted landlords, and a pretty good looking movie in spite of it's budget limitations. Usually these B or C grade turkeys look just like that--but, if you didn't know any better--this would look like the same sort of movie Columbia or Universal could have cranked out.