Monday, June 7, 2021

Summer Indulgence: Lured (1947)

It's good to be back! As much as I had hoped to be able to keep it up, my New Year, New Movie mission fizzled out rapidly due to rising demands from work and life. I have finally achieved a few weeks of respite and am free to indulge myself in movies. For Summer Indulgence, I will continue to work on watching a new movie every day, but will also be revisiting some old favorites. 

Though I've acquired a number of movies that still need to be inventoried and shelved, today's movie attracted my notice while I was inexplicably exploring the streaming options. There was no way I was going to pass up Lured after seeing it was a film noir with Lucille Ball, George Sanders and Boris Karloff, along with Alan Napier (Alfred in Batman TV series), George Zucco (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes) and Sir Cedric Hardwicke (The Invisible Man Returns). 


"A fine gentleman of means desires friendship with young and untouched girl. Enclose photographs, intentions of marriage. Box 477."



The Gist

A poetic serial killer is luring pretty, young girls through the personal ads. When Sandra Carpenter's bestie ends up a victim, Scotland Yard appeals to her to become the luscious bait to trap the madman with a flair for Baudelaire.


Memorable Moments

Night life in London.

Blue Eyes makes her love connection.

A poetic killer, or Hitchcock wannabe?

Examining evidence.

"What is it tonight, a sweepstake for zombies?
I hope you two will be very happy."

"Eh, shut up!"

Job qualifications.


Position filled.



Working for Mr. van Druten.

Karloff is a treasure.

Modeling his gown.

"You will never leave this room alive."

"But you want to learn to take care of your gun, Miss Carpenter."

Meeting Mr. Fleming.

All for love 🎼


Engaged!

"Ruff!"

Preparing for the engagement party.

An unhappy discovery.


Interrogation

Confronted with evidence.

A corpse turns up in the river.


Cat and mouse.



All for love 🎼


Thoughts

This movie was visually delicious! I loved every minute of it, though the scene with Boris Karloff was truly a treat. I don't know what possessed me to go looking online for movies today when I have plenty to watch around here already, but surely some movie magic was at play to lead me to such a wonderful film that I was unaware existed. It was the perfect indulgence to kick off my summer movie viewing. This is a keeper that I will be watching again. If you love shadowy noir murder mysteries, then be sure to check this one out. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

New Year, New Movie: Razzia sur la chnouf (1955)

Today, I started watching Journeys Through French Cinema with director, Bertrand Tavernier. In the first episode, he discusses the works of Jean Gremillon, Max Ophüls and Henri Decoin. That did not make it any easier for me to decide what to choose to watch this evening. I finally decided on Decoin's Razzia sur la chnouf (Raid on Drugs), a movie I pulled from the shelf to watch back in February that features Jean Gabin, one of my favorite French actors, who is the master at playing it cool. 



The Gist

Henri from Nantes has been recruited to help improve drug distribution in Paris after running an efficient operation the US. Business begins to improve under his direction, but the police are closing in on operations. In the end, Henri proves how ruthless he can be. 


Memorable Moments








Thoughts

This is an interesting movie to see involving drug distribution and use in the 1950s, especially because it's not the sort of thing you'd see in American films during the period. The ending comes as quite a surprise, considering all that precedes it. If this is your first time seeing Jean Gabin, then you may not understand how his seducing a twenty something girl would seem plausible. I first saw him in Port of Shadows and enjoyed his performance, but it took seeing him in a few other movies for him to really grow on me. He elevates any movie with his presence. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

New Year, New Movie: Woman in Hiding (1950)

Tonight I am watching another title I picked up at Kino Lorber's March Madness sale. It has Ida Lupino and that is all the reason I need to watch it. 


The Gist

Deborah Chandler has gone on honeymoon by mistake. She learns from her husband's former girlfriend, who confronts them at his cabin getaway as they begin their honeymoon, that he may have killed her father. Deborah tries to leave him, but he won't allow it. When she tries to escape in the middle of the night, she finds out he has tampered with the brakes on the car, and she narrowly escapes going off a bridge and drowning. She allows everyone to believe she's dead so she can have time to get evidence to prove her husband is trying to kill her to gain control of the mill her father left to her. Selden is not convinced she's dead and offers a reward of $5,000, suggesting she's mentally ill and needs help. Drifter, Keith Ramsey offers to help her, but eventually turns her over to her husband. A tense and shadowy chase at the mill will decide who wins and who loses. 

Thoughts

This movie reminds me of one you might come across playing in the middle of the night back in the days of free, public TV, where you'd see rainbow bars afterward as the station went off the air. It's not a headline grabbing film, but it's suspenseful and captivating and worthy of an evening's entertainment. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

New Year, New Movie: A Fool There Was (1915)

March has marched on by me. It's been a rough month. Enough said. I'm ready to throw myself back into the movies. While I haven't been able to watch movies this month, it did not stop me from acquiring more of them. That's what happens when multiple sales provide the opportunity, and a desire to find a pleasurable escape creates a motive. Tonight's feature was the result of Kino's March Madness sale. It features Theda Bara, one of film's early sex symbols, and it's one of only a few of her films that have survived. 


"You men shield each other's shameful sins. But were it a woman at fault, how quick you'd be to expose and condemn her."



The Gist

The Vampire runs loose through the town, working her way through men, controlling them with alcohol, using them up, and leaving them high and dry. After a perceived slight by the wife of John Schuyler, she sets her sights on him, taking advantage of his wife and daughter's absence during his mission to England to work her wiles on him. When they return from their illicit rampage through Europe, she maintains her hold on him despite the efforts of his wife, Kate, to free him from her grip. 


Memorable Moments

The Fool

The Vampire. Crushing men's spirits like she crushes flowers.

Feeling slighted.

The family enjoys a sunset.


The Vampire's victim.

He wants to destroy her.

But he can't.


There's only one way to escape her.

The brazen hussy shows off her ankle.

Not so secret affair.

Being snubbed by society.

Letting their love hang out in Italy.

Life before traffic lanes. She can almost touch her papa.

The Vampire prevents a reconciliation.

Maintaining his dependency.

Partying with good time gals.

He is not happy that she is already working on her next victim.

Not something a kid should have to see.

Another one bites the dust.



Thoughts

Like many of Kino's silent film offerings, this one is in fairly good condition, it has beautiful tints and a wonderful piano score that fits well with the action on screen, which is essential to the enjoyment of a silent film. It's not completely clear why the Vampire's victims stick around to be abused by her. We have to assume it's her seductive powers, coupled with alcohol and/or drug dependency that allows her to suck the life out of her victims. It's an interesting film in that there is no happy ending. The Fool does not return to his family, and the Vampire does not receive any comeuppance. The ending is cruel and strange with her dropping flower petals onto his dead face and blowing them off. We assume she will move on to her next victim and his child will forever be scarred by seeing her wasted dad clinging to a vamp, knowing that he chose her over his own daughter. There are a lot of scenes here that aren't essential to the film, but it's still interesting to get a glimpse of the past and see fashions and home decor from the period. It's a wonder anyone survived unregulated traffic in the early 1900s. That was certainly a sight to see in this picture!