Saturday, June 17, 2023

The Trap (1922)

Just when you think you've seen all the Lon Chaney films that have been found, another one gets cleaned up and rereleased. I recently picked up the Kino release of what is claimed to be Lon Chaney's first starring role in a film, The Trap. By all accounts on IMDb, he had appeared in over 100 films and shorts prior to starring in this film. Like many other Chaney films I've seen, he plays a character who has been wronged, which makes it a perfect vehicle for him to demonstrate his talent at changing his appearance from one of innocent benevolence to crazed and vengeful. 

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Messiah of Evil (1974)

I decided to watch something from 50 years ago by selecting a title from my 1973 movies and landed on Messiah of Evil. It wasn't until I went to write this post that I realized the incorrect date was listed on the Film Detective DVD, and it had actually been released in 1974. If not for that error, I may have been writing about Jesus Christ Superstar today instead. It seems to be an era for messianic movies.

"A hundred years ago, the moon started turning red up in the sky and things began to happen. It was like the redder the moon got up there, the closer the people were being jerked toward hell. Well, the people started bleeding out of control. They found children eating raw meat. It was like the town was festering with an open sore, until the night that they...until the night they came down out of the canyon and..."

Friday, June 9, 2023

A Musical Digression from the 1970s

I interrupt this blog to make the following announcement:

Jim Croce

If you belong to the Aging Broad's generation that had formative years in the 1970s, then you may enjoy checking out The Midnight Special TV Show YouTube channel. You may still enjoy it even if you aren't a part of that generation, though it holds a special nostalgia for those of us growing up at the time. For the past several months, they have been uploading episodes and performances from artists of the era in honor of the show's 50th year anniversary, including Fleetwood Mac, Jim Croce, Linda Rondstadt, Willie Nelson, Journey, Steely Dan, Al Green, King Crimson, Tina Turner and many more musical artists. The show also featured comedians such as George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Steve Martin, and had interviews of musical artists. 

What's different about this show from others of the time is that artists performed live, unlike on American Bandstand or Solid Gold, where they lip-synched their most popular tunes. In the era before MTV, many of us had never seen these bands perform and knew them solely from hearing their music on the radio or records, quite often through those memorable K-Tel albums that provided wondrous collections of the top hits. Seeing these live performances provides a whole new experience and understanding of the performers and their showmanship. I have a newfound appreciation for Genesis. I mean... I had no idea.

Since this is a blog about movies, I would like to provide an excuse for this digression by noting that music connects us to time and place, eliciting feelings and memories, which can be used to great effect in film, as I was considering while recently revisiting Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I have no affiliation with Burt Sugarman's The Midnight Special and share this channel only because it brings me joy, and hope it does for you as well. 

Let me hear you say Yeah!


Alice Cooper


Donna Summer

The Byrds



Willie Nelson

Dolly Parton

David Bowie

George Carlin

Rod Stewart and Faces with Keith Richards

Richard Pryor

Tina Turner

Fleetwood Mac

Chuck Berry and The Bee Gees

David Bowie


Message from Blondie:

"The abuse of nuclear power is merely a symptom 
of our troubled time. It is time for all Americans 
to take control of their own lives 
and stop being pushed around and poisoned. 
The race for nuclear superiority 
can only end with the destruction of civilization."

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

This month, the Criterion Channel is featuring a collection of films by Marilyn Monroe. I've seen quite a few of her films, so was pleasantly surprised to discover a film I'd not seen before, Don't Bother to Knock, which also has Anne Bancroft providing some lovely lounge music and Richard Widmark looking for love in all the wrong places. 

"The way you treat people. The way you think about them. All you can focus on is the cold outside of things, the simple facts. Not any causes of why's or wherefores. Oh, you're sweet. And you're fun. And you're hard. And you lack something that I ask for in a man."