Kolchak The Night Stalker

Written by Joe D on September 1st, 2021

I just happened upon this on YouTube last night. One of the best TV Movies ever made! Super influential! X-Files Creator Christopher Carter sites it as a major influence. Written by Genius Richard Mathesson, he wrote the book Psycho was adapted from, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Trilogy of Terror, many TYwilight Zones, The Last Man On Earth, which has been adapted many times. The list goes on and on. A big part of why this movie is so good, Plus a great cast, Darren McGaven, Carole Lynley, Ralph Meeker, Charles McGraw, Simon Oakland, Claude Akins and Elisha Cook Jr. Some icons of Classic Film Noir. And an incredible score, kind of Dirty Harryesque, really cool. And I must say some really terrific stunt work! Makes it all seem belivable.  Many Years ago I took a Cinematography class at the Hollywood Film School, kind of a low budget AFI on Hollywood Blvd. It was taught by Michel Hugo, the guy who shot tyhis masterpiece. A very nice Frenchman and an excellent cameraman. Anyway check it out, a real blast from the past.

Milton Moses Ginsberg

Written by Joe D on June 23rd, 2021

MM Ginsberg has passed on. He was an editor of documentaries, a writer and a director. screen them for the class. I met him through my friend Dean Wetherell, he worked with Milton’s broter Arthur, who is a film editor and directed the Iceman documentaries about a prolific serial killer. .Milton ¬†would edit big documentaries to earn cash then write scripts in his time off. He made a film called Coming Apart, all shot from one angle, kind of Andy Warhol style but with good actors, Rip Torn, Sally Kellerman. He complained to me that a trailer company put some money into the film on the conditioon that one of the principals of the company got credit as the editor. “It’s all one shot!” He yelled, “What editing?!” He was still pissed off about it years later. But he was a nice, talented guy and he kept at his Art no matter what. A lesson to us all. Fare Thee Well, MMG.

Pull My Daisy

Written by Joe D on August 24th, 2020

 

Here is the Beat Film to end all Beat Films, written and narrated by Kerouac, directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie. It gives you a view into the Art Life of 50s NYC. I lived there in the late 70’s. It was pretty similar. I remember being at Guffanti Film Lab and seeing this film, they were making a print for Marty Scorsese. I think this film was a big influence on him. This version has Italian subtitles so you can practice your Italiano.

Silent Hollywood

Written by Joe D on May 16th, 2020

Here is a great BBC produced series about the early days of the Movie Business and how it wound up in Hollywood USA. Great interviews with the real Silent Movie people done back in the late 60’s I’d guess. Narrated by the great James Mason who in real life bought Buster Keaton’s old house and lived there for a while. Anyway it’s a great series chock full of amazing information and fascinating characters. Check it out!

 

Wanda

Written by Joe D on June 8th, 2019

Here is the trailer from a cool independent film made by Barbara Loden in 1970. An amazing film, sort of a feminist Cassavettes trip. Great acting and an incredibly tense bank robbery made on a shoestring budget. Impressive. At one point Wanda the main character goes to a Spanish language movie theater and there is a poster for a film I love, The Brainiac, a Mexican Horror Film. Also you see billboards for TastyKakes, an East Coast delicacy of my childhood. Watch this film and be prepared to be blown away. Actually this is the whole film with Portuguese subtitles.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Written by Joe D on January 7th, 2019

The Genius Of Cinema-Ermanno Olmi

 

I saw this when it was released in 1978 with my best pal Frank G. Host. We talked about it for a long time. It is a masterpiece! One of the best films ever made! Made by a true genius of Cinema, Ormano Olmi. He wrote, photographed , directed , and edited it. Damn! And all for a very small budget with non actors! Be inspired filmmakers of the future! See the Power of Cinema!

Bukowski! Taylor Hackford documentary

Written by Joe D on December 15th, 2018

BUK VS. HACK

 

Here is in my opinion of course, Taylor Hackford’s best film. A 1973 documentary on the legendary Charles Bukowski, patron saint of the dive bars, library stacks, post offices and racetracks of Los Angeles. I saw this film years ago and it was very hard to find for a long time but now thanks to the wondrous miracle of YouTube , here ’tis. Check it out amigos, borrachos!

Little Shop Of Horrors, COLORIZED!

Written by Joe D on November 2nd, 2018

two geniuses- Chuck Griffith and Mel Welles

I am not a fan of colorized movies, I love B&W films! But I must say I enjoyed this vcolor version of the Chuck Griffith/Roger Corman classic. Probably because the original B&W photography was not the greatest. They shot the movie in 4 days or something so not much time to nitpick the lighting. Anyway Enjoy it IN COLOR!

The Pit And The Pendulumn

Written by Joe D on November 26th, 2017

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Here is a short film of E.A.Poe’s great story, The Pit and The Pendulumn. Made by the illustrious animator/ filmmaker Jan Svankmajer. Super creepy, great sound effects, wonderful design by his talented wife, it’s a masterpiece. It does take a few liberties with the original story, in Poe’s version the walls of the room come together like a flattened box, forming a narrower and narrower lozenge, the metal walls of which are red hot, ay the center of the lozenge is the Pit which the victim is forced to fall into, devilishly ingenious. Svankmajer has the metal wall push one towards the Pit, a slight difference, also the end of the story turns out differently. But the subjective viewpoint he uses does match the internal monolouge of Poe’s version, without a voice over. I think it’s an interesting creative choice. The fiendish decorations seem inspired by Hieronymous Bosch and are beautifully realized. What a cool film. So wonderful it was made, there aren’t enough works like this these days, personal, artistic, artisinal. Check it out.

P.S. Here is a translation of the Latin quote at the begining of the piece, it is from Poe’s story as well.
Here an impious mob of torturers, insatiable, fed their long-lasting frenzies for innocent blood. Now that the fatherland is safe, now that the cave of murder has been destroyed, in the place where foul death once was, life and health are open to all.

The Long Haul Of A.I. Bezzerides

Written by Joe D on October 16th, 2016

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Being a huge fan of Robert Aldrich’s noir masterpiece “Kiss Me Deadly” I have been wanting to see this documentary about the man that wrote the screenplay, A.I. Bezzerides. I had heard about it a couple of years ago, I think it was going to play at the Egyptian but I missed the screening and the film disappeared. But now lo and behold you can see it on a website called Snag Films. Just push THIS. What a character, he also wrote Jules Dassin’s “Theives Highway” and “They Drive By Night” a Warner Bros. melodrama with Bogey, George ,I never watch my own films, Raft and the sublime Ida Lupino.
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The Best of the bunch is “Kiss Me Deadly” starring mega meathead Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer, I grew up watching this film on Channel 5 , WNEW in NYC. I loved it, I’d watch it every time it was on, great sports cars, great women, extreme violence, Atomic mystery box, 50’s L.A. locations, Angels Flight, Bunker Hill, the stuff dreams are made of, and Albert, Dr. Cyclops, Dekker.
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Anyway if you haven’t seen Kiss Me Deadly watch it now! Then check out The Long Haul of A.I. Bezzerides.
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Also the great Jack Elam, way before he caught a fly in his gun barrel in Once Upon A Time In The West

Grandfathers Of Crime- Boileau Narcejac

Written by Joe D on October 9th, 2016

These guys wrote Vertigo and Diabolique. An incomparable collaboration that shaped Crime Novels and Crime Films.

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The Making Of The Misfits

Written by Joe D on February 22nd, 2016

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Here’s a wonderful documentary about the making of The Misfits, a classic B&W film. What an amazing collection of talent! Arthur Miller, John Huston, the cast, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Monty Clift, Eli Wallach, Thelma Ritter, the brilliant crew including the genius cameraman Russell Metty and the spectaculer editor George Tomasini.

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Russell Metty with Orson Welles

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The Great George Tomasini
What a group. Out in the middle of nowhere making an existential Western. Wow, I wish I could have been there. I first saw this film back on the WOR Million Dollar Movie, it fascinated me as a young movie nut. I loved Marilyn and I had never seen Gable in a movie like this. The incredible cinematography blew me away, especially the mustang catching sequence. Metty had shot such masterpieces as Orson Welles Touch Of Evil, Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession, Kubrick’s Spartacus, to name a few. George Tomasini was best known for his work with Hitchcock, including, Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window and North by Northwest. One of the greatest editors of all time. Anyway here is Part one of the doc. Check it out.