Arch Stanton, Bill Carson, Tuco Ramirez, Angel Eyes, Blondie, these are the names that only a lover of Westerns and Classic American Cinema could come up with and bring to life in a magnificent screenplay. An epic sweeping tale of Greed in the American West,our Holy Three search for Treasure, Buried Gold, and nothing, not a Prisoner Of War camp, a raging battle for a meaningless bridge, the burning sands of an impassable desert, nothing can stop them in their quest. One of the writers of THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE! has passed on. The Titans of Cinema await you Furio Scarpelli. they will take you by the hand and lead you to Paradise! Requiescat In Pace!
A guy named David Becken wrote to me, seeking information on Lowell Grant. Lowell was a sculptor who lived around the block from me until his kiln exploded killing him and burning down his house. I think this occurred back in the 70’s. His house was never re-built and the foundation is still there covered with graffiti, it was used as a location on the Echo Park film Mi Vida Loca. Lowell also did sculptures for a movie starring Vincent Price called Diary Of A Madman. Here’s a link to my earlier piece about Lowell.If anyone has any information they’d like to share please write in, I’ve had one person ask about getting a sculpture repaired and if Lowell had any children that were now sculptors but alas I don’t know. Here are some images that Mr. Becken sent to me of Lowell’s work.
The great editor Dede Allen has passed on. She was the Queen of New York Editors and she started the careers of many big name editors working today. I met her several times and spoke to her about mutual friends. She knew my old buddy and mentor Frank G. Host and started out Frank’s pal Hugh Robertson on his career. Frank and Hugh were some of the first Afro American film editors in New York. Dede cut some incredible films. Some of my favorites are Odds Against Tomorrow, The Hustler, Bonnie and Clyde, Dog Day Afternoon, and Slaughterhouse Five. But I really love The Hustler in my opinion one of the best edited films of all time. I knew the apprentice film editor, a guy names John Taylor, a black filmmaker. Dede integrated the cutting room before almost anyone else. Dede edited Warren Beatty’s massive film Reds. I remember when it was being edited in NY. They took over Trans Audio on 54th street, right upstairs from Studio 54. It was a gigantic job, there must have been 50 people working in Post on that film. She leaves behind a son, Tom Fleischman, an excellent mixer and a great guy. I had the pleasure of working with him back in the 80’s, my condolences go out to him. This is the end of an era, Dede changed film and editing for all time. She will be missed.
An excellent film in all respects but Film Noir? I don’t know, they billed it as Gothic Noir but it’s like Merchant Ivory noir. Ray Milland is excellent as a talented cad, painter/thief no goodnik.He seduces the virginal widow of a missionary, Ann Todd, gets her to commit unspeakable acts and thanks to the writing and Miss Todd’s acting you totally believe it.Art Direction and Cinematography are top notch, all the acting in the movie is good. Look for Leo G. Carroll as a tenacious detective. Lewis Allen does an excellent job directing.He was around New York when I lived there but he was producing films in his later years. I met with his representative, a sleepy gent whose name escapes me, about a script I had written but Mr. Allen said no thanks. Allen produced the successful adaptaion of William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies directed by Peter Brook, he also produced Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451. He directed Suddenly starring Frank Sinatra as an assassin out to hit the President, Sinatra pulled the film from circulation after he heard Lee Harvey Oswald had watched it a few days before the Kennedy assassination. Now that I’ve seen So Evil My Love I’ve got to say Bravo to his work as a director.
Well since I posted 2 items that featured beautiful women in spider webs, I might as well go all out and post this one too. I like these Inquisition through Time type films , the Mexican film The Brainac is another one. We have an extra special bonus of Mickey Hargitay in the starring role.
Jayne Mansfield’s ex-husband, he appeared with Jayne in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter after he quit acting he ran a plant/florist business in Hollywood. Also I heard he was a landlord and a nice guy. Altogether a solid example of mid 60’s Italian Horror. Oh yeah special effects by Carlo Rambaldi (E.T.s creator)
Thursday April 8th two Gothic Noirs unspool at the Egyptian, Lewis Allen’s So Evil My Love and Jacques Tourneur’s Experiment Perilous. The first pairs Ann Todd and Ray (Man With X-Ray Eyes) Milland while Perilous features the beautiful Hedy Lamarr.
Friday night John Brahm’s excellent, rare, psychological thriller The Locket is shown along with Richard Fleischer’s Bodyguard. The Locket stars Laraine Day and Bad Boy Bob Mitchum. Bodyguard features a script by Robert Altman and stars super psycho Lawrence Tierny. A tough double bill to beat! I’ll be there how about you?
Here, thanks to You Tube, you can watch the entire Horrors Of Spider Island. Beautiful models stranded on a tropical island where a spider bite mutates one of the men traveling with them, turning him into a love sick monster.
I went to see Cry Danger at the Film Noir fest Friday night. It’s a fun film notably for it’s incredible locations, great character actors, and snappy dialog. I had seen this film years ago on VHS rented from the now defunct Jerry’s Video. But it was transferred from a really bad dupey 16mm print and looked like crap. This version at the Cinematech was a real beaut, recently restored by the joint efforts of the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA.
The film starts off with a guy getting off a train at Union Station, he goes to a dive bar, then a trailer park on Bunker Hill with amazing views of L.A. City Hall! The best noir location of all time! A downtown crummy trailer park! You have to see it to believe it. Great characer actor Richard Erdman was at the screening as well as leading lady Rhonda Fleming ( she looked great!)
Help Me Rhonda!
They regaled the audience with tales of making this film, Erdman talked about Jay Adler who portrayed the sleazy owner of the trailer park, He said he was the nastiest, evil person he ever worked with, he said Adler was such a miscreant as a youth that his family sent him away to a military school which Adler promptly burned to the ground!
Dick Powell Shoves his 45 in Jay Adler’s face
The wife of screenwriter William Bowers was in attendance as well. Bowers was an excellent Noir writer, his dialog still brings laughs, intentional ones I might add. Eddie Muller revealed that Bowers wrote the excellent Pitfall , which contains some of the best noir dialog outside of Out Of The Past. For some reason Bowers didn’t get credit on Pitfall which is a real shame. Rhonda Fleming told a revealing story that later shed some light on the ending of the film. SPOILER ALERT! She said that during the shooting of the final scene she was stricken with appendicitis and had to leave before they finished shooting. The end of the film was odd, Dick Powell tells Fleming he loves her, she wants to run away with him. She tells him to pack his bags and they’ll go off together. He exits the trailer and tells the asshole cop outside to go in and arrest her. Now is this any way for a hero to act.? Remember the great scene at the end of The Maltese Falcon, when Bogie tells Mary Astor he loves her but he’s turning her over to the cops anyway. That was a great scene! I think Rhonda was in the hospital and they made up the scene where Dick Powell tells Regis Toomey to arrest her , so they could shoot an ending without Fleming , at least I hope so because the ending as is makes Dick Powell a scumbag of the highest order. UPDATE! I wrote to Rhonda Fleming and asked her about the end of the film, she was kind enough to write back and tell me that the end was filmed as written, oh well another theory up in smoke!
It’s Back! The Film Noir Festival starts this Friday April 2nd at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood U.S.A.! First up Cry Danger starring Dick Powell and shot on location in 50’s L.A. James Ellroy eat your heart out! Here’s the trailer.
Followed by Tight Spot Phil (The Phenix City Story, 99 River Street) Karlson directs Ginger Rogers and Eddie G Robinson. What a cast! Rhonda Fleming is supposed to appear live so get tickets now!