Griffith and Corman’s Little Shop Of Horrors- Happy Halloween!

Written by Joe D on October 29th, 2013

littleshop01.png
I’ve always loved this movie ever since I saw it on ABC’s afternoon movie or whatever that show was called. I watched it again recently and I still dig it. First off the music of Fred Katz, kooky, idiosyncratic Jazz brilliantly arranged and a lot of fun. And unique I can’t think of any other music that sounds like it. The credits are sort of animated to the music with theses appearing, disappearing dots and then this pan of a gigantic drawing of skid row in a kind of Gottlieb style, super cool.

2013-10-29-104723-pm.png

bw-little-shop-of-horrors-roger-corman-jack-nicholson-pdvd_010.jpg

Chuck Griffith about to be eaten, he also supplied the voice of the monster plant

The writing of Chuck Griffith is at it’s off beat comic peak, so many bizarre character names, so much wordplay, really inspiring and funny. It’s kind of a re-tread of Bucket Of Blood, a nebbish becomes a famous Artist but has to kill people to create his Art, that character Walter Paisley is portrayed by Corman stalwart Dick Miller, who appears in LSOH as a flower eating buddinski Burson Fouch. There is some great wriying in BOB as well especially the Beatnik poetry that opens the film. Another thing about LSOH, the wonderful Bunker Hill locations featured in the scenes outside Mushnick’s Flower Shop.

2013-10-29-105017-pm.png

“Bunker Hill is old town, lost town, shabby town, crook town.” Raymond Chandler.

mushnicks.jpg

bw-little-shop-of-horrors-roger-corman-jack-nicholson-pdvd_003.jpg

Chuck’s real life Grandmother,Myrtle Vail, played Seymour’s mother

Seymour Krelboyn’s rooming house is right out of Kiss Me Deadly, the scene where Seymour meets Leonora Clyde, the hooker, looks like it was shot at the top of Angel’s Flight.

2013-10-29-105347-pm.png

If you look closely you can see Seymour getting off an Angel’s Flight car.

bw-little-shop-of-horrors-roger-corman-jack-nicholson-pdvd_011.jpg

“My name is Leonora Clyde”. Mel Welles (Gravis Mushnick’s) real life wife, Meri Welles.

2013-10-29-105628-pm.png

Then Seymour runs by a bar on a corner at the top of a steep hill, the bar has glass brick windows and I’m sure it’s in either Act Of Violence or Cry Danger, I’ll check and see.

2013-10-29-105621-pm.png
It’s funny when I was a kid I loved certain movies and always tried to catch them on TV, LSOH, Kiss Me Deadly, The Indestructible Man, all shot on Bunker Hill! The neighborhood that got erased. Anyway give yourself a Halloween Treat and watch Little Shop of Horrors, check out Jack Nicholson’s appearence as the maschostic mortician. Crazy Man.

bw-little-shop-of-horrors-roger-corman-jack-nicholson-pdvd_007.jpg

1683639-slide-s-7-from-crab-monsters-to-sharktopus-what-schlock-king-roger-corman-can-teach-us-about-art.jpg

Added Halloween Bonus - Color Still from Griffith and Corman’s Attack Of The Crab Monsters

Two Men In Manhattan

Written by Joe D on October 10th, 2013

twomeninmanhattan.jpg
A crazy film, maybe Melville’s transitional film between films of conscience ( usually coming from his time in the French Resitance) and his Crime/ Noir / Detective Period. A Classic detective film format, guys searching for someone, going from one colorful location to another on a search for clues. In this case the mythic playground of Manhattan at Night. Beautifully photographed like a memory of a dream, a dream with deep, rich blacks. First stop to interview an actress at the Mercurey Theater, a nod to Orson Welles company of the same name. Melville was a Welles fanatic, often quoting The Magnificent Ambersons as a big influence. Like the title says there are 2 men in manhattan, 2 characters on a quest, usually in the detective film there is only 1, Is Melville makiing a point? Both men are French ex-pats living in NYC, one is an alcoholic photographer willing to do anything to get the valuable picture, move a dead body and pose it for a more salacious effect, abuse an attempted suicide patient at a hospital to get some intel, sell out a hero of the French Resistance.

4287c.jpg

600full-two-men-in-manhattan-screenshot.jpg
The other guy is played by Melville himself, cool, dapper, digging the night life of Manhattan in all it’s shades and stratas of culture, legitimate theater to Brooklyn strip club and after hours jazz joint.

two-men-in-manhattan-still-444×250.jpg
But he draws the line at ruining the reputation of a French National Hero, even if the guy was stepping out on his wife, so what, 50 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong. In other words they all do it, it’s not a big deal. Still why are there 2 guys? Is it to show the different mind set of a Frenchman (melville) and an Americanized Frenchman? The differnt values systems? What happens to immigrants to a new country, how they take on the ethics of the new place? Could be. The film takes place in the course of one night, it ends on the streets in the early morning as the photagrapher wanders home, it really reminds me of a movie I saw once, the way it’s framed the location, even the way the character walks off, maybe it’s Robert Wise’s film Somebody Up There Likes Me? I’ll have to check. If you love Melville’s films, love the Romantic notion of Manhattan Past, love B&W cinematography then see the film, a lesser work from a Maestro of Cinema but intriguing and visually stunning.

somebodyuptherelikeme02.jpg