Thursday, October 29, 2015

THE UNIVERSAL BLOGATHON: Werewolf of London (1935)


The hostesses with the mostesses that we know as the Metzinger Sisters of SILVER SCENES present The Universal Blogathon to commemorate the studios 100th anniversary. The party, which is described as being a howling good time, runs from October 29th to 31st and HERE is your invitation.


Movie buffs have their sacred traditions. Here are some of mine. Christmas Eve belongs to Alastair Sim as Scrooge. St. Patrick's Day is commonly accepted as The Quiet Man Day. October 3rd is Werewolf of London Day to celebrate the shared birthdate of Warner Oland (1879-1938) and Henry Hull (1890-1977), the two character actors with star billing in the 1935 Universal release.



The infection and the antidote.

Dr. Wilfred Glendon (Henry Hull) is a botanist with a single-minded thirst for adventure. He travels to Tibet in search of a rare flower, the mariphasa, which blooms by the light of the moon. The only example of this blossom is in a mysterious valley shunned by all who know of it. Porters refuse to continue on the journey. Glendon insists and persists, and goes where no man has gone before. Dr. Glendon not only finds the flower, but has an encounter with a strange beast that leaves him with a scar and ... something else.

Wilfred secludes himself in his London laboratory with only his aid Hawkins (J.M. Kerrigan) allowed entry. He is trying to coax the mariphasa plant to bloom under manufactured moonlight. He is a driven man who cuts himself off from all society, even that of his pretty young wife Lisa (Valerie Hobson).



A triangle forms.
Henry Hull, Valerie Hobson, Lester Mattews

The Botanical Society presents many of Dr. Glendon's choice plants at an exhibition and tea which he tries to shun. Among the many guests are Paul Ames (Lester Matthews), an old friend and sweetheart of Lisa's. Paul's aunt, the crotchety dowager duchess type, Lady Forsythe (Charlotte Granville). Lisa's Aunt, a society butterfly, Ettie Coombes (Spring Byington) and Dr. Yogami (Warner Oland), a fellow botanist who wishes to consult Dr. Glendon.

Glendon and Yogami have much in common. It was Yogami, transformed into a werewolf, who attacked Glendon in Tibet. Now Glendon faces the same fate of lycanthropy. It is only the sap from the mariphasa plant which provides a temporary antidote to the curse. Yogami is a tortured soul whose own attempts to grow the plant have met with failure. Glendon, who has yet to experience a transformation, is skeptical.



Small talk about Fate and lost souls.
Warner Oland, Spring Byington

Dr. Glendon, like Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll, walks the streets of London transformed into something not wolf and not man, but a satanic creature with the worst qualities of both. This was Dr. Yagami's description and the man knew of which he spoke. A slightly inebriated Ettie Coombs comes face to face with the monster. Ettie survives, but a hapless stroller in nearby Goose Lane is horribly mangled and the case falls to Lady Forsythe's son, the head of Scotland Yard Sir Thomas Forsythe (Lawrence Grant). Paul Ames speaks of a werewolf murder he heard of in South American. Dr. Yogami implores the Yard's assistance in retrieving the last remaining mariphasa from Dr. Glendon or London will face an epidemic that will leave it a shambles. Yogami has a way with words. Forsythe dismisses the supernatural nonsense as "poppycock".



A couple of swells.
Ethel Griffies and Zeffie Tilbury

Wilfred becomes more estranged from Lisa and Lisa grows more attached to Paul. Wilfred attempts to isolate himself in a rooming house. He is without hope and forced to commit yet another horrible murder. The audience, however, is relieved of his singular despair by the best comic relief team in any horror film from any studio. The landlady Mrs. Moncaster (Zeffie Tilbury) and her bosom friend Mrs. Whack (Ethel Griffies) are a couple of nosy old soaks who think nothing of bashing each other about and insulting each other in a most endearing manner.

Fate has decreed the end for both Glendon and Yogami. We can but hope for the well being of those in their midst.



There's a bad moon on the rise.
Henry Hull

I am a fan of the screenplay by John Colton (Rain, The Shanghai Gesture). You can tell by the examples above that Dr. Yagami is prone to be flowery, yet he remains sincere. The humour in the characters is appropriate to their class and backgrounds, be it the flighty Ettie Coombes or the earthy Mrs. Whack and Mrs. Moncaster. Lisa Glendon gets to combine her loving wife side with the headstrong individual she was previous to marriage. Each character is a distinct individual and the cast, even in the tiniest roles, is given due consideration under otherwise unremarkable director Stuart Walker. Karl Hajos provided the moody score for Werewolf of London. The composer/conductor was nominated twice for the Academy Award for the comedy The Man Who Walked Alone in 1945 and the crime drama Summer Storm in 1946.

Jack Pierce's make-up for this early incarnation of the werewolf is less layered and intense than what will come in 1940s The Wolf Man. Wilfred Glendon can bundle up in a hat, scarf and turned up collar and roam the streets of London at will. He is most definitely not human, but just what sort of beast is he?



Nursing the mariphasa lumina lupita.
J.M. Kerrigan

My favourite aspect of Werewolf of London is the cinematography by Charles Stumar. The mariphasa plant glowing against the mountains in Tibet or the darkened London laboratory. The gloom of the den where Glendon first transforms into the creature. There is an hypnotic, almost comforting aspect to the look of the film. It is very familiar to fans as Stumar, who sadly died in a plane crash at age 44 the year of this film's release, was responsible for the "look" of The Raven, The Mummy and other Universal pictures going back through 1923's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 1923 was Stumar's first year at Universal in a career that began in Hollywood in 1917.

Werewolf of London is a treat any time of year, but I find it works best in the cool of October, for character lead birthdates and Hallowe'en.










Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Silent Cinema blogathon: 3 Bad Men (1926)



"My name is John Ford and I make Westerns."


Director John Ford's introduction of himself at a meeting where he shamed those behind Hollywood's black list says a lot about the man and his image.  His treatment of the west as history and as a platform for storytelling is indelible, despite his artistic and box office success in other areas (The Grapes of Wrath, The Quiet Man, etc.).  Following his older brother actor/director Francis Ford to Hollywood, young "Jack" worked as a stunt rider and actor before moving behind the camera on popular western fare, mostly featuring star Harry Carey, in 1917 at the age of 23.  Movies seem made for westerns with their outdoor vistas making thrilling backgrounds for stories of adventure and hardship.  The 1926 release 3 Bad Men was Ford's last western of the decade and he would not make another until Stagecoach in 1939.


George O'Brien as Dan O'Malley

Herman Whitaker's 1916 novel Over the Border was the basis for the movie.  The books setting was in the contemporary time period in Mexico.  The characters and plot of 3 Bad Men remains the same though moving the action to the Dakota in 1877.  Fox Studios originally considered an all-star western cast of Buck Jones, Tom Mix and George O'Brien as the title characters.  Director Ford felt the story would be better served by character actors and had his way.  George O'Brien was cast as Dan O'Malley, the young romantic lead, and his strong likability factor made him a perfect choice.



Olive Borden as Lee Carlton

Gold is discovered in the Black Hills and the Sioux are displaced from their land in favour of speculators and settlers.  Among the travelers is southerner Lee Carlton played by beautiful Olive Borden, aged 20 and at the height of her career.  Lee and her father are taking a string of thoroughbred race horses to assist in their bid for Dakota land.  Along the way they meet "My name and address is Dan O'Malley" (title card) and sparks fly between the young couple.



Lou Tellegen as Sheriff Layne Hunter
Tom Santschi as "Bull" Stanley

The destination for those on the wagon train is a newly sprung up town near to the land rush location.  The town is under the control of a crooked sheriff played by Lou Tellegen.  He's a killer with the ladies, especially the sweet Millie played by Priscilla Bonner (The Red Kimona, The Strong Man) to whom he has promised marriage.  Sheriff Layne Hunter is also a killer in the true sense of the word and has total command of a gang of outlaws who harass the common citizens. 



Tom Santschi, J. Farrell MacDonald, Frank Campeau as
"Bull" Stanley, Mike Costigan and "Spade" Allen

Our 3 Bad Men are "Bull" Stanley, Mike Costigan and "Spade" Allen.  Stanley is played by Tom Santschi and his affecting performance is the core of this film's success.  An imposing figure on screen Santschi was a director with 50 shorts to his credit and an actor who specialized in villains.  J. Farrell MacDonald plays the perpetually soused Costigan and his map of the Old Sod face was made for his close-ups.  Frank Campeau plays "Spade" Allen a gambler who, in all likelihood, has fallen on bad times.  He sports an incongruous top hat in memory of better days. 

The outlaws attempt to rob the Carlton's of their fine horses, but their timing is a bit off.  Sheriff Hunter's gang also plans the same job.  The arrival of our 3 "heroes" frightens away the townsmen after the death of Lee's father.  "Bull" is about to put a bullet into the back of what appears to be a young man by the body when Lee removes her hat revealing her true self.  Immediately "Bull" is struck by what he has almost done.  Lee looks up to "Bull" and the others as her saviors and from that moment on that is what they truly become.  "Bull" is not only a man on the run from the law.  He is looking for the man, as yet unknown, who took his baby sister, Millie, from home.  Until "Bull"he finds Millie, Lee becomes that sister who needs his protection.

A great moment for the trio is when Sheriff Hunter tries to put the moves on Lee once they hit town.  Hunter discloses the identities of the three and Lee stands up for them as "her men".  It will be a while yet before "Bull" realizes his Millie is also in this very town.  Currently working on the Lee situation, "Bull" determines that they should find her a husband.  A comic search attempt for such a creature carried out by Mike and "Spade" does not yield any likely candidates.  "Bull", however, runs into the scrappy Dan who is fighting for Millie's honour at the local saloon.  Lee and Dan let the fellows think they are truly Cupid's helpers. 



Tom Santschi as "Bull"
Priscilla Bonner as Millie

The Hunter group murder an old prospector for the information he holds as to the location of a gold strike.  The settlers have had enough and in the course of fighting back there is a fire in the saloon.  The sheriff exhorts his band to retaliate by burning a newly built church.  Millie rushes to warn the preacher and women at the church and his fatally injured in the attack.  "Bull" channels his grief into vengeance.



The Land Rush sequence.  This is not CGI.

The Carltons have the map to the gold mine as a legacy from the murdered prospector.  Layne Hunter and his cutthroats stick close to the Carlton's during the land rush with nothing but destruction and thievery on their minds.  It is up to 3 Bad Men to become avengers and protectors, and redeem their souls.


Three Guardian Angels

3 Bad Men is an epic western from Ford, whose work at Fox in these days ranged from quickies to the opportunity to truly stretch his artistic muscles.  The film moves physically and emotionally.  It has grand adventure, with the land rush sequence being particularly memorable.  It has heart and humour and romance - just the right amounts of each, for a dazzling entertainment on its own and a glimpse into future treasures from John Ford.


The Silent Cinema blogathon (October 24 - 26) is co-hosted by Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Lauren Champkin.  Click HERE for a treasure trove of fabulous films.







    

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

CMBA Fall blogathon - Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Sleepers West (1941)


The Classic Movie Blog Association is proud to present Planes, Trains and Automobiles, running from October 19th to the 24th. Please turn to this site for the blogs and dates listed to travel around the world through classic film!


All aboard!

Sol Wurtzel was the executive in charge of the 20th Century Fox B unit in the 1930s and 1940s.  Beginning with the company as an assistant to William Fox, Wurtzel relocated from New York to Hollywood in 1917.  He is credited with "discovering" John Ford, who gave the eulogy at Wurtzel's 1958 funeral.  20th Century Fox's pictures during this era included starring vehicles for Shirley Temple and Will Rogers, lavish musicals like Alexander's Ragtime Band, historical epics like In Old Chicago and respected dramas like Young Mr. Lincoln.  All of these were supported by the finest B unit in Hollywood under Sol Wurtzel's supervision.



Seems like old times.
Lloyd Nolan, Lynn Bari

Efficiently produced and entertaining series with established characters such as Charlie Chan, Mr. Moto and Michael Shane were profitable for the studio and provided a testing ground for young acting contractees, directors, writers and cinematographers.  The low budget fare can boast the same attention to quality of production values as their higher budgeted siblings.  To this day the films from this B unit retain their individuality and power to entertain.




Uncooperative witness.
Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes

Earl Derr Bigger's Charlie Chan and J.P. Marquend's Mr. Moto did the heavy serial lifting in the 30s with Brett Halliday's (real name Davis Dresser) private eye Michael Shayne coming aboard in 1940.  Popular player Lloyd Nolan first brought Shayne to life on screen.  Born in San Francisco, Nolan cut his acting teeth at the Pasadena Playhouse and in 1929 made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of a revue called Cape Cod Follies.  It closed in less than a month.  That early start would be repeated a few times before he made a success as Biff Grimes in James Hagan's One Sunday Afternoon.  In 1954 he would return to Broadway as Lt. Commander Queeg in Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.  In 1955 he would win a Primetime Emmy Award for his performance of that role on Ford Star Jubilee.



How do they expect the train to get in on time with all these delays!
Ralph Dunn, Oscar O'Shea

1935's G-Men was Lloyd Nolan's first film, but his professionalism and ease in front of the camera made him a natural.  Lloyd Nolan is fondly remembered for performances in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Bataan, The Street With No Name and hundreds of television roles including his Emmy nominated role of Dr. Chegley in the television milestone Julia.  In 1940 he signed on for Michael Shayne: Private Detective, one of 10 pictures Lloyd Nolan released in that year.  He made the wise-cracking, lives-by-his-own-code PI a most appealing character combining toughness, street smarts and humour.



Trains are great places for snoops - I mean, investigative reporters.
Lynn Bari

Sol Wurtzel produced a 1934 film based on Frederick Nebel's successful novel Sleeper's East starring Preston Foster, Wynne Gibson and Mona Barrie.  Nebel, along with Dashiell Hammett, was the king of the hard-boiled crowd that graced the pulpy pages of Black Mask.  Sleepers East was published in 1933 and was very well received.  It is not a straight-forward mystery, but a Grand Hotel-esque tale of disparate characters thrown together on a train including a mobster's lawyer, a private eye, the railroad dick, a reluctant witness, and a runaway husband.  The second of seven Michael Shayne movies released in this series is a 1941 reworking of Sleepers East entitled Sleepers West.  Eugene Ford, director of half a dozen Chan pictures, plus the Jeeves series and three of the Shayne entries handled that chore for Sleepers West.



Trains are great incubators for rumours.
Sam McDaniel, Charles R. Moore, Fred Toones, Jesse Graves, Edward Brophy

The No. 10 aka The Comanche is loading passengers at the Denver train station for its trip to San Francisco.  Mike Shayne, private detective, appears to be traveling alone, but is secretly escorting a surprise witness to an important trial.  An ex-con is being railroaded by a crime boss with political connections and ambitions.  Mary Beth Hughes (The Great Flamarion) is the little lady who can bust the case wide open.  Also on the trip is Lynn Bari (Orchestra Wives) as Kay Bentley, a reporter based in Denver.  She and Mike go way back, each having left the other at the altar more than once.  They share the comfortable and sarcastic bantering so common in films of the era.  The affectionate insults are handled with a surety that is a joy to see and hear.  Kay is accompanied by her fiance Tom Linscott played by Donald Douglas (Murder, My Sweet).  He is a lawyer employed by that ambitious San Francisco politician mentioned earlier.  Things could get complicated.



Secrets can be hidden or exposed during a train wreck.
Lynn Bari, Lloyd Nolan

Once the train gets underway, we are joined by late arrivals and emergency pick-ups.  The railroad detective played by Edward Brophy (Dumbo) has been called in to work at the last minute.  He has no idea what his assignment entails, but imagines it must be something big.  A shady PI played by Don Costello (Another Thin Man) is on the job for that ambitious San Francisco politician who keeps popping up.  Complication upon complication.  Louis Jean Heydt (The Great McGinty) is a straight arrow looking for adventure.  Brother, you have come to the right place!

Department of missed opportunities:  The No. 10 is graced with a number of porters, among them is top-billed Ben Carter and uncredited Mantan Moreland.  If vaudevillians Carter and Moreland performed their incomplete sentence routine for Sleepers West, it was left on the cutting room floor.  If they weren't even provided the opportunity then it was a rare false step by the Wurtzel unit.

These passengers with their secrets and agendas, collide and confuse each other with threats and tricks.  With a man's life at stake in a San Francisco courtroom and relationships in the balance Sleepers West is one wild and memorable movie train ride.

BONUS TRACK:  ("Track."  Get it?  Ha!)

Ben Carter and Mantan Moreland do their incomplete sentence act in two of the Chan pictures from Monogram, 1945s The Scarlet Clue and 1946s Dark Alibi, assisted by sly Sidney Toler and befuddled Benson Fong.



The Classic Movie Blog Association e-book Planes, Trains and Automobiles is available for free on Smashwords or $ .99 on Amazon with proceeds going to the National Film Preservation Foundation.





















Friday, October 9, 2015

They Remade What?! blogathon: One Way Passage (1932) and 'Til We Meet Again (1940)


From time to time I like to traverse what I call "Remake Alley". This trip is part of the They Remade What?! blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies which runs from October 9th to 11th.  Check it out HERE.  

Movie:  One Way Passage
Genre:  Romance, Drama, Comedy

Robert Lord (Black Legion, Heroes for Sale) was awarded an Oscar in 1934 for the Best Original Story for One Way Passage. The screenplay is by Wilson Mizner (Frisco Jenny) and Joseph Jackson (The Mouthpiece), and Tay Garnett (Bataan, The Valley of Decision) directed. One Way Passage was the final screen pairing of Kay Francis and William Powell. Between 1930 and 1932 they also starred in For the Defense, Street of Chance, Ladies' Man and Jewel Robbery.

SAILING TODAY

3 P.M.

S.S. MALOA

TO

SAN FRANCISCO

STOPOVER IN HONOLULU

Dan and Joan meet by chance in a bar in Hong Kong. They share a toast, a smile and a longing goodbye, not expecting to meet again. Dan and Joan will meet again on board the S.S. Maloa and spend 24 days in love and in lies on their One Way Passage.

Joan is a dying woman. She appears to be dealing with heart trouble as the ship's doctor is adamant Joan avoid excitement and get plenty of rest. Joan is resigned to following doctor's orders until she sees Dan on deck and he is looking for her.

Joan:  "I want to crowd all the intense, beautiful happiness possible into what life I've got left.  That's all living is for. If it's only for a few hours I want to have it and I'm going to have it. All I can get my hands on."

Dan is a dying man. A convicted murder, the long arm of the law in the form of Police Detective Steve Burke (Warren Hymer) has tracked Dan to Hong Kong and is taking him back to San Quentin and the hangman. Under the mistaken impression that Dan altruistically saved him from drowning, and had nothing to do with contriving the incident, Burke is giving Dan the run of the ship. After all, it isn't as if he can escape.

Dan and Joan pursue their romantic dream under the watchful eye of a couple of old pals. Skippy (Frank McHugh) is a bit of a drunk and a bit of a pickpocket. He is on board to escape the Hong Kong authorities. Also on board is a Countess who is actually a con artist known as Barrel House Betty (Aline MacMahon). She owes Dan a good turn and keeps an infatuated Burke occupied, while she and Skippy smooth the way for Dan and Joan to be together, and possibly for Dan's escape.

Betty to Skippy as they watch the lovers from a distance: "Look. he's got everything; strength, youth, courage. Everything that makes life fit to live. He's just a ghost. If things ain't tough enough, he's gotta fall in love."

Aline MacMahon is a special treat as the cynic with a heart of gold, who actually starts to fall for her copper. Frank McHugh is his usual scene-stealing self scamming bartenders and heisting empty wallets. Kay Francis wears one gorgeous Orry-Kelly gown after another, and the fashions could be a distraction from the story if she wasn't so genuine in her eagerness to live. William Powell's Dan is as admirable as his compatriots say when they explain they guy he knocked off back in the States was a rat of the first order. There is a lot of emotion jammed into the brief 67 minute running time which leaves die-hard romantics awash in tears.  

Dan and Joan live their love, which is genuine, and their lies, which are their sacrifice for each other. 




Movie:  'Til We Meet Again
Genre:  Romance, Drama

In 1940, a scant eight years after One Way Passage, Warner Bros. remade the property with a screenplay by Warren Duff (Angels With Dirty Faces, Each Dawn I Die) and directed by Edmund Goulding (Grand Hotel, Nightmare Alley). Travel seems to have improved in the intervening years as this time the voyage from Hong Kong to San Francisco, with the Honolulu stopover, is a mere 15 days as opposed to the 24 in the earlier film. The running time of this film is longer at 99 minutes, allowing for new characters and more time to explore them.

Our doomed lovers, Dan and Joan, are played in 'Til We Meet Again by George Brent and Merle Oberon. Brent's Dan is equally as brave and resourceful as Powell's, but shows even more desperation at his plight. Merle Oberon's Joan is a younger, less experienced character than Kay Francis' character. Joan of One Way Passage was resignedly on her way to a sanitarium. Joan of 'Til We Meet Again is fleeing a sanitarium in search of life.

The policeman Steve Burke is played by Pat O'Brien (The Front Page) and he is always more than a mug, which was Hymer's stock-in-trade. The "Countess" is played by Binnie Barnes (The Last of the Mohicans) who keeps a torch burning for Dan. Her "mark" on this voyage is played by Eric Blore (Top Hat). Scamming barkeeps and heisting wallets is Frank McHugh (again), whose moniker has been upgraded from "Skippy" to "Rocky". In this version of the story Dan is the mastermind behind his own escape efforts with assist from the "Countess" and Rocky.  

Geraldine Fitzgerald (Wuthering Heights) is on board as part of a honeymoon couple who befriends Joan. George Reeves (TVs Superman) plays her better half. Joan also has a concerned maid played by Doris Lloyd (Molly and Me). Like Kay Francis, Merle Oberon wears one gorgeous Orry-Kelly gown after another. Joan may be suffering, but she looks beautiful the whole time.

Adding to the ache in our hearts for Dan and Joan this time around is the use in the score of sentimental strains such as Aloha Oe, Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear, It Had to Be You, If I Had My Way (a holdover from One Way Passage) and, their private love theme Where Was I?.

  
I admire the quick pacing and the sense of the outdoors that accompanies the first version. I enjoy the lushness of the production values of the second. The "Countess" and "Skippy" seem more raw and real in the 1932 film. I prefer Aline MacMahon's touches in 1932, although Frank McHugh's more subdued "Rocky" in 1940 has a nice melancholy maturity.

'Til We Meet Again came first in my movie viewing history. I saw it on the late show in my early teens and it broke my heart. I did not realize at the time that it was a remake. 'Til We Meet Again stood alone as a lovely, romantic film that moved me to tears in the midnight hour. It wasn't until sometime in my 30s that I saw One Way Passage and recalled the Brent-Oberon film. I thoroughly enjoy each feature.  Both films turn me into a sobbing mess, with the Pavlovian response a little skewered toward 'Til We Meet Again. My inner 14-year-old never got over it.








Thursday, October 1, 2015

Caftan Woman's Choice: One for October on TCM


You are cordially invited to attend
the annual children's Hallowe'en fete
at Lufford Hall

Your host, Doctor Bobo the Magnificent




Niall MacGinnis, Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins

Warning:  The host's mood is a changeable as the weather. Once a harmless children's magician "Doctor Bobo" is now Julian Karswell, the leader of a devil cult. He has power and wealth which is jealously guarded. The protection of his status has led to two murders that we are aware of and nothing, in this realm or the next, seems to be beyond his abilities. Karswell is played with deliciously subtle evil by Niall MacGinnis, so sympathetic in 49th Parallel

Dana Andrews (The Best Years of Our Lives, Laura) plays John Holden, an American psychologist and de-bunker of the occult. He is the latest of Karswell's victims. Holden has come to England to participation in a convention with the worthy title of "Investigation of International Reports of Paranormal Psychology". In particular, he was to join a Professor Harrington in unmasking Karswell's cult. Unfortunately, in the course of his inquiry into the cult, Professor Harrington met with a fatal accident. A similar fate now awaits Holden.

Karswell to Holden:  "You will die as I say. At ten o'clock on the 28th of this month. Your time allowed is just three days from now."

Holden is a practical man with an ordered, scientific mind. He puts no stock in such hocus-pocus as hexes and curses. However, his newfound companion Joanna Harrington, niece of Holden's deceased colleague has been researching her uncle's papers and uncovers disturbing elements in his death. Joanna is played with controlled hysteria by Peggy Cummins (Gun Crazy, The Late George Apley).

Joanna:  "You could learn a lot from children. They believe in things in the dark and we tell them it's not so. Maybe we've been fooling them." 

Andrews performance as a man desperately holding onto his sanity in the face of unfathomable evil is the centerpiece of this fright-filled film.

John Holden:  "What do you expect me to do? Nobody is free from fear. I have an imagination like anyone else. It's easy to see a demon in every dark corner, but I refuse to let this thing take possession of my good sense."



Dana Andrews

Night of the Demon's director is Jacques Tourneur (Stars in My Crown, Out of the Past) whose earliest features were horror classics created at RKO's fabled Val Lewton unit: Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie and The Leopard Man. Tourneur knew his away among the shadows, the mysterious hallways, the startling sound, the sudden appearance of a hand on a banister, the creak of a door or the rising of the wind. The urgent, insistent score by Clifton Parker augments the visuals and the mind games of Night of the Demon to create a perfect thriller.

Another warning:  The world in general, and John Holden in particular, should learn to take fluttery little old ladies a little more seriously. It is in their best interests.

TCM is screening Curse of the Demon aka Night of the Demon on Saturday, October 31st at 10:00 pm. I can think of no more perfect way to cap off Hallowe'en.








THE LUCY AND DESI BLOGATHON: Lucy's Summer Vacation (1959)

Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting The Lucy and Desi blogathon running on December 1 - 3. Click HERE for all the ...