Showing posts with label films. Show all posts
Showing posts with label films. Show all posts

Friday, 21 April 2017

B-Movie Madness: Fire Maidens From Outer Space 1956

Have I got a treat for you today! 1956's Fire Maidens of Outer Space!
Oh this is a CLASSIC!
And it's British!
And Jupiter looks suspiciously like Surrey!


A team of astronauts lands on a moon of Jupiter to find it populated with beautiful young women looking for mates. An old man explains to the explorers the group's story, as well as the moon's dangers.


The discovery of signs of life on the 13th moon of Jupiter leads to the sending of a crew of five chain-smoking male astronauts, armed with handguns, to investigate.

Here I shall point out the lack of space suits, the fact that they were walking around the 'ship' and they smoked the whole way. Oh and they can be contacted with the use of a standard telephone and they all have rather super hair! Splendid! We know how to travel through space in the UK!
Oh and this line is uttered while they watch a meteor storm: "Reminds me of my wife when she's mad!"



In Surrey, oops sorry, the moon with an atmosphere similar to Earth (funny that), they discover New Atlantis, a dying civilization which is a colony of the original Atlantis.



There are only seventeen people left, all women save for a single middle-aged man, Prasus, the girls' "father".

Prasus hopes the spacemen will stay and help him destroy the monster, "the man with the head of a beast".



Introducing Prasus's daughters:  nubile young ladies one and all in their mini skirted dresses. Could this be any more of a male fantasy?





Duessa, the leader of the women, determines to hold them captive to use as mates.
See, see! Male fantasy!

The monster lurks outside the city's walls, but breaks into the city and kills Prasus along with several of the women, including Duessa. It is killed by the earthmen, and the remaining women decide to let them return to earth. One of them, Hestia returns with them, and the astronauts promise to send spaceships back with husbands for the rest.
Yes, really.



This is a splendid bite of 1950's British sci-fi. I have a real soft spot for the utter bizarreness of it. 


Did you know ... This 1956 release take place on the 13th moon of Jupiter. The 13th moon of Jupiter was not discovered until almost two decades later, in 1974.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Film Friday: Breakfast at Tiffanys 1961


Today on Film Friday: Breakfast at Tiffany's from 1961.

I love this film and even channelled Holly at the Goodwood Revival one year.
My, I was a Skinny Minnie back then!



A lonely, struggling writer becomes enchanted with his neighbour: an independent young woman who strives to be a high-climbing socialite with a penchant for high-fashion and wild parties. But, soon he uncovers the vulnerability she has at heart.


Breakfast at Tiffany's is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards and written by George Axelrod, loosely based on Truman Capote's novella of the same name. Starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, and featuring Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, and Mickey Rooney, the film was initially released on October 5, 1961 by Paramount Pictures.


Audrey Hepburn's salary for the film was $750,000, making her the highest paid actress per film at the time.



Holly Golightly wears the same dresses all the way through the movie, simply changing the accessories to give each outfit a different look. Her black shift dress features through the movie at least four times.


Holly Golightly is supposed to be just nineteen years old when she meets with Paul. Audrey Hepburn was thirty-one years old when playing Holly.


Although it's never explained why Holly is wearing a bed sheet at her cocktail party, an earlier scene (cut before release) established she'd been taking a bath and had to improvise a gown on the spur of moment. The cut scene was featured in Life magazine pictorial shortly before film was released.


Did you know ...Tiffany's opened its doors on a Sunday for the first time since the 19th century so that filming could take place inside the store.


***

Is this a film you enjoy?

Friday, 24 March 2017

B-Movie Madness: Tarantula 1955



"I knew Leo G. Carroll
Was over a barrel
When Tarantula took to the hills ..."





A spider escapes from an isolated desert laboratory experimenting in gigantism and grows to tremendous size as it wreaks havoc on the local inhabitants.


A severely deformed man stumbles through the Arizona desert, falls and dies. Dr. Matt Hastings, a doctor in a nearby small town is called in by the Sheriff to examine the body at the local mortuary.

Asked to define the cause of death, he finds himself perplexed as the deceased was someone he knew and had just seen recently whose deformity appears to be acromegaly, a distortion which takes years to reach its apparent present state.

Dr. Hastings asks to be allowed to perform an autopsy to clarify the diagnosis but the sheriff refuses, judging an autopsy unnecessary because there is no indication of foul play.

Hastings then approaches Jacobs' colleague, Dr. Gerald Deemer (Carroll), who more bluntly refuses permission, then signs Jacobs' death certificate in lieu of Hastings, with heart disease listed as the cause of death.


Bothered still by the anomaly, and also by Deemer's abruptness, Hastings later drives to Deemer's combined home and research lab in the desert far from town.

Deemer apologizes for his hostility, blaming it on his grief, then insists that Jacobs had developed acromegaly incredibly rapidly, over just four days. He cannot offer an explanation but attempts to convince Hastings this was only an anomaly, not a result of anything sinister. Hastings appears to accept this apology.


After Hasting leaves, Deemer goes to his closed lab, where huge cages contain white rabbits and mice, some of enormous size. Deemer examines each of the oversized specimens, noting when each last received an "injection", and how many each has had altogether.

Then he turns to observe a glass-fronted inset in the back wall, as a different sort of specimen slides into view inside - a tarantula bodily the size of a large dog, plus legs.


As Deemer finishes his observations of this creature, a second deformed man appears, attacks Deemer and begins destroying the lab.

During this rampage the lab catches fire and the glass covering the tarantula's cage is shattered. The man grabs a hypodermic that Deemer was preparing, knocks him out and injects him with the contents.

As flames and electrical sparking rage over the lab, the arachnid escapes outdoors ...


Interestingly, Prof Deemer predicts that by the year 2000 the human population will be 3.6 billion. In fact it was almost double that at that time.


Clint Eastwood appears as the (uncredited) leader of the jet squadron that attacks the tarantula in the film's climax.



The starring spider also 'acted' in a previous film featured here on The Folly Bird: The Incredible Shrinking Man.


🎞📽🎞


Did I enjoy this?
I did actually, animals in laboratories aside, obviously.
It even made me jump in one place which I have never done before when watching one of these b-movies.


Friday, 17 March 2017

B-movie Madness: The Blob 1958

Today's b-movie is 1958's The Blob, maybe one of the most famous of the 1950's b features.


An alien lifeform consumes everything in its path as it grows and grows.



Over one night in a small Pennsylvania town in July '57, teenager Steve (Steve McQueen) and his girlfriend, Jane (Aneta Corsaut), are kissing on lovers' lane when they see a meteor crash beyond the next hill.

Steve decides to look for it but a local man finds it first. Poking it with a stick, it breaks open and a jelly like blob attaches itself to his hand. In pain and unable to remove it, he heads for the road where he is almost hit by Steve's car. Steve and Jane then take him to Doctor Hallen.


Doctor Hallen who is about to leave the surgery, anesthetises the man and sends Steve and Jane back to the where they found the man to see if anyone knows what happened. Meanwhile he decides he must amputate the man's arm since it is being consumed by the ever increasing Blob.

Before he has a chance, the Blob consumes the man, then Hallen's nurse, and finally the doctor himself, all the while increasing in size.


As Steve and Jane return to the office, they are in time to witness the doctor's death. Heading to the police station, they return to the house with Lieutenant Dave and Sergeant Bert who dismiss the story as a prank when there is no evidence to back up their story.

At the Colonial cinema, which is showing a midnight screening, Steve ropes in some of his friends to warn people about the Blob.



When Steve notices that his father's grocery store is unlocked, he and Jane go inside. They are cornered in a walk in freezer by the Blob which oozes in but then retreats. The townspeople and police still refuse to believe Steve's story.

Meanwhile, the Blob enters the Colonial and consumes the projectionist before oozing into the auditorium and doing the same to a number of the audience ... ... ...

***

I really like this film and think Steve, or should I say Steven McQueen is really great in this, despite being twenty seven and playing a teen!

I saw this for the first time years ago and the bit that always stuck in my head was Jane, aka Janie Girl and her never-ending talk about The Little Dog. Though to be fair, I would have worried about it too. And I, unlike Jane, who had some wonderful outfits by the way, would have had no problem with Steve calling me Janie Girl. Except Jane's not my name, so maybe I would 😉



Did you know ... The actual Blob, a mixture of red dye and silicone, has never dried out and is still kept in the original five-gallon pail in which it was shipped to the production company in 1958 from Union Carbide.

*

Have you seen The Blob?

Friday, 10 March 2017

Film Friday: Psycho 1960

Film Friday: a little meander through my DVD collection.
Today I am featuring the classic that is 1960's Psycho.
Also home to my favourite screen house, The Bates Mansion.

Psycho is a 1960 American psychological thriller-horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles and Martin Balsam. It was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch.








The film centres on the encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel's disturbed owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.







When originally made, the film was seen as a departure from Hitchcock's previous film North by Northwest, having been filmed on a low budget, with a television crew and in black and white.








The film initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box office returns prompted reconsideration which led to overwhelming critical acclaim and four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock.






Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and praised as a work of cinematic art by international film critics and film scholars. Ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behaviour and sexuality in American films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre.



Director Alfred Hitchcock was so pleased with the score written by Bernard Herrmann that he doubled the composer's salary to $34,501. Hitchcock later said, "33% of the effect of Psycho was due to the music."



Did you know ... Walt Disney refused to allow Alfred Hitchcock to film at Disneyland in the early 1960s because Hitchcock had made "that disgusting movie, 'Psycho.'"

***

Do you like this film?

Friday, 24 February 2017

Film Friday: GI Blues 1960


Today on film Friday I bring you 1960's GI Blues.

Elvis Presley stars as Tulsa McLean, a soldier stationed in Germany, who pulls strings to stage a big show for his fellow GI's. He also bets his buddies that he can date "ice princess" entertainer Lili.



U.S. Army Specialist 5 (SP5) Tulsa McLean (Elvis Presley) is a tank crewman with a singing career. Serving with the 3rd Armored "Spearhead" Division in West Germany, McLean dreams of running his own nightclub when he leaves the army, but such dreams don't come cheap.


 Tulsa and his buddies have formed a band and perform in various German "Gasthauses", night clubs, and on an Armed Forces stage. In one bar, he even discovers the record "Blue Suede Shoes" sung by someone named Elvis Presley on a jukebox.


To raise money, Tulsa places a bet with his friend Dynamite (Edson Stroll) that he can spend the night with a club dancer named Lili (Juliet Prowse), who is rumored to be hard to get since she turned down one other G.I. operator, Turk (Jeremy Slate). Dynamite and Turk have vied for women before when the two were stationed in Hawaii.


Tulsa uses his Southern charm and calls Lili "ma'am." She at first sees Tulsa as another Occupation Duty GI ...
The songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote two song for the movie, "Dog Face" and "Tulsa's Blues", but later withdrew the songs when they didn't like the royalty payments contract that Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker insisted that they sign.


While Tulsa is singing "Doin' the Best I Can", one soldier puts a coin in the jukebox and choose from the list "Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley".


Princess of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, King of Thailand and other royalties visited on the studio and met  Elvis.


The boat Elvis boards ("Bonn"), is now in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, and is used as a discotheque.



Did you know ... The 3rd Armored Division was Elvis's regiment when he was in the army and in this movie.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

B-Movie Madness: The Incredible Shrinking Man 1957

B-Movie time again!
Today I'm featuring The Incredible Shrinking Man from 1957.


When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him.

It took me a while to watch this one. It sat on the Sky+ box for a little while, with me umming and ahhing. I then finally took the plunge. 

Once it had started, I was alert and ready for business! Yes sir!
I was going nowhere. Maybe this was why ...
Isn't star Grant Williams just so extraordinarily handsome?
If I was a fifties teen, I would be sighing and declaring him dreamy.
I hear he had a Madonna complex.


Lying sunbathing on the deck of a boat, and trying to persuade her to get him a drink, he referred to his wife as wench.
This made me fall for his charms just a little more.
But then, I'm odd like that.


"The cellar stretched before me like some vast primeval plain, empty of life, littered with the relics of a vanished race. No desert island castaway ever faced so bleak a prospect. "




I'm not the biggest fan of cats, sorry cat furmums out there, I'm a bunny lady through and through, and this cat didn't help the cause, it was horrible! My word it had an attitude problem!

This scene struck a cord with me, and not because I have been trapped in a dolls house by a jerky ginger cat, but because as a child I often wondered what it would be like to walk through my own dolls house.


"I felt puny and absurd, a ludicrous midget. Easy enough to talk of soul and spirit and existential worth, but not when you're three feet tall. I loathed myself, our home, the caricature my life with Lou had become. I had to get out. I had to get away."


Apparently this spider is the same spider who starred in the film Tarantula!
Film star spider!




"I was continuing to shrink, to become... what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the man of the future? If there were other bursts of radiation, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other beings follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle."



"I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. "


"My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!"



Did you know ... the psycho cat in this film was named Orangey and also featured in Breakfast at Tiffanys, as Cat.

🎞🎞🎞

Overall I did enjoy this, though I did find myself a little deflated when it had finished.
And no, not because the film was finished and Grant Williams wasn't there in front of me anymore.
I don't like to give spoilers or endings away, so if you're interested, do watch, it's one of the better ones I believe. I sincerely cared about Williams character Scott, and do still think about the film from time to time.