Billoboards on Broadway

itch2Back in the glory days, Times Square had more movie theaters than there were peanuts in a peanut factory. The bright lights of the theaters were part of what lit up the Great White Way. Today, there is not one movie theater to be found in the Broadway area. Some of those now long gone palaces were huge like the Roxy that had close to 6,000 seats. As big as the theaters were, the signs advertising the movies were even bigger. Sometimes they were ever better than or at least as interesting as the movies themselves. Continue reading

Hands of the Ripper (1971) Peter Sasdy

Ripper

Who knew Jack the Ripper had a daughter? I didn’t. Well, Hands of the Ripper a 1971 Hammer film assumes it’s so and naturally, she’s a daddy’s girl. Murderous as her dear old dad. Young Anna’s (Angharad Rees) problems begin after she witnesses, as a very young child, old Papa Jack murdering her mother. Some 15 years later we see Anna has been taken in and cared for by Mrs. Golden (Dora Bryan) a fake medium and part time pimp. Not exactly an agent of the Children’s Aid Society!

When a Member of Parliament pays for the young girl’s sexual favors, actually taking her virginity, her harrowing memories of her mother’s brutal death trigger psychotic episodes turning her into a maniacal killer. A Dr. Prichard (Eric Porter) takes the poor girl in. Prichard, an early student of Freud, believes he can find a cure to Anna’s deep rooted “problem.” Unfortunately, while under the doctor’s care Anna continues her murderous rage. Continue reading

Short Takes: Two Anti-War Classics

dirk_bogarde_king__countryKing and Country is a dark, brutal, effective attack on war by the exiled American Joseph Losey. A shell shocked soldier, one Private Hamp (Tom Courtenay), is put on trial for desertion after he walks away from the brutality and loss of humanity of war. The young soldier has already served three years at the front, witnessing the violent, senseless, inhuman pointlessness of trench warfare. Living in rat-infested conditions, witnessing one atrocity after another, Hamp, after one particular brutal day of warfare, leaves. He wants to go home. Continue reading

The Sad Life of Audrey Munson

Audrey_Munson_1922

You may be asking yourself who is Audrey Munson? Well, if you lived in the early years of the 20th Century, and you were into the art scene of the day, you would know that Munson was a well-known artist model. The New York City art community certainly knew Munson. She was the first “super model” before the term was even invented. Her career began in 1906 when she was only 15 and she remained at the top until early in the 1920’s when her world would begin to unravel. But that was still in the future. Continue reading

Ball of Fire (1941) Howard Hawks

balloffire2lcWhile Billy Wilder is best known as a film director, he always considered himself a writer first and director second. He worked best with a partner, and though he had many over the years, there were two, Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond, who were his most important associates.  Though he was born in Europe, Wilder quickly picked up and mastered the American vernacular. While Wilder always had a co-writer, there is no way to misinterpret a Wilder screenplay. His footprints are clearly all over them. Continue reading

Who’s That Knocking at my Door (1971) Martin Scorsese

 

who's that knocking

I had just returned from a year in Vietnam, home on leave for about a month before going to Fort Polk in Louisiana, when I read a review about a film by a young filmmaker I had never heard of before. His name was Martin Scorsese. The film, Who’s That Knocking at My Door, was playing at the Carnegie Hall Cinema, a theatre located beneath the famed Carnegie Hall. What attracted me to the film after reading the review was its Italian-American background, something familiar to me. Scorsese grew up in this environment and knew it well, as did I. Continue reading

Five Bad Dads for Father’s Day

It’s equal time here at Twenty Four Frames.  On Mother’s Day I listed five bad movie Moms. Just like with Mom’s on screen there are plenty of examples of bad male  parental behavior. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Shining Jack Nicholsen knocking

All work and no play makes Jack a very nutty dad. Nicholson’s portrayal of the alcoholic crazed Mr. Torrance who forces his family to move into a spooky empty hotel where he decides the best way to handle a disobedient family is with an ax. When his wife Wendy pleas not to hurt her, he screams out “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m gonna bash your brains in!” Continue reading