The Harrad Experiment (1973) Ted Post

harrad-experiment-1973-don-johnson-laurie-walters-hdex-003p-bkd2jmRobert H. Rimmer’s 1966 novel, The Harrad Experiment, was a moderate success when first published in hardcover. One year later, Bantam Books published the paperback version, and the book exploded selling over 300,000 copies in one month, eventually selling over three million. Rimmer, who died in in 2001, wrote close to twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, most, if not all, focusing on unconventional, free love relationships outside the norm of monogamy. The Harrad Experiment was his most successful work spawning a second related nonfiction book called The Harrad Letters to Robert H. Rimmer. Continue reading


Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965) Joseph Cates

whokilledteddybear-1600x900-c-defaultConsidering the subject matter, it’s amazing that the low budget, Who Killed Teddy Bear was released in 1965. The film is a smorgasbord of Production Code taboos broken one after another: incest, masturbation, homosexuality and more. It all set in the seedy lurid world of 1960’s slime filled Times Square. It’s an oddity for sure, and a definite bump up above the typical sexploitation movies that decorated the deuce and Times Square back in the day, if for no other reason than the cast includes Sal Mineo, Juliet Prowse, Jan Murray and Elaine Stritch. One other reason to watch is due to the gritty, noirish cinematography provided by Joseph C. Brun (Odds Against Tomorrow, Edge of the City). One word of warning. Though over fifty years old and not as graphic as films today, Who Killed Teddy Bear may still be unsettling for some. Continue reading

Murder by Contract (1958) Irving Learner

Murder-by-Contract-1In a 1993 interview with The New York Times, Martin Scorsese talks about the influence Murder by Contract had on the then teenager. “It’s an example of an American B-movie that is 100 times better than the film it played with on a double bill.” He then went on to explain, “The film it was playing with when I saw it was ‘The Journey,’ by Anatole Litvak, with Yul Brynner. That film had nice color, but when ‘Murder by Contract’ came on the screen, it was surprising and lean and purposeful, and not like anything my friends and I had seen. Afterward, we talked about it on the street for days. When I saw it again years later, I was overwhelmed by the severity of the style, which was dictated by the budget.” Scorsese later said in the interview how he put a clip from the film in ‘Mean Streets, ‘ but he had to remove it out of the final cut of the film because it was too long. Continue reading

Heaven Help Us (1985) Michael Dinner

MSDHEHE EC003An almost forgotten film from the mid-1980’s, Heaven Help Us is a wonderfully executed coming of age story. While the film will definitely strike a chord with Catholics, I can say honestly it will speak to almost anyone who was once a teenager, and that’s all of us. Continue reading

Between the Lines (1977) Joan Milken Silver

LinesI have always had an affinity for newspaper themed films. As a kid in Junior High, I had, for a short period, illusions of being a newspaper reporter. I’m not sure what exactly sparked this interest, but while the desire to be a reporter died my love of films with newspapers/reporters has remained strong. Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, Sam Fuller’s Park Row, Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men, Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday, Alexander MacKendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, Phil Karlson’s Scandal Sheet, Richard Brooks’ Deadline U.S.A. and more recently Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight are just some of my favorites.  As you can tell from this small list, newspaper reporting can be an heroic endeavor or it can be down and dirty, even scandalous. Continue reading

The Visitors (1972) Elia Kazan

IMG_1395One of the earliest films about the American involvement in Vietnam is the little known A Yank in Vietnam (1964). The film was directed by and starred Marshall Thompson. It was made in Vietnam before the escalation, the large buildup of American troops, and the anti-war fever back at home. Produced during these early years of the conflict, the film is free of all the political baggage that came only a few years later.  As the American involvement in the war grew and the war became more and more unpopular at home, Hollywood saw Vietnam as a hot potato to be avoided. Continue reading

Private Property (1960) Leslie Stevens


Private Property is an independent film from 1960 about two young and dangerous drifters who spy on and eventually work their way into the home of a beautiful young married woman. At the time of its release, the film was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for its lascivious themes and violence. Thought to have been lost for many years, Private Property is a voyeuristic journey into the minds of the morally corrupt. Corey Allen, of Rebel without a Cause fame and later a TV director, and Warren Oates star as the two vicious losers out for a good time at any expense.

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