Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two On a Guillotine

The passing of actor Dean Jones today reminded me that I once won the grand prize on the TV game show SCREEN TEST because I had just watched this horror film/black comedy on TV a few days earlier. I was give the initials DJ and had 20 seconds to name the actor. For each clue--in the form of one of the actor's film credits--I would lose points. The host said, "The initials? D...J. His movie, TWO ON A..." At that point, I shouted out, "DEAN JONES!"

About ten years later, Dean Jones came through town appearing in the musical, SHOWBOAT. I wrote to thank him for helping me win the prize and he actually called me at the book store! BUT I WAS OFF THAT NIGHT!!!! 

R.I.P. Dean Jones.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Lionel Jeffries

One of my favorite character actors since I was a young child, British actor/director Lionel Jeffries, with his bald, egg-shaped head, was fated to play older, often eccentric, men his entire career. In CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, he was, in fact, a year younger than Dick van Dyke who played his son but you'd never know it.

As director, his few films include two memorable productions--THE RAILWAY CHILDREN and THE AMAZING MR. BLUNDEN.


Friday, August 7, 2015

The Girls of St. Trinians

Based on a series of popular books and starring or co-starring some of Britain's best--including Alistair Sim, Terry-Thomas, Frankie Howerd, Dennis Price. Sid James, George Cole, Cecil Parker, Joyce Grenfell, Michael Hordern, Thorley Walters and, in the revival. Rupert Everett, David Tennant and Colin Firth--the real stars are the well-organized tribe of wild girls' school students.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Legacy of Satan

Found on several of those 50 Horror Films for $9.99 type DVD sets, LEGACY OF SATAN was a no budget nothing of a seventies horror flick worth noting for exactly two reasons. One is that it was produced and supposedly directed by Gerard Damiano right around the time of his fame with DEEP THROAT. Speculation was that it may have originally had hardcore sex scenes that were cut. The other reason is that it was the first film appearance of the tragic Christa Helm--misbilled here as "Christ" Helm. She has a brief, small role but it's tough to watch since her character is stabbed to she later was in real life. For more on Christa Helm, see our companion blog.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Wrecking Crew

Been wanting to see this great music documentary since I first heard if it being made more than a decade ago. On Netflix now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Battlestar Galactica

I must confess i never saw a single episode of the critically acclaimed revival of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA from a decade or so back. I was never even that much of a fan of the original--a TV series expressly designed to cash in on the unexpected but immense popularity of STAR WARS. As such, a revised (I believe) version of the TV pilot was shown in theaters at the start of the 1978 TV season. When I saw it, it was augmented with the novelty of Universal's Sensurround process which made theater seats quake and shake when the action on the screen warranted it, supposedly giving you a fuller impact to the action.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top 10 Brandos

In later years, his massive weight gain made him the object of ridicule and his personal life was marred by multiple tragedies. But in his best films, Marlon Brando's acting is brilliant and his charisma burns right through the screen.