Revolt Of The Zombies (1936)

It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the script was written in crayon. This one belongs on the worst ever list. Dean Jagger is more wooden that a 2 x 4. For a mysterious atmosphere the movies relies on the superimposed eyes of Bela Lugosi from 1931’s “Dracula.”

It’s World War One. Armand Louque (Dean Jagger) brings an old priest from Cambodia to the Franco-Austrain frontier. He tells General Duval he knows how to create an army of robots or zombies. The General thinks he’s nuts until it happens. Bullets can’t stop them.

Saying it’s for the good of humanity the General has the priest put in solitary for life so the secret doesn’t get out. Colonel Mazovia kills the priest in his cell and steals a parchment showing where the secret formula can be found.

After the war an expedition is sent to Angkor Wat to destroy the secret. Armand goes along with the group that includes his pal Clifford Grayson and Claire Duval. Armand falls for her and announces their marriage. Too bad she’s never gotten over Grayson and she eventually calls off the wedding.

Armand gets a change of attitude and decides to become ruthless. He steals some secret tablets and finds the formula. He tries it out on his servant. It works. Now he can bend anyone to his will. He creates an army to do his bidding.  His next goal is the fair Claire. When the revolt finally comes it gives a bunch of extras a chance to run around breaking stuff.

It is strange seeing future Oscar winner Jagger totally inept. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1949 as Major Harvey Stovall in “Twelve O’Clock High.” On TV he was Albert Vane on “Mr.Novak” (1963-65)

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Science Fiction-The Best Of 2002-Edited by Robert Silverberg & Karen Haber

robert silverberg-karen haber-science fiction-the best of 2002

A combination of eleven short stories and novelettes. Not my favorite gathering as I only found a few I liked:

“Like What You See:A Documentary” – Ted Chaing – This is a world where it’s possible that no one can be judge by their facial beauty or features considered ugly. There’s a process called Calliagnosia. It blocks the neural pathways that evaluates those features. Now there’s a movement starting at a college to eliminate it from campus. In our narcisstic world this story is a real conversation starter.

“The War Of The Worldviews – James Morrow – Martians from their planets two moons land in Central Park. It’s a civil war and New York is being destroyed as the two sides fight it out. Steve Onslo was an attendant in an asylum. He thinks the answer lies with several inmates. He gets them together on one of their houseboats where a woman named Annie lives with her harpsicord. A coin toss may decide the fate of the city.

“Angles” – Orson Scott Card – Slantspace has been discovered. People can now move from one universe to another..with some help. In the year 3000, Hakira wants to go where Japan is not ruled by China. Maybe he should have thought it over.

Other authors: Charles Stross, Geoffrey A. Landis, Robert Reed, Yoon Ha Lee, Christopher Priest, Brian W. Aldiss, Benjamin Rosenbaum and Ian R. MacLeod,

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Jive At Five-Buck Clayton All Stars (1979)

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Ten great live tracks featuring Emmett Berry, Earle Warren, Buddy Tate, Dicky Wells and a few vocals from Jimmy Rushing. Great listening. Recorded in Copenhagen, 1979.

Highlights include: “Outer Drive”, “Deed I Do” and “Night Train.”

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The Kid Sister (1945)

the kid sister 1945

Judy Clark carries the whole thing as Joan Hollingsworth.  She does a good job as the wacky dame who can’t stay out of trouble. Roger Pryor is also good as the befuddled J.Waldo Barnes. Overall the movie isn’t that great but it’s not a bad time passer when there’s not much else around.

Joan is a fast talker and likes to cause her older sister Ethel trouble. She puts on a low cut dress to try and attract the rich J.Waldo Barnes from taking too much notice of Ethel. Her mother is shocked and orders her to stay in her room as Ethel smirks.

Joan puts on the maid’s uniform and sneaks downstairs and answers the door for Barnes. They do some slapstick with his hat. It’s east to see he takes notice of her.  Her mother catches them on the floor and she’s embarrassed. She chases Joan upstairs but before she can catch her Joan goes out the window and jumps in a car. The driver is known as the Westport burglar (Frank Jenks). She didn’t have any idea about that.

The burglar has been hanging around outside the house planning to steal a valuable pearl necklace. He takes Joan for the maid and offers a partnership. Joan doesn’t say who she really is. The burglar speeds along and then a motorcycle cop named Michael chases them. After several mishaps the burglar gets a flat and hits a tree. Joan runs off.

Joan goes to a house and sits on a bench and pretends she’s the maid and is waiting for a boyfriend. Michael buys it after the nearsighted housekeeper mistakes her for the maid of the house. Turns out it’s Barnes’s place.

Barnes thinks she’s the Hollingsworth maid about to enter a life of crime and tries to talk her out of it. Meanwhile the burglar sneaks in and hides in a closet. Michael comes to the house with several guests from the Hollingsworth dinner party. One of them is Tommy who has been attracted to Joan since they were kids. Like Barnes he doesn’t believe that she’s a victim of the burglar. He turns caveman and tries to drag her outside and take her home.

The burglar knocks Tommy out and has to run off as Barnes and the others run over. When Tommy comes to he gives Joan’s real identity away to Barnes.  He thinks he’s been made a fool of and sends her home. Now he realizes he’s stuck on her and she’s home pining away for him. Meanwhile the burglar is still hanging around the neighborhood.

Of course they’ll all meet again. A bottle of nitro helps bring things to the expected ending.  The burglar is never given a name. The movie does get silly at times, especially in argument scenes between the Barnes housekeeper and the maid. Still Clark makes it watchable and it’s not  a bad way to spend an hour.

 

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Joe Loss Plays The Big Band Greats (1970)

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Twelve cover versions of Big Band Era hits by one of the longest lasting of the English band leaders. Nothing all that creative but a good listening experience. Soloist include:Don Lusher-trombone, Freddie Staff-trumpet, Bill Brown-baritone sax, Keith Bird-clarinet and Vic Mustard-trumpet.

Highlights include: “Skyliner”, “Song Of India” and “Trumpet Blues and  Cantabile.

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Danger Signal (1945)

danger signal 1945

Zachary Scott makes a good sleaze as a fortune hunting womanizer. The penultimate ending is disappointing and the last two minutes are really bad and look like they were designed as a “feel good” moment. It just doesn’t fit.

Ronnie Mason (Zachary Scott) steals money and a wedding ring from a dead woman and leaves behind a fake suicide note. They were living as man and wife in a rooming house. Ronnie escaped through a window. The landlady saw the woman’s picture in the newspaper. The article said her husband reported her missing. The suicide note was taken as legitimate but her husband doesn’t buy it.

Ronnie rents a room from Mrs.Fenchurch. Her daughter Hilda (Fay Emerson) is a public stenographer. Two of her clients are psychiatrist Dr.Jane Silla (Rosemary DeCamp with a fake accent) and the shy Dr. Andrew Lang (Bruce Bennett) who would like to date Hilda.

Ronnie charms Hilda and her mother. He takes Hilda away for a weekend. He gives her the stolen ring. He says it was his grandmother’s wedding ring. He’s a writer of short stories and is good at making up lies about his life.

Hilda’s younger sister Anne (Mona Freeman) has been in a sanitarium. Now she’s back. She mentions to Ronnie that she’ll inherit twenty-five thousand dollars when she gets married. That changes Ronnie’s plans. Anne’s boyfriend Bunky Taylor (Richard Erdman) is jealous of the attention she pays Ronnie.

Hilda gets suspicious that something’s going on between Anne and Ronnie. She’s right. She also catches him in some of his lies. She consults Dr.Silla and says she wants to kill Ronnie. The doctor arranges to come to the house for lunch so she can meet him. She’s not impressed. Hilda’s resentment continues to build. She visits Dr.Lang in his lab and gets an idea.

The movie moves slowly and if there’s any reason to see it it’s Scott’s performance.

Faye Emerson is well known to fans of TV game shows. She was a panelist on “I’ve Got A Secret”, “To Tell The Truth” and “What’s My Line?”

Also well known to TV fans is Rosemary DeCamp.  She was Peg Riley in the Jackie Gleason version of “The Life Of Riley” (1949-50) and Bob Cummings sister Margaret on “Love That Bob” (1955-59).

Richard Erdman appeared in many movies and TV shows. The last was as Leonard in “Community” (2009-2012).

 

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Fiddlefoot-Luke Short (Frederick D.Glidden) (1946)

luke short-fiddlefoot

Frank Chess is a fiddlefoot or drifter. He and his wealthy stepfather Rob hate each other. Now Rob has been murdered and Frank inherits the ranch. The ranchhands  don’t have any respect for him, the sheriff suspects him of killing his stepfather and his long suffering girlfriend Cass tells him he’s never tested himself as a man.

Frank’s stepfather told him what he thought of him in front of the ranchhands and Frank just walked  away. For five years he drifted. He spent some time working for the crooked Rhino Hulst swindling the army when selling them horses. He’s always felt guilty about wearing a phony uniform.

Someone knifed Frank’s stepfather and the sheriff thinks he did it. Frank finds out that Rhino was behind the murder. It’s all because Rhino wants Saber, the ranch Frank inherited. Frank lets everyone think he’s guilty because he doesn’t want his girlfriend to know about his horse trading scam.

Meanwhile, Tess, a woman who works for Rhino is secretly trying to put him out of business. For his part Rhino admits to Frank that he murdered Rob and blackmails him into signing over half of Saber.

There’s some good action along the way but it’s mostly a story of a man finally having to step up and gain respect. It’s another good one from Short.

 

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