The Nut Farm (1935)

the nut farm 1935

Very funny movie with the familiar story of a phony acting school in Hollywood and a woman who is flattered into thinking she’s an actress. Bradley Page is hilarious as Hamilton T.Holland. the head of the school. Wallace Ford is also good as the man who tries to stop his sister from falling for the scheme.

Tired of the cold winters in Newark, New Jersey, Bob and Helen Bent move out to California. They’ll stay with Helen’s brother Willie Barton (Wallace Ford) and his and Helen’s mother. Bob has been supporting them.Their landlord’s daughter Agatha is Willie’s girlfriend.

Bob wants to buy a nut farm and Helen dreams of being in the movies. While he searches for a farm to buy, Helen answers an ad for the Hamilton T.Holland Acting School. Hamilton (Bradley Page) he and his two cohorts put Helen through a phony audition process. She doesn’t know the camera doesn’t have any film, the phone has been disconnected and the furniture repossessed.

Bob sold his business back home for forty grand and Hamilton wants it as an investment in a movie. To impress Bob he hires some look-a-likes of Mae West, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo to talk about  movies they’re making for him. Despite all of Willie’s warnings that Hamilton is a phony, Bob falls for it.

Hamilton has a script covered with dust one of his guys wrote years ago. It’s a Foreign Legion picture. Hamilton even manages to win Willie over by making him the director. Before it’s finished Holland says he’s run out of money. He convinces Agatha’s father to kick in another ten grand.

There’s a lot more fun to come. Even though it’s all predictable it has to be seen for Page as the sleazy con man.

Bradley Page

Bradley Page

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Target Earth (1954)

target earth 1954

One of the absolute worst of the 50’s SF movies. The boredom factor is way over the top. The script is so bad it’s hard to believe the actors didn’t fall asleep or at least refuse to show up when the camera started rolling.

Nora King (Kathleen Crowley) wakes up after unsuccessfully trying to kill herself. No one is in her rooming house and she wanders around the city and everyone’s gone. Oh..wait…there’s someone. Forget it. She’s dead. Who’s that guy? She’s not waiting to find out and runs…right into a blind alley.

The man is Frank Brooks (Richard Denning). The night before in between trains he was mugged and knocked out. They hear a piano coming from a cocktail lounge. At the piano is Vicki Harris (Virginia Grey). She’s getting wasted. Popping up from behind the bar is her boyfriend of ten years, Jim Wilson (Richard Reeves). He’s also getting blasted.

Frank and Nora make their presence known and they all chow down before going back outside. They spot a car. Too bad there’s a dead guy inside. Even worse the distributor cap is gone. Showing up is Charlie Otis. He says stores have been looted and every car he ran across has its distributor cap missing.

Now they spot a huge shadow on a building. Time to run into a hotel and hide behind the furniture. They find a newspaper with a huge headline about a mystery invading army.  Otis says he’s got to make a run for it. Out in the street a robot takes care of him with a light ray. If that hadn’t of nailed him he would have keeled over in laughter at the idiotic costume. The remaining four head upstairs and proceed to bore each other. Of course it’s been a couple hours so Nora and Frank have to get close together. She tells him she and her husband were arguing while she was driving and the resulting crash made her a widow six months ago.

Time to switch to army headquarters again. The movie keeps going back and forth between there and the hotel.. Lt.General Wood (Arthur Space) says scientists think the invaders are from Venus because….they just are. Twenty-four planes from bomber command try to wipe them out. Forget that plan. A team of scientists led by Tom (Whit Bissell) are working on a captured robot.  It’s always easy to capture one if it’s just laying there.

In one of the usual bad movie tactics of “Hey, let’s try this” a psycho killer breaks into the hotel. He’s Davis (Robert Roark). He’s got a gun and the hots for Nora. He wants to use the others as decoys so he can escape. Looks like he can’t convince Nora to go with him.

Meanwhile, back at the lab Tom may be on to something. Good thing because things are breaking down at the hotel.

This is so bad. Considering the cast you’d expect something at least a little better. No chance. It’s beyond terrible.

Richard Denning was in a ton of B and below movies. He made out okay on TV as Jerry North in “Mr.And Mrs. North” (1952-54).

At the sound of the clank run for your life

At the sound of the clank run for your life

 

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Capitol Sings Cole Porter-Various Artists

capitol-cole-porter-cover

[2:16] 1. Annie Ross – All Of You
[2:03] 2. Peggy Lee – Always True To You In My Fashion
[2:21] 3. Count Basie – Anything Goes
[3:26] 4. Gordon Macrae – Begin The Beguine
[2:44] 5. Martha Tilton – Blow, Gabriel, Blow
[3:47] 6. Stan Kenton – Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
[1:50] 7. Peggy Lee – From Now On
[2:41] 8. Stan Kenton – I Get A Kick Out Of You
[2:53] 9. Judy Garland – I Happen To Like New York
[2:15] 10. Helen O’connell – In The Still Of The Night
[2:38] 11. Dinah Shore – It’s All Right With Me
[2:35] 12. Louis Prima – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
[2:13] 13. Nat King Cole – Just One Of Those Things
[2:37] 14. Liza Minnelli – Looking At You
[2:08] 15. Frances Faye – Miss Otis Regrets (She’s Unable To Lunch Today)
[2:25] 16. John Raitt – So In Love
[2:30] 17. Dean Martin – True Love
[1:51] 18. Keely Smith – What Is This Thing Called Love
[3:16] 19. Margaret Whiting – Why Shouldn’t I
[2:48] 20. Jo Stafford – Wunderbar
[2:35] 21. Nancy Wilson – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
[2:35] 22. Jean Turner – You’re The Top
[2:11] 23. Trudy Richards – Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)
[3:03] 24. Jeri Southern – Get Out Of Town
[2:50] 25. The Andrews Sisters – You Do Something To Me

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Anatomy Of A Psycho (1961)

anatomy of a psycho 1961

I have to wonder if George and Gracie had a long talk with son Ronnie about his choice of movie roles. Maybe they did since this was his last one. This also proves not to trust the posters. The picture of the babe is not in it. She is but not like that.

The movie is all about a teenager who breaks down after his idolized brother is executed for murder. It’s interesting seeing Burns play a high school kid at the same time he played a married man on the TV series “Happy” (1960-61).

Chet Marco (Ronnie Burns) is not handling the death of his older brother Duke all that well. He killed a man in a holdup and now he had to walk the last mile. Three punks confront him when he comes out of the prison after seeing his brother on his last night. A fight starts and Chet is hit with the bottom of a glass bottle and gets a permanent scar.

Back home he and his sister Pat argue. She says Duke was a hood and he was guilty. Chet doesn’t want to believe it. Quick flash to the home of Mickey Craig and his father. Dad was the witness against Duke in a closed trial and Mickey is upset with him.

Chet goes to his friend Moe’s house. He’s a Marine vet. A few other guys are there too. Three of them grab hoods to wear and head for the D.A.’s house with Chet. He’s got a hood too. They stand by as Chet works over the D.A.’s son because…he’s the D.A.’s son. They get rid of their hoods and run off.

The next day at Moe’s place they’re laughing at the headlines in the paper about the attack. Police Lt.Mac comes in wearing one of the hoods. Mickey comes in and wants to talk with Chet. He and Moe take an instant dislike to each other. He only came over to ask Chet if he wanted to go to a party at Arthur’s house. His father is a judge. No one else in the place is invited.

Chet is having girlfriend problems. His main squeeze tells him she has a new friend and they’re through. He throws on the charm and it seems to work for a little while. Chet goes to the party and there’s Arthur with his girlfriend. He’s her new friend. Chet catches her alone in a bedroom and it looks like he’s making some headway until Arthur charges in. She tries to stop the two from tearing each other up. Arthur bangs his head into a dressing table with bottles on it and runs out. She follows. Chet figures it’s a good time to set the place on fire.

Mickey finally tells Pat that his father is the one that convicted Duke. Then he proposes. No way she can resist that pitch. Mickey goes back to Moe’s and tells Chet about he and Pat and about his father. Chet goes nuts. Mickey is about to leave when he and Moe start on each other. There’s a knife on a table. By accident it ends up in Moe. Mickey takes off for a doctor. Watching it all is Bobby who thinks Chet is the greatest.

He may want to rethink that since Chet takes the opportunity to push the knife further into Moe killing him. Just as he planned, Mickey is arrested and tried for murder. The trial sequence comes across like an acting class exercise where everyone flunks. The rest of this disaster is even worse.

There’s not anything to laugh at here because it’s all just so terrible. This is absolutely one to avoid.

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Scared To Death (1947)

scared to death 1947

The only Bela Lugosi movie shot in color. That’s the only dis-stink-tion is has. George Zucco is along but he can’t save it either. Lots of so-called comedy from Nat Pendleton as a private cop hoping for a murder he can solve so he can get back on the homicide squad.

Laura Van Ee lies dead in the morgue. Two autopsy surgeons are about to take a look inside as one of them (Stanley “The Old Ranger” Andrews) wonders what killed her. Now it’s flashback time. The movie for some dumb reason keeps coming back to her in the morgue to hear her thoughts which are always in one short sentence.

Laura is in a rotten marriage with Ward who only married her because it was a drunken dare. His father is Dr.Joseph Van Ee (George Zucco), a specialist in mental disorder. They all live in a house which used to be a mental institution. Bill Raymond (Nat Pendleton) is a cop hired to patrol the grounds and keep out uninvited guests. He spends a lot of time chasing the maid Lilybeth (Gladys Blake).

Laura starts getting threatening letters from Europe and thinks it’s all part of a plan by Ward and his father to drive her insane. A woman reporter drops in and hints there are strange doings at the house. Joseph thinks she’s a blackmailer but she tells him she’s just looking into it.

Stopping by is Joseph’s cousin Leonide (Bela Lugosi). He’s a professor of magic and hasn’t been there for twenty years. With him is a deaf mute dwarf named Indigo (Angelo Rossitti).  Leonide was an inmate there and constructed a number of secret passages. He escaped and went to Europe.

Ward asks Leonide’s help in solving Laura’s problem. He found a picture of a Parisian dance team wearing green masks. Laura gets a package containing the head of a mannequin that looks just like her. It’s from the basement. There’s also a note saying to beware of a man in a green mask.

An annoying reporter named Terry Lee (Douglas Fowley) shows up with his girlfriend Jane (Joyce Compton). Laura asks him for help and says she’s being held against her will. Then Lilybeth is in a trance. Just before she passes out she tries to put a green mask on Laura. Now she passes out. Through it all there are shots of a man with a green mask looking through the window. No one sees him.

This just drags along and Bela does his menacing best to keep it interesting but he has to fight a rotten script and the same thing happens with Zucco. I’ll see anything with both of these guys but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some that are a chore to get through….like this one.

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Sea Divers (1958) Unsold TV Pilot

Rhodes Reason

Rhodes Reason

If you’re going to try and jump on the “Sea Hunt” trend you should at least try to make it interesting. This thing is a bore from first second to last. No surprise it ended up in the junk pile.

Rhodes Reason is Tom Gorman and John Smith is Mike Gilbert. They take on jobs involving most anything underwater. The don’t make much money at it. Constantly annoying them is eighteen year old Marty (Jeanne Vaughn). The only reason she’s on the show is for eye candy. That’s it.

The guys get hired by Hilda Thayer to find the wreckage of her father’s boat. She says it blew up and there are secret papers on board she must have. They ask what they are and she doesn’t tell them. If she did they wouldn’t be secret, right guys?

They go the area of the wreck and Tom takes a high tech device of the day to look for it. At a distance a boat is keeping an eye on them. Tom doesn’t find anything but we get to see a lot of fish. Back aboard Tom asks Hilda for her address. Mike listens in thinking he could use it for other reasons.

That night Tom goes to look her up. A woman in the motel office never heard of her. Her jealous boyfriend (Richard Reeves) says he’s sick of people knocking on the door. Tom leaves and spots Mike coming along and hides to watch the fun. Sure enough the boyfriend gives him a right cross. This is the humorous part of the show.

Tom manages to track Hilda down. She says her father actually found an old Spanish wreck with a treasure aboard and a canister on the boat has a map to its location. They all head out the next day and Tom finds it. A boat is still watching them. Tom and Mike both dive down to get the canister. They have a spear gun. Suspicious of the boat Tom gives Hilda a gun.

Now comes the amazing plot twist that leads to an underwater sleep inducing action sequence.

Rhodes Reason appeared in dozens of TV shows.

John Smith is best known as Slim Sherman on “Laramie” (1959-63).

 

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Nothing Sacred (1937)

nothing sacred 1937

Carole Lombard is at the top of her game in this satire today’s uptight PC police would probably hate. That’s just another reason to see this one. It’s almost impossible to believe she wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar, let alone win one for this terrific performance.

The New York Morning Star has egg on its face thanks to reporter Wally Cook’s (Fredric March) exclusive. The paper is holding a banquet for a Sultan who says he’ll donate ten dollars for every one for a huge culture center. He’s exposed as a Harlem bootblack named Ernest pulling a scam. Editor Oliver Stone puts Cook at the Obituaries desk.

Wally talks Oliver into sending him to Warsaw, Vermont where Hazel Flagg (Carole Lombard) is dying of radium poisoning from a watch made by the town’s biggest employer.She’s got six months. Wally wants to make it a huge story. When he gets to the town everyone freezes him out and all they can say is “Yep” and “Nope.” No one tells him where he can find Hazel. Margaret Hamilton has a bit as a drug store owner. Billy Barty has a quick cameo as a little boy who bites Wally on the leg.

Hazel visits her doctor Enoch Downer who tells her he was wrong and she’s not dying. She’s upset because she thought she would go to New York before expiring. She feels she’ll be stuck in Vermont forever. Wally runs across her coming out of the doctor’s office. He offers her a trip to New York and huge publicity. She doesn’t say anything about not dying. Enoch accompanies her to New York with Wally. He keeps quiet too.

She’s given all kinds of honors including a ticker tape parade and a key to the city. She’s even a guest of honor at Madison Square Garden for a wrestling card and given a solemn ten bell toll, the same thing they give in tribute to wrestlers that have died.

She’s taken to a nightclub where it’s Hazel Flagg night. The MC is Frank Fay and the music is from the Raymond Scott Quintette. On stage she collapses and everyone is concerned. They don’t know that she passed out because she’s drunk.

She finds herself falling for Wally. She tells Enoch she wants to fake a suicide to stop it all. She’ll jump in the river and Enoch will be standing by in a rowboat to take her away. As she’s leaving her hotel room, Ernest is in the hall with a flower box. Inside the room he calls his wife and says he’s getting her flowers wholesale. What he’s doing is stealing them from Hazel’s room. Then he comes across the suicide note.

Wally rushes down to the waterfront to save her and he manages to push her in. She has to rescue him because he can’t swim. The next day he tells her he’s going to see the Governor to arrange a special day for her in observance of her funeral. He’s also arranged for a top Viennese doctor who is the world’s greatest specialist on radium poisoning to examine her. He tells her it’s a million to one hope but maybe he can cure her.

After the exam the doctor and his colleagues go to see Oliver and tell him she’s okay and doesn’t have radium poisoning. What is Wally going to do now?

This movie is a lot of fun and anyone who likes comedy should put this on their must see list. It was remade in 1954 with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Jerry is Homer Flagg.

 

 

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