Maisie (1939)

maisie 1939

First in the successful Maisie series with Ann Sothern as a Brooklyn show girl. In this debut she’s stranded in a small Wyoming town and talks herself into a job on a ranch managed by Robert Young. It’s a bit better than okay but saved by Southern who is a lot of fun to watch.

Maisie Ravier gets stranded in Big Horn, Wyoming. The show she was supposed to join folded before she got there due to the business being done by a rodeo and carnival. She talks herself into a job at the rifle concession run by Rico (George Tobias). She’s doing her pitch and talks Slim Martin (Robert Young) into taking shots.

He’s not interested in her and doesn’t notice his wallet drops behind the counter. Rico comes back, sees the wallet, grabs it and takes off. Slim has Maisie arrested for stealing it. That gets straightened out and she sneaks into a truck and ends up at the Bar D Ranch managed by Slim. He can’t wait to get rid of her.

Ranch owner Clifford Ames (Ian Hunter) is coming out with his wife Sybil (Ruth Hussey). Slim has ranch hand Shorty (Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards) drive Maisie to the train station where he’s to meet the couple. Maisie talks herself into a job as Sybil’s maid. While unpacking for her Maisie pulls out a picture on Sybil with a man who isn’t her husband. She puts it on the dresser.

Slim was afraid he was going to be fired since the ranch isn’t doing well. Not the case. Clifford wants to patch up his marriage. Slim takes Sybil on a long ride to the original ranch house. That gives her an idea. She sends for her lover, Richard Raymond. Meanwhile Maisie becomes friendly with Clifford. They take a ride and the station wagon hits a rock and turns over trapping Clifford inside.

Maisie walks five miles to the old ranch house where Slim and the boys are supposed to be. Instead she finds Sybil and Raymond. He wants to help Clifford but Sybil won’t let him. He leaves before Slim shows up. Maisie tells him about Clifford and Clifford is taken back to the ranch.

That night it’s obvious love is in the air between Maisie and Slim. They’re going to get married. Then Maisie tells Sybil she’ll keep quiet as long as she feels like it. Sybil lies to Slim and says Maisie is attracted to Clifford. Slim buys it. Maisie leaves town. Now things take a real serious turn and the movie has the obvious ending even if it is cornball.

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Ask A Policeman (1939)

ask a policeman 1939 2

Another comedy gem with Will Hay, Graham Moffatt and Moore Marriott. This time they’re the police force in a coastal village that hasn’t had a crime for over ten years.

Because of the crime free record of Turnbotham Round the BBC does a broadcast from there featuring Sgt.Dudfoot (Will Hay). The two other cops, Albert Brown (Graham Moffatt) and J.Hardbottle (Moore Marriott) come back after a poaching run. The broadcast fades out and the crew go home.

Dudfoot gets a the word that since there’s no crime there’s no need for a police station there. He decides they have to catch a criminal and decide to set up a speed trap. They let the first driver go because he doesn’t have a license they can endorse. They nab the second car. Albert hits the driver over the head and they toss him in jail while he’s knocked out.

They go through his pockets and find out that he’s the Chief Constable. Before he comes to they ram his car into a nearby shop to try and convince him that the knock on his head came from an accident. He doesn’t buy it but the village Squire shows up and backs up Dudfoot.

They feel they have to get a bigger crime. It’s decided to plant a keg of brandy on the beach and say it’s from a gang of smugglers. A man comes in with a lantern. He says his brother is the lighthouse keeper and can’t be with his Granny who is at death’s door. He asks to hang the light on top of the station so the man can see that as long as it’s lit, Granny is still alive.

A man drops off a keg of rum. They think it’s the fake witness to the planted keg. Now Albert and Hardbottle come in with a keg. While they try and figure it out someone reaches out from a trap door in the floor and grabs the keg that was dropped off.

A storm starts and outside they head a woman scream. It’s Albert’s girlfriend Emily. She saw the headless horseman, a local legend. The cops investigate. They see a hearse carriage with flames coming out of the back. The driver is headless and goes into a garage. They get enough courage to investigate, see a headless shadow on the wall and run away.

As things move along they get a warning to mind their own business about smuggling. Now the silliness gets into high gear. If you need a movie to put you in a good mood, don’t miss this one.

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Nothin’ But The Blues-Joe Williams

[5:17] 1. Who She Do
[4:45] 2. Just A Dream
[2:41] 3. Hold It Right There
[5:12] 4. Please Send Me Someone To Love
[4:49] 5. Goin’ To Chicago Blues
[3:52] 6. Ray Brown’s In Town
[6:55] 7. In The Evening/Rocks In My Bed
[4:40] 8. Alright, Okay, You Win
[7:33] 9. Mean Old World Wee Baby Blues
[5:05] 10. The Come Back
[4:26] 11. Tell Me Where To Scratch
[3:27] 12. Sent For You Yesterday (And Here You Come Today)

Bass – Ray Brown; Drums – Gerryck King; Guitar – Phil Upchurch; Organ, Piano – Jack McDuff; Saxophone, Leader – Red Holloway; Vocals – Joe Williams; Vocals, Saxophone – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson

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The Lost Atlantis (The Mistress Of Atlantis) (1932)

Brigitte Helm as Antinea

Brigitte Helm as Antinea

Weird German movie that isn’t like any other film with Atlantis in the title. No scientists, nukes, monsters or even a fish. It’s disjointed and moves slowly but if you like strange check it out.

Captain Saint-Avit of the French Foreign Legion is listening to a broadcast where a man is saying that Atlantis is not under the sea but under the sands of the Sahara Desert. He tells a fellow soldier that it’s true. That’s where he killed his best friend Captain Morhange. He tells his story. Back then he was a Lieutenant.

A French Foreign Legion patrol is checking out the attitudes of some desert tribes. They end up in a gun battle. Saint-Avit and Morhange are captured and taken below to Atlantis. Saint-Avit wakes up and sees a cheetah wandering around. Then in walks eccentric European Count Velovsky. Also around is drug addict Ivor Torsensen. He wants to see Morhange but neither one will take him to him.

Velvovsky tells him he’s been there twenty years but he’s not sure exactly where they are. He mentions Antinea (Brigitte Helm), the Goddess who rules the city. She sends word she wants to see Saint-Avit. That makes Tortensen jealous and he tries to kill Saint-Avit.

He makes his way to Antinea’s chamber. There she is striking a pose and he ends up losing a chess game to her. So much for winning his freedom. He gets obsessed with her but she digs Morhange. He could care less. He just wants out.

Velvovsky fills Saint-Avit on Antinea’s less than royal background. He doesn’t care. She orders him to kill Morhange. He goes looking for him.

I don’t want to spoil the rest of this but it has its strange moments. The narrative is really choppy but it’s the visuals that make it worth checking out. One note…throughout his entire ordeal Saint-Avit never takes off his tie.

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It’s Been A Long,Long Time-Harry James

[3:04] 1. It’s Been A Long, Long Time
[2:46] 2. Jubilee
[2:58] 3. Melancholy Rhapsody
[2:46] 4. Some Of These Days
[3:31] 5. Moanin’ Low
[3:04] 6. Life Goes To A Party
[3:16] 7. Music Makers
[3:14] 8. September Song
[2:39] 9. Trumpet Blues
[3:05] 10. Tango Blues
[3:56] 11. Moten Swing
[2:36] 12. Jump Sauce
[2:44] 13. The Mole
[2:54] 14. Strictly Instrumental
[2:14] 15. Oh, Lady Be Good
[3:08] 16. Loveless Love
[2:25] 17. On The Alamo
[2:46] 18. Moonlight Bay
[1:52] 19. Sleepy Time Gal
[3:08] 20. Melancholy Mood
[5:05] 21. James Session
[3:50] 22. St. Louis Blues
[2:45] 23. Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It)

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Charlie Chan At Treasure Island (1939)

charlie chan at treasure island 1939

One of the most entertaining of the Toler Chan series as Charlie gets mixed up in murder, magic and a phony psychic. Victor Sen Yung is along as number two son Jimmy. Cesar Romero is fun as a magician.

Charlie and Jimmy are on a plane to San Francisco.  Charlie’s mystery writer friend Paul Essex is also there. He just finished his latest book. This one is about the phony psychic racket. Charlie is disturbed by insurance actuary Thomas Gregory (Douglas Dumbrille) who has a nasty attitude. Paul gets a radiogram warning him about Scorpio. The next day Jimmy is looking out the plane window at the World’s Fair at Treasure Island. He asks Paul if he wants to look. He can’t. He’s dead. Gregory steals his briefcase with the manuscript.

Jimmy looks for Gregory and Charlie goes to the police station and visits his old friend Chief Kilvaine. That’s where he meets newspaper reporter Pete Lewis (Douglas Fowley) and magician The Great Rhadini (Cesar Romero). Part of what he does is expose phony psychics etc. They’re looking to expose Dr.Zodiac. Three of his clients committed suicide. Charlie thinks Paul is the fourth.

Charlie, Pete and Rhadini goes to Zodiac’s house. The door is opened and they’re greeted by Zodiac’s servant known as The Turk. He takes them to the seance room. Pete resents him because his girlfriend Eve Cairo. is a client and Zodiac advises her not to marry him. She’s part of Rhadini’s act as a mind reader. Zodiac’s control to the spirit world shows up and then they hear Paul’s voice. Zodiac recognizes Rhadini through his thin disguise, pulls a gun and tells the three to get out.

That night at a party Charlie is enthralled by Eve’s mind reading ability. Rhadini swears she’s the real thing. Charlie meets a troublemaker named Bessie Sibley and Rhandini’s jealous wife Myra. Gregory comes in and thanks Rhadini for inviting him. Rhadini tells Charlie he doesn’t know him. There’s a phone call for Charlie. It’s Jimmy. He’s in Gregory’s hotel room searching for Paul’s briefcase. He sent him a phony invitation to Rhadini’s party.

The party’s over and Charlie, Pete and Rhadini head for Zodiac’s mansion. Charlie wants to make sure no one’s home. The door opens. It’s Jimmy. He snuck in through a window. They go to the seance room and see the foot pedals under Zodiac’s desk that work the special effects. They also find the Zodiac costume that makes him look a lot bigger than he really is. The Turk comes in with a gun. Thanks to Jimmy fooling around with the pedals the lights go out and The Turk escapes.

They try and find him and come across a large safe. Charlie finds the combination. The safe leads to a file room. There are dozens of files that are used for blackmail. Charlie burns them. The next day he asks Pete to put a story in the paper that Rhadini is betting five thousand dollars he can expose Zodiac as a phony. Things get really entertaining as Rhadini puts on a show at his Temple Of Magic.

If you’re looking for an excellent entry in the series then check this one out.



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The Champions (1968-69)

the champions

Lame SF series that’s easy to see why it only lasted one season. Nemesis is an intelligence agency based in Geneva. The boss is Tremayne (Anthony Nicholls). He disappeared after twenty episodes. The agents are Craig Stirling (Stuart Damon), Sharon MacReady (Alexandra Bastedo) and Richard Barrett (William Gaunt). Yes, they have special powers.

Opening episode: September 25,1968 –  “The Beginning” – The agents are sent into Tibet to steal some insects from a Chinese bacteriological lab. It’s a close call but they manage to jump in their car and reach their special plane. The scene of the three riding in the car is a joke. Very poorly done.

They manage to take off as the Chinese fire a few million bullets at them. One or two get lucky and destroy the radio and damage the plane. They crash land high in the Himalayas. While passed out in the snow an old man approaches and takes them…somewhere. Days later they wake up in the plane. Their wounds have been healed and they have gold scars.

Craig and Sharon head out and Richard says he wants to find the lost city where they were taken. They don’t know they’ve been spotted by the Chinese. Craig and Sharon are captured and Richard has a vision that they’re in trouble. While climbing he falls. The old man is watching.

When he comes to the old man tells him the three now have special powers. They’re not immortal but their senses are enhanced. They have to learn how to use their gifts.  Richard promises to keep their existence a secret. The old man walks off and fades away.

Craig tries a trick. He gets a bullet instead and the Chinese march off with Sharon. Richard spots Craig’s body. When he comes to the would is almost healed. Richard explains what the old man told him. They’ll get a  chance to try out their new powers as they go to rescue Sharon.

Soap fans know Stuart Damon as Alan Quatermaine on “General Hospital” (1977-2013).

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