The Red Dragon (1945)

the red dragon 1945

Sidney Toler is Charlie Chan. Benson Fong is number three son Tommy and Willie Best is Chattanooga Brown, cousin of Birmingham Brown played by Mantan Moreland is a slew of previous movies. Charlie and company go to Mexico City to find out who stole papers describing how to make a super atomic bomb.

The papers were stolen from Alfred Wyans. His secretary Dorn is actually a detective working undercover for the U.S. He’s shot in front of witnesses. Before expiring he types out a few letters while everyone looks on. There was only one shot but two bullets fired. No gun is found.

Charlie is working with his old friend Inspector Luis Carvero (Fortunio Bonanova). Wyans had a number of guests over including an old flame of Luis’, Marguerite Fontan. Other guests include a gun runner , a smuggler and a singer. Tommy discovers a bottle of Red Dragon Chinese Ink on Dorn’s desk.

Wyans tells police that his typewriter has been stolen. Others head for the basement and search Wyan’s baggage. They don’t find anything but Charlie and Luis find the typewriter. Wyans tells them he’s figured out how Dorn was killed. That’s it for him. Same thing as Dorn and no gun has been found.

Charlie and everyone else visit the nightclub where Countess Irene is singing. In her dressing room she starts to let Charlie and company what’s going on and she’s bumped off the same way. Then an attempt is made on Charlie. Of course he figures it all out.

This is just an okay entry in the series. The murder method tries to be clever but ends up looking silly. There’s a good supply of comedy between Fong and Best. Some works. Some doesn’t. Not a big deal if you pass on this one.

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Irving Berlin-All Star Performances Of 21 Classic Songs 2 CD’s

IRVING-COVER

A1 – Ben Selvin & His Orchestra – Let Me Sing And I’m Happy
A2 – Jan Garber & His Greater Columbia Recording Orchestra – Puttin’ On The Ritz
A3 – Connie Boswell – Say It Isn’t So
A4 – Arthur Schutt – I Love A Piano
A5 – Victor Young & The Brunswick Orchestra With Bing Crosby – ”Face The Music” Medley
B1 – Eddie Cantor – Mandy
B2 – Gene Austin – Easter Parade
B3 – Ethel Waters – Harlem On My Mind
B4 – The Boswell Sisters With The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra – Alexander’s Ragtime Band
B5 – Fred Astaire – Cheek To Cheek
C1 – Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra – Let Yourself Go
C2 – Red Norvo & His Orchestra – Remember
C3 – Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra With Billie Holiday – This Year’s Kisses
C4 – Red Norvo & His Orchestra With Mildred Bailey – I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
C5 – Benny Goodman & His Orchestra With Peggy Lee – How Deep Is The Ocean
C6 – Dinah Shore – Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly
D1 – Tony Bennett – Always
D2 – Rosemary Clooney & Guy Mitchell – You’re Just In Love
D3 – Johnny Mathis – White Christmas
D4 – Judy Holliday – What’ll I Do
D5 – André Kostelanetz & His Orchestra – Irving Berlin Medley

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Blondie On A Budget (1940)

blondie on a budget 1940

Laughs are few and far between in this fifth Blondie movie. An unusual part for Rita Hayworth as Dagwood’s old flame. Penny Singleton is Blondie, Arthur Lake is Dagwood, Larry Simms is Baby Dumpling and Daisy the dog is…Daisy.

The movie opens with a cameo by Willie Best who delivers newspapers. Baby Dumpling wants Blondie to read the comics to him. She’s too busy making out a budget. Dagwood is next door with Marvin Williams (Don Beddoe). He’s trying to get Dagwood to spend two hundred bucks to join the Trout Club. He says he should lay the sugar on Blondie to get the money.

Blondie shows him the budget. There’s an ad for a fur jacket she wants but can’t afford. Dagwood overloads her on compliments as six year old neighbor Alvin Fuddle (Danny Mummert) looks on.  The doorbell rings and Alvin answers it. He’s wowed by the caller. It’s Joan Forrester (Rita Hayworth). Dagwood comes out to greet her and Blondie looks on from the other room. Joan has some papers from the real estate agency she works for that Dagwood has to give to his boss.

Blondie tries to cover up her jealousy. She pretends Marvin is at the door asking for Dagwood to go fishing. The phone rings. It’s Marvin. He wants Dagwood to meet him. Joan says she’ll drive him. After they leave Baby Dumpling has a loose tooth. Blondie calls the Trout Club looking for Dagwood. Marvin answers and then disguises his voice to sound like Dagwood.

Joan stopped the car in Lover’s Lane and then she can’t start it. It’s towed to the garage and to kill time they go to the movies. Dagwood fills out a raffle ticket for a two hundred dollar prize. In the theatre he keeps seeing Blondie and faints. Marvin drives him home and tells him to say to Blondie that he was at the Trout Club. At home Marvin gives Dagwood his catch of fish and Blondie thinks Dagwood caught them. Later on Dagwood confesses.

A call comes in. He won the two hundred. He tells Blondie it was a wrong number. The next day he has to have Joan come to the theatre so he can collect. Dagwood decides to use the money to buy Blondie the fur jacket. Joan says she’ll go to the store with him and help him pick one out.

Blondie goes to the bank and draws out two hundred. She’s going to give it to Dagwood to join the Trout Club. She wants to see the jacket one more time. At the store she says she can’t afford it and a saleslady takes it out of the case for a customer. Blondie peeks through a curtain and sees Dagwood and Joan. She buys a ticket to Reno. At the bus station she meets sleazy lawyer Brice (Thurston Hall).

Back home Dagwood finds a note from Blondie. He decides to get drunk on champagne. He spills it on the floor and Daisy ties one on. There’s more silliness to come.

The jokes didn’t work and the movie relies on Alvin, Baby Dumpling and Daisy for the laughs. They provide some amusing moments but not enough to sit through Lane’s manic performance.

Penny Singleton did a slew of Blondie movies. On TV she was the voice of Jane Jetson on “The Jetsons” (1962-67).

Arthur Lake did a number of Blondie movies and played Dagwood on the TV series “Blondie” in 1957.

Thurston Hall was Mr.Schuyler, Topper’s boss in the TV version of “Topper” (1953-55).

 

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All Gas And Gaiters (1966-71)

Derek Nimmo as Noote

Derek Nimmo as Noote

Funny sitcom that takes place in the close of St.Ogg’s cathedral. It stars Robertson Hare as Archdeacon,the Venerable Henry Blunt who likes his sherry, William Mervyn as The Bishop, The Right Reverend Cuthbert Hever, Derek Nimmo as The Chaplain,Reverend Mervyn Noote and John Baron as The Dean,The Very-Reverend Lionel Pugh-Critchley.

Pilot episode::The Bishop Rides Again” – May 17,1966 – The close brickwork is falling apart. Lucky for them a late parishioner has left them sixty thousand pounds. Before going over the terms of the bequest a few quick Beatles jokes are made.

The will states that they have to follow a tradition from the 12th century. The Bishop has to ride a white horse while wearing a Friar’s habit and deliver a pair of white stocking each to forty maidens. The dean tells them if it’s not done exactly true to tradition..no money.

An embarrassed Noote is sent into a shop to buy the stockings while the Archdeacon and the Bishop search for a white horse. Noote makes his purchases and hurriedly leaves the shop and runs into a constable. The constable takes him back to the close to back up his story. There are a few good lines before he leaves.

Time to hit the road and find forty virgins. The Archdeacon follows in the car while the Bishop ride the horse and Noote  guides him. They stop at a home and give away the first pair. Then they find out the girl is living with her boyfriend and baby. They take the stockings back.

No success for an hour and a half. At one house a seven year old girl with a cold answers. The Bishop wants to give her the stockings but Noote says she’s too young. The girl says she has an older unmarried sister who’s not engaged. The Bishop hands her a pair. She says her sister is eleven. Noote doesn’t hear exactly what she said and the Bishop moves him along.

Trouble at the next stop. A girl thinks she’s answered a question correctly and is due thirty quid. She’s not going to be bought off with a pair of stockings. Her mother gets the cops. The same constable shows up.

On the road the Deacon rides up on his bicycle. They think they have until midnight to give away the remaining thirty-nine pair. The Deacon tells them they only have until sunset. Finally they give up and head back to the close. Thanks to Noote all is not lost.

Derek Nimmo also played a bumbling clergyman in “Oh Brother! (1968-70).

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Miss Turquoise-George B.Mair (1964) (Dr.David Grant Series)

george b mair-miss turquiose

Second entry in the ten book Dr.David Grant series. The first is “Death’s Foot Forward” (1964) and the last is “Paradise Spells Danger” (1973). Grant works for NATO. It’s another series that jumps on the James Bond bandwagon with girls,guns and gadgets.

The most amazing part of this book…..the hardcover on Amazon is priced at $1,140.78 new and $729.33 used. Someone has a warped sense of humor.

Grant is taking a snooze in his Paris apartment when someone with a stiletto sneaks in and tries to kill him. He won’t get a chance to take a refresher course at assassins school. Grant’s boss decides to take advantage of the situation and work out a plan to convince everyone Grant is dead. That includes Grant’s dimwitted secretary and his ballerina girlfriend.

Walking down the street minding his own business Grant is kidnapped by a group known as Force X whose boss is named Zero. One of his minions mentioned his name when she thought  Grant was out cold. It’s her last mistake. Thanks to being loaded up with gadgets Grant escapes. The group is really the Society for the Activation of Terror, Anarchy and Nihilism aka/ S.A.T.A.N.

A meteorite has landed in a remote part of what is known as Spanish Sahara. It is made of a substance that can repel radiation. Perfect for space ships. The U.S. wants it..so does Russia. The oasis is rules by a sheik. His knockout niece is known as Miss Turquoise because when at home she powders herself blue.

She’s taking a vacation and Grant is assigned to meet and charm her. In the best secret agent tradition it doesn’t take him long and after some heroics by Grant and some bad driving by the bad guys the two sail for her home. Left behind is a local newspaper with his picture and phony name. Not good for  a secret agent. How he’s going to get an eleven ton meteorite out of there is another question. This section of the book from hotel to oasis really drags.

Before getting to her uncle’s oasis they have to fight off some bad guy slavers. She’s no slouch when it comes to a fight. No wonder Grant agrees to marry her.

When they finally get to Uncle’s place Grant settles in with his truck load of goodies including a radio disguised as a EEG machine. He also has a pen that’s rigged as a weapon and an RAF badge that spews poison gas. He took a quick course at secret agent school on how not to be affected by the gas. He even gets to do a gall bladder operation while he there with Miss Turquoise his able assistant.

Things seem to be moving right along until….a third power tries to make off with the meteorite. Lots of action to come. Not a thousand plus dollars worth but enough to make it worth the dime I paid for the used paperback.

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It! (Curse Of The Golem (1967)

it! (curse of the golem) 1967

This is billed as a horror film but it’s also a dark comedy. Roddy McDowell makes it a must see for anyone who likes to see an actor having a great time. He’s Arthur Pimm, an assistant museum curator with not just a screw loose but the whole hardware store.

The statue of the 1550 Golem of Prague is the only thing left in a warehouse fire. The place belonged to a museum. On the scene are curator Harold Grove and his assistant Arthur Pimm.  Grove is looking at an inscription of the side of the statue. Pimm says he’ll get a flashlight from the car. He hears Grove scream. He’s dead.

Pimm lives with the skeleton of his mother and thinks he has supernatural powers. The Golem is taken to the museum. Pimm thinks he’s going to be the next curator. Museum head Trimingham thinks he’s too young and says he’ll get a raise. The new curator will be Professor Weal.

Pimm has a thing for Grove’s daughter Ellen (Jill Haworth). She just wants to be friends. Jim Perkins, the representative of a New York museum is on his way over to check out the Golem for his museum. When he gets there he also checks out Ellen.

Pimm sees a scholar about the Golem. He finds out that a scroll placed under its tongue will bring it to life. There’s also a warning that it cannot be destroyed by fire, water or force. He thinks the statue gave him a hint as to where to find the scroll. It pointed to its feet and that’s where Pimm finds it. He puts the scroll in it’s mouth and hears a heartbeat. He informs the Golem that he is its master.

He sees Ellen in the park and they take a drive to the Thames across from a bridge. Ellen says she’s never seen him so animated. He asks her to go to Paris with him for two weeks. She doesn’t take him seriously. He says he can do lots of things including bringing down the bridge if he wants to.

At the museum Weal tells Pimm there’s a new rule. No employee is allowed to linger in the display rooms. He orders the Golem to kill him and then smash a display case with rare jewels inside. To impress Ellen he takes the Golem to the bridge and has him bring it down. A bus went down with it.

Ellen and Jim are up close and personal when she hears a bulletin about the bridge over the radio. The phone rings. It’s Pimm asking if she heard and tells her to meet him. Jim goes instead. Later on Inspector White is real suspicious of Pimm and starts believing in the Golem. He arrests Pimm.

Pimm summons the Golem and it breaks him out of the prison hospital. He drives a kidnapped Ellen and the Golem to a castle where a Miss Swanson is going to display the statue. When she finds out what’s really going on things go crazy. Inspector White gets the army involved.

This movie is a lot of fun and McDowell is terrific.

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Corridors Of Blood (1958)

corridors of blood 1958

Operations were no fun in the days before anesthesia. Boris Karloff gives a great performance as Dr.Thomas Bolton who is trying to find a way to take the pain out of surgery in 1840 London. Christopher Lee is very creepy as Resurrection Joe.

Dr.Thomas Bolton divides his time between surgery for the paying patients and a charity ward. He’s obsessed with making surgery painless. The only thing he can do for now is to operate as quickly as possible.

He gets chemicals from the hospital dispensary to work in his home lab. The more operations he performs the more determined he gets. The head of the hospital doesn’t care how he gets cadavers for the students. He pays tavern owner Black Ben and his cohort Resurrection Joe to bump off charity patients.

Bolton tries another experiment and inhales his own gas concoction. His niece Susan (Betta St.John) lives with him and hears him laughing hysterically from his lab. She goes in and sees him knocking things over and he can’t stop laughing. In the process he gets a bad cut on his hand. He realizes he didn’t feel the pain and thinks his gas worked.

He tells the hospital committee he wants to give a demonstration of his formula. The patient he had lined up to be experimented on dies. He has to go to the charity ward and get another one. He picks out a man who has a lacerated arm.

The students and the committee are all sitting in the operating theatre to watch. Bolton makes an incision. The patient isn’t knocked out and goes nuts with the pain and attacks everyone in sight before being subdued. The experiment is a failure and everyone laughs Bolton out of the room and even toss in a few boos.

He continues to experiment and inhale the gas. He ends up at the Seven Dials Tavern and the notebook he’s carrying in grabbed by a pickpocket. It’s all a set up by Ben. Joe has just smothered a patient with a pillow in an upstairs room. Back home Bolton discovers that his notebook is missing.

He remembers the night before was not a dream and goes back to the tavern. Ben shows him the notebook while holding it over a fire. He says if he’ll sign a phony death certificate he can have the book back. Bolton signs.

Bolton performs a number of operations and finally needs his son to hand him the right instruments. The committee wants to fire him but his friend convinces them to let him take some time off. Bolton agrees figuring it’ll give him more time for his experiments.

He goes to the dispensary for a supply of chemicals and is told he can’t have any until he returns from his vacation. He goes to see Ben and Joe. He has to sign a number of blank death certificates before they’ll help. That night Bolton and Joe break into the dispensary. The night porter catches them and Joe kills him.

Inspector Donovan (Nigel Green) goes to Bolton’s home and shows a certificate to Susan and Bolton’s son Johnathan. He says the handwriting on top is different than Bolton’s signature. He decides Ben is behind the racket and that night schedules a raid on the Seven Dials. Bolton is in the upper story continuing his experiments.

This is a good find. Maybe the title made movie goers think it was a cheap horror film. That’s too bad because in reality it’s a good dramatic film with a not to be missed Boris Karloff performance.

 

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