The Camels Are Coming (1934)

Jack Hulbert-Anna Lee

Jack Hulbert-Anna Lee

No middle ground. Either you love these kind of movies or you can’t stand them. Jack Hulbert, sings,dances and mugs his way through this over the top goofy movie about an Air Force squadron leader looking for drug smugglers in Egypt.

Egyptian pilots have been training in Britain so they can patrol their country and nab drug smugglers. It’s time to return to Egypt and squadron leader Jack Campbell (Jack Hulbert) goes with them. He takes to the skies in his trusty plane along with his carrier pigeon Amy.  He spots a caravan and lands next to it. At the head is a Sheik and his wife. He accuses him of being a smuggler. Thanks to a ridiculous gambit, Jack believes his story and flies away.

Then he spots a plane flying near him. When it lands he takes his craft down too. The other pilot is the lovely Anita Rodgers (Anna Lee). He thinks she’s a smuggler and says she’s under arrest. She pulls a gun and shoots holes in his petrol tank. She’s having a great time. Before flying off she drops a piece of paper on purpose with her hotel’s name on it.

Luckily for Jack a stray camel; wanders by. There’s a too long scene with him trying to mount up as he keeps falling down. Meanwhile the caravan has reached a man named Nicholas who sells vases etc. to people in Cairo. Inside the vases are the drugs he gets from the Sheik. Jack arrives riding the camel and towing the plane.

Nichols wants to poison him but decides to send him to Cairo with the drugs. Of course Jack thinks the bag contains innocent vases. He manages to sing and dance his way through a hit song of the day, “Whose Been Polishing The Sun.” The plane is patched up and filled up and it’s back to Cairo.

Jack tells the general he’s found the woman in the gang. He goes to the hotel and Anita spots him. She tells a man,Dr.Zhiga, to come over to her when she gives the signal. She sits next to Jack. He tells her he’s going to arrest her. By this time he’s fallen for her. Dr.Zhiga comes over and they leave. Jack disguises himself as an Egyptian guide.

He can’t get Anita and Zhiga to hire him and they drive off. Jack jumps in a car with a couple tourists and they follow Anita and Zhiga to the pyramids. In a short time he finds out Anita and Zhiga are doing a publicity stunt to introduce a new brand of cigarettes. So much for her being a smuggler.

Now things get really dumb as Jack and Anita ride out into the desert to get Nichols. Lots of sight gags to come.

Anna Lee did a number of top movie roles but is best known by soap fans as Lila Quartermaine on “General Hospital” (1981-2003)

 

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A Dave Brubeck Christmas

Image result for Dave Brubeck A Dave Brubeck Christmas

1 “Homecoming” Jingle Bells

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – J. S. Pierpont*

3:20
2 Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Written-By – Haven GillespieJ. Fred Coots

3:38
3 Joy To The World

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Lowell Mason

2:53
4 Away In A Manger

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Traditional

5:03
5 Winter Wonderland

Written-By – Richard B. Smith*, Felix Bernard

4:19
6 O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Lewis H. Redner*, Phillips Brooks

5:34
7 What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Traditional

3:27
8 To Us Is Given

Written-By – Dave Brubeck

3:23
9 O Tannenbaum

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Traditional

3:35
10 Silent Night

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Franz GruberJoseph Mohr

4:53
11 Cantos Para Pedir Las Posadas

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – Traditional

3:59
12 Run, Run, Run To Bethlehem

Written-By – Dave Brubeck

3:48
13 “Farewell” Jingle Bells

Arranged By – Dave BrubeckWritten-By – J.S. Pierpont*

2:59
14 The Christmas Song

Written-By – Mel Torme*, Robert Wells (2)

4:28
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Fly-By-Night (1943)

fly-by-night 1943

Comedy about a doctor and a sketch artist that get mixed up in murder and Nazi spies. It’s sometimes billed as a drama but that’s not the case. There are dramatic moments but it is absolutely a comedy. It’s based on a story co-written by future best selling author and creator of “I Dream Of Jeannie”, Sidney Sheldon.

A man escapes from a sanitarium by strangling a guard. Police come across Dr.Geoffrey Burton (Richard Carlson) walking in the rain carrying a gas can. He convinces them he’s not an escaped maniac. He fills up his car and drives off. Just as he’s leaving the man jumps inside and forces Burton at gunpoint to keep going.

They go to Burton’s hotel room. The man is Tieler and says he is the assistant to the famous Profesor Langner who has an invention called G-32. The kidnappers are Nazi spies and were holding the two in the sanitarium. He shows Burton a claim check for a storage area of a train station. That’s where the model G-32 is stashed.

Burton gets distracted by a phone call. It’s a wrong number. When he goes into the other room, Tiela has been stabbed with one of Burton’s instruments.  Burton takes the claim ticket. The cops come in and suspect Burton of the murder. He puts out the lights and escapes though the window. He hides in the room of sketch artist Pat Lindsey (Nancy Kelly).

He holds a gun on her but the cops knock on the door. He asks her not to say anything and hides in the bathroom. She tells the cops where he is. When they bust in he’s already gone out the window. She draws his picture for the cops. She says she’ll draw them a better one and give it to them the next day. Burton climbs back in the window and takes her hostage. They get in her car and drive off.

In an unbelievable sequence they drive behind a car caravan truck. They both jump out of her car and into the last one on the truck. There’s a roadblock ahead. The cops check the cab and then let the driver move on. Then Burton drives the car off the back of the truck and passes it.

They drive to Langner’s house. A man answering the door is an imposter and the two try to smash the gates on the way out. That doesn’t work. They run into two men changing a tire and tell them they’re eloping. Burton tells them her father hates him and is after them with a shotgun. The two men turn out to be cops whose are brothers. Their father just happens to be a Justice of the Peace. Their mother (Mary Gordon) helps out as they get married. It took Burton a while to convince Pat to go through with it. She figures they can get a quick annulment.

They sneak out the next morning and steal the brother’s car and drive to the train station and get the model of the G-32. They drive to the sanitarium where Burton pretends to have had a nervous breakdown and a thing for wedding rings. He’s wearing one on every finger from a box he stole from the JP’s house. He finds the professor locked in a cell.

There’s some ridiculous stuff to come but it is somewhat fun and a way to pass the time.

Mary Gordon is well known as Mrs.Hudson in the Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes series.

Richard Carlson holds off the cops

Richard Carlson holds off the cops

 

 

 

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From Spirits And Ghosts (Score For A Dark Christmas)-Tarja (2017)

Get ready for one of the most unusual Christmas albums you’ll ever hear. I usually post older albums by Jazz artists as well as pop artists but I have to make an exception with this one. I’ve been a Tarja (Turunen) fan since her days with the Finnish Symphonic Metal Band Nightwish back in the 90’s. I’m not a big fan of Christmas music and dread the same old,same old tired stuff that’s spews forth every year from radio stations with no imagination. I don’t know if any U.S. stations will play any of this since most rely on consultants instead of actual broadcasters who know the industry.

Of course this album is not for everyone and those who stick with tradition should just dust off their vinyl and be happy. For those adventurous souls who want to step out of the mainstream and experience a different approach to the standard sounds of the season(the exception is track 2(Together),a Tarja original), there are numerous outlets that have this in stock. At least check out the :30 samples some have available and then see or rather hear if you want to take the journey.

Image result for tarja from ghosts

1 Come, O Come, Emmanuel
2 Together
3 We Three Kings
4 Deck The Halls
5 Pie Jesu
6 Amazing Grace
7 O Tannenbaum
8 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9 God Rest Ye
10 Feliz Navidad
11 What Child Is This
12 We Wish You A Merry Christmas

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Johnny Staccato (1959-60)

johnny staccato

The show tries really hard to be oh so hip that it’s a complete embarrassment. You can’t question John Cassavetes acting ability but he can’t save the silliness of overdoing it to make a character look cool. Johnny is a combination Jazz pianist and private detective. Talk about a stretch.

He spends a lot of time at his friend Waldo’s (Eduardo Ciannelli) club in Greenwich Village. There are some great musicians appearing as the house band:Barney Kessel, Shelley Manne, Red Mitchell, Red Norvo, Pete Candoli and Johnny Williams. Anyone whose heard the “Star Wars” soundtracks knows Johnny aka/John.

Opening episode: September 10,1959 – “The Naked Truth” with Michael Landon, Stacy Harris and Ruta Lee – The show opening tries to establish what a hip character Johnny is and ends up looking beyond stupid.

Johnny gets a call from “Senator” Bly. He manages singer Freddie Tate (Michael Landon). Freddie has spent hours in the recording studio but can’t get a decent take. He’s worried that an incident from his past will end up in the scandal sheet The Naked Truth. Bly wants Johnny to straighten it out.

Johnny goes to the tabloid’s office and flirts with secretary Dee Dee (Ruta Lee). He gets past her and goes into the office of publisher A.J.Templar (Stacy Harris). He currently taking a fencing lesson from Phil Kovac. He laughs off Johnny’s attempt to get him not to publish anything. Freddie is paying him two thousand a month to keep the story out of the paper.

His next stop is a health club at Grand Central Station. He and Freddie go into the steam room for a talk. Templar sent Kovac out to take care of Johnny. He pretends to be an attendant. Because of the steam Johnny and Freddie change seats. Kovac comes in and can’t see much in the steam and Freddie ends up with a knife in his back instead of Johnny.

With Freddie in the hospital Johnny is on the warpath. He  waits until after dark to break into Templar’s office. While he’s going through the files looking for the info on Freddie, the night watchman (Frank Sully) calls Templar. While Templar talks on the phone there’s a blonde in the background trying to do a sexy dance. The scene is sheer stupidity and her movements are a sure sign she’s a dancing school drop out. Templar and Kovac race down to the office building. It’s not long before bullets fly.

The show tries way too hard to be in some kind of in crowd and calling it dumb is too kind.

 

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Deluge (1933)

deluge 1933

SF disaster movie based on a novel by S.Fowler Wright. The world is becoming toast. The first half hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. The second half slows down as it goes into survival mode. It’s still well worth checking out. Of course the special effects are crude but the film makers throw everything they have into this one.

The barometer is racing downward and there’s an unexpected eclipse. The order goes out to all ships at sea to get to port and planes are instructed to land. Rome has been destroyed by an earthquake and tremblors are wiping out England. Now the West Coast is gone as quakes are shaking their way across the U.S. Chicago is gone and New York has fallen down. Claire Arlington (Peggy Shannon) has to cancel her swim. She’s a champion long distance swimmer but that’s all in the past now.

Martin and Helen Webster’s house is falling down around them. Martin gets their young kids to a rock quarry and then goes back for Helen. Then he becomes separated from the family. When it’s all over Martin is in a cabin on a newly formed island forty miles from where New York City used to be.

On another part of the island are Norwood and Jepson. Jepson says if Norwood doesn’t stop complaining there will be only one survivor. Jepson goes outside to work on a boat. That’s when he finds Claire. She’s out cold and he carries her inside and tells Norwood she’s all his. The two end up fighting over her. While they battle Claire swims away. Jepson strangles Norwood and then goes looking for Claire.

She ends up outside Martin’s cabin. He has a tunnel full of supplies and he brings her back to health. Jepson gets to that part of the island and joins up with the Bellamy gang. They’ve been raiding a settlement that’s ten miles away. Martin doesn’t know it’s there. He also doesn’t know that Helen and the kids are alive and well. A resident named Tom tells her a new rule has been passed. Women of marriageable age have to get hooked up. He suggests himself for Helen.

Meanwhile Martin has fallen for Claire and they figure they’re man and wife. Jepson finds out where they are. He leads the gang to the tunnel and bullets fly. They don’t know that angry and fed up townspeople are also on their way to deal with the Bellamy gang once and for all. When the battle is done it’s time to head to town. Martin and Claire are in for a big surprise.

The ending is expected but this is still well worth checking out.

There Goes New York

There goes New York

 

 

 

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The Brasher Doubloon (1947)

the brasher doubloon 1947

Weak adaption of Raymond Chandler’s 1943 Philip Marlowe novel “The High Window.” George Montgomery is not a very convincing Marlowe. Of course it’s a tough act to follow when you consider Humphrey Bogart and Dick Powell played the role before.

Philip Marlowe is called out to the estate of the wealthy Elizabeth Murdock. She’s missing a valuable coin known as the brasher doubloon. It’s worth around ten grand. He’s intrigued by secretary Merle Davis (Nancy Guild). He’s not that happy with Elizabeth’s son Leslie (Conrad Janis).

Marlowe tells Merle he’s turning the case down because Elizabeth isn’t totally up front with him. She changes his mind. Back at his office he’s endorsing the check when Eddie Prue comes in. He works for club owner and gambler Vince Blair (Marvin Miller). Prue tries to convince him to drop the case. Marlowe throws him out.

Marlowe visits coin dealer Elisha Morningstar. He says someone tried to sell him the coin but he won’t mention any names. Marlowe stays behind and hears Morningstar call a P.I. named George Anson. Marlowe goes to Anson’s place. He’s not talking. He’s dead. Marlowe finds a small gun next to the body. It’s Merle’s. He goes to see Morningstar. He’s dead too.

He has a talk with Merle and finds out that Mrs.Murdock has found the coin. Leslie borrowed it to pay a gambling debt. She also admits that the late Mr.Murdock used to make moves on her. Merle hasn’t been right since Mr.Murdock went out a window five years ago while they were all watching the Rose Parade. Merle thinks she killed him.

Back at the office a man named Rudolph Vannier is waiting for him. He demands the coin. He learns you shouldn’t pull a gun on Marlowe. Vennier is a free lance news photographer. He shot some film of the Rose Parade five years ago. Marlowe thinks Vannier is in a panic because someone is blackmailing him.

Don’t want to give too much away but thanks to a claim check found  on a body Marlowe finds the coin. Merle, on orders from Mrs.Murdock, tries to seduce Marlowe. The tables turn there. Later Marlowe is mugged outside his place and hustled to Blair’s club.

The movie is just okay but doesn’t come across with the artistry of Chandler’s writing. He didn’t have anything to do with the screenplay and it shows.

Marvin Miller is known to TV fans as the man who handed out the checks on “The Millionaire” (1955-60) and the narrator of “The F.B.I.” (1966-74) and TV’s best but short lived comedy “Police Squad!” (1982).

George Montgomery as Philip Marlowe

George Montgomery as Philip Marlowe

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