This film was up in the air. There was much debate upstairs about where this film should be categorized. It is clearly a b-movie, but it’s also shot very well, by a cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, who would go on to win an Oscar for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Writer/director John Landis doesn’t have anything in his filmography that would make potential viewers think he had a movie like this in him, yet this film is gripping from beginning to end, and, while being steeped in noir tropes and cliché of the era, has moments of true shock and unpredictability. But, despite how excellent is this movie, I have to slot it into Shitty Movie Sundays, for one reason, and one reason only: Arch Hall, Jr.
From 1963, The Sadist is a noir thriller that is one of many films inspired by the real-life crimes of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who went on a killing spree in 1958. Their analogues in this film are Charles Tibbs (Hall), and Judy Bradshaw (Marilyn Manning). Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Sadist”
58 minutes! Are you kidding me? We here at Missile Test enjoy filmmakers who show brevity in their storytelling, but a 58-minute running time is a little bit extreme. Perhaps director Edgar G. Ulmer should be praised. After all, most shitty movie directors of the era would have just thrown in stock footage or long establishing shots to pad the running time. But not Ulmer. His film is so Spartan that viewers will even notice some scenes with dialogue were trimmed. I applaud Mr. Ulmer for trying not to waste anyone’s time, but still…58 minutes!
Released in 1960, The Amazing Transparent Man is a bizarre combination of film noir and science fiction. The film follows Joey Faust (Douglas Kennedy), a career bank robber who is serving a long stretch in a penitentiary. As the film opens, we see Faust escape from prison, aided in his escape by Laura Matson (Marguerite Chapman). Faust doesn’t know why the escape was arranged, only that he’s being taken to a home in the countryside. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: The Amazing Transparent Man”
What viewers have with Detour, the 1945 flick from screenwriter Martin Goldsmith (adapting his own novel) and director Edgar G. Ulmer, is drive-in schlock disguised as film noir.
Tom Neal plays Al Roberts, a nightclub piano player in New York City. He’s in a relationship with singer Sue Harvey (Claudia Drake). She gets bitten by the California bug and leaves New York to try and make it big in Los Angeles. Not long after, Al, penniless and unhappy with playing in clubs, decides to hitchhike across the country to join his love in sunny LA. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Detour”
How presumptuous of me. I didn’t realize how classic this film was when I decided to watch it for a review. How does one review an acknowledged work of art? What more could I add to the conversation but my own ignorance? Academic papers have been written about this movie. In contrast, I have no credentials or expertise. I have never been employed as a film critic. This film, and its potential viewers, do not need me to affirm that it is indeed an indispensable piece of cinematic history. Were I to point out flaws or even offer gentle criticism, it could be dismissed out of hand as the scribblings of an amateur. That’s how good The Third Man is.
Directed by Carol Reed, The Third Man is an adaptation of the novella by the same name by Graham Greene, who also wrote the screenplay. In the film, Joseph Cotten plays Holly Martins, a down on his luck writer of cheap Western novels. He arrives in post-war Vienna, 1949, after receiving a message from an old friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), offering employment. Being only a few years since the close of the war, Vienna is still an occupied city, divided into four sectors run by the Americans, Russians, British, and French. Its streets are clear and clean, but there is nary a block to be seen that doesn’t have a pile of rubble or the shell of a building — the remains of the Allied bombing campaign. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The Third Man”