6 ‘n 90. Da Man reviews six films in ninety seconds. And this time, it’s a festival of “outs!”
The Giant Claw. It’s a blur! It’s a bird! It’s a puppet!
Plot:Frustrated insurance salesman Clarence Hilliard (played by Timothy Carey, who also wrote and directed) writes a Nietzche-esque pamphlet that claims, “all men are gods,” and then forms a rock ‘n roll band to help push his agenda. Not long after this, politics beckon, and Clarence ditches his guitar and makes a run for the presidency.
Review: Like any good exploitation film, The World’s Greatest Sinner is a mix of low budget technical compromises, lurching story lines, ham-fisted visual metaphors, and odd, unpredictable moments. When Clarence Hilliard makes his first speech about the “Immortal Man,” he steps up onto a pile of what looks like sandbags. Then the camera slowly tilts down to reveal him standing on bags of manure, a sign reading “4 for a dollar.” On stage with his rock ‘n roll band, Clarence doesn’t resemble a twitching, gyrating Elvis so much as he does a man having an epileptic fit. Then there’s the 50-state, stock-footage campaign for president, where vaguely familiar newsreel shots cheer on intercut snippets of Hillard exhorting his followers to become gods!
Tom Hatten is part of that rare breed, the local television celebrity. In these days of hundreds of cable channels, local television stations are little more than a place to park sitcom reruns and celebrity chat fests hosted by former supermodels and C-list television personalities. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time…You kids all gather ’round Granny, now, as she spills a tale of days long gone by…when each local TV station could be identified by its own on-air staff.
For example, if you fired up the ol’ RCA Victor Color TV in your living room and saw Seymour, AKA Larry Vincent, you could bet you were watching “Fright Night” on KHJ-TV, channel 9. Ah, Seymour! All us kids in SoCal loved him. Side Note: I went to school with his lovely daughters, Diane and Valerie. One year, their father actually attended our Hallowe’en carnival at Lincoln Jr. High in Santa Monica. No paparazzi, just lots of pre-teen adoration to be found.
The past year called away some screen notables, including Karl Malden, Van Johnson, Jennifer Jones, and Patrick Swazye, but two deaths struck me particularly hard. One was that of David Carradine, whom I knew, and the other Jacinto Molina, AKA Paul Naschy, the Spanish horror film star whom I hoped to meet. Both men made indelible impressions on me in the dull and dreary 70s, although their unique talents outlasted that decade.
I Promise to Pay (Columbia, 1937) tells the story of a low-level office clerk, Eddie Lang (Chester Morris), who wants nothing more than to be able to finance a one-week vacation for his wife, Mary (Helen Mack) and their two children. To do so, he succumbs to the lure of easy money from an illegal loan shark (Leo Carrillo). When he is unable to pay back the loan immediately and is forced to contend with the 1,000 % yearly interest rate, he falls victim to a myriad of nasty thugs who threaten him and his family with bodily harm, kidnapping, and death.