Gorath (1962) Spaceship JX-1 (the first manned flight to Saturn) is ordered to change course and intercept Gorath, a rouge star barreling through the galaxy, heading straight for a planet-shattering collision with the earth. Outfitted in white coveralls and helmets, the crew of JX-1 look more like contestants in a go-cart race than astronauts, but in Gorath’s future of the “80s,” these are the men with the right stuff. When the crew is informed they are on what amounts to a suicide mission, they only hesitate a moment before raising their fists in the air and chanting in unison, “Hurrah! Hurrah!” While their esprit de corps is appreciated, it’s also a bit creepy.
Back on earth, high-ranking Japanese officials are peeved at not having been consulted about the decision to reroute JX-1, but after some thought, they magnanimously decide that, yes, maybe the right decision had been made without them (useful information about the possible destruction of the earth was obtained, after all). Once everyone is on the same page regarding the need to do something about Gorath, the bean counters weigh in with their penny-pinching take on the situation: it’s going to cost a lot of money to save the earth. It’s decided the job is too big for Japan to take on alone, and before you can say UNICEF, the project is a United Nations operation.
Companion piece to the Dogville Shorts review in Cinema Misfits, episode 18. For those who doubted such a series could exist, go ahead and stare in disbelief and wonder at the stills and clips. And for those who just can’t get enough of Dogville (and you know who you are, even if you won’t admit it), we offer Nancy’s appreciation of the series.
Ah, the Dogville Shorts. I clearly recall stumbling across one of these gems on a hot summer afternoon about ten years ago. It was quietly tacked on the end of a TCM film offering, and when it appeared, unbeknownst and unexpected by me, my first reaction was unmitigated incredulity. Was it the heat, I pondered. Was I dreaming? Did I need to adjust my medication? Or could this be real…dogs of all shapes, sizes, genders, and breeds, dressed as humans, acting out parodies of popular film genres?
A mummy movie is never a good idea. Why? Because the only way to make a mummy seem threatening is by having it lumber after a woman who appears to suffer from some kind of inner-ear disorder. Incapable of sustained equilibrium, the woman always stumbles and falls for no apparent reason as she runs in a blind panic, even when a brisk walk could easily outdistance her bandaged assailant.
Faced with the prospect of making a mummy movie, there are really only two choices. Either (a) go the Stephen Sommer’s route and jettison altogether the idea of a slow-moving, ancient Egyptian prince wrapped in bandages, or (b) don’t make the movie at all. Really. This should always be the default choice.
Back in my years as a teenaged Cinema Misfit, I gobbled up any film that was made in the 1930’s…romances, musicals, screwball comedies, gangster movies, even Paul Muni films…I saw and loved them all. Now, as I move into the sunset of my life (or at least the mid-afternoon), my ardor for some of these flicks may have waned a bit (I’m looking at you, “Bringing Up Baby”), but “Holiday” has always retained a hold on my heart. Here are some of the reasons why:
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.