title cards for LURED

Like most people, I mainly know Douglas Sirk via the melodramas he directed (Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows, Written on the Wind), so my curiosity was piqued by a title of his screening on TCM this coming Thursday that I’d not heard of before starring Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Charles Coburn, and Boris Karloff. Lured (1947) concerns a serial killer in London who murders young women he meets via personal columns in the newspaper and then goes on to taunt Scotland Yard with cryptic poems influenced by Charles Baudelaire. This because, as we all know, poets who dare equate death with beauty must be delusional psychopaths at heart (in Baudelaire’s case an addiction to Laudanum probably didn’t help). [...MORE]

November 28, 2015
David Kalat
Posted by:

Giving Thanks for King Kong vs. Godzilla (You’re Welcome)

For me, Thanksgiving and Godzilla go hand in hand as much as turkey and stuffing do. Back when I was a small child, Superstation WTBS consistently aired Godzilla movies—sometimes in double features or marathons—on Thanksgiving Day. I have very vivid memories of seeing King Kong vs. Godzilla for the first time on Thanksgiving, at my grandparents’ house in Charlotte.

I’ve heard that there is a reboot/remake/revisit of King Kong vs. Godzilla in the works, from the team behind Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla. I’m not quite sure what to make of that—cautious optimism, I suppose? As I’ve written about before, as good as Edwards’ version was, it was not silly. And the thing that made the 1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla such a groundbreaking blockbuster iconic hit was its steadfast refusal to take itself, or anything else, seriously. And for all y’all who like your Godzilla dark and brooding and grim, just bear in mind that the somber version of Godzilla isn’t what launched the franchise. We have Godzilla movies today for one reason only: because there was King Kong vs. Godzilla, and it was bonkers.


KEYWORDS: Eiji Tsuburaya, Godzilla, Ishiro Honda, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Rankin-Bass, Tomoyuki Tanaka

When Everything Comes Together: Roman Holiday

Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events will be hosting a theatrical screening across the country this weekend of the classic from 1953, Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck (see more info here).  If you haven’t seen it, this would be the perfect opportunity to take it in, capping a holiday weekend with a big screen presentation of one of the best romantic comedies ever made.   That’s right, it’s a romantic comedy and it’s worth seeing.  There was a time when rom-coms were done well and this, in fact, was their heyday.  But Roman Holiday has more going for it than just that.  It also has the good luck of being a movie in which all the right pieces fell into place.



Remembering Bruce Lee on his 75th Birthday


Here we are . . . still talking about him. And for good reason. He tried to live what he believed. When you see him on screen you’re not just seeing a performance, you’re seeing the real human being.” – Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter.

Tomorrow, November 27, marks what would have been Bruce Lee’s 75th birthday if he hadn’t died in 1973 after suffering a fatal cerebral edema caused by an allergic reaction to pain medication. Lee was an incredible athlete, inspiring teacher, thoughtful philosopher and sensitive poet who was responsible for popularizing martial arts in America and broadening our narrow perception of Asian actors. Despite many personal hurdles and professional disappointments, he was able to overcome industry racism and establish a new kind of Hollywood action hero who was admired by millions around the world. Lee’s death at the young age of 32 was a great loss to us all but his family, friends and fans have kept his legacy alive and today he remains a recognizable pop culture figure as beloved and admired as Elvis, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.


This week on TCM Underground: Polyester (1981) and … All the Marbles (1981)


This week on TCM Underground, we’re going to party like it’s 1981!


Twilight of the B-Western: White Horse, Black Hat


C. Jack Lewis saw a lot in his 84 years. A Marine Corps veteran of three wars, he was also a self-described “reporter, drunk, editor and hobo” who spent decades on the fringes of Hollywood. A fan of Westerns since childhood, he broke into screenwriting just as the B-Western business was collapsing, thanks to the arrival of television. He managed to sell a few scripts for budget stars like Lash LaRue and Johnny Mack Brown, but would spend the majority his career as a journalist for horse and army publications (he was the founder of Gun World magazine). During that time he met all of the stars of his youth as they sank down the Hollywood food chain, making a living as extras on TV Westerns or as special attractions at traveling circuses. In his affecting memoir White Horse, Black Hat, published in 2002 by Scarecrow Press, Lewis wrote thumbnail portraits of these faded stars, a collection which captured the end of the B industry and the itinerant careers of the low-budget cowboy.


When Computers Were Big–and Evil

bloghalopenLet’s face it. All computers—from desktops to tablets—are like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Under the guise of support and service, they seek to control or destroy us. The proof is all around: Family members, friends, kids, students, coworkers waste hours surfing the Internet, looking at endless cat videos, playing pointless, time-sucking games, posting pithy sayings on Facebook as though they were the profound utterings of geniuses, and spouting off tweets they later regret. Of course, I recognize the hypocrisy here because you are reading my blog post on a laptop or tablet, but that doesn’t prevent me from wanting to take a ball-peen hammer to a computer on a weekly basis.


Top Five From the King. Vidor, that is.

Today, TCM airs one of the biggest big budget, all-star cast movies of all time, producer David O’Selznick’s 1947 Duel in the Sun, the movie he hoped would equal the success of his previous big budget extravaganza, Gone with the Wind.  It didn’t and ultimately was a disappointment, also because he wanted it to succeed for the lovely Jennifer Jones.  Despite the disappointment, it still performed well and has a lively pace, directed by the great King Vidor.  Perhaps it’s best that it’s remembered as a Selznick film and not a Vidor film since Selznick had so much control over his films he was often considered the defacto director anyway.  But Vidor had a long and varied career (a 67 year long career!) and has directed some of my favorite movies.  With a filmography as extensive as his, it’s tough to whittle it down to just five, but that’s I’m going to do: My top five favorite movies from the King himself, King Vidor.



November 21, 2015
David Kalat
Posted by:

Goat-Staring for Fun and Profit

So here we are, in the middle of November, sandwiched between the release of the latest James Bond flick and the upcoming release of the new Star Wars.  The War on Terror rages on, with no end in sight.  The Coen Brothers have migrated to TV where Fargo is ripping it up.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if somehow, all these different experiences could be smoothed together into one event?  Wouldn’t that just save so much time?

So, I present to you, The Men Who Stare At Goats.   A spy-comedy derived as a fictionalized adaptation of a controversial non-fiction book about “psychic soldiers” fighting in Iraq, with overt Star Wars in-jokes…I can’t say it’s a good movie, but it has so much else going for it, quality might be beside the point.


KEYWORDS: Ewan MacGregor, George Clooney, The Men Who Stare at Goats

When Lightning Sort of Strikes Twice

Today TCM celebrates the career of the legendary Maureen O’Hara with a selection of movies that also features some of her favorite acting partners, including the also legendary John Wayne and Henry Fonda who, as it turns out, had children who entered the biz just like they did.  One of John Wayne’s kids, Patrick, is even in a few of the movies today with Maureen and his dad.  Later in the evening, there’s Sinbad the Sailor, with Douglas Fairbanks, son of… well, you know who.  In most cases of kids following in the footsteps of their parents, the career of mom or dad is simply too hard to top.  Sometimes, not.  Henry Fonda was the father of both Peter Fonda and Jane Fonda and, obviously, Jane did pretty well for herself.  She managed to take home two Oscars before her dad took home his first, and only, for On Golden Pond from 1981.   But in the two cases of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Patrick Wayne, the deck seemed almost impossibly stacked against them.


[...MORE] is the official blog for TCM. No topic is too obscure or niche to be excluded from our film discussions. And we welcome your comments on our blogs and bloggers.
See more:
See more:
3-D  Academy Awards  Action Films  Actors  Actors' Endorsements  Actresses  animal stars  Animation  Anime  Anthology Films  Art Direction  Art in Movies  Asians in Hollywood  Australian CInema  Autobiography  Avant-Garde  Aviation  Awards  B-movies  Beer in Film  Behind the Scenes  Best of the Year lists  Biography  Biopics  Black Film  Blu-Ray  Books on Film  Boxing films  British Cinema  Canadian Cinema  Character Actors  Chicago Film History  Cinematography  Classic Films  College Life on Film  Comedy  Comic Book Movies  Crime  Czech Film  Dance on Film  Digital Cinema  Directors  Disaster Films  Documentary  Drama  DVD  Early Talkies  Editing  Educational Films  European Influence on American Cinema  Experimental  Exploitation  Fairy Tales on Film  Faith or Christian-based Films  Family Films  Film Composers  Film Criticism  Film Festival 2015  film festivals  Film History in Florida  Film Noir  Film Scholars  Film titles  Filmmaking Techniques  Films About Gambling  Films of the 1930s  Films of the 1960s  Films of the 1970s  Films of the 1980s  Food in Film  Foreign Film  French Film  Gangster films  Genre  Genre spoofs  HD & Blu-Ray  Holiday Movies  Hollywood history  Hollywood lifestyles  Horror  Horror Movies  Icons  independent film  Italian Film  Japanese Film  Korean Film  Literary Adaptations  Martial Arts  Melodramas  Memorabilia  Method Acting  Mexican Cinema  Moguls  Monster Movies  Movie Books  Movie Costumes  movie flops  Movie locations  Movie lovers  Movie Magazines  Movie Reviewers  Movie settings  Movie Stars  Movie titles  Movies about movies  Music in Film  Musicals  New Releases  Outdoor Cinema  Paranoid Thrillers  Parenting on film  Pirate movies  Polish film industry  political thrillers  Politics in Film  Pornography  Pre-Code  Producers  Race in American Film  Remakes  Revenge  Road Movies  Romance  Romantic Comedies  Russian Film Industry  Satire  Scandals  Science Fiction  Screenwriters  Semi-documentaries  Serials  Set design/production design  Short Films  Silent Film  silent films  Social Problem Film  Spaghetti Westerns  Sports  Sports on Film  Stereotypes  Straight-to-DVD  Studio Politics  Stunts and stuntmen  Suspense thriller  Swashbucklers  TCM Classic Film Festival  TCM Underground  Television  The British in Hollywood  The Germans in Hollywood  The Hungarians in Hollywood  The Irish in Hollywood  Theaters  Thriller  Trains in movies  U.S.S. Indianapolis  Underground Cinema  VOD  War film  Westerns  Women in the Film Industry  Women's Weepies