Posted by Pablo Kjolseth on November 1, 2009
Ever wonder if the universe might be sending you a secret message? I’m not one to read tea-leaves or Tarot cards, but sometimes think numerology can be fun. So today I woke up wondering if there could be any significance to it being the first day of the eleventh month of the year. Taking a cue from the popular internet meme that asks people to turn to a specific page in the book nearest them to share an excerpt, I decided to see what films the cosmos might be suggesting I add to my Netflix account by pulling down from my bookshelf all the film books I had that I figured would have plenty of poster art. Then I counted the stack. I’m not making this up: there were exactly eleven books! I was off to a good start. How to proceed? Since it’s the first day of the eleventh month of the year I went to page 11, and from there let my finger fall on the very first film image that followed. With that in mind, I now dedicate the following eleven films to the month of November:
Sudden Fear (1952) – directed by David Miller and starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, and Bruce Bennet. Source: The Art of Noir (Eddie Muller). Notable excerpt: “Hollywood posters of the noir era were rarely as idiosyncratic as this rare B-style one sheet, unlike any other RKO produced. Joan Crawford’s enormous eyes were by then a trademark, and the designer took full advantage of the public’s familiarity with this striking and unusual composition.”
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester. Source: Horror Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movie Posters (Bruce Hershenson). Notable excerpt: None, as there is no accompanying text – the images are left to speak for themselves. Actually, they are clearly screaming: “I DEMAND A MATE!” But… ‘WHO will dare?”
I Love Trouble (1948) – directed by S. Sylvan Simon and starring Franchot Tone and Janet Blair. Source: Attack of the “B” Movie Posters (Bruce Hershenson again). Not only is it obvious why he loves trouble, it’s clearly double-trouble.
Teen-Age Jailbait (date unknown) – directed by Godfrey Daniels and starring John Alderman and Rene Bond. Source: Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters (Jacques Boyreau). Notable excerpt: “Cinema-wise, this chapter covers spoiled American fatales and Euro love-zombies, yoga-stepping into a realm of sophisticated pedophilia, pottymouth savagery, and raw independence. A realm of becoming: The girl becomes cool, the slave becomes sexy, orgasm becomes entertainment, Sharon Tate becomes Dorothy Stratten, weird becomes love.”
Downhill (US Title: When Boys Leave Home, 1927) – directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Ivor Novello and Isabel Jeans. Source: Hitchcock Poster Art (Tony Nourmand and Mark H. Wolff). Notable excerpt: “Co-written by Novello, this visually inventive tale concerns a boy who is unfairly expelled from school and banished by his stern father for allegedly impregnating a deceitful waitress. His social and spiritual downfall become increasingly pitiful once he is a gigolo living in squalor in Europe.”
Bordertown (1935) – directed by Archie L. Mayo. Starring Paul Muni and Bette Davis. Source: Picture Show: Classic Movie Posters from the TCM Archives. (Text by Dianna Edwards.) Notable excerpt: “The sultry, unhappy wife (Bette Davis) of a nightclub owner falls hard for a swarthy bouncer in love with a society woman who’s just toying with his… affections. Everybody gets burned in the heat.”
Great Expectations (1946) – directed by David Lean. Starring John Mills and Valerie Hobson. Source: Mighty Movies (Lawrence Bassoff Collection). Notable excerpt by Jean Simmons: “I was the only girl they used to do a lot of screen tests with a lot of boys. When it came time for production, they cast Anthony Wager and simply said the role of Estella was mine. I just loved making the film. I couldn’t wait to get to the studio everyday. As you may recall, I had to walk up and down the stairs holding a lit candle. One time my organza skirt caught on fire and Anthony ripped it off me just before I was burned.”
The Cat and the Canary (1927) – directed by Paul Leni. Starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale. Source: Graven Images (Ronald V. Borst). Notable excerpt: “Leni, once a set designer, had a flair for spooky atmosphere, but scenery alone was not enough, no matter how the actors chewed it.”
Double-feature! Four Kinds of Love (1965) – featuring four kinds of directors: Mauro Bolognini, Luigi Comencini, Dino Risi, and Franco Rossi. Starring Gina Lollobrigida, Elka Sommer, Virna Lisi, and Monica Vitti. Blood and Black Lace (1964) – directed by Mario Bava. Starring Eva Bartok, Cameron Mitchell “and the 30 most glamorous girls in the world!” Source: Blood & Black Lace: The Definitive Guide to Italian Sex and Horror Movies. (Adrian Luther Smith). Notable excerpt: “Blood and Black Lace is undoubtedly the most important film in this book, hence the publisher’s desire to name-check it on the cover.”
Santa Sangre (1989) – directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. Starring Axel Jodorowsky and Adan Jodorowsky. Source: Spaghetti Nightmares (Luca M. Palmerini and Gaetano Mistretta). Notable excerpt by producer Claudio Argento: “In Santa Sangre the family has an obviously negative effect, as is shown by the true story that took place in Mexico, on which the film is based. A Mexican became a ‘slave’ to the evil presence of his mother, (which) incited him to kill the women he met, and in the end, he committed as many as twenty murders! After ten years spent in an asylum for the criminally insane, the man freed himself from his evil ‘presence,’ his mother having died, and went back to being perfectly normal. He married, had children and currently works as a journalist. Alejandro met him in a bar and was fascinated by his story. The film shows (it), and this concept is suitably highlighted by the biblical quotation that comes before the closing credits, that everyone can be redeemed. Even the most evil demon cannot forget that he was once an angel…”
My last one’s a bit of cheat as I break my “movie posters only” rule – but I couldn’t resist ending on a nice “hook” – Sorority House Massacre II (aka: Nightie Nightmare Jim Wynorksi’s House of Babes, 1990). Source: Filmmaking on the Fringe: The Good, The Bad, and the Deviant Directors. Notable excerpt by Jim Wynorski: “We had a great time making it, shot it in seven days because I wanted to see how fast I could do it. It came out to seventy-four minutes when it was all done, which is not bad for a seven-day shoot. Roger caught wind of it, and he just laughed when we told him what we were doing. They were shooting some Stripped to Kill movie at the time, and he said, ‘Here’s a couple more bucks – go get some strippers and put them in your movie.’ “
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