These movies brought to you by the number 11.

Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Four Kinds of Love and Blood and Black Lace

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

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…”

Sorority House Massacre II

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.’ “

0 Response These movies brought to you by the number 11.
Posted By Suzi Doll : November 1, 2009 5:05 pm

I think the “creepiest” part of your experience for me was the title of the book about Italian horror–”Spaghetti Nightmares.” There’s something about that title that is just icky!

Posted By Suzi Doll : November 1, 2009 5:05 pm

I think the “creepiest” part of your experience for me was the title of the book about Italian horror–”Spaghetti Nightmares.” There’s something about that title that is just icky!

Posted By keelsetter : November 1, 2009 5:14 pm

Even if they come with meatballs?

Posted By keelsetter : November 1, 2009 5:14 pm

Even if they come with meatballs?

Posted By charley : November 1, 2009 5:41 pm

Nice entry, some great movies mentioned. (NB: It would’ve been nice to have shared this list without the free advertising for Netflix, which is driving local independent rental stores out of business across the country. It’s nice these days to have the choice, Netflix as well as a local place to browse and interact, but Netflix is quickly eliminating that choice. It’s probably inevitable, but to see columns like this that just kind of take it for granted that Netflix is of course where movies come from is depressing. My neighborhood indie store just shut its doors after 25 years.)

Posted By charley : November 1, 2009 5:41 pm

Nice entry, some great movies mentioned. (NB: It would’ve been nice to have shared this list without the free advertising for Netflix, which is driving local independent rental stores out of business across the country. It’s nice these days to have the choice, Netflix as well as a local place to browse and interact, but Netflix is quickly eliminating that choice. It’s probably inevitable, but to see columns like this that just kind of take it for granted that Netflix is of course where movies come from is depressing. My neighborhood indie store just shut its doors after 25 years.)

Posted By keelsetter : November 1, 2009 6:45 pm

Hi, Charley -

Good point about the Netflix thing. We have a great independent video store here in Boulder which I try to support as much as I can. And, heck, even my film series is seeing a big drop in attendance because one-time customers now just use my film calendar as a resource to add titles to their future Netflix Que. It came to mind while writing only because it is a popular service nation-wide (and beyond?), and one that I’m having to rely on more-and-more when the local independent video store fails to stock their shelves with the Blu-Rays I’m eager to rent. I’m tempted to tweak the opening paragraph, but will let it stand so as to allow your thoughtful comments to make the point instead. We are certainly in agreement that indie video stores should be supported whenever possible.

Posted By keelsetter : November 1, 2009 6:45 pm

Hi, Charley -

Good point about the Netflix thing. We have a great independent video store here in Boulder which I try to support as much as I can. And, heck, even my film series is seeing a big drop in attendance because one-time customers now just use my film calendar as a resource to add titles to their future Netflix Que. It came to mind while writing only because it is a popular service nation-wide (and beyond?), and one that I’m having to rely on more-and-more when the local independent video store fails to stock their shelves with the Blu-Rays I’m eager to rent. I’m tempted to tweak the opening paragraph, but will let it stand so as to allow your thoughtful comments to make the point instead. We are certainly in agreement that indie video stores should be supported whenever possible.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : November 2, 2009 5:59 pm

I’m all for Mom & Pop video stores and even worked in one in 1985-1986 but I got tired of the hipper-than-thou attitude of the clerks who repeatedly hadn’t even heard of the movie I was asking for. I don’t get that kind of bad-titude with Netflix. I still support the so-called brick-and-mortar video stores near me when I can but all business owners should be reading the writing on the wall. DVD is dying and instant viewing and/or file sharing are going to become the rule rather than the exception as far as at-home movie viewing is concerned. Best of luck in the time you’ve got left but don’t be the last one to find out the party’s over.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : November 2, 2009 5:59 pm

I’m all for Mom & Pop video stores and even worked in one in 1985-1986 but I got tired of the hipper-than-thou attitude of the clerks who repeatedly hadn’t even heard of the movie I was asking for. I don’t get that kind of bad-titude with Netflix. I still support the so-called brick-and-mortar video stores near me when I can but all business owners should be reading the writing on the wall. DVD is dying and instant viewing and/or file sharing are going to become the rule rather than the exception as far as at-home movie viewing is concerned. Best of luck in the time you’ve got left but don’t be the last one to find out the party’s over.

Posted By charley : November 2, 2009 6:55 pm

I can’t comment on your specific experience with attitudinal clerks. The video store workers I know love movies; that’s their only attitude. In any case Netflix hasn’t eliminated attitude; they’ve eliminated human interaction. Bit of a baby/bathwater imbalance there, to my view. The occasional attitudinal retail clerk is one of those unavoidable but survivable bumps on the road of life, and is hardly unique to video stores. But you’re right that it’s inevitable. People publicly protest against the megacorp takeover of American life, but privately they support the companies that are leveling the consumer landscape. Like people who don’t vote, they imagine that their one little purchase doesn’t matter. They are wrong.

Posted By charley : November 2, 2009 6:55 pm

I can’t comment on your specific experience with attitudinal clerks. The video store workers I know love movies; that’s their only attitude. In any case Netflix hasn’t eliminated attitude; they’ve eliminated human interaction. Bit of a baby/bathwater imbalance there, to my view. The occasional attitudinal retail clerk is one of those unavoidable but survivable bumps on the road of life, and is hardly unique to video stores. But you’re right that it’s inevitable. People publicly protest against the megacorp takeover of American life, but privately they support the companies that are leveling the consumer landscape. Like people who don’t vote, they imagine that their one little purchase doesn’t matter. They are wrong.

Posted By missrhea : November 2, 2009 7:20 pm

Not that it really needs my defense but, if I’m to see any of the movies referred to here, I need Netflix. I live 10 miles from the nearest video rental place and getting there (anywhere) can be a challenge in the winter. The mail carrier gets through most days and so do movies.

Posted By missrhea : November 2, 2009 7:20 pm

Not that it really needs my defense but, if I’m to see any of the movies referred to here, I need Netflix. I live 10 miles from the nearest video rental place and getting there (anywhere) can be a challenge in the winter. The mail carrier gets through most days and so do movies.

Posted By charley : November 2, 2009 7:40 pm

Yes, it would be nice if we could have both. Unfortunately more and more people are finding themselves, like you, missrhea, without the choice.

Posted By charley : November 2, 2009 7:40 pm

Yes, it would be nice if we could have both. Unfortunately more and more people are finding themselves, like you, missrhea, without the choice.

Posted By rhsmith : November 3, 2009 3:09 am

The occasional attitudinal retail clerk is one of those unavoidable but survivable bumps on the road of life.

But when said clerk doesn’t have the movie you want it’s not a bump in the road, it’s the end of the line.

Posted By rhsmith : November 3, 2009 3:09 am

The occasional attitudinal retail clerk is one of those unavoidable but survivable bumps on the road of life.

But when said clerk doesn’t have the movie you want it’s not a bump in the road, it’s the end of the line.

Posted By Cool Bev : November 3, 2009 4:13 pm

I hate to continue the thread-hijack, but I have to comment on Netflix v. brick and mortar. In my neck of the woods (Silicon Valley), the independent video stores were all wiped out by Blockbuster and Hollywood well before DVDs were invented. And they don’t go in for classic, quirky or cult movies.

I miss our old video store, and wish I’d bought more of their VHS stock when Blockbuster killed them off. But I love my Netflix queue – How many of the movies in this article are at your local independent or chain rental shop?

Posted By Cool Bev : November 3, 2009 4:13 pm

I hate to continue the thread-hijack, but I have to comment on Netflix v. brick and mortar. In my neck of the woods (Silicon Valley), the independent video stores were all wiped out by Blockbuster and Hollywood well before DVDs were invented. And they don’t go in for classic, quirky or cult movies.

I miss our old video store, and wish I’d bought more of their VHS stock when Blockbuster killed them off. But I love my Netflix queue – How many of the movies in this article are at your local independent or chain rental shop?

Posted By charley : November 3, 2009 5:16 pm

Of course that will be different for everyone. But if more people “think locally” first, and rent what movies their local independent store DOES carry, and use services like Netflix as a backup to fill in the gaps, there will always be room for both. I know that’s a lot to ask of people, so I do understand that the process we’re witnessing is inevitable. My local store that just closed had an astonishing collection of quirky/indie/import/classic titles; the manager was a serious cinefile. His collection included DVDRs of films not officially available anywhere. Johnny Guitar, My Son John, Make Way for Tomorrow, Ruggles of Red Gap–all films I was able to rent locally. But not everyone is so lucky. The other local patrons each thought that the other customers were supporting the store, so their Netflix habit was just a drop in the bucket. But the bucket eventually filled, and the store is gone. Now I too have no choice: it’s Netflix or drive 50 miles to a store that carries classics and indies. Which means a lot of driving for me: I refuse to support the Netflix juggernaut.

Posted By charley : November 3, 2009 5:16 pm

Of course that will be different for everyone. But if more people “think locally” first, and rent what movies their local independent store DOES carry, and use services like Netflix as a backup to fill in the gaps, there will always be room for both. I know that’s a lot to ask of people, so I do understand that the process we’re witnessing is inevitable. My local store that just closed had an astonishing collection of quirky/indie/import/classic titles; the manager was a serious cinefile. His collection included DVDRs of films not officially available anywhere. Johnny Guitar, My Son John, Make Way for Tomorrow, Ruggles of Red Gap–all films I was able to rent locally. But not everyone is so lucky. The other local patrons each thought that the other customers were supporting the store, so their Netflix habit was just a drop in the bucket. But the bucket eventually filled, and the store is gone. Now I too have no choice: it’s Netflix or drive 50 miles to a store that carries classics and indies. Which means a lot of driving for me: I refuse to support the Netflix juggernaut.

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