Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film - Due out this Fall from UOK Press

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Alan's sporadic takes on Film Noir and other aspects of pop culture

Posted by on in Film Noir Events
  “The apes have taken over — while we were busy watching television and filling our freezers, they’ve come out of the jungle and moved in!” That line is definitely not the stereotypical 1950's movie denouement particularly when it is uttered by the stolidly full-upright Frank Lovejoy about Communism in Shack Out on 101 (1955) that screened last night at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. As Sterling Hayden unsuccessfully tried to quantify for Timothy Carey what type of crime shooting a racehorse is in The Killing (1956); " a matter of fact, I don't know what it is...", I have the same dilemma attempting to describe just what type of movie Shack Out on 101 (1955) actually is: film noir, melodrama, high camp, comedy, none of the above, all of the above??? By whatever genre, the picture is a unique, well acted, uproarious hoot. Shack out on 101 is the...
©Alan K. Rode

Posted by on in Actors and Actresses
  The Saturday night double feature at the Noir City Festival in Hollywood led off with a screening of The Glass Wall (1953). This seldom seen film, with a near-faultless print courtesy of Sony-Columbia, provided a unique view of Times Square at night, as a hurt World War II refugee (Vittorio Gassman) jumps ship to enter America hunting for a former soldier, now a clarinet player (Jerry Paris) who can provide his safe entry to the Great Melting Pot. Gassman finds safety, empathy and then love in the arms of noir siren Gloria Grahame, the last dame you'd think would be working in a shoelace factory, but there you have it. The Glass Wall was written and directed by Maxwell Shane, a lawyer by profession, then turned to writing 'B' screenplays in the late 1930's and buying up land in the San Fernando Valley that was dirt-cheap at that time. Shane's...
Ann Robinson
©Alan K. Rode

Posted by on in Actors and Actresses
  John Ford once remarked that the best moments in films are invariably serendipitious. So too are the appearances of film noir festival guests, especially last night at the Egyptian Theatre. Gloria Pall made a last minute show-up at last night's viewing of The Crimson Kimono as the screening guest between the Sam Fuller double bill. The statuesque Ms. Pall has been around Hollywood since 1951 and was the focal point of the movie; the murdered stripper "Sugar Torch". Gloria proved to be a terrific raconteur, reeling off stories about Sam Fuller (she refused to film the opening sequence with a car nearly running into her; Fuller acquiesced to using a stunt double), charmed Elvis Presley when he was a Southern lad who liked to lick Gloria's fingers (ahem!) and went to lunch with Robert Mitchum after he brandishes a knife towards her (in the fist tattooed "HATE") in The Night...
©Alan K. Rode

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