The Watch List For 4/25/13
CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) --- Among televised shocks to senses: I'm more reading than paying attention one late-80's night to Curse Of The Werewolf on syndicated UHF, and in comes Yvonne Romain for a stab at Anthony Dawson that till then barely registered thanks to censorship of both the US theatrical and TV prints. Now all of a sudden she's plunging a dagger-like wall sconce over and again into his withered frame with blood spattering this way and that. Had any audience for Curse ascended to such Hammer heaven? Put-back cuts kept coming ... a blood squib burst when the werewolf was climactically shot, with colors enhanced from fading and pink that had cursed Werewolf's Eastman 1961 processing. Now there is Curse Of The Werewolf on Vudu's HD stream line, a best-ever rendition to convert a merely good Hammer into something approaching their best.
Color and creative use of it was this company's gift. Doorways, lamp-lit corners, most of all costuming here, vibrate with reds, greens, deep blues and blacks --- Hammer was never just application of gore as then-critics accused. Universal kept subcontracting the
Cruel content of Curse might lay some low --- it admittedly kept me away from repeat-viewing to same degree of all-time favorite Brides Of Dracula, but Anthony Dawson as decaying remnant of corrupt aristocracy does compel for sheer flesh-picking decadence --- was Hammer social commenting here? Looking at this and an opening reel of their Hound Of The Baskervilles from two years previous (not to mention Hell-Fire clubs to come in Plague Of The Zombies, others), you'd think so. To topic of censorship, peruse closely these stateside-issued stills for Curse Of The Werewolf, and note discreet airbrushing of Yvonne Romain's cleavage both in portraiture, and her notorious confront with would-be diddler Dawson. Hammers were scrubbed safe for school's out consumption that '61 summer, both onscreen and at theatre entrance displays.
FELIX SAVES THE DAY (1922) --- I've been reading about the Felix cartoons (that's how much time is on my hands) and still await conclusion that he's a wonderful, wonderful cat (recalling a theme song for revamped Felix of the early 60's). Yes, the silent ones are primitive, and how, but they're said to get better going along, so I need to forbear criticism till much deeper into a long and incredibly prolific series. Here's the remarkable and largely forgotten thing about Felix: He was Number One cartoon star of the 20's, supplanted only by talkies (owner Pat Sullivan didn't want to be bothered with sound) and arrival of Mickey Mouse, latter among few instances of a cat truly gotten the better of by a mouse. Felix as animated here doesn't flow; he sort of jerks along. Saves The Day nuttily combines live action with cartooning, but not in ways Disney and others eventually would. Well, these things had to begin somewhere. Really early drawings on the move are always a curiosity, but be warned to apply in moderation. Excess of Felix could do psychic damage.
GIRL WITHOUT A ROOM (1933) --- Wacky artists' colony goings-on in