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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wallis Keeps Presley To Formula Grindstone

Thank You, Scott MacGillivray, For This Photo Upgrade

Elvis Adrift with Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962)

Remember when you first began meeting people who'd never seen Elvis pics in a theatre? For me, it was coming of (middle) age, and now it's tough finding anyone who recalls drop-off to shows like this, and what, thirty more of the things? Here was my impression of Big E's following: They were mostly kids --- at least that was case at the Liberty. Maybe teenagers were going at night, but matinees were for my age group to exclusion of elders, particularly adults. My Elvis enthusiasm peaked, then ebbed, between 1964 and 1966, during which came still-sentimental faves Tickle Me, Girl Happy, plus a few beneath their pantheon. Girls! Girls! Girls! (don't forget the exclamation points!!, but no commas!), was another for Hal Wallis, thus better production values and scenery, again Hawaii-set after Blue-same hit of previous year. HD broadcast of the Elvi permit scrutiny of location shots, Presley doubled nearly always on boat/ocean/elsewhere where cameras aren't close. He told lead lady Laurel Goodwin that Wallis spent more on the movies for $ he didn't give the star. Was Hal getting the bargain of the century in his long association with Elvis? You'd think so for fact he did these for over a decade.

Girls! Girls! Girls! was lucky for one song that broke out of an otherwise punk soundtrack and raced up charts: Return To Sender. It and the title tune are highlights here. Laurel Goodwin gave a good account of filming to interviewer Tom Lisanti in a marvelous book, Drive-In Dream Girls. She recalled Elvis as fine, but surrounded by a retinue "with I.Q's of 70." Goodwin also tabbed Wallis as "an old letch" known to contractees who spread word and warning amongst themselves. We might have guessed there was rivalry between girls, girls, and girls working with Elvis, which Laurel Goodwin confirms via account of "pain in the ass" Stella Stevens, who saw this show in slumming terms. I got through Girls! Girls! Girls! thanks to novelty of High-Def and rose-hue sniff of 60's showgoing that comes of all Elvis. So when did he become well and truly sick of doing them? Too bad the King ducked off-casting and dramatic stuff that might have changed tides, because when movies were finished with him, they were really finished. Still, for coming at a near-peak, Girls! Girls! Girls! did well: $3.1 million, which was down from his first two post-service, G.I. Blues and Blue Hawaii, but still solid in profit columns, penny-watcher Wallis not letting his pix run over.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stalking Star Game in Gotham

The Youngest Profession (1943) Is An All-Star Autograph Hunt

What was livelier escape from war news than MGM's teen scream about school girls hunting pic stars in the Big Apple? Junior Miss wasn't alone for positing adolescence as prime age for movie crazing. The studios knew their richest base was impressionable youth. Parents liked movies, sure, but it was a younger set devouring fan mags that laid for stars at train stops. Tactful handling kept followers mostly at bay, but initiative enough could score face time in hotel lobbies or stage doors if you knew celeb arrive/depart schedule, that info accessible in column space and personal app announcements. Keep up with Ebay and you'll now/again find autograph books maintained long ago by kids for whom tracking celebrities was prime goal. The best at this were fleet of foot and relentless toward the goal. How could they know grandchildren would peddle their treasure for whatever an online market would bear?

Director Eddie Buzzell Supplies Support for Signing Lana

Virginia Mayo told of being forbidden to leave the house in less than finest fettle, white gloves plus any/every accessory to emphasize celebrity. All the world was a stage in contract days. Fans being everywhere, you couldn't chance disillusioning them. It was vital for admirers to come away satisfied from a star meet. A same consideration went for fan mail. Players ignored this at extreme peril. Wise ones realized that a career otherwise dipping could be extended by weight of letters. Studio authority did notice support and kept score among addressees. The Youngest Profession comes right to that point via Lana Turner conserving off-set time for thoughtful response to fan missives. She's shown personally dictating to a secretary as messenger boys bring fresh stacks of gushing. Did Lana actually read her mail --- or even see it? Probably not ... she'd have had no time to make movies in that event ... but fans needed to know they were taken seriously by idols, and so The Youngest Profession supplied reassurance to those naive enough to buy in.

The movie-mad girls are Virginia Weidler and Jean Porter. Weidler's long-suffering father (Edward Arnold) can't understand their obsession, but stops short of calling movies unworthy of a daughter's devotion. Snooty classmates call star-love "kid stuff," but it's clear they're misguided. After all, what was healthier than enthusiasm for movies? These kids aren't creeps like stalkers today; Greer Garson, in fact, invites Weidler/Porter up for tea and cakes when dogged quest takes them to her hotel lobby. And who drops in but Walter Pidgeon, gracious enough to stay and dispense life lessons to the nubile pair (imagine Errol Flynn in such a cameo). Then there is Robert Taylor, who isn't recognized by maiden aunt Agnes Moorehead, here in virtual reprise of her "Aunt Fanny" part in The Magnificent Ambersons. Anyone who mis-ID's Bob Taylor is quite beyond hope, and it's not coincidence that Moorehead comes in for the film's most severe comeuppance.

Wartime home life is vividly enacted even as war is mostly ignored. Kid brother Scotty Beckett is a pest, but a champ for the Four Freedoms, his radio set to monitor German movement off the East Coast should that occur. He's also got the bathtub salted with defense craft to repel U-Boats. Were boys so primed for getting into action? It must have been frustration for many a fourteen/fifteen year old when peace got declared ahead of their reaching age to enlist. As in all Metro households, there is a uniformed maid and candles lit for evening meal. Offspring are precocious, but never insolent. You could switch this family with Janie's and viewers wouldn't know a difference, all the more so being Edward Arnold as Paterfamilias in both instances.

Buzzell Gags It Up as Simon Legree
Director Eddie Buzzell, informality of billing a tip-off to how serious Eddie took himself, had been a musical comedy lead for George M. Cohan and came to megging through back door of Vitaphone shorts where he performed. Buzzell was liked by all and prized efficiency over art; in short, an ideal company man. His two Marx Brothers features for Metro aren't much valued (At The Circus, Go West), but Eddie was born to throwaways like The Youngest Profession, where nothing was at stake past getting it done within limit of budget and time. One thing this director understood was chaos of a crowded theatre. There's a scene in The Youngest Profession where the kids are jammed into rows (hard-backed chairs --- ouch!) to watch Crossroads with William Powell and Hedy Lamarr. Byplay is funny, and I'd like to think, accurate. Buzzell even puts a cherry on it appearing as a hapless patron undone by the assemblage of brats.

Fans Stake Out the Train Depot
MGM acknowledged input of fans, even as the studio reserved substantive decision-making unto itself. Publicity touted star/fan relationship as a two way street. Lana Turner was known for dispensing romance advise to femme worshippers, and Judy Garland sent dress patterns to fans in conflict over prom-wear choices. This, at least, is what we were told. Intelligent mail with sound creative suggestions must have made ways to Culver. Were there stringers that Leo relied on to gauge grassroots response to MGM product? Perhaps a file in Louis Mayer's office with correspondence from patrons who shared opinion he'd use to advantage of Metro product. For all we know, Mayer and other execs had observer networks to provide ongoing field observation and perspective they'd not have gotten via east/west coast tunnel vision.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Where a Single Lab Set Will Do ...

First-Runs of Kronos Get a Bonus With She-Devil

Lippert and Crew Let Loose a She-Devil (1957)

J.Archer Referees Catfight w/ Two She-Devils
Good enough ideas could sometimes rescue cheapest sci-fi past a time when major companies were willing to bet on the genre. By 1957, about all you had left was actors hashing out concepts that could as easily be read in far-out anthologies or done on radio. There just wasn't willingness to spend for visual effects or well known players. An exception that year was Universal and The Incredible Shrinking Man, but it had a gimmick sure-fire as fantasy could get, and how could you tell the story of a shrinking man without having him shrink? In She-Devil, it's mostly personality change that comes over Mari Blanchard after experimental serum gets her past imminent death, resulting sex lure a threat to all male-kind. That last has excited interest among those who study gender roles as understood to have been enforced in the 50's, and if that's a boost to Blu-Ray sales, I say bring on closer readings. Bob Lippert had paw prints on She-Devil, even as he went uncredited, black-and-white scope there to emphasize decor that's lacking. This was long among missing of chillers from its era, and I double-taked on word that Olive would release it in HD. Go forward like me with low expectations and you'll be surprised how good She-Devil turns out, truly a 50's sci-fi quickie for fans who thought they'd seen everything.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Doug Sirk Doing Romance-Comedy

Darnell Places Bet With U-I and The Lady Pays Off (1951) 

Made back in day when actresses could be over-the-hill at 28, case here for Linda Darnell, free-lancing after career so far spent at Fox. Latter had fresher faces to focus on --- Jean Peters, Debra Paget, both these and more with same dark tresses plus youth, which thanks to alcohol/tobacco intake, Darnell saw slipping away. On her, 28 looks older, and few recalled just how young she'd been at a start (only fifteen when screen debuted in Hotel For Women). Difference was Darnell excelling when cast right, that sheer chance at 20th where volume was valued over merit, a circumstance all of industry labored under. Pictures had to be got out to cover overhead and feed distribution channels, both these necessarily filled by product, however good or bad. Trouble by early 50's was so much of it coming back at a loss, for which television, and often old-hat contract talent, could be blamed. That last included Darnell, whose wage was weekly reminder to Fox bookkeeping that her peak had passed.

The Lady Pays Off looked like fresh beginning. She'd get $7500 per for a guaranteed ten weeks (according to excellent Ronald L. Davis bio of Darnell), pretty good if not the percentage biggest names took for the jump to Universal-International. Lady's comedy was sold as saucy, which it wasn't, and unpredictable, where it was anything but. Stephen McNally of overworked U-I lead men was spared customary villainy, this being fluff, but interesting is fact his part mirrors what he did in The Lady Gambles but two years earlier, also for U-I. Kid-in-support Gigi Perreau was being built as 50's moppet find, but markets had changed, so if she didn't get to be a star, Perreau had at least ongoing character work opposite meaningful names that would spark latter interviews. The Lady Pays Off is solid where one is predisposed to enjoy U-I in the 50's, bustle of contract folk and all pics assuming welcome sameness. Directing is Douglas Sirk, a basis for interest today, but let's credit him finally for plowing done outside melodramas, The Lady Pays Off further instance of Sirk capacity for whatever genre. He was probably the most efficient man on U-I's directing payroll, none with his imprint being outright bad, and a number indeed quite good. There's no DVD of The Lady Pays Off, so I caught it off You Tube, where quality squeaks by, again provided you're not too picky. We often take what we can get in this viewing world.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

When Fox's Grable Engine Ran Hottest

Technicolor The Topping On Song Of The Islands (1942)

Vic and Betty Lounge Before Convenient Process Screen

"All This ... and Grable Too!" said ads at the time, "All This" being island getaway at start of a war from which bad news we couldn't get away from. 1942 was large part grim headlines of loss mounted up as Japan seized one island after another. What more welcome, necessary even, than south sea paradise where hula is non-stop and no one mentions war? People talk of all old movies being escapism, not altogether true, but here's one to make their case. Song Of The Islands got no further than Catalina to evoke atolls, most of outdoors staged resolutely indoors, but what was that but charm of a show meant to suspend patron contact with reality. Midst-of-war output looks silly, even pointless, from where we sit, but it all had energy plus grim determination to please amidst concern that all could be lost unless we won.

Lots More Grable Flesh Here Than In Pic
Island yarns were strictly cotton candy after a late 20's cycle of tar the white man for despoil of native purity, basis for White Shadows In The South Seas, The Pagan, others of blame-us category. Asset of these was location shooting, however cheerless the content. Toward establishing useful formula, Paramount put sarongs and eventually color to ongoing A's that were a same narrative told and re-told, but dependable thanks to island pics becoming genre unto themselves. The tropics became lost paradise regained by lead men teaching native lovelies how to kiss. Technicolor went far ways toward popularizing the cycle. An emerged star like Betty Grable was bound to end up in hula circumstance sooner or later, her grass skirt route for Song Of The Islands paved with ads/poster art, not one of which overlooked essential of Grable legs peeking from underneath stalks. Notable was promo art revealing lots more than dancing she did in the film. Thanks to Code oversee, it looks at times like Fox stripped a whole tree and tied it around Betty to prevent our seeing too much.

Believe It Or Don't
Watch Donald Crisp in The Pagan and compare his character with Thomas Mitchell counterpart in Song Of The Islands. Latter is benign to a fault, kind to native hosts, respectful of their culture and environment (he won't let piers be built for fear of ruining shorelines). Grable is his daughter, wise to civilized ways for being US-educated, so there's no pidgin English except for extended gag where she misleads would-be seducer Victor Mature. These two were regarded a height of physical lure at the time, kitted out in swimsuits both here and in just-previous I Wake Up Screaming, those segments primary take-away from viewing of both. Jack Oakie is here for the comedy, fleeing a plus-sized maiden just as Sammy Petrillo later would in Bela Lugosi Meets A Brooklyn Gorilla. Song Of The Islands premiered two months after Pearl, but there is no mention of war. That might have been corrected had the film come but weeks later, but maybe it was as well, and served overall purpose better, not to emphasize the conflict.

Chicago Duals Island with a Fox "B"
20th took profit from virtually all their wartime musicals by keeping costs under control. Technicolor ones like Song Of The Islands and Springtime In The Rockies held the line at one million for the negative, each realizing a million in gain (Springtime In The Rockies, in fact, got $1.9 profit). It was when spending crept up that trouble began. The Gang's All Here was for Fox a first of the genre to need two million for completion, but thanks to ongoing boom, still realized $410K profit. Something For The Boys, minus a Grable or Alice Faye to headline, had two million in its negative, and lost $449K. Splashy musicals for which money seemed no object dealt with a same reality as series westerns or mysteries: you'd not get back excessive dollars put in. As expense of making all films rose alarmingly after the war, Fox found its brand-name musicals no longer the sure bets they'd been, as even the Grables took on red ink. She'd stay popular, but not so much so as to cover minimum of two million being spent on her vehicles. With expense so out of control on all output, it's no wonder home offices feared for their very survival during late 40's slump.

Monday, September 12, 2016

What Lit Them Up in '74

The Longest Yard: A Hit Then, Forgot Now?

If anyone wants to know how in the world Burt Reynolds became such a big star in our misguided 70's, show them this. It was directed by Robert Aldrich, who might have made an indelible star/helmsman team with Reynolds had not ego issues soured milk after Yard's follow-up, the also fine Hustle. I booked The Longest Yard at college as sop to peer posture that programming was tilted too much toward old movies (yeah --- well, so what?). The football squad all showed up to cheer --- where were they when I ran Meet Me in St. Louis? The print was from Swank and rented flat against percentage --- we never took enough for the % to kick in, it being a small campus. People forget since '74 how popular The Longest Yard was. When I revived it for a college crowd in 2004 ... wait, did I say crowd? Make that crickets, and bombs away. Nobody had heard of the pic and cared less, The Longest Yard part of a two-night Aldrich fest that died like dogs. Anytime we saluted a director, we flopped, unless it was Hitchcock, or Stanley Kubrick.

Now The Longest Yard shows up on Epix-HD and looks a million on 1.85. Aldrich wasn't much for scope, but he filled wide, if not widest, screens, and likes of Yard and earlier The Dirty Dozen suffer for cropping to 4:3. The director stayed modern for knowing how to open his shows with bangs --- the first few minutes of The Longest Yard a whale of an action ride. What a regret that Aldrich couldn't stay with Reynolds, or maybe tie up with Clint Eastwood whenever that star wasn't doing hard-hitters for Don Siegel. If you were there in 1974, memories of The Longest Yard's third act football game are bound to be fresh still. I've not forgotten whoops and howls over grid action, the closest movies got to excitement of a real game. This is still one of the 70's best entertainments, but oddly not recognized as such. Surely there's not snobbery toward Aldrich --- so is it faded name Reynolds? He's bound to regret not hanging on to Aldrich. Maybe stardom wouldn't have slipped away so soon if he had.

UPDATE: 9/13/16 --- Fascinating insight into merchandising of The Longest Yard as supplied by reader and longtime GPS correspondent "Griff" (with illustrations graciously supplied by him) ---

Dear John:

Loved your take on one of my favorite Aldrich movies, a picture that played explosively with audiences every time I saw this back in '74. It may not have been a masterpiece, but it was such a film of its moment. It was impossible not to see Eddie Albert's warden as basically our recently deposed president. Reynolds, who had been flirting with major stardom up to this point, crafted a surprisingly complex characterization as the movie's anti-hero. Paul Crewe isn't really much of a human being, and there would seem no good reason for us to care what happens to him. But thanks to Burt's wry, (and, yes, charismatic) performance -- and Aldrich's canny re-working of his favored theme of men hitting bottom hard and then slowly daring to rise above their fate -- we see and believe that he can somewhat redeem himself. this is among the actor's very best performances. And no movie had ever captured the ferocity of football in such a powerful manner. In retrospect, it seems a big mistake that Reynolds didn't go on to make more films with Aldrich (Burt seems to hint as much in his memoir).

The piece lacked only a little bit of background regarding the marketing of the movie. When THE LONGEST YARD opened in New York on August 21, 1974, it did so with a... I don't know how to put this... tremendously off-putting piece of key-art. It's sort of a conceptually interesting illustration of Burt literally locked into a football helmet. [See attached.] I'd be curious to see a full color example of this sometime. It's actually kind of handsome in its way. But it's not right for this picture, not at all. You can barely see Burt's face! There's nothing here that would remotely speak to women! Anyway, the art was featured in ads for the movie in the New York for the first week of the run, through August 27.

On Wednesday, August 28, a week after the movie opened, Par ran the first version of the "Fiercest and Funniest" campaign as a full page ad in the Times
. [Also attached.] It's almost all there -- the photo of Burt is a little different from the picture that they would ultimately use, and the studio would tweak the text slightly. [Interestingly, the picture that Paramount eventually decided to use is an image of Reynolds from early in the film -- he still has his trademark mustache -- which does not reference football at all.] The previous key-art would never be seen again. I guess early pressbooks might have a sample of it. I've never seen a poster for the movie with that design; I suppose the NY Loews houses must have had posters with this image, but I've never run across one.   

I wish I knew more about the backstory of the sudden and complete re-design of the movie's print-ads and posters (said revamping was probably simplified by the fact that YARD was still exclusively playing in New York at this point). I want to say that there was a mention of this in Variety back in the day, but I could be wrong. [Aldrich, whose previous picture had gone through not only a major retooling of its ads and posters but also a title change, must have had some strong opinions on the matter, even if he was only a hired hand on this project.]


Thursday, September 08, 2016

Lana Turner Still Straying Into the 60's

By Love Possessed (1961) Plows Familiar Ground

This melodrama gets a bad rap not altogether deserved, being directed by John Sturges between pictures better remembered (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape) and produced by Walter Mirisch, who knocks it in his memoir, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History. Sudsy shows get no respect, unless Doug Sirk directs, the rest  perishable with spoilage long factored in. Mirisch tended not to like ones that lost money, By Love Possessed good for only $1.7 million in domestic rentals, which had to disappoint after better $ got for previous Lana Turner pics. She actually cedes center stage to accomplished work by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., whose showcase this ends up being. Mirisch says that Turner kept monkeying with the script, so much so that writer Charles Schnee asked to have his name taken off (the credit reads "John Dennis"). I'd like knowing what contributions Lana made to dialogue for any of her films, and that's not sarcastic inquiry. We tend to think stars are too habitually dumb to do anything other than damage screenplays --- is that true or mere myth? Guess it depends on who's applying a blue pencil. By Love Possessed has a New England (as in repressed) setting as with Peyton Place, seemingly same autumn leaves blowing amongst tortured citizenry. Small-town hypocrisy has another airing --- when was that formula finally abandoned? This was penultimate role for Thomas Mitchell; I couldn't tell if it was him or the character that's palsied to point of barely holding cup and saucer. George Hamilton contributes another in his line of weakling sons, the part a photo finish on work done a year before in Home From The Hill. Yvonne Craig is a liveliest wire as the town trollop. By Love Possessed turns up on TCM and elsewhere in gratifying 1.85, and is enjoyable for what it is.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Giving Badges A Bad Name

Bad Cop Contagion Of 1954

No doubt it was a random thing, but how to account for 1954's avalanche of crooked cop pics? Seemed for all the world that Hollywood was on joint attack against law enforcement, badges depicted as front for larceny, collusion with mobs, cold-blood murder of both suspects and witnesses ... what had men in blue done to deserve this? Rap sheet of offenders read thus: Rogue Cop, Shield For Murder, Private Hell 36, Pushover, The Long Wait, all '54-released and slaps to the face of those who'd serve and protect. Reaction came fast and furious, New York's finest asking theatres to shun hate-cop crop that would "discredit the profession of police officer unjustly and without reason." General lawlessness and uptick in juve delinquency was urgent reason not to undermine a public's confidence in law enforcement, yet here was deluge of depiction of "cops as criminals," said Variety.  Bad enough that police were portrayed as "dumb flat-foots or Keystone-Kop types" --- this was plain libel of every man/woman wearing a uniform.

A Production Code still in force nixed "ridicule" of law, whether "natural or human," no-no's also including police "dying at the hands of criminals unless such scenes are absolutely necessary to the development of the plot." The only pic-maker to play fair, said critics, was Jack Webb in Dragnet capacity, his feature adapt of the hit vid series a helping hand to police otherwise attacked on all Hollywood fronts. Year-end tab saw Webb in victory lane, his feature Dragnet by far a biggest grosser of the messy lot. Were police as straight-arrows what a public preferred? Of course, Dragnet via Warner Bros. got bookings and publicity the dirty cops missed, except for Rogue Cop, which was Metro with major name Robert Taylor, good for a million in worldwide profit, less than a third of Dragnet's ultimate gain, but still good by hard-tack measure of features vs. TV, latter keeping most customers home. Cheaper product had to push boundaries to compete, so never mind who you defame, said independents, and go for whatever dates and coin could be had.

Shield For Murder was that sort of venture, a Schenck/Koch sledge-hammer where Aubrey produced, Howard directed (with star Edmond O'Brien megging in part). Schenck had bought the source novel by William P. McGivern three years before, after which McGivern sold The Big Heat to Columbia and Rogue Cop to MGM, putting him at head of class for brass-knuck fiction. Shield For Murder ads were like front of paperbacks children were discouraged to look at, but didn't shrink from O'Brien ferocity as psycho-fuzz who's called as much by fed-up Emile Meyer, whose precinct chief gives the policy speech on how one bad cop reflects on all of rest who are honest and steadfast. John McIntire had spoke as much for his squad in 1950's The Asphalt Jungle when detective Barry Kelly goes corrupt. At least Schenck, in fact all the exploiters, gave assurance that bad fruit wasn't indicative of rest in the basket. Fred MacMurray's murderous detective in Pushover is balanced by ramrod-straight E.G. Marshall and boy scout Phil Carey, both almost too virtuous for belief.

Bad cop yarns never impugned the system, in fact worked double-time to show police as true-blue but for foul apples shook off otherwise healthy trees. What alarmed law enforcement was volume of perceived attacks. Movies seem to have instituted a Bad-Cop-Of-The-Month Club for 1954. Conservative voice Pete Harrison, of weekly and widely trade-read Harrison's Reports, threw down gauntlet in September, accusing films of "Inviting Trouble" (his column title) for embark upon "a program of vilifying the police." He drew comparison to the gangster cycle of long-yore, except this was worse, because crooked cops were presented here as "brave, fearless, and resourceful," in other words, a bad example for youth. How too, would such pictures reflect on our nation's prestige, already under assault? It was all a flat misrepresentation, and needed to stop, said Harrison. Two-week later response came from MGM's New York office. General Sales Manager Charles M. Reagan cited Leo's past two year output to assert that Rogue Cop was very much an exception to rule, just like crook police it dramatized: "42 dramas, 13 musicals, 6 musicals, 6 westerns, 4 war pictures, 3 spectacles ... and 1 Rogue Cop. One picture in 75 of this type does not seem out of line when the public taste for this kind of entertainment is considered."

Such reaction seems to us strange, what with crooked law rampant since in films. From at least the 70's forward, it's gone from lone bad cop to lone good cop, several generations of Serpicos battling embedded corruption. Honest police as loneliest wolves has become flip-side cliché to upright cops we sneer at from the Classic Era. Meanwhile, the contested lot from 1954 merge into broad base of noir, a few achieving belated cult if not classic status. Shield For Murder is celebrated thanks to Blu-Ray release, all of reviewers rightly singing praise, while Private Hell 36 has been out awhile and benefits too from Don Siegel guidance. Pushover is on a Sony noir set; as down-market Double Indemnity it still compels. The Long Wait seems gone, or at least I haven't come across it, Rogue Cop pretty much the same outside TCM broadcasts. Latter is especially good, a noir sleeper still asleep till Warner Archive hopefully gets it out on proper widescreen DVD.
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