Anyone who knows Hitchcock’s body of work will recognize how this resonates with themes of sexuality and fear in his other films.But, again the birds are an open metaphor – Hitchcock is clever enough not to bind their threat too tightly to his own paranoias here. We are free to interpret them as we please, and to read the domestic drama as mere back-story to their unpredictable attacks. The film’s suspense thus hinges, not on our concern for the family’s problems, but on our own fears of inexplicable and sudden catastrophe. I think the effort to achieve that is entirely successful, and this is one of Hitchcock’s most unsettling, and most memorable, accomplishments. Some B movies transcend, others lower themselves into the “so bad t’s funny’ category. But most fall into the general category of ‘good B-movie” – entertaining but forgettable.This film can be enjoyed as a good B-movie, If one doesn’t know much of film history, there it ends – a solid B- movie from the early ’40s.But pay attention!
Also, one must remark the important part Grant Withers plays, as the earnest, tough, but slightly dimwitted police Captain Bill Street, and the occasional appearance by Marjorie Reynolds as the sassy reporter Bobbie Logan who dates Street off-hours, only to interfere when at work. They bring a pleasing air of continuing romantic interest as well as comic relief to the series. An embarrassing attempted ‘remake’ of a great piece of film making, by a cast and crew who evidently have no idea what the original was all about. Peckinpah’s original raised questions – you left the theater feeling awkward, self-conscious, asking the same question the lead character was asking himself – ‘how do I find my way home now? This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.
These characters are all profoundly unpleasant and two-dimensional; except for Martin, who’s rarely on screen.The film is apparently a remake of an Italian sex-farce, Wife for a Night; that in itself tells me that the whole project started off badly. (And continued – the Walston part was intended for Peter Sellers, who Wilder couldn’t deal with, and Wilder himself suffered heart problems.) But the main problem is that Italian comedy is coming from a very different tradition than Wilder’s (so clearly related to Lubitsch), so it’s really impossible to guess why he tried what he was clearly unsuited for.Not much to add except the cinematography is good, and the music sucks. (Apparently based on material the Gershwin brothers decided needed reworking… maybe they were right?).Caused a minor scandal in its day – but it was easy to cause scandals back then. Nevermind; it is the first in the series of Hammer Frankenstein films that ran well into the ’70s.
Everything is here – the homage to universal, the darker characterization of Doctor Frankenstein, the decision to place the series in a 19th century setting…. The ending of this short film would be rewritten as the end of “The Curse of Frankenstein.” Okay, it’s not really much more than a neat little B-movie short; but what else would one want from a Hammer horror film? And the hiring of Universal horror films writer Curt Siodmak to write the script is a nice touch of linking with the ‘grand tradition’ of Frankenstein films. It is certainly entertaining and moves quite well, and everybody puts their best into it. (The “making of” featurette on the DVD is a wonderful look into the making of a higher budgeted ‘indie’ movie by the way.) But there is one serious flaw to the film, and that is Renée Zellweger’s performance.
Whenever the character undergoes pressure, she gets all wobbly and quirky, like a character actor playing a supporting role – but she’s not only the lead, she’s what the picture is all about, so this is definitely a flaw that threatens to derail the whole project.Fortunately, it doesn’t. First, of course, everyone else in the picture submits wonderful performances. Logan Lerman is a marvelous young actor who strikes chemistry with practically everyone he interacts with. And the film is really beautiful to look at, and filled with pleasantly https://www.gclub.co/royal6666-the-best-with-gclub/ eccentric characters, in situations highly evocative of the era in which they occur, the 1950s.Secondly, part of the problem with Zellweger’s performance may have to do with the character herself. Although she fancies herself a Deep-South Southern Belle, deserving of the better things in life, once we meet her sister we realize that she really comes from the mid-South commercial class, and that her attitude of entitlement is a self-delusion. She is thus out of touch with her own life, and in need of review of her identity.
Most exploitation-horror films of the time (especially those coming out of Europe) took themselves way too serious. Even looking back to Ed Wood, one reason that “Plan 9” is so amusing is because Wood clearly thinks he is saying something important with it, even if he’s not sure what.There were important exceptions, of course – Corman’s “Little Shop” is overt comedy, and “The Undertaker and his Pals,” while providing the necessary gore and ‘suspense’ also throws in large dabs of comic bits and dialog. But “Corpse Grinders” avoids the obvious – there is no overt buffoonery, no sight gags or puns here. Instead Mikels simply pushes a ridiculous plot device – cats eating human meat go crazy, because desperate racketeers can’t afford the butcher’s bill – as far as it can go, and allows the characters involved to be their low-life selves. Thus we end up with a weird slice of trailer-trash Americana. That’s evident to some extent here as well, but in this case there seems to be a secondary audience targeted – those capable of getting in on the joke.
The best review here so far has been Timothy Farrell’s from 2007, that remarked this film as the best-paced and most consistent from director Mikels. But most of the comments, both favorable and unfavorable, have been largely on the money – which in itself tells us we have a rather strange critter here. I.e., how can we say of a film that it is a camp classic in one comment, and that it is not a camp classic in another comment, and yet both comments be right? How can we mock such a film for its cheesiness and then admit that it wallows in that cheesiness, as if cheesiness were among its redeeming values? The answer of course is that Mikels made this film with tongue firmly in cheek.
The animation of Dreamland is clearly based on computer game CGI. Not great, but certainly of its time.The animation of Infinite Quest is also of its time, not great either, although given over to impressive visual effects in the foreground and background. But the real difference between these two Doctor animated episodes has to do with something far more basic. Dreamland, whatever its visual weaknesses, tells a strong story with a discernible beginning – middle – end. Infinite Quest – does not.In fact the narratology of Infinite Quest is very similar to that of The Pescatons, jumping and skipping over essential details.
- To provide a small enough stage to make small characters look large, I guess; doesn’t work.
- One can listen to Pescatons with the brain on hold and still have a fine time.Infinite Quest isn’t so lucky.
- Actually, it’s a joke.Here’s the tell-all moment about the budgeting of the film and the incompetence with which it is made – I think it half, but I remember the percentage higher, of the shots used to depict the effect of Miami’s freezing and the response of the population there are localized on a single hotel swimming pool.
- Most exploitation-horror films of the time (especially those coming out of Europe) took themselves way too serious.
But Pescatons is presented as narrated by the Doctor himself, and the voice of Tom Baker covers a multitude of sins. One can listen to Pescatons with the brain on hold and still have a fine time.Infinite Quest isn’t so lucky. At the end everything is explained – yet nothing much has happened. I don’t blame the actors, animators, or supporting personnel.
On the other hand, her desperate search for a husband to support her has a realistic edge – the ’50’s America was not kind to single moms. The question thus becomes whether the inner struggles involved in her effort to survive repeated crises is well presented. I’m not sure it is, but not from want of trying on Ms. Zellweger’s part. It may be that the core of the character is really hard to define.Otherwise, I have no trouble recommending this often amusing, insightful glimpse into a complex family during an era of change. It may have no more weight than an old family snapshot of the era, but it is as telling and well-developed a snapshot as one could wish. We think of television as beginning in the ’50s, but that’s simply not true.This probably played in theaters as filler, but it is almost certainly a pilot for early television.