Band of Angels (1957) – Episode 14

Band of Angels (1957)

Band of Angels 1957 is a quite enjoyable Civil War yarn with Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo, Sidney Poitier.

Band of Angels (1957) Rough Script

I’m continuing on the Patric Knowles lines that I first picked-up in Episode 2 –Chisum (1970). I was a little surprised when I dived into the credits and found our old friend Bob Steele first noted in the Burgess Meredith line from Of Mice and Men 1939.

I usually don’t spend a lot of time on directors but icons like Raoul Walsh deserve a little extra. Walsh was born in New York and started on the stage there. He quickly moved into film work. In 1914, he was an assistant to D.W. Griffith while they made The Life of General Villa. The film was shot in Mexico and starred the real revolutionary Poncho Villa in the lead. The film which is lost contained actual battle scenes. A 2003 movie title And Starring Poncho Villa as Himself recreates the filming process and …

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Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) – Episode 13

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

Ho ho Ho Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kicking Kwanza, and Festivus for the rest of us. As a special Christmas treat, I have put together a podcast about the fantastically bad Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). I hope everyone of all faiths and denominations as well as those that lack either will enjoy.

Before I get into this too deeply I need to make a couple of notes. First, this movie is in the public domain so you get slightly different versions each time you view it. So don’t be too put off if the summary does not match scene for scene. Secondly, it is pretty hard to review that the actors in the film when about 80 percent of their bios state in the first line that they are best known for this stinker of a movie. But I will Endeavor to Preserver. Movie line. Did you get it?

It seems that scavenged whomever they could get that was working on Broadway and hustled them over to an …

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Billy the Kidd Versus Dracula (1966) – Episode 12

Billy the Kidd Versus Dracula (1966)

Remember that I mention stuntman Chuck Courtney in The Green Berets (1968), well here’s why. Today’s film is one of those film titles that just make you say wow. Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966). Unfortunately this episode may be a little short due to the limited star power in this film. Other than John Carradine, who I could talk about for days, Mrs. Folgers, and a few cameos there is not much to say.

John Carradine played the role of Count Dracula / posing as James Underhill. Carradine was the partiarch of the Carradine clan – you know David from Kung Fu and the Kill Bill films and Robert from The Big Red One (1980) and the Nerd films, and Keith from Southern Comfort (1981) and Cowboys & Aliens (2011).

John was born in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village in 1906. For a time he worked as painter and sketch artist. He eventually ended up in New Orleans in 1925. Remember Lugosi showed up there in late 1920. I believe …

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The Green Berets (1968) – Episode 11

green beret

The Green Berets (1968) is often listed as one of the worst war movies ever. The Green Berets (1968) is presented as a belated Veteran’s Day tribute. This movie stars John Wayne and many from his cast of regular players.

I apologize late with this Veteran’s day tribute. Hopefully, this will be out before Thanksgiving. I will endeavor in the future to be more temporally appropriate.

Although this movie is very popular and made a lot of money it is considered by man to be one of the worst war movies ever made. Once the film was released popular movie critic Roger Ebert gave it zero stars and cited the extensive use of cliches, depicting the war in terms of “cowboys and Indians”, and being a “heavy-handed, remarkably old-fashioned film.” It is on his “Most Hated” list.

In The New York Times, Renata Adler wrote, “It is vile and insane. On top of that, it is dull.” Oliver Stone’s acclaimed anti-war film Platoon was written …

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Bruce Cabot Bio

King Kong 1933 Movie Lineage

Bruce Cabot

Bruce Cabot is well known to you whether you know it or not. Moving from a leading man to a sidekick role Cabot became a regular feature in most John Wayne movies such as The Comancheros (1961), Hatari! (1962), McLintock! (1963), In Harm’s Way (1965), The War Wagon (1967), The Green Berets (1968), Hellfighters (1969), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), and Big Jake (1971), a movie that has more quotable lines than an episode of Game of Thrones. Cabot became Wayne’s on-screen and off-screen drink buddy.

Bruce Cabot was the leading man and hero in King Kong (1933) but somehow he never made the transition to leading man. Bruce Cabot auditioned for the role of The Ringo Kid in Stagecoach (1939). John Wayne was eventually cast in the John Ford western and became on of the most important actors in Hollywood. Bruce Cabot was reduced to supporting roles from then on out. This clearly illustrated the …

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Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) – Episode 10

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

I wanted to get one more show out in October and boy is it a Duesy. I haven’t seen this movie in a couple of decades but man does it age well. This movie not only closes the October 2014 Frankenstein line, it intersects with the Patric Knowles line and puts us back on course for mid-November. Today’s film is Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943).

Lon Chaney, Jr. played the role of Lawrence Talbot and the Wolf Man. I don’t know if Chaney Jr. was the greatest actor ever or that was real pain that he shows in every scene. Chaney was the son of legendary actor Lon Chaney, of such films as The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and about another 160 movies. Juniors is perhaps best known for playing the role of Lennie in Of Mice and Men (1939).

Patric Knowles played Dr. Mannering. Knowles has 127 credits from 1932 to 1973. Knowles was cast as Frank Andrews in Continue reading

Son of Frankenstein (1939) – Episode 9

Boris Karloff on set taking a tea and toast break

Son of Frankenstein (1939) had some of the biggest stars of their time – Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, and Boris Karloff.

Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Hello, today we are going to continue with the October 2014 Frankenstein line. Today’s film is Son of Frankenstein (1939). It is the last of the three Universal Pictures Frankenstein’s and in many ways may be the best of the three. Basil Rathbone was a much better actor than many of the others cast in this role. Bela Lugosi was amazing as Ygor both frightening and enthralling. His hands did half of his acting. Also, Karloff was able to spend more time upright as the monster and showed more of his range of emotions. They covered many of the problems like the exploding castle but fell short on the forgiveness of Dr. F.

Today’s first character is Basil Rathbone who played Baron Wolf von Frankenstein the son of Henry. Rathbone was born in South Africa, in 1892, but left as …

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October 2014 Frankenstein Bumper

Frankenstein Stamp

Hear what’s coming in October from Classic Movie Reviews with Snark on the October 2014 Frankenstein Bumper. Spoiler – It’s four Frankenstein reviews.

October 2014 Frankenstein

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Young Frankenstein (1974) – Episode 8

Marty Feldmann as Igor in Young Frankenstein (1974)

Young Frankenstein 1974 a snarky movie review of this Mel Brooks classic.

Rough Script

Today I am continuing the October 2014 Frankenstein line with a real laugh out loud comedy. This movie that follows the Mary Shelly story in largely a parody of The Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Young Frankenstein (1974). Directed by Mel Brooks and the screenplay written by Brooks and Wilder. Should I stop here? Have you heard enough to know it’s funny? If not you might not be familiar with Brooks and Wilder.

I guess I start with Brooks but I will never be able to do him justice. Brooks came up the late 50s/60s television writers rooms. The contacts and collaborations he experienced during this time help lay the foundations for his later directorial success. In 1982 Brooks’ production company created My Favorite Year which was loosely based on a meeting between Brooks and an aging Errol Flynn. The movie is pretty funny and Peter O’Toole is quite good as a has-been alcoholic actor. My Favorite …

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Episode 7

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

 

Today I am continuing with the second of the Franks which I believe to be the greatest of the three films made in the 1930s. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) introduced us to the lighting haired mate of the monster and many other elements that will be clear to any fan of Young Frankenstein (1974).

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) was directed by James Whale. Whale was born in England and began producing plays while he was in a German POW camp during WWI. Whale had 23 directing credits including The Man in the Iron Mask (1939), Show Boat (1936),  The Invisible Man (1933), Frankenstein (1931), Hell’s Angels (1930) (uncredited) working with Howard Hughes. A great quote of Whales is “A director must be pretty bad if he can’t get a thrill out of war, murder, robbery.”

Actors

The first actor that will discuss is Boris Karloff. Boris Karloff who was billed in this movie as just Karloff. I don’t think I will get much argument if …

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William Holden Died Drunk and Alone

William Holden - Stalag 17

William Holden began working in Hollywood as a piece of beefcake. But when he got the roll of Joe Gillis opposite Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd (1950) the world found out he not only looked good, he could act.

William Holden (1918 – 1981) won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1953 for his role in Stalag 17. Holden starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed films, including Sunset Blvd (1950)The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), Sabrina (1954), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The Wild Bunch (1969), Picnic (1955), The Towering Inferno (1974), and Network (1976).

Living in Pasadena, Holden was spotted by a talent scout from Paramount Pictures in 1937 while playing the part of an 80-year-old man.  Holden’s birth name was William Franklin Beedle, Jr. His last name was changed to Holden by an agent that was still in love with his ex-wife. The ex-wife was Gloria Holden who starred in Dracula’s Daughter (1936).

Career

Holden had two uncredited roles before his first starring …

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Fay Wray – actress who drove the big ape crazy

Fay Wray

Fay Wray, was a Canadian born actress that played the love interest in westerns during the silent years but made the transition to talkies. Fay stated that director Cooper said he would cast her with the tallest dark haired leading man in Hollywood. Wray though he was talking about Clark Gable. Of course he was refereeing to the 25 foot tall ape (King Kong 1931).

Peter Jackson asked Wray to do a cameo in King Kong (2005). Wray said no as her Kong was the real one. Ms. Wray died before Jackson started shooting the new film. Actor Jack Black as Carl Denham paid tribute to Wray by saying he hired Ann Darrow because Wray was not available.

Selected Films

King Kong (1933)

Fay stated that director Cooper said he would cast her with the tallest dark haired leading man in…

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The Wolf Man (1941) – Episode 6

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man

 

To get back to this classic horror flick I am creating a new line from Patric Knowles who was in Chisum (1970) to The Wolf Man (1941). There are a few biggies down this line that I want to get to.

Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane…

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This beautiful little poem recited several times in The Wolf Man (1941) is said to have Eastern European folk roots. However, Curt Siodmak wrote it for this film and has joined the werewolf lore along with many other elements from this movie. The poem, be it somewhat change was quoted in Van Helsing (2004) as well as in every Universal film Wolf Man appearances.

I’m going to Patric Knowles line …

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Burgess Meredith – From Rocky to Grumpy Old Man

Burgess Meredith in Rocky (1976)

Burgess Meredith was a character actor that had a great long and varied career. The older crowd knows him as the Penguin from the “Batman” television show. A slightly younger crowd will remember him as Mick in the Rocky series. However, I like to remember him from Of Mice and Men (1939) and a light little comedy Foul Play (1978) where he was cast with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.

Meredith served in the Air Corp during WWII

Selected Films 

1995 Grumpier Old Men – Grandpa Gustafson

1993 Grumpy Old Men – Grandpa Gustafson

1990 Rocky V – Mickey Goldmill

1982 Rocky III – Mickey Goldmill

1981 Clash of the Titans – Ammon

1979 Rocky II – Mickey

1978 Foul Play – Mr. Hennessey

1976 Rocky – Mickey

In Harm’s Way (1965 ) – Commander Egan Powell

Of Mice and Men (1939)- George Milton

He’ll kill yuh to death inside of three rounds! Burgess Meredith as Mickey in …

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