Shirley MacLaineis Charity Hope Valentine a dance hall girl who always seems to get the short end of everything or as she puts it… the fickle finger of fate…
But she never loses faith that she will meet the right guy to take her away from her dreadful life. Based on Federico Fellini’s sublime Nights of Cabiria 1957 starring Giulietta Masina.
The lush colors and masterful photography by Robert Surtees(The Graduate 1967, The Last Picture Show 1971) create a visual kaleidoscope, surrounded by the incredible choreography by Bob Fosse who also directed the film. With memorable music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
Sweet Charityis a musical dream dressed up in Edith Head’s stunning and stand out fashions.
The film also stars the wonderful Paula Kelly as Helene, Chita Rivera as Nickie… the dance numbers are just too smokin’, and there’s a particular mod party dance sequence that is probably the closest thing for me to dropping acid… phantasmagorically chic….
Nickie (Chita Rivera) to Charity-“You know what your problem is… You run your heart like a hotel… You got guys checking in and out all the time.”
One of the best moments of the film: Enter Sammy Davis Jr and The Rhythm of Life!
May the fickle finger of fate never find you! Your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl
Nobody does still waters run deep kind of tough more than George Raft.
In Roy Del Ruth’s (The Maltese Falcon 1931 with Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez, Du Barry Was a Lady 1943, yes tis true The Alligator People 1959, Why Must I Die? 1960) Noir morality play Red Light, Raft plays Shipping boss Johnny Torno, who catches Nick Cherney (Raymond Burr in one of his most sinister roles) embezzling funds. Torno gets Cherney a term in San Quentin with just enough time to build a psychotic grudge.
But instead of planning to kill Torno, he decides to hit him where it will hurt more, he pays fellow inmate Rocky who’s getting out in a few days (Harry Morgan in one of the most menacing roles I’ve seen him play, he deserves a place at the bad boy table with Dan Duryea and Frank Lovejoy) to kill Torno’s younger brother, war hero and chaplain brother Jesse played by Arthur Franz.
Driven mad by the mystery of who shot his beloved baby brother down in a hotel room, Torno goes on a quest to find the bible where the name of Jesse’s killer is written. The cinematography and shadowy framework by cinematographer Bert Glennon ( The Red House 1947, House of Wax 1953) is tense and chilling, and all the performances are stellar. Including Gene Lockhart who plays co-owner of the 24 hours a day shipping company. The film also co-stars Virginia Mayo as Carla North who Torno enlists to help him track down his brother’s killer. There are some of the most brutal and uniquely violent moments in the film which is tempered by the question of vengeance and faith.
I couldn’t help but love Warni’s shared wisdom when he tells Torno who’s drinking himself into an angry stupor to let Jesse’s death go and move on with his life.
Gene Lockhart as Warni Hazard “My old man used to say liquor doesn’t drown your troubles… just teaches them how to swim.”
“Have you ever noticed it… for some reason you want to feel completely out of step with the rest of the world, the only thing to do is sit around a cocktail lounge for the afternoon?”-Lizabeth Scott’s Mona Stevens to Dick Powell’s John Forbes in Pitfall (1948)
Directed byAndré De Toth,(Dark Waters 1944, House of Wax 1953, Crime Wave 1954) this is a slick piece of film noir with some great camera work from Harry J Wild.
Pitfall stars Dick Powell as John Forbes a disaffected insurance agent working for Olympic Mutual Insurance who needs more umph in his life when the daily grind begins to get to him. He’s married to Jane Wyatt who needs more than just his boring kiss on the cheek. But she’s the good wife in this crime story!
Lizabeth Scott is one of the ultimate noir femme fatales. In Pitfall she plays the sultry Mona Stevens –And when Forbes comes to recover the embezzled loot that her boyfriend bad boy Bill Smiley (Byron Barr) absconded with and lavished on her, she tells Forbes- “You’re a little man with a briefcase.”
Next thing you know it’s late afternoon and Mona’s sobbing in her gin at the dimly lit cocktail lounge, and Johnny Forbes is just a sucker for those dreamy eyes and that wispy voice of hers…
Boyfriend Smiley’s got pinched and is spending a year in the slammer thinking that Mona’s gonna wait for him but she and Forbes begin spending time together. She even tells him about the motorboat Smiley gave her, and it get’s conveniently omitted from his report. I mean after that sea sprayed, whirling, bumpy, ride with her blonde hair blowing alongside the mighty wakes from her untamed steering style, it seems to get him just a bit unraveled– I’m surprised he didn’t lose his hat!
But Mona’s not all fatal and when she finds out he’s married she lets him off easy telling him though she’s the kinda girl he’s always dreamed of she’s gonna let him go ‘without an angle… I could be nasty, but I’m not going to be.”
And besides he doesn’t want to tempt fate any more than he already has…
Raymond Burr who plays the sinister private detective J.B. MacDonald who, Forbes hired to find Mona in the first place, is a tad unstable. He’s got a growing psychotic fixation on Mona and starts stalking her in the shadows. When Forbes confronts MacDonald– he wants revenge, so he visits Smiley in jail and tells him that the two are having an affair setting in motion an even bigger pitfall!
Watch out for those pitfalls… Your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl
I have become a huge fan of Anna Magnani ever since I saw her recently in …And The Wild Wild Women (1959) & not to mention The Fugitive Kind 1960 Yet another incredible performance not only by the charismatic Magnani but Marlon Brando their chemistry is combustible!… And…
I’ve always loved Tennessee Williams. Just having finished watching The Rose Tattoo which won Magnani the Oscar for Best Actress in 1955, I felt like sharing one of the myriad of wonderful pieces of dialogue in this deeply emotional yet witty and engaging film directed by Daniel Mann.
The Baroness Serafina Delle Rosa loved her man with a passion that rivaled the sun itself. But he was wild like a Gypsy and when he dies in a police chase smuggling something illegal under the bananas in his truck, Serafina falls apart. She believes her husband was a God and she a mere peasant who worshiped him and so she goes into mourning like a good Sicilian woman hiding herself away and waiting for a sign from the Madonna. She is a deeply faithful woman.
She lives under the delusion that her man was perfect even though everyone else in the village knows that Rosario Delle Rosa was stepping out on his wife with Estelle Hohengarten (Virginia Grey ) who works at a night club in New Orleans.
Even after the town’s Strega, the priest, the fish wives and everyone else knows Serafina’s husband was unfaithful, she keeps the urn of his ashes on the mantle and lets her heart go to seed.
Then, one day Alvaro Mangiacavallo-(Burt Lancaster) wants to be set up with the widow as he has a good heart but is poor and lonely. He wants a woman who doesn’t have to be beautiful she can be plump, but has her own business and a nice home.
Burt Lancaster is always bigger than life no matter if he’s Elmer Gantry or Ole Swede Anderson in The Killers (1946)
Though he enters the film halfway through, his presence brings the oxygen that Serafina denies herself. She will not believe the lie, that her man was not ‘glorious’. She rants and raves and tears at herself dramatically throughout the story trying to deny what people say, and also denying herself as a sensual woman who deserves to be loved and desired.
I have always been so taken with how much Williams‘ perspective coming from the woman’s point of view is so sympathetic. His characters are usually flawed but very human, and filled with passion, and longing and a need to be desired and believed, and to be seen for who they are.
I am astounded by Magnani’s almost operatic performance as the volatile poignant authentic woman who holds on for as long as she can refusing to believe her ‘fictional’ beautiful man has betrayed her love. Even when she’s causing a commotion in town or shouting in Italian on her own front porch, her pain is palpable and you feel for her. Magnani is a muse for the passion in women that should never be taken for granted…Raw and bare… is Magnani’s Serafina.
But then begins a comical, tumultuous and a bit unorthodox courtship…
Alvaro- “Do you have a bathroom in your house?”
Serafina– “Of course we have a bathroom why”
Alvaro- “We don’t have one at our house and I would like to wash up because I think maybe I smell like a goat, you know…”
Serafina–“Please help yourself”—-He leaves the room
“Oh Madonna Sante… My husband’s body with the head… of a clown (hand gesture) A clown that smells like a goat…”
Your EverLovin Joey saying Oh Madonna Sante, I wish you all well!
Very dark satire with a screenplay by Clifford Odets. This is a Film Noirmasterpiece directed by Alexander Mackendrick (The Lady Killers 1955)
Starring the enigmatic Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker… a power hungry columnist whose unethical practices and megalomania make his a force to be reckoned with. Tony Curtis plays the smarmy climber– press agent always on the make–Sid Falco. He’s J.J. wing man who has to clean up the wake of the destruction he leaves behind with his brutal and persuasive influence. It’s a dark and sinister condemnation of the world of entertainment, publishing, night clubs, social circles… the works!
The film also stars Martin Milner as Steve Dallas a jazz musician who wants to marry J.J.’s younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) There’s a very strong undercurrent of incestuous fixation on the part of the J.J. toward his sister, as he controls her every move and tries to destroy the young woman’s relationship with Steve. Fantastic dialogue throughout and James Wong Howe’scinematography is exquisitely framed for the dark and intriguing atmosphere of New York City’s nite life. Elmer Bernstein adds his wonderful score to this urban morality play.
Always sweet here at The last Drive In-Your EverLovin’ MonsterGirl!
Based on Davis Grubb’s novel and James Agee’s screenplay, Charles Laughton directs this visual masterpiece that plays like a dark fairy tale about children in danger-being pursued by a relentless human monster.
Robert Mitchum is sublime drifter Harry Powella bible spouting psychopath with the words LOVE & HATE tattooed on each knuckle of both hands. Having been cellmate to Ben Harper (Peter Graves ) who committed a robbery and stashed the money with his two little children John (Billy Chapin) and Pearl (Sally Jane Bruce)
Powell first moves in on their mother Willa Harper (Shelley Winters) but John sees right through his righteous facade very quickly.
Powell marries their mother (Shelley Winters) murders her after she overhears him asking Pearl about the money, and then proceeds to hunt and terrorize the children across a nightmarish yet beautifully shot landscape by cinematographer Stanley Cortez (The Three Faces of Eve 1957, Back Street 1961, Shock Corridor 1963, The Naked Kiss 1964)
Featuring wonderful performances by James Gleason as Birdie Steptoe, Evelyn Varden as Icey Spoon.
In the midst of this allegorical mayhem, Lillian Gish as Rachel Cooper supplants all adults like a fairy god mother protecting street children with her wise and fearless resolve…
Like Boxing=Noir which blends the aggressive masculinity of pugilism with the dark shadowy narratives of Film Noir… Director Frank Tuttle’ssuperbly structured gem Suspense 1946 integrates the art of ice-skating featuring the unusual beauty and poise ofBelita. Woven into the story of the love triangle amidst the almost carninvalesque milieu of figure skating, revenge, murder, a mysterious drifter Barry Sullivan as Joe Morgan who is hiding his dark past… Joe insinuates himself into the life of married couple, skating/dancing sensation Roberta Leonard (Belita) and husband Frank Leonard (The always interesting Albert Dekker Dr.Cyclops 1940, The Killers 1946)
Sullivan and Belita conjure a very believable chemistry…. She is classy and conflicted, he is smooth and seriously dark and dangerous.
The skating scenes are sensational. Belita seems to move on ice and off with an effortless grace, the way snow moves through the air with a natural current that finds it’s mark with a precise beauty of motion. Absolutely stunning to watch, and never detracts from the taut and well framed noir landscape. Eugene Palette is marvelous as assistant to the boss, Harry Wheeler. His gravel voice and the gentle presence of his obvious girth make him an added pleasure to the coiling tension of the film! Editor Otho Lovering (Stagecoach 1939, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance 1962) weaves a seamless stream of suspense!
Hugh O’Brian as the smarmy Hank Walker–“Haven’t I seen you around?”
Ruth Roman as the tough as nails Margot Eliot– “It’s possible. I’ve been there.”
Director Alexander Singer’s melodrama (Singer’s Psyche 59 (1964) starring Patricia Neal who suffers from hysterical blindness, has a much more compelling frenetic slick psychology) Love Has Many Faces comes off as a meandering soap opera in balmy Acapulco Mexico… as Lana Turner plays Kit Jordan a millionairess who marries Cliff Robertson a self loathing malcontent who sold all 8 pints of his blood to be owned by her. Though her love is as ‘thin as ice…’
Enrique Lucerois marvelous as Lieutenant Riccardo Andrade a Mexican Columbo who is trying to get to the bottom of one of Lana’s young male lovers who apparently committed suicide over their break up.
Beside the high melodrama… 1) Hugh O’Brian is a beach bum gigolo who spends the entire movie, well mostly… baring his sweaty hairy virile chest and 2) Lana Turner changes wardrobe more than there are cigarettes and cocktails in the picture… Wow that’s a lot of sexy beach wear and lamé, bare shoulders, back and leg… Lana! Thanks to Edith Head… you do look fabulous!
I’ll see you around… I’ve been there too! Cheers Joey
“You were born with hate and anger built in… took a slap on the backside to blast out the scream… and then you knew you were alive!”
Directed by Allen Baron (who worked mostly in television, in particular Kolchak: The Night Stalker “The Devil’s Platform”, “The Werewolf”, “The Ripper” and shows like Room 222, Barney Millerand Charlie’s Angels)
This gritty and brutal noir stars Allen Baron as Frankie Bono a professional hit man who returns to New York City for a ‘job’ taking out someone in the mob. Trying to keep a low profile Bono is recognized by a childhood friend from the orphanage and a girl who he used to have feelings for. The contrast between the two extremes shine a drastically divergent light on Bono’s desolate existence. He begins to question his journey as a killer-Pet rats and bleak shots photographed by Merrill S. Brody (Violent Women 1960, Terror in the City 1964,The Name of the Game tv series) make for a unique and darkly toned film.
This has been a blast from -Your Ever Lovin’ MonsterGirl