FEATURES


  

Cast: K.T. Stevens, Richard Travis, Lisa Simone, Lee Roberts, Leslie Parrish, Tania Velia, Michael Whalen
Running Time: 77 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Green cheese? Men in the Moon? Nah, everyone knows that the moon is really populated by beautiful women wearing silk underwear and spiked heels! They are ruled by "The Lido", an evil temptress, and share the moon with giant rock men and an enormous spider. Honest. Just watch this campy remake of Cat Women of the Moon and see for yourself. For those with patience and nostalgia for Saturday afternoon matinee/late movie fodder, Missile to the Moon offers a wealth of juvenile delights, with its improbable monsters, wonky science, and serial-style hidden civilization. Director Richard Cunha was responsible for some of the most uninspired, slapdash science fiction titles of the '50s, including She Demons, Frankenstein's Daughter, and Giant From the Unknown, which played on a double bill with Missile to the Moon in 1958.


  

Cast: Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, Lon Chaney Jr.
Running Time: 87 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Directed by Elliott Nugent. Screenplay by Edmund Beloin and Jack Rose. Hope's a hilarious hawkshaw... with a case on Dottie! Bob Hope at his prime in a hilarious send-up of the "private dick" film. The gags come fast and furious. Mr. Hope is right at home with the material with good assistance from lovely Dorothy Lamour. What's surprising is how delightfully funny Peter Lorre and (especially) Lon Chaney Jr. are. A comedy classic!


  

Cast: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Mischa Auer
Running Time: 93 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

My Man Godfrey is a classic screwball comedy, with more than a little social commentary. It features stellar performances from Carole Lombard and William Powell, along with a bright, energetic script and the steady direction of Gregory La Cava. Universal seldom had the cash to compete with MGM and Warners for the opulence-on-screen market, so they usually resorted to either mid-to-low-end films or films with high star power and moderate production values. My Man Godfrey fits into the latter group. There's hardly a moment of realism in the entire film but it succeeds largely on energy. This is another example of Depression-era escapism, albeit with satirical context. Powell and Lombard had been married in the early 1930s, but were divorced well before production on My Man Godfrey began.


  

Cast: Judith O'Dea, Russ Streiner, Duane Jones, Karl Hardman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Marilyn Eastman, Kyra Schon
Running Time: 95 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

WARNING: Contains scenes of gore, graphic violence and gruesome ghouls! When unexpected radiation raises the dead, a microcosm of Average America has to battle flesh-eating zombies in George Romero's landmark cult classic horror film. Siblings Johnny and Barbara whine and pout their way through a visit to their father's grave in a small Pennsylvania town, but it all takes a turn for the worse when a zombie kills Johnny. Barbara flees to an isolated farmhouse where a family, a teen couple, and a lone man named Ben (Duane Jones) are already holed up. Bickering and panic ensue as the group tries to figure out how best to escape, while hoards of undead converge on the house; news reports reveal that fire wards them off, while a local sheriff-led posse discovers that if you "kill the brain, you kill the ghoul." After a night of immolation and parricide, one survivor is left in the house ... . Romero's grainy black-and-white cinematography and casting of locals emphasize the terror lurking in ordinary life; as in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Romero's victims are not attacked because they did anything wrong, and the randomness makes the attacks all the more horrifying. Nothing holds the key to salvation, either, whether it's family, love, or Law. Topping off the existential dread is Romero's then-extreme use of gore, as zombies nibble on limbs and viscera.


  

Cast: Buster Keaton, Charlotte Greenwood, Cliff Edwards, Reginald Denny
Running Time: 75 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Based on the stage comedy by Charles Bell and Mark Swan (previously filmed in 1920), Parlor, Bedroom and Bath is a curious mixture of all that was good and everything that was bad in Buster Keaton's talkie features. Keaton plays Reginald Irving, a dimwitted bill-poster who finds himself the pawn in a scheme cooked up by wealthy Jeffrey Haywood (Reginald Denny). It seems that Jeffrey will not be permitted to marry Virginia Embrey (Sally Eilers) until a suitable husband is found for Virginia's older sister Angelica (Dorothy Christy). Since Angelica has rejected all the available suitors, Jeffrey schemes to offer Reginald as an eligible mate. First, however, he has to transform our dopey hero into a gentleman -- and a great lover. Somehow or other, poor Reginald innocently ends up in a compromising situation involving vampish Polly Hathaway (Charlotte Greenwood) and the very married Nita Leslie (Joan Peers) at a posh no-tell hotel. Keaton is permitted a few choice pantomimic moments in Parlor Bedroom and Bath, notably his scenes with the aggressive Charlotte Greenwood and a spectacular sight gag "borrowed" from his 1920 silent classic One Week. Incidentally, that baronial "upstate New York" mansion in the film's early scenes was actually Buster Keaton's Beverly Hills home.


  

Cast: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe, Gibson Gowland, Snitz Edwards
Running Time: 76 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Lon Chaney stars as Erik, the Phantom, in what is probably his most famous and certainly his most horrifying role. Produced by Universal, the film shot in 1923 and shelved for nearly two years, and was subjected to intensive studio tinkering. While many expected a disaster, the film turned out to be a rousing success. It was both the stepping off point for Chaney's run as a superstar at MGM and the prototype for the horror film cycle at Universal in the 1930s. The story concerns Erik, a much-feared fiend who haunts the Paris Opera House. Lurking around the damp, dank passages deep in the cellars of the theater, he secretly coaches understudy Christine Daae (Mary Philbin) to be an opera star. Through a startling sequence of terrors, including sending a giant chandelier crashing down on the opera patrons, the Phantom forces the lead soprano to withdraw from the opera, permitting Christine to step in. Luring Christine into his subterranean lair below the opera house, the Phantom confesses his love. But Christine is in love with Raoul de Chagny (Norman Kerry). The Phantom demands that Christine break off her relationship with Raoul before he'll allow her to return to the opera house stage. She agrees, but immediately upon her release from the Phantom's lair, she runs into the arms of Raoul and they plan to flee to England after her performance that night. The Phantom overhears their conversation and, during her performance, the Phantom kidnaps Christine, taking her to the depths of his dungeon. It is left to Raoul and Simon Buquet (Gibson Gowland), a secret service agent, to track down the Phantom and rescue Christine.


  

Cast: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Vampira, Tom Keene, Gregory Walcott, Paul Marco, John Breckinridge, Lyle Talbot, Criswell
Running Time: 78 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Often billed as the worst movie ever made, and not entirely undeserving of the title, this is truly director Ed Wood's masterpiece -- featuring Vampira in her most infamous appearance. Bela Lugosi was cast in the role of "Ghoul Man" but passed away shortly after filming began. Clever Ed Wood used the producer's wife's chiropractor to replace Bela Lugosi as "Ghoul Man", hiding his face behind his cape. Mix in numerous plot inconsistencies, horrid acting and heaps of repeated stock footage and you have a terrible yet funny Z movie miracle! So bad it's good...


  

Cast: Dorothy Short, Kenneth Craig, Lillian Miles, Dave O'Brien, Thelma White
Running Time: 64 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Considered the archetypal sensationalized anti-drug movie, it's really an exploitation film made to capitalize on the hot taboo subject of marijuana use. Like many exploitation films of the time, "Reefer Madness" tried to make a quick buck off of a forbidden subject while skirting the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930. The Code forbade the portrayal of immoral acts like drug use. (The illegal drug traffic must not be portrayed in such a way as to stimulate curiosity concerning the use of, or traffic in, such drugs; nor shall scenes be approved which show the use of illegal drugs, or their effects, in detail.) The film toured around the country for many years - often being re-edited and re-titled ("Tell Your Children", "Dope Addict", "Doped Youth", "Love Madness", "The Burning Question"). It was re-discovered in the early 1970s by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and screened again as an example of the government's demonization of marijuana. NORML may have been confused about the film's sponsorship since one of the film's distributors, Dwain Esper, testified to the Arizona Supreme Court that "Reefer Madness" was not a trashy exploitation film but was actually sponsored by the U.S. Government - a convincing lie, but a lie nonetheless. That being said, the film is still quite enjoyable since it dramatizes the "violent narcotic's soul destroying effects on unwary teens, and their hedonistic exploits enroute to the bottom."


  

Cast: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Jane Russell, Bob Crosby, Humphrey Bogart, Murvyn Vye, Peter Coe
Running Time: 90 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

This sixth entry in the Crosby-Hope-Lamour "Road" series was the first (and last) in Technicolor -- This time, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope play American vaudevillians stranded in Australia. To avoid a dual shotgun wedding, George and Harold sign on as deep-sea divers for sinister South-Sea-island prince Ken Arok (Murvyn Vye). After a contretemps with an octopus (courtesy of stock footage from Reap the Wild Wind), our heroes sail to the prince's Balinese homeland, where they meet and fall in love with gorgeous Princess Lalah (Dorothy Lamour). Though Lalah favors George, she feels obligated to Harold, because he resembles her childhood best friend -- a chimpanzee (this must be seen to be believed). When Ken Arok attempts to usurp Lalah's throne, she and the boys escape to a tropical island, where they meet the inevitable slapstick-comedy gorilla. More adventures await the intrepid trio on another island, this one dominated by an active volcano. Who gets the girl in this one? A hint: the loser tries to physically prevent the "The End" title from flashing on the screen during the final fadeout. Though not as fresh and spontaneous as earlier "Road" endeavors, Road to Bali has its fair share of non sequitur gags, inside jokes and unbilled guest appearances (including Martin and Lewis, Bing's brother Bob Crosby, Humphrey Bogart and Jane Russell). Best bit: when Crosby feels a song coming on, Hope turns to the camera and hisses "He's gonna sing, folks. Now's the time to go and get your popcorn."


  

Cast: Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, John Emery, Noah Beery, Jr., Hugh O'Brian, Morris Ankrum
Running Time: 78 mins.
Vault: FEATURES

Together with The Steel Helmet and Baron of Arizona, Rocketship X-M is one of the best films ever turned out by the usually unimpressive Lippert Studios -- Set sometime in the future, the film details the first manned space flight to the moon. John Emery plays the head of the expedition, with Lloyd Bridges, Osa Massen, Hugh O'Brian and Noah Beery Jr. in the crew. Blown off its course by a meteor shower, Rocketship X-M misses the moon and lands on Mars instead, with these scenes tinted pink! During an exploratory expedition, the crew finds evidence of a once-mighty civilization, evidently destroyed by atomic warfare. A savage band of surviving Martians attack the earthlings, killing two and wounding a third. The survivors head back to the ship, but run out of fuel before reaching Earth. Out of this failure springs the hope that future space flights will prove successful. Generally avoiding cliches (except for the stereotypical comedy relief by Noah Beery Jr.), Rocketship X-M is a reasonably intelligent outer-space yarn. While it's true that the film falters in the scientific-accuracy department, it is best to assess the film within the context of its times. Produced for $94,000, Rocketship X-M reportedly grossed over a million dollars.

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