CineSavant Column

Saturday June 8, 2019


Welcome to ‘The Blues’ edition of CineSavant reviews. We chose the combination of movies with Blue in the title because… it just worked out that way. Gary Teetzel serves up the links today, gleaned for our perusal, with the questionable interests of CineSavant readers in mind.

First up, Gary says, ‘Blink and you’ll miss him.’

Go down to the forty-three second mark in a British Pathé ‘Sunday Pictorial Garden Party’ newsreel from 1951, for a brief glimpse of a familiar horror star. The newsreel is called Seeing Stars. I guess I’ve been watching a lot of vintage Brit productions on TCM, as I recognize more of these English actors than I thought I would.

Gary moves on to his next find:

“Listening to an old-time radio show while driving to work, I heard a commercial for an upcoming vintage radio documentary called Bomb Target U.S.A., which would look at what might happen if the Russkies tried to bomb the U.S.A. I was hoping for a lot of Cold War sensationalism, but it’s actually fairly dry, mostly trying to scare Americans by matter-of-factly stating that the country isn’t prepared. The ‘Past Daily’ piece is hosted by Arthur Godfrey, who also recorded official announcements to be used in the event of a nuclear attack. Yes, clearly when nuclear Armageddon is imminent, you want to hear the news from the down-home personality guy, the one with the ukelele.”

Real Generals (“Would a real General say that?”) tell about mis-identified aircraft and communication SNAFUs that make our defenses seem serious FAIL-UNSAFE. What kind of Fu Manchu / Dr. Strangelove nuclear mischief is afoot in those evil countries on the other side of the planet?   This sounds like scare stuff to inspire pictures like Hell and High Water.

And finally, as we’re both fans of Circus of Horrors, Gary was scouring old Trade Papers for notices that might enrich us about the film — you know, essential research. Exhibitors were initially told that the Anglo-Amalgamated shocker was in ‘scope, but they weren’t clued in as to how adult-oriented are the scenes with Erika Remberg (top image), Vanda Hudson (just above) and Yvonne Romain… the company clearly wanted to out-do Hammer in the girlie art department.

After the previous year’s Horrors of the Black Museum, you’d think that they’d have at least not booked a lot of kiddie matinees, where some of my friends reported that this gore-fest was better at teaching them about the Birds and the Bees. And I think American-International may have trimmed it a bit. I steal two clippings here, one a basic rave review, and another from Photoplay noting the film’s excellent pop song, ‘Look for a Star,’ that I remember being given a lot of radio play.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson