CineSavant Column

Tuesday February 19, 2019


Thank providence for the long Presidents’ Day weekend — I respect those gentlemen of the past more than ever now.

Just a couple of links for the day, courtesy of the helpful Charlie Largent:

Janus Films, the film library associated with The Criterion Collection, now has a catalog of all their holdings on site with numerous images. Usually they’re listed right under the film info but sometimes you need to scroll to ‘Details:’ Janus Films Reference. Criterion of course licences plenty of its product from studios and other outside vendors, but it’s good to have this handy reference to what’s actually in the Janus library on film and videodisc.

And Charlie has come through with an even more interesting resource, an online repository of movies called Rarefilmm: the Cave of Forgotten Films. Most are in fine shape; going through the very long list I was shocked to see several titles I’ve been looking for seemingly forever, including an excellent copy of a Georges Franju movie. Just be advised that the alphabetized list doesn’t skip initial words like ‘the’ and ‘la,’ so that La maison sous la mer (1947) is placed under ‘L,’ not the expected ‘M.’ Good hunting, and let me know if you see something great that I should check out!

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday February 16, 2019

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

The Wrong Box 02/16/19

Powerhouse Indicator

Director Bryan Forbes tries his hand at comedy. His nostalgic Victorian farce features an eclectic choice of Brit stars — established greats John Mills & Ralph Richardson, the freshly-minted Michael Caine, reigning jester Peter Sellers and even a debut for the collegiate pranksters Peter Cook & Dudley Moore. It’s a beaut of a production with a charming John Barry music score… but the result yields more indulgent smiles than out-and-out laughs. The supporting cast is marvelous: Nanette Newman, Tony Hancock, Wilfrid Lawson, Thorley Walters, André Morell and many more. On Region A+B Blu-ray from Powerhouse Indicator.

Untamed 02/16/19

Twilight Time

Fiery dame Susan Hayward carries this far-flung ‘women’s epic’ to delirious romantic extremes, as her Irish heroine defies nature and exploits admirers to claim the hunky Dutchman of her dreams — Tyrone Power. Using apartheid-ridden South Africa as a background for a cheerful white conquest wasn’t as touchy an idea in 1955 as it is now, but it should have been. Just the same, Henry King’s film is an impressive production from the early years of CinemaScope. Richard Egan, Agnes Moorehead, Rita Moreno, John Justin, Hope Emerson and Brad Dexter play hardy pioneers. On Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

CineSavant Column

Saturday February 16, 2019

Hello!  CineSavant continues with its gloriously inessential  Movie Tie-In kick.


You think you’ve heard some weird music in your time? A lot more obscure and sometimes-listenable Movie Tie-In novelty songs came in this week… I haven’t time to try and track down the suggestions submitted without links, but some of the new titles are quite surprising. I’ve amended the ‘already accounted for’ list below the new arrivals, and dropped some titles that fall outside the hard definition (not actually heard in the movie itself). Selections with () I would actually want to listen to more than once.


New Today:

Vaughn Monroe’s Hercules for the Steve Reeves film (Earl Baucom).
 Thurl Ravenscroft and the Tinglers’ The Tingler for the Vincent Price film (Earl Baucom).
Thurl Ravenscroft and the Tinglers’ 30 Foot Bride (of Candy Rock) (Earl Baucom).
Mitch Miller’s The Guns of Navarone (nice choral orchestration, but what laughable lyrics… for the Gregory Peck Film Rick Notch, Bart Steele).
 The Skatalites’ really original take Guns of Navarone (Charlie Largent).
Dewayne Blackwell, T. G. Sheppard and Clint Eastwood’s Make My Day tie-in for Sudden Impact (Brian Thibodeau).
Rod McKuen and Bob McFadden’s The Mummy for the Hammer film? (Dan Mottola).
 Dean Parker, Joe Lipman Orchestra’s Vera Cruz vocal, and
 Tony Martin’s Vera Cruz vocal for the Burt Lancaster film (Pete Apruzzese of Big Screen Classics).
Ringo Starr’s Blindman not heard in his spaghetti western (Lee Broughton).
Alice Cooper’s The Man with the Golden Gun not considered for the James Bond film (Lee Broughton).
Blondie’s The Spy Who Loved Me also not considered for 007 (Stuart Feldstein).
The Tubes’ Attack of the 50 Foot Woman inspired by the film and here just for fun… (Lee Broughton).
The John Barry Seven’s Zulu Stamp and
 Monkey Feathers, neither used in Zulu (Owen Greenwell).
Claude King’s The Comancheros for the John Wayne film (Craig Reardon).

… and finally, a whole series sent in by efelesijr, who ought to write a book!

The Rockin’ Ramrods’ Don’t Fool with Fu for The Face of Fu Manchu.
Johnny Cymbal’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars for the George Pal film.
Roy Castle’s Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors for the Amicus film.
Pat Boone’s To the Center of the Earth for Journey to the Center of the Earth.
James Stewart’s rather gloppy The Legend of Shenandoah, a tie-in for Shenandoah.
Nat King Cole’s Marnie for the Hitchcock film … interesting!
Fred MacMurray, The Sherman Bros’ The Flubber Song for The Absent Minded Professor.
The Three Stooges’ Have Rocket, Will Travel for their comeback sci-fi film.
Judy Harriet, Les Baxter’s Goliath tie-in with Goliath and the Barbarians.
Andy Griffith’s There’s No Time for Sergeants for the film of the same name.

Wait… just under the wire, Earl Baucom sends in an authentic tie-in song — a children’s song — for the sci-fi classic Them!  Them! is sung by an almost unrecognizable Art Carney. If his name weren’t on the record, I wouldn’t have believed it. What possible connection could there be, besides the one word?  Earl links back to an earlier (2006) Greenbriar Picture Shows article documenting the whole thing.

Earl also sent in Robert Mitchum’s cover version of his song Thunder Road. Even though it’s a classic and a favorite, it’s an official cover version, not a sideways tie-in, so it doesn’t belong in this list and I’d never include it.


Already listed:

 Nino Tempo & Pete Rugolo’s Jack The Ripper (Bill Shaffer). Johnny Horton’s Sink the Bismarck.
 Gene Pitney’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
WB soundtrack cue Have You Heard of Bonnie and Clyde?
 Georgie Fame’s The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.
The Nightmares’ Oooh I’m Scared for Horrors of the Black Museum, and
The Headless Ghost (Earl Balcom, efelesijr).
Rod McKuen and Bob McFadden’s Dracula Cha Cha Cha for The Brides of Dracula, plus
 the Italian precursor by Bruno Martino, Dracula Cha Cha Cha (also Earl Balcom).
The White Suit Samba for The Man in the White Suit (Edward Parker Bolman).
 Anthony Restaino’s The Web from The Brain that Wouldn’t Die (also Edward Parker Bolman).
Ricky Nelson’s Restless Kid for Rio Bravo (also Todd Everett).
Johnny Cash’s Thunderball unused in the 007 movie Thunderball (again Todd Everett).
Phil Harris’s The Thing loosely tied-in with The Thing from Another World (Bill Shepard).
Freddie Martin’s 1932 Trouble in Paradise , connected to the Ernst Lubitsch film (Jonathan Gluckman).
Petula Clark and Joe Henderson’s The Card from the Alec Guinness movie of the same name (Randall William Cook).
Anne Leonardo’s Sinbad for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (also Randall William Cook).
Johnny Burnette’s One-Eyed Jacks not from the Marlon Brando movie (Tony Convey).
A dreadful 55 Days at Peking (Mark Throop).
 Mack David, Burt Bacharach and Jack Jones’ Wives and Lovers, not heard in the movie of the same name.
 Mack David, Burt Bacharach and The Five Blobs’ The Blob (a cheat, heard in the show but legendary just the same) (John Black, Cameron Mackert).
 The Fortunes’ The Ghoul in School from Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (also a cheat… John Black, John Hall).
Tony Casanova’s Diary of a High School Bride (also John Black).
Bette Davis’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (Brendan Carroll, who says a 45 was released as well, a duet with Debbie Burton).
Alvino Rey’s The Bat (Charlie Largent).
Big Boy Groves’ Bucket O Blood for the Roger Corman/Dick Miller movie (efelesijr).


Meanwhile, if you’re within 500 miles of Topeka Kansas, there’s something happening I can strongly recommend for the weekend of February 22 & 23, the Kansas Silent Film Festival. They’ve got a full schedule of fine silent fare — and it’s free! (They’re really hoping for NO SNOW.) Rare items include entertaining items from Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, famed swimmer Annette Kellerman, John Ford, Marion Davies, and restored Laurel & Hardy silent.

The silent title that makes me want to hop on a Topeka-bound plane is the Complete Metropolis with a live accompaniment by the Alloy Orchestra. I’ve experienced the group’s incredible metallic score for the Fritz Lang film, and it’s sensational. The full Program is viewable online.

The Kansas Silent Film Festival has been a special event for many years; CineSavant’s online associate Bill Shaffer takes charge of a lot of the details. I really wish I could jet out there … what I discovered in Topeka makes me ashamed of what we call hospitality in Los Angeles.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday February 12, 2019

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

La vérité 02/12/19

The Criterion Collection

(The Truth) Brigitte Bardot proved her mettle as a dramatic actress in H.G. Clouzot’s strikingly pro-feminist courtroom epic, that puts the modern age of ‘immoral’ permissiveness on trial. Is Bardot’s selfish, sensation-seeking young lover an oppressed victim?  Clouzot makes her the author of her own problems yet doesn’t let her patriarchal inquisitors off the hook. It’s great ‘old school’ filmmaking, co-starring Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel and Sami Frey; the extras include a fascinating career documentary on the director Clouzot. On Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.

Tarzan Goes to India + Tarzan’s Three Challenges 02/12/19

The Warner Archive Collection

Jock Mahoney was the umpteenth actor to play the Lord of the Jungle, and is on record as the oldest Tarzan, leaping and slugging his way through two feature films at age 44. In Tarzan Goes to India he fights burly Leo Gordon to save 300 elephants from drowning. Then it’s off to Thailand for Tarzan’s Three Challenges and its grueling series of endurance and skill rituals, climaxing in a battle with Thai Chieftain Woody Strode. It sounds like a lot of wear and tear on the old Tarz-carcass; why couldn’t Mahoney be cast in Tarzan Relaxes on the Beach?   Reviewer Charlie Largent does the honors on this one; I remember seeing Three Challenges at age 12, and thinking it pretty intense. Separate purchases on Blu-ray from The Warner Archive Collection.

A Star is Born 02/12/19

Warner Home Video
UltraHD + Blu-ray + Digital

Last Fall’s audience-pleaser is indeed a pleasant surprise, not because it’s a classic but because it isn’t plain awful. An unnecessary third remake of a Depression-era Cinderella story has been concocted to showcase the special talents of Lady Gaga, who indeed comes off as the most personable and deserving star-to-be-born since Judy Garland. Bradley Cooper stunned the industry by wearing almost all the creative hats on this thing — and producing an entertainment that will enhance the careers of all involved. On Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.

CineSavant Column

Tuesday February 12, 2019


Wow! The reader suggestions and links to obscure and sometimes-listenable Movie Tie-In novelty songs continues apace. The idea is to pick songs that were produced for movies but not used, or produced independently to exploit a movie and became associated with it on the radio, or elsewhere. If a particular cool suggestion falls a bit outside that definition, I’m keeping it anyway. When the well dries up, I should put the list together as a stand-alone article – resource. It may have a brief shelf life — the way YouTube items come and go, the links may all be invalid within a year.

Previously posted Tie-ins:

Nino Tempo & Pete Rugolo’s  Jack The Ripper  (Bill Shaffer).
Johnny Horton’s  North to Alaska  and
Sink the Bismarck.
Gene Pitney’s  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
WB soundtrack cue  Have You Heard of Bonnie and Clyde?
Georgie Fame’s  The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.
The Nightmares’  Oooh I’m Scared  for Horrors of the Black Museum, and
The Headless Ghost  (Earl Balcom, efelesijr).
Rod McKuen and Bob McFadden’s  Dracula Cha Cha Cha  for The Brides of Dracula, plus
the Italian precursor by Bruno Martino,  Dracula Cha Cha Cha  (also Earl Balcom).
The White Suit Samba  for The Man in the White Suit (Edward Parker Bolman).
Anthony Restaino’s  The Web  from The Brain that Wouldn’t Die  (also Edward Parker Bolman).
Patti Page’s  Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Todd Everett).
Ricky Nelson’s  Restless Kid  from Rio Bravo (also Todd Everett).
Johnny Cash’s  Thunderball  unused in the 007 movie Thunderball (again Todd Everett).
Phil Harris’s  The Thing  loosely tied-in with The Thing from Another World (Bill Shepard).

New since Saturday:

A genuine oldie: Freddie Martin’s 1932  Trouble in Paradise ,  reportedly a followup to the Ernst Lubitsch film (Jonathan Gluckman).
Petula Clark and Joe Henderson’s  The Card  from the Alec Guinness movie of the same name (Randall William Cook).
Anne Leonardo’s Sinbad  for The 7th Voyage of Sinbad  (also Randall William Cook).
Johnny Burnette’s One-Eyed Jacks  not from the Marlon Brando movie  (Tony Convey).
A dreadful 55 Days at Peking (Mark Throop).
Mack David, Burt Bacharach and Jack Jones’ Wives and Lovers , not heard in the movie of the same name.
Mack David, Burt Bacharach and The Five Blobs’ The Blob  (a cheat, heard in the show but legendary just the same) (John Black, Cameron Mackert).
The Fortunes’ The Ghoul in School  from Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (always thought this was catchy… John Black, John Hall).
Tony Casanova’s Diary of a High School Bride  (also John Black).
Bette Davis’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  (Brendan Carroll, who says a 45 was released as well).
Alvino Rey’s The Bat  (Charlie Largent).
Big Boy Groves’ Bucket O Blood  for the Roger Corman/Dick Miller movie (efelesijr).
And lastly, who can forget the unused theme for the commemorative  State of the Union?  (just to check who’s reading.)


I’m tempted to put in more catchy film songs, but the others I’ve found so far are legit soundtrack cues: Town without Pity, No Blade of Grass etc..

What are we forgetting?

And as I’m reminded that this column is supposed to be about video discs, here are some announcements that came in this week…

Janus Films has a new theatrical trailer up on vimeo for Sergei Bondarchuk’s 9-hour classic War and Peace. The quality looks incredible — they even use the God’s Eye battlefield shot. The old Mosfilm DVD was passable, but this is really something.

Flicker Alley has two announcements: The elusive Technirama-Cinerama film The Golden Head coming out on Blu-ray, restored by David Strohmaier and presented in the Smilebox format, is slated for March 5. Then, on March 26 comes The Flying Clipper (Mediterranean Holiday), an early ‘sixties travelogue filmed in 65mm, noted for its coverage of the Monaco Formula 1 race. The stereo track has been redesigned in Dolby Atmos.

There’s also The Alligator People, May 28, from Scream Factory; and Arrow has John Farrow’s film noir The Big Clock for May 14. Kino Lorber has leaked that they’ll be releasing Victor Halperin’s Supernatural with Carole Lombard, but no date has been given. All I’ve seen of the show is its poster, a real beauty. →

Kino’s March releases include the American Film Theater’s The Iceman Cometh, the Brazilian Macunaima and Kingdom of the Spiders; April with Kino brings, among many others, Rider on the Rain, Highway Patrolman, Becky Sharp, Bend of the River, The House of Seven Gables, The Strange Door, and a Fantomas 3-Film Collection.

We’re eagerly awaiting Twilight Time’s February titles — The Admirable Crichton, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Talk Radio and Bedazzled, all February 19. They recently announced April’s TT bounty: Stagecoach (1966), Melvin and Howard, The Paper Chase and The Snake Pit. All are April 16.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday February 9, 2019

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

Private Snafu Golden Classics 02/09/19

Thunderbean Animation

Make way for the ribald, very non-PC adventures of the GI doofus Private Snafu — demonstrator of the wrong way to do everything. This alternative-press edition of Snafu delights contains all of his adventures and more — they’re mostly animated by irreverent Warners talent. Some have rhyming dialogue and narration by Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. The compilation disc contains 34 complete shorts: 26 specific Private Snafu cartoons, plus all eight of his appearances in a related War Department series called A Few Quick Facts. On Blu-ray from Thunderbean Animation.

My Name is Julia Ross 02/09/19

Arrow Academy

Is this any way to treat a lady?  Lovely Nina Foch just wanted a job, but she instead becomes the fall-gal in a psychologically perverse plan to deny her very identity. Cult director Joseph H. Lewis makes deft use of cinematic suspense techniques to compel our involvement in a bizarre conspiracy: not just convincing a woman that she’s insane, but also that she’s literally not herself. Neck deep in the skullduggery are the capable Dame May Whitty, George Macready, Roland Varno, and Leonard Mudie. On Blu-ray from Arrow Academy.

Horror Express 02/09/19

Arrow Video

It’s a spooky, snowy train ride across thousands of miles of Siberian rails — trapped on board with a victim-possessing creature from outer space, with eyes that kill! Actually, ‘Pánico en el transiberiano’ is a fine show for Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, a Spanish-made chiller with a smart script, some effective shocks and a fun guest performance from Telly Savalas as a Cossack officer — make that a Bald Cossack officer. This new edition adds good extras to the excellent featurettes sourced from an earlier release. On Blu-ray from Arrow Video.

CineSavant Column

Saturday February 9, 2019


Fun things first: I hoped that my little piece on ‘Tie-In Movie Novelty Songs’ in the February 4 CineSavant Column would elicit some responses, and several did come in, with suggestions that I’d heard of and others I hadn’t. Some have come with links!

To recap, last Tuesday Bill Shaffer started things going with

Jack The Ripper  by Nino Tempo & Pete Rugolo. I offered up
North to Alaska  and
Sink the Bismarck  by Johnny Horton, plus
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by Gene Pitney,
Have You Heard of Bonnie and Clyde?  from a WB promotional record and
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde  by Georgie Fame.

Here’s what came in:

‘efelesijr’ had no links, but mentions several Tie-ins of which I am unaware: “1) Vaughn Monroe did a Hercules tie-in song on RCA Victor. 2) Judy Harriet did a Goliath and the Barbarians tie-in called Goliath for American-International records, though the song is about a high school boyfriend who is as tall as a tree or some such. AIP also put out singles such as Bucket of Blood/The Leeches and Horrors of the Black Museum/The Headless Ghost.” (I can’t figure exactly what those might have been, though.)

Earl Baucom found a couple of those A.I.P. tunes, and more: The Nightmares’ Oooh I’m Scared from Horrors of the Black Museum uses Ross Bagdasarian-style tricks. The Headless Ghost is by The Nightmares as well. The Brides of Dracula apparently had an official tie-in called Dracula Cha Cha Cha, words and music by Rod McKuen (!), performed by Bob McFadden. Earl also sends along a similar Italian precursor, Dracula Cha Cha Cha from Bruno Martino. Yikes! (Although the Italian lyrics are pretty cute.)

Edward Parker Bolman suggested two tie-ins, with links: The White Suit Samba is an extrapolation of a goofy musical sound effect for Alec Guinness’s miracle fabric lab apparatus in a prominent Alexander MacKendrick movie. Also Anthony Restaino’s sleazy instrumental The Web from an endearing, heartwarming faith-based family classic. The song’s in the movie so technically it doesn’t qualify… but it’s a very cool song.

Todd Everett came through as well, with links to 1) Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte by Patti Page (Was that not sung in the movie? That’s also a technical disqualifier, but in the interest of encouraging entries I include it… 2) Restless Kid by Ricky Nelson, says, Todd, was originally to be sung in Rio Bravo, but was rejected in favor of My Rifle, My Pony and Me sung by Martin and Nelson and written by Paul Francis Webster and Dmitri Tiomkin; followed by the teen idol’s reading of the PD Cindy. Finally, 3) Todd’s wildest link is to Thunderball, but by Johnny Cash, not Tom Jones. It’s the least appropriate thing I’ve ever heard, unless you re-write Thunderball as a sequel to Blazing Saddles… but it is said to have been a real contender.

Finally, Bill Shepard names one we should have thought of immediately — Phil Harris’s The Thing from 1950. Is it a Tie-in to the Howard Hawks movie?  The title words are not really mentioned in the song, which appears to have no direct relation — except everybody seems to associate the two. Bill writes,

“I’ve always associated the novelty song with the movie, which came out shortly afterwards. Wikipedia says: The song aired on radio concurrently with a series of teaser ads which ran weekly in Collier’s promoting Howard Hawks’ science fiction movie, The Thing from Another World (released April 6, 1951). While the song had no connection with the movie, some suspect it was a clever marketing tool to increase interest in seeing the film.”

So there’s no relationship, except the one we choose to believe in?

Meanwhile, back in the land of revival screenings, Gary Teetzel alerts me to some attractive restoration screenings, a mini-festival, in fact. The 2019 UCLA Festival of Preservation screens from February 15 to 17 at the Billy Wilder Theater in the Hammer Museum in Westwood. The full list includes plenty of features, newsreels, silent oddities, noir rescues, animation, Laurel & Hardy, TV jazz performances, and an interesting-sounding 1944 item about a political refugee, A Voice in the Wind, which uses the haunting musical piece The Moldau, often excerpted in movies.

Of course, the title that grabs us genre fans the most is the elusive, legendary 1934 Mexican horror film from Fernando de Fuentes, La fantasma del convento. I’ve only seen ragged snippets… and how many Mexican films from that era even survive in screenable copies?

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Tuesday February 5, 2019

Why is this picture here? CLICK on it.

The Midnight Man 02/05/19

KL Studio Classics

Murder strikes at a private college, and the new security guard’s efforts to find the killer uncovers sordid secrets and multiple unsavory conspiracies. Triple-threat Burt Lancaster directs, stars and heads a large, exemplary cast of suspects in a mystery that implicates practically all of them in something illegal. This is only part of the sprawling usual suspects list: Cameron Mitchell, Morgan Woodward, Harris Yulin, Catherine Bach, Robert Quarry, Joan Lorring, Lawrence Dobkin, Ed Lauter, Charles Tyner, Quinn K. Redeker, Linda Kelsey. On Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics.

Beyond the Limit (The Honorary Consul) 02/05/19

Explosive Media GmbH

Retitled from The Honorary Consul and sold in America with one of Paramount’s sleaziest ad campaigns, John MacKenzie and Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of a Graham Greene novel about terrorist goings-on in dictatorships in Argentina and Paraguay features a fine Michael Caine performance, but prefers to stress sex scenes between star Richard Gere and Elpidia Carrillo. Just call it ‘Lust in the Argentine Littoral’ — but performed in English. Also starring Bob Hoskins. The Falklands War prompted the show to relocate filming to Mexico. This is a German disc, but it’s fully compatible with U.S. equipment. On Blu-ray from Explosive Media GmbH.

CineSavant Column

Tuesday February 5, 2019


For Los Angeles film fans interested in real historical arcana, The American Cinematheque has a very unusual presentation coming this Saturday at 7:30 at the Egyptian Theater. Programmer Chris Lamaire and USC head archivist Dino Everett will be showing some ‘weird short subjects on some weird formats.’ Old 28mm and 9.5 mm projectors will be present to screen rare items from the USC archive, including an essentially-lost Harold Lloyd short called That’s Him, and an English Walter Forde comedy, Walter’s Paying Policy. Some of the prints are over 100 years old. The presentation is called Silent Shorts in Rare Formats. I didn’t even know that 9.5mm film existed until I started reading stories about Kevin Brownlow. If this show goes well, the plan is to move on to screenings of more specialized vintage original archived material, perhaps films made in the arcane Kinemacolor process.

While discussing the new Severin Jack the Ripper release, associate Bill Shaffer wrote in to describe the deluxe sales job for the movie, for which Joseph E. Levine had prepared an oversized pressbook and a saturation media campaign. Bill also mentioned a novelty record he had, a 45rpm item that contained the movie’s main title theme on one side and on the B side a cool song sung by Nino Tempo with lyrics by Steve Allen, Jimmy McHugh and Pete Rugolo. The faux-hip Bobby Darin takeoff was definitely not a hit, but it is pretty funny.

A little while later CineSavant reviewer Charlie Largent found the actual novelty song on youtube: Nino Tempo & Pete Rugolo – Jack The Ripper.    Aw — they at least could have played it as exit music in the theaters.

Movie Tie-in Songs, ‘Novelty’ and Otherwise

I doubt that anyone dreamed of including the song in the movie, as Levine was probably just hoping for a hit to cross-promote his show on AM radio. But tie-in songs must have been some kind of fad. The next year Johnny Horton’s upbeat song for North to Alaska accomplished just that, scoring a radio hit and gracing John Wayne’s movie as well. Horton’s followup ‘country ballad march’ Sink the Bismarck was commissioned for the English movie about the famous naval battle but wisely only used in the trailer. Did Johnny Horton envision a big career turning every film into a country ballad with storytelling lyrics?  Why not Days of Wine and Roses, or Lolita?

We can imagine John Ford nixing a Gene Pitney song for his western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, but Pitney did claim that Paramount paid for the recording session. Years later a tie-in song with a faux-1933 flavor was prepared for Warners’ Bonnie and Clyde called Have You Heard of Bonnie and Clyde?  It surfaced only on a tie-in record album of soundtrack bits and audio bites. A different Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde by Georgie Fame is the one that hit AM radio. Are there many more obvious tie-in songs I’m unaware of, that actually made a dent in the record charts?  For that matter are there other notables that stayed under the radar?

Scream Factory and Kino Lorber are apparently wasting no time rushing the entirety of Universal’s remaining 1950s sci-fi thrillers to Blu-ray. Recently announced from Kino Lorber is 1957’s The Land Unknown, for April 23. The ‘Lost World’ saga has an impressive production, especially an enormous, beautifully designed miniature setting for a vast tropical valled hidden deep in the Antarctic wastes. The mattes and other trickery placing the actors within the set are top-notch as well, and quite an achievement in CinemaScope. I’ll be eager to re-evaluate them once I see the show in higher resolution — the Japanese solved a similar anamorphic-format problem by shooting miniatures and monsters flat and then extracting a ‘scope image from the negative.

The other reason to check out the disc will be a new commentary hosted by Tom Weaver. Last year he wrote and compiled a book dedicated to Universal’s Sci-fi monsters of the first half of the 1950s, and we’re looking forward to volume two, which will take on The Land Unknown and The Incredible Shrinking Man.

The otherwise impressive picture is let down by some wholly unexciting, unconvincing dinosaurs, a ragged Plesiosaur puppet and the worst man-in-suit-a-saur thing ever cobbled together. Something went really wrong with that job; maquettes of the design look just as hopeless as the finished product. Compare Universal’s Tyrannosaur suit (right) with the less polished but equally inept Ceratasaur from Film Classics’ silly-fun 1948 dino romp Unknown Island (left).

What we really wanted to see were the monsters in the film’s superb poster art by Reynold Brown. Brown interpreted the ungainly dinosaur in an unusual manner, rather than cheat and give potential audiences a monster that would completely ‘cheat’ the one in the movie.

All the interest in the artist Reynold Brown is turning into a birthday subject here at CineSavant — I’m basking in anticipation of an art book of the illustrator’s famous posters, and when it arrives will put together a quick review.

Finally, a fond farewell to a fan favorite of sci-fi aficionados, Julie Adams.

The neat thing about Adams is that she was so obviously a LADY to us voyeuristic, hypercritical kids. Yes, the Creature carries her off, but with RESPECT. She’s not just any blonde burden in a swimsuit, she’s Beauty to the Beast — she ennobles the Creature. Even in Bend of the River, Ms. Adams’ personality prevails: she’s virtuous but not a prude. Arthur Kennedy’s dialogue and attitude say that Adams’ character has slept with him during their stay in Portland, but everything about Adams’ deportment says she didn’t. Amazingly, in the edgy The Last Movie, Adams found herself in Peru in the hands of a director who expected her to perform in several very sleazy situations, that were likely sprung on the actors partly by surprise. She DOES, with enthusiasm, because that’s the professional thing to do even when confronted by non-professional demands. In the final film we never for a moment think that Julie Adams’ status as a class act has been sullied.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson

Saturday February 2, 2019

Happy Groundhog Day — !

It’s Officer Miller, the cop who sent Wally to jail. That was a fun night on the set. CLICK on it.