Guest-hosting the #BNoirDetour film for 12/27: KISS OF DEATH

 

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This holiday season, Salome at BNoirDetour has bestowed upon me the gift of guest-hosting (for which many thanks, Salome)! The only proper response is to gift you with one of the classic films-noir, 1947’s Kiss of Death.

Victor Mature plays Nick Bianco, an imprisoned gang leader who starts spouting names to get out of prison when he finds out that his nuclear family in the “outside world” is falling apart. Unfortunately, one of the names provided by Nick is that of Tommy Udo (Richard Widmark in a hair-raising film debut). Udo does not take lightly to being double-crossed, as evidenced in a famous scene where he confronts a wheelchair-bound mother of a gang member. (No spoiler here — just hold onto something and watch.)

It’s an alternately touching and sizzling movie worthy of the BNoirDetour imprimatur, and it will be Live Tweeted at the usual time, Sunday at 9 p.m. EST. All I ask is that you “follow” me on Twitter at @MovieMovieBlogB on Sunday evening so that I can respond to your comments; you can always “unfollow” me after the Live Tweet. Happy holidays, and enjoy the movie!

THE GANGSTERS ALL HERE Live Tweet movie for Sat., Oct. 17: Broderick Crawford in THE MOB (1951)

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This week, Broderick Crawford joins our The Gangsters All Here Rogue Gallery. The Mob stars Crawford as Johnny Damico, a tough-skinned cop who, for spoiler reasons I won’t go into here, goes undercover to infiltrate a waterfront crime ring. Waterfront corruption was a rich vein of storylines for Columbia Pictures to mine — it earned movie immortality for Marlon Brando three years later in On the Waterfront — but Crawford definitely makes the territory his own. Add fine supporting work from Ernest Borgnine, Richard Kiley, and John Marley (two decades before his menacing role in The Godfather), and how can you lose?

(CORRECTION: Last week, I mistakenly touted our weekly movie entry, Machine Gun Kelly, as Charles Bronson’s movie debut. In fact, Bronson has a walk-on role here as a waterfront worker, and he had several years of movie work behind him by the time he did Machine Gun Kelly, which was actually Bronson’s starring debut. My apologies.) 

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On a scale of 1 to 5 fannies, this movie rates an on-the-nose 5. Despite contemporary reviews that dismissed The Mob as just another shoot-’em-up, this one has it all. There are gritty action scenes, nail-biting suspense, and best of all, Broderick Crawford in a role that shows his softer side along with his well-known gruffiness. You won’t want to miss this one!

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Sept. 12: STRANGE INVADERS (1983)

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There’s a new and wonderful Live Tweet on Twitter.com named #SatMat. It takes place at 4:30 p.m. EST every Saturday and is devoted to Saturday-matinee-type movie fare.

In a momentary lapse of taste, the good people who run #SatMat have allowed me to choose the movie for Sat., Sept. 12. I have chosen Strange Invaders (1983), a little-seen but truly cult-worthy science-fiction movie that is both a send-up and tribute to the rich genre of 1950’s sci-fi.

Paul LeMat (American Graffiti) plays Charles Bigelow, a divorced etymology professor. Charles is asked by his ex-wife Margaret (Diana Scarwid of Mommie Dearest) to watch their daughter for the weekend, as Margaret must go back to her hometown of Centerville, Illinois to attend her mother’s funeral.

When Margaret doesn’t return for several days and cannot be reached by phone, Charles takes it upon himself to drive to Centerville and find Margaret. But when Charles gets to Centerville, he can’t help but wonder: Why doesn’t anyone know where or even who Margaret is? Why do the townsfolk still dress like they’re in the 1950’s? And what have they done with Charles’ dog?

This is stylish sci-fi heightened to an almost burning crisp. What saves it from campiness are co-writer and director Michael Laughlin’s heartfelt respect for some initially one-note characters, and (to the last actor) the cast’s delightfully deadpan performances of those characters. Besides LeMat and Scarwid, that excellent cast includes Nancy Allen (Blow-Out), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), a very touching Michael Lerner, and Fiona Lewis in a brief but memorable turn as the most assertive Avon Lady you’ll ever see.

I appreciate having the opportunity to blog about movies that people might never otherwise learn about. Do yourself a favor, and schedule 90 minutes this Saturday for, by turns, a funny, scary, and riveting science-fiction movie that…well, they don’t just not make ’em like this anymore, they hardly ever make ’em like this at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qegTbAKMsg #SatMat

THE GANGSTERS ALL HERE Live Tweet movie for Sat., Sept. 12: JOHNNY O’CLOCK (1947)

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After the late-1950’s grittiness of our first two Live Tweet entries, BMovieBoss has decided to go back to the land of fedoras and fast-talking hoods, with the 1947 entry Johnny O’Clock.

Former song-and-dance man Dick Powell plays the title role, a high-rolling casino co-manager who is constantly being tailed by cigar-chomping Police Inspector Koch (Lee J. Cobb, nicely underplaying for a change). Koch has plenty to investigate when Harriet, a hat-check girl who was friendly with Johnny, dies in an apparent suicide. When Harriet’s sister Nancy (Evelyn Keyes) comes to town to try and find out what really happened to Harriet, sparks and motives fly all over the place.

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On a scale of 1 to 5 fannies, I rate this movie a 4. This movie has eye-catching settings and stylish dialogue to spare. Directed in best melodramatic style by Robert Rossen (who went on to direct All the King’s Men and The Hustler), you’ll hardly want to budge from your seat in order to see and hear what happens next.

If you’d like to know more about the movie, click here to read Turner Classic Movies’ program notes about the film. Below is a trailer for the movie. See you on Saturday, gangster junkies! twitter.com/BMovieBoss #GangstersAllHere

Join us at Twitter.com on Sunday night for a film-noir double-feature!

Join us on Twitter.com on Sun., Aug. 23, and tweet along with us as we watch — for free, online — two splendid film-noir movies: The Shanghai Gesture (1941), starring Gene Tierney and Victor Mature, and Behind Green Lights (1946), starring Carole Landis and William Gargan. Hosted by your good blogs Movie Movie Blog Blog and BNoirDetour. Click here for more information. B Noir or be square!

PICS

Our first Live Tweet: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS!

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Got nothing to do this Saturday night? Neither do I! Let’s be two peas in a pod!

On Sat., Aug. 15 at 10 p.m. EST, I join the tweet-and-riff crowd with my premiere Live Tweet event of the classic 1956 sci-fi thriller, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It stars Kevin McCarthy as Miles Bennell, a small-town doctor who is caught unaware when his patients’ loved ones are suddenly replaced by emotionless impostors. The doc digs deeper and finds that an alien species of human duplicates, grown from plant-like pods, is taking over the town. Dr. Bennell soon learns the hard way that there are some things they don’t teach you in medical school!

To join the pod party, just log onto Twitter and, if you’re not already one of my Twitter “followers,” type @MovieMovieBlogB to get to my Twitter page. From there, I’ll provide a free link to the movie via YouTube. When I instruct you at 10 p.m., just click on the start of the movie and follow along. To post comments about the movie while it’s running, use the hashtag #MovieMovieBlogB, and you’ll be part of our group. (Just make sure it’s really you doing the posting, and not your alien imposter!)

Here’s an original trailer for the movie. See you on Saturday at 10!