Well, I’m back online—no thanks to those weasels allegedly “servicing” my computer...and who shall now be known on this blog as Charred.net (a reference to my dear, departed cable modem for which I paid $49.95 to these wankers). Instead, let’s have a huge round of applause for Best Buy’s Geek Squad—who not only located and fixed the problem but gave me a discount, charging me one hundred and twenty-nine clams. (It could have been worse—the Geek who fixed my computer originally thought my Ethernet card might have to be replaced. But Providence smiled on me in the knowledge that the Gateway people had good sense to install a spare. Major kudos to them as well.)
If you been keeping up with the reading, I did manage to get in a few posts while dog sitting for sister Kat…and it was at her domicile that I finally got to see a movie that has eluded me for nearly twenty-five years: Blood Money (1933), a top-notch pre-Code gangster melodrama starring Dame Judith Anderson (in a most un-Mrs. Danvers-in-Rebecca-like role), George Bancroft and Frances Dee. The film most certainly lives up to its reputation; ex-cop-turned-bail-bondsman Bancroft falls in love with both Dame Judy (as a moll responsible for getting George set up in business) and Frances, a thrill-seeking socialite who crosses paths with Bancroft after being arrested for utilizing the “five-finger-discount” in a department store. This way-ahead-of-its-time movie is a short-and-sweet sixty-five minutes, and also features the legendary Blossom Seeley singing two numbers and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from the not-yet-legendary Lucille Ball as a race-track floozy. Ever since I read about this film in Danny Peary’s Cult Movies 2 I’ve been dying to see it, and I sure wasn’t disappointed (particularly the great scene featuring Dee near the ending). (I will, however, admit that I laughed unintentionally when Dee’s father—played by Frederick Burton—remarks to Bancroft that his daughter “likes underworld pictures”—Bancroft having starred in the famous 1927 film directed by Josef von Sternberg.) If you keep missing this one on the Fox Movie Channel (or don’t get the channel on your cable system at all), Vintage Film Buff.com offers it in tandem with another interesting pre-Code entry, Pleasure Cruise (1933).
I also caught a little flick entitled The Mob (1951) the same day as Money, and while I have problems with the casting of star Broderick Crawford as an undercover cop masquerading as a stevedore to infiltrate the titled group (Crawford seems more like the individual who’d be running the syndicate) it’s still worth a look-see; TDOY fave Neville Brand is in this one…and looks (he’s even wearing the same suit) as if he just stepped off the set of D.O.A. (1950) (“Soft in the belly…he can’t take it.”)…along with Richard Kiley, Betty Buehler, Ernest Borgnine, Jean Alexander, John Marley, Charles Bronson and OTR faves like Matt Crowley, Lawrence Dobkin, Frank DeKova and Jess Kirkpatrick. Mob’s biggest strength is its punchy, hard-boiled dialogue which was no doubt recycled from some old Pat Novak for Hire scripts tossed into a wastebasket.
While at sister Kat’s this past weekend (the ‘rents paid a visit with a van of more crap to store at my new digs) I did manage to tweak the blogroll a bit, beginning with the addition of Spanish Popeye—a blog written by longtime TDOY friend/reader/supporter Andrew Leal, and containing the same flavor of nostalgia you’ll run up against on this blog. There are also a few nods to some of the denizens who hang out In the Balcony, beginning with Rodney Bowcock’s Comics & Stories; I’ve mentioned Rodney here a time or two and can attest that he’s not only a stand-up pal he’s the go-to guy for all your serial and rare DVD needs at OldieDVD.com. In addition, you’ll find animation expert Thad Komorowski’s thadblog (Thad not only shares my immeasurable contempt for “the man” but has also done extensive freelance work for Gemstone Publishing) on the blogroll, as well as the always fascinating Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide—a comprehensive look at films that feature individuals getting spiffed written by an individual who goes by both “garv” and “Ignatz Ratzkywatzky” (sounds like that guy who knocked up the Kockenlocker girl, if I remember correctly).
Finally, in the “tooting-my-own-horn” department, the June Premier Collection at the First Generation Radio Archives is a superior-sounding treasure trove of ten broadcasts from The Lux Radio Theatre, radio’s most prestigious and popular dramatic hour. (Remind me to tell you the tale of how this project got in “under the wire” sometime.) And from Radio Spirits, a collection that was oodles of fun for me to both listen to and write for: The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, containing two never-before-circulated broadcasts from the program’s third season in October of 1950. Buy ‘em all and trade ‘em with your friends!