Over at the Radio Spirits blog this week, I did write-ups of the two Whistler films that for some reason or another don’t get shown on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ when TCM gets a hankerin’ to run the movie series. The Mark of the Whistler (1944), the second in the franchise, is in my opinion neck-and-neck with the initial entry The Whistler (1944) as the best of them; a suspenseful tale that features series star Richard Dix as a down-on-his-luck derelict whose scheme to cash in on a neglected bank account brings him more than a few problems. William Castle directed this one, and directed it bloody well—he’s able to wring every drop of suspense out of George Bricker‘s screenplay (based on a Cornell Woolrich short story) and elicit masterful performances from thesps Janis Carter, Porter Hall and Paul Guilfoyle…not to mention Dix, in what I personally think is his best performance in all the films of the series.
…and I started chuckling when I saw this actor playing the bank president—he’s Howard Freeman, who’s perhaps best-known as “Beast” Burkholtz in one of my favorite Car 54, Where are You? episodes (“The Beast Who Walked the
But this one is the kickiest of all…you may not recognize him with the extra right arm, but this is Bill Raisch—aka Fred Johnson, “the one-armed man” of TV’s The Fugitive. (Raisch later suffered an injury fighting a shipboard fire during WW2 that necessitated amputation two inches from the elbow.)
The Thirteenth Hour (1947) is MIA for reasons I cannot explain. The copy I have is watchable but makes for some ghastly screen caps so I’ll spare you the agony; the movie is actually a fairly conventional B-noir that features Dix as a trucking company owner who has to clear himself from a murder rap. Regis “I am invincible!” Toomey plays the murder victim, and the always welcome Karen Morley is Dix’s sweetheart…and there are a goodly number of serial baddies in this one, too: Stanley Blystone, Anthony Warde, Ernie Adams, etc. The presence of Cliff Clark as a police detective might be explained by the fact that William Clemens directed this 65-minute time killer; Clemens helmed a number of the Falcon movies (in which Clark often turned up as “Inspector Donovan”) but he’s perhaps best-known as the auteur of Warner Bros’ Nancy Drew series starring Bonita Granville.
The winners of this year’s Classic Movie Blog Association Awards were announced this weekend, and you can find the list here; Thrilling Days of Yesteryear congratulates each and everyone who snagged a trophy…and would also like to know if there’s any chance of getting back that cufflink that I lost in the punch bowl. (Oh, you look at me like I did it on purpose.)
Rick, one of the founders of the CMBA and the head counterman at the Classic Film and TV Café, has announced a Classic TV Horror Host Blogathon for the merry month of October…October 24-31, to be exact, and sponsored by the Classic TV Blog Association. Still trying to decide at press time what I’ll write about but I hope to participate in what sounds like a fun event.
released the second season of The Courtship of Eddie’s Father to MOD DVD yesterday (October 9) in a 3-disc collection containing all twenty-four episodes and priced at $49.95 SRP. (Yipes.) I watched a few of these when the series was being rerun on GoodLife TV or whatever name it goes by now and while I had fond memories of the show when I was a tad, it didn’t hold up too well today (I found it a bit cloying, to be honest). But for those fans that are a-collecting…there you are.
Timeless Media Group released Alias Smith and Jones: The Complete Series to DVD back in 2010, but because that company merged with Shout! Factory (which is why we jokingly call it Timeless Factory Video now) Shout! is going to re-release the collection on January 22. This set will be priced at $29.93 SRP, and contain all 50 episodes from the 1971-73 western series favorite.
to be released on November 6th. One show is a
December 23, 1963 telecast with guest stars Nat King Cole
and Mary Tyler Moore and the other features Peggy Lee and Wayne Newton (and is
dated December 21, 1966). It’s priced at $14.95 SRP, and since the
series is quite a rarity (I imagine bringing season collections of the Kaye
Show to DVD would be a problem, given the thorny music rights issues
and all) this might make a swell companion with your copy of White Christmas
(1954). (There’s also a bonus on the
disc; an excerpt of Danny reading A
Christmas Carol from a December 22, 1965 telecast.)