Category Archives: Charles McGraw

DVD/Blu-Ray News #155: The Night Stalker (1972) And The Night Strangler (1973).

Here’s a couple things I’ve been waiting for — the two Carl Kolchak TV movies coming to DVD and Blu-Ray from 4K scans!

The Night Stalker
Directed byJohn Llewellyn Moxey
Written by Richard Matheson
Starring Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Ralph Meeker, Claude Akins, Charles McGraw, Elisha Cook Jr., Larry Linville

Both Kolchak films come for that Golden Age of TV movies, when ABC was offering up masterpieces like these, Spielberg’s Duel (1971) or The Legend Of Lizzie Borden (1974). But, really, when you have Darren McGavin spouting words from Richard Matheson, how could they be less than terrific? And look at the rest of these casts?

This Night Stalker (1972) — with newsman Carl Kolchak tracking down a vampire in Las Vegas while writing a story on a series of mysterious killings — scared me as a kid. Bad. But I loved every second of it.

The Night Strangler
Directed by Dan Curtis
Written by Richard Matheson
Starring Darren McGavin, Jo Ann Pflug, Simon Oakland, Scott Brady, Wally Cox, Margaret Hamilton, John Carradine, Al Lewis, Richard Anderson

For me, The Night Strangler (1973) — with a doctor killing to create another batch of his immortality elixir — was less scary, but more creepy. I loved it, too.

Next came the series, with the episode “The Zombie” being one of the scariest things I ever experienced growing up. Remember the zombie sleeping in the back of the hearse in the junkyard? And while the quality of the shows was pretty hit or miss, Darren McGavin is so perfect, he carries the show on his back every week without even trying. It was such a drag when it wasn’t renewed.

The old twin-bill DVDs of these things, from Anchor Bay and MGM, were fine. But new 4K transfers, and stand-alone releases, are gonna be terrific. (Would love to have both the original broadcast (74 minutes each) and extended versions.) My porkpie hat, tape recorder and I cannot wait!



Filed under 1972, 1973, Charles McGraw, Darren McGavin, DVD/Blu-ray News, Elisha Cook, Jr., John Carradine, Richard Matheson, Television

Blu-Ray News #144: T-Men (1947).

Directed by Anthony Mann
Starring Dennis O’Keefe, Mary Meade, Alfred Ryder, Wallace Ford, June Lockhart, Charles McGraw, Frank Ferguson

I’m so glad Classicflix is spiffing up Anthony Mann’s T-Men (1947) for Blu-Ray. It’s one of the most visually striking pictures of the 40s, thanks to the great John Alton. I can’t wait to see his shadows in high definition.

Dennis O’Keefe and Alfred Ryder are treasury agents trying to bust up a counterfeit ring, and they end up trying to infiltrate the Detroit mob. Mann gets things to a full boil almost immediately, and we spend the rest of the hour and a half wondering when it’s all gonna blow apart — and how little of the cast will still be alive.

Anthony Mann: “This is what I really call my first film. I was responsible for its story, for its structure, its characters and for actually making it.  This was my first real break towards being able to make films the way I wanted.”

Mann and Alton’s use of LA and Detroit locations and their overall documentary-style treatment really add to the realism and tension of the whole thing. Oh, and did I mention it’s got Charles McGraw, Wallace Ford and Frank Ferguson in it? This movie’s absolutely essential.

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Filed under Anthony Mann, Charles McGraw, ClassicFlix, Dennis O'Keefe, DVD/Blu-ray News, Eagle Lion, Frank Ferguson

Armored Car Robbery (1950) At The Forgotten Filmcast.

Armored Car Robbery TC

Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Herman Schlom
Screenplay by Gerald Drayson Adams, Robert Angus, Earl Felton
From a story by Robert Leeds
Cinematography: Guy Roe
Film Editor: Desmond Marquette

Cast: Charles McGraw (Lt. Jim Cordell), Adele Jergens (Yvonne LeDoux), William Talman (Dave Purvis), Douglas Fowley (Benjamin ‘Benny’ McBride), Steve Brodie (Al Mapes), Gene Evans (William ‘Ace’ Foster)

ep-51A year or so ago, I had the extreme pleasure of being on Todd Liebenow’s excellent podcast Forgotten Filmcast, which features a film blogger covering a favorite movie they consider under-appreciated. Last time, we covered Last Train From Gun Hill (1959). This time, it’s Richard Fleischer’s terrific crime picture Armored Car Robbery (1950) starring Charles McGraw and William Talman. We recorded it first thing in the morning, so let’s hope I’m halfway articulate.

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Filed under 1950, Charles McGraw, Podcasts, Richard Fleischer, RKO, William Talman