Category Archives: The Three Stooges

Blu-Ray News #328: Columbia Noir #3 (1947-59).

Indicator’s got a third Columbia Noir Blu-Ray box on the way, and it’s gonna be another good one.

Johnny O’Clock (1947)
Written and directed by Robert Rossen
Starring Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Lee J. Cobb, Jeff Chandler
Dick Powell is cool in his second noir picture, Burnett Guffey’s cinematography is often stunning. Robert Rossen does a good job guiding us through the rather complex plot.

The Dark Past (1948)
Directed by Rudolph Maté
Starring William Holden, Nina Foch, Lee J. Cobb
William Holden is an escaped convict in this remake of 1939’s Blind Alley. Lee J. Cobb is a psychologist who’s held hostage and analyzes his captor along the way.

Convicted (1950)
Directed by Henry Levin
Starring Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford, Millard Mitchell, Dorothy Malone, Carl Benton Reid, Frank Faylen
Another remake of The Criminal Code, with Glenn Ford an inmate and Broderick Crawford the warden. Burnett Guffey shot this one, too, which is always a good thing.

Between Midnight And Dawn (1950)
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Starring Mark Stevens, Edmond O’Brien, Gale Storm, Madge Blake
A prototype for the buddy cop movies, with Edmond O’Brien and Mark Stevens  childhood friends who end up cops. Gale Storm is the dispatcher they talk to throughout their shift.


The Sniper (1952)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Starring Adolphe Menjou, Arthur Franz, Gerald Mohr, Marie Windsor, Frank Faylen
Arthur Franz plays a freak with a rifle before the freak-with-a-rifle sub-genre even existed. Dmytryk does a terrific job, as does DP Burnett Guffey. Essential.

City Of Fear (1959)
Directed by Irving Lerner
Starring Vince Edwards, Lyle Talbot, John Archer
Vince Edwards escapes from San Quentin and has what he thinks is a vial of heroin. Turns out it’s the ultra-dangerous Cobalt-60, which could wipe out LA. Edwards gets sicker as the movie plays out — and time runs out. A very cool little movie.

The set comes with the kind of extras — commentaries, video essays, shorts (including six from The Three Stooges!), trailers, galleries and more. You don’t wanna miss this one.

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Filed under 1950, 1959, Broderick Crawford, Columbia, Dick Powell, DVD/Blu-ray News, Edward Dmytryk, Frank Faylen, Glenn Ford, Indicator/Powerhouse, Marie Windsor, Mark Stevens, The Three Stooges, William Holden

Devil Goddess (1955)

Directed by Spencer G. Bennet
Produced by Sam Katzman
Screenplay by George Plympton
Story by Dwight Babcock
Director Of Photography: Ira Morgan
Film Editor: Aaron Stell

Cast: Johnny Weissmuller (Johnny Weissmuller), Angela Stevens (Nora Blakely), Selmer Jackson (Prof. Carl Blakely), William Tannen (Nels Comstock), Ed Hinton (Joseph Leopold), William M. Griffith (Prof. Ralph Dixon), Abel Fernandez (Teinusi), Frank Lackteen (Nkruma), Vera Francis (Sarabina), Kimba

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A few days ago, I saw the 1955 Three Stooges short Blunder Boys (it’s a Shemp one). It featured the lovely Angela Stevens, which reminded me that I’d been meaning to write something about Devil Goddess (1955), the last of the 16 Jungle Jim movies. Miss Stevens did the Stooges short and the Jungle Jim picture the same year.

This one begins with Kimba the chimp sharing pan-fried fish and liquor with a couple of his simian pals at Johnny Weissmuller’s camp (he’s not called Jungle Jim in this one). Next, Angela Stevens comes through the jungle looking for Weissmuller — to help her father’s expedition to find a missing professor. Before long, everyone’s wrapped up in a bunch of nonsense about the Mountain Of Explosive Fire, a fire demon, a tribe that happens to have King Solomon’s treasure, and a gang of looters who want that treasure. Oh, and that tribe, they sacrifice young women to the fire god.

Shot in a week right before Christmas of 1954, Devil Goddess shows that the Jungle Jim series had pretty much run out of gas. Johnny Weissmuller, who was never a good actor, seems really disinterested here. Aside from a few cameos, this was his last feature. Incidentally, Devil Goddess was playing theaters when the Jungle Jim TV show, starring Weissmuller, made its debut in October 1955.

There’s lots of stock footage in the picture’s 68 minutes, ranging from wild animal stuff to shots lifted from previous Jungle Jim movies. The Mountain Of Explosive Fire looks a lot like Bronson Canyon. And there’s a one-take-and-let’s-move-on feel to the whole thing. All typical for a Sam Katzman production.

Spencer Gordon Bennett, one of the most prolific serial and B Western directors, called the shots on Devil Goddess. The screenplay was by George Plympton, who wrote dozens of serials, from a story from Dwight Babcock. Babcock cooked up the stories for some of Universal’s B horror movies like The Mummy’s Curse (1944) and The Brute Man (1946). He later wrote lots of TV, including episodes of Jungle Jim and The Roy Rogers Show.

Cinematographer Ira H. Morgan’s career ran from the teens to the late 50s. He shot Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936), the 1948 Superman serial and a few other Jungle Jim pictures. His last film was The Cyclops (1957). There’s no telling how many setups he was doing a day on Devil Goddess.

The Jungle Jim pictures are, for the most part, absent on DVD and Blu-Ray. An Australian set gives you six of them, including this one. Not sure how they look or if any further volumes are planned. (Some of these later entries should be 1.85, and some sources say they were released in sepia.) Wouldn’t a nice set of all 16 be a hoot?

One last thing: the title. The fire demon is as close as we ever get to Devil Goddess.

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Filed under 1955, Angela Stevens, Columbia, Johnny Weissmuller, Jungle Jim, Sam Katzman, Spencer Gordon Bennet, The Three Stooges

Blu-Ray News #86: The Mad Magician (1954) With Spooks And Pardon My Backfire (1953).

mad-magician-hs

Directed by John Brahm
Starring Vincent Price, Mary Murphy, Eva Gabor, John Emery, Donald Randolph, Lenita Lane

Here’s a perfect announcement for Halloween. Twilight Time has announced a January Blu-Ray release for Columbia’s The Mad Magician (1954) in 3-D and 2-D — with the added bonus of the two 3-D Three Stooges shorts, Spooks and Pardon My Backfire (both 1953).

spooks-ad

All three are goofy fun. The Mad Magician is very much a ripoff of House Of Wax (1953), but that’s not a complaint. It’s terrific, with Vincent “Mr. 3-D” Price at his best. The Stooges shorts are exactly what you’d expect — some of the pies and stuff are thrown at you this time around. All come highly recommended, whether you have a 3-D rig or not.

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Filed under 1953, 1954, 3-D, Columbia, The Three Stooges, Twilight Time, Vincent Price

Happy Halloween.

the_post_crescent_wed__oct_26__1960_

Halloween in Wisconsin in 1960 looks like it was a lot of fun, especially the Paul Landres double feature at the Neenah.

Here’s hoping your Halloween is every bit as terrific.

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Filed under 1960, Hammer Films, Paul Landres, Roger Corman, The Three Stooges