Category Archives: Universal (-International)

The Carbon Arc Podcast Episode 4: King Kong Escapes (1968) With Guest Bob Madison.

In the latest episode of The Carbon Arc Podcast, Bob Madison and I start with King Kong Escapes (1968) and somehow make our way through Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Batman to Jim Backus, Paul Frees and George C. Scott.



From the late 70s into the 80s, WOR-TV in New York used to run this as part of a Thanksgiving monster marathon.

Be sure to look into Bob’s young adult novel, Spiked, available on Amazon.

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Filed under 1968, Eiji Tsuburaya, George C. Scott, Ishirō Honda, Jim Backus, Kaiju Movies, Paul Frees, Podcasts, The Carbon Arc Podcast, Toho, Universal (-International)

Convention Center Of Frankenstein.

 
Came across these at the great big Gaylord Opryland hotel and convention center last night. Quite impressive.

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Filed under Universal (-International)

A Night At The Movies, Halloween ’64.

One more of these before I start saving ’em for next year. The D&R Theater in Aberdeen, Washington, went all Universal International. Brides Of Dracula (a Hammer import) and The Leech Woman (both 1960) had been paired by U-I when they were originally released.

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Filed under 1958, 1960, 1964, A Night At The Movies, Coleen Gray, Halloween Marathons, Hammer Films, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher, Universal (-International)

A Night At The Movies, Halloween 1961.

Folks in the Kansas City area really had it going on around Halloween of 1961. Blood And Roses (1960), Circus Of Horrors (1960), Hammer’s The Mummy (1959) — and depending on which theater you chose, either Blood Of The Vampire (1958), Jack Arnold’s Monster On The Campus (1958) or The Thing That Couldn’t Die (1958).

Tough decision, but I think I would’ve chosen Blood Of The Vampire (for Barbara Shelley) at the Dickinson Theater. What would’ve been your pick?

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Filed under 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, A Night At The Movies, AIP, Barbara Shelley, Christopher Lee, Donald Pleasence, Halloween Marathons, Hammer Films, Jack Arnold, Jack Asher, Peter Cushing, Terence Fisher, Universal (-International)

A Night At The Movies, Halloween 1963.

Happy Halloween from Emporia, Kansas! I’m sorry, Howl-O-We’en.

This woulda been a good one. You’ve got Godzilla. You’ve got Christopher Lee in a Hammer pirate movie. And you’ve got an Italian monster movie shot (and partially directed) by Mario Bava!

Would’ve gone, but I wasn’t born yet.

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Filed under 1959, 1962, 1963, A Night At The Movies, Andrew Keir, Christopher Lee, Eiji Tsuburaya, Halloween Marathons, Hammer Films, Ishirō Honda, John Gilling, Mario Bava, Michael Ripper, Oliver Reed, Riccardo Freda, Toho, Universal (-International)

Boston, December 1955.

Wouldn’t you love to hop into your time machine for this week of wonderful-ness? (Sorry, Bob, no Son Of Frankenstein.)

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Filed under 1955, Basil Rathbone, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Edgar G. Ulmer, James Whale, Lionel Atwill, Lon Chaney Jr., Screenings, Tod Browning, Universal (-International)

DVD/Blu-Ray News #399: Gang Busters (1942).

Directed by Noel M. Smith & Ray Taylor
Starring Kent Taylor, Irene Hervey, Ralph Morgan, Robert Armstrong

VCI has brought the Universal serial Gang Busters (1942) to DVD and Blu-Ray, restored from fine-grain material from Universal.

“Fellow citizens, you are listening to the voice of death.”

Based on the popular radio show, the bad guys are crooks brought back from the dead (The League Of Murdered Men) by the mysterious Professor Mortis—quite a stretch from the more authentic crime-busting featured on radio. The action’s top-notch throughout. 

This has always been one of my favorite serials. Can’t wait to see this thing on Blu-Ray. Highly, highly recommended!

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Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Serial, Universal (-International)

DVD/Blu-Ray News #395: Congo Crossing (1956).

Directed by Joseph Pevney
Starring Virginia Mayo, George Nader, Peter Lorre, Michael Pate, Rex Ingram, Raymond Bailey

Explosive Media has a great run of Universal International 50s Westerns coming out throughout the summer, and now they’ve announced Congo Crossing (1956), a U-I jungle picture with a great cast (including Mr. Drysdale himself, Raymond Bailey), Russell Metty cinematography (shot for 2.0) and the Arboretum and Botanic Garden in LA doubling for Africa. This is one I’ve never seen, and I can’t wait!

Thanks to John Knight for the tip!

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Filed under 1956, DVD/Blu-ray News, Explosive Media, Joseph Pevney, Peter Lorre, Universal (-International), Virginia Mayo

Making Movies: Don Siegel At Work.

Don Siegel’s films are scattered throughout my list of all-time favorites — if I was to ever sit down and make such a list. Here are some photos I’ve come across while researching him for various things (some of these images have appeared on this blog before, but are worth repeating).

Up top, there’s Siegel directing Clint Eastwood in Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970). The original screenplay was by Budd Boetticher, who was supposed to direct (he ended up with only a story credit). Budd not happy with the finished film, which co-starred Shirley MacLaine. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called the picture “a solidly entertaining film that provides Clint Eastwood with his best, most substantial role to date; in it he is far better than he has ever been. In director Don Siegel, Eastwood has found what John Wayne found in John Ford and what Gary Cooper found in Frank Capra.” They’d make five movies together.

Here he is with Ronald Reagan and Vinveca Lindfors (Mrs. Siegel at the time) shooting Night Unto Night (1949).

Neville Brand and Dabbs Greer (?) get direction from Siegel on Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954).

Nick Adams and Siegel go over the script for Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

Siegel, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and John Cassavettes (back of his head) on the set of The Killers (1964).

With Eastwood on the set of Coogan’s Bluff (1968), their first picture together.

Andy Robinson goes over the script with Siegel on Dirty Harry (1971).

Siegel and Walter Matthau having a laugh on Charley Varrick (1973). I think Don’s wearing the same hat he has on in the photo from The Killers.

Eastwood and Siegel on location for Escape From Alcatraz (1979).

I was trying to find a picture of Siegel working on Baby Face Nelson (1957), one of his best, but had no luck. It’s highly underrated, probably because it’s almost impossible to see.

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Filed under 1954, 1957, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1979, Angie Dickinson, Budd Boetticher, Clint Eastwood, Don Siegel, Nick Adams, Steve McQueen, Universal (-International), Walter Matthau

The Phantom Creeps, Quite Literally.

Directed by Ford Beebe & Saul A. Goodkind
Starring Bela Lugosi, Robert Kent, Dorothy Arnold, Edwin Stanley, Regis Toomey, Jack C. Smith, Edward Van Sloan

VCI has been working on a restoration of The Phantom Creeps (1939), a 12-chapter Universal serial starring Bela Lugosi, for Blu-Ray release.

They’ve recently provided some info on why this thing is taking so long: “When we started working on the restoration early last year, we discovered that six of the 12 chapters, of the original film elements we received from Universal Pictures, had many issues. Some reels were missing, and some were on nitrate film and had deteriorated terribly. Fortunately, we found more complete original film elements stored at the Library of Congress. We have requested access to those film elements, however we were informed that film was actually owned by Sony Pictures (FYI, Sony actually is the owner of Columbia Pictures, who had a license in the 1950’s to distribute several Universal serials via their TV syndication division, Screen Gems, and that’s how they came to have these film elements). Since we discovered this, we have been negotiating with Sony’s legal department to give us permission to access and scan this film, which would allow us to finish our restoration. This process with Sony began last July, and so far, they have been cooperating, but still haven’t given us their permission. We feel confident that Sony will give us permission, but we just can’t say when. This is a very high-priority project to VCI, but unfortunately it is not as important to Sony, so we remain on hold.”

As this frame grab from Chapter 1 shows, this thing is gonna be incredible — and well worth the wait. The Phantom Creeps is a cool serial, put together by some of the very best at making such things: director Beebe, writer George Plympton and DP William Sickner.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next thrilling chapter in this story! When it gets here, it’ll be essential.

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Filed under Bela Lugosi, DVD/Blu-ray News, Film Preservation, Regis Toomey, Serial, Universal (-International), VCI