Category Archives: 1950’s

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

This is a film that I chanced upon at my fave DVD rental place, and I decided I had to see because it is a well-known film, and it has The Kirkster.

It is based on an actual event that took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, and is considered to be the most famous gun fight of the American Wild West.

Burt Lancaster plated Wyatt Earp with The Kirkster as Doc Holliday, and also featured Lee Van Cleef, John Ireland, DeForest Kelley, and a very young Dennis Hopper.

The story mostly focussed on Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and the simmering feud between them and the cowboy cattle-smuggling gangsters, and of course culminated in a shootout.

According to Wikipedia there were quite a lot of historical inaccuracies, including the gunfight itself which in the film was fought at medium range, but in reality was face-to-face. The actual fight lasted only thirty seconds, but in the film it was of course longer. There was also a love story between Wyatt and a lady gambler which was completely fabricated, probably to attract the female audience.

The highlight of this film was the story between Wyatt and Doc Holliday, both Burt and The Kirkster were fabs in their parts. Dennis Hopper too was great, even though his part was quite small. The rest of the cast held their own.

It is a two-hour film, which was perhaps a bit too long, but overall it was a standard but decent watch.

Date watched: December 2nd
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 137

The Fast and the Furious

This is a 1955 film produced by Roger Corman, starring (and directed by) John Ireland, and Dorothy Malone.

The story involves John Ireland’s character kidnapping a woman who was on her way a race on the border with Mexico, where he hoped to get over the border to avoid being arrested for the murder of a truck driver, which he of course was not guilty of. The pair fall in love during the race, and all works out reasonably well in the end.

The story gets a bit boring after a while, but the acting by the lead actors was pretty good for a budget film, so they held it together. There was plenty of hairy racing action which was filmed on Monteray Race track. Roger Corman himself drove a Jaguar in the racing scenes.

One scene fascinated me. The NZ flag (or at least a bad copy of one)can be seen prominently in the background, and I was trying to figure out why. I guessed in the end that it was not put there on purpose, it just happened to be there in the shot. There were other flags next to it as well, including the Fijian flag!

From Wikipedia: Producer Neal H. Moritz and Universal Pictures licensed the title for 2001’s The Fast and the Furious. Moritz had difficulty choosing between proposed titles Racer X, Redline, Race Wars, and Street Wars, and was inspired by a documentary on American International Pictures that included Corman’s film. Moritz was able to trade the use of some stock footage to Corman for use of the title.

It was made for $50,000, but made $250,000, so Roger did alright out of it. After this film he decided to go into directing as well.

Roger is 91 now, and is still producing films with his latest being Death Race 2050 (2017).

This is not essential watching, but at only 73 minutes long it was not too bad.

Date watched: November 27th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2017: 135

The Mob

This is a 1952 film noir crime which I found on YouTube. The uploader had titled it “Charles Bronson/Broderick Crawford Mob”.

It turns out though that this was one of The Bronson’s first film appearances, and he had only one short scene where he spoke just one line. He was also uncredited.


The Bronson, left, next to Broderick Crawford.

The rest of the cast though were pretty good, especially Broderick Crawford (a very prolific actor, mostly B-grade stuff) as a hard-nosed cop who goes undercover to bust up a New York waterfront crime ring. Ernest Borgnine had a role as a union thug, he was aces of course.

The cop had to find out who the mysterious leader of the crime ring was, and to do so he had to become a longshoresman and talk tough to get noticed, and get involved in some hard-boiled action.

For the day this film was probably a bit more violent than usual, there were a few shootings, and a gnarly fist fight between the cop and The Borg’s right-hand man.

Most of the actors in this film were at least 40, including the lead actor playing the cop, something you would not see in an action film today… except anything with Arnie and Stallones.

As I have mentioned in other reviews, these old films are great because they don’t rely on the F-bomb or other cussing to spice up the dialogue, it is just simple no-nonsense tough talk with rough, but not blood-and-guts, action. Yep, those were the days.

This is more of a B-grade film, but still an enjoyable one.

Date watched: November 25th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2017: 134

The Card

This is a 1954 film starring Alec Guinness, and follows his character “Denry” as he goes from rags to riches.

The story is rather simple, and just follows Denry from one situation to the next, as he figures out how to make money and woo the ladies. It is a light comedy, which Alec does very well, he was quite a good comic actor it seems.

Petula Clark plays one of his love interests. Another actress, Glynis Johns, was great as dance instructor who loves to spend rich men’s money.

This is not essential watching, but at the very least it is interesting to see a young Alec Guinness do comedy.

Date watched: October 26th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2017: 121

The Promoter must be an alternative title.

Turn the Key Softly

This is a 1953 British film about three women released from prison at the same time, and follows them on their first few days back in society.

Joan Collins plays a sassy and street-wise character who has trouble not slipping back into crime, but is trying to go straight by marrying a chap who promised to marry her before she went to prison. Yvonne Mitchell plays a woman who was nicked for burglary after getting involved with a dashing fellow who was also a career criminal. And Kathleen Harrison (she died in 1995 aged 103) played a poor granny caught by the Bill for petty theft, and who adored her pet dog “Johnny”. Their stories are intertwined, with each woman having a different outcome at the end.

The acting is superb by all, and the story is told honestly and without melodrama, very British one might say.

Not much else to say really except that this was a very pleasant surprise of a film to find on YouTube.

Date watched: October 17th
Score: 9/10
Film count 2017: 115

The poster does not really do the film justice, at all.

Please Murder Me!

This is a 1956 film noir starring Raymond Burr and Angela Landsbury.

The story is a series of flashbacks about the events leading up to the murder of Raymond Burr’s character, who as it turns out was orchestrating his own death to exact revenge on the despicable character played by Angela Landsbury.

The story was easy to follow and even though the ending was obvious it was still entertaining and suspenseful. Raymond and Angela were aces in their roles, and it was well directed and filmed, although it did not have a big budget feel to it.

Denver Pyle played a police lieutenant, you will remember him from Dukes of Hazzard as Jesse Duke.

Not a bad way to spend 78 minutes.

Date watched: September 29th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2017: 110

Suddenly

This was sitting in “Watch later” on YouTube, put there because it stars Frankie (Sinatra).

The story was about an assassination attempt on the President by Frankie and his two cohorts in a small town, the sheriff of which was Sterling Hayden. Unfortunately the story was a bit too wholesome at times, then overly 1950’s dramatic. It was saved somewhat though by Sinatra, who did not deliver an Oscar-winning performance, but was the highlight of the film.

There were a few shootouts, and in one scene a cop inside a cop car recklessly lets rip with a submachine gun on a crim in the street, plugging him full of holes. In another scene the hostages in the story rig a table with metal legs up to a 5000 volt TV (dang!), and electrocute another of the crims who while being shocked pulls the trigger on the gun setup on the table and sprays bullets on police near the house, triggering another shooting spree.

5000v
Super high-powered TV

There is a lot of patriotic talk (and to some extent how guns are necessary and good), it is laid on quite thick at times.

A remake was made in 2013 starring Ray Liotta and Dominic Purcell, but that gets only 10% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I will skip that.

I should have skipped this one too actually. If you want to see a good Frankie film then check out From Here To Eternity, which I have seen but for some reason I cannot find on this blog… weird.

Date watched: August 16th
Score: 4/10
Film count 2017: 91

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