Movies from the ‘Black & White’ Category« Older Entries
Saturday, October 16th, 2010
The Incredible Petrified World is a 1958 science fiction movie directed by Jerry Warren and starring John Carradine.
Professor Millard Wyman’s (John Carradine) sends a crew of two men, Paul Whitmore (Allen Windsor) and Craig Randall (Robert Clarke,) and two women Lauri Talbott (Sheila Noonan) and Dale Marshall (Phyllis Coates,) down to ocean depths never before explored. But, there’s a technical problem during the launch and the mission is believed lost.
Saturday, October 16th, 2010
Metropolis is a brilliant German expressionist film made in 1927 by Fritz Lang.
Set in a futuristic urban landscape it explores the political theme of the day, the social tensions between workers and owners within the capitalist system.
The most expensive silent film ever made, 5 million Reichsmark was the eventual cost.
Metropolis is the name of the city in which the two classes in society live. One in luxurious skyscrapers and and the other below ground. The film tells the story of a dehumanizing society where machines matter more than people and the rich thoroughly exploit workers.
Sunday, September 12th, 2010
Revolt of the Zombies is a 1936 horror film directed and produced by the Halperin Brothers which stars Dean Jagger and Dorothy Stone.
On the Franco-Austrian Frontier during World War I, an oriental priest, chaplain of a French colonial regiment, is condemned to life imprisonment because he possesses the power to turn men into zombies. In his prison cell, the priest prepares to burn a parchment containing the location of the secret formula. Colonel Mazovia (Roy D’Arcy) kills the priest and takes the partially-burned parchment. After the war, an expedition of representatives from the Allied countries with colonial interests are sent to Cambodia to find and destroy forever the so-called “Secret of the Zombies”. The group includes Colonel Mazovia; a student of dead languages, Armand Louque (Dean Jagger); Englishman Clifford Grayson (Robert Noland); General Duval (George Cleveland); and his daughter Claire (Dorothy Stone.)
Armand falls in love with Claire, who accepts his proposal of marriage to spite Clifford, whom she really loves. Later, when Claire runs to Cliff for comfort following an accident, Armand breaks the engagement, leaving her free to marry Cliff. Further accidents caused by Mazovia result in the natives refusing to work, forcing the expedition to return to Phnom Penh. Armand finds a clue which he had overlooked before and returns to Angkor against orders.
After viewing an ancient ceremony at a temple, Armand follows one of the servants of a high priest out of the temple, through a swamp, to a mysterious bronze doorway. When the servant leaves, Armand goes through the door to a room paneled in bronze, with an idol holding a gong. He accidentally strikes the gong, and a panel in the wall opens, revealing a small metal tablet. He translates the inscription and realizes that it is the secret for which they have all been looking. He alone now has the power to make zombies out of people, and begins with a practice run on his servant before using his zombie powers in an attempt to coerce the fickle Claire in the movie’s climax.
Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
King of the Zombies is a 1941 film directed by Jean Yarborough.
During World War II, a small plane somewhere over the Caribbean runs low on fuel and is blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crash-land on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The quick-witted yet easily-frightened manservant (Mantan Moreland) soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies, and confirms this with some of the doctor’s hired help. Exploring, the three stumble upon a voodoo ritual being conducted in the cellar, where the doctor is trying to acquire war intelligence from a captured US military official. But the interruption causes the zombies to turn on their master.
The role of Dr. Victor Sangre was intended for Bela Lugosi. When he became unavailable, negotiations ensued to obtain Peter Lorre for the part, but a deal could not be reached. Veteran character actor Henry Victor was signed just prior to the date of filming.
In the press kit for this film, Monogram advised exhibitors to sell “it along the same lines as Paramount’s The Ghost Breakers (1940).” The Bob Hope horror/comedy was a runaway hit at the time.
Produced and released prior to U.S. entry into World War II, the film seems to portray Nazi Germany as the enemy behind the scenes. The villain claims to be from Austria, radio traffic is spoken in German and there are spoken references to spying, although neither Germany or Nazis are overtly mentioned. The plot, described in the press kit, describes the evil Dr. Sangre as “a secret agent for a European government.”
Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
“The 39 Steps” is an acclaimed 1935 British thriller adapted from John Buchan’s book of the same name. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.
Canadian Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) is watching a demonstration of the powers of recall of “Mr. Memory” (Wylie Watson) at a London music hall when shots are fired. In the ensuing panic he finds himself holding a seemingly frightened Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim,) who talks him into taking her back to his flat. There, she tells him she’s a spy, being chased by assassins and that she has uncovered a plot to steal vital British military secrets, masterminded by a man with the top joint missing from one of his fingers. She mentions the 39 steps but does not explain it’s meaning.
Later that night Smith is murdered in Hannay’s flat but he manages to escape and boards a train to Scotland due to finding a map of Scotland clutched in the dying Smith’s hand.
The adventure now truly starts and what follows is an outstanding film, fully standing the test of time. The story has been re-made a number of times but this version is still the best.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Triumph of the Will (German: Triumph des Willens) is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of speeches by Adolf Hitler, interspersed with footage of massed party members. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the True German Leader who will bring glory to the nation.
Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and rapidly became one of the best-known examples of propaganda in film history. Riefenstahl’s techniques, such as moving cameras, the use of telephoto lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography, have earned Triumph recognition as one of the greatest films in history. Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries. The film was popular in the Third Reich and elsewhere, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day.
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Torture Ship is a 1939 American film directed by Victor Halperin.
A well known doctor is indicted for his experiments concerning the curing of the criminal mind. Needing to continue his work and hoping that success will clear him, he buys a boat, loads it with several high profile criminals hoping to escape the law and heads out to sea.
At least that’s the plan, but things start to go wrong and things are revealed to be not what they seemed at first…
Lyle Talbot as Lt. Bob Bennett
Irving Pichel as Dr. Herbert Stander
Julie Bishop as Joan Martel
Sheila Bromley as Poison Mary Slavish
Anthony Averill as Dirk – Stander’s Aide
Russell Hopton as Harry “The Carver” Bogard
Julian Madison as Paul – Stander’s Aide
Eddie Holden as Ole Olson
Wheeler Oakman as John Ritter
Stanley Blystone as Captain Mike Briggs
Leander De Cordova as Ezra Matthews
Demetrius Alexis as Steve Murano
Skelton Knaggs as Jesse Bixel
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Son of Ingagi is an unusual film made in 1940 and directed by Richard Kahn about a mad doctor who keeps a monster in the basement. It’s unusual for two reasons, one being the mad doctor is a woman, which is strange for the time, and the other is the fact that the film has an all-black cast, especially for this kind of movie.
Eleanor and Bob Lindsay inherit the house of the doctor, Helen Jackson, who has been killed by the monster after drinking a potion provided by the doctor that turned him wild with anger!
Having inherited the house the Liinsay family soon notice strange goings on caused by the monster’s presence and it’s only a matter of time before he emerges from the basement.
Zack Williams as Ingina
Laura Bowman as Dr. Jackson
Alfred Grant as Robert Lindsay
Daisy Bufford as Eleanor Lindsay
Arthur Ray as Zeno Jackson
Spencer Williams as Nelson
Earl J. Morris as Bradshaw
Jesse Graves as Chief of Detectives
The Toppers as themselves
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The Phantom Creeps FROM 1939 is everything an old classic B sci-fi is supposed to be.
It features Bela Lugosi (as Dr. Zorka,) a mad megalomaniac
scientist who attempts to rule the world by creating various elaborate inventions. However, foreign agents and G-Men try to seize the inventions for themselves.
It was adapted in DC’s Movie Comics #6, cover date September-October 1939, the final issue of that title.
Stock footage was used from The Invisible Ray (look closely and you’ll see Boris Karloff,) including scenes of Dr Zorka finding the meteorite in Africa. The music came from the Frankenstein films. The Phantom Creeps’ car chase was itself used as stock footage in later films. Newsreel shots of the Hindenburg disaster were used as part of Dr Zorka’s final spree of destruction after his robot, which is supposed to destroy the human race, is stopped by a single shot seconds after being unleashed.
Directors: Ford Beebe, Saul A. Goodkind
Béla Lugosi as Doctor Alex Zorka.
Robert Kent as Captain Bob West, G-Man
Dorothy Arnold as Jean Drew, reporter
Edwin Stanley as Doctor Fred Mallory, Doctor Zorka’s former partner
Regis Toomey as Lieutenant Jim Daley, G-Man
Jack C. Smith as Monk, Doctor Zorka’s assistant
Edward Van Sloan as Jarvis, foreign spy chief
Dora Clement as Ann Zorka
Anthony Averill as Rankin, a foreign spy
Hugh Huntley as Perkins, Doctor Mallory’s lab assistant
Ed Wolff as The Robot
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
“Scarlet Street” is an outstanding 1945 American Film directed by Fritz Lang, famous for the films “Metropolois” and “M,” made in Germany earlier in his career. It is based on the book “La Chienne” (The Bitch) by Georges de La Fouchardiere which Jean Renoir had previously filmed as “La Chienne” in 1931.
The main actors, Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea had earlier appeared in “The Woman in the Window,” made in 1944 by Fritz Lang.
Dhrostopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson,” a mild banker and amateur painter is at a dinner honouring him for 25 years of service at his bank. On his way home he helps Kitty (Joan Bennett,) thing wife e femme fatale of the story, who is being attacked by a man. He becomes enamoured by her, his domestic life ruled by his bullying wife Adele (Rosalind Ivan,) who still idolises her dead first husband.
From Christopher’s comments about art, Kitty mistakenly believes him to be a wealthy painter. It turns out that the attacker was Johnny, Kitty’s brutish boyfriend who convinces her to continue the relationship with Cross in order to extort money.
Cross starts to spend money on Kitty but has to steal from the bank in order to finance this new life. Johnny tries to sell some of Cross’s paintings but makes Kitty put her name on them. Cross’s wife sees the paintings in a gallery with Kitty’s name on them and then accuses him of copying her work!
Meanwhile, the supposedly dead husband of Cross’s wif suddenly reappears, the intrigue taking another on another dimension.