Musings from the Manhut

Where the ebb and flow of life creates a cascade of words down the paper's face

Tag: movie

The Admiral was a Lady

#^The Admiral Was A Lady : Roxbury Productions : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive

Image/photo

Really enjoyable movie set just after WWII about a woman ensign (nicknamed the admiral) who falls in with a gang of lovable losers.

Tonight’s #public domain #movie. A few minutes in and I have already had a chuckle or two.

A Connecticut Nazi in the University!

Aside from the comedic cameos on shows like the Muppets and the films he did deconstructing Macbeth for high school movies I have never liked the movies of Orson Welles. There! I have finally said it. I was floored by the American Film Institutes naming of Citizen Kane as the #1 movie of all time. Citizen Kane was a weird movie about a weird man done in a weird way. Welles also made a weird movie of Macbeth which only by happy accident bears any resemblance to the story the Bard wrote long ago. It only took me about fifteen minutes to turn off the Magnificent Ambersons.

Now before everyone drags out the pitchforks and tries to run me out of town on a rail, evidently the good movie-going people of America agreed with me. While Citizen Kane did manage to reach a break even point at the box office all of Welles’ movies were commercial flops…

That is except for today’s movie selection- The Stranger.

Film image from the public domain movie "The Stranger"

I had never seen this public domain movie and wasn’t really expecting to like it. As a matter of fact I was expecting to hate this movie which was directed by Mr Welles and stars him, Loretta Young and Edward G Robinson. In the movie Welles is a Nazi war criminal who escaped post-war Germany and was living under an alias in Connecticut. The alluring Loretta Young plays his new bride and Edward G Robinson plays the ineffable Mr Wilson who is a Nazi hunting agent from some agency created by the Allies to track down war criminals.

The film does start out with some out of place music and some of Welles quirky cinematography but quickly settles into a nicely made detective type movie where Mr Wilson greatest weapon is psychological warfare while he tries to catch the criminal and keep his wife safe from harm.

Welles allows himself one longish rant about German fascism in the movie. Mr Welles had been studying fascism and writing articles about it in the New York Times. Welles did not believe that fascism could be so easily vanquished and seemed to believe that fascists were lurking behind every dark corner in Europe. Welles uses his beliefs about fascism in his monologue in a fairly long rant. We really don’t mind this rant because it is so integral to the story.

The only acting in the movie that could be seen as over-the-top or campy came from Loretta Young’s character. I don’t know if it is because she’s so pretty in this picture or because the campy parts were so well done that I didn’t mind them in the least.

Edward G Robinson’s performance was up to his usual high quality. Robinson has never disappointed me in a movie and the character of Mr Wilson may be one of his better roles. Wilson does an almost impossible job of balancing his directive to catch a Nazi and caring for those that are in harm’s way from the Nazi.

I give this movie high marks. For sure it is Orson Welles best movie. I don’t want to say this is a must see, but you are for sure missing out on something special if you don’t watch this one! Perhaps the highest accolade that I can give it is to say that this movie will make it to my private archive of public domain works!

And just for kicks here is another pic of Ms Young and Mr Welles…

Image from the Public Domain movie "The Stranger"

It should come as no surprise to you by now that this public domain movie can be found at archive.org

McClintock!- A public domain movie with John Wayne

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John Wayne in McClintock (Public Domain Image)

I would deserve to be boiled in oil if I didn’t mention John Wayne’s public domain movie “McClintock!” This 1963 movie star John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Stefanie Powers, Jerry Van Dyke, and Wayne’s son Patrick. This movie gives us a humourous take on the battle of the sexes and is often described as The Taming of the Shrew set in the old west. The film also deals with issues such as the generation gap and racism.

This movie was properly copyrighted when it was released in 1963 but due to some legal wrangling the copyright holders were unable to renew the copyright when the time came. Paramount has the right to distribute “official” copies of the film, which probably means copies that have extra footage or interviews with the actors or something.

This is one of my favourite movies of all time. Even if you don’t like westerns you’ll like this movie. It is nowhere near politically correct. Seeing Maureen O’Hara rise up out of the mud after John Wayne knocks her into it is worth the cost of admission alone and it has probably the best spanking scene in any movie ever made.

I realise that John Wayne is enormously popular and that everyone who reads this blog has probably already seen this movie a million times so I won’t go into incredible detail, but this is a FIVE STAR funny movie.

One interesting bit of trivia is that McClintock! didn’t do as well as expected at the box office. Michael Wayne, John’s son, credits this to the movie’s release date which was 22 November 1963. This was the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

Of course this movie can be found at archive.org.

Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Today’s selection is the public domain made-for-tv movie named Boy in the Plastic Bubble which is about a boy forced to live in a plastic bubble due to a bad immune system.

I will not be watching or reviewing this movie. Some other public domain reviewers, whose judgment I have come to trust, have recommended this show. So as a service I will post the links to it for you.

I will not watch it because I hate the enforced and affected sentimentality that a made-for-tv movie of this type evokes.

More importantly I will not watch this movie because it star one John Travolta. I can’t look at Travolta without seeing that idiot sweathog Barbarino. One would think that sooner or later Travolta would outgrow that.

Furthermore Travolta has starred in some of the dumbest movies ever set to celluloid. Who can forget such travesties as Broken Arrow, Staying Alive, Two of a Kind? To these we need to add junk like Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Battlefield Earth. Travolta also starred in what is perhaps the dumbest movie of all time, Urban Cowboy.

I’m just not going to waste my time with this one. Knowing my luck it might be Travolta’s greatest movie.

You can view it at archive.org.

As a sidenote- even though Grease is dumber than dirt I do have a fun time watching it.

Johnny Cash as a sociapath in this movie

Johnny Cash, Vic Tayback and Ronnie Howard act in this public domain thriller called Five Minutes to Live

In this thriller Vic Tayback plays a seasoned bank robber who hires sociopathic killer Johnny Cash to help in the bank heist. The plan is for Johnny Cash to hold a bank employee’s wife hostage at their lovely suburban home while Vic Tayback goes into town and coerces the loot from the bank employee. Tayback is supposed to call Cash every five minutes on the nose or Cash will kill the wife.

This one is tense in places. Cash’s character is rife with sexual aggressiveness. The bank employee is having an affair and we’re not sure that the phone calls will be made.

The set-up is excellent and the execution of the story is good. Tayback did an excellent job with his role. Cash seemed a little uncomfortable but I guess that happens when you take a singer and make an actor out of him. A six year old Ron Howard does a good job as well.

All in all this was a good movie. I could’ve done without all the guitar picking but this movie had Johnny Cash so what did I expect? I give it 3 1/2 start out of 5.

View at archive.org.

DOA- Film-Noir’s Highest Bar

Tonight’s public domain movie was the all time classic D.O.A. starring Edmond O’Brien as Frank Bigelow who has just been murdered and spends the movie trying to figure out whodunit and why.

This movie was made in 1950 and the copyright holders failed to renew the copyright in 1977 so the movie went into the public domain. In 2004 this film made the National Film Registry as a film worth preserving.

 

If you’ve never seen this film this is the bar for the film-noir genre. This, in fact, might be the only five star film in the whole genre. The plot plods along in a few places and the romantic scenes are a bit hokey and formulaic but they do not detract from the overall rhythm and drama of this Hollywood classic.

This movie has been remade a couple of times but the remakes do not hold a candle to the original!

Check it out at archive.org publ

Quicksand- A decent into crime

Last night my spleen ruptured appreciably as I watched the public domain film Quicksand which stars Mickey Rooney as a man who gets caught in a wild descent into crime after he steals $20 from the cash register at work.

 

This movie is generally believed to be one of Mickey Rooney’s best performances and is first film dark character after his good guy “Andy Hardy” movies.

 

This movie also stars Peter Lorre, who does a most adequate job of playing Peter Lorre, Jeanne Cagney and Barbara Bates.

 

I loved this movie. This was incredible. Within a few minutes I was totally wrapped up in the story and almost forgot that I was doing other things online while I was watching it. There was no cheesy dialogue or over the top scenes in it. I even liked Peter Lorre’s character, Nick, in this movie and I generally get annoyed by Lorre’s characters who are usually weasels.

 

Do yourself a favour and spend the hour and eighteen minutes to watch this public domain classic. It is well worth the time.

 

This movie can be watched or downloaded from archive.org

I found a decent #publicdomain movie!!!

It is rare to find a movie that is both in the public domain and good. Sure the public domain has some incredible movies like The Tramp with Charlie Chaplin. Some others, such as John Wayne’s McClintock and Gregory Peck’s To Kill a Mockingbird are great movies but their public domain status is dubious to say the least. Needless to say most of the movies in the public domain are poor quality B-movies that should only be watched when one is in a mood for a schlocky movie and half drunk to boot.

But I have found a true gem of a movie in public domain. The Last Man on Earth was made in 1963 and stars Vincent Price as Robert Morgan. This movie is based on the book I Am Legend by Matheson which also served as the basis for the 1971 movie starring Charleton Heston called The Omega Man and the recent movie called I am Legend starring Will Smith.

I started watching this movie expecting it to be the usual public domain tripe. It is obviously low budget. It is a little over the top in places. The sets are cheesy and the dialog is a little stiff and disjointed but I found this movie to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I was counting on watching about 15 minutes of this and then going to bed but the movies so captured me that I watched the whole movie.

I highly recommend this movie. I like it better than The Omega Man remake and I even think it might be better than the Will Smith version.

Here is the link for the h_264 version of the movie. Other versions are available on that page.

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