Ditto (1937)

Ditto (1937)
Article 6076 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-18-2022
Directed by Charles Lamont
Featuring Buster Keaton, Gloria Brewster, Barbara Brewster
Country: USA
What it is: Buster Keaton talkie short

An iceman falls in love with one of a pair of twins.

Classifying this one as a genre is a big stretch, but the final scenes of this one not only takes place fifteen years in the future, but it does feature some slight science fiction content; we see a flight of planes towing trailers after them. It’s merely the set-up for a joke that isn’t particularly satisfying, but this wasn’t during Keaton’s prime either. Still, there’s a gag or two that does work well enough to get a laugh, so I’m counting my blessings with this one. Otherwise, watching some of these forgettable shorts would be depressing when we think how brilliant he was during the silent era.

The House of Exorcism (1975)

The House of Exorcism (1975)
Article 6075 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-17-2022
Directed by Mario Bava and Alfredo Leone
Featuring Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina
Country: Italy, West Germany, Spain
What it is: What happens when you can’t find a distributor

A priest attempts to find out why a tourist has become possessed by the devil.

When this movie originally came up on my hunt list, I opted to watch the original Mario Bava version called LISA AND THE DEVIL, which, despite a few caveats, I really liked. I was encouraged by several people to give this version a watch also, as there was enough new footage to make this reedit of the movie different enough that it became for all practical reasons a separate movie from the original. Having now seen it, I agree that it is substantially a different movie; but I far and away prefer the original.

Basically, in this version of the movie, the events in the original movie become backstory for the events in this one, but the backstory is still far more interesting than the exorcism angle in this edit; most of what happens here are pale imitations of similar scenes in THE EXORCIST, and what they don’t borrow from that movie is its attempt to tie the exorcist angle to the events in LISA AND THE DEVIL, which seems forced and silly. Telly Savalas still steals the movie, though his presence is entirely from backstory footage. The reason for this movie’s existence is that the original was unable to find a distributor, and this reedit was done to make the property more commercial. Bava wasn’t happy with this being done and I don’t blame him. And if the option comes up again to see this one, it’s definitely Bava’s version I’ll choose.

The Spirit of ’43 (1943)

The Spirit of ’43 (1943)
Article 6074 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-14-2022
Directed by Jack King
Featuring the voice of Clarence Nash
Country: USA
What it is; WWII Propaganda Piece

It’s payday for Donald Duck. Should he go out and spend his money, or should he save it for taxes?

The fantastic content in this short is not the presence of talking ducks; at this point of time the presence of talking animals is considered by me a tradition of the cartoon genre and not fantastic content per se. Rather, it’s because Donald is tempted by this cartoon’s equivalent of the devil/angel wrong path/right path concept; both the thrifty duck and big spending duck initially appear magically to lead or tempt Donald. It also took a little time for me to see why this cartoon appeared in my Banned Cartoons collection. The wartime setting had me expecting offensive stereotypes of Germans or Japanese, but none appear. It was only when my wife pointed out that the thrifty angel was Scottish that the stereotype alarm finally went off.

As for the cartoon itself, I am a bit in awe of what it was attempting to do, which was to try to make the paying of taxes appear to be a patriotic duty, using the war as its selling point. I do wonder how effective it was at its time; I certainly doubt that message would have any resonance today. Being a Disney cartoon, it is a well-mounted production, but I doubt it was very popular; it’s so focused on its message that it becomes rather tiresome, and Donald is really not given much to do. It’s best taken as a curio of its time.

Don’t Answer the Phone! (1980)

Don’t Answer the Phone! (1980)
Article 6073 by Dave Sindelar
Date 11-10-2022
Directed by Robert Hammer
Featuring James Westmoreland, Ben Frank, Flo Lawrence
Country: USA
What it is: Psycho killer movie

A psycho killer is on the loose strangling women in their homes. The female doctor of a call-in radio therapist show receives calls from the psycho about his crimes. Police investigate.

Answering the phone actually has very little to do with putting yourself at risk in this movie as far as I can see, so the title doesn’t tell you much. But, then again, there’s precious little to tell here; if you’re familiar with MO of a psycho killer movie (in opposition to a slasher movie) there’s nothing here striking enough to set it apart from the crowd. The moment when I noticed that the police investigation scenes largely felt like comic relief was the moment I lost hope that anything novel was going to happen. And, given that this was a psycho killer movie made in the wake of the rise of the slasher film, I’m also not surprised that this movie borrows one trick from that genre, and I bet you know what the trick is. Nothing to recommend here.

L Movies

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El laboratorio del diablo (1904)

Laboratory (1980)

Le lac des morts vivant (1981)

A Lad an’ a Lamp (1932)

Ladies in Retirement (1941)

Ladron de cadaveres (1957)

The Lady and the Monster (1944)

Lady Dracula (1978)

Lady Frankenstein (1971)

Lady in a Cage (1964)

Lady Possessed (1952)

Lady, Stay Dead (1981)

The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

Lake of Dracula (1971)

The Land Beyond the Sunset (1912)

Land of Doom (1986)

Land of the Lost Jewels (1950)

The Land that Time Forgot (1975)

The Land Unknown (1957)

Laser Mission (1989)

Laserblast (1978)

Lash of the Penitentes (1937)

Last Bride of Salem (1974)

The Last Chase (1981)

The Last Child (1971)

Last Days of Pompeii (1913)

The Last Days of Pompeii (1959)

The Last Dinosaur (1977)

The Last House on Dead End Street (1977)

The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last Man on Earth (1960)

The Last Movie (1971)

The Last of the Secret Agents? (1966)

The Last Performance (1929)

The Last Reunion (1955)

The Last Shark (1981)

The Last Straw (1934)

The Last War (1961)

The Last Warning (1929)

The Last Wave (1977)

The Last Woman on Earth (1960)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)

The Late Great Planet Earth (1979)

The Lathe of Heaven (1980)

Latitude Zero (1969)

Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928)

Laughing at Danger (1924)

Laundry Blues (1930)

The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930)

Law and Order (1950)

Leaves from the Book of Satan (1920)

La lecon de musique (1909)

A Lecture on Camouflage (1944)

The Leech Woman (1960)

Legacy of Blood (1971)

Legacy of Satan (1974)

The Legend of Bigfoot (1976)

The Legend of Blood Castle (1973)

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1976)

The Legend of Doom House (1971)

The Legend of Hell House (1973)

The Legend of Hillbilly John (1974)

Legend of Horror (1972)

The Legend of Lylah Clare (1968)

The Legend of Spider Forest (1971)

The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)

Legend of the Werewolf (1975)

Legenda o sv. Prokopu (1947)

La legende du fantome (1908)

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)

La legende de Rip Van Winkle (1905)

The Lemon Grove Kids (1965)

Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (1973)

Lena and the Geese (1912)

Leonor (1975)

The Leopard Man (1943)

Leprechauns Gold (1949)

Lesnaya Pesnya (1963)

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)

Let’s Do it Again (1975)

Let’s Kill Uncle (1966)

Let’s Live Again (1948)

Let’s Ring Doorbells (1935)

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

License to Kill (1964)

Liebe muss Verstanden Sein (1933)

Liebe, Tod und Teufel (1934)

Life Force (1985)

Life is a Circus (1958)

Life, Liberty and Pursuit on the Planet of the Apes (1981)

Life of an American Fireman (1903)

Life Returns (1935)

Lifeblood (2006)

Lifepod (1981)

Lifespan (1976)

The Lift (1983)

The Light at the Edge of the World (1981)

Light Blast (1985)

Lightning Bolt (1966)

Lightning Bryce (1919)

Lightning Sketches (1907)

Li’l Abner (1940)

Li’l Abner (1959)

Lila (1968)

Lilacs in the Spring (1954)

Liliom (1930)

Liliom (1934)

The Lilliputian Minuet (1905)

The Lion Man (1936)

Lion Man (1975)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1979)

Liquid Dreams (1991)

Liquid Sky (1982)

Lisa and the Devil (1973)

The Little Ark (1972)

Little Boy Blue and Pancho (1962)

The Little Chimney Sweep (1935)

A Little Girl Who Did Not Believe in Santa Claus (1907)

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

Little Hiawatha (1937)

Little Johnny Jet (1953)

The Little Lamb: A Christmas Story (1955)

Little Lambkin (1940)

The Little Match Girl (1954)

The Little Match Seller (1902)

Little Moritz enleve Rosalie (1911)

Little Nemo (1911)

The Little Prince (1974)

Little Red Riding Hood (1922)

Little Red Riding Hood (1960)

Little Red Riding Hood and Her Friends (1961)

Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters (1962)

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Live and Let Die (1973)

The Live Ghost (1934)

A Lively Quarter-Day (1906)

The Living Coffin (1959)

The Living Dead (1932)

The Living Dead (1933)

The Living Ghost (1942)

The Living Head (1963)

The Living Idol (1957)

The Living Playing Cards (1904)

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)

Lizzie (1957)

La llorona (1933)

Lo llorona (1960)

La loba (1965)

Les locataires d’a-cote (1909)

The Loch Ness Horror (1982)

The Locket (1946)

Locura de terror (1961)

The Lodger (1926)

The Lodger (1932)

The Lodger (1944)

Logan’s Run (1976)

Lokis (1970)

London After Midnight (1927) Stills Recreation

Lonesome Ghosts (1937)

Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908)

The Long Hair of Death (1964)

Look What’s Happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976)

Looker (1981)

Loose in London (1953)

Lord of the Flies (1963)

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

The Lords of Magick (1989)

Lorna…The Exorcist (1974)

Lost Cannibal World (1977)

The Lost City (1935)

Lost City of the Jungle (1946)

Lost Continent (1951)

The Lost Continent (1958)

The Lost Dream (1949)

Lost Horizon (1937)

Lost Horizon (1973)

Lost Island of Kioga (1966)

The Lost Jungle (1934) Serial

The Lost Jungle (1934) Feature

The Lost Missile (1958)

The Lost Moment (1947)

The Lost Planet (1953)

Lost Planet Airmen (1951)

The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)

The Lost Tribe (1949)

The Lost World (1925)

The Lost World (1960)

The Lost World of Sinbad (1963)

The Lost Zeppelin (1929)

Love and Science (1912)

Love at First Bite (1979)

The Love Bug (1968)

The Love Butcher (1975)

Love by the Light of the Moon (1901)

Love From a Stranger (1937)

The Love Magnet (1916)

Love Me Deadly (1973)

The Love of Sunya (1927)

The Love of Zero (1927)

The Love Pill (1971)

Love Slaves of the Amazons (1959)

Love Wanga (1936)

The Love War (1970)

The Loves of Count Iorga: Vampire (1970)

The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe (1942)

The Loves of Hercules (1960)

Luch smerti (1925)

Las luchadores vs el robot asesino (1969)

The Lucifer Complex (1978)

The Luck of the Irish (1948)

Lucky Dog (1956)

Lucky Ghost (1942)

Lulu (1962)

Les lunatiques (1908)

Les lunettes feeriques (1909)

The Luny Musician (1906)

Lure of the Range (1927)

Lust for a Vampire (1971)

Luttes extravagantes (1899)

Luxo Jr. (1986)

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Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)
Article 6072 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-5-2022
Directed by Ivan Nagy
Featuring Reb Brown, Connie Sellecca, Len Birman
Country: USA
What it is: Made for TV superhero

Captain America takes on a terrorist who plans to ransom the country to keep him from using an aging drug on an American city.

Watching and reviewing a movie while trying to deal with Covid is not a favorite experience for me, but given what we have here is another made-for-TV superhero pilot from the seventies, a pretty common type of genre item. There’s a plethora of plot holes for those who want to pick away at them. Me, I’m more annoyed at the movie’s attempt to stretch out most of its action sequences; the opening driving scene, the hang-gliding scene, and any chase scene go on long past the point of patience At least the hero has noticeable superpowers, which is something I don’t often encounter in Captain America adaptations. The movie has an abysmal 3.9 rating, though it does have its array of supporters. To me, it’s just another forgettable made-for-tv superhero flick.

Fugitive Alien (1986)

Fugitive Alien (1986)
Article 6071 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11/3/2022
Directed by Minoru Kanaya, and Kiyosumi Kuzakawa
Featuring Tatsuya Azuma, Miyuki Tanagawa, Jo Shishido
Country: USA / Japan
What it is: TV episodes converted into a movie

A turncoat alien invader joins a crew of space adventurers.

I first became familiar with this one through the MST3K versions, which is a confusing muddle which may be due to the large chunks of story that were omitted. The complete version here is better, but still has its problems due to the fact that the basic story is uninteresting and that it ends abruptly with very little resolved. It’s another case of a TV series being converted into a couple of movies,, the second of which (STAR FORCE: ALIEN FUGITIVE 2) completes the story arc. The original series was SUTAURUFU, but I can’t find much information on this Japanese TV series from 1976. From what I see here, it was a forgettable action series. I found this one to be pretty dull.

The Sender (1982)

The Sender (1982)
Article 6070 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-1-2022
Directed by Roger Christian
Featuring Kathryn Harrold, Zeljko Ivanek, Shirley Knight
Country: UK
What it is: Offbeat horror film

A psychiatrist attempts to treat a suicidal amnesiac in a mental ward only to discover the patient has an uncontrollable psychic ability to project his nightmares into the minds of others.

Though I feel this movie has some flaws (such as being a bit muddled at times and having a somewhat unsatisfying ending), I’m really taken with the low-key approach the movie uses to tell its story; it makes the fantastic aspects more unsettling and provides a good contrast to the nightmare sequences. The movie is also anchored by the performances of the leads; Harrold, Ivanek and Knight (as the young man’s mother) all give fine, engaging performances. There are also some odd religious subtexts to the story, given that the young man does not believe he has a father and is mistaken as a Christ figure by some of the other patients. In the end, the positive aspects of the movie are strong enough to make it a worthy view.

Phony News Flashes (1955)

Phony News Flashes (1955)
Article 6069 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-28-2022
Directed by Connie Rasinski
Featuring the voice of Dayton Allen
Country: USA
What it is: Terrytoons news service

We see a series of news flashes about world events we may have missed.

This type of cartoon was very common during the forties, but not so much after that, so this one feels a little archaic. But when you open the festivities (such as they are) with three mother-in-law jokes, you’re really not trying to be innovative. As you might expect, this is a very uneven cartoon; the best moments to my eyes is a gag involving a slow motion spitball and the section about a town that passes an ordinance on noise control. One of the jokes involves an alien from another planet, and there is a bit where astronomers investigate a new heavenly body; neither bit is a highlight. Forgettable and harmless.

String Bean Jack (1938)

String Bean Jack (1938)
Article 6068 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-16-2022
Directed by John Foster
Voice cast unknown
Country: USA
What it is: Slightly comic retelling of fairy tale

Jack is sent out by his mother to sell the family cow for money, but he sells it for a handful of jelly beans. The mother throws them out but they grow into a beanstalk overnight, and you know the rest…

This cartoon from Terrytoons has a certain historical value, in it was the first one the studio did in color. For this studio, it’s not too bad; it does have a little fun with the two-headed giants, and there are a couple of famous comedians referenced (W. C. Fields and Harpo Marx). Still, once you realize it’s a “Jack and the Beanstalk” variation, it has little in the way of surprises, and the giant appears to be no taller than a rather tall man, a disappointing choice for an animated cartoon. Still, it is one of the better Terrytoons out there.