Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Serial - Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe - Chapter Eight

So with the end of chapter eight we reach the 3/4 point in our serial and we begin to get some interesting answers - sometimes to things we didn't even know were questions. For instance, we learn that despite the fact that they have quite a distinctive language (ya gotta love the backward looped dialogue) the rock men aren't actually made of rock, but are simply dressed that way to hide from the giant lizards that inhabit the "land of the dead". Oh, and we also learn why (at least according to Zarkov) the region got that name.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973) - Bee Girls in a Z-Movie

Ok, really, once you've seen the poster for this flick over there on the right, do I really have to waste a lot of words talking about it? This is, simply put, 70's exploitation fare at its most typical. You've got a mad scientist (played, for a change by a woman, Vicoria Vetri), you've got quite a few chicks getting nekkid (I will point out that most of the supposed "Bee" girls are actually C's or D's), you've got some pretty cheap special effects, you've got a whole bunch of white goo, and you've got... well, yeah, that's pretty much what you've got.

Panic in the Streets (1950) - Noir For the Public Good

First, a quick note of housekeeping: I'm hoping to get quite a few reviews up this week, sort of a deck clearing  effort, before starting in with next week's Public Domain 101 where we'll take a bit of a step back and take more of a look at what exactly the Public Domain is, what it isn't, and why you should care.

Generally, the term film noir is associated with movies where the only real theme is the downward spiral of the protagonist. Occasionally, as in the noirs that came out during World War II, we'll see these films delve into something larger like the "growing Nazi menace", but for the most part that's simply overlay for the general development of mood or atmosphere that the director is trying to bring to the screen. Rarely do we find a director really trying to confront anything larger than one man's personal downfall.

Perhaps that's part of what makes the films of Elia Kazan, and this film  in particular, stand out from the typical noir fare, and why it would go on to win two Academy Awards.

Sunday Serial - Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe - Chapters Six and Seven

Ok, kiddies, time to get caught up on the intergalactic adventures of Flash, Dale, Zarkov and the rest. When we last left them our heroes had escaped from Ming's clutches in one of his own ships. Unfortunately, they soon found themselves being fired upon by their own ally, Prince Barin:

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Rogues' Tavern (1936) - The Ghouls Take a Holiday

We've discussed before the ever-popular "old dark house" type mystery. You know the ones: strangers gathered for some reason - perhaps they were driven there by a storm, perhaps they are gathered for the reading of a will, perhaps they are simply being paid - in a creepy old house, trapped with no way out until morning, and soon they are being picked off one by one. sometimes the murderer turns out to be one of them. Sometimes it's their host. Sometimes it's some previously unseen or unknown third party. Usually there are secret passages or unseen traps. Sometimes, as in House on Haunted Hill, there's a pit of acid in the basement. Every once in awhile, there are even actual ghosts.

Sunday Serial - Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe - Chapters Four and Five

Apparently it's true: war changes everyone, even merciless emperors!

Along with watching the progressing chapters of this serial, for the first few weeks now we've also been talking about some of the changes that were made between the first two series and this one. This week we come to one that may at first seem merely a matter of semantics, but actually, I think, reflects the changes going on not only in Flash's world, but in the real world beyond the screen.

Saturday TV - Dollar a Second and Quick as a Flash

Hiya Kiddies! Sorry for the paucity of posts lately, but yer ol' professor has been more than a bit under the weather recently. Still, I'm back today and ready to make up for it with a whole batch of posts. First we'll start with a TV double feature, then the next installment of our Sunday serial, then with a little luck a double posting of new movie features this afternoon. So just kick back and enjoy some vintage programming.

First up today, as I mentioned, is a double feature from the TV archives, and today we're looking at game shows. There was a time when game shows were as ubiquitous and important a part of television programming as "reality" shows are today. Generally quick and cheap to produce compared to scripted programming, they were an easy way for a TV station or network to fill a time slot. They were also, in a time before every second-rate comedian had a late-night talk show a great promotional tool for other shows or for movies, as a star could make a quick appearance as a panelist or contestant on one of these shows and in return they would get a plug for whatever their latest project was. Of course, that also meant that a lot of ideas were tried as programmers often grasped at straws trying to come up with new and varied ideas that would catch on with the audience at home. sometimes these ideas were good, sometimes, well...
Unless otherwise noted, all movies discussed on this blog and all associated materials are believed to be in the Public Domain. If you are a copyright holder for any of these materials, please email me. Unless otherwise noted, all material created for this blog by Professor Damian is licensed under a Creative Commons license as described below. Creative Commons License
Professor Damian's Public Domain Treasure Chest by Professor Damian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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