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Showing posts from April, 2017

James Mason as Philip Vandamm.

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When you think of a villain, a number of images come to mind. Maleficent cackling in Sleeping Beauty. The awful society snobs in All that Heaven Allows. Basil Rathbone in, well, lots of things. Villains come in all shapes and sizes, but perhaps my favorite kind of dastardly antagonist is the perfect gentleman. With manicured hands, dashing looks, beautiful suits, and impeccable manners, this villain exposes the corruption and wickedness that can hide behind the well-maintained facade. Sometimes the effect can be devastating, but other times it can just be plain fun.
As the expert at uncovering the evil underneath the quotidian, Alfred Hitchcock had some villains that were matchless. The qualifications were usually as follows: suave, sophisticated, witty... More often than not, being British helped too, as did executing the best arched eyebrow. From Herbert Marshall to Robert Walker, Hitchcock's antagonists were fascinating to watch. No one proves that more than James Mason as Phi…

Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

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When The Little Shop of Horrors begins, everything seems to be fine and normal and sane. We're taken to Los Angeles's skid row, where Gravis Mushnick (Mel Welles), a perpetually frustrated man, runs a little flower shop with the help of his employees, Audrey (Jackie Joseph) and the bumbling Seymour (Jonathan Haze). It's all rather routine, until Burson Fouch (Dick Miller) comes in, orders a bouquet, takes out a salt shaker from his pocket, and proceeds to eat the flowers. For the rest of its slim 72 minutes, Little Shop of Horrors doesn't let up in its weirdness, nor does it stop surprising you.

When Seymour is fired by Mushnick, he tries to prove his worth by bringing in the plant he cross-bred. Named Audrey Jr. due to Seymour's crush on his co-worker, the plant is interesting enough and Mushnick is desperate enough that he gives Seymour one week to improve sales by enticing people to come in to see Audrey Jr. When the plant appears to die within hours, Seymour s…

Holden and Hepburn are screwballs in... Paris When It Sizzles (1964)

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Paris When It Sizzles is weird. It has many scenes that will either make you giddy with disbelief or frustrated. Personally, I've always enjoyed the film -- why else would I be writing about it? -- but others love nothing more than to tear it to pieces. Is it a masterpiece? Oh goodness, no. Is it ridiculous, silly, and bizarre? Oh, yes! I would be the first to admit that Paris... is not for everybody, but I happen to think its positives outweigh the negatives.

One very big positive is the cast. Audrey Hepburn and William Holden were a really good team, yet they only made two films, this one and Sabrina. The latter film saw Holden losing Audrey to Humphrey Bogart, so it's nice to see Holden get the girl this time. (And naturally Audrey is in chic Givenchy!) Noel Coward has a supporting role, but my favorite favorite favorite supporting role goes to Tony Curtis, who wasn't even put on the poster and must have came as quite the surprise to the audience back then -- I was cert…