Well, this has been on my chest for a while. Welcome to my new series. I am going to be reviewing talking pictures that are either about the silent era or that incorporate silent films into their story. I will review the film itself and then briefly discuss whether the film helped or harmed public perception of the silent era.
What do you think of when you hear the name William Castle? Classic chillers? Clever marketing gimmicks? If you asked a movie-goer in the forties, though, they would have thought of mysteries.
In the forties, Castle was known as a B director who could get films done on-time and on-budget. His output varied during this decade but two series kept cropping up on his resume: The Whistler and The Crime Doctor. Both were low-budget films series involving amateur sleuths and both featured former silent leading men: Richard Dix and Warner Baxter, respectively.
This is wonderfully entertaining film for all the wrong reasons. Here is what we are in for:
Humphrey Bogart plays a zombie doctor who must steal the blood of the living so that he (and his white rabbit!) can survive. Also, he has wire spectacles and a skunk stripe in his hair.
Let’s dust off a pre-Code mad scientist picture. And, as an added bonus, let’s choose one filmed in two strip Technicolor and directed by Michael Curtiz, of Robin Hood, Casablanca and Mildred Pierce fame. Even better, let’s choose one that has horror veteran Lionel Atwill and scream queen Fay Wray.
It’s time to give a little attention to one of my favorite screen teams, a couple so famous in the talkies that most people do not even realize that they started in the silents: William Powell and Myrna Loy.
When you hear about Plan 9 from Outer Space, the first thing you think of is a silent movie, right?
No? Well, keep reading!
Before I get started, I think a little background is in order. Hopalong Cassidy holds a special place in my family. You see, as a kid, my mom had this: