Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ye Old-Timey Cinema

I've been watching a truck load of black and white flicks via YouTube. He Walked by Night is full of yummy camera work by John Alton.  After a beloved officer is shot on the way home from work, the Los Angeles county police department put out a dragnet (yep) to catch the killer. The thing I really like about these old timey cop films is they usually contain a lot of old school procedural police work. Some of the best cop shop scenes are of Jack Webb as a young gee-whiz cop forensic expert. The L.A. sewer system chase scenes near the end are beautifully shot.

No, I'm not a Jerry Lewis fan, but The Delicate Delinquent is worth a watch. Jerry Lewis is Sydney L. Pythias, a janitor who is mistaken for a gang member. A very young Darren McGavin, so young in fact you can see his freckles, plays Mike Damon, the cop who wants to give juvies a second chance like he had. Martha Hyer simmers as Ms. Henshaw who is oh-so-pretty, but oh-so-strict.

The bongo drum Blackboard Jungle opening is cool. Jerry keeps the wacko screwball stuff to a minimum with only brief outbursts of knuckle headedness. Mike Damon wears a pair of Jack LaLanne pants to dinner that seem to have no visible fly.  An honorable mentions goes to Robert Ivers as Monk. He was a like a slightly too thin, poor-man's James Dean.

Angela Landsbury is oh-so-hot in A Life at Stake.  You can see the water steaming around her in the pool scene! I must admit I had no idea Angela looked like this in her heyday. Her "hunk" co-star Keith Andes must've gone to the Cigar Store Indian School of Method Acting. No wonder she's drinking in so many scenes. I bet she was thinking - "Get this dead fish in a suit out of here!"  While no one is going to mistake this film for a theatrical masterpiece, it's certainly a time capsule flash back of 1954 L.A.

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