Friday, May 25, 2012

By Special Arrangement with Satan: NOW PLAYING, MAY 25, 1962

Charleston gets pride of place this weekend.

Sounds like a pretty good show on the screen, and the live stuff is a bonus. But shouldn't they be offering an insurance policy in case anyone's heart does hesitate?

Elsewhere, Tuscaloosa AL has the latest outbreak of Cleosploitation.

I'll say it again: this has to be working for somebody. I wonder what the trade journals say.

But what's actually new this weekend? Let's start in Palm Beach:

For more on Lonely Are the Brave, look here. Meanwhile, Toledo has another item already reviewed here.

In Pittsburgh, Peter Sellers is well enough known that exhibitors can exploit his doing something "different."

What makes Never Let Go different? Sellers plays the bad guy in a dramatic film. The Brits themselves found this unusual, as the trailer from TCM demonstrates -- but it still didn't give him top billing over Richard Todd, who as you can see above was not even the equal of Sellers in the U.S.

An exhibitor in Spartanburg SC also tries to make the most of an actor's reputation.

Shootout at Big Sag is one of two films directed this year by Roger Kay. This and The Cabinet of Caligari are Kay's only American features; he worked in TV otherwise, except for one French feature in 1981. Just in case those Oscars don't impress you (and Brennan has since been joined by Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and Jack Nicholson), don't forget that the star is on television!

A friendly warning to Schenectady NY: Don't be fooled by imitations!

Prisoner is not an adaptation of The Man in the Iron Mask. It's an Italian costume picture that bears as much resemblance to Dumas as Sergio Corbucci's The Man Who Laughs does to Victor Hugo. For the uninitiated, that means: very little and superficial at most. That doesn't mean Prisoner can't be cool, but can it live up to the ad? As for Alakazam the Great, I vaguely remember it running on WPIX out of New York City during the holiday season back in the days when cable TV was new and exotic. Dubbed into English, it's an early Japanese anime adapted from Buddhist folklore and ideas from Osamu Tezuka, the creator of Astroboy and lots more. Should you take your kids to both films?

Finally as the day winds down, here's something for the tired businessman in Spokane WA

Very little seems to be known about this film. TCM has no synopsis but provides a cast list, yet IMDB doesn't include a film called Shirt Off Her Back, or anything that might have gone by that name, in the filmographies of the stars listed by TCM, including Marli Renfro and Jay Sayer. Nor is there a listing for the TCM-credited director, Ken Gary. How lost is this movie? And what about Girl From Algiers? No leads there, either. That's how past the past is sometimes.

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