Henry Hathaway – From Hell to Texas (1958)

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Synopsis:
The naive cowboy Tod Lohman accidentally kills the son of the powerful land baron Hunter Boyd. Tod runs for his life, pursued by the dead man’s vengeful brothers. Tod shelters on the ranch of Amos Bradley and he falls in love with his daughter Juanita. However, Tod is concerned that he’ll eventually have to leave when his pursuers catch up with him. Continue reading

Henry Hathaway – Seven Thieves (1960)

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Quote:
Discredited professor Edward G. Robinson organizes a seven-person criminal gang. Robinson plans to steal a fortune from the underground vaults of the Monte Carlo casino. Despite a few tense moments, the plot moves like clockwork. Alas, Robinson isn’t around long enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors. As for the other criminals, they find that fencing their stolen booty is next to impossible. All they come away with is $3000–won legitimately at the gaming tables. Those not interested in the male contingent of Seven Thieves (Robinson, Rod Steiger, Eli Wallach et. al.) are advised to feast their eyes upon leading-lady Joan Collins, in her considerable prime. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Continue reading

Ewald Andre Dupont – The Neanderthal Man (1953)

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Wheeler, a tourist-hunter in the California High Sierras, is not believed by the patrons of Webb’s Cafe when he claims to have run across a live tiger with tusks. Among the scoffers is game-warden Oakes – until he is driving home later that night and the critter hops on the hood of his car. Oakes convinces a skeptical Dr. Harkness, state university zoologist, to come to the small town to investigate. At Webbs’, Harkness meets Ruth, fiancée of Prof. Groves who maintains his home and lab outside the town, and thru her meets Groves’ daughter, Jan. Groves himself is down in the city, angrily trying to convince the Naturalists’ Society of the truth of his theory that the size of skull and brain equate with intelligence, and therefore Neanderthal man was equal, if not superior, to Homo sapiens. He is rejected, and by the time he returns home, seems completely unhinged, rejecting his fiancée and secluding himself in his lab. There, he has developed a serum with which he is experimenting. After Harkness and Oakes kill the tiger – indeed, a sabre-toothed tiger, which vanishes when they go to Groves’ for help retrieving the body – they begin hearing of a grotesque humanoid in torn clothing, which has killed a couple of local men and assaulted Nola, Webbs’ waitress; and join the Sheriff in attempting to solve this new mystery, which is clearly connected to Groves’ experiments. Continue reading

Pietro Germi – La presidentessa AKA Mademoiselle Gobete (1952)

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Based loosely on fact, La Presidentress stars Silvana Pampanini as a sexy nightclub singer with loftier aspirations. Posing as the wife of a judge, the singer manages to bed a high-ranking government official (Carlo Dapporto). As a result, the nonplused judge (Luigi Pavese) is given all sorts of promotions and special perks. When he finds out about the girl’s subterfuge, his first reaction is stark, raw terror: Wait till his real wife (Ave Ninchi) discovers what’s going on! When the judge’s former mistress (Marilyn Buferd) joins the fray, the fur really begins to fly. Continue reading

Elia Kazan – On the Waterfront (1954)

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synopsis
This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of New York and New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) rules the waterfront with an iron fist. The police know that he’s been responsible for a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb (“plead D & D”). Washed-up boxer Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) has had an errand-boy job because of the influence of his brother Charley, a crooked union lawyer (Rod Steiger). Witnessing one of Friendly’s rub-outs, Terry is willing to keep his mouth shut until he meets the dead dockworker’s sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint). “Waterfront priest” Father Barry (Karl Malden) tells Terry that Edie’s brother was killed because he was going to testify against boss Friendly before the crime commission. Because he could have intervened, but didn’t, Terry feels somewhat responsible for the death. When Father Barry receives a beating from Friendly’s goons, Terry is persuaded to cooperate with the commission. Featuring Brando’s famous “I coulda been a contendah” speech, On the Waterfront has often been seen as an allegory of “naming names” against suspected Communists during the anti-Communist investigations of the 1950s. Continue reading

Kaneto Shindô – Daigo Fukuryu-Maru aka Lucky Dragon No. 5 (1959)

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Quote:
Daigo Fukuryū Maru (第五福龍丸?, Lucky Dragon 5) was a Japanese tuna fishing boat, which was exposed to and contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States’ Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll, on March 1, 1954. Kuboyama Aikichi, the boat’s chief radioman, died half a year later, on September 23, 1954, suffering from acute radiation syndrome. He is considered the first victim of the hydrogen bomb of Operation Castle Bravo.

Five years after the accident, the Japanese film director Shindo Kaneto made a film titled Daigo Fukuryu Maru. The actor Uno Jukichi played the role of Kuboyama Aikichi. Director Kaneto Shindo spoke at a screening of his 1959 film ”Daigo Fukuryu Maru” (Lucky Dragon No. 5), emphasizing the need to abolish nuclear weapons and to continue educating youth about the devastation they cause. ”Nuclear arms have been an issue since World War II,” the 91-year-old told an audience of over 90 people, citing this week’s multilateral talks in Beijing on North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. ”They can wipe out the human race.” Continue reading