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The Mystery Man (1935)
Stark Drama! A Shadow Creeping Through the Night!
Filmmaker(s): Ray McCarey

Hard-boiled newspaper reporter Larry Doyle (Robert Armstrong) goes a bit too far in celebrating a work bonus and wakes up on a train bound for St. Louis with only a buck on his person. To remedy the problem, Doyle pawns the revolver he's carrying. When the gun is subsequently used in a murder, Doyle's problems only multiply. In the meantime, he's also fallen in love with a comely stranger (Maxine Doyle) he convinced to impersonate his wife.

Prehistoric Fishing Cinematic archeology is what this is all about. The film has lost all its appeal as the hooks have gone out of style. But we can see major chunks that have evolved to what we have now. The basic setup is the fold of a...

Published February 9, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Beginner’s Luck (1935)
Filmmaker(s): Gus Meins

Spanky's mother pushes him to join a local theater amateur night.

Inverted Show This is my favourite Our Gang short. It has everything that I recall fondly: rowdy fellowship and kids conspiring against adults resulting in innocent mischief. Although the series had already been around a dozen years, for me the master cast was the Spanky, Buckwheat,...

Published June 30, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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The 39 Steps (1935)
Handcuffed to the girl who double-crossed him
Filmmaker(s): Alfred Hitchcock

Richard Hanney has a rude awakening when a glamorous female spy falls into his bed - with a knife in her back. Having a bit of trouble explaining it all to Scotland Yard, he heads for the hills of Scotland to try to clear his name by locating the spy ring known as The 39 Steps.

Step By Step Performances All but two Hitchcock films are cursed by the transcended achievement of those two. So the remainder will always seem pale in comparison while unfairly having elements of those retroactively applied. But I believe that the early Hitchcock was a simply competent filmmaker...

Published December 8, 2022
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935)
Filmmaker(s): Leslie S. Hiscott

Holmes, retired to Sussex, is drawn into a last case when his arch enemy Moriarty arranges with an American gang to kill one John Douglas, a country gentleman with a mysterious past. Holmes' methods baffle Watson and Lestrade, but his results astonish them. In a long flashback, the victim's wife tells the story of the sinister Vermissa Valley.

Inserted Americans This is the second of the early Holmes film experiments. In The Sign of Four, they messed up by showing us the entire history before Holmes appears. Here, they do something similar. While Holmes interviews a woman about her recently dead husband, we have...

Published December 6, 2022
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Schlitz On Mount Washington (1935)
Filmmaker(s): Christopher Young

Schlitz is a tourist in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Ignoring posted warnings which say that you shouldn't climb Mount Washington (the tallest mountain in New England) in bad weather, Schlitz pushes onward up the mountain, briefcase in hand. He gets lost in the snow, becomes entangled in mischief spun by a quirky hermit, and finally ends up skiing down Tuckerman's Ravine at perilous speeds, losing his briefcase several times.

Benny Hill’s Slippers This would have been one of the shorts on a program designed to fill out a date night. It is just filler, basically slapstick on skis. The joke is that the performer is an extraordinary expert to be able to appear so clumsy....

Published October 9, 2022
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The White Cockatoo (1935)
Try to pick the killer, Try to pick the next victim!
Filmmaker(s): Alan Crosland

In a spooky hotel on the coast of France, two bands of crooks are working independently of the other in an attempt to steal the inherited fortune of an American girl, Sue Tally. Along the way the heiress is kidnapped, three murders are committed, a girl appears in two places at once, mysterious persons roam about the old hotel at night and mysteriously disappear, and there is a hidden room without any doors.

Bible Verses I pride myself on being able to say something both useful and positive about a film, a discipline a wise man taught as a practice for the more useful challenge with souls we meet. The dynamics overlap in narratives that each carry. I found it...

Published October 2, 2022
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Inside the Room (1935)
Filmmaker(s): Leslie S. Hiscott

A French sleuth in England helps the police solve a series of murders linked by the diary pages of a dead woman.

Clean on Top, Dirty on Bottom There are several events in US history that damaged the nation. We will not recover from the Civil War for generations if current politics remain, as they surely will. Prohibition and abortion. Wars. Book burnings. Among these is the Hayes act....

Published August 14, 2022
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The Phantom Empire (1935)
A Nation 20,000 Feet Underground

When the ancient continent of Mu sank beneath the ocean, some of its inhabitant survived in caverns beneath the sea. Cowboy singer Gene Autry stumbles upon the civilization, now buried beneath his own Radio Ranch. The Muranians have developed technology and weaponry such as television and ray guns. Their rich supply of radium draws unscrupulous speculators from the surface. The peaceful civilization of the Muranians is corrupted by the greed from above, and it becomes Autry's task to prevent all-out war, ideally without disrupting his regular radio show.

Subterranean Drugs I'm involved in a study of ‘folding’ in film; folding is a matter of overlain or referenced narratives. Sometimes the folding is something only of interest to highbrow specialists, but usually it is a matter of fun. Some folding is a matter of introducing bizarre...

Published May 13, 2022
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