hosted by Ruth from Silver Screenings and Kristina from Speakeasy, hosted by Kristina Dijan and R.A. Kerr!
Dori's pick - Two O’Clock Courage (1945): I’m Just Wild About “Harry!”
Anthony Mann is one of film’s most compelling and versatile directors/ producers, covering genres ranging from Westerns, like The Tall Target (1951), starring Dick Powell; and Robert Cummings in The Black Book, a.k.a Reign of Terror (1949) a film noir thriller set during the French Revolution, among others. The multifaceted Mann could do it all, including helming rough and ready urban noirs such as T-Men (1947), Side Street (1950), and Raw Deal (1948), as well as costume epics like the aforementioned The Black Book. Mann especially excelled with his noir-style collaborations with James Stewart, including Winchester '73 (1950), Stewart’s neo-noir Westerns, including The Far Country (1955), Bend of the River (1952), including The Naked Spur (1953); Bend of the River (1952); The Far Country (1955); and The Man From Laramie (1955).
Two O’Clock Courage turned out to be Anthony Mann’s first directorial assignment, a good solid “B” picture” for RKO Radio Pictures! (Say it with me a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A: “An RKO Radio Picture. What the heck is a Radio Picture?”). Since then, the film has had a strong following and acclaim, with many of Mann’s signature tropes on display. Two O’Clock Courage was produced at RKO Radio Pictures! Mann’s film may have had a relatively short running-time of a fleet-footed 70 minutes, but director Mann shines in his directorial debut. The film weaves suspense and playfully cheeky humor, while blending film noir suspense with wry wit. Fun Fact: The script by Robert E. Kent is full of surprises, including co-writer Robert E. Kent’s original treatment, based on the work of humorist and children’s-book author Gelett Burgess, who I loved as a kid! Who knew Burgess had film noir in his soul as well? Now there’s a gent with range!
|You can't get blood from a stone, but you can from
Tom Conway's head! (Big owie!)
|Beaned, slugged, crowned; it all means the same - Amnesia!
|Ann Rutherford - they don't make cabbies like her no more!
|Even when she was starlet
"Bettejane Greer", Jane Greer
Fun Fact: Ann Rutherford had thought she she’d been a U.S. citizen all her life, until her plans to visit Europe in the 1950s showed her otherwise: our Ann was a Canadian! Happily, she was able to get citizenship papers, and Ann became a citizen of the U.S, fair and square!
Back to Patty and her new amnesiac friend, it’s not all playtime for our no-name hero, by any means! On closer inspection, it turns out the natty gent has a nasty gash on his head, and he can’t remember who he is, despite his sharp clothes. Even worse, Patty realizes this dashing fellow is injured, all dazed with blood dripping (albeit tastefully by 1945 suspense movie standards), without a clue as to where and who he’s from and who he is. Diagnosis from Doctor Dorian: Protagonist on a dark Los Angeles street, almost getting run over by our heroine’s taxi! Patty Mitchell ( poor guy almost gets run over by a cab driver, just missing a hit-and-run from our dazed hero)!
|This hat band is brimming over with clues!
|How we had to look things up before Google.
Two O’Clock Courage was a remake from 1936, starring Walter Abel, longtime veteran of movies and Broadway. In fact, Abel played the amnesiac hero in the 1936 suspense drama Two in the Dark, which was remade in 1945 with Tom Conway and Ann Rutherford as Two O’Clock Courage, hence our tale!!
|Either "Dave Renwick is a clothes horse,
or he's got a double life!
|Ann Rutherford need her papers, - our hero made
sure Patty got hers!
Sometimes the broad comic relief is jarring compared to the overall taut film noir mood, but the pace is fast, and Conway and Rutherford have a charming rapport. Jean Brooks and Tom Conway especially moved me in their dramatic roles. Conway in particular had a sad, haunted look in his eyes that touched our hearts.
Service with a slam!
Vinnie's pick - Strange Brew (1983) - "To Be or Not to be, eh?"The genesis of Great White North, possibly the most well known recurring skit from SCTV, is as eminently Canadian as the sketch. The show needed two minutes of "local" material to satisfy the stringent rules for Canadian Content. Dave Thomas sarcastically suggested that he and Rick Moranis dress up in flannel and parkas and ramble for two minutes in easy chairs in front of a map of Canada. The producers said that'd be fine, and Canada's favorite sons were born.
a hit single with lead vocals by Geddy Lee from Rush), the world of film was the obvious next step. With a script by Moranis and Thomas with help from Steve De Jarnatt (the devious maniac who brought us Miracle Mile and Cherry 2000), the McKenzies stepped into an expanded cartoony world in a tale that was blatantly ripped off from Hamlet.
We first see the brothers as they introduce their science fiction magnum opus, The Mutants of 2051 A.D. When the film breaks and the audience riots, Bob gives their father's beer money to a distraught father whose kids saved up their allowance to attend the premiere. This requires a clever plan to get their dad some beer, but as they are not clever men, they stuff a mouse in a beer bottle and attempt to complain for free beer. They're sent to the Elsinore (!) brewery, where most of the plot is located.
We meet in rapid succession Pam Elsinore (Lynne Griffin) who is set to inherit the company after the passing of her father, Claude Elsinore (Paul Dooley), her uncle and now step father, who married her mother just a tad too soon after the passing of her father (Like I said, Hamlet) and Brewmeister Smith (Max Von Sydow) a man with plans for world domination through a plan that includes drugged beer, organ music, lunatics, and hockey.
With the exception of Thomas and Moranis, and magnificent character actor Paul Dooley, the cast of the film is largely made up of actors who are World Famous In Canada. Lynne Griffin has had a solid career in Canadian productions, as has Angud MacInnes who played ex-hockey star Jean laRose. Smith's assistant Brian McConnachie, in addition for a steady acting career and a writer for both SCTY and Saturday Night Live, is best known for being a writer for the National Lampoon, which was a vicious and magnificent humor magazine back in the day, as opposed to being nothing more than a brand name you can license and slap on your product like Black and Decker.
|"I could crush your head...like a nut.
But I won't. Because I need you."
Shakespeare couldn't have written a better line.
The film takes place in a mad cartoon-logic world where people can stay underwater for almost an hour by breathing the air trapped in empty beer bottles, ghosts communicate via video games, a man can drink an entire vat of beer, and dogs can fly if sufficiently bribed with the promised of beer and bratwurst.
It's a mad film that never fails to bring a smile to my face, and it was a delight popping it into the DVD player to enjoy again. I expect the same will be true for you.