Archive for January, 2021

Can-Do Chandu

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on January 28, 2021 by dcairns

I was looking around for another serial to watch and we tried THE RETURN OF CHANDU but Fiona found it too boring after four episodes. Still, it prompted some observations.

Fun that Bela Lugosi got promoted from being the villain in CHANDU THE MAGICIAN, the William Cameron Menzies/Marcel Varnel feature, to being Chandu himself in the sequel serial. And kind of a shame that he’s actually really GOOD in this — subtle and sympathetic. I say it’s a shame because those qualities are kind of squandered on this material, you know?

The most exciting performance is from Baby Peggy, but she’s only in a couple of episodes as a random party guest. She should have been the female lead, although on the other hand she really didn’t want to be acting at that point and was only doing it because her family had spent all her silent movie child star money and still expected her to support them. Still, she brings rare zest to the proceedings.

You can immediately see that she’s too interesting-looking to play a movie serial female lead.

I dunno, I would probably have kept wasting my life watching this. I think we need to find another serial we can both dig, though.

Time and Headspace

Posted in FILM on January 27, 2021 by dcairns

Current project is really consuming a lot of both.

A Quick Jolt of Noir

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2021 by dcairns

TRAPPED (1949) is directed by Richard Fleischer and has some striking visuals. It’s one of those how-the-Feds-protect-you procedurals that don’t really partake of noir’s more radical elements, but which frequently stimulate with their single source lightning, especially if John Alton is shooting. TRAPPED is filmed by Guy Roe, whose name rang no bells, but he’d clearly been paying attention. His other credits include RAILROADED! for Mann and ARMOURED CAR ROBBERY for Fleischer again.

The climax in a bus depot is really something, with striking perspective shots but even more brilliant sound: the puffing of a bus engine somewhere which fades up and down, providing a breathless, panting commentary on the action, dropping out to make you feel the quiet, then coming back in to build anticipation. There’s no sound editor credit so we may never know who was responsible.

Thanks to David Bordwell for alerting me to this one. The story is disjointed but Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton and John Hoyt are all great presences.