Archive for Scooby Doo

The Sunday Intertitle: Lumberjack Transfusion

Posted in FILM, Science with tags , , , , , , on January 7, 2018 by dcairns

WOLFBLOOD (1925), is the sole directorial credit of actor George Chesebro (pictured), in collaboration with the prolific Bruce Mitchell. I didn’t know anything about either man, but the movie sounded goofy enough to be interesting.

We’re up in the wilds of Canada, where men are men and they talk like this ~

They’re also constantly shooting each other. There are two rival logging firms, and one is playing dirty — they try to avoid outright murder, but they figure by shooting to wound they can put the opposition’s lumberjacks out of action long enough to get a distinct market advantage. Our hero, played by George Chesebro under the name George Chesbro (a cunning pseudonym), gets badly hurt and needs a life-saving transfusion. But with no human donors volunteering, the doc is forced to syphon haemoglobin from a wolf into the stricken sawmill manager.

This and the astounding THE ALLIGATOR PEOPLE are the only movies I can think of about animal-human blood transfusion but I’m probably forgetting lots.

Anyway, the doc looks like Count Arthur Strong, maybe IS Count Arthur Strong in his silent movie days. Or else a stray Chuckle Brother, though the credits name one Ray Handford.

Soon Chesebro/Chesbro is on the slippery slope from woodsman to wolfman, as reports of nocturnal attacks convince him he’s being taken over by the canine plasma coursing through his veins. Sadly, the promising lycanthrope angle which has taken most of the runtime to get to, fizzles out in a welter of what Fred from Scooby (Dooby) Doo might call perfectly simple explanations. That leaves the scenery and a few unusual photo-illustrated intertitles to carry the day.

Movie was shot by Lesley Selander, the only familiar name in the credits: he became a very prolific B-movie director before moving into TV.

Stray thought: could this movie have inspired the strange sartorial quirk of werewolves in the movies frequently wearing checked lumberjack shirts?

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Thing Roddy Said During Dinner

Posted in FILM with tags , on December 18, 2013 by dcairns

dracula-christopher-lee

Roddy, my brother-in-law, has learning difficulties. He lives in Dundee. And this year it was decided that he wouldn’t be joining us for Christmas — too many incidents recently involving what I’d better leave described only as behavioral difficulties — so we thought we’d have him visit Edinburgh for a meal on his birthday and let him celebrate Christmas in the sheltered housing where he lives, which he did one previous year when he was ill and enjoyed. He didn’t really enjoy last Christmas because the stress of being away from home was a bit much. So Fiona feels a bit guilty but knows she shouldn’t.

(The loss here is not getting to watch movies with Roddy, which is always entertaining. Recently I read about Williams Syndrome, Roddy’s condition, and it fitted his viewing habits precisely — Williams people watch TV intently, and are fixated upon the people’s faces. They tend to see faces as friendly, unlike autistic people who find them frighteningly unreadable — Williams has been described as the anti-autism. And they tend to find animation uninteresting, as Roddy mainly does — except Scooby Doo — because the people’s expressions are not interesting and detailed enough.)

It was a nice dinner. Roddy has given a set of antlers to wear by the party of girls at the next table, and he entertained us with his impressions.

R: Shall I do Prince Charles? (regal gesture) “Hello, I’m Prince Charles.”

D: That’s just the same as your Dracula impression!

R: No, this is my Dracula impression. (regal gesture) “I am Dracula. Ha ha ha.”

D: But Dracula doesn’t laugh like that.

R: Aye he does.

D: When has Dracula ever laughed? You’re thinking of the Count from Sesame Street.

R. Oh. Right. How should I do Dracula then?

D: Say, “I am Dracula and I bid you welcome.”

R: “I am Dracula and I bid you welcome. To my castle. Ha ha ha.”

Fiona at this point becomes hysterical with laughter. Possibly something to do with the Diazepam.

Roddy’s carer, John: Why’s he laughing? Is it a funny castle?

D: “I am Dracula and I bid you welcome to my bouncy castle.”

Wolves of all Nations

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by dcairns

A Fever Dream Double Feature.

The Geographical Werewolf sub-sub-genre was inaugurated by Guy Endore’s terrific novel The Werewolf of Paris, and swiftly developed by Hollywood with Werewolf of London, where Henry Hull and Warner Oland got hairy around the Mother of Parliaments. John Landis’s AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, easily his most interesting and effective film, is today the best-remembered entry in the G.W. field.

SHE-WOLF OF LONDON fails to satisfy. Essentially a Scooby Doo version of SUSPICION, it shilly-shallies around for nine-tenths of its duration, with all the action happening offscreen. Things pick up markedly in the last ten minutes, with director Jean Yarborough pouring on the dry ice fog and dutch-tilting the camera like a drunken sailor, but the revelation that there’s NO WEREWOLF takes the wind out of his sails. The credit “Make-up effects by Jack P. Pearce” promises much to a Universal Studios horror fan, but the great monster-maker’s work turns out to be confined to some fake wrinkles (very MUMMY-like) on a maidservant.

June Lockhart, as the heiress convinced she’s a wolf-woman, is cute and appealing, but always seems an unlikely lycanthrope, while the true culprit is constantly sinister even when trying not to be. The most convincing relationship in the film is between the two cops, who are like a bickering old married couple, although they’re not very convincing as Scotland Yard detectives.

More interesting, if not necessarily very effective, is WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON, which doesn’t really attain the status of satire, at least not consistently, but is unusually directed — some weird, gratuitous bit of artsy technique enlivens most every scene — and does spin a few interesting things from its central conceit. Dean Stockwell, a fascinating actor whatever the film, plays Jack Whittier, a journalist recruited to work in the Whitehouse, bitten by a gypsy wolfman as he attempts to leave Hungary to take up his post. The opening reprises the Lon Chaney WOLFMAN with wit and low-budget panache, making the most of an obviously inadequate lighting budget.

“That it could happen… in America. That it could happen… now. That it could ever happen… to me…” the film kicks off with these words, tremulously uttered by Stockwell in V.O. over a long lens moonrise against the Washington skyline, while the titles play out and the music warbles, and none of these visual and aural elements quite connect with each other. This odd, off-key beginning is maybe the high point.

Elsewhere we get dwarf actor Michael Dunn as mad scientist Dr. Kiss, and arch references to the Watergate Hotel and lines like “Well, you won’t have Jack Whittier to kick around anymore.” Most amusingly, when Stockwell tries to concoct a less plausible explanation for his lapses of memory, he hits on the plot of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and suggests that he’s been brainwashed to act as an assassin for the communists. But while there are a few amusing political quotations, and a little bit of parody of Washington lifestyles, there’s virtually nothing about policy, making it a would-be political satire without any politics. It (ouch) lacks bite.

The print seems to be faded down one side, and is hideously speckled and cropped to 1:1.33, but that just added to the nostalgia value of the fashions and filmmaking. What became of Milton Moses Ginsberg, writer-director of this geo-lycanthropic politico-horror satire? According to the IMDb, after finishing this one he lay down to rest for twenty-six years, returning to our screens with THE HALOED BIRD, a short film, in 2001, in which he himself plays… the Golem.