Action/Adventure


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13 Rue Madeleine

Monday, November 12th, 2012

13 Rue Madeleine

Tagline – The Most Sinister Address in History!

Starring – James Cagney (Robert Emmett “Bob” Sharkey), Richard Conte (Wilhelm Kuncel/William H. “Bill” O’Connell), Annabella (Suzanne de Beaumont), Frank Latimore (Jeff Lassiter).

Released – January, 1947

Directed By – Henry Hathaway

Produced By – Twentieth Century Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Film Corporation

Description – Bob Sharkey is the chief instructor in charge of training espionage agents to infiltrate Nazi occupied Europe during World War II, and he has a big problem.

There is a rotten apple in his barrel of agents. Intelligence has informed Bob that a German agent is part of his latest group of trainees and Bob must find out just who it is. Identifying the German agent is not difficult as one particular agent, Bill O’Connell, easily succeeds in a field problem that is designed to cause mistakes by novice agents.

Further investigation into O’Connell’s background confirms that he is actually top German agent Wilhelm Kuncel. It is the intention of Kuncel to learn the date and location of the planned Allied invasion of Europe.

Bob is instructed to pass the German along with the other new agents, but to provide him with false information regarding the planned invasion to pass along to his superiors.

The plan is to send Kuncel along with two other agents, Suzanne de Beaumont and Jeff Lassiter, into Europe. Kuncel is given a false mission while de Beaumont and Lassiter will be searching for the factory depot for V-2 Rockets that will be used against the Allied forces during the invasion.

Lassiter’s orders are to kill Kuncel if he follows him and de Beaumont rather than work to complete his own mission. This responsibility makes Lassiter nervous and his uneasiness is easily picked up on by Kuncel who is now suspicious that his idendity may be known.

When the three are parachuted over Holland to sneak behind enemy lines, Lassiter’s chute fails to open and he falls to his death. The planes jumpmaster discovers that Lassiter’s chute was deliberately cut and his death was no accident.

It is now obvious that Kuncel is aware of the plan to deceive him and can identify every agent that he trained with. He must be stopped before endangering the entire planned invasion. Feeling responsible for the dire situation, Bob Sharkey volunteers to replace Lassiter.

With the aid of the local French Resistance force, Sharkey is able to capture and return to Great Britain the Nazi collaborator who designed the V-2 Rocket depot.

While attempting to stop Kuncel from returning to Germany with the espionage information he is captured and their seemingly is no way to stop Kuncel from identifying all of the Allied agents and guaranteeing their death.

NOTABLE: James Cagney’s character, Robert Emmett ‘Bob’ Sharkey, was originally based on the World War II director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), William Donovan (i.e. Major General William Joseph Donovan, USA, GCSS, KBE) as well as the spy agency being based on the O.S.S. Donovan objected to this, particularly the story element that the OSS had been infiltrated by a German Nazi agent spy. Alas, the spy agency became the “077” and any of Cagney’s character similarities with Donovan were removed.

Actor Rex Harrison was the first offered the lead role in 13 Rue Madeleine this motion picture, but turned it down.

Director Henry Hathaway and Producer Louis De Rochemont had previously worked together on the 20th Century Fox spy film titled The House on 92nd Street. Coincidentally, both films used street addresses in their titles.

httpv://youtu.be/-pkR-XOikSs

To Have and Have Not

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

To Have and Have Not

Tagline – “If you want anything…just whistle!”

Starring – Humphrey Bogart (Harry ‘Steve’ Morgan), Walter Brennan (Eddie), Lauren Bacall (Marie ‘Slim’ Browning), Dolores Moran (Mme. Hellene de Bursac), Hoagy Carmichael (Cricket).

Released – October, 1944

Directed By – Howard Hawks

Produced By – Warner Brothers

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – On the island of Martinique, Harry Morgan and his pal Eddie run a boat for hire, and business is not so good. World War II is going on all around them and Harry is being approached to help the French resistance.

Harry refuses, wanting to maintain his neutrality and out of any possible trouble. When Harry’s client, who owes him $825, is accidently killed before paying Harry, he is forced to take a job smuggling Helene and Paul de Bursac, who are members of the underground, onto Martinique.

Complicating matters a bit is Harry’s attraction to sultry siren-in-distress Marie Browning, who attaches herself to Harry after ending up in Martinique because she ran out of money.

Harry’s boat is spotted making the trip and Paul is wounded during their narrow escape. The Bursac’s have been assigned by the underground to help free a man from Devil’s Island prison and they need Harry’s boat for the mission.

Again, Harry refuses until the police, who recognized his boat from the night before, take Eddie prisoner with the intention of forcing him to reveal just what Harry and his boat were doing and what, or who, was his cargo.

Once again, Harry finds himself forced to take sides and participate in this life-threatening mission.

NOTABLE: To Have and Have Not provided the screen debut of 19 year old Lauren Bacall whose picture was seen by director Hawk’s wife on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

The sparks between Bacall and Humphrey Bogart ignited both on and off the screen. Their romantic connection resulted in Bogart’s divorce from his current wife Mayo Methot and his marriage to Bacall.

Hemingway’s novel was considerably altered for the film, and the chemistry between Bogart and Bacall became the centerpiece of the film. Bacall’s legendary line, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow” is ranked #34 on AFI’s 100 years…100 movie quotes list.

The Black Swan

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Black Swan ’42 [Blu-ray]

Tagline – Seas Ablaze…with black villainy, with fiery romance, with breathless deeds of daring…in the roaring era of Love, Gold and Adventure!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Jamie Waring), Maureen O’Hara (Lady Margaret Denby), Laird Cregar (Capt. Sir Henry Morgan), Thomas Mitchell (Tom ‘Tommie’ Blue), George Sanders (Capt. Billy Leech).

Released – December, 1942

Directed By – Henry King

Produced ByTwentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – With England and Spain now at peace, reformed pirate Capt. Henry Morgan is made Governor of Jamaica. His first order of duty is to rid the Caribbean of the remaining pirates using whatever means are necessary. Out of friendship to Morgan, pirate Jamie Waring gives up his illegal ways; however, not all choose to do so.

Lord Denby, Jamaica’s former governor, has a beautiful daughter, Lady Margaret, who soon has caught the eye of Waring, but she is already engaged. Unknown to her, fiance Roger Ingram is providing information on ship sailings to the remaining pirates.

The public begins to suspect Governor Morgan of still being involved in the pirateing, forcing Morgan to enlist the aid of his friend Jaime Waring to find out where the leaking information about the shippings is coming from.

Waring’s investigation also provides him with an opportunity to kidnap the beautiful Lady Margaret.

NOTABLE: This film won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color and was nominated for two more; Best Effects, Special Effects and Best Music.

The ship in The Black Swan was also used in the filming of That Hamilton Woman, The Princess and the Pirate, and Captain Kidd.

The films original ending had to be changed in order to please censorship requirements. The original ending had both Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara’s character jumping into the sea.

httpv://youtu.be/DVaPFFYS6TY

The Mark of Zorro

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The Mark of Zorro (Special Edition) (Colorized / Black and White)

Tagline – The Jagged Mark of His Sword Struck Terror into Every Heart – But One!

Starring – Tyrone Power (Zorro, Don Diego), Linda Darnell (Lolita Quintero), Basil Rathbone (Captain Esteban Pasquale), Gale Sondergaard (Inez Quintero).

Released – November, 1940

Directed By – Rouben Mamoulian

Produced By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Distributed By – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Description – An exciting remake of the 1920 silent film, The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks. Don Diego, the son of a wealthy rancher, returns from a trip to Spain to find the people of his land being badly treated by a villainous dictator.

Using the disguise of Zorro, he becomes a defender of the people leaving his trademark ‘Z’ wherever he goes, and still finds time to romance the Governor’s beautiful niece.

NOTABLE: Basil Rathbone was already known by movie fans as an excellent fencer, but the audience was in for a pleasent surprise when seeing the fencing skill of Tyrone Power.

For fans of Batman… this version of ‘The Mark of Zorro’ was the film being watch by Bruce Wayne and his parents just prior to them being mugged and shot.  It was this film that gave Bruce the idea of creating Batman.

Personal Comment: A very entertaining film starring Tyrone Power, who joins Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn as the best of the great swashbuckling actors.

Boom Town

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Boom Town

Tagline – Gable and Tracy…Buddies in Battle! Colbert and Lamarr…Rivals in Love!

Starring – Clark Gable (Big John McMasters), Spencer Tracy (Jonathan Sand), Claudette Colbert (Elizabeth Bartlett McMasters), Hedy Lamarr (Karen Vanmeer), Frank Morgan (Luther Aldrich), Lionel Atwill (Harry Compton), Chill Wills (Deputy Harmony Jones).

Released – August, 1940

Directed By – Jack Conway

Produced By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Distributed By – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Description – A great cast tells the story of two broke, down-on-their-luck, oil wildcatters who join together to drill for oil. The film covers a twenty-year period where they go from broke to oil tycoons, and back to broke again.

Along the way, they both love the same woman, desolve their friendship and their business with the flip of a coin, and learn the value of true friendship over money and misguided love.

NOTABLE: To prepare for his role in Boom Town, Clark Gable actually worked in oil fields for his father who was an oil-well driller.

Actress Rita Hayworth also tested for the role of Karen Vanmeer.

Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy also appeared together in Test Pilot, and San Francisco.