Posts Tagged ‘robert armstrong’


Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

G Men

Tagline – Hollywood’s Most Famous Badman Joins the G-Men!

Starring – James Cagney (‘Brick’ Davis), Margaret Lindsay (Kay McCord), Ann Dvorak (Jean Morgan), Robert Armstrong (Jeff McCord), Barton MacLane (Collins), Lloyd Nolan (Hugh Farrell).

Released – May, 1935

Directed By – William Keighley

Produced By – First National Pictures

Distributed By – Warner Brothers

Description – Law school graduate Eddie Buchanan has joined the F.B.I., whose agents, at that time, were referred to as G-Men. Eddie encourages his friend ‘Brick’ Davis, also a law school grad, to join with him.

However, Brick is not interested and hopes to make it as an honest lawyer even though he has a connection to organized crime. Gangster ‘Mac’ MacKay his financed Davis’ education with his own interests in mind.

When Buchanan is gunned down trying to arrest hood Danny Leggett, Davis changes his mind and is determined to bring the killer to justice. Davis says goodbye to both MacKay, and the singer in the gangsters nightclub Jean Morgan, who has feelings for Davis, and heads to Washington, D.C. to begin his training.

Davis immediately has friction with his instructor Jeff McCord, but also finds himself attracted to McCord’s sister Kay.

Back home, gangster MacKay has retired to a mountain lodge, and without his control, his men go on a crime rampage. Davis recognizes one of the hoods as Danny Leggett, but not yet finished with his training can only aid agent Hugh Farrell with what he knows of the gang.

Farrell and his fellow agents unsuccessful attempt to arrest Leggett leads to them being gunned down and Leggett’s escape. Jeff McCord now assumes command of the investigation and selects Davis to be a part of his team.

Additional shootout’s follow with Davis being shot, Jean Morgan being brought in for questioning, a slip that leads to the location of the gang, another wild shootout, a kidnapping, and the cold-blooded killing of Morgan. How much more of a price is to be paid before justice is served?

NOTABLE: G-Men received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Story as a write-in nominee.

The production of G-Men was a deliberate attempt to counter the popularity of crime/gangster films made in the early 1930’s. Political and business leaders felt these pictures did too much to glorify the gangster lifestyle.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened its real-life training center the same year as this motion picture was released.

Director of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover, personally approved the script for this film.

This film marked the screen debut for actor Lloyd Nolan.

Initially, agents were unarmed when conducting their duties, but after two notorious shootouts, the Kansas City Massacre, which was an attack on F.B.I. agents during the transportation of a prisoner, in which an agent, three policemen, and the prisoner were killed, and the 1934 battle between agents and the infamous John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson lead to a change in the law allowing agents to be armed.



King Kong Astonishing Audiences

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

March, 1933 – The RKO production of King Kong is proving to be nothing less than an epic entertainment adventure for the films opening audiences at Radio City Music Hall.

While starring Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, and Bruce Cabot, it is Kong himself who is the real star. The gargantuan gorilla is brilliantly brought to life and the big screen by renowned animator Willis O’Brien.

The larger-than-life creature was created using six 18-inch-high models consisting of a metal skeletal frame, rabbit fur skin, and sponge-rubber muscles. The close-up filming was done using a giant bust of Kong controlled by three men from the inside.

The rousing adventure begins on a skull-shaped island and delivers a first-rate climax in the heart of New York City. King Kong is beauty and the beast on a grand scale that is destined to thrill movie-going audiences for all time.

King Kong

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

King Kong

Tagline The Most Awesome Thriller Of All Time!

Starring– Fay Wray (Ann Darrow), Robert Armstrong (Carl Denham), Bruce Cabot (John Driscoll).

Released – March, 1933

Directed By – Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – Actress Ann Darrow agrees to star in a new film directed by Carl Denham set to be filmed on mysterious Skull Island in the Indian Ocean. During the voyage, Ann meets and falls in love with First Mate John Driscoll.

Upon their arrival on the island, Ann is kidnapped by the island natives who intend to sacrifice her to Kong, a giant gorilla-like creature. She is tied to an alter for this purpose, but when Kong shows up he does not kill her. It seems as though beauty has slain the beast as Kong takes her to his jungle lair.

Denham, Driscoll, and the crew set out to rescue Ann. Along the way they encounter dinosaurs, resulting in the loss of many men. The remaining men find the giant gorilla’s lair, and Driscoll is able to free Ann.

This enrages Kong who destroys the native village in his efforts to get Ann back. The men are able to subdue Kong through the use of gas grenades and plan on taking him back to New York, exhibit him, and make a fortune.

These actions set the scene for the famous climax on the Empire State Building.

NOTABLE: In 1991, King Kong was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

When director Merian C. Cooper spoke with Fay Wray, about appearing in this picture, he described her leading man as being the “tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood.”

King Kong’s roar was created by modifying the sounds of lions and tigers.

The film grossed $90,000 on opening weekend, the biggest opening of its time.

Entertainment Weekly voted King Kong the 47th Greatest Film of all time.

RKO Pictures had lost over $10 million in 1932, and it is believed that this picture saved the studio from bankruptcy.

Personal Note: King Kong is one of many jungle films made since 1915. The jungle action/ adventure film was to remain popular with audiences for decades.

I can’t image that there are many film fans that have never seen a King Kong movie; however, this is the original and the greatest King Kong movie of all time. This is a spectacular classic!


The Most Dangerous Game

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

The Most Dangerous Game (The Criterion Collection)

Starring – Joel McCrea (Robert ‘Bob’ Rainsford), Fay Wray (Eve Trowbridge), Leslie Banks (Count Zaroff), Robert Armstrong (Martin Trowbridge).

Released – September, 1932

Directed By – Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack

Produced By – RKO Radio Pictures

Distributed By – RKO Radio Pictures

Description – Author, and big game hunter, Bob Rainsford swims toward a small island after becoming the only survivor of a shipwreck that may not have been accidental.

On the island, Bob becomes the guest of fellow hunting enthusiast Count Zaroff. It seems that there has been another shipwreck with four of its survivors also staying with the Russian Count. Zaroff explains his background to his guests as that of a former hunter who has sustained a head wound from a Cape buffalo and is now only interested in hunting “the most dangerous game.”

Bob and fellow guest Eve Trowbridge grow suspicious of the Count’s intentions when two other guests mysteriously disappear. While searching for the missing, Bob and Eve find the Count’s trophy room with a human head mounted on the wall.

It is now frighteningly clear just how the “most dangerous game” is played.

NOTABLE: Costing only $200,000 to film, The Most Dangerous Game made more profit for RKO than the much more expensive King Kong.

This film was the screen debut for actor Leslie Banks.

Count Zaroff’s dogs were Great Danes borrowed from comedian Harold Lloyd.

Actor Noble Johnson, who played Ivan the Cossack, was believed to be the first Afro-American to play in “whiteface” as a Caucasian.