Showing posts from December, 2016

A hodgepodge of discovery and rediscovery

Herewith are some thoughts on films of varying nature either seen for the first time or re-encountered after a passage of time too long to mention. That the movies remain as intriguing today as when they were first viewed provides testimony not only to their longevity but entertainment value. They are deserving of a wider appreciation beyond that of the cluster of fans the productions attracted in the decades since their original screenings.

LITTLE BIG HORN (1951) -- The western movie was and remained a crowded market during the 1950s, further swollen by the number of similar programs that filled network and syndicated television schedules. In a year when the genre was represented by everything from A-level productions to hour-long second features, it's not surprising that Charles Marquis Warren's LITTLE BIG HORN became lost in the shuffle. A shame, too, in that this reasonably actionful tale surrounding the story of Gen. George Armstrong Custer's last stand also offers a s…

Little-known cinema: 'Paradise Alley'

Not to be confused with one of Sylvester Stallone's post-ROCKY projects bearing the same title, PARADISE ALLEY (1962) was the final movie written, produced, directed by and starring Hugo Haas (1901-1968), who had enjoyed a unique niche as a hyphenate independent filmmaker within the Hollywood scheme of things. A distinct departure from the almost-forgotten melodramas that ultimately gave the talented Czech-born Haas a bad name in Hollywood (and a cult following long after his passing), PARADISE ALLEY actually points to the sweeter, comedic nature of the creative drive that made him a star in Europe before he was forced to emigrate to the U.S. prior to the start of World War II.

Perhaps dated for audiences of the time -- even more so given its delayed release date -- PARADISE ALLEY is considered by some to be Haas' disguised raspberry to the film capitol as he began realizing his increasingly-tenuous position as an independent was fading. On the other hand, it appears to be a va…