Andy Warhol’s Bad is a 1977 Indie film directed by Jed Johnson and stars Carroll Baker, Perry King and Susan Tyrell. The story focuses on Hazel Aiken (Carroll Baker), a Queens housewife and hairdresser who runs an electrolysis parlor in her home. She makes extra money by operating a murder-for-hire service, connecting clients with sociopathic hit women who perform horrific jobs like killing babies and house pets. Her nephew J.T. (Perry King), a sleazy drifter who wants to join her hit squad, is assigned the job of killing an autistic boy. The bodies pile up, and Hazel finally pays for her cold-blooded racket with her life.
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Running 99 minutes, The Blue Angel is a 1930 black & white Josef von Sternberg directed romantic musical starring Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings. In this film, an extremely prim and prudish educator Immanuel Rath, played by Emil Jannings, finds some of his students ogling racy photos of cabaret performer Lola Lola, played by Marlene Dietrich, and visits a local club, The Blue Angel, in an attempt to catch the students there. Seeing Lola perform, the teacher is driven mad with lust, eventually resigning his position at the school to marry his beloved. However, married life with a woman whose job is to make men desire her proves more difficult than Rath imagined. This film is the first feature-length German full-talkie film and brought Dietrich International fame. In addition, The Blue Angel film introduced Dietrich’s most famous (and her signature song), “Falling in Love Again (I Can’t Help It).”
This is the Army is a 1943 Patriotic War Musical directed by Michael Curtiz starring Ronald Regan and George Murphy based on a play written by Irving Berlin. Flashing back to WWI in 1917, newly married actor Jerry Jones (George Murphy) puts on an all-infantry musical to raise his fellow soldiers’ morale. At the dawn of World War II, as his own son, Johnny (Ronald Reagan), ponders whether to marry his sweetheart, Eileen (Joan Leslie), Jerry and his old Army buddies — including Eileen’s father, Eddie Dibble (Charles Butterworth) — decide to put on a new show for the boys marching off to battle just as they did years ago. The infamous World Heavyweight Boxing champion, Joe Lewis, plays himself as Sgt. Joe Lewis and is seen in This is the Army kicking up the dust! And, it is doubtful that actor Ronald Reagan had even the most remote conception that he would be sitting in the White House as a tenant one day and that he would be giving the nation’s greeting to Irving Berlin on his 100th birthday. But that’s an American success story too.
Love and royalty are in the air with 1951’s Royal Wedding that is another Stanley Donen directed RomCom Musical that stars Fred Astaire and Jane Powell. Astaire and Powell play an American sibling song-and-dance team in London in 1947 when all of England is in a tizzy over the impending nuptials of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Powell’s character falls for the dashing Lord John Brindale played by Peter Lawford while Astaire’s character is equally smitten with the elegant and lovely Anne Ashmond played by Sarah Churchill. This film features Astaire’s iconic scene of dancing across the ceiling of a hotel room.
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The Pajama Game is an iconic 1957 RomCom Musical directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen and starring Doris Day and John Raitt. Pajama Game tells the story of conflict between management and labor as worker’s demand a 7 and ½ cent raise in their hourly wages. Although a comedy, this film paved the way for a later films, including Norma Rae, starring Sally Field, that explore the many contributions of women in the American labor movement. Also worth noting, John Raitt, playing the male lead, is the father of famed country singer Bonnie Raitt’.
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The Cape Town Affair is Robert D. Webb’s 1967 mystery/drama film starring James Brolin, Jacqueline Bisset, Claire Trevor and Bob Courtney, where a pair of South African secret agents attempts to save confidential microfilm before it falls into the hands of Communists. Heat on the screen during a cold war era movie!
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Diabolique is a 1955 French black and white film written and directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot. I this story goes, the wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears and even stranger events begin to plague the two murderesses! This film has been referenced in countless future movies including 1980’s cult-classic – the Shining, and has provided storyline and production inspiration to the Master Storyteller of Mysteries – Alfred Hitchcock! Don’t give away the surprise ending to those who haven’t yet seen this iconic film!
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The Cold Room is a 1984 drama/mystery/romance film directed by James Dearden based on an eponymous 1978 science fiction novel with the same title by Jeffrey Caine. The film stars George Segal, Amanda Pays (in her film debut), Anthony Higgins, Renée Soutendijk, and Warren Clarke, and tells the story of a young girl in modern 80’s Germany who mysteriously experiences events that occurred years before during the World War II era. What could possibly explain this young girl’s odd behavior?
Stream 1984 drama/mystery/romance film, “The Cold Room.”
The Cold Room by Jeffrey Caine
George Segal Retrospective: Sculptures, paintings, drawings by Marco Livingstone
Max Headroom: The Complete Series starring Amanda Pays
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 2-hour 1956 Alfred Hitchcock mystery/drama starring James Stewart and Doris Day. In the movie, Dr. Ben McKenna (James Stewart) is on vacation with his wife (Doris Day) and son in Morocco when a chance encounter with a stranger sets their trip, and their lives, on a drastically different course. The stranger, killed in front of the family in the marketplace, reveals an assassination plot to the Americans. The couple’s son is abducted in order to ensure the plot is kept secret, and suddenly the mother and father, with no help from the police, must figure out a way to get their child back. This is one of Hitchcock’s best thrillers and the song “Que Sera, Sera” became Doris Day’s biggest hit and trademark song.
Alfred Hitchcock: the Man Who Knew Too Much (Icons)
by Michael Wood
Jimmy Stewart: the Truth Behind the Legend
by Michael Munn
American Legends: The Life of Doris Day
by Charles River Editors
“Indiscretion of an American Wife” — originally titled “Stazione Termini” — is a 1953 black & white Vittorio De Sica — directed story of a doomed love affair between an Italian man and an American woman starring Montgomery Clift opposite Jennifer Jones. As eye-candy for both sexes, their sex appeal was further enhanced with fabulous wardrobes designed by Christian Dior who won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Costume Design for this film.
Streaming 1953 black & white love film, “Indiscretion of an American Wife.”
Jennifer Jones & Montgomery Clift