By John Seal
April 23, 2012
From the obscure to the obscurest to the merely overlooked or underappreciated; they all have a home in the TiVoPlex! All times Pacific.
3:00 AM Fox Movie Channel
The Man Who Wouldn’t Die (1942 USA): Surprisingly, this film does not feature Boris Karloff, star of such manly motion pictures as The Man Who Changed His Mind, The Man They Could Not Hang, and The Man with Nine Lives. Instead, Lloyd Nolan returns as P.I. Michael Shayne in this above average Fox second feature. In this outing, Shayne gets involved with Catherine (Marjorie Weaver), the beautiful daughter of suspicious oligarch Dudley Wolff (Paul Harvey), who spends his time appearing before Senate committees when he isn’t traipsing around spooky cemeteries under mysterious circumstances. This surprisingly atmospheric billfiller was written by a gent named Arnaud D’Usseau, who would later pen screenplays for two firm fan favorites of ‘70s horror, Psychomania and Horror Express.
5:00 AM Turner Classic Movies
Night Fighters (1960 GB): A passel of Irishmen star in this two-fisted tale of IRA shenanigans during World War II, originally released in Britain as A Serious Beauty and directed by Tay Garnett. Honorary Mick Robert Mitchum headlines as Dermot O’Neil, an Ulsterman recruited by pal Don McGinnis (Dan O’Herlihy, born in County Wexford) to help liberate his land from perfidious Albion. Dermot, unaware that the provos are being used by the Nazis to divert British military resources from the main event, goes along to get along until people start getting killed and then starts listening to calmer folk, including best pal Jimmy (Cyril Cusack) and brother Ned (Dublin native Niall McGinniss). Also on hand: Richard Harris (County Limerick), T.P. McKenna (County Cavan), and Harry Brogan (County Down). Sure and begorrah, where’s Barry Fitzgerald when you need him!
1:45 PM Turner Classic Movies
Picture Mommy Dead (1966 USA): This movie aired over and over and over and over and over and over again on local television back in the day. It aired A LOT. In fact, I can’t think of another film that showed up as frequently as this one did...until the early ‘80s, when it completely disappeared. Now Picture Mommy Dead is back on TCM, and I’m about to relive those happy - and frequent - childhood memories! Directed by our beloved Mr. B.I.G., Bert I. Gordon, the film stars Gordon’s daughter Susan (who, sadly, recently pre-deceased her dad) as Susan Shelley, a sensitive young thing newly released from a mental hospital. Susan’s been institutionalized since the gruesome burning death of her mother (Zsa Zsa Gabor, seen in flashback) but has now recovered - or has she? Co-starring Don Ameche as Shelley pere and grumpy old Wendell Corey as a grumpy old man, the film treads similar ground to William Castle’s Homicidal, and is surprisingly gruesome stuff for 1966. Is it too late to ask Zsa Zsa and Bert to get back together for a sequel?
6:30 PM Turner Classic Movies
Jalna (1935 USA): Okay, I’m only mentioning this film because I’d never heard of it before, and it’s title sounds like it should be attached to a Bollywood musical. It’s actually a drama about a Canadian family, and offers promise thanks to its fine cast, which includes C. Aubrey Smith, Nigel Bruce, Ian Hunter, and, erm, Willie Best. How come I’ve never heard of Jalna before now?