Movie Mike presents:
BLUEBEARD, with John Carradine as the serial strangler of women in old Paris. In this
19th century period piece he plays a sinister puppeteer who operates a diabolical
marionette opera. Jeanne Parker is the lady he’s stalking; Nils Asther is the detective who
is stalking him. Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, who was a genuine German Expressionist,
and it shows in this deeply lit and intensely styled low-budget film. Ulmer was a
production designer who worked with Murnau before he came to Hollywood. All his work
shows superbly sinister, threatening design and lighting. This film is all atmosphere and
suggestion, hardly any violence is shown. When Bluebeard strangles his victims, we see a
tight closeup of Carradine’s eyes bulging maniacally! You couldn’t ask for a better
Early in the War of 1812, Mark Stevens is an American sea
captain, commissioned to run the British blockade and fetch
an unofficial war loan in gold bars from France. His first
mate, Patric Knowles, is a dishonored former British Navy
captain. The gun crew, headed by Gene Evans with a hook
hand and rowdy Rhys Williams, plot a mutiny to seize the
gold. The plot thickens when a femme most fatale, the very
young and lovely Angela Lansbury, comes on board. She’s
after the gold, too, and doesn’t care who she betrays or kills in order to get it. The climax involves a primitive wooden submersible, a very unreliable kind of early submarine. Edward Dmytryk directs this salty and exciting tale.
MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932)
Here’s exciting pulp fiction, shot on the familiar Kong Island set, with the same King Kong director, Ernest Schoedsack, and some of the same stars. Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray and Joel McCrae are pursued through the jungle by Leslie Banks. Based on Richard Connell’s classic short story. A cabin cruiser is shipwrecked off the coast of a remote island and the three passengers survive. The island is owned by Mad Count Zaroff, who invites them to stay. But he’s a psycho sadist who enjoys hunting, and he only hunts The Most Dangerous Game — Man! Leslie Banks hams it up in a very archaic stage-actor’s style, the sort of mugging that was later adopted by Vincent Price in his villainous roles. A very early sound movie, where the actors must stay close to the hidden mics and shout. But action scenes, lacking dialog, are nice and fluid, like the best of late silent cinema. Here is the transition from silent to sound usage. The pre-code Freudian subtext is nice, too, as Zaroff shows the link between passion and murder.
FLASH GORDON (1936)
Jump on Dr. Zarkov’s rocket and we’re off to Mongo, the planet of adventure, to battle Ming The Merciless! Meet winged hawkmen and visit their floating sky city. Become a slave shoveling radium into the atom furnaces. Enjoy invisibility, swordplay and ray guns. Rescue Dale from a dire fate! See dinosaurs and monsters, classic heroism and villainy, plus laughably crude special effects. With wonderful music, costumes and props, lots of thrills and action, a silly script, and bad acting. This was truly the king of serials!
DOCTOR SATAN’S ROBOT (1940)
They couldn’t afford to buy the rights to Batman so they created the chainmail-masked Copperhead as the heroic alter ego of “Bob Wayne.” Eduardo Cianelli is Dr. Satan, seen here with his Walking Tin Can. He plans to rule the world with an army of sily-looking robots as Movie Mike serves up the crustiest of cheez. Cianelli plays dapper, gangsterish meanie, a sort of cross between Edward G. Robinson and Bela Lugosi.