Monthly Archives: October 2020

Mr. Moto’s Last Warning

Movie night!

The year; 1939.

The challenge; can you take a cast consisting of Peter Lorre, George Sanders, Ricardo Cortez, John Carradine, and Robert E. Lee’s cousin (Virginia Field) and prevent World War II?

Well yes you can……at least for a year or two.

It’s exotic, it’s silly, it’s Mr. Moto’s Last Warning.

Points of interest for this Z-movie freak;

  • Virginia Field made a mini career of working with Asian detectives played by non-Asian actors. She appeared in three Mr. Moto flicks and a Charlie Chan.
  • Ricardo Cortez is always a charming villain; always. As an actor…Ricardo Cortez is always a charming villain.
  • In this epic, Mr. Cortez pumps air to an underwater diver with one hand while watching the French fleet though binoculars with the other and all the while his double-Windsor-knotted cravat and his Panama are never compromised. What style!
  • But that’s lollygaggin’ compared Mr. Moto, our persistently bespectacled hero. Mr. Moto dives underwater (in his eyeglasses), KO’s George Sanders underwater (still in his eyeglasses), blows up the enemy land mines underwater (yes, still in his eyeglasses), climbs out of the water onto the dock (you guessed it, still…), beats up Ricardo Cortez, disarrays his Panama and double-Windsor, and flings him into the Mediterranean (IN HIS EYEGLASSES!) It’s an astounding spectacle (see what I did there?).

I loved it.

They Can’t Have Gotten Far!

A movie night musing.

I hear it said there are no absolutes.

Maybe that’s why I love movies so. In the flicks there are immutable truths. A couple came immediately to mind as I reveled in The Legend of Spider Forest. I’m sure you’ve seen this treasure of a film countless times and cherish it as I do.

I josh.

Roger’s Immutable Film Truth (RIFT) #1 – Within five seconds after the words; “Get them!” have been uttered, a chase/fight/melee will ensue.

RIFT #2 – Be assured that as soon as you hear the statement; “They can’t have gotten far.” – they have.

It’s good to have these moral landmarks to guide us.

RIFT #2 is particularly important to understand these days. Mastering this concept makes our current president decipherable. It’s the primary law of the alternate dimension in which he lives.

He says “Hoax.” It’s not.

He says “We’ve turned the corner.” We haven’t.

He says “It will disappear.” I still see it.

He says “Hydroxy-snake-oil will cure it.” Nope.

He says voting by mail is bad and fraudulent as he posts his vote.

He says Biden probably plays more golf than he does…

He says he pays millions in federal tax…

He says he’s rich…

You get the idea? He points the way to truth by pointing unerringly in the opposite direction. Once we learn the language, he is the most transparent politician in history. Clearly, he’s living by the rules of terrible old movies like The Legend of Spider Forest.

It’s an odd political concept.

2020…….spider forest……it’s plausible.

Democracy, fairness, grace, civility – disappearing?

That’s OK.

They can’t have gotten far.

Oh, by the way, I voted today.

Gold

Movie Night!

I have never heard of tonight’s treasure, Gold, but the Oracle of Medford, Greg Luce, spoke glowingly of it.

Gold is a 1934 sci-fi film from Germany. It’s just fine.

It features;

  • The lovely Brigitte Helm of Metropolis fame.
  • Great, massive, electronic laboratory equipment that beeps and buzzes and flashes and flickers in quite intimidating fashion.
  • Not one, but two, count ‘em, two mighty and plausible laboratory explosions.

But most charming of all is the intense struggle between our protagonist, played by Hans Albers who looks a bit like the Amazing Kreskin (Plan 9 From Outer Space and Orgy of the Dead) and our antagonist played by Michael Bohnen who looks like Mr. Whipple in the old Charmin Tissue commercials. (“PLEASE don’t squeeze the Charmin!)

I found myself pondering whether the film might have sold more tickets in its United States release (assuming there was one) if it had been billed as Mister Whipple Vs. the Amazing Kreskin. I suppose not…1934 movie-goers hadn’t yet heard of the pair. Besides, that title wouldn’t have fit on the posters as well as; Gold.

I liked it.

The Gargoyle Vote

A hall-of fame bluegrass autumn evening prompts me to open the library windows and allow its pleasant invasion. The temperature is perfect, the humidity is low (rare for Kentucky). The sounds of the evening stream in to complete this urban hermit’s bliss.

What a change from the harsh invasion of last night.

The sounds of last evening screamed in to annihilate any bliss.

A red, shiny, snarling, sneering, pouting visage filled the TV screen. It was a face I’d seen before on the gargoyles of French buildings; looming and leering, hungry and angry, auguring vengeance on any lack of subservience, real or perceived.

It was a face I’d seen before in the Marvel comic books I collected in the 70’s. It was the screaming face of Peter Parker’s boss, J. Jonah Jameson. It was the leering face of the Green Gargoyle. It was the rampaging, obese face of the Incredible Hulk (“Don’t make me mad”). It was a cartoon face. It was not human.

I knew that then.

I know it now.

There’ll be no voting for gargoyles at our house.

This evening’s sounds are mostly gentle and reassuring.

The soft plash of the frogs, the muffled rumble of a squirrel on the roof, the martial rhythm of the cicadas, Little George and his dad recreating Tyler Herro’s finest moments on their hoop in the yard behind us, and the UK Marching Band practicing for this Saturday’s first home football game of the season.

I start thinking about football. It’s kinder than roaring gargoyles…barely.

I like to watch some college football and I usually get caught up in some of the pro football playoffs.

But it appears to me that the game has become purely a game of physical attrition. Whose third-string quarterback can beat whose fourth-string left tackle? Which team has the most pass receivers unencumbered by crutches? Which team has the fewest players undergoing the concussion protocol?

Why would any parents allow their children to participate in such an exercise?

For my occasional entertainment?

Why would anyone allow their children to become a gargoyle on TV?

For my occasional entertainment?

Gulp!

Folks, please, don’t bother for me.

I can always find a good or dreadful movie to watch.