April 5th is quite a big date for our favorite Hollywood figures. Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Melvyn Douglas, Spencer Tracy, Roger Corman, and Walter Huston all share this day as their birthday! Without further ado, here are some wise words as well as some great films from each of these icons.
Speaking about The Wild Angels, Corman said: “The State Department protested that it was not a portrayal of All-American life, and I was delighted.”
THE WILD ANGELS (1966)
Bikers. Babes. Revenge. Nothing could better sum up this Hells Angels actioner directed by Roger Corman (producer of many classic “B” movies including Death Race 2000, Little Shop of Horrors, Targets) and starring Bruce Dern, Peter Fonda, and Nancy Sinatra. The action is set in motion when a bike is stolen from the Hells Angels. An epic chase to retrieve the bike ensues as the bikers spread fear and trembling wherever they ride. The Wild Angels delivers wall-to-wall biker action at its best.
The Wild Angels is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“I ain’t paid to make good lines sound good. I’m paid to make bad lines sound good.”
LET THERE BE LIGHT (1946)
Walter Huston lends his iconic voice to the narration of Let There Be Light, directed by his son John Huston. The film is considered to be one of the most important wartime documentaries ever made, depicting the treatment of “psychoneurotics” (now known as post-traumatic stress disorder) through hypnosis, drugs, and psychotherapy. The film changed not only how we think about documentary filmmaking but also how we think about mental illness.
Let There Be Light is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“They say the bad guys are more interesting to play but there is more to it than that – playing the good guys is more challenging because it’s harder to make them interesting.”
PORK CHOP HILL (1959)
As the Korean War rages, efforts being led to recapture Pork Chop Hill are thwarted at every turn. While leading his infantry forward to gain control of the hill, Lieutenant Joe Clemons (Gregory Peck) finds himself standing at a crossroad: with only 25 soldiers remaining out of an original 135 man unit, he is faced with abandoning the mission (a mission that his superiors are unwilling to concede) or face what may well be certain death. Pork Chop Hill, directed by Lewis Milestone, also co-stars George Peppard, Rip Torn, and Woody Strode.
Pork Chop Hill is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“Until you’re known in my profession as a monster, you’re not a star.”
WHERE LOVE HAS GONE (1964)
In the film based on Harold Robbins’s dexterously salacious bestselling novel, a young woman, Danny (Joey Heatherton), has murdered the latest lover of her mother (Susan Hayward). Danny’s father, Luke Miller (Mike Connors), describes the events that led to the tragedy. Bette Davis plays Danny’s domineering grandmother and Jane Greer plays her sympathetic probation officer. The stellar cast also includes DeForest Kelley, George Macready, Anne Seymour and Anthony Caruso. Where Love Has Gone was directed by Edward Dmytryk from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes and costumes by legendary designer Edith Head.
Where Love Has Gone is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“The Hollywood roles I did were boring. I was soon fed up with them. It’s true they gave me a world-wide reputation I could trade on, but they also typed me as a one-dimensional non-serious actor.”
TWILIGHT’S LAST GLEAMING (1977)
Melvyn Douglas plays a supporting role as Secretary of State in this tense thrill ride. Legendary director Robert Aldrich delivers a nail-biting thriller starring screen legend Burt Lancaster in an unforgettable performance as Lawrence Dell, a highly decorated US Air Force Colonel who escaped for a military prison and with the help of three other convicts (Paul Winfield, Burt Young, William Smith). The four men take over a nuclear base and hold America hostage. This fully restored director’s cut was re-mastered by the Bavaria Film Studios. The stellar cast includes Richard Widmark, Joseph Cotten, Melvyn Douglas and Charles Durning as the American President.
Twilight’s Last Gleaming is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
“The kids keep telling me I should try this new “Method Acting” but I’m too old, I’m too tired and I’m too talented to care.”
THE MOUNTAIN (1956)
Retired mountain climber and guide Zachary Wheeler (Spencer Tracy) reluctantly helps his younger brother (Robert Wagner) scale a treacherous mountain slope to reach the site of a recent plane crush. Truly his brother’s keeper, he puts aside their differences and agrees to help his inexperienced brother on an immoral looting mission. After reaching the crash site the brothers discover a lone survivor (Anna Kashfi), Zachary immediately starts caring for the injured young woman planning her rescue while his brother would rather abandon her and make off with the loot. The stellar cast also includes Claire Trevor, William Demarest and E.G. Marshall. This one-of-a-kind action-adventure was directed by Edward Dmytryk.
The Mountain is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
April 5, 2017