Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Flood Tide ( 1958 )

Behind the mask of innocence.....murder! 

Universal Pictures made a number of good melodramas in the late 1950s that have fallen into obscurity today, one of which was Flood Tide ( 1958 ) starring George Nader. It's similar to The Bad Seed ( 1956 ) with its main antagonist being a child, but instead of being just a melodrama, it has a touch of murder mystery to it as well. 

The film begins with Bill Holleran ( Russ Conway ) being tried and convicted of murder....the murder of a man who was found washed upon the beach. He had got into an argument with a drunken friend at a party at his beach house and, according to Bill, they had a fistfight and then his friend stumbled away down the street trying to hitch a ride to town. However, a key witness claims that he saw Bill murder the drunken man and then drag his body out to the Pacific Ocean. 

That key witness is David Gordon ( Michel Ray ). He's an intelligent and conniving 10-year-old who was crippled in an automobile accident, the same accident that killed his father several years previously. His mother Anne ( Cornell Borchers ) is devoted to his well-being and believes in the innocence of her son. She is so attentive to him that he develops an intense jealosy whenever he sees anyone take an interest in his mother. 

Steve Martin ( George Nader ), is the owner of the beach house that Bill Holleran had rented. He was away in South America for several months, but when he hears about the case, he comes back to testify against young David.....he believes the boy to be lying. Alas, he is too late and the trial is over. Steve attempts to explain why he thinks that David may have been lying and thus begins a flashback of the events leading up to the trial. 

If you expect to watch an engrossing murder mystery, then you would probably be disappointed with Flood Tide, but if you like a good melodrama, then it is well-worth checking out. I found the first half-hour to be difficult to watch because Anne so willingly allows David to rule her life, but after the flashback ends, the film takes a nice twist and we see Steve playing psychological games with David in the hopes of drawing him out of his selfish misery and getting him to confess to lying. 

Steve is in love with Anne and he sees that the only way he can marry her is by winning the love of David. He valiantly tries to give the boy confidence in himself and make him realize that just because he is physically crippled does not mean he has to be mentally crippled. 

George Nader and Cornell Borchers are both excellent in their parts. Their blossoming romance is both touching to watch and rather sad because it seems so hopeless. Michel Ray is also very good as David. He was very much like Martin Stephens from Village of the Damned ( 1960 ), without the glowing eyes but equally dangerous. Ray made his first film appearence in The Divided Heart ( 1954 ), an excellent British film, and then he came to Hollywood where he had a very short career. He made a handful of westerns but is best known for playing Bud Brewster in the B-film The Space Children ( 1958 ). 

Also in the cast is the lovely Joanna Moore as Steve's old flame, Judson Pratt as a doctor who wants to help David, and Charles Arnt as a kindly grocer. Troy Donahue also makes a brief appearence as a teenager on the beach. 

Flood Tide has not yet been released on DVD, but copies of the film taped from late-night television can be found online. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game


Look at all that beautiful white fluffy snow! We've been posting a number of tricky photos lately, so to cap the year off we have an easier puzzle for our Impossibly Difficult followers. Be the first to identify the film this screenshot was taken from and you've got yourself a prize!

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules to the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!


Congratulations to Brittany for identifying this screenshot from "How to Marry a Millionaire" ( 1953 ). In this scene, Betty Grable and Fred Clark just arrived at his lodge in Maine...and that's handsome Rory Calhoun fetching their luggage from the trunk. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The 12 Delights of Christmas Tag

Heidi of Along the Bradywine created a jolly Christmas tag to celebrate the season and we are pleased as punch to have been tagged by Paddy Lee, known by her readers as Caftan Woman. For those of you not familiar with tagging parties, they are simply a set of questions that you answer and then pass along to another group of bloggers whom you tagged. On to the questions! 

1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

There are a lot of them, most of which include watching favorite holiday films on the days leading up to Christmas...but one of our favorite traditions is making gesztenyepüré. It's a Hungarian chestnut purree dessert that our Oma ( grandma ) introduced to us when we were young. There is something delightfully nostalgic about tasting this frothy rum-soaked chestnut dessert on a cold winter afternoon.

2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside? 

That depends on how much snow fell down. If it was just a dusting, we'd stay in, but if it came down heavy, then we'd scurry to put our ski pants on and go cross-country skiing! 

3) Tea or hot chocolate? 

Definitely tea...with plenty of cookies. 

The "milk of human kindness"...if it tastes like Earl Grey, I'll take a large cup, too!

4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green, etc)?

White and green. The colors of snow and garlands. 

5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie? 

Diana: Thumbprints and sugar cookies. We make them every year!
Connie: I love spekulatius cookies because they taste so good with tea, especially the ones with the stamped image of the little old man carrying a sack on his back. 

6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)? 

About a week into December. We take it down a week after New Year's Day, so it is up for a whole month. 

7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols?

Diana: O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, Joy to the World

Connie: The Star Carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day ( set to the Johnny Marks melody ), Here We Come A-Wassailing 

8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)? 

Diana: We Need a Little Christmas from Mame.
Connie: Little Altar Boy ( The Carpenters ) is such a jewel. 

9) A favorite Christmas movie? 

Diana: The Bishop's Wife ( 1947 )
Connie: Little Women ( 1933 ). 

10) Have you ever gone caroling?

Yes! It was an annual tradition at our church, but sadly, this year we did not have the pleasure of singing out door-to-door. 

11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowboarding? 

Skiing! Ice skating looks delightful but most attempts at it have turned into a wobbly mess. At least when you fall on skiis you land on snow. 

12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

Diana: Yams!
Connie: I'm still looking for that one. 

Since the 12 Days of Christmas runs up until January 5th, we're tagging the following bloggers - Critica RetroThe Wonderful World of Cinema, Vienna's Classic Hollywood - to join in, but if any of our readers want to share their responses too, we'd love to hear them! 

1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside? 

3) Tea or hot chocolate? 

4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green etc)? 

5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie? 

6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)? 

7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols? 

8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)? 

9) A favorite Christmas movie? 

10) Have you ever gone caroling? 

11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowboarding? 

12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?

Sunday, December 20, 2020

All I Desire ( 1953 )

Naomi Murdoch is returning to the small town of Riverdale to see her daughter perform in a high school play and the town is in a gossiping uproar. Nearly ten years earlier, Naomi left Riverdale, her husband Henry ( Richard Carlson ), and her three children to pursue a career on the stage as an actress. The townsfolk - and her family - have not forgiven her. All except Lily ( Lori Nelson ), Naomi's younger daughter. It was a letter from Lily that brought Naomi on her homeward journey. 

Once back in Riverdale, Naomi comes to realize how much she has missed her family and her home. But she feels that it is too late to make amends. Henry and she argue the first night she arrives and their eldest daughter Joyce ( Marcia Henderson ) is particularly bitter towards her. To make matters worse, Dutch Heinemann ( Lyle Bettger ), a local shop owner, thinks that because Naomi is back in town they can pick on where they left off with their affair. 

All I Desire was directed by Douglas Sirk and, like most of his films from the 1950s, it is bubbling with soapy melodrama. Most of his films were shot in color, but this one was black-and-white and it was a good decision to film it in monochrome because of the emphasis it gives to the low-lighting and shadows that were beautifully captured by cinematographer Carl Guthrie ( Caged ). 

The script was an adaption of Carol Brinks' novel "Stopover" and, even though the film is only 80-minutes, it manages to pack in quite a lot of drama in such a short span....with, surprisingly, no loose ends. 

Barbara Stanwyck was ideally cast as Naomi and looks beautiful in the turn-of-the-century period costumes designed by Rosemary Odell. Naomi is a tired hardened woman who never really made it big in the theater world but she decides to play the part of being an elegant distinguished actress and make her family proud. Few actresses could have played this part with as much conviction as Ms. Stanwyck.

Richard Carlson is also well-suited in the role of Henry, the mild-mannered school principal who is shocked by his wife's return. Henry was beginning to grow attached to Ms. Harper ( Maureen O'Sullivan ), the school's drama teacher, but when Naomi comes back into his life, he has to re-evaluate his feelings. 

Also in the cast is Billy Gray as Naomi's son Ted, Lotte Stein as the Swedish housekeeper, and Richard Long as Joyce's charming beau.  Stuart Whitman and Guy Williams also have small parts as Lily's school companions. 

The publicity department at 20th Century Fox probably thought that the film's period setting would turn away audience members and so they created poster art that, amusingly, had nothing to do with the film. One poster has a background of storm clouds while a man ( presumably Richard Carlson ) kisses the neck of a negligee-clad woman who looks a lot like Barbara Hale. Another has a dark-haired Barbara Stanwyck cradling the head of Robert Mitchum, both of them wearing outfits that look like they came out of the 1940s (!). 

All I Desire did not need the pulp-fiction publicity to sell it, because the film is a fine production all around and is one of Barbara Stanwyck's best films of the 1950s. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

British Pathé: Peter Cushing and His Toy Soldiers ( 1956 )

This 1956 British Pathé newsreel reveals that the inimitable English actor Peter Cushing was a toy soldier enthusiast. As if he wasn't marvelous enough already! 

As you will see in this 2-minute clip, Cushing had a little corner of his study in his Kensington house set aside for his hobby. He painted his tin soldiers to authentically match the colors of historic military uniforms. 

Cushing was a member of the Model Soldier Society and not only took pride in his painted creations but enjoyed playing with them as well. As the narrator states, he played with his soldiers in accordance with the rules laid down by H.G. Wells in his book "Little Wars". This was years before the outbreak of the wargamer's hobby and, without games like Axis and Allies and Conquest of the Empire, Mr. Cushing had to make do with playing soldiers without a 3-foot gameboard. In truth, he seems to have the advantage and was able to sprawl his soldiers over the entire floor of his study! 

Ready to watch Peter Cushing? Simply click on the link below: 

Peter Cushing ( 1956 ) - 2:12 minutes 

Similiar British Pathé newsreels:

Friday, December 11, 2020

From the Archives: The Fan ( 1949 )

Mrs. Windermere ( Jeanne Crain ) meets the conniving Mrs. Erlynne ( Madeleine Carroll ) for the first time at a dinner party, while her husband Lord Windermere ( Richard Greene ) looks on in this scene from The Fan ( 1949 ). This lush 20th-Century-Fox production was an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play "Lady Windermere's Fan".

From the Archives is our latest series of posts where we share photos from the Silverbanks Pictures collection. Some of these may have been sold in the past, and others may still be available for purchase at our eBay store :

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Joe Flynn - A Frustrated Fellow

Aurora, author of the blog Once Upon a Screen, is hosting the 9th annual What a Character! Blogathon this weekend along with Kellee of Outspoken and Freckled and Paula of Paula's Cinema Club. This event celebrates the many many great character actors that have appeared in films since movie-making began. 

It is usually a difficult choice for me to pick just one face to profile, but this time around the decision-making came quickly because Joe Flynn has been delighting me all year. 

This loveable bespeckacled character actor is best known for playing Captain Wallace B. Birmingham on the television sitcom McHale's Navy ( 1962-1966 ), but he also had supporting roles in a number of fun Walt Disney films from the 1960s-1970s and I'd like to put the spotlight on these. 

Joe Flynn was born in Youngstown, Ohio on November 8, 1924. After attending Northwestern University he played in local theater and on radio before joining the Special Services Branch of the Army and entertaining troops overseas during World War II. 

Like many character actors, Joe Flynn began his career in uncredited roles playing extras or characters like assistants or reporters. He started film work when he was only 24 years-old but he never looked very young so he was quickly put into roles that called for a more mature face. He had small parts in The Desperate Hours ( 1955 ), The Steel Jungle ( 1956 ), and Portland Expose ( 1957 ) while alternating between steady television work on shows such as The Thin Man, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Life of Riley and The Real McCoys

He tried his hand at playing in some western television shows but he fitted modern-day business suits and military outfits much better and in the 1960s he found his niche in comedy parts where he usually played a businessman or officer in a position of authority who is frustrated working with incompetent people. "I could just scream!" became his catchphrase on McHale's Navy. It seems like a difficult task to add humor to a character who chews other people's heads off, but Joe pulls it off with ease. 

On the opposite spectrum, he could also play characters who have to take the gruff from others. He was the lowly Private Drexler in The Last Time I Saw Archie ( 1961 ), the obedient office worker Hadley in Lover Come Back ( 1961 ), and Thorndyke's stooge Havershaw in The Love Bug ( 1968 ). 

In 1962, Joe began his long association with the Walt Disney Studios when he had a small uncredited part in Son of Flubber. After The Love Bug, he was cast as Dean Higgins of Medfield College in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes ( 1969 ). Dean Higgins was a man who had little faith in the intelligence of his students at Medfield, especially Dexter Riley ( Kurt Russell ) who was continually getting into mischief. In spite of his short temper, the college students always turned to him for advice even though it was they who usually ended up saving him from a financial scrape or personal embarrassment. 

In this clip from Now You See Him, Now You Don't, Dexter and his friends were unable to save Higgins from embarrassment and they can only watch as Higgins make a fool out of himself during a televisied golf tournament. Dean Higgins fancies himself a pro golfer after he had an amazing first game of golf but little did he realize that it was Dexter who, while invisible, was moving his ball around on the course. Since Dexter was unable to attend the tournament, Dean Higgins finds out just how hard a game of golf can be!

Joe Flynn was a natural-born scene-stealer and no matter who he was acting opposite, he managed to take the spotlight position away from them. It is hard not to like Joe, especially when he puts on his goofy expression of bewilderment. The Disney screenwriters saw what a ham he was and in the sequels to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Dean Higgins' part was expanded on. 

He reprised the role of Dean Higgins in two more Dexter adventures - Now You See Him, Now You Don't ( 1972 ) and The Strongest Man in the World ( 1975 ) and also played opposite Kurt Russell in The Barefoot Executive ( 1971 ) where he got to mutter his frustration out on another wonderful character actor - Wally Cox. 

Joe Flynn was also a favorite among other comedians and one his friends was Tim Conway, with whom he starred with on The Tim Conway Show ( 1970 ). This short-lived series featured the two comics as pilots of a charter airline service. Conway was a good friend of Don Knotts and it may have been that connection that got Flynn a role in How to Frame a Figg ( 1971 ), a Universal Pictures comedy featuring Don Knotts. In this film, Flynn plays a corrupt member of city hall who is trying to finger the blame on Don Knotts. 

In real life, Flynn liked to fight for underdogs. Prior to coming to Hollywood, he had run for a  seat in the Ohio Senate as a Republican and, in the early 1970s, he launched a movement on behalf of the Screen Actors Guild for a more equitable distribution of TV residual payments. 

Throughout the 1970s, Flynn made guest appearences in a number of television sitcoms ( e.g. Family Affair, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, That Girl ), game shows ( It's Your Bet, The Match Game ) and was a very frequent guest star on The Merv Griffin Show, making no less than 52 appearences on that show! 

His final film was The Rescuers, where he voiced the character of Mr. Snoops. Flynn passed away in 1977 at the age of 49 from a heart attack while he was swimming at home. One can only wonder what great parts he may have had as an older character actor if his life had not been cut so short

Now, for a really "egg"-cellant treat, check out this fascinating story about Joe Flynn and his egg-farming hobby that turned into a business venture lasting ten years, thanks to the unwelcomed support of Marlon Brando. 

Thank you for stopping by! To read more posts about character actors, click on this link to be taken to the What a Character! Blogathon main page where you will find articles from other bloggers. Enjoy!