Classic Movies

All systems go…

bloodmoney

Well, I’m back online—no thanks to those weasels allegedly “servicing” my computer…and who shall now be known on this blog as CharredHer (a reference to my dear, departed cable modem for which I paid $49.95 to these wankers). Instead, let’s have a huge round of applause for Best Buy’s Geek Squad—who not only located and fixed the problem but gave me a discount, charging me one hundred and twenty-nine clams. (It could have been worse—the Geek who fixed my computer originally thought my Ethernet card might have to be replaced. But Providence smiled on me in the knowledge that the Gateway people had good sense to install a spare. Major kudos to them as well.)

If you been keeping up with the reading, I did manage to get in a few posts while dog sitting for sister Kat…and it was at her domicile that I finally got to see a movie that has eluded me for nearly twenty-five years: Blood Money (1933), a top-notch pre-Code gangster melodrama starring Dame Judith Anderson (in a most un-Mrs. Danvers-in-Rebecca-like role), George Bancroft and Frances Dee. The film most certainly lives up to its reputation; ex-cop-turned-bail-bondsman Bancroft falls in love with both Dame Judy (as a moll responsible for getting George set up in business) and Frances, a thrill-seeking socialite who crosses paths with Bancroft after being arrested for utilizing the “five-finger-discount” in a department store. This way-ahead-of-its-time movie is a short-and-sweet sixty-five minutes, and also features the legendary Blossom Seeley singing two numbers and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from the not-yet-legendary Lucille Ball as a race-track floozy. Ever since I read about this film in Danny Peary’s Cult Movies 2 I’ve been dying to see it, and I sure wasn’t disappointed (particularly the great scene featuring Dee near the ending). (I will, however, admit that I laughed unintentionally when Dee’s father—played by Frederick Burton—remarks to Bancroft that his daughter “likes underworld pictures”—Bancroft having starred in the famous 1927 film directed by Josef von Sternberg.) If you keep missing this one on the Fox Movie Channel (or don’t get the channel on your cable system at all), Vintage Film Buff.com offers it in tandem with another interesting pre-Code entry, Pleasure Cruise (1933).

I also caught a little flick entitled The Mob (1951) the same day as Money, and while I have problems with the casting of star Broderick Crawford as an undercover cop masquerading as a stevedore to infiltrate the titled group (Crawford seems more like the individual who’d be running the syndicate) it’s still worth a look-see; TDOY fave Neville Brand is in this one…and looks (he’s even wearing the same suit) as if he just stepped off the set of D.O.A. (1950) (“Soft in the belly…he can’t take it.”)…along with Richard Kiley, Betty Buehler, Ernest Borgnine, Jean Alexander, John Marley, Charles Bronson and OTR faves like Matt Crowley, Lawrence Dobkin, Frank DeKova and Jess Kirkpatrick. Mob’s biggest strength is its punchy, hard-boiled dialogue which was no doubt recycled from some old Pat Novak for Hire scripts tossed into a wastebasket.

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