Month: January 2017

The Magic Lantern: Episode 040 – I Walked with a Zombie

If someone tells you not to love them, take them at their word. Who knows what may be lurking in their tower? So if we learned anything from I Walked with a Zombie (1943), producer Val Lewton and director Jacques Tourneur’s spare yet lush and dreamy film, it’s that not all romantic adventures end in actual romance. The beauty of this film is that Lewton was handed original material he found lurid and uninteresting, and made the pivotal decision to look for further inspiration, in this case, from the narrative backbone of Jane Eyre. He then made important and interesting changes to give the story its own feel, and its own mysteries. This Mr. Rochester is an entirely different animal. We’ve got the addition of my favorite character, the stepmother, Mrs. Rand, who lives with one foot in the houmfort and one foot in the Christian church, and embodies both the matriarchy and patriarchy. We’ve got questions of modern race relations that are not clear cut. It’s a lot to pack into a film that, due to the constraints placed on Lewton by RKO, had to be under 75 minutes and made for less than $150,000.

Throughout his sadly short career, Lewton managed to make much from very little. I hope watching this film inspires you to seek out the other Lewton RKO films, if you haven’t already, and enjoy these masterpieces of light and dark, horror and mystery.

What you’ll find in this episode: what might be hidden in Cole’s tower, the regressive and progressive elements of the film, connections, a pretty solid Robert Evans impression, and whether this has a happy ending.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out I Walked with a Zombie on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Caught.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Angel Heart.
Cole’s favorite other “version” of I Walked with a Zombie.
Chester Morris and Tom Conway eyebrow-ing it up in The She-Creature via MST3K.

GTGM Episode 44: The Hugga Bunch Movie (1985)

Shady Maple Rest Home Nurses Lorello and McCambridge prepare room 207 for a new guest. Later, the director mentions that the old lady won’t be coming after all. When they ask why, they’re told that her family actually loves her and discovered the power of hugs. The other residents overhear and break down in tears, realizing how terrible their family members are.

Follow Good Times Great Movies Twitter: @GTGMcast Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodtimesgreatmovies Subscribe to Good Times Great Movies iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-times-great-movies!/id997035817?mt=2 Gohttp://www.podomatic.com/publish/step/8231763/t_title#ogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/I7kkyntqwscpccan6q6l4im25xy Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wwwstitchercomgoodtimesgreatmovies/good-times-great-movies

The Magic Lantern: Episode 039 – Master of the Flying Guillotine

We talk a lot about the arthouse here at The Magic Lantern, but we have an unabashed love of the grindhouse as well, and this film is a stone classic in that regard. Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) is one of those all time great, you have to see it to believe it genre film experiences. If you are of a certain age (forget pre-internet, we are talking pre-cable television here), you may have been lucky enough, as I was, to grow up in a market that had a veritable cornucopia of UHF choices. Among that rich vein of programming was Saturday afternoon Kung Fu Theater and it blew a hole in my pre-adolescent brain. It arrived at the critical juncture when I was graduating from Saturday morning cartoons (when they still had those) to Saturday afternoon schlock. But it was more to me than that. Yes, the films are often cheaply and quickly made, but I see this as a virtue for a number of reasons: First, the law of averages is definitely on our side here. When filmmakers in any genre are so prolific, the occasional masterpiece is all but guaranteed. Second, as often happens, necessity is the mother of invention and the majesty and wonder that some of these films achieve on a shoestring puts much more expensive productions to shame. And third, like any genre worth it’s salt, these films create a world and language all their own. Leave your biases and preconceived notions at the door and embrace the insane Foley work, questionable dubbing, and otherworldly acrobatics that await you in the world of Kung Fu cinema!

What you’ll find in this episode: Ericca fills out her Kung Fu bingo card, xenophobia among Asian cultures, rooting for the bad guy, and how genre films often reflect our anxieties, whether they mean to or not.

– Cole

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Master of the Flying Guillotine on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of 13 Assassins.
Cole’s further viewing pick of The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter.
Mythbusters takes on the flying guillotine.
A nice interview with Dan Halstead, patron saint of Kung Fu cinema.

GTGM Episode 43: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

April 15th rolls around and Doug and Jamie are frantically trying to find someone to do their taxes at the eleventh hour. Luckily, the two stumble upon Madam Ruby. Sure, her prices are a bit high but beggars can’t be choosers. Ruby’s a wiz with numbers and they’re both in for quite the refund. The only issue is that Ruby cannot electronically provide the refund and cannot have checks sent to them. They have to go collect it in person at the Alamo…in the basement.

Follow Good Times Great Movies Twitter: @GTGMcast Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodtimesgreatmovies Subscribe to Good Times Great Movies iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-times-great-movies!/id997035817?mt=2 Gohttp://www.podomatic.com/publish/step/8231763/t_title#ogle Play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/I7kkyntqwscpccan6q6l4im25xy Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wwwstitchercomgoodtimesgreatmovies/good-times-great-movies

The Magic Lantern: Episode 038 – Meet John Doe

I first saw Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe (1941) at least fifteen years ago and had not revisited it, though it left me with very strong impressions. It was those impressions that made it a clear choice for the new year and our new political landscape. As for the film itself, I felt its themes would still resonate. It features performances by Hollywood legends that should invite interesting discussion and it was made by a filmmaker so well known for his populist, singularly American style that it earned its own somewhat derisive nickname, “Capra-corn”. Similarly, Cole had not seen the film for some time, and we were both excited to watch again.

Then something really interesting happened. Our expectations were upended. Initial and old impressions disappeared. What resonated before had different meaning now, while other aspects of the film came to the fore, specifically the character of John Doe, Ann’s character arc, and the script and dialogue. I am driven now, after some research, to further investigate how much of the Capra view of America actually comes from Capra or his collaborator Robert Riskin. This isn’t a perfect film, there are a number of things I dislike, and yet it seems a much more complex film now because of these conflicts. This last installment in the unofficial American trilogy of Capra’s is one that encourages multiple viewings and analysis. I think it’s a wonderful thing to find new and interesting interpretations in a semi-forgotten cinematic memory.

What you’ll find in this episode: our beloved CCC, Capra versus Riskin, that crazy spanking dream, the alternate endings, and the problem with romantic comedies.

– Ericca

Links and Recommendations:
Check out Meet John Doe on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Desk Set.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Ace in the Hole.
More about the relationship and ultimate rift of Robert Riskin and Frank Capra.