Saturday, May 30, 2020

THE NEW MIKE HAMMER - "Harlem Nocturne" (1986)

This Saturday Night Special is the continuing story of how many times can they make one good story into a movie or TV episode. This episode of "The New Mike Hammer" show from season three in 1986 was titled "Harlem Nocturne" and even though they give absolutely no credit to Raymond Chandler, the story is obviously still based on Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely!"
So instead of the main character being Philip Marlow, the role has now been turned over to Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, and Mickey along with Director Ray Danton, don't seem to have a problem taking credit for it!

The "Moose" character in this version is called Malachi 'Bubba' Crown, and he's played by 6'6" Samm-Art Williams!
Mike Hammer is played by Stacy (Nebraska) Keach!

Besides being an actor, Samm-Art Williams was also a writer and a producer. He was the executive producer on both "Martin," and "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air."

This story wouldn't exist without some bars, so this time it's "The Three Deuces".........

.........And Dixie Wells' Club!

This hooker named Peaches is played by Marguerite (The Incredible Hulk, The Powers Of Mathew Star) DeLain.

Bubba's looking for his girlfriend Bess Irwin, but the bar she used to sing in is now a strip joint and there's no more singing going on!

You gotta just love a good shot of a disco ball!

She might be Big Mama Vibes here, but for ten years and 253 episodes, Isabel Sanford was Louise Jefferson on "The Jeffersons,"

Same as the original story, Big Mama gives Mike Hammer a picture of the wrong woman to look for!

Ernie (Ghostbusters) Hudson is a record producer known as Digger Love!

Just like in the original story, there's a string of murders in an attempt to hide what's really going on, and Digger Love is just another one of the victims!

For a little while it seems that his episode of  "The New Mike Hammer" is nothing more than a music video for one the greatest, and most soulful jazz guitarists of all time, George Benson!

George has the role of a blind recording artist named Sweet Billy Marvel! Besides music videos, George was only ever in another Mike Hammer episode and as one of the many 'Our Guests At Heartland' in the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' movie along with people like Jack Bruce and Donovan, just to name a couple.

Lynn (Josephine Baker) Whitfield has the role of Bess Irwin who is now Billy Marvel's wife Delia, and although she looks as sweet as candy, she's not somebody to be trifled with!

Big kudos and mucho thanx to Scott Lovrine for leaving a comment on "Farewell, My Lovely," and bringing this to our attention!
It's not the greatest copy in the world, but you can watch this episode of "The New Mike Hammer" on YouTube!

Friday, May 29, 2020

THE TERROR / An Edgar Wallace Murder Mystery - 1938

This is the second movie version of Edgar Wallace's play, The Terror, the first was a silent movie in 1928. The story goes like this... A mysterious criminal mastermind plots a spectacular gold robbery. After the robbery is completed. he makes sure his gang is caught by the police and keeps all the gold for himself, then disappears. After his former accomplices are released from prison ten years later, they go searching for their former boss to take their revenge and get their share of the heist.

This British production has a lot of actors from the distant past that I don't really care much about, and the plot is twisted all over the place, so, watch the movie for all the details. I'm basically just enjoying the purdy pitchers here on a lazy Friday...

It starts with three men meeting on a desolate road at night, ready to put their plan to rob a security truck into action...

They put on their gas masks and open the valves on the tanks. The driver and his partner are both gassed and they fall into unconsciousness before the gold is carted away...

Two of the men are friends, the mastermind dude is just an acquaintance of theirs. Well what do you know, the cops come to arrest them for committing the robbery! As they're being taken away, the mastermind creep is sitting there in costume, gleefully giggling to himself!

Ten years later the two men are being released from prison and they're mad as Hell. They say they will hunt down their nemesis and kill him! The officials say like.. Well, you can try, but don't count on it.. Oh, and have a nice day! Try putting that into focus nowadays!!

Meanwhile at Crazy Castle, dude has two young women living there with him, one's a psychic... He's an animated old rich fart!

There have been strange things going on at night, like an organ that plays by itself.

Then, old fart gets strangled (or maybe not) from behind a curtain, more running around the huge place ensues.

Yes, the old gasser is the mastermind behind the crime, he's actually in love with one of the girls that lives there with him...

But, since she's in love with another, it's time for him to die!

Both of the men wanting revenge the old man had come to the castle only to be murdered by him, or so he thought... This one comes out from behind the wall and attacks the old coot, but, the freak enjoys the pain!

Our girl gets her beau untied and he attacks!.. One very cool part of the plot is that you think he's a booze hound that irritates everyone, when, he's a police detective on the case!!

He punches the old man so hard it sends him into the posts holding his precious organ up, sending it crashing down on his skull, a perfectly satisfying end to a little bitch of a person.

And, we discover the secret of where the gold was hidden!! Great little story, huh? Tune in tomorrow when we're back with our last post of May...

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

FAREWELL, MY LOVELY - "I Need Another Drink" (1975)

Welcome to a "Well, If It Was Good Enough The First Time Wednesday!"
Let's do it again!

"Farewell, My Lovely" is a remake of "Murder, My Sweet" made thirty-one years later in 1975.
"Farewell, My Lovely" is also the original title of the Philip Marlowe book written by Raymond Chandler. 

Who would really name their son something like this?
A Dick Richards film about a private dick, how appropriate!

Most of the characters are the same, and the story kind of starts out the same, but after that, it's pretty much a different story! This time out an aging Robert Mitchum plays Philip Marlowe, and if you ask me, it's a pretty good fit. Philip Marlowe was supposed to be about 20 years younger than what Robert Mitchum was, but if you didn't know that, you would never know the difference. Just don't expect this film to be too much like the other one! It's just like a good cover tune, maybe like The Clash playing Glenn Miller's "In The Mood!"

If you've seen "Murder, My Sweet," you'll kind of know what's going on for a while, but "Farewell, My Lovely" is a completely different movie. I read that since nice guy Dick Powell was trying to break out of his singer/dancer mold, they changed the title from "Farewell, My Lovely," because it sounded too much like one of the musicals he was trying to leave in his past!

This time out, the Moose Malloy character is played by 6'6" former professional heavyweight boxer Jack O'Halloran, who won his first 16 fights, and had a career record of 34-21-2.
Still working today, Jack has four films in pre-production.

I have not read the book completely yet, but from what I've read so far, this version is truer to the book, like this part about the club "Florians" being a black club. 
Probably the most annoying thing about this film is the lack of much of the colorful language used by Raymond Chandler. I just don't understand that! Philip Marlowe's language as written by David Zelag Goodman is weak and tepid by comparison!

Original copies of the 1940 novel sell for thousands of dollars, but if you don't need a collectible copy, then you can go read it for yourself for free!

"Farewell, My Lovely" has a fine cast that includes Harry Dean Stanton, and Robert Ireland as a couple of very ineffective police officers.

The woman with a face like a bucket of mud is played this time by Sylvia (Violent Midnight, Life on Mars) Miles. Sylvia passed away a little less than a year ago at the age of 94.

Philip Marlowe follows a lead that Velma Valento is in a mental hospital in Camarillo, Ca.
Mental hospitals are barely a thing any more. Between 1955 and 1994, approximately 487,000 mental patients were released. The mental hospitals of today are the streets of every major metropolitan area instead!

The quite lovely Charlotte (Dexter) Rampling has the main female lead in this version, but the role of Mrs. Grayle/Velma was changed substantially for this version.
Charlotte is also still working and has four films in post-production.

"Farewell My Lovely" has a couple of early career appearances by Sylvester Stallone......

........And everybody's favorite sleazebag, Joe Spinell!!
In the middle is Kate Murtagh as Amthor, the lesbian who runs the whore house.
I love the fact that the one prostitute is reading a "Whiz" comic book!

Philip Marlowe does get shot up with drugs in this film too, but his trip is a lot shorter than in "Murder, My Sweet."

In this version, Philip Marlowe is a big baseball fan, especially of Joe DiMaggio!

It's really hard to say which film is better, because they don't even seem to be the same story most of the time. I think it's better to just watch each film on it's own merit, and forget about the comparisons! Between the color print, the cussing, and the slight bit of nudity, it really is a different movie.
There is one constant, the music is great in both versions!

If you've got some extra time on your hands, this would probably be a good time to watch a double feature of two movies that are the same, but completely different. There's no reason to compare them, just enjoy each one for what it is!
And to make it even easier for you.....

Monster Music

Monster Music
AAARRGGHHH!!!! Ya'll Come On Back Now, Y'Hear??