Friday, December 30, 2011

Fractured Flickers :: Bob Hope Tosses the Perfect Strike in The Paleface (1948).

As with most Bob Hope comedies, the premise of The Paleface is a little -- okay, a whole lot -- convoluted; but, eh, who the hell cares as long as Hope gets to run amok and do his thing, no matter what the character, consequence or setting. And to get to this particular favorite cinematic scene is gonna require some set up first. Here, Hope teams up with Jane Russell in a crackling wild west tale of mistaken identity, gun-fights, and Indian attacks. 

Here, Russell plays Calamity Jane, who, in an effort to get pardon from the governor for past crimes, agrees to help infiltrate a gang of no-goodniks who are smuggling guns and dynamite to a tribe of hostile Indians. But when her partner is killed, needing someone to take his place as "her husband" Jane tabs "Painless" Peter Potter, a frontier dentist and a cowardly doof of the highest order, as her dupe. But as the film progresses, thanks to Jane's clandestine sharp-shooting skills, Painless soon garners himself quite the reputation as a gunslinger, bringing them both into contact with the gunrunners. However, when their duplicity is discovered, the couple is captured and turned over to those Indians for disposal -- just when the blossoming romance between Painless and Jane finally reached full bloom.

And so, Painless faces a horrible death, with each leg strapped to a different sapling -- think of two catapults, sharing the same load, only firing in opposite directions.

But thanks to a loose boot, something goes wrong with the launch, and instead of getting wish-boned, Painless (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) flies off into the wild blue yonder...

Where, luckily, he lands in a tree.

But Painless best get down quick and act fast with a rescue, or his true love will meet a similarly gruesome fate -- of the permanent hot-foot variety.

Working fast, once out of that tree, Painless bumps into the disgraced Medicine Man, banned from the tribe for botching a certain paleface's execution. Unaware of that fact, and needing a disguise to sneak back into the camp undetected to save Jane, Painless commences with the fool-proof plan to make 'em trade, duds for duds.

But a fool and his plan are soon parted, for the kooky savage wants no part of it and heads for the hills, leading to what I think is the best scene in a whole movie full of great ones, where Hope gives chase, takes up a rock, draws a bead on his fleeing prey, and lets it fly...



Bob Feller would have been proud!
That scene just cracks me up. Every. Damn. Time!

Ah, but even with his perfect/imperfect disguise gained, will Painless be able to save his lady fare? Sorry. For that you'll have to track down and tune into the hilarious and somewhat "explosive" conclusion of The Paleface for yourself -- because there's no way the written word, or any amount of vid-caps, could do it justice. Trust me.

The Paleface (1948) Paramount Pictures / P: Robert L. Welch / D: Norman Z. McLeod / W: Edmund Hartmann, Frank Tashlin / C: Ray Rennahan / E: Ellsworth Hoagland / M: Victor Young / S: Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Robert Armstrong, Iris Adrian, Jackie Searl, Chief Yowlachie

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

For Your Holiday Hangover, Another Rehashed Review :: Nicholas Webster's Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964). You're Welcome.

We open on a TV set tuned into the KID Network, whose anchor cheerfully announces that since it’s almost Christmas they have a special report lined-up directly from Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Sounds like fun, right? Well, no, as we slowly pan around to see who’s watching -- and unless those rumors about sitting too close to the TV are true, we can p'rolly safely assume these green-hued children with the kitchen utensils glued to their heads are Martians. And there is no joy on the Boring Red Planet, where Kimar and his wife-mate, Momar, openly worry about their children, Bomar and Girmar. They won’t eat their food pills; won’t sleep without the help of the sleep-ray; and spend their entire day in front of the tele-screens, watching those silly Earth programs. Case in point, with bedtime approaching, Kimar has to pry his kids away from the screen and set the sleep-ray to full blast.

It’s the same way in households all over Mars, and Kimar doesn’t know what to do until Momar suggests they consult with the ancient Chochem, who's, like, 800 years old and should know what to do. Kimar agrees and calls together the high council, including the spiteful crank, Voldar, to meet him at the endless caves. Once there, Kimar calls to Chochem, and, in a puff of smoke, the wizened old coot appears. And after the dilemma is laid out for him, Chochem says the answer is obvious: the Martian children are rebelling. From the day they are born, they’re hooked into Martian learning machines and are adults before they can walk. Thus, the listless children must learn to have fun. In other words: Mars needs a Santa Claus -- and Larry Buchanan kicks himself for not thinking of this movie first. To read the full, demented review of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, click here.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays :: The 6th Annual All Night Christmas Craptacular Movie Marathon!

Ho Ho Ho-migod, but its that time of year, already, meaning time for another bout with the Holiday Blues and an all night Booze-Can of film and ferment to kick that funk square in the nethers. Anyways, in picking a theme, thoughts of a Blue Underground Christmas, an evening with Johnny Quest, or a trip through Universal International's sci-fi output were quickly pushed aside for something a little more, well, festive to help smite my melancholy most verily. And thus, I spent the evening with this:

And this...

And then this...

And, yes, even this...

And then, sufficiently boozed up, fearing I'd perhaps had a batch of bad Figgy Pudding (-- thanks a lot, Mr. Cardona), I decided to cleanse the palate, so to speak, with my favorite holiday special of all time.

That's right. It's Johnny LaRue's Street Beef: the Christmas Edition, with LaRrue banished to the frozen hinter streets, where he finally confesses up to his mistakes and is rewarded with the greatest gift of all.

*sigh* I really miss John Candy.

And that about wraps it up ... Feel free to swipe a piece of leftover X-Mas Pie, there, folks. Beyond that:

Happy Holiday, one and all.

Or Bah! Humbug, where applicable.
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