Saturday, July 31, 2021

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...Exciting news from Flicker Alley: This fall they will be releasing combination Blu-ray/DVD sets of THE BEAST MUST DIE (1952), also known as LA BESTIA DEBE MORIR, and THE BITTER STEMS (1956), aka LOS TALLOS AMARGOS. Like Flicker Alley's previous film noir releases, the sets are being released in cooperation with the Film Noir Foundation and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Both sets will have extras, including introductions by the Film Noir Foundation's Eddie Muller. I have enjoyed both films at past Noir City Hollywood festivals and hope to review the new releases when they come out this November.

...At Once Upon a Screen Aurora has a terrific piece on Dick Powell's radio detective shows. It includes lots of links for your listening pleasure.

...I enjoyed Annette Bochenek's tribute to a relatively lesser-known favorite, Martha O'Driscoll, at her blog Hometowns to Hollywood. I'm always happy to see O'Driscoll turn up in a movie; she was very enjoyable in "B" films such as PACIFIC BLACKOUT (1941) and CRIMINAL COURT (1946), seen in this photo.

...Kino Lorber has announced a Blu-ray of Audie Murphy's autobiographical movie TO HELL AND BACK (1955) is "coming soon." Charles Drake, Jack Kelly, Marshall Thompson, and Gregg Palmer costar, directed by Jesse Hibbs.

...BLACK WIDOW (2021) star Scarlett Johansson has sued Disney for breach of contract for simultaneously releasing the film on Disney+ and in theaters, which she says was in violation of her contract and negatively impacted her share of the film's box office profits. Variety breaks down the various angles of what could prove to be a significant lawsuit, given the changing nature of film exhibition and the rise of streaming.

...The BLACK WIDOW Blu-ray, incidentally, will be available September 14th.

...Marvel's HAWKEYE (2021) series, starring Jeremy Renner in the title role, will debut on Disney+ on November 24th.

...Deanna Durbin films now available on Blu-ray from Universal Pictures: THAT CERTAIN AGE (1938) and NICE GIRL? (1941). Also just released on Blu-ray by Universal: THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE (1936), starring Fred MacMurray.

...Glenn Erickson has reviewed the Warner Archive Blu-ray release STEP BY STEP (1946), which was reviewed here a few days ago. STEP BY STEP is an RKO "B" thriller starring Lawrence Tierney and Anne Jeffreys.

...Elisabeth Grace Foley has written a most interesting piece about Westerns character actor Hal Taliaferro (aka Wally Wales) at her blog History and Mystery.

...Best wishes to Leonard Maltin, who is recovering from shoulder replacement surgery after suffering a fall while he was working in Atlanta.

...Here's a nice jigsaw puzzle I came across which might be of interest to classic film fans. I've purchased other puzzles made by White Mountain in the past.

...A reminder that I'm currently hosting a Blu-ray giveaway drawing which can be entered here. I'll be drawing the winners' names and posting them on Saturday, August 7th.

...Attention Southern Californians: The American Cinematheque has announced that its screenings at the Los Feliz 3 Theatre on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles will begin in August. The schedule will include Sunday matinees of black and white films in 35mm, with the first titles including THE LOCKET (1946) and PHANTOM LADY (1944). The Los Feliz 3 has 144 seats.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my July 24th roundup.

Friday, July 30, 2021

TCM in August: Summer Under the Stars Highlights

It's almost August, and that means it's time for the annual Summer Under the Stars festival on Turner Classic Movies!

For a quick overview of this month's stars, please check out my preview. The complete schedule may be found at the TCM Summer Under the Stars microsite.

As I noted in the preview, the August schedule kicks off with a day of Bette Davis films. Davis was bumped from the 2020 schedule to make way for a 24-hour tribute to Olivia de Havilland after she passed away, so it's a nice touch having her day first on the schedule this year.

As regular TCM viewers will be aware, all of TCM's usual features, including Noir Alley, Silent Sunday nights, and Saturday morning cartoons and "B" films, are suspended for the month of August. Normal programming will resume in September!

Below are just a few recommendations from a very interesting schedule. Please click on any hyperlinked movie title to read my corresponding review.

...Bette Davis Day on August 1st includes the actress as identical twins in A STOLEN LIFE (1946), costarring Glenn Ford.

...I enjoy PUSHOVER (1954), a crime film being shown as part of a day of Kim Novak films on August 3rd. She's a bank robber's girlfriend who leads a cop (Fred MacMurray) astray. Dorothy Malone and Phil Carey costar.

...August 4th is one of the most interesting days on the schedule, celebrating Louis Armstrong. He provides the entertainment in a roadhouse in the very enjoyable romantic comedy PILLOW TO POST (1945), starring Ida Lupino.

...Four Miss Marple movies starring Margaret Rutherford will be shown in prime time on Rutherford's Summer Under the Stars day on August 5th. Eddie Muller will be hosting the Marple films, which sounds like a fun evening.

...August 6th is one of those days where a classic film fan could happily stay parked in front of TCM the entire day: Robert Mitchum Day! I've seen all but two of the films, and you really can't go wrong with any of them. I'll point out a lesser-known movie I enjoyed, ONE MINUTE TO ZERO (1952), a Korean War film costarring Ann Blyth.

...August 8th is the centennial of the birth of the late Esther Williams, who was a TCM Star of the Month a decade ago. TCM celebrates her birthday with 24 hours of Williams films. I think I've seen them all, and it's another day of highly enjoyable viewing! I'll particularly point out EASY TO LOVE (1953), costarring Van Johnson and Tony Martin, with a great water-ski routine choreographed by Busby Berkeley.

...I've also seen the vast majority of Kay Francis films being shown on August 9th! Once again, it's a highly entertaining lineup. One of my favorites is the romantic comedy THE GOOSE AND THE GANDER (1935), costarring George Brent and Genevieve Tobin.

...Another marvelous day comes on August 11th with a tribute to Kathryn Grayson. Be sure to record or watch THE VANISHING VIRGINIAN (1942), which is one of her very best yet least-known films. She plays the daughter of a district attorney (Frank Morgan) in 1914 Virginia. It's wonderful MGM Americana and deserves to be much better known.

...The fine William Wyler Western THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) is showing as part of Gregory Peck Day on August 14th. Jean Simmons and Charlton Heston top a deep cast. The musical score by Jerome Moross is surely one of the greatest ever composed for films.

...August 15th is Judy Garland Day. You can't go wrong with almost any of the movies! I really enjoyed revisiting GIRL CRAZY (1943) last year. Mickey Rooney costars, and there's a Gershwin score.

...I think August 16th is one of the most interesting days on the schedule, highlighting the career of Robert Young. When I have the opportunity I like to call attention to JOURNEY FOR MARGARET (1943), a powerful film showing the impact of World War II on young British children. Margaret O'Brien and Laraine Day costar.

...Gloria Grahame Day on August 17th includes the underrated Western ROUGHSHOD (1949), costarring Robert Sterling and Claude Jarman Jr. It has beautiful location photography, filmed in the Sierras.

...Another exciting day on the schedule is August 19th, celebrating Japanese actress Setsuko Hara. Of her films which I've seen, I especially love EARLY SUMMER (1951) and highly recommend it; I've been thinking recently that I'm due for a rewatch! (August 19th Update: EARLY SUMMER is not on the current schedule; I'm not sure if it was pulled or I didn't notice its omission.)  I'll be recording two of her films which aren't in my collection, HERE'S TO THE YOUNG LADY (1949) and REPAST (1951).

...It's Van Heflin Day on August 20th! I'd like to recommend an excellent film I just reviewed, GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (1947). I think it's one of Heflin's best performances. Lana Turner costars.

...August 22nd celebrates my favorite actor, Tyrone Power. Power's films aren't shown that frequently on TCM as so many were made for 20th Century-Fox, which are more expensive for TCM to license. It's a marvelous day which includes one of my favorite films ever made, THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), costarring Linda Darnell.

...Eve Arden Day on August 23rd presents a diverse lineup including her memorable supporting turn in STAGE DOOR (1937). It's hard to forget her since she spends much of the movie holding a cat, which is sometimes even draped around her neck! Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn top the excellent cast.

...The lineup on Maurice Chevalier Day on August 24th includes some of his wonderful Jeanette MacDonald musicals, including THE MERRY WIDOW (1934). You can't go wrong with any of their films!

...The Jane Wyman schedule on August 25th includes a Raoul Walsh Western I liked, CHEYENNE (1947), costarring Dennis Morgan and Janis Paige.

...I'm fond of the romantic comedy THE COWBOY AND THE LADY (1938). The cowboy is Gary Cooper, and the leading lady is Merle Oberon, who will have a day of films screened on August 27th.

...You can't ever go wrong with CASABLANCA (1942), which is among the Ingrid Bergman films being shown on August 29th. Like most film fans, I've seen it many times, but seeing it in nitrate in 2016 is an especially treasured memory. I wrote about it here.

...The terrific James Cagney lineup on August 30th includes the pre-Code drama TAXI! (1932), costarring Loretta Young.

...The month wraps up with Fredric March Day on August 31st. Along with his better-known films, I enjoy the romantic comedy THERE GOES MY HEART (1938), costarring Virginia Bruce.

For more on TCM in August 2021, please check out my Quick Preview of TCM in August and TCM's complete schedule.

TCM has also posted a Summer Under the Stars promotional video.

Enjoy Summer Under the Stars!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Jungle Cruise (2021) at the El Capitan Theatre

Tonight we had a really fun experience at the opening night of JUNGLE CRUISE (2021) at Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.

JUNGLE CRUISE stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt in a film inspired by the classic ride which originated at Disneyland.

Tonight's special screening was hosted by Disney's official fan club, D23. The ticket included snacks, a drink, and even a Jungle Cruise skipper hat!

As is usually the case at the El Capitan, we were also treated to a wonderful organ concert before the movie. There was then a nice surprise when Disney CEO Bob Chapek appeared on stage to welcome us back to the movies.

Before I get to the film itself, here are some photos from tonight's event:

Thanks to Disney's restoration work, the El Capitan, which first opened in 1926, is a beautiful place to see a movie, inside and out.

The Wurlitzer organ dates from the 1920s (sources vary on the year) and was first used in a theater in San Francisco. Listening to it before the movie is always a highlight.

The side balconies had character mannequins dressed in costume.

Here's Disney CEO Bob Chapek welcoming the audience just before the movie started.

The El Capitan features the kind of exhibition showmanship which is long gone from most theaters, including an elaborate pre-show with multiple sets of curtains and effects.

For those curious, here's the skipper cap! Nice heavy material and embroidery.

JUNGLE CRUISE was a throwback to everything from KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950) to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) to ROMANCING THE STONE (1984).

Other reviewers have cited THE MUMMY (1999) and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003) as influences, but I've only seen bits and pieces of those films. 

The movie, set during WWI, also has a vague sort of steampunk feel to it, with its mix of old machinery and the fantastical.

The film had a nice '80s-style "movie as thrill ride" vibe which was accented by the fact that we were watching with a very enthusiastic audience. You know you're with the right crowd when they laugh at all the "inside" Jungle Cruise ride jokes and actually applaud the payoff for a joke about "the back side of water"!

Blunt plays intrepid Lily Houghton, who embarks on a jungle quest (it's complicated) with her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall). They hire skipper Frank Wolff (Johnson) to take them into the jungle on his boat. Strange experiences ensue, and that's honestly all a prospective audience needs to know -- though I will say I did not expect the otherworldly paths we're taken with Johnson's character.

Johnson and Blunt are on screen the vast majority of the time and have excellent chemistry. They both seem to be having a lot of fun, and the audience is right there with them on that score. It's clearly apparent why this pair of actors earn the big dollars they do.  They're each, in a word, terrific.

I found JUNGLE CRUISE quite enjoyable but readily admit it's not a perfect film. It's more of the strong 2-1/2 or weak 3 stars variety, thanks mostly to the charisma of the stars and periodic good jokes, including the appearance of "Trader Sam."

Weak spots:

*A pointless character for Paul Giamatti, an actor I don't really care for anyway.

*A villain (Jesse Plemons) who's just a...colorless weirdo?

*Too many villains! Plus a confusing back story which goes back...way, way back.

*Lots of ugly visuals, many involving snakes. I kept thinking of Indy's line from RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, "Why'd it have to be snakes?!"  

*Surprisingly cliched treatment of Whitehall's character, who is clearly meant to be a gay man.

*Music with strong orchestrations which doesn't go anywhere. Why is no one capable anymore of writing a movie theme audiences hum on the way out of the theater?  A strong Williams-esque theme would have added to the film enormously.

In the end, though, this was 127 minutes with a pair of charming, funny stars, and as only the third theatrical film I've seen indoors since March 2020, it more than delivered a very enjoyable evening watching it on the El Capitan's huge screen.

The movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed a pair of Liam Neeson films I enjoyed, NON-STOP (2014) and THE COMMUTER (2018).  The cinematography was by Flavio Martinez Labiano.  The script had too many cooks to name.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13.  It's periodically kind of gross, from creepy-crawlies to people throwing up, but that's about it.  If there was any profanity I've forgotten it already.

A trailer is here.

Previous Disney screenings at the El Capitan Theatre: Tonight's Movie: Lady and the Tramp (1955) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Cinderella (1950) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Peter Pan (1953) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Mulan (1998) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: The Little Mermaid (1989) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Mary Poppins (1964) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Swiss Family Robinson (1960) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: Alice in Wonderland (1951) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: The AristoCats (1970) at the El Capitan Theatre; Tonight's Movie: The Incredibles (2004) at the El Capitan Theatre; Revisiting Enchanted (2007) at the El Capitan Theatre; Revisiting Sleeping Beauty (1959) at the El Capitan Theatre; Revisiting Cinderella (1950) at the El Capitan Theatre; plus Tonight's Movie: The Jungle Book (1967) at the TCM Classic Film Festival.

New Western RoundUp Column at Classic Movie Hub

My new Western RoundUp column is now available at Classic Movie Hub!

This month I return to the topic of my "Western Film Book Library," with a list of new reading suggestions for Westerns fans.

It's been wonderful receiving feedback from readers and hearing that my Classic Movie Hub book posts have inspired their own purchases. I hope the books recommended in this latest column will also be of interest.

Please click over to Classic Movie Hub to read the Western Roundup. As always, thanks very much for reading!

Previous Classic Movie Hub Western RoundUp Column Links: June 2018; July 2018; August 2018; September 2018; October 2018; November 2018; December 2018; January 2019; February 2019; April 5, 2019; April 30, 2019; May 2019; June 2019; July 2019; August 2019; September 2019; October 2019; November 2019; December 2019; January 2020; February 2020; March 2020; April 2020; May 2020; June 2020; July 2020; August 2020; September 2020; October 2020; November 2020; December 2020; January 2021; February 2021; March 2021; May 2021; June 2021; June 2021 (No. 2).

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Breakaway (1956) - A Kino Lorber DVD Review

This month Kino Lorber has released a new five-film DVD set, British Noir III.

The collection is a follow-up to the original British Noir set, as well as British Noir II, released last year; I wrote about the latter set and reviewed the film THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY (1949).

The films in the new set consist of:

*THE FRIGHTENED LADY (1940), also known as THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED LADY or THE SCARF MURDER MYSTERY, starring Marius Goring and Penelope Dudley-Ward.

*BRASS MONKEY (1948), which stars American actress Carole Landis in her final role.

*THIRD TIME LUCKY (1949) starring Glynis Johns and Dermot Walsh.

*TALL HEADLINES (1952), aka THE FRIGHTENED BRIDE, starring Mai Zetterling, Michael Denison, and Dennis Price.

*BREAKAWAY (1956), the movie being reviewed tonight, which stars Tom Conway and Honor Blackman.

I chose BREAKAWAY to watch first because of my fondness for Tom Conway and his Falcon Mysteries.

I learned that BREAKAWAY was the second film in which Conway played private investigator Tom "Duke" Martin. The previous year he played the role in the mystery BARBADOS QUEST (1955), also known as MURDER ON APPROVAL. I need to track that one down!

At least four cast members of BARBADOS QUEST appeared in different roles in BREAKAWAY, including familiar TV faces John Colicos, who was the villain of the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978-79) show, and John Horsley, who guested in countless British series.

The BREAKAWAY plot is a bit of a mishmash about a chase to find a secret formula which prevents metal fatigue. There's a dying inventor, a kidnapping, a rescue, and in the middle of it all is the suave, calm Duke Martin (Conway), who seems unruffled even when bad guys are holding a gun on him.

The film is strictly "by the numbers," with little character development, although fans of Conway or Blackman will probably find it a mildly pleasant 72 minutes, as I did.

The DVD print is variable, with some lighter scenes. The purpose of a set like this isn't beautiful restorations, but getting relatively obscure films into the hands of those who would like to see them, and from that standpoint it's very appreciated. Although some scenes are faded, there's no major damage such as distracting skips, and the soundtrack is solid. There are no extras or subtitles for this film.

BREAKWAY was directed by Henry Cass and filmed in black and white by Monty Berman.

I'll be reviewing additional films from this set in the future, and I also intend to circle back to Volume II to watch more films. So many movies to watch, so little time...

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this DVD.

Photos From the Road: Utah Restaurants

Earlier this month I shared some of the Arizona restaurants we enjoyed during our May road trip. Here's a companion post on restaurants we visited in Utah during the same trip.

We were briefly in Kanab, Utah, where we visited a location from the film WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), along with a stop by Parry Lodge, where classic film companies stayed while filming in the area. I wrote about our visit a few weeks ago for Classic Movie Hub.

We had lunch in Kanab at Houston's Trail's End. I'd class it "good but not great"; that said, it had nice local atmosphere, and the service was very friendly.

We quite enjoyed our dinner at Escobar's Mexican Restaurant. Again, we found the service very friendly.

We enjoyed a terrific breakfast at Thunderbird Restaurant in Mount Carmel Junction, Utah, near the Eastern entrance to Zion National Park. Entering the park from that direction took us through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel.

The outside of the restaurant looks like a picture postcard from decades ago:

We stayed in Springdale, Utah, outside the park's south entrance. (I'll be sharing photos of Zion in a separate post.) The Zion Pizza & Noodle Co. in Springdale was interesting because it was built in a former church building.

We enjoyed a nice meal on the restaurant's back patio. These are just some quick snapshots, but they give a feel for the atmosphere. It was some of the better food we had in Springdale. As we've often found the case near national parks, most of the food in town was indifferent, serving a captive "one time only" clientele without putting in much effort.

The best meal in Springdale by far was at the Spotted Dog Cafe.

This was our view from the restaurant's front patio:

They really put some effort into the service and presenting a delicious meal with a touch of originality.

The patio was attractively landscaped, and between that and the views in the distance, it was a very nice experience. Another patio view.

The family-operated Main Street Cafe in Hurricane, Utah, is the kind of "locals" spot I love to discover when we're traveling.

We had a most enjoyable breakfast on their patio.

Thanks in part to restaurants taking advantage of scenic views, the vast majority of the meals we ate on our May trip were on patios, perfect for our current times.

Still to come: Photo posts on Zion National Park, Las Vegas, and the Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams, Arizona, plus photos from the fascinating Sea Lion Caves in Florence, Oregon, which we visited earlier this month.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Blog Anniversary Blu-ray Giveaway

This month I'm celebrating the 16th anniversary of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings!

I have an extra-special celebration for my readers this year. Thanks to our friends at Kino Lorber, I'm hosting a giveaway of several brand-new 2021 Blu-ray releases.

I'll be holding four separate drawings and will be randomly matching the four winners to one of the gifts below.

First up, one winner will receive a Cecil B. DeMille double feature consisting of FOUR FRIGHTENED PEOPLE (1934), starring Claudette Colbert and Herbert Marshall, and UNION PACIFIC (1939) starring Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Preston, and Brian Donlevy.

Next we have the delightful comedy NO TIME FOR LOVE (1943) starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, directed by Mitchell Leisen.

Next up is the WWII spy thriller O.S.S. (1946) starring Alan Ladd and Geraldine Fitzgerald, directed by Irving Pichel.

Finally, a special edition of COOGAN'S BLUFF (1968), a Clint Eastwood film directed by Don Siegel, costarring Lee J. Cobb, with a terrific supporting cast.

For those who participated in my giveaway a few years ago, this will work the exact same way. To enter, please leave a comment below simply saying you'd like to be included in the drawing. Anyone whose Blogger comments post as "Anonymous" or "Unknown" needs to be sure to sign a name in your comment so that I can include you in the drawing.

On Saturday, August 7th, all the names will go on slips of paper in a bowl and I'll have a family member do the honors pulling out the winning slips. The winners will be announced in a new post here on the 7th; a link to the announcement will also be added to the bottom of this page.

Be sure to check back here for the names of the winners on August 7th. Winners will need to use the "Contact Me" button on the upper left portion of the page to send me their mailing addresses. If I don't hear from a winner by August 14th I'll draw a replacement name.

With apologies to my greatly appreciated readers in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, this drawing is only open to residents of the U.S.

My deepest gratitude toward all my readers over the past 16 years for your friendship and support!

August 7th Update: The drawing winners have now been announced!

August 14th Update: I've drawn a backup winner for one of the discs.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Tonight's Movie: I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes (1948) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES (1948) is a very good Monogram "B" film just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES is one of a pair of short crime movies newly available from the Archive. I reviewed the other film, STEP BY STEP (1946), a few days ago.

Don Castle and Elyse Knox star in I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES as Tom and Ann Quinn, down-on-their-luck hoofers living in a rented room with a hot plate and a communal bathroom down the hall. Ann spends her evenings dancing for dollars at a "dance academy" while Tom spends his days trying to book their dance act at a nightclub.

Late one night cats screeching outside the window make it impossible to sleep, and the annoyed Tom tosses his shoes out the window to break up the catfight. Realizing he had inadvertently thrown his good pair of shoes at the cats, rather than the ancient pair he'd meant to throw away, Tom immediately goes downstairs to retrieve the shoes from the yard, but they're nowhere to be found. However, the next day the shoes mysteriously turn up in the hallway outside the Quinns' apartment door.

Things seem to be looking up for the couple when Tom finds a wallet containing money but no identification. After waiting a few days to see if anyone advertises a missing wallet in the classifieds, Tom and Ann begin to spend the money.

There's just one problem...the money, along with a print of one of Tom's shoes left in some mud, connects Tom to a murder case, and police detectives (Regis Toomey, Rory Mallinson, and Charles D. Brown) arrest him in short order.

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES is a well-done 70 minutes. The film initially starts out feeling a bit contrived, as the setup with the shoes is established, but it quickly morphs into something which is simultaneously familiar and compelling.

An added angle of interest is that much of the film is set at Christmas; it would be perfect for a Christmastime showing on TCM's Noir Alley franchise.

I knew next to nothing about the movie before watching it and was struck by how much it reminded me of two favorite noir films, I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941) and BLACK ANGEL (1946). I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES mashes up the obsessed cop of the first film with the young wife desperately trying to save her husband from the electric chair of the latter film.

As it turns out, I was right on target. I discovered that the screenplay of I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES was written by Steve Fisher, who wrote the book on which I WAKE UP SCREAMING was based.

In turn, Fisher's I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES screenplay was based on a story by Cornell Woolrich (aka William Irish), who also wrote the story which inspired BLACK ANGEL. I had to chuckle when I realized these connections; I guess I know my film noir pretty well by now!

More connections: Don Castle and Regis Toomey appeared the previous year in Monogram's HIGH TIDE (1947) and THE GUILTY (1947), which I saw at the 2013 and 2015 UCLA Festival of Preservation, respectively. THE GUILTY was also based on a Woolrich story.

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES leading lady Elyse Knox is perhaps best-known today as the mother of Mark Harmon, but she made over three dozen films in a career which lasted a little over a decade. She's capable and attractive as the gutsy young wife desperate to save her husband.

Castle is a solid "B" player, and I'm quite a fan of Regis Toomey, who always brings his "A" game. His role as another cop, in CRY DANGER (1951), is a favorite performance.

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES was directed by William Nigh and filmed in black and white by Mack Stengler. It was one of the very first films made by Oscar-winning producer Walter Mirisch.

The supporting cast includes Tito Vuolo, Steve Darrell, Bill Kennedy, Esther Michelson, John Elliott, and Robert Lowell.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray is a very attractive print with an equally good soundtrack. Blu-ray extras are the short THE SYMPHONY MURDER MYSTERY (1932) and the cartoon HOLIDAY FOR SHOESTRINGS (1946). The cartoon's Christmas theme is a nice tie-in with the disc's feature film.

I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES is an excellent release in every way, a terrific-looking print of a film which proved to be a fun new discovery. I'd love to see more releases similar to I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES and STEP BY STEP from the Warner Archive in the future.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection Amazon Store or any online retailers where Blu-rays are sold.

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