harrygbutler takes a ride on the Reading — 2

Talk75 Books Challenge for 2020

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harrygbutler takes a ride on the Reading — 2

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Feb 4, 2020, 6:14pm

By Roger Puta - Reading 905 at Reading Terminal, Philadelphia, September 1964, Public Domain, Link

Welcome to my second thread for 2020! I’m Harry, and this is my fifth year in the 75 Books Challenge. By training I'm a medievalist, by occupation I’m a project manager, after many years as an editor. My taste in reading runs to Golden Age and earlier mysteries, pulp detective and adventure fiction, Late Antique and medieval literature, westerns, and late nineteenth and early twentieth century popular fiction, among others. I also have a fondness for collections of cartoons and comic strips, and relatively recently I have begun collecting pulp magazines from the first half of the twentieth century. I usually have a few books going at once.

I'm also an inveterate movie watcher, and I track my viewing in my thread, too. I watch a wide variety of genres — mystery, western, comedy, adventure, science fiction, horror, and more — and tend to watch older movies, particularly from Hollywood's Golden Age in the 1930s and 1940s, but extending through the 1980s and only rarely later.

My wife Erika and I live in eastern Pennsylvania with three cats — Elli, Otto, and Pixie — and a dog, Hildy. Our pets occasionally make an appearance in my thread. My other interests include model railroading, gardening, and birding, so you'll sometimes see something related to them as well.

I try to provide some sort of comment on the books and magazines I read and the movies I watch, but they are short and aren't really reviews.

Edited: Mar 1, 2020, 8:27am

I finished 168 books in 2019. I'd like to up that total to 170 in 2020.

Books finished in the first quarter

1. Vengeance Is Mine, by Mickey Spillane
2. The Voice of the Night: The Cases of Jeff Fanchon, Inquirer, by Hugh Pendexter
3. When a Feller Needs a Friend, by Clare A. Briggs
4. The Customs of Catalonia Between Lords and Vassals, by the Barcelona Canon, Pere Albert: A Practical Guide to Castle Feudalism in Medieval Spain, by Pere Albert; trans. by Donald J. Kagay
5. Warlords, Warlocks & Witches, ed. by D. M. Ritzlin
6. Don't Step in the Leadership, by Scott Adams
7. The Savage Salome, by Carter Brown
8. Roman Antiquities, Books 3-4, by Dionysius of Halicarnassus; trans. by Earnest Cary
9. Fair Blows the Wind, by Louis L'Amour
10. German Romance, Volume III: Iwein or The Knight with the Lion, by Hartmann von Aue; trans. by Cyril Edwards
11. Death of a Citizen, by Donald Hamilton
12. Death Walks in Eastrepps, by Francis Beeding
13. Lord Lister, Known as Raffles, Master Thief, by Kurt Matull and Theo Blankensee; trans. by Joseph A. Lovece
14. The Hurricane, by Terence Robertson
15. The Ferguson Rifle, by Louis L'Amour
16. Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "Christmas in Duckburg", by Carl Barks
17. The Milliner's Hat Mystery, by Basil Thomson
18. Death Dealers & Diabolists, ed. by D. M. Ritzlin
19. Breakheart Pass, by Alistair MacLean
20. Best Cartoons of the Year 1950, ed. by Lawrence Lariar
21. A Good Year for Dwarfs?, by Carter Brown
22. The Knight of the Parrot: Early Adventures of Young King Arthur, trans. by Thomas E. Vesce
23. Hope and History: Five Salzburg Lectures, by Josef Pieper
24. Death in the Cup, by Moray Dalton
25. A Talent for Revenge, by John Cutter
26. Ghost Breaker, by Ron Goulart
27. Hagar's Knight Out, by Dik Browne
28. Arrest the Bishop?, by Winifred Peck
29. The Wrecking Crew, by Donald Hamilton
30. The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat, by Thornton Burgess
31. Cartoon Laffs, ed. by Clyde Carley
32. The Life of Lazaros of Mt. Galesion: An Eleventh-Century Pillar Saint, by Gregory the Cellarer; trans. by Richard P. H. Greenfield
33. Anonymous Footsteps, by John M. O'Connor
34. The Red Pavilion, by Robert van Gulik

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 6:26pm

In my first couple years in the group, I found I was avoiding reading shorter works — short stories, essays, treatises, sermons, etc. — found in books where I didn't intend to read the whole book at one go, because they wouldn't contribute to my totals. Inspired by the appearance of shorter works in the threads of others (especially thornton37814 and fuzzi), I'll be tracking those shorter pieces that I might not otherwise get to. I'll set no particular goal for a total for this year.

Shorter works read in the first quarter

1. "Ghost of a Crown," by Sterling Lanier (first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, December 1976)

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 6:17pm

Art by Glen White, for Argosy All-Story Magazine - http://rebelsofmars.blogs.com/rebels_of_mars/a_merritt/, Public Domain, Link

I read relatively few magazines last year, but I'd like to get back to the many pulps I've acquired, so I'm setting a goal for myself of one per month this year.

Magazines completed in 2020
1. Storyhack Action & Adventure, Issue 2 (neo-pulp)

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 6:21pm

Our cat Otto is a big fan of movies: When we start to watch one, he comes running to the living room from wherever he may be and settles in for the duration, though he chiefly dozes rather than actively watching.

I fell just short of 350 movies in 2019, so I'd like to hit that number in 2020.

Movies watched in January

1. Mark of the Gorilla (Columbia, 1950)
2. Footsteps in the Night (Allied Artists, 1957)
3. Isle of Forgotten Sins (PRC, 1943)
4. Three Crosses Not To Die (original title: Tre croci per non morire) (1968)
5. The Inner Circle (Republic, 1946)
6. The Battle of the Damned (original title: Quella dannata pattuglia) (1969)
7. Beyond the Time Barrier (American International, 1960)
8. The Extra Girl (Mack Sennett Comedies, 1923)
9. The Fighting Renegade (Victory, 1939)
10. The Hound of the Baskervilles (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
11. Traitorous (original title: Da tai jian) (1976)
12. Bowery at Midnight (Monogram, 1942)
13. Shall We Dance (RKO, 1937)
14. Commandos (1968)
15. Stagecoach (UA, 1939)
16. Let's Get Tough! (Monogram, 1942)
17. Make Mine Music (Disney / RKO, 1946)
18. Hands of a Gunfighter (original title: Ocaso de un pistolero) (1965)
19. The Range Feud (Columbia, 1931)
20. The Burning Court (original title: La chambre ardente) (1962)
21. The Hidden City (Monogram, 1950)
22. Bikini Beach (American International, 1964)
23. Non-Stop New York (Gaumont British, 1937)
24. The Death Kiss (K.B.S. Productions / Sono Art-World Wide, 1932)
25. The Hell's Wind Staff (original title: Long hu men) (1979)
26. The Black Camel (Fox, 1931)
27. Aces and Eights (Puritan, 1936)
28. Buccaneer's Girl (Universal, 1950)
29. A Candidate for a Killing (original title: Un sudario a la medida) (1969)
30. They Were Expendable (MGM, 1945)
31. The Atomic Submarine (Allied Artists, 1959)
32. Feud of the West (Diversion, 1936)
33. Locker Sixty-Nine (Anglo-Amalgamated, 1962)
34. Death Trap (Anglo-Amalgamated, 1962)
35. The H-Man (original title: Bijo to ekitai ningen) (Toho, 1958; Columbia, 1959)
36. Death on High Mountain (original title: La morte sull'alta collina) (1969)
37. Where's That Fire? (Twentieth Century Fox / Gainsborough, 1939)
38. The Ghost Camera (Real Art / RKO, 1933)
39. The Night the World Exploded (Columbia, 1957)
40. Action Man (original title: Le soleil des voyous) (1967)
41. The Lady in Scarlet (Chesterfield, 1935)
42. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Twentieth Century Fox, 1939)
43. The Living Ghost (Monogram, 1942)
44. 12 to the Moon (Columbia, 1960)
45. Phantom Rancher (Colony, 1940)
46. The Ghost Walks (Invincible, 1934)
47. Destroy All Planets (original title: Gamera tai uchu kaijû Bairasu) (Daiei, 1968)
48. Seven Steps of Kung Fu (original title: Qi bu mi zong) (1979)
49. The Thirteenth Guest (Monogram, 1932)
50. Sagebrush Trail (Lone Star / Monogram, 1933)
51. The Seventh Curse (original title: Yuen Chun Hap yu Wai See Lee) (Golden Harvest / Paragon, 1986)
52. F.P.1 (Gaumont British / Fox / UFA, 1933)
53. Charlie Chan in Paris (Fox, 1935)
54. Lawless Land (Republic, 1937)
55. Crazy Knights (Monogram, 1944)
56. Palmy Days (Goldwyn / UA, 1931)
57. Time Table (Mark Stevens Productions / UA, 1956)
58. Dead Men Walk (PRC, 1943)
59. The Vampire Doll (original title: Yûrei yashiki no kyôfu: Chi wo sû ningyô) (Toho, 1970)
60. Texas Wildcats (Victory, 1939)

Edited: Feb 29, 2020, 9:57pm

Movies watched in February

61. The Loves of Hercules (original title: Gli amori di Ercole) (1960)
62. Midnight Limited (Monogram, 1940)
63. Awkward Hands (original title: Manos torpes) (1970)
64. Pajama Party (American International, 1964)
65. X Marks the Spot (Republic, 1942)
66. Lake of Dracula (original title: Noroi no yakata: Chi o suu me) (Toho, 1971)
67. Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (Universal, 1942)
68. Danger Ahead (Monogram, 1940)
69. Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (Allied Artists, 1965)
70. Mozambique (1964)
71. The Gunman (Monogram, 1952)
72. Sink the Bismarck! (Twentieth Century Fox, 1960)
73. Evil of Dracula (original title: Chi o suu bara) (Toho, 1974)
74. The Human Monster (Monogram, 1940) (originally released in the UK as Dark Eyes of London by Pathé, 1939)
75. Riders of the Desert (Sono Art-World Wide, 1932)
76. Win Them All (Park Films, 1973)
77. Gallery of Horror (American General, 1967)
78. Ice Station Zebra (MGM, 1968)
79. Murder on the Yukon (Monogram, 1940)
80. Midnight Manhunt (Paramount, 1945)
81. Santo el enmascarado de plata y Blue Demon contra los monstruos (Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters) (Cinematográfica Sotomayor, 1970)
82. The Red Blood of Courage (Ambassador, 1935)
83. Charlie Chan in Egypt (Fox, 1935)
84. Satanik (1968)
85. Caught Plastered (RKO, 1931)
86. Attack of the Monsters (original title: Gamera tai daiakuju Giron) (Daiei, 1969)
87. My Name Is Pecos (original title: 2 once di piombo) (1966)
88. Bulldog Drummond (Goldwyn / UA, 1929)
89. Goldsinger (original title: James Tont operazione U.N.O.) (1965)
90. Pecos Cleans Up (original title: Pecos è qui: prega e muori!) (1967)
91. Tiger Fangs (PRC, 1943)
92. The Weird Man (Shaw Brothers, 1983)
93. Condemned To Live (Invincible / Chesterfield, 1935)
94. Wrangler's Roost (Monogram, 1941)
95. Kriminal (1966)
96. The Beach Girls and the Monster (U.S. Films, 1965)
97. Candles at Nine (British National, 1944)
98. The Deadly Duo (Shaw Brothers, 1971)
99. Gog (Ivan Tors / UA, 1954)
100. Sky Bandits (Monogram, 1940)
101. Upperseven, l'uomo da uccidere (1966)
102. Return of the Deadly Blade (original title: Fei dao you jian fei dao) (1981)
103. Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen (original title: Fenomenal e il tesoro di Tutankamen) (1968)
104. Africa Screams (UA, 1949)
105. The Vampire Bat (Majestic, 1933)
106. Alias Boston Blackie (Columbia, 1942)
107. Prairie Law (RKO, 1940)
108. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (Universal, 1942)
109. Da Istanbul ordine di uccidere (From Istanbul, Orders To Kill) (1965)
110. Song of Old Wyoming (PRC, 1945)
111. The Street Fighter (original title: Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken) (Toei, 1974)
112. The Bellboy (Paramount, 1960)
113. Treasure Hunt (IFD, 1952)
114. General Stone (original title: Shi san tai bao Li Cun Xiao) (1977)
115. Man on the Spying Trapeze (original title: Anónima de asesinos) (1966)
116. Murder by the Clock (Paramount, 1931)
117. Borderland (Paramount, 1937)
118. The Hidden Hand (WB, 1942)

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 6:22pm

Movies watched in March

Edited: Feb 4, 2020, 6:29pm

January recap:

  • 13 books finished
  • 1 shorter work finished
  • 1 magazine finished
  • 60 movies watched
    I seem to be on track for my magazine reading, ahead of schedule with my movie watching, but slightly behind with my book reading.

    Next one's yours!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:27pm

Hope you ain't holding any more, Harry!

Happy new thread.

Feb 4, 2020, 6:30pm

>8 harrygbutler: Nope, that was it. Thanks, Paul!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:32pm

>9 PaulCranswick: Nope, that's it. Thanks, Paul!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:34pm

Happy new one!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:38pm

Happy new thread, Harry! Let's watch some movies!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:39pm

>12 figsfromthistle: Thank you, Anita!

Feb 4, 2020, 6:40pm

>13 mstrust: Thanks, Jennifer! I've watched 9 movies since the beginning of the month, but I was waiting until I started a new thread to post about them. Look for at least a few to show up a little later this evening.

Feb 4, 2020, 6:57pm

14. The Hurricane, by Terence Robertson

A Lend-Lease destroyer in British service, escorting a convoy, battles the elements in a severe hurricane. Mediocre writing and stereotypical situations make this one undistinguished — not bad, exactly, but hardly worth a read.

Feb 4, 2020, 7:24pm

Happy new thread!

>16 harrygbutler: Maybe if I found it in a Little Free Library....

Feb 4, 2020, 7:50pm

>17 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! I have no idea how I ended up with it; my best guess is a library bag sale. The author wrote several other naval books, but non-fiction, so far as I can tell. I'd be willing to read them, but wouldn't go out of my way to get them.

Feb 4, 2020, 7:52pm

Movie 61. The Loves of Hercules (original title: Gli amori di Ercole) (1960)

Mickey Hargitay and then-wife Jayne Mansfield team on the screen, with Mansfield essaying a dual role and Hargitay tackling the role of son of Zeus. Fairly standard sword-and-sandal fare; mildly recommended for fans of the genre.

Feb 4, 2020, 7:56pm

Movie 62. Midnight Limited (Monogram, 1940)

Crooks are targeting travelers carrying cash on the night train to Montreal, and a railroad detective (John King) investigates, helped by a witness who was robbed of valuable papers (Marjorie Reynolds). Fairly entertaining, with the location having some appeal; mildly recommended.

Feb 4, 2020, 9:54pm

Happy new thread!

Feb 4, 2020, 10:26pm

>22 harrygbutler: Thanks, Jim!

Feb 4, 2020, 11:00pm

Haaarry! Hi.

Feb 5, 2020, 8:08am

>23 weird_O: Hi, Bill! Thanks for stopping by.

Feb 5, 2020, 8:10am

Movie 63. Awkward Hands (original title: Manos torpes) (1970)

Slow-moving and downbeat western sees a pacifistic young man (Peter Lee Lawrence) turned into a gunman in his quest for vengeance against those who have abused both him and the woman he loves. Not recommended.

Feb 5, 2020, 8:19am

Movie 64. Pajama Party (American International, 1964)

A Martian scout sent to prepare the way for an invasion tangles with teens, thieves, and Eric Von Zipper and his Rats in this fun beach movie. Recommended.

Feb 5, 2020, 8:22am

Movie 65. X Marks the Spot (Republic, 1942)

Confusingly titled mystery has a private eye about to report to the Army scrambling to find the killer(s) of his father, a policeman. The twist was not particularly surprising but rounded out the movie nicely. Mildly recommended.

Feb 6, 2020, 7:00am

Movie 66. Lake of Dracula (original title: Noroi no yakata: Chi o suu me) (Toho, 1971)

Effective horror film has a young woman stalked by a vampire whom she met — or did she? — in a childhood dream. Recommended.

Feb 6, 2020, 7:07am

Movie 67. Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (Universal, 1942)

When German saboteurs wreak havoc in Britain and seek to demoralize the populace with the gloating broadcasts of the "Voice of Terror," Sherlock Holmes is called in to assist, despite the misgivings of many on the government council to which he reports. The first of Universal's Holmes-Watson films with a contemporary (1940s) setting is fast-paced, with effective concealment of the ringleader of the enemy agents. Recommended.

Feb 6, 2020, 7:12am

Movie 68. Danger Ahead (Monogram, 1940)

Sergeant Renfrew (James Newill) and Corporal Kelly (Dave O'Brien) investigate when an armored car disappears after picking up a load of gold at a bank; also unofficially sleuthing is the Inspector's daughter, Genevieve (Dorothea Kent), who studied criminology in college. As usual, this is fairly lighthearted fare and not much of a mystery. One of the weaker entries in the series; mildly recommended at best.

Feb 6, 2020, 7:13am

15. The Ferguson Rifle, by Louis L'Amour

A cultured man new to the west joins a group of mountain men and ends up facing off against an assortment of opponents, including one in some ways a negative reflection of himself. Effective action keeps the story moving; recommended.

Feb 6, 2020, 8:19am

>31 harrygbutler: I found myself enjoying that one after the first couple chapters.

>16 harrygbutler: sorry that one didn't work for you...looking forward to Breakheart Pass?

Feb 6, 2020, 9:27am

>32 fuzzi: Yep, I'm ready for Breakheart Pass. I pulled a copy off the shelf and added to my pile of books to read this month, but I've got to finish at least one other book before I get to it.

If the listings on LT are an accurate indication, it appears Terence Robertson mostly wrote nonfiction on World War 2, and I'd be willing to try one of those books.

Feb 6, 2020, 11:57am

Happy new thread, Harry, the number of movies watched is amazing!

Feb 6, 2020, 12:26pm

>20 harrygbutler: I loved that film! Effective pacing, lighting, dialogue.

>26 harrygbutler: *snort* I love a fish-out-of-water comedy.

>31 harrygbutler: It bewilders me how many literary readers dismiss L'Amour outright. Not every book was good, but at his best he was as fine a craftsman as they come.

Feb 6, 2020, 12:53pm

>34 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita! I doubt I'll maintain an average of two movies a day, but I'll take advantage of my desire to do so most of the time right now.

Feb 6, 2020, 1:02pm

>35 richardderus: I've now seen Midnight Limited at least twice, and I'm quite likely to watch it again in a few years.

I certainly agree on L'Amour. After many years of constantly rereading his books, I took a lengthy break, and I'm not sure I'm ready to consume them at the pace I did when I was younger, but there are many that are very well done, and even more that are solidly entertaining even with their flaws.

Feb 6, 2020, 1:07pm

Checking in on the new thread before I lose you again, Harry!

Feb 6, 2020, 6:23pm

>38 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia! Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 6, 2020, 6:26pm

Movie 69. Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (Allied Artists, 1965)

An android developed for space exploration and the scientist who designed him face an alien invasion aimed at kidnapping women. Some camp value, particularly in the character of the chief lieutenant of the alien princess, but otherwise there's not much point to this one. Not recommended.

Feb 7, 2020, 7:52am

>33 harrygbutler: no problem. I've got Clouds of Witness I can move up the queue.

Feb 7, 2020, 8:53am

>41 fuzzi: I'll likely start Breakheart Pass this weekend, as I just finished the novel that I wanted to complete before beginning it.

Feb 7, 2020, 8:56am

Movie 70. Mozambique (1964)

A rather dull tale of murder and international crime, with Steve Cochran a pilot down on his luck who takes a job with drug smugglers. Not really recommended.

Feb 7, 2020, 3:55pm

With the weekend about to begin and possibly some shopping in store, I thought I'd recap what I've gotten so far this month. The biggest single purchase was the batch of books by Donald Hamilton via eBay, but others came from thrift stores, antique stores, library sales, and even direct from the Early English Text Society.

Fighting the Flying Circus, by Edward V. Rickenbacker (1919)
A Talent for Revenge, by John Cutter (1984)
The Airline Pirates, by John Gardner (1970)
Tales of Wells Fargo, by Frank Gruber (1958)
Duinesian Elegies, by Rainer Maria Rilke (1977)
A Glossed Wycliffite Psalter: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 554, Vol. II (2019)
Murder Twice Told, by Donald Hamilton (?)
The Wrecking Crew, by Donald Hamilton (1960)
The Removers, by Donald Hamilton (1961)
Murderers' Row, by Donald Hamilton (1962)
The Ambushers, by Donald Hamilton (1963)
The Devastators, by Donald Hamilton (1965)
The Betrayers, by Donald Hamilton (1966)
The Menacers, by Donald Hamilton (1968)
The Interlopers, by Donald Hamilton (1969)
The Poisoners, by Donald Hamilton (1971)
The Intriguers, by Donald Hamilton (1972)
The Intimidators, by Donald Hamilton (1974)
The Retaliators, by Donald Hamilton (1976)
The Shadowers, by Donald Hamilton (1964)

Pulp Magazines
Railroad Stories, February 1935
Railroad Stories, April 1935
Railroad Stories, July 1935
Railroad Stories, October 1935

Movies on DVD
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)
No Way Out (1950)
The Birds (1963)
Critic's Choice (1963)
The Longest Yard (1974)

Feb 7, 2020, 4:12pm

Happy new thread Harry!

>44 harrygbutler: No Way Out is a nice pick up. I remember viewing that 1 during my and war phase many years ago. It does not shy away from the brutality both physically and racially.

Feb 8, 2020, 9:23pm

>44 harrygbutler: my dh enjoyed The Longest Yard, though I've not seen it.

I'm into Clouds of Witness, and although it's a reread (45 years ago!) I'm thoroughly enjoying Wimsey. I'll get to Breakheart Pass shortly.

Feb 8, 2020, 10:18pm

>45 brodiew2: Thanks, Brodie! I don't recall ever seeing No Way Out, but nice to hear it's a good one.

Edited: Feb 9, 2020, 12:38am

>46 fuzzi: I've seen The Longest Yard a couple times, but it has been a long time since I last watched it. It has also been more than 20 years since I last read Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books. I should consider revisiting them soon.

I'm a little more than a third of the way through Breakheart Pass but am unlikely to finish tonight. We took a break to watch the Ice Station Zebra movie (MGM, 1968), with Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine, Patrick McGoohan, and Jim Brown. It was fairly entertaining, but not as good as the book.

ETA later: I was wrong about pausing; Breakheart Pass swept me along, and I just finished up.

Feb 8, 2020, 10:38pm

>43 harrygbutler: Oh my, that was seven weeks of my life I'll never get back. Poor Steve Cochran...running about 50% of his usual bad-boy energy. That Swedish(?) girl playing the imperillèd...what was she? someone's daughter or wife?...anyway, he looked at her like he couldn't figure out why he was working this hard when all she ever did was disrobe! Mozambique was pretty as itself.

But wow, what a snoozer that was.

Feb 9, 2020, 12:42am

>49 richardderus: You worked on that one, Richard? It sure was low-energy. I just checked, and Vivi Bach was Danish. She was just an entertainer hired for the club (with more criminal motives on the part of the villainous manager).

Feb 9, 2020, 7:05am

Movie 71. The Gunman (Monogram, 1952)

Marshal Whip Wilson travels to New Mexico to capture a man wanted for murder, but the local sheriff provides no help, and Wilson discovers the town is in the thrall of a criminal gang. Pretty standard fare, and Wilson isn't particularly charismatic; not particularly recommended.

Feb 9, 2020, 7:07am

Movie 72. Sink the Bismarck! (Twentieth Century Fox, 1960)

Solid fictionalized account of the British hunt for the massive German battleship Bismarck in the spring of 1941 when it set out to menace the Atlantic convoys. Recommended.

Feb 9, 2020, 7:10am

Movie 73. Evil of Dracula (original title: Chi o suu bara) (Toho, 1974)

This is another effective horror film from Toho, as the new psychology teacher at a private school realizes something very strange and menacing is going on. Recommended.

Feb 9, 2020, 7:14am

Movie 74. The Human Monster (Monogram, 1940) (originally released in the UK as Dark Eyes of London by Pathé, 1939)

Police are baffled by a series of drownings: are they related? Some were insured through broker Dr. Orloff (Bela Lugosi), and soon another victim is found with similar ties. But what connection is there with a charitable institution for the blind? An entertaining little thriller, with a twist that the attentive viewer will likely spot; recommended.

Feb 9, 2020, 7:18am

Movie 75. Riders of the Desert (Sono Art-World Wide, 1932)

Former Arizona Rangers reunite when the last felon they captured before disbanding escapes and targets one of their band while searching for his cache of stolen gold. A bit creaky, but with some nice touches; mildly recommended.

Feb 9, 2020, 9:15am

>50 harrygbutler: ...in a manner of speaking...it was part of a film course my then-boyfriend was taking, we watched it twice in as many days and it felt like it was leeching color and joy out of our world.

Danish? Really. She was as dreary a presence as the rest of them, and not particularly interesting in her scantily clad presence.

Feb 9, 2020, 10:59am

>56 richardderus: I think film courses in general have that effect. None of the film students I knew in graduate school seemed to get as much enjoyment out of movies as I did.

Feb 9, 2020, 11:11am

>57 harrygbutler: It's impossible to study something, to take it apart and see what makes it go, without demystifying its gestalt. Pleasure comes from being fooled quite a lot of the time. Knowing the tricks of perspective and manipulations of attention inherent in any type of storytelling changes the stakes so changes the reward-seeking mechanism's calibration.

Edited: Feb 9, 2020, 11:23am

Bob Steele is my neighbor.

Not the movie guy. But you knew that.

Feb 9, 2020, 11:34am

>58 richardderus: Well, maybe so.

Feb 9, 2020, 11:34am

Feb 9, 2020, 11:36am

16. Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "Christmas in Duckburg", by Carl Barks

Another fine collection of reprinted comic book stories from Fantagraphics starring Donald Duck, his nephews, Uncle Scrooge, Grandma Duck, and more. Recommended.

Feb 10, 2020, 6:48pm

Movie 76. Win Them All (Park Films, 1973)

There's action aplenty as a woman teams up with crooks in order to track down her father's killer. There's a fair amount of humor mixed in; one woman's fighting style includes pantsing her opponents and stealing their bags of money, for example. Recommended.

Feb 10, 2020, 6:53pm

>44 harrygbutler: Wow, what a haul!

>52 harrygbutler: I watched that one years ago. As I recall, it was a good film.

Feb 10, 2020, 6:53pm

Movie 77. Gallery of Horror (American General, 1967)

This anthology horror film with John Carradine as narrator, and featuring Lon Chaney, Jr. in a late role in one segment, is disappointing. The segments are short and the twists are generally uninspired (though that in the segment "Count Alucard" was fairly amusing). Not really recommended, though, as the movie is on the dull side.

Edited: Feb 10, 2020, 6:59pm

Movie 78. Ice Station Zebra (MGM, 1968)

It's a race to the north as an American nuclear sub rushes toward a British weather station where a fire has left the survivors in desperate need of rescue. There's another reason for urgency, however: a Russian spy satellite that crashed nearby, and the Russians are eager to recover what it carried. Twists and tension abound. This movie is not nearly so good as Alistair MacLean's book, but it is still worth a look. Mildly recommended.

Feb 10, 2020, 6:59pm

>66 harrygbutler: I read the book, but have never seen the film version. Sounds like I made the right choice.

Feb 10, 2020, 7:33pm

>67 alcottacre: I'd say so, Stasia. The effects are pretty good, but the changes to the plot made for the film don't really help it.

Feb 11, 2020, 9:37am

Morning, Harry! I have finally caught up with you - I had to go searching, and it turns out that you had somehow lost your star. I am blaming the iPad.

Feb 11, 2020, 9:45am

>65 harrygbutler: So, not the world's weirdest movie? Even with that homemade movie poster that looks like the 4th grade took all day to draw?
Poor John Carradine got roped into so many cheap movies.

Feb 11, 2020, 9:59am

>69 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! I wasn't able to continue my thread directly, as it was messed up by a spammer, so I had to start a new thread (thus, no star). Thanks for dropping by!

Feb 11, 2020, 10:02am

>70 mstrust: Unfortunately, no, not the world's weirdest movie. And I was pretty amazed by that poster myself; it's just so bad.

I always figured that John Carradine must have been someone who looked on acting as a job and happily collected whatever paychecks he could, but I've never really read anything on his opinions of his body of work.

Feb 11, 2020, 10:07am

Movie 79. Murder on the Yukon (Monogram, 1940)

Sergeant Renfrew (James Newill) and Constable Kelly (Dave O'Brien) find a murdered man and evidence pointing to a counterfeiting ring that has been plaguing the country. Decent songs, decent action, mild humor; mildly recommended.

Feb 11, 2020, 10:14am

Movie 80. Midnight Manhunt (Paramount, 1945)

When a diamond thief, who is a missing mobster believed dead for 5 years, is gunned down, he lives long enough to take refuge in a nearby wax museum, leading to a game of Body, Body, Who's Got the Body? William Gargan and Ann Savage are rival newspaper reporters who compete with each other, and the police, while also facing off against the killer. Leo Gorcey provides some comic patter as the assistant at the wax museum. Mildly recommended.

Feb 11, 2020, 11:42am

>73 harrygbutler: Amazing to me, the stories that our grandparents consumed like they were cocktail peanuts. Why, anyone would think they had TVs! These Renfrews are guilty pleasures of economical storytelling...I've found a lot of them on YouTube, and am enjoying them.

I don't remember ever reading one of the Laurie Erskine books, I wonder if they're any good....

Feb 11, 2020, 12:27pm

>52 harrygbutler: love that movie!

Feb 11, 2020, 12:58pm

>75 richardderus: I've just one of the Renfrew movies left now, and I agree, they are pretty consistently enjoyable, however slight they may be.

I own one of the Renfrew books, picked up at some library sale, I expect, but I've never read it. Someday, maybe.

Feb 11, 2020, 1:11pm

>76 fuzzi: It was quite good — kept my interest throughout.

Feb 11, 2020, 1:31pm

17. The Milliner's Hat Mystery, by Basil Thomson

The chance discovery of a body in a barn sets Inspector Vincent on a trail that leads to an international criminal syndicate — but does it lead to the murderer? Another satisfactory mystery from Basil Thomson. In this one we find Richardson, whose career we have followed for several books, now ensconced in a position of authority at Scotland Yard, with investigative duties handled by a more junior man. This slightly reduced the volume's appeal to me, as I hadn't expected the shift in focus, but I was nevertheless entertained. Recommended.

Feb 11, 2020, 7:16pm

>78 harrygbutler: you've got me thinking about rewatching it, maybe this weekend!

Feb 11, 2020, 8:18pm

>79 harrygbutler: I haven't seen that series around for a while, Harry. Timely reminder.

Feb 11, 2020, 9:33pm

>80 fuzzi: Enjoy! I'll likely watch another war movie soon, but I'm not sure just what it will be.

Feb 11, 2020, 9:34pm

>81 PaulCranswick: I've just one more to go, Paul. My mother has been reading them as well, and Erika just read the first and liked it well enough to plan to continue with the series at some point.

Edited: Feb 12, 2020, 8:56am

Movie 81. Santo el enmascarado de plata y Blue Demon contra los monstruos (Santo and Blue Demon vs. the Monsters) (Cinematográfica Sotomayor, 1970)

Masked wrestlers take on the monsters made famous in movies after a mad scientist revives the creatures, with ample wrestling action, too. The missing Universal monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, is represented by Cyclops, who at one point is described as coming out of a lagoon to kill. Silly fun; mildly recommended.

Feb 12, 2020, 8:56am

Movie 82. The Red Blood of Courage (Ambassador, 1935)

In this Northern, a stranger gets mixed up with crooks trying to gain control of a woman's oil-bearing property. Kermit Maynard is a pleasing hero, and it's interesting to see Ann Sheridan in an early role, but the print I watched suffered from too much missing footage (around 10 minutes were lacking) for me to appraise the movie as a whole.

Feb 12, 2020, 9:17am

83. Charlie Chan in Egypt (Fox, 1935)

An evocative atmosphere is a highlight of this Charlie Chan movie, in which the sleuth travels to Egypt to investigate illicit sales of artifacts found in an excavation but finds a disappearance and murder as well. Unfunny comic relief mars the movie, which otherwise would be a standout entry in the series; mildly recommended.

Feb 12, 2020, 9:55am

18. Death Dealers & Diabolists, ed. by D. M. Ritzlin

Another anthology of sword and sorcery stories by contemporary authors from DMR Books, though I found the lengthy first story, "Q'a the Librarian," off-putting because of an unsympathetic protagonist, and some of the others were rather too dark for my tastes. Mildly recommended.

Feb 12, 2020, 11:48am

Hi Harry, some fascinating juxtapositions in your watching as usual...lucha libre meets monster movie, not since I left Mercedes!...and it's too bad about an unlikable librarian ruining a good set-up.

Edited: Feb 12, 2020, 8:45pm

>88 richardderus: I do like a bit of variety, in both books and movies.

Edited: Feb 12, 2020, 8:51pm

Movie 84. Satanik (1968)

A disfigured woman kills for a formula for cellular regeneration and then uses her rejuvenated appearance to enter a world of crime. Madrid and, particularly, Geneva locations add a bit of interest to an otherwise dull tale that depends rather too much on the audience's finding the woman ravishing after the formula does its work. Not recommended.

Feb 12, 2020, 8:52pm

Movie 85. Caught Plastered (RKO, 1931)

Out-of-work vaudevillians help out an old lady about to lose her drug store, but their innovative rescue of the establishment is threatened by the scheming of a bootlegger. Lots of fun here with Wheeler & Woolsey, with Dorothy Lee on hand to supply her usual pep, too. Recommended.

Feb 13, 2020, 7:10am

Edited: Feb 13, 2020, 9:56am

19. Breakheart Pass, by Alistair MacLean

Relentless action as a train carrying troops and a prisoner to a frontier outpost reporting a cholera outbreak suffers a series of unusual and destructive occurrences, including disappearances and murder. Weakened a bit by MacLean's lack of familiarity with American railroad terminology, but that wasn't enough to get in the way of the compelling storytelling. Recommended.

Feb 13, 2020, 10:08am

Feb 13, 2020, 8:46pm

>93 harrygbutler: I'm starting that one tonight!

Feb 13, 2020, 9:40pm

>95 fuzzi: I hope you enjoy it!

Feb 13, 2020, 9:41pm

>94 richardderus: The most recent Best Cartoons of the Year... volume had several book-related cartoons, so I'll likely share more, but not all at once. One will be better saved for the Christmas season.

Feb 14, 2020, 9:20am

Movie 86. Attack of the Monsters (original title: Gamera tai daiakuju Giron) (Daiei, 1969)

When two little boys board a spaceship and end up on another planet, in the hands of the last survivors of the planet's populace, it's Gamera to the rescue. Silly fun: particularly good is Gamera's acrobatic moves in a battle with another giant monster. Recommended for what it is.

Feb 14, 2020, 11:50am

Morning, Harry! Happy Friday to you!

Feb 14, 2020, 2:02pm

The helmets with rabbit-ear antennae on the poster kids make me guffaw!

Looking forward to more bookish funnies. Happy Friday!

Feb 14, 2020, 10:27pm

>99 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 14, 2020, 10:29pm

>100 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! The antennae people are the aliens. When talking among themselves, they even sound like they might be talking insects.

Feb 15, 2020, 7:52am

I wonder if Gamera was the inspiration for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? 🤔

I've a friend who loves the Gamera movies, for what they are: fun.

Feb 16, 2020, 12:04pm

20. Best Cartoons of the Year 1950, ed. by Lawrence Lariar

1950's entry in the long-running series of cartoon collections is a good one, with ample numbers of amusing cartoons. Recommended.

Feb 16, 2020, 12:05pm

>103 fuzzi: Could be!

Feb 16, 2020, 12:10pm

21. A Good Year for Dwarfs?, by Carter Brown

Hollywood private eye Rick Holman investigates the disappearance of a man's fiancée and encounters one of a pair of twins, a maker of smut movies, an independent film distributor whose business gets continuing calls for old indie movies, and more. A fairly effective twist but a resolution to the mystery that's a bit of a downer; not recommended.

Feb 16, 2020, 12:12pm

Movie 87. My Name Is Pecos (original title: 2 once di piombo) (1966)

The first of two movies in which Robert Woods plays Pecos Martinez is an entertaining revenge tale that avoids descending into the unrelieved grimness of some such westerns. The protagonist is clever and effective. Recommended.

Feb 16, 2020, 12:19pm

Movie 88. Bulldog Drummond (Goldwyn / UA, 1929)

1929's Bulldog Drummond is a fine thriller film buoyed by Ronald Colman's insouciant title character, who comes to realize the stakes are high but who rises to the occasion; Claud Allister's amusingly dim-witted Algy; and Montagu Love and Lilyan Tashman's resourceful criminal couple. Joan Bennett's over-emoting as Phyllis, especially in her early scenes, is a bit of a drag, but bearable. Recommended.

Feb 16, 2020, 1:29pm

>108 harrygbutler: Damn near 100 years old and still holds up as storytelling. Impressive feat, no?

Feb 16, 2020, 3:57pm

wish you a good new week

Feb 16, 2020, 8:31pm

>109 richardderus: Indeed. And it was especially impressive that it delivered the goods despite the limitations of early sound film-making.

Feb 16, 2020, 8:31pm

>110 paulstalder: Thank you, Paul, and the same to you!

Feb 17, 2020, 9:56am

Movie 89. Goldsinger (original title: James Tont operazione U.N.O.) (1965)

An evil mastermind with a penchant for music plans to blow up the UN, and an inept secret agent tries to thwart him. This flat and only fitfully amusing spy spoof apparently was still successful enough to warrant a sequel, which I'll get around to watching at some point, I expect. Mildly recommended at best, and only for completist fans of the genre.

Feb 17, 2020, 10:00am

>93 harrygbutler: I just finished reading Breakheart Pass, but, being unfamiliar with railroad terminology, didn't notice anything amiss.

I really liked this one, it was so twisty!

Feb 17, 2020, 10:47am

Movie 90. Pecos Cleans Up (original title: Pecos è qui: prega e muori!) (1967)

In the second of two movies featuring the character, Pecos Martinez (Robert Woods) befriends a trio of musicians who have gained possession of a map to Aztec treasure and then works with them against the self-styled El Supremo, a vicious bandit who dreams of ruling Mexico but whose henchmen have other priorities. Recommended.

Feb 17, 2020, 11:02am

>114 fuzzi: Yes, it really was quite complex, and I certainly hadn't figured out all the twists before they were revealed.

Feb 17, 2020, 2:43pm

Hello Harry! I hope all is well with you.

>108 harrygbutler: I enjoy Ronald Coleman in almost all of his roles and this one is a lot of fun. Great poster, too!

Feb 17, 2020, 4:32pm

>117 brodiew2: Hi, Brodie! Thank you for stopping by.

I agree with you: Colman consistently delivers the goods.

I'm trying to pick out the best of the posters or lobby cards I can find for each movie, but some really have limited choices.

Feb 18, 2020, 8:25am

Movie 91. Tiger Fangs (PRC, 1943)

An inexplicable series of tiger attacks is disrupting work on the rubber plantations in Malaya in the early days of World War 2, and Frank "Bring 'Em Back Alive" Buck is sent out to investigate. His expertise proves crucial to determining what is really going on in this adventure that makes up in part for its low budget with some interesting plot elements — death by stampeding elephants, for example. Mildly recommended.

Feb 18, 2020, 8:38am

Movie 92. The Weird Man (original title: Shen tong shu yu xiao ba wang) (1983)

A Taoist teacher with mystical powers is executed by the local general, but his spirit sticks around to enact his revenge. Weird is a good word for this one, with the capricious antics of the spirit juxtaposed with some brutal fighting. Mildly recommended.

Feb 18, 2020, 8:41am

Movie 93. Condemned To Live (Invincible / Chesterfield, 1935)

When a series of vampire-like killings plague a town, the villagers turn to kindly Prof. Paul Kristan (Ralph Morgan) for help — but can he put an end to this menace? Well-done little horror movie, with a sympathetic monster. Recommended.

Edited: Feb 18, 2020, 8:46am

22. The Knight of the Parrot: Early Adventures of Young King Arthur, trans. by Thomas E. Vesce

King Arthur is often a fairly inert figure in the romances of the Arthurian cycle, but he takes center stage in the fourteenth-century Le chevalier du papegau, venturing out himself in response to a maiden's plea that he help her lady, and encountering an assortment of other adventures along the way. A readable translation, originally published by now-defunct academic publisher Garland Publishing back in the 1980s but now issued directly by the translator; recommended.

Feb 18, 2020, 10:45am

King Arthur was, bluntly, a priggish and petulant bore. I'll try this one since you say he's more lively...and it's sad that Garland didn't long survive Frank Borden, isn't it.

Feb 18, 2020, 12:09pm

>123 richardderus: I don't find him particularly priggish in the Arthurian romances, but I'll certainly grant you he's frequently fairly boring — perhaps inevitably, as the court is the place the knightly protagonist leaves in order to find adventure.

Feb 18, 2020, 12:14pm

23. Hope and History: Five Salzburg Lectures, by Josef Pieper

This discussion of what hope is, and of the way(s) in which it can or cannot be fulfilled within or beyond history, falls a little short, I think, perhaps owing to the original delivery as lectures, but is worth a look nonetheless. I shall look for a more comprehensive investigation in his On Hope, as collected (I believe) in Faith, Hope, Love. Mildly recommended.

Feb 18, 2020, 10:43pm

>122 harrygbutler: On the hitlist.

>125 harrygbutler: Not on the hitlist.

Hi Harry.

Feb 19, 2020, 11:07am

>126 PaulCranswick: Hi, Paul! There are certainly better medieval Arthurian romances than The Knight of the Parrot, but it is nice to have Arthur acting as a knight in one.

Feb 19, 2020, 11:31am

The Eighth Wonder of the World is coming to theaters on March 15!

Turner Classic Movies is bringing the big ape to the big screen in the U.S. for one day only next month, and I expect that I'll be there: I've already determined there are a couple nearby movie theaters that will have it.

More information here: https://www.fathomevents.com/events/tcm2020-king-kong-1933

Feb 19, 2020, 11:52am

Movie 94. Wrangler's Roost (Monogram, 1941)

When a series of holdups points to a gentlemanly bandit who broke parole, but some differences in behavior (such as committing murder) make it uncertain whether he is indeed the culprit, the Range Busters agree to investigate. They find a town in which two elements, those who want to build a church and those who want an expanded saloon and gambling house, are in contention, with a man battling a fondness for strong drink in the middle. Story elements on temptation and reformation help this B western out; recommended.

Feb 19, 2020, 12:01pm

Movie 95. Kriminal (1966)

Master crook Kriminal (Glenn Saxson) escapes his execution with the assistance of a Scotland Yard official who hopes to trail him to the loot from his last robbery and then recapture him. Kriminal ends up involved with people scheming to steal diamonds and swindle the insurance company as well. Multiple betrayals and plenty of killing in this one, and a protagonist who is interesting to watch but not really sympathetic. A pleasing twist at the end was unexpected. Recommended.

Feb 19, 2020, 12:04pm

Movie 96. The Beach Girls and the Monster (U.S. Films, 1965)

The music is probably the biggest attraction in this movie, the final screen role for former adventure film actor Jon Hall, who also directed. In this blend of monster movie and domestic drama, a creature apparently is targeting kids hanging out at the beach; among the kids is the son of a scientist who is consulted during the investigation into the first killing. Overall, a dud; not recommended.

Feb 19, 2020, 1:13pm

24. Death in the Cup, by Moray Dalton

When a tyrannical woman is poisoned, suspicion soon falls on her half-brother, an ex-gigolo forced to live in the family home after an injury, though others may have had a motive as well. Fortunately for the young man, the uncle of the woman he loves takes an interest in the case and for her sake brings in detective Hermann Glide to get to the bottom of things. The resolution of the mystery wasn't particularly surprising, and overall I found this entry in the series a little undistinguished; I may take a break before reading another by Dalton. Mildly recommended.

Feb 20, 2020, 10:32am

Movie 97. Candles at Nine (British National, 1944)

The final starring movie for English singer and dancer Jessie Matthews is this old dark house thriller, complete with scheming relatives and sinister servants, as well as an (ex-police) turf commissioner who takes an interest in the heiress. Fairly standard stuff, competently but not compellingly done. Mildly recommended.

Feb 20, 2020, 10:36am

Movie 98. The Deadly Duo (1971)

A mystery man agrees to help rebels attempt the rescue of a prince held prisoner by a faction allying with Mongol invaders. There is some action-packed fight choreography, though I thought the "named" antagonists (Gold Man, Water Man, Mole Man, Tree Man, Fire Man) were mostly less impressive than they should have been. Recommended.

Feb 20, 2020, 10:44am

Movie 99. Gog (Ivan Tors / UA, 1954)

Sabotage leads to deaths at a secret base working to develop a manned space station, and officials and investigators race to identify and thwart the culprit(s). This is a well-paced movie, with the severity of the attacks intensifying and suspicion increasing, as it is unclear who can be trusted and who will be the next victim. Recommended.

Feb 20, 2020, 7:53pm

Movie 100. Sky Bandits (Monogram, 1940)

The final Renfrew movie finds the sergeant (James Newill) and Constable Kelly (Dave O'Brien) once again combating gold thieves. This time around, the crooks are using a ray to fuse magnetos to cause planes to crash. The by-play between the two Mounties remains amusing, but the more explicit comic relief character is a dud. There seems to be less romantic rivalry than usual, but Renfrew does get a good song. Recommended.

Feb 20, 2020, 7:58pm

100 movies up already, Harry. I am impressed and especially because I have heard of barely a quarter of them and seen about one in ten!

Feb 20, 2020, 8:01pm

>137 PaulCranswick: Thanks, Paul! I think my movies are skewing more obscure because I've seen so many of the major Golden Age movies in the past, and I end up chasing the novelty of genres and films that were less available to me in the past.

Feb 20, 2020, 8:06pm

>138 harrygbutler: Anyway it is always good fun to see what you are watching, Harry.

Feb 21, 2020, 8:24am

>139 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul!

Feb 21, 2020, 8:24am

Feb 21, 2020, 8:38am

25. A Talent for Revenge, by John Cutter

In the first of an 11-book series, ex-mercenary Jack Sullivan agrees to assassinate a ruthless former dictator on behalf of one of his victims. Unfortunately, the target has taken refuge in a fortified chateau in France. There follows a lengthy buildup to a final confrontation, as Sullivan whittles down the enemy forces but his counterpart, another former mercenary who had in fact trained Sullivan in the past but who has given himself over to despair, scores some success as well. The climactic battle delivers the action. I agree with the reviewer at Paperback Warrior that the book would have benefited from cutting, as it all goes on rather too long, but I'd be willing to try others in the series if I come across them.

Feb 21, 2020, 9:13am

>121 harrygbutler: Amazon Prime has this! I am going to watch it. >135 harrygbutler: And also this one.

>128 harrygbutler: Very fun!

>131 harrygbutler: That poster - it's so bad that I love it.

Happy Friday, Harry!

Feb 21, 2020, 9:39am

>143 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Happy Friday to you as well. I hope you enjoy those movies when you try them.

The Beach Girls and the Monster is on Amazon Prime as well, but I still wouldn't recommend spending time with it. :-)

I've been watching quite a few movies via Amazon Prime in the last several months, prioritizing those I want to try because they don't stay available forever and I haven't been able to find a way to see quickly just which movies will be leaving Prime soon.

Feb 21, 2020, 12:42pm

Movie 101. Upperseven, l'uomo da uccidere (1966)

There are some familiar faces (Karin Dor, Vivi Bach) in this Eurospy entry, in which master of disguise Upperseven works with a CIA counterpart to thwart a villainous plot involving diamonds and counterfeit money. Some location filming and a secret underground lair that includes uniformed flunkies and complex defenses help add interest, but the protagonist lacks charisma. Mildly recommended.

Feb 21, 2020, 12:48pm

26. Ghost Breaker, by Ron Goulart

Mild humor characterizes these light-hearted stories of ad man and part-time occult detective Max Kearny, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction during the 1960s and collected in this volume as half of an Ace double in 1971. Probably better enjoyed if they are spread out a bit, but entertaining nonetheless. Recommended.

Feb 21, 2020, 1:17pm

>141 harrygbutler: Ha! Love that hot take.

>142 harrygbutler: Hm. Could merit chasing up. I like some goofy action once in a way.

>146 harrygbutler: A character I had no memory of Goulart creating! Callooh callay, a frabjous day for me chez vous.

Feb 21, 2020, 2:13pm

>147 richardderus: I'm sure there are better goofy action books than The Specialist series. I know the first Executioner book was distinctly better, for example, but I've not read, or recently read, examples of most of the similar series to have a good sense of what might be worth a look. I'm finding the Paperback Warriors blog and podcast of some value for suggestions, at least by way of boosting my awareness. And the guys there do provide pretty informative discussions of individual books.

I think there are likely to be more of the Max Kearny stories out there. Goulart wrote an introduction to this collection, and I got the impression that they weren't all gathered there, and that the series might not be over, too.

Feb 21, 2020, 3:22pm

>148 harrygbutler: Looks like there were nine entries in the Kearney series. *happy sigh*

Feb 21, 2020, 7:46pm

>149 richardderus: Interesting: Ghost Breaker contains two stories — "Help Stamp Out Chesney" and "The Strawhouse Pavilion" — that do not appear in that list; that list also contains two stories — "Max Kearny Returns" and "Hello from Hollywood" — that were published after the collection came out. So there might even be more!

Edited: Feb 22, 2020, 5:28am

27. Hagar's Knight Out, by Dik Browne

This is a fairly typical collection of Hägar the Horrible comic strips: mildly amusing overall. Recommended for fans.

Feb 23, 2020, 8:49pm

>146 harrygbutler: Cover is great anyway, Harry. Just wish she hadn't got such big hands!

Feb 24, 2020, 9:28am

>152 PaulCranswick: It's an intriguing cover, that's for sure. I don't think it does a great job of capturing the tone of the stories, though.

Feb 24, 2020, 9:44am

Movie 102. 24269490::Return of the Deadly Blade (original title: Fei dao you jian fei dao) (1981)

This tale of revenge that blends action and fantasy (watch for the incredible chair fighting) in the end comes up short; the explanation behind the plot proved a little too much of a disappointment and also insufficient to account for much of what happened. Unlikeable characters weaken the film even more. Not recommended.

Feb 24, 2020, 9:48am

Movie 103. Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankamen (original title: Fenomenal e il tesoro di Tutankamen) (1968)

A costumed crime fighter aims to prevent the theft of a relic of the Egyptian pharaoh on display in a French museum. The secret identity of the masked hero is pretty obvious, in part because the identities of too many plotters are revealed rather too soon, and the twists and betrayals would fit better with a heist movie focused on the crooks. Mildly recommended at best.

Feb 24, 2020, 10:13am

28. Arrest the Bishop?, by Winifred Peck

A slow start hampers this story of a blackmailer who gets his comeuppance, and the mystery is a weak one, too, as an obvious killer is too long dismissed from consideration. I appreciated some of the ruminations on self-interest versus other motives, and I didn't foresee the full explanation of the characters' behaviors, in part because I missed the age of one. Mildly recommended.

Feb 24, 2020, 12:18pm

Movie 104. Africa Screams (UA, 1949)

Jungle hijinks with Bud and Lou, as the boys join an expedition (together with Clyde Beatty) ostensibly in pursuit of a giant ape but in fact after a much smaller prize. Frank Buck is out on an expedition as well, and real-life brothers Max and Buddy Baer get some amusing scenes, too. Watch for Lou encountering big cats and a friendly ape. Recommended.

Feb 24, 2020, 12:20pm

Movie 105. The Vampire Bat (Majestic, 1933)

Modern skepticism clashes with venerable superstition, as an investigator (Melvyn Douglas) tries to find the person or thing responsible for multiple vampire-style killings. An efficient little thriller from Majestic; recommended.

Feb 24, 2020, 3:19pm

29. The Wrecking Crew, by Donald Hamilton

The action is relentless in the second Matt Helm thriller, with the operative sent to Sweden to find and eliminate the killer Caselius. Helm is saddled with a cover and then rules of engagement that hobble his ability to act, while he is forced to work with people who may be double agents. The coldness of the character is central to the outcomes. Some of it is a bit far-fetched, but it is entertaining nonetheless, albeit probably not as good as the first in the series. Recommended for fans, but don't start here.

Feb 24, 2020, 6:34pm

>159 harrygbutler: are you recommending the first book?

Feb 24, 2020, 7:23pm

>93 harrygbutler: It has been years since I have read any of MacLean's books - I remember really enjoying them as a teenager - so it is probably high time I revisit them :)

>146 harrygbutler: I will have to see if I can find a copy of that one. Thanks for the recommendation, Harry!

>157 harrygbutler: That is a fun one!

Edited: Feb 25, 2020, 7:33am

>160 fuzzi: I'd certainly suggest starting with Death of a Citizen, as there are references to the first book in the second. I don't know whether you'll care for the book, however. The action is quite good and the storyline, with its twists, compelling. However, Helm himself is not a likeable character — downright cold and ruthless — and, because of the first-person narration, one spends the whole book with him. If you're interested, I'd suggest trying the first few chapters and seeing whether it clicks.

Feb 25, 2020, 7:32am

>161 alcottacre: Hi, Stasia! I missed MacLean when I was younger, so I've been very much enjoying discovering his stuff.

I don't know whether the Goulart book has been republished outside the Ace double, but good luck in your search.

I've seen Africa Screams at least a few times, and I'm sure I'll revisit it again in the future.

Edited: Feb 25, 2020, 8:27am

>162 harrygbutler: thanks. I've put him on my neverending "recommended to me" book list, and will keep Matt Helm in mind when I go to the used book and thrift stores.

>161 alcottacre: do you have any MacLean on your shelves? If not, let us know what you can find through ILL or your local library and we can do a shared read.

Feb 25, 2020, 8:34am

>164 fuzzi: I should add that the first time I tried a Matt Helm book, many years ago now, it didn't click, and I didn't continue with the series then. This time around, the first book worked well enough that I went ahead and got quite a few more, though how quickly I'll read them remains to be seen.

Yes, Stasia, if you'd like to join in a shared MacLean read, that would be great.

Feb 25, 2020, 8:53am

Movie 106. Alias Boston Blackie (Columbia, 1942)

Blackie helps put on a show for prisoners on Christmas Eve, and one inmate with a grudge against those who betrayed him uses the circumstances to escape. Blackie scrambles to stop the young man, but a murderer strikes nonetheless. The resolution seemed a bit rushed, but the character byplay was, as usual, enjoyable. Recommended.

Feb 25, 2020, 9:00am

Morning, Harry!

>157 harrygbutler: LOVE Abbott and Costello.

>158 harrygbutler: Amazon Prime has this one!

Feb 25, 2020, 10:01am

>167 Crazymamie: Hi, Mamie! Yes, Amazon Prime was where I watched The Vampire Bat; Africa Screams is on Prime as well. We own most of Abbott and Costello's movies on DVD.

Feb 25, 2020, 10:03am

30. The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat, by Thornton Burgess

Jerry Muskrat and his friends and fellow dwellers in and around the Smiling Pool deal with traps and disappearing water. Fun stuff, well-illustrated by Harrison Cady; recommended.

Feb 25, 2020, 10:49am

>169 harrygbutler: hmm. That's one author I've not yet tried.

Feb 25, 2020, 11:12am

>170 fuzzi: The Cady illustrations were what drew me to the books originally. We own a few now, but I've not read them all. I picked up The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat at a thrift shop earlier this month.

Feb 25, 2020, 11:15am

Morning, Harry!
>166 harrygbutler: Whatever's going on is giving that woman a blinding headache.

Edited: Feb 25, 2020, 2:38pm

Movie 107. Prairie Law (RKO, 1940)

Crooked "Judge" Curry and his associates are tricking settlers into buying land, promising ample water when none is available. Local rancher Brill Austin (George O'Brien) tolerates the nesters and allows access to his waterhole, but when blatant rustling takes place, he calls on the local sheriff to investigate. Murder, a crooked election, family strife, and more violence follow, with an honest lawyer among the settlers joining with Brill to confront the wrongdoers. Recommended.

Feb 25, 2020, 2:39pm

>172 mstrust: Hi, Jennifer! She's the sister of the escaped convict, and she has plenty to give her a headache.

Feb 25, 2020, 2:44pm

Movie 108. Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (Universal, 1942)

The detective (Basil Rathbone) tangles with the nefarious Professor Moriarty (Lionel Atwill), who is targeting a newly invented bombsight that is being offered for British use but which is, of course, desired by the Germans. Holmes goes in disguise more than once as this one zips along. Recommended.

Feb 26, 2020, 9:53am

31. Cartoon Laffs, ed. by Clyde Carley

This 1952 Gold Medal publication is an amusing collection of cartoons, with some humorous anecdotes, drawn from the pages of True, though the effect of some is weakened by the muddy printing and poor quality paper in the pocket paperback. Mildly recommended.

Feb 26, 2020, 9:58am

Movie 109. Da Istanbul ordine di uccidere (From Istanbul, Orders To Kill) (1965)

A writer is recruited by the CIA to impersonate a member of a drug-smuggling ring. The movie proves a downbeat confusing muddle, as it is often unclear which of the two characters we are watching in action. It is implausible that the writer is able to simply stroll through the mechanics of the deal, while protected by an assassin who doesn't realize the substitution (or does he?). Istanbul street scenes add some interest, but not enough to make the mess worth watching. Not recommended.

Feb 26, 2020, 10:20am

Movie 110. Song of Old Wyoming (PRC, 1945)

An elderly ranch owner battles crooks and pushes for statehood for Wyoming, so the villains bring in a hired gun, the Cheyenne Kid, to destroy her. Much screen time is given over to this outlaw, played by Al (soon to be "Lash") LaRue, complete with bullwhip, in a movie that plays out to some extent like a TV episode trying out a character for a possible spinoff. Star Eddie Dean gets some good songs, though. Recommended.

Feb 27, 2020, 8:50am

Feb 27, 2020, 8:55am

Morning, Harry! I like how Dennis thinks.

Feb 27, 2020, 12:08pm

>176 harrygbutler: All I need to see is the cover. Nuh uh.

>178 harrygbutler: That sounds fun. Who knew he was anything except Lash LaRue? I'd've bet money that's what was on his birth certificate.

Happy weekend ahead!

Feb 27, 2020, 12:44pm

>181 richardderus: Thanks, Richard! I hope yours is a good one as well.

I'm no fan of Virgil Partch's cartoons; I find them downright ugly. But the volume included the work of others I like much better, such as Charles Addams.

Feb 27, 2020, 1:22pm

To be scrupulously fair, what the heck else would one expect from True, the Men's Magazine circa 1952?

Feb 27, 2020, 6:36pm

>183 richardderus: There certainly were no surprises.

Feb 27, 2020, 6:41pm

Movie 111. The Street Fighter (original title: Gekitotsu! Satsujin ken) (Toei, 1974)

The first in Sonny Chiba's run of "Street Fighter" movies is a violent affair, with plenty of blood and over-the-top imagery, as the title character — who is no hero — wades through a series of opponents to a rather disappointing ending. I doubt I'll watch the others in the series, though I do plan to take a look sometime at one of the "Sister Street Fighter" movies at some point. Not recommended.

Feb 27, 2020, 6:46pm

>164 fuzzi: >165 harrygbutler: My local library has quite a few of MacLean's books, so if you guys want to make a list of suggestions, I will see if the book is available there. I do not currently own any of his books.

Feb 27, 2020, 9:48pm

>151 harrygbutler: I remember that from the Sunday funnies when I was younger.

Edited: Feb 27, 2020, 10:16pm

>186 alcottacre: I tentatively have Caravan to Vaccares on deck...is that one available at your library?

I have others, too:


Feb 28, 2020, 9:23am

>186 alcottacre: >188 fuzzi: I'd be up for Caravan to Vaccares next. March or April?

Feb 28, 2020, 9:43am

>187 thornton37814: I pick up the Hägar collections when I run into them. Several years ago there was a project to reprint them all chronologically, and I was acquiring those volumes, too, but unfortunately it petered out.

Feb 28, 2020, 9:56am

32. The Life of Lazaros of Mt. Galesion: An Eleventh-Century Pillar Saint, by Gregory the Cellarer; trans. by Richard P. H. Greenfield

One of a long line of Byzantine saints who practiced their asceticism by exposing themselves to the elements on the tops of pillars, symbolically reducing their ties to earthly affairs and bringing them closer to Heaven, Lazaros in the eleventh-century spent more than 40 years living in this way and drew to himself both the curious and the devout. His life, by a monk at one of the monasteries that grew up around his three pillars on the rough mountainside of Mount Galesion (aka Galesios), is filled with interesting material. Unfortunately, however, poor decisions by the translator — most notably using angle brackets "to indicate where words or phrases have been supplied in order to improve the flow or sense of the English," which in effect means nearly every sentence has multiple instances of this distracting punctuation, rendered even more distracting because often the additions add nothing save verbosity — render the life a dull read. Sadly, not recommended.

Feb 28, 2020, 10:13am

Movie 112. The Bellboy (Paramount, 1960)

Bellboy Stanley (Jerry Lewis) precipitates or participates in a variety of mishaps and amusing vignettes at a Miami Beach hotel. The episodic movie has no real plot but repeatedly pays tribute to silent comedy. Fluff, but enjoyable fluff; recommended.

Feb 28, 2020, 3:57pm

>189 harrygbutler: I'd prefer March to match the AlpkaKIT "C" challenge, but am flexible.

Feb 28, 2020, 6:46pm

>193 fuzzi: March should be fine for me, but probably not until later in the month.

Feb 28, 2020, 6:55pm

Movie 113. Treasure Hunt (IFD, 1952)

The heir to a large but bankrupt estate attempts to make a go of it by bringing in paying guests, but he must contend with scheming and eccentric relatives as he tries. Plenty of humor here, with Martita Hunt an utter delight as dotty Aunt Anna Rose, a kind soul who loves to "travel" by taking trips via a sedan chair permanently parked in the parlor. Recommended.

Feb 28, 2020, 9:41pm

All caught up with you!

Have a wonderful weekend

Feb 29, 2020, 8:01am

>196 figsfromthistle: Thank you, Anita! We're heading off to a big book sale a little later today.

Feb 29, 2020, 6:22pm

>194 harrygbutler: I'll read my Chanty first, then the chunkster John Adams before I start MacLean.

Mar 1, 2020, 6:42pm

>198 fuzzi: Sounds good. I've got a lot stacked up and bought more yesterday.

Mar 1, 2020, 6:53pm

>192 harrygbutler: I remember that being amusing, Harry, although Jerry Lewis had the habit of eventually getting on the nerves if the film went on beyond 90 minutes!

Mar 1, 2020, 7:06pm

>200 PaulCranswick: I do think he's someone whose movies I'll need to revisit only occasionally, rather than in a marathon session.

Mar 1, 2020, 7:06pm

Come join me on my new thread!