Movie Night: A Cry in the Night

“Whatever the novelty of seeing goodie two-shoes Perry Mason as a Peeping Tom/Kidnapper, it’s Carol Veazie who is the standout.”

[The movie poster for A Cry in the Night. What did "Cert X" mean? Was Perry Mason in an X-rated film?!]

FourStars
Four Stars!

From 1956: A weird flip-flop which is like a Perry Mason episode … because it stars Perry Mason‘s Raymond Burr as a violent voyeur/kidnapper and Perry Mason‘s Richard Anderson (more famous for the Bionic Man/Woman stuff) as one of Burr’s victims. The bonus here is the kidnappee is Natalie Wood.

The «synopsis»:

“A police captain’s emotions get in the way when his daughter is kidnapped.”

TMDb

IMDb’s «synopsis» isn’t much better:

“A deranged man kidnaps the nubile daughter of a police captain. “

IMDb

There doesn’t seem to be any contemporary reviews of this noir, so we’ll have to rely on a «user review on IMDb by “bmacv”», who writes:

“When Raymond Burr’s face (grotesquely lighted by John F. Seitz) looms out of the shrubbery at Lovers’ Loop [sic], he adds A Cry in the Night to his long string of films in which he cemented his reputation as the noir cycle’s most indispensable and unforgettable creep. He’s prowling the petting grounds looking for a girl, and doesn’t care how he gets her. Assaulting the male half (Richard Anderson) of a necking couple, he kidnaps the other (Natalie Wood), spiriting her off to a den he’s fixed up in an abandoned brickyard. This time, though, there’s a catch to Burr’s villainy: He’s a dim-witted hulk, a childish monster akin to Lennie in Of Mice And Men.

“Even less wholesome is Carol Veazie as Burr’s doting, sweet-toothed mother. Managing simultaneously to suggest Dame Judith Anderson, Jean Stapleton and Doris Roberts, she shuffles around drinking coffee in her horse-blanket bathrobe, whining about that missing slice of apricot pie. Nineteen-fifty-six, some may recall, was the high-water mark of a national panic about ‘Momism,’ a threat deemed scarcely less perilous to the republic than the international Communist conspiracy; Veazie endures as one of its most formidable operatives (her successors would include the unseen Mrs. Bates in Psycho, Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate, and Marjorie Bennet’s Dehlia Flagg in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?).”

IMDb

The reviewer is right: Whatever the novelty of seeing goodie two-shoes Perry Mason as a Peeping Tom/Kidnapper, it’s Carol Veazie who is the standout. She is indeed freaky-deaky, rattling on about her “something sweet before bed from Baby,” that brought to my mind “It puts the lotion in the basket” dude from Silence of the Lambs. After watching so much Perry Mason over the last year or so, thanks to MeTV (I had never seen an episode of it before), seeing his freaky turn was a bit laughable. But Veazie: Now THAT was truly creepy.

Edmond O’Brien and Brian Donlevy were good as always as the cops, and Irene Hervey was so very 1950s mother that at first I thought she was Jane Wyatt of Father Knows Best, the quintessential 1950s mom. Natalie Wood gave the screaming her best and pre-Perry Mason‘s Richard Anderson competently walked around in a daze.

The weirdest thing in this weird concoction though was the very short subplot of Madge (Mary Lawrence), who is, we can only guess, O’Brien’s sister? Wood’s sister? Who knows? She’s there for a couple of scenes, Hervey says Madge is unhappy because she’s unmarried and then <boom> nothing further happens with her. Weird, weird, weird.

Still, it’s all good clean, dirty fun, that says much about the decade it was made in, as well as being a good example of its genre. Worth a look if you get the chance.


Perry Mason, er, Raymond Burr Strangles Natalie Wood!

Best quotes:

Terence McNally knows how to write ’em:

Capt. Dan Taggart: “I just wanna know what’s bothering Madge.”
Helen Taggart: “She isn’t married, that’s what’s bothering her. She’s 37 years old and she isn’t married.”

A Cry in the Night

Boy on Motorcycle: “Sock her again! They love it!”

Ibid

Capt. Ed Bates: “How do ya tell a guy that his kid has been grabbed?”

Ibid

Capt. Dan Taggart: “I don’t care about your coffee! Your son has kidnapped my child!”

Ibid

Four Stars
Four Stars!

A Cry in the Night. 1956. TCM. English. Frank Tuttle (d). David Dortort, Whit Masterson (w). Edmond O'Brien, Brian Donlevy, Natalie Wood, Raymond Burr, Richard Anderson, Irene Hervey, Carol Veazie, Mary Lawrence, Herb Vigran. (p). David Buttolph (m). John F. Seitz (c).


 

Same Here

There’s this thing that has been closely guarded for going on 40 years in 2018. It’s my secret. So as it hits its 40th birthday in our new year, I decided it’s time to tell the world.


In Which I Join in on a Hashtag, God Help Me!

There’s this thing that has been closely guarded for going on 40 years in 2018. It’s my secret. So as it hits its 40th birthday in our new year, I decided it’s time to tell the world.

#MeToo.

There. It’s out. More is coming.


[Text by HawkEye. Photo by Mihai Surdu via Unsplash.]

'Baptized in Blood'

I’m not sure why I’ve been leaning towards supporting John Edwards this primary season. Perhaps its his populism and anti-corporatism (although I’m realistic about his chances to actually do anything about it once in office). Or perhaps it’s because it’s refreshing to hear reasonable, quiet, calm, realistic talk during times of international crisis (as opposed to the … garbage we’ve put up with from the Boy Emperor for almost eight years). «Here’s» Edwards’ response to the Bhutto assassination:

Henderson: “In regards to the situation in Pakistan, if you were president, what would you be doing?”
Edwards: “If I were president I would do some of what I’ve already done. I spoke with the Pakistani Ambassador and then a few minutes ago I spoke with President Musharraf, urging him to continue on the path to democratization, to allow international investigators to come in to determine what happened, what the facts were so that there would be transparency and credibility about what actually occurred and also about the upcoming schedule of elections and that the important thing for America to do in this unstable environment is first of all focus on the tragedy that’s occurred. Benazir Bhutto was a strong woman, a courageous woman, someone that I actually spoke at a conference with a few years and she talked about the path to democracy in Pakistan being baptized in blood so she understood the extraordinary risk that she was taking by going back and it’s a terrible tragedy for the people of Pakistan, but it’s important for America to be a calming influence and provide strength in this environment.”’

The audio file is available at the link above.

The Beast's 50 Most Loathsome

The only end-of-the-year list I ever pay any attention to (and agree completely with) is the list of the 50 most loathsome people produced by «Buffalo Beast», which features The Boy Emperor firmly in spot el numero uno, up from el numero tres in 2005 and 2006:

‘Is it a civil rights milestone to have a retarded [emperor]? Maybe it would be, if he were ever legitimately elected. You can practically hear the whole nation holding its breath, hoping this guy will just fucking leave come January ’09 and not declare martial law. Only supporters left are the ones who would worship a fucking turnip if it promised to kill foreigners. Is so clearly not in charge of his own White House that his feeble attempts to define himself as “decider” or “commander guy” are the equivalent of a five-year-old kid sitting on his dad’s Harley and saying “vroom vroom!” Has lost so many disgusted staffers that all he’s left with are the kids from Jesus Camp. The first president who is so visibly stupid he can say “I didn’t know what was in the National Intelligence Estimate until last week” and sound plausible. Inarguably a major criminal and a much greater threat to the future of America than any Muslim terrorist.’
—BuffaloBeast.com

A better summing up of the emperor (and his assorted hangers-about) I have yet to see.

Farewell, Sweet Molly

Since I wasn’t posting during the last few months, I missed noting the saddest day of the year, which made me weep. Molly Ivins is no longer with us.

The Nation collected a beautiful «salute to Molly Ivins»:

‘The country was founded by dissenters, and if as a doubter of divine authority Molly inherits the skepticism of Tom Paine, as a satirist she springs full blown, like Minerva, from the head of Mark Twain. Twain thought of humor, especially in its more sharply pointed forms of invective and burlesque, as a weapon with which to attack pride victorious and ignorance enthroned. He placed the ferocity of his wit at the service of his conscience, pitting it against the “peacock shams” of the established order, believing that “only laughter can blow…at a blast” what he regarded as “the colossal humbug” of the world. So also Molly, a journalist who commits the crimes of arson, making of her wit a book of matches with which to burn down the corporate hospitality tents of empty and self-righteous cant. Molly’s writing reminds us that dissent is what rescues the democracy from a quiet death behind closed doors, that republican self-government, properly understood, is an uproar and an argument, meant to be loud, raucous, disorderly and fierce.’
The Nation

Sigh.

God bless and rest you, Molly. You fought the good fight. We are the poorer for your passing, the richer for your acquaintance. RIP.

Lost in 2005

There were some remarkable people who left us in 2005:

‘When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit that loses.’
—Shirley Chisholm, who died 1-Jan-05

‘“We went through the top of the head, I think she was awake. She had a mild tranquilizer. I made a surgical incision in the brain through the skull. It was near the front. It was on both sides. We just made a small incision, no more than an inch.” The instrument Dr. Watts used looked like a butter knife. He swung it up and down to cut brain tissue. “We put an instrument inside,” he said. As Dr. Watts cut, Dr. Freeman put questions to Rosemary. For example, he asked her to recite the Lord’s Prayer or sing “God Bless America” or count backwards. … “We made an estimate on how far to cut based on how she responded.” … When she began to become incoherent, they stopped’
—Dr. James W. Watts and Dr. Walter Freeman, report on frontal lobotomy on Rosemary Kennedy, who died 7-Jan-05

‘I had a happy marriage and a nice wife. I accomplished everything you can. What more can you want?’
—Max Schmeling, who died 2-Feb-05

‘Without alienation, there can be no politics.’
—Arthur Miller, who died10-Feb-05

‘America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.’
—Hunter S. Thompson, who died 20-Feb-05

‘Me, I’m good at nothing but walking on the set with a pretty dress.’
—Sandra Dee, who died 20-Feb-05

‘I’m just not the glamour type. Glamour girls are born, not made. And the real ones can be glamorous even if they don’t wear magnificent clothes. I’ll bet Lana Turner would look glamorous in anything.’
—Teresa Wright, who died 6-Mar-05

‘It’s inevitable that the company come back.’
—John DeLorean, who died 19-Mar-05

‘War is a defeat for humanity.’
—Pope John Paul II, who died 2-Apr-05

‘There are evils that have the ability to survive identification and go on for ever… money, for instance, or war.’
—Saul Bellow, who died 5-Apr-05

‘I work hard in social work, public relations, and raising the Grimaldi heirs.’
—Princess Grace about her life with Prince Rainier Grimaldi of Monaco, who died 6-Apr-05

‘Marriage as an institution developed from rape as a practice. Rape, originally defined as abduction, became marriage by capture. Marriage meant the taking was to extend in time, to be not only use of but possession of, or ownership.’
—Andrea Dworkin, who died 9-Apr-05

‘Well, the musicals give emphasis to love, longing, melancholy, sadness. All of that is always there.’
—Ismail Merchant, who died 25-May-05

‘I don’t really care how I am remembered as long as I bring happiness and joy to people.’
—Eddie Albert, who died 26-May-05

‘I’d like to be remembered as a premier singer of songs, not just a popular act of a given period.’
—Luther Vandross, who died 1-Jul-05

‘There’s nothing more irresistible to a man than a woman who’s in love with him.’
—Ernest Lehman, who died 2-Jul-05

‘Abhorrence of apartheid is a moral attitude, not a policy.’
—Edward Heath, who died 17-Jul-05

‘Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.’
—William C. Westmoreland, who died 18-Jul-05

‘I’m not tired of [beam me up Scotty] at all. Good gracious, it’s been said to me for just about 31 years. It’s been said to me at 70 miles an hour across four lanes on the freeway. I hear it from just about everybody. It’s been fun.’
—James Doohan, who died 20-Jul-05

‘I will be father to the young, brother to the elderly. I am but one of you; whatever troubles you, troubles me; whatever pleases you, pleases me.’
—King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, who died 1-Aug-05

‘There were no international terrorists in Iraq until we went in. It was we who gave the perfect conditions in which Al Qaeda could thrive.’
—Robin Cook, who died 6-Aug-05

‘It’s a brassiere! You know about those things, you’re a big boy now. … It’s brand new. Revolutionary up-lift: No shoulder straps, no back straps, but it does everything a brassiere should do. Works on the principle of the cantilevered bridge. … An aircraft engineer down the penninsula designed it; he worked it out in his spare time.’ [from Vertigo]
—Barbara Bel Geddes, who died 8-Aug-05

‘I think Alexander Hamilton has received a little bit of short shrift from history, and I think Jefferson has been treated a little bit too generously. I admire them both, but I admire them both about equally.’
—William Rehnquist, who died 3-Sep-05

‘I’ve often wondered if maybe I tried to tell too many stories in The Sand Pebbles.’
—Robert Wise, who died 14-Sep-05

‘Sid Luft was no gentleman. He was a weight lifter. He was a former test pilot. He was a gambler. He’s still one of those old-time Hollywood guys.’
—Lorna Luft about her father, Sidney Luft, who died 15-Sep-05

‘The history of man is the history of crimes, and history can repeat. So information is a defence. Through this we can build, we must build, a defence against repetition.’
—Simon Wiesenthal, who died 20-Sep-05

‘I said to myself, where are we living? In the United States of America where you’re innocent until proven guilty, or Nazi Germany with the Gestapo calling?’
—Tommy Bond during the Robert Blake trial. Bond died 24-Sep-05

‘All I was doing was trying to get home from work.’
—Rosa Parks, who died 24-Sep-05

‘I- I- I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.’
—Donald Pleasance in 1978’s Halloween, produced by Moustapha Akkad, who died 11-Nov-05

‘The changes in both radio and television are mind-boggling.’
—Ralph Edwards, who died 16-Nov-05

‘Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important.’
—Eugene McCarthy, who died 10-Dec-05

‘There’s a thin line between to laugh with and to laugh at.’
—Richard Pryor, who died 10-Dec-05

‘Power always has to be kept in check; power exercised in secret, especially under the cloak of national security, is doubly dangerous.’
—William Proxmire, who died 14-Dec-05

Lost in '05: Hunter S. Thompson

The year that was: « Goodbye Hunter S. Thompson »:

‘‘Politics is the art of controlling your environment.’ That is one of the key things I learned in these years, and I learned it the hard way. Anybody who thinks that ‘it doesn’t matter who’s President’ has never been Drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid War on the other side of the World — or been beaten and gassed by Police for trespassing on public property — or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons — or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is President or Governor or Police Chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.’
—Hunter S. Thompson via John Cusack in the Huffington Post

Asi es Nuevo Mexico

Stuff like « this » makes me wonder if my desire to return to my home state is really all that wise of an idea:

‘An essay contest at a New Mexico high school asks students to explain why preserving marriage between men and women is vital society and why unborn children merit respect and protection. The contest, at Farmington’s Piedra Vista High School, is being held in connection with an essay contest sponsored by United Families International, an organization whose primary mission is “to strengthen the family by promoting marriage between one man and woman and the protection of human life, including unborn children.” The students were given the option of either writing a response to two questions about preserving marriage and the protection of the “unborn” or submitting a personal narrative.’
—365Gay.com

I wonder … what would the parents have done if the questions were about granting constitutional marriage equality to all and preserving a woman’s right to reproductive choice? I think I already know the answer. Yet another reason to erect not only a wall of separation between church and state in the schools, but also between politics and state in the schools. And yes, there is a difference.