Hollywood Takes on the Bible

DATELINE: Testament of the Trailers

hollywood bible

From 1994, in time for the Passover/Easter season, comes a two-part documentary that relies heavily on newsreel footage and trailers of Bible movies from silent days to the heydays of the 1960s epics.

You can find rare clips from all your favorite epics like King of Kings and The Greatest Story.  It’s all subverted by dry humor.

Of course, the fly in the ointment is that the streaming part two comes before part one. No way to stop that cart before the horse. The Bible According to Hollywood is a fast-paced sermon on the mount.

The narrator sounds like Robert Osborne, late of TMC fame, but it is a wit named Henry Stephens. And, the Old Testament starts off with a hoot and a half as it lambastes all those tacky Adam and Eve movies.

The light-tone and word play certainly makes this an enjoyable documentary. Since Cecil B. DeMille is the name on the marquee most of the time, you have mostly clips from his movies and his interviews.

Now and then, you hear from one of the stars of yore, like Virginia Mayo or Charlton Heston, They offer a few amusing morsels too. Heston contends he made only two Bible movies: the others were costume dramas. We’ll let you guess which ones he believes a truly Biblical.

Most of these sword and sandal films use a copyright free source to save money—and the early silent movies set the tone, and likely made the most money. Profits over prophets seemed to be the Hollywood motto.

Alas, most of the movies flopped:  the Old Testament stuff is far livelier than the New Testament, which is hamstrung by political forces: evangelicals want referential, and Jews don’t want to be scapegoats. The New Testament movies walk a tightrope.

All in all, the two parts could be interchangeable, and they will make you laugh and roll your eyes. What else can you expect from parables adapted for the screen?

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Dead Again, Guilty Again!

DATELINE: Jussie on Steroids.

HERNANDEZ

If you want to know what makes a ghost return to his haunts, you only have to see another case of Massachusetts justice. It will give you the heebie-jeebies.

The Commonwealth Supreme Court has re-instated a guilty of murder verdict on Aaron Hernandez, the serial killer for the New England Patriots. His first trial had been overturned unceremoniously, and he was “not guilty” in his double murder second trial.

You are never declared innocent, no matter what.

The Hernandez conviction was overturned upon his suicide because in Massachusetts, if your appeal is unfinished upon death, you are declared free at last. It need not matter how heinous you were, or how and who you killed, you are no longer a convicted killer. Your jury has wasted its time. Your victim’s family is thrown into turmoil. You are released from prison for cremation or burial.

The evil you did lives on. The good was interred in the state Supreme Court.

So, the Supreme Court feels it has restored justice by playing ping-pong and pin-ball with the guilt of Aaron Hernandez. The law was called archaic and insensitive to modern victims. Hence, Hernandez is back in the eternal prison cell of ghosts like Jacob Marley.

We presume such a finding is enough to send the dead scrambling back to their previous haunts: like the mansion in Attleboro where Hernandez lived his rococo lifestyle. It remained empty for years. No one would dare stay there overnight.

If you want to guarantee that the spirit of Hernandez remains housebound to the place where his victim often visited, you have restored the dead zone. It is likely that Odin Lloyd, the victim, may also be there.

What a cozy arrangement: killer and victim stuck together for eternity. When you play ping-pong with fatality, your fate may be hell on earth and re-living what is never dead.

William Russo is author of the notorious book, The Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez. You can buy it in the old-fashioned print style, or a version designed for you if you are a smartreader.

Allan Carr: A Spectacle to Behold

DATELINE: Carr-buncle

Carr

Can’t Stop the Hype!

It’s been 20 years since the grand poobah of film, TV, and stage producers has left the spotlight. And, boy, was Allan Carr a hog for the media.

The Fabulous Allan Carr is a misnomer. He was not the stuff of fables, nor legends and myths. He was an obese gay man with a knack for self-indulging and making fun for friends and audiences.

One supposes that such a life is enough to satisfy most people. Yet, Carr seemed a cuddly little buddha, but was more like a cactus version of Jekyll and Hyde. When the good times rolled, he was your pal.

He started out as a talent coordinator for Hugh Hefner’s late night TV show in the late 1950s, where he made the acquaintance of old and new Hollywood.

Carr produced Grease, Grease II, La Cage aux Folles, as well as stinkeroos like Can’t Stop the Music. He could do good stuff with all the bravura of Carmen Miranda and Chiquita.

He was a nightmare when failure knocked on his door, and his all-boy parties in Beverly Hills gave way to funeral processions when the AIDS crisis started taking all the twinks. A generation was decimated, and the Village People went into eclipse.

Carr was mostly voyeur, and he escaped infection from HIV. He lived life on his terms, caftans and moo-moo blouses to hide a multitude of rolls.

Born out of Middle America, he became a cocaine-motivated doyen of Hollywood and Broadway. He should have been nicer to the people going up the ladder because they remembered him when he started down the ladder.

His last years were sad, beleaguered with kidney problems and bone cancer. Every party became a line on his face, and in the end he was about as reclusive as an extrovert might never consider.

 

 

Blue Book Penultimate Abduction

DATELINE: Blue versus Green Book

nemesis  Gillen & Mularkey.

The series Project Blue Book is heading for the final round-up with an episode on alien abduction. What actually happens is that Blue Book Meets Green Book.

Yes, this is supposed to be a re-telling of the Betty and Barney Hill abduction in 1961. It is so far off that even the year is wrong: the episode takes place in 1951.

Also, professional Barney Hill in this series comes off as a crazed, hostage-taking madman who happens to be black. The real Barney was nothing like this TV version, except that he was kidnapped and lost time. His wife is not with him for the encounter, and he draws the map of the universe that Barney’s wife actually recalled for scientists.

Even more peculiar, the show features Captain Quinn in his most unpleasant demeanor yet: we don’t recall a protagonist who exhibits racism as in this episode.

Granted, it might be part of the times, but Hynek is horrified by Quinn’s lack of care about a black man. Well, Quinn has a lack of care about everyone.

In one marvelous moment, the wife of the abductee takes Quinn down a peg. The moment is priceless, and the female soldier next to Quinn gives him such a look as to make everything worth it.

Project Blue Book is wrapping up, but the use of subtle racism echoes the Best Picture, Green Book, because the military headquarters of the project would not be a friendly spot for people of color, or aliens for that matter. The Russian spy/lesbian subplot has gone off its rocker as well.

Dr. Hynek (Aiden Gillen) finally has enough of the arrogant Air Force captain—and they literally come to blows in this episode. High time.

The series conclusion cannot come fast enough, likely with Harry Truman as a centerpiece, just to go out with historical inaccuracies galore.

Trump’s Handiwork in Palm Beach

DATELINE: Massage is the Medium

Yang & Trump Party Another Happy Ending!

A funny thing happened on the way to the Trump Super Bowl party. Another funny thing happened at the Palm Beach massage parlor. We don’t mean funny in a humorous sense. It is distinctly odd.

Now it seems that Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, could not attend the Trump Super Bowl party because he actually was at the game, as part of putting the sixth championship below his belt.

Cindy Yang attended Trump’s shindig where she showed him a good time. Yank, oops, Yang founded the massage parlor game in Palm Beach, a kidney stone’s throw from Mar-a-Lago.

Joining Mr. Trump at his party was the one-time creator of the self-same parlor where Mr. Kraft was handed his arrested development warrant. You guessed it! Cindy Yank has the pull for an invitation.

You have got to hand it to Trump and Kraft. They know how to grab headlines. When you have billions, you can do fairly much whatever you want. The problem is that these handsome seniors have enemies. Yes, there are patrons of the law who blanch at women doing sex work for money.

We eagerly await the visit of Kraft to the White House where he will hand-off a MAGA jersey to President like it’s a Handi-wipe who will hand-out fast-food with and without pickles.

Trump likely feels this massage perk is owed to the super-rich who are now political kingpins, making immigration policy that allows Chinese women to be held prisoner, not in a fortune cookie factory where they might send out a message, but in a massage parlor where the medium is the massage.

The party-goer who owned the massage parlor is a big donor to Trump. She gives freely and often. The little lady deserves a big hand, but we aren’t sure if Trump or Kraft can afford to pick up the tab.

Septuagenarians are worse off than sexagenarians.

If you think there is something funny going on here in Palm Beach, we think the police agree and have a hands-on policy when it comes to a handshake and a smile.

If you think Congressional committees will put their paws on this one, you will have another Jussie Smollett moment on your hands.

Sex and politics are never strange bedfellows. Just let the Stormy days pass—you will have a big hand for the little lady.

Funny like a toothache.

 

 

Oak Island Die Hard and Dye Harder

DATELINE: Approach/Avoidance

95-years Amazing Dan Blankenship!

We are at episode 15 of the sixth season with the Curse of Oak Island, and we are still going strong. Each season is longer, and our patience is growing thinner.

Shake, rattle, and rolling, the Money Pit sink hole will be stabilized, presumably, and filled in to be able to continue boring down.

However, this week’s big info is that lidar off Oak Island may have discovered some entrances or openings under the ocean. The gang, including Alex Lagina and mysteriously returned Peter Fornetti, join Marty to hear the findings. That thread was quickly dropped to begin another dye job.

Several years ago, the brainstorm was to use green dye to see if there were drains leading to the treasure vault. Green did not mix well with water, making it impossible to see.

This time the hunters will use red dye (not sure if it’s #2, or the blend often used in Rick Lagina’s hair).

Incompetence was again blamed on the island curse when hoses tangled as water was sent into bore holes with the red dye.

To everyone’s pleasant surprise, 95-year old Dan Blankenship drove up in his golf cart to take a look at the activity. When he tried this stuff, he did it on a shoestring (figuratively). Now there are drones that has to amaze him as fly-over inspections monitor the island for red dye.

However, it is old Gary Drayton who spots a rusty color water appearing out of nowhere. Marty Lagina wants to be the kibosh, but chemical testing of the colored water indicates the dye has seeped to Smith’s Cove, proving there is a drain system to booby trap the treasure vault.

Small victories set up the final few weeks of season six.

 

Leaving Neverland & Leaving Innocence Behind

DATELINE: To Bury Jackson

monster

Blog readers, media sycophants, gossip-mongers, and fake news purveyors, listen up:  we buried Michael Jackson years ago with ignominy and pathos. He was a bizarre freak that entertained us for a generation.

Now we learn that the evil of his ways still lives in a documentary produced by HBO called Leaving Neverland. Two young men now claim they were raped daily by Mr. Jackson as pre-adolescent boys.

The good music and fun videos of Michael Jackson are now a quaint recollection in the archives of music history. Perhaps it is time to bury Michael Jackson in a mausoleum of mudslinging.

A steady stream of accusers continues to tell us Michael Jackson was a perverted soul who preyed on children. If true, this was a hideous crime, and Michael Jackson died prematurely and under shameful and ugly circumstances. If you believe that punishment befits a crime, you may want more.

Today we have profiteers of media making money off another cash cow, and we have victims of crimes trying to rest their souls through revenge. And we think that is honorable and necessary for our culture and our souls.

All victims deserve honor and peace to live free of the horrible past. If shouting from Internet and cable rooftops about the dishonorable acts of music man helps, then we surely will hear more allegations and dark secrets.

The good of Michael Jackson has been buried with his Elephant Man bones.

And documentarians insist that we must pay attention and hear their cries because they are honorable defenders of victims. And, the family of the accused can go to court and sue them for $100million for slander.

 

We were fans who paid Michael Jackson a grand amount of money that he used to construct a Neverland, secure and secretive, a façade to hide whatever he wanted.

He deserved privacy for all he gave, said many.

Yet, victims continue to come forward now, using a platform by documentary filmmakers, the new yellow journalists. And, they tell us Michael Jackson was a monster.

When we watched him cavort and moonwalk, did we think he was evil? Were we all so naïve and must we still ignore the truth?

Do we still cry “fake news” every day at what the media and documentarians give us?

According to Leaving Neverland, Jackson seduced young boys with money and attention, using his child-like personality as camouflage for something unspeakable.

The accusations cannot be proved or disproved, but we all once loved his music and entertainment, not without cause.

History may yet rob Michael Jackson of whatever vestige of good his music gave us.

It appears now that he was a brutish beast, not Peter Pan. We have lost any reason to defend him.

Now we should pause because our memories are back in 1980s music videos with Jackson dancing Thriller. It now appears that playing a zombie of horror was only half the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Blue Book Plays Games

 DATELINE:  Bye-bye Birdie

Dead Birds  It’s raining dead birds!

Episode called “War Games” reportedly occurred during the Korean War when United States soldiers in a training mission claimed to be attacked by UFO lights. They suffered trauma, both physical and mental.

This is the premise of episode eight of the miniseries Project Blue Book. Where this is headed remains as mysterious as the weekly lights in the sky.

Of course, our intrepid and at-odds duo of oddball detective investigators are called in by their general bosses to solve the mystery. Captain Quinn and Professor Hynek continue to bicker over everything.

Neal McDonough as the house villain is given a bit more to do this time around, demanding that his investigators come up with answers and how to kill these threats to America. The men behind Project Blue Book cover ups even discuss the nuclear option.

One deranged soldier eschews protocol with the general officers, but he is cracking up and heating up. He seems to blow out the light bulbs above and heat the cup of coffee he holds. Yup, those aliens seem to be here.

Mike Malarkey has taken to barking orders at his professorial nemesis Aiden Gillen, who continues to ignore him. Their routine seems to have a begrudging respect, but who can really say?

The Hitchcock Birds seem to dominate this episode when the two men encounter flocks of starlings that do somersaults in midair where the platoon was attacked. Then, abruptly, in a “rain” of terror, dead birds pelt the two researchers.

We immediately thought of the CIA experiments with LSD on unsuspecting soldiers during the 1950s. Though this is never mentioned, it fits the final conclusion of our intrepid heroes.

Curse of Oak Island: One Big Sink Hole

DATELINE: Indefinite Suspension

fashionplateOak Island Fashionplate

Oak Island’s unsafe ground has voids and tunnels that have been compromised by diggers and flooding over at least two centuries. It seems a surprise that no one figured that a sink hole might send the entire treasure hunt and hunters down to a watery grave made by Captain Kidd.

Oak Island is one big hole in the ground, except when it comes to History Channel ratings. Then, it becomes Mt. Everest.

If the latest gaffe is unforeseen and inevitable, we might well agree with Rick Lagina that the hunt for whatever is there may be nearing completion yet again, without success.

Every generation’s technology fails until another era makes people feel that they are the champions to find the answers.

The 14th episode of season six is the “Voyage to the Bottom…” and they have not yet hit rock bottom.

Perhaps the most ridiculous moment was a nighttime visit by Rick, tethered, as he crawls into the sink hole, causing even more caving earth. They yell for him to get out: it’s not easy to move fast when you are beyond a certain age. The Chappel Vault might become Rick Lagina’s mausoleum, as he faced the prospect of becoming the seventh curse victim.

We had suggested last season that Rick throw himself down one of the shafts, and he nearly did it this time.

Other bad news was that what they thought was a piece of bone turned out to be slag (buried 170 feet where no smelting operation ever was done). Other leather parchment turned out to be tree bark. It’s pure Oak Island.

The good news for the week had to do with finding parchment or rag paper with red pigment on it: it seemed to be as early as 1300 in origin.

Also, lidar and sonar searches of the bay water around the island showed some anomalies and an anchor. Another tunnel entrance or drain system could be 100 feet off-shore. Intriguing.

Yet, we were most impressed when Alex Lagina showed up in an $800 Arc’teryx wilderness jacket. He has taste and good looks.

Project Blue Book: Stick a Fork in It !

DATELINE:  Fork in the Series?

Fork in the series

Malarky & Weapon of Choice: his Fork.

Project Blue Book dealt with one of those deliberate hoaxes of the 1950s that Hynek exposed to the glee of his government sponsors.

“Scoutmaster” allegedly shot an alien while out on a camping trip with his Boy Scout contingent. Like all these tales, it is based on some kind of factual story.

This episode was intriguing because the series split up their tandem investigators. The generals pulled Captain Quinn (Mike Malarkey) out for some nasty bit of rogue operation.

Hynek was left to play Sherlock Holmes without his impediment Watson. And, beyond a doubt, Hynek (in the form of Aiden Gillen) showed he could carry the show with his professorial pedantry.

On this episode Hynek came up with the ridiculous explanation of swamp gas to explain strange lights in the sky. Not even the townspeople buy it in 1952.

As part of the investigation about the strange shaped cranium discovered at the site of the UFO encounter, he had to consult a tribal expert. He visited a Native American shaman (Graham Greene, who else?) for some answers to his UFO mystery.

On the other hand, the series seemed to show Quinn off to the most negative of all his bad qualities. Perhaps he will be written out or turned into some kind of righteous victim. His sado-masochism did not play out as heroic or tough-guy. We hope sincerely that he is abducted by aliens and used for sexual experiments.

The character is vicious and a thug in an Air Force uniform. He literally sticks a fork into someone. With only a few episodes left in the initial season, we are not quite sure what to make of his development.

In some ways, the series Project Blue Book is becoming rather unpleasant.

 

 

Solicitations from Robert Kraft

 DATELINE:  Time to Call a Solicitor General

Mr. Kraft to you Known for Kissing His Players.

No, it’s not quite like receiving an invitation to a Super Bowl party, or even having a greeting from Santa Claus. You are accused of soliciting prostitutes, Mr. Kraft.

Owner and billionaire Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots has been charged by Florida police for entering a massage parlor and wanting more than a happy ending to the Patriots season.

At an age when most of his contemporaries are dead, 77-year old Mr. Kraft has shown a spark of life. We are not sure if we should wink and nod or congratulate him on enjoying whatever days are left to him. Another arrested user of masseuses is pushing 90, according to the published hit list.

Kraft apparently is using a service supplied by Chinese women who are essentially prisoners of the sex trade, kept under lock and key in a massage parlor to do the bidding of a stream of men.

Alas, the entire concept of sex workers is dubious. Unless there is criminal exploitation, we might well wonder why police haven’t found more important work than setting up candid cameras to catch your grandfather in flagrante delicto.

Are there no school shooters? Are there no gun nuts in the Coast Guard? Why are we focused on massage parlors?

Kraft was caught with his pants down on video apparently, according to some. In the tradition of Jussie Smollett, he is denying any transgression.

The massage parlor is only a few miles from the winter White House, and Kraft’s old pal to sex charges, the President of the United States, is even weighing in on the incident. We know Trump prefers to grab women’s crotches without paying by his own admission.

We may well scratch our head at why a billionaire septuagenarian would pay $75 for an hour’s dangerous liaison when he could have someone come to any private place of his bidding for a few more bucks.

We are of two minds: should we praise him and offer a medal for doing what most men his age can only wish?

Or should we prepare for the inevitable tombstone chiseling that will make this his last notorious act in a life of philanthropy and goodwill?

The ultimate profit goes to the media: this is not a game for gentlemen. Call your solicitor if you plan a trip to the massage parlor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jussie Smollett: Oscar Bait or Jail Bait?

DATELINE: Jussie Couldn’t Say NO!

Untitled Juicy Jussie Thugs to Order!

Jussie Smollett has produced, directed, and starred in his own adaptation of racial profiling. It was his profile on the Cinéma vérité camera, hanging by a newly purchased piece of rope, long enough to hang himself.

Costarring his body-builder trainers as the set-up men and kiss-and-tell boyfriends, this dramatic comedy went viral almost instantly. Not since the Blair Witch Project has there been something as unbelievable as Trump night riders reaching the limits of credulity within a week.

Two dumb-bunny brothers go to stores to buy bleach, rope for a necktie, and red hats (being unwilling to donate to the Trump campaign for official MAGA caps). They later cooperate with the police and admit they love President Trump like all good people from Nigeria (on Trump’s s**t-hole list). As Don Lemon said:  no self-respecting Trump supporter would be caught dead watching Empire.

Then, the celebrity star will go out at 2am on one of the coldest nights in Chicago history, not to find love, nor to create another Valentine’s Day Massacre, but to pick up a Subway sandwich with all the trimmings. A funny thing happened on the way to the sub shop.

Rave reviews for realism, including one from Trump who called it ‘terrible,’ gave way to a series of doubtful critiques that called Jussie the new Shoeless Joe Jackson. Cory Booker now plans to throw the book at Jussie.

Fans started to cry, “Jussie, say no. Say it ain’t so.”

Instead, the Chicago Police called it “911 without a license.”

Though he thought this might win him an Oscar, Smollett soon discovered that he was more likely to win an indictment by the grand jury for impersonating a national emergency.

Whether Jussie deserves a mini-Oscar, or something resembling an Emmy for his TV work, only a jury will tell. The Empire job may be about to fall.

In the meantime, the greatest performance of his life may end up as Jussie’s last hurrah.

John Wayne Revisited, 50 Years Off the Saddle!

DATELINE:  Too Late for Words!

Duke, Duck!Duck, Dodge, and Hide, Duke!

Fifty years after John Wayne gave an interview to Playboy, it has been re-discovered and has become an interesting, revisionist historical document that berates black people, Native Americans, and gays.

Wayne was home on the range but would be shocked by today’s brave new world. He would have punched Trump in the nose for suggesting America is no longer great.

Actors have never been known for their giant brains. You have only to look at stories about Jussie Smollett to learn that hard lesson.

So, it is not surprising that an interview given by Duke Wayne in 1971 is rife with frightful prejudice against black people and Native Americans. You should add women to the list.

Wayne played an array of Union soldiers and military heroes often in defense of America, popular ideas in his movies. He was in real life only one step to the left of J. Edgar Hoover and not much removed from a political Know-Nothing.

If you put his statue in front of a Confederate stronghold, the rebels would have ripped it down.

John Wayne refused to work with “liberal” Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood on a movie.

Well, the shocks mount up like Wayne on a charging steed with the reins in his teeth and six-shooters firing at will.

Young anti-Vietnam war Americans of the “hippie era” hated John Wayne for his backward view of politics. He was right up there with Bob Hope as a supporter of war in its many forms.

Now that generation of youth, regarded as wayward and drug-addled, is older than Wayne when he gave his notorious interview of 1971.

Back in the 1970s, liberals laughed at Wayne and threw snowballs at him when he was in a Cambridge parade and received the Hasty Pudding Man of the Year at Harvard.

He also went on TV to guest star on Maude, Bea Arthur’s liberal bastion series. She promised a shootout with Wayne at High Noon.

Of course, Maude was a half-baked hypocrite and she melted when John Wayne told her he never discussed politics with a woman. They ended up in a waltz.

The problem that faces the old Bernie Saunders liberal types who are pushing 80 (and soon to be pushing up daisies) has more to do with an old Bette Davis quote.

She said of her hated rival Joan Crawford: “They don’t change just because they’re dead.”

People should remember that Davis was only partly correct. She should have said: “You can’t change your mind once you’re dead.”

From Blue Book to Green Balls of Fire

DATELINE:  Episode 6 of 10

sexy MalarkeySexy Malarkey.

Well, we’re back for nuclear tic-tac-toe with aliens and UFOs. This incident is based on truth that is out there, all you X-file fans. Is it our imagination, or is actor Mike Malarkey growing more attractive with each show? He is compelling as a foil to Aiden Gillen’s professor.

Indeed, in one scene, Hynek seems to break into some Hangar 18 where he has been given keys by Men in Black.  There you will find all kinds of vaults, files, and deposit boxes filled with UFO goodies. Is this based on truth, or other space shot documentaries?

In the meantime, in a subplot in a small corner of the universe, a beautiful Russian agent is trying to build a lesbian tie-in with Hynek’s wife. Is this based on truth too?

Green balls of light, purported meteors from a 1948 incident, were considered Soviet technology by some, and the government used a cover story of meteors to fool the public, yet again. The less fictionalized truth is delivered to us at the show’s coda showing that the real participants were not Hynek and Quinn, but two other, earlier researchers.

There is some fake Secretary of Something again in this episode, at loggerheads with the military, perhaps meant to be a version of Truman’s Secretary of Defense who leaped or was thrown from a secure hospital to his death (that may be a future episode).

He is co-opting Hynek (Aiden Gillen) from the generals and his partner, the ever-arrogant Captain Quinn (Michael Malarkey, too tough, chewing broken glass in most scenes).

If anything, the puzzling relationship of Hynek and Quinn continues to be at the heart of series: their hostility and mistrust of each other seems to be leading somewhere. Or, it could be just hanging there forever.

This episode’s Twilight Zone parallel featured a town of mannequins, weirdly using real people in pose and true mannequins in other scenes. Why?  Just to give us a chill, probably. It was not germane to the plot.

 

 

 

 

Old Dark House Mates & Inmates

DATELINE: Over-rated Classic

empty house Ate for Dinner .

Your first reaction to this chestnut of horror comedy is shock at the jaw-dropping cast.

Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton, Melvyn Douglas, Raymond Massey, Gloria Stuart, and Ernest Thesiger!  You have a round-robin of possible villains and victims. The problem is that they are given nothing significant to perform. Even Karloff uses makeup to look menacing, but his dumb waiter is left hanging.

Yeah, it was a dark and stormy night, but that ain’t enough.

James Whale gathered quite a retinue of talent and gave them an empty script in a drafty house.

Billed as an atmospheric thriller comedy, that’s about all this J.B. Priestly story is. With a marvelous cast, and Whale’s shadows and tricks, like a fun house mirror, the plot is ridiculous, throwing a bunch of ingrates caught in a bad torrential rain into a private household as if it’s a flea-bag hotel. T’aint funny.

Here they find their hosts eccentric (well, Horace Femm is Ernest Thesiger, which says it all) and his odd-ball bully sister.

Charles Laughter as Sir William shows up too with a show biz girlfriend, and he is given little to do. Melvyn Douglas is his trademark self, complete with pipe, and Boris Karloff still is given no dialogue yet again in one of his movies. He just looks menacing as Morgan, the scar-faced butler.

We wanted so much for this film to give us a thrill and become a marvel, but we found it disappointing to the ultimate degree—and in no way does it hold up to the other horror tales of the Universal series. This alleged classic is a let-down from the get-go.