Sunday Matinee: William Peter Blatty

Writer William Peter Blatty passed away on January 12 this year at the age of 89. Blatty’s biggest acclaim was his novel and the subsequent movie adaptation The Exorcist.

Before Blatty became successful with The Exorcist he started out writing comedic novels John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963),I, Billy Shakespeare (1965) and Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane (1966). Blatty also starting writing screenplays. His first The Man from the Diners’ Club starred Danny Kaye would lead him to working with writer/director Blake Edwards.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: William Peter Blatty”

Sunday Matinee: The Bullet Train

This might sound familiar. Tetsuo Okita (Ken Takakura) is desperate for money and has teamed up with an activist Masaru Koga (Kei Yamamoto) and a former employee and has planted a bomb on a bullet train that will go off if the train slows down below 80 km/h.

The Bullet Train was made in 1975 and yes has a plot that “inspired” the 1994 movie Speed or as Homer Simpson called it “the bus that couldn’t slow down”.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Bullet Train”

Sunday Matinee: The Quiet Earth

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Sunday Matinee of 2017. Let’s start the year off with the end of the world.

Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) wakes up to find that he can’t get any radio signals. Zac was working on a special energy project and soon discovers that there’s wreckage everywhere but there doesn’t seem to be any bodies. In fact there isn’t anybody around except him. Something has gone horribly wrong. Zac discovers that the second the project went online everyone on Earth has vanished except him.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Quiet Earth”

Sunday Matinee: Lost Horizon

One of the 25 films that were added to the National Film Registry this year is Frank Capra’s 1937 movie Lost Horizon. Lost Horizon was based on a novel by James Hilton. It’s starts in China in 1935 where a revolution is taking place. Robert Conway (Ronald Colman) is a diplomat who tries to save 90 British citizens from the revolution. He then flees on the last plane with his George (John Howard), paleontologist Alexander Lovett (Edward Everett Horton), industrialist Henry Barnard (Thomas Mitchell) and the sickly Gloria Stone (Isabel Jewell). Their plane is hijacked and then crashes in the Himalayan Mountains.

From there the group discover a hidden city in the mountains called Shanghai-La. It’s a beautiful place and it seems to make the dying Gloria better. Robert meets the lovely Sondra (Jane Wyatt) and his brother meets the equally lovely Maria (Margo). It’s revealed that the city is over two hundred years old and was founded by Belgian priest named Father Perrault. It’s also revealed that the group have been kidnapped and brought to the city. George is furious. When Robert and George confront their guide he takes Robert to see the High Lama (Sam Jaffe).
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Lost Horizon”

Sunday Matinee: The Asphalt Jungle

Doc Erwin Riedenschneider (Sam Jaffe) has just gotten out of prison and already has a master plan for his next heist. Doc goes sees bookie Cobby (Marc Lawrence) and Cobby introduces Doc to high priced lawyer Alonzo Emmerich (Louis Calhern) who has been dabbling in other activities on the side.

Doc needs some money in advance, $50,000 to be precise to hire three men to help pull off a million dollar jewelry heist. Emmerich agrees to give Doc the money for a piece of the action but instead of using a fence for the jewels Emmerich insists on cutting out the middle man and letting him fence the loot.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Asphalt Jungle”

Sunday Matinee: Dreamscape

sunday-matineeDennis Quaid is Alex Gardner, a man with with psychic abilities that he mostly uses for gambling. He’s in debt so when a couple of guys in suits show up he gladly goes with them instead of the thugs that have chasing him.

The men are sent by his old mentor Doctor Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow). Novotny is part of a top secret government project where they use psychics to go into people’s dreams. Originally the project was to help people but the head of the department, Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) seems to have evil schemes and Novotny wants Gardner’s help.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Dreamscape”

Sunday Matinee: Destination Moon

sunday-matineeFilmmakers have been going to the moon since Georges Méliès’ 1902’s A Trip to the Moon. Fritz Lang’s 1929 silent classic Woman in the Moon was the first to show series space travel and a multi-stage rocket. While Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers filled the screen with their space adventures in the 1930s and 40s, serious scientific travel wouldn’t return until 1950.

Producer George Pal had Robert A. Heinlein contribute to the screenplay and Pal made the movie into a big production, lots of publicity and a big budget for the effects. The publicity for the film prompted producer/director Kurt Neumann to quickly rush out and make the quick and cheap Rocketship X-M to cash in on Destination Moon.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Destination Moon”

Sunday Matinee: Forbidden Planet

sunday-matineeIt’s the 23rd Century and the crew of Starship C-57D have reached the planet Altair IV to check on an expedition that landed there 20 years ago. They are contacted by Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) who tells them everything is fine and go away. Naturally Commander John Adams (Leslie Nielsen) ignores Dr. Morbius and lands anyway to complete his mission.

When they land the crew is met by a robot named Robby who takes them to see Morbius. They meet Morbius’ lovely daughter Altaira (Anne Francis) and then the good doctor himself. Morbius informs Commander Adams that the entire expedition party except for Morbius and his daughter have been killed by a mysterious force but they themselves are fine but Adams should leave the planet as soon as possible. That night something sabotages the C-57D.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Forbidden Planet”

Sunday Matinee: Planet Of The Apes

sunday-matineeThe other big sci-fi movie that opened on the same day as 2001: A Space Odyssey back in April of 1968 was a little film called Planet of the Apes.

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Patton, The Boys from Brazil) and based on French novelist Pierre Boulle’s La Planète des Singes. Boulle also wrote the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai which was also turned into a movie.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: Planet Of The Apes”