Friday, November 16, 2012


Friday on TCM is really shaping up nicely. Some of the big ones include The Great Race, In Like Flint and the epic to end all epics, Lawrence of Arabia. But there are a couple that I wanted to single out that might get lost in the shuffle.

Randolph Scott, Karen Steele and Pernell Roberts in Ride Lonesome
Ride Lonesome (1959) is one of the more enjoyable team-up's between Randolph Scott and director Budd Boetticher. In this exciting B western, Scott is a bounty hunter who captures bad guy James Best. Pernell Roberts and James Coburn are crooks-turned-bounty hunters who also want to bring in Best. Seems part of the reward for turning in Best is amnesty for all past crimes. Roberts and Coburn hope that bringing in Best will help them to start new lives as honest men. Best warns the bounty hunters that big brother Lee Van Cleef is coming to rescue him. Then there’s the pretty station agents wife(Karen Steele) who is being hunted by Indians. In spite of all these dangers, Scott is intent on bringing in Best. But is it really the bounty that Scott is after?

This is an enjoyable little western with some interesting twists and turns and solid performances by all the principles. Pernell Roberts steals the show in my opinion. He’s charismatic and there is some fun back and forth between him and Scott. There’s also a lot of tension between Scott and Roberts. We can see these two easily becoming friends in spite of their different backgrounds and we wonder as the film brings us closer to a possible confrontation between the two, who will come out on top? I recommend giving Ride Lonesome a chance.

Also on the schedule and firmly in the “Bad Movies I Love” catagory is The Manitou (1978), an adaptation of the Graham Masterton horror novel. First off, if you haven’t read the Manitou, read it. It’s a great horror story. I read it in junior high and it scared the crap out of me. The movie version…not so much. The movie takes a few liberties with the Masterton novel and does some tweaking with the end that hurts the story.

That is one evil little Manitou.
The movie is about an evil, 600 year old Indian witch doctor or “Manitou” named Misquamacus who tries to beat death by using Susan Strasberg as his means of rebirth. What starts out as a lump on Strasberg’s neck is the fetus of the Manitou. Strasberg is hospitalized and doctors who attempt to remove the growth are killed. Strasberg calls in ex husband and con man Tony Curtis in for moral support. After numerous possessions and deaths, Curtis realizes he’s in over his head so he calls in modern day witch doctor Michael Ansara. As the hospital is slowly taken over by all sorts of evil spirits and as Strasberg comes closer to giving birth to the Manitou, it becomes clear to Ansara and Curtis that they might be outmatched and a 600 year old witch doctor deformed by x-rays just might raise hell on earth.

Curtis is fun here even though he really isn’t at his best. There are fun appearances by Burgess Meredith, Ann Southern and Stella Stevens. It even has one pretty good special effect when a table becomes possessed during a séance that goes disastrously wrong. If you’re looking for a guilty pleasure and a decent little horror story hiding under a big helping of 70s cheese and hammy acting, then check out The Manitou. And read the Graham Masterton novel!

No comments:

Post a Comment