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Tag Archives: George Zucco

Many Monsters on Cinema Sunday

It has become something of a routine with me to have Sunday Cinema.  I just love to knit or crochet and watch movies on a Sunday.  Why not make a blog post with movie pictures as well?  Of course we are watching Halloween movies right now (but you know I love to watch Halloween movies all year ’round).  Additionally, we saw on Facebook that it is Elsa Lanchester’s birthday today.  Accordingly, we started with Bride of Frankenstein (1935).

Isn’t she pretty?

My favorite part of the move is the introduction, with Lord Byron, Percy Shelley,and his wife, Mary, who, of course, wrote Frankenstein.  In the movie, the events that follow are not in her original tale, but in parts of The Bride of Frankenstein are in the book Frankenstein.  I must re-read that book.  So may books, so little time.  After that fun movie, Steven suggested one I have been in the mood to watch for a while now, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) with the divine Bette Davis.  It also features a wonderful Agnes Moorehead, the bitchy Olivia DeHavilland and another favorite, Cecil Kellaway.  Oh, now I fell badly for not mentioning Mary Astor and Joseph Cotten.  Now I’m thinking I did not even talk about the magnificent Boris Karloff in Bride of Frankenstein.  Well, I can’t mention everybody all the time.

Bette Davis. Who else do you need in a movie?

After Charlotte, I suggested one of our cheesy movies, because those are often shorter.  We love Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, but it is a long movie, which is kind of a detriment on a day when I like to watch multiple flicks.  I read off titles on our DVD collection, 50 Horror Classics till Steven said, “Let’s watch that one.”  It was The Mad Monster, with the marvelously theatrical George Zucco (I quote the booklet that came with the collection).

I just didn’t want the wolf to come to a bad end.

Full disclosure:  I missed part of the movie while I went into the kitchen to make my salad for the upcoming week’s lunches.  Sometime the worst thing about Sunday is that tomorrow’s Monday.  However, I shall not repine.  I have finished my blog post and there is still time to watch another movie.  I hope your weekend was grand.

 

 

 

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I Truly Wussed Out

I guess yesterday was a true Wuss-out Wednesday, since it is almost 5 a.m. on Thursday as I begin to make my blog post.  I can’t even call it a Blogger’s Sick Day, because I manage to post something on those days.  These things happen, I suppose.  For anybody who thinks I still party heartily enough that I have not yet gone to bed, although it pains me, I must disillusion you.  But never mind that. I must make some semblance of a blog post.  Since I did not have a Monstrous Monday, I’m going to go with some monster pictures.

He is probably having tea.

I am having my morning cup of coffee, and I am feeling rather monstrous.  I just imagine I will feel less so after coffee.

George Zucco is marvelously theatrical.

I share The Mad Monster poster, because I am mad at myself for not making my blog post yesterday, when I was supposed to.

A monster of the natural sort, although this is actually a machine.

I throw in Bruce, the shark from Jaws just because he caught my eye when I was looking through my Media Library.  Some may not consider him an authentic monster, since he is technically an animal, but I say Jaws is a monster movie.

“One more thing!”

I end with my favorite, Nosferatu.  This has been yet another quite foolish post, but I do not apologize.  For one reason, the Thursday post I’ll make later may be even worse.

 

George Zucco on Monstrous Monday

I had vague hopes (not high hopes, as you see) of making a real post, perhaps writing it while on break at work.  I also had what I thought were firm plans to exercise after work.  I should have known better.  Now here I am, in a monstrous mood, typing off the top of my head and hoping for a Monstrous Monday post.  I do like monsters.

“Y’see, dock, it hurts right about here…”

Here is George Zucco and… a friend (I bet you thought I was going to say his mummy) (you know who you are).  I had seen a picture of George Zucco and a gorilla in one of my movie groups earlier and thought I might download it.  I went back to Facebook and searched “Geroge Zucco.”  There it was!  At the last minute I thought, what if it belongs to somebody and I was supposed to get permission?  So I changed my search to “George Zucco public photos.”  I kind of like the mummy better anyways.  It is more monstrous.

I was introduced to George Zucco (it just feels right to use his entire name every time) in our 50 Horror Classics DVD collection.  He is described as “marvelously theatrical.”  I’m sure I’ve written blog posts about some of his movies.  I really must start doing movie write-ups again.  They are such fun.  For me, at least.

Spoiler alert: they do more than just walk in this flick.

I think this is one of the movies I wrote about.   If I was better about tagging, I could probably find it and link back to it.  And here we come to the ugly truth about me.

I still don’t know why the monster was so mad.

I actually do not remember if I saw this one or not, but I thought it would be nice to include another picture with George Zucco.  My new ambition for the week:  to watch a movie featuring George Zucco and write about it.  It is good to make a big plan on a Monday.

 

Lamely Theatrical

I said earlier this week that I would use Lame Post Friday to consider the term “marvelously theatrical.” Regular readers (if any) may remember that George Zucco was described thusly in a summary of a Horror Classic I once saw.

The term “theatrical” to me seems a little silly. I would think that if something is on a stage in a threatre it is, by definition, theatrical. Kind of like looking your age. My dad says, how can you not look your age? I’m 50. This is what I look like at 50. Hence, I must look 50 (I know, I KNOW some of you probably think I DO look 50 or worse. It’s just an example) (And when my dad was 50, everybody said he didn’t look 50) (but I digress).

Perhaps it is one of those words that “I can’t give you a definition, but I know it when I see it.” I could explain this better in person. I would sit demurely and say in a quiet tone of voice, “I am in a theatre. I am theatrical.” Then I would leap to my feet, make a wide gesture with one arm and shout, “I am in a THEATRE!” Then a wide gesture with the other arm, “I am THEATRICAL!” Can you picture it?

I bet some of you have been sitting there trying to get a word in edgewise and point out to me that George Zucco was in a MOVIE not the THEATRE. Oh silly me. Did I even realize there is a difference?

Of course I did, stop looking so smug. I would submit that the difference may be less than we think. And I believe audience expectations are similar: they want to be entertained.

There is a wonderful scene in All About Eve where Gary Merrill tells off Ann Baxter for scorning movies vis a vis Broadway. He basically says that theatre encompasses all sorts of entertainment, “wherever there’s magic and make believe. So don’t approve or disapprove. It may not be your theatre, but it’s theatre for someone.” (I may be misquoting; don’t judge.)

“I just asked a question,” she replies, in that demure, well-modulated voice she uses when she’s got everybody fooled.

Steve and I always say, “Yeah, right,” because she used a horrified tone of voice, as if Hollywood is the antichrist.

Hmmmm… Do you suppose that’s kind of what the summary writer meant? That George Zucco is way better than an ordinary movie actor — he’s THEATRICAL (with gesture)! Perhaps he was just looking for a more impressive way of saying, “George Zucco is really, really good.” I eventually came to the conclusion he meant that George Zucco chews the scenery in a good way.

He is a pretty good actor. His presence will certainly be a selling point in my ongoing quest for movies to write about. Maybe one day I will even write a marvelously theatrical blog post.

“Marvelously Theatrical” Cheese

It was a sad day for me when I realized I had seen all 50 of the Horror Classics on the DVD set I gave Steven some birthdays ago. Now where will I find cheesy movies to write about, I lamented. Then I remembered that I had also gotten him 50 Mystery Classics. I don’t know if I can expect mysteries to be as cheesy as horror movies. Still, murder and mayhem, what’s not to like? I would give it a try.

I selected Fog Island (1945), starring George Zucco. Zucco, I remembered, was described as “marvelously theatrical” in a horror classic I had seen. That boded well. I eschewed the description on this one, because I know from experience they often give too much away.

Speaking of which, SPOILER ALERT!!! A big one this time, because I am going to tell you EVERYTHING, including the climax and the end. So you’ve been warned.

I’m actually not too worried about giving away the plot, because I didn’t properly understand it. I think Zucco just got out of prison where he had been sent on trumped up charges of cheating some people who think there is still some money to be had somewhere. While Zucco was in prison, somebody came to Fog Island and murdered Zucco’s wife in hopes of gaining said money.

Zucco and his beautiful stepdaughter (the obligatory beautiful young girl) are on Fog Island, discussing this while at least two suspicious-looking types listen in. The stepdaughter wants only to be left alone, but Zucco has invited all his malefactors to the island. The malefactors will accept the invitation, because they think they might get at the money. Zucco, of course, has other plans.

Now I don’t properly understand high finance, but if the money-stealing charges against Zucco were trumped up, shouldn’t the malefactors already have the money? And if there is no money, as in fact seems to be the case, where did it go? I guess money can just disappear in these investment schemes, but I thought usually somebody somewhere eventually ended up with it. But no matter. We have a murder, we have a guy seeking revenge. What more do we need?

The eavesdroppers from scene one turn out to be Zucco’s colleague who was also sent to prison (different prison, similar charges) and the mysterious butler, who, if his mystery was ever explained, I missed it (in my defense, I was writing notes in the TV Journal).

Of course the greedy malefactors show up at Fog Island. As many of you saw coming, the only boat on the place returns to the mainland and there is no phone. I don’t have a problem with the set-up; it’s the basis of many a good thriller. However, you would think a villain clever enough to get George Zucco sent to prison on false charges when they don’t even know where the money is would be foresighted enough to take their own damn boat to an island.

Before his guests arrive, Zucco rigs a rather heinous booby trap. In a room deep in the basement, the door will lock and water will pour in. He moves a table over the device that triggers the trap and put a skull on the table. I am rather fond of skulls as decor myself, so I would undoubtedly be lured by such a trap. I’ll have to watch my step.

Amongst the malefactors is the son of one who had died, a nice-looking young man who apparently has some past with Stepdaughter (just when you thought there wasn’t going to be a love interest). The other malefactors include a turbaned psychic, a hot blonde and a couple of guys. The psychic was my favorite, but I tried not to get too attached to her, because I figured they would all come to a bad end.

And of course they did, even George Zucco (I TOLD you I was going to tell the ending!). Zucco at least dies happy, because he feels that in stabbing him, the guy has as good as confessed to murdering his wife. The guy next stabs the psychic, who is dumb enough to turn her back on him. Then he and the remaining two malefactors get trapped in the heinous set-up I mentioned earlier. That scene was as disturbing as I feared it would be, but I have a horror of being trapped and drowning.

In the meantime, Young Man and Stepdaughter have patched up their differences and are preparing to leave the island (is it morning already? How time flies when you’re killing off malefactors!). While Stepdaughter packs, Young Man discovers the corpses.

“I should tell my stepfather I’m going,” she says.

He tells her he’s seen stepdad, who is OK with her leaving. He also tells her, in effect, not to worry her pretty little head over the others, just get on the boat. They exit happily into sunshine. Get it? Fog Island is no longer covered with fog. Romantic sigh.

I have left out a few things, but we don’t need this blog post stretching off into eternity after all. I do tend to get long-winded in these movie write-ups. I was quite pleased with the cheese factor in the movie. I look forward to watching others in that DVD set. And I may take some Lame Post Friday to philosophize half-bakedly on the meaning of “marvelously theatrical.”