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Tag Archives: Spoiler Alert

I Wanted a Ghost

I DVR’d The Ghost Ship (1943) on the vague hope that it had something to do with a movie that I THINK was called Ghost Ship starring Julianna Margulies that Steven and I saw some years ago. Or vice versa, I guess. I seem to remember not being too nuts about the latter movie, especially the meant-to-be-shocking ending, that I believe did NOT take Steven or me by surprise. Oh dear, I haven’t put in the spoiler alert yet (I know I could always fix these things when I edit, but it’s more fun this way).

Here it is: Spoiler Alert! Although I may have already spoiled the Julianna Margulies movie for you. Maybe I ought to seek that movie out again, watch it again and write about it. But I am unlikely to do that before hitting publish on this.

Where was I?

I thought by the title “Ghost Ship” that the movie would have at least one actual ghost. Turns out not so much. I might have suspected such a thing from the description on digital cable, which said nobody will believe the third mate when he tries to tell them the captain is a sadistic psychopath. Still, I thought a sadistic psychopath might be worth a watch.

When we started to watch the movie, I saw that it starred Richard Dix. I said, “All right!” He was in those Whistler movies I enjoyed so much. I like that Richard Dix.

Naturally he is the sadistic psychopath captain. It’s actually good casting, because with his lovely deep voice, matinee idol good looks and kindly manner, it is easy to see how he fools everybody. The audience is privy to everything the third mate sees, so there is no “is he or isn’t he?” mystery, which may have been fun.

I would like to explain why it is a ghost ship, but I did not properly understand it myself. Something psychological, explained by the good woman whose love could perhaps have saved psycho captain. There’s still hope for the third mate, if only he can survive the voyage. If that sounds a little vague, sorry. I’m not up to giving a full plot summary.

It’s actually a pretty good movie. It gets suspenseful and exciting, and if a few of my favorite characters get killed off, well, you’ll have that. Still, I would have liked a ghost.

Incidentally, the plot of Ghost Ship, (2002, no “the”) (I looked it up), has nothing whatsoever in common with The Ghost Ship. If I were a real movie writer, I would edit this whole thing and delete any reference to it. And here we come to the ugly truth about me.

What? No Peter Cushing?

Spoiler Alert! I’m actually not going to give a lot away, especially not the ending, because I had stopped paying much attention by that time. In my defense, it was Saturday night and way past my usual bed time.

I DVR’d Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964) with high hopes, thinking it must be the sequel to The Mummy, which I enjoyed recently. As I learned from Ben Mankiewicz’s pre-movie commentary, it is the second of four Mummy movies made by Hammer Studios (I referred to them as Hammer Films in my post on The Mummy, but I specifically noticed Mankiewicz said Hammer Films this time) (in the interests of accuracy). The movie was directed by the son of the guy that owned Hammer at the time. I suppose that would explain it.

My first disappointment was that neither Peter Cushing nor Christopher Lee were in the movie. I like Lee better as Dracula than as the Mummy anyways, but I felt Cushing was a real loss. Still, I thought I would try to enjoy it. A Hammer Studios monster movie must be worth a watch, right?

The movie opens with some guy tied by his hands to two stakes in the desert, guarded by an Arab-looking guy (1960s Hollywood version) (but I didn’t need to tell you that). A group of nomad-looking guys ride up on horses. Without a word, one of them kills the guy and chops his hand off. This gives everyone a good laugh (except, of course, the dead guy), and they ride off with the severed hand.

Cut to a luxurious tent, apparently the living quarters of the archaeologists excavating the tomb. A guy is pouring a French lady another drink. She flirtatiously asks is he trying to get her drunk. He says he will try to do so when they return to London (another spoiler: he doesn’t), and she coquettes that she will let him. It must be pretty dry out there, even for a desert, because I didn’t think he was such a much.

It turns out the dead guy of the previous scene is her father. She flees in tears.

“Let her go,” somebody says wisely to the boyfriend. People are always saying that in movies. I don’t know if they do in real life, because I am usually the one fleeing in tears, or at least I was in my dramatic adolescent past (although in my case, I sadly suspect it was more of a collective, “Thank God she’s gone!”) (but I digress). I think in the case of this movie, the movie makers wanted French Lady to be alone when she discovers in her bed (I did include a spoiler alert, didn’t I?) the severed hand (oh, you probably saw that coming; I did).

Another dramatic shock happens when they discover a dead body amongst the artifacts they are taking back to England. I got a good laugh over that, because, well, the body looked a little comical. Meaning no disrespect to the fictional dead.

Speaking of good laughs, Steven and I both cracked up when… I can’t remember who said what, but suddenly everyone froze in a dramatic pause and looked at… the sarcophagus. Which looked a little like Tutankhamen with a pig nose.

Soon they’re on a boat headed back to England. A couple more dramatic things happen, including the introduction of a mysterious, handsome stranger. He beats up a would-be assassin and tosses him overboard. That seemed a little careless to me. Wouldn’t you, for example, like to ask the guy who he works for?

Things get a good deal less exciting in London. French Lady starts playing Old Boyfriend against Handsome Stranger, but that isn’t very compelling, because Old Boyfriend doesn’t get very jealous. We find out, via dialogue, not demonstration, that French Lady is a rather brilliant Egyptologist, having studied hard to earn her father’s love (remember him? She doesn’t seem to). It seems Old Boyfriend wants her for her brain. What an insult! It is so refreshing that Handsome Stranger understands she wants a home and to stay in it. Well, this is before the feminist ’70s (no, I am not going to entertain a discussion on family vs. career; this is not that kind of a blog).

Where was I? Ah yes, losing track of the movie. It’s not what you call fast-paced and action-packed. And I don’t remember the ending. Something happens in a sewer after we find out a BIG secret about Handsome Stranger. So if this movie pops up again on TCM, I may try to watch it till the end. I may even write another blog post about it.

The Incredible Shrinking Blog Post

As a change from a post about Why I Can’t Write a Post, how about a post about Why I Can’t Write About This Movie. Having just thought of a good title, I see I must also keep this one short.

Spoiler Alert! Because even as I say I am not writing about this movie, I may inadvertently give something away. Perhaps one day I will do a post on why I feel so obligated to always give a spoiler alert.

I DVR’d The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) because I was certain a science fiction movie from the ’50s would offer the cheese content I desire. Will I ever learn my lesson about that?

It turns out the movie was part of a new feature on TCM (at least new to me; I don’t know how long they’ve been doing it), Essentials Junior. The Essentials, a feature I sometimes catch, shows the movies you must watch if you aspire to be a real cinemaphile (my computer says that’s not a word, but isn’t it?). Robert Osborne and a co-host of varying degrees of credibility discuss it beforehand.

Bill Hader hosts Essentials Junior, and he starts out by giving a plot summary. What’s that all about? I hate to be given a plot summary! And it seems really pointless in this case. I mean, we’ve tuned in, we’ve already decided to watch the movie. What do we need a plot summary for? As I expressed my feelings about this in the TV Journal, Hader went on to make some more substantive comments about the movie and the times in which it was made. However, I missed most of them, because I was busy writing about my disgruntlement.

Incidentally, the irony is not lost on me that as I sat there decrying plot summaries, most of my movie posts are just that.

That is really the most interesting thing I have to say about The Incredible Shrinking Man. The movie was not particularly cheesy. The effects were actually pretty good for their time. Oh sure, there was the occasional inconsistency in perspective. You’ll have that.

The problem I had with the movie — and I emphasize that this was only a problem for me, not a bad thing about the movie — is that it was deadly serious. It was, dare I say it, philosophical. And their philosophy was not half-baked! What can Mohawk Valley Girl say about a movie like that?

I promised a short post, so I’d better shut up now. Maybe this was another foolish post, but in my defense, at least this time it wasn’t all about me.