Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: Hook, Line & Sinker (1969)

Both the last movie that Jerry Lewis would make for Columbia Pictures and the last movie directed by George Marshall, who directed his first film in 1916, Hook, Line & Sinker comes at a strange time in Hollywood, when studios were trying to find something, anything to save their bottom line.

Shot on the Columbia Ranch using the exterior of TV’s Gidget’s house and the interior soundstages of Bewitched, part of this film feels like a TV movie. And another part is some kind of quasi-giallo where Lewis’ goofball character steals money and fakes his own death.

You read that right.

And much like an Italian psychosexual detective story, the movie begins at the end, where Peter Ingersoll (Lewis) is on an operating table, surrounded by doctors, stunned by what they are seeing. Yet to explain how he got here, he has to tell how his supposed best friend Dr. Scott Carter (Peter Lawford) told him he had a month to live and how his wife Nancy (Anne Francis, Forbidden Planet) told him to use his company credit cards to fish out his last days and he told none of them that this was a bad idea.

Carter compounds the problem by explaining that now Peter isn’t going to die, but he will go to jail because he used company funds to pay his bills and if he fakes his death, his wife will get $150,000. All he has to do is hide seven years until the statute of limitations is up, but there are immediate problems, like Dr. Carter and Anne getting married.

Which is how Peter got to Chile, as he went on vacation after he ruined their plans and ended up with a swordfish stuck in his chest.

Writer David Davis would go on to create The Bob Newhart Show and Taxi, as well as develop Rhoda. He worked on this with Rod Amateau, who would go on to direct The Statue, episodes of Supertrain and Enos and perhaps most importantly, produce, direct and write The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must FallLilith, Genghis Khan, Mickey One, Who Was That Lady? and Luv. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: Luv (1967)

As a kid, I only saw the end of Clive Donner’s directing career — TV movies like Babes In Toyland and Spectre and weird stuff like Old DraculaThe Nude Bomb and Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen.

At one point, he was a big part of the British New Wave, making movies like What’s New Pussycat?Nothing but the Best and The Caretaker.

Luv wasn’t well-received by critics, but I think it was just the inevitable backlash against what the old guard was told was the next new thing.

The story begins with Harry Berlin (Jack Lemmon) about to jump off of a bridge before he is distracted by an old friend he barely remembers, Milt Manville (Peter Falk), who can’t stop bragging about how good his life is. Harry has a plan, though. He plans on leaving his wife Ellen Manville (Elaine May, who went on to write many a romantic comedy) and hopes that Harry can take care of her when he’s gone.

The problem? Milt and Ellen love each other more than they love their new spouses, so they try and get Harry to fall for Milt’s Linda. Either that or he’s going to have to really jump off the bridge.

I kind of love the poster for this, which panders to hippies, who were all either avoiding theaters or waiting for Easy Rider.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Lilith, Genghis Khan, Mickey One, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: Mickey One (1965)

I was not ready for this movie.

After angering the mob, a stand-up comic (Warren Beatty) runs away to Chicago, taking the name Mickey One, works in a diner and hides in a flop house. But the lure of the stage is too strong. As he becomes more successful, he worries that each move upward is one closer to his death, as he has no idea who owns him, what he did wrong or how to make it right, so he stays in the spotlight.

Mickey says at one point, “I’m the king of silent movies hiding out till the talkies blow over,” but he’s also standing firmly within the genre of French New Wave in the middle of America. It’s like jazz on film, a movie about a comedian who never seems to be funny, a man standing against the blazing and blinding spotlight unsure if he’s in the crosshairs.

Penn and Beatty fought throughout the making of this movie, with the actor saying, “We had a lot of trouble on that film, because I didn’t know what the hell Arthur was trying to do and I tried to find out. I’m not sure that he knew himself.”  Somehow they got along enough to make the movie that would be a breakthrough for both, Bonnie and Clyde.

A must-see and the most interesting film — next to Lilith — on Mill Creek’s Through the Decades: 1960s Collection.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must FallLilith, Genghis Khan, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: Lilith (1964)

Director and writer Robert Rossen (All the King’s MenThe Hustler) made this his last movie, as he was disillusioned with Hollywood*. What a film to go out on, a bleak and sullen meditation on mental health and lost love.

Vincent Bruce (Warren Beatty) has returned from the war, but perhaps not all of him mentally has, but he finds work at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, Maryland. There, he seeks to help — and becomes obsessed by — an artistic patient named Lilith (Jean Seberg, an icon of the French New Wave and a woman so hounded by the FBI that she had a miscarriage and continually tried to kill herself on every anniversary of her lost child’s birthday until she succeeded).

Lilith is seduction incarnate, as though she secludes herself inside her room, her mind is at the same level as her outward appearance. Every person she encounters wants her and she also has no compunction over seducing everyone she meets, no matter their age. This begins to upset Bruce as they become lovers and he becomes more jealous of her multiple affections, even causing another patient, Stephen Evshevsky (Peter Fonda) to kill himself after he learns that the man has romantic feelings for Lilith.

That death takes Lilith back into her world of seclusion, reminding her of the moment that her life would never be the same again: her brother killed himself after she made incestuous attempts to make love to him.

With appearances by Gene Hackman, Jessica Walter and Kim Hunter, this is a movie that may haunt me for some time, much like the woman at the center of this story. It doesn’t end happily at all and actually has quite an open close, if that is an actual phrase.

I wondered what “hiara pirlu resh kavawn” written above Lilith’s bed meant. According to the book, it’s her own language and says, “If you can read this, you will know I love you.”

*Kim Hunter said, “The tensions on the set contributed to his (Rossen’s) death. I don’t think I want to talk about it.”

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Mickey One, Genghis Khan, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Zombie Collection: Harold’s Going Stiff (2011)

Harold Gimble was the first man to be infected with Onset Rigors Disease and unliked everyone else, he hasn’t become a zombie yet, unlike everyone else. He’s just growing old, but inevitably, he’s going to become one of the undead, unless a nurse helps him. Or the scientists trying cure after cure. Or, most probably, he’s beaten to undeath by a gang of vigilante zombie killers.

This is a movie that really stands out in the zombie genre, using it to tell a story about how we treat the aging, how nationalism destroys the innocent and about the inevitability of death. The fact that it does this within a humorous zombie film is a major achievement, breathing some life into what has become a moribund collection of films.

Director, writer and editor Keith Wright hasn’t made anything since this movie. Here’s hoping that he’s planning something else, because I ended up really enjoying this.

The Mill Creek Zombie Collection has four different comedic zombie films, including Attack of the Lederhosen ZombiesGranny of the Dead and Attack of the Killer Donuts. You can learn more on the official page and buy it at Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Zombie Collection: Attack of the Killer Donuts (2016)

By no stretch of the imagination should a movie called Attack of the Killer Donuts be any good, but somehow, someway, I found myself liking this. It’s definitely the best undead donut or pastry movie I’ve ever seen, but that said, it’s also the only one.

Also — I have no idea how they got C. Thomas Howell to play a cop in this, but they did, and then they also made the donuts look vaguely like vagina dentata, which is very horrifying and somehow, as bad as the effects are, I found them kind of charming.

I usually hate the Troma films that are so aware of how stupid they are, but you know, sometimes I am very forgiving. This would be one of those rare times, so…get a dozen and watch this with someone understanding.

The Mill Creek Zombie Collection has four different comedic zombie films, including Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies, Granny of the Dead and Harold’s Going Stiff. You can learn more on the official page and buy it at Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Zombie Collection: Granny of the Dead (2017)

Craig Tudor James directed, wrote, produced, edited, shot, did the effects and sound, as well as acted as Corey in this movie, a film in which a guy named Ed learns that his grandmother has gone on to her just reward only to come back as a shambling zombie who is gained power with each moment.

In fact, everyone old has become a zombie, which means that elderly care is about to change for all of us.

Sometimes, your zombie movie is Shaun of the Dead and sometimes, it’s Hard Rock Zombies.

This one is, well, the latter. A funny idea that maybe will make a few laugh, but probably the weakest of the films on this set.

The Mill Creek Zombie Collection has four different comedic zombie films, including Attack of the Lederhosen ZombiesAttack of the Killer Donuts and Harold’s Going Stiff. You can learn more on the official page and buy it at Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Zombie Collection: Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016)

Sure, you’ve seen it all in zombie movies, but have you seen them attack a snowy mountain resort? If so, let me know, because this is the first movie of its kind that I’ve seen. It moves fast — 78 minutes — is filled with geysers of frozen and unfrozen bloody appendages, green glowing snowmaking chemicals that make zombies and an old woman packing tons of firepower.

I guess Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2 qualify as wintery mountain undead movies, but this one also embraces the goofy humor of a sex comedy and it kind of works. I mean, this isn’t going to dethrone a Romero movie from its throne, but on a snowed-in winter day, it passed the time and made me laugh a few times.

Shot as Alpine Zombies and filmed in Italy, let’s called this movie by director Dominik Hartl a success.

The Mill Creek Zombie Collection has four different comedic zombie films, including Granny of the DeadAttack of the Killer Donuts and Harold’s Going Stiff. You can learn more on the official page and buy it at Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: The Chase (1966)

The second Horton Foote adaption on Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection — the other is Baby the Rain Must Fall — this Arthur Penn-directed, Lillian Hellman-written movie is even darker than that film, which I didn’t think was possible.

Anna (Jane Fonda) is married to Bubber (Robert Redford), who is currently in jail. She’s still in love with Jake (James Fox), the rich son of the man who runs Tarl County, Val Rogers (E.G. Marshall). And, yes, the best friend of Bubber.

Sheriff Calder (Marlon Brando) believes that Bubber is innocent of his crimes, but when he breaks out, the entire town starts drinking and arguing over when he’ll come back and what will happen. It gets so bad that Calder is brutally beaten by a gang that feels he hasn’t acted to stop Bubber, but he’s saved at the last minute by his wife Ruby (Angie Dickinson).

Everything builds to an inferno — literally — as the vigilantes set a junkyard that Bubber is hiding in ablaze as his wife and best friend attempt to rescue him.

Hill wasn’t happy with the movie, saying “Everything in that film was a letdown, and I’m sure every director has gone through the same experience at least once. It’s a shame because it could have been a great film.” At one point, Penn was asked if he’d like to re-edit the film back to his original vision, but the experience had too many painful memories, such as producer Sam Spiegel refusing him final cut.

Paul Williams wasn’t either, as three months of work led to two lines getting into the actual movie.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Mickey One, Lilith, Genghis Khan, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.

Mill Creek Through the Decades: 1960s Collection: Genghis Khan (1965)

Henry Levin made the Eurospy films Kiss the Girls and Make Them DieThe Ambushers and Murderers’ Row, as well as Journey to the Center of the EarthThe Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and Where the Boys Are.

It tells the story of how Temujin (Omar Sharif) — joined by Geen (Michael Hordern) and Sengal (Woody Strode) — goes from a prisoner to Genghis Khan, the Prince of Conquerors. He falls for Bortei (French actress Françoise Dorléac), but loses her to Jamunga (Stephen Boyd) — the man who had imprisoned Temujin before — who assaults her and captures her for his own.

Plus, you get appearances by Eli Wallach, Telly Savalas (and his brother George), James Mason and Yvonne Mitchell. Shot in Yugoslavia, it looks gorgeous, cost a ton and really plays loose with history — and whitewashing — which is how movies were made in 1965.

Mill Creek’s new Through the Decades: 1960s Collection has twelve movies: How to Ruin a Marriage and Save Your Life, The Notorious Landlady, Under the Yum Yum Tree, The Chase, Good Neighbor Sam, Baby the Rain Must Fall, Mickey One, Lilith, Luv, Who Was That Lady? and Hook, Line and Sinker. You can get it from Deep Discount.