APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)

April 27: Until You Call on the Dark — Pick a movie from the approved movies list of the Church of Satan. Here’s the list.

Banned in Ohio because it was “a sordid, sadistic presentation of brutality and an extreme presentation of crime with explicit steps in commission,” the first $500,000 of this movie went to paying off James Cagney’s debts as a movie producer.

In this, he’s Ralph Cotter, who is a mean enough man that he sacrifices his escape partner and then shacks up with the dead man’s sister Holiday (Barbara Payton) and then blackmails her, all because she came up with the plan that got him out of the big house. But you know, it seems like she likes it, because even when he whips her with a wet towel, she embraces him.

It can’t last because as bad as Ralph is, the cops are worse. And when he falls for a wealthy woman named  Margaret Dobson (Helena Carter), he casts aside Holiday who just so happens to figure out just who killed her brother.

Cagney was coming off the noir film White Heat, which this gets compared to often. I discovered it not just from the Church of Satan list but because it’s on the marquee in Messiah of Evil when Toni decides to escape reality and go to the movies.

Beyond two women out to play our hero, this also has a church based on Cosmic Consciousness where the  priest tells his congregation to bow their heads and not pray.

Director Gordon Douglas also made one of my favorite movies ever, In Like Flint, and Them!

Prehistoric Women (1950)

Gregg G. Tallas started his career working with Fritz Lang, which does not explain how his career took him to some crazy places, such as Espionage in TangiersAssignment Skybolt and the movie he’d make 12 years later, Cataclysm, which is, of course, “The Case of Claire Hansen” in Night Train to Terror.

So yeah. He made this bit of insanity too, which stars 1950’s tabloid star Laurette Luez, who was also in D.O.A. She’s Tigri in this film, one of the Amazons who hate all men. That said, they still need to kidnap them and use them to get pregnant, but otherwise, they hate the gender.

You know who wins them over? Engor.

He’s played by Allan Nixon, speaking of tabloid stars. He became an informant for Confidential magazine after years of being out of control, getting arrested for drunk driving and getting in fights. And, well, pure crazy stuff. That’s because in 1958, he got in a heck of a battle with his third wife Velda May Paulsen after she visited her ex-boyfriend Burt Lancaster in the hospital. He hit her, she stabbed him with the kitchen knives he gave her for Christmas. He didn’t press charges, they got back together and she died before the year was over because of burns she suffered in an explosion. Nixon — a Ron Ormond star — would eventually become a writer under his own name and using the pen names Nick Allen and Don Romano for the Shaft paperbacks.

Engor is such a man here that not only does he figure out fire — screw you Prometheus — he also kills a big lizard. After that, all the ladies — who include Joan Shawlee from The Apartment and Brian Keith’s life and the vamp in Singin’ In the Rain Judy Landon — decide that it’s time to get married.

There’s also a commentator who says inane things like, “And Engor called it Firee, which was his word for Fire.” He’s really the best thing in this whole movie.

You can watch this on Tubi.

El Hombre Sin Rostro (1950)

Juan Carlos isn’t a great hero. He’s been infantilized by his mother and is going through therapy, which would probably a novel idea in the macho culture of Mexico, much less today. In his dreams, he can see the serial killer that has been haunting the city, quite literally The Man Without A Face that the title refers to.

A decade later, Hitchcock’s Psycho would feature a plot with similar beats to this film. In much the same way, another of director Juan Bustillo Oro’s films, Dos Monjes, predated Kurosawa’s Rashomon and features the same narrative idea of showing the same event from divergent points of view.t also features a faceless killer 14 years before Mario Bava would bring Blood and Black Lace to the screen (that said, The Blank started appearing in the Dick Tracy newspaper strip in 1937 and probably influenced the look of this film as well).

While not the fastest-paced movie you’ll ever see, this film is worth watching for its mix of three decades before David Lynch surrealism, German expressionism fog and angles, and a film noir storyline moved to Mexico. There’s not another movie that looks and feels like this one.

CHILLING CLASSICS MONTH: A Passenger to Bali (1950)

Why would Mill Creek include this on their Chilling Classics set — a made for TV production for CBS’ Westinghouse Studio One that originally aired on March 27, 1950? Who knows — Mill Creek does what Mill Creek wants.

This tale began as a novel, published in 1936 and written by Ellis St. Joseph. It was adapted into a radio play by Orson Welles’ on his Mercury Theater On Air, airing on November 13, 1938, as well as a stage play in 1940 that was directed by John Huston.

The story starts in Shanghai, where the Roundabout freighter picks up a man named <r. Walkes, who claims to be a Dutch missionary headed toward Bali, looking to deliver Bibles and religion. Soon, the truth is discovered — Walkes is a drunken lout, given to speeches and starting fights between the British officers on board and the crew of the ship. And even worse, no port will allow the man off the ship. Now, the Roustabout has become a Flying Dutchman, complete with an evil passenger who can never leave as they endlessly travel from port to port.

Mr. Walkes is played by Berry Kroeger, who was a veteran of numerous genre films like Demon SeedThe Mephisto WaltzThe Incredible 2-Headed Transplant and Raphael Nussbaum’s piece of 1973 strangeness Pets. He’s doing his best Orson Welles here.

The best part of this being on the set is that they didn’t edit out any of the Westinghouse commercials, so you get a great idea of what 1950 TV looked like. Again, I have no idea why this was included, but I still watched it. I’m a completist. And hey — we have an entire month to cover this set.

If you want to see what this movie is like for yourself, it’s streaming for free on the Internet Archive.