When Enter the Dragon came out in 1973, it cemented Bruce Lee’s status as a superstar, of course, but it also introduced audiences to another charismatic young martial arts performer – Jim Kelly. With his awesome Afro, lean, athletic build, urban cool and a unique and dynamic fighting style, Kelly was a standout supporting presence and it’s no surprise that Dragon producer Fred Weintraub would try to capitalize on it. It was the tail end of the blaxploitation movement and the time was rife for a badass black karate star.
It’s just too bad that Hollywood couldn’t come up with a decent star vehicle for him.
Was it that Kelly only really worked well as part of an ensemble, a team of heroes? He, John Saxon and Lee meshed perfectly in Dragon. Without the burden of carrying the movie, Kelly was allowed to shine. Maybe he just wasn’t leading man star material. Personally, I think he could have been up there, if not with the likes of Jim Brown, then at least with Fred Williamson and Richard Roundtree…if only someone had bothered to construct the kind of movie that played to his strengths.
Sterling Hayden and Yvonne De Carlo headline Shotgun, one of those modest, rock-solid western yarns that Hollywood used to churn out by the dozen back in the 1950s. Like so many of these wonderful, low- to mid-budget 50s westerns, it features a simple, cleanly told story with just enough adult themes and moral complexity to keep things interesting without compromising pacing or action, put together by a team of seasoned professionals who knew how to deliver a good time at the movies. This is the sort of film that seems tailor-made for a satisfying Saturday afternoon viewing.
Hollywood in the early 1950s saw a handful of odd little films based around animals. For example, there was You Never Can Tell (1951), in which a murdered German Shepard comes back to life as Dick Powell in order to find his killer. Then there was The Great Rupert (1950), about a squirrel coming to the aid of Jimmy Durante. There was also the successful series about Francis, the Talking Mule, beginning in 1950, directed by Arthur Lubin - coincidentally, the man also responsible for Rhubarb.
Well, I'm back. After a long summer holiday, my annual trek back the the States to spend time with family, friends, eat too much delicious but fatty food and acquire more tasty DVDs and Blu-Rays to review, it's time to get back to our regular scheduled programming here at The Stalking Moon.
Though the usual remit of this blog is to discuss older films and television shows, I also try my best to keep an eye on the current movie and TV climate. During my vacation I caught up with quite a few interesting flicks of the appropriate popcorn variety, some of them first run in theaters. Here are a few thoughts on some of them.
Opinionated ramblings about new and old movies (mostly old, as that's the way I like 'em!)
Blogs of Note
Stuart Galbraith IV's World Cinema Paradise
Movie Morlocks (TCM's Classic Movie Blog)
50 Westerns from the 50s
Riding the High Country
Tipping My Fedora
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
Classic TV and Film Cafe
Just a Cineast
She Blogged By Night
Chess, Comics, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema
Out of the Past -
A Classic Film Blog
Pretty Sinister Books
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To
In So Many Words...
Greenbriar Picture Shows
My Love of Old Hollywood
Tales of the Easily Distracted
Another Old Movie Blog
Lasso the Movies
Kevin's Movie Corner
Films From Beyond the Time Barrier
Carole & Co.
Rupert Pupkin Speaks
Vienna's Classic Hollywood
The Lady Eve's Reel Life
ClassicBecky's Brain Food
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