Martyrs of the Alamo, or “The Birth of Texas”

The event seen on the ground at San Antonio and San Jacinto.

A critical view of the dictatorship and its mode of living precedes the action, which is lightly taken on by the celebrated pioneers.

A vivid, authentic portrayal of the Mexicans rises from poltroonery under the regime to reluctant manners in the Republic and the touching sight of Santa Anna’s soldiers doffing their caps to cross themselves before the battle. The dictator is a memorable figure in Walter Long’s brilliant performance.

It comes now issued with a tedious electronic score and an even more tedious introduction to a magnificent film throughout.


Flirting with Fate

The artist in the last extremity is covered with riches and glory and success, moreover his enemy is a convert.


The World Gone Mad

“Corporation looting” is the racket, one way to get rid of a district attorney is to murder and discredit him, in that order.

“Pyramiding” is the other side of the coin, no businessman worth a dime would be involved, there’s one here that isn’t.

“Falsified statements” are the blanket that covers all, at least until the final scene, in which a fast-talking reporter kept off the front page by the closemouthed district attorney winds up at the church with no pants on.

Mordaunt Hall (New York Times) considered it “implausible” and unsuited to the season, Easter 1933.


Night Spot

A case for Jules Dassin (The Naked City) and Gordon Parks (The Super Cops).

Hidden mikes on the nightclub tables, hidden cops on the bandstand, “there’s no rest for the honest.”

“Something tells me we’re not very bright.”

“Trying to double-do me, huh?”

The innocent chanteuse thinks the boss is getting a bum deal.

Van Nest Polglase sets, ReniÚ gowns, Nicholas Musuraca cinematography.

“What a dope I am!”

“As a policeman, I’m a swell saxophone-player.”


The Mummy’s Hand

Cabanne is a great master of his craft, the significant preparations for filming include the choice of actors in three main groups, Eduardo Ciannelli and George Zucco for the father-and-son high priests, of course, but then Dick Foran and Wallace Ford as the archŠologist and his assistant, finally and most remarkably Cecil Kellaway as the Brooklyn magician Solvani and Peggy Moran as his daughter in Vera West costumes to draw away the small role to a central position with the rest.

Kharis is summoned with tanna leaves to punish defilers of the temple, “gray streaks on the throat” are his mark. August Wilson in Fences remembers the pivotal joke, Andoheb wants the girl for himself. J. Lee Thompson in Firewalker has a variation (remade as Aaron Norris’s Hellbound). Woody Allen seems to recall it here and there, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Scoop etc.

In the Valley of the Jackals, the dilapidated Temple of Isis atop the Hill of the Seven Jackals is entered by Kharis with Marta unconscious in his arms right, the camera pulls back to include his progress left and reveal the immensity of the interior, the camera moves forward at a slight down-angle to Andoheb and the altar where Marta is strapped down.

The tale of Kharis and the late Princess Ananka is a vision in a bowl revealed by flashback, Tom Tyler hews closely to Karloff’s performance and looks ahead to Christopher Lee.

The Museum of Manhattan has a job in the back for the down-at-heels archŠologist, Andoheb is on the staff of the Cairo Museum, Solvani finances the expedition.

The assistant’s mind is not on the work, a “blonde from Brooklyn” won’t write him. “Won’t,” asks the archŠologist, “or can’t?”