A Man Dressed as a Giant Bat, Psychotic Deformed Man Wrecking Havoc, and a Zombie Cat Woman…A Batman Christmas: Batman Returns (1992)

Merry Christmas!

Just kidding! Today we are reviewing a horror film that also is a Christmas movie.

And for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays.

Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our fourth and final film is:

Yes, it time for our annual Tim Burton film. Last year I reviewed Batman, and decided to cover the sequel.

Some of you might not think this counts for a horror film, as it is a superhero film but I say it does.

I mean we have a psychotic deformed killer.

And a zombie cat woman:

So I grew up watching this film and I just love it. When I think of Batman, to me it is always Michael Keaton or Kevin Conroy. There is no other Batman (although I do recognize Adam West, I just never watched his show until I was older) This is an absolutely amazing film and Keaton is an amazing Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer is the best Catwoman.

Originally Tim Burton and Michael Keaton hadn’t signed for a sequel, but were convinced when the script met all of Burton’s demands and Keaton only agreed to do the second film after a serious increase in his salary. Thank goodness for that or who else would we have had?

For me this movie is the end of the original film series as after this we had Val Kilmer and George Clooney take over, neither of which was very good in my opinion.

 It’s Christmastime and evil businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) has committed many, many crimes. His secretary, Selina Kyle, discovered this and was murdered by him. Luckily, she was revived by the stray cats she’s been feeding. I kind of like that they never really answer the how and why. Sometimes it is better to leave it open-ended then to explain it strangely like in Catwoman. It pays to be a catlover.

From Breakfast at Tiffany’s

After she is revived she runs about Gotham and she is a fantastic character as she wants Shreck to pay, but other than that she has no real plan and just goes about-sometimes nice and sometimes cruel, like a cat. I love the scene when she saves the lady who was attacked in an alleyway but then gives her an angry lecture-that’s cattitude right there, or at least it makes me think of how my cat can be nice and then strike out at you.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot (Danny DeVito) was born deformed and tossed away by his parentns, found ad raised by circus people. He has discovered what Shreck has been doing and blackmails him. Shreck tries to use him, when the penguin comes up with a plan to make every parent and family pay.

The Penguin and Catwoman team up to take Batman down, when on the flipside Bruce Wayne and Selina have been growing closer and closer and falling in love. While Vicky was annoying, I really like them together. They have excellent chemistry and amazing timing.

Everything comes to a head at the Christmas Ball. Will Batman be able to stop the villains? Will Bruce lose another love?

I have to watch! {Picture from Ringu)

The filming is fantastic and the dialogue is amazing! Here are a few of my favorites: Alfred’s zingers

Alfred: Why are you now determined to prove that this Penguin is not what he seems? Must you be the only lonely man-beast in town?

After Selina has been revived and had her change of personality:

Selina Kyle: Honey, I’m home. Oh, I forgot. I’m not married.

Or when she sasses Batman:

[Catwoman is hit]

Catwoman: How could you? I’m a woman.

Batman: I’m sorry, I-I…[Catwoman hits him]

Catwoman: As I was saying, I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted. Life’s a b****, now so am I.

And one of my favorite parts of the film:

Bruce Wayne: [working on the Batcomputer. Alfred sets down a bowl of soup in front of him. He picks up the spoon and takes a sip, only to spit it out] Cold!

Alfred: It’s vichyssoise.

Bruce Wayne: [stares, not knowing why it’s important]

Alfred: It’s *supposed* to be cold.

Bruce Wayne: [Eats it]

The costumes are great. The penguin is hideous and terrifying. Michelle Pfeiffer hated the costume as she was vacuumed sealed in it and had to take breaks as it constricted her so much she had trouble breathing. But it looks so cool. Deranged and cool.

A great film and I highly recommend it.

For more detectives, go to The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more Batman, go to What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)

For more Tim Burton films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Michelle Pfeiffer, go to Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans: Stardust (2007)

For more Christopher Walken, go to It was a Horseman, a Dead One. Headless: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For more film-noir, go to This Is Fate We’re Talking About, and If Fate Works At All, It Works Because People Think That THIS TIME, It Isn’t Going to Happen!: Dead Again (1991)

 

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

So I love Nancy Drew.

Time to get on the case!

I grew up reading The Nancy Drew Case Files and loved it-my favorites being the crossover mysteries with the Hardy Boys. Now I know Nancy and Ned are meant to be together, but I have to admit-I really want Frank and Nancy to end up together. They are just so cute together!

So this episode is from the TV series, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries. This show came out in the 1970s, the first season alternating every week between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The second season saw four crossover episodes, and only three Nancy Drew as the actresses playing her left the series. Season three was reworked to be just the Hardy Boys. I first discovered this show when I bought an old VHS with an episode on it, “A Haunting We Will Go“, at a library book sale.

It was a good series while it lasted, I just wish there had been more. If you are interested in watching, all these episodes are currently on youtube, here’s the link if you want to watch this one. I actually preferred the Nancy Drew episodes to the Hardy Boys, I mean I love Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy but the Hardy Boys always solved CIA, Interpol, spy mysteries and I liked that you never knew what you were going to get with Nancy Drew-embezzlement, theft, murder, etc.

But my favorite of all the episodes were the crossovers episodes, this being the first of them, in fact the very first time any Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew crossover happened. So enough intro, let’s get on to the review:

Mystery, you say?

At the beginning of every episode we see the Universal logo. I’ve always wondered why they haven’t remade it, I would watch it. But then again they would probably mess it up like they did with Nancy Drew (2007) film.

forgetaboutit

So to start we have the awesome intro and amazing intro music.

I love the setup, and I espechially love the book covers in the background and that music. Ooh! It sends shivers up an down my spine and gets me in the mood for a mystery.

Creepy…

We start off with Fenton Hardy (father of the Hardy Boys) driving up to Dracula’s castle in a taxi, the driver complaining about the American Rock singer using Dracula’s castle.

The taxi driver/caretaker warns Mr. Hardy not to go inside-its very old and possibly cursed. The caretaker won’t stay as he s too afraid, and tells Mr. Hardy he will wait for him at the bottom oft hill. Good-bye.

See ya!

Mr. Hardy goes into the castle and a bat flies at him, Dracula?

He looks round but doesn’t spot anything, hmm.

Hmmm…from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

But we see that someone is behind him. Mr. Hardy drops his flashlight and lights a torch finding a skeleton in the passage of the castle he is searching, but before he can look further the person following him knocks him out cold.

That’s not good.

We move to Paris 5 days later. Joe (Shaun Cassidy) and Frank (Parker Stevenson) have arrived to the morgue as they lost contact with their dad and was notified of a body that fit his description. They go to to see if it is their father but it isn’t him, thankfully. They are happy he isn’t dead, but that begs the question what happened to him, and where is he?

Can I stop and talk about how adorable these guys are. I love both of them and their portrayal is spot on. They are not only entertaining but completely believable as brothers-at times I forget they aren’t really siblings. They are the Dean and Sam (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) of the ’70s.  Okay, now we can go back to the episode.

They go the hotel their father had rented a room in and spot a band playing outside, The Circus.

They go to their father’s room, but someone is inside searching it, it is Inspector Stavlin (Lorne Green) of the Romanian police. He was working with their father and trying to solve the case of art thefts occurring throughout Europe. Mr. Hardy called Stavlin to join him in Paris as he had a lead, but after that Stavlin hasn’t heard from him since.

That’s not good.

Stavlin encourages them to give up and go home, Obviously, he doesn’t know the Hardy boys very well as they are totally going to continue to go after their father. Stalin leaves as he has to return to Transylvania.

Joe is more superstitious and that perks him up right away, Transylvania as in Dracula?

The boys search the room and find their dad’s notebook in his usual hiding spot.

There is a list of dates on the art thefts, and something else was booked at the same time. There is a meeting note, which the boys intend to keep:

Munich

Meet at the Ritz

June 11 5:00 pm

Book Rm 301

Name Fredricks

There is also another note on about a Dracula Festival on June 12th. That sounds awesome.

They pay the band they spotted earlier, to join them. Of course the band is down for it as they will be making money. Joe is going to sing and first he is upset that Frank threw him out into it like that- but of course he can sing, he’s a Cassidy after all. And it turns out they are headed to the same Dracula festival-fantastic. They boys head to Munich and arrive on June 10th, just in time for the meeting. Frank sweet talks the concierge and gets the room. The boys leave their stuff and stop to get something to eat.

Meanwhile, Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin) has arrived and is shock to hear there are a group instead of a man in Rm 302. She is traveling with Bess which is odd, as Nancy never brought her friends with her on “serious” cases, usually they were with her when things turned into a case.

Hmm…

Nancy is upset to hear that there are young men in the room instead of a 40-year old man. They send the suitcases back to the desk. Bess questions how does Nancy know that she hasn’t sent the contact away, but as they aren’t an older man so she doesn’t care.

From Mean Girls

I’m with Bess, that doesn’t seem like a good idea Nancy. What if your contact sent someone else in his place? What I would have done was stayed in the room and ordered room service until I could talk to the guys.

Frank spots the bellman and grabs their luggage sending them back up in the room. Meanwhile Joe is still trying to get the attention of a waiter, but no dice. Frank questions if it is his father, but finds out it is ladies. He sends the girls’ stuff down.

Joe tries to order but his waiter is stolen by Nancy. This exchange is hilarious and as Frank comes back in a bad mood because of the luggage, and it develops when there is no food on the table. Him being upset with Joe was so realistic, like real siblings. No joke, this is me and my sister.

From The Awful Truth

Meanwhile, Nancy has spotted her bags being taken down and sends her bags upstairs. She’s had enough and leaves Bess downstairs to eat while she heads up to the room. Frank and Joe also decide to go upstairs as they are tired of this too. Sharing the elevator, Frank is very into Nancy and tries to talk her up-but she’s in a hurry and Nancy brushes him off. Joe is upset with her as she stole their waiter. Frank is hurt to lose a chance with a beautiful girl, but Joe consoles him as he’ll see her again-she has the same room as them.

Nancy: What do you want? What are you doing in my room?

Joe: We want our waiter back

Frank: Joe!

Hilarious!!!! If I was Nancy I think I’d be a freaked out that this boy has diner rage to follow me my room. Like, this guy is crazy.

You are crazy From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Frank tells her this is their room. Then he threatens to take the bags out himself if Nancy doesn’t leave and when he tries to touch her luggage-Nancy does a Judo flip on him. I love how Frank and Joe are impressed with Nancy’s skills, as for Frank he likes her even more.

Of course they hash it out and discover that Nancy is the one supposed to meet their father.The boys share that he is missing and they are searching for him.  Nancy tells them she got on the case through her father. She and her friend were in Paris taking a summer class (that’s why Bess is with her) when one of her father’s client’s painting was stolen. It turned out to be one in a series and Nancy started to investigate it and came across Fenton Hardy. She spoke to Fenton 10 days ago, and he told her that he discovered that the rock group Allison Troy was always in the city that the art was stolen from. They believe it to be either Allison Troy or a member of his entourage. Nancy is set on taking over the case herself, but Frank and Joe aren’t letting go. As they have an in with the Dracula rock concert, they think Nancy should stay behind.

Nancy won’t be left behind as she is heading to Transylvania as well. She storms off to collect Bess.

Nancy Drew: Come on we have an appointment to keep.

Bess Marvin: With who?

Nancy Drew: Dracula

So the boys arrive at the castle a day early and it is a dark, spooky, rainy, and chilly night, of course it is as it is the Dracula’s castleThe band is too freaked that they head down to the town to relax.

Inspector Stavlin is at the hotel with the town council and is not happy about this concert and them using Dracula is such a way. No one else heads his warnings of troubles coming as everyone else is happy with the money coming in. Hotel’s almost sold out, restaurants packed, shops are doing good, etc.

The boys spot the Inspector and meet the mayor and the rest of the council. Stavlin continues to share his disgust at the idea of the Dracula festival. The mayor is making fun of him and asks who he fears…Dracula, coming for revenge? Stavlin states he isn’t afraid, but that the others should have more respect…Dracula desires it or else.

Frank shares that they found their father’s notebook and that their father had written about the festival. Stavlin thanks them for sharing and tells them if they find anything else to come to him.

When the boys sign in Joe spots that a B. Fredricks registered at the same hotel. So if his father came and was such good friends with Stavlin, why didn’t he meet him there? Is their father still there? Kidnapped? Dead?

Hmmm…

June 12th arrives and so starts the rock concert. Allison Troy is dressed up in a Dracula style outfit and has a party with many people dressed up as monsters. This looks so cool, I wish that it was real so I could go.

From Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School

The boys arrive and Troy and his people have the contracts and costumes. They warn the band to watch out for the crumbling castle and to treat the house with respect as it is a national treasure. One area they are not allowed to enter, it is forbidden. Of course the boys perk up on this and plan to investigate it later.

Stavlin is obsessed with Dracula, calling the castle a cemetery and acts like he believes Dracula is real and will rise again. The mayor hates Stavlin and is happy he’ll be gone soon he’s at the retirement age (they are forcing him to retire). The Mayor and the rest of the council are taking a tour of the castle as they haven’t been in there before.

Joe goes on to perform while Frank plans to search the castle. On of the running gags on this show is that every time Joe sings, Frank always misses it.

Frank starts searching the spooky castle, and someone is following him as we can see their boots.

That’s not good.

Meanwhile, Bess and Nancy have arrived in costume. Bess doesn’t want to search  the castle but stay and listen to Joe, but Nancy insists they need to search the cavern.

As the Mayor and friends are looking through out the castle, they find a large seal that says Dracula. This is supposedly his grave and the rest of the group and the caretaker/guide of the castle are all deeply frightened.

The mayor is the only one who has no fear and feels the Dracula story is just a lot of hooey. However, after they leave the “grave” we see it move aside and that someone resides in the chamber…or some monster. The black boots we have seen earlier come out. Is it Dracula having risen from the grave?

From The Horror of Dracula

One of the members of the group falls behind, its Berger the hotel owner, and is taken.

From the Cat and the Canary

The mayor and his people finish their tour and Frank is also searching passing by the seal. Nancy and Bess as well poke around the caverns. Bess is no help at all in this story as she just complains about being there in the cavern. As the girls pass by Dracula’s grave, the wall opens again and whoever it is (Dracula? ) starts following them.

From Return of the Vampire

Frank spots Berger in a cell and runs in to see if he is okay when he is locked in as well. Frank checks Berger and sees the vampire bit marks on his throat:

Nancy and Bess see them and Bess screams.

So typically Fridays are the days that I review TV episodes but as I couldn’t see waiting a whole week, I will post part II tomorrow.

So the second half of this episode I think is actually better. This one was a lot more set up with the detectives meeting up, getting them to Transylvania-more exposition. Tomorrow’s episode will have a lot more action to it.

The first time I saw this episode I was soooo into it I just had to find out what happened next. Where was their father? Would Nancy and Frank and Joe get along? Is it really Dracula or is it someone who thinks they are Dracula/pretending to be Dracula? As this was done by Universal I could see it going either way. We’ll find out tomorrow.

Until then….

For more Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more Nancy Drew, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more Dracula, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Detectives, go to It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

For more mysteries, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our third film is:

It’s a weird case from the start. A case with a hole in the center. A doughnut.

So this was the first post I wrote for Horrorfest IX. I wrote it waaay back in January 2020, ah a more simpler time, when I was trying to get ahead. I usually try to do at list one post a month so I have nine ready when October rolls around to give me a little extra time in the month.

So back in January 2020, my friend called me up about wanting to hang out and I agreed. Last time we went to her place so I wanted to reciprocate with mine, but I had been working on Valentine’s Cards and had paper everywhere and a mess.

I’m a mess

To hide this I suggested going to the movies, (remember when we could do that?), and she agreed saying she had wanted to see Knives Out.

I heartily agreed as I love mysteries and the trailer made me think of those old Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple films from the ’70s.

Mystery, you say?

We went and saw it and I really enjoyed it, although there was one thing I did not like. The whole film from the text, color choices, decor, costumes, hairstyles (talking about you detectives with those sideburns) etc-evoked a late 1970s vibe to it, but it was set in modern times. It was extremely jarring to be watching and having all your senses set you in 1970 and then someone whips out an iPhone or talks about instagram. I think it would have been a bit better if they had just set it in the 1970s, but that’s just me.

I also didn’t like the vomit parts, but other than that I really enjoyed this film and have already seen it three times this year.

I also like how his had no romantic pair or love angle. It was refreshing to have the main characters just be about something else, than to have them get together in the end.

So the film starts off with a big birthday party for the family patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). He invited his whole family and his nurse, but the next day is found dead-throat slashed.

Lt. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) are called on the scene and believe it to be suicide, (the Trooper is one of my favorite characters as he fanboys over all the Thrombey books), but then world renowned private investigator, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) appears saying that he was delivered a note and cash, so he is here to investigate.

Time to get on the case!

Each person is taken aside and questioned, all having a motive-but which one did it?

Hmmm…

Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis) is the eldest daughter and built a real estate company from the ground up (not really as she got the money from her dad). She was told that she would no longer receive any money and neither would her spendthrift son, Ransom (Chris Evans). She says she doesn’t care about herself or her son being cutoff, but is she lying? Could she kill him to protect her young?

Hmm…?

Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson), Linda’s husband is cheating on her and Harlan caught him. If Linda divorces him, he’ll have nothing (he signed a prenup). Could he have killed him to keep it a secret?

Hmm…

Hugh Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) was told by his grandfather that night that he was to be written out of th will. The two argued and he didn’t return until the will was read. Did he secretly return and kill him to protect his inheritance?

Hmm…from Saboteur

Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) is the widow of Harlan’s middle son. She is famous on instagram and is a lifestyle guru. She has the followers, but still relies on Harlan to meet the cost of bills and day to day living. She’s been cheating him by getting twice as much money having the accountants give her her daughter’s college fees, while Harlan also pays straight to the school. He told Joni he was cutting her and Meg off. Did Joni kill him to keep the money?

Hmm…

Megan “Meg” Thrombey (Katherine Langford) found out about hr college fund being cut off. She also left and when she returned was seen to go straight to her bedroom. Could she had killed him so she could continue her schooling?

Hmmm…

Walter “Walt” Thrombey (Michael Shannon) is the youngest brother and in charge of his father’s publishing company. He is fired from the company as Harlan wants his son to be free to be his own person. Did he kill him to keep control and have the money? (This out of all the people I actually feel bad for. Where is he going to get a job now? How is he going to start over at his age?)

But P.I. Benoit Blanc believes that something is missing. He continues to search and forces nurse, Marta Cabrera, to join him on his investigations…but Marta ended up killing him when she switched his accidentally gave him the wrong medication. Harlan kills himself to protect her. So she is helping Blanc solve the murder she committed…oh no.

That’s not good.

I also love the white sweater that Ransom wears. It makes me think of the one Rod Taylor wears in The Birds.

 

The best part of the film, besides Trooper Wagner, was Craig’s character-Private Detective Benoit Blanc.

I could happily watch film after film of his character. I hope they make a sequel with him.

I liked the plot-but I did figure out the ending. Things just didn’t sit right with me of what they showed. I was whispering to me friend, when Blanc said the doughnut line and I was like, yes! That’s what I was thinking!!

Benoit Blanc: I spoke in the car about the hole at the center of this doughnut. And yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly. A doughnut hole in the doughnut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center – it is not a doughnut hole at all but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not whole at all!

But it was great, and every time you watch it there is more that you pick up on. Like the symbolism of Go and the way Marta plays it becoming important later. There is more, so if you haven’t watched it yet-you should.

For more detectives, go to This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

For more Chris Evans, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more Jamie Lee Curtis, go to There’s Something in the Fog!: The Fog (1980)

For more Michael Shannon, go to Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

For more Christopher Plummer, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our second film is:

So technically this is an episode, but as it is the same length as an actual film-I’m including it with the films. I did the same thing my first year with Agatha Christe’s Poirot: Halloween Party.

So I am a huge fan of Victoria (when will the next season be coming?) and reading through rticles about the show and the actors, one thing that was recommended was Tom Hughes’ (Prince Albert in Victoria), portrayal of Michael Rogers in Miss Marple’s Endless Night.

So when I had my free trial of AcornTV to watch the Miss Fisher movie, it included the Miss Marple TV Show. I had seen it before when it was included in Netflix and Amazon, and while I love Miss Marple I noticed that the show took more liberties with the stories than they did with the Poirot TV show. I think it is because there are less stories and she’s a different type of sleuth as she is an elderly lady who isn’t as active in her sleuthing as Poirot.

Even though I haven’t really liked the recent adaptions, I decided to check it out.

This is one of the weirdest portrayals of an Agatha Christie novel I have ever seen.

from Jamaica Inn

Like, what is THIS?

So we start off with Mike (Tom Hughes) talking abut his life. The first important memory is when he tried to save his friend, Rudolf Santonix’s, brother who fell through the ice. He didn’t save him, but as his Rudolf was unable to do anything he vows to do anything for Mike if he asks it. Mike does’t take him too seriously. The boys grow up and go on separate paths. Mike ultimately becomes a chauffeur, but dreams of more. He wants a big piece of land with woods, a house, etc. There is a spot he dreams of, Gipsy’s Acres, but he doesn’t have the money for it. There he meets Miss Marple and they talk about the land, and that it has a “curse” on it.

Dark forest, from Death Comes to Pemberley.

Mike runs into Rudolf who is now an architect. He’s suffering from tuberculosis and wants to pay Mike back for trying to save his brother. He designs him a beautiful house, as he knows Mike better than anyone else. Mike loves it, but has no money to buy land or build the house.

He goes now and then to Gipsey’s Acres to dream, running into Miss Marple again.

This, this was pretty weird. Miss Marple keeps wanting to see him, searching him out, she’s like obsessed with him. There is no other reason why she keeps randomly popping up.

It is such a weird direction to go in.

One day at the Gipsey’s Acres he runs into Fenella “Ellie” Guteman. Ellie is an heiress who is lonely and not normal. She just acts weird.

You know what, EVERYBODY in this is weird. They act completly strange and not normal, it’s pretty creepy. In fact Mike is the only one who is normal. He and Ellie are going to get married and she wants to bring her companion to live with them as she can’t live without her.

What??

Mike is like no he dosen’t want the companion to live with them when they get married and Ellie gets really upset about it. Why would you want your friend to live with you when you just got married? Espechially, as you go on and on about how beautiful she is…it almost seems as if there is something between them, but if that’s the case why marry Mike?

They decide to get married and Mike tells his mom who freaks out. They fight and she screeches at him that she is the only one who knows who he really is.

They then meet up with Ellie’s family who are strange, dysfunctional, and don’t want to lose control of her or her money. And they all go on about her companion Greta. Like why is everyone is obsessed about her?

They then meet Rudolf to tell him and he’s furious. He wanted Mike to make money not marry it. Nevertheless he agrees to build the house and starts acting strange too. He goes on about how he is very sick, in fact he is terminal. He talks about what power his impeding death gives him-he could go anywhere he wants to and kill anyone he wanted to.

SUPER creeped

Weird. Really weird. Everyone is just so strange and creepy and weird except Mike. Mike is the only normal one. You know what that means, he must be the bad guy.

So Mike and Ellie go to Italy for their honeymoon and guess who they run into: Miss Marple.

Where is everyone?

Okay, NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

I have read almost every single Miss Marple book and short story. She is on a fixed income, and the only times she goes anywhere is in England is to visit or help friends, and or once to Bertram’s Hotel when her nephew gave her money to go on a trip. There is no way she is going on holiday to Italy, she only knows people who don’t have a lot of money.

Miss Marple is soooo obsessed with Mike that she went all the way to Italy to casually bump into him? I think she is the killer. I mean we all know the rich heiress is going to be murdered. Its obvious. I think she killed his wife to make room for her.

Just kidding, I know that isn’t the answer. Anyways, Greta comes and they move into the house Mike and Greta just can’t stand each other.

An old woman is harassing them for taking the Gipsey Wood away from the gypsies, etc. Ellie has been suffering from the damp air and starts taking pills which she shares with a fellow equestrian rider.

Hmm…

One day Ellie never comes home, and they look for her and, surprise surprise-she is found dead, fallen off her horse. Her horse riding friend dies too. They think the old lady harassing them did it, but they find her dead too.

SPLAT!

Mike and Greta grow close together, while Miss Marple is on the case.

So it is obvious that the only “normal” character turns out to be the “psycho” and all the “psycho” characters are “normal”. I don’t know what they were doing with this episode, it’s a mess.

Ugh…

This actually legit sets up Jane Maple to be a potential killer. I mean she is always “happening” to come across Mike. If Miss Marple was a boy and Mike was a girl-this would be a Lifetime movie.

Seriously!

So this is obviously not like how it was in the novel, I’m sure. In fact…I don’t recall Miss Marple ever being in anything called Endless Night now that I think about it.

Hmmm…

So I googled it and it turns out this was just a mystery novel by her, not a Miss Marple mystery, they decided to rewrite it as a vehicle for her, probably because there aren’t as may Miss Marple stories as there are Poirot, and let me say it DID NOT work!

HARD PASS!!!

For more Agatha Christie, go to Miss Marple and Jane Austen: You Can See Human Nature From Anywhere in a Small Village

For more Miss Marple, go to A Whole Lot of Fanfare

For more detectives, go to The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

For more female detectives, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

 

So it is time for our annual Vincent Price film or TV episode.

I love Vincent Price and I can’t resist anything he is in. I was trying to decide on a film or TV episode, but this Ellery Queen episode intrigued me as I needed to fill a Friday TV show spot, because this episode looked fun, and I couldn’t resist adding another Sleuth to my “mysterious” year.

Mystery, you say?

So I have never read an Ellery Queen mystery or watched this TV show-but I do know who Ellery Queen is. In the Leverage episode “10 Little Grifters” Nate dresses up as him and the first time I saw that episode I had to look up who Ellery Queen is. Ellery Queen is actually similar to Diagnosis Murder, but backwards. Inspector Richard Queen is a renowned detective and his son a famous crime writer, who helps his father solve the really tough cases. (Like how Steve Sloan is a detective and his doctor father, Dr. Mark Sloan, solves all his tough cases).

So I found this episode on youtube and it was a lot of fun watching it as it had the original commercials that it aired with. So enough about that, let’s get started.

It has an old CREST commercial, I can’t believe these girls are fighting over which toothpaste to use. I wouldn’t care what my friends would want. I don’t think I even know what brand they use.

The episode starts off with them filming a scene from an Ellery Queen murder mystery- like how most end, when the director yells cut. The director is played by Vincent Price, I’d know his voice anywhere. I’d listen to him read a phonebook.

The Vincent Price, director Michael Raynor, isn’t happy and I don’t blame him. The guy playing Ellery Queen stinks, like he’s the literal worst. Meanwhile Ellery Queen and his dad are watching and are not impressed. They changed his story and dialogue. I feel you Ellery, Hollywood has ruined many things I love as well.

Vincent Price yells at everyone and is just at the end of his rope, and I hope he isn’t the one who is murdered. I’ll be disappointed if he’s in it for only a second.

Please, oh please! from Death Comes to Pemberley

OMGosh the guy playing Ellery Queen in the movie, Gilbert Mallory (Troy Donahue), is a serious jerk and diva. He’s going to die. I just know it! Too bad Michael Raynor can’t fire him as he owns part of the film and has a lot of power. It’d be great if he died.

Mallory meets the real Queen and is incredibly rude to him. What a jerk!

Mallory is cruel to the publicist and rewrote his script to steal lines from others-he’s totally going to be murdered.

So both the Queens are extremely disappointed in the experience. Inspector Queen expected glitz and glamour-but the studio is a really low budget one and doesn’t have the perks like the big studios. Ellery is upset that he didn’t get an updated script, all the changes are a surprise and an unwelcome one.

The publicist tries to console him and tells him he never gets the script changes either. How a guy can promote something without fully knowing what he is promoting is beyond me.

A lady interrupts them when she comes driving up to see Mallory-I’m assuming she’s the diva’s wife. She is and she is on set to keep her eyes on her husband, her husband who is involved with one of the actresses, Pamela, on set. Man, Mallory is digging his grave-someone is going to kill him, but who?

So the prop man unlocks the locker and grabs the prop gun, but leaves it open. Hmm…interesting,

Oh, I bet that this will be like that Psych episode Lights, Camera…Homicido where the man was murdered when the prop was switched out with a real knife. Mallory will probably be shot by the prop gun and really be shot as the gun will no longer be filled with blank but real bullets.

Pamela (the actress Mallory is sleeping with) shoots Mallory and closes her eyes when she does it. I don’t think she did that the first time. Almost as if…hmmm.

Hmm…is it her?

So she shoots him and all are happy with how Mallory died, as it finally looks real…but when he doesn’t get up, it turns out that he was…murdered. Shot by real bullets.

Ellery and Inspector are investigating which makes the local cops angry as they can’t stand these guys “butting in”. The Queens try to tell him about Mrs. Mallory-her threat of a final good-bye and that she didn’t leave when she said she did as her purse is still on set. There’s no way she would have left without it.

Hmm…

The head of the investigation, Captain Blake comes and it turns out that he and Inspector Queen are good friends who go way back. He makes the Lt. who was complaining earlier have them be a part. Haha!

They find Mrs. Mallory and she proclaims her innocence. She cries and says she loved her husband and would never kill him, and even if she wanted to she wouldn’t have had access to the prop box. She insists she only came back to talk to him as she no longer was upset. Hmmm…Her husband’s company had half the money in it-she probably could get access to the props. And did she really came back to talk to him? Or kill him?

Hmm…

Inspector Queen leaves to find the home of Dorothy Lamour and Ellery finds a note on his script telling him to talk to Al in special effects. He heads over there and it turns out Al has disappeared.

Ellery shows one of the other SFX guys his note and they find Al, who happens to be a fan and wants Ellery’s help. He insists that he put in six blanks this morning and never touched the gun again to reload it. He thinks someone got to the gun and put the real bullets in. He came in to work that morning and was loading the gun and received a phone call. With the phone being on the other end of the lot he ran over there, and it turned out that there was no one on the line. That’s the only time someone could have planted them.

His reason for hiding and not sharing this with the police? His sister was script girl on one of Mallory’s other pictures and he was afraid it would give him a motive, as Mallory dropped her and as she is “just a kid” it broke her heart. Ellery urges him to talk to the cops and they will treat him right.

In the next scene Al is in handcuffs. Yes, it turns out he had threatened Mallory, a fact he forgot to share with Ellery.

Lt. Smary Jerk Attitude gleefully tells Ellery what they discovered. He really hates Ellery.

The next commercials are pretty boring although one is for the Chicago Fire Festival. What is that?

Anyways, back to the show. The Queens are invited to a scrumptious brunch by Director Raynor. Inspector is mad as he wants to do some touristy things, but hey scrumptious brunch with Vincent Price, I mean Raynor, will have almost all your suspects and the gossip.

The big question in the air is whether or not the picture will go forward. And no one is quite sure. The Publicist for the film wants to get the stuntman Mike to be moved up to the lead, but Raynor isn’t interested in an “unknown”. This seems weird to be as you think the publicist would know better than to suggest that-their relationship seems weird.

The actor playing Inspector Queen in the movie goes to Raynor and tries to get him to reverse some of the changes Mallory made, but Raynor isn’t interested in dealing with it at the moment.

Hmmm…

Pamela isn’t too sad about the possibility of canceling the film as she will be able to get the part she really wanted in another film, a part that came her way after she signed the contracts for this film. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mallory is angry and starts pointing the finger at Raynor- telling Inspector Queen that her husband planned to fire him, but was killed first

Pamela also encourages them to look over Raynor’s gun collection as he’s a hunter and has a ton of guns that range from all types and decades. Ellery is super interested, but his father is done and ready to leave.

With that attitude I’m not surprised Ellery is the famous crimesolver in the family.

The actor playing the Inspector runs after the two and tells them something he just remembered. Originally Mallory had been wearing a real bulletproof vest but it was changed by Al, the prop man. If he had still had it on at the time then he would be alive today.

They go through the prop memos and find that Raynor was the one who asked for a bulletproof vest and that he wanted a simulated one instead. Raynor explains that Mallory hated the vest as he thought it made him look fat. Raynor tried to change his mind, but no dice, and he instead gave in. To some that may seem like a lame excuse, but the way this diva was, I believe it. The change was discussed off set with only Pamela being the one to hear if it.

Hmm…

Ellery is trying to figure it out who the killer is and starts reading over the scripts (the original and changed one)

The guy who plays Inspector Queen is always popping up and pointing fingers. I’m starting to wonder if it is going to be him as he always just “happens” to be there. He reveals that the end shooting scene changed from the original because the director requested it. It would save $200 to have Mallory be on the phone and shot by Pamela than to crash through a window by a stuntman.

But Ellery has discovered something very interesting, in the original writing, if real bullets were placed in the gun it would be harder to kill him on target, but in the new script-with the proximity, no way they could miss killing Mallory.

They ask Raynor about it who changed it and he answers he thought the clear shooting looked better and was cheaper, a win win. They are interrupted when Sonny Miller arrives on set to replace Mallory and everyone seems overjoyed to have him.

They begin shootong the car chase scene and switch Miller out for the stuntman Mike. I can’t help but feel something bad will happen.

Everything is going great until the car won’t stop and Mike goes crashing down the hillside.

We are back from commercials (a really weird Raisin Bran one) and it turns out the brakeline was cut-Mike is dead. So was the killer after Mallory, Sonny Miller, Mike the stuntman, or trying to stop the picture?

Hmm…

So the last one seems the most likely and the Queens start looking at Pamela since she is the only one who wanted to get out of the picture. She insists she has no reason for sabotage as RKO is waiting to do the picture until she is finished here. The Inspector insists that it isn’t a real alibi as she could have done the cutting of the brake line before she got word from RKO. Pamela insists there is no way as she doesn’t know anything about cars.

Ellery points out to his aggravated father that both murders were filmed, so they actually have an advantage as the review them for clues.

Ellery watches them and sees something? What? We can’t find out until he has rounded up the suspects.

Lt. Smarmy Jerk (I can’t remember his name and don’t really care to look it up) thinks Pamela did it as her face is cold blooded in the film of her shooting. Raynor defends her as being an actress and the Lt. says she’s not that good. LOL, I was thinking the same thing. Since he thinks she did it we all know that which means she didn’t.

Scene 231 is the clue. Ellery lists off the suspects:

  • Pamela, the actress who wanted out of the picture
  • The man playing Inspector Queen who’s lines were stolen by Mallory, maybe with Mallory (and Miller) gone the movie could be about him.
  • Mrs. Mallory, her husband was cheating on her and she never liked this picture-wants to pull the plug
  • Director Michael Raynor, he hated Mallory and wanted a different actor but Mallory had too much money involved-why he would try and stall the picture is uncertain, maybe it is a smokescreen to get them to look elsewhere
  • The Publicist, Mallory was cruel to him and he promoted Mike the stuntman (which is a odd relationship) also trying to kill Mike as a smokescreen?
  • Al the SFX guy-he hated Mallory but doesn’t have a reason for Mike.

Ellery gathers everyone up and here we go…

Elleey acts out the original scene from his script, Ellery going to the window and through it. A stunt is involved in the original scene so there would have been a stunt double-the stuntman would have been shot at. Mike was always supposed to be shot, the killer was always after the stuntman.

I KNOW WHO IT IS! You guys remember back at brunch the stuntman kept trying to get the publicist to get him get the part. Their interaction was weird as a good stuntman can have some power, but nothing like what Mike seemed to hold over the publicist. He must have something on him to make him do that. Earlier when Ellery complained about not being made aware of the changes to his story, the publicist complained that he isn’t told anything either. That means that he didn’t know about the scene being changed from the window and set up a murder using the original story.

Another mystery solved!

The last film the publicist worked on the actress had a nervous breakdown and was doing drugs to get through. Her drug dealer was jailed but the publicist needed to keep her going. She died from an overdose and Mike knew he supplied her with the pills and threatened him with the police if he didn’t do what he wanted.

Ellery and his dad exit set to do some conventional Hollywood plans.

That was interesting and enjoyable. Although it did make me think of Diagnosis Murder  (although I think that father and son pair had a better relationship.) I might check out some of the other episodes in the future.

For more Vincent Price, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

For more that feature crime writers, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more TV episodes reviews, go to Who Kidnapped the Girls’ Soccer Stars?: North Mammon, Criminal Minds (2006)

Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! To start us off we have:

****Contains Spoilers****

So I watched this during the COVID-19 #shelterinplace with my friend for her birthday. As we couldn’t be together, we decided to each watch at the same time and then text each other our thoughts. It is hard enough trying to make plans and now we have more time, but can’t get together.

Ugh! It’s so unfair

Now I’m not a big Miss Fisher fan. I have watched the show but I don’t really like the content. The mysteries are okay-usually there isn’t a whole lot of detecting and the answer just comes at the end. I’m not a fan of the book series either as I read a couple before I watched the series and just couldn’t get into it.

What I do like about the series is the characters-that’s the only reason I kept watching them: Mr. Butler Dorothy “Dot” Williams, Constable Hugh Collins, Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson, Cec, Burt, etc.- and I like how they interact with each other and Miss Fisher.

So quick recap for those of you who haven’t watched the show. Miss Fisher (Essie Davis) grew up poor but after WWI inherited a distant relatives fortune and now has boundless dollars. She does whatever she wants in 1920s Australia, often being asked to look into mysteries or crimes that have happened. She has a best friend/companion/lady’s maid in Dot, fosters a young girl Jane, hires two taxi drivers to assist in her investigations (Cec and Burt), and is constantly helping out/being a thorn in the side of Detective Inspector John “Jack” Robinson and his Constable Hugh.

This film takes place after the final season, when we last saw the crew Phryne saved her father, Dot and Hugh married, and Phryne asks Jack to pursue her twice. So now that the recap is over-let’s move onto the mystery.

Mystery, you say?

So we start off the film with the opening lines of “agitators” and I totally thought it said alligators. My friend did too, not a good font choice.

So we start off with a figure-Miss Fisher-running through the streets of a Middle Eastern city. Oh no, her hijab caught on a stick, I hate when that happens, you know your clothes get caught on things.

The hijab is pulled off and we get to look at Miss Fisher’s dress- it sure is something, look at all those sequins. Miss Fisher always has fantastic clothes.

So while Miss Fisher is running through the streets, all I can wonder is, where is Dot?

Hmm…

Or why is Miss Fisher there?

Hmm…

And where is Detective Jack (Nathan Page)?

Where is everyone?

So Miss Fisher is searching for someone/something. Ew, she was scaling the wall and then put her gloved hand in hr mouth-gross. That wall is probably super dirty as I’m sure it has never been cleaned. 

So she is looking for a Shirin. Why is she looking for Shirin? How does she know her?

What the heck?

Police follow Miss Fisher in a car while she and Shirin are on a motorbike. Good thing cars didn’t go fast back then or else they would be easily caught. They ditch the bike and get on top of a train with Miss Fisher in her heels being able to manage that.

I hate when movies and book do that. The train is going through a tunnel and she isn’t going to make it! Fade to black. We then switch to Australia

Oh, no! Is that Dot crying? Aw, she’s pregnant, she and Hugo are having a baby!

How sweet!

This timeline feels off, but that happens when they make movies. So it turns out that Miss Fisher is presumed dead again, and they are holding a funeral in London. Hugh and Dot can’t go because she is so far along, but Jack journeys to it.

The funeral starts, and Aunt Prudence doesn’t sit on a regular chair but has to have an armchair. She has to have the best of the best.

So the funeral is interrupted by a plane overhead, and it is so obvious that it is Miss Fisher. So now that we know she is crashing her funeral, who are all these other people?

I mean for real!

I mean right away I know that one guy is Rupert Penry-Jones, you know Captain Wentworth, but who is he in the film?

I looked him up and his character is Jonathan Lofthouse, but who is he to Phryne, they never say in the film-although the flirt a lot so we know he isn’t a close relation.

Hmm…

Oh no, poor Jack. He won’t be happy, I’m surprised he hasn’t had a heart attack with how many times Phryne has “died”. Oh..his face might get stuck in that expression.

Phryne: Why are you so angry?

Really? Really? And you just kissing everyone like it’s no big deal. Ohmygosh! I wanted to slap some sense into her. Don’t you know how that would make Jack feel? And then she is all tell me what you wrote in your eulogy and he’s all it says I’m done with you. And she is offended? Really?

You know why he is angry and you are being so caviler with his feelings. He believed you dead! Phryne ca be fun, but in this she is kind of a jerk-especially the way she flirts in front of him with all these other guys in front of him. Like this guy wanted to marry you, he LOVES you and you don’t care one iota for his feelings.

And who are these people? Especially the guy she keeps kissing-Jonathan? Like why does she know them why are they at the funeral?

Hmm…what’s going on?

Jonathan and his older brother are fencing while taking about the war and those two have serious issues. They also are talking a bit about what happened in WWI, but there is a whole angry subtext going on underneath.

So the Sheikh is Shirin’s uncle and he and Eleanor, the wife of Jonathan’s brother seem too close.

Hmmm…

So Sheikh Kahlil Abbas, Jonathan, and his brother-I guess I should look his name up…let’s see Lord “Lofty” Lofthouse. Seriously? Who came up with that name? Anyways…They have some business plan that they are doing-something that needs to go through or else the Lofthouses will lose everything as Lofty sucks at keeping the finances together.

I’m pretty over it and are focusing on more important things. When is Jack coming back? If he has just a cameo I am going to be very disappointed.

We need more Jack!

Hmm…is this sheik a good or bad guy? They seem to be setting him up to have a secret of some kind but is it a red herring or foreshadowing?

Seriously

I really miss Mr. Butler the Butler. He was awesome. This butler is super creepy and weird. He slinks around and freaks me out.

Shirin Abbas gets a note from someone saying he is a friend of Shirin and has information regarding the death of her family. When she was little her whole tribe was killed in a sandstorm. She remembers someone slaughtering everyone and sparing her-but the English government has gone with the sandstorm story and jailed her for stirring things up (that’s why Phryne had to save her). Phryne doesn’t want her to go, but decides to take her place.

Phryne goes to see Jack to assist her who is staying at a pretty crappy hotel, I mean the door is pretty see-through. Jeez Phryne, you could have offered him a room at the mansion you are staying at Phryne.

I mean for real!

Jack is also made because Phryne got married! WHAT????

So she didn’t want to marry Jack as she “wasn’t ready” but then went and married some other guy?

This girl!

They go to the meeting place, a church, which is pretty deserted. If this was me I’d want my back to the wall as it is the perfect point to assassinate someone.

Phryne finds the friend who looks crazy and possibly drugged. He speaks of demons.

So with the WWI talk, the Sheikh, the English government controlling the country, and most likely the massacre of the tribe- here are my theories:

A) Maybe this guy was one of the English troops (best guess from all that was said earlier and how they mentioned the sheik is now indebted to the government) sent to kill the tribe but spared her a she was a toddler.

B) Maybe the sheikh isn’t really the sheikh but they murdered the tribe to hide the fact that they were placing someone else in who would allow them to takeover the country. The solider spared the girl because she was so young and she had never met her uncle before so she wouldn’t be able to tell if he is or isn’t the real sheikh.

He gets shot, TOLD YOU! Perfect place for an assassination, but passes on an emerald amulet . They call the police who are incredibly rude to Jack, and he holds their passport and Jack is upset that he can’t return to Australia. Phryne is mad at him, but geez-Jack has a real job and is not rich like you. Remember he took off time for your funeral.

I mean for real!

Like you grew up poor, you think you would remember parts of what it was like.

They go to meet Phryne’s friend who is involved with art and antiquities, she had run into him on her earlier escapades, and he goes upstairs to look for something He takes a really long time and they hear a noise. Phryne follows as she is all Danger? Where? Let me at it! She doesn’t even want Jack to go with her.

Such a man!

So that guy is safe, but another one comes in and then a fire, wow it went 0-6 real fast.

Phryne runs after the thief but doesn’t shoot at him and he disappears in the fog. Well you should’ve hit him in the leg or something.

Jack saves the amulet and Phryne and him get really close when the firefighters come. They are like oh yeah, there is a fire.

They show the necklace to Shirin who remembers it. She has a flashback to her mom holding it. I think it might be a key as the way it is shaped, it could fit into something. My friend also pointed out it is a triangle-just like her tattoo.

Supposedly, there is a tomb and they were supposed to protect it I’m guessing. Th necklace MUST be a key. They also find a compass. Hmm, maybe it is supposed to be like in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark and they need it to find the crypt of tears.

Hmm…treasure?

The Lofthouses and the Sheikh were involved in what looks like a shady business deal. Hmm…thought so.

Phryne wears a sweater with a big “PF” on it. Wow, I have no words.

Wow…

So the Sheikh wants Shirin to forget all about the past and focus on London and the ball they are throwing her. I can’t hep but think that it is a huge deal to accept her so she should be happier, but when she leaves the Sheik, he seems to be thinking about it. Is he planning something bad or helpful?

Hmmm…

Shirin tells Phryne about the past and says it was three men who destroyed the village-I would have thought they would need more to destroy a whole village.

I think the Sheikh is somehow involved and that the men forced the mother to open to the tomb.

Hmm…

That night at the party Jack looks good in his fancy duds.

That evening the Sheikh fights with the Lofthouses, not wanting to agree to the deal anymore. Maybe he isn’t involved. Hmm….

Hmm…

Everyone is shouting secrets at this party, like shouting. The extra in a yellow dress and gold jacket was like oops, heard all of that. Mr. Lofthouse and the Sheikh are causing a scene as well.

All I can think is, why did Phryne marry that other guy. They better tell us, and soon.

This is like the worst party ever, at least no one died…but just wait…Oh no a gunshot! There it is.

The cop on the scene is pretty sharp putting things together. When it comes to alibis Jonathan tries to protect his brother (or him), by saying they were together, but the butler says no he and Jonathan were together. Wow really threw the older brother under the bus. Hmm…we know that Jonathon wasn’t with his brother, so why would he lie?

Hmm…

Maybe the butler doesn’t like the Lord of the manner, but then again who does?

So the Sheikh is the one who is dead and Phryne sets off to investigate his room. She looks in a vase and finds a ginourmous emerald. Why would you have an emerald that big and hide it out in a tomb in the desert. Why wouldn’t you take that to your palace?

I mean for real!

So Alexander the Great curses the emerald that whoever takes it death will follow. How come he had those powers? Where did they come from? I wish I had powers like that. I’d be cursing all kinds of objects.

Phryne decides to leave for the Middle East and the tomb and Jack wants to go with her but sorry only two fit in the plane and she’s taking Shirin. Ouch.

Jonathan going to come too and fly Jack, but how can they do that when Scotland Yard had their passports?

So they end up in the Middle East and the guide they hire is really shady. He has a big rifle and is all that’s for hunting. What do you hunt in the middle of a sandy desert?

Hmm…

Obviously he is lying, but why? Who put him up to it? Who is behind this all. The Sheik died so that leaves us with Lofty, Jonathan, Lady Eleanor, and the butler. There is no others they introduced unless Shirin is secretly a child mass murderer. They wouldn’t…would they? Nah!

Hmm…

I think Jonathan might be the one in on it, why else would he leave his brother behind if he wants to “help” him so bad. That seems weird.

Hmmm…

Phryne of course looks glamourous in the hot desert and is all made up. She seduces the guide so they can overpower him and get the truth. Someone paid him to delay him. Who? Who? The guide doesn’t know.

Such a man!

She and Jack fight and he brings up her husband, at least we will get the truth about her husband, the Maharajah…but no Jack storms off and Phryne follows him falling into quicksand? Okay…whatever.

It turns out that the Maharajah is gay and there were rumors and he was going to be killed so to stop them Phryne married him but doesn’t live with him. Like how does that make sense at all? He could’ve married anyone and how does the wife not living with him keep people from thinking he was gay?

I mean he’s royal! He could command anyone to marry him. And most royal marriages married for an alliance and to produce heirs or for wealth, not love. It makes more sense for him to marry a royal woman to have a child and then continue with his life and what he is doing. This is the stupidest thing ever. What royal parents or people would want their maharajah to marry some Australian woman who doesn’t even live in the country. This is incredibly dumb and just a plot device to keep Phryne and Jack apart.

So the tattoo does help lead the way and they find the tomb. So Jonathan is being really strange, and I am hardcore believing it is Jonathan right now.

They get i the tomb and find Alexander’s desert bride, the first time we heard that one.

What??

Watch out she might come alive like in The Mummy.

They find a knife with initials on it and I know it will be JL, for Jonathan Lofthouse as he is weird.

So he wanted to return the emerald as his troop came and slaughtered the tribe for it. He felt guilty and after the Sheikh died hid it in the room as he knew Phryne would find it and return it. Okay I feel like you could have handled this a lot better in a completely different way. It seems really convoluted.

Or plot!

But he says he did’t kill the sheikh? If Jonathan didn’t do it, then who did?

Hmm…

It turns out the butler is there in the tomb and he did it. Yes the butler did it.

Yes the butler did, but why? It doesn’t make sense? And how could he afford to get there or know where to even find this secret tomb. This whole thing makes no sense.

This doesn’t make sense!

But Phryne knows, it is because he is secretly Jonathan’s father?

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What?

HUH???!!!

How did she know? Where were the clues? I mean he liked Jonathan better than his older brother, but just because Mr. Carson liked Mary better than the other girls I never suspected that he was secretly her father.

How did the butler not only get the money and knowledge to travel to the middle of nowhere, but how did he beat them?

What??

The butler is going to kill them, but Jonathan saves them as the tomb collapses-all make it out but those two. Phyrne and Jack are now alone in the desert, what happened to Shirin? And they end up sleeping together which I don’t like as Phryne was a GIANT jerk to him in this and Jack was so moral and wanted to marry Phryne not just be another guy she sleeps with.

As they are traveling a man comes from nowhere with a message that Phryne’s husband is dead and they need her to solve the crime. How, what, why?

So this film didn’t work for me. First of all Miss Fisher works because of the contrast between her and all the other characters-so removing her from them didn’t work at all.

Second, Detective Jack Robinson didn’t really work in this scenario either. In Australia, he is in a position of power, he can get information, he has a role-going to England and the Middle East doesn’t work for him. He has no power, he can’t do anything, he has no role to play but follow Phryne around.

And third, Phyrne is completely callous and rude in this. Like she does her own thing, and is light and airy-but she never is cruel like this.

Fourth-this story sucks. Like what were they thinking-this plot is everywhere. They should have thought smaller, kept it in Australia, and created better mystery. Like where were the clues? Everything just felt so out of left field. And what was up with this mythology of Alexander the Great?

For more female private detectives, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to The Last Puzzle: The Last Christmas, Shadow Island Mysteries (2010)

What Are You? I’m Batman!: Batman (1989)

So it is time for our Tim Burton movie!

Batman: I’m not going to kill you. I want you to do me a favor. I want you to tell all your friends about me.

Nic: What are you?

Batman: I’m Batman.

So I was trying to decide which Tim Burton movie to do next, when I saw this at the library and realized this was perfect as it turns 30 this year.

Some of you might not think this counts, as it is a superhero film but I say it does.

Yes, first of all every year on abcFamily, now known as freeform, as part of their 13 Night of Halloween they would always show this. So I always associate this film with Halloween.

The second reason it counts is because the Joker is chemically changed into a monster, but even without that he is a total psycho-killer.

So I grew up watching this film and I just love it. When I think of Batman, to me it is always Michael Keaton or Kevin Conroy. There is no other Batman (although I do recognize Adam West, I just never watched his show until I was older) This is an absolutely amazing film and Keaton is an amazing Batman. So without further ado…

We have an amazing opening with fantastic music…oh yeah, Danny Elfman did the music, Tim Burton just loves him.

Gotham city-I have always loved how it looked as it was a blend of modern with art deco giving it feeling of being both times and not of the time.

So a guy is leaving the theater with his family at night trying to get a taxi. They are tourists and lost. As they walk around the bad side of town, they get mugged, the father getting knocked out. (Although to be honest, it was kind of his fault. Why didn’t he stay in front of the theater?)

That’s not good.

So one of the robbers look like Kevin Bacon but it is totally a discount Kevin Bacon.

So the best part is when Batman creeps up behind the two muggers as they are dividing up the spoils. His cape flying out, creepy and cool. Spooky!

Spooky…

He takes them down, so tough and awesome. I know the costume kept him from moving his head right, but it looks so cool. He looks otherworldly.

Wow!

He was supposed to say something else about being justice in the night or so. But Michael Keaton changed it to “I’m Batman”, and it was awesome!

He takes those muggers down and flies out.

Meanwhile, the mayor is having a news conference with him appointing a new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams)-although why isn’t he in the third film? Why did they replace him with first of all, a white guy, and secondly why Tommy Lee Jones?

I’m surprised

Meanwhile Jack (Jack Nicholson) is a thug watching the conference. I can’t stand Jack Nicholson, he just looks creepy in EVERYTHING. That voice, that smile, it creeps me out. And not in a good way like Vincent Price.

He’s talking to his moll, mobster’s gal, about his plans for keeping control of the city.

Meanwhile, on the conference they get questioned about “The Bat”, by reporter Knox. No one believes the reporter, and laugh it off.

I love how they all wear 1940s clothes! Oh, I just love this movie. They have that film noir, Dana Andrews in Laura vibe going on.

Laura

It turns out one of the detectives is dirty, on the payroll of Jack. He tells him that D.A. Dent is onto one of their deals, a property, and he needs it to be handled. The cop insults him, but Jack is not having that, he pulls a gun on him. Watch out you are dealing with a psycho.

Don’t mess with me!

This is why you don’t become involved with bad guys, they can easily kill you.

The mayor is trying to take done crime and wants Grissom to go on trial. He wants to bring business back and revitalize the town.

Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) meets with Knox, the pressman from earlier. She’s a photojournalist and is interested in this “Bat”. She knows that if they can prove it-it’s pulitzer prize worthy. She wants a piece by trying to get a picture of it. He thinks that he might show up to Bruce Wayne’ social, and she has an invite. Already they are a dynamic duo.

Sorry!

Meanwhile, Grissom and Jack are discussing what to do about this Dent. Grissom wants Jack to take care of him. Grissom’s moll comes, and its the dame that Jack was with. Oh it looks like Jack was a naughty boy.

I love how Jack wears a purple suit. I like when movies do things like that, setting the stage for what is to come. Plus that suit is sharp, I don’t find him attractive-just creepy-but I can see why she might be into him.

Grissom sends Jack out, but I can’t help but feel that there is more to this than mets the eye.

Oh yes, he calls up Lt. Eckhardt and it seems he found out about Jack dating his girl and he is on the way out.

That’s not good.

So the big Casino Night Gala has come. All the bigwigs are there and Knox. Vicki Vale has come too, working the room searching for Bruce Wayne. She taps a guy asking for his help and it is Michael Keaton.

Our first look at him. I think I love him as Batman because he is just a regular guy. He’s not ostentatious, he’s not super serious-he’s cool, composed, and just chill. I love it as you don’t realize who he is until later as he is just so normal. Perfect intro and contrast to when we see how awesome he is as Batman.

So like I said, it is the perfect intro, but it is weird that these reporters don’t know who he is. He’s a gazillionaire and leading philanthropist in the city. I mean Vale gets a somewhat pass as she has just arrived in the city, but Knox should know!

Knox and Vale notice Commissioner Gordon speaking to a police officer. Sensing a story, they try to track him down, but end up in an armory.

Bruce Wayne comes in as they eviscerating his collection. I love it. Who are you-Bruce Wayne.

He compliments them and I can’t get over it. He’s perfect! You would never ever think a guy like this would dress up as a giant bat and run around the city protecting it.

I’m surprised

He starts flirting with Vale but has to run off. The two just can’t get him as he seems so odd? But you know what they say, the rich aren’t odd they are “eccentric.”

Bruce enters his batcave where he goes over the film he shot of the Commissioner, getting the info on what was going on. I like this version because he actually does detective work, rather than in the Christian Bale version when Morgan Freeman solves everything.

Lt. Eckhardt is leading the people who are out to get Jack. Jack, Jack, Jack the first rule of being in a mob, never get with the boss’ gal. Should’ve know.

The police shoot them and gunfire starts between the two in a dangerous warehouse full of chemicals. Gordon shows up with his people as he doesn’t trust Eckhardt. He goes over Eckhardt refusing his order shoot to kill as he wants Jack alive to get the goods.

Jack destroys the warehouse, steam and bullets flying everywhere. But then Batman descends slowly from nowhere. SO COOOL!!!

He uses his batarang to catch one of the criminals. OMG every time I watch this I feel like I go back to the age I was when I first saw this on VHS. I was probably six or seven and after seeing this just thought Batman was SO COOOOL! Still feel this way 20-21 years later.

And that music.

So COOL!!!

Anyways Jack tried to make enough steam to confuse the cops and get out of there, but he didn’t count on the Batman.

I love how he flies in his cape flowing so cool!

WOW!

He catches Jack, using his utility belt to get the gun away, but Jack’s man gets Gordon. Jack picks up his gun to shoot Batman, but he’s gone. So COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!

Sorry, I can’t help it, 6-7 year old me just keeps popping out.

Jack shoots Eckhardt and tries to get Batman, but accidentally mars his own face, Then oops Barman accidentally knocks him into vat of chemicals, he tries to save him but oops, Jack falls in.

Batman throws a fogbomb and is gone! Sooooooooooooo cooooooooooooooool!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So COOL!!!

Vale and Knox are working on the story, but haven’t figured anything out yet. Knox tries to take Vale out, but Wayne asked her first.

Too slow

He invites her to his home for dinner. It always cracks me up- he’s in this ostentatious and gorgeous house, seated at a giant table that could fit 20 and acts like a regular joe. I love it. I love him. Michael Keaton is one of my favorites.

He takes her from the dining table to eating in the kitchen instead. There Alfred tells stories-good job Alfred. Doing what a parent would do.

Vale shares about herself and her family. Bruce tells her how he doesn’t have any family but Alfred. Vale says this house doesn’t seem him-and she’s right. He’s just too normal, not at all like those typical rich guys. And I love it.

So Jack survived his fall and went to the plastic surgeon. The nerves were messed up so the doctor did the best he could, but Jack isn’t happy with it.

Grissom is getting ready for bed when Jack walks in. He pretends he’s happy to see him, but Jack’s not buying it.

They start him off in the shadows so we don’t see what happened yet. But we know-it’s not going to be good!

Grissom reaches for his gun, but Jack has one on him already. He walks into the light and we see-The Joker. White face, green hair, and permanent grin. I think he looks as creepy as he always does.

Jack Nicholson is perfect. He always creeped me out when he looked his regular self and does it double as the joker.

Vale got drunk and stayed the night. She wakes up and sees Bruce doing upside down exercises? Sleeping like a bat? I’m not sure exactly what he was doing. She takes him to bed, but I personally think I would be weirded out by that.

Joker’s thrilled at the death of Grissom but mad that no one in the paper cares about him, even though he’s been the Joker for one night. But any-who, who cares about that logic, he wants fame, glory, and to enact his psychotic vengeance/reality/crime spree on Gotham.

The next morning Vale wakes up and invites Bruce out for lunch, but he’s too busy running “errands” We know what that means-Batman Business.

Meanwhile, Grissom’s gal gets home and finds Joker, fainting. Joker takes over the mafia. He covers his face with paint and tries to look normal-but still looks creepy. One guy challenges him, and Joker kills him, death by hand buzzer. Wow, love that he stays in theme.

Just noticed this boardroom has weird artwork. A lady naked but tied up, her nipples covered by the tie. Then it looks like a nude man’s chest on another wall. Weird art choices.

Weird

Oh Jack Nicholson is so creepy with that extra creepy laugh and creepiness on the side.

Knox is jealous that Vale was with Bruce, while she’s mad because she thinks Bruce just slept with her and then is going to ignore her. She finds nothing in the newspaper files as to who he is-weird as a gazillionaire there should be a gazillion clips- and then she decides to sneak over to his house and follow him.

He is walking down the street, bringing two roses outside an old hotel building. Aw. I know why he does it, but Vale is confused. Who is this guy? What is he doing? Why toss out expensive roses.

Meanwhile, the court trial of Grissom has stalled as no one can find him. Bruce goes to the courthouse when a guy announces he’ll be taking over his business. As he watches the exchange a mime shows up, then another one. Odd.  But are they just mimes?

Hmmm…

Never trust a mime. They are evil.

Then the Joker shows up and challenges the guy trying to take over Grissom’s business. He has a feather pen and uses it to stab and kill him He walks down the stairs in a top hat, spats, and shiny shoes. Man, I love that this joker has style. I like this better than today’s constant brooding , chaos, evil blah blah blah.

Blah, blah

I just love how he acts.

Meanwhile, Bruce spots Vale and storms off angry that she followed him.

The Joker’s angry that after his big show stopper number no one cares about him, they just care about the bat. I love it. I love him as the Joker. He is so evil and fun. They don’t make villains like that now. They are all so serious, brooding, and stiff.

OMG, Bruce has an amazing library! It’s going on my next library list!

Alfred tries to get Bruce to call Vale as she lifts his spirits, but Bruce is all business. He needs to take this joker down!

Vale calls Knox and gets him to check out the alley Bruce laid the roses on. She know it has to mean something but what?

Hmm…

Meanwhile, the Joker starts checking out the photos from the guy he had follow the reporters and falls for Vicki Vale. He wants her as his new gal.

Mh my goodness, I love his one liners.

Back at the Chemical factory, Joker starts working on his master evil plan.

We switch to the news, Action News, who bring up a story of models dying. They became allergic to something? But what? Three more mysterious deaths at a beauty parlor? Then the female news anchor starts going crazy laughing. She faints and is dead too.

Meanwhile, Joker cuts in to the broadcast. He reveals that he has poisoned all the makeup. and he doesn’t just reveal his plan on TV. He does his own infomercial.

THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He does an infomercial about his evil plan of poisoning makeup.

WOW!

Bruce looks into Jack Napier, the Joker. He has an interesting backstory, since 25 his rap sheet has started but he also has studied art, art history, and chemistry.

The next day we see the news anchors with no makeup. Its hilarious! They look tired and haggard a major difference from the day before.

The mayor still wants to celebrate the city’s bicentennial, even though there is a mad man and batman. Crazy mayor.

Ah, Bruce is wearing a cable knit sweater. I love men in sweaters.

So Vale goes to meet Bruce at the art museum, but it was actually a set up so the Joker could get to her. Bruce only found out when Vale called to let him know she would be running late.

She waits, and waits but no Bruce shows up. However, a package does saying urgent in child’s scrawl.

I know Jack probably wasn’t the best student but he really needs to work on an adult handwriting. It is a gas mask and she quickly puts it on as the museum is filled with noxious gas that knocks everyone out.

Joker shows up in a purple coat, purple chef hat, a posse, one dude with a boombox playing music as he robs the museum. I LOVE IT! This film. I can’t get over it!

This Joker is awesome and the kind of crazy, illogical, chaos that I love.

They don’t steal the art but destroy it.

He switches his dance music to “romance”. He looks at her portfolio and call it crap. Wow, you sure know how to romance a lady.

The only one he does like is of the dead body. He knows real art as he is:

“Joker: I am the world’s fully functional homicidal artist.”

Can you imagine if you had the Joker, Norman Bates as his mother, Jason, Michael Myers, and the other psychos all stuck together in a therapy group. Someone needs to make this into a film or short.

Joker’s former girlfriend comes wearing her mask, her face marred from the Joker as “a living piece of art”. Jack questions Vale about Batman.

I can’t get over his one liners!

“Vicki Vale: You’re crazy.

Joker: I thouht I was a pisces.”

He tries to get her to spill on batman and almost sprays acid on her face. Just when all hope seems lost, Batman comes crashing through and swings Vale to safety, crashing out the doors. SOO COOOL!

Wow!

OMG, that Batmobile! Sigh. SOOOOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got to see it person at the Ca State fair once. It’s Amazing!

The Joker’s people drive a purple car with a green top. I just love how committed he is to his theme. I miss stuff like that in modern superhero films.

Vale and Batman ditch the car, shield coming up it as he can’t drive through the street. Vale tosses her shoes and they run for it.

Batman and Vale face an alley with no way out. He asks her how much she weighs, not cool batman.

Uh oh

He sends her up to safety and stays behind to fight the guys. They shoot him, and one guy says “Who’s this guy?” The one guy says to check his wallet. Like Batman is really going to by carrying a wallet or a credit card or something.

Flashes to Batman and Robin I know I made that joke on purpose.

Sorry!

Anyways, his body armor protects him and he take these goons out. AWESOME fight scene!!!!! Vale photographs the whole thing, although where was she carrying her camera. Her bag was tiny, but whatever.

Huh?

Batman calls his ride and Batman tells her she weighs more than 108 lbs, Haha. That makes me laugh.

They car picks them up and they drive out to the Nightmare Before Christmas wood Seriously with the Elfman soundtrack I expect to see the gate to Halloween land.

Batman drives off in silence, leaves flying as he races down the highway. SOO COOOOOL!!!!!!

I love how Vale is totally creeped out. Like adrenaline and fear kept her going, but now she’s like I don’t know this dude he could be taking me to his torture cave. She’s seriously freaked out.

Batman takes her to the batcave which is a dumb idea. You don’t take a reporter to your secret cave. In fact as a superhero you shouldn’t date a reporter! Especially one who is investigating both of you-superhero and secret identity. Batman’s Achilles heel.

Seriously dude!

He reveals what he knows as he wants her to print it. I love how he hides in the shadows. I love how Vicky is curious but uncertain.

The screen fades to black and bats and Vale wakes up passed out on her bed. Did he drug her?

Not cool bats.

She gives the newspaper what Batman gave her and its printed. Deodorants with baby powder, lipstick, and hairspray are all infected.

Joker is not so angry but hurt that Batman figured it out. I love it!

I love this movie. Sorry Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, Zach Synder, and others. This movie is better than yours.

Sorry, not sorry!

Bruce goes to see Vale who gives him a cool reception. She was saved by Batman and you didn’t call after your night. She’s kinda over you.

This sucks for superheroes they are always competing with themselves for a girl.

Bruce tries to tell Vale about his “secret life” but it sounds like he is a creep or bipolar or has a weird love/torture room thing.

This scene is so funny. He is speaking gibberish and just sounds crazy . I love it. You know Vale is really nice, I would just been like you’re crazy get your butt outta here.

But before he can make any sense, someone rings the doorbell.

The Joker shows up and is angry that she has a “boyfriend”.

He tells Joker off and insulting him, egging him on, distracts him and pulls the fireplace poker out.

The Joker: Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Bruce Wayne: What?

The Joker: I always ask that of all my prey. I just… like the sound of it. [shoots him]

And the Joker shoots him. Bruce is dead!

Joker says goodbye and Vale cries, she dressed appropriately in black. How did she know a death would come?

But when she turns around Bruce is gone, her silver tray on the ground. He put it under his shirt and used it as armor.

SOOOO COOOL! And definitely a nod to the 39 Steps.

Vale opens the box and there is a Jack in the box hand with dead flowers. She goes to the newspaper office and Knox reveals Bruce’s sad backstory to Vale.

Meanwhile, Bruce is in he batcave. That saying that the Joker told him rally shook him up. He starts looking through the file on his parents. Hmm…how does this connect? (I know how I just like asking rhetorical questions)

Joker cuts into the broadcast again. “You guys have said some really mean things, some of which are true.” He has the best one liners.

Wow!

He announces that a midnight he will dump $20 million on the city. He announces this in PBS Masterpiece Theater style in a fancy old fashioned armchair and sweater vest. This guy. He calls out Batman to meet him and basically challenges him to a duel.

We then see a flashback of Bruce and his parents coming home from the theater.  Why they are walking and don’t have a car waiting when they are uber rich I don’t know. That makes the least bit of sense actually in all of this. Why walk down an alley. Why not have a car waiting?

How does this make any sense?!!

They get approached by a thug who steals his mother’s pearls and another who shoots them dead. The shooter asks Bruce:

“The Joker: You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

It was him, it was Jack. That guy looks just like that guy.

Vale storms to the batcave. How she figured it out when she is like the worst reporter, I don’t know. And like I said THIS IS WHY YOU DO’T DATE REPORTERS INVESTIGATING YOU OR BRING THEM TO YOUR SECRET HIDEOUT!!!

This was always my least favorite part. I love you stop doing this blah, blah. Vale you hardly know him.

He dresses in epic fashion. Gets going in his batmoblie, and speeds down to the warehouse, shoot the door down SOOOO COOOOOOOOL!!!!

Batmobile drops a bomb, and all are taken out at the factory. Batmobile continues down the fire and smoke. The factoy is destroyed, but the Joker is in a helocopter.

The Joker holds his own parade with ’80s music blasting. He dances on his float, OMG I love how the Joker has style. I love this movie.

Like seriously, he is Ferris Buellering it up, while his minions toss money int the street. But it isn’t real money, it is bills with his face on them. Which means, he must have some kind of evil plan, but what?

Joker says he giving money but where is Batman, and boom here he comes, flying overhead. Everyone puts masks on releasing noxious fumes from one of his balloons.

Vicky gets good pics While everyone is going crazy. Luckily Knox has a mask in his trunk and a baseball bat as he goes after the minions. He puts Vicky in the car, but that can’t really help her as air gets in the car. She should be going crazy too. It’s not like a car is air proof.

Weird

She  realizes this and drives off, hitting Knox and knocking him onto the hood, and into trash cans. Knox gets a cut on the side of his face. Ouch. Dang Vale.

Batman goes flying into the parade taking the balloons with him. Joker is seriously hurt that he stole his balloons. This cracks me up. I love this movie.

He so upset after Batman shoots his “number one guy” he needs a minute or two alone. OMG he cracks me up.

Batman goes flying down, missiles launched taking out the float. He launches it into Joker then misses because he has honor.

Joker pulls a gun out and shoots Batman from the sky with his giant gun.

His plan crashes and Vale goes charging after him. The plane is destroyed and Joker takes his giant shotgun, and Vale up into the church.

But Batman is alive, it takes more than bullets, crashed plane, fire, and a possible concussion to stop him (just kidding about concussion, he wears a helmet.)

Batman goes after them and knocks all the pews down in the church. Like this does nothing to help Vicky and to be honest it is kinda a jerky thing to do as the ushers are going to have to pick them all up next church service.

The joker forces Vicky up the staircase, like out of Vertigo, Batman follows, the police behind him.

Joker has her in the belltower, and shoots acid at the bell causing it to crash down and destroy the stairs. The police won’t save her, but Batman isn’t going to let a thing like no stairs stop him.

He’s Batman!

The police shine their searchlights at the top of the old church. Now it is time for the final showdown between Joker and Batman.

One minion really gets the punches in there and throws him over, but he’s batman, he uses his utility belt to get up and knock that guy over.

Joker continues dancing while batman stalks by. Vale spots him and distracts the Joker by kissing him.

You’re so powrful and purple, I  love purple. She ducks down and is she…? But Batman comes storming in.

Joker says you made me, but Batman counters with you made me.

WOW!

He pits glasses on and says you wouldn’t hit a guy with glasses. He manages to push both Vale and batman over the edge. They are hanging on the side of the building.

Is this he end?

Joker steps on the church’s old bricks trying to get it come crashing down on the two. His helicopter comes and it looks like it is the end.

Batman has one more thing, he shoots a batarang that gets the joker caught on a gargoyle. They can’t pull him up and  when they pull the gargoyle out, ouch as it is pulling down on is leg.

Joker can’t hold the weight, slips, and goes crashing down. So does the church roof, but Batman and Vale are saved.

The police gather around Joker’s body and  that’s his end of the reign of terror.

At the next press conference, thy reveal Batman gave them the bat signal to call him if they were ever in need. Vale walks off and looks up to the sky, then sees her man’s butler in his fancy car. And that is the amazing Batman (1989)

And just cause:

To start Horrorfest VIII from the beginning, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Batman, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series (1992)

For more Tim Burton films, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more film-noir, go to This Is Fate We’re Talking About, and If Fate Works At All, It Works Because People Think That THIS TIME, It Isn’t Going to Happen!: Dead Again (1991)

For more Nostalgia Critic, go to Ever Heard of the Tommyknockers?: The Tommyknockers (1993)

Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

It’s Time for an Animated Film!

Every year we review an animated film and this year it is:

I’ll always look back on that first with the most fondness; my introduction to Basil of Baker Street, the great mouse detective

So guess what guys! Bonus Disney film and bonus Vincent Price!

This was one of my upmost favorite films growing up. I don’t think I could ever fully explain how amazing this film is-it is just too good.

So the original story is a book Basil of Baker Street, which was awful-don’t read it. Instead, when Disney went into production they borrowed from The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and other of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.

As my costume this year was Sherlock Jane Holmes Austen, I knew I had to review it.

Mystery, you say?

The main character Basil of Baker Street is a mousified version of Sherlock Holmes-a mix of Leslie Howard and Basil Rathbone (where his name comes from). This film not only has a great main character but the best Disney villain of all time, Ratigan.

Played by Vincent Price-this guy gives Professor Moriarty (Sherlock’s archnemsis) a real run for his money.

This film starts of with father and daughter-Hiram and Olivia Flaversham. Hiram is a toy inventor and is celebrating with the apple of his eye, Olivia. Unfortunately, her birthay is interrupted with intruders.

He quickly hides his daughter and then is kidnapped. 

Meanwhile, in London, Dr. David Q. Dawson has just arrived from Afghanistan, newly retired from the war. He’s looking for a place to stay and to begin his practice.

Dr. Dawson: Little did I know that my life was about to change forever.

He sees little Olivia trying to make her way down the street without being run over, and feels sorry for her. She tells him she is looking for the famous detective, and shows him a newspaper clipping. He agrees to help her, and off they go.

When they arrive at 221 1/2 Baker Street, Basil is not there. They decide to wait when they are interrupted by a strange looking mouse.

Yes, it is Basil of Baker Street, the Great Mouse Detective.

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Olivia tries to talk to him, but he ignores her…until she mentions a certain little fact:

Olivia Flaversham: I didn’t lose him. He was taken by a bat.

Basil: Did you say… bat?

Olivia Flaversham: Yes.

Basil: Did he have a crippled wing?

Olivia Flaversham: I don’t know, but he had a peg leg.

Basil: Ha!

Dr. Dawson: I say, do you know him?

Basil: Know him? That bat, one Fidget by name, is in the employ of the very fiend that was the target of my experiment! The horror of my every waking moment. The nefarious Professor Ratigan!

Dr. Dawson: Ratigan?

Basil: He’s a genius, Dawson. A genius twisted for evil. The Napoleon of crime!

Dr. Dawson: As bad as all that, eh?

Basil: Worse! For years I’ve tried to capture him, and I’ve come close, so very close, but each time he’s narrowly evaded my grasp! Not a corner of London is safe while Ratigan is at large. There’s no evil scheme he wouldn’t concoct. No depravity he wouldn’t commit. Who knows what dastardly scheme that villain may be plotting even as we speak.

From here we fade out to take a look at the villain-Ratigan (Vincent Price). His plan is to have Haversham create a toy mouse Queen, kidnap the real Queen, and use his toy/puppet to rule all mousedom. After his amazing reveal and we have THE BEST VILLAN SONG OUT OF ALL THE DISNEY VILLAN SONGS!!

So debonair, so evil, so classy, so demented, etc. He has it all. Fantastic!

Meanwhile, Fidget goes looking for the girl and to find out what Basil has unearthed. They spot him and the chase is on-after a quick stop to Sherlock Holmes’ flat (Sherlock Holmes speaks with the voice of Basil Rathbone. Since Rathbone was already deceased it was edited from his reading of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Caedmon Records in 1966).

In the flat they pick up Toby, a dog, and track Fidget down to a toy store:

Olivia is stolen, but luckily they found the list and Basil uses al his power of deduction to find Ratigan’s lair.

It is time to suit up and head out. The two disguise themselves as sailors and head down to a tavern on the waterfront.

Bar Maid: What’ll you have?

Dr. Dawson: I’ll have a dry sherry, with, oh, perhaps a twist of…

Basil: Two pints for me and my shipmate. Oh, by the way. We just got into port. We’re looking for an old friend of mine. Maybe you know him. Goes by the name… of Ratigan! [Everyone at the bar gasps and turn to Basil]

Bar Maid: I… never heard of him.

Basil is on high alert and notices that the drinks have been roofied. But it is too late for Dawson who causes a giant scene:

When I was a kid I never noticed how racy this was. It almost didn’t make it in the final cut. I just remember enjoying the song.

Oh, well

So they get out of there and follow Fidget, but it turns out to be a trap. Ratigan has outwitted Basil. He takes his robot Queen, the Flavershams, and his crew and set off to fulfill his evil plan.

Let’s stop and talk about how awesome this scene is:

  1. Ratigan’s enthusiasm and how he can’t settle on one so he does all his ideas.
  2. How Basil figures out this plan and incorporates it, calculating in like a minute.
  3. When he is free the first thing he does is change back into his “uniform”.
  4. Basil catches Olivia as she is thrown through the air just like that.
  5. And he stops to have his picture taken.

Meanwhile, Ratigan has fooled the queen, abducted her, and has established his Robot Queen who has given him all the power.

Ratigan: I have the power!

Robot Queen: Of course you do.

Ratigan: I am supreme!

Robot Queen: Only you.

Ratigan: This is my kingdom! [maniacal laugh] That is, of course, with your highness’ permission. [the robot is idle; Ratigan slaps it to start it again]

Robot Queen: Most assuredly… you insidious fiend.

Ratigan: What?

Robot Queen: You’re not my royal consort!

Ratigan: [to crowd] Such a sense of humor.

Robot Queen: You’re a cheap fraud & impostor!

Ratigan: [under his breath] Flaversham!

Basil: [operating the robot] A corrupt, vicious, demented, lowlife scoundrel. There’s no evil scheme you wouldn’t concoct. [the robot goes crazy and breaks apart]

Robot Queen: No depravity you wouldn’t commit. You, professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known as a…

Ratigan: Don’t say it!

Basil: …Sewer rat!

Yes Basil came in just the nick of time. Ratigan escapes with Olivia and Basil and Dawson are on the train again. Basil crashes into Ratigan and they wind up in Big Ben and we have one of the most amazing scenes in Big Ben-and one of the scariest.

Back at Baker Street Hiram and Olivia leave to go home and get back to their lives-

Olivia Flaversham: Goodbye, Basil. [sniffles] I… I’ll never forget you.

Basil: Nor I you, Miss… Miss Flangerhanger.

Dr. Dawson: [chuckles] Whatever.

Afterwards, Dawson is going to go about what he originally planed t do, but Basil likes having a best friend.

Dr. Dawson: Well, it’s time I was on my way too.

Basil: But… umm… but I thought…

Dr. Dawson: Well, the case is over, and perhaps… well perhaps it’s best I found my own living quarters.

Basil: But…[Knock on doorOh, now who could that be?

[Dawson opens door; a lady mouse is standing there]

Lady Mouse: Is this the home of the famous Basil of Baker Street?

Dr. Dawson: Indeed it is, miss. You look as if you’re in some kind of trouble.

Lady Mouse: Oh, I am. I am.

Dr. Dawson: Then you have come to precisely the right place.

Basil: Ah, allow me to introduce my trusted associate Dr. Dawson, with whom I do all of my cases. Isn’t that right, doctor?

Dr. Dawson: Oh? Why, yes. By all means.

Basil: As you can see, Dawson, this young lady is from the Hampstead district, and is troubled about the mysterious disappearance of an emerald ring in the third finger of her right hand. Now, tell me the story, and pray, be precise.

And that is just the beginning-many more adventures are to cme. Although sadly they didn’t make any more movies. I don’t know why not!

It is such an amazing film, and I watched it over and over and over again as a child.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more The Great Mouse Detective, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more private investigators, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more Vincent Price, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Disney films, go to One Who Was Both Hero and Villain: Maleficent (2014)

Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

Those men are not going to stand for Nancy Drew poking her little nose into their affairs.

First saw this when I was staying in Wyoming. I was renting a room from a family and was happy to see they had cable as my family had gotten rid of it years ago. Finally I could watch TCM!

And what did they happen to be showing?  1930s Nancy Drew Marathon!

So Nancy Drew was published in 1930 and became extremely popular. The film rights were bought and movie contract for a few films starring Bonita Granville.

They do get one thing wrong instead of Ned, he is “Ted” Nickerson. Why? Don’t know.

This book is based on the Nancy Drew Mystery The Password to Larkspur Lane with a few changes here and there. That’s enough background:

Nancy Drew is the chairman of the committee presenting Miss Mary Eldridge an award. Mary Eldridge is donating to her old alma mater-$250,000 ($4.4 million in today’s cash). She plans to go and sign the papers at Carson Drew’s (Nancy’s dad) office after they finish this meeting. The money is to go to a swimming pool-the girls vote.

Great choices

The next day wait for Miss Elridge-planning on presenting her with a trophy. But she doesn’t come. She has ran away.

It all so odd.

Suspicious

The lawyer, Mr. Hollister, says that she is a hypochondriac and very eccentric. She does stuff like this all the time. Does she really?

Hmm…

All the ladies become angry that they won’t get their pool and turn on Nancy and Mrs. Eldridge. Nancy thinks something more serious is up and sets on to find her.

Nancy is out driving to Mrs. Elridge and spots something, in her rearview mirror: it is Dr. Spires being kidnapped! She follows the car and tries to get the license plate but it is so muddy all she sees os a “08”. She then gets a blowout and the chase is over.

Ugh

Dr. Spires calls Mr. Drew leaving him a cryptic message and that he needs him to come right away.

When they get there Dr. Spires tells them his story. He was kidnapped and brought to an old house, were he was blindfolded and only saw the inside. Inside was an injured elderly woman being held against her will and he treated her hurt shoulder. They let him go but he saw nothing and knows not how to find them. All he does know is when they came to the gate one of the guards said the word bluebell. They threatened his life if he told but he risks letting Carson know.

When the Drews leave Dr. Spires, two guys are watching them and decide to follow the duo.

The two don’t realize they are being followed and head to the police, the two men knowing that Dr. Spires let the truth out…

Captain Tweedy, (Frank Orth), the police chief, is no real help. Nancy is much smarter than him, and Tweedy feels there is nothing he can work off on.

Sorry, can’t help you. Good-bye.

I love how quick Nancy’s mind it, and how sarcastic she can be. She doesn’t like Captain Tweedy and neither do I.

Nancy and Mr. Drew discover a car is following them and Nancy does evasive measures and tries to follow them, but Mr. Drew essentially “grounds” her from investigating. But will Nancy listen?

Meanwhile, next-door neighbor Ted Nickerson (Frankie Thomas) is practicing for football and runs into Nancy’s yard. Ned Ted’s friend Spud Murphy comes over to speak to Ned as he found a carrier pigeon on his coop, but it isn’t his bird. He wants Ted to announce the pigeon over his radio. Nancy looks at the message and sees that it says “shoulder okay bluebells”

Nancy knows it is important evidence and leaves the bird with Ted for safekeeping while she goes to her father with the new evidence. But Dad doesn’t want her involved anymore-Dr. Spires was badly beaten, and he doesn’t want that to happen to his daughter.

Nancy returns to Ted and wants to take the pigeon to the police, but she isn’t allowed to go alone-per her father. Ted makes a coop in two seconds for the pigeon.

Now I didn’t care for the Ted character. I thought he was just mean and rude, and seemed to just be a big grump. Yuck.

They head out and drop the coop, the pigeon flying out. Ted tries to catch it, but Nancy wants it to fly away as she wants to follow it. She’s tricky. She did it all on purpose.

They follow a pigeon to a house that is described as Dr. Spires said except for watchman. She leaves Ted there to stand watch while she calls for backup. The police arrive, full force and rush the house. But all they find is Mrs. Eldridge business partner. Hmmm….

Hmm…

They all turn on Nancy saying she must have imagined everything. They all head to the coop in the back to find the proof-Nancy’s pigeon. But they can’t find it and just insult her instead.

Everyone leaves, but Mr. Hollister does have the pigeon. He is writing notes and he warns his cohort that the “Drew girl” is up to stuff.

It turns out that these men kidnapped Mrs. Eldridge and want her money to go to them not the school. Mrs. Eldridge tried to get away and they dislocated her shoulder.

Nancy is embarrassed, but goes after Dr. Spires to speak to him. He describes going ovr a bridge and a gravel driveway-he was blindfolded the whole time but knows this from the sounds he heard.

Hmmm….

Nancy realizes they went to the wrong house-Ned pointing out the pigeon was going to deliver a message. If they wanted to see where he came from they should have gone the opposite direction. They run the figures and discover the house should be by Silver Lake-right where Ted is heading the next day for a family trip.

Their musings are interrupted when they see a man trying to break into Nancy’s house-it’s just her father who forgot his key.

They try to open the door, but it won’t. It was barricaded. The look for the housekeeper and she tells them a man with a gun tried to get in earlier so she piled the furniture and hid.

The man is still in the house. He has a gun and holds them all at gunpoint and warns them to stay out of it. He then leaves.

Mr. Carson plans to leave town as they have news of Mrs. Eldridge in a sanitarium in St. Louis. Nancy is shocked as that doesn’t seem right, what about Silver Lake? Nancy invites herself on the Nickerson family trip as her gut is telling her the answer lies at Silver Lake.

Up at the lake three days they have searched and found nothing. Ted wants her to give it up, but Nancy doesn’t want but then gets a note from her father that he found Mrs. Elridge. It’s over.

Nancy spots Mr. Hollister at Silver Lake-even though he is supposed to be with her father in St. Louis. To make it even more intriguing, he jumps into the car that kidnapped Dr. Spires.

They rent a plane and search for the house.To get in Ned dresses up as a nurse and Nancy as an old lady. When they search the home they find Mrs. Elridge. It turns out hat the night before she was to make the donation she became sick. An they took her away in a plan to steal all her money.

They try to drive off to escape but are discovered. All are kidnapped and sent back to the sanitarium.

They stick the kids in the basement and they try to find a way out of their predicament. Ted finds an old X-Ray machine, and he hot-wires it to send out Morse Code.

Meanwhile, Carson Drew is bak and very suspicious of the lawyer as things do not match up with what he had said. He goes to Chief Tweedy when they get the message from Ted.They hurry out and go on their way to find them.

The crew is taking care of loose ends, when they are loading them into the car-Ned knocks into one who drops their gun. Nancy picks it up and shoots at all the guys scaring them off until the police arrive.

Wow. In the end all’s well that end’s well.

I recommend it, and the following films. It is extremely enjoyable.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Nowhere to Hyde: Scooby-Doo Where Are You? (1970)

For more Nancy Drew, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more private detectives, go to The Murderer is Never the One You Initially Suspect: Crooked House (2017)

For more kidnapping, go to What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006)

The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

Dial M For Murder

Do you really believe in the perfect murder? Mmm, yes, absolutely.

So after years of his absence from my Horrorfest countdowns, I have finally included Alfred Hitchcock in not one, not two, but three posts.

Double double yay

Alfred Hitchcock is my favorite director. He was influential in creating new ways of filming psychological thrillers, he is often credited for creating the true horror genre/slasher film with Psycho (1960), and was just a pure cinematic genius. He is just amazing.

Awesome

Dial “M” For Murder is one of his highly known films (although not as known as Vertigo or Psycho). It has been referenced or parodied in countless films and TV shows. In the ’90s they even remade the film under the title A Perfect Murder. It starred Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Viggo Mortenson; but it wasn’t nearly as good.

MeanGirls I know right!

This film also started Hitchcock’s filming relationship with Grace Kelly. This film was crucial in her career as it made her stand out not only to Alfred Hitchcock but other directors as well, a huge step to becoming a permanent leading lady. After this film she starred in Hitchcock’s Rear Window and To Catch a Thief. Hitchcock was impressed with her ideas and thoughts on the script in how a woman would act (especially regarding clothing), that after this film he allowed her to make all her own wardrobe decisions. She, like Audrey Hepburn,  quickly became known for her style and class. But that wasn’t the only thing that Hitchcock found attractive, he really liked her and fell for her; but she wouldn’t give him the time of day, (romantically that is). (For more information on Hitchcock and his leading ladies, I strongly suggest the book Spellbound by Beauty by Donald Spoto. It’s an amazing read!) And sadly she had to retire from acting at an early age as she married the Prince of Monaco. However short a career, it was an amazing one.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

This film also reunited Hitchcock and Robert Cummings, who had starred in an earlier film, Saboteur (1942).  In this film Cummings plays an important role, but a smaller one than his earlier collaboration.

This film is also the only Hitchcock film to ever be shot in 3-D. In the 1950s, 3-D was super popular, so popular that some people came up with the idea of Smell-O-Vision to beat it (I’m serious!). Hitchcock didn’t want to shoot in 3-D, but until the late 1960s, studios had a lot more pull and Warner Bros. wanted it. Hitchcock obliged, although it did cause a few issues for him as he had to rework his known style to incorporate what 3-D was able to accomplish at the time.

So the film is based on the play of the same name Frederick Knott, and he also helped write the screenplay. It is set in England and as  you can guess from the poster, the phone plays a huge role in this film as well. That really seems to be a theme this month. I swear that wasn’t planned.

Oops!

Oops!

Well here we go!

DialM1954-WB-still

So before I start the film, let me give you the background on the characters. Now as you watch the film things are revealed to you, but it’s easier for me to give them at the start.

So we have a couple, Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) and his wife Margot (Grace Kelly). Tony was a huge tennis star and met Margot when he was competing. She comes from a very wealthy family. The two were married and Margot convinced him to give up competing as she didn’t like him being away. He complied and now sells sports equipment. However, as he no longer is the dashing tennis star, she lost interest in him and had an affair with Mark Halliday (Robert Cummings) an American Crime writer.

keanu Whoa

As the film starts out we have Margot and Mark in a very cozy embrace.

BMW Kiss

“Margot Mary Wendice: Let me get you another drink. Mark, before Tony comes I ought to explain something.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I’ve been waiting for that.

Margot Mary Wendice: I haven’t told him anything about us.”

Margot tells Mark that she burned all his letters, except one. That one was stolen by a blackmailer who demanded payment, but he never picked up the money or returned the letter. She is worried that her husband will find out.

Mark has a completely different reaction to the news.

whoCares

He wants them to tell Tony all about the affair so that Margot can get a divorce and the two can marry. Margot doesn’t want to as “she feels bad” about hurting “Tony’s feelings”.

dial-m-for-murder-1954

Now I’m no expert, but if the person doesn’t want to break up the relationship, it seems to me that they want, to quote an old cliché, “have their cake and eat it too.” I think Margot likes the respectability of her marriage and doesn’t want the divorce scandel, but at the same time is heavily intrigued by Mark. And who can blame her? Robert Cummings is a looker.

Saboteur

Photo from Saboteur

That night Tony is introduced to Mark, him being Margot’s “friend”. The two discuss Mark’s profession.

Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?

Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.

Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.

Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?

Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.

Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?

Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.

Tony Wendice: Hmm.

Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.”

Tony invites Mark to join him for a tennis party, and Mark agrees. Its all men, so Margot will be staying home. After a bit more pleasantries Margot and Mark leave to go out “as friends” to a theatre show that Tony didn’t want to see, while Tony stays home to “work” on some stuff.

dial m for murder

After they leave, he calls up an old friend. Swann (going by the name Captain Lesgate) from his old Cambridge days. He brings him there under false pretenses of wanting to purchase a vehicle from him. He then tells Swann that he wants him to murder his wife.

Say What

“Tony Wendice: One thousand pounds in cash.

C.A. Swann: For a murder?

Tony Wendice: For a few minutes work, that’s all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.”

Tony then goes on to tell Swann a story.

dial-m-for-murder-1954-alfred-hitchcock-cummings-milland-plan-murder

Tony only married Margot for her money, and it really injures his pride to see her cheating on him and tossing him over like an old shoe. He followed her one day and discovered the affair.

800__shadow_of_a_doubt_blu-ray_04_intense stare angry upset mad creep

He wanted to kill Mark.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

He then moved to the idea of murdering his wife. But things changed…

“Tony Wendice: It’s funny to think that just a year ago, I sat in that Knightsbridge Pub actually planning to murder her. And I might have done it, if I hadn’t seen something that changed my mind.

C.A. Swann: Well? What did you see?

Tony Wendice: I saw you.”

Back in the day, Swann was always getting into trouble for all kinds of stuff, and it struck Tony that he could commit the perfect murder. He then began extensive planning. He has been collecting £1000 over the year, under the guise of racetrack betting, etc.; compiling the money for such a purpose.

He even went to great lengths to get one of the letters from Mark and pretended to blackmail her. With Mark back in town he has set up the whole scenario on how to murder her even planning to use Mark as an alibi, as being the husband he will be the first suspect. All he needs is someone to do it for him. He has a lot of information on Swann’s background (as he has been tracking him) and uses it to blackmail him into completing his murderous plot. And he has to do it tomorrow.

He reveals his perfect plan.

“Tony Wendice: At exactly three minutes to eleven, you’ll enter the house through the street door. You’ll find the key to this door under the stair carpet here.

C.A. Swann: The fifth step?

Tony Wendice: That’s the one. Go straight to the window, and hide behind the curtains. At exactly eleven o’clock, I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss. I shall dial the wrong number. This number. That’s all I shall do.”

His wife will answer the phone, and then Swann can strangle her and leave through the french windows.

perfect plan

Swann agrees to the plot as he feels he has no other choice in the matter. Tony is estatic as everything seems to be going along perfectly.

thats-how-its-done

But then things start falling apart. Margot doesn’t want to stay home. She is thinking of going out to dinner and seeing a movie. Mark thinks it’s a great idea but Tony convinces her to stay home.

“Margot Mary Wendice: Don’t make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Tony Wendice: Doing nothing? Why there are hundreds of things you can do. Have you written to Peggy, thanking her for the weekend? And what about those clippings? It’s an ideal opportunity.

Margot Mary Wendice: Well I like that. You two go gallivanting while I stay home and do those boring clippings.”

dial M for murder

Before Tony leaves, he stills Margot’s key from her bag and puts it in the marked hiding place. Keeping his key in his pocket, he and Mark leave for the party.

Back at the home, Margot has been working hard on her scrapbooking. She eventually goes to bed, putting everything away…at least almost everything. She actually forgets the scissors and leaves them by the phone.

That night everything starts being put into motion. Swann enters the place the same way that Tony planned it out. He leaves the key under the stair and hides behind the curtains waiting for the phone.

However, back at the party, things aren’t quite going as planned.

Stupid, stupid

Stupid, stupid

Tony’s watch stops and he has to ask for the time, finding out that it is actually past 11:00.

What!

He hurries to the pay phone and makes the call, hoping that everything else goes accordingly. Margot gets up to answer the phone. As she is talking, Swann reaches out to strangle her.

dial-m for murder strangle grace kelly

But instead of overpowering her like he’s supposed to, Margot ends up getting him. As the two are struggling, she reaches for something…anything to stop him. She ends up grabbing the scissors and stabbing him with them, completely killing him.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

Margot is a mess and is freakin’ out. I can’t blame her, someone is trying to murder you and you kill them.

I don't know what to do

Tony tells her to touch nothing and wait for him. He’s on his way over.

As he heads over Tony freaks out. His plans have failed. But then something comes to him. A new plan, a way to fix things.

Its-so-crazy it just mightwork

He decides to make it look like Swann was blackmailing Margot and that she murdered him rather than self-defense. He calls the police and sends Margot to bed. He then plants Mark’s letter in Swann’s coat, takes the key and puts it back in Margot’s handbag, and burns the scarf that Swann was going to use, replacing it with Margot’s stocking. He then tells Margot to make sure she doesn’t tell the police that he told her not to call the police. He’s worried how it might make her look. However, Tony is plotting very well, and the police begin to strongly suspect her.

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

The police figure out that Swann did not come through the French Windows. He must have come through the hall, as it rained the night before. If he had come through the garden there would be muddy footprints. Inspector Hubbard (John Williams) strongly suspects Margot and believes her to be the killer. We cut to a scene showing Margot on trial amd sentenced to be hanged.

perfect plan

Except thing are not quite perfect.  There are quite a few things Tony didn’t plan. One of which was getting rid of the money. As Tony mentioned, he’s been drawing a lot of money out of his bank every week, pretending to spend it on racehorses. He had planned to give it to Swann, but now is at a loss. He can’t put it back in the bank as there would be too many questions. He can’t keep it, if the police find it, it’s all over for him.

I don't know what to do

So he tries to spend it all. Unbeknowest to him, the police are watching him very carefully. And they notice this.

Months later, on the night before Margot’s execution,  Mark comes to speak to Tony. He tells him that instead of letting Margot die, he should say that he tried to murder her. That he hired Swann. This will give him some jail time but save Margot’s life. Tony does not want to do that.

Dial M for murder mark, tony, inspector hubble

Inspector Hubbard comes back to the flat to question Tony some more about the money he’s been spending. Mark hears this and starts searching, finding the briefcase full of money.

What!

Tony thinks of a lie quickly and says that this was the money Margot had to give to Swann, but then changed her mind and killed him. The Inspector listens and takes his comment as fact…or does he?

Everyone's a suspect!

Hmm…

Now, if Tony was really smart he would have made up a different lie. I would have said that I realized there was nothing between me and Margot and was planning on leaving her. However, I knew that I wouldn’t get much money in the divorce (he signed a prenup), so I’ve been taking some money out, bit by bit. When the murder happened, I knew it would come to light and was afraid that it might put me in a bad light or under suspicion. I mean its not the perfect excuse, but at least it shows he wasn’t going to kill her as why remove money when he was planning on getting it all. But he doesn’t think that way.

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

This makes the inspector highly suspicious of Tony and he steals the key from Margot’s purse, intent on sneaking in and investigating.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Hold on, that is illegal. He doesn’t have a search warrant or permission to be searching the house. Anything he finds will be immaterial and thrown out of court. I looked it up and  this is what it said:

By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass.No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.

So technically, anything he finds can not be used in a court of law. That’s it, Tony is allowed to go free.

TheEnd_Title_2

But of course this is a movie, and things go differently. Inspector Hubble discovers that the key in the purse does not work on the front door. He instead finds it under the stair carpet. This gives him the great idea of creating a little trick to discover if Tony is the true killer.

John Williams (Chief Inspector Hubbard) Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Inspector visits Tony and steals his raincoat, leaving his own, therefore taking Tony’s key. He calls the station and asks them to release Margot. She immediately returns home, but finds out that her key won’t work. Hubbard watches her and discovers that she does not know the key is under the stairs. The Inspector let’s her in and gets a policeman to take the bag back to the station. They then begin to wait for Tony.

perfect plan

Tony comes home from his errands and finds that he can’t get inside. His coat belongs to Inspector Hubble and he has the wrong key. When Tony discovers his key doesn’t fit, he goes down to the station to get Margot’s bag. When that key doesn’t fit, he looks under under the stairs and finds the key, giving himself away.

dun-dun-duuuun

Tony enters and figures out they caught him. Being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t fight them. He knows when he has been defeated.

Tony Wendice: [pouring a drink] As you said Mark, it might work out on paper, but congratulations, Inspector. Oh, by the way… How about you, Margot?

Margot Mary Wendice: Yes, I could do with something.

Tony Wendice: Mark?

Mark Halliday: So could I.

Tony Wendice: I suppose you’re still on duty, Inspector.

TheEnd_Title_2

It;s a great movie, despite the small legality issue, but otherwise an amazing film. I definitely recommend it.

1954dialmformurder

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to What Have We Done to Each Other?

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For more on Dial “M” for Murder, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on Alfred Hitchcock, go to The Past of a Man

For more on blackmail, go to Secrets are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more films based on a play, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime