Saturday, May 8, 2010

Polishing Off Matinee #3!

"Polishing Off" is a phrase affectionately used by Mr. Tod Slaughter in many of his films, as in to "polish off" a patron in Sweeney Todd means to cut his throat and send him downstairs to meat pie heaven. I have been polishing off the programs and posters for the Matinee 3 series and you can view the entire line-up Here.

One of my missions, as mentioned in an earlier blog, is to spread the joy of Slaughter-dom to the uninitiated. To that end (pun) drop everything and go watch Tod Slaughter At Home. This 1936 short shows Mr. Slaughter off at his best, laughing maniacally throughout. A sign outside his door reads "Sweeney Tod Slaughter," alluding to the curious connection between his name and his most famous role. The over-the-top humor continues when a newsreel photographer enters to film his subject but is strapped in a barber chair for a shave. A scantily clad young lady wanders in from a neighboring set so that Tod can carve out an unexpected present for the barber victim. Leonard Maltin commented: "This is GREAT! Thanks for leading me to it!"

And I feel great about my decision this week to add Tod Slaughter's Crimes at the Dark House (1940) to week 11 of my third Saturday Matinee series. I just acquired excellent material on the film, which led to the inclusion, but I also feel it is his most enjoyable film for audiences today. In the first scene Tod creeps up on a sleeping man and pounds a spike into his brain! He then impersonates the man back in England to claim his estate and promised bride while murdering his numerous enemies. The film is based on the celebrated novel "The Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins, which has been re-made for TV in various countries in 1957, 1960, 1966, 1970, 1980, 1992 and 1997! Whew! I think Hammer Films made a version as well. Basically, this version is an old-fashioned melodrama centered around the black villainy of the protagonist. You can view a short scene in the trailer I made to plug next week's film in Matinee Show #10.

That link actually shows trailers to the last four shows in the series. Besides Crimes at the Dark House, enjoy my productions plugging Missile to the Moon, The Big Show and Speak Easily. I simply take some good scenes out of each film, add "Next Week" lingo and sometimes words over the film clips, and that's all folks! The three best shots are in the prevu for Missile to the Moon -- a hypnotic scene by the moon woman, the giant spider attack and the rock men. Like a good trailer, this should inspire feelings of "I gotta see this!" Not true. You just gotta see the trailer!

I thought about but did not use Sweeney Todd in the Matinee. Sweeney starts a little slow and you need to know the story to appreciate it. Most people do know the story, but due to self-censorship, one assumes, this version does not clarify what happens between the bodies dropping into the cellar and what turns up in the meat pies. You know, don't you??? To make room for Tod and his more enjoyable Crimes film, I bumped Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon. Most fans have seen the Holmes film, and while not bad it just doesn't compare with the promised joys of seeing Mr. Slaughter cackling on the big screen.

Notes on some of the other Matinee programs will appear in upcoming weeks.

Posters for all Café Roxy shows can be viewed at Roxy Programs.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Café Roxy -- Into the Future!

"Greetings, my friends. We are all interested in the future because that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives." That's one of my favorite lines by Criswell at the start of Plan Nine From Outer Space. I'm old enough to actually remember watching the "Criswell Predicts" TV show where he ESPed audience members, except that show is not listed at the IMDB so I must have dreamed it all!

Anyway, I started this blog and the Café Roxy website just over a year ago. Happy Birthday to us! I don't even know which day that might be. I did weekly blog entries, plus a few extras, all through 2009. Then around Christmas time I got into a big project and got out of the habit of weekly jottings. Some may have thought I died or the Café closed. Not the case, but I am remodeling. The Café Roxy website has exploded with hundreds of programs and no sign of slowing down. However, no one goes to the Roxy website unless I tell them to go look via email or they find the link at my site. I just googled "Café Roxy" and the following came up at the very top of the list:

Festival Films: Your #1 Source on the 'Net for Posters and Films!
Cafe Roxy is an idea for coffee houses and all eateries to increase traffic by ... Check out the Cafe Roxy Blog for insights on using public domain films. ... - Cached - Similar
Public Domain Films
Don McGlynn
Stock Footage
Bing Crosby
Exclusive Videos
More results from »

Of course, no one in the world is going to google Café Roxy because it is not famous! If anyone googles "Cartoon Brunch" they will find a link to my blogs about that subject, but Cartoon Brunch is not a concept that many are looking for info on. However, the general public has heard of "Public Domain Films." Google or Yahoo search those words and Festival Films does come up on the first page. That is how new customers tend to find me. This past week I have had two discussions with individuals who are just starting small TV stations and are looking for public domain programming and two others that start out "We have a community movie theater and...." It has been wonderfully convenient for me to tell them to go check out Café Roxy, browse the posters to see what looks exciting, show the posters to your friends for their comments, then use the posters to promote your shows.

While the Roxy site was growing weekly, my Festival Films site where everyone was going first was languishing. I have started a revision at the Festival Films home page that clearly (I trust) delineates the two aspects of my public domain business: 1) Public Domain films -- What they are, and which ones are, and 2) Café Roxy Programs that entertain today. You can click on the new logo/poster above to go to Café Roxy or click on the image to the right here to go to the public domain Catalog, etc., home page.

In fact, all of the Café Roxy pages are now part of the Festival Films website, which makes for a much stronger site and also means.... I don't really need a separate Café Roxy website. Or do I??? I will keep the domain name for the time being, but the Roxy website may close shortly with a re-direct link to Festival Films. Please email me at from now on.

Saturday Matinee # 3, Week #5, features Joe E. Brown in Earthworm Tractors (1936) with Guy Kibbee, June Travis, Dick Foran and Carol Hughes. Alexander Botts is a self-described natural born salesman and master mechanic, who is trying to make a big sale of Earthworm tractors to grouchy lumberman Johnson. Since Botts doesn't really know anything about tractors, and since the old-fashioned Johnson is opposed to tractors of any kind, it isn't going to be an easy sell. But Botts perseveres, encouraged by Johnson's daughter. It still entertains with some great slapstick scenes of the Tractor running amok. Joe E. Brown will eternally be remembered for his role in Some Like It Hot, which was on TCM again just last night. The added short subject is Buster Keaton in One Week. The Parkway told me this week an interesting fact that I had suspected -- whenever there is a single Keaton short on the bill, some people come just to see Buster!

The Parkway also told me that in the few weeks their Saturday Matinee had gone dark, they got lots of inquiries to keep it going! Many, many cities and small towns have neighborhood theaters that are being under used. All you need is a good video projection system and the free posters you can download right off the website.

Visit my spiffed up website at Festival Films.