Category Archives: technicolor

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun ~ Yeah, so I finally saw this. The number of times this film has been recommended to me by friends whose opinions I respect, and even those I don’t, is countless. Many of those friends have even nagged me with occasional “Did you see it yet?” inquiries.

The title revealing subject matter and the way sometimes I was recommended or asked about the flick has made me wonder about the sincerity of these friends. Ya know how someone will take a bite of something terrible, and then, not wanting to be the only one who is suffering, will offer you a taste? Yeah, that’s the vibe I have gotten in the past from Hobo with a Shotgun.

Right off the top, I have to give props to the director Jason Eisener and the cinematographer Karim Hussain. The color of this flick is insanely vibrant, no doubt a thematic choice to cash in on the 1970s action exploitation vibe that drives the picture. Even the movie poster reflects that homage, sans the Technicolor of course.

Based on the originally fake trailer from Rodriquez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse, the movie delivers its particular brand of hyperviolence almost from the start. Rutger Hauer is the hobo in question, and runs afoul of The Drake, the warlord who rules Hope Town. yeah, that’s the name, or in light of events and graffiti, it’s now called Scum Town.

Hauer is good here, playing apathetic at first and more than a little crazy, much better than his recent turn in “True Blood” as a subtly and hilariously similar character type. Actually had Sookie’s gramps been more like the hobo, it might have saved this season. When a shotgun eventually makes it into the hobo’s hands, he decides to become a crazed force for good, battling the bad guys and inspiring the frightened townspeople.

Trust me, this hyperviolent tale of good vs. evil set in a hellish Technicolor suburban wasteland sounds much better than it actually is but its misshapen heart is in the right place. Hauer watches and reacts for the most part, but for the rest of the cast it’s an over the top acting massacre that would make Lloyd Kaufman of Troma positively jealous.

Speaking of which, if you love Troma Films, you will love Hobo with a Shotgun. On the other hand, if you don’t, this movie is not for you. And neither is it for the squeamish. Either way, the color is fabulous. And maybe Robert Downey Jr. can fight The Plague in Iron Man 4

Vogues of 1938

Vogues of 1938 ~ Regular readers of this blog know I love “Dark Shadows” – the TV series, not last summer’s Johnny Depp vehicle. Well, when I saw this movie listed, starring Joan Bennett, DS’ Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the Collins family matriarch. I know she had a serious film career before DS, over seventy movies, but I’d never seen any, that I know of, so I had to check this out.

Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938 is a lavish color musical that also stars Warren Baxter as the male lead opposite Bennett. She’s a socialite who becomes a model after a failed marriage. The sets and costumes are terrific for the time, and the print is crisp and bright.

The movie is clever and snappy, like most from the decade. The story is weak, but plays second to the terrific musical numbers and the visuals so it’s okay. The worst part is …Joan Bennett! She’s stiff, fake, and unappealing. Literally everything works on this flick except her. I’m glad she found her home finally in soap operas. Worth seeing, but be forewarned.

Cobra Woman

Cobra Woman ~ My friend Dan turned me on to Maria Montez and Jon Hall. I was aware of and knew about them but their films are not all that easy to find. Imagine my surprise recently when cruising HBO Go on my iPhone one late night looking for something to cure my insomnia when I came across Cobra Woman. On HBO of all places! Insomnia hell, I settled in for the long haul.

The first thing that hit me just in the opening credits was just how brilliant and striking the Technicolor was. Very bright, very crisp. The other thing that surprised me was that both Miso and Get Glue, the two apps I use to post on social media what I’m watching, had no recollection of the flick. This truly was a forgotten movie.

Sabu, who was Mowgli in the original Jungle Book the year before, gets third billing in this 1944 cult classic from Universal after Montez and Hall. Lon Chaney Jr. is also in there as well. The exotic Montez plays dual roles as kidnapped bride and her evil sister, high priestess of Cobra Island, Hall is the heroic groom, and Sabu the plucky sidekick.

Cobra Woman is pretty typical fare for Universal horror of the time had it been in black and white, but the lush and lavish Technicolor raises the bar on this one. The set design and the costumes more than make up for the clichéd story and adequate acting. Well, less than adequate acting for Montez, but her dazzling beauty helps to erase that.

Adventure, horror, romance, musical, and spectacle – why don’t they make movies like this any more? If you get a chance to see it, don’t miss Cobra Woman.