short film

TV Tuesday: The Man Who Stroked Cats 1955

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Persian Kitten In Basket Pinterest Image One
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Sixty-five years ago, today, the black & white short drama The Man Who Stroked Cats appeared on BBCtv. Based on the short story The Young Man Who Stroked Cats by Morley Roberts, it was adapted and directed by Anthony Pelissier. It starred Tony Britton as the main character Tom Meredith, Josephine Griffin as The Girl, Dorice Fordred as The Daily Woman and John Gatrell as the Doctor.

There are no pictures or video clips associated with this TV short and IMDb has no written plot, summary or synopsis.

Morley Roberts Wiki Image Two
Morley Roberts
1907
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

From Scribd:

[Thomas] Meredith finds himself the recipient of a very mysterious and unexpected gift…[a] Persian kitten in a basket. More mysterious still, the note accompanying it only reads: For the young man who strokes cats.

Thomas is indeed a cat-lover and, is both delighted and intrigued by his new present. But, before long, things take another strange turn. He receives a mysterious anonymous phone call from a dying woman…and this turns out to be the start of a bizarre nightly telephone romance.

From BBC Genome/Radio Times Magazine (Issue 1672/November 25, 1955):

It has been said that the world is divided into two main classes of people […] those who love cats and those who don’t. Among those who do is Tom, a young man who can’t resist giving a friendly word and a quick stroke to every stray he meets on his way to work, with results that even the most superstitious of black-cat lovers couldn’t possibly have foreseen…

Additional Reading:
A Philosophy of Tramping: Morley Roberts (Cynical Reflections)
Audible Audiobook
BBC Genome Beta
HathiTrust Digital Library
Morley Roberts (Wikipedia)
Scribd Audiobook

Flick Friday: Just Plane Beep 1965

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Just Plane Beep Amazon Internet Animation Dbase Image One
Image Credit: The Internet Animation Database &
Amazon

Fifty-five years ago, today, the short, animated film Just Plane Beep was released. Produced by David DePatie & Friz Freleng and, directed by Rudy Larriva, Paul Julian was the uncredited voice of the Road Runner.

Synopsis from the Looney Tunes Fan Site (possible future broken link as Fandom is in the middle of a migration):

Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner on foot but, Road Runner produces dust and runs off the side, smacking the coyote against a wall. While lying down on the ground, a paper for Acme War Surplus is blown towards the coyote and he sends a coupon in the mail. He receives a World War I bi-plane kit and plans to catch the Road Runner using it.

Needless to say, things don’t go well. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Big Cartoon Database
IMDb
IMDb Movie Connections List
Internet Animation Database
SuperCartoons
Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Filmography 1965 (Wikipedia)
Wile E. Coyote & the Road Runner (Wikipedia)

Movie Monday: Cinderella’s Feller 1940

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Cinderella's Feller Image One
Photo Credit: YouTube

Eighty years ago, today, the Technicolor Special (Warner Bros. Series) short family musical Cinderella’s Feller was released. Directed by William C. McGann and produced by Gordon Hollingshead, it starred Juanita Quigley, Scotty Beckett, Maris Wrixon, Virginia Brissac and, Terry as Rex the Dog, the Cairn Terrier best known as Toto in the MGM film The Wizard of Oz.

I can’t find much written about this little short, though it is on YouTube in its entirety. It’s only a little over 19 minutes long. It is not listed on Turner Classic Movies or the American Film Institute but, does show up on the British Film Institute…which I find odd.

The site Letterboxd simply states:

The story of Cinderella with a children’s cast.

Cinderella's Feller Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDB

IMDB is not much longer:

The famous fairy tale is musicalized and given a modern 1940s spin with the principal characters (Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Wicked Step Sisters) all played by children.

I guess the story of The Little Glass Slipper needs no explaining.

Trivia Bit:
♦ This short was produced toward the tail end of Shirley Temple‘s reign as Hollywood’s #1 box office star and it’s reasonable to assume it was made to showcase young talent that Warner Brothers may have thought had a shot at replicating Temple’s success.

Additional Reading:
Cairn Movie Descriptions 1940 (Cairn Terrier Movies Site)
Cinderella Folk Tale (Wikipedia)

Movie Monday: Why Pay Rent? 1935

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Why Pay Rent Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

Eighty-five years ago, today, the black & white short comedy Why Pay Rent? was released. Directed by Lloyd French and, co-written by Dolph Singer & Jack Henley, it starred Roscoe Ates, Shemp Howard, Billie Leonard, Ethel Sykes and Ron Le May.

Synopsis:

Elmer (Roscoe Ates) fixes up a room for his just-married, freeloading brother-in-law and wife. When the newlyweds show up, Henry (Shemp Howard) brings a surprise in the form of stepson Junior. The apartment is now too small so, Henry decides that they’ll buy a lot and build a do-it-yourself home, a disaster in the making when Junior switches the house’s part numbers. It doesn’t help matters that Elmer, Henry and the wives are all incompetent.

Review:

In the 1930s, the Vitaphone division of Warner Brothers made a bunch of very uninspired and, often, unfunny comedy shorts. One of them, Why Pay Rent? is a bit like One Week (with Buster Keaton) but, only if the folks building the house were dumber than a pile of bricks. In many ways, this might have worked better as a Three Stooges short, which is interesting because Shemp Howard stars in this one, as well as Roscoe Ates, an incredibly unfunny comedian whose shtick was stuttering…which was annoying rather and cruel.

This film isn’t listed as lost but, I couldn’t find any video clips of it. I did find some stills of Elmer painting himself into a corner on Getty Images. ~Vic

Trivia Bit:
♦ Some of the construction sight gags, including the final scene, were re-done two years later by Moe, Larry and Curly in The Sitter Downers.

Additional Reading:
Shemp Howard Review (DVD Talk)
Why Pay Rent? (IMDB)
Why Pay Rent? (1935) (The Three Stooges Online Filmography)

Movie Monday: The Brash Drummer & The Nectarine 1914

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The Brash Drummer Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com

One-hundred, five years ago, today, The Brash Drummer and The Nectarine was released. A short, silent, black & white comedy, it was written and directed by George Ade, a popular American humorist for his time and a follower of Mark Twain. Starring Wallace Beery and Bevery Bayne, this piece was one of Ade’s Fables in Slang.

Summary:

Gabby Gus made the town regularly every month. He was a swell guy and thought he could cop most any Jane that he took a liking to. Clara Louise Willoughby, a farmer’s daughter with a pretty face and figure, took the salesman’s eye. He looked the old gent up in Dunn and Bradstreet and, discovered that the old boy was worth some coin. Then, he set his traps for the daughter. Dad, however, sent her away to boarding school and when she returned, she was the swellest peach in the orchard. They all fell for her. Gus hastened to her home where he discovered she was some lemon when it came to the country stuff and that she was a real ‘highfalutin’ society butterfly now. […] her aspirations were higher than a poor hick drummer. She made him feel awfully small. [Source]

I can’t find a video clip of this film but, I did find Ade’s Fables in Slang in audio book form. It has 26 stories and was published in 1899. [Disclaimer: It is nearly two hours long.] ~Vic

Movie Monday: The Lonely Villa 1909

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The Lonely Villa Image One
Photo Credit: imdb.com

One-hundred and ten years ago, today (exactly, believe it or not), the silent short crime-drama, The Lonely Villa, was released. A film directed by D. W. Griffith, it starred David Miles, Marion Leonard, Mary Pickford (in one of her very early roles), Gladys Egan and Adele DeGarde and, was based on the Andre de Lorde French play from 1901: Au Téléphone.

D. W. Griffith and Mary Pickford, along with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, founded United Artists on February 5, 1919, as a studio where actors could control their own interests instead of being beholden to commercial studios. It is now a subsidiary of MGM and Annapurna Pictures and, as of February 5, 2019 (its 100th anniversary), it was rebranded as United Artists Releasing.

From IMDB:

A gang of thieves lure a man out of his home so that they can rob it and, threaten his wife and children. The family barricade themselves in an interior room but, the criminals are well-equipped for breaking in. When the father finds out what is happening, he must race against time to get back home.

Trivia Bit
♦ During the shot of the father leaving the hotel, a dip can be seen in the road in the background. Today, that is currently the exit for the George Washington Bridge and the location of the hotel is now an apartment complex.

Movie Monday: A Butterfly’s Metamorphosis 1904

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Butterfly Metamorphosis Image One
Image Credit: schlitzie.tumblr.com

One hundred, fifteen years ago, in June, the short, French film La métamorphose du papillon or, A Butterfly’s Metamorphosis was released. The two-minute silent was directed by Gaston Velle, produced by Pathé Frères and, one of the distribution companies for the US was Edison Manufacturing Company.

From Wikipedia:

Gaston Velle was a French silent film director, and pioneer of special effects, who was prominent in early French and Italian cinema during the first two decades of the 20th century. Gaston began his career as a travelling magician before putting his illusionist skills to work in cinema and, ultimately, creating more than fifty films between 1903 and 1911. He worked under Auguste and Louis Lumière before serving as the head of production for the Italian film studio Cines. […] he is best remembered for his work at Pathé where he was hired to produce trick films that might rival those of his contemporary, Georges Méliès […]. Velle also created some of the first Féerie films […]. [He] mysteriously retired from film production in 1913 and little is known about the last several decades of his life.

[Disclaimer: Very little is known about this film and the above Wikipedia information is presented without any citations.]