Thursday, September 11, 2014

Seven Obscure Movies That I Curiously Remember

I've seen thousands of movies. I remember most of them, but am sure I've forgotten quite a few. Curiously, I can recall some pretty obscure films. For no apparent reason. Most of my classic film friends have never heard of these movies, but they do exist. So today, I wanted to share seven obscure movies that still linger in the windmills..make that cobwebs...of my mind.

1. The 7th Commandment (1961) - This film is so obscure that I incorrectly thought the title was The Tenth Commandment for decades! Anyway, the memorable plot is about a low-life named Ted who believes he has killed a man in a car accident. He wanders away from the crash site and suffers trauma-induced amnesia. Ted is rescued by a traveling evangelist and eventually becomes a famous preacher. That's when his sordid past catches up with him in the form of blackmail.

T-Rex goes for a snack.
2. Dinosaurus! (1960) - Construction workers on a Caribbean island discover a T-Rex, a Brontosaurus, and a caveman encased in ice. A big storm (complete with lightning) melts the ice and revives all three. The image of the T-Rex attacking the excavator has stuck with me over the years. I used to have the Dell comic book, too.

Jock Mahoney in Joe Dakota.
3. Joe Dakota (1957) - In this Western mystery, a stranger who calls himself Joe Dakota visits a small California town and starts asking questions about "the Old Indian." Most of the townsfolk ignore the stranger, but a young woman claims that the Indian was known as...Joe Dakota. Think Bad Day at Black Rock on a modest budget and you'll get a feel for this interesting oater starring likable former stunt man Jock Mahoney (TV's Yancy Derringer).

Dean Jagger and Glenn Ford.
4. The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970) - Glenn Ford starred in this creepy made-for-TV film about a college professor who joins a secret society--only to realize the high cost later in life. I've only seen it once, but it reminded me of the early Humphrey Bogart film Black Legion. Written by David Karp, whose teleplay earned an Emmy nomination, an earlier version of The Brotherhood of the Bell was also produced for the classic 1950s TV anthology series Studio One.

5. Night Monster (1942) - Various people converge at the isolated, fog-enshrouded, swampy estate of rich crippled recluse Curt Ingston (Ralph Morgan). Three of the visitors--physicians who may have played a part in Ingston's paralysis--are murdered. This whodunit has achieved minor cult status due to its cast (Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi), the eerie atmosphere achieved by director Ford Beebe, and the bizarre climax. I don't know why it's not shown more often.

Rosemarie Bowe Stack.
6. The Golden Mistress (1954) - John Agar and Rosemarie Bowe team up as Caribbean treasure hunters in this lively low-budget adventure that features a miniature gold skeleton, voodoo, and a secret underwater passage. Never heard of the stunning Ms. Bowe? The former model only made a handful of films before marrying Robert Stack in 1956 and retiring (for the most part) from show business. They remained married until his death in 2003.

Shatner in Impulse.
7. Impulse (1974) - Honestly, there's no way I could write a better plot summary than this one from the IMDb: "A paranoid, leisure-suit-wearing conman/gigolo named Matt Stone seduces lonely women, bilks them of their savings via an investment scam, then kills them." Now, imagine that Matt is played by a scenery-chewing William Shatner! Actually, what I remember most about this film is that Impulse co-star Harold Sakata--who played Oddjob in Goldfinger--appeared at a local cinema promoting the film. I didn't get see Sakata, but I remember the film and Shatner's fake headaches to this day.


  1. I remember "The Brotherhood of the Bell"! I can't say I have any recall, suppressed or not, of the others. But that "Joe Dakota" looks dandy. It's funny how the mind works. There are some that might say (might, mind you) that perhaps you have watched too many movies. I will definitely not be the one to toss that stone. Oh, no.

  2. JOE DAKOTA sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the heads up on it. Never saw THE GOLDEN MISTRESS and I've always wanted to.

  3. Interesting post about 7 movies I don't know! The plot summaries were fun to read and I especially liked the photos.

  4. What an eclectic bunch of films, Rick! Colin recently reviewed JOE DAKOTA over at his blog Riding the High Country. After watching several eps of YANCY DERRINGER recently, I really want to see that one soon. The rest seem really interesting, too - especially IMPULSE (nothing like seeing 70s era Shat going off on one).

  5. Another classic shat fan - The Devils Rain. It sounds like the Glenn ford film was remade as The Star Chamber.

  6. I recall seeing Dinosaurus, so you're not alone there - I remember watching it with my brother, the two of us in hysterics over the antics of the brontosaurus. I've also seen Night Monster, a neat little chiller which is actually on a TCM cult horror DVD collection. It's one that should be better known.

  7. Fun idea for a post, Rick! JOE DAKOTA comes highly recommended by my dad and others -- I recorded it from Encore Westerns not long ago and hope to catch up with it soon. Enjoyed perusing the rest of your list!

    Best wishes,

  8. Diane, I remember THE DEVIL'S RAIN, too. I think John Travolta may have had a bit part in it. JOE DAKOTA is well worth a look. I'm surprised by the number of people that remember DINOSAURUS. And, GOM, that TCM set looks most interesting!

  9. I think I saw Dinosaurus, but I haven't seen any of the others. I am really interested in Brotherhood of the Bell and Night Monster! Wish I could get a look at them!

  10. Wow, these are obscure. The only title I heard of is Dinosaurus, which my father brings up every once and awhile for us to search for on Youtube ( it IS on Youtube by the way ), along with another equally obscure 70s goodie - Bermuda Depths. The Beast in the Cellar and Run a Crooked Mile would be on my list. Why do we remember these films? Anyway, I'm going to hunt for your other titles now!

  11. I've not heard of any of this films, but it seems like a great list!

    DInosaurus has just jumped to the top of my Must Watch List.