Hollywood Story Reviews

  • Apr 09, 2019

    William Castle (producer and showman extraordinaire; known for House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler and a lot of B-quickies) made this not-bad noir mystery with reflexive overtones. Richard Conte plays a New York producer who heads west to Hollywood and decides to make a movie about the unsolved murder of an old silent movie director (only 20 years earlier â" so, around 1998 to 1999 for us!). As soon as the word gets out, old-timers emerge from the woodworks and suspicious events start to happen. Conte is solid and Castle keeps things moving briskly (the film is only 77 minutes long) so it feels a bit like one of those TV murder mystery shows â" palatable but insubstantial. In a nod (rip-off) to Sunset Blvd (1950), a recent success, Conte encounters a number of actual silent film stars (mostly unknown today but there is Joel McCrea!). Julie Adams (love interest) and Richard Egan (cop) are good in supporting roles. The three suspects at least have distinct personalities although the mystery itself isn't really fleshed out. Apparently, the studio that Conte takes over is really Chaplin's old digs. Have a look at Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon if you want to know about the real unsolved murders of the silent days!

    William Castle (producer and showman extraordinaire; known for House on Haunted Hill and The Tingler and a lot of B-quickies) made this not-bad noir mystery with reflexive overtones. Richard Conte plays a New York producer who heads west to Hollywood and decides to make a movie about the unsolved murder of an old silent movie director (only 20 years earlier â" so, around 1998 to 1999 for us!). As soon as the word gets out, old-timers emerge from the woodworks and suspicious events start to happen. Conte is solid and Castle keeps things moving briskly (the film is only 77 minutes long) so it feels a bit like one of those TV murder mystery shows â" palatable but insubstantial. In a nod (rip-off) to Sunset Blvd (1950), a recent success, Conte encounters a number of actual silent film stars (mostly unknown today but there is Joel McCrea!). Julie Adams (love interest) and Richard Egan (cop) are good in supporting roles. The three suspects at least have distinct personalities although the mystery itself isn't really fleshed out. Apparently, the studio that Conte takes over is really Chaplin's old digs. Have a look at Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon if you want to know about the real unsolved murders of the silent days!

  • Sep 06, 2010

    Castle riff on Sunset Blvd., with Jim Backus narration and procedural approach to investigating old Hollywood as a means of ironic critique. Interesting as it relates to the director being more than a gimmick/exploitation trickster, and pretty entertaining for its own sake.

    Castle riff on Sunset Blvd., with Jim Backus narration and procedural approach to investigating old Hollywood as a means of ironic critique. Interesting as it relates to the director being more than a gimmick/exploitation trickster, and pretty entertaining for its own sake.