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Man With The Box, The

Date produced: 1952

Filmmaker(s):

James L. Watson

Description:

"A teen-aged girl — whose imagination has been excited by murder headlines in the local paper — and a mysterious new boarder in her mother's home are the ingredients of The Man With The Box, a superlative melodrama by James L. Watson. For here is as hair-raising a thriller as you could want to see. Mr. Watson tells his story through the interplay of image and counterimage, without benefit of dialog, and he tells it simply and well. Taut and well paced, the film should hold any audience in suspense-filled excitement from its quiet and clearly stated beginning right up to the shock of its logical and terrifying conclusion. The small cast has been cunningly chosen and wisely directed. The players, Cathy Moss as the inquisitive young girl and John Dowell as the strange boarder, give restrained yet moving performances, sustaining the film's mood admirably. The accompanying score not only complements the story line: it becomes, excitingly, an integral part of it. The Man With The Box returns to the first principles of the silent cinema with rewarding vitality." Movie Makers, Dec. 1952, 399-400.


Two Paper Cups

Date produced: 1951

Description:

"Under the able direction of Kenneth E. Carrier, ACL, a production unit of the Grand Rapids Amateur Movie Club has produced an engrossing film drama based on a short-short story from a Billy Rose column. Two Paper Cups begins as if it would tell the familiar tale of a bored husband plotting the murder of his wife for the love of that "other woman." But a double switch at the plot's end saves the life of the married woman and, with irony but without need, takes the life of the husband. Top notch photography, expert staging and lighting, good acting and skillful editing make this photoplay an outstanding example of cooperative filming at its best." Movie Makers, Dec. 1951, 410.


Outpost

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

Harry W. Atwood

Description:

"Startling photography in 8mm. Kodachrome gives Harry W. Atwood's Outpost a dramatic appeal beyond the merits of its rather confused and melodramatic story. Story aside (it's a tale of murder, in which some very critical action is not adequately pointed up), Outpost deals magnificently with some of the most interesting and barren country you are likely to find this side of your nightmares. If his plot developments can become more convincing, Mr. Atwood has an excellent filming future." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.


King Bookie

Date produced: 1950

Filmmaker(s):

John Cowart

Description:

"King Bookie: John Cowart set himself a tremendous goal in undertaking the production of this dramatic film, which has to do with bank robbers. But thanks to his zeal, his all around ability in movie making, the sincerity and cooperation of his amateur cast, and the cooperation of local merchants who happily contributed the use of their business establishments for locations, he has turned out a highly creditable production. The picture opens with a girl, unwittingly involved in the robbery, relating to an attorney events of the story which is pictured in retrospect. King Bookie is an underworld character who plots the crime, involves several others, some of whom meet death by his gun when the proceeds are retrieved from one gang member who sought to double-cross King Bookie. Narration, dialogue and musical score are a commendable effort of sound-on-film recording." American Cinematographer, May. 1951, 190.


Cup of Fear

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

John Harms

George A. Valentine

Description:

"'Cup of Fear' produced and entered by the Stamford (Connecticut) Cinema Club and photographed by John Harms, is a well directed, acted and photographed 'whodunit' in which one of several office employees who have been passed up in a company promotion, murders the hapless executive promoted to the vice-presidency. A cup of wine, antidote for poison supposedly fed the murderer at a dinner, proves his undoing. All shots are interiors and save for one or two, are excellently lighted and photographed. Many professional touches, such as dolly shots, dramatic camera angles, and story-telling closeups highlight the picture. Harms used a 16 mm. Bolex camera and Kodak Super-X panchromatic film." American Cinematographer, Apr. 1950, 146.


Voice of the Key, The

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

Charles J. Carbonaro

Description:

"'The Voice of the Key' is a magnificently staged photoplay, beginning with the very professional series of opening titles and featuring remarkable interior photography, considering the limited equipment at the disposal of the filmer. Charles Carbonaro, using photo-floods entirely, has achieved some truly professional illumination in his interior settings, and his camera technique displays an artist's genuine feel for forceful and dramatic story telling with a camera. The story concerns a murder of an unfaithful wife's lover by her husband, and the steps the husband takes to conceal his part in the crime, only to be tripped up by his door key as the incriminating evidence. Carbonaro used a Cine Special Camera and Eastman Super X panchromatic film. The script, which he wrote himself, was adapted from a story published in 'This Week', Sunday supplement magazine of national distribution." American Cinematographer, Apr. 1950, 133.

"Great ambition and a wide knowledge of both amateur and Hollywood camera techniques mark Charles J. Carbonaro's The Voice of the Key. The film is a whodunit, involving many of the human reactions — from love and hate to cynicism, impatience and sudden passion — all of which have to be registered by the actors at Mr. Carbonaro's command. It's a large order, and the film does not quite fill it dramatically. But the good things about The Voice of the Key are very good indeed." Movie Makers, Dec. 1950, 468.


Through the Valley

Date produced: 1947

Filmmaker(s):

Harry W. Atwood

Description:

"Basing his story line on an incident which is said actually to have occurred in Sweden, Harry W. Atwood has proved once again in Through the Valley his imaginative understanding of what makes a true motion picture. For here is camera work of the first order, expressed in meaningful angles and building through a stirring chase sequence to a point of very real dramatic tension. If anything, the film's climax has been staged with a shade too much of melodrama, while a concluding quotation from the Scriptures left these reviewers regretfully more puzzled than uplifted." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 471.


Storm Due

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

Francis J. Barrett

Description:

"Although there is no actual violence portrayed in this psychological thriller, Storm Due — in which a young wife discovers her husband to be a murderer — is instinct with mounting tension and terror. Francis J. Barrett's film is a potent combination of several related elements. Wedded almost as one are dramatic, hard-hitting camera angles and the visual stimulus of brilliant, low-key lighting. Acting of theatrical calibre by the young wife is accented by an off-stage voice which underlines her fears — a technique that suggests a loan from the best in modern radio. A taut continuity only hints at the story line as it hurries through this exciting evocation of violence. This very economy of dramatic exposition, in fact, will make Storm Due an unpopular and often misunderstood production. For these reviewers, however, it remains creative cinema of a very high order." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 454-455.


Ritual of the Dead

Date produced: 1937

Filmmaker(s):

Richard H. Lyford

Description:

"'Ritual of the Dead,' is an old-fashioned thriller. The leading characters, that of the young man who murders rather promiscuously and the tattered mummy who returns to life seemingly to accuse the murderer after the latter has reason to believe he has safely escaped detection for his crimes are carried by the producer. The denouement of the story, which is just that we have here intimated, carries a real thrill" American Cinematographer, Jan. 1939, 16-17.


White North, The

Date produced: 1935

Filmmaker(s):

Myron Pettengill

Description:

"Myron F. Pettengill was awarded the trophy for Scenario pictures. This is a 16mm film of about 400 ft. It is a story of the Northwest Mounted. Pettingill is to be commended for his direction, his types, and the way in which he costumed his people. He injected little touches in his characters that left no doubt as to what they represented. He costumed them convincingly. It had many indoor scenes and of course a large amount of outdoor snow scenes. There was a fine handling of the camera." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1937, 25.


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