Lions, Towers & Shields
Hosted by Shelly Brisbin
A celebration of films from the classic Hollywood era. Shelly Brisbin leads a merry band through recaps and reviews of great old movies from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
71 She Killed a Man in Reno
“A fascinating crumminess.” That’s how Pauline Kael described Joseph Lewis’ “Gun Crazy,” a noir whose cast you probably won’t know, but whose visual style and essential seediness are compelling. It’s a story about two people with a mutual obsession with guns, but it’s told with sensitivity and a focus on their relationship.
March 16, 2023 The Best of Everything
70 Things Just Keep Happening and Nothing Makes Sense
Suggested by Lisa Schmeiser: If you liked “The Apartment” or “Mad Men,” welcome back to mid-century NYC office culture. We’re on Madison Avenue, inside the cutthroat world of publishing. Our guides are Hope Lange, Stephen Boyd, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer, Diane Baker, Brian Ahenre and Miss Joan Crawford. Jean Negulesco handles direction.
March 9, 2023 There’s No Business Like Show Business
69 The Billionaire’s Vaudeville
Ethel Merman in her heyday. What more do you need to know? Merman didn’t make a lot of movies, so here’s a glimpse at what theatre audiences saw during her long Broadway career. Also along for the Irving Berlin musical are Donald O’Connor, Dan Dailey, Johnnie Ray and Mitzi Gaynor. And, um, who’s that other blonde person? Marilyn Monroe is here, too. Thanks to my panelists, Matthew and David for suggesting it.
March 2, 2023 Hangover Square
68 Laird Cregar Hulks Out
It’s a dark, moody thriller set in a London square. See Linda Darnell change her image, at the tender age of 22; see Laird Cregar take his shot at being a leading man.
December 29, 2022 An LTS Draft-a-palooza
67 Gene Kelly’s Butt
Another year draws to a close, and so many classic movies remain undiscussed on Lions, Towers & Shields. But many of your regular panelists have feelings, as well as recommendations for the future. So I invited them to share them in a themed draft episode.
NOTE: LTS will return in March 2023. We'll cover at least 21 films next year, but the episodes will be spaced out over three, seven-episode seasons to give our panelists (and your host) time to rest and reflect on all the classic film goodness that awaits.
December 14, 2022 Remember the Night
66 I’m Not Just Your Preston Sturges, I’m Your Indiana
Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray team up, not to kill for insurance money, but to share a sweet but unlikely holiday road trip. It’s the last movie Preston Sturges wrote before he turned fully to directing. Happy holidays from your friends at Lions, Towers & Shields.
December 1, 2022 The Manchurian Candidate
65 This Is Not Jessica Fletcher
The John Frankenheimer classic tells you all you need to know about Angela Lansbury’s talent. And it’s a crackerjack political thriller, too.
November 17, 2022 The Clock
64 Justice for Bill
The Clock is Judy Garland’s first dramatic role. She’s teamed with Robert Walker, who’s a soldier on leave when they meet in New York City. It’s a little bit Affair to Remember, and a little bit On the Town. Really sweet, well-acted romantic film. Directed by Garland’s soon-to-be husband Vincente Minnelli.
November 3, 2022 Keeper of the Flame
63 It’s All About The Last 12 Minutes
Keeper of the Flame is a drama about the dangers of fascism, set early in WWII and directed by George Cukor, the man who made Gaslight, but was better known for comedies and “women’s” films. Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn star in the far better of their two dramatic pairings. Be warned, we talk about politics, both old and new. And, um, Texas history?
October 20, 2022 Dead of Night
62 Shelly’s Own String of Murders
Britain’s Ealing Studios is best known for its comedies, including The Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob, and Kind Hearts And Coronets. But this 1945 precursor to those famously funny films deals more with chills than chuckles. Four directors tag-team to adapt a mix of original and classic tales, including one based on a story by H.G. Wells. It’s the rare horror anthology whose framing story is as creepily compelling as its individual tales of terror, building to a memorably hair-raising climax that’ll stick with you through the closing credits and beyond. Come for the golf-induced suicide, stay for the ventriloquist’s dummy.
October 6, 2022 Raw Deal
61 Big Theremin Energy and an Implied Train
We celebrate the life of Marsha Hunt, who passed away at age 104, last month. She appeared in “Raw Deal” with Dennis O’Keefe and Claire Trevor. It’s a late 40s film noir with wonderful cinematography by John Alton.