Lions, Towers & Shields is a celebration of films from the classic, Hollywood era. Shelly Brisbin leads a merry band through reviews of great old movies, and news about streaming, restorations and new releases.

28

Hitchcock Tilts at Windmills

Or. What if Santa Claus Pushed You off a Tower?

One of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest American films is among the most enjoyable to watch. Joel McCrea is the reporter of the title, off to find out what’s happening in Europe for the benefit of a prewar American audience. Spies, murder and amazing character actors abound, along with some extraordinary Hitchcock set pieces.

Nathan Alderman with Shelly Brisbin and Micheline Maynard


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27

That Time Joel McCrea was a Total Jerk

The usually affable Joel McCrea is sort of the hero, but not exactly lovable. And Ginger Rogers may have done everything Fred Astaire did “backwards and in heels” but here, she is not living her best life. “Primrose Path” takes an unrelenting look at a dysfunctional family. It was unusual for its time, and gives the two leads a lot to do.

Shelly Brisbin with Nathan Alderman


26

You Were Made to be Murdered

Hark! Is that the sound of a zither? Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) stars Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, not necessarily in order of screentime, it’s a post-war noir classic, set in Vienna, with compelling photography, plot and performances. This episode is also The Incomparable’s second look at this film.

Shelly Brisbin with Dr. Drang, Jean MacDonald, Micheline Maynard, Philip Michaels and David J. Loehr


25

Warren William: Cookie Monster

He’s largely unknown today, but Warren William had an important role in what we know today as pre-code film. Sadly, many of his films are neither streaming or rentable. but we did find one that shows off his seedy side. If you’d like more recommendations, listen in. William usually played a dapper, middle-aged villain with a taste for much younger women, and a line that would get him what he wanted. As we say in this episode, think William Powell, but sinister. After his pre-code days, William played Perry Mason in several films, as well as a detective called the Lone Wolf.

Shelly Brisbin with Nathan Alderman and David J. Loehr


24

Mistimed Sobs

We go full-on romance classic with Random Harvest (1942), starring the luminous Greer Garson and the handsome and very English Ronald Colman (she’s Irish.) It’s a golden age, big studio production, and it’s great. There’s love, there’s war (or the aftermath of war), there’s loss of memory… I’ve said too much already. I unreservedly love this one, and not for any knowing precode touches or hard-boiled characters. I love it because Garson and Colman are great together and it made me cry and stuff.

Shelly Brisbin with Deborah Stanish, Frank Feuerbacher, Mois├ęs Chiullan, Erika Ensign and Annette Wierstra


23

A Perfect Spherical Cow

Let us consider 1949’s The Fountainhead, the first filmed version of an Ayn Rand novel, though it’s not the first time Rand’s words were spoken onscreen. She worked as a writer in Hollywood while nursing her brew of objectivist beliefs and turning them into some, um, interesting books. Our film stars Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, and is based on Rand’s novel of the same name. So, how do we feel about all this? Listen and find out!

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr, Nathan Alderman, Travis Bedard and Tara Anderson


22

Come for the Aubrey Plaza Energy, Stay for the Tom Neal Back Story

Edgar G. Ulmer’s “Detour” is both a low-budget B movie, and one of the most influential and elemental examples of America’s film noir. Its stars were largely unknown, and it was released by a poverty row studio. It’s also a great film - one that was “rediscovered” by film nerds and preservationists in recent years, and has now been restored and given a Crierion release. What’s all the fuss? We’re gonna find out?

Nathan Alderman


21

Yum Yum and the Nerd

It’s “Ball of Fire.” Howard Hawks directs; Billy Wilder writes. And Barbara Stanwyck is Sugarpuss O’Shea, who hides out from the cops with a group of dotty professors working on a new encyclopedia. Gary Cooper is in it too, along with S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall, Richard Haydn and many more. It’s a comedy classic. Even so, we manage to drop many many hot takes.

Shelly Brisbin with Nathan Alderman, David J. Loehr and Greg Maupin


20

Merry Christmas. Don’t Mention It!

By popular demand among both members and panelists actual and potential, we explore this 1945 classic. Peter Godfrey (who?) directs Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and a cast of delightful character actors in a holiday story about covering up lies with more lies on a farm in Connecticut on Christmas Eve. Holiday food and sleigh rides aplenty.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra and David J. Loehr


19

Horton-ing and Blore-ing It Up

Believed by many to be the best of the Astaire-Rogers musicals, “Top Hat” was also the most successful. It arrived in the middle of their run as an on-screen couple. It’s both a musical and a screwball comedy with songs by Irving Berlin. It also features a stellar supporting cast: Edward Everett Horton, Helen Broderick, Eric Blore and, wait, is that Lucile Ball?

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr, Greg Maupin and Erika Ensign


18

Rocky Horror Picture Show without the Sex

LTS acknowledges the pumpkin-spiced holiday.

From IMDB: “American honeymooners in Hungary become trapped in the home of a Satan-worshiping priest when the bride is taken there for medical help following a road accident.”

From Shelly: “Oh, I forgot this was an Edgar G. Ulmer joint.”

Universal horror’s big guns are firing in this old dark house story where the ODC is actually a modernist masterpiece, built atop a former fortress. Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and a cast of less interesting people populate this amazing film.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra, David J. Loehr, Monty Ashley and Nathan Alderman


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