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.

50

What is She Talking About? Stop That!

This is episode #50, so it’s special! And Baby is one of my favorite movies of all time. Howard Hawks directs Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and a sweet little kitty! It’s a screwball comedy, and Hepburn as a comedienne is a revelation. If you hate it, you might not want to join, because unlike many other episodes, where I encourage dissent, I will fight you on this one. You should also know that I can quote way too many lines.

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr and Nathan Alderman


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49

Shut Your Logic Brain Off And Just Go With It

I love you, but I’ve got to go! Let’s meet in six months at the top of the Empire State Building. In 1939, Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne had a date. In 1957, it was Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. In each movie, something keeps the lovers from meeting up as planned. And though it was a dumb thing (according to me) the movies remain classics of the romance genre.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra and Erika Ensign


48

He Sounds Like an Angry Garbage Truck

We enter the gritty world of… Charles McGraw’s voice, in this 1952 noir directed by Richard Fleischer. You may know him from 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and (spoiler alert) Soylent Green is people! In The Narrow Margin, a cop must protect a woman scheduled to testify against a killer. Much of the action takes place on a cross-country train, in which the visual margins are indeed narrow.

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr and Nathan Alderman


47

Angela Lansbury, Comin’ In Hot

Let’s cut to the chase: this film gave birth to the modern term, gaslighting. Charles Boyer needs to drive Ingrid Bergman crazy so he can steal her jewels - a crime he first tried to commit against Ingrid’s aunt, years before. George Cukor takes an unusual turn at dark, noirish storytelling, and Bergman wins an Oscar. Joseph Cotten costars, and Angela Lansbury makes her film debut at age 19.

Host’s note: Gaslight may be triggering for someone who has experienced an abusive relationship. And that may be surprising information about a black-and-white film from 1944. We encourage you to approach the film itself carefully if depictions of manipulation in relationships might be uncomfortable for you.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra, Erika Ensign and Nathan Alderman


46

A Rough 35

This choice stems from the enthusiasm of some regular LTS panelists. Jeanne Crain, Linda Darnell and Ann Sothern are your stars, along with the unrelated Douglases, Kirk and Paul. A letter written to three women by their “bad friend” pretty much freaks everyone out, and it’s most definitely a female-centered story, well-directed by Joe Mankiewicz. Go figure.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra, Nathan Alderman and Lisa Schmeiser


45

Donna Reed Can Burn in Hell

Please enjoy a heaping helping of film noir with a side of anti-Communism. Sam Fuller’s 1953 “Pickup on South Street” is well-directed, and especially well-acted by Thelma Ritter, Richard Widmark and character actor Murvyn Vye - but you can call him Tiger. There’s a crackerjack score, and a reasonably suspenseful plot, too, and the cinematography is inventive and compelling.

Shelly Brisbin with Nathan Alderman


44

It’s All about the Hat

Who’s that lady? This is what Alan Curtis and Ella Raines need to know. Alan is accused of murdering his wife, but he says he has a perfect alibi - he was spending the evening with a stranger at the time of the murder. Ella is determined to prove his innocence, and goes to great lengths to do so. Franchot Tone is along to help solve the mystery as well. It’s directed by Robert Siodmak and produced by Hitchcock collaborator, Joan Harrison.

Shelly Brisbin with Erika Ensign, Nathan Alderman and David J. Loehr


43

Hot Chocolate and Vegetable Soup

Marlene Dietrich and Cary Grant? No, Marlene Dietrich and Herbert Marshall? Marlene and a cute little kid? Marlene in the Deep South? This movie will surprise you. IT is part of the cycle of films she made with Josef von Sternberg during her early American career. And our heroine goes through A LOT. I’d argue it’s among Dietrich’s most sympathetic roles. In this episode, I find myself arguing with my panelists about the worthiness of this movie!

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr and Nathan Alderman


42

A Hot Chocolate of a Movie

This is Shelly’s current favorite classic holiday movie. It begins just before Christmas and runs New Years, and that totally counts! It’s sweet, it’s a romance and it’s well-acted. It stars Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten and a teenaged and bratty Shirley Temple.

Shelly Brisbin with Annette Wierstra and Erika Ensign


41

The Barbara O’Neil Memorial Highway

Who among the female stars of the 30s and 40s retains more ID today than Bette Davis? She was the queen of the Warner lot when she wasn’t fighting with her bosses, and she played her share of scenery-chewing roles as both a young woman and an older one. But All This and Heaven Too is not one of these. The Davis we meet here is deep in melodrama, certainly, but her performance is controlled and quiet. She loves Charles Boyer, and he loves her, but nothing’s going right for them. Behold, LTS does romance!

Shelly Brisbin with Philip Michaels, Lisa Schmeiser and Erika Ensign


40

Red Herring Alley

We return to film noir, with a movie that could be called, Edmond O’Brien’s really, really bad day. A man learns he’s going to die, and sets out to find out who’s killing him and why. It’s directed by Rudolf Maté, and if you are a fan of noir lighting, camera angles and scenes of LA and San Francisco from the post-war period, you will find them here.

Shelly Brisbin with David J. Loehr and Nathan Alderman


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