1) Actor Kerwin Mathews has died at the age of 81.
A quintessential B movie actor, Mathews brought his rugged but bland features and sonorous voice to a number of roles, none of them very interesting...save one. He had the title role in The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, and for that alone he achieved immortality. This was--still is, and will always be--the finest fantasy film ever created. Remembered as a showcase for Ray Harryhausen's spellbinding stop-motion animation--the cyclops! the roc! oh my God that creepy skeleton how on earth did they ever do that!--it actually boasts an enjoyable script, colorful camerawork, a knockout score by Bernard Herrmann and breathless direction by Nathan Juran.
And Mathews, a Sinbad any sailor (or ten-year-old kid) would follow to the ends of the earth, tough enough to take on a sword-wielding skeketon without blinking an eye, but appealingly human-scaled for an action hero. For this one movie, Mathews was the perfect choice for the role. He never really got the breaks that would show if he was capable of more, but that's okay. Several generations thank him for Sinbad.
2) Speaking of Harryhausen and Sinbad movies, a family of pigeons has settled into my window ledge, their nest built alongside my air conditioner. Babies have been born recently, and they crawl and chirp exactly like the newly-born Homonculus in The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. Adorable and creepy in equal measures.
3) For the second Tuesday in a row, I've decided to avoid a post dedicated to new DVD releases. According to my stats, these are among my least-read posts, and I can take a hint. If there's a release I think is of particular value, I'll highlight it--Vincente Minnelli's The Pirate finally arrives in a couple of weeks, and you can expect me to go on and on about that--but New Release Day is officially a thing of the past around here. I'm sure regular readers (both of you--hey, I never get tired of that gag!) won't mourn it.
Having said that, Hollywood After Dark is out today, a 1968 effort with Rue McClanahan as a stripper, and featuring commentary by The Film Crew--Mystery Science Theater vets Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. I'll be picking up a copy.
4) I realize a cat lacks opposeable thumbs and so can't technically can't form a fist, but Monika punched Midnight in the face last night. Not that Moika's belligerant; Midnight was actin' a fool, and deserved a smackdown. Monika just did what she had to.
Monika is awesome.