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1959

The Wasp Woman (1959) starring Susan Cabot, Philip Barry, Michael Mark, Fred Eisley, directed by Roger Corman

The Wasp Woman

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The Wasp Woman (1959) starring Susan Cabot, Philip Barry, Michael Mark, Fred Eisley, directed by Roger Corman

Synopsis of The Wasp Woman

The Wasp Woman. A cosmetics queen develops a youth formula from jelly taken from queen wasps. She suffers from unwanted side effects when exceeding the dosage.  It’s actually an interesting story, dealing with how society treats — and discards — people as they age.  It’s a story about ageism, wrapped in a science fiction/horror story.

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The FBI Story

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The FBI Story (1959), starring Jimmy Stewart, Vera Miles

Synopsis of The FBI Story

The FBI Story is a Hollywood biography of the early years of the FBI, told via flashback through the life story of one of its early agents.

Review of The FBI Story

As with most Hollywood biographies, The FBI Story needs to be taken with a grain of salt.  Having said that, Jimmy Stewart does a wonderful job of portraying the early FBI agent.  The story intertwines his personal life story with that of the agency.  The story works well, with the various personal moments mingling well with the agency’s growing pains.

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The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow

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The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (1959)

Synopsis of The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow

The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow – Hot rods, monsters and rock’n’roll… In this teen-oriented picture, a gang of greasers hole up in a reputedly haunted mansion after getting evicted from their clubhouse.

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Alligator People

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The Alligator People (1959) starring Beverly Garland, Richard Crane, Lon Chaney Jr.

Synopsis of The Alligator People

In The Alligator People, a newlywed husband abandons his young wife (Beverly Garland) on their wedding day. Distraught, she traces him to his ancestral home in the bayous of Louisiana, where, amid the swamps and deadly undergrowth, she discovers a terrible secret. Her husband was saved from death by an experimental medical procedure involving serum derived from alligators and now he’s developing horrifying side-effects. She’ll face any danger to help him but soon discovers her love may not be enough.

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Plan 9 from Outer Space [Ed Wood]

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Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) starring Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Vampira, directed by Ed Wood

 What can be said about Plan 9 from Outer Space that hasn’t already been said? It’s clearly the cheesiest of cheesy monster movies. It’s been considered for many years the worst movie that has ever been made – although there are other contenders.

In short, aliens from Outer Space plan to destroy Earth by reanimated corpses as an unstoppable army.  In that respect, it’s similar to Invisible Invaders – another low-budget invasion movie. However, Invisible Invaders also has good acting and a relatively sensible script.  Plan 9 from Outer Space has neither of those.

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A Hole in the Head

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A Hole in the Head (1959), starring Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, Eddie Hodges, Eleanor Parker, Carolyn Jones, Keenan Wynn directed by Frank Capra

Synopsis of A Hole in the Head

Frank Sinatra stars as Tony Manetta, a widower living well beyond his means. He lives in Miami where he’s raising his young son, Alvin (Eddie Hodges). With a limited understanding of the word “responsibility,” Tony, finding himself in debt. With his back against the wall, decides to reach out to his older brother, Mario. For yet another in a string of loans. He lies that the money is needed for Alvin who has taken ill. The plot takes full-swing when Mario and his wife decide to pay Tony and Alvin a visit.

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The Manster

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The Manster (1959) starring Peter Dyneley, Jane Hylton, Tetsu Nakamura, Terri Zimmern

The Manster is a low-budget horror movie, based in Japan. The stereotypical amoral mad scientist, Dr. Robert Suzuki (Tetsu Nakamura) starts off the movie by destroying a hideously mutated creature, that used to be human. In fact, its his own brother, setting the doctor’s character for the audience. Putting scientific advancement above human relationships, a point that gets reinforced later in the film.

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The Big Circus

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The Big Circus (1959) starring Victor Mature, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Red Buttons

While flipping through channels, I saw The Big Circus on Turner Classic Movies as part of a marathon of circus movies.   Despite my love of the circus, I almost went past until I saw Vincent Price as the ringmaster.   I’m a long-time fan of Vincent Price.  He’s one of the small fraternity of actors who never turn in a poor performance.   Another member of that fraternity is Peter Lorre, who also co-stars here as one of the circus clowns.   I’m glad that I stayed to watch — The Big Circus is an entertaining, although not dreadfully original, movie.

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