September 19th: The Baroness and I watched Crooked House, my obligatory Agatha Christie story for this season (I wasn’t able to find the 1974 Ten Little Indians and somehow this ended up on my list instead). I’d need spoiler space to get into which 1950s horror sub-genre foundational work this prefigures*, but in any case, Crooked House boasts a great cast and seems to have been inexplicably panned. If you like high production value adaptations of Christie’s work with actors like Terence Stamp, Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, and Christina Hendricks, this is a lot of fun. (Yeah, technically this should’ve been part of the last post…somehow it got left out! In my house we blame Phoebe, the ghost from BVH’s childhood home-Editor)
Cast and Crew: William Alland (Producer); Henry Mancini (Score); Henry Brandon
What It’s About: A naval helicopter on an exploration mission crashes in the mouth of an Antarctic volcano that houses a lost world of prehistoric dinosaurs and plants. Can the survivors find a way to repair their helicopter before the expedition gives up searching for them? What or who is it that the dinosaurs fear?
Why Watch it Today?: Although not directly named, Operation Highjump, the 1946 mission to explore Antarctica, especially the crash of one plane on today’s date, partly inspired today’s film. While not a classic by any means, the film features some wonderfully goofy dinosaur effects and a lot of great 1950s “can do” scientist action, and it does feature one clever twist that I won’t spoil here.