The "B" Movie Essentials

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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby movieman1957 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:28 pm

While I admire his taste I wouldn't be that strict about who is the only great filmmaker. Must be nice to have a brother with a similar interest.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby Vienna » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:00 pm

All I seem to be watching lately is B movies. I'm amazed so many have survived and sometimes in very good condition. The B movies generally didn't have the studio's big stars and usually had a running time of about an hour - and with obviously less money spent on them.
But, as we know, a lot of them were so entertaining.. I'm thinking of THE GLASS ALIBI, THE CROOKED WEB, PIER 13, STRANGE IMPERSONATION, THE THREAT, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY, SHED NO TEARS, IDENTITY UNKNOWN, WIFE WANTED, NINE GIRLS, CLUB PARADISE - so many.

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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby RedRiver » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:23 pm

Sometimes B movies are more fun than "serious" ones. You can relax a little! It's The C Level I have no patience with. Small, ineffective projects with almost nothing to recommend them. Videos you find for two dollars, piled into a shelf you have to sort through. When the main character is played by Wallace Ford...
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby moira finnie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:48 pm

Vienna wrote:All I seem to be watching lately is B movies. I'm amazed so many have survived and sometimes in very good condition. The B movies generally didn't have the studio's big stars and usually had a running time of about an hour - and with obviously less money spent on them.
But, as we know, a lot of them were so entertaining.. I'm thinking of THE GLASS ALIBI, THE CROOKED WEB, PIER 13, STRANGE IMPERSONATION, THE THREAT, ARMORED CAR ROBBERY, SHED NO TEARS, IDENTITY UNKNOWN, WIFE WANTED, NINE GIRLS, CLUB PARADISE - so many.

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Welcome Vienna! It's fun to have someone new to share impressions with here.

Another reason why Bs often seemed so much fun: The seemingly "unimportant" Bs allowed creative, untried directors and veterans to explore topics in novel ways (even slipping things past the Production Code ofc. since small and indie productions were often ignored by them).
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby Vienna » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:46 pm

Thank you,Moirai. I love Silver Screen Oasis and am enjoying working my way through so many of the interesting posts. And some lovely photos too.
Glad too that everyone seems to be friendly .
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby MissGoddess » Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:12 pm

Let me add my welcome, Vienna!
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby movieman1957 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:07 pm

It's been fun reading your posts Vienna because like some other new members do you have brought up some old threads that generate new conversations.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby RedRiver » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:41 pm

My welcome is on another thread. Does it still count?
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby knitwit45 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:44 pm

Hello, Vienna! Welcome to our merry little band...lots of fun, lots of information, hope you stick around!

We are really taking on an international flavor with you, Alison (Charliechaplinfan), and Stuart from Great Britain, Christine (annharding) from France, our beloved Feaito from Chile, we have a poster from Germany....lots and lots of nice people to meet.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby hbenthow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:38 am

moirafinnie wrote:Here's something I've thought about for some time. I know it is apples to oranges in many ways, but could you explain what you like (and dislike) about "B" movies in the studio period?


I like the way they were made with relatively small resources, yet often were chock full of entertainment value. A lot of bang for the buck, so to speak.

I also believe that B-movies and other small-to-moderate sized movies perform an important service. For audiences to be able to appreciate big movies, small ones need to exist. If every movie were an extravagent large-scale drama like Gone With the Wind, an adventure epic like King Kong, or a musical extravaganza like Singin' in the Rain, they would all begin to seem ordinary. It's not that they would all be boring, but the large scales and high production values would come to be taken for granted. It's necessary to see some small movies, so as to not forget how big the big ones truly are.

What makes a "B" movie good in the studio era, aside from a smaller budget?


One of the trademarks and strengths of B-movies was their fast pacing. They wasted as little time as possible, filling as much screen-time with entertainment value as they could.

Which of the major studios (MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Columbia, RKO, Universal) do you think produced the best "B"s?


Warner Brothers. Their B-movie section was a well-oiled machine. Each year, they churned out many snappy, fast-paced B-movies with top-rate casts.

Which of the poverty row studios (Republic, Monogram, PRC, etc.) "B" movies do you think made the most interesting "B" flicks?


Republic, which also made many of the best serials.

If there were Academy Awards for Best "B" Picture, which ones would you like to see honored and why?


I'm not sure. That's a tough question.
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I'm fond of a great deal of B-movies, especially in the comedy genre. From film series such Blondie and Ma and Pa Kettle, to various solo movies, there are an abundance of great B-comedies. That's not to belittle the other genres, though. There are many great B-mysteries and thrillers (The Whistler movies, Detour, etc), and well-done B-movies from just about every genre there is. Classic serials such as the Flash Gordon trilogy, Red Barry, Secret Agent X-9, and Spy Smasher are also in much the same territory as B-movies, as are the many two-reeler comedies featuring such comedians as the Three Stooges.

Although the term "B-movie" eventually came to be used to describe just about any low-budget movie, the type of movie the term was originally applied to began to fade away starting around the 1950s - on movie screens, that is. When television became big, what had been the B-movie section of the movie industry shifted to television, and has stayed there ever since. Now, instead of B-movies, two-reelers, and serials, we have television movies, television series, and mini-series. Much like the B-movies, television productions usually have smaller scales and budgets than their cinematic counterparts. Also similar is that, just as B-movies often starred actors that were given only supporting roles in the A-movies, and a move from the B's to the A's was considered a promotion and came with higher pay, actors who have only moderately succesful (or even unsucessful) movie careers can be stars on television, and a move from television star to movie star remains a promotion to this day. The same principle holds true for other people in the industry, such as directors and composers.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby RedRiver » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:00 pm

One of the trademarks and strengths of B-movies was their fast pacing. They wasted as little time as possible, filling as much screen-time with entertainment value as they could.

That's what I like about them. To this day, a meandering pace and thick complexity will lose me. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's go!
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby JackFavell » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:02 pm

Hey don't be dissing on Wally Ford! :D

This is a great topic. I'm inclined to agree with ChiO that perhaps less studio interference helped to make B's feel fresh, but I don't think that's the only benefit of less studio interference. I think that it also led to directors and writers investigating more adult themes that might never have been made into A pics. Or vice versa... (more childish themes).

I am enjoying the Nick Carter films right now, speaking of B's, and they are good, snappy paced adventure flicks even though they were made at MGM. :wink:
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby JackFavell » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:46 pm

Here's another plus with B movies - better roles for character actors.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby hbenthow » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:18 pm

JackFavell wrote:Here's another plus with B movies - better roles for character actors.


I agree. A lot of character actors (Alan Jenkins, Glenda Farrell, etc) got more of the spotlight in the B's than they did in the A's.

I am enjoying the Nick Carter films right now, speaking of B's, and they are good, snappy paced adventure flicks even though they were made at MGM. :wink:


I need to watch those.
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Re: The "B" Movie Essentials

Postby JackFavell » Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:11 am

Donald Meek rocks in the Nick Carter movies! He carries bees in his hat! It's alarming, but good entertainment. :D

A real Bee movie.

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