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Master Minds

USA 1948
produced by
Jan Grippo for Monogram
directed by Jean Yarbrough
starring the Bowery Boys (= Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, William 'Billy' Benedict, Benny Bartlett, David Gorcey), Alan Napier, Jane Adams, Bernard Gorcey, Glenn Strange, Skelton Knaggs, William Yetter sr, Minerva Urecal, Chester Clute, Pat Goldin, Robert Coogan, Kit Guard, Harry Tyler, Stanley Blystone
written by Charles R. Marion, additional dialogue by Bert Lawrence, makeup by Jack Pierce

Bowery Boys, formerly Dead End Kids, East Side Kids

review by
Mike Haberfelner


Sach (Huntz Hall) gets a tooth ache from eating too much candy at Louie's (Bernard Gorcey) soda fountain, and that tooth ache gets him into a trance and enables him to see into the future - and his predictions all come true. Sash's friends Slip (Leo Gorcey) and Gabe (Gabriel Dell) are quick to see the financial potential of this, and soon enough Sach becomes a carnival attraction. And since he can only predict the future when he's suffering from his tooth ache (which seems to come and go at will), Slip, Gabe and the rest of the gang (William 'Billy' Benedict, Benny Bartlett, David Gorcey) see to it that he's always fed enough candy. Sach's predictions are so accurate that they attract the attention of the newspapers, and it's in a newspaper article that Dr. Druzik (Alan Napier) reads about him and figures Sach is just what he needs. You see, Dr. Druzik is currently working on turning his monster Atlas (Glenn Strange) into a human, and for that, he needs a human brain - and why he needs the brain of a soothsayer is left to anyone's guess. Anyways, Druzik and his henchmen soon kidnap Sach, and electrically switch his brain with that one of the monster. The rest of the boys are of course worried when Sach is suddenly gone and go looking for him - while Atlas with Sach's brain escapes from Dr. Druzik's lab and returns to Louie's soda fountain, scaring Louie witless. Soon enough, the boys catch up with Atlas with Sach's brain, let him take them back to Druzik's lab for a rescue - which is when Atlas turns into Atlas again and Sach into Sach, which leads to a great amount of confusion, which ultimately has all of the boys captured and the good doctor experimenting some more on Atlas and Sach's brains - but unlikely rescue comes in the forms of Druzik's nurse Nancy (Jane Adams), a good girl blackmailed into working for Druzik who has somewhat fallen for Gabe, and Louie, who pretty much has to save the boys as they owe him a fortune in unpaid bills at the soda fountain ...

 

Ok, the premise of this is utterly ridiculous - though somewhat in line with many B-horrors from the 1940s, especially from Monogram -, but still this is probably one of the best Bowery Boys movies, mainly because with the series (in the present format, not counting the Dead End Kids and East Side Kids movies) was on long enough for the boys to find into their characters and develop the right chemistry, but not long enough for  their routines to go stale. So Leo Gorcey's constant misappropriation of the English language is still funny, Huntz Hall's routines aren't yet as moronic as in later movies, the interplay between the two of them is hilarious, as is when Glenn Strange and Huntz Hall switch brains and each takes on the other's mannerisms. And in this one, the horror undercurrents of the story actually make for some moody setpieces that work well with the comedy rather than against it. It's still no masterpiece, but for a Bowery Boys film, it's really very decent.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD