Thursday, March 3, 2022

Thursday Movie Picks-A Dig (Archaeology/Palaeontology)


I could have written another 3 for the modern movies but, you know me.  Wandering Through The Shelves has created some fun ones for her weekly themes and this is one (well, most are pretty damn great) is a fun one. So let's get on with the show...


I wish I could have found a better trailer since we are looking at a role by Stepin Fetchit, which makes one want to just shake ones' head, but this was typical for the day. By the way, he played these roles like this to, apparently, pull the wool over the "white" man's eyes by having the white man do the work feigning laziness when, in fact, he was anything but this. According to African American biographer, Mel Watkins, he is known more as a prankster who could con the white man into doing the work. Stepin (real name is actually Lincoln Perry) was the first African millionaire from the film industry. OK, now, about the movie, There is a dig going on in Egypt but when the head dude of archaeology goes missing, Charlie Chan and his #1 son are brought in to find out where he went. Soon, they find him, wrapped up like a mummy. They unravel(get it:)) art treasures being taken, missing people, Strange things happening, Stepin, and Rita Hayworth in one of her first roles. You should invest, one day, into viewing some fun Charlie Chan mysteries as they are a lot of fun.


This is a a great adventure film that stars Stewart Granger (I always found him a bit...icky), Deborah Kerr and some of the tribes of Africa including the Watusi who would not allow themselves to be filmed until this film. Beautiful Kerr is in search of her husband who was looking for a huge amount of diamonds in a cave. She meets Allan Quartermain (not the character from my soap, General Hospital) who is a legend in this part (and others) of the world. He doesn't like women on his treks but he knows he can't argue with a red haired vixen like Kerr so off they venture. I have not seen this in years but I remember being amazed at the tribes, feeling very sad about the elephants and laughing when Kerr cuts her own hair but looks like she still came from a beauty parlour. I need to see the earlier film starring Paul Robeson as Umbopa who plays the faithful servant to Allan only to come forward, later on, as the rightful king to his tribe. In this version this character is secondary but still important. 


Don't you love that music! It is composed by the great Bernard Hermann who also composed "North By Northwest" and "Psycho" plus many others. James Mason plays an University professor who stumbles across information from a scientist whom, he believes, has found the centre of the earth. Before you can say Holy Hot Magma Batman, he brings in his student assistant, Pat Boone (yup, that Pat Boone but no white shoes here) to travel to Iceland to find out more information. There they meet Arlene Dahl(who just past away last year), who's husband was murdered for finding out more information, and Peter Ronson who helps them out of a feathery situation. All of them venture down a volcano, with Gertrude the duck of course, to locate the centre. Along the way, they meet a diabolical man who is trying to claim this find for himself. They find riches, salt and some nasty dinosaurs (well, they are just lizards made to look really big) as they go ever deeper. I watched this movie every chance I could get when it was on tv and I never tire of it. It is the best version of Jules Verne's novel with the special effects being quite good plus I love Gertrude. 

Yup, I stayed away from the popular ones that pop into everyone's head (Raider's, Lara, Some park). Which ones can you come up with?

Sorry...something happened and it never published when I wanted it to..Just found out:))


  1. I LOVE the James Mason Journey to the Center of the Earth! The Brendan Fraser version? Yeah, not so much. FWIW, I read the Jules Verne book. Kind of boring, to be honest. Also FWIW, I lived near Reykjavik for over a year and saw the volcano mentioned in the movie/book.

  2. I haven't seen any of these. Does Romancing the Stone count? Only other one I can think of is Appointment with Death when the characters go on an excursion to a dig in Petra.

  3. I admit, Raiders came to my mind first.

  4. Not seen the first one Birgit, but have enjoyed the others.
    Hope you are keeping well, Kate x

  5. I saw a few Charlie Chan films in my younger days, but I'm not sure about the one you mentioned. The other two I have definitely seen relatively recently and enjoyed them both.

    The Indiana Jones and Mummy movies are the first ones that come to my mind.

    Others that I might suggest are Stargate and Sahara. Maybe kinda The Goonies--what a treasure they found!

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  6. Hi, Birgit!

    You ghosted me this morning, dear friend! :) Yessum, I was seated in the last row of the balcony by 6 am sharp as I am every Thursday. As always, I saved you a seat. I even went ahead and got us a jumbo tub of popcorn. To my dismay, you didn't show. As Ricky Nelson put it in his song, "Stood up, brokenhearted, again." There I sat, all alone, with a lump in my throat, binge watching Joi Lansing Scopitones. It just wasn't the same without you, BB. :) You see, I do 90% of my blogging between 5 am and 7 am when I'm fresh, then move onto the other activities of the day. I just discovered your post a short while ago. I am relieved that you are AOK.

    Yessum, I remember Stepin Fetchit. He was a far cry from the Sidney Poitiers, Denzel Washingtons and Sterling K. Browns of modern times. Lincoln Perry's Stepin Fetchit reminds me of the character Lightnin' on the TV series Amos 'n' Andy. Lightnin' was played by Nick Stewart (billed as "Nick O'Demus"). As a boy, I watched Charlie Chan films on TV. They aired after school and on weekends.

    Yessum, I am familiar with King Solomon's Mines. As I recall, the Quartermaines hired Luke Spencer to find the Ice Princess. Details get fuzzy from there, but I do recall Luke, Laura and Robert Scorpio winding up on Cassadine Island. Am I even in the ballpark here? :) I found the following tidbit about Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr on Wiki: << Granger claimed in his autobiography that Deborah Kerr had approached him romantically in the back of his chauffeur-driven car at the time he was making Caesar and Cleopatra. Although at the time he was married to Elspeth March, he states that he and Kerr went on to have an affair. When asked about this revelation, Kerr's response was "What a gallant man he is." >>

    I always admired actress Arlene Dahl. I'm sorry to learn that she recently died, but happy to know that she made it all the way to age 96. I saw Journey way back around the time of its release. I loved the "monstrous, flesh-eating Dimetrodons." (In boyhood, I had a Dimetrodon in my collection of plastic dinosaurs.) I also love (there's that word again) "the giant chameleon with it's 20-foot tongue." (Gene Simmons was still light years away.)

    I'm too tired at this point to think of any films to add to your list. All I'm good for at this time of day is being able to rattle off a bunch of lame jokes. Thanks for the entertainment, dear friend BB, and enjoy the rest of your week!

  7. Fun choices Birgit!

    I agree the Charlie Chans are escapist fun. I liked Warner Oland in the role but my favorite was Stanley Toler though I have to admit it was always somewhat distracting that neither were Oriental, a fact made ever clearer by having their sons played by actual Oriental performers. That aside they always breezed right along in a painless way.

    I've seen both this version of King Solomon's Mines and the earlier Paul Robson. Both have their appeal but I've never understood why this one was such an enormous hit. It drags at points. I don't mind Stewart Granger but he does often come across as pompous, never understood what the divine Jean Simmons saw in him.

    It's been years since I saw Journey to the Center of the Earth but I LOVED it as a kid. Great cast and fun story.

    Good on you for staying away from the obvious, though some of them are good films. What occurred to me on a quick glance at the theme was an appallingly bad Charlton Heston movie from the 80's called The Awakening where he's on a dig that disturbs a cursed Egyptian queen's tomb and out of vengeance she possesses his daughter Stephanie Zimbalist followed by some of the stupidest scenes ever. Somehow poor Susannah York got ensnared into the movie as well. If you haven't seen it don't! It's trash!!

  8. Ha, I thought Granger was creepy, too. I liked him as Scaramouche though, so maybe it was the creepy people he portrayed. I read his real name was James Stewart, Jimmy to his friends. Someone told him to change his name so wouldn’t be confused with the American Jimmy Stewart.

  9. My college film music class spent quite a bit of time on Bernard Hermann. You see his name on all sorts of movies from that time.

    The first movie that came to mind for me was Bringing Up Baby. Not archeology per se, but Cary Grant's character was a palentologist, if I recall correctly.

  10. I wasn't aware that Bernard Herman had done the music for Journey to the Center of the Earth!