Kendra Steiner Editions

March 16, 2017

now available: FOSSILS and BILL SHUTE re-team for “FLORIDA NOCTURNE REVISITED” (KSE #362)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 10:23 am

new interpretations of Bill Shute’s 2012 “Florida Nocturne Poems” with Canada’s free-improv/noise masters FOSSILS

BILL FOSSILS FLORIDA 2

FOSSILS & BILL SHUTE

FLORIDA NOCTURNE REVISITED (KSE #362, CDR album)

contains the pieces

SHADES OF NIGHT DESCENDING

MONDO DAYTONA

 PEACH COBBLER IN THE POKER ROOM

JUPITER IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR

—————————

FOSSILS ARE

Daniel Farr and David Payne

Texts and vocal, Bill Shute

Music recorded in Hamilton, ON

Poetry tracks recorded in Austin, TX by Marcus M. Rubio

issued March 2017

—————

Longtime readers will remember the four poetry chapbooks in the FLORIDA NOCTURNE POEMS sequence, composed during my Summer 2012 “writing vacation” in Central Florida. For a number of reasons, I will never forget that sojourn. First, it was very satisfying and covered a lot of territory–and much of my writing happened at dog-tracks. Second, I passed through Sanford, Florida, and it was soon after the tragic Trayvon Martin shooting there. Third, on the last day of that trip, in a Jacksonville (a city with more police presence than I’ve ever seen) motel across the street from a Bob Evans restaurant, I received a call telling me that my mother had passed away.

In 2014, FOSSILS and I created an album mixing their sound sculpture with my 2012 Florida poems, alternating music and poetry. That album was well-received and we were very happy with it. Now, we present a NEW interpretation of the Florida Nocturne Poems with FOSSILS sound sculpture woven into the poems themselves (or is it that the poem texts are woven into the FOSSILS sound fabric–probably both), not presented separately.

As I listen to these tracks, I feel that these poems perfectly capture what I was trying to do….and what I am still doing in my present works. The collage of image and incident is peppered with just the right amount of each element, and the shards are placed into suspension to create the perfect assemblage. If you are not familiar with my work, this would be a good place to start. The themes I dealt with in 2012, alas, are even more relevant today. And when you weave these readings into the rich and deeply-textured FOSSILS sound sculptures—-which are heavily percussive and also include found sounds and conversation—-you have a sensory experience rooted in the heat and humidity of Central Florida in the summer.

Whatever people may think of this product, I can assure you no one else is doing anything remotely like it. Fossils and I have tossed this message in a bottle on to the polluted ocean of 2016 society. Let it wash up on your shore, open the bottle, and give it a try….

CDR albums $8 postpaid in the USA

CDR albums $18 outside the USA (note: any 2 albums for $20 outside USA–after the first two, extra KSE albums are only $8 each postpaid overseas)

send payment via paypal to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com

(and leave a note with paypal telling us which albums you are ordering and also your mailing address….thanks!)

other CDR albums available (same price as above):

KSE 11th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM (KSE #370), CDR album featuring new and exclusive material recorded especially for this project from JEN HILL     –     MATTHEW REVERT & VANESSA ROSSETTO     –     BRIAN RURYK    –    JOHN BELL     –     MASSIMO MAGEE     –     MORE EAZE     –     FOSSILS     –  LISA CAMERON & ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE     –     STEVE FLATO

KSE #363 (CDR) ALFRED 23 HARTH’s BERLIN ENSEMBLES

KSE #355 (CDR), MORE EAZE, “wOrk”

KSE #357 (CDR), SMOKEY EMERY / VENISON WHIRLED, “turning into”

KSE #359 (CDR), TOM CREAN & MATT ROBIDOUX, “blank space”

KSE #353 (CDR), FOSSILS, “Camelot Towers”

KSE #336 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Kepler 452b Edition”

KSE #351 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Music In 3 Spaces”

KSE #350 (CDR) ANTHONY GUERRA / BILL SHUTE, “Subtraction” KSE reissue of album originally released in 2011 on Black Petal Records, Australia 

KSE #335 (CDR album), REVEREND RAYMOND BRANCH, “Rainbow Gospel Hour…On The Air!”—a wonderful hour-long AM-radio broadcast, mastered from cassette, capturing the warmth and joy of Rev. Branch in both music (lots of it) and spoken message

KSE #334 (CDR album), BRIAN RURYK, “Actual Size…degress again” (sic)

KSE #333 (CDR album), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Tunnels” solo 12-string acoustic mantra guitar

KSE #331, “KSE 10th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM” featuring newly recorded, exclusive tracks from members of the KSE family: ALFRED 23 HARTH,  SARAH HENNIES, RAMBUTAN, VANESSA ROSSETTO, ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, DEREK ROGERS, BRENT FARISS, MATT KREFTING, GRAHAM LAMBKIN, and MASSIMO MAGEE

KSE #328, LISA CAMERON & NATHAN BOWLES, “Liquid Sunshine” percussion duo

KSE #326, MORE EAZE (aka Marcus M. Rubio), “Abandoning Finitude”….cover art by Bob Bruno

KSE #318, ALFRED 23 HARTH & JOHN BELL, “Camellia”

KSE #310,  MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Accidental Prizes”

KSE #293, MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Stylistic Deautomatization” (reissued)

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POETRY CHAPBOOKS AVAILABLE PRESENTLY FROM KSE, all in hand-made editions under 50 copies:

KSE #368 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Find A Place To Die”

KSE #367 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Left-Handed Cherubs”

KSE #354 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Revelation In Slow Motion”

KSE #364 (poetry chapbook), LUIS CUAUHTEMOC BERRIOZABAL, “Make The Light Mine”

KSE #352 (poetry chapbook), BILL SHUTE, “Bridge on the Bayou”

chapbooks are $6 postpaid in the US, $7 postpaid elsewhere

As always, thank you for support of independent, non-aligned artists and arts organizations such as Kendra Steiner Editions….now in our 12th year of operation, from here in San Antonio, Texas

In a few weeks we’ll be starting up the new music releases for 2017, and there are A LOT of surprises coming and a strong release schedule of about a dozen albums for the year….the first being a stunning new creation from San Diego-based composer A.F. JONES….stay tuned for that….

March 15, 2017

La Gerusalemme liberata (a.k.a. The Mighty Crusaders), directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia (Italy 1958)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:45 am

La Gerusalemme liberata (a.k.a. The Mighty Crusaders)

directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia

released in Italy/France/Germany in 1958, in the USA in 1961

starring Francisco Rabal, Sylva Koscina, Gianna Maria Canale, Rik Battaglia, and Philippe Hersent

inspired by Torquato Tasso’s epic poem La Gerusalemme Liberata/Jerusalem Delivered (1581)

mighty 5

The print reviewed is a letterboxed English-dubbed version of the French release LA MURAILLE DE FEU (The Wall Of Fire–a title that makes sense when you see the entire film)

MIGHTY 1

Here’s a film I recently acquired  that I’ve never before seen offered in grey-market/collectors circles. With a superb cast and based on an Italian epic poem from the 1500’s (which I read a Canto or two of decades ago when studying Edmund Spenser), it’s set in the year 1099 as Christian forces attempt to take Jerusalem from Islamic forces. It’s very much in the old-school style of the Italian historical epic films of the late 1940’s and the 1950’s, prior to the release of the Steve Reeves “Hercules” film which changed the genre significantly. This was released as THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS (that title was revived in the 1960’s by Archie Comics during its short-lived venture into super-heroes, and the title was picked up by DC Comics briefly in the early 1990’s) in the US by a small company, Falcon, in 1961, and from the poster above, you can see that it was sold as a spectacle, riding on the coat-tails of the various 50’s Biblical epics and of the two Reeves Hercules films. Anyone who came to see the film based on that poster would probably be satisfied, as the hyperbole in the poster’s claims is based on a kernel of fact in each example.

When the film opens, the Christian forces (under leader Godfrey, played by Philippe Hersent) are working on a series of gigantic movable towers, which will be rolled on logs to the Moslem fortresses where they are to be used in battle, and then we are introduced to the usual court/military intrigue on both sides. While the back-and-forth machinations of the military strategy provide a good amount of drama, much of the film’s (and the poem’s) plot is given over to affairs of the heart–not one relationship, but two (or even three, depending on how one counts). Tancred (Francisco “Paco” Rabal) from the Christian side has fallen in love with  Clorinda (Sylva Koscina, this film was made earlier in the same year she co-starred with Steve Reeves in HERCULES, incidentally) from the Moslem side, who is being held as a prisoner to be used in a prisoner swap. At the same time, we have another romance crossing sides with Rinaldo (Rik Battaglia) being enticed by and falling for Armida, a higher-up in the Moslem leadership (note: both of these women are fighters and strategists of a sort, actually engaging in physical battles–not the usual “damsels in distress” one sees too often in this kind of product), who wants to defeat Rinaldo and the Christians but who also fights against her falling for him. We are never really sure how that will wind up. Add to that another young woman prisoner who is smitten with Tancred and is willing, at times, to sabotage her own side for it, and you’ve got enough romance and intrigue to keep this film interesting for its relatively short 90 minute running time (my print is 86, it’s listed on the IMDB as 91, and there are a few too-quick transitions here and there which suggest minor cuts to trim the running time).

I’ve never cared for American-made epics from the 1950’s and 1960’s (I’m leaving out the superb KING OF KINGS, which was essentially made in Spain and seems like a European film), which always seem phony and hokey to me. I’ll take the worst European historical epic of the period over most anything American. Yes, these European films are cliche-ridden, but the stilted and stylized proceedings usually include (as you get here) interesting production design and evocative real locations and surviving historical buildings (or if not, the clever fakes are closer to the real thing)….and the actors/actresses have roots in stylized European classical theatre in the way that Brits have a background in Shakespeare, so they seem to know how to play this material in a way that’s serious (and yes, a bit stilted) but not laughable. Also, this film is dubbed in English, and in that 1950’s style of dubbing with its rigid delivery which seems suited to a radio drama—-the disconnect between the formal and somewhat disembodied voices and the elegant classical acting style shown in the faces and bodies of the players seems to elevate the whole thing to the level of some kind of archetypal stage, which is beyond and above present-day film-making and sensibilities (it almost reminds me of the curiously old-fashioned feel of the 1920’s films of D.W. Griffith, which had an “elevated” and self-consciously literary feel, in the then-obsolescent Victorian meaning of “literary”). Anyone who grew up watching these dubbed European films in the 1950s-1970’s, when they were a part of American popular culture, understands the curious and unique feel of the hybrid form which is created by the marriage of dubbed-sound and stylized historical image. I’m probably not expressing this idea as clearly as I need to for readers who are unfamiliar with this category of film, but it’s an interesting phenomenon which was culturally significant for many years and has never really been adequately discussed by people who lived through it, and with this subject NOT being something considered even worthy of discussion nowadays (and PLEASE don’t bring a condescending, ironic, campy eye and ear to this), I’m not expecting much else to be written about it, which is why I’m taking a stab here.

MIGHTY 2

LA MURAILLE DE FEU/THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS/La Gerusalemme liberata is an interesting and entertaining cultural artifact, a product of a strand of late 50’s/early 60’s culture which is largely forgotten. It plays out on an exciting level and ends in a genuinely surprising (well, to those unfamiliar with the epic poem, it’s surprising) and tragic manner….but, of course, victoriously and reverently (hey, it’s got the word CRUSADE in the English language title, so how could you expect otherwise), with a vision of the Cross radiating in the background of the final scene. Of course, judge this film with 2017 blinders on, and it raises all kinds of questions (the one which came up in my mind was how audiences would have viewed an Islamic man falling for a Christian woman and wanting to bring her over to HIS side—-would THAT be allowed in the name of romance?), but that kind of analysis is like shooting fish in a barrel. By the standards of the day (the day being the early 50’s atmosphere this 1958 film is rooted in, AND the fact that even then it was looking back at a middle-ages epic poem and going for an elevated ‘classical’ feel), this was a solid piece of work. Had I been old enough to go to movies in 1962 and had I seen this at the Golden Theater in Golden, Colorado, on some weeknight (they’d probably have had a more commercial film playing on the weekends!–this would have been Tuesday night fodder) after a long workday at the Coors bottling plant or wherever, I would have been transported to some Classics Illustrated (European division)-style world of capital-R Romance and old-school defenders of the faith with massive and colorful sets and costumes and location shooting at places I’d never visit.

As I would walk out onto the main street of Golden at 10:45 pm at the show’s end, the same people as usual would be next door at the bar, drinking themselves into a stupor, the same teenagers would be making out in parked cars in poorly lit areas, trying to find a thrill and step outside and beyond the monotony…and temporarily succeeding, and the same unpaid bills and the same work schedule and the same broken-down car and the same grody apartment would be waiting for me….but for an hour and a half, I’d been living on a higher plane, taken out of my element, and touching the garments and smelling the battle-sweat of stylized antiquity….if only for a moment. That’s why these films existed, and that’s why they should be remembered.

MIGHTY 4

…..You can listen to or download a reading of the entire epic poem by Tasso (an influence on both Spenser and Milton), translated into English, here:                 https://librivox.org/jerusalem-delivered-by-torquato-tasso/

MIGHTY 3

Here’s a link to a review that is a bit sarcastic but actually is fairly accurate about the film– in the way that a detailed negative review of Bob Dylan is often more “accurate” than a fawning but vague positive one–it’s just that the negative one sees the glass as half empty instead of half full….although it’s quite accurate about how much liquid is in the glass!    https://gonzohistory.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/movie-monday-the-mighty-crusaders-1958/

March 13, 2017

KSE 11th Anniversary Album–available now!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:38 pm

kse-11-new

KSE 11th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM (KSE #370), CDR album

featuring new and exclusive material recorded especially for this project from

JEN HILL     –     MATTHEW REVERT & VANESSA ROSSETTO     –     BRIAN RURYK

JOHN BELL     –     MASSIMO MAGEE     –     MORE EAZE     –     FOSSILS

LISA CAMERON & ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE     –     STEVE FLATO

$8 postpaid in the USA

$18 outside the USA (note: any 2 albums for $20 outside USA–after the first two, extra KSE albums are only $8 each postpaid overseas)

send payment via paypal to django5722 (at) yahoo (dot) com

(and leave a note with paypal telling us which albums you are ordering and also your mailing address….thanks!)

On 1 March 2017 Kendra Steiner Editions finished its 11th year in operation, having released 370 (!!!!) contemporary poetry chapbooks and experimental music CDR albums in that time, and we’ve got an exciting release schedule planned for 2017 as we enter our 12th year, including albums by a number of artists NEW to the KSE family as well as new creations by members of our ongoing crew.

In celebration of the 11th Anniversary, we sounded the call last year for new material from a number of like-minded friends from four continents (!!!!) in the international experimental music community (with four of them being present or former Texans). They delivered a stunning and diverse collection of tracks, and we put a lot of thought into programming the album for maximum effect—-nearly an hour of top-shelf material available nowhere else. Each of the artists has (or will have soon) a stack of copies to sell locally and at shows, and if one of the artists is local in your area, please buy the album from him/her at a show and put some cash in their pockets. If not, then please order direct from KSE here in South Texas…. Here’s the line-up of artists and tracks:

 Jen Hill – Piece for Cello

Matthew Revert and Vanessa Rossetto –Emergency Contact

 Brian Ruryk – Stolen Bike

John Bell – Orange Agency

Massimo Magee – Wrangle (Solo Tenor Saxophone)

Lisa Cameron & Ernesto Diaz-Infante – Signs and Signals

More Eaze – Harmony: pitch study no. 4

Fossils – Barbarous Librarians

Steve Flato – Resembling Density

We also still have some copies of some of our 2016 releases available–feel free to add some on to your order for the compilation (foreign pricing is discussed at the top of this post–in the USA, each is $8 postpaid):

KSE #362 (CDR), FOSSILS & BILL SHUTE, “Florida Nocturne Revisited”

KSE #363 (CDR) ALFRED 23 HARTH’s BERLIN ENSEMBLES

KSE #355 (CDR), MORE EAZE, “wOrk”

KSE #357 (CDR), SMOKEY EMERY / VENISON WHIRLED, “turning into”

KSE #359 (CDR), TOM CREAN & MATT ROBIDOUX, “blank space”

KSE #353 (CDR), FOSSILS, “Camelot Towers”

KSE #336 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Kepler 452b Edition”

KSE #351 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Music In 3 Spaces”

KSE #350 (CDR) ANTHONY GUERRA / BILL SHUTE, “Subtraction” KSE reissue of album originally released in 2011 on Black Petal Records, Australia 

KSE #335 (CDR album), REVEREND RAYMOND BRANCH, “Rainbow Gospel Hour…On The Air!”—a wonderful hour-long AM-radio broadcast, mastered from cassette, capturing the warmth and joy of Rev. Branch in both music (lots of it) and spoken message

KSE #334 (CDR album), BRIAN RURYK, “Actual Size…degress again” (sic)

KSE #333 (CDR album), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Tunnels” solo 12-string acoustic mantra guitar

KSE #331, “KSE 10th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM” featuring newly recorded, exclusive tracks from members of the KSE family: ALFRED 23 HARTH,  SARAH HENNIES, RAMBUTAN, VANESSA ROSSETTO, ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, DEREK ROGERS, BRENT FARISS, MATT KREFTING, GRAHAM LAMBKIN, and MASSIMO MAGEE

KSE #328, LISA CAMERON & NATHAN BOWLES, “Liquid Sunshine” percussion duo

KSE #326, MORE EAZE (aka Marcus M. Rubio), “Abandoning Finitude”….cover art by Bob Bruno

 

KSE #318, ALFRED 23 HARTH & JOHN BELL, “Camellia”

KSE #310,  MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Accidental Prizes”

KSE #293, MORE EAZE (Marcus M. Rubio), “Stylistic Deautomatization” (reissued)

Thank you all for your support of our music and poetry releases over the last 11 years. We’ll be starting the new solo releases for 2017 in April, kicking off things with a stunning work from San Diego’s A.F. JONES….stay tuned!

kse-11-new

 

March 12, 2017

Art Acord in “Fighters Of The Saddle” (1929)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 9:46 pm

FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE (1929–silent), starring Art Acord

scenario by Horace B. Carpenter (who starred in Dwain Esper’s 1934 MANIAC )

directed by Robert J. Horner (infamous for his z-grade sound films, but not bad here)

art

Art Acord (though not from the film under review)

Art Acord is someone who was a well-known star in his heyday (in the world of westerns), but few of his films survive, and those that do are not really typical of what made him famous. Hailing from my former hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Acord died at the age of 40 in Mexico in 1931—-however, his name still surfaces here and there as a man of historical significance, and I just saw it today in an article about Oklahoma history, so I thought I’d re-post my review of his final surviving film, FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE, which I originally published online in 2003.

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One of the few available Art Acord films, a late-silent that’s probably not typical of Acord’s work

Imagine if the only available film by Boris Karloff was THE TERROR? Or if the only available Bob Steele western was AMBUSH TRAIL? We probably wouldn’t consider these men to be the greats in their respective genres that they are. While it’s rumored that more than a dozen Art Acord films are owned by collectors, the same three from his waning days on the screen are the only ones in active circulation today, easily available to someone who would want to buy them. FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE, from 1929, is one of those. Directed by Robert J. Horner (never a good sign, but this is actually a competently made cheap-jack silent western, so perhaps the photographer made the important decisions or maybe Horner, like Oscar Micheaux, is not as bad a silent director as he is a sound director?) as silent films were on their deathbed, FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE stars Art Acord as the son of a ruthless land developer who is running small tenants off their land so he can sell the land to corporations building roads. Art is sent by his dad to force the Wayne family off their land, and when he sees how unjust this is, he sides with the family and takes a stand against his dad. The 1929 Art Acord actually reminded me of Lon Chaney Jr. somewhat (in the late 30s, for example), and he looked a bit puffy. He plays the “sensitive but tough” part well, but if his name was John Doe and this was the only film I ever saw with him, I don’t know if I’d actively seek out others. Yet when I asked my father, a boy who loved westerns in the 1920’s and saw them every weekend, about his favorite western stars from the 20’s, he went into long descriptions of Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, and Art Acord. I assume he was talking about the Acord films made at Universal in the early 20’s. Let’s hope some of those have survived and find their way into circulation. As for the rest of this film, Tom Bay is quite impressive as the evil cousin of Art, who is trying to drive a wedge between Art and his dad so Tom can fill the position that Art does in the family. John Lowell is appropriately sleazy as “Bulldog” Weatherby, Art’s dad, but the Bulldog’s behavior in the film’s finale is completely unrealistic (that kind of thing never happens in real life!), and what’s going on when this old man tries to kiss the Wayne lady on the lips before Art embraces her in the final scene? Is that supposed to be funny? I found it sickening!! And the attempt at “cuteness” with the young Wayne children singing songs that are transcribed for us in title cards proves that silent films should not attempt to convey music elements. Overall, this is an interesting curio–OK as a z-grade late-silent western, and a rare view of Art Acord, but probably not typical of what made Art Acord a star. I have a few questions about elements in the film that seem elliptically presented, making me wonder if this is due to sloppy writing, budgetary unwillingness to film scenes that are more easily talked about, or poor continuity, but I don’t think this film necessarily lends itself to such scrutiny. By the way, the FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE that the title refers to are actually the hired thugs of Bulldog, not some heroic group led by Art Acord!

…………

FIGHTERS OF THE SADDLE is easy to find on budget DVD for those so inclined. Let’s hope more of Acord’s features are found, so I can see for myself what my father enjoyed so much about the man’s 1920’s Universal films, the films that truly capture what made him famous.

art 2

March 11, 2017

When Gangland Strikes (Republic Pictures, 1956)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 10:03 pm

WHEN GANGLAND STRIKES

released by Republic Pictures in March 1956

directed by R.G. Springsteen (usually fine, but even he can’t turn a bad script into gold)

released on VHS by Republic Pictures Home Video in the 1990’s

When_Gangland_Strikes-680096268-large

In one of my recent comic book reviews over at BTC, I compared the waning days of Republic Pictures with the waning days of Charlton Comics, so perhaps I should discuss a film from those waning days. I’ve seen some excellent crime dramas released by Republic in the 1955-56 period, and the studio made many fine crime dramas from the 30’s through the 50’s, but very few have ever been legitimately issued….usually only the serials and the westerns and the films starring John Wayne get put out on any video format….so it’s baffling why one of the few that DID get a VHS release from Republic is this disappointing film, and what’s maddening about its release is that the box suggests it’s some kind of late film noir. The video box and the movie posters (seen here) look exciting, but don’t believe it. Here is an online review of the film which I published originally in 2004. The film has not improved any with age:

……………………………………….

poorly-written, unsatisfying late-Republic programmer

Republic Pictures was in its waning days in 1956 when this strange, unsatisfying crime drama was made by a crew who had made many excellent later serials for Republic. A poor script with clashing moods, unrealistic dialogue, lines written solely to match later plot points that sound odd when spoken in dramatic situations, a “hero” who is not very sympathetic for most of the movie, continuity errors that are surprising for the slick professionals at Republic pictures (characters called by different names, rough edits that don’t match what just happened, etc.), characters whose reactions to important events are not like anything you’ve ever seen in real life–there are many, many flaws in this film. It could almost be used in a screenwriting class for a “how NOT to write a screenplay” unit. The class could stop the tape every minute or two and point out the flaws. The film LOOKS good as Republic product usually does. The acting is convincing, although even the best actors can’t do much with a poor script. On a positive note,the first five and last five minutes of the film are genuinely exciting. The film starts off like a hard-boiled crime film and ends like an over-the-top courtroom drama, but the middle 75% is a slow-moving, “Andy Hardy”-style smalltown drama. Except for Slim Pickens’ comic relief and Anthony Caruso as the gangster referred to in the title, the pace is slow.Raymond Greenleaf as a smalltown prosecutor begins as an affable, gentle character out of a Capra film, but his chronic inactivity will make him an unsympathetic character to most viewers. He throws an important case with seemingly no remorse, blackmailed about something that for many viewers would not be a major issue. I felt that the character was too lazy to do anything to resolve the situation about which he was blackmailed. I could go on and on about the flaws and inconsistencies in this film. My wife and I spent about an hour discussing a laundry list of problems after the film–more time than we spent discussing  David Mamet’s OLEANNA, which we’d seen the week before. Finally, the copy on the back cover of this video is completely deceptive. I can’t believe the person who wrote the notes even watched the enclosed film. It is NOT a noir film in any way. It is NOT an exciting film, except for brief scenes at the beginning and end. As a devoted fan of Republic Pictures product, I found the film an interesting failure, but I can’t recommend it to anyone who is not a serious Republic Pictures collector. There are some fine products from the 1955 and 1956 years at Republic, but this is not one of them, and I wonder why Republic chose to issue this on VHS when 9/10 of their crime dramas from the 50s would be far more worthy of release. Watch a favorite film a second time rather than spend any time watching WHEN GANGLAND STRIKES, a title more interesting than the film.

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After forgetting this film for 10+ years, I recently saw the old VHS of this for a dollar at Half-Price Books–spend that dollar on a pack of gum instead. As I stated above, Republic made a lot of excellent crime programmers over a long period. Let’s hope that Olive Films, in their exciting reissue program of Republic’s deep catalog items, will start releasing some of the lesser-known ones and give the films a second life. Republic Pictures was an important studio that provided solid low-budget genre films for 20+ years–they did not just make serials and westerns and John Wayne films, as wonderful as all those are. Let’s forget that they made this.

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