The Golden Gate Murders, and a few more films

My most enthusiastic recommendation today is The Golden Gate Murders, a cornball made-for-TV mystery from the 1970s. The real mystery is why I liked it so much, and the answer is in the stars.

#298  [archive]
JUNE 2, 2024

♦ ♦ ♦

Gold Raiders (1982)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

This is a low-budget and low-IQ ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark, but even mentioning that 'Raiders' might make you think this 'Raiders' is in some way comparable, or at least deserving of mention in the same sentence.

It's not. It's garbage.

Verdict: BIG NO. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Gold Rush Daze (1939)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

Here's an early Merrie Melodies cartoon, with none of the familiar characters. The animation style seems more reminiscent of early Disney, albeit in color, than Warner Bros.

The story is something about the California gold rush, 1848, but the gags are minimal, and it's more about the novelty of animation than about making an audience laugh.  

Verdict: NO.

♦ ♦ ♦  

The Golden Coach (1952)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

I groaned when this started. Wasn't expecting a costume drama, and usually such shows bore me. It's by Jean Renoir, though, so it comes close to overcoming the costumes, the rather formal dialogue, and the classical score.

The titular golden coach is an Italian-made carriage, imported by an overdressed, conceited, and fussy-haired "your highness" in a 19th century Peruvian town under Spanish rule. Then comes a visiting troupe of actors, and a clichéd but amusing romantic triangle or quadrangle (sorry, I lost track).

"How do you like the 'new world'?"

"It will be nice when it's finished."

The movie is OK, perhaps even good, with some laughs and lavish Technicolor, but even when it's at its best with quips and satirical moments, it remains a costume drama, full of corsets and wigs and overacting, and I never got past that.

Verdict: YES, but as close to MAYBE as possible.

♦ ♦ ♦  

The Golden Gate Murders (1979)
Streaming free at Internet Archive

An old priest arrives in San Francisco, and someone starts regaling him with the basic facts of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the priest cuts him short to recite a few bridge facts he already knows.

"Many immigrants worked on the structure," he says, "and 15 of those men lost their lives before it was completed. My brother was one of those 15 workmen."

Hmmm. I was expecting a schlocky made-for-TV murder mystery, but it opens with honestly effective pathos? Is this movie going to be good?

Yeah, it's good, though it's also bad, and there's no further pathos.

The Golden Gate Murders is a formulaic cop drama, but it offers two excellent actors playing interesting characters: David Janssen as a flamboyantly crotchety detective who says about ten non-crochety words in the whole movie, and Susannah York as a nun who's smarter than the detective, not quite as caustic, equally stubborn, and may have psychic powers. Along the way, Detective Janssen teaches Sister Susannah how to eat bagels and cream cheese.

This is TV stuff, cream cheesy and frequently preposterous. Most of the mystery's 'clues' are piffle, and the only copy of the film I could find was made from somebody's VHS recording, so it doesn't look very sharp.

But none of that matters — Janssen & York are more fun than Kojak meets Miss Marple.

However, 'only' eleven workers died during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, according to the bridge's memorial plaque, or twelve, according to the bridge's website. It wouldn't surprise me if the actual body count was triple that, but kept quiet for so long that now there's really no accurate count.

Verdict: YES.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

The Golden Glove (2019)
Streaming free at Tubi

About 1/4 of this is a likable, low-key comedy set in a German dive bar, the kind of place where the bartender has an insulting nickname for all the regulars, and they keep they curtains drawn because nobody wants the intrusion of sunlight. I'd love to see a whole movie about that bar.

The rest of it's about one of the bar's customers, Fritz Honka, a rather odd-looking chap who hates women and kills then as a hobby.

The movie is too bloody, violent, mean, and gory for me — my preference in murder movies is for the victims to fight back, or at least somebody gets vengeance, etc. If the victims instead end up in pieces in an attic crawlspace, waiting to be buried under the meat of the next victim, well, I already know that story. It's in the newspapers seven days a week.

That said, despite disliking The Golden Glove, the movie has a wildly wonderful look and vibe, when the killer's not killing anyone. I've added a few of director Fatih Akin's other films — the ones that aren't about serial killers — to my watchlist.

Verdict: MAYBE.

♦ ♦ ♦

Goldimouse and the Three Cats (1960)
Streaming free at YouTube, slightly sped up and with some idiot's logo in the corner

From Fritz Freleng and Warner's Looney Tunes, what's happening here is obvious from the title. Sylvester the Cat has a wife and a baby cat, and Sylvester's porridge is too hot, Mom's is too cold, and the bratty baby cat hates porridge and would rather eat a mouse. The mouse is a blonde.

Goldimouse and the Three Cats is innocuous and not unpleasant, but I'm beginning to question my decision to watch these old cartoons. They're simply not very funny, and even at six minutes length I grow impatient.

Maybe instead of watching random Warner cartoons, I should focus my attention on somebody's list of the best ones?

Verdict: MAYBE. 

♦ ♦ ♦  

Good Day for a Hanging (1959)

This is not a bad little western, which sorta flips the usual vigilante plot. Instead of the townsfolk wanting to lynch a suspected murderer, the killer is a local boy, well-liked, so everyone wants his sentence commuted — and marshal Fred MacMurray fired, because his testimony got the killer convicted.

MacMurray was fabulous in Double Indemnity, but here he's playing the marshal exactly the same as he played the father figure on My Three Sons in the 1960s and '70s. The only things missing are his pipe and the accordion opening number.

The plotline favors the death penalty, but not viciously so. Robert Vaughn plays the killer set to be hanged, and delivers most of the movie's enjoyment.

Verdict: YES, but it's nothing special.

♦ ♦ ♦  

The most ridiculous Indiana Jones ripoffs that actually happened
from Looper 

Warner Bros cartoons 1937-1949 – Golden age of animation
from Yesterday's Joe


• • • Coming attractions • • •     

The Good Girl (2002)
The Good Lord Bird (2020)
Good Neighbor Sam (1964)
Good News (1947)
Good Night and Good Luck (2005)

... plus schlock, shorts, and surprises

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Now accepting movie recommendations,
starting with the letter 'H'.
Just add a comment, below.
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Illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Arguments & recommendations are welcome, but no talking once the lights dim, and only real butter on the popcorn, not that fake yellow stuff. 
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  1. Pretty accurate review of *The Golden Glove.* I would have mentioned the phenomenal performance of Jonas Dassler as Fritz.

    1. I'm not familiar with the actor, haven't seen him in anything else. Was he 'acting' more than John Wayne or Arnold Schwarzenegger?


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