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The B Movie

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Frank E. Beaver's Dictionary of film terms describes a B-picture as a film of inferior production quality.  Popular in the 1940's to 1960's it was usually the second of a two picture screening.  Financing for these pictures was tight.  Low budgets meant lesser known actors were hired, scene retakes were minimal and the story lines such as they existed were ofen reworked themes from Westerns or Sci-fi re-runs.      

Little known actors who learned their craft in these hastily made movies and eventually became film celebrities included names like: Charles Bronson, Jack Nicolson, Barbara Steele, William Shatner, Vincent Price and  Angie Dickinson.  Who knew?

The B-picture genre boasts titles such as:The Raven, X:The man with the X-Ray eyes, Teenage Caveman, Attack of the Crab Monsters and Lady Frankenstein. A little cheesey - well maybe but who can argue with the box office success garnered by directors like  Roger Corman and Martin Scorsese and script writers like Richard Matheson.

For a nostalgic look at this film genre see Chris Nashawaty's book Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavement, and Candy Stripe Nurses  Roger Corman: King of the B Movie.