Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frank Kramer on Sergio Leone


Gianfranco Parolini: IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH, SABATA, and RETURN OF SABATA were the antithesis of Sergio Leone's films. I can say this now because he's dead, poor soul, and I'm still here. Because he once said that my films were only saved by their gags and likeableness. He didn't think I was capable of directing actors. When Leone broke with Grimaldi's P.E.A. company, Grimaldi called me right away. Piero Lazzaro, my general organizer, was in the desert in Nevada or in Nebraska...and there was this big shed. He was with Sergio Leone, they were preparing a film. On the shed someone had written "lf you meet Sartana pray for your death". Piero told me that Sergio Leone said "That son of a bitch has even turned up here !" Get it ? "He's even exported his gags here !" That film was a big hit too. They made sequel after sequel and they were all hits for Alberto Grimaldi.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Dollhouse #3 "Stage Fright"


The show is getting better and better.

Steve Reeves on A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS


From the July 1994 issue of The Perfect Vision magazine:

TPV: I heard you were offered the role in A Fistful of Dollars and didn't take it.

SR: Yeah. The director of The Last Days of Pompeii was an older gentleman and he was just a figurehead. Sergio Leone was his assistant and did about 90 percent of the directing. We had a little tussle one time because there was a scene where I was being filmed behind bars and he told me to do it a certain way, and I said 'Why?' - in other words, I needed a motivation. I'm not a great method actor, but you have to know why you're doing something. So he said, 'Because I said so.' I didn't like that, and I went after him. They grabbed me, and I cooled off, and after that everything was fine. Later he wanted me to do this Western, and I love the West. He told me about it, but then I found out it was based on Kurosawa's Yojimbo - he had taken it scene by scene and changed it into a Western. In fact, after it came out, Kurosawa saw it and demanded either a royalty or a buy-out. I personally thought, how could an Italian director make a good Western out of a Japanese samurai film? So I turned it down on that basis. That was the first Western in Italy, you know, and it turned out well. But also, I wouldn't have felt real good smoking a little cigar and squinting my eyes for three months. Frankly, Clint Eastwood was much better for it than I would have been. There are certain parts for certain people. To me, Johnny Weissmuller was the greatest Tarzan ever, And some other people, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, have tried to make Hercules and they bombed. If anybody tried to play Rocky but Stallone, they would bomb. Same with Eastwood; he was perfect for that part.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The original story of THE MERCENARY


Giorgio Arlorio: The (original Solinas) story was more ambiguous than usually was the case with the "political" westerns of those years of the TEPEPA type. In a Texas jail, a man condemned to death is pardoned on the condition that he go to Mexico - in the throes of Revolution - and make sure that the brother of the man who pardoned him is safe and sound. In Mexico, he discovers that the man's already been killed, and he falls in with some peons, who admire his technical ability, and they hire him, submitting to a few conditions he demands: the right to rob, rape etc. whoever he wants. Under his military guidance, the group grows, it defeats the cavalry, it conquers a city. But once he's served his purpose, the peons condemn him to death after thanking him; chiefly because he has raped their women, shot who he pleased etc. The chief of the peons asks him if he has a last request: "Yes, I'd like you to shoot me!" It doesn't feel right to him, and he sets him free. Fifteen days later, all the band is captured by reactionary forces and condemned to death. The peon sees amongst the enemy the selfsame man, the mercenary. Last wish? "That you kill me." And the mercenary says" Se non e questo!", and he shoots him!! There was something Brechtian in this story and its logic. But in the film that was made with Tony Musante, and - I think - Franco Nero, all of this was lost. It ended up being directed not by Pontecorvo, but by Corbucci.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thank heaven for the Fast Forward

I think Alias was the first TV show that intrigued me enough to want to know where it was going plotwise, but wasn't enjoyable enough to actually watch it. Thanks to the fast forward function on my VCR, I could watch every episode, and not have to put up with all of the inane dialogue. So, I could just slow down when Jennifer Garner, or Mia Maestro, or Lena Olin, or Melissa George, or Rachel Nichols, or Amy Acker, or Sarah Shahi, or Gina Torres, or Sonia Braga, or Isabella Rossellini did something that I wanted to see.
Having established the protocol, I now find that there are more shows that I'm interested in keeping tabs on, but don't enjoy actually watching. These include Heroes (After first seeing her on Ally McBeal, Hayden Panettiere is someone I'll watch in anything.), Chuck (After an enjoyable first season, the show doesn't feel like it's going anywhere.), Lost (I find this show really annoying, but I want to know if the writers actually do have a point to all this.), 24 (I'm interested in the plotting for this show, no matter how absurd the scripting gets.), Big Love (After Veronica Mars, I'll watch Amanda Seyfried in anything - and Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin are fun, too.) and Trust Me (I'm happy to see Sarah Clarke and Monica Potter getting regular work.).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Importance of Being Cuchillo


Tomas Milian: In my view, so many "third world westerns" were huge hits because even though the hero was always American, the third worlder could be in a certain sense the Italian underclass. I'm not saying that Italy is a third world country, not at all, but honestly you must admit there is much underdevelopment. So, as in many other countries where my films did and do well - Spain, Turkey, Arabia, Africa, South America - the people needed superheroes: the bounty killer - Anglo Saxon, hard, inexpressive, made of steel - and that these guys went on the hunt for a poor little guy, with whom the audience identified, because through a sort of love hate relationship, the poor of any country. Monnezza and Nico the Pirate are very closely related to Cuchillo and these Westerns. Monezza is nothing more than a Roman Cuchillo revisited, to use a term I detest, and Nico the Pirate is the Lee Van Cleef of LA RESA DEI CONTI in a modern key. Yes, I really do believe my career has lasted so long because after Cuchillo I managed to split myself into two pesonas: playing - in one series of films, this Monezza, really a thief, a disinherited; and in the other, Nico the Pirate, or essentially, the policeman, the super hero.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dollhouse episode #2


Another splendid installment for this new show.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GLI AMORI DI ERCOLE


U.S.: HERCULES VS. THE HYDRA
U.S.: THE LOVES OF HERCULES
France: LES AMOURS D’HERCULE
Directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia 1960
Cast: Jayne Mansfield (Deianira), Mickey Hargitay (Hercules), Massimo Serato (Licos), Tina Gloriani (Hippolyta), Rossella Como (Elleia), Giulio Donnini (Iarchus, the head priest), Arturo Bragaglia (Iolas), Andrea Aureli, Andrea Scotti (c.s.c.), Moira Orfei (Nemeia),
With the participation of Rene Dary (General) and Sandrine
Olga Solbelli, Antonio Gradoli, Cesare Fantoni, Barbara Florian, Giovanna Galletti, Gianni Loti
The Internet Media Database adds:
Gil Vidal (Achilles - Akulos), Lidia Alfonsi (Oracle), Aldo Podinotti (Creature- Halcyone), Sergio Calo.
Alberto Manca presents
A Coproduction of
Grandi Schermi Italiani, SPA.
Contact Orgranization, P.I.P. Paris
Cinemascope Eastmancolor
THE LOVES OF HERCULES
Copyright MCMLXVI by Walter Manley Enterprises, inc.
From a story by Alberto Manca
Screenplay by Alessandro Continenza, Luciano Doria
Costumes by Dario Cecchi and Maria Baroni
Sets by Alberto Boccianti
Set Decorator Nato Frasca
Assistant Directors Nino Zanchin, John Hanau
Assistants Jean Josipovici, Giovanni Fago (c.s.c.)
Continuity Nelly Cavallo
Assistant to the editor Cleofe Conversi
Sound Technicians Renato Cauderi, Luigi Puri
(In the Italian print, Oscar Di Santo is credited instead of Renato Cauderi.)
Sound recorder Pietro Spadoni
Microphone Technician Mario Ligobbi
Camera Operator Claudio Ragona
Assistant operators Nello Renzi, Sergio Salvati
Operators 2nd camera Vittorio Bernini, Luigi Allegretti
(In the Italian print, Vincenzo Seratrice is added to the list of Operatori 2d macchina.)
Production Inspectors Gino Peccerini, Pietro Nofri
Production Ass’t Alberto Salvatori
Makeup Director Amato Garbini
Makeup Duilio Scarozza
Makeup Ass’t Angelo Grison
Hairstyling Gabriella Borzelli
Hairstyling Ass’t Rosetta Luciani
Fencing Master Enzo Musumeci Greco
Riding Master Luigi Padovani
Special Effects Augusto Vivani, Nino Battistelli
Animated Effects Tani-Theatralcine Co.
Carried out by Baroni co.
(In the Italian print, the credit is Baroni e C.)
Costumes from Casa D’Arte Florence
Weapons Tani-Theatralcine, co.
Wigmaker Rocchetti, co.
Footwear Pompei, co.
Jewels Lami & Rodo
Horses Padovanni-Spada
Draperies Sanchini
Landscaping Labonia
Musical Score by Carlo Innocenzi
Directed by Carlo Franci
Music publishers Nazionalmusic-milan
Editor Renato Cinquini (A.I.M.)
Director of Photography Enzo Serafin
Production Director Gianni Solitro (A.D.C.)
English Language version directed by Richard McNamara
Produced by Alberto Manca
The screenplay was produced in the Cinecitta Studios
Western Electric Sound System
Voiced by C.D.C.
Italian Distributor Interfilm
Prod. Reg. 2303

If producer Alberto Manca didn’t have Jayne Mansfield as his star, would he have made this movie? It seems doubtful because there was no element in this flick that wasn’t reused from other flicks. Only the notoriety of Hollywood star Jayne Mansfield and her husband Mickey Hargitay could justify the expenditure of resources to make this. And while the flick looks fairly well produced, it was not a project to best showcase the talents of its stars.
Unlike the natural reserve which was part of Steve Reeves’ charisma, Mickey Hargitay came across as an overgrown boy, filled with enthusiasm and good natured energy. While there was no reason that Hercules couldn’t be portrayed by such a personality, Hargitay was called upon to react in this production in such a way as to appear silly.
Jayne Mansfield didn't come off any better in a dual role. As the virtuous Queen Deianira, Mansfield was given dark brown hair, seemingly in an attempt to make her look serious and regal. Unfortunately, she ended up looking pouty and tempermental. When the evil Queen Hippolyta took on Deianira's visage to trick our hero, Mansfield was given an ill-fitting wig that made her look like a imatation of Sylvia Lopez in HERCULES UNCHAINED. This might not have been such a bad idea if the costume department had provided her with clothes that didn't make her look puffy. Reportedly, Mansfield was unexpectedly pregnant (with future actress Mariska Hargitay) when production began on this, but certainly a competent costumer could have done something to make her look more attractive. (Speaking of costumes, what was the idea behind those prissy looking things the male servents around Deianira wore?)
Hercules fans knew that Deianira was Hercules' wife in the original Greek legend, so confusion occured when director Pietro Francisci decided to make Iole the heroine of his two movies starring Steve Reeves. In the legend, Iole was a woman that Hercules took up with on an adventure, inspiring Deianira to accidentally poison Hercules in a bid to reclaim his affections. In director Vittorio Cottafavi's two Hercules movies, Deianira is Hercules' wife and the heroine, and, luckily, Iole didn't appear. The writers of THE LOVES OF HERCULES decided to give Hercules a new wife inorder that her murder might kickstart their plot. Returning from his labors, Hercules found his wife dead and immediately set off to get revenge on the General he knew committed the deed. This brought him to the Kingdom ruled by Queen Deianira, who was this flick's heroine. The General was already dead at the hand of Licos, the film's villain, who plotted to have Hercules kill Deianira by throwing axes at her during a test to prove that she was not part of the murder plot. Naturally, Hercules didn't kill the innocent queen, she fell in love with him, and Licos had to hatch another plot. Lucky for him, the plot to blame the murder of Akulos on Philoctote resulted in Hercules entering the cave of the Hydra.

The destruction of the nine-headed Hydra was one of the labors of Hercules, but the popularity of Monster Animator Ray Harryhausen's JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS linked the creature, in many people's minds, with the quest for the Golden Fleece. In the original legend, the Fleece was guarded by a dragon, which Francisci ended up portraying with a cheap-looking dinosaur in his first Hercules film. In THE LOVES OF HERCULES, the Hydra was portrayed by a full scale mechanism that in design looked alot like the three-headed dragon in the Soviet film ILYA MUROMETS, aka THE SWORD AND THE DRAGON. While the size and look of the three-headed Hydra in THE LOVES OF HERCULES was impressive, the Italian filmmakers didn't copy the Soviet filmmakers' decision to use judicious editing to keep the monster looking as if it was quite animated. The Italian filmmakers seemed to want the audience to get a good look at their terrific construction, and so they showed it for quite a while in a long shot, with the energentic Hargitay running back and forth pretending to fight it. By lingering on wide shots of the beast, the filmmakers exposed how limited the movements of the mechanism were, and how silly Hargitay looked in pretending to fight it.

Wounded in the battle with the Hydra, Hercules was found by Amazonian guards who took him to the Palace of Queen Hippolyta. Here the makers of THE LOVES OF HERCULES combine the Amazon sequence from the first Francisci Hercules movie with the Omphale plot from Francisci's second. In the original legend, Hippolyta was indeed the Queen of the Amazons and appeared in the labor inwhich Hercules had to get her girdle for the daughter of Eurystheus. Queen Omphale figured into the Hercules legend as a punishment for his murder of Iphitus in a fit of madness. Ordered to be Omphale's slave for three years, Hercules lived as if he were a hand-maiden, often wearing women's clothing while the queen wore his lion skin. At the end of his sentence, he was freed to marry Deianira. In the Francisci film, Omphale became a "black widow", who had her male lovers turn into statues after she tired of them. In THE LOVES OF HERCULES, Hippolyta's lovers became trees that writhe in agony and bleed red blood. In the Francisci film, Hercules fell into Omphale's clutches when the "waters of forgetfulness" made him forget everything. In THE LOVES OF HERCULES, Hippolyta used magic to look like Deianira so that Hercules decided not to leave after his wounds healed. Rather than have an old friend rescue our hero, as in the Francisci film, the makers of THE LOVES OF HERCULES had an Amazonian guard fall in love with our hero and expose the truth to him. Playing the guard was Moira Orfei, and this became one of the few heroic roles the dark haired beauty ever played.
Recovered from his daliance with another woman, Hercules heads back to save Deianira from the villain's plots, but not before Licos drags our heroine into a cave. Unluckily for Licos, the cave belongs to Halcyone, a Neanderthal-like creature that looks alot like the creatures Jason and Hercules battled on the beach in the first Francisci Hercules movie. And so Hercules battled two monsters in THE LOVES OF HERCULES, both by accident.

Even though Massimo Serato brought his usual charisma to the role of the elegant villain Licos, his effort to make the role memorable was completely undone by the flatfooted plotting. He had Hercules' wife murdered inorder to court Hercules' revenge, but then murdered the murderer so that Hercules instead would blame the Queen. When Hercules failed to kill the Queen by performing the Trial of Themis correctly, Licos then murdered the Queen's fiancee with Hercules' dagger to thwart the romance budding between the hero and the heroine. When
Hercules showed up to protest, Licos sent Hercules after Philoctotes, who might testify to his innocence. Lucky for the villain, Philoctotes tried to hide in the Hydra's cave - which led to Hercules being distracted by an adventure with the Amazons. This whole turn-of-events was an accident and not the villain's plan - so the villain's seeming triumph was completely unearned. Perhaps to balance out his one lucky break, Licos found that hiding in a second cave would be unlucky as another monster was there as well.

In the version on Trimark DVD, this convoluted plotting was further obscured because the scene inwhich Licos tells Philoctotes to hide "beyond the gates of the Underworld" was missing. So why Philoctotes was on the run and how Licos knew where he went was unknown to viewers who had only seen this version. Luckily, a complete version of the film is now available on DVD in Italy. This version sports a gorgeous transfer of the film, but does not have either an English language track or subtitles. An English speaking fan, though, has created a bootleg of the Italian DVD with English subtitles - which is the best way to enjoy this flick. There are two different English language versions of this movie, the European one has Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield's real voices while the U.S. one does not, and both are cringe-inducing. Seeing this movie with a beautiful picture and English subtitles allows the viewer to get past the lousy dialogue, poor plotting and unconvincing acting to relish whatever virtues it does have.

For producer Alberto Manca, this whole project must have been a big disappointment. While he was reusing elements from earlier films, he did it fairly quickly - ripping off movies made in 1958 and 1959 in 1960. He must have thought that hiring Jayne Mansfield would ensure him a big sale to an American distributor, but such was not the case. It was not until 1967 that an American company would pay to distribute THE LOVES OF HERCULES, and the company that did it was the smallish Walter Manley Enterprises. By the time American audiences had a chance to see this film, there weren't many who wanted to. It got a fair amount of play on TV, often under the new title of HERCULES AGAINST THE HYDRA, which surely was not what Manca had in mind.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The director on FACE TO FACE.



Sergio Sollima: Maybe the film of mine I loved the most was FACCIA A FACCIA (FACE TO FACE), the second Western I did. Perhaps, in part because it was my idea, my story. Volonte and Milian were in it, and there was William Berger too. I'd found Berger for the film at the Centro sperimentale per la TV [a state run media lab], and he worked out splendidly. With FACE TO FACE I have a certain technical rimpianto that impedes me a little. It's that the film, an epic story, ought to have had more time to play out, three hours worth. The story obligated more stately rhythms, as well as additional episodes, to fully breathe and live. And the film was cut because I shot too much for the two hours I was asked for. It's the story of a professor ailing from TB, who goes to Texas to recuperate. He encounters a bandit, one of the "wild bunch" (it may have been the first film where the Wild Bunch entered into play) who then takes him hostage. Then -slowly, slowly- a strange osmosis occurs between the two. The professor begins to recuperate, and his aggressive instincts start to flourish along with his physical vitality. The bandit begins to be sensitized by the professor to culture for the first time, reflecting on problems that the other poses to him: for example about why he shoots, why he kills...And there's an exchange between the characters...the one becomes something of a bandit; the other a little less of one.
Once again, characters conditioned by the context, confronted with certain circumstances they discover themselves to be different than how they'd been before. To be perfectly clear, at the beginning of it all is the story of my little girlfriend who denounced me to the Germans because her father was a fascist. She was a peaceful bourgeois who would have led a perfectly normal life if these things, if History, had not intervened...And in that same period, I saw a young kid of eighteen who "non gli avresti dato un soldo di stima" and who was tortured at Via Tasso so he'd give up all of our names, and he didn't do it and he ended up in the Ardeatine Cave (scene of the most infamous anti-Resistance reprisal). These are things that shape you very deeply.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The screenwriter on THE MERCENARY


Franco Solinas: It was the epoch of the great Westerns, and Grimaldi had done the Leone films and LA RESA DEI CONTI (THE BIG GUNDOWN) which earned a great deal. I didn't know Grimaldi, but one day he sent Gigi de Santis to me. He'd been in the press office at Rizzoli for many years and was supposed to go with Grimaldi, but then it didn't happen. He passed on Grimaldi's interest in doing a film with Gillo and me. In the meantime, Gillo was casting around, looking for something to do, starting from the presumption that the BATTLE OF ALGIERS had been an unrepeatable fluke, and that his next film would be something simply dreadful! (Gillo has this pessimistic point of view about himself and other people...) He kept coming to me with these horrendous projects, all Westerns, and I asked him if he'd lost his mind. Having put Pontecorvo in contact with Grimaldi, I became acquainted with Grimaldi, I called my lifelong friend Arlorio, and finally said to Gillo, "Hey, do you want to do a Western? This way, if I fail, it will just be a modest failure."
I sought out an idea, and this idea was IL MERCENARIO (THE MERCENARY). I haven't seen the film, I don't even know who wrote the screenplay. I didn't even write the treatment; I had to run off to Cuba, and I didn't want to get too perfectionistic or waste too much time on the scenario. Gillo liked it well enough, but it was always a film with limitations, beginning with the fact that it was a sort of Western. Then I got a crisis of conscience, it seemed absurd to embark on this project having been a cinematic high priest of rigor, having made BATTLE OF ALGIERS etc etc., and I suddenly said to Grimaldi: "This is the story, but its botched in my opinion, you need to find someone better." Grimaldi liked it, Corbucci heard him talk about it, he - in turn - came to me to have me tell it to him better, and it ended up that Grimaldi produced this film with Corbucci, and we went to work on another idea for Grimaldi, which then became the idea for QUEIMADA (BURN).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Raising Dad


About a month after 9/11/01, an half-hour sitcom premiered on the WB that I quite enjoyed - dispite not being a fan of many sitcoms. Quite possibly my enjoyment was helped by the fact that I was assisting in the raising of a teenage girl at the time, and there was alot of good stuff aimed at teenage girls then - the first BRING IT ON, the JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS movie and THE VIRGIN SUICIDES just being the ones that quickly spring to mind. But I liked Raising Dad more than Melissa did, and Rosalynd just didn't get it. I could not get through an episode of Full House, but I liked Bob Saget on America's Funniest Home Videos when I accidently came across it; so he wasn't the real draw. Jerry Adler and Andy Kindler were amusing, and I still enjoy seeing them: Jerry on Rescue Me and Andy on his visits on the Late Show with David Letterman. But the real stars of the show were the daughters, Kat Dennings and Brie Larson. Kat recently got alot of publicity co-starring in NICK & NORA'S INFINITE PLAYLIST after attracting alot of attention in THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN. But what inspired this posting is that I've just seen the first episode of The United States of Tara on Showtime. There's Brie as the teenage daughter of Toni Collette and skillfully holding her own. See Toots! I can spot talent! Sorry, Meagan Good - I just don't remember you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense


This mid-1980s 13-episode anthology TV series was retitled Fox Mystery Theater when it ran on the USA Network in the U.S. It was the last production of the old Hammer company and used some veteran talent, but like the Hammer House of Horror TV series, it was dreadful. Still, I want a copy of each episode as I collect on Hammer and my old beta tape off-air recordings are pretty poor. I didn't know that this came out on DVD in the U.K. a couple of years ago, but is now out-of-print and going for over $100 on Amazon.com. However, a few years ago, one episode, Czech Mate, aired on the Fox Movies cable channel. Last night, a second episode, Mark of the Devil, also popped up. Well, with patience perhaps the other eleven will come my way without my having to spend any real money.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well, that was easy.

Last month I got a summons to Jury Duty at the Superior Court in Burbank. Last weekend I telephoned to see if I had to appear in person on Monday, Feb. 9. I did not, but I needed to call back on Feb. 9 after 6pm. I did, and I did not have to appear on Feb. 10, but I had to call back after 6pm on Feb. 10. I did, and I did not have to appear on Feb. 11, but I had to call back after 6pm on Feb. 11. I did and was told that I had finished my jury service.
But, as I did not appear in person, and get paid for doing so, I have to mail back my affidavit - which costs me a first class stamp.
Sheesh.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Premiering this Friday...


I've been a fan of the three previous TV shows created by Joss Whedon - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly - and found each new one more enjoyable than the previous one. So, it is no surprise that I've been eagerly awaiting Dollhouse since it was announced to be in developement. So far, Whedon hasn't put anything on TV that has made watching it feel like a chore - so I have great expectations.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The smoke stacks in the picture...


belong to the DWP Truesdale Center at Glenoaks and Truesdale. (This is in response to Tom's attempt to identify them in the previous picture.)

R.I.P. Lux Interior


It came a bit of shock to find out that Lux Interior, the lead singer of The Cramps, died on February 4th at Glendale Memorial Hospital at the age of 60 from a pre-existing heart condition. If you aren't familiar with his music, check out You-Tube or their offiical website: http://www.thecramps.com/.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DVD Library Check Out


After my wife and I became enamored of British television adaptations of classic literature, I figured that the public libraries would probably carry that sort-of thing and so I checked. Well, to my delight, they carried so much more - at least in the Los Angeles and Burbank areas. Jean-Pierre Melville's LE SAMOURI and Federico Fellini's LA STRADA were not completely unexpected, as foreign art films would seem proper fare at a library, but there were also Italian Westerns - and not just the ones directed by Sergio Leone. The MGM/UA Sabata dvd set was found as well as the IFC/Blue Underground SPAGHETTI WESTERN documentary.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hard to find Biblical movies


There I was flipping through the cable channels and suddenly I saw Gianni Garko on the screen. What channel was showing a Gianni Garko movie that I hadn't checked already? TBN - The Trinity Broadcasting Network was showing the Italian Biblical epic SAUL AND DAVID. This was the first that I knew that they weren't just televangelists 24 hours a day. So, I've been paying attention to the movies they show - usually on Sunday night, but during the Christmas season they played movies just about every night. And they play the movies without commercial interruption - if you don't count the telephone number at the bottom of the screen alongside the station logo. Last night they played THE STORY OF JACOB AND JOSEPH, which isn't an Italian production, but it was directed by Michael Cacoyannis, the Greek fellow who hired a Mexican/American to play ZORBA THE GREEK.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Okay, here's the view with normal sunshine.


Just in case you might think there are always dark clouds around here. This is the photo I took before adjusting the exposure so that the clouds didn't burn out.