Saturday, December 28, 2013

on Mogul Home Video
Directed by Al Bradley, aka Alfonso Brescia

Most eight year olds can come up with a better script for their war toy game than for what Enzo Gicca is credited here. While the Science Fiction defensive system is an interesting element, nothing is done with it, and Gicca's idea of characterization is to have people argue pointlessly.

Peter Lee Lawrence plays Lt. Stroebel, a former Broadway actor, who, along with an American Nobel-Prize winning scientist (The Allied Command sends a Nobel scientist on a commando mission?) and a driver, infiltrates the bunker controlling the Burning Fountain defense system for Omaha Beach. The bodies of the men they replace are discovered, so Stroebel fights his way to freedom, the scientist is captured (and cared for by a Nazi scientist he befriends) and the driver is killed. Helga Line plays Denise, a French resistance fighter who hides Stroebel in her father's barn, where they fall in love.

Guy Madison plays Captain Murphy who, along with half of his commando squad, have already parachuted before word comes that the mission has been postponed along with the D-Day invasion. Luckily Stroebel (who never takes off his German uniform) hides them in Denise's barn. When a German patrol comes by, the Americans hide in a huge pile of cow dung. Denise's father tells them to get out of his barn, and then sets off to inform on them. Stroebel and Murphy try to stop him, but fail, and the farmer reaches a small German patrol. Luckily, an American soldier, referred to as "the crazy one", attacks and kills the farmer and the Germans before getting himself killed.

Hearing that D-Day is on again, Murphy waits for the rest of his men and supplies to be dropped, but they don't arrive. What to do? Well, Denise explains, the Germans keep some explosives in a nearby castle. Thankfully all of the recent violent incidents haven't alerted the Germans to be more vigilant.

When the Americans are ready to again storm the Burning Fountain bunker, the Nazis are carrying out the Nobel scientist on a stretcher. Since the door's open, the Americans attack, and Germans don't close the door again because the scientist valiantly holds it open - an effort that costs him his life. Inside, Stroebel throws one grenade to blow up the controls and Murphy is killed by a German. D-Day begins and the Omaha Beach landing occurs easily.

Most of this film, especially the battle scenes, take place at night and the poor transfer on Mogul Video makes it almost impossible to see what is going on. Seeing Peter Lee Lawrence, Guy Madison and Helga Line working has value, but none of them look good with this material. The music is from the C.A.M. library and is not memorable.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

An update from Italy by the author of JONATHAN OF THE BEARS.

Lorenzo de Luca, the author of a number of books on Italian Cinema as well as the screenwriter of a number of movies, sent in this e-mail on October 28, 2013:
"Ciao Bill, come stai? As you know it is a bad moment for Italian cinema. Historical director Luigi Magni (the screenwriter of LA RAGAZZA CON LA PISTOLA and director of FAUSTINA) died yesterday at 85. Recently we'd lost Giuliano Gemma, not only an icon of Spaghetti Cinema but also a  friend of mine. We shared the same agency. He died in a car accident because of the delay of the ambulance. I went to the funeral and it was almost a Spaghetti Western reunion including Franco Nero, Bud Spencer, Terence Hill, George Hilton, Fabio Testi and several stuntmen including the Dell'Acqua Brothers.
"Neorealism director Carlo Lizzani died by suicide few days ago, at age 91. And Manolo Bolognini and Damiano Damiani has died not too far ago. Well, that's how it goes. I think the next one will be Monica Vitti, who has suffered from Alzheimer syndrome for many years.
"Talking about the living, Franco Nero recently completed an Horror movie in Montenegro titled MAMULA, that means MERMAID. About me, I wrote a two part book along with Bud Spencer that is a best seller in Germany.
"I've read that actor Tony Norton, real name Antonio Malasensi (of the two TRINITY Westerns), runs a boxing gym at age 77."