Friday, November 22, 2019

Week of November 23-29, 2019

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Charles Gilbert asks, "In which Mario Caiano gladiator flick does tavern owner Peter White offer to fix boiled turnips and stuffed turnips stuffed with more turnips?"
No one has answered this question yet.

Which actor from THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY also appeared in a movie with Anthony Newley and James Booth?
George Grimes and Charles Gilbert knew that it was Al Mulock in JAZZ BOAT.

Which actor who made Westerns in Spain was once billed as "MGM's new Latin star sensation"?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which movie featuring Gordon  Mitchell is a sequel to a Romanian film?
No one has answered this question yet.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which American actor who made an Italian Western appeared in an American crime flick in which he pretends to be an hobo in order to trick a college student into murdering a young woman's uncle?
Which Italian actor, celebrated for his Hamlet, starred in a  movie set during the Mexican revolution?
Which Italian Western star was a descendant of the man who signed the death warrant for King Charles I of England?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's photo of director Duccio Tessari dancing with Nieves Navarro in IL RITORNO DI RINGO, aka THE RETURN OF RINGO.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above photo.
It shows Claudio Gora and Gianna Maria Canale in IL FIGLIO DI SPARTACUS, aka THE SON OF SPARTACUS, aka THE SLAVE.

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Frank Wolff and Gabriele Tinti in LA MORTE RISALE A IERI SERA, aka DEATH OCCURRED LAST NIGHT.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of  Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan in HEART OF DRAGON, aka THE FIRST MISSION.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

I am interested in knowing what movies you have watched and what you enjoyed or not. So please send me an email at if you'd like to share. Here's what I watched last week:


The Director's Chair "Frank Darabont" (2016)


THE NEXT MAN (1976) - Seeing this movie in 2019 makes it seem even more odd than it would have seemed when it was new. Starting off with shots of the World Trade Center in New York, the film goes on to speculate that Saudi Arabia proposes to invite Israel into OPEC in an effort to bring peace to the MIddle East. Other Arab countries, particularly Syria, are unhappy with the idea, but so is the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Sean Connery is the Saudi who makes the proposal at the U.N. and Cornelia Sharpe is among the assassins sent to murder him. Reportedly, the Saudi government officially protested the premise of the movie.

E! True Hollywood Story "Mackenzie Phillips" (1998) - Having just finished reading HIGH ON ARRIVAL, Mackenzie's 2009 memoir, I wanted to rewatch this program. This program ends with her, and her father, supposedly living the sober life. Her father died in 2001 and in 2008, she was busted with cocaine and heroin at LAX. As part of her new rehabilitation, Mackenzie wrote her memoir which doesn't mention this program, but the timeline of the book would indicate that the sober life shown was a facade. There is no indication of the incest which was disclosed in the book, and there is also no mention of her relationships with her step-sisters and step-mothers - except Michelle Phillips who is interviewed. Her memoir pretty much destroyed her familial relationships, except with her birth mother. In an interview given around the time that Mackenzie appeared on Orange Is The New Black in 2018, she indicated that she now has re-established relationships with her step-sisters.

Mildly enjoyed:

Uncnsrd "Paula Patton" (2019)

Denis Leary "No Cure For Cancer" (1993)

Inside the Actors Studio "Laura Dern" (2019)

American Masters: N. Scott Momaday: Words From A Bear (2019)

DEAD OF NIGHT (1945) - There is no doubting this film's classic status, but it doesn't reward repeat viewings.


LA GRIETA, aka THE RIFT, aka ENDLESS DESCENT (1990) - J.P. Simon mixes ALIENS and THE ABYSS and keeps it under 80 minutes. Featuring Edmund Purdom, Frank Brana and Tony Isbert.

Did not enjoy:

MOON, STAR AND SUN (1988) - Cherie Chung, Carol 'Do Do' Cheng and Maggie Cheung look gorgeous but can't salvage this heavy melodramatic tale of bar girls trapped in a joyless life.

PROBLEM CHILD (1990) - This is the film during which John Ritter met his future wife Amy Yasbeck, so something good came of it.

PROBLEM CHILD 2 (1991) - It is fun seeing Martha Quinn in a bit role. 



BODY CHEMISTRY II: THE VOICE OF A STRANGER (1991) - This film has a novel first scene. While dealing with traumatic flashbacks, Dan Pearson, played by Gregory Harrison, loads his revolver with one bullet and five fortunes from Chinese cookies. He puts the gun in his mouth, but the hammer hits a fortune. He takes it out and reads, "Confucious say: He who has hope has everything." The scene dissolve to a car driving in the night and an hand tunes in a talk radio show hosted by Dr. Edwards, played by John Landis. Station owner Big Chuck, played by Morton Downey Jr. decides to fire Dr. Edwards and brings in Dr. Claire Archer, played by Lisa Pescia, who is interested in exploring how stimulating body chemistry can lead to violent behavior. A traffic cop, played by Jeremy Piven, tells Dan that he can't sleep in his car on the side of the road and then remembers that he was a former football star. Returning to his home town, Dan meets his old girlfriend, Brenda - played by Robin Riker, but is troubled and seeks advice from Dr. Archer on her radio show. Dan doesn't realize that Brenda screens calls for Dr. Archer, so she hears about a caller who likes to hurt women during sex. Meanwhile, Big Chuck meets with Larabee, played by Clint Howard, at a coffee shop so that Larabee can investigate Dr. Archer. Dr. Archer figures out that Dan is the caller and offers her services in person. As he is going over his traumatic childhood, Dan is insulted by the doctor and makes to hit her. "Go ahead," she says. "Make my day." Larabee gives Big Chuck a video of Dr. Archer having sex with a man she ended up shooting to death. Was this footage from the first BODY CHEMISTRY? In an attempt to get the tape from Chuck, Archer causes Chuck to die of a heart attack. She then decides to shoot Dan using his gun, but the hammer hits a fortune. Dan succeeds in getting the gun away from Archer just in time for cops to arrive and shoot him to death. The role of Dr. Claire Archer was taken over by Shari Shattuck for BODY CHEMISTRY III and by Shannon Tweed for BODY CHEMISTRY IV.

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (2018) - I do not share Lars von Trier's sense of humor. Why the Bob Dylan allusion? Is Lars trying to ruin my appreciation of "Fame" by David Bowie?

DANCE OF THE DWARFS (1983) - Deborah Raffin looks terrific and Peter Fonda is fun, but the film doesn't fly.

THE BABY DANCE (1997) - Laura Dern plays a poor mother who is having trouble taking care of the four kids she already has and is pregnant again. Stockard Channing is a rich wife who can't get pregnant. Dern sees Channing's ad looking to adopt, so she invites the Los Angeles Jews to visit her in Louisiana where she lives with her unemployed husband Richard Lineback. Channing's husband, Peter Riegert, is uncertain about getting a child born from this couple, and when there is a suggestion the baby might have been born with mental deficiencies, the adoption plans are dropped. Jodie Foster admired the play Jane Anderson wrote and executive produced this film for Showtime which marked Anderson's film directing debut. It was awarded the Peabody Award.



CONCRETE WAR, aka THE LAST HOUR (1991) - It is hard to believe that director William Sachs cites Federico Fellini and Luis Bunuel as influences.

OUT OF THE RAIN (1991) - While there are virtues to this production, much of it is negated by the dreadful music by Cengiz Yaltkaya.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE... (1998) - Writer/Director Philip Frank Messina assembled an impressive cast for his movie about a group of actors going crazy for a chance to read for apart in a Martin Scorsese movie, but the movie just isn't funny.

CAUGHT (1996) - Here's another tale about the dangers of trying to help an homeless young man by bringing him into your home. Particularly if your real son is a homicidal creep.


David Deal enjoyed:

CAESAR THE CONQUEROR (63) - Sinister Cinema's copy is colorful and widescreen, but I'm not convinced it is the correct aspect ratio.  Neither is it enhanced.

MAGNETIC MONSTER (53) - Richard Carlson is a scientist who discovers a new element that feeds on energy and will stop at nothing to get it.  This nerdy science fiction is presented as a thriller.  This is an old fave that holds up with its casting and enthusiasm.



QUIET PLEASE, MURDER (42) - George Sanders is a rare book forger whose quest for product leads to murder.  Gail Patrick is in cahoots with Sanders and Richard Denning is the private eye who investigates.  Unusual plotting traps everyone in a library with Sanders impersonating a cop!  Well worth checking out.

DEAD RECKONING (47) - Ex-paratrooper Humphrey Bogart investigates the murder of his buddy.  Lizabeth Scott is the femme fatale.  A film noir filled with post-war angst.  Good stuff.

THE BRAIN (62) - From 2005: "This German/British hybrid of Curt Siodmak's oft-filmed sci-fi story - directed by Freddie Francis - is a dark and moody version indeed. Peter van Eyck is the scientist taken over by the brain of an industrialist kept alive after a plane crash."

BROTHERS IN ARMS (18) - Documentary about the making of Platoon. Quite the experience for those guys who have a bond that is still strong. Recommended.

FINAL PORTRAIT (18) - Geoffrey Rush is Alberto Giacometti painting what would be his last portrait. Nicely captures the chaos, frustration, and humor of the creative process. I liked it.

Mildly enjoyed:

FEAR (46) - A college student desperate for money kills a pawn broker and Warren William is the cop who finally solves the case.  Okay thriller with an improbable happy ending.


Charles Gilbert watched:

PANCHO VILLA (1972) Telly Savalas hams his role (and sings the denouement) as the revolutionary from south of the border aided by sailor Scotty (Clint Walker) leading a band of Mexicans headed for a confrontation with corny martinet of the U. S Army Col. Wilcox (Chuck Connors). (The incident Wilcox has with the fly while dining in unison with his platoon is a hoot).  Anne Francis with that devastating beauty mark plays Scotty's estranged wife but given little to do but bicker with him. Amusing.

NIGHT OF THE GRIZZLY (1966) Exceedingly long tale of a homesteader battling landgrabber Keenan Wynn, foe trapper Cass (Leo Gordon), and a marauding grizzly includes costars Martha Hyer and Ron Ely.


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