Friday, November 8, 2019

Week of November 9 - 15, 2003

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor worked with directors Tonino Valerii, Steven Spielberg, Lucio Fulci and Tobe Hooper?
No one has answered this one yet.

Which American star of Italian Westerns got killed by the Gill-man?
Charles Gilbert knew that it was Brett Halsey in REVENGE OF THE CREATURE.

Which American Western features two American actors who made Italian Westerns and has an all female jury convict the bad guy of murder?
No one has answered this one yet.

And now for some new 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?"
By what name is Montgomery Ford better known?
Which Italian actor was born in Forence July 12, 1906?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's photo of 
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

John Black and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Sylva Koscina in LE FATICHE DI ERCOLE, aka HERCULES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Claudine Auger in ESCALATION.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of  Cheng Pei-Pei in COME DRINK WITH ME.
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:


Inside the Actors Studio "Al Pacino" (2019)

TAIS TOI!, aka SHUT UP!, aka RUBY & QUENTIN (2003) - Gerard Depardieu and Jean Reno are charming in this riotous comedy written and directed by Francis Veber.

Mildly enjoyed:

Uncnsrd "Niecy Nash" (2019)

42nd STREET (2018) - I'm a big fan of the 1933 Warner Bros. movie, which never succumbed to the cliches of a Broadway musical while creating new ones. This Broadway production lacks the grit and the wonder of the Warner Bros. film while hammering all of the cliches into place. Still, the music is enjoyable - though I keep complaining that they've changed the meaning of the songs by putting them in new places.

GORED - A documentary about Antonio Barrera, the most gored matador in modern history. 


Did not enjoy:

THE STRAY (2000) - After missing a date with rich gal Angie Everhart at the opening of her new restauarant because he is chasing two drug dealers wearing Uncle Sam masks, cop Michael Madsen is a bit put-out when she brings home a seemingly homeless man that she accidentally hit with her car. Of course the homeless guy turns out to be a psycho, and part of the drug dealing crew, but Angie kicks Michael out of the house for fighting with him. Eventually, the bad guys show their true colors and it turns out that the homeless guy was a childhood friend of Angie's until his father was made poor by Angie's father. The producers of this movie obviously felt that car chases were what their audience wanted, so there are 

three rather spectacular ones. Kevin Mock, who now works on DC's Legends of Tomorrow, directed this.

RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE (1941) - George Montgomery stars as Jim Lassiter in this version of the Zane Grey novel. The evil Judge Frank Dyer, played by Robert Barrat, is using the vigilantes to ruin local ranchers in order to take their land. Lassiter takes a liking to pretty Jane Withersteen, played by Mary Howard, and works to twart the judge's plans. Towards that goal, Lassiter prevents a stampeding herd from going over a cliff, breaks a wild horse and figures out where rustlers are hiding stolen cattle. A masked vigilante turns out to be Bess, played by Lynne Roberts, who is the daughter of Lassiter's dead sister. Even after Lassiter kills Dyer, there are too many vigilantes for him to take on, so he runs with Jane, and the orphan girl, Fay, played by Patsy Patterson. The ending suggests that while they can never go back, the way ahead looks promising.

RIDE A CROOKED TRAIL (1958) - Audie Murphy is galloping away from another man, who takes out his rifle and shoots Murphy's horse out from under him. Our hero hides on the side of a cliff, and when the other man comes to the edge to look for him, the other man slips and falls to his death. Judge Kyle, over-played by Walter Matthau, keeps a tight rein on his town, inspecting everyone who rides into it. Looking for a bank robber named Joe Maybe, Kyle questions Murphy, who shoots Kyle. Luckily a badge falls from the belongings on the horse, which Kyle identifies as belonging to U.S. Marshal Joe Noonan, and so Kyle forgives Murphy for shooting him before forcing the new arrival into becoming the town's new marshal. That night, as Murphy and Kyle get drunk, they are called upon to take care of an abusive husband. Kyle trips the husband and then shots him with a shotgun before the man can get up. "Never give the other guy an even break," is Kyle's philosophy. The next morning, as both men suffer from hang-overs, Jimmy - a little boy that Kyle calls his ward, played by Eddie Little, explains what happened the previous night and alerts Kyle that the riverboat is landing. As Kyle determines who can get off the boat and who can't, Tessa Milotte, played by Gia Scala, spots Murphy and nearly blows his false identity by calling him "Maybe". Murphy/Maybe tries to cover up the moment by saying that Tessa is his wife and she called him "Baby". Planning to rob the town bank, Maybe and Tessa set up house, but Tessa holds Maybe at a distance because she's partnered with Sam Teeler, played by Henry Silva, to also rob the bank. Much of the film is played for light comedy as Maybe becomes a respected member of the community and Tessa comes to regard Maybe with affection. When Teeler shows up in town, Maybe secretly makes a deal to rob the bank together. Things get complicated when Jimmy moves into the house with Maybe and Tessa. Of course, Jimmy inspires Maybe and Tessa to go straight, and Maybe convinces Kyle by bringing Teeler to justice. Jesse Hibbs directed Audie Murphy in TO HELL AND BACK, WORLD IN MY CORNER, WALK THE PROUD LAND and JOE BUTTERFLY before they made this flick. After CROOKED TRAIL, Hibbs went to work on TV.

RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLINE (1941) - Preston Yates, played by Edward Keane, wants the Kerrigan Lumber Holdings, and gets Ed Petrie, played by Hal Taliaferro, to sabotage Jim Kerrigan's efforts to fulfill his contract with the Ajax Mills - which is owned by Yates. For once Victor Jory, as Baptiste Deschamp, is a good guy and foreman for Kerrigan. Kerrigan, played by J. Farrell MacDonald, needs money to keep in business, so store owner Donna Ryan, played by Anna Q. Nilsson, offers to loan him her nest egg. Luckily, Hopalong Cassidy, played by William Boyd, arrives with $15,000 from Buck Peters to help. When he stays to help Kerrigan, Cassidy changes out of his usual outfit and puts on logger duds. This is the second film in the series after Lucky was replaced by Johnny Nelson, played by Brad King. Coincidentally, California Carlson, still played by Andy Clyde, works for Kerrigan, too. Because of all of the "accidents", the loggers walk out on Kerrigan, but Elaine Kerrigan, played by Eleanor Stewart, arrives by train with "the fighting 40", loggers to replace those who quit. Eventually, Hoppy discovers that Yates is behind the trouble and sets a trap by pretending to be caught cheating at cards and fired by Kerrigan. Unfortunately, Deschamp believes that Hoppy and Johnny have joined the bad guys, but Elaine arrives in time for the good guys to prevent the dynamiting of the dam. Lesley Selander directed and Tom Tyler plays one of the bad guys.

TWILIGHT ON THE TRAIL (1941) - Disguised as Eastern detectives with English accents, Hoppy, Johnny and California arrive at the Brent ranch to help find who's rustling the cattle. Naturally Jim Brent, played by Jack Rockwell, has an attractive daughter, Lucy Brent played by Wanda McKay, and Johnny nearly blows his cover when the Jimmy Wakely Trio strike up a tune and Johnny joins in hoping to impress Lucy. It quickly becomes apparent that the Brent foreman, Nat Kervy - played by Norman Willis, is the villain. Howard Bretherton directs much of this for light comedy, but when the shooting starts the action is typical Hopalong Cassidy - and Johnny gets wounded again. This is the second installment in the series in which our heroes take off their usual garb and wear other clothes. William Boyd may not be a singing cowboy, but Brad King is. What exactly do they mean when Hoppy asks California what he's smoking in his pipe - California says "Tobacca" and Hoppy replies, "Tobacca? It don't smell like that to me"?

SECRET OF THE WASTELANDS (1941) - This Hopalong Cassidy film is unique in a number of ways. Hoppy, Johnny and California don't swap their duds this time, but the filmmakers use matte paintings and sets on sound stages to play the ancient pueblo cliff dwellings. The plot is also more complicated than usual and includes Chinese characters doing more than providing comedy. Hoppy and friends agree to guide Dr. Malcolm Birdsall, played by Gordon Hart, Professor Balto Stubbes, played by Hal Price and Jennifer Kendall, played by Barbara Britton (in her first film), on an archaeological expedition to the Indian cliff dwellings in the desert. Clay Elliot, played by Keith Richards, is geologist who is tagging along because of gold nuggets turning up in the area from some Chinese guys. Moy Soong, played by Soo Yong, runs a local Chinese restaurant and becomes concerned that these White guys are snooping around. Crooked lawyer Slade Salters, played by Douglas Fowley, gets his men to follow Hoppy's outfit to find out what the Chinese are keeping secret. In addition to a secret gold mine, the Chinese are also hiding the secret entrance to an hidden valley where they live. The film climaxes with Hoppy racing with Salters to the land office to file a legal claim on the mine. Derwin Abrahams started his directing career with the Hopalong Cassidy film BORDER VIGILANTES and this was his second and last entry with William Boyd. Familiar actors Richard Loo and Lee Tung Foo appear, but it is never explained who killed Doy Kee.

UNDERCOVER MAN (1942) - Don Tomas Gonzales, played by Antonio Moreno, and his men gallop across the U.S./Mexico border to visit with Captain John Hawkins, played by Jack Rockwell. The Mexicans are plagued by American bandits who escape across the border, and the Americans are plagued by Mexican bandits who escape across the border. What they need is a civilian who can work undercover on both sides of the border. Naturally, Hoppy arrives with California and Breezy Travers, played by Jay Kirby - who replaces Johnny Nelson as the trio's whipper-snapper. A witness on the Mexican side reports that Hoppy was the leader of the bandits, while two witnesses on the U.S. side report that Gonzales was the leader. After our heroes figure out the ruse, they discover that Bob Saunders, played by Alan Baldwin, is tipping off the villains about the gold shipments. Then, during a gunfight, it is discovered the Donna Louise Saunders, played by Nora Lane, is the impersonator for both heroes. But Deputy Ed Carson, played by John Vosper, is the leader of the bad guys. Lesley Selander returns to the director's chair for this average installment.

LOST CANYON (1942) - For some unknown reason, Breezy Travers is now called Johnny Travers, and the movie starts with a posse chasing him because of a bank robbery. Johnny dives off a cliff into a river and the posse is convinced that he drowned. California and Hoppy help Johnny to hide while they investigate. It soon becomes apparent that Jeff Burton, played by Doug Fowley, is the villain, who hopes to get the Clark Ranch by marrying Laura Clark, played by Lola Lane. In addition to marriage, Burton plans on rustling Clark's cattle and taking them through the lost canyon. Just as Tom Clark, played by Herbert Rawlinson, Hoppy and Johnny are setting off to stop the cattle rustling, the Sheriff, played by Hugh Prosser,  arrives and stops the three to question them. Meanwhile, two of the bad guys think they bushwack Hoppy, but actually shoot Laura, who is riding a new white horse. This is pretty much a remake of 1937's RUSTLERS' VALLEY complete with rolling boulders onto the villains' shack. Twice in the film, The Sportsmen Quartet sing "Jingle Jangle Jingle", the first tune in a Hopalong Cassidy movie that I've heard on its own. Lesley Selander directed.

HOPPY SERVES A WRIT (1943) - California is driving a stagecoach in Texas with three bandits on his tail. Tom Jordan, played by Victor Jory, leads the bandits, who keep the stage but send California off with the team of horses when the mail box is found chained in place. California reaches town to find Sheriff Hoppy away looking for stolen horses. California and Johnny try to find the bandits, but Hoppy stops them before they cross the border into Oklahoma. Todd Colby, played by Roy Barcroft, soon arrives to report his cattle being rustled near the Oklahoma border. Posing as a cattle buyer and dressed like a dude, Hoppy goes into Oklahoma to investigate. Finally, with California and Johnny, Hoppy rustles the villains' herd in order to lure them back into Texas where he can arrest them. Two of the bad guys are Steve Jordan, played by George Reeves, and Rigney, played by Bob Mitchum (in his feature film debut). George Archainbaud directed this installment, which is notable for featuring an extended sequence of California being beaten to give up information.

BORDER PATROL (1943) - A man on a horse is being chased by two other men on horses that are firing their guns at him. Meanwhile, Texas Rangers Hoppy, Johnny and California sit near a river showing the border between Texas and Mexico bored. Suddenly, Johnny says, "Where there is rifle fire, there must be people." Seeing the man racing toward the border being pursued, California asks, "Whose side are we on, Hoppy?" "Don't know yet," replies our hero before getting involved. Unfortunately, the man is shot in the back when he reaches the river, and the pursuers run away when our heroes approach. Not surprisingly, when Inez La Barca, played by Claudia Drake, finds our heroes with the dead man, she accuses them of having killed him. At the point of her gun, Inez takes our heroes to see the Commandante of the Mexican border patrol, played by Duncan Renaldo, who sees Hoppy's credentials and soon asks for his help. Mexicans are being lured across the border to become slaves at the Silver Bullet mines owned by Orestes Krebs, played by Russell Simpson. Our heroes set out to visit the commonwealth of Silver Bullet, with Inez shadowing them, when they are stopped on the outskirts by Quinn, played by Bob Mitchum. Using a lasso, Hoppy threatens to pull one of Quinn's men off his perch if the gunmen don't stop shooting. The captured gunman takes our heroes into Silver Bullet, where Krebs, as town owner, mayor, sheriff and judge, arrests them for murder, with the help of his army of gunmen. This same army of gunmen become the jury ready to convict our heroes for the murder of Don Enrique Perez, when Inez rides into town. Distracted by the first female they've seen in a long time, the bad guys put the trial on hold. Krebs convinces Inez to testify against our heroes. Barton, played by Cliff Parkinson, testifies that he saw our heroes kill Don Enrique. Krebs sentences our heroes to be hanged after dinner, because we never hang anyone on an empty stomach. Hoppy suggests that Inez insist on visiting the mine, and even though they try to hide all of the Mexicans, Inez recognizes Don Enrique's hat on the ground. Inez helps our heroes escape jail, and then joins them in liberating the slaves. Knowing that the mine area is too hard to defend, Don Enrique Perez, played by George Reeves, helps Hoppy to forumlate a trap, wherein the prisoners hide in the back of wagons driven by the guards, so that when the bad guys arrive, the wagons can surround them. Captured, Krebs finds himself before California as the new Silver Bullet judge ordering the villain to pay his former prisoners as per the Alien Contract Labor Law of 1885.This was the first of four Hoppy movies written by Michael Wilson before his World War II military stint, his Oscar win for A PLACE IN THE SUN in 1951 and his being blacklisted after being declared an unfriendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Was a Western citing the Alien Contract Labor Law part of the Communist plot to undermine traditional American capitalist values of unfair labor practice? It is odd that after 45 previous Hopalong Cassidy movies, our heroes act in this one as if they had never been to Mexico before. Lesley Selander directed again.

LEATHER BURNERS (1943) - After a montage of cattle rustling and ranch burning, the film informs us that Johnny Travers has settled down on a ranch and calls Sharon Longstreet, played by Shelley Spencer, his girl. All of the ranchers in the valley are suffering from rustlers, so Johnny sends for Hoppy and California. Randall, played without credit by Robert Mitchum, discusses with Bucktoe Mine owner Dan Slack, played by Victory Jory, what to do about Hopalong Cassidy coming to town. Slack decides to pretend that an assassin for the ranchers has taken a shot at him, and after Hoppy comes to offer help, Slack offers Hoppy a job. Hoppy sees through the ruse, but decides to accept the job offer in order to investigate. Johnny and the ranchers, as well as Sharon and her little brother Bobby, played by Bobby Larson, are disappointed in Hoppy. However, Hoppy finally figures out that the rustlers are taking the stolen cattle into a canyon which has a secret entrance into the Bucktoe mine.  There the cattle is butchered and the meat secreted out under the ore being shipped by rail from the mine. The scheme turns out to be the brainstorm of Sam Bucktoe, played by George Givot, who was thought to have died by collapsing the mine on himself when it was set to be closed. After Hoppy and California discover the secret of the mine, Bucktoe goes crazy and sets out to murder Slack. Bobby gives the sheriff a message from Hoppy telling him to bring the posse to the mine and lawyer Harrison Brooke, played by George Reeves, joins the posse. Slack's gang discovers their dead boss and start a gun battle with Hoppy and California. Bobby joins our heroes in the mine, just as Bucktoe stampedes the cattle hidden inside. It all ends well, with Johnny deciding to leave his ranch behind and go with his friends when he sees Sharon kissing Brooke. Veteran silent film director Joseph E. Henabery mostly made short films after sound came in and this was his first sound feature. Five years later he directed his second sound feature and then retired.

BAR 20 (1943) - Jay Kirby as Johnny Travers is gone and he is replaced by George Reeves as Lin Bradley. Moving up from small roles in the series to one of the heroic trio may have seemed like progress, but it turned out to be a one time only gig and the end of Reeves association with Hopalong Cassidy. Hoppy, California and Lin are on their way to try and buy some of the pure bred cattle in the Stevens herd when they hear gunshots - as this is another Western that begins with a stagecoach robbery. In the coach are Marie Stevens, played by Dustine Farnum, her mother Mrs. Stevens, played by Betty Blythe, and Mark Jackson, played by Victor Jory. Our heroes arrive guns blazing, but the robbers make off with a trunk, which contains jewels and Marie's wedding dress. Escorting the Stevens women back to their ranch, Hoppy wonders if they might get a ransom note for the jewels and that he would be willing to pay that ransom in exchange for an hundred head of Stevens cattle. The Stevens women are in favor of it, but as the jewels were the dowry from Richard Adams, played by Bob Mitchum, they doubt he would be willing to accept money from the bride's family. That proves true. But not only that, Hoppy's willingness to pay the ransom convinces Adams that these cowboys from the Bar 20 ranch in Arizona were responsible for the robbery. Michael Wilson is one of three writers credited for this movie - the others being Morton Grant and Norman Houston - which over plays the frustration factor by having our heroes suspected of the crime. Naturally, the villain is played by Victor Jory, who used the jewel theft as a way to get Adams to sell more of his land in order to pay the ransom. And the money to pay the ransom was stolen from Hoppy while he was out riding with Jory's character. In the end, the villains are foiled and the marriage is held. Lesley Selander directed  again.

THE MARAUDERS, aka KING OF THE RANGE (1947) - Rand Brooks as Lucky Jenkins took over the whipper-snapper role in the heroic trio with 1946's FOOL'S GOLD. This was his fifth installment of the 12 he made. Seeking shelter from a coming storm, Hoppy, California and Lucky duck into an abandoned church. After ten minutes of spooky stormy stuff, our heroes meet two women who have come into the church to pray and play the organ. Mrs. Crowell, played by Mary Newton, listens as her daughter Susan, played by Dorinda Clifton, plays the organ. A clap of thunder causes part of the church to crash to the ground, narrowing missing Susan. In the morning, our heroes awaken to the sound of workmen dismantling the building. From this point on, what started to be a haunted church mystery film becomes something else, and the script credited to Charles Belden begins to make less and less sense. If the bad guys want our heroes to leave the church, why do they shoot at them - forcing them to stay inside? If the bad guys want to set fire to the church, why do they only attempt it once? Why does the evil Deacon Black, played by Ian Wolfe, order his men to stop shooting only to shoot the Oil Driller, played by Dick Bailey, himself? And what does he think he's going to accomplish crawling around the outside of the church bell tower? How does discovering that the ground under the church is soaked with oil going to save the church from being demolished? With most of the film taking place on one interior set, THE MARAUDERS seems to be a dry run towards becoming a TV series, and director George Archainbaud brings little zest to the proceedings.


David Deal enjoyed:

EXPOSED (47) - Private detective Adele Mara is hired to investigate suspicious activity by her client's stepson. She no sooner gets started when her client is killed. Fun little mystery with the novelty of a female PI.  Bob Steele plays a tough named Chicago.

THEY HAVE CHANGED FACES (71) - A man is invited to his boss's home and discovers his boss is more than just a man who runs a business.  Corrado Farina (Baba Yaga) uses the framework of Dracula to tell a strange modern day allegory about capitalism.  Adolfo Celli plays the boss, Giovanni Nosferatu.




Mildly enjoyed:



Charles Gilbert watched:

LADY ICE (1973) Brash insurance investigator Donald Sutherland imposes himself on his attractive prey Jennifer O'Neil while she orchestrates a jewelry heist. Policeman Robert Duvall keeps him focused on his assignment.

THE NEW SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON (1999) James Keach and ⁸wife Jane Seymour play the titular parents in this updated rendition battling nature and pirate David Carradine.

BEHEMOTH THE SEA MONSTER (1959) B&W. American Atomic Energy scientist Gene Evans, in London for lectures, cancels his trip home when an English fisherman dies from a suspicious encounter along the coast. Willis O'Brien produced the animation.

BLOOD BEAST TERROR (1968) Peter Cushing headlines this horror flick about a gal who transforms into a murderous giant moth. All British cast includes Wanda Ventham.

BUCHANON RIDES ALONE (1958) Randolph Scott horse opry with Craig Stevens and L.Q. Jones, offers little that's interesting. No leading lady.

Air Crash Investigations Mayday Air France flight 8969. The Armed Islamic Group of Algeria Christmas Eve 1994.hijacks a flight intended for Paris.


Bambos Georgiou reports:

I have recently watched all the Jimmy Wang Yu movies, except for the ever elusive TIGER BOY, and have just run through nearly all of the Donnie Yen films on Netflix - IP MAN 1 to 3, DRAGON, ICEMAN 1 & 2 and CHASING THE DRAGON.
I thought ZATOICHI MEETS THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN was interesting because each of the characters acts in a way specific to their genres. Wang Yu goes flying through the air as though he's in an Hong Kong (or Taiwan) movie while Zatoichi acts normally.


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