Friday, May 1, 2020

Week of May 2 - 8, 2020

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian film editor, who co-wrote a Western, taught director Michelangelo Antonioni the possibilities of film editing?
It was Franco Arcalli.

By what name is James Newman better known?
Tom Betts knew that it is Willi Colombini.

Which German actor appeared in Italian films alongside Robert Woods, Klaus Kinski, Van Heflin and Cameron Mitchell?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew it was Peter Carsten: 
With Robert Woods « due once di piombo » (1966, Maurizio Lucidi) / with Van Heflin « Sotto dieci bandiere » (1960, Duilio Coletti) / with Cameron Mitchell « as the sea rages / dynamite » (1960, Horst Hächler), « all’ombra delle aquile » (1966, Ferdinando Baldi), « il massacro della foresta nera » (1967, Ferdinando Baldi) / with Klaus Kinski « … e dio disse a Caino » (1970, Antonio Margheriti), « nella stretta morsa del ragno » (1971, Antonio Margheriti).

Which Italian screenwriter is credited on at least three Westerns, two movies directed by Mario Bava and directed two movies starring Bud Spencer?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Marcello Fondato.

Which American actress, born in Texas, appeared in movies with Glenn Saxson, Gordon Mitchell, John Ireland, George Wang, Antonio Sabato, Klaus Kinski and George Hilton?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Lucretia Love.
With Glenn Saxon « vaya con dios gringo » (1966, Edoardo Mulargia), with Gordon Mitchell « Fenomenal e il tesoro di Tutankamen » (1968, Ruggero Deodato) with John Ireland « Zenabel » (1969, Ruggero Deodato), wih George Wang « una colt in pugno al diavolo » (1970, Sergio Bergonzelli), with Antonio Sabato « Quando gli uomini armarano la clava e… » (1971, Bruno Corbucci), with both Antonio Sabata and Klaus Kinski « l’occhio del ragno » (1971 Roberto Bianchi Montero), with George Hilton « il diavolo a sette facce » (1971, Osvaldo Civirani) and « « fuori uno… sotto un altro, arriva il passatore » (1972, Giuliano Carnimeo)

By what name is Daniele Pitani better known?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Daniele Vargas.

And now for some new brain teasers:

What Terence Hill Western project was partly inspired by an American autobiography?
Which Italian actor, born in Venice, appeared in an American TV sit-com episode along with Umberto Raho?
Which Italian actor, born in Bari, Italy, played a Mexican guitar player in an Italian Western?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Eduardo Fajardo, Armando Calvo, Frank Wolff and Anthony Steffen in RINGO IL VOLTO DELLA VENDETTA, aka RINGO THE FACE OF REVENGE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Mino Doro and Belinda Lee in MESSALINA.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came? 

No one identified the above frame grab.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above photo yet.
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 first four episodes of Slow Burn, a series on Epix about the Watergate scandal.

Mildly enjoyed:

Vikings season six the first 10 episodes

FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY (2019) - I don't usually like inspirational sports stories, but this has Florence Pugh playing Lena Headey's daughter. Dwayne Johnson plays himself and is one of the producers of this film based on the story of the English professional wrestler Paige. Interestingly, in the film Pugh is shown not being as conventionally sexy as the other female wrestlers, while the real Paige is.

Did not enjoy:

HOUSE OF THE WITCH (2017) - When will teenagers stop wanting to spend Halloween in the local haunted house?

The Rockford Files "Backlash of the Hunter" (1974) - I didn't much pay attention to this show when it was on the air, so watching the first episode of the series was a new experience. I enjoyed seeing the vintage shots of Los Angeles and Hollywood, and Lindsay Wagner looked terrific, but I was astonished at how much this recycled bits from MARLOWE, including taunting a thug by calling him gay. In MARLOWE he taunted Bruce Lee by suggesting that he might be "light in the loafers". Here he pretty much called William Smith "queer". William Smith does a variation on the part he had in DARKER THAN AMBER but without the blonde wig. And calling Smith "muscle-bound" was stupid.

THE BALLAD OF JOSIE (1967) - Curiously star Doris Day does not sing "The Ballad of Josie", the painfully bland title song written by Don Costa and Floyd Huddleston. Ronnie Dante does. At night, Sheriff David Hartman moves the finger on his sign to show that he's gone over to the saloon, where he gestures young Teddy Quinn to stop balancing on the horse tie-off beam and enters the establishment. Quinn moves out of the way for his father, Robert Lowery, to come crashing out the window. Hartman orders him home to his wife, Doris Day, and Quinn races ahead to help his mother hide the breakables. Unfortunately, in the tussle with Day, Lowery falls backwards down the stairs and dies. George Kennedy wants to convict Day of murder, but Peter Graves votes "not guilty". Eventually, when threatened with being taken to supper at the Trail's End, the jury votes "not guilty". Grandpa Paul Fix insists that Quinn stay with him in Chyenne until Day proves that she can provide for him. Day still owns a spread at Willow Creek, which Graves politely takes her out to see. Graves also brings Day to a political meeting at his home to discuss statehood for Wyoming. At the meeting, all the men ridicule Day's plans to use her property to start a cow ranch, but they also want her to help convince women to give up the right to vote, figuring that the nation won't accept Wyoming into the union if they are the only state that allows women to vote. After a terrible experience as a waitress, Day goes on a picnic with Graves and he derides sheep raising as something any idiot could do. So, of course Day decides to raise sheep. And, of course, Kennedy is willing to return to the cattlemen vs. sheepmen wars of the past. Graves proceeds with a series of yelling fits to try and get Day to bend to his will, and when sheepmen Don Stroud and Timothy Scott predict a similar loss of life as in the past, Day gives up and allows Graves to take over. When William Talman sees that the newspapers are reporting on the conflict, and that the local suffragettes have taken up Josie's cause, he worries that Wyoming's prospects of becoming a state are in jeopardy. After Graves and Kennedy slug it out in front of Day's burning barn, Talman convinces Kennedy to buy Day's sheep and then give her enough stock to start a cattle ranch. The movie ends with Day burning the pants she had bought and returning to a traditional woman's role as the town celebrates Wyoming becoming a state. For the closing credits, The Sun Set warbles "Wait Till Tomorrow" written by Jack Lloyd and Gene de Paul. Harry Carey Jr. has a small role as one of Graves' cowhands.

CAVE OF OUTLAWS (1951) - Well of course the cave interior is brightly lit. What's the point of shooting in the Carlsbad Caverns if you can't see the rock formations? Hey, we showed a couple of guys walking around with laterns. Isn't that justification enough for all the bright lights? If the lighting in the caves bothers you, what about the man on horseback riding along the speeding train killing the engineer and the coal man with thrown knives so quickly that the one didn't have the time to react to the other's death? Didn't that seem impossible? Or how about an uncredited Russ Tamblyn going to prison for fifteen years and coming out as Macdonald Carey? William Castle directed from Elizabeth Wilson's script. The script has a number of unique elements which should have resulted in a better movie. When Carey returns to town from prison, everyone assumes he'll soon recover the stolen Wells Fargo gold shipment and be a rich man. Of course, Wells Fargo agent Edgar Buchanan tags along hoping to recover the gold for the company. Every business in town is hoping that Carey will become an investor, while a couple of thugs roll him in the night only to be disappointed that he only has the money in his pockets he got when released from prison. Living on credit from a town waiting for his windfall, Carey is approached by newspaper publisher Alexis Smith who seems to offer both a business opportunity and a romantic one. Copper mine owner Victor Jory sends his thug, Hugh O'Brian, to bring Carey to a face-to-face and offers to help Carey find the missing gold. Jory doesn't like Smith's attention to Carey, and hopes that if our hero gets the gold he'll get out of town. Smith has turned down Jory's proposal of marriage, convinced that her missing husband isn't dead. Eventually, O'Brian confesses to Carey and Buchanan that the missing husband found the stolen gold, but that Jory shot him before they could get the gold from him. The husband's body and the gold is still missing in the caves. Rather than settling the score with gunplay, Carey agrees to have Jory face a trial, but since most of the town in indebted to Jory, the outcome doesn't seem in question. However, a bullet pulled from Carey's wounded arm is quite unique, and if the same unique bullet in found in the missing husband's body, forensic science could convict the villain.

THE CIMARRON KID (1952) - If you've always wanted to see Hugh O'Brian with red hair and beard, this is the flick for you. Budd Boetticher directs this tale of Audie Murphy who gets out on parole and is warned to stay away from the Dalton Gang, even if they are his friends. Well, of course, the Daltons rob the train with Audie on it, so suspicion falls on Audie for being in on it. After being tortured by railroad detective David Bauer (who would soon relocate to the UK because of the blacklist), Audie joins the Daltons - including James Best, Noah Beery Jr. and Frank Silvera. The Daltons try to rob two banks at the same time and end up almost completely massacred. Audie takes command of the gang over the objections of Hugh O'Brian. Naturally Beverly Tyler wants him to give himself up. There's a unique shootout on a railroad turntable before Audie is convinced to rob a gold shipment on a train. This turns out to be a trap by the railroad detective from which only Audie escapes. He seeks shelter from Tyler and her father, but they decide that handing him over to sympathetic Marshal Leif Erickson would be better for him. The fact that Bauer isn't dead by the end of the film is a big disappointment.

THE DRAGON VS. NEEDLES OF DEATH, aka NEEDLES OF DEATH, aka DRAGON, TIGER AND PHOENIX, aka THE NEEDLE AVENGER (1975) - First of all, they are nails not needles. The orphaned son of a carpenter is taken in by the patriarch of a kung fu school. Bullied because he doesn't know kung fu, the son sneaks out at night to practice his skill at throwing nails with deadly accuracy. Sammy, the school's star pupil, witnesses this, and offers to teach the son kung fu in exchange for lessons in nail throwing. The patriarch's daughter, May Lay, falls in love with the son, but Sammy thinks that she will be his bride. The romantic triangle explodes when all three young people disappear in the night causing the patriarch to have a stroke. The son ends up in a village where gangsters control the salt business. He decides to help out the oppressed villagers, which, of course, leads to conflict with the gangsters. The local kung fu teacher is the only person strong enough to stand up to the head gangster. Sammy turns up and it turns out that he was at one point the local kung fu teacher's adopted son. When his woman gets sick, the son is seduced into working for the bad guy, and he kills the local kung fu teacher by throwing three nails into his head. Sammy knows who did it, and goes to the gangster to find our hero. Thankfully, the villain kidnaps the May Lay so Sammy and our hero team up to kill all the bad guys. But then Sammy wants revenge on the son.

HEAVEN WITH A BARBED WIRE FENCE (1939) - Dalton Trumbo came up with this moden day story which starts with Glenn Ford (in his feature film debut) going to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, with a brief musical quote from the song "42nd Street" in the background, to spit on New York City. He tells Paul Hurst that he's going to Arizona - "where the living is better" - where he's bought a twenty acre ranch called Shady Acres. It turns out that he's bumming across country and along the way he picks up Jean Rogers and Nicholas Conte (soon to become Richard Conte) as traveling companions. Eventually Raymond Walburn joins the band, which comes in handy when Irving Bacon plans to arrest them. It turns out that Rogers is an illegal immigrant, but Walburn knows that if she marries Ford, that'll make her legal, and Ford won't be arrested for aiding an illegal immigrant. Why it is a Russian Orthodox priest that performs the marriage is unexplained. Ford feels like he's been tricked into the marriage, but when he gets to the disappointing Shady Acres and Rogers makes him see the future possibilities, he changes his mind about wanting a divorce.

MAGIC MIKE (2012) - Channing Tatum has got some impressive moves. Cody Horn, Olivia Munn and Riley Keough are attractive. And, at least no one had to die before our hero learned his lesson.

PAJAMA TOPS (1983) - Adapted from Jean de Letraz's French play MOUMOU, this stage play captured during a live performance stars Alan Scarfe as an husband planning to cheat on his wife, played by Susan George, with Pia Zadora. Scarfe doesn't know that Zadora is married to Robin Ward, who is hiding from Police Inspector William Needles because of some bad checks. Pulled into this mess is actor Robert Klein with whom both women have decided to have sex to teach Scarfe a lesson. Someone gifted Klein with his first sexual experience with a woman, but it was too dark for him to know who it was, except that she only wore a pajama top. Obviously it was the maid Gwynyth Walsh (of DaVinci's Inquest).

THE ROUND UP (1941) - Lesley Selander directed this tale of how a romantic triangle can ruin an effort to sell guns to renegade Indians. Richard Dix pretends to think that Preston Foster is dead and so quickly marries Patricia Morison. Foster arrives and Dix instantly doubts his wife's affections. Some Indians are on the war path and Foster joins his Army brother in action. Foster saves a little girl, played by Betty Brewer, just before Dix takes Morison to honeymoon in Denver. Dix is called back to his ranch because of more Indian trouble, leaving Morison in Denver with his sister, Ruth Donnelly. Foster turns up and takes the new bride out for a night of dancing. In addition to dancing, the couple end up at Jerome Cowan's casino where Foster loses big. Cowan threatens violence, so Morison gives Cowan the ring she got from Dix to cover Foster's losses. Seeing the inscription on the ring, Cowan figures to use it for blackmail. Morison wants to go home to Dix's ranch because she's going to have his baby. Dix is happy to see her, but when Foster also turns up, his jealousy again flares up. Eventually, Cowan turns up in town and is in cahoots with villains planning to sell guns to the Indians. Cowan blackmails Foster into sending the Army away from where the sale is to happen. After being accused of murdering Cowan, Dix heads to where the sale is to happen and is captured by the bad guys. Foster arrives to save Dix and to lead the cavalry to where they are needed. The triangle ends with one death. Producer Harry Sherman and director Selander quickly went back to making Hopalong Cassidy movies.

THE STAR (2017) - Have you been hoping someone would make an animated Nativity story about the donkey, dove and sheep that helped protect Mary and Joseph from an assassin sent by King Herod on the way to Bethlehem? Well, Sony Pictures Animation made it. And Oprah Winfrey voices a camel.

TIME FREAK (2018) 

WAY OF A GAUCHO (1952) - This movie was unique enough, being set in Argentina, that I didn't fast-forward through it. However, having Rory Calhoun play a pig-head macho man made the watching unenjoyable. I was rooting for Richard Boone throughout the film, and felt that Gene Tierney's character was stupid. Directed by Paris born Jacques Tourneur, this is the film that Everett Sloane fans need to see if they want to see him singing and playing a guitar.

WHEN THE DALTONS RODE (1940) - Reportedly it was after reading the autobiographical book by Emmett Dalton (and Jack Jungmeyer) on which this movie is supposedly based, the Belgian comic book artist Maurice De Bevere, aka Morris, created the Daltons for his Lucky Luke books. With that knowledge, this movie's comedic tone isn't so odd. No, it is very odd that Andy Devine plays a Lothario juggling two women even when joining up with the Dalton Brothers to begin the outlaw life. It is odd to see a Western inwhich Randolph Scott plays a lawyer that never pulls a gun. It is odd that a movie that mostly plays everything for laughs has such an high body count. According to this movie, the Daltons were not at fault for their crimes; it was a swindling land development agent and townie prejudice against rural folk. Only four Dalton brothers are shown here - Brian Donlevy, Broderick Crawford, Stuart Erwin and Frank Albertson. Also odd is that Emmett Dalton is not shown to survive the shootout at the end and this movie is supposedly based on his book. 


David Deal enjoyed:

THE GLASS SPHINX (67) - From 2010: "Back in rotation is this Euro-adventure with Robert Taylor (on his last legs at 57!) as an archeologist after a hidden tomb.  The enormous wealth he doesn't care about.  Too bad everyone else does!  Lots of fights, shooting, and traitorous acts.  Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and Anita Ekberg join in the action.  Sinister's print is a faded, jumpy mess but this is perfect in the background of a Sunday afternoon."

FANFARE FOR A DEATH SCENE (64) - Dynamic industrialist Richard Egan is also a spy on the trail of crazed scientist Burgess Meredith and his secret formula.  Cool 60s TV modern-styled black & white adventure from Leslie Stevens and composer Dominic Frontiere (both Outer Limits). Features Al Hirt, Tina Louise, Khigh Dhiegh, Ed Asner, and Telly Savalas.

WAIT FOR YOUR LAUGH (17) - Excellent documentary on Rose Marie. If you remember The Dick Van Dyke Show check this out. Her life was amazing.

CRY WOLF (47) - Barbara Stanwyck shows up at Errol Flynn's estate claiming to be his brother's widow and she wants his inheritance.  But something's not right.  Fun enough Gothic mystery that features Jerome Cowan and Richard Basehart.

DAY OF THE COBRA (80) - Unsung Franco Nero crime thriller from Enzo G. Castillari featuring Sybil Danning and William Berger.  It's not a pure film, it is somewhat compromised, but its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, in my opinion.

PRINCESS OF THE NILE (54) - Debra Paget and Jeffrey Hunter are star-crossed lovers in 13th century Egypt.  Michael Rennie stands in their way.  A fun and colorful adventure that wastes no time on the usual misunderstandings and veiled intent.  Small parts for Jack Elam and Lee Van Cleef.



Mildly enjoyed:

ALWAYS AT THE CARLYLSE (18) - Documentary of the classic NYC hotel which caters to the rich and famous.

EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (17) - Cinema verite documentary on the branches and programs of the NYC institution.  It's long but not unwelcome.


Charles Gilbert watched:

DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) Five blokes on a train indulge an old 'cadger' forecasting the grim fate of each with a deck of cards. From Amicus and English director Freddie Francis. A plug tribute for the film appears in one of the episodes with an exterior wall advertisement.

TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) Amicus Pictures and Freddie Francis again with a  horror tale involving five visitors to a crypt about to experience individual premonitional horrors prior to their Judgement by the crypt keeper (Sir Ralph Richardson). Look for television's Robin Hood Richard Greene, Joan Collins, and Peter Cushing.

The Insane Engineering of the SR71. The spy plane active during the 60s flew over Mach 3 using highly efficient ram jets at those high speeds.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem enjoyed:

« Batman » (1943, Lambert Hillyer) chapters  10 => 15

« Garo makai senki »  (2011) episodes  1 & 2

« Ebirah, horror of the deep » (1966, Jun Fukuda)

« The good liar » (2019, Bill Condon)

Mildly enjoyed:

« Verloren maandag » (1974, Luc Monheim) and « Deus lo volt » (1978, Luc Monheim)

« Vrijdag » (1980, Hugo Claus)

« semi-tough » (1977, Michael Ritchie)

« Cours après moi que je t’attrape » (1976, Robert Pouret)


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