Friday, June 12, 2020

Week of June 13 - 19, 2020

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

In which Italian Western does our hero answer the question, "How can you bury $360?" by saying, "With a shovel."?

In the English language version of which Italian Western does a man take the money from a dead man's pocket with the line, "I'll take back the ten dollars with interest you Judas."?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American actress who made a Western with Franco Nero also appeared in a Hallmark Channel production?
George Grimes suggested Amber Tamblyn who was in DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE RUSSELL GIRL.
I should rephrase the question to say "a Western directed by an Italian".

In which Italian Western does our hero exchange his left handed gunbelt for a right handed gunbelt?
No one has answered this question yet.

In which Italian Western does Roberto Camardiel play a character who talks about being a cook for the Army of Northern Virginia?
No one has answered this question yet.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Charles Gilbert asks, "Which Italian director, born April 3, 1944, was the son of another famous director?"
In which American Western does Lee Van Cleef play twin brothers?
In which Italian Western is a pig named after Union General Hooker?

Name the movies from which these images came.

No one identified the above photo.
It is from JIM IL PRIMO, aka THE LAST GUN.

George Grimes and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Dan Vadis and Alan Steel in URSUS GLADIATORE RIBELLE, aka THE REBEL GLADIATORS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came? 

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

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen in YIP MAN 2, aka IP MAN 2.
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:


Game of Thrones season five (2015)

Game of Thrones season six (2016)

Mildly enjoyed:

30 For 30 "Be Water" (2020) - This documentary about Bruce Lee is okay, but it is irritating that I know more about Bruce Lee's story than what is presented here. And how come no mention of Stirling Silliphant who wrote roles for him in MARLOWE and Longstreet?

THE DESPERADO (1954) - With its opening narrative crawl, this movie pissed me off from the get-go. "There is one dark and grim page in Texas history; it concerns the three years 1870 to 1873, during which Texans suffered and smouldered under the carpetbag administration of Governor E.J. Davis. Texas law was administered and enforced by a despotic organization called the Texas State police - - known as the 'Bluebellies'. Constitutional rights were ignored - - such as the right to keep and bear arms, the right to have public meetings, private property rights and most of the other expressions of human dignity and freedom of which Texas has always been so rightfully proud. Naturally, they did something about it..." Possibly in 1954 this didn't sound like a right-wing diatribe. But, possibly Allied Artists felt the need for such a disclaimer considering how morally ambiguous the final movie ended up being. James Lydon paints anti-bluebellie slogans on walls, hangs Gov. Davis in effigy and throws dynamite into State Police headquarters and the saloon where they drink. But, being the hero, no one gets hurt by his terrorist activities. Beverly Garland is gorgeous as the woman with whom Lydon is in love. Unfortunately, so is Rayford Barnes, who, along with Lydon, gets dragged into State Police Captain Nestor Paiva's office for a "working over". Fighting back, Lydon and Barnes escape and decide to hit the outlaw trail. On that trail, they meet an outlaw with an heart of gold played by Wayne Morris. Lydon prevents Barnes from killing Morris for the reward money, and Barnes is sent packing. Morris and Lydon meet Lee Van Cleef further along the trail, and Lydon kills Van Cleef when he tries to steal our hero's horse. Hearing about trouble back home, Lydon returns to find out that his father was accidentally killed - a victim of State Police brutality. It turns out that Barnes is a prisoner working as a laborer - scrubbing the floor of the saloon when Lydon barges in with the intention of killing Captain Paiva and Trooper Richard Garland (who was married to Beverly Garland). Bartender William Fawcett pulls a shotgun on Lydon, but is shot dead by Morris, who arrives just in time. Paiva and Garland refuse to go for their guns, so Lydon leaves without killing them. After Morris and Lydon ride away, Barnes grabs a gun, murders Paiva and Garland and witnesses that Lydon did it. Morris and Lydon gets jobs on a cattle drive only to run into Lee Van Cleef's twin brother who thinks Morris killed his sibling. Lydon corrects the mistake and kills Van Cleef (again). Lydon writes a letter to Mrs. Garland telling her to meet him at the end of the drive in Abilene. Just out of jail, Barnes intercepts the letter and passes it on to the State Police. U.S. Marshal Dabbs Greer is waiting in Abilene and arrests Lydon for murder on the day that Gov. Davis is voted out of office and the State Police is disbanded. Lydon thinks Garland set him up, but at the trial it is revealed that Barnes did it. Morris shows up to testify to Lydon's innocence, and pulls out two guns to force everyone to listen. Greer vouches for Morris' honesty - despite Morris being a wanted criminal. Lydon is exonerated, is embraced by Garland, Barnes is charged with murder and Morris is told by Greer to leave before he remembers to arrest him. This is hardly a good movie, but it is unpredictable and watchable. Morris gives a low-key performance which proves to be compelling.

GUNFIGHT AT THE O.K. CORRAL (1957) - Here's another movie that starts off with Lee Van Cleef seeking revenge for the killing of his brother. This time it's Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday that he wants to plug. But Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp warns Douglas that Van Cleef has a derringer in his boot and Douglas gets him with a thrown knife. After seeing TOMBSTONE, I decided it was time to check out the other Wyatt Earp movies I have. The first half of this movie involving events that occur before Wyatt and Doc arrive in Tombstone is the best part, though the romance with Rhonda Fleming is a bit flat. Among the interesting cast members is Earl Holliman, who about eight years later would be one of THE SONS OF KATIE ELDER, but as Doc Holliday's Kate Elder, aka Big Nose Kate, aka Mary Katherine Horony Cummings, lived until 1940, she was not the Katie Elder in SONS. In GUNFIGHT, Doc's Kate is played by Jo Van Fleet and is called Kate Fisher, which just confuses the hell out of the issue. Also in the cast is John Ireland as Johnny Ringo who inaccurately gets killed at the O.K. Corral. Also inaccurately killed at the Corral in this film is Ike Clanton, played by Lyle Bettger. Most versions of this story make Ike the main bad guy, but he didn't die until six years after the gunfight. Dennis Hopper played Billy Clanton and gets a rather spectacular death scene. Others in the cast are Whit Bissell, DeForest Kelley, Martin Milner, Kenneth Tobey, Jack Elam and future director Brian G. Hutton. Most of the scenes in Tombstone were filmed on a studio back lot, but the gunfight was shot at the Old Tucson Studio in Arizona. The sign for the O.K. Corral is frequently in the background on the studio town, but doesn't match at all the location for the gunfight. The Old Tucson location is exactly the same as seen in RIO BRAVO. Having grown up with the version Frankie Laine recorded for the Hell Bent For Leather! album, the version of the theme song in the film was disappointing, and its use through out the film was annoying. This ain't no HIGH NOON.

The Last Days of Phil Hartman (2019) An ABC News Special.

NORTH WEST FRONTIER, aka FLAME OVER INDIA (1959) - Before Westerns were made in Spain, this film set in what is now Pakistan was shot using the same train and rails seen in many Westerns. Some consider this almost a remake of STAGECOACH but with rampaging Muslims.

Did not enjoy:

BEHEMOTH (2011) - Ed Quinn from Eureka, Pascale Hutton from Intelligence, Jessica Parker Kennedy from Black Sails, Ty Olsson from Battlestar Galactica, William B. Davis from The X Files (playing a good guy!), and Marsha Regis from Da Vinci's City Hall continue the tradition of SyFy Channel made in Canada productions with this effort which holds back showing the CGI monster until the last twenty minutes. At times this reminds one of DANTE'S PEAK, but with a giant monster instead of a volcano.

BIGFOOT (2012) - Even by SyFy Channel standards, this is awful and has an incredibly high body count for something that is supposed to be funny. I refuse to believe that Bruce Davison directed this because I find it hard to believe that such a good actor would allow his fellow actors to deliver such awful performances. The idea of Danny Bonaduce of The Partridge Family representing capitalism fighting Barry Williams of The Brady Bunch representing environmentalism over a rock concert celebrating the 1980s in Deadwood, South Dakota is more funny than the execution is. The creature is identified as Bigfoot, but acts more like King Kong - except he bites the heads off the women he grabs. In the final battle on Mount Rushmore, Lincoln's head is blown off. Sherilyn Fenn, Alice Cooper and Howard Hesseman also appear.

DARK VICTORY (1939) - Bette Davis is perhaps at her most attractive in this effective weepie. Rich woman develops brain disease and undergoes surgery. She falls in love with surgeon, who also falls in love with her and so decides to not tell her that she only has months left to live. She discovers what he has been keeping from her and begins acting self-destructively. He apologizes and they marry finding that living well is the best way to win a victory over the darkness. She sends him off on a business trip and tells her best friend to go away so that she can die alone at peace with herself. "Have I been a good wife?" she asks pretending not to have gone blind while shooing him out the door.

DESERT PASSAGE (1952) - This was the last of the 46 Westerns that Tim Holt made for RKO, and the last of the 29 films he made with Richard Martin as Chito Rafferty. Holt and Martin are planning to sell their stagecoach business, but it is the one place the residents of Lavic, Arizona, can telephone to the outside world. When Joan Dixon see Walter Reed back in town, she tries to telephone the prison in Yuma, but Reed knocks down the telephone line. Dixon decides to ride to Garnet to find the sheriff, but doesn't tell Holt and Martin what is upsetting her. After breaking into the boarded-up boarding house, Reed is knocked out by John Dehner. Awakening, Reed doesn't find Dehner, but does find the loot he's stashed away. Holt and Martin get questioned about seeing a stranger by Dorothy Patrick and Clayton Moore, and then by Denver Pyle and Lane Bradford. Everyone is after Reed's loot. Bradford shoots Reed, but Holt and Martin save Reed for further violence. Wounded, Reed offers to pay our heroes a thousand dollars to take him to Mexico. On the road south, they pick up Dixon, whose horse died on the way to Garnet. Inside the coach, it is revealed that Reed embezzled $100,000 from the bank owned by Dixon's father, which caused him to commit suicide. Reed was paroled from prison, so he figures the money is now his. The coach stops at a way station and our heroes are mystified that the station master isn't there to welcome them. Instead, it is Dehner, who turns out to be Reed's high-priced lawyer. Eventually, everyone shows up at the station. Patrick turns out to be Reed's old girlfriend. Moore is Patrick's new boyfriend. Bradford is Reed's old prison cellmate. The body of the station master is found and Holt is convinced that Dehner did it. Reed pulls the money out of its hiding place in the coach harness, Bradford grabs it from him and Holt grabs it from Bradford. Eventually, our heroes and Dixon escape on the stagecoach with the male villains in pursuit. Back in Lavic, Holt gets the news on the telephone that all of the bad guys were arrested by the sheriff, except Dehner who was killed. Dixon gives Holt and Martin the reward for recovering the money, so they don't have to sell their business. Martin grabs his share and rushes off the saloon to see some girls. Lesley Selander directed.

Dudes Are Pretty People (1942) - Hal Roach produced theatrical short comedy films called Streamliners" and this was the first of three Westerns starring Noah Berry Jr. and Jimmy Rogers. Smitten with Marjorie Woodworth, cowboy Berry gets a job at a dude ranch hoping to marry her. His pal in the saddle, Rogers, also gets a job saying that he's a singer. As if to underline that this is not country singer Jimmie Rodgers, Rogers asks Alberto Morin to do the actual singing while Rogers mimes a performance. Rogers was Will Rogers' son and would go on to appear in six Hopalong Cassidy Westerns. Paul Fix has an uncredited role.

ESCAPE ROOM (2019) - This starts off kind-of like CUBE, then begins to resemble SAW, but ends up like HOSTEL. Taylor Russell and Deborah Ann Woll are appealing. What isn't appealing is knowing that there is a sequel coming out.

GUNS OF DIABLO (1964) - In 1963, ABC-TV ran the black and white series The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters starring Kurt Russell as a boy traveling West in a wagon train. In the 15th episode, Charles Bronson replaced Michael Witney as the wagon master and continued in that role until the show ended with a 26th episode. After the show was cancelled, MGM-TV decided to expand the last episode, "The Day of Reckoning", into a color feature film replacing Dan O'Herlihy with Russ Conway as Russell's father. Why they decided to bother is the question I'd liked answered. This was the last movie credited for Morris Ankrum.

ROUGH RIDERS' ROUNDUP (1939) Roy Rogers and his fellow former Rough Riders arrive at the train station singing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again." It is 1900, the Spanish-American war is over and Teddy Roosevelt is running for president. When a supporter of William McKinley tries to denigrate their former colonel, Rogers decks him. Dragged onto a departing rail road train, Rogers and other arrive in Arizona to join the Border Patrol. Soon after they arrive, word arrives that Arizona Jack, played by William Pawley, has hit the Three-Bar ranch killing two and stealing about 100 steers. Patrol Captain Jack Rockwell is frustrated that he can't get permission to cross the border into Mexico in pursuit. On leave, Rogers sings "Ridin' Down the Trail" in a cantina when Lynne Roberts arrives by stage. Rogers has orders to detain a young woman that fits Roberts description, and plans on taking her on the stage to Mexico. Rogers gets a telephone call to protect that stage which is carrying a gold shipment. Overhearing that the Border Patrol will be protecting that stage, Pawley arranges to get the lawmen into a brawl. Roberts gets on the stage and urges them to leave quickly to avoid the fight. Pawley shoots Rogers' friend Eddie Acuff, and while Rogers deals with that, the bad guys ride off to rob the stage. The cantina owner telephones Rockwell to report the fight, and when Rockwell is informed that the stage has already left, he leaps onto his horse to go after it. When Rogers hears that the stage has already left, he leaps onto his horse to go after it, too. Rockwell gets there as the robbery is underway and gets shot. Rogers arrives later and finds Rockwell wounded. After they learn that Acuff has died, Rogers and another friend Raymond Hatton get suspended from the Patrol so that they can cross the border without restraints. Meanwhile, George Meeker of the Amco Gold Mining Co. is visited by Pawley, who delivers Meeker's cut for the robbery and asks what to do with Roberts, whom they kidnapped off the stage. Roberts turns out to the be daughter of Meeker's boss, Guy Usher, and Meeker hopes to marry her. Meeker's plan to have Pawley allow Roberts to escape gets complicated when Rogers and Hatton stumble upon the ghost town Pawley's gang uses as an hideout. Rogers and Hatton are captured, Rogers sings "Here On the Range With You", our heroes watch Roberts being helped to escape by Soledad Jimenez, and then Roberts doubles back to help our heroes to escape. When Rogers, Hatton and Roberts arrive at the Amco Gold Mine, Usher is there to okay Roberts marrying Meeker, which pisses off Meeker's secretary Dorothy Sebastian. Sebastian rides over to talk with Pawley hoping to double-cross Meeker. Meanwhile, Rogers and Hatton follow Meeker to the hideout, but Pawley decides to kill Meeker and then go after the gold still at the mine. Rogers sends Hatton to round-up the rough riders while he goes to defend the mine with Roberts and Usher. Rockwell goes to see Alcalde Duncan Renaldo to explain that he did not authorize armed Americans to cross the border, and the Alcalde offers him a drink. In the end, the bad guys are arrested and everyone agrees to not mention that any action involved crossing the border. Joseph Kane directed this short feature in which our hero runs out of bullets, throws his empty gun at the bad guy, and it stuns the bad guy for a moment. Meanwhile, the fuse burns quickly towards the dynamite Rogers hopes to block the mine entrance until help arrives.

VERTIGE, aka HIGH LANE (2009) - I guess I'll have to put IFC Midnight on that list which includes Asylum. This is sort-of a French WOLF CREEK.


MONSTER ISLAND (2019) - An Asylum production for the SyFy Channel. Be prepared for a dull viewing experience unless you enjoy poor CGI effects. Has Eric Roberts become the John Carradine for the new millenium? Shouldn't this have been titled KAIJU STAR FISH VS. LIVING MOUNTAIN? In 2016, director Mark Atkins and star Adrian Bouchet made IN THE NAME OF BEN-HUR for The Asylum!

Homeland season (2020)


Charles Gilbert watched:

REVENGE OF THE GLADIATORS (1964) Mariska's dad Mickey Hargitay plays the son of a celebrated Roman general (Renato Baldini) who takes up the cause of 6 valiant gladiators being oppressed by the emporer (Roldano Lupi). The empire itself is being subverted by the inner court selling out to loud mouth barbarian Genserico (Livio Lorenzon) leader of the Vandals, the very enemy of the imperial army.

MACHISTE , AVENGER OF THE MAYAS (1965) Director Guido Malatesta extensively reuses footage from FIRE MONSTER AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES and COLOSSUS AND THE HEADHUNTERS to tell essentially the same tale with many of the actors (e.g. Luciano Marin and Andrea Aureli) still in the same costumes for crossover filming; an economical coterminous production scheme yielding "three for the price of two." Lots of styrofoam boulders.


David Deal enjoyed:



LARCENY IN HER HEART (46) - Hugh Beaumont (as Michael Shayne) is hired to find a missing stepdaughter who then turns up dead in his apartment.  But is that really her.  The second in the Beaumont PRC series, this is another breezy mystery that veers from a Bob Hope-style light comedy early on, to a darker noir mood later.


TOP HAT (35)


AMUCK (72)



SCOTTY AND THE SECRET HISTORY OF HOLLYWOOD (18) - Documentary on the amazing Scotty Bowers who fixed up the gay and lesbian stars of Hollywood for many years beginning in the 1940s.  A real hoot, check it out.  Not for the kiddies.

THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (71) - There's something lovable about Sergio Martino's first stab at the giallo. It's so obvious but it hits all the right notes; music, ambience, technical achievement, star power.  It's definitely one of the top genre entries.



Mildly enjoyed


BLONDE FOR A DAY (46) - After an investigative journalist barely survives being shot, he calls in Michael Shayne (Hugh Beaumont in his third outing as the wise-cracking PI).  Shayne works his way thru a bevy of dames to track down the culprits.  Convoluted but not unentertaining entry in the PRC series.  Shayne's secretary girlfriend is played this time by Hugh's real-life wife, Kathryn Adams.  She quit the biz after this, for good reason; she's no match for Cheryl Walker who played the role in the earlier entries and one more after this.


THE LUSTY MEN (52) - Robert Mitchum is the wisened rodeo cowboy who takes newbie Arthur Kennedy under his wing, but Kennedy's wife Susan Hayward doesn't like it.  Too much bronc and bull riding for my taste but the leads are very good.


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