Friday, June 26, 2020

Week of June 27 - July 3, 2020


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at scinema@earthlink.net.

Brain Teasers:

In which Italian Western does Roberto Camardiel play a character who talks about being a cook for the Army of Northern Virginia?
It was from ANCHE NEL WEST C'ERA UNA VOLTA DIO, aka BETWEEN GOD THE DEVIL AND A WINCHESTER.

In which Italian Western is a pig named after Union General Hooker?
No one has answered this question yet.

In which Italian Western does a main character have a trick holster that detaches from the gunbelt without him having to draw the gun out?
No one has answered this question yet.

From the English language version of which Italian Western comes the line, "For five thousand dollars I'd take you to China and I won't even ask your name."?
No one has answered this question yet.

In which Italian Western did Franco Nero play a Russian prince?
George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was VIVA LA MUERTE... TUA!, aka LONG LIVE YOUR DEATH, aka DON'T TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian Western begins with The Stranger gunning down Paco Diaz, Jose Huerta and Jesus Sanchez?
From the English language version of which Italian Western comes the line, "But you told me it's bad not to trust a friend, but to trust a friend is bad, too."?
Which Italian Western featured the song "Heart of Stone"?

Name the movies from which these images came.


George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Gordon Mitchell in  NATO PER UCCIDERE, aka BORN TO KILL.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Gordon Mitchell in MACISTE NELLA TERRA DEI CICLOPI, aka ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came? 


No one identified the above image. I thought I knew the answer, but I checked and I don't. Obviously it shows Ciccio Ingrazzi, Pietro Torrisi and Franco Franchi, but I don't know in what.


George Grimes identified last week's photo of Cynthia Rothrock in MILLIONAIRE'S EXPRESS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

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

Enjoyed:

BLOOD FATHER (2016) - This may be a French film, but it feels like an authentic American thriller, except Americans don't seem to make straightforward action films like this anymore. 

Castle pilot episode (2009)

FUNNY PEOPLE (2009) - Okay, I'll agree with those who feel this movie is too long, but it is almost epic in its content. It is still a joy to watch Leslie Mann and her daughters are adorable.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS (2014) - To call this film "slight" makes it sound heavier than it is. Reportedly director Joe Swanberg completely improvises his movies from a outline, but when you have Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham in your cast then you might luck out with something charming and sexy.

Mildly enjoyed:

THE BEAT DON'T STOP (2020) - A TV One documentary about Black Go-Go music in Washington D.C.

DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993) - Sort-of AMERICAN GRAFFITTI 1976, which was only two years after my senior year of high school, and I was actually tooling around Austin, TX in the summer of 1976, but the stuff in this movie was like another planet from the one I experienced. While GRAFFITTI, which I saw when I was in high school, rang true to me, this film didn't and it has even less of a plot than the George Lucas film. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the film is how many cast members went on to successful careers: Jason London, Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey and Renee Zellweger (but I didn't see her).

HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR (2020)

JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY (1959)

KAIDAN SEMUSHI OTOKO, aka HOUSE OF TERRORS, aka GHOST OF THE HUNCHBACK, aka SATAN'S PIT, aka IL POZZO DI SATANA (1965) - Japanese Horror films done in the Western style are even more odd than the Japanese Horror films done in the Asian style. The production design and costuming may look European or American and the religious iconography is Christian, but the sensibility is something else. The copy found on YouTube made for an even more unusual experience as it originated off Italian video, so it is dubbed into Italian, but it has English subtitles. Whether the dubbing accurately translates what was there in Japanese, and whether the subtitles accurately translates what the Italian dubbers came up with, I don't know. But it is not unusual for characters in a Japanese Horror film to act completely irrationally and fail to do the bare minimum to survive. As in a Western Horror film, the widow goes to check out the villa she inherited even though it is called "Satan's Pit" and living there supposedly drove her husband insane. While the plotting is kind-of stupid, the film does have an enjoyably creepy atmosphere. Director Hajime Sato frequently flirts with sexual perversion, though nothing gets explicit. Veteran actor Ko Nishimura sometimes used the name Akira Nishimura which he used here and in THE LIVING SKELETON three years later.

MONDO HOLLYWOOD (2005) - Filmed between 1965 and 1967, this movie is a really enjoyable portrait of the city before the Tate Murder ruined the scene. You can also see Hollywood Memorial Park before they sold the grassy area on Santa Monica Blvd. to commercial construction.There is footage of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in its original form, before they expanded and ruined it. You can also catch a glimpse of Wallich's Music City. For every peace demonstration, the film shows an Anti-Communist group, some calling for the War to skip Vietnam and head straight into China. And you can see Jay Sebring before his infamous death. Princess Margaret visits Universal Studios and we see behind the scenes of TORN CURTAIN and BEAU GUESTE.  And I enjoyed the Riptides performance of "Last Wave of the Day", co-written by Mike Curb and filmmaker Robert Carl Cohen. It is hard to remember Mike Curb's contribution to rock 'n' roll before becoming a Republican politician. Did Theodore Charach get any money from Dan Curtis Productions when his "Nightstalker" persona became a TV Vampire movie, or did the fact that they put a space between Night and Stalker make all the difference? However much I enjoyed the film, it got rather tedious and I amused myself by mentally re-editing it to about a 90 minute running time.

SEMPER FI One Marine's Journey (2007) - Jeff Key was an homosexual who decided to join the Marine Corp. at the age of 34. After 9/11, he was sent to Iraq and served until an injury required that he be sent to Germany for
surgery. Eventually he wrote a one man play called THE EYES OF BABYLON in which he talked about his experiences and his decision to declare his sexuality. 

SHOT CALLER (2017) - This film was recommended to me, by someone who would know, that this was one of the most realistic depictions of prison life in California. The fellow also recommended FELON, which was also directed by former stuntman Ric Roman Waugh. This film boasts a great case including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lake Bell, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Donovan and Benjamin Bratt.

THELONIOUS MONK: STRAIGHT, NO CHASER (1988)

TMNT (2007) - 14 years after the Golden Harvest co-produced trilogy, Warner Bros. and the Weinstein Company released this CGI animated flick which did a good job of reproducing the humor and charm of the earlier efforts. Chris Evans took a break from the Fantastic Four movies to voice Casey Jones in this film. Four years later he would become CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Almost four years after ending her run as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar voiced the role of April O'Neill. Mako voiced his last performance in this, though Greg Baldwin ending up completing the role. Kevin Smith, Zhang Ziyi and Laurence Fishburne are also heard on the soundtrack. The plot is a bit reminiscent of GHOSTBUSTERS with an ending that seems to pre-figure Marvel's THE AVENGERS.

Did not enjoy:

THE BOUNTY MAN (1972) - This is kind-of an unofficial remake of THE NAKED SPUR with bounty hunter Clint Walker trying to bring in outlaw John Ericson and Ericson's girlfriend, Margot Kidder, trying to dissuade him. This time, rather than teaming up with a rival bounty hunter, our hero faces an ambush of rival bounty hunters led by Richard Basehart. The endings are similar with Walker giving up Ericson's body - not to a river but to the rival bounty hunters - in exchange for the affection of the woman. I don't think Kidder's hair fall wig is period correct. Also in the cast are Gene Evans, Arthur Hunnicutt and Hal Needham. Bert Remsen was the casting supervisor on this ABC Production by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg which features music and lyrics by The Orphanage and was directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. 

Brothers & Sisters "Troubled Waters Part 1 & 2" (2009) - I never watched this show when it was on, but I found that I had a promo DVD and since this show featured so many actresses that I like I gave it a watch. 

Le coup du berger, aka Fool's Mate (1956) - This 28 minute short has the same plot as the episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat". Jacques Rivette directed and co-wrote with Claude Chabrol. In a party scene, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut can be seen as guests. Reportedly, this story has existed as gossip since 1939. Roald Dahl penned the "Mrs. Bixby" short story in 1959.
Virginie Vitry was a good looking woman.

GRIBICHI (1926) - I understand that this film is of historic significance, but it is a drag to sit through.

HOTEL MONTEREY (1973/1989) - The only thing I find "experimental" about this film by Chantal Ackerman is how she could sell something that looks like an home movies. Except most home movies would put a record on to serve as a soundtrack.

SHOWDOWN, aka THE IRON COLLAR (1963) - Audie Murphy and Charles Drake ride into Adonde and find that that the town doesn't have a jail, so drunk Strother Martin is chained with an iron collar around his neck to a wooden post in the middle of the street. After getting their pay vouchers cashed by Dabbs Greer at the Express Office, Drake and Murphy separate with Drake going to the poker tables hoping to turn half of his wages into some real money to send to his girl and Murphy to get a bath. Marshal John McKee is quite pleased to have captured outlaw Harold J. Stone and his men, including Skip Homeier, Charles Horvath and L.Q. Jones. He adds the outlaws to the iron collar post. Murphy later tries to rescue Drake from a drunken brawl in the saloon, which results in both of them being put in iron collars, too. In the night, as the deputy sleeps, Stone orders everyone on the iron collar post to dig out the post, so that in the morning they make a break to it. Breaking into the Express office, Stone and his men rob the safe and getaway out the back door. As the Marshal and the other towns people flood the office with bullets, Martin is killed and our heroes decide they had better escape, too. Drake finds some bearer bonds in the open safe and takes them with him without Murphy's knowledge. Our heroes end up being captured by Stone's men, but Drake promises to cash the bonds for Stone, so they aren't killed right away. Drake is to go into town to cash the bonds while Stone holds Murphy as hostage. Drake gets caught trying to double-cross the outlaws and the iron collar is put back on his neck. Murphy figures out that Drake sent the money to his girl, Kathleen Crowley, and tries to save Drake's life by going to get the money from her. It turns out that Crowley doesn't think of herself as Drake's girl, so she isn't interested in helping him. Even after killing L.Q. Jones to save her, Murphy finds that Crowley would rather run away than help. Eventually, Murphy tries to give the money to Stone, but Homeier kills Drake. Everyone heads back to Adonde, where Murphy intends to turn in the money, Stone intends to stop him, and Crowley thinks she can start a new life with an honest man. Director R.G. Springsteen does nothing to make the script more palatable. What I find infuriating is when our unarmed hero doesn't strip the dead bad guys of their weapons. Murphy kills Jones with a dropped shotgun, but does he think to take Jone's gunbelt and pistol? No. Crowley gets the pistol, empties it at Murphy and throws it away. Does Murphy pick up the thrown away gun and reload it with the bullets on Jones' gunbelt? No. When Murphy finally picks up Homeier's pistol, does he also take Homeier's gunbelt with extra ammunition and Homeier's winchester? No. He just sticks the pistol in his pants. There are two good bits though: when being chased by a bad guy, Murphy lassoes a bush inorder to drag it; kicking up enough dust to prevent the pursuer from getting a clear shot. Also, after falling in water, Murphy finds that the water-logged pistol doesn't fire on the first attempt. I don't know if shaking the gun would be enough for the second attempt to work, but at least someone put a little thought into the scene. Reportedly, Murphy wasn't happy that producer Gordon Kay ordered the film to be made in black & white, but Murphy's movies were only earning a certain amount at the box office, and this way the production costs were curtailed. 

SUSUZ YAZ, aka DRY SUMMER (1964) - I understand that this Turkish film has historic significance, but it isn't an enjoyable watch.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014) - This has everything you hate in a movie directed by Michael Bay that was directed by Jonathan Liebesman - but co-produced by Michael Bay. I'm still unhappy that Paige Turco replaced Judith Hoag in the second feature film, so don't ask me what I think of Megan Fox as April O'Neil. This is more like a Transformers movie than the "heroes in a half shell" that we enjoyed in the past. And if Brian Tyler's "hero" music never lets up, it has no ability to heighten the "special" moments.

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Charles Gilbert watched:

THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES (1940) B&W. Dr. Mason  a physician specializing in sanative cryogenics, searches for pioneer in the field Dr. Kravaal (Boris Karloff) that went missing ten years prior near the Canadian border. He and his fiancee/nurse find him encased in ice in a cave well below the earth's surface near an abandoned laboratory. Revived, the mysterious doctor reveals in flashback his indictmment by local authorities accusing him of murdering a cancer patient with his radical technique. The four magistrates accompany the mad doctor to his bunker and get trapped in ice for the same ten years as he. As they all have thawed, the clash continues with the two new visitors until his experimentation down there finally gets him shot.

THE BLACK CASTLE (1952) B&W. In this Gothic swashbuckler English gentleman Sir Ronald Burton, aliased as Richard Beckett (Richard Greene) travels to Austria to visit patch-eyed Bavarian Count Bruno (Stephen McNalley) who lords over a dark castle, replete with dungeon and alligator moat.  Michael Pate, John Hoyt (has a surprisingly impressive physique), and Lon Chaney Jr. are in his employ; Boris Karloff the resident doctor. Blonde beauty Rita Corday the dutiful countess wife from the result of an arranged marriage falls in love with the handsome guest, incurring the ire of the count, who is, as it turns out, responsible for the previous deaths of Beckett's friends in Africa.  Begins with the same introductory score as GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN, and later includes cues from FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, and HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. 

THE SWISS CONSPIRACY (1976) David Janssen is hired by Swiss bank president Ray Milland to investigate blackmail on five clients including Senta Berger, John Ireland, and John Saxon. Elke Sommer is the girlfriend of Anton Diffring in this.

THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS (1979) Police Seargent Paul Silver (David Janssen) obliges Sister Benecia (Susannah York) in her suspicion that Father Thomas was pushed from the Golden Gate Bridge. Staying overnight with him she tames the sergeant's  aggressive pet kitty named Dirty Harry. Turns out to be a poignant love story eclipsing the police drama. Recommended.

A Moral Right (The Politics of Dirty Harry)
Dirty Harry. The Business End (Violence in Cinema)
Half hour documentaries from Jason Gibson that include interviews from John Milius, Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Reni Santoni, Tyne Daley, Evan C. Kim, David Ayer, and Shane Black.

A BULLET IS WAITING (1954) Jean Simmons with a short bob takes in two stranded men at odds with each other. Sheriff Stephan McNalley had taken Rory Calhoun prisoner when their plane crashes near the English lady's California coast sheep farm. Sorawling outdoor scenery courtesy of director John Farrow, but overdramatized with the Dimitri Tiomkin score. Watched on Brian's Drive-in Theater.

OUR MAN IN JAMAICA (1965) Ex Boston Braves first baseman Larry Pennell plays agent 001 who is dispatched to find missing agent 009 Larry Peacock in Jamaica. There he is succoured with his mission by Brad Harris and Robert Camardiel. But one of them turns out to be a double agent.

NO RETREAT  NO SURRENDER 2 (1987) Two wisecracking Americans (Loren Avedon and Max Thayer) in Viet Nam take on an army of communist insurgents led by a Soviet officer (Matthias Hues) ruling a makeshift base in the jungle with an alligator moat. They get some gymnastic assistance from sassy Cynthia Rothrock. Severely tongue-in-cheek.

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David Deal enjoyed:

BILL EVANS: TIME REMEMBERED (15) - Good documentary on the iconic jazz pianist/composer.

BABE (95)

TOO MANY WINNERS (47) - Michael Shayne (Hugh Beaumont) investigates a phony winning horse race ticket racket and the bodies start piling up.  Beaumont's final Shayne mystery at PRC is another complicated but breezy effort.  This time an impossibly thin Trudy Marshall plays Shayne's long-suffering secretary girlfriend.

GIANTS OF THESSALY (60)

DIABOLICALLY YOURS (68)

Mildly Enjoyed

FACE OF TERROR (62) - Doctor Fernando Rey tries an experimental cure on Lisa Gaye's horribly disfigured face, and then discovers she's an escaped mental patient.  Things go south when the cure proves to be short-lived.  Better than expected medical horror that Gaye carries easily.  Unusually, it is the doctor who is the victim this time.  This Spanish film is shot in English so we get to hear Gerard Tichy's real voice.

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Bertrand Van Wonterghem enjoyed:

Dorohedoro - season 1 episodes 9

Ssauja Gwisina  / Bring it on, ghost  - saison 1 – episode 1 & 2 (2016, Park Jun Hwa)

Staged – saison 1 – episode 1 (2020, Simon Evans)

The dressmaker (2015 Jocelyn Moorhouse)

Sonnim / The piper (2015, Kim Kwan-tae)

Mildly enjoyed:

Pod (2015, Mickey Keating)

Un mostro e mezzo (1964, Steno)

Space force – saison 1 – episode 4, 5, 6 & 7

State zero (short) ( 2016, Andrée Wallin)

The most beautiful day (short) (2015, Einar Kuusk)

Did not enjoy:

RZ-9 (2015, Iain Carson)

Sensoria (2015 , Christian Hallman)

Zombie massacre 2 : Reich of the dead (2015, Luca Boni & Marco Ristori) ** only enjoyed, the final apparition of Dan Van Husen**

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