Friday, July 24, 2020

Week of July 25 - 31, 2020

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

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"?
Tom Betts and George Grimes knew that it was from ANCHE NEL WEST C'ERA UNA VOLTA DIO, aka BETWEEN GOD THE DEVIL AND A WINCHESTER.

Which Italian Western, in its English language version, has the line, "God bless his soul. Aw the hell with him."
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American actor, who played Hercules, was awarded the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports 
Award on February 9, 1978?
No one has answered this question yet.

What John Ford directed movie featured a plot idea also used in A REASON TO LIVE A REASON TO DIE?
No one has answered this question yet.

Complete the lyric, "Stranger. Stranger. Who knows ____ ____? Stranger. Stranger. What is your name?"
Tom Betts and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was "your face", from VADO... L'AMMAZZO E TORNO, aka GO KILL AND COME BACK, aka ANY GUN CAN PLAY.

Can you name two Westerns directed by Marino Girolami in which a main character is a priest?

From the English language version of which Italian Western comes the line, "Faster. You can bet your last dollar on it."
Tom Betts and George Grimes knew that it was VADO... L'AMMAZZO E TORNO, aka GO KILL AND COME BACK, aka ANY GUN CAN PLAY.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Can you name two Italian Westerns in which Guy Madison played a priest?
In which Italian Western is Fernando Sancho's gang called "The Sidewinders"?
Which American who played Hercules was crowned Mr. Universe in 1950?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Tom Betts, George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Conrado San Martin in ALL' OMBRA DI UNA COLT, aka IN A COLT'S SHADOW.
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 Silvana Mangano in ULISSE, aka ULYSSES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came? 

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab from BABA YAGA.
Above is a new photo.
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 IRISHMAN, aka I HEARD YOU PAINT HOUSES (2019) - While hardly an exciting movie, this is a compelling look at history, though many have faulted it for historic errors.

Reconstruction America After the Civil War (2020) - An excellent two part PBS series.

David Bowie: Finding Fame (2019) - There are so many great clips and interview bits in this documentary that its shortcomings are all the more irritating. While the program carefully charts every recording that Bowie released - failure after failure until Space Oddity and then failure after failure until Ziggy Stardust - it has no clue as to why he suddenly became successful. The closest it comes to a clue is the idea that Bowie couldn't really shine until he created a character he could play, but there's no mention of the Glam Rock scene from which he sprang nor is there any mention of Marc Bolan and T-Rex who really primed an audience that could accept Ziggy Stardust. The program also features Bowie's version of the Jacques Brel song "La Mort" without mentioning that it had been popularized in English previously by Scott Walker in 1967. There is no mention of "Space Oddity" coming to most peoples attention by the BBC airing a music video of it after the live broadcast of the Apollo Moon Landing. But the program does have an interview with Hermione Farthingale which everyone who loves "Letter To Hermione" will feel justifies the entire program.

Mildly enjoyed:

THE DELINQUENTS (1957) - Kansas City resident Robert Altman was approached by the president of the Commonwealth Theaters chain to make a juvenile delinquent movie and so began the career of one of America's best film makers. Aside from local talent, Altman brought in three actors from Hollywood, Peter Miller, Richard Bakalyan and, making his film debut, Tom Laughlin. The story of the film was the usual irritating mix of misunderstanding parents and hot under the collar young men. Laughlin was the good kid who gets mixed up with bad kids after his girl's father forbids him to date his daughter anymore. When the gang kidnaps our hero's girl, this could be a prototype for Tom Laughlin's directoral debut THE BORN LOSERS. The distributor tacked on some opening and closing narration which is just dreadful. Overall, I didn't enjoy the movie, but it is of historic interest. By the way, the copy I saw on TCM is better than the copy on MGM-HD.

L'INFERNO (1911) - As the first feature length Italian movie, this is of historic interest, but it is a bore to sit through. The new score by Tangerine Dream doesn't help much.

THOROUGHBREDS (2017) - Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy are quite compelling in this unusual entry into the murderous teenage girls genre. 

Did not enjoy:

THE COOL AND THE CRAZY (1958) - Future director Richard C. Sarafian wrote this cautionary tale about high schoolers and marijuana. If they don't wise up they'll end up getting their addicted friends killed while trying to rob a store to get the money to buy more "M", they'll go crazy and knife their "pusher", and finally they'll burn alive in a car crash. William Witney directed Scott Marlowe to try and go beyond James Dean in portraying a tormented teenager. Richard Bakalyan is able to maintain some dignity with his performance. 

CONEY ISLAND (1943) - Betty Grable is most famous for the popularity of her pin-up photo during World War II, but she was also in the "Top Ten Money Making Stars" poll from 1942 to 1951. Still, the closest she came to making a movie that is considered a classic is one of the last she made: HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, which is more remembered for being a vehicle for Marilyn Monroe. CONEY ISLAND was one of her biggest hits and features George Montgomery lying and cheating against Cesar Romero for control of her career. Set the the "gay nineties" (that's 1890s), the film is filled with ethic jokes about drunken Irish and begins with a white boy in black face being the target in a carnival ball throwing concession. There are singing black waiters serving at a dinner theater, but no black people anywhere else in New York City. At one point, Grable performs "Miss Lulu from Louisville" in brown face and nappy wig surrounded by guys in black face with nappy wigs on a stage set resembling New Orleans. Phil Silvers wears wire rimmed glasses as Montgomery's crony and sings a song about the joys of having an harem while dressed as an Arab.

DOLL FACE (1945) - Burlesque queen Vivian Blaine tries out for Broadway producer Reed Hadley but is told that she isn't classy enough for his show. Blaine's manager and boyfriend, Dennis O'Keefe, figures that if Blaine writes an autobiography, that will give her the class for her to advance in her career. Towards that end, he contacts high brow author Michael Dunne (aka Stephen Dunne) to help her write the book, which he agrees to in the hope of courting the performer. Dunne takes Blaine on an outing on a power boat. The boat breaks down, and when O'Keefe leads a rescue team and finds them, he misreads the situation and breaks up with Blaine. She refuses O'Keefe's efforts to apologize, the book comes out and is a big hit, and Hadley seeks Blaine out to star in a show based on her book. On opening night, O'Keefe serves Blaine and Hadley with an injunction to prevent her from going on until he has a chance to talk with her. Blaine and O'Keefe make up, Blaine cons Hadley into making O'Keefe his partner, and the show goes on. Perry Como is the guy singer in the Burlesque show, and his song "Somebody's Walking In My Dream" is the perfect set-up for the sleepy persona that SCTV would spoof. More startling is the song "Dig You Later (A-Hubba Hubba Hubba)" with the lyric: 
"Well a hubba-hubba-hubba, I just got back!
Well a hubba-hubba-hubba, lets shoot some breeze!
Say, whatever happened to the Japanese?
Hmm a hubba-hubba-hubba, havent you heard?
A hubba-hubba-hubba, slip me the word!
I got it from a guy who was in the know
It was mighty smoky over Tokyo!
A friend of mine in a B-29 dropped another load for luck,
As he flew away, he was heard to say:
'A hubba-hubba-hubba yuk yuk!'"
As the war with Japan had not ended when this movie was made, this song probably didn't seem offensive, but "yukking" it up over bombing civilians is rather startling. Based on a 1943 play called THE NAKED GENIUS by Gypsy Rose Lee under her real name Louise Hovick, DOLL FACE was prevented from referring to anyone as a stripper by the Production Code Administration, but there are many young women parading around seductively. Carmen Miranda plays Blaine's best friend, Chita Chula, who is told she could be the next Carmen Miranda. "Carmen Miranda? You mean that 'chicca chicca baaa, chicca chicca baaa'? What does she got that I haven't got?" Later she sings "Chico Chico from Puerto Rico", which is a change from her usual Brazilian bombshell persona. In this portrait of New York City showbiz, there is not a single black person to be seen, but there are some white guys browned up as latinos. Lex Barker has an uncredited role as a sailor working as part of the rescue team.

GOODBYE MR. CHIPS (1939) - I saw the 1969 musical version first, so I knew all of the story points before this started, and also felt that both versions were too long to hold interest. Greer Garson is charming and it is a nice surprise to see John Mills here, but this made me want to rewatch ...if.

THE JAILBREAKERS (1960) - Robert Hutton thinks his father has been released from prison, so he agrees to pick him up in his car. The father is surprised to find that Hutton brought along his wife, Mary Castle. Hutton is surprised to find that his father has two friends with him. The father gets Hutton to drive to a ghost town. Eventually it is revealed that the father and his cronies escaped from prison and are lying in wait for a man who is supposed to come to the ghost town inorder to dig up some loot he hid there. Along the way, one of the cronies kidnaps Toby Hill, afraid that she'll identify him. If this was the caliber of films he was being offered in the U.S., it was a good idea for Hutton to begin working in England.


Charles Gilbert watched:

THE SWORD OF LANCELOT (1963) Tour-de-force for Cornel Wilde who produced, directed, co-wrote, and stars with his wife Jean Wallace. On top of that he speaks with a French accent. Intense assignation when he steals to her castle boudoir, and the pair are discovered. Pageantry without the pretense.

ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO (1982) Black belt karate flick with Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and Richard Roundtree. Very little fisticuffs as Kelly is sidelined early.

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1956) B&W. Television production on Matinee Theater I remember seeing over 50 years ago with Marshal Thompson  Tom Tryon, and Eduardo Ciannelli. Directed by Boris Sagal who died tragically in a helicopter mishap. The Roger Corman movie version with Vincent Priice was back then just HOUSE OF USHER.

BOUNTY KILLER FOR TRINITY (1968) Jeff Cameron as the title character is summoned to a ruthless gang-oppressed town called Trinity. They're pumping the citizens for the location of a gold stache. He's the target of ambush before he arrives but overtakes them one by one. Included in his arsenal is a newfangled device called a crossbow from which he launches sticks of lit dynamite. In the end he no sooner gets paid for his services by Attilio Dotessio and the town council before he's offered another job of extermination, and he's off on another assignment. Fine.

Highway Patrol television series:
     S02E29 'Convict's Wife'. An escaped convict forces his estranged wife to help him on the lam. Stuart Whitman plays a patrolman.
     S04E31 'Dan Hostage'. An inexperienced gunman holds up a diner and takes s woman hostage. Mathews (Broderick Crawford) offers to take her place.
     S04E03 'Temptation'. Charles Maxwell plays a construction foreman who steals $12K from his boss and attempts to pin the theft on contractor Brett Halsey.


David Deal enjoyed:

MURDER OBSESSION (81) - Riccardo Freda's finale is a Gothic giallo that is not without interest.  Sometimes sloppy and obvious, sometimes sensitive and artistic, it is nonetheless a fitting coda for an artist at odds with his talent.  I recommend Roberto Curti's biography from McFarland.

SECRET OF THE TELEGIAN (62) - Thanks to Bill Connolly, I finally have this classic Japanese sci-fi murder mystery on disc!

LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (45) - Cornel Wilde comes under the spell of the beautiful and scheming Gene Tierney and it doesn't end well.  This classic color film noir still holds its power.

TARGET: HARRY (69) - Pilot Vic Morrow drops his passenger in Istanbul where the man meets his immediate fate.  Soon gangster Victor Buono, cop Cesar Romero, and femme fatale Suzanne Pleshette are all after Vic thinking he has the plates the passenger used to counterfeit money.  Fun little crime story from Roger Corman that gives Morrow the room to own the show.

KILL THEM ALL AND COME BACK ALONE (68) - Chuck Connors and his boys are out to rob a million in gold from the Union army.  Castellari's spaghetti has a well-worn plot but moves fast and is highly entertaining.


Bertrand Van Wonterghem enjoyed:

Ssauja Gwisina  / Bring it on, ghost  - season 1 – episode 9 (2016, Park Jun Hwa)

Kaijû sôshingeki / Destroy all monsters (1968, Inoshiro Honda)

Duel at Diablo (1965, Ralph Nelson)

Shen tan pu song lin / The knight of shadows : between yin and yang (2019, Jia Yan)

The invaders episode The ivy curtain (1967, Joseph Sargent)

The phynx (1969, Lee H. Katzin)

Mildly enjoyed:

The king of New York (1989, Abel Ferrara)

Birth of the dragon (2016, George Nolfi)

Did not enjoy

Arrête de ramer t’attaques la falaise !  (1979, Michel Caputo)


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