Friday, October 9, 2020

Week of October 10 - 16, 2020


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American star of Italian Westerns was part owner of a bar that catered to Americans in Rome?
That was Walter Barnes.

Which American star of Italian Westerns became an acting coach in Los Angeles in the late 1970s?
No one has answered this one yet.

Which Spanish actor, who made Westerns, retired to become a painter?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American actor who made Italian Westerns remembers getting along with Klaus Kinski both on and off the set?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Italian actress who made an Italian Western found Klaus Kinski very easy and charming with which to work?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American actress who made an Italian Western was reported by Klaus Kinski to be the object of lust from Marlon Brando?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Spanish actor who made Westerns also appeared in a Pierce Brosnan James Bond movie? 
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Simon Andreu in DIE ANOTHER DAY.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian actress who worked with Terence Hill also appeared in a Daniel Craig James Bond movie?
Which American director of a Western made in Spain used to be a film editor at Universal Pictures?
Which Mexican actress appeared in an Italian Epic film alongside an actor born in Spain to a Puerto Rican father? 

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Anthony Steffen in ¿Quién grita venganza?, aka I MORTI NON SI CONTANO, aka DEAD MEN DON'T COUNT.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one has identified the above photo yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one has identified the above photo yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Ti Lung in VENGEANCE.
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:


MINE VAGANTI, aka LOOSE CANNONS (2010) - I'll watch anything by Italian filmmakers, but a movie about a gay man coming out to his family sounded like a bit of a chore. I couldn't have been more wrong. Directed by Turkish born Ferzan Ozpetek, this warm and humorous comedy grabbed me from the beginning and held me until the sweet ending. Riccardo Scamarcio stars as a young man, whose family owns a pasta factory in Lecce, planning to come out to his father at a family gathering. He figures that telling everyone that he's gay will ensure that his father will kick him out the house, and he can happily go back to his boyfriend in Rome and begin his life as a writer. He tells his older brother, Alessandro Preziosi, who has been running the factory, of his plan. At dinner, when Scamarcio is about to make his announcement, Preziosi interupts to announce that he is gay. Predictably, the father, Ennio Fantastichini, orders Preziosi out of his house, and preferably, out of town. As Scamarcio wonders what to do, Fantastichini has a heart attack. In the hospital, Fantastichini begs Scamarcio to take over running the factory, alongside the daughter of a business partner, Nicole Grimaudo. The film actually starts with the lovely Carolina Crescentini in a bridal gown rushing to a farm house. We later learn that she grows up to be Scarmarcio's grandmother and is played by Ilaria Occhini of DAMON AND PYTHIAS and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS. She won the David di Donatello Award for Best Supporting Actress for this performance. As the mystery of what happened to the grandmother in her youth is slowly revealed, Occhini councils our hero on deciding what is important in his life. Meanwhile, he bonds with the beautiful Grimaudo who is more interested in the running of the factory than he is.

Mildly enjoyed:


DESPERATE TRAILS (1939) - This, the first of 28 films starring Johnny Mack Brown for Universal, is more comedy than action. Thankfully, Fuzzy Knight is not delivering most of the comedy. That comes from corrupt sheriff Russell Simpson and crooked banker Clarence Wilson. Desperate to hide the phony $5,000.00 loan he took out for the Lantry Ranch, Wilson agrees to Simpson's plot to rustle the Lantry livestock, rob every stagecoach and even arrange a fatal accident for Frances Robinson, the owner of the Lantry Ranch. Wilson whines about each new crime Simpson plans and reacts with a big surprise when John Mack Brown shows up and thwarts every effort. It turns out that Marshal Ed Cassidy is certain something shady is going on and brings in Brown to work undercover to figure it out. Luckily, Brown meets Bob Baker, who not only helps uncover the villains, he also sings "Ridin' Home", which sort-of became the theme music for the Universal Brown Westerns. Like many Westerns, this starts with a stagecoach robbery. Brown thwarts the second stagecoach robbery in the movie by stealing the money before the robbers reach the stage. When the robbers ride after our hero with guns blazing, Brown shoots each of them off their horses with a winchester at a gallop. Seeing Brown cocking the winchester with one hand on a fast moving horse is rather spectacular. We are left with the impression that those three guys are dead, and they are the last characters to die in the movie. At least twice, Brown rewards men who are trying to kill him with a dunk in the water trough. After many film roles without credit, Anita Camargo gets a credit as a "Spitfire with castanets". Much of this movie takes place in the town of Denton, so fans of 1981's SHOCK TREATMENT may have to control themselves from singing "Denton U.S.A."

Le Roi des Aulnes, aka The Erl King (1929) - Stretching Goethe's 1782 ballad into a 40 minute movie seems a bit much to today's viewer, but one can't help but wonder how audiences in the 1920s responded to this double exposure spectacular. Director Marie-Louise Iribe, in collaboration with Jean Margueritte, visualize the ballad, which was made into a song by Schubert, with techniques already pioneered by Georges Melies. But Melies didn't surround his camera tricks with the kind of atmospheric photography Robert Batton gives this film. Story elements are added, such as a fairy trying to thwart the Erl King's effort to take the spirit of a dying boy, but, for the most part the plot is the same. By stretching the tale, the filmmakers make the villain rather impotent - he has to work so hard to take the boy's life. But take it he does which leads the filmmakers to end the movie with some beautiful photography inside a church as the father lays his boy down. I saw this as part of Turner Classic Movies celebration of movies directed by women. The print shown shows obvious signs of neglect, but still has an impressive look. The original music score by Max d'Ollone is terrific.

GOOD MORNING, KILLER (2011) - If you're looking for a bed scene between Catherine Bell and Cole Hauser in which they keep their clothes on, this may be for you. An original TNT movie, this was obviously shot in Canada even though it is set in L.A. Aside from the credit for "Canadian Casting", the evidence is in how many cast members from Da Vinci's Inquest are here: Suleka Mathew, Don Thompson, Adrian Holmes, Serge Houde, Wanda Cannon, Sean Amsing and Eugene Lipinski. Titus Welliver and William Devane are among the non-Canadians in the cast. This movie is the only screen adaptation of April Smith's series of novels about FBI Special Agent Ana Grey, and she is credited with doing the teleplay. It's a straight-forward procedural involving a kidnapping that turns into a serial rapist case. As this show introduces so many characters and relationships not necessary for the plot, it seems to have been intended to be a TV pilot. No series was made, but this stand-alone is entertaining on its own having been competently directed by Maggie Greenwald.

NO PLACE LIKE HOMICIDE, aka WHAT A CARVE UP! (1961) - Loosely based on the novel THE GHOUL by Frank King, this CAT AND THE CANARY style comedy is distinctly unfunny and dull. Producers Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman had a few good films to their credit before this - THE TROLLENBERG TERROR and BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE. Did they really think this was funny? You can't fault them as far as assembling a cast: Sidney James, Kenneth Connor, Shirley Eaton, Dennis Price, Donald Pleasence, Michael Gough, Michael Gwynn, Esma Cannon and George Woodbridge had all proven themselves capable in other films, particularly for Hammer, but they can't liven up this effort. The cameo by Adam Faith isn't going to mean anything to audiences anymore. Whatever it's merits, this movie inspired Jonathan Coe to write the respected novel WHAT A CARVE UP! in 1994. How can this film be considered a remake of 1933's THE GHOUL starring Boris Karloff?

WILD CARD (2015) - This second attempt to make a movie of William Goldman's novel HEAT (The first was 1986's HEAT with Burt Reynolds.), boasts Jason Statham and action choreography by Corey Yuen. Director Simon West seems unable to play the film straight and throws in alot of editing gimmicks but doesn't screw up the storytelling too much. If you've ever wanted to see Milo Ventimiglia play a villainous Mafia creep, this is the movie for you. An impressive support cast has been assembled, but not given much to do: Anne Heche, Sofia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Hope Davis and Stanley Tucci.

Uncnsrd "Debbie Allen" (2020)

Did not enjoy:

AMBUSH TRAIL (1946) - Bob Steele has got to be the shortest Western hero before Alan Ladd. This film starts with Steele and his helper driving two wagons towards town. A gang of bad guys come riding up on them with guns blazing. (It seems rather pointless for them to begin shooting so far away from the wagons when they could have just quietly ridden up alongside and shot the drivers at close range - but Harry L. Fraser is the director, not me.) The helper is killed, Steele is conked on the head and the bad guys take off with the wagons. Fortunately, the bad guys leave Steele's horse behind. Back on the road, Steele finds a pistol in the dirt and another horse in the brush. It turns out that the pistol and the horse belong to the missing sheriff, who went off to buy supplies for the local ranchers, who are being starved out by I. Standord Jolley, who is trying to buy out every land owner around. Steele calls for a meeting of the ranchers and shows that he has the money to pay for another wagon load of supplies. When the bad guys waylay that wagon, Steele knows that there is a traitor among the land owners.Getting his henchmen to swear out a warrant accusing Steele of the murder of the sheriff, Jolley sends for a Marshal, who puts our hero in jail. The missing sheriff's brother, Kermit Maynard, lets Steele out of jail, and, eventually our hero finds that the sheriff wasn't killed. He's been hiding until his wound heals. He swears in Steele as the new sheriff, and our hero arrests all of the bad guys. Only one person in this movie gets killed, and none of the bad guys. I didn't relate about half of the story elements of this film which packs alot into 60 minutes without anything really original. Syd Saylor is the annoying side kick and Lorraine Miller is the woman in love with Kermit Maynard. Steele's horse looks like he's had his main bleached blond.  

CUANDO LOS HIJOS PECAN, aka WHEN CHILDREN SIN, aka CABARET WOMAN (1952) - Widower Carlos Orellana has two daughters. Meche Barba is a cabaret star with many men interested in her. Unfortunately, a gangster is one of them who is trying to pressure her into coming away with him. She agrees, but brings the cops with her so the gangster is arrested. Silvia Pinal is Orellana's other daughter who suffers with a limp. Pinal is in love with Jaime Fernandez, but he is among Barba's suitors. Fernandez finally realizes that Pinal is a better woman just as she goes into surgery to repair her leg. The gangster gets out and again tries to put Barba under his thumb. Singer Fernando Fernandez (who, in reality, was Jaime Fernandez's half-brother) comes to Barba's rescue. At Pinal and Jaime Fernandez's wedding, Fernando Fernandez' love is accepted by Barba. Meche Barba was born in New York City, but became a star of the Mexican "Rumberas film". This film gives her many opportunities to perform the dances which made her famous. It also gives Fernando Fernandez and Maria Victoria many opportunities to show why they were popular singers. Silvia Pinal's husband at the time, Rafael Banquells, also appears in this film. Joselito Rodriquez directed.

FALLEN ANGEL (1945) - Not having enough money to continue to ride to San Francisco, drifter Dana Andrews ends up in Walton, California. Soon he meets waitress Linda Darnell, who is the object of lust for most of the men in town. Andrews promises to marry Darnell as soon as he gets some money, and convinces heiress Alice Faye to marry him. Shortly there after, Darnell turns up dead. Now this doesn't happen until about a hour into the film, which means the plot doesn't really go anywhere until the movie is almost over - though John Carradine is entertaining as a stage mentalist. Former NYPD detective Charles Bickford is asked by the local police to be an consulting investigator, which Bickford happily accepts so that the can beat up Bruce Cabot. Eventually, Andrews figures out that Bickford murdered Darnell because she had accepted Cabot's proposal of marriage and was tired of waiting for Bickford to get a divorce. In the end, Andrews realizes that Faye is a good woman and seems to settle in to being a good husband. Reportedly studio head Darryl F. Zanuck deliberately sabotaged Faye's performance, but ordering a re-edit, in this film in order to push Darnell as the new star of 20th Century Fox. In any case, the film is an uninvolving and dull effort by director Otto Preminger. Faye broke her contract at Fox and didn't make another movie until 1962.

FALLING FOR GRACE (2006) - Originally entitled EAST BROADWAY, this screenplay by Fay Ann Lee was a quarterfinalist for the 2003 Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Paramount Pictures sponsored the Chesterfield Writer's Film Project and this script was a semi-finalist. It was also a finalist at the Asian American International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. At some point Karen Rousso came aboard to help on the screenplay, and the film was to be the directorial debut of actor BD Wong. Studios expressed some interest in the script, but wanted to change the heroine's ethnicity because they didn't think American audiences would pay to see an Asian American in the lead. It took Lee four years to raise the money to make the film, production began, but then Wong left. Lee ended up not only co-producting, co-writing and starring, but also directing. When the film was finished, it premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, but was not picked up for wide distribution because of the perception that audiences didn't want to see an Asian American woman in a romantic comedy. Lee finally distributed the movie herself. In 2011, it was picked up by Netflix. Getting this movie made was such an accomplishment, that I wish that I'd liked it more. It is a fairly standard romantic comedy without the chemistry to make it spark. Gale Harold plays the male lead. The supporting cast includes BD Wong, Christine Baranski, Lewis Black, Laura Benanti, Margaret Cho, Ken Leung, Roger Rees and the Food Network's Bobby Flay.

LA INSACIABLE, aka THE INSATIABLE (1947) - Cuban rumbera Maria Antonieta Pons stars in this film about a stage performer who neglects her husband, renowned doctor Rafael Baledon, while dangling an army of male admirers. Gustavo Rojo plays the male singer and master of ceremonies at the night club in which she performs. When one of Pons' jealous suitors shoots Rojo, Baledon agrees to operate. Eventually the married couple reconcile. Pons, Rojo and Kiko Mendive get plenty of screen time to show their musical talents. Juan Jose Ortega directed.

SONORA Y SUS OJOS NEGROS, aka SONORA AND HER BLACK EYES (1999) - Hugo Stiglitz has had an impressive career as an actor, starting in 1969. He's worked in American, Spanish and Italian films as well as Mexican. Since 1987, he's directed 9 movies, this being the sixth. It is a terribly low-budget effort in which the production couldn't even afford visual gunshots - just the sound effects. So it is just as well that after chasing Lourdes Munguia all over the country, Hugo Stiglitz decides to let her go in the end. After her car broke down on the highway, Munguia had to continue her getaway on a bus. She sits next to sometime boxer Jorge Reynoso. After he saves her from a bus hijacking, Reynoso and Munguia fall in love, so that when Stiglitz finally catches up with them, the villain lets them go. I don't know the circumstances under which Stiglitz directed this effort, but his results are poor.

TRIANGULO, aka TRIANGLE (1971) - At first this seems like a commercial for the Canon Auto Zoom 814 8mm camera, but then it tips over into Science Fiction when this camera supposedly will give you film with sync sound! (Hell, even this feature film has post-sync sound.) And what about that brain projection thingy when the stepdaughter remembers seducing her mother's 2nd husband? Ana Luisa Pelufo mourns the death of her second husband, Claudio Brook, whom she has confessed to accidentally shooting with a shotgun. The police aren't convinced, and suspect she may be covering up for her daughter, Norma Lazareno, from her first marriage. Lazareno has been receiving care from mental health professionals since her father died in a brothel. Her brother, Gabriel Retes, is mentally disabled and loves the 8mm camera Brook gave him. Retes films everything, so, eventually, the killing is found on 8mm film. Because she hated that her mother remarried, Lazareno seduced her stepfather, and convinced him to run away with her. Retes set the camera down and filmed that he shot Brook. The camera is still rolling to show that Pelufo didn't come home until after the shooting. At the end, when Pelufo is again putting flowers on Brook's grave, Lazareno comes to her, apologizes, and calls her mother. According to the IMDb, Retes began seriously making Super 8mm films in the 1970s before becoming a feature film director with 1978's FLORES DE PAPEL, which starred Ana Luisa Pelufo and Claudio Brook and was considered shocking in its portrayal of urban violence. TRIANGLE seems like a Mexican version of one of Carroll Baker's Italian sexy mysteries. Ana Luisa Pelufo is reportedly well-known for introducing nudity into Mexican movies in the 1950s, but the copy of TRIANGLE I saw was off TV so if there was nudity it was missing from my copy. Starting in 1937, director Alejandro Galindo has an impressive filmography, though TRIANGLE is not included in a list of his most important films.

Women Make Film - 15. Point of View, 16. Close Ups, 17. Surrealism and Dreams


Charles Gilbert watched:

JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME (1955) Czech film from Karel Zeman features special effects equal to O'Brien or Harryhausen. Upon touring the Museum of Natural History in New York City four boys take a dugout along the East River through a cave (?) that proves to be a portal to a wondrous land inhabited by dinosaurs.

CAPTAIN APACHE (1971) Indian agent (Lee Van Cleef with a hairpiece) for the U. S. government has "a date with an April Morning". His investigation leads him through encounters with Stuart Whitman, Carol Baker, and Percy Herbert, eventuating in a train ride through rhe southwest boarded by President Grant. What does "April Morning" refer to?

PREHISTORIC WOMEN (1950) A bevy of attractive nubile cavewomen free themselves from their abusive tribal men only to search for other hunks to dominate themselves. But supremecy eventually changes hands again when the men offer protection for the gals and fend off a menacing flying reptile and a marauding giant via newly discovered fire.

YELLOWHAIR AND THE FORTRESS OF GOLD. (1984) Feisty half-breed named 'Yella' (Laurene Landon) with bleach-blonde poker-straight hair,  plays rough with bandits and Mexican military while searching  with the Pecos kid (Ben Roberson) for an Aztec golden temple where her parents have been enshrined by means of electroplating. The vats of molten gold are still in operation. She means to stay with the cloistered tribe until they gesture to enshrine her. With Aldo Sombrell.



David Deal enjoyed:

GENESIS II (73) - Scientist Alex Cord is put in hibernation for a few days and wakes up 150 years later after nuclear war has devastated the planet.  This Gene Rodenberry pilot for a would-be series is entertaining, ironically enough, as a time capsule of the state of the genre and television production values in the 1970s.  Mariette Hartley headlines the cast of supporters.  The concept was revived a year later as "Planet Earth" with John Saxon in the Cord role, but that again failed to spark a series.

EVIL OF DRACULA (74) - A new teacher at an all-girls school discovers an infestation of vampires, led by the principal.  The third in the vampire trilogy from Michio Yamamoto, this continues the Gothic atmosphere and startling imagery of the previous installments.  All three are highly recommended examples of Western sensibilities - sans Christian iconography - in Japanese supernatural cinema.


THE FULLER REPORT (67) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a complete review of this fun example of the subgenre.


Mildly enjoyed:



Bertrand Van Wonterghem enjoyed:

Ted Lasso – season 1 – episodes 9 & 10

DC’s legends of tomorrow – season 4 – episodes « Terms of service » (2018, April Mullen) & « Hey, world ! » (2018, Kevin Mock)

Chomyeon-e Saranghamnida / The secret life of my secretary – season 1 – episodes 4 to 6

13 ghosts (1960, William Castle)

Badland (2019, Justin Lee)

Preacher – season 4 – episodes 4 to 10

Intelligence – season 1 – episode 1

Bogeongyosa Aneunyeong / The school nurse files – season 1 – episodes 1 to 6 (2019, Kyoung-mi Lee)

Killing Hasselhoff (2017, Darrel Grant)

The terror : infamy – episode « a sparrow in a swallow’s nest » (2018, Josef Kubota Wladyka)

Mildly enjoyed:

The boys – season 2 – episodes 7 & 8

The sleepover (2019, Trish Sie)

Crash che botte ! strippo strappo stroppio(1972, Bitto Albertini)

Made in U.S.A. (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)

Did not enjoy:

Jackals (2016, Kevin Greuter)


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