Friday, October 30, 2020

Week of October 31 - November 6, 2020


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor who made Italian Westerns remembers getting along with Klaus Kinski both on and off the set?
It was Richard Harrison who has fond memories of sitting at a kitchen table when Nastassja was small enough to crawl under his chair.

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 American director of a Western made in Spain used to be a film editor at Universal Pictures?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Paul Landres.

Which Mexican actress appeared in an Italian Epic film alongside an actor born in Spain to a Puerto Rican father?
No one has answered this one yet.

Charles Gilbert asks, "Which actor born on October 13, 1929 and who played in the NFL, can be seen along side Dan Vadis, Gordon Scott, and Mark Forest in Italian cinema?"
Tom Betts, Bertrand Van Wonterghem and George Grimes knew that it was Harold Bradley.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Can you name five Italian/Spanish Westerns that Albert Band worked on as a writer?
What was the title of the pilot episode Albert Band made for an Hercules TV series?
Which actor who appeared in Spanish Westerns, was born to Spanish parents on an ocean liner while on the way to Uruguay?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Rick Garibaldi identified last week's photo of Richard Harrison in GRINGO, aka DUELLO NEL TEXAS, aka GUNFIGHT AT RED SANDS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand Van Wonterghem and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Antonio Molino Rojo and Loredana Nusciak in I SETTE GLADIATORI, aka GLADIATORS SEVEN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Jackie Chan and Angela Mao in HAPKIDO, aka LADY KUNG FU.
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:


SAGE FEMME, aka THE MIDWIFE (2017) - Catherine Frot is a 49 year old single mother working as a midwife facing the closure of the clinic where she works. The profession is being phased out due to modern technology in large hospitals which she sees a baby factories. She's confident in her son becoming a surgeon, but he's considering not finishing medical school and needs to make money as his girlfriend is pregnant. Suddenly, an older friend, Catherine Deneuve, turns up wanting to reconnect. Frot hasn't seen Deneuve in 30 years, not since Deneuve left Frot's father. Deneuve doesn't know that the father subsequently committed suicide. Deneuve is desperate to reconnect with Frot partly because their long ago friendship meant so much to her, and because she can't think of anyone else to turn to now that a tumor has been found in her brain. Writer/director Martin Provost deals with this potentially melodramatic material in a straightforward and sensitive manner which never seems unnatural and is frequently emotionally moving in a tender manner. The two stars have never worked together before and they prove to be marvelous, as is Olivier Gourmet as the man Frot meets while tending her little garden in the country. The magnificent Mylene Demongeot has a small part playing an associate of Deneuve's. All of the births seen in this film are real for which Frot trained for months to be able to deliver. Those scenes had to be shot in Belgium as French law prohibits filming with babies younger than 3 months. Serge Reggiani fans will appreciate the love Deneuve expresses for the man's records.

Mildly enjoyed:

 THE BIG SLEEP (1978) - I don't know if this version is more faithful to the novel than the 1946 version, but it is remarkably less fun. Changing the locale from Los Angeles to London kind of ruins the milieu of the story, but it does result in an impressive British cast: Sarah Miles, Joan Collins, Edward Fox, John Mills, Oliver Reed, Harry Andrews, Colin Blakely, Richard Todd, Diana Quick and James Donald. Candy Clark shows that you can appear completely naked in a movie and not be sexy. Unfortunately, the other American actors just seem old: Robert Mitchum, Richard Boone and James Stewart. Director Michael Winner is credited with writing the screenplay, but his direction is crude getting some poor performances from proven capable actors.

HOW HIGH (2001) - Four years before he became a regular on Bones, T.J. Thyne is just about unrecognizable in this "black marijuana growers go to Harvard" comedy. Mixing the cremated remains of Chuck Davis - aka Chuck Deezy - with his new buds, Method Man creates a new smoke which results in Chuck's ghost appearing. Since he's in the afterlife, Chuck's got all of the answers to any test Method Man and Redman can take, so they score the highest grades ever on college entrance exams. Harvard President Fred Willard promises great looking women, so they decide to go Ivy League. What follows is kind of a stoned ANIMAL HOUSE without the celebration of frat life. The director of this is Jesse Dylan, one of Bob Dylan's sons, who went on to direct AMERICAN PIE: AMERICAN WEDDING. I think the note at the end "There were no plants harmed during the making of this film" is a lie. For the most part, this is good natured fun with alot of bad language.

I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (1945) - For the most part the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger embrace a form of melodrama that I don't like. The location work, captured by cinematographer Erwin Hillier, is so lovely, and the heavy dose of Scotsophilia in this film keeps it fun even as the predictable story of a woman unable to reach the island where she is to marry a rich man while in the company of a naval officer on leave plays out. Included in the splendid cast are Wendy Hiller, Pamela Brown, Finlay Currie, Catherine Lacey and young Petula Clark.

KILL OR CURE (1962) - Private detective Terry-Thomas is hired over the phone by an old woman to visit her in an health club. When the woman turns up dead, Inspector Lionel Jeffries shows up to investigate. A reward of two thousand pounds is being offered, so Thomas suddenly finds a reason to be happy to be sequestered. A whole bunch of fun British actors are employed here, but can't make this unfunny comedy work. Dennis Price is the doctor running the club, Moira Redmond is the dead woman's secretary

THE MEG (2018) - Based on 1997's MEG: A NOVEL OF DEEP TERROR by Steve Alten, this movie seems like a combination of THE ABYSS and JAWS.... or THE ABYSS and JAWS 3-D, and it's fun until the last half hour or so when it becomes wearisome - after it wanders into CRAZY RICH ASIANS in Sanya Bay. A sequel is in development.

Nicholas Le Floch "Le fantôme de la rue Royale, aka The Phantom of the Rue Royale" (2009) - Nicholas doesn't get clobbered this time. His friend M. de Noblecourt gets the clobbering instead. La Satin returns to put our hero in a good mood as he solves the murder of a woman who has just given birth and stops another effort to stir up the populace of Paris against the King. An Huron native of New France is also part of the mystery.

Nicholas Le Floch "L'affaire Nicolas Le Floch, aka The Nicolas Le Floch Affair" (2009) - Vimala Pons is particularly showcased in this episode where La Satin joins our hero who has become a secret agent sent to England to stop a publication meant to scandalize the King of France. 

Nicholas Le Floch "La larme de Varsovie, aka The Tear of Warsaw" (2010) - Camille De Pazzis replaces Vimala Pons as La Satin. Our hero takes on a Templar bent on vengeance on French Royalty. Not wanting to age the characters as they do in the novels, show creator Hugues Pagan wrote an original script for this installment. It is always satisfying that villains you want to see dead are dead by the end of the show.

Nicolas Le Floch "Le Dîner de Gueux, aka The Rogue's Banquet" (2011) - Our hero doesn't get clobbered over the head, and he only has sex with prostitutes. Considering that he murdered the woman said to be his sister, the much loved villain in this story deserved an harsher fate than to be sent to New France to plague the British.

Uncnsrd "Best of Black Girl Magic" (2020) - This is a compilation of clips from previous episodes including: Tisha Campbell, Mona Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Ne-Yo, Loraine Smith, Tamar Braxton, Evelyn Braxton, Lisaraye McCoy, Katie McCoy, LaLa Anthony, Carmen Surillo, Niecy Nash, Paula Patton, Nia Long, Talita Long, Tiffany Haddish, Tyra Banks, Lizzy Mathis, Jaimie Glasson, Margaret Ensley, Cedric the Entertainer, Kai Morae, Kym Whitley, Lynn Jeter, Le'Andria Johnson, Carla Martin, K Michelle, Angles Pate, Fantasia and Zion Barrino.

Did not enjoy:

BEGINNING OF THE END (1957) - Though not officially based on H.G.Wells' FOOD OF THE GODS, this is one of many films writer/director/producer/special effects guy Bert I. Gordon made seemingly inspired by that book. Peter Graves makes giant vegetables using radiation, locusts eat vegetables and giant locusts eat people. Graves figures out sound frequency to attract them into Lake Michigan and problem solved. The film starts well with couple in lover's lane freaking out over an unseen menace and news reporter Peggy Castle investigating the disappearance of a town and its entire population. Like all Gordon films, the special effects are poor, but have a certain charm.

Cobra (2020) - The first two episodes of this mini-series held such promise, but the show became unwatchable after that.

THE FINAL COMEDOWN (1972) - There's a special thanks in this film's opening credits which reads, "And JIMMY GARRETT From His Play WE OWN THE NIGHT This Film Was Born". I don't know what the play is like, but judging from the screenplay by director Oscar Williams it must be pretty preachy. With a production grant from the American Film Institute, this film was made by Oscar Williams and Associates and Billy Dee Williams Enterprises. Having already made a name for himself with BRIAN'S SONG, Billy Dee Williams must have felt it was time to do something "important", so he and first time producer/director Oscar Williams (no relation) decided to do this story of Black militants dying after beginning an armed revolt in Los Angeles. The film begins with a young boy who stops playing football with his friends when it appears that he witnesses two white police men raping a black woman. After the opening credits, we see Williams already wounded during an continuing gunfight with the cops. He's being cared for by some friends, and then most of the movie cuts back and forth from flashbacks to the present battle. While the film at times seems to be an audition reel for the Black Stuntmen's Association of Hollywood - which must have a few white guys as members or associates for all of the cops falling from rooftops, none of the action is particularly well presented. Reportedly, around 1976, Roger Corman got his hands on this movie, had Allan Arkush shoot some new footage, and released an alternative version under the title BLAST!, credited to director Frank Arthur Wilson. Oscar Williams went on to direct FIVE ON THE BLACK HAND SIDE (1973) from Charlie L. Russell's play, write BLACK BELT JONES and TRUCK TURNER (1974), write and direct HOT POTATO (1976), write SUDDEN DEATH (1977) for director Eddie Romero, and finally direct the PCP drama DEATH DRUG (1978) starring Philip Michael Thomas - six years before Thomas got Miami Vice. If you want to see Billy Dee Williams and Pamela Jones in a nude bed scene that goes on for about three minutes, this is the movie for you. Raymond St. Jacques and R.G. Armstrong get billed "With special guest appearances by..."

Flesh and Blood (2020) - The impressive cast in this mini-series can't make this dreadful script palatable.

THE GREEN-EYED BLONDE (1957) - Hiding behind the front of Sally Stubblefield, Dalton Trumbo wrote this teen girl reformatory melodrama. Linda Plowman, aka Melinda Casey, has had a baby and won't tell anyone who the father is. Her mother and her boyfriend are supposed to take care of the baby, but when suicidal inmate Norma Jean Nilsson finds the neglected baby in the back of a parked car during visiting day, the baby is taken in by the teen girls to prevent it from being given to an orphanage. Plowman comes to care for the baby just when staff member Sally Brophy discovers it. Brophy agrees to let the girls keep the child until after Christmas. But Beverly Long gets caught trying to bury the baby's dirty diaphers, so Susan Oliver, the green-eyed blonde of the title, takes off running with the baby. She is caught and the baby is taken away by a social worker. This inspires the inmates to riot. They tear up the facilities, rip off a warder's dress and climb over the fence. Nilsson gets caught on the barbed wire and screams as she bleeds. "None of this would have happened if you had just given them a little understanding, a little dignity, just a hint of love." This is the only film Martin Melcher produced that didn't star his wife Doris Day. Interestingly, the only inmate who gets an happy ending is Tommie Moore, the lone black girl in the facility who is released into the custody of her father, Roy Glenn. In the final scene, while the inmates unwrap the presents prepared for the now gone baby, Carla Merey changes the radio from Christmas music to hear a news bulletin that the escaped Oliver and her boyfriend were killed in a car crash after being chased by the police. As expected, all of the teen girls are good-looking, and many of them didn't go on to long careers. Unexpectedly, someone thought it was a good idea to begin and end the movie with a rocking little tune, which is uncredited, about "the green-eyed blonde" that colors the film as exploitation even more than the movie deserves. Director Bernard Girard gets some nice moments from his cast, but then he also gets them to give full blown melodramatic moments. 

HAUNTED GOLD (1932) - Did the filmmakers back in the early 1930s like the way it looked to alternate between action done at 18 fps and sound scenes done at 24 fps? When I was a kid, this technique was only used for comedic effect; to invoke humor in the style of the Keystone Kops. I'm certain that was not the intended effect here considering that much of the stunt work looked dangerous. Reportedly, some of the action was footage reused from the 1928 film THE PHANTOM CITY starring Ken Maynard, but that doesn't explain why there are many shots of John Wayne in fast motion. Aside from that, the most interesting element of this early John Wayne effort is that he had a Black man sidekick/comic relief. Blue Washington plays Clarence Washington Brown, who is called "Black boy", "smokie" and "darkie" with a "watermelon accent" by the bad guys and gives Stepin Fetchit competition in being a nervous nellie. The only positive actions he accomplishes as our hero's friend is to be set up as a patsy to carry $1,000.00 that our hero knows will be taken from him at gunpoint, and to show up twice to untie our captured hero. More helpful is our hero's horse, Duke, that pushes one bad guy off a cliff (possibly the only death to occur in the film), and, Lassie-like, rides off to bring back our hero's ranch hands to help. John Wayne, Sheila Terry and Harry Woods all show up in a deserted Western town after receiving cryptic letters. Harry Woods has the deed to half interest in the Sallyanne mine and has brought with him five thugs. John Wayne has the deed to the other half. Sheila Terry is the daughter of the man swindled by Woods to get his deed. Eventually it turns out that Terry's father, John T. Prince, is the Phantom behind the letters, who plots to get back the deed from Woods. This film was made in 1932 by Leon Schlesinger Productions, a year before he became responsible for Warner Bros. cartoons. Mack V. Wright is the credited director. Sheila Terry also appeared with John Wayne in THE LAWLESS FRONTIER. An unusual bit in HAUNTED GOLD is when Terry tries to meet Woods by pretending that she is on a runaway horse, hoping that he would save her. Unfortunately, Wayne is faster to the rescue, and she scolds him for it.

HIDDEN FEARS (1993) - After producing TIN STAR VOID, aka DEATH COLLECTOR in 1988, Jean Bodon got the wherewithall to direct his first feature based on a novel by Stuart Kaminsky - who had helped to write the screenplay to ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA (1984). I don't know if a better director could have made this material work, but Bodon certainly couldn't. Meg Foster's husband is beaten to death by a pair of redneck brothers outside of a country diner, and even years later she is paranoid that the killers will return to kill her. When the detective who was working on the case dies, he requests that his partner give the case file to the widow with the names of the suspected killers inside. Going on TV, the widow asks the public's help in finding the two, and speaks their names on the air. So, the brothers, Marc Macauley and Patrick Cherry, decide on returning to kill her. When a witness to the murder is found dead, Foster becomes convinced that the brothers are also killing witnesses. Eventually, Foster and her boyfriend Frederic Forrest, with the help of Wally Taylor, kill the brothers, but then discover that they had not been targeting the witnesses. It was her son, Scott Hayes, that has been attacking the witnesses, blaming them for not saving his father when he was being beaten. 

I, FRANKENSTEIN (2013) - The idea of turning Frankenstein's creature into a superhero is interesting, but why stick him into a war between gargoyles and demons that is reminiscent of UNDERWORLD? Oh, actor/writer Kevin Grevioux created both UNDERWORLD and I, FRANKENSTEIN. And then why have the forces of good be so stupid that they don't understand our hero's motivations sooner? No one ever mentions that the "soulless" creature is more of a force for good than the so-called allies of heaven. The lackluster box office result of this movie seems to have scuttled writer Stuart Beattie's directoral career. You know a movie was shot in Australia if Bruce Spence turns up, which he does. Miranda Otto appears as Queen of the gargoyles, but mostly is shown in human form. Yvonne Strahovski looks terrific, but also suffers from being written as a bit stupid. Aaron Eckhart is perhaps the best looking Frankenstein's monster who doesn't end up becoming ugly. Having Bill Nighy as the leader of the demons kind of underlines the UNDERWORLD connection.

J.C. (1972) - Co-writer/director William McGaha stars in this story of a weed smoking man of peace who quits his construction job after being hassled by a red neck foreman. After reading the newspaper on the toilet, McGaha has a religious vision of being crucified and then being tempted by two women with an apple. Hitting the road on his motorcycle with Pat Delany, McGaha soon picks up motorcycle riding followers along the way. To a soundtrack filled by songs like "Man Who Don't Know Where He's Going", "Walking Down To See My Jesus" and "Fault of Every Man" sung by "Bethany", they ride the backroads of Georgia with noticeable microphones dropping from the top of the frame for most of the dialogue scenes. "The giant eye in the sky" tells our hero that his followers have to "make a run" to spread love. Arriving in the small town in Alabama where our hero grew up to visit his sister Joanna Moore, the bikers are treated like a gang. Soon they are visited by sheriff Slim Pickens and his deputy Burr DeBenning. His sister's husband Mathew Garth tries to clobber a black member of the group, Hannibal Penney, with a lead pipe, and later Pickens and DeBenning catch the fellow smoking weed and proceed to torture him. Moore informs McGaha that Penney is about to be lynched, so our heroes spring into action. But our heroes don't have guns and the townspeople do. After De Benning shotguns Penney, McGaha looses it and strangles the deputy. After telling his followers to "get out of here", McGaha offers himself to the townspeople as a sacrifice. Judie Franzier is our hero's old girlfriend who screams "Why?" over his dead body. 

JOKER (2019) - If this is supposed to be a serious study of mental illness, why bring the Batman character into it? If this is supposed to be a new interpretation of the Batman character, then why radically change the character

MARA MARU (1952) - Gordon Douglas' efficient direction kept this Errol Flynn drama watchable, until the treasure turned out to be a diamond encrusted cross and suddenly the film became a morality tale with religious overtones. Philip Yordan was one of four writers credited on this. Fans of The Untouchables may find Paul Picerni playing a Filipino of interest.

MY SON, THE VAMPIRE, aka MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE, aka VAMPIRE OVER LONDON (1952) - Beginning in 1936, Arthur Lucan took his music hall drag act as Old Mother Riley into the movies. His wife, Kitty McShane, played his daughter in 15 movies until their divorce in 1951. In 1952, Bela Lugosi made the trip across the Atlantic to appear in what would be Lucan's last film MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE. Judging from VAMPIRE it is hard to believe that he was a popular comedian because this just isn't funny. Perhaps the fault lies with director John Gilling, who was new to the series and would later become well known for thrillers. In the U.S., VAMPIRE is the only known OLD MOTHER RILEY movie because it featured Lugosi, and he looks better here than he does in any of the films directed by Edward D. Wood Jr. The MY SON, THE VAMPIRE release was the 1963 American version that added a song by Allan Sherman, who had a hit album called My Son the Folksinger. Despite the title, the filmmakers had to emphasize that Lugosi was not a real vampire inorder to avoid getting a restrictive rating since kids were the main audience for Riley movies. A number of the British supporting players in this would go on to do good work in better films such as Dora Bryan of HANDS OF THE RIPPER, Richard Wattis of THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, Judith Furse of THE COCKLESHELL HEROES, Ian Wilson of HELP!, Hattie Jacques of the Carry On films, Dandy Nichols of THE BED SITTING ROOM, George Benson of HORROR OF DRACULA, Bill Shine of RICHARD III (1955), Charles Lloyd-Pack of THE REPTILE, Laurence Naismith of THE BEGGER'S OPERA, John Le Mesurier of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (1958) and Alexander Gauge who played Friar Tuck for 91 episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Philip Leaver had previously been in Alfred Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES.

REMEMBER ME (2010) - For the most part, this is a rather irritating story about a young woman, whose mother was murdered infront of her on a subway platform when she was a child, and a young man still furious at his father for the suicide of his older brother. It is irritating because the characters often get over emotional and act stupid. And then comes the surprise ending - just as things seem to be getting better. This surprise ending pushes the irritating film into the pretentious category. Director Allen Coulter came from television, and went back after this movie. Emilie de Ravin shows a bit of skin in this film, and it is always fun seeing a nude scene which doesn't breach the PG-13 limit. Howcome Martha Plimpton didn't get a credit? And was the clip from AMERICAN PIE 2 just to establish this as a period film?

Women Make Film - 23. Politics, 24. Gear Change. 25. Comedy.


Charles Gilbert watched:

COFFIN FULL OF DOLLARS (1971) Miles Deem (Demofilo Fidani aka 'the Ed Wood of Spaghetti Westerns') is director. Nevada Kid (Jeff Cameron) teams with goofy bounty killer Gordon Mitchell to bring to justice Hunt Powers (Jack Betts) and fellow pistolero mop haired Klaus Kinski responsible for feud murders. Cliched juvenile script as in SAVAGE GUNS, another Deem fabrication. That's his daughter as the doe-eyed blonde.

SHADOW OF FEAR (1954) B&W. British film features Mona Freeman arriving from America for her parent's funeral. Her stepmother (Jean Kent) had been nurse to mom who died first, and then dad married the nurse. Dad soon died in a boating incident that looks suspicious. Daughter Mona pointedly accuses stepmom of double murder and sets out to prove it as stepmom strives to snuff out daughter.

Interview with Mike Stone boyfriend of Priscilla Presley. In addition to Elvis he talks about Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Michele Pfeiffer. The karate champion was debuting his autobiography, and had moved to the Philippines in 1985. 


David Deal enjoyed:



BANG, BANG, YOU'RE DEAD (66) - See the Eurospy Guide book for a complete review of this fun spy flick.



WAR OF THE ZOMBIES (63) - AKA Rome Against Rome.  Centurion Ettori Manni investigates a looming uprising led by wizard John Drew Barrymore, who raises the Roman dead to wage war.  Giuseppe Vari's Sword and sandal adventure is one of the darker entries with lots of fire, a spooky lair for our villain, and Gothic horror overtones.

AGENT FOR PANIC (64) - See the Eurospy Guide book for this Czech entry.

A QUIET PLACE TO KILL (70) - The Blu-ray in the Lenzi/Baker set is very nice looking and more revealing than other versions I've seen.


FEAR NO EVIL (69) - Louis Jourdan, a psychiatrist well versed in the occult, investigates a wife (Lynda Day) tortured by the likeness of her dead husband (Bradford Dillman) who beckons her from an old mirror.  First TV pilot for a series featuring Jourdan is a bit unfocused but enjoyable just the same.  Directed by TV journeyman Paul Wendkos and features Carroll O'Connor and Wilfred Hyde-White.  See Ritual of Evil for the second series try.


Mildly enjoyed:




Bertrand Van Wonterghem enjoyed:

Ildan Ddeugeobge Chungsohara  / Clean with passion for now (2018) – episodes 3 to 5

Invitation to a gunfighter (1964, Richard Wilson)

Intelligence – season 1 – episodes 2 to 4

Karate kill (2016, Kurando Mitsutake)

Minutes past midnight (2016)

Two weeks to live – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2

White gold – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2

The alienist- season 2 – episodes 1 & 2

Mildly enjoyed:

The black rose (1950, Henry Hathaway)

Midnight meat train (2008, Ryuhei Kitamura)

Did not enjoy:

Jeepers creepers 3 (2017, Victor Salva)

Cuatro dollares de venganza (1965, Jaime Jesus Balcazar)

Life (2017, Daniel Espinosa)

Mon poussin (2016, Frédéric Forestier)


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