Friday, November 20, 2020

Week of November 21 - 27, 2020


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which Mexican actress appeared in an Italian Epic film alongside an actor born in Spain to a Puerto Rican father?
It was Ana Luisa Peluffo.

Which actor who appeared in Spanish Westerns, was born to Spanish parents on an ocean liner while on the way to Uruguay?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Italian actress, who did a Western, appeared in a British spy comedy frequently sipping out of a Coke bottle with a straw?
No on has answered this question yet.

Which American actor married an Italian woman he demanded producer Dino De Laurentiis work for the actor?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American producer bought Dinocitta after it was abandoned by Dino de Laurentiis?
No one has answered this question yet.

By what name is actress Jany Guillaume better known?
Tom Betts, George Grimes, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it is Jany Clair.

Which Italian film director was born in Trieste in 1909 and died in Rome in 2001?
Tom Betts and George Grimes knew that it was Giacomo Gentilomo.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian actor, whose first film role was in an Italian Western, appeared in a big budget movie version of a hit Broadway musical?
Which Italian actor turned down an offer to make an Italian Western inorder to appear in a big budget movie version of a hit Broadway musical?
Which Spanish actor, who appeared in movies about ancient Rome and in Westerns, was born to a Puerto Rican father and a Spanish mother?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Paul Piaget and Priscilla Steele in GLI EROI DI FORT WORTH, aka EL SEPTIMO DE CABALLERIA, aka THE CHARGE OF THE 7TH CAVALRY, aka ASSAULT ON FORT TEXAN.
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 frame grab of Jany Clair and Alan Steel in MACISTE E LA REGINA DI SAMAR, aka HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Jean Sorel in UNA RAGAZZA PIUTTOSTO COMPLICATA, aka A COMPLICATED GIRL.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Shinichi Chiba in SHOGUN'S SAMURAI, aka YAGYU CLAN CONSPIRACY.
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:


AKA JANE ROE (2020) - Director Nick Sweeney's documentary attempts to give Norma McCorvey the opportunity to tell her life's story.

ALEXANDER THE LAST (2009) - Writer/director Joe Swanberg shares screenplay credit with his cast because much of the film was improvised. The film starts with Amy Seimetz conducting a kind of wedding ceremony with another woman and then we get the opening credits intercut with a succession of closeups of people getting a pie in the face. As it turns out, none of this has anything to do with the actual content of the movie. Mostly the movie is about actress Jess Weixler, who is married to musician Justice Rice. Rice leaves New York City for a gig while Weixler gets a role in an small theater production. In the play, she is paired with Barlow Jacobs, who is new in town and "couch surfing". She invites him to stay on her couch, and sells the idea to her sister, Seimetz, as someone in whom the sister might be interested. During the rehearsals, Weixler and Jacobs portray intimacy, while Jacobs and Seimetz get intimate. Weixler has difficulty dealing with her own feelings towards Jacobs which causes friction with her sister. When Rice returns home, Weixler has difficulty reconnecting with him, but finds she gets jealous when he's creating new music with Jo Schornikow. Eventually she works it out, but the movie feels unfinished. Did Jacobs move off Weixler's couch? Were the sisters living in the same apartment? What was that lesbian marriage ceremony about? Was it just about Seimetz' serial romantic flings? The unanswered questions raised by the film adds to the sense of naturalism of the film, as if we were seeing life captured in an incomplete documentary. At the very least, Swanberg keeps his camera close on his actors, and I enjoyed staring at Seimetz and Weixler for about an hour. The whole film was only 72 minutes long, and about ten of those minutes were taken up with the opening and closing credits. I also liked HAPPY CHRISTMAS by Swanberg. The marvelous Jane Adams played the director of the play.

L'AMI DE MON AMIE, aka MY GIRLFRIEND'S BOYFRIEND, aka BOYFRIENDS AND GIRLFRIENDS (1987) - Like many films by director Eric Rohmer, this feels like a 103 minute buildup to a single punchline. But it is a pleasurable and charming buildup, though, at times, it seems that stars Emmanuelle Chaulet and Sophie Renoir are not experienced actresses. Interestingly, Chaulet would go on to become an acting coach. If you like skinny women, this is the movie for you.

A MAN, A WOMAN AND A BANK (1979) - After his feature film directoral debut in 1968 PRETTY POISON, Noel Black was expected to be big. While that didn't happen, he worked steadily and this feature film was a charming heist comedy that became a surprising romantic comedy. As so much of the dialogue in this film was played off-screen, I can't help but wonder if alot of it was generated during post production. I also wonder if it was improvised, because, like so much of this movie, it feels loose and spontaneous. Figuring out that banks were mostly run by computers, Donald Sutherland and Paul Mazursky decided that if they can get into a bank's wiring during construction, they can hijack the computers and rob the bank. Sutherland accidentally stepped in front of photographer Brooke Adams' camera which set in motion the unusual romance. There was a wonderful chemistry between all of the performers, including Allan Magicovsky, aka Allan Kolman, and Leigh Hamilton. Shaw Brothers actor Tony Lee, aka Kung-Wu Huang, had a small role as the fence in Macau who was to launder the stolen money. In addition to director Mazursky working on this as an actor, director Jack Cardiff worked on this as the director of photography.

American Experience "Emma Goldman" (2004)

Great Performances "Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles" (2020) - Max Lewkowicz put together a moving documentary on the long shot production that became a worldwide stage sensation. 

JIMI HENDRIX ELECTRIC CHURCH (2015) - At the Atlanta Pop Festival on July 4, 1970, Jimi Hendrix performed infront of an estimated 500,000 people - the largest audience he ever had. A film was shot of the performance, but no one was interested in making it into something until the Hendrix estate found out about it. Interviews with people who were there and people who were fans fill out the feature running time.

Mildly enjoyed:

LOVE HAPPENS (2009) - Aaron Eckhart is a widower who has become a celebrated self-help expert after writing a book about recovering from the tragedy of his wife's death. The deadly accident occured in Seattle, so he's not keen about attending a seminar in that city. Eckhart's manager, Dan Fogler, is also setting up important meetings that may lead to Eckhart getting a TV show. After accidently bumping into florist Jennifer Aniston in the hallway, Eckhart considers that maybe the time has come for him to start living again. Cowriter and director Brandon Camp is able to invest the predictable plot with enough interesting minor characters and a light touch the keeps the movie enjoyable. Aniston is adorable as is his her friend Judy Greer, though Greer is, as usual, not given enough to do. Martin Sheen shows up to help ensure that the end of the movie is emotionally moving.

Uncnsrd "Black Hollywood" (2020) - Nick Cannon, Nia Long, Paula Patton, Tisha Campbell, Mona Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Tyra Banks, Lizzy Mathis, Deon Taylor, Martin Lawrence, Jaimie Glasson and Nile Evans.

Did not enjoy:

THE ALPHA INCIDENT, aka THE ALIEN INCIDENT, aka GIFT FROM A RED PLANET (1978) - Director Bill Rebane was awarded the "Wisconsin Filmmaker Lifetime Achievement Award" from the 2009 Madison Horror Film Festival - which begs the question "Who was the competition?" THE ALPHA INCIDENT was his followup to the successful THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION of 1975 and was a noticeable drop in both budget and imagination. A space probe returns to Earth from Mars and a deadly microbe is found in the Martian soil. While a group of scientists try and figure out how to deal with the threat, some big wigs decide a sample needs to be sent to a storage facility in Colorado. The sample is to be sent by train so as to not attract attention. Stafford Morgan accompanies the shipment, but after he falls asleep, George "Buck" Flower borrows his keys and sneaks a peek. He accidentally breaks one of the bottles. The train stops in Moose Point to change engines and Morgan discovers the potential contamination of all five people at the station. What follows is close to an hour of tedious drama in which the participants fill out the feature length running time speaking terrible dialogue that only leads to everyone's death. In addition to Flower, Ralph Meeker as the station manager is the only actor of note and his infected head blows up disgustingly. Writer Ingrid Neumayer also wrote the screenplay for director Rebane's THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT.

HANDS OF A STRANGER (1962) - Unofficially this is the fourth version of LES MAINS D'ORLAC, and the highlight of the movie is seeing Detective Laurence Haddon strike a match on the rib bone of a plastic anatomical model. Writer/producer and director Newton Arnold is best known as an assistant director, particularly on pictures directed by Sam Peckinpah. But he was the main director on three features, none of which garnered the attention of the films he worked on as an assistant. The camerawork on this, his directorial debut, indicates a certain ambition, which is undercut by a reliance on too much talk to pad out the running time. A man is gunned down on the street, and Dr. Paul Lukather is upset that he can't save him on the operating table. Det. Haddon remarks on the strength and sensitivity of the dead man's hands, so when famous concert pianist James Stapleton, aka James Noah arrives in the hospital with hopelessly crushed hands from an auto accident, Lukather does a hand transplant. Haddon is concerned that his John Doe arrived at the morgue incomplete, but agrees to not push Lukather for an explanation until the doctor is ready to give him one. Young Barry Gordon gets an "introducing " credit playing the son of the taxi driver responsible for Noah's car crash. Nurse Irish McCalla is part of the surgical team as is coproducer Michael Du Pont, who is romancing Sally Kellerman in her second movie role. Naturally, Noah goes on a murderous rampage, though his first two kills are accidents. Composer Richard LaSalle has been responsible for some of my favorite movie music, but what he gives this movie is embarrassingly emphatic. Also a bit embarrassing is rather than saying "The End" the film ends with "What Is Past Is Prologue", a quote from William Shakespeare's The Tempest.

MY HERO ACADEMNIA: TWO HEROES (2018) - I'm not much of a fan of Japanese anime or manga, which has conquered Japanese popular culture in a way that American super heroes are only beginning to catch up. In 2014, Kōhei Horikoshi followed up his previous five manga creations with My Hero Academia in Weekly Shonen Jump, published by Shueisha. This became an huge success with a school setting like Naruto or Harry Potter with super heroes instead of ninjas or wizards. The company Bones turned the story into a TV series, which was so successful that this movie was made. The usual blend of exaggerated adolescent excitability and heroic moralizing is to be found here, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe gives me my fill of super heroes. I don't want more, and I really like looking at flesh and blood actors over animated characters. Though, I have to admit, that Melissa Shield is visually very attractive. Like female characters in live action films, she spends most of the movie in impractical attire.

GLI EROI DI FORT WORTH, aka EL SEPTIMO DE CABALLERIA, aka THE CHARGE OF THE 7TH CAVALRY, aka ASSAULT ON FORT TEXAN (1965) - This is exactly the kind of Western that I wished the Spanish and Italian filmmakers didn't make - films that tried to relate to American history. Possibly inspired by RIO CONCHOS, this film has confederate soldiers in 1863 Texas planning to use Apaches to distract U.S. Army patrols protecting the border, so that they can escape to Mexico. Confederate Colonel Eduardo Fajardo supplies Chief Rafael Albaicin with winchesters (from the future) promising that the Apaches will get back their land and that no Whites will bother them again. Oddly, the film starts with shots of the final battle scene under the opening credits, and then it cuts to a stagecoach being held up by two men on foot. Passenger Priscilla Steele is taken aside by one masked man who warns that there are Yankees everywhere. One of the other passengers proves him correct by gunning both him and his associate down. The associate retaliates by gunning down the passenger and his partner before dying. An older woman on the stage demands that the driver get going as they were already late and the four men are dead. While Edmund Purdom gets top billing as a rebellious U.S. officer, called "Sugar", who can't wait for his enlistment to be over, but then can't stand riding away while his friend is facing trouble. Paul Piaget is the film's actual hero who figures out the plans of the Rebels and Apaches and sets a clever trap for them in the end. Piaget also falls in in love with Steele, who turns out to have come to the area in search of Fajardo - her father. The film seems to have a bigger than average budget with numerous battle scenes and at least two matte paintings, but no one seemed concerned about getting details about weapons and flags correct. At one point, Purdom is sneakily patrolling the Apache camp when he grabs an Indian walking by. He stops trying to kill the Indian when he realizes that it is Monica Randal (credited as Aurora Julia on the Italian print), so he starts kissing her. She likes it, doesn't sound the alarm, and even conks a male Indian on the head when he tries to kill Purdom. Herbert Martin is credited as the director, which everyone seems to agree is Alberto De Martino. However, the Spanish credit the music to Manuel Parada, while the Italians credit Carlo Rustichelli. It certainly doesn't sound like a Rustichelli score. Near the end of the film, Piaget makes a speech to Steele about how he hopes men will stop making war and learn to live in peace. But the film ends with the Confederates giving up their effort to escape to Mexico and deciding to become Quantrill's Raiders. There are many familiar faces among the cast, including Tomas Blanco, Umberto Raho and Jose Marco. The IMDb is convinced the Priscilla Steele is Evelyn Stewart, who is Ida Galli, but it's not.

THE MURDER OF DR. HARRIGAN (1936) - I was mildly enjoying this Warner Bros. "Clue Club Picture" until Detective Joseph Crehan kept insisting that our heroine, Nurse Kay Linaker, was the murderer and I got pissed at the movie. Did elevators ever really operate like the one in this hospital? Did hospitals at that time really have those odd double doors outside of each patient's room? There was only one Black character in the movie. He got wheeled in unconscious as a "Charity Case". Later, we find out he died in the "Charity Ward", but his body became important as it got substituted for a missing patient who was sent to the morgue. It had been a long time since I've heard the word "Negro" so many times in a movie, though at one point he was called "colored". Star Kay Linaker later used the name Kate Phillips when she wrote the screenplay for THE BLOB (1958). John Eldredge played the title role and would go on to make such movies as SH! THE OCTOPUS (1937), INVADERS FROM MARS (1953) and I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE (1958). The male lead in this film was played by Ricardo Cortez who played Sam Spade in the 1931 version of THE MALTESE FALCON. In DR. HARRIGAN also appeared Mary Astor who played the female lead in the celebrated 1941 version of THE MALTESE FALCON. Gordon Elliott turned out to be the murderer. In 1938 he started making Westerns and became Wild Bill Elliott.

NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST (1958) - When "the Roger Corman School" is talked about, director Bernard L. Kowalski is seldom mentioned. But he went on to do some high profile stuff like KRAKATOA, EAST OF JAVA. Roger is listed as the executive producer on this while his brother Gene gets producer credit. Gene also took a "story by" credit which led to a law suit by writer Martin Varno, who wrote the original script under the title CREATURE FROM GALAXY 27. Reportedly Jerome Bixby and Jacob Smith also worked on the script. In any case, the efforts resulted in a dull reworking of THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, but this time the alien creature ingests enough of a scientist's brain inorder to be able to speak, before our heroes set him on fire. The alien creature costume is reportedly the same costume used in TEENAGE CAVEMAN, a Roger Corman directed effort made two weeks prior to BLOOD BEAST. CAVEMAN also used the Bronson Canyon location where the climax of this film takes place. Some wonder if the extraterrestrial pregnancy idea in ALIEN originated with this movie.

THE NOBLES (1989) - Upper class Do Do Cheng (aka Carol Cheng Yu-Ling) seems to have it all. She has a successful job as an interior designer and a successful boyfriend Michael Wong (aka Michael Wong Man-Tak). Working class Jackie Cheung (aka Jackie Cheung Hok-Yau) is doing okay, but still lives with his dad, Bill Tung (aka Bill Tung Biu), and his little sister. The little sister tells her dad that smoking is bad for him, but he replies that's what your Mom used to say and she was the one who died young. Men at her job sabotage Cheng's newest project, and she finds Wong in the arms of another woman, so she has to start all over again. Her new job requires reliable workmen, and though she finds Cheung crude, she agrees to hire him for the job. Of course, they grow close, but when Wong returns to try and get Cheng back, Cheung thinks his chances are nil. Cheng gets a new job in the U.S., so Cheung races to the airport to give her a going away present. At the airport, he kisses her on the cheek, to which she responds by kissing him on both cheeks and telling him to write her at her U.S. address. Cheung is in a daze, but notices that she only shakes Wong's hand. The film ends with a romantic song over a montage of scenes showing Cheng and Cheung having fun together. This is director Norman Chan Hok-Yan' debut feature after years of working as a Production Supervisor. He went on to direct 12 more movies before 1997.

ROLE MODELS (2008) - After ABOUT A BOY there is no need for more movies about selfish adults who become better people by interacting with children. But that didn't stop co-writer and director David Wain from doing ROLE MODELS, which follows the usual formula with heavier emphasis on toilet humor. It is a change of pace for Paul Rudd to be the more insensitive jerk over Seann William Scott, but it is no surprise when both of them do the turn around in the end. Rudd wins back Elizabeth Banks, but they don't pair Scott off as would be expected. The final scene with Scott, Rudd, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Bobb'e J. Thompson joining in a big LAIRE battle dressed as KISS is fun if you just fast forward through the previous 70 some minutes. Louis C.K. and Keegan-Michael Key appear very briefly, while Jane Lynch and Ken Jeong do what you'd expect them to do.

SCISSORS (1990) - I can't help but wonder what Joyce Selznick's original story is like, because it can't be as stupid as Frank de Felitta's screenplay. Reportedly Selznick's script was intended as a TV episode for Alfred Hitchcock - whether Presents or Hour is unreported, but then this nonsense would have been at least 30 or 115 minutes shorter. And that script probably didn't have as many red herrings as the film has. Mentally unbalanced Sharon Stone is assaulted in the elevator of her building and the suspects are the twin brothers, Steve Railsback, who live in the same building. All she knows about her attacker is that he has a red beard, and so does a man she meets at a party. Stone is lured into a luxury apartment in an unfinished building from which she can not escape. There's a dead man in the apartment, who has a red beard and has the pair of scissors which were stolen from her in the elevator assault. Eventually, it is revealed that the dead man is Michelle Phillips' lover and Phillips' husband, Psychiatrist Ronny Cox, did the deed. He's set up Stone to go insane so that he can blame the murder on her. Not too surprising, Stone is able to turn the tables on Cox, escaping and leaving the villain trapped in the apartment with his wife. Thankfully, writer/director de Felitta retired after this film.

Women Make Film - 32. Reveal, 33. Memory, 34 Time.


Charles Gilbert watched:

KILLER SHREWS (1958) B&W. James Best and Ken Curtis (co- producer) fight over Miss Sweden 1956 Ingrid Goude on an island overrun by giant shrews. Looks like sfx used puppets for close-up and dogs with hairy matted coats for distant shots.

MA BARKER'S KILLER BROOD (1960) B&W. Laurene Tuttle in the title role with Nelson Leigh playing her first husband who wanted to raise their four boys properly, and Tristan Coffin as her second husband who was a lush taunted by the brood. They team up with John Dillinger, Machine Gun Kelly, and Baby Face Nelson.

THUNDER RUN (1986) Government officer George Adams (John Ireland) recruits old acquaintence Charlie Morrison (Forest Tucker) to transport a toolbox size shipment of plutonium in a tractor trailer across desert wastelands in the Southwest to a U. S. base before saboteurs can highjack it.

Tragic Story of the Vulcan VX770, British bomber which crashed during an air show in 1958.

The Life and Sad Ending of David Carradine


David Deal enjoyed:


PUZZLE (74) - Luc Merenda has amnesia and doesn't remember what an asshole he was.  His old gangster friends don't believe him and there's a fortune in dope in the balance.  Senta Berger is the clueless wife, although she picks it up pretty quick.  Thanks to Bill Connolly I was able to see this Duccio Tessari crime flick after 15 years.  Turns out to be a worthy, though flawed entry.  Worth more than one watch.

DEADLIER THAN THE MALE (66) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a complete review of this old fave.




PJ (68) - PI George Peppard takes a job protecting Gayle Hunicutt, the mistress of big shot Raymond Burr, who want him to play the sucker in a murder rap.  Eccentric crime flick with a "that guy" cast and jaded sensibilities.


Mildly enjoyed:

TRY AND GET ME (50) - Nice guy Frank Lovejoy falls in with small time crook Lloyd Bridges and thus begins his descent into hell.  This violent film noir comes with a message on our social ills and the media's propensity to encourage fear and rage.  Worth it for Bridges' performance as the amoral criminal who drags Lovejoy down with him.


Bertrand Van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

The goes wrong show – season 1 – episode 4


Supernatural – season 15 – episode 15

Wynona Earp – season 3 – episode 2

Rome express (1950, Christian Stengel)

Ghosts – season 2 – episode 2

Psycho beach party (2000, Robert Lee King)

DC’s legends of tomorrow – season 5 – episodes « Crisis on infinite earths : part five » (2019, Gregory Smith) and « Meet the legends » (2019, Kevin Mock)

Rememory (2016, Mark Palansky)

Utopia – season 1 – episodes 1 to 8

Mildly enjoyed:

Little Big Horn ( 1951, Charles Marquis Warren)

Problemos (2017, Eric Judor)

Did not enjoy:

Gretel & Hansel (2019, Osgood Perkins)


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