Friday, March 12, 2021

Week of March 13 - 19, 2021




To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which two American body builders, who made movies in Italy, were husbands #1 and #2 to the same woman?
Charles Gilbert knew that Reg Lewis and Ed Fury both married Marceline Yvette Dubois, better known as Sheri Fury.

Which American body builder who made a movie in Italy had a pilot's license?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which British film actress who made movies in Italy was arrested for prostitution?
No one has answered this question yet.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which American actor who worked in Italy had an ex-wife who was a mistress to Federico Fellini?
Which American actor who worked in Italy had a daughter who made a film banned in several countries as "child pornography"?
Which American actor who worked in Italy died of complications from diabetes?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab from DA UOMO A UOMO, aka DEATH RIDES A HORSE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Jacqueline Sassard in ARRIVANO I TITANI, aka SONS OF THUNDER, aka MY SON THE HERO.
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?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Meiko Kaji in BLIND WOMAN'S CURSE.
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:


Justified season five rewatched (2014)

PATH TO WAR (2002) - Writer Daniel Giat masterfully dramatized how Vietnam devastated the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson and many of the people in his administration. John Frankenheimer directed a stellar cast to create a compelling drama to the point that the accuracy of British actor Michael Gambon playing LBJ was beside the point. Donald Sutherland was admirable as Clark M. Clifford and Alec Baldwin as Robert McNamara was a knockout. Also in the cast were Bruce McGill, James Frain, Felicity Huffman, Frederic Forrest, Philip Baker Hall, Gary Sinise (as George Wallace again), Tom Skerritt, Albert Hall, Sarah Paulson and Diana Scarwid. This was the final film for Frankenheimer, who died seven weeks after the film aired on HBO. Producer Edgar J. Scherick died seven months after the airing.

Mildly enjoyed:

ULYSSES, aka ULISSE (1954) - Being an American, I was not taught The Odyssey in school. I first learned of it from Italian Westerns like IL RITORNO DI RINGO and IL MIO NOME E NESSUNO. So imagine my surprise in watching this version of the tale to find that one of its most famous lines, "My name is Nobody", was not included. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, in association with William W. Schorr, this film boasted a screenplay written by (in alphabetical order) Franco Brusati, Mario Camerini, Ennio De Concini, Hugh Gray, Ben Hecht, Ivo Perilli and Irwin Shaw. So whose idea was it to adopt such an odd structure? Starting off dramatizing the plight of Penelope and Telemachus was fine, but why drop the active participation by the gods Athena and Zeus? And then why begin Ulysses' story with his being found on the beach by Nausicaa with amnesia? Why spend so much time on a potential love story between our hero and Nausicaa only to have it come to nothing when our hero regains his memory? I can understand dropping the entire story of Telemachus' search for his father, and combining the story of Calypso and Circe, but by telling so much in flashback any sense of drama was robbed. However, the film finally sparked when Ulysses dealt with the suitors bent on wedding his queen. Reportedly, it was the success of ULYSSES that led to the making of LE FATICHE DI ERCOLE, and it was remarkable to consider how reminiscent ERCOLE was to ULYSSES, though director Pietro Francisci made a much more compelling film. Screenwriter Ennio De Concini also worked on ERCOLE's screenplay. Reportedly, German director G.W. Pabst was to direct this film, but quit before production started. Alberto Moravia reportedly based his novel, IL DISPREZZO, aka CONTEMPT, on the making of ULISSE, and in the Jean-Luc Godard movie of that novel, LE MEPRIS, Fritz Lang played the character based on G.W. Pabst. Carlo Ponti produced Godard's film.

HELEN OF TROY (1956) - I first became aware of this story with 1961's LA GUERRA DI TROIA, in which Aeneas is the hero, Paris is a vain twerp and Helen is egotistical narcissist. For director Robert Wise, Hugh Gray, one of the writers on ULYSSES, and N. Richard Nash adapted the tale for a screenplay by John Twist and Hugh Gray endeavoring to turn the story into a tragic romance. Every effort is made to make Paris and Helen blameless for the destruction. Paris ventures to Sparta to convince the Greeks to stop their aggression against Troy. But, since he pays more attention to Aphrodite, Paris is seemingly twarted by Athena and blown off his ship during a storm. As she did in ULYSSES, Rossana Podesta, now a blond, finds the male lead, Jacques Sernas (called Jack in the credits), washed ashore. He thinks she is Aphrodite in human form - a mistake Sernas would repeat with Belinda Lee in 1957's LA VENERE DI CHERONEA. Podesta enjoys his romantic notions, and so lies to him; saying she is a slave girl and not Helen, Queen of Sparta. Knowing that her husband is gathering all of the kings of Greece with the intention of attacking Troy, Helen tries to convince Paris to not venture to Sparta. He does and is confused when Helen pretends not to know him. However, Helen's husband sees that she knows him and plots to have him killed. Helen enlists her personal slave, played by a brunette Brigitte Bardot, to help Paris escape. Helen goes to see Paris leave, and they must escape together when Spartan soldiers arrive. On the escaping ship, Helen suggests that Paris take her away from danger to a small island, but he feels that he must go to Troy to warn them of the Greek invasion. Having delivered the warning, Paris and Helen prepare to leave for that island, but the arrival of the Greeks stops them. Later, to stop the bloodshed, Helen tries to surrender to the Greeks, but they pulls a double-cross and Paris arrives to save her. In this version, Paris kills Patroclus, but Hector takes the blame and dies in single combat with Achilles. In LA GUERRA DI TROIA, Paris kills Achilles with a poisoned arrow shot into the Greek's heel. In HELEN OF TROY, Paris is among an host of archers trying to stop the Greek from dragging Hector's body before Troy's walls. Paris lands the arrow in Achilles' heel, but the Greek dies when he falls out of his chariot and hits his head on a rock. The rest of the story is pretty much the same in both movies, though HELEN OF TROY ends with our heroine comforting herself with the memory of Paris as she is taken back to Sparta. Only the 1968 L'Odissea and the 2003 Helen of Troy mini-series deal with the successful reconciliation of Helen and her husband. While certainly impressive with production value, this HELEN OF TROY tries to be a tragic romance, but the love story doesn't work. Even with a number of bacchanals, choreographed by Madi Obolensky, the film isn't even as sexy as Cecil B. DeMille's THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, with also came out in 1956 and featured Sir. Cedric Hardwicke. In addition to two lines of dialogue from Christopher Marlowe's DR. FAUSTUS, this script throws in the "Betware of Greeks bearing gifts" line from Virgil's AENEID. As a child, 1963's SEIGE OF THE SAXONS was a favorite film. I wasn't aware that Ronald Lewis and Janette Scott had earlier appeared together in HELEN OF TROY. It is amusing to see two actors mostly known for playing Mafioso, Eduardo Ciannelli and Marc Lawrence, playing Greeks. Reportedly, Jacques Sernas was revoiced by Geoffrey Toone, Joan Croydon revoiced Rossana Podesta and Barbra Fuller revoiced Brigitte Bardot. Glenn Langan did the narration.

TROY (2004, The Director's Cut 2007) - Obviously director Wolfgang Petersen and writer David Benioff weren't interested in making a film faithful to the ancient texts. Part of the poigncy of the story is that the siege goes on for ten years. Here it seems to take about a month. I know that massive CGI armies are more impressive if they are spread out in opposing lines, but it is plain stupid for the Trojans to try and fight the Greeks as they arrive on the beach. Was this done so that Petersen could stage something like the Normandy invasion from THE LONGEST DAY? Troy's greatest defense is the city walls, so why don't the Trojans fight from behind those walls? Why would they mass their army outside the walls and fight the Greeks face-to-face? TROY makes me feel more respect for the 1956 HELEN OF TROY, though, at least, TROY doesn't absolve Paris and Helen from adultery, though it does allow both of them to escape together. If Paris survives the fall of Troy, than what is the point of having him give "the sword of Troy" to Aeneas, who pops up in the film just as people start to escape the city? Brad Pitt is less than ideal as Achilles, but you've got to credit him with giving female fans plenty of time to see him naked. Rather than making this into a tragic romance between Paris and Helen, these filmmakers make it a tragic romance between Achilles and Briseis. Achilles is part of the commando group inside the horse inorder to try and save her from the destruction of the city. Normally, Achilles doesn't live that far into the story, but at least Paris shoots him in the heel with an arrow. However, that doesn't kill him. Four or five arrows into his chest does that trick, all the while Briseis pleads with Paris to stop. You know that this film won't follow the original story when Hector kills Menelaus, who should survive and be reconciled with Helen in THE ODYSSEY. Also, here Briseis kills Agamemnon, who should return to Greece and be killed by his wife and her lover. This film gets points though, for giving Briseis a bigger role as well as Ajax and the Myrmidons. But where is Cassandra and Hecuba? There's alot of CGI gore in this flick and the destruction of Troy has never featured as many rapes as it does here.

Did not enjoy:

C.C. AND COMPANY (1970) - I guess we could blame writer and co-producer Roger Smith for this turkey, that co-stars his wife and client Ann-Margret as a fashion journalist who looks favorably on biker Joe Namath, particularly when he stops Sid Haig and Greg Mullavey from raping her. The film starts with Namath giving a demonstration of how to have lunch in a supermarket without buying anything but a ten cent item. Co-producer Allen Carr, who also managed Ann-Margret, may share the blame for trying to make this movie "hip", but who thought it was a good idea to name a motorcycle gang "the Heads"? The film seemed to attempt to ruin my ability to enjoy Mitch Ryder's "Jenny Jenny/C.C. Ryder" by  playing it over and over again. And when our main couple go to a Las Vegas show put on by Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Ryders, the filmmakers seem determined to torture me. When Namath wins a motocross race in an effort to impress Ann-Margret, the head of the Heads, William Smith, beats up Namath and steals his money. Smith's chick, Jennifer Billingsley (who seemed to have no problem with nude river bathing), goes to nurse Namath, but he only has sex with her inorder to steal his money back from her purse. Namath leaves to contemplate a future with Ann-Margret, but the bad guys kidnap her inorder to force Namath into a race with Smith. After multiple attempts to cheat, Smith ends up dead when he flies off the track and hits an exploding covertable. The rest of the gang chase after Namath and Ann-Margret, but he pretends to have an accident inorder to sneak back and set fire to their bikes. TV director Seymour Robbie got the job done.

COMING 2 AMERICA (2021) - I didn't enjoy the original film, so I didn't expect to enjoy this sequel. But I was surprised as how preachy this was. I find it irritating that a problem established at the beginning of the movie, which can be easily solved, doesn't get solved until the lead character suddenly thinks of the obvious solution at the end of the movie.

EN GRYM FILM, aka THRILLER a cruel picture, aka THEY CALL HER ONE EYE (1973) - Writer/Director/Producer Bo Arne Vibenius seems to have felt that former nude model Christina Lindberg needed a change of pace from the softcore sex films she had been making, like MAID IN SWEDEN and ANITA SWEDISH NYMPHET, and got her to make a violent sexy film. Even though the film begins with a young girl being raped by an older man drooling some kind of black sludge, there is no nudity in this film until after 30 some minutes. That's after the villain, Heinz Hopf - who appeared with Lindberg in EXPONERAD, aka EXPOSED (1971) - had already kidnapped her, turned her into an heroin junkie, poked her right eye out with a scalpel and forced her to be a sex slave. It is the "poking her eye out" - in close up - that gets this film its notoriety. The scene is not done convincingly, and there is no followup showing pain or blood or how she was dealt with medically. Like most of this film, it is done in an abstract way suggesting that Vibenius felt that a lack of dialogue and minimal explanation would be construed to be "artistic". The film is educational though. Here, a girl traumatized by rape to become mute, has no problem with accepting a ride from a male stranger, who then takes her to his apartment and drugs her. Here, a young woman can lie passed out on a couch for three days and not "soil" herself. Here, a mother and father can get a forged note from their daughter saying that she hates them and they will kill themselves. Here, a young woman who has had her eye poked out, can get a wardrobe matching her eye patch with whatever dress she wears. Here, a sex slave can save enough money to venture out and pay for Japanese martial arts lessons, lessons on how to shoot a gun and lessons on how to drive like a race car champion. Here, a fellow sex slave can disappear, but leave behind a bed soaked with blood and bird feathers. Here, a sex slave who sees her clients in her own room, knows the address of a client so that she can shoot him in his doorway. Here, Swedish drivers do not pull over to the side of the road when a police car comes up on them with sirens wailing and lights flashing. Here, when the police car pushes other cars off the road, they explode in flames. Here, the villainous pimp agrees to meet the crazy, murderous sex slave in the countryside for a showdown. As seen on the Synapse DVD, this film sports some gorgeous photography by Andrew Bellis, which helps to sell it as an "art" film, but does nothing to convince some viewers that this isn't a dumb exploitation film that can't even rise to the level of director Lee Frost's THE SCAVENGERS.

VICE VERSA (1948) - Thomas Anstey Guthrie wrote the novel VICE VERSA in 1882 under the name F. Anstey. Peter Ustinov wrote and directed the third cinematic version of the tale featuring the boy Anthony Newley as the son whose body has his father's consciousness transferred into it. It's odd seeing the boy Newley acting as a grownup, as he would become a grownup known for acting like a boy. Roger Livesey plays the father while a very young Petula Clark plays head master James Robertson Justice's daughter, which whom the son is infatuated. We don't see the adult version of the boy and the headmaster's daughter as they drive away after their wedding at the beginning of the film, but Livesey's butler, Ernest Jay, notices the camera tracking towards him and challenges the audience directly about what they are doing. An elderly Livesey steps in and invites the audience into his home inorder to relate the story of how his former brother-in-law, David Hutcheson, stole the right eye from the idol in the Temple of the Laughing Hyena in India. Realizing that the eye is only bringing him bad luck, Hutcheson gifts the eye to Livesey, who doesn't want it. Livesey's son, Newley, is about to return to the public school he hates, and inadvertently uses the stone to swap bodies with his father. Also in the film are Kay Walsh and Alfie Bass.Ustinov's film is quite long and slowly paced making for a tedious watch, especially for an American who doesn't understand most of the cultural references. Set in the 1890s, the film burlesques life in England at that time. Aside from at least four movie and one TV versions, F. Anstey's novel was probably also the "inspiration" for the FREAKY FRIDAY movies.


Charles Gilbert watched:

THE THING THAT COULDN'T DIE (1958) B&W. A beautufil young psychic who practices dowsing locates treasure on her aunt's farm. It contains the severed but living head of a 16th century devil worshipper (Robin Hughes) that telepathically controls victims in its search for its body. Hughs played the devil in an episode of The Twilight Zone 'The Howling Man'.

DEATH KNOWS NO TIME (1971) Wade Preston gets very little screen time in this discursive spaghetti directed by erstwhile dentist Leon Klimovsky.

Steve Canyon S01E01 'Operation Towline' Ted Post directs the first episode with guests Harry Townes, Morgan Woodward, and Paul Frees.

David Deal enjoyed:

FILMED IN SUPERMARIONATION (14) - Super documentary on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson puppeteers and model makers extraordinaire (Supercar, Thunderbirds, UFO).








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