Friday, March 5, 2021

Week of March 6 - 12, 2021



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor who became a star in Italian Westerns played MacBeth at UCLA?
It was Frank Wolff. James Dean played a "spear carrier" in the production.

Charles Gilbert asks, "Which Saturday morning television show marked Lee Van Cleef's TV debut?"
Tom Betts, George Grimes and Angel Rivera knew that it was Sky King.

Charles Gilbert asks, "By what name is William Hawkins better known?"
Tom Betts and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it is Mario Caiano.

Which Italian director was born November 23, 1901 in Rome and died in the city of his birth in 1966?
Tom Betts, George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Giorgio Simonelli.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which two American body builders, who made movies in Italy, were husbands #1 and #2 to the same woman?
Which American body builder who made a movie in Italy had a pilot's license?
Which British film actress who made movies in Italy was arrested for prostitution?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Tom Betts, Bertrand Van Wonterghem, Rick Garibaldi and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Aysanoa Runachagua and Nino Castelnuovo in LE COLT CANTARONO LA MORTE E FU... TEMPO DI MASSACRO, aka MASSACRE TIME, aka THE BRUTE AND THE BEAST.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Charles Gilbert identified last week's frame grab of Gordon Scott and Leonora Ruffo in MACISTE CONTRO IL VAMPIRO, aka GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand Van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Luciana Gilli and Rossella d'Aquino in IL DOMINATORE DEI SETTE MARI, aka SEVEN SEAS TO CALAIS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Sonny Chiba in SAMURAI REINCARNATION.
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 four rewatched (2013)

Wandavision (2021)

Mildly enjoyed:

ABSOLUTE DECEPTION (2013) - This Australian-Canada coproduction is such an old fashioned thriller that it is hard to believe anyone expected this to get a theatrical release. It plays like a TV movie from the 1970s. Or a 90 minute commercial for the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove. However, the interplay between stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Emmanuelle Vaugier was good enough to keep me from hitting the fast forward button. Brian Trenchard-Smith directed the rather predictable script written by Jeffrey Schenck, Peter Sullivan and Kraig Wenman.

THE DEVIL MAKES THREE (1952) - The film opens in 1952 Munich with Richard Rober telling us that "the Brown House", where Hitler organized the Nazi Party 30 years earlier, is now gone. He also tells us that the story, written by Lawrence P. Bachmann and Jerry Davis, is "a composite of case histories taken from the Munich Headquaters files, Criminal Investigation Division, Corp. of Military Police, the United States Army." Next we see a woman in a fur coat pull up to a telephone booth in the middle of a snowy countryside. As she tries to make a phone call to the CID, two men on motorcycles pull up and shoot her to death. We soon become aware that a joint German/US police investigation of the Silhouette Tanz Bar is underway. On leave from Washington, Captain Gene Kelly arrives in Munich to visit the anti-Nazi German family who sheltered him when he was an escaped P.O.W. Unfortunately, he finds out that the mother and father were killed by Allied bombing, so he sets out to find their daughter who isn't listed among the dead. With the help of Captain Richard Egan, Kelly finds the daughter, Pier Angeli, working at the Shilhouette Bar. Eventually he discovers that she is part of a smuggling operation using U.S. servicemen to take rented cars across the border to Salzburg. Later, Egan and Rober inform him that the smuggling operation is being run by Nazis smuggling gold in an effort to rebuild the Reich. In a scene prefiguring Ian Fleming's 1958 novel GOLDFINGER, it turns out that parts of the car being driven by Kelly have been fashioned out of gold. Ultimately, Kelly and Angeli are set to be killed during a staged accident during a motorcycle race on the ice near Berchtesgaden. Director Andrew Marton proves to be poor at staging action, but he contrives to have the Nazi villain in a car chase that ends at the ruins of Hitler's mountain top house. Shot on location in Germany and Austria, a good part of the middle section of the film looks like a tourist advertisement for Salzburg. As an action hero, Kelly is pretty bland, and he doesn't join in the many song and dance routines performed by Germans. The main attraction in this film is staring at the very young Pier Angeli, who can melt your heart.

LUCKY DAY (2019) - By turns goofy, bloody and whimsical, this effort by writer/director Roger Avary is kind of fun but also irritating. It scores some points for the use of "Les Comediens" by Charles Aznavour and "El Clavo y La Cruz" by the Plugz. A Canada-France Co-Production shot in Hamilton and Toronto, Canada, this loses points with the end credits suggesting that all that we've seen might be a daydream. At various points in the film, Avary seems to deliberately try to remind the viewer that he co-wrote PULP FICTION, such as calling Nina Dobrez "Honeybun", but that serves to underline that this movie doesn't work as well as PULP FICTION. Also in the film are Luke Bracey, Crispin Glover, Clifton Collins Jr., David Hewlett, Nadia Fares, Ella Ryan Quinn and Gabrielle Graham. Reportedly this is a "stealth sequel" to KILLING ZOE, but I don't know what that means.

MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN (2018) - With all of the hype about Cher appearing in this movie, the publicity campaign did a good job of hiding that the filmmakers had killed off Meryl Streep. This pretty much signals that, for the sequel, the filmmakers were aiming for the audience's tear ducts with scenes of love loss and babies. Ten years prior, the makers of the the MAMMA MIA! movie succeeded in showing that Amanda Seyfried was the sexist young woman in movies. Here, director Ol Parker passed the spotlight onto Lily James who was breath-taking as Streep in flashbacks. Also delicious was Alexa Davies as Julie Walters in flashback. Cher sings "Fernando" to Andy Garcia, and they set the song in 1959. In what "fight for freedom" along the Rio Grande were they engaged in 1959? I didn't realize that Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Playtone were part of the production team behind both MAMMA MIA! movies. Songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson made cameo appearance in this film. This is the film with the line, "Be still my beating vagina."

RAFIKI, aka FRIEND (2018) - There is alot to admire about director Wanuri Kahiu's film. It's the story of two girls falling in love in Kenya, a country where homosexuality is illegal. It is bad enough that the town gossip can't stop talking about them, but when she alerts the local guys as to where the couple goes to be alone, and the guys beat and humiliate them, the film becomes an obvious message movie. Things are already complicated for Samantha Mugatsia, who is the daughter of a divorced woman, whose ex-husband is running for political office. The ex-husband's new wife is also pregnant with a boy. The girl that fascinates her is Sheila Munyiva, the daughter of her father's political rival. Director Kahiu stated that she wanted to make an African love story and one that didn't focus on Africa as being a place filled with problems to be solved. Naturally, the filmmaker's first problem to solve was getting financing. She couldn't get financing in Kenya for a movie with a positive image of girls in love, so the list of production partners in Europe, Lebanon and the U.S. is quite long. The film was originally banned in her home country, but was allowed to play for one week in the capital city in order to quality for Oscar consideration. But, after that, Kenya did not submit the film for consideration. Naturally it was eventually hailed by LGBT audiences and was the first Kenyan film to play at the Cannes Film Festival. 

The Salisbury Poisonings (2020) - The three part BBC mini-series became a four part AMC broadcast in the U.S. I'll watch anything featuring Anne-Marie Duff, but I probably would have enjoyed a straight documentary instead of a docu-drama.

THREE SISTERS (1970) - In 1967, Laurence Olivier directed and appeared in a production of Anton Chekhov's play at the National Theatre. Years later, Olivier agreed to do a movie version of his production, making it his final movie as a director. Unlike the previous movies he directed, Olivier decided to maintain the theatrical staging doing little to make the material "cinematic" - except for a sequence showing youngest sister Louise Purnell's dream of a better future in Moscow. For this sequence, Olivier reused some footage from THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL. I don't have alot of patience for plays about miserable people, which is what you get with THREE SISTERS, but a number of the performances here are quite good, particularly Alan Bates, Olivier and Purnell. Master cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth shot the film and reportedly John Sichel assisted in the direction. Also in the cast are Joan Plowright, Derek Jacobi and Ronald Pickup. 

Did not enjoy:

GREYFRIARS BOBBY, aka THE ADVENTURES OF GREYFRIARS BOBBY (2005) - And you thought Charles Dickens stories were heavy? Director John Henderson and co-writers Richard Mathews and Neville Watchurst seem to have felt that the usual inspirational tale of a dog still faithful to his dead master in 1860s Edinburgh, Scotland, needed a strong dose of gritty melodrama to undercut the sentimental stuff. Why factory owner Sean Pertwee and workhouse director Ronald Pickup are such assholes is never explained, and the film fails to provide a cathartic release after generating such hatred of them. Having the dog pee on their shoes isn't enough. It is nice to see Ian Richardson share a scene with Christopher Lee, but not in a courtroom after Richardson has ordered 43 dogs to be poisoned until they are dead.

SHARK NIGHT 3D, aka SHARK NIGHT (2011) - Well, I'll give writers Will Hayes and Jesse Studenberg credit for coming up with a premise that makes this not another JAWS rip-off. Our attractive college vacationers are victims of Louisiana lowlifes who have stocked a salt water lake with sharks so that they can video rich kids being eaten alive. Sara Paxton thinks that lawman Donal Logue is an old friend. She doesn't know that he's the boss of this criminal enterprise. While male viewers may enjoy seeing Paxton, Katharine McPhee and Alyssa Diaz in bikinis, does anyone really want to see McPhee chomped to death by CGI baby sharks? I guess it has become standard for sharks in these kinds of movies to be able to leap into the air and snatch men who have climbed out of the water onto a tree. Former child actor, former junior pro surfer, stunt coordinator and frequent 2nd unit director David R. Ellis directed this flick which I found too mean spirited to be funny.

TAMMY AND THE T-REX, aka TANNY AND THE TEENAGE T-REX (1994) - Aside from hoping that this would become a cult movie, how did the makers of this movie expect this to find an audience? Reportedly, this film was inspired by co-writer and director Stewart Raffill being offered a chance to make a movie with an animatronic T-Rex from South America being sent to a park in Texas. He only had the T-Rex for two weeks, so he quickly came up with a story that would appeal to "people who like wacky movies". The title made it sound like a kid's movie, but Raffill filled it with R-Rated gore effects. Terry Kiser isn't satisfied with the computer controlled T-Rex made for him, and wants to implant an human brain in it to make it more lifelike. Denise Richards' old boyfriend, George Pilgrim, and his gang kidnap Richards' new boyfriend, Paul Walker, and dump him in a wild animal park where he is attacked by a lion. Kiser and his psychotic girlfriend, Ellen Dubin, go to the hospital, declare Walker dead, and then steal his body. After a gory operating sequence which includes Kiser poking Walker's exposed brain to induce a terrific penile erection, Kiser hooks up Walker's brain to the T-Rex. Figuring that he'll give Walker's brain a lobotomy in the morning inorder to put him under control, Kiser leaves for the night. The Walker T-Rex awakens, kills Kiser's two assistants and escapes. He finds a party at which Pilgrim and his gang are in attendance and reeks gory vengeance upon them. After kidnapping Richards from her bedroom, the Walker T-Rex gets her to understand that his brain is in the T-Rex machine. She hopes to put his brain back in his body, but when she opens his casket, the body is in an advanced state of decay with maggots and rats. With the help of Richards' gay friend, Theo Forsett, our heroes capture Kiser and Dubin, and go to the morgue hoping to find a new body for Walker's brain. They fail when the police arrive and Richards go on the run, riding on the back of the T-Rex. Eventually, the Walker T-Rex is destroyed by gunfire, but Richards saved his brain and keeps it in her bedroom. They plan to try and find him a new body, but in the meantime, she hooks the brain up to a videocamera so that she can do a strip tease for him. If nothing else, the makers of this movie deserve credit for casting relatively unknown actors who would become quite famous.


Charles Gilbert watched:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents S05E37 'Escape to Sonoita'. Father and son (James Bell and Burt Reynolds) are crossing the desert in a dilapidated tanker truck that is overheating. A stop to cool off brings along a car with two kidnappers (Murray Hamilton and Harry Dean Stanton) and victim (Venetia Stevenson) tied and gagged in the back seat. The car becomes disabled in a sand pit, so all are stuck needing a drink of water. The two crooks take the truck in search of their quench but are eventually found dead  by the police. Turns out the truck payload was full of water. Wry Hitchcock humor with his intro as a weatherman.

BULLETS DON'T ARGUE (1964) Director Mario Caiano is billed in the credits as Mike Perkins. Bordertown Sheriff Pat Garrett (Rod Cameron) , scarcely before his wedding is over, follows outlaw brothers Billy and George Clayton (Horst Frank and Angel Aranda) into Mexico when his posse retreats at the river. Dodging federales alone he finds the two at a cantina run by Manuel (Andrea Aurelli). The marshal leads them back hog tied across the river to Rivertown, treating them kindly as the younger is wounded. Unscrupulous Mexican rancher Santero (Dick Palmer/Mimmo Palmera) gets wind of the arrest and takes out after the $28 thousand that was stolen by the brothers. They catch up with and kill Billy who had escaped from Garrett, then find the other two in a mining ghost town. Sheriff and prisoner make it to the home of Agnes and her little brother Mike, get rest, and prepare for another raid from the marauding Mexicans. As the house burns down in a gun battle George escapes on horseback, Garrett surrenders the stash to Santero, and then a sudden thunder of hooves signal arrival of the cavalry, with George in attendance. In the commotion Santero vamooses with the money, Garrett pursues in a mad dash for a mano y mano confontation to save the day. George is summarily granted clemency to stay and "help Agnes with the place".

THE ADVENTURES OF NICK CARTER (1972) Television movie failed probation for a series. Robert Conrad perpetuates his athletic prowess as a private eye investigating the death of a colleague Sam Bates (Byron Morrow). Guest stars Broderick Crawford, Shelley Winters, Pernell Roberts.

THE UNFORGIVEN (1960) Lengthy western from Hecht Hill and Lancaster has Burt as Ben the head of the Zacharys, a frontier family including Rachel , Cash, Andy, and mother Matilda (Audrey Hepburn, Audie Murphy, Doug McClure  and Lilian Gish). Clues emerge from the neighboring Kiowa tribe and a lone sabered rider of the night (Joseph Wiseman) that Rachel is in reality a Kiowa herself raised by the Zacharys from infancy. Mild intimations of racism take a back seat to romantic affections between Ben and Rachel.

Highway Patrol:
    'NITRO' S02E25. Counterfeiters hide the copper plates used for printing phony money near tubes of nito glycerine at Warren tungsten mine near Ridgeville. A lone mobster looking to steal them shoots three of the scofflaws preparing to pull up stakes.  Mathews and the boys intercept them.

David Deal enjoyed:

SPUTNIK (20) - 1983: Two cosmonauts return from space.  One is alive and he doesn't remember what happened.  An unorthodox psychologist is called in to investigate.  Solid horror S/F from Russia, well worth a look.


DEATH AND DIAMONDS (67) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a complete review of this Jerry Cotton entry.


Mildly enjoyed:

THE WASHING MACHINE (93) - A detective gets entangled with three sisters who are involved in a supposed murder.  Ruggero Deodato's giallo, shot in Budapest, has a nice look and appropriate music from Claudio Simonetti.  The director turns up the heat with the sex scenes and tosses in some of his trademark gore.  You could definitely do worse.


Bertrand Van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

Black books – season 3 – episodes 2 & 3

The big Lebowski (1997, Joel & Ethan Coen)


Swedish dicks – season 2 – episodes 9 & 10

The watch –season 1 – episode 8

Aunty donna’s big ol’house of fun – season 1 (2020) – episode 6

Ban-deu-si jab-neun-da / The chase (2017, Kim Hong-seon)

Buradeo / The bros (2017, Jang You-jeong)

Borat: Cultural learnings of America for make benefit glorious nation of Kazakhstan (2006, Larry Charles)

Cyborg 2087 (1966, Franklin Adreon)

Carry on teacher (1959, Gerald Thomas)

Sweet home – season 1 – episodes 3 & 4

DC’s legends of tomorrow – season 5 – episodes « Slay anything » (2019, Alexandra la Roche) & « A head of her time » (2019, Avi Youabian)

Mildly enjoyed:

The fortune cookie (1966, Billy Wilder)


Angel Rivera:

I also watched on YouTube "Fire Monsters Vs. the Son of Hercules" which starred the late Reg Lewis whose passing I just learned about; as well as just learning  about him, as I had never heard of him until seeing the news item of his passing. I don't believe I had seen this film before even though "The Mighty Sons of Hercules" was one of my favorite shows growing up in the sixties. But truthfully the most I remember about the show was the theme song. The film itself reminded me a little of "One Million Years BC" which starred Raquel Welch. and was enjoyable for its type.


No comments:

Post a Comment