Friday, April 30, 2021

Week of May 1 - 7, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which star of Italian Westerns was also the credited screenwriter of movies in which he starred?
George Grimes knew that the answer was George Eastman, aka Luigi Montefiori. Angel Rivera and Rick Garibaldi suggested Tony Anthony who often got story credit, but rarely screenplay.

Which American actor got the U.S. rights to an Italian Western and created a new version called AMEN?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Italian actor spoofed Clint Eastwood at the beginning of an Italian Spy/Heist movie?
No one has answered this question yet.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian Western is virtually a remake of BLINDMAN?
Which Italian Western is virtually a remake of JOKO INVOCA DIO... E MUORI?
Which movie starring Richard Harrison is virtually a remake of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes and Rick Garibaldi identified last week's photo of Nick Jordan and Pedro Sanchez in EHI AMICO... C'E SABATA. HAI CHIUSO!, aka SABATA.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

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

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Matthew Barry and Jill Clayburgh in director Bernardo Bertolucci's LA LUNA, aka LUNA.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above frame grab yet.
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:


Bosch season six (2020)

Deadwood season one (2004)

Mildly enjoyed:

The American Experience "Walter Winchell The Power of Gossip" (2021) - Here's an hour long program that never mentions from where I knew him - The Untouchables TV series. Nor does it mention THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS.

THE BLACK SLEEP (1956) - Under her real name Patricia Blake, the future co-star of Yancy Derringer, The Rifleman and Daniel Boone - Patricia Blair - got the screaming role in the final motion picture featuring Bela Lugosi. Basil Rathbone gets the starring position in the credits and brings a regal bearing to the role of the mad surgeon experimenting on living brains. Akim Tamiroff gets second billing and just about steals the film playing a murderous associate with a wicked sense of humor. Lon Chaney gets third billing as a lumbering brute and if you've ever wanted to see Chaney wrestle with Tor Johnson, this is the movie for you. In the fourth position credit wise is John Carradine, who gets to rant like a religious zealot after his brain experimentation. Herbert Rudley is billed sixth and he gets the thankless job of playing the hero under the pedestrian direction of Reginald Le Borg. I feel a bit cheated that everything goes to hell before Rathbone gets a chance to see if his experiments result in his being able to bring Louanna Gardner out of her coma. One of a number of low-budget features produced by Aubrey Schenck's Bel-Air Productions for release by United Artists, THE BLACK SLEEP was shot inside the American National Studios

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "On Broadway" with Audra McDonald and Mandy Patinkin (2021)

PAPILLION (1973) - Whether Henri Charriere's book is an novel or an autobiography doesn't really matter to these filmmakers as they rewrote the story anyway. Reportedly Lorenzo Semple Jr. originally wrote the screenplay, and then Dalton Trumbo was brought in to turn the character played by Dustin Hoffman from being minor to being a co-star. While director Franklin J. Schaffner brought his usual elegant visual style to the proceedings, the proceedings eventually become rather dull at 150 minutes. With very little humor, the film has a stately pace which vividly communicates the grim story that is no fun. Some of the casting choices does raise eyebrows - such a Victory Jory as a native chief in Honduras, Anthony Zerbe as a leper and Bill Mumy as a young prisoner. French producer Robert Dorfmann of Les Films Corona partnered with American director Franklin J. Schaffner to make the film, and the decision to make it like an American movie starring Steve McQueen seems to have been a smart decision financially.

Did not enjoy:

ALWAYS SHINE (2015) - Having enjoyed Mackenzie Davis in TERMINATOR DARK FATE, I was interested in seeing her in something else - but not in a kind of remake of PERSONA. Davis plays an abrasive actress who goes for a weekend with her more demure friend Caitlin FitzGerald, whom I enjoyed in the Showtime series Masters of Sex. Davis is envious of the fact that FitzGerald is getting more work as an actress, partly because FitzGerald goes along with requests to do nudity and she doesn't cause trouble on the set. Ominous music and several "shock" edits let us know that things are not going to turn out well, and at about the midway point in the film Davis attackes FitzGerald. The filmmakers get coy about what happens, except that the moon disappears. In the morning Davis wakes up and becomes FitzGerald, even seeing FitzGerald taking her place exercising on the porch. Eventually, after seeing FitzGerald acting like her at a party, Davis runs away and we seeing a repeat of their fight, only this time we see FitzGerald strangle Davis to death. In the morning, Davis wakes up in the forest. When she arrives back home, she sees the coroner taking away a body, which we assume is FitzGerald, and Davis sheds a tear. It would seem that after this film, Sophia Takal gave up her acting career to pursue directing full time with her husband, writer Lawrence Michael Levine, with whom she created Little Teeth Pictures. Two other actresses I like but would reather see in something else are Jane Adams and Colleen Camp.

THE BAT PEOPLE (1974) - Don't you hate it when you are making love with your husband and he turns into a man-bat thing? Actually, for most of the running time of this flick, the filmmakers play with the idea that Stewart Moss might be just going crazy. After all, he was already having nightmares about being a bat before he goes into the Carlsbad Caverns and gets bitten. But, eventually, when would-be rapist cop Michael Pataki follows Moss into the Caverns to arrest him for a series of murders, Moss is transformed into a monster courtesy of special effects make up man Stan Winston. However, Pataki ends up dead when his patrol car is swarmed by normal sized bats which inspires him to blow his own head off with a shotgun. In the end, wife Marianne McAndrew (who was married to Stewart Moss in real life) goes to join her husband in the Caverns, perhaps turned by that one last fling in bed. Jerry Jameson is the credited director on this dull movie, but writer/producer Lou Shaw takes the possessory credit "A Lou Shaw Film". Prior to BAT PEOPLE, Shaw was one of the producers on the made in Spain Horror flick CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD, aka YOUNG HANNAH QUEEN OF THE VAMPIRES. After BAT PEOPLE, he  went back to working on American television, including creating Quincy, M.E. with Glen A. Larson. Director Jameson would work again with Moss and Pataki on RAISE THE TITANIC.

PAPILLON (2017) - Why remake the 1973 film? This version is no more faithful to the book than the 1973 version. But they added some bits, reportedly from the followup book BANCO showing our hero's life in Paris before his arrest. - which allows for female nudity missing from the earlier film - and a tag at the end where in our hero brings his manuscript to a French publisher. New writer Aaron Guzikowski also added just about every current prison cliche to the mix, including the attack in the prison shower, gratuitous beating of inmates by guards and a lack of loyalty among escapees. Charlie Hunnam is not a star of the caliber of Steve McQueen. Surprisingly, he doesn't bring the same gravitas to the role either. Continuing the fiction of the first film, the 2017 version is another buddy love story with Rami Malek in the Dustin Hoffman role. Surprisingly, the filmmakers again don't go for the gritty on this character, even though they went for the gore in an earlier visualization of an inmate getting his guts pulled out inorder to find the money secreted up his butt. Danish film director Michael Noer shoots the film in a very conventional way, which results in a quicker pace and a shorter running time of 133 minutes. However, it also results in none of the sense of the epic which Franklin J. Schaffner brought to the 1973 version. Who would have thought that the 1933 KING KONG would be shown at this French penal colony?


Charles Gilbert watched:

MONEY, WOMEN, AND GUNS (1958) Jock Mahoney plays cowboy detective Silver Ward Hogan investigating a murder. He makes a friend in widow Kim Hunter's little son and starts to woo her. Once he solves the crime, they go for that evening stroll. Not so much as a kiss the entire movie. Lon Chaney Jr. appears half way through.

GARGOYLES (1972) Made-for-tv movie with Cornel Wilde and Jennifer Salt who encounter living gargoyles with wings, and hatched from eggs in the desert of the Southwest. Bernie Casey plays the chief gargoyle with impressive mask but inferior body costume.

NEW ORLEANS UNCENSORED (1955) B&W. William Castle directs. Ex Navy sailor Dan Corbett (Arthur Franz) espies the suspicious dock operations run by sleazy hood Zero Saxon (Michael Ansara). With Beverly Garland and Helene Stanton (Dr. Drew Pinsky's mama).

ROCKETSHIP XM (1950) B&W. Early moonshot celluloid from Lippert Pictures with Lloyd Bridges piloting a crew of 5 whose course is diverted to Mars. (easy to do) There they encounter feral hostile humans in a desert dystopia. Two astronauts die on Mars and the rest head back to earth with grim conclusion.

Vega$ 1978 television:
     Pilot episode 'Highroller'. Robert Urich as private eye Dan Tanna, who from the outset, is openly amorous with his sister (Catherine Hickland) and secretary (Phyllis Davis), is hired to find a runaway teen prostitute (Elissa Leeds) by mom and step dad (June Allyson and Jack Kelly). Two hundred dollars a day plus expenses. When her deceased body is found in the desert he further conducts a personal investigation that leads to one of her 'Johns' (Michael Lerner) from whom she purloined a credit card layered with a strip of film containing vital information.
     S01E01 'Centerfold'. Cristiina Ferrere guests stars as a model being blackmailed by hood John Erickson.
     S01E03 'The Games Girls Play'. Three classy wives from Beverly Hills (Shelley Fabare, Linda Thompson, and Tiffany Bolling) blackmail a senator (Don Porter) when compromising pictures are furtively taken. But one of them becomes target for death when her husband (Ed Nelson) with money woes schemes to cash in on a life insurance policy.
     S01E03 'Mother Mishkin'. An old lady is target for scare, and then death when an ex prostitute (Anne Francis) seeks revenge for 'Mother Mishkin' depriving but having rescued her daughter from that sordid life. Ross Martin also appears.
     S01E04 'Love, Laugh, and Die' The mother (Dorothy Malone) of a murdered call-girl appeals to Dan for investigation on the circumstances surrounding her fall from grace. He finds out three of the daughter's well-heeled clients (Andrew Duggan, Bobby Van, and Robert Mandan) had been blackmailed, but turns out her boyfriend (Don Galloway) is culprit.
     S01E05 'My Darling Daughter' The daughter (Lauren Tewes) of legendary country music star Hank Jenner (Strother Martin), long thought dead, gets a glimpse of him at her wedding. Dan Tanna sets out to find him who has been posing in cognito as a clown. She has a surprise for him when they reunite, demonstrating hatred by firing a rifle at her father for euthanising her cancer-ridden mother. 

David Deal enjoyed:


DJANGO THE BASTARD (69) - Finally got around to watching the new Blu-ray.

THE SHOOTING (66) - For Monte Hellman.  This one is my favorite of his.


THE PHANTOM OF SOHO (63) - I never tire of the German Edgar Wallace cycle from the 1960s.

SOUL (20)

BLACK TIGHT KILLERS (66) - This could us a Blu upgrade.

Mildly enjoyed:



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