Friday, May 21, 2021

May 22 - 28, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian Western is virtually a remake of BLINDMAN?
COMIN' AT YA! aside from the hero having sight and his bride being among the stolen women.

Which Italian Western is virtually a remake of JOKO INVOCA DIO... E MUORI?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which movie starring Richard Harrison is virtually a remake of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Italian director went from making his second Western to making a dramatic film featuring Richard Harrison?
No one has answered this question yet.

By what name is Cole Kitosch better known?
George Grimes, Rick Garibaldi, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Alberto Dell' Acqua.

Which Spanish actress, born in 1934, appeared in Italian Sword & Sandal and then Westerns?
George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem  knew that it was Elisa Montes.

Which Italian Western features our hero having to face his grown-up kidnapped son in a climactic shootout?

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian actor went from being a stunt man on Italian Westerns to being the star of a film directed by Vittorio De Sica?
Which Italian star of Westerns was romantically linked to Ursula Andress for four years?
In which Italian Western is our hero known for his skill with an axe?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Rick Garibaldi identified last week's frame grab of Fabio Testi in CHINA 9, LIBERTY 37, aka AMORE, PIOMBO E FURORE.
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 Yann Larvor in ERCOLE, SANSONE, MACISTE E URSUS GLI INVINCIBILI, aka SAMSON AND THE MIGHTY CHALLENGE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Michèle Mercier in LE PRIGIONERE DELL'ISOLA DEL DIAVOLO, aka WOMEN OF DEVIL'S ISLAND.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes and Angel Rivera identified last week's frame grab of Gordon Liu in THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, aka MASTER KILLER.
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:


DEADWOOD The Movie (2019) - Less a continuation of the too soon cancelled HBO series, this TV movie is more of a corrective to where the series ended. Possibly stung by how upset viewers were by an ending in which evil won completely, writer/creator David Milch brings back most of his surviving cast to provide a more positive ending - even though it is historically invalid. 

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS (2012) - Director Daniel Schechter co-wrote this charming little film with co-star Tarik Lowe and then hit the jackpot by getting Alex Karpovsky to appear as Lowe's buddy. Having the two guys working as film editors adds a level of interest for film buffs. but the movie is ultimately a bittersweet romance. Getting Sophia Takal to play Karpovsky's fiance is another coup, which makes her decision to give up acting for directing in 2016 all the more regretable. Those who know Karpovsky from HBO's Girls will get a kick out of finding Lena Dunham in a minor role. Melonie Diaz plays Lowe's love interest and with Arielle Kebbel and Kevin Corrigan adds to the film's texture.

Mildly enjoyed:

DEVIL DOLL (1964) - For years I thought this was another insane ventriloquist movie like the Michael Redgrave story in DEAD OF NIGHT or William Goldman's MAGIC. But this was directed by Lindsay Shonteff, who made one of my favorite movies in 1965 - LICENSED TO KILL, aka THE 2nd BEST SECRET AGENT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Giving it a look-see, I was very pleased to find that it wasn't what I thought it was; it was the story of a ventriloquist who figured out how to imprison a person's life force inside a ventriloquist dummy. Once again, this feat was credited to studying the mystic arts in Tibet. At times the film seemed more interested in the erotic rather than the horrific, but that was not a terrible thing when Yvonne Romain and Sandra Dorne were present. 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY's William Sylvester played the heroic newspaper man hired to do a puff piece on ventriloquist Bryant Haliday. It was a plus that the filmmakers acknowledged that Haliday was wearing a fake beard since it was very apparent on first sight. Reportedly fellow Canadian film director Sidney J. Furie was initially hired to direct this film, but handed it off to Shonteff when Furie got an offer to make THE LEATHER BOYS. 

Midsomer Murders "The Village That Rose From the Dead" (2016)

LA TIGRE DEI SETTE MARI, aka TIGER OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1962) - In 1960, Gianna Maria Canale became LA VENERE DEI PIRATI. Two years later, she's in a similar role as the daughter of Carlo Ninchi. The captaincy of Ninchi's pirate ship, the Santa Maria, traditionally goes to his son, but he's only got a daughter. Anthony Steel is in love with Canale, so, naturally when the new captain is to be determined by a duel, it is Steel vs. Canale. Canale wins and spares Steel's life much to his humiliation. When Ninchi is murdered with Steel's knife, everyone assumes that our hero is guilty and sentences him to be hanged. Thankfully, the Spanish soldiers launch a surprise attack allowing Steel to escape. He escapes with the Santa Maria, which Canale assumes proves his guilt. (?) Meanwhile, captured pirate Andrea Aureli complains to the Spanish governor's wife, Maria Grazia Spina, that the surprise attack foiled his plan to get his hands on the whereabouts of Ninchi's buried treasure. Rallying her band of escaped pirates, Canale seizes a Spanish ship and embarks on a new reign of piracy, hoping to find Steel and get back her father's ship. Eventually, Steel and Canale find each other, and he surrenders before she can attack him. He knows that the real murderer of Ninchi is in the governor's fort, and he tells of his plan to capture him. Of course, Steel ends up captured, and gets tortured by Aureli, hoping to find the whereabouts of Ninchi's treasure. Hearing that Steel is a prisoner, Canale plans to rescue him during the governor's masked ball. A battle ensues, augmented by footage from other Italian pirate movies, but complicated by Steel giving Aureli false directions to the treasure. Governor Ernesto Calindri is captured by the pirates, but Steel and Canale are captured by the governor's wife. She agrees to let our heroes go free in exchange for Ninchi's treasure. The film then drops all pretense to seriousness as Spina consoles Calindri that while he doesn't have any pirates to hang, they do have a fabulous treasure. Meanwhile, Steel and Canale sail away bickering about who wears the pants in the family. Luigi Capuano shoots most of the film in long shots with only a few close ups, which results in little visual excitement. Bruno Arie is credited as the Fencing Master and he relies heavily on Nazzareno Zamperla as Steel's best friend to deliver the best of the sword fighting bits. Canale displays her usual energy in the fight scenes and her usual attractiveness in the romantic bits. Steel seems to be considered a marquee name for the production, but he doesn't look well and makes for a poor figure of heroism. John Kitzmiller gets a good amount of screen time as Canale's faithful servant, who doesn't have any lines because his tongue had been ripped out. He does get to die with his head on Canale's left breast, which I would think is a plus. Carlo Rustichelli is credited with the uninspiring music score.

THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES (1957) - If Tyrone Power and Henry Fonda weren't pretty enough as the James brothers, how about Robert Wagner and Jeffrey Hunter? This maybe considered a remake of the 1939 JESSE JAMES directed by King Vidor, but it is a complete reworking of the material. The film starts with the ill-fated Northfield Minnesota bank robbery that proved to be the end of the James Gang and spends a good amount of time on the posse's efforts to capture Frank and Jesse. As the news spreads about what happened, various associates of the brothers have extended flashbacks about the events leading up to the current troubles. The conflicts between neighbors during the Civil War are blamed for Jesse becoming an outlaw, and then director Nicholas Ray portrays Wagner becoming twisted by fame. While much of this is told in a corny way, the story is surprisingly unsentimental - though, or course, Wagner renounces his evil ways before being shot in the back. Why the filmmakers decided to hide the Pinkerton Detective Agency behind the name Remington is something to ponder. Not surprisingly the film lies about the James family owning slaves.  Footage from the 1939 was formatted for Cinemascope inorder to not having to duplicate a couple of dangerous stunts.

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007) - Every other movie about Jesse James has him retiring from the outlaw life after the debacle in Northfield, Minnesota. This is the first I've seen that mentions the Blue Cut, Missouri train robbery. Perhaps that was partly what inspired Ron Hansen to write the novel, which was published in 1983. As with alot of new versions of famous killings, this movie suggests that James wanted Robert Ford to kill him. It also suggests that James had been systematically murdering everyone who helped in in the Blue Cut train robbery, so the Ford brothers feared for their lives. Reportedly, writer/director Andrew Dominik wanted the movie to be over four hours long, but the studio insisted it be shortened to two hours and forty minutes. Considering all of the marvelous actors who show up for only a short time, it is easy to believe that they were originally hired to do more than what we see in the final film. Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell get most of the screen time. Mary-Louise Parker, Sarah Lind, Alison Elliot and Zoey Deschanel are criminally under used. It is not a surprise to find that one of Domnik's favorite films is BARRY LYNDON, because even at the shorter length, the film is in no hurry to tell its story. Other actors of note in the film are Jeremy Renner, Garrett Dillahunt, Sam Shepard, Michael Parks, James Carville and Nick Cave. 

Uncnsrd "DMX" (2021)

Did not enjoy:

ASYLUM (2008) - Remember back in 1972 when there was only one movie called ASYLUM? Now we've got one in 2005, 2008, 2014 and a TV series in 2015. Former pro surfer and stuntman David R. Ellis is the director of the 2008 release; his followup to 2006's SNAKES ON A PLANE. Sarah Roemer is among a group of new students to Richard Miller University. who arrives early for orientation. Soon they discover that their dorm was built on the ruins of Burke Asylum, where a mad doctor tortured his patients in an effort to "cure" them. The mad doctor was killed during a patient riot, but he absorbed the souls of his victims and so returns to kill off the new students. Roemer and her boyfriend survive the night and then dispatch the evil spirit in the morning. Writer Ethan Lawrence provides Ellis with plenty of opportunities to feature victims screaming while blood gushes. Unfortunately, neither comes up with anything interesting.

JESSE JAMES (1939) - Tyrone Power plays the title role as a peaceful farm boy who becomes an outlaw when the evil agent of the St. Louis Midland Railroad, Brian Donlevy kills his ma while trying to steal their land. There's no mention of James riding with Quantrills' Raiders or the family being slave owners or even the Civil War. He's only out for revenge on the railroad. He's even got a faithful black servant named Pinky. This movie, with a script credited to Associate Producer Nunnally Johnson, is complete bullshit. The James Gang started out robbing banks. Robbing trains came later. And the populace of Northfield, Minnesota was not tipped off about the arrival of the James Gang; they just responded quickly. Lon Chaney Jr. is supposed to have been one of the James Gang, but I didn't see him. Whose idea was it to have a love triangle between Jesse, his wife Zee - played by Nancy Kelly - and Marshal Will Wright - played by Randolph Scott. Who came up with the bullshit about Jesse turning himself in to face a light sentence and then having the railroad president - played by Donald Meek - trying to get him hung? And then there's the running gag with newspaper editor Henry Hull proposing editorials against whomever is currently annoying him always ending with take them out and shoot them like a dog.

SANSONE E IL TESORO DEGLI INCAS, aka LOST TREASURE OF THE AZTECS, aka SAMSON AND THE LOST TREASURE OF THE INCAS (1964) - While it's kind of fun seeing veterans of mythological films in Western garb, there's no getting around that this movie is bad. Director Piero Pierotti seems to want it both ways, with Alan Steel nicknamed "Arizona" in the English version and "Samson" in the Italian. One might think of him as Maciste, except that he wears pants. For the most part, Steel uses his fists, but he's not adverse to pulling a pistol, too. The screenwriters throw a lot of story elements into the mix, but probably should have considered dropping some rather than leaving so many plots unresolved. Initially, the bad guy, Mario Petri, had Carlo Tamberlani, murdered in a plot to steal his land. As part of the plot, Toni Sailer is framed for the murder. Best friend Alan Steel prevents the mob from hanging Sailer and arranges for Sailer to be taken to the jail in Silver City. Petri sends his men to kill Sailer in transit. On the road, Sailer meets Anna Maria Polani, but can't tell that she's a woman. Petri's men attack, but Sailer and Polani ride off to get help. Steel finds Sailer and Polani and tells them to hide in the desert. Coincidentally, that desert is where the Lost City of the Aztecs, or Incas, is. Polani is to be the "Bride of the Sun God" and had been sent from down Mexico way to prevent the Lost City from being destroyed by the Fire God. Wolfgang Lukschy convinces Petri to go the desert in search of the Lost City and it's fabled treasure, dropping whatever plot he was hatching for Tamberlani's land. The head priest of the Lost City decides to lure both the good guys and the bad guys through the golden gates into what they call a city but hardly seems to be a pueblo. The idea is that the good guys and the bad guys will fight, and who ever survives will be the sacrifice to the Fire God. Naturally, the good guys prevail, but then so does Petri, who seems to have gone mad. When the priest discovers that Polani has fallen in love with Sailer, she too is to be part of the sacrifice. In the end, Steel suddenly goes all strongman and rips off his chains. At the same time, the underground volcano called the Fire God erupts allowing the good guys, with Petri, to escape. For this synopsis, I've left out the story elements involving Pierre Cressoy, who gets to play a good guy, Brigitte Heiberg and Dada Gallotti. A.F. Lavagnino provides an toe-tapping music score that often times seems at odds with the high body count. Was this movie inspired by 1954's SECRET OF THE INCAS or by the popularity of the German produced movies based on the books by Karl May? Or was it The Phantom Empire serial starring Gene Autry?


Charles Gilbert watched:

FRANKENSTEIN '80 (1972) Gordon Mitchell in a kitschy role as Dr. Otto Frankenstein who whips up a bald headed monster in his modern home hidden lab. The monster's proclivities lean towards bawdy females.

The Man From Blackhawk S01E06 'Station Six'. Colorized 1959 tv western starring Robert Rockwell as insurance agent Sam Logan investigating a widow whose indemnity claim is suspect. Her two consecutive husbands died in fires.

Shannon tv show 1961 B&W. S01E02  'The Embezzler's Daughter'.  George Nader is Joe Shannon who is working for an insurance company, tracking down an ex-charactor actor widower absconding with a bag of loot. Joe picks up his teen daughter (Candy Moore) who plans to rendesvous with dad whose partners want in on the action. Unaware of this until now.

THE SIGN OF ROME (1959) Anita Eckberg plays Palmirian Queen Zenobia xenophobic of hegemonic Romans. She enlists aid from banished consul Marcus Valerius (Georges Marchal). Meanwhile the Persians have abducted ceremonial vestal virgin Batsheba (Lorella de Luca) and mean to sacrifice her until centurion Julianus (Jacques Sernas) interrupts with a well placed arrow in the back of high priest Paul Mueller (with shaven pate). Mimmo Palmera in a sympathetic role. Exquisite print from Film & Clips.

SCALPS (1987) Grim tale of abuse by a Confederate colonel (Alberto Farnese) who refuses to acknowledge defeat at the hands of the Union army, and begins marauding a local indian tribe with designs on a young maiden (Mapi Galan). She escapes capture after a massacre, and takes up with rancher Matt Brown (Vassili Karis);  and conducts 'Rambo' attacks on the southern regiment. Director is Bruno Mattei. Richard Harrison is credited with the story  but does not appear. Also courtesy of Film & Clips

SINBAD AND THE CALIPH OF BAGHDAD (1973) Obscure actor Robert Malcolm plays both as twins mutually unaware until the throne of Persia is at stake. Even less renown is Sonia Wilson as the princess they both covet. The film is played like a Toto romp. Peplum troopers Arturo Dominici and Franco Fantasia appear. Pietro Francisci directs.

David Deal enjoyed:





Mildly enjoyed:

THE FILE OF THE GOLDEN GOOSE (69) - Irritable Secret Service agent Yul Brynner and Brit partner Edward Woodward go undercover to bust a counterfeiting ring.  Only occasionally compelling, this crime drama slips by without leaving much of an impression.

DOOMED TO DIE (40) - Another tepid Mr. Wong mystery with Boris Karloff features Marjorie Reynolds and Grant Withers is the inevitable cop.


Bertrand Van Wonterghem highly enjoyed:

Walliams and friends – season 1 – episodes 3 & 4


Sijipeuseu: The Myth  / Sisyphus the myth – season 1 – episode  13

Agente segreto 777 : operazione mistero (1965, Enrico Bomba)

Mildly enjoyed:

Mortal kombat (2020, Simon McQuaid)


Angel Rivera wrote: 

"After watching DUEL OF THE TITANS, I decided to have a Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott marathon. First I watched THE AVENGER aka THE LEGEND OF AENEAS! I had never seen it before and was mildly amused. The real surprise was THE GIANT OF MARATHON! Not only did it have two very beautiful women (Mylène Demongeot and Daniela Rocca) but also an awesome villain in the form of Sergio Fantoni. The plot though familiar was still entertaining and well performed by the cast.

"Next I watched the two eurospy films Gordon Scott did, DANGER! DEATH RAY and TOP SECRET! Scott looked cool wearing fashionable sixties clothing and the films while campy were still enjoyable for what they were.

"I also watched two interesting horror films. First, THE CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR featuring Christopher Lee and the great Boris Karloff , in  an interesting tale of witchcraft and then Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Alida Valli and Telly Savalas. in LISA AND THE DEVIL. This film was directed by the legendary Mario Bava and while it was more style than substance and made in 1972, it still had three of the most beautiful international female stars who were still remarkable  to watch. It was also interesting to see Elke and Sylva together again as they were two of the deadliest assassins ever to grace the screen in DEADLIER THAN THE MALE."


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