Thursday, May 27, 2021

May 28 - June 4, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

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?
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.

Which Italian actor went from being a stunt man on Italian Westerns to being the star of a film directed by Vittorio De Sica?
Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Fabio Testi.

Which Italian star of Westerns was romantically linked to Ursula Andress for four years?
George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was Fabio Testi.

In which Italian Western is our hero known for his skill with an axe?
George Grimes and Bertrand Van Wonterghem knew that it was MANNAJA, aka A MAN CALLED BLADE.

And now for some new brain teasers:

What artifact gives away that Lee Van Cleef was at the massacre of John Philip Law's family in DA UOMO A UOMO?
What artifact links Lee Van Cleef to the murder of Rosemary Dexter in PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIU?
What is the hero's name in POCHI DOLLARI PER DJANGO?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem and George Grimes and  identified last week's photo of Lo Lieh, Patty Shepard and Lee Van Cleef from EL KARATE EL COLT Y EL IMPOSTER, aka THE STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER, aka BLOOD MONEY.
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 Ornella Vanoni in ROMOLO E REMO, aka DUEL OF THE TITANS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes, Angel Rivera and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Stefania Sandrelli and Dustin Hoffman in ALFREDO, ALFREDO.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Meng Lo from CHINATOWN KID.
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:



Mildly enjoyed:

THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID (1972) - Casting a balding Robert Duvall as Jesse James makes this the most unique movie about that famous outlaw, but writer/director Philip Kaufman sets out to make Cole Younger, played by Cliff Robertson, the real leader of the gang. Also unique is the staging of the robbery during a rain storm, with only one of the Youngers, Bob played by Matt Clark, wounded during the escape (which seems to historically accurate). Also unique is the idea that Cole Younger wore a leather bullet proof vest. In this film, Cole conceives the Northfield raid, but dismisses it when it seems that the gang will get amnesty. After Cole is wounded in an ambush by Pinkerton detectives (which seems to be historically false), Jesse goes into evangelical mode proclaiming that he's had a vision to rob the bank in Northfield, Minnesota. When he recovers, Cole wants to stop Jesse from ruining the chance for amnesty with the Northfield job, so he and some others race to stop Jesse. On the way, Cole hears that the railroad people bribed politicians to stop the amnesty, so he decides to join the robbery. Arriving in Northfield first, Cole discovers that the bank has no money in it because of the financial crisis of 1873. Cole convinces bank owner Dana Elcar to con the locals into thinking that a gold shipment has been delivered to the bank - with the help of Elisha Cook Jr. - inorder for them to fill the vault with deposits that the outlaws could steal tomorrow. Joined by Jesse and his guys, that gang hits the bank during a rain storm. The robbery goes awry when the local crazy guy, played by Royal Dano, is murdered on top of a steam powered calliope. Rather than portray Jim Younger having part of his jaw shot off during the Northfield raid, Kaufman has Luke Askew play the role mute after an earlier wound that shot off his upper lip. THE GREAT NORTHFIELD MINNESOTA RAID looks to be a movie that was heavily reworked in the editing room - with a lot of ADR dialogue and jump cuts, but perhaps Kaufman was just trying to be fashionable. Many reviews at the time accused the film of trying to be like M*A*S*H with the comedic baseball game. In any case, for what reason did he decide to make a movie about an historic event and ignore the facts? And howcome while Allan Pinkerton is portrayed in the movie, does his character not get listed in Wikipedia or the IMDb? There is a recurring joke about Pinkerton on board a train filled with his agents failing to get the Younger-James gang. Perhaps this bit was inspired by the portrayal of Joe Lefors in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.

IT'S COMPLICATED (2009) - I'm not much of a fan of films by Nancy Meyers, but for the first one hour and thirty minutes this was my favorite of her movies. Then it became rather predictably more complicated. Meryl Streep was luminous as a divorced woman facing the "empty nest" syndrome after her youngest child moves out to go to college. Alec Baldwin was fun as the ex-husband who suddenly found his ex-wife desirable after his newer younger wife became more demanding. Steve Martin was remarkably subdued as the potential new man in Streep's life. The lovely Hunter Parrish, Zoe Kazan and Caitlin FitzGerald played the Streep/Baldwin children, with Kazan and FitzGerald being particularly charming. John Krasinski made FitzGerald's fiance memorable with amazing reaction shots. One can fault the filmmaker for not bringing back Streep's girlfriends - Mary Kay Place, Rita Wilson and Alexandra Wentworth - and Baldwin's wife, Lake Bell, in the end to see their reactions to where the story ended. The film got points for using a clip from THE GRADUATE and a bit from David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel".

Midsomer Murders (2017) "Crime and Punishment"

SAVE YOURSELF! (2020) - "The year humankind lost planet Earth." Yuppie (or Millennial) couple Sunita Mani and John Paul Reynolds decide to spend a week disconnected from electronic world at a friend's cabin in the woods. So, it takes a few days before they realize that the Earth has been invaded by "Puff Balls" (aka pouffes - kind of like Tribbles) from outer space. Mani and Reynolds are quite charming, but the couple comedy gets a bit draggy. The danger isn't really introduced until about halfway through the movie, but it is rather effective, though neither character acts in a way that I would have. Writer/directors Alex Huston Fischer and Eleanor Wilson decide to have an unresolved ending, which is frustrating. If this was a film designed for a mainstream audience, one might accuse them of trying to bait a desire for a sequel.

Uncensored Special: DMX The Icon (2021)

Unsung "The Jones Girls" (2021)

Did not enjoy:

ALIAS JESSE JAMES (1959) - Woody Allen often said that in his early films he was just trying to be Bob Hope. It is pretty obvious while watching this movie - you can see that what Bob Hope was doing was pretty similar to what Allen would do. So why was Allen funny and Hope not? I credit Allen's writing, which he said was inspired by trying to impress college educated girls that he was better educated than he was. Norman Z. McLeod directed this silly tale which was dedicated to the door-to-door insurance salesmen who made America great. First we have to accept that at one point Jesse James, played by Wendell Corey, traveled to New York City, and even though he was recognized and became front page news, was not bothered by local authorities. He met incompetent insurance salesman Bob Hope in a bar where he exchanged a bag full of cash for an $100,000 insurance policy to be paid out to future wife Rhonda Fleming. Hope's boss saw this policy as potentially destroying the company, so Hope was ordered to go out and make certain that Corey didn't die. In Missouri, Corey hatched a plot to disguise Hope as Jesse James, murder him and then collect the insurance policy. Naturally, all of Corey's attempts failed, and Fleming fell in love with Hope. Hope foiled Corey's attempt to marry Fleming by spiking the punch with "magic mushrooms", but finally the big showdown happened back in town. Being unable to pull a Winchester from the rifle rack in the sheriff's office, Hope drags the whole rack out into the street and succeeds in firing all of the rifles at once - which is a trick similar to what the Scotish family does in defending the farm in SETTE PISTOLE PER I MACGREGOR seven years later. Earlier, Hope pulled a trick which was echoed in PER UN PUGNO DI DOLLARI - he wore an armor breast plate under his shirt before a gunfight. As the James gang attacked, Hope fought back - not knowing that a host of Western guest stars showed up to help him - Hugh O'Brian from Wyatt Earp, Ward Bond from Wagon Train, James Arness from Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers (who seemed to have killed a man, which he never did on his TV show), Fess Parker from Davy Crockett, Gail Davis from Annie Oakley, Gary Cooper, Jay Silverheels from The Lone Ranger and non Western star but frequent Hope sidekick Bing Crosby. Finally, Corey and brother Frank, played by Jim Davis, were arrested and Hope made president of the insurance company. The film ended with Fleming visiting Hope in his office after he told a client that he had insurance for everything. After we see that they now have six children with another on the way, Hope commented that you can't get insurance against everything. Also in the cast were Mike Mazurki, Gloria Talbot as an Indian princess who never got a reward for saving Hope, and Glenn Strange as a member of the James gang. This was a production of Hope Enterprises that was able to reuse some footage from the 1939 JESSE JAMES just as THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES had done.

AMERICAN OUTLAWS (2001) - THE TRUE STORY OF JESSE JAMES keeps looking better and better. Who in 2000 thought it was the right time for another bullshit movie about Jesse James - and one which has an happy ending? It is appropriate that the legal disclaimer reports that this is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. Unlike the 1939 JESSE JAMES movie, this one mentions the James brothers as members of Quantrill's Raiders, but pretends that they laid down their weapons when they heard that the war was over. With action scenes seemingly inspired by John Woo movies, Colin Farrell makes Jesse into a old time Batman. Just as in the 1939 flick, Jesse becomes an outlaw because of the deeds of the evil railroad men. This time the villains are personified as Terry O'Quinn and his boss Harris Yulin. Tossing away the bullshit about "Remington" agents, Timothy Dalton plays Allan Pinkerton himself, taking on the James case personally. Most of the film is taken up with comedic banter featuring one-upsmanship between the James and the Younger brothers. Ali Larter appears as Zee, who won't marry Jesse until he gives up the outlaw life - but then fires a cannon to stop a train carrying her husband to trial in Washington D.C. Some critics thought this was an attempt to follow the success of YOUNG GUNS, but that film paid some attention to history.

THE DARK (2005) - It is nice to see Sean Bean play a nice guy in this. On the other hand, why would anyone want to make a movie in which for most of its running time Maria Bello is in torment, and then end it with a bummer. Thankfully, director John Fawcett would redeem himself later by co-creating the Orphan Black TV series. For a bit, this looked like it would be  a remake of POLTERGEIST with a mother going into the beyond to rescue her daughter. But it isn't.

DARK TIDE (2012) - This film seems more interested in being a tourist advertisement for nature reserves in South Africa than in being a thriller. There are gorgeous shots of huge seal populations and cautionary messages about swimming with the sharks. But, being a shark movie, people get killed. Alot of the action takes place at night and in attempting to get realistic lighting, the filmmakers fail to make the attacks visable. Who the hell were the military like scuba divers that suddenly show up in the middle of the movie inorder to be killed while searching at night for something? If they were connected to the stupid rich guy who dragged the reluctant shark expert Halle Berry out to "Shark Alley" I missed the information. Former actor John Stockwell showed a lot of promise at the beginning of his directing career with CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL and BLUE CRUSH. Hopefully this and SEAL TEAM 6: THE RAID ON OSAMA BIN LADEN aren't where his career is heading.

INVASION U.S.A. (1985) - Sure it is stupid. But is it fun? No, just irritating. The special effects and stunt guys get a real workout on this movie, which has a lot of explosions, but director Joseph Zito fails to create any decent action sequences. The screenwriters lose points for creating an annoying female journalist character, played by Melissa Prophet, but gain back some points by not having her become a romantic interest. Was Tom Savini brought in to do Special Effects Makeup on the woman getting a straw slammed up her nose?

IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY (2010) - In 2004 author Ned Vizzini checked himself into a psychiatric hospital having had suicidal thoughts. In 2006, he turned that experience into a Young Adult novel, which was made into a movie by writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Three years later Vizzini gave up his battle and killed himself at the age of 32. But that's not the material for the movie. In the movie, 16 year old Keir Gilchrist feels the weight of the world and so he seeks help at an hospital. They sign him up for a five day observation stay, but as the juvenile wing is undergoing renovation, he is put into the adult ward. Viola Davis is the doctor who helps him to realize that he must resist pressure to be something he doesn't want to be and to figure out what he wants to do. Viewers can pretty much figure out the message of the movie from the very beginning, but the storytellers try to maintain interest with all of the characters in the ward. Zach Galifianakis gets the most screen time, but Gilchrist also gets a romance with Emma Roberts. It's nice to see Jeremy Davies play a good guy, and our hero's parents are played by Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan. Author Ned Vizzini appears as the ward's music therapist who leads everyone in a fantasy performance of "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen. Zoë Kravitz appears as the girl in school about whom Gilchrist obsesses and the viewer can certainly understand why. A few years later, Boden and Fleck directed CAPTAIN MARVEL for the MCU.

ROADHOUSE 66 (1984) - Driving along Route 66 to California, Judge Reinhold ignores hitchhiker Willem Dafoe until local thugs from Kingman, Arizona shoot a hole in his radiator. Dafoe offers to help Reinhold in exchange for a lift, but then they both find themselves stuck in Kingman. On the plus side, both find ladies to love - Kaaren Lee and Kate Vernon. On the negative side, the local thugs cause even more trouble. It all comes to a climax with a classic car race, in which the main villain, Alan Autry, sabotages Reinhold's drive by dropping scorpions onto his seat. Luckily, Dafoe is also in the race. After picking up Reinhold on the road, Dafoe looks to be winning when Autry pulls a pistol. Reinhold causes Dafoe to swerve, which sends Autry crashing into desert rocks. We don't get an update on Autry's condition before our heroes drive out of town in new cars with their ladies. A big plus is that Nelson Riddle's "Theme from Route 66" plays over the end credits. If you've been wanting to see Willem Dafoe sing "Marie Marie", this is the movie for you. John Mark Robinson gave up being an actor to direct this movie. 

THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE (1982) - Reportedly Rita Mae Brown wrote this movie as a parody, but producer/director Amy Holden Jones shot it straight. Films become cult movies because some people find them worthy when most people don't. 

David Deal enjoyed:








Bertrand Van Wonterghem highly enjoyed:

Walliams and friends – season 1 – episode 5

Diablero – season 1 (2018) – episode 1


Sijipeuseu: The Myth  / Sisyphus the myth – season 1 – episodes  14 to 16

My mother the car (1965) episodes 1 to 2

Jukji anneun Ingan-deul-e bam / Night of the undead (2020, Jeong-won Shin)

Riaru – kanzen naru shucho ryu no hi / Real (2013, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

The hunter (2011, Daniel Nettheim)

Mildly enjoyed:

The twonky (1953, Arch Oboler)

Giovanni dalle bande nere (1956, Sergio Grieco)

Did not enjoy:

Jupiter’s legacy – season 1 – episodes 4 & 5


Charles Gilbert watched:

PRIVATE HELL 36 (1954) B&W. Ida Lupino wrote and stars with husband Howard Duff but the two pair off with Steve Cochran and Dorothy Malone. Avaricious LA detective Cal Bruno (Cochran) pockets the loot from a case and cuts in his reluctant partner Jack Farnum (Duff). Captain Michaels (Dean Jagger) devises a sting to trap the cop gone bad. Directed by Don Seigel.

THE LONE GUN (1954) Former sheriff Cruze (George Montgomery) in a new town impresses Mayor Booth (Faye Roope) when he challenges the ornery Moran brothers (Neville Brand, Robert J. Wilke, and Douglas Kennedy) who have been stealthily rustling cattle. Charlotte Downing (Dorothy Malone) and kid brother (Skip Homier) have been unwitting accomplises on their ranch. In his job in the new venue the marshal has a partner in 'tinhorn' Fairweather (Frank Faylen) ever with the wisecracks.

BLOOD AT SUNDOWN aka WHY GO ON KILLING? (1965) Anthony Steffen and Evelyn Stuart.are Stephen and Judy McDougall, siblings in the old west whose father was executed by land rival Lopez (Jose Calvo). Daughter Pilar Lopez (Gemma Cuervo) sympathizes with the McDougalls.

1000 DOLLARS ON THE BLACK aka BLOOD AT SUNDOWN (1966) Johnny Liston (Anthony Steffen) returns from prison to avenge himself of a trumped-up conviction to find his brother Sartana (John Garko), with mother's (Carla Calo) blessing. terrorising the town with a lilly-livered sheriff (Franco Fantasia) who won't stand up to his gang. Erika Blanc is Josita Rogers whom they manipulate. Garko's Sartana heavily resembles the Burt Lancaster character Joe Erin from VERA CRUZ.


Angel Rivera wrote: 

'I happened to catch a movie titled, "The House of Exorcism". This is s repackaging of the film I saw last week titled, "Lisa and the Devil". Apparently the producer could not get a deal to distribute "Lisa and the Devil", so he had some footage added to make the movie appear as an "Exorcist" clone to cash in on the success of that film. Elke Sommer does her best in the new footage to appear "possessed", but some of the "cuss words" being dubbed and coming out of her mouth are just laughable. There are some nudity from the leading ladies (Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina) that had they left in the original release might have been exploitable enough that the film may have found a US distributor.
Robert Alda (Alan's father is in the new footage as a priest ready to battle with the devil. So what was an atmospheric film was turned into a schlock film.'


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