Friday, May 7, 2021

Week of May 8 - 14, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor got the U.S. rights to an Italian Western and created a new version called AMEN?
Tom Betts knew that it was John Ireland who got the U.S. rights to LA SFIDA DEI MACKENNA and created a new version called AMEN. 

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

Which Italian Western is virtually a remake of BLINDMAN?
No one has answered this question yet.

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.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian director went from making his second Western to making a dramatic film featuring Richard Harrison?
Which actor who made an Italian Western once played Cleopatra's brother?
Which American actor, known mostly in Europe for Westerns and Swashbucklers, made an art film in Spain in 1970?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Tom Betts and Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Corrado Pani, Luis Davila and Antonio Salines in MATALO!
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified that above photo of Wandisa Guida in ERCOLE CONTRO ROMA, aka HERCULES AGAINST ROME.

Bertrand Van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Ursula Andress and Howard Ross in L'ULTIMA CHANCE, aka STATELINE MOTEL.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Angel Rivera identified last week's frame grab from THE STREET FIGHTER starring "Sonny" Chiba.
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 season two (2005)

American Masters "Amy Tan Unintendend Memoir" (2021)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season three (2019)

Mildly enjoyed:

The American Experience "American Oz" The life of L. Frank Baum (2021)

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "Laughing On the Inside" w/Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr. (2021)

Midsomer Murders "A Dying Art" (2016)

Midsomer Murders "Saints and Sinners" (2016)

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE (1932) - Who came up with the idea of using "Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky as the title music for Horror movies? This is the movie that director Robert Florey and Bela Lugosi made instead of FRANKENSTEIN, but not before Florey added the "abnormal brain" bullshit to the FRANKENSTEIN screenplay. Reportedly, Florey suggested a movie from the Poe story to Universal in 1930 after the success of DRACULA. But, George Melford was originally set to direct Lugosi, before the studio changed its mind about Melford and brought in Florey. Florey and Universal fought throughout the production which ended on November 13, 1931. As FRANKENSTEIN became a big success, the studio increased the budget on RUE MORGUE and ordered 5 (or 7) additional days of production to include retakes and new scenes. For a movie shot entirely in the studio, RUE MORGUE has a remarkable number of effects shots including mattes and miniatures. The fog superimposed on some scenes is unconvincing, as it most of the dialogue. For modern audiences, seeing Sidney Fox listed as the star is confusing until you read that she was studio executive Carl Laemmle Jr.'s mistress. Unfortunately, her career only lasted a couple more years and her life ended by suicide. Obviously visually inspired by the silent film THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, RUE MORGUE has some fun Expressionistic sets and photography - by Karl W. Freund. There is also a creepy sense of sadism, but this is all undercut by extended scenes of comedy and even a bit where the movie threatens to become an operetta. Has anyone done a book researching why Europeans and Americans were obsessed with the idea of Apes having sex with White women? KING KONG may have been the ultimate expression of that fetish, but 1970's SKULLDUGGERY actually followed through with the concept - except it was a White man knocking up an Ape-like woman.

PARTS PER BILLION (2013) - Writer/director Brian Horiuchi has made a compelling mood piece involving people dealing with a deadly biological weapon that is spreading across the world. He decides to tell his story in a time fractured way, jumping from the beginning of the outbreak to some before time, and then back again. Scenes rarely follow directly from one to the other, and while this keeps the viewer's attention focused, there doesn't seem to be any reason for this style. Also confusing is the suggestion that a character that worries she might be schizophrenic might actually be having visions of the future. Rather than leaving the viewer satisfied that the experience made sense, the film screams for the answer, "What the hell were the filmmakers thinking?" Horiuchi was able to assemble an impressive cast, and even got Rosario Dawson to join the list of 24 producers. Frank Langella, Gene Rowlands, Rosario Dawson, Josh Hartnett, Teresa Palmer, Penn Badgley, Alexis Bledel and Hill Harper all deliver strong performances, captured by John Guleserian's camera.

Unsung "Syleena Johnson" (2021)

Unsung "Bobby Valentino" (2021)

Uncnsrd "Lisa Leslie" (2021)

Uncnsrd "Marsha Ambrosius" (2021)

Did not enjoy:

THE BLACK CAT (1941) - The cast is the most interesting thing about this THE CAT AND THE CANARY style comedy mystery. Basil Rathbone gets top billing, but our comedic hero is played by Broderick Crawford, billed third. If you've ever wanted to see Broderick Crawford trying to be Bob Hope, this is the movie for you. Alan Ladd is billed last in a cast of eleven, and nothing is done to not make him look short. Billed second, Hugh Herbert is the real star of the film, and your enjoyment of the film relies on how amusing you find his "wooh-hoo" antics. Bela Lugosi gets fourth billing and is mostly asked to look menacing. Anne Gwynne is attractive as Crawford's romantic interest, but Gladys Cooper gets the applause for being able to carry the unconscious Gwynne seemingly without any strain. Four writers are credited with the screenplay, which probably accounts for it not making any sense. Director Albert S. Rogell keeps everyone moving, which quickly becomes tiresome because no one is getting anywhere. Do we blame Sound Supervisor Bernard B. Brown for perhaps the worst cat sounds ever married to a film? Edgar Allan Poe is blamed for suggesting the story, but the cat isn't walled up with a victim - she's put into a cremator with a potential victim. Part of the fun of these old Universal flicks is hearing the same music you've heard before, and Musical Director H.J. Salter doesn't disappoint.

DERANGED (1974) - Perhaps this was intended to be the most realistic movie version of the story of Ed Gein, but it only succeeded in being one of the dullest. Was the narrator walking on camera after a dramatised scene intended to be funny? 

GRIZZLY II: REVENGE (2019) - Here's another movie whose behind the scenes story is probably a lot more interesting than the stupid result. Originally filmed in Hungary in 1983, the movie was intended to be a sequel to director William Girdler's JAWS with paws flick GRIZZLY of 1976. Why it took almost seven years to make a sequel, and then another 37 years to finish it has got to be more interesting than a movie with a King Kong sized grizzly bear attacking an outdoor rock concert. Eventually, executive producer Suzanne C. Nagy realized that some profit could be had with footage of young George Clooney, Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen getting killed by a giant bear no matter how incoherent the entire movie is - and after internet interest was peaked by a YouTube leak of the unfinished workprint in 2007. Some obviously new stuff was made, featuring poor CGI material, to give some coherence to the story and the film was finally released. While the previously mentioned trio of actors get star billing on the released version, the movie features a pile of well-known actors who are ill-served by the project: Louise Fletcher, John Rhys-Davies, Deborah Raffin, Steve Inwood, the lovely Deborah Foreman, Ian McNeice and Timothy Spall. I'm guessing that the original idea for the rock concert would be to tie-in with record companies, but the material is so badly done, one wonders if the bands refused to let the producers use their music. As far as I can read the end credits, the bands were The Predator, Toto Coelo, Set the Tone, Landscape III, The Days and KET. Toto Coelo is the only band of which I before heard because of their 1983 MTV hit "I Eat Cannibals". There is some good footage of them at a sound check, but it isn't in sync with the soundtrack. Set the Tone did one album on Island Records before breaking up. 

MACABRE (1958) - Why do some people called this a Horror film? At best, it's a dull suspenser with a stupid story involving unappealing characters. I've not liked any of the movies directed by William Castle that I've seen, and this is no exception. With clever self-promotion, Castle cultivated a public image likening himself to Alfred Hitchcock, but he never made a decent movie. The best part of MACABRE is the extended end credits featuring humorous animated bits.

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE TABLE READ (2021) - Actually, this effort from the SF Ketchfest, The San Francisco Comedy Festival, should be called "The Zoom Table Read of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE". Whatever the merits of Edward D. Wood Jr.'s screenplay, having Dana Gould rewrite it to insert snide "narration" isn't nearly as entertaining as the movie itself, or as humerous as it would be if the participants had just read the material straight. 

SATAN'S SLAVE (1976) - In a "making of" documentary, screenwriter David McGillvray was very pleased with his twist ending and commented that he would be disappointed if viewers figured it out early. Well, McGillvray should be disappointed, though I must admit that I wasn't expecting all of the twists, but I pretty much knew what the ending would be early on. The "making of" program commented on how young and enthusiastic the people working on this film were, and that many commented that this was the most pleasant production experience they'd had. I'm pleased for them, and I think I would have more enjoyed working on this film than viewing it. Reportedly, the production reassembled to do reshoots to add more gore for the Asian market. Reminiscent of THE MEPHISTO WALTZ, the film tells the story of necromancers hoping to use Candace Glendenning as a vessel to resurrect the spirit of a long dead witch. There is ample female nudity, including a number of shots which would give Japanese censors something to cover up. Director Norman J. Warren had directed two sex movies before SATAN'S SLAVE and would go on to make more Horror, including INSEMINOID, aka HORROR PLANET - for which I may never forgive him. Michael Gough made plenty of worse movies than this, and it didn't seem to interfere with his getting parts in good movies, too. Martin Potter never did better than his first feature film, FELLINI SATYRICON. McGillvray went to write bad scripts for director Pete Walker.

TIME WALKER, aka BEING FROM ANOTHER PLANET (1982) - Helpful hint: if you're being stalked by an ancient mummy because you are wearing a crystal stolen from its sarcophagus, take the damn crystal off and drop it. Don't run away from the mummy - down halls, into an elevator or onto a roof. Just drop it. Especially if the mummy is covered with a green flesh eating fungus. Ben Murphy becomes convinced that the mummy is actually a visitor from outer space who caused the death of King Tut and was buried alive over 3,000 years ago. James Karen is again cast as an asshole who won't listen to Murphy and tries to pin the mummy's disappearance on our hero. Eventually, the mummy gets all of the crystals, places them in his device and transforms into a cliched bug-eyed extraterrestrial. And then the movie has the audacity to end on a cliffhanger with the title "to be continued" on the screen. The promised sequel never appeared, which is probably a good thing. The best part of this movie is seeing Austin Stoker and Darwin Joston reunited on the screen after 1976's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. This is the feature film debut of Shari Belafonte-Harper. L.A. Law's Alan Rachins appears in one scene. The creeping camera POV shots show that the mummy has "green vision".


Charles Gilbert watched:

THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN (1955) Don Knotts is a lowly but excitable small town typesetter for the newspaper who gets roped into spending a night in the local haunted house. Silly fare is only interesting in the courtroom scenes. "Atta boy Luther!"

THE HORRIBLE DR. HITCHKOCK (1962) Redoubtable surgeon in London has a dark secret regarding his marital intimacy. His necrophilia leads him to administering a seemingly lethal dose of sleeping agent to his wife Margaret causing her 'death' and subsequently interring her corpse in the cellar.  Years later with second wife Cynthia (Barbara Steele) returning to the same mansion, he realizes the former is still alive, but wrinkling horribly. So number 2's body becomes source for number 1's restoration. Steele is especially attractive in this outing.

TEXAS, ADIOS (1966) Brothers Burt (Franco Nero) and Jim (Alberto dell Acqua) Sullivan head for Mexico to find Cisco Delgado (Jose Suarez) killer of their father when Burt was a boy. Delgado is a land baron lording a town south of the border lock, stock, and barrel. When Burt breaches the sumptuous compound Delgado confesses in confrontation that Jim is his son. Meanwhile a revolution against his oppression has been brewing led by lawyer Hernandez (Luigi Pistilli). Livio Lorenzon is in there laughing like a hyena.

Burke's Law S01E16 'Who Killed Snooky Martinelli?' B&W. An Amos Burke look-a-like is shot to death while romancing lovelies at a jet set party. The debonair detective is on the case questioning suspects ex boxer Broderick Crawford (in a salon while he gets his hair curled and nails polished (?)), Carl Reiner, Hoagy Carmichael, Janice Rule, and Arlene Dahl. Gene Barry is talented but the incessant quips especially with the ladies are annoying.

The Saint S02E16 'The Bunco Artists'.B&W. A wife and husband pair of swindlers bilk a church of six thousand pounds and head for the French Riviera  On their heels is Simon Templar posing as a wealthy Texan to retrieve the stache, and 'interest'. At 33 minutes the viewer gets a flash of Ingrid Pitt poolside from the soles of her feet.

DEAD MAN"S EYES (1944) B&W. In one of the six films of the Inner Sanctum Series for Universal Pictures Lon Chaney, Jr. plays artist Dave Stuart in the process of painting the likeness of a glamorous model named Tanya (Aquanetta) when he is blinded by acid believing it to be eye wash. Offering hope of sight restoration via corneal transplants his future father-in-law bequeaths his eyes upon death. No sooner said than done the old doner is murdered and Dave is prime suspect. 

David Deal enjoyed:


DEVILMAN STORY (67) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a complete review of this fever dream entry starring Guy Madison.  


THE STRANGER (73) See the Television Fright Films of the 1970s book for a complete review of this sci-fi entry with Cameron Mitchell.

Mildly enjoyed:




DANGER!! DEATH RAY (66) - See The Eurospy Guide for a complete review of this Gordon Scott entry.


Angel Rivera commented "Out of curiosity and because I have 'Flowers for Algernon' in its original short story form and as a novel  and I also recently watched and have in my collection, the movie CHARLY, I was curious to see the original TV adaptation, 'The Two Worlds of Charlie Gordon'. Thanks to YouTube I was able to do just that and while Cliff Robertson may have won an Oscar for his performance in the movie version I found his television performance more realistic."


Bertrand Van Wonterghem highly enjoyed:

Carry on constable (1959, Gerald Thomas)

Shadow in the clouds (2020, Roseanne Liang)


Maeumui sori : reboot / The sound of your heart : reboot – season 1 – episode 4

Sijipeuseu: The Myth  / Sisyphus the myth – season 1 – episodes 1 to 6

Hammer house of horror – episode « Carpathian eagle » (1980, Francis Megahy)

The Doolins of Oklahoma (1949, Gordon Douglas)

Star Trek – episode « Space seed » (1966, Marc Daniels)

Forty guns (1957, Samuel Fuller)

Beat the devil (1953, John Huston)

Angel face (1952, Otto Preminger)

City hunter / Nicky Larson  (anime) – season 1 – episodes 1 to 3

Mildly enjoyed:

Sette winchester per un massacro (1966, Enzzo G. Castellari)

Did not enjoy:

Tenet (2020, Christopher Nolan)

Les combinards (1965, Jean-Claude Roy)


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