Friday, July 16, 2021

Week of July 17 - 23, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Can you name two actors who made Italian Westerns who had daughters who made movies accused of being child pornography?
Walter Barnes daughter, Laura Wendel starred in MALADOLESCENZA when she was 11. William Berger's step-daughter Katya Berger starred in LITTLE LIPS when she was 12.

Which Italian director worked as an assistant to directors Silvio Amadio, Mario Amendola, Alberto De Martino and Mario Caiano before getting his first "un film de" credit in 1964?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Alfonso Brescia.

Which American actor, born in 1942, acted in films with Marie-Jose Nat, Aldo Sambrell, Rafael Albaicin, Vonetta McGee, Peter O'Toole, Claudia Cardinale and Harrison Muller?
George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Richard Roundtree.

Which American actor had a seven year run of making movies in Italy from 1982 until 1989 while working  with Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Pia Zadora, Henry Silva and Carole Andre?
Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes knew that it was Harrison Muller.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which London born actress started her film career with director Sergio Corbucci and later made three comedy Westerns?
Which Spanish actress, who made a movie with the director of EL PRECIO DE UN HOMBRE, that later became known as "Reina de las Rancheras"?
Which French born actress worked for directors Sergio Sollima, Giuseppe Vari, Marco Ferreri, Adriano Bolzoni, Luchino Visconti and Lucio Fulci?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Ty Hardin, Christian Hay and Stan Cooper in SEI IELLATO, AMICO HAI INCONTRATO SACRAMENTO, aka YOU'RE JINXED, FRIEND YOU'VE MET SACRAMENTO.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

John Black, George Grimes and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Mylene Demongeot in LA BATTAGLIA DI MARATONA, aka THE GIANT OF MARATHON.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

 John Black and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Genevieve Grad, Rik Battaglia and Steve Reeves in SANDOKAN, LA TIGRE DI MOMPRACEM, aka SANDOKAN THE GREAT.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes and Charles Gilbert identified last week's frame grab of Bruce Lee in FIST OF FURY, aka THE CHINESE CONNECTION.
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:


BELLE EPOQUE (1992) - When Francisco Franco ran Spain, the cost of making movies was kept low. After the end of Franco and his Fascist rule, the cost of making a movie in Spain normalized, so director Fernando Trueba had to make this movie in Portugal with a crew that had become very professional having worked on so many French movies. Normally, the designation of "La Belle Epoque" refers to the time of the French Third Republic between 1871 and the beginning of World War I in 1914. For this film, the phrase refers to 1930s Spain just before the beginning of the Spanish Second Republic when the politics was divided between the Republicans and the Monarchists. Violence would break out about three years in the future, but this film isn't about the Spanish Civil War - however, I spent most of the running time fearing that, like many recent films set in Spain during those years, that the finale would feature everyone being killed. Thankfully that doesn't happen, though the film begins with a bizarre scene of violence, and ends with a shocking death. The director may feel that you can't make a movie celebrating life, food and sex without acknowledging death, but it is up to debate whether the filmmaker successfully wove all of the elements together well. Obviously, the voters for the Goya Awards were impressed giving the film 9 of the top honors for 1993. The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science soon followed, giving the film the Best Foreign Language Film award. I endorse the Goya award for Mejor Actriz Principal going to Ariadna Gil, who is mesmerizing. Equally impressive are Miriam Diaz-Aroca, Maribel Verdu and Penelope Cruz as the other three daughters of Fernando Fernan Gomez which enchant army deserter Jorge Sanz (who played the young Arnold Schwarzenegger in CONAN THE BARBARIAN). Mary Carmen Ramirez appears towards the end of the film as the mother with French actor Michel Galabru in toe as her lover.

The Wire season one (2002)

Mildly enjoyed:

Midsomer Murders "The Dogleg Murders" (2009)

OSOSHIKI, aka THE FUNERAL (1984) - Actor Juzo Itami's debut as a writer/director features some of the best ensemble acting ever captured on film. A gentle but satirical comedic look at modern Japanese society in the microcosm of a family funeral, Juzo's film is a moving contemplation of family relations, consumerism and death.

TAMPOPO, aka DANDELION (1985) - Writer/director Juzo Itami's second feature didn't have the cohesion of THE FUNERAL. While the main story line was enjoyable, it seemed like Itami decided that the film was too short and tossed in some unrelated bits to lengthen it. Roger Ebert felt this was similar to films by Jacques Tati, but it reminded me of SLACKER, which wasn't made until five years later. The film started with Koji Yakusho coming into a movie theater with an entourage who set up a table for him to have a full meal in the front row with his woman, Setsuko Shinoi. He complained about how he hates to hear the sound of rustling snacks while the movie was on, and acted like a yakuza by browbeating a patron into being quiet. He sat down as the movie started, and we saw a detailed report on how to cook ramen. This ramen instruction actually came from a book which Ken Watanabe was reading aloud as he and truck driver Tsutomu Yamazaki were driving in the night during a rainstorm. Yamazaki got hungry, so they stopped at a rundown ramen shop run by Nobuko Miyamoto (the director's wife). Before entering the shop, Yamazaki stopped three children from beating up on Miyamoto's little boy. Many compared this film to a Western, and it had a passing resemblence to SHANE, in that a stranger, Yamazaki, ended up helping to set things right and then quietly left - but there was no shootout involving the characters from the main plot. Mostly it was about how five men came together to turn Miyamoto's ramen shop into a thriving business without asking for anything in return. But all of the distracting stories were very unWestern like.

EL NIDO, aka THE NEST (1980) - As a child, Ana Torrent had the perfect look for which adult male filmmakers could express their ambiguous feelings about young girls. But to call EL NIDO a "Spanish Lolita" is completely wrong. LOLITA is the story of a man who becomes so sexually obsessed with a girl that he marries her mother to be closer to the girl. Here, the girl seduces her way into an elderly widower's life but the relationship never becomes sexualized. This is more like LES DIMANCHES DE VILLE D'AVRAY, aka SUNDAYS AND CYBELE, where society at large misunderstands a friendship between an older man and a girl. Written and directed by Jaime de Arminan, the film is brightened by the charm of Torrent and Hector Alterio in their scenes together, but we never really understand if the girl's bad reputation is earned or not. When Alterio asks the friendly teacher Patricia Adriani why she cast Torrent as Lady MacBeth in the school play, she says that she felt the girl was wicked enough to understand the part. Even so, Torrent and Adriani exhibit a good relationship. As with many Spanish dramas, our atheistic hero has a best friend who is a priest, and the film ends with a shocking death. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, but didn't win. It won all of the major Premios ACE awards in Spain.

Did not enjoy:

Another Way: D-Kikan-Joho (1988) - As Japan faces losing the Pacific War, Admiral Tatsuya Nakadai entrusts Koji Yakusho with a fortune in diamonds and the mission to go to Switzerland to obtain the uranium for Japan to make an atomic bomb. Based on a novel by Kyotaro Nishimira (or Ishikura Yasushi according to another source), director Kosaku Yamashita has fashioned a standard 1980's Toho production complete with two English language ballads, music by Giorgio Moroder, playing underneath dialogue scenes. The usual Toho miniatures give us a sea battle ending with a noble sacrifice. Things start to get complicated when a tire on Yakusho's car is shot out by an unknown sniper, and he accepts help from Udo Kier (speaking German) to cross the Swiss border. After they pick up an American woman needing a ride from the border, their car is attacked on the road by a gang using a grenade. When Yakusho recovers from the explosion, he finds Kier gone, the American woman dying and his diamonds missing. How Yakusho gets from this scene to the Japanese Legation is unshown, and we see no Swiss police investigation into this act of violence. Eventually, it becomes clear that there are three parties working to stop our hero's mission: 1) the gestapo, 2) the Soviets who are waiting for the fall of Berlin to declare war on Japan and seize as much of Asia as it can, and 3) American agent Robert Vaughn (speaking English) who informs our hero that America already has a super bomb and they will use it if a peace accord can't be made. When Yakusho decides to try and convince the military back home to negotiate for peace, an hardliner shows up and tries to kill him. In the end, our hero is recovering from his wounds before some spectacular Alpine scenery. Yakusho is able to speak convincingly in Japanese, German and English. Sydne Rome turns up as an assistant to Vaughn, and speaks well in German and English. It would seem that Toho expected this film to do some foreign box office, just as VIRUS had done in 1980, but that didn't happen.

BLUMHOUSE'S FANTASY ISLAND (2020) - It is nice to see Portia Doubleday in something other than Mr. Robot, Ryan Hansen in something else than Veronica Mars and Parisa Fitz-Henley in something other than Jessica Jones. But not in a Blumhouse Production.  

CESAR ET ROSALIE (1972) - Women just drive men crazy being unsatisfied and being unable to tell men what they want. This time it is Romy Schneider and Yves Montand. Five years ago, Sami Frey disappeared, so Romy married Umberto Orsini. The movie begins with Frey returning and asking Orsini what happened to Schneider. She divorced Orsini and now lives with Montand. Frey has been invited to the marriage of Schneider's mother to her third husband. Schneider is shaken seeing Frey again, and the mercurial Montand immediately over-reacts. Schneider runs off with Frey and seems happy. When Montand finds them, Schneider seems happy to spend time with him again, so Frey disappears again. Eventually, Montand tracks down Frey and begs him to come stay with Schneider and her whole family. Schneider is unhappy, so Montand hopes that Frey will fill the void he thinks she's feeling. Naturally, Schneider ends up leaving the both of them, and this time both men decide not to try and find her. Montand and Frey become buddies, but then Frey moves to the U.S. for work. After about a year, Frey returns to France and is staying with Montand when Schneider shows up in a taxi. At time, director Claude Sautet stages his film like a thriller, especially when Montand wears the same trench coat and hat from LE CERCLE ROUGE. It doesn't take long into the film to become irritated with all of the characters no matter how well played they are by the cast. Isabelle Huppert fans may enjoy seeing her as a teenage cousin of Schneider's, but she doesn't get to do much. Gisela Hahn makes a good impression getting to appear in a more prestigious production than most of what she was doing at the time.

ELIZABETH OF LADYMEAD (1948) - In 1946, Hugh Williams returns from service in World War 2 to his home at Ladymead, to find that wife Anna Neagle is not the same woman he left behind. She and her mother have decided that Williams should go into politics, which Williams is against. As they argue, Neagle walks into a wall where she remembers a door should be. She passes out on the bed, and seems to remember 1854 when she welcomed her husband Nicholas Phippes back from the Crimean War. Since he was away, she has become more independent, which he doesn't like. In their argument, Neagle walks into her dressing room - the door to which isn't there in 1946. As their argument seems to be the end of their marriage, the scene shifts to Neagle welcoming home husband Bernard Lee from the Boer War in 1903. Again conflict erupts within the couple as she's become a suffragette. Next, in 1919, Neagle doesn't welcome her husband Michael Laurence home from the World War 1 because she is dancing on a table at a New Year's Eve celebration for 1920. When the two meet at home, Neagle proclaims her liberated independence, so Laurence leaves the room to shoot himself. Awakening in 1946, Neagle is happy to see Williams by her side. Later, as Williams give in and declares his run for Parliament, Neagle remembers the lives of the previous Elizabeths and tells her husband that she is better now. Anna Neagle was the third wife of producer/director Herbert Wilcox. They married in 1943 and remained so until his death in 1977. Together they made over 20 films together.

THE GLORY STOMPERS (1967) - Reportedly Dennis Hopper's behavior during the making of this flick caused director Anthony M. Lanza to have a nervous breakdown, so Hopper took over the director's job for a bit. Someone is obviously a fan of "fish eye" and extreme wide angle lenses as well as hand held anamorphic camerawork. This image distortion has an interesting effect when a woman with an ample bosom held in a black brassiere is gyrating into the camera lens. It's less pleasant when a sweaty Robert Tessier is trying to convince Chris Noel to be his girlfriend. Feeling slighted when the leader of the Glory Stompers motorcycle club, a rather cleancut Jody McCrea, objects to his putting the moves on Chris Noel at a party, the leader of the Black Souls, Dennis Hopper, clobbers McCrea over the head and kidnaps Noel. McCrea recovers and is joined by an older biker, Jock Mahoney, in the search for Noel. Eventually the Black Souls falls apart when members fight over who is going to rape Noel, and the good guys finally catch up with them. The music is blamed on Sidwalk Productions, Inc. under the musical supervision of Al Simms, though some sources blame Mike Curb, who is credited as one of the three associate producers - with Casey Kasem and Paul Stevenson. Producer John Lawrence is blamed for the script along with James Gordon White, though the film is credited as A Norman T. Herman Production, An American International Release. Curb provided better tunes for THE WILD ANGELS and BORN LOSERS.

DEVIL'S ANGELS (1967) - For a little bit at the end, "Blues' Theme" by Dave Allen and the Arrows from THE WILD ANGELS can be heard, which just highlights how "blah" the music credited to "Sidewalk Productions, Inc. Written by Mike Curb" is - especially "Title Song 'DEVIL'S ANGEL'S' Written by Mike Curb, Guy Hemric, Jerry Steiner Performed by Jerry and the Portraits". Basically this is a remake of THE WILD ANGELS, also scripted by Charles B. Griffith, but without the reported rewrites by Peter Bogdanovich. As with most Griffith's scripts, there is a lot of wacky dialogue like: "Are you a mama?" "No, I'm just pregnant." Interestingly, this script brings up the story of Butch Cassidy and the "Hole In the Wall" gang at least a year before BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID made the story world famous. After one of the gang runs over a "citizen", John Cassavetes decides it is time to leave San Pedro. Another of the gang tells about Cassidy and "Hole In the Wall", so Cassavetes decides that's where they'll go. After various unrelated incidents on the road, they pull into a small town, played by Patagonia, Arizona. Sheriff Leo Gordon allows the gang to bed down on the beach and Cassavetes promises that there will be no trouble. Unfortunately, local girl Mimsy Farmer agrees to party with the gang and runs away after getting a little roughed up. Accusing the bikers of rape, the town runs the gang out of town while throwing Cassavetes into jail. Farmer convinces Gordon that she wasn't raped, so he releases Cassavetes. Cassavetes just wants to leave, but in his absence the gang has devised a plan to get revenge on the town and have even invited the larger gang The Stompers to participate. Unable to control the chaos, Cassavetes drops his "colors" and leaves alone. Shortly after this, Mimsy Farmer moved to Europe to have a more fulfilling career. Beverly Adams would soon marry Vidal Sassoon and retire from acting to raise four children. Production Designer Daniel Haller started his career as a director with DIE MONSTER DIE. DEVIL'S ANGELS was his second film, which he followed with THE WILD RACERS also featuring Mimsy Farmer. 

TORMENT (2013) - Here's another movie which illustrates that when you knock a psychopathic killer down, you have to smash or chop them into little pieces or they will get up and kill again. It also illustrates that Katharine Isabelle needs to be given better opportunities to work so she doesn't have to make stuff like this again. Psycho family kills Amy Forsyth's parents and takes her into their "family". Widower Robin Dunn moves into the house with son Peter DaCunha and new wife Isabelle. Psycho family decides to "adopt" DaCunha and sets about stalking and torturing his parents. Isabelle and DaCunha survive, but they only kill the "mother" of the Psycho family, so it would appear that director Jordan Barker was hoping for a franchise. Thankfully he didn't get it. Stephen McHattie appears but doesn't get much to do.


David Deal enjoyed:

THE NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY (69) - In France, Marlon Brando, Rita Moreno, Richard Boone, and Jess Hahn kidnap the daughter (Pamela Franklin) of a wealthy man and for a short time, it seems their plan will actually work.  Hubert Cornfield's film noir feels very much like Jean-Pierre Melville until the end which takes on the proportions of the spaghetti western.  Recommended.

FINAL APPOINTMENT (54) - Three men who served on a military court marshal are killed on July 10th in successive years.  With July 10th coming up, reporter Mike Billings (John Bently) focuses on the fourth.  British thriller is a cracking mystery with some atmosphere.

RUNAWAY BUS (53) - Stolen gold bullion ends up in the boot of an airline bus taking a few stranded passengers through a fog as thick as the proverbial pea soup.  Just who on the bus is part of the robbery gang?  A British comedy thriller is equal parts intriguing mystery, existential landscape, and annoying comedy.  Still, enjoyable.

OPERATION DIPLOMAT (53) - Dr. Guy Rolfe is whisked away to tend to a mysterious, wealthy patient and finds himself involved in an international conspiracy.  British thriller leads us by the nose and through some atmospheric environments before we find out exactly who is who. Fast-paced and satisfying.

THE LATE EDWINA BLACK (50) - Once wealthy Edwina Black dies, circular accusations of poisoning begin between her long-time maid, her young companion (Geraldine Fitzgerald), and her widower (David Farrar), the latter two in the throes of an affair.  This British Victorian Gothic has loads of atmosphere and will keep the viewer guessing until the end.

DO YOU KNOW THIS VOICE? (64) - Dan Duryea kidnaps a kid for ransom and then accidentally kills him.  He talks his girlfriend into calling in the demand for the money but the cops are onto them and a neighbor sees a fleeting glimpse of the caller.  Soon all is unraveling in this British noir that features the great Duryea in a tour-de-force role.

Mildly enjoyed:

SHADOW OF A MAN (54) - Paul Carpenter looks into the case of his friend's murder, who was killed by the injection of an air bubble into his bloodstream.  British thriller is a not-so-thrilling soap opera. 

IMPACT (63) - Reporter Conrad Phillips, investigating crime lord George Pastell, is framed for a violent crime to slow down his work.  This only makes Phillips more determined.  Pretty good rough-and-tumble British thriller that features a jazzy soundtrack.

HIGHWAY RACER (77) - Maurizio Merli is an unorthodox cop who specializes in capturing criminals in high speed chases.  When he kills his partner in an accident, Merli is kicked off the force but given another chance by his boss to track down a particularly talented bank robber.  Lots of car chases and wrecks in this crime flick (coordinated by the famous Remy Julienne) but this isn't top drawer Merli who still had a couple of classics in front of him.



Charles Gilbert watched:

Kelly Johnson and Lockheed. Founder of Skunk Works helmed the production of many planes that have served in national defense. His successor was Ben Rich who designed the F-117.

Law &Crime: Pike County Massacre. 2016 - Eight members of the Rhoden family in Ohio east of Cincinnati are shot to death as they slept. It took several years for Attorney General Mike De Wine to bring indictment against four members of the Wagner family who engineered the massacre for reason of a child custody battle. De Wine has since become governor, and one of the accused has broken ranks with the family perpetrators by confessing, thereby avoiding the death sentence.

THE TRAIN (1964) B&W. Lengthy war drama about prized Gallic paintings being confiscated by Nazi occupation forces. French resistance fighters led by Paul Labiche (Burt Lancaster) thwart the German efforts to remove them from France by train. First time viewing its' entirety. One time is enough.

ROMULUS AND THE SABINES (1961) Mylene Demongeot and Roger Moore.

GIANT OF MARATHON (1959) Mylene Demongeot and Steve Reeves.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

S.O.S. Noronha (1957, Georges Rouquier)


Yi guyeokui michin X / Mad for each other – season 2 - episodes 1 to 3

Phänomen Blade runner (doc) (2021, Boris Hars-Tschachotin)

Carambolages (1963, Marcel Bluwal)

Afghanistan : das verwundete Land (doc) (2020, Mayte Carrasco & Marcel Mettelsiefen)

Maeumui sori : reboot / The sound of your heart : reboot – season 2 – episodes 1 & 3

Le drôle de drame de Marcel Carné (doc) (2021, François Aymé)

Hashoter hatov – season 1 – episodes 1 to 3

Le papillon meurtri (1919, Maurice Touneur)

I think you should leave – season 1 – episodes 1 to 3

Diablero – season 1 – episode 5

Mildly enjoy:

Comment je suis devenu super-héros (2020, Douglas Attal)

L’honneur d’un capitaine (1982, Pierre Schoendoerffer)

Playland USA (doc) (2019, Benjamin Schindler)

Did not enjoy:

The tomorrow war (2020, Chris McKay)

La vendetta è un piatto che si serve freddo (1971, Pasquale Squitieri)


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