Friday, July 30, 2021

Week of July 31 - August 6, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which London born actress started her film career with director Sergio Corbucci and later made three comedy Westerns?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Gloria Paul.

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"?
George Grimes, Angel Rivera and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew it was Rocio Durcal.

Which French born actress worked for directors Sergio Sollima, Giuseppe Vari, Marco Ferreri, Adriano Bolzoni, Luchino Visconti and Lucio Fulci?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Carole Andre.

For what movie is Steve Reeves listed on the Italian release poster and on the screen for the U.S. version but doesn't appear in the movie?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Italian actor, born in 1908, was a professional boxer before appearing in Sword and Sandal movies and Westerns?
George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew it was Enzo Fiermonte.

Which actress born in Switzerland appeared in four Westerns before dying in a fire at the age of 36?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Halina Zalewska, aka Ella Karin.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which French born actress worked on films directed by Renato Polselli, Giacomo Gentilomo, Dino Risi, Luigi Comencini and Jacques Deray?
Which French born actor worked on films directed by Sergio Corbucci, Ferdinando Baldi, Marino Girolami, Hugo Fregonese, Giorgio Ferroni and Giorgio Stegani?
Which Spanish born actor worked on films directed by Sergio Leone, Gulio Questi, Antonio de Jaen, Paolo Bianchini, Mario Caiano and Ramon Fernandez?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Tony Anthony in UN DOLLAR FRA I DENTI, aka FOR A DOLLAR IN THE TEETH, aka A STRANGER IN TOWN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Charles Gilbert identified last week's frame grab of Wandisa Guida in ERCOLE CONTRO ROMA, aka HERCULES AGAINST ROME.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo from L'AMANTE DEL VAMPIRO, aka THE VAMPIRE AND THE BALLERINA.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Wang Yu and Shintaro Katsu in ZATOICHI MEETS THE ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN, aka ZATOICHI MEET HIS EQUAL.
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:


The Nevers episodes three through six (2021)


HELEN (2009) - German writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck made this film in Canada, which is why I know about it; she cast Lauren Lee Smith in it and I just became aware of Smith from HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN, which I watched because of Katharine Isabelle. Ashley Judd stars in HELEN, which I don't think is a good title for this movie. Helen is the central character of the movie, but it is Smith's character of Mathilda that makes a real difference in the story. Many may feel that a two hour movie about depression will be a slog, but Nettelbeck generates a convincing portrait of a woman suffering from depression that avoids melodrama and just about every cliched scene you wouldn't want to see. Ashley Judd is astonishing in the title role, with Goran Visnjic and Alexia Fast equally strong as her husband and daughter. But it is Smith as Mathilda that may tear your heart out. One scene near the end threatens to pull the movie into melodrama, but Nettelbeck is able to keep the film on solid ground. Smith and David Hewlett would again appear together in THE SHAPE OF WATER in 2017. For HELEN, Smith was awarded the 2010 Best Supporting Actress Leo Awards from the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of British Columbia. 

The Wire season three (2004)

Mildly enjoyed:

The Frankie Drake Mysteries "A Brother In Arms" (2020) - As I have just discovered Lauren Lee Smith, I decided to take a look at a Canadian TV series in which she stars. Despite the premise of a group of female detectives working in the 1920s, the episodes I saw were too standard to be any fun.

The Frankie Drake Mysteries "Things Better Left Dead" (2020) - I gave a second episode a chance, but didn't like it much either.

Midsomer Murders "Secrets and Spies" (2009) - Anna Massey looks terrific with her silver hair.

THE SPONGEBOB SQUARE PANTS MOVIE (2004) - I could have done without David Hasselhoff, but the film is easy to watch and fun.

Did not enjoy:

THE BEAST, aka THE BEASTS (1980) - The end narrative title isn't translated from Chinese, but I guess that ultimately this film is intended to teach viewers to not camp in areas with signs saying "Do Not Camp". Five young people, including one "sophisticated" girl and one virginal girl, decide to go on a camping trip. There are five miscreants in the area, and when the virginal girl is left alone to wash the dishes in the river, they pounce. Eventually, the other campers notice she is missing and find her naked and battered. Her brother rushes off to get revenge, but ends up in a boar trap filled with punji stakes. So, the film is at the halfway point and the girl's father is played by Sing Chen. The second half should be Chen getting his bloody revenge. Perhaps to portray Chen as unaccustomed to violence, the father goes about getting revenge in possibly the least effective ways possible. As the filmmakers decide to focus on the miscreants trying to find the father, the film becomes very dull, with the bad guys spending more time fighting amongst themselves than against the father. This was director Dennis Yu's second feature film and he completely fails to give the audience any cathartic release when the violence finally comes. The film ends with more people arriving to go camping and three new miscreants showing up to leer. As one of the initial miscreants, Kent Cheng seems to be auditioning for the role of Lenny in OF MICE AND MEN.

DEAD BEFORE DAWN 3D (2012) - I enjoyed 88 (2015) enough to want to give the earlier effort by director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron a looksee. This didn't work for me at all. When the cast, which includes both Mullen and Doiron, are being so broadly comic that Christopher Lloyd seems subdued, one senses that everyone is trying too hard. Rather than an usual zombie flick, DEAD BEFORE DAWN comes up with a demonic curse which causes people to kill themselves and then come back as zombie demons, or zemons. It is a drag when things so wrong because our hero behaves in an
irresponsibly stupid manner, even if the role is played by Devon Bostick who previously appeared in director George A. Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. I'm interested in seeing more of Brittany Allen. While this film is notable for not only being the first Canadian live action 3D film, but also the first 3D live action film directed by a woman, I saw it in 2D and it was devoid of the usual 3D tricks of throwing things into the camera. 

FJOLS TIL FJELLS, aka FOOLS IN THE MOUNTAINS (1957) - Unni Bernhoft is adorable as the daughter of an hotel owner who disguises herself as a page boy to see if the manager of a ski resort, Leif Juster, is as incompetent as her father thinks he is. Juster is going insane because he thinks that Frank Robert as an ornithologist is the same man as Frank Robert as a popular entertainer and can not understand why their behaviors are so inconsistent. Comedies based on mistaken identities are often frustrating, and this milks the premise far too long. And to top it all off, TCM didn't play the film within the scheduled time so my DVR failed to get the finale. This reportedly was one of the most popular Norwegian movies ever, and one of the few comedies directed by Edith Carlmar. Reportedly, Liv Ullmann made her screen debut as an extra in this film.

MADEINUSA (2006) - Peruvian born Claudia Llosa had moved to Barcelona, Spain, when she wrote this script set in a fictional small town in Peru. The script won the Best Unpublished Screenplay at the 2003 Havana Film Festival before Peruvian/Spanish production financing came together and she made the movie. I don't suppose that inventing a Peruvian town which turns the period between Good Friday and Easter Sunday into a "Holy Time" when nothing is a sin, and so licentious behavior is celebrated is any worse than Dennis Hopper inventing a Peruvian town where the natives misunderstand that shooting a Western movie is sacrificing people to a camera god as in THE LAST MOVIE, but it is not surprising that some in Peru were very unhappy with this movie. The film is very well made, with attractive camerawork and convincing performances, but what is the point? Not understanding that "Made In USA" is a brand, our heroine, played by Magaly Solier, chooses that as her name; "Made" for short. She longs to leave her town, Manayaycuna (which translates as "the town that no one can enter"), while her father longs to take her virginity during the "Holy Time" when it would not be a sin. Into this town arrives a "gringo" from Lima, Carlos J. de la Torre. He wants to continue away, but the trucker with whom he got a ride could only take him this far before returning to Lima. Spotted in town during the festival, de la Torre is locked up until Sunday. The flimsy door to his confinement doesn't hold, so de la Torre wanders about and meets Solier who offers herself to him. After sex, Solier wants de la Torre to take her to Lima, where she believes her mother has gone. At first de la Torre explains that he doesn't want to return to Lima, but after seeing Solier's father, who is angry he wasn't the first, having sex with the young woman, he offers to take her when the truck driver returns on Sunday. De la Torre takes Solier out of town, but she wants to go back to get the earrings her mother left. Finding that her father has destroyed the earrings, she makes him chicken broth laced with rat poison and kills him. De la Torre finds Solier with her father's body, but they are interrupted by Solier's sister, who has been hatefully envious of Solier. The sister starts screaming "The gringo killed my father", and is joined by Solier. De la Torre is frozen in shock, but we don't see anyone roused by the screaming. Instead, we see Solier in a truck supposedly getting a ride to Lima as the end credits roll. If this film was about incest, why bring in the twisted religious rationale? If the film was about perverse religious practice, why invent a fictional one? And why have a non-ending?

OCTAMAN (1971) - Someone wanted a CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON rip-off, so they hired CREATURE writer Harry Essex to write one. Unfortunately, they also hired him to direct it. Someone must have paid alot for the OCTAMAN costume from Rick Baker and Doug Beswick, because they showed it a lot. dissipating any interest or mystery about it. Aside from being dull, this film is depressing seeing so many talented performers being wasted. This was the last movie Pier Angeli made before dying of a barbiturate overdose. A few years after this, Kerwin Mathews left acting to sell antiques in San Francisco. Jeff Morrow did more television after this, but his steady work was as a commercial illustrator. However, Rick Baker and Doug Beswick went on to flourishing careers when they got proper budgets.

ROBOT CARNIVAL (1987) - 8 Japanese animation directors contributed to this direct to video anthology. It features just about everything that I don't particularly like in Japanese anime. This program is particularly notable for mostly having downbeat endings.

VAMPIRE HUNTER D (1985) - Writer Hideyuki Kikuchi and illustrator Yoshitaka Amano published the first of the Vampire Hunter D novels in 1983, of which there are now 27 with assorted other media representations. This 1985 animated film was a direct to video release. In the distant future, 12,090 A.D. according to Wikipedia, 10,000 year old Count Magnus Lee wants to turn Doris Lang into his new bride because he is bored. Luckily for Doris, Vampire Hunter D happens along on the road astride his cybernetic horse. An human/vampire halfbreed - called a dhampir, D happens to have a Left Hand with a face and a mind of it's own. Yasushi Hirano wrote the screenplay for this which was directed by Toyoo Ashida. I don't like much Japanese anime, as I usually find them dull and lacking in the cinematic values that I treasure.


David Deal enjoyed:

DJANGO (66) - The 4K version is very nice.

HOME TO DANGER (51) - Surprisingly, a revised will leaves everything to estranged daughter Rona Anderson.  Turns out the original heir has reason to knock her off, so her old friend Guy Rolfe agrees to help her.  Atmospheric British thriller clues the audience to the villain of the piece earlier than the other characters so some suspense is generated before the climax on the moors.  Not bad.

THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (60) - Disillusioned ex-military man Jack Hawkins recruits other ex-mils with criminal backgrounds to help him rob a bank.  Classic British heist film is enjoyably systematic with enough color to prove engaging.  Thumbs up.

BEYOND THIS PLACE (59) - Van Johnson heads for London to find out about his long-thought dead Dad (Bernard Lee); turns out the old man is doing a life sentence for murder, so Van decides to investigate.  Atmospheric British mystery features a young Vera Miles as the love interest.  Interesting enough.


THE MAN BETWEEN (53) - When she visits her brother and sister-in-law in Berlin, Claire Bloom becomes aware of - and involved in - international intrigue that centers around family friend James Mason.  This British thriller unfolds like the petals of a deadly flower and remains compelling largely due to the performances of Bloom and Mason.  Very atmospheric photography of the crumbling Eastern Sector is a big plus.  Recommended.


Mildly Enjoyed









Charles Gilbert watched:

THREE BAD SISTERS (1956) B&W. Three sibling women (Kathleen Hughes, Sarah Shane, and Marla English) get news their millionaire father has died in a plane crash. They forgo the greiving stage and summarily vie for the attention of the handsome pilot (John Bromfield) who survived.

GIANT OF METROPOLIS (1961) The Armando Travajoli score in this version has been largely supplanted. First time viewing its entirety. Gordon Mitchell's physique at its best.


Angel Rivera watched:

"The Cat O'Nine Tails" directed by Dario Argento and starring Karl Malden and James Franciscus. I mildly enjoyed this cat and mouse chase after a serial killer.

"Baron Blood" directed by Mario Bava starring Joseph Cotten and Elke Sommer. An evil comes back from the dead to enact more evil or continue with the evil he began long ago. Both were worth a glance as they were both very stylish if not preposterous in their delivery or story.

"Man From U.N.C.L.E." episode "The Project Strigas Affair" which featured William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy before "Star Trek" as well as Werner Klemperer from "Hogan's Heroes".

Also mildly enjoyed "Too Late Blues"(1961) which starred Bobby Darin as a Blues musician who has career problems as well as woman problems in the form of on-again, off-again girl friend, Stella Stevens.

Also mildly enjoyed "Because They're Young"(1960) which featured Dick Clark (yes that Dick Clark) as a teacher trying to help students, Tuesday Weld, Michael Callan, Warren Berlinger, Roberta Shore and Doug McClure (before "The Virginian"), as well as romance Victoria Shaw.

I also enjoyed seeing again after many years, "Planets Against Us"(1962) The death of Jany Clair after Bronco (Michel Lemoine) touches her is still worth watching the film.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed: 

Cruella (2020, Craig Gillespie)

I criminali della galassia (1965, Antonio Margheriti)

The seventh victim (1943, Mark Robson)


De leeuw van Vlaanderen (1983, Hugo Claus)

Detektiv Downs (2013, Bard Breien)

Maeumui sori : reboot / The sound of your heart : reboot – season 2 – episodes 4 & 5

Hashoter hatov – season 1 – episodes 4 & 5

Voyage to the bottom of the sea – episode « the monster from outer space » (1965, James Clark)

The wil wild west – episode « the night of the kraken » (1968, Michael Caffey)

I think you should leave – season 1 – episodes 4 to 6 – season 2 – episode 1

Bitter victory (1957, Nicholas Ray)

Man made monster (1941, George Waggner)

City hunter / Nicky Larson  (anime) – season 1 – episodes 6 & 7

Night key (1937, Lloyd Corrigan)

Es geschah am hellichten Tag (1958, Ladislao Vajda)

I married a strange person (1997, Bill Plympton)

Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen / San Ku Kaï (1979) – season 1 – episode 13

Allo, allo – episodes « pigeon post » & « Saville row to the rescue » (1984, David Croft)

Mildly enjoyed:

Blithe spirit (2020, Edward Hall)

La moglie piu bella (1970, Damiano Damiani)

Did not enjoy:

Budapest (2018, Xavier Gens)


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