Friday, September 17, 2021

Week of September 18 - 24, 2021


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor worked with directors Mario Bava, Enzo G. Castellari, Vittorio Schiraldi, Jose Antonio de la Loma, Alberto De Martino and Sergio Martino?
Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes knew that it was John Saxon.

Which Italian actress worked with directors Daniele D'Anza, Peter R. Hunt, Giuliano Montaldo, Allen Baron, J. Lee Thompson and Duccio Tessari?
No one has answered this one yet.

Which Italian writer went from collaborating with Federico Fellini to directing Italian skin flicks?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Brunello Rondi.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which actor who made two Italian Westerns reportedly co-founded the Italian Marxist-Leninist Communist Party?
Which actor who appeared in Westerns was born May 24, 1924 in Spain?
Which Spanish actor worked with directors Don Siegel, Leon Klimovsky, Arne Mattsson, Luis Bunuel, and Michael Carreras?

Name the movies from which these images came.

No one has identified the above photo yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Michele Girardon in ANTHAR L'INVINCIBILE, aka THE DEVIL OF THE DESERT AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one has identified the above photo yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one has identified the above photo yet.
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:


Miracle Workers Oregon Trail (2021)

Uncnsrd: "Tommy Davidson" (2021)

Mildly enjoyed:

Marvel's What If...? episode six (2021)

BODYGUARD (1948) - Future film director Robert Altman co-wrote the story this film was based on with future producer George W. George. Fred Niblo Jr. and Henry Essex were credited with the final screenplay which was turned into a fun b-movie thriller by director Richard O. Fleischer. Lawrence Tierney made a solid good guy, but co-star Priscilla Lane was sometimes so cheery that she seemed to be in a different film. As she frequently ignored her career in favor of her marriage and her husband's career, this turned out to be Lane's last movie.

CADILLAC RECORDS (2008) - Writer/director Darnell Martin was certainly ambitious in her attempt to relate the story of Chess Records, but a single movie isn't long enough to cover these people. And then one can make a long list of the important people in the story of Chess Records that the movie ignored - like Leonard's brother Phil. The film also gets off to a confusing start with Adrien Brody, as Leonard Chess, making out with Tammy Blanchard and being interrupted by her father. Brody then proclaims that he wants to marry Blanchard and that in the future he'll be driving cadillacs. The next thing we know, Brody is married to Emmanuelle Chriqui and Blanchard is never mentioned again. The issue of fair pay for black performers also gets a little confusing until Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf shows up and refuses the free car and spending money that Brody offers. This highlights Brody's position as "white daddy" who doles out money without the performers realizing that these are loans put against their earnings. A scene in which Brody orders that some of Chuck Berry's royalties be given to Jeffrey Wright, as Muddy Waters, because Muddy isn't making money is indicative of why the real Chuck Berry had a chip on his shoulder for most of his life. Martin has Cedric the Entertainer playing Willie Dixon to narrate the film as if it is his memoir. This doesn't give the film any time to explore Dixon's life. Gabrielle Union gets a few strong scenes as Muddy Waters' life partner, and co-executive producer Beyone Knowles gets a major subplot as Etta James.

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS (2006) - Julie Benz looks gorgeous in the two TV14 rated love-making scenes in this Lifetime Movie Network flick. Basically, this is a "who-dun-it", but the storytellers are obviously more interested in the rekindling romance between our heroine and the old high school boyfriend. Benz returns from her New York City career as a dress designer to her small town in Conneticut for a funeral. One of her close-knit circle of girlfriends from high school supposedly committed suicide, but we saw her shot dead by a POV hand held camera. Benz becomes suspicious when she is told that six old high school friends have died in violent "accidents", including her husband, in the last eight months. From the cast list it isn't hard to know who the killer is, but the writers toss in a pile of red herrings trying to cover their tracks. Director Stefan Pleszczynski delivers a pleasant watch, especially if you like looking at Julie Benz. Pleszczynski previously directed episodes of Da Vinci's Inquest, and Venus Terzo from that show appears here. 

DARK SHADOWS (2012) - There are parts of this flick that suggest that this could have been as much fun as SLEEPY HOLLOW, but then stupid things start happening. The thrust of the story should have been Barnabas getting revenge on Angelique while protecting his family and finding love with Josette/Victoria/Maggie. Instead someone felt the film needed gags about Barnabas being freaked out by television and lava lamps. Hell, the love story gets lost for huge chunks of the flick and that's a shame because Bella Heathcote is a pleasure to behold. Setting the film in 1972 gives director Tim Burton an excuse to used The Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" for the opening credits and that works very well. Most of the vintage music is enjoyable, but if you're going to have Alice Cooper show up for a live show, you should actually have him do something of use to the plot. Christopher Lee's cameo is a plus.

HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL (2011) - Even though many of the filmmakers who worked on the original assisted new director Mike Disa in making this sequel, the 2011 film wasn't as much fun as the 2005 film. How many viewers got the Starsky and Hutch gag at the end?

KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977) - Sketch comedy films are always hit and miss, but "A Fistful of Yen" is great.

Did not enjoy:

BOKEH (2017) - Aside from being a tourist advertisement for Iceland, this film written and directed by Geoffrey Orthwein and Andrew Sullivan seems rather pointless. Maika Monroe and Matt O'Leary are on vacation in Iceland, when she sees a bright light in the sky at about 3:24am. At about 10:02am, O'Leary comes into her bedroom to awaken Monroe to go to breakfast. Everyone in the world seems to have disappeared, so they are too confused to actually get to eating until later. Luckily, they are in Iceland where the power and water continue to operate for months even though the people have disappeared. Monroe, being a preacher's daughter, keeps trying to understand what's happening in religious terms. O'Leary decides to accept the new reality and is happy that at least he has Monroe as a companion. After about two thirds of the film's running time, the couple move into a house on the coast and find old man Arnar Jonsson there. He's run out of food and water, so they help him. However, he's got a fatalistic attitude towards things, saying that it is useless to fight against God's will. The next morning, Jonsson has died in his sleep. After O'Leary attempts to get Monroe to see the beauty in the nature around them, he finds her missing. Eventually, he finds that she's drowned herself. After trying to also drown himself, O'Leary leaves Monroe's dead body and drives off by himself. Slow paced movies in which no one acts as you would believe people would act in those circumstances become dull quickly, especially if they have long winded conversations that amount to nothing. 

THE CLAY PIGEON (1949) - An American survivor of a Japanese P.O.W. camp recognized his former Japanese prison guard on a street in Los Angeles. Reportedly, that was the inspiration for this film, but writer Carl Foreman concocted a rather unconvincing scenario into which to fit that bit. Bill Williams awakens from a two year coma in a military hospital in Long Beach to discover that he's been accused of treason. Williams can't remember what happened, but intense media attention to the story of a P.O.W. reportedly responsible for the execution of another P.O.W. during W.W.2 seems unbelievable. And Williams immediately escaping from the hospital, after two years in a coma, in order to clear his name also seems far-fetched. Naturally, he makes his way to San Diego to seek the help of another P.O.W. only to discover that this friend is the guy he's supposedly got killed. Thankfully the dead guy's wife, Barbara Hale, is there, so he can force her to help him get to Los Angeles where a third P.O.W. might help straighten out our hero's fuzzy memories. Of course, Hale falls in love with Williams (who were married to each other off-set), Williams sees the former Japanese prison guard, Richard Loo, in a restaurant in Chinatown and it turns out that the third P.O.W. is in a criminal conspiracy with Loo. As someone who has spent a lot of time in L.A.'s Chinatown, I enjoyed seeing shots of the area in the late 1940s, especially the China City shopping area which was destroyed in an arson fire shortly after this movie was made and was never rebuilt. I feel jaded that I was disappointed that no one shoots anyone in this movie. Foreman would soon prove his talent with his next films CHAMPION and HOME OF THE BRAVE. It would take director Richard O. Fleischer three more years before he proved himself with THE NARROW MARGIN.

DEAD EASY (1982) - Scott Burgess is a low rung criminal in Kings Cross, Sydney, Australia. After informing his boss, Joe Martin, that he knew Tony Barry was responsible for the firebombing of the camera club, Burgess is given the chance to run the dilapidated Aphrodite Club. Smitten with Rosemary Paul from the camera club, Burgess tries to give her a break. Finding her suffering from drugs withdrawal, Burgess neglects the club just as the bad guys attack. As Martin's muscle, Barney Combes, gets crippled, Burgess is blamed. Barry wants Burgess to locate Martin's son for kidnapping, but he informs Matin, who gets him to set up Barry to be killed. Fired policeman, Tim McKenzie, says that Burgess could be a witness against Martin, so Burgess and Paul are on the run from those wanting him dead. Paul thinks McKenzie can help them get away, but the police want order and are willing to let all three be killed. This is another movie in which it looks like somebody dropped the film and wasn't quite sure how to reassemble it. Much of the editing is very choppy with a number of scenes seemingly missing. McKenzie turns out to have a getaway car that shows that Australians liked whacked out motor vehicles outside of MAD MAX movies. The film ends without informing us if Paul will ever let Burgess kiss her. 

KATE (2021) - I'll watch just about anything featuring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and this is less irritating than BIRDS OF PREY: AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN. But this stew made up from D.O.A., NIKITA, JOHN WICK and THE CHALLENGE is only interesting in how it shows that the cliches about Japanese culture have changed since I was a kid. French visual effects "artist" turned director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan doesn't let the mayhem reach The Walking Dead levels, but he knows the tools for graphic but unconvincing gore.

THE HYPNOTIC EYE (1960) - Unable to come up with enough scripted material to get the film to feature length, director George Blair and his associates toss in a scene at a beatnik cafe during which the "King of the Beatniks" Lawrence Lipton reads an obnoxious poem. The big set piece of the film is a demonstration of "HypnoMagic" in which star Jacques Bergerac spends about fifteen minutes encouraging the viewing audience to participate in a demonstration of suggested behavior, before threatening them with the electronic "hypnotic eye". Is it stage hypnotist Jacques Bergerac who is getting beautiful women to disfigure themselves, or is it his assistant Allison Hayes? If a disfigured face can so easily be covered up with a false face mask, why don't any of the disfigured women get one for themselves? Joe Patridge plays the slow-witted detective on the case, Marcia Henderson is his more adventurous girlfriend and Guy Prescott is the medical doctor consulting on the case. 

Titans (2020) - So WONDER WOMAN (2017) remains the only DC Universe entry that I don't hate.


David Deal enjoyed:



THE GO-GO's (20)



Mildly enjoyed:







Charles Gilbert watched:

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1953) B&W. The old routines are quite monotonous. Uses virtually the same soundtrack as A & C MEET FRANKENSTEIN.

MARTIAL LAW 2; UNDERCOVER (1992) Canadian practitioner of karate Jeff Wincott teams with Ms. Rothrock to take down a drug lord who has corrupted the police captain (Billy Drago).

SHE DEVIL (1957) B&W. Doctors Jack Kelly and Albert Dekker want to try a new adaptive serum on a desperately ill young woman. She ( Mari Blanchard) revives to sublime physical health even invulnerability immediately but begins to suffer from malicious personality traits.

Range Rider television series: Stuntmen and super horseback riding actors Jock Mahoney and Dick Jones star in 1951 Gene Autry Enterprises. (B&W).
Episodes are good guys vs. bad guys in a cartoonish and playful.manner.

'Blind Trail' Guests James Griffith and Micky Simpson. Quirky line,"I tied him up tighter than a fat woman's corset."
'Marshal From Madero' Guests Harry Lauter and Stanley Andrews. Quirky line, Range rider,"Ever hear of the spider and the fly?" Dick's response,"Is that like the birds and the bees?"

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon series from 1985. Filmation makes effective  use of rotoscoping for animation but with just a handful of repetitive angles.
The Arena


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed: 

News of the world (2020, Paul Greengrass)

Jean Ray le ténébreux (doc) (1965, Jean Antoine)

Frankenstein 1970, (1957, Howard W. Koch)


Hashoter hatov – season 1 – episode 8

Du rififi dans le surimi (doc)(2021, Philippe Lespinasse)

Un homme est mort (1972, Jacques Deray)

Shadow and bone – season 1 – episodes 1 to 8

Diablero – season 2 – episode 1

Lansky (2021, Eytan Rockaway)

Mildly enjoyed

Indiana Jones à la recherche del’âge d’or (doc) (2021, Clelia Cohen & Antoine Coursat)

El vecino – season 1 – episode 2

La casa de Papel – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2


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