Friday, September 24, 2021

Week of September 25 - October 1, 2021



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

I will be a guest on this week's Spaghetti Western Podcast: <>. So Tom Betts and I spend about an hour talking about me.

Brain Teasers:

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 actor who made two Italian Westerns reportedly co-founded the Italian Marxist-Leninist Communist Party?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Lou Castel.

Which actor who appeared in Westerns was born May 24, 1924 in Spain?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Jose Manuel Martin.

Which Spanish actor worked with directors Don Siegel, Leon Klimovsky, Arne Mattsson, Luis Bunuel, and Michael Carreras?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Jose Manuel Martin.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which American actor who appeared in Italian costume action films became a producer for Walt Disney Productions?
Which American actor who made Italian Westerns played the brother on a TV series to the actor who became a producer for Walt Disney Productions?
What film was Cameron Mitchell shooting in Almeria at about the same time Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone were making their first film together?

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 Angel Rivera identified last week's photo of Louis Jourdan and Sylvia Syms in LE VERGINE DI ROMA, aka AMAZONS OF ROME.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one has identified the above photo yet and I can't remember where I found it.
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:


Marvel's What If...? episode seven


DER SCHATZ IM SIBERSEE, aka TREASURE OF THE SILVER LAKE (1962) - I'll watch just about anything featuring Karin Dor, and since she was married to the director chosen by Rialto Film to helm their first adaptation of a Karl May novel about Apache Chief Winnetou, it was not surprising that she was in this movie. I've never read any native American reaction to the German fantasies about life in the American West, but they might appreciate their pro-Indian perspective. Sergio Leone said that he never featured Indians in his movies because Europeans didn't have the faces to play Indians. That obviously didn't stop director Harald Reinl who filled his screen with Yugoslavian actors, and one French guy, to play his idea of Indians. Here we get Pierre Brice playing Apache Chief Winnetou getting Osage warriors to help save the good whites from the bad whites, and then running afoul of the Utah indians when they mistake our heroes for the villains that massacred their village. Interestingly, Reinl included a single black man as a customer in the saloon scene. Lex Barker played Charles May, known as Old Shatterhand (because of the power of his punch), who was Winnetou's blood brother and a friend to all indians. The bad guy was played by Herbert Lom who murdered Engel to get his hands on a map to an indian treasure. Engel's son, Gotz George, wanted revenge, but our heroes convinced him to join up in the cause of justice. Yugoslavia, now Croatia, provided the spectacular scenery which was perhaps the most attractive element of the film. I was not that much of a fan of the comedy provided by Eddi Arent and Ralf Wolter and it took some getting used to the lush orchestral score by Martin Bottcher. These Rialto produced Westerns were quite unique. What other Western featured a farm that had a fortress-like stockade around the main house? And the farm had an escape tunnel from inside the water well to the woods far away from the stockade. This was one of those movies in which the villain's gang looked more like a small army, so that a lot of them could be killed in battles but still leave enough to be threatening. This was the first time I watched the movie with the German soundtrack on with English subtitles, and I found it amusing that much of the "indian speak" was subtitled but not translated.

Mildly enjoyed:

73rd Emmy Awards (2021)

THE PHANTOM OF PARIS (1931) - Based on the novel CHERI-BIBI ET CECILY by Gaston Leroux of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA fame, the film, directed by John S. Robertson, provides evidence that John Gilbert had a perfectly good speaking voice for the "talkies". Magician and escape artist Gilbert wants to marry Leila Hyams, but her father, C. Aubrey Smith, says he won't allow it while he's alive. Smith wanted Hyams to marry Ian Keith and had put him in the will, but seeing that Hyams didn't want Keith, Smith tells Keith that he's going to change the will. Naturally, Smith is killed, Gilbert is framed and eventually sentenced to the guillotine. Of course, Gilbert escapes death row and hides out with his magician friends. When he hears that Keith is dying of flu, Gilbert rushes to try and get a death bed confession. After Keith dies in his arms, Gilbert steals the body, has doctor Alfred Hickman alter his face to look like Keith and resurfaces as Keith surviving a kidnapping by Gilbert. Gilbert/Keith discovers that the villain's lover is maid Natalie Moorhead, and he must now figure out how to get her to confess to Detective Lewis Stone. There's not a lot of spooky stuff here, but the film moves well and features an attractive set design.

Did not enjoy:

THE GRACE CARD (2010) - If you see that a film is being released by Affirm Films, a division of Sony Pictures marketing to Christian audiences, you can be certain that the film doesn't shy away from earnest melodrama. On his day off, white police officer Michael Joiner sees one of his sons run over by a drug dealer in a high speed police chase. 17 years bitter years later, Joiner has alienated wife Joy Parmer Moore and second son Rob Erickson. Thankfully, Joiner is partnered up with black police officer Michael Higgenbottom, a pastor of a small church who joined the police force for a paycheck. Those who rail against black characters in movies being there only to save white characters probably would also object to Higgenbottom's father, Louis Gossett Jr., imparting the family history that their former slave owner freed the slaves before the end of the Civil War and asked their forgiveness. Because of God's grace, the slaves forgave their former master and then stayed on to work for wages. This former master then worked to protect his workers from the race persecution around them. Interestingly, Higgenbottom is so perplexed by Joiner's problems, that he wonders if God put him in his life as a test of his faith. Luckily, his saintly wife, Dawntoya Thomason, gets him to see that God didn't put Joiner in Higgenbottom's life to test him, but put Higgenbottom in Joiner's life to save the white man. On a burglarly call, Joiner shoots the suspect, only to discover that it is his son, Erickson. It looks like Erickson will die without a kidney transplant, and none of his family are a match. Guess who proves to be a match? In the end, while Joiner and his family attend a church service led by Higgenbottom, the drug dealer who killed the boy at the beginning of the movie shows up to beg forgiveness. Joiner embraces him before the end credits roll. Writer Howard Klausner's career got under way by writing SPACE COWBOYS, and has continued with other "faith-based" movies like SOUL SURFER. It took director David G. Evans eight years to make another feature, INDIVISIBLE. As with other "faith-based" productions, THE GRACE CARD had a "sponsoring church" with The Calvary Church of the Nazarene in Cordova, Tennessee, from whom volunteers came forth to help with behind the scenes and in front of the camera needs. Set in Memphis, the film features many locations including the Messiah Missionary Baptist Church and St. Francis Hospital.

PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN (1951) - A man and a woman are found dead in the fishing nets at a small Spanish coastal village. Archaeologist Harold Warrender identifies the bodies and then narrates the story of what happened. Irresponsible and cruel Ava Gardner was irresistible to the men around her in a small coastal village in Spain. After the suicide of Marius Goring, Gardner accepted the marriage proposal of Nigel Patrick - after he pushed the race car he spent two years constructing over a cliff into the sea - only to feel destiny calling to her from a mysterious yacht that has appeared off-shore. Inside the yacht was James Mason, who Warrender eventually discovered to be the "Flying Dutchman"; a 16th century sea captain who murdered his wife thinking that she had been unfaithful to him. In court for her murder, Mason cursed himself by blaspheming against God. Miraculously he found himself able to leave prison before his execution only to find himself alone at sea cursed to never die until he can find "true love" with a woman willing to die for him. Not surprisingly, Gardner could be the reincarnation of his murdered wife, but after she tells Mason that she'd be willing to die for him, Mason pulled away from her not wanting her doom. Eventually, Warrender allowed Gardner to read Mason's confessional notebook, and she joins Mason on the yacht to proclaim "true love". A sudden violent storm arrived to end the couple's suffering. Writer/director Albert Lewin gives the film a slow pace with gorgeous photography by Jack Cardiff which equals romantic tragedy for some people but I just find irritating. I've never found Ava Gardner that alluring, and having all the men around her aching for her even though she is irresponsible and cruel just made me hate them all.

REICH OF THE DEAD, aka ZOMBIE MASSACRE 2 REICH OF THE DEAD (2015) - This film answers the question of how did undead flesh eaters originate. They were created by Nazi doctor Mengele in an attempt to create an unstoppable army to repel the Allied invasion. Dan van Husen plays Dr. Mengele and brings a bit of class to the proceedings. Writer/directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori reply on Carlo Diamantini for a lot of undead flesh eater makeup and gore, but they also use a lot of unconvincing CGI for explosions and bullet hits. If you want undead Nazis, SHOCK WAVES is still the best film in this sub genre. Here, an hapless American patrol stumbles upon the site of the Nazi experiments. Confusingly, the filmmakers decide to keep having our hero, Andrew Harwood Mills, flashingback to his happy childhood. Just to make matters worse, the film even leaves us with an unresolved ending. Did our hero become a victim of a flesh eater or was he shot by his Nazi captors?

ZORRO "The Legend Begins" (1996) - In 1990, New World Television began airing an half-hour Zorro TV show on The Family Channel. It ran until 1993 for a total of 88 episodes. Years later, episodes 8-13 of the first season were edited into a feature and released on home video. It is hard to believe that this was shot in Spain with a co-production deal with French TV because the show has no sense of European influence. The cast is mostly bland American TV actors and the scenery is dull. Ray Austin directed this material written by Robert L. McCullough and it is no fun. Daniel Craig reportedly appeared in two episodes in the third season, but I've not seen those. I also did not see the episodes in which Aldo Sambrell and Lloyd Battista appeared.


David Deal enjoyed:

KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (65) - The Kino Lorber Blu-ray looks good!

DESPERATE MISSION (65) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a full review of this Spanish entry starring German Cobos who has some great smart-ass lines.

VAL (21) - Documentary on Val Kilmer who documented most of his life on video.  Worth it for all the vintage footage.


Mildly enjoyed:

THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (61) - Leone's peplum looks good and is well mounted, but Rory Calhoun seems wrong, the rest of the cast is dull, and it's too long.  Finally removed from rotation.


Charles Gilbert watched:

Untouchables B&W television S01E02 'Ma Barker and Her Boys' Reminiscent of GUNFIGHT AT O.K. CORRAL in that Claire Trevor gets to utter "Doc" as her favorite line.

Steve Reeves interview with Pat Henry and Tony Quinn.

THE CROOKED WEB  (1955) B&W. Stan Fabian (Frank Lovejoy) operates a curbsude diner and has fallen in love with car hop Mari Blanchard. Her "brother" shows up unexpectedly with a get rich scheme for the three of them. It's a ploy to catch the ex WW2 soldier who committed murder in uniform.

THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1955) B&W. As the plague ravages a 15th century European community a castle of rulership is rife with debauchery and witches. Giorgio Ardisson, Halina Zalewska, and Barbara Steele.


Bertrand van Wonterghem enjoyed: 

The terror of the Tongs (1961, Anthony Bushell)

Mildly enjoyed

La casa de Papel – season 1 – episodes 3 to 13 / Season 2 / season 3 – episode 1


Angel Rivera wrote:

I have not watched that many movies recently as I've been catching up on the different series I watch. I found the last installment of "Titans" a little interesting. Now I know the show is not every one's cup of tea, but since I was a fan of the "Teen Titans" comic book series and while they took many liberties with the characters, for ex. Robin never had a problem with Batman. He simply left Batman to go off to college. The series has him reproaching Batman for training him the way he did. I don't know if I'll continue to watch the series on HBO Max but watching it this way as a weekly series I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

TCM was also showing what they called the restored version of "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Now I have never been a fan of the so-called "Spaghetti westerns", but since I have enjoyed some of the films of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach I thought I would give it a try. (TCM was honoring the work of composer Ennio  Morricone. Now every one who grew up in the sixties knows that music of the theme song from the movie.)
Any way while I was watching the film I must have nodded off because the next scene I am watching is Wallach torturing Eastwood. At that point I seemed to remember seeing a scene where Wallach does not let Eastwood, who has a new partner save him from him being hung and Eastwood saying "Sorry Shorty".  It turns out I had seen this version of the film before and I was mildly entertained by it especially the climax and conclusion.

One last thing I found the question about John Saxon interesting as it reminded me about the illustrious career of Saxon. From terrorizing Esther Williams in one of her none swimming roles in "The Unguarded Moment" to his portrayal of Roper in the classic, "Enter the Dragon" to the villain in "Battle Beyond the Stars" to his performance in the original "Nightmare on Elm Street." What a career.


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