Friday, November 26, 2021

 

Week of November 20 - 26, 2021

 

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at scinema@earthlink.net.

Brain Teasers:

By what name is Robert Black better known?
No one has answered this one yet.

Which actor has not played Robin Hood: Lex Barker, George Martin, Giuliano Gemma, Gordon Scott or Alan Steel?
George Grimes, Bertrand van Wonterghem and Angel Rivera knew that it was Gordon Scott.

Which Spanish actress has worked with directors Richard Lester, Ferdinando Baldi, Tonino Ricci, Vicente Aranda, Pierre Kast and Pedro Almodovar?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Victoria Abril.

Which Italian directed Western has the first line of "Pussy!"?
George Grimes knew that it was LO STRANIERO DI SILENZIO, aka THE SILENT STRANGER. Bertrand van Wonterghem thought it might be UN UOMO UN CAVALLO UNA PISTOLA, aka THE STRANGER RETURNS in which Tony Anthony's first line is "Come here, Pussy. Come on over here. That's a good girl."

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Spanish actor appeared in films directed by Sergio Leone, Jose Luis Saenz de Heredia, Vittorio Cottafavi, Nicholas Ray, Jesus Franco, Giovanni Grimaldi and Lucio Fulci?
Which Spanish director is credited as working with Linda Hayden, Anthony Steffen, Simon Andreu, Thomas Hunter, Agnes Laurent and John Saxon?
Which Spanish actor worked with directors Luis Bunuel, William Friedkin, Ferdinando Baldi, Umberto Lenzi, Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia and Florestano Vancini?

Name the movies from which these images came.


Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Angel Rivera identified last week's photo of Tony Anthony in UN UOMO, UN CAVALLO, UNA PISTOLA, aka THE STRANGER RETURNS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes, Bertrand van Wonterghem, Charles Gilbert and Angel Rivera identified last week's frame grab of Mimmo Palmara and Christine Kaufmann in GLI ULTIMI GIORNI DI POMPEI, aka THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes, Bertrand van Wonterghem and Angel Rivera identified last week's photo of Steve Reeves and Jacqueline Sassard in I PIRATI DELLA MALESIA, aka PIRATES OF MALAYA.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Yuen Biao in RIGHTING WRONGS, aka ABOVE THE LAW.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

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I am interested in knowing what movies you have watched and what you enjoyed or not. So please send me an email at scinema@earthlink.net if you'd like to share. Here's what I watched last week:

Highly enjoyed:

The first four episodes of The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (2021)

Enjoyed: 

Dean Martin: King of Cool (2021)

THE EXCEPTION (2016) - Based on Alan Judd's novel THE KAISER'S LAST KISS (2003), this film allowed Christopher Plummer to continue his string of roles based on real people - Leo Tolstoy in THE LAST STATION (2009), John Barrymore in BARRYMORE (2011), King Herod in THE STAR (2017) and J. Paul Getty in ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (2017). Here he was Kaiser Wilhelm II, in exile in The Netherlands after World War One. It also allowed Lily James to continue her association with Winston Churchill - from being his secretary in DARKEST HOUR to being a Secret Agent tasked with delivering a message to the Kaiser from Churchill. I knew just about nothing about this film when I started watching it, so I was surprised that it was a romantic spy thriller set during World War Two. This was the motion picture debut for respected theater director David Leveaux so the high level of acting performances was not surprising, but he also handled the camerawork very well. As usual, Lily James was luminous even as a brunette. Jai Courtney played her romantic interest, Janet McTeer was the Kaiser's wife, Ben Daniels was the Kaiser's adjutant and Eddie Marsan played Heinrich Himmler. 

Mildly enjoyed:

LA TETE D'UN HOMME (1933) - Obviously the title translates as A MAN'S HEAD, so why did TCM host Alicia Malone insist on calling the film A MAN'S NECK? I became interested in the Maigret stories when my French film school teacher insisted on my reading Georges Simenon. I read his memoir Quand j’√©tais vieux, aka When I Was Old, but really became interested in Maigret because of the TV series starring Bruno Cremer. Harry Baur in the role isn't the focus of director Julien Duvivier's film, which is a compelling police procedural for a fellow who thinks he's committed the perfect crime - murdering a stranger for another stranger and setting up a simpleton as a fall guy. Reportedly this novel was also the basis for the film THE MAN ON THE EIFFEL TOWER, so I'll need to rewatch that because nothing here awakened any memories of that film. Director Julien Duvivier used alot of unusual camera effects to keep the film visually interesting.

Did not enjoy:

ANNABELLE COMES HOME (2019) - Why do I feel compelled to watch these films since I've not liked any of installments of "THE CONJURING Universe"? For the same reason I watched all of the FRIDAY THE 13th flicks - I have a fondness for Fantasy and Horror movies and I'm always hoping to see something fun. Reportedly critics found COMES HOME "less frightening" than the previous entries. Really? They found some of these flicks "frightening"? This film does teach the lesson that if your parents are "paranormal investigators" with a room of supernatural evil artifacts, don't let a friend into your house while your parents are out of town. Also, if you wait long enough your classmates will get over feeling that you are creepy and come to your birthday party.

THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR, aka HORROR HOUSE (1969) - I saw this film when it first came out and only remembered the fate of the Frankie Avalon character. I remembered that the rest of the film wasn't very good, but I had forgotten how truly terrible it was. Reportedly, Michael Armstrong had something more interesting in his script, but nothing in the final film suggested that he would have been able to make something better. David Bowie had appeared in Armstrong's short film The Image, and was to be in this feature film, until American International insisted on Frankie Avalon being the star (in a different role). On top of all of the faults in the film, the continuity was a shambles. Just about no exterior shots match and the interior lighting was hit and miss. But for me, the biggest waste was Jill Haworth. How did an actress who was under contract to Otto Preminger for five years and originated the role of Sally Bowles in the original production of CABARET for over two years end up making this low-budget turkey?

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Charles Gilbert watched:

YELLOW RIVER FIGHTER (1988) A peasant man distinguishing himself with a sword gains acclaim among warring Chinese tribes in this period piece set along the frozen falls and waters of the Yellow River. When his daughter is killed in battle he takes to the bottle and becomes blind when henchmen slip him a laced drink. but is befriended by a garrulous market entertainer who pities him and becomes his reluctant avenging partner.

BURY THEM DEEP aka THE LAST DROPS OF BLOOD (1968) Army Captain Norton (Craig Hill) saves El Chaleco (Ettore Manni) from the noose to help him catch his bandit brother Billy Gunn (Ken Wood aka Giovanni Cianfriglia).  Jose Greci sporting raven tresses gets little screen time.

LE SETTE SFIDE (1961) Interesting action film with such attractive leads in Ed Fury and Elaine Stewart who had been an A list actress. Gabriele Antonini and Bella Cortez also handsome.. Dual love story amidst tribal conflict leads to a tragic end for one of the couples.  Ivan's lot evokes comparison to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. Filming conditions evident with breath vapors must have been quite frigid.  I used this for a book report in high school 1969 piquing the attention of my teacher. My favorite peplum.

Mayday South African Flight 295. Nivember 28  1987 A 747 Combi named "Helderberg" caught fire and disintegrated over the Indian ocean claiming 159 people. Wreckage was eventually found in waters deeper than ever explored.

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David Deal Enjoyed:

THE CYNIC, THE RAT, AND THE FIST (77)

PIRATES OF THE COAST (60)

THE SICILIAN CLAN (69)

ON THE ROCKS (20)

MYSTERY IN MEXICO (48)

THE SAINT'S DOUBLE TROUBLE (40)

Did not enjoy:

THE PROTEGE (21) - Maggie Q is a hit-woman who goes revenging for the murder of her mentor, Samuel L Jackson.  Michael Keaton is out to bang her in more ways than one.  Martin Campbell's (Casino Royale) crime story is derivative and generally unpleasant.

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Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed: 

Gintama (anime) – episode 21

Enjoyed:

Hometown cha-cha-cha –season 1 – episodes 13 & 14

El vecino – season 2 – episodes 1 & 2

Cowboy be bop – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2

Mildly enjoyed:

Dai nemici, mi guardio io (1968, Mario Amendola)

The long haul (1957, Ken Hughes)

The wheel of time - season 1 – episodes 1 to 3

Il est passé par ici (tv movie) (1965, Jacques Pierre)

jiok / Hellbound – season 1

Did not enjoy:

The fearmakers (1958, Jacques Tourneur)

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Angel Rivera watched and enjoyed:

"A Mighty Wind" (2003) a comedy spoofing the folk music scene with original music in the of folk music style. 

"Dances with Wolves" (1990)  possibly one of the best Native American westerns ever made.

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Friday, November 19, 2021

Week of November 20 - 26, 2021

 

To answer these trivia questions, please email me at scinema@earthlink.net.

Brain Teasers:

Which actor did not play Klaus Kinski's brother in a movie: Giuliano Gemma, Gian Maria Volonte, Anthony Steel or Antonio Sabato?
Angel Rivera knew that it was Anthony Steel.

Which Italian Western star survived the British bombing of Dresden as a child?
George Grimes knew that it was Mario Girotti, aka Terence Hill.

Which Italian Western star was a prisoner of the British during World War 2?
George Grimes knew that it was Klaus Kinski.

By what name is Rod Carter better known?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Roland Carey.

By what name is Robert Black better known?
No one has answered this one yet.

Which star of Italian Epic Films was born in Lausanne, Switzerland?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Roland Carey.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which actor has not played Robin Hood: Lex Barker, George Martin, Giuliano Gemma, Gordon Scott or Alan Steel?
Which Spanish actress has worked with directors Richard Lester, Ferdinando Baldi, Tonino Ricci, Vicente Aranda, Pierre Kast and Pedro Almodovar?
Which Italian directed Western has the first line of "Pussy!"?

Name the movies from which these images came.


Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Rick Garibaldi identified last week's frame grab of Ida Galli, Glenn Saxon and Fernando Sancho in DJANGO SPARA PER PRIMO, aka DJANGO SHOOTS FIRST.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Gordon Mitchell in L'IRA DI ACHILLE, aka FURY OF ACHILLES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


George Grimes identified last week's photo of Farley Granger in LA ROSSA DALLA PELLE CHE SCOTTA, aka THE RED HEADED CORPSE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

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I am interested in knowing what movies you have watched and what you enjoyed or not. So please send me an email at scinema@earthlink.net if you'd like to share. Here's what I watched last week:

Enjoyed: 

ETERNALS (2021)

Mildly enjoyed:

SECHS SCHWEDINNEN IM PENSIONAT, aka SIX SWEDES ON A CAMPUS (1979) - As a movie, this is pretty mediocre, but as good-natured soft-core pornography, this is surprisingly alluring. Under the name Michael Thomas, Erwin C. Dietrich directed the script by Erwin C. Dietrich, under the name Manfred Gregor, which has a French student at a boarding school for young women commenting on the sexual exploits of her six Swedish roommates. It is intriguing to see that Swiss, German and French filmmakers think of the Swedes as "sexpots" while not employing any Swedish performers in the cast. French actress Brigitte Lahaie is the best known of the performers, and while there are no "hardcore" acts shown, there are a number of shots bordering on gynecological explorations. 

I SETTE MAGNIFICI GLADIATORI, aka THE SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS (1983) - Brad Harris was Lou Ferrigno's trainer at this time, so the two of them working together on a gladiator film seemed to be a good idea. Harris suggested to Ferrigno that he should convince producers Golan and Globus of Cannon that they should make a new Hercules movie starring Ferrigno with Harris' old friend Gianfranco Parolini directing. Later, when Harris learned that Ferrigno had made the deal with Golan/Globus with no participation for Parolini, he felt betrayed. Did Golan/Globus have a bad experience with Parolini on GOD'S GUN? Or did they prefer director Luigi Cozzi's idea of doing HERCULES as a Science Fiction movie? But that's in the future. When Bruno Mattei was hired to make THE SEVEN MAGNIFICENT GLADIATORS it became obvious that Cannon wanted something quick and cheap. Could a better director have made something better with Claudio Fragasso's screenplay? The idea of a version of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN set during Ancient Roman times with a magical element isn't unworkable, but these guys couldn't pull if off. And if you're wondering if I should be mentioning SEVEN SAMURAI instead of director John Sturges remake, then consider that this film has the heroes getting kicked out of the village and the young fighter electing to stay with the village just as in the remake, not the Japanese original. Plus, while there is talk about the villagers farming, we never see any agricultural work. As with director Roger Corman's ATLAS, this film looked to be mostly shot around ancient ruins, and there's a line about how the bad guys had destroyed the village, but those ruins don't look like they were for farmers. Considering his impressive past credits, Silvano Ippoliti should have been able to deliver a better looking movie. Was it a budget problem, the terrible art direction by Amedeo Mellone and the poor costuming by Belle Crandall, that led to the mediocre images, or did Ippoliti hand off the job to an assistant? And considering how the production hired ace stuntman Sal Borgese, hiding behind the credit Michael Franz, to play a part, why did they hire Hank O'Leary to be the stunt coordinator? Or was Hank O'Leary a phony name like film editor A. Swyftte, who was unmasked as director Mattei. In any case, the action scenes are poor, though Borgese gave himself the best stunts. How Romanian composer Dov Seltzer came to make the music for this film seemed mysterious, but he was probably cheap and his work doesn't help the movie much. Considering that I don't have many positive things to report about this movie, why did I mildly enjoy it? Because it is fun seeing Dan Vadis waving a sword as the bad guy, even wearing that stupid leather thingy. It is fun seeing Brad Harris and Sybil Danning waving swords. It seemed nice that Lou Ferrigno got his wife Carla cast as the village beauty. It is fun seeing Giovanni Cianfriglia, Emilio Messina and Sal Borgese trying to recapture some of the old magic. And for those interested in the 1963 Christine Keeler scandal, here's a chance to see the notorious Mandy Rice-Davies (the role played by Bridget Fonda in SCANDAL), though 20 years past those days. 

Did not enjoy:

LITTLE WOODS (2018) - Have you been waiting to see Tessa Thompson and Lily James play desperate, down-on-their-luck, country girls in North Dakota? Taking on the job as one of the executive producers, Thompson would seem to have said "yes". Writer/director Nia DaCosta workshopped the script at the Sundance Institute, but ended up shooting the film in Texas. The film did well enough for Jordan Peele to hire DaCosta to make the new CANDYMAN movie, and Marvel Studios to hire her to make THE MARVELS, scheduled to come out Februrary 2023. Thompson played James' adopted sister who was nearing the end of her parole for trafficking drugs from over the border in Canada. Parole officer Lance Reddick liked Thompson's plan to get a job in Spokane and move out of town, and warns her to stay out of trouble. The bank planned to foreclose on the old family home, which was fine with Thompson until James showed up at her front door with her little boy and the news that she was pregnant again. The father was a no-good drug dealer who wanted Thompson to get back to smuggling. Of course, Thompson can't resist seeing crime as the only way to get the money to pay the mortgage and set her sister up as well as finance her move to Washington state. Taking James to Canada with a false I.D. to get a no-cost and safe abortion also complicated her life. 

MUTANT HUNT (1987) - Under the names Joe Gage and Mac Larson, Tim Gambiani, aka Tim Kincaid, directed a number of sex films before venturing into incredibly low-budget science fiction for the new videotape market. With 17 titles to his credit, Kincaid probably thought he knew what he was doing, but this flick was evidence that he was incompetent in directing actors, staging action and telling a story, which he also wrote. Some of the women in this flick were attractive enough for the viewer to wish this was a sex movie, but Kincaid must have decided that the video audience wouldn't want to see any "naughty bits". Does this mean that MGM-HD now has the Wizard Video library?

NORTH TO ALASKA (1960) - In the late 1950s Charles Feldman was one of the most powerful agents in Hollywood, having John Wayne among his clients. He also was romancing Capucine and wanted to be a producer. With 20th Century Fox, he made a deal to make NORTH TO ALASKA with Wayne and Capucine and Fox suggested the hottest director on the lot at the time Richard Fleischer, who just had a great success with COMPULSION. Feldman felt that Fleischer wouldn't refuse the chance to make a movie with Wayne, but Fleischer wasn't happy with the script and wouldn't sign on until the script was fixed. Eventually, Henry Hathaway signed on to direct and Fleischer felt that Wayne never forgave him for saying "no". Well, watching the movie it is obvious that the script was never fixed and Hathaway's effort to disguise the problems with "uproarious" slapstick is embarrassing. Feldman did succeed though in having Capucine look gorgeous. Johnny Horton had a big hit with the title song and thankfully Fabin's contribution "If You Knew" has been forgotten. 

THE PHOTOGRAPH (2007) - This is a serious movie of quality and sensitivity which won a number of prizes at film festivals. However, it is hard to have an enjoyable experience watching the story of a young woman who aspires to be a singer but makes money as a prostitute to send to her grandmother, who needs an operation, who is also looking after her child. She pressures an old photographer to give her a place to live, not knowing that the old man has decided to begin to die having spent most of his life regretting the action he took in his youth which caused his wife and child to commit suicide. Nan Achnas is a prominent Indonesian filmmaker who got financing for this film from Switzerland.

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Charles Gilbert watched:

INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN (1956) B&W. Charles "Butcher" Benton (Lon Chaney) takes the rap for a heist involving three others who turned on him. He vows revenge as he faces the chair.  Plays like film noir despite the sci fi premise. Learned about LA's Angel funicular from Svengoolie.

TRUSTING IS GOOD...SHOOTING IS BETTER aka DEAD FOR A DOLLAR (1968)  Gritty shoot 'em up with John Ireland  George Hilton, and "with the participation of Gordon Mitchell", which  I guess means, he gets a smaller part but larger than cameo.

JULIETTE OF THE SPIRITS (1965) Colorful kaleidoscopic study as surreal visions and oneiria begin to pervade the world of a socialitess compelled by escapism from her philandering husband. Sandra Milo and Sylva Kiscina provide a bit of cheesecake. Scant few lines of dialogue are in English.

Mayday Flight 5481Air Midwest Jan 8, 2003. Commuter plane crashes just after takeoff at Charlotte, N. C. killing all 21 souls aboard. Investigation reveals slack maintenance on rudder cables, and overweight conditions.

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David Deal enjoyed:

SILENT ACTION (75)

CRIME STORY (92)

THE LONE RANGER (56)

ROADBLOCK (51) - Honest insurance detective Charles McGraw falls for femme fatale Joan Dixon and initiates a train robbery to get the dough to win her heart.  Things don't end well.  Enjoyable B noir is a good role for McGraw.  Lots of good patter too.  Thumbs up.

THE NEVADAN (50) - Good guy Randolph Scott is on the trail of Forrest Tucker and the gold he stole.  Rancher George Macready wants a piece of the action, and his daughter, Dorothy Malone, wants a piece of Randy.  Enjoyable, if not top notch, western that Scott would soon abandon for the more adult westerns for which he would become known.

PASSPORT TO HELL (65) - See The Eurospy Guide book for a full review of this good George Ardisson entry.

MOLE MEN AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES (61)

THE SAINT IN LONDON (39)

Mildly enjoyed:

TOWER OF SCREAMING VIRGINS (68) - Mid-budget German swashbuckler with a few breasts exposed.  High production values and creative costumes keep things visually interesting.

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Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed: 

Strange lady in town (1955, Mervyn LeRoy)

Gintama (anime) – episodes 19 & 20

Enjoyed:

Hometown cha-cha-cha –season 1 – episodes 11 & 12

Hashoter hatov – season 1 – episodes 9 to 15

El vecino – season 1 – episodes 3 to 10

Father Christmas is back (2020, Mick Davis & Philippe Martinez)

Invincible (2020) – season 1 – episodes 2 & 3

Inside job (2020) – season 1 – episode 2

Plunder of the sun (1953, John Farrow)

Mildly enjoyed:

Red notice (2020, Rawson Marshall)

The river’s edge (1957, Allan Dwan)

Laura Laune - le diable est une gentille petite fille (spectacle)

Did not enjoy:

Jungle moon men (1955, Charles S. Gould)

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Angel Rivera wrote:

"Black Widow" (2021) Scarlet Johansson looks good, but story is very derivative. Rachel Weisz is almost unrecognizable.

"The Relentless Four" (1965) Stars a pre-Batman Adam West, but he is dubbed by someone else.
Most of the movie is spent with West being chased by the Relentless Four. Spoiler Alert: It ends well for West.

"The Young Land' (1959)  First starring role for Patrick Wayne, son of John Wayne (here listed as "Pat Wayne" in the credits.) Takes place in California when it had just become part of the USA, after the Mexican-American War. Dennis Hopper kills a Mexican and is arrested by Wayne the sheriff of the town and brought to trial. All hangs on whether Hopper will be convicted of the murder.  Also co-stars a young Yvonne Craig as Wayne's love interest. Spoiler Alert: It does not end well for Dennis Hopper.

"Seven Guns for Timothy" (1966) Sean Flynn, son of Errol Flynn goes up against Fernando Sancho, who wants Flynn to deed him the gold mine, Flynn has inherited from his late uncle. In his battle against Sancho, he is aided by his ranch foreman and his foreman's former army biddies. As his love interest is the beautiful Ida Galli who also turns out to be proficient with  a rifle. Spoiler Alert: All ends well for Flynn.

"Shaft" (1971) & "Shaft's Big Score" (1972) The first and the original is still the best with one of the best last lines of any movie. There is a running joke when Shaft's girl and cop friend leave Shaft's hangout, he asks them to close the door to which the response is usually "Close it yourself, Shitty!" At the end of the film Shaft calls his cop friend and tells him his case has just "busted wide open". The cop friend asks him to close the case for him: to which  Shaft responds, "Close it yourself, Shitty!" and the film ends with Shaft laughing and the theme song playing. The sequel while okay is just more routine. [The films were playing on TCM as part of a tribute to Gordon Park, the famed African American director of both, as well as other films.]

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