Friday, November 5, 2021

Week of November 5 - 12, 2021



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which "Spaghetti Western expert" thought that the hero of UN DOLLARO TRA I DENTI was revealed as an "army spy" at the end of the film?
No one has named the expert.

Charles Gilbert asked "Which star of spaghetti westerns educated at Oregon State made a serious effort in the 70's to market a smoker product he labelled 'Death Cigarettes'?"
Tom Betts, George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Charles Southwood.

Charles Gilbert asked  "Which American actor frequently seen in spaghetti westerns appeared in episodes of 'I Dream of Jeannie'?"
Tom Betts knew that it was Lincoln Tate.

Which Italian actress felt that appearing in a "Bond" film hurt her career?
Tom Betts and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Luciana Paluzzi.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which actor did not play Klaus Kinski's brother in a movie: Giuliano Gemma, Gian Maria Volonte, Anthony Steel or Antonio Sabato?
Which Italian Western star survived the British bombing of Dresden as a child?
Which Italian Western star was a prisoner of the British during World War 2?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Tony Kendall in RIMASE UNO SOLO E FU LA MORTE PER TUTTI, aka BROTHER OUTLAW.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Rick Garibaldi, George Grimes, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Alan Steel and Mimmo Palmara in GLI INVINCIBILI TRE, aka URSUS AND THE THREE AVENGERS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Angel Rivera, George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's frame grab of Suzy Kendall and Tony Musante in L'UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTOLLO, aka THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above 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:

Highly enjoyed:

Da Vinci's Inquest season three (2000)


FRIEDKIN UNCUT (2018) - Italian documentary filmmaker Francesco Zippel got director William Friedkin to sit down for an interview, and then captured comments by many of his associates including Wes Anderson, Dario Argento, Samuel Blumenfeld, Ellen Burstyn, Damien Chazelle, Francis Ford Coppola, Willem Dafoe, Caleb Deschanel, Gina Gershon, Walon Green, Randy Jurgensen, Philip Kaufman, Matthew McConaughey, Zubin Mehta, Antonio Monda, Gianandrea Noseda, William Petersen, Michael Shannon, Quentin Tarantino, Juno Temple and Edgar Wright. This is all good stuff, but the film only mentions his most celebrated films: THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE EXORCIST, SORCERER, CRUISING, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., BUG and KILLER JOE. I would have loved for them to comment about THE GUARDIAN and The C.A.T. Squad TV movies. But this film finally showed me clips from The People Versus Paul Crump and Conversation with Fritz Lang and for that I am grateful. To a degree, the documentary worked as a promo for THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH.

Mildly enjoyed:

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS (2015) - It's hard to read subtitles when you're crying. Israeli author Amos Oz wrote an autobiographical novel, published in 2002, about his childhood, which coincided with the transition from the British Mandate of Palestine to the state of Israel. However, the real focus was on the suicide of his mother in 1952. Natalie Portman acquired the film rights to the book and spent about eight years writing the screenplay herself while arranging financing. Making it her feature directoral debut, Portman wanted the movie to be shot in Hebrew and worked hard to acquire the proper accent as she played the mother, who fled what is now Ukraine before the Nazis entered. Portman obviously didn't lack ambition, and the film was filled with many themes and ideas. Ultimately, though, it seemed to be the story of a woman who was kept alive by the fantasy of what life would be when Israel became a reality. The harshness and war which followed the creation of the Israeli state destroyed her fantasy, and ultimately, she didn't want to live anymore. This was not the message of the Otto Preminger movie EXODUS, and seemed a odd perspective for a film made in Israel by Israelis.

AKIBIYORI, aka LATE AUTUMN (1960) - Going to a film by director Yasujiro Ozu is like going to church. It feels like an obligation and you know it will be long and dull but you are certain to feel better when it's over. Plots involving misunderstandings are very irritating, and this one is no exception, At the seventh anniversary of the death of a friend, three men remark on how attractive the widow is and concern themselves with getting her daughter married. The daughter doesn't want to be married and leave her mother alone, so the three men come up with a plan to marry the widow, thus freeing the daughter to marry. The men haven't actually asked the widow if she wants to get married when they mention the plan to the daughter. The daughter is furious that the mother is betraying the memory of her husband, but won't tell the mother why she's angry. The daughter's friend informs the widow of what's going on, so the widow agrees to remarry inorder to free her daughter to marry, too. In the end, after her daughter is married, the widow decides she doesn't "want to climb that mountain again" and refuses to remarry. The three men then wonder what their next project should be as the widow faces the future alone.

DUE VOLTE GIUDA, aka TWICE A JUDAS (1969) - Awakening with a wound to his head, Antonio Sabato has lost his memory and doesn't understand why some guys have hired him to help assassinate Klaus Kinski. In a reversal to the American Westerns of the 1930s and 40s, the Yankee banker is not the bad guy. He's offering to buy up the failing farms inorder to sell the land to new homesteaders. Kinski opposes this effort. It's not until the end that we discover that being the son of the daughter of an Indian chief, Kinski feels that the land belongs to him as an Indian. Director Nando Cicero tells the story coherently, but there are a number of annoying plot bits that are irritating - like why the henchman would leave a spur in the middle of the yard which alerts our hero to a trap. Carlo Pes provides a tuneful music score and Francisco Marin created some nice images - with the help of camera operator Aristide Massacesi. The climactic battle seems rushed, as if the production was running out of money to shoot it properly. It sounds to me that Walter Barnes did the English voice for Sheriff Damian Rabal.

Muhammad Ali (2021) - This four part, 8 hour PBS mini-series profiles the only fellow to have won the Heavy Weight Boxing Championship of the World three times and became a cultural icon. Not being a boxing fan, I pretty much ignored the fellow while he was alive, except for his willingness to go to prison rather than be drafted into the U.S. Army during the conflict in Vietnam. When I was in 9th grade, Ali fought Joe Frazier and lost. I remember this because a classmate of mine was incredibly upset over the news that he lost and I didn't understand why. I don't know if it was the filmmakers intention, but over the course of the eight hours I decided that I didn't like Muhammad Ali as a person because of his treatment of women, his betrayal of Malcolm X and the objectionable bad mouthing of his opponents. After he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Syndrome, he became more reflective and offered apologies for his bad past behavior even asking Joe Frazier to forgive him. Frazier refused. If you want to watch extended footage of his boxing career, this program is for you.

NUE PROPRIETE, aka PRIVATE PROPERTY (2006) - A compelling slice of life drama with an open ending, PRIVATE PROPERTY is the kind of film one wonders at the end "Why did they want to make this movie?" The dedication "A nos limites", aka "To our boundaries" doesn't really give a clue. Belgian co-writer and director Joachim Lafosse gets good performances from his cast and mostly keeps the camera static and at a distance to give the scenes a sense of realism. Jeremie and Yannick Renier play adult twin brothers who still live with their mother, played by Isabelle Huppert. It's been ten years since the divorce, but Huppert still feels that she can't begin to live her own life as long as she taking care of her sons. She wants to sell the house she got in the divorce and move, but her ex-husband convinces one son that the house is for the children and that the mother can't sell it. Is it the filmmakers' intention to show how the divorced parents failed to prepare the boys to live on their own? Are we supposed to feel that the broken home infantilized the boys? Are we supposed to see the estranged parents working together at picking up the broken pieces after the tragedy as a sign of hope?

ARSENE LUPIN RETURNS (1938) - The character created by French author Maurice Leblanc was a success around the world, with movies being made in Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. In 1932, the first American talkie with Lupin had John Barrymore playing the master diamond thief. Six years later, MGM decided to make a sequel. Melvyn Douglas, as the thief gone straight after everyone thought he was killed, played the role, but didn't appear until about fifteen minutes into the picture. The first part featured Warren William as an insurance investigator protecting a valuable necklace, and trying to seduce Virginia Bruce. Douglas turned out to be Bruce's fiance, so William and Douglas begin a competition over who can be more charming under the direction of George Fitzmaurice. The plot was not particularly important - charm was everything. George J. Folsey captured the attractive images on black and white film.

Did not enjoy:

DEAD IN TOMBSTONE (2012) - A direct-to-video release produced by Universal 1440 Entertainment, this piece of shit was helmed by Dutch director Roel Reine and shot in Romania. Reine seemed to have been given a good budget and resources, but as the director of photography he gave it an incredibly ugly look with so much camera movement and hyper editing that it made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT look like something directed by Stanley Kubrick. Perhaps with a nod towards ANGEL HEART, Mickey Rourke played Lucifer who loved the old Wild West because it provided him with so many damned souls. When villainous Anthony Michael Hall executed his equally villanous half-brother (!) Danny Trejo, Rourke decided to send Trejo back to Earth for revenge. I think just about any other director on Earth would have staged the resulting violence in at least a somewhat enjoyable way, but Reine seemed to think he could re-invent the wheel with more camera and editing tricks than anyone else before him. I'd watch just about anything featuring Dina Meyer, but this idiot doesn't even give us a chance to enjoy staring at her face. As evidence that Lucifer does indeed exist, a sequel was made in 2017 called DEAD AGAIN IN TOMBSTONE and director Reine continued to work.


Charles Gilbert watched:

ESTHER AND THE KING (1960) American director Raoul Walsh assumed the helm for this spaghetti old testament story the script for which Hedy Lamarr purchased and intended to headline. But Joan Collins secured the titular role alongside steely Richard Egan as the king. You can always count on Sergio Fantoni for a dastardly performance.

JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN. (1960) British director Irving Rapper conns fellow countrymen Robert Rietti, Robert Morley  Charles Borromel, and Belinda Lee with American Geoffrey Horne in the title role presenting an Italian version of the story on Genesis. Mario Girotti (Terence Hill) is the adult Benjamin.

Tarzan: The Epic Adventures S01E16 'Tarzan and the Demon Within'. Joe Lara, star and producer of the series died May 29 this year (2021) when the Cessna Citation he was flying crashed into a lake near Nashville, Tennessee. Also onboard were his wife Gwen Shambolin and several others from the Remnant Fellowship church in Smyrna they pastored. Shambplin, author of 'Weigh Down' weight control, had been under investigation for promoting child abuse by her leadership when a boy from the congregation died of disciplinary trauma. An HBO MAX documentary of this case claims their greatest viewership on this story. 


David Deal enjoyed:









Mildly Enjoyed




Bertrand van Wonterghem Enjoyed: 

World without end (1955, Edward Bernds)

The monster of Piedras Blancas (1958, Irvin Berwick)

All thet money can buy (1941, William Dieterle)

Napoli violenta (1976, Umberto Lenzi)

Mildly enjoyed:

Boku dake ga inai machi / Erased (2017) – season 1 – episodes 7 to 12

Dune (2020, Denis Villeneuve)

Hometown cha-cha-cha –season 1 – episodes 5 & 6

The green hornet – episode « Crime wave » (1966, Larry Peerce)

Sirr taqiyyat al ikhfal / The secret of the magic hat (1959, Niazi Mostafa)

Black Jack (1950, Julien Duvivier)

Siegfried und Roy – ein Leben für Illusion (doc) (2021, Christian Jakob)


Angel Rivera wrote:

"Charlie Chan at the Opera"(1936) Curious about the Charlie Chan movies, especially after remembering that the Fox movie channel had  held a marathon of Chan movies with a  forum of prominent  Asian Americans including: George Takei offering commentary on the films. I first became aware of this film when it was briefly reviewed in  a copy of "Castle of Frankenstein" magazine. So I checked YouTube and there was a nice copy of the film.This one co-stars Boris Karloff and involves Chan solving a mystery "at the opera." Seeing this for the first time, I can see why some people would take issue with its portrayal of Chinese, as Chan is presented as always speaking in proverbs, in what might be taken as a stereo-type. Aside from that I enjoyed the film as a document of its time and the mystery has some interesting plot twists. All are not seen coming.

Next, I caught also on YouTube, "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) as I had not seen it before and missed it when it played in theatres. I believe it was Dario Argento's first film of note and it is very well made; although some bits of business are little too much.  With out revealing any plot points, the film keeps one interested until the end.

Last, but not least YouTube had a very good print, albeit in Italian with English subtitles, of Tina Louise's first film in Italy and a sword and sandal classic "Siege of Syracuse" (1960). Now I must admit growing up, I was more a Mary Ann fan than Ginger,but  I must also admit that I only had a B & W TV back then, so if I had been able to see Tina Louise in all her red headed glory (and I do love Red-heads) I might have been more of a Ginger fan.  The film is a great spectacle and Tina looks great especially in her dance performance. But the real surprise is Sylva  Koscina. Here she is given a chance to really show what a good actress she was. The film does turn into a bit of a soap opera drama, but that is par for the course. It is a fitting companion to any of those Spectacles  out of Hollywood.


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