Sunday, January 23, 2022

Week of January 23 - 28, 2022



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian Western features a gang tearing up a cemetery looking for gold?

In which Italian Western does being shot in the back of the head cause our hero to lose his memory, but getting hit in the forehead with a chain brings it back?

In which Italian Western does our hero pour nitroglycirine into whiskey bottles to use like hand grenades?
No one has answered this question yet.

In which Italian Western does our hero throw double sixes before killing four gunmen?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which American body builder was the first to revive the character of Maciste?
Bertrand van Wonterghem and Angel Rivera knew that it was Mark Forest in MACISTE NELLA VALLE DEI RE, aka SON OF SAMSON in 1960.

Which Italian director ended his career making five films in a row starring Bud Spencer?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Michele Lupo

Which Italian actress had been billed as Susan Paget and Liz Havilland?
George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Jose Greci.

And now for some new brain teasers:

In which American Western does Sidney Poitier shoot an actor who appeared in Italian Westerns?
In which Italian Western does our hero shoot the crutches our from under an old man who is accusing him of being a criminal?
In which movie does a wooden wall from THE MONGOLS fall down on Mark Forest?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand van Wonterghem and Rick Garibaldi identified last week's photo of Lorenza Guerrieri and Pier Paolo Pasolini in REQUIESCANT, aka KILL AND PRAY.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes, Angel Rivera, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Liana Orfei and Guy Williams in IL TIRANNO DI SIRACUSA, aka DAMON AND PYTHIAS.
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 photo of  Kirk Morris, Leonora Ruffo and Alfio Caltabiano in 2+5: MISSIONE HYDRA, aka STAR PILOT.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes and identified last week's photo of Ziyi Zhang in THE GRANDMASTER.
Above is a new 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:


BRIGHT LIGHTS Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (2016) - Made for HBO, this documentary seems incomplete because it premiered just days after its subjects died. (Carrie passed on December 27, 2016, Debbie on December 28, 2016, and the premiere was January 7, 2017.) Perhaps a little surprising, filmmaker Fisher Stevens, born Steven Fisher, is not related to the film subjects, but it is nice to know that he married his co-director Alexis Bloom after this project was completed and she was about to deliver their second child. While there is much mention of Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor, there is no mention of Eddie's third wife Connie Stevens and Carrie's half-sister Joely Fisher - which is perhaps why Joely stressed her relationship with Carrie and Debbie in her autobiography GROWING UP FISHER: MUSINGS, MEMORIES, AND MISADVENTURES. It is moving to watch Carrie's deep concern on the failing health of her mother knowing that Carrie was the one to die first - which is not covered in the documentary. If nothing else, this should count as a positive for executive producer Brett Ratner and his Ratpac Documentary Films. It is also nice to see that Catherine Hickland, of ROBOWAR, seems to have settled down with Debbie's son Todd.

Da Vinci's City Hall (2005)

Ghosts "The Vault" (2022) - I am enjoying CBS's Thursday night comedy line-up, including Young Sheldon, The United States of Al and B-Positive, but I've singled out this episode because of the appearance in it of Katharine Isabelle. It is always a joy to see her, even in bad movies like COUNTDOWN.

PEPI, LUCI, BOM Y OTRAS CHICAS DEL  MONTON , aka PEPI, LUCI, BOM AND OTHER GIRLS LIKE MOM, aka PEPI, LUCI, BOM AND OTHER GIRLS ON THE HEAP (or OTHER AVERAGE GIRLS) (1980) - After the death of Facist dictator Francisco Franco, the strict Catholic Censorship in Spain went away and La Movida Madrilena happened. This allowed an homosexual filmmaker like Pedro Almodovar to shoot this feature film on 16mm filled with urological humor. It featured a good-natured outrageousness similar to what John Waters was doing in America, but Almodovar cast women as women and genuinely seemed interested in their lives. Carmen Maura (Pepi) offers anal sex to Cop Felix Rotaeta to stop him from busting her for growing marijuana in her apartment. He goes for vaginal sex not believing that she is a virgin. Maura was planning on selling her virgin status, so she now wants revenge on Rotaeta. She enlists a punk band led by Alaska (Bom) to beat up Rotaeta on the street at night, and is disappointed when she learns that they beat up his twin brother instead. Meeting Rotaeta's wife, Eva Silva (Luci), Maura convinces her to come over and teach her how to knit. Soon Maura discovers that Silva is a masochist who is frustrated that her husband treats her like his mother. Maura introduces Silva to Alaska, who urinates on Silva's face, which convinces the straight-laced appearing woman to leave her husband to live with the punk rocker. Meanwhile, Maura's father decides that it is time that his daughter start making a living without his money, so she sets out to create an advertising agency - whose first product is "Ponte bragas" (Put-On Panties), which will make your farts smell like perfume, can absorb your urine and can be used as a dildo when needed. Eventually, Rotaeta seeks out his wife and beats her up so badly she ends up in the hospital. Satisfied at last, Silva announces that she's leaving Alaska and Maura, so those two women decide to move in together and face "the new life opening up" for them. I've not mentioned the "Erecciones Generales" (General Erections) party contest, but I think that what I have mentioned gives a pretty clear idea of the humor in this movie which results in a brisk 81 minutes of R-Rated hijinks without any graphic nudity. Bernard Herrmann fans will recognize a music sting taken from his score for PSYCHO.

LABERINTO DE PASIONES, aka LABYRINTH OF PASSION (1982) - If you don't count FOLLE... FOLLE... FOLLEME TIM!, which is reportedly shot silent on super 8mm, as a feature, this is director Pedro Almodovar's second full length movie and his first to be shot in 35mm. If you've ever wanted to see the director as part of the musical act of "Almodovar & McNamara" this is the movie for you as the act appears on stage at one point performing "Suck It To Me". This is also the first Almodovar to feature Antonio Banderas. The film begins with Cecilia Roth (who did a voice over in PEPI, etc) and Imanol Arias cruising a daytime market place looking for sexual partners. Roth, who identifies as the nymphomaniac daughter of fertility doctor Fernando Vivanco, goes off with a bunch of guys. Arias turns out to the be the gay son of the Emperor of a small island near Panama called Contadora who is disguised under a curly haired wig. Roth takes her clothes to be cleaned by Concha Gregori, who keeps trying to counteract her father taking an E.D. drug and confusing her with her missing mother. (Gregori being tied to the bed by her father is the most overt sexual act shown in the film.) On the street, Arias picks up Antonio Banderas, but isn't recognized because of his wig. Later, we find out that Banderas is part of an Islamic terrorist group that hopes to kidnap Arias. Banderas has the bloodhound like ability to find anyone by their smell. Vivanco is pleased to inform Arias' aunt, Helga Line, that he has cured her infertility, and she sets her sights on getting pregnant by Arias father, if possible, or by Arias, if necessary. Roth is in an all-girl punk rock band who are rivals with an all-boy band called "Them". She trips the lead singer of "Them" down the stairs at the club so he goes to the hospital. "Them" needs a new singer, and Arias shows up to admire their clothes and gets drafted. Everybody in the club, both male and female, lust after Arias, but Roth scores a date. However, for the first time in her life, she gets emotionally involved with Arias and postpones having sex. For the first time in his life, Arias gets emotionally involved with a woman and wants to run away with her. Meanwhile, Roth catches Gregori wearing her clothes. After she decides to run off with Arias, Roth sends Gregori to a clinic for plastic surgery so that she can take her place. The relationship between Roth and Arias hits a rocky patch when Line finds Arias and beds him. The Islamic terrorist group puts out an ad offering money to find Arias, and the former lead singer of "Them" informs. Will Arias, Roth and the members of "Them" make their flight to Panama before they are caught by the members of Roth's band, the terrorists and Line? How does Gregori's father react when his missing wife gets rejected by her lover, Charly Bravo, and returns home? Will Gregori, now looking like Roth, be able to cure Roth's father of his dislike of sex? There's a lot of plot in this wonderfully wacky film that also features some music that sounds like it was borrowed from a Fellini film score by Nino Rota.

Call For the Dead (1991) - An abridged audio book written and read by John Le Carre.

Mildly enjoyed:

AMERICAN REVOLUTION 2 (1969) - TCM presented a series of films from the Chicago based The Film Group Inc. of which this was their first feature length film. After the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, members of the Black Panthers met with the Young Patriots Organization, a group advocating for the rights of poor Southerners being hassled by the Chicago PD.

THE MURDER OF FRED HAMPTON (1971) - Another documentary from The Film Group Inc. While working on a documentary about the Chairman of the Black Panther Party of Chicago, the filmmakers react to the killing of their subject by presenting how the facts showed that he was murdered, but no one was prosecuted for it.

HITMAN AGENT 47 (2015) - At first this seems like a BOURNE movie, then it became THE TERMINATOR, and ultimately TERMINATOR 2. But director Aleksander Bach delivers the fun, until the unsatisfying ending. Rupert Friend of Homeland takes over from Timothy Olyphant of Justified and is perfectly fine with all of the action and the stone face emotions. Hannah Ware is a pleasure to watch and I hope to see more of her. Zachary Quinto, Thomas Kretschmann and Ciaran Hinds help to fill out the cast.

SEX AND BREAKFAST (2007) - Is group sex therapy a good thing? Or, to be more precise, partner swapping. At a point, I wondered if this was a 21st Century version of BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE featuring actors who don't do nudity and don't have sex in the end. Well, spoilers, the two couples do have sex in the end, but is it a good thing? Since there is a lot of footage of driving around L.A. in 2006, residents of the city may get a kick out of this film as a time capsule. For others, watching Eliza Dushku, Alexis Dziena, Jaime Ray Newman and Tracie Thoms makes this worth a view. There are guys in this too like Macaulay Culkin, Kuno Becker and Robert Carradine. This is currently the only feature credit for writer/director Miles Brandman and I wonder if the cast were all friends of his because the production seems so slight that I doubt anyone did this for the money. John Travolta's sister Margaret, who has 38 credits on the IMDb, has a small role.

Did not enjoy:

BUCK AND THE PREACHER (1972) - The irritating blues/jazz music score doesn't help this rather ordinary Western generate any excitement. The potentially interesting idea of doing a movie about a Black Wagon Master helping Black pioneers leave the South for a potentially better life in the West is undercut by predictable plotting - such as every time our hero rides away from the settlers, you just know evil "Night Rider" Cameron Mitchell will show up to murder people. At no point does the hero, Sidney Poitier, help train the settlers in self defense. Instead he gets involved with a crooked Preacher, Harry Belafonte, for some tiresome banter that ultimately leads to murder and bank robbery. Thankfully, but predictably, Poitier's Native American friends show up at the last minute to prevent our heroes from being murdered. The film ends with a shot suggesting that someone was hoping for a sequel. This was Poitier's directorial debut after original director Joseph Sargent quit. It is fun seeing again the Durango, Mexico locations used in GUNS FOR SAN SEBASTIAN and MAJOR DUNDEE.

DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS (1942) - The movie starts off with Johnny Mack Brown and Fuzzy Knight traveling in a stagecoach with Knight singing the title song while playing the accordion. As the stage stops to water the horses in a river, Brown sees three riders chasing after newspaper publisher Pat O'Malley. Brown commandeers the coach, drives it down a steep hill and stops the riders from hanging O'Malley. One of the riders, Kenneth Harlan, pulls his pistol to shoot Brown, but Tex Ritter rides up and shoots Harlan's gun out of his hand. Strangely, since he only disarmed Harlan, Ritter shoots and kills one of the three riders as they beat a hasty retreat. It turns out that Harlan is one of Colonel William Farnum's men. Farnum has established the Republic of the Rio Grande in South Texas and refuses to rejoin the Union after the Civil War. He wanted O'Malley hanged because he speaks out against Farnum, who has imposed high taxes on the citizens and rules with terror. Farnum orders Harlan to find Brown and Ritter and arrest them. They find Brown and leave Harry Woods in town to look for Ritter. Woods waits in the saloon where the Jimmy Wakely Trio perform "The Song of the Sage". Soon Fuzzy Knight enters and sings "Sweet Genevieve". Brown is brought before Farnum, who immediately recognizes him as his son. Farnum hoodwinks Brown as to what he is doing and convinces him to join his political cabinet. After Brown leaves, Ritter enters and tries to arrest Farnum in the name of the Governor of Texas. Farnum summons his men, but Ritter escapes since bad guys can't shoot well. When Ritter arrives at the saloon, Woods demands the singing of "The Cowboy's Lament" (aka Streets of Laredo) which Ritter performs with the Jimmy Wakely Trio. While Farnum attempts a PR gesture introducing Brown to the Citizen's Committee as the new Commissioner of Public Affairs, Farnum's men set out to burn out the Franklin ranch. Thankfully, Ritter overheard Farnum's plan, arrests the thugs and drags them to Farnum's meeting. Ritter announces to everyone that the newspaper will print the new pledge of allegiance which everyone needs to sign in order to rejoin the Union. When Farnum orders Harlan to smash the printing press, Brown realizes that his father wants to "make slaves of free men". Brown tries to stop the smashing of the press and kills henchman Edmund Cobb. Harlan has Brown arrested for murder, and when Farnum objects, he finds that Harlan and Woods have mutinied. Naturally, Farnum throws in with Ritter, while Knight offers to repair all of the bad guys' guns in town. Ritter and the "fightin' sons of guns"  take over the town and release Brown from jail. Farnum holds another cabinet meeting and dissovles the Republic just as Brown and Ritter attack. Harlan shoots Farnum and Brown kills Harlan. As he is dying, Farnum asks to take the oath of allegiance, which dissolves to a celebration of Texas joining the Union with Confederate musicians starting to play "Dixie" but changing to play "Deep In the Heart of Texas" as the camera pans over to a group of black people - the first to be seen in the movie - joining in the song. Note that this has the original "pledge of allegiance" without any mention of "one nation under God". Producer Oliver Drake takes credit for the writing while Elmer Clifton is the director. This is the first of seven pictures Brown made with Ritter.


Charles Gilbert watched:

TARANTULA (1955) B&W. Mara Corday and John Agar investigate the cases of deformity from agromegaly occurring to their colleagues after messing around with radio isotopes. The lab animals are just undergoing prodigious growth

UNKNOWN ISLAND (1948) Cinecolor preserved film similar to THE LAND UNKNOWN (1957). This earlier paleo flick includes beefcake Richard Denning and cheesecake Virginia Grey. The men in the expedition spend more energy fighting each other than against the man-in-a-costume dinosaurs.

GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK (1978) Ted Post directed Chuck Norris' second film as the star. Washington D.C. intrigue pits special ops Black Tigers captain John T. Booker (that bleach blonde hair is just the thing for nocturnal covert operations) against vaunted and venal Secretary of State shoe-in Conrad Mirgan (James Franciscus). I hadn't realized all this time that Anne Archer is the daughter of actors John Archer and Marjorie Lord.

SHOOT JOE, AND SHOOT AGAIN (1978) Cowpoke Richard Harrison (ditched the bleached hair) is pursued by Joe Torres and his thieving gang for the possession of a map leading to gold. After inadvertently blinding him they enlist saloon girl Rosie to charm him out of the location information. His eyesight returns in time to see justice meted out on the gang and on her.

Adventures of Superman episode The Bully of Dry Gulch.  Myron Healy plays a modern cowboy hector who loses to Clark Kent in a card game. Clark's prowess with a deck predates the display by Trinity (Terence Hill).


David Deal Enjoyed:

OLD HENRY (21) - A farmer (Tim Blake Nelson) and his son encounter an unconscious man with a bullet in him and sack of money.  What follows behind him is trouble with a capital T, on both sides of the money.  Nelson was made for this kind of lowdown, violent western, and he's excellent as the farmer with a past.


ASSASSINATION (67) - Check out The Eurospy Guide book for a review of this Henry Silva mood piece.

ENDSTATION 13 SAHARA (63) - Peter van Eyck, Ian Bannen, Denholm Elliot, Mario Adorf, and Hansjorg Felmy are working on a oil station out in the middle of the Sahara, getting on each other's nerves. Felmy, who worked in some of the Edgar Wallace flicks, is the newbie who challenges the authority of Eyck.  When Carroll Baker and her murderous ex-husband arrive things come to a boil.  Seth Holt's tail of lost and broken men was a pleasant surprise to me.  Great cast with a good script and clever direction put this far above what I expected.  Recommended.



Mildly enjoyed:

ECHO OF DIANA (63) - On the day that Betty McDowall learns of her husband's death in a plane crash in Turkey, she sights a mysterious memoriam notice for him in the paper. Thus begins an espionage mystery in this hour-long British programmer. Not uninteresting once, but there is not enough depth in it to hold further interest, nor was any intended.


Angel Rivera Watched:

... the three part series, "The Women of the Movement" and its companion three part documentary series "Let the World See" about the beating and murder of 14 year old Emmett Till by white racist supremacists in 1955 Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
I cannot remember the first time I saw the photos of his mutilated corpse, but it is one of those images that stays with one.
Both series are important from a historical point. The performances in the docudrama series are both moving and astonishing in its depiction of events. The documentary is very informative with eye witness accounts from survivors of the event; especially of Till's cousin who escaped back to their native Chicago and lived to tell the tale. He is now a minister and his recollections of the night his cousin was taken by the white men is most vivid. The scene that is most remarkable is the reenactment of the beating and murder that his killers confessed to for a Look magazine article that they were paid for after their acquittal.
Unfortunately I don't think as many people saw these series as did those who watched the mini-series "Roots"; which I feel is very unfortunate indeed.

I watched and mildly enjoyed: "Devil Girl from Mars" (1954). It played more like a drawing room drama with the devil girl being another guest at the Scottish Inn were it takes place; albeit a deadly guest.

The film I highly enjoyed and now has became one of my guilty pleasures is the one known under different titles, but with the original title of "2+5: Missione Hydra" (1966). First I saw it on YouTube under the title"Star Pilot" (1977). It features one of the most beautiful actresses I have seen in these Italian films. She is known as "Leontine" and in the credits it lists her as being introduced in this film. I tried looking her up, but there seems to be some confusion as to her identity. She is either Leontine Snell or Leontine May or neither. Any way she is fascinating to watch. Also on hand is the lovely Leonora Ruffo who is well known for her other films like,"Goliath and the Dragon", "Goliath and the Vampires", "Hercules, Samson and Ulysses" and "Hercules in the Haunted World".
The film is a little confusing because of the added footage from other films such as the scene with Casey Kassem from a movie titled "Doomsday Machine" (1967/1972). Apparently the film was released in the US in 1977 with the "Star Pilot" title and footage added to sell it as a Star Wars clone to cash in on that film's success. Then its original title is also confusing. Why "2+5"?  I know there are 5 Earthlings, but there are three aliens. So I googled the question re: the title and found a website that had a link to the original Italian version. (Also as turns out on YouTube, but also under the title,  "Destination: Planete Hydra" (its French release title, although it was dubbed in Italian. YouTube also has the film's French dub, but I watched the Italian dub as I understand Spanish and I could understand the Italian dub better than the French dub.) I found the film much better to understand and enjoyed some of the scenes cut out from the US release, like Leontine's (or rather Luisa Solmi's, her character's name) audition for what appeared to be a commercial, establishing her character, not only as the professor's daughter, but also as a want-to-be actress; which helps explain some of her costume changes. Any way I think watching the original version gave me a better idea for an explanation for the title, "2 + 5". There are "2 Females and 5 Males."
Any way a fun watch for me.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

Gukyeongi / Inspector Koo – season 1 – episodes 7 & 8
1,000,000 yen no onnotachi / Million yen women (12 episodes ) (2017, Michihito Fujii)


Cowboy be bop – season 1 – episodes 8 to 10

Police judiciaire (1958, Maurice de Canonge)

Toto diabolicus (1962, Steno)

Les municipaux (ces héros) (2018, Eric Carrière et Francis Ginibre)

Medical police – season 1 – 10 episodes

Creature from the haunted sea (1961, Roger Corman)
Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (1994, Kensho Yamashita)

Mildly enjoyed:

Folk med angest – season 1 – episodes 2 to 6

Du rififi chez les femmes (1959, Alex Joffé)

Qui a tué la voix de dieu ? sœur Sourire (doc) (2020, Charles-Antoine de Rouvre)

The moth effect – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2


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