Friday, February 4, 2022

Week of February 5 - 11, 2022



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

In which Italian Western does our hero throw double sixes before killing four gunmen?

In which Italian Western does our hero shoot the crutches our from under an old man who is accusing him of being a criminal?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which executive at MGM was responsible for distributing UN DOLLARO TRA I DENTI in the U.S.?
George Grimes knew that it was Allen Klein.

What reason did Frank Wolff give for accepting the role in UN DOLLARO TRA I DENTI?
No one has answered this question yet.

What reason did Reg Lewis give for only doing one movie in Italy?
Bertrand van Wonterghem answered, "According the interview with Reg Lewis (made by Gérard Dessere in 1990 and published in Pierre Charles’ fanzine « Cine Zine Zone 57). Reg Lewis was ready to play a second film (« Taur » by Antonio Leonviola) but he didn’t want to play the aquatic sequence. He wanted a stunt double for this sequence. He also explain that he was too expensive for the producers. So, without a project, he and his family returned to the States."

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Spanish veteran of Italian Westerns played a priest in a film by Pedro Almodovar?
Which American veteran of Italian Westerns appeared on stage with James Dean?
Which American veteran of Italian Westerns appeared in an American TV show with Jack Klugman?

Name the movies from which these images came.

George Grimes identified last week's photo of Anthony Steffen in ¿Quién grita venganza?, aka CRY FOR REVENGE, aka I MORTI NON SI CONTANO, aka THE DEAD ARE COUNTLESS, aka  DEAD MEN DON'T COUNT.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes, Bertrand van Wonterghem and Charles Gilbert identified last week's frame grab of Giuseppe Addobati and Mark Forest in  MACISTE CONTRO I MONGOLI, aka HERCULES AGAINST THE MONGOLS..
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of  Tony Anthony and Lucretia Love in PIAZZA PULITA, aka A CLEAN SWEEP, aka PETE, PEARL & THE POLE, aka 1931: ONCE UPON A TIME IN NEW YORK.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Liu Chia-Hui, aka Gordon Liu, in THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, aka THE MASTER KILLER.
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:


L'ALBERO DELLE PERE, aka THE PEAR TREE, aka SHOOTING THE MOON (1998) - Writer/director Francesca Archibugi's 8th film is a portrait of a teenage boy named Siddharta, played by Niccolo Senni. His parents, Valeria Golino and Sergio Rubini, were into Buddhism when he was born. After 15 years, Rubini, a documentary filmmaker, left Golino because of her irresponsibility. She took up with Stefano Dionisi and had a girl, played at the age of five by Francesca Di Giovanni. Dionisi got custody of Di Giovanni, but is allowing her to stay with her mother and half brother for the Christmas holidays. Senni is practicing with his band when Di Giovanni pulls their plug because she is bored. The brother puts his sister in the bathroom so that the band can keep practicing. She finds her mother's handbag and goes through it. When Senni checks on her, he finds that she's mistaken an hypodermic needle for a "bogie-picker for grown-ups" and has drawn blood from her nose. Worried about AIDS and not trusting any of the adults in his life, Senni seeks advice on the internet. It suggests that he get her tested for hepatitis B, C and HIV. Getting that done without parental permission shows how ingenious the boy can be, but when he can't get the results without an adult in tow, he grabs the paper and leaps through a closed window at the clinic. Not surprisingly, this leads to a police investigation and his mother's secret being revealed. Archibugi gets astonishing performances from her young cast while the adult actors come off well, too. This film won the Golden Lion at the 1998 Venice Film Festival where Niccolo Senni was also given the Marcello Mastroianni Award. The original title, THE PEAR TREE, refers to an ancient symbol of femininity. I think the English title of SHOOTING THE MOON was an attempt to remind audiences of the successful 1982 movie about a broken family called SHOOT THE MOON. Or, like that title, it is a reference to an attempt to achieve something that is very difficult.

THE BEE GEES: HOW DO YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART (2020) - Frank Marshall, the director of CONGO, turns to documentaries for this wonderful exploration of the Brothers Gibb and their place in music history. However, the filmmakers skip over my favorite thing the Bee Gees ever did - the songs for MELODY. And it would have been nice to have Barry comment about the SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND movie. I also kind-of resent their holding up Rick Dees' "Disco Duck" as an example of bad disco.

Mildly enjoyed:

ENTRE TINIEBLAS, aka IN DARKNESS, aka DARK HABITS (1983) - Nightclub singer Cristina Sanchez Pascual brings home the smack her loutish boyfriend, Will More, demands and then retreats to the bathroom considering that she should leave him. Hearing a thud, Pascual leaves the bathroom to find that the boyfriend has died from the injection. Convinced that she is being followed, Pascual flees. Later she finds a card in her purse for "Comunidad Redentoras Humilladas 'Venid a mi, yo soy vuestro refugio'". (Humilited Redeemers Community "Come to me, I am your shelter".) Flashing back to Mother Superior Julieta Serrano (of PEPI, LUCI, BOM Y OTRAS CHICAS DEL MONTON) coming backstage to get an autograph, Pascual decides to seek refuge in that convent. Writer/director Pedro Almodovar is not interested in making a "Nunsploitation" flick like LA MONACA DI MONZA, but instead makes a satirical comedy about the Church trying to embrace the plight of sinners by humiliating themselves. So, the Mother Superior shares heroin and cocaine with Pascual. The other members of the convent have taken derogatory names like Sor Estiercol - Sister Manure (Marisa Paredes), Sor Perdida - Sister Lost or Sister Damned (Carmen Maura of PEPI), Sor Vibora - Sister Snake (Lina Canalejas), and Sor Rata de Callejon - Sister Rat of the Sewars (Chus Lampreave). Priest Manuel Zarzo compulsively smokes - even while saying the Mass. The convent has relied upon funding from a Fascist Marquis in return for the care of his daughter, but now that the Marquis is dead, Marquesa Mary Carrillo has decided to withdraw her support and Serrano considers becoming a drug mule to keep the convent open. Almodovar plays this material in a "matter of fact" way, never underlining the absurdity - even the keeping of a full grown tiger as a pet. Reportedly, this project came about because millionaire Herve Hachuel wanted to make his girlfriend, Pascual - who had appeared in Amodovar's two previous films, a movie star. Ironically, this movie was just about the end of her film career. A reviewer on the IMDb feels that this film metaphorically chronicles the end of the Movida Madrilenia in early 1980s Madrid, with the convent being closed and the members scattered.

¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer esto!, aka WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? (1984) - The film starts with Carmen Maura working as a cleaning woman at a kendo dojo in Madrid as what sounds like Italian music plays on the soundtrack. She sees Luis Hostalot showering naked and he invites her to join him. I was confused as to whether they looked disappointed because the sex wasn't satisfying or if they felt guilty. Later on, we find out that Hostalot suffers from erectile dysfunction. We are next introduced to Maura's husband, Angel de Andres Lopez, who works as a taxi driver blissfully remembering his time when he was a chauffeur for German writer Katia Loritz. Able to perfectly copy anyone's handwriting, Lopez forged some letters supposedly from Hitler to help Loritz's biography of a pro-Nazi performer. He tells this story to writer Gonzalo Suarez, who is a passenger going to visit prostitute Veronica Forque who lives next door to Lopez and Maura. Suarez would later suggest that Lopez forge an Hitler memoir which would make them all rich. Perhaps as an homage to early Sophia Loren/Vittorio de Sica movies, writer/director Pedro Almodovar shows Maura as an overworked wife and mother living in a low-rent tenement who has to work as a cleaning woman to help pay bills. Not surprisingly, Maura becomes addicted to "pep" pills to get her through her days, and becomes upset when her pills are used by her eldest son, Juan Martinez, to cut the heroin he deals. Her 12-year old son, Miguel Angel Herranz, has sex with older men, so when dentist Javier Gurruchaga takes an obvious interest in him while talking about wanting to adopt a child, Maura doesn't mind when the boy agrees to go and live with Gurruchaga. Also in the tenement building is Kiti Manver, who hates her daughter, Sonia Hohmann, because she reminds her of the father who left. Like CARRIE, Hohmann has telekinetic powers which she secretly uses to annoy her mother. Lopez's mother, Chus Lampreave, also lives in the apartment, but dreams of returning to the small village from which she came. Maura's frustrations explode when her husband hits her and she clobbers him over the head with a ham bone. She then quickly visits Manver and Forque in order to establish an alibi. Hostalot is the detective assigned to investigate Lopez's death, but is soon distracted by Forque because he needs to bring his "girlfriend" to the doctor working to cure his erectile dysfunction. During the film, when the TV is on, we see commercials featuring Cecilia Roth and director Almodovar. The director's younger brother, Tinin Almodovar, has a small role as a bank teller. 

THE PYX (1973) - Karen Black wrote and sang three songs in this Canadian thriller, with the help of Musical Consultant Bob Johnston (a good two years before she wrote her own tunes in NASHVILLE). They add an eerie quality to the film which, for the most part, is a "whodunit". Based on the 1959 novel by John Buell, the film starts with Karen Black dead for a fall from an high rise building. Detective Christopher Plummer arrives on the scene to investigate and finds a crossing and an amulet in Black's hands. (After watching seven seasons of Da Vinci's Inquest, I couldn't help but question the professionalism of the Montreal P.D.'s handling of the crime scene, particularly Plummer not putting the cross and amulet into evidence but pocketing them to pull out while he questions various people.) Screenwriter Robert Schlitt and director Harvey Hart decide to intercut Plummer's investigation with flashbacks to Black's last days. It gets a bit confusing because no one is having the flashbacks, and Plummer is not gathering the information the audience is getting. Perhaps inspired by KLUTE, the filmmakers give Black an opportunity to create a vivid portrait of a junkie prostitute made poignant by the fact that we know she is going to die. The only way for audiences to understand which time frame they are seeing is whether the characters shown are dead in the "present" storyline. It turns out that Black was chosen by occultists (Unlike ROSEMARY'S BABY these guys aren't identified as being Satanists, or is their purpose explained as in THE DUNWICH HORROR.) for some ritual, which her Catholic upbringing leads her disrupt. Or, as in THE EXORCIST or SEVEN, is the Detective the actual target? Much is left ambiguous which helps to leave a viewer with disturbed feeling.

THE SCRIBBLER (2014) - Daniel Schaffer adapted this from his own graphic novel and director John Suits seemed to not understand that comic book imagery doesn't quite make sense in a live action film unless a certain sense of reality has been established. No accredited mental facility would be allowed to fall into the disrepair shown at Juniper Tower - which seems to have no staff to respond to patients splattered all over the front of the building. Plotwise this is a "whodunit" with investigators Michael Imperioli and Eliza Dushku questioning a dissociative identity disorder patient played by Katie Cassidy about a series of possible murders. Doctor Billy Campbell is experimenting on Cassidy with a new electroconvulsive therapy machine that is supposed to be able to rid her of multiple personalities. The most persistent personality is "The Scribbler" who writes on everything backwards. There is very little in this movie that resembles my reality such as a large apartment building filled with beautiful female mental patients and one male patient who has free access to have sex with all of the females. "Every hen house has to have a rooster." The "whodunit" eventually becomes a superhero origin story which just adds to the strangeness. Birthed by semen from David Cassidy, but raised by her mother, Sherry Williams, and stepfather, Richard Benedon, Katie Cassidy makes for a compelling heroine. It is the cast of this film which keeps it watchable through the strangeness as it includes Imperioli, Dushku, Campbell, Gina Gershon, Michelle Trachtenberg (but she is unrecognizable under that hair and makeup), Sasha Grey, Kunal Nayyar, Richard Riehle, Ashlynn Yennie [from THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE)], Sara Tomko [of Resident Alien] and Garret Dillahunt. For you fans that count - that makes three cast members from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

Did not enjoy:

BABO 73 (1964) - Writer/director Robert Downey made this 57 minutes "feature" after the 24 minute short Balls Bluff of 1961. At a time of interest in "underground" movie making, Downey was celebrated for his humor. Using Taylor Mead, known for appearing in a film about the San Francisco Beats called THE FLOWER THIEF (1960) before joining the Andy Warhol crowd with TARZAN AND JANE REGAINED... SORT OF (1964), as the new President of the United Status of America, Downey stages a number of unconnected skits making fun of U.S. fears of invasion by the Red Siamese, racial integration and how the U.S. economy depends on funding the military. With seeming no structure, the film quickly becomes sleep-inducing and isn't funny. 

CHAFED ELBOWS (1966) - Reportedly made for $12,000, this mixture of motion picture film and still photographs tells the absurd story of a fellow having his annual November nervous breakdown. Writer and director Robert Downey's early work is of historic interest, but I fell asleep over and over again trying to watch this unfunny 
collection of pointless skits.

PUTNEY SWOPE (1969) - Reportedly Mel Brooks is in this film, but I can't find him. You can't miss Antonio Fargas, Allan Arbus, Peter Maloney and Allen Garfield, but I miss the point of this unfunny collection of pointless skits written and directed by Robert Downey.

CREATURE, aka THE TITAN FIND (1985) - The look of this science fiction/horror film is good; more like PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES than ALIEN, but the chunky dialogue, slack plotting and dull direction by William Malone keeps spoiling the fun. Wendy Schaal, Annette McCarthy and Marie Laurin succeed in keeping my attention until Klaus Kinski shows up to steal all of his scenes. Thankfully the filmmakers provide an ending and the reference to THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD is welcome. 

LA MANO CHE NUTRE LA MORTE, aka THE HAND THAT FEEDS THE DEAD (1974 ) - Instead of a dietary report on cadavers, this is a boring period gothic version of LES YEUX SANS VISAGE with an emphasis on female nudity in addition to unconvincing graphic gore. Twanging a tweezer like a tuning fork, a woman covered completely in dark veils torments hunchback servent Erol Taş to go out and find female victims on which Professor Klaus Kinski can experiment. Kinski is performing skin graphs on the mysterious woman to replace burned tissue. Naturally, those experimented upon die and Taş is ordered to make them disappear. A couple honeymooning in the country naturally has a carriage accident outside Kinski's castle, so they are brought inside. Husband Ayhan Işık and wife Katia Christine find two other guests there,  Marzia Damon and Carmen Silva. Damon is supposedly working on a biography of Kinski's deceased mentor, Baron Ivan Rassimov (which is also the name of the actor who starred in Sergio Garrone's directoral debut SE VUOI VIVERE... SPARA!), but is actually investigating the disappearance of her sister. The filmmakers spend a lot of time featuring the actors wandering around the castle, until Damon and Silva decide to spend the night making love. In the morning, Kinski orders both women "disappeared" but Işık gets too distracted raping Damon to properly kill her. I do not want to relate all that happens, but Garrone comes up with a rather stupid ending. While the Italian version of the film only credits Amedeo Mellone as producer, as well as production designer and costumer, Wikipedia reports that Turkish producer Şakir V. Sözen was the fellow who convinced writer/director Sergio Garrone that rather than make one film in six weeks, they should make two films in eight weeks, leading to the concurrent production of LE AMANTI DEL MOSTRO. Sözen also brought to the production Ayhan Işık as the ineffectual hero and Erol Taş as the hunchback assistant to Professor Klaus Kinski. While Katia Christine gets co-starring billing, she is the only female cast member to not get naked. Wikipedia correctly reports that while credited, Carla Mancini does not appear in the film. This film was not released in Turkey until 1986 after Yilmaz Duru bought the negative from Sözen, re-edited the film, added music by Arif Melikov and gave it the title Ölümün Nefesi, aka BREAD OF DEATH.


David Deal Enjoyed:






CAVE OF THE LIVING DEAD (65) - I've seen this a few times and I still believe this is an underrated gem.


Angel Rivera Watched:

"Along Came Jones"(1945). I was thinking of the song by the Coasters, then thought of the movie of the same title which starred Gary Cooper and which I had never seen. So I sought it out. While the song and movie share the same name, they are very different in plot. Gary Cooper plays a tall thin lanky cowboy who gets mistaken for a murderer and all round bad guy played by Dan Duryea, who is also "lanky". Loretta Young is also in it as the bad girl who is really a good girl. She saves and gets her man by saving his life. (Spoiler Alert: Cooper thought she was aiming at him and missed her mark. But she tells him in what is one of the wittiest lines in the film; that she  tells him she always hits what she aims at., Which is also referring to a running gag of the film; Cooper could not shot straight.)
William DeMarest of "My Three Son" fame plays Cooper's sidekick.
So unlike the song  the movie was only mildly enjoyed.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Enjoyed:

Inside job (anime) – season 1 – episodes 5 & 6

Prisoners of the lost universe (1983, Terry Marcel)

La guerra di Troia (1961, Giorgio Ferroni)

Mildly enjoyed:

Guida astrologica per cuori infranti - season 1 – episodes 1 & 2

Bulgasal, immortal souls – season 1 – episodes 1 & 2

Moth effect – season 1 – episodes 3 & 4

Did not enjoy:

Infinite (2021, Antoine Fuqua)

Ma femme est une panthère (1961, Raymond Bailly)


Charles Gilbert watched:

WAR GODS OF BABYLON (1962) Unusual to see Howard Duff in a peplum. He plays king of Nineva whose brother (Luciano Marin) takes mountain girl Jackie Lane to wife. Spousal coveting begins as the younger is coronated. Exceptional special effects when the city is deluged

MACISTE IN THE VALLEY OF THE THUNDERING ECHOES (1964) aka HEECULES OF THE DESERT. The legend of Maciste but he's referred to as Hercules. The battle in the cave with the beer belly goons is reminiscent of Kirk's first film.

THE HAUNTED STRANGLER (1958) B&W. Boris Karloff waived makeup in transforming into a Jekyll and Hyde type by just mussing his hair and biting his lower lip at the corner. Inane.

NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955) B&W. Suspenseful story that begins as a psychological melodrama, then weaves into a tour de force for a young boy with Sawyeresque aplomb,  Lilian Gish takes up the end in a memorable performance as a 'mother goose'  Vierwing is highlighted with expressionistic southern cinematography.  I have to remind myself that it's not Hitchcock but Charles Laughton that directed, John Wayne chided Kirk Douglas for ignobly portraying Vincent Van Gogh, I wonder if he did the same to Robert Mitchum for playing a deranged religious fanatic in this.

A REASON TO LIVE A REASON TO DIE (1972) Set during the War Between The States Union Colonel Pembroke (James Coburn) recruits Eli Sampson (Bud Spencer) and four other condemned men from the gallows to carry out a mission ostensibly promising gold. The opposing Confederate commandant Major Ward  (Telly Savalas who doesn't appear until midpoint in the film) is now in control of Fort Holman Santa Fe that used to belong to the Yanks. Repossessing the formidable outpost is the objective.

Poverty in the USA: Being Poor in the World's Richest Country. This documentary focuses on the destitute living out of their cars in San Diego  evictions in Richmond Virginia, perennial impoverishment and food stamps in Appalachia, and the greatest population of homeless in Los Angeles.Finally  in Waco, Texas a church group issues the homeless challenge by having donors 'walk in their shoes' for a day. Apparently filmed by and for Europeans as currency is described in euros 

STAGECOACH (1986) TV movie directed by Ted Post. Remake features mostly country music legends. Willie Nelson produced and stars as Doc Holliday  a twist in the roster from previous versions; Johnny,  June, and Billy Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson as Ringo. Also has Mary Crosby (dad Bing was in the 1966 rendition)  Incorporates a syncopated leitmotif from Marty Robbins tune ' 'Big Iron'.


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