Friday, March 18, 2022

Week of March 19 - 25, 2022



To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American actor made one Italian Western and then returned to the U.S. to appear in six different TV "soap operas"?
It was David Bailey, who took over the role of Gregor MacGregor when Robert Woods declined to appear in 7 DONNE PER I MACGREGOR, aka UP THE MACGREGORS!

Why did producer Emimmo Salvi refuse to hire Luciano Marin after I TARTARI?
No one has answered this question yet.

Why did Aldo Sambrell stop working with director Sergio Corbucci?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which script by Franco Solinas was originally intended to be a modern day story but the producer turned it into a Western?
No one has answered this one yet.

On what Hollywood Sword & Sandal Epic did Brad Harris work as a stuntman?
Angel Rivera knew that it was SPARTACUS.

And now for some new brain teasers:

What LP album with music by Stelvio Cipriani came out on Apple Records?
By what name is Cole Kitosh better known?
In which Italian Western does Nino Castelnuovo play Franco Nero's half-brother?

Name the movies from which these images came.

No one has identified the above frame grab yet.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Sylvia Lopez in IL FIGLIO DEL CORSARO ROSSO, aka SON OF THE RED COSAIR.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem and Angel Rivera identified last week's frame grab of John Houston and Claude Akins in TENTACOLI, aka TENTACLES.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above photo.
It shows Bunta Sugawara in KANTO TEKIYA IKKA: GOROMEN JINGI.

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:

MUJERES AL BORDE DE UN ATAQUE DE NERVIOS, aka WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (1988) - It has been noted that "un ataque de nervios" is more like "hysteria" or "panic attack" than a "nervous breakdown" or "crisis nerviosa", but that doesn't really distract from writer/director Pedro Almodovar's sixth professional feature being his first completely satisfying effort. Reportedly based on Jean Cocteau's play LA VOIX HUMAINE, aka THE HUMAN VOICE of 1930, the film begins with a black and white sequence, seemingly inspired by Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, in which voice actor Fernando Guillen (of LA LEY DEL DESEO, aka LAW OF DESIRE) walks along a sidewalk telling each woman he passes that he loves them and can't live without them. This would seem to be the dream which actress Carmen Maura (in her seventh film for Almodovar) is having as she over-sleeps because of a sleeping pill. Guillen is in the studio doing the Spanish language dubbing on director Nicholas Ray's JOHNNY GUITAR. Having finished, Guillen writes down two telephone numbers and asks the studio operator to place the calls for him. The message machine in Maura's home picks up the call with Guillen asking Maura where is she as she's to do Joan Crawford in the dubbing. Maura wakes up and races to the phone in time to hear that Guillen wants her to pack his suitcase as he is leaving on a trip. Dressing quickly, Maura gets to the studio to find that Guillen has already left. She takes the phone numbers from the studio operator thinking that the other number is to the woman with whom Guillen is to travel. It turns out that the number is to Julieta Serrano (in her fourth Almodovar film), who just got out of a mental hospital and is the mother of Guillen's son, Antonio Banderas (in his fourth Almodovar film). Deciding to change her life, Maura has asked to put up her penthouse to be sublet. Banderas, who is running away from his mother, shows up at the home with his fiancee Rossy de Palma (of LA LEY DEL DESEO, aka LAW OF DESIRE) to possibly rent the place. At the same time, model Maria Barranco, shows up at Maura's home asking for help because her boyfriend has just been arrested as a Shiite terrorist. Knowing how much Guillen loves gazpacho, Maura makes a punch spiked with sleeping pills to stop him from leaving. But he never shows up to drink it. Instead, de Palma does, and passes out. While trying to sort everything out, Maura enlists the aid of the Mambo taxi driver Guillermo Montesino, who loves it when she orders him to "follow that car". Since Maura plays the mother of a criminal on TV, and does a commercial for a laundry detergent that gets out all of her son's murderous evidence, Montesino is very happy to help. Frustrated that Guillen hasn't called her back, Maura breaks her telephone. Banderas fixes it and helps Barranco phone in a tip to the police about the Shiites planning to hijack a flight to Stockholm. Naturally, this happens to be the same flight that Guillen plans to take with Kiti Manver (in her second Almodovar film), the lawyer Guillen hired to help Serrano deal with the mental hospital. Serrano and the police arrive at Maura's home at the same time. Serrano is trying to find Guillen, while the police want to know who phoned in the tip. Maura had again broken the telephone, so a repairman from the phone company also shows up. When Maura finally figures out that Guillen and Manver will be on that flight to Stockholm, everyone gets served some gazpacho. Serrano doesn't drink, and reveals her plan to kill Guillen, which she will do with the pistols she's taken from the two passed out cops. To get to the airport, Serrano forces the motorcycle driving boyfriend of Maura's neighbor to take her. Luckily, Maura and her neighbor jump into Montesinos' waiting cab in an attempt to stop her. A complete delight, this film was nominated for all sorts of awards and became Spain's all-time top boxoffice attraction. Filled with the eccentric characters expected of an Almodovar film, this has just about no homosexual or perverse material, which perhaps explains its rather wide acceptance. In her fourth performance in an Almodovar film is Chus Lampreave as Maura's landlady who is a Jehovah's Witness and complains that her religion prevents her from telling a lie. Angel de Andres-Lopez of ¿QUE HE HECHO YO PARA MERECER ESTO!!, aka WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?, plays one of the cops. The film gets extra points for using music by Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov: "Scheherazade" and "Capriccio Espagnol".



Frontline "Putin's Road to War" (2022) - Well, I can't say that this was enjoyable, but it is quite well made and throught-provoking. Hopefully we will all be able to look back on this in years to come.

Frontline "Putin's Way" (2015)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season four (2022)

Mildly enjoyed:

27th Annual Critics Choice Awards (2022) 

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH (2006) - I am not a fan of Dane Cook, Andy Dick or Harland Williams, so I didn't find much of this funny. I still haven't watched anything else directed by Greg Coolidge, and none of these unseen movies sound of interest. A fellow I used to work with opinioned that Jessica Simpson was only notable because of her chest - of which these filmmakers must have been aware, because few shots of her in this movie don't include her cleavage. So, why did I find this a mildly enjoyable watch? Possibly because most of it was filmed in a Costco in New Mexico - nicely captured on film by cinematographer Anthony B. Richmond, who shot three films for director Nicholas Roeg. Simpson is a new employee at a Super Club store. Her personnel file reports that she had sex with the "Employee of the Month" at her previous job, so slacker Dane Cook decides to compete for the title with kiss-ass Dax Shepard. Everything that happens in the plot is predictable, including his friends feeling that Cook has turned his back on them and Simpson feeling that Cook has ulterior motives. How Cooks wins in the end is a little surprising, but not that he does.

Uncnsrd "Stevie J" (2022)

Did not enjoy:

LIMITE, aka DEADLINE (2005) - I've not seen a lot of films from Chile, but this is a serviceable cop movie that loses a few points because of its dull, shot on video, look. Chilean gangster Ignacio Severin works for Remigio Remedy, who is putting together a deal for counterfeit U.S. dollars from some gangsters in Argentina, at the behest of some corrupt Chilean politicians. Unfortunately, Remedy chased down some thugs who robbed lackey Luis Dubo of a suitcase and shot them to death. Detective Adela Secall arrives on the crime scene and finds Dubo's fingerprints. Because she is so intense, Secall is told to take some time off, during which she meets Severin in a bar. Severin finds Secall's badge and beats a hasty retreat from her home, but, eventually they become lovers. The search for Dubo leads the police to interrupt the meet between the Chilean and Argentine gangsters, so Remedy murders Dubo. Realizing that Severin is involved, Secall shares some police files with Severin which leads our hero to realize that not only did Remedy murder Dubo's parents 15 years ago, but Remedy also murdered Severin's parents. Severin goes to Remedy's house to settle accounts at the same time Secall gets the warrant to arrest the villain. Will the cops rescue our hero from the villain, or will the cops prevent our hero from committing murder? This is the only feature film credit for co-producer/writer/director Nicholas Jullian, whose movie benefits from the creative editing by Nicholas Jullian. 

LA NUIT DE LA VERITE, aka THE NIGHT OF TRUTH (2004) - After making 15 short movies, Fanta Regina Narco, of Burkina Faso, made her first, and still only, feature film. While her short films mostly dealt with social issues within her central African country - and former French colony, her feature dealt with the attempt at reconciliation following genocidal war along tribal lines - as in Rwanda. Co-written by Marc Gautron, Narco's film is set in an unnamed fictional West African country. After ten years of bloodshed, the rebel Colonel Moussa Cisse, of the Bonande tribe, proposes peace with ruling President Adama Ouedraogo, of the Nayak tribe. They are to meet to celebrate a night of reconciliation in the face of bitter racial hatred among their followers. Cisse's wife, Georgette Pare, fears this meeting is another Nayak trick, while Ouedraogo's sister, Naky Sy Savane, burns for revenge on those who chopped her son to death. As the atrocities of war are painted on just about every wall of the Bonande village, the Colonel orders restraint from his soldiers. Unfortunately, a former soldier and kind-of the town idiot, Claude Kabore, continues to spout anti-Nayak slogans and reminds everyone of the slaughter of Nayak children in which the Colonel participated. Away from the celebration, and during a distracting fireworks display, Savane seeks to quench her need for revenge by roasting the Colonel on a spit over an open fire. With the assistance of French co-producers, Narco delivers a good-looking and well-made drama that suffers from a predictable seriousness. 


David Deal Enjoyed:





Mildly Enjoyed

THE LITTLE RED MONKEY (55) - State Department errand boy Richard Conte is brought to London to accompany a defecting Eastern Block nuclear scientist after several of his colleagues are murdered.  A monkey track provides a clue. This British thriller is entertaining enough but not exactly easy to categorize; it's not really a spy movie, nor a procedural, and the pulp-style villains don't shine enough to provide the expected exotic adventure. Yes, there is a monkey, and I'll say no more.

CHRONOPOLIS (82) - Polish-born animator Piotr Kamler's dense and obtuse stop-motion animation is highly stylized and beautifully designed, even if one (like me) doesn't know what the hell is going on. This is science fiction at its most unapproachable, and yet it is compelling in the manner of a Brothers Quay film.
ANTLERS (21) - Native American legendary demon rises from an abandoned mine to terrorize a small town in Oregon. Effective blend of human pathos and horror story.


WALK ON THE WILD SIDE (62) - In the 1930s, Laurence Harvey (who does a decent job of passing for a Texan) searches for his old flame Capucine in New Orleans only to discover that she's working in an house of ill repute. Jane Fonda plays a drifter who ends up in the same place and Anne Baxter (who does an ok job passing for a Mexican) owns a diner where Harvey holds up for a while. Barbara Stanwyck plays the madam of the house who has designs on Capucine. There is a lot of reading between the lines in this would-be Tennesse Williams hotbed of sex but it's entertaining enough.

POWER OF THE WHISTLER (45) - Richard Dix is an amnesiac who Janis Carter helps regain his memory to the detriment of all involved. Early entry in the series is especially dark. Old time star Dix is somewhat wooden but interesting as the man with a terrible secret.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

Val Lewton : the man in the shadow (doc) (2007, Ken Jones)

The avengers – epis « the hour that never was » (1965, Gerry O’Hara)


The guardians of justice – season 1 – episode 4

I like your nerve (1931, William McGann)

Uchu kara no messeji: Ginga taisen / San Ku Kai – episode 15

La vie est un long fleuve tranquille (1987, Etienne Chatilliez)

Devils’s island (1939, William Clemens)

His girl Friday (1940, Howard Hawks)

Murderville – season 1 – episode 3

Mildly enjoyed:

Bulgasal, immortal souls – season 1 – episodes 12 to 14

Space force – season 2 – episodes 4 to 7

The great Sioux uprising (1953, Lloyd Bacon)

Term of trial (1962, Peter Glenville)

Five steps to danger (1956, Harry S. Kesler)

In name only (1939, John Cromwell)

The man from U.N.C.L.E. – epis « the double affair » (1964, John Newland)

Did not enjoy:

Wonder Woman - epis « the man who could move the world » (1977, Bob Kelljan)


Charles Gilbert watched:

THREE SWORDS FOR ROME (1964) Three Roman centurions (Roger Browne, Mimmo Palmera, and Tony Freeman) are appalled at the decadency of statehead run by self indulgent emperor teen manipulated by mom. But they have another assignment to investigate a conspiracy in a neighboring Persian kingdom. Lisa Gastoni is scheming to usurp the throne there.

COWBOY 57 (1959) B&W. James Stewart narrates a 15 minute film glorifying the crew on daily routine flying a B-52 mission.

RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS (1953)  Privateer Barbarossa (John Payne) takes charge of a pirate ship and commences plundering the Mediterranean. Peg leg (Lon Chaney) is his right hand man; Donna Reed his obsession.

DEVIL SHIP PIRATES (1964) Hammer Films avoids miniatures and associated sea battles by taking the pirate plundering to town led by peremptory Spanish captain Robeles (Christopher Lee), explicitly devoid a romantic notion.


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