Friday, April 29, 2022

Week of April 30 - May 6, 2022

 


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

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian actor worked for directors Sergio Corbucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci and Andrea Barzini?
It was Gastone Moschin. 

Which actor who appeared in Italian Sword & Sandal films as well as Italian Westerns was the son of a signatory of the 1918 Act of Independence of Lithuania?
Tom Betts, Charles Gilbert and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Jacques Sernas.

Which actor who appeared in Italian Westerns survived the Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II?
Tom Betts knew that it was Terence Hill, aka Mario Girotti.

Which actor kills Erno Crisa in MACISTE, L'EROE PIU GRANDE DEL MONDO?
Bertrand van Wonterghem, Charles Gilbert and Angel Rivera knew that it was Mimmo Palmara.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian winner of an Olympic gold medal for boxing in 1960 appeared in an Italian Western?
Which Italian boxer from 1925 to 1934 - with 47 wins, 17 losses and 2 draws, became an actor in both Italian Sword & Sandal films and Westerns?
Which future star of Italian Westerns helped to win the Italian Championship for water polo in 1954 with the S.S. Lazio team?

Name the movies from which these images came.


Tom Betts, Rick Garibaldi and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Evelyn Stewart, Giuliano Gemma and Roberto Camardiel in ADIOS GRINGO.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Giuliano Gemma in ERCOLE E LA REGINA DI LIDIA, aka HERCULES UNCHAINED.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Giuliano Gemma and Tina Aumont in COBARI.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


No one identified the above frame grab. It shows Koji Tsuruta killing the bad guy in A SCARRED LIFE.

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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:

CLEOPATRA (1963) - We will probably never get a chance to see director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's two-part six hour version, but the little over 4 hour version is still fun. 

Russian Dolls season one (2019) - Natasha Lyonne stars in this highly entertaining series of 8 half-hour episodes on Netflix. Chloe Sevigny plays her dead mother and Elizabeth Ashley plays her grandmother. Burt Young shows up in a few episodes.

Mildly enjoyed:

THE ANGRY RED PLANET (1959) - After reportedly writing the American version of the second Godzilla movie, originally released as GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER in the U.S., Ib Melchior teamed up with producer Sid Pink to turn Pink's story into a feature film. Having previously directed some TV, Melchior helmed the low-budget studio-bound tale of the first Earth visitation to Mars on a nine day schedule. It starts out as a mystery, with the believed lost spaceship suddenly showing up on a return trip. Only two of the four astronauts are still alive, and a mysterious growth is slowly killing Gerald Mohr. Survivor Nora Hayden finds that she can't remember what happened, so Dr. Tom Daly authorizes a dangerous drug treatment to help her remember - but warns that what she says may be colored by her emotions. Pink had helped to kick off the 1950s 3-D craze with BWANA DEVIL, so he knew a gimmick was need to disguise the miniscule budget, and they came up with Cinemagic, which turned all of the fake Martian landscape into a blown-out red nightmare. Though often hokey, the movie is a lot of fun with many imaginative elements. 

Benjamin Franklin (2022) - There is fascinating material in this two part, four hour, documentary by Ken Burns, which, of course, put me to sleep.

Midsomer Murders "Send In the Clowns" (2017) - That makes two programs featuring Jason Watkins in one week. Now that Betty Barnaby is more than a toddler, Isabel Shaw is a welcome addition to the family. Finding a cellar room covered with blood and guts, DCI Neil Dudgeon comments "It's like something out of a Hammer Horror film." Noting the youth of DS Nick Hendrix, he adds "Before your time. Everything's before your time."

NAVALNY (2022) - Originally director Daniel Roher intended to make a documentary about the Russian dissident, Alexei Navalny who was a political rival to Vladamir Putin in the upcoming presidential elections. Things changed when Navalny was poisoned while on a flight. It turned out that he didn't die because the plane quickly landed and he received medical treatment before the poison successfully killed him. Not trusting the Russian authorities, Navalny's wife successfully had him transferred to a German hospital, where he was nursed back to health. With the help of investigative journalists, Navalny was able to identify and accuse agents of Russia's Federal Security Service of the assassination attempt. After publishing the results of the investigation, Navalny felt confident that he could safely return to Russia. He was wrong and now he is in a Russian prison.

THE TRICK (2021) - It is no surprise that Victoria Hamilton and Jason Watkins deliver strong performances in this TV movie portraying the effect of "climate deniers" attacks on Philip Jones, a leading scientist trying to alert the world about the dangers of climate change. Someone has hacked the computer system in 2009 at the University of East Anglia, and in carefully selected bits of emails, tried to discredit the science. George MacKay and Jerome Flynn are quite good as the "Crisis Management" team brought in to manage the manufactured scandal. Owen Sheers does a pretty good job of laying out what happened in this true story, and Pip Broughton directed it be a compelling drama. Some bits, such as using Jones' difficulty with completing a jigsaw puzzle to illustrate his disturbed mind, are a bit corny, but a close up of Hamilton keeps the drama rooted. The ending becomes confusing when we see Hamilton alone on the beach talking to an unseen person. Is it supposed to be a documentary crew, or is she "breaking the fourth wall" talking to the viewer. And why are we seeing Watkins spending time with a young woman when the filmmakers haven't established who she is. It is his daughter or granddaughter or a new wife? (I'm happy to report that Philip and Ruth Jones are still together. I checked.) In any case, the film ends with the message that the effort to discredit the science pushed back efforts to deal with the problem by about ten years. Do we have enough time left to do anything positive now?

The Witcher season one (2019) - Is it possible that they could have presented this tale is a more confusing manner? I shudder to think about it. 

The Witcher season two (2021) - With the story-telling taking on a more conventional aspect, it becomes even more noticable that material which would have been considered children's entertainment is being deliberately made unsuitable with needless profanity and graphic violence. I'm guessing this is the Game of Thrones effect.

Unsung Presents: The Decades - The 00s (2022)

Uncnsrd: "Trina" (2022)

Did not enjoy:

BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER (1960) - Oy! This movie gave me such a headache. The idea that flying an experimental air craft causes Robert Clarke to "break the time barrier" and end up in the year 2024 is one that I have no problem accepting. It is a nice switch by screenwriter Arthur C. Pierce that the future is not desolated by an atomic war, but by a "cosmic plague". Rather than fossil fuel destroying the Ozone layer, here it is the radioactive dust from nuclear bomb testing. Without the protective layer of atmosphere, cosmic rays have hit the Earth causing radioactive mutation, starting in 1971. After Man landed on the Moon, all nations came together to establish colonies on Mars and Venus by 1970. In 1973, a mass evacuation of Earth began to the planet colonies, but only the uninfected people were allowed to go. So, Clarke is made prisoner by the inhabitants of an underground Citadel, where most are rendered deaf and mute, except for The Supreme Vladimir Sokoloff and Captain Red Morgan. However, even they are sterile, so they hope that Clarke will mate with the deaf and mute but not sterile and telepathic Darlene Tompkins to ensure a future for their society. Clarke is labeled a "scape" because he escaped being affected by the plague. Soon he is introduced to three other "scapes": Arianne Arden (the daughter of director Edgar G. Ulmer), John van Dreelan and Stephen Bekassy. They too have time traveled to 2024 because the experimental flying technique Clarke used became standard for inter-planetary travel, and they were three more accidents. The real danger to the Citadel are the surface inhabitants, who can speak but want to destroy the Citadel inorder to get food. (THE TIME TRAVELERS was made four years after this and it reused the idea of technological cave dwellers versus bald-headed surface mutants - except in 1964 the mutants didn't speak.) The four "scapes" conspire to send Clarke back in time to 1960, hopefully to prevent the plague of 1971. The Supreme and The Captain try to stop the "scapes", so Arden releases the surface mutants held prisoner in "The Pit" and chaos ensues. The escape plan falls apart as the "scapes" double cross each other, but Clarke survives and flies back to the past. Will those in 1960 heed his warning? And what effect will time travel have on our hero? Was there excised nude footage of Darlene Tompkins to explain the awkward sound edit as she gets out of the swimming pool? How come the subhuman surface dwellers can speak, but the sophisticated underground people can't? Why do most of the underground people march around like robots? Production Designer Ernst Fegte and director Ulmer came up with a unique vision of future dwellings, where everything is based on an inverted triangle. Perhaps inspired by FORBIDDEN PLANET, most of the optical effects here are animated drawings, but look bad without MGM's finesse. To make "The Pit" seem larger, footage from JOURNEY TO THE LOST CITY was added. Robert Clarke had just produced, directed and starred in THE HIDEOUS SUN DEMON, but decided to bring in Ulmer to direct this after a positive experience on THE MAN FROM PLANET X. Ulmer made BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER back-to-back with THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN reportedly doing both in only two weeks. In addition to employing his daughter as an actress, Ulmer employed his wife, Shirley, as Script Supervisor.

CASE 39 (2009) - I get very impatient with demonic child movies, so it wasn't long before I gave up and fast-forwarded through this one. At least this one had an ending - though they did consider the usual "the threat continues" ending. I can't fault the production on casting: Renee Zellweger, Jodelle Ferland, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper, Callum Keith Rennie, Kerry O'Malley, Adrian Lester, Cynthia Stevenson and Dee Jay Jackson are all strong actors. What was it about Ray Wright's script that got everyone excited but resulted in director Christian Alvart's film being such a failure?

HORRORS OF WAR (2006) - At times, it seems that Directors Peter John Ross and John Whitney want the World War II battle scenes to look like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but the wardrobe isn't convincing. These guys look like reenactors who don't want to get their clothes messed up. You can't fault these low-budget shoot-it-on-video filmmakers for a lack of ambition, but there is nothing compelling in their final product. In the night, an U.S. Army squad bumps into a German group, a member of which won't go down until he gets shot in the head. Because of his report on the incident, Lt. Jon Osbeck is order to join Captain C. Alec Rossel's unit, made up of soldiers who have criminal records, to parachute behind enemy lines on a secret mission. It soon becomes apparent that there's a werewolf in the area. The Americans come upon a farmhouse inhabited by two women, Brandy Seymour and Megan Pillar. The Captain and a Sergeant decide to rape the women, and when Seymour objects, the Captain shoots her dead. It turns out that the werewolf is the women's brother, so when Sgt. Daniel Alan Kiely show compassion to Pillar, she gives him special bullets. These come in handy when the soldiers sit around a nighttime camp fire confessing their crimes to each other and get attacked by the werewolf. Most of the squad is killed, Kiely gets bitten and Osbeck uses the bullets to kill the werewolf. Back at base, Osbeck is ordered on another mission, to capture the scientist making Nazi Zombies. He takes along Kiely because he can change into a werewolf. When the find Dr. David Carroll, he explains the effort to create super strong Nazis that are impervious to bullets by using a serum Then the doctor turns himself into a Zombie and begins to kill all of the Americans. Kiely turns into a werewolf, and the doctor kills him, too. Finding the serum, Captain Joe Lorenzo injects himself, turns into a super strong Zombie and kills the Doctor. Momentarily reverting to his normal self, Lorenzo orders the surviving soldiers to kill him before he kills them. Osbeck is then ordered on another mission to find more "of those things". Filmed entirely in Ohio with poorly rendered CGI effects, HORRORS OF WAR is a lot less fun than it sounds.

JUAREZ, MEXICO (2005) - Born May 6, 1971 in Orange County, California, James Cahill reportedly was an English teacher at Valley High School in Santa Ana before he decided to write, direct and star in SNITCH'D (2003), a shot-on-video thriller about a drug war at an high school in Santa Ana. SNITCH'D is mostly notable as the movie Eva Longoria made before doing a stint on The Young And The Restless. JUAREZ, MEXICO is Cahill's follow-up and you can't fault him for lacking ambition. The audacity of casting himself as an Private Investigator from El Paso, Texas named Johnny Cash is staggering. Exploiting the scandal of femicides in Northern Mexico is appalling. In his video production, Cahill suggess that the murders are linked to an operation dealing in the illegal organ trade. The fact that he got the project made shows some ability, though the product exhibits no talent for writing, directing or acting. He directed two other projects after this: CHARLIE WONG (2006) and CRUSH(ED) (2009).

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Charles Gilbert watched:

WEEKEND OF TERROR (1970) TV movie with Robert Conrad and Lee Majors in atypical roles as abductors holding a gal for ransom. She accidentally dies from hitting her head in a fall, so now the two scoundrels seek a replacement. Three nuns (Jane Wyatt, Lois Nettleton, and Carol Lynley), in a disabled car, become the new target, hoping the younger in a wig will fool the payer (Todd Andrews) of the scheme.

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Bertrand van Wonterghem Enjoyed:

A fistful of lead (2018, Marc Price)

Naeil / Tomorrow – season 1 – episodes 5 & 6

Russian doll – season 2 – episode 1

Outer range – season 1 – episodes 1 to 4

The ghost and Mrs Muir – episode « Puppy love » (1969, John Erman)

Mildly enjoyed:

Murderville – season 1 – episode 6

Delitto a porta romana (1979, Bruno Corbucci)

Sutton’s case (2020, Stavros Genaridis

Tex e il signore degli abissi (1985, Duccio Tessari)

The terminal man (1974, Mike Hodges)

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Angel Rivera Enjoyed:

The last two episodes of season one of "The Flight Attendant".

The latest episode of "Superman and Lois".

Mildly enjoyed:

GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON - Now I have never seen any of the sword and sandal epics which featured Mark Forrest before , so I did not know what to expect. To me he seemed out of place.  More more familiar to me was Mimmo Palmara, who here was playing one of the good guys, as opposed to the antagonists he usually plays. Giuliano Gemma, I also remember from one of my favorite S & S films, MY SON THE HERO. Not to take up too much space I found the film only mildly entertaining. I guess I am not that big a Mark Forrest fan.


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Friday, April 22, 2022

Week of April 23 - 29, 2022

 


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

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian actor worked for directors Sergio Corbucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci and Andrea Barzini?
No one has answered this question yet.

Which Spanish actor, who appeared in an Italian Western, worked with director Pedro Almodovar, and in a later film, so did his grandson?
Angel Rivera knew that it was Francisco Rabal.

Which Italian actor, celebrated for his stage performance as Hamlet, did an Italian Western comedy with director Sergio Corbucci?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew it was Vittorio Gassman in CHE C'ENTRIAMO NOI CON LA RIVOLUZIONE?, aka WHAT AM I DOING IN THE REVOLUTION?

Which Italian actress was also apart of the Orfei Circorama?
Angel Rivera knew that it was Liana Orfei. 

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which actor who appeared in Italian Sword & Sandal films as well as Italian Westerns was the son of a signatory of the 1918 Act of Independence of Lithuania?
Which actor who appeared in Italian Westerns survived the Allied bombing of Dresden in World War II?
Which actor kills Erno Crisa in MACISTE, L'EROE PIU GRANDE DEL MONDO?

Name the movies from which these images came.


Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of Rafael Albaicin, Jose Canalejas, ?, Roberto Camardeil, ?, Dominique Boschero, Manolo Zarzo, ?, ?, ?, Simon Arriaga and Goyo Lebrero in UN TRENO PER DURANGO, aka A TRAIN FOR DURANGO.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


Bertrand van Wonterghem, Charles Gilbert and Angel Rivera identified last week's photo of Gordon Mitchell and Bella Cortez in IL GIGANTE DI METROPOLIS, aka THE GIANT OF METROPOLIS.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Carla Gravina in L'ANTICRISTO, aka THE ANTICHRIST, aka THE TEMPTER.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?


No one has yet identified the above frame grab. Here's a hint - the fellow covered in blood is actor Koji Tsuruta.
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:

MACISTE, L'EROE PIU GRANDE DEL MONDO, aka GOLIATH AND THE SINS OF BABYLON (1963) - I first saw this when I was about six years old and it remains one of my favorite movies because of a great scene in which our hero is strapped to a table with harpoons (or spears) being dropped at him threatening death. This was director Michele Lupo's second film, and his second with Mark Forest as Maciste. While footage from director Riccardo Freda's TEODORA, IMPERATRICE DI BISANZIO (1954), and even some shots from Lupo's first film MACISTE, IL GLADIATORE PIU FORTE DEL MONDO, aka COLOSSUS OF THE ARENA (1962) - Dan Vadis can be seen in the background of one shot, help to give the film production value, it is Lupo's dynamic camerawork and dramatic staging that really gives the film a muscular feel. The screenplay credited to Roberto Gianviti and proudcer Francesco Scardamaglia is nothing special, and seems mostly designed to reuse footage from TEODORA, but there is plenty of original action choreographed by Alfio Caltabiano, who also plays one of the leading bad guys. Not surprisingly, Caltabiano gives himself one of the film's best sword fights against romantic lead Giuliano Gemma with a suitably dramatic moment of death. Surprisingly for an AIP "Goliath" movie, Les Baxter's theme from GOLIATH AND THE BARBARIANS is not used. In fact, original composer Francesco De Masi delivered such a strong score, that the AIP release changed little of it. Even so, the AIP version credits only Les Baxter with the music. In the original film, Goliath is the name given to "dwarf" Arnaldo Fabrizio, whose comedic antics seems to suggest that the film is designed for a children's audience. As with Lupo's first film, Jose Greci shows that she is one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the movie screen, and here she doesn't have to compete with Scilla Gabel. Among the other familiar faces here are Mimmo Palmara, Livio Lorenzon, Piero Lulli, Erno Crisa, Paul Muller, Eleonora Bianchi, Ugo Sasso, Harold Bradley, Nello Pazzafini, Lori Loddi, Joe Kamel and Jeff Cameron. While the bald headed guy who bangs the gong resembles Pietro Ceccarelli, it is not him no matter what the IMDb reports. Does anyone know the name of the stuntman who doubled Mark Forest?

THE TIME TRAVELERS (1964) - I first saw this at a weekday matinee with my mother when I was eight years old, and it still holds a nostalgic thrill for me. Sure, it's a pretty cheap production, but like many films written by Ib Melchior, it is filled with interesting ideas and surprising plot twists. ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS is better produced, but it isn't as much fun to rewatch as THE TIME TRAVELERS. I still think it's pretty clever to suggest futuristic engineering with present day magic tricks, and even include Forest J. Ackerman of Famous Monsters of Filmland "squaring" things away. 

Mildly enjoyed:

Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "Erin Burnett, Amy Carlson and Andre Leon Talley" (2022)

THE LION (1962) - 11 year old Pamela Franklin, in only her second screen appearance, gives an extraordinary performance in this drama about child-rearing. I saw this movie as a child, but got it mixed up with other movies of that time like A TIGER WALKS, also with Franklin, and CLARENCE, THE CROSS-EYED LION. In the 1950s, William Holden and two friends went on safari in Kenya, and in 1960 ended up buying an old inn and turning it into the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Holden later created the Mount Kenya Ranch as a wildlife preserve, so a romance with Africa was a real thing for him. Interestingly, in THE LION, he plays Franklin's absent father, who comes to the wildlife reserve run by Franklin's step-father Trevor Howard, whom she calls "Daddy". A big shot lawyer in the outside world, Holden knows nothing about Africa, and Howard tries his best to scare him away with wild jeep rides near rhinos, hippos and elephants. Holden regrets his ex-wife's decision that Franklin have nothing to do with him after the divorce, so as to avoid confusion with Howard's role as her new father. Capucine, his ex-wife, is now worried that growing up with a baby lion, who is Franklin's best friend, and among the local natives is limiting her education. The fact that Franklin approves a local tribe leaving their ailing chief to die in the bush, convinces Holden and Capucine that the girl needs to get a taste of civilization. Holden nursing the chief back to health unwittingly results in violence which settles the matter. Born in Argentina, but raised in France, author Joseph Kessel published the novel THE LION in 1958. He is perhaps best known as the author of BELLE DE JOUR and L'ARMEE DES OMBRES. Screenwriters Irene and Louis Kamp are credited with the screenplay, which introduces the romantic triangle to the story. Director Jack Cardiff would return to present a less romantic vision of Africa in 1968's DARK OF THE SUN.

Midsomer Murders "Till Death Do Us Part (2018) - Fiona Dolman got a larger role in this episode, which is always a plus.

PLENTY (1985) - It was no mystery why this project appealed to Meryl Streep; it was an opportunity to play a very dimensional character who was always at the center of the proceedings. It was a star vehicle and she never looked more luminous then she did in it. However, a play about post World War II disillusion - the idea that the post-war period would be a time of "plenty", did not fall into the "feel-good" category. Writer David Hare warned in his program notes that "...ambiguity is central to the idea of the play. The audience is asked to make its own mind up about each of the actions." So, confusion about the meaning of the piece and uncertainty about how to react was purposeful. An outstanding cast was assembled around Streep, including Charles Dance, Tracey Ullman, John Gielgud, Sting, Ian McKellen, Burt Kwouk and Sam Neill. David Hare may have "opened up" his play to include exterior scenes, but the structure was still very much one of a five act play - though without the curtain drop to let you know when one act ended and a new one begun. There was not even an on-screen notation to let you know where or when you suddenly were. If you've been itching to see a fully clothed Meryl Streep do a sex scene with a fully clothed Sam Neill and one with Sting, this is the movie for you.

REVOLT OF THE ZOMBIES (1936) - It took four years, but Victor and Edward Halperin finally did a follow-up to WHITE ZOMBIE. Unfortunately, their production values did not improve, and the film doesn't even have the low-budget creepy atmosphere of WHITE. However, there is a certain charm in the script which is uncredited in which the audience feels more sympathy for the "bad guy" than the romantic leads. French soldier Dean Jagger (with hair!) brings with him to the European front of World War 1 a regiment of Cambodian zombies, referred to as "robots". However, these are not the "walking dead", but rather normal men under the mental control of Cambodian priest William Crowell. After Crowell proves the effectiveness of his subjects on a German trench in battle, the Allied generals fear this may end the dominance of the White race, and so order the priest arrested. Roy D'Arcy murders Crowell and steals a cloth featuring drawings which he hopes will give him the knowledge of how to create zombies. Fearing that the secret of how to create zombies lies in the ruins of Angkor, the Allies decide a team needs to go there to destroy the knowledge. Leading the team is George Cleveland, who brings along his daughter Dorothy Stone. Jagger is advised by his best friend Robert Noland to pursue what he wants ruthlessly, but Stone easily accepts Jagger's marriage proposal. Then, Stone reveals that she only accepted Jagger's proposal in order to make Noland jealous, for he was what she wanted all along. Realizing that both Noland and Stone were ruthless in their pursuit of each other, Jagger vows that he's learned  his lesson. Figuring out the secret to making zombies, Jagger uses the power to take control of everyone on the team as well as the local soldiers protecting them. He won't use the power on Stone, and promises to let Noland leave if she will marry Jagger. She agrees, but Jagger realizes that she will never love him. He asks if she will think kindly of him, if he renounces his power. She says yes, he renounces his power, and the former zombies revolt and kill him. Reportedly, the Halperins had wanted Bela Lugosi to be in the film and Roy D'Arcy does a credible imitation. The close-ups of Lugosi's eyes from WHITE ZOMBIE are reused in this film. Did he get a paycheck for this? Japanese American actor Teru Shimada plays a Cambodian servant in this.

Unsung "The Decades 90s" (2022)

Uncnsrd "Erica Campbell" (2022)

Did not enjoy:

Death & Nightingales (2021) - Eugene McCabe published the novel in 1992, and Allan Cubitt adapted it into a three hour TV mini-series. After not enjoying The Fall which Cubitt wrote and in which Jamie Dornan co-starred, I may never again watch something those two make together. I love what Ann Skelly brings to The Nevers, but she does not rise about this dour show.

Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie f├╝hren kann, aka THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM, OR HOW VIOLENCE DEVELOPS AND WHERE IT CAN LEAD (1975) - Jurgen Prochnow arrives by ferry and is being surveilled. He goes into a bar and is picked up by two women who are going to a party. At the party, Prochnow and Angela Winkler see each other tenderly come to an unspoken understanding. The surveillers witness this and jump to the conclusion that the two previously knew each other. In the morning, armed police burst into Winkler's apartment but do not find Prochnow. Winkler is paraded before the press, accused of being a lover of a terrorist and taken in for interrogation. The news media, particularly newspaper man Dieter Laser, sensationalize the story leading to Winkler's apartment being vandalized and her getting death threats. Every aspect of Winkler's life is investigated, misconstrued and distorted by both the police and the press. Eventually, we learn that Winler is indeed aiding Prochnow's evasion, and inadvertently leads the police to him. With her life and reputation in ruins, Winkler accepts an offer to be interviewed by Laser. He expresses the belief that she should be grateful that he's made her famous and that they can exploit that fame to make money. She shoots him dead. The film ends with Laser's boss speechifying at the funeral about how an attack on freedom of the press is an attack on democracy itself. An on screen message reports that the film isn't a true story, and that the journalistic practices depicted are not intended to directly refer to the practicies of Bild-Zeitung, but such a resemblance is unavoidable. The movie is based on a novel by Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll, and was inspired by his own experience of being accused by Bild-Zeitung of being "the father of terrorism" because of his efforts to understand the Baader-Meinhof Gang. Co-directors and co-writers Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta mount a compelling drama, but I could not sit through the story of such injustice being perpetrated on this woman, so I hit the fast-forward button. Mario Adorf and Herbert Fux are among the talented supporting cast.

J-OK' EL (2006) - Born Deanna Bowers, Dee got the Wallace from her first husband and kept it after their divorce. In 1980 she married Christopher Stone, but didn't start putting his last name on her's until 1984. He died in 1995, but she kept the "Wallace-Stone" until this movie in 2006. She looks good in this movie. Too bad the movie isn't better. The story of La Llorona, aka The Weeping Woman, has been a mainstay in Spanish speaking America, though many think that the tale originated before Spain arrived in the "New World". Co-writer and director Benjamin Williams has a character in this movie say that "J-ok'el" was what the Mayans called her, giving him a way to differentiate his movie from the slew of La Llorona films which began in Mexico in 1935. The North Americans got into the act with 2019's THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA, which was tied into the "Conjuring Universe". In J-OK' EL, Tom Parker arrives in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, hoping to find his half sister who has gone missing. He is estranged from his mother, Dee Wallace, who was recently abandoned by her Mexican husband, and she doesn't want anything to do with her wayward son. It soon becomes obvious that Parker completely discounts the idea that there is a supernatural cause for so many children disappearing, so tedium quickly sets in as he investigates the idea that local criminals are behind the disappearances. Eventually, with the help of Ana Patricia Rojo, he realizes that there is a link between the disappearances and the legend, which leads to a shocking revelation. This remains Mexican born Benjamin Williams only feature credit. Why it was originally called THE CURSE OF THE CREEPS is a mystery. Aside from the presence of Dee Wallace, the most notable element of the film is the orchestral score by George Shaw, which sounds incredibly rich for such a low-budget film.

THE MAN FROM PLANET X (1951) - Director Edgar G. Ulmer is known for being able to deliver a decent movie for less money than anyone else. He almost does that with this one, until the screenplay gets tiresome in the last half. The first half of the film is fun, with atmospheric photography by John L. Russell of obviously painted backdrops partially obscure by heavy fog, and a game cast headed by Robert Clarke and Margaret Field (the mother of Sally Field). I'm sure that no one who worked on this movie would have predicted that the actor who played the villain, William Schallert, would go on to have the best career - even becoming the president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1979. I guess that back in 1951, it wasn't unbelievable that a lone astronomer would be the only one to notice an errant planet entering our solar system heading for Earth. And that an island near Scotland would be the closest place on Earth for it to pass. The miniature of the bawn on the moor isn't convincing, but it is fun, as is the spaceship. 

MOVE (1970) - If you are tired of Jewish writers complaining about their lives, MOVE is not the movie for you. Joel Lieber published the novel in 1968, but 20th Century Fox had bought the screen rights even before publication. Eventually Stanley Hart came in to collaborate on the screenplay which concerns a married man freaking out over moving a few blocks in New York City to a new apartment. Obviously intended to appeal to "hip" movie-goers, the film mixes a mundane story with surreal fantasy elements. Perhaps it was director Stuart Rosenberg who decided to not give any clues to the audience about what is intended to be real and what is intended to be fantasy, but trying to make sense of it all is tiring. Plus, I guess that much of this is supposed to be funny, but it isn't. Veteran producer Pandro S. Berman, who was 65 when this movie was made, can't be faulted in casting. This was Elliot Gould's second film after M*A*S*H, with Paula Prentiss as his wife, John Larch, Graham Jarvis and Ron O'Neal. I'm uncertain if the bed scenes with Genevieve Waite are meant to be real or not. On May 3, 1971, Lieber died after a fall from his apartment window at the age of 35. As he left a note, the death was ruled as a suicide, so the problems his hero had may have mirrored his own.  

THE PLEASURE SEEKERS (1964) - Can you really call a movie featuring only four songs a "musical"? And two of the songs are done as part of stage performances by Ann-Margret. I guess I was 8 years old when I saw this theatrically, and none of it stuck with me. At that age, I would have been offended if I had realized how much pre-martial sex was going on, but at the time the subtlety put it right over my head. Three young American women are in Madrid, Spain, seeking romance. Carol Lynley and Ann-Margaret tease Pamela Tiffin over her lack of experience, especially with rich playboy Tony Franciosa, who sets his sights on Tiffin. Lynley has her sights on her news bureau boss Brian Keith, who is married to Gene Tierney. Ann-Margaret is a singer/dancer who gets hit by doctor on a motorcycle Andre Lawrence. Gardner McKay is the young upstart reporter at the news bureau who warns Lynley about chasing a married man, while he seems to have a revolving door of young lovers. After Keith takes Lynley to a party for married men who have women on the side, Tierney crashes to tell Lynley that she will never have her husband. Lawrence tells Ann-Margaret that he is too poor to get married, and Franciosa's mother, Isobel Elsom, tells Tiffin that her son's marriage proposal is false. Our three heroines decide to go back to America, but Keith throws a new party and resolves everyone's romantic problems - though details are not given. Screenwriter Edith Sommer does the update on COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN by John H. Secondari, changing the locale from Rome to Madrid. Jean Negulesco directed this rather unsexy sex comedy that serves as a tourist advertisement for Madrid. Having seen a number of movies by director Pedro Almodovar, all of which are set in Madrid, THE PLEASURE SEEKERS has no sense of Spain. Sure there is a bullfight and Antonio Gades appears to help Ann-Margaret look like she knows how to flamenco, but the fact that Italian American actors like Franciosa and Vito Scotti, Canadian actor Andre Lawrence, French actor Maurice Marsac, and English actress Isobel Elsom were hired to play Spaniards shows the sense of authenticity for which the filmmakers were going. The highlight of the movie occurs very close to the beginning as Carol Lynley is racing to the airport in a taxi driven by uncredited Spanish actor Jose Calvo, who made PER UN PUGNO DI DOLLARI and 7 other movies, as well as appeared in two TV series, that same year.

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Charles Gilbert watched:

Outer Limits SO2E10 The Inheritors. With Robert Duval, Steve Ihnat, and Ted de Corsia. Convoluted premise about disabled children selected by benevolent extraterrestrials to inherit their dying race upon being made physically whole. Four reluctant ex soldiers having suffered common head wounds are being inhabited by the alien intelkect to prepare a starship  in which to transport the 'Inheritors'. Two part presentation with no monsters and nil special effects. An adolescent Morgan Brittany appears as a blind girl anxious to make the trip. I prefer the second season Harry Lubin score to Dominic Frontiere from the first season.

Adventures of Superman D02E10 B&W. 'The Face and the Voice'. George Reeves seizes the opportunity to display his acting chops as he plays Clark Kent, Superman, and a hood with exaggerated patois who's being used to commit crimes posing as Superman..

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Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

Les aventuriers (1967, Robert Enrico)

Enjoyed:

The unknown (1927, Todd Browning)

Naeil / Tomorrow – season 1 – episodes 1 to 4

The treasure of Ruby Hills (1955, Frank McDonald)

Monta in sella, figlio di… ! (1972, Tonino Ricci)

Vai avanti tu che mi vien a ridere (1982, Giorgio Capitani)

Jeanne Moreau, l’affranchie (doc) (2017, Virginie Lenhart)

Ultraman (anime) – season 2 – episode « the man from NY »

Choose or die (2021, Toby Meakins)

Mildly enjoyed:

The mad genius (1931, Michael Curtiz)

The revenge of Robert (2018, Andrew Jones)

Le marginal (1983, Jacques Deray)

Murderville – season 1 – episodes 4 & 5

Due once di piombo (1966, Maurizio Lucidi)

Did not enjoy:

The bubble (2021, Judd Apatow)

Mission pays basque (2017, Ludovic Bernard)

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Angel Rivera watched:

THE BATMAN (2022)  It was a dark movie. At almost three hours I was a little reluctant to watch it, but my curiosity got the better of me. The story and how they adapted the different comic book story lines is slightly interesting. The Batman is almost invincible in his many battles as he manages to overcome amazing odds, almost none the worse for wear. Zoe Kravitz is very sexy as Selina Kyle. (She is never  referred to as Catwoman, only as "a cat burglar" and briefly as "The Cat".)   The influence of elements from the "Gotham" TV series are apparent to any one who watched the series. The action scenes are good and the changes to established Batman lore is palatable to those who know the comic book. The movie plays out like a mystery and this is a welcome manner to tell the story.

The other movie I saw was HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN (1964) It has enough of the elements of a good sword and sandal film to satisfy and entertain fans of the genre. Alan Steel makes an admirable hero. The beautiful Jany Clair (who met an unfortunate, but memorable end in PLANETS AGAINST US (1962) is the evil queen who sides with the Moon Men in the conquest  of Earth with their promise of power, but here also receives an unfortunate end. All in all a mildly entertaining movie.

I also watched the latest episode of Doctor Who with Jodie Whittaker. I believe the end of her time as the Doctor is coming near, but this episode titled, "Legend of the Sea Devils" proved as entertaining as any previous episodes, if you are a Who fan.

Found your review of HONDO interesting. It's been awhile since I watched the film, so my memory of it is very hazy. I do seem to remember a scene where John Wayne's character says something like the "Indians' way of life is a good way, Too bad it has to end." Sort of justifying Manifest Destiny, I think.
It reminds me of a scene in RED RIVER where Wayne is staking his claim for land for his ranch and some Mexicans come along and tell him the land he is claiming already belongs to their patron. To which Wayne responds "That's too much land for one man!" and if memory serves, he shoots them down. 

UPDATE: As for the scene from RED RIVER I was able to see it on YouTube as there was a colorized version of the complete movie. My memory of the film has played tricks on me. It was Walter Brennan who says the line, "That's too much land for one man!" Then Wayne kills one of the Mexicans in a shootout. The Mexican did draw first according to the dialogue in the scene. Then Wayne takes care of burying the dead Mexican and reads over him from a bible. I should have known that no film with Wayne in it  is going to make it seem he killed someone in cold blood unless he has to.
As for the scene in HONDO, my memory there was also faulty. Thanks again to YouTube which features the scene under the heading "Hondo--Too bad.mp4.
First a wounded army officer , Lt McKay, states that within a month Gen Cook will be there with a large force. Then Ward Bond says, "That will be the end of the Apache." To which Wayne says, "Yep! End of a way of life. Too bad, It's a good way." Then he leads the wagon train away.
The film seems to proclaim that it was a shame that the Native Americans got in the way of Manifest Destiny--The idea that the expansion of the US throughout the American continents was both justified and inevitable.  I'm reminded of a scene in BILLY JACK (I think it was BILLY JACK) when Tom Laughlin speaks about the treaties the Native Americans entered into with the U.S. Government where the only promise the white man kept was that he promised to take their land and they did.

Any way I think I will ask my friend who is a full blooded Shinnecock, if she has seen HONDO and what is her opinion of it. She did like the Winnetou movies when I showed them to her.
BTW, don't know if you ever watched the show, "Married with Children", but HONDO happens to be Al Bundy's favorite movie.

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Mike Eustace watched:

THE FURY OF ACHILLES Blu-ray: "It finally arrived. DVD picture quality on a BluRay, but that's nothing new. It looks just like the German DVD that I edited, But I had to add extra scenes from a TV version whereas this one is very much intact. I will check that out by watching my DVD soon.
"There's a nasty music cut in the opening titles, and occasional silent moments that a bit of atmosphere could have fixed, and since the guy says he put it together from different versions, I thought he might have tried harder on the soundtrack.
"I tried to watch the film with the commentary track, but he starts out by saying he was never interested in Peplum and then goes on to tell us why he thinks other people aren't interested in Peplum. Consequently there's little connection between what he's telling us and what we're watching on screen. I had to give up. His bubbling enthusiasm over giallos and Westerns and every other genre that he did talk about, just wore me out.
"As I've said before the idea of a Trojan War film without a Helen is really weird, so the odd couple of close-ups of Paris sets him up as a Billy-no-mates; not even with a Helen. I mean, what's he doing there? No Trojan Horse either. But then the film doesn't show Achilles death, so that's all to come after the film ends. What we have is a film that is basically centered on Achilles sulking because Agamemnon took away his girlfriend. What I find hard to stomach is all this stuff about Hector being a coward if he doesn't go out to fight a demi-God, who is invulnerable to wounds, and has just had a new suit of armour and weapons made for him by the God Vulcan. Pretty bad odds, I would say. Although I do like the bit where a Trojan soldier hurls a spear from the ramparts that lands about 9 inches away from Achilles' heel. Close, but no cigar.
"Very good quality PERSEUS on the BluRay. Picture comes from the Italian DVD with Sons-of-Hercules opening and closing music, plus the English audio. It is missing the close-up of the head of Zeus on the statue to which Perseus' mother is appealing. It also has that terrible cut from the end of the tournament to Perseus having a romantic chat with Andromeda in the garden at night. Perhaps that's where the Fine Primo Tempo moment came. Often that was superimposed on the movie action, so could explain the abrupt ending of the tournament, and the sudden 'in media res' of the garden scene in the second half.
"The film is properly graded too, so night scenes look like night scenes are supposed to. Achilles was very bad in that department.
"Perseus is a great action film. De Martino did a top job and Rambaldi's monsters and Nathanson's mattes are superb. It was a pleasure to watch again."

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