Friday, May 27, 2022

May 28 - June 3, 2022


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which American bodybuilder had a gym in his Roman penthouse apartment for his friends to use?
No one has answered this question yet.

Complete the lyric: "I am a lone and _____ man."
Rick Garibaldi knew the missing word is "angry".

What film did director Raoul Walsh make in Italy that was not mentioned in the documentary THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF RAOUL WALSH?
George Grimes knew that it was ESTHER AND THE KING.

Which Italian actress worked for directors Jess Franco, Raoul Walsh, Gianfranco Baldanello, Michele Lupo, Steve Carver, Mel Welles and Camillo Bazzoni?
Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Angel Rivera knew that it was Rosalba Neri.

And now for some new brain teasers:

In which movie did Aldo Sambrell get a tomahawk in the head?
What was the Italian title for L'ATTAQUE DE FORT ADAMS?
Which Italian made film was suppressed by 20th Century Fox to ensure it did not compete with CLEOPATRA starring Elizabeth Taylor?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand van Wonterghem, Rick Garibaldi, Charles Gilbert and George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Gian Maria Volonte in PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIU, aka FOR A FEWDOLLARS MORE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Ed Fury and Dorian Gray in LA REGINA DELLE AMAZZONI, aka COLOSSUS AND THE AMAZON QUEEN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last weeks' frame grab from AN AMOROUS WOMAN OF THE TANG DYNASTY.
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:

Highly enjoyed:

TIGER EYES (2012) - I got this from Netflix because it came up when I search Cynthia Stevenson. Little did I know that this was based on a 1981 novel by Judy Blume which became #89 on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. Dealing with a 15 year old girl's "coming of age", the book, as with many novels by Judy Blume, deals with teenage sexuality, which, for the most part, is very soften for the movie. Blume's son, Lawrence Blume, co-produced and directed this film from a screenplay he co-wrote with his mother and they hit an home run when they cast Willa Holland in the lead role. She is a marvel to behold and easily carries this gently emotional story to its beautiful conclusion. The Blumes aren't the only familial partners in this movie as Russell Means plays a kind man dying of cancer Holland meets while volunteering at an hospital, and Means' son, Tatanka Means, plays the young man who befriends Holland when she starts to explore her new surroundings near Los Alamos, New Mexico. The film starts in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Holland, her mother Amy Jo Johnson, and little brother, Lucien Dale, are still reeling from the sudden death of Michael Sheets - their husband and father. Johnson's sister, Cynthia Stevenson, convinces them to stay with her and her husband, Forrest Fyre, in Los Alamos. As expected, Holland has difficulty adapting to her new environment, while trying not to be overwhelmed by the memory of her father's murder. A number of issues raised in the story are fairly standard for a "young adult" drama, but rarely are they as tenderly treated as they are here. In reality, Russell Means did die of cancer after finishing his part in the movie, but before it was released. This is the only movie of which I know that has in the end credits "No lizards were harmed during the production of this motion picture."


James Stewart - Robert Mitchum The Two Faces of America (2017) - The title of director Gregory Monro's documentary suggests that this is a program about two movies stars. Actually, it is about how the American psyche changed after World War II and it uses the personas of two American movie stars to illustrate this. Sometimes the comparison seems facile, but having Kelly and Judy Stewart talk about their father is interesting, as are comments made by Trina Mitchum. Why Victoria Tennant was brought in to comment is a mystery, though Leonard Maltin and historian Leo Braudy makes sense. Interestingly, this is only documentary involving Jimmy Stewart that I've seen which doesn't mention his friendship with Henry Fonda.

ONCE YOU KISS A STRANGER (1969) - "Suggested by a novel by Patricia Highsmith" is the credit this remake of STRANGERS ON A TRAIN gives its source material. There are significant changes. Rather than a seemingly homosexual psychopath, here Carol Lynley plays a female psychopath that wants to have someone kill the psychiatrist who wants her institutionalized, played by Whit Bissell. Rather than a tennis professional, here Paul Burke plays a professional golfer, who isn't trying to get rid of his wife but wants the #1 golfer, played by Philip Carey, to go away. In an effort to win back his estranged wife, played by Martha Hyer, Burke has sworn off booze and easy women. After failing on the telephone to get his wife to give him another chance, Burke succumbs to a bottle of brandy and a visit from Lynley. Lynley has a video camera in her purse, though how its signal is recorded by her VTR back home is never explained. So Lynley not only gets her session in bed on videotape, but also gets Burke seeming to agree to "switch" murders. The next day, Burke finds Carey's body in a water hazard during a televised golf game, which inspires Hyer to fly to his side. Naturally, Lt. Stephen McNally zeros in on Burke as a suspect, and Burke seems willing to try and explain about Lynley until the young woman threatens to show the video to Hyer. Will Burke actually kill Bissell to end his nightmare? Can Lynley convince Hyer to help her get Burke to commit murder? Will Lynley run Hyer over in a dune buggy on the beach? Has Carol Lynley ever looked as sexy in any other movie she made - especially in that lime green bikini? Directed by TV veteran Robert Sparr, this movie looks like something made for TV, but with an higher sexual content than 1969 TV would allow. It isn't very good, but staring at Carol Lynley in it is a joy. Fans of the TV series 12 O'Clock High expected that both Robert Lansing and Paul Burke would have bigger careers then what they got, but this Burke fan likes ONCE YOU KISS A STRANGER better than VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

Mildly enjoyed:

CRIME D'AMOUR, aka LOVE CRIME (2010) - I don't know how I would have responded to this film if I hadn't seen the Brian DePalma remake PASSION first. Actually, it was good that I saw PASSION first in order to fill in the portion I couldn't see on the defective VHS tape I recorded about a decade ago from off of the Sundance Channel - back when they used to play foreign films. In just about every way, CRIME D'AMOUR was superior to PASSION. While DePalma followed the script by director Alain Corneau and Natalie Carter closely, every change he made coarsened the material and made it more conventional. The remake turned the material into a "whodunit", whereas the original was more of a character study and made no secret of whodunit. We see Ludivine Sagnier murder Kristin Scott Thomas suddenly - without the usual suspense buildup, and the mystery became how did she think she could get away with it - especially since she did everything, including confessed, to implicate herself in the deed. Also, DePalma turning Sagnier's secretary into a lesbian bent on blackmailing her boss into becoming her lover was a crass and exploitative way to set-up a conventional "crime does not pay" ending that the original film beautifully avoids. Also, it made much more sense to have the boss at the start being an older woman to our protagonist, and it was always a joy to watch Kristin Scott Thomas speak French. This was the last film directed by Alain Corneau before his death later that year. A former assistant to director Costa-Gavras, Corneau never achieved international recognition, but he consistently made popular films, of which this was a good example. There was also a nice bit in the film when Sagnier went to the movies and what was on the screen was a clip from director Vincent Trintignant's film CADEAU DE RUPTURE. The end credits listed the clip as by Vincent Trintignant-Corneau and Vincent was also Corneau's assistant on CRIME D'AMOUR.

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO! (1966) - If you don't enjoy watching miniature machines and settings, then there's no point in watching this. It seems that someone objected to having to cutaway from the miniatures to expensive actors, so they brought in puppets and only had to pay actors for voice work. The miniatures and puppets are so clever, that every time the filmmakers insert a human hand doing something it seems to be a failure of imagination on their part. As with most everything written and produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, many things get blown up.

TOMORROW AT SEVEN (1933) - Strong jawed Chester Morris is credited as the star of this mystery movie, but Frank McHugh and Allen Jenkins as bumbling Chicago detectives are the real drivers of this movie credited to screenwriter Ralph Spence. The film opens with a man unveiling the painting that he picked up for only $50,000 to a POV camera, which moves forward and stabs him to death. (They had killer cameras back in 1933!) An Ace of Spades is put on the body, and then we are on a train where we meet mystery novelist Morris seeing Vivienne Osborne falling asleep while reading his latest novel, which promises to prevent the reader from being able to sleep. After getting Osborne to give a negative review of his novel, Morris introduces himself as the author. He's planning to write a book about The Black Ace and wants to interview wealthy Henry Stephenson, who has publicly demanded an investigation of The Black Ace. Morris complains that Stephenson's secretary, Grant Mitchell, keeps preventing the interview, after which Osborne reveals that she is Mitchell's daughter and she'll get Morris into the Stephenson estate. Stephenson is working on a jigsaw puzzle when he meets Morris, but they soon move to another room for drinks. Mitchell finishes the puzzle, the center of which reveals a warning from The Black Ace that Stephenson is to die "at seven tomorrow night". Soon, McHugh and Jenkins arrive having gotten a mysterious phone call at Police HQ. Reviewing the situation, Osbourne suggests that they all fly down to Stephenson's plantation in Louisiana, which would put Stephenson in the air at 7pm, thus preventing any murder attempt. However suspicious pilot Cornelius Keefe, leaves the cockpit at 7pm, goes into a back room of the plane and the lights go out. When the lights come back on, it is Mitchell who is found murdered. Moving the body into the plantation house without alerting the local authorities, McHugh and Jenkins proceed to ineffectively question everyone from the plane. Morris suggests that they telephone for the local coroner to examine the body. While making the call, Morris uses his cigarette lighter to signal someone outside the house, so that when Keefe tries to telephone his boss back in Chicago, the phone line is cut. Who is The Black Ace? Why does anyone think that locking all of the suspects in separate bedrooms for the night is a good idea? How does the written confession found on Mitchell's body suddenly disappear when the living room lights go out? Who is the real coroner? Why does McHugh blow up every time Jenkins says "We'll get to the bottom of this."? I don't think I've ever before been aware of director Ray Enright, and now I've seen three of his movies within a week. None of them are particularly good, but they are watchable mindless entertainment.

Did not enjoy:

THE BLUE LAGOON (1980) - Obviously, the fantasy that a boy child and a girl child marooned on a tropical island can not only survive but figure out sex and child birth by observing nature is appealing, not only to Henry De Vere Stacpoole who wrote the book in 1908, but to directors W. Bowden and Dick Cruickshanks who made the 1923 movie version, director Frank Launder who made the 1949 movie and director Randal Kleiser, who made this one. At the time it seemed to fit into the "back to nature" idea that existence could by idyllic if people could recapture the simple life. It also seemed to fit into the sexualization of young people exemplified by star Brooke Shields doing a nude layout for Playboy's Sugar and Spice at age 10. Interestingly, Shields would not agree to appear nude at the age of 14 for this movie, and was body doubled by 32 year old Kathy Troutt. However, she did appear in a series of peek-a-boo costumes often with her hair glued over her nipples. Produced on island in Fiji, the film fantasizes about a tropical paradise, though it throws in a tribe that performs human sacrifices to introduce some suspense. Mostly, though, the film was about naked children swimming, and fishing, and constructing an hut most resorts would envy. Future Oscar nominee Douglas Day Stewart (for AN OFFICE AND A GENTLEMAN) penned the screenplay, which sounds dreadful from the mouths of Shields and Christopher Atkins under Kleiser's direction. Even Leo McKern and William Daniels look poor under these circumstances. This was a huge hit but the question remains - was the audience mostly made up of sexually curious teenage girls or the "raincoat crowd"?

AGAINST THE DRUNKEN CAT PAW, aka NO ONE CAN TOUCH HER (1979) - There are Kung Fu movie conventions that are mystifying. Because of her costume, people believe that the beautiful Ling Chia (aka Judy Lee) is a blind male beggar. Along with a boy, who calls her "brother", she is called the "wine thief". When asked why she/he drinks so much, she/he replies "to stop from crying". But actually it is because she is working on a combination of drunken fist boxing with cat's claw. This is probably the only movie in which a martial artist does an hand stand split in the air and a cat jumps over her crotch. The plot of this movie is simple, but told in possibly the most complicated way possible. Ling Chia was thought to be blinded by darts blown by the "poison dwarf", but she is recovering and planning to get revenge on the 13 bandits who killed her father. The 13 bandits, now 14, are planning to rob and revenge themselves on Chia's father's partner, so the partner's daughter, Chia-Lin Sun, joins forces with Chia and Chia's old flame to bring justice. A lot of the film's running time is taken up with the comic antics of the new law enforcement official and the carpenter called "Hammerhead". Hammerhead turns out to be the partner's long lost son, and the law enforcement official proves to be a most capable ally in the final fight. If you've been wanting to see an invincible villain partly defeated by an iron nail banged into his butt, this is the movie for you. Unfortunately, Chia's old flame turns out to be the real villain, but our heroine defeats him with a little help from her cat. Writer/director Shan-Hsi Ting (or Ting Shan-Si) packs his film with impressive martial arts displays and low brow comedy (there are two farts in the movie). Also appearing in the film is Chin-Ju Hsieh (aka KUNG FU MAMA) as one of the associates of the villains. She performs some of the physical feats which made her a popular live performer - like bending iron rods with her neck, before Ling Chia and the little boy are able to kill her. This was the last of the four movies she made.

THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE (2010) - If you need a refresher course on how bad women had it in Victorian England, this is the four hour show for you. Adapted from Michel Faber's best-selling novel by writer Lucinda Coxon and director Marc Munden, the show takes way too long establishing the premise before the story begins. There's no faulting the cast, which includes Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Shirley Henderson and Gillian Anderson.

PASSION (2012) - Since this never got a wide theatrical release in the U.S., it is not surprising that I didn't know about this film written and directed by Brian De Palma. What a come down for such a commercially successful filmmaker. As this was a remake of CRIME D'AMOUR, the last film co-written and directed by Alain Corneau before his death, I was pleased that the first part of PASSION lacked the usual "Hitchcockian" touches that De Palma often seemed unable to stifle. Then Naomi Rapace took the pills and the usual De Palma style came forth - even tossing in a split screen sequence. Producer Said Ben Said seemed to feel that an English language remake of the French film would be more successful, so he produced this remake. I came across it while searching Netflix for films featuring Rachel McAdams, and it wasn't a chore to sit through, but such a disappointment in the end.

RAMBO FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985) - Has Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman and Chuck Norris ever publicly apologized for participating in the bullshit accusation that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was still holding American soldiers as slave laborers into the 1980s? I remember how popular this movie was when it came out, but I wouldn't go see it because I perceived it as bullshit. Also, I had seen THE CASSANDRA CROSSING and I knew that credited director George Pan Cosmatos made bad movies. Like John Wayne's bullshit movie about Vietnam, THE GREEN BERETS, these filmmakers thought they could just recycle the cliches from World War 2 movies and add a few right wing speeches in an effort to update the material. While I've avoided this flick for over 35 years, I thought that its popularity indicated that it was a good action film, so I was surprised at how poorly made it was. It was filled with manipulative moments designed to elicit cheers from the audience, and it satisfies an audience's desire for an hero, but shows no skill in its storytelling. Interestingly, the movie posits the U.S. government as the real villains, saying that the Vietnamese were holding American soldiers hostage until the U.S. paid the war reparations agreed to during the Paris Peace Talks. Why the filmmakers decided to pull in Soviet soldiers is a question, and for how much of this bullshit should co-writer James Cameron be held responsible? Julia Nickson was beautiful, but was featured in the possibly the film's most cringe-worthy moment. The only good thing about this movie was that it inspired HOT SHOTS! PART DEUX.

SATAN'S BLOOD, aka ESCALOFRIO (1977) - Made after the death of Francesco Franco and the lifting of strict movie censorship in Spain, ESCALOFRIO is a near pornographic Horror film, that, unfortunately, doesn't have much of a story. Beginning with a Satanic ceremony in which a seemingly drugged young woman is raped and murdered, the film settles into the story of Jose Maria Guillen and Mariana Kerr, who want to get out of their apartment for the day with their dog. On the road, another car pulls up along side their's, and the driver, Angel Aranda, tries to convince Guillen that they went to college together. The woman with Aranda, Sandra Alberti, invites the couple to visit with them at their country house. Needless to say, bad things start to happen, from supernatural communication with the dead, an attempted rape by gardener Luis Bar-boo, an orgy, various murders and someone sabotaging the car. Of course, it seems that Guillen and Kerr have finally escaped only to find they haven't. The naked female flesh is attractive and that seems to be what writer/director Carlos Puerto felt was important. Reportedly, producer Juan Piquer Simon had an uncredited hand in the direction. Born in Argentina, Mariana Kerr started on TV there, made this one movie in Spain, and then moved to Mexico, where she became a citizen and worked on TV until her death in 2016.


Charles Gilbert watched:

DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN (1983) Vincent Price resumes his pantomime upon resurrecting after three years. He and Vulnavia travel to the river of life in Egypt for wife Victoria's return. This one also produced by American International's Nicholson and Arkoff. Also with Milton Reid.

WAR OF THE ROBOTS (1978) Yanti Somer, with close cropped hair, gets top billing along side Antonio Sabato,  With Roger Browne in heavy makeup  and G. R. Stuart. They are on a mission to rescue abductees of alien humanoids. Along the way they encounter Aldo Canti as an alien named Kuba sporting a hairless pate, and an army of goldmen with Carol Channing hairdos.

TRIUMPH OF ROBIN HOOD (1962) Don Burnett in an uninspiring role with Samson Burke as Little John.  English caption.


David Deal Enjoyed:

ASSIGNMENT K (68) - Toy company executive Stephen Boyd is really a spy working for British Intelligence. On his latest job to bring home some microfilm, he manages to fall in love and fall into a trap by competing spies. Val Guest's big budget spyjinx effort travels to London, Austria, and West Germany but won't leave many prints on the viewer. It's not very exciting but looks good and provides innocuous thrills, not the least is a couple of twists at the end. Comfort food.






Mildly enjoyed:

SCREAM AND DIE (73) - AKA The House That Vanished. A young model and her boyfriend witness a murder and soon the killer is after her. But who among the oddball characters around her is it?  Spaniard Jose Ramon Larraz shot this giallo-style mystery in London and in english.  The lead, Andrea Allan, is gorgeous but her character is inexplicably dumb; the sort that just lets the bad things build up around her until she's suddenly in serious peril. There are several red herrings and a few fairly explicit sex scenes to keep things interesting.


Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

El Alamein (2002, Enzo Monteleone)


Austerlitz (1960, Abel Gance)

Tutto Toto – episode Toto Ciak (1967, Daniele d’Anza)

Fellini io sogno un clown (doc) (2021, Marco Spagnoli)

Mildly enjoyed:

The pentaverate – season 1 – episodes 5 to 6

Star Trek : strange new worlds – season 1 – episode 1

Le golem (tv movie) (1967, Jean Kerchbron)

The earth dies screaming (1964, Terence Fisher)

Did not enjoy:

I love you, Alice B. Toklas ! (1968, Hy Averback)

Things to come (1936, William Cameron Menzies)

Tomorrow – season 1 – episode 10


Angel Rivera enjoyed:

"Fireball XL5" the animated series--What I forgot to mention when I originally posted about watching these episodes was that these episodes not only were animated remakes of the original Supermarionation episodes in color, but they also used the soundtracks of the original series; so that what you heard was the same as the original versions of each episode.

"Van Williams interview about Bruce Lee" (uploaded on YouTube, March, 2021) 
On YouTube I found this 30 minute or so video of an interview with Van Williams where he talks about his career and working with Bruce Lee. In it (my guess the interview was done sometime in the nineties) Williams touches on many of the facets of Bruce Lee"s personality and time on the show. He also goes on to state what a wonderful guy Bruce was and how Bruce and Jeffrey Hunter are the only two people in the industry whom he considers real friends of his. Any one wanting to know the truth about Bruce Lee should watch this video as it dispels the lies Quentin Tarantino has made up about Bruce Lee. Especially about "Bruce hating 'American' stuntmen."

(There are other videos on YouTube that dispel the lies that Tarantino told about Bruce Lee, especially a video interview with Judo Gene Lebell, himself.)

"El Cid" (1961)--I had always wanted to see the movie "El Cid" but I missed it when it played in the theaters or when it played on TV. 
Finally I caught it on YouTube and it  was as complete as can be. At almost three hours long I had to watch it in two separate seatings..
The first hour or so was kind of slow and almost boring. I had read that Heston could not stand Loren so it was better for their performances as in the first half of movie (spoiler alert), Heston as El Cid has killed Loren"s father, so her character has much to disdain El Cid (Heston)
In my second seating which covered the last hour and a half or so of the movie the pace seemed better to me and the performances of the two leads were more improved. But that is just my opinion as I'm sure if I were able to sit through the picture in its entirety in one seating I might have felt different. All in all still an interesting film to watch, especially for its fight scenes.


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