Friday, May 20, 2022

Week of May 21 - 27, 2022


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

What movie was director Giulio Questi preparing to make when the financing for SE SEI VIVO SPARA came through?
George Grimes knew that it was LA MORTE HA FATTO 'UOVO, aka DEATH LAID AN EGG, aka PLUCKED!

Can you name five American bodybuilders who worked with Mae West that made movies in Italy?
George Grimes named: Reg Lewis, Gordon Mitchell, Mickey Hargitay, Ed Fury and Mark Forest.
Charles Gilbert named: Reg Lewis, Gordon Mitchell, Mickey Hargitay, Ed Fury and Dan Vadis.
Bertrand van Wonterghem got the five I wanted plus one: Mickey Hargitay, Gordon Mitchell, Ed Fury, Reg Lewis, Mark Forest and Dan Vadis.
Although there is a famous photo of Mae posing with Ed and Reg as Reg won Mr. Universe, I've found no evidence that Ed was ever part of Mae West's show.
Angel Rivera got four right: Gordon Mitchell, Reg Lewis, Mickey Hargitay and Lou Degni/Mark Forest.

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

And now for some new brain teasers:

Complete the lyric: "I am a lone and _____ man."
What film did director Raoul Walsh make in Italy that was not mentioned in the documentary THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF RAOUL WALSH?
Which Italian actress worked for directors Jess Franco, Raoul Walsh, Gianfranco Baldanello, Michele Lupo, Steve Carver, Mel Welles and Camillo Bazzoni?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Bertrand van Wonterghem, and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Tony Anthony and Magda Konopka in BLINDMAN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Enrico Maria Salerno in L'ASSEDIO DI SIRACUSA, aka SIEGE OF SYRACUSE.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

No one identified the above photo. It shows Sylva Koscina in FEMMINE DI LUSSO, aka LOVE THE ITALIAN WAY.

George Grimes and Angel Rivera identified last weeks' frame grab of Gordon Liu in THE 36THE CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, aka 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:


THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF RAOUL WALSH (2014) - Marilyn Ann Moss wrote the biography of American film director Raoul Walsh and helped to put together this documentary based on her book, which is filled with clips.

Mildly enjoyed:

ANYTHING GOES (2021) - Filmed live at the Barbican Theatre in London, this is a lushy produced staging of the classic musical, with an updated book filled with sexual gags. It is no surprise how marvelous Sutton Foster is with this material, but I had no idea that Robert Lindsay is a song and dance man. And it is a surprise seeing Felicty Kendal not playing Rosemary Boxer. However splendid this is, I still don't respond strongly to this kind of musical comedy and some of the classic Cole Porter songs could have been dropped.

EVERY THING WILL BE FINE (2015) - This movie seems to have been made by someone use to watching movies on DVD with a "chapter skip" button. Director Wim Wenders stages long takes of star James Franco walking around looking unhappy, something happens and then the film jumps ahead in time, without a complete scene. This creates confusion in the viewer and a bit of suspense as to what happened. Just when the viewer begins to figure out what they've not seen, the film jumps ahead "two years", and the struggle to understand begins again. If you decide to watch this movie because of Rachel McAdams or Charlotte Gainsbourg, you will probably be frustrated because their story lines are very fragmented. Eventually, the story covers about 17 years, but never communicates what is it about. Is it about how different people respond to tragedy? Is it about how a writer's talent is informed by tragedy? Is it about how a writer can unfairly benefit from bad things happening to other people? This was director Wenders second film in 3D, and I don't know if watching it in 2D ruined the experience, but I don't understand how stereoscopic imagery would have improved the storytelling.

UNA BARA PER LO SCERIFFO, aka A COFFIN FOR THE SHERIFF (1965) - This is like an Italian Western version of Hopalong Cassidy, though star Anthony Steffen isn't as well groomed as William Boyd. Like Hopalong, Steffen doesn't sing and he doesn't have much time for women, though three of them are obviously turned on by him. Riding into town, Steffen tells everyone to call him "Shenandoah", though some remark that he doesn't look like a guy from Virginia. Passing around counterfeit money, Steffen comes to the attention of the Lupe Rojo gang, but it isn't until Steffen rescues a gang member wounded during their midnight bank robbery that the gang considers letting him join. But first he has to pass an initiation by playing a lethal game of hide-and-seek with gang member Lucio De Santis. It eventually is revealed that Steffen is actually Marshal Joe Logan seeking to find out which member of the Rojo gang murdered his wife during the robbery of a stagecoach to Omaha two years ago. Not too surprisingly, it turns out to be Eduardo Fajardo, who is directed to act real crazy in close up. There are stark differences between this and an Hopalong Cassidy flick - Cassidy never shot anyone in the back, Cassidy never got beaten to a bloody mess and Cassidy never set fire to a saloon in order to drive a villain out of hiding. Director Mario Caiano delivers a rather mediocre action film and the presence of a "Gabby" Hayes type character played by Jesus Tordesillas is irritating. Seeing so many familiar faces in the cast makes this a fun watch. Also appearing are Arturo Dominici, Luciana Gilli, Jorge Rigaud, Miguel del Castillo, Tomas Torres, Miguel de la Riva, Francisco Brana and Armando Calvo. This is not one of Francesco De Masi's best music scores.

Did not enjoy:

BROTHER JOHN (1971) - White doc Will Geer is sad to note that black woman Lynn Hamilton is dying of cancer, and wonders if anyone knows how to contact her brother, Sidney Poitier. Poitier has been missing for 17 years, but, mysteriously, he always shows up at the death bed of a relative. He shows up at Hamilton's death bed, but won't answer any of Geer's questions. He came into this small Alabama town on a Trailways bus, and has a few days before his next bus leaves, so there's enough time for him to upset everyone's lives. Town boss Bradford Dillman wonders if he's an "outside agitator" arriving to help Lincoln Kilpatrick's effort to unionize workers. Because of that, he's ordered the local law to illegally investigate Poitier, where they find that he's been all around the world. Meanwhile, single school teacher Beverly Todd takes a liking of Poitier, which drives her admirer, Paul Winfield, to violence. Finally, Dillman has Poitier put in jail to try and force him to clear up his mystery. Geer visits him in jail, on the day Poitier is scheduled to leave town, where it is suggested that Poitier is here to witness humanity and report. After mentioning all of the evils he's witnessed, Poitier doesn't repond to Geer's question, "How much time do we have left? Is there anything we can do?" Miraculously, Poitier leaves town on the next Trailways bus. If you need another movie teaching you about how people are going to be negatively judged for their evil ways, this is the movie for you. Ernest Kinoy would go on to write Poitier's next film - BUCK AND THE PREACHER, and I didn't like that much either. James Goldstone's credit list is filled with movies I don't like.

KANSAS RAIDERS (1950) - More bullshit about Jesse James, this time played by Audie Murphy. The most remarkable thing about this movie is that Tony Curtis, as Kit Dalton, plays a supporting role in an Audie Murphy Western. Even though this story is set during the Civil War, everyone is costumed as if this was an average Western with six shooters that haven't been made yet. And why are all of the Raiders wearing bandoliers with bullets not made for the guns they use. It is also remarkable that everyone calls Murphy a kid, even though most soldiers in that war were barely 18. Brian Donlevy plays Quantrill, Scott Brady plays Bill Anderson, Richard Long as Frank James, James Best as Cole Younger and Dewey Martin as James Younger, with Richard Arlen and Richard Egan as yankees. Marguerite Chapman is thrown into this mess playing a woman hanging around Quantrill's Raiders but not approving of his actions. David Bauer is a familiar face from movies like TORTURE GARDEN and DARK OF THE SUN, so it is a surprise to see him in an American film. But he was an American actor who moved to England during the days of the Hollywood Blacklist. Ray Enright directed the script by Robert L. Richards.

THE KILLER IS LOOSE (1956) - Cop Joseph Cotton figures that the Savings & Loan hold-up was an inside job, and so has Wendell Corey's phone tapped. When Corey slips up on a phone call, Cotton and his team move in on Corey's apartment. After Corey shoots at the cops, the cops return fire, but kill Corey's wife. Corey swears revenge on Cotton with the idea of killing Cotton's wife Rhonda Fleming. After two years of good behavior in prison, Corey is sent to an honor farm, from which he quickly escapes and begins a murder spree. Cotton pampers his wife to such a degree, he doesn't inform her that she's in danger for fear of worrying her. He packs her off to stay with her mother, where she is informed of how protective her husband is. Wanting to join her husband, Fleming breaks cover and screws up the trap Cotton has set up for Corey. Obviously intended to be a nail-biter, THE KILLER IS LOOSE has both enough bad dialogue and predictable plotting to be no fun at all. This was the last film directed by Budd Boetticher before he began a series of Westerns starring Randolph Scott which would make him a cult figure. While it is nice to see Michael Pate not playing a Native American, I did not enjoy this movie.

THE SPOILERS (1955)  - The fist fight between John Wayne and Randolph Scott at the end of the 1942 version of this story was legendary as the most exciting ever put on film. Like most everything about this remake, the fight between Jeff Chandler and Rory Calhoun - or rather their very obvious stunt doubles - wasn't as impressive. And Anne Baxter was a poor substitute for Marlene Dietrich. Rex Beach published the novel in 1906. Soon after it was adapted into a stage play, and then a movie in 1914 starring William Farnum. In 1923, another version of the story was made starring Milton Sills. Gary Cooper starred in the 1930 version, and John Wayne in the 1942 production. Technicolor seems to be the only reason someone thought there should be another remake. Ross Hunter was becoming quite a success with a series of films starring Rock Hudson, so Universal Pictures decided that he should step in for this project. Former USC football star Jesse Hibbs took a break from making Audie Murphy movies to helm this production, which was not to be one of his most celebrated. Basically the story was based on what Beach witnessed while prospecting for gold in Alaska - how swindlers used legal tactics to steal claims. The cast also included Barbara Britton, Ray Danton, John McIntire, Wallace Ford, Bob Steele and Eddie Parker.

WALL OF NOISE (1963) - Horse trainer Ty Hardin stakes his future, including his relationship with model Dorothy Provine, on the horse Frank's Future winning a race. However, before the race, Hardin finds that the horse is injured and so pulls the horse out of the race, pissing off the owner, Simon Oakland. Provine felt something would go wrong, so she didn't bet the money Hardin wanted her to, which pisses off Hardin who takes it as a personal betrayal. Ralph Meeker likes Hardin's integrity, so he hires Hardin to train his horse. Meeker's unhappy wife, Suzanne Pleshette, starts an affair with Hardin and conspires with him to buy an horse without Meeker's permission. Meeker fires Hardin, so our hero is stuck having to pay for the new horse. Hardin goes to Oakland for a loan, with the horse as collateral. Once again, before the big race, Hardin finds that his horse is injured, but he refuses to pull him out of the race. Meanwhile, Provine tries to pay off Hardin's debt to Oakland by agreeing to give herself to Oakland. Hardin's horse collapses during the race, causing our hero great remorse. Provine resigns herself to a life with Oakland, when he has a fatal heart attack trying to leave the race track parking lot. Since Oakland signed the note saying the debt was "paid in full", Provine joins Hardin in watching over the injured horse's recovery. Hardin scowls his way through the movie, and Provine proves to be his equal in looking angry. Pleshette gets top billing and proves her worth by being both charming and beautiful. Writer/producer Joseph Landon thought that there was a good drama in Daniel Michael Stein's novel, but director Richard Wilson wasn't able to put it on the screen. The film looks terrific though with cinematography by Lucien Ballard.


Charles Gilbert watched:

THE ABOMINABLE DT. PHIBES (1971) Vincenr Ptice in a Grand Guignol setting exacts revenge on the doctors responsible for the death of his wife who never appears in the film, except for her photo (Carolyn Munro uncredited) and a corpse double. With assistant Virginia North around he otherwise seems to be doing quite well in wife's absence. With Joseph Cotton and Hugh Griffith.Charles Gilbert


David Deal Enjoyed:



RIFIFI IN THE CITY (63) - A newspaper man doggedly persues Jean Servais, a gangster turned politician, trying to connect him to the drugs and murder he commands. The second film in the Franco Noir two-pack and like its companion, Death Whistles the Blues, it is a good little crime drama that looks great and has good tunes.



Mildly enjoyed:

THE THIRTEENTH HOUR (47) - Trucking company owner Richard Dix pisses off the competition, so they frame him for murdering a cop. On the run, Dix finally puts two and two together and the true murderer is revealed. The last film for Dix, and his 100th credit. Competent Whistler entry is a fine number to go out on.

RETURN OF THE WHISTLER (48) - When Michael Duane's French fiance (Lenore Aubert) disappears, he endeavors to unravel the mystery.  Competent mystery has a bland but not unlikeable lead, and several recognizable character actors. Not a bad series end, all around.

TIGHTROPE (84) - New Orleans cop (and dad to two daughters) Clint Eastwood is investigating a series of sex killings. Right there you can tell Clint's character is not going to be Harry-esque, as it were. This time, Clint is conflicted and begins to act out latent sexual fantasies during his investigations, while exposing his daughters to potential harm.  I saw this in the theater when it first came out and I don't think I've seen it since. It is plenty sleazy and has its moments of frisson, but I found it a bit languid and overlong.

ASSIGNMENT: PARIS (52) - Newspaper man Dana Andrews, attached to the Herald Tribune in Paris, is working on a story about an American captured for spying in Hungary. Soon he is in hot water and his boss, George Sanders works to free him. Entertaining enough Cold War adventure.

CORPSE MANIA (81) - Inspector Chang is trying to catch a necrophiliac killer who is murdering prostitutes. Odd giallo-style period piece crime film from Hong Kong with Fulci-esque death scenes and a colorful palette. 


Bertrand van Wonterghem Enjoyed:

E per tetto un cielo di stelle (1969, Giulio Petroni)

The pentaverate – season 1 – episodes 2 to 4

Section spéciale (1975, Costa-Gavras)

Mildly enjoyed:

Uchujin Tokyo ni arawaru / Warning from space (1956, Koji Shima)

Vertige pour un tueur (1970, Jean-Pierre Desagnat)

Défense de savoir (1972, Nadine Trintignant)

Did not enjoy:

Das Todesaugen von Ceylan (1963, Gerd Oswald)

Performance (1970, Nicolas Roeg & Donald Cammell)


Angel Rivera enjoyed:

"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" (2022-pilot episode)
The original Star Trek pilot with Jeffrey Hunter is one of my favorite sci-fi films. (Known as "The Cage" which was its original working title. When filming began its title was changed to "The Menagerie" but is now known as "The Cage" to avoid confusion with its TV edited version.) Spoiler Alerts:
This reboot is interesting to see how much was changed for the new series. There is a scene in the original pilot when Jeffrey Hunter has met his new yeoman played by Laurel Goodwin and is informed by his second-in-command, Number One portrayed by Majel Barrett that the new yeoman is replacing his former recently deceased yeoman. His response is "She does a good job, alright. I just can't get used to having a woman on the bridge." After realizing Number One is "a woman", he responds, "You're different, of course!" In the new episode, the bridge is almost entirely "manned" by women.
The episode begins with Captain Pike portrayed by Anson Mount viewing "The Day Earth Stood Still" (my all-time favorite sci-fi film) while making breakfast for a female companion (who also happens to be a Federation Captain.) Spoiler Alert: the sci-fi classic slightly parallels the theme of the episode.
Members of the original pilot cast who appear in this episode are: Mr Spock and Number One. Members of the original show who are also on the ship with Captain Pike are: Uhura and Nurse (or is it Doctor) Chapel. [Interesting note is that both Number One and Nurse Chapel were portrayed by Majel Barrett. This is because when the original pilot was shown to the network executives, they objected to Roddenberry having given a lead role to his then girlfriend, Majel Barrett; not because she was portraying a character in an authoritative role, but because some of the executives felt she was a bad actress. Roddenberry later gave her a role playing McCoy's nurse who had an unrequited love for Mr. Spock.]
Back to the plot: Admiral April orders Pike back to captain the Enterprise and go on a rescue mission. (April was the original name Roddenberry had chosen for the captain before it evolved to Pike. April was also a name Roddenberry used in at least two of his scripts for the show, "Have Gun, Will Travel")
In the original pilot Pike's main confidant was Doctor Boyce portrayed by veteran character actor John Hoyt. In the new series the Chief Medical Officer is Dr. M'Benga, a character who appeared in two episodes of the original series. Here probably added to add more diversity to the show as the character and actor are black. Here Mr. Spock is made to be a close confidant to the Captain rather the doctor.
So the episode introduces the new cast of characters and has a nice theme which fits in with the spirit of Star Trek. The make-up and special visual effects are state-of-the-art and along with the music "fascinating".

"Iron Fists & Kung Fu Kicks"--a 2019 Australian documentary which chronicles the history of the making of martial arts films in Hong Kong and their influence on the world. The history is interesting, beginning where originally the protagonists of the films were actually women combatants because the films where originally made for women and the producers of the films did not want the female audience lusting after the male stars. The documentary further goes on to tell the tale of the two major studios whose output would become martial arts films. Those studios would be: Shaw Brothers, headed by Run Run Shaw and rival studio, Golden Harvest formed by former executives from Shaw Brothers. Two major stars who were presented to Run Run Shaw and were then turned down by Shaw were: Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, who would then become big money makers for Golden Harvest. The "doc' also features a lot of information about Hong Kong and its industries before it stopped being a colony of Great Britain and turned over to the main-land Chinese government. Also shown is how the films were distributed not only in the US, but also Australia. In the US, it is shown how the films were welcomed by African-American communities where in the seventies blaxploitation films where released on a double bill with martial arts films. It concludes with how  the influence of the use of martial arts in the "Matrix" films changed the use of martial arts in mainstream films. Also a little bit about martial art style action in films in other countries outside of Hong Kong and China. But because the "doc" is mostly about the films made in Hong Kong, there is no mention of Sonny Chiba or Japan. Still it is an interesting and entertaining documentary.


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