Friday, June 3, 2022

June 4 - 10, 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?
Tom Betts knew that it was Gordon Mitchell.

In which movie did Aldo Sambrell get a tomahawk in the head?
Tom Betts, Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Angel Rivera knew that it was NAVAJO JOE.

What was the Italian title for L'ATTAQUE DE FORT ADAMS?
Tom Betts, Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Angel Rivera knew that it was BUFFALO BILL L'EROE DEL FAR WEST, aka BUFFALO BILL HERO OF THE FAR WEST.

Which Italian made film was suppressed by 20th Century Fox to ensure it did not compete with CLEOPATRA starring Elizabeth Taylor?
Angel Rivera knew that it was UNA REGINA PER CESARE, aka A QUEEN FOR CAESAR.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Why did Gordon Scott give up making movies except in Italy?
How was Gordon Scott making a living when he was discovered by a movie scout?
In which Western did our heroine shoot grenades from her handgun?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Tom Betts, Angel Rivera, Bertrand van Wonterghem, Charles Gilbert, and George Grimes identified last week's photo of Gordon Scott in BUFFALO BILL L'EROE DEL FAR WEST, aka BUFFALO BILL HERO OF THE FAR WEST.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Angel Rivera, Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Charles Gilbert identified last week's frame grab of Yoko Tani and Gordon Scott in MACISTE ALLA CORTE DEL GRAN KHAN, aka SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Angel Rivera, George Grimes and Bertrand van Wonterghem identified last week's photo of John Richardson and Barbara Steele in LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO, aka THE MASK OF SATAN, aka BLACK SUNDAY.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

George Grimes identified last weeks' photo of Biao Yuen and Sammo Hung in THE LEGEND IS BORN IP MAN.
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:


EMMA (2009) - A new dramatized version of Jane Austen's 1815 novel seems to come out every few years, and it is not hard to understand why. It is a witty tale, filled with romance and humor, that provides a showcase for promising young actresses. I first became aware of the tale in the modern version starring Alicia Silverstone called CLUELESS in 1995. The next year, Gwyneth Paltrow became celebrated in a traditional version for Miramax. Kate Beckinsale took on the role for ITV-TV in 1996, and here it is the luminous Romola Garai in a four-part BBC production. Our heroine's relationship with her father, played here by Michael Gambon, gets more emphasis here than in other adaptations, and Jonny Lee Miller does a solid job as Mr. Knightley. However, what I most enjoyed in this is Jodhi May as Emma's former governess. As usual, she brings such warmth and empathy to a role not usually memorable. Sandy Welch is credited as the writer and Jim O'Hanion as the director.

KIRSCHBLUTEN - HANAMI, aka CHERRY BLOSSOMS (2008) - This German film starts with elderly woman Hannelore Eisner telling us that she can't imagine living without her husband, Elmar Wepper. She dreams of visiting Japan to see the cherry blossoms and Mount Fuji with him. We are then in a doctors office where Eisner is informed that her husband is terminally ill, and there is no telling when he will start to show symptoms. They suggest she take her husband on a trip or an adventure. He doesn't want to go to Japan, even to visit their son, saying that it would be less expensive if the son were to come and visit them in Germany. They do go to Berlin to visit their other son and daughter. Wepper doesn't tell anyone, including her husband, that he is soon to die. It soon becomes apparent that their children resent the intrusion, but their daughter's lesbian lover, Nadja Uhl, helps them on the visit, even going to a performance by a Japanese Butoh dancer. Wepper doesn't want to be bothered and sits in the lobby during the show. Eisner suggests that she and Wepper visit the seaside. One morning, Wepper awakens to find that Eisner has died in her sleep. (So after a half hour leading us to think this will be the story of a woman dealing with the death of her husband, the filmmakers flip the story and it is about a husband dealing with the death of his wife.) Everyone comes to Eisner's funeral, even the son from Japan. Uhl is appalled that everyone complains that Wepper has left them to deal with their father, whom they all seem to resent because he was too concerned with his work when they were children. With Uhl's help, Wepper gets his wife's cremated remains home to their small village, where Wepper reveals that his wife wanted to learn about Japanese Butoh dancing, but that it embarrassed him so he discouraged her. Wepper suddenly decides to travel to Japan to fulfill his wife's thwarted dreams. Being an office worker in Japan, his son has no time for his father, but allows him to stay in the cramped apartment. Wearing some of her clothes under his long coat, Wepper tours Tokyo as if he is showing it to his wife. In the park, he sees a young woman, Aya Irizuki, performing a Butoh dance. Eventually, they become friends, communicating in English. Irizuki teaches Wepper how the Butoh dance is a way to communicate with the dead, and she finally accompanies him on a trip to see Mount Fuji. Writer/director Doris Dorrie has made a moving drama about loss and misunderstanding between parents and their children. Here the only people sympathetic to our main characters are openhearted strangers. The film also teaches us that "Mr. Fuji" is often shy - hidden from view by fog and clouds. 11 years later, Dorrie made a sequel called KIRSCHBLUTEN & DAMONEN, aka CHERRY BLOSSOMS AND DEMONS. 

Mildly enjoyed:

TOP GUN (1986) - There is a perspective that movies should have a minimum of dialog and rely mainly on visuals. Okay, but that shouldn't be an excuse for making movies from plot outlines and not fleshed out scripts. Director Tony Scott uses a variety of visual tricks that he probably honed from doing commercial work, and the film doesn't linger on anything while re-telling the old story about the arrogant young man who has to see his best friend die before he grows up. It is difficult to make a war movie during a time of peace, so these filmmakers don't identify who it is our heroes end up fighting for the climax, except that they fly MIG jets. These sorts of movies have to have a romance, and while Kelly McGillis makes a fetching impression, her storyline is so skimpy that it seems obviously formula.

TOP GUN MAVERICK (2022) - As with other re-treads of SANDS OF IWO JIMA, like HEARTBREAK RIDGE and G.I.JANE, you can't do a movie about military training without sending our heroes into combat. That becomes difficult when your country is not in a declared shooting war, so the adversary in the sequel to TOP GUN is again anonymous. However, TOP GUN is less SANDS OF IWO JIMA and more THE DAM BUSTERS or 633 SQUADRON. Updating the technology, these films inspired the Death Star trench sequence in STAR WARS, aka EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE, and that's what you get here. It is nice to hear the old advice, "Don't think. Just do it. Trust your instinct" instead of "Use the force". With what seems to be a full script, MAVERICK does a much better job with the romance, and having Jennifer Connelly in the mix is a real plus. The film gets extra points for providing a plum role for actor Val Kilmer, whose current health problems are used for positive dramatic purpose.

Did not enjoy:

COBRA (1986) - Celebrated crime novelist Paula Gosling's first novel FAIR GAME, aka A RUNNING DUCK, got turned by screenwriter Sylvester Stallone into a Cop Super Hero flick with many allusions to DIRTY HARRY with the casting of Reni Santoni and Andy Robinson and a speech about being hampered by rules that criminials don't follow. As a cop always getting in Stallone's way, Robinson is so annoying that it seems that in the end he would be revealed as a member of the evil death cult. According to Wikipedia, that was the original intention. RAMBO director George Pan Cosmatos was back to carry out Stallone's will, and they delivered a movie which needed extensive editing to get an "R" rating for violence. Instead of a single hit man out to get our heroine as in the novel, Stallone invented a small army looking to create a New World lead by a serial killer called the Night Slasher.

DEVIL'S PARTNER (1958) - This didn't hit theaters until Roger Corman's Filmgroup picked it up to double-bill it with CREATURE FROM THE HAUNTED SEA in 1961. Actor and stuntman Hugh Hooker produced the film, on a very low-budget, but it "introduced" Ed Nelson, who went on to a fairly long career. The film opens with a crippled old man slaughtering a goat, performing a ritual with a hexagon drawn on the floor, and writing a contract on a goat's skin. A demonic hand enters the frame to finish writing the contract. Where this old guy got the idea to use a hexagon instead of a pentagram, and where he got the information for the ritual, is never explained. In any case, later on Ed Nelson arrives by Greyhound bus in Furnace Flats, New Mexico, claiming to be the old man's nephew. After Sheriff Spencer Carlisle informs the young man that his uncle was found dead, he gives Nelson a box of the old man's things. Included in the box, is the goat skin contract, in which the old man pledges his soul for two years, but only Nelson can see that. Is this the only film in which someone "rents" his soul? So, what does Nelson want to do with this new lease on life? It seems that his only interest is in the prettiest girl in town, Jean Allison, the daughter of Doc Edgar Buchanan, who is engaged to the owner of the gas station Richard Crane. Why Nelson performs a ritual to induce his first victim, Brian O'Hara, to have a heart attack is never explained. Why he gets Crane's dog to maul the man's face makes sense, but it seems rather unlikely that Crane could beat his dog to death with a vase. A cow causes an automobile accident which kills the plastic surgeon arriving from Albuquerque. Nelson seems to be offering a similar new lease to town drunk Byron Foulger, but when Foulger runs away in fear, a wild horse tramples him to death. The sheriff and the doc begin to suspect Nelson is behind these strange deaths, while a rattlesnake tries to kill Crane. At first the filmmakers seem to suggest that Crane is contemplating shooting himself, but he shoots the snake instead. The sheriff, doc, Allison and Crane follow a trail of blood and eventually end up at Nelson's shack. When a wild horse suddenly begins to run away, the sheriff shoots it several times. In the field, the horse transforms into Nelson, and then after the dying man touchs the crucifix around Allison's neck, he transforms back into the old man. No one suggests that they dig up the body they buried to see what they find, and the film ends with Crane's face miraculously unscarred. It is unclear what the filmmakers thought would be scary for the audience, unless they thought just the suggestion of demonic forces was enough. Director Charles R. Rondeau shoots the script by Stanley Clements and Laura Jean Mathews like a TV show, while Ronald Stein provides the usual "weird" sounding music.

THE DIRTY MIND OF YOUNG SALLY (1973) - Sharon Kelly, aka Colleen Brennan, was dancing at the Classic Cat club on Sunset Blvd. when writer/director Bethel Buckalew offered her the lead role in this sex comedy. Kelly/Brennan is a pleasure to stare at, but this movie isn't funny and quickly becomes sleep inducing. At a time when hardcore sex films were gaining notoriety, Buckalew, like Joe Sarno, didn't want to go "all the way", so while this film has a lot of male/female coupling, the sight of a penis always seems accidental. Kelly plays a young woman who has a pirate radio show about sex broadcasting from the back of a van. Cop Cliff Bradley, aka Norman Fields, wants to shut it down, leading to a few unexciting car chases. Various listeners tune-in to spice up their love lives.

RAGING MASTER'S TIGER-CRANE, aka MASTERS OF TIGER CRANE, aka THE BRAVE SEO RIM (1982) - Benny Tsui (aka Chui Bing-Hin, aka Seo Byeong-Heon, aka Xu Bing-Xian) wants to be a disciple of High Priest Kwon Sung-Young (aka Kuen Shing-Wing, aka Gwon Seong-ryong, aka Quan Sheng-Rong) like his brother Choe Mu-Ung (aka Chui Miu-Hung, aka Choe Moo-Woong, aka Cui Wu-Xiong, aka Choi Mu-Wung, aka Choi Mu-Ung), who prays by making a painting of the Buddha on canvas. Newly appointed officials Hwang Jang-Lee (aka a long list of names including Silver Fox) and Guk Jeong-Suk (aka Kuk Jeong-Suk, aka Ju Zhen-Shu) kidnap Choe and kill Kwon. What they want from Choe is never explained and if the necklace is so important, why did Hwang wear it so that the dying Kwon could snatch it from him? Before he dies, Kwon gives the necklace to Tsui and tells him to find his brother. Tsui bumbles around town, getting beaten up by just about everyone he sees. Our hero's incompetence comes to the attention of beggar Martin Chui Man-Kwai (aka Choi Min-Kyu, aka Tsui Wen-Kuei, aka Chui Man-Kwai, aka Marty Chiu, aka Marty Chui, aka Choe Min-Gyu) who tricks him into getting a job at a restuarant where Tsui starts a romance with a young woman who also works at the restuarant. Hwang's men capture Tsui and Hwang tortures him in order to get Choe to do... what? We don't see how Chui rescues Tsui, but the beggar finally gets around to teaching our hero martial arts by making him work as his personal cook. Since Choe is a prisoner, why does Hwang send a thug dressed like a Korean ninja to murder the painter in his sleep? But as the audience was never told what Hwang wanted from Choe, this entire storyline makes no sense. Was it just to impress the Governor with one of Choe's paintings? And if that was the case, then why torture Tsui after the Governor got the painting? Hwang has Tsui's girlfriend kidnapped and tortured in an effort to find our hero, who responds by showing up after completing his training and killing almost all of the bad guys. It looks like Hwang might beat him, when Chui shows up to help. But Hwang kills Chui, which re-energizes our hero to finally kill the villain. We never see the girlfriend rescued. It seems that director Sammy Lee (aka Choe U-Hyeong, aka Cui Yu-Heng, aka Choi Wu-Hyeong, aka Choe Uhyeong) intended this to be a Korean version of a Jackie Chan movie and it is a miserable viewing experience.

SPIRITS OF BRUCE LI, aka THE SPIRIT OF BRUCE LEE (1973) - There is no mention of Bruce Lee, or Li, in this movie, though is does bring to mind a cheaper version of THE BIG BOSS. When his brother goes missing in Thailand while trying to buy a jade, Michael Chan, aka Wai-Man Chan, travels to investigate. There he meets Pailot Chaising, whom he helps to end a brawl that is destroying a small eatery. Chaising gets a job at a mining operation, where he learns that his boss is the gang leader responsible for the murder of Chan's brother. A Chinese man who lives in the area, Guh Men Tong, aka Wen-Chung Ku, gives Chan a place to stay, and Tong's daughter, Chia-Lin Sun, even joins in fighting. The bad guys try to kill Chan, but kill Tong, so Chan, Sun and Chaising band together to get justice. 

STONER, aka THE SHRINE OF ULTIMATE BLISS (1974) - A Chinese chemist excitedly tells his boss that he's created the "Happy" pill, which is certain to be the most popular illicit drug in the world. After it claims the life of Romanolee Rose in Australia, cop George Lazenby investigates from where it came. The clues lead to Hong Kong, so he gets a flight. Meanwhile, a Taiwanese businessman is outbidded on an old ship from Thailand being sold as scarp metal, so he alerts his law enforcement contact with the suspicion that contraband may be aboard. Taiwanese cop Angela Mao is sent to Hong Kong to see what's on the ship. With the bad guy's lair designed as if it belongs in a low-budget James Bond movie, STONER resembles ENTER THE DRAGON in a number of ways, but instead of the villain's island housing an army of martial artists, this guy's island has a phony Taoist temple ripping off believers with the "Happy" drug. Despite the presence of Chin-Pao Hung, aka Sammo Hung, the fighting in this is not only unexciting, it seems interminable. One begins to wish someone would pull out a gun. Director Feng Huang is responsible for most of the films which made Angela Mao a star, but isn't able to make this watchable despite a lot of female nudity. Not getting naked are female stars Mao or Betty Ting Pei. Add this to the list of movies which Bruce Lee was supposed to do before his untimely death.

DER NEUE HEIBE SEX-REPORT, aka SWINGING WIVES (1971) - Ernst Hofbauer directed many different kinds of movies before hitting the jackpot with the "Sex Report" flicks. This one warns husbands that if they don't pay attention and make love with their wives, they will seek it with other men. Mostly this is played for mild laughs, featuring "in the street" interviews and female nudity without getting very explicit. 

WARNING SIGN (1985) - 12 years after writer/director George A. Romero made THE CRAZIES, writers Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins made something similar, but set it inside a germ warfare lab under lock down. Some people would then figure that 28 DAYS LATER ripped off this movie.


Charles Gilbert watched:

APHRODITE, GODDESS OF LOVE (1958) Antigono (Ivo Garrani) Roman ruler of the morally decadent city of Corinth, favors artist Demetrio (Antonio deTeffe), not realizing his mistress Diala (Irene Tunc) has been smitten by the milquetoast sculptor. To complicate matters, Demetrio is in love with timid Christian maiden named Lerna (Isabelle Corey). She is in hiding with fellow believers, trying to escape persecution from Antigono blaming the sect for the plague. Ends with "in hoc signo vinces" Subtitles are difficult to follow.

KERIM, SON OF THE SHEIK (1962) Gordon Scott in the title role seeks vengeance for the murder of his sister (Maria Grazia Spina). Sinister Omar (Albert Farnese) with Moira Orfei at his side, schemes to rule all of the Tigris Valley and its desert tribes. With Cristina Gaioni, and Gordon Mitchell. Source music for HERCULES THE INVINCIBLE.

BLUE HAWAII (1961) Elvis' eighth film..Chad Gates is recently discharged from the army and expected to help operate his wealthy family's (parents Angela Lansbury and Roland Winters) pineapple business. Instead he wants to venture out on his own, so his girfriend (Joan Blackman) helps him get a job as a tour guide run by Mr. Chapman ("Floyd the barber"  Howard McNear). Patti Page and Hal Wallis are in there somewhere.


David Deal Enjoyed:


TWO MALES FOR ALEXA (71) - Wealthy Curd Jurgens marries younger Rosalba Neri, and she then fools around with playboy Juan Luis Goliardo. Jurgens traps the lovers in a bedroom and then kills himself; they have no escape. Juan Logar's sexy tale of revenge has the opportunity to enjoy Rosalba's form, some good Piccioni tunes, and a fatalistic ending.


CURE (97) - A police detective investigates a series of senseless killings where the murderers don't remember a thing. I believe I saw this Japanese crime thriller back in the late 90s; it is psychologically deep, beautifully photographed, and has a nihilistic attitude. Recommended.


Mildly enjoyed:



Bertrand van Wonterghem Highly enjoyed:

Diabolik (2000, Antonio & Marco Manetti)


One foot in hell (1960, James B. Clark)

Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (1929, Curtis Bernhardt)

Radar men from the moon (1951, Fred C. Brannon) - episodes 3 & 4

Alan Ladd : the true quiet man (doc) (1998, Gene Feldman)

Mildly enjoyed:

Colossus : the Forbin project (1970, Joseph Sargent)

Did not enjoy:

Steel frontier (1994, Joe Hart & Paul G. Volk)


Angel Rivera Mildly enjoyed:

"Gaslit" (2022) A series about the Watergate scandal with Julia Roberts as Martha Mitchell and an almost unrecognizable Sean Penn as John Mitchell.

"Robin Hood of El Dorado" a 1936 film starring Warner Baxter as the Mexican outlaw, Joaquin Murrieta. Warner Baxter won an Oscar as the first actor to portray the Cisco Kid. Here he tries to bring sympathy to a Mexican wronged by "Americans" after California becomes part of the United States of America. He turns to violence after his wife is raped and murdered, his land is taken from him and his brother is lynched and he is whipped within an inch of his life. While Baxter is not Hispanic he tries his best to portray Real Life Bandit Murrieta with dignity.

"Rio Conchos" a 1964 American Western that seems like a Spaghetti western, even though it was released in the US only a month after "A Fistful of Dollars" was released in Italy; so it probably was not influenced by the latter film. Richard Boone and Stuart Whitman are after Edmund O'Brien who with his Confederate rebels is running guns to the Apache in an attempt to have the Apache help O'Brien defeat the Union. This was former football star Jim Brown's movie debut. This also was Wende Wagner's first movie role where she plays a Native American who does not speak any English in the film.. Wende Wagner is probably best remembered for her role as Britt Reid's secretary in the "Green Hornet" TV series and as the one time wife of James Mitchum, son of Robert Mitchum.


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