Friday, November 25, 2022

Week of November 26 - December 2, 2022


To answer these trivia questions, please email me at

Brain Teasers:

Which Italian male actor had a younger sister appearing in THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY?
Tom Betts, George Grimes, Rick Garibaldi and Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that I meant Ivan Rassimov, whose sister Rada Rassimov was in GBU.

Which actor, born in Italy, played a role in 1970 that was previously played by Steve Reeves?
Bertrand van Wonterghem, Rick Garibaldi and George Grimes knew that it was Ivan Rassimov who followed Steve Reeves' two films as Sandokan with LE TIGRI DI MOMPRACEM starring himself.

Which Italian male actor worked for directors Alberto De Martino, Lucio Fulci, Stefano Roncoroni, Phil Karlson, Leon Klimovsky and Mario Bava?
Bertrand van Wonterghem knew that it was Andrea Bosic.

And now for some new brain teasers:

Which Italian actor and horseman appeared in six movies with Tony Anthony?
What Italian Western, in its English version, ended with the line "Another time, George."
Can you name three pseudonyms used by Alberto Dell'Acqua?

Name the movies from which these images came.

Tom Betts, Bertrand van Wonterghem and George Grimes identified last week's frame grab of Tony Anthony in UN DOLLAR TRA I DENTI, aka A STRANGER IN TOWN.
Above is a new photo.
Can you name from what movie it came?

Bertrand van Wonterghem, George Grimes and Charles Gilbert identified last week's photo of Linda Cristal in LE LEGIONI DI CLEOPATRA, aka LEGIONS OF THE NILE.
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 Ivan Rassimov in SPASMO.
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?

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 AUTOMAT (2021) - First time filmmaker Lisa Hurwitz produced and directed this surprisingly moving documentary about the Horn & Hardart restaurants of Philadelphia and New York City, which began in 1902. A wealth of film clips and interviews - including movie people like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Elliot Gould, government officials like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Colin Powell and many former employees - help to make this fascinating movie about a company built on a philosophy that seems impossible to duplicate nowadays.

BUFFY SAINT-MARIE: CARRY IT ON (2022) - Airing on PBS as part of their American Master series, this documentary directed by Madison Thomas told me more about this Native American performer and activist then I ever thought I wanted to know. I was not a fan of her performing back in the 1960s, and hadn't been aware of her work on behalf of the rights of Indigenous people, but this program set me straight. I found it fascinating that two of my musical heroes, Phil Spector and Jack Nitzche - who often worked together, had similar manic fears of being alone and a fascination with guns.Spector was not mentioned in this program, but Saint-Marie's story of escaping from Nitzche's home sounded very much like Ronnie Spector's story.

Taken Hostage: An American Experience Special (2022) - Between this 4 hour TV documentary and the recent JFK Revisited program, it would seem that C.I.A. director Allen W. Dulles is one of the great villains of American History.

Did not enjoy:

100 MEN AND A GIRL (1937) - I had never seen a movie starring Deanna Durbin until this VHS was dropped into my life. Its mix of the cute and the corny did not inspire me to seek out more of her films. A former collaborator with director Ernst Lubitsch back in Germany, screenwriter Hanns Kraly came up with this story for fellow expatriate German director Henry Koster and got an Academy Award nomination for his effort. Adolphe Menjou was an unemployed musician who desperately sought to meet conductor Leopold Stokowski in the hope of getting a job. Menjou was turned away from the theater, but happened to find a lost purse which held the cash he needed to not be thrown out of his apartment. He let his daughter, Deanna Durbin, think that he got a job, but confessed to his son that he didn't. When Durbin discovered the truth, she insisted on returning the purse to the address found inside. It turned out to belong to Alice Brady, the wife of the man sponsoring Stokowski's orchestra, Eugene Pallette. Brady got Durbin to sing to her guests and then joked that she would get her husband to pay for her to have an orchestra. Knowing 100 musicians, including her father and brother, Durbin took her seriously and started to organize them.  Naturally, Pallette balks at paying for such an effort, but eventually saw the potentially good publicity around the idea of giving jobs to unemployed musicians. Durbin schemed to get Stokowski to hear the new orchestra and convinced him to be their conductor. It all ended with Durbin singing the Drinking Song from Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata on stage with the orchestra. Like Jeanette MacDonald, Deanna Durbin was an acclaimed singer who didn't appeal to me at all. Stokowki was credited with popularizing classical music in the United States and creating the stereotype of an orchestra conductor. He would also appear in Walt Diseny's FANTASIA.

THE ESCAPE ARTIST (2013) - What had been an hour long three episode series on BBC One became an hour-and-an-half two episode series on PBS. Written and directed by David Woistencroft, who had earlier created the TV series Spooks, aka MI5 in the U.S., the program explored problems in the British judicial system. Barrister David Tennant had a reputation as an "Escape Artist" for getting all of his clients off. This irked barrister Sophie Okonedo, as she often was the losing prosecutor in these cases. Viscious serial killer Toby Kebbell became Tennant's new client, but after winning Kebbell's case, Tennant refused to shake his client's hand. In a reversal of CAPE FEAR, where the client who went to prison wanted revenge on the lawyer who lost the case, here the villain wanted revenge because his lawyer won the case but didn't give him respect. Tennant's wife, Ashley Jensen, was murdered by Kebbell and was seen by Tennant. Okonedo defended Kebbell in court and won. Kebbell then menaced Tennant's son, Gus Barry. Tennant followed Kebbell to Scotland and eventually confronted him in an effort to get him to confess to Jensen's murder while being recorded. During a scuffle, Kebbell fell down and went into anaphylactic shock. Tennant now faced a murder charge in a Scottish court, which operated differently than an English court. While not involved the proceedings, Okonedo looked into the case and wondered if Tennant had pulled off a "perfect murder". Rather clever, Wolstencroft failed to make this dramatically compelling. Fans of Roy Marsden may enjoy seeing him in a minor role.

THE LAST INNOCENT MAN (1987) - Phillip M. Margolin's novel was made into a movie for HBO by director Roger Spottiswoode starring Ed Harris and David Suchet. It was hard to imagine a mystery thriller so reliant on improbable coincidences as this one. Harris played a defense lawyer with a perfect record of putting reasonable doubt into the mind of a jury and getting villains off. At the beginning of the film, Harris got Suchet off for the murder of his wife. Thinking that Suchet may have been guilty, Harris was burnt out and wanted to leave his law practice. At a party, he met Roxanne Hart and they were soon a couple. Meanwhile, angry cop Bruce McGill was working a prostitution sting where the undercover police woman was wearing a wire. McGill ended up busting down the motel door too late and the woman was dead. The murderer clobbered McGill over the head, but even in the dark room McGill was convinced that Darrell Larson was the villain. Larson turned out to be Hart's estranged husband. Convinced that if Hart was convicted, she could not divorce him, Hart pleaded with Harris to defend Larson. Frustrated by the fact that both Larson and Hart lied to him to give the accused an alibi, Harris was not at his best. Then McGill planted cocaine on pimp Clarence Williams III to force him to testify against Larson, which led to Larson being convicted. In an effort to find out where he went wrong, Harris met Williams on the street, where Williams informed Harris that Larson used to be buddies with Suchet. Harris confronted Suchet and was told that not only did Suchet murder his wife, he also murdered what he thought was a prostitute, wearing a wig that made him look like Larson. Because of attorney/client priviledge, Harris legally must keep mum, but he can't - so he spilled the beans to McGill. Needless to say, Suchet spied on Harris, saw the betrayal, and threatened to murder Hart. This climaxed with Suchet killing McGill, being wounded during a struggle over a gun by Harris, and his taunting Harris to kill him. (Doesn't this sound like a first draft of SEVEN?) Harris doesn't kill Suchet, but testified against him in court. The film ended without any mention of an attempt to get Larson's conviction overturned or whether Harris lost his license to practice law.

SPRING BREAK (1983) - After FRIDAY THE 13th and A STRANGER IS WATCHING, producer/director Sean S. Cunningham decided to do a youth comedy which turned out to be as funny as THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, which he produced. David Smilow, who previously wrote the TV movie THE HUSTLER OF MUSCLE BEACH, scripted this effort with the required female nudity while not giving any actresses any character to play. David Knell was the step-son of Donald Symington, who was running for congress. When Symington learned that Knell and his friend Perry Lang had eluded those who were to keep an eye on him, and that he was now in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break, the politician hired Richard B. Shull to find him before he did something that would embarrass Symington. Knell and Lang were joined in a cramped hotel room by Paul Land and Steve Bassett for the expected hijinks. Sweet faced Jayne Modean appeared as Knell's romantic interest, while Corinne Alphen, the 1982 Penthouse "Pet of the Year", appeared as a singer in a rock band. While the beach movies of the 1960s featured appearances by music stars like Dick Dale and Little Stevie Wonder, this film only had Fort Lauderdale's all-female local band Hot Date, with Alphen lip-syncing the vocals actually performed by bass player Marilyn Maxx. Cheap Trick did provide the title song, but didn't appear.


Charles Gilbert watched:

STARK FEAR (1962) B&W. Noir film with housewife Ellen (Beverly Garland) married to heel Gerald Winslow (Skip Homier). She patiently endures his abuse even when he calls her a tramp because she accepts a  job with his former oil business rival Cliff Kane (Kenneth Tobey). In the end she runs off with him after investigating her husband's long absences, and battling much guilt.

12 TO THE MOON (1960) B&W. Captain Anderson (Ken Clark) heads an international  team of 9 men and two women to the moon aboard Lunar Eagle 1.with enough room in the space craft for a dance hall. Upon landing on the moon they all embark, encounter sand holes, and dodge meteorites. A cave filled with air becomes a trap for a couple who vanish from the group. Back aboard the ship they receive a rune message indicating alien residents below the lunar surface, instructing the remaining crew to return to Earth. On the way back the expedition incurs a freeze- over as they approach Earth atmosphere, affecting the western hemisphere.  With the spaceship suspended in space, they all 'draw straws' to select two members who will risk a venture in s smaller craft that will deliver a bomb to unfreeze. That succeeds, but the two die, The aliens are so impressed with the compassionate sacrifice displayed that they send a message welcoming a return visit. 


Bertrand van Wonterghem Enjoyed:

Thomasine and Bushrod (1974, Gordon Parks Jr)

Doctor Who - season12 - episodes 2 to 4

Young Sheldon – season 4 episodes 13 to 18 – season 5 (22 episodes)

Mildly enjoyed:

The lost city (2021, Adam & Aaron Nee)

Zaï, zaï, zaï, zaï (2020, François Desagnat)

Murder party (2021, Nicolas Pleskof)


David Deal Enjoyed:

LIGHTNING BOLT (67) - See The Eurospy Guide for a complete review of this Antonio Margheriti entry.



AMER (09)




Mildly enjoyed:


THE GLOVE (79) - Rosey Grier is an ex-con beating prison guards to death with a special riot glove that was discontinued because it was too brutal. Bounty hunter John Saxon is out to stop him. Revenge flick shows more depth for the killer than usual. Not terrible. Deep cast.


THE RUSSIA HOUSE (90) - When a "manuscript" intended for publisher Sean Connery turns out to be top Soviet military secrets, the CIA convinces Connery to meet with messenger Michelle Pfeiffer in an effort to get to the author, Klaus Maria Brandauer. This spy thriller from John Le Carre is complex, enjoyable but not completely satisfying. It has one of those casts where everyone is familiar.

Did not enjoy:

INDIA SONG (75) - From what I gather, Delphine Seyrig (Daughters of Darkness) is the unhappy wife of vice-consul Michel Lonsdale (Ronin) who is stationed in Calcutta. She takes multiple lovers including Mathieu Carriere (Egon Schiele: Excess and Punishment) but happiness is unattainable. Set in a "metaphorical India" - which means outside of Paris - this has been described as a "poetic dream." Truthfully, it seems more a procession of static frames of skinny French people standing around or sitting around or laying around a house and grounds while the narrator describes the existential ennui. La douleur, la souffrance.

HARD CONTRACT (69) - James Coburn is a hired killer who goes to Spain on a job only to end up talking endlessly with the likes of Lee Remick, Burgess Meredith, Sterling Hayden, and Lilli Palmer. Coburn seems unhappy and I don't blame him.


Tom Betts Really enjoyed:

THE ENGLISH mini-series. Great cinematography acting and costumes. A bit difficult to follow at times but worth the effort. Best western I've seen since OLD HENRY.


1 comment:

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