Sunday, 18 March 2018

Ace of Aces (1982)

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Jean-Paul Belmondo's films usually seem the same to me (I've mostly seen his Eurocrime/Eurospy stuff and know of his swashbucklers), but this is basically a sort of French Biggles via Raiders (there's an army of Tohts). But with his old trench rival Hitler, played by Gunther "Slugworth" Meisner (which means it is in the same world as the Winds of War), and his sister, also played by Meisner in full on Austrian maiden dress. Like the Prize of Peril, it has Marie France Pisier (who I only really know from The Other Side of Midnight and The French Atlantic Affair). An agreeable, attractive little adventure.  There's a cute bear, a Jewish Short Round-type kid sidekick, a motorcycle army chase, a lederhosen dance scene (Remy Julienne stuntwork) and  a Nazi cuckoo clock. For all my hatred of the Nouvelle Vague, I've taken a real liking to French pop cinema. They can make GREAT adventure films.
Vladimir Cosma's soundtrack is good, hints of his theme for forgotten RTE-coproduced Franco-Irish comedy-drama Roses from Dublin (1981), about a Kerry family of rugby-loving brothers including Colm Meaney.
The other WW2 comedy of the era that Belmondo and Pisier did,  Les Morfalous (1984) isn't as good. It's a silly Foreign Legion romp, more comedy than adventure, and the humour  doesn't translate.

The Prize of Peril (1984)

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Watching this. And already, "this is one of the best films I've ever seen". French sci-fi, based on a book by Robert Sheckley (hence why it reminded me of Condorman), but more of an influence on the film of the Running Man than King/Bachman's novel. It begins in style, with more energy and verve and visual attraction than most SF. Not a dull cinerama of America but an energetic chase through the streets of a European anytown (Yugoslavia), as CTV helicopters and a blimp chase a man through a docklands rail yard and surrounding streets, like a larger-scale quivalent of the Kobe chase from You Only Live Twice. Michel Piccoli is nicely smarmy as the Damon Killian-type (this film's book influenced King, but the films even more so). Plus his ponytail and suits are prescient of Stanley Tucci in the Hunger Games. There is some more game show chintz, a Tittupy Bumpity-type Hawaiian girl chorus of browned-up French girls in bin liner wigs and teacup-wearing maids. Even in unsubtitled French, though, it is astonishing. Exactly the sort of SF I like - fun but intelligent, which often means "doesn't feel American". The night-time chases are as good as any Bond film (and non-Poirot Achille Aubergine  from A View To A Kill pops up). Like the Running Man but not dumb. It's a long time since a film captivated me so much.

Directed by Yves Boisset - whose films I have to explore, especially Purple Taxi as Grandad is in it (it's where he met Fred Stair and Peter Ustinov). EDIT; Purple Taxi is not good. Gay Byrne said it wasn't good on a retrospective Late Late, and Uncle Gaybo was right. Edward Albert acts all moody in a proper old Irish living room, Fred Stair (this being the film that spawned that monicker) looks frail. Part of that continental view of Ireland, the Ireland of James Last LPs, more mysterious and dark than the Oirish-American view. Jack Watson plays an Oirish farmer. I'm sure he bumps into Grandad while trying to escort burning horses. 

Boisset's  Dog Day (1984) has Lee Marvin frying French gangsters with a bazooka, and then hides in a cornfield with a psychotic family of French yokels including the kid from The Tin Drum (David Bennent, age 17 looking like a weird 12 year old, telling his mum that they'll be real shitheads, and she can wear lipstick when they're in America). Aside from the neat ending, it's a bit confused. Ace stunt-work, though from Remy Julienne at the start.  It begins as a stunt-actioner, but then becomes a horrid French "psycho family" movie but with hostages not horror. Then again, because it has Marvin in it, it tries to be a bit American, and it's also incredibly downbeat and hateful and cruel. I agree with Jon Abrams of Daily Grindhouse,  it's  a hateful, horrendous film (a black character called Doodoo, child rape, comedy suicide), but it's hard to forget. It's just sad to see Marvin in such a film. Most of his films are entertaining. A lot of them I don't love, a lot of westerns, crime and straight war - but they are decent, mostly the sort of films that brighten up a Sunday, and this does not. 
Boisset's Espion, Leve-Toi (1982), a decent but unremarkable spy-thriller with Lino Ventura, a bit dry, some decent stunt-work, but a bit Smiley-ish. Ventura is great in everything, though. 

The other Euro-Sheckley, The 10th Victim (1965) I find a little too overdesigned and meaninglessly Mod, a little aimless. Yes, I like Danger - Diabolik, but that  has a style, an effort, a heart. This is just Ursula Andress and Marccelo Mastroianni running about with lots of people in fab outfits on rooftops, trying to kill each other while cameras follow, shot in a serviceable but unremarkable style.  

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Cannon moan

Realise there's few Cannon films I genuinely love - Death Wish III, 10 to Midnight's a decent spin on the slasher, their weirdo musical the Apple, well bits of that, the songs, and when Joss Ackland appears as God, specific bits, I think it's more the stuff about the films, the way they advertised their films, their brio, a lot of it are godawful Chuck Norris-type action dreck, or attempt sat seriousness that falls flat. King Solomon's Mines is fun. Highlander I like elements of, but it's played slightly too seriously, and the flashbacks clutter the plot rather than add to it. The Wicked Lady isn't really my type of film. Sahara was the only film I saw while on Netflix, and again it's not great but the fact they went and said,"hey - let's do a Great Race via Lawrence of Arabia with Brooke Shields playing a boy", and put John Mills as a Cambridge don called Cambridge. Even their neo=noir stuff that proper critics like I found kind of boring. Lifeforce is ruined by the miscasting of wet Peter Firth as an SAS hardarse (should have been Collins) and perhaps a different director And some of the Israeli-made stuff is astonishingly terrible - the Magiican of Lublin, Kate Bush-scored Yiddish fairytale- Alan Arkin as a man whose dream is to fly.
A lot of the stuff is enjoyable in moments, but their arty stuff is not my cup. Even their Treasure Island I found to be basically akin to The Legend of Tim Tyler and Silas.

There is Treasure of the Four Crowns (1984), which is one of Cannon's Indiana Jones knockoffs. But it is truly barking, the brainchild/vanity vehicle of American spaghetti western star Tony Anthony, who'd previously made 3-D western Comin' At Ya in 1981, this is his 3-D Raiders. And it begins with a cavalcade of flames, arrows, burning rocks and other things in an astonishing  20 minute non-dialogue opening. It does have boring patches, and the cast isn't great, apart from Bunuel regular Francisco Rabal, but it moves from place to place, and it does weirldy look like a  Bollywood film, due to the film stock and prefigures Temple of Doom with its villain, Jonas, a crazed jewelled bindi-wearing part-Hindi, part-Satanic, part-hippy, part-Jim Jones cult leader who worships a horned statue that looks vaguely like the titular beastie in shonky Greek Cushing-Pleasence vehicle Land of the Minotaur (1976). He also has an army of harem brides and beret-wearing IRA balaclava and beret-wearing tambourine ninjas. With a better script and cast, it could easily have been to Raiders, what Battle Beyond The Stars was to Star Wars, an imitation that goes its own way and becomes just as fun (think a more consistent Sky Bandits, if directed by Brian Trenchard Smith), but the nearest Four Crowns gets to these heights is with the staggering climax, where Anthony gets possessed, his face melted Two Face-style and uses the gems to turn into a sort of fire-demon, and turns the gems into flamethrowers, wiping out Jonas and his brotherhood of Putty-Men IRA tambourine ninjas, as a triumphant Ennio Morricone soundtrack plays. And then as he and his girlfriend leave, a giant swamp monster jumps out.

It reminds me that Antonio Margheriti, whose own Raidersploitation includes Cannon's own Jungle Raiders never put his regular co-star Lewis Collins in a Raiders knockoff. David Warbeck is a serviceable B-movie lead, but Collins was the British action hero of the 80s. And only Who Dares Wins shows the full promise of his would be Bond persona, and even that has long dry spots, mostly involving Judy Davis as the attractive but irritating villain (Paul Freeman, Belloq himself appears as the sequel hook nemesis - an intriguing What If). As Broccoli foolishly rejected the potential 007, someone should have put Collins in a spy knock-off not unlike the exotic but charmless 80s post-Eurospy likes of Codename - The Soldier and SAS - Terminate With Extreme Prejudice, ambitious, glossy but ultimately quite dull Bond imitations that lack that inimitable Bond joy. Team Collins up in something like Four Crowns or those insane Hong Kong films, like the attractive, if sometimes hard to follow likes of the Wisely series, which are at least most ambitious than the cheap "just shoot in a jungle and have a hero in a fedora" Indiana Jones knock-offs of the West. I like those kinds of Hong Kong films. Trad policiers and martial arts film per se don't do it, but mix in a lot of weirdness - and voila!
The Legend of Wisely (1987) especially has that annoying goofiness that is common in HK films, hence why Big Trouble in Little China is a bit silly - because Carpenter was trying too hard for that HK feel). Unlike its ambitious, good-looking but nonsensical Sam Raimi-meets-Cannibal Holocaust Chow Yun Fat-as-Rambo-goes-gore sidequel The 7th Curse (1986), some of it is pleasingly epic, like motorcycles driving on the steps of a temple and avoiding monkeys, and the dragon-spaceship models look good. Certainly better than Jackie Chan's similar but silly folly of a sequel, Operation Condor - Armour of God II (1991). The first Armour of God in 1986 is spectacular (the balloon ending) and quite charming (it has a 70s pop star as Hong Kong and therefore the Commonwealth's answer to Indiana Jones), better than the rival Aces Go Places series, but the sequel is lacking, and feels like it is trying too hard, and goes overboard with the silliness.
See also the similarly spacey and goofy and less impressive Magic Crystal (1986), with added Cynthia Rothrock and Andy Lau, guns behind papers, a Greek travelogue, KGB torturers, and schmaltzy Chinese Tristram Fourmile-type kids who talk to glowing space rocks, going from Raiders to Mac and Me, with wobbly papier-mache aliens and Richard Norton getting vaporised.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Smaller stuff

Crusoe (1989) - Slipshod, confusing chronologically mixed-up adaptation, rather than the traditional staid but adequate version. With a slavesploitation edge. Shane Rimmer 6th billed, directly below Jimmy Nail and Tim Spall (did they have to appear in everything together in the late 80s?).

Apart from the fun and locally-shot The Great Train Robbery, I find Michael Crichton's directorial efforts stodgy and slow (Westworld's fun but I prefer the Romanworld and Medievalworld settings). Runaway (1984) is too much like a standard, anodyne cop thriller. The future setting is almost non-existent. It just looks like 80s suburbia. It's a bad serial killer film/Dirty Harry knockoff with robot insects as the serial killer, and though Tom Selleck can be great (High Road To China!), he seems to be  on cop-show autopilot, far from the New Gable that Halliwell pinned him as. Gene Simmons is a good villain, and the robots in the opening are inventive, but everything else feels dull, like a pilot for a bad Canadian  syndicated show from 1988. Then again, I like my sci-fi bonkers rather than being dull and almost ashamed of itself being SF. I am not usually into dystopian noir or post-apocalyptic films (I like most of the original Planet of the Apes, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome I enjoy slightly more than the rather hardgoing others as it feels like an Aussie kids' TV show, Boy and his Dog I liked as a kid but find silly now, the Italian ones ditto), unless the setting really appeals.

Tank (1984) - Completely tonally unhinged Lorimar-produced James Garner vehicle, feels like a pilot - a sort of Hal Needham via Stripes. Is it a Disney-ish family comedy? Is it a chase comedy? Is it a small-town drama? A lot of Garner's films feel like TV movies - They Only Kill Their Masters (which from what I could see of it, is an action-crime thriller shot like a sitcom),

The US-made ITC films, bar the Muppet Movie I found somewhat soulless. They try to be fun, but they are just TV-level escapism with a bit of extra gloss. Capricorn One (1978), I should like, has a good idea and a good cast, and is well shot  but Peter Hyams seems to be trying to out-Spielberg Spielberg.  It doesn't click. It's too unfocused, too many sides of the same story. Plus the idea is stretched - the idea of astronauts who involved in  a faked Mars landing have to go on the run for the life is better suited to a TV anthology. It spends too long to set the scene. It doesn't fit two hours. And Telly Savalas' character is the  best bit, and he only appears in the last twenty minutes. But conspiracy thrillers can be very samey. And bland. And it's just not quite weird enough. If it had been a bit more over-designed, a bit more fantastical, it may have worked, more action, less conspiracy, and about half an hour shorter. Maybe films set at mission control don't engage.

Raiders of Atlantis (1983) - Garbled knockoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Warriors, Escape From New York and its knockoffs, Warlords of Atlantis and various Rambo-type jungle actioners. Nonsense from Ruggero Deodato. Imaginative at times but visually unstimulating and like most Italian sci-fi, marred by unattractive design. That's the problem with a lot of Italian SF - e.g Bronx Warriors and 2019 - After the Fall of New York, there's a lot of ideas usually stolen from other films and combined, but a lot of shite. And there's a few quirky innovations - but they need a John Sayles to insert character and add something to the plate.

Day of the Dolphin (1973) - Could have been quite fun but it is tonally a bit nervous, and the plot hard to folow. It is lovingly shot and initially, quite creepy. George C. Scott is good, even though it gets a bit sappy.  Like Orca, there's great underwater scenes and the soundtrack helps. George Delerue's work really makes one take it seriously.  Why does George C. Scott always play Jakes? But it does take the idea of armed dolphins slightly seriously. It's a daft Eurospy idea (especially when we see the brass Dolphin ornament-like bomb), but Scott convinces that it works, even though the rest of the film falls apart. Mike Nichols may have been the wrong choice for director. Perhaps a  J. Lee Thompson. It gets a little talky, a la Phase IV.

Network (1976) - Decent but apart from the Howard Beale stuff, almost instantly forgettable. I had forgotten the Patty Hearst-esque stuff, which struck a chord initially, but now I can scarcely remember. A good cast, though.

I was just thinking of what I think of the work of Michael Powell. In many ways, like the Bible. It's always been there, but I don't have great affection for it. Yes, they're well-made, but I almost feel force-fed it. Peeping Tom was extraordinary because it was made in 1960. Make it in 1980, and it'd be a slightly above average exploitation film. I prefer Horrors of the Black Museum, the other Anglo-Amalgamated gore film (Circus of Horrors, the third one I remember being fun but very average British film of the era - and it has a theme tune written by Tony Hatch), but I enjoy the weird, which is perhaps why The Boy Who Turned Yellow may be the Powell I most enjoyed. Because it's not trying to say something, it's not trying to say how great the British are or be the cinematic equivalent to the Festival of Britain, it's just trying to make a cinema-load of kids happy. Then again, the more depressing British semi-horror psychothrillers like the Collector, I find them interesting, but currently I'm not in the right mood. Although though some of them go so ridiculously pulpy, they become enjoyable - i.e. Peter Finch being impaled by the flag on a sandcastle in Something to Hide (1972).

Also watched stylised Soyuzmultfilm anti-American propaganda The Millionaire and Mr. Wolf, done in a pseudo-Chuck Jones style. Very interesting, a twisted inversion of American animation.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018


Of John Huston's films, I like the Man Who Would Be King I suppose, it at least looks nice even if it's a bit overlong, List of Adrian Messenger and Mackintosh Man are Irish-made and are pleasingly odd time-killers, Victory is great fun despite not being a sports fan. African Queen is okay, even though it's basically two slightly tipsy people of different classes trying to flirt with each other, and Moby Dick and The Dead are all atmospheric, and portray Ireland as it should be, even when it plays New England. Night of the Iguana I kind of like too, and I actually enjoy the characters, even though that Southern prose can be hardgoing, but that's mainly Burton. The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean I want to like more than I do. But everything else I am ambivalent on - and The Kremlin Letter I've tried constantly and never succeeded.

I've a weird sense of humour. Comedies I seem to like seem to be the ones with big ideas.
80s comedies I can't seem to get, bar Airplane!, Top Secret!, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Gremlins, Ice Pirates, Amazon Women On The Moon... Most social comedies (9 to 5, Private Benjamin) never appealed. Some films about showbusiness (My Favourite Year, the Escape Artist) appealed, but mainly due to the characters and eccentricity. The first two Muppet Movies and Follow That Bird I like, Muppets Take Manhattan is odd. Big Trouble In Little China I find weird, pleasingly strange but somewhat alienating. Trading Places I like, Coming To America I feel like I should like more, Star vehicles, of Robin Williams, Steve Martin and most of the SNL lot have faded from my taste. National Lampoon's Vacation and its first sequel are still relatively fun. The Cannonball Run is a complete folly, in the mould of such unwatchable messes as Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. Cheech and Chong I never got, but I don't even drink alcohol (I eat it, whiskey truffle chocolate, yum). Dudley Moore I find likeable, but I don't really find his films great. And his stuff with Cook, urgh... The Stunt Man I found artsy bollocks. Used Cars was akin to an ordinary 70s sitcom crossed with an anodyne 70s Disney movie starring Kurt Russell, or a US remake of Minder. I find Polyester and Popeye films that look great stylistically, but but raise no laughs.  Back To The Future I did like as a boy, but now I prefer Last Starfighter, plus the ending is cruel. John Candy's solo vehicles - I liked them as a kid but now realise his full talent was only ever exposed on SCTV. There's quite a few I saw as a kid, and probably shouldn't revisit - the Ernest films. And Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Ghostbusters I like but not because I find it funny. I liked them because there is humour in them, yes, but they're adventures with charm and ideas. Clue is alright, but it is confusing, and I do wonder what it'd have been like if original choice Leonard Rossiter had lived to play Tim Curry's part.
Even British ones of the era - I like Time Bandits, Local Hero (but Forsyth's other films aren't that appealing), Restless atives, some of Meaning of Life, Clockwise, kind of like Morons from Outer Space and Bullshot, And 90s British comedies - Funny Bones, the Commitments (technically), Bean (kind of),) and the perfectly pleasant Hear My Song and Blame It On The Bellboy. Everything is either anodyne or awful.
I'm not a great comedy drama boy, and though I love Hot Fuzz, find cop-comedies somewhat bland, perhaps too American. I find a lot of things samey. I suppose if you are exposed to things too young or when you want other things, that's what happens. I like weird, broad, possibly conventionally misshapen things.

Crime Wave (1985 - not the Raimi one, the better Canadian film)

Image result for paizs crimewaveI've always wanted to see this since I read about it on Canuxploitation. A sort of mock-documentary narrated by a 12-year-old girl, Kim about her neighbour Steven Penny, a scriptwriter who wants to make it in the world of "colour crime movies", a sort of alternative noir subgenre. Made in Canada on almsot no budget by star John Paizs, it's very strange, somewhere between childlike and childish, with a kiddy theme tune, but it does go down dark passages. I thought it wouldn't live up to the tribute act-themed opening, but there are some neat jokes, i.e. using the same cameras as "Chekhov from Star Trek and Yoko Ono", and taking the mick out of the NFB.  Its narrator Kim is likable but kind of annoying. A straighter more Gordon Pinsent-ish narration might have worked better, or at least more of the punchy narrator used in the "beginnings" and "endings" Steven writes. It does one's patience. I do see a lot of parallels with my own work. Not helped by the soundtrack that sounds like something from a Canadian kids' show from the period.  There are some moments of sensation - i.e. killer rats. But it feels like Paizs had too many things going on his mind, but not enough mileage for a plot. The weirder moments like the Nelson Mingus costume are entertaining, as is a meeting between two creeps soundtracked to the Birdy Song and the celebratory dance sequence. Shots go on for too long, though, e.g. the voyeuristic Body Double-esque bit. There's also scenes of a cowboy riding Steven like a bull, while a Crazies-like "secret stuff" virus contaminates the town, as Hazmat-suited goons run about. The meta-ending works, and suddenly the film becomes as interesting and as punchy as the opening, with such sights as "Steven Penny World" and more glimpses of gory colour crime movies. It is unpredictable even going as far as Steven getting superpowers and a cameo from Christ, and there is a charm to it (a sort of 50s 80s charm, if Shakin' Stevens were a movie), but it is wildly uneven, like Shaky. But unlike Shaky, there's nothing really like it. Recommended, because it

Saturday, 10 March 2018

More ramblings - this is a personal exploration into taste.

Lady Ice (1973) - Average 1970s US heist movie, made for TV but then released theatrically, with Donald Sutherland when he was doing rather bland films (and that's excluding the CanCon stuff) like Klute (nah), Alex  In Wonderland (WTF), Little Murders (the sort of New York social-com I don't tend to enjoy), S*P*Y*S  and M*A*S*H, the sub-Brooksian Start The Revolution Without Me (of Wilder's Brooksploitation, only Smarter Brother captures the verve of Young Frank) and I like the editing of Don't Look Now but little else, and I feel like I should like his Invasion of Body Snatchers more than I do, but Kelly's Heroes is a childhood favourite.
Lady Ice does feature an out-of-place Patrick Magee in a nice suit, though.

Carny (1980) - Gary Busey is typically hateful in a rather Altmanesque/aimless wander through an interesting carnival. A documentary would have  been better. It's tonally confused, and despite a young Jodie Foster, doesn't know what it is. New Hollywood I found spawned many of these aimless jaunts that'd have worked better as documentaries, .e.g The Last Detail. And that's why I find New Hollywood overrated. I believe cinema is entertainment.

Realised that outside of Saddles, Frankenstein, Wonka, Smarter Brother and Silver Streak, most of Gene Wilding (it's what my grandad called him)'s films I find only slightly enjoyable. Stir Crazy is okay, as is The Producers, and the likes of Frisco Kid, World's Greatest Lover and even Start the Revolution Without Me have not quite appealed (see also similar non-Wilder fare like Johnny Dangerously - which struck me as an adult Bugsy Malone). They reek too much of comedy swashbuckler, a genre I've never quite appealed. Even normal swashbucklers don't really do alienate me, especially when they go ponderous, i.e.  the likes of the War Lord and Taras Bulba (where the fuck is it supposed to be set? Yes, I know but both those films feel more like a fantasy epic than a historical thing).

High fantasy's never been my strong suit I like Krull but that's sort of SF. Dragonslayer is great, but that's very different. I kind of like Conan and Sword and the Sorcerer (1982) has an atmospheric opening, a good soundtrack and some good creature design/FX, so I kind of like that even though it is badly lit, and the cod-Shakespeareanism mixed in with Californian accents does grate, especially mixed in with the Renaissance Fayre (sic) aesthetic. Richard Lynch is a good villain, and it does go a bit overboard on the tits and ass. There is an embryo of a good film hidden in there, somewhere, but Albert Pyun's never made a good film, and this is his first and best.

I find Albert Brooks' comedy to work best in short bursts, i.e. his Tommy Cooper-esque ventriloquist's act. I found Modern Romance (1982) about as good as the band of the same name, apart from the George Kennedy-as-Princess-Leia bit, but Real Life (1979) does have some moments, i.e. Brooks trying to recreate the fire at Atlanta from Gone With The Wind in a living room, as Tara's theme plays. And Lost In America is like a half-baked romcom crossed with National Lampoon's Vacation.

I realise the reason most of the "great horrors" alienate me, Les Diaboliques, The Shining, Night of the Living Dead, Carrie, Halloween, The Exorcist, Dawn Of The Dead, Nightmare On Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw, Psycho, Rosemary's Baby, Don't Look Now, Alien, Predator, the Evil Dead, Poltergeist (well, to an extent - I then saw the film and realised  how Spielberg-y it was), both Terminators, Robocop, Hellraiser, Silence of the Lambs, Blue Velvet, The Usual Suspects and Goodfellas (they were lumped into "scary moments"), was because because I saw them in full I had already seen them in digest form in various clips, and so I had seen the films without seeing the films, and having tasted the films, I didn't want more. Predator I saw on E4 or Sky, and I liked it enough. It's an amiable enough sci-fi programmer, but nothing more... It's got a good monster and a good cast, but not much else. And the setting is slightly too remote.
The Omen, American Werewolf, Jaws, bits of The Thing are the exceptions - and the Wicker Man, kind of, even though I don't see it as a horror - but as a rather daffy musical comedy.
It's also why it took me a long time to watch the whole canon of Universal horrors. I saw the Mummy, Frankenstein and Dracula at 8, the latter two had documentaries which also briefed the whole saga - and served the whole Frankenstein and Dracula canon in digest form. The Mummy doc didn't have this, and I didn't see the Wolf Man itself until I was 15, even though I had glimpsed/digested the sequels. And when I saw the films, I really was rewatching them.

This also happened to a lot of "the great canon films". By the time I was 10, I'd sampled Midnight Cowboy, Bullitt, Taxi Driver, various Hitchcocks, the Rocky, Rambo and Dirty Harry series, Cape Fear, Bonnie and Clyde, The Great Escape (that and numerous bank holidays) Mommie Dearest, Night of the Hunter, White Heat (actually I think I caught it on TG4 around that time), Little Caesar (not a gangster man, any road), the Godfather (also my mam had sat me down to watch it but I got tired), the Dollars trilogy, A Clockwork Orange (also read the book despite being about 6) - Mum was horrified when she saw me asking what words meant, Chinatown (duh...), All About Eve, Manchurian Candidate, Casablanca, High Noon, Grapes of Wrath, Schindler's List, Norma Rae, Gandhi, In the Heat of the Night, On The Waterfront, The Adventures of Robin Hood (well, I caught that on RTE around that time), All the President's Men, the Big Sleep (again not a hard-boiled man), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (what rubbish), Double Indemnity (not a noir man), Tarzan the Ape Man, Boys' Town (well actually was Grandad sitting me down as well), The French Connection, Die Hard, Cool Hand Luke, Sgt. York (not a western man per se), Serpico, True Grit, Animal House, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the Philadelphia Story, the Jerk, the Producers, many of the Ealing stuff, Porky's, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (okay, not "great", but still pivotal), Life of Brian/Holy Grail, Dr. Strangelove, The Naked Gun (but not Airplane! - that is great, and a Sky 1 watch), Some Like It Hot, M*A*S*H, and all the 80s folderol, Spinal Tap, Ferris Bueller, Beverly Hills Cop and Police Academy (though my dad watched them constantly), When Harry Met Sally, Withnail and I, Planes, Trains and Automobiles (John Candy was better off in Canadian stuff - SCTV, Heavy Metal and daresay it, the lovely Sesame Street - Follow That Bird), The Odd Couple, not quite Trading Places (because I eventually realised that film, it's not great, but it's probably the best straight-comedy that Landis has done), Stand By Me, Enter The Dragon etc, I had already glimpsed them in the form of digested versions on movie shows, equivalent to Castle 8mm versions, so the films didn't really ever pique my attention after, and in most cases, the genres they represent, because I'd already got the gist and didn't really need to see them. I'd been given the icing, and had enough. And once I saw most of these in full, I realised I hadn't missed much. See also the various Disney Time-type compilations you'd see without seeing the full films.  The Searchers I had seen because my mam sat me down. It was an education, even though I don't do westerns per se. Maybe because of the mass exposure of westerns I had, growing up in the Americana-obsessed Irish heartland. Or perhaps a case of Too Much, Too Young.