Saturday 24 March 2018
Eye of the Devil (1966) - 2/3 inc. Haunting - B/W
One of the last major B/W films, nicely shot but rather too noirish, which makes it look lower-budget than it actually is. But it's very generic. David Niven doesn't know where he is. Donald Pleasence is sinister as a priest who calls similarly-aged Deborah Kerr "child". Sharon Tate and David Hemmings are all ghostly. Nobody sounds French. It's like a silly, almost Harold Robbins version of the already overrated The Haunting, i.e. it's all about demonic wine. It's not quite as camp as it should be. Maybe because it takes too long. Emlyn Williams and Edward Mulhare do good in exposition roles, but while the coven scenes are sinister. it seems to be a horror movie made by people who think they are above horror movies. And then it becames a Hammer/Brian Clemens psycho-thriller-type thing. And then we meet creepy villagers. It doesn't make much sense. A major folly from J. Lee Thompson. Almost a horror version of another Filmways production - The Loved One, nicely shot, but too much going on.
J. Lee Thompson is a good director who I think worked too much doing average fare, even though much of his stuff merely exists to fill the gaps on a Sunday afternoon schedule - a solid journeyman turning out solid, if unexceptional fare. He seems most engaged doing action. I'm not a fan of his noirish thrillers so much. He seems to have had a touch too much melodrama, although The Greek Tycoon is astonishing for all the wrong reasons. He still manages to lift Happy Birthday To Me or King Solomon's Mines, and especially 10 To Midnight, and The Passage at least looks nice for a violent warsploiter.
I think a lot of this low to mid-budget pop filmmaking I've become tired of, because I've seen so much of it, that of course it gets samey. One wants new experiences.
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975) - Interesting concept but rather dull. Feels oddly Canadian, with the cast and all, but no, a US production. Also confused as to what it should be.