Sunday 25 March 2018

More reviews - 6- - Inuit, blaxploitation, Doctor in the nude, Canada

Traitement de Choc (1973) - UK Title: Doctor in the Nude, actually an arty, stylish but nothingy Alain Delon film that happens to have vampires or at least technology-using human blood-drinkers a la 1979's Thirst, which does it much better. Doctor in the Nude has the feel of a long interlude short shown where programmes run short crossed with a Rollin-type vampire film. Features a hair whipping contest and a plane chasing sheep.

The Sweet Hereafter (1999) - like an arty episode of the Beachcombers. Atom Egoyan's films have never really done it for me, not even Felicia's Journey which makes the idea of Bob Hoskins as a Brummie serial killer obsessed with a Culchie girl and his Fanny Cradock-esque mum quite boring, even though the soundtrack's nice. Most of his stuff is well-made Skinemax fluff.

Shadow of the Wolf (1992) and Map of the Human Heart (1994) - both Canadian flops about Inuit. Wolf has an impressive Maurice Jarre soundtrack, but Lou Diamond Phillips and Jennifer Tilly aren't great as Inuit lovers, though Toshiro Mifune as a shaman, well it's Toshiro Mifune as a shaman wearing a tiara! Map of the Human Heart is the one Vincent Ward made after getting fired from Alien 3 - with Jason Scott Lee and La Femme Wee Jimmy Nikita herself, and Patrick Bergin, when he was still a big star and not a guest star in EastEnders. Both films look great, but they prove the point that most films (i.e. The Savage Innocents and the wonderfully photographed  but rather empty 1974 film The White Dawn) about Inuit seem to be tedious overwrought epics crowded with mysticism, and the Arctic backgrounds get boring after a while, especially peddling the idea that they're noble but child-like simpletons when confronted with civilisation. Both films share some of the same cast.

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) - Has a weird tone, half-blaxploitation, half Disney comedy adventure. Fun, if you're in the right mood, though the tone can be grating. Weird Carry On Again Doctor-ish epilogue where Redd Foxx (another similarity with COAD - having Albert Steptoe/Freddy Sanford in it) goes off to run a harem in Africa. Trouble is, Raymond St. Jacques is a more interesting detective than his supposed superior Godfrey Cambridge, perhaps because Cambridge was more of a comedian.  Not a private eye or even really a blaxploitation man (weird considering how many times I saw Live And Let Die as a kid), but this is strange. The sequel, Come Back, Charleston Blue (1972) is equally silly - but instead of African preachers, they're using the help of a gangster's ghost.


  1. I'm of the opinion that Atom Egoyan is a rubbish director, which wasn't a popular opinion until he started making overtly silly movies, kind of like Neil LaBute was this serious director until he remade The Wicker Man, when all his previous work had actually been him being self-consciously nasty, like a pretentious sixth-former trying out his "daring" drama skills. See also: Patrick Marber, though he isn't a director.

    Check out the original poster for Cotton Comes to Harlem. 'Tis a thing of beauty.

    1. Yes, that's how I first learnt of it - looking at the poster in I think it was one of David Thomson's books when I was 8.