Thursday 31 May 2018

More German and French fantasy - 14

Spermula (1976) - Foggy French space-softcore-porn, 1930s themed, like an erotic melding of Star Maidens and Flambards. The English dub is a sci-fi comedy, but the original French version is an arty, up its arse, baffling bit of erotic art, all soft focus pans of girls. Udo Kier pops up. There's a dancing dwarf and a priest.

Ubit Drakona (1988) - Arthurian Mosfilm coproduction. A pseudo-modern apocalyptic setting - somewhat Gilliamesque dystopia, complete with tatty revue show. Features a scene where a bloke is stabbed with a fork up his penis, and then kissed by his torturer (Oleg Yankovsky, Stapleton in the Soviet Hound of the Baskervilles, and the baddie in Mute Witness). The dragon is a sort of plane - steaming, covered with fur. The  hero (a mix of B.A. Robertson, Michael Palin and Bryan Brown) fights it in a hot air balloon. Overlong but visually appealing. these Russian films can be enjoyable once you get past the inevitable alienating quality. Featuring cast from the Soviet Ten Little Indians and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Traumstadt (1973) - Overlong Teutonic arthouse dystopian grotesquery with To The Devil A Daughter's Eva Maria Meineke as "Mrs. Lampenbogen".  Lots of flannel-slapping. Agitprop nonsense.

Perinbaba (1985) - Czech-Italian-German fairytale coproduced by RAI and ZDF. If one has ever wanted to see Giulietta Masina bouncing on a feather trampoline as a fairy godmother, then here. Expensive but twee, caught between two schools - the post-Neverending Story school of Euro-fantasy and the older Tales from Europe model.

Frau Holle (1961) - Colourful yet anodyne European fairytale, made by people who worked more in TV.

Hercules In The Haunted World (1961)  - It's a piece of rubbish but it may be Bava's best looking film - even frame is pulp magazine cover painting gorgeousness. And Christopher Lee is not dubbed.

And now onto the French stuff...

Gwen Le Livre de Sable (1985) - Gaumont-produced animated surrealism - attractive but slow, even at an hour, doesn't go anywhere, desert and suburbia collide but it at times looks a bit Bleep and Booster, i.e. not very animated.

Bunker Palace Hotel (1989) - Grim and rainy dystopia, directed by Enki Bilal, the master of grim and rainy dystopian comics. It feels too literally adapted from a comic source. Humourless, gruff, and samey, in its sometimes stunning but at the same time, curiously bland industrial imagery. Features Jean Louis Trintignant, Carole Bouquet, and Mira Furlan, off Babylon 5.

The Suns of Easter Island (1972) - Directed by Pierre Kast and starring Alexandra Stewart and Mario Bava starlet-turned-Brazilian telenovela actress Norma Bengell, a dull documentary-like take on Easter Island. A last minute jaunt into surrealism fails to save it.

The Time to Die (1969) - French video-thriller with Anna Karina, Jean Rochefort and Bruno "the one true Maigret" Cremer. An artsy but rather basic thriller - revolving around the exciting and dangerous possibilities of videotape. It's a bit Brian Clemens' Thriller. And it seemingly references the Prisoner, by having Rover appear at the end. It's that sort of nonsense.

Chronopolis (1984) - Not really a film, an hour of animated robots doing things. Michael Lonsdale supplies the sporadic narration.

The Aquanauts (1979) - Soviet undersea adventure from Gorky Film Studio. Nice soundtrack and sets, but it feels a little dull, considering its plot about a telepathic manta ray.

The Big Bang (1987) - Released by Entertainment video in the UK, blessed with one of the last scores by the great Roy Budd,  an at times visually appealing but mostly horribly ugly and grotesquely ribald sex-cartoon, when this sort of thing was rare. Even at an hour, it wears you down.

Automat na prání (1968) - CFF-esque Czech kids' film, kids in a spaceship making wishes essentially, a pleasingly Eastern Bloc retro-futurist-tastic, but the story gets nonsensical involving a wish to go to prison or something, and a skeleton prosecutor.

Looking through lists of German fantasy films, and they're all either New German Cinema pretention, the odd ZDF coproduction like 1987's Malian myth Yeelen or Tales from Europe-type fairytale/family packages. French sci-fi is almost ashamed of being sci-fi.,1990-12-31&genres=sci_fi&countries=fr&page=2&ref_=adv_nxt

Wednesday 30 May 2018

14 - German SF roundup

Hu-Man (1975)- Arty mystic Terence Stamp film about Tel wandering about various landscapes, long-lost. Should have stayed lost.

Zoo Zero (1979) - Blue-tinted/darkly lit nonsense involving a future nightclub and a zoo and Klaus Kinski.

France Societe Anonyme (1974) - Arty nonsense featruing Santa with a gun, subliminal messages and bondage. Zydeco soundtrack. Debut of Alain Corneau, before he began making Depardieu movies.

Tranches De Vie (1985) - Unfunny anthology comedy with Jean-Pierre Cassel, also rips off the end of Moonraker, except it doesn't - but it does have Achille Aubergine.

Besuch Bei Van Gogh (1985)  - If you ever wanted to know what 1980s Doctor Who would look like if made in East Germany, this DEFA flick shows.  Seemingly shot on video, feels like Mapp and Lucia.

Ghost Chase (1987) - A sort of sub-Ghostbusters with teens crafted by Roland Emmerich, with a mixed German and American cast, and unlike Joey, here, he casts a mix of cast members of Night of the Creeps (Jason Lively and Jill Whitlow) and British veterans (Rumpole of the Bailey's Julian Curry and bizarrely, Python/Milligan/Rising Damp director Ian MacNaughton, the latter a Munich resident). Its theme "Imagination", by Belouis Some (a UK No. 17 hit) was recently used in an Irish Lotto campaign. The teen characters are annoying, and its faux Californian attitude and setting makes it feels like a Fanta ad. Features a puppety Yoda ghost that looks like it comes from the same sort of sub-Henson stable as The Neverending Story. In all, rather tacky, less visually impressive than the slavishly Spielbergian Joey, but a more typical US low-budget family fantasy.

Decoder (1984) - Cyberpunk nonsense, all on monitor screens, shoddy VT. Genesis P-Orridge in it somewhere, apparently.

Der Unsichtbare (1987) - Invisible "comedy", empty gloss with Nena. Couldn't maintain interest.

Chobotnice z druhého patra/Veselé Vánoce přejí chobotnice (1987) - Cheerful Czech kids' fantasy by Jindrich Polak, a TV series compilation that does feel at times bitty and the first half is quite slow, but is quite amiable, about two claymation octopuses. Appropriately features a telly cut in two. A bit Children's Film Foundation. The octopuses are fun, an astonishing effect of them waddling along a river, as well as one driving, hung onto a steering wheel.  In the end, they get smashed and are remoulded into birds. The difference between the toy birds used in live action shots and the stop motion effects is very much apparent.

Die Hamburger Krankheit (1979) - Nothing to do with Ian and Janette Tough restaging Bergerac, but you do kind of expect them to appear the way the story goes. Clinical, surrealist plague thriller - goes from surrealism (written by Roland Topor) to comedy to Inspector Derrick and back. Towards the end, it becomes quite well directed. A tank goes mad at one point.  Helmut Griem stars, a world away from Cabaret, but not cabaret.

Bodo (1987)- German boy genius comedy featuring British child actors Alec Christie (of The Children of Green Knowe) and Jake Wood, years before being Max Branning in Eastenders (Wood also did The Gentle Touch and Only Fools and Horses - the Jolly Boys' Outing around this time). Has a creepy robot orangutan. Soppy and precocious. Very Children's Film Foundation, specifically Egghead's Robot.

Spukschloss im Spessart (1967) - Aside from some fun Banshee in Darby O'Gill-esque ghost effects,  a broad, occasionally quite sparky and likeable if wearing Rentaghost-ish thing from Constantin Film. With invisible ghosts to save on the costly effects. Invisible dancing scenes ahoy. There's a bluefaced woman alongside a lot of castrato brownfaced Arabs. And a random cowboy, and stealing of dummies' clothing from a shop window. The ghosts also deface walls, revealing the swastikas beneath.

Herrliche Zeiten Im Spessart (1967) - From Constantin Film, rather silly time travel comedy sequel to a popular German comedy, features a presidential banquet, and time-travelling spacemen in giant Things to Come-ish helmets - an influence on both Les Visiteurs and Tomorrow, I Shall Wake Up and Scald Myself With Tea? Very broad,  has the look of various historical Carry Ons. Musical sequences. Attractive but obviously loses something. The future sports stuff is quite silly, all multicoloured wigs predating UFO, although here it is mostly blokes, as it predicts a genderless trans-feminine culture. All a bit Galloping Galaxies.

Also saw trailers for CBS video's arty German horror, Loft,  Udo Kier sur-realism Pankow '95, RTL's Alexander Kluge's arty rubbish The Big Mess (-1971), and  Ein großer graublauer Vogel (-1971), an actually quite exciting-looking thing scored by Can, and featuring Robert Siodmak.  need to watch the John Huston-ArminMueller Stahl-Mario Adorf version of Momo, and animations Cat City and finish Rene Laloux's Time Masters.

Momo (1986) - The initial cash in on The Neverending Story, like that - an adaptation of a Michael Ende story. Lavished with a starry cast (John Huston, Armin Mueller Stahl, Mario Adorf). I remember RTE showing a German-Italian cartoon of this. Ende, unlike Neverending was directly involved in this. About a little girl lost when time goes wrong. Mueller Stahl shows that he would have made an interesting Blofeld, as here the Grey Men are bald sorts in grey Nehru shirts who can't eat - they only smoke, while in the cartoon, they were literally grey. There's a creepy doll called Bibi-girl, and a pet tortoise. Not as good as The Neverending Story.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

6 - French comedy

Hibernatus (1969) - After a rewatch of Rabbi Jacob (which is quite fun, and clearly influenced The Pink Panther Strikes Again) and a best of clips from his films, I am beginning to see why the French adore Louis De Funes. He can be a bit wearing at times (particularly in his little rages), and this gets pretty hard-going, taking too long to reach the idea of an unfrozen historical figure. This has a shockingly fresh-faced Michael "Michel" Lonsdale (his actual name is Michael, he's only French on his mum's side), as straight man. There is some fun set design, but the idea of trying to convince the unfrozen relative it is still 1905 tries too hard, and it becomes a baffling period drama.  The end is quite fun. Spiritual sequel to Oscar (1967), later remade with Stallone. This wasn't.

Fantomas (1964) - The thing about Eurospy films is that they can be quite rigid, no matter how visual stunts can be. Dangling from a helicopter onto a submarine.  But this is goofy. The sequels, Fantomas Se Dechaine (1965, with a three-armed cyborg De Funes) and Fantomas Contre Scotland Yard (1967, which takes the Scotland in Scotland Yard literally, by shooting in Inverness) are even more goofier, and becomes quite infuriatingly stupid. The third, in particular is all brownfaced caricatures, sheet-ghosts, and annoying Euro-stupdiity. The foxhunting/plane chase scene is action-packed, but too much of it is done against shoddy back-projection. It's like a cheaper, kitschier, less enthralling List of Adrian Messenger.

The Atlantic Wall (1970) Amiable if baffling French comedy with the rather taxing idiot of Bourvil, like Bovril and his frequent costar De Funes, an acquired taste, but passable enough, with a British supporting cast, the likes of Peter McEnery (playing a British agent who speaks French with a noticeable English accent, prefiguring 'Allo 'Allo's Lt. Crabtree), Terry-Thomas and in another British sitcom related link, Frank Williams playing a vicar of a small village in wartime England who looks, acts and dresses like his more famous role of the Reverend Timothy Farthing in Dad's Army, which he played at the exact same time. Now, I wonder if director Marcel Camus had seen Dad's Army while on pre-production in England, cried, "I want that guy!" and then when Williams came home to shoot at TVC, told David Croft about the film, and then Croft perhaps was subconsicously influenced when he made 'Allo 'Allo fifteen years later. The French seem to think the Brits are obsessed with rugby (as with the Irish, see RTE-TF1-RTL series Roses from Dublin for more...)  Yes, they're not wrong per se, but still...

Monday 28 May 2018

13/18 (20 inc. Alien and Saturn 3) French, Italian films, Great McGonagall, De la Iglesia, Rosebud, Scream and Scream Again, Emmerich, Beastmaster, Outland

BLUE MONEY (1985) - Ulster-accented Tim Curry is supposed to be from Artane. Dermot Crowley looks a lot like Sean Hughes. Curry's character's a bit annoying. The musical sequences have a look of music video."Ireland" is clearly bits of the UK. It's convincing enough, but there's few landmarks aside from a few probable second unit bits in O'Connell Street and Aungier Street, which capture the city in its pre-Tiger prime. It seems that they did shoot in Dublin, but only for a day or so.  Curry makes a convincing aul wan. He uses same accent and disguise in Titanic (TV - 1996).

The Great McGonagall (1974) - The sound mix is awful, it breaks the Fourth Wall frequently but in a way that is charming and not grating a la Mrs. Brown's Boys, and yet this biopic of the world's worst poet filmed entirely in Wilton's Music Hall with the likes of John Bluthal and Valentine Dyall in multiple roles. Peter Sellers seems restrained as a gliding Queen Victoria - "the Mark Phillips of her day", maybe as this is such a lower-budget production than he was used to, even at this paltry stage of his career. Milligan's Scottish accent is more Irish, John Bluthal almost steals the show, and the Q5 theme is used, and a Corn Flakes packet crown is worn in one scene. Astonishing - basically the ethos of Q... in cinema.

La Menace (1977) - Drab Yves Montand divorce thriller that is enlivened too late by a VW Beetle vs truck chase along British Columbia. And a theme that sounds like Last of the Summer Wine in minor-key. Like L'Homme En Colere, an attractive looking but dull Franco-Canadian tax dodge.

La Raison D'etat (1977) - Dull French-Italian political thriller with Monica Vitti in ill-fitting specs, some nice footage.

The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960 - B/W) - One of Walter Brandi's stylishly shot but identikit vampire horrors. The same old hoary Gothic replayed.

Tried watching Alex De La Iglesia's The Last Circus (2010). Having seen De La Iglesia's Accion Mutante, I feel De La Iglesia is a good visualist (the tribal maze attraction in the Last Circus is wondrous), but his films are like the Spanish student in school - garish, ribald and unwittingly tacky.  The Kojak-themed erotic dance show is almost too ugly. The ending just peters out. It's alternately garish and grey. Confused.

Day of the Beast (1995) - More De La Iglesia. A gaudy, stylish but rather alienating "comedy" about a priest and a metalhead fighting the Antichrist. The humour doesn't travel and the CGI hasn't dated. No wonder it never got a proper US release.

Lady Dracula (1978) - Sexy comedy, I guess, with a deathly Stephen Boyd in his final role as the Count. An Ingrid Pitt waxwork is found in a German building site. Not funny, but interesting to see all the exaggerated stereotypes and ugly Krauts getting it on. Some similarities to Vampira, but with a bondage and fancy dress party soundtracked by Horst Jankowski's  easy listening Beatles tracks.

Love and Bullets (1979) - A rewatch - Nicely shot, although confused (the sign of a troubled production - scenes jump from Switzerland and the US and back), and Jill Ireland is awful, almost Barbara Windsor-esque as a big-breasted Tammy Wynette-loving Dolly-esque Southern mama, but there is a neat bridge car chase. John Hallam plays an American. Lorraine Chase plays Henry Silva's Cockney mistress (Now, if she'd been in the Ireland role...). The ending with Rod Steiger and his mates exploding is fun.

Evil of Dracula (1974) - A Japanese Dracula movie set in a girls' school. It's interesting, a typical Hammer gothic but with Japanese actors in a quasi-Western setting. Some weird visuals - animated blood, a multi-eyed creature, desert and mountain vistas clashing.

Rosebud (1975) - Overlong, muddled hostage nonsense with Peter O'Toole trying to rescue Isabelle Huppert, Lalla Ward and Kim Cattrall from the PLO. Some bad effects, i.e. Raf Vallone having a Hilda Ogden-esque mural in his living room instead of the Paris skyline. Peter O'Toole wears a funny fedora. Dickie Attenborough turns up as a toff dressed as an Arab, in a role he clearly did for the money. An endlessly tedious runaround between wine bars and watching hostage videos. Lots of hirsute Hebrew backsides. The ending is a bit WTF. With the PLO lads seemingly winning. Julian Pettifer plays himself for Panorama.  A typical staid and humourless Preminger effort.

The Noah's Ark Principle (1984) - Early Roland Emmerich effort, a cold, clinical but expensive looking sub-Silent Running look at a space station disaster. Feels oddly Australian.

Joey (1985) - More Emmerich. Very odd German-made Fauxmerica, trying to convince one it is an Amblin production, even down to a Williams-esque score. Bland, and with an unknown, amateur ex-pat cast - but it looks great, much more expensive than it is, and the ex-celebrity monocled ventriloquist's dummy is an interesting design. But it feels slavish to the point that it resembles the likes of Stranger Things thirty years before.

Scream And Scream Again (1969) - An aimless, confused mess. Half-Edgar Wallace detective plodder, half-psychedelic mad scientist spy film. A dull Bond knockoff with a Scotland Yard man played by Alfred Marks in the lead. Apart from a chase sequence, it is repetitive, focusing too much on drugged out hippies, and Cushing, Price and Lee are wasted. It is too pedestrian for the idea. If it had been a foreign film, it might have been more consistently strange. It's very ITC. It's almost an episode of UFO. Yes, there's a few memorable images i.e. the opening, but the film doesn't know how to top those bits.
Rewatched it in September - and at times it moves. It has energy. The chases are great, and the weird dummy-humanoids.  It's still a mess, but the Eastern European sequences strike me more now. The modness kind of alienated me. If Hessler had done Satanic Rites of Dracula, it might have been better, but I wonder from his other work, did this film have a particularly good second unit director? It's just a lot of the interiors and bits with the weak Christopher Matthews stick in the memory.  But there's bits that go from energy to darkly lit gloominess. It's still a mess, though. It is too ambitious, and the procedural element slows it. But there's too much going on.

Fahrenheit 451 (1966) - Cold, unlikeable and rather silly - Cyril Cusack's fire brigade are basically Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb... This horrific totalitarian future shouldn't look like Trumpton (via the Prisoner, but still...)

Outland (1981) - Astonishing model work. Clearly an influence on Red Dwarf (down to Jupiter mining). Better than Alien and Saturn 3, but most of it is too darkly lit, and the drama is like  TV's Star Cops.  It's slow, too much of a western (it follows High Noon too closely) than a weird space-bound conspiracy thriller. Berkoff is typically goofy in his brief moment. And exploding, inflating PH Moriarty is a good effect. But it hasn't dated well. especially the constant minutes of computer screens that in 1981 were something to talk about, but now, well it's like watching calculators. Why does Connery and Kika Markham's kid have a US accent, when his parents are British? Nice Goldsmith soundtrack too.

The Beastmaster (1982) - Typical 80s fantasy nonsense, aside from a few things, almost interchangeable with The Sword and the Sorcerer. The problem with almost all 80s sword and sorcery film, like the post-apocalyptic stuff (to a lesser extent), is that the worlds they create are rubbish, constructed out of anything that could be found on a backlot. A castle in a desert, or in Hawk the Slayer's case, a disco light in a monastery. And a lot don't have enough innovation and character to make up for that. Yes, this has action ferrets, but it has that problem of being confused as to how civilised the people should be - should there be knights and monks or should it be just post-caveman... At $9 million, more expensive than it looks. Don Coscarelli tries his best, but it also ruins the more science fictional novel by Andre Norton that it is based on.

3 Men To Kill (1980) -Attractively shot seaside locations and action don't help to distinguish this routine Alain Delon cop thriller.

See also Paroles de Flic (1985) - which despite an interesting African setting, and Delon as a hero called Pratt, is mostly predictable, until too late in the runtime. It has an impressively melodramatic riverside car stunt and the soppy theme tune sung by Delon in a duet with Ian Levine favourite Phyllis Nelson. It's quite bloody, including a scene where a man is tortured by being thrown into a wall of Tuc crackers. And there are a few good chase bits, but it takes too long to kick in. And the climax is at Pinder's circus, with Delon channelling Roger Moore by dressing up as a clown. It's a passable exploiter, released by Guild in the UK.

Man In A Hurry (1977) - More humourless, dry, dull Delon gubbins, about African relations.

Le Passage (1986) - Alain Delon horror effort. About deals with the Grim Reaper (portrayed as a Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget/Blofeld-type, with lots of computer screens, hiding his skeletal appearance from behind a chair). Striking at times, but kind of dull. Delon plays a comics artist - hence animated interludes.

Tuesday 22 May 2018

5 exc/ Carry Ons - Aldrich, Tales that Witness Madness, Peckinpah, Nasty Habits, Krakatoa

All The Marbles (1982) - Robert Aldrich's last film, a flat, TV movie-like tonally-all-over-the-place comdram with Peter Falk and Burt Young struggling to hold the thing together, but the female wrestlers, especially Laurene Landon are kind of flat. Nice exterior cinematography (including a freight train carrying hatchbacks!), but disappointing. Could almost be a pilot.

Killer Elite (1975) - Pretentious Peckinpah action film (i.e. random cuts to a bird's nest during an explosion), despite having Tom Clancy (not the writer, but the Clancy brother) in a good, solid performance as a CIA exec (his accent slips - is his character supposed to be American, Irish-American or educated Ivy League educated Tipperary farm boy) and ninjas. It's overlong, tries to be about something,  spends too much on James Caan trying to walk again. Could barely make an hour into it. Overlong, drab, pretentious and just... arrgh...

Tales That Witness Madness (1973) - Even the strangeness of the stories cannot prevent this pedestrian anthology from going anywhere more than lacklustre. Despite Freddie Francis directing, it feels cheap and telly-like, and it is free of the charm and construction of the Amicus films. It lacks the fun of Asylum.

Nasty Habits (1977) - A deaf-eared Watergate spoof, all shot in England, hence Fair City's Oliver Maguie as the Irish-American cop. Confused farce. Sandy Dennis is fun, a live action Bugs Bunny if there ever was one.

Tried listening to the CBS Mystery Theatre radio adaptation of Dracula from the 1970s. But it is awful. Elderly Mercedes McCambridge as "Menna" Harker, everyone with American accents, "Lucy Westeynre", it's like bad dinner theatre.
See also the Showtime taping of Frank Langella as William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes in 1981. Stephen Collins as a toff, Tom Atkins as a Ron Pember-ish Cockney, Christian Slater as an Australian-accented Billy the Page Boy (ironic as his best role would be as a literal "Junior Watson" in The Name of The Rose), all kinds of awful.

Been doing a Carry On rewatch of the films I either never really saw.
Follow That Camel (1968) - Its weak, partly because it is very similar to the spotty Up the Khyber. Heatherdenn House again. It's like a less good Last Remake of Beau Geste (and not just because it has no granda in it). And Silvers feels completely out of place, completely anachronistic even moreso than the actual regulars. The village stuff looks very ITC, though the desert stuff does look much bigger budget, and the matte of the hotel is glorious. But it's not all that funny, and Bluthal is wasted, yet outshines everyone in his few scenes.
Carry On Cowboy (1966) I never got because the stars feel stifled by their false accents. I am not a westerns fan per se. Ironic that Percy Herbert had just been at the same time doing an actual Western series, Cimarron Strip. Pertwee looks like Pat Ingoldsby (an Irish only ref, there). And his death scene he plays exactly like his regeneration. "Garbage - it's a load of rubbish". But it tries too hard. It might have been better if not a Carry On, made in America or at least Spain, ten years later, when Dale was in America. Angela Douglas' accent is barely there, and the farm sets look more Irish than anything.
Don't Lose Your Head (1966) is an okay Scarlet Pimpernel spoof, but proves that the 'Ons hit their stride when they realise present day settings and resembling films of non-existent ITV sitcoms are the key. The theme tune is fun (by my one-time neighbour Phil Coulter).
Emmannuelle (1978) I just watched recently, beyond the titles, having got the box set. And God! It feels like a bad imitation of all those Euro-sex comedies. Bits of it don't look like a film. The bits where they for padding reasons tell us their sexy encounters, with Ken Connor stripping and having an affair with the Closet Queen of Camden Town and narrating looks like a rude banned ad campaign for a lager. The naked skydiving bit, WTF?

Krakatoa - East of Java (1969) - Notorious because of an inaccurate title, a strange B-list attempt to create an epic with a cast of B-list character faces headed by Maximilian Schell and featuring ageing Joe Meek protege John Leyton as Token Brit inventor type, a confusion of plot ideas, with Barbara Werle as a Maria Von Trapp type, and a strange mood between 50s exotica and 70s disaster movie and featuring non-diagetic musical numbers despite not bing a musical. A slog, though the effects by Eugene Lourie are actually pretty good, in a  Thunderbirds manner. And there's some weird hallucinogenic nightmare sequences that Brian Keith suffers from that turn him rapey. It tries to be about five things at once. Family musical, disaster movie, thriller,  steampunk adventure movie, and melodrama. Apart from Schell, Rossano Brazzi and  Sal Mineo and Brian Keith's John Wayne impression, the film's performances are underpowered, unmemorably hammy, and not in a good way. The likes of Diane Baker fade into the canvas of the artificial Cinecitta surroundings.  No wonder RTE constantly showed this.

Friday 18 May 2018

Stuff I came up with as a child.

Found a load of old stuff I wrote as a child.  Student astronauts sent on a deadly mission to catch a giant rampaging Rupert Bear on a space station. Involves lightspeed engine fuel, and the silly McDay and Alexander the Disco Glitter Sock saving Ecologist Edwina Fawshimer from the station breaking apart.

Prof. Douglas and starship JSOCX1 have to journey into Rupert with ropes, pulling themselves into him to stop A MAGNETISED COMET creatures from the planet Nutty, chicken monster in carbonite shells that shout, "You're a darn nutcase!" 

The morbid, dark-suited yet fat Alice thought she was dead, and proud of it. "I'm dead" Long live myself.

McDay says, "How are you my sock? We are going to swing down!"

Ends with a mention of the underground tombs of the planet Selinop, where they worship Boney M...

Another - The Scottish cleaner at the tourist office saw a wonderful picture of a penguin and decided to put on a silly high-pitched voice to imitate a penguin. A gigglesome child was curious, and asked Bernie, "Is it cold in the Arctic?" "It is to you, but not to me!"

"I'm haunted!" an afraid woman cries. "You've been shamed!" cries the man."You've been shamed!" cries the man.

Another - Miss Marple in London warned by the St. Mary Mead prophet newspaper that voodoo blood clouds cause zombies. 

Characters speak like. "I'm 20. My dad is 59." 

Greg Preston (yes, name from Survivors) is a rehumanised zombie, who drives a tractor. Normal human blood kills zombies. Zombies stomp pumpkins and withstand stinging nettles, ride rollercoasters, and visit sci-fi TV exhibitions in Blackpool.  Marple defeats the zombies by removing the brain of the radioactive pulsating, Blackpool Tower-dwelling Head Zombie. The zombies die. She goes back to Mary Mead. 

Sandra Montserrat, daughter of the cricketer leaves.

Another page long glorified synopsis - The Queen Elizabeth II Mysteries, her Maj being a consulting 'tec at Scotland Yard, saving Prince Harry from a shark in his pool.

Philip calls her Betty. "I only felt that he was a nice meal." the shark says. 

"He's third in line." adds HM. 

"Anne'd be a nice queen. Pity she's not in line." the shark adds. 

"Have you digested Harry?" asks Philip.

"I have his spotty freckles, his persona, and his hair. I'm Harry the shark.

Prince Charles and his crusty face is disappointed as he can't find a golden limited edition television plug. The shark then eats Charles and Camilla.

The Queen asks why. The end. 

Also found a story - barely started, the Man in the Mirror - an attempt at Tales of the Unexpected. An old gold frame, and a shining mirror that reflected the world around it. It was glistening. It was very old. A face carved into the top of the  gold, like a mask, owned by a cowboy-mad pub landlord called Hank, who runs a "Cowboy Saloon". He died in a state of grit and grim and grot, in a local cinema, watching a Clint Eastwood film, murdered by the tall, slim man behind the projector. The man would inherit the mirror, and then have pressure on him to sell it, except he doesn't, so he gets a sculptor to make the mirror. 

"Uh oh, a squalid shopping quarter in Yorkshire is where we are." said the stranded Canadian astronaut. 

His girlfriend saw a cow. "I'm allergic to pork."

"I don't know. Just put on my helmet to be safe."

The cow headbutted both astronauts and broke down the doors of the barn, as the ship, which had crashed through the roof, blew up.

Another routine.

"Today, we shall interview Jesus Christ." said the smiling vicar cum TV presenter. A glowing man, in an armchair, with long, unwashed hair spoke with an amount of power. 
"I did create the Earth, but Earth's people evolved from apes."

"No, they didn't. You're not Jesus Christ."

"I am Jesus Christ. From Sheffield." 

Only Fools and Horses even got the treatment with the episode idea Hookie Street Nightmare - where Del Trotter's death is prophesised by a vicar. Raquel tells Del, "I heards a vicar predicted your death." "Me dead, no, for I am indestructible. Rodney, so is..."   Del uses the interweb and finds a secret society of monks with a branch in Peckham, using a computer to predict the future, and Del joins them to make his future secure. Rodney doesn't want to join the Freemasons, but Del tells him they're "astrologists with computers. You know computers. We should join."  Boycie arrives and jokes that Marlene's in a secret society - the Peckham Housewives Guild, and wants them not to be in this superstitious nonsense. They're based at the Nag's Head, as Mike the Landlord thinks they're bachelors. And they use a giant calculator, programmed with knowledge from both present and past to give out knowledge. The Societ turn up with rifles, trying to ensure that Del dies, but turns out they've got the date wrong by two years. A rival pub, the Nun's Habit turn out to be behind it. 

Some fantasy cobblers about the Erdin and the unfortunately-named  Fani, in a land called Mezin, ruled over by BaNoor/Servant King Bernard. Built over six days in the year 10.02 1/2, when the seas rose. A princess called Mondserl, a dragon's flames spreading through the town. Elf-knight Crestor against the Wizard Army of the Universe, from Wizard Land. Clawberd and Lord Deathstorm and a banker named Pentil fight over seven scrolls predicting peace and love. Then a gate of dimensions leads to a white-mackintoshed  soap opera-living scientist from the USA, Johnny Chicago, He gives our hero Dynamite stones/grenades and arrows on a bell bow, There's lots of gore, and a search for the Mythical Science that will enable the world's greatest wizard. They think the Earth is flat, and the gates built to stop mythical creatures leaking in. 

A few cobblers about ungrateful men using coconuts to rebuild a shipwrecked boat. An old man named Albert who steals beer and hides it in a shed to share with his mate Ivor, away from his sister Vi.  And Clarence and Margery, an old couple holiday in Holland in 1916, and help form the Wounded Soldiers' Band. 

Mrs. Ticking, a woman stealing from a casket smoked her final cigarette. "I've lit the fuse." Inside the casket, a million pounds are  there , left by Fat Janet but created by the forger Thin Betty, who are actually Tiberius and FJ Thomas, two male criminals in knitted jumpers, hairnets, Elastoplast-framed glasses, ball gown, dangly earrings and furcoats. Yes, it's a heist thing.

Sunday 13 May 2018

42 complete (inc. Mouse on the Moon, Charly I glimpsed - My Dog Tulip, Cruising, Eurospy, China Syndrome, Inside Out, Italian comedy, Strange Affair, Mouse that Roared, Wonder Women, Islan in the Sun, Fearless Frank, terrible 60s comedies, Boorman, Black Joy, Smokey Roadblock ,the Hunter, Lenny Henry, Ventura

Tried watching Alan Rudolph's Equinox (1992) but though I like some of the cinematographic elements, I find it rather up its arse.

Masquerade (1965) - Interchangeable UK spy comedy. Cliff Robertson stars and William Goldman writes, as they were preparing Charly (1968 - a film I never really was interested in because I knew I'd find it silly, I've tried to watch it several times but Robertson's performance though good goes from restrained to Frank Spencer). Here, Charles Gray appears with black hair opposite his future vent-act Jack Hawkins,  and Roger Delgado pops up as a sheik. A Eurospy Carry On Follow That Camel, with a plot no different from any ITC desert jaunt. Not much humour, though.

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977) - Joe D'Amato was a godawful director, even in his early stuff like Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973).  Couldn't make it through this. Worst kind of bad Italian exploitation. Everything is stilted, except the groovy soundtrack.

The China Syndrome (1979) - An interesting film, but an average conspiracy thriller, slightly too scholarly and too dry for its own good. Would probably be forgotten if it weren't for Three Mile Island.  Tries too hard to be Network.  It ends up feeling too much like a documentary.

My Dog Tulip (2010) is a joy, compared to the moping Film4 dramedy of We Think The World of You (1988). Shows how a story can be made engaging in animation, as opposed to grey, grainy realistic Film on Four. Plummer's voiceover is full of joy, compared to the sobbing teddy boy of Gary Oldman and refined, self-loathing bachelor of Alan Bates. Then again, I'm not a fan of Pinteresque moping about boarding houses unless there's an engaging story to hold it together.

Tried watching Cruising (1980). It feels such an ugly film, and quite offensive. Not all gays are swishy genderqueers in leather.

Tried watching the Walking Tall films (1973, (1975, (1977) again. The 70s ones, that is. They feel like very cheap TV - a cop show crossed with the Waltons, being made by Bing Crosby productions whose films all felt like TV, Willard (1971) and Ben (1972), especially. They feel bland. Bo Svenson is Big Tom-ish.

Rewatch - Inside Out (-1975) - The sort of heist film that TVCream parodied as  "Nutty Hijack", a more cheerier, almost Children's Film Foundation-like heist-orientated Wild Geese II with James Mason, Telly Savalas, Robert Culp, Aldo Ray (before he got removed from SAG for appearing in barrel-scraping nonsense) and Gunter Meisner playing Hitler again, in some weird staged hallucination. And a character who is supposed to be a transsexual but is a rather effeminate Kraut Bowie in a sheepskin jacket. Confused but very odd, and very German.

Doctor Jekyll Likes Them Hot (1979) - Very odd Italian sex comedy with Paolo Villaggio, after his fame as Italian comedy favourite Fantozzi and Edwige Fenech. Heavily shot in London. They play God Save the Queen and characters silently sing the theme, as if they forgot to put in their singing voices. The Queen is a character, and there is a plan explained by a model railway. Pictures of Fredric March's Jekyll used for the ancestor. A Madame Fanny/Young Mr. Grace bedbound old mad scientist explodes. A chase around Buck House and the Albert Hall. Something about a serum that turns people into blonde cherubs.  Well-made for a piece of Italian schlock. Ends at Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight. So strange and energised that it entertains.

Fantozzi (1975) - Very Italian comedy, told in a series of vignettes, coated with bits of grotesque imagery (i.e. the lead's daughter is played by a gurning bloke in drag who looks oddly convincing), not much of it especially hilarious, but some of it quite visually inventive - i.e. a tennis match in fog and people falling into barrels of egg at a Japanese restaurant and a crucifixion gag.

The Second Tragic Fantozzi (1976) - More of the same, bar some interesting parodies of silent films, i.e. an adult baby version of Battleship Potemkin. Lots of clowns smacking each other.

Watched a That's Carry On best of the various Fantozzi films. Some extraordinary sequences including (from 1986's Superfantozzi - Italy's answer to History of the World Part 1) where a red double decker bus of Scottish football hooligans comes face to face with the Italian fans' coach, both transforming into pirate ships with flags and cannons and rifles blasting through the windows, while kilted warriors have fights on the gangplanks.

Fraachia Contro Dracula (1985) - Another franchise for Villaggio . Begins with our hero watching Return of the Living Dead. Has a Romanian village stuck in the 19th Century, full of busty maidens in dirndls, a barely used Edmund Purdom as Dracula. It looks all very melodramaticatmospheric. But it is sub-Shiver and Shake. The Karloffian Frankenstein's monster makeup is fun. The sets look expensive. But it is sub-Shiver and Shake.

The Strange Affair (1968) - Sleazy, unlikeable, porn-related ecumenical matters cop drama with Michael York and underage Susan George. The sort of Yewtree-y film I dislike, but interesting to see George A. Cooper third-billed. Lost interest in it, gradually. Felt like a bad Euston thing ten years early.

Danny The Champion of The World (1990) - Also ignored this as a kid for some reason. Feels like an episode of All Creatures Great And Small. It's a late period CFF production. Something lacking about it. Lacks the darkness/weirdness of most Dahl. Basically a Cusack-Irons family vanity project.

Some May Live (1967) - Godawful Peter Cushing/Joseph Cotten Vietnam war quota quickie. Set in the world of a military camp for budget reasons. Has a theme by Vince Hill. Couldn't maintain interest.

Tried watching the Mouse that Roared (1958) and The Mouse on the Moon (1963). Prototypes of all those stodgy epic comedies. There's not much actual laughs, just a parade of faces and situations. Then again, I prefer the later Carry On's to the rather too gentle Ealing-esque ones.

Also watched daft cartoons Quark the Dragonslayer (1987, a John Cleese-narrated Danish 40s throwback) and the Dutch Superted Sebastian Starbear (1991). But some cartoons are very samey.

Tried watching Wonder Women (1973), but I have a low tolerance for Filipino schlock. A lot of it is samey. Manila, jungles, mad scientists with little innovation, some badly staged action.

Island In The Sun (1957) - Like Boy On  A Dolphin (1957) and the lesser Legend of the Lost (1957), an attractive piece of Cinemascope wallpaper that doesn't really need a plot. Just an excuse for lovely scenery and lovely Harry Belafonte singing.

Fearless Frank (1967) - Dull, almost afraid to be silly Philip Kaufman superhero-arthouse comedy starring Jon Voight.

Work Is A Four Letter Word (1968) - Peter Hall's silly fantasy comedy, with David Warner and the even more awful on film than telly Cilla "Stella" Black, almost a UK version of the above.Young Elizabeth Spriggs is quite attractive.

The Radioland Murders (1994) - George Lucas' attempt to make a Coen Brothers-ish nu-screwball comedy, in the hands of director Mel Smith. Yes, really. It does feel like a parody by him and Griff of the Coens, except it's not actually funny. The soundtrack really does sound like it's by Stanley Rogers, though.

 Where The Heart Is (1990) - Like a more teen-orientated, more wacky, less joyously daft The Freshman, feels like a 55-year-old John Boorman's idea of a young person's film. Everyone's line readings are off. It feels like Boorman is trying to do John Waters, and yet is also so preachy, it could be an Afterschool Special on homelessness.

There Goes The Bride (1980) - One of the stranger British comedies of the late  70s, early 1980s. Starring Tom Smothers, Twiggy, Martin Balsam, Sylvia Syms, Graham Stark, Hermione Baddeley, Phil Silvers, Jim Backus and Broderick Crawford. Despite being shot mostly in Florida, still feels like a slice of British nonsense. It doesn't look like a film. It's all washed out. You expect Alan Whicker to pop up, sipping a nice cold beverage.     Based on a Ray Cooney farce, directed by Terry Marcel.

Great Smokey Roadblock (1977) - Henry Fonda plays a trucker who welcomes the titles by running slow motion in a nightie. A strange mix of sentiment and sleaze. Unsure if it is a weepie or trucksploitation rubbish.

True Identity (1991) - Lenny Henry in America. Doesn't feel like a proper film. It feels like something like Only Fools - Miami Twice. Ironic that he has since played Othello. He does look effectively awkward. But god is it awful.

Black Joy (1977) - Weird that future Eastenders father and son "and Oscar James and introducing Paul Medford" are billed together. Again, feels like a documentary, in a better way. An innocent, incredibly sheltered Caribbean eejit travels to London, faces harassment from the racist authority,  and befriends Norman Beaton, and Floella Benjamin. Captures 70s London very well. I'm not that much of a fan of reggae (well, I don't really like lover's rock, which is predominant here), but there is a great soundtrack, and the sort of 70s black British humour I don't quite get, but this is an odd film. It's somewhere between The Monkey Hustle and a Play For Today.

Murders At The Zoo (1932 - B/W) - Strange film caught between 1930s noir potboiler and something more primal and exploitative. Lionel Atwill stirs the pot amidst all the tonal oddness.

The Hunter (1980) - A dying Steve McQueen feels slightly out of place in this rather stagey, TV movie-level actioner.  There is a good setpiece involving a combine harvester and an astonishing rail-line stunt, but that's all.  The ending is very sentimental, but quite poignant, considering it involves a birth, while its star was near death. Feels sort of Belmondo-ish, too.

Peur sur la Ville (1974) - A rote, rather grim cop vs. killer thriller enlivened by sone ace Belmondo stuntwork.

The Angry Man (1979) - Canadian tax shelter potboiler with Lino Ventura and Angie Dickinson. Nice cinematography of the Montreal region and soundtrack by Claude Bolling. Very nothingy, even the scene in a Montreal honkytonk doesn't generate much excitement. The likes of Chris Wiggins and Vlasta Vrana and Walter Massey appear, to certify Concan, while the likes of George Mihalka and Bob Presner worked behind the scenes.

Le Ruffian (1983) - Another Canadian Ventura vehicle, descends into a clueless series of nonsensical comic vignettes mixed in with a conspiracy, i.e. the talent of rollerskating with snooker cues being a trigger for flashbacks. Nice Morricone soundtrack more suited to a Spencer and Hill comedy western, and nice cinematography of British Columbia. By the end, it is a Gallic Wilderness Family knockoff.

Monday 7 May 2018

23 (these numbers are the list of the films given an opinion on - I did a list - about 920 films which can't be right...) 23 - Cry the Beloved, kung fu, Black Hole, Smiley, King of the Gypsies, Bloody Mama, Inserts

Cry the Beloved Country (1995) - One of Harry Alan Towers' attempts at mainstream success, lushly shot, with a bigger budget than the usual Towers of London production. This is an adaptation of Alan Paton's novel, with James Earl Jones, Charles S. Dutton and Richard Harris. It is also, refreshingly a South African film that is open about its setting and proud of its identity, made shortly after Mandela's election. It is all rather staid and HBO movie-like. Richard Harris' African accent sounds more West Brit than anything, which ties into the theme being sung by Enya. John Barry's soundtrack is good, but the main theme is a reversioning of his theme from Zulu. Not a self-plagiarising like Starcrash/Out of Africa, but the actual theme from Zulu. It actually works, slowed down and played for poignancy rather than storming epic adventure.   In another sign of Towers, some of the acting is Nigerian soap-standard (they may be solid actors but pair them up against James Earl Jones and they flounder).

Lady Oscar (1979) - Jacques Demy film, full of British faces, but kind of empty despite the design. No wonder it never got a release in Europe.

De Sade (1969) - Ropey melodrama that thinks it is Barry Lyndon, but closer to  Jess Franco.

Captive (1986) - Dull, interminable barely-a-film with Oliver Reed as a blowhard. Score by Sinead O'Connor and U2.

Forced Vengeance (1982) - Chuck Norris vehicle in Hong Kong. A bloody dud that fails to get the most out of Hong Kong, set in a Hong Kong where there are casinos.

Yesterday's Hero (1979) - Couldn't make this through, despite Alan Lake as an American who sounds more Geordie than anything. Grim Jackie Collins tale with Ian McShane, Adam Faith, Paul Nicholas doing his staid rocker thing and Suzanne Somers in a council estate and a 2nd division football club.

Les Tribulation D'un Chinois En Chine (1965) - Jean-Paul Belmondo is annoying in his wig disguise - a little too Wisdomesque. Some good stunts but it loses something in translation. Also watched Le Guignolo (1980), an unfunny, action-starved Sting knockoff with Jean-Paul. I was on Letterboxd, but it's hard to tell what films you've seen. I've included films I've attempted but couldn't finish (two star vehicles in more cases),  but sometimes a particularly bad film may only register because you once saw the trailer, and that was enough to make an impression. Something like Klute I put on, because I thought I saw it, but when I did watch it, either it was unmemorable. I've probably seen about 3000 films, 2700 according to the 'boxd.  Found Docteur Justice (1975) a dud, Money Moners (-1978) TV movie-like and Sssssss (1973) TV movie-like, lethargic and like a bad Columbo with mad science. Though some films I marked a dislike despite never seeing them in full. One can see from a minute of Pretty Baby (-1978) that it is fucking awful. Decided to quit the thing because I feel like it forces you to watch films. I'm not a completist.

The Black Hole (1979) - Disney had the wrong idea. Great soundtrack by Barry, great design (even if V.I.N. Cent. and Old B.O.B. are very cartoony) and Maximilian Schell is a good villain, but it's a talky TV movie-level plot, unsure as to what it is. Haunted house movie, Captain Nemo in space,  disaster movie, space opera? Robert Forster (in his last major studio film for another twenty years) is good, but Yvette Mimieux reminds me of Dr. Pulaski in Star Trek - The Next Generation. The robot death scene of OLD B.O.B. is quite poignant. It actually should be remade, with a more likeable set of characters.

Warriors of the Year 2072 (1984) - Flickery, garishly ugly Fulci mess.

The Deadly Affair (1966) - Unlikeably dark and grim. I find that Le Carre isn't quite my thing.

Roma (1972) - Not so much a film as an anthology of moving pictures. Beautifully done but not really a film. Like a constant reel of postcard-like vignettes. I'm not really a Fellini fan (neorealism isn't quite my thing), but some of his more plotless wonders can at least visually intrigue.

Ordeal By Innocence (1984) - Lifeless, dull TV movie-like Agatha Christie plodder from Cannon. Boon and Lovejoy costar (Elphick and McShane shortly before taking on their iconic TV roles). The Dave Brubeck score annoys. For tax reasons, a few forest scenes with Plummer and Sutherland and an invisible rabbit were shot in New Jersey. The trees look look convincingly English.
Realised I hadn't seen it while scanning my old HBO film guide, full of interminable films like the  tropical nonsense of Sunburn (1979).

King of the Gypsies (1979) - Dino De Laurentiis' attempt to do the Godfather for the travelling community. Except it feels rushed. It isn't a long saga of emigration. It feels cheap. Lots of funny moustaches and fedoras. But almost no caravans. Eric Roberts looks slightly older than his mun Susan Sarandon. Judd Hirsch falls off a roof. Brooke Shields gets thrown away so Roberts can do his vigilante bit. Shelley Winters, dolled up as Maria Ousenskaya has nothing to do. Sterling Hayden is unconvincing as a Romani. In fact, no one really convinces as Romani. It's a very strange, dog-eared film that doesn't know what it is.The world is interesting, but there's not really enough there. The supermarket accident is interesting. It's nicely shot. Roberts is great,  astonishing for a debut, and quite attractive. The trouble it tries to shoehorn in this huge big arc. Basically, if it was a smaller, more introspective piece, and not trying to be the Godfather, it would have worked better.

Attempted to watch Bloody Mama (1970), but realised it's hicksploitation. Shelley Winters is good, and interesting to see a young Robert De Niro, but it feels cheap, ironically by shooting in the real locations, it makes it look cheaper. I forgot she was from Kansas. Yes, I fell into the Boney M trap (who got her name wrong) that "she was the meanest cat in old Chicago town".

Tried End of the World (1977) and Inserts (1975), which were bad enough to make me forget if I had seen them before. Operation Daybreak, Endgame (1983), Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and the Prize (1963)... - 8 forgettable films including the memorable but shoddily done Sugar Hill (1974).

Thursday 3 May 2018

14 - Five Days from Home, the Appointment, Burt, horror, White Hunter, Black Heart

The Appointment (1981) - Edward Woodward horror-drama. Some atmospheric suburban visuals but  mostly uneventful. Shot like a Public information film.

Five Days from Home (1979) - Despite being a theatrical release from Universal, this George Pepper (yes, I know, blame Grandad) vehicle feels like a pilot for a Fugitive-type series, but then, it becomes a schmaltzy regional family tearjerker, with a proper "You have been watching" end credits.. Got on the cover of Films Illustrated, despite not even getting a VHS release. No wonder. Nice theme but couldn't finish it. Directed and funded by Peppard, to break stereotyping.

The End (1978) - Burt Reynolds comedy. Kind of odd tone. Sporadically entertaining, i.e. Robby Benson as a priest younger than even me, looking like a 1970s US Father Dougal. It takes about an hour to kick in the actual plot. I know it's weird but if this was a Bud Spencer and Terence Hill vehicle, it'd have been better.  Deluise is miscast. From a certain light, he looks threatening, but ACTION! and he's a talkative smart-ass. He looks soft. The character is supposed to be this murderer, and the most dangerous that he comes across is a slightly annoying uncle.

American Pop (1981) - The performances are all stiff, even in animation. Thus is the flaw of rotoscope. Feels like a point and click videogame. Not a big Bakshi fan. Exposed too young to find most of it silly. Though I like the cartoon Lord of the Rings. At least it's not nine hours long.

Sharky's Machine (1981)  - A serviceable Dirty Harry knockoff with Burt Reynolds. It's nothing special, but the atmosphere is very dark and grim for a Burt film. A bit De Palma-ish. Henry Silva plays a Mafia man, after years of doing it in Italian films. His Italian accent isn't bad, but then again he was practically a naturalised resident by this stage. Rachel Ward looks awfully young as Burt's love interest. The playground end sequence looks more like a father and daughter bonding than two lovers. Nice theme by Randy "No, she's not a bloke!" Crawford,  but I've long tired of this film. Only the Georgia setting feels fresh, that and this era Burt being surrounded by lashings of sex and violence.

Been reading and enjoying John Willis' Screen World annuals, especially the 1981-1982 lot. A lot of weird films in there I'd forgotten about that I attempted but never finished, The Hand (forgettable Michael Caine Hands of Orlac job. Windwalker (Trevor Howard plays an Indian chief spouting mystic mumbo-jumbo in subtitled Cheyenne), the Godawful Incredible Shrinking Woman, Young Doctors In Love and Coup De Torchon (with Philippe Noiret as an oversexed arse patrolling Africa in an all-star Gallic sex farce that feels like it is a cinema verite Dennis Potter a la France).

Murder By Phone (1982) - Bland Canadian thriller, like an even less effective Telefon (1977). Richard Chamberlain in another valiant attempt to break out of telly. As for Telefon, Pleasence has a ridiculous  blond bowlcut disguise, so it is an intriguing oddity, unlike Murder By Phone.

Tried watching What's New, Pussycat? (1965), but it's just Sellers, O'Toole and Allen indulging in nonsense.

Ugly, Dirty and Bad (1976) - Carlo Ponti-produced account of a grotesque family. The trouble is the family aren't quite grotesque enough. Yes, Nino Manfredi has a wonky eye, and he dreams of transvestites on mattresses, but it feels just ugly, and not in a surreal or exaggerated matter. It's too ugly and non screen-ugly. It's too convincingly dirty. Their home looks like the Bucket house from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, if it were in the real world. The commedia all'italiana is a bemusing genre. It's a farce that doesn't translate well. It feels very stagey - even the house has a very unconvincing sitcom-type photographic backdrop of the Rome skyline sticking out of the window. Why are Italians obsessed with fat women? Do they think it's funny or sexy? It's how I imagine the sitcom "What A-Mistake To Make-A". For those not aware, I once used footage of the similar Laurence Olivier Presents staging of the play "Saturday, Sunday, Monday" to enact a world where Olivier made his only sitcom for Granada in 1976-77, playing an exaggerated Italian patriarch. Because the play was shot on video by Granada, it kind of worked.

US TV would show anything though, even the least horrific horror of all - the oddly compelling Dean Jagger vehicle So Sad About Gloria (1975 - the end involves a Phantom Stranger-type dragging a coffin onto a railway platform) and its director's Pepsi cola ad-esque sci-fi non-weirdness The Day It Came to Earth (1979).
The Evil (1978)- decent haunted house horror with Richard Crenna and Victor Buono as the Devil. Steals from the Sentinel and Legend of Hell House. The ending is great, the house erupts into a white void - Hell presided by Buono dressed as Ricardo Montalban.   Includes haunted quicksand. 
ITV showed 1974's Symptoms (1974) - Less a horror, but a psychodrama. Slow but good performances  and nice Sunday afternoon atmosphere.  Made by Spaniard Jose Larraz and Spirou publishers Dupuis. Mike "Barry!" Grady turns up. Peter Vaughan and Angela Pleasence the stars.

Tried to watch White Hunter, Black Heart (1990), but Clint's performance is awful.He's trying too hard to channel John Huston. Every line is... forced... and over-stressed... to such a point... that it... becomes... ridiculous. They make a point of the character not being John Huston, when Clint plays it in such a way that it obviously is. And it feels cheap. It feels like a Screen Two, and unexciting in the way that a lot of those Screen Twos are.