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.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't finish
    Best of Enemies (1961) with David Niven felt dull and confused as to which side it is on.
    The Formula (1980) - which seems to be boring from what I found, i.e. Brando in non-existent old age makeup going on about wurst.
    Tried the Baron of Arizona (1949) - not even a western starring Vincent Price could attract.
    The Boy in Blue (1986), being CBC felt like a dull attempt to ape Chariots of Fire.
    The Corrupt Ones (1967) seem to be more a dire Eurospy/ITC-type thing than I realised, then again, it is Clemens.