Wednesday 18 July 2018

47 - McQ and Euro-Adventure

Bons Basiers De Hong Kong (1975) - Begins with the most astonishing blatant copy of the Bond opening, even using the theme - and Lois Maxwell and Bernard Lee as Moneypenny and M, though only briefly (a prematurely aged David Tomlinson deputises as a British authority figure in Hong Kong), this French spoof coproduced by the Shaw brothers makes Operation Kid Brother look original. It actually manages to look like a Bond film  same film stock and all. Clifton James pops up, not as Sheriff Pepper. Mickey Rooney in a turban too, but the stars are Les Charlots - an irritating French foursome dressed as schoolboys. The Queen appears, played by a lookalike named Huguette Funfrock. Not a good film at all, and its initial curiosity value wears thin.

McQ (1974) - John Wayne tries to be Dirty Harry/Popeye Doyle/Bullitt. Some good action, but it's basically your grandad failing to show that he still has it.

Escape from Angola (1972) - Awful African-set tedium from Ivan Tors.     

Eagle In A Cage (1972) - Stagey TVM adap shot in Yugoslavia. Bland. Kenneth Haigh is rather too comical as Napoleon. Not a period drama fan, but this is very odd.

The Golden Arrow (1962) - Attractive if rather empty Italian fantasy - an incongruously dubbed Tab Hunter as a prince, some nice sequences involving flaming men and a trip to Egypt. Atypical pepla.  With added genies on magic carpets fighting a battle by throwing pots from the air. Unusually imaginative. One of Antonio Margheriti's best.

Sogni mostruosamente proibiti (1982) - Only made it through half of this typical Paolio Villaggio vehicle. He's not Fantozzi, but Paolo, a comics translator who dreams he is Tarzan and Superman. Also has Janet Agren as his creation.

Luci Iontane (1987)  - Ponderously dull Tomas Milian-starring Mediaset nonsense about aliens. 

Ciao Marziano (1980) - Italian comedy with Avanti!'s Pippo Franco. Silly alien comedy, with one novelty- a scene where Pope John Paul II stares at a newsreader's tits. Features scenes of Italian crimes and sub-Pumaman flying scenes. He ca also turn his and others' skins different colours. Features a blacked-up Zulu-themed pop band (not the Irish band the Zulus, but something like that if much funkier).

Brother from Space (1988) -Religious Italian E.T. knock-off. One of those films you presume is set in Italy - Martin Balsam plays a priest, until you see US Army and US Sheriffs appear. The alien wears the spacesuit for most of the runtime, and dies to give a blind woman glasses to see. Dire.

Animali Metropolitani (1987)-  Very strange Italian comedy from Steno, begins with stock footage of The Last Starfighter, then some Planet of the Apes-type civilised monkey-men introduce us to a series of baffling vignettes with a pith helmeted Donald Pleasence explaining Italian life, or something a la Fantozzi. Director Mario Gariazzo also did with Balsam, the Yorkshire-set Eyes Behind The Stars (1977), which is worse.

Li chiamavano i tre moschettieri... invece erano quattro (1973) -Ettore Manni and Tony Kendall in Italian 3 Musketeers knockoff, a shambolic swashbuckler that tries and fails to out-Richard Lester Richard Lester. Very silly, childish, with an (I think...) D'Artagnan who looks like Eric Idle.

Sharks' Cave (1978) -Italian Jaws/Bermuda Triangle hybrid. Typical Italian tedium. Also features a cockfight amongst a mondo-ish love montage.  Genuine shark footage mixed with hippie-folk mysticism and men who look like Rita Tushingham.  Nice Stelvio Cipriani soundtrack, and nicely shot - and there's a wondrous stunt where a man holding onto a wheelchair is shot into the sea from his boat, and he dives in, drowning, holding onto his chair.  In the end, a school project model of a lost city and pyramid and a volcano signalled by a humanoid figure in a wall of light occurs, and the sharks wreak havoc, while ghosts scream. The End. Interesting but not very good and makes no real sense, like so many Italian films of this era.

Encounter in the Deep (1979) - Like the above, another Tonino Ricci UFO/Bermuda Triangle cash-in, featuring Gabriele Ferzetti, Bond's father in law himself. A weird hybrid between Sunn Classics-scenes of recreations with badly-synced dialogue in cheap sets and the typical Roman actioner - goes from missing sailors to a bar room brawl. Gianni Garko plays a mariner with an on-board pet Alsatian. The film retreats into bland day-for-night fogbound limbo, with Adidas product placement and lengthy diving scenes with an all-male, middle-aged crew. Eventually, they find a flat-headed statue in an island cave, and a recreation of the final minutes of Close Encounters of the Third Kind happen in reverse. Everyone is reunited and blasted off in space, while a seadog narrates the story to the Alsatian. At times astonishing, other times boring Italian nonsense. Better than the insane but boring Bermuda Triangle (1979) with John Huston. Another discovery.

Rocambole (1963)  - Charmless and anachronistic (60s stock footage of London fills the thing) European period pulp. Not really entertaining, a bit ITC but without the charm, ironically distributed by the company for US TV. Its bland American hero is magician and one-time Crackerjack! guest Channing Pollock.

Blonde in the Blue Movie (1971) - Idiotic sexcom with Lando Buzzanca and Ferdy Mayne. Also from Steno.

Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa? (1968) - Alberto Sordi-Nino Manfredi comedy based on Heart Of Darkness. Nice soundtrack by Armando Trovajoli, nice photography of Angola, and at least one joke - i.e. an African taking photo of an Italian in white hunter gear taking photos of the Africans. The title is brilliant - Will our heroes find their friend who mysteriously disappeared in Africa?.  At two hours it is is overlong, and padded with mondo-style documentary travelogue footage that are possibly the highlight of the film. There's even a spaghetti eating contest-type bit. There's also unfortunate blacking up and a top-knot African outfit.

H2S (1969) -Nonsensical arty but stylish dystopia with a nice Morricone end credits, a bare chested Lionel Stander and then-poor man's Dennis Waterman Denis Gilmore,  as an idiotic London schoolboy. Somewhat Sid and Marty Krofft-ish, but about a student riot.  Has a baffling array of scenes including a St. Bernard in a snow, a woman being bathed with orange substances by Gilmore in a tin bath, and then has sex with a machine.

Tuareg (1984) - Arab-set action nonsense by Enzo G. Castellari, with a miscast Mark Harmon. The Arab-Israeli-type conflict is interesting, but it's a dressup of WW2 movies from ten years earlier. The music sounds vaguely like the Onedin Line theme.

il seme dell'uomo (1969) - Arty Marco Ferreri apocalyptica - lots of montages.

Fantabulous Inc (1968) -Richard Harrison and Adolfo Celi in a supposed superhero-spy film that uses a montage of the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Batman, Captain Marvel Jnr, the Phantom anmong others, probably without permission. Cheap, ambitious but rubbish. Similar to the better-made, artier Mr. Freedom (1969).

Fenomenal and the Treasure of Tutankhamun (1968) - Early venture from Ruggero Deodato. It's not great, it has some youthful enthusiasm, but it lacks the interesting way Italian crews shoot British industrial landscapes in the likes of Special Mission Lady Chaplin, Kriminal and Argoman.

White Hunter (1988) - Klaus Kinski hunts for panther that killed his wife, in unexciting flashback-filled Italian adventure. Kinski is frozen and found in the ice by Harvey Keitel.

Lone Runner (1986) - Godawful Italian nonsense set either in the 1900s or 1990s, with Miles O'Keeffe as an Arab Mad Max/Indiana Jones-type. Ronald Lacey pops up, dubbed. Directed by Ruggero Deodato.

Marrakech Express (1989) - Two bland yuppies go to the desert, and try to be Hill and Spencer. From Gabrielle Salvatores, of Irish secondary school favourite I'm Not Scared.

Zambo (1972) - Haplessly meandering Italian Tarzan with Brad Harris, filmed in Africa, but one doesn't realise it's meant to be period until a female character appears.

Zwei Teufelskerle auf dem Weg ins Kloster (1975) - One of the 3 Superboys series, a separate entity from the 3 Supermen series. 3 idiots bathe in oil in the jungle and flirt with nuns, not a superhero film, but a sort of Hill/Spencer cash in from German producer Ernst Hofbauer.

Superstooges versus the Wonder Women (1974) - More superpowered Italian slapstick, from Shaw Brothers, Ovidio Assonitis, AIP and Alfonso Brescia. Tedious late-period sword and sandal Amazons mixed with tedious slapstick.  Descends into a mess of fire, horses and burqas. The Bowie-gone-wrong disco soundtrack is jolly.

questa volta ti faccio ricco (1974) - Starring Antonio Sabato Sr. and Brad Harris (billed as Robin McDavid to pass him off as Scottish), an unmemorable Shaw Brothers coproduced Gianfranco Parolini-directed Hill/Spencer takeoff.

Kommissar X - Gangsters Per Un Massacro (1968)  - Might be the best Kommissar X film, mostly the same old cliches, but features jetpacks at a rodeo. Has a strong Country and German vibe.  More Brad Harris. Turns out I rewatched this sometime later. Canadian.

Simbad e il califfo di Bagdad (1973) - Colourful if action free Harryhausensploitation from Titanus and Pietro Francisci, the man who launched Steve Reeves, begins with the crossbow assassination of a dancer.

Boulevard du Rhum (1971) - Lino Ventura and Brigitte Bardot plus Bill Travers in baffling Mexican-set caper. Clive Revill turns up as a pirate. Also seems to be set somewhere between 1930 and 1970.

Deserto Di Fuoco (1971) - Shonky Sahara adventure-melodrama with Edwige Fenech as a native and Taiwanese George Wang as an Arab,  and a score by Bixio that sounds as if it is going to burst into the theme from The Killing of Sister George. Forgettable even when watching it.

Il Sorriso Del Ragno (1971) - Bland crime-film set in Greece with Thomas Hunter (lead goon in The Cassandra Crossing) and Gabriele Tinti.

Riuscirà il nostro eroe a ritrovare il più grande diamante del mondo? (1971) - Diamond theft goofiness with American Ray Danton as a British spy named Jimmy Logan. Couldn't stick it.

Quickly Spari e Baci a Colazione (1971) - Cheap and nasty Pakistani Eurospy starring Crossplot's Claudie Lange, by Alberto Cavallone, with weird cartoon interludes. Thinks Pakistan is full of Arabs. Tried watching Cavallone's Afrika (1973), his transgender film, but it was awful. So gave up on that.

Don't Turn The Other Cheek (1971) - Eli Wallach does his Jewish Mexican, Franco Nero does his Russian and his sister-in-law Lynn Redgrave plays an Irishwoman (well, she did live in Howth). Though set in the Mexican Revolution, Redgrave is a feminist journalist  and there are 70s Mariachi bands. Goofy sub-Trinity antics. Staring at bums and stuff.

Le Sauvage (1975) - Wearing romcom in foreign climes with Yves Montand and Catherine Deneuve, plus Vernon Dobtcheff, Dana Wynter and Tony Roberts.

Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia  (1974) - A genuine discovery, one of several pre-Glasnost coproductions between Dino de Laurentiis and Mosfilm - a fun, exciting action-comedy about a bunch of Italian treasure hunters in the USSR. A nice time capsule of Soviet Russia, but even more so - with some innovative stunts - including cars flipping off a container truck, and a scene where a lion bashes through a tower full of giant nest dolls. Better than the usual Italian comedies of this era.

Safari Rally (1978) - Joe Dallesandro in a cheap racing melodrama, not worth it.

Africa Express (1975) - Typical De Angelis-scored Italian family comedy with authentic African scenery  - starring Giuliano Gemma, Jack Palance and Ursula Andress and a chimp. It looks expensive, and the dynamic is changed by having four leads, if you count the chimp. There is a bizarre sketch where an African chief is dragged by a dental floss attached to a truck to get a tooth out. Also, two very Italian fat aristocrat ladies with parasols suddenly appear, and are revealed to be arse-shaking cabaret dancers who literally bring the floor down.  A pleasant time-killer.  Like Unbelievable Adventures, one of the more fun Italian adventures.

Safari Express (1976) - Begins with a chimp bride marrying a human, in a church with an Ulsterman priest. Turns out to be a chimp's dream. Sadly, the rest of the film isn't this weird. With Jack Palance, Giuliano Gemma and Ursula Andress (dubbing herself, for once - with her awful voice) as an amnesiac nun, a different role to the one she played in the previous film, Africa Express, Has the chimp drinking whiskey, and a silly-ass RAF type.

L'Aventure, c'est L'Aventure (1972) - Lino Ventura vehicle. Features the kidnap of Johnny Hallyday, directed by Claude Lelouch. There is some impressive stunts, and lots of baffling French humour. Overlong at two hours, rather too leisurely - even has a golf break. Works better as a trailer.

Hotel Colonial (1987) Steamy but unmemorable Italian erotic thriller with John Savage, Rachel Ward and a slumming Robert Duvall.

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