Sunday 8 July 2018

52 + 2 = 54. - Crime movies, hippie weirdness, gore, 60s stuff, Eurocrime, De Palma, Caboblanco, 80s DTV dreck, Tarzan, Britsploitation, Lady from Shanghai, women in prison

3 Supermen in the Jungle (1970) - With a theme tune that sounds vaguely like the theme to the Price is Right,  goofy if attractively shot in a cartoonish Arabian Nights-style Turkey followed by a trip into Carry On Up the Jungle territory. Lots of nonsensical comedy fighting. Has Africans in toques preparing a meal for the white female tribe, and comic-style scenes of a bone instrument band.

Villain (1971) - It's wonderfully shot, but Burton's Cockney accent is astonishing. Sometimes, it's reasonable, but then he goes a bit gruff, and it's ridiculous. It just doesn't suit him. It really ruins the film. It's too good to be a camp classic, and yet it's too ridiculous to be a dark, lean, mean crime film. Ian McShane as the doe-eyed love interest. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics somewhat brilliantly retcon his character to be a literal Young Lovejoy, sometime  after his oggy-raiding.

Sitting Target (1972) - A grim, mean partly Irish shot crime thriller with Oliver Reed. Jill St. John's accent is too posh, too Mid-Atlantic for a gangster's wife. Ian McShane and Edward Woodward costar. Again well-made but not really a film I enjoy. It's a film about a nutter who wants to kill his wife.

The Incident (1968 - B/W) - One of the last b/w studio films, like the latter, well-made but difficult to like.

Beast of the Yellow Night (1970) - Weirdly Christian Filipino horror, tries to be atmospheric but badly lit, badly made.

The Trip (1967)  - Literally made on drugs, so of course it's nonsense.

Psychout (1968) - More of the above from AIP. Rubbish, again. Invented the BBC 4 60s homage, down to the use of Incense and Peppermints.

Colour Me Blood Red (1967) - It can be rubbish in parts, but H.G. Lewis was no Wes Craven. Yes, he could bore the audience at times, but this has plenty of zap to make up for the amateurishness.

Wizard of Gore (1970) - Same as above. H.G. Lewis always made his films attractive though. The ending is mental.

Last Tango In Paris (1972) - Pretentious, unwatchable crud.

Sleeper (1973) - I admire the conceit, but it seems underplayed. Aping the clinical SF of its era too much for its own good.

Performance (1970) - Oh, fuck off. Why is Allan Cuthbertson in this?

Love Camp 7 (1970) - Using the war for seedy titillation.

Seconds (1966 - B/W) - It's nicely shot, but it doesn't go much above a Twilight Zone. Also overlong.

Voices (1973) - David Hemmings "horror", a film so cheap and nasty I feel it might be shot on video.

Cool Hand Luke (1967) - I find prison movies wearing. No exception, this. Quite homoerotic.

They Came To Rob Las Vegas (1968)- Attractive potboiler, but makes little of setting, being an Italo-Spanish coproduction. Mostly shot in the Spanish desert. A basic heist film.

The Strangler (1964 - B/W)-  Victor Buono obviously is great, but this film is otherwise a routine crime thriller. It also seems to be shot on video. Feels very TV-like. Like the similarly noirish but slightly more exciting/experimental procedural The Boston Strangler (1968), it's based on the DeSalvo case. I'm not one for true crime, with few exceptions (10 Rillington Place (1970), to an extent).

World of Henry Orient (1964) - Supposedly charming but actually quite pervy dramedy. Sellers is very smarmy.

Sands of the Kalahari (1965) - Nicely photographed. Stanley Baker channelling his inner Talfryn Thomas. Lots of funny accents and over-acting. No one's really likeable.  I can see why it flopped.

The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968) - Paul Newman in a confused wartime caper. Begins in a Universal backlot recreation of Twickenham. Almost an American production trying to pass off as Italian, down to the Carlo Rustichelli score, but TV-level production values reveal its true nature. Too goofy for its own good.

The Big Bird Cage (1971)/The Big Doll House (1970) - Women's prison movies are always the same. You've seen one. You don't need any more.

A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) - What is Chaplin going for here? Stagey farce or romanticism? God knows.

Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (1964 - B/W) - I'm not a Russ Meyer fan. Put it that way. Big breasted women in the desert. Couldn't quite maintain my attention.

Targets (1968) - An interesting thriller, but not my sort of film. You can see it is a bridging point between the gothic and the American nightmare, but it isn't my sort of film.

The Pirates of Blood River (1962) - As a kid, I imagined this to be a gory adventure. It's nothing like that. Hammer, yes, but it could easily been from ten years prior.
Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) - Another routine pirate film from Hammer. A time-waster, nothing more.

Caboblanco (1980) - Attractive if nonsensical all-star would-be Casablanca with Charles Bronson. Narrated by Simon McCorkindale, clearly in post-production hell. Scenes deleted, cast missing. Produced by one of the lesser members of the De Laurentiis clan. Riding on the fact it is a romance, yet tries to shoehorn a carelessly inserted British imperial conspiracy and then becomes briefly a sort of Most Dangerous Game-type thriller with slasher-type murders. Also full of funny Latinos. Bronson wears a dressing gown. Difficult to love, but hard to dislike. It becomes quite nasty when it's supposed to be a romp -clearly that Italian influence. The sets look like the bar from the flashbacks in Airplane! The final scenes are really nicely shot, as if J. Lee Thompson has become interested. Though he tries to make a jukebox scary.

Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972) - Smothers/Welles/De Palma hodgepodge, a mesh of tones, not as interesting as it should be.  Less stagey/sketchy/amateurish than Greetings (1968) and Hi, Mom (1970), but still voyeuristic.

The Fiend (1972) - Horror, not very good, featuring Patrick Magee, Tony Beckley and in an astonishingly cut musical number/murder scene, future Stars In Their Eyes champ Maxine Barrie. Remember her? Shirley Bassey impersonator? Yes, she was a professional. Also, Dave Lodge pops up as a copper, being a British film of a certain era. Ann Todd looks as if she is wearing old age makeup, even though she was in her sixties. Then again, she played "young girls" while in her fifties. Interesting to see Beckley in a lead, but it is so unexciting, bar when Maxine sings. It looks cheap, like an episode of Catweazle. It's not a fun film. Even Magee gets strangled in the end.

Operation Crossbow (1965) - Nonsensical 60s spy movie with WW2 backing. The 1940s setting is non-existent. Sophia Loren appears for a few seconds. Seems to not know what type of war move it is. Patrick Wymark as Churchill is shot in a Blofeld-style obscurist manner as if they realised the ageing makeup is rubbish, even though we barely see it. Feels like an Italian film, thanks to Carlo Ponti. Despite a mostly British cast and shooting at MGM British, it could easily be Cinecitta. Clearly an influence on the even more preposterous Eagles Over London (1969). There's a shell of a fun movie in there, but it tries to be too big. The blitz scenes are well-done. Tom Courtenay appears when he as still trying to be a film star, see also his turn in the interesting but overlong Night of the Generals (-1965 - where Omar Sharif plays a Nazi) which has an interesting plot, but is twice as long as it needs to be, and feels basically like a two hour prologue to an interesting twenty minute climax set in the then-present.

Deadtime Stories (1986) - Amateurish Tales from the Darkside-type anthology with interesting effects, but otherwise unwatchable.

Parasite (1982) - More Band shite. Decently shot, but it doesn't look like there's been an apocalypse. Demi Moore pops up.

Rentadick (1972) - David Frost-produced sex farce, a rare lead for Richard Briers and introducing Richard Beckinsale. Featuring Spike Milligan.  Titles present the film as a comic strip. Full of un-PC caricatures (Peruvian Michael Bentine in a fez as an Arab). Ronald Fraser plays the same sort of M role he did in Fathom. Almost feels like a Lindsay Shonteff effort, except written by various handles including a certain Cleese and Chapman. The fictional Arab state is a marshy airfield with Ishaq Bux sat atop a roof.

Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1960) - Attractively shot, but more of the same jungle antics. Sean Conroy pops up.

The Gate (1986) - Basically an episode of Goosebumps.

The 1000 Plane Raid (1970) - Backlot bound TV movie esque wartime claptrap.

Under Milk Wood (1972) - A strange, not successful but atmospheric oddity, so Welsh, but such an incomprehensible load of bollocks but startling.

They All Laughed (1981) - A difficult picture, as it is a love letter to the immediately deceased Dorothy Statten. Also Gazzara and Hepburn's relationship had petered out. It's just an odd film. It's self-indulgent nonsense.

Lady From Shanghai (1947 - b/w) - Not a noir man, but worth it because of the sheer weirdness of Irish Welles. Sounds like he's trying to be Richard Harris twenty years early when he's not doing a Robert Newton. The end is ace, but I find the accent the most enjoyable. He sounds like someone doing an Orson Welles voice in an Irish accent, so close to parody it is almost Maurice Lamarche.

Burke and Hare (1972) - Yootha Joyce is good in this unfunny sex farce. Interesting to see Glynn Edwards in a lead.  Unfunny sex farce with unusually good production values.

Kidnapped (-1971) - A handsome production marred by strange accents from Caine, plus an elderly-looking Davie Balfour (yes, he's been in Still Game, being a Scottish character actor of a certain age).

Dougal And The Blue Cat (1972) - Utterly wondrous adaptation of the Magic Roundabout. Buxton is a delightfully sinister villain, in his quest to be king of the world, even Bognor and Crewe.

Robinson in Space (1997) - A weird full motion videogame crossed with Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham-type semi-educational bafflement. Like a too-long Look Around You sketch.

Wings Of Fame (1990) - Colin Firth and Peter O'Toole in dreary but imaginative europudding set in a bland afterlife hotel.  Confused.

Apartment Zero (1988) - Despite an interesting setting, a stylish but irritating Argentinian malady. Colin Firth does Strangers With A Train, while Dora Bryan and Liz Smith turn up. Feels a bit "late night cable", an erotic thriller with delusions of grandeur.

House of Dark Shadows (1970) - By compacting years' worth of storylines, it moves at a pace, plus I've never been a fan of moping romantic vampires, and some of the acting from the younger actors is a bit rough. Grayson Hall and Thayer David are great. But it is a hodgepodge. Something giddy is lost in the transfer from garish VT to grainy film, and the curious mix of 70s Americana and Mid-Atlantic gothic doesn't quite work. The ending makes no sense.

Night of Dark Shadows (1972) - Less fun than the previous film, a mess, seeing the old cast in new roles doesn't work. Dreary, like many 70s US horrors.

Land of the Minotaur (1976) - Amateurish Greek horror with Donald Pleasance as an Irish-Somerset priest fighting a devil-cult headed by Peter Cushing. Dreary antics involve a van called Australia.

Murder With Mirrors (-1985) - Trite, sentimental Helen Hayes-as-Canadian-voiced-Miss Marple US TVM, with shoehorned in US juveniles amongst a teen Tim Roth. John Woodvine is the victim. Bette Davis looks ancient, John Mills is himself, Anton Rodgers doesn't use his Anton Rodgers voice, Frances de la Tour is wasted.

1 comment:

  1. Seconds is the best of the middle-aged angst movies of the 60s. Imagine Jack Lemmon in the lead to see how terrific Rock Hudson is. No escape from yourself.

    Sands of the Kalahari is worth it for the superb on location shooting, and Stuart Whitman turning King of the Baboons at the end. He's still alive, too!

    Rentadick is a comedy I can't imagine anyone laughing at, even out of frustration. But some on Amazon like it. No accounting for taste.

    Under Milk Wood has Gladys Pugh from Hi-De-Hi naked in it. That's all I remember. The remake doesn't return the favour with Rhys Ifans.

    I read the book of Dougal and the Blue Cat when I was little, it was all paintings rather than stills. When I finally saw the film, it was like a completely new experience. I can just about remember how massive The Magic Roundabout was, but this was too weird to catch on (except with Mark Kermode).