Sunday 31 March 2019

Dracula (1979) - A missed opportunity

Watching John Badham's Dracula. The thing is the first fifteen minutes are excellent. I know the locations are Cornwall, but at least everyone is Northern. Janine Duvitski too, but then it goes all slushy. Langella has a presence. He's a solid, good choice for the role, but having him as a ballroom dancer is a bit, well, it belongs in Love at First Bite. AndKate Nelligan as Lucy seems too unlikeable, to the extent you want her bitten, and lovely Jan Francis left alone. Did they reverse the Lucy/Mina thing for a Psycho-type shock... Plus the thing is they make everyone useless in their attempts to fight Dracula. Yes, that worked in Love at First Bite, but Love at First Bite is a silly, fun comedy. And there it was endearing. Here, it is frustrating.  And there's bits of this, i.e.Trevor Eve's burning cross that feel like a comedy. There are things to like about it. Tony Haygarth's greasy Yorkshire Renfield may be the best serious take on the character. The sets are great, but the washing-out of the restoration just makes it more boring. Trevor Eve is distracting, because it's just Shoestring. He's not Harker. And as for Olivier, the trouble is you want Pleasence in the role. Apparently, he turned it down as he felt it was too Loomis-ish. But the thing is he is a more magnetic screen presence than doddery Dutch Larry.  Plus John Williams' score has been recycled.

The climax kind of works, and letting Dracula go is not unlike the sequel hooks Hammer did, but here it almost feels like we want Dracula to be the hero.  The reason why I'm angry is that they had the opportunity to make the best Dracula film ever. And they squandered it. Plus there are bits that feel a bit De Palma-esque. And don't get me started on that ridiculous Maurice Binder cartoon sex scene... At least it's better than Coppola. 

Friday 29 March 2019

Drama - including stuff mainly I got in a bulk buy. 50

Dandy Dick (1935 - B/W) - Not one of Will Hay's best. The niche was not yet carved.
See also Those Were The Days (1934  - B/W) which features blackface and John Mills age 26 plaiyng 20 playing 15.

The Lady Eve (1941 - B/W) - Barbara Stanwyck clearly enjoys myself, but I never warm to Preston Sturges. Maybe because the world he stages his comedies in I never get interested in.

My Learned Friend (1943 - B/W) - It's interesting rather than funny. Will Hay is in a more serious role, it feels more like later Ealing films, both comedy and drama. Claude Hulbert is annoying. But there's two good setpieces - the panto scene and the BBC report/Big Ben scene.

Dick Barton - Special Agent (1948 - B/W) - Not very action-able Hammer spinoff from the radio show. Not very special. Dick Barton Strikes Back (1949 - B/W) - Jimmy O'Dea is in this somewhere. So Iwatched it on Patrick's Day. This is better, if only for the climax - having Sebastian Cabot (a less distinguished presence here than in his US years) turn Blackpool Tower into a conductor for a death ray. It is still quite a dowdy adventure. Dick Barton at Bay (1950 - B/W) is less good, despite young Macnee.

The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950 - B/W) - I've already mentioned my distaste for the St. Trinian's series. This is a sort of prototype for the series, made by Launder and Gilliatt, with Alastair Sim as the boys' school headmaster and thorn in the side to Margaret Rutherford's girls' school headmistress. It doesn't really work - the mix of genteel humour and schoolkid shambolics. Rutherford can be a bit overbearing at times.

O Henry's Full House (1952 - B/W) - All star sentiment, a US answer to the Somerset Maugham anthologies. Youtubed.

Five Fingers (1952 - B/W) - Youtubed but as much as I could. Somehow, I'm not excited by this noirish proto-Bond with James Mason giving good  mania, but maybe it's my headache. Spawned a TV series, that unusually for a US series, episodes of which were released individually as second features in Britain.

Blood Alley (1955) - Desperate John Wayne voyage of Hong Kong, has characters who are supposed to be Chinese but aren't even wearing enough makeup to convince as even yellowfaced.
Ditto The Sea Chase (1955) - where Wayne plays a Hitler-hating Nazi,despite fake London and Australia, the locations never register.

King of Kings (1961) - The biblical epic as western.

The Victors (1963 - B/W) - Shot in gorgeous black and white, but still a slog.  The sort of epic where Tutte Lemkow is billed over Alf Kjellin. Padded out with newsreels from the time that have little to do with the plot. Has both young Peter Fonda and Jim Mitchum in the era when they were interchangeable.

Spencer's Mountain (1963) - Basically the proto-proto-pilot for the Waltons.

The 7th Dawn (1964 ) - Dull Lewis Gilbert-directed William Holden vehicle, has Capucine in walnut polish so awful it makes one almost nostalgic for the days of rubbish yellowface.

Victim Five (1964) - Early Harry Alan Towers venture in South Africa. Typical matinee folderol, surprisingly bloody, some unfortunate racial missteps including lots of usage of words like coloured, and a blackfaced minstrel carnival.

The Singing Nun (1965) - A dated relic that has whole action scenes played against back projection second unit of Belgium. The MGM lot looks so battered, as Belgium, one expects Jack Cassidy to come out with a mace. Ricardo Montalban plays a "European" priest, clearly some shine on his face to make him paler, or something. Belgium looks at times more like Mexico. Katharine Ross plays an innocent teenager, like most of the characters,a Belgian with an American accent, who interacts with actual Americans.
How Sweet It Is (1968) - A more tragically hip Debbie Reynolds comedy. One of those annoying "get down wiva yoof" films.

Death Is A Woman (1966) - Extremely ITC travelogue, a vehicle for browned-up Aussie pop star/Carry On Camping support/Rentabrit in US TV, Trisha/Patsy Ann Noble. Featuring Anita Harris as herself.

What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? (1966) - Strange, not wholly successful backlot-bound Italy-se war comedy with James Coburn. Blake Edwards doesn't know waht to do with the tone. It's clearly somewhat autobiographical. Though Dick Shawn in drag (Edwards seemed to be fascinated by cross-dressing - hmm, I wonder did he identify as not-quite-cis) is a dry run for Shawn's similarly fag-smoking femme turn in Angel.

Five Golden Dragons (1967) - Boring Harry Alan Towers travelogue with an array of ageing guest stars wandering about Hong Kong, most in golden masks. Director Jeremy Summers ended up doing Emmerdale. Presumably intended as a third Sanders film with Richard Todd, but instead this Edgar Wallace adap uses Bob "I'm not Dana Andrews" Cummings.

Beach Red (1967)  Cornel Wilde passion project, a childish, shambolic, abstract WW2 movie that is seemingly set in the present.

Ice Station Zebra (1968) - It actually merges the Scottish second unit and the MGM lot very well, but I find it a slog.

5 Man Army (1969) - Despite Eastern influences and Peter Graves playing Jim Phelps as a cowboy, a typical Italian western bolognese.

More (1969) - Barbet Schroeder hippie nonsense about people lounging  to Pink Floyd.

Hornet's Nest (1970) - Grim, depressing Rock Hudson war movie, about a GI who teaches some Italian youths revenge in WW2. Mark Colleano's performance as a hammy, petulant teen is one of the problems. But it's a typical "youth message" film.

El Condor (1970) - Larry Cohen and John Guillermin western, not very good, but interesting, though the Aztec gold angle is lost within a runaround about bullfighters. Jim Brown billed over Lee Van Cleef.

High Crime (1973) - Typical Castellari-Nero Eurocrime. 

From Noon Till Three (1973) - Ludicrous and not very good romantic comedy for Bronson and Ireland. Self indulgent, almost a two hander. Bizarre interlude full of stock footage where French chefs in Paris and gondoliers in Venice read the book Ireland has written. Bronson puts on a beard and glasses, that makes him look like Charles Manson's faux-intellectual  idiot uncle. Strange, downbeat ending has Bronson do an Oscar Pistorius on Ireland.

Assassination (1986) - Ludicrous but entertaining conspiracy thriller with Charles Bronson protecting First Lady Jill Ireland from a nutter who is actually the President. Has an interesting twist in a Asian female sidekick for Bronson, and Peter Hunt at least tries in the director's chair.

That'll Be The Day (1973) - An interesting picture of an era, or a rather the 70s idea of the 50s/early 60s. Not quite my thing. 

 Ransom (1974) - Odd little Sean Connery film. James Maxwell third billed behind McShane. Feels very TV. Thinks Scandinavia is a country.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) - Chase film, mixing car chases with the "bunch of eejits on a road trip". Are we supposed to be glad they get wiped out in an epic train accident/crash....

The Midnight Man (1974) - Dreary rural neo-noir with Burt Lancaster. Youtubed.

WW And The Dixie Dancekings (1975) - Alienating country and western nonsense with Burt Reynolds and his pals. Youtubed.

Not Now, Comrade (1976)- A weird hybrid. A bunch of sitcom stars directed by sitcom director Harold Snoad (a rare film credit) in a Ray Cooney farce. Theme by Don Estelle, who appears with Windsor Davies. The trouble is it's extremely stagey, despite extensive film inserts, and this kind of farce always just seems to be lots of running about. It feels like being in an empty provincial theatre. And it's shot in a very strange multi-camera film system. Also weird to see Lewis Fiander camping it up as a Soviet ballet ace the same year as his masterful turn in Who Could Kill A Child? Richard Marner and Michael Sharvell play Russians. Leslie Phillips cast somewhat against type as an ageing naval man and father of Michele Dotrice. 

The Gauntlet (1977) - One of Clint's weakest films. A chase/odd couple film like the above.

Bear Island (1979) - The ultimate Canadian tax shelter epic. Cold and bland, despite ACTION!

When Time Ran Out (1980) - Irwin Allen's style was out. The effects look like Supermarionation. The research facility even looks like Tracy Island. Edward Albert is less convincing as a Polynesian than Emma Stone in Aloha. The storylines are mostly old people moaning. Ernest Borgnine plays an ageing cop named Tom Conti chasing Red Buttons, while Burgess Meredith is a supposedly Hispanic circus act. Pat Morita does a silly accent, because apparently that's what he really liked doing as an actor. The climax is twenty minutes over a bridge.

High Risk (1981) - Bland, nothingy action comedy set in a seemingly empty Central America, despite an all-star cast - Brolin, Quinn, Borgnine, Coburn, Lindsay Wagner, Cleavon Little, Bruce Davison.

I, The Jury (1981) - RIP Larry Cohen. He was removed off this attempt to turn Mike Hammer into a sort of urban Bond rival. The Bill Conti soundtrack is wonderful if a bit game show-y. Didn't expect it to go all Le Carre. Then, it turns into a softcore comedy. I can definitely see him and replacement director Richard Heffron going for a sort of "Bond of the streets" vibe. Gave up after an hour because it's quite sleazy, and I'm not one for sleazy detective thrillers. Had to watch it again.
Then, on a Mike Hammer whim, gave  Kiss Me Deadly (1955 - B/W) a try - It's a typical unlikeable noir until the ending, which redeems the film because it almost suggests the age of the noir is ending. "This not what folk want for low budget entertainment. This is!"
Cohen later made Deadly Ilusion (1987), with Billy Dee Williams as the Hammer manque Hamberger, which is even worse, feeling more like a Fred Williamson vanity project.   Youtubed.

The Escape Artist (1982) - When I first saw this film as a teen, it really spoke to me. Now, it feels to me unfinished. Griffin O'Neal is a rather dislikeable little oik. The whole stuff with Raul Julia kind of drags the film away from where it should be. The stuff with Jackie Coogan, Joan Hackett, Gabriel Dell and E.G. Daily works. It's sweet but it's messy. And I can see why it flopped. Zoetrope clearly wanted another Black Stallion, down to the cinematographer of that, Caleb Deschanel directing here. And though this film looks good in the neon, it doesn't look as beautiful as the Black Stallion, a film which I think may be one of the most gorgeous films ever shot. If this had been made c.the same time, with Paul Daniels as the uncle, Dexter Fletcher as the boy, and I don't know, Alfred Molina as the mayor's son and a young Peter Chelsom directing, and set it in Blackpool, it might have worked.

Firewalker (1986) - Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett do Raiders/Ishtar in depressing, confused piece of supposedly comedic but quite grim nonsense. John Rhys-Davies does one of his turns in ripoffs of films he starred in in the first place. Chuck Norris is like a cartoon dog who advertises beer.

Starknight (1986) - Harvey Keitel and Klaus Kinski in this good-looking but relatively dull sci-fi/fantasy hybrid. The dragon is a UFO. Youtubed.

Murphy's Law (1986) - Cannon's riposte to 48 Hours. Except with Bronson instead of Nolte and the voice of Disney's PepperAnn, Kathleen Wilhoite as a juvenile runaway named Bella with a disconcerting resemblance to Irish comedienne Katherine Lynch. Angel Tompkins as the love interest is basically in the same mode as her "First Lady of the Night" character in Amazon Women on the Moon.  Very much rote Bronson, despite the sidekick and villains being female.

Barton Fink (1991) - I admire the style of the Coens, but not their substance.

La Gran Aventura Mortadelo Y Filemon (2004) - An almost Mouse Hunt-ish adaptation of the popular Spanish comic. Proves that when with a genuine comic book to adapt, European filmmakers can run riot. My dad used to buy me the source material when in Spain.  Dominique Pinon's appearance is one of a few influences from Jeunet and Caro, but this is nowhere near as self-obsessed. Has a Spanish Jeanette Charles impersonator. My kind of comedy. And a Roger Miller-soundtracked miming bit. Has elements of the Phynx.

I've realised I kind of need to stop watching films on youtube, because I admit because of problems involving bandwidth, problems with maintaining attention on a crappy screen, I often skip using the ten-twelve second parser on youtube, then flicking every ten seconds clip to clip, waiting for a moment to stick with. If the film makes enough of an impression, I'll buy it, But I realise this is flawed. Even if you skip five seconds, you miss stuff. I've watched a good seventy percent of films I've reviewed like this. Also, a lot of exploitation films suit this, but not everything.

Friday 22 March 2019

Mr. Moto - 8

Thank You, Mr. Moto (1937 - B/W) - First in the Fox (RIP) series based on a series of pulp novels as Peter Lorre makes his debut as the globe-trotting faux-Japanese spy who has the uncanny power to pass as white (funny, that). Has John Carradine and a rare Chinese artefact that must be destroyed. There's definitely a proto-Raiders thing going on with these films. Rote but Lorre is appealingly strange, as always.

Think Fast, Mr. Moto (1937 - B/W) - Stage-Indians and yet more faux-Orientalist larks. At one point, Lorre dresses up as a Rubette. Has a telegram appear on screen for ten seconds, which proves that perhaps these films were made to be gobbled up.

Mysterious Mr. Moto (1938 - B/W) - Mainly pottering about in a pub.

Mr Moto Takes a Chance (1938 - B/W) - Serial style exotica.

Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938 - B/W) - A death in the family made this Charlie Chan film a crossover, with Lee Chan (a wasted Keye Luke) helping Peter Lorre's not-very-Japanese detective. I can stomach these more than the Charlie Chans, because Lorre is so odd and appealing, here playing with a cat, even when the mystery as here is stiff. The character isn't a ridiculous caricature.

Mr. Moto In Danger Island (1938 - B/W) - By now the formula was running a bit thin. Almost a recap of the previous films.

Mr. Moto's Last Warning (1938 - B/W) - Aptly named penultimate film. Has George Sanders and Robert Coote as a ventriloquist doing the water-drinking trick with his schoolboy dummy.  Something about a submersible gets lost in a showbi-related mire. Some nice underwater FX. But you can see that there's only so much you can do with Moto. Has Moto get possessed by Coote's dummy at Coote's suggestion, at the end.

Mr. Moto Takes A Vacation (1939 - B/W) - Has Lorre in yellowface and whiteface as Moto has to go undercover as a German. Again.

Saturday 2 March 2019

Halliwell and Psychotronic dregs - 76

Michael (1924 - B/W) - German silent by Carl Dreyer and Thea Von Harbou, with Benjamin "Haxan" Christensen and in the lead role, an astonishingly young Walter Slezak. Not quite my thing. Attractive, arty gay love story.

The Bat Whispers (1930 - B/W) - Unusually stylised old dark house caper. Lots of visual variation for the era.

Night World (1932 - B/W) - Karloff in anticlimactic Busby Berkeley-choreographed crime quickie, featuring George Raft and Hedda Hopper.

The 13th Guest (1932 - B/W) - Another interchangeable policier with Ginger Rogers.

The Monster Walks (1932 - B/W) - Tiresome old dark house thing with Mischa Auer.

Night of Terror (1933 - B/W) - Primitive, campily performed Bela Lugosi in a turban quickie.

White Woman (1933 - B/W)- Confused jungle comedy. Charles Laughton seems to be playing  Harry Mudd from Star Trek.

Deluge (1933 - B/W) - Memorable effects enliven a tedious melodrama. With Sidney Blackmer decades before hailing Satan in Rosemary's Babba.

Gift of the Gab (1934- B/W) - Confused Universal variety show. See also the likes of International House.

The Black Room (1935 - B/W) - Handsomely mounted, unusually crisp Karloff melodrama.

The New Adventures of Tarzan (1935 - B/W) - Ambitious but primitive, oddly mondo-like independent production by Burroughs himself with Herman Brix/Bruce Bennett.

Murder by Television (1935 - B/W) - You skim through so many cheapies, they start to blend into one. This isn't as good as it sounds, despite Lugosi.

Life Returns (1935 - B/W) - Universal awkwardness about a dead dog being revived.

Crackup (1936 - B/W) - Typical 30s programmer, worth it for Peter Lorre as a mastermind disguised as a trumpet playing thickprick.

The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936 - B/W) - undistinguished Karloff quota quickie.

Dr Syn (1937 - B/W) - Rather genteel adaptation.

Miracles for Sale (1939- B/W) - Unsuspenseful melodrama/variety show with Robert Young, by Tod Browning.

The Devil's Daughter (1939 - B/W) - I'd never really watched "race films" before. And they are fascinating. Black crews and actors going out there making films for their own kind, knowing that the white establishment will never establish them. This does feature Nina Mae McKinney, well known enough to have her own special on the early BBC high-definition television service. Amateurish, hissy sound, but a definite curio.

Dark Eyes of London (1939) - Rather dull Edgar Wallace with Bela Lugosi in two roles, that ends quite suddenly.

I Was An Adventuress (1940 - B/W) - Adventure stifled by Vera Zorina's performance so it has to focus on Von Stroheim and Lorre.

Man Hunt (1941 - B/W) - Alienating noir drugdery set in an unconvincing London. Some of the London scenes are atmospheric, but it loses it when it enters countryside.

Hitler's Madman (1943 - B/W)- Douglas Sirk-directed propaganda, set in a ludicrous approximation of France, that resembles a Canadian frontier town, with a mix of cowboy hatted Americans and Frenchmen in Davy Crockett hats.

Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943 -B/W) - Not much of a fight, not much Frank. But then again, that's what happens when you cast a sixtysomething Bela Lugosi.

Bluebeard (1944  -B/W) - Hammy, shonky PRC period drama with John Carradine.

Scared to Death (1947) - The sole novelty of this Lugosi quickie is that is in colour, but weirdly the ending in its lightning predates Suspiria in style.

Golden Earrings (1947 B/W) - Milland and Dietrich black up as gypsies, like Topsy and Tom, except they don't lick the cocoa around their lips. Ludicrous lolloping about.

The Creeper (1948 - B/W) - Slow, boring, chintzy suspenser with Onslow Stevens.

King Solomon's Mines (1950) - Typical jungle adventure lifted by actual African locations, but otherwise plotless travelogue.

Man in the Attic (1953 - B/W) - Dowdy remake of the Lodger. Jack Palance looks like a teddy boy, as he torments Irish-born starlet/proto-Mrs. Bryan Forbes, Constance Smith.

The Maze (1953 - B/W) - Another dated straggler, set in Scotland, this castle caper is notable really only for the drunken frog monster-thing that lies in the titular topiary structure.

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954 - B/W) - For a 50s B-movie, it feels like it is set in  a real corner of the world.

Violent Saturday (1955) - Not my sort of thing, but a well-made noir with a solid cast. Predates Witness in plot.

Journey To The Beginning of Time (1955) - A discovery! Flamingos, tigers, mammoths, crocs, dinosaurs, oh my! More proof Karel Zeman was one of the true FX geniuses of the 20th century.

Earth Vs The Spider (1957 - B/W) - Typical early 50s AIP junk.

Cat Girl (1957  B/W) - More early AIP tedium, an unauthorised British Cat People remake, with Barbara Shelley. Weird to see Jack May looking young.

Daughter of Dr. Jekyll (1957 - B/W) - You know a film is inaccurate when the nearest thing to an English accent belongs to ex Irish Republican Arthur Shields.

The World, the Flesh and The Devil (1959 - B/W) - Harry "Sidney Potter" Belafonte stars and sings in this post-apocalyptic multiracial love triangle with Inger Stevens and Mel Ferrer. Unfortunately, it's much more of a 50s melodrama than a sci-fi.

Tormented (1960 - B/W) - Weak love triangle haunting by Bert I. Gordon. About a disembodied ex's head.

Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962 - B/W) - Almost no period detail, an English language cast dubbed with German accents, Dublin looking miserable, no real story... Christopher Lee was suitably angry.

The Cat Wore Sunglasses (1963) - Odd Czech children's comedy, a surrealist parade of people with a Ready Brek glow. Initially cloyingly charming, then goes mad. Stars Jan Werich, the Czech actor originally cast as Blofeld.

The Strangler of Blackwood Castle (1963) - Typical Edgar Wallace krimi, annoyingly quirky in its "English" perkiness.

Frozen Alive (1964 - B/W) - Depressing Anglo-German cryogenics suspenser.

A Tale of Lost Times (1964) - Alexander Ptushko's typical Soviet fairytale adap.

The Gorgon (1964) - Atmospheric and the calcification effects are fun but ruined by having a mystery that is a copout.

Variola Vera (1982) - Rade Serbedzjia and Peter Carsten in true-life dramatisation of a real life infection scenario in Belgrade, 1972. Lots of HAZMAT-suited goons. Like a medical soap crossed with the Crazies.

Return of Mr. Moto (1965 - B/W) - A cheap ITC-ish possibly-a-pilot with Henry Silva as a tough-talking, racially ambiguous Moto who talks with an American accent, but dresses up as a Lorre-ish velly solly Oriental as a disguise. Bland, free of action.

Rasputin The Mad Monk (1965) - It looks opulent, but it wastes a good cast, and doesn't know what it is. Is it a full-fledged historical drama, a horror, or something else?

Incubus (1966) - Baffling Esperanto horror, with William Shatner vs a goat.

Golden Bat (-1966 - B/W) - Delirious, well shot but confined Japanese superhero film with Sonny Chiba. Realised I already did this.

Majin, the Monster of Terror (1966) - The only difference in this samurai film is at least one samurai is a giant living statue. Ditto sequels Return of Giant Majin (1966) and Daimajin Strikes Again (1966).

Destination Inner Space (1966) - Undersea alien nonsense with Gary Merrill, and an excruciatingly racist caricature performance from James Hong as the chef who refers to himself in the third person.

Finders Keepers (1966) - The lost Cliff film. I can see why it is lost. Sub-Elvis movie.

Maneater of Hydra (1967) - Cameron Mitchell and a plant in incompetent Euroshocker.

The Hostage (1967) - Drudgery of a hostage thriller with  an astonishingly fresh-faced "Dean Stanton" and John Carradine, but the photography by Ted V Mikels  is nice, and makes it look more expensive than it was.

Cop Out (1967) - A sensationalist but rather muted thriller, starring James Mason, Geraldine Chaplin, Bobby Darin (sadly not played by Kevin Spacey in a ton of makeup and a bad wig), Paul Beroya (a Canadian actor who was clearly intended to be something, considering his roles in this and the ludicrous-looking Hot Rods to Hell and as Raul Castro in Che!), but eventually found himself in a mix of ITC shows and Larry Buchanan tripe, and the likes of Ian Ogilvy, Tomorrow People ally Brian Stanyon, Clive Morton, James Hayter, Ivor Dean, Yootha Joyce... A weird not-quite-giallo based on a Georges Simenon story, melding middle-aged mystery with sub-Roger Corman youth antics.

Hour of the Wolf (1968 - B/W) - All Bergman looks the same to me.

The Bed Sititng Room (1969) - Wow. Rewatch, but still... It might be Richard Lester's best film that doesn't have the word Superman or II in the title.

Fraulein Doktor (1969) - De Laurentiis' WW1 Macaroni Combat epic starring Suzy Kendall, though expensive, still feels like typical Euroschlock. Despite the likes of Kenneth More, and a young Oliver Reed-ish Michael Elphick, before he got all bloated.

Darker Than Amber (1970) - Rather ITC-ish actioner with Rod Taylor. Nice action, and off-kilter feel. Feels curiously un-American, perhaps because of Suzy Kendall, Theodore Bikel and James Booth. But doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971) - Typical bobbins giallo. Supposedly set in England, and unless it is Torquay, it's not very convincing.

Dear Dead Delilah (1972) - Abysmal, almost John Watersesque Nashville schlock with Agnes Moorehead, Michael Ansara, Will Geer and an electric wheelchair. Profil font alert.

The Final Programme (1973) - I like Fuest's Phibes films, but this is a mess. Graham Crowden should be higher billed. Jon Finch and Jenny Runacre aren't likeable. It feels indulgent, very Avengers-y, with all the weaknesses of the series. The plot is just an excuse for a runaround.

Hard Times (1975) - Unusually refined period outing for the era, Bronson and Coburn spar, for what it is, Walter Hill manages to make it work.

Vigilante Force (1976) - Kris Kristofferson made this the same year as A Star Is Born. A Gene Corman produced postWalking Tall vehicle for him and the lesser talented Jan Michael Vincent. It also has Bernadette Peters and Victoria Principal. Forgettable bar the climax where Kris fights hicks through a post apocalyptic ghost town landscape in a marching band outfit.

The Killer Inside Me (1976) - Atmospheric but aimless and overtly jubilantly-soundtracked Jim Thompson cowboy noir with Stacy Keach.

Nightmare In Blood (1977)  - Amateurish but incredibly interesting fan-made exploration about fan culture.

The Odd Job (1978) - A dire, confused attempt at both a solo venture for a lost looking Graham Chapman and a rare cinematic outing for Sir David Jason, who does significantly better with the material, and seems to be basically trying to be the next Sellers.

Fish Hawk (1979) - Typical Canadian family thing with Will Sampson, preachy thing about interracial friendship.
My Side of the Mountain (1969) is a better, if rather Disney-ish exploration of the Canadian wilderness.

The Humanoid (1979) -  A city called Metropolis, "Krypton metal", a Darth Vader manque, Corinne Clery dressed in white says "it's our only hope" while filing into into a robot, a wedge-shaped super-spaceship trundling across the screen, set design that mimics the Falcon,  scrolling opening credits. At least with other Star Wars knockoffs, they try to place some kind of deranged originality, be it clipper ships, druids or George Peppard drinking beer and singing Burl Ives songs. This is almost slavishly faithful to Star Wars and to a lesser extent, Superman, and even the odd original elements, Richard Kiel as a space merc who becomes a Hulk-like supermutant is derived from Frankenstein, Barbara Bach is Space Ingrid Pitt, the Tibetan kid with telekinetic Buddhist superpowers is a mini-Obi Wan... But for a film released by Columbia, with a relatively starry cast (five time Oscar nominee Arthur Kennedy blustering as a mad scientist), it's so blatant. That this never got a US release thanks to AIP being embarrassed of it explains why Lucas didn't blast the thing down with a lawsuit.

Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979) - Francesco Rosi film, basically just Gian Maria Volonte wandering about an Italian village.

Monstroid (1979) - The sheer ambition of the film despite its awfulness almost wins one over. And the design of the monster is interesting, even if the execution is ridiculous. At least it has a monster unlike Barracuda (1978), the most boring Jaws knockoff.

The Man With Bogart's Face (1980) - Despite an international cast, and Robert Sacchi both a dead ringer in voice and face for Bogie, this is dumb. It's not much  of a spoof, in fact at times forgets it is, and instead feels like a pilot for a slightly more Get Smart-type series. It feels cheap, the music feels televisual, the framing... Avoidable. Has Herbert Lom to tie it into the Pink Panther series it wants to be.

Terror Train (1980) - Hmm, a rather cramped, badly lit and unsuspenseful slasher. Though having the killer be undercover in drag is clever, and casting a drag queen a good choice, though it doesn't help the Uncanny Valley nature of the character.

Tried watching Blue Collar by Paul Schrader. But it gave me an headache.
Ditto King of Hearts with Alan Bates, which felt baffling and sentimental, in a kind of Cuckoo's Nest manner.