Friday 18 October 2019


The 49th Parallel (1941 - b/w) - Michael Powell's the Beachcombers Went Day The Well?

Give Us This Day (1950) - Edward Dmytryk noirish drama about Italian-Americans. Except it was made in the UK, hence Sam Wanamaker as the lead, but it looks convincing. It looks almost indistuinguishable from a kind of Hollywood New York milieu. However, Sid James appears. Imagine if Sid was in Mean Streets. It's that odd. It has a great quicksand death. Also featuring Bonar Colleano, George Pastell, Rosalie Crutchley, and young Robert Rietty.

Chinatown At Midnight (1949-  b/w) - Dull Sam Katzman crime procedural with Hurd Hatfield.

Experiment Alcatraz (1950 - b/w) - Dull Prison film.

The Killer that Stalked New York (1950 - b/w) - Atmsopheric but confusing little noir.

Johnny One Eye (1950 - b/w) - Somewhat schmaltzy Runyon noir with Pat O'Brien.

Double Deal (1950 - b/w) - b-melodrama which ends with Maura Windsor laughing as oil rains on her.

The Capture (1950) - A rare singing cowboy film done seriously, with Lew Ayres and Teresa Wright. Directed by John Sturges. Does a Shyamalan-type twist fifteen minutes in, as we realise this is also a noir set in the present./

Mary Ryan, Detective (1950 - b/w) - Boilerplate light mystery with Marsha Hunt.

When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950 - b/w) - Forgotten, and even for the time dated WW2 morale booster with Dan Dailey being goofy in the war. Directed by John Ford.

Are We Men or Corporals (1955) - Baffling, Wisdomesque comedy starring Toto.

Dublin Nightmare (1958 - b/w) - William Sylvester is the inevitable transatlantic lead in  this partly Irish shot suspenser which is basically like every other B-film, but David Kelly is in it in his twenties, still looking like David Kelly.

Romulus and the Sabines (1961) - A typical Italian peplum, but with  adecent cast. Has Two Saints in Jean Marais and yes, Roger Moore, who basically is just Roger Moore. And yes, thankfully, he dubs himself as Romulus.

Borman (1966) - Aka NaziSS. Obscure techno-Nazism that is actually a very boring bit of Eurospy.

Any Gun Can Play (1967) - Never noticed the resemblance before between Gilbert Roland and Richard Johnson. There are some nice Bava-esque tableaux from Enzo G. Castellari, who manages to make it decent enough though a shaggy production, despite Edd "Kookie" Byrnes' US-pleasing participation.

Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die (1968) - Written by Dario Argento, allegedly starring Troy McClure if you believe the Simpsons, and starring Bud Spencer and Kurosawa favourite Tatsuya Nakadai. But this isn't one of those Red Sun-type East meets West affairs. Nakadai plays a Mexican, quite convincingly. Yes, he wields a sword, but that's just because he was excellent at swordplay.

Johnny Hamlet (1968) - Another Castellari western. A spooky, horror-tinged take on Hamlet. Wonderfully photographed, but doesn't go far enough into the horror.

A Minute To Pray A Second To Die (1968) - Robert Ryan, Alex Cord and Arthur Kennedy in a rote spaghetti western.

The First Time (1969) - The first modern teen sex comedy. But it is basically a goofy Disney-ish thing with an added brothel and Jacqueline Bisset.
Secrets (1971) - A pervy, arty, nothingy London-set sexy drama with Bisset and Robert Powell.

They Paid with Bullets (1969?) - Terrible gangster schlock with Peter Lee Lawrence, basically a spaghetti western with 30s cars and pinstripe suits and fedoras, to simulate Chicago.
Long Arm of the Godfather (1972) - Another Lee Lawrence gangster blandarama, though some nice Arab foot-chase scenes and Adolfo Celi try to make it something.

Borsalino (1970) - period gangster shenanigans with Delon and Belmondo.
The sequel, Borsalino and Co (1974) has Delon trying to make up for the death of his pal, but it's rather uninvolving.

Popsy Pop (1971) - Flimsy Cannon-distributed Italian tropical romantic crime comedy starring Claudia Cardinale, Stanley Baker and Henri Charriere, Papillon himself.

Fortune and Men's Eyes (1971) - Sleazy, cheesy gay prison romper.

Dirtymouth (1971) - Sleazy, tit-heavy softcore that is allegedly a biopic of Lenny Bruce.

The Unholy Four (1971) - Leonard Mann and Woody Strode in an average Italian western that feels like it is from the 50s.

Making It (1971) - Forgettable teen dramedy with Kristoffer "Cluedo" Tabori.

Such Good Friends (1971) - Dreary, pervy romance-comedy with Dyan Cannon.

Crime Boss (1972) - Predictable Eurocrime with Television Savalas.

Redneck (1973) - More Telly Eurocrime. Here, he and Franco Nero kidnap Mark Lester, and it becomes a bit NAMBLA.

I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse (1973) - Sub-Jodorowsky surrealist mess from Fernando Arrabal.

Cannibal Girls (1973) - Disappointingly tonally all over (maybe the jokes work), and that's a shame because Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin are geniuses. And SCTV is wonderful. This isn't. This needed Count Floyd, rather than Tom Baker-alike Ronald Ulrich. It doesn't feel like a spoof, but a genuine trashy serious horror. 

Shoot it Black, Shoot it Blue (1973) - Dreary agitprop crime drama with Michael Moriarty.

The  Night Porter (1974) - Italian kink-nonsense with a budget. Dirk Bogarde tries to look like he enjoys making out with Charlotte Rampling, but he looks forced, bless him.

La femme aux bottes rouges (1974) - Juan Bunuel artsy-fartsy with Deneuve and Rey.

Oz (1976) - Camp but not very fun Australian musical version of the Wizard of Oz, with Bruce Spence.

The FJ Holden (1977) - Forgettable Aussie teen-sexcom/car chaser with Foster's-drinking teens in flannel shirts and Maggie "The Freak" Kirkpatrick.

Love and the Midnight Auto Supply (1977) - Cut-and-paste hicksploitaton I-suppose-it's-a-comedy with Michael Parks in a hat bigger than his head and Linda Cristal and various ex-B cowboys.

My Boys are Good Boys (1977) - Ski-masks and skinheads in this amateurish juvenile crime film (one of the youths is the dead spit of Roland Browning from Grange Hill) with Ida Lupino, Lloyd Nolan and David Doyle as the adult "stars". A bid for cromulence from softcore pornocrats Peter Perry and Bethel Buckalew.

Mirrors (1978) - Dreary, confused, post-Cuckoo's Nest thriler with Kitty Winn.

Fast Charlie - the Moonbeam Rider (1979) - Confused, tedious, TV-movie like post-western with David Carradine. Rather anachronistic hicksploitation feel, considering it is set in WW1.

California Dreaming (1979) - AIP try to do a Beach Party film for the post-American Graffiti/Big Wednesday generation. So, it's serious, but it feels like an afterschool special. 

Manaos (1979) - Ridiculous Italian-Mexican Amazon plantation drama that ends with Fabio Testi and some interchangeable Mexican hunk fighting in a garden shed that's going over a waterfall.

Prom Night (1980) - It's actually a weak, undistinguished, bland little slasher. No excitement. The dance scenes are padding. 
Prom Night II - Hello, Mary Lou (1987) - Almost a horror version of 3 O'Clock High. 
Prom Night  III - The Last Kiss (1990) - Kind of fun and demented in a 90s kids show way.

Chanel Solitaire (1981) - Turgid Europudding biopic with Marie France Pisier, plus Timothy Dalton, Rutger Hauer and Karen Black.

Kiss Daddy Goodbye (1981) - Forgettable killer-twin horror with Fabian. Like an amateur fan-film of the Witch Mountain films gone wrong.

Silence of the North (1981) - Another turn-of-the-century Canadian melodrama in the North, freezes you while watching it.

Love and Money (1982) - Pervy Central American melodrama - directed by sleazy gobshite James Toback and starring sleazy gobshites Ray Sharkey and Klaus Kinski. A sleazy gobshite's Winter Kills.
Toback's Exposed (1983)  is almost a twin. It's a blandly glossy international melodrama-thriller where even good actors barely register on screen, because he's pawing his dirty camera-fists on Nastassja Kinski.

A Time to Die (1982) - Dreary Mafia-infused Nazi story made in the Netherlands by Matt Cimber. Rex Harrison luckily suffers in this cheap exploiter, also with Raf Vallone, Edward Albert and Rod Taylor. Albert is chased by an assassin, while laughing. Freeze frame. End credits.

Partners (1982) - Horrible comedy version of Cruising. John Hurt is the queer who has to die at the end. Ryan O'Neal his straight partner. Except I think I misremembered the end as being opposite.

The Verdict (1982) - Not my thing, but it is undoubtedly a great film of its type. It feels very Canadian, being shot in Toronto, and Milo O'Shea actually rocks his terrible Joe Dolan-esque haircut.

Lies (1983) - Ann "Miss Amity" Dusenberry stars in a sub-DePalma though relatively stylish erotic thriller about a B-movie actress by the Wheat boys who wrote Pitch Black and directed one of the Ewok films.

Antarctica (1983) - Basically a  documentary travelogue with added Ken Takarura  and Tripitaka.

The Devil's Gift (1983) - Amateurish unofficial adaptation of a Stephen King story. 

Flashpoint (1984) - Another southern-fried film with another member of the cast of the High Chapparal. Here, it's Mark Slade, but Kris Kristofferson's the star. Lots of bare-chested shots of Big Kris here, that would probably make even my LGBT-allergic dad go stiff, plus lots of character actors - Rip Torn,Kevin Conway, Kurtwood Smith as a corporate asshole... But it's nothing I haven't seen before. And plus they don't even have Kris singing the theme song. Made by HBO. So the HBO ident pops up, which sadly never happened with any of the films made by Yorkshire or Granada (ITC is a different matter, as the ITC ident(s) was different to ATV, and did appear).

Bad Manners (1984) - A Disney film that Disney got cold feet so they sold it to Corman. It's basically the Warriors meets the Red Hand Gang. 

Heart of the Stag (1984) - tonally confused, sweetly-soundtracked NZ drama with the inevitable Bruno Lawrence.

Finders Keepers (1984) - Unfunny sub-Mad Mad Madness directed by Richard Lester on the same locations as Superman III, but without any British character talent.

Beyond Reason (1985) - More Telly Savalas, this time a tiresome mental health-themed vanity project made in 1977.

Pizza Connection (1985) - Basically a spinoff from RAI-TV's the Octopus, this smeary NTSC-glazed Eurocrime nasty feels like a TV show. By Damiano Damiani - for Cannon.

Latino (1985) - The lost Lucasfilm. Robert Beltran plays a Vietnam War vet named Eddie Guerrero (not the wrestler) who is sent to Nicaragua  to help train Contras fight the Sandinistas. Not my thing, but somewhat powerful. It packs a punch.

Static (1985) - Bland, arty religious-infused art-nonsense.

Down by Law (1986 - B/W) - I don't get Jarmusch.

Native Son (1986) - Decent enough American Playhouse, but casting Oprah as the mother of someone her age confuses.

Pirates (1986) - Polanski does Tai-Pan with jokes. Weird to see Damien Thomas, Richard Pearson and Tomorrow People baddie-turned-Nollywood legend Olu Jacobs getting starring billing, while Roy Kinnear, David Kelly, Bill Fraser and Ferdy Mayne (who has a large role) are "and", and Michael Elphick, Anthony Dawson, Daniel Emilfork, Cardew the Cad and Ian Dury (at the time probably the second most famous person in the film next to Walter Matthau and maybe Kinnear) only get end credits. It doesn't work. It feels too expensive to work. Polanski is trying to be Terry Gilliam, down to a cast of British character stalwarts. It is very clearly made by the same man who made the Fearless Vampire Killers. In fact, I'm surprised it was not called the Fearless Sea Scourges or something. It has the same character dynamics and all. And poor Charlotte Lewis. It feels very sleazy when she pops up.

Django Strikes Again (1987) - Interestingly assembled steampunk Rambo-alike with Franco Nero in his old role, now known as Ignatius (Ignatius!),  going up the Amazon. Bizarrely made by Berlusconi and Reteitalia to rival Rai's similarly genre-muddled Tex and the Lord of the Deep (1985 - which has Giuliano Gemma, a Sallah-ish fezzed bloke and lots of grey desert). God bless Italian TV.

Playing Away (1987) - Film4 directed by Horace Ové, as the likes of Norman Beaton, Ramjohn Holder, Gary Beadle, Stefan Kalipha and Joseph Marcell play an all-black Brixton cricket team who find themselves playing in a lilywhite veddy English village.

Funland (1987) - Basically about a Ronald McDonald type restaging the film Rollercoaster at William Windom's amusement park played by Six Flags. A jokey but uncinematically-shot and characterless thing.

Chameleon Street (1989) - Agitprop political arthouse-satire about race. 

The Indian Runner (1990) - Dreary Springsteen translated to film. And it has Bronson in it. 

Tatie Danielle (1990) - Annoyingly quirky French comdram. 

Bugsy (1991) - Why did I even watch this sleazy Warren Beatty vanity crime-biopic?

29th Street (1991) - Anthony Lapaglia plays Frank Pesce, the bloke who won the lotto and starred in Killer Fish. Very TVM.

The Pope Must Die (1991) - A character is called Joe Don Dante. paul Bartel appears. Silly, nonsensical, but it is from the Comic Strip.

Poison (1991) - Insufferable though somewhat nicely visual queer magic realism anthology that is a random shuffle of three stories, by Todd Haynes. 

A Midnight Clear (1992) - Gary Sinise an a bunch of soldiers freeze in fake-France.

Poor White Trash (1957 - b/w) - Peter Graves in another forgettable routine Southern fried potboiler melodrama.

Funny Things Happen Down Under (1965) - CFF-ish featurette from Roger Mirams, spun off from TV series the Adventures of the Terrible Ten, featuring a young Olivia Newton-John when she actually was a teenager.

Island of Crime (1968) - Rotten Charlotte Rampling Euro-suspenser.

Assignment Skybolt (1968) - Greek Eurospy awfulness by poverty row vet Gregg Tallas.

The 5th Day of Peace (1970) - The likes of Richard Johnson, Franco Nero, Bud Spencer and T.P. McKenna prop up another Eastern Bloc-Western coproduced war movie that lasts two hours and never registers.

Heavy Traffic (1973) - Horrible, pervy, artsy live-action/animation nonsense, art-porn cartooniness from Bakshi.

Where the Red Fern Grows (1974) - Waltonesque rural Americana with Osmonds/Andy Williams soundtrack. Basically cinematic Branson, Missouri.

It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time (1975) - Godawful Canadian comedy. I did not realise that Find the Lady was a sequel to this. That had Dick Emery, this has Anthony Newley. John Candy and Lawrence Dane appear as their detective characters. And John Candy doesn't register in this. This is just before Second City TV, and it's also where you see this thing that angers me. John Candy was misued in cinema. SCTV portrays that he was a versatile, funny-boned character actor, and people didn't cop onto this until it was too late.

Gemini Affair (1975) - Shoddy Matt Cimber-directed lesbian melodrama with Marta "Judy from Lost in Space" Kristen.

The Con Artists (1976) - Sergio Corbucci manages to make this substandard Italian The Sting imitation with Anthony Quinn, Capucine, Adriano Celentano and Corinne Clery actually look quite expensive.

Chatterbox (1977) - Silly,  idiotic AIP musical about Candice Rialson's talking vagina.

Tanya's Island (1980) - Vanity in arty, sophisticated drama about bestiality on a desert island, with a ridiculous-looking baboon thing.

The Little Dragons (1980)  - Curtis Hansen-directed kung fu exploitation, roughly done - for kids. Odd to see Charles Lane being top-billed.

Charley Bravo (1980) - Silly French Nam movie.

The Greenstone (1980) - Strange though unique 38-minute featurette narrated by Orson Welles where a kid encounters all kinds of fantasy imagery. Well-done. Was this a demo for a feature?

Firebird 2015 AD (1981) - Doug McClure and Darren McGavin in a cold though pacey Canadian B-movie racing film.

Reborn (1981) - Forgettable religious nonsense from Spain with Dennis Hopper.

Signe Furax (1981) - Baffling, weird Fantomas/Pink Panther knockoff with Coluche, Mylene Demongeot and Daniel Gelin, a brass laser-chicken and a Teletext Martian.

The Plains of Heaven (1982) - Experimental drama from Australia where the dad from Round the Twist and Australian Mr. Mash from Are You Being Served? Down Under watch Welsh news bulletins in a satellite station.

Tuxedo Warrior (1982) - Biopic of Cliff Twemlow, with Blake's 7 guest stars John Wyman and Carol Royle the leads. However, Big Cliff wasn't happy. No longer about a bouncer/Granada extra/stock music composer in Manchester, it's played as a would-be epic, and the location moved to Zimbabwe. It's rubbish.

Midnite Spares (1983) - Subpar Aussie racing film with once-ubiquitous Anglo-Australian DJ Jono Coleman.

Bullamakanka (1983) - Aussie cross between the Boys in Blue and the Cars that Ate Paris, featuring Angry Anderson and Rose Tattoo, Australian Savile-alike Molly Meldrum, John Farnham, and Frank Thring.

Abwarts (1984) - Derrick-like German thriller in a lift.

Treasure - In Search of the Golden Horse (1984) - Kit Williams-influenced experimental interactive movie with an old-looking little girl that nonetheless is actually kind of visually beautiful, almost a proto-Myst.

Heaven Help Us (1985) - Cheesy, bland, almost Canadian story about Catholic schoolboys. Donald Sutherland is very Tom Baker.

Death in the Shadows (1985) - Continental Video-released dreary Dutch teen-thriller.

Istanbul (1985) - Dreary Dutch thriller with Brad Dourif that meanders into another plot.

The Climb (1986) - Uninvolving Canadian Himalayan mountaineering saga, apparently a BBC coproduction.

Man on Fire (1986) - Yes, this was remade. This has Scott Glenn minding the girl. Jonathan Pryce and Brooke Adams pop up. It's a typical 80s glossy but not-exciting Eurocrime. Somehow, our Scott can imitate his ward's voice.

The Rosary Murders (1987) - Cold, unfeeling, though watchable enough Donald Sutherland mystery. It feels Canadian, but it is shot and set  in Detroit.

Apprentice to Murder (1988) - PBS-like, lush but empty true crime drama set in the US, shot in Scandinavia, with Donald Sutherland again.

A Night At The Magic Castle (1988) - Empty Arte Johnson-starring kidvid/magic show/fantasy.

Mr. North (1988) - Danny Huston-directed, sweetly bland period fantasy-comedy.

Incident at Raven's Gate (1988) - Stylish but uninvolving Australian alien-invasion movie.

Fast Food (1989) - Jim Varney plays a cowboy-hatted fast food magnate in this nothingy sex-lite comedy.

Quicker than the Eyes (1989) -  Garish but unadventurous magician-espionage saga with Ben Gazzara and Christoph Waltz.

Sunday 6 October 2019


Movie Crazy (1932 - b/w) - I've tried Harold Lloyd before, and I don't get his persona, I am afraid.

Laughing at Life (1933 - b/w) - Another bare Victor McLaglen-starring lump of exotica.

The Whole Town's Talking (1935 - b/w) - Rote John Ford-directed screwball.

The Princess Comes Across (1936 - b/w) - Another wacky, annoying screwball comedy with Carole Lombard. On a ship.

The Squeaker (1937) - Repetitive Edgar Wallace adap with Edmund Lowe, Ann Todd, Robert Newton and a young Alastair Sim (who looks exactly as he would twenty years later). There's a TARDIS.

King of Alcatraz (1938 - b/w) - A typical crime quickie with a great cast. Lloyd Nolan, J. Carroll Naish, Robert Preston, Anthony Quinn...

Battle of Broadway (1938 - b/w) - Another "wacky" stagey screwball-"comedy" with Victor McLaglen. See also Hot Pepper (1933 - b/w).

Unmarried (1939 - b/w) - Another alleged comedy that didn't do anything for me. Donald O'Connor annoys me.

Tobacco Road (1941 - b/w) - Sentimental John Ford tosh, does to southern fried yokels what How Green was my Valley did to the fake-Welsh.

Among the Living (1941 - b/w) - Dreary gothic noir with Albert Dekker, Susan Hayward, Harry Carey and a then-sane Frances Farmer.

Black Dragons (1942) - Typical wartime hamminess with Lugosi.

San Diego I Love You (1944 - b/w) - Forgettable Universal screwballer with Buster Keaton cameo.

Dangerous Partners (1945 - b/w) - Watched in  a dreadful colourised print that made it look like Eddie Yeats' "colour TV device" in Coronation Street. Typical MGM B-noir.

Boomerang (1947 - b/w) - Another noir with Dana Andrews that unless you like noir, you get deja vu.

Deep Waters (1948 - b/w) - Atmospheric but relatively plain Dana Andrews-Dean Stockwell bonding drama.

Criss Cross (1949 - b/w) - Realised noir is too grim for me. This Burt Lancaster vehicle is particularly nihilistic.

Outpost in Morocco (1949 - b/w) - Typical legion nonsense with George Raft.

The Pirates of Capri (1949 - b/w) - Typical Italian swashbuckler with Louis Hayward, the only novelty being that it was made in 1949.

The Mudlark (1950 - b/w) - Standard Victorian British drama.

The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950 - b/w) - Lee J. Cobb noir. Again, why am I watching this?

The White Tower (1950) - Uneasy mix of romantic melodrama and mountaineering.

Love That Brute (1950 - b/w) - Paul Douglas and Cesar Romero in thick-eared inner city comedy.

The 13th Letter (1951  - b/w) - Hoary Canadian hospital melodrama with Michael Rennie.

Bird of Paradise (1951) - Silly Hawaiian adventure with lots of hair dye covering Jeff Chandler's top head.

St. Benny the Dip (1951 - b/w) - Forgettable Edgar Ulmer/Danziger's comedy with Roland Young and Lionel Stander and Freddie Bartholemew in his last role.

The Sword of Monte Cristo (1951) - Interchageable cheapo swashbuckler.

14 Hours (1951 -b/w) - Great performance from Richard Basehart, but it's a half-hour concept.
See also He Walked by Night (-1948 - b/w).

I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) - Forgettable Appalachian romance with Susan Hayward.

Anything Can Happen (1952 - b/w) - Gormless Jose Ferrer-as-a-comedy-Georgian-immigrant vehicle.

Hoodlum Empire (1952 - B/W) - Ambitious Republic gangster saga, but the cardboard skylines in office scenes and Brian Donlevy as star reveal its Poverty Row roots. But it does have some expressionist WW2 flashbacks.

City that Never Sleeps (1953 - b/w) - Generic Republic noir done relatively well.

Sangaree (1953) - Nicely colourful but sluggish Fernando Lamas vehicle for Pine-Thomas.

Johnny Dark (1954) - I don't like racing pictures, even if they have Tony Curtis.

World for Ransom (1954 - b/w) - Dreary Robert Aldrich-directed oriental TV spinoff with Dan Duryea.

Hell's Island (1955) - Presumed I'd seen this John Payne/Pine-Thomas redo of the Maltese Falcon in tropical climes before. Usual hokum but nice turn from Francis L. Sullivan as the Greenstreet figure.

Lafayette Escadrille (1957 - b/w) - Nothingy Troy Donahue/David Janssen faux-French WW1 aviation saga. Also with Will Hutchins, Brett Halsey, Tom Laughlin and some young fella called Clint Eastwood. Directed by William Wellman, and featuring himself as a character, played by  his son.
See also Darby's Rangers (1958 - b/w), a similar WW2 vehicle with James Garner and the same female lead, Etchika Choreau. A typical rote gung-ho American military thing, but with the difference it is set in a backlot Scotland.

Kelly and Me (1957) - Universal Van Johnson romantic comedy about a dog. Average.

Kiss Them for Me (-1957) - Dreary romance, not comic at all, very dramatic, with Cary Grant.

Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys (1958) - Paul Newman in a middling juvenile military-com.

A Certain Smile (1958)/Interlude (1957) - Interchangeable continental romances with Rossano Brazzi.

Paris Holiday (1958) - Typical Bob Hope travelogue, with added Fernandel on a helicopter.

The Rough and the Smooth (1959 - b/w) - Draughty German-British erotic drama with Nadja Tiller, Tony Britton (making money to feed baby Fern), and William Bendix. Bland.

The Nights of Lucrezia Borgia (1959) - Very cheesy Italian swashbuckler with unexpected sadism including a Pit and the Pendulum scene pre-Corman.

Why Must I Die (1960) - grotty AIP noir where Terry Moore restages I Want to Live!

Goliath and the Dragon (1960) - Typical AIP-sponsored peplum tedium, peppered up by a cool dragon.

Woman of Straw (1964) - tiresome melodrama with Sean Connery and Gina Lollobrigida. Transatlantic tripe. Ralph Richardson barks racist orders to Johnny Sekka in an armchair-styled wheelchair.

Father Frost (1965) - A relatively unmemorable Soviet fairytale, released by Avco Embassy.

Ambush Bay (1966) - Slightly-better-than-yer-average-Filipino-shot-studio-programmer with Hugh O'Brian and Mickey Rooney fighting the Japanese.

Riot on Sunset Strip (1967) - Tv movie-like sub-Corman non-hip  juvenile delinquency from Sam Katzman. An old man's idea of juvenile debauchery.

Killers Three (1968) - Dreary AIP rural suspense, post-Bonnie and Clyde, with Merle Haggard singing.

The Wild Racers (1968) -  Fabian and Mimsy Farmer in a would-be arty, pretentious European racing schlock from AIP. It's an artier European version of Fabian's previous racing film, Thunder Alley (1967). I always find it interesting that AIP clearly were trying to make Judy Cornwell a star.  She's third billed here as the secondary love interest, above the likes of Talia Shire, then Tally Coppola, Dick Miller and Ron Gans. Did she get offers from Hollywood but turned them down and ended up  finding her niche in sitcom? She did this, Rocket to the Moon and Wuthering Heights, plus the non-AIP but Corman-produced Paddy. Here, she's a kind of dippy flower-child, a kind of southern version of Daisy from Keeping Up Appearances if she had never met Onslow, but also that stereotype of British girls Americans tried to peddle.

Who's Minding the Mint (1968) - Silly but oddly likeable. And Victor Buono's fun (realised I'm almost his age - whoa). Ok.rued.

Lady Hamilton (1968) - Slapdash but ornate yet meaningless historical biopic, made in Italy, with John Mills and Richard Johnson there to convince you it might be British, but it's definitely Eurogrot.

Mafia (1968)  - Turgid, overlong desert-based crime saga with an all-star cast.

The Price of Power (1969) - An interesting idea - a post-JFk take on the assassination of President Garfield, and a great Luis Bacalov theme, but the trouble is the execution. Plus Van Johnson as the President is dubbed by someone else, not to mention that his turn as a clean-shaven idealist (the real James Garfield was bearded) is so Kennedy it hurts. And Dallas in 1881 was already a thriving metropolis, rather than the typical Almerian desert toytown as seen here.

Whirlpool (1970) - Desperate, sleazy Jose Larraz Brit-giallo.

The Confession (1970) - Good for what it is, excellently made. It is Costa-Gavras, and I'm kind of left cold by his stuff. It's too clinical. Still, Montand and Signoret do good.

Goin' Down The Road (1970) - A landmark in Canadian cinema, but cold, dreary, idiotic and oh so wonderfully taken apart by the SCTV gang as Yonge Street.

The only Game in Town (1970) - Set in Vegas but made in France, this is self-indulgent Liz Taylor claptrap.

A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970) - Larry Buchanan's most decent film, but still a pretty slapdash gangster film.

WUSA (1970) - Well-made Paul Newman politica, but it's not really the sort of thing I'd watch for fun.

Some of my Best Friends Are (1971) - AIP gay swishiness.

What Became of Jack and Jill (-1971) Grim, unlikeable, goes-too-far psycho-thriller with Paul Nicholas as a thoroughly horrible killer. Works too well. logged elsewhere.

Rivals (1972) - Pervy incest drama with Joan Hackett being the subject of obsessive affection by her son.

Thirty Dangerous Seconds (1972) - Suspense-free regional thriller with Robert Lansing, long believed lost.

Dirty Little Billy (1972) - Sleazy, dirty, nihilistic western per the period. Michael J. Pollard oddly convincing as a pubescent Billy the Kid, despite being thirty-three.

Journey Through Rosebud (1972) - Dreary Indian mysticism with Robert Forster trying to channel Burt Reynolds as a Native American.

Payday (1973) - Rip Torn is good as a country singer but I don't care about country singers.

Bucktown (1975) - A beige blaxploitation film, despite a fine cast. See also Sheba, Baby (1975).

Murph the Surf (1975) - Dreary sub-TV Robert Conrad vehicle, lots of filler shots of Miami.

Wanted Babysitter (1975) - Dreary, colour-shot but only avaialble in black and white psychodrama involving a movie actress, a kidnapping and Robert Vaughn in 18th century fop drag. With Maria Schneider, Sydne Rome and Vic Morrow. Rene Clement's last film.

At Long Last Love (1975) - Bogdanovich makes a musical, but doesn't know what to do. It feels cheap.

He is my Brother (1975) - Preachy vehicle for singer Bobby Sherman in Hawaii.

The Death Collector (1976) - Sub-Scorsese exploitation nonsense that nevertheless launched Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent.

Tracks (1977) - Henry Jaglom tedium with Dennis Hopper.

Bare Knuckles (1977) - Depressing, rough-hewn grindhouser.

Delta Fox (1979) - KPM library music-heavy skanky actioner with Richard Lynch as a hillbilly James Bond.
Blind Rage (1978) - Fred Williamson-guesting blind heist nonsense from the Philippines. Also with the KPM classic Dossier by Alan Hawkshaw, like the above.

Somebody Killed her Husband (1978) - Terrible Farrah Fawcett comedy vehicle.

Happy Birthday, Gemini (1980) - Annoying, swishy comedy with Madeline Kahn and the world's least convincing father and son (with Bare Knuckles' Robert Viharo as the absurdly young dad).

The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia (1981) - Dreary countrypolitan-based nonsense, not even really adapted from the song, so they change the lyrics. Mark Hamill and Dennis Quaid look baffled.

The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez (1982) - Ntsc-blurry PBS western.

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) - Karen Black is a convincing transwoman, but it seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic timewarp.  Kathy Bates is almost unrecognisable. The flashbacks are a bit Blue Remembered Hills.

The Slavers (1984) - Dreary Canadian miserabilism with Larry Kent.

Hollywood Harry (1986) - Unfunny Cannon-funded Robert Forster private eye vanity project.

Saving Grace (1986) - "Charming", laugh-free comedy where Tom Conti becomes Pope and channels Topol.

Twice Dead (1988) - Bare, suspense-free Corman horror with hilarious 30s flashbacks.

High Frequency (1988) - Dreary Maine-set Berlusconi drama about a kid with a ham radio. Nice Pino Donaggio score.

Tuesday 1 October 2019

74 - Universal roundup

East of Borneo (1931  - b/w)-  Och, another Universal early period Orientalia.

A House Divided (1931 - b/w) - Undistinguished melodrama with Walter Huston and Helen Chandler about a fishing couple.

Graft (1931 - b/w) - Typical journalism drama with Karloff.

Doomed Battalion (1932 - b/w) - A wartime weepie/propagandier.

SOS Iceberg (1933 - B/W) - German-Universal docudrama dreariness with Leni Riefenstahl.

Don't Bet on Love (1933 - b/w) - Ginger Rogers and Lew Ayres in an average romcom.

Bombay Mail (1934 - b/w) - Another period Raj nonsense.

Diamond Jim (1935 - B/w) - Preston Sturges western-ish tweed.

She's Dangerous (1937) - Meh.

Wings Over Honolulu (1937 - B/W) - Ray Milland in a  rote aviation drama.

We Have Our Moments (1937 - B/w) - Tedious romcom with young David Niven.

Night Key (1937 - b/w) - Karloff lifts an otherwise dreary crime story.

Midnight Intruder (1938 - b/w) - Louis Hayward in an abysmal Universal b-movie.

Honeymoon Deferred (1938 - b/w) - Dreary Universal romance.

Wives Under Suspicion (1938 - b/w) - More Universal weariness from a B-crimer.

Mystery of the White Room (1939 - b/w) - Dreary medical mystery.

Behind the Eightball (1940) - The Ritz Brothers are excruciating. They're interchangeable too. They have the same personality.

Dark Streets of Cairo (1940 - b/w) - Terrible Universal backlot mystery.  See also Raiders of the Desert (1941 - |B/w), with an oddly council estate-looking Arab state.

Tight Shoes (1941 - b/w)  - I don't get Runyon.

Flame of New Orleans (1941 - b/w) - Marlene Dietrich film, typical swashbuckler.

Halfway to Shanghai (1942) - George Zucco and Peter Lorre in more oriental exotica.

Lady on a Train (1945 - b/w) - Deanna Durbin tries noir.

Ivy (1947 - B/W) - Average Hollywood-British melodrama with Joan Fontaine.

A Double Life (1947 - b/w) - Turgid docudrama with Ronald Colman as Othello.

A Woman's Vengeance (1948 - b/w) - Another misty Universal Hollywood British melodrama with Charles Boyer, based on Huxley.

All My Sons (1948 - b/w) - Noirish family drama with Edward G. Robinson and Burt Lancaster. Not my thing.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948 - b/w) - Mawkish romance. Did this spawn the trope of mute mermaid?

One Way Street (1950 - b/w) - Another cut/paste border noir, with James Mason.

Thunder on the Hill (1951 - b/w) - Ok.rued this odd faux-British melodrama with Claudette Colbert set in a nunnery. Almost convincing.

The World in his Arms (1952) - Typical techniclor pirate programmer lifted via Gregory Peck.

Back to God's Country (1953) - Faux-Canadian, very Western Northern with Rock Hudson.

Desert Legion (1953) - Pound-shop Antinea/L'Atlantide with Alan Ladd.

Bengal Brigade (1954)  -Rock plays a Raj soldier. Can't take any of these brownfaced tales of India seriously, especially if made by Americans. Indians with Northeastern American accents and swamps in the Bay of Bengal.

Tanganyika (1954) - Snooze.

Yankee Pasha (1955) - Jeff Chandler in a western-infused take on the typical Arab colorama, but still your ordinary Arab colorama.

The Purple Mask (1955) - Tony Curtis is an Aldi Pimpernel.

The Great Man (1956 - b/w) - Average analysis of a man by Jose F.

Joe Butterfly (1957) - Excruciating though penguinesque turn by Burgess Meredith as a Lorre-ish Japanese fella.

The Midnight Story (1957 - B/w) - Another bog-standard Uni noir with Stony Curtis.

The Perfect Furlough (1958) - Dreary icy  Tony Curtis-Blake Edwards romcom.

The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960 - b/w) - Silly quasi-biblical folly with a tour bus, Mamie Van Doren and the devil himself - Mickey bloody Rooney.

In Search of Gregory (1970)  - Dreary romance with John Hurt and Julie Christie. Lots of Italian scenery.

Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) - PBS-esque nostalgic drear.

At Play in the Fields of Our Lord (1991) - a three-hour cannibal film for the art.


A Shot in the Dark (1941 - b/w) - Another identikit Warner mystery cheapie.

Tanks A Million (1941 - b/w) - Identikit Hal Roach wartime propaganda com.

Over my Dead Body (1942 - b/w) -Another identikit, allegedly comic journalism cheapie mystery, with Milton Berle.

Fly by Night (1942 - b/w) - Again, another identikit comic mystery in a gas station, with Richard Carlson. See also Hay foot (1942).

Dangerous Blondes (1943 - b/w) - Another allegedly comic cheapie in a radio studio, with Evelyn Keyes and William Demarest.

Midnight Manhunt (1945 - b/w) - Astonishingly not by Monogram, but Paramount, but you'd never tell with this poverty row-ish George Zucco mystery.  See also No Hands on the Clock (1941 - b/w).

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950 - b/w) - James Cagney in a noir/western hybrid.

Mister 880 (1950 - b/w) - Average Burt Lancaster rom-com.

The Great Rupert (1950 - b/w)- Schmaltzy Puppettoonery.

The Jackpot (1950 - b/w) - James Stewart  in generic sitcommery.

Shamus (1958) - A rare film made in Belfast before the 21st century and indeed pre-Troubles. Almost amateur, but distributed by New Realm, shot in colour, about a kid who befriends a dwarf dressed as a leprechaun. But it has no plot, really.

Castle in the Air (1952 - b/w) - Twee Scots comedy with David Tomlinson, Margaret Rutherford and the  inevitable Gordon Jackson.

Trouble in the Glen (1954) - The Scottish spiritual sequel to the Quiet Man. The best thing is Orson Welles' bizarre, not-very-Hispanic turn as a South American laird, Margaret Lockwood is his same-aged daughter, Forrest Tucker's the Yank (this is a more Republic film than the Quiet Man), heavil ok.rued. Has a scmaltzy subplot with a wise little girl with polio.

The Birds and the Bees (1956) - Alleged comedy with David Niven and the annoyingly pathetic George Gobel.

The Night we Dropped A Clanger (1958) - Identikit wartime caper, with Cecil Parker, Brian Rix, and guest stars William Hartnell and Leslie Philips. Yes, the Doctor's a sergeant.

The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959) - Clifton Webb has lots of kids like he always does, except this is in the turn of the century.

It Takes All Kinds (1969) - Silly, tonally-confused Aussie actioner with Robert Lansing and Vera Miles. Future Australian staple Rod Mullinar plays a small role. It feels like most Aussie films of the 60s/very 70s, i.e. it's basically a TV production.

The Grasshopper (1970) - Sub-Susann/Harold Robinson transatlantic tripe as Jacqueline Bisset (who's supposed to be from British Columbia, but she must have not heard the second word) becomes a Vegas showgirl, shags Jim Brown and sees some sky-writing in the air.

The Front (1976) - Woody Allen drama abotu blacklisting, zzzzz.

The Castaways of Turtle Island (1976) - A 2 hour 20 minute comedy from France with Pierre Richard on a desert island. Snooze.

Meetings with Remarkable Men (1978) - Lots of famous British character actors playing Armenians with mixed results. Colin Blakely looks like Khalid Kelly.

Hoodlums (1980) - Marketed as a comedy, but a terrible, supposedly serious vanity project for Nai "Nocturna" Bonet. Michael V. Gazzo pops up in another post-Godfather riff.

Purana Mandir (1984) - Another identikit, overlong though memorable but baffling Bollywood Ramsay horrorthon.

The Assisi Underground (1985) - Ben Cross fights Nazis in the Vatican. James Mason, Maximillian Schell and Edmund Purdom (at the same time, in the similar but better The Scarlet and the Black) look on. Cannon's attempt at privilege. Visually interesting but clearly cutdown from a planned miniseries so it doesn't make much sense.

Bernadette (1988) - Cannon's dodgy, preachy adaptation of the story of Lourdes.

Business as Usual (1988)-  A Cannon/FilmFour coproduction starring Glenda Jackson, John Thaw and Cathy Tyson, with several McGanns, Craig Charles (then married to Tyson, god help her), James Hazledine and Ian Puleston-Davies. But it's a sub-Bleasdale drama about Scousers. That ends with the credits rolling over Glenda and John making out poignantly.

The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish (1991)- Finally completed this dreadful, laugh-free Continental cash-in on a Fish Called Wanda with Goldblum, Hoskins and Natasha Richardson.