Thursday 23 July 2020


Daughter of the Dragon (1931 - b/w) - Routine pulp with Anna May Wong as Fah Lo Suee.

Keep Your Seats Please (1936 - b/w) - Forgettable 12 chairs-inspired vehicle for George Formby, bar launching When I'm Cleaning Windows. With Alastair Sim, May Whitty, child star Binkie Stuart...

The Criminal (1960)- Routine decent prison movie with Stanley Baker and tons of Great British character actors.Plus ads for Cliff Richard.

Heavens Above! (1963) - Not-very-funny, "charming" Peter Sellers-with-a-Midlands-twang-as-a-priest clerical comedy. Brock Peters plays a Car
ibbean immigrant. Tons of British character faces pop up,  plus Ludovic Kennedy. Ends in space!

Sting of Death (1966) - Dreary if colourful William Grefe jellyfish-monster flick.

The Devil's 8 (1968) - Forgettable cheery biker-Dirty Dozen from AIP, with a Z Cars-ish theme. A rewatch.

The Emerald of Artatama (1969) - Rory Calhoun stands and walks about Egypt in this 50s-style Europen pulper.

How To Commit Marriage (1969) - Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason try to catch up with the Permissive Society, and fail miserably.

Devil Rider (1970) - Random karate inserts in this junky Floridian biker pic.

Dangerous Games (1970) - Rote Nikkatsu sukeban actioner.

Angels Die Hard (1970)/Bury Me An Angel (1972) - Routine biker saga.
See also Angels Hard as they Come (1971) - starring Scott Glenn as David Carradine.
And AIP's Hell Belles (1969) despite having the sub-Chuck Connors Jeremy Slate and British starlet Jocelyn Lane duking it out in a Brillo-filled services.

The Girls from Thunder Strip (1970) - Incompetent David L. Hewitt exploiter.

Swamp Girl (1971) - Bizarre but somewhat charming Southern exploitation item with Simone Griffeth in a hovercraft and Kenny Everett favourite Ferlin Husky.

Sweet Savior (1971) - Nice New York photography helps this sleazy post-Manson item with Troy Donahue. Thought that the soundtrack sounded particularly Nial Diamond-ish. Turns out it is by Jeff Barry, who discovered Diamond.

When Women Played Ding-Dong (1971) - Baffling Italian caveman comedy.

Asylum of Satan (1972) - Dingy Satanic madhouse nonsense from William Girdler, with horror host Charles Kissinger as  a brother and sister.

Brute Corps (1972) - Dingy, unlikeable sex-film-version-of-the-Most-Dangerous-Game-without-the-sex.

The Loners (1972) - Billy Jack knockoff with Dean Stockwell, of all people as a half-breed biker, with Scott Brady and Gloria Grahame.

The Final Comedown (1972) -Angry exploitation-with-a-purpose coproduced by Corman and the AFI, with Billy Dee Williams. The anger it seethes rates stronger than the quality.

The Devil and Leroy Bassett (1973) - Nonsensical amateurish regional modern western.

Honeybaby, Honeybaby (1974)  - Diana Sands and Calvin Lockhart star in a ropey blaxploitation actioner about a female spy and her  annoying sub-Jimmie Walker teenage cousin. Has footage of a Beirut fleapit showing Terry Bourke's Noon Sunday and spaghetti western Sundance Cassidy and Butch the Kid. Thomas Baptiste, one of the leading black British actors of the era plays the baddie.

The Manhandlers (1974) - Ropey sub-Andy Sidaris action.

The Treasure of Tayopa (1974) - Modern-day poverty row western trash with Gilbert Roland.

Macon County Line (1974) - Weirdly British-feeling AIP nostalgic regional exploiter with Bobbie Gentry theme.

Almost Human (1974) - Expertly-paced Italian crime film. Not quite my thing, but worth it for a scene where Tomas Milian stands outside a load of Tex Willer and Zorro comics. The Morricone score is reused from Plot, and would itself inspire the soundtrack for Exorcist 2.

Ride in a Pink Car (1974) - Sub-Billy Jack/Walking Tall Florida exploitation picture, not the sexy comedy that the title perhaps suggests, with Glenn Corbett and Morgan "Lazuuullli!" Woodward.

Savage Sisters (1975) - Routine Filipino-shot exploitation.

Dr. Minx (1975) - Junky sexploiter with Edy Williams and William Smith.

Demon Witch Child (1975) - Ropey Spanish horror that thinks a Satanic knife is a beautiful doll.

Slaughter in San Francisco (1975) -Junky Golden Harvest kung fu shot in the US, feels like the whole thing was shot without the actors being told, and that includes Chuck Norris.

Sixpack Annie (1975) - Routine Southern sex com with Stubby Kaye, one of the few people to do both British and American  sex comedies of this era.

Black Gestapo (1975) - Nasty, unlikeable blaxploitation item.

Killers on Wheels (1976) - Hong Kong Psychomania without the Zombies, but with knockoff Rubettes on the radio.

Blue Jeans and Dynamite (1976) - Dopey, slightly more serious Hill and Spencer-type action with Chris Mitchum,Claudine Auger and Aldo Sambrell.

Trackdown (1976) - Bleak modern-day Searchers with Jim Mitchum, Erik Estrada, Anne Archer, Cathy Lee Crosby and a theme by Kenny Rogers, that predates Paul Schrader's Hardcore.

Death Promise (1977) - Low-budget, energetic but threadbare urban martial arts actioner.

Hitch-Hike to Hell (1977) - Tawdry, nasty Boxoffice International pic from the Berwicks, with the domestic life of a black detective shoehorned in.

Double Nickels (1977) - Typical low-rent car-chase thrills.
See also the sleazier Joyride to Nowhere (1977).

Cherry Hill High (1977) - Bizarre Cannon sex comedy, for some reason post-synced, despite being American. Features CB truckers, sub-Emanuelle arty erotica, shark diving, bikers, aliens (a Metalunan from This Island Earth, by the looks), ghosts, and then at the end it turns into an erotic version of the Lost Islands, with the girls crewing a ship. A Discovery. I expected something like Cheerleaders' Beach Party  (1977), but that's not what I got.

Speedtrap (1977) - Shoddy car chase film with Tyne Daly, Joe Don Baker, Robert Loggia, Timothy Carey and a visible boom mic.

Exorcist III (1977) - Unofficial erotic sequel with Richard Conte as a priest fighting a demonic twink.

Abar The First Black Superman (1977) - Utterly nondescript alleged parody, but actually serious.

Blood Stalkers (1978) - Horrific regional yokel terror cheapie.  The gospel padding reminded me of Maxine Barrie in the Fiend.

Blue Collar (1978) - Schrader gives me a headache.

I Miss You Hugs and Kisses (1978) - Canadian TV-themed erotic thriller with Elke Sommer, Cec Linder and George Chuvalo. Inexplicably a video nasty.

Blood and Guts (1978) - Dreary Canadian wrestling picture with William Smith, and characters taking influence from Marvel Tarzan comics. Features regional Canadian country radio stations.

Terror on Tour (1980)- Dreary, dank, badly-photographed slasher, the ostensible gimmick about a glam rock band called the Clowns is merely padding.

Ups and Downs (1981) - This Canadian teen sex comedy feels heavily indebted to Gregory's Girl. It's like a Bill Forsyth fanfilm. Amiable, shot at a real boarding school, with the staff as themselves. Leslie Hope, of 24 fame is one of the girls.

The Head Hunter (1983) - Routine Chow Yun Fat actioner set amongst ATV Hong Kong (formerly the HK arm of Associated Rediffusion).

Lovelines (1984) - Forgettable musical teen comedy with a bunch of ageing yoots.

Devil Story (1985) - Ropey French horror with a cavalcade of monsters in a gallic Florida.

The Night Stalker (1986) - Ropey Charles Napier serial killer thriller.

Highlander (1986) - I grow to like it more and more. Even though it never quite gels.

Lethal Pursuit (1988) - A 70s regional exploitation ovie made 15 years late, with "teenage" "punks".

Voodoo Dawn (1991) - Tony Todd runs a voodoo plantation.

The Bone Yard (1991) - Zombie Phyllis Diller attacks.

The Pelican Brief (1993) - There are pelicans.

Fear (1946 - b/w)/The Pretender (1947 - b/w) - Routine poverty row prestige.

Beat Girl (1960) - Grimy yet supposedly glam British rock movie with Gillian Hills, Adam Faith, David Farrar and Christopher Lee grateful not to be in a horror.

Bikini Beach (1964) - God I can't stand the beach party movies. Like tits and arse for Disney kids.Despite Keenan  Wynn and a gorilla. The musical setpieces always feel padding to an already boring teen saga.However, I can see the charm when you have Little Stevie Wonder before the voice broke and Karloff together, almost in the same scene.
See also the car racing variant Fireball 500 (1966).

The Glory Stompers (1968) - Routine AIP biker film.
See also Chrome and Hot Leather (1970), though it adds Marvin Gaye and Green Berets.
Also Fanfare's Rebel Rousers (1967), which blends into one, with the Glory Stompers.
However, the cheaper, less expertly produced likes of William Grefe's The Wild Rebels (1966), The Tormentors (1971) and K. Gordon Murray's Savages from Hell (1968) and Angels from Hell (1968), The Hellcats (1968) and The Sidehackers (1969), Run Angel Run (1969), Hell's Angels '69 (1969) are just plain terrible.

Murder a  la Mod (1968) - DePalma was always this voyeuristic, huh.

The Tough and the Mighty (1969) - Sardininan melodrama from DeLaurentiis, with Terence Hill in his serious phase.

Miss Leslie's Dolls (1973) - Bizarre exploitation film which got its biggest release in Britain, thanks to Poverty Row leftovers Grand National. About a transvestite possessed by a woman desperate to get a new body. Utterly indescribable.

A Name for Evil (1973) - Ropey TVM-ish Canadian-ish horror with Robert Culp and Samantha Eggar in a huanted house.

Paperback Hero (1973)/The Hard Part Begins (1973) - Canadian attempts at countryploitation.

Girls for Rent (1974) - Another Al Adamson movie, the same old desert runaround but with Georgina Spelvin.

Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974) - Generic moonshining tosh.

Mama's Dirty Girls (1974) - Subpar sleaze - Gloria Grahame does Bloody Mama business.

Truck Stop Women (1974) - Mark L. Lester at least makes this rural sexploiter look like a real film. Photoplay alert.

Thunder County (1974) - Mickey Rooney and a rather quality villain in Ted Cassidy enliven this sub-Cell Block H women in prison movie, which literally features death by piranha and a helicopter gunship at the end.

Gina (1975) - Better-made-than-you'd-expect for a Montreal crime cheapie, but it's by Denys Arcand the bloke behind Jesus of Montreal and the Barbarian Invasions, so not your usual exploitation hack.

Tommy (1975) - Possibly Ken Russell's best, if only for Oliver Reed as Ted Bovis. It's so gorgeously shot, though. Of course, Uncle Ernie drinks Newcastle Brown. It uses TV too in  a really weird way, seguing into ads for beans and characters watching the telly and cuts to horse racing.

The Pom Pom Girls (1976) - One of the better cheerleader movies. A true time capsule.

Nashville Girl (1976) - An underage country singer (played by nearly-30 Monica Gayle) gets raped, goes to Nashvile, gets raped, and then breaks free. Tonally all over the place. Is it a light comedy, a coming-of-age drama or a dirty expose on paedophilia in country music...

Deadly Harvest (1977) - Canadian apocalyptica with Kim Cattrall and Clint Walker surviving the drear.

Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers (1977) - Starring Robin Askwith, Nigel Davenport, George Layton, John LeMesurier, Robin Nedwell, Edward Woodward, with guest stars Irene Handl and Lynda Bellingham plus a browned up Miriam Margolyes and Pamela Stephenson. An expensive-looking but kind of forgettable sequel. Warren Mitchell does an Indian accent as a Welsh character.

Aliens from Spaceship Earth (1977) - Ludicrous documentary hosted by Donovan.

A Hero Ain't Nothin But A Sandwich  (1978) - A well-made Afterschool Special.

The Tattoo Connection (1978) - Forgettable Jim Kelly vehicle, marketed as Black Belt Jones II. Heavy with Hong Kong TV news bulletins.

The Bloodstained Shadow (1978) - Routine giallo.

Lady Iron Monkey (1979) - A Cockney dwarf harrasses an ape-girl in this Lo Lieh kung fu-er.

Pinball Summer (1980) - Canadian kids pretend to be Californian, play pinball, have it on and watch Krakatoa - East of Java.
The Edmonton-based Powder heads (1980) on the other hand is firmly Canadian.With the air of an SCTV sketch without the jokes, and Catherine Mary Stewart instead of O'Hara.

Defiance (1980) - Sleazy vigilante movie, but John Flynn brings class, and Danny Aiello and Art Carney add class. Who knew there was such a thing as Carnation Ice Cream? Poor Theresa Saldanha, who herself became the victim of similar violence shortly afterward, though lived to tell the tale in her own TV movie biopic.

Ruckus (1981) - Dirk Benedict does Rambo before First Blood, via Walking Tall in this Willie Nelson-soundtracked southern fried vengeance movie while Richard Farnsworth and Ben Johnson fumes, and Linda Blair looks doe-eyed. Feels kind of outdated for 1981. Serviceable. Never have I seen so much Royal Crown cola.

Eyes of a Stranger (1981) - Sleazy, miserable slasher with "dumb" Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Running on Empty (1982) - Routine Aussie car-chaser with the seemingly ubiquitous Max Cullen (also in Midnite Spares).

Starstruck (1982) - Pugwall-ish  feelgood Aussie teen musical, featuring Lucky "Bluey" Grills and a pre-Neighbours Mark Little.

OC and Stiggs (1983/1987) - WTF? Robert Altman makes a teen sex comedy, and then rips the piss out of teen sex comedies.

Killing Cars (1986) - Rubbishy B-thriller about killer automobiles with Senta Berger and Jurgen Prochnow.

Frenchman's Farm (1987) -Forgettable, unwatchably-lit time-travel horror with Ray Barrett.

Ultra Warrior (1990) - Ludicrous Peruvian Corman sword and planet post-apocalyptic schlock with a villain dressed like Mandrake the Magician.

A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell (1991) - Typical Brett Piper production - ace animation, boring live action stuff.

Sunday 19 July 2020


Passport to Pimlico (1948) - I keep forgetting that this has Charters and Caldicott in it. See also Crook's Tour (1949 - b/w).

You're Only Young Once (1937) - I don't get the Andy Hardy franchise.

Eight O'Clock Walk (1954) - Routine Richard Attenborough vehicle, the sort of mystery where Maurice Denham of the Yard turns up.

Blue Murder at St. Trinian's (1957)/The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960) - These are all the same film. Flash Harry, girls, ministry members. The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966) adds Frankie Howerd, hypnotic TV signals, a Biggs-chasing plot with Stratford Johns, and an ill-fated stab at currency with a long-haired Jeremy Clyde.
The Wildcats of St. Trinian's (1981) is terrible. The only original cast member is Thorley Walters, now playing Culpepper-Brown, rather than his assistant, as Eric Barker had his stroke. It's even worse than Carry On Emmannuelle. It's a probable model for Carry On Banging. Instead of Sir Norbert Smith, we have Michael Hordern. Joe Melia is rotten and empty as Flash Harry. Not very flash either. What on earth is Sheila Hancock doing as the supposed lead headmistress? Alex Kingston and reality TV staple Lisa Vanderpump are students, headed by 24-year-old Veronica Quilligan. There's Spider-Man and Wonder Woman cutouts. Julia McKenzie, Rodney Bewes and Maureen Lipman are the other star names. It's like a cross between a Children's Film Foundation short and the non-sexy bits of some sub-Confessions allegedly erotic lark.

Ben Hur (1959) - It's what it is. Christian propaganda on a glorious scale. Nice to see the Welsh represented.

Kings of the Sun (1963) - Ropey faux-native Americana.

Repulsion (1965) - Feck off, Roman.

Pippi Longstocking (1969) - The Swedish answer to the Children's Film Foundation, but more ragged. Watching this original TV/theatrically-released-in-the US adaptation, the Pepi Longsocks sketch from SCTV seems even funnier. The music's even almost identical. The 1988 film I saw as a kid. I was desperate to see it, and when I did, I was disappointed.

Chinese Boxer (1970)/Return of the Chinese Boxer (1970) - Standard period martial arts with Jimmy Wang Yu. The latter has Chinese actors as Japanese samurai who say "Chi-ner". Some have RP English accents.

Lust for a Vampire (1971)/Twins of Evil (1971) - This lesbian end of Hammer just feels tired, and trying to catch up with Europe. But they still manage to conjure up atmosphere in scenes.

The Rowdyman (1972) - Watching this and kept forgetting it was set in Newfoundland. Parts of it even look like Cork. One of the great Canadian films.Gordon Pinsent really sells it, so it's weird when someone so American like Will Geer pops up.

Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972) - Routine giallo/krimi, with a cameo for German mad and a theme sung by the bloke behind Star Turn on 45 pints.

Knight Errant (1973) - Routine but enjoyable modern-set Jimmy Wang Yu actioner.

Chinese Hercules (1974) - Rough but entertaining, I suppose Hong Kong gangland action.

Dan Candy's Law (1974) - Alias Alien Thunder, actually a fairly interesting but rather messy Canadian mountie Northern with Donald Sutherland pursuing First Nations people Gordon Tootoosis and Chief Dan George.

The Vampires' Night Orgy (1974) - Slightly above average Spanish-set Eastern European horror on account of not having Paul Naschy.

Death Journey (1975) - Standard Fred Williamson vanity project.

The Old Gun (1975) - Routine French WW2 drama with Philippe Noiret and Romy Schneider.

The Great Texas  Dynamite Chase (1976) - Better than average Corman car chaser.

Flash and the Firecat (1976) - Rote car-chase movie from Ferd and Beverly Sebastian.

One Armed Swordsman vs Nine Killers (1976) - Ropey wuxia with Jimmy Wang Yu.

Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976) - Splendid death device, but an otherwise standard, well-made Wang Yu period piece.

Dixie Dynamite (1976) - Undistinguished Southern car chase film, with Warren Oates and stunts by Steve McQueen.

The Keeper (1976) - Interesting, cold but ambitious mental home horror from Canada, with Christopher Lee.

Project Kill (1977) - Routine Filipino action with Leslie Nielsen and Nancy Kwan.

Bad Georgia Road (1977) - Forgettable Smokey-alike with Gary Lockwood and Carol Lynley.

Hi-Riders (1978) -  Routine biker/car chase exploitation. Bizarrely and officially uses Rock On by David Essex.

Fighting Mad (1978) - Passable-for-a-Cirio-Santiago blaxploitation semi-samurai actioner.

Swap Meet (1979) - Doughy sexcom with Danny DeVito.

Magnificent Butcher (1979) - Sammo Hung teams up with 70-odd Kwan Tak-Hing as Wong Fei Hung. When is this set? It should be the 1910s, but everything feels 70s.

The Victim (1980) - Routine Sammo vehicle.
See also the bloody awful Taiwanese production Shaolin Traitorous (1976).

Silver Dream Racer (1981) - This is Traveller Pride week. So, what else to celebrate than watching a David Essex film? Watching this, and to think that jive-talking British stereotype of black America is Clarke Peters, now a universally acclaimed actor from the Wire and Broadway musical creator.   Patrick Ryecart gets big "featuring" credit.   Harry H Corbett's last film, and seeing him as  lab-coated motorcycle boffin just makes me wonder would he have been  a good Quatermass. He's faintly Doctorish too (Elisabeth Sladen is his assistant too).  Beau Bridges proves he is the brother with the career more like his dad by popping up as the US import in a British film. Cristina Raines is wooden. Essex just does his "cheeky Cockney traveller chappie". The end is one of the true WTF gut-punches. Bruce Boa is a commentator. A Moonraker poster appears in the tube.

Legend of a Fighter (1982) -  Solid kung fu from Yuen Woo Ping.

Aces Go Places (1982)/Aces Go Places II (1983) - Ambitious and occasionally wowsers stuntwork but the  usual baffling Hong Kong comedy. The sequels, IV (1986- Ronald Lacey and New Zealand) and V (1989) blend into one. Alias the Mad Mission films.

Mad Mad 83 (1983) - Similar Shaw Brothers alleged comedy.

The Devil's Sword (1984) - Astonishing Indonesian fantasy picture.
Also with star Barry Prima, The Warrior (1981) - the irony is the Eurasian actors playing the Dutch look more Asian than supposed native Prima (himself Eurasian), and the fake facial hair and wigs don't help.

The Adventures of Taura: Prison Ship Starslammer (1988) - Begins with the most litigious knockoff of the Raiders March. Fred Olen Ray splits the whole thing into serial-style segments.  An amiable, competent but nothing especially memorable space opera.

Jungle Fever (1991) - Spike Lee interracial romance. Not my kind of film. Inner-city romances don't appeal.

From Beijing with Love (1994) - It opens with a Scania. A lovely Scania (Scanias are the type of trucks that make my dad go moist). Then, it turns into One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, with actual Chinese people. There's a Doctor Doom/Klytus-type. Then, we cut to Stephen Chow as a fry chef.

Tuesday 14 July 2020


The Crime Doctor's Courage (1945 - b/w) - Faux-vampire B-crime.  Interchangeable fedoras. See also The Crime Doctor's Strangest Case (1943 - Lloyd Bridges alert), Shadows in the Night (1944 - b/w), The Crime Doctor's Warning (1945 - b/w), Just Before Dawn (1946 - b/w)The Millerson Case (1946 - b/w), The Crime Doctor's Manhunt (1946 - b/w), The Crime Doctor's Gamble (1947 - b/w) and The Crime Doctor's Diary (1949), and also from Columbia B-crime series the Whistler, The Mysterious Intruder (1946), The Thirteenth  Hour (1947 - b/w), and Return of the Whistler (1948 - b/w), all simultaneously quick yet dreary vehicles for Richard Dix.

The Last Days of Dolwyn (1949) - Dreary Welsh saga with impossibly young Richard Burton and impossibly young and thin Hugh Griffith.

The Great Gatsby (1949 - b/w) - Dull adap.

Two Lost Worlds (1951 - b/w) - Dreary Puritan lost world swashbuckling with James Arness.

Seven Thunders (1957 - b/w) - Routine war saga. Nice to see Martin Miller in a big role.

Escort for Hire (1960) - Rudimentary runny-color Danziger's B-pic, with June Thorburn, DJ Pete Murray in a comedic romantic lead role, "and Guy Middleton", plus Peter Butterworth.

The Full Treatment (1960) - Dreary Hammer thriller.

Ava (1962) - Arty, insufferable Joseph Losey adap of a James Hadley Chase book, with Jeanne Moreau and Stanley Baker.
See also Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle (1966- b/w) and The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967 - b/w).

90 Degrees in the Shade (1965) - Dark, amtospheric but also kind of forgettable Anglo-Czech drama with James Booth, Anne Heywood, Ann Todd and Donald Wolfit.

Hysteria (1965) - Routine Hammer thriller.

Is Paris Burning (1966 - b/w) - Overlong b/w war saga.

With Six You Get Eggroll (1968) - Routine Doris Day-er.

The Silent Stranger (1968) - Experimental, intriguing Tony Anthony western set in Japan, ahead of its time when it was made, but outdated when it came out 7 years after it was made, in 1975.

Once You Kill A Stranger (1969) - Beige televisual thriller with Paul Burke and Carol Lynley.

A Dream of Kings (1969) - Dreary Anthony Quinn Greek tragedy, though with some lovely NYC photography.

A Fine Pair (1969) - Obnoxious Italian caper with Rock Hudson and Claudia Cardinale.

The Walking Stick (1970) - Dreary romance-thriller with David Hemmings and Samantha Eggar.

Love Story (1970)/Oliver's Story (1978) - Love means never having to say, "Next!".

The Bushbaby (1970) - Dreary sub-Bunty comic story of a girl with a pet, in Africa.

Take A Girl Like You (1970) - Midiffusion Television! Yet another fictional ITV region! Yay! Typical 60s romcom with Hayley Mills and Olier Reed, Noel Harrison, Bird and Fortune....

Act of the Heart (1970) - Genevieve Bujold romances Donald Sutherland, outside the CBC building.

ZigZag (1970) - Routine sub-TVM George Kennedy thriller, with weirdly Anne Jackson playing his wie, while her husband Eli Wallach is the heavy. William Marshall plays a Maurice Bronson, yes, like Michael Sheard in Grange Hill.

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) - A peculiar film. Halfway faux-British musical (did Le Mesurier, Handl and Kinnear fly out all the way to Burbank and then see most of their scenes excited?) and hip Streisand vehicle (Jack Nicholson as the neighbour!).

Rabbit Run (1970) - Average James Caan comdram.

The Lawyer (1970) - Dreary, rapey pilot for TV's Petrocelli.

The Great White Hope (1970) - Average epic boxing drama, despite a charismatic, god-like turn from James Earl Jones.

The Phantom Tollbooth (1970) - Nice Chuck Jones animation. Never seen this before, but I read the book because I wanted to see the film.

 La Moglie del Prete (1970) - Sophia and Marcello clerical comdram.
See also Homo Eroticus (1971 - with Rosanna Podesta and Lando Buzzanca sex-comedying up), Per le antiche scale (1975), , La Derniere Femme (1976 - Big Ger Depardieu, Ornella Muti and their kid get naked and football on the telly).

Star Spangled Girl (1971) - Sandy Duncan gets on my nerves, ever since that ep of the New Scooby Doo Movies.

Drive, He Said (1971) - Dreary basketball drama by Jack Nicholson. The highlight is placement for 7UP and Butterfinger.

Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) - Elizabeth R spinoff with Glenda Jackson vs Vanessa Redgrave. Blond twink Timothy Dalton alert. The Bondian John Barry soundtrack is the main thing to recommend.

A Safe Place (1971)- Henry Jaglom indulgence, again produced by Nicholson. Orson Welles does his tricks.

The Go-Between (1971) - Not my cup of tea.

Summertree (1971) - Routine anti-Nam story with Michael Douglas as a singer-songwriter falling in love with Brenda Vaccaro. Also fits into that subgenre - "films directed by the cast of EastEnders". This is by Anthony Newley.
See also Hail Hero (1970) and Adam at 6. A.M. (1970), with Douglas.

Summer of 42 (1971) - Massive hit in its day, this anodyne teen/twenty-something affair romance with the annoying Gary Grimes and Jennifer O'Neill is kind of baffling. The sequel, Class of '44 (1973) is equally dull, but only really notable because a very young John Candy appears in his screen debut as a fellow student. It's weird seeing young Candy in something serious because it immediately makes it feel like an SCTV parody.

Cisco Pike (1971) - I find this Kris Kristofferson vehicle dreary. Blame it being the soundtrack of caravan holidays.

Billy Jack (1971) - Tom Laughlin is utterly ludicrous as the supposed half-breed. He's like an Irish farmer. The hat doesn't suit him at all. His wife is a terrible actress, though a convincing teacher. The film is a mess. We go from teenage talent shows to preaching to ropey action. What astonishes me is that future Mrs. Reb Brown, Cisse Cameron is credited as Cissie Colpitts. Now, this film is almost unknown in the UK, despite being a massive hit in the US. But did Peter Greenaway see this film and use the name for Drowning by Numbers?

Le Mans (1971) - McQueen indulgence.

The War Between Men and Women (1972) - Saw this on RTE as a kid, because it has a cartoonist. Typical Jack Lemmon vehicle, based on James Thurber.

Butterflies are Free (1972) - Routine 70s romcom with blind Edward Albert and Goldie Hawn. Another film RTE used to show.

The Legend of ***** Charley (1972) - A routine western with black leads. Fred Williamson gets his Eastwood on. See also the Soul of ***** Charley (1972).

Deadhead Miles (1972) - Routine trucker story with Alan Arkin AND Hector Elizondo (Elizondo took over Arkin's roles in both the TV series of Popi and Freebie and the Bean - at least, he is Hispanic). Charles Durning has a neat cameo.

Maurie (1972) - Schmaltzy TVM-esque story starring Bernie Casey as real-life basketball player Maurice Stokes. Yes, like the Paranormal Grocer in Viz.

One is a Lonely Number (1972) - Ropey Trish van Devere vehicle.

Living Free (1972) - Beige safari sequel to Born Free (1966) with Susan Hampshire as Virginia McKenna and Nigel Davenport as Bill Travers.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972) - Dreary kitchen-sinker, though Peter Bowles rocks sheepskin. And there's a weird spacecraft amusements park.

Portnoy's Complaint (1972) - Routine Richard Benjamin/Philip Roth thing.

The Big Boss (1972) - Typical Lee.

The Brides Wore Blood (1972) - Oddly intoxicating, lovely color in this threadbare, otherwise terrible Florida Count Yorga imitation.

The Paper Chase (1973) - Routine college drama, no wonder it became a series.

The Exorcist (1973) - I almost admire the 70s clerical stuff, but it's a mess.

The Hireling (1973) - Dreary romantic drama with Sarah Miles, Robert Shaw and Peter Egan.

The Way We Were (1973)  - Routine romance.

The Slams (1973) - Routine prison flick with Jim Brown.

L'Emmerdeur (1973) - Jacques Brel and Lino Ventura in Buddy, Buddy.

The Education of Sonny Carson (1974) - Naturalistic, cinema verite pseudo-blaxploitation, then there's a funeral. And the preacher is Ram John Holder. Yes, Porkpie from Desmond's (though I remember him from Tracy Beaker). And yes, this is an American production.  Holder was already British-based, but he had done work in New York earlier, and presumably his role as Friday in a major transatlantic adap of Robinson Crusoe contributed to his casting, but it's weird.  He gets a big juicy monologue, though. Again, an early example of a Black British actor going off to the US, and getting a better part.

The Klansman (1974) - Tawdry sub-Mandingo in the present day, with Lee Marvin, Richard Burton doing a southern/RP hybrid, and OJ on the run. Bless.

Claudine (1974) - Earthy, well-made in every department inner-city drama with Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - And it pooped. It's basically like going on a  school trip and being stuck with the backward kids in class.

Sunday Woman (1975) - Undistinguished giallo comedy with Jacqueline Bisset, Mastroianni and Jean Louis Trintignant.

Once Is Not Enough (1975) - How did Leonard Sachs get into this piece of Transatlantic Tripe?

Emmanuelle 2 (1975) - Not my thing at all - erotica.

Mr. Robinson (1976) - Paolo Villaggio watches Italian TV, then goes off on a desert island.

Kenny and Co (1976) - Sub-Children's Film Foundation Halloween comedy with Don Coscarelli and company. See also Jim the World's Greatest (1976).

High Velocity (1976)- Routine jungle actioner with Ben Gazzara, Paul Winfield and Britt Ekland.

No Way Back (1976) - Routine Fred Williamson vanity job.

The Bad News Bears (1976)/The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training (1977)/The Bad News Bears Go To Japan (1978). Routine smartarse kiddies playing baseball. The last one, with Tony Curtis instead of Mathhau costars as the rival coach, Lone Wolf himself, Tomisaburo Wakayama. Sadly, his team are not called the Cubs.

Northville Cemetery Massacre (1976) - The fact that the lead is dubbed by Nick Nolte is the only notable thing about this biker flick.

Thunder and Lightning (1977) - Sub-Smokey Corman action with David Carradine and Kate Jackson.

Tintorera (1977) - Tawdry Mexican Jaws with Susan George.

The White Buffalo (1977) - Confused spaghetti western/Jaws knockoff with Bronson.

The Chicken Chronicles (1977) - Steve Guttenberg and a nearly-dead Phil Silvers united in the name of shitty teen sex comedy.

Foul Play (1978) - Efficient though somewhat lacking vehicle for Goldie and Chevy. Dudley's American debut. With Barry Manilow's best song.

Dreamer (1979) - Jack Warden teaches Tim Matheson how to bowl, or something.

A Perfect Couple  (1979) - Altman at his least.

The Rose (1979) - Bette Midler concert padded out by a TV-level Joplin biopic. Is this supposed to be the 60s?

Norma Rae (1979) - Feminist parable.

La Luna (1979) - Bertolucci-helmed paedo/incestuous wank with Jill Clayburgh shagging her son, Fred Gwynne, Tomas Milian and Roberto Benigni in a tiny bit.

Yes, Giorgio (1981) - Pavarotti's big film. If it had starred Dom Deluise, there'd be no difference. Being an 80s comedy, there's nuns. At the end, he sings Nessun Dorma in makeup that makes him look vaguely Blessed-esque. The best bit.

So Fine (1981) - Ryan O'Neal, Mariangela Melato and Richard Kiel as a couple, Jack Warden and Fred Gwynne in a botched US attempt at an Italian sex com.

Les Miserables (1982) - Slow, stately adap with Lino Ventura.

The Young Warriors (1983) - Ugly, grubby all-star thirty-year-old teenage vigilante pic with Ernest Borgnine and Richard Roundtree.

Cento giorni a Palermo (1984) - Routine gangster saga with Lino Ventura and Italian TV.

La Rumba (1987) - Boring jazz saga with Roger Hanin. Lino Ventura has a cameo.

Cabin Boy (1994) - Silly vehicle for Chris Elliott, who I can't really stand. Initially for Tim Burton.

Monday 6 July 2020


The Cat's Paw (1934 - b/w) - Routine Harold Lloyd. See also Welcome Danger (1929 - b/w) and Feet First (1930 - b/w)

Moby Dick (1956) - I like the design, but it's very artificial.

Guns at Batasi (1964 - b/w) - RIP Earl Cameron. Above-average British war film, despite Graham Stark AND Mia Farrow.
Not unlike the Hill (1965 - b/w).

The Dirty Dozen (1967) - Overlong, and it looks so clearly England, but it's relatively solid.

Mosquito Squadron (1968) - Routine WW2 fare.

Machine Gun McCain (1969) - Above-average Italian crime shoot-em-up, maybe because it stars John Cassavetes, Peter Falk and Gena Rowlands.

The Enchanting Ghost (1970) - Spooky wuxia.

Waterloo (1970) - Bloated Euro-epic version of the story.

I Walk the Line (1970) - Routine nonsensical drama with Tuesday Weld and Gregory Peck.

I Never Sang for my Father (1970) - Confused but affecting drama with Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman.

Going Home (1971) - Dreary Robert Mitchum/Jan Michael Vincent drama.

The Love Machine (1971) - Bonkbustery Jacqueline Susann transatlantic tripe.

What Became of Jack and Jill (1971) - Dreary, exploitative Paul Nicholas gran abuse vehicle.

Travels with my Aunt (1972) - Maggie Smith drags along Alec McCowen on a complicated journey. Smith looks younger than her on-screen nephew / son (because well, she is). The thick makeup doesn't help. She looks the same age as her supposed toy-boy, Lou Gossett (his bald tonsure doesn't help). Nice to see La Cabina's Jose Luis Lopez Vasquez.

Stand Up And Be Counted (1972) - Forgettable women's lib comedy with Jacqueline Bisset.

To Find A Man (1972)/ Our Time (1974) - Well-made if upsetting Pamela Sue Martin teenage private school stories of abortion and early death.

Young Winston (1972) - Patriotic propaganda.

Go For A Take (1972) - Reg Varney and Norman Rossington bungle into "Starwood Studios". Dennis Price plays Dracula and there's a moment on the set of Here Comes the Double Deckers. Forgettable sub-sub-Carry On action. Sets and costumes from Carry Ons and various other pictures recur.

Images (1972) - Not really an Altman fan, but this does have something - Susannah York goes mad in Wicklow. It captures the strangeness, the desolation of places like Powerscourt Waterfall and Glencree. Though an Ireland with no Irish people, but French, Americans (Rene Auberjonois - yay!)  and Brits (plus at least one small-part Irish doing posh).

The Wrath of God (1972) - Been looking for this for years. And it didn't disappoint. It does go into a generic western by the end, but it starts off well.  Jack Higgins adap with Robert Mitchum as a mercenary/priest, Ken Hutchinson of CITV's Murphy's Mob in an ill-fated Hollywood would-be breakthrough as an IRA man (with a quite convincing accent), Victor Buono hamming up and enjoying himself immensely doing a kind of Cockney James Mason voice as an ex-Black and Tan, versus generic Central Americans Frank Langella and John Colicos, the latter possibly the least convincing Hispanic I have ever seen, with his Mid-Atlantic colonial tones. Rita Hayworth's last film.

Willie Dynamite (1974) - Routine though relatively interesting blaxploitation starring Roscoe Orman as  a pimp, a year before he'd take over as Gordon in Sesame Street.

Welcome to Arrow Beach (1974) - Sleazy Laurence Harvey serial killer story. Somewhat indebted to Peeping Tom. But Harvey certainly had a director's eye. Pity this was his only film. And playing a serial killer suits him, for once.

Thomasine and Bushrod (1974) - Vonetta McGee and the unlikeable Max Julien in a black Bonnie and Clyde western.

The Stranger and the Gunfighter (1974) - Energetic spaghetti western/ Shaw Brothers kung fu crossover with Lee Van Cleef and Lo Lieh. Eventually goes a bit sub-Trinity. In the end, Van Cleef puts on a coolie hat and floral frock and goes to China.

Hangup (1974) - Rough blaxploitation - unbelievably, a seventysomething Henry Hathaway's last film.

Buster and Billie (1974)/Baby Blue Marine (1976) - Identikit overaged teen weepies with Jan Michael Vincent. Albino Richard Gere pops up in the latter.

The Take (1974) - Routine black actioner with Billy Dee Williams, Vic Morrow, Eddie Albert - from Robert Hartford-Davies.

Zebra Force (1975) - Rote rough sub-blaxploiter.

Aaron Loves Angela (1975) - Rather sweet (though overtly complicated by blaxploitation gangsters) romance with Kevin Hooks and Irene Cara. Has a poster for Terror in the Wax Museum on 42nd Street.With Jose Feliciano and Moses Gunn, and Robert Hooks - Kevin's dad.

Barry Lyndon (1975) - It's truly an epic, but maybe staring at green fields full of British character actors is a bit too close to home.

 A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere (1975) - Routine Italian comedy with Vitti, Cardinale, Gassman, Giannini....

The Passenger (1975) - Arty-farty Antonioni idea of the BBC, with Jack Nicholson helping the Beeb (incarnated by Jenny Runacre and Ian Hendry).

The Other Side of the Mountain (1975)/The Other Side of the Mountain Part 2 (1977)  - Ropey sub-TVM weepies with the instantly forgotten Marilyn Hassett.

Bite the Bullet (1975) - Routine western, but kind of fun, with Hackman, Coburn, Bergen, Bannen, feels very anachronistic....

Orders to Kill (1976) - Spanish Jungle actioner with Sydne Rome, Helmut Berger, Jose Ferrer and Kevin McCarthy.

Sparkle (1976) - Glossy, rather empty 60s girl group story produced by Beryl Vertue (yes, Robert Stigwood Organisation involvement) and Joel Schumacher. With Irene Cara, Lonette McKee and 30 something Dwan Smith.

The Slipper and the Rose (1976) - Plush but forgettable musical with Richard Chamberlain as Prince Charming, and in a  weird coincidence, as Cinderella, Gemma Craven (who played the priest-romancing Polly Hope in the Thorn Birds-riffing Father Ted ep And God Created Woman). Weird to see Sherrie Hewson and Roy Barraclough in something together other than Coronation Street. Plus Barraclough made far too few films.

Shadow of the Hawk (1976) - Dreary Canadian horror.

Silent Movie (1976) - Cheapish but interesting enough time-killer with Mel Brooks, Dom DeLuise and Marty Feldman lolling about, and Bernadette Peters and Madeleine Kahn.

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976) - Routine baseballing with Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor.

Midway (1976) - Stodgy warfare with an ageing cast.

Hot Potato (-1976) -  Jim Kelly as Black Belt Jones in this unfunny, jokey sequel. Black Belt Jones (1974) itself I find kind of beige. Until the sudsy climax.

The Bawdy Adventures of Tom Jones (1976) - Ropey starry sex comedy with Nicky Henson, Trevor Howard, Terry-Thomas, Arthur Lowe, Georgia Brown, Joan Collins, William Mervyn, Murray Melvin and Madeleine Smith.

Taxi Driver (1976) - I like the setting but I find the whole thing so unlikeable. It is an exploitation film, though. The theater marquees include Tommy, Return of the Pink Panther, Wind and the Lion, Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold, Bucktown and Cannabis - the only Italian crime movie set in New York to star Paul Nicholas.

The Greatest (1977) - Routine TV movie-ish biopic with Muhammad Ali as himself, and a ton of all-star cameos.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) - Sleazy and unlikeable.

One on One (1977) - Routine teen sport story with Robby Benson throwing hoops.

Oh God (1977) - George Burns is God, and John Denver his disciple. Perfect Sunday afternoon fodder.

Avalanche (1978) - Dreary Corman disaster padded out with skiing and skating.

Paradise Alley (1978) - The greatest theme tune ever.

Big Wednesday (1978) - Interesting but I'm not particularly done about surfing.

Almost Summer (1978) - A bunch of thirty-years-old do prom.

The Sea Gypsies (1978) - Routine family adventure from the Wilderness Family stable.

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) - I'm not one for 70s teen sex coms, but Landis' direction adds something, even though it is mostly ugly.

House Calls (1978) - Rote Walter Matthau vehicle, with Glenda Jackson MP.

Same Time Next Year (1978) - Sub-Neil Simon nonsense with Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) - Weird seeing Tessie O'Shea and Georgia Brown's names on the CBS Theater. It has a  fun, zany, almost CFF/Disney feel, but it's clearly all done at Universal Studios.

Movie Movie (1978) - You can tell Lew Grade is behind this. It has that weird faux-Old Hollywood parody feel of a lot of British light entertainment telly. It lacks Stanley Baxter. It even has George C. Scott playing Baxter.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) - What a mess, a peculiar halfway house between American and British light entertainment. Frankie Howerd really did think this was his American break. And yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Barbara Dickson at he end.

Moment by Moment (1978) - Tomlin and Travolta  are each other's beards.

If Ever I See You Again (1978) - Dreary vehicle for perv Joe Brooks. A spiritual sequel to his You Light Up My Life (1977 - Didi Conn dressing the same as her character's childhood self). Even the theme tune's virtually the same.

The Electric Horseman (1978) -Lots of Kellogg's placement in this dreary modern western. Plus Willie Nelson.

Casey's Shadow (1978) - Disney-esque horsing about with Walter Matthau.

FM (1978) - Episodic slice of life radio station dramedy with Martin Mull, Eileen Brennan and a beardy Michael Brandon.

Kramer vs Kramer (1979) - What a dirge.

The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) - Another dying Sellers folly.

The Main Event (1979) - Can't stand Streisand.
See also The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) and For Pete's Sake (1974).

The Frisco Kid (1979) - Jewish Polish rabbi Gene Wilder teams up with cowboy Harrison Ford. Feels a bit confused in what it is meant to be. A bit Trinity-ish.

Walk Proud (1979) - Robby Benson plays a Chicano with a load of dubbin on his face.

Chapter Two (1979) - Neil Simon bobbins.

1941 (1979) - Overlong, self-indulgent Spielberg, though a lot of Raiders is in there. And weirdly, product placement for Libby's.

Alien (1979) - I wonder what Jack Gold would have done.

Tilt (1979) - Forgettable Brooke Shields pinballer.

And Justice for All (1979) - Bland courtroomer.

Fast Break (1979) - Dreary basketball comedy.

McVicar (1980)- Sub-Euston, serviceable biopic of the criminal-turned-journalist starring Roger Daltrey, plus Adam Faith, Billy Murray, Berkoff, Malcolm Tierney - all the usual faces plus Cheryl Campbell and Georgina Hale. Has Rog hide in a massive Polo ad. The exteriors are mostly Dublin, because you could shoot prisons here, but not in England.

Liar's Moon (1982) - Tedious Texan teen melodrama set in  a 50s where country coexists with mohawks. Starring Matt Dillon and the vacuous generic blonde Cindy Fisher.

Laughterhouse (1983) - Twee, sub-Ealing Film4 starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton as farmers.

Mesmerized (1985) - Staid, worthy but boring New Zealand melodrama with Jodie Foster, John Lithgow, Michael Murphy, Dan Shor, Harry Andrews, from Tony Ginnane.

Bellman and True (1988) - Baroque Euston/Handmade drama with Bernard Hill, Derek Newark and Frances Tomelty. Has Kieran O'Brien watch The Price is Right with Leslie Crowther.

The Everlasting Secret Family (1988) - Thirty year old schoolboy has gay sex while watching the Price is Right Australia. Another Tony Ginnane production.

Die Hard (1988) - A perfectly routine actioner.

Point Break (1991) - Not able to catch the surf on this one. It semi-accurately captures Australia in Oregon by having a member of the cast of Sons and Daughters appear, despite the very cold-looking  and  unmistakably Pacific Northwest woods behind. Fake Australian radio! Apparently, the Australian radio weatherman is veteran European exploitation looper Gregory Snegoff.

Romper Stomper (1992) - Routine Aussie drama with Russell Crowe as a Neo-Nazi. Somewhat surprising to see 4th billed, Alex Scott - the frog-headed victim of Dr. Phibes, and Worzel's Aussie cousin Cobber Gummidge.

The General (1996) - Jon Voight somehow channels the Irish character actor within and becomes a convincing Irishman. Brendan Gleeson is definitely the most convincing Martin Cahill of the screen. The resemblance is uncanny. He's not afraid to make himself look shit (unlike Kevin Spacey's sharp-dressed Ordinary Decent Criminal with that bizarre accent). Compare the flashbacks with ODC - Gleeson is all straggly combover, and dirty pig T-shirt, while Spacey is dressed as a hippy in Llewelyn-Bowen wig. Spacey's trying to look cool, Gleeson's just a narky gourier. It still falls into the trap of painting Cahill as a loveable rogue. And miring the crimes for sub-Ealing capers (not helped by choosing to film it in b/w). The fact there's so many Irish faces in this is maybe why there's so many foreigners in Ordinary Decent Criminal. I can't fancy Gleeson though. He's Ireland's uncle. Spacey when I was a little kid, was "the king of cool", as Empire christened him, while blokes like Gleeson can be seen in every pub, in every takeaway, in every village.

Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996) - Never got the Wayans.

A Very Brady Sequel (1997) - Ergh.

Mallrats (1998) - F)ck off.

Life is Beautiful (1998) - Goddamm Roberto Benigni.

Go (1999) - Stop.

The Big Lebowski (1998) - Sam Elliott's stuff is so much better than the rest.