Classic Film : What classics did you see last week? (10/6-10/12)

Re: October Challenge Progress Notes

Olá, 'jd'!

It's a good thing I didn't know how you felt about A Serbian Film before I watched it, otherwise it'd be hanging around in my DVD "to see" pile for another year (like I'm doing with The Killer Is One Of Thirteen, a film you didn't give high marks to last Challenge). Love it or hate it, the Serb isn't a film one can be indifferent to which, of course, translates into powerful filmmaking if it can invoke that kind of extreme emotion. It's Exhibit A when it comes to "polarizing". You're a stronger man than I am, 'jd' -I don't think I'd be up for any more Eastern European nihilism anytime soon. [hairrise]

I should have known there'd be other Soviet horror films, if only from the morbid imaginations of Nikolai Gogol and Leo Tolstoy, among others and that's something I'd like to see more of. Oh yes, there's lots more "sex & savagery" in store for me over the next couple of weeks and one of 'em is another 'rec' I got from you last Challenge. If it's even half as good as The Destroying Angel, I'll be happy! One of those Marisa Mell movies you saw was as savage as A Serbian Film, politically speaking -only the object of its contempt was the rich in Franco-era Spain ...but more about that when you put up your weekly viewing. Now it's off to see some Chano Urueta. [laugh]
Ciao!

[cheers]

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: October Challenge Progress Notes

Hey, 'jc'!

When I chickened out of watching A Serbian Film for last year's Challenge, it was you who put in a good word and because of that, I decided to hang onto it for another year instead of either chucking it or giving it away (provided anyone would take it, that is). I'm definitely glad I did, color me impressed.

I've loved carnival horror all my life and American Horror Story: Freak Show had a ready-made audience in me. Using the "wholesome innocence" of the American '50s as backdrop was an inspired choice -and not only for the colorful contrast. It was probably the last time the decidedly un-PC carnival freak shows were part of popular culture here. I remember being walked through one (why, I have no idea) as a tyke hanging on to my dad's hand; I couldn't get in to see the sideshows ("Adults Only!") but a lurid poster of a screaming woman being torn apart by a savage, fanged cannibal gave me nightmares for days and I've never forgotten it. A friend who doesn't watch the show (too scary) told me that this'll be Jessica Lange's last season, alas. I think it was the bearded lady who predicted Elsa will soon be a household name so it looks like we'll be leaving backwater Florida for the big time any time now. Can't wait!

Lange channeling Dietrich singing Bowie's Life On Mars? was worth the price of an admission ticket:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG_BVE2VjJw

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(I know how much you love this emoji) [wink]

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: October Challenge Progress Notes


I've loved carnival horror all my life and American Horror Story: Freak Show had a ready-made audience in me.


Hi mel. I love carnival horror too, but haven't seen too many.

Can you recommend me some of your favorites?

Carnival Horror

Hey, 'pop'!

Freaks is a must, of course, but my all-time favorite "carnival horror" is Circus of Horrors (1960) and I can't say enough good things about it. I was just a kid when I first saw it and I became obsessed, making up my own version by drawing comic books that were far gorier than the film itself. I also have fond memories of Night Tide (1961) from late nite TV viewings back in the day. Gorilla at Large (1954) is alot of fun and I can also recommend the excellent Nightmare Alley (1947), a very dark film noir that, although it isn't horror in the strictest sense, certainly has its moments. There are others, of course, including such 60s & 70s fare as Circus Of Fear and Vampire Circus but I don't remember enough about them to recommend any. This topic is also of "special interest" to 'telegonus' and maybe he can recall a few more. Anyway, this is a good place to start!

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Carnival Horror

You don't want to mention Berserk unless you're willing to lose friends. I saw Vampire Circus again last year for the first time in 40 years. Typical late Hammer from the era when plunging cleavage gave way to full topless exposure and a crotch shot. But the tale is somewhat unique in terms of setting for a vampire/revenge yarn and I thought that it was much better than Countess Dracula which was the other half of the bill way back in 1972.

Circus of Fear is one of those films where Harry Alan Towers exploited Chris Lee but I could swear he just dubbed his voice as his character is under a hood for most of the film as I recall. I can't say that I was ever tempted to see it a second time.



It is not easy being an IMDb sig, maybe some day they will fix the apostrophe problem.

Re: Carnival Horror


You don't want to mention Berserk unless you're willing to lose friends.
Watching the 60-something Joan Crawford in a romantic clinch with young Ty Hardin (or "Try Harder" as Veronica Lake called him) is definitely a shock to the system, I admit, but seeing that foul-mouthed bawd Diana Dors get sawed in half more than made up for it ...oh, wait -never mind- you can see that done better in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
I saw Countess Dracula at the drive-in back in the day but could never remember the second feature. That had to be where I saw Vampire Circus but all I can recall is very long fangs. [laugh]

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

How could I forget

Something Wicked This Way Comes and The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao?

And then there's The Circus Queen Murder (1933) which deserves mention just because Dwight Frye is in the cast and it's an early effort of Roy William Neill. It's really a whodunit but Frye makes it must viewing.





It is not easy being an IMDb sig, maybe some day they will fix the apostrophe problem.

Re: Carnival Horror

Another good one is Tobe Hooper's The Funhouse (1981). And although they are not horror films, there are very good carnival sequences in the noirs, Man in the Dark (1953), Woman on the Run (1950) and The Burglar (1957).

Re: Carnival Horror

Hey, 'joe' -long time no see!
Yes, how could I forget The Funhouse -another good one you put me on to during our time on the Film Noir board. I do believe there's also a bit of carnival in the Mexican-set noir Ride The Pink Horse and I think Faith Domergue hides in the back of a carny truck trying to cross the border into Mexico in Where Danger Lives.

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Carnival Horror

Thanks for the recs mel.

I've seen The Funhouse, but I actually read the novelization by Dean Koontz first before seeing the movie and that kind of spoilt the movie for me because I really loved the novel.

Re: Carnival Horror


Freaks is a must, of course

And an earlier one from the same director, The Show (1927), one of Browning's most entertaining films. More "melodrama" than "horror" perhaps, but with several deliciously lurid plot elements and some outlandish freak show exhibits prefiguring the 1932 classic.



→ God save Donald Duck, vaudeville and variety ←

Re: Carnival Horror

I believe The Show was shown on TCM, 'rollo' so I'll definitely keep an eye out for it -and how could we forget Tod's The Unknown with Berserk's Joan Crawford in an age-appropriate role? Herr Browning is hands-down "The King Of Carnival Horror" -in fact, the title of one of the best books out there on him is titled Dark Carnival: The Secret World Of Tod Browning!

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Carnival Horror

Hi Mel,with you current enjoy the latest season of AHS being set in a Carnival, (which is one of only 2 things that this man fears: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXRfnIfFYFI I think that you would enjoy the very good 2003-2005 HBO Horror Drama Carnivàle:www.imdb.com/title/tt0319969/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Thinking back to Carnival/circus related shows/movies I've seen,I highly rec the excellent X-Files ep Humbug:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humbug_(The_X-Files)

Looking back at past Horror Challenge viewings,the straight-to-Video carnival/circus-set Howling VI:The Freaks caught me by surprise,due to actually being pretty good:

www.imdb.com/title/tt0102067/

Re: Carnival Horror

Thanks for the tip on Howling VI: The Freaks, 'doc' -'netflix' doesn't have it at the moment but I'll keep an eye out. A couple of people here followed Carnivàle when it originally aired and had some good things to say about it, IIRC. It's right up my alley so I don't know where my head was at back then because I never did tune in. The series only lasted two seasons, I believe, but if it has a proper ending (as opposed to just stopping), I might give it a go sometime. Something tells me, tho, that AHS: Freak Show is going to be everything Carnivàle should have been. I hope so, anyway.

And now I can't wait to use the original emoticons which I've just read are back. We have to remember what each one was called, tho, and type them in because it looks like the emojis are still the only option available when you hit the "emoticon" button. Not a problem, of course -I've typed them enough over the years to remember the ones I use.



It feels so good, I'm doin' it again-





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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Carnival Horror

I caught Howling VI: The Freaks quite by accident one sick day about 20 years ago. I fell asleep during one film and was waking up when this started. I figured based on the others in the series that I could at least have a fun time goofing on it as I had seen chapters 1-4 and only the first one impressed me.

Chapter 6 is a film that might have done better (as in get a theatrical release) if it weren't labeled as part of the series. As I recall, it looks rather flat - like something done in a rush - but it's well-written, enough so that you might not notice how little monster action there is.



It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

Re: Carnival Horror

I saw Saw 7 on the big screen a couple of years ago but only because it was in 3D. Before that, I can't remember the last time I saw a franchise horror film even though I used to go to alot of them back in the early '80s. I don't think I've seen a Howling film (although I do believe I've read a paperback movie tie-in) but after two solid 'rec's, I'd like to check out #6. I'm already planning next year's Challenge and there'll definitely be a "Carnival Horror" mini-film-festival on the menu after this thread.
I remember you alerting me to a TCM airing of The Circus Queen Murder but, of course, I missed it. Next time. It did remind me, tho, that although they weren't all "horror", the big top was used as a backdrop for murder on more than one occasion. Charlie Chan At The Circus was another one.


(it's so nice to have these back)

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Carnival Horror

This one may be of interest also as a mayhem under the big top film, especially for Herbert Lom fans. Lom comes off like Charles Boyer in Gaslight playing a hypnotist, primary difference being that you can understand him when he speaks.

The Dark Tower (1943)





It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

A Great Topic

Great topic, Mel. Carnival and circus horrors have always fascinated me, maybe because of real life carnivals and circuses reliance on illusion, tricks, sleight of hand, trying to show that the impossible is possible, and an atmosphere suggestive of the supernatural, or implying that the "such things exist".

I find that carnival and circus films often have an implicit or underlying horror unless they're geared to children (and even then, I think of the TV series Circus Boy, which featured offbeat episodes that might disturb a child). The non-horror noir Nightmare Alley sure feels like a horror even though it isn't.

The classic Hitchcock thriller Strangers On a Train features an amusement park, sort of a kissing cousin to a carnival, which has a carnival atmosphere, and a most appropriate place for psycho Bruno Antony to do his "business". The out of control carousel at the end is the stuff of horrors.

Then there are episodes of TV shows that feature characters going to or involved in corcuses or carnivals that channel a horror mood. I've seen many over the last two or three years, including eepisodes of Peter Gunn, The Untouchables and, needless to say, the Thriller series, and at least a couple of Hitchcock hours. The Twilight Xone, One Step Beyond and Outer Limits series had fun with circus-carnival-amusement park settings.

I think it's worth discussing whether the term carnival could broadly speaking any show biz type venue that features an "act" that involves some form of trickery or make believe, whether a nightclub magician or a wax museum. This could also include Gypsey fortune teller and even, in some cases, rodeos and wild west shows.

Re: A Great Topic

I'm glad you got to see this 'tele' -I thought of you right away.

I remember "carnival horror" on TV, too, back in the day, none moreso than an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour called "The Jar" from a Ray Bradbury story. Patt Buttram (Mr Haney on Green Acres) buys a mysterious jar from a traveling carnival and brings it home to give nightly shows to his neighbors -but when his young wife destroys its contents, the show must go on so Pat cuts her head off and puts it in the jar.

I agree that "carnival horror" encompasses wax museums, magicians, fortune-tellers, and rodeos. I'd say anything where tickets are sold so's the public can suspend disbelief to be astounded, amazed and frightened. One might even make a case for movie theaters if the horrors onscreen become all-to-real for the audience (like it did in Angustia (1987)) and, of course, opera houses. And didn't Dorothy visit a carny wagon in The Wizard Of Oz? The stuff dreams, er, nightmares are made of.

"Rodeo Horror", what a concept ...oh wait, it was done in Valley Of Gwangi!



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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: A Great Topic

Another Hitchcock show entry in the carnival horror vein:

Maria (1961)

Check out the user comment:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0508198/combined#comment

It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

Re: A Great Topic

I bought Alfred Hitchcock Presents Season 6 on DVD over the summer and couldn't believe the ultra-cheap packaging compared to the first five boxed sets -and worst of all, there's no listing of episodes, either. WTF? Luckily I have Alfred Hitchcock Presents: An Illustrated Guide To The Ten-Year Television Career Of The Master Of Suspense which gives detailed accounts of each and every episode.
Maria is from Season 7 and needless to say it's right up my alley. Even though the shows were always in syndication back in the '60s, I haven't seen every one so there's always something to look forward to. Interestingly enough, "Maria" was played by stripper Venus de Mars and Jessica Lange's character on AHS: Freak Show is named "Elsa Mars".

I came across this the other day:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/movies-and-tv-shows-that-did-evi l-carnivals-before-american#22xvbcj
Tod Browning's the uncrowned king of "carnival horror", I'm sure, but the Germans got there first -how could we have forgotten The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari?
Anyway, it looks like I'll be tracking down Howling 6, Santa Sangre, and The Last Circus for next year's October Challenge!



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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: Krimi Circus.

Hi Mel,taking a look at my Krimi DVDs last night,I stumbled across the Christopher Lee Krimi:Circus of Fear:

www.imdb.com/title/tt0060865/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

Re: Krimi Circus.

I saw Circus Of Fear on late-nite TV back in the day but it was cut to hell (for time, not content) and, like 'clore', all I really remember is Chris Lee in a ski mask or something. It was also a black & white print of the color film, IIRC. I'm definitely gonna watch it as part of a proposed "carnival horror" week for next year's Challenge when I'll be tuning in to Vampire Circus (another one I don't remember much about from a drive-in viewing) and a number of others I just found out about here.

I don't know if it was a sucky week or if there was just no pleasin' me but my October Challenge viewing of late has been underwhelming, to say the least. I was on a roll during the first part of the Challenge but I figured it couldn't last forever and it didn't. I'm hoping the original French version of Roger Vadim's Blood & Roses will turn the tide tonight and I have a good feeling about Jess Franco's The Obscene Mirror, especially since you just gave it a 9/10. We can compare notes later since I believe you saw the French version and I have the Spanish one. I don't know where the third comes from but I hear there's three of them out there and they're supposed to differ considerably. We shall see...



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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

How embarrassing

To have forgotten Caligari.

I'll make up for that by rewatching it.



It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

Re: How embarrassing


I'll make up for that by rewatching it.
Tis the season!

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: What classics did you see last week? (10/6-10/12)

Venus De Mars is my mother.

Re: A Great Topic

Speaking of Hitchcock shows,--I haven't noticed this having been mentioned--there's the ultimate carnival horror in the so controversial they couldn't show it first run The Sorcerer's Apprentice, with Brandon de Wilde, Diana Dors and one of my all-time favorite bad guys of the period, David J, Stewart.

Last night the Thriller episode Waxwork was aired. It was too late even for me, as I had to get up to work, but I remember it as very good, playing better as a rerun than the first time. Not a circus, but Mel has included wax museums and it certainly qualifies as a horror. Twilight Zone's hour long The New Exhibit isn't nearly so good. They wanted Peter Lorre for the Thriller but his price was too high. I think that second choice Oscar Homolka worked out just fine, maybe better than Lorre would have been at that point in his career. Homolka's face and voice carried real menace, while Lorre was in the sad clown phase of his career, had become almost a nightclub comedian's caricature of himself.

I remember enjoying The Hypnotic Eye as a kid and enjoying it. The cast included Jacques Bergerac and Allison Hayes, and the movie was for some reason included in some sci-fi package deal and always run on the sci-fi showcase on the local station, probably due to its being an AA release.

Re: A Great Topic

I barely remember The Hypnotic Eye which I've not seen in over 50 years. But it was on a triple bill of horrors way back then and was the most disappointing since it didn't have any monsters in it.

Hey - I was 10 or 11 when I saw it.

I've seen that Thriller ep with Holmoka, definitely one of the better ones and one that I should watch on the DVD rather than an occasional Me-TV visit. Last night I turned on Me-TV to see the Dan Duryea episode of Naked City. I tuned in just as a commercial break was starting. The first ad had a guy about 50 extolling the virtues of Depends For Men and that was immediately followed by the catheter ad - that was more than enough for this guy and I watched a Rockford on Netflix instead.

It ain't easy being green, or anything else, other than to be me

Hypnotic Eye, Old Time TV

Jacques Bergerac struck me as a kind of European Mel Ferrer, if that isn't a (slight) redundancy, and was effective in the lead role in The Hypnotic Eye.

The actors and direction, the minimalist and yet evocative production values, all helped sell Waxworks. Even Ron Ely was modestly effective. Thriller understood creepy like few other shows. Only One Step Beyond came close on a regular basis.

Serling's TZ veered off in every which direction, could raise goosebumps now and again, but more often than not just did its thing, whether pedantically, humorlessly or ironically. Few episodes struck me as actually creepy.

Yes, the Duryea Naked City wasn't worth watching a second time, and Dan was miscast due to his frail appearance (hence lack of physical menace). Any number of more believably macho guys would have been better. I think of James Whitmore, but he guested on Route 66 afterward in one of the worst episodes of the Maharis era of the series, giving the same performance he'd given a hundred times during those years.

Re: A Great Topic

There's a ton of great carny horrors, but perhaps none greater in the last 20 years than Steve Latshaw's chilling character study 'Death Mask' (1998), a labour of love for leading man James Best that includes a homage to Tobe Hooper's slasher classic 'The Funhouse' (1981). Check it out dude.

Re: A Great Topic

Thanks for the heads-up on Death Mask -it's perfect!
I'm pretty well-versed in classic "carnival horror" but don't know much about anything made in the last 25 years or so. I've gotten alot of great 'rec's here and will be putting them to good use for next year's October Challenge!



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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Re: A Great Topic

Well thank you, Mel. As to TV, the first episode of the Screen Gems half-hour action series, which I loved as a kid, Rescue 8, was titled Ferris Wheel, and it was a very tense entry in that underrated series. The Uni horrors of the 40s seemed to be moving toward carny style horror as well, climaxing, in a manner of speaking, with the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. But it's there as early as the 1941 The Wolf Man, and it's even in the upscale Flesh and Fantasy.

There were often carny atmospheres where gorillas or big apes were on the loose, from Murders In the Rue Morgue through the two Kong pictures, plus Mighty Joe Young and one of my favorite guilty pleasures, Gorilla At Large. Aside from the first film arguably none of these pictures were pure horrors, but when the big guy was on the loose they became horrors PDQ . The last time I saw it I found the tone of the Jules Dassin noir, Night and the City. borderline horror; and that, too, had a putting on a show if not pure horror side to it with its hulking wrestlers. Francis L. Sullivan's nightclub was like a house of horrors the way it was presented in the movie, with his grotesque face overlooking the dance floor like a watchful gargoyle.

Re: October Challenge Progress Notes


I am balls deep in amazing movies, cable TV series and pulp fiction; my cup runneth over. And I do sometimes contemplate coming here, opening the crazy tap in my head and waxing lyrical about the cool product I have been consuming of late. Then I think *beep* it man... But maybe one day.
I hope so, dude -it's better than vendetta (regardless of how it came about) and you were good at it. Once you start reviewing again, I'm sure you'll remember how rewarding it can be -and, yes, of course we're still talking.
r.e. Gone Girl

While I still gave it an 8/10 rating, it was quite a disappointment after the book. The film lacks the sheer visceral emotional impact of the books ending, even though they are technically the same. It doesn't *beep* with one's head the same as the book's ending did. Nor is the movie as savagely, darkly, viciously funny. Still, despite the coldness and high tech gloss, it's a slick crowd pleaser
Although I never read the book (or even heard of it before), I agree and would also give it an 8/10. I attribute "the lack of sheer visceral emotional impact" as well as the film's "coldness" to it's director. I don't understand the praise he's getting for this -like a good many Golden Age directors (Irving Rapper or W.S. Van Dyke, anyone?), Fincher knew what he was about and delivered a good movie but that's as far as it goes, IMO.
Something tells me I'll like it better than the Dracula Untold film I'm off to in a few (it's senior citizen discount day) but at least this one'll count for the October Challenge!

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There's less to this than meets the eye ...as bees in honey drown

Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

Queen Christina (1933)

Queen Christina (Greta Garbo) of Sweden is under great pressure to marry and produce an heir to the throne of Sweden. Disguised as a man, she travels outside the royal palace incognito to escape the strain of her duties. At an inn, she meets the envoy (John Gilbert) from Spain and they fall in love. When her country loudly protests at the idea of a Spaniard sitting on the throne, she must make a life changing decision. Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, the film is a highly romanticized (and fictional) version of the circumstances surrounding the real Christina's abdication. No matter as the film contains one of Garbo's very best performances. This was a pre-code film so the film isn't coy about Christina and her lover sleeping in the same bed and obviously having made love. The sequence where she walks around the room touching objects to imprint the memory of that night is quite sensual still. Then there is the justifiably famous close up of Garbo that ends the film with the camera lovingly lingering over her face as if it realized it may never again have so glorious a subject. So who needs historical accuracy when Mamoulian and Garbo together whip up some real movie magic that transcends mere factual history. Gilbert, one of the big male stars of silent cinema is quite good but he would only make one more movie before dying young at the age of 38. With Lewis Stone, Ian Keith, Akim Tamiroff, C. Aubrey Smith and Reginald Owen.

Thunder Birds (1942)

During WWII at an Arizona training base for Army pilots, a flying instructor (Preston Foster) and a British RAF cadet (John Sutton) are in love with the same girl (Gene Tierney). Not all war propaganda films made during WWII dealt with combat, some were set on the homefront. The cadets at the air base are Americans, English and even Chinese all learning to fly so they can do their bit for their respective countries. Despite having the often inventive William A. Wellman at the helm, this is a decidedly minor effort notable for the gorgeous three strip Technicolor lensing of Ernest Palmer (Broken Arrow) and the excellent aerial sequences. The two leading men are definitely "B" listers and Tierney (looking stunning in Technicolor) is stuck in the "girl" role. Wellman was under contract to Fox at this time and this was clearly an assignment he had no interest in. There's a rather amusing scene set in a Red Cross training center that brightens the movie briefly but generally, the film borders on tedium. With Dame May Whitty, Richard Haydn, Reginald Denny and Joyce Compton.

The Magic Carpet (1951)

When the Caliph (Leonard Penn) is assassinated during a political coup by the henchman (Raymond Burr) of his rival (Gregory Gaye), he makes sure his infant son is taken to safety. When he grows into manhood, the young man (John Agar) is unaware of his birthright and becomes a doctor. But he is also secretly the Scarlet Falcon, a revolutionary who leads a group of rebels in an attempt to end the reign of the wicked false Caliph. This low budget Arabian Nights potboiler is shot in a hideous color process called Supercinecolor that lacks the vivid palette of Technicolor. Saddled with the supremely bland and uncharismatic John Agar as its hero guarantees that it's not going to be much fun. Topbilled Lucille Ball is the film's femme fatale, the Caliph's sexually brazen sister. Reputedly Columbia head Harry Cohn gave Ball the script as her next assignment (she owed Columbia one more film under her contract) fully expecting her to turn it down but Ball, eager to end the contract, called his bluff. It was her last film before she turned to television and I Love Lucy made her one of the icons of TV comedy. It's a rather silly fantasy (the flying carpet effects are rather cheesy) but it might appeal to very young children and Ball completists. Directed by Lew Landers (1935's The Raven). With Patricia Medina as the feisty heroine and George Tobias.

The Three Faces Of Eve (1957)

A timid housewife (Joanne Woodward) is referred to a psychiatrist (Lee J. Cobb) because of her memory lapses. During a session with the doctor, a new personality emerges, that of a fun loving party girl. The psychiatrist attempts to probe the reasons for the split personality but soon a third person will emerge. Based on a true story (the real Eve was one Chis Costner Sizemore) that was published in book form by the psychiatrists involved in the case, the film was one of the first films to deal with multiple personality disorder. It's been done several times since (most notably Sybil) but the 1957 film remains a compelling story if somewhat psychologically simplistic (at least in the film). In only her third film and first starring role, Joanne Woodward emerged as one of the major film actresses of her generation. Her performance is a tour de force and her Oscar win entirely justified. Her final scene in the psychiatrist's office when her three personalities are together for the last time is a beautifully rendered moment and she's just heartbreaking. Directed by Nunally Johnson, who also did the screenplay. With David Wayne, Vince Edwards, Ken Scott and Nancy Kulp.

Day Of The Triffids (1963)

A remarkable shower of meteorites causes blindness to anyone who gazes upon them. This leaves most of the world's population unable to see. An officer (Howard Keel) in the merchant navy is in the hospital with his eyes bandaged so he escapes the blindness. The meteorite shower has also spawned an alien plant life called Triffids that are able to move about and attack and feed on human flesh. Based on the sci-fi novel by John Wyndham (Village Of The Damned) and directed by Steve Sekely, the film differs from its source material but it's still an effective piece of pulp science fiction. Most of the special effects are rather primitive by today's standards but it can be easily overlooked because of the entertainment value though the film's simplistic solution is disappointing. Keel's journey to escape the Triffids and the little girl (Janina Faye) and the Frenchwoman (Nicole Maurey) he meets along the way to form a sort of family runs parallel to another story line involving a marine scientist (Kieron Moore) and his wife (Janette Scott) racing against time to find a way to destroy the carnivorous plants. With Mervyn Johns and Alison Leggatt.

The Biggest Bundle Of Them All (1968)

Under the impression he has money, a group of amateur crooks kidnap a retired mobster (Vittorio De Sica). When their leader (Robert Wagner) attempts to ransom the former gangster, no one wants to pay the money. Infuriated, the ex-mobster talks the inept gang into the five million dollar heist of a train carrying platinum ingots! I enjoy a good heist caper as much as the next guy but the Bundle script is as inept as its crew of motley thieves. As directed by Ken Annakin (Those Magnificent Men In Their flying Machines), the film is rather flaccid in its execution. There's no wit, no sense of excitement, no style. One sequence is amusing, when Francesco Mule as a dieting chef goes in to rob a restaurant but ends up going off his diet and pigging out on dinner but that's the only time I laughed although I grinned when Edward G. Robinson was doing the Watusi (hey, it's the 60s) with Raquel Welch at a disco. Other than those brief moments, the lush Italian locations as shot by Piero Portalupi (Visconti's Bellissima) is very nice but the annoying Riz Ortolani score threatened to give me a headache at any moment. With Godfrey Cambridge, Victor Spinetti and Davy Kaye.

La Morte Negli Occhi Del Gatto (aka Seven Deaths In the Cat's Eye) (1973)

When a young girl (Jane Birkin, Evil Under The Sun) returns home to the family castle in Scotland, suddenly a series of grisly murders occur. Antonio Margheriti (Castle Of Blood) directed this mixture of Gothic horror and giallo slasher. Adapted from the novel by Peter Bryan, the film has a dream like quality which is good since nothing makes much sense. After finding her mother's (Dana Ghia) coffin opened and the body gone, what does Birkin's "sensitive" character do moments later? Get it on in bed with her cousin (Hiram Keller, Fellini Satyricon)! The titular cat of the title is a rather passive creature, quite cuddly in fact, observing the killings and skulking around the castle. The movie actually feels more like a lesser Hammer horror or even a faux Corman Poe adaptation than an Italian giallo. It's just not stylish enough or outrageous enough like the best giallos and the film's red herrings (like the gorilla) just don't work. The ineffective underscore is by Riz Ortolani. With Anton Diffring, Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Cristophe.

Unfaithfully Yours (1984)

A world famous composer and conductor (Dudley Moore) is married to a much younger Italian actress (Nastassja Kinski). When he suspects his wife of having an affair with the orchestra's guest violinist (Armand Assante), he concocts a complicated plan to murder his wife and have the murder pinned on the violinist. But things, as usual, never seem to go as planned. A remake of the 1948 Preston Sturges film of the same name, director Howard Zieff's (Private Benjamin) updated film is misguided. The possibilities of a decent remake are there but what Zieff and his screenwriters (there's three of them) have done is substituted the clever wit of Sturges' film with slapstick! There's nothing wrong with slapstick, it's a legitimate form of comedy but if you're going to remake a film, why throw away what was good about it and replace it with something that is inherently alien to it? Sturges' film was also a surprisingly dark comedy which might account for its box office failure in 1948. Perhaps in order to avoid the same fate, this version attempts to make it "cuter" and more audience friendly. With Albert Brooks, Cassie Yates, Richard Libertini and Richard B. Shull.

Rampo (1994)

In 1930s pre-war Japan, a renowned mystery writer (Naoto Takenaka) has his newest novel banned from being published by the government because it is deemed too disturbing. He then comes across a newspaper article about a woman (Michiko Hada) accused of murdering her husband under the exact circumstances of his unpublished novel. Fascinated with the woman after meeting her, he uses her as the heroine of his new novel. But is she using him for her own nefarious reasons or is he fantasizing her very existence? But then the characters in his novel take on a life of their own, beyond his control. Kazuyoshi Okuyama's (and an uncredited Yuhei Enoki) startlingly imaginative film combines animation, music, B&W, sound effects to takes us on a surreal journey of the creative mind. It's not a film where trying to analyze what is real and what isn't bears any fruit. When the sexually kinky Duke (Mikijiro Hira) says to Takenaka's writer "I like to control people" (though he finds in the end, he can't), it's not unlike the writer's mind that attempts to "control" his creations only to find that he must go where they take him. A unique vision that really should be better known. The underscore by Akira Senju is a thing of beauty.

Strange Days (1995)

It's 1999 and the eve of the new millennium in Los Angeles. The city appears to be a police state rife with simmering racial tension. A sleazy ex-cop (Ralph Fiennes) is now dealing in illegal discs which record the actual physical sensations and memories of the person wearing the recording device (apparently designed for use by the Federal government and intended to replace body wire taps). But a disc comes into his hands that could be a time bomb for the city of L.A. and turn it into a bloody war zone. This paranoid sci-fi thriller courtesy of Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker) is a terrific piece of pulp cinema. It's over complicated narrative may stretch credibility even for sci-fi but Bigelow does a bang up job of keeping us on the edge and it's a case of style over substance. But it's a sensational rollercoaster ride. Bigelow whips up an intense atmosphere of an L.A. both contemporary yet futuristic, not unlike Blade Runner but considerably less pretentious. On technical levels, it's an impressive achievement but the actors are still able to flesh out layered and interesting characters. With Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Vincent D'Onofrio, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Josef Sommer, Brigitte Bako and Michael Wincott.

This Must Be The Place (2011)

An aging former rock star (Sean Penn) has been out of the limelight for twenty years, ever since two of his young fans committed suicide because of his dark music. Living in Ireland, he returns home to America for his father's funeral although he hadn't seen him for almost thirty years. After the funeral, he decides to search for the Nazi (Heinz Lieven) who persecuted his father at Auschwitz. Directed and co-written by Paolo Sorrentino, this is a strange little film. It's not realistic in the least but rather an almost surrealistic road movie. Penn's performance is divisive. Depending on your point of view, yet another piece of ham from Penn or another fine performance by one of the best American actors. I'm leaning toward the latter though his performance is somewhat problematic. On one level, it's a perfectly tuned meticulous performance. Maybe too meticulous as there are no surprises as he hits every note as if he planned it that way. His character and that of his wife (Frances McDormand) seems to be loosely based on Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. I didn't love the film but I liked the relaxed unconstrained way the story unraveled with the occasional surprises along the journey. There's a wonderful score by David Byrne, who plays himself in the film. With Judd Hirsch, Harry Dean Stanton, Joyce Van Patten and Eve Hewson.

In front of the screen I am still a kid. Movie love is abiding thru out life
Pauline Kael

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

Great reviews but I either haven't seen the movies mentioned or dislike them. Garbo, except for "Ninotchka" and Grand Hotel, her appeal escapes me. God, that monotone voice and the thick accent. I haven't watched her silent films, but I assume they were better than her sound ones. Unfaithfully Yours - I saw the film in 1984, before I even knew who Sturges was. Accordingly, I had low expectations when I saw the original, and was pleasantly surprised to say the least. Maybe, young people watching crap like the Hank's version of the "Lady killers" will have the same experience.

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

re: Garbo, it's all about that face and her indelible screen presence. If that doesn't work for you, there's not much left because as an actress she just wasn't that good! Queen Christina and Camille are two films where she gives strong performances. I don't much care for her Ninotchka (as I've said I prefer the 1957 musical remake) and her Anna Karenina is more posing than acting. Her silents however are a different story. I've loved all of those I've seen. She just seems more relaxed and expressive, perhaps she became more self conscious during the talkies because of her thick accent.

If you're interested in exploring her silents, may I suggest The Torrent, Flesh And The Devil, Woman Of Affairs and The Saga Of Gosta Berling?

In front of the screen I am still a kid. Movie love is abiding thru out life Pauline Kael

Re: This Must Be The Place

It's mostly based on Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure and his wife.

Best Cure songs:

- In Between Days
- Just Like Heaven
- Catch
- Pictures of You
- Charlotte Sometimes

- One Hundred Years
- Lullaby
- Killing An Arab
- Boys Don't Cry
- A Forest



If only we were amongst friends...or sane persons!

You forgot: The Hanging Garden...

A Forest is a candidate for one of the finest singles ever released by a British band.

The Spike

Re: You forgot: The Hanging Garden...

Great song! My list is by no means exhaustive.

If only we were amongst friends...or sane persons!

Re: This Must Be The Place

Thanks for that! I know The Cure but I can't say I'm all that familair with the band's output.

In front of the screen I am still a kid. Movie love is abiding thru out life
Pauline Kael

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

In the 1960s, the French film magazine Positif (the rival to Cahiers du Cinema) took a lot of flake for an article, "Charlton Heston is an axiom." Well, if Charlton Heston was an axiom, what would Greta Garbo be? She is the very essence of what the entire world thought of as "movie star": not just impossibly beautiful and ineffably glamorous, but also a great talent. (Too many people confuse this: great movie stars don't have to be actors at all, as most of the MGM contingent prove, from Norma Shearer on down.) And in QUEEN CHRISTINA, you can see her at her best: a commanding screen presence, in the full flush of MGM glamour, delivering one of her greatest performances. Striding around at the beginning, she's a believable ruler; she's charming when she goes out in disguise, and her nervous bemusement when she's placed in the room with the ambassador is delightful, but the morning after scene, when she goes and touches everything in the room, is a phenomenon. Scuttlebutt: Laurence Olivier was originally cast as the ambassador, but was fired (he was too stiff, even he admits it) and Garbo then had John Gilbert put in the film, hoping to bolster his sagging career. Unfortunately, the film (which Garbo actually produced herself) proved to be a box office disappointment, though time has been kind to this film, which remains one of Garbo's best.

William Wellman really didn't enjoy his period at Fox; apart from a few films which he felt were noteworthy (THE OX-BOW INCIDENT, YELLOW SKY), most of the work he was given proved to be middling (like BUFFALO BILL and this film). In some cases, he really didn't even seem to try, and THUNDER BIRDS really seems sodden. But Gene Tierney is gorgeous: she's waiting for her close-up.

After her RKO contract days, Lucille Ball's career was notable for its inconsistency; there never seemed to be any follow-through, so any advance in her career (DuBARRY WAS A LADY or BEST FOOT FORWARD as the best of her MGM musical appearances) often went nowhere. But by the time of THE MAGIC CARPET, you can see her reaching the bottom of her movie barrel. It must be your week with the Penn family: Leonard (or Leo) Penn is Sean Penn's father; this was one of the last things he would do in Hollywood before he was put on the blacklist (but he also moved into television, mostly as a director). (Sean Penn refuses to join the Motion Picture Academy because he feels that it did nothing to combat the blacklist, and both his parents were put on the blacklist.)

Nunnally Johnson was one of Fox's best screenwriters; by the 1950s, a lot of writers were turning to directing (after the initial flurry that began with Preston Sturges in 1940). As in the case of Phillip Dunne, a writer does not a director make, and THE THREE FACES OF EVE is rudimentary (at best) in terms of visual style, pacing, editing. But none of that matters, because Joanne Woodward gives a full-scale performance which remains a true tour-de-force. There are times when her transitions (between personalities) are truly uncanny. The up-and-down quality of her career after her Oscar win might be symptomatic of the problems of American actresses in the 1960s, but THE THREE FACES OF EVE proves she was one of the best actresses of her generation.

In the 1950s, there were times when American stars went over to England to make a movie; James Stewart did it with NO HIGHWAY IN THE SKY, Dana Andrews did it with THE NIGHT OF THE DEMON, and here it's Howard Keel. DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS is one of those British sci-fi films where the special effects are rather primitive, but it still packs quite an impact.

THE BIGGEST BUNDLE OF THEM ALL has some amusements (just the conjunction of Vittorio De Sica and Godfrey Cambridge has its merits) but it's a mostly forgettable film which is best forgotten.

There are reasons why most people look askance at "remakes" and UNFAITHFULLY YOURS is a good example. It just doesn't work, though it might have worked if they had tried to rethink the musical background of the film, since Dudley Moore really was a musician. Though Sturges's UNFAITHFULLY YOURS had a rather morbid premise, it also had true high style, and the remake is fatally lacking in style, wit or morbidity.

The Japanese cinema had been one of the great national cinemas since the 1920s, but by the 1980s, it had started to become unmoored. Few directors were able to sustain their careers, and many of the surviving directors from the great era of Japanese cinema either had to find funding from abroad (this happened to Akira Kurosawa) or they moved into television (this happened to Nagisa Oshima). And so many of the Japanese movies of the 1980s and 1990s were one-offs, and so it was with RAMPO, which really is one of the most imaginative movies of its era.

I'm glad you liked STRANGE DAYS, which is a really ambitious movie, even if it doesn't quite come together. But it's also fascinating because, though it has such a fierce and jangling visual style, the performers do create genuine characters: Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett gave full-scale star performances. Its failure was difficult for Kathryn Bigelow: it put a bit of a damper on her career, certainly in terms of the budgets she was able to work with.

Paolo Sorrentino is now famous (relatively) in this country for THE GREAT BEAUTY, but he had made some very impressive movies in the last decade, including his study of political corruption, IL DIVO. He'd been building a reputation which made the announcement of his first English language movie (starring Sean Penn) sound very promising. But it's a mess: the script seems to be some notion that Sorrentino had about aging rock stars, but the political text seems very wayward. THIS MUST BE THE PLACE may not be a success, but it showed Sorrentino trying to go beyond the scope of specific Italian politics, in preparation for the fullscale satirical fantasia of THE GREAT BEAUTY. (Sean Penn, though, is an actor who needs to be reined in; here, he seems to give into his most wayward fancies, and it's riveting, but often seems unmoored.)

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

I can't believe I totally forgot that Paolo Sorrentino did The Great Beauty, possibly my favorite film of 2013! His next film has an illustrious cast (Michael Caine, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano)). I suppose it's too much to expect another Great Beauty but I hope it's better than This Must Be The Place.

In front of the screen I am still a kid. Movie love is abiding thru out life Pauline Kael

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

Shipmate, your knowledge never ceases to bloomin' amaze me. Come back and sate our senses, me old mucker. Wishing you health and happiness. You is nuffin' short of a human encyclopedia.

God Save the King

Eve/Triffids.

The Three Faces Of Eve. I had my socks knocked off by JW's performance. Simplistic is the very apt word you use, for the picture really only scratches the surface of the serious issues to hand, and that of C.C. Sizemore. But the importance of the film for 1957 should ensure it always deserves the utmost respect.

I take it you are recommending Sybil?

The Day of the Triffids was one of those films that I caught as a kid and grew up loving it in spite of not getting to see it again till much later in life. Sadly the DVD I purchased of it was an awful print, so I don't know if it has finally got a decent remaster job?

Great fun though. Source material better of course. :-)

The Spike

Re: Eve/Triffids.

Hiya Spike! Apparently a remastered spiffy looking print of Day Of The Triffids is out there ready to be released ... someday.

I had to make do with the Italian DVD which is adequate. The colors are somewhat faded and the transfer is a bit on the soft side and the English soundtrack could be sharper for more clarity but it's still quite watchable. The back of the jacket says 16x9 anamorphic 1.85 even though the film was shot in CinemaScope (2.35). Well, when played on my region free blu player the film had black bars on all four sides and a slightly squeezed picture. But my hitting the "aspect" button on the remote and then hitting "wide", the picture unsqueezed and played properly in its CinemaScope format with black bars only on the top and bottom as it should.

It will do until the restored version comes out.

As for Sybil, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Eve but Sally Field does a bang up acting job.

In front of the screen I am still a kid. Movie love is abiding thru out life Pauline Kael

Re: Eve/Triffids.

The BBC's okay but not that spiffy looking broadcast version of the film has restored credits that finally gives blacklisted Bernard Gordon a credit but doesn't seem to have done a lot of work on the rest of the film, but it is massively superior to the crappy DVD put out in the UK by Second Sight. The BBC did put out a now deleted DVD some years ago that goes for high prices these days, and I wonder if it was taken from their better elements.

There were actually two restorations mooted at one time, both hampered by trouble finding master material. The one of the film as released with revised writing credit seems to have happened, but there was also a plan to restore it to Steve Sekely's original shorter rejected cut, with all the lighthouse scenes directed by Freddie Francis that were added before release removed. That doesn't seem to have happened.

Talking of the BBC, their 1981 TV adaptation with John Duttine is well worth a look. It's much closer to the novel, which reduces the screen time of the Triffids themselves (not the show's most successful effects, it has to be said) but concentrates on the way that civilisation fragments and then rebuilds itself into two very different factions.


"Security - release the badgers."

Re: Eve/Triffids.

Yep, it was the Second Sight version I had, just dreadful. I should take a look at the TV show.

The Spike

Re: Eve/Triffids.

Noted. Sally is enough to warrant interest.

Cheers Addie

The Spike

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

Queen Christina made me cry it did, shipmate, when I saw it when it were released. Has some interesting things to say about roles and appearance and the mask that cloves sometimes provided. I need to get this flick on Betamax video. Ain't seen it in yonks, I ain't. Garbo and Gilbert were proper terrific, they was. Gilbert was unfairly killed orf in Hollywood judging by the evidence of this 'ere flick.

God Save the King

Re: Queen Birds Magic Eve Day Bundle Gatto Yours Rampo Days Place

Bump

God Save the King
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