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  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    I'm old, Napoleon - I read it in a book long before IMDb existed!

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    I think you’re a bit harsh on Night Of The Demon @Napoleon Plural it’s a classic, although as mentioned it would have been better without the demon reveal at the end.

    Dana is one of those names that are used for both sexes, like Robin or Holly. In this case the male name is usually pronounced Day-na while the female is pronounced Dar-na. Leslie or Lesley is a better solution for having the names spelt differently but sounding the same.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 4,002MI6 Agent

    chrisno1 said:

    SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939)

    ... how the hunchback Igor remains alive and still looking the same age he did when he was hanged following the events of the first film.

    __________________________________________

    I think Bela Lugosi's Ygor is a new character in the third Frankenstein film, he is a hunchback because he was hanged and the noose broke, he's actually supposed to have a badly healed broken neck. the assistant in the first film was named Fritz, a different character. And in one of the later sequels, isnt [spoiler] Ygor's brain transplanted into the monsters body [/spoiler]?

    @Barbel 's usually the expert on these matters. Barbel, whats the deal with Ygor?

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    You're quite right, @caractacus potts, that's the way of it. And I think it's pronounced "Eye-gor" .... 😁

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    That's interesting as it isn't how Eyegor explains it. Poetic licence then?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    THE CONQUEROR (1956)

    A movie with a reputation so bad it doesn’t so much precede it as be wallowed in it. Voted one of the 100 worst films of all time, The Conqueror isn’t all that bad, no worse than hoary old **** like The Black Tent or The Silver Chalice. John Wayne being cast as Genghis Khan raises the eyebrows and while I can’t say he acquits himself well, he doesn’t sound or act any worse than Victor Mature in Androcles and the Lion or Tony Curtis in Tarus Bulba, those Brooklyn accents grating like an axe on marble.

    They remade this film ten years later with Omar Sharif and Stephen Boyd and to be fair, this is more enjoyable. Okay, you laugh at the dialogue – “You’re beautiful in your wrath!” etc – and the accents are all over the place, and not just John Wayne’s, but at least the movie has verve and enterprise. Joseph LaShelle’s cinematography is exceedingly colourful and the battle scenes are more than decent, accompanied by rousing Victor Young music. You can’t really follow the plot which meanders all over the place, involving much riding of horses between cities and camps and up and down valleys. Susan Hayward looks delightful playing a posh Tartar wife. Judith Anderson scowls as Wayne’s mother. Pedro Armendariz desperately tries to add gravitas as his blood brother. Lee Van Cleef pops up in a minor role. The director was Dick Powell, a song and dance man who’d reinvented his career, but he is too inexperienced a director for the task, though he doesn’t make anywhere near as much of a hash of it as you might expect. You can’t take The Conqueror too seriously, either as entertainment or a history lesson, but it passes the time amiably enough.

    There are much, much worse films out there although not many suffer from such horrendous casting. You realise how it happened once you see the name Howard Hughes listed as producer. The multimillionaire never gave a fag about realism, RKO Studios was his midlife crisis playground and he threw money at several doomed projects without a care. Amazingly, The Conqueror was one of the year’s biggest hits, but like Cleopatra in 1963, it lost too much money. While 20th Century Fox just about survived, RKO did not. The company was wound up by 1959.

    Speaking of survival, a sorrowful footnote to the film is the controversy surrounding its filming location in the Utah deserts downwind of a US military nuclear test site. Over 100 atomic bombs were activated in the area between 1951 and 1962. It isn’t clear whether RKO understood the risks the cast and crew were being exposed to, after all so as to replicate the look of the desert the production crew even shifted thousands of tons of radioactive sand back to the studio lot to decorate the sound stages. Almost 50% of those closely associated with the movie subsequently contracted some form of cancer. It is still not clear whether radiation was the major factor, but the statistics make extremely raw reading.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    DARK PLACES (1973)

    I’m doing well in watching previously unseen films, and this one sees dodgy doctor Christopher Lee and his sexy sister Joan Collins attempt to find a hidden fortune which has been left to mental hospital chief Robert Hardy on the large estate bequeathed to him in a will. There’s too many flashbacks which made the film a bit muddled but director Don Sharp does a decent enough job and gets a naughty performance out of Joan. Another film that tries hard to be in the Hammer or Amicus mould, but doesn’t quite get there.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    THE VAMPIRE’S GHOST (1945)

    John Abbott plays a 400-year old vampire who runs the shady underworld in Africa. By donning a pair of sunglasses it seems that he’s able to walk around in daylight, but he has in fact been cursed to live forever. A meeting with some jungle natives with silver tipped spears might alter that, though. It only lasts for an hour and that’s just about right. Abbott is pretty good as the doomed vampire and went on to star in programmes such as Bewitched and Star Trek and even British soap opera Emmerdale. The screenplay is by Leigh Brackett who began by writing in pulp magazines and then science-fiction novels, this was her first screenplay and she would go on to co-write the script for The Big Sleep (1946) and some John Wayne westerns including Rio Bravo (1959). She also wrote the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back (1980) which George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan reworked. Leigh died in 1978 from cancer and they have her an onscreen credit, even though not much of her submission was used in the final film.

    It passes an hour quite nicely if you like this sort of thing, and I do 😁

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    HELLFIGHTERS (1968)

    What perhaps could have been a roaring success about Red Adair, an oilwell fire fighter who garnered a certain degree of notoriety for his expertise in the field, Hellfighters throws its stock far and wide and includes too many flame gushing oil wells and too many soap opera style plotlines. John Wayne’s Chance Buckman is a veiled impersonation of Adair, who contributed technical know-how to the filming. Nothing is bad, but nothing is very good either. While the assorted injuries, rescues, fights, love affairs, bad business decisions and Venezuelan revolutions don’t exactly disappoint, they don’t enthral much either. Seen fifty plus years on, Hellfighters looks much like a precursor of the successful 1970s disaster movie genre crossed with an airbrushing of Dynasty, featuring as it does an aging out-of-place star, decent photography, addled script, wayward direction, plenty of action and a raft of so-so performances.

    Katherine Ross, fresh from The Graduate, looks very chic as Wayne’s headstrong daughter who marries his business partner [Jim Hutton]. Vera Miles is her mother and Wayne’s ex-wife. The ‘love triangle’ becomes four sides of an exceedingly dull square. Watching the early scenes, I was reminded of the story that Elvis Presley was offered the Glen Campbell role in True Grit, but his manager insisted on top billing with John Wayne. Hutton’s more modern hero, his bafflement at his wife’s intransigence and the Hatari-esque tomfoolery of the Buckman troupe would far better have suited Elvis’ acting style.

    The score from Leonard Roseman sounds as if it was written for one of Wayne’s late sixties westerns.     

    Generally though, the film is alright.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    LOVER COME BACK (1961)

    Frothy romantic comedy pitching Rock Hudson’s unscrupulous philandering advertising executive against Doris Day’s slightly prissy workaholic. She too is an advertising executive, and the pair are ensconced in opposite buildings on Madison Avenue. Desperate to get one over each other, they embark on an advertising feud for a non-existent product known as VIP. Cue mistaken identity, romantic interludes and good-natured comedy.

    This is the film which most resembles the 2003 retro comedy Down With Love, a Ewan McGregor / Renee Zellweger project which delivered far more than it promised. So too does Lover Come Back, although Doris Day already seems too old for the role she is playing, that moniker of America’s Virgin resting uneasily on her shoulders. Rock Hudson’s smooth comic timing is impeccable as he flirts with lady after lady to ensure his advertising schemes come to fruition. The action has an amusing running commentary from Jack Albertson and Charles Watts as two hotel residents who constantly witness the end of his affairs. Tony Randall is Hudson’s nervy boss.

    There’s plenty to enjoy. The film is very amusing and well-plotted, although it loses its way in the final few minutes. The script crackles with that ‘battle of the sexes’ stuff the two stars made famous. Innuendo is a great source of low wit, satire a more elegant bough, and writers Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning use both to concoct an engaging, frequently farcical but never dull series of scenarios for the players to effortlessly waltz through.

    Lover Come Back has none of the modern tones of inanity, insult and impurity. There’s a wonderful scene at an aquarium where Hudson first seduces distracted Doris with his silky patter, played out against exotic tropical fishes assassinating one another. Very apt and much more subtle a bitter edge than anything our millennial stars and writers come up with. I rather prefer this intelligent generosity, it leaves a frothy taste, rather like the champagne Miss Day’s character opens as she ponders spending a night with Mr Hudson. Oh, for the shame! 

    Of its time, but very good all the same.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    THE MUMMY (1959)

    It was fairly obvious that Hammer and director Terence Fisher would turn their hand at the third of the famous Universal monsters after Frankenstein and Dracula was such a success for the British studio. So Christopher Lee once again steps into the shoes (rags?) of Boris Karloff, this time as The Mummy. Jimmy Sangster uses elements from the original 1932 movie plus a liberal helping from The Mummy’s Hand (1940). In old Egypt Lee plays Kharis, High Priest of ancient god Karnak who tries to bring back to life the love of his life Princess Ananka, played by lovely Yvonne Furneaux, by reading the Scroll Of Life. This is an act of blasphemy and being discovered Lee has his tongue removed and is mummified alive.

    Forwarding to late 19th century Egypt we find a family of archaeologists played by Peter Cushing, Felix Aylmer and Raymond Huntley who are excavating the exact ruins where this all took place, ignoring the protests of our own George Pastell who worships the god Karnak. When Aylmer recovers the scroll and reads it he raises Kharis from the dead, the sight of this sends him insane. Back in London and the archaeologists are followed by Pastell who wants revenge for the desecration of the sacred site. The Mummy’s rampage is put on hold when he recognises that Cushing’s wife is the reincarnation of Ananka (very convenient).

    Fisher directs in his usual competent manner and Lee manages to imbue the Mummy with a genuine physical threat but also manages to show pathos when required, not easy when he only has his eyes to work with.

    Its not as good as Hammer’s Dracula and Frankenstein debuts but it’s still well worth watching, even if it’s only for Lee’s great performance.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    Good reviews, @chrisno1, but Hammer is where my heart lies (when it isn't with Bond, of course).

    The 1959 Mummy is very well done though not, as you say @CoolHandBond, up to the earlier Frankenstein and Dracula versions Hammer had made. It's the best of the mummy movies they would make. Cushing and Lee are superb, of course, which almost goes without saying.

    Somehow, though, I sneakily prefer the much older Universal Mummy series- terrible effects, poor acting (obviously not from the likes of Karloff), feeble plots....

  • TonyDPTonyDP Inside the MonolithPosts: 4,289MI6 Agent
    edited November 2023

    @chrisno1, I've been a long time fan of those Rock Hudson/Doris Day comedies of the 60s. Pillow Talk and Send Me No Flowers are two more really funny ones.

    My favorite movie in that genre is probably Man's Favorite Sport. Doris Day is not in this one and Paula Prentiss plays Rock Hudson's love interest. Hudson is a fishing expert who's never once fished in his life; Prentiss the young and ambitious advertising agent who unwittingly enters him in a fishing competition which he must somehow win to save his job. Lots of laughs and witty banter in this one.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    JULES VERNE’S ROCKET TO THE MOON (1967)

    By the mid-60’s Verne was perceived as having enough of a name to have it in the title as a selling point. The inspiration for this movie is from another of his novels From The Earth ToThe Moon, but it really has its roots in the 1965 movie Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines. Don Sharp directs an ensemble cast including the great Terry-Thomas as his usual British cad character, Lionel Jeffries, Burl Ives, our own Gert Frobe as the Jack Lemmon/Great Race villain and TV’s famous cop Stratford Johns who played Charlie Barlow in several different series.

    Its a silly but fairly amusing story of the attempt to build the first vehicle capable of flying man to the moon, and the ensuing technical mishaps and devious pre-Dick Dastardly style schemes to stop it from happening. At two hours it’s too long for it’s own good although the slapstick comedy is still pretty funny. Most of the laughs are from watching Gert Frobe and his nefarious plans to stop the rocket, but the main flaw is that the lead star Troy Donahue is no Tony Curtis and he makes for a bland and boring lead character when up against the stellar eccentricity of the British thespians.

    Its worth a look at a style of movie that was popular in the 60’s, but it’s nowhere near the best example of its kind.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    @TonyDP I have not seen that one for ages! I also enjoyed the Doris Day - James Garner movies. Didn't she do a silly spy thing with Richard Harris? Caprice?

    Re: The Mummy (1959) It is a tad disappointing. A good ending I thought. I prefer the 1932 version which has an excellent cloying atmosphere.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,363MI6 Agent

    On a Saturday late afternoon, what better than to sit down to Talking Pictures TV's showing of a shamelessly enjoyable Indiana Jones rip-off, Allan Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold? Starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone.

    Never start these reviews when you've got rice on the boil is my advice. I now have a blackened pan to clean.

    Anyway, turns out I was being unfair - this movie is shameless but far from enjoyable. Chamberlain really isn't the dashing hero type and Sharon Stone as his fiancé seems to be ill-advisedly reprising Kate Capshaw's routine. The film is from 1986 so looking to rip off both Raiders and Temple of Doom. It aims for kooky humour but doesn't generate any laughs. It explains why both Star Wars and Raiders failed to generate much in the way of movie spin-offs - unless you have the combo of Lucas/Spielberg and Harrison Ford, it may go badly wrong. You can see why the studios were mean about the budget on Raiders after Spielberg's 1941 debacle - and given they nearly cast Tom Sellock in the role, you can understand their caution, because I don't think he'd have been so good in the role.

    Very poorly directed.

    Hamlet at Elsinore

    BBC4 are doing a lot of Shakespeare, to tie in with a long-lost play that has been unearthed, thanks to contributions from Peter Jackson and Jeff Lynn, it's being unveiled at the Globe this month. Anyway, this black and white TV drama from 1964 was shown late last night, it was introduced by our own Steven Berkoff who had a small role as one of the players in the play Hamlet stages to smoke out the king. The lead was played by Christopher Plummer, a pre-fame Michael Caine was Horatio and I couldn't believe my eyes when I figured out who was playing Ophelia - why, none other than a very young Glenda Jackson. This was interesting because she and Caine are in The Great Escaper, currently in cinemas and both their last films. In the event, they only share one scene if that in this Hamlet. Secondly, it turns out I shoulldn't have believed my eyes as it wasn't Glenda Jackson after all, still it made the three hours more entertaining!

    Berkoff was very entertaining and articulate about the filming of this version. When I saw who played the usurper King - none other than Robert Shaw, a year after playing Red Grant, I had to stay for the duration! Though some of Shaw's expressions call to mind the follow up villain, Gert Frobe's Goldfinger. Mind you, neither the King nor Gertrude seemed much older than Plummer himself - you begin to see Plummer was not stretching himself with some of his 60s films. He's very good in this, a bit Timothy Dalton-like at times... It's rare I want to watch a Hamlet to the end, let alone until 2am, but this one had me, not least due to excellent direction by Philip Savile. Thunderball's Philip Locke turns up towards the end, as does a familiar face as the Gravedigger and another recognisable actor as Fortinbras, who would go on to co-star with Caine in a 1970s film.

    It's on iPlayer, well worth watching. Actually filmed in Elsinore and its castle, I understand, hence its name.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    That is a very interesting cast!

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)

    Many Universal monster aficionados reject the continuity of this film as being part of the official series of movies. A bit like me who rejects the non-Eon James Bond entries, but I really do think that this movie is worthy of inclusion to make this the last genuine Universal monster movie. The fact is that by the time this film was made the Universal horror film needed A&C as much as A&C needed the horror film. When The Wolf Man was released in 1941 A&C were establishing themselves as bankable stars for Universal. But by the end of the decade their star was waning. Also by this time Lon Chanel’s Wolf Man had already met Frankenstein’s monster, and then Dracula, the hunchback and Frankenstein in the House Of movies to diminishing returns. One of A&C’s most successful movies was Hold That Ghost (1941) so it was only natural that the studio thought that bringing together two waning franchises would be the next logical step.

    The scriptwriters of Hold That Ghost would be tasked in creating a new film combining A&C and the monster team. The first draft was certainly more horror than comedy and the working title was The Brain Of Frankenstein. Lou Costello was critical of the script and changes were made to include more of the vaudeville side of things but even then Costello was not that happy and had to be cajoled into shooting some of the films iconic moments on the Monster’s lap and the Moving Candle routine which was pure A&C.

    What makes this a standout movie is that A&C are on absolute top form and the fact that they are dropped into a straight Universal Monster setting is genius. The casting is superb, Lon Chaney Jr. as Talbot the Wolf Man gives a brilliant performance, his delivery of his plight is played with awesome sincerity, bemoaning his tortured existence and then Costello’s response is just one of the funniest things ever put to film, but not at Talbot’s expense, his reaction is a look of frozen terror, it’s a superb scene. And when the full moon does shine we are treated to a transformation by brilliant Jack Pierce make-up, coupled with Charles Barton’s sympathetic direction and Frank Skinner’s score this is horror at its best.

    Glenn Strange plays the lumbering Monster as he had done in two previous films and this is possibly his best performance and there is genuine comic timing in his playful scenes with Costello. Karloff was offered the role but refused although he did do two later films with A&C in …Meet The Killer and Meet Jekyll & Hyde. Lon Chaney Jr. had played the Monster in The Ghost Of Frankenstein (1942) and due to an injury to Strange he played a scene in this film as well towards the end of the movie and the destruction of the laboratory, where Chaney’s version is more fluid against Strange’s more stiff-armed-and-legs version.

    Bela Lugosi had also played the Monster in Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (I hope you’re all paying attention, and if I’ve got anything wrong, then Barbel will correct me) and hunchback Igor in Son Of Frankenstein and Ghost Of Frankenstein where his brain ends up in the body of the Monster. Anyway, Lugosi’s signature role would always be Dracula (Lon Chaney would play Dracula in Son Of Dracula) and his agent begged and implored Universal to give him another shot at the role after being reduced to working on Monogram’s poverty row horrors. Universal agreed and this completes the films masterful casting. Lugosi plays Dracula like never before, outshining the original version.

    Anyway, to the plot. Dracula requires a “simple” brain to reactivate Frankenstein’s Monster and Lou Costello looks like the perfect fit! You don’t really need to know much more.

    A&C are never better than in this movie, (if only Morecambe and Wise could have had a vehicle like this to star in and we could have seen their genius on film, instead of the laboured productions we got to see) , it’s not a parody of Universal Horror, it’s a love letter.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff
    edited November 2023

    You know the show "Desert Island Discs"? Well, if I'm allowed films on my list, that's one of them. Love that movie. Thanks CHB, and yes I agree re Morecambe and Wise.

    Edit- without spoiling it, yes I know the line you mean and it's hilarious.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Thanks @Napoleon Plural for bringing Hamlet at Elsinore to attention. I had to record it, although I don't know if I will review it.

    ROOSTER COGBURN (1975)

    The 1970s saw John Wayne’s career on the wane [pardon the pun] with a few too many insipid westerns and a couple of cops and robber hard boilers which didn’t seem to suit him. This nostalgic western mash-up teams him for the first time ever with Katharine Hepburn, an actress who found fame the same time he did and endured in a similar fashion. Curious fact: both actors were born in May 1907.

    Rooster Cogburn retreads two famous movies, Hepburn’s The African Queen and Wayne’s recent Oscar winning turn of True Grit. The Duke revisits the one-eyed US Marshal Reuban J. Cogburn and has fun playing off another cantankerous old bird as Hepburn relives one of her finest hours, for her preacher’s daughter Eula is clearly inspired by C.S. Forester’s Rose Sayer. The script isn’t up to much but gives the two stars enough time to shine and both look to be enjoying themselves immensely. The film is a little placid – even the climax on river rapids doesn’t quite get going – but the scenery is gorgeous and you can’t fault a couple of old stagers when they deliver performances as good as this.

    This was the final film made by famous producer Hal B. Wallis. His wife, Martha Heyer, wrote the screenplay under a pseudonym. John Wayne would reinterpret the basic character of Rooster for his final, career defining film role in The Shootist

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 277MI6 Agent

    You'll be hard pressed to find a more entertaining 'classic Universal Monsters' movie than this one. It has one of the highest 'hit ratios' on jokes (I'd guess around 90%) for any of the Abbott and Costello films, and the monsters themselves are all used extremely well. It helps that Lugosi and Chaney came back to reprise their roles. Great fun.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    Glad to see that A&C Meet Frankenstein is so popular!

    I’m enjoying your John Wayne reviews @chrisno1 he is in my top 10 favourite actors list.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    CREATURES THE WORLD FORGOT (1971)

    Hammer managed to get another prehistoric movie out after One Million Years B.C. (1966) Slave Girls (1967) and Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970). This would be the last one and it’s probably best it was left at a quartet, to be honest. There are no dinosaurs in this one, which at least makes it historically accurate in that sense, but I’m sure that they didn’t have the likes of sexy Julie Ege in an animal-skin bikini either, and she gives predecessor’s Raquel, Martine and Victoria a decent run for their money. There’s not even an attempt at dialogue, just a lot of grunting and screaming and gesticulation as the thin plot is reminiscent of One Million with brothers fighting over women and leadership. Director Don Chaffey and photographer Vincent Cox make the most of the South African scenery, it’s stunning and the best thing in the movie… ok, ok, it’s the best thing after Julie and her bikini…but I do miss the dinosaurs.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff
    edited November 2023

    THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962)

    Hammer do pirates! The usual Hammer cast (Chris Lee, Andrew Keir, Oliver Reed, Michael Ripper) plus a couple of imported Americans (Kerwin Matthews, Glenn Corbett) and the usual Hammer crew (Jimmy Sangster, John Gilling) in a plot involving pirates (of course), hidden gold, piranhas, a wrongfully accused young man on the run from the penal colony to which he had been sent, and some dodgy French accents- they're supposed to be Huguenots. What it doesn't involve is much time onboard a ship, period pirate ships being expensive.

    Very nicely put together and feels like a bigger production than Hammer usually managed. Nice to see Sir Christopher doing some sword fighting, years before the Musketeers and decades before "Star Wars". You can spot Desmond Llewellyn in a small part if you pay attention, 007, and Bob Simmons did some of the stunts.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    INSEMINOID (1982)

    Norman J Warren made a handful of low budget horror/sci-fi movies that are gradually gaining cult status on the fan circuit. This one rips-off Alien and in my view is a damn sight better than the exalted and overrated so-called “classic”.

    A group of explorers are exploring caves on some faraway planet when a bug-eyed creature rapes lovely crew member Judy Geeson who then goes into full-on crazy mode and wipes out the rest of the crew one by one. Judy then gives birth to an alien creature in gory scenes. Great sets and photography make this look a lot more lush than the given low budget. Location filming was in Chislehurst Caves and good use is made of it. The vastly underrated Judy Geeson gives a great performance here, as she does in all her work, and Stephanie Beacham and Victoria Tennant also turn in good acts. John Scott’s score is commendable.

    Maybe it has just a bit too many clichés for it’s own good, but this is a very enjoyable monster movie, it’s a great fun, but a strong stomach is required for the birthing scene.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent
    edited November 2023

    QUATERMASS 2 (1957)

    Crikey, this was frantic.

    Bran Donlevy resurrects his movie role as Professor Bernard Quatermass, the brilliant science brain behind the British Space Program. There’s trouble at the mill. Quatermass is almost involved in a serious car accident with a young couple speeding to hospital. The man has an unsightly blister on his face and is going into seizure. Meanwhile, the space monitoring service has been picking up several meteorite showers which seem to focus on Winnerden Flats – a ghost town close to the location the young couple had earlier chosen for a picnic. Within minutes of the start of this movie, we are dropped straight into an outer space conundrum and pitched into an alarming series of tension wracked scenes whose pace and activity barely let up for the film’s entire runtime. The early plot threads hint at a government level cover up, before Quatermass infiltrates an enormous synthetic food processing installation at Winnerden Flats and realises there is something altogether more sinister and other worldly occurring within its majestic biospheres.

    With a script substantially reduced from its original three hour, six episode television format, there is precious little time to develop any character nuances or do more than hint at the latent alien evil which resides at the research facility. Director and co-writer Val Guest is more concerned with propelling the story from A – Z with the minimum of fuss and the maximum impact. Not a lot of shocks for a Hammer production, Q2 works best as a full blown science fiction movie. I had never viewed this film before and only been vaguely aware of the plot, so as something of minor Dr Who afficionado, it was interesting to see how closely the narrative, the alien creature and its disciples were reinterpreted [read: copied] for the opening Jon Pertwee classic Spearhead from Space, with Dr Who’s Nestene Consciousness replacing the unnamed alien lifeform in Q2. It is also worth noting how closely the giant alien climax matches that of The Seeds of Doom, which was itself partly inspired by The Quatermass Experiment. Nigel Kneale, who wrote an initial first draft of the screenplay, is certainly owed a debt by some Who writers.

    The movie has a ton of exciting stuff going on, but is over reliant of Donlevy’s brutally tetchy Quatermass. If I am being totally honest, the film needs to slow down occasionally, offering perhaps another ten minutes to explain plot strands and build the story adequately. Despite this failing, I found much to enjoy here. For some reason I thought this would be in colour, but the black and white photography from Gerald Gibbs lends a shifting, sinister air to the proceedings, especially when Quatermass infiltrates the government facility, the drone captives feeding meteorite carcasses to the gigantic alien creature pulsating inside an ammonia-filled biosphere.

    Once again, the ending is open ended.

    I wondered if this movie was the first to use the legend ‘II’ or ‘2’ after it to indicate a sequel, something very commonplace these days. I looked it up and apparently it isn’t. That distinction goes to something called Sanshiro Sugata Part II, an Akira Kurasawa film from 1945, but close examination suggests this title only works in translation as the original Japanese would have read Sanshiro Sugata Zoku, or ‘sequel’. So, perhaps Hammer do have the honour, certainly in English language cinema.        

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,591MI6 Agent

    THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME (1932)

    Richard Connell’s 1924 story has been called “the most popular short story ever written in English.” And indeed, the premise of the story has been utilised in a far ranging selection of movies under different titles, countless times. But the best is still this early release which uses some of the sets used in King Kong (1933). Kong filmed by day and Game filmed by night, it certainly makes good use of expensive sets. It’s a pacy adventure, highly atmospheric and at just a few minutes over an hour running time it doesn’t waste a second in telling the story. On a misty island the mad Count Zaroff hunts shipwreck victims who wash up on the shores. One such shipwreck deposits Joel McCrae and King Kong stars Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, who are at first welcomed but are then runnng for their lives as the Count and his hounds pursue them.

    Leslie Banks is excellent in a career high performance as the evil, leering Count and is strangely similar to how Bela Lugosi was in Dracula in the opening scenes. Lugosi (and Christopher Lee in the Hammer original) were suave hosts in welcoming their prey before their motives become apparent. Maybe even Ian Fleming saw this film and thought of Dr. No? McCrae makes for an appealing hero and Fay Wray is as lovely as ever.

    A masterpiece of efficiency, some of today’s bloated movies could learn a thing or two about pacing from watching this.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    It's certainly always been my impression that this is the first sequel to have "2" (or "II") after the name and in this it of course follows the TV version.

    Kneale was very unimpressed with "Dr Who" steali....er, paying homage to.... no, I was right the first time. He didn't like the later programme outright stealing his ideas which happened more than once

    The TV version had an extended climax in outer space, which was beyond the technical ability of the BBC at that point and was wisely dropped from the film (though probably for budgetary reasons rather than technical, Hammer being their usual selves).

    Try watching the TV version if you have 3 hours to spare to compare the two.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,880Chief of Staff

    For once I disagree. I know this film has an excellent reputation but it has never "clicked" for me., and I've tried more than once.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent


    I love The Most Dangerous Game ! I consider it to be a first rate actioner and a 'classic' of its era. As @CoolHandBond says, modern filmmakers could learn a lot about character formation, pacing and tension by watching this film. Most action movies [most movies?] these days could be 25% shorter if they cut down the long winded violence and unnecessary social interaction scenes.

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