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  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent
    edited November 2023
    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent

    And it’s nice to agree on something with you sometimes @chrisno1 😁

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff

    At first I thought that my lack of appreciation for "The Most Dangerous Game" was because there's nothing supernatural going on, but the same can be said about the contemporary "The Old Dark House", "The Black Cat" and others and I love those. Oh well, it'd be a funny world if we all liked the same things!

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    SABOTAGE (1936)

    Wikipedia relates that some wags at The Daily Telegraph had this movie rated as the third greatest British film ever made. I don’t know who Tim Robey and Robbie Collin are, and I couldn’t check the list as I would have had to sign up for a free trial and The Telegraph isn’t getting any personal details from me, but they need to steady their pens before making assertions such as that. However, a glance at the search entry on Google has The Private Life of Henry VIII at number one and The 39 Steps at number two, so I am thinking this is a list in date order, not a critically assessed list. Even so, I wouldn’t put Sabotage in a top 100, although Time Out’s 2017 survey placed it at no.44.

    Alfred Hitchcock claimed his greatest mistake on this movie was to let the bomb explode. He may be right.

    The film’s major drawback though is the flimsiness of the plot and the complete lack of any menace from the bumbling cinema proprietor who is in league with a bunch of European terrorists. It isn’t clear who this group represents. A minor player seems to be invoking an Irish accent. Oscar Homolka, who plays the central role, has a distinctly German accent. So who is to say who is responsible?

    The film meanders along quite well and has flashes of cinematic interest, but despite historians of cinema history lauding it, I simply wasn’t engaged enough. The suspense is half-baked at best. Homolka barely passes muster as an engaging villain, veering from benign to angry to befuddled. Sylvia Sydney’s heroine is a wet blanket. The ‘hero’ – a Scotland Yard police inspector – is openly plotting to commit adultery with her, so he isn’t exactly an angel.  The young lad who plays the son gives probably the best performance in the movie.

    So, okay, the tense scenes leading up to the bomb’s detonation have a frisson of excitement, but even that is overwrought. The movie is ponderous at best and simply doesn’t ignite often enough to be of more than passing interest. Hitchcock had already made one classic [The 39 Steps] and would go on to make many far better films than this. I also believe there are ninety-nine other British movies which are better too.

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff

    Ninety-nine? Our expectations were considerably higher, chrisno1.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,341MI6 Agent

    Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

    Caught this one on Channel 4 last night, it passed me by in the cinemas because, well, it was yet another Terminator film and you sort of think, okay, so if you can change the future and still the bad old apocalypse comes to pass, what gives? This is referenced by Linda Hamilton at one point - 'Something came to kill me from a future that doesn't actually happen' or some such line, I let it go because the movie is so much fun, the opening half hour is a blast of terrific action and it took me a while to realise that really the whole thing is Terminator 2 all over again, it's pretty much the same plot, with the fun guessing game of wondering who is the good Terminator and who is the bad. Also, though Hamilton and Arnie are top billed, they're not really the stars. The protagonists are Mexican which is a twist that briefly distracts attention, like having Roger Moore in a Bond film largely going through the same motions as many a Connery film.

    That said, it is interesting to have the three heroes as women, and it takes a while to realise this. Not one of them, unlike in other action films, is just there as designated eye candy or to service the male exposition.

    At some point this movie becomes just fun popcorn Saturday night fun. It doesn't quite make sense. Arnie shows up - but he looks as old as the actor. As he's a machine, how can that happen? It might get a bit of rust but it's not going to put on weight is it? I have an old VCR in the bottom of my wardrobe I don't now what to do with, it looks pretty much the same. It's like the actor playing the hologram Rimmer in recent editions of Red Dwarf - how come he looks inches 50s if he's a hologram?

    The film almost seems to riff on the old-style Bond films, as it becomes clear the Terminator is really just Jaws, who is knocked off his stride in a chase but quickly regroups and comes at you again. It also moves into Die Another Day territory with a final reel where they all get on a big aeroplane which leads to CGI aerial fire and similar stuff. The new Terminator has a creepy eco-skeleton (is that the term) which is freaky, that said, as ever, it might be a help if the shape shifter learned not to always resort to the same physical identity it initially adopts, thus making it easier to spot from a mile off. Admittedly, it would then dramatically suffer. Also, the characters just wouldn't survive the physical jeopardy they're placed in, another Die Another Day trait and the sort of thing modern action films looking to compete with Marvel suffer from.

    You just know that going on imdb they're going to rip this apart - it has a low rating - but I found it fun.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent

    MAN MADE MONSTER (1941)

    This was Lon Chaney Jr’s first foray into the horror genre which led him to starring roles in The Wolf Man and Ghost Of Frankenstein. Lon plays a lovable sideshow performer whose act involves fantastic displays of wizardry. During a storm the carnival bus crashes into an electrical pole and finds that afterwards he has immunity to electricity. Mad scientist Lionel Atwill learns of this and turns Lon into a zombie who does his bidding, namely killing Atwill’s enemies. Lon is captured and sentenced to the electric chair which energises him so he literally glows and he seeks his own revenge. Cheaply budgeted, but nicely made, this is an enjoyable fast paced horror with good performances from both leads.

    Its been a long time since I first saw this, and I’d forgotten a lot about it, but it’s well worth a look for horror aficionados.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    RIO LOBO (1970)

    I intended to watch The Alamo (1960), but I missed the opening few minutes and, already disgruntled, ITV4 annoyed me by chucking in an ad break after twelve minutes, so I bade my farewell and watched this later period John Wayne western instead.

    Rio Lobo is the last film directed by the great Howard Hawks and is a vague reworking of a format he’d already used to great success twice in Rio Bravo and El Dorado, that of the hero holed up in a sheriff’s office fighting off a nasty gang of local gun hands out to rescue their imprisoned leader. Rio Lobo starts off with an exciting Civil War train robbery, but it’s downhill from there and the movie becomes pedestrian and everybody is going through the motions with more than a little wink at the camera. I am fairly certain Wayne has been costumed into the same outfit he wore in Rio Bravo, but I’m too lazy to check the online images.

    The ‘them-against-us’ situation doesn’t kick in until the final quarter of the film. Mostly it is run of the mill fayre, with the occasional nod to modern mores – for instance, there are three attractive ballsy young women involved in smoking out the bad guys, Jennifer O’Neill among them, and a plethora of jokes about gender stereotypes. It isn’t very funny and it isn’t very tense. The script and story don’t seem to cling together. It feels way too complicated and long winded for such a basic tale of revenge. Wayne isn’t given decent support either. Former Tarzan Mike Henry plays the villainous sheriff and that’s about as good as it gets. Decent music and photography. The star sleepwalks his way through the film as if he’s seen and done it all before – well, he did, in Rio Bravo and El Dorado.

    A money loser on release and a disappointing end to a fine directing career for Hawks. Not one of John Wayne’s best by a long chalk, but when this movie came out he’d taken top billing in something like ninety movies over thirty years, most of them successful and several being stand out classics, so I think we can forgive him the occasional lapse. 

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent

    ESCAPE FROM L.A. (1996)

    This was one of those highly anticipated movies that ended up being a major disappointment. I hated it when I first saw it upon release but it’s cropped up on my streaming service so I thought maybe another view was merited after so long.

    Its basically the same setup where Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken is offered a deal by the government to head to a L.A. prison (now separated from the mainland by an earthquake) to enact another rescue mission. Even for 1996 the CGI effects are dreadful but the movie is saved a little by the cast. Russell is having a great time resurrecting his role and back up roles played by Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Bruce Campbell and Pam Grier are all pretty good, unfortunately the villain played by George Corraface is a big letdown and the movie suffers from this. Director John Carpenter was on the slide for quite some time before this and it could have been a way back for him but, alas, it was not to be.

    So, slightly better than I remembered but still way below par from what it should have been. I won’t be revisiting it again, that’s for sure.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff

    The Stranglers Of Bombay (1959)

    Unusually for Hammer, this b&w (easier to hide that it was shot nowhere near Bombay) UK film has criticism of colonial, racial, and class attitudes woven in to the story. Probably that's because of the writer, David Zelig Goodman, here doing his only AFAIK work for Hammer. I don't know what else he wrote apart from the 1975 "Farewell My Lovely" which is excellent though all he had to do there was stick closely to the novel for a good result

    It's set back when the Brits are ruling India. Tensions abound, though the rulers are blind to most of them apart from our hero, Lewis, whose views are disregarded by his superior who gives a job which clearly should go to Lewis to the son of an old school chum. That part is played by Allan Cuthbertson, so good at playing snobbish but useless types ("Guns Of Navarone" is a good example) often but not always in the armed forces.

    A few Bond alumni - Marne Maitland, George Pastell, and Paul Stassino who I don't recall seeing in many films other than TB.

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 259MI6 Agent

    If memory serves, Carpenter had his post-production time cut in half. This had an effect on his final edit of the film and on the quality (or lack thereof) on the special effects.

    Even with the above excuses, nothing changes the fact that the tone of the film is just wrong. It plays as a satire of the first film and it never quite nails the right tone. The only thing the film really gets right is the ending. As bad as the film is, it ends on a really strong scene.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    @Barbel all those actors you mention crop up in ITC shows: The Saint, The Persuaders, etc. They must have made a decent living out of the post war UK film and television industry playing little and often.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent

    VIGILANTE (1982)

    Fred Williamson and two other workmates form a vigilante group to chase the muggers, dealers and pimps out of their New York neighbourhood, when the police seem to be unwilling to do so. A fourth friend played by Robert Forster declines an invitation to join them. When Forster’s wife is raped by a gang and his son shot dead and the perpetrators receive a suspended sentence by a corrupt judge, Forster is jailed for 30 days for contempt of court, when he verbally slates the judge. Upon release he joins up with his pals and they go in full revenge mode against the gang and the corrupt judge.

    Director William Lustig had worked as an apprentice editor on Michael Winners Death Wish (1974) so was well versed in this type of story, he had previously directed the blood splattered Maniac in 1980. This is a more polished entry than Maniac and he gets a terrific performance out of Fred Williamson and Joe Spinell (who played the Maniac). A heavily censored version was released on video back in the day but this version I saw is uncut and it ticks all the right boxes in exploitative cinema.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff

    Just poor phrasing on my part, @chrisno1. I meant only that I don't recall seeing Paul Stassino in other films.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    MY OLD LADY (2014)

    American writer-director-actor Israel Horovitz bit off more than he could chew adapting his own play for the big screen. It needs a less concentrated eye. Kevin Kline is an American in Paris who inherits a large viager apartment from his father. Unaware of the French property system he is surprised to discover ancient Maggie Smith, and her less ancient daughter Kristen Scott Thomas, are permanent residents and that he owes them rent until she dies. The system allows property to be bought and sold at well below the market price on the assumption a property might be inherited quickly from an older tenant. It doesn’t always work in the buyer’s favour. As Kline struggles with the French property system, a flashy developer offers him a small fortune to buy the flat and start the beginnings of a bijou hotel. There are historical relationships to unfurl and familial complications to resolve and Kline, an ex-alcoholic, returns to the bottle for stress relief.

    The story proceeds amicably enough and there are some decent moments of drama when dealing with those difficult family revelations, but the movie doesn’t quite succeed, especially surrounding the romance, which felt unlikely, and the alcoholism which is an unnecessary distraction. Maggie Smith had made this sort of dowager role her own ever since A Room With A View and she isn’t doing anything here we haven’t seen before. Despite some good phrases [“A flower is at its most beautiful when it’s nearly old” was an exceptional one] there isn’t much going on here, even Paris seems remarkably empty. A pleasant enough ninety minutes, that’s all.

      

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 259MI6 Agent

    THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE DEMETER (2023)

    This movie covers the chapter from Bram Stoker's DRACULA surrounding the voyage of Dracula from Transylvania to England. The movie fleshes out (pun intended) the details of the voyage, showing the crew dealing with the presence of a creature on the ship that is feeding on them.

    This is a very good movie. It's not particularly scary but it oozes atmosphere. The production design is 100% convincing (the ship itself feels extremely real and functions as a character in and of itself) and the acting is top notch from everyone. I appreciated the fact that everyone on the crew is presented as being intelligent...once things get going and they start to figure out what's going on, nobody acts like an idiot just to move the plot from point A to point B.

    Well scripted, acted, and directed. A quality piece of work.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    MEAN STREETS (1973)

    This abomination of a film launched the careers of director Martin Scorsese and his two main actors Harvey Keitel and Robert de Niro. It is an unpleasant, unforgiving, unsubtle pile drive through the ugly unromantic avenues of New York’s Little Italy, a place populated by ignorant numbskulls, violent disorder and benign Mafia Dons who smoke cigars in dilapidated restaurants. I don’t expect swanky boudoirs when watching realist cinema, but I would like a semblance of a story and at least one character whose redeeming features I can cling onto. There is nothing here. The world of Scorsese’s Mean Streets is dirty, menaced, dark and decaying. You can almost smell the mouldy garbage eking off the celluloid it is so unpleasant.

    Basically Charlie [Keitel] is a low level enforcer collecting debts for his uncle. His best friend is a borderline psycho, the illiterate Johnny [Robert de Niro]. Just so we know Johnny is going to be the root of all trouble, he’s referred to as ‘Johnny Boy’, as if he’s still a kid and being treated with kid gloves. He isn’t. He’s volatile, unreliable and horrid. Apparently he is married, but we never see his family. Keitel is secretly having sex with Johnny’s cousin Teresa [Amy Robinson] who is epileptic. That isn’t relevant other than it seems to prevent her leaving home because the traditionalist Italian fathers think she’s mentally ill. They should take a closer look at Johnny Boy. Johnny is in debt to Michael [Richard Romanus] and Charlie keeps minding his back. Everyone meets in Tony’s [David Proval] crappy basement clip bar where the strippers barely move and the door closes when the last customer leaves. Charlie thinks he is on the up, but Johnny keeps dragging him down.

    The bits and pieces narrative is constantly interrupted by bouts of fighting, swearing and arguing. It is hopelessly, upsettingly violent. West Side Story this ain’t. No discussion can be had without profanity, fist shaking, pistol shooting, raised voices and copious drinking. Only the older generations understand business and debt. They discuss situations cooly, detached and with a calm demeanour that reinforces their position. These guys are at the bottom of the ladder, scrabbling to get out of the mud, only Scorsese allows them no redemption: they stay stuck in the cesspit and so do we from the opening sweat stained close up of Keitel’s waking face to the final aerial snake along the freeway out of there, an escape route going nowhere. As Teresa says to Charlie while he and Johnny desperately try to flee Michael's vengeance: “Do you know where you’re going?” No, of course he doesn’t, this confused little boy is playing a big man’s game and he is lost and abandoned on the checker’s board, his career suddenly curtailed by a loose chip. The closing montage tries to tell us life goes on, but we are so worn out by the incessant bullying of each other by all the characters and the unpausing camera work, which judders, jars, slows down and goes out of focus with erratic abandon, we just don’t give a stiff.

    Scorsese made some great movies. Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino are outstanding character studies, with good camera work, incisive editing and screenplays which develop people and the narrative to help us believe and take sides with the individuals on the screen. Mean Streets is absent of all of that brio. Much of it feels improvised and out of control and has no more impact than a loosely coddled together trawl through adolescent recollections and contemporary newspaper cuttings. Critics highlight scenes and performances in this movie as signposts to greater things. That in itself does not make Mean Streets a good film. Even the pop music soundtrack is a befuddling list of choices which make no artistic sense; I have a feeling they are being used ironically, but I can’t be sure because half the time I didn’t care. I certainly wasn’t laughing.

    I first saw this film thirty years ago and thought it was a mess and my opinion has not changed, in fact it has worsened. Towards the end, Scorsese chucks in a clip of The Tomb of Ligia and I couldn’t help thinking how more involving and genuine the characters are in Roger Corman’s cheapie horror flick compared to the heartless quartet of losers in this one.

    A quite dreadful piece of filmmaking which ought not to be revered as it is. Please check out Raging Bull if you want to understand how to make monstrous characters sympathetic. This film is merely monstrous in all the worst ways.   

  • SoneroSonero Posts: 48MI6 Agent

    Skimming through prime video, I came across this very well made film.

    A rather forgotten picture from 1964, starring the legend Sir Sean Connery, Gina Lollobrigida and Ralph Richardson.

    Cleverly plotted drama, fine acting and unexpected twists.

    Vibrant colors, dark hues, 2 hours 2 minutes.

    A masterpiece by Basil Dearden.


  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,461MI6 Agent

    I’ve always liked Woman Of Straw and Connery is excellent in this. Snooty critics dismissed it, but let’s be honest, what do they know?

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    PRETTY WOMAN (1990)

    Romantic comedy without much humour beyond the bedroom, but charmingly played and presented by Richard Gere, Julia Roberts and director Garry Marshall. Unlikely looking L.A. prostitute Vivian [Roberts] is running out of cash but lucks in after being pulled by hedge fund asset stripper and multi-millionaire Edward Lewis [Gere]. It’s a Cinderella story for sure, countered by the fact she changes him but he doesn’t change her at all, only dolls her up like an elegant version of Barbie in red curls. Of course, she doesn’t need to change because her heart and ethics are in the right place all along; his merely need coaxing from beneath an unemotional exterior. Kissing helps, apparently. Textbook storytelling. Compulsive viewing once you start, but only because the dresses and suits look good, and Richard Gere looks dishy, and Julia Roberts never looked more like a ‘babe’. Able support from Ralph Bellamy and Hector Elizondo keep the background story moving cutely along. There’s a whiff of scandal, mostly underplayed and easily resolved, and a terrible attempt at aggressive blackmail which sits badly among the niceties. Shamelessly fairy tale romantic, this was a date movie to end all date movies until it was subverted by the more adult themes of loss and redemption featured in Ghost, which came out a month or so later. I saw both films with my girlfriend of the time, it was that kind of summer, but while Pretty Woman had the better soundtrack, Ghost had more emotional impact. I was lucky, Debbie preferred Richard Gere to Patrick Swayze – and so did I – so when the videos came out there wasn’t a contest. I hadn’t watched this since we broke up all of thirty plus years ago, so a nice trip down Memory Lane.

    And yeah, really good soundtrack. Mercy…

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff

    A couple of pics of Sir Sean in Woman Of Straw-

    Here he is getting his orders from M

    And that's him entering a casino.

    Of course I'm joking, but for many years stills from this film have mistakenly been posted online identifying them as from Bond movies. Have a look yourselves, there are plenty more from this film and others of the time such as Marnie

    which could be mistaken for stills from a Bond movie (of course Tippi Hedren was never in a Bond movie, but you get my point).

  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,651Chief of Staff
  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 259MI6 Agent


    actual picture of Barbel performing 'Pretty Woman':


  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 21,897MI6 Agent
    edited November 2023

    All the president's men (1976)

    I guess most of you have at least heard of this movie and knows that it's about two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal. Dustin Hoffman plays Carl Bernstein and Robert Redford plays Bob Woodward. In spite of containing a lot of typing, phone calls and interviews this is a tense thriller. It's expertly directed , scripted and acted. I found myself wishing movies like this were made and seen more today. The reason we don't get blockbusters like this today certainly isn't because of any lack of material! Whatever your political standpoint is I think many will agree the real-life material is both more serious and more comedic today. This movie deserves to be watched.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    THE SENSE OF AN ENDING (2017)

    I watched this because I had read the book. Julian Barnes’ novel is an examination of self-delusion and as such while it was interesting, the story attached to it seemed too slight to provide the emotional shock the author intends. It is well written, beautifully observed, but ever so slightly dull. It won a Booker Prize – for the effort and longevity of the author, perhaps? I digress.

    This film adaptation is okay. Nothing special. A decent telly movie really. Good performances keep us watching. Occasionally light-hearted forays into an older, out of date man’s world are distracting, but lessen what might have been a too tortuous load. Jim Broadbent is very good as the major protagonist who unintentionally discovers a long-kept secret about his ex-girlfriend, rekindling his interest in what he terms ‘the nostalgia of the past.’ It is fairly nostalgic, I suppose, in a rose-tinted spectacles with blood on kind of way. He’s given able support by Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter and Michelle Dockery as the women most important in his life.

    You might be entertained, you might not. It is ever so slightly dull. 

  • HarryCanyonHarryCanyon Posts: 259MI6 Agent

    CROSSFIRE (1947) with Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Robert Young, and Gloria Grahame.

    A Jewish man is killed and the investigation into his murder involves some demobilized soldiers and possible anti-semitism.

    Quite a good movie. Very well acted and directed. I appreciated the fact that the film only got heavy handed once (during a long monologue by Robert Young as the lead investigator) and otherwise allowed the viewer to 'get' the themes of the film on his/her own.

    This came out the same year as GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT which also dealt with anti-semitism and was also nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture. CROSSFIRE didn't win any Oscars but did help launch a more active career for Gloria Grahame (nominated for Best Supporting Actress).

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,341MI6 Agent

    Film4 showed a Danish film, Riders of Justice, last night. In it, a systems analyst or something is fired from his job (I missed that bit) and on his subway train home is caught up in a fatal accident with many dead. However, he learns that one of those killed was due to testify in court against a local criminal gang, and that his lawyer had also been killed the previous week. He tots up the numbers and finds this is a statistical anomaly that suggests it's murder and no accident. The police however are not interested.

    He tracks down the husband of a woman killed in the accident - an experienced soldier forced to return home from a tour of duty in the Middle East I think - and makes his case. The soldier is played by one of ours, Mads Mikkelsen, unrecognisable from his Casino Royale days with clipped hair and a big bushy beard (do soldiers wear those these days?) There are possibly a couple of nods to Bond, about how the first time you kill someone is the worst, and a morning shot that looks like Hamburg in Tomorrow Never Dies.

    The movie is darkly comic and the fun comes from the interaction of the nerdy guy and his mates and the stoical, unimpressed Mads. You don't quite know how seriously to take it much of the time. You can quibble that the gang seem really too dim to pull off the terrorist stunt they're accused of - and I guess you'd be right - but mainly it is so enjoyable and you're waiting to see what happens next, you don't care. It has a touch of that British film about Islamist terrorist - Three Lions, was it?

    Well worth a watch.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,363MI6 Agent

    THE LEGEND OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974)

    Well, I am glad I watched this Hammer / Shaw Brothers combi of a Dracula movie and a kung fu flick simply because I can now say I have seen it and I won’t ever have to watch it again.

    Horror isn’t the word I would use to describe it. The film would be virtually unwatchable if it wasn’t for Peter Cushing and the admirably scary scenes of zombies rising from the grave. A mix of Bruce Lee influenced kung fu, vampires, zombies, Seven Samurai and Fu Manchu, the screenplay is all over the place plot wise and barely existent character wise. A quite dreadful experience. I believe this was the 110 minute Hong Kong version, but only because the martial art fight scenes went on and on and on and on and on…. I was monumentally bored during the vampire’s final assault on a besieged village. There simply wasn’t anything to keep me watching other than sheer bloodymindedness.

    Kah, a High Priest of the Undead, has travelled to Transylvania to worship at the tomb of Count Dracula. He gets more than he bargained for as the fanged one takes over his body and spirit and proceeds to return to China and wreak havoc in a tiny Chinese village so far from any major source of virgin blood you wonder how the vampires have survived for so long. When a posse of seven brothers travel to Shanghai to persuade journeying lecturer Professor Van Helsing to help their beleaguered village, the vampire killer extraordinaire has a sense of déjà vu, as if he has experienced this honourable hunt before. By the time we reach the climax and the old enemies confront one another, the martial art high kicks and bloody aftermath have been consigned to the stall of fate and we are right back where we began with Van Helsing and Dracula fighting for the ages.

    The film really needed Christopher Lee as the black hearted Count. It wouldn’t have helped matters much, but at least there would have been some moments of gravitas. His replacement is John Forbes Robertson and his voice is dubbed. That is how low Golden Vampires sinks. Frequently unintentionally hilarious, often as dull as a ditch missing all the water, the rousing finale simply can’t compensate for the ninety minutes which came before.

    A sorrowful end to Hammer Studio’s Dracula cycle.     

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