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I Just Watched...

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The Cloud-Capped Star (1960) - Indian musical drama from writer-producer-director Ritwik Ghatak. A poor family struggles to survive on the salary of the eldest daughter, Neeta (Supriya Choudhury). Elder son Shankar (Anil Chatterjee) brings some light into their lives with his singing, although his dreams of a musical career mean less food on the table now. Also featuring Gyanesh Mukherjee, Bijon Bhattacharya, Gita Ghatak, Dwiju Bhawai, Niranjan Ray, and Gita Dey.

The music is classical Indian songs, so don't fear any type of Bollywood dance numbers. The family's situation is dire, but there's still plenty of humor, although I found most of it awkward. Choudhury is luminous and saintly, perhaps too much so, in the lead.   (7/10)

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On 10/14/2018 at 2:49 PM, rayban said:

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" or "Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck" - Roman Polanski - 1967 -

I hate to offer a negative opinion of this film, because Roman Polanski is one of my favorite filmmakers -

but it just is not funny -

As much as Polanski can direct eerie paranoid suspense...his idea of "comedy" is something that seems to have come from some remote alien Baltic eastern-European country, where they love clowns and slapstick, and never quite translated to the Western Hemisphere.  Much like the English-impaired actors he hires for it, before loading them down with wigs, teeth and makeup.

Even knowing the best-known scenes, I tried to get halfway into TFVKoPMBYFAIMN, and now I'm actually afraid to watch Walter Matthau in "Pirates" (1986).  Which, from what I can gather from the reviews, wasn't much improvement, even though Matthau actually can speak English.

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Mediterranee (1963) - French arthouse short film from directors Jean-Daniel Pollet and Volker Schlondorff. Images of the Mediterranean Sea are juxtaposed against ruins both ancient and then-fairly-recent (WW2 bunkers), as well images of various people going about mundane tasks. There's also a repeated sequence of a comatose young woman on a gurney being slowly pushed through a hospital, and frequent scenes of a bullfight, including a profusely bleeding bull that is killed, the coup de grace being shown from various angles.

I've voiced my absolute disgust with bullfighting in the past, and this film is a good illustration of why. Beyond that, I'm not sure what meaning, if any, the directors had in mind, as the infrequent narration is a load of pretentious twaddle. The cinematography is nice, but not worth the 45 minutes of your life that you won't get back.   (4/10)

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A joke of a horror movie "The Robot vs the Aztec Mummy" (1957) Where is the key to wind the "robot" up? :lol:

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Solution to the mummy, petrol and a match.  Man with the wrinkled face, a large jar of moisturizer.  Geeze this guy would scare better.

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2 hours wasted.

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20 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I believe Lyle Talbot's son played Beaver's friend Gilbert in Leave it to Beaver

Yes. That's correct.

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14 hours ago, EricJ said:

As much as Polanski can direct eerie paranoid suspense...his idea of "comedy" is something that seems to have come from some remote alien Baltic eastern-European country, where they love clowns and slapstick, and never quite translated to the Western Hemisphere.  Much like the English-impaired actors he hires for it, before loading them down with wigs, teeth and makeup.

Even knowing the best-known scenes, I tried to get halfway into TFVKoPMBYTAIMN, and now I'm actually afraid to watch Walter Matthau in "Pirates" (1986).  Which, from what I can gather from the reviews, wasn't much improvement, even though Matthau actually can speak English.

His idea of comedy seems to be - keep it in motion - and keep it zany - it will be funny.

I don't think that the scriptwriters - Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach - were conversant in English.

Perhaps that's the problem.

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(This set piece is meant to be funny, but it elicits no laughs.)

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I never saw the Polanski film, but did see Matthau's  "Pirates".  It was OK, but too full( for my taste) of a lot of pirate movie costume and scenario cliches.  I always thought of it as a SPOOF of the pirate movie genre.  ;)

Sepiatone

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21 hours ago, rayban said:

"The Fearless Vampire Killers" or "Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck" - Roman Polanski - 1967 -

I hate to offer a negative opinion of this film, because Roman Polanski is one of my favorite filmmakers -

but this film is a very bad spoof of vampire films -

it is extremely energetic and in constant motion -

but it just is not funny -

or even that interesting -

the large cast is serviceable and tries, tries, tries -

I only take issue with one thing you write here, item #3, WHEREIN you refer to the movie as being "energetic and in constant motion"

THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS: OR, PARDON ME, BUT I THINK YOUR MOVIE SUCKS is a film of such TEDIOUS, GLACIAL PACING that even WERNER HERZOG ca. FITZCARRALDO would be looking at his watch and tapping his foot 20 minutes in.

For an ostensible "comedy" (and DEAR LORD is it UNFUNNY!) it is glacially paced, for a Horror movie it is glacially paced, FOR A MOVIE PERIOD it is in the books as one of the slowest deaths ever recorded for 110 minutes (which for all the world feel like six and a half hours.)

CHINATOWN is a perfect film, MACBETH is good, but this one? WOOF.

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Castle of Blood (1964) - Italian supernatural horror from Globe Films International and directors Sergio Corbucci and Antonio Margheriti. Journalist Alan Foster (Georges Riviere) is interviewing Edgar Allan Poe (Silvano Tranquilli) during Poe's visit to England. The two are approached by Lord Blackwood (Umberto Raho), who challenges Foster to spend a night in Blackwood's castle. It's on this night each year that the dead can walk the halls of the castle, yet Foster readily accepts the wager as he doesn't believe in the supernatural. He then embarks on a night of terror and grisly horror. Also featuring Barbara Steele, Margrete Robsahm, Arturo Dominici, Sylvia Sorrente, Giovanni Cianfriglia, and Benito Stefanelli.

This one of the better period-piece Euro horrors to come out of Italy after the success of Hammer Films and Italy's own Black Sunday. The latter film's star Barbara Steele has one of her better roles here as well, and has rarely looked more beautiful. The film has an exaggerated spook-show atmosphere, with howling winds, clinking chains, strange voices, and unearthly visions. It's over-the-top, and occasionally bloody, but horror fans should love it.   (7/10)

Source: YouTube

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Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966) - British science fiction adventure, from British-Lion, Amicus, and director Gordon Flemyng. London policeman Tom Campbell (Bernard Cribbens) enters what he thinks is a police call-box only to discover that it's the TARDIS, the physics-defying home/ship of Doctor Who (Peter Cushing). Campbell is brought along as the Doctor, along with his granddaughter Susan (Roberta Tovey) and assistant Louise (Jill Curzon), travel through time to the year 2150, only to discover a London in ruins. The nefarious alien race known as the Daleks have conquered the Earth, and is rounding up the few surviving people to work as either slave labor, or even worse, as mind-controlled Robo-Men. It's up to the Doctor and his companions to free the human race from bondage. Also featuring Andrew Keir, Ray Brooks, Roger Avon, Keith Marsh, and Philip Madoc.

The sequel to 1965's Dr. Who and the Daleks, which had also starred Cushing in the title role, although neither of these films are considered part of the ongoing Dr. Who canon. From what I've read, most true-blue Who fans detest these movies, although I don't have any special feeling toward the series so these movies didn't bother me in that respect. They are both slightly dopey, with a comical undertone and definite targeting of the younger members of the audience. I've always found the Daleks to be quite silly, and their accented, screamed statements ("Exterminate!") a source of much amusement. However, the movie is generally entertaining, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Plus, I always like to see something I haven't seen with Peter Cushing, even if he does refer to himself as "Doctor Who".   (6/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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"See No Evil" - Richard Fleischer - 1971-

starring Mia Farrow -

This thriller is one of those "lady-in-distress" excursions that tries hard, really hard, to tell its' story purely in visual terms - the screenplay is by the gifted Brian Clemens - however, at evey turn, it really does strain credulity -

for example, if you were a blind girl who lived with her family and you came home to an uninhabited house and then went to bed and woke up the next morning to nobody, wouldn't you call the police -

yes, you would -

but then Miss Farrow wouldn't go through the life-challenging experiences that this film puts her through -

like being locked in a wooden shack -

and being lost in a mud field -

it's painful to say the least -

she's more than game and gives a terrific performance -

but she embraces the film's undeniable misogany -

namely, that a woman, especially a blind one, cannot help herself in any way -

just think of the feistiness of Audrey Hepburn as the blind heroine in "Wait Until Dark" -

the film is exquisitely directed by Richard Fleischer who casts a blind eye on all of the dubious proceedings -

when the identity of the homicidal maniac is revealed, there is no explanation of his slaughter of the heroine's family -

but my guess is that Jacko (Paul Nicholas) wanted the heroine's boyfriend (Norman Eshley as Steve) and, since he couldn't have him, he decided to punish her for it -

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Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) with Marie Windsor, Richard Deacon, and Michael Ansara. Not as good as them meeting Frankenstein but what is. 6/10

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy Poster

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Ada (1961).

MGM tries a potboiler, and were about as successful as they were a dozen years earlier with East Side, West Side.  Dean Martin plays a dumb singing hick groomed by the machine to become governor.  He meets Susan Hayward along the way, and the two get married.  She gets him to wise up, for which he gets bombed, leading to her becoming acting Governor.

It's an utter mess, but an interesting mess.  6/10

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8 hours ago, rayban said:

His idea of comedy seems to be - keep it in motion - and keep it zany - it will be funny.

I don't think that the scriptwriters - Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach - were conversant in English.

(This set piece is meant to be funny, but it elicits no laughs.)

The scene where our Fearless Killers don't realize they're at the vampire ball, until they look at the huge Versailles mirrors and see an entire ballroom of...two people is one of the great single visual gags of horror comedy, but that's pretty much it for comic timing.

Mostly because it's a visual gag, and nobody struggles to parse English dialogue in it.

3 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The sequel to 1965's Dr. Who and the Daleks, which had also starred Cushing in the title role, neither of these films are considered part of the ongoing Dr. Who canon. From what I've read, most true-blue Who fans detest these movies, although I don't have any special feeling toward the series so these movies didn't bother me in that respect. They are both slightly dopey, with a comical undertone and definite targeting of the younger members of the audience. I've always found the Daleks to be quite silly, and their accented, screamed statements ("Exterminate!") a source of much amusement. However, the movie is generally entertaining, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. Plus, I always like to see something I haven't seen with Peter Cushing, even if he does refer to himself as "Doctor Who".   (6/10)

If you want to get fan-nitpicky, the Daleks technically AREN'T robots--They're a mutated creature that took to "survival tanks" to survive the planet's post-nuclear atmosphere, and started developing the robot-like mentality to survive by "Exterminating all inferior species".  However, they're still individually a bit stir-crazy, and capable of going hysterically off the rails in crises, hence the tendency to get too overexcited about invasion, or scream or panic when faced with the Doctor's interference.

And while fans technically don't hate Cushing for being cuddly, they do hold a little fan-grudge against the 60's features that the two movies were rushed into British theaters on the craze for the marketing, and never bothered to even try and explore the Doctor's alien origin...Reducing Cushing's Doctor to just a lovable absent-minded inventor out of a Disney comedy, and his two spunky teen-appeal sidekicks to two kids the matinee audience was expecting.

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The Comedians (1967) - Political drama from MGM, writer Graham Greene, and director Peter Glenville. Brown (Richard Burton) has just returned to Haiti after a trip abroad to find potential buyers for his hotel in Port-au-Prince, but he had no luck. He finds the political climate under dictator "Papa Doc" Duvalier to be even worse than when he left, as the secret police routinely round-up and kill anyone perceived as a dissident. Brown tries to rekindle an affair Martha (Elizabeth Taylor), a married woman with a young son. Brown also gets tied up with the nascent revolutionary movement, as does Major Jones (Alec Guinness), an acquaintance who has run afoul of the Haitian government, as well. Also featuring Peter Ustinov, Lillian Gish, Paul Ford, Georg Stanford Brown, James Earl Jones, Raymond St. Jacques, Roscoe Lee Browne, Gloria Foster, Zakes Mokae, and Cicely Tyson. 

I found this to be a rather anemic look at the Haitian condition in the brutal grip of the Duvaliers. I understand why the romantic subplot was deemed necessary for commercial purposes, but it's easily the worst part of the film, and it drags things down to a tedious slog. Guinness was a hoot, playing against type as a boozy, shady character of dubious character. Ustinov is stuck with the most thankless role as Taylor's cuckolded hubby. I liked seeing such great performers as Jones, Brown, Browne, St, Jacques, and Tyson in early roles. At over two and a half hours, the movie is certainly bloated, but one could do worse, given they have the time to spare.   (6/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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David Holzman's Diary (1967) - Prescient "mockumentary" from director Jim McBride. David (L.M. Kit Carson) is a 26 year old New Yorker with little ambition and fewer prospects. He decides to start documenting his mundane daily life on film, and alienates the few friends he has in the process. Also featuring Eileen Dietz, Lorenzo Mans, Louise Levine, Robert Lesser, and Fern McBride.

This ultra-low-budget DIY independent arthouse film prefigures the modern social media obsession with validation via narcissistic video documentation. I watched the movie on Amazon, but it should be on YouTube, as that's what it is: a paleo-technical YouTube video. There are a number of experimental film techniques on display. A section shot with a fish-eye lens looks like any number of music videos from the early 90's. The film, being scripted, could have gone further with its conceit, but perhaps by lacking a final thought or central tenet it even further resembles the celebration of banality that is modern social media.   (7/10)

Source: Amazon video

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The Best of Times (1981) - I watched this pilot for a TV series that never happened as it features the screen debuts of Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover. Both were only 17 at the time, and Cage was still billed as Nicolas Coppola. The format of the show was very loose, basically a bunch of short, filmed sketches that follows the daily activities of the show's cast of teen characters. Glover was the star, and introduced the show. Cage was the body-builder buddy that the others were kind of afraid of, while Glover was rather sedate compared to his later lunacy. One exception is a scene where bugs shop-owner Jackie Mason about buying the newest cassette tape release from the Talking Heads.

The show is very early 80's in fashion and humor, as one would expect, and it hasn't aged very well. Cage looks much different, as this was before he had a nose job and got his teeth fixed. Still, he's easily the most memorable cast member. The only one of the others that I recognized was Jill Schoelen, who went on to appear in a few horror movies in the 80's.    (5/10)

Source: YouTube

Nicolas Cage, looking like a Muppet.

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Crispin Glover gets intense.

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The Navigator ('86) last night on TCM.  

Haven't seen this one since it came out on video later the same year it was released.  I then (and still do) did think of it as a fun bit of escapism, not having ever expected a futuristic space travel documentary.  I did too, think of the spaceship they displayed and designed for the movie an excellent idea for a remake of THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, a ship made of what we Earthlings thought was an undetermined metallic material, seamless in structure, able to go from being solid to fluid, with a spare interior, uncluttered by instrumentation etc., etc., etc.  And the '53 WAR OF THE WORLDS looking mechanical "co-pilot" of the craft(named "Max") voiced by PAUL REUBENS was a hoot too.  

Certainly did call for a lot of "suspension of disbelief" , but, don't ALL science fiction movies?  ;) 

Sepiatone

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7 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Best of Times (1981) - I watched this pilot for a TV series that never happened as it features the screen debuts of Nicolas Cage and Crispin Glover.]\

The only one of the others that I recognized was Jill Schoelen, who went on to appear in a few horror movies in the 80's.    (5/10)

Nicolas Cage, looking like a Muppet.

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Damn, he really does look like a Muppet! I'm getting Animal + Dr. Teeth with a little of the crazy bomber guy.

JILL SCHOELEN, it deserves to be said, was a uniquely bad actress. There is something so unforced and genuine about her inability to process or convey emotion onscreen- a real pioneer for the art.

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I just watched The Picture of Dorian Gray the 1945 movie from Oscar Wilde's only novel. It was great. The cast was fairly well known, but lead actor, Hurd Hatfield, was new to me. I guess I'll have to do a search on him. I believe it's been remade at least once. However, I haven't seen the re-make as yet. I really like George Sanders and it's fun seeing a very young Angela Lansbury. 

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Tonight for Sure (1962) - "Nudie cutie" adults-only comedy from Premier Picture Company and director Francis Ford Coppola. A cowboy (Don Kenney) and a moral crusader (Karl Schanzer) plot to blow up a "burlesk" club in Las Vegas. While they wait for the right moment, they regale each other with personal tales of encounters with nude ladies. 

Coppola, working with cinematographer Jack Hill, shot the bomb-plot book-ends and interstitial footage in order to combine both Coppola's own student-film nudie short The Peeper with a nudie western entitled The Wide Open Spaces, which was shot by others and never released. The entire enterprise is silly, stupid, and embarrassing, like most "nudie cuties", when adults-only theaters specialized in showing these striptease revues coupled with very juvenile and simplistic comedy antics. It all seems very innocent and tame in comparison to the hardcore stuff that started appearing in the next decade. After this, Coppola and Hill re-teamed for Dementia 13.   (3/10)

Source: YouTube. The print is terrible, carried over from the sole VHS release in the 1980's. Someone should try to clean this up and put it out on disc with Coppola's other early nudie pic, The Bellboy and the Playgirls (1962).

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1 hour ago, Hoganman1 said:

I just watched The Picture of Dorian Gray the 1945 movie from Oscar Wilde's only novel. It was great. The cast was fairly well known, but lead actor, Hurd Hatfield, was new to me. I guess I'll have to do a search on him. I believe it's been remade at least once. However, I haven't seen the re-make as yet. I really like George Sanders and it's fun seeing a very young Angela Lansbury. 

The most famous re-make (1970) is the Italian film, "The Secret of Dorian Gray", with Helmut Berger.

secret-of-dorian-gray-3.jpg

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The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967) - Third in the series of exotic thrillers, from Anglo-Amalgamated, Warner Brothers, producer Harry Alan Towers, and director Jeremy Summers. Chinese super-villain Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) plots his revenge against Scotland Yard detective Nayland Smith (Douglas Wilmer) by framing him for murder using a lookalike double. Meanwhile, Smith is helping to organize an international law enforcement agency to be called INTERPOL, something Fu Manchu can't abide. Also featuring Tsai Chin, Tony Ferrer, Maria Rohm, Wolfgang Kieling, Suzanne Roquette, Horst Frank, Noel Trevarthen, Peter Carsten, and Howard Marion-Crawford.

I found all of these Lee/Fu Manchu movies to be rather dull, despite the outrageous plots and costumes. This one isn't quite as bad as the following two (directed by Jess Franco), but it's not good, either. This does feature some of the absolute worst fight scene choreography that I've ever seen. So there's that, I guess. This was the only entry in the series that I hadn't watched, so at least I'm done with them now.  (4/10)

Source: Amazon video

Fu-Poster.jpg

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967)

I found all of these Lee/Fu Manchu movies to be rather dull, despite the outrageous plots and costumes. This one isn't quite as bad as the following two (directed by Jess Franco), but it's not good, either. This does feature some of the absolute worst fight scene choreography that I've ever seen. So there's that, I guess. This was the only entry in the series that I hadn't watched, so at least I'm done with them now. 

 

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"No, you have NOT seen the last of Fu Manchu. You will repeatedly dream about me, and I will have you tied to a chair in those dreams beside a broken DVD player. You will hate going to sleep at night for fear of seeing my face again. NO MOVIES FOR YOU, Florida boy!!! Fu Manchu has spoken."

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The Brotherhood (1968) - Crime drama from Paramount Pictures and director Martin Ritt. New York gangster Frank Ginetta (Kirk Douglas) likes to do things the old fashioned ways taught by the elder Mafia of his father's generation, but his younger brother Vince (Alex Cord) prefers the newer methods espoused by the Syndicate bosses. This sets the brothers for up for eventual conflict. Also featuring Irene Papas, Susan Strasberg, Luther Adler, Murray Hamilton, Val Avery, Joe De Santis, Val Bisoglio, Barry Primus, Alan Hewitt, and Eduardo Ciannelli.

This is one of the last good mobster movies from before The Godfather changed everything for the genre. It seems a bit quaint now, and the lack of authentic Italian actors is noticeable, but it's forgivable for the time. I thought Douglas gave a very fine performance as the tragically conflicted brother. Luther Adler and Eduardo Ciannelli are also noteworthy in support. This may also seem a bit too sedate for fans who expect a shoot 'em up violent affair like the more modern gangster films, or even those from the Pre-Code era.   (7/10)

Source: Amazon video

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