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I Just Watched...

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Dry Summer  (1963)  -  no rating

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Turkish drama about a mean tobacco farmer (Erol Tas) who dams up the valley's water source as the spring is on his property. This cuts off the supply to the other farmers in region, causing tensions to escalate, eventually leading to violence.

This was a fairly engaging drama for a while, and a glimpse at a culture I'm not too familiar with (I've only seen about a half dozen Turkish films). However, I once again hit the same hurdle that I've been encountering with a lot of my movie viewing lately: animal cruelty. Fairly early on, the jerk farmer cuts the head off a live chicken on screen, just to throw the twitching, bloody corpse at his new sister-in-law as a "joke". That's bad enough, but I could grudgingly accept it, as chickens are killed all the time for food. However, a little while later in the film, when the other farmers have decided to strike back against the water-hoarding main character, one of them shoots the guy's dog with a shotgun. This is done on screen, with no cuts, so the dog killing is very real and very graphic, with the dog howling and writhing in agony, with later close-ups of its bloodied corpse.

I get that cultures are different, and times are different. But there was a disturbing trend in a lot of 60's and 70's films toward animal cruelty, both staged and all too real. 

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Law of the Border  (1966)  -  7/10

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Turkish drama from director Lutfi Akad. Tensions mount along the southern Turkish border with Syria, as the impoverished Kurds, unable to find work or farm the dry land, turn to smuggling. One particular smuggler, Hidir (Yilmaz Guney), becomes a folk hero as he battles both the authorities and the corrupt merchants who exploit the men who smuggle their wares. This was an excellent glimpse at a social situation that still has relevance, as this is the "Kurdistan" region that's been in the news for the past 25+ years. The film's second half has a lot of action, and resembles a western to some extent. And while some sheep run through a minefield, none appear to have been actually hurt for the film.

Yilmaz Guney became a major Turkish film star, later running into trouble with the government before being sent to prison for murdering a judge. Guney continued to write scripts behind bars, although the films that he directed before were confiscated and destroyed by the government. Guney eventually escaped incarceration and fled to France, where the semi-autobiographical film Yol (1982) won much acclaim. 

Law of the Border was chosen as one of the films to be restored by Martin Scorsese's World Cinema Project, which works to preserve neglected important films from around the globe. 40 films have been worked on up to this date, and Criterion had released two DVD box sets, each containing 6 films, while others (Black Girl, Memories of Underdevelopment) have received standalone editions. Law of the Border was in the worst condition of any of the movies from the WCP that I've watched thus far. According to the notes presented at the beginning of the film, all copies were thought destroyed, but one was found in very wretched condition, and what I watched was the best that could be done. It still looks better than some of the prints of movies that TCM has shown, but it's a sad contrast to the preservation success of the other films in the series that I've seen.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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Hour of the Wolf Poster

Hour Of The Wolf (1968) 8/10

An artist lives in a remote cottage on an island with his wife. She reads his diary and finds out some shocking things. Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star.

This is a first time viewing for me, one of the best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen so far. I was drawn into it right away as  Ullmann speaks directly to the camera. The images are some of the most bizarre and shocking I have seen in a film. I kept wondering are the strange encounters ghosts, hallucinations, pure fiction written in his diary? I guess I will have to keep wondering...

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Cemetery Without Crosses  (1969)  -  7/10

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Italian western with Robert Hossein (who also co-wrote and directed) as Manuel, a reclusive gunslinger who lives in a desert ghost town by himself. Maria (Michele Mercier), an old flame of Manuel's, asks for his help in seeking revenge against a family of ranchers who have murdered her husband Ben, who was also an old friend of Manuel's. He agrees, setting in motion a series of violent confrontations. With Lee Burton, Michel Lemoine, Daniel Vargas, Serge Marquand, Pierre Hatet, Philippe Baronnet, and Anne-Marie Balin. Well-done spaghetti western, although it takes some time to figure who's who, as many of the actors look like Gary Merrill. Dario Argento is among the credited screenwriters, although Hossein claims that Argento had nothing to do with the movie. Sergio Leone also reportedly directed the dinner scene.

Source: Amazon Prime video

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The Color of Pomegranates  (1969)  -  7/10

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Soviet arthouse film from writer-director Sergei Parajanov. Ostensibly about the life of medieval Armenian poet and troubadour Sayat Nova (which was the film's original title), this is instead a series of tableaux meant to visualize the "mood and feeling" behind the artist's work, as well as the Armenian people and thei cultural heritage. It's a series of brief, carefully framed shots, with some movement within the shot but none by the camera, that look like paintings come to vibrantly-colored life. There is no narrative at all, and nothing in the way of a traditional biopic. It's unusual, a continuation of the style Parajanov demonstrated with his earlier Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964). If you know what you're in store for, then this can be enjoyed as an artistic experience, but anyone put off by non-traditional filmmaking will have very little tolerance for this. Its 79-minute runtime helps soften the experience, as well.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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3 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Hour of the Wolf Poster

Hour Of The Wolf (1968) 8/10

An artist lives in a remote cottage on an island with his wife. She reads his diary and finds out some shocking things. Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star.

This is a first time viewing for me, one of the best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen so far. I was drawn into it right away as  Ullmann speaks directly to the camera. The images are some of the most bizarre and shocking I have seen in a film. I kept wondering are the strange encounters ghosts, hallucinations, pure fiction written in his diary? I guess I will have to keep wondering...

This one is one of my favorites too. Bergman's fears, loves, emotions, etc. are portrayed through both Liv and Max's characters. My favorite imagery is the creepy scene of the old woman removing her eyeballs and face. I found that very disturbing. I also liked the "winged" host inspired by Papageno from the Magic Flute. I found him both dark and humorous.

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9 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Color of Pomegranates  (1969)

Oh, and keeping with the theme I was discussing earlier today, this film also features several sheep getting butchered, and a half dozen or so chickens beheaded and their flailing bodies cast upon the floor around the main character. 

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Well-done spaghetti western, although it takes some time to figure who's who, as many of the actors look like Gary Merrill.

Didn't he take several roles in this one.

:lol:

//

Actually one of the Gary Merrill's seemed to resemble Charlton Heston.

///

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Cremator (1969) & Dillinger is Dead (1969)  -  both 5/10

The_Cremator_Movie_Poster.jpg         Dillinger_Is_Dead_poster.jpg

Cremator is a Czech film, recently shown on TCM, about an odd family man and crematorium operator in the WWII era. Rudolf Hrusinsky stars and is on screen for most of the film's running time, usually talking in voice-over or to other characters. His voice grated on my nerves, and I was bored nearly to slumber. It strives for dark humor, I think, but I didn't find it funny, clever or amusing at all, just dull and pretentious. I think I've come to the conclusion that I don't much care for Czech New Wave cinema in general.

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Dillinger is Dead is an Italian arthouse comedy (?) from Marco Ferrari, with Michel Piccoli as an industrialist (his company makes gas masks) who comes home one night and decides to cook his own dinner, instead of letting the help do it. While stumbling around his kitchen, he finds an old revolver that may have belonged to John Dillinger. The film intentionally dwells on the banal, with the emptiness and shallowness of Piccoli's life meant to be depicted to humorous effect. It was a bore, but maybe a livelier one than Cremator. Anita Pallenberg and Annie Girardot appear nude to spice things up. Of course, keeping with the theme of the day, at one point Piccoli runs an old film projector and watches a gory bull fight. Nothing says art like animals suffering!

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Source: both The Criterion Channel

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Sorry you didn't like it. I thought it was funny and a good satire of the Holocaust and WWII.

I also thought it had great camera work (particularly the scene where the Jewish ceremony and the Nazi collaborator speaking to Kropfkringl are shown through one continuous shot).

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The Commuter  (2018)  -  6/10

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Action/mystery with Liam Neeson as a fired insurance salesman and former cop in dire financial straits who is approached by a mystery woman (Vera Farmiga) on his commuter train with an offer he can't refuse: identify a person on the train who doesn't "belong", and receive $100,000. Of course there are complications. With Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill, Florence Pugh, Jonathan Banks, and Elizabeth McGovern. Standard thriller tropes, with Neeson as the world's toughest 65-year-old. The bad guys' scheme seems a bit sloppy, and doesn't stand up under scrutiny, but what else is new? I wanted a dumb action flick after a day of pretentious arthouse foreign flicks, and that's what I got. And no animal cruelty.

Source: Amazon Prime video

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13 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Commuter  (2018)  -  6/10

Standard thriller tropes, with Neeson as the world's toughest 65-year-old.  I wanted a dumb action flick after a day of pretentious arthouse foreign flicks, and that's what I got. And no animal cruelty.

What, not even Neeson beating a dead horse?  😄

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Watching STEAMBOAT BILL JR, The print they are showing is in terrific condition and it has a re-recorded soundtrack, that up to this point has been pretty good, but for some reason someone felt an electric slide guitar that sounds like it should be backing up Waylon Jennings is an appropriate choice for a silent movie soundtrack. 

It really, really is not. 

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Cemetery Without Crosses  (1969)  -  7/10

230px-Cimitero03_New.jpg

Italian western with Robert Hossein (who also co-wrote and directed) as Manuel, a reclusive gunslinger who lives in a desert ghost town by himself. Maria (Michele Mercier), an old flame of Manuel's, asks for his help in seeking revenge against a family of ranchers who have murdered her husband Ben, who was also an old friend of Manuel's. He agrees, setting in motion a series of violent confrontations. With Lee Burton, Michel Lemoine, Daniel Vargas, Serge Marquand, Pierre Hatet, Philippe Baronnet, and Anne-Marie Balin. Well-done spaghetti western, although it takes some time to figure who's who, as many of the actors look like Gary Merrill. Dario Argento is among the credited screenwriters, although Hossein claims that Argento had nothing to do with the movie. Sergio Leone also reportedly directed the dinner scene.

Source: Amazon Prime video

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I wrote this a while ago...

 

This is a very unique and different style SW. In the opening title sequence, the emphasis on a classic horse chase is enhanced by the shifting camera angles from the pursued and their point of view, to the pursuers, and at times the camera is right amongst the horses as if you are there in the group, adding to this "you are there" effect are the sound of pounding hooves, the billowing dust, the passing barren, open, no place to hide landscape. 

This all adds to the desperation of the three Cain Brothers as the closing of distance by the Rogers clan builds up to a dramatic climax. We see that one of the three Cain's is lagging behind and when this wounded Ben Cane (Benito Steffenelli) drops off his horse at his own ranches doorstep and is summarily dragged from his wife's Maria (Michele Mercier) arms and hung from a gatepost to a mournful Spanish guitar score, the bleak, dark tone of this Western is set. There are no good guys in this film.

The other two Cain's escape death and watch from a ridge as their small ranch house is burned to the ground. Here Hossein adds a nice human little touch, when later their ranch house is reduced to smoldering ashes one of the Cane brothers sifts through them and retrieves a functional keepsake a small skillet that he drops into his saddle bag before riding off. This is one of the first references to food in the film which if you pay attention you'll notice, you see a lot of references to bread, lol. Perhaps its a French affectation.

The two Cains ride back to Ben's place where they find Maria burying Ben. They split up the gold they got from the Rodgers cattle, giving Maria a third before they go. Maria takes her cut to "Ghost Town" to get revenge. 

In the middle of a shifting sand dune desert that threatens to swallow it whole, lies Ghost Town the most surreal town in any SW. There at a dilapidated gambling hall she seeks gunfighter Manuel (Hossein), Ben's best friend, and her former lover.

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Manuel's whole demeanor has "something to do with death", and its fitting that he is the only resident of Ghost Town. Reluctant at first,  he accepts the bag of coin, and plots to kidnap Clan leader Will Rogers only daughter. Manuel smokes cheroots with his own style, he has a habit of placing the cigar in his mouth and wetting it with saliva then turning it around and places the dry end in his mouth before lighting the wet end. 

In the Hall after he decides to do the job he pulls out a music box that chimes (referencing the musical pocket watch) when he opens the top and pulls out a black leather glove, when he puts on the glove people die, (he uses it to fan the hammer on his Colt).

After he kidnaps Johanna, Maria visits her, and takes her locket as proof in order to blackmail the Rodgers into giving Ben a proper funeral in town. Meanwhile Tomas & Eli Cane ride into Ghost Town unexpectedly and rape Johanna. Manuel does not interfere with this act nor tries to stop them in any way. 

There are no winners in this film.

If I had to name one off key element it would have to be the title song and its chorus which pops up on and off throughout the film, it has that '70's modern sound and unfortunately takes you out of the somber mood of the story and also dates it, the rest of the scoring is perfect. 
 

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THE THIN MAN'S TWO BIG BROTHERS!

                                   ....AND THE GLAMOROUS GAL WHO CAN HOLD 'EM BOTH!

 

(APOLOGIZE FOR THE QUALITY, BUT STILL, THIS TRAILER IS SO WORTH WATCHING)

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

Watching STEAMBOAT BILL JR, The print they are showing is in terrific condition and it has a re-recorded soundtrack, that up to this point has been pretty good, but for some reason someone felt an electric slide guitar that sounds like it should be backing up Waylon Jennings is an appropriate choice for a silent movie soundtrack. 

It really, really is not. 

I recorded Steamboat Bill Jr too.  My husband and I watched the second half of this the last time it aired and we wanted to see what happened in the beginning.  We watched Sherlock Jr last night.  I was really impressed by the quality and the special effects were fantastic--especially for 1924! I was concerned that Buster's girlfriend was dressed like a giant 4-year old or a doll with ugly matted hair, but that is neither here nor there, I guess. Lol. 

I also recorded: The Cameraman and The General.  I also recorded the Buster Keaton documentary.

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Double Suicide  (1969)  -  7/10

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Japanese arthouse drama based on the 18th century play by Chikamatsu. Married paper merchant Jihei (Kichiemon Nakamura) falls in love with indentured prostitute Koharu (Sima Iwashita), and promises to raise the money necessary to secure her freedom. However, when their plans look unlikely to succeed, they swear to commit suicide together to be united in eternity. Sima Iwashita also plays Jihei's long-suffering wife Osan. Director Masahiro Shinoda opts for a highly stylized production. The film open with a bunraku, or puppet show, troupe preparing for a performance of the play while Shinoda is heard discussing the film's script with screenwriter Toru Takemitsu. When the story finally gets underway, the performances range from realism to kabuki expressionism, while the sets are also a blend of the real-world with the deliberately artificial. The most striking aspect is the presence of stagehands, dressed in black from head to toe as is the traditional way in stage performances, lurking about the sets. Their otherworldly appearance and silent presence turn them into a sort of grim reaper hovering over the characters, signaling their inevitable fate.

Source: The Criterion Channel

 

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3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I recorded Steamboat Bill Jr too.  My husband and I watched the second half of this the last time it aired and we wanted to see what happened in the beginning.  We watched Sherlock Jr last night.  I was really impressed by the quality and the special effects were fantastic--especially for 1924! I was concerned that Buster's girlfriend was dressed like a giant 4-year old or a doll with ugly matted hair, but that is neither here nor there, I guess. Lol. 

I also recorded: The Cameraman and The General.  I also recorded the Buster Keaton documentary.

I gotta get a copy of that Doc.  I mean, I must have seen those films and clips of those stunts a few thousand times.  But, I still near wet myself laughing at 'em.  Keaton is for sure my favorite silent comedy star/creator, etc.  Chaplin and Lloyd follow, but not always in that order.   And for years I usually spit every time I hear the name LOUIS B. MAYER due to the terrible things he's done to Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Bros. and especially JUDY.  :angry:  I hope it's pure AGONY for him in his special corner of Hell!

Sepiatone

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23 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Hour of the Wolf Poster

Hour Of The Wolf (1968) 8/10

An artist lives in a remote cottage on an island with his wife. She reads his diary and finds out some shocking things. Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star.

This is a first time viewing for me, one of the best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen so far. I was drawn into it right away as  Ullmann speaks directly to the camera. The images are some of the most bizarre and shocking I have seen in a film. I kept wondering are the strange encounters ghosts, hallucinations, pure fiction written in his diary? I guess I will have to keep wondering...

I saw Hour of the Wolf last night and found it beguiling. It’s considered Bergman’s only foray into horror.  Much like Persona, viewers are on their own to interpret the film.  There’ve been various theories about what the film is trying to say.  My take, having just seen it, is Bergman returning to one of his favorite themes: questioning the importance of art, and his judgment of the artist as deceiver, unnecessary, and brought down from external and internal forces.

As you mention, there are so many haunting images.  I particularly like the ghostly woman, dressed in white, who appears to Liv Ullmann’s Alma, in daylight, and tells, more like warns, Alma about the diary. Who is she? From her clothes, she resembles someone from the turn of the century. Did Alma imagine her?  The castle inhabitants, the boy, are they real? This film warrants repeat viewings, although getting a concrete answer, for me anyway, isn’t the point. Sven Nykvist’s cinematography is stunning.

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Love Is Colder Than Death  (1969)  -  7/10

love-is-colder-than-death-1969-002-raine

My first Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie is also Rainer Werner Fassbinder's first Rainer Werner Fassbinder movie. In this German tale, small-time pimp Franz (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) hangs out with his main prostitute Johanna (Hanna Schygulla) and low-level gangster Bruno (Ulli Lommel). The trio lounge about in a tiny apartment, go shoplifting in a department store, visit a black market gun dealer, and even head to a supermarket. They occasionally kill people, too. With Katrin Schaake, Liz Sollner, Gisela Otto, Hans Hirschmuller, Peter Berling, and Kurt Raab. This is very low-budget, at times looking like a home movie, with simple sets, amateurish lighting, and cheap effects (the gunshots sound like paper caps). It's humorous, but I'm not sure how much of it was intentional. The acting consists mainly of posturing. And yet I was still entertained by it all. The supermarket scene is a stand-out, with Schygulla and Lommel pushing a shopping cart around a very large store while strange, loud music plays on the soundtrack. This definitely isn't for everybody, but I liked it.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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41 minutes ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

I saw Hour of the Wolf last night and found it beguiling. It’s considered Bergman’s only foray into horror.  Much like Persona, viewers are on their own to interpret the film.  There’ve been various theories about what the film is trying to say.  My take, having just seen it, is Bergman returning to one of his favorite themes: questioning the importance of art, and his judgment of the artist as deceiver, unnecessary, and brought down from external and internal forces.

As you mention, there are so many haunting images.  I particularly like the ghostly woman, dressed in white, who appears to Liv Ullmann’s Alma, in daylight, and tells, more like warns, Alma about the diary. Who is she? From her clothes, she resembles someone from the turn of the century. Did Alma imagine her?  The castle inhabitants, the boy, are they real? This film warrants repeat viewings, although getting a concrete answer, for me anyway, isn’t the point. Sven Nykvist’s cinematography is stunning.

Liv and Max's characters are the only real ones on the deserted island, the rest are all hallucinations or ghosts in their imagination. At the end of the film, Liv explains that couples who live together begin taking on each other's physical and mental characteristics and rationalizes that she has gone crazy. I've always felt that similar to Fellini, Bergman's characters were inspired by real people he knew. Veronica Volger in particular was probably influenced by one of his affairs (in the movie it is stated that Von Sydow and Veronica created a "scandal" with their affair). The character influenced by Papageno probably represents unfulfilled love and yearning which the character expresses in the Mozart opera. It might just be me but I also felt the kid in swimming wear who sports a feminine type pose next to Von Sydow represented a suppressed childhood pedophilic or homosexual memory or something of the sort. That is how I rationalized that scene anyway. With Von Sydow pushing the kid into the water similar to pushing the memory back into his subconscious. Whatever you take from it, it is a beautiful film.

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1 hour ago, cinemaspeak59 said:

My take, having just seen it, is Bergman returning to one of his favorite themes: questioning the importance of art, and his judgment of the artist as deceiver, unnecessary, and brought down from external and internal forces.

As you mention, there are so many haunting images. 

Interesting point, especially as the group of people call the Von Sydow character "Mr Artist" in a rather condescending way.

Another striking image was the puppet show in the castle, it is seen in long shot and it does not appear to be a puppet at all, but a real person. Just another thing to contemplate.  

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Katzelmacher  (1969)  -  5/10

Katzelmacher_original.jpg

German drama from writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. A group of 20-something-year-old friends lead aimless, empty lives. A Greek immigrant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) moves into the area, and causes a stir. With Hanna Schygulla, Rudolf Waldemar Brem, Elga Sorbas, Doris Mattes, Irm Hermann, Peter Moland, Hans Hirschmuller, Harry Baer, Hannes Gromball, and Katrin Schaake. Now this was the kind of thing I was expecting from Fassbinder - slow, talky without really saying anything, and with a single thematic point stretched out for 90 minutes. The very low-grade B&W cinematography consists of static shots, the characters filmed straight on, usually sitting in a row, offering little bits of chit-chat, drinking beer, and smoking a lot. Sometimes two of them will split off and have sex and/or argue, with neither outcome presented in any sensational or even interesting manner. ZZZZzzzzzz.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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On 8/17/2019 at 12:42 PM, rayban said:

How did they get Alain Delon to do this?

the-vintagent-the-girl-on-a-motorcycle-2

Hmm. Now if she were unzipping his leather catsuit . . . .

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