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Companeros  (1970)  -  7/10

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Spaghetti western from director Sergio Corbucci. Franco Nero stars as Yodlaf Petersen, a Swedish gun merchant hoping to make a fortune during a Mexican revolution. Petersen ends up teaming with Mexican peasant El Vasco (Tomas Milian) as they try to rescue intellectual revolutionary Professor Xantos (Fernando Rey) from the clutches of the dastardly "Wooden Hand" (Jack Palance). Also featuring Iris Berben, Jose Bodalo, Eduardo Fajardo, and Karin Schubert. Corbucci infuses the film with a lot of comedy, which works mainly due to the good performances by Nero and Milian. There are several well-done action sequences, and the oft-repeated theme song by Ennio Morricone is propulsive. 

Source: Blue Underground DVD

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The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion  (1970)  -  6/10

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Italian thriller starring Dagmar Lassander as Minou, the wife of businessman Peter (Pier Paolo Capponi). Peter works too much and leaves Minou alone, so she's taken to drinking and pill-popping. One night she's accosted by a mysterious man (Simon Andreu) who claims to have proof that Peter has murdered someone. He threatens to turn the evidence over to the police unless Minou agrees to a sexual relationship with him. Minou goes along with him at first, but when she decides to tell others, things get even more complicated. Also featuring Nieves Navarro, Osvaldo Genazzani, and Salvador Huguet. There's not enough to the script to keep things very interesting, although Lassander does a good job in the lead and she looks good. Navarro, credited as Susan Scott, is also entertaining as Minou's wild friend.

Source: Blue Underground DVD

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Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx  (1970)  -  7/10

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Irish romantic comedy with Gene Wilder as oddball "Quackser" Fortune, a Dubliner who makes his living sweeping up the horse manure from the streets. His simple existence is upended when he begins a romance with Zazel (Margot Kidder), an American student at nearby Trinity University, while at the same time the local government decides to get rid of all horse-drawn conveyances in the city. Also featuring Eileen Colgan, May Ollis, Seamus Forde, and David Kelly. Wilder seems a strange casting choice at first, but he does well in the role. Kidder is engaging and magnetic. A small, quirky character study that should have a larger audience.

Source: VCI DVD

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On 7/24/2019 at 9:54 AM, LornaHansonForbes said:

I've never seen this movie, HOWEVER since we've been talking books in another thread, I have to offer that the novel THE GO-BETWEEN by LP Hartley is really, REALLY good and I recommend it highly, especially if (like me) you're a BRIT LIT SUCKER.

Yes, I agree. L.P. Hartley is a good novelist. I also liked some of his other novels, like the Eustace and Hilda trilogy. Eustace is Hilda's weakling brother (having a name like Eustace didn't help much).

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Once Upon A Time In...  Hollywood (2019)

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Directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern. Epic Hollywood fairy tale, if only 9/10.

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Satanis: The Devil's Mass  (1970)  -  7/10

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Exploitation documentary focusing on ex-carnival barker and self-proclaimed head of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey. The filmmakers interview several of LaVey's San Francisco neighbors for their thoughts on the church and its followers, as well as interviews with many of the church members. Anyone with an ounce of critical thinking skills will see through LaVey's charade, but it's still very funny at times, and the followers are a bunch oddballs and weirdos, as one would expect. An "actual Satanic mass" is shown, which really just an excuse for sex and maybe some drugs and/or alcohol, as well as some pop-psych self-affirming exercises. Best enjoyed by those who don't take of this seriously.

Source: AGFA/Something Weird Blu ray, with extras including a strange Russian (?) animated short, an educational short entitled "Boys Beware!", and a bunch of devil-themed trailers. There's also a bonus feature but I'll discuss that when I get to it...

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Cruising (1980) Gay/Fetish Neo Noir

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Written and Directed by William Friedkin. Friedkin directed (The French Connection (1971), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), and the relatively recent Killer Joe (2011)). Based on a novel by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker. Cinematography was by James A. Contner and Music by Jack Nitzsche and Egberto Gismonti 

The film stars Al Pacino as Steve Burns, Paul Sorvino as Captain Edelson, Karen Allen as Nancy Gates, Richard Cox as Stuart Richards, Don Scardino as Ted Bailey, Joe Spinell as Patrolman DiSimone, and Powers Boothe as Hankie Salesman.

The movie plot is a mess. It purposely leaves quite a bit of questions about the depth of Burns' involvement into the sadomasochistic leather fetish Gay subculture. Is he Bi? Is He Gay? Is he just **** up in the head? Burns as depicted is an enigma.

The ambiguous treatment of the Burns character as already mentioned was an artistic decision that weakens the piece. The open ending Friedkin decision is because in the real police case that the movie is based upon it was determined that in fact there was more than one killer.

The strange sexually charged underground leather fetish S&M world was probably pretty frightening to a certain latent segment of square john America back in the day and probably still is. No denying its dark Noir-ish-ness.  Hence the reason, besides of course, also having a lot of hairy musclebound **** on display, that the film has been off the radar screens.

The whole scene looks pretty bizarre on first look but then upon repeated glimpses throughout the film they look like quasi Nazi/Biker mirror shaded leather god worshipers in some desperately outré Halloween costume party.

Anyway, the interesting NYC locations include Hotel St. James, Central Park, Christopher Street, Greenwich Village,  Claremont Avenue, Manhattan, Chelsea, Manhattan, Broadway & 116th Street, Manhattan, Columbus Circle, Eleventh Avenue, Greenwich Village, Jones Street, Police Plaza, Manhattan Municipal Building, and West Street.

6/10 Full Review with screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster Pages.

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These were on Monday but I attended a session of the Toronto Film Society's series "Black and White and Noir All Over", the double feature was Kiss of Death and Nightfall. Both noirs I enjoyed and definitely made a good decision for this night.

Kiss of Death

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It felt like I saw Victor Mature before in another movie, but all I can come up with is One Million BC. He's a gem in this, but the real star is Widmark as Tommy Udo. Giggling, a total psycho who pushes ladies in wheelchairs down stairs, lets action and anger overpower commonsense and really enjoyed his rapport with Mature. Even when he isn't a giggling maniac he's providing tension or just drawing you into the scene. It's nothing without a good lead and Mature is definitely one. Feels like the type who could play a goon or gangster but he plays nicely with the coppers who want him to play ball. It's surprisingly nice and non-corrupt. It's a bit long, but it doesn't mean that it doesn't have a nice final act or that it sets the mood.

8/10

Nightfall

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The dialogue with Aldo Ray and Anne Bancroft in the bar was so amazingly noir! Or so pulpy, but the dialogue in that scene just got me wrapped around it's finger. It truly feels like I'm watching a movie, like it's the dialogue you would only see there. Aldo Ray feels like a non-typical noir protagonist, almost like a usual, square-jaw everyday American who can still punch like a construction worker rather than an artist. Anne Bancroft as a model, which is actually believable and does some modeling in the movie which is a plus, like any couple they fall in love easily. But like Kiss of Death, it has some entertaining villains by Brian Keith and Rudy Bond as the sensible and psychotic, respectively. Brian Keith kept on reminding me of John Wayne for some reason, but they played a straight man/funny man kinda thing, that also kinda reminded me of Fargo in a way. Sensible, still somewhat practical, pretty chill. And their presence, just by being around is enough to add to the scene. I really liked this one, maybe a bit more than Kiss of Death.

8/10

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Take It Out in Trade  (1970)  -  3/10

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More skin-flick sexploitation featuring Ed Wood, who also wrote and directed this time. When a rich family's daughter goes missing, they hire sleazy P.I. Mac McGregor (Michael Donovan O'Donnell). While searching for the girl, who is shown engaging in various sexual hi-jinks, Mac takes breaks to travel and ogle/sleep with other chicks, all "on Daddy's expense account." Also featuring Donna Stanley, Duke Moore, Nona Carver, and Louis Ojena as "Bearded Guy". Wood shows up in drag a few times. This is only marginally better than Love Feast from the previous year, but it's still pretty awful. The performers look a little better, and the acting is a smidgen more polished. This was thought lost for many years, which wouldn't have been much of a tragedy.

Source: AGFA/Something Weird Blu ray

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14 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Cruising (1980) Gay/Fetish Neo Noir

Cruisingposter.jpg

Written and Directed by William Friedkin. Friedkin directed (The French Connection (1971), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), and the relatively recent Killer Joe (2011)). Based on a novel by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker. Cinematography was by James A. Contner and Music by Jack Nitzsche and Egberto Gismonti 

The film stars Al Pacino as Steve Burns, Paul Sorvino as Captain Edelson, Karen Allen as Nancy Gates, Richard Cox as Stuart Richards, Don Scardino as Ted Bailey, Joe Spinell as Patrolman DiSimone, and Powers Boothe as Hankie Salesman.

The movie plot is a mess. It purposely leaves quite a bit of questions about the depth of Burns' involvement into the sadomasochistic leather fetish Gay subculture. Is he Bi? Is He Gay? Is he just **** up in the head? Burns as depicted is an enigma.

The ambiguous treatment of the Burns character as already mentioned was an artistic decision that weakens the piece. The open ending Friedkin decision is because in the real police case that the movie is based upon it was determined that in fact there was more than one killer.

The strange sexually charged underground leather fetish S&M world was probably pretty frightening to a certain latent segment of square john America back in the day and probably still is. No denying its dark Noir-ish-ness.  Hence the reason, besides of course, also having a lot of hairy musclebound **** on display, that the film has been off the radar screens.

The whole scene looks pretty bizarre on first look but then upon repeated glimpses throughout the film they look like quasi Nazi/Biker mirror shaded leather god worshipers in some desperately outré Halloween costume party.

Anyway, the interesting NYC locations include Hotel St. James, Central Park, Christopher Street, Greenwich Village,  Claremont Avenue, Manhattan, Chelsea, Manhattan, Broadway & 116th Street, Manhattan, Columbus Circle, Eleventh Avenue, Greenwich Village, Jones Street, Police Plaza, Manhattan Municipal Building, and West Street.

6/10 Full Review with screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster Pages.

At the time of its' filming, this film produced parades of angry protesters throughout Greenwich Village.

It is hard to believe that the man who directed "The Boys In The Band" directed this piece of incendiary cinema.

The interesting cast is still the one reason to visit this film.

Yes, at the end of the film, it does look like the Al Pacino character had discovered his bisexuality - and was not too happy about it.

The death of the Don Scardino character is the film's defining moment.  

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They Made Me a Criminal 1939

I love John Garfield. He was an excellent actor. I think he was ahead of his time as far as acting goes. 

Anyway, this is a fun film, starring Garfield, Uncle Claude and the East Side Kids. 

I must say that Claude Rains is my favorite actor. But I laugh every time I watch this picture because Claude was not a smoker, nor was he a hard boiled detective. 

 

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The Vampire Doll  (1970)  -  7/10

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Japanese horror film from director Michio Yamamoto. When Kazuhiko (Atsuo Nakamura) goes missing after traveling to see his fiancee Yuko (Yukiko Kobayashi), his sister Keiko (Kayo Matsuo) and her fiancee Hiroshi (Akira Nakao) go in search of answers. They are told by Yuko's strange mother (Yoko Minakaze) that Yuko died in a car crash shortly before her finacee's arrival, and that Kazuhiko was distraught and left soon after learning this. However, after Keiko sees a ghostly apparition resembling Yuko, she and Hiroshi try to learn more, uncovering scandals and perhaps even supernatural menace. Also featuring Kaku Takashina and Jun Usami. This blends traditional Japanese folklore with western horror tropes, especially those from Hammer Films. The result is a unique horror film that focuses more on dread and atmosphere than gore or jump-scares. This was also released in the west as The Night of the Vampire and Legacy of Dracula. Followed by two sequels.

Source: Arrow Blu ray

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44 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

The Vampire Doll  (1970)  -  7/10

220px-The-vampire-doll-poster.jpg

Japanese horror film from director Michio Yamamoto. When Kazuhiko (Atsuo Nakamura) goes missing after traveling to see his fiancee Yuko (Yukiko Kobayashi), his sister Keiko (Kayo Matsuo) and her fiancee Hiroshi (Akira Nakao) go in search of answers. They are told by Yuko's strange mother (Yoko Minakaze) that Yuko died in a car crash shortly before her finacee's arrival, and that Kazuhiko was distraught and left soon after learning this. However, after Keiko sees a ghostly apparition resembling Yuko, she and Hiroshi try to learn more, uncovering scandals and perhaps even supernatural menace. Also featuring Kaku Takashina and Jun Usami. This blends traditional Japanese folklore with western horror tropes, especially those from Hammer Films. The result is a unique horror film that focuses more on dread and atmosphere than gore or jump-scares. This was also released in the west as The Night of the Vampire and Legacy of Dracula. Followed by two sequels.

Source: Arrow Blu ray

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Are you aware that your movie film choices are quite bizarre?

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47 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

My choices are where the TCM Imports and the TCM Underground demographics meet. 

...but bizarre :D .

I admire you for getting through them. Can't resist that despite realizing that tastes vary. But even beyond that I sense you have the admirable capacity to get through a movie you might not like in the spirit of a true movie maven or professional movie critic (who must watch movies that may not please), while I, for instance, am the usual variety of movie viewer who will watch only those where I am entertained.

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They Made a Criminal. 1939

Not sure if this was Garfield's first film, but any rate the film that played on TCM this afternoon was a mint print, compared to the years and years of the public domain junk, white washed crap. Anyway, it's a standard Warner's crime busters film. Bogart is missing. But we have Uncle Claude, who cracks me up as a hard boiled NY detective who chain smokes and doesn't inhale. Claude Rains smoked cigars from time to time, but never cigarettes ans in this flick it shows. Gotta love Sir John.

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20 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

Once Upon A Time In...  Hollywood (2019)

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Directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Dakota Fanning, Timothy Olyphant, Al Pacino, Kurt Russell, and Bruce Dern. Epic Hollywood fairy tale, if only 9/10.

I just saw this and am still stunned. I will try not to create more hype about this but I got to be honest:

I think this is the best movie of the year and the best one I have seen in over a decade. 10/10

4 stars highest rating!!

This is MUST for all film buffs and any who like Hollywood "behind the scenes" stories. Leonardo DiCaprio is excellent as the former TV cowboy actor who has hit the skids. Brad Pitt matches him as Leo's stunt double/driver and all around best bud. Margot Robbie is incandescent as Sharon Tate. Tarantino did something here which I will not reveal but I would have thought would be impossible to pull off, but he does. There is also a pit bull in the movie that has some of the best scenes involving a dog I have ever seen.

I will say no more, except:

MOVIE BUFFS GO SEE IT!

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Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo  (1970)  -  7/10

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20th entry in the long-running Japanese film series. Zatoichi (Shinatro Katsu), the blind masseur and master swordsman, returns to his hometown to find it much changed. A yakuza clan has moved in, and there is much infighting between factions over a hidden cache of pilfered gold dust. Ichi finds himself thrust into the mix, as one of the faction heads hires a drunken samurai named Sassa (Toshiro Mifune) to act as his bodyguard, or yojimbo. Also featuring Ayako Wakao, Osamu Takizawa, Masakane Yonekura, Shin Kishida, Kanjuro Arashi, Toshiyuki Hoskawa, and Shigeru Koyama. This was the biggest budgeted film in the series to date, as well as the longest at 116 minutes. It proved to be the biggest hit, too, playing all over the world including the U.S. where it became the first Zatoichi film to gain a wide audience here. All that being said, I was disappointed in it. It's still a good movie and worth seeing, especially for fans of the series, or the starring performers. But the story is muddled, the supporting players are underwritten, and the resolution too pat. Katsu, having gained a bit more weight and sporting a shaved head, looks more than a little like a sword-wielding Buddha.

Source: Criterion Blu ray

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33 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Tarantino did something here which I will not reveal but I would have thought would be impossible to pull off, but he does.

If you mean recreating a time period...  he did it way way better than Ethan and Joel Coen did with Hail, Caesar! (2016)

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