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post #1951 of 1977 Old 09-07-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomas2 View Post
Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) is producer/director Stanley Kubrick's brilliant, satirical, provocative black comedy/fantasy regarding doomsday and Cold War politics that features an accidental, inadvertent, pre-emptive nuclear attack. The undated, landmark film - the first commercially-successful political satire about nuclear war, has been inevitably compared to another similar suspense film released at the same time - the much-more-serious and melodramatic Fail-Safe (1964). However, this was a cynically objective, Monty Python-esque, humorous, biting response to the apocalyptic fears of the 1950s.
If you're going to quote someone else's published writing, please link to the original:

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post #1952 of 1977 Old 09-07-2017, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
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If you're going to quote someone else's published writing, please link to the original:

http://www.filmsite.org/drst.html
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post #1953 of 1977 Old 09-07-2017, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomas2 View Post
Deleted my post and unsubscribed
Seems like an easier solution would be to just put a link in the post when you quote something, rather than plagiarizing it without credit. But you do what you need to do.
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post #1954 of 1977 Old 09-10-2017, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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A Kid for Two Farthings (1955), produced and directed by Carol Reed.

Cute little boy Joe grows up in the street markets of the East End in London, fascinated by all the animal stalls. I think it is supposed to be a Jewish neighborhood. His mother (Celia Johnson, last seen in Brief Encounter (1945)) works for a tailor who tells Joe about the magic of the unicorn, its ability to grant wishes. Joe buys a runty little goat with only one horn and assures everyone the unicorn will get them what they need.

Everyone works and everyone has dreams. Mom needs Dad to come back from Africa. Seamstress Sonia (Diana Dors, last seen in The Long Haul (1957) and briefly in Deep End (1970)) wants to marry her bodybuilder boyfriend but they have no money unless he gets into the wrestling game. The tailor needs a steam press.

It's very sweet, perhaps excessively so. Critics love Carol Reed but didn't care for this one. Like all "kids with animals" stories it turns weepy at the end. That poor weak little goat. Too many wishes.

My thumbnails are from a disc in the "Diana Dors: The Collection" PAL DVD box set. She is a supporting character in most of the other titles, which are:

  • Diamond City (1949): a formula "western" in the South African diamond fields. Featuring Honor Blackman, age 24.
  • A Boy, a Girl and a Bike (1949): Yorkshire bicycle club romance, again with Honor Blackman, a better role for her.
  • Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951): it's actually about beauty pageants.
  • As Long as They're Happy (1955): with Janette Scott, age 17.
  • Yield to the Night (1956): a starring role for Dors in a serious death penalty drama.
  • The Blonde Bombshell (1999): TV bio-pic with Keeley Hawes as the younger and Amanda Redman as the older Dors.



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post #1955 of 1977 Old 09-13-2017, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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The Sundowners (1960), produced and directed by Fred Zinnemann.

Australian sheepherder Robert Mitchum likes to keep on the move, but his wife Deborah Kerr and their teen boy want to get a farm and settle down. Some conflict but also enough love to work it out. Along the way we have sheep-drives across the outback, wildfire, a marathon shearing contest, good natured drunken brawling, and horseracing.

Mitchum did the picture so he could work with Kerr again, having become friends with her while making Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957). They have good, relaxed married-couple chemistry. She is always particularly good at clear-eyed, unsqueamish sexual relations.

It's startling to see Peter Ustinov as former sea captain turned drover; I always thought of him as an indoor guy, but he can ride a horse and do the work.

This was well liked at the time, nominated for five Academy Awards. It's still pleasant but seems modest in range and scope.

The outdoor scenes were filmed in Australia, with Nicolas Roeg as an uncredited second unit camera operator.

Dimitri Tiomkin score.

Available on DVD.



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post #1956 of 1977 Old 09-13-2017, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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The Grass Is Greener (1960), produced and directed by Stanley Donen.

This light comedy of infidelity did not do well in the US, probably because audiences wanted to see more jealous outrage and punches thrown rather than Cary Grant's dry drawing-room wit and cool calculation. Adapted from a stage play so it is dialogue-heavy.

It is notable for gathering together four great stars who had worked together in pairs previously:


Available on Blu-ray from Olive; no subtitles.



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post #1957 of 1977 Old 09-13-2017, 08:48 AM
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Review older films here: 1979 and earlier

Woman of the Year:

I'd been holding out in hopes that a BD release befitting this classic would come along to replace my DVD. Criterion didn't disappoint.

One of the finest "and then they met" moments in film.

https://instagram.com/p/-0aE0viKvb/

Kwaidan:

Usually cut in the US release, this Criterion offers the entire film. An incredible experience, worth enjoying in one sitting. Up there with DEAD OF NIGHT and THE HAUNTING as one of the greatest ghost/horror movies ever made.
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post #1958 of 1977 Old 09-19-2017, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Hell in the Pacific (1968), directed by John Boorman.

We get right to it with no backstory or preliminaries: a Japanese and American soldier, castaways on a small island, at first continue the war, then learn to cooperate and become partners in survival. Even buddies, for as long as it lasts.

It is rare to find such a concentration of talent, all personal favorites:

  • Stars: Lee Marvin and Toshirō Mifune (the only two people in the film).
  • Director: John Boorman.
  • Cinematographer: Conrad Hall.
  • Score: Lalo Schifrin.

It is a quirky treatment: both men are tough enough but neither is Sanjuro (Yojimbo (1961), Sanjuro (1962)) or Major Reisman (The Dirty Dozen (1967)). Their hide-and-raid warfare begins to resemble Tom & Jerry or Roadrunner cartoons, with Marvin giving an especially goofy interpretation.

Boorman's original ending was cut by the producer and replaced with an abrupt bit of stock footage for the theatrical release. When I first saw it I thought they must have run out of film and just quit the picture. The original final two minutes is much more in keeping with the tone of the film. Both versions are available on the Blu-ray.

What I learned from the Blu-ray commentary track:

  • Marvin and Mifune both served in the Pacific war.
  • They got on well together, getting stone drunk every night and then up at 7AM ready to work.
  • Marvin had a bad war and hated the glorification of violence. He hated The Dirty Dozen (1967).
  • Both Boorman and Marvin disliked the title. Boorman wanted The Enemy.
  • This was not Boorman's project. He did it for Marvin (they had worked on Point Blank (1967) together). Robert Aldrich turned down the picture.
  • The initial script had much more comedy. Boorman took most of it out and fought with Mifune over the new interpretation.
  • He had to deal with Mifune through an interpreter. Boorman: "Tell him he is being stupid". Interpreter: "I can't tell him that, he'll kill me". Boorman: "You're not saying it, I am". Interpreter whispers to Mifune, who hits him with his fist and lays him flat. Hearing the story, Akira Kurosawa laughed his ass off. "You don't direct Mifune; you point him like a missile".
  • In the theater, Mifune's Japanese was not subtitled in English. Boorman said he wanted the audience to understand one language or the other, but not both. (I think it is clear what Mifune is saying even for those who don't speak the language, but the subtitles on the Blu-ray are worth having: he first calls Marvin "Old Man" and then "White Beard" and gives his thoughts on raft design).
  • The producers wanted to fire Boorman but Mifune would not allow it. Even though they had fought it was a matter of honor: he's my director.
  • Filmed in the islands of Palau, which was unnecessarily strenuous. Boorman said he didn't think he'd get out of it alive. They could have gotten the same results in Hawaii. Maybe.
  • It was a flop at the box office.

Twenty years into the DVD era, after ten years with Blu-ray, we finally get a Warner Archive Blu-ray to replace the ancient and sad 4:3 letterboxed DVD. This has been on my want list for ages.

Image quality in bright scenes is fair, not great; dark scenes have a lot of noise.

The commentary track by two film scholars gives deep background on everyone involved, but not so much on the film itself.

Both theatrical and director's cuts are included, as are a good set of extras. The cuts are identical apart from those final two minutes.



-Bill
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post #1959 of 1977 Old 09-22-2017, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Winstanley (1975), produced and directed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo.

This is a remarkable film experiment funded by the British Film Institute, who also provide the Blu-ray. It is a docudrama or reenactment of the mid-seventeenth century Digger movement. Much of the dialog is taken directly from Gerrard Winstanley's pamphlets.

After the English Civil War many hopeful people met the new boss and found him to be the same as the old boss. Utopian ideas were in the air and Winstanley conceived the notion of establishing modest communes on unused common land. His efforts were emulated elsewhere around the country but none of the new communities lasted more than a couple of years.

On the one hand they suffered violence from neighboring landowners and unfriendly courts. On the other they had to deal with depredations by the Ranters, who in this telling were psychotic religious hysterics sponging off others or simply stealing what they wanted from other poor people.

A committed Christian pacifist, Winstanley persevered as long as he could, but couldn't make it work. Starting a new life from scratch is hard work, as many have found since. Still the utopian communal dream reappears from time to time. Sometimes peacefully, sometimes not.

This was an era when everyone knew their Bible and all sides had theological justification for their positions.

A meticulous micro-budget recreation of the times, with real armor borrowed from museums, care in the clothes and stitching, and even the chickens and cows kept to the breeds available then. Only one or two professional actors in the cast.

Lovely, striking black-and-white photography of the people, their faces, the woods and countryside. The landscape looks both idyllic and bleak, and you can almost feel the cold wind on hungry people trying to live on the land.

Available as an all-region Blu-ray import from BFI in the UK. The package includes a booklet and a PAL DVD version of the film. The 4:3 aspect ratio is correct for this title.



-Bill
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post #1960 of 1977 Old 09-22-2017, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Winstanley (1975), produced and directed by Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo.

Never heard of it. Looks interesting.

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post #1961 of 1977 Old 09-27-2017, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), produced and directed by Otto Preminger.

Gangster to police detective: "I didn't know a guy could hate that much. Not even you."

Detective Sgt Dana Andrews does indeed hate crooks with a white-hot hate. He's not gentle with his methods, and when he accidentally kills a suspect he becomes "half cop, half murderer", trying to conceal the crime, frame his enemy, prevent an innocent man from taking the fall, and making time with fashion model Gene Tierney. That's too much: something has to give.

Dana Andrews does remarkable work here as a tough guy who is scared. We can see it but no one in the movie can, except for perhaps his partner, who knows something isn't right.

This is a reunion of director, stars, and crew from Laura (1944). We're a long way from the uptown elegance of the earlier movie. Fine camera work by Joseph LaShelle on both films. Preminger uses smooth, almost invisible camera movements, and is sparing with closeups.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with an Eddie Muller commentary track. Excellent image detail and grayscale. The black levels could be just a touch deeper, but that's a small thing in this case. I've seen the movie on DVD, but the Blu-ray really brings it to life.



-Bill
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post #1962 of 1977 Old 09-27-2017, 07:28 AM
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The great Ben Hecht cowrote the Where the Sidewalk Ends screenplay. Hecht won two writing Oscars and was nominated for several more. He and his writing partner, Charles MacArthur, wrote the classic Broadway play, The Front Page.
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post #1963 of 1977 Old 09-29-2017, 09:46 AM
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The Purple Plain, (1954).

Understated and very personal story about a disturbed combat pilot in WWII Burma who's "gone round the bend" according to his colleagues. Suffering from depression (more likely, PTSD and combat fatigue) from the death of his love in The Blitz, he takes reckless chances on combat missions and barks at everyone. His will to die is rewarded by commanders as fearlessness in the face of the enemy; keep up the good work mate. His navigator is wounded on a mission, and can only thank his stars he won't be flying with this maniac ever again. Just as he's given a new lease on life, he is shot down over enemy territory. Does his death wish override his leadership responsibility, or...?

This is an odd war film. Our hero watches impassively as a child tortures and kills a small lizard. We don't see the Japanese enemy; the enemy is within, under the proper circumstances. People aren't what they seem, only through knowing them do we see what they're made of inside. Other than some British film academy awards, and success in the UK, The Purple Plain is not well known, but considered one of star Gregory Peck's career high points.

In the 1950s the US IRS offered tax incentives for actors (and others?) who worked abroad for extended periods. Peck took them up on it, and we have Roman Holiday and other films to thank for this. (Other actors tried this and their careers faltered, some never recovering.) Adapted by Eric Ambler from an H.E. Bates novel, directed by American Robert Parrish.

With Technicolor cinematography by the great Geoffrey Unsworth, the film's rich color palette almost lets you feel the heat and stifling humidity. Unsworth would go on to acclaim filming A Night to Remember, Becket, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Murder On the Orient Express, Superman The Movie. He won Oscars for Cabaret and Tess.

Filmed on location in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the producers insisted on locals to play locals, not "whitewash" Asian characters. These two features are attributed to Peck's contract requirements, including the Burmese love interest played by an Asian actress. They found their female lead in the wife of a diplomat, so nervous in her closeups such they had to fashion a sort of brace. But she does fine. Her only film, she later became a Buddhist nun. Also features the always-great Bernard Lee, post-The Third Man and pre-Dr. No. The British RAF cooperated with the production, providing several de Havilland Mosquito aircraft repainted in wartime SEAC markings. Some of their on-site support staff were credited as extras.

Peck was going through a difficult separation and divorce. He suffered insomnia, and one night was sleep walking right into the jungle; director Parrish intercepted him, and with the actor's agreement they wrote the incident into the film.

The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed in Ceylon a few years later, allegedly using some of the same locations for the shoot.

Spoiler!


I saw it streaming on Amazon from a poor master; I would hope the available Blu-ray is better (the review on blu-ray.com notes some issues, but otherwise fine).







Some information gleaned from Wikipedia and this TCM database article.
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Last edited by ChromeJob; 09-29-2017 at 03:03 PM. Reason: added spoiler-encoded comment about the ending
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post #1964 of 1977 Old 09-29-2017, 11:50 AM
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@ChromeJob -- Thanks to your intriguing review of The Purple Plain (1954) I checked it out on IMDb and saw that Eric Ambler had written the screenplay. This convinced my to watch the film on Amazon Prime and I was glad I did. It is a thoughtful tale that takes its time but at the end of the day, I thought the time I spent watching it was worthwhile.

As you noted, the video quality wasn't great but, based on the Blu-ray.com review of the BD of the film, to which you linked, its image quality also lacked something. This leads me to suspect that the same transfer was used for the Amazon prime presentation as was used on the BD.

Eric Ambler was one of my favorite screenwriters. He wrote The Cruel Sea (1953), for which he received an Oscar nomination. He later wrote the screenplay for A Night to Remember (1958). These are two of the greatest sea stories ever put on film. I own both on BD. The Cruel Sea is to my mind the very best depiction of wartime life at sea in the British navy during WW-II and A Night to Remember is a compelling, historically accurate, retelling of the 1912 TITANIC tragedy.

On a side note, Bernard Lee, who played the doctor in The Purple Plain was Jonny Lee Miller's grandfather.
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post #1965 of 1977 Old 09-30-2017, 07:36 AM
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According to Instantwatcher The Purple Plain is in SD, not HD which accounts for the mediocre image quality. I've seen some badly mastered older films on Amazon.
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post #1966 of 1977 Old 10-02-2017, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Three from Gordon Hessler.

Gordon Hessler worked as a producer for Hitchcock before directing his own films. His early efforts were horror films, and although not as well known as Roger Corman's or those of Hammer Films, they have points of interest.

He did three movies with Vincent Price which I'll review over the next three days. All are on Blu-ray, but from three different labels.

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post #1967 of 1977 Old 10-02-2017, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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The Oblong Box (1969), produced and directed by Gordon Hessler.

After suffering unspeakable torture and mutilation in Africa, a plantation owner is kept chained in his room by his brother. It's for his own good. The insane inmate devises a cunning plan -- again using African magic -- to simulate death and escape via premature burial. What could go wrong? Well, what could go right?

Brother Edward wears a unsettling crimson mask throughout. We don't see The Face until 1h30m in; honestly it's not that bad.

The title is Poe's, not the story, although it does use plenty of his standard devices. A plot twist gives a counter-cultural slant: the colonials are the guilty ones and the Africans their innocent victims. Everyone says this pro-black sentiment caused the picture to be banned in Texas; is that true? Sounds like a story.

This the second of three matches of Vincent Price with Hilary Heath (Dwyer); the others are Witchfinder General (1968) and Cry of the Banshee (1970). John Coquillon photographed all three; he later worked with Peckinpah.

Featuring 19 year old Sally Geeson, looking much like her sister Judy:



The first big feature film by the director, who had worked for Alfred Hitchcock for many years. He was producing this and stepped in as director when Michael Reeves, director of Witchfinder General (1968), become unavailable because of mental instability and suicide attempts (he finally did kill himself shortly after).

Available on Blu-ray from Kino. This is the director's cut. Lots of commentary overlap with Cry of the Banshee (1970).



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post #1968 of 1977 Old 10-03-2017, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Scream and Scream Again (1970), directed by Gordon Hessler.

An awkward mashup of science fiction, police procedural and spy thriller. The funky score tries to get "with it" via surf guitar and action bongo riffs. The sadism and crimes against women is strong in the first section, less so thereafter when we follow confusing plot lines and have a long car chase segment and battle with a serial killer super-soldier.

It holds the viewer's interest, in the sense of "Who are these people and where in the hell is this going?"

Second of three films Vincent Price made with director Hessler (The Oblong Box (1969), Cry of the Banshee (1970)) and the first film featuring all three of Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Problem: American International just wanted their names; giving them good roles would have cost more, so they are each secondary characters with little or no interaction.

Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time. Two horror film scholars give an excited, informative and funny commentary. They really like this bad film and everyone involved.

One has read the book and brings order to the plot chaos: it's aliens. They are going to take over by creating superior beings engineered from the best available parts. Vincent Price's operation has gotten out of hand and one of his creations has become a serial killer, running wild and drinking blood. The chief baddie is a Cleaner come down to halt all that and dispose of the evidence.

The title comes from the novel: the kidnapped jogger who wakes up each time to find another body part missing. "He screamed and screamed again..."



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post #1969 of 1977 Old 10-04-2017, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Cry of the Banshee (1970), directed by Gordon Hessler.

Quote:
Vincent Price: I suppose you know we are cursed from Hell to Christmas.
Witches. Witches everywhere. Some are just peasant serving girls but it is fun to call them witches so their clothes can be torn off as they are sadistically degraded before being delivered to the torture dungeon for final disposition.

But some are real witches meeting in the woods, following the Old Religion and worshiping Satan, calling on the Banshee to be their avenging fury.

Who will be left standing in the end?

This is often compared to Witchfinder General (1968); similar subject and sadistic tone, same cinematographer, and both have Vincent Price and Hilary Heath (Dwyer). The earlier film is historically more ambitious, this one is supernatural and has more of a Roger Corman look.

This is actually the third and last match-up of Price and Dwyer; the second was The Oblong Box (1969). His quip: "You've played my wife, my mistress and my daughter; when you play my mother we get married". It was his last costume picture.

The opening credits are animated by Terry Gilliam, the same style he was using for Month Python's Flying Circus around then:



Available on Blu-ray in Shout Factory's Vincent Price Collection III. It includes both the director's cut and the American International edit which has no boobage, less gore, rearranged scenes and a new score. The source is not as good as for the director's cut.

A film scholar gives a detailed commentary track with loads of biographical information.

He thinks this genre is an expression of 1960s political rebellion. Where Hammer films are a conservative holding action against vile supernatural creatures, the witchfinder movies indict the established powers. The writer and director wanted to make a counter-cultural statement where the witches were entirely free of evil, but that was not allowed.

He likes Les Baxter's score for the AIP cut.



-Bill
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post #1970 of 1977 Old 10-04-2017, 02:07 PM
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The Wicked Lady (1945)



Remade in 1983 as a much bawdier, boobier,[1] perhaps tongue in cheek film with Faye Dunaway. This original Restoration potboiler from the Gainsborough Studios is seemingly played straight, but you can tell the cast and crew had a jolly good time with the story of a Very Naughty Lady. That was apparently the studio's modus operandi. Like Poldark on acid. Our eponymous femme trots into the story, wastes no time seducing her friend's fiance, then steals the impending marriage as well, and puts her friend (the once-fiancee) as maid of honor. And that's just for starters. Immediately bored with the monied milksop she's married/stolen, she decides to become a midnight bandit as well. Wouldn'tcha know it, she runs into a real pro who's also dashing, handsome, reckless, and more than happy to liven her sex life as well as her hobby. The plot then thickens like Christmas pudding.

I won't spoil the rest of the plot for you, just sign up for Filmstuck.com (free trial if you can) and watch it with a loved one. Margaret Lockwood, Patricia Roc, Michael Rennie, and a memorable James Mason ("The man of mood and menace!!!" the poster screamed, probably referring to The Man In Grey, also recommended). Included in a Criterion boxed set. (The other two, The Man in Grey and Madonna of the Seven Moons are also on Filmstruck.)


[1] Including a pre-Star Trek TNG Marina Sirtis in her film debut.

Bill's review is here on Strange Picture Scroll.
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post #1971 of 1977 Old 10-06-2017, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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The Legacy (1978), directed by Richard Marquand.

After their motorcycle is wrecked an American couple traveling in Britain find themselves at a stately country house and witness no end of inexplicably weird and violent bizarrities. They can't get away, even when other guests are killed off one by one in gruesomely imaginative ways. Will all this eventually make any sense?

The big attraction is lovely Katharine Ross and studly Sam Elliott. They began dating during this film and married a few years later. The contrast of his unapologetic true West accent and persona against the refined manor house setting: it's just icing on the cake.

This is a women's romance novel venturing into light horror film territory. Rich high gloss settings, elegant fabrics and clothes, a female protagonist with hidden witchy powers. And her sexy boyfriend: the only nudity in the film is Elliott's backside as he steps into the shower. Motorcycle, horses, indoor pool, a complete set of servants: life can be good if you have the magic.

Plot incoherence and general ridiculousness is a problem.

Rock star Roger Daltrey, last seen in Lisztomania (1975), plays a music promoter. I guess I believe that.

Written by Jimmy Sangster, formerly a creative power at Hammer Films.

The light pop score is totally wrong unless you think of it as a girly thriller.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.



-Bill

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post #1972 of 1977 Old 10-09-2017, 05:25 AM - Thread Starter
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10 Rillington Place (1971), directed by Richard Fleischer.

A true horror story, everything in the plot taken from actual events, forensic evidence and trial records. I had never heard of the film before it appeared on Blu-ray, nor did I know anything about the famous Christie murders.

I'm not spoiling the plot, because the pattern is established in the very first scene. A shabby, timid-seeming man offers medical assistance to lone women. He gasses them, strangles them with a rope, then performs erotic exertions on their bodies. Fortunately we see little of that last part, but it is enough.

He incautiously disposes of the bodies in shallow graves in the back garden, in sealed-up rooms and under the floor of his apartment house. How long can that go undetected? About four times there and probably another four times elsewhere.

The main part of the story concerns a young couple (John Hurt and Judy Geeson) with a baby who move into the building. Christie (Richard Attenborough) conceives a cunning plan to kill the wife (and yes, even the baby) openly and blame it on the husband. His plan works and he is a key prosecution witness at the trial. Only later does the truth emerge.

The early reveal of his crimes is a useful bit of filmmaking. For the audience his every little look and gesture is loaded with menace. He's fooling everyone else but not us; if only we could warn them! Surely he's not going to... oh, no, he really is. The growing realization and dread in his wife's eyes is something to behold.

Great cast all around with Attenborough unforgettable as the soft-spoken psychopath, skilled at getting into people's lives and setting them up for vile death. His barely concealed excitement is chilling.

Christie had a prominent domed forehead and Attenborough has a well-made headpiece to match.

It beggars belief, but the executioner who hanged both the innocent man and the guilty one consulted on the execution scene in the film. They say he had "gallows humor". The hanging is done speedily, no time for last words or emotion. For a sympathetic bio-pic of the hangman see Pierrepoint (2006) with Timothy Spall.

Available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time with two commentary tracks.

The first is an earnest conversation between Nick Redman, Lem Dobbs and actress Judy Geeson. They were all young people in London when the Christie murders were still current and have vivid memories of the time. They marvel at how an American director could capture the historical moods and textures so well.

The second is a thoughtful track by John Hurt, done previously for a DVD edition but still made over 30 years after the film.



-Bill

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post #1973 of 1977 Old 10-09-2017, 08:28 AM
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I saw it in high school in my favorite teacher's Film as Literature class and ... decided that I'd never see it again. Not because it's bad, but because it's so damn good. Chilling and tragic. There was a display about him at Mme. Tussaud's in London when I was there in the 70s.
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post #1974 of 1977 Old 10-09-2017, 10:01 AM
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Blood on Satan's Claw (1971) aka Satan's Skin

It's been years since I've seen this, it used to be on late night Creature Features regularly. In his 2010 "History of Horror" series on BBC, Mark Gatiss claims this is part of a sub-genre called "folk horror," along with Witchfinder General and The Wicker Man. I find it intriguing that there were films in the late 1960s and early 1970s in which the adults are all strict, dis-believing authority figures, but young people are open minded, want to frolic and gather flowers and get nekkid and have sex ... oh, the idle playground where Evil(TM) can plant a seed, as it were. Commentary on the hippies and misguided "Summer of Love" in San Francisco?

Things start going sideways when a young farmer (Barry Andrews) unearths a grotesque skull while tilling his field. The local judge doesn't believe him when the evidence has disappeared.
Meanwhile, a young pretty starts luring other young people to a secret forest spot. One by one, young people are succumbing to Angel Blake's (dig that resonant name) invitation to join her in the woods, then sprout strange diseased (hairy) skin patches that they must conceal. A girl named Cathy Vespers doesn't fare well, could you see that coming?

In this case, the Judge finally descends upon the secret forest enclave, brandishing a sword in a melee (?) of swift justice. I remember some slow-mo pandemonium. Is there evil on both sides of the equation, with the young people in the middle? Sometimes the young people are both susceptible, and also the most likely to appreciate that something is Dreadfully Wrong and take action (e.g. Freddie Francis' Dracula Has Risen From The Grave, also featuring Barry Andrews; he's a virile, young, heroic type).

Like a lot of movies in this era, some bared breasts and sexual threats are par for the course. Patrick Wymark's last film. Originally titled Satan's Skin (the director's favorite) but renamed for the US release by Sam Arkoff of AIP.
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post #1975 of 1977 Old 10-12-2017, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Twice-Told Tales (1963), directed by Sidney Salkow.

For Vincent Price fans.

Loose adaptations of three Nathaniel Hawthorne stories: "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", "Rappaccini's Daughter", and "The House of the Seven Gables".

The production values are good and the actors take it seriously, but all of the stories are very slow and lack any real thrills. Roger Corman was doing much livelier productions at the same time.

Available on Blu-ray from Kino with a meticulous, wide-ranging commentary track.



-Bill

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post #1976 of 1977 Old 10-14-2017, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Sisters (1972), written and directed by Brian De Palma.

The young director's thriller homage to Hitchcock, with generous quotes of Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954), and Psycho (1960). He even gets Bernard Herrmann to contribute a worthy score.

The composer elevates whatever he touches, but otherwise this film is entertaining without being exceptional. It has some giallo gruesomeness.

Notes:

  • Margot Kidder, age 25, plays French-Canadian and gets her boobs out briefly.
  • Jennifer Salt is the tenacious reporter who is certain she has witnessed a murder. Last seen in Gargoyles (1972) and Play It Again, Sam (1972), both made the same year as this one.
  • Charles Durning had been working for a while but this is one of his earliest featured roles. He gets the last scene as the private detective perched on a utility pole in Canada, waiting to see who will pick up a certain extra-heavy shipment. That's a mystery: we'll never know.
  • Uncredited Olympia Dukakis has a small part.
  • De Palma uses split-screens (trendy back then) to give multiple POV shots.
  • Best thriller moment: the race to clean up the crime scene while the police bicker downstairs.
  • The brand new towers of the World Trade Center are featured in several shots.

Remade in 2003.

Available on DVD from Criterion. The image is pretty bad in spots.



-Bill
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post #1977 of 1977 Old 10-14-2017, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by wmcclain View Post
Sisters (1972), written and directed by Brian De Palma.

-Bill
There is a region free Blu-ray of this film from Arrow Video, which I have. It's not a 4K master, but I think it's good and would be better than the DVD.

http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Sisters-Blu-ray/73549/
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