Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spider-Man-The Dragon's Challenge

Before the current Spidey and even before Tobey, THE SOUND OF MUSIC's Nicholas Hammond was the webswinger in a less than amazing late seventies TV series. One two-part episode was released as a theatrical feature film by Columbia!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ray Bradbury's Moby Dick

John Huston's classic film version of Herman Melville's MOBY DICK was written by Ray Bradbury getting his feet wet as a screenwriter. This was in 1956, just a  couple of years after the author's works were lifted for use by EC, at first illegally and then with Bradbury's blessing. 

A little known later appearance of his work as adapted by others for comics is this comic book adaptation of Ray's screenplay (written along with Huston)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemmons

Hard to pinpoint my favorites so there are more than 10 here in no particular order and Jack still has quite a few films I've yet to see!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Oh! Calcutta!

The thing I remember most about Oh! Calcutta from back in the day is that Cincinnati's attempt to do the show live at the prestigious Shubert Theatre was pre-empted by the local authorities. Instead, they showed it on an early cable-TV hookup from another city.

Having in recent years seen the movie version made during the controversial show's original Broadway run, it seems like a lot of trouble for not much return.

OH! CALCUTTA! remains notable for the number of major  names involved in its writing who were almost universally able to turn out something pretty UN-entertaining. One is often distracted from that condition by the rather obvious fact that the entire cast is naked at one time or another. But just as in real life, the novelty of the nakedness wears off pretty quickly and you're left with unfunny, misogynistic and now dated sketches, some rather pointless ballet and the only real amusing bit--to me at least--the John Lennon-written LONE RANGER sketch...and by all accounts that's been so rewritten that Lennon didn't care for it. 

A couple of familiar (ahem) faces in the cast were Alan Rachins, later of TV's LA LAW and DHARMA AND GREG and, as seen on the poster above, Bill Macy, who was by that point playing the beleaguered husband of TV's MAUDE.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters

It's easy now to make fun of these triply, redubbed foreign fairy tale films that dominate dye kiddie matinees of the sixties and into the early seventies but one has to remember they were made for kids. As such, they aren't bad. I recently had the opportunity to watch this one, originally from Russia, for the first time in 45 years and it's colorful, scary, funny with odd characters, mean villains and triumphant heroes. What more could a good kids movie need? Yes, there's a guy in a bad dog suit. Dael with it! Use your suspension of disbelief. Once you get past that, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD AND THE MONSTERS can still be a treat!

Sunday, January 5, 2014


My friend Terry and I were huge fans of Raquel Welch in 1977. After years of being looked at purely as a sex symbol and as a punchline she had finally achieved some measure of critical success with Richard Lester's THREE MUSKETEERS. I remember reading that her next big vehicle was going to be THE ANIMAL co-starring some French actor I had barely heard of but it never opened around here anyway and her film career seemed to go away for a while. She was busy concentrating on her nightclub act and TV specials.

It would be 35 years before I finally got to see L'ANIMAL. By that point, Jean-Paul Belmondo was a favorite of mine. It's a good, fun flick but nothing social. Raquel carries herself just fine and I'm surprised the film wasn't a huge international hit.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gun Crazy

I saw my first Film Noir picture in the mid-seventies. It was entitled THE DARK CORNER and starred Mark Stevens, Lucille Ball and Clifton Webb. after that, I started keeping an eye out for more.  Although often considered B-pictures, they were generally as well-made as the bigger budget, bigger studio films and the best ones can be counted among the best motion pictures ever.

And there are so many of them that I still have scores--if not hundreds--left to discover. This one I discovered today! Ghostwritten by the poster boy of the blacklist, Dalton Trumbo, GUN CRAZY is a well-told, well-acted movie that makes you think and leaves you emotionally exhausted. Isn't that the sign of  a good picture?