Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hannie Caulder

I remember teenage me lying awake the night before I saw HANNIE CAULDER, convinced by the ads that I was going to see Raquel Welch naked all over the place! Raquel actually never once did a nude scene in any of her films but at the time, what did I know?

It was rated R but I had convinced my dad to take me  and what we ended up getting was an odd bird indeed--A fish and chips western!

Produced by Welch's then-husband, HANNIE CAULDER is an English idea of a spaghetti western. And it works for the most part.

The plot deals with a raped woman getting revenge on her attackers. There are some ick moments around that.

The FUN is in the cast. Welch LOOKS good enough that one can discount her not quite yet good acting, especially when she's surrounded by veteran scene-chewers like Strother Martin, Jack Elam and Ernest Borgnine as the villains. Cool Robert Culp plays the hero. Add the unlikely appearances of Christopher Lee and Diana Dors as well as a cameo from Stephen Boyd and then have veteran western director Burt Kennedy stir it all up to a fairly tasty concoction.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

36 Hours

Long but suspenseful, 36 HOURS from 1964 presents James Garner as a military man who knows all the info about the planned Allied Invasion of Europe. He's kidnapped by the Nazis who attempt to get  him to reveal the info via an elaborate ruse that makes him think the war is long over and it's 6 years later. 

Garner is restrained but good. The easy charm he usually exudes comes here instead from Rod Taylor as the Nazi who learns so much about his prey that he learns to respect him more than his masters.

Eva Marie Saint heads up the rest of the excellent cast that included even an appearance by TV's Sgt. Schultz, John Banner, doing something very un-Schultzlike.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Highly recommended if you get the chance. It's a biography of the great and beloved Mexican film comedian Mario Moreno aka Cantinflas, told from the perspective of his first international triumph in Mike Todd's AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS and looking back over his life. Spanish actor Oscar Jaenada does an at times amazing visual impersonation of the film's subject, with US character actor Michael Imperioli excellent also as the eccentric and quirky producer, Todd.