Thursday, December 08, 2016
Monday, December 05, 2016
Last month I finally caught up with the first of the series of films based on the Michael Arlen character The Falcon. I've yet to read any of Arlen's novels so my knowledge extends only as far as the few of the movies I've seen over the years. Adding to my lack of solid info is that I've seen the few I've been able to catch in a haphazard and random order that sometimes left me confused about who or what The Falcon actually might be. Luckily, Wikipedia answered my questions -
Gay Stanhope Falcon (later known in film and radio as The Falcon) is a fictional character created in 1940 by Michael Arlen. Falcon made his first appearance in Arlen's short story "Gay Falcon", which was first published in 1940 in Town & Country magazine. Falcon is characterized as a freelance adventurer and troubleshooter - a man who makes his living "keeping his mouth shut and engaging in dangerous enterprises."
The Falcon was quickly brought to the screen by RKO - 1941's The Gay Falcon redefined the character as a suave English gentleman detective with a weakness for beautiful women. The film was intended to establish a suitable replacement character for Leslie Charteris' Simon Templar (aka The Saint, hero of a popular RKO film series). To that end, George Sanders (star of The Saint series) was cast. Though Gay Falcon was the character's name in Arlen's original story, for the film series, the character was renamed Gay Laurence - thus, "The Falcon" became an alias, or nickname (à la "The Saint"). In later outings, in various media, the character had a variety of "real names," while still being known as The Falcon. Neither in films nor on radio was the nickname ever explained.
And my confusion about the films turns out to be warranted as the series starred at least three different actors in the title role. The first two played brothers and were actual brothers! Yes , George Sanders and Tom Conway were brothers with Sanders trading off the Falcon series to his sibling when he decided to seek greener (and higher budget) pastures. The odd things you learn about old mystery films!
Looks like I need buy the DVDs of the series and stop trying to catch them when they turn up on Turner Classic Movies.
Sunday, December 04, 2016
Saturday, December 03, 2016
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Here's a film to darken the days and blight the soul.
The cannibal sub-genre of exploitation films grew out of the Mondo movie genre. The Italian Mondo films were documentary in nature with a focus on taboo subjects that had often been considered too controversial for traditional narrative tales. By using the documentary format, exploitation filmmakers could show sexual acts, nudity, violence and even sprinkle in some racist content all while pretending to be educating it's audience. These movies were usually tasteless exercises in cruelty and caricatures of foreign cultures coupled with occasional sequences that were faked or staged for the camera. Of course, they were highly profitable but the genre waned quickly and by the mid-1970's Italian producers were on to other things.
Enter Ruggero Deodato. Having worked his way up through the Italian filmmaking system he had finally gotten into the director's chair and was hunting for a new project. In 1977 he had made one of the better jungle adventure films that had grown out of the success of Umberto Lenzi's MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972). Deodato's JUNGLE HOLOCAUST had upped the intensity of the earlier film and he decided to ratchet things up again for his new movie. He hit upon the idea of taking the cannibal tribe idea further than before and, inspired by terrorist activity in his home country, proceeded to make an unforgettably nasty piece of work that would, in turn, go on to inspire the found footage genre in the late 1990's. He's got a lot to answer for, huh?
When Adrian Smith asked me if I'd be interested in covering CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for the podcast I immediately said yes. And then I started to have doubts! I was familiar with the film from having seen it almost twenty years before but I knew it as a difficult watch. Even though I owned a copy I had only ever rewatched the movie one time since my original viewing in the 1990's and had been disturbed enough by it on my second watch to consider getting rid of the disc. Was I really eager to see this harsh, mean-spirited film again? Would it still be able to worm it's way under my skin and bother me on the deep level it had so long ago? I guess I was going to find out!
Listen in as
and I fight technology, discuss Deodato, praise Riz Ortolani, process this film's
animal cruelty and generally try to keep a good attitude as we follow several
stupid Americans into the Amazonian jungle. If you have any comments or
questions about CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or anything else we touch on, please contact
us at email@example.com and we'll get right back to you. Thank you for
downloading and listening to the show!
Monday, November 28, 2016
This episode begins with a quick look at Price's excellent TV special from 1970 called An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe and then moves into a discussion of the bizarre main feature. I shouldn't like Scream and Scream Again as much as I do!
Sunday, November 27, 2016
OK. This is far from the kind of thing I would usually post here as I can't really justify it as a normal part of the strange stuff I blog about BUT ....... This is so strange a thing to have discovered (thank you FaceBook!) and I have been completely mesmerized by it for the last 24 hours that I felt I just had to share. It adds to my fascination that I probably wandered around a Tennessee or Alabama K-Mart as a young lad while this soundtrack played in the background. Maybe it burrowed its way into my memory and only now is resurfacing as I listen. Let the holiday season begin!