"Movies are a complicated collision of literature, theatre, music and all the visual arts." - Yahoo Serious

January 03, 2012

Rosalba Neri!

And there's a tumblr page for Rosalba Neri pics and ephemera. Good stuff! Bitter Cinema also has a tumblr page too, for material much too serious for this humble blog. Feel free to follow if you like...

January 02, 2012

MovieTrailers for Malcontents #1 - Goldginger!

Just how many rubes were fooled into dropping precious movie-time coin to see "Goldginger", thinking they were seeing the Bond hit instead?

Not to mention if any of the English speaking distributors saw the perils of translating comedy, especially the Sicilian provincial comedy of Franco e Ciccio (English translation). The trailer, to the producer's wisdom or chagrin, provides an entire routine for our benefit. Cracks about thick Sicilian accents and skin color pepper a sequence that takes its sweet time to complete. And there's also that quick shot of the boys garbed as "Mohammedans" (shoe polish and headdresses).

As in a lot of these 1960s European genre films, there are some recognizable faces: Fernando Rey, slumming between Buñuels; Rosalba Neri, in the valley between pepla and spaghetti westerns.

Due mafiosi contro Goldginger was seemingly and relatively an early spy-spoof in the mid-Sixties Bond rush. More info, however scant, can be found here (IMDB, of course). Italian wiki page for the film here (with pics).

Alien Eyes, Football!

Disembodied eyes attacking an American football game. Tanks and soldiers stand by as a stadium full of horrified fans look on? Is this advertising a film? Model kit? Or something along the lines of Mars Attacks?

Shark's Treasure

What drives Cornel wild? Maybe the chance to do an all-male adventure in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico in the waning years of his filmmaking career? Shark's Treasure seems more the province of ambitious 12-year old boys rather than a valedictory effort by a director who's made more than a few interesting films in his career.

Not to say that Shark's Treasure isn't interesting, but it may be interesting for all the wrong reasons. Take this particular scene for instance. The brutal sexual politics and sadism is filled to the brim here, but the delivery, acting, and direction is rather laughable. This is probably for the best.

April 04, 2011


Coming To A Screen Near You

Yes, the truth must be told.... somehow. Dig, if you will, the picture: an elderly gent sits in warm chair, cold drink beside him, flipping channels. He finds an old movie, and it is remotely interesting. It's a Western, say.... nothing spectacular or special. No big stars. Starring someone like John Payne, for instance, or someone like him. The gunfighter wrestles the bad man to the ground. Indian aims his Winchester with deliberate stillness. The Mexican comic-relief is drunk again as gringos chuckle knowingly. The lawman's horse outsmarts the incredulous Negro stablehand. The blonde virgin swoons into the hero's fatherly embrace. The elderly gent gently laughs as he sips his cold gin.

Such are the simple and insidious joys of Fascist Cinema, your North American version. Not your sturm und drang Triumph of the Will Facsism, shiny, crisp, black, and aesthesticized like a campy drag ball. It's a bit homelier than that Hitler shit, not so skull and crossbones and hell-bent for leather. It's Fascism, if not with a human face, then one you wouldn't mind having a beer with. Fascism you can shoot the shit with, trade recipes and baseball cards with. Fascism that will buy you drinks and nod approvingly as you eye the comely young lady by the billiards table. Fascism that laughs at your stupid racist jokes.

It's a friendly kind of cinema, but not one that you would generally want to be friends with, if you catch my drift. New Fascist Cinema is not really new, and not outwardly fascist either. Lots of happy endings in New Fascist Cinema. Lots of crowd pleasing effects and circus-style laughs. Essentially, it's Hollywood without soul or even body (body would signify a certain heft, yes?). It's light and thin as a nasty crepe and it's 98 percent of what's produced nowadays. Probably your favorite movie of all time is fascist, but you don't even know it.

More to come, maybe....

April 01, 2011

A Man Dies While Watching Horror Film

There is a story that an old man paid admission to the old Royal Theater in Laredo, TX, just to get out of the diabolical heat. Thisfine film was apparently playing. He sat in the back of the theater, took off his shoes and socks and wriggled his tired and hot toes as he lit up a Raleigh (smoking was illegal in theaters, but the owners of the Royal looked the other way).

This man, in his seventies, had never seen a horror film in his life. At first, he thought the story was a classic charro film, but the suspense and terror began to overwhelm him. He began to pant and groan. Never had he experienced such fright! He started grabbing his chest and initiated an eerie moaning. But he could not turn his face away. Children (the main audience for this type of movie) thought the man was acting clownish and began to laugh. The kids didn't particularly care for "El Charro de las Calaveras" and thought the horror hackneyed and dull. Watching the old man writhing in apoplexy was much more entertaining. As the "Lobo Humano" appeared on the screen and battled the hero, the old man cried out plaintively and lost total control of his bodily functions. The kids laughed even harder as he pissed himself. Then with a sudden arching of his back, the old man's body stiffened almost upright and then fell back to his wet seat with a violent heaviness. He had finally succumbed to cardiac arrest and died.  The kids, now totally uninterested in the movie, began throwing popcorn and soda at his  still corpse, laughing like little hyenas.

Hours passed and other features played, and other patrons came and went. Most thought the dead old man was sleeping off a drunk, a very common occurrence in Laredo. At closing time, when the theater manager finally and grudgingly checked on the old man after the last show of the evening, the old man's face, frozen in a grimace of abject fear, was sticky and littered with candy and greasy salty popcorn. The manager felt his pulse, and feeling nothing, walked to the main office and called the police. The manager was surprised by how nonplussed he was by the entire incident. This was the first time anyone had ever died in his theater and he thought he would at least be a little more emotional about it. Instead he just smoked and sent one of the kids for a couple of six-packs of beer. Might as well relax while he waited for the cops.

The police finally came, checked the old man out and called for the morgue wagon. It made the Laredo Times the next day, but no one ever claimed the man's body. No one ever knew who the old man was.

December 02, 2009

Way of the Dragon

Return of the Dragon It's not often that I link to National Review Online (in fact, I've never had), but this piece by John Derbyshire about his short stint as an uncredited thug in Bruce Lee's The Way of the Dragon (or Return of the Dragon) is really quite fascinating. This cranky reactionary, who once opined that "Pop Culture is Filth", is more than respectful when recounting the pure star frisson and charisma of Bruce Lee in Hong Kong, and gives us a rare look into the slap-dash world of HK moviemaking in the early 70s. You can see clips of Lee kicking Derbyshire in the face here (Derbyshire looks sort of like James Taylor in Two-Lane Blacktop). Interestingly, The Way of the Dragon was the only film written and directed by Lee. You can see some of his cinematic handiwork here in his climactic battle with a very young and hairy Chuck Norris here (Lee was not immune to the overuse of the zoom lens either like many a low-budget filmmaker of that epoch). Like the music? You can download the soundtrack at The Manchester Morgue

November 22, 2008

Ad Mats!

A lost art form (if I may be permitted the stretch the definition of "art form"), the trashy newspaper ad mat found in the backpages of your local fishwrap probably figured in more last minute movie decisions than marquees or four-color posters, at least in the smaller towns and rural areas especially serviced by drive-ins. Excellent examples of these can be found at the ad mat collection of the The Deuce. More vintage newspaper movie ads (albeit not so trashy) can be found at Emulsion Compulsion (including one for Birth of a Nation. Of course, ad mats are not a strictly American phenomenon. AV Maniacs has a series of Argentine exploitation ads from the mid 80s.

October 26, 2008

Who are you?

Nightmare fodder for many a 70s child (spoiled by USA, of course), usually first glimpsed on late nite TV, maybe a local spot on Carson, the CBS Late Movie, or ABC's Wide World of Entertainment. Featuring Juliet Mills, star of the 60s family sitcom Nanny and the Professor, Beyond the Door was an Italo-horror sort of blatant Exorcist ripoff, this time with the mama and not the kiddo possessed by demons. The name of the film in Italy was Chi Sei?, which, translates to the TV preview's skin-tingling catchphrase, "Who are you?", which probably rendered many sleepless, shadowy nights back in 1974.