To my mind the best of the Frank Sinatra-Dean Martin collaborations, outside of the more straightforwardly dramatic Some Came Running (1958), and for the simple reason that they are rivals rather than buddies. The banter of previous “Rat Pack” outings is given a harder edge and it is shorn of extraneous songs. I came at … Continue reading “4 for Texas (1963) ****”
Burton Wohl turned his bestseller into the screenplay – John Hayes not to be confused with John Michael Hayes is credited with the screen treatment – and it’s an object lesson in making the transition. For a start, Wohl had to tone down his racy book. Given that what movies could show on screen was … Continue reading “Book into Film – “A Cold Wind in August””
Touching low-budget B-movie shot in black-and-white of a young man receiving his sexual education from an older woman. Motherless Vito (Scott Maxwell), the son of an apartment block super, is seduced by the older Iris (Lola Albright), a three-time divorcee looking for a son to mother. This is not the transactional sex of The … Continue reading “A Cold Wind in August (1961) ***”
Although multi-country co-productions were very common in the 1960s, British-French co-productions were particularly thin on the ground, as if the cultural identities were so far apart there was nowhere they could ever meet. This was only the third such co-production in three years. British Lion, a long-established operation, had recently been overhauled with a new … Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: “The Girl on a Motorcycle” / “Naked under Leather” (1968)”
An erotic charge deftly switched this picture from the Hell’s Angels default of violent biker pictures spun out cheaply by American International. Where Easy Rider (1969) was powered by drugs, this gets its highs from sex. Rebecca (Marianne Faithful), gifted a Harley Davidson Electra Glide motorbike by lover Daniel (Alain Delon) two months before marriage … Continue reading “The Girl on a Motorcycle / Naked under Leather (1968) ***”
It’s time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Guns of Navarone – world premiere on April 27, 1961, in London and New York opening on June 22, 1961. Although the picture set a new benchmark in high-octane entertainment, a fast-moving war thriller packed with twists and a genuine all-star cast, it was far – … Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: “The Guns of Navarone” (1961)”
Stone-cold action classic that blazed a trail for the big-budget men-on-a-mission war picture like The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Where Eagles Dare (1968). Brilliantly structured, written and directed, and featuring a sea battle, storm, shipwreck, mountaineering, chase, interrogation scenes, infiltration of an impregnable fortress, a pair of romances, two traitors, and an awe-inspiring climax make … Continue reading “The Guns of Navarone (1961) *****”
There was a curious dichotomy at the heart of promotional efforts for this picture. On the one hand, theater managers were encouraged to make contact with those affected by divorce, on the other to make a great play of weddings and marriage. So theater managers were told to contact groups such as Parents without Partners, … Continue reading “Selling Dick Van Dyke – The Pressbook for “Divorce American Style””
Not so much a comedy about a failing marriage as a guide to the American divorce laws, a cynical hard-boiled and frightening shape of things to come in a world where the everyman is represented not by the likes of James Stewart or at a stretch Glenn Ford but Dick Van Dyke. It’s possibly only … Continue reading “Divorce American Style (1967) ***”
The mysterious masked Scarecrow was the creepiest character thus far put on celluloid by Disney. A lot of the action takes place at dusk so it is soaked in crepuscular atmosphere. Filmed against the sky, every horse seems to thunder past. Gallows swing ominously. Coupled with a strong storyline and clever ruses by alter ago … Continue reading “Dr Syn, Alias The Scarecrow (1963) ****”
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