Paedophilia was the last taboo according to the Production Code, the self-censorship system organised by Hollywood in 1960. You could talk about rape in explicit detail (Anatomy of a Murder, 1959) and serial killers (Psycho, 1960) were acceptable, but you must not “violate the edict against depicting sex perversion…the only subject strictly forbidden by the … Continue reading “Banned, Reviled, Ignored: “Never Take Candy from a Stranger” (1960)”
Banned in the U.S., box office flop in Britain, consigned to the vaults for over three decades, and when revived and you wonder how everyone could have been so wrong. A sensitive portrayal of a family caught up in local Canadian politics when their daughter accuses a dignitary of molestation, it carefully avoids the exploitation … Continue reading “Never Take Candy/Sweets From a Stranger (1960) ****”
Far from routine western with director Sam Peckinpah, in his sophomore picture, channelling territory that would later become more familiar, old friends turning enemies, the encroachment of civilization, the passing of the Old West, and sharing with The Misfits (1961) incredulity that the once noble occupation of cowboy/lawman has become redundant. In Major Dundee (1965) … Continue reading “Ride the High Country (1962) ****”
It was a rite of passage for rising male stars to take second- or third-billing to an established top-billed female. And, more importantly, rein in all attempts at scene-stealing. This is a Cliff Robertson minus the distinctive hunk of hair and lip-chewing of later performances and a David Janssen only beginning to learn the knack … Continue reading “My Six Loves (1963) ***”
There’s a whole book to be written about poster deception. But this plays with audience expectation in an unusual manner. Here it’s a case of duping by billing. The top-billed Richard Attenborough (Only When I Larf, 1968) disappears in the last third, John Gregson (The Frightened City, 1961) spends most of the time out of … Continue reading “S.O.S. Pacific (1960) ***”
Rejoice: a star is born. But it’s not Florence Pugh (Black Widow, 2021). It’s my habit going to the cinema to sit close to the screen in order to avoid the audience. This time I couldn’t help but noticing the streams of young women, often in large groups taking up an entire row. Out of … Continue reading “Don’t Worry Darling (2022) *** – Seen at the Cinema”
Unable to compete with the influx of big budget espionage pictures, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. throws in the action towel and comes out fighting as a comedy, and a more preposterous storyline you would be hard to find. As if spoofing a genre it helped create, our intrepid heroes find themselves in captivity one way … Continue reading “The Spy in The Green Hat (1966) ***”
Stream of consciousness reimagining of Marilyn Monroe’s life mainlining on celebrity, identity, mental illness and vulnerability and held together by a mesmerizing performance by Ana de Armas. Director Andrew Dominik’s slicing and dicing of screen shape, occasional dips into black-and-white and a special effects foetus won’t work at all as well on the small screen. … Continue reading “Blonde (2022) **** – Seen at the Cinema”
Easy Rider, more acceptable artistically, stole Night of the Living Dead’s thunder the following year as the poster boy for a low-budget phenomenon that would, temporarily at least, usher in a new way of Hollywood thinking. But Night of the Living Dead – initially entitled Monster Flick and Night of the Flesh-Eaters – was movie-making … Continue reading “Behind the Scenes: “The Night of the Living Dead” (1968)”
Ground-breaking thriller in the apocalyptic vein that appeared destined for oblivion after being judged too over-the-top by the AIP/Hammer criteria suitable only for the denizens of late-night horror quintuple bills. I say “thriller” because even by today’s slaughter-fest standards when the heroes/heroines generally escape, it was unheard-of for the entire cast to die, especially considering … Continue reading “Night of the Living Dead (1968) ****”
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