Category Archives: 1970’s movies

Chandler’s Trailers: “Frogs” (1972)

“Frogs” (1972) Nature photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliot, sans dashing lip brush) finds his canoe capsized due to inconsiderate nautical etiquette and finds himself a guest of wheelchair bound curmudgeon Jason Crockett (Ray Milland, under a dashing Panama hat), island patriarch of … Continue reading

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Dead End: “The Last Run” (1971)

          “The Last Run”  (1971)     Richard Fleischer’s “The Last Run” is composed, by Alan Sharp, in that spare style of writing that is meant to invest a greater chimerical meaning to every utterance, and … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Magnum Force” (1973)

   The adventures of San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan continue in Ted Post’s “Magnum Force”; a film in which the enthusiasm for gratuitous bloodshed and mayhem actually rises appreciably from the standard set by Don Siegel’s 1971 “Dirty Harry”, along … Continue reading

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The Cinema of Discomfort

    Buried somewhere in the collective reactive unconscious of every true cinephile are those films which relay a palpable, entirely personal, though nonetheless real sense of discomfort: films which are difficult to sit through without a crawling and uncomfortable sensation … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Last Embrace” (1979)

     Such is the continuous flow of discontented comment expressed about what constitutes a “bad” film (nobly assisted by a film industry which strains to give a new voice to every emergent theory on a weekly basis) that when … Continue reading

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Chandler’s Trailers: “Airport 1975” (1974)

     This entirely unnecessary second chapter to the “Airport” tetralogy is not a sequel in the technical sense of the word-  there is not a returning character or cast member save for George Kennedy’s Joe Patroni who seems to … Continue reading

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Revenge Wears Sneakers: “Rage” (1972)

    The most interesting aspect of George C. Scott’s directorial film debut “Rage” is its placidity of tone, especially considering the coiled ferocity of its star and the potentially explosive subject matter. The film’s depiction of an accidental release of … Continue reading

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Out to Pasture: “Rio Lobo” (1970)

     “Rio Lobo” reeks of exhaustion. The final film in the lengthy and often illustrious career of director Howard Hawks, this western is a continuation of a pattern of laconic narrative drifting that has increasingly characterized the greater number … Continue reading

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Furballs: “Fritz the Cat” (1972)

            Ralph Bakshi’s film of Robert Crumb’s underground comics character “Fritz the Cat” is a not particularly faithful rendering (thus the creator’s heated objections) of a counterculture icon who isn’t all that interesting in either representation in … Continue reading

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They Came to Coddle: “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)

     Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is dazzling when it is showcasing the talents of special effects designer Douglas Trumbull and his crew but falls precipitously on the scale of artistic ambition when the focus in … Continue reading

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Revenge Redux: “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (1972)

     “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” the sequel to the popular and imaginative “The Abominable Dr. Phibes” is a surprising disappointment; more so in that it was created  by many of the same talents as the original film; most importantly director … Continue reading

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Bulletproof: “Dillinger” (1973)

     Given his penchant for myth making, the historical facts depicted in director/screenwriter John Milius’ “Dillinger” are dubious at best, but who cares?  This is a rattling good tale of gangsterism in the golden Warner Bros. tradition with the additional … Continue reading

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Beach Blanket Bronto: “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” (1971)

     Once hitting pay dirt with the Raquel Welch vehicle “One Million Years B.C.”, Hammer Films would leave no cave unexplored in producing their next monosyllabic prehistoric epic, “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”.       Forgoing the iconic presence of … Continue reading

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The Joker of Sex: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)” (1972)

       After his initial film making efforts which richly drew from his experience, not only as a sketch writer, but more importantly as a stand-up comedian, Woody Allen comes to terms with the episodic nature of the his directorial work … Continue reading

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Conjuring a Sense of Blunder: “Wizards” (1977)

       Ralph Bakshi continues a downward spiral of technical quality of animation detail while simultaneously making preparatory practice motions toward his later incomplete rendering of “Lord of the Rings” in the dismal 1977 “Wizards”, a film which by all available … Continue reading

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Shake ‘n’ Quake: “Earthquake” (1974)

    In “Earthquake”, the special effects boys at Universal get to flatten the city in which they work and play and must have gotten a chuckle out of the task, a sight more amusement than the audience gets from … Continue reading

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Ruins Among the Love: “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1973)

     Norman Jewison is not what you would call a particularly imaginative director; his skill set positioned somewhere in a middle ground of narrative competence and skilled craftsmanship that is all tool frequently taken for granted amid the never ceasing … Continue reading

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Thoughtless Crimes: “The Toolbox Murders” (1978)

     Is there anything more depressing than a nihilistic film which can’t even conjure up a new method to disgust its audience? With all of the possibilities for novel depravity, just where are the imaginative sociopaths, misogynists and deviants in … Continue reading

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How Can I Not Kill You If You Won’t Go Away?: “Macchie solari” (1975)

                                  “The dog’s only a dog, but you’re a pig.”     When one approaches a giallo film, there is an automatic presumption of a encountering a visual stylization which goes hand in hand with the exaggerated excesses of behavior … Continue reading

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Make Light, Not War: “Getting Straight” (1970)

      Imagine the panic in Hollywood studios in the late 1960’s, many already absorbed by corporations who had no more knowledge of the film business than a dairy cow has about producing Dulce de Leche, and those same … Continue reading

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Beatles in a Bell Jar: “Let It Be” (1970)

      Sitting through Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s “Let It Be” is not dissimilar to sitting behind someone in a theater and staring at the back of their head, mentally trying to make them turn around: it’s pointless, it doesn’t really work … Continue reading

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Stations of the Gross: “Mark of the Devil” (1970)

    Beware filmmakers who preface their story with a declaration that the movie about to follow has its basis in historical fact; a claim toward legitimacy that inevitably becomes increasingly vaporous as the film unfolds. This is especially true of … Continue reading

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Adrift: “The Last Detail” (1973)

    There are directors whose reputations are built primarily on the not always reliable renewal of interest from dedicatedly obsessive cinema enthusiasts both of the cultish and academic persuasion; the latter faction, of late, seeming to be less discriminate in … Continue reading

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Future Mock: “Sleeper” (1973)

      Woody Allen reveals the absurdity that is the future by mining the ridiculous that is the present in “Sleeper”, a science fiction comedy decidedly lo-tech for all of its futuristic advancements, which only seem to be cheaply plastic extensions … Continue reading

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Leap of Faith: “Evel Knievel” (1971)

    Marvin J. Chomsky’s film”Evel Knievel” is a supposed biography of the famous motorcycle daredevil, though any relationship to persons living or dead are surely coincidental. This biographical film starring George Hamilton (no stranger to cinematic impersonation, portraying Moss … Continue reading

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Apocalypse Why?: “DAMNATION ALLEY” (1977)

    Hollywood loves a good apocalypse. The cinema has been rife with visions of Man’s inevitable (according to filmmakers) plunge into the doomsday abyss, whether through atomic obliteration (“On the Beach”, “The World, the Flesh and the Devil”, “Five”, “Panic … Continue reading

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Suppose They Committed a Murder and Nobody Cared?: “Le foto proibite di una signora per bene” (1970)

           “Why on Earth should I love you less because of a sex fiend?”        A young woman takes a bubble bath, drinks to excess and pops unknown pharmaceuticals while mentally fantasizing about tormenting her … Continue reading

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The End of the World on $5 a Day: “Crack in the World” (1965)

   Film makers seem to love destroying things; whether out of a sense of misplaced professional frustration (After all, it is the director who is the God-like authority on the set, are they not?) or the thought that since they … Continue reading

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All Torn Up and No Place to Go: “Willard” (1971)

    Based on Stephen Gilbert’s nasty little chiller Ratman’s Notebooks, Daniel Mann’s 1971 “Willard” is a horror movie that has the feel of a domestic drama about loneliness that just happens to feature a few rat homicides.  Though the film … Continue reading

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Concerning the Curious Case of an Unnatural Amount of Homework: “The Teacher” (1974)

   The effect of the removal of the Production Code with regard to the drive-in youth market had an incalculable, though slow, effect on the films produced which always featured- more than mainstream releases -the wholly exploitable elements of action, … Continue reading

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Tales of Timid Terror: “The Vault of Horror” (1973)

________________________________________________________________    The follow-up to Freddie Francis’ stylish and enjoyable “Tales From the Crypt” finds five more characters recounting troubling dreams that turn out to be…well, you know the drill. Nastier and more vicious than its predecessor, it is also less … Continue reading

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Bloody Good Show: “Tales From the Crypt” (1972)

________________________________________________________________      Sometimes, one cultural form takes decades longer to reach a path on which another has already tread. In the case of American film, the restrictions produced by the inflexible Production Code meant that what was more freely … Continue reading

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice: “Colossus: The Forbin Project” (1970)

    The computer running amok in SF film is a natural extension of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel in which the creator is challenged by what is in essence a mirror image of himself (explicitly depicted as such in the initial cinematic … Continue reading

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