Hecklers Needed: “Dance Hall Racket” (1953)

dancehallracket2

WAS IT SOMETHING HE WROTE?: While one fortunate actor is left to contemplate the luck of his early demise in Phil Tucker’s atrocious “Dance Hall Racket”, Honey Bruce (here alibied as Honey Harlow) watches as real-life husband Lenny Bruce is manhandled by perpetual bad film contributor Timothy Farrell; no doubt over the crummy dialogue written by the “comic genius”.

            “Dance Hall Racket”  (1953)

  Critics have been arguing for decades over the genius/mediocrity of the late comedian Lenny Bruce, but with scant direct filmed evidence to make a case either way (certainly the horribly miscast Bob Fosse directed biopic “Lenny” did not help in any way), the verdictdancehallracketos may perpetually be unresolved. “Dance Hall Racket”, the only extended feature film appearance of the late comic as an actor will only further roadblock the cause for cultural canonization as Bruce is awkward, hesitant and often physically unable to spit out his admittedly horrible dialogue. The situation may be worse than first imagined, however, as Bruce is also credited with writing the same admittedly horrible dialogue.

    Directed by Phil Tucker between his work on the notorious SF hiccup “Robot Monster” and one of his sociological treatises on ecdysiasts, “Tijuana After Midnight”, “Dance Hall Racket” is the kind of backyard production that might have resulted when Mickey and Judy decided to “put on a show”, if their intention was imitate the tried and true gangster film by divesting themselves of every healthy creative instinct, all the while emphasizing the nickel and dime productiondancehallracket3 values (and having change left over) that would make any PRC production look like a Cecil B. DeMille opus by comparison.

   Low level racketeer Umberto Scalli (Timothy Farrell) runs a run down dance hall while running a diamond smuggling operation in his office. His hot-tempered flunky Vincent (Lenny Bruce) kills one of his contacts- a off-duty sailor  -in the crowded hall, but as in keeping with the traditions of bad movie convenience, no one notices, and Vinnie and an associate easily dispose of the body. Enter the authorities, who send an undercover man to solve the mystery, but whose genuine function only seems to be to contain the story within the confines of the film’s few crummy sets. Oddly, none of this will have any relevance to the outcome of the movie.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/poverty-row/

 

 

Posted in Boston, crime, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “Four Dimensions of Greta” (1972)


fourdimensions2 “Four Dimensions of Greta” (1972)
Never at a loss for a gimmick to lure unsuspecting patrons to  fill seats, the 3-D craze arrived on the shores of England about two decades late with “Four Dimensions of Greta”, a film that despite its visual gimmickry still grovels in the same exploitation mire as every other film attached with the directorial stamp of Peter Walker. On assignment for a German magazine, horny young journalist Hans Wiemer (Tristan Rogers)  is sent to London for a penetrating investigation of that most critical of global crises: the au pair experience. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandlers-trailers-short-bits-for-emerging-cinephiles-and-a-better-america/

 

 

Posted in British films, crime, erotica, London, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Romance, sex, women | 3 Comments

A Not So Fine Madness: “A Reflection of Fear” (1972)


areflectionoffear1       “A Reflection of Fear”  (1972)

  Cinematographers who assume the director’s mantle often produce movies which heavily favor the visual rather than the contextually comprehensible, with the fledgling filmmaker often failing to make allowances for the fact that rarely can a film achieve itsareflectionoffearOS intended goals with an overreliance upon the pictorial to the exclusion of almost everything else (Jack Cardiff’s “Girl on a Motorcycle” is a case in point).

    In the case of William A Fraker’s “A Reflection of Fear”, the film was rumored to have had extensive post-production reworking and interference from the studio, though in those unfortunate cases there is generally a sense of diminution of the film’s intentions, whereas in Fraker’s film there is hardly a occasion where any two contiguous scenes offer a clue as to what the audience is expected to decipher from the plot which is a series of contradictory convolutions wrapped within tediously conventional psychological thriller genre tropes. 

    Marguerite (Sondra Locke) is a fifteen year old who has been raised in a completely reclusive environment with no friends and few personal connections outside of her strangely domineering mother, Katherine (Mary Ure) and grandmother, Julia (Signe Hasso). Her inflexibly restrictive and lonely existence, which seems to have promoted an extremeareflectionoffear5 form of delusional interaction with imaginary companions, is about to experience a serious disruption with the arrival of her father, Michael (Robert Shaw), who has been absent from her life for ten years. The purpose of Michael’s visit is to obtain a divorce from Katherine so that he might marry his girlfriend Anne (Sally Kellerman), though in their reconciliation, it is obvious to everyone that there is more than a healthy father-daughter attraction between Michael and Marguerite. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-laurel-drive-in/

 

 

Posted in books, Canada, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Solo: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Jan. 2019 Edition, Vol. 1


passengers1Solo:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Jan. 2019 Edition, Vol. 1

    The act of being alone comes in many forms in the cinema, from a voluntary solitude to an imposed seclusion, with the reaction to such isolation ranging from moodiness to surrendering to the brink of madness. However, anyone who enjoys a long weekend in Boston with the streets magically cleared of a vast majority of the population-  giving the illusion that you havealonegif1 suddenly been blessed with insertion in one of those The Twilight Zone episodes in which the entire population has vanished without a trace, which seems like a bad idea on the program, but encountered in the real world gives one the warm sensation of having won the lottery without buying a ticket  -might think that the feelings of emotional devastation rendered on the Silver Screen are subject to a bit of overreach. Nevertheless, being cognizant that not everyone shares the extremities of antisocial attitudes of we here at CSR, there are many instances in the movies in which the act of being alone brings with it a meditative placidity that some might find comforting, but they’re probably anarchists anyway. And with this awkward (and probably morally inappropriate) segue we bring you yet another in a long line of editions of America’s favorite monthly brain stimulant, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you, as always, by the street pushers of SKITTLES, America’s favorite legally addictive breakfast candy. In this edition we celebrate those films in which characters experience the extremes of solitude whether voluntarily, or more likely, through the cruel hands of fate. Your task, as always, is to identify each of the following twenty five movies and report your finding right back here for evaluation. The first to correctly identify all twenty five films will be the proud recipient of the CSR Culture Shock Award, the only cultural honorarium that can act as both an amenable companion and an emergency flotation device. Good luck.  

01)alone1402)alone103)alone504)alone4.png05)alone906)alone207)alone708)alone609)alone1610)alone1311)alone1112)alone313)alone1014)alone1215)alone1516)alone817)alone1718)alone2119)alone 2320)alone20-e1546032356720.jpg21)alone1922)alone26.jpg23)alone2224)alone2425)alone25

 

 

Posted in biography, books, British films, Bruce Dern, comedy, History, movie remakes, Movies, science fiction, silent movies, Steve McQueen, women | 4 Comments

Chandler’s Trailers: “Invasion U.S.A.” (1952)


invasionusa1

“Invasion U.S.A.”  (1952)  If one can imagine a production of  “The Time of Your Life” reconstituted with “Fail-Safe”, you might get a pretty good idea of the awkward Cold War civics lesson that is “Invasion U.S.A.”, a collection of mismatched and inconsistent stock footage wrapped around a few dramatic scenes, including a few ridiculously low-tech scenes of Soviet officers (though never specifically identified as “the enemy”, it’s pretty obvious) standing in front of a chart, directing their entire global assault. The denizens of a Manhattan bar are engrossed in awkward and stilted dialogue meant to reveal the shared social indifference of stock movie characters (who cavalierly dismiss worrisome news broadcasts from the bar’s large flat screen TV, strangely ignorant of the fact that such an item was decades away from being available), when they are suddenly entranced (in more ways than one) by a pensive stranger named Mr. Ohmer  (the underrated Dan O’Herlihy) who seems fixated on swirling his extremely large brandy snifter. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandlers-trailers-short-bits-for-emerging-cinephiles-and-a-better-america/

Posted in Cold War, Drive-In Movies, movie reviews, Movies, politics, Reviews, Romance, war movies | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Overcooked: “Coma” (1978)


0000coma          
           “Coma”  (1978)

     In his debut novel ‘Coma’, Robin Cook presented an unlikely set of circumstances concerning a vast criminal conspiracy within a fictitious Boston hospital, that stretched the very pretense of plausibility as the incidents of mayhem pile up far too rapidlycomaOS to not be noticed by anyone of responsible character or authority. The novel is one of those breathless thrillers that seem to exist outside of the constraints of reality (this is true of most contemporary action movies as well), so that the heroine-  in this case a beautiful (naturally) medical student named Susan Wheeler, whose nose for sniffing out mischief makes her the hospital rounds equivalent of Nancy Drew  -is able to demonstrate abilities enabling her to penetrate the labyrinth of a secretive operation that would baffle seasoned experts, though her alarmist proclivities never extend to thinking of picking up a telephone to the police even as the mysteriously undetected bodies begin piling up at an laughable rate.
 
    These types of thriller plots operate on what might be best described as the Blind World Principle, in which it is assumed that while the hero/heroine is possessed of the acumen of Sherlock Holmes, the remainder of the characters must be incognizant to anything that goes on about them. Many of these problems are initially addressed and seemingly corrected in Michael Crichton’s filmization, which for the first fifty minutes is an efficiently orchestrated piece of low-key storytelling, keenly reimagining the pulp elements of the novel into a more realistic framework; knowingly playing off of the audience’s inviolable sense of psychological foreboding toward the impersonal environs of a hospital which, ironically, is the arena dedicated to the most coma2personal of bodily intrusions. After such an auspicious first half in which the film is comfortably in the company of the best film procedurals (Bo Widerberg’s “Mannen på taket”, for example), Crichton unaccountably abandons the film’s unaffected verisimilitude (in which the resistance to sensational Hollywood melodrama is similar to that as seen in Alan J. Pakula’s fine thriller, equally imbued with a paranoiac core, “All the President’s Men”) is a case study in a director going spectacularly wrong when not trusting their creative instincts in favor of conceding to the tried and true, but generic, mechanics of constructing a movie thriller. 
 
To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-sack-cinemas/
 
 
Posted in books, Boston, medicine, Michael Crichton, Movies, Mystery, Richard Widmark, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Ballot Stuffing: “Linda Lovelace for President” (1975)


lindapres7            “Linda Lovelace for President”  (1975)

    Chances are that if a movie announces upfront that it intends to offend every member of the audience, the results will be fairly pedestrian, as a truly provocative feature wouldlindapresOS let the material speak for itself. “Linda Lovelace for President” does manage to offend, but only in that ho-hum way of the truly awful. As a comedy, the film manages to be uniformly unfunny, certainly not a unique accomplishment what with dozens of competitive examples unleashed upon the public every year; though with its rapid fire Hellzapopin’– style of anything for a laugh jokiness, this film may qualify for some sort of quantitative honorarium for negative achievement simply the sheer number of witless swings and misses it mistakenly presents as humor.

    The film’s premise suggests that celebrity alone is enough to propel a person to the White House, and with that in mind, the early 70’s Porno Chic princess Linda Lovelace is offered the presidential nomination by a convention of what is meant to be a cross-section of America (including a Saudi prince, a Chinese Communist and a Nazi) and begins what might be referred to as a grass roots campaign to ascend to national office. The nature of Ms. Lovelace’s public reputation being entirely due to her sword swallowing abilities (her subsequent efforts to publicize herself as the incarnationlindapres3 of the Sexual Revolution’s Mother Courage would emerge five year later), one might suppose that the direction of the film would take would somehow put a comedic spin on how sex and politics make for strange (if not unfamiliar) bedfellows. However, the extremely scattershot nature of the film is a prolonged and agonizing stream of consciousness of aimless, tired crudity resulting in an experience that is the cinematic version of Tourette syndrome.

To read the complete review, click the following link to: https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/remembrance-of-films-forgotten/

Posted in comedy, grindhouse, Linda Lovelace, movie reviews, Movies, politics, racism, Reviews, sex, women, writing | 4 Comments

Chandler’s Trailers: “Zeta One” (1969)


zetaone4

“Zeta One”  (1969) Presumably intended as a spoof of spoofs of the Eurospy film, “Zeta One” is little more than a succession of baffling, tedious scenes whose only connection is the desire to undrape the dozens of shapely actresses who found their careers on a sufficient skid to sign up for this paltry British contribution to the sexploitation genre. Secret agent James Word (Robin Hawdon) relates the details of his latest mission with his bed partner Ann Olsen (Yutte Stensgaard), the secretary of his boss ‘W’, with whom he opens the film engaged in an interminable session of strip poker, which has nothing to do with the rest of the film except to set up the flashback structure which could have been accomplished without the needless twenty minute delay. The mission concerns the Angvians,  who area race of converted kidnapped Earth women (a process achieved by naked immersion is something resembling an immense lava lamp), led by Zeta (Dawn Addams), a creature of either extraterrestrial or interdimensional origin (the film is undecided as to such minor details).

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandlers-trailers-short-bits-for-emerging-cinephiles-and-a-better-america/

 

Posted in British films, Drive-In Movies, erotica, espionage, movie reviews, Movies, science fiction, sex, women | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Saving Santa: “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t” (1966)


christmas7          “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t”  (1966)e

    Hollywood (a popular cultural abstract which we use as a convenient shorthand to identify the purely commercial cinema regardless of geographical origin) may be manychristmasOS things, but a reputable harbinger of advancing an unpolluted celebration of Yuletide spiritual innocence is certainly not one of them.

    The characteristic common to virtually every Christmas film is the inevitable presence of a sneering blackguard of such a villainously contemptable disposition that they all but invite an eruptive hiss from the audience of such violently repulsed emotion that one would think William Castle had outfitted the theater with a hidden system of out of control compression air hoses.

    These seasonal ne’er-do-wells are tasked with the unenviable burden-   and thus providing the dramatic impetus of their films  -of proving that good will and glad tidings are the foolish consistencies that are the true hobgoblins of little minds.* How insupportable are these characters who balk at the very concept of Christmas (and by villainous extension, as shamelessly proffered in every one of these films, the happiness of children), regardless of whether that concept is of the traditionally ecclesiastical variety or of the contemporary sectarian one in which the prominent holy figure is that of the department mall St. Nick, the modern symbol of all that is great and good and charitable, yet has been adopted by the purveyors (most especially the media, and most especially the movies) of capitalism, who have effectivelychristmas1 converted Luke 2:11 into a mandate asserting that all modern forms of holiday cheer are based upon the fourth quarter retail sales figures (especially to all of those little elves at the annual Macy’s stockholders meeting).

    Supplanting these altruistic holiday impulses is the movies; a cultural enterprise in which the only consistent conscious artistic impulse is to open big in the lucrative Asian marketplace; hardly commensurate with that brief reminder of spiritual values laid out by Charles Schultz’ blanket wielding sage as to the true meaning of the holiday, when everyone in Hollywood knows that, indeed, out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom, but only if what comes out of their mouths is the a screaming demand for cheaply manufactured movie franchise tie-in merchandise.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/the-film-vault-index-of-reviewed-films/ho-ho-ho-happy-holidays-from-the-critical-establishment/

    

 

 

Posted in books, children, children's books, Christmas, fantasy, holidays, Movies, Musicals, Santa Claus, writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Big Bang: “Krakatoa East of Java” (1969)

 

krakatoa5

TURN AROUND STUPID: Captain Hanson (Maximilian Schell) and his lover Laura (Diane Baker) gaze in awe at the obvious warning signs of impending disaster but, in the best Hollywood tradition of unexplainable behavior, continue to sail into the Valley of Death in Bernard L. Kowalski’s “Krakatoa East of Java”.

    “Krakatoa East of Java”  (1969)

    Seldom have adventure films sunk from their own surfeit of narrative ballast as dramatically as Bernard L. Kowalski’s “Krakatoa East of Java”, a film that juggles so many storylines- ensuring that none will see the light of full coherence  -that the eponymous volcano is relegatedkrakatoaOS to the lowly status of an afterthought until all hell necessarily breaks loose in the final reels.

    The film follows an event-filled voyage of the steamer Batavia Queen from its port located on the coast of West Java (the title of the film famously misdirects the location of Krakatoa in proximity to Java, yet this trivial amusement has little to do with evaluating the substance of the production) to offshore the volcanic Krakatoa, primarily in search of a sunken cache of pearls, but also to administer psychic healing to the more-than-slightly unhinged love interest of the ship’s Captain Chris Hanson  (Maximilian Schell), Laura Travis (Diane Baker). From such melodramatically eruptive personal relationships are born highly suspect, exotically located adventure films, especially when all of the purely soap opera elements are churning just out of reach of the destination volcanic island which is doing its best to discourage all interlopers with continuous warning signs of pending catastrophic volatility; warning signs that will be, needless to say, ignored due to the demands of the disaster film which regularly necessitates behavior so uncannily ill-considered that such persons would be declared mentally incompetent in a real-world court of law.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/now-playing-at-the-mercado-cinema/

 

 

Posted in disaster films, History, movie reviews, Movies, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Egypt, Unwrapped: “The Mummy” (1932)

 mummy82    “The Mummy”    (1932)

    The first of the major Universal sound horror films which relied upon the invention of screenwriters rather than a direct literary predecessor, Karl Freund’s “The Mummy” enjoys the luxury in the depiction of the title creature’s origin backstory and continued tale of menace without the critical distraction of source comparisons. That being said, itmummyOS is remarkable as to how many elements of the film seem vaguely familiar, as if directly lifted, by way of clever transposition, from previous successes, most prominently Tod Browning’s “Dracula”. That Freund, the earlier film’s cinematographer, is promoted to the director’s chair and actors David MannersEdward Van Sloane are prominently featured in both films,  certainly contributes to a certain air of déjà vu; but it is the presence of John Balderston which accounts for the prematurely formulaic sense of reincarnated genre tropes to which the film is attributable (he managed to make a  stuffy drawing room drama out of Stoker’s seminal novel, from which every incarnation  since has immeasurably suffered). 

    In 1921, a group of archeologists, including Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron) and an expert in occultism Dr. Muller (Edward Van Sloan) under the sponsorship of the British Museum, make some remarkable finds in an Egyptian dig (despite early exchanges in which characters  complain, with contradictory fervor, that their labors have yielded little of value!); a perfectly preserved mummy of the high priest Imhotep (Boris Karloff), and a mysterious chest whose contents are protected by a dire caution ofmummy6 death. As though he were unfamiliar with lesson to be learned from the tale of Pandora’s Box, Sir Joseph’s assistant, the foolhardy Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher), reveals the contents of the casket (Just how would horror films thrive without the cooperation of rational people who recklessly run headfirst to their doom?), the Scroll of Thoth, imprinted with forbidden holy words of resurrection, the substance of which the film foolishly opens, making the text sound like a Pep Squad chant for ancient deities. The revived mummy, shocks the startled Norton into a paroxysm of insane laughter. from which he never recovers; though just how the shuffling Imhotep manages to elude both Sir Joseph and Dr. Muller, who are standing just outside the entrance to the chamber, is a mystery.

 To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/evenings-at-the-afi/

Posted in Boris Karloff, horror, horror films, Movies, Pre-Code Movies, religion, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Dear Cinema Santa: 2018 Edition

 

gloriainexcelsisdeo

You too would be exclaiming Gloria in excelsis deo if you found this sleepy little elf left under your Christmas tree.

       Dear Cinema Santa:  2018 Edition

    Once again dear friends (and you folks in Vermont) it is that time to weigh in on the past year’s accumulation of greedy impulses and dissatisfaction with the world of movies with our Dear Cinema Santa Wish List, an annual tradition here at CSR in which we ask for very little and expect to receive even less. 

Animated Gif Christmas (384)We are quite fed up with the Criterion Collection’s more recent lapses in judgment by ignoring truly interesting films and instead featuring the promotion of undeniable trash (“Valley of the Dolls”? Really?). So, here are a few titles that we are still asking for in case anyone is listening: Barbara Loden’s “Wanda”, Joseph Losey’s “The Go-Between”, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi’s “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore”, Ken Russell’s “The Boy Friend”, Solanas and Getino’s “The Hour of the Furnaces”, Jean Eustache’s “The Mother and the Whore”, Bo Widerberg’s “Joe Hill” and “Man on the Roof”, Michael Ritchie’s “The Candidate” and perhaps Eclipse box sets featuring the films of Mai Zetterling and Susan Sontag.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)More movie theaters and fewer community performance centers. The trend toward non-profit groups buying out abandoned old movie theaters and restoring them is something that CSR can’t help but find commendable. However, instead of being used as a film venue as intended, most are converted into performance arts centers which, more often than not, play host to Mrs. Hastings’ 3rd grader production of “The Night of the Iguana”. At least the wrecking ball ends the suffering quickly.

Animated Gif Christmas (384)The end of useless, endless and needlessly expensive political campaigns. Instead, let all of the prospective candidates show their mettle by pursuing their office as the prize of a giant road race, with inauguration papers hidden under a “Big WH”. 

To read the complete wish list, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/the-film-vault-index-of-reviewed-films/ho-ho-ho-happy-holidays-from-the-critical-establishment/

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in art house cinema, blogging, Boston, Christmas, holidays, humor, Mai Zetterling., Movies, theater, vermont, women, writing | 5 Comments

Floating: “Zeppelin” (1971)


000000zeppelin6            “Zeppelin”  (1971)

    The staggering cost in human lives resulting from global conflicts is reemphasized in Etienne Perier’s World War I adventure “Zeppelin”, one of those myriad cinema fantasies in which the fate of the War, if not the world, is reliant on the quick thinking000000zeppelinOS and romantic attraction of a solitary intelligence agent, here played by an unlikely Michael York. Such a victory might also come with the participation other factors, such as armies, battle strategies and civilian sacrifice during the depletion of wartime resources; none of which seems to be a pertinent factor here, whereas the cut of Alexandra Stewart’s negligee seems of be of heretofore underappreciated vital national importance.

     York portrays Scotsman Geoffrey Richter-Douglas, a lieutenant in the British Army during World War I, who meets a beautiful woman at a party named Stephanie (Stewart), who just happens to be a German spy and with whom he falls in love. She attempts to convince him to desert and return to the bosom of the Germanic side of his family, a suggestion that is all too amenable to his superiors who wish the lieutenant to become a spy and use his family’s connections to somehow penetrate the obviously lax security of German military intelligence and gather valuable information on the LZ36, the newest version of their Zeppelin airship; an improved version of the one shown terrorizing London in the opening scenes. 

   Geoffrey’s defection is staged with a minimum of the theatricality for which British Intelligence has become famous in the movies (a bullet wound in the upper arm is deemed sufficient to grant him credibility) and before Roy Budd’s spirited escape music has a chance to subside from memory, Geoffrey is already safely embraced to the bosomzeppelin1 of German Intelligence (who have their own motives in activating Geoffrey’s desertion from England in the first place) and will have conveniently bumped into an old family friend, Professor Altshul (Marius Goring, in a performance packed with so much barely contained eccentricity, it makes you wonder why Michael Ripper wasn’t cast in the role), who, just as conveniently, happens to be the engineering genius behind the new LZ36. Possible complications arise with Geoffrey’s introduction to Altshul’s new young bride, Erika (Elke Sommer), a fellow engineer who immediately assumes Geoffrey is a spy (could it be the Scot-German’s clipped Oxford accent?), though she never acts on her suspicions.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-aspen-hill-cinema/

Posted in espionage, History, London, Michael York, Movies, Romance, war movies, women, writing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Ups and Downs: “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” (1975)


manskied1      “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”  (1975)

    When George Mallory famously responded to the question as to why he wanted to climb Mount Everest with the seemingly flippant remark- “Because it’s there” -his briefmanskiedOS answer would prove to provide a succinct definition as to rationalizing the existential challenge to the modern adventurer. However, when the specific nature of said adventures fall into the category of  novelty rather than that of significance, then such a conquest of historic inconsequence calls for outside observers to apply the brakes of practical comparative criticism. Such a novelty challenge is not so much explored than merely recorded in the Bruce Crawley production of “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”, in what, in essence, is a testament to Man’s persistence in personal glory regardless of the sacrifice or expense to others.

   The film relates, in interestingly documented logistical and technical detail, the method by which hundreds of porters, Sherpas, technicians, journalists and fellow climbers journey from Katmandu to Mount Everest so that Japanese alpine skier Yûichirô Miura may try his hand at being the first man to every ski down the world’s highest peak. The film is narrated completely from the journal of Miura, his words given voice by Canadian actor Douglas Rain (familiar as the voice of HAL 9000 in “2001”), and since his perspective is the only directly articulated window we are given as to nature and purpose of the venture, we manwho2are beholden to his judgment in all matters except for one: what we see for ourselves in the remarkable captured footage, which often either contradicts or minimizes the often pie in the sky philosophical ramblings which fail to account for the reality of the hardships his singular quest for adventure is wreaking on his absurdly vast support team. Rather than a heroic figure, the spoken text reveals the skier to be something of a narcissistic, arrogant jerk, as well as a singularly unimaginative tour guide; espousing prosaic musings meant to memorialize his own status, yet never once do the thoughts of the man capture the poetry of aesthetic splendor in a single one of the wondrous images captured by the camera crew headed by director of photography Mitsuji Kanau.

To read the complete review, click the following link to: https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-orson-welles-cinema/

 

Posted in art house cinema, biography, Documentaries, History, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Silent Revenge: “Oggi a me… domani a te!” (1968)


oggi1      
“Oggi a me… domani a te!”  (1968)

    “Oggi a me… domani a te!”, a.k.a. “Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die!”, is a not an untypical example of the spaghetti western genre (or the western, period) in that the plotoggiameOS is fueled by an obsessive hunger for revenge. However, rather than featuring a lone vengeance seeking individual, the method of exacting said retribution is given a novel twist with the incorporation of a small band of hired guns à la “The Magnificent Seven”, though here they might be more accurately described as “The Genre Type Five” , with the mercenary group featuring a gambler (William Berger), strongman (Bud Spencer, with an obviously fake beard), ex-lawman (Wayde Preston) and gunfighter (Franco Borelli, credited as Stanley Gordon), all lead by Kiowa (Brett Halsey, credited as Montgomery Ford), a mysterious man of few words who just happens to be wearing the exact outfit worn by Franco Nero’s iconic Django.

    The quintet is on the hunt for the machete wielding leader of a group of vicious Comancheros, Elfego (Japanese great Tatsuya Nakadai, slumming here), who is seen in a sepia toned flashback sequence (which makes the mise-en-scene look  even more impoverished than it already does) killing Kiowa’s wife and framing him for which he isoggi4 sent to prison, and thus providing the fuel for sour grapes that provides  the film its threadbare plot. At no time is it explained why  Elfego engages in such an act of betrayal as he and Kiowa appear to have been friends. (Are they? Who knows?) Nor are we privy as to how Kiowa- beyond the promise of ten thousand dollars each  – persuasively recruits his hired guns to ride with a stranger and face off against tremendous odds, when the motive is personal? Where are his persuasive arguments? And most importantly, when is the strategy revealed in defeating a small army of killers?

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/cinema-italiano/

 

Posted in Drive-In Movies, grindhouse, Italian cinema, movie reviews, Movies, Spaghetti Westerns, westerns, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Vacancy: “Cancel My Reservation” (1972)


cancelreservation1.png            “Cancel My Reservation”  (1972)

    Bob Hope’s last starring film role is so wince inducing, audience members may be in danger of developing permanent facial tics. This would-be murder mystery, based on acancelreservationHS novel by Louis L’Amour, but here intended for laughs, imagines stars Hope and Eva Marie Saint as a sort of modern day Nick and Nora Charles, but without any visible effort to replicate the chemistry, sophistication, wit or actual sense of mystery of the “Thin Man” series.

    Hope plays a 42 year old (now, that’s funny) television talk show host Dan Bartlett who, after an on-air tiff with his co-host/spouse Sheila, is medically advised to take a solo vacation to their house in Arizona, where he discovers the dead body of a young Indian woman and even though the bodies begin to pile up, there never seems to be a particular immediacy on the part of the bumbling police (Keenan Wynn and Doodles Weaver doing their best to elicit snickers with material that’s dead on arrival), thus allowing for Dan and his newly arrived wife to play amateur sleuths. However, it might have occurred to someone during the shoot that a mystery comedy should, at a minimum, contain a fair amount of laughs and a trace of intrigue, as when neither objective is reached, the results must be professionally dispiriting; as evidenced by the only notable killing in the film: the protracted 99 minute death rattle which signifies the end of the star’s career in the movies.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-laurel-drive-in/

Posted in Bob Hope, comedy, crime, Culture, Drive-In Movies, Movies, Mystery, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Scraps: “something big” (1971)

bigsomething2                     “something big”  (1971)

    Joe Baker (Dean Martin) is an outlaw with a desire to do “something big” before returning to a Pennsylvania life of domesticity with his Scottish fiancé Dove McBride (thebigsomethingOS always welcome Carol White). In the course of realizing this wish, he and his gang will rob several stagecoaches, kidnap the wife of Army Colonel Morgan (Brian Keith), indulge in a bit of white slavery in order to steal a Gatling gun, hijack a shipment of whiskey which they then unlawfully deliver to an Indian tribe and slaughter an entire village filled with Mexican bandits. The film is presented as a comedy.

    There are many problems with Andrew V. McLaglen’s “something big”, not the least of which is the film’s violent mood swings which appear to be by design, as if the screenwriter James Lee Barrett and the director (both also acting as producers, so the usual backstage alibi of executive interference seems unlikely) were unsure as the  direction they wished their opus to follow and instead decided to unwisely incorporate influences from a variety of forms within the genre. Both Barrett and McLaglen cut their creative teeth steeped in the traditional western form, and their desire to move beyond such a long standing comfort zone is admirable, though the resulting cut and paste quilt of styles seems an ill-conceived effort to appease genre enthusiasts of every  stripe, yet producing a work almost guaranteed to please none.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-wheaton-plaza-playhouse/

Posted in comedy, Dean Martin, John Ford, movie reviews, Movies, music, Romance, westerns, women, writing | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Ho Ho Ho: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec 2018 Edition, Vol. $50hr


hohohos00Ho Ho Ho: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Dec. 2018 Edition, Vol. $50hr

    If not the oldest profession, it certainly would counted high on the list of most depicted professions on the silver screen. We are, of course, referring to the humble hooker (Call ’em what you will: prostitutes, ladies of the evening, fallen women, whores with a heart of gold, call girls, escorts; they’re all there in Bill Clinton’s appointment book. But I digress…) and the sheer volume of their portrayal on the silver screen leads to several critical questions: Why the fascination in Hollywood? Why is it that so many prominent actresses, most whohohohosgif2 profess an undying loyalty to radical feminism (Hollywood-style soldiers in the fight against female sexual objectivity, who attend every red carpet event barely draped in a designer outfit equipped with a plunging neckline extending down to their custom bikini waxing) are inexplicably drawn toward portraying roles that virtually scream objectifying sensationalism? However, not wearing the hat of philosopher nor graced with the ability to mystically communicate with the spirit of Bertrand Russell, we will reserve such inquiries to those best suited to the task and, instead, announce that all ofhohohosgif this jabber is in introduction to this month’s edition of America’s favorite substitute for international Curling competitions, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this and every month by those fine folks who bring you SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast candy. In this edition, we celebrate the Production Code’s greatest nightmare: the paid easy date. Each of the following twenty five images features a film in which the featured business woman enters every casual relationship with the meter running. Your task, as always, is to identify the films illustrated, correctly if you please, and let us know so we might hand you the provocative CSR Culture Shock Award, the next best thing to being there. (What? And good luck.)

01)hohohos102)hohohos903)hohohos304)hohohos205)hohohos1106)hohohos807)hohohos708)hohohos1409)hohohos1510)hohohos1711)hohohos1312)hohohos1813)hohohos1214)hohohos415)hohohos1916)hohohos617)hohohos1818)hohohos10.png19)hohohos2220)hohohos2321)hohohos2522)hohohos4423)hohohos2424)hohohos3225)
hohohos5

 

 

Posted in books, cinema, Eartha Kitt, History, Italian cinema, Movies, Musicals, sex, Sophia Loren, theater, westerns, women | 11 Comments

Soft-Boiled: “The Price of Fear” (1956)

pricefear2            “The Price of Fear”  (1956)

       There’s enough nervous fidgeting going on in Abner Biberman’s “The Price of Fear” to replicate seismic tremors, yet such an abundance of consternation seems unmerited inpriceoffearOS this slight but admittedly energetic crime drama in which the most forgiving police dragnet in memory surrounds good guy Dave Barrett (Lex Barker), co-owner of a dog track which is being muscled in on by local crime kingpin Frankie Edare (Warren Stevens) and his squirrely henchman Victor (Phillip Pine). It’s the kind of film which telegraphs the seriousness of the  hoods by how low they wear their fedora brims or how high they arch one eyebrow in any particular scene.

    Successful bank executive Jessica Warren (Merle Oberon) ends an evening of drunken celebration by striking down an elderly professor with her car. Fleeing the scene in a panic, she stops to telephone the police, and while dialing, Dave Barrett grabs her idling car in order to escape a deadly ambush by Victor. Seizing upon the opportunity to not let a passing crime wave go to waste, Jessica calmly informs the police that her car was stolen, thus providing her with a scapegoat for her accident. Meanwhile, with Vince having mislaid his quarry, Frankie sets up Dave’s former partner for a shotgun killing, setting up Dave-  who had earlier threatened the man  -as the convenient patsy.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/matinees-at-the-bijoux/

 

        

 

 

Posted in Boston, crime, Drive-In Movies, film noir, Movies, Reviews, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Seasons Gratings: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, 2018 Advent Calendar Edition, Vol. 50% off


advent0Seasons Gratings: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, 2018 Advent Calendar Edition, Vol. 50% off

    In observance of this festive holiday season, the good folk at Chandler Swain Reviews have decided to desist from the usual obvious jabs at Hillary Clinton, Maxine Waters and the rest of that cadre of cauldron stirring crones to whom the hashtag #MeToo is useful only as a response to the musical question: “who else would like a bribe”? And with that bit of magnanimous conciliation we present this month’s special edition, brought to you in special CSR Daytime Savings Time (special glasses needed to participate are available at 7-Eleven locations nationwide, free with any purchase of a specially up/down marked Florida Orange Recount  Slurpee), of America’s most popular reason for giving up the Internet,babesintoylandgif the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you, as always, by those good folks who provide the world SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast candy. In this edition we present the cinematic equivalent of a Christmas Advent Calendar, with a twenty six photo countdown to the Day of Yule (Brynner?) with letters substituting for numbers. Don’t look for candy behind the flaps as that great social scientist Michelle Obama, famous for imposing the ” Lunchtime Purging Project” on the nation’s schoolchildren with the introduction of kale-rich menus, quietly forced lawmakers (through threats of removing the Congressional Martini Bar with a buffet of cruciferous vegetables) to enact Congressional Resolution “AH485911647-0019287756 which provides that “no online advent calendar may offer any other than samplings of sarcasm rather than pleasing, sugary treats, exempt are WH Executive editions which may grant offerings of yummy half smokes and tobacco products to Oval Office participants”, an elitist and inhumane proclamation roundly applauded by our caustically antisocial editorial offices. Way to go, babe. But I digress… The following twenty six images are randomly selected from our extensive (a whole drawer full!) photo archives of useless movie stills. There is to be no thematic connection among the picturesadventgif2 to be inferred beyond that of our usual motive in attempting to baffle, confuse and otherwise annoy the whole of the Internet reading world, with a special attention given to one particularly crabby Brit (and Alex). The challenge is the usual one of identification of the films depicted, this time with a twist. In deference to the difficulty with which these puzzles are met by those who don’t have the answers right in front of them when putting them together, we have devised, for this edition, a kind of excogitative cheat sheet in labelling the photos with an alphabetical rather than numerical designation. The name of the film will correspond with the letter of the image, thus providing a valuable clue in aiding the correct completion of the puzzle. The first twenty to correctly identify all twenty six film will receive the often imitated and more often declared a public health hazard, the CSR Culture Shock Award, suitable for framing or dipping in a tasty onion dip. Good luck.

a)adventab)adventbc)adventcd)adventd.pnge)adventef)adventfg)adventgh)adventhi)adventij)adventjk)adventkl)adventlm)adventmn)adventno)adventop)adventpq)adventqr)adventrs)adventst)adventtu)adventuv)adventvw)adventwx)adventx y)adventyz)adventz

 

 

 

Posted in books, Boston, Christmas, Doris Day, holidays, humor, Movies, photography, politics, theater, women, writing | 8 Comments

Staged Fright: “The Climax” (1944)

 


climax4         “The Climax”  (1944)

    Based upon the 1909 play by Edward Locke, George Waggner’s “The Climax” is a film with obvious pretensions toward elevating the Universal horror film to a more sophisticated and urbane level rather than the usual bogeyman programmers in whichclimaxOS  star Boris Karloff found himself frequently unchallenged as an actor.

    Originally intended as a sequel to the studio’s 1943 remake of “Phantom of the Opera”, “The Climax” makes the same mistakes as its intended antecedent with its meritless surfeit of gaudily staged musical sequences that distract from the central antagonist of the piece; manifested here in the figure of house physician Dr. Friedrich Hohner (Karloff), a man dangerously obsessed with possessing the celebrated operatic diva Marcellina (June Vincent), who vanished mysteriously (though the film reveals the secret of her disappearance in the first minutes of the film with the aid of a clumsily inserted flashback) ten years prior to the central narrative involving the overnight rise of new operetta star Angela Klatt (Susanna Foster). For reasons left best to the plot mechanics left abandoned in unused script drafts, Hohner becomes obsessed with Angela’s voice and its resemblance to Marcellina’s and sets upon a scheme to sabotage the budding star’s career through hypnotic suggestion.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/matinees-at-the-bijoux/

 

Posted in 1940's movies, Boris Karloff, horror, Movies, music, Romance, theater, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Motions: “A Pair of Briefs” (1962)

                    “A Pair of Briefs”  (1962)

        If one were to leave the theater a mere two minutes after the start of Ralph Thomas’ “A Pair of Briefs”, one might conclude that between the suggestively saucy title and the opening scene, in which Mary Peach is seen practicing her trial orations while clothed only in the most intimate apparel, that the film is an example of one of those cheeky sex comedies of which the British film industry found a peculiar fondness,apairofbriefsOS despite the outward appearance of being able to carry on with only a stiff upper lip. In fact, “A Pair of Briefs” is a slight, if charming, comedy which manages that most British of cinema exercises: the pursuit of chaste romance while gently skewering one of the grandly pompous institutions of the Empire, in this case, the judicial system.

    The film’s success rests entirely on the charm of its principals, with jurisprudence suffering unfold fraudulent offenses in the service assuring that the road will be paved, without obstructions, for the enamored  couple (who in typical movie fashion, fail to express the most basic admissions of mutual attraction until the Happily Ever After fade out); with the consummation of family friendly levels of romantic declarations far outweighing the concerns of the Realm. As a legal comedy, it is a featherweight confection, with nary an cutthroat antagonist nor a despicable lawyer in view; an optimistically naïve professional view that, if not realistic, is nonetheless rather refreshing. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to: https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/for-queen-and-country-the-british-cinema/

 

 

Posted in British films, comedy, movie reviews, Movies, Romance, theater, women | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Power Couples


melbrooks     Just for the heck of it, a look at a few of the power couples who have made a difference in the cinema.

couples
acouple2
Set of Les Bonnes Femmes

bermanullman

acouple3

21845-3

fellini1

couples3

acouple88

acouple4

acouple837

 

Posted in biography, Boston, cinema, Federico Fellini, Movies, photography, Roger Vadim, Romance | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Whose West Is It Anyway?: “Tomahawk” (1951)

 

tomahawk1

RED MAN’S BURDEN: Red Cloud (John War Eagle) may be the most important real-life historical figure represented in “Tomahawk”, but his people’s concerns become secondary to the more formulaic Hollywood embellishments of romance and personal revenge. 

        “Tomahawk”  (1951)

    George Sherman’s “Tomahawk” is one of those colorful  1950’s western films of surprising quantity that are (in theory) sympathetic to the American Indian (in this casetomahawkPOS the Sioux) as victims of duplicitous double talk from the government while altogether maintaining an unwavering mindfulness of the importance of thrill inducing sporadically inserted cavalry charging action.

    However, one can’t help but sense the earnestness of the movie’s initially asserted anti-establishment intentions by the almost ludicrously pompous gravitas with which the narrator imparts his information, not unlike those occasions in Cecil B. DeMille epics when the filmmaker attempted to masquerade the hoarier aspects of his epics by dubbing over them with portentous voiceovers; the equivalent of artistic spackle, though in this case, the effort is slightly undercut as the narrator sounds suspiciously similar to Criswell from Ed Wood films. This attempted earnestness often acts as a dampening agent, inducing an unnecessary wet blanket on an already formulaic but nevertheless competently told yarn, which manages to maintain an adequate level of interest in the ultimate outcome of the tenuous frontier tensions between clashing cultures, while seriously shortchanging on the far more interesting historical facts. If there are undeniable pleasures to be taken from the film (there are a few), they are dependent on the professional execution of elements that have become comfortably familiar in westerns rather than by any remarkable extension of said tropes.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-st-george-theater/

 

 

Posted in Drive-In Movies, History, Movies, racism, Romance, westerns, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Who’s That Sleeping in My Head?: “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud” (1975)


reincarnation32
       “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud”  (1975)

    What is it about extrasensory activity in movies that makes you want to run the other way? If a character is blessed with precognitive visions, it is an inevitable curse leading to a great reincarnationofpeterproudOSdeal of hand-wringing, near or actual descents into madness and usually a serial killer turning his sights on that gifted/unlucky individual. On the other hand, if it’s visions of past life experiences we’re talking about, what seems like a miracle of the mind cataloging the consciousness of several lifetimes generally indicates that character (and the viewer) will be stuck in several dreary plots within the same cheap B movie. Such is the case with J. Lee Thompson’s 1975 film “The Reincarnation of Peter Proud”, a movie which manages the too frequent accomplishment of making the preternatural mundane and the mundane even more so (“The Serpent and the Rainbow” anyone?).

    Peter Proud (Michael Sarrazin) is a college professor who is having trouble sleeping, or rather it’s what going on while he is sleeping that’s troubling. Recurring visions of a man swimming in a dark lake and meeting with a violent fate are haunting his REM cycles, and after consultations with sleep specialist Dr.reincarnation30 Sam Goodman (Paul Hecht) prove unsatisfactory, Peter-  armed with the rigorous skepticism of an academic  – takes the next logical diagnostic step with a trip to the local occult shop where neither a Satanic mass or the usual oddball movie background extras dissuade him from pursuing an unlikely course of supernatural investigation based solely on reading a book by Edgar Cayce. Thus engaged, the film-  rather than easily conceding to the lure of supernatural horror film excesses briefly popularized in the wake of the success of “The Exorcist” -essentially becomes an earnest detective story with a major disadvantage in that the audience already knows the nature of Peter’s psychic condition; with the very title of the piece being a less than subtle hint.

   To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nites-at-the-shoppers-world-cinema/

Posted in books, movie reviews, Movies, music, Mystery, new england, psychiatry, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Empty Space: “Space Thing” (1968)


spacething69       “Space Thing”  (1968)

    The most meritoriously insignificant of films, surely among which Byron Mabe’s “Space Thing” may be unhesitatingly included, may often offer themselves up as the bearers of small life lessons concerning the creative miasma known as filmmaking. Through its own embarrassing example of dollar store production values, one nostrumspacethingOS for aspiring cineastes of all stripes-  an adherence to which might alleviate a great deal of consternation further along the production process  – might be in a serious consideration of not actually making the film if you lack the minimum of necessary resources; such as the purchase of paper on which to jot down a script. This caveat might be especially true if your idea for the film can be described with a minimum of no words or less.    

    Considering the complete absence of sexiness in “Space Thing”, the only novelty to engage interest is the supposed science fiction context in what is otherwise merely an extremely tired succession of sexual couplings that are so anemic in their staging and performance that it is quite possible none of the encounters intends to or reaches a level beyond lightweight petting. It is most revealing to ponder the lack of necessity of the film’s location in outer space, as if the pretense of using the traditions of the science fiction film would act as a commercial enhancement promising an elevation to the usual parade of disengaged mattress couplings, but as an example of the SF film,”Space Thing” is as legitimate a contribution to the expanding intellectual reach of the genre (released in the same year as “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “Planet of the Apes” and “Charly”) as would be any suggestion that 1950s nudist camp films merit reevaluation as studies in Cold War geopolitics.

To read the complete review. click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/

Posted in grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, science fiction, sex, Sex in Cinema, women | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Party Crashers: “The Penthouse” (1967)


penthouse1            “The Penthouse”  (1967)

    Two strangely loquacious thugs named Tom (Tony Beckley) and Dick (Norman Rodway) stage an early morning invasion of a penthouse apartment, occupied by BrucepenthouseOS (Terence Morgan), a real estate broker who is enjoying a tryst with his mistress Barbara (Suzy Kendall), during which they terrorize the couple and subject Barbara to multiple acts of rape. Peter Collinson’s debut feature, based upon the Scott Forbes play The Meter Man, is a precursor of far more notorious depictions of domesticity undone through violent invasion by Sam Peckinpah and Michael Haneke, though fortified with the obtuse Pinteresque nature of the script (adapted by Collinson), the film lacks a comforting clarity of thematic intention in which the film can be casually viewed as a variation of prior, more straightforward dramas dealing with anarchic forces disrupting the placid surface of middle class tranquility.

    “The Penthouse” is a thriller that wastes no time in setting up its mousetrap of psychological dominance, yet spares not a single moment in interpreting the actions, statements and motivations of the intruding characters. The majority of the dialogue is relayed as continuous argumentum ad absurdum, a surreal verbosity which results in equal frustration of the hostage characters and the audience; though for the latter, therepenthouse9 are stimulating compensations as there is adequate evidence that the film is not intended to be viewed through the prism of realism  (albeit with heavily italicized black comic elements), but as an example of the Theater of the Absurd. Certainly Tom and Dick’s verbal gamesmanship leaves the hostages and the audience upended with their relentless bipolar assault of disorienting sardonic verbal comments laced with truly frightening moments of pathological rage; a torturous session of psychological humiliation that unaccountably shifts from the apoplectic to the supercilious.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/remembrance-of–films-forgotten/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in British films, crime, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews, theater, women, writing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Down the Hatch: “Deep Throat” (1972)

deepthroat16       “Deep Throat  (1972)

     The only remotely interesting aspect of Gerard Damiano’s “Deep Throat” is that the film which is credited with the popular launching of the so-called era of “Porno Chic” and,deepOS with it, the blueprint for what was to be quickly vilified as an anti-feminist cultural industry beholden to the notion of the sexual objectification of women and the furtherance of the blindly accepted cultural assumption of male dominance in the war of the sexes, should in itself be primarily concerned with the pleasure principle of a woman. What is most remarkable about all of the film’s attention, notoriety and influence is that it is, in fact, a film of no significance as a work of cinema, not even in the realm of the about to explode hardcore scene (in which it stands as a fairly primitive effort), except for the fact that it happened to enjoy a situational “perfect storm” in which bellwether influence is attributable from a film with no appreciable cinematic value. (Isn’t it simply possible that the whispered mystery behind the film’s eponymous sexual talent created a novelty cultural anomaly with the forbidden lure of a carnival freak show; a cause célèbre for the respectably curious who might enter in to the national conversation [“Didn’t Carson talk about it on TV?”] about that thing called “The Sexual Revolution” by way of merely attending what could safely be regarded, not a dirty movie, but a cultural tourist attraction?)

 To read the complete review, click the following link to: https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/cinesinema/

Posted in comedy, erotica, grindhouse, Linda Lovelace, Movies, Porno Chic, pornography, sex, women, writing | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Feminine Mystique: “I Want What I Want” (1972)


iwantwhatiwant1      “I Want What I Want”  (1972)

    A young man hesitatingly sneaks looks at peeks as pretty girls as they pass by, with an uncomfortable longing that will turn out to have less to do with desire with than a desire of the opposite sex. Seldom since Ed Wood’s notorious “Glen or Glenda?” have such mixediwantwhatiwantOS signals been so frankly expressed than in John Dexter’s “I Want What I Want”, the film adaptation of Geoff Brown’s novel that, in large part, thankfully foregoes the pitfalls of walking headlong into a potential minefield of demeaning sensationalism about its subject, a fairly notable accomplishment considering its production  during a period when the commercial cinema was still having a difficult time dealing with sexuality in a straightforward manner, never mind dealing with the complexities of any variation outside of mainstream experience. (Sadly, decades later, the situation has progressed nary a step, despite the prolific volume of pornographically explicit material available with embarrassing ease, the public has become frightfully comfortable with material demonstrating sex without the slightest evident interest in any mature exploration of sexuality.)

    Roy is that young man, a somewhat androgynous fellow whose obvious discomfort in his own gender skin finds an unwanted additional source of suppression through his martinet of a widowed father (Harry Andrews) who unwittingly reinforces Roy’s revulsion of his unwanted sexual identity  by using him as a foil in which the father advances his own lascivious designs against women. Discovered wearing his mother’siwantwhatiwant2 clothes during one of his father’s assignations, Roy leaves the discomfort of his home in an attempt to isolate himself from his past and create a new identity for himself; Roy becomes Wendy by the intricate process of buying women’s clothing and growing his hair to a fashionable feminine length. The passage of time necessary for this illusionary transition is represented by little vignettes involving Roy’s initially awkward attempts at cosmetic makeovers, nail painting and the wearing of high heels. Eventually satisfied that his cosmetic transformation into Wendy has reached a level with which he might enjoy unsuspected identification as a woman, he/she rents a room where she settles into a welcoming relationship with her landlady (Jill Bennett) and fellow boarders, until a tentative but mutual attraction between Wendy and a man named Frank (Michael Coles) threatens to expose Wendy’s true nature, leading to a major life decision.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sexual-politics-in-the-cinema/

Posted in books, British films, Ed Wood, movie reviews, Movies, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Vacancies: “Common-Law Cabin” (1967)


commonlawcabingif

                  “Common-Law Cabin”  (1967)

    “Common-Law Cabin” is a white trash comedy concerning the denizens of a dilapidated ranch cum tourist attraction on the Colorado River. The film begins like an earnest tourismcommonlawcabinOS documentary with narration that is as pregnant with double meaning as the opening lecture on pesticides in  “Z”, though being a Russ Meyer production, the movie is ultimately less concerned with  AAA travel advisories than the attractions of the triple D.

    Hoople Haven is a hopelessly rundown Arizona property owned by Dewey Hoople (Jackie Moran), who along with ex-stripper Babette (Babette Bardot) and his innocent but “healthy” sixteen year old daughter Coral (Adele Rein), host unsuspecting tourists duped by the promise of an “adventure” by Hoople’s unscrupulous and constantly inebriated confederate Cracker (Franklin Bolger). His latest recruits include the fusspot Dr. Martin Ross (John Furlong), his overheated sexpot wife Sheila (Alaina Capri), and a leering ex-detective, Barney Rickert (Ken Swofford), who, from the start, is obviously up to no good as he thinks he’s smarter than anyone else in the film and doesn’t disguise that belief for one moment.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/

 

Posted in comedy, crime, Drive-In Movies, erotica, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, Russ Meyer, sex, women, writing | Tagged | 5 Comments

Chandler’s Trailers: “Frogs” (1972)

frogs5“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 the Crockett clan who are gathered for the annual celebration of his Fourth of July birthday. If Smith’s only concern were that he seems to have been stranded with a road company performing a drive-in version of Tennessee Williams Southern Gothic (in which elusive clarity and common sense are only one less cocktail or one more no to Grandpa away) one might be sympathetic to Elliot’s attempt at playing a hero in an unwritten role, or to question why Jason is so stubborn, despite the mayhem, in proceeding with his celebratory agenda that he regards violent deaths in the family as a personal inconvenience.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandlers-trailers-short-bits-for-emerging-cinephiles-and-a-better-america/ 

Posted in 1970's movies, Alfred Hitchcock, Drive-In Movies, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, writing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

All Spaced Out: Classic Film Photo Quiz, Nov. 2018 Edition, Vol.109876543210


astro27    All Spaced Out:  Classic Film Photo Quiz, Nov. 2018
Edition, Vol. 109876543210

    With the idea of a Space Force looming within striking distance in the political ether (does this mean we can arm with ray guns with an NRA membership?), it seems like as good a time as any to look back with nostalgic fondness on all of those pioneers of space exploration as celebrated in the movies. Unfortunately, with calls for diversity and inclusion nibbling at the heels of Internet good taste (is that an oxymoron?), this would precipitate the inclusion of no good galactic rat fink Ming the Merciless if we wished to feature a photo of Flash Gordon. (Besides, in deference to our Millennial audience… allastrogif two… we didn’t want to present a film of such vintage that the characters might be mistaken for a couple of the Founding Fathers and thus create confusion and disappointment on any subsequent viewings of Hamilton.) So, with this in mind (what?), we present this month’s edition of America’s most stubborn advocate for humankind to reach for the stars and dare Gort to cross Obama’s red line, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by the makers of that most harmonious snack food taken with Tang, SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast astro-candy. In this edition we present twenty five images of movie astronauts fully garbed in the most fashionable space wear NASA (or whatever unnamed foreign agency, whose identities will-  and should  -remain anonymous pending a full Senate investigation) could scrape together in materials that are both breathable and vacuum sealed. (We could have saved a fortune in the budgets if they’d taken our suggestion of encasing our star voyagers in durable Saran Wrap, but I digress…) It is your task to identify all twenty five films and tell us about it. (This ain’t rocket science.) The first to plant their flag on the Undiscovered Country of twenty five correct answers will receive the heavyweight but weightless CSR Culture Shock Award. God speed, John Glenn!

01)astro102)astro203)astro304)astro405)astro506)astro607)astro708)astro9.jpg09)astro1010)astro1111)astro1212)astro1313)astro1414)astro1515)astro1716)astro1817)astro1618)astro1919)astro2120)astro2021)astro2322)astro2423)astro2524)astro2225)astro26

Posted in books, History, Movies, politics, science, science fiction, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Roughage: “Bad Girls Go to Hell” (1965)

 

00000badgirls2

NO EXIT: If the prison bars are visually symbolic, they are quite thematically literal in Doris Wishman’s “Bad Girls Go to Hell”, which presents an inescapable elliptical nightmarish existence to which all women, whether “bad” or not. are destined to suffer. Rather than a misogynistic exercise, it is a bleakly existential portrayal of womanhood unable to find, or be allowed to find, any safe haven in a world filled with men and other women.

          “Bad Girls Go to Hell”   (1965)

    Crossing the perilous chasm that separates the blasé nudie and the realm of the deliberately provocative roughie, director Doris Wishman appears to delve into the distasteful world of misogyny with “Bad Girls Go to Hell”, yet within the loose framework badgirlsOSof her seedy narrative emerges an interesting variation of the time-honored knee jerk reactions to shallowly explored sexism whenever the subject of either the objectification or abuse (physical or sexual) of women is explored in the cinema.

    Ellen (Gigi Darlene) is a young Boston housewife who enjoys the fruits of an existence of traditional but unremarkable domesticity- by all accounts, her husband Ted (Alan Feinstein) is loving and devoted -until she is raped one morning by the building janitor (Harold Key), who threatens to tell her husband what has happened. (Wouldn’t this amount to a criminal confession?) Returning to her apartment, Ellen finds a note under the door from the janitor, demanding that she comes to his room, which she foolishly does, hoping to bribe him from raping her again, which he wouldn’t be able to do if she had (a) called the police, (b) called her husband, or (c) not voluntarily walked into his room. However, during the second rape, she manages to smash her assailant on the skull, killing him instantly. Ellen,00000badgirls3 accompanied by panicked voiceovers and the sometimes overwrought stock jazz selections which Wishman leans heavily upon to carry the film through its more dramatically inert moments (as a writer and director Wishman seems more concerned with getting to a point in the narrative rather than in dramatizing it), she packs her bags and flees to New York City to “disappear in the crowd”, where she is summarily beaten, seduced and raped in her desperate attempt to find sanctuary. Eventually she finds a safe haven with a position as a live-in companion to an elderly invalid, however, but soon, through a startling coincidence that could only happen in the movies, her worst fears are realized. Or are they? Wishman provides one of those twists would have seem to allow the prolonged agony of a woman’s suffering without lasting emotional resonance or genuine consequences. Or does she? With its elliptical plot structure that bluntly projects (or sadistically enjoys, depending on how seriously one takes the film) a more despairing view of pessimism toward the human condition which extends far beyond a singular gender devaluation; unflinchingly portraying a spiraling descent into an existence of unceasing psychological and physical cruelty which, according to the film, innocent women are powerless to escape.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sexual-politics-in-the-cinema/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

Posted in Boston, erotica, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

From the Ashes: “Frankenstein” (1910)

 

frankenstein720

In an image starkly reminiscent of Henry Fuseli’s painting The Nightmare, a prostrate Frankenstein is haunted by his creation in J. Searle Dawley’s 1910 film version of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.

              “Frankenstein”  (1910)

    Though appreciably compromised in its filmic translation from the novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (an introductory title acknowledges the film to be a “liberal adaptation”), not only due to a restrictive running time, but also in resulting necessary pruning of the source-  not due to parochial considerations offrankensteinbrochure potentially sensational material, but due to the thematic breadth of the book, J. Searle Dawley’s 1910 film of “Frankenstein” is an impressively conceived film which, although simplifying the events of the source material, manages to achieve a valiant swing and miss at the thematic heart of the novel; appreciably more than most of the more popular incarnations to follow, as their genesis was fatefully altered by the intermediate intrusion of a 1927 theatrical revision authored by Peggy Webling, additionally seasoned with a liberal  adaptation by John L. Balderston before traveling through a gauntlet of, at least, four additional scenarists, which become the altered Hollywoodized template for most of the Gothically suffused productions to follow.

    The film opens with Frankenstein departing for college and immediately jumps two years ahead when it is announced that he has “discovered the mystery of life”, though no details are shed concerning the nature of this discovery, which is actually in keeping with Shelley’s story, in which Frankenstein’s methodology (outside of the use of used body tissues) was entertained with a similar obscurity; with the novel concerned more with the philosophical underpinnings of frankenstein1such a discovery rather than the nature of its mechanics. However, in dramatizing the creature’s creation, Dawley’s film does suggest tantalizing links to the mythic rather than the scientific; with the monster sculpted in a fiery vat, suggesting an elemental association with the Greek myth of the Titan Prometheus to whom Shelley shares a similar insight into the secrets of life and death and similarly uses that knowledge incautiously, both failing to reconcile responsible action with the acquisition of advanced (read, forbidden) knowledge. Shelley explicitly addresses this very parallel in her thematic attribution when she subtitled her novel: The Modern Prometheus.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandler-swain-reviews-the-silents/

 

Posted in books, fRANKENSTEIN, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, science, silent films, silent movies, theater, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Shooting Blanks: “Inseminoid” (1981)


inseminoid2               “Inseminoid”  (1981)

    With imitation being the shortest route to the creation of bad movies, it was only a matter of counting down the minutes before “Alien”, a prestige recycling of the ludicrous 1950s SFinseminoidOS potboiler “It! The Terror From Beyond Space” would begat such a noxious penny dreadful offspring as “Inseminoid”. Though, one must credit the “Alien” scribes for their ambition in also filching the idea of cross-species impregnation which was the central theme of 1958’s “I Married a Monster From Outer Space” (itself a somewhat fortunate recipient of ideas presented in the 1956 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”), would also see realization in such varied films as “Mars Needs Women”, “Demon Seed” and “Humanoids From the Deep”. 

   On a distant planet, a group of dramatically incapable scientists are exploring archeological ruins (actually, simply a cave) submerged in the type of conveniently misty atmosphere that makes for impressive Spielbergian beams of light and serves to disguise the fact that the mysterious crystalline samples found lying about are actually rock candy. After several mishaps which go strangely unquestioned, one of the team is impregnated by an alien entity, causing her to become mentally unbalanced and instead inseminoid1.jpgof craving pickles and ice cream, begins to systematically kill and occasionally feed on the crew (how convenient that in the vastness of space, this assemblage has, coursing through its veins, the precise nutritional supplements an expectant mommy requires), who themselves are trapped and awaiting rescue due to circumstances too stupid to recount. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/

 

Posted in Drive-In Movies, education, grindhouse, horror, Movies, Reviews, science fiction, writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Sleeping Around: “Submission” (1969)

careergif

IS THIS ANY WAY TO TREAT A BABY RUTH BAR?: Woman-child Vickie (Lisa Duran, a pre-adult movie Jennifer Welles) is at the mercy of either an extreme sugar fix or the spell of her creepy boyfriend/Svengali figure Barry (Gary Judin); the psychology not being very clear nor consistent in “Submission”, a film that trades on the appeal of its occasionally genuinely erotic sex scenes rather than any semblance of narrative clarity.

                  “Submission”  (1969)

    Audiences seeking erotic satisfaction solely for its own sake could do worse than Allen Savage’s obscure but bizarre softcore effort “Submission”; and this is only considering that the bar for eroticism in the cinema has been set so perilously low that even the mostsubmissionOS fleeting scrap of genuine sexiness, no matter how seedy the source, is an occasion for attention. That these morsels are wrapped in a film that neither makes sense, has a point, nor seems to have the slightest inclination toward advancing the most primitive form of dramaturgy is, perhaps, proof positive that in the world of sexploitation, the smallest taste of sin is offset by a trip to cinema purgatory.

    Vickie (a pre-porn Jennifer Welles, credited as Lisa Duran) is a young woman whose behavior indicates that she is possessed by some irregular form of infantilism which manifests itself whenever she crosses paths with a pet store bunny or a candy bar. This atypical behavior appears to incapacitate any judgment or will power on her part, allowing her boyfriend Barry (Gary Judin) to exact some strange hold over her, engaging Vickie as a confederate (though what her part in the plan is never defined) in the defrauding of successful women, though what the nature of the scheme is (the film suggests they insinuate themselves into households as live-in help, though Barry’s skill set seems limited to shaking TetraMin flakes into an aquarium tank) never clarified, nor makes a bit of sense even in retrospective consideration. Most of the film is immersed in random  sexual encounters which are either meant as flashbacks or fantasies (this is never made clear) which are (as is much of the film) shot MOS and overlaid with off-putting library music cues that sound like a creepy and ill-suited soundtrack cut from the opening scenes of “Night of the Living Dead”.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/cinesinema/

Posted in art house cinema, erotica, grindhouse, movie reviews, Movies, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Soulless: “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” (1975)


ilsa6         “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS”  (1975)

    If history doesn’t present us with enough examples of inhuman atrocity, leave it to the movie industry to feel compelled to invent a peculiar hybrid combining the attractions ofilsaOS sex and a form of domination and sadism which treads far beyond the questionable behavior favored in the average “roughie” vehicle. 

    Constantly in search of the latest exploitable trend whose only purpose was to separate the public from the contents of its wallet, the Nazisploitation film was born; a degrading genre dependent on combining the lure of the skin flick with a brutality based upon the most lurid aspects of the Third Reich, but susceptible to expansion and reinvention by a cadre of filmmakers  for whom the actions of those who brought about the death of millions clearly didn’t go far enough. The eternal debate as to why a predominance of violence in film is deemed acceptable to moral cultural watchdogs while sexual content is condemnable is rendered largely irrelevant by the Nazisploitation film which uses fairly recent examples of state sanctioned butchery as a jumping off point in the advancement of endurance tests of savagery and proudly immersed in a level of tastelessness that is nothing short of contemptible.

    To avoid confusion that the filmmakers are only motivated by any but  the purest of motives, “Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS” begins with a mission statement of sorts, assuring the audience that the film is based upon historical fact and concludes with a rather ilsa1disingenuous caveat that such global offenses should never happen again;  except of course, in enthusiastic representation on movie screens everywhere. As a rule of thumb, it is generally a sound policy to approach with suspicion when a film features such a self-serving pronouncement as this; a fair indicator that the producers are trying to deflect accusations of pandering to the audience’s more base misogynistic proclivities;  especially since the film undeniably leans heavily toward the gratuitously detailed and graphic torturing (including death by decompression chamber, gang rape, the use of electrically enhanced cavity probes and being boiled alive) of primarily young, nubile and buxom women. Just whose fantasies are being satisfied here anyway?

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/cinema-disturbia/

 

 

 

Posted in Drive-In Movies, grindhouse, History, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, sex, writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Mother Knows Best: “Career Bed” (1969)

 

careerbed16

HEY, THAT’S NOT WHERE YOU LOOK FOR LOOSE CHANGE:  Hopeful starlet Susan (Lisa Duran, aka, later hardcore adult actress Jennifer Welles) finds that the road to fame and fortune is paved with as many oddball characters as Alice’s trip through a Harvey Weinstein version of Wonderland, in Joel M. Reed’s “Career Bed”.

                     “Career Bed”  (1969)

   “Don’t give up your virginity for some silly boy, it’s too important an asset.”

     With motherly advice like this is it any wonder that stage mothers have a bad reputation? This situation will certainly not be alleviated by the lurid details of a mother’s crass exploitation of her daughter which are the essence of Joel M. Reed’s “Career Bed”; less a cautionary tale than a tour through the unrelieved depravities to becareerOS found in the world of show business with just the merest suggestion of a “come hither” look.

    Susan (Jennifer Welles, here identified as Lisa Duran) travels to the New York City to become a great star at the urging of her frustrated and highly oversexed mother Mrs. Potter (Honey Hunter). Despite Susan’s lack of any type of performance ability, Mrs. Potter arranges for a series of contacts with the sleaziest assortment of depraved men (one resembling, coincidentally, an eerie doppelgänger of Woody Allen), each of whom claim to be able to  give her fame and fortune in exchange for using the supposed virgin as a sexual amusement park. 

 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/

 

Posted in erotica, grindhouse, Movies, parenting, Reviews, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chandler’s Trailers: “Terror in the Wax Museum” (1973)

Teterrorinwax1“Terror in the Wax Museum”  (1973) When the body of Chamber of Horrors wax museum proprietor Claude Dupree (John Carradine) is discovered stabbed with the scalpel of his waxworks Jack the Ripper, can an obligatory stacking of bodies be far behind? And will the stolid, dull as dirt detective spend more time pursuing the girl than the killer? Or will the last minute rescuing of the fainting damsel in distress include someone falling into a vat of bubbling wax? Director George Fenady’s film borrows so many elements from prior similarly situated films that one can practically recite along with Ray Milland’s Harry Flexner his gleeful recanting of the heinous crimes perpetrated by the murderers represented in the museum, which is colorfully used only to bring about the usual  histrionic overreactions of fear and hysteria from the museum patrons, and to give the illusion that the pallid tableaux seem that much more vibrantly grotesque than they actually are.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandlers-trailers-short-bits-for-emerging-cinephiles-and-a-better-america/

Posted in crime, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, Reviews, Romance, women, writing | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Dancing in the Dark: “Orgy of the Dead” (1965)

orgyofdead4

WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?: In a blatant homage to “Goldfinger”, Pat Barrington incongruously appears plated in gold during the opening of the Edward D. Wood, Jr.-penned “Orgy of the Dead”, which proves that if the notoriously inept director/writer was never involved in the production of a good movie, at least he patronized them.

          “Orgy of the Dead”  (1965)

    Death may be eternal, but it doesn’t hold a candle to how one feels sitting through “Orgy of the Dead”. If the opening narration, spoken by a visibly tired Criswell, soundsorgyofdeadOS vaguely familiar, it may that it is lifted almost verbatim from Ed Wood’s “Night of the Ghouls”, his presumably lost and unreleased 1958 production (it was withheld from any possibility of distribution by the film lab until the processing charges were paid in 1984), proving that in the world of low budget trash cinema, even the most desperate of material is resourcefully, though not wisely, recyclable.

    That a second use of said materials proves as equally ineffective as in its original purposing is demonstrative of the inadvisable nature of the faulty notion the shuffling of dead wood.  In fact, much of what is seen in “Orgy of the Dead” will be redundant to those familiar with the Wood oeuvre, with the only differences being the introduction of color photography, nudity of an embarrassingly unerotic abundance and the fact that the film is actually directed, not by Wood himself, but by one Stephen C. Apostolof under the pseudonym A.C. Stephen, whose open display of Wood-like directorial primitivism is indicative of the fact that even though higher artistic instincts are in evidence throughout the world of cinema, in practical terms they are difficult, if not impossible to replicate, whereas the ease of ineptitude is easily assimilated and, by all evidence, can be highly contagious. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/sticky-floors-stained-screens-days-nights-at-the-grindhouse/

Posted in dance, Ed Wood, erotica, grindhouse, horror, Movies, sex, women, writing | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Rainy Day Monday: Classic Film Photo Images Quiz, Oct. 2018 Edition, Vol. 23


RashomongifRainy Day Monday: Classic Film Photo Images Quiz, Oct. 2018 Edition, Vol. 23

    Welcome again guys and chicklets to yet another in the long suffering series known as The Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you, as always, by those wonderful folks who manufacture. distribute and consume SKITTLES, the all-weather breakfast candy. And speaking of the weather, the current season of extra heavy precipitation grants an yet another cheap opportunity to exploit the current headlines by presenting a new and exciting edition of our game. In this edition, we return to that most obscuring of visual elements (no, not the alarming volume of gauze wrapped around the camera lens to make Elizabeth Taylor look anything other than a bloated drunkard): rain. (You wouldraingif have thought the mention of precipitation would have been a dead giveaway, but we must remember that there are university educated millennials in the room who might not be acquainted with such antiquated meteorological concepts beyond #WetFallFromSky.) With those with water on the brain in mind we present a celebration of the time honored tradition of not having enough sense to get out of the rain in the movies. The following twenty five images feature films in which a proper deluge has been provided for dramatic effect. Your task is to identify all of the images and relay your findings to CSR headquarters in a timely fashion before the inevitable snowfall editions are presented. The first to show the true spirit of Image I.D. Entrepreneurship will receive the waterproof but highly flammable CSR Culture Shock Award. Good luck.

01)rain2 02)rain303)rain1904)rain2105) rain1706) rain3007) rain2608)rain409)rain510)rain 1111)rain1312)rain1013)rain714)rain1415)rain916)rain6017)arrested2118)rain2919)rain2720)rain1621)rain2222)rain2023)rain4424)rain2325)rain41

 

 

Posted in books, comedy, erotica, History, horror, movie reviews, Movies, Mystery, photography, Romance, women, writing | 8 Comments

Sweet Sixteen Party, or: Men Bad- A Demented World of Women in Peril: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Special Congressional Misandry Edition, Vol.37-24-36

arrested30

LEADING DOWN A TREACHEROUS PATH (or, IT’S ALL MEN’S FAULT): Despite the seemingly innocent context of this image, an increasing number of Democratic congresswomen, card carrying members of the sororal organization Congressional Representatives Against Male Pride (or C.R.A.M.P.) would surely identify this as proof to their claims that any intrusion of the Y chromosome (especially the bleached variety) into the life of any woman will inevitably lead to that woman’s cultural, psychological, intellectual and sexual demise with such severity that it may interrupt her daily viewing of Ellen. The again, many think we have entered a new Age of Women in which reason and placid maternal instincts will replace the reviled patriarchal traditions of Playboy Party Jokes and downtown public scratching; a promising philosophical bent best illustrated by paraphrasing that great modern philosopher Joy Behar: DO THOSE *%$^#& MEN *$&%^# AND THOSE *$&%& REPUBLICAN &%*$& WHITE %&$*%& THINK THEY ARE %&$^%*& GOING TO %&*$& KEEP $&*%&$ GETTING AWAY WITH ALL THIS %&^*%& &%^$*%* &%$* ??!!?; or to translate into plain English (press 2 for Español): it’s time for a massive delivery of haute couture straightjackets in assorted Ladies’ sizes 0 – 18.

Sweet Sixteen Party, or: Men Bad- A Demented World of Women in Peril:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Special Congressional Misandry Edition, Vol. 37-24-36

    Caught in a fashionable wave of gender activism, in which the very use of a formerly proper and utilitarian sex specific pronoun can, on many campuses of ironically labelled “higher learning”, earn the transgressor a punishment commiserate with that of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, is it any wonder that the male of the species enjoys a shorter average lifespan than his female counterparts,  most certainly attributable to the voluntary erosion of thearrestedgif will to live after enduring the extended sharing of the planet with a tribe whose world view is defined by the acquisition of equality through subscriptions to O, The Oprah Magazine and a magnetic draw to every utterance by that strange gorgon-like creature in pantsuits who is identified (in hush monied tones) as the “It Takes A Village Idiot”? Which (for some unfathomable reason that defies the word “segue”) brings us to this month’s special edition of America’s most proudly efficient weapon in the anti-suffragette movement (next month, we resist Prohibition!), the Monthly Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you this month by those fine makers of SKITTLES, America’s most popular non-medicinal cure for monthly feminine symptoms of grouchiness, accompanied by the increased desire to implement community-wide castration. In this edition we recognize the politically sensitive cinemaarrestedgif2 and its enthusiastic lack of hesitation in licking its chops in depicting women in peril while putting aside a few moments  during the annual Hollywood self-congratulation award season to extend a soiled hand in solidarity to the Me Too Movement; an ironic throwback to classic locker room chatter which goes as follows: “Hey Hank, I’m sick of my wife’s clucking.” “Me too, Dave.” (Transcripts of the preceding drama are available for school and institutional performance for a nominal fee from Samuel French. Mention CSR for a 10% discount!) The following sixteen images depict women in the throes of unflattering peril, from an onset of anxiety to a more permanent state of cessation of breath. It is up to you (and you damn well know who you are…. we know…. and we’re sending a securely confidential letter to that effect to Diane Feinstein straight away!) to identify all sixteen images, all the while remaining cognizant of the fact that all of women’s sufferings in life are caused by men… not just men…. white men!…. old white men!!…. alright, my Uncle Mort. But until society is “reshaped for the better” (uh oh, someone’s getting spanked and it ain’t O) by the rise of, and domination by women (Anyone else in the mood for a ripsnortin’ flash global catfight? But I digress.), the first to correctly identify all sixteen featured films will receive the coveted bipartisan fertility idol, the CSR Culture Shock Award. Good luck.

01)arresting102)arresting603)color04)solaris05)arresting1006)arresting707)arrested1308)
arrested18
09)arrested1610)arrested2611)arrested2012)arrested2913)
arrested1714)arrested28
15)arrested2516)arrested15

 

 

 

Posted in books, Boston, History, humor, Movies, psychiatry, Romance, women | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Burning Bridges: “The Cassandra Crossing” (1977)


cassandra1       “The Cassandra Crossing”  (1977)

Spoiler notice:  The following review contains revealing details of the film’s narrative.

     Defining what was labelled as a “disaster movie” in the 1970’s is an imprecise science as those films to which the moniker is attributable are somewhat disparate in their identifiable genre markers, and even, curiously enough, in their intended function as popular entertainment.

    The genre is generally considered to have kicked off in popularity with the unexpectedcassandraOS financial success of the 1970 film “Airport”; itself a somewhat bastard offspring of the seminal 1954 “peril in the sky” drama “The High and the Mighty”, which anticipated many of what would become standard operating procedure genre tropes, including the “all-star” cast comprised of A-list stars (or a number of fading A-listers whose volume would supposedly compensate for their slip in appeal), with a smattering of veteran stars (those to whom still enjoy name recognition though little to no headliner box-office clout), veteran characters actors and a few relatively fresh faces, most of whom seemed doomed to a scarily quick march to relative obscurity.

    However, it is in nature of the disaster film’s “disaster” where some truly interesting distinctions emerge, suggesting an evolution from the destructive power of natural disaster in the 1930s (“The Last Days of Pompeii”, “San Francisco”, “In Old Chicago”, “Hurricane”, “The Rains Came”) with their cathartic crescendos acting as convenient retributive housecleaning in which all of the loose moral threads complicating Production Code era dramaturgy are quickly solved by the expedient elimination of rather problematically corrupted characters; to the 1950s (“The High and the Mighty”, rainscame1“Titanic”, “A Night to Remember”) where mayhem erupts less from uncontrolled natural causes than by human frailty, specifically poor judgment fueled by hubris (The decade also played host to a rich abundance of cataclysms unleased in both SF dramas and epics with a distinctly biblical bent which are excused from the current discussion as their “disaster” elements are fueled by elemental genre tropes.); to the more cynical 1970s where “Airport” proffered a “disaster” film as an anticipatory event in which the destructive factor may or may not be introduced by the whims of an aberrant criminal intention. The age of film terrorism (but couched in the soggy dress of soap opera melodrama) had arrived in full widescreen glory.  Though subsequent efforts in the brief 70’s  disaster film explosion were to drink from the entirety of influences, from natural to man-made imperilments, in “Thejuggernaut.jpg Poseidon Adventure”, Earthquake”, “Avalanche” and”The Towering Inferno” (not to mention the entirety of the three “sequels” to “Airport” itself), the one film which intelligently capitalized on this newly honed element of criminal intention with great style and an additional caustic foundation in pointed editorial expression, was Richard Lester’s crackerjack 1974 thriller “Juggernaut”, a film distinguished by the introduction of biting allegorical references to the political and economic instability suffered in England during the closing days of the leadership of Prime Minister Edward Heath; in other words, a surface thriller conceit fortified by a none too subtle kick in the pants to the then-current British government, giving the film the added attraction of timeliness; of actually being about something other than the sadistic construct of a questionable madman. For once, the so-called disaster film (and it’s questionable as to whether this film qualifies in its unfortunate general inclusion as primarily a disaster film) had reached a maturity that its hoary formulaic underpinnings would have virtually assured was impossible. It also featured smashing mid-career performances by Richard Harris and David Hemmings.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nites-at-the-shoppers-world-cinema/

Posted in Burt Lancaster, disaster films, History, movie reviews, Movies, Romance, Sophia Loren, writing | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Return of the Classic Film Clip Quiz

 

The Return of the Classic Film Clip Quiz

    Let us reintroduce this minor little visual quiz where we ask the musical question: Name the film clips shown. (Well, it’s not really a question, but it’s our discretion to confuse and befuddle as much as possible.) Be warned, there are over two hundred films shown (give or take a hundred) so this may be time consuming. As usual, anyone who solves the puzzle with 100% accuracy will receive the CSR Culture Shock Award. Good luck.

Posted in biography, books, comedy, dance, erotica, History, horror, Movies, Musicals, Mystery, Romance, silent films, westerns | 8 Comments

City of Fallen Angels: “To Live and Die in L.A.” (1985)


liveanddie1

        “To Live and Die in L.A.”          (1985)

    Former Secret Service agent Gerald Petievich’s novel “To Live and Die in L.A.” might have seemed a natural for cinematic adaptation, given that the book is written in such a lean, spare style that it practically screams “film treatment”; the composition of the booktoliveanddieinlaOS marked by alternating a detailed, though stylishly unimaginative descriptions of settings (the selection of shooting locations and compilation of elements for the director’s mise-en-scene practically jump off the page) with dialogue imbued with that faux hard-boiled tone popular with scenarists who mistake cynical plot synopsis for revealing conversation (a comparison with the novels of George V. Higgins illustrates the difference between dialogue as character and talk as mere plot momentum).

    The novel also features rival parallel investigations by Los Angeles based Secret Service agents to nab the notorious counterfeiter Rick Masters, structurally assuring the illusion of increased intensity of suspense, but actually diluting the competing ends of the procedural aspects of the story, especially when the character lines are diverted in unnecessary directions such as Agent Hart’s encounters with a new neighbor whose apartment has been robbed. The insertion of this awkwardly conceived minor subplot- which goes no where and has no relevance to either the plot nor reveals untold nuances of character -may hint at a romantic relationship, but it is entirely extraneous to the narrative and imprudently halts the momentum of the book.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/views-from-the-screening-room/

Posted in books, crime, Los Angeles, Movies, Reviews, William Friedkin, writing | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Labor Pains: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Sept. 2018 Edition, Vol. 925/Remedial Reprint

_______________________________________________________________


labor0Labor Pains:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Sept. 2018 Edition, Vol. 925/Remedial Reprint

    The American cinema celebrates many things-  vacuous comic book heroics, scatological crudity, infantilism, serial sadism, non-NRA gun violence  -but the labors of the American working man and woman are certainly not among them, as according to the lofty view from Hollywood Olympus, the American work ethic is indistinguishable from their keep-at-an-arm’s-length attitude toward the “common” man to whom they haughtily regard as a bilious mass of Red State rubes, hillbillies, Ozarkian inbreeders and Dust Bowl Oakies for whom thelaborgifdesignation blue collar is dismissively regarded as a  dehumanizing label of revulsion; a metaphorical flea collar to a snarling junkyard mongrel. In other words, Hollywood is not unlike the ungrateful progeny who despise their parents while having no problem living off of their money. However, here at CSR we persevere in spite of such ignorant elitism and in consideration of this year’s celebration of Labor Day, we present this month’s edition of America’s longest running migraine headache, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by the makers of SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast candy. In this edition we celebrate the humble yet underappreciated working stiffs (generally identifiable as those still working on Labor Day, go figure) who are the unsung backbone of the world’s economic engine and the success of noontime food trucks from coast to coast. Each of the following twenty five images features the representation of the American labor force (with a few sympathetic global compatriots thrown in for good measure, though without Russian collusion, so buzz off Mueller) as seen in the movies. Your challenge is to correctly identify all twenty five film titles, and tell us. (Otherwise, you’re just talking to yourself, and that’s just wrong.) The first to do so will receive a recently minted CSR Culture Shock Award, acclaimed by the National Bored of Excessive Immodest Memorialization (hitherto known as The McCains) as this year’s “second most unnecessary waste of tax dollars”. Good luck.

01)
labor302)labor603)labor104)labor205)labor706)labor507)labor608)labor809)labor410)
labor911)labor23.jpg12)labor1213)labor2414)labor1715)labor2516)labor1117)labor1418)labor1619)labor1520)labor1021)labor1922)labor2823)labor2624)labor1825)labor27

______________________________________________________________

Posted in books, Boston, comedy, History, Movies, Musicals, New York City, politics, Reviews, silent movies, theater, women, writing | 7 Comments

Labor Pains: Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Sept. 2018 Edition, Vol. 925


labor0Labor Pains:  Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, Sept. 2018 Edition, Vol. 925

    The American cinema celebrates many things-  vacuous comic book heroics, scatological crudity, infantilism, serial sadism, non-NRA gun violence  -but the labors of the American working man and woman are certainly not among them, as according to the lofty view from Hollywood Olympus, the American work ethic is indistinguishable from their keep-at-an-arm’s-length attitude toward the “common” man to whom they haughtily regard as a bilious mass of Red State rubes, hillbillies, Ozarkian inbreeders and Dust Bowl Oakies for whom thelaborgif designation blue collar is dismissively regarded as a  dehumanizing label of revulsion; a metaphorical flea collar to a snarling junkyard mongrel. In other words, Hollywood is not unlike the ungrateful progeny who despise their parents while having no problem living off of their money. However, here at CSR we persevere in spite of such ignorant elitism and in consideration of this year’s celebration of Labor Day, we present this month’s edition of America’s longest running migraine headache, the Classic Film Images Photo Quiz, brought to you by the makers of SKITTLES, America’s favorite breakfast candy. In this edition we celebrate the humble yet underappreciated working stiffs (generally identifiable as those still working on Labor Day, go figure) who are the unsung backbone of the world’s economic engine and the success of noontime food trucks from coast to coast. Each of the following twenty five images features the representation of the American labor force (with a few sympathetic global compatriots thrown in for good measure, though without Russian collusion, so buzz off Mueller) as seen in the movies. Your challenge is to correctly identify all twenty five film titles, and tell us. (Otherwise, you’re just talking to yourself, and that’s just wrong.) The first to do so will receive a recently minted CSR Culture Shock Award, acclaimed by the National Bored of Excessive Immodest Memorialization (hitherto known as The McCains) as this year’s “second most unnecessary waste of tax dollars”. Good luck.

To accept the challenge and view this month’s photo quiz, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/

 

 

Posted in books, Boston, comedy, History, Movies, Musicals, photography, politics, Puzzles, Romance, theater, women, writing | 13 Comments

Up the Greek Without a Paddle: “Boy on a Dolphin” (1957)


boyonadolphin34      Up the Greek Without a Paddle:  “Boy on a Dolphin”  (1957)

     Adventure films, which were especially plentiful in the colorful world of 1950’s cinema, generally included the most basic ingredients deemed necessary to draw theboyonadolphinOS audiences away from the newly emerging popularity of the living room idiot box: a smattering of box-office stars, a widescreen presentation to dwarf the siren’s lure of a twenty inch television screen, and colorfully exotic locals which were economically prohibitive in small screen productions. Jean Negulesco’s “Boy on the Dolphin” trades heavily upon all three integrants, yet in fudging on the most fundamental of creative elements-  a sound and interesting scenario  -the movie emerges as a surprisingly hollow (not to mention, frustratingly labored ) exercise.

    Phaedra  (Sophia Loren), a Greek sponge diver, unwittingly discovers an ancient shipwreck carrying the eponymously described statuary, estimated to be virtually priceless, or valuable enough to pique the interest of both American archaeologist Dr. James Calder (Alan Ladd) and sneaky millionaire Victor Parmalee (Clifton Webb), who enjoy a familiar rivalry of interests between the legitimate legacy of ancient antiquities and the illegitimate acquisition of ill-gotten historic artworks and artifacts for his own personal amusement. Beyond her initial discovery and once the plot gets underway, Phaedra becomes such a peripheral influence on the narrative, that except for being cast with the comely and provocatively figured Ms. Loren–  in her English language film debut  -andboyonadolphin33 thus to act as the seemingly required Hollywood love interest, there seems little reason for her continued participation. All of the important narrative developments in the last three quarters of the film, would have occurred with her complete removal from the drama, as the only dramatic tension attempted by the film is in the competitive by-play between Calder and Parmalee; which transpires as a weakly conceived game of cat and mouse in which the antagonists meet only on brief occasions and then only to exchange bits of terse but purposeless patter, of which the script attributed to Ivan Moffat and Dwight Taylor is abundant. 

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/nights-at-the-st-george-theater/

     

Posted in Alan Ladd, books, movie reviews, Movies, Reviews, Romance, Sophia Loren, women, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Feather Dusting: “Le Journal d’une femme de chambre” (1964)


diarychamber3         “Le Journal d’une femme de chambre”  (1964)

    Considering the rich mining afforded by Octave Mirbeau’s 1900 novel “Le Journal d’une femme de chamber”, a work encompassing pointedly satiric critical observations on class, sexuality and religion, a cinematic realization by surrealist and moral provocateur Luis Buñuel would seem a match made in atheist’s heaven. Interestingly, rather than using the material’s scathingdiarychamberOS repudiation of differences in the behavioral psychology between the classes-  as all are evaluated as equally corrupt, hypocritical and venal regardless of social ranking  –Buñuel has made the curious determination to strip the novel of its thematic essence and reduce the material to that of a weakly ironic and supremely unsatisfying melodrama.

    Célestine is an attractive and inexplicably stylish woman who arrives by train from Paris to assume the role of chambermaid for The Priory, a country villa occupied by M. Rabour (Jean Ozenne) a shoe fetishist, his frigid daughter Mme. Monteil (Françoise Lugagne), whose a penchant toward the miserly substitutes for her lack of emotional intimacy, and her husband M. Monteil (Michel Piccoli), who compensates for a barren marital bed by impregnating a succession of the female domestics. Also present in the household are a number of other servants, including the brutish fascistic Joseph (Georges Géret) and the simple cook Marianne (Muni). Célestine, after some initial pettydiaryofachambermaid44 annoyances from her mistress, finds that through her attractiveness, subtle guile and sophistication, she is able to sufficiently influence those about her (with the exception of Joseph), to exert a comfortable measure of control over her circumstances. However, with the sudden brutal rape and murder of Claire (Dominique Sauvage), a young local girl to whom Célestine had developed a protective maternal attachment, her skill to emotionally manipulate is put to the test, when Joseph declares his love for her at the same time Célestine grows certain that he is the sought-after killer. 

To read the complete review. click the following link to:  chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/cinema-francais/

 

Posted in art house cinema, books, French cinema, Jeanne Moreau, Luis Bunuel, movie remakes, Movies, women, writing | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Father’s Daze: “Casanova Brown” (1944)


casanovabrown1       “Casanova Brown”  (1944)

    “Casanova Brown” is an example of the importance of the use of what might be best described as the pixilated lilt in filming humorous materials. A romantic comedy in which a chronic convenience of miscommunication is once again the scapegoat for thecasanovabrown OS confusion which inevitably leads to what are intended as uproarious results, the film is, in reality, a flimsy house of cards which, due to the disharmony of an anemic comedic tone born of the collision of inconsistent and sloppy plotting by Nunnally Johnson and the leaden, spiritless direction by Sam Wood, inevitably implodes on itself.

      The third film version of the 1928 play Little Accident by Floyd Dell and Thomas Mitchell, it features Gary Cooper as Casanova (“Cass”) Q. Brown, a mild-mannered college professor who upon the eve of his wedding also finds himself on the threshold of fatherhood with a different woman. In deference to the scrupulously sin sniffing antennae of the Production Code, the script goes through great convoluted lengths to explain how such a venerable public icon such as Cooper could possibly be involved in the production of an illegitimate tot.

To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/matinees-at-the-bijoux/

 

 

Posted in 1940's movies, books, comedy, movie remakes, Movies, parenting, Reviews, Romance, theater, women, writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments