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A sad, and true, tale.
A sad tale of a young girl's aspirations disastrously ruined by her and her family's inability to separate her religion from her mental illness.
The script is commendably non-judgemental, despite the subject matter, and the the movie's early seventies setting is re-created so convincingly (with muted colours and almost dogme-like camera work) that one might forget that the film was shot only three years ago.
Some may find that the film ends before the story does, but this is merely a refreshing refusal to pander to sensationalism that is completely in keeping with the naturalistic realism of the film as a whole.
Abducted by the Daleks (2005)
Daleks need love too.
Abducted by the Daleks caused a bit of a stir in the UK tabloids a while ago: "BEEB bosses have gone ballistic after discovering the Daleks are starring in a PORN FLICK!" wailed one infamous daily.
Well, 'PORN FLICK' is a bit over-the-top for this semi-amateur, made-up-as-they-went-along mix of skin, cheap sets and "borrowed" music.
Right from the start we're made aware of what we're going to be getting. The '50s kitsch opening credits play over a stolen music track (Pink Floyd's 'Arnold Layne') and have jokey Doctor Who influenced crew names (Patrick Baker, Don Skaro).
Plotwise, we have four young women with thick East European accents breaking down in their car on the way to somewhere that may or may not have been mentioned (it wasn't always easy to get past the accents). Oh, there's talk of a "Serial Skinner" loose in the area too, which makes perfect sense when the girls opt to abandon the relative safety of the car to wander around in the darkened woods.
There are plenty of low angles here so we get to look up the girls' meagre dresses, the hemlines of which barely cover their buttocks. One girl is separated for reasons not shown or explained. She hears a strange noise and is understandably very scared, naturally the best thing for her to do at this point is to strip off and resume her wanderings completely naked.
Oh no, her ankle is caught in some undergrowth! Fortunately, the Daleks are watching and relieve her distress by beaming her up to their spaceship (a silver wall with a door). Amusingly, she doesn't seem to catch on for a while, continuing to crouch down and rub her freed ankle for a good ten seconds after she has materialised and been surrounded by alien robots.
So now we get to see the Daleks. Surprisingly, one seems to be a genuine '60s movie Dalek, and I suspect, the original reason to make this video in the first place. Of the other two (yes, they had three!), one is black and gold and a good replica, if too tall, and the third red and black Dalek is too small and too thin around the top. The voices are a passable attempt at copying the ring-modulated originals and the voice actors at least seem to have some idea how a Dalek should sound.
The rest of the plot isn't worth mentioning since half of it escaped me due to the thick accents and garbled voice effects. But you'll be pleased to know that there is a half-hearted lesbian scene (with visible laughing), some equally inspirited s&m, an alien hunter (wearing what looks like an Alfred E. Newman mask), a strobe lighting warning (was it a joke?), some sound FX lifted from Star Trek, more Pink Floyd, a character twist (they needed to replace the actress), and the Skinner himself (a man wearing a bright red shell suit and a cheap joke store alien mask).
Plus, there's an astounding 'shock' twist in the final police station interrogation scene (the only survivor is, of course, still fully naked).
So, it's cheap, and probably filmed in the same time it took to view it. The film-makers knew it, and apparently were confident that people would buy this tat just because it had Daleks and ass in it. On the plus side, it's only 55 minutes, and the night time woodland scenes were nicely set out and atmospherically lit.
I'll leave you with another tabloid quote, this one from "life-long fan" Colin Brown, 44, a man labouring under the impression that the Daleks are real: "It's outrageous to think of them touching up naked women - Daleks just don't behave like that."
The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)
Meyer's feature debut.
This is Russ Meyer's debut 1959 feature, a nudie movie typical of similar films of the time.
For the brief 61 minutes running time, Mr. Teas wanders about his daily business as a dental supplies salesman, ogling improbably-dressed (for the time) receptionists, dental assistants and waitresses without a care that he might get caught (he never does). Amusingly, he usually does this with his pushbike at his side and his clipboard in his hand. Occasionally, he daydreams of more erotic situations where the girls are completely nude (but never seen full frontal of course, this is the fifties). These fantasies begin and end with an overlaid multicoloured swirl and a boingy sound effect.
Seemingly though, he never wants to do more than look and pull silly faces. There is no sex here, Teas never gets to touch any of these girls, undoubtedly due to the limitations of what could be shown in a releasable film of the time. The women pose and undress but do nothing more racy than that.
The pace is very sedate, nothing happens for five minutes at a time, we just see Teas riding his bike or getting the bus. Meyer fans used to the highly pneumatic girls in his later films might find the rather more conventionally-shaped women here disappointing, but they are generally reasonably good looking.
The direction sometimes exhibits Meyer's trademarks, rapid cuts, cleavage close-ups and tilted angles, but is far more conventional than his later work. There is no dialogue here, just a voiceover that pops up from time to time to explain a few extraneous details.
Overall, this is a sweet, meandering movie, a bit like a Jacques Tati film but with less jokes and frequent nudity. The humour comes in patches, sometimes it is intentional, sometimes not. Seeing Teas spying on an undressing lady virtually right in front of her eyes provides some daft laughs.
Watch out for Meyer himself as a patron in a burlesque club, and June Wilkinson in a role which requires nothing more of her to be seen than her naked breasts at a window.
In the Doghouse (1962)
How can anyone resist a chimp riding a bike?
Leslie Phillips plays a newly qualified vet with a heart of gold when it comes to animals. When he takes over an old practice he becomes rivals with his roguish fellow student (James Booth), foils a cruel horse meat racket with the help of an R.S.P.C.A. inspector (Hattie Jacques) and eventually finds romance with a glamorous nightclub performer (Peggy Cummins).
In the Doghouse is similar to many British comedies of the period, mainly relying on slapstick and a climactic comedy chase for laughs, with some mild, inoffensive smut thrown in for good measure. It's at it's best when the animals are on screen: a lion rampaging through a church fete and a runaway chimp (and Phillips) causing havoc in a ladies' sauna.
Phillips plays the lead very nicely, developing his character from the unlucky blunderer of the films earlier vet school scenes to become a kind-hearted and capable vet, which comes across well in his scenes with a lonely old lady and a little girl with a sick bird. His first day sees him turning away pet owners who want their animals put down for cruel and selfish reasons, but keeping the animals in his garage so he can find them new homes. These scenes are touching without being over sentimental, especially playing against Esma Cannon as the old lady, when he craftily helps her overcome the loss of her beloved dog with an unwanted puppy.
This is in contrast to James Booth as his rival, a womanising con-man who cheats during his vet school exam and is only in the profession to make money by scamming the rich and gullible pet owners who come to his fancy and ludicrously over-decorated practice. His accidental hypnotising of a poodle owner leads him into a partnership with her husband in setting up a racket illegally selling horses to France to be turned into meat.
It's irresistibly good natured with several good laughs, and although the pace occasionally flags slightly fans of British comedy tv and film can spot several familiar faces in small parts, including an uncredited Lance Percival as a bobby and Carry On regular Patsy Rowlands as a barmaid.
And how can anyone resist a chimp riding a bike?
Go see it!
This takes quite some time to get going, with a lot of dialogue scenes punctuated occasionally with action.
Once we reach the droid factory however, things really take off, and it's excitement all the way till the end. In fact, pretty much what everyone wants in a Star Wars film. At times almost too much going on to take it all in! Great pace and serious eye-candy, with some nice surprises.
C-3PO provides the comedy here, and it's pretty funny. This will appease the Jar-Jar haters.
Best performances from Chris Lee and Ewan I think, Temuera Morrison as Jango deserves a mention too.
Shame the climactic fight didn't go on for a bit longer though, but I left wanting more, which can only be a good thing. Quite sad to think there's only one more movie to go and then no more.
Go see it!
Carry on Cruising (1962)
A cheery example of the carry on formula.
When captain Wellington Crowther (Sid James) boards his ship the S.S.Wanderer he finds several of his crew replaced by apparent incompetents. Kenneth Williams is a sarcastic know-it-all, Kenneth Connor is a love-hungry doctor, and Lance Percival plays a chef with strange ideas about cake ingredients. Soon he realises the passengers are just as loopy: tiny old dear Esma Cannon is a "mad pixie" with a passion for mixers, Ronnie Stevens plays an alcoholic who drinks himself around the world without leaving the ship's bar, and Dilys Lane is on the prowl for a man much to the annoyance of her best friend (Liz Fraser).
The replacement crew do their best to please their temporary captain, but all efforts only serve to frustrate him. When they find out this cruise is to be his last on the ship they set about organising a surprise party to make amends.
The first colour Carry On is slightly smuttier than the earlier films, an indication of things to come, and boasts a large and realistic ocean liner set. Due to obvious budgetary limitations the action doesn't leave the ship, so brief stock footage is used to establish foreign locales when the ship drops anchor.
Sid James is rather underused in his mainly straight (and non-lecherous) role as ship's captain, his trademark cackle only appearing once or twice. Kenneth Williams doesn't get to do much more, as here the talented Kenneth Connor takes centre stage. He shyly pursues Dilys Lane's husband hunting young woman, who stalks both the gym tutor and the captain before realizing the doctor's intentions. Lance Percival (a face created for comedy) amuses as the ship's chef, and Esma Cannon provides a few laughs as a dizzy pensioner.
Those who prefer the earlier Carry Ons may find this one falling between two stools, as the transition to the series' middle period is much in evidence here. As always though, it provides enough real laughs and remains as watchable and good-natured as any in the series. A good example of vintage British humour for those interested.