Reviews written by registered user
|19 reviews in total|
An obvious western version of a story that was done twice in 1954 (as
SHIELD FOR MURDER and PRIVATE HELL 36--with Howard Duff!) where a good
lawman goes into business for himself.
This has all the elements: ruthless crime boss, two hired goons, a blackmailer, desperate escape and even a sultry chanteuse singing in a nightclub -er- saloon. Duff's playing is typically stoic, but this adds a bit to his bluff, duplicitous character (the kind Fred MacMurray used to play in DOUBLE INDEMNITY and PUSHOVER)and the rest of the cast does quite well under Selander's assured (well it certainly should be assured by this time!) direction. I particularly liked Douyglas Fowley as the crooked blackmailer. The scene where he and Duff negotiate -- each obviously planning a double-cross -- has a fine, greasy tension to it.
I found this surprisingly lavish for a PRC film, in that it actually
offers sets, locations and extras along with the standard guys in
gorilla suits (Ray Corrigan?) and creaky stock shots from other old
The camera work is above average for PRC as well, indicating that director Sam Newfield may have taken a bit more time and care here. Note the tracking shots as the canoes drift down the river and think of the time & expense to set that up. Or the shots of Pongo crashing through the jungle in the foreground, following the canoes in the background. Again it evinces a bit of extra care (=$) Where most PRC films amaze one by the mere fact of existing, WHITE PONGO stands out--sort of--as a film in its own right, and I wonder what burst of enthusiasm must have led to its creation.
That said, it's still a turkey.
With a visual style that anticipates Guy Madden and some insightful performances, this version is one I'll watch again, despite the fact that the homoerotic overtones held no interest for me. Prospective viewers should be warned that the Ghost is played with full frontal nudity, though it is not a large part -- in any sense of the term. Helen Mirren is amazing as Gertrude and Ophelia. Barry Stanton's Claudius is marvelously slimy. Quentin Crisp's Polonius is charmingly surreal. And the twins do it up quite nicely as Hamlet & Son. But was it necessary to stage the play-within-a-play as an orgy? In all, though, this is definitely worthwhile for HAMLET fans or overs of bizarre cinema.
I saw this on late-night local TV in the early 70s, tolerably dubbed,
under the title LOVE, HATE AND DISHONOR, and was immediately taken by
it's eerie, VAMPYRE-like style.
It never played on TV again, and in the late 70s to 90s I searched for it in vain. I did catch a reference to it under the title Possessed in the Encyclpedia of Horror Movies.
Finally found a poor quality English-subtitled VHS a few years back from VideoSearch of Miami and enjoyed it once again. I guess I have to add two more lines of text to meet the minimum requirement to post. I hope this is enough
This movie was playing in grind houses to unsuspecting kids and
half-sleeping winos at about the same time EL TOPO was playing at
college-area theaters to earnest young students and drug-addled
hippies. Oddly, both films make the same point about the futility of
death. Or something. While the lack of continuity and coherence here is
probably unintentional, the parallels are striking: Like EL TOPO,
DEADWOOD '76 offers a mythical gunfighter prompted into a series of
challenges that maybe prove something to somebody, but are ultimately
meaningless to the central character.
Just thought I'd mention it.
I, MOBSTER may have some historical significance, of a sort. This may
be the first film based on a paperback original. When I say "paperback
original" I'm referring to the flood of two-bit (literally, they sold
for a quarter) paperback books that were NOT reprints: these books,
published by Dell, Gold Medal (Fawcett) Lion and others had a boom
after World war II, taking over the newsstands, drug store racks, etc.
and hastening the demise of the pulp magazines. Writers like Robert
Bloch, Richard Matheson, Jim Thompson and Charles Williams got their
start in the paperback originals, and established writers like David
Goodis and Cornell Woolrich turned to them for quick money.
Many of these books have now been filmed by the likes of Truffaut (SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER from Goodis' DOWN THERE) Cornfield (THE 3RD VOICE from Williams' ALL THE WAY) and others -- Jim Thompson most frequently --but as far as I can tell, Roger Corman's I, MOBSTER was the first, from an "anonymous" Gold Medal Original, I, MOBSTER, published in 1951.
Can anyone find an earlier?
The credits of this fine film say "written and directed by Dario
Argento" which is probably half true. Other sources say it's based on a
story by Edgar Wallace, which is completely false. In fact, I'll
wrestle anyone in the crowd who can show me any book or story by Edgar
Wallace with this plot in it.
BIRD... is actually adapted, pretty closely, from THE SCREAMING MIMI, a novel by the great pulp-writer Fredric Brown. Brown, whose works include MARTIANS GO HOME, THE CASE OF THE DANCING SANDWICHES, HONEYMOON IN HELL, WE ALL KILLED GRANDMA, THE MIND THING and many many more, was an enormously skillful writer whose light style concealed a deeper sub-text than you usually find in a books with dumb titles like THE SCREAMING MIMI. In fact, the real meaning of the story is not revealed till the last paragraph, and it will surprise even readers who know there's a surprise coming.
I can't really blame Argento for dumping the sub-text of MIMI and filming the story as it's superficially written, and he did a very stylish job of it, but fans of this sort of thing should seek out Brown's book.
And I think the hero's name was "borrowed" from Raymond Chandler....
Released shortly after Zefferelli's ROMEO AND JULIET, this was
advertised as "The Love Story of Hamlet and Ophelia." Well, HAMLET is
about a lot of things, but it ain't about the love between Hamlet and
Ophelia. More apt is the other tag line: A HAMLET of our time, for our
time," because this HAMLET is very much rooted in the late 1960s
counter-culture. The actors seem just about to make love in every
scene, except for Williamson, who plays Hamlet like a pedantic grad
student -- his first speech to Gertrude sounds like he's grading a
Despite this, and despite the fact that Williamson, though about the same age as Parfitt (Gertrude) and Hopkins (Claudius) looks older, there are some worthwhile readings here and there, a couple of good ideas, and I have never seen Rosecrantz and Guildenstern shown more obtrusively -- like obnoxious frat brothers at a wedding. For HAMLET completest, this is worth seeking out.
"Found Objects" are those things generally discarded or ignored that somehow possess an intrinsic artistry, and this "Quota Quickie" certainly qualifies. Dashed off in what looks like a couple of weekends on whatever locations were handy, with badly-synchonized sound and wretched acting of pointless dialogue, it nonetheless conveys a genuine creepiness I found oddly haunting. The photography reminds one of the French New Wave, which came along a decade later, with starkly realistic images contrasted with baroque set-ups and disorienting editing. The story -- as much as I could understand -- offers a nightmarish progression through some sort of curse, and a mockingly down-beat ending.
Well, actually more like an "Uncle Scrooge" adventure turned into a movie, with acerbic Fred Allen subbing for Carl Barks' peripatetic miser, running into, across and over a panoply of bizarre characters in search of (what else, Uncle Scrooge?) a lost fortune. "Bag" offers the usual Barks-type exotic locales -- there's a byzantine movie theater that seems deliberately Disney-esque -- and colorful characters, here embodied by some surprising Hollywood figures (Rudy Vallee, Don Ameche, Jerry Colonna, etc,)The inevitable encounter with jack Benny is funny enough, but my favorite cameo here was etched by John Carradine as an organ-playing arch-villain, complete with cape and top-hat. Not to be missed!
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