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Diamante Lobo (1976)
Actually, this is just a comment. I did not find the movie as bad as ejhutchez, but I did enjoy it. (I am a westerns freak, so that may have had something to do with it). Make no mistake, it is no classic- but it is watchable. Anyways, the point I wanted to make is that the three American stars, all of whom- particularly Jack Palance- have trade mark voices and ways of talking were all poorly dubbed by what seem (or rather sound) to be Italian actors. That just strikes me as really weird. I do agree that the dual roles played by Van Cleef were the best part of the movie by far and that Boone and Palance did indeed seem to be walking through their parts. Still, it's better than a Tom Cruise movie.
She Demons (1958)
One of the all-time worst!
There is nothing good about this movie at all, not plot, dialogue, acting, directing- nothing. Set on a volcanic island in the Caribbean (which just happens to have a Nazi group sent there in the closing days of WWII), we quickly descend into a maelstrom of bad acting, overacting and non-acting- and the acting is the best part of the film!
Just let me give a few examples: in the big fight scene between the brown-haired hero and the 250 pound head Nazi bully boy (not, I must add, the head scientist Nazi), the double for the hero is blonde and the double for the brute weighs about 170. The brute Nazi is searching for the three castaways (for castaways they are) in the mad Nazi scientist's laboratory with a torch, obviously having a hard time seeing- because the overhead light which is illuminating the room is TOO BRIGHT, no doubt. The hero is "hiding" behind a shelf- an OPEN-BACKED shelf which is located almost in the middle of the room. Another good guy is hiding around a corner. The corner is one foot wide and the hidee is two feet wide. In fact, the bad searcher Nazi guy ALMOST BUMPS INTO HIM. I mean, the searcher guy is like a WWF ref, for Pete's sake. The "scientist" has harnessed the power of lava to make women beautiful, apparently, a high priority project of the master race (Gee, why haven't our modern scientists thought of this?), and states that the lava is 65,000 degrees, about TEN TIMES HOTTER THAN THE SURFACE OF THE SUN. The teeth of the title She Demons ARE PART OF THE MASK!- they didn't even get separate teeth for this movie!
Pure schlock, and not funny schlock either. However, if you are into bad movies, catch it... at your own peril.
Missile to the Moon (1958)
Makes "Cat Women of the Moon" look like DeMille.
It's hard to believe that anyone would want to re-make "Cat Women...", but I guess plagiarism knows no bounds. Unfortunately, the humor of the original (which continues to crack me up) was only funny the first time, and this attempt at re-animation reeks. The original at least had some good actors/actresses (Victor Jory, Marie Windsor, Bill Phipps...), but this one is a thespian black hole. Everything from CWOTM is here: telepathic communication with a crew member, subterranean all-woman civilization, giant cave spider... Oh, there is one HUGE "difference": the greedy "crewman" who goes after diamonds (instead of the gold of COTW) which are as common as quartz on this version of the moon.
The crew of this rocket (which has an exhaust manifold about the size of a large pizza) is a mad scientist, two escaped cons, and a pair of unwitting stowaways (one- of course- a woman) who, when the rocket blasts off, grab air masks "..because soon we'll be out of the earth's atmosphere". The masks are old fighter pilot jobbies, and are unconnected to anything at all, let alone an oxygen tank.
Already in a deep hole, this flick goes downhill rapidly from there: The rocket just happened to have a ladies space suit (and of course she's wearing pearls and high heels); the "moon" has plants growing on it; rock creatures which attack at the speed of "The Crawling Terror", yet (of course) our intrepid band cannot elude or outdistance them; and on and on and on...
What a stinker!
The Flying Saucer (1950)
"It was just a small bomb" You got that right.
Whenever I think about this movie, the scene that comes to mind is when the head bad-guy machine-guns one of his own henchmen to get the hero who is using the poor sap as a shield, figuring that the Evil Russian won't kill his own lackey. The E.R. than proceeds to pump about fifty rounds into the poor chump, but the hero is not hit once. Anyone with military or police experience knows that a human body will not serve as protection against a Thompson sub-machine gun shot from less than ten feet away. In real life, the hero would have been a sieve.
Now, the fact that this is what stuck with me about this movie is actually too bad. The shots of Alaskan scenery are terrific and the basic story was not too badly conceived. The plot as it is played out and dialog however are in the poor to horrid range. Not bad enough to be funny, disjointed and entirely unacceptable as to the actions of the hero and heroine who are supposed to be high level secret operatives, the abrupt ending typifies the entire movie.
Go West, Young Lady (1941)
A goof and a recommendation
This is not a comment- rather, I would like to point out a goof: When Penny Singleton and Ann Miller are having their cat fight towards the end of the movie (incidentally, one of the all-time great cat fights) it really looks like those girls are belting each other), Ann Miller's blouse buttons and unbuttons during the scrimmaging.
But, as long as I am here... This was a truly enjoyable western. Glen Ford is actually funny in this movie, and the relationship between him and Penny Singleton is very well developed and quite touching, in an amusingly innocent sort of way (inotherwords, exactly the opposite of most movies today). The rise of the townswomen to thwart the evildoers plans is also very well done.
This is a rare western comedy that actually delivers some jocular moments. I've seen it three times, and enjoyed it all three times. And, if it comes on the Westerns Channel again when my boy is home from school or doesn't have practice or a game, We'll watch it together.
It's just a fun movie. period.
Cat-Women of the Moon (1953)
What a blast!
This movie is really hard to rate. As a "Film", it is a two at best. As Fun, it rates right up there with some of the classic and much more earnest sci-fi flix of the fifties.
Even my ten year old son laughed at the science mistakes in the movie, but he liked it despite (or because of) them. The idea that "spacemen" (and a spacewoman, the always interesting Marie Windsor)would bring Cigarettes with them to the moon is wacky - but not as wacky as the fact that, to show the temperature difference between a shaded spot of the moon's surface and a spot in the sun, one of the heroes throws one of the cancer sticks into a sunny spot where it instantly bursts into flame. (For a more complete list of the goofs in this movie, I suggest you see Bill Warren's book: Keep Watching The Skies).
I enjoyed it thoroughly, and have seen it many times. Watching Sonny Tufts try to act is worth the price of admission. Victor Jory is also fun to watch trying to act as if this was a good movie, and he struggles earnestly against the script and the premise.
"Every man a Tiger!"
I remember seeing this and "When Women had Tails" at a drive-in (Gee, I guess that dates me). The two features were advertised as "See Senta's two Big Ones" (I kid you not). Anyway, the acting was execrable, the humor was entirely non-existent, the special effects weren't... All it needed was a laugh track.
However, with apologies to the PC patrol, it does have to be said that there were indeed two things about this movie which did indeed stand out, and they both belonged to Senta. And remember, this was before the days of surgical enhancement. She could easily have been a Meyer-femme, but she was much prettier than most of his "stars". Unfortunately, Senta's awesome pair of credentials alone are not enough to recommend this movie.
The Alligator People (1959)
Beverly Garland rises above the swamp
This is one of those films where the performances of one of the stars greatly outshines the movie as a whole. I am speaking, of course, of Beverley Garland. She manages to bring this misfire, which would otherwise be about a "2" up to respectability singlehandedly.
Even though she must have realized this movie was a disaster as soon as she saw the Alligator Man costume, she never condescended to either the role or the actions around her. She was/is one of the truly under-appreciated actress's of our time. She almost never got to be in a true "classic" movie (and when she was, she was never the Star), but she always was believable and sympathetic.
Perhaps it was that she was not "Hollywood" pretty, but she was/is a beautiful woman, and she must be a nice one too, because it comes through in all of her roles. (In fact, if she is not nice, then she is a tremendous actress indeed).
Considering that Lon Chaney and George Macready were in this, the movie itself is quite a disappointment. The idea of the Alligator serum being able to rejuvenate damaged tissue is a good one (although the writers could not have known it at the time, there actually is something in Crocodilian blood which greatly accelerates the healing process and halts the spread of infection).
The movie is worth watching, because Beverly Garland is always worth watching.
If you like strong women this is a movie for you.
You can't ask for more in a western than Wild Bill Elliott and Marie Windsor. Elliott was one of the manliest and most genuine western stars of the '40's, and no woman had more strong charactered parts in B westerns and film noirs than Marie Windsor.
This is a rousing movie about redemption and the hard road to reach it. Things don't come easy for the two stars, but they both just keep on a pluggin' away in true western style. What makes this movie more than just another formulaic oater is the fact that Doll Brown (Marie) is not your average swooning damsel in distress. One gets the feeling that the two stars had genuine affection for each other (notice that I said affection, not lust) and this shows through in the film.
Changes in the characters that take place during Hellfire seem like changes that would really happen if two people liked each other- it is not the usual surrender of one star (almost always the female lead) to the strength of the dominant one (almost always the male lead).
If you like Westerns (and here I mean not just Howard Hawkes or John Ford films and not just any weak programmer destined for a Saturday matinée second feature), you should enjoy this one.
Italiani brava gente (1964)
The Film Noir version of a War Movie.
Most folks don't know that the Italians had over 80,000 troops in Russia during WWII, and fewer know that most of them died or were captured during the retreat in the dead of winter from Stalingrad.
This movie does an excellent job of showing the life of an (any) average soldier in any army- the grunts, the footsloggers, the cannon fodder. The few officers shown (the exception being the colonel in charge of the unit) are far from heroic, being either cowards or incompetents.
Shot in stark black and white, this movie personalizes war in a way that hagiography's such as "Patton" or extravaganza's like "The Longest Day" absolutely failed to do. If anything, this is like a (much) shorter version of "A Band Of Brothers"- it is that good.
As stated by other commentators, nothing good happens to anyone in this movie- it is real-life film noir. Good, bad, indifferent, everybody suffers. This is what a war movie made by, if not Jules Dassin or Robert Siodmak, than Richard Fleischner or Felix Feist would look like.
It is not all gloom and doom however. The scenes which take place during the advance through the Ukraine in the spring and summer are light, and reveal the soldiers attitude of "What are we doing here?" and contrasts them well with the occasional appearance of a Nazi official or an officer of the Wehrmacht.
For those interested, read "Few Returned" by Eugenio Corti, an Italien officer who was one of the few to escape the destruction of the Italian Expeditionary Force on the steppes of Russia, and for an Italian's view of their erstwhile "ally", I recommend "Kaput" by Curzio Malaparte, an Italian journalist who witnessed at first hand the savagery of the Nazi occupation in Poland and points east.