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Just saw the Scarecrow after 42 years
I've just seen Scarecrow, after some 42 years and what a great adventure movie! Would be in my top five adventure movies of all time. Great performances, nice plot, a little romance, suspense, setting, this movie is firing on all cylinders. Patrick M., the lead, is absolutely spot on. Nice grey horse too. What a touch! Great, great, performances. The only thing is that in my memory, the Scarecrow gets caught, but not in this version. That's a bit strange. In the Hammer version, I believe he gets caught. I'd love to catch some danger man episodes, especially the Jolly Roger one with the same lead.
The Gorgon (1964)
Superb Score from "Hammer Hotel"
A key part of the atmosphere of the film, is the brilliant orchestral score. It's almost a character in itself along side the set and set decoration. Perhaps if there was more writing and less repetition in the musical material (but that is surely a budget problem) I would like it even better. Superb just he same.
I remember watching this film with my sister maybe 35 years ago and it really did give us chills up and down the spine. Still does. Great film. Although some have criticized the make up job on the Gorgon I think it's very effective. Very nice touch to see the reflection of the monster in the pool of water. I really like the snakes moving in the hair, and I wait for that moment, each time I see this movie.
The weakest spot in the movie is the character that Peter Cushing plays. There doesn't really seem to be a compelling reason why he holds back so much information. His research into the Gorgon phenomena and his romantic interest in the female assistant who turns into the Gorgon is not developed enough. This character is a bit of a cypher, despite Cushing great horror acting ability.
It is a pessimistic and very sad movie since, the male and female leads all die a fairly tortured death. It's one of the best of the Hammer movies, no question. A one of a kind, and comes from the heart.
I have named the sets to the Hammer movies, "Hammer Hotel", since the same set seems to appear in different guises quite a few times. I believe the castle in "Gorgon", is the same castle as in "The Horror of Dracula". Great set, none the less.
One of the Hammer horror films goofs I have noticed is where you can see the set number listed on the riser. The camera shot too low. Funny. It may be from the "Gorgon" or the "Reptile". I think it's the "Gorgon".
C'era una volta il West (1968)
Music Score - Reference to Ravel 's Daphnis and Chloe
One musical reference I can hear is very similar to a section from Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe. There is another reference to a musical theme from one of the dollar trilogy. Can't place which one right now. It's the famous one. Also when "Harmonica" plays the "bad notes", I'm sure it's not from the harmonica. Sounds much more like the strings of the piano played directly - like a "prepared" piano. Might even be a zither. Many use of the major seventh chord which seems to be out of favour for last 30 years. Rarely heard in pop tunes today. Still a beautiful chord. The score sits on it and lets it ring. I like it.
Night of the Demon (1957)
Some reflections after seeing this movie 30+ years ago.
I saw this film when I was a kid and was very impressed with it, remaining in my memory, after 30+ years. I just it again last week. I remember the monster most of all, although there are many other elements that now gain my attention, today. It's still a favourite.
I'd just like to make one suggestion. Some people think that the demon shown at the beginning, is a bit of a spoiler. I'd agree and offer another solution. Instead of the full demon being shown, I think they should have shown a similar type of fireball which was shown in the forest scene when the lead man was returning to the car. Great effect. That could have been followed by showing a shadow of the giant demon cast over the victim caught in the wires instead of the the actual monster. In this fashion you still don't know what the menace is exactly, until the end. The scene is still mostly quite effective starting the film off with some immediate action, which is usually a good idea.
I especially like the way the pace of the film accelerates near the end until it is actually running, as Carswell runs to caught the paper strip. One more thought. The sound effects for the appearance of the demon - the squeaky noise, could have been better. It's in the right direction, but it's a flaw.
Also I have read some criticms on the music for this picture. I think it's a great score. Those were the days when they could afford orchestras and full blown composer, instead of knocking off some electronic quick fix. I love the use of the score to point up the chilling moments. The composer's a real pro. I don't find it hoaky at all, but beautifully suited to the movie.
As well there have been some disparging comments on the lead male actor. I don't find him wooden, but simply acting in a straight forward manner , well suited for the character. He's not James Bond. There are a couple of reaction moments which could have been better played. Could have been the editing, but probably not. Obviously the actor who plays Karswell has more technique, and that's why they cast him in that very crucial part. I think the casting was well done. Straighforward. I could name any number of new movies that have no crediblilty in the acting department.
Overall, I love this movie.