Showing posts with label 1960's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1960's. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

WW2 Watch: Where Eagles Dare (1968)




Watched:  01/13/2021
Format:  TCM on my DVR (where it had been languishing)
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Brian G. Hutton

While these days certain people would raise their hands and complain this is cancel culture, sometimes it's a good move to just watch a movie where we blow up a bunch of Nazis.  

Seemingly torn from one of those men's adventure magazines of days of yore, When Eagles Dare (1968) follows the completely insane mission of Richard Burton in a rare action role as he pairs with a "in his prime" Clint Eastwood and with a handful of other people, invade a mountain castle Nazi fortress and then blow it the hell up.  

There's a hell of a lot more to the movie - it's really an espionage caper - but I don't want to spoil it if you've not seen it.  But expect lots of machineguns, an unreasonable amount of dynamite, and the unlikely prospect of Richard Burton physically outperforming a 1968 Clint Eastwood.  It had some astounding scenes on some cable cars, a bus ride you won't forget, and lots and lots of uses for a rope with a clip on one end.

In addition to Burton and Eastwood, the movie also stars Mary Ure, and has Ingrid Pitt in a smaller role.  In fact, Pitt appears on screen for several scenes in the back half of the movie, but for some reason, she has no lines and is given nothing to do.  It's honestly kind of weird.  I half think they forgot to write her character in, and then someone thought "we actually need to logically have her here, but we don't want to pay the writer for more scenes" or something.I've certainly heard of similar things happening.*

The *lack* of screentime for Ingrid Pitt in this movie is maybe my only real beef with it.  But that's a beef with all movies, but, like, two.

let the St. Pauli Girl speak!

Anyway - this movie is all plot and action with a minimum of character.  It's a super-tight thrill ride kind of flick, and delivers on its promise.  

*apparently a big driver for why you don't hear someone tell Capone about a character dying in Untouchables in one of the most famous scenes in that movie is not artistry - that's a glad happenstance.  Rather, they couldn't get David Mamet back to write that scene when they knew they needed it.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Day of the Triffids




Watched:  09/18/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1963
Director:  Steve SekelyFreddie Francis

I forgot to write this up in September, and now it's too late.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Interaction Watch: For a Few Dollars More (1965)




Watched: 11/10/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown.  Probably fourth or fifth
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Sergio Leone

It had been maybe 15 years since I last watched For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second in the Man With No Name trilogy, which catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom, made Leone an unlikely star director, and gave me some movies to be blown away by in my last teens/ early 20's.  

It's an interesting bridge between the solo adventure of a Fistful of Dollars, which is also maybe a bit rougher from a technical standpoint, and the groundbreaking filmmaking that would come with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and explode into masterpiece filmmaking with Once Upon a Time in the West.  

I may like Leone's work.  Sue me.

The film isn't *that* different to characters and bears from A Fistful of Dollars, but it does insert Lee Van Cleef as the variable in the experiment, and to great effect.  It's not hard to track how Leone went from this film to the three character structure of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in the next film, giving chances for shifting alliances based on the character's self interests and motivations.  Flashbacks in this film presage similar from the finale from OUATITW.  

It's a gorgeous film, and the pacing and characters are happily breaking the conventions of Westerns of the prior 60 years of film, pointing the way for what we would come to expect from an American action film.  To the point that, with no knowledge of film history, what people coming to this movie for the first time would even think.  But this is 1965 - we're barely two steps from Hopalong Cassidy, chronologically.  

If you think you don't like westerns (a statement I think just basically means: I don't like movies about people without cars, as "western" is a nonsense category of a movie), give the Man With No Name Trilogy a shot.  It's amazing stuff.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Musical Watch: Hello, Dolly! (1969)



 
Watched:  11/08/2020
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  Unknown.  Maybe 4th
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Gene Kelly

Hello, Dolly! (1969) has some amazing sequences worth checking out just to see what was going on in the post studio-system era when a surviving studio threw a huge ton of money at a film.  From massive sets to costumes for hundreds (if not thousands), the expense of the thing is hard to get your head around - and every dollar is on the screen.  There's talent galore, including established and rising heavyweights, and even unknown bit players have some moments.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Hammer Watch: Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1968)




Watched:  10/22/2020
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Terence Fisher

I've watched the few Frankenstein movies from Hammer that I've seen completely out of order.  And this is no exception.  I think this is the second to last movie, but, really, do not know.

Completely spinning the opposite direction from Universal, Hammer decided the selling point for their Frankenstein films was not the monster, but the good doctor himself.  Building on the arrogant sonuvabitch from the novel, this version of Frankenstein is NOT humbled by his first creation, but emboldened by his success, and so the subsequent films are him doing what all good scientists would do - keep working on it.  

Saturday, October 17, 2020

PODCAST: "Phantom of the Opera" (1925) and (1962) - Universal and Hammer Studios! - Halloween 2020 w/ SimonUK and Ryan


Watched:  October 4 ('25) October 6 ('62) 2020
Format:  BluRay (Kino Lorber) and Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  1000th and First
Decade:  1920's and 1960's
Director:  Rupert Julian and Terence Fisher



SimonUK and Ryan cannot remain silent on the topic of that wacky phantom what lurks beneath the opera! We take a look at two of the many film appearances where a creepy music teacher stalks and abducts his pupil while making the most of a poor real estate situation and skin condition. We take a look at the 1925 film from Universal as well as the 1962 take from Hammer, and, boy howdy, are these two different films. 
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - JS Bach (unknown performer)
Don Juan Triumphant?   I'm not sure, honestly


Halloween and Horror (everything at The Signal Watch)

Hammer Watch: Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968)

 


Watched:  10/14/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Freddie Francis

Let's start by saying "continuity" is not the watch-word for Hammer's Dracula series.  

The remote village which last saw Dracula die by drowning in a frozen moat around his castle is now located in a steep mountain area (as suggested in prior films, but which always seemed a whole lot like a forested area in a topographically uninteresting meadow).  I think the movie opens during Dracula's brief return to life from Dracula: Prince of Darkness when Dracula must have stopped off for a bite in the village, leaving a village maiden dead and inverted inside the bell of the local church.  

The plot is a bit windy, but involves a good-hearted Monsignor showing up, trying to ensure Dracula cannot return after the events of the prior movie, but a fallen priest winds up bringing Dracula back (and becomes Drac's henchman).  Dracula tracks the Monsignor home where he targets his niece.  The niece is dating/ apparently shagging a local student/ outspoken atheist.

Prior characters and locations are kind of nodded at, but only in the faintest ways.  The nearby abbey featured prominently in the prior film is unmentioned, as are any previously seen characters.  You'd think folks would invent speed-dial just to keep Van Helsing on it.

As in prior Hammer vampire films, there's a question of how Christianity and faith intersect with the abomination that is Dracula - and this film puts a fine point on it, featuring a priest who has lost his faith, a priest who has not and a smart mouthed atheist college student.  A cross is a good way to put Dracula off, but it requires faith in the object - something an atheist doesn't have (nor a fallen priest).  Released in 1968, while Britain and the US were wrestling with youth culture movements (our juvenile lead is doing his best to look like Roger Daltrey circa 1968) there's certainly a strain of "this new-fangled thinking by the youths is gonna get us all Dracula'd".  

Of course, seeing the inverse of God and miracles is a pretty good argument that one is not getting the full picture and answers questions of someone who might ask them - and so there's an emergency (and logical) jump to faith, or at least a reasonable facsimile of faith.  And the lack of faith by the fallen priest has made him vulnerable to Drac's evil ways and not even particularly interested in resistance.

Yeah, it's a bit on the nose that Dracula is literally impaled on a cross at the end, but given the themes, it's got a certain poetry and we'll allow it.  There does seem to be some sort of divine will at play in this film, but you don't want to be a flirty barmaid/ cannon fodder for the plot.

This is the Hammer Dracula with the weird "Drac Lens".  It's not a terrible effect, but once you notice it, you do keep looking at it instead of the action of the screen. It's not without motivation, but would have worked better as a POV device.

It's good to have Lee back as Dracula, who even has lines this time, and other familiar faces like Michael Ripper and Rupert Davies.  

All in all - enjoyable as the last, if very different in tone as this one was not directed by Terence Fisher.  



Thursday, October 15, 2020

Watch Party Watch: Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965)




Watched:  10/13/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's (and how!)
Director:   Robert Gaffney

Jenifer picked this particular gem for our Tuesday screening, and it was a g-d delight.  

For reasons that are never explained, NASA creates a sort of synthetic man they want to launch into space in place of an astronaut (we are all fine with automation in our space probes, and I'm not sure why the ruse is necessary).  He doesn't actually work very well, but they go ahead with the plan.

Meanwhile, aliens from a distant world that has experienced a wave of self-destruction via nuclear exchange have come to Earth in a space ship roughly the size of a small house, with plans to steal our women - because they have none.  Except for their leader, a sort of imperious-but-fun Space Queen (Marilyn Hanold) in a heck of a pant-suit and head dress.  


Monday, October 12, 2020

Hammer Watch: Dracula - Prince of Darkness (1966)


 

Watched:  10/09/2020
Format:  DVD
Viewing:  Second
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Terence Fisher

This Halloween, we're making our way through the Dracula films from Hammer Studios.  This is the second appearance of Christopher Lee as Drac and the third in the series (the second film, Brides of, dealt with a sort of faux-Dracula making like Drac and building up his own creepy harem).  

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) sees a pair of English brothers and their wives touring around Eastern Europe when they decide, against the advice of everyone, to head to a town near Dracula's castle.  They're met by a cleric who is VERY against the idea of going anywhere near the castle (which isn't on the map, and so they believe must not exist, despite the assurance it does).  Being British, which in this movie means everyone who is not a British male of a certain standing must be wrong about everything, the tourists head right for the path the cleric warned against, and, hey, get dropped off right in front of Dracula's castle by a coachman who is NOT putting up with these dummies.

Helen, one of the wives, is a bit of a pill, but she is 100% right about everything and no one listens to her, which is why you want to not be a pill about everything.  The foursome come across a random DRIVERLESS CARRIAGE, and GET IN, thinking they'll take it to town - I suppose because these men think a free carriage for the taking is a reasonable touch befitting their place and not at all weird -  until the horses ignore their directions and dump them the crew in front of the castle.

A Lurch-like minion welcomes the quartet and sets them up comfortably.

Turns out, Drac is still "destroyed", but like Sea Monkeys and tap-water, he can be brought to life if you add blood to his ashes.  So, our minion, Clove, goes about making that happen.

Like Horror of Dracula, the scale of the Dracula story here is rather small.  The travelers are a small party, Dracula only ever really seems to threaten them (for all the talk about the force he is), and a lot of the movie depends on people - in classic horror tradition - making bad choices.  Which, before 2020, seemed like a contrivance, but, well...  While I very much liked Father Sandor, played by Andrew Kier - I became a fan of Helen (Barbara Shelley) who is the only one with any common sense and who gets to let her hair down as a vampire (even if Dracula is a bully to her).  

Lee doesn't have any actual dialog in the film, and there are two accounts of how that happened.  The screenwriter claims he didn't give the titular character any, and Lee says he refused to say any of the dumb dialog as it was written.  I have no idea, but I tend to believe Lee.  So it's weird to have your villain just sort of growling and hissing at people when he also seems to care a lot about his appearance (I mean, he always looks neat as a pin). 

As promised, we're paying attention to the role of Christianity in these films, and it's hard to ignore the role of Father Sandor and his pals in the monastery.   A monastery that's surprisingly cross and crucifix free.  But it does show the readiness of the literate clergyman to combat evil in physical form, and, yes, there's ample deployment of the cross as a deterrent.  It's NOT clear why the church hasn't just set the castle ablaze, which seems to the prudent move when you have the King of the Undead a carriage ride away*, but we at least get Father Sandor laying the smack down.  

I'm making fun, but I liked the movie a pretty good deal.  It's not amazing cinema, but it is a sensible follow on to Horror of Dracula and manages some genuine thrills, if not chills.  


*I'm not one to call for murder, but it doesn't count when your target is an unholy monstrosity bent upon the devastation of human life, yo





PODCAST: "The Wolfman" (1941) and "Curse of the Werewolf" (1961) - Universal/ Hammer Halloween 2020 w/ SimonUK and Ryan



 
Watched:  Wolf Man 09/26/2020  Curse of 09/27/2020
Format:  BluRay/ Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown/ Second
Decade:  1940's/ 1960's
Director:  George Waggner / Terence Fisher




Things get hairy as SimonUK and Ryan take a look at two movies where a fellow is really not feeling himself. We look at the classic Universal take on werewolves and the lesser known entry from Hammer (Spanish werewolves!), which are wildly different in some ways, but really agree on the "sorry, you're doomed" angle when it comes to curses that turn one into a ravening beast who still politely wears trousers. 

Music:
Wolf Man Main Theme - Charles Previn
Curse of the Werewolf Theme - Benjamin Frankel
 



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Hammer Watch: The Brides of Dracula (1960)


 

Watched:  10/04/2020
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960
Director:  Terence Fisher

I'd not paid much attention to the non-Christopher Lee movies from Hammer that pitched themselves as Dracula, but decided this Halloween I'm going to watch all of the Draculas from the studio in order.  So, next up from Horror of Dracula is the 1960 entry, The Brides of Dracula.  

A prologue lets us know that the film takes place in proximity to the death of Dracula in the prior film.  The opening follows the journey of a young Parisian woman headed to teach French in a school in Transylvania.  She is held over at an inn (unknown to her, intentionally so) where she meets a wealthy Baroness who takes her to her castle.  

Monday, September 21, 2020

Watch of the Damned: Creation of the Humanoids (1962)




Watched:  09/18/2020
Format:  Watch Party
Viewing:  First (and last!)
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Wesley Barry


...R.O.T.O.R.

...Santa with Muscles

...Monster a Go-Go...  


Sure, we watch a lot of not-great movies, but some feel as if they exist to test your very sanity.  Some movies are so insanely bad, so weirdly made and uncomfortable to watch - made and released with what appears to be utter sincerity on the part of the filmmakers - sincerity that serves no one and seems like a hallucination more than a delusion...  

These films join our personal canon of Movies of the Damned.  

We've had a wild ride this summer as we've enjoyed our Friday night Amazon Watch Parties, but Jenifer found an amazing entry this week with Creation of the Humanoids (1962).  

It's the movie that dares to ask:  but what if a movie was 96% exposition?  

and

What if everyone just stood on their marks with a minimum of motion for the runtime of a film?

In some ways, I give it credit.  It does nothing but propose a few sci-fi premises and then builds on those premises, asking questions no one asked and providing a sea of answers that no one cares about, only to ask more questions.  And it does it over and over and over for what I am pretty sure was a full calendar year, but you will find to be a neat 75 minute or so runtime.  

It's a post-nuclear-holocaust future and man is barely hanging in there despite shiny outfits, women with rocket bras, nifty architecture and the help of our robot friends.  

People seem to be on their way out, as robots seem to be figuring out self-replication.  There's a herd of guys running around yelling MAGA dressing in shiny Confederate uniforms and harassing robots.  They have a cute clubhouse and everything.  Meanwhile, Robots are, in fact, secretly rising up to replace humans.  

All of this is told, not shown, in lengthy, lengthy speeches which would make a high school forensics teacher proud.  

The make-up on the humanoids/ robots is weirdly excellent - the work of Jack "Universal Monsters" Pierce himself, apparently slumming by 1962.  

I can't do this movie justice.  I hate it so much I like it.  It's mind-bogglingly inept, except that... the cinematography, sets, and make-up all work fine.  It's just that there's only 4 sets, and long, long scenes that will not end containing nothing but nonsense sci-fi talk that can and should have been SHOWN.  Just when you think this might be an allegory for something - NO.  We move right on past that and it's right back to a very concrete story about the concrete problems of robots.  It's like the mad ramblings of the worst nerd in your class who gets why robots are interesting, but not at all how a story works.  And was given money to make a movie.  

I... I'm worn out just thinking about it.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Concert Film Watch: The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)




Watched: 09/07/2020 
Format: TCM on DVR 
Viewing: First 
Decade: 1960's 
Director:  Steve Binder

A concert film featuring Jan & Dean as hosts, you get a look at 1964 as a watershed year in American music.  The show features performances by:

  • Chuck Berry
  • Gerry and the Pacemakers
  • Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
  • Marvin Gaye
  • The Blossoms (group featuring Signal Watch patron saint Darlene Love)
  • Lesley Gore
  • Jan and Dean
  • The Beach Boys
  • Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas
  • The Supremes
  • The Barbarians
  • James Brown and the Famous Flames
  • The Rolling Stones
There's a 10,000 word essay on what was happening in America in 1964 (Civil Rights Act), what Chuck Berry did to music in 1958, what co-option of R&B and  Rock and Roll by white kids and white kids from England meant and what happened to the genres as a result.  

But for the TAMI Show, it's looking at the past, present and future of music on one stage in a tight package.  Not all of the acts will become legendary or household names - I never even heard of Billy J Kramer before this - and not everyone is amazing.  The awards show was the Teenage Awards Music International - or, essentially, Teen-Choice Awards.  Which is also a reminder that these genres were in the process of being turned into music for kids.  Which is an idea people respond to violently, but when you see a room full of teenage girls screaming themselves hoarse at the mere sight of Mick Jagger, it's a reminder that your parents dragged that music into adulthood with them and institutionalized it.*  This was new in the 1950's and 60's, when the very idea of a "teenager" was new in the wake of WWII and post-war prosperity/ marketing.  

But that said - I'm a product of the generation that was screaming its head off at these acts (my mother graduated high school in '64, for example).  All of this was more than a decade in the past by the time I was even born, but it was what was on the radio and in our parents' vinyl collections and played on soundtracks of movies as we were growing up, so it became our music, too.  

Anyway - it's a hell of a movie.  And if you want to see a very young The Supremes and James Brown before he became weighed down with legal issues and drama, or a chance to see The Stones as they seem to be realizing the extent of their power - this is an amazing bit of film.

Fun bonus - Toni Basil and Teri Garr are in this as dancers.  I spotted Basil, but not Garr.  




*And there's a pretty similar model for what happened to comics in the 1980's


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

TPR-Watch-Party Watch: In the Heat of the Night (1967)


Watched:  09/01/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party (Texas Public Radio)
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Norman Jewison

What a phenomenal film, and so shockingly, depressingly timely for something 53 years old.

The energy between Poitier and Steiger is famously some of the best on screen.  The entire cast is on fire in this one, which uses the Buddy-Cop formula to highlight people from different worlds and show how they clash.  Of course, this story is that of an African-American, Philadelphia-based homicide detective who happens to stumble into murder in a hick town in Mississippi, who partners with the local Sheriff who, while totally out of his depth, has the intelligence to be *aware* he's out of his depth.

Anyway - this is a terribly famous film, and - I'd argue - well worth a watch. 

I happened to have the delight of watching the film with the Texas Public Radio film fan community via Amazon Watch Party.  Hosted by our own NathanC, the chatter during the movie was lively, Nathan brought the trivia, and after the movie we met up in a GoToMeeting to chat about it.  Good times!  A+  Would do again.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Musical Watch: Sweet Charity (1969)



Watched:  08/23/2020
Format:  TCM
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Bob Fosse

I'd never been terribly curious about Sweet Charity (1969), but I watched - and was a huge fan of - Fosse/ Verdon last year (highest recommendations) and felt I owed the movie a look-see, especially after seeing Fosse in Kiss Me Kate.  And, I'm enough of a fan of Cabaret that I own a copy.

I'm not sure 51 years on what the legacy or reputation is of Sweet Charity.  In 2020 it wears its late-60's-ness like a cement block tied with a chain.  There's just a level of misogyny that pervades the whole film - which is essentially about a dime-a-dance-girl/ stripper/ possible sex-worker (depending on your reading) seeking marriage and happiness but who - for reasons the movie finds inessential - has no tools for doing so.  There's just no interest in ever really exploring who Charity is, herself.  And the characters feel oddly two-dimensional throughout.

In the inevitable comparison to Cabaret, Sally Bowles may have exactly the same issues and hang-ups, but we know who she is and get a few lines about how she got there.  Which I don't think we ever get about Charity.

The dance numbers are, of course, Fosse and in them the movie shines.  Absolutely.  Worth the price of admission.  Sammy Davis Jr. guests in a terrific number, and Maclaine is better than I figured as a song and dance girl.

The movie has some interesting editing quirks that now feel deeply dated.

But the ending... doesn't.  It's an unnecessary ellipses that doesn't leave the viewer feeling the ambiguity is the point - it feels like they failed to finish the script or didn't know how to wrap up the story and wanted it to have a sort of bittersweet ending that would feel heady, but it fails to earn it.  Like, literally anything could have happened as the movie wrapped, good or bad, and it would have not just felt like air coming out of a tire.

Have a point, movie.

Anyway - if nothing else, watch the most famous scene from the film, which is - frankly, amazing stuff.*




*and should be assigned viewing for any person about to enter a gentleman's club for the first time

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Forgot to Mention It Watch: Barbarella (1968)


Watched:  07/24/2020
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Third
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Roger Vadim

I've never actually *liked* Barbarella (1968), and watching it a third time did nothing to improve that opinion.  Even back in high school when the hint of boob was a welcome thing, I thought the movie was so clunky (and not in a fun way) I turned it off. 

As a grown-assed watcher, it's a slog.  I am sure a certain kind of 1960's beatnik probably liked it, but I am not one of those beatniks.   For a movie that prides itself on sexiness, it's attempts at sexiness are so awkward, it's deeply unsexy and boring to boot. 

Visually, though? - it's astounding, so I recommend putting it on mute and playing it on your TV during a party. 


Monday, August 17, 2020

PODCAST: "Le Samourai" (1967) and "The Conformist" (1970) - a European Neonoir Watch w/ JAL and RYan



Watched:  Le Samourai 07/28, The Conformist 07/31
Format:  HBOmax/ BluRay
Viewing:  third for both, I believe
Decade:  1960's/ 1970's
Director:  Jean-Pierre Melville  & Bernardo Bertolucci

For more ways to listen


Justin and Ryan head to Europe for some neo-noir! We swing through France for a hitman film and over to Italy for... well, he's not much of a hitman, really. One of these is absolutely noir and the other, we're kind of calling a noir - and we're pretty excited about both of them. Join us as for a double-bill, continental style!





Music:

Le Samourai Title Theme - Fran├žois De Roubaix
The Conformist Title Theme - Georges Delerue


Playlist - Noir Watch:




Saturday, July 11, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Son of Godzilla (1967)


Watched:  07/08/2020
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  First (all the way through)
Decade:  1960's
Director: Jun Fukuda

Between you, me and the wall, I have been kind of dreading getting to these Godzilla films.  I'm not necessarily a fan of Minilla, but I understand his place.  Some of my first exposure to Godzilla was via the 1970's cartoon series which included "Godzooky", a character intended to appeal to the youths who was a doofus time sink taking away minutes from Godzilla fights.

We're only 13 years away from the amazing work of the original Gojira by this point, but as happens when kids glom onto a character, all the edges were knocked off (see: Mickey Mouse or Batman by 1940).  Godzilla is a big goof who people are afraid like maybe you'd fear a giant cow, and the introduction of "Baby Godzilla" in this context is mostly about giving kids an avatar to project what it'd be like to hang out with Godzilla and learn how to use your own atomic breath. 

I've never really been one for this line of thinking - I never wanted to be Robin if I could be Batman.  I suspect I at least kinda liked Godzooky as a kid.  A funny Godzilla was probably pushing the right buttons for me.  But there is nothing cute or particularly funny about Minilla.  In fact, he's kind of grotesque.

he looks like shirtless, toothless, old, fat man who can't find his slippers
It's just no way to run a monster island. 

Our story is that several scientists have come to a remote, supposedly empty island to work on a weather control experiment that will somehow assist with resolving world hunger.  This island is a popular napping spot for Godzilla.  It also contains mantises the size of a human.  The experiment goes kooky and radiates the island and the mantii grow to Godzilla sizes.  Minilla hatches from an egg and in his original form looks like a tadpole mated with a cow patty.  Its revolting and you kinda root for the mantises to make short work of the abomination. 

But Godzilla shows up and saves him. 

There's also a giant spider on the island (who is a dick).  And a fetching island girl who is the sole survivor of an archaeological expedition that went on way too long. 

This is also one the doofiest designs for Big G.  And I don't even know what they were thinking.

what if an alligator and avocado fell in love?
This movie is pretty clearly more or less aimed at the kiddies, and that's fine.  Jamie tells me it was straight to TV, which is wild.  But it does sort of have that budgetary look.  They forego multiple sets for just building pretty good mantises and a great looking spider muppet.  Why Minilla and Godzilla look like flaming garbage, I do not know.

Anyway - this is the era I've been bracing for as its "Godzilla, Friend to the Children" time, and I soon need to watch stuff like All Monsters Attack, which I have never successfully navigated. 


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Noir Watch: Underworld USA (1961)



Watched:  06/26/2020
Format:  Noir Alley on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Samuel Fuller

One of the things I enjoy about watching noir and older films is figuring out how great some directors really were.  I still haven't watched enough Samuel Fuller, but I have yet to see a Fuller movie that didn't hit me over the head like a 2x4, and Underworld U.S.A. (1961) is no exception.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Kaiju Watch: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)



Watched:  06/17/2020
Format:  Criterion BluRay
Viewing:  4th? - for whatever reason, I've seen this a few times
Decade:  1960's
Director:  Ishiro Honda

This one I've seen a few times and very much remember watching it as a kid on some local UHF channel.  However, I think watching it with Japanese language subtitled to English may have changed a few details.  I swear I thought this whole movie took place on Mars. 

It does not.