VOD Streaming Movie of the Day : Blake Edward’s Brilliant EXPERIMENT IN TERROR

Glenn Ford and Lee Remick in Experiment in Terror (1962)

Blake Edwards is a name that arguably, if known at all by a modern audience, is known for the PINK PANTHER movies. But true film fans know him as one of the greatest directors of that transitional period between the all powerful studio system and the rise of auteur directors and Independent Film-making.

Cutting his teeth in fast paced, often live television, (his most notable Television work being the excellent and both evocative and ahead of its time PETER GUNN) like his contemporary Don Siegel he brought a frenetic new pace and tempo to film making. Starting with the use of jazz to denote the soundtracks of his film, rather than the more orchestral, staid, European classical influences of earlier films, his films looked to modern composers, most notably Henry Mancini to tell uniquely American tales. Also his use of pacing and editing and shot selection were all revelatory.

And his use of characters of color stands out, one of the earliest directors to use background actors of color in non-stereotypical roles, to show an America peopled with more than just the traditional studio system view of an all white America. Seeing a mixed crowd, or a crowd with people o f color and whites just sharing the same space, as people, while taken for granted today, during the making of this film… it was groundbreaking. And many theaters in the south, the film could not be shown without cuts being done to it.

Anita Loo in Experiment in Terror (1962)

Directors like him, and Don Siegel, and Stanley Kramer and Joseph L. Mankiewicz and Richard Brooks, helped transition a very blinders on/white-washed 1950s America, into the more multicultural 1960s, and they did this through our entertainment, our films and our tv shows.

They, and the actors and editors and writers helped drag a more honest view of the American landscape into the light, a view full of different people and different backgrounds, and different challenges.. Both feeding and being fed by, the civil and human rights battles being fought at home and abroad, their veracity as filmmakers, helped open the door to this concept of film as something progressive and capable of change.

From these new daring Filmmakers like Blake Edwards, we begin to get film-making  that transcends complete artifice, and stereotyping.

We get the French New Wave Films, The Pan African Films, the Neo-Realist films of Italy, and at home we get the Independent Film Movement, to include the Black New Wave Films of the 70s ( dismissively titled Blaxpoitation by people who do not realize that Black Exploitation is the first 60 years of Hollywood Films. Where people of color had no positive representation in films, most films with no persons of color at all, and the few that did have people of color, offered them typically only one token person of Color in a film, in a menial/demeaning role. Actors like Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte and directors like Gordon Parks, and Ossie Davis, helping to pave a view of an America that actually reflected the multitude of people in it, formerly invisible).

It is a thread, the evolution of film, that allows us to evolve from DW Griffith’s 1915’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION (which shamefully was the predominant mindset of Hollywood Film-making, both behind and in-front the camera, for the greater part of the 20th century). An evolution filled with achievements small and large, and filmmakers lauded and forgotten. A lot of films and a lot of filmmakers, and a lot of steps forwards, and moments of stumbling backward, to in a little over a hundred years go from THE BIRTH OF A NATION, to Ryan Coogler’s justifiably lauded BLACK PANTHER in 2018.

Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, and Stefanie Powers in Experiment in Terror (1962)

 

The films of Blake Edward are part of that thread. Not in any overt political manifesto, but just in his love of showing an America peopled with… the people he would see in the streets and in the crowds, his love for a veracity that transcended stereotype.

 

EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, is a pure thriller of a film, with not a wasted pound. And it has people of color in it, not because they are people of color, but because they are people, it is San Francisco of the time, before gentrification, where people you would see, came in multiple creeds and colors. It is a fantastic film that has nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with being true to telling a story in a place and a time.

It is one of Blake Edward’s best films. However, Blake Edwards very rarely made anything that was not a ‘best’ film.

It is a uniquely tense, and thrilling film, even by Blake Edwards standard. I mean the tension in it holds up today. Lee Remick is one of the most beautiful women from an age of beautiful women, and she is also like most of Edwards leading ladies… delivering a phenomenally written and ground breaking tour de force performance.

Also starring the great Glenn Ford, who like the movie does not waste a moment, everything propels the story and the moment. Glenn Ford was one of those actors who never delivered a bad performance, and elevates everything he is in.

A stunning cast. A stunning script. And sumptuous film-making makes for a film that can be watched for free courtesy of AMAZON PRIME this month, but deserves in the age of digital to be owned on DVD/Blu-Ray.

 

Get your copy here:

Experiment in Terror [Blu-ray]

https://amzn.to/2Gk6ZS8

I would also recommend picking up the gorgeous poster with the stunning Lee Remick as well as the CD and Album. Please use my links as they earn this blog a few, well needed, pennies. 🙂 .

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

https://amzn.to/2DAaUXh

https://amzn.to/2MZGK3D

 

Thanks for looking. And if you enjoy this post please like, comment or order via the links. All three are greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

Advertisements

T-Shirt of the Day : Mario Bava’s DIABOLIK

For the movie fans among you, here is one of the coolest T-shirts of one of the best directed cult movies of all time!

 

In an age far removed from billion dollar Comic Book movies, cinematographer turned Director Mario Bava, best known for his primary colors drenched horror films, gave us this European take, on a superhero. Somewhere between James Bond and Batman, his Diabolik just riveted and impressed, and remains…. impressive.

Definitely light-hearted, and zany, and cartoony in the best sense of the word, this film is a MASTER CLINIC on crafting film. This film, like upcoming films represented in my T-shirt series, deserves to be owned as tactile DVDs/Blurays. Go ahead and sample them via streaming, but own them via DVD/Bluray, because these are films, and special features, and Director’s commentaries that any true fan of cinema, will come back to often. And now you can do it while wearing the coolest t-shirt!

 

 

Danger: Diabolik/DVD

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Danger: Diabolik

USA

Diabolikdvd.jpg
  • Region 1
  • STUDIO: Paramount
  • SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary by Bava Expert/Biographer Tim Lucas and Star John Phillip Law. A nicely put together commentary featuring lots of really great information from Tim. John Phillip Law tells us all about what it was like working with Mario Bava and the beautiful Marissa Mell on the film. | “Body Movin'” video by The Beastie Boys with Audio Commentary by Adam Yauch (MCA) the director of the video which was inspired by Danger Diabolik. | Danger Diabolik: From Fumetti to Film: Interviews with Diabolik fans featuring comic book artist Stephen Bisette, Director Roman Coppola, Composer Ennio Morricone, Musician Adam Yauch, Producer Dino DeLaurentiis and Diabolik himself: John Phillip Law! | Also included on this DVD: Diabolik Teaser and Theatrical Trailers.
  • PICTURE: Ratio: (1:85:1) / 16 X 9 Anamorphic Widescreen. This new transfer is simply beautiful. Diabolik looks the best its ever looked. Mario Bava’s super colorful cinematography and set designs are at the forefront of the film.
  • SOUND: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English). Ennio Morricone’s incredible psychedelic score comes through like a dream. Turn this up on your home stereo system and feel the vibe deep deep down.

Unfortunately there is no Bluray of this film available, but the nearly out of print DVD, is top of the line and a must own for any fan/collector.Get it here:

https://amzn.to/2syKpfF

As far as the T-shirt… get yours here:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Diabolik-movie-poster-1968-T-SHIRT-BLACK-all-sizes-S-to-5XL-PP/132448305023?hash=item1ed688bf7f:m:mZ4jd_tJhV8HzQpgO5bc_AQ

 

Tell em HT sent ya!

Youtube Channel of the Day : CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT and why Physical media Matters in the age of Digital!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVgZNzzvedehALS-dTIFhA

 

CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT –  Is the only Youtube channel devoted to physical media, DVDs, CDs, Blu-Rays, etc that I am subscribed to. Just a great channel, with a personable host, showing his love for physical media.Love his channel, highly recommend it for all fans of physical media. They have a nice recent episode, perfect for Halloween, and the films of the great Vincent Price.

For those of you saying either ‘what is physical media?’, or ‘boo! hiss!’ to physical media, here is me… about to break it down.

Here is the thing, streaming is fine, and VOD is fine, and Hulu is fine, and Spotify is fine, but at the end of the day, it is all vaguely out of your control. And we live in a Millennial age where the mob thinks nothing of bigger issues such as Anti-Trust and eradication of public domain and setting up a Monopolistic regime, with no viable competition, just as long as they get to see Avengers in the same movie as Fantasic Four. If you don’t understand that, do a search for Disney, and add all those words i just mentioned… and maybe when the searches return… a lightbulb will go off.

We live in an age where the masses think nothing about the loss of privacy and human rights, as long as they get to easily scream at people in their MMOGonline game.

 

Between you and your entertainment is various levels of gatekeepers, from your ISP to your cloud storage, to your streaming platform. And we live in a bullshit age of witch-hunts and ‘me too’ bs bandwagon jumping, where people can get fired and vilified before they have a day in court, and programs and movies  can be censored or altered based on the screaming of the uninformed mob, or soundtrack altered due to rights issues.

Where you don’t have to be proven guilty, you just have to be attacked like you are.

So suddenly that movie you love, may or may not be available depending on licensing agreements, and it may or may not be the same edit of the version you grew up with. It could be censored to comply with the sensibilities of fools, or the fear of companies , that faceless twitter trolls will say bad things about them.

‘I hate, hate, hate… Peter Pan!’ In my best Dustin Hoffman, Hook Voice.

God bless the child that has his own.

Here’s the thing, gatekeepers, businesses are always behind the curve, and seldom do anything for the good of the people, or posterity. They do it because of expedience and the bottom line, and that is contrary and in direct opposition… to culture. The health of it, and the growth of it.

We here in the 21st century have access to movies from the Silent age of cinema, and radio shows from the dawn of sound, and TV shows from the infancy of the medium, not because of businesses, but in spite of them.

It was collectors decades ago, when businesses could not perceive the idea of a radio show being listened to over, or a television show being re-watched, or a movie after its initial run being rescreened, it was collectors, just normal people like you and I, who preserved these things, when the gatekeepers, burnt the films, and erased the tapes, and recorded over the video tapes, it was collectors who saved much of the early history of mass media. And it was collectors who ultimately taught them, the gatekeepers, the businesses,  to value these things, if not for the love, then for the monetary value it could generate.

But still, for all the teaching, Businesses and the Gatekeepers, while they have definitely learned to monetize, and secure the rights to everything they create, they still have not learned to respect the creations.

The creations remain to them as mercurial and open to change as a ledger balance. While they control art, the gatekeepers and businesses do not understand art. And therefore art will always be at risk in such hands. Will always be at risk in the hands of accountants.

So end of the day, I love having all these shows and movies and music, available via gatekeepers, via VOD, and Hulu, and Spotify, and Itunes, etc.

But end of the day, have your hard media to fall back on, against the day that ISPY or AIRPLANE or HOUSE OF CARDS or insert show here, is not politically correct to view or hear or watch.

End of the day, do not trust the things you love… to gatekeepers. Own the shows you love in a form that no gatekeeper can edit at their whim, or remove, or bar you from.

So that is one reason I’m a fan of CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT. It is a reminder that physical media is still out there, and can be picked up affordably. And is worth picking up.

Here endeth the rant! 🙂

AVENGERS INFINITY WAR : THE LAST WORD Review

 

I have been off the movie radar for a bit.

I go in cycles like that.

Last movie I saw in the theater (twice) was the excellent BLACK PANTHER Directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by filmic juggernaut, Marvel Studios.

Today a few minutes ago I just got done watching AVENGERS INFINITY WAR courtesy of Amazon Prime, and streamed right in the comfort of my home.

It is definitely a movie that would have been great seen  on a huge full size theatrical system, but as I said timing and interest sometimes works out for me to hit the theater, sometimes it doesn’t.

The movie, AVENGERS INFINITY WAR finally seen ( I avoided trailers, special features, reviews etc) it is ten years of Marvel Studios, and ten years of world building codified and paid tribute to; it is not just a great movie, it is a great mythology. It is that first story told around the raging fire to keep back the night. It is everything you want a film to be.

To call it just a superhero film is perhaps to miss the point, and the enduring power and place these four color heroes have held first on the comic page, and now the cinematic stage.

They are our modern myths writ large, and this film by the capable Russo Brothers improves and transcends the source material, to tell tales both of massive victories and massive defeats, but always managing to ground it on a very personal level.

The movie made me laugh, it made me cheer, it made me tear up, and it made me silent. A whole gamut of emotional states in a mere couple of hours. The Russo Brother’s have helmed yet another masterpiece and this one being their best and most haunting yet. Raising the stakes but not losing the man on the ground perspective, that make these films so relateable.

Tales of Gods and Monsters yes, but hinged on wheels of faith and loss and sacrifice and love.

The wheels all of us, can understand and be moved by.

There are reasons to be concerned about a monotheistic Movie Landscape, with all studios gobbled up by the mouse. I do not feel Disney acquiring Marvel Studios was a good thing. I do not feel the Lucas properties being engulfed by them is a good thing. I do not feel the Fox acquisition is a good thing.

I think in the long term this monotheistic film landscape is a very bad thing for culture, and choice, and competition. I think in the long term there are anti-trust and anti-competition issues that will affect all of us; whether fans or not, of these films. But those are fights and concerns separate from the actual review of this one singular film.

This one singular film, celebrating the 10th year of Marvel Studios unprecedented dynasty is filmmaking done as well as it can be done, on a scale and scope that is nearly as mythic as the story itself. I loved it. Full Stop. It is right in the mix with my top 5, being in no particular order AVENGERS, BLACK PANTHER, WINTER SOLDIER, CIVIL WAR, and this one… INFINITY WAR.

Grade: A+. As a fan of METROPOLIS and GREED and SEARCHERS and LION IN WINTER, even though this movie is a ‘Super-hero’ movie and a Blockbuster, and is popular, it is every bit as great and serious and beautiful a film as those lauded classics. It is a new minted classic, and will stand the test of time.  From script, to direction, to special effects, to performances, especially performances, allowing the actors to act under those layers of makeup and costumes and CGI, the film is a rare achievement.

I look forward to the sequel. And I look forward to buying this film on DVD/Blu-Ray, and watching again, and enjoying the film commentary.

You can get your Blu-Ray here:

https://amzn.to/2obFhvS

 

 

Get it While You Can : Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking I-SPY TV series and previous post feedback!

Well my last post really got a lot of attention and mostly positive response.

From a lot of people who get it. And a few negative comments from some people who don’t.

One such comment:

“We need to stop letting abuse occur in our community. Black men are never held accountable when the victims are black women. It’s sick you’re suggesting that we support someone who openly abused women. No more.”

See that kind of response is what I’m talking about.

Bill Cosby isn’t a stand in for your bad experience with your boyfriend, husband, father, uncle. brother, son. He’s not a stand in for your baggage with how you think you’ve been wronged by men. For every woman who wants to castrate every man for her bad relationships, there are quite a few in great relationships. Your baggage is not the world’s baggage, and more importantly your baggage should not be projected onto a case about one individual, Bill Cosby.

It is that kind of thinking (the inability to see an individual but rather a target to put your hate, your rage, your frustrations; frustrations with stuff that has nothing to do with that person or the case at hand) that is the very definition of mob justice and lynchings. It is that kind of thinking that I call sick.

Did Bill Cosby 14 years ago, roofie Costrand, a college student athlete with financial issues, when she supposedly came to his house to ask him for career advice? Did he roofie five other women three decades ago, when he could have had any woman he wanted?  With no physical evidence, and nothing but he said, she said, the way our courts work, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. And how do you prove someone guilty in the absence of evidence? Well, you forget proof, and you sell them as guilty before trial. You, before they even are proven guilty, brand them as guilty in every paper, every tv announcement; you have institutions strip them of honors, before trial.

And even in such an unfair, witch-hunt infused atmosphere, where even the Judge seemingly had decided Cosby was guilty before the case, it took a 2nd jury to get them to swallow the McCarthy flavored kool-aid and pronounce… ‘guilty’.

 

Did Cosby do these things? I don’t know. I do know no one proved it in a court of law. He was tried and convicted before ever getting to a court house. This was a lynching plain and simple, and I find everything about it, the timing, the witnesses,.. suspect.

I do know that if true, these alleged aberrations speak of sickness; rather than an 80 year old mix of Jack the Ripper and Hitler… that the media is painting him as. If true these aberrations warrant treatment and not enslavement.

But as that one comment shows, there are always people willing to see you brought low and punished not for your sins, but as somewhere to put theirs. Many a tree in this country has swung with burned and butchered men and boys, not because they were guilty, but because a group of people decided they needed someone to be guilty.

But when that someone has done as much to change the landscape of a racist America, from sports, to television, to comedy, to movies, to representation, the very fact that many of you can see yourself in TV and movies in non stereotypical roles, is down to this erudite, renaissance man.

You want to judge? You have to judge not just the falling down, you have to judge the standing up. An in an age when very very few had the courage to do anything, Bill Cosby and a few others kicked open the doors, and had the courage to do everything.

You can not strip Bill Cosby of his achievements, without in some fundamental way… stripping away the larger social and economic progress those achievements extended to a whole group of people.

I’m not talking about simply innocence or guilt.

I’m talking about the need to make demons out of people, usually people of color.

In the grand scheme of things, Bill Cosby’s story should not be this big a deal.

Every where around the world, right now, true horrors are happening.

Real horrors, deserving of your outrage and attention.

Real demons, many in high public office and private positions.

And you expend your outrage being swayed to demonize a man whose greatest crime was, he shared his success and his opportunities, and he brought other people of color up with him.

This is who you let yourself be sold on demonizing?

Really?

My god, you have to see with better eyes than that.

I’m saying you are being used to kill your heroes, and by so doing kill some measure of the liberties and the horizons they opened for you.

In everything someone loses, and someone profits.,

A lot of powerful liberal men, who made powerful enemies, have been taken off the playing field.

And every witch hunt has a witch-finder general.

People who amass power as others lose it.

You are being used.

Your bloodthirsty rush to judgment being used, to clear the playing field, and to leave you sheep devoid of anyone to keep the wolves from your neck.

I find everything is a matter of perspective and mercy.

And those without either, need to judge themselves before judging anyone else.

They are trying to erase Bill Cosby’s achievements, and I say you don’t get to do that.

Not on my watch.

Pick up these DVDs while they are still available:

 

 

https://amzn.to/2IgcRMC

https://amzn.to/2KvlXDH

https://amzn.to/2weyg46

https://amzn.to/2JOdZ7t

 

 

https://amzn.to/2KyTM6Q

 

Rating the FILMS! The best and worst Superboy/Superman Movies!

 

MOVIES -from best to worst-

      1. SUPERMAN- One of my favorite films. Solid A+. And yes he does that at the end, and I’m completely good with. I’ve read more Superman comics, than most of you will ever read, and I’m cool with the changes. You know why, because its a fantastic film.
      2. SUPERMAN II -I’ve seen both versions,I prefer the theatrical version to the Director’s cut. Though there are peices of the Director’s cut that would be nice added to the Theatrical version. But yeah if you are someone hung up becauise of the expanding shield, and other nifty heretofore unknow SuperPowers, you do know this is a movie right. Let the creator’s take some artistic license, and sit back and enjoy! A solid B+. http://amzn.to/2HAzQxZ
      3. Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Superman Returns (#3 of 9)SUPERMAN RETURNS – People give this movie and Director Bryan Singer a lot of hate, and I frankly love this movie. There are several amazing set sequences in this film, Brandon Routh is great, and so is Kevin Spacey and it works very much as a followup to the original Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN. People having a problem with the messiah imagery and the stalking/creepiness factor of a guy who sees and hears all, than don’t effing go see a movie called Superman, about a God like being who can hear from across the world, if you call his name. And yes the movie has Luthor, and yes it is a land deal, and yes I don’t have a problem with either of those. I think they put enough of their own twists into the story, to make it fun. And worth the price of admission for the plane and machine gun sequences by themselves. A solid B+. http://amzn.to/2DqL0mA
      4. BATMAN V SUPERMAN- Some people complain about this movie, the theatrical version especially. But I think that’s because we have become a tail wags dog society, where people live to complain, and look to complain, rather than going in looking to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong there are some valid issues with the movie, they try and do too much in the movie, adding easter eggs that aren’t earned, and just confuses and slows the movie they are trying to tell. The flash appearance is horrendous, because the person doesn’t look like any character we have ever seen. So it is just a WTF moment that confuses even comic heads, much less those unfamiliar. The third act villain of (spoiler alert) Doomsday, is the very definition of bad cgi. But everything else I think the film knocks out of the park. The reason the heroes come into conflict worked, and the reason they cease fighting, also works for me. All in all I liked the theatrical version quite a bit. And I even liked the longer version even better. Grade: B/B+.  http://amzn.to/2Ds57Rl
      5. MAN OF STEEL – This Syder film suffered from the lack of a moral center, it was all bombast and fire with no thought of the human impact, so the whole film was more an orgy of video game violence to the point of absurdity. The failure of MAN OF STEEL would however benefit BATMAN V SUPERMAN that had the heart that MOS was missing, Grade: D.

Dishonorable mentions:

SUPERMAN 3- What an odd choice to add Richard Pryor to a Superman movie. D-.

SUPERMAN 4 – unwatchable

Honorable Mention:

ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL SERIAL(1941) – Not a Superman movie, however this great serial decades before the Christopher Reeve movie, sported impressive flying scenes, and surprisingly brutal action sequences. Lives up to its billing as one of the greatest serials of all time!

http://amzn.to/2pdbtyO

 

Richard Carpenter’s seminal 80’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD may just be the best TV show of all Time

‘Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.’ — Richard Carpenter’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD

 

 

 

Richard Carpenter, no relation to John Carpenter, is largely unknown to modern audiences, however he shouldn’t be. In the 80s he created a TV show, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, which became a surprising hit. Here in the states it was broadcast via PBS, and even watching it then, it felt mythic and larger than life. Revisiting it 35 years later, not only does the short lived series hold up as great television, those first two seasons remain the best version of Robin Hood ever conceived.

Richard Carpenter taking the traditional Robin Hood myth, and adding unheard of mystical and Moorish and pagan and Arthurian elements to it, created a show that was the crystallization of myth. Add the perfect confluence of young, hungry actors , a brilliant creator/writer at the peak of his powers, groundbreaking directors and cinematographers, led by Director Ian Sharp, that were rewriting the way action could be filmed, and a score done by Pol Brennan and hot new touring bad Clanad, and you had a show that was as mythic and forged by destiny, as the fiction it chronicled.

 

  • Michael Praed
  • Ray Winstone,
  • Nickolas Grace
  • Judi Trott
  • Clive Mantle
  • Robert Addie
  • Phil Rose
  • Mark Ryan
  • Peter Llewellyn Williams

 

The above actors were the perfect cast (thanks to Beth and Esta Charkham) to give life to Richard Carpenter’s groundbreaking mythic and mystic version of Robin of the Hood.

The writing, married to the performances, is at once eloquent and elegant; and like all great myths it is endlessly quotable and memorable. In the 35 years since, what Richard Carpenter invented for his series, the mystical elements, the addition of a Moor to Robin’s Merry Men, making Marion a vital part of the story, has been stolen by other tv shows and films, but none to any great effect. Because those were part of Carpenter’s vision, and 35 years ago he, with the exact right people, and the exact alignment of stars… gave birth to that vision.

Will someday someone make a Robin Hood series or film as good? Well they haven’t yet, but the good news is ROBIN OF SHERWOOD is available on DVD/Bluray and Streaming for a new generation to discover, and long term fans… revisit.

The first two seasons (called Set 1) are essential television. The third season (Set 2) is fun, but is not essential.

Get your fix here:

http://amzn.to/2H8TSQI

http://amzn.to/2ElZrxo

 

If you would like to try before you buy, Season 1 is available right now via Amazon Prime. But the commentaries in the Bluray’s are a clinic on film-making and storytelling, and are a must listen. As well as the other features, and interviews with the cast, it is… in the age of streaming; a must own Blu-ray.