(page last regenerated: 24 November 2012)
The reviews on this page are typically of the type that describe the plot in detail. So if you don't want to know then best avoid looking.
|Writer/Director: Barbara Rennie / Producer: Dee Dee Glass|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Set in East Anglia, England, starting in September 1939 at the Sacred Hearts Orphanage for Waifs and Strays (for girls only). War is declared and the schoolgirl pupils at the catholic convent school are frightened when the air raid siren sounds and they have to shelter for the first time. The all-clear is given but one of the girls Maggie McClean is especially scared - she is nervous and afraid they are all going to die and the head nun Sister Thomas tries to give her comfort telling her that death is not something to be frightened of should it happen for through death one can finally be united with god. Sister Thomas has a good heart wishing to instil in her charges the love of god and how much it pains him when one of his children sins - but she acts sternly and is quick to reprimand and punish if she believes it is right to do so - although punishment is made through hardships such as walking round the grounds for an entire day rather than any direct cruelty.
A new group of girls who have been evacuated from London arrive and amongst them is Doris Miller whom Maggie befriends. Maggie tells new girl Doris about her deceased parents who were lost at sea when she was two years old and how she has been raised by the nuns, Doris in turn talks of her older brother who is in America. Doris also confides in Maggie that she is not actually catholic but Roman Catholic and asks her new friend to teach her some of the customs expected so she can pass herself off as catholic. Some days later when Doris and Maggie are walking the grounds on a punishment Doris questions some of the inconsistencies in the catholic religion to which Maggie has no real answer as she just follows the faith as laid down. But it gets Maggie thinking and she raises some doubts to Sister Thomas and is told one is not supposed to think about it just believe it - for such questioning thoughts are the devil's way of making one lose one's way.
When the mother superior lets slip a detail about Maggie's mother that doesn't tally with what she was told, Maggie sneaks into the office and finds her birth certificate which shows she has no father listed and what was told to her of her parents was a lie. She stops attending prayers and tells Sister Thomas she has lost her faith - Sister Thomas is appalled at this and makes Maggie kneel until she has come to her senses. Doris thinks Maggie was foolish to speak out for sometimes it is better to pretend for the sake of one's own survival.
Maggie is amazed when Doris decides to join the order and become a nun herself. And not long after the British army arrive to say they have commandeered the school property for use as a base and that the nuns and pupils must evacuate elsewhere. As they are packing a letter is found in Doris' belongings written in German and it is taken to Sister Thomas who informs the soldiers and Doris is put under guard on suspicion of being a German spy. Maggie talks to her and Doris admits she is a British Jew and the letter is from her brother who lives in Germany and not America. She is afraid of what will happen to her if the German's invade England and has sought to convert to another faith to protect herself. The soldiers decide she is not a spy and she is released but Sister Thomas decides she doesn't want either Doris or Maggie in her school anymore and they are left behind when the coach leaves. Maggie doesn't know what to do because this is her home and she has no family so Doris, who is going to go back to London, tells Maggie she can come back with her if she likes. THE END
|Starring:||Anna Massey (as Sister Thomas), Oona Kirsch (as Maggie McClean, school girl), Katrin Cartlidge (as Doris Miller, school girl)|
|Featuring:||(School staff, etc) Anne Dyson (as Sister Perpetua), Annette Badland (as Sister Mercy), Fiona Shaw (as Sister Felicity), Gerard Murphy (as Father Larkin), Murray Melvin (as Father Power), John Bett (as Dr Taylor)|
(other School Girls) Kathy Burke (as Tillie Burton), Jenna Russell (as Kate), Sadie Wearing (as Mary), Ann-Marie Gwatkin (as Lizzie)
(Military, etc) Nicholas Donovan (as Major Marley), Fred Bryant (as Air Raid Warden)
|Writers: Christopher Isherwood, Don Magner, Tony Richardson / Director: Tony Richardson / Producer: Oscar Lewenstein|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Records clerk Alan is in a morose state but he cannot figure out why. He is on holiday in Florence with his long-term girlfriend Sheila who is beautiful and vibrant - a bubbly woman with an optimism and excitement about all things that she shares effortlessly with those around her. Except for Alan because lately he has started feeling unsatisfied and has become unrelentingly gloomy. Sheila tries to shake him out of it with her buoyant cheeriness but his sombre mood has made him unresponsive to her best efforts and he tells her it is over and they break up.
Alan travels to a small village away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and meets a rich widow called Anna who is on a brief stopover. She is an intriguing young Frenchwoman who lives on her late husband's luxury yacht called the Gibraltar and spends her time sailing around the world with a freedom that he envies and realises he too yearns for. They spend time together and become romantic and she invites him to join her on her travels. Alan accepts and believes he has at last discovered the idyllic uncomplicated lifestyle he has been searching for. Travelling to exotic locations in the company of a loving and beautiful woman is his idea of paradise and he feels blissfully free at last.
But he soon finds out that Anna's globetrotting is not mere gallivanting but done for a very specific purpose. Some years ago off the coast of Gibraltar she rescued a drifting sailor who was in distress. The sailor was in a poor state and as Anna nursed him back to health she fell hopelessly in love with him and they had an affair. Her love for him changed her fundamental core and she became inwardly besotted to him although she knew she could never tell him about her true feelings because to him she was just another woman. When they parted company she felt bereft and has spent the intervening years travelling the world following up leads trying to find him again.
Alan realises with a sense of rising panic that he has a rival that he can't possibly compete with - someone so ingrained into Anna's being that the Sailor from Gibraltar has become like a mythological character in her life. She has a network of friends in many countries looking out for men who fit her description of the sailor. Alan falls back into depression and observes in mounting despair as she makes preparations to check out her next promising lead.
Just as always her efforts are unrewarded and the lead proves to be the wrong man, but Anna is never downhearted by her continued failure. However after several more such naught ventures she notices that Alan is no longer happy and she quickly realises why. She suggests to him that it is just a game and she made the sailor up and she offers to end her obsessive hunt for him. So when the next lead comes around Anna decides to pass it up - but Alan knows she has a desperate need to find this man and he cannot stand in her way. So Alan offers to go ashore in Alexandria and check the latest man out to see whether Anna would be wasting her time. Intriguingly the man seems to know a lot about the sailor's background and even has old photos of Anna and knows details that only an intimate could know. It seems that finally the search is over! Alan goes back to the yacht to fetch Anna so she can be reunited with her long lost love and make her choice. But the man unaccountably runs away and it remains a mystery whether he was really Anna's Sailor from Gibraltar.
Anna and Alan return to their yacht and it seems that at long last Anna has exorcised the sailor from her heart and is willing to focus her full devotion upon Alan whose contentment returns with his relief that he no longer has an inequitable rival.
|Starring:||Ian Bannen (as Alan), Jeanne Moreau (as Anna), Vanessa Redgrave (as Sheila, Alan's girlfriend, [appears only in first third of film])|
|Featuring:||Zia Mohyeddin (as Noori, Anna's lead-seeking friend), Eleonora Brown (as Carla, hotel maid), Gabriella Pallotta (as Girl at Dance), Hugh Griffith (as Llewellyn, African bird expert), Umberto Orsini (as Man in Alexandria who might have been the sailor)|
|Star-Turns:||Orson Welles (as Louis de Mozambique, man with info about the sailor, [one-scene appearance])|
|Made in black and white|
|From a novel by Marguerite Duras|
|Writer/Director: Lewis John Carlino / Producer: Martin Poll|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 104 mins|
|Anne Osborne lives with her young adolescent son Jonathan in a harbour village in Devon. She is a young widow after losing her husband to an illness three years ago and has not met anyone new since. Jonathan is a pleasant lad and clearly loves his mother and knows the great empty sadness she feels at the loss of her husband and his father.
But Jonathan has a darkly secretive side to his nature that his mother knows nothing about. He is part of a small gang of four school friends who are led by a fifth boy known only as "Chief". The Chief is a precocious personality whose twisted and bitter view of the world shapes and influences everything his gang of minions do - they hang on his every word in awe of his understanding of things and he in turn routinely insults and chastises them for their stupidity and ignorance as he tries to corrupt them to his cynical way of superior thinking.
When a large American steamship called The Belle sails into harbour to make emergency repairs Anne gives sea enthusiast Jonathan a treat and arranges for a tour of the ship that is conducted by second officer Jim Cameron. Jonathan finds the tour exhilarating and is very grateful to his mother - Anne is impressed by the vigorous and soulful second officer and asks him to dinner that evening at a restaurant. Jim has been a seaman for sixteen years having been caught up by the idea of the high adventure and glory of the mariner's life They feel a bond of great attraction and at the end of the evening they go back to Anne's house and have passionate sex. Jim enters the Osborne family's lives for a couple of days making a big impression on both Anne and Jonathan and then his ship leaves and he is gone. Jonathan thinks of him as a big hero figure who magnificently arrived and made his mother happy again and then left never to return. This allows Jonathan to forevermore muse and wonder about his derring-do and exploits on the high seas and impress his friends with tall tales of his heroic deeds. Jim continues to write from all over the world on his travels and Jonathan makes it a hobby to chart his progress on a world map.
The Chief's coldly warped views and his iron grip on his underlings reach a new level when he makes them catch a pet cat and force-feed it tranquillisers - then the Chief puts on some rubber gloves and dissects the unconscious cat and removes its still-beating heart to show them all how thrilling it is to hold life itself in ones hands - his minions are so rapt by their leader's twisted charisma that they fail to see any horror in it. The Chief isn't at all impressed by Jonathan's tales of Jim the American sailor since he believes heroes are pompous and overrated - what's more the Chief predicts that all these letters he's sending indicates that he is planning to return - a suggestion which Jonathan strongly refutes as ridiculous because Jim only came here by chance because of an emergency stopover and there is no reason for him to return since his ship wouldn't normally visit such a small harbour.
But a few months later return he does as The Belle steams back into harbour to make a delivery. Anne is overjoyed at Jim's unexpected return and they resume their relationship. During his time away Jim has realised that he has tired of his life at sea and is ready to settle down now that he has found someone special to love - the couple soon decide to get married. Jonathan is downcast and resentful - he feels let down by Jim whose return has tampered with the perfect heroic image he had built around the sailor's brief role in their lives. Furthermore Jonathan is infuriated that Jim's return has proven the Chief correct and made his own adamant stand against such a possibility appear foolish.
However the Chief does not gloat and remains smug about his superior understanding of adult motivations - he decides that the gang should act to right the wrong done to Jonathan by this uncaring act of adult betrayal and formulates a plan for them to follow ...
On the day The Belle is due to leave (without Jim), Jonathan asks Jim if he will come to an isolated hillside vantage point to see it steam off and tell all his friends some of the stories about his sea adventures - Jim readily agrees and breaks off from his ongoing wedding preparations to spend time with his stepson-to-be. Jonathan and his friends act in their most charming and polite manner towards him as they all sit on the hill and he begins his tales - the boys offer him some tea from a flask unaware that they have laced it with the same tranquillisers used on the cat. As Jim continues his story he begins to falter when the drug starts to take effect - and the Chief begins to don his rubber gloves. The camera pulls away and the end-credits roll as Jim passes out and we don't see what happens next - however it is clear that the boys' plan is to kill him in the manner that befell the cat and then have Anne believe that Jim had second-thoughts and left on his ship after all.
|Starring:||Sarah Miles (as Anne Osborne, widow), Kris Kristofferson (as Jim Cameron, American seaman), Jonathan Kahn (as Jonathan Osborne, Anne's son), Earl Rhodes (as Chief, schoolboy leader of Jonathan's gang)|
|Featuring:||Margo Cunningham (as Mrs Elizabeth Palmer, Anne's housekeeper)|
(Rest of the gang) Paul Tropea, Gary Lock, Stephen Black
|Based on the novel by Yukio Mishima|
|Writer/Producer: Bob Kellett / Director: Jeremy Summers|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 52 mins|
|The dialogue-free comic mis-adventures of a collection of British holidaymakers on a holiday trip to France. The film follows three groups - a husband and wife holidaying with one set of their in-laws travelling in a camper van; a young newly married couple still very much in love; and a young couple who are hiking. They all start on a car ferry and then have various mishaps along the way to their destinations and at the campsite or hotels they stay at.|
|Starring:||Wilfrid Brambell, Joan Sims, David Lodge (camper van family)|
Rodney Bewes, Catharine Feller (young lovers)
Ronnie Stevens, Barbara Windsor (hikers)
|Featuring:||Ron Moody (German tourist), Warren Mitchell (Café waiter), Graham Stark (Gendarme)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: Don Houghton / Director: Alan Gibson / Producer: Roy Skeggs|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 87 mins|
|In modern day London of 1974 Special Branch are investigating the activities of an organisation called The Psychical Examination and Research Group (PERG) who have attracted some high profile patronage including the MP responsible for the security services. A Special Branch operative called Hanson who has managed to infiltrate their headquarters at Telham House has only just managed to escape after having been captured and tortured. In a highly weakened state he reports to his superiors that he witnessed satanic rites with some distinguished personages taking part and anointing themselves in blood. He has taken some pictures of the attendees and this includes landowners, military bigwigs, an MP, and a Nobel-prize winning scientist called Professor Julian Keeley.
The investigating team includes Inspector Murray who suggests that they should involve Professor Larimer Van Helsing with whom he worked some two years ago on another case and is an authority on the occult. Van Helsing and his granddaughter Jessica listen to their findings and realise that the worship of blood, and the glorification of evil all points to one thing - Vampirism.
Van Helsing knows the scientist Keeley well and decides to pay him a visit to see if he can discover the reason for his involvement. Keeley appears to be in a very agitated and fatigued state but declares he has just finished the task set him. Van Helsing manages to determine that Keeley has created a new highly virulent strain of bubonic plague that infects in an instant and is spread by touch like wildfire. Before he can get to the bottom of things Van Helsing is knocked out and when he comes to he finds Keeley hanging dead and the Petri dishes containing the plague strain taken.
Back at Special Branch information is obtained that shows the man financing the PERG group's activities is a mysterious reclusive businessman called DD Denham whose offices are built on the site of St Bartolph's church where two years previously Van Helsing had destroyed one Count Dracula. Van Helsing fears the evil lord has risen once again - but why would he want to unleash a plague that would wipe out mankind and thus deny himself any prey - it would be an act of self-destruction. Van Helsing suspects that Dracula has grown tired of his long immortal life and has a death wish but wants to bring the whole of humanity crumbling down around him creating the biblical prophecy of Armageddon.
Van Helsing visits DD Denham who turns out to be Count Dracula himself. Van Helsing is captured and brought back to Telham House where Jessica has previously been captured and taken in the course of investigating matters with Murray who is being held elsewhere in the house. Jessica is laid out on an altar as Dracula prepares to make her into his vampire bride to reign by his side in the carnage and terror that is to come. The dignitaries are there too and Dracula reveals to them the real reason he involved them - they have been chosen to be infected with the plague and spread it around until it sweeps the globe. The VIP's realise they have been lied to - they thought the virus was going to be used only as a bargaining tool to make governments listen to their demands - but not actually deployed.
Elsewhere in the house Murray fights his way out of danger and a fire starts which quickly spreads to the entire building - this destroys the plague, but Dracula is determined to still have his revenge on his old enemy Van Helsing. While Murray saves Jessica, Van Helsing flees outside and lures Dracula into the forest and into the branches of a hawthorn tree which vampires have special vulnerability to since they were used to create Christ's crown of thorns. While the vampire is helpless Van Helsing stakes him through the heart killing the dark lord once again.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Count Dracula), Peter Cushing (as Professor Van Helsing), Michael Coles (as Inspector Murray), William Franklyn (as Torrence, Murray's boss), Richard Vernon (Mathews, Torrence's boss), Joanna Lumley (as Jessica, Van Helsing's granddaughter)|
|Featuring:||Freddie Jones (as Proffesor Keeley, VIP cult menber), Barbara Yu Ling (as Chin Yang, High priestess), Valerie Van Ost (as Jane, Torrence's assistant), Patrick Barr (as Lord Carradine, VIP cult member), Richard Mathews (as John Porter MP, VIP cult member), Lockwood West (as Gerneral Sir Arthur Freeborne, VIP cult member), Maurice O'Connell (as Hanson, spy)|
|Starlets:||Mia Martin (as Vampire Girl on Altar), Maggie Fitzgerald, Pauline Peart, Finnuala O'Shannon, (as other Vampire Girls)|
|This was Christopher Lee's final Dracula film for Hammer. It follows Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and uses some of the same characters and refers to some of that film's events. Dracula, Van Helsing and Inspector Murray reappear played by the same actors - Van Helsing's granddaughter Jessica also appears again but no longer played by Stephanie Beacham. There was one further Count Dracula film from Hammer titled The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) which again featured Peter Cushing as Van Helsing although Dracula himself was played by a different actor.|
|Writer: David McGillivray / Director: Norman J. Warren / Producers: Richard Crafter, Les Young|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 82 mins / 84 mins|
|Catherine Yorke is approaching her 20th birthday and is going to spend the week away with her parents at her uncle's country house. Her boyfriend John won't be with her on the day itself so he gives her an early present of a bracelet that once belonged to his mother. Catherine and her parents drive down to her uncle's country house but as they approach their destination her father Malcolm loses control and crashes into a tree injuring her mother. Catherine runs to get help at her Uncle's nearby house but as she looks back the car explodes killing both her parents.
Suffering from shock Catherine is sent off to bed by Uncle Alexander with a sedative and he invites her to stay for as long as she needs to while she recovers. Alexander tells her he knows what it is like to lose someone dear as his own wife died when she was but 29-years old - although he declines to go into details of how she died other than it was an "accident". Also living in the house is her creepy but charismatic cousin Stephen and Alexander's secretary Frances whom Stephen is having an affair with.
A few days later they bury her parents in the family cemetery and after the ceremony Catherine is puzzled to find an overgrown grave hidden away that reads "Camilla Yorke died aged 20". That night an unknown intruder comes into Catherine bedroom and takes the bracelet given to her by her boyfriend John and from afar the thief uses some magic to control John's mind making him jump off a tall building and kill himself. The one remaining person who knew where she was has now been eliminated and later when Catherine (unaware of his death) tries to phone him Frances intercepts the call posing as someone who says that he has gone away on holiday.
As the days pass Frances is spurned by Stephen who has come to prefer Catherine who is herself falling in love with him. So on the eve of her birthday Frances decides to explain to Catherine the danger she is in. Catherine discovers she is being kept a prisoner and would not be allowed to leave if she tried. Alexander and Stephen are believers in necromancy (the art of raising the dead) and they want to raise a woman called Camilla who was known to have great magical powers which they want to then harness and use to their own ends. Years ago Alexander tried to resurrect Camilla using his own wife as a sacrifice (the one he said died in an accident) - but that had not worked - Stephen was a young boy back then and seeing his own mother murdered affected his mind which is why he treats women so harshly now (in an opening scene we saw him brutally murdering a girl he had picked up). Alexander realised the failure of Camilla's resurrection was due to his wife not being a blood relative. But Catherine, his brother's daughter, is such a direct descendant and he has been waiting patiently for her to reach her 20th birthday (the age Camilla was when she died) so he can try again using Catherine as the sacrifice. Frances says she will help Catherine escape during the night - but then Frances too is murdered by Stephen leaving Catherine to fend for herself.
The next day on her birthday Catherine is taken to the woods for the ceremony but she fights back and stabs Stephen in the eye with a nail-file killing him and she runs off into the arms of ... her father! But he died in the explosion? - or so she thought. Her father explains that Catherine has been having a bad dream and it was actually she who was injured in the car accident and that the sedative she was given has now worn off and she has been sleepwalking. What he says seems to make sense to her and he calms her down and takes her back into the house and Uncle Alexander is there and everything appears to be normal with no one trying to kill her anymore. She then decides to call her boyfriend John and pulls aside a curtain to the alcove where the phone is kept and discovers Stephen dead with her nail-file in his eye! She wasn't dreaming at all and it really happened - she turns and discovers her own father is the high priest and he brought her here himself to be sacrificed - she screams and is caught. The End.
|Comment: We never find out if the resurrection is successful or if Catherine escapes but the implication is that she doesn't get away this time.|
|Starring:||Candace Glendenning (as Catherine Yorke), Michael Gough (as Alexander Yorke, uncle), Martin Potter (as Stephen Yorke, cousin), Barbara Kellerman (as Frances, Alexander's secretary)|
|Featuring:||Michael Craze (as John, Catherine's boyfriend), James Bree (as Catherine's father), Celia Hewitt (as Catherine's mother)|
|Starlets:||Gloria Walker (as Janice, Stephen's first victim) , Monika Ringwald (as Sacrifice victim in Mad Monk vision), Moira Young (as Alexander's sacrificed wife in prologue), Paula Patterson (as Stephen's victim, in a flashback)|
|Moira Young was the film's associate producer who stepped in to perform the nude scene in the prologue when the booked actress failed to show up. She plays the long blonde haired girl who we later discover was Michael Gough's vainly sacrificed first wife She is uncredited in the film for her acting part although IMDB incorrectly identifies her as playing a "Mad Monk" (Last Checked: April 2006). The short haired blonde girl in the Mad Monk vision scene whom she has been mistaken for is someone unidentified. This information is verified in a documentary feature from the DVD release in which Moira Young talks about doing the scene in question and it is also mentioned by Norman J Warren on the commentary track.|
|The entire scene involving Paula Patterson is cut from some versions (for instance the BBC broadcast version) although it is only a brief flashback lasting 20 seconds or so. Other scenes are shortened in some versions (the bedroom assault of Janice, the Mad Monk vision scene and the whipping/branding vision scene). The BBC version was timed at 82 mins and the DVD version 84 mins. There is additionally a completely different version of the bedroom assault scene on Janice which was filmed for the Far East market - this is NOT included on the DVD which contains the restored UK cinema version.|
|Writer: Alan Sillitoe (from his own novel) / Director: Karel Reisz / Producer: Tony Richardson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Arthur Seaton is a lathe operator in an engineering parts factory in the Midlands. He does good work and is well paid but it is dreary toil and he looks forwards to his leisure time at the weekends. Arthur is a young man with a boisterous argumentative manner who despises habitualness and routine. He tries to get as much pleasure and enjoyment out of life as he can and has little regard for consequences.
Arthur doesn't date nice single girls his own age because they invariably want to be married before engaging in bedroom activities. For that reason Arthur is seeing an older married woman called Brenda whom he sleeps with. Her husband Jack works at the same factory as Arthur and they are mates although Jack suspects nothing.
Then Arthur meets a young single woman called Doreen who turns his aversion to courtship rituals on its head. He is captivated by her fiery individuality and starts going out on dates with her.
Arthur still keeps Brenda going for his other needs, but then everything gets much more complicated when Brenda tells him she is pregnant by him. At first Brenda wants to be rid of the baby but then decides to keep it. Arthur adores his new girl Doreen, but still has a fondness for Brenda and is finding it hard to keep both women going without them finding out about each other.
Eventually Jack finds out about Arthur's affair with his wife and sends his squaddie brother to brutally beat Arthur up as a punishment. Jack tells Arthur that he will look after Brenda and the baby when it comes and that he should never to try to see her again or he'll get more of the same treatment.
Whilst Arthur is recuperating from his injuries he has time to consider his attitude to life. Although it goes against his rebellious nature he decides it is time to opt for the easy life and enter into the institution of formality that had previously so appalled him. Doreen accepts his marriage proposal and they start making plans for their future together.
|Starring:||Albert Finney (as Arthur Seaton), Shirley Anne Field (as Doreen, Arthur's girlfriend), Rachel Roberts (as Brenda, Arthur's married girlfriend), Norman Rossington (as Bert, Ada's son and Arthur's friend and cousin)|
|Featuring:||Bryan Pringle (as Jack, Brenda's husband), Hylda Baker (as Aunt Ada, Arthur's aunt, Bert's mother), Frank Pettitt and Elsie Wagstaffe (as Mr and Mrs Seaton, Arthur's parents), Irene Richmond (as Doreen's deaf mother), Louise Dunn (as Betty, Doreen's friend), Edna Morris (as Mrs Bull, battleaxe neighbour), Robert Cawdron (as Robboe, factory foreman)|
|Familiar Faces:||Colin Blakely (as Pub Loudmouth), Peter Sallis (as Man in Pub, [cameo]), Jack Smethurst (as Pub Waiter, [cameo])|
|Made in Black and White|
|Hylda Baker receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writers: Donald and Derek Ford / Director/Producer: Robert Hartford-Davis|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Set in the present day (1963). A cruise liner docks at a London port and the crew and passengers have one Saturday night to spend ashore before the ship sails again on Sunday morning. We follow the separate stories of one passenger and several crewmembers. The stories are spread across the whole film interspersed with each other but not interconnecting. The particulars of each separate story are as follows when aggregated together.
Passenger George Hudson is a semi-retired businessman who owns an alloys company and is taking this round-the-world cruise on medical advice. At a bar he gets chatting to another businessman called Mr Harrison who seems very willing to listen to his story and George's feelings of loneliness with no one accompanying him. Mr Harrison leaves and shortly afterwards a beautiful young Frenchwoman called Wanda arrives at the bar in a flustered state and the kindly and compassionate George chivalrously gives her assistance. They chat and get on so well that she asks him back to her flat where they have sex. Later they go out to dinner and George thinks he has found someone of really exceptional quality who, to his amazement, seems genuinely interested in him. When they return to her flat George begins telling her how he thinks they could continue their romance at which point she unexpectedly laughs in his face! And from a hidden room comes Mr Paul Harrison, her business partner, with photographs of George's earlier bedroom activities with Wanda, taken through a two-way mirror, which he has now had developed. Harrison and Wanda want £1,000 to ensure that neither his wife nor his business associates find out about his scandalous activities. George is deflated to have been tricked so easily by a woman. However he has no intention of paying because he is a widower. Had his wife still been alive he wouldn't have dreamt of being unfaithful to her. Harrison is furious that he misread his mark but still thinks that George has not considered what his business associates would think about the matter. George reflects on this and, as if bowing to the pressure, he proceeds to write out a cheque and takes possession of the photos. But when Harrison looks at the cheque it is only for £10 which George explains with a chuckle is a fair price for the photos and use of the whore. For without these photos to prove it his business colleagues will never believe him!
Crewman Lee is an Australian who was going to catch some culture at a concert but missed the show. Walking by the Thames he meets a pretty young woman called Penny who claims she is trying to kill herself but has had nothing but bad luck and she is too broke to afford a shilling for her gas meter to do herself in. Penny is the kookiest girl Lee has ever met with an eccentric non-conformist view of the world which she knows she does not fit into and therefore cannot see the point of sticking around. She invites Lee back to her basement flat if he promises to lend her a shilling for the gas meter. Her avant-garde flat has no furniture; her bed is a hammock; and she cohabitates with a meditating monk who lives permanently behind a curtain. Lee cannot understand why such an intelligent and beautiful girl would choose to live like this and isolate herself off from society just because she doesn't like the way the world works. Lee can see that normal life scares her and so she has developed a nihilistic isolationist approach to her life. And now she is trapped behind a solemn wall she has built around herself in her efforts not to be normal. But he thinks she is really a scared and lonely girl who desperately needs someone to love and he believes that is why she asked him back here. They become lovers and when it is time for him to leave the next morning he promises to write to her from his ship and come and see her when he's this way again - and in return she promises to start living her life more normally.
Shipmates Harry and Jamey are out to have a good evening spending their hard-earned pay. Harry is a hot-headed impetuous buck who wants to meet girls whereas Jamey has more refined sensibilities and only goes along with Harry's excesses to make up the numbers. They go to a pub where Harry spots a couple of likely girls. He fancies Margaret who seems to share the same extroverted sense of fun as he and his fat wallet makes sure she remains interested as he keeps the rounds coming in. Jamey sits with Margaret's reserved friend Jean who is much like himself and they find conversing awkward but see in each other a kindred spirit. Then Harry finds out Margaret is a brass and that she expects to be paid to have sex with him. It affronts his masculinity to think he would ever have to pay for it. Harry tells Jamey they should go because these girls are just a pair of toms. But Jamey likes Jean and can't believe she's like that and so Harry leaves the pub by himself in a strop. (Harry and Jamey's stories then go on separate courses as described in the next two paragraphs...)
Crewman Harry remains in a foul mood, and fairly intoxicated, as he cruises the streets and enters a red light district. He passes various establishments promising all sorts of delights until he finds himself persuaded by the tempting patter of an attractive girl standing in the doorway of a dive called "The Garden of Eden" which she promises contains something really special inside. The girl is called Marlene and she knows how to flatter a man and keep him believing she really likes him - and the drunker they are the easier it is. But her real job at the club is to get unwary male punters to buy overpriced drinks for the two of them while leaving the sucker thinking that he is in with a chance with her if she is plied with enough liquor. Once Harry has settled in they are joined by another clip joint hostess called Arlene who is a "friend" of Marlene's wanting to join them. The upshot of this is Harry has to buy her drinks also thus serving to drain his wallet even faster. It is clear the girls are bored stiff by what they do for whenever Harry is not looking their way their misery shows. As the evening wears on Marlene can tell Harry is starting to get to the stage where he is becoming impatient for some sort of gratifying payback for all the money he's forked out. Marlene has a word with the manager telling him that Harry is on the verge of walking out but still has lots of cash left and she gains permission to go to the next phase. Marlene thusly tells Harry that because he's been such a good customer the manager is going to kindly allow all three of them to go up to the private apartment above the club to continue having a good time. That is much more what Harry had in mind and he eagerly follows them upstairs. In the room Marlene takes off his jacket so he can be more comfortable and puts it in the wardrobe. Behind the wardrobe a secret panel opens and the manager reaches in and removes Harry's remaining cash from his wallet. With that accomplished Harry's usefulness is over and any further time spent with him is an unproductive waste so the girls get the signal to initiate the closing strategy. They suddenly become all frosty towards Harry and take exception to what he thinks they have come up here for. The manager comes in and tells Harry to leave because this is a respectable establishment and his girls aren't the kind to do that sort of thing with customers. Harry notices his money is gone and starts making a fuss accusing the girls of stealing it. The manager feigns riotous indignation at such outrageous allegations. He throws Harry out into the street telling him not to come back because his sort will give the club a bad reputation.
Crewman Jamey carries on chatting to Jean once Harry has left the pub. They are shy towards each other but seem to intuitively know that they are well suited. Little-by-little Jamey learns that Jean has a tragic life. She was an orphan who lived in a children's home for most of her childhood. Once she was old enough, the home boarded her out to a married couple to work as a home help. But after two years the husband started making a nuisance of himself with her and began coming to her room at night. So Jean left and met Margaret who was another ex-orphanage girl who had learned to turn tricks to make some easy cash. That was what tonight had been about - Margaret had been attempting to show Jean how it was done. But Jean realised she didn't have it in herself to do that sort of thing and would rather sleep on the streets which for the last couple of nights is exactly what she has been doing. At pub closing time they leave and wander the streets, Jamey is a bit unsure what to do with Jean because she clearly has nowhere to go. Then they encounter an old dear who has had too much to drink and they decide to help her get home. The old lady lives with her daughter who runs a bed and breakfast hotel. Jamey suggests to Jean that they take a room and she agrees since she has no other options. Jamey is the perfect gentleman and lets her take the bed whilst he kips down on a chair mulling things over in his mind and coming to a decision. Next morning Jamey tells Jean that he knows it is all a bit sudden but he wants to look after her and get married. He is an electrician so could easily get work on shore. Jean is taken aback by his proposal - can she trust this man, does he really mean it? - it seems so incredible that a man she met by chance would be so caring and nice. Jamey knows they must take each other on trust at first until they know each other properly, but there's no reason why it shouldn't work. Jean happily agrees and Jamey says all he has to do is go back to his ship to get his things and he'll come back in a short while to fetch her and they can head up to Scotland to live with his sister for a while until they can get a place of their own. Jamey returns to the ship sharing his excitement with his crewmates telling them all about the girl he has met while he gathers his belongings and prepares to jump ship. His friend Harry is still smarting from being ripped off by the women in the clip joint and he thinks Jamey is being stupid. The girl Jean is obviously just a lousy calculating brass like her no-good friend Margaret and she'll be out to fleece him and leave him - that's what women do in Harry's experience. So to save his friend from making the biggest mistake of his life Harry stops him leaving the ship until it sails. Back at the hotel Jean waits - hours and hours pass until it becomes clear to her Jamey is not coming back. She realises he didn't mean anything he said after all and he must have thought better of it once he was away. She knew it had been too good to be true - and she doesn't blame him, for who would want to be lumbered with her? She trudges away resigned to be on her own again and hope to find some way to get by. (Seemingly the end)
Epilogue. But then as Jean is walking away feeling miserable she hears a shout behind her and Jamey catches up clutching his suitcase and explains what happened to him and how he eventually managed to convince the captain to let him off via the pilot ship. They are happily reunited and Jean's faith is re-established as they head off for their new life together.
|Starring:||Bernard Lee (as George Hudson), Erica Remberg (as Wanda)|
John Bonney (as Lee), Heather Sears (as Penny)
Inigo Jackson (as Harry), Caroline Mortimer (as Marlene)
Colin Campbell (as Jamey), Francesca Annis (as Jean)
|Featuring:||David Lodge (as Arthur, older crewman), Nigel Green (as Paddy, older crewman), Derek Bond (as Paul, Wanda's partner-in-crime), Toni Gilpin (as Margaret, Jean's friend), Patricia Hayes (as Edie's Mother, drunk lady that Jamey and Jean help), Shirley Cameron (as Edie, B&B owner), Vera Day (as Arlene, Marlene's hostess friend at clip joint), David Burke (as Clip joint manager)|
|Starlets:||Margaret Nolan (as Julie, Arthur's girlfriend), Barbara Roscoe (as Miss Bingo, clip joint girl), Martine Beswick and Patsy Fagan (as Barmaids), Janet Milner (as Waitress)|
|Also:||The Searchers (as Themselves, pop group performing in pub)|
|Made in Black and White|
|The pop group "The Searchers" receive an "introducing" credit. They were seen singing a few songs in a pub but had no acting involvement.|
|Writer: Christopher Logue (from book by H.S. Ede) / Director/Producer: Ken Russell|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Set just before the start of the First World War the story starts off in Paris when a Polish woman in her 40s called Sophie Brzeska meets a young French man called Henri Gaudier in a library. Henri is an art student full of ideas with a dynamic flamboyance to his personality that gives full reign to his intellectual fervour. He is intrigued by Sophie and although she is at first reticent she finds his continual persistence and attentiveness endearing and they start to see more of each other as the days go on. They share a passion for artistic creativity and both have lofty ambitions in their chosen fields. Sophie is a writer but considers herself a failure in life and has never had any of her work published - and she has never married either always having drifted through life hoping to meet the right companion and now, in Henri, she has found him - he stimulates her mind and despite his occasional episodes of wild surrealistic fancy involving bouts of outrageous public behaviour she believes she has discovered her soul-mate. He is equally smitten with her inner radiance and they become inseparable companions.
Their relationship is not sexual and in this age it would be improper for an unmarried man and woman to accompany each other so closely - so they pose as brother and sister which allows them to display a closeness not otherwise possible. They move abroad to London and rent a dingy property together beside a railway station which although noisy is spacious and ideal for Henri to use as a studio. Henri meets an art dealer called Angus Corky who is impressed enough with his work to buy a piece and they become friends. Henri is introduced to Corky's circle of artistic friends and at an exhibition he encounters a young woman called Gosh Boyle who is an upper class women's rights activist drawing attention to the suffragette movement through entertainment. Though she soon becomes bored with politics and declares her lofty creative ambitions towards performance and models for him in the nude.
Corky offers Henri an exhibition and he sets about with a furore creating many dozens of sculptures to be ready in time for the opening day. Sophie, who has recently returned from a period of absence working as a governess, cannot stand the continual noise and gets a place of her own nearby. During this outpouring of artistic endeavour the war starts and most men enthusiastically join up. Henri has no intention of doing so however believing the beauty others will find in his art to be his contribution. But when he reads that Paris has been attacked he changes his mind and joins up never really saying a proper goodbye to Sophie because she believed he was only joking in his usual flippant manner as he called to her from the street below trying to wake her up at night to tell her he was going.
She writes to him saying she will marry him when he returns and he sends back letters from the front describing his outrageously embellished derring-do and reckless bravado in the face of the enemy - and then word is received he has been shot and killed. He died aged 23 and when his work is posthumously exhibited it is to great success.
|Starring:||Scott Antony (as Henri Gaudier), Dorothy Tutin (as Sophie Brzeska)|
|Featuring:||Helen Mirren (as Gosh Boyle), Lindsay Kemp (as Angus Corky, Art Dealer), John Justin (as Lionel Shaw, Art Gallery Owner)|
|Familiar Faces:||(cameo parts) Michael Gough (as Henri's father), Peter Vaughan (as Louvre Museum Attendant)|
|Starlets:||Imogen Claire, Susanna East, Judith Paris, Maggy Maxwell|
|Writer/Director: John Gilling / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 78 mins|
|In 1648 during the English Civil War King Charles I is being sheltered by the staunchly royalist Beverley family when word comes that the Parliamentarian roundhead forces led by Colonel Judd are on their way. The lord of Beverley manor instructs his two sons Edward and Philip and daughter Constance to flee to the forest with the king and go into hiding.
Colonel Judd is a cruel and unscrupulous commander who will use whatever tactics necessary to snare his quarry (the King) on behalf of the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. He tortures Lord Beverley who refuses to divulge anything and is eventually executed. Colonel Judd takes over the mansion as his headquarters and is joined in residence by his daughter Clare. She is a royalist herself and despises her father's opposing ideology.
The king is eventually captured and taken to Hampton Court pending transfer to the Tower of London. From his hideout in the forest Edward Beverley organises a rebellion force to cause insurrection and mayhem to show the people's disapproval. Edward's lightning strikes and fighting prowess have him being dubbed as "The Scarlet Blade". Clare Judd finds a secret passage from the manor to the rebels' forest hideout and joins with Edward in his crusade for justice and restoration of the king's rightful throne. She feeds the rebels information that she is able to discover from her inside position of trust in her father's headquarters.
The colonel's second in command is Captain Tom Sylvester who holds no strong dogma to either main political viewpoint but works to his own best interests. He discovers Clare's traitorous activities but he fancies her and is prepared to be a turncoat if it will help him win her heart - so he falls in with Edward's gang and becomes a double agent supplying valuable information that helps Edward beat the odds and defy capture. But his assistance is conditional and Clare does not in truth welcome Tom's brashly romantic overtures and is instead falling for the dashing Edward.
Clare discovers the date when the king is to be moved to the Tower and passes the information to Edward so that he can organise an ambush and rescue of the sovereign. But before then Edward's sister Constance is captured and held prisoner in a tactic designed to draw Edward into a trap. Using his inside knowledge of the manor Edward successfully rescues Constance but is himself captured. With Edward imprisoned his brother Philip decides to use Clare's information to lead the rebels himself in the bid to rescue the king. Meanwhile Clare implores Tom to help get Edward released - but when Tom discovers Clare has fallen in love with Edward he acts in his own best interests by firmly realigning himself to Judd's side and refuses to provide any further help.
However by now Judd has realised that he has a traitor in his midst and sends word to Hampton Court to delay the king's transfer and instead deploy a bogus convoy as a trap for any who would attempt a rescue. He then tortures Edward for the traitor's identity. Rather than betray Clare, Edward implicates Tom whose loyalties have always been questionable at best. Judd confronts Tom who denies nothing but tells Judd that he is untouchable because if arrested he will reveal at his trial that Judd's own daughter is also a traitor. So instead of arresting him Judd resolves the matter by shooting Tom dead.
Clare admits her involvement and tells her father that if he does not release Edward she will denounce to the world what she has done and he, her father, will be condemned with her by association and his position of trust in Cromwell's army will become untenable. Judd cannot dispose of Clare in so like a fashion as he did Captain Sylvester so he allows Edward to escape and take Clare with him.
Edward quickly travels to the ambush point and discovers his men all slaughtered - killed when they were met with an overwhelming unexpected opposition laying in siege of their arrival - his brother Philip is amongst the dead. With no forces remaining to continue the fight Edward and Clare have to admit defeat and join up with a band of gypsies to hide out from the roundhead troops still searching for rogue royalists. Time passes and Colonel Judd discovers them both in one of his searches but keeps sagely silent to protect his own position and because they no longer pose a threat.
|Starring:||Jack Hedley (as Edward Beverley/The Scarlet Blade, royalist, rebel leader), Lionel Jeffries (Colonel Judd, roundhead commander), Oliver Reed (as Captain Tom Sylvester, roundhead), June Thorburn (as Clare Judd, Judd's daughter, royalist)|
|Featuring:||Michael Ripper (as Pablo, gypsy leader, working alongside Edward), Duncan Lamont (as Major Bell, Judd's deputy), Harold Goldblatt (as Jacob, Beverley family's manservant), Clifford Elkin (as Philip Beverley, Edward's younger brother), Suzan Farmer (as Constance Beverley, Edward's sister), Charles Houston (as John Drury, royalist), John Stewart (as Edward's father), Robert Rietty (as King Charles I)|
|Writer: John Elder / Director: Roy Ward Baker / Producer: Aida Young|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|In Germany in the 19th century a gallivanting womaniser called Paul Carlson falls foul of a town's burgomaster when Paul beds his daughter and has to flee for his liberty. He hightails it to a nearby town but finds the locals at the inn very unwelcoming to strangers and eventually finds his way to a nearby hilltop castle to seek shelter for the night.
(as shown in a prologue) The locals unease of unfamiliar faces comes from their fear of the resident of this castle - Count Dracula. Years before, the town's men had tried to rid themselves of the evil vampire by burning down his castle but succeeded only in destroying part of it. In revenge Dracula had sent swarms of bats to the local church and killed all the sheltering women waiting there for their menfolk to return.
Paul spends the night at the castle as guest of Dracula and his scruffy dishevelled servant Klove not realising the danger he is in. By morning he finds he is a prisoner in his bedroom and tries to escape down the sheer side of the castle using tied sheets to get to a room on the floor below. He gets into the room only to discover there is no other exit - and Dracula sleeping in a coffin! (We don't discover what happens to him next).
A few days later Paul's brother Simon and Simon's fiancée Sarah are retracing Paul's route trying to find out what has become of him. They too find the town's locals very unfriendly but gather from one young woman that Paul was last seen heading to the castle. Simon and Paul call at the castle and are given rooms. Klove had previously seen a photograph of Sarah that Paul was carrying and has fallen in love with her beauty - and is overawed by seeing her in the flesh. So when he realises that his master Dracula has set his sights on turning her into his next vampire bride he helps the couple escape risking his master's fury.
Simon is determined to return to find his brother Paul and so leaves Sarah at the town's church in care of the priest and returns to the castle alone armed with religious accoutrements that the priest has supplied to help protect him. Simon forces Klove to help him and tell him where Dracula sleeps. The vampire's daytime sanctuary is a room with no internal access which can only be reached externally through the window by scaling the sheer side of the castle - easy for one with Dracula's abilities but leaving him safe from would-be vampire-hunters.
Simon uses a rope to follow the route that Paul inadvertently discovered days before and enters Dracula's chamber where the undead vampire is at rest. But even in his dormant state Dracula's mesmeric power prevents Simon from plunging a stake into his chest. Then it is too late and Dracula awakens and leaves knowing that Simon cannot escape with the getaway rope now removed. Simon then finds his brother Paul's dead body and realises his rescue mission had been in vain.
Meanwhile bats under Dracula's command have attacked the church and killed the priest but Sarah gets away and unwisely heads to the high hilltop castle to try and find Simon as a violent thunder storm brews overhead. Dracula corners Sarah on the parapet and begins to thrall her with his mesmeric gaze. Klove fears for her life and lowers the rope to allow Simon to escape the chamber. Klove then turns against his master to protect Sarah but Dracula easily disposes of him. Simon then confronts the vampire lord throwing a broken iron railing at him like a spear - it impales him but not being made of wood it has no effect. Dracula removes it and holds the spear aloft to throw it back at Simon when he is suddenly struck by lightening and his body catches aflame. The evil vampire dies in screaming agony and falls from the castle parapet in flames. The danger is over and Simon and Sarah are safe.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Dracula), Dennis Waterman (as Simon Carlson), Jenny Hanley (as Sarah Framsen), Christopher Matthews (as Paul Carlson), Patrick Troughton (as Klove, Dracula's servant), Michael Gwynn (as The Priest), Michael Ripper (as Tavern Landlord)|
|Featuring:||Wendy Hamilton (as Julie, tavern barmaid), Bob Todd (as Burgomaster, [one scene]), Anouska Hempel (as Tania, Vampire girl), Delia Lindsay (as Alice, burgomaster's daughter)|
|This Hammer Horror follows Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970). The next film in the series was Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)|
|A pre-prologue shows Dracula returned to life from the dust he became at the end of the previous film when a bat dribbled blood onto his remains and triggered Dracula's revival|
|Writer: David McGillivray / Director/Producer: Pete Walker|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Samantha is about to be getting married - she is an ice dancer who is fairly well known and her imminent wedding is a national newspaper story that a sinister looking man in the North-East of England sees and immediately packs his bags to head off to London where she lives. The marriage goes without a hitch but the wedding reception is ruined when a bloody knife is substituted in place of the knife Samantha is supposed to cut the cake with. The mysterious man did this while posing as a member of the hotel kitchen staff. Also on the way to the reception Samantha saw the man watching from the roadside and thought she recognised him.
Samantha and her new husband Alan return to their home - their honeymoon has been deferred for a fortnight because of pressing business at Alan's carpet making factory. Alone in the house during the day Samantha begins to hear noises and see strange shadows and becomes convinced this mysterious man is stalking her - but there is never any evidence of his intrusions and when she tries to tell her friends about it her fears are dismissed. One friend called Leonard is a psychiatrist and she tells him who the man is - his name is William Haskin and he was her late mother's lover. Fifteen years earlier she, as a young 7-year-old girl, witnessed him brutally killing her mother after a row. He was sent to prison but is now out on parole. Leonard says he will try to find out from the parole board the current whereabouts of Haskin - but on his way home Leonard is murdered in his car by someone with a knife.
Samantha is persuaded to go to a public seance at a meeting hall by her house cleaner whose daughter Joy is the spiritualist. It seems like hokum at first but then Joy makes contact with the spirit of Leonard who warns them that his killer is in the room. Everyone panics and flees the crowded hall. Later on her way home the spiritualist Joy is murdered while waiting at a bus-stop.
Later on, after more stalking incidents and another death, Samantha confronts Haskin in the empty carpet warehouse. He is not the demented madman she expects - instead he has come to plead with her to tell the truth about that night fifteen years ago. She doesn't know what he means so he tells her an alternative version of those events. He and her mother had been having normal consentual sex when Samantha came into the room holding a knife - her mother had shouted at her angrily telling her she would be punished and little Samantha had promptly stabbed her to death in a frenzied attack. The police didn't believe his story of course and he was the one imprisoned for murder. He says the stalking had been his way of leaving clues for Samantha to try and shock her into remembering. He tells her she must have two personalities and one remembers none of the other. But she has killed again:- Leonard and Joy were killed by Samantha because they had learnt too much of the truth and the killer-side of her was protecting the normal-side. Leonard pleads with her to now at last tell the police the truth - but they struggle and he falls to his death.
She is now aware of her darker side and strangely seems to embrace it with knowing indulgence as she pointedly packs a kitchen knife in with her luggage ready to go on her honeymoon. The End
|Starring:||Lynne Frederick (as Samantha Falconer), John Leyton (as Alan Falconer, husband), Jack Watson (as William Haskin)|
|Featuring:||Stephanie Beacham (as Beth, Samantha's friend), John Fraser (as Leonard Hawthorne, psychiatrist), Queenie Watts (as Mrs Wallace, cleaner), Trisha Mortimer (as Joy Wallace, spiritualist)|
|Familiar Faces:||Colin Jeavons, Diana King|
|Starlets:||Wendy Gilmore (as Samantha's Mother in flashbacks), Primi Townsend|
|The famous Ice Skater side of her life doesn't really come into it once the film gets going - it seems to be mainly included as a reason for her picture to be featured in a newspaper so that Haskin can discover her whereabouts.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Pete Walker|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 77 mins|
|Society bounder Giles Wingate has been fleeced by scheming women so many times he thinks he knows all their tricks and so he decides to cash in by setting up a school to train young women on the art of how to take advantage of men and in return they agree to give him one third of their future earnings.|
|Starring:||Derek Aylward (as Giles Wingate)|
|Featuring:||Amber Dean Smith, Françoise Pascal, Cathy Howard, Sylvia Barlow (as the four students), Rose Alba, Bob Andrews Vic Wise, Nosher Powell|
|Starlets:||Maria Frost, Cindy Neal, Gilly Grant, Jacky Berdet, Nicola Austin, Sandra Gleeson, Nicole Verna, Patsy Morrell, Samantha Bond, Dunja Maloon, Christine Jensen|
|The version reviewed here was the "tame" version. Still pictures have been seen that come from the stronger American version which show that some scenes were done naked whereas in this tame version they are done in underwear. An example is a scene in which the four students, in a bid to escape their probation officer, strip off and get out of a camper van in their underwear and try to have him arrested for impropriety (by telling a passing policeman that they were forced to undress) - a plan which fails miserably. In the stronger version they get out completely naked (fully frontal) - which would have made a lot more sense to their "plan" although presumably the result was the same. Other scenes are similarly shot in two versions. It's understandable why they would have kept their pants on for the tame version but since earlier on in the movie there are some topless scenes with other actresses (which were evidently OK to include) it's odd why the students had to keep their bras on in their tame version scenes. The nudity indicated above for the students in this tame version is brief and almost accidental in which attempts to stay covered up were marginally unsuccessful.|
|The "Samantha Bond" listed among the starlets is not the famous actress with that name (who would have been too young at the time anyway).|
|Writer: Christopher Wicking / Director: Gordon Hessler / Producers: Max J Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 90 mins|
|In a fascist European state a sadistic man called Konratz has become military leader of his country by eliminating his superiors who considered his methods harsh even by their own brutal standards. Konratz seems to have an uncannily strong grip which he uses to crush his victims shoulders causing them instant painful death. Konratz's militia rules by fear and intimation and dissidents are severely dealt with.
Meanwhile in England (in seemingly unrelated matters), Superintendent Bellaver of the London police is investigating the death of a young woman whose body was found drained of blood. She is not the first such victim and the police believe there is a serial killer on the loose. The pathologist's assistant David Sorel gives the assessment that it was the work of a psychopath who may have had no rational motive for the killing.
The victims were all picked up at a certain nightclub so Bellaver sends in a wired-up policewoman called Helen Bradford undercover to act as a bait. Helen is approached by a man called Keith (who we know is the killer because we saw him kill a second victim called Sylvia). Keith drives Helen away and the police track him. When he tries to kill Helen and drink her blood the police pounce and arrest him. Keith is handcuffed to the car but in an incredible show of strength and painlessness he wrenches off his own hand and escapes. The police follow to a country manor house where in an outbuilding Keith jumps into a tank of acid and kills himself rather than be captured.
The owner of the house is a scientist called Dr Browning who has the acid to destroy tissue samples he uses in his government-backed cancer research experiments. He claims no knowledge of why the serial killer should come to his property or how he knew the acid was there.
Elsewhere in London, minister of defence Fremont is concerned about a missing spy plane over the country led by Konratz and receives reports that the pilot is being held prisoner by the brutal regime. Konratz travels to London incognito to strike a deal. He tells Fremont that he will return the spy plane and airman providing the police investigation into the so-called vampire murders ceases and all evidence and information on the case is destroyed. Fremont agrees and gives Konratz a free hand to sort the matter out himself. Konratz goes to visit Superintendent Bellaver on the pretext of being an academic doing research on serial killer cases and is granted permission to look at the evidence. Konratz then kills Bellaver with his death grip and steals all the evidence.
Orders from on-high instruct the remaining officers to suspend investigations, but pathologist David Sorel is suspicious about Dr Browning's involvement and decides to do a bit of his own investigating. Policewoman Helen Bradford agrees to go with him. She waits outside while he goes into the house. Inside David finds Dr Browning's operating theatre. Browning discovers him snooping and proudly boasts of his achievements. He has perfected surgical techniques that allow him to assemble a composite body made up of the parts of many different individuals. He has had people abducted from the streets to utilize as "spare part" banks. Each organ taken is enhanced with synthetic parts to create a superior breed of man. Keith (the "vampire killer") was his first full creation endowed with its own autonomous brain patterns. Dr Browning reveals that he and his servants have been upgraded with superior muscle strength along with others who are integrating themselves into society until the time is right to take over. Browning reveals his latest composite female body into which he now intends to implant a functioning brain. The donor is wheeled in and it is Helen who has been captured from outside. David tries to stop the operation but Browning's strength is too great. Browning's misguided motives are not driven by evil aggrandisement but by a craving for scientific endeavour and advancement which in his view obviates any immorality in which he engages in the procurement of his test subjects
Then Konratz arrives - he too has been enhanced with composite super-strength in one arm. He has come to deal with Browning whose ambitious experiments have risked the entire master plan with exposure. The time is not right for them to act yet and premature exposure of a race of super-enhanced men could jeopardise the entire endeavour. The two men fight a titanic struggle and in the end Browning wins and Konratz is tipped into the acid tank. During the fighting David frees Helen and takes her outside. Minister Fremont pulls up in a car and tells them to wait. He goes in to talk to Browning who has at last realised the folly of his ways and that putting too much power into the hands of an individual leads to corruption. He intends to seek and destroy all those he has created. But Fremont tells him it is too late for that now and pushes him into the acid. Fremont is also an enhanced man but is wilier than the rest of his kind and perfectly happy to bide his time and wait as he rises in power.
|Comment: The film's various plots seem incongruously unconnected until nearer the end when it just about manages to mesh them together.|
|Starring:||Vincent Price (as Dr Browning, research scientist), Alfred Marks (as Superintendent Bellaver), Christopher Lee (as Fremont, government minister), Michael Gothard (as Keith, serial killer), Christopher Matthews (as David Sorel, postmortem assistant doctor), Marshall Jones (as Konratz, new militia leader)|
|Featuring:||Judy Huxtable (as Sylvia, victim, [small role]), Judi Bloom (as Helen Bradford, policewoman), Peter Sallis (as Schweitz, fascist intelligence officer), Uta Levka (as Jane, evil nurse), Clifford Earl (as Detective Sgt Jimmy Joyce), Kenneth Benda (as Professor Kingsmill, pathologist), Julian Holloway (as Griffin, detective)|
|Star-Turns:||Peter Cushing (as Major Benedek, militia leader of fascist state, [one scene])|
|Starlets:||Yutte Stensgaard (as Erika, fascist prisoner), Rosalind Elliot (as Valerie, Sylvia's friend)|
|From Press Editorial Services' novel The Disorientated Man by Peter Saxon|
|Although Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are all in this film there are no scenes in which all three actors appear together. Peter Cushing makes an early solo appearance for one scene in which he is killed off.|
|aka: The House That Vanished|
|Writer: Derek Ford / Director: Joseph Larraz / Producer: Diana Daubeney|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Valerie Jennings is a busy photographic model. One evening while her boyfriend Terry is driving her home he takes a detour to run an errand. This takes them into a remote area down country lanes through some woodland amid swirling fog and oncoming night-time darkness. They get lost but when they arrive at an old mansion Terry concludes it must be the place he is looking for and goes inside leaving Valerie in the car. After a while of waiting in the cold she decides to go inside and look for him and finds him going through drawers looking for stuff intent of some sort of thievery - they find lots of passports of young foreign girls. But before they can decide what to make of this they hear two people arrive home and hide in the shadows. A man and a woman come into the room. The man sits down silently and remains in the shadows. His hands are gloved and we (the viewer) do not see any more of him than Valerie can. The woman proceeds to undress so that they can have sex while she carries on a one-way conversation with her silent companion. Then as she sits on his lap he stabs and kills her. Shocked Valerie runs out of the house expecting Terry to follow but he does not. Without the car keys she has to run through the woods and hide in a junk yard as the killer follows looking for her. By morning she remains undiscovered and hitches a lift home.
Home is a top floor flat she shares with her friend Lorna who is currently away on holiday. Then looking out of her window she sees Terry's car parked outside her house. She phones him with no reply, then goes round to his flat but he is not home. She concludes the killer has parked it and therefore knows exactly who she is and where she lives!
She visits some friends Mike and Stella and tells them the story - she feels she can hardly go to the police about the murder and Terry's disappearance because then she'd have to explain what she was doing in the house in the first place. She decides to sit tight. She also doesn't think she would ever be able to find the house again because they were hopelessly lost in the dark and fog.
Back at work modelling her photographer Kent introduces her to a man called Paul who is a mask maker. Valerie is struck by his work and they arrange to meet up so she can see his whole collection. She meets his Aunt Susanna who helps make the masks. Valerie feels that Paul is a bit mothered by his Aunt. But what she doesn't know is that Paul and Susanna have somewhat more than a normal aunt-nephew relationship and sleep together.
Next day at home a new tenant is moving into the unoccupied downstairs flat. He is a creepy solitary sort of man who keeps pigeons that he is studying. Valerie notices that he always wears gloves and seriously wonders if he is the killer stalking her.
Lorna arrives home from her holidays and Valerie updates her on the situation. Meanwhile Valerie is seeing much more of Paul and a relationship is blossoming. Aunt Susanna cryptically warns Paul that he should leave this girl alone as she might cause complications.
That night while Valerie is out someone breaks into the girls' flat and rapes and strangles Lorna. This involves the police but Valerie still doesn't tell them about what went on in the old house.
To help her recover from the shock of Lorna's death Paul invites her to stay at his late grandparents house in the country which he now owns. That evening they make love downstairs by a roaring fire and she falls asleep. During the night she wakes alone and hears voices upstairs. She goes up to investigate and suddenly realises she is in the same house where the murder took place! She finds the dead bodies of Terry and the woman that was killed and is then confronted by the killer ... Paul. Aunt Susanna is also there urging Paul to kill Valerie. But Paul kills his aunt instead and Valerie runs off as Paul collapses in wretched sorrow. Then the police arrive and the story ends.
|Comments: The tale is quite good up until the very end when certain things feel a bit rushed or improperly explained. It's not very clear how the police knew to arrive. No one seems to phone them and only Valerie could have done so but insufficient time seems to have passed for her to have done this as they seem to arrive almost immediately. Also she runs into the arms of the pigeon man (the creepy tenant) for comfort. It is totally unclear why she does this or why he is even there with the police in the first place. And although it matters less, it is never revealed just what Terry was originally looking for in the old house or if he was indeed in the wrong house all along.|
|Starring:||Andrea Allan (as Valerie Jennings), Karl Lanchbury (as Paul)|
|Featuring:||Maggie Walker (as Aunt Susanna), Judy Matheson (as Lorna Collins), Edmund Pegge (as Kent the photographer), Peter Forbes-Robertson (as Pigeon tenant) Alex Leppard (as Terry), Annabella Wood (as Stella), Lawrence Keane (as Mike)|
|Starlets:||Barbara Meale (as the first victim)|
|Writer: Michael Armstrong / Director/Producer: Stanley Long|
|Type: Horror / Anthology||Running Time: 87 mins|
|An anthology of three short horror films set in Britain with a framing sequence set in New York in which two young American lads called Ed and Bruce steal some videos from a store and then go back to a girl friend called Marie's apartment to watch them on her player. The stories we see are then the films they are watching...
Story 1 - Killer Punch
Jack is an ageing seaside Punch and Judy man whose wife Lena has given him an ultimatum. He spends so much time caring for his precious puppets that they have taken over his life and she feels he thinks more of them than he does of her and her son Damien to whom he is stepfather - and so Lena tells him to get rid of the puppets or she'll leave him. Damien hates Jack and tries to burn the puppets but Jack manages to save them. Later on Damien is bludgeoned to death on the beach by an unseen assailant. And that night Lena too is killed in her bed in a similar manner. Jack calls a doctor to report his wife's death but is worried about calling the police in case they think it was he who did it. The doctor says he must call in the police but as the doctor tries to do so he is attacked and beaten to death by the Mr Punch puppet which seems to have a life of its own. Damien's girlfriend comes round the next day to see her boyfriend and discovers the bodies and is attacked by Jack himself speaking in a Mr Punch voice - she flees and Jack is eventually killed when he falls into a garbage truck compactor. (NOTE: The story seems a scene too far at the end - what at first seems like Mr Punch acting alone becomes muddled by Jack also attacking the final victim - so it becomes unclear if the Mr Punch was independently "alive" or not - although see the epilogue which again suggests it was)
Story 2 - Scream House
Newly married couple Tony and Susan have moved into a new home. She soon starts to hear noises and see people in the house and in the garden which her husband cannot. The people she sees all meet violent deaths at the hands of a knifeman and Susan becomes convinced the house must have a bad history and she is seeing their ghosts. Susan is becoming increasingly unbalanced by her visions and Tony goes as far as calling in a psychic to see if there really are any ghosts in the house. But the psychic detects nothing and gives the house a clean bill of health. As Tony is driving the psychic back home Susan is left alone in the house and her visions start again and she sees all the murders take place around her by a mad knifeman and she falls into a catatonic state. Tony subsequently has to have her committed and he sells the house. A few weeks later Tony returns to the house to collect a few belongings that were left behind and we see that the new owners are all people that Susan saw being murdered - and as Tony gets into his car to leave the killer is in the back seat and cuts his throat. Tony becomes the first victim of an escaped murderer who then goes into the house to kill the family - Susan's visions had not been ghosts of events past - but a premonition of events to come.
Story 3 - Garden of Blood
Gavin is a young lad who desperately needs some extra money to pay for repairs to his dirt bike. So he answers an advert to do some home and garden handy work for a pair of sweet old ladies called Emma and Mildred. They live in an old Tudor house and show Gavin around explaining the history of a painting of a woman called Lady Anne on the wall beside a portrait of her last lover. The ladies tell him there are fairies living at the bottom of the garden and Lady Anne had made a pact with them to keep her string of lovers secret from her husband and in return they could have her lover's souls to play with. Gavin humours them because they know nothing of money and are paying him well above the going rate. When Emma comes to pay him for his first days work he sees where she keeps her money and decides to rob them that evening with help from his brother Tim and a mate Frank. They all break into the house and try and steal the chest containing all the ladies' riches but they find themselves being picked off by supernatural events as the fairies protect the house. Then the portrait of Lady Anne comes alive and she takes Gavin as her lover and then kills him. In an epilogue to the story we see the two ladies showing the next prospective handyman around and the portrait of Lady Anne's last lover has now changed to the likeness of Gavin.
Epilogue - back to framing story
At the end Ed is now watching the TV alone and laughs at the idea of fairies and then an arm reaches out of the TV and throttles him to death - and in the bedroom where Bruce and Marie have retired to have sex, Bruce is suddenly attacked by the Mr Punch puppet and beaten to death.
|Starring:||(story 1) Robin Bailey (as Jack), Ann Lynn (as Lena, wife), Johnathon Morris (as Damien, step-son)|
(story 2) Ian Saynor (as Tony Kingsley, husband), Yvonne Nicholson (as Susan, wife)
(story 3) Dora Bryan (as Emma, elderly house owner), Jean Anderson (as Mildred, elderly house owner), David Van Day (as Gavin)
|Featuring:||(story 1) Dione Inman (as Suzy, Damien's girlfriend), Boscoe Hogan (as Doctor)|
(story 2) Veronica Doran (as Miss Burns, psychic), Lally Bowers (as Tony's mother), Brenda Kempner (as New Owner)
(story 3) Matthew Peters (as Tim, Gavin's brother), Phillip Bloomfield (as Tim's boss), Gary Linley (as Frank, Tim's friend), Kim Thomson (as Lady Anne)
(framing story in New York) Vincent Russo (as Ed), Michael Gordon (as Bruce), Marie Scinto (as Marie)
|Familiar Faces:||Claire Davenport (uncredited housekeeper in story 3)|
|Stanley Long is credited as Al Beresford on this movie as both director and producer.|
|David Van Day receives an "introducing" credit.|
|The individual episode titles listed above are not shown in the credits or given any great prominence - but they are not just made up for this review - the first two titles are briefly seen on the video covers as the lads initially steal them from the store and the third title is mentioned by one of the lads as they put the tape into the player.|
|Although the framing sequence is set in America - all the "episodes" are set in Britain with British actors.|
|Writers: Roy Minton, Jeremy Watt, Mai Zetterling / Director: Mai Zetterling / Producer: Don Boyd|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Carol Howden and Annetta Brady are both young women undergoing periods of detention at a low-security open borstal. They abscond together for different reasons and go on the run. Annetta wants to be reunited with her young toddler daughter who means the world to her and is currently being looked after in a convent home. Carol is someone who needs strong emotional support and is missing her girlfriend Doreen who is in a closed borstal and Carol is seeking to break the law so she will be sent there too and can be with her again.
Carol allows herself to be captured easily and is taken to the closed borstal as per her plan - but soon after her arrival Carol finds that Doreen has now taken up with another girl called Sharon and strongly resents her presence there as the two new lovers parade and flaunt their relationship in front of Carol just to be cruel. Still on the outside Annetta finds her way to the convent home telling the nuns she is on a leave to make arrangements for her daughter - but the nuns know this to be untrue and call the authorities who arrest her and take her to the same borstal as Carol.
Annetta is full of bitterness at how the world seems to be conspiring against her happiness and when she sees Carol already there she immediately jumps to the incorrect conclusion that Carol ratted on her to get the placement she wanted here near Doreen and vows to get even with her as she is dragged away to solitary until her rage calms down.
Carol has no friends now but she is befriended by the borstal wing's hard-girl Eddie who promises to protect her in return for a share of her luxury allocation items. Doreen, Sharon and Annetta all have reason to hate Carol and make it their mission to make her life a misery but cannot go too far for fear of Eddie. Annetta's bad behaviour and refusal to abide by the rules continually finds her on report and subject to discipline as she lets her anger at being kept away from her daughter get the better of her.
Eventually Eddie is released when her sentence comes to its end and Carol's protection vanishes overnight. Annetta now seizes her chance to get even and corners Carol alone in the kitchens and beats her senseless with a club, still full of fury for the perceived but actually non-existent betrayal. Carol survives the ordeal but Annetta is put on report again and is told by the governor that whilst it had been the intention to reunite her with her daughter at the end of her sentence it is now clear by her continued violent and bad behaviour that she is an unsuitable mother and her baby is going to be put into foster care and from then adopted away.
|Starring:||Amanda York (as Carol Howden), Chrissie Cotterill (as Annetta Brady)|
|Featuring:||(Other Inmates): Kate Ingram (as Eddie), Elizabeth Edmonds (as Kathleen), Amanda Symonds (as Mac), Kathy Burke (as Glennis), Debbie Bishop (as Doreen), Eva Mottley (as Pam), Imogen Bain (as Sandy), Honey Bane (as Molly), Camille Davis (as Sharon), Rachael Weaver (as Gwen), Dawn Archibald (as Mary), Faith Tingle (as Hilary), Lilian Rostkowska (as Phyllis), Anna Mackeown (as Eva)|
(Borstal Staff):- Dana Gillespie, Pauline Melville, Pam St Clement, Miriam Margolyes, Carol Gillies, Robbie Coltrane
|Writer: Moura Budberg / Director/Producer: Sidney Lumet|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 135 mins|
|Set in Russia in the late 1800s at the woodland retirement estate of former high-ranking ministerial official Sorin. Living with him on a permanent basis is his 25-year-old nephew Konstantin Treplev who has aspirations to be a writer. Konstantin's widowed mother Arkadina is a famous and talented actress and Konstantin has always felt bridled by the shadow of her greatness with no opportunity to live a normal life. Konstantin scorns conventional literary forms which continually regurgitate overused plot devices. He wants to invent radically different kinds of stage narratives to revitalise the art which he believes has become an irrelevant and worthless spectacle of decadent futility. Unfortunately no one else of any import agrees with him and Konstantin's work is considered incoherent and worthless. The thought of forever being a non-entity is unbearable to Konstantin and he persists with his unorthodox avant-garde stage narratives in the hope that someday their value will be appreciated.
Every summer Konstantin's mother Arkadina comes to stay and this time Konstantin is determined to impress her by putting on a performance of his latest piece. Local girl Nina, whom Konstantin is sweet upon, has agreed to perform the work for him. This year Arkadina has brought as her companion the famous novelist Trigorin, with whom she has a romantic attachment, they being of a similar middle-age. The popularity of Trigorin's books bewilders Konstantin who considers them trite and he consequently does not like them or the man that authors them. Nina however is awestruck to be in the company of such a famous man. The household gather outside for the performance of Konstantin's play which consists of Nina performing a monologue about an ethereal spirit eulogising upon an Earth of the far distant future when all life has ended. But as it progresses it is clear that the abstract notions presented are not engaging those present and their attentions wander. Konstantin is so angry he calls a halt to it and storms off to be by himself. All assembled agree however that Nina's performance was very good and she is welcomed in as one of the group.
Nina is buoyed by the compliments she receives and is especially heartened when Trigorin takes an interest and encourages her to follow her dreams of becoming an actress. In the days that follow Nina and Trigorin become close despite the vast difference in their ages. Trigorin's work is his whole life and he always carries a notebook around with him in case story ideas spring to mind when he is not at his desk. When Trigorin and Nina are out walking by the river they see a dead seagull shot for target practice as it was harmlessly going about its business, its life destroyed for no other reason than it came into the sights of a man with nothing better to do. They lament the wasted life and Trigorin muses that if he were to make the seagull into a young naïve woman who has her affections trifled with by a charismatic stranger causing her gentle life to be torn asunder as a result, it would make for an interesting apologue.
Konstantin has become very depressed. Every area of his life is a failure and now Nina is neglecting him to spend time with the writer he despises. He makes an attempt to shoot himself but fails to do anything other than wound himself although the attention he receives as he recovers relieves his suicidal thoughts.
Arkadina is concerned she is losing Trigorin to a younger woman, so she decides they should leave for Moscow before his obsession with Nina becomes too serious. This departure provides the impetus for Nina to finally take the plunge and follow through on her theatrical ambitions which have been emboldened by the inspiring approval of Trigorin. Also, by moving to Moscow to become an actress, she and Trigorin will be able to continue to see one another.
The narrative then jumps forward by two years, where we find that there have been certain developments. Konstantin has at last found work writing pieces for a magazine. His stories never have much of a plot but are full of vivid imagery intended to stimulate the reader's imagination.
Nina and Trigorin did have an affair in Moscow and there was a child which unfortunately soon died. The affair fizzled out when Trigorin lost interest in her and he returned to Arkadina. Nina's family did not want her back and she was left to fend for herself. Her acting ability turned out to be mediocre and she never made it big and has had to eke out a meagre living working in reparatory companies in the provinces. She writes to Konstantin sometimes and he gets the impression she is desperately unhappy with how her life has turned out. She signs her letters "The Seagull" which is a reference that Konstantin does not understand but seems to have some sort of ironic significance for her.
Arkadina has come for her first visit for two years and brought with her Trigorin again. Trigorin and Konstantin make an effort to be civil and Trigorin goes as far as to compliment Konstantin on his magazine stories, but it doesn't take Konstantin long to realise Trigorin has never actually read any of them. He so wants his mother's approval but despite her favourable responses he can tell she doesn't really grasp what he is trying to achieve and is being condescending. Konstantin's feelings of extreme inadequacy return and he grows restless and anxious in a way he has not felt for two whole years since mother and Trigorin were last here. He has a crisis of confidence that he might be unable to maintain his unique style of writing and will unwittingly fall into that pit of banal convention he so despises. He goes outside after dusk and finds Nina skulking about wanting to see Trigorin again while she is briefly in town but not daring to approach the house. Nina is in a personal torment having discovered the fame she so eagerly sought has not led to a life of wealth and happiness but to an ongoing test of endurance. How different would her life have been if she had never met Trigorin and become his "Sea Gull"? But it is what it is, and she is trying to make the best of being second-rate. After she leaves, Konstantin ponders her words but knows he can never be like that, never be content with not being properly appreciated and floundering in the backwaters of the literary world. He makes a decision and proceeds to destroy all his work in progress and then goes back out into the night with a pistol. And this time he does not fail in his objective of killing himself. THE END
|Comment: There are several lesser plot strands involving other characters that bobble around the edges of the main plot. These have been omitted here in order to focus more concisely on the main thrust of the plot.|
|Starring:||David Warner (as Konstantin Treplev, budding writer), James Mason (as Trigorin, novelist), Vanessa Redgrave (as Nina, aspiring actress), Simone Signoret (as Arkadina, famous actress, Konstantin's mother)|
|Featuring:||Harry Andrews (as Sorin, Konstantin's uncle), Denholm Elliott (as Dorn, Sorin's doctor), Ronald Radd (as Shamraev, estate bailiff), Eileen Herlie (as Polina, bailiff's wife), Kathleen Widdoes (as Masha, bailiff's daughter), Alfred Lynch (as Medvedenko, a schoolteacher)|
|Translated and adapted by Moura Budberg from the play by Anton Chekhov.|
|Writer: Reginald Rose / Director: Andrew V. McLaglen / Producer: Euan Lloyd|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 115 mins|
|Set in 1943 during the Second World War. Colonel Lewis Pugh is an India-based member of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) whose purpose is to take on unusual missions. Colonel Pugh has just returned from meeting an old ex-soldier friend called Bill Grice who regrets he and his former comrades that belonged to the Calcutta Light Horse Regiment are now too old to serve and do their bit against the enemy. Bill entreaties Pugh to think of them if anything unconventional turns up.
Colonel Pugh and his SOE colleague Captain Gavin Stewart are urgently called to their Indian HQ in Delhi where their commanding officer briefs them on a critical situation. A U-Boat is reeking havoc in the Indian Ocean amongst Allied shipping because it is being directed by intelligence transmitted from a German ship called Ehrenfels anchored in the neutral harbour of Portuguese Goa.
Pugh and Stewart head for Goa to assess the situation posing as businessmen. While they are there ladies man Stewart meets a beautiful young widow called Mrs Cromwell with whom he begins an affair. The agents discover that a political activist working for a shipping company is passing the confidential information on to a German spy. They kill both the activist and the spy and return to HQ. But seemingly they have missed something for the situation does not abate and information is still getting through to the U-Boat. They realise there must have been another German spy who remained undetected. (We are let into the fact that Mrs Cromwell is this person whom Stewart had no suspicions about although she in turn had no idea that Stewart was an undercover British agent).
Normally an overt military solution would be used to take out the German ship but because the Ehrenfels is in neutral waters no official action can be undertaken. Then Pugh remembers Bill Grice's offer and suggests that an unofficial deniable force of experienced old-timers could get the job done.
The Calcutta Light Horse veterans are all eager to volunteer and so a plan is devised whereby they will use an old riverboat to cross the ocean undercover of being eccentric old Englishmen on a drunken jolly. They will then stealthily board the Ehrenfels and blow it up. To make their job easier Stewart heads to Goa to hector the governor into arranging an impromptu festival of celebration on the night of the raid with all the crews of moored ships invited for some shore leave revelry. This will mean a minimal crew is left aboard and even the odds.
Stewart renews his relationship with Mrs Cromwell and they fall in love with each other but when she discovers he is not the innocent businessman he claimed she realises she has to kill him. Fortunately Stewart's instincts rise above his infatuation and he kills her instead when she tries to stab him.
The old-timers and Pugh make it to the Ehrenfels and get aboard. They efficiently lay mines and explosives and after a few skirmishes with the remaining crew and some problems restarting the riverboat's engine they get to a safe distance as the German ship sinks in a massive explosion.
|Comment: The film's end-caption informs us that the real-life Light Horse raid was a success and from that point on the number of ships lost in the Indian Ocean was drastically reduced.|
|Starring:||Gregory Peck (as Colonel Lewis Pugh, Special Operations Executive), Roger Moore (as Captain Gavin Stewart, SOE), David Niven (as Colonel W.H. Grice, Calcutta Light Horse), Trevor Howard (as Jack Cartwright, CLH), Barbara Kellerman (as Mrs Cromwell, German spy)|
|Featuring:||Patrick Macnee (as Major 'Yogi' Crossley, CLH explosives expert), Kenneth Griffith (as Charlie Wilton, CLH engineer), Patrick Allen (as Colin Mackenzie, SOE Commanding officer at HQ), Wolf Kahler (as Trompeta, German agent), Marc Zuber (as Ram Das Gupta, Indian activist)|
(Other CLH men) Allan Cuthbertson, Percy Herbert, Patrick Holt, Donald Houston, Glyn Houston, Graham Stark
|Based on the book Boarding Party by James Leasor|
|Writer/Director: Bryan Forbes / Producer: Richard Attenborough|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 111 mins|
|Myra Savage is a psychic medium with a limited paranormal ability who has become frustrated that she cannot attract sufficient clientele to make a decent living. She has therefore devised a recklessly audacious scheme to boost her profile and reputation. Her husband Billy is a meek, weak-willed man who will do anything to please her and she easily manages to manipulate him into agreeing to her idea, overriding any concerns he has about its inherent wisdom.
Myra's plan is to kidnap a young child and then (as nameless kidnappers) demand a ransom from the parents. Then she will approach the police and claim to be using her psychic ability to help them find the girl and recover the money.
Myra and Billy have no children of their own. Their one chance at a baby was still-born and it is through his spirit that Myra conducts her psychic communications. They prepare a spare bedroom in their house to resemble a private hospital room and then Billy kidnaps the young daughter of a rich family from outside her school using a well-worked out plan in which he hijacks her chauffeur driven car and quickly chloroforms her. Her name is Amanda Clayton (aged about 9ish) daughter of the wealthy industrialist Charles Clayton whom they have decided to target. When she awakes in their converted bedroom they tell Amanda they are a doctor and nurse and she is in hospital with a disease hence their need to wear facemasks (which are really to hide their faces so she won't be able to identify them later).
Billy is racked by unease at what they are doing but he sees how much it means to Myra to have her abilities recognised so he continues to go along with her wishes. They send a ransom note to the Claytons with detailed instructions on how to drop off the money. By now the kidnapping story has made national headlines and the police are involved. The money is paid by the desperately worried parents as the police keep watch - but due to some excellent planning Billy manages to collect the money from the drop-off point without being caught.
Myra contacts the police claiming that she might be able to help but she is dismissed as a crank. Back home Amanda begins to run a high fever for real and Billy thinks they should abandon this folly and take her to a hospital but Myra insists they must continue with their original plan which she is convinced will work out in the end. But then Amanda sees them without their masks and will be able to identify them after she is released. Myra is becoming irrational as her plan unravels. She tries to claim to Billy that her powers have told her that the girl would be better off dying. Billy has had enough and accuses her of simply voicing her own self-deluded thoughts in the name of psychic messages from their dead baby. She denies it but is emotionally falling apart with the strain. Myra says they have no choice now but to kill the girl with a fatal overdose of sleeping draft and then dump her body. And then they can continue with the plan in a modified form and use her "powers" to inform the police where they can find the girl's body. Billy seems to go along with it to pacify her and we see him take Amanda's body wrapped in a blanket to a remote woodland area and leave it.
The police come round to see Myra and request a séance because they have drawn a blank on finding the missing girl using orthodox methods. Myra goes into a trance but is by now so unhinged that she betrays herself with the things she reveals. She and Billy are arrested.
|Comment: The ending isn't entirely clear - we are led to think the couple have killed the girl and dumped her body but a quick line of dialogue by the police right near the end seems to suggest that they knew the girl wasn't dead and they had come round to engage in the séance so that Myra might incriminate herself. Or perhaps Billy informed the police himself as he seemed unsurprised by the turn of events. It would seem on appearances that Myra's basic ability was a genuine one since she is seen holding other séances with no obvious suggestion that they are opportunistically fraudulent.|
|Starring:||Kim Stanley (as Myra Savage, medium), Richard Attenborough (as Billy Savage, Myra's husband), Judith Donner (as Amanda Clayton, kidnapped child)|
|Featuring:||Mark Eden and Nanette Newman (as Charles and Mrs Clayton, Amanda's parents), Gerald Sim (as Detective Sergeant Beedle), Patrick Magee (as Superintendent Walsh)|
|Based on the novel by Mark McShane|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: Gerald Vaughan-Hughes / Director: David Greene / Producers: Herbert Brodkin, Michael Powell|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 100 mins|
|Set in the present day (1968). Sebastian is a mathematical genius who has a gift for code-breaking. He heads a special government department dedicated to deciphering coded messages for both law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Sebastian's staff consists of a hundred or so young women with brilliant minds fresh out of university. Sebastian selects candidates at blind interviews in which he subjects the applicants to rigorous tests of mental dexterity leaving many of the failed candidates in tears. It is only after being offered and accepting the job that the successful ones find out what the work is. Every day their job is to sit at their desks crunching new codes that need decrypting using intellectual brute force and intuition to unlock them, with Sebastian on-hand to steer them in the right direction. Sebastian is considered a very valuable security asset by the Head of Intelligence although the Head of Security, General Phillips, despairs at Sebastian's unwillingness to engage in proper security protocols.
One new employee called Rebecca Howard, just out of Oxford University with a mathematics degree, got her job when she had an argument with Sebastian in the street and had so impressed him with her quick mind that he gave her his card and told her to call him if she ever wanted employment. She followed up on that offer and after a perfunctory interview was given the job.
Sebastian gives the appearance of being somewhat detached because his busy mind is always on the job trying to outthink the code-makers. Normal relationships are difficult for him to manage although he does have a girlfriend called Carol Fancy who is a minor celebrity in the pop industry. But Carol's career is on the way down and she is forever depressed which Sebastian isn't best equipped to help her with.
Rebecca Howard finds Sebastian rather fascinating and she enjoys a challenge when it comes to men so she makes it her business to strike up a rapport with him until eventually he starts to fall for her. Becky takes Sebastian out to experience the sort of fun she enjoys in an effort to get him to loosen up and they begin an affair and end up sleeping together. Becky feels satisfied to have her man but she knows she is sharing him with his job and she gets frustrated whenever he goes off into a world of his own thinking about the latest problem. Sebastian ends his relationship with Carol which sends her into another slump of misery.
General Phillips raises security concerns about one of Sebastian's longest serving code-breakers, Elsa Shahn, because she has communist sympathies and might pass on information she decodes. Sebastian refuses to sack her because he considers her a friend and cannot believe she would do anything wrong. But then she is exposed revealing secrets to a radical group. She is sacked and Sebastian decides to resign and make a complete break from his old life including not seeing Becky again.
Sebastian returns to Oxford to take up a teaching post. After a year he has become settled into a more simple and relaxing lifestyle and misses nothing of his old life except Becky. Then the Head of Intelligence pays him a visit to seek his help. The Head asks him to return to the department to lend his unique talents to help tackle a code-breaking effort of vital importance to the security of the western world.
Sebastian agrees to temporarily return to his old position as head of the department until the new code is cracked. The job is to decode a series of signals detected in the transmissions of a Russian satellite which has super-fast clicks embedded within normal Morse code. When slowed down 10,000 times these clicks turn into a series of tones organised into an unknown code. Sebastian and his staff get to work trying to understand the dynamics of the code and work out how to break its algorithm. Sebastian looks around the room and sees many familiar faces but no Becky and he is told she left the department about six months ago.
Elsewhere Carol has a new boyfriend called Toby who turns out to be a ruthless enemy agent whose paymasters are fearful of Sebastian's abilities and do not want their codes broken. Toby forces Carol to make contact with her old boyfriend Sebastian and invite him back to her flat on a pretext. She spikes his drink which sends his brain on a psychedelic trip. Toby then takes Sebastian onto the roof and urges him to jump to show how well he can fly trying to get him to commit suicide. Fortunately Sebastian is saved by General Phillips who was keeping an eye on him in case something like this happened.
As he recovers Sebastian finds out where Becky is now living and goes round to see her. Becky has a baby boy and Sebastian is amazed to discover he has a son. He tells Becky that in the last year he has had plenty of time to think and he knows that he loves her and wants to be with her always. But Becky is unsure about letting him back into her life knowing how intensely absorbed he becomes in the task at hand which could go on for months. Sebastian's brain goes into overdrive to find a solution to his dilemma which is clearly to decipher the code quickly and return to his civilian life. Thusly inspiration strikes while he is looking at the baby's toy abacus and suddenly and instinctively his brain figures out the way the Russian code system has been implemented. Now with just a few hours of number crunching the code will open up and his job will be over and he can devote his full attention to Becky and the baby.
|Comment: Sebastian is the only name used for Dirk Bogarde's character and is said to be his surname. It is not really stated why Sebastian only employs women and no men.|
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Sebastian), Susannah York (as Rebecca Howard), Lilli Palmer (as Elsa Shahn), John Gielgud (as Head of Intelligence), Janet Munro (as Carol Fancy, Sebastian's girlfriend), Nigel Davenport (General John Phillips, director of security)|
|Featuring:||Margaret Johnston (as Miss Elliott, Sebastian's personal assistant), Ronald Fraser (as Toby, enemy agent), John Ronane (as Jameson, security officer), Hayward Morse (as Gavin, Becky's boyfriend), Donald Sutherland (as Ackerman, American agent at listening HQ)|
|Starlets:||Portland Mason (as Interview Girl, in opening credits sequence only)|
Ann Beach, Susan Whitman, Ann Sidney, Veronica Clifford, Louise Perinell, Lyn Pinkey, Jeanne Roland, Jeanne Lautrec and Sally Douglas (as Rookie Girls, codebreakers)
Ann Norman, Robyn Tolhurst and Edwina Carroll (as Party Girls)
|Based on an original screenplay by Leo Marks|
|Writer: George Tabori / Director: Joseph Losey / Producers: John Heyman, Norman Priggen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 104 mins|
|Leonora is a middle-aged American woman living a sequestered life in London. She is still in mourning for the 10-year-old daughter she lost eight years ago in a bathtime drowning accident that happened during a moment's inattention. Whilst visiting her child's grave she is approached by an unusual teenage girl who seems excited to see her. Leonora allows herself to be led back to the girl's house which turns out to be a large mansion where she lives all by herself. It soon becomes clear to Leonora that the girl thinks she is her mother and family photos do show a remarkable resemblance. Leonora feels sympathy for the girl whose name is Cenci and finds herself slipping into the part that Cenci has cast her. Leonora moves in and enjoys the luxuries that Cenci is freely offering and moreover expects her to indulge in. Leonora falls into the role with such ease that she catches herself almost believing this is her real life that she'd somehow forgotten about. A bond seems to develop as if they truly were mother and daughter although both seem to know they are pretending.
Leonora learns that after Cenci's father died her mother Margaret had remarried to a man called Albert whom she gathers sexually abused Leonora at a young age. She meets Cenci's two aunts Hannah and Hilda who were sisters of Cenci's real father. Leonora passes herself off as a cousin of Cenci's mother and learns that Cenci is an heiress to the Englehard fortune. Margaret had become very ill in her last few months and when she died Cenci had become unhinged and refused to accept it. She withdrew into a childlike fantasy in which she believed her mother was still alive and that she must find her and bring her back home. Leonora is shocked to discover that Cenci is actually 22-years-old even though she looks and behaves so much younger.
Then stepfather Albert returns from the States and this sends Cenci wild with emotions and turbulent feelings she doesn't understand. Cenci seems to get on famously with him but later she pretends that Albert raped her. Leonora believes her story and is so appalled that she won't let Albert see her again. Leonora and Cenci go on holiday together where Cenci pretends she has become pregnant following her "rape" even though Leonora knows the bump is just a doll. Cenci appears to be losing her grip on reality.
Albert approaches Leonora knowing she is a phoney and tells her that he will be exercising his rights as Cenci's legal guardian and taking responsibility for her wellbeing. He tells Leonora that the claims are untrue and he never once behaved inappropriately towards Cenci, either now or when she was a child. Instead it was Cenci who was always trying to lead him on and seduce him with her blossoming charms which was why he left the first time. The latest rape allegation was just her immature way at getting back at him for never yielding to her. Albert is determined to help his stepdaughter get over the obsession about her late mother otherwise she will never get better.
Leonora exposes Cenci's pregnancy charade and Cenci accuses her of killing her baby. She seems to snap out of her delusions and coldly takes exception to Leonora pretending to be her mother. Leonora has no answer because that is exactly what she had been doing albeit with the best of intentions. Leonora knows she is no longer welcome and leaves.
Cenci returns home alone, still in a highly emotive state and makes preparations to kill herself with an overdose of tablets. Later Leonora comes round to see her to make sure she is coping but Cenci behaves in a haughty superior manner putting Leonora firmly in her place as a lower-class menial. Leonora reluctantly departs knowing she can do nothing to help and shortly afterwards Cenci dies having already taken the pills which she was just waiting to take effect.
Leonora grieves for Cenci and visits her open coffin and feels immense sadness for the loss of a young innocent who just wanted a mother to love her. Leonora is full of anger towards Albert for turning Cenci into the crazy mixed up girl she became with no one to care for her through her grief. When Albert arrives to pay his respects Leonora stabs him dead.
|Starring:||Elizabeth Taylor (as Leonora), Mia Farrow (as Cenci), Robert Mitchum (as Albert, Cenci's stepfather)|
|Featuring:||Peggy Ashcroft and Pamela Brown (as Hannah and Hilda, Cenci's aunts)|
|Based on an original short story by Marco Denevi, winner of the Life En Espagnol short story competition 1960|
|Writer: John Gilling / Director: Quentin Lawrence / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 78 mins|
|Set in a Japanese-run prisoner of war camp in Malaya during September 1944 where a motley group of British prisoners endure a harsh daily routine of manual labour. The Blood Island camp is not hard to escape from but the brutal Japanese commandant Major Jocomo has made it clear that any escapes will result in random executions amongst those prisoners that remain - therefore the British commanding officer Major Dyden has forbidden escape attempts.
When a small-plane flies overhead the Japanese anti-aircraft guns shoot it down and the pilot bails out and lands in the jungle. The pilot is a British woman called Elaine who is on an urgent mission bound for the Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur. Some local Malayan natives see her and describe her to the Japanese soldiers who begin a search. Elaine is discovered by British POW Sgt John Crewe while on a work detail who decides that the only way to ensure her safety during the search is to take her back to the camp and hide her. Fortunately she is already dressed in male attire and has fairly short hair so she is merged unnoticed into the returning work detail and hidden in the bunkhouse while the commanding officer decides what to do with her.
Elaine's urgent mission is to use her local knowledge to lead allied troops through the jungle to key strategic targets and without her expertise the troops will be very vulnerable to enemy attack. Major Dryden knows that getting Elaine out of the camp is not a problem because the Japanese do not know she is here therefore she would not be regarded as an escapee - however one of his men must escort and guide her to Kuala Lumpur 200 miles away and then return before he is missed.
The Japanese intensify their jungle search for the woman pilot whom they regard to be a spy and the Kempi (secret police) become involved. After days of fruitless searching the camp commandant works out that the POW's must be hiding her somewhere and tortures some of the prisoners to death to try and get a confession.
The POW's decide to instigate their risky plan to get Elaine out but unfortunately it goes wrong and they have to abort and then Elaine's hiding place is discovered and she is captured. Next morning she is to be driven to Singapore for questioning by the Kempi and Sgt Crewe and some of the men decide they must act. They have some stolen hand grenades and as the prisoner convoy travels long the road past their work detail area they ambush it and manage to free Elaine. Sgt Crewe and his men are killed in the response but Elaine manages to get to a truck and drive away. THE END
|Comment: Because the film ends with her driving away the presumption is made that she will successfully reach her destination - however she has got 200 miles to go and so it really ends a bit too soon to properly celebrate a victory.|
|Starring:||Jack Hedley (as Sgt John Crewe), Barbara Shelley (as Elaine), Charles Tingwell (as Major Dryden, British CO), Patrick Wymark (as Major Jocomo, Japanese camp commandant)|
|Featuring:||(POW's): Bill Owen, Peter Welch, Lee Montague, Edwin Richfield, Glyn Houston, Philip Latham, Ian Whittaker, John Southworth, Peter Graze, Henry Davies|
Michael Ripper (as Lt Tojoko, senior Japanese camp guard)
|The version reviewed carried the alternative title of "P.O.W."|
|This film is a sequel/follow-up to The Camp on Blood Island (1958) although each film features a different set of characters and actors except for Barbara Shelley who appears in both films but as a different character.|
|Writer/Director: Andrew L. Stone / Producers: Andrew and Virginia Stone|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 98 mins|
|Arthur Tate is an inherently affable man whose extremely trusting nature is engendered from an observance of his three-line family maxim to "Believe in people; have faith in mankind; and never search for evil". He is particularly trusting of beautiful young women and this story presents three incidents from his life which illustrate this injudicious flaw.
Prologue: When the philanthropic Earl of Aldershot dies, he unexpectedly bequeaths the charitable administration of his vast fortune to Arthur Tate and the film then relates earlier incidents in Arthur's life to explain the secret of his success...
Story 1: Arthur is a local village policeman who receives a visit from a beautiful but distressed young dressmaker called Violet Lawson reporting the disappearance of her husband Joe. Arthur instinctively believes her tale and provides an understanding shoulder for her to cry on. However Arthur's superior, Inspector Hobart, is suspicious of foul play and orders a search of her house for a body. Hobart even has Violet's concrete basement dug up to check for a corpse but finds nothing and has to concede he was wrong. Arthur promises the sobbing Violet he will return with some workmen later to fill in the six-foot hole. Once she is alone Violet drops her "helpless" act and retrieves Joe's body which she has disguised as one of her standing dressmaker dummies and drags it into the empty hole and digs over enough earth to hide it. Then Arthur and the men return to fill the hole properly and re-concrete the flooring. Violet has successfully hidden her husband's body in the one place the police are not going to look again. She is now free to be with her friend Lord Hetherby with whom she is having an affair.
Story 2: Arthur is unexpectedly promoted to Chief Constable in a different county and is now investigating the strange death of a workman on the estate grounds of scientist Baron Von Lukenberg and his beautiful wife Lily. The Baron is an entomologist who specialises in spiders. The workman's body had hairs on it that came from a species of spider although the hairs are so large that the spider would have to have been the size of a large dog if scaled up to a proportionate size. The Baron vehemently denies conducting any genetic breeding experiments. He claims he must have been set up by the Earl of Aldershot for exposing an attempted coup of a South American country. Arthur is drawn to sympathise with the charming but fragilely vulnerable Baroness who privately confides her fears to Arthur that her husband is mad. She takes Arthur down into the cloisters where she claims her husband works in secret. There they find a nest of giant spiders from which they barely manage to escape. The Baron is arrested while claiming in a demented-sounding fashion that he has been betrayed by his evil wife upon whom he pins all the blame - although Arthur clearly cannot believe any of that because she is so lovely. But once alone we see that Lily is indeed guilty and the giant spiders are her secret friends.
Story 3: Arthur has been unexpectedly given the overseas post of Liaison Officer to the unpopular president of the South American country of Moduria. In his official capacity he is approached by Marigold Marado, an attractive young woman representing a film studio who wish to make a movie about a fictional rebellion. In order to make the movie as realistic as possible she seeks information about what security measures real rebels would have to overcome and Arthur is only too pleased to help. Marigold even persuades the real army to participate by filming a battle scene hundreds of miles away and asks the real president if he will play himself in the movie's abduction scene. Arthur is persuaded to play the part of the rebel leader and given some inflammatory lines to deliver on the steps of the presidential palace. But as the scenes are filmed it turns out to be a real criminal plot and the president is abducted and disposed of. Arthur has been set up as a stooge and the lines that he has been given to deliver are designed to get him shot by an angry people. While things are in turmoil and the army safely out of the way the movie gang intend to get away with Moduria's national treasures. Arthur is not scared by the bullets that come his way from the crowd because he thinks they are special effects and his show of bravery quells the furious mob. Arthur forgets his scripted lines and starts making some up and announces new benevolent policies that the people like the sound of and he is cheered and becomes the new popular leader of the country.
Epilogue. Arthur has been entrusted with the Earl of Aldershot's legacy and is keen to get to work with the philanthropic endeavours but as a precaution he makes sure that should anything befall him his mother will inherit it all so that someone he trusts will be able to continue his good work. And outside his mother has set some explosive charges in his mansion and blows it up killing her son so she will get it all!
|Comments: This is essentially an anthology film with three separate stories that use the same main character in different situations. After each tale Arthur relates matters to his sweet-seeming but crafty old mother who divines the truth of the matter and blackmails those involved to boost her son up the career ladder without him being aware of the reason for his good fortunes - seemingly all the while with the eventual long-term intention of providing herself with all the benefits.|
|Starring:||James Booth (as Arthur Tate), Lionel Jeffries (as Inspector Hobart/Baron von Lukenberg/President Esteda, [he plays a different main character in each story]), Stella Stevens (as Violet Lawson, story 1), Honor Blackman (as Baroness Lily von Lukenberg, story 2), Shirley Jones (as Marigold Marado, story 3)|
|Featuring:||Amy Dalby (as Mrs Tate, Arthur's mother), Richard Vernon (as Lord Hetherby, story 1)|
|Writers: Augusto Caminito, Nestore Ungaro, Jeremy Burnham / Director/Producer: Nestore Ungaro|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Following a long-standing invitation Barbara Carey has arrived in Rome to visit her blind sister Mary Ann who is a musician and is due to play in a concert. But Barbara soon finds that her sister has been missing for several weeks although everyone thinks she has just irresponsibly run off rather than anything untoward. Barbara thinks differently and gets the police involved.
A link is soon made to a number of blind girls that have gone missing over the last few months near Tuscany. Barbara seeks the help of dashing Martin Foster of the local British consul and together they check out Mary Ann's last contacts. Her former boyfriend Enzo Lombardi says she went off with a rich man called David Malcolm and he hasn't heard from her for ages. David Malcolm owns and lives on an island called Seagull Island in relative seclusion following the death of his wife Arlene and son Frederick many years beforehand.
Barbara pretends to be blind and engineers a meeting with David when he next visits the mainland and he invites her to visit his island. On the island Barbara finds out that Arlene had been much younger than David and had been having an affair with David's son Frederick when they were both killed in a diving accident. However it soon emerges that Frederick didn't die but was horribly scarred and sent mad and lives by himself in a cottage on the island. His features are apparently so unbearable that David has been bringing blind girls to him for company in the hope that he will become rehabilitated.
Barbara follows Frederick when he goes diving and finds a secret underwater passage to a cavern inside of which her sister Mary Ann is being held prisoner. It soon emerges that the man she thought was Frederick is really David who is mad with a split personality in which he sometimes thinks he is his own dead son. It was David who killed his own wife and son after discovering their infidelity and betrayal and the jealousy and guilt of this sent him mad. As Barbara attempts to get away with Mary Ann, David tries to stop them with fire - but this causes fuel canisters to blow up and he dies as the cavern is destroyed. Barbara and her sister just manage to escape.
|Starring:||Prunella Ransome (as Barbara Carey), Jeremy Brett (as David Malcolm), Nicky Henson (as Martin Foster, British Consul), Pamela Salem (as Carol, David's cousin), Gabriele Tinti (as Enzo Lombardi, boat owner)|
|Featuring:||Fabrizio Jovine (as Inspector Casati, policeman), Sherry Buchanan (as Mary Ann Saunders, Barbara's sister)|
|Starlets:||Stefania Maccarone (as Girl on Lomabardi's Boat)|
|Writers: Gérard Brach, Jackie Glass / Director: Robert Freeman / Producer: Jacques Strauss|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Set in France in the present day (1969). François is an 11-year-old boy who lives in a large mansion estate with his aunt Florence and uncle Philippe. He spends the days playing by himself in the countryside and appears very withdrawn and insular. François is uncommunicative and his aunt and uncle find it hard to deal with him as he does not seem willing to engage with them and accept that he is living with them now.
Although we don't find out until a bit later it will emerge that François' parents recently died in a car accident and he had been trapped underneath his mother's dead body for hours until help reached them. Florence is at her wits end coping with François' sullen moods and wonders if it might not be a good idea to send him off to a boarding school because the tutor they have hired seems to be getting nowhere almost as if François lives in a world of his own. François has picked up on the fact that his aunt is resentful of the responsibility of guardianship placed upon her by the tragic family events and he knows he will never receive motherly love from her in the way he needs.
Florence and Philippe's grown-up son Olivier is currently staying with them for a few days on a flying visit during which time the family are expecting the imminent arrival of an English girl called Wendy Sinclair who is the daughter of one of Philippe's English friends. Philippe had been a French Spitfire pilot serving in the RAF during the war and Wendy is the now grown-up daughter of one of his former comrades. Philippe arranged her holiday visit when he was on one of his regular business trips to London.
Wendy is a sophisticated young woman in her early twenties who lights up the place with her easygoing charm. Olivier is quite struck by her and decides to stay around a while longer now there is a beautiful young woman on the scene. The young boy François finds Wendy fascinating like a fairy tale princess but he is too nervous to speak to her. Instead he takes to sneaking into her room and stealing knick-knacks as souvenirs. When she catches him trying to cut away a piece of her hair as she sleeps, she gently rebukes him but says she isn't angry. She learns why François is so desperately unhappy and feels very sorry for him and makes a concerted effort to become friends with him. François feels jealous when she spends time alone with Olivier driving in his sports car knowing he cannot compete with what Olivier has to offer her. Olivier tries his best to sweet-talk Wendy but she is unyielding and wants no more than to spend a diverting day out with him as a friendly companion.
We (the viewer) eventually discover that Wendy is not the daughter of Philippe's friend at all - but is actually Philippe's mistress. Philippe met her while in London and devised an audacious connivance to have her enter his household and be near to hand right under his wife's nose. But Philippe had not figured on his son Olivier being there and they could do nothing when he naturally gravitated in her direction being of a similar age to her. It has created an absurd situation and Philippe suggests she could leave in a few days and go to Paris and he will arrange to meet her there.
Meanwhile François is starting to open up to Wendy who is so warm and friendly and whom he is starting to adore - but it is not a crush or puppy love of a boy discovering girls, he is starting to think of her as someone whom he would love to have as a mother. He takes her to his special places on the estate including his tree house where he gives her a gift he made for her which she is delighted by.
When Wendy begins chatting about her home in England and suggesting he could come for a visit. François feels sure she must be sounding him out to see if he is interested in coming to live with her. François is convinced Wendy wants to adopt him and he is so pleased that someone nice is going to take him away from this place where, although he may not be mistreated, he does not feel wanted or loved.
When Wendy announces she is leaving the next day, François is overjoyed and packs his belongings and cannot sleep waiting for the next morning when he can be away with someone who wants him. He rushes into Wendy's room early next morning as she is preparing to leave and announces he is ready. She knows nothing of his wishfulness and thinks he is simply making a special effort to see her off. His heart sinks as he realises she isn't planning to adopt him at all and had no idea he even thought that. She had meant exactly what she said and was suggesting he could come for a visit in the holidays some time. He runs out crestfallen and deflated and doesn't even give her a proper goodbye.
François goes to his tree house alone once more with his dreams shattered. He takes a bottle of her perfume that he pinched from her room, but which she allowed him to keep, and pours the contents over his head so that his senses can be inundated with only her distinctive scent as he closes his eyes.
|Starring:||Jean-François Maurin (as François, 11-year-old boy), Jacqueline Bisset (as Wendy Sinclair, visiting from England), Pierre Zimmer (as Philippe, François' uncle), Gisèle Pascal (as Florence, François' aunt), Marc Porel (as Olivier, Philippe and Florence's grown-up son)|
|Featuring:||Paul Bonifas (as Gustave, servant), Guy D'Avout (as Malerar, François' tutor), Jacques Riberolles (as Norbert, Philippe's friend), Judith Magre, Chantal Goya and Yves Lefebvre (as Norbert's family)|
|This French film is reviewed here because of the starring role for Jacqueline Bisset. The version reviewed was made in English with Jacqueline Bisset speaking with her normal voice and all the other characters speaking English with a French accent. There may also be a French version of the movie whose French title is L' Échelle blanche (The White Ladder).|
|Writer: Rosemary Davies / Director: Philip Saville / Producer: John Hanson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Jennifer and Allan Wood are a married couple whose relationship has become strained. They have a lovely 8-year-old (ish) daughter called Judy whom they both adore, but Jenny is the one stuck at home all day with nothing to stimulate her mind. She feels trapped but knows Allan wouldn't understand and would think she was the lucky one to have so much time for herself. They have not had sex in ages and the marriage is held together mostly by inertia. They carry on as if all is normal for Judy's sake but both of them know something is wrong. Allan is a struggling actor who has decided upon a career change and today he is to have an interview to become a computer programmer. Jenny is taking Judy on an "exciting" trip to the laundrette. The film follows the separate day of each of the three family members.
Jenny takes Judy to the laundrette with a feeling of morose desperation weighing her down. She is an intelligent woman and she feels fenced into a monotonous domesticity from which there seems no escape. She is not mistreated or unloved and she loves her husband and daughter but somehow that is not enough. She knows she should probably be grateful for what she has but still she feels unfulfilled. Jenny is overcome with a powerful need to be by herself and she tells Judy to watch the laundry and take it home when it's done. Jenny leaves and goes for a walk in the park to be alone with her thoughts and be away from her normal life for a time.
In the park she is unexpectedly approached by a stranger with a foreign accent who seems keen to talk to her. Jenny is a beautiful woman and is not unused to men trying to chat her up, but somehow this man seems different with a captivating sincerity to his words. His name is Raoul Kramer and he is a rich Swedish textiles businessman who lives in London. He is courteous and affable and only wants to talk to her. He insists he does not make a habit of approaching young women in parks, but with her he had to for she reminds him so much of someone very dear to him. Jenny is intrigued by the enigmatic stranger and agrees to go back to his apartment to talk further.
Raoul tells Jenny about his wife who for nine years he took for granted not realising she was miserable whilst he was busy building up his business not giving her enough attention. It was only when she left him did he realise how much he loved her and couldn’t be without her. He pleaded for her to return and promised he would change but it did no good. But then after six months she decided to give him a second chance and he couldn’t have been happier or more joyful His life was perfect once more only to have it all taken away again when shortly afterward she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died.
Jenny is deeply affected by Raoul's tragic story and upon seeing photographs of his wife she agrees they are remarkably alike in appearance. Whilst Raoul is taking some business calls Jenny decides to give him a present. She carries a photograph of his wife to the bedroom where her belongings remain untouched and transforms herself into a perfect image of Raoul's wife. She wears one of her dresses and does her hair and make up in the same style as seen in the photograph. When Raoul sees her he is transfixed by the vision of Jenny as his wife. He needs her and she is willing to let him so they make love on the bed with a magnificent passion that satiates their mutual needs and leaves them both satisfied and contented. Jenny is grateful for the opportunity to express herself physically and get it out of her system and he is happy to have been able to relive his love for his wife. As a parting gift Raoul gives Jenny his own silk dressing gown to remember him by.
Allan attends the job interview at the computer company. He has swotted up on the computer business and hopes to be able to convince the interviewer that he is the right man for the job. He feels he has made a good impression at the first stage interview but then he is told he must sit a written aptitude exam to test his logic and reasoning abilities. This exam invigilator is a young woman called Beatrice who, although beautiful, has a frosty glare and is unmoved by Allan's attempts at charming her. Beatrice's whole ethos is built around logic and efficiency with no time or capacity for frivolity. As Allan struggles to answer the questions his mind wanders over his relationship with his wife Jenny and how, if she ever left him, his life would not be worth living. Balancing the demands on his time between his acting work and homelife is very difficult for him which is why he is opting for a career change with more sociable hours. When the allotted time is up he hands in his paper knowing he didn’t do very well. Beatrice suggests they have a drink together because she wants to further assess his character by means of a contrived social confluence. Beatrice likes order and efficiency and has no time for oddballs whom she cannot fathom. Allan can see she lacks emotional awareness but thinks he detects a part of her trying reach out and crack through her rigid shell. She becomes easily flustered when he touches on personal subjects and as the conversation progresses she becomes bolder and almost flirtatious as Allan unravels her tightly bound character with insightful truths. The emotionalism overwhelms her and she faints in his arms. Allan takes her back to her apartment where he proceeds to stimulate her with an intimate body massage. Afterwards she feels more relaxed than she has ever been and her reserve has evaporated. She tells him it is highly probable she will recommend him for the job and gives him a silver trinket box of hers as a thank you for what he has done for her.
After her mother leaves the laundrette leaving young Judy alone with the washing, a young man called Raymond comes in with his laundry. He has never used a laundrette before so Judy shows him what to do. Raymond is friendly and offers to show Judy the nearby garden that he maintains and says she can lend a hand if she wants. Judy is confident and independent and she wants to go so Raymond rides them both back on his motorcycle. Raymond sets Judy to work doing a few small gardening jobs as they chat and banter. Judy feels very relaxed in Raymond's company and lets him carry her and change her walking shoes for Wellingtons. He fixes them both some soft drinks and later she gets playful and tries to hide from him, although he urges her to behave herself. Judy begins behaving towards Raymond in a provocative manner indicating that he should be more physical with her as they play. Raymond misunderstands and gives her a hug and kisses her in an inappropriate manner as if she were a girl much older. Judy pulls away in alarm telling him he shouldn't do stuff like that and threatens to tell her father about it. Raymond realises he has made a big mistake and has gone too far. In an attempt to rebuild her trust he gives her a gift of a large potted azalea, which he says would cost £5 in the shops. He tells her he is not really allowed to do this so she must keep her visit here a big secret or else he'll get into trouble for giving things away. Judy is pleased with her plant and forgets about the other stuff.
That evening the family are together again. Judy has given the plant to her father. Allan gives the silver box to Jenny and she gives the silk gown to Allan. None of them will say what brought about this bout of mutual gift-giving or go into too many details of their day's experiences. But for Jenny and Allan it seems that their relationship might be on the mend.
|Starring:||Jacqueline Bisset (as Jennifer Wood), Robert Powell (as Allan Wood, her husband), Tarka Kings (as Judy Wood, their daughter)|
Per Oscarsson (as Raoul Kramer, Swedish businessman), Shirley Knight-Hopkins (as Beatrice, aptitude assessor), Martin C. Thurley (as Raymond, gardener)
|Featuring:||Peter Jeffries (as First Interviewer)|
|Tarka Kings receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writers: Joseph McGrath, Roy Nicholas / Director: Wolf Rilla / Producer: David Grant|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 79 mins|
|David Clyde is a lobster fisherman who works with his brother and father. He feels trapped into his way of life and so when his father dies in a tragic boating accident he and his sibling split the estate so the brother gets the boat and David gets the money. Free at last to do what he wants David drives down to London in his classic car to look for work. On the way he picks up a hitchhiker - a young German girl called Martina - and gives her a lift into the city.
On arrival at his destination in Hampstead David finds his intended lodging house full and so tries next door where a Mrs Donovan lives with her young schoolgirl niece and five young lady lodgers. Mrs Donovan says she doesn't normally take in male lodgers but makes an exception when David proves himself handy with repairs. His next task is to find himself a job although he has no idea what he wants to do so the girls make suggestions. Penny is an adult film actress and recommends David to her producer for a role in her current production - David duly attends filming and finds himself having to spend the whole day filming a sex scene which totally wears him out and he decides it is not for him.
Next David tries a job which occupies him for the remainder of the film when Nancy and Rachel who work at a firm called Tidee Up suggest he try his hand there at being a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. He proves spectacularly unsuccessful at this and after weeks on the job has not made a single sale. The man-of-the-month salesman gives him a tip that he should offer the housewives a bit of the "other" to help the sale along but when he tries this a husband complains and David's boss forbids him to try sleeping with his prospects again. David's next prospect is a young woman who is a newspaper reporter who says she is going to write a scathing article on his firm unless he sleeps with her. But with his boss's instructions firmly in mind he refuses and so she carries out her threat and the damaging article is published the next day. The boss blames David and he is sacked.
David decides to give up and return to his life as a fisherman. He takes with him the German girl whom he had met again while doing the rounds as a salesman as they seemed to hit it off together.
|Starring:||Brendan Price (as David Clyde)|
|Featuring:||Graham Stark (as David's boss), Chic Murray, Jacqueline Logan (as Mrs Donovan), Johnny Briggs (as successful salesman)|
|Starlets:||Jean Harrington (Martina, German girl), Karen Boyes (fishing village girlfriend), Felicity Devonshire (lodger, schoolgirl niece), Sue Longhurst (lodger, actress), Victoria Burgoyne (lodger), Elizabeth Romilly (lodger), Jan Servais (lodger), Jacqueline Afrique (lodger), Noelle Finch (Sales Prospect, reporter), Geraldine Hart (sales prospect), Valerie Bell (sales prospect), Tara Lynn (sales prospect), Caroline Dudley (sales prospect), Malou Cartwright, Pauline Bates, Judi Stevenson, Jennifer Westbrook, Monika Ringwald, Rosemary Chalmers|
|Co-writer Roy Nicholas is actually Denis Norden working under a pseudonym.|
|The intended director was Jonathan Demme. He left the production early on due to artistic differences. The film's first scene (set in the fishing village) was directed by him.|
|Four actresses receive "introducing" credits:- Sue Longhurst, Felicity Devonshire, Victoria Burgoyne and Jan Servais.|
|aka: It's Getting Harder All the Time|
|Writer: Morton Lewis, Gerry Levi, Alan Selwyn / Director/Producer: Morton Lewis|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Custer Firkenshaw is a sex-mad publisher of a men's magazine called "Bare Monthly". His three sexy secretaries are mostly there to make the coffee and have sex with him several times each day - and if it's not one of them it's a series of models he is auditioning. In the course of his work he and his business partner Peter are invited to a lecture at the Haldenberger Sex Clinic where Dr Haldenberger puts forward some astounding theories about male sexual potency. He says that if a man overdoes it then he will simply "run-out" and no longer be able to perform whatever his age. He has devised an experimental procedure than can accurately calculate the number of sexual activity sessions a man has left in him. Custer dismisses this as so much nonsense and they leave.
Meanwhile Custer's rich great uncle has died and he goes to the reading of the will attended also by his Cousin Henry, Aunt Sophie and Uncle Clifton. Great Uncle Charles has left all his wealth to Custer but with a condition that he must marry and have a child within the space of a year from this day - if he fails all the money goes to Cousin Henry instead. Henry, who already has two children, has a failed marriage and is divorced from his wife Sybil. Aunt Sophie is a scheming sort and obviously wants her son Henry to inherit the lot so she hires a private detective called Bernie Selby to follow Custer and see how he is getting on with his challenge.
Although Custer is incredibly voracious in the sex department he has no one steady and no children and Peter worries that he may not inherit the money which would be useful for investing in their business. So he persuades Custer to visit the Haldenberger clinic to check his potency level just to be sure there are no problems in that department. Custer has lots of tests done and the consultant goes away to check the readings and comes back with the alarming result that Custer has had sex so many times in his life that he only has thirteen more units of sex left! Actually twelve now because he had sex with the nurse while awaiting the results.
The private detective manages to find this out for Aunt Sophie and they devise a plan to bombard Custer with opportunities for sex with attractive women so that he will "waste" his remaining chances and then be unable to fulfil the requirements of the will with any wife he may meet. So Custer is visited by various "hustlers" all managing to take one or more of his sexual units away from him. Even with Peter diverting some of the hustlers to himself they eventually manage to take them all.
Aunt Sophie is triumphant but her husband Uncle Clifton is fair-minded and wants to put a spanner in her works and suggests something to Custer that will allow him to inherit after all. So on the day of the will adjudication Custer marries his cousin's ex-wife Sybil and with her comes a ready made family which under the terms of the will can count as Custer's children. So he wins - and then wins again on the night of his honeymoon when he finds out that he hasn't lost any of his potency at all! Haldenberger was wrong!
|Starring:||Anthony Kenyon (as Custer Firkeshaw), Mark Jones (as Peter)|
|Featuring:||Margaret Burton (as Aunt Sophie), Alan Selwyn (as Private Detective), Raymond Young (as Uncle Clifton), David Pugh (as Cousin Henry), Maggie Wright (as Sybil)|
|Familiar Faces:||Michael Cronin (as Dr. Halldenberger)|
|Starlets:||Janet Adler, Bobby Sparrow, Jennifer Westbrook (as the Secretaries) |
Paula Martin, Joanna Richards, Juliet Groves (as Models)
Daniella Fletcher, Heather Deeley, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Ellie Reece-Knight, Andee Cromarty (as Hustlers)
Candida Hershman, Vivienne Chaplin, Claire Lancaster, Jacqui Rigby
|Writer/Director: Arnold Louis Miller / Producers: Arnold Louis Miller, Stanley A. Long|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 82 mins|
|As the film begins a young man and woman have just left a party and take a ride in his car which he drives whilst drunk and after some reckless manoeuvres they crash into a wall and are both killed. Next day police Inspector Thomas comes to see a dancer called Linda Gray who was a friend of Pat Lord, the dead woman. He asks her to help him fill in details of Pat Lord's past and the rest of the film tells the story leading towards the tragedy as Linda narrates events.
Linda and Pat had been best friends since they were youngsters together at school - they shared similar interests and both attended dancing lessons. As they became older their attention shifted to boys - they were both attractive girls but Pat was always the outgoing one chatting and flirting with the boys and then men. Linda was more of a wallflower although Pat always included her friend in all her activities. They got their first job together at a shoe shop and it was while working there that they saw an advert saying that the famous Windmill Theatre was auditioning new dancers. Pat persuaded Linda to come along and audition with her and they were both accepted and became dancers in the show.
Windmill girls were the glamour-girl celebrities of their day always being asked to attend publicity events and Pat revelled in the glitz and late-night parties that went with it, whilst Linda accepted it but was happier getting an early night. Pat met a man-friend who was a West End producer always promising her a part in a new show he would be putting on but never actually delivering although she continued to believe that one day he would. Linda and Pat's different lifestyles were causing them to drift apart by this time and they saw less of each other.
The happy days were soon to end though as the type of show the Windmill Theatre was putting on was becoming outdated and the theatre was losing business to the various strip-clubs and nude shows that had sprung up around London. The Windmill girls had always put on a clean respectable show and so eventually the theatre had no choice but to close. Linda quickly picked herself up and got a job at another theatre. But Pat had a hard time coping - for ages she clung on to the hope of a call from that elusive producer friend. Eventually she was forced to give up on him and went to see an agent for work. But he could only offer her nude and strip work which she reluctantly accepted. She did the rounds in seedy strip clubs and stag parties but the degrading work made her more and more morose and depressed and she often refused to strip while on stage arguing with the punters claiming she didn't need to do this and promptly getting herself the sack. She eventually has to resort to stripping in pubs and with her fun-loving spirit now completely extinguished she finally comes to the end of her tether and has a nervous breakdown.
|Comment: The ending is rather abrupt and comes as she is standing on a pub piano stripping to her underwear, then arguing with the punters about how she doesn't need to be doing this and then she screams and the end credits roll. We don't actually see the events that lead directly up to the opening car accident. Despite the nature of the stripping jobs that Pat takes in the latter part of the film we never actually see her in anything less than full underwear. There is a bit of nudity in the picture when one of the dancers is doing a fan dance on several occasions although this is not one of the credited cast.
A sizeable middle portion of the film is given over to watching some of Windmill Theatre show's acts in full, completely forgetting any plot for ages until it is picked up again towards the end.
|Starring:||April Wilding (as Linda Gray), Pauline Collins (as Pat Lord)|
|Featuring:||Derek Bond (as Inspector Thomas), Martin Jarvis (as Mike, Windmill stage manager)|
|Starlets:||Dana Gillespie (Singer at a party), Jill Millard, Dierdre O'Dea, Pat Patterson, Linda Page|
|Writers: Various / Director/Producer: Antony Balch|
|Type: Anthology||Running Time: 88 mins|
|An Egyptian mummy introduces a variety of loosely themed unconnected tales of eroticism. Including:- a woman photographer who depicts scenes of medieval torture and takes it too far; a female burglar who sleeps with the homeowner; a funny spy-spoof with a dippy female spy; a man who has a lizard fetish; and a lady gardener who captures the souls of dead lovers in her flowers.|
|Featuring:||Valentine Dyall (as the voice of the Mummy)|
|Starlets:||Dorothy Grumbar, Norma Eden, Yvonne Quenet, Sylvia Delamere, Cathy Howard, Maria Frost, Nicola Austine, Sue Bond, Marilyn Head|
|The version reviewed carried the Bizarre title.|
|Writer: Jane Arden / Director/Producer: Jack Bond|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 89 mins|
|A disjointed story relays the inner thoughts of a woman called Jane undergoing emotional crises in her life. Her marriage to her psychiatrist husband has broken up and she has begun an affair with a flashy young gadabout called Iain.
As we listen into Jane's anxious soul-searching it is all very random without any grounding or context to help us understand her better. Occasionally we see another confident and popular young woman whom Jane wishes she could be more like - some sort of alter-ego. The only times Jane appears relaxed is when she is with the confident and assured Iain who indulges her whims and she is able to feel free to be immature and impulsive. Sometimes Jane goes out disguised as an old lady so she can view things in a different way.
We also learn that Jane is receiving psychiatric treatment and her doctor seems to be her husband and we start to wonder which part of the story is actually real and what part is simply some imagined fantasy taking place in her head as she descends into madness.
The story takes us to an unusual health spa patronised by Jane's alter-ego and another woman who also features in Jane's thoughts and becomes the victim of an abusive boyfriend.
As the film draws to a close, Jane fears she is losing her mind and has become trapped in a pit of despair from which she can see no escape. She is full of self-pity and at the end she imagines Iain shooting her dead in a park while she is dressed as the old lady.
|Comment: Unfortunately, the story is told in such an unfathomable and uncohesive way that it is hard to make much sense out it.|
|Starring:||Jane Arden (as Jane), David de Keyser (as Jane's husband), Iain Quarrier (as Jane's lover), Ann Lynn (as Woman)|
|Featuring:||Fay Brooke (as Jane's confident alter-ego), Malou Pantera (as French woman), Neil Holmes (as Man, [boyfriend of Ann Lynn's character]), Leslie Linder (as Theatrical agent), Tom Corbett (as Astrologer,[as himself])|
|Starlets:||Joy Bang (as Carpark blonde), Ann Norman (as Other naked pool girl, [probably])|
|Made in black and white with a few short colour sequences|
|Writer: Harold Pinter / Director: Joseph Losey / Producers: Joseph Losey, Norman Priggen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 110 mins|
|A lazy young society gent called Tony moves into a new London town house and hires a manservant called Barrett to look after him and the house. Barrett becomes indispensable to Tony and organises everything for him. But Barrett does not get along with Tony's fiancée Susan who wants to add some touches of her own to the decor and they have a frosty relationship.
Barrett suggests to Tony that they need a maid and recommends his sister Vera for the post. But secretly Vera is Barrett's own fiancée and they carry on with each other at every opportunity while the master is out. Vera also seduces Tony and they have a fling although Tony feels slightly guilty of sleeping with his faithful manservant's "sister" not realising that Barrett is fully aware of the situation and has engineered it in partnership with Vera.
But one evening Tony arrives home early and catches Barrett and Vera carrying on together and Barrett admits she is not his sister after all. Tony is appalled at the deception and sacks them both. After a few days Barrett appeals to Tony to let him come back to work blaming it on the scheming Vera. And Tony gives him a second chance.
But the domestic situation is markedly different this time and Barrett behaves towards Tony not as a servant, but like a squabbling flatmate or partner and they have some wild parties much to the dismay of Susan who has seen her fiancé totally demeaned and belittled by this man Barrett for purposes unknown.
|Comment: The first portion of the movie is interesting when it seems that Barrett and Vera are setting Tony up in some sort of intriguing opportunistic scam - but the film disappointingly loses its way and takes a confounding turn when Barrett returns on his second chance and he and Tony behave like a squabbling couple and any promising direction the movie seemed to have becomes lost in a hard-to-believe scenario that has no real conclusion.|
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Hugo Barrett), James Fox (as Tony), Wendy Craig (as Susan, Tony's fiancée), Sarah Miles (as Vera)|
|Familiar Faces:||(cameo roles) Richard Vernon, Patrick Magee, Harold Pinter|
|Based on a novel by Robin Maugham.|
|James Fox receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Made in Black and White.|
|aka: Future Women|
|Writer: Peter Welbeck / Director: Jesus Franco / Producer: (unknown)|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 79 mins|
|Jeff Sutton is to all appearances a thief who has stolen and safely hidden $10 million and then flown to Rio where he begins to live in an extravagant manner safe in the knowledge that there are no extradition treaties. His audacious theft is widely reported in the newspapers and a local super-rich criminal kingpin called Sir Masius becomes keen to acquire this wealth for himself and orders Jeff's immediate capture.
Meanwhile Jeff becomes cosy with a beautiful manicurist called Lesley who is aware of his notoriety. Jeff has a number of run-ins with Sir Masius' men but is able to handle himself well in a fight and always manages to get away. Lesley suggests that he will never be safe in this city and they should fly away somewhere where they will be less conspicuous and Jeff agrees to her arrangements. However Lesley is not all she appears and is actually an agent working for another individual who has also become interested in Jeff's newly acquired wealth and when Jeff boards the aircraft he is drugged by the stewardess and passes out.
When he comes to he finds he has been taken to a city called Femina whose existence is mostly unknown to the world at large and whose location is a well-kept secret. It is a city populated entirely of women and is ruled with a determined ruthlessness by a woman called Sumitra(*) who demands total obedience from her army of female citizens. She believes that it is the destiny of women to create a new Eden for themselves excluding all men whose minimal presence can only be tolerated for one thing - their money. Any man that tries to enter the city uninvited condemns himself to death. Those men that are "invited" are rich businessmen who have been lured there by beautiful Femina agents with the promise of a playboy heaven only to find themselves imprisoned and stripped of their assets once they arrive. Sumitra consequently has accumulated a vast vault of gold reserves that keeps the economy of her city ticking over. Jeff has been captured for the $10 million he stole and he is placed in a cell area to await torture into revealing where the money is hidden.
Also in the cells is a young woman called Ulla Rossini who is the daughter of a wealthy man. She was captured as an ideal candidate for citizenship but has refused to embrace the principles of the Femina society and is being punished by Sumitra until she complies. We now discover that Jeff is not a criminal after all - instead he is a special agent hired by Ulla's father to rescue his daughter. The theft story had been a set-up to entice Sumitra into abducting Jeff so he could get into the city. Sumitra soon discovers she has been tricked and is enraged - she has shown that she is quite willing to execute her own female citizens for disobedience and so Jeff's chances of survival now seem slim.
But fortunately a sympathetic woman guard unlocks his cell to give him a chance and Jeff manages to free Ulla and fight his way out. He steals a plane and flies himself and Ulla back to Rio where he believes his mission is now successfully accomplished. But he is soon captured by Sir Masius and although the high-class gangster is disheartened to learn that there is no money he realises that Jeff now possesses something even more valuable - as the only man ever to escape from Femina alive he can lead a raiding party of Sir Masius' small army to the city to steal the gold from the their vaults.
Sumitra too is keen to recapture Jeff aware that his knowledge presents a danger and she has come to Rio to personally supervise his recapture. This is achieved and Jeff is taken back to Femina where Sumitra sentences him to a slow torturous death by means of heat ray exposure. But the torture is interrupted when Sir Masius and his small force of well-equipped men who, having followed Sumitra's flight, arrive in helicopters dropping bombs and mowing the women warriors down with machine guns.
With the city's defences quickly in shatters Jeff shows Sir Masius where the gold vault is located. But Sumitra is waiting and says she will never let them have her city's wealth and would rather blow it all sky-high. She starts a 30-second auto destruct countdown and the men run for it. Sir Masius is killed by the gunfire of Femina guards but Jeff manages to get away to a helicopter and take off just in time as the whole city explodes beneath him killing everyone including, he assumes, Sumitra.
But in an epilogue we see a group of women boarding a cruise liner and amongst their number is Sumitra who managed to escape death and is setting off to regroup ready for her next plot to usurp the power of men.
|Comment: The title The Seven Secrets of Sumuru has no bearing on the film's plot as the story is not structured around a series of secrets nor is there any significance arising from the number seven.|
|Starring:||Shirley Eaton (as Sumitra), Richard Wyler (as Jeff Sutton), George Sanders (as Sir Masius)|
|Featuring:||Maria Rohm (as Lesley, manicurist and Femina agent), Marta Reves (as Ulla Rossini, girl who Jeff has been hired to rescue), Elisa Montés (as Irene, Sir Masius' girlfriend and accountant), Herbert Fleischmann (as Carl, Sir Masius' employee)|
|Starlets:||Beni Cardosi (as Yana, Sumitra's main guard warrior), Valentina Godoy (as Femina warrior)|
|Based on characters created by Sax Rohmer|
|This was a follow-up to The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967) which was a UK production starring British actress Shirley Eaton in the same role and directed by Lindsay Shonteff. The follow-up (as reviewed here) was a German/Spanish/USA production with a different director but would have been reviewed anyway even as a stand-alone because of the involvement of Shirley Eaton.|
|The version reviewed here carried the title of Future Women with the credits and dialogue in English. IMDB information indicates that there is a severely edited version of Future Women with all nudity removed - however this cannot have been that particular version because there was some nudity present. Another known alternate title is The Girl from Rio and this was the title of the song being played during the opening credits.|
|On the version reviewed the writer is credited but there is no credit for either the producer or director. The director's name (Jesus Franco) has been obtained from a reference source. The film's title is preceded by "Lonnie Kaufman presents".|
|(*) The name of the female leader is a bit unclear. The original film title names her "Sumuru" which is her name in the books by Sax Rohmer. However the end credits of Future Women show her character name as "Sumitra" - and yet in the dialogue the way that everyone pronounces her name sounds like "Sumanda". For the purposes of the above summary I've taken the spelling from the credits.|
|Writer: Nicholas Meyer (based on his own novel) / Director/Producer: Herbert Ross|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 108 mins|
|An all-new story featuring the Sherlock Holmes characters.
Dr Watson is very concerned about his friend Sherlock Holmes' state of health. Recently Holmes has become reclusive as his dependence on the drug cocaine has increased and has now affected his mind. In his deteriorating state Holmes' detective brain has deduced the existence of an evil genius called Moriarty who is single-handedly responsible for masterminding a crime wave across Europe. Holmes has become paranoid that this Moriarty person will send his minions to dispose of Holmes before he can prove his theory and thwart the iniquitous fiend.
Watson puzzles over what he can do to help his friend when to his surprise a man called Moriarty comes to see him at his surgery seeking his help. Professor Moriarty is a meek old man who appears at the end of his tether. He tells Watson that Sherlock Holmes has been making his life a misery by tailing him everywhere and keeping watch on his house and even sending him threatening notes accusing him of being some kind of criminal mastermind. Moriarty regards Holmes highly because he used to be Holmes mathematics teacher at college. He therefore doesn't want to involve the police but will have to if the harassment doesn't stop soon.
Watson has an idea and makes the necessary arrangements. He asks Moriarty to take a sudden mystery trip to the continent hoping that Holmes will follow thinking his "nemesis" is up to something. Holmes takes the bait and he and Watson follow the professor to a large house in Vienna which turns out to belong to Dr Sigmund Freud.
Holmes realises he has been tricked by Watson and has been lured here to receive treatment from the doctor who is an authority on cocaine addiction and how to cure people of it with the use of hypnosis therapy. Holmes submits to the treatment and while he is recovering he lends his expertise on an intriguing case that presents itself. Another patient of Freud's called Fraulein Lola Deveraux has been kidnapped. She is a beautiful singer with glorious red hair whom Freud cured of a cocaine addiction.
Holmes, Watson and Freud investigate and it emerges that Lola is the mistress of the Baron von Leinsdorf. The Baron is a gambler who lost heavily at a casino and his debts were picked up by The Pasha who is the premier of the Ottoman Empire. The Pasha has a fondness for redheaded women and offered to cancel the Baron's debts in return for Lola - so the Baron duly kidnapped her. The three investigators find out Lola is being whisked away on a train and they give chase. After a series of death-defying escapades they eventually manage to defeat the kidnappers and rescue Lola.
Holmes is now almost cured of his addiction but needs one final hypnosis session to discover the origin of his compulsion. Freud ascertains that as a boy Holmes had accidentally discovered his mother having an affair with a man - and that man had been his mathematics teacher, Professor Moriarty! Holmes' father then also learned of his wife's infidelity and shot her dead. Holmes witnessed this and had blanked it from his mind but his subconscious knew that Moriarty was responsible for the tragedy of his childhood and under the influence of cocaine-induced paranoia his hated name emerged as the embodiment of evil.
Now fully recovered Holmes decides to go off by himself on an extended cruise. Watson wonders what he should tell the readers of their stories which he chronicles and Holmes tells him to make up whatever he likes - perhaps tell them he was killed by his mathematics teacher Moriarty in an epic final confrontation...
|Starring:||Nicol Williamson (as Sherlock Holmes), Robert Duvall (as Dr John Watson), Alan Arkin (as Dr Sigmund Freud), Vanessa Redgrave (as Lola Deveraux, Baron's mistress)|
|Featuring:||Laurence Olivier (as Professor James Moriarty), Samantha Eggar (as Mary Watson, Dr Watson's wife), Jeremy Kemp (as Baron von Leinsdorf), Charles Gray (as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother), Georgia Brown (as Freud's wife), Anna Quayle (as Freda, Freud's housekeeper), Alison Leggatt (as Mrs Hudson, Holmes' housekeeper), Gertan Klauber (as The Pasha, premier of the Ottoman empire), Joel Grey (as Lowenstein, Baron's minion)|
|The "seven-per-cent solution" refers to the concentration of cocaine that Sherlock Holmes takes to help him relieve his boredom between cases.|
|Writer: Karl Tunberg / Director: Lewis Gilbert|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 118 mins|
|Set in Malaysia. At the end of hostilities in the Second World War in 1945, three individuals who have been members of the same allied unit fighting in the jungle for five years against the Japanese, have formed a tight bond of loyalty, trust and friendship. They are an American engineer called Major Ferris, and two Malayan nationals called Ng and a woman combatant called Dhana Mercier. Ferris has decided to remain in Malaysia and buy two thousand acres of land and Dhana is staying with him as his woman. Ng is now taking his leave to continue his military training. They hope they will always be friends through whatever political upheavals might occur in the coming years. (NOTE: "Ng" is pronounced "ing")
Eight years later in 1953 Ferris' plantation is thriving and he now has twenty thousand acres. The country is in rebellion against the British colonial governance and terrorist groups roam the jungles causing death and destruction to try and drive out the British and secure independence. Ferris' land is one of the only plantations to remain unscathed possibly because he is an American. Dhana is still with him as his mistress and she is a highly respected teacher in the village.
The local British officers consult Ferris as an important landowner to see if he can bring any influence to bear. They tell him that his one time comrade Ng is now the terrorist leader in this area directing the overall campaign. Ferris now realises why his land has remained unaffected because his war-time friend has declared it off limits. Ferris travels into the jungle to find Ng and he is granted safe passage. Ferris tells Ng that he believes the British also want to give the country its independence but want it to be achieved in an orderly and legal way. Ng does not see it that way and believes he has the upper hand and wants to win the struggle outright without negotiations. When Ferris returns he passes on his assessment of Ng's resolve to the British but refuses to divulge where his base is hidden.
A new British Commissioner called Trumpey has taken up his post and brought with him his beautiful young daughter Candace. She is full of romantic notions about the beauty of the country and falls for Ferris although he does not reciprocate because of his love for Dhana.
When Dhana is stopped and searched by British officers she is found to be carrying explosives in hollowed out fruit. She is arrested and tried and sentenced to hang in seven days time. Ferris is told that if he gives over information about Ng's location Dhana's death sentence will be commuted which makes Ferris thinks that she was set up by the British to put pressure on him - but it may be backfiring because Dhana is such a popular person that the normally peaceful local people are outraged about her sentence.
Candace too thinks Dhana's sentence is harsh but her father, although fair-minded, tells her his hands are tied and he must uphold the law. Candace therefore travels into the jungle and surrenders herself to Ng so that he can exchange her for Dhana's release. Ng posts a notice demanding Dhana's release in exchange for the commissioner's daughter - but despite his now personal involvement Commissioner Trumpey feels he cannot give in to such tactics.
Ferris travels into the jungle to find Ng again, this time with the intention of bringing him in to secure the release of his lover Dhana and rescue Candace. The British independently locate Ng's base and mount an air raid. Ng takes Candace off deep into the jungle to seek cover and they get lost although Ferris has tracked their progress and confronts them when the onslaught has abated. He fights with Ng and takes him prisoner and then sets about taking him and Candace on the long jungle trek back to the coastal British section. Progress is slow through the dense jungle and time is short because the deadline for Dhana's execution is only a few days away. To speed things up Ferris unties Ng on his word of honour to help hack through the jungle until they reach sight of the coast when all bets are off again. As they approach the home straight there is another fight and Candace has to act to save Ferris by shooting Ng. As he dies Ng admits it was upon his orders that Dhana was framed in order to promote a popular uprising amongst the locals and not dirty tricks by the British at all. Candace and Ferris continue on alone but when a torrential downpour causes a key bridge to be washed away in a flash flood they are consequently unable to make it back in time - and Dhana is executed as scheduled.
|Starring:||William Holden (as Ferris), Susannah York (as Candace Trumpey), Capucine (as Dhana Mercier), Tetsuro Tamba (as Ng), Michael Goodliffe (as Commissioner Trumpey)|
|Featuring:||Allan Cuthbertson (as Cavendish, British officer), Maurice Denham (as Tarlton, British official), Sydney Tafler (as Chief British Police Officer)|
|Based on the novel The Durian Tree by Michael Keon.|
|Writer: Frederic Raphael / Director: Dick Clement / Producer: Alan Ladd Jr|
|Type: Comedy Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Martin Lynch-Gibbon is a married man who is having a secret affair with his mistress Georgie Hands. When he gets home one day his sprightly wife Antonia announces she wants a divorce, not because she knows about him, but because she is having an affair of her own with Martin's best friend, Palmer Anderson. But rather than each of them getting terribly angry and upset about the whole situation, things remain very convivial and civilised. Antonia's chirpiness and Martin's innate placidity counterbalance to prevent everyone falling into bitter recriminations and things remain most cordial as they adjust to the changed arrangements. Antonia and Palmer help Martin with finding a new flat to live in and Martin does various favours for Palmer.
Even when Martin's own affair with Georgie becomes known to Antonia she is simply delighted that he has found someone else and is determined that all four of them will be best of friends. However Georgie cannot cope with all the insufferable mateyness that everyone is showing in what she thinks should be an emotionally traumatic time - she parts with Martin and takes up with his older brother Alexander instead.
Palmer's sister Honor soon enters the mix and even though she is a cold and emotionless person Martin finds himself strangely attracted to her - although she thinks his overly civilised attitude to his marriage break-up is really a form of cowardice in the face of the problem.
Things swiftly change when Martin catches Palmer in bed with Honor whom Palmer explains is actually only his half-sister for whom he has always had special feelings. As a result Antonia returns to live with Martin, nimbly reinstating herself in his life as if nothing untoward has happened and Martin readily returns to the former status quo.
But things are short lived. Georgie and Alexander break up and Antonia leaves Martin to be with Alexander whom she reveals she has been having an on-off affair with for years. Palmer flies off to America and Georgie goes with him. And back home Honor decides to give Martin a chance after he tells her he loves her - and we leave them wondering if they shall survive each other but decide it's worth taking the chance.
|Starring:||Ian Holm (as Martin Lynch-Gibbon), Lee Remick (as Antonia Lynch-Gibbon, Martin's wife), Richard Attenborough (as Palmer Anderson, Martin's best friend), Claire Bloom (as Honor Klein, Palmer's half-sister), Jennie Linden (as Georgie Hands, Martin's mistress)|
|Featuring:||Clive Revill (as Alexander Lynch-Gibbon, Martin's older brother), Ann Firbank (as Rosemary Lynch-Gibbon, Martin's sister)|
|Familiar Faces:||Robert Gillespie (Palmer's Patient), Nerys Hughes (Nurse)|
|Based on the novel by Iris Murdoch, and the play by Iris Murdoch and J.B. Priestley|
|Writer: Adrian Reid / Director/Producer: Stanley Long|
|Type: Drama / Anthology||Running Time: 79 mins|
|A psychiatrist introduces four stories involving manipulative or scheming women showing the lengths they will go to in order to get the man they have set their sights on. |
Story 1: A man-eating secretary sets her sights on a new male employee who is married;
Story 2: A scheming woman sets her sights on a rich married man and when her plan works and he gets a divorce she finds the wealth had all been his wife's money and he has nothing;
Story 3: A schoolgirl sets her sights on her best friend's father while she is staying at their house for the holidays;
Story 4: A wife discovers her husband is having an affair with her best friend and rather than throwing him out she lets the mistress move in with them.
|Featuring:||Story 1: Peter Dunn, Jane Cardew, Gillian Brown, |
Story 2: Maggie Wright, Anthony Bailey,
Story 3: Raymond Young, Felicity Devonshire, Louise Rush,
Story 4: Max Mason, Barbara Meale, Louise Pajo
|Star-Turns:||Richard Wattis (as the linking presenter)|
|Starlets:||Barbara Wendy (see note below)|
|Although listed in the end-credits for story 2, Barbara Wendy (as "other Model") does not appear in the film. There is a brief modelling scene in which only Maggie Wright features which would have been the obvious place for her appearance. Also in this story-segment a credited "Arthur" does not appear. His name is mentioned by someone else as being Maggie Wright's character's boyfriend but he is not seen on screen. None of the other stories are missing credited characters. The only other oddity is that in the end credits the cast for story 2 are listed before the cast for story 1 - this might suggest that the original order of the stories was changed around. Therefore it's possible that the version reviewed was edited for some unknown reason - although it can't have been for reasons of nudity.|
|Writer: Edward Hyde / Director: Martin Campbell / Producers: Michael Style, Teddy White|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 89 mins|
|A handsome novelist supplements his income by moonlighting as a cat burglar stealing jewels from wealthy young women. If they catch him at it he beds them and they remain so enamoured by his charms that they provide wildly misleading descriptions to the police ranging from a midget to a tall ginger-haired Russian that the police think they are after a gang. An attractive young insurance investigator working with the police decides to set a trap with herself as the lure in the hope the burglar will pay her a night-time visit.|
|Starring:||David Warbeck (as the Burglar), Diane Keen (as the insurance investigator)|
|Featuring:||Terence Edmond, Michael Armstrong, Christopher Neil, Harvey Hall|
|Starlets:||Jenny Westbrook, Gloria Walker, Susan Glanville, Linda Coombes, Val Penny, Veronica Doran|
|Linda Coombes is thought to be Deirdre Costello using a pseudonym|
|Writer: Tudor Gates / Director: Anwar Kawadri / Producers: Panos Nicolaou, Anwar Kawadri|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Peter Bates is a 24-year old man who writes an astrology column for a family magazine called Happy Homes. It is a job he inherited from his late aunt Clara and he still writes under her by-line. He is a fairly mild-mannered man who will go along with most things asked of him to be helpful. When the magazine is taken over by a big publishing group, a new editor called Percy Terson is brought in to improve the circulation figures. Terson's radical approach which has served him well in the past with other ailing magazines he has had to save is to sex-up its image. He proceeds to sack all the existing staff with the exception of Peter for whose column he decides to give a further chance providing it adapts to the new sex concept of the retitled magazine Horny Homes. Terson gives Peter the assignment of personally sleeping with a woman from each star sign and reporting on the sexual characteristics inherent in each sign of the zodiac - he has two weeks to deliver his twelve reports.
For some men this would be the dream assignment but Peter is woefully inexperienced with meeting women and is still a virgin. Terson's young good-natured secretary Susie, who hates her boss, feels sorry for his predicament and decides to help him out - starting with herself - a Sagittarian. Her Gemini flatmate Shirley also does her bit and afterwards takes him to a party where he spends the night with the hostess Brenda and next morning has more reportable experiences with Brenda's cleaner and her visiting aunt.
Susie finds out that there is a Zodiac themed party taking place and Peter goes along and makes various contacts which he follows up on over the next few days adding to his tally of successful reports. Terson reads each new daily report and is delighted at how well Peter is doing.
Towards the end Peter has become much more confident about chatting to girls and manages to make up most of the rest of the star signs while out and about. But come the day of the final publishing deadline a suitable Arian still eludes him and he goes to the office resigned to the fact he is going to be sacked for failing the assignment. But in the lift he meets a rich glamorous woman who is intrigued to hear his story and who happens to be Arian and proceeds to help provide him with a suitable experience to write about. Peter then quickly types it up and takes it into Terson's office. Terson is delighted with the final report until he realises that the woman is his young wife - and he fires Peter!
But Mrs Terson is the company's principal shareholder and wields the real power and she tells her husband that she liked Happy Homes just the way it was - so she sacks her husband from the editor's post and gives the job to Peter whose wholehearted nature she feels will do the title justice. Peter is delighted and proposes marriage to Susie the secretary with whom he has struck up a good relationship over the course of his assignment.
|Starring:||Martin Burrows (as Peter Bates), Thick Wilson (as Percy Terson, new editor), Janet Love (as Susie, Sagittarius, Terson's secretary)|
|Featuring:||Suzannah Willis (as Mrs Terson, Aries, Terson's wife)|
|Starlets:||Susie Sylvie (as Shirley, Gemini, Susie's flatmate), Terri Mitchell (as Brenda, Aquarius, party host), Simon St. Laurent (as Mrs Simmons, Taurus, Brenda's young cleaner), Nicola Austine (as Mrs Doyle, Libra, Brenda's Aunt), Carrie Allen (as unnamed Scorpio, woman in park), Rosemary England (as unnamed Leo, woman in park, [credited as Poula Grifith Jada]), Faith Daykin (as unnamed Cancer, girl on barge), Clair Bastin (as unnamed Virgo, girl at party), Lorreta Smith (as unnamed Pisces, saved from drowning), Caroline Grenville (as unnamed Capricorn, speedboat girl), Maria Brook (as Prostitute)|
|Martin Burrows receives an "introducing" credit|
|aka: The Girl from Starship Venus|
|Writer/Director: Derek Ford / Producer: Morton Lewis|
|Type: Sex Comedy / Sci-Fi||Running Time: 82 mins|
|The Starship Venus has sent a scout ship to Earth to study the dominant life form on the planet. Their spaceship lands in London on a busy evening but remains completely unnoticed because it is the size of a pinball. They send out one of their crew as an Explorer and transmogrify it into a simulation of a normal-sized Earth Dom (as they call the life forms) - their only previous contact is by studying Dom transmissions from which they think they have built up a picture of life and they give her the appearance of what is a young naked female. The Explorer is ill-prepared for the mission knowing nothing of even the most basic customs of the indigenous life form.
Luckily the Starship Venus landed on the rooftop area of a womens' nude gym sauna so when Explorer walks down into the building the fact that she is naked does not raise suspicion while she looks around taking in the strange customs she observes. Most of the Doms are shaped like her but when she sees one who is different (a man) she concludes he is a mutation from another tribe. When it is time for the sauna to close she is unaware what to do since clothes have no meaning to her but the sauna manageress comes to her rescue by assuming her clothes have been wickedly stolen and finds her something to wear. Explorer goes out into the London nightlife and looks around where she soon discovers that the two tribes wear different styles of clothing - the Doms like her she labels "Canopies" (for the skirts they wear), and the mutations she dubs "Tubulars" (for their trousers). She happens to be in the Soho area and visits a sex shop and a blue film cinema where they are showing what she believes is an instructional holoplay in which she discovers the Tubulars possess a probe which they use to refuel the Canopies
Next she wanders into a launderette where she meets an old down-and-out lady and discovers about old age and the concept that Doms all die eventually. A young man called Allan comes in and he ends up offering her his couch to kip on for the night although he has no ulterior motive and is just a friendly good Samaritan sort. While Allan is sleeping the Starship Venus arranges a timeshift to send Explorer back into the day just lived to use the night-time more productively than wasting it when nothing interesting is happening.
She sees some Doms hail black cab taxis and decides to do the same but with her vehicle recognition skills not sufficiently refined she instead hails a black wedding limousine that was stopping at traffic lights anyway and she gets in. She goes to the wedding and meets a guest who fancies his chances with her and takes her into another room to have sex although she has no idea of what to expect. As the man makes his move on her naked body its defensive shield kicks in and throws him violently off - he tries again and the same thing happens and he eventually gives up and blames it on some new fangled gizmo invented by womens' libbers.
Explorer then returns to the original timeline and it is now morning and Allan takes her to a department store to get her kitted out with something new to wear. Later she wanders into a park and picks up a baby helping what she believes must be a crippled dwarf. But the mother calls the police and Explorer is arrested. The police doctor goes loopy when he examines her because he can find no heartbeat and is himself arrested for sexually assaulting her by trying to give mouth-to-mouth to a perfectly obviously alive girl. She has given the police Allan's address and he comes to bail her out. Meanwhile Explorer asks the Venus to provide her with a simulated heartbeat and to remove the defensive shield. The Venus Commander makes these changes which also gives her full sensory capacity but advises her to be very careful as it could lead to a breakdown of reason.
With her new sensory abilities activated she begins to experience the wonders of touching soft things and spends time caressing her own body and invites Allan to refuel her which after a brief misunderstanding he gets her drift and they proceed to have sex which she finds an intoxicatingly wonderful experience. She starts refusing all commands from her ship to stop and abort the mission. The Venus loses all control of her and are forced to abandon her on Earth telling her she will now live a normal Dom lifespan and then die.
|Starring:||Monika Ringwald (as The Explorer), Mark Jones (as Lecher, Wedding man), Andrew Grant (as Allan, Launderette man)|
|Featuring:||Anthony Kenyon (as Man in Cinema), Alan Selwyn (as Bert, Sex-shop Manager), Beatrice Shaw (as Ethel, Old Lady), David Rayner (as Lenny, Photographer), Anna Dawson (as Store Manageress), Chris Gannon (as Store Detective)|
|Familiar Faces:||Michael Cronin (as Doctor)|
|Starlets:||Elaine Baillie (as Sauna Manageress), Prudence Drage (as Doris, Sauna Attendant), Tanya Ferova (as Stripper), Juliet Groves (as Strip club Dancer), Ros Strang (as Girl in Sauna)|
|The version reviewed carried the title The Girl from Starship Venus.|
|Writer: George Baxt / Director: John Gilling / Producer: Jon Penington|
|Type: Crime Thriller||Running Time: 75 mins|
|Set in the early 1900s. At the start we see an elderly woman called Ella Venable, who lives as a partial recluse in the converted attic space of her own manor house, being murdered and then buried in the grounds by her husband Walter, butler Andrew and maid Clara. Ella's beloved cat Tabitha witnesses the murder and the three conspirators know this and try to capture it believing its knowledge to be a danger to them - but the cat proves to be elusive.
They proceed to live in irrational fear of the cat knowing it is a witness to their foul deeds. Husband Walter planned his wife's murder because he knew that her will had left everything to her favourite niece Elizabeth (Beth). He forced Ella to sign a new will bestowing everything to him but has not been able to locate and destroy the copy of the original will hidden somewhere in the house.
Ella is declared a missing person and Walter invites Beth to come and stay because he plans to deal with her too and needs her under his roof. Beth arrives and is most perplexed at everyone's obsession with catching and killing Tabitha the cat whom Beth remembers as an adorable pet but everyone now treats as if she's some sort of evil demon. Tabitha in turn avoids the murderers and is wily enough not to fall for poisoned food left out and instead forages in the woods.
A family friend and journalist called Michael Latimer gets involved through his romantic friendship with Beth and begins to suspect foul play in Ella's disappearance and finds it distinctly odd that Ella would have entirely cut Beth out of her will.
Walter's obsessive fear of Tabitha causes him to have a breakdown and he becomes bedridden. He calls in his greedy brother Edgar and Edgar's son and daughter-in-law, Jacob and Louise, for assistance in catching Tabitha, promising Edgar money in return. The newcomers set-about entrapping the cat but through misfortune and accident this results in several deaths which are blamed on the "evil" cat.
Walter dies of a heart-attack when Tabitha jumps onto his bed at night and Edgar inherits Walter's estate but is desperate to find the missing original will to prevent any chance of Beth contesting. He too becomes fixated with killing Tabitha while obsessively searching and dies while chasing around after her on rotten floorboards in the attic.
The original will is found in a box hidden behind a portrait of Tabitha in Ella's room and Beth's inheritance is secured. Tabitha leads the police to the place where Ella's body was buried and the case is cleared up although the murderers have by now all died through their fear and loathing of the cat.
|Starring:||Barbara Shelley (as Beth Venable), André Morell (as Walter Venable), Conrad Phillips (as Michael Latimer, journalist and Beth's friend), Richard Warner (as Edgar Venable, Walter's brother), William Lucas (as Jacob Venable, Edgar's son)|
|Featuring:||Vanda Godsell (as Louise Venable, Jacob's wife), Andrew Crawford (as Andrew, butler), Freda Jackson (as Clara, maid), Alan Wheatley (as Inspector Rowles), Catherine Lacey (as Ella Venable, murdered wife of Walter)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writers: R. Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory / Director: James Ivory / Producer: Ismail Merchant|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 117 mins|
|Set in India in the mid-1960s where a company of actors have made a living touring the country performing Shakespeare plays. The Buckingham players are led by Tony Buckingham and his wife Carla who both came to India in the 1940s and have stayed ever since. They have a daughter called Lizzie who has now grown to young womanhood and performs with them in the plays.
Unfortunately for the Buckinghams the appetite for live theatre is waning and their once ardent audience have become gripped by more modern diversions such as the cinema. Tony fears the abandonment of traditional entertainment will soon spell the end for their way of life as the audience numbers are no longer sufficient to make ends meet. They feel they need to soon scale down their fully produced performances into more simple recitals which will mean disbanding their troupe.
Tony and Carla are concerned about their daughter Lizzie's welfare and what she will do without an occupation. Lizzie's whole life has been on the stage and she has never even been to England. Her parents urge her to leave India and go to the home country of England where they know she will have many opportunities to flourish that would not be available here.
But Lizzie has met a young Indian man called Sanju who is a fan of traditional theatre and they fall in love. Lizzie is reluctant to abide by her parents wishes and leave India because of him. Sanju is a lover of culture with many varied ambitions and he already has a girlfriend who is a famous Bollywood actress. Her name is Manjula and she gets jealous when she finds out about Sanju's infatuation with the English girl. Sanju gets infuriated by Manjula's dismissive attitude towards the beauty of Shakespeare's powerful words and her attempts to disrupt performances by cynically exploiting her fame.
Sanju has become captivated by Lizzie and follows her company as it tours around the country and their relationship strengthens. Lizzie's parents try to dissuade her from forming a relationship with her admirer not realising how far it has already gone with clandestine nocturnal rendezvous. Lizzie cannot decide whether to follow her heart or her head and tearfully tells Sanju she is willing to give up everything if he asks her to. In the face of her commitment Sanju finds himself unable to reciprocate and remains silent long enough for her to know that he does not feel about her as strongly as she does for him. She makes up her mind and boards the next liner bound for England to start a new life for herself.
|Starring:||Felicity Kendal (as Lizzie Buckingham), Shashi Kapoor (Sanju), Geoffrey Kendal (as Tony Buckingham, Lizzie's father), Laura Liddell (as Carla Buckingham, Lizzie;s mother), Madhur Jaffrey (as Manjula, Bollywood actress)|
|Featuring:||Jim Tytler (as Bobby, English actor in company), Prayag Raaj (as Sharmaji, Indian actor in company), Praveen Paul (as Didi, Manjula's mute maid)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Felicity Kendal receives an "introducing" credit. It is not stated exactly how old her character Lizzie is supposed to be but in 1965 Felicity Kendal would have been about 18 or 19. Her father in the film is also her real life father and the story reflects some of the real life experiences of the Kendal family.|
|Writers: J.J. Griffith, Hal Hopper, Scot Finch / Director: Edward Dmytryk / Producer: Euan Lloyd|
|Type: Western||Running Time: 108 mins|
|In the 1860s the American West was a favourite destination for European big game hunters. Bosky Fulton is a roughneck cowboy who guides would-be hunting parties through the plains and mountains. The latest set of European tourists are led by a German called Baron Frederick Von Hallstatt who exudes an arrogant superiority towards all those of an inferior class to himself. His companions consist of Sir Charles and Lady Julia Daggett; a young unmarried countess called Irina Lazaar; and an American senator and his wife. They are travelling through territory set aside for Red Indian tribes by treaty with the American government. But Fulton assures everyone they will be quite safe and the Indians will not bother them because the centre of their reservation is far way. Fulton exudes danger and Lady Julia finds that immensely appealing and exciting.
Countess Irina recklessly goes riding off alone and she encounters a small patrol of Apache Indians who are aggressive towards her. Her perilous situation is spotted by the redoubtable loner known as Shalako. The so-named Shalako is a white man bestowed an Indian name who has the tacit trust of the Apache leader's elderly father and has special dispensation to roam the outskirts of their reservation. The Indians are angry that the white travellers feel unconstrained to invade their land and are preparing to attack and slaughter them to show they will not stand for it. Shalako has no wish for there to be bloodshed and makes a promise that he will speak to the Europeans and impel them to leave before sun up tomorrow. The new young Apache chief Chato is keen to kill them all but reluctantly defers to his father's wise counsel to trust Shalako who has proven to be an honourable man.
Shalako rides with Irina to the former fort where the party of Europeans have based themselves. Shalako finds them living it up in the extravagant gourmet manner to which they are accustomed. When Shalako tries to explain how much danger they are in, the obdurate Baron Frederick finds the idea that a bunch of primitive Indians could be a problem to them quite ridiculous and refuses to budge. Shalako knows well the tenacity of the Apache and the guerrilla tactics they employ, but the Baron will not concede that mere savages can overcome their superior weaponry.
Shalako has no choice but to leave the reservation to try and fetch the army back in time to keep order but he knows time is against him. After he leaves and the deadline passes the Indians start to attack the compound using stealth tactics by setting fire to wagons and stores and loosing the interlopers' horses. After the Indians finish their first attack wave they withdraw and Fulton decides to make a break for it. But they now only have enough horses remaining for his own men so he elects to forsake the tourists and abandon them to their fate. Lady Julia chooses to go with Fulton to be his woman and Fulton acquiesces.
Shalako is unsuccessful in finding the army and returns to find the camp in disarray. He decides to personally lead the survivors out of the reservation and hope they don't run into the Indians again. They have no horses so they are all on foot. The Baron is smarting at his immense miscalculation and defers to Shalako's leadership.
To save many hours of travel they decide to climb over a mountain rather than skirt it and perhaps avoid any waiting Indians. Meanwhile Fulton's fleeing group are attacked by Indians while Fulton himself is off scouting the area. Fulton watches from concealment as his men are all slaughtered and Lady Julia is subjected to unseemly treatment by the braves before she too is summarily executed. Fulton is without a horse or water and so he has no choice but to join forces with Shalako's group. Shalako dislikes the immoral man but knows he could use another gun hand to help defend their position.
The Indians discover that their quarry are up in the mountain and begin an assault. But the upslope position is a good advantage and the Indians are held off at first. Sir Charles was so shocked to learn of the appalling death of his wife that he has been unable to function. When he recovers his composure he calls Fulton out. The reprobate cowboy reacts fast and shoots Sir Charles first in instinctive self-defence, but as he is dying Sir Charles manages to return a shot and kill Fulton.
The Indians swarm and overpower Shalako's group. But instead of killing them Chato decides he wants a more personal vengeance and challenges Shalako to a combat match to prove his superiority over the white man. The two men fight with weapons that Chato is much more used to wielding and Shalako is at a disadvantage but manages to hold his own. Eventually though, Shalako gets the upper hand and has the Apache chief at his mercy. He is about to deliver a lethal thrust when Chato's elderly father calls for a halt to the bloodshed. Shalako spares Chato's life and he and the survivors of his group are permitted to leave without further impediment.
|Starring:||Sean Connery (as Shalako), Brigitte Bardot (as Countess Irina Lazaar), Stephen Boyd (as Bosky Fulton), Peter Van Eyck (as Baron Frederick Von Hallstatt), Jack Hawkins (as Sir Charles Daggett), Honor Blackman (as Lady Julia Daggett, Sir Charles' wife)|
|Featuring:||Eric Sykes (as Mako, the Baron's butler), Alexander Knox (as Senator Henry Clarke), Valerie French (as Elena Clarke, Senator's wife), Woody Strode (as Chato, Apache chief), Rodd Redwing (as Chato's father)|
|Based on the novel by Louis L'Amour|
|aka: Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff|
|Novel: William Inge / Writer: Polly Platt / Director: Marvin J. Chomsky / Producer: Raymond Stross|
|Type: American / Drama||Running Time: 86 mins|
|In the American town of Freedom in Kansas in 1954, Miss Evelyn Wyckoff is a 35-year-old unmarried schoolteacher. She lives in a boarding house with some other female schoolteachers but of late she has been feeling disconnected from their social bonhomie and has taken to weeping for no good reason. She is starting to find her unpredictable emotional state is preventing her from functioning properly so she goes to her doctor for some advice and he gives her a full physical examination in which he determines she is still a virgin and he hints that maybe nature is trying to tell her something and that perhaps a romance would help. He also gives her some medication in case she is experiencing an early menopause and refers her to a psychiatrist friend of his called Dr Steiner who he thinks would be of help to her in talking through her anxieties.
Dr Steiner is a great benefit and manages to help her see herself by talking about various aspects of her life. Evelyn has never had a boyfriend and Dr Steiner discovers this may have been because her father was very demanding on her mother and sex to her as a young girl must have seemed a very unappealing prospect. But Dr Steiner helps her see that she can have relationships if there is a man she particularly likes.
Evelyn is reasonably friendly with Ed the school bus driver and considers him but he is married and just wants a mistress which she is not sure she wants to be. And then when she plucks up the courage to agree to his suggested arrangement she finds he has moved on to another job. However the inner decision she made to go through with it seems to have perked her up a bit.
Then one evening in her classroom while she is marking schoolwork a young black janitor called Rafe comes in to clean up. He is on a scholarship at the university and as with all such positions must do some community work in return. Rafe is a cocky and arrogant man who is full of hate for do-gooders like her - even though she was partly responsible for him being able to win his scholarship in the first place as she had fought for equal rights for black students within the school. He locks the classroom door and sexually assaults her, raping her over her school desk and she can do nothing to stop him although she angrily protests. When it is over he leaves and she doesn't know what to do so she does nothing.
A few days later Rafe comes onto her again and she at first resists him but as she stands close to him she finds herself responding to his powerful masculinity and allows him to loosen her clothing and they kiss. From then on the relationship becomes a regular thing every evening and Rafe exercises complete dominance over her making her demean herself before she can have sex again. Some of the white scholarship students doing janitor work wonder what Miss Wyckoff and Rafe could possibly be doing every evening and when they hear a scream coming from the classroom they find out. Rafe had been pressing Miss Wyckoff 's naked body against a scalding radiator as they had sex and the two lads rush in using their pass key and see them at it.
The next day the story of Miss Wyckoff 's shameful practices is all over school and town and she finds herself ostracised by her friends - in 1954 an interracial relationship was unthinkable. Evelyn is summoned to the headmaster's office and he tells her that he has no choice but to insist she resign but he offers to give her a reasonable reference for her considerable teaching abilities to a more broadminded friend of his in another state.
Evelyn returns to her boarding house and finds offensive graffiti about her scrawled on the pavement and in her room her bags have been packed with a note from the landlady telling her to leave immediately. So she does and as we leave the story she is sitting waiting for a train to start the next stage of her life.
|Starring:||Anne Heywood (as Miss Evelyn Wyckoff), Donald Pleasence (as Dr Steiner, psychiatrist), John Lafayette (as Rafe Collins, janitor)|
|Featuring:||Robert Vaughn (as Dr Neal, GP), Earl Holliman (as Ed Eckles, bus driver), Carolyn Jones (as Beth, Evelyn's friend), Dana Elcar (as Headmaster), Ronee Blakley (as Betsy, schoolteacher), Dorothy Malone (as Mildred, schoolteacher), Doris Roberts (as Marie, schoolteacher)|
|This American film is reviewed here because of British actress Anne Heywood in the leading role although she is plays it as an American.|
|Writer: David T. Chantler / Director: Robert Day / Producer: Michael Carreras|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 101 mins|
|In Palestine in 1918 three Englishmen who were soldiers fighting there in the Great War have decided to remain in the country. They are Major Horace Holly, an academic who has fancies of being an explorer and finds himself in an ideal country to fulfil his ambitions; Job, his faithful valet who would follow the Major anywhere; and Leo Vincey, a handsome young man who served alongside the Major. They visit a night-club to celebrate surviving the war and enjoy the exotic dancing girls. An attractive young woman comes in and Leo becomes aware she seems to be focussing her attention specifically on him and he goes over to talk to her. Her name is Ustane and they soon decide to leave to be somewhere less public. They kiss in a doorway but suddenly she seems to be trying to warn him of something as he is struck from behind by her accomplice and rendered unconscious. Ustane appears to be less-than-proud of her actions as she is praised for her part in luring Leo here.
When Leo awakens he is indoors and is approached by an astonishingly beautiful woman. She tells him her name is Ayesha and asks if he does not recognise her or know who he really is. For it has been foretold that he would one day return to her from the darkness of the past. Although he has no knowledge of these matters he feels an astonishing attraction towards her. They kiss and he wants more but she says he must come to her elsewhere - she gives him a map that charts a route across the desert to the Mountains of the Moon. She warns him there will be many dangers but at the end of his journey there will be power, riches and glory waiting for him as indeed will She. Ayesha also gives him a signet ring to return to her when next they meet.
Later on Leo shows the ring to Major Holly who is convinced it is genuine and shows the mark of Isis and dates back to 1000 BC. The map seems to be leading to the mythical lost city of Kuma. Legend has it that several thousand years ago a band of rich Egyptians were banished to the desert for a terrible crime - but rather than perishing it is thought they survived and found a place to build a new hidden civilisation. Holly realises that it would be his crowning glory if he could discover the lost city and all the riches it must contain - so the three men set out on the perilous journey.
Their trek is dogged by incident and along the way lose their water supply and camels to bandits and in a shoot out Leo is wounded and becomes feverish. On their last legs they are saved when the young woman Ustane comes to them with water. She had fallen in love with Leo when she met him at the night-club and has been following close behind the explorers. She tells them her village is nearby and takes them there. She and her father live as the only outsiders amongst a tribal people called the Amahager who Ustane says are slave-people to the inhabitants of Kuma of which she was one before being banished. The tribespeople hate Ayesha, the Queen of Kuma, who rules without mercy and is much feared for her harsh and ruthless ways. Some Kumarian guards, whose uniforms are that of Roman centurions, then escort the travellers safely into the city.
Queen Ayesha congratulates her high priest Billali for the success of his task in managing to locate Leo Vincey in the outside world and they await his recovery from fever as he is cared for by the devoted Ustane. Once fully fit Leo tries to return the ring to Ayesha but she tells him it belongs to him for his successful journey here proves he is the reincarnation of a man called Killikrates whose destiny it was to return to her. As she explain things he begins to somehow recall events from those distant days many thousands of years ago. He had been the high priest of Isis and at an encampment on the banks of the Nile he had been romancing with a woman when a jealous lover had stabbed him to death for betraying her - that killer was Ayesha who had wanted him all for herself. She tells Leo for that crime she and her followers were banished to the desert but were met by an ancient mystic who brought them here to this place where they multiplied and formed a great city. The mystic recognised in her a special quality and chose her alone to be the recipient of the secret of immortality!
And she has been ruler ever since those days witnessing generations of her subjects pass by before her and the once proud city she helped found fall into ruin after a plague - leaving now only the great temples that are occupied by the remains of her people. But she foresees soon a time when the outside world will destroy itself and her time will come to take over and rule the entire world - and she wishes Leo/Killikrates to be at her side throughout eternity. She tells him the moment will soon come when the eternal flame of which she is guardian will grow cold and at that time it will be safe for him to walk through it, as she did thousands of years ago, to join her forever more in immortality.
Leo knows he loves Ayesha and wants to be with her - so he decides to proceed. Matters are complicated when the high priest Billali reveals his own treacherous ambitions to become immortal and so when the astronomical configuration is right and the eternal flame turns blue with cold Billali attempts to walk the flame himself - until Ayesha stabs him in the back. Leo is ready to make the walk but appears fearful of the flame even though Ayesha assures him that while cold it is perfectly safe and she suggests they walk through the flame together. Once in the flame Leo feels the immortality wash through him but for Ayesha something is going horribly wrong and she starts to weaken and age right before his eyes until she withers and dies, turning to dust as the years catch up on her.
Major Holly witnessed the events and speculates that a second walk through the flame must reverse the immortality effect and she did not know. The devastated Leo says he has no wish to spend eternity without her and tries to jump back into the flame but he is too late for it is once again burning hot. Holly comforts him saying that one day it will burn cold again and Leo (now Killikrates reborn) agrees saying that when it does it will find him waiting.
|Link: There was a sequel to this film titled The Vengeance of She (1968) which reversed the roles and it is Killikrates who is waiting for the reincarnation of Ayesha to emerge in the world and find her way to him and become immortal once more by his side. Luckily he does not have to wait quite as long as Ayesha did because that film is set in the present day of 1968 (50 years after the events of this film). In the sequel only John Richardson resumed his role since (mainly due to the passage of story time) none of the other surviving characters were required to return - except for Ayesha who is played by a different actress.|
|Starring:||Ursula Andress (as Ayesha), Peter Cushing (as Major Horace Holly), John Richardson (as Leo Vincey/Killikrates), Bernard Cribbins (as Job, Holly's valet), Christopher Lee (as Billali)|
|Featuring:||Rosenda Monteros (as Ustane), André Morell (as Haumeid, Ustane's father)|
|Starlets:||Soraya, Julie Mendez, Lisa Peake (as Night Club Dancers)|
|Based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard.|
|Writer: Michael Byron / Director: Michael Reeves / Producer: Paul Maslansky|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 78 mins|
|(Prologue) In July 1765 in the Transylvanian town of Bolborough, the local peasantry have been living with the menace of a murderous witch called Vadella and when they discover the location of her lair the church congregation travel en masse to vent their enraged retribution upon her. Ignoring advice from wiser heads to await the arrival of Count Von Helsing to perform a proper exorcism the townsfolk proceed to skewer the witch to a dunking chair and drown her in the lake. However before she dies and her body is consigned to the waters, their untutored action allows the hideous witch the time to issue a curse upon the villagers and all their descendants as she vows to one day return.
Two hundred years later in the present day (1965), Philip and Veronica are on their honeymoon taking in the magnificent Rumanian scenery of the Transylvanian province. They find themselves in the sleepy town of Bolborough when they get lost trying to find their way onto the autobahn to Bucharest. Since it is getting late they decide to stay at the only hotel in the town even though it is fairly decrepit and run by a seedy man called Ladislav Groper. They meet the current Count Von Helsing who tries to regale them with the supernatural legends of the area including the tale of the witch (seen in the prologue) but don't take him very seriously.
Later on that night Philip catches Groper peering in through the window watching their bedroom activities and gives him a good hiding. In revenge Groper sabotages their car and so when they set off the next day Philip loses control when swerving to avoid an oncoming truck and they plunge into the lake and sink. Philip manages to make it back to shore where he loses consciousness. The truck driver dives in and retrieves a body from the car which he wraps in a blanket. He takes the unconscious Philip and the body back to the hotel.
When Philip awakens and is told his wife is dead he looks at the body but it is not Veronica at all but a hideous crone of a woman. The truck driver tells him that she is what he found in the car. Von Helsing arrives and appears to know what is going on and tells Philip there is still hope for Veronica if Philip does everything he says. Vadella's ancient imprecation had portended her return and this body replacing that of his wife upon her drowning is the first step towards that. Tomorrow is the 200th anniversary of Vadella's death when she will reawaken to begin her revenge spree. Von Helsing's plan forestalls this event by using an incantation to awaken her a day early so that at the allotted time the next day he can kill her again, but this time using the correct exorcism ritual so that she stays dead for good - and he hopes that if he's successful Veronica will be returned to them in the witch's place.
When the witch is revived she is inhumanly strong and gets free to engage in an insane frenzy of murderous revenge on some of the descendant townspeople until Philip and Van Helsing can re-subdue her with modern anaesthetic.
At the allotted hour the next day they take the unconscious Vadella to the lake and harness her slowly reviving body to the dunking chair (still there after 200 years!) and Von Helsing performs the ritual - the only thing that worries him is their inability to use the skewer on her body since this would kill the emergent Veronica once the witch's evil transmogrified possession of her body is abated. However it appears his concerns were unwarranted for when the witch is dunked she disappears and floating in her place is the body of Veronica who proves to be very much alive to Philip's unbounded happiness and joy.
They drive off and Philip expresses his utter revulsion for the dreadful place they have just left but to his surprise Veronica does not agree and adds an enigmatic prediction that she'll be back (with the obvious implication that some essence of the witch remains embodied within her).
|Comment: There was one significant plot point I found I had to rationalise into the above description which (unless I missed it) wasn't really smoothed over properly - that being the matter of how and when the witch had been intending to revive herself once switching places with Veronica (else there wasn't much point in the switch from the witch's point of view if being a dead body was all that was achieved). Had she not been retrieved by the truck driver she would have remained in the water and was in either event dead until Von Helsing deliberately revived her. I therefore had to assume that witch would have spontaneously self-revived eventually and an obvious time for that to have happened (since it wasn't straight away) would have been at the exact 200th anniversary of her original death which Von Helsing considers so significant.|
|Starring:||Ian Ogilvy (as Philip), Barbara Steele (as Veronica), John Karlsen (as Count von Helsing), Mel Welles (as Ladislav Groper, Hotel owner)|
|Featuring:||Richard Watson (as Truck Driver), Jay Riley (as Police Lieutenant)|
|Starlets:||Lucrezia Love (as Local Girl)|
|The director's name is credited as "Mike Reeves"|
|I might have spelt the name of the town "Bolborough" slightly wrong but that's approximately what it sounded like in the dialogue. Similarly the spelling of the witch's name "Vadella".|
|The final chilling 'twist' line of the film makes effective use of a phrase made famous a few decades later in The Terminator films - "I'll Be Back". (and its usage here is not just as a fairly throwaway line but has some real significance - although of course it is probably given greater retrospective resonance because of its "signature phrase" status).|
|Writer/Director: Philippe de Broca / Producer: Andre Djaoui|
|Type: Fantasy Drama||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Prologue - in ancient Persia an astronomer is taking observations of the night sky when there is a thunderstorm and the voice of Allah speaks to him. The man is very sceptical it is truly Allah and so to prove it the all-powerful one turns the man into a genie and banishes him into a lamp. The inside of the lamp is set in 20th Century London where the genie, who now goes by the name of Jimmy Genious, lives with access to all the modern conveniences including a television upon which he can view the events back in his own time. End of Prologue
Start of Framing sequence. Back in Persia, a beautiful princess called Sheherazade is being led to the executioner's block to be beheaded. She has committed no crime, but she is the new wife of the Sultan and it is his tradition to execute his wives the day after he has married them. The executioner's two small sons are very sad that she is to die and start crying - so to cheer them up Sheherazade begins to tell them a story. There then follows a series of continuing adventures she tells featuring herself in the starring role ...
The King of Persia discovers that his wife is having an affair with his most trusted adviser, The Great Vizier. In his rage the King accidentally kills his wife and the Vizier only escapes severe punishment when he promises to find the King a replacement. The Vizier's first thought is of his own daughter but she is just too ugly - then in the market place he spots a female slave for sale of rare and exquisite beauty. Her name is Sheherazade and he purchases her and then dresses her up in fine clothes and presents her to the King. But Sheherazade is a steely character and refuses to co-operate with the King's amorous requirements despite the generous ring he presents her with. The King sends her back to the Vizier who returns her to the trader and gets his money back.
Sheherazade calls over to a young man in the market and gives him the King's expensive ring and asks him to help her by buying her with it. The young man, whose name is Aladdin does as she asks and they run off together. He is a poor man with no home and they stay in a makeshift lean-to near some old ruins. Sheherazade finds an old lamp and decides to go and sell it for some food. She rubs the lamp to clean it and out pops Jimmy the Genie who is hers to command. Jimmy provides her with food and she returns to Aladdin and they keep the lamp.
Next day the King's soldiers find Sheherazade and drag her away. Aladdin calls upon Jimmy to help and he provides a modern day motorbike which they use to chase after the soldiers and rescue her. The technology is invisible to the local people and all they see is the amazing sight of Aladdin skimming fast along the ground, picking up Sheherazade and escaping.
(Aside: every now and again we return to the framing sequence and see that Sheherazade's tales have captivated her audience which has grown considerably in number as they congregate around the executioner's platform listening to her speak.)
Sheherazade is now in another kingdom where she has found herself a position of privilege. However the King is visiting and wants to recapture her and she flees. She is cornered on the edge of a sheer cliff and escape seems impossible until Jimmy turns up in a bi-plane and whisks her away (and to the soldiers she appears to fly by her own magical power). The flight takes Sheherazade across the sea until the fuel runs low and Jimmy gives her a parachute and tells her to jump. The rushing wind blows all her clothes off before the parachute is deployed and she finally lands naked in the lap of a man sitting outside a tavern feeling sorry for himself.
The middle-aged man's name is Sinbad and he is a down-on-his-luck storyteller whom people have grown weary of listening to because he has no new stories to tell. He and Sheherazade team up for a while as she dances for money and he manages her - then the King's men recognise her and she is on the run again with Sinbad in tow. They take to the sea on a sailing boat and lose their pursuers. But Sinbad has no seamanship skills and accidentally scuttles the boat mid-ocean - it sinks and they take to a hastily built raft. Jimmy briefly brings them through his portal into the 20th century where they experience the wonders of watching television and learning of future inventions. Then they are returned to their perilous situation in the ocean in the middle of a storm. Sinbad is swept overboard but Sheherazade manages to cling to the raft and is later picked up by a pirate vessel which her winning ways manage to commandeer and take her safely back to port. She is pleased to see that Sinbad somehow made it too and is busy regaling punters with a whole new series of tall tales - she leaves him there and moves on.
Sheherazade is dressed as a sailor lad and audaciously joins the King's caravan incognito. But when she goes swimming in the sea virtually naked the King sees her and realises she is Sheherazade for whom he has been searching. The King is after a more simple life away from his responsibilities and he and Sheherazade start up a circus act using modern (invisible) trampolines provided by Jimmy who also uses his magic to make the King disappear in mid-air (which entails the King visiting Jimmy's 20th Century land). The ambitious Great Vizier sees this happen and steals the lamp while the King is still inside and throws it into the sea so the monarch cannot return. Then he arrests Sheherazade for the King's disappearance and sets himself up as the new ruler. Sheherazade is suspended in a cage in the courtyard and is set to be executed.
The lamp gets swallowed by a large fish which is captured by a fisherman who discards the lamp which is then picked up by a magpie who rubs it and lets Jimmy out to stage a rescue with the King. Using a helicopter they fly over the palace to where Sheherazade is to be executed - the King is sitting on a rug inside the helicopter and to the crowd it appears he is flying in on a magic carpet. The Vizier pretends he is happy to see the King back and Sheherazade is freed. Allah is pleased with Jimmy and releases him from the genie spell and returns him to being a normal man. And it all ends happily for everyone.
|Comment: The version being reviewed was in German with no subtitles so I will have inevitably missed certain intricacies and may have made a few assumptions along the way. Fortunately it is quite a visual film and so it was possible to broadly follow what was going on.|
|Starring:||Catherine Zeta Jones (as Sheherazade), Gérard Jugnot (as Jimmy Genious, the genie), Thierry Lhermitte (as The King), Stéphane Freiss (as Aladdin), Vittorio Gassman (as Sinbad), Roger Carel (as The Great Vizier)|
|Featuring:||Georges Montillier (as The Executioner)|
|Original story by Philippe de Broca and Jérôme Tonnerre|
|Catherine Zeta Jones receives an "introducing" credit|
|The version reviewed carried the title Sheherazade" and had been dubbed into German. The credits however were all written in English (i.e. the job titles, etc) so possibly this means that there is an English language version of the film which this was dubbed from. According to IMDB the original language was French - whether this information is correct or not I don't know - however the fact that England was chosen for the Genie's 20th Century location means that English might have been the underlying language originally used.|
|This film is a French/Italian/Swiss co-production. The French title is Les 1001 nuits (meaning "1001 Nights"). It was made in 1990 which places it slightly out of the coverage scope intended for this site - but its rarity value combined with it being the screen debut for future star name British actress Catherine Zeta Jones has secured it a placing.|
|This film is based on the story of the Arabian Nights. This is a collection of a couple of hundred stories that a condemned princess called Sheherazade began telling to delay her "traditional" execution on the day after her wedding to the Sultan. Each day she would end on a cliff-hanger and the Sultan would spare her for another day so she could continue the tale. This went on for 1001 Nights and at the end the Sultan had so fallen in love with her that he let her live.|
|Writers: David C. Rea , Theo Martin / Director: David C. Rea / Producer: Peter Newbrook|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 89 mins|
|Alan Simpson and Mike Carter are both married men who work together at Parker Perfumes. They are research chemists whose job it is to come up with creative new compounds with interesting aromas. Their current project is to create an after-shave scent for a range of men's' toiletries that is soon to be launched although they are having difficulty coming up with something special.
Mike and Alan are travelling into work on the day that an evaluation panel are going to be assessing their latest brews and Mike tells his friend of an extraordinary thing that happened to him on the way home on the train the previous evening - this girl he didn't know was all over him - she was demanding sex from him like a crazy woman and must have thought he was someone else because she kept calling him "John". Alan thinks his friend is joking because that sort of thing just doesn’t happen to them. At work the evaluation panel consider all their latest submissions to be very poor and their angry boss Andrew Coombes gives them a deadline to come up with something remarkable. Back in the laboratory Alan sees a vial of pink liquid and asks Mike about it who tells him he made it up last night but didn't have time to catalogue it and put it in today's evaluations. Alan tries a bit of it on and they give it an index number of BK142. A pretty research assistant comes in and catches a whiff of Alan's aroma and she goes wild with lust ripping her clothes off and taking him into a cupboard whilst calling him "George". Once Alan has managed to extricate himself from her nymphomaniacal clutches the pair conclude that it must be BK142 - Mike remembers he had some on when he went home last night which would explain his encounter on the train.
The two perfumerers realise they have struck gold with this mixture - an aroma that will change the balance of power between the sexes and enable men to turn any woman they choose into a slavish puppy that will follow them anywhere for sex. They think it is too early to tell their boss Coombes about it and instead they decide that they should carry out some field trials. They find an abandoned army barracks in the woods in Effingham which they spruce up into a love nest and using the new perfume they lure there random girls that they meet on the train home to have sex with. They discover the incorrect name calling is because the aroma changes a woman's perceptions and she sees the wearer as the man of her dreams. During this time Mike and Alan tell their wives they are working late.
Although they still have some of the original batch remaining they decide to brew up a new batch using the detailed formula Mike documented in his research notes. But when they try some of the new batch it fails to have any unusual effect on women. They try again and still it fails. They cannot fathom what is different until they realise that they are using a different consignment number of one particular ingredient. And then they discover that the previous consignment was withdrawn and recalled because it was found to be contaminated. They have no more of the contaminated ingredient left in stock and have no idea what the contaminant was so cannot duplicate their product. They embark of a programme of randomly trying out different contaminants to try and discover what it might be although it is an almost hopeless exercise.
Then Coombes discovers the amazing potential of BK142 when he idly puts some original batch on the back of his hand when he wanders into the lab looking for the scientists and then back in his office his ultra-efficient and normally quite icy secretary is overcome with a wild frenzy of lust for him. Coombes demands to know more and is angry they kept their discovery from him. He accompanies the chemists to the Effingham love-nest to recover the remaining original samples and research and field study notes they have kept there. But the army have just decided to demolish the abandoned barracks and although the notes are saved all remaining original BK142 is destroyed.
Coombes insists the chemists work flat-out to duplicate the original work and use trial and error methods to discover what the contaminant was. Around this time the men's wives are becoming increasingly suspicious of all the overtime their husbands claim to be doing and decide to pay a visit to the lab to check up on them. And at the lab Mike seems to have finally discovered the correct contaminant and he waves the new brew under Alan's nose but this is a mistake because it affects Alan's senses and he becomes lustful towards Mike and gives him a big kiss just as the wives come in and see them. (BIG LAUGH ENDING)
|Comment: Despite the racy subject matter it is remarkably coy for a seventies film of this type - when the sex-crazed women strip off they always keep their underwear on with the exception of one scene in which one of the Collinson twins is seen topless.|
|Starring:||Keith Barron (as Alan Simpson), Kenneth Cope (as Mike Carter), Richard Vernon (as Andrew Coombes, their boss)|
|Featuring:||Hilary Pritchard (as Diane, Alan's wife), Philippa Gail (as Jane, Mike's wife), Sandra Bryant (as Sue, lab assistant), Penny Brahms (as Mary Cawfield, Coombes' secretary)|
|Familiar Faces:||Bob Todd (Car salesman)|
|Starlets:||Anna Matisse, Andrea Allan, Josephine Baxter, Mary Collinson, Madeleine Collinson, Linda Cunningham, Valerie Stanton, Me Me Lay, Sheila Ruskin, Jennifer Watts|
|Only one of the Collinson twins is seen topless - but unknown which of the two she was.|
|Writers: Stanley Price, Alastair Reid, Wilbur Smith / Director: Peter Hunt / Producer: Michael Klinger|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 112 mins|
|Set in Africa and starting in 1913 shortly before the onset of the Great War. Colonel Flynn O'Flynn is an aging American roughneck who lives in Zanzibar making his living from poaching and selling ivory. He has a big order and plans to hunt the elephants in a territory owned by the German Kaiser and governed by German Commissioner Herman Fleischer. The British have a strong presence in the area and so O'Flynn plans to sail up the river under a British flag anticipating this will forestall any attempt to board and inspect his cargo by a German patrol boat. For this he needs a pliable Englishman to act as a figurehead captain and fortunately the very candidate arrives on the next sailing from England...
Sebastian Oldsmith is an unremarkable Englishman from a privileged background sent away by his family to work on a cousin's sheep farm in Australia as a convenient way of being rid of him. Sebastian is warm and sincere but naïvely prone to manipulation by a canny operator ... such as O'Flynn.
Overnight O'Flynn arranges for Sebastian's wallet, passport and travel tickets to be stolen so that he cannot pay for his room or proceed with the rest of his journey. Then O'Flynn presents himself as a Good Samaritan and offers Sebastian a job as skipper of his boat to help rebuild his funds. Sebastian is out of options and accepts the offer.
The ivory is collected but on the way back down river Commissioner Fleisher's patrol shows no signs of respect for the British flag and comes after them in a gunboat with murderous intent against their unarmed vessel. O'Flynn is wounded and it is only through Sebastian's quick thinking that they manage to get away from their pursuers. Sebastian proves that in an emergency situation he can display adroit leadership that belies his aversion to risk and danger.
O'Flynn takes Sebastian back to his homestead farm where he lives with his daughter Rosa. Sebastian and Rosa get on well together and fall in love. They marry and have a baby. Meanwhile O'Flynn and Sebastian continue to be a thorn in Fleisher's side raiding his foot patrols and stealing the taxes he levies on the native tribespeople. When war is declared in Europe, Fleisher's hands are no longer tied and he is given free reign to enter other territories and spread terror and confusion amongst the fatherland's enemies - he seizes the opportunity to take personal revenge on the irritating poacher and attacks and burns down the O'Flynn farm while the men are away. He kills Rosa's baby although he spares Rosa.
The O'Flynn's vow vengeance and mount a sustained campaign of harassment attacks against Fleisher's patrols creating a big nuisance for him. But because O'Flynn knows the territory so well he is impossible to capture. Eventually the British navy hear of O'Flynn's exploits and hire his services to locate a German battleship in the area that has hidden itself in one of the tributaries undergoing repairs and restocking arms so it can spring a surprise attack on British convoy ships. It is vital that it be destroyed to prevent it devastating the British fleet.
Sebastian surveys the area in a new-fangled flying machine and locates the German ship. He then gets on board the German battleship disguised as a native porter and plants a timebomb in the armoury which will destroy the ship when the ordnance is detonated. Everything seems to have gone remarkably smoothly until Sebastian and O'Flynn realise that while they were away one of Fleisher's patrols had located their camp and captured Rosa and that she has been taken onto the battleship to be questioned about the whereabouts of her husband and father.
The bomb is still primed to explode and so Sebastian and O'Flynn must return to the battleship to rescue Rosa. They stealthily board the ship and whilst O'Flynn creates a diversion Sebastian frees Rosa and gets her safely back to shore. Unfortunately O'Flynn is mortally wounded and cannot make it away in time and he dies as the bomb goes off and the battleship is destroyed
|Starring:||Lee Marvin (as Colonel Flynn O'Flynn), Roger Moore (as Sebastian Oldsmith), Barbara Parkins (as Rosa, Flynn's daughter)|
|Featuring:||Ian Holm (as Mohammed, Flynn's Mute manservant), Rene Kolldehoff (as Herman Fleischer, German Commissioner), Karl Michael Vogler (as Von Kleine, captain of German battleship), Horst Janson (as Kyller, second-in-command of battleship)|
|Based on the book Shout at the Devil by Wilbur Smith|
|Writers: Michael Austin, Jerzy Skolimowski / Director: Jerzy Skolimowski / Producer: Jeremy Thomas|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 82 mins|
|(prologue) A cricket match is being played in the grounds of a nursing home and in the scoring hut a man called Charles Crossley is telling a newcomer called Robert Graves a story from a while ago about himself and one of the competitors called Anthony Fielding whose wife is a nurse here...
Anthony Fielding is a musician who enjoys experimenting with strange sounds. He also plays the church organ and one day on his way back from church he meets a drifter called Crossley who is down on his luck. Through Anthony's good nature, Crossley manages to invite himself to his home for a meal which then turns into an extended stay. Both Anthony and his wife Rachel wonder if he will ever leave since Crossley is not the easiest of men to talk to. Crossley tells them how he spent eighteen years in the Australian outback living with the aborigines, abiding by their laws governing childbirth and marriage, and learning their traditional mystical ways.
Crossley also tells Anthony that he has perfected the use of the "Terror Shout" taught to him by an aboriginal mystic which enables him to instantly kill with the sound of his voice alone. Anthony is naturally sceptical and asks for a demonstration. Crossley advises him to wear earplugs and then takes him to a remote sand dune on the coast where he proceeds to issue forth a roar so loud it renders Anthony unconscious despite his ear protection. Animals, seabirds and an unseen farmer in the vicinity all die - and in a nearby village people feel ill.
Crossley then returns to the house and proceeds to use his mystical abilities to make Rachel become enraptured and totally servile to him and his sexual needs. Anthony is unable to do anything to stop him for fear of the Shout. Crossley tells Anthony that he has used his magic to enchant Rachel by means of the appropriation of an item personal to her.
Anthony works out that shoes are the key and that Crossley has a buckle from one of Rachel's shoes. So he takes a pair of Crossley's shoes out to the sand dune and finds some mystical stones that Crossley was using and proceeds to destroy the shoes with the stones. Back at the house this causes Crossley to double up in pain just as the police arrive to arrest him for an earlier crime he committed.
(epilogue) ... back into the framing story at the cricket match when Crossley has finished telling his story we discover that it is a mental hospital and Crossley is a patient but are unsure if he was making the whole story up or not. Then there is some sort of disturbance and the game gets disrupted by unruly patients. Crossley panics and as orderlies try to subdue him he issues his "Shout" - Graves runs for his life as behind him the scoring hut explodes and everyone inside including Crossley dies.
|Comment: The last parts of the film are fairly confusing and hard to make complete sense of so I've done my best to interpret what I think was going on.|
|Starring:||Alan Bates (as Charles Crossley), Susannah York (as Rachel Fielding), John Hurt (as Anthony Fielding)|
|Featuring:||Tim Curry (as Robert Graves, man to whom Crossley is telling his story in framing sequence), Nick Stringer (as Cobbler), Carol Drinkwater (as Cobbler's wife)|
|Familiar Faces:||Jim Broadbent (as Cricketer, minor cameo)|
|Based on a story by Robert Graves|
|Writer: D.B. Ledrov / Director: David Greene / Producer: Phillip Hazelton|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Set in modern day America. Susannah and her husband Mike Kelton are heading for the remote community of Dunwich Island in New England to set up a summer home in an old mill house. Susannah Kelton (née Whateley) used to live there as a very young child before being sent away to live in New York by her Aunt Agatha after her parents died. The mill was long ago abandoned but upon becoming twenty-one Susannah inherited the property. Susannah feels a sense of dread as they approach because although she left when she was only 4-years old she has a stark memory of a truly terrifying evil presence with strong hostile thoughts towards her.
The islanders are a superstitious folk and seem very troubled that the old mill is going to be opened up. Old Aunt Agatha is still alive and she is especially dismayed to discover that Susannah has come back - she speaks of Whateley family curses that would be better left undisturbed.
The local youths are a rowdy bunch of sex-starved roughnecks and their leader Ethan is intimidating towards Susannah barely disguising his carnal interest in her - and it is only Mike's protective presence that holds him back.
At the old mill there is a shuttered door to a barn loft room. It becomes clear (to the viewer) that there is something lurking in the loft watching the new arrivals as they work to make the derelict property habitable once more.
A local girl wanders into the barn one night whilst the Keltons are asleep and is killed by a frenzied attacker. Aunt Agatha arrives later and manages to coax the creature back into the loft where she re-manacles it to a safety chain from which it had managed to get free. Aunt Agatha is clearly a regular visitor who feeds the animalistic thing. (NOTE: The viewer does not see the creature at all - only its camera point of view).
Next day, unaware of the previous night's activities, Mike visits Aunt Agatha to question her about what is behind all the superstitions. Aunt Agatha confesses that she made up the curse to keep the islanders away from the old mill where she cares as best she can for a poor unfortunate mindless wretch who was responsible for the deaths of Susannah's parents. Back then Aunt Agatha sent the child Susannah away to keep her safe and now that she has returned Agatha is deeply concerned about her safety. Agatha assumed responsibility for the creature keeping it fed and secure whilst fostering the story of a curse to deter the superstitious locals from going anywhere near the mill.
Meanwhile Ethan has gone to the mill to take advantage of Susannah whilst she is on her own. He is aggressive towards her and she flees hiding in the dark loft room unaware of what lurks inside. Ethan follows lighting a flame torch to see by. The thing attacks Ethan and he falls to his death. His torch starts a fire and Susannah is shocked when she sees that the thing looks just like her. A savage wild-eyed woman with a frenzied look of madness whom Susannah realises must be her sister.
Mike arrives with Agatha and gets Susannah to safety as the fire takes hold. He wants to rescue the sister as well but Agatha says the thing will only trust her. Agatha goes in but she locks the door after deciding that enough is enough and it is better that they both die in the fire. Mike and Susannah withdraw to a safe distance as they watch the whole mill house burn to the ground.
|Comment: The "origin" of the mad sister is not really explained. She looks like Susannah although it seems unfeasible she is a twin because in a prologue when Susannah was just a toddler the thing is seen (in camera point-of-view mode) to attack the petrified parents and so must really have been an older sister for that scene to have made proper sense.|
|Starring:||Gig Young (as Mike Kelton), Carol Lynley (as Susannah Kelton), Oliver Reed (as Ethan), Flora Robson (as Aunt Agatha)|
|Featuring:||Judith Arthy (as Emma, Ethan's girlfriend), William Devlin (as Zebulon Whateley, Susannah's uncle), Charles Lloyd Pack (as Ferryman)|
|From the book The Shuttered Room by August Derleth and H.P. Lovecraft|
|Although the film was set in America and had American lead actors it was made in the UK and had some British actors in supporting roles.|
|Writers: Garry Chambers, Ron Inkpen, Peter James, Beresford / Director: Bruce Beresford / Producer: Drummond Challis|
|Type: Comedy / Music||Running Time: 82 mins|
|In the town of Sludgley two vastly different types of night-clubs are located side by side in adjoining properties and the bitter rivalry between the owners has put both establishments on charges of breaching the peace. Max Nugget runs The Golden Nugget a club dedicated to traditional variety acts while Gary runs Sound City which features bands playing the latest pop songs and likes to keep up with the modern trends. Both places have struggled of late to attract any top-line names.
Both clubs licences are up for renewal and the magistrate decides to abide by an ancient town by-law from 1628 that states the town should have only one club. The magistrate gives both owners one month to prove which of them most deserves to be that club saying that they must conspicuously improve the standard of entertainment they provide.
Both owners are left with the problem of how to get some top acts in to see off their rival. Max Nugget is an old-timer who once worked with some of entertainment's greatest names but looking through his address book realises that they are all dead now. His nephew Rodney who works as a pianist at Max's club suggests they call his cousin Julia who works at a talent agency. Julia wants to help although tells Max that her agency mostly deals with music acts but she'll see what she can do and get back to him.
Meanwhile Gary has driven to London determined to book a top pop band to play at his club. He has picked the very agency that Julia works for and buttonholes her when he sees her coming out and with his Irish charm blags that he runs a top variety theatre but wants to branch out into pop music and can she help at all. Julia and Gary are both quite unaware of the triangle of coincidence and believing him to be on the level she tells him that if he can help her out by finding a top comedian for her uncle then she'll help with a top pop act for him. They subsequently get quite friendly and start a romantic relationship.
In a restaurant with her Gary blags an introduction from a top comedian who is also dining there but when the identity of Julia's uncle emerges Gary thinks it has been some sort of set-up and walks out on her. Julia continues negotiating with the comedian and he agrees to perform at Max's club - and Julia keeps to her side of the bargain and books some top pop acts to play at Gary's club.
Both clubs are running their top acts on the same night and each get a good turnout. Max's comedian goes down well as do Gary's pop bands and it is unclear which club might be the victor. So Gary sneaks into Max's club determined to sabotage his rival's night - he starts a stampede to the bar by mimicking Max's voice saying drinks are on the house. This results in an all-out brawl amongst the patrons and the establishment descends into one big punch up. People are thrown against the adjoining walls which are so thin that they fall through and the fighting spreads into the other club as well. Eventually things calm down and all the patrons begin to enjoy the same entertainment. The council inspector who had been attending both events and has come off badly in all the fighting declares he will have both places shut down for this. But Max makes the snap decision that he cannot do that because the ancient by-law states there must be one club - and since the adjoining walls have been broken down they are effectively now just one big club. Gary thinks it is a great idea and they join forces and rename the two combined clubs as Golden City which becomes the centre of Sludgley's cultural life.
|Starring:||Terry-Thomas (as Max Nugget), Barry Humphries (as Rodney), Billy Boyle (as Gary), Stephanie De Sykes (as Julia Forester)|
|Featuring:||Jennifer Guy (as Violet, dancer at Nugget's), Dave Mount (as Flip, Gary's assistant), Sheila Collings (as Bessie, cleaner), Frank Thornton (as Council Inspector Crumb), Geoffrey Sumner (as Magistrate), Joe Baker (as Himself/comedian)|
|Starlets:||Maggie Wright (as Julia's friend at agency)|
|Stephanie De Sykes and Billy Boyle both receive "introducing" credits. Although Billy Boyle had previously had a prominent role in Groupie Girl (1970)|
|Featuring full musical performances by:- Hello; Mac and Katie Kissoon; Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band; Desmond Dekker and the Israelites; Mud; Kenny; Rubettes; Fox; and Stephanie De Sykes.|
|Writer: Curtis Hanson / Director: Daryl Duke / Producers: Joel B. Michaels, Stephen Young|
|Type: Canadian / Crime Drama||Running Time: 100 mins|
|Miles Cullen is head teller at the First Bank of Toronto. One day after closing time in the run up to Christmas he is clearing up and on the carbon under-copy of a bank slip he finds imprinted a note indicating the bearer has a gun and to hand over the money. Miles realises that someone that day must have been planning a hold-up and had written the note resting on the pad but then aborted their plan for some reason. Later in the mall he sees a Santa holding a hand-written sign and notices the unusual formation of the letter G matches that on the note. He also recalls that a Santa had been in the bank earlier who had been bothered by a child and left without being served. Miles realises that the man will probably try again and sees a golden opportunity for himself. The next day when he sees the Santa arrives he sneaks a sizeable quantity of cash into his own briefcase under his desk with the intention that the extra missing cash will be put down to the robbery. When "Santa" hands over his newly re-written note Miles hands over the money delaying raising the alarm for as long as possible until the man has a chance to get away. Santa escapes and Miles' own robbery goes unsuspected. Miles is interviewed on TV and hailed a mini-hero for his ordeal - the total haul of missing money is also given in the report as over $48,000. Miles proceeds to hide the money in a personal safe deposit box in the bank itself.
"Santa" is a hard-nosed villain called Harry Reikle and when he sees the news reports he knows something is wrong because he did not get away with nearly as much as was reported. He realises the bank teller Miles somehow pulled a fast one and makes contact with him at home. Harry threatens Miles with violence if he does not hand over the rest of the money. Miles is scared but he is also smart and manages to set Harry up with a minor vehicle theft and report him to the police for that and he is arrested and charged for that and other violent offences (unconnected to the bank robbery) and locked up on remand safely out of Miles' way.
Miles is sweet on fellow bank employee Julie who is the security operations officer - they speculate on what they would do if they had all that money that was stolen and Miles tells her he would lay low with it until the heat dies down and then follow his dreams.
Miles is chatted up by a young woman called Elaine with whom he starts an affair but whom he eventually discovers is a friend of Harry's working on his instructions from prison. However Miles discovers she would rather be rid of the violent and unpredictable villain and Miles takes her into his confidence.
Harry escapes and kills Elaine when he suspects she has betrayed him by not revealing where the money is. Miles is appalled and knows he must do something to appease this man so he will be satisfied. He tells Harry that the money is at the bank and he should come back and rob the branch again and Miles will hand over the money then.
Miles retrieves "his" money from the safe-deposit box and puts it in his briefcase - however he is planning to hand over more of the bank's own money rather than his own haul and then raise the alarm early so Harry is caught in the act. Things go to plan up to the point when Miles triggers the alarm at which point Harry shoots Miles for his betrayal and then makes a run for it but he is gunned down himself by a security guard. Harry dies but Miles is only wounded and survives. Julie who has suspected Miles and has found the money in his abandoned briefcase accompanies him in the ambulance. She has brought his briefcase and reveals she knows what he did but is not going to report him instead they will follow that dream together.
|Starring:||Elliott Gould (as Miles Cullen), Christopher Plummer (as Harry Reikle, villain), Susannah York (as Julie Carver), Céline Lomez (as Elaine)|
|Featuring:||Michael Kirby (as Charles Packard, bank manager), John Candy (as Simonsen, bank clerk), Gail Dahms (as Louise, new girl bank clerk), Ken Pogue (as Detective Willard), Charlotte Blunt (as Mrs Packard, Charles' wife)|
|Starlets:||Nancy Simmonds (as Girl in Sauna)|
|Based on the novel Think of a Number by Anders Bodelsen.|
|This Canadian film is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Susannah York.|
|Writer: Peter Stone / Director: Ivan Passer / Producers: Arlene Sellers, Alex Winitsky|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 108 mins|
|Doc Fletcher is a financial expert who works for an American mobster called Joe Fiore. Joe likes to appear as legitimate as possible but also needs a way of laundering his black market money. Doc puts forward a proposal that Joe could buy a bank in Switzerland to facilitate this. Doc is keen to run such a bank himself and even has an Italian prince involved to scout out a suitable purchase and act as their legitimate front man. Joe agrees to bankroll the project for $3 million.
Doc needs to make an impact to get the new bank moving and the Prince introduces him to Shireen Firdausi and her brother Agha who have discovered a rich silver deposit deep in the Persian desert which stands to make billions. The Firdausis need funds to get the mining operation up and running and wish to borrow $20 million from Doc's bank using their mine deeds as security.
Doc's bank stages a sumptuous grand opening function for the rich and powerful from the Prince's address book to attract depositors and raise the loan capital for the mine project. The Firdausis are soon producing silver in such sufficient quantity that the market price declines slightly and this greatly worries super-rich silver investor Charles Cook.
Cook wants to shut down the mine but knows the only way is to take over Doc's bank and foreclose on the loan so the bank would then own the mine. But Cook cannot allow his famous name to be associated with the deal because his intentions would be too obvious. So Cook makes an arrangement with Henry Foreman of the Californian First National Bank that if his bank buys the Swiss bank he will then refund their purchase price in exchange for just the loan note and they will have essentially bought the Swiss bank for free. Inexperienced bank lawyer Donald Luckman is asked to produce a financial report on the proposed purchase which masks the specifics of the mine deed asset behind a different heading. The amount offered to Doc for the bank is $60 million and Joe Fiore is very keen to accept this fantastic return on his original outlay. However Doc is reluctant to give up the bank which he enjoys running and knows that the mining deal is worth more than that. Joe tells him that if he can raise the $60 million himself he can buy the bank from Joe and continue to run it.
Doc approaches the Firdausis seeking their help because they stand to lose the mine if the money cannot be raised. The Firdausis then reveal the unexpected bombshell that there is no mine! What they have been doing is importing black market silver and smelting it down into silver bullion bars and purporting them to come from their non-existent mine. But nevertheless their operation is huge business and they were not actually trying to swindle Doc but needed to spin a legitimate seeming story in order to get the necessary start-up capital to fund their operation.
With this new information Doc revises his strategy and decides to accept Henry Foreman's offer of $60 million for his bank. This money goes to Joe and he is happy. Then Doc tells Cook that there is no silver mine and so Cook declines to pay Foreman for the loan note which is now of no use to him. Foreman feels cheated but his lawyer tells him that they have $50 million fraud protection insurance in place and so won't lose everything. Doc agrees to pay Foreman the $10 million shortfall to buy back his now much devalued bank - and this money Doc obtains from Cook who agrees to pay it in exchange for an agreement from the Firdausis not to dump their illicit silver onto the market all at once. Doc keeps his bank and everyone is a winner - except the fall guy lawyer Donald Luckman who has to go to jail for producing a fraudulent financial report.
|Comment: There is an additional plot complexity involving the ditsy wife of bank lawyer Donald Luckman whom Doc seduces to discover what Cook and his associates are up to and ends up falling in love with her - and she with him.|
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Doc Fletcher), Louis Jourdan (as Prince di Siracusa), Cybill Shepherd (as Debbie Luckman, bank lawyer's wife), Jay Leno (as Albert Fiore, Joe's son, Doc's assistant), Tony Mascia (as Marvin Skinner, Doc's assistant)|
|Featuring:||Martin Balsam (as Joe Fiore, Doc's mobster boss), Stéphane Audran (as Shireen Firdausi), David Warner (as Agha Firdausi), Charles Gray (as Charles Cook, rich silver merchant), Joss Ackland (as Henry Foreman, American Bank President), Tom Smothers (as Donald Luckman, bank lawyer), Jeremy Clyde (as Nick Topping, Cook's assistant)|
|Starlets:||Patricia Lecchi (as Maria, Maid at villa)|
|Based on the novel The Silver Bears by Paul Erdman|
|Writer/Director: David Wickes / Producer: René Dupont|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Nick Freeman is a keen motorbike racer who enjoys competitive racing - but he is an also-ran who is competent but not quite good enough to make it big time and get the financial backing of a team sponsor. Nick's bike is on its last legs and is kept in race-shape with second-hand parts only by the efforts of his mechanic friend Cider Jones - whereas fellow competitors such as cocksure American Champion Bruce McBride have the financial might of Transworld Racing behind them with an entourage of mechanics keeping things in tip-top shape. Nick strongly dislikes McBride because he once witnessed McBride and his team-mates boxing a competitor in during a race - a cynical tactic that can result in the affected rider becoming so furious that he can essentially commit suicide with dangerous manoeuvres in his efforts to extricate himself - this is what happened on that occasion although it was put down as a tragic race accident. That rider's young widow, Julie Prince, is part of McBride's entourage not knowing that her husband's death had been anything other than a tragic accident.
Nick's older brother Greg is also keenly into motorcycling and using his engineering degree has spent three years of his spare time designing a sleek lightweight carbon-fibre framed prototype 500cc bike that he calls Silver Dream Racer.
When Greg is tragically killed dirt track riding (on a normal bike) Nick inherits Silver Dream and decides to use it to race in the upcoming 500cc World Motorcycle Championship at Silverstone. Cider warns him not to compete because Silver Dream Racer is awesomely powerful and he fears Nick doesn't have the experience to handle such a high performance bike.
Nick and Julie meet and after a rocky start become friends and eventually lovers and he tells her what he believed happened to her late husband. Nick needs a sponsor to help with the upkeep of his new bike and manages to gain backing from a specialist investor. Nick, helped by Julie and Cider, spends time practising in time-trials as he becomes used to Silver Dream's performance and handling characteristics putting in impressive times. They find that the bike's best performance is gained only after it has been run-in and warmed up for a while.
The day of the World Championship race arrives and McBride realises that Nick is now a serious contender so before the race starts he gives the nod to his team-mates. The long multi-lap race goes well and Nick is keeping in contention with the more experienced race leaders. But then he finds himself boxed in by McBride and his rider-friends - and watching in the crowd Julie realises with fear that this is exactly what happened to her late husband. But Nick has a cooler head and rather than dangerously jockey for an opening he allows himself to fall behind to a normally unrecoverable position and then opens up with the now warmed-up Silver Dream's extra power and comes up on the longer outside track instead and surges ahead of the pack and wins the race with ease.
|Comment: There are two endings to this film. In the happy ending (the one reviewed here) the film ends on a jubilant freeze frame as Nick raises his arms in triumph as he passes the finish line. In the sad ending the picture doesn't freeze and Nick goes on to lose control of the bike and crash.|
|Starring:||David Essex (as Nick Freeman), Clarke Peters (as Cider Jones), Cristina Raines (as Julie Prince), Beau Bridges (as Bruce McBride, Trans-World rider)|
|Featuring:||Sheila White (as Carol, Nick's girlfriend), Ed Bishop (as Al Peterson, owner of Trans-World Racing), Diane Keen (as Tina Freeman, Nick's sister-in-law), Harry H. Corbett (as Wiggins, Garage foreman), Patrick Ryecart (as Benson, businessman that sponsors Nick), T.P. McKenna (Bank Manager), Nick Brimble (as Jack Davis, mechanic), Lee Montague (as Jack Freeman, Nick's father)|
|Familiar Faces:||Elizabeth Sladen (as Bank Secretary, [fleeting cameo role])|
|Starlets:||June Chadwick (as Mr Benson's Secretary)|
|Original story by Michael Billington|
|Writer: Beverley Cross / Director: Sam Wanamaker / Producers: Charles H. Schneer, Ray Harryhausen|
|Type: Fantasy / Adventure||Running Time: 108 mins|
|Set in the mystical past. Captain Sinbad is returning to the Arabian port city of Charac with his crew after a year at sea. He intends to ask for the hand of Princess Farah, but he finds the city in crisis - Farah's father, the Kasir (king) died a few months ago and Farah's brother Prince Kassim was due to be crowned. But during his coronation ceremony he was transformed by witchcraft into a baboon. The perpetrator of this outrage is believed to be the royal siblings' stepmother Zenobia who wants her own son Rafi to become the new Kasir. If Kassim cannot be returned to normal within seven months the right to the throne will be forfeit and Rafi will crowned instead.
Sinbad is eager to help but the only chance to reverse the powerful magic is to seek the advice of a legendary alchemist called Melanthius who lives on a remote and hard to reach island called Fagia. Sinbad sets sail accompanied by the princess and the babooned prince. Although the prince cannot talk in his new form he is still intelligent. The evil Zenobia learns of Sinbad's quest and follows in her own smaller vessel determined to do what she can to foil Sinbad's efforts.
Sinbad and his crew reach Melanthius' island and they meet the scientist and his beautiful daughter Dione. Unfortunately reversing Kassim's transmogrification is beyond even Melanthius' vast accumulated knowledge but he possesses ancient scrolls which describe a mythical place called Hyperbolreal where there is said to be an elemental shrine of tremendous power which has the ability to cure any ills. It is situated in the arctic regions in a glacial valley made temperate by the shrine's protecting power. The alchemist and his daughter join the crew and they sail on to find this place using Melanthius' ancient map. Zenobia continues to follow at a distance.
After months of travel the heroes reach the arctic and take to foot over the snowy lands to find the valley. Zenobia's smaller vessel is able to take advantage of a short cut tunnel through the glacier and she manages to arrive at the shrine first and find a way inside. Unfortunately her meddling destabilises the shrine's power and when the heroes arrive the time to achieve their goal is limited. The heroes manage to cure Kassim with the shrine just before its power falters and the whole ancient structure begins to collapse. Zenobia's son Rafi tries to kill Sinbad but he himself is killed.
Zenobia is furious at being foiled and uses her power to transfer her essence into a over-sized sabre-tooth tiger guardian of the shrine and try and kill Sinbad. Sinbad manages to kill the beast and the heroes get away and return to Charac in time for Prince Kassim to be crowned Kasir.
|Starring:||Patrick Wayne (as Sinbad), Patrick Troughton (as Melanthius), Jane Seymour (as Princess Farah), Margaret Whiting (as Zenobia), Taryn Power (as Dione, Melanthius' daughter)|
|Featuring:||Kurt Christian (as Rafi, Zenobia's Son), Nadim Sawalha (as Hassan, sailor on Sinbad's ship), Bruno Barnabe (as Balsora, Farah's uncle, acting monarch), Damien Thomas (as Prince Kassim)|
|Some place names in the above description may be spelt incorrectly - they are based on what they sounded like in the dialogue.|
|The film's title gives undue prominence to something that is only a minor part of the story. The "tiger" that Sinbad fights only appears in the final few minutes of the film. And the only relevance there is to an "eye" is that when Zenobia uses her power her eyes take on a catlike appearance|
|This film is a follow up to The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) which was made by the same production team - however Sinbad was played by a different actor (John Phillip Law) and none of the other characters or situations from that film carry over into this one|
|Writer: James R. Webb / Director: John Huston / Producer: William N. Graf|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Set in Scotland in the 1820s. Davey Haggart is a young man who is proud to be the son of the notorious rogue Willie Haggart. Davey never knew his father who was hanged at Stirling at the age of 21 after committing a litany of deeds which ended when he unsuccessfully tried to rob the Duke of Argyll. Davey holds his father's achievements in high esteem and wants nothing more than to live a similar roguish life. Davey wants to not only replicate all of his father's crimes but surpass them in infamy by achieving what his father could not when his life was cut short. Standing in Davey's way, however, is his conscription into the king's army as a drummer in a highland regiment. He has endured it for a few years but now he has grown restless and when the opportunity presents itself he absconds from his regiment well aware that the penalty for desertion is death. A price of five guineas is placed on his head.
Davey knows all the skills of the thief and has a masterful slight of hand, so when he feels his own poke being picked in a busy marketplace he recognises another expert at work. The thief's name is MacNab and instead of making accusations Davey proposes that the two of them work as a team. Davey and MacNab work well together until they do a spot of grave robbing to supply a cadaver to a doctor in need of specimens. They are caught red-handed and thrown into prison for a period of six months or a six-shilling fine. Davey uses a false name lest he be recognised and taken for the much more serious crime of desertion.
After a short period inside Davey is unexpectedly released when his fine is paid by a mystery benefactor who turns out to be his good friend Annie MacNeal from his home village who saw through his pseudonym and realised it was him. Annie is a devout follower of the bible and has sold many of her livestock to pay the fine but considers it worth it because she wants to help Davey return to the straight and narrow. Davey is fond of Annie, but beholden to her or not, he is determined not to turn his back on his efforts to follow in his father's footsteps.
Davey's first task is to help MacNab escape from prison which replicates one of his father's great feats. With that accomplished Davey opts to go it alone and head for Argyllshire. He becomes a highwayman of some repute just as his father did before him. Davey's exploits bring him to the attention of Chief Constable Richardson who is tasked with the job of bringing Davey Haggart to justice. He tries to involve Annie in his hunt because she is the only one who would be able to recognise him. But she refuses to help and instead heads off to try and find Davey by herself and try and get him to change his ways.
Davey dresses himself in clothes taken from an upper class gentleman and starts adopting the guise of being an aristocratic Englishman. Davey learnt all he needed to know about passing himself off convincingly as a toff by observing the deportment of the English officers whom he served under during his time in the army. He knows he will need to blend in amongst higher society if he is to have a chance of mixing in the same circles as the Duke of Argyll whom he intends to rob with utmost cunning. Using the name Ronald Forsyth, Davey gains an introduction to the Duke and makes such a good impression with his effusive wit and artfully concocted good breeding that he has soon cultivated a privileged position of trust amongst the Duke's group of friends.
Annie finds Davey at his lodgings in town and he gloomily predicts he will have to endure another of her sermons about righteousness. But Annie surprises him, she has not followed him all this way to change him, but because she loves him! She wants them to go away and live a simple life somewhere remote where no lawmen will ever find him. But Davey has things to do before he can consider that.
The Duke is holding a grand ball and Davey knows the guests will be adorned with a dazzling bonanza of riches, especially the ladies. Davey contacts MacNab to act as his accomplice in this daring escapade. Davey (as Ronald Forsyth) is so popular that all the ladies want to dance with him remaining oblivious that he is using his slight of hand skills to relieve them of their rings, bracelets and other jewels. Then unnoticed Davey deposits the valuables in a sack in the fireplace where MacNab winches them up the chimney to the roof on a line. This exercise is repeated several times until MacNab has a bag full of riches. The alarm is eventually raised when the women at last notice their jewels are missing and MacNab sleeps on the roof until the fuss has died down. All the guests are searched but Davey has nothing incriminating on him.
Next day Davey meets up with MacNab and they open the bag to share their ill-gotten gains only to find it has been replaced by a prayer book. Davey realises that Annie must have seen what they were up to and switched the contents while MacNab slept. She left the jewels where they could be found and the good-natured Duke is relieved that the panic is over and delighted to have had such an exciting evening of intrigue.
The Chief Constable is in town still searching for Davey and when he hears that Annie and the toff Forsyth have been seen together, he makes the vital connection and Davey is at long last arrested for his misdeeds. He is tried and found guilty of devious crimes and given a death sentence to be carried out in a few months time. Annie speaks up for his character and the Duke himself pleads for clemency on his behalf after being so impressed with the nerveless audacity and panache of the man - but all to no avail.
Davey is not afraid of dying, but regrets his career will be cut short with nothing to show for it, just as his father's was before him. He decides he will use the time he has left to write his memoirs so that his exploits will be remembered. The Duke generously provides Davey with everything he needs to make sure he can accomplish this in comfort in the confines of his cell. Meanwhile Annie arranges his funeral which the Duke has agreed to pay for. She also sets about arranging other things, with the help of MacNab, that will later become apparent.
Davey completes his memoir just in time on the day of his execution. He gives the manuscript to the Duke who has promised to have it published on Davey's behalf. Then Davey is led out to the gallows and hanged. But unbeknown to him his friends have been hard at work and MacNab has taken the place of the masked executioner and doctored the rope so it does not kill him. Davey survives the drop and is quickly placed in his coffin and told to keep quiet. The coffin is carted off for immediate burial at the funeral site where Davey is released amongst his friends, including the Duke who is surprised and delighted by his survival and promises to keep quite about the matter as if he were really dead. Annie and Davey are married and then set off to find somewhere far away from it all where they can start a new life.
|Starring:||John Hurt (as Davey Haggart), Pamela Franklin (as Annie MacNeal), Nigel Davenport (as Chief Constable Richardson), Ronald Fraser (as MacNab, Davey's accomplice), Robert Morley (as Charles Campbell, Duke of Argyll)|
|Featuring:||Fidelma Murphy (as Jean Carlisle, MacNab's girlfriend), Maxine Audley (as Duchess of Argyll), Fionnula Flanagan (as Penelope, duke's daughter), Donal McCann (as Sir James Campbell, duke's nephew), Allan Cuthbertson (as Captain Douglas, army)|
|Writers: Vivian Stanshall, Steve Roberts / Director: Steve Roberts / Producer: Tony Stratton Smith|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 68 mins|
|Sir Henry Rawlinson is the elderly head of a very eccentric family living at Rawlinson End Manor House. In his heyday Sir Henry was a dashing figure of a man but has developed into a bad-tempered bulldoggedly bigoted grouch. His main obsession is a replica of a Prisoner of War camp on his grounds within which he employs two men whose job it is to devise ingenious escapes whilst Sir Henry attempts to thwart their efforts.
The extended family, all of whom have peculiar traits, are gathering for an annual get-together banquet at the house. The house lives under the shadow of a tragedy that befell Sir Henry's elder brother Humbert many years before. He and Henry had been out duck-shooting when Humbert's attention was taken by the carnal pleasures offered by the butcher's wife. Interrupted part-way through his gratifications when the butcher returned, Humbert had to flee trouserless and as he waded in the rushes still wearing a duck hat, Henry accidentally shot him dead. Now the ghost of Humbert forever haunts the manor house causing havoc and playing on everyone's nerves possibly giving rise to all the eccentricity.
Sir Henry can take it no longer and calls in a defrocked priest called Reverend Slodden to perform an exorcism. Slodden decrees that the spirit of Humbert will never be at peace until he has been properly attired. The reverend performs an elaborate ceremony to re-trouser the spirit and Humbert is at last laid to rest.
|Comment: It is rather a muddled film overall that does not have the tight focus that the above story summary might suggest.|
|Starring:||Trevor Howard (as Sir Henry Rawlinson, eccentric head of family), Patrick Magee (as Reverend Slodden)|
|Featuring:||(Sir Henry's relations) Sheila Reid (as Lady Florrie Rawlinson, wife), Vivian Stanshall (as Hubert Rawlinson, younger brother), Suzanne Danielle (as Candice Rawlinson, daughter), Daniel Gerroll (as Ralph Rawlinson, son), Jeremy Child (as Peregrine Maynard, nephew), Susan Porrett (as Porcelain, Peregrine's girlfriend), Ben Aris (as Lord Tarquin of Staines, Florrie's brother), Liz Smith (as Lady Phillipa of Staines, Tarquin's wife), Michael Crane (as Humbert Rawlinson, dead older brother)|
(others) Harry Fowler (as Buller Bullethead, local spiv), Denise Coffey (as Mrs E, housekeeper), J.G. Devlin (as Old Scrotum, butler), Gary Waldhorn and Simon Jones (as "Prisoners of War")
|Made in Black and White|
|Novel: Laurence Henderson / Writer: Alexander Jacobs / Director: Douglas Hickox / Producer: Barry Kulick|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Harry Lamart is an inmate in a maximum security prison on a fifteen year sentence for killing a man during a robbery. He is a tough London crook with a quick temper and only two things keep him going:- his wife, Pat, waiting for him on the outside, and the £200K robbery proceeds that he managed to hide in a location known only to himself before being captured. He has one friend on the inside called Birdy Williams who has the cell next to his and who helps calm him down when rage strikes him, helping him to see things in a more rational way.
But Harry's anger cannot be abated when his wife visits him and tells him she's met someone else and is pregnant. This betrayal enrages Harry and he smashes his hand through the safety glass trying to throttle her - he is restrained and after a period in solitary confinement returns to the cells and hatches a plan with Birdy to escape and kill his treacherous wife. They team up with another inmate called MacNeil who also wants to escape. MacNeil has the necessary outside contacts and influence to grease the palms of some corrupt warders but is in need of Harry and Birdy's muscle power to carry through his plan.
They all escape and Harry and Birdy go their separate way and head off to London. Harry gets hold of some weapons and they stake out the tower block where Pat lives. Because of his escape she is now under the police protection of Inspector Milton and hard to get to - Harry's first attempt fails and he only just manages to evade capture.
Harry devises a further plan to lure Pat to her balcony window with a loud nearby explosion and then kill her using a sniper's rifle - but he needs Birdy's assistance and agrees to give him half of his stashed robbery proceeds. After he retrieves the money they carry out their plan and Harry shoots the woman who appears at the window looking to see what the noise had been. But Birdy then has his own plan of action and knocks Harry out taking the money bag and rushing round the corner to a waiting car containing ... Pat!
Birdy and Pat have been in league with each other and hatched this plan to get Harry to retrieve the money, Pat was never pregnant and the woman shot at her window was an unsuspecting undercover policewoman. Harry soon comes round and gives chase in a hyper-enraged state at this double-betrayal - he catches up and rams their car repeatedly and it crashes and catches fire. Birdy tries to run for it but Harry shoots him down dead - then Harry gets into the burning car with his wife and waits for the flames to reach the petrol tank, dying with her as the car explodes.
|Starring:||Oliver Reed (as Harry Lomart), Ian McShane (as Birdy Williams), Jill St. John (as Pat Lomart)|
|Featuring:||Edward Woodward (as Inspector Milton), Freddie Jones (as MacNeil), Frank Finlay|
|Familiar Faces:||Mike Pratt (from Randall & Hopkirk), June Brown (from Eastenders)|
|Starlets:||Jill Townsend, Susan Shaw|
|Writer: Milton Subotsky / Director: Freddie Francis / Producers: Milton Subotsky, Max J. Rosenberg|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Set in the present day (1965). Dr Christopher Maitland is an academic who writes books about the occult and has a vast collection of curiosa and arcane objects that he has procured for his research into the unknown. One of his sources for recondite items is an unpalatable man called Anthony Marco whom Maitland's wife finds creepy but is tolerated by Maitland because of his ability to obtain unique esoterica. And Marco knows Maitland will pay well for anything that he finds irresistibly intriguing.
Marco's latest acquisition is an antique book describing the life of an infamous 18th century practitioner of the arcane arts - The Marquis de Sade. The Marquis was a viciously cruel man who worshipped the devil and was repeatedly imprisoned for his offences against society and was eventually incarcerated in a lunatic asylum where he ended his days with a demonic hatred of mankind. Maitland buys the book and Marco promises an even more extraordinary item will follow.
The next day Marco brings Maitland a human skull which Marco claims is that of the Marquis De Sade himself! The veracity of the object comes from an account in an old book which reports that in 1814 shortly after De Sade's death a phrenologist opened De Sade's grave and stole his head so that he could study the skull and try to determine the reason for the madman's insanity. But something happened to the man and he was found dead in unexplained circumstances. Marco claims that this is that same skull. Maitland wonders how Marco got hold of it and prefers not to know. He is tempted by the object but feels the price being asked is too high for something whose provenance and authenticity cannot be proven. Maitland says he will think about it and let Marco know the next day.
Maitland visits his friend Sir Matthew Phillips who is also a collector of strange objects and asks his advice on the skull. Sir Matthew has no doubt it is genuine because it belonged to him and has recently been stolen! But he doesn't want it back because it is very dangerous and possessed by an evil spirit. The evil becomes active for two nights every month during the full moon and if not kept locked away during this time it has the power to possess a man's mind and make him do cruel and wicked things. Sir Matthew's warnings were intended to caution his friend to eschew the skull, but instead his words have served to pique Maitland's professional interest and Maitland decides it will be a fascinating object to study.
Maitland visits Marco's bedsit with the intention of buying the skull only to find the man mysteriously dead. So Maitland takes the skull home and puts it on proud display in a glass cabinet. The upcoming night is the second night of the full moon and Maitland maintains a vigil waiting for something to happen so he can write an account of it for his next book although he half expects it all to be hokum. Then to his astonishment the skull levitates and floats through the air settling on a table with a pentagram symbol on it. The skull throbs with power and suddenly Maitland is overcome with an uncontrollable compulsion to go upstairs with an antique dagger and kill his sleeping wife. The evil force controlling him is checked slightly by the crucifix his wife is wearing and this enables Maitland to fight off the urge to kill. Maitland is appalled by what he almost did and returns downstairs intent on smashing the skull to smithereens but he finds he cannot because of its evil power. Instead he locks it back in the cabinet and protects the key with a religious charm that the evil force will not be able to touch. Maitland returns upstairs to his own bed despairing at the evil he has unleashed but knowing that he will be able to deal with it the next morning once its power has waned.
But downstairs the skull has not been thwarted. It levitates and crashes its way through the glass without touching the lock. It then redoubles its efforts to bend Maitland to its will and force him to use the dagger to kill his wife. But when this effort fails the skull floats through the air advancing on the terrified Maitland intent on destroying him in any way it can.
Next morning Maitland is found dead in the same mysterious unexplained manner in which both Marco and the original phrenologist had met their deaths. The innocent looking skull sits on a table waiting for its next opportunity to practice its evil.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Christopher Maitland), Christopher Lee (as Sir Matthew Phillips), Patrick Wymark (as Anthony Marco)|
|Featuring:||Jill Bennett (as Jane Maitland, wife), Nigel Green (as Inspector Wilson, police), Patrick Magee (as Police Surgeon), Peter Woodthorpe (as Marco's Landlord), Michael Gough (as Auctioneer), Frank Forsyth (as Judge)|
(1814 prologue) Maurice Good (as Pierre the Phrenologist), April Olrich (as Pierre's girlfriend), George Coulouris (as Dr Londe, executer of Pierre's will)
|Starlets:||Anna Palk (as Maitland's maid)|
|From the story The Skull of the Marquis de Sade by Robert Bloch|
|Writers: Mary Hayley Bell, John Prebble / Director: John Mills / Producer: Jack Hanbury|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 98 mins|
|Brydie White is a 17-year-old girl living in a Gloucestershire hamlet who is mentally immature for her age after suffering a trauma as a 10-year-old child. (A young boy had got hold of his father's shotgun and when she tried to get it away from him it went off and the boy died - although she recalls none of this).
Brydie has an innocence about the world and cannot grasp certain aspects about why things are done or not done. For instance, she thinks it wrong that pets are not buried in a proper graveyard when they die because they are "people" too - and she takes it upon herself to have proper burial services for the village children's beloved pets when they die.
A community of gypsies have made temporary encampment nearby and one young gypsy man called Roibin meets Brydie while she is going about in her simple carefree manner and becomes captivated by her charm and innocence.
Some of the villagers dislike Brydie and think she's strange because of all the mad things she does while others just think she's harmless and should be left to get on with her own private amusements. Brydie's only family is her mother who is a remote person who drinks too much and pays little heed to what Brydie gets up to. Edwin Dacres, the father of the little boy who died, has never forgiven Brydie for her part in his son's death although Brydie is oblivious to the reasons for his hostility towards her.
The vicar becomes involved when he has to put a stop to Brydie's burials of animals on consecrated land, but he is understanding and suggests a pasture field she could use instead. The vicar asks the landowner Edwin Dacres for permission but Dacres has become a bitter recluse since his son's death and is not inclined to do any favours for Brydie White. The vicar tells him he is wasting his time trying to disturb Brydie because she doesn't remember a thing about it - and besides what happened was mostly his own fault for leaving a loaded shotgun unattended.
When Dacres catches Brydie on his land he finds it so intolerable that her amnesia has absolved her of any guilt that he proceeds to angrily enlighten her with a skewed version of what occurred. Brydie becomes traumatised by the revelation that she caused a death and runs away and tries to drown herself in a river. She is rescued by the gypsy Roibin although she develops a fever and he takes her back to his wagon to recover. She stays there for many days and Roibin declares his love for her.
Brydie does not think she will be welcome back in the village because of what she has done although actually no one except Dacres blames her and her disappearance has triggered a massive search operation involving tracker dogs - but they reach a dead end at the river. Her mother suffers a heart attack with the worry and dies. She is buried in Brydie's absence who by this time has been assumed dead and swept away in the river.
Eventually some village children find Brydie with the gypsies and tell her about her mother. Brydie's mother was the only family she had and with no other reason to return Roibin tells her she could become his wife and join the gypsies when they move on to their next destination. Brydie has fallen for Roibin's caring ways and wholeheartedly agrees but first she wants to quickly visit her mother's grave.
When she returns to the village she is questioned about where she has been and taken into protective custody and checked out at a hospital. Days pass and she is given over to the care of the vicar before she is to be taken to a children's home. Brydie explains to the vicar she wants to leave with Roibin who she has come to love and made matrimonial commitments to - and the understanding vicar is suitably convinced that she is capable of making such an important decision so he lets her go with the gypsies to start a new life.
|Starring:||Hayley Mills (as Brydie White), Ian McShane (as Roibin), Annette Crosbie (as Mrs White, Brydie's mother), Geoffrey Bayldon (as Rev Phillip Moss, vicar)|
|Featuring:||Laurence Naismith (as Edwin Dacres, father of the young boy who died), Pauline Jameson (as Vicar's wife), Norman Bird (as Mr Cheeseman, undertaker), Hamilton Dyce (as Bill Slim, grave digger), Rachel Thomas (as Gypsy Grandmother), Alan Lake (as Gypsy), Jacqueline Pearce (as Gypsy woman)|
|From an original story by Mary Hayley Bell|
|In the film "Sky West and Crooked" is a colloquial expression used to describe someone who is considered a bit odd or eccentric.|
|Writer: Anthony Shaffer (based on his own play) / Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz / Producer: Morton Gottlieb|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 132 mins|
|Additional spoiler alert - This review and the notes below it contain details of a plot twist in Act 2 that you might prefer not to know if you have not seen the film
Milo Tindle is a young cocksure London hairdresser who owns a country cottage as a weekend retreat. He is invited to the mansion of ageing author Andrew Wyke who writes intricately plotted detective fiction and revels in playing games. Andrew reveals to Milo that he is aware that the younger man is having an affair with his wife Marguerite - but he doesn't care because she is more trouble than she is worth and if Milo can afford to take her off his hands he is welcome to her - in return for a favour. Andrew describes a plan he has worked out that if Milo steals some jewels from his house he can sell them abroad to help with his own expenses and Andrew in turn can claim the money back from the insurers - so they both win out.
Milo is in need of funds and agrees to go along with it and so Andrew outlines his plan which involves Milo leaving misleading clues to confuse the police. So Milo dresses up in a clown's outfit with large shoes and a mask - then he climbs up a ladder and pretends to breaks in and then blows the jewel safe with explosives that Andrew had prepared. But once Milo has the jewels Andrew reveals his real plan - he tells Milo that he has manoeuvred his rival into a situation where he can legitimately shoot him dead as an unknown intruder burglarising his home. Milo begs for his life but Andrew shoots anyway and Milo falls. (We don't know what happens next).
A few days later Andrew is at home as normal with nothing seemingly amiss when a middle-aged police detective called Doppler arrives. Doppler tells him he is investigating the disappearance of Milo Tindle who hasn't been seen since last Friday. Andrew tells him Milo was here but left and he ends up explaining the events by which he manipulated Milo into a bogus burglary and then proceeded to pretend he was about to kill him in order to totally humiliate him - but his gun contained blanks and after Milo realised he wasn't dead he left as a defeated man. Doppler says he doesn't believe the story and thinks Andrew really killed Milo because he hasn't been seen since. Doppler finds dried blood and other clues and proceeds to arrest Andrew who panics himself into a serious state of confused anxiety because he knows that what he is saying is true. Then "Doppler" drops the act and reveals he is really Milo in disguise who has returned to successfully get his own back. Andrew realises he has been equalled and is prepared to call it honours-even - but Milo has not finished with him yet ...
Milo says a draw is not good enough and he is out to win this game. He tells Andrew he is playing for high stakes and has killed for real. This victim is Andrew's young mistress Tia and Milo has planted incriminating clues of her murder around Andrew's home and called the police who will be here later. Andrew thinks it is a clumsy ploy but when he calls Tia he speaks to her flatmate who relays the devastating news of Tia's death.
With the deadline of the police visit a panicked Andrew rushes around looking for the planted evidence as Milo gives him cryptic clues as to where they are. Andrew finds the clues just before the deadline and only then does Milo reveal it was another game - Tia is not dead but had agreed to help him play the trick and get her flatmate to cooperate. Milo announces himself as the victor and as such will continue his affair with Marguerite and he goes upstairs to fetch her expensive fur coat. Andrew is furious at being outsmarted twice and decides he now has the perfect opportunity to kill Milo for real using the defence that he thought Milo was an intruder stealing his wife's fur coat. Milo mocks him at this threat and tells him it will not work because he has already made a statement to the police about Andrew's fake burglary humiliation of him and although the police didn't take him seriously they said they would come round later to have a word with Andrew about it - so a fake burglary murder defence would be met with instant suspicion. Andrew does not believe that Milo has told the police and thinks he is trying to bluff his way out of being killed and shoots him dead anyway - and moments later the police arrive just as Milo said they would.
|Starring:||Laurence Olivier (as Andrew Wyke), Michael Caine (as Milo Tindle)|
|The opening credits contain some fake cast credits to help disguise the twist that "Inspector Doppler" is in fact Milo in heavy disguise (played by Michael Caine). Inspector Doppler is credited as Alec Cawthorne and given an "introducing" credit. Other fake cast listed who never appear are John Matthews, Eve Channing and Teddy Martin.|
|Writers: Bryan Forbes, Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman / Director: Bryan Forbes / Producer: Stuart Lyons|
|Type: Fantasy Drama / Musical||Running Time: 135 mins|
|A long time ago, in the kingdom of Euphrania, the King and his Lord Chamberlain see that the peace their nation has enjoyed for centuries is becoming threatened by the political ambitions of their neighbours. They decide that the best way to settle relations is with a royal marriage between the king's son Prince Edward and a princess from one of the other countries. However Edward is a romantic and believes that love is important to a marriage and he has no enthusiasm for selecting a bride he does not love - but he knows it is his duty and agrees to comply with what is expected of him. The king decides to hold a grand ball and invite all the princesses from the neighbouring lands so that Edward can make his choice. Local nobility will also be invited to make up the numbers.
Elsewhere in the kingdom, a young woman called Cinderella has recently had a poor turn of fortunes. Her rich father whom she dearly loved has recently died - but he left control of his estate to his second wife. The stepmother despises Cinderella and only allows her to stay in the house as a lowly servant - performing menial tasks for both herself and her two real daughters Isabella and Palatine. As local nobility they receive their invitations to the ball although of course Cinderella is not permitted to go.
But a Fairy Godmother who has dedicated herself to helping the worthy fulfil their dreams intervenes and magically provides Cinderella with a beautiful dress and glass slippers and tells her she can go to the ball. However she must depart before midnight when the magic will expire.
At the ball Prince Edward is having a dreadful time entertaining the succession of hopeful princesses. And then Cinderella arrives using a false name and she is so breathtakingly beautiful that not even the stepmother and stepsister recognise the mystery girl as being Cinderella. The Prince immediately falls in love with her and they spend the rest of the evening together dancing and talking and becoming romantic. As midnight approaches Cinderella has to hastily leave but drops one of her glass slippers in the rush.
Cinderella goes back to her servant duties treating the whole evening as an enjoyable fantasy but knowing that she cannot hope to ever really have a relationship with the Prince. The Prince meanwhile is devastated to lose the girl of his dreams and sets about to search for her using the made-to-measure slipper as a way of checking each maiden's claim to be the mystery woman. After many months the Prince at last finds Cinderella and they renew their love and Edward announces to the king that he has found the girl he wants to marry.
However the king is not pleased by this because although Cinderella is very nice she is unfortunately from their own kingdom and so does not fulfil the marriage's diplomatic objectives of easing the unrest between neighbour states. The Lord Chamberlain tactfully talks Cinderella into a patriotic withdrawal from the marriage and go into a voluntary exile until the prince has married someone appropriate.
Feeling very despondent by Cinderella's sudden departure Prince Edward gives in to his father's wishes and agrees to marry a princess. On the day of the Prince's wedding Cinderella is visited in her exile by the Fairy Godmother who despairs that her carefully laid plans for Cinderella's happiness have gone awry and she steps in to smooth things over. She transports Cinderella to the wedding and the Prince is overjoyed to see her again. Cinderella takes the bride's place and the king feels helpless to call a halt. The Fairy Godmother suggests an acceptable compromise that Edward's cousin should marry the foreign princess instead which is considered almost as good and so everyone ends up happily ever after.
|Starring:||Richard Chamberlain (as Prince Edward), Gemma Craven (as Cinderella), Annette Crosbie (as Fairy Godmother), Kenneth More (as Lord Chamberlain), Michael Hordern (as The King, Edward's father), Lally Bowers (as The Queen, Edward's mother), Christopher Gable (as John, Edward's Companion at Arms), Margaret Lockwood (as Cinderella's stepmother)|
|Featuring:||Rosalind Ayres and Sherrie Hewson (as Isabella and Palatine, Cinderella's stepsisters), Edith Evans (as Dowager Queen, King's mother), Julian Orchard (as Montague, Edward's cousin)|
|Familiar Faces:||Geoffrey Bayldon (as Archbishop)|
|Starlets:||Polly Williams (as Lady Caroline, John's sweetheart), Jenny Lee Wright (as Milkmaid), Elizabeth Mansfield and Ludmilla Nova (as Ladies in Waiting)|
(Hopeful princesses) Marianne Broome, Tessa Dahl, Lea Dregorn, Eva Reuber-Staier, Ann Rutherford, Suzette St. Clair
|Music and Lyrics by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman|
|Writer/Director: Ken Hughes / Producer: Frank Godwin|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Sammy Lee is a comedian/compère who works at a seedy London strip joint called The Peepshow Club which puts on shows featuring barely dressed exotic dancers. Sammy likes to play cards and gamble and has managed to build up a debt to a bookmaker called Joe Connor of some £300 (a lot back then) which the bookmaker now wants paid back immediately or his men will dole out a suitably rough punishment. Connor's reputation at inflicting harsh justice on his debtors is notorious and Sammy is desperate to avoid it but all he can manage to negotiate is a five hour reprieve to get the cash together.
Amid all his money worries, a young chorus girl dancer called Patsy arrives from Bradford looking for work. Sammy had a brief fling with her whilst he was doing a holiday camp summer season a few months beforehand and he had told her to look him up if she ever came to London. She is infatuated with him and he finds her sweet but really does not think she is emotionally cut-out for the kind of dancing jobs on offer at the Peepshow despite having the face and the figure for it. So when she passes the audition and the club manager offers Patsy a dancers job doing erotic routines Sammy manages to get her some bar work instead to save her the embarrassment of stripping off in front of an audience.
Meanwhile Sammy rushes around town between his performances striking small deals with all his contacts, buying and selling items for small margins, trying to raise enough money in time. He is helped by the long-suffering club errand gofer Harry who does the collection and delivery legwork for Sammy once he has made the deals.
Seeing Sammy under such strain upsets Patsy and she tries to help by doing some dancing work even though she finds it shameful and Sammy eventually persuades her she'd be best off going back home. Sammy's payment deadline approaches and he finds he is still £50 short of the required total. But although that accomplishment was impressive for the short amount of time he had he knows that it just won't do for all-or-nothing Connor and he decides to make a run for it and go to Bradford with Patsy on the coach. However Connor's men catch up with him at the coach station and beat him up and he misses the coach which drives away with Patsy tearfully onboard unable to help as she sees him being thrown around. At the end of his ordeal Sammy is left badly battered and bruised but the main henchman Fred had felt a pang of sympathy for him and held off giving him any permanent scarring and also left him with the money he had raised - Sammy finds himself laughing with a relieved amazement that he has got off so relatively lightly and wiped out his debt.
|Starring:||Anthony Newley (as Sammy Lee), Julia Foster (as Patsy), Wilfrid Brambell (as Harry, Peepshow club gofer), Robert Stephens (Gerry, Peepshow club manager)|
|Featuring:||Warren Mitchell (as Lou Leeman, Sammy's brother), Miriam Karlin (as Milly Leeman, Lou's wife), Kenneth J. Warren (as Fred, debt-collecting henchman), Clive Colin Bowler (as Johnny, Fred's associate), Toni Palmer (as Joan, Sammy's apartment landing neighbour), Cyril Shaps (as Maurice Bellman, Salesman)|
|Familiar Faces:||Roy Kinnear (as Lucky Dave, owner of Lucky 7 club), Derek Nimmo (as 'Rembrandt', Lucky Dave's effeminate assistant)|
|Starlets:||(Peepshow Club dancers) June Cunningham (as Rita), Linda Baron (as Yvette, bath girl - this IS Lynda Baron, now a well known actress)|
(other non-featured dancers seen) Sara Lesley, Pamela Law, Brenda Fagan, Margherita Lopez
|Made in Black and White|
|Nudity indicated for Julia Foster is topless but with nipple tassels while she is doing an exotic dance|
|aka: School for Unclaimed Girls|
|Writer: John Peacock / Director: Robert Hartford-Davis / Producer: Peter Newbrook|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 90 mins|
|When she was a young girl Nicki's father died in a freak accident on a funfair carousel which she was riding when he attempted to stop her falling and she has blamed herself for his death ever since. Now a teenager at school Nicki is finding home life difficult as her mother Anne has a new boyfriend called Harry whom Nicki dislikes. Harry has persuaded Anne to lend him some money for a business start-up which he says he will pay back with interest before she knows it. The money comes from Nicki's trust fund however and when she arrives home from school early one day with only Harry in the house he taunts her with the cheque and then proceeds to try and rape her. In self defence she grabs a knife and stabs him.
Next we see her at a remand home where she has been brought while the courts decide what to do with her (at this stage we are unaware if she killed Harry or not). Nicki is uncommunicative as the psychiatrist tries to piece together what happened. Nicki's fellow inmates are a mixed bunch - Sarah who is the top girl and not averse to a bit of nocturnal fumbling with other girls takes a shine to Nicki and sets out to make Nicki her new "special" friend - this enrages Jane who believed she held that position and arguments and fights ensue.
It also transpires that Harry was only wounded and that he is a con man who is duping many middle-aged women out of their savings once he gains their trust.
Eventually Nicki escapes the remand home and seeks help from her boyfriend Peter. She doesn't want to go back to the remand home but he can see no other option for her and persuades her to do it so that the whole mess can be sorted out and he agrees to drive her home to speak to her mother. But on the way Peter has to swerve on a narrow road to avoid a lorry and they crash through some brickwork and their car tumbles hundreds of feet off a viaduct and explodes on the ground below killing them both. The End.
|Comment: It's not a bad film and it's certainly not a sexploitation movie as is sometimes suggested when mentioned as being a blot on Dennis Waterman's career - his role is of a caring boyfriend and he is not involved in any sex scenes - there is a bit of minor non-sexual nudity from a few of the credited actresses and some from uncredited extras but it's mainly just a straight drama. The horrific ending that comes out of nowhere is extremely surprising and unexpected - and rather unfair on the girl really who had been through a lot and deserved a happier ending.|
|Starring:||Madeleine Hinde (as Nicki), Dennis Waterman (as Peter), Renée Asherson (as Anne, Nicki's mother), Patrick Mower (as Harry), Maureen Lipman (as Sarah)|
|Featuring:||Faith Brook, Colette O'Nell, Megs Jenkins (as remand home staff), and:- Derek Fowlds, Valerie Van Ost, David Lodge|
|Starlets:||Janina Faye, Cleo Sylvestre, Valerie Wallace, Lesley Downs, Michele Cook, Tania, Carol Rachell, Cherith Mellor (as the other inmates)|
|Lesley Downs may be Lesley-Anne Down but I didn't specifically notice her and her character's name is never mentioned so she must have been one of the minor inmates who were seen making up the numbers. Of the inmates only Maureen Lipman and Janina Faye had significant parts with the others limited to just a few lines or no lines at all.|
|Writer: George Melly / Director: Desmond Davis / Producers: Carlo Ponti, Roy Millichip|
|Type: Comedy / Music||Running Time: 95 mins|
|It is the sixties and Brenda and Yvonne are two young women who travel to Swinging London from further up-North in search of fame and fortune. Plain Brenda is the more level-headed of the two but even she is swept up in the zest of enthusiasm and energy generated by her bubbly, glamorous and brightly dressed friend.
They have saved up a (to them) massive £23 which Brenda manages for the two of them - but when this is stolen the two of them have to radically re-think their immediate plans as to where they will stay - and so finding jobs quickly is essential. They split up and Yvonne is immediately lucky when a famous fashion photographer called Tom Wabe spots her in the street and asks to take her picture and pays her £5 for her trouble. Yvonne gives Brenda £1 to buy herself some new clothes from a second hand shop and they use the rest to rent a flat share with another girl called Toni.
Next day Brenda sees a newspaper and Yvonne's photo has been printed as an example of a fashion disaster - Brenda hopes that Yvonne won't see it but she vows to give photographer Tom Wabe a piece of her mind should she ever meet him. Toni is a nightclub hostess and gets the two girls some work. Yvonne is of hostess calibre although Brenda is only deemed to be suitable for Pussycat (waitress) work. The hostess job involves entertaining male customers for the evening and an increasingly tipsy Yvonne becomes easy prey for a lecherous toff called Bobby Mome-Rath who invites her back to his apartment with less than pure thoughts on his mind. Brenda follows and sabotages things to protect her unsuspecting friend from the toff's planned seductive onslaught. Next day they find they have both been sacked from the nightclub for abandoning their posts.
Later on Yvonne becomes a victim on a Candid Camera style TV prank show but wins £10,000 for her troubles. She uses this money to approach a record producer called Jeremy Tove to launch her as a pop star. She has immediate success making number 15 in the hit parade and becomes a mini-celebrity whom the media all want a piece of for their magazines and TV shows. Yvonne rents a lush apartment and she and Brenda move in.
Tom Wabe ends up being asked to photograph Yvonne professionally and against her better judgement Brenda falls for him romantically and they start an affair. Tom takes lots of photos of her dowdy second-hand look and with his influence she is launched as the "face of the 60s" in fashion magazines and becomes an icon in her own right sometimes eclipsing popster Yvonne in popularity.
Feeling a bit neglected and with her brief career-light seemingly on the wane Yvonne uses the last of her money to throw a lavish celebrity party at the top of the revolving Post Office Tower. Brenda also attends and when she sees Yvonne sitting alone, bored and neglected by her so-called celebrity chums she goes into the control tower and cranks up the speed of revolution causing everyone to become pinned to the outside walls with giddiness and the power overload blacks-out London.
The two friends leave the party both feeling they've had enough of this fame lark and decide to head off back home to the North where they feel more at home.
|Comments: Plenty of specially written songs play on the soundtrack that reveal the characters plans, feelings or thoughts to the viewer as to make it almost a musical although there is no "live" singing other than when Yvonne has her pop career. The comedy comes in the many moments when the film moves into pure slapstick with much custard pie throwing type scenes.|
|Starring:||Rita Tushingham (as Brenda), Lynn Redgrave (as Yvonne)|
Michael York (as Tom Wabe, photographer), Ian Carmichael (as Bobby Mome-Rath, lecherous toff), Jeremy Lloyd (as Jeremy Tove, Record Producer)
|Featuring:||Anna Quayle (as Charlotte Brillig, boutique owner), Irene Handl (as Mrs Gimble, second hand clothes shop owner), Peter Jones (as Host of TV prank show), John Clive (as Sweeney Todd Pie Shop Owner), David Lodge (as Caretaker of Bobby Mome-Rath's apartment building), Arthur Mullard (as Cafe Owner)|
|Familiar Faces:||Murray Melvin (as Boutique Customer), Cardew Robinson (as Street Preacher), Geoffrey Hughes (as Man in Cafe), George A. Cooper (as Drunk Irishman)|
|Starlets:||Toni Palmer (as Toni, flat share blonde),Veronica Carlson (as Glamorous Party Arrivee), Valerie Leon (as Jeremy Tove's Secretary)|
|Writer/Director: Jim O'Connolly / Producer: John I. Phillips|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 72 mins|
|Roper is an insurance assessor given the task of investigating a massive Life Assurance claim on a policy taken out only two months beforehand. Businessman John Dexter's blazing car went over a cliff at Brighton although his body is not recovered. Roper's job is to determine if it was an accident or suicide because in the latter event the policy would be invalidated.
As Roper looks closely into it he finds evidence that Dexter faked his suicide and has gone into hiding until his wife claims on the policy. But as Roper continues his meticulous investigations he eventually uncovers the insurance fraud is a smokescreen to mask a murder plot instituted by Dexter's debt-ridden business partner Turner who needed to sell the business to clear his gambling debts but was being blocked by Dexter. So for the sake of a what would just be a couple of month's premiums Turner persuaded Dexter to take out insurance on their lives with their wives as beneficiaries and then after a few months he murdered his partner in a way that made it look like Dexter was attempting an insurance swindle hatched by himself and his wife. Turner would not personally benefit from the policy whatever the outcome but it would leave him free to sell the business. Roper finds where Dexter's body is buried and Turner is arrested and because the policy is essentially valid the insurance company pays out to Dexter's wife.
|Starring:||Peter Vaughan (as Roper, insurance assessor), John Carson (as Trevor Bayliss, insurance sales agent), John Glyn-Jones (as Roper's boss), Yvonne Romain (as Janet Dexter, victim's wife)|
|Featuring:||Glynn Edwards (as Inspector Wright, investigating detective), Gerald Flood (as Turner, victim's business partner), Barbara Hicks (as Miss Breen, Mr Player's secretary)|
|Familiar Faces:||Deryck Guyler (as Railway Stationmaster, [spelt Derek]), Damaris Hayman (Nurse)|
|Starlets:||Penny Morrell (as Helen, Turner's secretary), Jill Curzon (as June, witness to car crash)|
|Made in Black and White|
|aka: Undercovers Hero|
|Writers: Roy Boulting, Leo Marks / Director: Roy Boulting / Producer: John Boulting|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 90 mins|
|It is June 1940 in Paris and the British are moving out with the imminent arrival of the German army. The local brothel run by Madame Grenier was much used by British and French officers and now the occupying Germans are keen to patronage its facilities. But Madame Grenier and her ladies of pleasure have been recruited into the French resistance and with the help of a British agent called Major Robinson who stayed behind they do away with visiting German officers with a collapsible bed that drops its unwitting victims to their deaths down a shaft.
A Gestapo agent is sent to investigate the disappearances but is hindered in his investigations by the German military governor who is keen to keep relations with the French people as amicable as possible as per his orders. So the brothel's clandestine activities go undiscovered.
As the war nears its final days and the retreating Germans are preparing to pull out of the French capital the members of the resistance are tasked with foiling the German Military High Command's orders that Paris should be left burning. Madame Grenier and her girls are instrumental in helping to stop this carnage and for their services to the war effort they all receive medals from General Charles De Gaulle.
|Comment: Although the film would probably have to be classed as a comedy it is not one filled with jokes or slapstick and is closer to being a straight drama albeit a somewhat light one. The funniest line is when Peter Sellers in his guise as a ruthless Gestapo agent is asked by a colleague what he is planning on doing after the war is over. Sellers replies that he will return to his former job as an income tax inspector to which the colleague remarks that that will be quite a change from life in the Gestapo - and Sellers observes "Not the way I do it!"|
|Starring:||Peter Sellers (as various, see Notes below), Lila Kedrova (as Madame Grenier)|
|Featuring:||Béatrice Romand (as Marie-Claude, Madame's niece), Rex Stallings (as Alan Cassidy, American embassy official), Curt Jürgens (as German Military Governor)|
(Prostitutes:) Jenny Hanley (as Michelle), Gabriella Licudi (as Simone), Françoise Pascal (as Madeleine), Rula Lenska (as Louise), Daphne Lawson (as Claudine), Hylette Adolphe (as Mlle Tom-Tom), Carolle Rousseau (as Helene)
|Familiar Faces:||Timothy West, Philip Madoc, Stanley Lebor, Nicholas Courtney, Windsor Davies|
|Peter Sellers plays six separate parts - not as a single character in ever-changing disguises, but as different characters - so much so that taken separately none of his characters would be considered the "star" of the film. The roles he plays are an elderly French general; British agent Major Robinson; a Gestapo agent; Adolf Hitler; Charles De Gaulle; and a high-ranking Japanese officer.|
|Writers: David Osborn, Liz Charles-Williams / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Prologue: An as yet unidentified man is sending beautiful girls on missions to kill key personnel and sabotage aeronautic testing facilities of a brand new aircraft design called SST1. End of Prologue.
Insurance assessor Hugh Drummond is summoned back from his holidays where he had met a charmingly smiley young American girl called Flicky. She had been so awed by his reputation as an spy-like adventurer that she was beginning to become like a groupie around him and he is somewhat relieved to have an excuse to leave.
Back in England Hugh is asked by the Air Minister to look into the spate of bizarre accidents surrounding the SST1 which have been alarming its prospective customers. The project's success is vital otherwise it will cost the country millions in lost exports.
Flicky unexpectedly turns up at Hugh's apartment eager to continue their acquaintance and become his spying sidekick. Much to Hugh's dismay she insists on accompanying him everywhere as he starts following up leads. Before long Hugh finds himself being targeted by an assassin called Baroness Helga Hagen and he has a number of narrow escapes. Baroness Helga and her partner Pandora work for the mystery man and have been responsible for a string of deaths involving aeronautics personnel.
Hugh's investigations lead him to a small aircraft factory owned by a man called Torrenson. Hugh discovers that Torrenson regularly goes to North Africa where he visits a private island owned by a businessman called Barouche. Hugh heads off to North Africa and finds once again that Flicky has followed him like a puppy dog. He meets with a British Embassy official called Peregrine Carruthers who acts as his local expert.
The country is staging the International Gold Cup for speedboats the next day and one boat named Osprey III is expected to win. It was designed by Hans Kruger, the son of a famous scientist who invented a sonic process called Infrasound - a potently destructive sonic sound wave that is out of audible range. Hugh learns that Barouche has offered Kruger a small fortune for the boat but has been repeatedly turned down. Drummond wonders why the boat would be worth so much money. He discovers that the speedboat is powered by Infrasound technology which emits subsonic vibrations into the sea that help the boat glide over the water much more efficiently. Drummond also finds that Kruger has been killed.
Drummond and Caruthers enter the race using Kruger's boat but they are waylaid by Helga and Pandora and taken prisoner back to Barouche's island villa. Here Drummond finds out that Barouche and Torrenson are the same man and both are disguised identities of a criminal mastermind he has had dealings with before - Carl Peterson.
Peterson is guarded by a bevy of beautiful young women trained in a multitude of skills. To improve their efficiency Peterson has had their brains surgically replaced with artificial brains which ensures their total obedience to him.
Now that Peterson has the speedboat's Infrasonic generator he is ready to put the next stage of his plan into operation. He intends to sabotage the maiden test flight of the SST1 aircraft by disrupting its supersonic controls with an undetectable infrasonic beam. And when the plane crashes for unknown reasons the contract will be inevitably cancelled and Torrenson's aeronautics firm will benefit with new contracts worth many millions. Peterson has a megalomaniacal desire to control the whole destiny of the world from this Mediterranean island. Drummond stages a breakout but he is stopped by a new arrival - Flicky - who reveals she is working for Peterson - although later she signals to Drummond that she is really still on his side.
Peterson plans to keep Drummond and Caruthers alive until tomorrow to allow them to witness the destruction of the SST1. That night Drummond meets with Flicky in a boathouse and she reveals she is working for the CIA with orders to protect him. Helga discovers them conferring and shoots at Drummond as he dives into the water to get away. The robot girls are ordered to make a thorough search of the island in case Drummond survived. Drummond is found hiding in a shed by Robot 7 but fortunately her circuits have malfunctioned causing her to develop a crush on Drummond and she consequently does not report her discovery.
Next morning the SST1 takes off and Peterson puts his scheme into operation. As the infrasound jams the SST1's controls it begins an uncontrollable ascent towards the upper atmosphere. Drummond scales the outside of the villa and enters via the roof. He breaks into Peterson's control room and manages to destroy the Infrasound projector allowing the SST1's pilot to bring the plane back under control. Drummond escapes with Caruthers and Flicky stopping only to issue an order into the robot girls' command circuit for them to destroy one another with the exception of Robot 7 whom he spares for the help she gave him. The four of them escape just as the villa blows up behind them presumably killing Peterson and his cohorts. THE END
|Starring:||Richard Johnson (as Hugh Drummond), James Villiers (as Carl Petersen, [also seen in disguises as Torrenson and Baruche before revealed as Peterson]), Sydne Rome (as Flicky, Hugh's groupie), Daliah Lavi (as Baroness Helga Hagen, Peterson's agent), Beba Loncar (as Pandora, Peterson's agent), Ronnie Stevens (as Peregrine Carruthers, North African embassy official)|
|Featuring:||Maurice Denham (as Mortimer, aircraft designer), Robert Morley (as Miss Mary, cooking class instructor), Florence Desmond (as Lady Manderley, spy), Nicholas Phipps (as Lord Dunnberry, Air Minister), George Belbin (as Major Newman, Torrenson's flunky), Richard Hurndall (as President of Aircraft Company), Douglas Sheldon (as Hans Kruger, speedboat designer)|
|Familiar Faces:||Joanna Lumley (as Robot on suicide mission, [uncredited]), Johnny Briggs (as Radio Control Tower operator, [Uncredited])|
|Starlets:||Vanessa Howard (as Robot Number Seven, defective unit), Adrienne Posta (as Angela, Drummond's daily), Marga Roche (as Birgit, masseuse), Yutte Stensgaard (as Robot Number One), Virginia North (as Robot Number Nine)|
|Based on Sapper's and Gerard Fairlie's character Bulldog Drummond|
|Sydne Rome receives an "introducing" credit|
|The original Bulldog Drummond stories were set in the 1920s but this story has been updated to the present day (1969) - this film never calls him "Bulldog" Drummond - not even in the end credits which shows him as "Hugh Drummond".|
|Drummond's main adversary in the stories was Carl Peterson who features in this film. However beyond the use of the characters' names there is probably very little to distinguish this as a recognisable "Bulldog Drummond" adventure and the hero and villain could have been given any names and the story would have been the same.|
|This was the second of two "Drummond" films starring Richard Johnson and made by the same writer/director/producer team. The first film was Deadlier Than the Male (1966). In the first film Peterson had been played by Nigel Green. There were no other recurring roles.|
|Writer: Lew Schwarz / Director: Duncan Wood / Producer: Giulio Zampi|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Eccentric Henry Russell is considered the greatest practical joker of modern times but he has one laugh too many when he climbs to the top of Big Ben to make the clock strike non-stop and falls to his death.
He has only four relatives all of whom disliked Henry but are very hopeful for a large windfall when his will is read. Even in death Henry cannot resist a joke and had made a video tape to be played to his relatives in which he explains the terms of their inheritance in "person". They are each to get £150,000 but in order to qualify they must each perform a task that goes against their character and which they will be loathe to do.
(The four plotlines that follow are mixed together throughout the film - but are described here individually)
Herbert Russell is a timid bank clerk who is told he must march into his manager's office with a gun and frighten the daylights out of him. Herbert takes his time practising but when he eventually plucks up the courage to do it he actually ends up foiling a real robbery attempt.
Agnes Russell is a bossy spinster who lives in a hotel and is really mean to the hotel staff. Her task is to work in a hotel for a month without being fired. Agnes becomes a chambermaid and comes up against a woman like herself who bosses her around and Agnes has to repeatedly bite her lip and act in a menial manner to avoid being sacked.
Simon Russell is a serial womaniser who enjoys his one-night stands. His task is to get married to the next unmarried woman he speaks to. He tells his butler Benson his woes and decides that he may as well aim high and bag a rich woman into the bargain. Shortly afterwards he bumps into a young high-powered businesswoman called Lucille who runs her own company and Simon decides she is the one. He woos her and she eventually falls for his charms and they get married. He then discovers that he has been conned and Lucille is Benson's niece and is not rich at all. However he has come to love her so all is not lost and he has at least fulfilled his task.
Denniston Russell is a respectable retired army officer who is secretly a writer of pulp crime fiction which he writes under various pen-names. He dare not reveal his secret to his fiancée Elizabeth for fear she will disapprove. His task is to break the law and spend exactly 28 days in prison. Denniston finds it very hard to think of something that is bad enough for a spell in prison but not serious enough for a longer detention. He has to lie to Elizabeth and say he is spy to explain where he might be for 28 days. Eventually he throws a brick through a shop window and gets arrested - but his fiancée's father is the judge and the secret comes out and his wedding is called off but he gets the prison sentence he wanted.
Back in the solicitor's office with their tasks successfully completed the foursome await expectantly for part two of Henry's announcement. His taped image proceeds to gleefully tell them they've been had - he died penniless and so they get nothing. They are all stunned but then begin to see the funny side and all roll around laughing seeing how they might have all actually benefited. Herbert was rewarded with his own bank manager-ship; Agnes came to see what a rotter she was being to other people; Simon has married a lovely woman; and Denniston is now able to write under his own name and ditched his stuffy fiancée in favour of his adoring secretary.
|Starring:||(The Four Beneficiaries) Ronnie Corbett (as Herbert Russell), Thora Hird (as Agnes Russell), Michael Hordern (as Denniston Russell), Leslie Phillips (as Simon Russell)|
Barbara Murray (as Lucille, Simon's prospective wife), Dennis Price (as Benson, Simon's butler), Diana King (as Mrs Craik, fussy hotel guest), John Nettleton (as Herbert's bank manager), Wilfrid Brambell (as Henry Russell, eccentric prankster who dies), Eleanor Summerfield (as Elizabeth Robson, Denniston's fiancée), James Robertson Justice (as Sir Charles Robson, Elizabeth's father), Sheila Steafel (as Sheila Wilcott, Denniston's secretary)
|Featuring:||Harold Goodwin (Hotel desk clerk), Noel Howlett (as Henry's solicitor), Stephen Lewis (as Police Constable)|
|Familiar Faces:||Arthur Lowe (as Police Desk Sergeant), Frank Thornton (as Hotel Manager)|
|Starlets:||Toni Gilpin (as Miss Heath, bank clerk), Toni Palmer (as Kitty, hotel chambermaid), Robin Tolhurst and Vicki Woolf (as Simon's girlfriends)|
|Based on "Laughter in Paradise" by Jack Davies and Michael Pertwee|
|Writer/Director: Alastair Reid / Producer: Michael Klinger|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Harry Field and his American wife Gabriella live on the Isle of Wight in a beachside house. They have been married 26 years and Gabriella is growing increasingly frustrated with her monotonous life stuck in the middle of nowhere. She consequently drinks too much in order to drown her sorrows while pondering what might have been had she stuck to the singing career that her marriage abruptly ended when she moved with Harry to England. They often argue and one cold Christmas Eve when he comes home late and she is drunk they have a row in which she threatens to leave him and go back to America to live with her sister - she keeps nagging and pestering him and he has to restrain her - we don't see what happens next.
Summer arrives and Harry is now alone in the house. His boss Mr Blagdon is growing increasingly intolerant as Harry has taken to drinking and has become less reliable - and the excuse that he is still upset that his wife has left him is wearing thin. Harry takes a day off telling Blagdon that at long last his wife is returning home and he has to go to London to collect her from the airport.
Harry goes to London but Gabriella does not arrive. On the way back he picks up a hitchhiker called Lorelei. She is a 17-year-old girl who has no particular destination in mind but will go as far as he can take her. When they get to Portsmouth she decides she might as well go to the Isle of Wight and they go over in the car ferry together where Harry assumes she will take her leave of him. But once that point arrives she reveals to him she is pregnant and asks for his help. She is quite devious and seeing he is a somewhat irresolute individual she hints that if he does not help her she may have to go to the police and imply certain things about his behaviour towards her. Involvement of the police seems to alarm Harry even though he has done nothing to her and he allows her to stay in his house for one night.
But once ensconced Lorelei finds it easy to insist he allow her to stay longer. Harry is most concerned that none of his neighbours see her since he does not want to get a reputation of entertaining young mistresses during his wife's absence. So she stays indoors out of sight and when her baby is due Harry delivers it himself. She continues to stay in his house while he goes to work during the day until one day when he gets home and finds her gone and the baby dead.
Harry does not know what to do so he takes the baby's body to his greenhouse incinerator and burns it. However the smoke from this causes a German tourist who recognises the smell of burning human flesh to call a policeman who discovers the baby's burning remains. Harry has difficulty explaining his actions and he ends up confessing that his wife is dead and buried on the beach under the sand after she accidentally died following their Christmas Eve row - he did not want to involve the police when Lorelei intruded on his life for fear that his wife's remains might be found if they started to ask awkward questions about her disappearance. Harry's reason has left him now and he takes a shotgun he keeps and kills himself.
|Starring:||Peter Finch (Harry Field), Linda Hayden (as Lorelei)|
|Featuring:||Shelley Winters (as Gabriella, Harry's wife), Colin Blakely (as Stanley Blagdon, Harry's departmental boss), John Stride (as Police Sergeant Tom Winnington), Harold Goldblatt (as Dibbick, German tourist), Rosemarie Dunham (as Elsie, Harry's neighbour), Helen Fraser (as Miss Bunyan, Mr Blagdon's secretary)|
|Familiar Faces:||Jack Shepherd (as Aggressive door-to-door salesman)|
|Based on the novel by Nicholas Monsarrat.|
|Although Shelley Winters has second billing she actually only appears in the initial few scenes and is not seen again after that.|
|Writer: Jay Fairbank / Director: Freddie Francis / Producer: Ringo Starr|
|Type: Horror / Music||Running Time: 90 mins|
|The opening scenes are set in Transylvania in the 1800s at Count Dracula's castle where a dwarf called Igor manages to kill the vampire lord. Count Dracula's faithful servant sends for Merlin the Magician who arrives too late to save Dracula but manages to confirm that Dracula's human wife is unharmed and still carrying their child. Count Dracula was king of the Netherworld and Merlin predicts that in 100 years time the son that is to be born shall inherit that throne.
One hundred years later in the present day (1974) a hearse travels from Transylvania to London carrying the resting body of Count Downe who is the grown-up son of Dracula and like all vampires he is an immortal. He travels to Merlin's mansion where the magician tells him that the day of his coronation as king and overlord of the Netherworld approaches. Merlin, who is also an immortal, is using his astrological studies to determine the exact moment the coronation should take place but knows it will be in the next 72 hours. In preparation Merlin has bought a gothic museum of the occult which is built on the optimum location for the ceremony and is also perfect cover for the Netherworld guests expected who will be able to blend in with the exhibits.
Count Downe is not a normal vampire because he was born rather than turned and he has some strange feelings in his head and is not sure if he wants to be lord of the Netherworld since his real passion is for music and he just loves to sing pop songs. The Count goes to see Baron Frankenstein in his Harley Street offices and explains his problem and how he would love to be mortal and live a normal life. Frankenstein tells him that he can perform an operation on the Count that will humanise him and by using a special procedure he can still retain his immortality but will have no human emotions.
Baron Frankenstein is another immortal who has ambitions to take the mantle of king of the Netherworld for himself and when Count Downe has gone he voices his plans to his dwarf servant Igor (the one who killed Count Dracula 100 years beforehand). The Baron plans on using the operation to "accidentally" kill the Count and then have himself crowned king. But Merlin is secretly viewing these disclosures via a magic mirror and becomes privy to the Baron's planned treachery.
Back at the museum Count Downe meets human woman Amber who is helping set up the museum and she seems to really like him and he feels immense attraction towards her but has an inability to express strong emotions. Merlin suggests the Count go and see Professor Van Helsing about his problem and the professor tells him that he too can perform the humanising operation on the Count but additionally he can implant human emotions in him at the same time although this would be at the expense of his immortality and he would from then on only live a normal human life span. Count Downe favours this option and Van Helsing is given the go-ahead with Amber agreeing to supply human blood for the transfusion procedure.
Baron Frankenstein appeals to the Netherworld Council telling them what the Son of Dracula, their soon to be crowned king, is planning and they make attempts to stop the operation but Merlin intervenes and it goes ahead and is successful. The Count then addresses the Netherworld to denounce his thrown amid their angry protests. Frankenstein declares his intentions to seize the opportunity to fill the power vacuum now created but Merlin tells him that will never happen because he knows of the Baron's planned treachery and would never advise the Netherworld people to elect him and Merlin then uses his magic to put Frankenstein in a magical trap for 100 years as punishment. Finally it transpires that Merlin was Van Helsing all along and he had Amber hypnotically charmed to like the Count and now as a final test he releases her from the spell to see if she still loves him now that the Count is human. And as the film ends and the Count is able to go outside in the daylight for the first time in his life the two of them seem to be hitting it off just fine.
|Comment: It has some nice ideas but even Hammer Horror director Freddie Francis cannot overcome the lifeless acting from the two main pop star leads which renders the whole affair rather dull and amateurish seeming. If you are a Nilsson fan you'd perhaps enjoy the several songs he performs in full during the film (while in character as the Count) - but for anyone else they are a bit of a waste of 3 minutes each time. The only good song "Without You" is quite effectively used during the operation procedure but he is not seen performing that one.|
|Starring:||Harry Nilsson (as Count Downe), Ringo Starr (as Merlin, the Magician), Freddie Jones (as Baron Frankenstein), Dennis Price (as Professor Van Helsing), Suzanna Leigh (as Amber)|
|Featuring:||David Bailie (Brian, Count Downe's servant), Skip Martin (Igor, Frankenstein's dwarf servant), Dan Meaden (as Count Dracula, in prologue)|
|Starlets:||Beth Morris (as Petrol Station girl), Jenny Runacre (as Woman in graveyard), Shakira Baksh (as Merlin's Housekeeper), Lorna Wilde (as Wife of Dracula)|
|Writers: Lukas Heller, Burkhard Driest / Director: Rod Amateau / Producers: Gerd Göring, Burkhard Driest|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 94 mins|
|In present day Germany (1978) a political party called NEIN! is emerging which models itself on the basic ideals of the Nazi party. They wish to restore Germany to its once and former greatness and are currently led by a man called Ostermayer. One senior party member called Heinrich Haussner who was a high-ranking Nazi party member during the war especially hankers after those glory days but does not believe Ostermayer is the correct man to lead them. Haussner has a theory that Adolf Hitler secretly had a son and for 33 years Haussner had been studying old film footage for a clue. He believes that after Hitler's death the young boy was taken into hiding by a party official called Fritz Buchmann - but neither have been heard of since.
In fact Hitler did have a son called Wilhelm and Fritz did take him into his own care after the Fuhrer died. Fritz cared little for the Nazi ideal and wanted to shield young Willi from knowledge of who he was - so for the past 33 years they have been living on a remote mountain as hermits. Fritz has kept Willi illiterate and uneducated about the outside world so he has no clue about any world events or who his father was or even the notoriety of the name Hitler.
When Fritz dies of old age Willi sets off into the world taking with him a box containing his birth certificate and some of his father's old belongings including an old uniform. When innocent and naïve Willi presents himself to the authorities hoping for a war pension he does not understand the reaction he gets when he hands over his birth certificate which shows his father's name - either people don't want to help or think he's playing a stupid joke. And when Willi innocently puts on his father's old Nazi uniform because it is the smartest think he possesses he gets even stranger responses. To him Adolf Hitler is just a name and his continued insistence that he is Hitler's son eventually gets him locked up in a mental institution.
Heinrich Haussner soon finds out and gets him released and brings him back to his residence where he hopes to indoctrinate Willi to become the new leader of the NEIN party styled on his father. Willi tries to be cooperative as he is taught his father's mannerisms but has no idea who his father really was or what he meant to people. He slowly starts to realise that his father was a bad man who killed lots of people. Current leader Ostermayer sees Willi as a threat and tries to have him eliminated but his agents continually bungle it.
The illiterate Willi learns the keynote speech that Haussner has written for him and dressed in his full uniform and looking very much the image of his father addresses the expectant NEIN party faithful. He begins with the expected diatribe but then falters and speaks from the heart about how he has learnt what a nasty man his father was and all that death and destruction that went on doesn't sound like much fun to him and suggests that they all try to be nice to each other instead. His speech does not go down very well with the members who want Germany to take over the world again and a riot ensues. Ostermayer takes charge and Haussner realising he has failed takes his own life.
Willi is taken back to the mental institution where he returns to a happy simple life and has his cell re-modelled to resemble the interior of his mountain lodge.
|Comment: Although it does not sound much like it the film is a tongue-in-cheek comedy of sorts.|
|Starring:||Bud Cort (as Willi Hitler), Peter Cushing (as Heinrich Haussner), Leo Gordon (as Tuennes, Haussner's manservant)|
|Featuring:||Anton Diffring (as Gernheim, NEIN party member), Felicity Dean (as Valeska, Gernheim's daughter), Heinz Bennent (as Ostermayer, NEIN leader), Peter Capell (as Fritz Buchmann, Willi's guardian)|
|NEIN! stands for "Never Encourage Intellectual Nonsense"|
|Writers: Michael Reeves, Tom Baker / Director: Michael Reeves / Producers: Patrick Curtis, Tony Tenser|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Set in 1960s London. Professor Marcus Monserrat is an ageing practitioner of medical hypnosis who was once acclaimed in his field but fell upon hard times following a scandal. He now lives in a small flat with his wife Estelle and scrapes a living by advertising his services in the small ads for treatment of low-level complaints such as shyness and anxiety.
In the meantime he has been honing his far more considerable talents by developing a machine that takes the art of hypnosis to a new level. Marcus has just completed the device and Estelle is eager for him to try it out. She hopes his development will be the breakthrough that will rescue her husband from the ostracised medical wilderness to which he has been fated. All they need is a suitable subject - someone unwitting but alert such as a bored young man. Marcus goes out to search for a likely candidate.
Mike Roscoe is a man in his early 20s who has become disaffected with the monotonous lifestyle of clubbing with his friends and is spending some time on his own in a café when Professor Monserrat approaches him and offers him the opportunity to experience something extraordinary. Mike is in a resigned mood and decides to see what the old man has in mind. Back at the flat, and with Estelle's assistance, the Professor hooks Mike up to his equipment and subjects him to an array of psychedelic lights and electronic noises. When the process is complete the couple test the outcome of the experiment by giving simple instructions which Mike obeys. Even remotely when he is in the next room their commands reach him by thought transference - and quite unexpectedly Marcus and Estelle discover that they share all the sensations that Mike is experiencing.
Professor Monseratt realises he has stumbled onto something that has exceeded his expectations and Estelle is keen that they conduct further tests to discover the extent and range of the control possible. They send Mike to his club and they can see and hear all that he does which is an exhilarating feeling. For Marcus the implications of this discovery are clear - this procedure would allow multiple infirm observers to share the proxy sensations of one single person and would be of enormous therapeutic value. But Estelle has found the experience astonishing and wants to try it again. She is full of bitterness at the way the medical scientific community snubbed them and wants to exploit this discovery and not freely share it as her husband intends. She persuades him to continue testing and Marcus indulges his wife's wishes and lets her choose what to do.
Estelle has seen an expensive fur coat in a shop and decides to send Mike to break in at night and steal it. They concentrate and re-establish the link-up and Mike is compelled to obey without understanding why he is prone to such an outrageous criminal impulse. Estelle revels in the thrill of the burglary and is quite oblivious to a cut on her hand that develops when Mike injures himself during the break in. Marcus is alarmed at the way Estelle is becoming morally corrupted by the unrestrained opportunities to experience consequence free bad behaviour and forbids her from conducting further tests. But Estelle, whose power of will and determination is greater than her husband's, defies him and continues to control Mike knowing that Marcus can do nothing about it. When Marcus responds by telling her he will therefore recall Mike and use the machine to de-condition him, Estelle smashes it up to prevent him.
Estelle continues to use Mike to experience things she has always wanted to do and eventually she turns him into a killer murdering a girlfriend and a casual pick-up. While under the influence Mike is unaware of the things he has done and is angered by his friends who are concerned about his drastic personality change. The police are on his trail for the murders and Estelle sends him on a high-speed getaway in a car as the police pursue him. Marcus knows that his own strength of will is too weak to force Mike to stop but he knows he has to put a stop to his wife's wicked activities. He remembers the injury that they both received from Mike through the linkage and realises there is one way Estelle can be stopped - he concentrates to wrest a tiny modicum of control over Mike in the speeding car and forces him into a reckless manoeuvre which overturns the car causing it to crash and explodes into a ball of flame. Mike's fiery death is transmitted through the link and Estelle and Marcus also die with their bodies becoming charred and burnt.
|Comment: Although for the main plot purposes I've concentrated on the story from the old couple's point of view we also get a lot of it from Mike's side as he lives his life between the periods he is being controlled and gradually alienates his friends who don't understand his weird behaviour when he starts acting out of character.|
|Starring:||Boris Karloff (as Professor Marcus Monserrat), Catherine Lacey (as Estelle Monserrat, his wife), Ian Ogilvy (as Mike Roscoe, the young man they control), Elizabeth Ercy (as Nicole, Mike's girlfriend), Victor Henry (as Alan, Mike's friend)|
|Featuring:||Susan George (as Audrey Woods, old girlfriend of Mike, victim), Dani Sheridan (as Laura Ladd, Singer at club, victim), Ivor Dean (as Police Inspector Matalon), Alf Joint (as Ron, Alan's boss)|
|Writer: Robert Ryerson / Director: Bob Kellett / Producers: Peter James, Gerald Flint-Shipman|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 82 mins|
|Sir Percy de Courcy is a British ex-pat living in Menorca, Spain. He has just taken out a large bank loan to finance what he sees as an excellent money making opportunity - he has bought 10,000 gallons of cheap local wine and plans to rebottle it with a fancy label as he feels that anything will sell with the right amount of snobbery attached. But his manservant Perkins is dismayed at this development telling his employer that even the locals won't touch this stuff - and indeed when they taste it it is vile and undrinkable. So Sir Percy sets Perkins the task of finding a local ingredient that can be added to the wine to make it more palatable.
Meanwhile Mike Scott is on a business trip to Menorca to oversee a modelling shoot for his wife's lingerie company. He has recently seen his doctor about an impotence problem as he has been unable to perform for quite some time now even though he is not short of opportunity in the regular company of beautiful young models.
Mike and Percy bump into each other by chance. They were old school chums but that doesn't stop Percy trying to offload his cheap wine onto Mike - although when Mike tastes it his answer is a resounding no. Meanwhile Perkins is preparing various concoctions to enhance the wine's taste - one ingredient he found is some herb leaves which were ground up along with some small insects that were inadvertently still resident on them - Perkins realises the mistake but decides to still use it anyway. Percy asks a wine expert to try blind-tasting the various mixtures prepared by Perkins to see which is the best - all of them are considered vile except for one which the expert finds divine - when Perkins checks the details he finds it is the one that contained the ground up herbs and insects. Percy and Perkins check a reference book and find the insect is called a "Spanish Fly" which in olden times was famed for its aphrodisiacal qualities but was never taken up by the modern medical profession because of some unfortunate side effects - in the excitement over the beneficial qualities they read no further about what those side-effects might be.
Percy decides to throw a party to try and sell the wine again - now treated with the extra ingredient. He invites Mike and the four models he is working with to dinner and they all love the wine. It makes them all a bit frisky including Mike who later that evening at last has some long awaited success in the bedroom department with two of the models. Mike decides to buy all of Percy's wine at the cost of many thousands of pounds which he pays for using a company cheque. Percy and Perkins bank the cheque and then go into full production collecting the insects and preparing the formulation into bottles. Some cases are given to the local bar to pay off Percy's tab there.
Back in England, Mike's wife sees the cheque speed-cleared through their account and rushes off to Spain to find out what he's spending so much money on. Meanwhile Mike, keen to re-experience the amorous effects, has some more wine and discovers what the unfortunate side effect is - it constricts the vocal chords and makes the person bark like a dog. Some of the locals are having a raucous party drinking the same wine at the local bar and are feeling the same effects.
Mike confesses to his wife that he has bought the wine and realises he has wasted all the money as Sir Percy and Perkins make a quick getaway. But one intoxicated local who had poured the wine over his balding head discovers his hair re-growing and Mike realises he has made a good deal after all and can sell the wine as a hair restorer!
|Starring:||Leslie Phillips (as Mike Scott), Terry-Thomas (as Sir Percy de Courcy), Graham Armitage (as Perkins, Sir Percy's manservant)|
|Featuring:||Nadiuska (as Julie, German model), Andrea Allan (as Bruce, Australian model), Sally Farmiloe (Francesca, Spanish model), Jaleh Haddah (as Annette, French model), Ramiro Oliveros (as Juan, photographer), Sue Lloyd (as Janet Scott, Mike's wife), Nina Francis (cook)|
|Familiar Faces:||Frank Thornton|
|The opening cast billing is Leslie Phillips Vs Terry-Thomas.|
|Writers: Samuel A. Peeples, Gene Roddenberry / Director: Clive Donner / Producer: Gene Roddenberry|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 96 mins|
|William Sebastian is a former top American criminologist who has taken an interest in the supernatural. He has been asked to look into an intriguing case by the sister of a rich British businessman who has become concerned that her brother, Sir Geoffrey Cyon, is dabbling in the occult. Sebastian asks his former criminologist partner Dr Ham Hamilton to help him with the case. Back when they used to work together they were involved with some cases that defied rational explanation and since they parted company Sebastian has realised that there must have been other unknown forces at work - and he has since made a study of the paranormal and the occult to try and explain some of the strange things he has seen. Hamilton is still very sceptical however even when Sebastian shows him a scar over his heart that he says was made by a supernatural being in a revenge for a broken deal - Sebastian's heart is very weak as a result and that is why he needs Hamilton's help with this case.
Sebastian and Hamilton fly over to England in the Cyon family's private jet piloted by Anitra's other brother, Mitri. Mitri Cyon is pleasant and personable but is clearly living in the shadow of his much more successful brother who has increased the family fortune twelve-fold in the last few years due to an incredible knack of always managing to make the correct business decisions.
When they get to the Cyon Mansion it is a grand affair and they are told it used to be Kentworth Abbey which Sir Geoffrey has spent millions refurbishing over the last few years. Sir Geoffrey prefers to be called simply "Cyon" and is an aloof and self-confident character who welcomes their investigation because he wants to put his sister's mind at ease concerning her irrational fears about him. The household is staffed with glamorously dressed young female servants and Cyon speculates that it is probably his playboy lifestyle that offends her puritanical sensibilities more than anything.
The duo begin their investigation starting with Anitra who tells them that the change in her brother started three years ago when the refurbishments started which had began with the wine cellars. Sebastian, using a research journal he obtained from a contact who had mysteriously died, determines that a demon called Azamdeus has been set free - a demon so vile and powerful that 2000 years ago the ancient druids banded together to entrap it in a place called the Druid's Firepit - a place marked with stone monoliths at a site near this former Abbey. Sebastian realises that the demon has been inadvertently released during the excavations. Azamdeus is a demon that takes on the form of someone dead and through him recruits disciples rewarding their devotion with great success in their worldly affairs - this fits the meteoric success of Cyon - but is he Azamdeus himself, or a disciple?
Sebastian and Hamilton discover a secret entrance amongst the monolithic ruins that leads down into an underground chamber and find a temple with its massive doors blown open and two halves of a circular golden seal. Behind one door crushed against the rock wall they find the body of Mitri - he must have started to remove the seal and become crushed as the demon burst free opening the door with explosive force. It is therefore Mitri who is Azamdeus and Cyon is merely his favoured disciple.
The investigators then witness the beginnings of a ritual ceremony as cloaked hooded worshipers file in chanting the demon's revered name. They are carrying Anitra who is then lain out on a sacrificial alter. Mitri/Azamdeus and Geoffrey Cyon arrive in their ornate symbolic robes and Azamdeus orders Cyon to sacrifice Anitra - but he wavers and cannot do it - so Azamdeus strips him of his special favour. Aware of Sebastian lurking in the shadows Azamdeus uses his powers to cure Sebastian's heart problem then bids him to follow his commands and complete the sacrifice of Anitra - Sebastian appears seduced by Azamdeus' offer but instead frees Anitra and brings together the two halves of the broken seal which exerts a force over the demon that entraps him once again but also results in the temple chamber collapsing and killing all the disciples except for Sebastian, Hamilton and Anitra who get out in time. The investigators then return to America ready for another case.
|Starring:||Robert Culp (as William Sebastian), Gig Young (as Dr Ham Hamilton), James Villiers (as Sir Geoffrey Cyon), John Hurt (as Mitri Cyon), Ann Bell (as Anitra Cyon)|
|Featuring:||Gordon Jackson (as Inspector Cabell), Majel Barrett (as Lilith, Sebastian's housekeeper in America)|
|Starlets:||Jenny Runacre (as Sydna, chauffeur), Angela Grant (as Butler), Penny Irving, Vicki Michelle, Lindy Benson, Sally Farmiloe (as four maids)|
|This was an American TV movie by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry which was made as a pilot for a proposed TV series that was not eventually picked-up. It is included here because it is set in England and all the main supporting "guest" cast are British.|
|During the sacrificial scene several girls are seen topless wearing open red robes as they work themselves up into a frenzy of excitement - there are six such girls in red robes which are the six "starlets" mentioned above who were the glamorous domestic staff working for Cyan. Unfortunately the clarity of the version reviewed was a bit low and although they could be distinguished in other scenes by distinctive hair colours and styles in this scene they were wearing hoods which hid their hair completely and it was nay on impossible to tell who was who. The only one I picked out was Vicki Michelle who had one moment without her hood on and was recognisable. But at least three of the others are also seen topless - all of them except Sally Farmiloe are known to have appeared topless in other films in the seventies.|
|Writer: Bill Naughton (based on his own play) / Director: Peter Hammond / Producer: Michael Medwin|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 96 mins|
|Set in present day Bolton (1970) in the working class district where the Crompton family live. They are poor but comfortable and manage to struggle by on the incomes of the father Rafe and three of the four children who are of working age but still live at home. The four siblings and their easy-going mother Daisy are a close-knit group always ready to lark and tease one another but they are dominated by the iron rule of their strict father Rafe. They think their father is pompous at times but they live under his shadow and are deferential to his wishes on how to run the household. Rafe collects a sizable portion of their income each week for household expenses. He provides his wife Daisy with a housekeeping budget and expects her to keep detailed accounts of her expenditure. He detests waste and refuses to go into debt with anyone and will only approve expenditure for things that have been saved up for and can be afforded. Rafe never raises his voice or fists in anger and gets his way through measured and unyielding obstinacy in his position as head of the household. The children have learned to live with his overbearing ways and are a generally happy bunch who, between themselves, take a lot of what he says very tongue in cheek with their own private jokes that he appears not to notice.
A point of conflict begins one dinnertime when teenage daughter Hilda declares she has gone off the herring that mother has served up and asks to leave it. Mother is all ready to cook her an alternative but Rafe tells her that it is perfectly good food and refuses to let her waste it. Hilda is feeling rebellious and point-blankly refuses so Rafe tells her she won't have anything else until she does and when she still doesn't budge he instructs mother to serve the same herring up at every mealtime from then on until it is eaten. This goes on for a period of many days with Hilda and Rafe being the equal of each other in their stubbornness not to give in to the other. Finally it is resolved by younger brother Wilfred who surreptitiously feeds the now-malodorous herring to the cat. But Rafe is unsatisfied by the explanation of how the cat got hold of it and forces Wilfred to swear on the bible that he had no part in it. Wilfred is placed in such a quandary over his respect for the bible and the triviality of his offence intended only to help his sister that he passes out.
The whole family starts to fall apart as it is felt Rafe has taken his browbeating belittling ways too far by making it into such a big thing as to call upon the Holy Bible to back himself up. Hilda walks out and older sister Florence goes to live with her fiancé's mother whilst older brothers Harold and Wilfrid make tentative plans to leave home too.
It later emerges that Hilda's dislike for herring stems from her being pregnant and mother pawns Rafe's best winter coat to give Hilda some money for an intended trip to London now she is living away from home. Later on things get too much for mother as well when father needs his coat during an early cold-snap before she can get it back and she so fears his scathing reaction that she runs out of the house in floods of tears and Rafe realises he has to change if his family are to stay together.
His motives are well-intended as he grew up in a family blighted by debt and vowed that he would never let his own family fall into that trap which is why he runs the household so stringently. However part of his behaviour is an act which is why he regularly overlooks the subtle ribbings, and is forever forced to keep a straight face when he examines the poorly balanced household accounts his wife presents him each week. He had believed that if ever he were to relax his resolve and be seen to endorse wastage things would soon slide, but was able to overlook minor infringements and allow them occasional small victories over him by pretending not to notice knowing that his family would follow in main his rules if they got away with a few small things now and again
It ends with Rafe deciding to mellow his attitudes now that all the children are contributing a good household wage and they agree to come back home and reconcile their differences and give him another chance.
|Starring:||James Mason (as Rafe Crompton), Diana Coupland (as Daisy his wife), Susan George (as Hilda, younger daughter), Hannah Gordon (as Florence, elder daughter), Rodney Bewes (as Harold, elder son), Len Jones (as Wilfred, younger son), Keith Buckley (as Arthur Gasket, Florence's fiancé)|
|Featuring:||Avril Elgar and Frank Windsor (as Betsy-Jane and Ned Duckworth, neighbours), Adrienne Posta (as Betty Duckworth, their daughter), Ken Parry (as Pawnbroker), Marjorie Rhodes (as Arthur's mother)|
|Familiar Faces:||Arthur Lowe (Arthur's boss), Bernard Bresslaw (Lorry Driver), Christopher Timothy (TV removal man)|
|Writer: Jimmy Sangster (based on his own novel)/ Director: Roy Ward Baker / Producer: Harold Cohen|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 72 mins|
|American John Smith is an ex-secret agent who once worked in Washington before being transferred to London. His speciality was dealing with troublesome people by means of intimidation, blackmail or death under the orders of his British boss Max. He withdrew from that life when his conscience got the better of him after being ordered to kill someone he didn't think deserved it. He stayed in London and set himself up as a Private Investigator.
In this capacity Smith is hired by his ex-wife Danielle Dunning to gather divorce-case evidence against her new husband Nathaniel Dunning whom she believes is having a homosexual affair. Dunning is a top civil servant at the Foreign Office and John follows him from work to a London flat - later Smith goes in hoping to secure some candid photographs but instead finds Dunning murdered - stabbed to death with a knife. Almost at once the police are there and John finds himself implicated in the murder.
Things seem stacked against him until he is suddenly released. His old boss Max has pulled some high-level strings but in return Max wants Smith to hand over a notebook. Smith knows nothing of any notebook but when Max threatens to withdraw his protection from prosecution Smith bluffs that he does have this notebook and will go and fetch it. He goes to his old house where his ex-wife and Dunning now live and searches in the secret places he knows would be ideal for a hidden notebook and sure enough he finds it.
The notebook is in code and Smith has no idea what it contains but he nevertheless makes two similar copies containing deliberate mistakes to use as bargaining tools. He holds out on Max and asks for a large cash payment for the real notebook which Max agrees to pay. But at the designated exchange location another interested group murders the British agents who arrived with the money - they make off with the money, the notebook (one of the fakes which Smith brought with him), and abduct Smith.
Smith discovers he is being held by an Albanian agent called Igor Barrant working for the Chinese and that he is willing to increase the payment for the supply of the real notebook. Smith agrees and is released to retrieve it. Smith has an ex-spy friend of his decode the real notebook and finds out that it contains a list of names and addresses of Western spies working in China that Nathaniel Dunning had access to which he was going to sell to the Chinese.
Smith's conscience prevents him from betraying agents to the enemy for money and so he returns to Max to hand over the notebook for free. But it turns out that Max actually wants him to make the exchange - the book in fact contains a list of Russian agents in China that Dunning had been falsely fed and Max wants the Chinese to have in order to underhandedly sabotage the secret Russian intelligence network in China. By creating this clamour to have the notebook back amid murders and large cash incentives, Max has sought to ratify its contents as genuinely calamitous to British Intelligence so the information will be given increased credibility. Max forces Smith to go ahead with the exchange lest the murder charges against him are revived.
Smith makes the exchange with Barrant but then after the foreign agent has departed he finds himself under attack from Max's men who have orders to kill him to prevent him later revealing the truth. But Smith is too good for them and kills them instead. He returns to Max and tells him that there is no point trying to have him killed because the notebook information will already be treated with caution because he added some warning notes of his own to the pages before handing it over.
|Starring:||Robert Horton (as John Smith), Sebastian Cabot (as Max), Jill St John (as Mary Harper, Smith's girlfriend)|
|Featuring:||Eleanor Summerfield (as Mrs Roberts, Smith's secretary), Lee Montague (as Igor Barrant, Albanian Chinese Agent), Douglas Sheldon (as Peter Alworthy, Dunning's enemy agent contact), Barbara Shelley (as Danielle, Smith's ex-wife), Philip Madoc (as Gar, Smith's ex-agent friend with decoding skills), Kenneth J. Warren (as Police Inspector), Donald Morley (as Nathaniel Dunning, corrupt civil servant)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anthony Sharp (as Civil Servant, uncredited)|
|This was an American TV movie made in the UK - Director Roy Ward Baker is credited as Roy Baker.|
|There was a sequel to this film the following year called Foreign Exchange (1970) featuring the same set of actors in the main roles.|
|Writer: (none listed) / Director/Producer: Lindsay Shonteff|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Preliminary note: This film is so muddled with an incomprehensibly shifting plot which unfortunately defies any attempt to adequately construct a cohesive sounding summary. An effort to give a flavour of it follows...
A former British secret agent who calls himself Patrick Armstrong is working for a government backed Strategic War Studies Centre which conducts virtual war games scenarios involving American and Russian nuclear submarines in order to formulate defence strategies. The centre is headed by an American called Colonel Chuck Schlegel. Meanwhile Armstrong's former secret service boss Dawlish asks Armstrong to become an active agent again but Armstrong is reluctant to be drawn back into becoming a pawn in the cloak and dagger world of espionage.
However he seems to be given little choice as various murderous factions compete to further their own political interests and Armstrong is left not knowing whom he can trust. There is a matter of a Russian submarine detected patrolling British waters for unknown reasons; a corrupt MP with security connections; and a trip aboard an American submarine under the polar icecap to surface and pick up a message from a foreign spy.
The plot develops into an attempt to assist the defection of a top Russian admiral which it turns out is a ploy by the Russians to get a spy on the British side who can feed back information amid concerns they have about German reunification. But things go wrong because of Russian mistrust that the defection might be a double-bluffing British plot.
In the end it turns out that Schlegel was an undercover CIA operative secretly working in conjunction with Dawlish to stabilize the political situation and Armstrong had once again been used as a potentially expendable pawn.
|Comment: Although this story apparently features the same character as played by Michael Caine in the 1960s Harry Palmer films he is never called by that name. This is probably because the character is unnamed in the books and was only called Harry Palmer in the films - which were made by different producers. This film is based on a Len Deighton book in the same series but it would nevertheless be easy to watch this one and not even realise it is supposed to be the same character that featured in the earlier films.|
|Starring:||Michael Petrovitch (as Patrick Armstrong), Philip Latham (as Ferdy Foxwell, Armstong's colleague at Centre), Don Fellows (as Colonel Chuck Schlegel, head of Strategic War Studies Centre)|
|Featuring:||Michael Gwynn (as Dawlish, Armstrong's former secret service boss), Nicholas Parsons (as Ben Toliver, corrupt MP), Toby Robins (as Helen Schlegel, Colonel's wife), Derren Nesbitt (as Colonel Stok, Russian), Nigel Plaskitt (as Mason, computer expert), Ciaran Madden (as Marjorie, Armstrong's girlfriend), Tessa Wyatt (as Sara Shaw, restaurant owner)|
|Familiar Faces:||Michael Knowles (as Milkman, [uncredited])|
|The credits do not specify who wrote the screenplay. The film title is billed as "Len Deighton's Spy Story" but it does not indicate that he wrote the screenplay|
|The same character featured in three 1960s spy films starring Michael Caine in which he was known as Harry Palmer. These were The Ipcress File (1965), Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967). Michael Caine returned to the role for two films in the mid-1990s called Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in Saint Petersburg.|
|Writers: Paul Dehn, Guy Trosper / Director/Producer: Martin Ritt|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 107 mins|
|Alec Leamas is a British agent whose work involves running Britain's East German spies. He is recalled to London for a meeting with his boss who is known only as "Control". Leamas is offered the chance to retire to a desk job (known as "coming in from the cold") but he declines because he is a committed field agent. Control is pleased because he has a special job in mind. East Germany's head of counter-espionage is called Hans-Dieter Mundt and British Intelligence have an ingenious plan to try and stir up enough doubt about his loyalties that his second in command Fiedler will act to denounce him.
Thereafter Leamas is seemingly fired from the Secret Service. He becomes a drunkard, taking a lowly job as an indexer in a research library. There he meets fellow-indexer Nancy Perry who befriends him and they start going out together. She is a sweet-natured young woman although her political views are quite radical and she is a member of the British communist party. Leamas continues to drink heavily and when he assaults a shopkeeper he spends some time in prison.
When he is released he is contacted by someone claiming to represent an organisation that helps support newly released convicts. In fact Leamas is being approached by the other side and offered a considerable financial incentive for supplying certain information about his former profession.
It now becomes apparent to the viewer that Leamas has been working undercover all this time and his fall from grace has been a pretence to draw the enemy into sounding out his willingness to defect. Leamas has a meeting with a man called George Smiley who further briefs him on the task and Leamas asks only that Nancy is taken care of while he is gone.
Thus Leamas indicates his interest in the defection proposal and travels to Holland where he is thoroughly questioned about his job in the paymaster's office. The questioner is particularly interested in an unusual regular payment made to an agent so secret that only Control knew his identity. Leamas is taken onward to East Germany where he is questioned by Fiedler himself. Fielder has had his own suspicions that his boss Hans-Dieter Mundt might be leaking information to the British but has never had any proof with which to make such a dangerous allegation.
But now Leamas' "indications", whilst not proof in themselves, appear to fill in enough gaps in Fielder's suspicions to enable him to link seemingly unrelated things together with enough assuredness to make a firm accusation against his superior. Mundt is arrested and a tribunal is convened - if found guilty Mundt will hang for treason. Fielder's accumulated evidence appears to be damning but Mundt's defence alleges that Leamas is a false-defector who has effectively been sent as part of a British plot to "assassinate" the loyal counter-espionage chief with lies. However Leamas is unshakeable and sticks rigidly to his story and claims never to have met a man called George Smiley whom the defence believe is the mastermind behind the envisaged plot.
But then Nancy is brought in. She has been lured here by the communists upon the offer of an exchange trip and is brought before the tribunal and forced to give evidence. After a lot of badgering a confused Nancy reveals that Leamas did once meet a man called Smiley while they had been going out together. With that revelation Leamas' cover is blown and he admits everything about the plot to discredit Mundt. The charges are dropped and Fiedler is instead arrested for disloyalty and treason. Leamas is put in a cell.
Later that night he and Nancy are secretly released by Mundt. It turns out that Mundt IS in fact spying for the British and Fiedler's suspicions were all correct. This whole operation had been a double bluff to force Fielder to act so that Mundt could then discredit his suspicions as being a British plot and have him disposed of thus protecting Mundt as a valuable asset. Mundt gives them instructions on how to escape over the Berlin wall.
But at the wall there is a betrayal and as Leamas climbs over Nancy is shot. Someone clearly had decided she knew too much and could not be allowed to leave. Leamas has the chance to get safely over but Nancy's death, which was never part of the plan he agreed to, so disillusions him that he returns to the communist side and is also shot dead as an attempted escapee.
|Starring:||Richard Burton (as Alec Leamas), Claire Bloom (as Nancy Perry), Cyril Cusack (as Control, Head of British Intelligence), Oskar Werner (as Fiedler, Russian intelligence officer), Rupert Davies (as George Smiley, British masterspy)|
|Featuring:||Sam Wanamaker (as Peters, enemy interrogator), Peter Van Eyck (as Hans-Dieter Mundt, head of Russian counter-intelligence), Michael Hordern (as Ashe, enemy agent), Robert Hardy (as Dick Carlton, enemy agent), Bernard Lee (as Patmore, shopkeeper), Anne Blake (as Miss Crail, stern librarian), George Voskovec (as Mundt's Defence Attorney), Beatrix Lehmann (as Tribunal President)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Based upon the novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré|
|Writers: Julian Holloway, Gerry O'Hara / Director: Gerry O'Hara / Producer: Julian Holloway|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 27 mins|
|Tom Tyler is a spy whose hush-hush work takes him abroad a lot. His wife Hilda knows his line of work and is forever curious about where he goes and what he does but Tom hides under a banner of secrecy and tells her he cannot give her any details in case the "other side" have their apartment bugged. Tom travels under the false undercover identity of being a toy salesman whenever he goes on a mission.
Tom bids farewell to his wife as he begins another mission. He travels to the airport where he proceeds to swap his suitcase for one stowed in the left luggage. But then instead of proceeding to the check-in desk he leaves the airport and makes his way to a London townhouse address.
Meanwhile Hilda receives a caller she has been expecting who is a regular visitor when Tom is away. He is a shifty man called Vladek and as soon as he arrives she cautions him about the possibility of a listening device and they both start searching for one. Later Hilda's overbearing mother arrives unannounced and Hilda has to pass Vladek off as a television repairman until she can persuade her mother to leave by pretending she has to go out herself. When Hilda returns Vladek is in her bed and it becomes apparent they are lovers. They decide to abandon the hunt for a possible bug and just turn the music up loud to cover any noise they make.
Tom's destination is the home of Gracie who distributes toys to Europe. He shows her some samples and she likes what she sees and then they proceed to go to bed together. It becomes clear that Tom really does sell toys and is not a spy after all. He lets his wife believe that because he needs to explain his prolonged absences during which he carries on an affair with Gracie.
Final Twist: While Tom and Gracie are in bed together we see on Gracie's bedside table a photograph of her husband whom we see is Vladek - and on the back of the frame is a listening bug!
|Comment: All the characters were given names except for Vladek Sheybal so I've called him by his own name in the above summary. The story leaves things hanging a bit ambiguously with room for several interpretations. Presumably Tom is not a spy and Vladek is, but there is no indication of whether the "wife swap" situation came about by coincidence or not.|
|Starring:||Tom Bell (as Tom Tyler), Dorothy Tutin (as Hilda Tyler, Tom's wife), Ann Lynn (as Grace, Tom's lover), Vladek Sheybal (as Hilda's lover, [unnamed])|
|Featuring:||Freda Bamford (as Hilda's mother), Glenna Forster Jones (as Shirley, nanny of Gracie's children), Janet Waldron (as Elaine, Hilda's friend), Julian Holloway (as Harrison, mysterious caller), Bunny May (as Harrison's colleague), Shaun Curry (as Gracie's chauffeur), Charmian Clarke (as Camilla, Gracie's daughter)|
|This short film can be found as an extra on the BFI DVD release of All The Right Noises (1969) which was by the same director and had the same star.|
|Novel: David Craig / Writer: Leon Griffiths / Director: Michael Apted / Producer: Stanley O'Toole|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 102 mins|
|While out walking in a park Jill Foreman and her young daughter Christine are kidnapped by a gang of villains and taken to their hideout. The gang contact her husband Robert who is head of a security firm making demands on him to provide information and assistance in stealing a million pounds from an armoured van. Robert involves Jill's ex-husband Jim Naboth when he at first thought Jill might have gone back to him when she first went missing before he heard from the kidnappers. Jim is an ex-police superintendent who left the force because of being an alcoholic and now works as a private detective. Robert does not want Jim to get involved in the case because of his unreliability but Jim ignores him and follows Robert to a rendezvous arranged by the kidnappers to prove to Robert his loved ones are still alive. Jim recognises one of the kidnappers as Keith Anslow a vicious villain he put away for three years some time back when he was with the force.
Jim starts his own investigation to try and locate his ex-wife Jill - who is also mother of his two sons. He is assisted by his friend Teddy, a good-hearted taxi-driver and petty thief whom Jim gave a break to a few years back and who now feels a debt of gratitude for keeping him out of prison.
The gang decide that Jill must go on the robbery job with them to keep the pressure up on her husband to co-operate. The robbery proceeds as planned and the gang make their getaway with Jill still their prisoner. Jim thinks that the gang may not release Jill when it is over and so he has kidnapped the gang leader Vic's own beloved daughter and on their getaway route he holds the daughter at gunpoint for the return of Jill (having already rescued Christine). Vic stops and agrees to the exchange but Keith, angry at Jim for his former prison time, starts a shooting exchange until the police arrive to arrest them.
|Starring:||Stacy Keach (as Jim Naboth), Edward Fox (as Robert Foreman, Jill's current husband), Carol White (as Jill, kidnapped wife of Robert, ex-wife of Jim), Freddie Starr (as Teddy, friend of Jim), David Hemmings (as Keith Anslow, villain), Stephen Boyd (as Vic Smith, crime leader)|
|Featuring:||Hilary Gasson (as Barbara, Jim's girlfriend), Roy Marsden (as Barry, part of kidnap gang), Alison Portes (as Christine, Jill's daughter)|
|Starlets:||Maureen Sweeney (as Sauna receptionist), Merdelle Jordine (as Tracy the masseuse), Marjie Lawrence (as Beryl, Vic's girlfriend)|
|Writer: Charles Dyer (based on his own play) / Director/Producer: Stanley Donen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Harry Leeds and Charles Dyer are an aging homosexual couple who have been living together for thirty years. They live above Harry's barbershop where Harry also looks after his elderly infirm mother which is a great burden on him but a duty he performs without resentment. Harry and Charles live in a time when homosexuality is illegal and so they cannot be open about their relationship and have to be careful about how they conduct themselves in public.
The two of them bicker and goad each other but there is a strong underlying affection that keeps them together despite their arguments and recriminations. Charles is an actor although work has dried up and now he helps Harry in the shop. He was once married as a cover and believes he has a daughter whom he has never met. He is excited because she is due to visit him soon. But then he gets a summons to appear in court for importuning himself in a manner likely to cause a serious breach of the peace. Charles had been high-spiritedly recreating one of his old cabaret drag acts in a public place while worse for alcohol. He becomes really frightened about how the courts will treat him and fears they won't believe his story and will lock him up for homosexual depravity. Harry tries to reassure him that he'll probably only get a fine but the fear is eating away at Charles.
Meanwhile Harry has his own problems and constantly wears a head bandage to hide the scraggy state of his hair afflicted by alopecia. He is not only embarrassed but feels it would be bad for business if his customers were to think it catching or seen as evidence that the hair restoratives he sells are ineffective.
The stresses they are both under put a great strain on their relationship but in the end they know that they need each other. The morning of Charles' trial arrives and he feels he ought to go alone so as not to create an inappropriate impression of them being a couple. But in the end he is so petrified he cannot even cross the road and so Harry accompanies him. THE END (we don't see the trial or discover its outcome and Charles' daughter never turns up).
|Starring:||Rex Harrison (as Charles Dyer), Richard Burton (as Harry Leeds)|
|Featuring:||Cathleen Nesbitt (as Harry's mother), Beatrix Lehmann (as Charles' mother), Stephen Lewis (as Jack, Charles' friend)|
|Writer: Leslie Thomas (adapted from his own novel) / Director: Norman Cohen / Producer: Greg Smith|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Set in 1950s Malaya where the conscript British soldiers at Panglin Barracks Singapore District Command are celebrating their demob after two years National Service and jeering exuberantly at their sergeant as they leave the gates knowing they'll never see him again. But before they've gone too far word comes through from London that due to the grave situation in the Far East, National Service has been extended by six months and so they are all returned to barracks which brings their spirits down no end and pleases the Sergeant to take them to task on a few of their parting gestures.
Private Brigg and his best friend Private Jacobs are the main characters as we follow them through a series of incidents as they do their best to bide their time and make the best of it as they visit the local brothel bar and drink themselves merry dreaming of the girls back home they will impress with their medals and tales of derring do. Although in actual fact they are not a well-honed bunch of soldiers and only have basic training - in civilian life most of them are white collar workers in clerical jobs.
The division organise some camp entertainment in which some of the soldiers do a turn and also four nurses from the nearby hospital do a ra-ra dance for the soldiers. Brigg and Jacobs are most struck by two of the nurses and later go out on dates with them. Brigg pairs off with an Australian nurse called Bernice while Jacobs goes with posh British nurse Valerie and they all have a good time but the nurses are soon off to another posting.
Their section sees a little action when they are tasked with searching for rebels in the local village which brings some realities of war to them for the first time as they have to shoot to kill. But most of the time they have nothing particular to do except drill and train during the day and partake in the local nightlife in the evening.
Their new lieutenant organises a pig-hunt in the jungle which is bandit country and despite the two sergeants' concerns that the men aren't ready for this the lieutenant is determined to press on and if need be they will engage with the enemy. They do encounter an enemy unit and a fierce gun battle ensues - the lieutenant plays hero and gets killed and just about everyone gets wounded. Brigg and Jacobs wind up in the hospital and are hopeful that they might stay there for the rest of their service time although the lack of any female company is a problem. But then their two nurse friends return from their posting and things end on a happy note.
|Comment: The film does not have an overall plot that drives it - but instead tells a series of incidents in the lives of the soldiers thrown into the given situation.|
|Starring:||Robin Askwith (as Private Brigg), George Layton (as Private Jacobs), Nigel Davenport (as Sgt Driscoll), Edward Woodward (as Sgt Wellbeloved), Warren Mitchell (as Morris Morris, Welsh recalled reservist)|
|Featuring:||Robin Nedwell (as Lieutenant Grainger), John Le Mesurier (as Col. Bromley-Pickering), Pamela Stephenson (as Bernice, Australian Nurse), Lynda Bellingham (as Valerie, British Nurse), Irene Handl (as Mrs Phillimore, social worker), David Auker (as Private Lantry), Fiesta Mei Ling (as Juicy Lucy, prostitute), Miriam Margolyes (as Elephant Ethel, fat prostitute)|
|Familiar Faces:||Patrick Newell (Medical Officer), John Clive (Hospital patient), Dino Shafeek (Indian watchman)|
|Starlets:||Anna Dawson, Brenda Kempner (as Dancers)|
|Pamela Stephenson and Fiesta Mei Ling both receive "introducing" credits.|
|This is a sequel film to The Virgin Soldiers (1969) which had the same main cast of characters although mostly played by different actors - the lead role of Private Brigg was originally played by Hywel Bennett. Only Nigel Davenport as Sgt Driscoll revived his role for this sequel film.|
|Writer: Ray Connolly / Director: Michael Apted / Producers: David Puttnam, Sandy Lieberson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Following on from the events of the first film: That'll Be The Day (1973) ...
It is November 1963 and Jim has established himself as a member of a small touring gig-band called The Stray Cats where he is the guitarist and backing vocalist as well as the songwriter of some new material. Jim goes back to the funfair he used to work at to look up Mike Menari and ask him to come and be their road manager in the hope that he can help them progress to the next level. The band's lead singer is Johnny Cameron whom Mike doesn't think is good enough for the group but it is his band so can't very well get rid of him but has it in the back of his mind to wait for a suitable opportunity to push Jim into the limelight. Mike uses his persuasive skills to get a local entrepreneur called Ronald Harrap interested in helping the band by providing rehearsal facilities. Harrap also puts them in contact with a friend of his in the music publishing business called Colin Day who hears their material and decides to take a chance on them.
They go into a studio to record two of their songs. Johnny sings the A-side but Mike has a word with the producer and they suggest that Jim is allowed to have a go at singing lead vocals on the flip side. When the record is released Mike manages to get an important radio DJ interested but pushes Jim's flip-side track as the hit and the group is referred to on-air as Jim MacLaine and the Stray Cats much to Johnny's disgruntlement. The record gets to number one and they get TV spots in which Jim is the top-lined performer while Johnny is sidelined to backing vocals.
By 1965 the group are an established hit act now officially named as Jim MacLaine and the Stray Cats. Johnny is adding nothing to the group and he is sacked or paid off (it's never really clear why he goes so quietly without much fuss). The group begin a tour of the States and are a hit over there too. Their UK publishing company sells a majority stake in the group to a smooth-talking American entertainment promoter called Porter Lee Austin who becomes their new manager and begins organising extensive tours. Porter also wants a new album of all-new Jim MacLaine written songs and Jim begins to feel he is being put under too much pressure
During this time Jim's mother dies and he returns to England for the funeral and is briefly reunited with his wife Jeannette and their young son. Jeannette wishes he hadn't come because the funeral has been turned into a media farce with Jim's fans all clamouring to catch a glimpse of him. She wants nothing to do with him and is still intensely bitter towards him for deserting their marriage years before. Back in the States the rest of the Stray Cats decide they have had enough of being Jim MacLaine's "ghosts" and want to break away on their own. So Jim is effectively cast out to become a solo act although Mike remains his close-confidant and adviser.
It is now the 1970s and Jim is a successful solo superstar but he has become fed up with the lifestyle having achieved his main ambition to be more famous than anyone else. He has one final ambition which culminates in an ambitiously staged live performance of a rock symphony he wrote called Dea Sancta which garners the largest world-wide TV audience in history. After this Jim decides to retire and moves to Spain where he buys a castle in which he and Mike live.
Two years pass by in Spain and Jim hasn't written any new material and has become a virtual recluse. Porter Lee Austin tries to persuade Jim to come out of retirement before he becomes a forgotten has-been and eventually gets Jim to agree to do a TV interview and performance from the castle. But Jim has developed severe stage fright and can't bring himself to do it without immense pressure and persuasion brought to bear by Mike and Porter. Eventually when he appears he is incoherent and tactless during his interview and it becomes clear through his rambling mutterings that he is not well. Mike realises Jim has taken drugs to get him through the ordeal of the interview and has overdosed. He is rushed to hospital in an ambulance but dies on the way. THE END.
|Comment: One thing not made very clear is the passage of time during the film. It is 22 Nov 1963 when the film starts (Kennedy's assassination is on the news). Along the way 1965 is mentioned but there is no further anchoring of dates until the latter part during Jim's solo career when it is clearly the 1970s. Although despite the swift passage of time during the film it doesn't feel like they are continually skipping forwards and it always seems to be have closely sequential scenes.|
|Starring:||David Essex (as Jim MacLaine), Adam Faith (as Mike Menari), Larry Hagman (as Porter Lee Austin)|
|Featuring:||Paul Nicholas (as Johnny Cameron, Stray Cats lead singer), Ines Des Longchamps (as Danielle, Jim's French girlfriend), Rosalind Ayres (as Jeannette, Jim's estranged wife)|
Keith Moon, Dave Edmunds, Karl Howman and Peter Duncan (as other Stray Cats band members)
|Familiar Faces:||James Hazeldine (as Brian, Jeannette's new partner), Charlotte Cornwell (as Sally Potter, newspaper journalist), Donald Sumpter (as TV Director), David Jacobs (as a pop TV show host)|
|Starlets:||Marjorie Yates (as garden party waitress), Claire Russell (bed groupie), Bobby Sparrow (bed groupie), Hilary Labow, Jessica Swift|
|Continuing from the first film is of course David Essex as Jim MacLaine. The character of Mike also continues but here he is played by Adam Faith instead of Ringo Starr; And Rosalind Ayers briefly reprises her role as Jim's wife during Mrs MacLaine's funeral sequence. Also reappearing is Keith Moon as the band's drummer JD Clover who in the first film was the drummer in a different band. Another actor reappearing is Karl Howman although strangely as a different but very similar character - in the first film he was one of Jim's old schoolfriends called Johnny Swinburn who near the end Jim found out had started up in a band. In this film he is in the Stray Cats band with Jim but his character is now called Stevie - so presumably he's meant to be someone different.|
|Writers: Alec Coppel, Denis Norden / Director: Rodney Amateau / Producer: Anis Nohra|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Alex Bolt is a celebrated British linguist who has created a universal language called Uni-Speak. His contribution to world communication has earned him a special Nobel prize. The US government decide to commission a statue in his honour and ask Bolt's wife Rhonda to create it since she is a world-renowned sculptor. The specifics of what the statue will be like are left up to her and she completes the work whilst Bolt is away on an extended business trip.
Upon his return Rhonda shows Bolt her work and he is appalled to discover that she has chosen to commemorate him with a giant-size Adonis-like white marble statue of him in the nude that makes no attempt to hide his modesty. He considers it would be very inappropriate and undignified for this statue of him to go on public display but cannot get her to change her mind as she sees it as an ultimate tribute. Bolt consults a lawyer to try and get an injunction but is advised that it would be only possible if the statue was defamatory in some way.
Then Bolt realises that since he did not pose for the statue and knowing that his wife never uses professional models then someone else must have been the template for the "manhood" on display and believes his wife must be having an affair. He christens the offending phallus as "Charlie" and thinks if he can prove who "he" belongs to he will have a case for an injunction on the basis of misrepresentation.
So he obtains a list of all his wife's male visitors over the period of his absence which amount to about 30 names and sets about visiting them and contriving ways to view their private regions for a comparison with a photograph of "Charlie. Meanwhile the US Ambassador Ray Whitely who commissioned the statue is having second thoughts on the wisdom of being associated with the giant nude and tries to persuade Rhonda to add a fig leaf or something which she declines to do. He also has Bolt followed by CIA operatives who observe his ever more desperate measures to locate "Charlie" getting him labelled as a wife-swapping homosexual exhibitionist voyeur. Eventually Whitely provides Bolt with US government resources to help find "Charlie" but with no luck he orders the offending appendage chiselled off to preserve everyone's dignity.
Eventually Bolt discovers on a trip to Italy that the model that Rhonda has used for "Charlie" was that belonging to the classic statue of David by Michelangelo.
|Starring:||David Niven (as Alex Bolt), Virna Lisi (as Rhonda, his wife), Robert Vaughn (as US Ambassador)|
|Featuring:||Ann Bell (as Pat Trubshaw, Bolt's assistant), John Cleese (as Harry, Bolt's psychiatrist friend)|
|Familiar Faces:||Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman|
|Starlets:||Susan Travers, Maureen Lane, Zoe Sallis, Veronica Gardnier, Katerina Litfeldt, ?Eva St. Laurent|
|Based on the play Chip Chip Chip by Alex Coppel.|
|The universal language idea is only used as a device at the start to establish why Bolt is so famous - after that it is not an important part of the plot.|
|Nice Line:- (David Niven has returned after a long period away from his wife and they have just gone to bed) HIM: I've been wanting to do this for a long time; HER: Then do it for a long time!|
|Writer: Patricia Losey / Director: Joseph Losey / Producer: Paul Mills|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|A group of women meet every week at the ladies' day at an old fashioned Turkish bathhouse. Somewhat rundown these days with a dwindling clientele the establishment has been run for the last eighteen years by Violet who has had to manage with less and less help from the local council. But a dedicated group of regulars from various walks of life swear by it finding the regime of steam massage and exercise a great weekly cleanser and the opportunity to talk to each other about their everyday domestic problems an important catharsis.
The council decide that the low attendance figures indicate that the bathhouse is obsolete and are planning to replace it with a modern leisure centre. The distraught women form a committee to organise an appeal and agree to help co-manage the facilities if they overturn the decision. One of their number is a lawyer and she finds a way to convince the council to give them another chance and they are given a grant for urgent renovations and six-months to improve the attendance - and we leave the women celebrating their victory.
|Starring:||Vanessa Redgrave (as Nancy), Sarah Miles (as Sarah), Diana Dors (as Violet, bathhouse manager), Patti Love (as Josie)|
|Featuring:||Brenda Bruce (as Mrs Meadows, mother), Felicity Dean (as Dawn Meadows, daughter), Sally Sagoe (as Celia, bathhouse worker)|
|Based on the play by Nell Dunn.|
|Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Director: Cliff Owen / Producer: Aida Young|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 91 mins|
|This review assumes a basic familiarity with the characters and situation.
Elderly Albert Steptoe and his thirty-nine-year-old son Harold are rag and bone men. They live together at their yard and although Harold is always striving to better himself he is held back by his father who stubbornly attempts to wreck any of his son's personal aspirations so that he remains at home to run the business and look after him in his old age. This dynamic has them constantly bickering and getting on each others nerves.
In this film's story Harold is invited to a stag night at a working man's club and when Albert hears there will be a stripper he tags along too. While getting drinks from the bar Harold meets Zita, the forthcoming stripper, and finds her pleasant - and she sees something in him she likes too. After her act they go home to her place and spend the night together. They start a relationship and despite Albert's vocal disapproval of him getting too serious with a girl like her they get engaged and marry.
It all starts going wrong on their honeymoon in Spain when Albert insists on coming along too for a holiday of his own and goes out of his way to disgust Zita with his appalling table manners. He then playacts a medical problem so that Harold will be forced to take him home - and with stand-by plane seats hard to come by Zita has to be left behind. After this Zita decides she cannot take Albert's ways any more and since Harold seems to have more devotion to him than to her she leaves Harold for another man.
Some months later Harold bumps into Zita and she is pregnant and single again - she indicates the as yet unborn baby is his and they decide to make another go of it - but Albert makes her feel so unwelcome she knows it will not work and they soon part company again.
Six months pass and Harold and Albert find a young baby in their stables. Harold is convinced it is his baby that Zita has left for him because she couldn't cope. The two men look after the baby and even the normally gripy Albert mellows with a little one to care for. This continues for many months as the men dote on the baby boy whom they have come to think of as their own. Then one day the baby is taken with a note left thanking them for looking after him.
Harold goes looking for Zita to try and reclaim his child but when he finds her it turns out she had been lying and the child she had been carrying wasn't his at all because, as we see, her baby is black and she is having a relationship with the black pianist in her stage act.
|Comment: The ending is fairly abrupt and we never discover whose baby it was they had been caring for. The prologue to the film is set three years later when Albert officially gets divorced from Zita and the rest of the film is essentially a flashback reminiscence to the story of how he got married.|
|Starring:||Wilfrid Brambell (as Albert Steptoe), Harry H. Corbett (as Harold Steptoe), Carolyn Seymour (as Zita)|
|Featuring:||Arthur Howard (as Vicar), Joan Heath and Fred McNaughton (as Zita's parents), Lon Satton (as Pianist, Zita's boyfriend)|
|Familiar Faces:||Patsy Smart (as Mrs Hobbs, neighbour), Mike Reid (as Club comedian)|
|Starlets:||Julia Goodman (as Holiday Rep), Caroline Eves (as Flamenco Dancer)|
|This film is spin-off from the successful BBC sitcom of the same name that ran for 57 episodes over eight series from 1962-1965, then 1970-1974. Albert and Harold were always ever the only regular characters in the sitcom and they reprise their roles here. It is a new story and not a rehash of a TV episode.|
|There was a second film spin-off entitled Steptoe and Son Ride Again (1973).|
|Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Director: Peter Sykes / Producer: Aida Young|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 93 mins|
|This review assumes a basic familiarity with the characters and situation.
Elderly Albert Steptoe and his thirty-nine-year-old son Harold are rag and bone men. They live together at their junkyard and their livelihood depends on Harold going out on his daily rounds on their horse and cart to collect any old clothes or unwanted items people may wish to get rid of which they then sell on to people who do want them.
In this film's story, business is sluggish with less items coming in on the daily rounds meaning Harold has to work longer days. This takes its toll on their aging horse Hercules who goes lame and has to be put out to pasture. It becomes essential to quickly buy a replacement and so Albert has to dip into the last of the emergency kitty to cover the outlay of £80. Harold is entrusted with the purchase but much to Albert's dismay he comes back from market, not with a horse, but a greyhound bought from shady Frankie Barrow as a sure-fire winner. Harold is certain that they can race the dog at the tracks and easily earn enough in winnings to buy a horse with plenty left over.
They name the dog Hercules II but soon find he has a problem - he is short-sighted and cannot see the mechanical chase-rabbit on the track. Despite efforts to overcome this problem the dog proves useless as a racing animal They still need a horse and Albert tells Harold there is no more emergency money and the only thing left of any value is his Life Assurance policy which he bought as a young man and is due to pay out £1000 when he dies. Harold realises that this is the answer to all their problems and so together they hatch a plan to pretend Albert has died so they can collect on the money. They trick a drunken short-sighted doctor into signing a death certificate for him and Harold makes arrangements for what he intends will be a low-key funeral for the burial of a junk-filled coffin. But he reckoned without all of Albert's totter friends wanting to give him a right-royal send-off.
Amid the pre-funeral wake the Insurance Company man comes round and tells Harold the unexpected news that he will get nothing because the policy had been reassigned to a third party years ago by his father. Albert had completely forgotten he had done this many years ago when he had a brief fling with a woman he expected to marry and signed the policy to her and forgot to change it back when the relationship ended. With no financial benefit to come from their swindle Harold decides that they may as well stage a miraculous resurrection for Albert and he gets into the coffin so he can emerge when Harold gives the cue that everyone has gathered in the living room for the final moments before the coffin is taken away to be buried. But Albert falls asleep inside and misses his cue and Harold is unable to prevent the coffin being carried off for burial. Eventually Albert awakens just as the soil is being thrown in to the grave on top of him and he causes horrific panic amongst the mourners as he opens the lid and emerges.
When things have settled down the insurance man returns with news that a clause in the policy assignment stated that if the other woman were to remarry then the assignment would not apply and they have now belatedly discovered this is indeed the case and so the policy has reverted to Harold's name. Albert and Harold decide to cash the policy in early and not try to stage any further deaths. They receive £876 which is more than enough to pay off Frankie for the balance on the greyhound and buy a new working horse. But once again Frankie manages to con the gullible Harold out of most of that by selling him a joint ownership in a racehorse which turns out to be owned by the Queen! (Unresolved ending joke).
|Starring:||Wilfrid Brambell (as Albert Steptoe), Harry H. Corbett (as Harold Steptoe)|
|Featuring:||Henry Woolf (as Frankie Barrow, con man), Milo O'Shea (as Dr Popplewell, drunk short-sighted doctor), Neil McCarthy, Bill Maynard, George Tovey and Sam Kydd (as Fellow Grieving Totters)|
|Familiar Faces:||Yootha Joyce (Grieving Totter's wife), Geoffrey Bayldon (Funeral Vicar), Frank Thornton (Life Assurance Agent), Richard Davies (Butcher)|
|Star-Turns:||Diana Dors (as Flirty Widow on Harold's rounds, [one scene only despite high billing])|
|Starlets:||Grazina Frame (Girl at back yard sale)|
|This film is a second spin-off from the successful BBC sitcom Steptoe and Son that ran for 57 episodes over eight series from 1962-1965, then 1970-1974. Albert and Harold were always ever the only regular characters in the sitcom and they reprise their roles here. It is a new story and not a rehash of a TV episode. The first spin-off was Steptoe and Son (1972).|
|Writer: Hugh Whitemore / Director/Producer: Robert Enders|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 97 mins|
|Stevie Smith is a writer and poet who has remained unmarried and resides in the same suburban house in Avondale Road that she has lived in since she was a child. She is now in her later middle-aged years and looks after her aunt. Through conversations with her aunt (and through direct dialogue to the camera) Stevie reminisces on some of the key moments in her life that have shaped her into the person she has become. She considers that her mother married in haste because her father went away to sea and was rarely ever around. Stevie was only 10-years-old when her mother died and so her aunt was the one who raised her ever since. Young Stevie was easily bored and her active imagination fired an interest in writing. As an adult Stevie did have a few opportunities for romantic attachments and even became engaged once to a man called Freddy - but she became fearful of the commitment and decided that she was not the marrying kind because she was not prepared to submerse her individuality in the conventions of marriage. She accepts she is simply one of those people who just don't fit in.
Ever since that time she has lived a cocooned bohemian lifestyle looking after her aunt whom she dearly loves, while also continuing her writing career which has found her fame for its unconventional and quirky individuality. She is regularly asked to give readings of her work on the BBC.
Stevie's aunt becomes senile and eventually dies leaving Stevie all alone in her suburban house. Stevie finds solace in immersing herself in domestic duties and lets her writing work slide. She grows old herself but has no one to look after her as her aunt did. She still does media work and is awarded the Queen's gold medal for poetry and has lunch with the Queen herself.
Eventually Stevie leaves Avondale Road in order to go and look after her ailing sister Molly in Devon. Her sister dies and later Stevie becomes gravely ill herself and never returns to Avondale Road. She dies aged 69.
|Starring:||Glenda Jackson (as Stevie Smith), Mona Washbourne (as Stevie's Aunt)|
|Featuring:||Trevor Howard (as The Man, friend of Stevie in her later years), Alec McCowen (as Freddy, Stevie's suitor, [in flashbacks])|
|Based on the play by Hugh Whitemore and the works of Stevie Smith|
|"Stevie" is a childhood nickname that stuck and her real name is "Peggy" - but only her aunt still calls her that.|
|Writer: Michael Peacock / Director: Peter Collinson / Producer: Michael Carreras|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Brenda Thompson is a shy and rather plain young woman who lives at home with her mother in Liverpool. She yearns to meet a nice man and have a baby and so she decides to make a bold move and travel to London - she tells her mother she is already pregnant and is going to go to London to find a father for the baby - a bizarre story that her mother grudgingly accepts because her daughter has never ever lied to her.
Brenda arrives in London with no plans or accommodation arrangements and at first attempts approaching random men and saying hello - but her looks don't give her the necessary allure to make her instantly appealing to men and she alarms them more than anything. She applies for a job in a boutique and her earnest enthusiasm gets her an admin job in the back office although she isn't considered good looking enough to work on the shop floor which is what she had been hoping for. She meets co-worker Joey who is polite and pleasant to her and she is hopeful he might come to fancy her - yet Joey only has eyes for the gorgeous shop floor worker Caroline who can attract men just by walking into a room - which is something Brenda can only dream of doing. Caroline offers Brenda a room at her flat while she's looking around for a place to stay. Caroline is a man-hungry woman and is always holding parties for her outgoing friends but the only man who talks to Brenda at Caroline's next party is Joey and as she eventually discovers he is only half-listening to her wittering on while waiting for his chance to get off with Caroline.
Disheartened Brenda goes for a walk and comes across a scruffy mongrel dog and then hears a man shouting out the dog's name, "Tinker". Watching him from the shadows she likes the look of the man and when she notices the dog has an address tag on its collar she "abducts" Tinker and takes him back to her flat. She is unaware that the man saw her take his dog although he seemed unconcerned. Brenda gives the dog a bath and makes him look more presentable and then the next day takes him to the man's address - her plan is to use this as an opportunity to get talking to the man.
Tinker's owner is called Peter - a young blond man with strikingly good "pretty boy" looks and he invites her in, playing along with her story at first. But when he questions her on why she stole Tinker, gave him a bath, and brought him a back - which is an extraordinarily strange thing to do - he eventually eggs the truth out of her that she wants him to give her a baby. He makes her an offer that if she moves in and cleans and cooks and looks after him he will consider her request. She is delighted and goes back to the flat to pack.
We have seen already that Peter is a rather strange man with curious habits and his previous girlfriend was last seen screaming in terror while playing games with him - and now she is nowhere to be seen. Now we see him contemplating Tinker and berating the dog's makeover as he gets out a Stanley-Knife and seemingly with great regret stabs the dog to death. Brenda leaves Caroline's flat telling her she is going back home because her mother is ill.
In Peter's home Brenda has a bedroom of her own - she has not told him her real name so he decides to name her "Wendy". She tells Peter she writes children's stories in her spare time and hopes to publish them one day - he gets her to tell him a few and he is drawn to them displaying a childlike fascination of his own. Peter says he has his own fairy story to tell and makes up a story about a prince called Clive who inherits his father's kingdom but wants none of the responsibility and so runs off to seek adventure elsewhere - but his good looks attract beautiful exotic princesses who it turns out only want him for the prestige that having him on their arms will bring them and he comes to hate all beautiful things. Although Brenda thinks it's just a story he is making up we realise that he is describing his own life and he must be heir to a great fortune which he chooses to distance himself from - and has had bad experiences with women which has caused him to develop a psychotic compulsion to kill anything that is beautiful - such as the previous girlfriend we saw - and Tinker the dog after Brenda had "prettied" him up from the scruffy so-and-so he was. Fortunately for Brenda he does not her find the slightest bit attractive and therefore is quite comfortable in her company.
Brenda's mother is getting worried that she hasn't had a letter from her daughter for a while and so she travels down to London to visit her at the flat she said she was staying at. But Caroline tells her she no longer lives there. Later on Caroline looks around Brenda's old room and finds Tinker's collar which Brenda left there. As the only lead Caroline goes to the address on the tag to see if Brenda's whereabouts is known. Brenda is out shopping but Peter lets her in to wait. Caroline oozes sexual appeal and she finds Peter incredibly good looking and has noticed the way he is looking at her and with her promiscuous attitude is up for some casual sex while waiting. But Peter's psychosis about beautiful things has sealed the fate of the gorgeous Caroline and he kills her with his knife while they are having sex in his bed.
Peter and Brenda finally sleep together and she becomes pregnant. Meanwhile Mrs Thompson has reported Brenda's disappearance to the police and during their investigations they realise that her ex-flatmate Caroline is also now missing and an appeal is made with both their pictures being prominently displayed on newspaper front pages. Peter sees this and forbids Brenda from going out to prevent her seeing the panic her absence is causing because he doesn't want to lose his ideal unattractive woman. Brenda is alarmed by his change in behaviour for which he refuses to give a good reason.
Peter decides to explain hoping she will understand and he plays her a tape recording of his killing of Tinker which is followed by a tape of him murdering Caroline. Far from being understanding Brenda is utterly appalled and tries to leave but Peter has locked all the doors and she flees from him in terror but has nowhere to hide - he assures her she is quite safe, he loves her and wouldn't hurt her as she shrinks away in terror as he approaches her.
We later see Peter sitting alone on his bed listening to a tape of Brenda telling one of her stories but we don't find out what happens to her - whether he killed her, if she got away, or if she's still living with him.
|Comments: The title of the film comes from a line from Peter Pan "... first star on the right and straight on till morning" and the connections are clear - Clive (or "Peter" as he calls himself) is unable to grow up and accept his responsibilities and wants to stay in his youth and when he meets his ideal woman he names her "Wendy".|
|Starring:||Rita Tushingham (as Brenda Thompson), Shane Briant (as Peter)|
|Featuring:||Clare Kelly (as Margo Thompson, Brenda's mother), James Bolam (as Joey, boutique worker), Katya Wyeth (as Caroline, boutique worker), Tom Bell (as Jimmy Lindsay, boutique owner), Annie Ross (as Liza, Peter's previous girlfriend)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Clive (Newsagent), Tommy Godfrey (Newsagent's customer)|
|Writer/Producer: Stanley Mann / Director: David Greene|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|There are two main plot threads which are intermingled but for the sake of clarity they are probably best described separately until the end rather than attempting to merge the developments together in the order they actually play out.
Plot 1: Peter Strange is a young novice Police Constable in the metropolitan police on his first days on the beat. He is keen to do a good job and learn to overcome his naiveté and general trust in other people's good nature. On his first Saturday patrolling and keeping order in the pub and club district he encounters a high-spirited young girl whom he is forced to arrest for minor public disorder. Her name is Fred, short for Fredericka, and she is two weeks shy of her sixteenth birthday. She is beautiful and bubbly and has a happy-go-lucky personality with a mischievously seductive charm as she playfully teases him aware he is feeling a bit uncomfortable around her obvious allure. She asks him out but he wants her gone telling her she is too young.
A few days later Fred phones Peter up at his section house and asks him out again and he agrees to take her out on a date if she promises to behave. He goes to her house where she lives with her rich aunt and uncle who are very welcoming to him and seem only too happy that he is taking her out and lend him their Rolls Royce to drive her around in. Fred's girlish enthusiasm is intoxicating and irresistible but when Peter is almost arrested for public indecency when they are found canoodling in the car by a beat-bobby - he comes to his senses and tells her he cannot see her again.
But Fred is persistent and isn't going to let that dissuade her so she soon meets up with Peter again and charms him into giving her another chance and takes him back to her house for another visit with her family. Her Aunt and Uncle are pleased to see him again and soon suggest the two young people go up to her room to spend time together and Peter is amazed at their care-free permissiveness towards their young niece. Fred runs him a luxury bath and joins him and her fun-loving nature breaks down his resistance and their playful hi-jinks lead to sex in her bed. But unbeknown to either of them her Aunt and Uncle are watching the proceedings through two-way mirrors as they film the events and take stills which they are planning to sell to the porn trade for a fortune.
Plot 2 overview: Detective Sergeant Dave Pierce of the vice squad is a man on a mission. He is vehemently opposed to any form of police corruption and has a particular vendetta against an ex-bent cop called Robert Quince who was sacked in disgrace and is now a local criminal. Pierce is determined to see him behind bars and when he receives a tip-off that Quince is expecting a drugs shipment he persuades his superiors to organise an operation to stake-out the heliport and make arrests when the drugs are handed over. But at the stake-out Pierce spots his superior Inspector Evans signalling to the criminals and they flee the scene before anything incriminating occurs. Pierce realises that Evans is corrupt and on the Quince payroll. He tries to prove it and manipulates events so that Evans is seen collecting a payment from Quince. But despite this proof the high-rankers believe Evans' story that he was set-up by someone out to get him. Pierce comes to realise that he cannot trust anyone but himself to get the job done properly.
(Now the plots can be described together...) Peter Strange is seconded to the vice squad and comes under the command of Pierce who has news of another drug shipment and enlists Peter's help in catching Quince in the act but this time without any officially sanctioned backing or involvement of the higher-ups. After the drugs are handed over Quince and Strange pursue the criminals but the wily crooks manage to ditch the drugs during the car chase and have nothing incriminating left on them by the time they are caught. Frustrated and angry Pierce takes them back to the police station where he proposes to conduct a body search. He takes Peter aside and gives him some drugs packets with instructions to "find" them during the search. Peter steadfastly refuses to go along with this but then Pierce presents him with some confiscated photos that were being peddled in the porn trade that have come into his possession during his vice operations that show Peter and underage Fred engaging in lewd activities that make it seem as though he has knowingly posed for them. He tells Peter that if he doesn't go along with this piece of underhand police work he will disclose these photos to his superiors. So Peter reluctantly follows his orders and "discovers" the drugs while searching Quince.
There is a trial in which Quince's counsel protests his client's innocence and throws serious doubts on the veracity of the evidence discovered. Quince has clearly become ill and shows signs of being unhinged and when he is conversationally asked about the incident by a confidant he thought he could trust he proudly reveals how he set the criminal Quince up with Peter's co-operation - unaware that the man is miked-up. With this evidence Peter Strange is arrested for conspiring to pervert the course of justice and is sent to prison for two years. The judge tells him that whilst he was unfortunate to come under the influence of a sick man he should still have known better than to follow his perverse instructions and needs to be made an example of.
|Comment: Although I didn't structure the above plot summary in the same way, the fact that Peter is sent to prison is revealed in the prologue, but at that stage we don't know why - and the main body of the film is then a kind of flashback to the circumstances that led him to that point.|
|Starring:||Michael York (as PC Peter Strange), Jeremy Kemp (as DS Dave Pierce), Susan George (as Fredericka 'Fred' March), Jack Watson (as Robert Quince)|
|Featuring:||Jeremy Wilkin (as PC Wills), Artro Morris (as Insp Wally Evans), George A. Cooper (as Superindentent Kingsley), Madge Ryan (as Aunt Mary), George Benson (as Uncle Bertrand), Barry Fantoni (as Charley Small), Richard Vanstone (as Arthur Quince, son), David Glaisyer (as Roddie Quince, son)|
|Familiar Faces:||Rita Webb, Patrick Newell|
|Starlets:||Robin Tolhurst (as Mandy, Air Hostess and Quince's girlfriend)|
|Based on the novel by Bernard Toms.|
|Writers: Jack Hobbs, Joseph McGrath, John Cleese / Director: Joseph McGrath / Producer: Humphrey Barclay|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 54 mins|
|Set in the modern day (1977). An American diplomat is assassinated and the only clue found is a postcard sent from London and signed by someone called Moriarty declaring an intention to take over the world. The American president sends his CIA chief to London for a meeting of each continent's top police chiefs to formulate a response to this threat.
The chiefs realise that if they don't stop Moriarty it will be the end of civilisation as they know it. They realise this new Moriarty must be a descendant of the original and so they decide their best bet is to call in the sleuthing descendant of the first Moriarty's great nemesis... Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Sherlock Holmes is the famous detective's grandson and he continues the detecting tradition from 221B Baker Street along with the grandson of Holmes' trusted friend Dr Watson. Unfortunately this Dr Watson is a complete imbecile who is very slow on the uptake and consistently gets everything wrong. Holmes tolerates him because he had a bionic nose and is useful for bloodhound-like tracking work. Holmes maintains all the traditions of his famous grandfather and even has a Scottish housekeeper called Mrs Hudson.
The Chief Commissioner of Scotland Yard asks Holmes to accept the assignment of preventing the new Moriarty from achieving his megalomaniacal goal of world domination. Holmes decides that the best idea is to hold a convention of the world's best detectives because he deduces that Moriarty will find it impossible to resist the opportunity to bump off possible adversaries.
The world famous law enforcement agents start arriving for the convention and are accordingly individually murdered by a man who seems to be Dr Watson. But the real Dr Watson is with Holmes. The two Watsons meet and Holmes cannot tell them apart - he knows that one of them is Moriarty in disguise but which one? He asks a simple question that Watson should know the answer to and deduces that the one who gets the question wrong is the real Watson. Moriarty is foiled by over-preparation and removes his disguise to reveal he is really ... Mrs Hudson! Her real name is Francine Moriarty the granddaughter of the original criminal mastermind. Francine has been plotting to avenge her grandfather's death by eliminating everyone in the Holmes family - taking over the world is just a little extra on top of that.
She has a gun but Holmes reveals he had known her real identity ever since she became his housekeeper back in 1964. She shoots Watson who falls to the ground and then she shoots Holmes dozens of time. But the bullets seem to have no effect on Holmes who just stands there unfazed. He reveals that her weapon is useless because he told Watson to replace all the bullets with blanks back at Baker Street. But then Watson apologetically points out that he forgot to do it and the bullets are therefore still the real thing. Holmes promptly falls down and dies beside the mortally wounded Watson. Francine Moriarty leaves to take over the world.
|Starring:||John Cleese (as Arthur Sherlock Holmes), Arthur Lowe (as Dr William Watson), Connie Booth (as Mrs Hudson/Francine Moriarty)|
|Featuring:||Stratford Johns (as Chief Commissioner Blocker), Joss Ackland (as President of the USA), Denholm Elliott (as Sir Charles, Europe Police Delegate), Bill Mitchell (as Klein, American Police Delegate), Nick Tate (as Australian Police Delegate), Burt Kwouk (as Asian Police Delegate), Josephine Tewson (as Sir Charles' secretary), Ron Moody (as Murdered American diplomat), Derek Griffiths (as Bus Conductor), Holly Palance (as Air Hostess)|
|The famous detectives that attend the convention are Hercule Poirot, Columbo, Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five-0, McCloud, "M" from James Bond, and Sam Spade. There are also references to The Six Million Dollar Man and Kojak. None of them are played by the original actors of course.|
|A Swearwater Films Production in association with London Weekend Television. It might have been a made for television film because it did have "End of Part One", "Part Two", "End of Part Two", "Part Three" captions.|
|Writers: David Zelag Goodman, Sam Peckinpah / Director: Sam Peckinpah / Producer: Daniel Melnick|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 112 mins|
|American mathematician David Sumner leaves behind the violence he despises in his own country to come and live in England with his young British wife Amy. They rent a former farmhouse in the insular rural Cornish town where Amy grew up and has largely gone by unchanged since she went away. Most of the people she knew are still there including an old boyfriend called Charlie Venner. David is a pacifist and would rather walk away from trouble than seek unnecessary confrontation and this is seen as a sign of weakness by the locals who respect strong people. He is seen as an outsider and fair game to be ridiculed. Chief amongst the troublemakers is Tom Hedden a bullysome man who likes throwing his weight around.
Amy and David's marriage is going through a difficult patch with moments of tenderness coupled with times when they fail to understand each others points of view. She increasingly perceives him as not being strong and manly enough and failing to defend her on occasions when a stronger minded man might.
Four local men including old boyfriend Charlie are helping to fix up the farm's garage roof and are working there daily showing David only a grudging respect - but the labourers all have a great voyeuristic interest in the activities of his attractive wife. Things start to go wrong when Amy's cat is killed and she suspects the men are responsible just to test David's resolve and she is appalled when he does nothing substantial about it. Instead the men invite him out on a game shoot but abandon him in the moors after saying that they will be nearby scaring up birds for him to shoot at. While David is occupied Charlie returns to the farm to see Amy hoping to renew what they once had. She is not interested and he takes things too far and starts forcing her into having sex. She strongly resists at first but eventually relents and even starts to find comfort in his strength and dominating masculinity that is so lacking in her husband as the rape develops into something more tender. But that is all dissolved in an instant when Charlie's mate Norman comes in and wants a bit of the action too and with Charlie's reluctant co-operation proceeds to rape her while Charlie holds her down. Later when David gets home full of annoyance at having been so humiliated she mentions nothing of her own ordeal.
The next day at a church singsong the townspeople get very merry on drink and the young teenage daughter of Tom Hedden goes missing. She was last seen walking out with a local simpleton called Henry who is suspected by the townsfolk of interfering with young girls a few years beforehand. Henry and the girl are hiding in a barn and while he is holding her protectively from the searching mob outside he inadvertently strangles her to death and he flees. David and Amy are driving back from the church in the fog when David accidentally knocks Henry down and takes him back to their farm to look after him. When David phones around for the doctor the Hedden gang learn of Henry's whereabouts and head up to the farm, armed and drunk, to beat the truth out of Henry on where the girl is.
But as Tom and his four men arrive at the farm demanding Henry be turned over David decides he has had enough and finally makes a stand - this is his property and he will not be told what to do. The mob start by throwing stones through the windows and trying to break the doors but the structure is sturdily built and this is not an easy task. David believes he can hold them off until the local magistrate arrives - but when the lawman does turn up there is a scuffle for possession of Tom's shotgun and the magistrate is killed. David realises this changes everything and now the men have killed someone they will likely kill himself and Amy too to eliminate them as witnesses. David cannot understand Amy's reluctance to help him and willingness to hand the simpleton over to the mob and she cannot understand why he has chosen this extreme moment to stand up to them.
Their siege of the farmhouse begins and David has to use his wits to repel the thugs - and as they eventually start to get in he has to overcome his natural aversion to violence to protect his property and wife as the invaders are one by one killed off. Eventually the crisis is over and all the thugs are dead but David and Amy's relationship has been so shattered by the events that it is not a joyful ending for either of them.
|Starring:||Dustin Hoffman (as David Sumner), Susan George (as Amy Sumner), Peter Vaughan (as Tom Hedden), Del Henney (as Charlie Venner, Amy's old boyfriend), Ken Hutchison (as Norman Scutt, labourer)|
|Featuring:||T.P. McKenna (as Major John Scott, magistrate), Jim Norton (as Chris Cawsey, labourer), Donald Webster (as Riddaway, labourer), Sally Thomsett (as Janice Hedden, Tom's daughter), Len Jones (as Bobby Hedden, Tom's son), David Warner (as Henry Niles, simpleton), Peter Arne (as John Niles, Henry's brother), Robert Keegan (as Harry Ware, pub landlord), Colin Welland (as Reverend Barney Hood), Cherina Schaer (as Louise Hood, reverend's wife)|
|Based on the novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm by Gordon Williams.|
|Ken Hutchison receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Writer: Jackie Collins / Director: Quentin Masters / Producer: Ronald S. Kass|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Tony Blake is the handsome manager of a successful night-club called "Hobo" owned by Fontaine Khaled, the forty-something wife of a rich businessman. Fontaine has expensive tastes and lives a luxurious lifestyle on her husband's account - and Tony's "duties" as her manager includes being at her beck and call for her carnal desires as well. One such tryst in an elevator is captured on Fontaine's CCTV system and she uses the tape for her own amusement to show her friend Vanessa who expresses an interest in "borrowing" him.
Tony feels trapped in his situation with Fontaine and her friends' hedonistic tastes but wants to run the night-club. He has ambitions to own and manage his own club and is in talks with a financier called Ian Thane to invest in him. Tony's eye for the younger ladies has not diminished and the night-club is an ideal place to meet women - he also falls for Fontaine's step-daughter Alexandra - but she ultimately is just using him too.
Then Fontaine's world comes crashing down when her husband Ben discovers the carelessly left CCTV tape she made of herself in the elevator with Tony. He starts divorce proceedings cutting off her allowance and so she is forced to go into partnership with Thane to save her night-club and ditches Tony as her manager leaving his dreams shattered.
|LINKS: Fontaine's story is picked up again in the sequel to this film called The Bitch (1979) but we don't see any more of Tony.|
|Starring:||Joan Collins (as Fontaine Khaled), Oliver Tobias (as Tony Blake)|
|Featuring:||Sue Lloyd (as Vanessa Grant), Mark Burns (as Leonard Grant, her husband), Doug Fisher (as Sammy, Tony's friend), Walter Gotell (as Ben, Fontaine's husband), Emma Jacobs (as Alexandra, Fontaine's step-daughter), Peter Lukas (as Thane)|
|Familiar Faces:||Jeremy Child|
|Starlets:||Felicity Buirski, Natalie Ogle, Tania Rogers, Minah Bird, Sharon Fussey, Pat Astley, Susie Silvey, Suzanne Danielle|
|Emma Jacobs receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Felicity Buirski is credited as "Deborah" although she calls herself "Felicity" in the dialogue.|
|Writers: Donald and Derek Ford / Director: James Hill / Producer: Henry E. Lester|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 90 mins|
|This review assumes a familiarity with the literary characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson|
In the Whitechapel district of London in the late 1800s a number of streetwalking prostitutes have been murdered. This piques the interest of the renowned sleuth Sherlock Holmes and when he is anonymously sent a case of medical instruments with one scalpel missing he is intrigued enough to offer his assistance to Inspector Lestrade who is investigating the killings. Holmes, with his trusted confidant Doctor John Watson, discovers that the instruments once belonged to Michael Osborne, son of the Duke of Shires. But the duke had disowned Michael, ashamed that he had taken up a profession such as doctoring and is not interested in discussing him. However his brother Edward, the current Lord Carfax, who also has some medical training, informs Holmes that Michael went missing about two years ago and his whereabouts are unknown. Holmes deduces that the instrument case was until recently pawned and locates the shop in question finding out that the instruments were deposited two years ago by one Angela Osborne - the pawnbroker says he re-sold the unclaimed case two days ago and the missing scalpel was present then.
There are more brutal prostitute murders and the newspapers dub the killer "Jack The Ripper". Holmes and Watson meet Dr Murray, the police surgeon whose niece Sally helps run the soup kitchens for the poor. Murray agrees that the precision of the killings suggests the hand of someone with medical training. Dr Murray is also a crusader for the poor and detests the scourge of the dissolute prostitute class who debauch the city and he makes speeches on the matter - he even condones the Ripper's actions as a fitting punishment.
Lord Edward Carfax helps out in the soup kitchens from time to time as he and Sally are sweethearts. Holmes discovers from Edward that Michael had married a prostitute called Angela in a moment of weakness and was then blackmailed. This leads the investigators to the local tavern and its landlord Max Steiner who extorted the money from Edward in return for keeping quiet about Michael and Angela and hence preserving from scandal the family's good name. He does not know what became of Angela.
Holmes discovers from Dr Murray that following the blackmail there was a fight in his surgery and Angela had acid thrown in her face and became horribly disfigured. Michael went mad and Murray reveals he still looks after him for him as a husk of a man living as a down-and-out and in a constant imbecilic daze - an unfortunate victim of his family trait of madness.
Holmes works out that Steiner is not the owner of the tavern but merely works on behalf of the true owner - Angela Osborne. She lives upstairs and never goes out of her darkened room because of her scarred features. She admits to Holmes that she sent him the instrument case so he would get involved and find the killer. It was she and Michael who had hatched up the blackmail plot together to get money from Edward once Michael's father had disowned him knowing that Edward would want to preserve the good family name.
Holmes declares to Watson that he has deduced who Jack The Ripper is and works out what the Ripper's next move will be after baiting a trap by revealing snippets of information to his key suspect. Later that night as Angela sleeps in her bed a man creeps into her bedroom and raises a scalpel to strike at her - but he is stopped by Sherlock Holmes who was laying in wait. The intruder is Lord Edward Fairfax and it is he who is Jack The Ripper! Beginning to suffer from the family madness himself he did not know who Angela was beyond her being a prostitute and was intending to kill all prostitutes in London to get her by a process of elimination and thereby save his good family's name. A fight ensues between himself and Holmes and a spilled oil lantern starts a raging fire. Angela, Steiner and Edward all die in the fire but Holmes just manages to escape. Although Holmes solves the case he declines to tell the police the identity of Jack The Ripper to spare the Carfax family any further ignominy.
|Starring:||John Neville (as Sherlock Holmes), Donald Houston (as Dr John Watson)|
Anthony Quayle (as Dr Murray, police surgeon), John Fraser (as Lord Edward Carfax), Robert Morley (as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother), Peter Carsten (as Max Steiner, tavern landlord), Adrienne Corri (as Angela Osborne, former prostitute, wife of Michael), Frank Finlay (as Inspector Lestrade), Judi Dench (as Sally Young, niece of Dr Murray)
|Featuring:||Cecil Parker (as Prime Minister), Dudley Foster (as Home Secretary), Barbara Leake (as Mrs Hudson, Holmes' housekeeper), Barry Jones (as The Duke, Edward's father), Georgia Brown (as Tavern Singer), Jeremy Lloyd (as Rupert, tavern toff), Corin Redgrave (as Rupert's friend), Patrick Newell (as Policeman), John Cairney (as Michael Osborne, disowned brother of Edward)|
|Familiar Faces:||Barbara Windsor (as Annie Chapman, murdered prostitute, very small role)|
|Starlets:||Kay Walsh (as Cathy Eddowes, older prostitute), Edina Ronay (as Mary Kelly, final prostitute victim), Christiane Maybach (as Polly Nichols, thieving whore in tavern, victim), Norma Foster (as Elizabeth Stride, streetwalker victim), Donna White (as First Streetwalker Victim), Sally Douglas (as Tavern Whore)|
|This is an original Sherlock Homes story and is not based upon any stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.|
|Writer: David Whitaker / Director: Peter Graham Scott / Producer: Peter Snell|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 91 mins|
|American agent Michael Donovan arrives in England for a meeting with a foreign man and both British Intelligence and soviet agents are interested to know what was discussed. The soviets take proactive action and abduct Donovan taking him to a mansion headquarters belonging to a soviet agent called Shevik. The soviet's plan is to smuggle Donavan out of the country for intensive questioning and he sends for a corrupt doctor to medicate Donovan into an unconscious state for transport. The doctor arrives to administer the drugs but he turns out to be British agent Peter Langley who has been substituted for the real doctor and sent in to rescue the American. Donovan is freed although Shevik and his blonde flunkey assassin Donetta escape.
Back in safe British hands Donovan has a debriefing with Peter Langley and his boss Colonel Redmayne and Redmayne's assistant Kitteridge. Donovan is then given his own embassy's orders to fly to Rome and he is chauffeured to the coach station on his way to the airport. But at the terminal soviet agents are waiting and only by a pre-planned substitution does Donovan manage to slip away and go to the US embassy to meet with his own boss Goldsmith. The Americans suspect there is a mole in the higher echelons of the British secret service and the three suspects are Redmayne, Kitteridge and Langley who were the only ones who knew Donovan was going to the coach terminal. Donovan is instructed to screen all three men starting with Langley - and Goldsmith tells him to begin this by getting to know his wife Anne Langley.
Under the cover of an American businessman Donovan contrives an opportunity to introduce himself to Anne and they soon get talking and become friendly. Anne and Peter are having marital difficulties and she is frustrated by the way her husband consumes himself into his work to the exclusion of herself and their young son Michael. She has long implored him to get a transfer but he is considered by Redmayne to be too valuable a resource to lose. Anne's dissatisfaction with Peter has caused them to become estranged and this makes her receptive to a new relationship with an interesting and attentive suitor such as the one Donovan positions himself as being.
Langley becomes aware of the affair and speaks to Redmayne who says he suspects that the Americans are screening them. Langley decides to take his accumulated holiday and get Anne and his son away from Donovan's unwelcome scrutiny. He phones Anne and asks her to meet him at Paddington station the next day with their son. But she arrives without Michael believing he might have been planning to snatch him - Langley therefore leaves by himself on the train but warns her first that Donovan is actually an American agent.
It turns out that the British and American top brass, Redmayne and Goldsmith, are working together to discover the mole and it is only Langley and Kitteridge who are actually under suspicion. Langley's movements were being tracked but he has dropped from sight - for when the non-stop train he boarded at Paddington arrived at its destination he was not aboard. Donovan and Anne investigate and discover the train made an unscheduled stop in a remote country area at a signal which shows signs of having been tampered with - they search the area of the stoppage and find a body burnt beyond recognition with effects that match those of Peter Langley. Since it seems the soviets have eliminated Langley suspicion falls on Kitteridge but then he too is killed.
Anne's son Michael is kidnapped by the soviets and she is forced to co-operate and is taken to a secret location where Shevik has set up a new headquarters - and also present is her husband Peter still alive! He is the enemy double agent and is to be taken out of the country with his wife and child where he will share his secrets with the enemy. But Donovan had been following Anne and comes to the rescue and in a beach showdown Langley and the soviet agents are killed and Anne is saved.
|Starring:||Gene Barry (as Michael Donovan, American Agent), Tom Adams (as Peter Langley, British Agent), Joan Collins (as Anne Langley, Peter's wife), Richard Todd (Colonel Victor Redmayne, Langley's boss)|
|Featuring:||Marius Goring (as Shevik, soviet agent), Suzanna Leigh (as Donetta, Shevik's lackey), Michael Rennie (as Goldsmith, Donvan's US embassy boss)|
|Familiar Faces:||Gretchen Franklin (as Bus Conductress)|
|Starlets:||Wendy Ascot (as Redmayne's Secretary), Sheila Sands (as Nude model), Carmen Dean, Lyn Marshall, Donna Reading, Valerie Hudson (as 4 Club Waitresses)|
|Writer/Director: Derek Ford / Producer: Morton Lewis|
|Type: Anthology / Sex||Running Time: 81 mins|
|An anthology of mini-stories showing what wives get up to when their husbands are at work. The stories are linked by a local newspaper reporter called Sarah who realises she is onto a fascinating slice of life story exploring what the "Nine-to-Five Widows" do with all that time they have when their husbands are away during the day. In the opening sequence (7 minutes), before her report properly starts, Sarah observes a "Fox and Hounds" game at a pub where one woman is chosen to run away and the men have to find her and when they do the winner has sex with her. And then Sarah gets on with introducing the theme of the film to camera for her special report about the "Suburban Wives".
Story 1 (16 minutes)
Wife Irene is married to John who is a dependable but dull sort stuck in a modestly paid job providing statistics for a team of highly paid travelling salesmen. Irene tries to get John interested in bettering himself but he is content as he is. So at a party Irene gets friendly with his boss Bill and hints that if John were to be in a job that required him to travel more there would be time for Bill to come over and see her. Bill duly promotes John to the sales team and Irene has to deliver on her promises and have sex with him. Her plan works as she'd hoped and John becomes a highly paid and successful salesman and once his position becomes unassailable she drops Bill telling him she loves her husband. However John (who knows nothing of her behind-the-scenes manoeuvring) has grown in confidence to such an extent that he has found himself another woman and leaves Irene!
Story 2 (11 minutes)
Bored young housewife Sheila spends her days pampering herself but soon tires of such luxuries because there is no guilt attached to it. One day she happens to catch some horse racing on afternoon TV and becomes fascinated. She studies the racing pages of the newspapers and makes pretend bets to test her skills of prediction. After a few weeks she decides she needs to do it for real and opens a telephone account with a bookmaker and starts betting small sums. After some small successes her fortunes turn and she loses money. The bookmaker wants to be paid and although it is not a massive amount Sheila does not want to ask her husband for the money so she asks the bookmaker if there are any alternatives. He sends round a man who is willing to pay her for sex and she manages to clear her debts that way by joining the world's oldest profession which she finds much more exciting than horseracing.
Story 3 (7 minutes)
Wife Kathy (rightly) suspects her husband George of having an affair with his young dolly bird secretary. Kathy decides to meet and defeat her rival head on and visits George at his office. And although she and her husband are having a quite innocuous chat about decorating their house she manages to convince the secretary listening from the next room that she and her husband are still a hot item and the secretary consequently storms out and quits her job in a jealous huff.
Story 4 (6 minutes)
No real story to this one and no dialogue except for some scene setting narration - we see a woman having water skiing lessons from a handsome instructor intercut with them having sex afterwards in an equipment shed.
Story 5 (14 minutes)
Photographer Steve preys on young suburban housewives during the day. His latest target is Carole and he wangles his way into her apartment by means of admiring her young baby and suggesting that the child might be ideal for advertising work. He proceeds to flatter her and suggest that she herself might like to pose for some photos whilst he's here and seduced by the prospect of being "discovered" she agrees to pose in her bikini. He has her hurriedly sign a form which he says is a requirement otherwise he cannot take the photos and proceeds to snap away. He slowly convinces her to remove the top as she loses her inhibitions and poses topless and then he leaves promising to let her know. He gives her a week or so and then returns to show her the snaps and she is embarrassed that she was so carefree and worries about what her husband would think if he saw them - and so when Steve claims that a magazine editor is showing keen interest in the snaps and that the form she signed allows them to be published, she becomes willing to have sex with him after he promises to try his best to stop this happening. (At the end the reporter tells us that Steve was later jailed for his activities getting six months inside).
Story 6 (5 minutes)
Here the reporter Sarah tells us an embarrassing story that happened to her. She was reviewing a erotic book for her newspaper that described ways of spicing up a marriage. She decides to put things to the test and starts doing exercises to tone up her body and then when she is fully prepared she makes the house ready for when her husband gets home that evening. She puts red drapes over the lampshades to create soft romantic lighting and perfumes the air. She then puts on a sexy basque and when she hears him come home she emerges from the bedroom doing an erotic dance only to find he has unexpectedly brought home a business acquaintance.
Story 7 (14 minutes)
Housewife Jill catches her husband Leonard carrying on with their young au pair Francesca. He partly blames Jill for not being very responsive in the bedroom department of late and then importing into the house a teenage temptress - he is after all only human and it was only sex - it is her he loves. Francesca is sent packing and Jill lets the situation pass vowing never to have an au pair again. But after six-months she decides that she cannot cope with the chores and hires another au pair called Helene. Jill sees the same thing start to happen again with Leonard being very attentive to the young girl. Jill chats with Helene and finds her agreeable to a bit of devious plotting. Jill goes to bed early claiming a headache leaving Leonard and Helene alone. When he makes a move on her Helene says he should come to her room later. When Leonard sneaks into her room for a midnight rendezvous he finds Helene and Jill in bed together with Jill playacting having a romantic lesbian interest in the girl telling Leonard it's not love just sex and Leonard realises he's been had.
|Comment: Despite possible appearances the film is not a series of pornographic shorts and in fact stories 3 and 6 are devoid of any nudity or sex scenes whatsoever although they have sexual themes.|
|Starring:||Eva Whishaw (as Sarah the reporter - she is also the star of story 6)|
|Featuring:||Story 1: Maggie Wright (as Irene, wife), Peter May (as Bill, boss), Barry Linehan (as John, husband)|
Story 2: Claire Gordon (as Sheila, wife), James Donnelly (as Client), Paul Antrim (as Bookmaker)
Story 3: Heather Chasen (as Kathy, wife), Denys Hawthorne (as George, husband), Gabrielle Drake (as Secretary)
Story 4: Yocki Rhodes (as Wife), Iain Sinclair (as Water Ski Instructor)
Story 5: Jane Cardew (as Carole, wife), Robin Culver (as Steve, photographer), Pauline Peart (as Mavis, photographer's assistant)
Story 6: Richard Thorp (as Charles, husband), Brian Millar (George, husband's friend) - (Eva Whishaw is the wife in this story)
Story 7: Sidonie Bond (as Jill, wife), Timothy Parkes (as Leonard, husband), Mia Martin (as Helene, the au pair)
|Starlets:||Nicola Austine (as The Fox, opening sequence)|
|A familiar face amongst the cast is Richard Thorp in Story 6 who is best known now for playing Alan Turner in ITV soap opera Emmerdale.|
|This film had a follow-up companion piece by the same production team called Commuter Husbands (1973) which sought to tell its stories from the working man's perspective.|
|Writer: (not shown) / Director: Alan Briggs / Producer: Nick Meier|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 74 mins|
|Set in the Sullivans Children's Home in New Malden in 1984. The home is run by foster managers Maurice and Jenny who preside over a happy community of displaced children. Everyone is currently very excited because a former resident called Mick Phillips, who has now become a big pop star, is coming back for a charity-raising visit.
Around the same time a young girl called Elizabeth is unexpectedly left at their door with a note asking that she be looked after. Maurice and Jenny welcome Elizabeth but have no details of her background. Elizabeth is about 10-years-old and seems unable to speak. It is hard trying to get any sort of response from her at all and her deep penetrating stare and constantly sullen expression make her seem a bit unnerving.
Strange unexplained accidents and incidents begin to start happening at the home, and we (the viewer) see that Elizabeth seems to somehow be influencing the mischief although her involvement is at first unsuspected by the management. At night Elizabeth appears to have the ability to enter the other children's dreams and make them subservient to her will during the day so that they carry out her malicious pranks by proxy. As the days go by Maurice and Jenny become increasingly concerned about the deteriorating mood and behavioural ill-discipline of the children that Jenny thinks is bordering on group hysteria.
At night Elizabeth and her disciples carry out cultish satanic rituals and things reach a crescendo when Elizabeth's power increases to the extent that she exhibits the ability to remotely move objects with her mind and attack Maurice and Jenny with their own office furniture and equipment to stop them contacting the police. Jenny manages to get out to fetch help. Meanwhile Elizabeth has summoned up the Devil and the subjugated children go on a murderous rampage in the home killing support staff, including Maurice as he tries to intervene.
Elizabeth's evil endeavours are halted only when a personification of Jesus manifests and uses his powers to destroy the evil although this causes immense pain to the afflicted children who writhe on the floor in agony under an intensely high frequency stroboscopic light. When Jenny returns with some help the evil has been vanquished but the home is an utter bloodbath of dead bodies.
|Comments: Shot on videotape in a fly-on-the-wall style. The opening narration (fictionally) states that the film is a reconstruction of an incident that took place in 1984 at the children's home which has since closed down and is scheduled for demolition.|
|Starring:||Colin Chamberlain (as Maurice), Ginny Rose (as Jenny), Jon Hollanz (as Mick Philips, pop star)|
|Featuring:||(main characters only) Nicola Diana (as Elizabeth, evil girl), Mark Insull (as Hustler, Mick's road manager), Angela Hilton and Nicola Bratley (as Kitchen staff), Joanna Bryant and Sharnilla Banajee (as Children, Elizabeth's main disciples)|
|The film was made by the students of the Meg Shanks drama school.|
|Writers: Peter Myers, Ronald Cass / Director: Peter Yates / Producer: Kenneth Harper|
|Type: Music / Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Four young bus mechanics working for London Transport get special permission to refit a double-decker bus like a mobile home for a trip across Europe as a try-out for a new commercial enterprise. Their leader is Don whose idea it was.
In France the lads meet three English girls who join them on their journey to Athens when their clapped-out car breaks down. After a stop-off they discover they have picked up a stowaway - a young American boy called Bobby whom they let tag along.
Elsewhere a famous American girl singer called Barbara Winters has gone missing and her anxious mother Stella Winters and her agent Jerry are going spare - the singer's disappearance has made headline news. The girl phones to assure her mother she is OK but just wants some time alone. Stella finds out that Barbara has disguised herself as a boy and is travelling around Europe on a London bus with some English tourists. But rather than reveal the truth they decide to opportunistically let the story of Barbara Winters' disappearance run a bit longer because it is turning out to be so good for publicity. They even use underhand tactics to delay the double-decker's progress so the story will have more time to grow.
On the bus the pals finally discover that "Bobby" is really a girl called Barbara but have no idea she is famous and have not seen the headlines. Don and Barbara find themselves falling deeply in love and Don forgets all his previously firmly-held reservations about the pitfalls of getting into relationships.
When the bus finally gets to Athens, Stella puts on an emotional show of tearful reunion and has Greek police arrest the pals on kidnapping charges. Stella holds a press conference to show how traumatised she has been but Don crashes the proceedings where he declares his love for Barbara and she reciprocates as they announce their engagement. Stella is appalled until she discovers that Don's bus trip venture has been approved by London Transport and he stands to make quite a bit of money for his brainwave.
|Starring:||(The Lads) Cliff Richard (as Don), Melvyn Hayes (as Cyril), Teddy Green (as Steve), Jeremy Bulloch (as Edwin)|
(The Girls) Lauri Peters (as Barbara Winters), Una Stubbs (as Sandy), Pamela Hart (as Angie), Jacqueline Daryl (as Mimsie)
Madge Ryan (as Stella Winters, Barbara's mother) Lionel Murton (as Jerry, Barbara's agent)
|Featuring:||Ron Moody (as The Great Orlando, mime artist), David Kossoff (as Magistrate)|
|Writer: Penelope Gilliatt / Director: John Schlesinger / Producer: Joseph Janni|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|A Jewish doctor in his 50s and a woman in her mid-30s share one thing in common - the same lover. Bob Elkin is a young 20-something artist who separates his time evenly and with equal devotion between homosexual doctor Daniel Hirsh and divorced office worker Alex Greville. Both of them know of the other and accept the arrangement because of their love for Bob who seems happy and at ease in either relationship. The film follows a week or so in the lives of these three people leading up to Bob coming to a decision of whether to go to America to seek out opportunities in his artistic career.|
|Starring:||Peter Finch (as Daniel Hirsh), Glenda Jackson (as Alex Greville), Murray Head (as Bob Elkin)|
|Featuring:||Peggy Ashcroft, Maurice Denham, Tony Britton, Vivian Pickles, Frank Windsor, Bessie Love|
|Familiar Faces:||June Brown (from Eastenders, as an upset patient)|
|Writer: Anthony Craven / Director/Producer: Michael Keatering|
|Type: Nudist||Running Time: 60 mins|
|It is a year since Elizabeth returned from her first naturist holiday in Corsica where she had such a marvellous time. Now Elizabeth is on her way to the North Kent Sun Club to meet up with the English girl Caren, whom she made friends with on her Mediterranean holiday, so they can finalise their plans for another naturist holiday. At the sun club Elizabeth meets Caren's mother Lorna and Caren's two sisters and brother, Anne, Jill and Peter. For their holiday they have decided to charter a schooner and sail around the sun swept islands of the Adriatic.
Elizabeth and her friends begin their holiday with a stay at the naturist resort of La Conche in France from where they set out in the schooner. Their first stop is the Mediterranean island home of their friend Yannick where they are also delighted to find their other friends Elsa, Ingrid, Karl and Robert. They spend several idyllic days on the island meeting new friends including two archaeologists looking for an ancient antiquity.
The holidaying friends bid farewell to Yannick as they continue their voyage to the Adriatic. They make a brief stopover at Villata, the fabulous Corsican sun camp, a fleeting reminder of their wondrous holiday of a year ago. Then they continue until they reach their final destination of Rab on the Yugoslavian coast, which has an officially designated naturist beach. There Elizabeth and her friends relax in complete freedom.
As the holiday comes to a close and they begin their homeward journey Elizabeth reflects on another magical holiday which has provided her with more timeless experiences and golden days to cherish forever.
|Comment: The film is not a plot driven drama and is closer really to a travelogue. What we hear is Elizabeth's enthusiastic narrative voice describing her adventures and the friends she makes as she shares with us her feelings of joy about her experiences. There is no live dialogue heard.|
|Starring:||Elizabeth Elcoate Gilbert (credited as Elizabeth), Yannick Philouze (credited as Yannick), Caren, Ingrid Sullivan, Elsa Sullivan, Karl (Elsa's fiancé), Robert (Ingrid's boyfriend), Lita Soria|
|Featuring:||Lorna (Caren's mother), Anne (Caren's sister), Jill (Caren's younger sister), Peter (Caren's younger brother), Jackie (bride), Paul (groom), David (archaeologist), Peter (archaeologist), Joy (sister of archaeologist), Shirley (sister of archaeologist)|
|Also:||Lisa Rayne (Elizabeth's narrative voice)|
|Only Elizabeth and Yannick's names are listed in the credits. Their full names are identified on IMDB although on the credits and soundtrack only first names are used. Elizabeth is credited as "the British naturist" and Yannick as "the underwater star". Ingrid's surname is shown in the credits for her musical contribution (and therefore by connection must be the same for Elsa), and Lita's full name is in the credits for her dancing contribution. The first names of the others taking part are used in the narration only. The spelling of Caren's name is established in the credits of "Eves on Skis".|
|Elizabeth and some of her friends appeared first in Travelling Light (1960) and make a further appearance in Eves on Skis (1963)|
|The real name of the director was Edward Craven Walker who was Elizabeth's husband|
|This is one of a string of British films from around this time that managed to get around strict censorship rules on nudity by featuring stories involving naturism activities. The others were:- Nudist Paradise (1959), Travelling Light (1960), Nudist Memories (1959), The Nudist Story (1960), Some Like It Cool (1961), Nudes of the World (1961), Naked - as Nature Intended (1961), World Without Shame (1962), Take Off Your Clothes And Live! (1962), My Bare Lady (1963), Eves on Skis (1963), It's A Bare, Bare World! (1963), The Reluctant Nudist (1963).|
|aka: Blue Movie Blackmail|
|Writers: Massimo Dallamano Sandy MacRae / Director: Massimo Dallamano / Producers: Ross MacKenzie, Leonardo Pescarolo|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 90 mins|
|A man called Cliff Hoyst is in Beirut on a special job for a drug baron called Marco - his job is to assassinate one of the drug baron's suppliers who is attempting to cut a deal with one of Marco's rivals - namely an Italian Mafia matriarch called Mamma The Turk. She is trying to muscle in on his supply chain by offering more money and Marco wishes to teach anyone thinking of doing business with her a hard lesson. After eliminating the supplier Cliff returns to London to resume his main job working undercover at the London end of the supply chain.
The London network is run out of a legitimate escort agency by a man called Morell. The agency has the facilities to film the extra-curricular activities of its clients so that when someone important or useful uses their "discreet" services the incriminating film and photos can be used to pressure those men into smuggling drugs for them under cover of their legitimate and respectable names.
The legitimate side of the agency is co-managed by Morell's top escort girl Joanne who owes him a debt of gratitude for saving her from a miserable life on the streets when she was younger and down on her luck - and he in turn is in love with her but knows she has other relationships and is happy to just to have her around. Cliff Hoyst works as Morell's right-hand man and helps clear up any problems he may have with rivals and generally makes the operation run smoothly. Hoyst and Joanne also have a romantic history.
We discover that Cliff is actually a narcotics agent from Washington who is working undercover for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He is considered a bit of a loose cannon by his superiors but is tolerated because he gets good results. His superiors do not condone or sanction his extreme methods and were they to have proof of the dirty tactics he employs he would be indicted himself. Cliff's American boss Kent wants Morell's supply route closed down and to catch some big fish into the bargain and he leaves the details of how to accomplish this up to Hoyst.
Meanwhile Mamma the Turk has turned her attention to London in her efforts to find a supplier for her business. She and her three sons and daughter Eva arrive in London and abduct Joanne to put pressure on Morell to supply her instead of Marco. Cliff is determined to save Joanne and so he snatches Mamma's daughter Eva while she is out shopping for supplies and he cuts a deal with Mamma for a prisoner exchange. Mamma agrees and while they are talking Cliff arranges with her a private deal to make sure the drugs come to her if she pays him $1million which is half the money she was going to pay and so is an excellent deal for her.
With Joanne safely rescued Cliff keeps her in his apartment and tells her to stay put. He then makes the arrangements for the drugs to be sent via their latest blackmailed businessman to a New York warehouse location where all the main participants or their high-ranking representatives are going to be present all believing that the drugs are for them. Marco, two of Mamma's sons, and a couple of other hoodlums are killed in a shoot-out with New York police.
Back in London when Mamma hears of this she angrily heads off to Morell's office believing he has double-crossed her and although he denies it she kills him anyway. Then Cliff comes in and shoots Mamma and puts his gun in Morell's dead hands to make it appear they killed each other in an exchange of fire. He then leaves the bodies to be discovered with his mission accomplished using methods that would be totally unacceptable to his superiors but with his deniability intact.
Cliff then heads back to his apartment where Joanne is waiting and tells her what has happened and his part in it and how with the money he obtained from the earlier deal he struck with Mamma the two of them can now run off and live together with the $1M nest egg - but Joanne is too distraught that Morell, who had saved her from such a miserable life on the streets, has been set-up so callously by Cliff that she shoots him dead in anger.
|Starring:||Ivan Rassimov (as Inspector Cliff Hoyst), Stephanie Beacham (as Joanne), Patricia Hayes (as Mamma the Turk), Red Carter (as Morell)|
|Featuring:||Verna Harvey (as Eva, Mamma's daughter), Giacomo Rossi-Stuart (as Marco)|
|Familiar Faces:||Michael Sheard (as Williamson, Cliff's London contact), Gareth Thomas (an inexperienced special branch agent, uncredited cameo)|
|The Italian title of this film is Si può essere più bastardi dell'ispettore Cliff?. It is reviewed here primarily because of the involvement of British actress Stephanie Beacham. But additionally to that it is an Italian-British co-production with the bulk of the film taking place in London.|
|Writer: David Ambrose / Director: David Hemmings / Producer: Antony I. Ginnane|
|Type: Australian / Chiller||Running Time: 77 mins|
|David Keller is the pilot of a 747 passenger plane which crash lands in a field outside a small town shortly after take off from an Australian airport. The plane explodes and becomes a raging inferno killing all the 350 passengers and crew - except remarkably David Keller who walks away from the wreckage with barely a scratch. David has lost his memory of the incident and cannot remember how the accident occurred.
Air Accident investigators led by a man called Slater try and piece together the puzzle to determine what caused the disaster whilst David agonises over events wondering why and how he managed to survive. He is contacted by a woman called Hobbs who is spiritually sensitive and feels there is something important going on that needs to be explored and asks David to help her.
Meanwhile some people involved in the investigation begin to hear strange noises like people screaming and some end up dying horrible deaths. The head investigator Slater is attacked himself but seems to come through it unscathed. Hobbs suggests to David that they try to coax out his memories by visiting the recovered cockpit being stored in a warehouse and recreate the flight. David re-lives the flight in his head and remembers that there had been a bomb that one of the passengers had found planted in his briefcase - this exploded and caused decompression and it was only David's skill as a pilot that prevented the plane coming down on populated houses rather than the empty field into which he eventually crash-landed. However the memories do not inform him how he managed to survive unscathed.
(Somehow) David works out that it was Slater who planted the bomb on the plane and has been killing people. Slater seems to be under the control of the deceased passengers who resent David's survival and want him to be dead with them. Slater shoots David dead and with his task complete Slater is killed by the spirits.
Then back at the crash site when workers prepare to move the main fuselage David Keller's burnt lifeless body is found which has been dead for many days and no one can understand it because he was seen alive and well only hours beforehand. But Hobbs finds she can now relax and whatever was troubling the spirits is now resolved.
|Comment: The above summary is rather vague on what was going on because it does not seem to be explained very well in the film and I could not really get to grips with why some things were happening or what the confusing ending was all about.|
|Starring:||Robert Powell (as David Keller, pilot), Jenny Agutter (as Hobbs, psychic)|
|Featuring:||Ralph Cotterill (as Slater, lead Accident investigator), Peter Sumner (as Harry Tewson, Accident Investigator, Harry's friend), Joseph Cotton (as Priest), Angela Punch-McGregor (as Beth, David's wife, [one scene])|
|Familiar Faces:||Tim Rice (as Crash site news reporter)|
|Based on the novel by James Herbert|
|Writer: David Wood / Director: Claude Whatham / Producer: Richard Pilbrow|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 86 mins|
|In 1929 four children and their mother take a holiday to the Lake District. The children's names are John, Susan, Titty and Roger and they are very excited about their trip. There is a small island in the middle of the lake beside their holiday cottage and the children are given permission to sail over to it and make camp for a couple of days. They find a boat to use called Swallow and travel over to the island. Off the mainland shore they see a houseboat and they imagine the man living on it to be a pirate.
Once they have made camp on the island they are attacked by two tomboyish girls called Nancy and Peggy who have a boat called Amazon and claim that the island has been theirs for years and take exception to these newcomers infringing on their territory. Nancy and Peggy are the nieces of the man on the houseboat whose name is James Turner. Their Uncle Jim is an explorer and usually when he comes back to England he is a fun person, but this summer he has been really grumpy because he is writing a book and wants his solitude so he can concentrate.
The two groups of children decide to join forces and "wage war" on Uncle Jim but they cannot decide who will be overall leader. So they agree to have a competition and whoever can seize the others boat wins the leadership role. Each side has devised clever strategies but in the end the Swallows win the challenge.
Meanwhile Uncle Jim's houseboat has been burgled and all the notes for his book which he kept in a locked treasure chest have been stolen. He accuses the children of doing it as part of a silly prank and calls in the police. The children deny it and Jim at last realises how neglectful he has been of his nieces and their friends and decides to forget about his book and return to being his normal cheerful self.
Jim plays the part of the pirate and the children playact capturing his vessel and making him walk the plank. They all have a jolly time and at the end the children present Jim with the return of his treasure chest which they discovered on their island where the thieves had hidden it.
The end of the holidays soon arrive but the children hope they will all meet up again next year.
|Starring:||(The Swallows) Simon West (as John Walker), Suzanna Hamilton (as Susan Walker), Sophie Neville (as Titty Walker), Stephen Grendon (as Roger Walker)|
(The Amazons) Kit Seymour (as Nancy Blackett), Lesley Bennett (as Peggy Blackett)
(The Adults) Virginia McKenna (as Mrs Walker, Swallows' mother), Ronald Fraser (as James Turner, Amazons' uncle)
|Based on the novel by Arthur Ransome|
|The film had no credits for cast or crew at either the beginning or end. So all that information shown here is taken from a reference source|
|The only one of the children to have a successful acting career as an adult was Suzanna Hamilton (who according to IMDB was credited as Zanna Hamilton).|
|Writer: Ranald Graham / Director: David Wickes / Producer: Ted Childs|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Detective Inspector Jack Regan heads a Scotland Yard team known as the Flying Squad (with the nickname "The Sweeney") which specialises in solving crimes involving dangerous and violent gangland criminals in London.
London is hosting an important oil producers conference that will influence the world oil prices. Charles Baker MP is the British government's Energy Secretary and with the negotiations deadlocked it appears that Britain's policy decisions on the matter are going to prove crucial.
Baker has recently employed an American Public Relations guru called Elliot McQueen, head of Media Incorporated. Unknown to Baker, McQueen has a secret agenda and is in the employ of other interested parties to make sure the British vote swings the way they want. McQueen has a ruthless assassin in his employ and he thinks nothing of ordering the deaths of anyone who might start to get suspicious.
McQueen employs a couple of high-class whores who are superficially in his employ as social secretaries but have the secondary function of entertaining the rich and powerful. Baker has an affair with one of them called Janice believing her to be a regular office girl who has taken a fancy to him. McQueen then has her killed by apparent suicide and proceeds to help the distraught Baker cover up his connection to her to avoid a political scandal. This gives McQueen a blackmail hold over Baker allowing him to exert pressure on him to influence the way he negotiates Britain's interests in the conference.
Janice's death is ruled as suicide at an inquest but Jack Regan gets involved when an old boyfriend of hers asks him to look into it further after disbelieving the suicide story. Regan's enquiries make him a marked man and McQueen has him set-up for a dangerous drink driving charge. Regan cannot convince his boss that he is the victim of a conspiracy and he is suspended from duty and denied contact to any of his colleagues although his friend and sergeant George Carter manages to pass him a few useful leads but is unable to openly assist him. When McQueen realises that Regan is privately continuing his meddlesome investigations he orders his death and Regan has a tense time avoiding being killed by the assassin.
Regan eventually gathers enough supporting indications to convince his boss that there is some substance to his wild conspiracy accusations and the appropriate authorities are alerted. Baker is forced to resign and the now expendable McQueen is killed by his own assassin taking his orders from McQueen's foreign backers.
|Starring:||John Thaw (as Detective Inspector Jack Regan), Dennis Waterman (as Detective Sgt George Carter)|
Barry Foster (as Elliott McQueen), Ian Bannen (as Charles Baker, MP)
|Featuring:||Diane Keen (as Bianca Hamilton, McQueen's social secretary/prostitute), Colin Welland (as Frank Chadwick, newspaper editor), Joe Melia (as Ronnie Brent, local villain), Brian Glover (as Mac, Ronnie's driver), Michael Coles (as Johnson, assassin), Lynda Bellingham (as Janice Wyatt, murdered prostitute), John Alkin (as DS Tom Daniels), Nadim Sawalha (as Oil Conference Chairman)|
|Starlets:||Sally Osborne (as Sally, Carter's date)|
|A spin-off from the ITV police series that ran for 53 episodes over 4 series from 1975 to 1978 following a pilot episode in 1973. There was a further spin-off film entitled Sweeney 2 (1978).|
|Writer: Troy Kennedy Martin / Director: Tom Clegg / Producer: Ted Childs|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|A second big-screen outing for Scotland Yard Detectives Inspector Jack Regan and Sergeant George Carter, both members of the Flying Squad which specialises in solving crimes involving dangerous gangland criminals in London.
A team of particularly violent criminals have been conducting a series of well-planned bank robberies around London in which they always steal a set amount of money and any of their number that is wounded are brutally killed to prevent them being picked-up and questioned by the police.
Regan and Carter have little clues to go on and are pinning some of their hopes of catching them in the act. But despite some good intelligence and police surveillance the criminals still manage to get away when their next job takes place. Regan visits his old chief inspector called Jupp who is currently in prison on corruption charges and learns that Jupp was paid off by the gang to attribute earlier unsolved crimes they committed to someone else. Jupp gives Regan a name which leads him to a villa in Malta where the villains live communally with their wives and children. However because Malta is out of their jurisdiction Regan and Carter cannot do anything. The villains behave as respectable family men who treat their robberies like an occupation and only revisit the UK when they need to top up their investments in their property development.
Back in the UK, the Flying Squad receive a tip-off that a robbery is planned and they mount surveillance. The tip off location turns out to be a false lead although the date is correct and the robbery takes place elsewhere. Later however the police manage to find out where the villains are hiding out and mount a raid. All of the villains are killed or take their own life to avoid capture leaving Regan feeling he has somehow failed in bringing them to justice.
|Starring:||John Thaw (as DI Jack Regan), Dennis Waterman (as DS George Carter)|
|Featuring:||Denholm Elliott (as Jupp, former Flying Squad Chief), Nigel Hawthorne (as Dilke, current Flying Squad chief), John Alkin (as DS Tom Daniels), Michael J. Jackson (as Soames, Regan's driver), George Innes (as Pete Beale, hotel security officer), Patrick Malahide (as Major Conway, bomb squad officer), Anna Gaël (as Mrs Hill, villain's wife), Anna Nygh (as Shirley Hicks, suspect's wife), Georgina Hale (as Switchboard Girl, Leon Lissek (as Cardona Alexandros, villain's lawyer in Malta)|
(Villains) Ken Hutchison (as Frances Hill), Brian Gwaspari (as John William White), John Lyons (as Duncan Mead), Brian Hall (as Morris Haughton), Matthew Scurfield (as Douglas Jefferson)
|Familiar Faces:||Diana Weston (as Air Hostess)|
|Starlets:||(Other Wives of the villains) Lynn Dearth (as Mrs White), Fiona Mollison (as Mrs Haughton), Sarah Atkinson (as Mrs Mead)|
Seretta Wilson (as Girl in bed with Carter)
|There is a scene towards the end where the detectives take a short-cut through a bedroom in a hotel when trying to catch the villains by surprise and in the bed is a man and two topless girls. The man speaks and is credited as Michael Scholes - neither of the girls speak or are credited. This is noteworthy only because the girl on the left of the picture has often been misrepresented in screenshots as being actress Mary Tamm. However despite a vague similarity it is not her nor does she appear in the film at all.|
|This was a second spin-off from the ITV police series that ran for 53 episodes over 4 series from 1975 to 1978 following a pilot episode in 1973. The first spin-off film was called Sweeney! (1977).|
|Writers: Andrew Best, Anthony Sloman / Director: Anthony Sloman / Producer: Ray Selfe (uncredited)|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 78 mins|
|Ted Hawkins arrives in London looking for his sister Joan. He needs to find her to tell her the news that their mother is very poorly. He goes to her last known address but the 50-something landlady is not very helpful and he is obliged to sleep with her to get any information. He discovers Joan works at a club called Bojacs but no one there knows her. He meets a club worker called Julie who says that his description of Joan could fit hundreds of girls and if she works in the clubs she probably uses a different name anyway. She takes him home for coffee so she can think about it some more - but once there it becomes clear she is a prostitute who expects him to pay and when he does not she calls her pimp Bert to help get payment. But Ted is handy with his fists and gets the better of Bert. This impresses Julie who was only doing what she did because she was scared of Bert and she offers to help Ted by taking him to another club called The Prohibition where other girls work to see if anyone knows her there.
The owner of The Prohibition is Tony and he is impressed that Ted beat Bert and offers him a bouncers job which will enable him to see the girls and maybe spot his sister. Ted takes the job and finds that part of his duties is being hired out as a stud to rich lady customers. Later Bert the pimp seeks his revenge and with two mates they gang up on Ted and beat him senseless. Jill feels she has to go back with Bert now and so Tony asks his club singer Sarah to take Ted home to her place to recover.
Sarah shares a flat with bi-sexual lesbian couple Amelia and Louise and another girl called Janet who works as an escort but is currently away. The three girls seem delighted to have a man under their roof to do with what they want and when he is recovered they all take turns sleeping with him after taking all his clothes so he cannot get away until they want him to.
When Janet gets home Sarah tells her about the man they have in the house and Janet decides she wants a turn and in the darkness of the bedroom sneaks into bed with him and they start kissing. But when he sees her face he realises she is his sister Joan. He tells her the news about their mother but Joan seems unconcerned for his mother was not her mother at all - she explains that they had the same father but that's all - her real mother was the landlady woman at the house Ted first went to in London whom he slept with.
|Starring:||Robert Case (as Ted Hawkins), Quinn O'Hara (as Sarah), Susanne Rogers (as Julie), Max Burns (as Tony, night-club owner)|
|Featuring:||Cathy Howard (as Olivia, rich woman), Rose Alba (as Landlady), Susie Reilly (as Amelia, Sarah's flatmate), Harriet Allen (as Louise, Sarah's flatmate), Jason Twelvetrees (as Bert, Julie's violent pimp), Raymond Cross (as Dennis, bouncer at night-club)|
|Starlets:||Prudence Paige (as Janet/Joan), Tessa Lewis (as a Stripper), Barbara Hunter (as a stripper?), Julie Green (as a stripper), Fred (girl during the credits)|
|The version reviewed sort of carried both titles - The credit sequence is projected over the body of a model and it displays "Sweet and Sexy" which is then replaced by an incongruous still showing "Foursome" before going back to the model for the remainder of the credits. So if there are any version differences then it should be noted that the one reviewed was the "Foursome" version. The print reviewed was dirty and scratchy and some print damage at the end of the film with missing frames makes the closing explanations a bit of a rushed mess although hopefully I picked up the gist - it's not clear if much is missing or not.|
|Writer: Beryl Bainbridge (based on her own novel) / Director: Claude Whatham / Producer: Jeremy Watt|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Ann Walton's fiancé Gerald is leaving England to teach at a New York university and although she is sad he is going and that she cannot accompany him, she is not devastated by their parting as he is rather formal a person whom she finds it difficult to be intensely expressive with.
Ann lives by herself in a flat that she rents from landlady Mrs Kershaw whose daughter Daisy is performing in a school play. Ann goes to see Daisy's play and there she meets a charismatic American called William McCluskey who is a playwright. He takes a fancy to her and turns on his charm and although she is resistant at first his engaging personality and persistent attentiveness soon overwhelms her and she falls in love with him. William tells her he has children but is now divorced from their mother and Ann is delighted that she has found such a sweet, considerate and single man - he moves in to her flat with her. Ann had been taking the contraceptive pill while with Gerald but now she is sleeping with William she decides to stop.
Ann soon finds out that William has a secret side and she is not the only woman in his life. She is shocked to discover that whilst William told her the truth about divorcing his children's mother he neglected to tell her that he married again and has a current wife. Her name is Edna and she meets with Ann telling her that she tolerates William's affairs because she knows he'll come back to her in the end and that Ann can have him "on loan". Ann says she'll end it with William now she knows but Edna tells her that will not work as William will just pursue her until he wears down her resistance - instead it would be better if she continues to see him until he tires of her.
Ann does not know if she can live with that arrangement but William convinces Ann that Edna is fooling herself and he has no intention of going back to her. But she soon discovers William is still visiting with Edna and Ann cannot tell if her relationship is secure or if she is being used to be cast aside when he's had enough of her. Ann even suspects William has been sleeping with Mrs Kershaw and possibly even her cousin Pamela who is staying with Ann.
Then while William is away on business Ann discovers she is pregnant and she has a miserable time not knowing if William is going to stand by her. But when he returns she is reassured by his words and sweeping romantic gestures as they start making long-term plans for their future together and she feels more secure. She assumes he will divorce Edna but he says he doesn't plan to do that and Ann is distraught again - she begins to realise that William will say anything to make the women in his life happy and wants them all in his compartmentalised life. Ann just cannot be part of his "team" but he promises her he'll change and she is convinced again by his sincerity.
He stays with her until the birth of her baby and then kisses her sweetly and leaves saying he'll be back soon - but she instinctively knows she'll never see him again.
|Starring:||Sam Waterston (as William McCluskey), Jenny Agutter (as Ann Walton)|
|Featuring:||Geraldine James (as Pamela, Ann's cousin), Anna Massey (as Edna McCluskey, William's current wife), Arthur Lowe and Daphne Oxenford (as Captain and Mrs Walton, Ann's parents), Rachel Bell (as Mrs Kershaw, Ann's landlady), Emma Bakhle (as Daisy Kershaw, Mrs Kershaw's daughter), Tim Pigot-Smith (as Gerald, Ann's fiancé, opening scene only)|
|Familiar Faces:||Melvyn Bragg (as Himself, presenter of The South Bank Show interviewing William)|
|Starlets:||Sara Clee (Actress in William's play)|
|Geraldine James receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writer: Alan Hackney / Director: Terence Fisher / Producers: Sidney Cole, Richard Greene|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 76 mins|
|This review assumes a familiarity with the Robin Hood legend - as does the film itself which begins with all the essential elements already established
Robin Hood and his men rescue a man who has been attacked and mortally wounded by the Sherriff of Nottingham's soldiers. Before the mystery man dies he passes on a cryptic message about needing to get to Bawtry and amongst his belongings Robin finds a gold emblem depicting a falcon and a daisy.
The Sheriff displays great annoyance at not capturing the man and mounts an assault upon Robin Hood's camp in Sherwood Forest after torturing and killing one of Robin's lookouts called Martin to discover its secret location - Robin and his men get away in time. Lady Marion Fitzwalter is shocked by the Sherriff's summary justice for Martin and becomes determined to pursue the rights of his widow to rightfully inherit his previously confiscated land.
Robin finds out that the emblem is the family symbol of the Earl of Newark and he goes on to discover that the Earl is making preparations to assassinate someone of high-ranking importance. Robin also discovers that the Earl is in league with the Sherriff.
Meanwhile Robin sends Friar Tuck to investigate Bawtry where the friar discovers that the Sherriff has used underhand methods to revoke the existing tenancy and lay claim to it himself using a corrupt judge. The location of Bawtry makes it a key strategic defensive point militarily which the Sherriff and his co-conspirator highly value. However the Sherriff's plans are thwarted when the Lord Chancellor of England (also the Archbishop of Canterbury) personally intervenes by exerting his authority to forestall the land transaction.
When Marion learns that the Lord Chancellor is in the area she rides to meet him to plead the case of Martin's widow. We learn that the Earl and the Sherriff are plotting to have the Lord Chancellor killed because his persistent meddling in affairs of state is compromising the conspirators' political and militaristic ambitions.
The Earl sends his men dressed as outlaws to murder the Chancellor under guise of a bandit attack. But Marion and the Chancellor fight bravely and manage to get away and seek sanctuary in a nearby priory. However the prioress is secretly the Earl's cousin and sends word to her brethren that their quarry has unwittingly fallen into their power. The Earl and the Sherriff have a disagreement on how to proceed so the Earl has the Sherriff killed.
Robin learns of the danger to both the archbishop and Marion and rides off to help. He gets to the priory just in time to have a final showdown with the Earl and kill him. Marion and the Lord Chancellor are out of danger and the Chancellor shows his thanks by using his authority to secure Martin's land for his widow.
|Starring:||Richard Greene (as Robin Hood), Peter Cushing (as Sheriff of Nottingham), Richard Pasco (as Edward, Earl of Newark), Nigel Green (as Little John), Sarah Branch (as Maid Marian Fitzwalter), Niall McGinnis (as Friar Tuck), Jack Gwillim (as Archbishop Hubert Walter, Lord Chancellor)|
|Featuring:||Vanda Godsell (as Prioress), Oliver Reed (as Lord Melton, Earl's follower), Dennis Lotis (as Alan A'Dale, merry man), Derren Nesbitt (as Martin, merry man), James Neylin (as Roger, merry man), Desmond Llewelyn (as Wounded Fugitive)|
|This was the second of three unconnected Robin Hood films made by Hammer. The first was Men of Sherwood Forest (1954) starring Don Taylor as Robin and the third was A Challenge For Robin Hood (1967) starring Barrie Ingham.|
|This film was a spin-off of sorts from the popular TV series of the time "The Adventures of Robin Hood" which ran from 1956-1960. However only the lead TV actor Richard Greene was involved and the other parts were recast.|
|Director: Jean-Luc Godard / Producers: Michael Pearson, Iain Quarrier|
|Type: Music / Documentary||Running Time: 97 mins|
|A strange mixture of raw documentary footage of The Rolling Stones rehearsing and recording their song Sympathy For The Devil, and scenes of social political comment.|
|Comment: Unfortunately it's a rather incomprehensible mish-mash. The part that should be the most interesting retrospectively is the Stones' rehearsal scenes but this is presented in such a dull way with a single camera panning around the recording studio in very long continuous shots as the group find their way through the song tweaking and refining things - so much so that in the end it becomes immensely tedious and repetitive with little variation each time a new sequence of studio scenes begins. There are no interview sequences or voiceovers to explain what is going on or any attempts to present it in an interesting and informative way.
The Rolling Stones sequences are interjected by equally long scenes in which various characters are seen voicing a strong political doctrine - but all these sequences tend to consist of is someone standing around reading long passages directly from a book and there is no attempt to present the viewpoint to the audience in any meaningful way. Probably the only good sequence is one which seems like a funny spoof (whether intended so or not) in which a young woman called Eve Democracy is being interviewed by a film crew as they walk through a forest and as the interviewer puts all sorts of intellectual questions to her she only replies either "yes" or "no" to everything.
It's got a great sounding title that until closer inspection might make one think it is some Dennis Wheatley type Hammer Horror but regrettably the film does nothing to deserve the grandeur such a title engenders.
|Featuring:||The Rolling Stones (non-acting roles), Anne Wiazemsky (as Eve Democracy), Iain Quarrier (as book shop man)|
|Writers: Joseph Larraz, Stanley Miller / Director: Joseph Larraz / Producer: Jean Dupuis|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Helen Ramsay invites her friend Anne Weston to stay with her at her remote country manor house for some peace and quiet while Anne does some writing work. The house is a mainly disused residence with only a few rooms now used by Helen on her infrequent stays. Helen has recently been unwell but says she has recovered now although her behaviour appears erratic at times. She says that changes in the weather always upset her and at times seems morose and depressed - she says she can hear things sometimes that nobody else can. Anne remarks on a photo of a woman and Helen tells her it is Cora who used to be a friend - although Helen is fairly evasive on the matter.
Down at the town chemists while getting medication for headaches the shopkeeper asks Helen about Cora but she is evasive and doesn't even mention her new houseguest. Out on a walk Anne spots a man watching them - Helen tells her it is Brady the handyman whom she despises - but declines to go into details. We often see Brady by the lake as if he's searching for something. Village gossip at the chemists suggests that it is thought Helen and Cora were more than just friends and they wonder why Helen keeps Brady on if she dislikes him so much.
A few days pass and Anne's boyfriend John calls expecting her to have returned home - but Anne says she must stay with Helen a while longer until Helen is over her bad patch. Helen is increasingly on-edge and nervous - she is seen repeatedly watching Brady from her windows through binoculars. One night Anne hears moaning from Helen's room and goes to check on her - she finds Helen's room unoccupied but there are stairs leading up to an attic and she goes to investigate. But up there an unseen person attacks her and stabs her to death. Next day we see Helen finding Anne's body slumped in her bedroom armchair but she sees disconnected from it all and unconcerned.
Helen meets Brady by the lake who goads her with his suspicions about not having seen Cora or Anne recently and wants to know what's happened to them. Later Anne's boyfriend John comes round worried about not having heard from her but Helen does not let him in - he finds a way in anyway and whilst he's wandering the corridors searching Helen jumps out at him and stabs him to death. Down by the lake Brady finds a body floating - he confronts Helen claiming it is the body of Cora. As he presses her for the truth Helen attacks and kills him with her knife.
Next day some increasingly worried townspeople come to the house and look around to discover the dead bodies and find Helen standing staring out of a window in a transfixed state. In her mind she sees a memory of having seen her girlfriend Cora in a romantic rendezvous down at the lake with handyman Brady - a betrayal that evidently sent her mad.
|Starring:||Angela Pleasence (as Helen Ramsay), Lorna Heilbron (as Anne Weston), Peter Vaughan (as Brady)|
|Featuring:||Raymond Huntley (as Mr Burke, the Chemist), Nancy Nevinson (as Hannah the housekeeper) Ronald O'Neil (as John), Michael Grady (as Nick, Chemist's assistant)|
|Starlets:||Marie-Paul Mailleaux (as Cora, in flashbacks)|
|aka: The Girl-Getters|
|Writer: Peter Draper / Director: Michael Winner / Producer: Kenneth Shipman|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 89 mins|
|In the busy seaside town of Roxham a group of young local men enjoy a summer sport of girl-hunting which they have developed into a fine art which is known between them as "The System". A number of them will travel part way down on the tourist train route posing as holidaymakers themselves and chatting up the best looking girls, others work in the regular tourist hot-spots such as cafés and beach amenities where they have opportunities to spot the best prospects. Their leader is Stephen 'Tinker' Taylor who works as a beach photographer which gives him the ideal reason to take girls' photos and then get their names and addresses so he can have the pictures sent on.
The "system" is such that the lads discuss all the various prospects and then decide which of them wants which girl - they have a rota for who gets first pick so there are no disputes. Amongst the latest crop of holidaymakers arriving on the train for their week's break Tinker spots a particular girl he takes a fancy to. She is travelling first class and at the station is picked up in an expensive car. He decides it is she he wants even though his friends thinks there is little prospect of success there.
But his friend Suzy who similarly preys on the male holidaymakers gets him an invite to a party at the girl's father's house and Tinker meets the girl, whose name is Nicola, and they arrange a further date the next day. Tinker finds her an entirely different prospect to the usual sort of girls he meets who are invariably young and silly and have strange notions that the sex is the start of a meaningful relationship which Tinker becomes wearisome of fending off. All the years he has been playing this game of "Hunting the Thrushes" he has never had a romance but Nicola is somehow that special girl with whom he feels he could settle down. He has become aware that his group of friends who play the game is reducing and starting to marry off and with the end of the current holiday season approaching he does not feel able to face another hard winter in this town when it becomes lifeless without the holidaymakers.
But when he makes his feelings known to Nicola it seems she may not be so keen on the idea as he - she is a fashion model and often out of the country for long periods and he begins to think it is he who has been played here. She assures him that she is not like that and they could certainly meet up in London when she returns from her next assignment - but he knows that holiday commitments never live up to their promise when people return to their everyday lives and he realises it wouldn't work. We leave Tinker and his mates marking the end of the season although Tinker has less enthusiasm than he once did.
|Starring:||Oliver Reed (as Tinker), Jane Merrow (as Nicola)|
|Featuring:||Barbara Ferris (Suzy, local girl), Harry Andrews (as Larsey, Tinker's boss), Julia Foster (as Lorna, tourist girl), Ann Lynn (as Ella, local woman who Tinker knows), Guy Doleman (as Philip, Nicola's father), John Alderton (as Nidge, Tinker's mate who is now getting married)|
(Tinker's mates who work the system with him) Andrew Ray (as Willy), John Porter-Davison (as Grib), Clive Colin Bowler (as Sneakers), Iain Gregory (as Sammy), David Hemmings (as David, new recruit)
|Familiar Faces:||Derek Nimmo, Patricia Brake (cameo party guests)|
|Starlets:||Pauline Munro (as Sylvie, Nicola's friend), Talitha Pol (as Helga, German tourist), Dora Reisser (as Ingrid, German tourist), Jennifer Tafler (as Nidge's girlfriend)|
|Made in Black and White|
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