(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.
|Writers: Alastair Reid, Guido Coen, Michael Klinger / Director: Alastair Reid / Producer: Guido Coen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Teenage schoolgirl Luci lives alone with her single mother in a small house up-North - her mother has strings of lovers and Luci often sees more of her mother's bedroom activities than she would like which cause furious rows between them. Luci has discovered how to tease though and has developed a keen sense of how to play other people with her alluring looks which she uses on boys at school. Then one day Luci's world changes when she comes home from school and finds her mother dead in the bath having committed suicide.
Before she killed herself Luci's mother posted a letter to an old boyfriend called Robert Quayle in London explaining that she had cancer and was going to end her life. The two of them were once very close but his educational ambitions caused them to split up although he still writes to her and helps her out with some money. Her letter has one request:- that Robert take in Luci and care for her and although Robert is not Luci's father he decides to give it a trial.
So Luci comes to join Robert's family which consists of his wife Amy and teenage son Nick. Robert has done well for himself and they live in a large townhouse and when Luci is shown her new bedroom she is overwhelmed by how large it is. Luci is quiet at first as she settles in and has traumatic nightmares about discovering her mother's body to which Amy is very sympathetic and offers her motherly comfort. Amy takes Luci shopping and sightseeing and finds her a pleasure to have around. At home Nick is a typical teenage boy and tries to give Luci some unwanted attention and although she rebuffs him she always has a sly little smile on her face after he's gone as if she's fully aware of the effect she has. Whenever Nick seems to be giving up she does something to further his interest before knocking him back again making him very frustrated and not knowing what she wants with the mixed signals she is giving out. But for Luci seducing a horny immature teenage boy is no challenge and she sets her sights on manipulating the parents into falling for her allure whilst never making it too obvious and always with the chicanery of innocence underpinning her behaviour.
Luci tries to connect with Robert by asking him questions about her mother and why they didn't stay together although Robert is strangely reluctant to talk about her very much and he fails to respond to her subtle allure and instead gets firm with her which she finds frustrating - but later she hears Amy and Robert having a blazing row about her and looks pleased with herself.
Luci continues to have her nightmares (although by now it's not clear if she's exaggerating them or not) and Amy decides to sleep in the same bed with her at night to be ready to comfort her as well as being a welcome opportunity to spend some time away from her husband who can become very ardent when he's had too much to drink. But as she holds the young girl with motherly intent she feels a strange attraction that at first she resists as the girl clings to her but after a few nights she responds to the close bodily contact with some unmotherly petting which Luci appears not to notice as being in any way inappropriate.
Luci discovers that Robert intends to send her away to boarding school which she is not happy about. She finds it easy to persuade Amy that she doesn't want to go but also needs to talk Robert out of the idea. She talks to him in the garden while wearing only her unfastened dressing gown as she has come straight down from her bedroom and makes an effort to beguile him with her innocent allure. But he is not interested and pushes her away and tells her that she is just like her mother was by trying to get her own way through sexual manipulation. This suggestion of a resemblance to her slutty mother sends Luci into a rage and she attacks Robert with a fork scratching his face and then she rushes upstairs and has a run in with Nick while he's having a shower causing him to slip over and get concussion.
This swathe of injury makes Robert decide to end his trial period of adopting Luci and send her back into foster care. Even Amy agrees and her concern for her son outweighs the strange attraction she feels for Luci. But Luci has one card left to play to stop them sending her away and tells Robert of the shameful things Amy did to her at night while pretending to comfort her. This seems to give Luci a tight grip on what happens and as we leave the story she has grown in confidence and is able to dictate terms to Robert and seems all set to stay as she prepares to go for a family night-out with them dressed up to the nines and looking more and more like her mother.
|Starring:||Keith Barron (as Robert Quayle), Ann Lynn (as Amy Quayle, wife), Linda Hayden (as Luci), Derek Lamden (as Nick Quayle, son)|
|Featuring:||Dick Emery (as Harry Pearson, family friend), Sheila Steafel (as Tessa Pearson, Harry's wife), Patience Collier (as Mrs Carmichael, housekeeper)|
|Familiar Faces:||Diana Dors (as Luci's mother, cameo role only)|
|Starlets:||Sally Stephens (as Margo Pearson, Harry and Tessa's teenage daughter)|
|Linda Hayden receives an "introducing" credit. I don't recall Luci's age being mentioned in the film but presumably she is supposed to be 15 which was Linda Hayden's age at the time.|
|Based on the novel of the same name by Tina Chad Christian.|
|Writer: Theodore Apstein / Director/Producer: Philip Leacock|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Tom Kovack is a well-known American motor racing driver who during the middle of a race suddenly has a vision which overlays his normal sight and causes him to crash. The vision was of a manor house in England and he saw a woman and a young girl in danger. He talks of his experience on a chat show which is seen by an Englishwoman called Michelle Brent who is an expert in occult phenomena and believes Tom's vision was a premonition.
Michelle makes contact with Tom who is initially sceptical about her interpretation of his experience - but after he experiences more odd events he agrees to accompany her to England and investigate the matter. The house Tom saw is Wyndham Manor in Devon which is used as a hotel run by a Mrs Faraday. Michelle and Tom check-in and Tom quickly spots the two people from his vision who are also staying there:- Andrea Glenn and her 12-year old daughter Jennifer.
Andrea is a rich American actress who split from her husband Duncan eleven years ago after Jennifer was born and consequently Jennifer has never met him. Recently Andrea started to receive letters from Duncan saying he would like to meet up and has arranged through his cousin Louise for them both to come and stay at the Devon hotel where he will meet them. But Duncan is mysteriously not there to greet them and the kindly wheelchair-bound Louise does not know what has become of him.
A few days into their stay Andrea becomes unwell after an attempt to poison her and Jennifer has a sudden change in her personality - she loses her mother's-little-girl demeanour and acts in a more mature and stand-offish manner. In fact Jennifer has secretly been meeting with a man who says he is her father. He has given her a special pendant to wear with a wolf's image upon it which he tells her she must never take off. This same man is in league with hotel owner Mrs Faraday who has mysteriously become younger looking as some sort of reward for helping the mysterious man by allowing her to make use of her hotel.
Michelle and Tom continue to investigate - they follow some promising leads and find themselves in serious peril on several occasions as they close-in on the truth. In the end it transpires that Andrea's husband Duncan actually (and unknowingly) died eight months ago and his actor friend John Parrish wrote forged conciliatory letters to Andrea in Duncan's name to bring her over to England with Jennifer for a reunion. His plan was to kill off Andrea and then become guardian to her heir Jennifer whom he had under his occult influence using the demonic Marchosias wolf pendant - and thereby control the fortune for himself. He used his acting skills to pose as the invented cousin Louise through whom he was hoping to gain the trust of Andrea enough to become Jennifer's legal guardian.
When Michelle realises that Jennifer's pendant is the important key Tom destroys it and Jennifer returns to her normal younger-acting self and Mrs Faraday's older looks return. Tom fights it out with the crippled "Louise" who is now revealed as the able-bodied and strong John Parrish. Tom wins the fight and Parrish falls from a high cliff-facing balcony into the sea below.
|Starring:||Leonard Nimoy (as Tom Kovack), Susan Hampshire (as Michele Brent), Vera Miles (as Andrea Glenn, American movie star), Rachel Roberts (as Mrs Catherine Farraday, hotel owner), Jewel Blanch (as Jennifer Glenn, Andrea's daughter)|
|Featuring:||Valerie Taylor (as Louise Sanford, cousin of Jennifer's father), Ray Brooks and Angharad Rees (as George and Peggy Tracewell, honeymoon couple at hotel), Christopher Benjamin (as Verelli, Italian guest at hotel), Mike Murray (as John Parrish, actor), Ewan Roberts (as Hopkins, hotel porter), Milton Johns (as Dr Reed, visiting doctor)|
|This was a pilot feature for a proposed American TV series that was never made. The opening title sequence shows that Leonard Nimoy and Susan Hampshire would have been the regular stars with the other actors featured being billed as Guest Stars. In the context of it being a one-off TV movie it is reviewed here because it stars Susan Hampshire, it was filmed in the UK (at Pinewood) and most of the supporting roles were played by other British actors.|
|It is unclear whether John Parrish actually dies or if he would have become a recurring adversary. At the end Tom and Michelle decide they made a great team and when Tom has another vision they decide to carry on investigating together. That new vision was of a woman in peril at a French airport and would presumably have been the basis for the next story if the series had ever been made.|
|Writer/Director: José Antonio de la Loma / Executive Producer: Michael Klinger|
|Type: European / Crime Drama||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Linda is an English photographer living in Spain with her journalist fiancé Miguel Dellamarta. While out and about in Barcelona Miguel spots a woman being attacked on a wharf and rushes to her aid - she dies but manages to mutter the word "Dandy".
The police begin a murder investigation and Inspector Mendoza allows Miguel and Linda to become involved on the periphery. The woman's murderer was a hired killer who soon winds up dead himself but some clues in his belongings lead the police to take an interest into the activities of Gino, the owner of an exclusive entertainment club.
Gino is high-up in the Spanish Mafia. He is involved in protection racketeering and drug trafficking and is expecting a large drugs shipment to arrive soon. Dandy is his right-hand man who used to date the murdered wharf-woman but had her killed when she became a liability.
Miguel writes a story in his newspaper using some of Linda's photos and Gino's boss, the Count, decides the reporter is getting too close to the truth and orders his killing. Miguel manages to survive a few attempts on his life and they realise they are getting close to the truth and print more stories including a photo of Dandy with an appeal to contact the police if he is spotted.
The Count tells Gino that Dandy has become a liability and must be killed but Dandy is alert and kills Gino first. He then goes on the run with the drugs to offload them and then get out of the country. He goes to a drug-merchant in a shantytown to make the deal. An informant spots Dandy and calls the police and Linda takes the call. She decides to go alone to get some photos but is captured and taken hostage by Dandy. The police follow in full force and a massive shoot-out ensues in which Dandy is killed and Linda is saved.
|Starring:||Simón Andreu (as Miguel), Linda Hayden (as Linda), John Justin (as Inspector Mendoza), Máximo Valverde (as Dandy), Antonio Molino Rojo (as Gino, Dandy's boss)|
|Featuring:||Carlos Lucena (as Vega, Inspector Mendoza's junior colleague), Pipper (as Flipper, informant), Eduardo Fajardo (as The Count), Óscar Pellicer (as Gaitán, hired killer), Silvia Solar, Carmen de Lirio, Dora Santacreu, Marina Ferry|
|This Spanish film is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Linda Hayden. The version reviewed was in English and carried the English title although some actors are clearly dubbed. The original Spanish title was La Redada.|
|Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Director: Duncan Wood / Producer: W.A. Whittaker|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Hemel Pike is a man whose life is centred around his work running a Narrow-Boat barge up and down the British canal ways transporting commodities between major conurbations. His other passion is women and he has an eager girl waiting at every stopover each believing she is his one-and-only love and waiting for the moment he will ask for their hand. Marriage is not on Hemel's mind however as he strings each of his girls along with help from his long-suffering friend and barge partner Ronnie.
Hemel and Ronnie's latest run is from London to Birmingham and as usual Hemel plans their route stopovers based on the girls he knows along the way. There is one girl called Christine who is his particular favourite for whom he is willing to risk the wrath of her highly protective father Joe whenever he passes through. The fearsome lockkeeper Joe believes his daughter is still as pure as they come and woe betide any man he catches being inappropriate with her. But Hemel and Christine are crafty and always manage to see each other while Ronnie keeps Joe occupied at the pub. On this particular visit Christine's mind is on the future and asks Hemel what he thinks about marriage and children and would he ever consider giving up the barges to allow any kids he might have to live a settled life with a good education. Hemel thinks they are talking hypothetically and tells her that any wife of his would have to live on the barge with him and so would any children. Christine is not happy with this answer and after Hemel has gone on his way to Birmingham we discover that her interest in the subject is because she is expecting his child but has kept the news from him.
When Joe finds out his innocent little girl is pregnant he flies into a fury and holds up all canal traffic until he finds out who the man responsible is. When Hemel comes back on his return leg he is shocked to discover he is to be a father but takes on his responsibilities and gives up the barges. But Hemel finds he is not adept at any other sort of work and is constantly depressed at being useless for not being able to hold down any sort of other job for any length of time.
Christine discovers from Ronnie that the days of the Narrow-Boat barge haulage are numbered and in about 18-months it will be completely closed down. So as a wedding present to Hemel she agrees to let him resume his barge work and she and the forthcoming baby will even live with him on the canals until the very end.
|Starring:||Harry H. Corbett (as Hemel Pike), Ronnie Barker (as Ronnie, Hemel's barge-mate), Julia Foster (as Christine Turnbull, Hemel's girlfriend), Hugh Griffith (as Joe Turnbull, Christine's father)|
|Featuring:||Eric Sykes (as The Mariner), Derek Nimmo (as Dr Scott), Norman Bird (as The Waterways Supervisor), Richard Briers (as Tomkins, Supervisor's Assistant), Brian Wilde (as Policeman), Miriam Karlin (as Nellie Marsh, Barmaid/Hemel's girlfriend), Eric Barker (as Delivery Customer's Foreman), George A. Cooper (as Waterways Office Official)|
|Familiar Faces:||(uncredited cameos) Patricia Hayes (Onlooker), Rita Webb (Onlooker), Una Stubbs (Bridesmaid, non-speaking role)|
|Starlets:||Grazina Frame (as Waterways Office Girl), Jo Rowbotham (as Cynthia, Hemel's girlfriend)|
|Although occasionally light-hearted in nature it couldn't be fairly classed as a comedy despite what an examination of the cast list might lead one to think - it is more of a drama populated by characters with a natural wit.|
|Writers: Barry Humphries, Bruce Beresford / Director/Producer: Bruce Beresford|
|Type: Australian / Comedy||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Uncouth and crude lager-loving Australian Barry McKenzie is on a European holiday with his Aunt Edna. They have just visited London and are now on their way by passenger plane to Paris. Edna is very grandly dressed and even wearing a fake tiara she bought in London and so when two shady-looking foreign men on the plane notice her they mistake her for the Queen of England and assume Barry is her bodyguard. They report this information back to their boss.
Their boss is Count Von Plasma of Transylvania, a vampire who is also head of the Transylvanian tourist commission. He sees a golden opportunity to boost his country's tourist profile if the Queen of England is to visit them so he instructs his two men (Hugo Cretin and Modeste Imbecile) to kidnap her and bring her to Transylvania.
In Paris, Barry and Edna go sight-seeing and the henchmen make several failed attempts to kill "bodyguard" Barry so they can abduct "The Queen". Barry and Edna also meet up unexpectedly with Barry's twin brother Kevin who is a reverend on a lecture tour. Eventually the henchmen succeed in kidnapping Edna and she is taken back to Transylvania where she is treated as an honoured guest and photographed by the local press with Count Plasma in the belief she is the real queen visiting their country. Edna herself is oblivious to their mistake and thinks that everyone is just showing her uncommonly reverential courtesy despite the unconventional means of her arrival.
The Australian and British authorities realise who she is though and Barry and his Aussie friends are asked to form a commando-like group to parachute into Transylvania to pose as tourists visiting Count Plasma's castle to effect a rescue. Eventually the Count becomes aware of the mistaken identity and blames Edna for deception. He hooks her up to an Auto-Vamp machine to drain her of blood and goes off to repel Barry's marauders.
Barry's men win through and save the day - the count is defeated when reverend Kevin constructs a crucifix out of joined together lager cans - and they reverse the flow on the Auto-Vamp and release Edna. In conclusion Barry and Edna return to Australia greeted as heroes and are welcomed at the airport by the Australian Prime Minister and his wife.
|Links: This is second outing for Barry McKenzie and his aunt Edna who first appeared together in The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972).|
|Starring:||Barry Crocker (as Barry McKenzie, and Rev Kevin McKenzie), Barry Humphries (as Aunt Edna Everage, and other cameo parts), Donald Pleasence (as Count Plasma)|
|Featuring:||Robert Gillespie (as Dorothy, Plasma's hunchback assistant), Louis Negin (as Cretin, henchman), Paul Humpoletz (as Imbecile, henchman), Beatrice Aston (Cherylene, Kevin's wife), Ed Devereaux (as Sir Alec Ferguson, Australian ambassador), Dick Bentley (as Col)|
|Familiar Faces:||Arthur English, Deryck Guyler, Clive James, Roy Kinnear, John Le Mesurier, Tommy Trinder, Frank Windsor|
|Starlets:||Nancy Blair (as Clothilde, Plasma's mistress), Katya Wyeth, Margo Reid, Nell Campbell, Chantal Contouri, Fiona Richmond|
|The cameo of the Australian Prime Minister meeting Edna was played by Gough Whitlam who was the real PM at the time - with his real wife Margaret.|
|Nancy Blair receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Writers/Producers: Anthony Friedman, Rodney Carr-Smith / Director: Anthony Friedman|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 78 mins|
|The Boss of a small accountancy firm is interviewing applicants for a clerical position in his office. One applicant is called Bartleby who is most unusual - he comes across as painfully shy and is very unforthcoming about himself - but he passes all the accountancy exercises the Boss sets him with ease. The Boss is a kindly sort and feels a bit sorry for the sad and forlorn man and although he doesn't really know what to make of him as a man he reckons he may prove an efficient employee and so decides to give Bartleby a chance.
Bartleby starts work and beavers away hard at his desk never talking to his office colleagues who begin to think he is rather strange. Bartleby is always first to arrive in the morning and last to leave at night. Before long however Bartleby begins to exhibit peculiar tendencies and sometimes when asked to do something quite routine as part of his job just replies in his calm measured unemotional voice that he'd prefer not to - without offering any reasons.
The Boss becomes confounded by this bizarre serenely rebellious attitude which is contrary to everything he expects from an employee - but Bartleby is such a hard-to-read man that the Boss is mollified to accommodate his preferences and passes the work around the other employees. Bartleby's colleagues become annoyed with him for having to do his work but their harsh words just bounce off him and he is unresponsive to any amount of reasoning except for his expression of preference not to comply.
Then the Boss discovers that Bartleby is actually living in the office at night and is treating it as his home - he doesn't seem to have a place of his own or any family or friends. The Boss becomes more and more exasperated by his odd employee but the Bosses kindly nature makes him reluctant to simply sack him and he continues to tolerate the situation day after day hoping he can mentor the young man and help him become a more rounded person. But finally as Bartleby's unhelpful gloomy uncommunicative behaviour becomes too much to bear the Boss decides to cut his losses and fire him.
But far from putting an end to matters Bartleby simply ignores this and continues to remain at his desk living in the office at night and nothing the Boss says can persuade him to leave. Bartleby has become akin to an unwanted zombie-like squatter and finally the Boss just gives up and decides to move offices to another building and leave Bartleby where he is.
But the new tenant of the old offices complains about the unwanted "resident" and although the Boss is in no way responsible for Bartleby he tries to show a fatherly type of concern and persuade him to move on and get some medical help for his state of mind which clearly is making him unable to function as a normal person. Bartleby is as unresponsive as ever and eventually the authorities take him away to a sanatorium where he is treated for severe mental depression. The Boss continues to feel in some way duty bound to show some interest in the man and pays Bartleby regular visits to see how he is doing. The Boss is told he is the only visitor he ever gets. Bartleby seems to have no will to live and eventually he simply dies leaving the Boss speechless at the sheer tragedy of a harmless forsaken man who simply couldn't function in a sophisticated society.
|Comment: The Boss is never given a name.|
|Starring:||Paul Scofield (as The Boss), John McEnery (as Bartleby)|
|Featuring:||Thorley Walters (as The Bosses business friend), Colin Jeavons (as Tucker, office colleague), Robin Askwith (as Office Junior), Rosalind Elliot (as Miss Brown, office secretary), Tony Parkin (as Dickinson, office colleague), Hope Jackman (as Office Tealady)|
|Starlets:||Christine Dingle (as Young woman patient at sanatorium)|
|Based on the story by Herman Melville|
|Writer: L.Z. Hargreaves / Director: Montgomery Tully / Producer: Charles Reynolds|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 87 mins|
|US Navy Commander Jonathan Shaw of the Office of National Research has until recently been in charge of a Deep Sea Research base which was destroyed when it collapsed without warning. Shaw blames an earthquake but no tremor was recorded and the cause of the disaster remains unexplained. Shaw is assigned base duties while a full review is carried out.
Meanwhile Shaw hears that an old Korean war buddy of his called Arnold Kramer has been committed to a psychiatric hospital and he goes to visit him. Kramer is a scientist who tells Shaw about some acoustic observations he made when studying near a volcano. He claims his equipment charted a network of underwater tunnels being bored under the ocean headed towards the United States along the Oregon coast but all his findings were destroyed when the volcano erupted. His bizarre warnings of an imminent underground attack were delivered so incoherently that his ravings have been put down to madness.
When a mining disaster occurs near Oregon, Shaw links it up with Kramer's warning and has him released. Shaw goes down into the mines and uncovers a plot by a rogue Chinese warlord called Chan Lu who has used hi-tec tunnelling equipment to bore a network of tunnels under the United States. Chan plans to explode atomic bombs under key strategic military areas and then invade and take over the States with his own private army. Shaw realises that his own Deep Sea base must have been destroyed when one of Chan's underground tunnels undermined its support.
Shaw reports back to his superiors and he, Kramer, and a small combat team are sent on a mission to destroy the tunnels before Chan can complete his plan. There are a number of skirmishes but Shaw and his men are soon overwhelmed and captured. They are taken to Chan's underground base and imprisoned. Shaw manages to escape and hijacks the bomb delivery truck as it arrives down the under-ocean supply tunnel. He then sabotages one bomb and sets it to explode in the tunnel before escaping. The underwater explosion floods and destroys the entire tunnel system killing Chan and all his men and foiling the plot.
|Starring:||Kerwin Mathews (as Commander Jonathan Shaw), Peter Arne (as Arnold Kramer), Martin Benson (as General Chan Lu, enemy warlord), Edward Bishop (as Lieutenant Commander Vance Cassidy, head of Atomic Detection Center), Viviane Ventura (as Tila Yung, geologist), Robert Ayres (as Admiral Felix Hillebrand)|
|Featuring:||Al Mulock (as Sgt Marvin Mulberry, combat team), Peter Elliott (as Kengh Lee, enemy scientist), Paula Li Shiu (as Dr Arnn, enemy hypnotist)|
|Starlets:||Sarah Brackett (as Meg Webson, at Detection Center), Norma West (as Susan Kramer, at Naval Research)|
|This film is reviewed here because it was made in England even though it is set in the States featuring American characters. There are no well known actors in it except for Ed Bishop and most are probably real American actors although there are a couple of minor British actresses lower down in the cast using American accents (Sarah Brackett and Norma West).|
|Writers: James Kennaway, Wilfred Greatorex / Director: Guy Hamilton / Producers: Harry Saltzman, S. Benjamin Fisz|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 126 mins|
|In 1940 during the Second World War, British troops and pilots are stationed in Northern France in attempts to stem the surging German occupation of mainland Europe, honouring Prime Minister Winston Churchill's pledge to protect France. Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of Fighter Command, feels the effort is costing too much in pilots and aircraft which it would be better to preserve to defend England against an almost inevitable invasion. The German war machine proves too powerful to repel and as the British troops and airworthy aircraft hastily evacuate back to England, France falls and the Battle of Britain is about to begin.
German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler has a respect for the wider British Empire and would prefer to come to an arrangement with the British government - but the British consider Hitler untrustworthy. Hitler becomes infuriated by the British determination to oppose his regime even though they are heavily outnumbered. And so the air assault on Britain by the Luftwaffe commences.
The British have the advantage of a radar system to warn of approaching attacks which allows Spitfire squadrons to be guided to intercept positions. But the situation is still dire because of the high casualty rate amongst Spitfire pilots and the resulting lack of trained pilots to fly the aircraft.
The Germans are preparing for an assault that they hope will overwhelm British defences using hundreds of aircraft simultaneously. First they target the coastal radar installations to leave Fighter Command reliant on visual sightings only and then their Stuka bombers target British aerodromes in the South of England to seriously hinder the capability to operate aircraft. This strategy continues day after day and cripples Fighter Command's ability to provide effective air defences. Spitfires are being lost at an alarming rate whether on the ground or in the air. The German's have a smug confidence that they are gaining air supremacy over the British.
Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory proposes they need to adopt a "Big Wing" strategy with many dozens of Spitfires attacking simultaneously, but the ability to prepare such an effort has become compromised by the continued attacks. The prospects appear bleak that they will ever be given a chance to recover the situation.
Then on one particular raid a German bomber crew loose their bombs over the wrong target and hit London which is counter to Hitler's express orders that London should not be bombed. However the British do not know this and Churchill orders a retaliatory bombing raid on Berlin. Hitler becomes incensed at this outrage and orders his Luftwaffe chief Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring to change tack and now target London.
London comes under sustained nightly attacks by waves of German bombers which devastate vast swathes of the city. But although this blitz is horrific, the unintended consequence is that Fighter Command are given a respite to restore facilities and aircraft back to full strength and give training to new pilots.
It is noted that German Bombers are operating at the limits of their range while over London and beyond the range of fighter escorts to protect them as well as hunt down the enemy's spitfires. So the German bombers become easy pickings for the Spitfires. German losses become critical but Göring refuses to change tactic because he pledged to Hitler that he would clear the skies. Against the advice of his generals he orders the attacks on London to continue with fighters ordered to concentrate on protecting the bombers rather than roam free hunting for enemy planes to target.
As German bombings continue the British decide the time has come to go all out and use the "Big Wing". With no reserves held back, all airworthy Spitfires take to the skies and engage the German aircraft in aerial combat over Southern England. Bombers are easily destroyed and the superior manoeuvrability of the Spitfires proves decisive in defeating the Messerschmitt fighter planes in a series of dogfights.
Next day the Spitfire pilots are on standby to respond to the usual wave of German attacks. But none come and the skies remain peaceful. It soon becomes apparent that the Germans have conceded air superiority over England and abandoned attempts to bomb London with aircraft.
|Comment: The film is mainly just a clinical telling of the events with no single star carrying the movie. Instead, well known names make intermittent or one-off appearances throughout. In amongst the efficient storytelling there is however one or two attempts to add some human-interest drama - such as a strained marriage between two serving officers.|
|Starring:||(there are no specific starring roles)|
|Featuring:||(including cameo roles, selective list only) Laurence Olivier (as Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding), Trevor Howard (as Air Vice Marshal Keith Park), Christopher Plummer (Squadron Leader Colin Harvey), Susannah York (as Section Officer Maggie Harvey, Colin's wife), Ian McShane (as Sgt. Pilot Andy), Michael Caine (as Squadron Leader Canfield), Harry Andrews (as Senior Civil Servant), Curt Jurgens (as Baron von Richter), Kenneth More (as Group Capt. Baker), Nigel Patrick (as Group Capt. Hope), Michael Redgrave (as Air Vice Marshal Evill), Ralph Richardson (as Sir David Kelly), Robert Shaw (as Squadron Leader Skipper), Patrick Wymark (as Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory), Barry Foster (as Squadron Leader Edwards), Edward Fox (as Pilot Officer Archie), Isla Blair (as Andy's wife), Andre Maranne (as French NCO)|
|Based on The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster|
|Writer: Jeremy Lloyd / Director: Cliff Owen / Producer: Robert Sadoff|
|Type: Period Drama||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Set in the 1700s. Squire Alworthy returns home to his Manor after many months away and discovers a baby boy deposited on his bed. The female servants all deny the baby has anything to do with them. The Squire's sister Bridget remarks that the baby resembles village tart Jenny Jones and when challenged Jenny remains vague about being the mother but does not completely deny it and quite evidently wants no responsibility for him. So the Squire names the boy Thomas Jones and decides to adopt him as his own.
Soon afterwards Bridget marries a captain of the dragoon guards and they have a son called Blifil. When the captain dies Bridget lapses into shock and takes to her bed unable to cope with life. So Blifil goes to live with his uncle, Squire Alworthy and his adoptive son Tom.
Years pass and the boys are older teenagers who receive private schooling from tutors Mr Square and Dr Thwackum. The tutors are immensely proud of Blifil who is a hard-working and studious boy unlike Tom whom they consider lazy and insolent. Tom's interest lays in other area as he secretly woos Sophia, the daughter of another local Squire called Western. Sophia's father forbade their relationship because he knows of Tom's foundling heritage - instead it is Blifil to whom he wishes her to become wed although Sophia cannot stand the spotty boy.
There follows a series of incidents in which Square and Thwackum attempt to help Blifil discredit Tom by exposing his philandering ways with other women - a weakness of Tom's which is not helped by the fact that all women find him irresistible. A misunderstanding sees Tom have to go on the run as a thief when one of Sophia's rings goes missing and he heads off to London. He is later captured and ends up in prison unable to prove his innocence.
Meanwhile the bedridden Bridget finally dies. Amongst her private papers she leaves a written confession that Tom was actually her son that she had had illegitimately with the captain before they were wed but was too ashamed to keep him. Blifil realises that this makes Tom his older brother and so he destroys the letter to suppress the information.
With Tom gone Sophia has no choice but to agree to marry Blifil. However on the day of the wedding Tom manages to escape from prison and rushes back home where he and Sophia wed before the others get to the church. None of their family are particularly pleased with this development until Jenny Jones volunteers the information that Tom was not her son after all but Bridget's who had paid Jenny to suggest that the baby was hers and unwanted - a successful ploy so that the baby would stay in the family adopted by her kind-hearted brother.. So with Tom now established as a true member of the Alworthy family everyone is now happy except of course Blilfil and the tutors.
|Starring:||Nicky Henson (as Tom Jones), Trevor Howard (as Squire Western), William Mervyn (as Squire Alworthy, adopts Tom), Terry-Thomas (Mr Square, tutor), Arthur Lowe (as Dr Thwackum, tutor), Murray Melvin (as Blifil, Alworthy's nephew), Madeline Smith (as Sophia, Squire Western's daughter and Tom's girlfriend)|
|Featuring:||Joan Collins (as Black Bess, highwaywoman), Georgia Brown (as Jenny Jones), Geraldine McEwan (Lady Bellaston, host of masked ball), Jeremy Lloyd (as Lord Fellamar, guest at masked ball), Michael Bates (as Prisoner), Joan Cooper (as Nellie, not sure who she was), Isabel Dean (as Bridget, Squire Western's sister), Hilda Fennemore (as Mrs Belcher, Tom's London landlady)|
|Familiar Faces:||Frank Thornton (as Whitlow, servant in Alworthy household)|
|Starlets:||Janie Greenspun (as Daisy, ?Western's maid in framing story?), Patricia MacPherson (as Molly Seagram, lusty woman in woodland shack), Maxine Casson (as Prudence, virginal maid at Squire Western's), Judy Buxton (as Lizzie, maid in Western household, uncredited), Claire Davenport (as Mrs Bakewell, cook in Alworthy household, uncredited), Penny Irving (as Maid in Alworthy household, uncredited)|
|Based on the 18th century novel by Henry Fielding.|
|Although it is mostly drama there are a few occasions when characters break out into song - probably not often enough to really class it a musical film though - the credits do indicate that it was based on the Stage Musical Tom Jones written by Don MacPherson with music and lyrics by Paul Holden.|
|Janie Greenspun receives an "introducing" credit. There are no end credits and therefore for most actors no character names are shown - but in her case the opening credits do indicate that she plays "Daisy". However since no one is ever referred to as Daisy it's still not entirely clear which one she was. There are many speaking parts in this film that go uncredited so it can't be determined by elimination. However in terms of role-size it might be reasonable to assume that she is the maid to whom Trevor Howard (as an older Squire Western) is relating the story of Tom Jones (in a kind of occasional "framing" sequence - although not one that is returned to at the end of the film).|
|The identification of Patricia MacPherson as "Molly" is based on her being identified as such in other sources. The character "Molly" has a nude scene and has a role that probably deserved to be credited (but so did some others that were not). Patricia MacPherson appears on the credits. This actress appeared in the US series Knight Rider as a regular from 1982-86 and pictures of her do show a certain similarity.|
|An earlier film version of the same novel reviewed on these pages is Tom Jones (1963)|
|Writer: Reginald Rose / Director: Lionel Jeffries / Producer: Arthur Lewis|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Roger Baxter is a young American teenager who has no sense of belonging. His American parents have acrimoniously split up and his mother has decided to make a complete break and go and live in London meaning Roger has to come too. Roger feels guilty believing he is the cause of his parents break-up because they always seemed to be arguing about him and it seems to Roger that he was a burden to his parents that they could have done without. Neither of them seemed to really love him and merely tolerated him. Roger has a lisp that makes his R's sound like W's and Roger perceives this to be the main reason they resent him because he isn't normal. Roger wants his father's approval which was never forthcoming and Roger blames his speech impediment and finds it especially ironic that he has a name that he himself cannot properly pronounce.
Roger and his mother stay in a plush London apartment where Mrs Baxter stays in all day feeling sorry for herself. She finds Roger insolent and insufferable and doesn't care much what he does although she forbids him to try and phone his father in the States. Roger attends a school in London for American children where he is viewed as a troublemaker by his English teacher who takes exception to Roger's speech defect and Smart Alec remarks. Roger is sent to see a speech therapist called Dr Roberta Clemm who has a kind understanding nature and Roger feels she is someone he can trust.
Back at the apartment Roger meets his upstairs neighbour Christina (Chris) Bentley and her French boyfriend Roger Tunnell (pronounced Roget, and to ease identification conflicts his name will be spelt thus in this summary). Chris is a fashion model with a very generous nature and she recognises Roger's loneliness and invites him on a day out with her and Roget to her country cottage. Roger finds their friendly company to be so warm and giving that he comes out of himself and has more fun than he has ever had feeling he is amongst friends who actually think he is an interesting person. All his life he has been longing to be with people who love him and finally he knows what it is like to be with people who are happy to take him as he is with no preconceptions. Roget inspires Roger with tales of his own childhood trauma which rendered him unable to speak which he overcame through willpower.
Back in London Roger meets a bubbly teenage English girl nicknamed Nemo who lives in an apartment opposite and they make friends and Roger thinks his life is at last becoming good. Back in his apartment his mother is out and when Roger practices his words to himself he is astonished to find that he can say his R's perfectly. He excitedly phones his father in the States eager to show off to the one person he is most anxious to impress. Unfortunately it is a bad line and his father cannot tell the difference and is too preoccupied with a card game to give proper attention and cuts the call short.
Roger views this as rejection and goes into a decline. He visits Chris and Roget who temporarily cheer him up with their infectious energy. Next day he goes to see Nemo and is dismayed to find out that she and her family are moving away. Roger declines again thinking people are deserting him. A feeling of despair overcomes him and he wanders the streets in a daze hardly aware of his surroundings. He is found by Chris who has a nasty cough she picked up during a cold modelling assignment. He feigns good cheer for her benefit but after she has gone indoors he returns to his morose. He is found wandering the city streets suffering from exposure and is taken to hospital. Roger has completely withdrawn into himself and is almost catatonic in his lack of response to outside stimuli.
Dr Roberta Clemm is sent for and after days of therapy Roger becomes his bright self once more. He is still in a fragile state but Roberta thinks he is ready to return home. However his mother is very unsympathetic and accuses Roger of faking it all to gain attention. Then Roger hears that Chris has died of pneumonia whilst he was in hospital. Chris was such a special person to Roger who that his grief at losing her sends him into a deep relapse amidst a feeling that everything good is being taken away from him. His condition is worse than before and he is completely unresponsive and has to be spoon fed in hospital as Roberta attempts to coax him back again. Roberta tells Roger's mother that Roger is very ill and has closed down but Mrs Baxter's response is to try and shake him to his senses knowing what a troublemaker he is and consequently Roberta has to ban her from visiting.
It is only when Roget Tunnell comes to see him and makes a connection with their mutual grief at losing Chris that Roger begins to start a slow recovery back to health.
|Starring:||Scott Jacoby (as Roger Baxter), Britt Ekland (as Chris Bentley), Jean-Pierre Cassel (as Roger Tunnell, Chris's French boyfriend), Lynn Carlin (as Mrs Baxter, Roger's mother), Patricia Neal (as Dr Roberta Clemm, speech therapist)|
|Featuring:||Sally Thomsett (as Nemo, English girl), Paul Eddington (as Mr Rawling, English teacher), Paul Maxwell (as Mr Baxter, Roger's father), Ian Thomson (as Dr Walsh, at hospital), Ronald Leigh-Hunt (as Mr Filshie, Mrs Baxter's date), Frances Bennett (as Mrs Newman, Nemo's mother), George Tovey (as Porter at apartment block)|
|Writers: David Butler, Don Sharp / Director: Don Sharp / Producer: Peter Snell|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Set in the modern day (1979). Bear Island is a massive glacial island upon which a NATO early warning system is based. A team of multi-national scientists have been given permission to set up a camp on the island to investigate climate change data. During the Second World War the island was occupied by the Nazis and was used by them as the site of a large U-Boat pen.
The scientists arrive by sea in their research vessel and set up camp in abandoned Nazi buildings. Their team includes Frank Lansing who is a naturalised American although his father was a German U-Boat captain; an American friend of his called George Smith - and various German, Polish and Norwegian scientists and doctors - many of whom it turns out have ulterior motives for taking part in the expedition. Lansing's motives are purely personal in that he wants to find out what became of his father and believes the U-boat pens may hold the answer.
Lansing establishes that the U-boat complexes were aerial bombed by the Allies at the end of the war and the above ground structures completely destroyed. However he finds in an underwater search that the docks are still intact beneath. Inside is U-Boat 351 whose whereabouts was previously unaccounted for and was the very boat that Lansing's father commanded. Inside are the skeletons of the crew still at their posts - and in the hold he discovers to his surprise many boxes of gold bullion worth millions of dollars.
Lansing realises that he is not the only person who knows about this and there are several furtive attempts on his life by persons unknown which he manages to survive. A Norwegian doctor called Heddi Lindquist reveals to him she is working for her country's intelligence service. She informs Lansing that the gold was stolen by the Nazis from Norwegian reserves during the war. Recent information has indicated that and there are now Germans still sympathetic to the Nazi Party cause who want to retrieve it for the benefit of the Reich. Three such sympathisers are amongst their number and whilst two of them are easily identified the third is working clandestinely with their identity a mystery.
More murders and sabotage ensue until a climax in which Lansing has to overcome the odds to stop both the Nazi agent working for a cause he believes in, and his friend George Smith who has decided to take the gold for himself - from making off with the gold in the scientist's stolen research vessel.
Lansing is successful in thwarting the villainy and is finally pleased to learn from reading his father's submarine log book that when he and his crew died in the Allies culminant air raid on the pens, he had been refusing to hand over the stolen Norwegian gold to his Nazi masters.
|Starring:||Donald Sutherland (as Frank Lansing), Vanessa Redgrave (as Heddi Lindquist), Richard Widmark (as Otto Gerran, expedition head), Lloyd Bridges (as George 'Smithy' Smith)|
|Featuring:||Christopher Lee (as Lechinski, Polish agent), Barbara Parkins (as Judith Rubin, scientist), Lawrence Dane (as Paul Hartman, infiltrator), Michael J Reynolds (as Heyter, German base personnel), Nicholas Cortland (as Jungbeck, German base personnel), Patricia Collins (as Inge Van Zipper, scientist)|
|Based on the novel by Alistair MacLean. Additional material writing credit: Murray Smith.|
|Writer/Director: James Kelly / Producer: Graham Harris|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Set in the present day (1971). In the town of Littlemere, Lancashire the police are called in when a soldier from a nearby army camp is found savagely murdered after some night manoeuvres. The pathologist speculates that the gashes and claw marks he suffered might indicate it was an attack by some sort of ferocious animal.
Nearby live elderly sisters Ellie and Joyce Ballantyne in a large country house. Ellie is constantly nervous and relies on her more practical sister Joyce for reassurance and support. They share a long-kept dark secret of something (as yet undisclosed) that they keep in the cellar which they feed with sedative-laced food and drink to keep it docile. When news of the soldier's death reaches them they realise that the "thing" has found a way out and is leaving the cellar to hunt and kill. They discover the new exit in an outhouse and do their best to block it off although Joyce hurts herself in the process and the doctor is called.
The doctor prescribes complete bed rest for Joyce and puts her on a sedative which keeps her asleep. Later when more soldier deaths occur and it becomes clear that the sisters' countermeasures have proved ineffective in keeping the "thing" shut away inside, Ellie starts to panic and worries that friendly Corporal Alan Marlow who runs errands for them might become a victim. With Joyce out for the count Ellie decides it is time to confess all to the police...
Back in 1914 when they were little girls their father had been such a sweet man, the perfect loving father - but after he came back from fighting in the Great War he was severely mentally affected by shellshock and was never the same again. Their brother Stephen was born in 1921 and their mother died soon after that and a few years later their father also died leaving the sisters to bring up their much younger brother by themselves. Stephen was a perfectly normal and exceptionally bright boy and by the time of the Second World War he was 18 and keen to do his bit. But the sisters hated the thought of the same thing happening to him as happened to their father and so to save him from that fate they drugged him and bricked him up in the cellar with only a few gaps to pass through food and drink. Shut up alone throughout the war Stephen went slowly mad and by the time the conflict was over he was too far gone to ever be released and so the sisters have kept him in there ever since - for over thirty years now.
The police start a manhunt for Stephen while Corporal Alan Marlow maintains a patrol of the sisters' house in case he returns there. During a thunderstorm the man that was Stephen gets into the house and makes his way upstairs to where the sisters are cowering in fear. Stephen can no longer speak and is a bedraggled long bearded shell of a man. Just as it looks as if he is trying to attack the sisters Alan comes in and shoots him dead - although it seems as though Stephen was just reaching for the photograph of his father on the sidetable whom he must have remembered from when he was a boy. They speculate he must have been attacking soldiers because they reminded him of the life he never had.
|Starring:||Beryl Reid (as Ellie Ballantyne), Flora Robson (as Joyce Ballantyne), John Hamill (as Corporal Alan Marlow), Tessa Wyatt (as Joanna Sutherland, nurse)|
|Featuring:||T.P. McKenna (as DCS Paddick), John Kelland (as DS Young), Vernon Dobtcheff (as Sir Bernard Newsmith, pathologist), Dafydd Havard (as Stephen Ballantyne, brother)|
|Familiar Faces:||Christopher Chittell (as a Soldier Victim, [Eric Pollard in Emmerdale])|
|Starlets:||Anabel Littledale (as Gloria, girl with soldier in barn)|
|Writer: Michael Winder / Director: Paul Annett / Producers: Max J Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Tom Newcliffe is a wealthy American businessman with a passion for hunting. He lives on a large remote estate in Scotland and has covered his land with the latest hi-tech monitoring and detection equipment with cameras, microphones and pressure sensors all designed to make any movement around his grounds impossible without his knowledge. The equipment is operated from a control centre in the house by Polish surveillance expert Pavel who is able to guide him via radio to the location of the prey. He has installed this gadgetry with one purpose - to enable him to hunt the ultimate wild beast of them all - a Werewolf!.
Tom lives with his wife Caroline and he has invited five distinguished guests who are largely unknown to each other but whose lives are tinged with reports of strange deaths which has led Tom to suspect that one of them is a werewolf. He announces to them his suspicions and tells them they cannot leave until the matter is sorted. The full moon is coming and so for the next three nights the victim of the werewolf curse will become a savage beast and when that happens he will hunt it down. One of the guests is an expert on werewolves and explains that it is a blood disease that is triggered under special circumstances of a full moon when a certain pollen is in the air with the sufferer having no control over their animalistic transformation. Tom also knows this and has made sure the pollen of the Wolfs Bane plant is present.
On the first night of the werewolf hunt the beast is clever and realises that Tom is being directed and it heads for the house and attacks and kills Pavel. This leaves Tom to rely on his own skills on the subsequent nights with still no idea which of his guests is the beast. On the third night of the hunt Tom finally manages to kill the beast with a silver bullet but in the struggle it bites him. He knows he is now infected by the disease and he decides to take his own life rather than become a sufferer.
|Comment: I won't bother saying who was the werewolf because it would mean little since I haven't described the various suspects either. Needless to say like most mystery stories it could have been any of them really and the final choice matters very little to the overall enjoyment. The sense of mystery surrounding the culprit is part of the mystique and at the start of the film the viewer is invited by the narrator to try and guess who the culprit is - and just prior to the revelation the film stops for a 30-second "Werewolf Break" to allow the viewer to make their decision.|
|Starring:||Calvin Lockhart (as Tom Newcliffe), Peter Cushing (as Dr Christopher Lundgren, suspect), Charles Gray (as Arthur Bennington, suspect), Ciaran Madden (as Davina Gilmore, suspect), Tom Chadbon (as Paul Foote, suspect), Michael Gambon (as Jan Jarmokowski, suspect), Marlene Clark (as Caroline, Tom's wife)|
|Featuring:||Anton Diffring (as Pavel), Valentine Dyall (narrator voice)|
|Based on a short story by James Blish entitled There Shall Be Darkness. The original screenplay adaptation by Michael Winder was extensively re-written by director Paul Annett and Scott Finch.|
|It would probably be incorrect to class this as a Horror even though it's about a werewolf as it is more of a mystery thriller type film.|
|Writer: Dail Ambler / Director: Edmond T. Gréville / Producer: George Willoughby|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 88 mins / 78 mins|
|Jennifer Linden is a 16-year old art student whose widowed father Paul has re-married to a much younger woman called Nichole. Nichole is from France and is nearer to Jennifer's age than she is to Paul's. Jennifer resents Nichole and refuses to like her despite Nichole's patient attempts to get to know her new stepdaughter.
Jennifer's father is a rich architect who provides her with anything she wants. But Jennifer has a wildcat rebellious streak and prefers to seek excitement with her beatnik friends in coffee bars listening to the latest jazzy pop tunes and engaging in wild dares.
Across the road from the coffee bar is a strip club called Les Girls and some of the dancers use the coffee bar. One day when Jennifer stands Nichole up on what is supposed to be a bridge-building lunch date, Nichole comes to the coffee bar to look for Jennifer and one of the stripper's recognises Nichole. Jennifer finds this revelation wonderfully intriguing and decides to delve into the shady past of her father's new wife in the hope of finding something juicy with which to embarrass her. Jennifer visits the strip club and talks to the stripper in question called Greta and discovers that Nichole had once been a stripper in Paris and possibly a whole lot more besides of an even more questionable nature. Greta is the girlfriend of sleazy club manager Kenny King and he takes a liking to Jennifer's young fresh face and says she can come back anytime despite her being underage.
At home Jennifer proceeds to make life difficult for Nichole by dropping little hints about what she knows until eventually she blurts out everything after a furious row and then runs from the house. Nichole is left to explain to Paul how it was all true - an unhappy home life had caused her to run away and she had fallen into a life of striptease and prostitution and was only saved from all that when she met and fell in love with him. She is concerned that she can see the same thing happening with Jennifer. They head for town to try and find her.
Jennifer has taken up Kenny King's offer to visit the club again. Alone in his office with him, Kenny turns on his sleazily seductive charm and offers her a weekend away with him in Paris as he touches her up. All of a sudden Kenny has been stabbed with a letter opener and is dead on the floor - it seems as if Jennifer suddenly snapped and killed him. The police are called although a screaming and hysterical Jennifer swears she didn't do it - and then from the shadows of the office Greta emerges - it was her doing - she was jealous that Kenny was willing to dump her for a new girl without a moments thought. Jennifer is taken home crying and being comforted by her father and Nichole with all thoughts of her rebellious misadventure gone.
|Starring:||Gillian Hills (as Jennifer Linden), David Farrar (as Paul Linden, Jennifer's father), Noëlle Adam (as Nichole, Paul's new wife), Christopher Lee (as Kenny King, strip club manager)|
|Featuring:||(Jennifer's beatnik friends) Adam Faith (as Dave), Shirley-Ann Field (as Dodo), Peter McEnery (as Tony), |
Delphi Lawrence (as Greta, Kenny's girlfriend, [Uncredited, although she has a featured role]), Nigel Green (as Strip Club stage manager), Norman Mitchell (as Strip Club Doorman)
|Familiar Faces:||Oliver Reed (as Band member, [small role only])|
|Starlets:||Claire Gordon (as Honey, auditioning stripper, [role reduced to non-speaking in shorter version]), Pascaline (as Strip Club Dancer, [edited out of shorter version])|
|Made in Black and White|
|Gillian Hills receives an "introducing" credit|
|Two versions were reviewed - the full 88 minute version and an edited 78 minute version. The shorter version cuts out the racier scenes and dialogue - and with all nudity removed the editing of the climatic murder scene becomes a rushed muddle because it was originally intercut with a topless stripper who stops performing when she hears the screams coming from the back office - and so there is nothing to fill the "gaps" in the office action when these bits are expurgated.|
|Writers: Robert Muller, Val Guest / Director/Producer: Val Guest|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|Don Mackenzie is a reporter for the West of England's regional newspaper Western Daily Press and along with his photographer, Walter Carey, he is scouring the beaches of Western Super Mare looking for a human-interest story to cover. But nothing out of the ordinary presents itself and so in order not to waste the entire day Don asks a trio of pretty girls if they wouldn't mind posing for some bikini pictures to brighten up the newspaper. One of the girls is called Shirley Freeman who is at the end of a fortnight's holiday from Bristol where she works as a typist. Don takes a fancy to her and asks her out on a date to the end of the pier show where at every performance the comedian Charlie Dorton has a turn where he gives a prize to the prettiest girl in the audience. Don persuades Shirley to go up on stage and she is chosen as the winner who gets an automatic entry into the end of week beauty parade tomorrow afternoon. Shirley is reluctant to participate in the parade because she just considers herself to be an ordinary girl, but Don manages to convince her to give it a try and she goes on to win. The winner receives £5 and automatic entry into the Miss Rose of England area finals coming up soon.
Shirley's story is printed in the newspaper and when she gets home she is somewhat surprised to find how much attention she is getting from the men in her office and realises she quite likes it. However her father is very old fashioned and thinks she is disgusting for parading herself around like that in such an immoral way. Her mother and younger sister Elaine are more understanding.
Don's beauty queen article was a success and he realises he should follow it up and contacts Shirley again to gee her up into continuing and taking up her place in the Miss Rose competition. Beauty contests are very much in vogue and a successful girl can make a living from the prize money if she puts the work in. Shirley gives up her regular job and Don begins acting as her manager and they agree to a 50-50 split on her winnings. He instructs her on her posture and demeanour and arranges for her to have a beauty makeover which includes changing her hair colour from brunette to blonde. He practices her by entering her into small local pageants at holiday camps so she can gain experience.
By the time of the Miss Rose of England area final she is ready to take up her place and go up against the crème of local beauty. She comes second until Don notices that the winner was wearing artificial padding to enhance her bust and he gets her disqualified making Shirley the winner. Shirley meets Armand, the owner of the cosmetics firm sponsoring the event, and the principal judge, handsome movie star Rex Carrick, who both boost her ego with their compliments. The prize is £300, a weekend for two in Monte Carlo, and automatic entry into the Miss Rose of England final in London.
Don and Shirley go to Monte Carlo where he attempts to get romantic with her because he has fallen in love. Shirley does not really want that sort of relationship but feels obliged to be agreeable towards him for all he has done for her. However Don wants her love not her gratitude and so they agree to keep their relationship on a business level.
Shirley goes on to win the Miss Rose final at the Talk of the Town with a prize of £1000 and automatic entry into the Miss Globe competition at Cannes. Shirley becomes an instant celebrity and Don is kept busy selling her image rights to lingerie firms eager to have Shirley promoting their products.
Shirley is flown out to the Côte d'Azur with the other international beauty queens where they are all treated like princesses and cosseted by security so much so that Don cannot even get to speak to her on the phone. Shirley fancies her chances because she is on good terms with the principal judge Rex Carrick and is a favourite of the organiser Armand.
Shirley passes all the elimination rounds and makes it to the final six. The names of the winners are read out in reverse order starting with fifth place. The host gets down to the first place announcement and Shirley's name has still not been read out and she thinks it is bound to be her. But it isn't and Miss Peru wins meaning that Shirley came sixth. She is stunned by her failure and can't understand why she did so badly. Armand tells her it was not her fault but there were hard commercial factors involved in the choice and she wasn't quite right for what was wanted.
Don consoles her and tells her that they can pick up and start again for another try next year, but Shirley realises it's got to come to an end sometime and she can't face going through all the qualifying rounds again. So she calls it a day on the contest business.
Don and Shirley drift apart and a year later she is a judge at the Miss Rose area finals where the previous year she won. She is enjoying it until she realises that one of the contestants is her sister Elaine who admired her glamorous older sister so much that now she wants to have a go. Shirley feels queasy as if meeting a more naïve version of herself, innocent of all the anguish to come, and she rushes out of the arena in panic. She bumps into Don on the promenade and they exchange looks and she realises that he is probably behind Elaine's shot at stardom, eager to repeat the success he had with her.
|Starring:||Ian Hendry (as Don Mackenzie), Janette Scott (as Shirley Freeman), Ronald Fraser (as Walter Carey), Edmund Purdom (as Rex Carrick, film star judge), Jean Claudio (as Armand, sponsor)|
|Featuring:||Norman Bird and Kay Walsh (as Mr and Mrs Freeman, Shirley's parents), Janina Faye (as Elaine Freeman, Shirley's teenage sister), Tommy Trinder (as Charlie Dorton, variety show comedian), Francis Matthews (as Taylor, advertising executive), David Weston (as Harry, Shirley's fiancé), Peter Ashmore (as Lucius, hairdresser), Aliza Gur (as Miss Peru)|
|Familiar Faces:||Sid James (as Butlin's contest judge, [cameo, credited as Sydney James]), Lionel Blair (as Talk of Town producer), Joe Brown (as Judge, [as Himself]), Stirling Moss (as Judge. [as Himself])|
|Starlets:||Jacqueline Jones (as Jean Watson, professional beauty queen), Jackie White (as Barbara Lawton, professional beauty queen), Eve Eden (as Angela Boynton, disqualified contest winner), Nikki Peters (as Cora Baker, contestant), Margaret Nolan (as Caroline, contestant), Leila Williams (as Contest Chaperone)|
|Writer: Hugo Claus / Director/Producer: Fons Rademakers|
|Type: European / Crime Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Inspector Van Der Valk of the Amsterdam vice squad is called in to investigate a series of incidents in which a gang of masked men break into the properties of the wealthy and wantonly vandalise their prized possessions but without stealing anything. In the latest incident the owners returned home whilst the masked gang were still there and they proceeded to strip and rape the wife whilst her husband was forced to watch.
Van Der Valk's investigations lead him to the coastal town of Bloemendaal where he strongly suspects that a close-knit group of young men who call themselves the "Ravens" are responsible - but he cannot yet prove it. The six Ravens are all the sons of rich businessmen who can have whatever they want in life and seem to have no motive for committing such horrendous crimes. He discovers that the Ravens are an elite brotherhood and membership is something that young lads in the town strive towards. There is also an elite female sisterhood called the "Cats". The Ravens have just taken on a new member called Kees van Sonneveld who joined them on their last foray into Amsterdam. The Ravens abide by a set of strict behavioural rules laid down for them by an enigmatic guru figure called Hjalmar Jansen who has revealed to them a new code of conduct which liberates them from the stifling strictures stipulated by normal society. If they follow Jansen's tutelage they are told they will become the new elite destined to change the way the world is run. The youths had become disaffected and bored with their rich pampered lives and after being perverted by the influence of Jansen's radical views they carry out their crimes to add some thrills and adventure to their days believing they aspire towards achieving a societal revolution. The most important discipline ingrained into them during their cultish indoctrination rituals was a maxim demanding absolute allegiance to the other members of their group.
While in town Van Der Valk gets friendly with a prostitute called Feodora and proceeds to have an affair with her. She is friendly with some of the lads in question and steers him in the direction of their hang-outs. Van Der Valk meets Jansen who runs a bar the lads use but at this stage Van Der Valk knows nothing about his deep involvement and is gulled by his personable and helpful manner.
Van Der Valk decides to question all of the lads but finds it impossible to penetrate the barrier of loyalty they erect and gets nowhere. Nevertheless the Ravens have become concerned that the detective knows something and they suspect their newest recruit Kees of saying too much. Kees' perceived disloyalty is considered an unpardonable sin and next day his drowned body is found on the beach in an apparent scuba diving accident. However Van Der Valk is convinced Kees was murdered and turns his attention to the sisterhood of Cats who have the same fiercely loyal honour system ruling their actions as the Ravens. All they will say is that all the girls went for a night-time swim in the nude and Kees happened to be there and joined them but they have no idea what happened after that. Only when Van Der Valk questions the Cat called Hannie Troost does he start getting some answers. Hannie was Kees' girlfriend and she is in an emotionally distraught state over his death and reveals what happened. Hannie's task was to lure Kees to the beach for sex in the sea allowing the others to easily overpower and drown him and then dress him in his diving gear to make it seem accidental misadventure. Hannie loved Kees and didn't want to do it but she had no choice because the will of the group overrode all other considerations. Van Der Valk has all the Ravens and Cats charged with collective homicide.
Van Der Valk knows it will not be over until Jansen is also in custody as well. He heads over to the guru's secluded woodland cabin disregarding Feodora's warnings about tackling Jansen alone. She has had dealings with Jansen before in her professional capacity and knows how vicious he can be. Van Der Valk finds Jansen is unfazed by the arrests of his disciples for he knows they will never betray him and he mock's Van Der Valk's inability to act without proof. According to Jansen's philosophy that ineffectualness exposes the inherent weakness of the system by which Van Der Valk abides. Jansen will never submit to the injustice of such a flawed ideology and proceeds to attack the detective to demonstrate the lack of scruples needed to administer proper justice. Jansen's fighting prowess overwhelms Van Der Valk and just as it seems certain the detective is about to die a shot rings out and Jansen falls down dead. It was Feodora who saved him knowing he might need some help and wanting her revenge on what Jansen did to corrupt her friends.
|Starring:||Bryan Marshall (as Inspector Van Der Valk), Sebastian Graham Jones (as Hjalmar Jansen, youth guru), Alexandra Stewart (as Feodora)|
|Featuring:||Edward Judd (as Erik's father), Nicholas Hoye (as Kees van Sonneveld, newly recruited Raven)|
(The Ravens) Anthony Allen (as Erik Mierle), Christopher Blake (as Frank Kieft), Bert Lippens (as Bert Wagenveld), Erik Meyer (as Wim Brinkman), Alex Van Rooyen (as Michel Carnavalet)
George Baker (as Boersma, chief of police in Amsterdam), Delia Lindsay (as Ms Maris, rape victim), Roger Hammond (as Maris, her husband), Guido de Moor (as Louis Marcousis, chief of police in Bloemendaal), Lous Hensen (as Kees' mother), Louis Borel (as Antique dealer, victim of second robbery), Marielle Fiolet (as Van Der Valk's wife)
|Starlets:||(The Cats) Sylvia Kristel (as Hannie Troost, girlfriend of Kees), Ida Goemans (as Carmen), Mariëlle Jonas (as Martha), Annemieke Pot (Unnamed) - (there were another two Cats who seem to be uncredited)|
|Based on the novel Because of the Cats by Nicholas Freeling|
|Sebastian Graham Jones receives an "introducing" credit|
|This European film is reviewed here because of the starring role of the British actor Bryan Marshall as well as some other British actors in smaller roles. It was made in English and that is the version reviewed here lasting 94 minutes. A German dubbed version lasting 89 minutes with the title "C.A.T.S." has also been seen.|
|Writer: Edward Anhalt / Director: Peter Glenville / Producer: Hal Wallis|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 142 mins|
|In the 12th century King Henry II (great grandson of the Norman invader William the Conqueror) was on the throne and his most faithful companion and valet was a man called Thomas Becket. They enjoyed drinking and whoring together and because of his loyalty and great intelligence Becket is appointed to the high office of the king's chancellor. Becket was a Saxon by heritage and fellow Saxons feel he has betrayed them by becoming so closely associated with the Normans. He has had religious schooling although only ever became a deacon.
Henry is at constant loggerheads with the church whose power is one that he is unable to fully control or influence. When the incumbent Archbishop of Canterbury (the country's head of religion) dies of old age, Henry has a brainwave that he thinks will solve his problem of church cooperation - he appoints his friend Becket to the post. Henry believes that Becket will be able to work from the inside to help him modernise the church's thinking and make it more cooperative to the monarch's wishes.
However, although Becket only reluctantly accepts the position, once he is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury he takes the high office and its traditions very seriously and begins to oppose the king on ecclesiastical matters with far more fortitude than his predecessor ever did. The king begins to see Becket as his enemy and becomes obsessed with destroying him.
When Becket refuses to back down on a matter of ecclesiastical doctrine concerning the way lawbreaking priests should be tried, he is forced to flee to France to escape arrest where he is given sanctuary by King Louis of France. Eventually out of consideration for their former friendship, King Henry allows him to return from exile agreeing safe-passage and lifting the threat of arrest.
But Becket continues to be a thorn in the king's side and Henry gives rhetorical command to his barons wondering if anyone will ever rid him of the meddlesome priest. The barons take this as an implied order and proceed to assassinate Becket. The king mourns the passing of his once dear friend and submits himself to a flogging for his part in his death. The Pope decrees that Becket be conferred a sainthood.
|Starring:||Richard Burton (as Thomas Becket), Peter O'Toole (as King Henry II), John Gielgud (as King Louis VII of France)|
|Featuring:||Donald Wolfit (as Gilbert Folliot, senior bishop), Martita Hunt (as Empress Matilda, Henry's mother), Pamela Brown (as Queen Eleanor, Henry's wife), Siân Phillips (as Gwendolen, Becket's lover), Felix Aylmer (as Theobald, preceding Archbishop of Canterbury), Paolo Stoppa (as Pope Alexander III), David Weston (as Brother John, Becket's trusted servant) Familiar Faces: Percy Herbert (as King's Baron), Peter Jeffrey (as King's Baron), Geoffrey Bayldon (as a Monk), Graham Stark (as Pope's Secretary), Edward Woodward (as French Courtier)|
|Starlets:||Véronique Vendell (as Marie, French Girl), Jennifer Hilary (as Peasant's Daughter), Linda Marlowe (as Farmer's Daughter), Magda Knopke (as Girl on Balcony)|
|Based on the play "Becket" by Jean Anouilh as translated by Lucienne Hill and produced on the New York stage by David Merrick|
|Nearly twenty years pass during the course of the film although the extent of the passage is not always that apparent. Here are some important dates that anchor some of the events described: 1155: Becket becomes Chancellor of England; 1162: he becomes Archbishop of Canterbury. 1170: he is assassinated; 1172: he is declared a saint.|
|Peter O'Toole played King Henry II again in the film The Lion in Winter (1968). That film portrays events that follow after Becket starting from 1183. Although having the same star provides a uniformity it is really only this aspect that gives it any kind of sequel-status. Really it is just another historical film telling events from a similar time period and - the producer, director, writer and other actors in overlapping roles are all different as are the styles in which both films are made.|
|Writer: John Antrobus * / Director: Richard Lester / Producers: Oscar Lewenstein, Richard Lester|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Set in an England devastated by a nuclear war where the land has been irreparably changed into a wasteland in which the junk of pre-war industrialisation is littered around the bleak landscape. A ragbag collection of eccentric survivors populate this wilderness living out their strange surreal lives with a staunch stiff-upper-lip philosophy that things will get better.
The main set of characters, who provide the film with its only semblance of a "plotline", are a family who live in a carriage on an underground train on the circle line which is remarkably still running on automatic by means of the whole of England's national grid electricity being generated by one man pedalling on a bike. When the family's daughter becomes pregnant by their next-carriage-neighbour they all set out to find a nurse amid the wastelands of London in which only the dome of St Paul's Cathedral is still above ground in all the rubble. They meet up with various men including a doctor that is treating a patient who has become a bed-sitting room (giving the film its title) and in which some of the characters start to live.
|Comment: Were it to be a drama it would be a bleak one indeed but as this is a comedy the holocaustic setting is more or less just a backdrop for the surreal humour on display from all the various eccentric characters who populate the film. Most of the humour comes from inventively "Goon-ish" wordplay which is unsurprising considering it is co-written by Spike Milligan.|
|Starring:||(Train family) Rita Tushingham (as Penelope, daughter), Arthur Lowe (as Father), Mona Washbourne (as Mother), Richard Warwick (as Alan, boyfriend)|
Michael Hordern (as Bules Martin, the doctor), Ralph Richardson (as Lord Fortnum, bed-sitting room)
|Featuring:||Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (as Policemen), Harry Secombe (as Man in Bunker), Marty Feldman (as Nurse Arthur, in drag), Frank Thornton (as BBC man)|
|Familiar Faces:||(in smaller roles) Spike Milligan, Roy Kinnear, Jimmy Edwards, Ronald Fraser, Jack Shepherd, Dandy Nichols|
|Full writing credits. Screenplay by John Antrobus, adapted by Charles Wood, based on the play by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus.|
|Marty Feldman receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Story: Peter Cook & Dudley Moore / Writer: Peter Cook / Director/Producer: Stanley Donen|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Stanley Moon is a cook in a small fast food café who harbours a secret longing for the beautiful waitress Margaret Spencer whom he is too shy to even talk to properly. In church he makes a silent prayer to God hoping He will give him the courage to speak to Margaret - and unbeknown to Stanley someone IS listening in on his thoughts although it is not God but a man who will soon reveal himself to Stanley as being the Devil.
Back at the café Stanley is still hopelessly tongue-tied and so while thoroughly depressed he goes home and tries to hang himself but can't even get that right. Then a tall stranger unexpectedly walks into his apartment telling Stanley he can help him with his problem with Margaret - for he is the Devil and can grant seven wishes!. Stanley thinks he's a looney for he appears to be a normal man without any obvious devilish qualities about him so he asks for proof and the Devil (who calls himself George Spiggott) grants him a trial wish. The sceptical Stanley asks for something simple - an ice lolly which George provides, but only by going down to a stall and buying it which Stanley doesn't think is very magical - but when the Devil does some parlour tricks Stanley becomes convinced. All the Devil wants in return for these wishes is his soul which he explains is completely unimportant in a modern world much like having ones appendix out. So Stanley signs the Devil's contract and begins his series of wishes. The Devil tells him that if at any time he is unhappy with the way things are going he should blow a raspberry and the wish will end.
Stanley firstly wishes to be incredibly brainy and articulate so he can impress Margaret with words. In this scenario she is on the same intellectual wavelength and they talk eloquently about a number of subjects including the intellectualisation of pure animal lust which she agrees is a fine and natural thing but when he tries to put it into practice she screams and cries rape - he blows his raspberry.
Next he tries being a rich millionaire with unlimited wealth and able to shower Margaret with expensive gifts - in this scenario she is his wife but one who takes him completely for granted with a young lover whom she unashamedly flirts and canoodles with in front of him. Stanley ends the wish and comes to the quick realisation that the Devil is not playing fairly and will mischievously add unwelcome elements into his wishes to make him use them up quickly.
But despite Stanley's best efforts to come up with perfect scenarios for himself, the Devil is too sneaky for him and whatever he chooses is spoilt in some way - such as the wish when he becomes a famous pop star whom fan Margaret adores but before he has a chance to capitalise on her infatuation with him her interest is diverted by another pop star with an amazing new sound whom Margaret switches her loyalties to. This goes on until Stanley's penultimate wish when he decides to stipulate everything very carefully and asks to be with Margaret somewhere quiet and secluded with no other men around - and he ends up being a nun with her in an order that have taken a vow of silence!
Stanley believes he has one more wish remaining but then the Devil informs him he has actually had them all because that trial wish at the start counted as his first - and so with the Devil's side of their contract fulfilled Stanley's soul is now legally his. But the Devil has ambitions of his own and wishes to return to heaven from where he was originally cast out and has collected his quota of 100 billion souls which should earn him re-entry - and so he doesn't actually need Stanley's soul after all now - so to demonstrate to God that he capable of doing good deeds he decides to return Stanley's contract to him and then he goes up to heaven to seek readmission. But the Devil's application is declined on a technicality and he is returned to Earth to continue his evil ways.
Stanley is back in his old life and still has no luck with Margaret but when the Devil reappears suggesting he have another go with a brand new contract he declines saying he'll try it his own way this time.
|Starring:||Peter Cook (as George Spiggott/The Devil), Dudley Moore (as Stanley Moon), Eleanor Bron (as Margaret Spencer)|
|Featuring:||Michael Bates (as Police Inspector Reg Clarke), Valentine Dyall (Voice of God)|
|Star-Turns:||Raquel Welch (as Lilian Lust), Barry Humphries (as Envy)|
|Starlets:||Danièle Noël (as Avarice)|
|Writer: Ivor Burgoyne / Director/Producer: Wolf Rilla|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 69 mins|
|Liverpudlian Rosie turns up unexpectedly late one evening at her Aunt Annie's ground floor flat in London with a suitcase and asks if she can stay. Annie hasn't seen Rosie for years and they have a lot to catch up on including the fact that Rosie is three months pregnant although not really showing yet. Annie doesn't know how long Rosie wants to stay but says it's awkward because she has a gentleman lodger who uses the sofa bed in the living room and Annie's own bed cannot be shared because it is a special NHS bed designed for Annie's sprained leg. Rosie tells Annie it'll only be for one night as her fella will be coming to collect her in the morning so Annie says she can spend the night and her lodger will have to make the best of it
Harry the lodger is a 40-year-old man who is rather set in his ways with stuffy attitudes about free love and when he returns he initially disapproves of Rosie due to some misunderstandings on the intended sleeping arrangements when he assumed it was being suggested they sleep together until he realises that he is supposed to use an armchair in another part of the living room. After Aunt Annie has retired to her room Rosie and Harry are left alone and spend the whole night talking. Rosie is a happy, bubbly young girl who cheekily and good-naturedly teases Harry at every opportunity for his stuffiness. And he puts a new perspective on some of the incidents in her early life which he finds appalling but she just accepts matter of factly as no big deal (like when a stranger sitting next to her in the cinema put his hand up her knicker legs when she was 13). When Harry discovers she is pregnant he thinks at first he is being set-up for a paternity suit until she calms him down and explains about her fella coming for her the next day.
Although initially Harry had resented Rosie, as the night wears on and they get to know each other better, he becomes charmed and increasingly fond of her until he eventually tells her that he'd like to marry her - to which she accepts. And Aunt Annie wakes up and they tell her the news and now that they are engaged Annie decides they can no longer be alone together and she sleeps in the double sofa bed between them. And what about the fella who was coming for her in the morning? -Rosie was just making him up.
|Starring:||Una Stubbs (as Rosie), Ivor Burgoyne (as Harry Johnson), Diana Dors (as Aunt Annie)|
|Familiar Faces:||Johnny Briggs (Man in Café, name spelt as Johnnie in credits), Nicky Henson (Rosie's fantasy man, uncredited)|
|Starlets:||Margaret Heald (Girl with Johnny Briggs in Café)|
|The version reviewed was titled simply as Rosie. Other than a few initial scenes and some fantasy sequences the whole film is set in the one room with the three main stars being the only major parts in it.|
|aka: The Nelson Affair|
|Writer: Terence Rattigan (based on his own play) / Director: James Cellan Jones / Producer: Hal B. Wallis|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 115 mins|
|It is the early 1800s and Lord Horatio Nelson returns to England after two years away protecting the nation's interests at sea. In particular Nelson's expertise has helped frustrate the ambitions of the French and his inspirational naval achievements have made him a celebrated national hero. Nelson is recalled to London to see Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty. They discuss the possible moves the French may take in the upcoming weeks and Nelson is offered supreme command of the fleet protecting Britain from French invasion. However Nelson unexpectedly declines for he has made a promise to the woman he loves that he will remain in England to be with her. That woman is not his wife, but his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton. Nelson is granted an indefinite leave of absence in recognition of his great service.
Nelson decides to celebrate his reunion with Lady Hamilton with a family gathering at her country estate in Merton. However his wife Lady Frances Nelson is not invited. By Nelson's decree she has been ostracised from the family and is considered a pariah. Lady Nelson lives by herself as a sad lonely figure who still deeply loves her husband but has had all her attempts to reconcile their differences summarily spurned. Lady Nelson receives a rare visit from her young teenage nephew George Matcham who feels sorry for the unjust way she has been treated and finds it hard to accept that a man as heroic as Lord Nelson could be so heartless. George is an inquisitive boy prone to asking direct questions and he vows to find out more about the situation during the upcoming family gathering.
When George meets Lady Hamilton he is rather disconcerted by her somewhat frank and vulgar manner. She appears to have no regard to modesty and openly refers to private bedroom matters between herself and Nelson that are normally left unmentioned. Emma is the widow of the Ambassador to Naples and is used to rich living and moving in influential circles. When Nelson met her he had instantly fallen in love with her larger-than-life character and became besotted by her. She became his mistress and his one true love for whom he would do anything.
Many of Nelson's comrades resent Lady Hamilton for having such a hold over Lord Nelson and keeping him away from his duties at sea where his unrivalled expertise is much in need in these dire times when England's future is at risk . They don't understand how a man of such great honour could abandon his devoted wife for a woman such as Lady Hamilton. However they nevertheless reluctantly extend her the courtesy due the chosen consort of such a great man.
During the family gathering young George's inquisitiveness gets the better of him and he brings up the forbidden subject of Nelson's wife. Publicly George is scolded but later Nelson comes to his bedroom to explain how the situation came about. Nelson does still think fondly of his wife but was compelled to abandon her when she forced him to choose between herself and Lady Hamilton, which to Nelson was like a declaration of war. And she made matters worse for herself by writing him heartfelt letters of forgiveness thereby making it impossible for him to hate her which would have made it easier for him. Accepting her back after that would have been an intolerable loss of pride.
At dinner Lord Nelson outlines his vision of a revolutionary new battle plan he has devised that he knows would defeat the more numerous French armada. However his right-hand man Captain Hardy knows that it is so radical that only Nelson could pull it off. But Nelson still exasperatingly refuses to return to sea citing the promise he made to Lady Hamilton to remain by her side as being more important to him than anything else. Lady Hamilton is overjoyed that Nelson is willing to give everything up for her but knows deep inside that he wants to return to sea. She realises that the country is in great need of his unique skills and so she releases him from his promise.
Admiral Nelson takes command of the English fleet on his flagship Victory and puts into practice his radical battle plan and fleet disposition. He knows it is a risky venture and so he makes his will stating in it that should he die then he wishes to bequest Lady Hamilton an allowance from the nation that would keep her in the manner to which she is accustomed.
On October 21st 1805, they confront the larger French fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coast. In typical fashion Nelson insists that the Victory should spearhead the first attack wave. In the forefront Victory suffers considerable damage and it seems to some of the lowly crewmen that Nelson is foolhardily leading them to certain death. In the heat of the battle one such panicked crewman shoots at Nelson from the riggings causing him a mortal wound. Nelson is taken below deck whilst Captain Hardy carries through the battle plan. Eventually Nelson's tactics pay off and all of the French fleet are destroyed with no losses on the English side. Nelson lives long enough to know he won the battle before he dies with Captain Hardy by his side.
Nelson's death is mourned by the grateful nation and it is his wife Lady Nelson who receives all the honours due her husband rather than Lady Hamilton. Without Lord Nelson's material support Lady Hamilton's financial position has turned sour and she has been forced to dispose of her heavily mortgaged house and belongings. Lady Nelson is now the one with the upper hand, but she is a fair-minded woman and she is prepared to respect her late husband's final wish. She informs Lady Hamilton of the bequest and promises she will do all she can to make sure the government honour it. But Lady Hamilton scoffs knowing that the establishment hated her and would never let that happen and therefore makes no attempt to enforce it.
|Comment: The end caption tells us that Lady Hamilton had two spells in a debtor's prison and then left England forever and died in poverty in France in 1815.|
|Starring:||Peter Finch (as Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson), Glenda Jackson (as Lady Emma Hamilton), Michael Jayston (as Captain Hardy), Anthony Quayle (as Lord Minto, politician), Margaret Leighton (as Lady Frances Nelson, Nelson's estranged wife), Dominic Guard (as Master George Matcham, Nelson's nephew)|
|Featuring:||Roland Culver (as Lord Barham, first lord of the admiralty), Nigel Stock (as George Matcham, young George's father), Barbara Leigh-Hunt (as Catherine Matcham, young George's mother and Nelson's sister), John Nolan (as Captain Blackwood, frigate captain), André Maranne (as Admiral Villeneuve, French admiral), Clelia Matania (as Francesca, Lady Hamilton's Italian maid), Pat Heywood (as Emily, Lady Nelson's maid)|
|Familiar Faces:||Philip Madoc (as French Captain, [uncredited speaking cameo]), Nicholas Lyndhurst (as Young Cabin Boy, [fleeting non-speaking cameo])|
|The version reviewed carried the American title of The Nelson Affair|
|Writers: Aben Kandel, Herman Cohen / Director: Jim O'Connolly / Producer: Herman Cohen|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 92 mins|
|The Great Rivers Circus is a modestly successful circus that tours the UK with its combination of daredevil acrobats and live animal acts. In Leeds tragedy strikes when the high wire balancing act Gaspar The Great falls to his death when his tightrope snaps. It is considered to be a terrible accident but the circus owner Monica Rivers notices a distinct upturn in business as if the gruesome death has given the public a morbid curiosity.
Monica's business partner Albert Dorando has become weary of the lifestyle and wants to leave but Monica says he'll have to wait because she can't afford to buy out his share at the moment. She begins looking for an act to replace Gaspar and by an amazing chance a high wire walker called Frank Hawkins turns up looking for work and after a successful demonstration of his skills he is hired. Not long after that Dorando is murdered in the big top at night and later Monica quietly sneaks into his caravan and burns their partnership agreement - she is seen doing this by Hawkins.
With a clear-cut murder this time the police become properly involved and suspicion is raised that perhaps the first "accidental" death was also a murder. The circus performers become agitated and in particular a magician's assistant called Matilda raises her strong suspicions that perhaps Monica did it knowing how business has improved as a result. Hawkins and Monica begin an affair and he tells her that he wants Dorando's share or he will tell the police how he saw her sneaking into the man's caravan soon after his murder.
Monica's daughter Angela arrives unexpectedly - she has been expelled from her School for Young Ladies because of unruly behaviour and disobedience. But Angela is pleased to be back with her mother whom she doesn't feel she sees enough. Her circus performing father died 6 years ago and since then she's been shunted round from place to place in and out of various boarding schools like a piece of inconvenient luggage. Monica assures her she just wants the best education for her so she can have other options in life besides working at a circus.
Matilda continues to vent her vitriolic opinions about Monica and soon afterwards she dies a horrible death during a performance of her act when the safety trip mechanism fails to function while she's being "sawn in half" inside a box by her partner using a rotary saw. The police discover it was sabotaged.
The circus arrives in London for the final dates on its current tour and Monica tells Hawkins she has arranged for his shares to be transferred. They plan to go on holiday together when the season is over which Angela overhears and is dismayed about because she was hoping to spend that time with her mother.
Later during the final performance on a stormy evening Hawkins is up on his high wire act and from behind the curtains a knife is thrown into his back and he plunges to his death. The murderer is revealed to be Angela who tells Monica she did it because the circus took away her father and so preoccupies Monica that she wanted to destroy it so her mother would have more time to spend with her. Angela runs out chased by police and is struck by lightening attracted by an electric cable and is killed.
|Starring:||Joan Crawford (as Monica Rivers), Ty Hardin (as Frank Hawkins), Diana Dors (as Matilda), Judy Geeson (as Angela Rivers), Michael Gough (as Albert Dorando), Robert Hardy (as Superindentent Brooks)|
|Featuring:||Philip Madoc (as Lazlo, Matilda's partner), Geoffrey Keen (as Commissioner Dalby)|
|Familiar Faces:||Reginald Marsh (as Sgt Hutchins, Detective)|
|Writer: Denis Norden / Director: Philip Saville / Producers: Philip Breen, Kurt Unger|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 92 mins|
|In Victorian England Josephine Pacefoot is a campaigner for social purity and has established a hostel at which young prostitutes who wish to regain their self-respect and social opportunities barred to them, can receive instructions on practical job skills. However she is finding it hard to publicise her work in the newspapers due to the reluctance of editors to cover such matters. But at a rally she meets a keen journalist called Benjamin Oakes who offers to help write a story.
Elsewhere a rich businessman called Sir Francis Leybourne (who is also Josephine's uncle) has been asked by the Home Secretary to help with a problem. Street prostitutes are becoming a hindrance to the trade of respectable businesses and a deposition of business leaders have asked for the streets to be cleaned up. But it is known that the prostitutes perform an important social function sparing respectable womenfolk of the more voracious needs of their husbands and so it is suggested that a tolerated house be set up in London where the prostitutes can operate from. Sir Francis is asked to set-up such an establishment and fortunately he owns just the property, Belgravia Hall, which has recently become vacant. Sir Francis' mistress Babette agrees to act as the brothel Madame and he leaves her in charge while he goes to India on a business trip to sort out a problem with the workers at his opium plantations. But Babette is also involved with Sir Francis' son, Walter, whom Sir Francis has disowned from his will because of Walter's military cowardice. Walter sees his opportunity to get back into his father's good books and decides to run the brothel with Babette and he sets about recruiting new young girls to become prostitutes as well as re-recruiting girls from Josephine's hostel.
In India Sir Francis is killed by workers protesting angrily at their exploitation and who wish to see the plantation closed down. Back in London Sir Francis' will is revealed and all his property is bequeathed to his niece, Josephine, leaving nothing to his son Walter - this includes the opium plantation and Belgravia Hall. Unaware of its true purpose Josephine allows Walter to keep Belgravia Hall which he kids her is being run as a convent school, but she decides she needs to keep the plantation going to provide income for her hostel. This angers the Chinese workers who soon come after and kidnap her for transfer of the plantation deeds otherwise she will be killed. However this suits Walter who intends to do nothing to save her.
Meanwhile journalist Benjamin and his friend Count Pandolfo, a zany inventor of a new airship, enter Belgravia Hall on the night of the grand opening looking for one particular recruited young girl to save so Ben can write a human interest story about her for the newspaper. The opening night goes well but the Home Secretary decides that there has been too much scandal associated with it and says it must close. Elsewhere, on fear of death and with no rescue forthcoming, Josephine agrees to give in to the Chinese and transfer the plantation deeds and when released she takes over the now abandoned Belgravia Hall for her hostel. And the bordello itself? This has been transferred to Count Pandolfo's prototype airship where the lewd frolics can safely continue while floating high in the sky.
|Starring:||David Hemmings (as Benjamin Oakes and Walter Leybourne), Joanna Pettet (as Josephine Pacefoot), Dany Robin (as Babette)|
|Featuring:||George Sanders (as Sir Francis Leybourne), Warren Mitchell (as Count Pandolfo), John Bird (as Home Secretary), William Rushton (as Sylvester Wall, Walter's lawyer), Bill Fraser (as Police Inspector)|
|Familiar Faces:||Maurice Denham, Clement Freud, John Cleese|
|Starlets:||Carol Friday, Marie Rogers, Penny Spencer, Veronica Carlson, Margaret Nolan|
|Carol Friday and Marie Rogers both receive "introducing" credits|
|David Hemmings plays both Benjamin and Walter because Benjamin is a secret illegitimate brother - although ultimately not all that much is made of this aspect.|
|Writer: Kevin Laffan / Director: Christopher Hodson / Producers: Andrew Mitchell, Johnny Goodman|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Sherry Sheridan is an ageing comic working as a holiday camp entertainer at the Greenside Caravan Centre. He always puts on a professional performance but finds the drudge of it all wearisome as he goes through the same old comic turns, the compering of jolly games like knobbly knees contests and his female impersonation drag act. He adopts a camp persona when talking to the holidaymakers although he is not that way inclined in reality. His wife Mary works at the centre as bar manager and is loyal to him although she is having an affair with Charlie Green the centre's owner. She cannot bring herself to make the break and tell Sherry she wants to leave him because she feels sorry for her husband. Behind the bright chirpy persona he adopts for the public Sherry is actually depressed about the prospects for his future after the current summer season is over and believes he is destined for the scrap heap. Sherry's agent has not been able to find him any more work and although Sherry talks up his prospects of finding something he knows in reality that opportunities are few for someone in his line of work.
Sherry and his grown up son Alan have never been able to get on. Alan has always found his father to be an embarrassment who is always trying to show his son up. They get on each others nerves and antagonise one another just by being in the same room. Alan is getting married and has reluctantly invited his father to meet his fiancée's parents hoping that he'll behave and won't show off in an embarrassing way. Although Sherry does ruin things when he goes on the defensive forever under the belief that other people are putting their noses up at him and finding his line of work of lowly esteem.
Charlie Green no longer wants to manage the holiday centre and is in the process of selling out a half-share to a businesswoman called Emma Cooper who will thereafter actively manage the camp. Charlie's one condition is that Sherry the comic must be employed as a permanent member of staff doing his entertaining during the holiday season and helping with maintenance during the off-seasons. Charlie has stipulated this because Mary has said she'll only leave Sherry for him if she knows he's settled and secure. Emma watches Sherry's act and realises he is nothing exceptional but will abide by the agreement for she knows that if the entertainer is too good then punters will buy less drinks at the bar - so someone who is merely adequate to the task suits her requirements. Sherry is delighted to be offered a full time contract and thinks his fortunes are changing.
He knows his wife is having an affair with Charlie but prefers to ignore it hoping she'll stay with him too. But when he discovers she has plans to leave him he gets morose and drunk and wanders around the grounds feeling sorry for himself. Then two lads who have taken exception to his campness and think he deserves a bit of ill-treatment for being queer throw him into the deep end of the outdoor swimming pool. Sherry cannot swim and his son Alan has to save him and everyone subsequently believes he was attempting to commit suicide even though he tries to say he wasn't. He has a reconciliation with his son who admits that throughout school he always defended his father from the teasing he got from other kids. And Mary rushes off to be at his side and Charlie realises that she'll never leave her husband now.
|Starring:||Reg Varney (as Sherry Sheridan), Diana Coupland (as Mary Sheridan), Lee Montague (as Charlie Green, Owner), Jean Harvey (as Emma Cooper, New Owner), Michael Hadley (as Alan Sheridan, Sherry's son)|
|Featuring:||Johnny Briggs (as Joe Millet, barman), Karen Kessey (as May, receptionist), David Lincoln (as Ron), George Sweeney (as Dai), Clare Sutcliffe (as Glad), Penny Spencer (as Eunice), Geoffrey Chater (as Rev Thorn, Alan's prospective father-in-law), Clare Kelly (as Mrs Thorn, his wife)|
|Familiar Faces:||Reginald Marsh (as holidaymaker), Jane Seymour (as Kim Thorn, Alan's fiancée, cameo non-speaking role), Claire Davenport|
|Starlets:||Clare Shenstone, Jane Cardew (as Counter Assistants at Chemists)|
|Based on an ITV produced 60-minute play of the same title broadcast in December 1968. Reg Varney was the star in that version too but for this film all the other parts were recast.|
|Writer: Michael Newling / Director: Douglas Hickox / Producer: Jacques de Lane Lea|
|Type: Musical||Running Time: 27 mins|
|(Note: The male character is unnamed in the film - but for the sake of straightforwardness I'll refer to him as "Anthony" after the actor playing him).
A happy-go-lucky young man called Anthony sets off from his home on his Raleigh bike taking a familiar route round all the back alleys and short-cuts of Hampstead village on his way to work.
Cutting through the park Anthony loses control and crashes into an advertising hoarding and then falls in love with the model girl called Julie whose face dominates the poster. Anthony then proceeds into town.
Quite by chance the very same top fashion model Julie is in town on a photographic assignment. She is in a lovelorn state and secretly yearns for a romance with someone who is not involved in the fawning glitzy showbiz world she inhabits - someone who would think of her as more than just a trophy girlfriend - someone ordinary whom her hectic lifestyle prevents her from meeting.
Julie is on a short rest break just as Anthony passes and when they see each other there is an instant spark of mutual attraction. But before they can speak Julie is whisked away by her entourage to the next location in her busy shooting schedule.
Later on in the park as Julie is finishing up for the day, Anthony comes riding by and this time they meet up. They strike up an instant bond of affection and walk off hand-in-hand together in devoted happiness.
|Comment: There is next to no dialogue in this film and the story is told in the lyrics of tunefully catchy songs. Some of these are heard on the backing track and others sung directly by the characters to convey their inner thoughts.|
|Starring:||Anthony May (as The Man), Judy Huxtable (as Julie)|
|Featuring:||Leslie Goddard (as Kate, a young girl on a tricycle who follows the man around)|
|Original story by Bernie Cooper and Francis Megahy|
|Despite the French title this is a solely British production made and set in England with British actors and crew|
|Belsize is an area of London in Hampstead village|
|Writer/Director: Michael Winner / Producers: Elliott Kastner, Michael Winner|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Set in the present day (1970s) in England. American expatriate Philip Marlowe is a private detective who lives and works in England where he remained after being posted there during the war. He is hired by another American living in England called General Sternwood to help with a blackmail case concerning his grown-up daughter Camilla who is emotionally immature and simplistically wanton. Five years ago the General paid £5000 to a man named Joe Bromley to leave Camilla alone. Now a man named Arthur Geiger is asking for £1000 that Camilla supposedly lost to him while gambling. Sternwood is worried that if he pays the money it will open the floodgates and he asks Marlowe to check the character out. In passing, the General also mentions his other more level-headed daughter Charlotte whose new husband Rusty Regan has left her. The General liked Rusty very much and feels upset that he departed without even saying goodbye. Finding Rusty is not the job he has been hired for although Marlowe can't help thinking that the General mentioned it for a reason.
Marlowe checks out Geiger who owns an antiquarian bookshop which is managed by his assistant Agnes Lozelle. Marlowe soon discovers that Geiger has a sideline in selling pornography albums using photographs he takes himself. Marlowe follows Geiger home and waits outside and to his surprise sees Camilla arrive. After a short while he hears gunshots and rushes in to find Geiger dead with Camilla nearby frozen in shock. She is sitting naked on a chair where she had been posing for Geiger. When Marlowe checks the camera he finds the film has been taken by the murderer. Camilla is too shocked to say what happened so Marlowe drives her home.
Next day elder daughter Charlotte comes to see Marlowe with naked photographs of her younger sister Camilla. Someone is demanding £10,000 from her or the photos will be sent to a porn magazine. Charlotte does not have that kind of money but she thinks she could get it from shady casino owner Eddie Mars who owes her a favour because his wife is the woman that Rusty ran away with. Marlowe visits Eddie Mars who owns the house that Geiger used but he insists he is not involved in any pornography racket.
Later Camilla has recovered and tells Marlowe that the murderer was Joe Bromley and he is the one who stole the pictures. Marlowe visits Bromley whom he discovers is a friend of bookshop assistant Agnes and he has taken delivery of all of Geiger's illicit stock from her. Marlowe wonders why Bromley needs to resort to blackmail when he can legitimately make so much more out of selling porn. Bromley says he has fallen on hard times and thought he'd try his luck with getting money for the photos but his heart wasn't in it and he wouldn't have carried out the threat if Charlotte had refused to pay. He agrees to hand over the photos for free. However he insists that it was not he who killed Geiger although he saw who did because he was nearby about to pay Geiger a visit. The real culprit was Sternwood's chauffeur Owen Taylor who had a thing for Camilla and objected to her being taken advantage of by Geiger. Speeding away from the crime scene Taylor had a crash and Joe took the film from his unconscious body. It seems Camilla must have named him to protect the chauffeur. Then Bromley is himself murdered by the gay lover of Geiger who believes Bromley to be the murderer. Marlowe hands the case over to the police thinking it is has sorted itself out in its own gruesome way and he heads on home.
Eddie Mars is waiting at Marlowe's apartment and wants to be sure that Marlowe has kept his name out of it. Marlowe assures him of that and takes the opportunity to ask if he knows anything about the whereabouts of Rusty Regan who ran off with Eddie's wife Mona. However Eddie seems reluctant to talk about the matter.
Returning home again the next day Marlowe finds Camilla waiting naked in his bed wanting him to make love to her. But Marlowe politely declines and adamantly insists she leave. She appears most vexed at having her whim denied.
Soon there is another development when a nervous man called Harry Jones visits Marlowe's offices. He is working in partnership with Agnes who wants to make capital about something she has learned concerning the possible fate of Rusty Regan. Marlowe hands over £200 and is told about how Joe Bromley been acquainted with Rusty and Mona. Mona was a singer at Eddie's club whom both Eddie and Rusty fancied. When she chose Eddie, Rusty settled for one of Eddie's regular customers instead - her name was Charlotte Sternwood and soon afterwards they were married. When Rusty and Mona suddenly disappeared amid stories that they had run off together, Joe had found it very strange. Then he saw the arrival of Eddie's strong-arm man, Lash Canino, who was only called in whenever something big was going on. One day Joe and Mona followed Lash in a car which led them to a country village. And there they noticed Mona wearing a disguise trying to stay out of sight, but no sign of Rusty. Agnes now believes that Eddie killed Rusty out of jealousy and has been keeping Mona hidden away so that Rusty's disappearance will not be suspicious enough to trigger a police investigation. Marlowe visits the location specified by Agnes and finds Mona who says she loves Eddie and is willingly hiding herself away as a special favour to him. Marlowe believes the case has been sorted out and the fate of Rusty is known.
When he visits the general's home again Camilla seems to have forgiven Marlowe for earlier rejecting her sexual overture. She asks him to teach her how to shoot. When they reach a remote location for some target practice she turns the gun on Marlowe and tries to shoot him dead in petulant revenge for the way he spurned her. Fortunately Marlowe knew better than to give such an unreliable character a loaded gun and her efforts are unsuccessful - but he suspects that she has done this before and was hoping to repeat her success.
Marlowe finally figures what must have happened and when he confronts older sister Charlotte she confirms it all. Camilla had tried to seduce her sister's dishy husband Rusty and was spurned by him in the same way as did Marlowe a few days ago. Camilla had therefore lured Rusty to the same remote place and shot him dead. When Charlotte found out what had taken place her first instinct was to protect her sister so she called in her friend Eddie Mars who got his fixer Lash to dispose of the body. It is clear to Marlowe that Eddie was willing to get involved in this illegal activity because he knew that when one day Charlotte inherited her father's estate he could blackmail her for a small fortune to keep her sister's crime a secret. However Eddie knew that he might be suspected of foul play regarding Rusty's sudden disappearance so he concocted the story that Rusty had run away with his wife Mona which Mona cooperated with by going away and keeping out of sight.
Marlowe promises to keep what he has discovered a secret but only for the sake of the General who should never have to find out what sins his two beloved daughters have committed. But he insists that Charlotte must have her unstable sister Camilla committed to a mental health institution to get her the help she desperately needs.
|Starring:||Robert Mitchum (as Philip Marlowe), James Stewart (as General Sternwood, Marlowe's client), Sarah Miles (as Charlotte Sternwood, general's elder daughter), Candy Clark (as Camilla Sternwood, general's younger daughter), Oliver Reed (as Eddie Mars, casino owner), Joan Collins (as Agnes Lozelle, bookshop assistant)|
|Featuring:||Edward Fox (as Joe Brody, turf accountant), John Mills (as Inspector Jim Carson, Scotland Yard), Richard Boone (as Lash Canino, sadistic killer), Harry Andrews (as Vincent Norris, Sternwood butler), Colin Blakely (as Harry Jones, friend of Agnes), Richard Todd (as Commander Stephen Barker, Carson's colleague), Diana Quick (as Mona Grant, Eddie's wife), James Donald (as Inspector Gregory), John Justin (as Arthur Geiger, bookshop owner), Simon Turner (as Karl Lundgren, youthful friend of Geiger), Martin Potter (as Owen Taylor, Sternwood's chauffeur), David Savile (as Rusty Regan, Charlotte's husband), Dudley Sutton (as Lanny, mugger), Don Henderson (as Lou, car mechanic)|
|Familiar Faces:||David Jackson (as Inspector Willis, [uncredited]), Norman Mitchell (as Doorman, [uncredited])|
|From the book by Raymond Chandler|
|This film is a follow-up to Farewell, My Lovely (1975), which also starred Robert Mitchum as Marlowe. However, that film was set in 1940s Los Angeles and so did not share a continuity with this film meaning the only thing that really makes them a pair is Robert Mitchum's involvement.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Pete Walker|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 67 mins|
|John Carter is an ordinary man in his late twenties who works as a highly regarded art director at a firm of advertisers in London. He enjoys chatting up women and one night at his regular discothèque he picks up a new girl called Samantha and she invites him to her apartment - but when he arrives he finds she has been shot dead in the bathroom and he unwisely picks up the discarded gun to look at it. He then makes a hasty exit preferring not to become embroiled in a police investigation as a prime suspect.
At work the next day his genial boss Hornsby-Smith calls him to his office and rather embarrassedly tells Carter that the firm's board have ordered that Carter be sacked without giving any reason.
Carter returns to his own apartment and finds some thugs waiting - they demand he repay a large debt that he knows nothing about and then give him a beating. Carter later visits another nightclub and the shady owner Karl Mendez offers him a lifeline of an easy job for good money. All he has to do is drive a young woman called Karen down to a flat in Brighton and stay there with her for a few days and await further instructions. Mendez knows all about the dead girl Samantha and even has the gun with Carter's fingerprints which he says he will pass to the police if Carter refuses his "kind" offer.
So Carter and Karen head off for Brighton. Karen is as much in the dark as he is about the purpose of this trip. She had a promising modelling career going for her until recently when suddenly her life derailed and she ended up working for Mendez.
At the Brighton flat there are two of Mendez's heavies who forcibly strip them and take photographs from every conceivable angle. Then Carter overhears a phone conversation and figures out what is going on - a wanted criminal associate of Mendez's called Bruno Miglio is being smuggled back into the country where he and his wife will undergo plastic surgery to make them look like Carter and Karen and take their identities after the "originals" are disposed of. He further discovers that Samantha is not dead after all - she is Mendez's girlfriend and her death was faked to set Carter up - and also his boss Hornsby-Smith is in on the plot and not the nice-guy he pretends to be.
As they are being driven to the clinic Carter manages to get a gun and he and Karen make a break for it onto Brighton's pier. They are chased by the villains and gunfire is exchanged until the police are called and the surviving bad guys are arrested. Carter and Karen survive their ordeal.
|Starring:||Sebastian Breaks (as John Carter), Virginia Wetherell (as Karen)|
|Featuring:||Derek Aylward (as Karl Mendez, crooked night-club owner), Erika Raffael (as Samantha, "murdered" girl), Nicholas Hawtrey (as Gerry, gang member), Douglas Blackwell (as Bruno Miglio, property dealer who need the face change operation), Brian Weske (as Mike, gang member), Jack Allen (as Hornsby-Smith, John's managing director)|
|Starlets:||Gillie Grant (as Sally, Mike's girlfriend), Jane Howard (as Jane, girl at Brighton flat), Julie Shaw (as Cathy, girl at Brighton flat), Lena Ellis (as Stripper), Tracey Yorke (as Stripper), Sarah Lee Barber and Lyona Reynolds (unknown characters)|
|Writer: Hugh Brody / Director/Producer: Lindsay Shonteff|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Private Detective Harriet Zapper is hired by a rich businessman called Jeremiah Horn to find his daughter Pandora who has been missing for two months along with her brother Septimus who went looking for her.
We know via an earlier prologue that Pandora was being held as a plaything by cruel and ruthless criminal Kono on his private estate. She was seen escaping and on the run in a torn dress on his grounds and had managed to make a call to her brother before being recaptured and brought back to Kono where he kills her and then has her brother also killed when he arrives to fetch her.
Harriet is not yet aware of this however and starts her investigations thinking it's likely to be a simple case of a teenage runaway. She is helped (and hindered) by her boyfriend Rock Hard who is sex obsessed and constantly pestering her for more. Kono learns of Harriet's investigations and decides she must be killed and sends his henchmen after her - but several attempts fail thanks to Harriet's awesome fighting prowess. Eventually Harriet learns that the siblings are already dead but then another brother is captured and killed by Kono who then pretends he is holding him for ransom to lure both Harriet and Mr Horn into a death trap. But Harriet is more than a match for the hordes of hired killers Kono has waiting for her and defeats him.
|Comment: Harriet exhibits an odd power during the film - when she is forced to undress for Kono a strange sparkling light issues forth from her sexual regions as she lowers her panties. No explanation is given for this ability and it does not appear to aid her in any special combative way - and does not feature again in the rest of the film or in the sequel, Zappers Blade of Vengeance (1974).|
|Starring:||Linda Marlowe (as Harriet Zapper), Gary Hope (as Kono), Richard Monette (as Rock Hard, Harriet's boyfriend)|
|Featuring:||Jack May (as Jeremiah Horn, client), Sean Hewitt (as Fingers, henchman), Michael O'Malley (as Strawberry Jim, henchman)|
|Starlets:||Penny Irving (as Maggie, Kono's girl), Bobby Anne (as Pandora Horn), Nova Llewellyn, Sonia Camera, Paula Tinker, Jo Peters , Jeanetta Marsden|
|Writer: John McGrath / Director: Ken Russell / Producer: Harry Saltzman|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Former British spy Harry Palmer has left the secret service and become a private detective. But his former boss Colonel Ross would like him to return to look into a matter of national importance although Palmer declines to take him up on his offer. Palmer receives an odd commission when a computerised voice phones him up asking him to take on a courier job to take a flask to Helsinki. Palmer accepts the job and finds out that the flask contains some hen eggs. The recipient is an American called Leo Newbigen who explains to Palmer that he is working for an evangelical Texan called General Midwinter who is on a personal crusade to rid the world of communism with his organisation "Crusade for Freedom".
Midwinter is a multi-billionaire oil tycoon and has built a super-computer brain that is used to organise the many operatives he has working on his payroll to stage manage an uprising in Latvia against the Russian state. The eggs contain a virus that will help them in the upcoming war. Palmer agrees to work for British Intelligence again to retrieve the eggs and stop the megalomaniac schemes of General Midwinter and he pretends to team up with Leo so he can infiltrate Midwinter's headquarters.
Midwinter has been amassing an army with military vehicles and weaponry disguised as a fleet of oil tankers ready to roll towards Russia to help the Latvians in their uprising. However what Midwinter does not know is there will be no uprising because Leo Newbigen has been falsifying the numbers of the agents he has employed so that he can embezzle their salaries.
Also Leo's girlfriend Anya is a Russian spy working for Soviet military commander Colonel Stok and as the oil tankers full of thousands of Midwinter's Crusaders come racing in over the ice sheets to stage their attack, Stok sends warplanes to bomb the ice and all the men and equipment perish. For his help in the affair Palmer is allowed to return to London with the stolen virus eggs.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Harry Palmer), Karl Malden (as Leo Newbigen), Ed Begley (as General Midwinter) , Françoise Dorleac (as Anya)|
|Featuring:||Oscar Homolka (Colonol Stok, Russian military leader), Guy Doleman (as Colonel Ross, Palmer's Boss), Vladek Sheybal (as Dr Eiwort, scientist)|
|Familiar Faces:||Donald Sutherland (Scientist at computer), Susan George (Russian girl on train, cameo)|
|Based on the novel by Len Deighton.|
|This was the third and final of the 1960s spy films featuring the Harry Palmer character. The other two were The Ipcress File (1965) and Funeral in Berlin (1966). There was a further Harry Palmer film called Spy Story in 1976 which instead starred Michael Petrovitch in the lead role, and then Michael Caine returned to the character for two films in the mid-1990s called Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in Saint Petersburg.|
|Writers: John Kurland, Jacob Eskendar / Director: Richard Marquand / Producer: Tony Bishop|
|Type: Drama / Music||Running Time: 101 mins|
|A biopic story charting the very early days of The Beatles. Starting in 1959 in Liverpool where a group of happy-go-lucky friends:- John Lennon, Stuart Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney and George Harrison are four lads who have formed a band to play the hits of the Rock n Roll songs coming from America. They attend an open audition with a promoter who gets a job for them playing the clubs in Hamburg, Germany. They need a drummer and they decide on Pete Best to join the group which after several name changes is currently then called "The Silver Beatles".
This period lasts about two years as they play the hits and start writing some of their own material. During this period they meet a drummer in another band called Ringo Starr whose sense of humour appeals to them. The group are given the opportunity to cut a record in Germany for a small label. Just before this Stu Sutcliffe dies of a brain haemorrhage which greatly upsets John Lennon as the two of them were best friends. On return to Liverpool the group of four are locally very popular with the youngsters as they play the Liverpool club circuit now calling themselves just "The Beatles". The businessman owner of a local record store called Brian Epstein notes interest amongst his customers for the German record they cut and he decides to go along to the Cavern Club to see them performing live.
This results in Epstein offering to become their manager. They go into a studio to record some material onto tape and Epstein hawks it around the various record labels to try and get some interest - but with no luck until he takes it to EMI and a producer called George Martin hears something in their sound that interests him and persuades his executives to sign them up. With this good news the three core-Beatles of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison decide to ditch Pete Best who they don't feel shares the same sense of humour and has failed to grow with them treating the band as more of a job than a way of life. They decide to bring in Ringo Starr instead.
The group cut some records with George Martin but insist that they use only their own material for singles. They become superstars with a string of number one hits. The film ends in 1964 as the Beatles are on a successful trip to the USA appearing on a live TV show.
|Starring:||Stephen MacKenna (as John Lennon), Rod Culbertson (as Paul McCartney), John Altman (as George Harrison), Ray Ashcroft (as Ringo Starr), Ryan Michael (as Pete Best), David Wilkinson (as Stu Sutcliffe), Brian Jameson (as Brian Epstein)|
|Featuring:||Wendy Morgan (as Cynthia, John's girlfriend), Gary Olsen (as Rory Storm, singer in another group that Ringo plays with), Alyson Spiro (as Astrid, Stu's German girlfriend), Nigel Havers (as George Martin)|
|Starlets:||Claire Davenport (as Nude model in art class)|
|Novel: Jackie Collins / Writer/Director: Gerry O'Hara / Producer: John Quested|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Nico Cantafora is an Italian commodities broker with a gambling habit that has him in debt to the mob. He is intending to smuggle a stolen diamond to London to sell it and pay off his debts. A divorced high society woman called Fontaine Khaled is travelling home from New York on the same flight as Nico and he gets chatting with her so he can secrete the diamond amongst her possessions with the intention of retrieving it later once safely through British customs. But in London, Fontaine gets ushered through customs quickly and Nico is delayed and loses contact with her.
Fontaine's disco night-club "Hobo" is hitting hard times and is losing money. Her financial consultant advises her that she is still living the millionaire lifestyle she used to enjoy with her rich husband's allowance but since her divorce this is no longer sustainable.
Nico eventually tracks Fontaine down and they start an affair - although when he retrieves the diamond it turns out to have been a cheap imitation all along and not the financial saviour he had been hoping for. Nico has pressure put upon him by the mob and is obliged to use his skills as a gambler to play the casinos to make them money. The mob also instruct him to get himself invited to a party organised by the Grants - some race-horse owning friends of Fontaine. Nico must nobble the jockey of the race-favourite to throw his race so the mob can make a killing at the bookies. Fontaine overhears the arrangement and puts her remaining fortune on the race.
Things go as expected and Fontaine wins enough money to save her night-club although Nico's success goes unrewarded by the double-crossing mob as he is taken away to an uncertain fate.
|Link: The story of Fontaine Khaled began in The Stud (1978).|
|Starring:||Joan Collins (as Fontaine Khaled), Michael Coby (as Nico Cantafora)|
|Featuring:||Sue Lloyd (Vanessa Grant, Fontaine's friend), Mark Burns (as Leonard Grant, Vanessa's husband), Kenneth Haigh (as Arnold Rinstead, financial adviser), Ian Hendry (Thrush Feather, mobster), Pamela Salem (as Lynn, Feather's girl), Carolyn Seymour (as Polly, Fontaine's friend), Doug Fisher (as Sammy), Peter Wight (as Ricky, Fontaine's chauffeur), George Sweeney (as Sandy Roots, Jockey)|
|Starlets:||Sharon Fussey, Cherry Gilliespie, Vicki Scott|
|Characters carried over from the first film were those played by Joan Collins, Sue Lloyd, Mark Burns, Doug Fisher and Sharon Fussey. The star of the first film Oliver Tobias does not appear or get mentioned although his best friend Doug Fisher still appears in a smaller role as a prospective manager of the Hobo disco.|
|Writer: Ted Willis / Director: Peter Graham Scott / Producer: Albert Fennell|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Set in the present day (1963). Jennie Jones is a beautiful young woman living in a small rural Welsh village who thinks the world is passing her by. She romanticises the glamorous lives led by the glitterati she reads about in magazines and sees on TV and wonders why she can't have some of that. But Jennie lives with an authoritarian father and seems fated to live out her life in this forgotten backwater where nothing interesting ever happens and any men likely to sweep her off her feet abandoned the town when the pit closed down. She helps behind the counter in her father's shop and is too poor to go it alone. But when she discovers that her father expects her to go to live with her two elderly aunts to play nursemaid to them she feels her life being taken away from her by obligations and she can't stand it any more.
Jennie heads to Cardiff where she bumps into a travelling businessman called Andy. He is a smooth operator who fancies his chances and plies her with drink and she gets hopelessly merry in order to forget her problems. Next morning she wakes up in a strange bed and finds he has driven her all the way to London. Andy soon loses interest in her after his conquest and she is alone in a strange city with no friends and no money to get back home.
Jennie then meets Bob Williams, a barman with a kind heart who takes pity on her and invites her to stay at his lodgings. Bob is the perfect gentleman and sleeps on a chair, but he secretly adores the beautiful stranger who has come into his life. After a while a romantic relationship develops and they become a couple. Bob is blissfully happy with Jennie but after a few months Jennie begins to tire of the stable but unambitious barman who is never likely to amount to much and provide the glamorous lifestyle she still hankers for. She tells Bob he is a nobody and she is finished with him because he can't give her what she wants. Her harsh and unkind words hurt Bob deeply.
Jennie blags an invite to a showbiz party from an actor friend and attends hoping to meet someone who will offer her work as a model or anything to get her into the showbiz set. Her beauty catches the attention of Karl Denny, a mover in the industry who makes things happen. She is thrilled when he offers to set her up in a plush apartment and buy her an expensive wardrobe of clothes. At last she feels she has achieved her goal and all Karl seems to want in return is a few small favours now and again and for her to be obedient to him.
(Moving on a few months) Jennie returns home to her apartment in a traumatic state, she is desperately miserable and in a self-pitying, self-destructive frame of mind. Karl proved to be cruel and controlling and she soon discovered that he had no intention of making her a star. Instead she is expected to "entertain" his friends and associates and she has essentially become a high-class call-girl. She feels more trapped than ever and can see no escape so she takes the only way out that seems open to her and kills herself.
Bob has forgotten all about Jennie by now and has started a new relationship with a plainer but more grateful girl who works with him in the pub and had always secretly adored him but felt she had no chance while Jennie was around.
|Starring:||Janet Munro (as Jennie Jones), John Stride (as Bob Williams)|
|Featuring:||Terence Alexander (as Andy, smoothie who brings Jennie to London), Anne Cunningham (as Ella, barmaid who secretly fancies Bob), Colin Gordon (as Charles, Bob's neighbour), Derek Francis (as Mr Jones, Jennie's father), Thora Hird (as Mrs Jessup, Bob's landlady, [uncredited]), Norman Bird and Vanda Godsell (as Mr and Mrs Pitt, pub owners), Richard Thorp (as Rex, Andy's friend), Barbara Ferris (as Violet, Jennie's friend in Wales), Francis Matthews (as Mike, party guest), Alan Badel (as Karl Denny, showbiz executive), Allan Cuthbertson (as Mr Eccles, pub customer), William Lucas (as David Medwin, babysitter husband), Daphne Anderson (as Nancy Medwin, babysitter wife), Mary Merrall and May Hallatt (as Jennie's elderly aunts Lousia and Sarah)|
|Based on the novel Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky by Patrick Hamilton|
|Thora Hird is not credited either in the opening or closing credits although she has a number of scenes|
|Writer: Wolf Mankowitz / Director: James Hill / Producers: Peter L. Andrews, Malcolm B. Heyworth|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 101 mins|
|In the 1870s a male foal is born on the farm of friendly farmer Evans and he allows his young son Joe to rear him. Joe names the young horse Black Beauty and they become inseparable. The local squire is friendly and generous and farmer Evans is happy to accept a no-strings loan from him to help with his finances.
By the time Black Beauty is a fully-grown stallion the ageing squire dies and his unscrupulous son Sam takes over and calls in his father's loans to fund his gambling habit. Farmer Evans has to reluctantly sell-up all his assets including his livestock and a devastated Joe has to let Black Beauty go to the wicked new squire.
The film then changes focus away from Joe and continues instead to follow the changing fortunes of Black Beauty over the ensuing years - the following descriptions are a quick rundown of those events.
|Comment: The film does not progress as might be expected (i.e. a heartbroken Joe's ongoing attempts to get his horse back from the evil squire) and instead it becomes episodic and bitty. The human characters come and go and even the film's "star" Mark Lester (as young Joe) appears for the first 25 minutes only.|
|Starring:||(The cast come and go throughout the film so that there is never really a starring role although Mark Lester is top billed)|
|Featuring:||Mark Lester (as Joe Evans, farmer's son), Eddie Golden (as Farmer Evans, Joe's father), Patrick Mower (as Sam Greene, wicked squire)|
Johnny Hoey (as Muldoon, Irish gypsy), Patrick Gardiner (as O'Flaherty, rival Irish gypsy leader)
Walter Slezak (as Hackenschmidt, circus owner), Ursula Glas (as Marie, Hackenschmidt's daughter), José Nieto (as Lorent, rival circus owner)
John Nettleton (as Sir William Fordyce, Lady Anne's father), Maria Rohm (as Lady Anne), Peter Lee Lawrence (as Lt Gervaise Caldicot, Lady Anne's beau)
Margaret Lacey (as Anna Sewell)
|Based on the novel by Anna Sewell|
|Writers: Anthony Simmons, Jamal Ali / Director: Anthony Simmons / Producers: Elliott Kastner, Martin Campbell|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Benjamin Aldophous Ignatius Jones is a young man from the Commonwealth country British Guiana who has just arrived in Britain following the death of his mother. He is a simple farmer's son who has sold his farm back home to seek out his estranged father who went to live in England. Ben is very naïve and trusting of people and is not at all street smart and soon finds himself prey to the tricks of others in the black community of Brixton where his father's last known address was. He carries with him all his money from selling the farm which he was intending to hand over to his father but this is stolen by a young boy called Devon who has it taken off him by his pseudo stepfather Dave King.
Dave King is inveterately lazy and lives off his scheming underhand powers of persuasion. He spends what money he gets gambling and sponges off his girlfriend Miriam (Devon's mother) who owns her own flat and runs a café.
Ben cannot find his father whose last known address is long out of date and he is forced to live in a mission house now he has very little money. He goes to Miriam's café after following Devon home but has no luck getting his money back. Ben is easily taken in by Dave's overwhelming superficial charm and accepts the hand of friendship offered. Dave lends Ben him some (of his own) money and sets him up with a place to stay. Dave likes having the unworldly-wise Ben around as he is easy to impress unlike others who have grown accustomed to Dave's scrounging ways.
Ben's happy spirit is hard to dent and he gets a job and starts to have a relationship with Devon's grown-up half-sister Saffra. And as time goes on Ben begins to become wise to Dave and manages to outsmart him on a dodgy car deal. And as the film concludes Ben is delighted to have a car of his own even though he cannot drive and is optimistic about his future whereas Dave has not progressed or learnt that his hustlers approach to life is no longer working as well as it once did.
|Starring:||Norman Beaton (as Dave King), Trevor Thomas (as Ben Jones), Floella Benjamin (as Miriam, Dave's girlfriend, Devon's mother), Dawn Hope (as Saffra, Devon's older half-sister), Paul Medford (as Devon, young boy)|
|Featuring:||Oscar James (as Jomo, protection racketeer)|
|Starlets:||Ludmila Nova (as Sally, Jomo's woman)|
|Based on the play Dark Days and Light Nights by Jamal Ali.|
|Paul Medford receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Louis Malle / Additional Dialogue: Joyce Bunuel|
|Type: Fantasy Drama||Running Time: 96 mins|
|As the film begins we see a young girl, whom we later find out is called Lily, driving a car down deserted roads speeding along in a hurry to get away from something. She has her hair under a cap and is dressed to resemble a male driver. On her way she comes to an army checkpoint and sees a group of male soldiers line up some captured female soldiers and summarily execute them. When the checkpoint officer pulls off her cap and realises she is a woman she speeds away across country as the soldiers fire after her. Her car is not suitable for the terrain and she continues on foot sleeping rough overnight and witnesses a group of female soldiers viciously beating up a male soldier. It would seem there is some sort of all out conflict taking place between the sexes which she is trying to escape from.
Next day Lily sees a strange black pony with a horn like a mythical unicorn and then a man riding a horse - she follows on foot but loses sight of them. She comes across a farmhouse which looks inviting and she goes in looking for food. Although clearly lived in with a fire blazing in every fireplace the house seems empty until she goes upstairs and finds an old lady in bed. The woman speaks a strange tongue and seems able to talk to a a pet rat and understand its squeaking replies. She beckons Lily to sit on the bed and as the woman touches her Lily can hear her speaking into her mind - the woman thinks she is silly for imagining she saw a unicorn. Later the old lady begins to become scared and she tries to strangle Lily who strikes her and thinks she is dead.
Outside Lily meets a young man who lives in the house with his grown-up sister - and all around are young naked children playing. The brother speaks into her mind like the old lady and both of them, brother and sister, are apparently also called Lily. Young girl Lily tells the brother that the old lady upstairs is dead and so the siblings go upstairs and revive her with the sister allowing the lady to suckle from her breasts. Lily sees the unicorn again and gives chase and when she eventually catches up with it she finds that the unicorn can talk although it gives her little more than riddles about what is going on in this house - telling her the old woman is not even real and about some sort of unbearable knowledge that it declines to expound upon.
She goes to see the old lady again who wants more sustenance and Lily taking her cue from the sister offers the lady her own breasts to suckle and then soothes her carrying her around like a young baby. Lily then goes downstairs and plays the siblings and all the children a long piano recital which goes on until the next morning and when she is finished everyone has gone. The old lady is no longer in her bed. Then Lily sees the brother and sister in the garden fighting viciously and brutally with each other in a seeming struggle to the death. Lily falls asleep on the old lady's bed and wakes to find the black unicorn pony in the bedroom sitting by the fire indicating with sucking noises that it wants feeding and Lily opens her blouse and prepares to give it a feed.
|Comment: This unusual film ends on that note with virtually nothing making much sense - whether it is supposed to make any sense is not clear - but it is a fascinating film all the same and despite the eventual lack of any explanation it is still very watchable with a kind of pseudo "Alice in Wonderland" feel to proceedings.|
|Starring:||Cathryn Harrison (as Lily), Therese Giehse (as The Old Lady), Joe Dallesandro (as The Brother), Alexandra Stewart (as The Sister)|
|This is a French film made in English which is reviewed here due to the starring role of British actress Cathryn Harrison|
|Writer: Michael Armstrong (original treatment by: Joanne Leighton) / Director/Producer: Ian Merrick|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Donald Nielson is an ex-soldier who uses his military training and expertise towards a secret life of crime. He has a wife and daughter that he treats with utter disdain and they are clearly both scared of him but have no idea what he gets up to when he shuts himself away in his study. Every now and again he carries out night-time raids on small village Post Offices around the country - he plans it all out in advance by studying maps and recceing the area and he exercises and trains his body to keep himself in tip-top physical shape - treating it all like a stealthy military commando operation. His wife and daughter believe he is a carpenter and he uses this to explain his regular absences by telling them he will be away for a while doing a job. He dresses in black and always wears a black balaclava and if he needs to talk to an occupant to get the safe keys he disguises his voice into pigeon English. The first raid we see is in February 1972 and then another two years later although there are probably many others in-between - but the latter raid is when he kills for the first time as a sub-postmaster decides to take him on and not hand over the safe keys and Neilson shoots him dead.
At home he keeps a scrapbook containing the press cuttings relating to his criminal activities as "The Black Panther" as he has become dubbed. While he is pasting in the latest cutting an adjacent news story catches his eye about a 16-year-old girl who has become an heiress and this gives him an idea for a different kind of operation - that of kidnap and ransom. He makes meticulous plans of the locale working out where to hold her, getaway routes, provisions, how to contact the family. He is a long term strategist and it is not for another four months until he is ready to act.
On 14 January 1975 he stealthily breaks into the Whittle family home and abducts 16-year-old Lesley Whittle from under the family's sleeping noses and leaves a dynatape reel of instructions. He takes the girl down into the underground water drainage tunnels of the nearby Bathpool Park that he had previously made ready. Sixty feet underground where no one will hear her if she screams he ties her securely telling her she won't be harmed and then goes to make the arrangements with the family. He had specified in his instructions that the police should not be contacted - but Lesley's older grown-up brother Ronald does so anyway. There are unexpected delays and contact is made harder when the press get wind of the story and it becomes front page news. Neilson regularly checks on Lesley making sure to keep his mask on so she won’t be able to identify him once she is released - he treats her well and she co-operates when he wants her to record messages. On the night of the ransom money drop Ronald is wired up by the police and is told to follow the instructions he has been given to hand over the £50,000 ransom being demanded. The rendezvous point is a remote field in the country and Ronald has difficulty finding it. Neilson watches him arrive and realises the police are involved and the operation is compromised and needs to be abandoned. In his utter frustration he returns to the drainage tunnel and rails his fury at being taken to be an incompetent fool who wouldn't notice police surveillance - then he notices Lesley looking at him with a fear and trepidation that she hasn't shown before and he realises that he has stupidly forgotten to put on his mask before coming down. He had probably been intending to release her but now she has seen his face he has no choice but to kill her - he abandons the operation and leaves her body in the tunnel which is not discovered for another two months.
The police link the Whittle kidnapping to the Black Panther raids but he remains at large and unidentified returning to his usual modus operandi. Until one night in December 1975 when he is stopped by two policemen in a patrol car who want to know why he is out so late at night forcing him to hi-jack them with the intention of driving them somewhere remote to kill them. But they manage to overpower him and he is at last captured and is handed down a life sentence.
|Starring:||Donald Sumpter (as Donald Neilson)|
|Featuring:||Debbie Farrington (as Lesley Whittle, kidnapped girl), Marjorie Yates (as Eileen, Neilson's Wife), Sylvia O'Donnell (as Cathy, Neilson's Daughter), Andrew Burt (as Ronald, Lesley's Brother), Alison Key (as Ronald's wife), Ruth Dunning (as Lesley's Mother), David Swift (as Detective Chief Superintendent)|
|The opening caption reads "This is a true story. As far as possible the events depicted in this film adhere to the known facts".|
|Debbie Farrington receives an "introducing" credit. One thing that isn't made very clear is in what way her character Lesley is a newsworthy "heiress" given that her mother is still alive and she has an older brother and the family seem to live in a normal suburban house.|
|At one point Neilson is watching a UK Horror film on TV called Intimate Reflections (1974) which probably just about fits the timeframe although unlikely it would have been on TV so soon after release.|
|Writers: Russ Meyer, Len Neubauer / Director/Producer: Russ Meyer|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 82 mins|
|In 1835 on the Caribbean island of San Cristobal in the British West Indies there remains one of the few remaining vestiges of the exploitation of slave workers by the British. A woman called Lady Susan Walker owns the cane fields of the Blackmoor plantation which she runs with a ruthless unfeeling efficiency. She wields a life and death power over the slaves under her control that is greater than the king of England has over his own subjects. Despite slavery having supposedly been abolished she brings in such a massive profit for some influential people back in England that any crimes she commits are overlooked.
However Sir Charles Walker is determined to bring her to justice. His brother (and her husband) Jonathan is missing and presumed dead at her hands and so using a false identity he travels to San Cristobal posing as a new accounts clerk to find evidence of Jonathan's fate and bring her back to England to face the gallows.
Once he arrives in his guise as bookkeeper Ronald Sopwith, Sir Charles is appalled by the merciless treatment of the slaves who receive regular whippings and punishments meted out by the vicious taskmaster Joxer Tierney and the black-hearted Lady Susan herself. Lady Susan lives in Blackmoor Manor which is guarded at all times by a band of specially selected black soldiers called Tom-Toms who revel with sadistic delight in their privilege as they maintain order amongst the slave workers using torment and brutality to keep them in their servitude.
The slaves are actively discussing revolt against their inhuman treatment although their efforts at rebellion are at first quickly crushed as often only one lone slave dares to make a stand. Sir Charles meets Lady Susan (who has never met him before) and she immediately takes a fancy to him as a young and handsome white Englishman whom she can dally with. Sir Charles feigns his own interest in her not-unattractive company although he discovers that Joxer resents his arrival because up until then it was he who had enjoyed Lady Susan's favour in that regard. Lady Susan was once a common prostitute who, using her wiles, married a lord who brought her here before pegging-out in bed and leaving her his property and wealth. She got through several husbands after that and Jonathan was her fourth whom something unspeakable happened to.
When an older slave called Isiah is injured and unable to work Lady Susan demands he be flogged and when his son Joshua volunteers to take the punishment instead Lady Susan simply orders them both flogged. Later Joshua is caught after trying to kill Lady Susan with a snake in her bath and her ladyship orders him crucified. This punishment backfires because much to her dismay the slave clings onto life on the cross for days and becomes a martyr to his people. The slaves mount an organised uprising under the direction of Isiah and kill all the Tom-Toms. They take turns at whipping Joxer and finally storm the manor house and capture Lady Susan whom they suspend upside down over a fire and burn to death because Isiah says that even hell would reject her if the abominable sins of her malignant soul were not cleansed by fire. Sir Charles tries to reason with the slaves that they must rise above this form of barbaric treatment and allow justice to take its proper course but his words are in vain as the now freed former slaves carry out their brand of retribution on their evil mistress.
|Comment: Although Sir Charles' missing (believed dead) brother is the reason for him travelling to San Cristobal in the first place - once he has arrived it at times seems a bit of an unnecessary and not very well explained distraction away from the main story. Sir Charles does discover that his brother Jonathan is still alive but living as a raving imbecile in the jungle after having had his tongue removed - and I didn't properly gather what the reasons for this were or why he is now a virtually mindless husk of a man. Jonathan returns to Blackmoor Manor near the end only to be shot dead by Lady Susan although his involvement is not really that essential to the outcome. He could have simply been dead as Sir Charles had originally believed and the rest of the story would have been much the same.|
|Starring:||Anouska Hempel (as Lady Susan Walker), David Warbeck (as Sir Charles Walker), Percy Herbert (as Joxer Tierney, taskmaster), Bernard Boston (as Captain Raymond Daladier, leader of the Tom-Toms)|
|Featuring:||Thomas Baptiste (as Isiah, older slave), Milton McCollin (as Joshua, Isiah's son), David Prowse (as Jonathan, Sir Charles' imbecilic brother)|
|Star-Turns:||Anthony Sharpe (as Lord Clive, Sir Charles' patron)|
|Starlets:||Vikki Richards (as Cleone, slave girl)|
|From an original story by Russ Meyer and A. James Ryan|
|"Black Snake" is the name given to the whip that is used to keep the black slave workers in line|
|This American made film is reviewed here because it has a mainly British cast|
|The indicated nudity for Anouska Hempel includes topless and rear nude scenes. The breast shots are all cutaway inserts of a body double although the backside shots all seem to be her|
|Writers: Donald and Derek Ford / Director/Producer: Robert Hartford-Davis|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Set some centuries ago in England. Sir Richard Fordyce returns home to his vast estate with his new wife Elizabeth after three months away in London some 100 miles away. Richard is surprised to receive a frosty reception amid the local tenants and when he gets back to the manor his father's steward Seymour informs him that there was a rape and murder of a young local woman two days ago who died saying his name. But Richard is adamant he was many miles away and certainly didn't sneak back secretly to murder someone he hardly knew. Seymour tells him there have been other incidents reported when at night locals see him riding through the woods followed by a woman in white chasing him and shouting "murderer". They identify the woman as Anne, his first wife who died by suicide four years ago after feeling depressed that she was unable to conceive a child as an heir for him.
Richard's father, Sir Giles, is wheelchair bound after a stroke and can now only communicate via hand movements interpreted by Diane who was Anne's sister and has remained within the family. Elizabeth is welcomed into the family but she finds that Richard has become very distracted by all the accusations levelled against him. More and more incidents occur when locals who know him well swear they had recent encounters and even conversations with him which he totally denies and he begins to think there is some sort of conspiracy going on to condemn him with accusations of witchcraft. At night he himself sees the woman in white and gives chase to her but this only results in him re-enacting the very chase scenario he had been earlier accused of - making his own position of denial weaker with his friend and local militia leader Colonel Wentworth.
Sir Giles is found dead by hanging and as Richard's mental stability becomes more fragile Seymour confides to Elizabeth the history of mental illness in the Fordyce family and he fears Richard may be suffering from symptoms causing him to lead a double life. As events culminate Richard is recovering in bed after suffering a dizzy spell at dinner and the woman in white comes to his bedroom and beckons he follow her to the window where his first wife leaped from when she killed herself. He arms himself with a pistol but then Richard sees a figure approaching who is revealed as an exact double of himself! He collapses in shock and the woman in white beckons the impostor to follow her away somewhere.
Later Elizabeth finds the collapsed Richard and helps him up - but he appears totally deranged and dangerously threatening towards her - she takes the gun he was holding and as he makes a move to attack he she is forced to shoot and he is killed. But then Richard is there comforting her and the story emerges that the double was a twin brother who has been kept secret from him because he was mad and had been kept hidden in a mental asylum. Anne is revealed as the woman in white who had wanted revenge on Richard and Giles for driving her sister to suicide and she is killed by Seymour who then reveals himself as someone who wants control of the family fortune and he fights with Richard and is killed. It all ends happily with Richard and Elizabeth vowing to put the troubles behind them and make Fordyce a happy place again.
|Comment: The revelations at the end come thick and fast and it all gets a bit confusing. It seems the intention of the plotters was to replace the forgotten twin brother with the real Richard who would be discredited as mad and believed by everyone to be the impostor. But it is totally unclear if this actually happened - to all appearances (if the plot developments are followed as presented) it appears the plan worked and at the end I was expecting some sort of twist reveal to confirm this did indeed happen. But there is no such grand revelation (or even a wink-wink one to the viewer) and in fact all seems quite normal at the end - so just what the final outcome really was is not totally certain - and if there was no substitution it's not clear how the real Richard circumvented it.|
|Starring:||John Turner (as Sir Richard Fordyce), Heather Sears (as Lady Elizabeth), Ann Lynn (as Diane, Richard's sister-in-law), Peter Arne (as Seymour, Sir Giles' steward), Raymond Huntley (as Colonel Wentworth, commander of militia)|
|Featuring:||Francis de Wolff (as Black John, blacksmith), Joseph Tomelty (as Sir Giles, Richard's father), Norman Bird (as Harris, butler), Derek Newark (as Coachman), Roger Croucher (as Brian, Blacksmith's apprentice)|
|Familiar Faces:||Patrick Troughton (as Stable Hand)|
|Starlets:||Kathy McDonald (as Kate, maid), Annette Whiteley (as Mary, maid), Edina Ronay (as Lucy Judd, first victim)|
|Writer: Leigh Vance / Director/Producer: Don Siegel|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 101 mins|
|MI6 operative Major John Tarrant is attempting to infiltrate a gang of saboteurs who are supplying Soviet arms to the IRA. Using the cover of a dishonest ex-soldier he has just made an introductory contact with a young woman in their group called Ceil Burrows when he is called to headquarters to attend a joint security services General Purposes Committee meeting under the chairmanship of Sir Edward Julyan to discuss the operation's progress. Their plan is force the criminal organisation's hand by acting as weapons purchasers to bring the supply network down - the gang want payment in diamonds so a purchase of these is authorised. Then Tarrant gets a phone call during the meeting from his estranged wife Alex to tell him that she has had an alarming phone call from someone claiming to have taken their son David hostage.
The kidnapper contacts Tarrant via phone calling himself "Drabble" and wants to talk to Tarrant's immediate MI6 boss Cedric Harper. Next day monitoring equipment is put in place to try to trace the call although Drabble is cannily aware of just how long he can safely stay on the line without being traced. Drabble demands from Harper diamonds in return for David's safe return - the quantity of which matches exactly the amount that have been appropriated for the undercover arms deal. All that the phone trace can reveal is that it originated in the Brighton area. Harper is highly suspicious that the quantity of diamonds matches those already purchased and realises they have a high-level security leak - he privately wonders if Tarrant himself could have staged his own son's kidnapping to get hold of the diamonds - he authorises a background check on Tarrant.
Elsewhere, the kidnappers (who are the same gang that Tarrant was attempting to infiltrate) plant incriminating evidence in Tarrant's flat that suggests he has been having a long-term affair with Ceil Burrows (although he has really only just met her) - detectives find this evidence and Tarrant is considered a suspect whom it seems is clearly involved with a member of a criminal gang he was supposed to be investigating.
Tarrant does not realise he is suspected however and seeks to drive the operation to recover his son and does not understand why Harper is suddenly reluctant to hand over the diamonds to make the exchange telling him it has been decided that they will not negotiate with kidnappers. So Tarrant uses his spycraft skills to steal the diamonds and make the exchange by himself which in Harper's eyes incriminates him still more. Tarrant meets with Drabble and Ceil in France intending not to hand over the diamonds until he knows David is released. He is assured that David is safe in England near a pair of windmills - then he is knocked out. When Tarrant awakens he finds Ceil dead and Drabble gone with the diamonds. He is arrested for the murder and becomes aware of the degree to which he has been set-up by the gang with his supposed relationship with Ceil whom he is now supposed to have murdered - but while being transported in a police van Drabble's gang stage a rescue and release him telling him to run. Tarrant eludes the police who fire upon him as an escaping prisoner. Tarrant realises that someone high-up in the security services is involved and wanted him shot in an escape attempt rather than reveal what he knows during police questioning.
Tarrant smuggles himself back into England and makes secret contact with his wife Alex and together they work out the location of the two windmills based on the earlier information that a call was made from the Brighton area. Tarrant then calls all of the members of the General Purposes committee posing as Drabble and telling each to meet him urgently at the two windmills. Tarrant knows the message will only mean something to the one involved in the security leak and he awaits that person's arrival. It is Sir Edward Julyan himself who turns up - he is near retirement and wanted to boost his pension which he considered woefully insufficient. Tarrant breaks into the black windmill that Sir Edward tells him David is being held within and has a battle of skill and wits shoot-out with Drabble (whose real name is McKee). Tarrant is triumphant and successfully rescues his son.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as John Tarrant), Donald Pleasence (as Cedric Harper, MI6 Security Services Director), Janet Suzman (as Alex Tarrant, John's separated wife), John Vernon (as McKee/Drabble, head kidnapper), Delphine Seyrig (as Ceil Burrows, member of kidnap gang)|
|Featuring:||Edward Hardwicke (as Mike McCarthy, John's MI6 colleague), Clive Revill (as Alf Chestermann, detective), Joss Ackland (as Chief Superintendent Wray), Denis Quilley (as Bateson, detective), Joseph O'Conor (as Sir Edward Julyan, security services co-ordinator), Catherine Schell (as Lady Melissa Julyan, Sir Edward's wife, small role only), Paul Moss (as David Tarrant, John's kidnapped son)|
|From Seven Days to a Killing by Clive Egleton|
|The film's title comes about because a black windmill is where the villains are ultimately discovered to have been holding the kidnapped boy - but it is an odd choice of title since this location only comes into play in the final 10 minutes and is in no way crucial to the overall plot since the endgame could have been situated nearly anywhere and the story would have been the same.|
|Writer/Director: Mike Leigh / Producer: Leslie Blair|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Sylvia is an unmarried woman in her thirties who has never been able to have a proper relationship. This is because she is the sole carer for her severely retarded younger adult sister Hilda and this burden has weighed heavily against her chances of finding love. She desperately wants someone in her life but knows that her obligations to Hilda considerably narrow her options by creating too great an encumbrance for any well-rounded man to assume.
The only man that has shown interest in her is a middle-aged teacher called Peter. He is a socially inadequate loner who is terminally dull and lacks the ability to engage others in conversation outside of his specialist area. He is so shackled by his lack of social skills that normal relationships with a woman are barred to him - but he thinks that in Sylvia he may have discovered someone who, for different reasons to him, is unable to be choosy. Peter is even prepared to accept that Sylvia's sister would be part of the package even though Hilda clearly does not like him very much because he does not have the ability to engage her childish mind with frivolities.
Sylvia rents out her garage to a social dropout called Norman who is painfully shy and never knows what to say to her. However he has a talent for music and both Sylvia and Hilda love to hear him play and sing. Sylvia finds him endearing but Peter resents another man being around Sylvia and makes efforts to sneer at Norman's intellectual deficiencies to make it clear who is the top dog here - which for Peter is an unusual situation.
During the day Hilda attends a remedial school while her older sister goes to work. Sylvia performs secretarial duties at a chartered accountants alongside her workmate Pat. On the surface Pat is a cheerfully chatty soul without a care in the world - but that is just a jovial façade she puts on. Inside Pat feels terribly isolated because she looks after her cantankerous bedridden mother and has no chance for a life of her own. She feels life slipping her by and would dearly love to have children. Pat enjoys helping out her work colleague by taking Hilda out on daytrips to give Sylvia some time alone.
Pat comes round to collect Hilda for a daytrip and meets Peter and finds something very strange about his overall bearing and consequently even she can find nothing to talk with him about. But she doesn't want to interfere if Sylvia likes him. Sylvia and Peter go out on a first date to a restaurant where they both feel awkward and ill-at-ease. But both of them are aware of their own inadequacies and know they are lucky to have anyone who wants to go out with them at all however banal and unsatisfactory it turns out to be. When they get back home Sylvia tries to get Peter interested in her as a woman and gives Peter some sherry to try and loosen him up a bit. But Peter is uncomforted by thoughts of intimacy and makes a hasty exit much to Sylvia's disappointment. If she cannot even persuade the world's most emotionally repressed man into her bed what chance has she? Sylvia feels so alone and frustrated that she has no one in her life to fill the emotional gulf of having someone to turn to for comfort.
All the main characters have bleak lives and all are handicapped in some way by their wellbeing, situation or character, and by the end of the film nothing has changed and we leave them to carry on and try and cope as best they can with the cards that life has dealt them.
|Starring:||Anne Raitt (as Sylvia), Eric Allan (as Peter), Sarah Stephenson (as Hilda, Sylvia's sister), Joolia Cappleman (as Pat, Sylvia's workmate), Mike Bradwell (as Norman, Sylvia's garage tenant)|
|Featuring:||Liz Smith (as Pat's Mother), Malcolm Smith and Donald Sumpter (as Norman's friends), Christopher Martin (as Sylvia's boss), Ronald Eng (as Rude waiter), Susan Glanville (as Teacher at Peter's school)|
|Writer: Dave Freeman / Director: Gerald Thomas / Producer: Peter Rogers|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Sitcom comedy spin-off centred around the Abbott family who live in a normal suburban street. Sid Abbott is a stationary salesman while his wife Jean stays at home as a housewife. They have two children:- Mike who is a layabout student; and Sally who is an older teenage schoolgirl.
The subplots that unfold in this film concern the frictions that Sid has with a new pompous next door neighbour called Ronald; the efforts of Jean and her friend Betty to set up an antiques stall in a market; the environmental concerns of Sally; the romance between Mike and Ronald's daughter Kate which they attempt to keep secret from each others fathers knowing how much the men dislike each other; and the disastrous efforts of Sid and his friend Trevor to build a brandy-making still in Sid's garden shed.
All of the various plot strands intermesh and culminate in a family wedding in which the new neighbours Sid and Ronald put their differences aside for the sake of their children's happy day.
|Starring:||(Abbott family) Sid James (as Sid), Diana Coupland (as Jean, wife), Sally Geeson (as Sally, daughter), Robin Askwith (as Mike, son)|
(Neighbours) Peter Butterworth (as Trevor Lewis, Sid's friend), Patsy Rowlands (as Betty Lewis, Jean's friend), Terry Scott (as Ronald Baines, new neighbour), June Whitfield (as Vera Baines, his wife), Carol Hawkins (as Kate, their daughter)
|Featuring:||Janet Brown (as Annie Hobbs, departing neighbour), Julian Orchard (as Tom Hobbs, her husband), George A. Cooper (as Mr Wilson, Café owner where Mike and Kate work for holiday jobs), Bill Maynard (as Oldham, antique market landlord), Marianne Stone (as Muriel, rival antique stall holder), Tommy Godfrey (as Alf Murray, builder)|
|Familiar Faces:||Frank Thornton (as Office Manager), Wendy Richard (as Carol, quitting waitress at café), Johnny Briggs (as Delivery Driver)|
|Starlets:||Patricia Franklin (as Mary, guide leader at bazaar), Marjie Lawrence (as Alma, barmaid), Lindsay Marsh (as Myra, café waitress), Georgina Moon (as Moira, Sally's friend on action committee), Maggie Wright (as Daphne, lady friend of Oldham)|
|Based on the ITV sitcom that ran for 65 episodes over six series between 1971 and 1976. This film was made around about the time of the second series. It featured the same main cast with one major exception - the son Mike who was played by Robin Stewart on TV was replaced by Robin Askwith for the film. Also Sid's friend Trevor was played by Peter Butterworth in the film and Anthony Jackson on TV. The film is probably also out of TV continuity in that Mike gets married at the end of the film which I don't believe carried over into the next series of the TV show.|
|aka: See No Evil|
|Writer: Brian Clemens / Director: Richard Fleischer / Producers: Martin Ransohoff, Leslie Linder|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 89 mins|
|Sarah is a young woman who has been blinded in a horse riding accident, and after months away recuperating has returned to her aunt and uncle's country manor home to try to adjust to her disability. Aunt Betty and Uncle George Rexton and their grown-up daughter Sandy want to help as much as they can but Sarah is determined to be as independent as possible. While Sarah was away she forbade her boyfriend Steve Reding from visiting her because she couldn't have coped with his pity. Steve owns a nearby stables and loves horses as much as she. When Sarah has settled back in Steve calls to arrange a new "first" date. Sarah is nervous about being with him again unsure if he's going to love her as much and is quite prepared to give him an opportunity to end their relationship if she detects he feels trapped. George and Betty are going out that evening and Sandy confides to Sarah she has a secret date arranged with someone local so Sarah knows not to expect anyone home when she gets back. Sarah and Steve have a great day out and it is clear that Steve has lost none of his love for her. Meanwhile back at the house, while the Rextons are getting ready to go out, there is an unexpected knock at the door ...
Later when Sarah returns home no one seems to be home as she had been expecting. But what she cannot see, as she feels her way around, are the brutally murdered bodies of her aunt, uncle and cousin strewn around the house. Sarah goes to bed blissfully unaware of the horror that has taken place. Next morning when she hears no sign of activity she assumes the family must have come home late and are sleeping in. Steve comes to the front door to present her with one of his horses as a late birthday gift. She rides it with confidence under Steve's guidance. Later back alone in the house Sarah at last stumbles across the bodies and realises something awful has happened. In the hallway she discovers on the floor a broken name bracelet which she cannot see to read but realises may have been dropped by the killer and have his name on it. Then she hears the killer trying to get back in to retrieve his bracelet (we do not see his face). Sarah manages to get away by feeling her way to the stables and fleeing on her new horse.
Sarah tells the horse to go "home" to Steve's but through the woods she is knocked off by a low overhanging branch and the horse carries on without her. Sarah stumbles along calling for help and comes across a gypsy encampment. At first the gypsies are helpful but when she tells them where she is from and about the murders and then shows them the bracelet which they silently read to themselves as saying "Jack" they realise that the murderer must be one of their own called Jack who said he was going to the manor yesterday. He must have foolishly tried some thieving which went seriously wrong. Jack is not around and so they can't question him but they fear the worst. The gypsies are very protective of their own so they take the blind and helpless Sarah to a deserted clay pit and abandon her believing she won't find a way out and will perish.
Meanwhile the riderless horse returns to Steve's farm and Steve immediately sets out with his two employees Frost and Jacko to search for Sarah. After hours of anxious searching they find her in the clay pit suffering from exposure. Steve takes Sarah back to his farm and leaves her in the care of Jacko whilst he and Frost head for the gypsy camp to deal with them.
When they get there Jack has returned. He is scared over the accusations and swears it was not him. He explains he went to the manor because he had a date with the girl Sandy but when he could get no reply at the door he left. Steve is shown the bracelet which Jack insists is not his and when Steve looks at it properly he sees it actually reads "Jacko"! Steve realises with alarm that the killer is his stable hand Jacko whom he has left alone with Sarah. He rushes back and just manages to save her as Jacko is trying to drown her in a bath. Jacko is arrested and Sarah is safe at last.
|Comment: No real reason or motive is given for Jacko's crimes.|
|Starring:||Mia Farrow (as Sarah), Norman Eshley (as Steve Reding, Sarah's boyfriend)|
|Featuring:||Dorothy Alison (as Betty Rexton, Sarah's aunt), Robin Bailey (as George Rexton, Sarah's uncle), Diane Grayson (as Sandy Rexton, Betty and George's grown-up daughter), Paul Nicholas (as Jacko, Steve's stable hand), Christopher Matthews (as Frost, Steve's driver), Lila Kaye (as Gypsy Mother), Barrie Houghton (as Gypsy Jack), Michael Elphick (as Gypsy Tom), Brian Rawlinson (as Barker, gardener)|
|The version reviewed carried the American title of See No Evil|
|Writers: Alec Coppel, Denis Norden / Director: Joseph McGrath / Producer: Josef Shaftel|
|Type: Comedy Drama||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Mrs Harriet Blossom is a housewife whose husband Robert is the hardworking chairman of Blossom Brassieres and Harriet sees little of him and is a bit bored and in need of company. When her home sewing machine breaks down she calls her husband for help and he sends round one of his factory mechanics with some specialist tools to fix it for her. The mechanic is called Ambrose Tuttle and he has long been in admiration of Harriet when he has seen her around visiting Robert at the factory. As they chat he tells her about the upset in his life from being orphaned at an early age, to now living in rented accommodation without much furniture. Harriet feels sympathetic and offers him some spare furniture she keeps in the attic. Ambrose goes up to see what she's got and ends up sleeping there overnight in the bed.
This then continues and Ambrose takes up permanent residence as Harriet grows ever fonder of him whilst all the time her husband Robert remains completely unaware of the extra person living in their house. By day Ambrose converts the attic and makes it into a habitable living space with all the modern conveniences including plumbing and cooking facilities. He and Harriet become romantic although they both remain respectful of Robert. When he is home Ambrose hides himself away and Harriet is the dutiful wife who enjoys and loves both men and finds that she is blissfully happy with the dual arrangement. Ambrose spends his time alone in the attic reading self-help books and learning all manner of useful skills. Months and years go by with the situation continuing in much the same way.
When Robert's company begins to have financial difficulties, Ambrose and Harriet set about secretly helping him. Ambrose uses his self-taught business acumen to select hot share tips and covertly passes them on to Robert who follows the advice and becomes super-rich. This not only saves the company but turns it into a major player with plush new offices.
Robert now has enough freedom to follow a dream he has always had to make the ultimate women's foundation garment. His "Universal Bra" uses airbag technology filled with a unique gaseous substance that moulds itself seamlessly to any woman's form and allows her to adjust it to present the outward shape she desires. His scientists produce the brassiere and Robert prepares to unveil his sensational new product in a big press launch presenting himself as a philanthropist working for the benefit of womankind.
However with his new found success Robert decides to move up in the world and unexpectedly sells their old house and Harriet and Ambrose suddenly find that their cosy secret co-habiting arrangement scuppered. So Ambrose sabotages the new product launch by making adjustments to the demonstration bras the models are going to be wearing. And when the brassiere's special function is activated in front of the amassed journalists the models' garments expand to such a size that the girls float up into the air.
The demonstration flops and Robert is forced to move back with Harriet into their old house where Ambrose is still staying. But this time Robert at last discovers the secret lodger and finds out what has been going on all these years. He nobly stands aside and grants Harriet a divorce so she can marry her lover and even gives his factory to Ambrose as a wedding present.
Ambrose becomes the new chairman and goes out to work each day leaving Harriet alone - unaware that she has found herself a "new" secret lover - things have been reversed and Robert has taken up residence in the basement and is Harriet's full-time daytime companion allowing her to continue with her blissful dual life with the two men she loves.
|Comment: There is a subplot involving two incompetent detectives who are investigating Ambrose Tuttle's disappearance when he failed to return to the factory after being sent to mend Mrs Blossom's sewing machine believing he stole the tools. Later they think he might have been murdered and they stay on the case for over three years without making very much progress.|
|Starring:||Shirley MacLaine (as Harriet Blossom, wife), Richard Attenborough (as Robert Blossom, husband), James Booth (as Ambrose Tuttle, lover)|
|Featuring:||Freddie Jones (as Detective Sergeant Dylan), William Rushton (as Dylan's junior colleague), Bob Monkhouse (as Dr Taylor, psychiatrist), Harry Towb (as Doctor), Sheila Staefel (as Pet shop saleslady)|
|Familiar Faces:||Frank Thornton (as Factory manager), Barry Humphries (Mr Wainwright, Art dealer), John Cleese (as Post Office Clerk), Clive Dunn (as Dr Zimmerman, bra scientist), Patricia Routledge (as Miss Reece, Robert's secretary), John Bluthal (as Judge)|
|Starlets:||Sandra Caron (as Pet shop assistant), Geraldine Sherman (as Dr Zimmerman's wife, testing new bra), Carol Cleveland (Bra model, uncredited extra)|
|Based on the play by Alec Coppel from a story by Josef Shaftel|
|Writer: Peter Bryan / Director: Vernon Sewell / Producer: Arnold L. Miller|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 77 mins|
|In the late 1800s, a series of gruesome deaths are being investigated by Inspector Quennell of the metropolitan police - all the victims have crushed rib cages and are almost entirely drained of blood - one witness to an attack was sent mad by what he saw and raved about some flying winged creature. Quennell's only clue is some scale-like flakes found at the latest murder scene.
Quennell consults a nearby entomology expert called Dr Carl Mallinger who lives in a country mansion with his daughter Clare. He doesn't know what the scales are but promises to look into it. However we know Mallinger is up to no good - he has something mysterious in his cellar and has just taken delivery of a chrysalis brought back from Africa by an explorer called John Britewell. Britewell and Clare become romantically involved but while out on a walk with her in the woods playing, at her suggestion, a game of hide-and-seek, he is attacked by a creature - Quennell happens to be nearby and hears him cry out but only arrives in time to hear him mutter "Death's Head" before he dies.
Next day Quennell finds evidence that suggests that Carl Mallinger may know more about things than he is admitting - but when he goes to their house he finds that Mallinger and his daughter have departed their home in unusual haste. Following a lead as to their new whereabouts Quennell goes undercover as a tourist taking along with him his own grown-up daughter Meg. At their hotel they meet some other guests, a Mr Warrender and his son Billy who is also an entomologist. Billy and Meg go off together collecting butterflies and moths and meet Clare Mallinger who becomes angry at Billy's cruel hobby of collecting specimens.
At their new home a different side of Clare is revealed as she impatiently questions her father Dr Mallinger about how much longer he is going to take with a promise he made to her - and it is revealed he has a giant-sized chrysalis maturing in the cellars. He says it now needs more nourishment - human blood preferably. So Clare goes out and lures Meg to the house where she and her father extract some of her blood. Mallinger then hypnotises her into returning the next day to give more blood but retaining no memory of the events. Meanwhile Clare has initiated a relationship with the gardener Clem and when she takes him somewhere to be alone she changes into a giant moth-like creature and kills him drinking his blood.
Billy has found a rare Deaths Head moth for his collection and when Quennell sees it he realises that the microscopic scales on its wings are the same pattern as the large scaly flakes found at the murder scenes except 100 times bigger. At the house Mallinger confronts Clare over her impatient killing of Clem - he says he created her and he was going to grow her a mate - but in anger he sets fire to the new chrysalis and destroys it - she promptly turns into her Deaths Head manifestation and kills him in revenge.
Meg comes to the house under her implanted hypnotic command - but with no one there to detain her once she arrives she comes round and screams when she sees the body of Mallinger and accidentally starts a fire and then faints. Meanwhile Quennell and the police arrive at the house looking for Meg and manage to save her from burning - but outside the giant Clare/Deaths Head creature attacks them. Quennell starts a bonfire and being a moth and attracted to the light, it flies into the flames and perishes.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Inspector Quennell), Robert Flemyng (as Dr Carl Mallinger), Wanda Ventham (as Clare Mallinger), Vanessa Howard (as Meg Quennell)|
|Featuring:||Glynn Edwards (as Sergeant Allen), Kevin Stoney (as Granger, Mallinger's butler), Roy Hudd (as Smiler, Morgue Attendant), David Griffin (as William Warrender, Billy the Bug Catcher), William Wilde (as John Britewell, Explorer)|
|Writer: Christopher Wicking / Director: Seth Holt / Producer: Howard Brandy|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 89 mins|
|Almost two decades ago a team of archaeologists in Egypt made a discovery of a perfectly preserved tomb. The expedition was led by Professor Julian Fuchs who had been instrumental in locating the site after reading veiled references of its existence when studying ancient texts that spoke of a queen of darkness. The Egyptologists discover a rich trove of treasures and a sarcophagus which is thousands of years old but contains the body of a young woman perfectly preserved as if she was merely asleep. Her right hand had been removed and lays nearby with a bright red ruby ring on one finger and bizarrely the stump of the woman's arm is still oozing blood. They discover an inscription that identifies the queen as Tera. Back in England at this exact time Julian's wife is giving birth to a baby daughter - the mother dies but the baby survives.
Twenty years or so later in the present day, that baby is now a grown woman. Her name is Margaret and on the day before her birthday her father gives her a present - it is the red ruby ring that was a relic from the Egyptian tomb although Margaret does not know this. What we, the viewer, know is that Margaret is the spitting image of the woman from the tomb. The other members of the original archaeological team have had differing fortunes since their discovery but they each took one relic from the tomb for themselves. The remainder of the find including the sarcophagus and its bodily contents was transported to England and has been recreated in Julian's basement in an exact replica of the tomb in Egypt. The basement is off limits to Margaret and she does not know what her father keeps down there.
One other member of the original expedition called Corbeck is keeping a watchful eye on happenings from a nearby house for he knows that events are proceeding towards a predestined moment. Julian and he are aware of an awesome malevolent power that Queen Tera possesses. Julian wants to study it but keep it bottled up for he fears it is the embodiment of evil. But Corbeck is keen to see it manifest and for that reason Julian has denied Corbeck access. But when Julian is unaccountably injured while alone in the basement tomb and rendered unconscious and bedridden, Corbeck seizes his opportunity to bring about the preordained events. Margaret has now seen the perfectly preserved Tera whom she so closely resembles and realises that she has always been an instrumental player in a grand scheme without ever knowing it and has unwittingly been host to the dormant queen's spirit since the moment of her birth when the tomb was first discovered. Despite being dead Tera's life-force has a powerful presence that has now begun to manifest by influencing Margaret's general behaviour as she appears keen to help Corbeck realise his ambitions.
Other members of the original expedition are murdered in supernatural ways and the relics they retained are retrieved and returned to their rightful position in the tomb. Corbeck explains that the constellation of a certain group of stars is currently such that Tera's bodily resurrection is now possible. Julian joins them but is too weak to prevent Corbeck from proceeding as he reads from an ancient scroll and the resurrection process begins. Firstly the severed hand rejoins Tera's stump arm and then her spirit re-enters her body from Margaret. And as it does Margaret becomes her normal self and realises what a terrible thing it is they are doing and she and her father manage to stop Corbeck from fully completing the ritual. Margaret grabs a ceremonial dagger and tries to stab Tera who has now awakened and fights back - but she is not at her full strength yet and so Margaret just manages to kill her. With her death the temple walls come crumbling down as the house collapses around them.
The emergency services find only one survivor - a woman who is horribly injured and taken to hospital and has to be bandaged head to toe so only her eyes are visible - we assume it is Margaret and not Tera - but cannot be totally sure.
|Starring:||Andrew Keir (as Proffesor Julian Fuchs), Valerie Leon (as Margaret Fuchs/Queen Tera), James Villiers (as Corbeck), Mark Edwards (as Tod Browning, Margaret's boyfriend)|
|Featuring:||Other Expedition Members: Hugh Burden (as Geoffrey Dandridge), George Coulouris (as Professor Berrigan), Rosalie Crutchley (as Helen Dickerson)|
Aubrey Morris (as Doctor Putnam),Tamara Ustinov (as Veronica, Dandridge's museum assistant)
|Familiar Faces:||James Cossins and David Jackson (as insane asylum nurses)|
|Based on the novel Jewel of the Seven Stars by Bram Stoker|
|Mark Edwards receives an "introducing" credit|
|Valerie Leon's nudity is probably a body double.|
|This was the last of four films made by Hammer that involved a Mummy. The first three were:- The Mummy (1959); The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964); and The Mummy's Shroud (1967). Other than the use of a Mummy they have no connection to each other in terms of characters or story continuity.|
|Writer: Peter Welbeck / Director: Jess Franco / Producer: Harry Alan Towers|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 89 mins|
|Set in the 1950s(?). The evil Chinese criminal Fu Manchu and his daughter Lin Tang have taken up stronghold in the ancient mountain-ensconced temples of a lost city deep in the Venezuelan jungle. Here Fu Manchu has rediscovered an old Inca secret whereby a woman may be immunised from the poison of a black cobra and then bitten by the creature to make her own kiss deadly to men. The kiss renders the man instantly blind and then slowly kills him within six weeks with no known antidote. Fu Manchu has captured ten beautiful young women and initiated them with the plague and sent them out into the world to target his greatest enemies - including the most persistent of these - Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard.
In London, Nayland Smith is caught unawares when a beautiful vulnerable-seeming woman named Celeste calls at his residence and gently kisses him. The poison takes immediate effect and he is blinded - the woman rushes away and is killed by a car. Smith realises he has fallen victim to an affliction he has heard rumours of in Inca legend - he has recently learnt that his nemesis Fu Manchu has turned up in South America and had sent out a young explorer called Carl Janson to locate him - and had only moments before received a cable from Carl saying he has found out where the criminal is operating from. Now he is blind and plagued to die Smith knows his only chance of finding a cure is to travel to San Cristobel with help from his friend Doctor Petrie and hope to discover a remedy.
Fu Manchu becomes aware of Smith's arrival in the jungle and despite him being blinded and weak still fears him - so he forces a local bandit called Sancho Lopez to help stop Smith getting to him. Lopez is accompanied by an initiant called Carmen, whose task is to infect Lopez once Smith is captured.
Smith meets up with Carl and he, together with Petrie and a young female doctor called Ursula Wagner, set out to locate Fu Manchu's hidden stronghold. Smith's blindness means he must be left behind. Eventually after a series of incidents Carl becomes the prisoner of Fu Manchu while Petrie and Ursula escape with Carmen whom they know is an inoculated plague carrier after she infects Lopez. Petrie takes Carmen back to Smith and uses the girl's blood to supply his friend with an antibody cure for the plague.
Fu Manchu is almost ready for Phase II of his operation which is to send orders to his operatives in London to release a cloud of plague vapour into the capital and kill everyone - this will be his message to the world that they must bow down and obey him as their master. But just before the appointed time a now recovered Smith storms in and releases Carl and as they escape they detonate the criminal mastermind's weapon's arsenal creating a massive explosion that destroys the temple and puts paid to all Fu Manchu's well-laid plans. The fate of Fu Manchu and his daughter are undetermined but it seems fairly certain that the world shall hear from them again before too long.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Fu Manchu), Richard Greene (as Nayland Smith), Howard Marion Crawford (Dr Petrie, Smith's friend), Tsai Chin (as Lin Tang, daughter of Fu Manchu)|
Götz George (as Carl Jansen, explorer), Maria Rohm (as Ursula Wagner, doctor), Ricardo Palacios (as Sancho Lopez, bandit leader)
|Featuring:||Marcelo Arroita-Jáuregui (as San Cristobel's Governor), Shirley Eaton (as Fu Manchu's London agent, [short one-scene cameo, although listed on credits as a Guest Star])|
|Starlets:||(Fu Manchu's female agents) Loni von Friedl (as Celeste, sent to infect Smith), Isaura de Oliveira (as Yuma, sent to lure Sancho Lopez), Frances Khan (as Carmen, tasked to kill Sancho Lopez)|
|Based on the characters created by Sax Rohmer|
|This was the fourth in a series of five 1960's Fu Manchu films starring Christopher Lee. Each also featured Tsai Chin as his daughter and Howard Marion Crawford as Dr Petrie the friend of Fu Manchu's greatest opponent Nayland Smith. The role of Smith himself was played by three different actors - Nigel Green played him in the first film, next Douglas Wilmer for two films and then Richard Greene for the final two. The sequence of the five films were as follows:- The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969).|
|Writer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Henry Cass / Producers: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 81 mins|
|In a prologue in Transylvania in 1874 we see a dead man being put into a grave by soldiers and his heart destroyed with a stake because he is suspected of being a vampire. Later the dead man's body is retrieved by a mute hunchback man called Carl who inveigles a corrupt doctor into performing a heart transplant operation which is successful and the man lives again - as we later find out, his name is Callistratus. End of prologue.
Six years later in Carlstadt a young doctor called John Pierre is in court on charges of malpractice leading to murder. He is found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in a penal colony. His only hope is his fiancée Madeline Duval who is determined to find grounds for him to be released on appeal. When John is taken away his destination is altered and instead of going to the penal colony he finds himself taken to a nearby prison for the criminally insane at the express request of the governor - named Callistratus.
Callistratus runs a harsh and brutal prison and is much-feared amongst the prisoners. Death rates are high and the inmates believe that Callistratus conducts experiments on the poor dead unfortunates. John Pierre assumes he will face similar harsh conditions but Callistratus has other plans for him. The governor wants John to help him in his laboratory with his studies into blood. John's malpractice came from his desire to help a patient by attempting a blood transfusion - but without knowing that there are different types of blood which are fatal to a patient if intermingled. Callistratus has been conducting research along those lines and wishes John to help classify the different types of blood so that transfusions can be safely performed.
Callistratus reveals that six years ago he was in a similar position to John and was castigated for his blood experiments - but had additionally been accused of being a vampire. So Callistratus took a culture that sent his body into a dormant state mimicking death and this allowed him to survive after his heart was destroyed and until a new heart had been substituted. Unfortunately although still alive an unforeseen side-effect of the culture has given him a blood disorder that means he needs regular transfusions which he takes from inmates of the correct blood group. He now wants John to work on a cure.
Meanwhile Madeline has been successful in finding mitigating evidence for John's appeal and he has been cleared. But when Callistratus hears of this he does not tell John and instead reports back to the authorities that unfortunately John was killed while trying to escape.
Madeline is suspicious and wangles a job as the prison housekeeper where she makes contact with John and makes plans with him to help him escape from Callistratus' authoritarian control. They are captured however and taken down to Callistratus second secret sub-level laboratory to become his next transfusion victims. Fortunately the mute manservant Carl becomes disobedient when he refuses to allow Madeline to be hurt because he has become secretly besotted by her beauty and this allows John to turn the tables on Callistratus and escape the confines of the prison with Madeleine. Carl is shot by his master for his treachery but before dying he manages to hold on long enough to release the savage guard dogs who maul Callistratus to death.
|Starring:||Donald Wolfit (as Callistratus), Vincent Ball (as Dr John Pierre), Barbara Shelley (as Madeleine Duval, John's fiancée), Victor Maddern (as Carl, mute hunchback servant)|
|Featuring:||William Devlin (as Kurt Urach, John's cellmate), Andrew Faulds (as Chief Guard), Brian Coleman (as Herr Auron, corrupt prison commissioner)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Le Mesurier (as Judge), Bernard Bresslaw (as Courtroom cells prisoner)|
|Starlets:||Muriel Ali (as Gypsy Dancer)|
|Made in colour|
|aka: Satan's Skin|
|Writer: Robert Wynne-Simmons / Director: Piers Haggard / Producers: Peter L. Andrews, Malcolm B. Heyworth|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 92 mins|
|In a small farming village in the 17th century an old grave is disturbed when a new field is ploughed. In the days that follow some of the villagers, and in particular the young, join a cult of worshipers who observe the old ways of witchcraft. They are led by a young girl called Angel Blake who uses her nubile sensuality to corrupt and entice new followers. At the same time some villagers are becoming afflicted with a malady that causes patches of thick hair to grow on areas of their bodies and they are drawn to madness and a worship of the devil unless they take extreme measures to eradicate the growth.
Angel Blake's cult is raising the devil himself who is being assembled from all the various parts of himself manifesting on the villagers' bodies. The village's Judge and protector takes it on himself to eradicate the evil. First he lets it fester since he reasons that evil can be best defeated if it is first allowed to grow. Then as the final ceremony is taking place with the devil in need of one final foot which the hapless original owner is required to hack off of himself, the judge intervenes and destroys the devil creature with a black sword before it is fully formed.
|Comment: Conceived originally as an anthology film with a trilogy of horror tales, the three stories have instead been interwoven into one single overlapping narrative.|
|Starring:||Patrick Wymark (as The Judge), Linda Hayden (as Angel Blake), Barry Andrews (as Ralph Gower, ploughman), Simon Williams (as Peter Edmonton, afflicted villager)|
|Featuring:||Anthony Ainley (as the Reverend), Wendy Padbury (as Cathy Vespers, afflicted villager), Robin Davies (as Mark Vespers, Cathy's brother), Michele Dotrice (as Margaret, afflicted worshiper), Howard Goorney (as The village doctor), James Hayter (as Squire Middleton, justice), Charlotte Mitchell (as Ellen Vespers, mother of Cathy and Mark), Tamara Ustinov (as Rosalind Barton, Peter's fiancée), Avice Landon (as Isobel Banham, friend of the Judge)|
|Starlets:||Yvonne Paul (Dancing temptress at ceremony, uncredited)|
|Writers: Ray Cameron, Barry Cryer / Director/Producer: Ray Cameron|
|Type: Comedy Horror||Running Time: 88 mins|
|A group of eight scientists headed by Dr Lukas Mandeville and his assistant Dr Barbara Coyle have all come to the centuries old Headstone Manor to investigate some strange radioactive readings detected in the area. The manor has remained unoccupied since the time nine years earlier when the 18 residents were all massacred. Lukas and Barbara had stopped off at the nearby pub on the way and found the local people somewhat peculiar and noticed a predominance of an unusual emblem that they all had tattooed somewhere on their bodies and was displayed prominently on the pub wall.
Elsewhere local villagers are seen participating in a Satanist cult ritual wearing monkish robes and led by a Sinister Man who is 700 years old and has served his master Lucifer all that time to bring about his resurrection - nine years ago things went wrong - but tomorrow night is the next occasion the rebirth can happen. First though the Manor House which is the focal point of the ceremony must be purged of all occupants.
The scientists bed down for the night and Barbara is visited by a spooky invisible force which she is scared of at first as it seems to be trying to molest her - but after a while she begins to enjoy the experience and has the best time of her life until it takes its leave. Outside in the woods the cultists are preparing their ritual and the Sinister Man accidentally gets burnt to death - but in his place rises eight figures in red robes who are exact duplicates of the scientists.
The duplicates then enter the manor and kill their counterparts in a variety of unusual ways and all of them have the mysterious emblem on their right palm. Only Barbara remains un-replaced and unaware that her colleague Lukas is now a replacement as they explore the basement for clues. They find some dusty old books which describe the legends surrounding the manor. It explains how Headstone Manor was built upon sacred grounds once occupied by some evil monks who ruled the area with terror. When the manor was built many of the builders met horrible deaths and some thought the monks where alien visitors - emissaries of a creature that legend has labelled Lucifer who uses the manor as the focal point of his evil presence on Earth. But for the powers to function the manor must remain unoccupied, so any residents are killed by duplicates of themselves whose hands are marked with a telltale emblem.
Then Lukas raises his hand and Barbara sees he has the emblem and all her scientist friends show up and they too are replacements. Her replacement comes in to kill her but then the roof opens up and Barbara is whisked away by the force that she had an encounter with earlier and appears to be enjoying herself once again flying high in the sky with it. With the house now cleansed of all occupants the replacements get into a spaceship and fly away.
|Starring:||Kenny Everett (as Dr Lukas Mandeville), Pamela Stephenson (as Dr Barbara Coyle), Vincent Price (as Sinister Man)|
(other scientists) Gareth Hunt, Don Warrington, John Fortune, Sheila Steafel, John Stephen Hill, Cleo Rocos
|Featuring:||(Satanist Villagers) Graham Stark (Blind Man), Pat Ashton (Barmaid), David Lodge (Chief Inspector)|
(also) Davilia David (as Religious Fanatic), Barry Cryer (as Police Inspector, in prologue)
|Starlets:||Debbie Linden (as victim, in prologue)|
|Writer: Carl Humphries / Director: Michael J. Murphy / Producer: Caroline Aylward|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 76 mins|
|Alistair Bailey is a devotee of low-budget video nasties who has directed a gory film called Bloodstream for unprincipled horror producer William King. King has become wealthy on the back of such movies and Alistair believes that Bloodstream contains all the shock elements that King asked for and should be a huge success. But much to Alistair's amazement King tells him the film is awful and he is treating it as complete write-off which the contract small print entitles him to do. King cancels Alistair's contract accordingly and has him thrown out telling him he'll never work in the industry again. Once Alistair has gone we discover that King actually thinks the film is a sure-fire hit and starts arranging lucrative foreign distribution deals along with the packaging materials for the video release.
Following this knock-back Alistair spends time alone in his flat viewing video nasties and furtively brooding upon his resentment for William King and all he stands for. King's secretary Nikki secretly hates her swindling boss and feels so sorry for the treatment Alistair has received that she gets in contact with him and lets him know what King has done. She outlines an idea she has to allow Alistair to get even with the unscrupulous producer with a suitably fitting revenge.
To carry out their plan Alistair dresses up in the costume and skull-faced "Angel of Death" character from his film and sets about murdering members of King's family and friends in gruesome ways whilst filming the proceedings. Once that is complete he splices the new film together and shows it to King who is stunned and horrified. Then Alistair kills King with a pistol making it appear to be a suicide. The official inquest concludes that horror producer William King took his own life after systematically murdering his own family as a result of a madness induced by his constant exposure to gore-filled films.
Nikki has used her inside position to re-type the contract document for Bloodstream so that Alistair's rights are now protected. She goes round to Alistair's apartment delighted that their plan has worked and that he will now be rich as a result of the success of Bloodstream. However she is insistent that Alistair destroy the film he made of the King family murders so that all proof of their involvement is eliminated. But Alistair's mind has become warped by his hatreds and obsessions and he cannot bear the thought of destroying his finest work and so he strangles Nikki to death just as we hear the sound of a police car approaching. Alistair is committed to a mental home for the criminally insane.
|Starring:||Patrick Olliver (as Alistair Bailey), Jacqueline Logan (as Nikki), Mark Wells (as William King, video producer), Catherine Rowlands (as Judy Brooks, actress and King's mistress)|
|Featuring:||Steven Longhurst (as Simon, King's brother-in-law), David Slater (as Greg Herman, actor), Samantha Page (as Lisa, King's daughter), Wendy Young (as Sally, King's wife)|
|Writer: Stephen Poliakoff / Director: Stephen Frears / Producer: Barry Hanson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Leo Turner and Mike Simmonds are 11-year-old school friends living in a seaside town. Leo is clever and schoolwork is a breeze to him - and so to relieve his boredom he finds satisfaction by taking risks with figures of authority. Leo convinces Mike that it would be lark if they were to stage a knife fight outside the football stadium and use fake theatrical blood to pretend that serious injuries have been inflicted to wind up the police. Mike is unsure but Leo is persuasive and takes him through the intended fight choreography in which Leo will pretend to have been wounded and Mike shall run until the joke is revealed and the police realise they have been fooled.
But secretly Leo has something more shocking in mind that he hasn't revealed to Mike and as the boys fight he manoeuvres Mike's penknife towards himself so that he is really stabbed and falls to the ground bleeding. Mike is shocked and runs off convinced he has injured Leo badly. Leo is taken to hospital and patched up for what turns out to be a minor flesh wound - but he does not reveal it was all a joke. Instead he tells Detective Ritchie that Mike is a maniac he barely knows and has no idea why he was attacked. The police begin a hunt for Mike whom they believe to be highly dangerous and unstable.
Mike does not know where to go and meets up with an older youth called Ken who is the unpredictable leader of a gang of tearaways. Ken recognises Mike as a kindred soul and takes him under his wing intending to train him up on being a rebel. Ken takes him joyriding and on a spree of general hooliganism in the shopping mall. This type of unruly thing is not really in Mike's nature but he has nowhere else to go thinking he is in serious trouble with the police.
Mike goes to Leo's sister Susan for help and she tells him that Leo is not seriously hurt - so Mike goes to the hospital to try and straighten things out. Leo and Mike argue and fight about things and Leo tells him he did it for him to give him a day he'll never forget and eventually Leo tells the police they have been had and he has been making fools of them as they get away under the cover of setting off a fire alarm.
|Starring:||Derrick O'Connor (as Detective Ritchie), Richard Thomas (as Leo Turner), Peter Clark (as Mike Simmonds), Gary Holton (as Ken, rebel youth)|
|Featuring:||Gwynneth Strong (as Jan, Ken's girlfriend), Brenda Fricker (as Hospital Nurse), Caroline Embling (as Susan, Leo's sister), Geraldine James (as Ritchie's Wife)|
|Familiar Faces:||Jack Douglas (as Senior Police Officer), Mel Smith (Disco doorman), Roger Lloyd Pack (as Hospital Doctor), Nula Conwell and Jesse Birdsall (youths in Ken's gang)|
|Richard Thomas and Peter Clark both receive "introducing" credits. (Just for clarification this is not the famous Richard Thomas who starred in The Waltons).|
|Writer: Frazer Pearce / Director: Norman J. Warren / Producer: Hayden Pearce|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 90 mins|
|While on holiday six young friends (3 couples) fall foul of some funfair roustabouts and they take to their sailboat to escape them. They run aground on some rocks near an offshore island and have to swim for it when their boat sinks. Stranded on the island they look around for habitation and are relieved to soon find a hotel.
Strangely however the Grand Island Hotel is empty and decked out for a New Year party to ring in the year of 1960 - even though it is the middle of summer in the mid-1980s. They assume it must be some sort of retro theme party that is being prepared. They split up to look around and before long strange ghostly things start to happen. Whenever they exit a room anything they moved is reset to its original position and as they explore other nearby houses murderous events occur as inanimate objects turn deadly with a life of their own. Even the dead don't stay that way as the once-dead return with murderous intent.
A television is showing a discussion programme as if it is really the eve of 1960 with experts arguing the pros and cons of a new radar stealth system that is about to be tested which uses an experimental light bending technology that one proponent is arguing presents a serious danger to the fabric of time.
The six friends succumb in turn to the island's many supernatural perils until just two remain alive - Rick and Carol. They find some plane wreckage and discover it was the experimental anti-radar aircraft which crash landed on this very island around midnight on New Year's Eve 1959 and its stealth generator has suspended time here ever since creating mayhem to the nature of time and matter. The partygoers from that time were trapped and are all now zombie like people who can never escape. Rick and Carol are told they will never be able to leave either - but they are determined to prove otherwise and when they find an abandoned boat they make a last desperate attempt to get away. But the island will not let them and eventually even they fall victim to its deadly dangers and join the others in their undead state of existence.
|Starring:||Mark Powley (as Rick), Nikki Brooks (as Janet), Suzy Aitchison (as Lesley), Julian Ronnie (as Tom), Colin Heywood (as Spud), Catherine Roman (as Carol, American girl)|
|Featuring:||Val Graham (as Housemaid), Steve Emerson, Steve Wilsher and Jon Glentoran (as Three funfair workers)|
|Starlets:||Jenny Bayliss (Madame Zelda, funfair fortune teller), Victoria Smith (as Girl in 1960s prologue)|
|Writers: Michelangelo Antonioni, Tonino Guerra / Director: Michelangelo Antonioni / Producer: Carlo Ponti|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|A successful London photographer called Thomas makes his living with female fashion photography - although people-skills are not high on his list of talents as he treats his models very strictly ordering them about and shouting at them if they don't do things properly. We learn that he resents this part of his job but it is a lucrative necessity which allows him to indulge in his passion for taking "worthy" photographs showing the hardship in ordinary people's lives. He is currently compiling a book of his lifestyle photographs but needs a few more pieces to round it off.
While waiting for an appointment he takes a stroll in a park and idly takes some snapshots of the natural world around him and he spots a carefree courting couple walking holding hands and kissing and he starts taking candid snaps of them for a possible upbeat end-piece to his book of otherwise somewhat grim photographs. The woman sees him and rushes over complaining bitterly at his intrusion and demands the film - he tells her he's only doing his job but if it matters so much to her he'll send them to her - she rushes away unhappy but without giving him an address.
Later when he gets back to his studio she is waiting and although he cannot understand how she traced him he lets her in and they get talking. He gives her an undeveloped film, but on an impulse he gives her the wrong cartridge and keeps the one he took in the park. After she has gone he develops the film and blows some up to poster size displaying them on his walls to consider their potential. He spots something curious in one shot that he didn't notice while snapping away - the woman's eyeline indicates her looking towards the bushes and he follows her direction and notices a dark shape in the bushes that can't be properly made out. He continues to enlarge that section of the picture until he can make it out as a shadowy figure of a man holding a gun.
He thinks he may have saved someone's life by his presence and that the gunman didn't carry through with his intentions but further inspection shows that on the ground there is an unusual shape which even at maximum enlargement cannot be resolved sufficiently to clearly identify it. That evening he goes back to the park and finds a body of a man laying beside the bushes. He has uncovered a murder but he doesn't know what to do - he did not bring his camera with him and when he goes back to his studio all his enlargements and the negatives have been stolen. And next morning when he goes back to the park he finds that the body has been removed. So both he (and the viewer) are left none-the-wiser as to who any of the parties involved were - who the victim or killer were, who stole the photos, who the woman or her lover were and whether they were involved in the killing somehow or just an innocent couple in an adulterous relationship that she didn't want being discovered.
|Starring:||David Hemmings (as Thomas, the photographer), Vanessa Redgrave (as Jane, the woman in the park)|
|Featuring:||Peter Bowles (as Ron, Thomas' agent), Sarah Miles (as Patricia, Bill's girlfriend), John Castle (as Bill, a painter and friend of Thomas)|
|Starlets:||Jane Birkin (as hopeful blonde model), Gillian Hills (as hopeful brunette model), Verushka (model), Susan Broderick (Antique shop owner, uncredited), Tsai Chin (Thomas' receptionist, uncredited)|
|Although there is a still publicity photo showing Vanessa Redgrave fully topless from the scene she has with David Hemmings in his studio - in the actual film the framing of the shot is a much tighter head and shoulders only and nothing revealing is seen.|
|Writers: Peter Welbeck, Massimo Dallamano, Marcello Coscia / Director: Massimo Dallamano / Producer: Harry Alan Towers|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Annie is a young French girl who has completed her education at one of the finest finishing schools in Europe and is being taken back by the man she calls her father. In fact Michael is her "sugar daddy" whom she has known since she was 13 when he took her in after she ran away from her drug-addicted parents. Michael is a rich middle-aged banker and has funded her education and lifestyle hoping her gratitude to him would develop into a full sexual relationship now that she is old enough.
Michael takes Annie with him to Hong Kong where he has some business matters and because of the age difference Annie is pretending to be Michael's daughter. On the plane over they meet a young well-off British woman called Linda who lives in Hong Kong with her Italian husband Angelo. Linda extends an invitation for them to visit their home and Annie is keen to make new friends but Michael is becoming protective of his interests and wants to shield Annie's contact with other people so that she will stay devoted and dependent upon him. Annie does not feel resentful towards Michael as he did genuinely help her and has always been kind and gentle but she is beginning to feel trapped by her dependence on him and wants to meet other people.
They meet Linda again by chance at a restaurant where Michael is having a business meeting and Linda invites Annie to a party and since Michael is only supposed to be her father he is unable to provide any good reason to refuse the others well-meaning intent to take Annie off his hands for a while so he can get on with his business. Linda's friends are the Hong Kong European-set and are all very sexually liberated and into open relationships. Annie's good looks make her the talk of the party amongst the men when she innocently lets slip she is still a virgin and the women take wagers of which of their husbands will be the first to "bag" her.
Later on back at the hotel Michael is arrested for currency fraud and Annie is left to fend for herself with no money of her own. She calls upon Linda and Angelo and they are only too happy to let her stay with them at their villa. Linda really likes Annie's sweet untouched innocence and they become best friends over the coming days. This develops into a sexual thing as Linda becomes infatuated with their houseguest. Annie is happy to experiment with a woman but really yearns for a man.
In pursuit of her womanly desires Annie seduces one of Linda and Angelo's artistic friends called Philip and they run off together and make plans for a future. They visit a Buddhist temple where Annie watches the monks intrigued by their simple lifestyle. Linda becomes irate at the loss of her playmate so her husband Angelo agrees to find her. Once he does he pays Philip off handsomely to abandon Annie and then takes the jilted girl back to the villa. Angelo reckons that Annie needs more of an inducement to stick around and since she clearly needs a man as well Angelo and Linda agree that they will share Annie and both sleep with her alternately.
Annie knows what they are up to but lets things play out because it currently suits her to stay around. A while later Annie takes up the offer of one of the couple's friends to feature as a damsel in distress in a kung-fu movie. She falls for the lead actor and they decide to run off together. Once again Linda and Angelo pull some strings to get Annie back and provide her with additional sexual inducements to stay by introducing another man for her to have an affair with.
However Annie has become drawn to the life of the Buddhist monks and she gets talking to a female monk called Sarah who provides her with pearls of wisdom in response to Annie's disappointment at being treated by everyone as if she was an object for their pleasure. Sarah tells her she will only be an object if she behaves like one and she should learn to become master of her own life and start to be the user and not the used.
With this motivational backing Annie returns to the couple's villa and reckons that since they have been treating her like a whore she should receive a fair backdated prostitute's fee for the number of times they have both had her and removes it from their kitty - then she goes to the airport and leaves the country to properly start her adult life wherever that may be.
|Comment: Although we know Annie was 13 when she met Michael it is not clear how long ago that was. In the movie she looks to be in the range of 17-21. The actress herself was about 20 at the time.|
|Starring:||Annie Belle (as Annie), Felicity Devonshire (as Linda), Ciro Ippolito (as Angelo, Linda's husband), Charles Fawcett (as Michael, Annie's sugar daddy)|
|Featuring:||Al Cliver (as Philip, artist), Maria Rohm (as Susan, girlfriend of Philip), Linda Ho (as Genevieve, friend of Philip and Susan), Tim Street (as Harry, lawyer and Linda's lover), Ted Thomas (as George, film director), Chan Yiu Lan (as Chen, Kung fu movie star), Ines Pellegrini (as Sarah, Buddhist monk), Rik Battaglia (as Police Superintendent), Linda Slade (as Caroline, girlfriend of Philip or George)|
|From an original story by Annie Belle|
|The film is an Italian/UK co production although the only British acting involvement was Felicity Devonshire who was a familiar face in British sex-comedy type films at the time - appearing here in what may well have been her biggest role. The version reviewed was in English with full English credits (job titles, etc) - the original Italian title of the film is La Fine dell'innocenza.|
|Writer/Director: Andrew Sinclair / Producers: Kent Walwin, John Trent|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 82 mins|
|Beate Krueg is a young nanny who comes to work for Lord Gregory who owns a stately home which is a top tourist attraction. Gregory has a very relaxed attitude with his staff and wants them to be his friends rather than servants. Gregory does not concern himself with the running of the estate and leaves everything to his butler Tom whom he finds indispensable.
Tom is a common man with an arrogant streak to him and Beate takes a dislike to him and disapproves of the disdain he shows for his so-called master - but the household ticks along quite well as far as Gregory is concerned leaving him free to devote his time to artistically painting the walls. Gregory's wife Lily is a professional singer and rarely at home and Gregory has a live-in mistress called Carlotta who shares his bed when Lily is away - Lily knows about and accepts the arrangement.
Beate is caring for Gregory's three young toddler-age children and when Gregory notices bruises on their bodies he becomes concerned and blames her for injuring them. She denies any mistreatment and says that she thinks it may have been Tom as he is not the man Gregory thinks he is. But Gregory will hear nothing bad spoken of his right hand man. Tom and Lily do not get on and when she is at home she is determined to put him more in his place. She is incredulous when he openly declares that the house is more his than hers - and although she and her husband may own it - it is he, Tom, who truly possesses it. He runs it and keeps things working - she is hardly ever here and Gregory is little more than the decorator.
Tom seems to have some special influences and certain members of the household have red-tinged visions of a ritualistic ceremony in which he is the high priest and involved in the sacrifice of one of the children. It is not very clear if these events are just imaginary visions or something that is really happening.
Tom steps up the level of his influence on Gregory using threats of violence and Gregory becomes bedridden after witnessing the entire vision which concludes with him hurling himself from the roof. At the end Tom has abandoned all pretence of being servile and begins openly acting the part of the lord and even Lily is now treating Tom as her own husband.
|Comment: Unfortunately the film is a bit incoherent and it's very hard to work out what is going on or why some events take the turns they do.|
|Starring:||Oliver Reed (as Tom, the butler). Derek Jacobi (as Lord Gregory), Fiona Lewis (as Lily, Gregory's wife), Meg Wynn Owen (as Beate, the nanny), Anna Gaël (as Carlotta, Gregory's mistress)|
|Familiar Faces:||Richard Davies (as Safari Park Ranger)|
|Based on the novel The Carry-Cot by Alexander Thynne|
|Writers: David Pursall, Jack Seddon, Gerald Hanley / Director: John Guillermin / Producer: Christian Ferry|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 146 mins|
|Set during the First World War on the German side. In 1916 infantryman Bruno Stachel is in the trenches and decides he wants better and starts training to become a pilot in the new elite Air Corps. In 1918 he is fully trained and joins a squadron stationed in France as a lieutenant. Unlike most of his fellow officers who have aristocratic backgrounds, he is from an ordinary German family and therefore feels he has a lot to prove.
Stachel's squadron fly the outdated Pfalz biplanes which are kept airworthy only by the skill of the ground mechanics. But Stachel soon becomes a master of his aircraft and one of the best in his squadron at bettering enemy aircraft in dogfights. The commanding officer Colonel Otto Heidemann keeps a tally of their kills and any pilot who reaches twenty is eligible to be awarded Germany's highest bravery award - The Blue Max. This is what Stachel aspires to achieve beyond all else and it becomes his driving ambition although the odds are against it in the deadly kill-or-be-killed environment of the skyways. As the weeks and months go on he gradually notches up his kills with a ruthless determination to reach that elusive target which overrides all other considerations. He sometimes even defies mission orders to go after enemy aircraft which Heidemann finds irritating.
Stachel's impressive record is noticed at high command by General Count von Klugermann and he decides to use Stachel's accomplishments as propaganda to show the German people what an ordinary man to whom they can relate can achieve. Von Klugermann's campaign boosts Stachel into a national hero and consequently Heidemann's requests that Stachel be disciplined for his occasional reckless disregard of orders is vetoed.
During this time Stachel comes to meet von Klugermann's much younger wife, Countess Kaeti. She is very attracted to him and an affair ensues. During some pillow talk Stachel confides that he once claimed two kills that were actually made by a fellow flyer who went on to die in a reckless flying stunt before getting back to base.
The war is going badly for Germany and orders are given that to preserve assets aircraft should only be used for attacking enemy troops and should not be needlessly risked engaging enemy planes unless attacked by them first. Stachel's squadron has just attacked an allied troop convoy to devastating effect but on the way back Stachel spots a distant squadron of enemy fighters who have not spotted his formation and he moves to engage. As a result half his squadron is destroyed but Stachel at last reaches his target of twenty kills. Heidemann wants to court martial him but again von Klugermann decides that it would not be in the interests of the war effort to have a national hero punished. Instead von Klugermann decides that Stachel shall be given the honour of test flying Germany's new experimental single-winged monoplane whose anticipated speed and manoeuvrability may turn things around for Germany.
On the day before the test flight Stachel is awarded his Blue Max medal in an official ceremony and that evening Countess Kaeti and Stachel have another surreptitious assignation and she tells him she is leaving Germany for Switzerland and wants him to come with her - she can secure him a safe posting. But he declines because he cannot bear the thought of having to give up the thrill of flying. This spurning choice makes Kaeti furious and she storms out.
Next day at the airfield excited dignitaries have gathered to witness the important test flight. But before things get underway von Klugermann receives two phone calls - one to tell him that further laboratory tests have shown that the monoplane wings might not be strong enough to cope with unusual stresses. And the other call is from the Field Marshall's office to advise that Kaeti has informed him that two of Stachel's twenty kills were falsely claimed (Kaeti's ire at Stachel's rejection of her had caused her to take her revenge and break his lover's confidence). As a result the Field Marshal has ordered that Stachel undergo a court of enquiry into his conduct.
Public disgrace is the last thing that von Klugermann wants for his "hero" and so makes a fateful decision. Without telling Stachel about either call he tells him to take up the monoplane and really put it through its paces. Stachel proudly flies the plane and proceeds to show off the full range of his aerobatic skills - but during a diving loop the wings break and Stachel crashes and dies. Von Klugermann knew that the stress of the manoeuvres he suggested would probably exceed the aircraft's structural tolerance - in fact he had been counting on it. With Stachel's good character soon to be sullied he was of more value to him now as a brave German dying heroically who could be publicly mourned with his reputation still intact.
|Starring:||George Peppard (as Lt. Bruno Stachel), James Mason (as General Count von Klugermann, Willi's uncle), Ursula Andress (as Countess Kaeti von Klugermann, general's wife), Jeremy Kemp (as Willi von Klugermann, squadron's best pilot), Karl Michael Vogler (as Colonel Otto Heidemann, squadron commander)|
|Featuring:||Anton Diffring (as Holbach, Count's aide), Harry Towb (as Kettering), Peter Woodthorpe (as Corporal Rupp), Derren Nesbitt (as Fabian, pilot), Loni Von Friedl (as Elfi Heidemann, Otto's wife)|
|Based on the novel by Jack D. Hunter|
|Writer: David R. Schwartz / Director: Robert Parrish / Producers: Elliott Kastner, Jerry Gershwin|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Set in Barcelona, Spain. Olimpia Segura is the type of exquisite young woman for whom men would do anything. Olimpia knowingly and ruthlessly exploits this fact and dallies with her many rich suitors manipulating them at will to service her avarice. She extracts expensive gifts and favours from them, which they are more than willing to provide, in return for the possibility of spending a bit more time in her alluring company. Many men have tried to tame and claim her but all have failed to have her fall in love with them as they love her. And once she has wrung from them all their usefulness they are discarded with their dreams of paradise shattered.
Arriving anew in Barcelona is Juan Bautista, a singing matador looking to become a celebrity superstar. Juan has an innate belief in his talent and knows he needs only an opportunity to prove it. However he finds that first step hard to accomplish because no one seems to be interested in giving him a chance. He badgers local theatre impresario Francisco Carbonell for a trial booking but to no avail. Juan persists with such an insufferably civil and reasonable onslaught that eventually Carbonell decides to relent and agree to give Juan a chance - but only if he successfully completes a challenge first. The challenge Carbonell decides upon is to tame the notorious Olimpia Segura and spend a night alone with her in her bedroom. Carbonell knows he has set the man an impossible task and once he has failed hopefully that will be an end to the matter and the matador will stop pestering him.
Juan is a wily and thoughtful man who knows what kind of well-heeled influential men Olimpia normally associates with and is aware he does not measure up. So he instigates contact with her pretending to be a messenger from a rich Count who wishes to meet her and is willing to expend a large amount of money for the privilege. Olimpia is intrigued and her eyes light up at the mention of so much money for simply meeting this Count. Juan himself adopts an amiable and respectful manner and ingratiates himself into her company while he (supposedly) makes the arrangements. Of course the Count never shows up but Juan is on hand to offer his "employer's" sincere apologies and keep Olimpia sweet.
This goes on for a few days and all the time without realising it Olimpia has grown to like the modest and unassuming messenger whose infuriation at his own boss's thoughtlessness matches her own. She realises she is falling for the quietly noble man who has no material wealth but a kind and generous nature and she invites him to her bed. Juan wins his challenge.
The next morning Olimpia discovers that she has been tricked and the whole thing was an elaborate charade and the Count never even existed. She is furious and forces Juan to take a bath in blue dye as revenge. Juan takes the punishment with good grace and then goes to Carbonell to collect on their wager. The impresario is impressed by the matador's amazing accomplishment and is prepared to honour his agreement but first wants to know all the details of his night of passion with the famed siren. But Juan's honour will not allow him to indulge the man's inquisitiveness and so he declines the theatre opportunity and moves on to seek other roads to fame and fortune.
Olimpia quickly recovers from her experience and is soon back to her old ways. And Juan becomes a sensation elsewhere now with the gimmick of being the only blue singing matador.
|Starring:||Peter Sellers (as Juan Bautista, matador), Britt Ekland (as Olimpia Segura), Adolfo Celi (as Francisco Carbonell, impresario)|
|Featuring:||Hattie Jacques (as Trinity Martinez, Olimpia's housekeeper), Ferdy Mayne (as Silvestre Flores, car show room manager, loves Olimpia), Kenneth Griffith (as Pepe Gamazo, journalist, loves Olimpia), John Wells (as Pompadour Major Domo, host at luxury hotel), Alfredo Lettieri (as Eugenio Gomez, cafeteria owner), Rossano Brazzi (as Carlos Matabosch, rich businessman), Marne Maitland (as Luis Castillo, furrier salon owner)|
|Based on the play The Bobo by David R. Schwartz and the novel Olimpia by Burt Cole|
|Writer/Director: Andy Milligan / Producer: Cinemedia Films|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 82 mins|
|Reverend Alexander Algernon Ford and his mute wife Alica have returned to England where they have re-opened the disused All Souls Church near Highgate Cemetery and taken up a lease on the neighbouring Carfax Abbey. The Reverend has been away a long time and so one of his first undertakings is to introduce himself to other members of the Ford family who live in the area. The Reverend is an expert on his family's history which dates back to 98BC and has always been local to this area of London.
Susan Ford and her boyfriend Paul have been together for two years. She is now pregnant and they are planning upon getting married. When she receives a letter from Reverend Ford introducing himself she decides to meet him and perhaps ask him if he will officiate at their wedding. Susan goes to Carfax Abbey and there she falls into the Reverend's carefully set trap.
The Reverend and his wife are in fact immortal vampires and have lived for many centuries. Reverend Ford is head of the Ford clan of vampires who have historically always been a strong line. But in the modern world the family purity is dissipating though the unregulated intermarriage of unindoctrinated family members unaware of their ancestral heritage. The Reverend has devised a plan to replenish the family bloodline. He is intending to expropriate Susan's baby and nurture it to adulthood and then indoctrinate it into the undead way. Susan will then be held captive for use as breeding stock and made to sire more sons and daughters by carefully selected men.
The Reverend takes medication to enable him to live in the daytime but he always feels hungry for blood and undergoes daily blood transfusions taken from humans by his three ghoulish blue-skinned female acolytes. He also drinks from Susan's neck in an uncontrollable moment of bloodlust.
The day after Susan's abduction her fiancé Paul comes to the abbey looking for her. But he is told by the Reverend that she only stayed a short time yesterday and then left. But a conscience-stricken maid tells Paul that Susan is being held prisoner in an upstairs bedroom and helps him to get into the abbey and up to Susan's room. However, the Reverend was ready and with the help of his hunchback servant Spool captures Paul as well and locks him in with Susan.
Meanwhile the Reverend has captured another Ford family member called Candace Ford and intends to use her to provide blood transfusions to Susan during her birthing period. But Candace proves to be unwilling to cooperate and makes several attempts to escape so the Reverend decides upon a different use for her...
The time of the annual gathering of the Ford clan has arrived and the dead of Highgate cemetery arise and feast upon the meat of the sacrificed Candace. The Reverend has seen the folly and impracticality of his plan and tells the assembly that as head of the British branch of the clan he has decided that they must leave England and regrettably abandon two thousand years of rich heritage. Modern London is no place for a vampire and the risk of discovery increases all the time. He has made arrangements that they will merge with the Ford family in America who are still strong. There the British Fords can flourish and propagate their numbers. The entire clan leave that night with immediate effect.
Susan wakes to finds the abbey deserted. She sees Paul beside her and feels an intense hunger and bites and feeds from him. The Reverend's bite had transformed her into one of his kind and now she has done the same to her lover. They glory in their new state and relish the fact that the abbey is now all theirs.
|Starring:||Gavin Reed (as Reverend Alexander Algernon Ford), Jackie Skarvellis (as Susan Ford), Richmond Ross (as Paul Donati, Susan's fiancé), Berwick Kaler (as Spool, reverend's servant)|
|Featuring:||Susan Heard (as Alica Ford, reverend's mute wife), Emma Jones (as Candace Ford, relation), Colin Gordon and Susan Clark (as Graham and Anna Ford, relations), Judith Heard (as Elizabeth, undead, opponent of Reverend's plans at gathering), Felicity Sentence (as Jessie, reverend's maid), Victor Parish (as Cemetery Attendant)|
|Writers: Mike St Clair (and Peter Marcus) / Director: Gerry Levy / Producer: Tony Tenser|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 86 mins|
|During a test jump for a new type of parachute developed by civilian contractor Jim Radford the skydivers involved literally vanish in mid-air leaving the empty chutes to drift down by themselves. General Armstrong in command of NATO Command Research HQ orders an investigation when he discovers that it was not an isolated incident and eleven military skydivers within a radius of seventy miles have also gone missing. To avoid panic it is decided that an expert civilian investigator should be used and so Jim Radford calls in a friend of his called Bob Megan who is a chain-smoking, womanising, aeronautical trouble-shooter. On his first night in the area Jim stays in a beachside hotel and on the beach there that evening he meets a mysterious woman called Lorna and they feel an instant attraction to one another although before he manages to take things too far she panics and makes a hasty exit.
Next day Bob and Jim start the investigation properly and visit the Command Research HQ science lab headed by the Director of Army Space Research Dr Matthews who is assisted by the brilliant and beautiful Dr Julie Slade whom Bob finds instantly appealing. The science team's findings are not all that helpful with the report on the empty chutes that Matthews prepared not indicating anything remarkable about them and the only thing that the missing men had in common were that they were all highly skilled and had undergone space conditioning training.
Some time later one of the missing men turns up dead and in the absence of Dr Matthews, Bob asks Julie to do an immediate analysis. The man's body is found to have been chemically transformed as if to make it more suitable to a different environment - and a Geiger counter shows he had been exposed to massive doses of radiation. Later on when they think to check for similar doses on the empty chutes they find all the parachute equipment has all been stolen. But fortunately Bob still has a harness buckle he found on the airstrip and when they test it that too is found to be radioactive meaning that all the missing equipment must have been affected as well - and yet Matthews had made no mention of such an important finding in his report.
Bob makes a test jump and he briefly vanishes in mid-air but then reappears and lands safely although he is weakened by the ordeal. He returns to his hotel and sends Julie to Matthews' house to check up on him because he hasn't been seen for many hours. What Julie finds in Matthews' basement causes her to scream and pass out. At the beach Bob meets Lorna again and when she leaves he follows her and although he loses sight of her he finds himself at a house which turns out to be where Dr Matthews lives. Bob goes inside and finds Julie unconscious in the basement and the dead body of Matthews. But then another Dr Matthews is standing there holding a futuristic looking gun on them.
Matthews tells them he is an alien called Marthus from the planet Mygon who has replaced the real Matthews. He had to establish himself in a position where he could select suitable candidates for abduction. His planet is in a desperate situation suffering from a plague that has almost wiped out the whole population and they needed the help of men from Earth who were properly trained for different environments. The men are perfectly safe and are currently being held in suspended animation in the next room. Marthus regrets that he must now kill Bob and Julie because they know too much but his planet is desperate with only a predicted 10-20 years to go before everyone has perished. But from the shadows Lorna's voice is heard - she has become affected by the Earth sentiment called love and does not wish to do any further harm to the Earth people so she stuns Marthus when he tries to fire on the humans. Lorna agrees to release the captured skydivers and Bob promises that if she returns in a year's time he will have put together a team who will be willing to go to their planet voluntarily to help them - and Lorna then leaves in her spaceship.
|Starring:||Patrick Allen (as Bob Megan), George Sanders (as General Armstrong), Maurice Evans (as Dr Matthews), Neil Connery (as Jim Radford), Hilary Dwyer (as Julie Slade)|
|Featuring:||Allan Cuthbertson (as Hindesmith, ministerial aide), Robert Flemyng (as Wing Commander Baldwin), Lorna Wilde (as Lorna), Michael Culver (as Lieutenant Bailes), Shelagh Fraser (as Mrs Thatcher, Hotel landlady)|
|Starlets:||Sally Faulkner (as Joanna Woods, Hindesmith's secretary), Carol Hawkins (Bob's first girlfriend, credited as Carolanne Hawkings), Wanda Moore (as Hindesmith's new secretary)|
|Lorna Wilde receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Writer: (see below) / Director: Roy Battersby / Producer: Tony Garnett|
|Type: Documentary||Running Time: 105 mins|
|Fundamentally a documentary about the inner workings of the human body but presented in a rather avant-garde way that veers off the topic into areas of social commentary by including sequences of factory workers, mental hospital patients and old people's homes residents.
When it concentrates on the expected core topic it makes use of special cameras to get inside the human body and show how some of the internal organs function; also moving x-rays, heat sensitive cameras and microscopic images. Some of the topics covered include the senses, respiratory system and reproductive process - a couple are seen having sex and there is a birthing sequence shown. A group of project volunteers regularly appear throughout the film being shown participating in group discussions or being taught interesting facts.
There is no cohesive structure or uniform style to the way the information is presented as it veers from topic to topic in a fairly random seeming way. The voiceovers of Vanessa Redgrave and Frank Finlay are disjointedly delivered at times and rather than being there to convey useful detail they mainly read pieces of poetry. There is also a liberal use of melodic pop tunes used to accompany off-topic sequences.
|Featuring:||Vanessa Redgrave and Frank Finlay (Voices)|
(Other "credited" parts were volunteers of various ages who were seen taking part in group activities (some of which included nudity) and having discussions [their accents were clearly all British] - although credited, names were only occasionally heard being used for some if they came up in conversations - this enables some to be identified although none of them went on to do anything in the acting or entertainment world that makes it worth listing their names here)
|Suggested by the book The Body by Anthony Smith. Commentary written by Adrian Mitchell. Research and Preparation by Roy Battersby and Jane Harris. Features extracts from the writings of William Blake.|
|Writer: Tennessee Williams (based on his own play) / Director: Joseph Losey / Producers: John Heyman, Norman Priggen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 112 mins|
|Flora Goforth is a rich widow who has built a legendary social reputation for herself through a string of high-profile marriages and has accumulated vast wealth in the process. Now in her middle-years she has gone into social reclusion to live alone in a magnificent villa on a small Italian island with just her servile staff for company. Flora has become neurotically obsessed with her own mortality. Her health is declining and she takes many forms of medication and treatment to control her many ailments and panic attacks. She is paranoid about her personal security and keeps her villa heavily guarded to keep away unwanted visitors.
Flora spends her days dictating the memoirs of her eventful life recalling relationships with rich tycoons and royalty. Her secretary Miss Black has no liking for her short-tempered employer and is the only one who has the gumption to occasionally stand up to her pervasive irascibility.
One day an uninvited visitor arrives called Chris Flanders claiming to be taking Flora up on a long-standing invitation from some long-forgotten party. Flora cannot recall the man but becomes worrisomely intrigued about his purpose. Flora's only remaining friend from the nearby island of Capri warns her that Flanders is a professional freeloader with an unfortunate reputation for turning up at people's homes shortly before their death - he has been dubbed "The Angel of Death".
Flanders has an ingratiating manner and Flora allows him to stay. She is morbidly curious about how he earned his reputation and he tells her he has found his vocation soothing the sick and dying through their final few days and receiving the gifts they no longer need in return. With her glory days behind her Flora admits to feeling immense emptiness as her decline hastens.
Flora dies later that day in Flanders comforting arms and he takes some of her jewellery and departs to move on to his next appointment.
|Starring:||Elizabeth Taylor (as Flora Goforth), Richard Burton (as Chris Flanders), Joanna Shimkus (as Miss Black, Flora's secretary)|
|Featuring:||Noel Coward (as Flora's neighbour), Michael Dunn (as Rudi, security chief)|
|The "Boom" of the title refers to a poetic idiom that Flanders uses to describe the shock a person feels at each moment of still being alive|
|Writer: Gerald L.C. Copley / Director: James Hill / Producers: Sam Jaffe, Paul Radin|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Wildlife enthusiasts Joy and George Adamson live in Kenya where George is employed as a senior game warden with the job of dealing with any predators that become a threat to human communities. When he is sent to kill a lion that has become a man-eater he is forced to also kill the lioness when she attacks to defend her cubs. George brings the three helpless lion cubs home to his ranch so that Joy can rear them. The smallest of these Joy names Elsa and she enjoys seeing how the young cubs grow and play together. Joy becomes very attached to Elsa and develops a special bond with her. Eventually however the cubs become too big for the Adamsons to cope with and because they are now tame they cannot be reintroduced to the wild and so an arrangement is made to send them to a zoo in Holland. Joy is extremely upset to be losing Elsa and so eventually George relents and lets her keep the young lioness as a family pet - sending just the other two away.
Over the months that follow the adolescent Elsa becomes Joy's ever-present companion and a stable-fixture of the Adamson household. Elsa is not kept locked up and has freedom to roam but always chooses to remain with the Adamsons. Elsa soon becomes fully mature and although she has no killing instinct she enjoys playfully chasing prey-animals. But the other animals don't know she is just playing and Elsa causes an elephant stampede which devastates a nearby village.
Joy realises that they cannot keep Elsa forever but she is too tame to release back into the wild. She has not learnt how to hunt and kill prey and would soon die if left to fend for herself. However Joy cannot stand the thought of Elsa going to a zoo - she was born free so she should be allowed to live free. She persuades George to help try to teach Elsa how to live in the wild. The Adamsons have three months to try before they must return to England for a compulsory yearlong re-acclimatisation break as part of their work contract.
Joy and George take Elsa to another reserve hundreds of miles away and start leaving her overnight, but she simply waits for them to return; they try to pair her with a lone lion without success because she does not know the social conventions of her own kind. After several months of failure to make any notable headway they decide that as a make or break measure they must leave her alone for a week. But when they return they find Elsa weak with starvation having eaten nothing and they have to concede that what they are doing is cruel and Elsa will never learn to be self-sufficient. After Elsa has recovered they decide to give it one last try at a different reserve and finally Elsa seems to understand what is required when she kills and eats a warthog. And after this first success she repeats it. The Adamsons at last feel Elsa is ready and they can leave her with a fair degree of confidence that she knows enough to survive.
The Adamsons go away for their yearlong break and when they return they come back to the same spot and spend a week looking for Elsa. They have no luck and fear the worst until the final day before they must return to their jobs when the lioness finds them and comes to their camp with three cubs in tow demonstrating how she has integrated with her own species. Elsa remembers Joy and George and the special bond they had and allows them to pet her. Joy is overjoyed to see her again and know that she has managed to survive and thrive. Elsa returns to her mate with her cubs and remains in the wild. The story ends there but as Joy's voiceover tells us they continued to see her over the years and she remained their special friend.
|Starring:||Virginia McKenna (as Joy Adamson), Bill Travers (as George Adamson)|
|Featuring:||Geoffrey Keen (as Kendall, District Commissioner), Peter Lukoye (as Nuru, houseman), Omar Chambati (as Makkede, game scout)|
|This was a true story based on the book by Joy Adamson|
|There was a follow-up film called Living Free (1972) which starred a recast Nigel Davenport and Susan Hampshire as the Adamsons. Geoffrey Keen and Peter Lukoye resumed their roles.|
|American television made a 13-episode adventure series based on the story of George and Joy Adamson - called "Born Free" in 1974 starring Gary Collins and Diana Muldaur as the Adamsons. Peter Lukoye continued to play the part of Nuru as he had in both films|
|Director/Producer: Ringo Starr|
|Type: Music||Running Time: 61 mins|
|A presentation of concert performances by top-selling glam rock pop group T-Rex fronted by lead singer Marc Bolan. The songs are played out in full without any frills and are often longer concert versions. There are also a couple of specially staged songs shot on location like pop videos - all interspersed with occasional light-hearted linking scenes.
It is not a documentary with narration or interviews or attempts to chart the history of the band or portray any behind-the-scenes glimpses into the band's life of the road. It was made and released while T-Rex were still at the height of their fame and is not a retrospective release following Marc Bolan's death in 1977.
|Starring:||Marc Bolan and T-Rex|
Ringo Starr (guest drummer), Elton John (guest pianist)
|Familiar Faces:||Geoffrey Bayldon (as Waiter in location shoot)|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Ken Russell|
|Type: Musical||Running Time: 138 mins|
|It is London in the 1920s and Polly Browne is a shy young Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) in a Musical Theatre Company performing a production of The Boy Friend. Her job is mainly to be everyone's dogsbody fetching and carrying for the stars of the show. Polly swoons after Tony the handsome leading man who is very charming but shows no interest in her with all the young vibrant chorus girls around to flatter his ego.
Leading lady Rita is late arriving for the day's matinee performance but since her initial stage entrance occurs later the director decides to start the performance hoping she'll show up in time to go on. But after things have begun Rita calls to say she has sprained her ankle and is in hospital. The director is desperate and tells Polly she must go on and play Rita's role since part of her ASM duties are to understudy every part - although she's never been called upon to do so before now. Polly is not very good although she does her best and the cast help her as best they can. But then to make matters worse a famous film director chooses that performance to arrive late and unannounced scouting for performers in his next musical extravaganza.
Polly's role requires her to be romantic with Tony and for him to return the affection and Polly gets flustered with his attention but dismayed when she finds he is only acting and off-stage still fancies the chorus girls.
The cast play up to the film director hoping to make a good impression and get a break - but at the end it transpires that he was there to watch his long lost son perform in one of the smaller roles and have an emotional reunion with him. He was however quite charmed by Polly's hopeless performance and offers her a chance to come to America but she decides that acting isn't for her.
|Comment: The whole film takes place during one performance of the musical - the underlying musical's basic story is of a young man and woman who meet and fancy each other. They are both the children of rich families but, not realising that the other is also wealthy, pretend to be mere servants in their respective households so as not to scare the other off owing to insurmountable class differences.|
|Starring:||Twiggy (as Polly Browne), Christopher Gable (as Tony Brockhurst, romantic lead), Max Adrian (as Mr Max, theatre company director), Vladek Sheybal (De Thrill, VIP film director)|
|Featuring:||(Star Actors) Bryan Pringle (as Percy Parkhill), Moyra Fraser (as Moyra Parkhill)|
(Company Actors) Murray Melvin (as Alphonse), Tommy Tune (as Tommy, Maisie's boyfriend), Brian Murphy (as Peter), Graham Armitage (as Michael), Catherine Willmer (as Catherine, Mr Max's wife)
(Chorus Girls) Barbara Windsor (as Rosie), Antonia Ellis (as Maisie), Georgina Hale (as Fay), Caryl Little (as Dulcie), Sally Bryant (as Nancy)
|Familiar Faces:||Glenda Jackson (as Rita, actress whom Polly has to replace, [uncredited appearance])|
|Writer/Director: Ralph Lawrence Marsden / Producer: Willy Roe|
|Type: Sex||Running Time: 52 mins|
|Six young people live in separate rooms in a houseflat in Hampstead, London, none of whom have current sexual partners. There is not much of a story going on - instead we see little incidents in each of their days and get to know a little bit about them indicating they are all living lonely solitary lives and in need of company but with no significant contact between themselves barring the occasional greeting in a hallway.
Leroy in flat 1 is a black man who has just received a break up letter from his girlfriend; Isla in flat 2 is a German student whose boyfriend is far away; Jat in flat 3 is a gay man who has fantasies about a hunky tennis player; Lily in flat 4 is an Indian woman who has sexual fantasies while looking at a poster on her wall of a pop star; Jenny in flat 5 is a prim and tidy woman with no expectations of love; and Don in flat 6 is an American student who window-shops in Soho and contemplates using a prostitute for some company.
Before long however they all start pairing off. Two of the men, Leroy and Jat, get together when Leroy returns Jat's stray kitten and they have gay sex. Two women, Ilsa and Jenny, make a connection when passing each other in the shared bathroom and later have lesbian sex; and Don lends a helping hand to Lily when a pervert follows her home and they too wind up having sex.
Afterwards they all go out for a walk in the park separately in their couples and each has a fantasy of one of the other residents that they would really rather be with - and in a maze they all get separated and meet up again in their new ideal twosomes and each new couple (this time all boy-girl) have sex again in various places.
Finally all six of them get together in the country somewhere and all commune naked sitting swaying in a handholding circle of friendship and then start to have fun in various pleasurable configurations of group sex.
|Comment: Despite possibly sounding rather like a hardcore sex film it actually isn't - bottoms and breasts are all that appear on screen with a few moments of full frontal nudity from the girls in the group scenes at the end. It's a fairly experimental seeming film which is almost entirely dialogue free with the story told in looks and glances between the flatmates and underpinned with a continual music soundtrack of original songs by Clift Ritchard (no, not the famous one with a very similar name).|
|Starring:||Anthony Thomas (as Leroy, Flat 1), Christine Maskelle (as Ilsa, Flat 2), Paul Ong (as Jat, Flat 3), Cherry Patel (as Lily, Flat 4), Helen FitzGerald (as Jenny, Flat 5), Roger Furse (as Don, Flat 6)|
|Only "Isla's" name is ever revealed in the film when she signs her name on a greetings card. None of the other characters are given names - and there are none shown in the end credits (just the actor's names). So it's not entirely clear where they originate from. But since they have been obtained from somewhere and used on IMDB I've run with them.|
|None of the six actors in this appear to have done anything else before or since. But they do appear to be the regular everyday kind of people that they are supposed to be portraying rather than porn stars or model types doing some acting.|
|The actress Helen FitzGerald who appears here is not the same actress with that name who appeared in a few British films in the early to mid 1990s.|
|Writer: Heywood Gould / Director: Franklin J. Schaffner / Producers: Martin Richards, Stanley O'Toole|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 118 mins|
|Set in the present day (1978). An eager young investigator called Barry Kohler is in Paraguay following up on a story about a gathering of known ex-war Nazis and by means of a radio bug he plants in their meeting place he overhears part of a bizarre-sounding plot which will involve the killing of ninety-four seemingly unconnected 65-year-old men in various locations around the world. Barry recognises the main speaker as Dr Joseph Mengele, infamous for his wartime medical experiments. Barry's bug is discovered and the Nazi's send an agent to dispose of him - but before he is killed Barry manages to get a phone call in to Ezra Lieberman in Vienna and tell him the details he overheard.
Lieberman is a well-known Nazi-hunter who has dedicated his life to bringing ex-Nazis to justice. At first he does not take Barry's information too seriously because he is always receiving reports of sightings that turn out to be misinformed. But when he starts hearing a spate of reports of deaths of several men in their 65th year being suddenly killed he starts to take an interest.
He visits two of the bereaved families involved in different counties and is astonished to find that they both have teenage sons that are so identical-looking they could be twins - and then the same with a third family. He discovers all the sons involved were adopted by the families when they were babies.
Lieberman interviews the woman who organised the adoptions in the USA and finds out that she was sent the babies from Brazil with instructions to only place them with families that met with strict criteria concerning the exact age of the husband and wife. Lieberman finds out the name of another family (called Wheelock) with whom she placed a baby and whose father has not yet been killed - Lieberman heads off to warn them.
But Lieberman is too late - the father has just been killed by Dr Mengele who is laying in wait for Lieberman whom he knows is in pursuit. Mengele intends to kill Lieberman but first he proudly boasts the details of his masterplan:- after the war Mengele had continued with his experimentations into genetics and perfected a means of creating clones of a human being using a sample of the person's blood and skin. Just over fourteen years ago he fertilised ninety-four eggs from the same single sample and implanted them into ninety-four different women to gestate. When the babies were born he took them and sent them all over the world to be adopted by families that met with a particular socio-economic background similar to the one that the subject had grown up in. The subject in question was Adolf Hitler who, before he died, had allowed Mengele to take the necessary samples so that one day he might be reborn into an age more appreciative of his views. Hitler's father had died aged 65 hence the need to kill the fathers when they reached that age.
Then the Hitler-clone son of the Wheelock household named Bobby comes home and discovers his dead father - he sets the family's pet Dobermans on Mengele in revenge. Mengele tries to stop the attack by telling the boy who he really is and his noble heritage - the living duplicate of the greatest man in history. But Bobby is so incensed that he gives the dogs the kill order and Mengele dies. (Afterwards Bobby realises that he secretly revelled in wielding that power of life and death).
Lieberman manages to retrieve a list of the names and locations of all the Hitler-clones from Mengele's body but burns it deciding that he does not want to start killing children.
|Starring:||Laurence Olivier (as Ezra Lieberman, Nazi hunter), Gregory Peck (as Dr Josef Mengele), James Mason (as Eduard Seibert, Nazi chief)|
|Featuring:||Lilli Palmer (as Esther Lieberman, Ezra's sister), Steven Guttenberg (as Barry Kohler, young journalist in Paraguay), John Rubinstein (as David Bennett, friend of Barry), Denholm Elliott (as Sidney Beynon, intelligence chief), Rosemary Harris (as Mrs Doring, clone mother), John Dehner (as Henry Wheelock, clone father), Anne Meara (Mrs Curry, clone mother), Michael Gough (as Mr Harrington, clone father), Richard Marner (as Mr Doring, clone father), Prunella Scales (as Mrs Harrington, clone mother), Jeremy Black (as Clones, [Same actor playing all the various clones seen]), Uta Hagen (as Frieda Maloney, adoption agent), Bruno Ganz (as Professor Bruckner, clone specialist)|
|Starlets:||Linda Hayden (as Nancy, lodger at Harrington house)|
|Based on the novel by Ira Levin|
|Jeremy Black receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writers: Val Guest, Sid Green / Director: Val Guest / Producer: Greg Smith|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 87 mins|
|A gang of daring art thieves are at large raiding many valuable collections. No one knows where the gang are based or how they manage to operate undetected. But WE discover that the gang have based themselves in the small seaside town of Little Botham where they receive the stolen goods and prepare them for smuggling abroad.
Little Botham is an idyllic place to live because there has been no recorded crimes for ages. Sergeant Tommy Cannon and Constable Bobby Ball never have any real police work to do, which is fortunate because they are both really bad at spotting anything underhand. Bobby also runs a small supermarket which adjoins their police station and they use the patrol car to make deliveries. Bobby is besotted by Kim who works as a cook for Squire Lloyd and she maintains a friendly relationship with them both. Lloyd is very appreciative of Tommy and Bobby and thinks they do a marvellous job.
However when the District Chief Constable sees the crime figures for the town are so low he decides that a permanent police station in Little Botham is unnecessary and informs the pair their station is to be closed down soon. Tommy and Bobby are devastated by the news and wonder what they can do. When they hear reports about the unsolved art thefts they conceive a plan to justify their presence whereby they will "discover" some paintings on the beach to give the impression that the gang are in their area. Tommy sets Bobby the task of "borrowing" some masterpieces from Squire Lloyd's mansion and leaving them on the beach for Tommy to "find". Later Tommy goes to the beach and finds a crate of paintings waiting for him and thinks Bobby has done a great job. But later he discovers that Bobby couldn't do it and they realise that the crate of paintings was a real crime in progress left there awaiting pick up by a smuggling boat. They search the beach and find a cave system that leads to right under their police station and realise that the criminals have been using their own basement storeroom to hide their plunder.
Unfortunately a patrolling coast guard sees the duo behaving suspiciously on the beach and concludes that the policemen are part of the gang and an alert is issued for their capture. The leader of the gang is revealed to be Squire Lloyd whose enthusiastic support of Tommy and Bobby was down to him knowing they were too useless to suspect him and didn't want them replaced with anyone competent. But now he realises the game is nearly up and so he and his main accomplice take to the road.
Tommy and Bobby have by now figured out that Lloyd is the ringleader and give chase. Bobby sees that his beloved Kim is with Lloyd and thinks she must be a hostage not realising that she is the accomplice. The district police meanwhile are tracking Tommy and Bobby whom they believe to be corrupt rogues who have used the cover of being policemen to conduct crimes.
When everyone catches up with each other the truth emerges. Bobby is heartbroken to discover Kim is in league with the crooks and has been playing him for a fool. Lloyd admits that the two policemen were not involved, although he adds that they "couldn't have done it without them". The Chief Constable has to reluctantly concede the pair did a good job in catching the ringleaders but because they displayed such bumbling incompetence in not noticing anything awry beforehand he is still going to close them down.
|Starring:||Tommy Cannon (as Sergeant Tommy Cannon), Bobby Ball (as PC Bobby Ball), Suzanne Danielle (as Kim, Squire Lloyd's cook), Roy Kinnear (as Lloyd, local squire)|
|Featuring:||Eric Sykes (as District Chief Constable), Jack Douglas (as District Chief Superintendent), Jon Pertwee (as Villainous Fisherman), Edward Judd (as Hilling, gang member posing as an author), John D. Collins (as Customs Officer), Su Douglas (as Hilling's Secretary), Eric Francis (as Postman)|
|Familiar Faces:||Arthur English (as Man on Motorbike, [cameo])|
|Based upon an original story Ask a Policeman by Sidney Gilliat|
|Writers: (see below for list) / Director: Douglas Hickox / Producers: Arthur Gardner, Jules Levy|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|Tough veteran Chicago cop Lieutenant Jim Brannigan has a special interest in bringing crooked businessman Ben Larkin to justice. Larkin has involvement in blackmail, extortion and drugs rackets and was responsible for the death of Brannigan's rookie partner some years ago. Larkin has fled the country but is arrested in England where he is now out on bail pending extradition hearings and Brannigan flies to London to escort him back to the States.
Brannigan meets the Scotland Yard team keeping watch on Larkin to make sure he doesn't attempt to skip bail. The team is headed by Commander Swann with assistance from junior colleague Sgt Jennifer Thatcher who is tasked with partnering Brannigan during his time in London.
Brannigan's stay in London is expected to be routine whilst the details of Larkin's extradition appeal are finalised. But matters are complicated when Brannigan is warned that Larkin has taken out a contract on his life and a specialist hitman called John Goorman has followed him to London to carry this out. (And throughout the film Brannigan has to overcome several determined attempts by Goorman to kill him)
The extradition procedures are thrown into disarray when Larkin is unexpectedly kidnapped from under the noses of the police surveillance team and a ransom note is issued. The police are under pressure to get him back into custody and Brannigan is called upon to assist. Larkin's lawyer Mel Fields handles the negotiations with the kidnappers and cooperates fully with the police operation. The ransom calls for a large amount of cash and Fields manages to raise the money from underworld sources who value Larkin's talents. The police allow this in the hope of catching the kidnappers when they make the pickup.
The money drop is made but the kidnappers outwit the police and get hold of the money without detection despite the surveillance. As a penalty for involving the police a further demand is made for a much larger sum of money which is accompanied by one of Larkin's fingers to prove they mean business.
Fields raises more money from the same sources but insists the police refrain from the kind of surveillance which fouled the first deal. Fields then travels alone to a remote location and we discover that it was all a set-up. The two kidnappers were thugs hired by Larkin and Fields who devised this plan to raise enough money to set themselves up in a country free from extradition. Larkin considers it was worth losing a finger to achieve this. After disposing of the two hired kidnappers the two criminal associates celebrate their success - Larkin is especially pleased to have outsmarted his dogged nemesis Brannigan. But then the police spoil their jubilation when they arrive to arrest them having tracked Fields with a homing device after becoming suspicious of him.
Brannigan has one final run-in with the hitman who this time is killed. Brannigan then returns to the States with his quarry Larkin safely in custody.
|Starring:||John Wayne (as Lieutenant Jim Brannigan), Richard Attenborough (Commander Sir Charles Swann), Judy Geeson (as DS Jennifer Thatcher), John Vernon (as Ben Larkin), Mel Ferrer (as Mel Fields)|
|Featuring:||James Booth (as Charlie 'the Handle' Kane, kidnapper), Don Henderson (as Geef, kidnapper), John Stride (as DI Mike Traven, Scotland Yard), Ralph Meeker (as Captain Moretti, Chicago police chief), Daniel Pilon (as John Gorman, hitman), Brian Glover (as Jimmy the Bet, bookmaker)|
|Familiar Faces:||Lesley Anne Down (as Luana, prostitute, [one scene]), Anthony Booth (as Freddy, small-time criminal, [one-scene]), Tony Robinson (as Motorcycle courier, [small role])|
|Writers: Christopher Trumbo, Michael Butler, William P. McGivern, William W. Norton|
|Writer: Suzanne Mercer / Director/Producer: Stanley Long|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 65 mins|
|Five hippie friends have gone to the Isle of Wight music festival where they have spent several days camped out in their tent. They consist of Mick and his two mates Jeff and Trev and two girlfriends Cathy and Marty. They dig the groovy scene but feel they are being ripped off by the squares with the overpriced refreshments.
On the way home they are unable to hitch a ride so they camp out in a field beside a country mansion. But when the owner Rafe Bates comes home worse for drink he takes umbrage at having unwanted squatters on his land and orders them to leave before passing out. Next morning Rafe is a bit shamefaced about his behaviour and invites them in for breakfast. Rafe explains that he and his wife Terry inherited this place from his father but it is too big to maintain and they only come down at the weekends. Mick has a brainwave and suggests that if Rafe lets them stay they will decorate the place for him for free. Rafe decides they seem trustworthy enough and agrees to the arrangement.
After Rafe and Terry have left the others question Mick's sanity at lumbering them with a lot of hard work. Mick explains his big idea which is to use the vast grounds to hold a pop concert of their own without involving the squares at all. They realise they can make a fortune staging such an event so the three lads set off for London in a borrowed car to see what acts they can book. A promoter recommends the big-name group Juicy Lucy but the price quoted is out of their league.
Back at the mansion the guys briefly try making a saucy movie with the girls as a way of making some quick bread to book some big acts - but they soon realise they are not cut out for that. So Mick goes to see Juicy Lucy's manager Dany Brooks posing as an informed music journalist doing a piece on the radical new concert that he has heard about. Mick enthuses about the groundbreaking concept of heads organising their own gigs and implies he is keen to write a profile piece on everyone who is getting involved including those supplying the acts. Brooks knows nothing about it, but because this journalist seems so knowledgeable he pretends he does and expresses his opinion that it’s a great idea. Before Brooks knows it he has agreed to supply Juicy Lucy for free to support such a virtuous endeavour.
With the headline act organised for free the lads rope in some mates and begin building the stage using appropriated materials while the girls paint the banners. The event proceeds and is a great success attended by thousands of kids. Unfortunately the one thing Mick and his friends didn't properly organise was gate security and most attendees get in without paying. So even though the event is a spectacular critical success it does not prove financially rewarding, and after it is all over they move on.
|Starring:||Nigel Anthony (as Mick), Peter Marinker (as Jeff), Dick Haydon (as Trev), Noelle Rimmington (as Cathy), Liz White (as Marty)|
|Featuring:||Mike McStay (as Rafe Bates, landowner), Yocki Rhodes (as Terry, Rafe's wife), Sean Lynch (as Dany Brooks, Juicy Lucy's manager), Ben Howard (as Gerry, concert promoter), Richard Shaw (as Proprietor of girly magazine shop), Derek Pollitt (as Customer in magazine shop), Peter May (as Policeman), Robert Hartley (as House buyer), Ann Murray (as Traffic Warden), Robert Hewison (as TV Reporter)|
|Starlets:||Andie Ross (as Gerry's secretary), Penny Brahms (as Dany's secretary, [very brief cameo])|
|Also:||(Pop Groups) Juicy Lucy, Crazy Mabel, The Web|
|Definitions: Heads = young people like themselves; Squares = authority figures; Bread = money.|
|Stanley Long is shown as "$tanley £ong" as part of a the lettering theme used for the credits.|
|Yocki Rhodes receives an "introducing" credit. Her name is spelt "Yoki" at the start and "Yocki" at the end.|
|The credited pop groups seen are Juicy Lucy, Crazy Mable and The Web. Crazy Mable is spelt "Mabel" in closing credits. Juicy Lucy were a real group who had two charting songs in 1970. The other two acts had no chart songs.|
|The character names of the two girls Cathy and Marty (played by Noelle Rimmington and Liz White) are never mentioned in the dialogue and so even though they are given names on the end credits that does not help to tell which is which. But via another film from the same year (The Tragedy of Macbeth) Noelle Rimmington can be visually identified as the taller girl with the posher voice.|
|The film "Bread" (along with some mute deleted scenes from it) is available as an extra on the BFI DVD release of Permissive (1970)|
|Writer/Director: Andrew Sinclair / Producer: L. Jeffrey Selznick|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Bumbo Bailey joins Her Majesty's Fusilier Guards as an ensign class officer after successfully completing training at Mons OCS. His regiment's duties are to protect The Queen at Buckingham Palace and guard the Tower of London and Bank of England. At their headquarters at Wellington Barracks, Bumbo is given a pep talk by his commanding officer who reminds him he must set an example at all times to those he is called upon to command. The CO is aware that Bumbo is the sort of man with his own set of principals on fair-play and justice which may at times be at odds with his orders but advises him that the brigade will transform him rather than the other way round.
Another part of a guard officers duties are social engagements where they must escort the young ladies who are coming-out to social gatherings and parties. At one such function held at a waxworks museum the proceedings are interrupted by a group of students who are protesting about war and proceed to "massacre" the waxwork dummies of world military leaders in a mock battle to highlight their concerns. Their spokesperson is a vivacious young woman called Susie who puts their point across to the onlookers. Bumbo, in civilian dress, is taken by their viewpoint and when the museum guards start treating the students roughly he steps in to help the protestors and picks up a minor injury to his leg.
Susie takes Bumbo back to her apartment to treat his injury. Her apartment is grand and expensive and she says she is a drop-out from the affluent society. Her college tutor Jock is also a lead-protestor and when they find out Bumbo is a guardsman they try and persuade him how useful it would be to their cause to have someone make a stand from within the establishment - although Bumbo is very reluctant to do this however since disobeying orders has a severe penalty of ten years imprisonment.
Bumbo and Susie begin a romantic relationship and he subsequently becomes more keen to help her. As an officer he has a talk with his men - it is a time of extreme protest in London involving street rioting with police resources becoming stretched and there is talk that the army may be called in to help - so Bumbo persuades the men under his command that at parade the next day they should all refuse to present arms as an indication that they would not be willing to use force against the war protestors.
At the parade, believing he has his mens' support, he shows his defiance but none of his men follow his lead and all conduct themselves in accordant manner. Bumbo is put up on a disciplinary charge of incitement to mutiny. But although he could be court martialled the commanding officer tells him that for the honour of the regiment he will be allowed to just quietly resign his commission.
|Starring:||Richard Warwick (as Bumbo Bailey), Joanna Lumley (as Susie)|
|Featuring:||John Bird (as Jock, tutor), Jeremy Child (as Billy Enrow-Smith, new officer), Donald Pickering (officer Jorum), Derek Newark (as CSM Peters), Peter Myers (as Commanding Officer), Natasha Pyne (as Sheila, Bumbo's fiancée)|
|Familiar Faces:||Simon Williams, Edward Fox, Christopher Chittel, Warren Clarke|
|Starlets:||Anouska Hempel, Eileen Murphy|
|A version is also known which cuts Joanna Lumley's nudity|
|Writers: Jimmy Sangster, Peter Bryan, Edward Percy / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Anthony Hinds|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Set in late 19th century Transylvania. Marianne Danielle is a young woman travelling by stagecoach to take up a teaching post at a Ladies Academy. At a small village rest stop Marianne finds herself stranded when the coachman makes off without her after having been paid off by someone. Marianne needs to find a place to stay but the tavern landlord claims to be full up and so when a kind old lady called Baroness Meinster passes through seemingly by chance and extends Marianne an invitation of a room at her château and a carriage ride to her school the next morning Marianne gladly accepts.
The Baroness says she lives alone in the château with her housekeeper Greta and her ill son (the Baron) whom Greta cares for in the adjoining wing. This castle was once a social epicentre until her grown-up son became a man and started mixing with undesirables and was struck down with a terrible malady. The Baroness withdrew from society to care for him and prefers the outside world to think her son is dead.
From her room Marianne is able to see into the Baron's quarters and he appears well enough and so she secretly goes to visit him. She is appalled to find that he is ankle-manacled to a long chain that restricts his movement to within his own room. She talks to him and he appears to be sane, rational and perfectly healthy, as well as being handsome and charming. He asks for her help in getting free from his mother's wicked imprisonment and she agrees to sneak into the Baronesses room and fetch the key to unlock his chains. She throws it to him from her balcony and feels she has done a good deed.
But later when Greta discovers him gone she is frantic with concern and tells Marianne what a fool she has been for falling for the Baron's cunning. They go to see the Baroness but find her dead. Marianne rushes from the château in torment feeling she has made a dreadful mistake but not sure what it is - she collapses in the forest and sleeps through the night.
She is found the next day by a passing stagecoach transporting one Doctor Van Helsing to the nearby village and he takes Marianne in hand. Van Helsing has been summoned by the local priest to investigate some concerns he has about girls who have gone missing in the area. Van Helsing listens to Marianne's experiences from the night before and when a new dead girl is found with fang marks he knows for sure he is dealing with his area of expertise - vampirism. He takes Marianne safely on to her Ladies School and then returns to deal with the matter. He visits the château and finds the dead Baroness is now "alive" - she has become a vampire but despises that shameful fact. She tells Van Helsing that even when her son became a vampire through the bite of his badly chosen friends she still loved him but kept him chained up and fed him with young girls she was able to lure to the castle - Marianne was to have been such a victim if things had gone according to plan. Her newly released son took his vengeance out on her by turning her into a foul vampire with his bite but she is ashamed of what she has now become and asks for release and Van Helsing stakes her dead.
Meanwhile the Baron has gone to the Ladies school looking for fresh victims and has killed Gina, a fellow teacher of Marianne's. Marianne knows nothing of his evil and sees only a charming man and she agrees to marry him in a couple of weeks. Both Gina and the first village girl he killed soon rise from the dead and go and live with the Baron in an old windmill.
Van Helsing discovers where the Baron now resides and arms himself with slaying and protection tools as he prepares to confront the evil vampire. Meanwhile the Baron has brought Marianne to the mill and after witnessing Gina's resurrection she now knows about his evil side. Van Helsing has a furious fight with the much stronger Baron but eventually manages to get the better of the vampire when a fire starts and the Baron and the two girl vampires burn to death. Van Helsing and Marianne just manage to escape the inferno.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Van Helsing), Yvonne Monlaur (as Marianne Danielle), David Peel (as Baron Meinster, vampire), Martita Hunt (as Baroness Meinster, Baron's mother)|
|Featuring:||Freda Jackson (as Greta, Meinster's housekeeper), Miles Malleson (as Dr Tobler, village doctor), Fred Johnson (as Priest), Henry Oscar (as Herr Otto Lang, headmaster of Ladies academy), Mona Washbourne (as Frau Helga Lang, Otto's wife), Norman Pierce (as Tavern Landlord), Vera Cook (as Landlord's Wife), Andree Melly (as Gina, academy teacher, becomes a vampire girl), Michael Ripper (as Coachman)|
|Starlets:||Marie Deveruex (as Vampire Girl), Susan Castle (as Elsa, School Maid, [uncredited])|
|Although "Dracula" is named in the title he does not appear although the character of the Baron is essentially very much the same type of part. Although not really an official Dracula film because it does not feature either the actual character or Christopher Lee, it does feature Peter Cushing again as the Dracula-related character Van Helsing in his follow-up appearance to the original Dracula (1958). The next "proper" Dracula film in which Christopher Lee resumed the role was Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966). In between there was another vampire film from Hammer called The Kiss of the Vampire (1963) which didn't feature either Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee or any of the Dracula-related characters.|
|Writer: Peter Welbeck / Director: Don Sharp / Producer: Harry Alan Towers|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Set in the 1920s(?). The relentless criminal mastermind Fu Manchu has once again devised a world-conquering plan. Over the course of the last eighteen months he has been kidnapping, from all over the world, wives and daughters of prominent scientists and forcing the men to cooperate with the construction and development of a fiendish device to facilitate his current megalomaniacal endeavour. Fu Manchu has worked out a way to transmit vast quantities of energy from the power generator in his secret base to special receivers that can be hidden anywhere in the world which will then explode with awesome destructive power. With a further kidnapping Fu Manchu has just secured the expertise of a scientist skilled in the manufacture of miniature radio receivers in order to reduce the size of the explosive receptor units.
Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner Nayland Smith investigates the attempted kidnapping and soon links it into the series of worldwide abductions of the women of prominent scientists. Smith suspects Fu Manchu's involvement and this is confirmed when Fu Manchu announces a demonstration of his power. This is exemplified by the instant vaporisation of a passenger liner upon which his agents have secreted one of the new miniature receiver units. If such a blast occurred within a city the effects would be utterly devastating.
A colleague of Smith's discovers the date upon which Fu Manchu is planning to make his next move and Smith realises that the date in question coincides with a world peace conference in London when all of the world's major leaders will be gathered.
Smith pinpoints the location of Fu Manchu's base in the foothills of the Atlas mountains in North West Africa and heads there with some of his men to try and rescue the prisoners. Meanwhile Smith's erstwhile colleague Dr Petrie organises an attempt using BBC equipment to block the frequency of Fu Manchu's power transmission when it starts to comes through to the hidden power receptor unit hidden somewhere in London.
Nayland Smith manages to get inside Fu Manchu's mountain base and help the captured women to escape. Fu Manchu begins his transmission and finds his signal is being blocked and so orders the generator's safety lock released to try and punch through the interference - but this causes the generator to overload and go into meltdown. Fu Manchu and his daughter Lin Tang realise the game is up and they run to an escape pod. Smith and the rescued women look back and see the mountain explode as the base is completely destroyed. Is Fu Manchu dead or will the world hear from him again?
|COMMENT: The "Brides" part of the title is not at all suggestive of the story because Fu Manchu is kidnapping the women to ensure the cooperation of their menfolk but he is not attempting to marry them. The "Brides" title would actually have been slightly more apt for the fourth film:- The Blood of Fu Manchu.|
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Fu Manchu), Douglas Wilmer (as Nayland Smith), Howard Marion Crawford (as Dr Petrie, Smith's friend), Tsai Chin (as Lin Tang, daughter of Fu Manchu)|
|Featuring:||Heinz Drache (as Franz Baumer, German research chemist who aids Smith in investigations), Marie Versini (as Marie Lentz, fiancée of Franz, prisoner of Fu Manchu), Rupert Davies (as Jules Merlin, scientist, father of Michel), Kenneth Fortescue (as Sergeant Spicer, detective), Harald Leipnitz (as Nikki Sheldon, Fu Manchu's agent), Roger Hanin (as Inspector Pierre Grimaldi, French detective), Joseph Fürst (as Otto Lentz, engineer, father of Marie), Carole Gray (as Michel Merlin, daughter of Jules, prisoner of Fu Manchu), Burt Kwouk (as Feng, Fu Manchu's scientist)|
|Starlets:||Wendy Gifford (as Louise, Merlin's secretary), Danni Sheridan (as Shiva, prisoner who is killed by Fu Manchu as an example to the others)|
|Based on the characters created by Sax Rohmer|
|This was the second in a series of five 1960's Fu Manchu films starring Christopher Lee. Each also featured Tsai Chin as his daughter and Howard Marion Crawford as Dr Petrie the friend of Fu Manchu's greatest opponent Nayland Smith. The role of Smith himself was played by three different actors - Nigel Green played him in the first film, next Douglas Wilmer for two films and then Richard Greene for the final two. The sequence of the five films were as follows:- The Face of Fu Manchu (1965), The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966), The Vengeance of Fu Manchu (1967), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), The Castle of Fu Manchu (1969).|
|Writer: Dennis Potter / Director: Richard Loncraine / Producer: Kenith Trodd|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Martin Taylor is a charismatic con man who inveigles his way into his victims lives by "accidentally" bumping into them in the street and then putting on a show of pretending to know them, relying on them to fill in the details as he playacts struggling to remember - and then seizes on those details as facts he has known all along to get more details until he has elicited enough information that the person has become convinced Martin knows so much about them that he must be someone they should know even if they can't actually recall him. Some don't fall for it and for those Martin walks away - others make out they do sort of recall him as they struggle to place him
His latest mark is Tom Bates, a publisher of hymns and evangelical prayers. After bumping into him Martin garners enough information about Tom's life so that when he mentions a grown-up daughter called Patty that is whom Martin says he knows. But Tom is suspicious because his daughter was in an accident and all her so-called friends have long since abandoned her - So Martin claims to have been in America for a time and therefore knew nothing about the accident but would like to see her again. Tom is very suspicious of strangers and prefers that only he and his wife have any contact with Patty and so he extricates himself from the encounter and leaves.
But Martin has seen in Tom a good prospect and has pickpocketed his wallet which contains his address - and later on that day Martin goes round to the Bates' house to "return" the wallet which he says he found dropped after Tom left. With no choice but to appear grateful Martin is invited in. He displays a charming and considerate manner that endears him to Tom's wife Norma. He sees Patty who is in a medical cot in the living room - it is explained to him that she was knocked down by a truck four years ago and has been a helpless bed-ridden shell of a woman ever since - with a damaged brain that has rendered her unable to communicate in a body which can only make incoherent moans and uncontrolled limb movements. In four years there has been no sign of improvement although Norma clings to her hope that one day she will get better. Tom is more of a realist saying that miracles don't happen - for despite the religious works he publishes he does not believe in god.
Martin assesses the situation and reveals to them the "news" that he was Patty's secret lover just over 4 years ago and that he had even asked her to marry him - but she had declined, telling him to wait for 4 or 5 years until his prospects had improved. The two of them had agreed to have no contact until the period of separation was over which is why he didn't write or know about her accident. He is so earnest and passionate that Norma is thoroughly convinced by him even though it has all come as rather a surprise as (understandably) she knew nothing about it. Tom is less convinced but cannot actually prove him to be lying. Martin asks if he can stay for a few days to be close to his dear Patty and he says he would even look after her if they wanted to go out for a much earned break from the constant care and attention Patty needs. Norma seems interested but Tom will hear none of it.
That night Martin is given Patty's old bedroom to use and Tom lays in bed awake troubled with old memories. He recalls the night of Patty's accident, of how she had come in on him at his place of work and had seen him having sex with his secretary and had rushed out hurt and crying into the street straight into the path of an oncoming truck. Norma knows none of the events that led up to their daughter's dreadful accident and it has been Tom's guilt-ridden secret for the past four years.
Next day when Tom goes to work Martin turns the full force of his persuasive powers onto Norma and convinces her she needs a break and she should go pamper herself at the hairdressers for an hour or so while he minds Patty. She goes and Martin is left in the house alone which is what he wanted. He idly assaults Patty loosening her clothing and fondling her inappropriately knowing she can do nothing and tell no one - if she even knows what is happening. Then he snoops around the house looking for valuables although by the time Norma returns he has returned everything as it was and she has no reason to be suspicious of him.
When Tom gets home he is very angry that his wife left Martin alone with Patty who may well be mindless but still has the body of a beautiful young woman - but Martin acts the hurt innocent dismayed at the very idea that he would in anyway act inappropriately towards a helpless girl. Martin turns out to be an excellent cook and his culinary skills put Tom in a better mood and he decides he was being rather unfair on Martin who has shown nothing but kindness and benevolent consideration and lets him stay on a bit longer.
But that night in the wee hours Martin wanders downstairs to Patty's cot and raises her night-dress and proceeds to rape her. Upstairs Tom and Norma hear Patty scream and rush down. Tom sees what Martin has done and they have a scuffle although Martin manages to escape and flee the house. Tom turns to tend to his violated daughter and is shocked when she looks at him and shouts out his name "Daddy". He cannot believe it - her ordeal has somehow brought her mind back - Norma is overjoyed at the recovery. But Patty looks at her father and accusingly asks him how he could do such a thing with that woman - no time has passed for her mind and she still remembers the last thing she saw - him having sex with his secretary - and as the truth comes out Norma looks at her husband with hurt in her eyes as she cradles her daughter in her arms.
Martin escapes none the worse for the experience and as the film winds up he is seen trying his luck again with his next mark.
|Starring:||Sting (as Martin Taylor), Denholm Elliott (as Tom Bates), Joan Plowright (as Norma Bates), Suzanna Hamilton (as Patricia Bates)|
|Featuring:||Mary MacLeod (as Miss Holdsworth, Tom's secretary), Benjamin Whitrow (as Martin's failed mark), Dudley Sutton (as Martin's final mark)|
|Based on a BBC Play For Today episode that was banned from transmission in 1976. The play was eventually transmitted in 1987. Denholm Elliott played the same role in both productions but the other parts were recast for the film version. Originally Michael Kitchen played the part of Martin.|
|Writer: David Sherwin / Director: Lindsay Anderson / Producers: Davina Belling, Clive Parsons|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 151 mins|
|Britannia Hospital is about to celebrate the 500th anniversary of its foundation with the official opening of a new wing named The Millar Centre dedicated to the furtherance of advanced medical science. The hospital is gearing up for a visit by the Queen Mother to open the new building but the preparations are being thrown into turmoil because the kitchen workers are on strike and picketing the hospital gates in protest at having to cater for private patients. Senior administrator Vincent Potter must try to resolve this crisis in time for the royal visit.
Meanwhile Professor Millar, who runs the new hi-tech wing, is busy with two important experiments. He is an imperious egotist who believes he has made a visionary breakthrough of epic proportions that will ensure the future of mankind. He is filming with a BBC documentary crew to glorify himself and his achievements. He is firstly going to be using his organ transplant skills to construct a new functioning human body using the best parts of deceased patients - and also he has a super-secret project codenamed "Genesis" that he is planning to reveal to the world to coincide with the royal visit.
An investigative journalist called Mick Travis has infiltrated the new wing with the help of his girlfriend Amanda Persil who works there as a nurse. He is trying to do an exposé on Millar and his controversial practices. But Travis is captured by Millar as he is about to begin his transplantation experiment and because Mick's meddling with the refrigeration units has ruined the head that was to be used for the new body, the egomaniacal Millar kills Mick and uses his head instead. Mick awakens with a new cumbersome body and lumbers around disorientated and attacks Millar and his staff and has to be terminated as a failed experiment.
Meanwhile the royal party are smuggled past the picket lines in the guise of emergency patients in ambulances and the tour begins. The royals are shown the Millar Centre and conducted to the lecture hall to attend Professor Millar's demonstration of his new breakthrough.
On stage Millar makes a rousing speech about mankind's folly in squandering precious resources for the furtherance of warfare while others in the world are deprived and hungry. What he says is needed is an inventive visionary unshackled by the strictures of morality or superstition to make the next step in the evolution of mankind's intelligence - someone like himself... Millar then reveals his Genesis creation which is a gigantic organic brain attached to an electronic interface. He hails this as the breakthrough that can launch mankind forward into a new era. The brain then speaks - and its words are like that of a god uttering inspiring philosophical concepts to its spellbound audience. THE END
|Starring:||Leonard Rossiter (as Vincent Potter, executive administrator), Graham Crowden (as Professor Millar, head consultant), Jill Bennett (as Dr MacMillan, Millar's assistant), Malcolm McDowell (as Mick Travis, journalist), Peter Jeffrey (as Sir Geoffrey Brockenhurst, chief surgeon), Fulton Mackay (as Chief Superintendent Johns, royal security), Robin Askwith (as Ben Keating, union rep), John Moffatt (as Greville Figg, hospital director), Marsha Hunt (as Nurse Amanda Persil, Mick's girlfriend)|
|Featuring:||Brian Pettifer (as Biles, junior administrator), Mark Hamill (as Red, Mick's colleague), Marcus Powell (as Sir Anthony Mount, protocol adviser), John Bett (as Lady Felicity Ramsden, protocol adviser), Richard Griffiths (as Hospital radio DJ), Frank Grimes (as Sammy, Mick's colleague), Peter Machin (as Peter Mancini, BBC documentary presenter), Vivian Pickles (as Matron Duxbury), Barbara Hicks (as Miss Tinker, Potter's secretary), Catherine Willmer (as Dr Houston, on Millar's staff), Mary MacLeod (as Casualty sister), Joan Plowright (as Phyllis Grimshaw, union rep), Dave Atkins (as Tom Sharkey, union rep), Gladys Crosbie (as HRH Queen Mother), Rufus Collins (as Odingu, protest leader), Kevin Lloyd, Robert Pugh and Robbie Coltrane (as Pickets), Dandy Nichols (as Florrie, kitchen worker), Valentine Dyall (as Mr Rochester, luxury caterer), Robin Davies (as Adrian, Rochester's assistant), Gabrielle Lloyd and Barbara Flynn (as Private Nurses), Brian Glover and Mike Grady (as Painters), Tony Haygarth (as Hospital porter), Charmian May (as Miss Diamond, Figg's secretary), Val Pringle (as President Ngami, private patient)|
|Familiar Faces:||(cameos) Alan Bates (as Dead patient), Arthur Lowe (as Patient)|
|This is the final film of a loose trilogy of Lindsay Anderson directed films in which Malcolm McDowell plays the same character of Mick Travis. The first two are If.... (1968) and O Lucky Man! (1973). However in this film Mick is not the principal participant and except for the character's name and the actor playing him there is no real link to the other films.|
|Writer/Director: Barney Platts-Mills / Producer: Andrew St. John|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Derek 'Del' Quant is a London youth who lives in a run-down neighbourhood which offers nothing to enliven his humdrum life and he has turned to petty crime with his group of mates to provide some thrills and excitement. By day he works as an apprentice welder but never has enough money to take girls out properly.
Del lives with his father and his father's girlfriend and they don't get on. Del is not allowed to bring girls home because his father considers them a bad influence. So when Del meets 15-year-old Irene Richardson and falls into a relationship with her they never have anywhere to go or much to do since her mother is equally disapproving of him.
Del jumps at the chance of helping a local lad called Jo Saville (aka Bronco Bulfrog) on a more organised robbery of a goods yard. Bronco has been in and out of borstal and is someone that Del admires. The robbery gives Del some much needed pocket change.
Del and Irene decide to run off together but soon run out of places to go where they are welcome to stay for more than a day or so. Del decides they may as well return home so he can go back to work. They stay with Bronco overnight and then are caught up in a police raid of his home. And as the film ends they are on the run.
|Comment: The acting style is very low-key and documentary-style in nature. None of the characters are particularly verbose and conversations are mundane with the characters all finding it awkward to express themselves with any degree of eloquence. This seems a fitting style to reflect their mundane, directionless lives showing how tedious their day-to-day living is although it does make the film a bit dull to watch at times.
The justification for giving the film the title of "Bronco Bullfrog" is not very clear because it is not about him - Del and Irene are the principal characters and 'Bronco' is just someone who appears in a few scenes as a secondary character and his impact on the film is fairly slight.
|Starring:||Del Walker (as Del Quant), Anne Gooding (as Irene Richardson), Freda Shepherd (as Mrs Richardson, Irene's mother), Dick Philpott (as Del's Father), Sam Shepherd (as Jo Saville aka Bronco Bullfrog)|
|Featuring:||(Del's friends) Roy Haywood (as Roy), Chris Shepherd (as Chris), Geoff Wincott (as Geoff) |
Stuart Stones (as Sergeant Johnson, CID), Marguerite Hughes (as Marge, Girlfriend of Del's father), Tina Syer (as Tina, Irene's friend)
|Made in Black and White.|
|Writers: Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Lina Wertmüller, Zeffirelli / Director: Franco Zeffirelli / Producer: Luciano Perugia|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 116 mins|
|Set in Italy in the early 13th century. In Assisi, Francesco Di Bernardone and his friends are full of the excitement of going off to war to join the Crusades. His family are proud because valiant soldiers are treated with great honour and often return with valuable plundered booty. Francesco and his friends' lusty bravado is fuelled by the anticipation of the rewards to come both financially and romantically. Francesco's fancy is called Clare although she shuns his attentions finding him too arrogant and offensive to her sensibilities. Once all the civic revelry in tribute of their oncoming bravery is over the young friends head off to join the war.
Some time later one man returns. It is Francesco, but he is a broken shell of his former self having witnessed horrendous sights in battle. He is feverish and unable to speak. His parents care for him and nurse him back to health. But during his convalescence Francesco has an epiphany in which he suddenly perceives the world around him in a different light when he sees a small bird on his balcony. He is struck by the insight that if God's creatures can live without belongings or wealth then why do men need such things to live.
As Francesco recovers his health his father Pietro takes him on in his clothing business. But Francesco is gripped by his new spiritual understanding and proceeds to throw his father's valuable stock from the window into the hands of grateful peasants. Francesco feels the need to share his message and believes that others will be thankful for the enlightenment he has to offer.
But Francesco's insight is not appreciated by the city's wealthy establishment and he is instead considered to be a lunatic. He is shunned by the community and isolates himself on a hillside where he embraces a life of poverty and hardship as he embarks upon the painstaking task of restoring a ruined church stone by stone.
Soon Francesco's soldier friends begin returning from the Crusades and they are treated with due adulation. His best friend Bernardo wonders what has become of Francesco but is told that his former friend has lost his mind and become a hermit. Bernardo nevertheless goes to visit Francesco to see for himself what misfortune has befallen his former comrade and perhaps help him to return to proper society. Instead Bernardo finds that his friend's vision and inner-peace are so inspiring that he forgoes his riches and privileges and joins Francesco is his mission. Others start joining and before long the church of San Damiano is restored and functioning again. Francesco's followers are small in number but determined to spread their godly message about living a simple life without the burden of property. Clare much prefers the new Francesco to his previous overbearing self and decides to join his order.
Services at San Damiano become popular with the people of Assisi and church attendance at the city's regular chapel falls away. The people prefer words of love and hope to ones of retribution and damnation. This irks the powerful bishop Guido who has treated Francesco's simple-minded nonsense with tolerance up until now. He sends his soldiers to burn down Francesco's church while the friars are out working the land and attending to the spiritual care of lepers. One friar is killed trying to defend the church and Francesco is appalled. He cannot fathom what he has done to cause such a reaction of hatred. He decides his only recourse is to travel to Rome to seek audience with the Pope and ask the question "Why?".
Another of his friends called Paolo works as a lawyer for the bishop and follows Francesco and his friars pleading with him not to do this foolish thing which may see him arrested for heresy. But Francesco is adamant so Paolo agrees to help secure him an audience if he agrees to stick to a prepared text that Paulo has approved.
Francesco is allowed to make his submission to Pope Innocent III in the opulence of his vast cathedral-like chamber. But he falters when reading the address and begins making his own impassioned plea for a new doctrine on how one worships God to gain a true understanding of his love. The Holy Father appears shocked by the dirty hermit-like individual's words and his advisers take this as a sign of disapproval and have the lowly friars ejected from the chamber. But the Pope has them called back for he was stunned by the heartfelt sincerity of Francesco's message of simplicity. He bends down and kisses Francesco's dirty feet and gives him papal approval to go out into the world and spread his gospel to the common people. The Holy Father's adviser's are astonished by the papal blessing but soon realise that it is a canny move because Francesco can connect with the simple masses and bring them back into the fold in a way that the church's own clergy never could. Francesco and his friars head off to start their sanctioned mission.
|Comment: This is the story of St Francis of Assisi although the film makes no reference to his subsequent canonisation. The film ends after the Pope approved of Francesco's order, known as "Friars Minor", which historically was in 1209. Francesco continued to do his good work until his death in 1226 and he was canonised in 1228. Clare founded an order of nuns in 1212 patterned after Francesco's friars - she died in 1253 and was also made a saint.|
|Starring:||Graham Faulkner (as Francesco), Leigh Lawson (as Bernardo Di Quintevalie), Judi Bowker (as Clare), Kenneth Cranham (as Paolo), Lee Montague and Valentina Cortese (as Pietro and Pica Di Bernardone, Francesco's parents)|
|Featuring:||Alec Guinness (as Pope Innocent III), Michael Feast (as Silvestro), Nicholas Willatt (as Giocondo), John Sharp (as Bishop Guido), Adolfo Celi (as Consul, city governor)|
|Familiar Faces:||Peter Firth (as Franciscan friar, [uncredited, non-speaking bit part])|
|English translation by Kenneth Ross. This is an Anglo-Italian production which has an Italian title of Fratello sole, sorella luna. The version reviewed was an English version.|
|The title "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" did not refer to characters in the film but was an expression of the fellowship Francesco felt with the world around him.|
|The film contain songs written and performed by Donovan on the soundtrack to convey Francesco's thoughts during contemplative moments.|
|Writer/Director: Gerry O'Hara / Producer: John Quested|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|The film begins with a woman sleeping in bed and an intruder entering her bedroom in the dark and violently assaulting her causing her to flee the house in terror. The woman's name is Diane Shepherd and we soon discover that her attacker is Teddy, her husband, and it is clear that this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. She spends the rest of the night in a cold car in the garage. Next morning she wanders back indoors and Teddy acts as if nothing untoward has happened - he is back to his usual charming and cordial self. He apologises, blaming a minor knock to his car for his anger.
Diane is a fashion model and next day she is working for a photographer friend of hers called Mark and his girlfriend Carrie. She claims her body bruises come from a car accident but her friends quietly suspect otherwise. Back at home again she tells Teddy he needs professional help for his anger but this suggestion only enrages him into another fit of temper and she flees the house again and goes to stay with Carrie for a while.
Diane and Teddy have a young son called Tim who lives away at boarding school and while she is visiting him Teddy shows up wanting to make amends - he tells Diane that if she doesn't come back home he will claim she left the matrimonial home and she won't get custody of Tim. He confidently tells her she has no proof when she says it was his behaviour that drove her away.
After a while, and having met another battered wife who seems to have it even worse than her, Diane decides to return home and give Teddy another chance - he seems delighted to have her back and has missed her greatly. They spend a pleasant evening which develops into an amorous moment in the living room in front of the roaring fireplace. But Teddy has been preparing and he has bought an antique branding iron that is roasting away in the flames and the happy moment turns to sheer terror as she realises what he has in mind. Diane only just manages to avoid being branded and flees the house once again but this time calls in the police. When the policemen arrive Teddy has tidied things up and is the immaculate model of a concerned husband rationally explaining to the officers how his wife is prone to hysterical accusations - and with no sign of a struggle or any branding iron to be seen they believe him. Diane goes back to stay with Carrie but this time she resolves that she has left Teddy for good.
Diane takes a flat of her own so as not to impose on Carrie any longer, and her modelling career allows her to be reasonably financially independent. Teddy has started divorce proceeding against her and is petitioning for custody of Tim. Diane's solicitor tells her that she has a weak case and Teddy a strong one and although the solicitor believes her there is no proof of any of the events taking place that she is claiming drove her away. Diane knows that Teddy is so conniving that she doesn't stand much chance without proof - but then she has inspiration on where he might have disposed of the branding iron. Her friends help her search in a lake near their property and they find it. They also track down the antique dealer who sold it to Teddy and she has the evidence she requires. We see no more other than Teddy's realisation that he has been beaten and so have to assume things go satisfactorily for her when we see a final shot of her (at some indeterminate time later) happily meeting Tim from school as the end-credits roll.
|Comment: Interwoven with some of Diane's story is a minor side story of another battered wife called Millie who suffers similarly at the hands of a violent husband. Millie's husband Alan is an out-and-out bully towards her intimidating and mistreating her quite openly and relentlessly and she eventually goes to a women's refuge. Millie is also a friend of Carrie and meets Diane who sees the much more open brutality Millie suffers at the hands of her husband almost making Diane think that Teddy is not so bad after all.|
|Starring:||Sarah Douglas (as Diane Shepherd), Julian Glover (as Teddy Shepherd), Bruce Robinson (as Mark Hendricks), Suzanne Stone (as Carrie)|
|Featuring:||Jenny Twigge (as Millie), Sylvester Morand (as Alan, Millie's husband), Charlotte Cornwell, Carol Cleveland|
|Writer: Simon Gray (based on his own play) / Director: Harold Pinter / Producer: Ely Landau|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 124 mins|
|Ben Butley is an English Literature professor at a London university whose personal life is a mess mainly due to his abrasive personality which forever compels him to goad and antagonise those around him. He is separated from his wife Anne and now shares a flat with his fellow lecturer Joey Keyston who is much younger and was once one of Ben's students. At work they share a study and Ben is forever needling Joey about his homosexuality with disparaging remarks about his sexual partner Reg Nuttall.
Ben is very lazy and finds his students to be an immense bore who he tries to keep contact with to a minimum. He is very reluctant to take on any new books for study because that would mean doing some actual work to learn the material. Joey has a mild manner and has become somewhat immune to the constant stream of provocative remarks he gets from Ben who dresses up his grating prejudices in seemingly innocent remarks.
The events of this film take place on a single day and we see that his estranged wife Anne wants a divorce so she can marry her new lover, but Ben stubbornly refuses her request simply to be awkward and stir things up. And finally even Joey has reached the end of his tether and can no longer stand the constant stream of merciless jibes he receives and has decided to move out of their shared flat to live with Reg and also move to another study where he can work in a more relaxed atmosphere. Ben is left alone to contemplate the effects of his increasingly self-destructive personality which has now alienated everyone in his life.
|Starring:||Alan Bates (as Ben Butley), Richard O'Callaghan (as Joey Keyston)|
|Featuring:||Jessica Tandy (as Edna Shaft, lecturer), Susan Engel (as Anne Butley, Ben's estranged wife), Michael Byrne (as Reg Nuttall, Joey's partner), Georgina Hale (as Carol Heasman, student), Simon Rouse (as Gardner, student)|
|Writer: Peter Draper / Director: Robert Ellis Miller / Producers: Philip Waddilove, Leslie Gilliat|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|France and Margaret are boy-girl cousins. They were born on the same day to mothers who were twins and throughout their early childhood shared a special bond of friendship. But France's mother tragically dies and in their young teenage years Margaret's family moved away to Singapore.
Now grown-up Margaret has returned to England to stay with France whilst she attends art school nearby. France lives on independent means with his mother's inheritance and does not work himself. They remain good friends and France vows to try and find her a suitable man. His search doesn't take long when they chance across Fred, a Swedish man studying architecture in England, and the three of them hit it off and become firm friends. Then they meet Manny, a young American woman travelling around Europe and currently in England who they also befriend and she becomes part of their little group.
They all go off on holiday together renting a villa in Spain. France and Manny become an item, and after a few tentative doubts on her part so do Margaret and Fred. But whilst she is swimming or canoodling with Fred, Margaret notices France watching her thoughtfully from afar. Manny comes to realise that the cousins share a secret longing for each other that they can never fulfil and after a time she and Fred pair up together instead. Back in England all four friends move in with France in his large house and after a time Manny announces she is pregnant although it is unclear if the father is France or Fred. It is decided best for all if Fred is considered the father and he and Manny marry and move to his home in Stockholm. Meanwhile Margaret has won an arts scholarship in Rome and goes to live there breaking up the group entirely.
After several terms at college Margaret is feeling lonely in Rome and during her holidays she visits Manny and Fred in Sweden at their magnificently scenic lakeside home and to her surprise and delight cousin France is there visiting too. Their baby is getting on for a year old now and they called him France. Old desires are renewed and Cousins France and Margaret very almost take their relationship into the bedroom but after some initial kissing and fumbling France just can't go through with it. Fred takes Margaret shopping and sight-seeing and left alone France and Manny renew their relationship and have sex by the lake. But whilst they are thus engaged baby France crawls off and tragically drowns in the lake.
After a time of grieving Manny leaves Fred and returns to her old life as a jet-setting traveller. Margaret and France don't resolve their forbidden feelings for each other and drift off back to their own lives leaving much unsaid as this particular period of their lives concludes.
|Starring:||Hywel Bennett (as France, cousin), Jane Asher (as Margaret, cousin), Leigh Taylor-Young (as Manny, American), Sven-Bertil Taube (as Fred, Swedish)|
|Featuring:||Clive Revill (as George, Manny's friend), Michael Elphick (as George's chauffeur)|
|Based on the novel by Janice Elliott|
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