(page last regenerated: 24 November 2012)
The reviews on this page are typically of the type that describe the plot in detail. So if you don't want to know then best avoid looking.
|Writer: Niki De Saint Phalle / Director: Peter Whitehead / Associate Producer: Tom G. Neuman|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 84 mins|
|A grown-up daughter receives a telegram from her mother to say that her father has died. The daughter reflects on her relationship with her father whom she once loved but grew to hate ...
When she was a little girl she lived in a large mansion. She loved playing fun games with her father who was so wonderfully attentive and devoted to her. She trusted Daddy implicitly but then he started to do things to her which she hated and she became scared of him. Daddy would get very angry and hit Mummy and he also enjoyed the company of young women. Daddy would punish his daughter by locking her in a dark cupboard. Both mother and daughter grew up to loathe and despise him but could do nothing.
Eventually the daughter grew up and left home vowing never to return. But she always found herself helplessly bound to her past and never truly able to escape the traumatic horror of her childhood. Any life-choices she tried to make were always tinged with concerns about whether her father would approve. She never felt free of the invisible power he continued to hold over her.
But then Daddy had a stroke which robbed him of his speech and confined him to a wheelchair. The daughter returned home as an adult and subjected her now defenceless father to a relentless onslaught of humiliation to demonstrate her utter contempt of him. In her revenge she re-enacted scenarios he subjected her to showing him what it was like to be on the receiving end. She got a young friend of hers to dress as a schoolgirl and taunt him with the things he could no longer do or have.
Back in the present at the funeral the Daughter and Mummy dress Daddy up for burial in women's clothing and make-up to demean him as much as possible and then celebrate his passing with jollity and joyous merriment rather than mournful respect.
With Daddy gone the Daughter feels exhilarated and free but wonders with trepidation if his cruel controlling ways are truly dead or if his traits have been reborn in her and she is fated to be like him with the people she loves.
|Comment: None of the characters are given actual names. The film has a fairly flighty avant-garde style and is not a mainstream drama.|
|Starring:||Rainer Diez (as Daddy)|
|Featuring:||Mia Martin (as Daughter's friend)|
Other roles (characters not known)
Females: Clarice Mary, Niki De Saint Phalle, Sepie Inhof (Female roles were: Grown-up daughter; Daddy's wife; Daughter as a little girl)
Males: Marcel Lefranc, Jean-Pierre Raymond (Male Roles were: Falconry Assistant; Boyfriend of grown up daughter)
|The credits do not identify who played which parts. The order of the names makes it reasonably certain who played "Daddy" as he is the only prominent man. Other lesser male roles were the daughter's boyfriend and a falconer. Mia Martin is the only actress recognised (from a Hammer Horror and some UK sex comedy type films) - she was playing the daughter's schoolgirl friend. But it is not certain who played who out of the adult daughter, the mother, and the daughter as a child - and for most of them it was their only film. Actress Niki De Saint Phalle also wrote the film so perhaps it had a personal element and she was playing the adult daughter as a catharsis role - however she was aged 43 at the time so might alternatively have been playing the mother.|
|The film is sub-titled "A Bedtime Story". It was a French/UK production made in English and set in England|
|Writers: Jimmy Perry, David Croft / Director: Norman Cohen / Producer: John R. Sloan|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 90 mins|
|This review assumes a familiarity with the TV series.
In the early years of the Second World War the Prime Minister calls for men not eligible for active duty to form units of Local Defence Volunteers in their home towns. Later these units were renamed as the "Home Guard". This film retells things from the very beginning of episode 1 with the story of how the Walmington-on-Sea brigade of the Home Guard was formed with Captain Mainwaring assuming command. It shows their early attempts to improvise weapons before their proper equipment and uniforms became available. The main stories involve them going on exercise manoeuvres against other Home Guard units; and capturing some German airmen who had to bail out and have taken hostages in the Church Hall.
|Comment: It is fairly episodic in nature re-telling in capsule form several stories and incidents that have been seen before in full TV episodes.|
|Starring:||Arthur Lowe (as Captain Mainwaring), John Le Mesurier (as Sgt Wilson), Clive Dunn (as Jones), John Laurie (as Frazer), James Beck (as Walker), Arnold Ridley (as Godfrey), Ian Lavender (as Pike)|
|Featuring:||(regulars) Bill Pertwee (as ARP Warden Hodges), Frank Williams (as The Vicar), Edward Sinclair (as The Verger), Colin Bean (as Private Sponge)|
(others) Liz Fraser (as Mrs Pike), Bernard Archard (as Major General Fullard), Michael Knowles (as Staff captain), John Baskcomb (as Mayor)
|A film version of the BBC sitcom that ran for 80 episodes over 9 series from 1968 to 1977. All the TV cast were the same except for secondary character Mrs Pike who was played here by Liz Fraser instead of Janet Davies.|
|Story: Terry Nation / Writer: Milton Subotsky / Director: Gordon Flemyng / Producers: Milton Subotsky, Max J. Rosenberg|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 80 mins|
|In 1960s London, on-duty police constable Tom Campbell stumbles into what he thinks is a police telephone box to call for assistance - but it is in fact the disguised time and space machine TARDIS just as it is about to dematerialise for a new destination. Tom meets the occupants:- the elderly inventor Dr Who, his young granddaughter Susan and grown-up niece Louise, who say they are heading for the London of 2150. Tom is naturally sceptical of Dr Who's claims for his machine but has to believe it when they arrive at their much-changed destination and find London to be in ruins from some sort of devastating attack.
The TARDIS becomes inaccessible after a fall of masonry and Dr Who and Tom go to look for a crowbar. Meanwhile Susan and Louise are found by some locals who urgently usher the girls to an underground shelter for their own safety. Earth has been invaded by the dreaded Daleks after bombarding helpless cities to rubble from space and are now rounding up the survivors to act as slaves in a massive mining project taking place in Bedfordshire. The small group of survivors that Louise and Susan have linked up with are trying to organise a resistance.
Events continue to split the four heroes further and each has their own perilous escapades in the company of various resistance members as they make their way to the hub of events - the mining complex in Bedfordshire.
Dr Who pieces together the audacious Dalek plan:- using the site of an existing mineworks the Daleks have been using human slave labour to dig down deep underground to a fracture in the Earth's inner crust. They then plan to drop a massive bomb down the shaft which will explode on the fracture and eject the Earth's core into space which will then be replaced by a giant engine. The Daleks then intend to pilot the Earth, as if it were a massive spaceship, back to the vicinity of their own radioactively ruined planet of Skaro which the rest of the Dalek race will then abandon to live on Earth.
The Doctor deduces that the reason the Daleks used slow human labour to dig rather than fast mechanical drills is because the fracture is on a magnetic faultline where machinery would be useless - so he realises that if the bomb can be diverted to explode in the wrong place it would cause a magnetic maelstrom that would destroy the metal Daleks.
Tom goes into the vertical shaft over which the bomb awaits ready to be dropped and sets up some obstructions to divert the route into a pre-existing sub-shaft. The plan works as expected and the bomb explodes in the wrong place resulting in a magnetic surge that sucks all the Daleks into the shaft and destroys their spaceship. The Earth is saved and Dr Who and his family return Tom to Earth to continue with his normal life.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Who), Bernard Cribbins (as Tom Campbell), Roberta Tovey (as Susan, Dr Who's granddaughter), Jill Curzon (as Louise, Dr Who's niece)|
Ray Brooks (as David, resistance fighter), Andrew Keir (as Wyler, resistance fighter), Godfrey Quigley (as Dortmun, resistance leader)
|Featuring:||Philip Madoc (as Brockley, black market racketeer), Sheila Steafel (as Young cottage woman), Eileen Way (as Old cottage woman)|
|This was the second film starring Peter Cushing as Dr Who. The previous one was Dr. Who and the Daleks (1965). Events from the first film are referred to in connection with the Daleks but no mention is made of where Ian and Barbara went or how new companion Louise came into the story|
|Although based on the BBC TV's Doctor Who series starring William Hartnell there are some important differences to the main characters and their relationships. On television Susan was somewhat older than depicted in the film; the other companions Louise and Tom were never TV characters (in the original TV story Ian and Barbara were still the other companions). In the film the main character introduces himself directly as "Dr Who" to Tom although on TV he is only ever "The Doctor". The Daleks fire a visible gas from their gun arms rather than a deadly ray with its negative-image killing effect. Also the familiar TARDIS dematerialization noise is not used - nor is the TV theme music|
|The story told in this film is specifically based on the second TV Dalek story written by Terry Nation and first broadcast as a weekly 6-part serial beginning on 21 November 1964. Each episode was approximately 25 minutes long so clearly the film dispenses with about three episodes worth of material|
|aka: These Are The Damned|
|Writer: Evan Jones / Director: Joseph Losey / Producer: Anthony Hinds|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Simon Wells is a 40-something American tourist visiting the seaside town of Weymouth where he has hired a boat. He invites a young local woman called Joan out for a jaunt and she goes in defiance of her insanely jealous brother King who refuses to accept that she is a woman who needs to live her own life. King tracks their progress from the shore waiting for them to return to land when he plans to deal with Wells.
Eventually Joan asks to be put ashore further up the coast near some cliff-top houses and Simon accompanies her. King is soon on their trail again and they have to climb over a security fence of a scientific research base to evade him. It is getting dark and they accidentally fall off the cliff into the water below. In pursuit King climbs down more slowly to try to find them.
As the earlier action was progressing we have been seeing some of the events inside the base - a group of nine 11-year-old children are seen attending classes in high-tech surroundings where they ask questions of the base leader via a television screen. The boys and girls are most inquisitive about things but the leader - a Mr Bernard - tells them they will discover what they need to know when the time comes. All aspects of the children's lives inside a limited habitat are controlled for them by scientists in another location who monitor their every move via security cameras.
The near drowned Simon and Joan are rescued by the children and brought into a cave. This is the children's secret area unknown to the base leaders. The children are amazed at how warm the adults' bodies are and conversely Joan and Simon are astonished to find the children's bodies are cold to the touch with no bodily warmth whatsoever. Eventually King joins them and he and Simon enter into an uneasy alliance until they get out of here and discover what is going on. Simon is convinced the children are being held prisoner and he and Joan are determined to rescue them. The children inform them they have been told they are on a spaceship going to a distant star where they will start a new colony - although ever since they found a way out of the "spaceship" onto the sea facing rocks where they found Simon and Joan they know that not to be true.
Eventually the scientists in the base become aware of the three intruders and send guards in protective suits to capture them. But the three of them manage to defeat the guards and take the children out onto the rocks. However with the military backing up the scientists on this top-secret base everyone is quickly recaptured. The truth of the project is revealed - eleven years ago the mothers of the nine children were exposed to radiation and these children were born with highly radioactive bodies. But they survived and they have been seen by scientists as the future of mankind and vital to gaining an understanding of how the human race can adapt to live in the high radiation conditions that will exist after a nuclear war that will almost inevitably one day come. The children appear in every way normal but their proximity is so toxic to normal humans that the exposure that Simon, Joan and King have had to them is sufficient that they soon feel the ill effects of radiation exposure and die. As the film ends the experiment continues but with the children now acutely aware that they are freakish prisoners as we hear them back in their living habitat pleading for help and rescue.
|Starring:||Macdonald Carey (as Simon Wells), Shirley Anne Field (as Joan), Oliver Reed (as King), Alexander Knox (as Mr Bernard)|
|Featuring:||Walter Gotell (as Major Holland), James Villiers (as Captain Gregory), Viveca Lindfors (as Freya, sculptress friend of Mr Bernard), Kenneth Cope (as Sid, member of King's gang)|
|Based on the novel The Children of Light by H L Lawrence.|
|Made in Black and White.|
|The version reviewed carried the title These Are The Damned.|
|Writer: Derek Marlowe (from his own novel) / Director/Producer: Anthony Mann|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 107 mins|
|Alexander Eberlin is a 36-year-old British spy with an aristocratic bearing who is quite haughty in manner and not especially liked by his colleagues, although women find him very appealing. His role in the British Intelligence services is to carry out strategic assassinations. However Eberlin is secretly a Russian double agent and it is to the soviets that his true allegiance lies. He has been living in England for eighteen years under his current false identity. His real name is Klasnavin and he uses his skills to carry out clandestine assassinations of British agents abroad for his soviet paymasters. Recently Eberlin has become weary of the double life he leads and desperately wants to retire and return to the East but the KGB consider him too great an asset to allow that to happen.
Eberlin is summoned to MI5's headquarters to be briefed on his latest assignment. The number of British agents being killed abroad has become a concern but the best that intelligence sources have been able to piece together about the killings is that they have all been carried out by a Russian agent named Klasnavin who is believed to be based in West Berlin. Eberlin's new mission is to find Klasnavin and eliminate him. Eberlin has to hide his astonishment that without realising it the British have ordered him to hunt down and kill himself!
Eberlin is teamed up with an agent called Gatiss who is due to take up a post abroad and is most concerned that Klasnavin is dealt with lest he become the assassin's next victim. Gatiss is a highly motivated and cheerlessly ruthless agent who trusts no one. They travel to Berlin and begin their separate investigations. Eberlin uses his time to contact his soviet handlers restating his desire to be repatriated but is again turned down. His controller Sobakevich says he will arrange things so that an expendable agent is falsely believed to be Klasnavin and can be eliminated to satisfy the British Secret Service's current concerns.
Sobakevich makes a show of arranging a mercenary deal with Gatiss under the terms of which he will give up Klasnavin's identity for a huge monetary payoff. Upon payment of half the money Gatiss is given a location and finds a dead agent with enough corroborating paperwork upon him to convincingly prove he must have been Klasnavin. Gatiss goes back to Sobakevich to pay the other half of the money but instead coolly executes him.
The mission is unexpectedly over and it suddenly dawns upon Eberlin that he has been rumbled. The British knew he was Klasnavin all the time and they had used this opportunity to find out who his network of contacts were and eliminate them before arresting him.
|Starring:||Laurence Harvey (as Alexander Eberlin), Tom Courtenay (as Gatiss, British agent), Mia Farrow (as Caroline, Eberlin's girlfriend), Lionel Stander (as Sobakevich, Russian spymaster), Peter Cook (as Prentiss, British operative in West Berlin)|
|Featuring:||Per Oscarsson (as Pavel, Eberlin's Russian handler in London), Harry Andrews (as Fraser, MI5 boss), John Bird (as Henderson, Russian operative in Berlin), Norman Bird (as Copperfield, British operative), Richard O'Sullivan (as Nevil, Caroline's assistant), Barbara Murray (as Miss Vogler, Eberlin's secretary), Elspeth March (as Lady Hetherington, Caroline's mother)|
|Familiar Faces:||(in small roles) Geoffrey Bayldon (as Lake, private secretary/butler at MI5 HQ), Mike Pratt (as Russian man)|
|Writer: Meade Roberts / Director: Seth Holt / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Jonas Wilde is a clandestine government agent who works for a compartmentalised section through which officially sanctioned assassinations are carried out. The operation is known as the "Route" and Wilde is the assassin whose services are called upon a couple of times a year when a notice is placed in The Times Newspaper personal ads to notify him he is needed. At such times he meets up with his partner Brian Stern and they sail to Jersey where Wilde receives his target details and false travel papers from planner Peter Ravenspur who gets target orders from Wilde's overall boss Tony Canning. Brian remains out to sea while Wilde is away and the cover is that Wilde is with him. Only those four men know how the Route operates.
Wilde has just come back from an operation abroad and is preparing to settle back into his regular life with his girlfriend Jocelyn Kirby when he is ordered to report again for another operation. Wilde doesn't like it because normally he has weeks to prepare and this time is only being given a few days. When he gets to Jersey with Brian he finds that Ravenspur has been saddled with an assistant called Mari supposedly sent by Canning to help because Ravenspur is an invalid and can no longer cope as well as he once could. She seems to know all about the way the Route operates although Wilde is distrustful of her.
The current emergency assignment is to eliminate a germ warfare scientist called Balin who has defected from the East and is being brought to England by the Americans so he can be questioned. It is apparently believed Balin is a double-agent and is to be eliminated so he cannot fool the Americans with false information.
Wilde manages to carry out the killing but is captured by the CIA and interrogated by their top agent "Lucinda" (a man). Lucinda knows all about the "Route" and has devoted a great deal of CIA resources into discovering who is involved. He tells Wilde that he has been duped and not all of his missions are genuine. Somewhere in his operational chain is a rogue who has been introducing assignments that have not been sanctioned by Whitehall but have come from Soviet sources to suit their objectives - this assassination of the genuine defector Balin is one such example.
Wilde heads back to Jersey and finds that Ravenspur has been murdered - he suspects Mari and takes her back to his boat to meet up with his boatkeeper friend Brian Stern. Only to discover that the turncoat is Stern! Wilde's long-term friend had started assisting the ailing Ravenspur and discovered by chance how easy it would be to introduce an unsanctioned operation into the Route. He sold this "service" to the Russians and took his orders from them when they needed a "special" job done. But now Wilde's usefulness is over and he is to be terminated. But first Stern needs to interrogate Mari to find out who she is working for. He discovers she is CIA and has been planted by Lucinda to find out more about the Route's operations. Wilde manages to get free and kill Stern although Mari is also killed.
Wilde returns home to his apartment thinking it is all over. His girlfriend Jocelyn is waiting for him but a sixth sense alerts him to a change in her attitude and he finds out she is a Soviet agent planted to act as his girlfriend but with instructions to kill him when ordered - and those orders have now been given. He kills her instead.
Wilde meets up with his boss Canning to arrange a "clean-up" team and says he has become disillusioned with the job and wants out - but Canning tells him that he is far too valuable an asset for them to release and refuses to let him go - if he were to try then the murder of his girlfriend would be used against him. Wilde is trapped in his job.
|Comment: We know from the outset (in a prologue sequence) that a mystery man was giving orders to someone unseen (presumably Stern) that Wilde should not be allowed to survive this operation, but should he do so then a female agent had been put in place to kill him when it is over. Naturally we are supposed to think that the woman in question is the suspicious-seeming Mari and not innocent girlfriend-type Jocelyn.|
|Starring:||Richard Johnson (as Jonas Wilde, British agent), Carol Lynley (as Jocelyn, Wilde's girlfriend), Barbara Bouchet (as Mari, Ravenspur's assistant), Sylvia Syms (as Barbara Canning, wife of Wilde's boss), Gordon Jackson (as Brian Stern, Wilde's associate and business partner), Sam Wanamaker (as 'Lucinda', CIA agent)|
|Featuring:||Maurice Denham (as Peter Ravenspur, Wilde's associate in Jersey), Diana Dors (as Rhoda Goodrich, mansion housekeeper), Harry Andrews (as Tony Canning, Wilde's boss), Robin Bailey (as Parsons, mansion butler), Julian Chagrin (as Jack Matsys, Brian's accomplice)|
|Additional material by Robert Stewart; from the novel The Eliminator by Andrew York|
|Writers: Alene Bricken, Jules Bricken / Director: Jules Bricken / Producer: Don Getz|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Danny Jones is a seventeen-year-old lad who has recently left school and is now working alongside his father in his carpentry business. Danny and his father live alone together in their isolated cottage on a Welsh hillside and get along very well with great affection between them. Their current job is to perform routine repairs at the nearby boarding school, the Austin-Hobbs School for Young Ladies, before term restarts.
Two senior girls have arrived a few days early for the new term, Angie Dickson and her friend Sue. Angie has a low self-image and sees herself as very plain and frumpy whereas her friend Sue is beautiful and always the centre of male attention when they visit the pub. Angie is full of self-loathing and has a bitter anger at her lot in life and jealous of the way Sue can effortlessly attract older men.
When Mr Jones injures his foot, Danny is left to continue the work at the school by himself and Angie sees her opportunity to try and seduce an inexperienced boy even though he is younger than her by about a year. She virtually throws herself at him offering herself on a plate and he readily accepts because she is by no means as unattractive as she believes. Whilst she is undoubtedly plain, her problem is more to do with her sour attitude at her perceived plainness than her looks themselves. Danny enjoys himself with her but soon finds her overwhelmingly clingy and demanding - but also finds something about her he likes enough to keep going out with her.
Danny's father openly disapproves of a casual relationship with any of the girls from the school as he fears that any complaint might cost them their lucrative maintenance contract. So when he finds Danny and Angie out together - he splits them up and takes Angie back to school. Next day worried that Danny is losing interest in her Angie cruelly implies that she slept with his dad when he drove her home. Danny and his father have a violent row about it although the exact reason for Danny's anger isn't clear to his father - he thinks it's just because he split them apart.
Next day when the anger has abated Danny fetches Angie to offer her in unspoken terms to his lonely dad to show he doesn't mind him having her. But his father not realising what is behind the visit sees there is something genuine between his son and Angie and concedes acceptance of their relationship if they keep it discreet.
|Starring:||Len Jones (as Danny Jones), Jane Carr (as Angie Dickson), Frank Finlay (as Mr. Jones, Danny's father)|
|Featuring:||Jenny Hanley (as Sue), Nigel Humphreys, Raymond Young, Elizabeth Tyrrell|
|Based on the novel Fires of Youth by James Lincoln Collier.|
|aka: The Mercenaries|
|Writers: Quentin Werty, Adrian Spies / Director: Jack Cardiff / Producer: George Englund|
|Type: Action||Running Time: 96 mins|
|Captain Curry is a special auxiliary forces mercenary working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. He has been hired by the president to travel 300 miles north through hazardous territory to help evacuate a town cut off by rebel Simba forces. Additionally this town is the collection hub for the country's diamond mine output and the bank there holds $50million worth. The country badly needs this wealth and Curry is tasked with bringing the precious gems back as well. Captain Curry is shrewd enough to realise that this apparently secondary objective is really the prime reason for embarking on this humanitarian mission.
Curry's loyal friend and mercenary partner is Sergeant Ruffo and to help them they are provided with a company of government troops led by a white South African called Captain Henlein. Curry takes an instant dislike to Henlein for his repellent views but must tolerate him because of his local knowledge.
They equip a specially commandeered locomotive for the mission which is expected to take three days. The train journey to the town is fairly uneventful other than an unfortunate misunderstanding with a patrolling United Nations aircraft. But once they arrive at the town they have an agonising delay of three hours waiting for the bank's vault timer to unlock the door. This delay allows the Simba forces to organise a response and the railway track is sabotaged cutting off their fast escape route. The villagers and diamonds are captured by the ill-disciplined rebels who rape and pillage without restraint.
Captain Curry and his remaining soldiers mount a rescue and defeat the rebels. They retrieve the diamonds but most of the villagers have been killed. The soldiers are forced to make the journey back using road transport but when they run low on fuel Curry ventures off alone to use a railroad junction telegraph to signal their need for an airdrop supply of fuel.
Whilst Curry is away the unscrupulous Captain Henlein decides to take the diamonds for himself and kills Sergeant Ruffo whilst looking for them. When Curry returns he is devastated by the death of his loyal friend and goes into a rage. He chases down the fleeing Henlein and they have a tumultuous fight. Curry gains the upper hand and could have arrested Henlein but his fury is so intense that he instead kills him.
The airdrop arrives and the convoy continues. On the journey back Curry is so overcome by the guilt of having unnecessarily murdered Henlein that he places himself under arrest and submits himself for court-martial. THE END.
|Starring:||Rod Taylor (as Captain Curry), Jim Brown (as Sergeant Ruffo), Kenneth More (as Doctor Wreid, alcoholic doctor on mission), Yvette Mimieux (as Claire, widowed woman picked up on way), Peter Carsten (as Captain Henlein)|
|Featuring:||André Morell (as Bussier, bank official), Olivier Despax (as Lieutenant Surrier, rookie soldier), Bloke Modisane (as Corporal Kataki, soldier), Calvin Lockhart (as President Mwamini Ubi, Congo president), Danny Daniels (as General Moses, rebel leader)|
|Based on a novel by Wilbur Smith. In the book Captain Curry's first name is "Bruce" although no first name is mentioned in the film.|
|The version reviewed carried the title Dark of the Sun|
|Writers: Ed Brennan, Joseph Van Winkle / Director: Don Sharp / Producer: James Hannah Jr|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Andrew Marr is an elderly patient at the St Columba's Mental Institute. He is close to death and a man called Edward Foster is sitting at his bedside. During Marr's long incarceration Edward has been the only one to spend any time listening to his various ramblings, including his possibly self-delusional talk of hidden money in his old house, and so with consideration for his friendship Marr has written out a will leaving his property to Edward. Marr's final words are a cryptic indication that the money is behind a wall.
The next day Edward leaves the institute and travels up to the country location of his new property - Marr's Grove. The taxi driver taking him from the railway station warns him that the place has a bad reputation and the villagers fear to go there because people get hurt. And indeed the first thing Edward does is fall through some rotten boarding and hurt his leg. He is patched up by the local GP Dr Ian Mandeville who seems most interested in Edward's bequest and his plans for the place. Edward tells him he intends to live there and Mandeville avails him of its history - many years ago the wife of Andrew Marr and their two children and governess were murdered, or assumed to be because their bodies were never discovered, and shortly afterwards Andrew Marr went insane and had been at the asylum ever since. And the villagers swear the place is haunted by those children.
Edward has a look around his new property and realises there is a lot that needs doing if it is to be made habitable. He notices it is curious that a portrait of the young Andrew Marr over the fireplace resembles himself. He meets Sarah Mandeville the beautiful sister of the doctor who has come to volunteer to help him clean things up and he welcomes her assistance. But Sarah and Ian Mandeville have a secret agenda - they know that there is some money hidden in the house and think that Edward may know about it and be looking for it himself. Sarah uses her natural allure to grow closer to Edward and they begin an affair which she hopes will enable her to stay close enough to keep tabs on his activities.
Edward starts looking around and tapping walls for hollows where the money might be hidden. Before long he begins to hear voices of children at play but can never find where they are coming from. He is getting more and more agitated at these sounds until on one occasion he finds himself actually back in the past reliving events with himself in the role of the young Andrew Marr. The children are forever being naughty and Andrew is losing patience at their wilful disobedience. Andrew is having an affair with the young governess Alta and has plans to leave his wife who has a history of mental illness which he believes has been passed onto the children. As things progress he continues to have these flashbacks which are starting to send him over the edge into an agitated state of paranoia thinking that someone is trying to scare him away and sometimes his flashback thoughts spill over into the real world.
The situation comes to a head when he has a flashback that shows how Andrew comes home with two briefcases of money withdrawn from the bank which he was intending to split equally with his wife before leaving home with the other half for a new life with Alta. But his wife knows about his affair and conspires with the evil children to kill Alta thinking that with her dead Andrew will not leave them. In a rage at his lover's death Andrew strangles his wife to death - but tragically in the real world he wakes to find he has killed Sarah in a similar way. Then back in the past again Andrew still in a rage takes a sword and kills both his children. He then puts all four bodies along with the two briefcases of money in an alcove and bricks it up.
Dr Mandeville arrives looking for his sister - he has discovered that Edward was not a member of the asylum staff as he'd believed but a cured patient who was released soon after Marr's death. The madness has now consumed Edward and he murders the doctor with a pickaxe he had been using to uncover the finally discovered location of the bodies and money. The solicitor Prescott comes to the house and discovers the dead Mandevilles and calls the police and Edward is taken away along with the cases full of money.
|Starring:||Robert Hardy (as Edward Foster), Christopher Lee (as Dr Ian Mandeville), Joan Collins (as Sarah Mandeville, Ian's sister), Herbert Lom (as Prescott, solicitor)|
|Featuring:||Jane Birkin (as Alta, Andrew's mistress in flashbacks), Jean Marsh (as Victoria, Andrew's wife in flashbacks), Carleton Hobbs (as Old Andrew Marr)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Levene (as Doctor at asylum - Sgt Benton in 70s Doctor Who)|
|Writer: Ed Waters / Director: Robert Clouse / Producer: Walter Seltzer|
|Type: American / Thriller||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Travis McGee is an Irishman living in America who lives a leisurely life on a houseboat with his friend Meyer. McGee funds his leisure time by hiring out his services as a chivalrous adventurer who specialises in helping people find valuable things they have lost in return for a half-value fee.
One evening while McGee and Meyer are fishing in a small boat under a bridge they see a young woman being thrown from the top with her feet weighted down. McGee immediately dives in to cut her free and manages to save her from drowning. She is an Englishwoman called Evangeline (Vangie) McPherson. She is reluctant to talk about what happened and won't say who tried to kill her or why. McGee doesn't press her and allows her to stay on his barge as a guest while he ponders how to find out who was responsible for the outrage. He returns to the bridge and dives to retrieve the weight which turns out to have been a piece of gym equipment. Some fishermen see him diving and one of them makes a call ...
The man responsible is called Terry Bartell, a sadistically psychotic bodybuilder who throws his weight around and thinks he can do anything to anyone. When he receives the fisherman's call that someone is nosing around under the bridge he realises that Vangie might not be dead and makes some enquiries which leads him to the small marina where McGee's barge was birthed. McGee and his houseboat have recently departed and so Bartell proceeds to kill the landing's owner Scotty Burk in a fit of rage.
McGee is taking his craft to Miami and on the way he and Vangie start to become romantic. Vangie's home is in Miami and against McGee's advice she disembarks to pick up some personal things. But Bartell and his thug friend were keeping a watch out for her in town and when they spot her they ram her with a car and she is instantly killed.
McGee is determined to get justice and makes some discreet enquires. He discovers that Vangie had been a hustler working for Bartell to lure men into hotel rooms where she would drug them and Bartell would rob them. Bartell was planning to work the scam on a cruise ship next, but Vangie had wanted out and so Bartell acted to dispose of her.
McGee learns that Bartell has teamed up with another hustler girlfriend called Del Whitney and intends to go ahead with his plan on the cruise ship with this new accomplice. McGee knows that he needs to rile Bartell into losing his temper so that he will betray himself. So he hires an American actress called Merrimay Molly who closely resembles the dead Vangie to pose as her. McGee then joins the cruise on its last leg and makes sure Bartell is plied with drink while he tells Del what happened to Bartell's last partner. As the cruiser is coming into port the intoxicated Bartell discovers McGee and Del together and becomes insanely jealous and attacks McGee. Bartell's strength is extraordinary and McGee is hopelessly outmatched. He gets badly hurt and only escapes worse injury because Bartell's coordination is off. McGee manages to stay on his feet long enough to lure Bartell off the ship and onto the quayside where Vangie's double is waiting as arranged. She calls to him and Bartell is astounded - he knows she can't possibly be alive and yet there she is - in his state of unreasoning blind fury he rushes over to her determined to kill her again, shouting murderously and betraying his crimes. McGee had told the police to be there and they arrest Bartell for the murders.
McGee returns to his houseboat and his peaceful life to recover from his injuries. Merrimay travels with him and there seems a possibly that romance will ensue just as it did with Vangie.
|Starring:||Rod Taylor (as Travis McGee), Theodore Bikel (as Meyer), Suzy Kendall (as Vangie McPherson, [and Merrimay Molloy])|
|Featuring:||Ahna Capri (as Del Whitney, Terry's girlfriend), William Smith (as Terry, psychotic bodybuilder), James Booth (as Scotty Burk, marina owner), Janet MacLachlan (as Noreen, chalet maid), Robert Phillips (as Martin Griffith, Vangie's boyfriend), Sherry Faber (as Nina, boutique assistant), Judy Wallace (as Ginny, travel agent)|
|Star-Turns:||Jane Russell (as Alabama Tigress, McGee's partying friend, [one scene])|
|Based on the novel Darker Than Amber by John D. MacDonald|
|This American film is included here because of the involvement of British actress Suzy Kendall.|
|Writer: Frederic Raphael / Director: John Schlesinger / Producer: Joseph Janni|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 120 mins|
|Diana Scott is young woman who works as a model for a lingerie company. She is married to a man she loves but doesn't really respect as he's too young and immature and marriage was somehow foisted on them. One day she is stopped in the street for an opinion piece on a TV show and the journalist invites her back to the studio to see how the finished programme is put together. His name is Robert Gold and they immediately click - they drift into a relationship and decide to leave their respective spouses and set up home together. He takes her to show-biz parties and her good looks bring her to the attention of filmmakers and she starts getting some small parts in films - becoming a mini starlet.
She falls pregnant but decides that a baby would not be right for her blossoming career and so has an abortion. At home with Robert things start to fall into a routine and she becomes terribly bored and so she meets up with Miles Brand who is her mentor at the lingerie company she works for. He knows how to have fun and goes with her on an assignment to Paris where he takes her to a swingers party. She sleeps with him and when she gets home Robert catches her out in a lie and they have a furious row and he leaves her.
She decides to throw herself into her work and gets an assignment in Italy filming a commercial on the estate of an Italian prince. The Royal Prince Cesare is recently widowed and he falls for Diana's charms and proposes. At first she declines but after she has returned to England and reconsidered her options she accepts his proposal. They marry and she becomes Italian Princess Diana, an instant media celebrity. But after the glitz and glamour she discovers that life as a royal is not the fairy tale she imagined and she becomes very lonely in the palace whilst her new husband is away on business trips. She travels back to England to try and renew her relationship with Robert. But he is not interested any more and makes her go back.
And so we leave the story with her putting a brave public face on her new life and inwardly hating it and her seeming inability to ever be truly content with her life and relationships, always wanting something different, something better, but never managing to be truly happy for very long once she has it.
|Comment: The story is narrated by Diana from a retrospective viewpoint as she gives a magazine interview telling her detailed life story.|
|Starring:||Julie Christie (as Diana Scott), Dirk Bogarde (as Robert Gold), Laurence Harvey (as Miles Brand)|
|Featuring:||Jose Luis De Villalonga (as Prince Cesare), Roland Curram (as Malcolm, Diana's gay friend), Basil Henson (as Alec, Diana's brother in law), Helen Lindsay (as Felicity, Diana's sister)|
|Familiar Faces:||Brian Wilde (as Basil Willett MP), Pauline Yates (as Estelle Gold, Robert's wife), James Cossins|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: Roman Polanski / Director: Simon Hesera / Producer: Gene Gutowski|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 80 mins|
|Bernie is an alcoholic whose life is in a mess because of his addiction. He is in debt to loan sharks and has separated from his wife Melissa who now lives with another man. They have a daughter called Winnie who is now 7-years-old and has been brought up to think of Bernie as her uncle and her stepfather as her father. Bernie complies with that understanding and in return he is allowed to take Winnie out occasionally on trips providing he stays sober.
Today Bernie is taking Winnie to the seaside and even though it is pouring with rain she is excited to be going because she likes her funny uncle. They start out early and go by train. Bernie never talks down to Winnie and a lot of what he says is beyond her understanding but he larks around and makes her laugh too.
At the seaside it is cold and miserable but Winnie seems not to care as they walk on the beach. They stop at a café and Bernie cannot resist having a beer. But once he has started he cannot stop and he soon buys more beers to have on the way. He appears unaffected by the drink although he becomes prone to belittling people with erudite disparagements - considering himself superior and able to toy with the sensibilities of others with impunity. Winnie thinks he is funny when he is like this - but she also knows it is a bad thing he drinks so much but there is nothing she can do except hope he will stop.
As the day draws on they meet a friend of Bernie's called Nicholas who is with his wife Tonie on a day out in their bubble car. Bernie uses his strong persuasive powers to drag Nicholas to a pub where he drinks even more and makes fun of his friend's poetry.
It is now dark and Winnie is feeling tired and wants to go home. But on the way back to the train station Bernie sees an off-licence and has to go inside. He buys and steals more drink and returns with Winnie to the beach where he guzzles it all uncontrollably.
Now he is so intoxicated his vision is blurry and he is unsteady on his feet although he refuses to accept he has any sort of problem and can overcome this impediment with power of will. He tells Winnie to wait while he finds a phone to tell Melissa they are going to be late. But he passes a pub and cannot resist going inside for more. Winnie becomes very anxious outside in the dark and when Bernie returns he is scolded by passers-by for leaving her alone like that.
Winnie decides to take charge and leads her uncle by the hand to get to the train station. But as they are walking across the town square Bernie collapses and falls flat on his face onto the cobbled ground with a hard thud. Winnie shakes him and tries to rouse him but she can get no response from him and she starts screaming. THE END. (Although not fully elucidated it seems likely that Bernie is dead).
|Comment: Winnie has one leg in a brace which seems largely incidental to the story so possibly it was something she had to wear in real life that was integrated into the story.|
|Starring:||Mark Burns (as Bernie), Beatrice Edney (as Winnie, young daughter), Maurice Roëves (as Nicholas, Bernie's poet friend)|
|Featuring:||Joanna Dunham (as Tonie, poet's wife), Fiona Lewis (as Melissa, Bernie's ex-wife, Winnie's mother), Jack MacGowran (as Beach Attendant), Peter Sellers (as Gift shop owner, [one-scene; credited as A. Queen]), Graham Stark (as Pipi, gift shop owner's friend, [one scene]), Eva Dahlbeck (as Café Owner), Sisse Reingärd (as Cafe Owner's daughter), Jørgen Kil (as Carl, Melissa's new husband), Bertil Lauring (as Loan shark), John Franklyn (as Liquor Store owner)|
|Based on a novel by Heere Heeresma; translated by James Brockway|
|Beatrice Edney receives an "introducing" credit. She was 7-8 years old at the time. This seems to be her only childhood acting part with her next role being in 1984 when she began acting again under the name Beatie Edney.|
|Writer: Peter Nichols (based on his own play) / Director: Peter Medak / Producer: David Deutsch|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Brian and Sheila are a couple with a severely mentally handicapped daughter called Jo who is now aged 10. Jo has no speech or ability to care for herself in any way and is in a vegetative state prone to spasmodic fits. Brian and Sheila cope with their despair by adopting a comical extrovert banter with one another and inventing a personality for their daughter that-might-have-been which they both supply details for as they wash, feed and change her. Sheila still holds out some hope of a miracle recovery or at least some small sign of improvement to give her encouragement. Brian however has long since given up on that ever happening.
We see in flashback how happy they were as a couple expecting their first child, then the stress of Sheila's difficult and long labour, and the early days of Jo's life when it became clear something was not right. Baby Jo fell into a coma and when she came out of it things were never the same and have remained largely unchanged up until this day.
The two of them refuse to place her in a residential hospital where they feel she wouldn't receive any proper love. Brian sometimes wonders if it is all worth it and thinks it would be a blessing for her to die as she has no proper life or expectation of any. Their friend Freddie tries to persuade them that modern residencies are wonderful places full of caring staff and urges them to consider it again because he just hates to see the two of them wasting their lives away like this on an unfortunately hopeless cause.
For all his extroverted antics Brian is clearly at the edge of his emotional resilience and when Jo seems to take a turn for the worse and has to go into hospital for emergency care he finds himself secretly hoping she won't make it through this particular crisis. When she does recover he realises he just cannot cope any more and packs his bags and leaves without saying a word about it, leaving Sheila thinking he has just gone on a quick shopping errand.
|Starring:||Alan Bates (as Brian), Janet Suzman (as Sheila), Peter Bowles (as Freddie, their friend), Sheila Gish (as Pam, Freddie's wife)|
|Featuring:||Joan Hickson (as Grace, Brian's mother), Elizabeth Robillard (as Jo, the daughter), Murray Melvin (as Family Doctor)|
|The character mentioned in the title comes from something Brian's grandmother used to say that when she had nothing to do it was like sitting around like Joe Egg.|
|Novel: Frederick Forsyth / Writer: Kenneth Ross / Director: Fred Zinnemann / Producer: John Woolf|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 136 mins|
|In the early 1960s in France political activists calling themselves the OAS wish to kill their president Charles De Gaulle for his political decision to give independence to French Algeria which the OAS feel is disrespectful to the soldiers who died there. In 1962 they make some unsuccessful assassination attempts but soon find their members are either arrested or under such close scrutiny by the authorities that further attempts are rendered impossible. So the higher-echelons of the OAS decide to recruit an outsider who will be unknown to the French authorities - a hired hitman. They select an Englishman who is calling himself "The Jackal" who agrees to take on the job for a large fee.
The Jackal goes about his meticulous plans and preparations to beat the immense security precautions the French president will be protected by during his public appearances. He has a specially disguised rifle constructed and all the necessary identification paperwork for a number of false identities. The French authorities monitoring the OAS activities become suspicious when the known OAS leaders seem strangely quiet and begin to suspect that an outsider might have been called in. World security services check their records and it is the British who come up with the only lead on a possible candidate for the hitman.
As the French and British authorities mount a massive effort of detection to track down the slender leads they have, the Jackal manages to keep one step ahead of their progress helped by information being leaked from the investigation team by some careless pillow talk to a female OAS operative. With cunning and determination the Jackal manages get his sniper rifle set-up in a building as the president is attending Liberation Day and manages to get off a shot only missing his target when De Gaulle moves at the last moment - and before he can reload for another shot the police discover his location and he is shot dead.
|Starring:||Edward Fox (as The Jackal)|
|Featuring:||Michel Auclair (as Colonel Rolland, French investigator), Tony Britton (Inspector Thomas, British investigator), Delphine Seyrig (as Colette de Montpelier, woman in Jackal's hotel), Michael Lonsdale (as Lebel, French detective), Derek Jacobi (as Caron, Lebel's assistant), Cyril Cusack (as Gunsmith), Ronald Pickup (as Forger), Olga Georges-Picot (as Denise, OAS operative), Donald Sinden (as Mallinson, British investigator), Terence Alexander (Lloyd, foreign office)|
|Familiar Faces:||Edward Hardwicke, Nicholas Young (uncredited cameos)|
|Writer: Philip Yordan / Director: Steve Sekely / Producer: George Pitcher|
|Type: Sci-Fi / Horror||Running Time: 94 mins|
|The film has a subplot set on a lighthouse which does not interact with the main plot (see NOTES for reason) - these sequences are intermingled with the main action but for this review they are described separately.
Bill Masen is an American sailor being treated in a London hospital for an eye injury. His bandages cannot be removed until the next day and he is somewhat disgruntled to be missing a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that everyone else is enjoying. Namely a massive meteor shower which is lighting up the skies with a brilliant display that the whole world is witnessing.
The next day Bill wakes up and is puzzled that no one has been in to see him. He removes his own bandages and finds the hospital deserted. He soon discovers that everyone has been struck blind by the glare of the meteor flashes and only a small handful of people who did not see it have been spared. Bill leaves the hospital and is appalled by the scale of the disaster with everyone wandering around helplessly. He meets up with a small girl called Susan who had been running away from her boarding school by hiding in a train and so missed the lightshow. Together they travel around hoping to find more sighted people to organise a rescue plan. The situation is serious because there may not be enough sighted people left to keep vital services running and support the millions of now helpless blind (who have not died or turned into dangerous zombies and so still need to be fed and cared for).
Meanwhile the situation has been aggravated by the appearance of some massive plants called Triffids whose fast growing seeds fell to Earth in the meteor shower. These plants are carnivorous and can uproot themselves and move around stalking their victims. The blind are easy prey for them and even the sighted cannot do much more than run from their deadly advance.
Bill and Susan travel over to France and meet a small group of sighted people led by Christine Durrant who is caring for some of the blind in her château. When they are attacked by some sighted escaped convicts taking full advantage of helpless blind women, Bill, Susan and Christine escape and travel on in a borrowed circus van. They stop at a villa to help a blind couple who are expecting a baby. The villa has a generator and Bill hooks up an electric fence to hold at bay the hundreds of Triffids that have amassed outside. They finally figure out that the Triffids are attracted by sound and so Bill drives the circus van out playing a musical melody which lures the Triffids away and over a cliff. Bill and his friends then make their way to a rescue submarine whose crew were underwater during the light display which is taking sighted survivors to a rescue centre in Gibraltar.
Tom and Karen Goodwin are marine biologists who are tending a remote lighthouse off the coast of Cornwall while they conduct research experiments. They hear on the radio about the meteor shower light display but are too engrossed to go up to the observation room to take a look. Next morning they hear the news of mass blindness and Triffid danger and realise they are stranded because they were reliant on a supply vessel to transport them to the mainland.
But then they notice a Triffid plant has started to grow on the small island and soon it uproots itself and ferociously attacks. Tom just manages to kill it by lopping off its lobe bud and then proceeds to study it trying to discover a chemical formulation that will efficiently kill it if there are any more.
But it is not dead and regenerates itself and escapes back outside where it germinates and soon the lighthouse is surrounded by Triffids trying to break in. Tom cannot find any compound that interferes with the tissue sample's life cycle and starts to think that nothing can kill them.
Then the Triffids smash their way in and the couple have to retreat up the lighthouse stairs. The Triffids follow and Tom and Karen soon run out of places to go. In desperation Tom turns on the seawater fire hose hoping to hold them back with the water pressure. But astoundingly the Triffids start dissolving into slime and Tom realises he has stumbled upon their fatal weakness which he had never even thought of to test - common seawater! Tom kills all the Triffids and they are safe (although still stranded).
|Comment: The Triffids were already known on Earth after seeds were found on a lone meteorite a few years previously. They were given the Latin name Triffidus Selectus and grown in controlled conditions in a Royal Botanic Gardens. But it wasn't until the meteor shower that their unique abilities manifested as they were spread around the globe in an uncontrolled fashion.|
|Starring:||Howard Keel (as Bill Masen), Janina Faye (as Susan), Nicole Maurey (as Christine Durrant), Kieron Moore and Janette Scott (as Tom and Karen Goodwin, lighthouse couple)|
|Featuring:||Ewan Roberts (as Dr Soames, eye specialist treating Bill), Mervyn Johns (as Mr Coker, château resident), Alison Leggatt (as Miss Coker, château resident), Geoffrey Matthews and Gilgi Hauser (as Luis and Teresa de la Vega, villa couple), Carol Ann Ford (as Bettina, blind château girl), Collette Wilde (as Nurse Jamieson, treating Bill)|
|From the novel by John Wyndham|
|The lighthouse part of the story was added when the film was found to be too short. These sequences were directed by Freddie Francis who was not credited. The aggregate running time of the additional scenes is 23 minutes over six sequences and supplies the exciting climax to the film which otherwise might have seemed a bit low-key.|
|Writers: Wolf Mankowitz, Val Guest / Director/Producer: Val Guest|
|Type: Sci-Fi / Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Set in the busy newsroom of the Daily Express newspaper in London as a story of massive global proportions emerges. The world has been experiencing some unusual weather events and earth tremors along with reports of guidance control system failures which all seem to be unrelated - but science editor Bill Maguire believes that there might be connections to a massive nuclear bomb test made by the Americans at the South Pole ten days beforehand - possibly some atmospheric after-effects he speculates Another Express reporter called Peter Stenning tries to get some information from the London Meteorological Centre but finds them strangely tight-lipped - in the process he has a run-in with a telephonist at the Met Centre called Jeannie Craig in his frustration at being stone-walled. Then it emerges that the Russians had also been testing their own massive bomb on the other side of the world in Siberia and by an incredible fluke their detonation had coincided with the American one.
Climatic changes seem to be taking place all over the globe. Some usually dry regions are experiencing flooding and the UK undergoes a massive heat wave breaking all temperature records. Europe is hit by cyclones which are unknown in that part of the world. And then a solar eclipse occurs ten days earlier than expected. Stenning makes amends with Jeannie and they become friends and she passes on a stunning snippet that she overheard in her telephony duties. The two simultaneous bombs have actually shifted the tilt-axis of the Earth by eleven degrees which means the position of the equator has been permanently changed. All through the summer the heatwave continues and water rationing has to be introduced with no private water available as the authorities set up communal washing areas in parks to conserve and optimise water usage.
Then the story gets worse as the world learns what scientists and governments knew all along but were keeping quiet about while they worked on a solution - the bombs did more than just tilt the Earth - they have actually shifted the planet's orbit so that it is moving towards the sun. In a mere four months the heat will be so intense that all life on Earth will be extinguished. World governments have cooperated in a massive effort to reverse mankind's folly by simultaneously exploding more bombs in strategic locations to try and kick the Earth back into a stable orbit before it is too late.
As the film ends the countdown to this desperate gamble begins - the bombs are detonated and the world can only wait and see if it worked.
|Starring:||Edward Judd (as Peter Stenning), Janet Munro (as Jeannie Craig), Leo McKern (as Bill Maguire)|
|Featuring:||Arthur Christiansen (as Daily Express Editor), Michael Goodliffe (as Night editor), Bernard Braden (as News editor), Reginald Beckwith (as Harry, bar manager), Gene Anderson (as May, bar manageress), Renée Asherson (as Angela, Stenning's ex-wife, one-scene), Norman Chappell (Building commissionaire), Robin Hawdon (as Ronnie, office junior), Austin Trevor (as Sir John Kelly, head scientist at Meteorological Centre), Geoffrey Chater (as Pat Holroyd, Met Centre scientist)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Barron, Peter Butterworth (as uncredited newsroom personnel)|
|Also:||Michael Caine (as Policeman, [uncredited pre-fame bit-part seen when he stops Stenning from driving down a street towards the end of the film - you wouldn't recognise him unaided but he is pointed out in the director's commentary])|
|Edward Judd receives an "introducing" credit|
|Made in B&W (with the prologue and end scenes red-tinted)|
|Although a science fiction film as far as the plot is concerned, it plays more like a regular newsroom drama with none of the melodramatic trappings usually associated with sci-fi films in evidence|
|There were two versions of some scenes filmed. The British version had a scene in which Janet Munro is seen nearly topless while washing her hair in the bathroom during the heatwave and although she keeps a towel slung discreetly around her shoulders there is a very brief glimpse of her breasts seen in a side mirror and when she first puts on the towel and turns around. The version made for America was filmed completely covered up. (NOTE: There are some openly topless on-set stills of this scene in which Janet Munro is seen leaning over the bathroom sink wetting her hair - but this level of nudity does not appear in either version of the film). Another difference to listen out for is when, in the British version, Leo McKern is first told about the axis shift he calls the world leaders "stupid ignorant irresponsible bastards" - in the American version that final word is changed to "bunglers". The version reviewed here was the British version.|
|Writer: Richard Matheson / Director: Cy Endfield / Producers: Samuel Z. Arkoff, James H. Nicholson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Set in the 1700s in France. The Marquis Louis De Sade is a nobleman who is tarnished with a reputation for unsavoury lasciviousness and has been in and out of prison many times. His stressed family have decided to marry him away to the de Montreuil family with a suitable financial arrangement. De Sade is not displeased because he has strong desires for the de Montreuil's beautiful daughter Anne. But after he has signed the marriage papers he discovers that the bride-to-be is actually the much plainer and less-marriageable daughter Renee for whom he has no interest. But a marriage contract is legally binding whose breach is punishable with imprisonment - and Renee's authoritative mother Madame De Montreuil makes it belligerently clear she will enforce it.
After the marriage to Renee, De Sade is soon back to his old ways engaging in debauched orgies in which he finds heady pleasure in administering pain to the whores he dallies with. After another spell in prison De Sade pledges to behave and treat Renee with respect. De Sade makes an effort to conform to the standards expected of him and has a child with Renee.
At a lavish ball De Sade falls for a glamorous Parisian actress called La Beauvoisin. He buys a residence in which he installs a theatre and he begins writing and producing plays in which they both star in order to remain justifiably close to her.
Still De Sade's cannot resist his strong impulses to use and abuse underclass women and Madame de Montreuil considers it the last straw when she has to pay off a scandal-threatening commoner whom De Sade has ill-treated. She gives De Sade an ultimatum to remain in residence and faithful to his wife and their young baby. De Sade has no love for Renee even though she remains devoted to him and consequently is in a constant state of depression that her love is not mirrored in equal measure.
But despite his mother-in-law's threats and warnings De Sade cannot constrain himself and continues with his increasingly degenerate and cruel orgiastic excesses. He is arrested again when he fulfils his long-yearned desire to bed his now sister-in-law Anne. Madame De Montreuil is incensed that his unmanageable weakness has ruined Anne's reputation and rendered her soiled goods for high-status marriageable purposes. She uncompromisingly declares to De Sade that this time she will not vouch for his release from prison - he has ruined enough lives with his corrupt and licentious ways that this time she intends to let him remain locked up for the rest of his life.
|Comment: The narrative is linked together by a fantasy framework setting where De Sade returns to his derelict home where his uncle and former mentor, Abbe De Sade, puts on playlets of key moments in Louis' life. These theatrical stage depictions then transmute into flashbacks to the real event. At the end of the film an old and feeble De Sade is seen in his prison cell deathbed and we discover that what we have been watching is De Sade minutely reassessing his life looking for some meaning to it but failing to unearth the special defining moment he knows has to be there somewhere - and so he begins again and the film restarts ...|
|Starring:||Keir Dullea (as Marquis Louis Alphonse Donatien de Sade), John Huston (as Abbe de Sade, De Sade's uncle and father-figure mentor), Lilli Palmer (as Madame de Montreuil)|
|Featuring:||Anna Massey (as Renee de Montreuil, plainer daughter, De Sade's wife), Senta Berger (as Anne de Montreuil, pretty daughter), Sonja Ziemann (as La Beauvoisin, actress), Christiane Krüger (as Laura, De Sade's mistress, [credited as Krueger]), Uta Levka (as Rose Keller, ill-treated commoner)|
|Although the word "sadistic" perfectly describes the nature of De Sade's activities I have deliberately avoided using it in the above plot summary because (as the opening caption tells us) it is the nature of De Sade's immoral conduct which gave derivation to the word.|
|This US/German co-production was reviewed mainly because it involved British actress Anna Massey although her overall role is not a large one|
|Writers: Tony Richardson, John Oaksey / Director: Tony Richardson / Producer: Neil Hartley|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Alan York is an amateur horse racing jockey from a rich family in Kenya who is visiting England and staying with his close friends and racehorse stable owners Bill and Laura Davidson. The Davidsons own the racehorse "Admiral" tipped for big things in the forthcoming racing calendar leading up to the Grand National. When Bill Davidson gets a tip-off that there is going to be an attempt to nobble Admiral in the next race he decides to ride the horse himself to make sure no one interferes with him. But then during the race Admiral becomes agitated and unsteady and falls causing Bill severe injuries which he later dies of in hospital. Admiral is unharmed and seems fine again only moments later and blood tests reveal nothing unusual.
Laura had dearly loved her husband and is devastated by his loss. But she had been also having a discrete affair with Alan and she seeks comfort in his arms at night. Their perennially cheerful friend Sandy Mason is also on hand to lend his sympathies and support. Sandy is a happy-go-lucky professional jockey whom everyone can depend upon and share their confidences with in complete trust. Bill Davidson's inquest returns an accidental death verdict, but Alan York cannot accept that and is convinced foul play was at work. He publicly vows to discover the truth for himself and harshly criticises the police for not investigating the matter properly. Senior policeman Lodge is in court and seems troubled by Alan's words.
Alan starts asking around and conducting his own investigation and his first suspicions settle upon inveterate gambler Clifford Tudor who is a long-time racecourse bookie with a history of trying to influence the outcome of races. But when Alan challenges Tudor it is clear that he is equally as troubled by the matter since he lost on the race as well. Tudor tells Alan about a crooked firm called Whitely's who run a car hire company - but that is just a legitimate front for a profusion of illegal activities including protection, prostitution, drugs and race fixing. Tudor claims he has no idea who is behind Whitely's. Afterwards Tudor gets worried and tells his young girlfriend he might have said too much to York.
Alan goes to the police and is interviewed by Inspector Lodge who dismisses all his unfounded accusations about Whitely's and instead insinuates that York himself had much to gain by Bill Davidson's death since he and Laura were having an affair and he will stand to gain control of the lucrative stables if he marries her. Lodge's unhelpful attitude confounds Alan and he leaves the police station feeling nothing will be done.
At a garden party Alan is approached by a beautiful young girl called Penny Brocker and he easily falls for her charms and they end up sleeping together. When Laura finds out she is dismayed that she has a younger rival but does not want to alienate Alan by being judgemental or possessive. She makes enquiries about Penny and discovers she is Clifford Tudor's plaything and therefore likely she had an ulterior motive. When she tells Alan that Clifford Tudor is the sugar daddy of his new fancy, Alan is irritated to have been played for a fool. He confronts Penny and she admits their meeting was not accidental. But all she was trying to do was divert his attention from the investigation to keep Tudor's name out of things because Tudor is worried that Whitely's will find out he knows too much and has been blabbing. Alan believes her and says she can come to the next race meeting.
Film footage of Admiral taken when Bill had his fatal accident showed the horse was in much distress and stable hand Yuko says he has seen the same thing before in China caused by a drug which makes a horse go temporarily blind. Alan decides to ride Admiral himself at the next race meeting to make certain the horse is not interfered with before the race. He has a drink of champagne with Penny beforehand and some coffee with Sandy. Alan is satisfied that Admiral has not been drugged but during the course of the race Alan himself feels groggy and starts to lose his vision and he falls from Admiral. He is not badly hurt and his vision soon returns but he realises that he has been fooled by Penny again and she must have drugged his champagne. Sandy is beyond reproach and Alan shares with him his suspicions that Tudor is up to his neck in it and is using Penny to do his dirty work.
We, meanwhile, discover that Inspector Lodge himself is the man in charge of Whitely's. He is working in partnership with a still unrevealed figure. Lodge decides that Tudor needs to be decisively dealt with because he knows too much and might overcome his fear and tell York everything.
Alan visits the nightclub where Penny works to tell her what he thinks of her for doping his drink. But before he can the club is raided by Whitely thugs who target Clifford Tudor and kill him. Penny tearfully tells Alan that it was not her who spiked his drink and Clifford was certainly not part of the Whitely gang. In fact Whitely thugs have been threatening him for weeks but he dared not go to the police because they are being paid-off and always turn a blind eye to anything involving Whitely's.
Alan discovers that it was race starter's assistant Sid Charring who doped Admiral on Bill's fateful ride, administering the drug while he was checking the bridle prior to the start. Alan puts pressure on Sid to show him the drug that was used. But next day Sid is found dead killed by Whitely thugs before he could give Alan the drug container. Luckily Alan finds it where it was dropped when Sid was attacked. It is a prescription medicine for slimming tablets which cause bad side effects if taken in the wrong dosage. Alan traces to whom the prescription was issued and is shocked to discover they belonged to his good and trusted friend Sandy Mason! He secretly follows Sandy and observes him having a clandestine chat with Lodge which confirms they are working in league. So it was Sandy who drugged him via his coffee and not Penny after all. Alan decides to drop out of sight by pretending he has become scared of becoming another victim of Whitley's thugs and has therefore left the country and gone home to Kenya.
Sandy Mason's jocular demeanour was all a sham and really he has a cruel and vicious streak. He and Lodge discuss the progress of their crooked plans which all seem to be working out nicely now that the pest Alan York has been scared off. They aim to make a fortune by fixing the results of races, and with the Grand National coming up, Sandy even hopes to fulfil his ambitions of winning it - and with Alan gone he might have a good chance.
On the day of the Grand National Alan surprises everyone by turning up to ride Admiral after all. Sandy is furious at this unexpected setback but is determined to win the race on his own horse by fair means or foul. During the race Sandy rides too close to Admiral and uses his bat to whip at Alan and try and dislodge him from his mount whilst they are travelling at breakneck speeds. Alan fights back and eventually it is Sandy who falls and dies as he becomes impaled on the metal spiked railings bordering the track.
Alan York goes on to win the Grand National on Admiral. Lodge is there at the winning enclosure in his official capacity and makes a show of congratulating Alan. But Alan punches him to the ground in front of the world's media knowing he will be charged with assaulting a police officer. He tells a now subdued and horrified Lodge with great satisfaction that he looks forward to being able to explain in court exactly why he did it. THE END.
|Starring:||Scott Antony (as Alan York), Judi Dench (as Laura Davidson), Michael Williams (as Sandy Mason), Nina Thomas (as Penny Brocker), Julian Glover (as Inspector Lodge)|
|Featuring:||Mark Digham (as Clifford Tudor, bookie), John Bindon (as Walter, heavy), Joseph Blatchley (as Joe Nantwich, jockey), Ian Hogg (as Major Bill Davidson, Laura's husband), Bill Fraser (as Sir Cresswell, race steward), Sean Lynch (as Sid Charring, starter's assistant), Hideo Saito (as Yuko, stable boy)|
|Based on the novel by Dick Francis|
|Writers: Jimmy Sangster, David Osborn, Liz Charles-Williams / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Hugh Drummond is an insurance assessor working for Lloyds who likes to keep in shape and is an expert at judo. A friend of his called Sir John Bledlow is chairman of an oil company who tells Hugh about the unusual death of a mutual friend they have called David Wyngarde who had been doing exploratory work on an oil field at a coastal resort in Italy. Before his death Wyngarde had sent a fairly cryptic cable warning that rival oil company's chairman Henry Keller's life was in danger - but before he could send his full report on the matter he mysteriously died in a supposed swimming accident. And in the last few days Keller's private jet crashed over the sea killing all aboard. Ironically enough Keller's death will benefit Sir John's company because they were both bidding rivals for some valuable oil concessions.
Sir John's company had employed a mysterious third party who had approached the board of directors with an offer that for a payment of one million pounds they would ensure that his company won the concession. Now with Keller's accidental death some of the firm's directors feel it is unnecessary to pay up because nothing was done to earn the money. However the third party's representative, the beautiful Miss Eckman, insists they should pay regardless. The board vote and it is a split decision. (They do not suspect Miss Eckman was responsible for the downing of the Keller aircraft and also murdered Wyngarde to prevent him expanding on his cryptic warning - the viewer knows because we saw it happen in a prologue). That evening one of the naysayers on the board meets a grisly end and the next day the board decide it would be prudent to pay up after all.
Sir John tells Hugh that he has learnt that another oil company has been approached by Miss Eckman with a similar proposal to help them win a different concession from a young middle-eastern monarch called King Fedra who has steadfastly declined to accept any offer. Hugh decides to look into the matter further and soon finds his snooping has made him a target when he receives a box of exploding cigars. Then Hugh's nephew Robert is kidnapped and tortured by Miss Eckman's partner-in-crime Penelope to reveal what information he knows on the progress of his uncle's investigations. Penelope takes great cheery delight in her sadistic work whereas Miss Eckman is icy cool. Miss Eckman is forever chastising Penelope's vanity and scolding her for borrowing things that don't belong to her. Hugh manages to rescue Robert but the two female killers get away.
The action moves to Italy where Robert has wangled an invite onto King Fedra's private holiday yacht because they used to go to the same university together. Hugh knows that the king's life is in danger because only his death would secure the concession that Miss Eckman's mystery employer has promised to deliver.
Hugh is invited to have dinner with the owner of a nearby castle whose name is Carl Peterson. As soon as they meet Hugh realises he already knows Peterson under a different name. Peterson is a director on the board of both of the oil company's that have been recently approached by the mystery party. Peterson is a big business speculator who knows that the fortunes of large companies rely on key individuals and so he targets these men using a network of beautiful women trained in the art of assassination. His next target is King Fedra whose yacht he plans to blow up.
To achieve this he plans to use a girl called Grace who has proven unreliably disloyal to him. Peterson intends to exploit her "treacherous" righteousness by secretly planting a bomb on her. He will then allow her to "escape" knowing she will head straight for the royal yacht to warn the king of a plot against him. Grace will have no idea she is on an unwitting "suicide" mission because the bomb is disguised as a harmless object. To maintain security only Peterson and Miss Eckman know about the object's unique explosive properties which is timed to detonate at 12 midday.
Grace is unaware she has been rumbled and believes she is being clever when she slips away from the watchful eye of her "cohorts" Miss Eckman and Penelope. She boards the yacht to warn King Fedra. Meanwhile Peterson challenges Hugh to a game of full size computer controlled chess before killing him. But Hugh manages to turn the tables and (seemingly) kill Peterson and then rush down to the quayside to try and save the life of both the king and his nephew Robert from the bomb brought unwittingly aboard by Grace.
Hugh does not know what the bomb is disguised as so he has to strip Grace of all her clothes, jewellery and belongings and throw her in the sea as a precaution. Watching in a speedboat from a safe distance as the clock approaches midday Penelope asks what the bomb was disguised as and Miss Eckman tells her it is the hairpiece that Grace is wearing - to which Penelope looks ashen because true to her bad habits she has "borrowed" Grace's hairpiece because it was nicer than her own and is currently wearing it herself. Their speedboat then explodes and both of the women are killed. Grace is helped out of the sea no longer a danger and the king has been saved. THE END
|Comment: The death of Peterson is not directly seen on screen - he falls into a hole which explodes and it seems he would be dead. However we can deduce he does actually survive to fight another day because he appears as the villain in the sequel (and also because he is the literary Drummond's principal nemesis and so always has to survive somehow).|
|Starring:||Richard Johnson (as Hugh Drummond), Nigel Green (as Carl Petersen), Elke Sommer (as Irma Eckman, assassin), Sylva Koscina (as Penelope, assassin), Steve Carlson (as Robert Drummond, Hugh's nephew)|
|Featuring:||Suzanna Leigh (as Grace, turncoat assassin), Laurence Naismith (as Sir John Bledlow, Oil Company chairman), Zia Mohyeddin (as King Fedra), Virginia North (as Brenda, Robert's girlfriend), Justine Lord (as Miss Ashenden, Sir John's secretary), Lee Montague (as Boxer, ex-crook who helps Drummond), John Stone (as Wyngarde, victim of girl assassins)|
|Familiar Faces:||Leonard Rossiter (as Bridgenorth, dissenting board member), William Mervyn (as Chairman of another oil company)|
|Starlets:||Yasuko Nagazumi (as Mitsouko, Japanese maidservant), Didi Sydow (as Anna, Peterson's Indian maidservant), Kitty Swan and Loretta White (girls on king's yacht, uncredited)|
|Virginia North receives an "introducing" credit|
|Based on Sapper's and Gerard Fairlie's character Bulldog Drummond|
|The original Bulldog Drummond stories were set in the 1920s but this story has been updated to the present day (1966) - this film never calls him "Bulldog" Drummond - not even in the end credits which shows him as "Hugh Drummond"|
|Drummond's main adversary in the stories was Carl Peterson who features in this film (and whom Drummond was meeting here for the first time). However beyond the use of the characters' names there is probably very little to distinguish this as a recognisable "Bulldog Drummond" adventure and the hero and villain could have been given any names and the story would have been the same.|
|There was a further "Drummond" film starring Richard Johnson called Some Girls Do (1969) - made by the same writer/director/producer team. The only other returning character was Carl Peterson who is played in that film by James Villiers. Virginia North also appeared again but as a different character.|
|Writer: Paul Dehn / Director/Producer: Sidney Lumet|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Charles Dobbs is an ageing spymaster who was active during the war and now works in British intelligence. His latest task is to run security checks on a Foreign Office official called Samuel Fennan after an anonymous typewritten letter denounced him as a possible spy. However Dobbs finds no evidence of current wrongdoing and is ready to clear him. But then Dobbs is found dead by gunshot leaving a typewritten suicide note stating he cannot live the rest of his life under a cloud of suspicion. Dobbs is puzzled by this turn of events because the matter was just a routine background check and he begins to suspect that Fennan could have been murdered to cover up something else going on.
Dobbs also has domestic pressures to concern him - his marriage to his much younger wife Anne is breaking down due to his work commitments and he knows she is having affairs. He discovers her latest affair is with a younger Russian man called Dieter Frey who is an old friend of Dobbs'. During the war Frey had been a spy whom Dobbs had run and they became close allies. Frey has recently arrived in England and Anne met him and was drawn to his charming manner.
Dobbs plunges himself into his investigation to take his mind off his personal troubles. He interviews Fennan's widow Elsa who is a Jew who suffered badly in Nazi concentration camps. She was devoted to her husband who gave her a new future.
Dobbs begins working with a local police inspector called Mendel and they discover that Mrs Fennan had a regular appointment at the theatre where she met a mystery man. Staff there recall that they both used to bring identical music cases which they left in the cloakroom and collected afterwards. A classic spycraft exchange tactic. Could Fennan have been a spy after all, using his devoted wife as the exchange courier? Or was she the spy who was handing over documents that her husband legitimately took home to work on?
Dobbs and Mendel work out that Fennan was innocent and secretly discovered what his wife was doing and so sent the anonymous letter denouncing himself so that when he told his wife he was under a cloud of unwarranted suspicion she would have to stop her activities and their life would proceed as normal without him ever having to tell her he knew what she had been doing. However her spymaster got wind of the official scrutiny and decided it was necessary to eliminate Fennan to avoid being exposed.
Dobbs sets a trap so that Mrs Fennan and her runner meet each believing the other had arranged for the rendezvous. Dobbs is appalled to find that her spymaster is Dieter Frey. Frey had come to the country when the quality of the material being passed had deteriorated to low-level inconsequentials (Fennan stopped bringing home anything important once he knew what his wife was doing, but she didn't know the difference). Frey began his affair with Dobbs' wife to keep tabs on Dobbs. The two former friends fight at a dockyard and Frey falls into the water and never resurfaces apparently drowned. Dobbs proceeds to try and patch things up with his wife.
|Starring:||James Mason (as Charles Dobbs), Harry Andrews (as Inspector Mendel, CID), Simone Signoret (as Elsa Fennan, widow of suspected traitor), Harriet Andersson (as Ann Dobbs, Charles' wife)|
|Featuring:||Maximilian Schell (as Dieter Frey, Russian friend of Dobbs), Kenneth Haigh (as Bill Appleby, Dobbs' office colleague), Roy Kinnear (as Adam Scarr, garage owner), Max Adrian (as Adviser, Dobbs' boss, nickname 'Marlene Dietrich'), Lynn Redgrave (as 'Virgin', theatre stagehand), Robert Flemyng (as Samuel Fennan, suspected traitor)|
|This film was based on a novel by John Le Carré titled Call For The Dead. The book's main protagonist was Le Carré's regular character George Smiley, but the name had to be changed for this film because the rights to use it were still tied up with another production company from when they had produced The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965).|
|Writers: Robert Bloch, Anthony Marriott / Director: Freddie Francis / Producers: Max Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 80 mins|
|Pop star Vicki Robbins collapses from exhaustion while performing her latest record on a TV pop show. A doctor prescribes a period of relaxation and suggests she stays with a friend of his, Ralph Hargrove, who has a farm on Sea Gull Island which takes in guests. Ralph is friendly and welcoming to Vicki although he has a fairly frosty relationship with his wife Mary who owns the farm. Ralph is also a beekeeper and keeps a number of hives which produce delicious honey. On a walk Vicki meets Ralph's neighbour Mr Manfred who also keeps bees. Manfred shows Vicki how he is able to make the bees in his apiary docile by playing them the call of the Death's Head moth which temporarily hypnotises them into inactivity. He and Ralph are rivals and dislike each other immensely and Manfred tells Vicki how he was once attacked by some of Ralph's bees.
Before long Mrs Hargrove's beloved dog is attacked and killed by a swarm of bees and Manfred identifies some of the dead bees from the attack as an unknown killer species. Then Mrs Hargrove is attacked and killed by the bees. Manfred believes Hargrove has found some way to make them attack on command and has used them to get rid of his troublesome wife. He enlists Vicki's aid to search through Hargrove's desk for evidence. She finds some papers which Manfred describes as a formula for adrenaline odour which is the smell of fear and anyone who is daubed with it will become a target for the bees.
Vicki is attacked in her bedroom by a swarm of bees but though her wits manages to survive. She flees the Hargrove farm fearing another attack and seeks sanctuary at Manfred's cottage. It is then that she discovers it is really Manfred who is behind the killer bees as he reveals his plan to rid himself of his rival Hargrove. He then unleashes his bees on her as her usefulness to him has now ended. She manages to fend the attacking bees off with fire and then when Manfred is accidentally splashed with the adrenaline odour that he was going to throw over her his bees attack and kill him instead as Hargrove comes to the rescue to save Vicki from the now burning cottage.
|Comment: The pop star thing is a bit of a gimmick because once she arrives on the island she is just a regular girl who could have arrived there for any number of routine reasons with the rest of the plot remaining the same.|
|Starring:||Suzanna Leigh (as Vicki Robbins), Guy Doleman (as Ralph Hargrove), Frank Finlay (as H.W. Manfred)|
|Featuring:||Michael Ripper (as David Hawkins, pub landlord), Katy Wild (as Doris Hawkins, David's daughter), Catherine Finn (as Mary Hargrove, Ralph's Wife), Maurice Good (as Vicki's Agent)|
|Sixties pop group The Byrds appear as the act that precedes Vicki's in the TV studio pop show that she is performing in.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Donovan Winter|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Joan Brown is an ordinary seeming businesswoman who behind the front of her antiques dealership provides a liquidation and disposals service. But not in the normal sense - her service deals in death. Unfaithful husbands, awkward business partners, inconvenient wives, brutal boyfriends - all can be done away with by Joan's specialist service using her undercover network of female operatives who hold normal jobs and seem perfectly nice respectable women - but will be assigned targets to kill in a manner that appears to be suicide or accident.|
|Comment: It's quite a good idea although the story-telling is very low-key and played out like a domestic drama - some "kill" scenes are a bit long-winded before it gets to the bit where the woman casually kills the target in a very matter-of-fact way and then cleans up all traces of her presence. Perhaps the point of the long-windedness is to makes the viewer think "no she's too nice, she'll never go through with it". The ending is a bit confusing unless it was lining things up for a possible sequel because Joan herself is killed by a new female assassin (Rula Lenska) who walks into the antiques shop as if to take over the operation - then the film ends.|
|Starring:||Tracy Reed (as Joan)|
|Featuring:||Bernard Holley, Scott Fredericks, Heather Chasen, Brian Jackson, Roy Purcell, Raymond Young, Rula Lenska|
|Starlets:||Jean Harrington, Olivia Munday, Sally Faulkner, Angela Jay, Gennie Nevinson, Lana Travers, Carol Gilham, Rosemary Burton|
|Writer: Philip Levene / Director: Sidney Hayers / Producer: Peter Miller|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 88 mins|
|(Special Spoiler Note: There are several twists in this story that you might prefer not to know the details of if about to watch this movie for the first time)
In a prelude - a nurse in a mental hospital has entered a patient's secure cell to administer their medication when she is attacked and killed by the patient who then escapes from the premises. Later on we see a car being stolen and the driver killed. We don't see the patient's face or have any clue to their identity.
The main story starts in a motorway café on a Sunday afternoon as a young woman called Belle Adams comes in asking for directions to the railway station as her car has broken down and a lorry driver agrees to take her to the station. Also in the café was Stephen Slade who heard her speaking and seemed to be a bit shifty. Around the vicinity the police have set up road blocks and are stopping vehicles looking for an escaped inmate from the local Greenwood Mental Hospital. The lorry driver hides Belle under some blankets when they get to a roadblock because he doesn't want to be caught with a passenger which is against the rules for him. Afterwards the lorry driver tries to forcibly get Belle to give him a "little extra" for the lift he is giving her and when she resists he drives off and leaves her on the roadside in the pouring rain.
Following on behind was Stephen and he stops and offers her a lift to the station. At the station he gets out and pretends to check with the platform staff and he returns and tells her the last train has just gone so he offers to take her further in his car. She was headed for her old family home for a visit and he says that is on the way to where he is going.
Both of them have troubled memories: Belle has flashbacks to an abusive uncle who tried to sexually assault her when she was a young teenager; and Stephen gets his kicks out of voyeurism and pornography and is perhaps unable to have normal sexual relations with a woman. He enjoys peeping at women undressing.
When Stephen knocks over a motorcyclist in a fit of road rage he thinks he may be in trouble and Belle suggests he avoids the police road blocks because of this in case they are on the look out for him (although we, the viewer, later see that the motorcyclist is OK bar a broken arm). At times Stephen appears a little vague, there are suggestions that the car is not his although he has reasonable explanations for all the inconsistencies.
Along the way they get temporarily parted and Belle hitches a lift with an old-timer who also meets Stephen when the pair re-unite. After they have left him the old-timer sees a newspaper story about the escaped patient and realises who he has just seen (although we don't see the picture he is looking at) - he calls the police to let them know.
We can now be sure, if we didn't already guess, that either Stephen or Belle is the escaped mental patient. Throughout the film clues are laid that suggest Stephen's odd behaviour makes him the obvious candidate and yet Belle seems keen to avoid contact with the authorities too whilst seemingly helping Stephen avoid them. The plot-twist attuned viewer therefore might begin to suspect it is actually Belle who is the killer and not Stephen after all.
Later that day they are forced to stop off at a hotel and we see the partial front of an evening newspaper that Belle is looking at which has a headline about the escapee and with it we see a photofit picture of Stephen! (so all clever second-guessing is cast aside and there was no twist after all, it WAS Stephen all along). Belle tries to creep from their hotel room without Stephen hearing her - but he does and follows her outside. He sees her get into the car and follows her inside where she proceeds to strangle him to death from the back seat (we then see that this strangulation technique was how she dealt with her abusive uncle when he tried to rape her). The whole of the newspaper is then revealed and in the part we didn't see before her photo is shown as the face of the escaped killer and Stephen's photofit (as supplied by the old-timer) was just there with an advisory to let the public know who she was travelling with and that he was in extreme danger.
|Comment: It's a well crafted thriller which manages a deft double-twist coaxing you into thinking you had second-guessed the plot only to have that solution wrenched away as being clearly incorrect before then reasserting it on its own terms after you'd forsaken that particular possibility. It obviously cheats a bit in that some things are deliberately kept hidden from the viewer - but when you look back retrospectively on events the seemingly suspicious false trails surrounding Stephen's behaviour are still valid for his character as it was presented when reassessed in terms of him not being the escapee - he was still a peeping tom voyeur but not a killer - so it doesn't cheat unfairly.|
|Starring:||Hayley Mills (as Belle Adams), Simon Ward (Stephen Slade)|
|Featuring:||Sterling Hayden (as Malcolm Robarts, old-timer), Ken Hutchison (as Jim, lorry driver), Peter Jeffrey (as Belle's Uncle)|
|Starlets:||Nina Francis, Juliet Ackroyd|
|aka: Trouble in Paradise|
|Writers: Chiem Van Houweninge, Robbe De Hert / Director: Robbe De Hert / Producers: Luc Pien, Otto Wobma|
|Type: Thriller / European||Running Time: 97 mins|
|Ann Kusters is an Englishwoman who works at the European Parliament building in Strasbourg as a translator. She is married to Eric Kusters, a Dutch owner of a shipping company, and they have an open relationship leaving them both free to take other lovers as long as they are discrete. Ann's current lover is Euro MP Jean-Pierre Miro and while they are in bed together in a French hotel two masked intruders burst in and take compromising pictures of them together. Ann notices one of the men has a finger brace. Ann wants to call the police but Miro stops her because the scandal of such an incident would harm him politically.
Elsewhere two activists for a pressure group called Red Peace have boarded a ship in Rotterdam looking for evidence of gun smuggling. The ship's skeleton crew capture one of them and the other escapes. The escapee contacts a newspaper reporter called Freddy De Jonghe who is writing a story on the illegal arms trade and needed some photos to back up his articles - but the activist reports that they weren't able to get any. Freddy's investigations have led him to the conclusion that the Kusters Shipping Company is heavily involved in the illegal shipments.
Jean-Pierre Miro has been recently working on a report for the European Parliament about the illegal arms trade out of Europe and has made several speeches on the subject. At work the next day Ann gets a blackmail note saying that she can have the negatives of her bedroom activities with Miro in exchange for a copy of the internal report that Miro produced - and the note is signed "Red Peace". Later on she goes round to Miro's house but finds he has been murdered in his bath. She doesn't know what to do so she phones a reporter friend of hers called Carl who brings in his friend Freddy who looks at the bedroom pictures and the blackmail note and cannot believe that Red Peace would employ these sort of tactics.
Ann goes back to the European Parliament offices and photocopies the relevant report and makes the exchange - with Carl taking pictures of the woman effecting the transaction. They show her likeness to various Red Peace activists but none of them recognise her. The conclusion reached is that some unknown group is masquerading as Red Peace to discredit them. Ann meets her husband Eric at the airport when he returns from a business trip. They are driven back to their home by Eric's chauffeur and Ann notices that the chauffeur has a finger brace on his hand just like the hotel intruder who took the photos of her and Miro. She discovers his name is Jack and makes more enquiries. But Eric's secretary overhears her talking to personnel and informs someone that Ann is becoming suspicious. Ann leaves a phone message for Carl saying she suspects Jack and then she follows the chauffeur to a deserted dockside warehouse which was a trap and she is promptly captured and held by him.
The Kusters' company put out a story that Ann has been kidnapped. They intend to keep her locked up and out of the way for a while and then pay themselves the ransom which would also be a convenient way to launder some dirty money. Eric seems to be complicit in all of this. Meanwhile after getting Ann's message Carl and Freddy follow Jack to the warehouse when he makes a return visit and discover where Ann is being held. They manage to overpower Jack and Ann is freed. Eric holds a press conference to announce his wife's successful release from the "kidnappers" but says she is not present because she is recuperating. Freddy uses the press conference to put awkward questions to Eric about his company's links to the illegal arms trade and then Ann turns up with some real Red Peace activists who confirm the reporter's allegations. Eric storms out of the conference furious with his wife for betraying him in public. But later in his office when she confronts him with copies of the photos he appears genuinely confused about them. She tells him she is leaving him.
Eric travels down to the underground carpark and we hear his private thoughts which seem to indicate that he knew nothing of the illegal activities going on - he thought Red Peace were wilfully spreading malicious lies and gossip about his company and that is why he agreed to try and discredit them - he did not realise that they were actually telling the truth. He gets in his car and it blows up. THE END.
|Starring:||Beatie Edney (as Ann Kusters), Freark Smink (as Freddy De Jonghe, reporter), Carl Huybrechts (Carl, reporter), Eric Schneider (as Eric Kusters, Ann's husband)|
|Featuring:||Alexandra Vandernoot (as Francin, Ann's friend), Patty Pontier (as Myrthe, Eric's secretary), Peter Firth (as Adrian, henchman), Jack Coulter (as Jack, henchman), Monika Dumon (as Claire, henchwoman), Rik Hancké (as Jean-Pierre Miro, Euro MP and Ann's lover), Gees Linnebank (as Johan Van Zuylen, conspirator), Edmond Classen (as Paul De Vas, conspirator)|
|This Dutch/Belgium film has been reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Beatie Edney. The title on the version reviewed was Deadly Triangle. It contains a mixture of dubbed English dialogue and original English dialogue. Peter Firth only plays a small part and oddly his voice is over dubbed.|
|Writer: Wally Bosco / Director: Frederic Goode / Producer: Harry Field|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Dennis Parbury is an undercover investigator looking into the activities of a casino owner on the island of Malta who is suspected of drug smuggling. It is thought that he lures gamblers into debt and then turns them into unwitting couriers as a way of repaying that debt. Parbury is posing as an unlucky gambler so he can find out more about who is involved.
Another key character is Francesca, a beautiful femme fatale who has shown herself (to us the viewer) to be a cold-blooded killer of any men who get in her way. She is involved in the drug smuggling operation with her short-tempered lover Joe whom she easily tames with her keen intelligence and womanly wiles. As far as she is concerned his only use to her is his brawn but she lets him believe he is an equal. Together they have been accumulating a cache of drugs which are safely hidden in a secret location.
At the casino Parbury artfully runs out of funds and as expected the owner Malo is more than happy to extend him a line of credit. But things take an unexpected turn soon afterwards when Malo is found dead in his 7th floor apartment inside a room locked from the inside with no sign of the murder weapon. The police suspect Parbury who was the last to be seen with him and the only way Parbury can hope to clear his name is to prove how it was done and by whom.
Parbury visits Francesca's apartment which is in a building opposite to Malo's casino hoping to coax some information about her connections to Malo that might help Parbury track down the real killer. But she is too shrewd and gives nothing away and instead realises that he is some sort of investigator and the sooner she can arrange to leave Malta the better.
Francesca and Joe's secret hidey-hole is a cavern that can only be reached from underwater using scuba equipment. Francesca does not trust Joe to be clever enough to remain discrete under questioning and so she tells him to lay low in the cavern while she sorts out some details before they can leave.
Parbury has been keeping an eye on Francesca's movements and when he sees her with scuba gear and spear gun he finally works out how Malo was killed. He demonstrates his theory to the police that a diver's spear gun fired from the opposite apartment could have killed Malo - and then the spear could be hauled back on its rope to leave no trace of the murder weapon with the victim left dead in a locked room. Francesca's apartment is the only one that the shot could have come from and she is identified as the killer.
Meanwhile Francesca has obtained a boat ready for an open sea getaway. She returns to the undersea cavern where Joe is waiting and they collect the horde of drugs. On the way back she kills Joe in the water. Francesca has double-crossed and killed all her accomplices in the operation to prevent them talking and make sure she need not share the proceeds. But when she returns to the boat a police launch comes alongside and she is arrested.
|Starring:||Mark Burns (as Dennis Parbury), Patsy Ann Noble (as Francesca), Shaun Curry (as Joe, Francesca's associate), Wanda Ventham (as Priscilla Blunstone-Smythe, Parbury's colleague)|
|Featuring:||Mark Singleton (as Costello, local head of police), William Dexter (as Malo, casino manager), Terence de Marney (as Jacomini, informant)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anita Harris (as Singer at casino, [one scene, no acting role])|
|Starlets:||Caron Gardner (as Mary, Joe's girlfriend)|
|Patsy Ann Noble receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writer: Ceri Jones, from a story by Gary Sherman / Director: Gary Sherman / Producer: Paul Maslansky|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 83 mins|
|London student Patricia Wilson and her American boyfriend Alex are returning home late one evening using the underground. Their stop is Russell Square which is typically deserted at that time of night. On their way towards the exit they find a collapsed man - Alex wants to leave him assuming he's a drunk, but Patricia insists they help. Alex checks the man's wallet and finds that his name is James Manfred OBE. They take the elevator to the surface and Alex then returns with a policeman to show him where the man is - but he has gone. There is no other way off the station other than the elevator and the train Patricia and Alex arrived on was the last service of the evening - so his disappearance is a mystery.
Next morning at Holburn Police station Inspector Calhoun is sceptical about the student's report from the previous evening until he recalls there were some other disappearances linked to that same tube station. He discovers that James Manfred is actually missing and that he is a top civil servant with a high security clearance which makes the investigation a priority.
A London Transport Police official digs up some details about that area of the tube network - it runs near a section of tunnels that were being built way back in 1892 (which was 80 years beforehand at the time of this film) - but some tunnels caved-in trapping the men and women workers. The tunnelling company went bankrupt and no money was available to try and rescue those trapped and scandalously they were abandoned to their fate - and that tunnel still remains blocked off and derelict.
We now see that James Manfred is still alive but in an injured and dazed state being held is a dingy and dark recess of the tunnel system - fixtures and fittings are all old and decaying and all around him are body parts and decaying remains. A man-like figure approaches and carries him off - the man is guttural, without language, and appears dirty and diseased like an uncivilised malnourished sub-human. Manfred is taken to a similarly ragged woman laying on some bedding who appears very weak and feeble, on the verge of death - the subhuman offers Manfred's flesh to her and she bites in - killing him. Later, despite this nourishment, the subhuman woman passes away and the man is devastated with grief when he can no longer rouse her. He goes into a wild fury at her death and heads off down the tunnels.
Later back on Russell Square station three workers are attacked and killed by the subhuman who drags one of them away back to his lair. The police doctor examining the other two bodies says someone of extraordinary strength carried out these vicious attacks.
That evening Patricia and Alex are again travelling home and get off the underground train - she leaves her books on the train and Alex quickly rushes back inside to get them but is then stuck on the train when the doors automatically close and the train leaves. Left alone on the platform Patricia is almost immediately pounced upon by the subhuman and dragged off into the disused tunnels and put into a locked room. Getting off at the next stop Alex rushes back but Patricia is nowhere to be seen and knowing the recent situation he informs Inspector Calhoun that he thinks she may have been abducted into the tunnels. The police seem a bit slow in acting so he decides to go down and search for himself.
Patricia is taken from the locked room by the subhuman and she is so scared she can only whimper with fright - she can tell by all the human remains around that he intends to kill and eat her. But as he is about to strike a killing blow something about her helpless whimpering causes him to stop and reconsider. She manages to escape his clutches and flees down the disused tunnels as he follows bellowing out a mumbled approximation of something he is constantly hearing when waiting for "prey" although clueless as to what it means:- "MIND THE DOORS". The searching Alex hears Patricia screaming and finds her and then he has a fight with the subhuman beating him senseless with his torch until the subhuman is almost dead - the students run away down the tunnel and meet up with the police who go looking for the subhuman who dies shortly afterwards of his injuries.
The police work out that the original 1892 workers and later their uneducated offspring survived all this time firstly on rats and later on captured humans after they had partly dug themselves an access way out - but their numbers had dwindled and now 80 years later the last of them has just died.
|Starring:||Donald Pleasence (as Inspector Calhoun), Norman Rossington (as DS Rogers), David Ladd (as Alex Campbell), Sharon Gurney (as Patricia Wilson), Hugh Armstrong (as the subhuman tunnel man)|
|Featuring:||June Turner (as the Subhuman's woman), Clive Swift (as London Transport Police CID man), James Cossins (as James Manfred, OBE)|
|Star-Turns:||Christopher Lee (as MI5 officer, one-scene appearance)|
|Starlets:||Heather Stoney, Suzanne Winkler|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Frankie Dymon Jr|
|Type: Documentary||Running Time: 36 mins|
|This short film has a loose structure that provides a framework for hearing speeches about racial tolerance. A black academic teacher called Raymond is giving his students a lecture about the integration of black people into white society. He is subsequently given the sack for this, but he is determined to stay true to his cause and believes in his proud heritage. His personal life is in a mess because he loves a white girl and his best white friend has married a black girl. He goes for romantic dates in the country with his white girlfriend (although it's possible she may only exist in his imagination).
In a park we also see two white youths bullying a black man and throwing him in a river - but then all three team up and kill a white guy and eat his insides.
We see a different black man at Speaker's Corner trying to deliver his views on the way the white people have misunderstood black Africans by basing their negative opinions of the whole on the actions of a few poor examples of his people. But the mostly white crowd are hostile to his message because they are angry that black people are taking all their jobs and believe that the coloured people are running the country down. As the crowd heckle him the speaker tries to address their concerns and enlighten them with his belief that they have fallen for the propaganda about his people and that a mix of cultures is of benefit to all - but his words fall on unsympathetic ears.
|Comment: There is no real story and nothing conclusive happens at the end.|
|Featuring:||Ken Gajadhar (as Raymond), Donnah Dolce (as The White Girl, Raymond's unnamed girlfriend, non-speaking), Merdel Jordine (as Georgina, The Black Girl, non-speaking), The Second Hand (as Musicians in bed-sit), Tom Sye (uncredited), Kim Keelin (uncredited)|
|The credits only listed the first three names and the music group. The other uncredited names come from IMDB|
|The version reviewed lasted 36 minutes although IMDB lists a running time of 50 minutes. So either that is wrong or the version reviewed was edited down in some way.|
|Categorised here as a documentary because it is more focussed on highlighting social issues than telling a story|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Michael J Murphy|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 70 mins|
|In the 1980s the nations of the world were destroying each other in a devastating nuclear war and it seemed that mankind was on the brink of extinction. Dr Eileen Sanders of the British National Scientific Research Centre had been involved in the space travel programme developing cryogenic chambers to enable astronauts to embark on long journeys in suspended animation. Anticipating the worst Dr Sanders decided to use the cryogenic technology to save her son Paul and his girlfriend Jenny from the coming apocalypse. She hoped that when they awakened in the future they could help to build a new world.
Twenty-five years later the power cells expire and Paul and Jenny awaken without having aged. They venture outside to find everywhere eerily quiet. There is no immediate sign of life in the towns but as they wander into the countryside they are set upon by some marauding biker punks who capture them. It seems that Paul and Jenny's clean fresh skin is considered an oddity because any who roam in these wastelands quickly develop hideous deformities and become murderous scavengers. Jenny's softness and purity is especially rare and the punks know she will be of great interest to their leader who has a penchant for beautiful things. Paul is of less interest and he is earmarked for an event known as the "Death Run".
Paul and Jenny are taken to Junk City which is a slum community fenced off from the outside world of killer mutants. It is populated only by those pure of form untouched by the effects of radiation. The old world's way of life has been abandoned under the rule of their dictatorial leader known only as "The Messiah".
Before the global catastrophe, the Messiah had been an institutionalised mental patient, but when law and order broke down he possessed the force of will to remake a society according to his own twisted ideals. Thus grew a society in which men live by their fists and women dress as whores. His doctrine is one of violence and sex and his subjects provide him with the amusement he needs to slake his ennui. The men are there to fight and undergo the "Death Run" and the women are there to be his sexual playthings. But despite its perversity the Messiah's new metropolis provides its residents with a stable abode safe from outside dangers. The Messiah demands only that his people worship him, especially the women, who have to endure his vices close up and personal. The Messiah has only three fingers on one hand but he insists it is a genetic condition and not a mutation.
Jenny is readied for her introduction to the Messiah by the lead harem girl Barbara who is kindly and tries to make Jenny feel welcome but feels shame for what she knows the innocent girl is going to have to soon go through. Barbara yearns for a return to the old world values but is powerless to bring about change in a society where everyone lives a dog-eat-dog existence. Everyone hates the Messiah but none have the courage or ability to stand up to him. Jenny is taken to the Messiah's bunker and feels sickened by his unctuous propensity. He relishes Jenny's extraordinary fresh and undiseased purity and subjects her to a horrifying ordeal as he satiates his base cravings.
Barbara is also responsible for bringing food to Paul and she agrees to help him escape if she can go with him. Incarcerated with Paul is another prisoner who is known as "Hero" because he is the only man ever to have survived the Death Run. Hero has recently been recaptured and is facing another Death Run. With Barbara's help, Paul, Hero and Jenny escape the compound after loosing the caged-up mutants to keep the Messiah's punks busy. The Messiah fires a crossbow bolt at the fleeing foursome and it strikes Jenny causing her a severe flesh wound.
The foursome take to the road where they encounter a pregnant woman who used to be one of the Messiah's harem girls who regularly had to endure his carnal needs. But she managed to escape after falling pregnant and now lives with a group of rebels in the forest. The rebels seem benevolent and offer them food and shelter whilst Jenny recuperates. But the rebels turn out to be cannibals and they kill and eat Jenny while the other three are off exploring. In revenge Paul, Hero and Barbara kill the cannibal rebels. They spare the pregnant girl who says she was a prisoner who was forced to lure travellers to the rebel camp or else her unborn baby would be harmed. The girl says that the cannibal camp was a trap set up by the Messiah to ensnare any who escape his city and there are many more such dangers lurking afield. The only way to end the danger is to kill the Messiah but no one dares try.
Paul is determined to try to get revenge for Jenny's death. The trio devise a plan which will involve Paul surrendering himself to the Messiah's men and undergoing the Death Run. Hero gets Paul into a fighting fit shape which he will need for the endurance trial ahead.
Paul allows himself to be captured by a patrol of the Messiah's punks and taken back to Junk City. He tells the Messiah that all the others are dead. Paul's Death Run is quickly arranged. The rules of the Death Run are simple: -the contender is handcuffed to a long zipwire leading into the forest along which they must run and fight one-handed against a series of deadly opponents stationed along the route. It is an almost impossible challenge that none but Hero have ever survived.
The Messiah watches with relish at the starting gate. He enjoys the spectacle of death and always personally attends a Death Run which is what the fugitives were counting on. Paul begins his Death Run and using his new fighting skills manages to bore his way through the gauntlet and into the forest where Hero is on hand to help overcome the more resilient opponents. Meanwhile Barbara has returned to the harem where she persuades the other girls that now is the moment to rise up against their hated subjugator and molester.
The Messiah sees that something is going wrong with the Death Run and accompanies his punks as they go into the forest to sort the problem out. Hero has freed Paul from his handcuffs and together they engage the punks. Meanwhile Barbara and the other girls arrive and set upon the now undefended Messiah and all take turns impaling him with their weapons until he is dead.
At last the age of the Messiah is over and the people can live without fear. Paul, Hero and Barbara leave Junk City with all those interested in returning to old world values and they set up a new community where they will farm instead of scavenge and adhere to principles of cooperation instead of intimidation. The pregnant rebel girl has had her baby and Paul welcomes her to join them. But we see that the baby has three fingers on one hand and is clearly the son of the Messiah signalling the fact that his legacy continues!
|Starring:||Patrick Olliver (as The Messiah), Rob Bartlett (as Paul), Debbi Stevens (as Barbara), Eddie Kirby (as Hero), Wendy Parsons (as Jenny, Paul's girlfriend)|
|Featuring:||Kate Lowry (as Dr Eileen Sanders, Paul's mother), Steve Longhurst (as Messiah's henchman), Kate Kneafsey (as Pregnant Girl with cannibals), Andy Matthews (as Sly, Messiah's special friend), Neil Goulrourn (as Cannibal Leader), Phil Lyndon, Eddie James Ian Godwin and Steve Sexton (as Biker punks), Karen Turk (as Mutant cannibal), Steve Newcombe and Dave Lydon (as Unspecified roles, but probably they were other Biker Punks)|
|Starlets:||June Bunday, Denise Burden, Sue Moore, Gaye Sizer (as Unspecified roles, but probably they were the other Harem Girls)|
|Writer: John Robins / Director: Alvin Rakoff / Producers: Derek Gibson, Harold Greenberg|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|In the mid-Atlantic a large unlit ship is seen waiting in the dark like a watchful predator. Another vessel is detected and the dark ship's engines spring to life and head at full speed towards it...
Captain Ashland is the skipper of a passenger cruise ship on his final voyage before an enforced retirement. He is being replaced because it is felt he has been unable to adapt to the modern social requirements of luxury liner captaincy despite still being an excellent seaman with decades of experience. He carries a lot of resentment towards his first officer Trevor Marshall who is to succeed him. Marshall has his wife and kids on board who are enjoying a shindig with the other passengers who are merrily partying away unaware of the doom heading their way.
The watch officer detects the approaching dark vessel on radar and the bridge officers realise with horror that it is going to ram them. They can to nothing to avoid the impact and the passenger liner quickly sinks with loss of all aboard except for a very small assortment of about nine survivors. These include Marshall and his family and a few passengers. Captain Ashland also survives but is in a coma.
The survivors are adrift on a makeshift raft with little hope of rescue when the large eerily silent ship looms up behind them and stops. There is no sign of any crewmen but they decide to climb aboard anyway because they judge their chances of survival would be better on a larger vessel.
Once aboard odd accidents start to occur and the survivors start to die in bizarre ways. The old vessel seems completely deserted although all the machinery is working as if the ship is running itself. The ship is many decades old and the various personal artefacts show that it seemed to have last been crewed during the Second World War by German personnel.
Captain Ashland comes out of his coma but appears to have become possessed and believes himself to be the German captain of the vessel who has become fixated upon a mission of death towards the other survivors - the ship seems to follow his orders. It is discovered that the vessel was once used as a Nazi torture ship which now runs not on oil but upon the blood of those it kills. The ghostly events on the ship continue to pick off the survivors one-by-one until only Marshall, his family and Captain Ashford remain alive.
Marshall and his wife and kids know they must get off the ship. They find a dinghy and although Captain Ashford tries his murderous best to prevent them leaving they manage to escape. With Ashford left as the only one aboard the ship turns against him and kills him for further sustenance before steaming off on its hunt for another shipload of victims. Marshall and family are spotted by a rescue helicopter searching for survivors of the missing passenger ship and rescued.
|Starring:||George Kennedy (as Captain Ashland), Richard Crenna (as Trevor Marshall, first officer), Sally Ann Howes (as Margaret Marshall, Trevor's wife), Nick Mancuso (as Nick, an officer), Victoria Burgoyne (as Lori), Kate Reid (as Sylvia Morgan, widow)|
|Featuring:||Jennifer McKinney (as Robin, Marshalls' young daughter), Danny Higham (as Ben, Marshalls' young son), Saul Rubinek (as Jackie, first survivor to die)|
|Based on a story by Jack Hill and David P. Lewis|
|Writer/Producer: Bill Wright / Director: Lindsay Honey|
|Type: Sex||Running Time: 47 mins|
|A group of six sex-mad young friends (two straight couples and a lesbian couple) are on a driving holiday in the country on their way to Norwich when the car breaks down. They are helped by a vicar who directs them to a mansion whose owner gives them a room for the night. The owner is none too pleased at the intrusion because he has a special black magic ritual planned with his sexy housekeeper so he puts a strong aphrodisiac in their soup to increase their libido and keep them busy with each other overnight and out of his way.
He attempts to summon up the devil with his housekeeper but then one of the lesbian girls strays down and sees what is going on. As a virgin she is a better prospect and the owner decides to use her for a sacrifice helped by the Vicar who turns out to be evil.
Next day the six friends leave including the girl who was sacrificed but now apparently completely unharmed - however the owner knows differently that Satan has been reborn in her body hence the phrase "The Devil is a Woman". THE END
|Comment: This short, filmed on video, is mainly made for the sex scenes which are numerous and lengthy but not hardcore. The horror story trappings are largely an irrelevancy and it is not a serious film. At the end there is a caption saying "Coming soon "Death Shock 2" - although I don't know if this was ever made.|
|Featuring:||(none of the cast are credited)|
|Included with the tape's original release there was a further 9 minutes of outtake gaffs in addition to the 47 minutes of main feature running time.|
|None of the cast are credited. There was a girl victim in a prologue, the six friends (2 men and 4 girls), the vicar, the home owner, a housekeeper and a cook. None appeared to be professional actors and were porn star/model sorts and all the girls were seen fully naked. The only one recognised was Linzi Drew who played the Housekeeper.|
|Writer/Producer: Ivan Foxwell / Director: John Krish|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 112 mins|
|Paul Pennyfeather is an earnest young student at Oxford University whose interest in ornithology gets him into trouble when an attempt to view a night bird through his binoculars near a girls' dormitory has him branded as a Peeping Tom and he is expelled. Paul manages to find a public boys boarding school in Wales willing to employ him as a teacher despite his lack of references. He soon discovers that nearly all the staff at the school have shady pasts that would prevent them getting jobs anywhere else.
On a school sports day the well-to-do parents of the boys come visiting. One such parent is a rich glamorous widow in her 40s called Margot Beste-Chetwynde. Margot breezes in and takes quite a fancy to Paul - she adores the company of younger men and so she suggests that Paul come to stay at her mansion during the school holidays to provide extra tuition for her son. Paul finds her stunning and wants to see more of her so he readily agrees.
Margot lives in an avant-garde mansion redesigned for her by one of her many admirers. Paul becomes besotted by the elegant Margot and eventually they begin a sexual affair and decide to get married. Margot's business interests include a model agency whereby she sends girls abroad to work.
Just before the wedding Margot asks Paul if he'll go to Tangier to sort out a problem with a group of the agency's girls who have run into immigration difficulties. Paul is so smitten he'll do anything she asks and so he duly goes out to Morocco confident that he will be able to smooth things over. He oils a few wheels with some back-handers to the customs officials and returns home to England thinking the matter sorted. But he is then arrested on vice charges of people trafficking and Paul realises that Margot has been sending her girls abroad to be sex slaves to wealthy foreigners. Paul is given a seven-year prison sentence for his depravity. Margot seems to have abandoned him and does not appear at his trial.
Eventually Margot comes to his aid - she has married the Home Secretary and has arranged for Paul to be released by means of faking his death under cover of a bogus hospital operation. Paul attends his own cremation in heavy disguise and then heads off to start a new life.
|Comment: Scattered throughout the film Paul also continues to meet the other ignominious characters he first met at the school as their paths seem destined to intertwine amid their respective changing fortunes.|
|Starring:||Robin Phillips (as Paul Pennyfeather), Geneviève Page (as Margot Beste-Chetwynde), Colin Blakely (as Solomon Philbrick, rogue), Leo McKern (as Captain Grimes)|
|Featuring:||Michael Elwyn (as Alastair Vane-Trumpington, Paul's friend), Roland Curram (as Otto Silenus, mansion designer), David Macalister (as Peter Beste-Chetwynde, Margot's son), Rodney Bewes (as Potts, investigator), Donald Sinden (as Prison Governor), Robert Harris (as Prendergast, school master), Donald Wolfit (as Dr Augustus Fagan, school master), Patience Collier (as Flossie Fagan, Fagan's daughter), Patrick Magee (as Mad Prisoner)|
|Starlets:||Sarah Atkinson (as Jane), Jill Kerman (as Sophie) (hopeful recruits at Margot's agency)|
|Robin Phillips receives an "and presenting" credit.|
|Based on a book by Evelyn Waugh. Adapted for the screen by Ivan Foxwell - additional scenes by Alan Hackney and Hugh Whitemore.|
|The book upon which this is based is called simply "Decline and Fall". The "Birdwatcher" addition on the film's title is an aspect of the lead character that is only used in the opening scene as a means to engineeer his expulsion from Oxford and doesn't feature again.|
|Writers: Jerzy Gruza, Jerzy Skolimowski, Boleslaw Sulik / Director: Jerzy Skolimowski / Producer: Helmut Jedele|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|A shy young boy called Mike has just left school and gets a job at Newford Public Baths as attendant to the male patrons. He is shown the ropes by a slightly older girl called Susan who looks after the women patrons. Susan is friendly and Mike develops a crush on her but becomes resentful of her loose morals as she has sex with male customers for extra tips and even suggests he do the same with female patrons as if there's nothing wrong with that. She has a fiancé and a boyfriend and Mike starts following her wherever she goes in the evening. When he finds evidence that she has done topless modelling he confronts her with it on an evening that ends in tragedy.|
|Starring:||Jane Asher (as Susan), John Moulder-Brown (as Mike)|
|Familiar Faces:||Diana Dors, Burt Kwouk|
|Starlets:||Cheryl Hall, Christina Paul, Anne-Marie Kuster, Anita Lochner, Louise Martini|
|aka: The Man From The Deep River|
|Director: Umberto Lenzi / other credits not indicated|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Set in the modern day (1972). John Bradley is an English photographer who is on an assignment in Thailand to produce a set of pictures that will give a flavour of the country's varied aspects. He begins in the city but later gets into a bar fight where a man is killed and John runs. He continues his journey deeper into the country while remaining wary of possible arrest.
John decides to hide himself away for a few weeks in a remote spot where he can continue his assignment. He hires a boatman and travels deep downriver to photograph the exotic river fish. After days of travel the boatman warns that they must not go too much further for fear of dangerous tribes who live by the river. But after falling asleep their boat drifts and when John awakes he find his boatman has been killed and he is captured by a tribe of savages.
The tribe have never seen a white man before and do not know what to make of him. They build a special hut where they keep him prisoner. John tries to communicate but neither knows each others languages. The warrior tribe puts John to work building huts for their village while keeping him on a leash. John feels he has fallen into a never-ending nightmare. The tribal chief's daughter Maraya is fascinated by the outsider and John often catches her sneaking glances at him - but after weeks of harsh imprisonment he has become suspicious of everything, even compassionate gestures from a beautiful young woman.
John is on the verge of giving up when his hope is rekindled by the discovery that Maraya's old mother, who is also the chief's wife, secretly knows English from having being raised in her childhood by a missionary. She tells John that he must remain strong if he has any chance of escaping for there are many dangerous cannibal tribes nearby.
John's cooperates with the tribe's demands on him and eventually he becomes trusted enough to be given a restricted free run of the village. As the weeks go on John becomes more integrated into the village life. John comes to see that despite the tribe's occasional displays of savagery they are mainly a peaceful and accommodating people who only use brutality to punish or deter and do not have any cannibalistic tendencies.
When Maraya's intended mate is killed she undergoes a ritual to choose a new mate and she selects John. The two of them are married and John realises that he is happy here with a woman he loves and he no longer wants to leave. John teaches Maraya English and they are able to communicate as he tells her tales about his home city of London. As the months go by John becomes a respected and trusted member of the tribe whose skills are highly valued. Maraya falls pregnant but then comes down with a sickness which strikes her blind and threatens her life. John is desperate to save her and wants to take her away back to civilisation to get her treated with modern medicines, but the tribe won't allow it. Maraya survives long enough to give birth to a boy but dies soon after
Then the village is attacked by some marauding cannibals who burn the village to the ground. The survivors flee and regroup but their way of life has been dealt a harsh blow. John is by now a warrior that the others look up to as a strong leader. With Maraya gone John is tempted to just slip away and return home - but he decides his home is here now and he will help the tribe organise the rebuilding of their destroyed village and remain to bring up his baby son.
|Starring:||Ivan Rassimov (as John Bradley), Me Me Lai (as Maraya)|
|Featuring:||Pratitsak Singhara (as Maraya's mother), Ong Ard (as Lahuna, ?the chief?), Prapas Chindang (as Chuan, John's guide and boatman), Pipop Pupinyo (as Mihuan, ?tribesman?), Tuan Tevan (as Tuan, ?tribesman?), Sullalewan Suxantat (as Karen, ?John's white girlfriend in the city?)|
|This Italian film is reviewed here because of the involvement of Me Me Lai who was a minor starlet in British films and TV during the 1970s and was a gameshow hostess on The Golden Shot. The film's original Italian title was Il Paese del sesso selvaggio. Other alternate English titles it is known by are The Man from The Deep River; and Sacrifice! The version reviewed was in English and carried the title as shown for this entry.|
|Writer: Christopher Wicking / Director: Peter Sykes / Producer: Frank Godwin|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 88 mins|
|In 19th century Bavaria Count Friedrich Zorn lives with a family nightmare in his large stately home. Through generations of inbreeding his family's blood has become tainted and he fears he has passed his madness onto his two children, Emil and Elizabeth. They are both now grown up but since childhood have been kept locked away in isolation in a docile state lacking in any joy or outside contact. Elizabeth recently escaped on her way home from seeing a doctor in Vienna and met a medical student called Carl Richter who cared for her for a time and her happiness briefly returned before she was recaptured and brought home.
In the area some young local women have been disappearing and the village menfolk are up in arms about it suspecting the mysterious Baron might in some way be responsible. At the house the Baron and his sister Hilda care for the siblings as best they can and Elizabeth is given a regular blood-letting to try and relieve her perceived symptoms. Baron Zorn sends for a doctor from Vienna called Dr Falkenberg whose controversial methods have had him accused of charlatanism but which Zorn believes may be of some help in curing his children of their blood sickness.
Falkenberg uses hypnosis to delve into Zorn's subconscious and discovers that the children's mother, whom Zorn had selected from the village especially to purify his blood-line of the disorder, was sent mad by Zorn's nightmares and committed suicide in front of the two children. Medical student Carl then arrives wanting to see Elizabeth and does not believe the lovely girl he met can be sick - he is allowed to see her where she is laying in her bed docile and uncommunicative and nothing like the girl he met. He tells Zorn he believes there to be nothing wrong with her and her general weakness is due to the blood-letting. He leaves but he vows to save her.
Falkenberg meanwhile has made his diagnosis that Zorn's children have no blood disorder inherited from their father - their general malaise is down to the solitude they have been placed in for so long which has destroyed their spirit and made them docile and uncaring about what is done to them. Falkenberg also thinks that they would be better off apart and that the attraction the two children feel for each other is stifling them and he suggests an extreme measure. They hire a whore called Inge from the village to dress in Elizabeth's clothes and cut her hair to match - then she is introduced to Emil who is at first fooled and chases her from the house - but when Inge admits she is not his sister, Emil strangles her - his killing method is similar to the murders of the other village girls suggesting he must have been responsible for them too.
Emil goes back to get the real Elizabeth and they escape. Zorn has finally had enough and snaps - he takes his rifle and follows them intent on ending their lives. The villagers are still out and about searching for their missing women in the forest - they have found the bodies and evidence of Zorn's involvement in disposing of them - and with their fervour stirred up by a demented priest visiting the area on a mission of salvation, they are out for blood. Zorn shoots and kills Emil but cannot bring himself to do the same to Elizabeth and then he is captured by the villagers who lynch him. Elizabeth who is being comforted by Carl sees this and it is the final straw that drives her over the edge into true madness. The End.
|Comment: I didn't really properly understand what Falkenberg was hoping to achieve with the Elizabeth-substitution scenario - whatever it was didn't work very well though. The date setting is never given so early/mid 19th century is my estimation but that might be wrong.|
|Starring:||Robert Hardy (as Baron Friedrich Zorn), Patrick Magee (as Dr Falkenberg), Yvonne Mitchell (as Aunt Hilda), Shane Briant (as Emil), Gillian Hills (as Elizabeth)|
|Featuring:||Paul Jones (as Carl Richter), Kenneth J. Warren (as Klaas, Zorn's manservant), Michael Hordern (as Demented Priest), Virginia Wetherell (as Inge, whore)|
|Starlets:||Deirdre Costello, Sidonie Bond, Jan Adair, ?Jane Cardew?|
|Shane Briant receives an "introducing" credit|
|Jane Cardew is listed in credits as "2nd Girl" but there doesn't appear to be any such appearance to account for this credit. Jan Adair who is "1st Girl" in the credits is seen as a dead murder victim.|
|Writer: Walter Brough / Director: Henry Levin / Producer: Irving Allen|
|Type: American / Western||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Set in America during the American Civil War (1861-1865) between Confederates and Yankees. During the unrest an outlaw gang form consisting of the sons and followers of Confederate supporter Josiah Galt. Josiah was unable to gain a proper military commission and so he formed an unofficial unit to disrupt Yankee positions. But Josiah's actions soon turned to lawlessness and the Galts become a wanted gang of outlaw thugs responsible for murder, rape and looting. All of Josiah's sons revel in the carnage and fear they engender except for one son called David who decries the kind of men they have become. David joined his father to help with the war effort but not to become a criminal wanted for outrageous atrocities. He expresses his opinions openly to his father that they should curtail their activities and return to their original intentions. But Josiah Galt is driven by hatred and is willing to exercise extreme sanctions on any who defy him even if that means punishing his own son. He locks David up for his disloyal views and is set to have him executed. David manages to escape and Josiah fails to recapture him but vows that one day he will get even.
David returns home to his wife Laura and they set off for Texas to start a new life under an assumed name far away from the influence and reach of the Galt clan. David knows he still has a price on his head and it would be difficult to convince anyone who discovered his identity that he wasn't as involved in the criminality as his father and brothers.
When the war ends Josiah Galt and his men see no need to cease their lucrative activities and they continue their criminal ways unabated. Josiah decides there will be richer pickings elsewhere and they journey to Texas. In the intervening years David has set up a new home in the town of Chilon and he and Laura now have a young son called Pauly. David is a well-respected member of the community and no one knows who he really is except for the town's federal marshal whom David confided in. Marshal Kilpatrick was willing to give David a chance to prove himself as a law-abiding citizen and it paid off.
But then the Galts arrive to loot the town and David's secret is revealed to the populace at large when his brothers recognise him. The town puts up a fight and many of Josiah's men are killed. Josiah heads off to the outskirts where David's farm is situated intent on abducting Pauly to teach David an overdue lesson for his past disloyalty. Laura tries to intervene and Josiah kills her. David is distraught at the tragedy but vows he must save his young son Pauly. He teams up with marshal Kilpatrick to track down the outlaws and decisively deal with them.
The marshal and David head off after the gang with a posse and waylay them in the process of hijacking a bullion train. Many more of the Galt gang are killed leaving only Josiah who manages to get away. Josiah retrieves Pauly from where he had hidden him and heads into some mountainous terrain. David gives chase and high on a rocky peak they have a confrontation and Josiah is mortally wounded. Pauly is rescued and David is intending to leave his father for dead but finds he cannot ignore Josiah's plaintiff cries for assistance because of an overriding sense of responsibility to help. But as David approaches the wounded Josiah, his father leaps up in a last gasp effort and pushes them both over the edge tumbling to their deaths. Josiah knew he was going to die anyway and took his disloyal son with him in his final act of revenge.
|Starring:||Vince Edwards (as David Galt), Jack Palance (as Josiah Galt, David's father), Neville Brand (as Marshal Kilpatrick), Sylvia Syms (as Laura Galt, David's wife)|
|Featuring:||George Maharis (as Jacob Galt, brother), Christian Roberts (as Adam Galt, brother), Kenneth Cope (as Carlin, travelling brothel keeper), Kate O'Mara (as Adah, Jacob's woman), Benjamin Edney (as Pauly Galt, David's son), Sheila Burrell (as Emily Galt, David's old mother in flashback)|
|Story by Clarke Reynolds|
|Benjamin Edney receives an "introducing" credit|
|This American film is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actors Sylvia Syms, Kate O'Mara and Kenneth Cope|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Joseph Larraz / Co-Producer: Remo Odevaine|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Paul and his younger girlfriend Olivia are on a car journey on a foul rainy night with low visibility. Olivia is feeling tired and is having some shut-eye while Paul drives. Paul is heading up a narrow country lane when a figure dressed in white suddenly jumps out into his path and although Paul swerves he cannot avoid hitting the figure - the car hits a tree and he is momentarily concussed. Olivia is jolted awake and unharmed but doesn't know the reason for the accident. They are almost immediately approached by a couple called Julian and Rebecca who offer to help and take the shaken pair back to their large isolated country house nearby to recover. Paul babbles on about the man he hit and maybe killed but Julian tells him there was no one there to be found and he must have imagined it. Paul and Olivia are given some warm milk and offered a room for the night and Julian promises to go to town and fetch a mechanic for their car the next morning. Paul knows he hit someone and cannot understand why the house owners are being so mysterious about things and believes they are trying to hide something.
Julian and Rebecca are brother and sister and both are slightly odd. He is a taxidermist who stuffs beloved pet animals for their distraught owners and has an intense gaze, and she has a very gothic appearance. We see them out that night with a number of their friends burying the body of the man Paul knocked over. They regret the death but are sure they will soon find someone else to join their group.
Although Olivia sleeps soundly Paul cannot rest and when he cannot rouse Olivia he thinks that the milk they were given may have been drugged but since he is on some medication the effects of the draught were counteracted. He gets up in the middle of the night to look around and decides to go outside to double check on his car and when it won't start he checks the engine and discovers the fuel line has been newly severed and then he finds himself confronted by Julian and his friends whose attitude has turned decidedly unfriendly. They drag him to a room which they call their "refuge" and strip him naked and one female member of the group called Vivian also strips off and forces sex on him. The men of the group are most interested in examining a tattoo on his back. Paul at first tries to resist Vivian but eventually responds and when he is in full swing Rebecca calmly stabs him to death and his body is taken down into the basement. Julian lays the body out and using his taxidermy skills makes preparations to neatly slice off the area of skin that contains the tattoo.
Next morning Olivia awakens and is told that her boyfriend Paul got up early and accompanied Julian to the village many miles away to fetch a mechanic and that they won't be back until much later - they couldn't simply call the garage because there is no phone at the house. Rebecca invites Olivia into their refuge which she and her friends use to chill out and she persuades Olivia to try smoking some cannabis - teaching her how to inhale it properly for full effect which Olivia finds unexpectedly pleasant. Later that evening Julian returns alone apologising for the delay and blaming a car breakdown for his lateness. He tells Olivia that a mechanic will be coming tomorrow and that Paul needed to get back to his office urgently and so took a train home. Olivia thinks that sounds just like him to put his work commitments before considering her - she works too and needs to get back soon for some important appointments but is able to stay a little while longer until the car is fixed and she can drive it home.
Next evening Julian and Rebecca hold another soiree in their refuge and invite Olivia who finds it pleasant laying with her head on Rebecca's lap while sharing joints and watching the other members of the group having a wild orgy - she becomes seduced by the freedom of the feeling sweeping over her and the lifestyle she is witnessing. At some point she passes out and wakes up in her bed naked where she is visited by Julian who says he will share with her a whole new world of feelings and she tells him he can do anything so long as she doesn't have to return to her old gloomy life. She allows him to inject her with heroin and they have sex while she is ecstatically high on the drug.
The same thing happens the next night and she clamours for more of the same but Julian goes too far and she goes into a coma. They send for an elderly corrupt chemist with some medical knowledge who prescribes some medication in return for sex with Rebecca - she goes back with him to his shop where they have sex and she kills him while he is climaxing and then she returns to treat Olivia.
When Olivia awakens she finds Rebecca dead in bed beside her having slit her own wrists (quite why isn't clear, perhaps she felt some sort of guilt at what she'd done?). Olivia hears Julian returning home and panics thinking he may believe she killed Rebecca and goes round looking for somewhere to hide and in another room finds a tattooed slice of skin displayed like a trophy which she recognises as belonging to Paul and she screams and then happens to find a handy gun as Julian comes into the room and she turns and shoots him dead.
In the epilogue she is in hospital in a semi-unconscious state since being found by the police in a house full of dead people and in her dazed condition she looks up at the doctor and nurse and sees them as Julian and Rebecca. (A bit of a cryptic ending which presumably is just in her drug fevered imagination rather than a reality - or else the story wasn't over).
|Starring:||Karl Lanchbury (as Julian), Lisbeth Lundquist (as Olivia), Sibyla Grey (as Rebecca), Malcolm Terris (as Paul)|
|Featuring:||Sheelah Wilcocks (as Auntie), Frederick Schrecker (as Elderly Chemist), Geoffrey Wincott (as Mr Malcolm, warehouse manager), Andrew Grant (as Boyd, Group Member), Terence Lenis (as maybe a doctor, or a detective)|
|Familiar Faces:||Hugh Fraser (as Group Member - Capt Hastings in Poirot)|
|Starlets:||?Debbie Garland? (as Vivian, Group Member), Hillary Gotter (as maybe a hospital nurse, or maybe an orgy participant), Lucienne Camille (as orgy participant, this actress is known to be black and there was only one black woman seen in the film)|
|Joseph Larraz (aka José Ramón Larraz) was credited as J R Larrath|
|There are no end credits and the opening credits do not give character names. The cast list is relatively small however and it is possible to work out who is who for most of the names by either recognition or their prominence in the credits or by ages they would have been (when DOB is known for actor). Where there is a question mark by the character or actor names above there is a small degree of doubt.|
|Writers: George Barclay, Lance Z. Hargreaves / Director/Producer: Lindsay Shonteff|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 76 mins|
|Mark English is an American journalist working in England who has been assigned the job of writing a piece on a vaudeville mesmerist and ventriloquist called The Great Vorelli whose act has astonished and perplexed audiences. Mark wants to find out how genuine his act is and so he asks his girlfriend Marianne Horn to accompany him to the theatre and put herself forwards to go up on stage when Vorelli asks for volunteers. Marianne does as she is asked and is mesmerised on stage by Vorelli into becoming an accomplished dancer - when she gets back to her seat she has no idea how she managed to do all those complex moves. The second part of Vorelli's act involves a ventriloquist's dummy he calls Hugo. In the act Vorelli performs as if the dummy is rebellious and uncooperative and only reluctantly follows his commands - the unique part of the act is that Vorelli does not have to be in physical contact with the doll which can walk around on stage by itself.
Backstage Vorelli talks to his stage assistant Magda about the girl he hypnotised - he knows that she is an heiress and he sees in her a golden opportunity - he decides he will offer his services for free to a charity ball that Marianne's aunt is giving that weekend so he can get near to Marianne again and exert some influence over her. But he doesn't need to for Mark has persuaded Marianne to invite Vorelli anyway so he can get a better look at that dummy for the article he is writing. At the charity gala Vorelli performs his astonishing act in which the dummy walks. Afterwards while Vorelli is socialising with the guests Mark gets the chance to examine the dummy where it has been stored in another room. Vorelli always keeps it inside a locked and barred cage but Mark can reach his hands inside. He thinks it may contain some complex mechanism that allows it to move independently - but he finds it is normal lifeless wooden dummy.
Vorelli is staying overnight and he takes Marianne to one side and quietly mesmerises her to put her under his influence when he calls for her. And during the night in his own guest room Mark has a visitor - he wakes to find the dummy standing beside his bed and pleading with him for help - it says it wants Mark to find him - in Berlin 1948. Mark isn't sure if he was dreaming or not but he follows up the lead and looks closely into Vorelli's past in Germany. It seems Vorelli trained as a doctor but gave up his practice to study Eastern mysticism surrounding the soul before taking up as a vaudeville mesmerist in 1948. He was assisted in his act by a young couple called Mercedes and Hugo and it is Mercedes who gives Mark this information. As part of his act Vorelli would plunge a dagger into Hugo but he would be unhurt. Later on Vorelli added a normal ventriloquist's dummy to his act and one day backstage Mercedes caught him in the act of mesmerising Hugo side by side with the dummy for unknown reasons. Then on stage the dagger act seemingly goes wrong and Hugo dies but in the dressing room the dummy seems to come alive. Vorelli has transferred the soul of Hugo into the dummy to create a unique act of a "living" doll. The animosity between them is not an act and Hugo trapped in the body of the dummy genuinely hates the mesmerist but is too dependant on him to fully rebel and has to grudgingly back down and obey and perform the stage routine.
Back in the present Vorelli has plans to hypnotise Marianne into marrying him and then after a few months he will transfer her soul into a new female dummy to create another stage-wonder and when the real Marianne dies he will inherit all her money. His assistant Magda becomes jealous and she is disposed of when Vorelli tricks the dummy Hugo into murdering her while he is elsewhere with a perfect alibi.
Vorelli has Marianne under his power in his dressing room in a trance and the Hugo dummy seizes an opportunity and breaks loose fighting furiously with Vorelli with an astonishingly determined strength - but although Hugo comes close to winning it appears that Vorelli manages to at last get the upper hand as the mesmerist puts the dummy back in its cage and sits down exhausted. Mark comes in looking for Marianne and Vorelli speaks to him - but it is no longer in Vorelli's voice but Hugo's. The dummy has managed to transfer souls with Vorelli and he is now the master and the tables have turned. The benevolent Hugo (in Vorelli's body) assures Mark that Marianne will now awake unharmed. And in its cage the dummy now speaks with Vorelli's voice pitifulingly pleading with Mark for help.
|Starring:||Bryant Haliday (as The Great Vorelli), William Sylvester (as Mark English), Yvonne Romain (as Marianne Horn)|
|Featuring:||Sandra Dorne (as Magda Gardinas), Alan Gifford (as Bob Garrett, Mark's Berlin contact), Karel Stepanek (as Dr Heller, mesmerism expert), Francis De Wolff (Dr Keisling, family doctor), Nora Nicholson (as Marianne's Aunt), Phillip Ray (as Marianne's uncle) Ella Tracey (as Louisa, Mark's secretary), David Charlesworth (as Hugo), Lorenza Colville (as Mercedes)|
|Starlets:||Heidi Erich (as Grace, Magda's younger replacement), Pamela Law (as Garrett's girlfriend)|
|Based on an original story by Frederick Escreet Smith|
|Made in Black and White|
|According to information read on IMDB there are two versions of the movie. One is referred to as a British version that has several topless scenes and the other an International version that has alternate clothed or covered takes for those scenes. The version reviewed must have been the International version - although despite that a momentary glimpse of a bare breast is still seen while Magda is turning over in bed with the sheets pulled up around her just before she is killed by the dummy - this scene seems to be a very likely contender for one that was played topless in the other version without use of the sheet. The other scenes might have involved one or both of the starlets mentioned above.|
|Writer: Richard Matheson / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Present day setting. The Duc de Richleau and Rex Van Ryn have not seen one of their friends, Simon Aron, for a couple of months at their regular reunions and decide they should check up on him. They go to his home and find he is having a party for members of an astronomical society that he has recently joined. Simon tells his two friends they cannot stay which makes them suspicious about the true nature of the gathering. Richleau looks around the house and finds evidence of devil worshipery. Richleau is an expert in such arcane matters and is aware of the dangers involved in releasing evil forces and he and Rex set about to try and save their friend from the influence of the charismatic cult leader Mocata.
They discover that Simon and a young woman called Tanith are soon to be inducted into the cult and they mount a daring rescue to snatch the pair away from Mocata's evil influence and take them to the home of Richleau's niece Marie Eaton and her husband Richard for safety.
Mocata needs Simon and Tanith to make up his cult of thirteen and so launches a series of mystical attacks on the household through the mind of Tanith who is a special adept. But Mocata's best efforts cannot break the protective circle that Richleau has drawn out on the floor to defend against the supernatural attacks. Mocata's final effort is to invoke the Angel of Death via Tanith's mind and as a desperate measure Richleau is forced to utter some powerful lines of an ancient text to ward this being off - but the psychic feedback kills Tanith.
Mocata manages to kidnap the Eaton's young daughter Peggy and he plans to use her as a sacrifice in his ceremony where he intends to resurrect Tanith's soul into the child's body. The heroes disrupt the ceremony but can do nothing to prevent Mocata as he calls upon the Devil to do his bidding. Tanith's spirit however manifests itself in the body of Marie and speaks a powerful spell which completely destroys Mocata and his cult members and all their arcane paraphernalia. The spell is so powerful that it sends the heroes back in time to a point before Tanith died - but leaves Mocata dead because it was he who invoked the Angel of Death who cannot return empty handed.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Duc de Richleau), Leon Greene (as Rex Van Ryn, voiced by Patrick Allen), Charles Gray (as Mocata, cult leader), Patrick Mower (as Simon Aron), Niké Arrighi (as Tanith Carlisle), Sarah Lawson (as Marie Eaton, niece of Richleau), Paul Eddington (as Richard Eaton, husband of Marie)|
|Featuring:||Russell Waters (as Malin, Eaton's butler), Rosalyn Landor (as Peggy Eaton, young daughter of Marie and Richard)|
|Based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley|
|Writers: O Hellman, Antonio Troiso, R Barrett / Directors: O Hellman, R Barrett / Producer: Enzo Doria|
|Type: Horror / American / European||Running Time: 103 mins|
|Ten years ago a man called Dimitri, a practitioner of arcane arts, angered the Devil with a refusal to permit his lover to commune with the dark lord in a ritual ceremony. In revenge the Devil caused Dimitri's car to swerve and plunge off a cliff to his certain death but slowed time during the fall and offered Dimitri a way out allowing him to live for another 10 years into the future. In the final few days of that period Dimitri would be required to perform a task that if successful might earn him a reprieve from his certain death. That task is to find a certain woman and make sure the child she is carrying is born.
It is present day San Francisco (just a few months from the end of the 10 years) and Jessica Barrett is a happy young mother with two kids Gail and Ken, and a loving husband called Robert who is a record producer. She tells Robert the happy news that she is expecting another baby although it is somewhat unexpected because she is on the pill. She visits GP and family friend Dr George Staton who confirms her pregnancy but says her timing is a little off because she is 3 months gone and not the 7 weeks she thought. She finds that impossible because she was still having regular periods up until 7 weeks ago - they both agree it's baffling.
Jessica begins to feel ill as if the baby is trying to kill her and is overcome with sudden impulses to destroy things and becomes prone to sleepwalking. Dr Staton confides in Robert that he has run further tests on Jessica and the rate of her pregnancy is a biological absurdity as if the child cannot wait to be born. While out and about Robert spots a bearded man (who we know is Dimitri) watching and following him - a man he has seen before on previous days.
Jessica visits Dr Staton and says she wants an abortion and he tells her that it would only be considered as a last resort - then her voice changes into a deep sinister male voice saying she knew that's what they were planning and (s)he won't let anyone kill the unborn baby. From then on back at home Jessica begins to exhibit signs of demonic possession - her voice continually changing and vomiting muddy bile. The children become frightened to be left alone with her in the house and they are taken away to stay with a friend.
The bearded man makes contact with Robert saying he knows what is going on and that Robert must trust him for he is the only one who can save Jessica. He tells Robert that Jessica has fallen prey to a power whose strength is beyond comprehension and the child must be born at home with no interference. Robert finds his story ludicrous and tells him to stop following and the man says he will stay away until Jessica asks for him.
And at home Jessica is getting worse - her face has taken on a countenance of evil and her voice is continually shifting from possessed to normal - at some point she calls out the name of Dimitri. And Robert knows that that was the name of the man she loved before she met him. He remembers she had talked warmly about him when they first met - of how he had had such a strong magnetic presence and had become a bedrock in her life opening up her horizons of knowledge, wisdom and fresh discoveries that she knew nothing of before. From her description Robert suspects that the bearded man he met is Dimitri and when Dimitri turns up again Robert lets him see Jessica. The baby is almost ready to come and Dimitri persuades Robert to leave the house and let him be alone with her - for tomorrow the baby will come. The Devil talks directly inside Dimitri's head and makes it clear that he is inside the woman and the baby is his rebirth and he reminds Dimitri that he must successfully birth him for the Devil to consider allowing his life to continue.
Robert's refusal to let Dr Staton take Jessica to hospital and instead put his full reliance on this stranger alarms Staton so much that he looks into Dimitri's past and discovers from a woman who remembers him that he was a strange and powerful man who seemed to have the ability to cure people that even the doctors had given up on - but she says that was all a long time ago because Dimitri died 10 years ago in a car accident although his body was never recovered.
The time of the birth is due and Jessica's body levitates and demands that Dimitri pluck the infant from within her - but as Dimitri starts to do as he is bid she vomits bile over him and laughs with evil contempt telling him he is an idiotic fool for he (The Devil) had no intention of letting Dimitri live - this whole affair, from the impregnation of Dimitri's former lover (who he tried to protect those 10 years ago), to the promise of continued life was a merry dance for the Devil's own amusement performed merely to add to Dimtri's pain and suffering and what he in fact offers him is eternal damnation. Dimitri gets on his knees and beats down hard at Jessica's unflinching pregnant belly in his efforts to deny the inevitable but it does him no good - and back in the past the slow moving car finally crashes into the sea below.
Robert returns later to the house and discovers his wife peacefully asleep in bed no longer pregnant and with her face returned to its normal relaxed self. There is no sign of Dimitri but in the corner Robert finds a still-born baby that has no mouth. In an epilogue the family are taking a relaxing break and things are getting back to normal for them all - but we see a final shot of their young son Ken giving the camera a look with demonic eyes.
|Starring:||Juliet Mills (as Jessica Barrett), Gabriele Lavia (as Robert Barrett), Richard Johnson (as Dimitri), George Montage (Dr George Staton)|
|Featuring:||Elizabeth Turner (as Barbara, George's wife), Barbara Fiorini (as Gail, Barretts' daughter), David Colin Jr (as Ken, Barretts' son)|
|This American/Italian film is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Juliet Mills. The version reviewed was titled The Devil Within Her. The Italian title was Chi Sei and some alternate English titles for the film have been Behind The Door, Beyond The Door, Beyond Obsession.|
|aka: Land of the Minotaur|
|Writer: Arthur Rowe / Director: Costas Carayiannis / Producer: Frixos Constantine|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 89 mins / 84 mins|
|Set in present day Greece in a small town where a British priest called Father Roche who lives nearby has become concerned over the recent disappearance of two young couples who were studying the local ruins. The town's police chief is unable to help however and objects to the priest's insinuations that such disappearances seem to be a regular occurrence in this neighbourhood. (Earlier in a prologue we had seen part of a cult religious ceremony in which a young couple had been sacrificed at an altar as the robed ensemble worship the flaming nostrilled idol of a minotaur god).
Some young friends of Father Roche's then arrive in town - Beth and Ian are a couple interested in local archaeology and they have brought with them another enthusiast Tom Gifford. Roche, who is a world authority on ancient religions, warns them not to visit the ruins of the nearby ancient temple where the two couples recently vanished - they appear to humour his wishes but then sneak out anyway to explore the disputed area. Tom feels a bit of a gooseberry being with lovers Beth and Ian so he writes to his girlfriend in Australia and asks her to fly over and join them. Beth goes into town to get supplies and post Tom's letter while the men start exploring the temple ruins. The two men soon find a secret entrance and go down into a catacomb of tunnels and discover the dead bodies of the sacrificed couple and are then captured themselves. Back in town Beth meets the mysterious Baron Corofax who lives in the castle overlooking the old temple - he tells her that it is one of the oldest pagan sites in the country. She returns to her campsite and cannot find her two friends and is then captured herself by robed men.
A few days later Laurie Gordon arrives in the country - she is Tom's girlfriend responding to his letter. When no one is at the airport to meet her she locates Father Roche who fears that the three friends have also disappeared. In desperation Roche calls an old friend called Milo Kaye who is a private detective and asks him to help investigate.
When he arrives Father Roche explains to Milo that he believes the entire town is in the thrall of the devil and are possessed by its evil. He believes that the ancient rites they practice demand that young couples be sacrificed together at moonlight and that his three friends are being held prisoner until that moment comes. That night they find the village completely deserted with all the inhabitants off somewhere involved in the satanic rituals and when they locate the area of worship in the woods they discover they are too late - Beth and Ian are already dead. Tom is still being kept alive because he was not part of a couple - but when Laurie is abducted too, Father Roche knows that she and Tom will be next on the sacrificial altar.
Father Roche prepares himself with Holy Water and the next evening he and Milo enter the Baron's castle where they know the next ritual will take place. The Baron is leading the ceremony and all the villagers are in attendance including the children. As Laurie and Tom are about to be sacrificed Father Roche uses his Holy Water and throws it over the statue of the minotaur god which causes it to explode - followed by all the villagers who also explode within their cultish robes. All except for the children whom Father Roche explains are incorruptible and whose innocence and purity is the hope for the future.
|Starring:||Donald Pleasence (as Father Roche), Peter Cushing (as Baron Corofax), Costas Skouras (as Milo Kaye), Luan Peters (as Laurie Gordon)|
|Featuring:||Vanna Reville (as Beth), Nikos Verlekis (as Ian), Robert Behling (as Tom)|
|Starlets:||Jane Lyle (as Milo's girlfriend), Efi Cosma (as first female victim)|
|Two versions of this film have been seen. The Devil's Men is the longer version at 89 minutes. The version entitled Land of the Minotaur runs to 84 minute and cuts out one whole scene near the start when Milo first appears and this accounts for most of the missing running time. It is in this scene that his girlfriend (Jane Lyle) is mainly seen and establishes Milo's friendship and loyalties to Father Roche when he receives a letter from him expressing his early concerns about the first lot of missing students - the scene is presumably cut because the girlfriend is topless throughout. In the shorter version we only see Milo for the first time 20 minutes later when Roche calls him after the new students go missing - a brief moment of Jane Lyle seen topless as she answers the phone with one short line of dialogue is all that remains of her contribution. One other brief cut noticed later on is when Luan Peters is standing up in a bath - in the shorter version this is cut and no revealing nudity of hers remains. It's possible that some of the gory moments might have been trimmed too in the shorter version.|
|Writer: Lyn Fairhurst / Director: Lance Comfort / Producer: Tom Blakeley|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 84 mins|
|In the present day (1965) writer Paul Baxter is on holiday in France staying at a hotel with a female companion called Anne Forrest. Anne's brother Keith and another friend called Dave are with them and whilst exploring a cave the two men are killed seemingly in a terrible accident. The local landowner called Arman du Moliere and his wife Tania offer their condolences. The grieving Anne finds Moliere's manner charming and spends some time walking with him by a lake - but when she notices he has no water reflection he abducts her. In the struggle he accidentally drops a medallion. Later when Paul goes looking for Anne he finds the bat-shaped medallion and hides it. Later Anne's body is found and the verdict is suicide brought about by grief. Paul returns to England full of doubt about the true nature of the deaths.
Backtrack: Moliere's real name is Count Sinistre and he is an immortal vampire. In a prologue sequence set some centuries before we saw Sinistre use his medallion to raise gypsy girl Tania from the dead to be his eternal bride. And she has clearly remained his devoted companion ever since.
In the present day Sinistre is the head of a demonic cult called the Devils of Darkness who worship his occult power. The medallion is an important artefact that gives him the necromantic power to raise the dead and when Sinistre discovers he has lost it he realises that Paul Baxter must have it. It is essential to recover it, so Sinistre and his followers relocate to England and set up a new base of operations at a country house owned by one of his English followers called Madeleine Braun.
Paul is invited to a party held by Madeleine Braun whom he became acquainted with at the hotel in France. She introduces him to a model called Karen Steele whom Paul takes a fancy to and arranges to meet again for a date. Karen was hired by Madeleine to model for Sinistre and also be an unwitting lure for Paul. The intention being that once Paul has become enamoured by the beautiful model, they can use threats against her as a means to secure the medallion's return. But Sinistre becomes smitten by Karen himself and decides he wants her for his new eternal bride. He uses his power to mesmerise her in readiness for her transformation once he gets the medallion back. His current wife Tania becomes jealous that her long-standing position as Sinistre's companion is in peril and decides to turn against her husband and warn Paul. She leaves Paul a page from an ancient book that describes Sinistre's legend dating back to 1588 with an illustration that shows it is the same man.
Fearing for Karen's safety Paul involves the police and they speed to Madeline Braun's country residence carrying with them the medallion. Sinistre has readied his demonic worshipers in the caves beneath the old manor house with Karen laid on an altar as part of a black magic ritual. As Paul arrives there is a sudden bolt of lightning from the sky which causes an earth tremor and the caves start collapsing. Most of the followers are killed by rockfall but Sinistre manages to escape with Karen. However it is daytime and in a churchyard he is exposed to a shadow of a cross and dies in burning agony. This releases Karen from his power and Paul leads her safely away with the danger over.
|Comment: It's not completely clear what causes the lightning to strike which so fortuitously turns the tables on Count Sinistre's evil plans.|
|Starring:||William Sylvester (as Paul Baxter), Hubert Noël (as Count Sinistre), Diana Decker (as Madeleine Braun, cult follower), Tracy Reed (as Karen Steele, artist's model), Carole Gray (as Tania, Sinistre's wife)|
|Featuring:||Victor Brooks (as Inspector Hardwick, Scotland Yard), Rona Anderson (as Anne Forrest, Paul's girlfriend in France), Eddie Byrne (as Dr Robert Kelsey, Paul's scientist friend), Peter Illing (as French Police Inspector), Gerard Heinz (as French hotel manager), Geoffrey Kenion (as Keith Forrest, Anne's brother)|
|Writer/Director: Ken Russell / Producers: Robert H. Solo, Ken Russell|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|In the City of Loudon, France, in the 1630s the people are mourning the passing of their former governor - a man who had managed to prevail upon all religious communities in his city to keep the peace during turbulent times which left them virtually unscathed while a religious war raged in the rest of France. The city is surrounded by a vast wall and these fortifications help prevent any sudden attack which gives the city the security and safety it needs to be self-governing. The priest Father Urbain Grandier speaks passionately at the governor's requiem and he possesses an eloquent way with words that captures the moment and the feelings of the people perfectly.
The nuns of the Holy Order of St Ursula are excited at the father's arrival whose faith and personal appearance make him a most beautiful man to them. The reverend Mother Sister Jeanne is obsessed when she sees him passing by, leading the procession for the fallen hero - she already has a half-crazed sexual repression and upon sight of Grandier she begins to embody and realise his magnificence in her fantasies although she has never met him.
Father Grandier is not a perfect man and he enjoys the company of women and has numerous affairs which goes against the practices of his station. But his faith in his religion is stoic and duty towards his town paramount. So when an officer of the crown arrives and begins work to demolish the city's fortifications Father Grandier rises to fill the temporary void left by the fallen governor and demands to see the man's authorisation. Baron De Laubardemont says he has a proclamation from the king but when he can't produce it Grandier tells him that he will not permit another stone to be moved until it is forthcoming - Grandier shows papers giving him interim authorisation to rule the city and he backs his words up with a show of strength from the city guard who follow his command. The Baron backs down and leaves saying he will return with the proclamation.
But there is no proclamation and Cardinal Richelieu whose orders the Baron was operating attempts to retrospectively get the King to sign one. The Cardinal tells him that whilst Loundon remains self-governing it is a hindrance to his rule of the entire country. But the King made a promise to the former governor that the walls would never be touched and refuses to sign any such paper. The Cardinal knows this is not a huge obstacle as the king can eventually be persuaded that it is god's will if necessary. But Father Grandier is made of sterner stuff for he is a righteous and charismatic leader who is bold and wilful and will be difficult to defeat politically should he become the fully fledged governor of Loudon which seems quite likely.
A new spiritual director called Father Mignon arrives in Loudon to administer at St Ursula's and sister Jeanne makes a confession about her uncontrollable carnal thoughts concerning Father Grandier. Mignon takes this information to the Cardinal as an indication that Grandier is possessed by the devil and has bewitched the sister. The political machinators see that they might have an opportunity to rid themselves of the troublesome Father Grandier if they can expose him as a servant of the devil. They call in the services of a witch hunter called Father Barre who is obsessive in his determination to find evil or contrive to do so by manipulating facts and superstitions.
Father Barre interrogates Sister Jeanne and although her mad ravings are somewhat inconclusive she is put through various tortures under the guise of exorcism techniques until she appears to implicate Grandier and that is enough proof for the Baron. He then uses the threat of death and a contrived last minute reprieve on all the young nuns to make them denounce Grandier and tells them they have become infected by the evil that has overcome their order - and the religious fervour generated is enough to whip them up into a frenzy of naked debauchery in the cathedral which he then offers up as proof of their possession by the devil to other observers.
Grandier is arrested and with the "proof" of so many sworn testimonies of his evil practices he is tried and convicted for the crime of communing with the devil, blasphemy, sacrilege and obscenity - he is sentenced to death at the stake. Before he dies the Baron and Barre try to torture a retrospective confession out of him but he stoically refuses enduring all manner of excruciating pains they subject him to. Finally he is burnt at the stake defiant all the way.
As soon as he is dead the Baron gives the order and the Loudon's fortified walls are blown down with gunpowder leaving the city as open and easily controlled as any other. The Baron is pleased to have achieved his aims and did not believe for one moment that Grandier served the devil but was quite unconcerned about corrupting and manipulating religious practices to destroy a good man in the pursuance of his political objectives.
|Starring:||Oliver Reed (as Father Urbain Grandier), Vanessa Redgrave (as Sister Jeanne), Dudley Sutton (as Baron De Laubardemont), Michael Gothard (as Father Barre)|
|Featuring:||Gemma Jones (as Madeleine DeBreu), Murray Melvin (as Father Mignon), Georgina Hale (as Phillipe), John Woodvine (as Trincant, Phillipe's father), Christopher Logue (as Cardinal Richelieu), Graham Armitage (as Louis XIII), Judith Paris, Catherine Willmer, Iza Teller (as Sisters in St Ursula's)|
|Familiar Faces:||Brian Murphy|
|Starlets:||(Nuns - see notes) Imogen Claire, Doremy Vernon, Selena Gilbert, ?Carolyn Jones?|
(also) ?Maggy Maxwell? (as ?Madeleine's mother)
|Based on the play The Devils by John Whiting and the book The Devils of Loudon by Aldous Huxley|
|None of the non-speaking nuns are credited and no information about uncredited roles has been discovered. A Channel 4 documentary Hell On Earth about the film interviewed some participants and the first three names listed above were all reminiscing about the frenzied naked nuns scenes which suggests they were participants. The name of Carolyn Jones has also been suggested as being another of the nuns involved - but there were many more besides those four taking part. It has also been suggested that Maggy Maxwell was playing the plague afflicted mother of Madeleine being treated by two doctors who are trying out extraordinary remedies on her.|
|Credits not known|
|Type: European / Action||Running Time: 12 mins|
|A woman (Diana Rigg) arrives home with a strong box which she locks with a key kept on a chain around her neck and then puts the box into her safe. She then goes out to the swimming baths and when she gets home realises she has lost her key in the pool. She returns to the baths but a diver has retrieved the key and calls her with a ransom demand. She goes to a rendezvous at a bar but it was a ruse to get her out of the house while a gang of burglars used the key to rob her. She figures this out and returns home and fights them and saves the contents of her box - a child's piggy bank. She finds a map to a house and follows it but it is a trap and she has more fights with some baddies but gets away.|
|This is a short dialogue-less film made in Germany. It is reviewed here only because of the starring role for Diana Rigg but is otherwise an inconsequential amateurish seeming piece - seemingly it was distributed only in 8mm home movie form and never had any sort of official cinema release. The version reviewed had no credits or title but whether this was because it was slightly incomplete at the start is not certain. It appeared to be in black and white although the picture quality was low so it's possible that the colour signal may have been lost in repeated generational loss.|
|"Diadem" can mean a crown or head wear worn by an oriental king - or a name for a royal person or authority. Although quite where either of those definitions fits into the story as seen on the screen is not very clear.|
|Another short dialogue-less film also starring Diana Rigg is Minikillers (1969).|
|Writer: Philip Levene / Director: Sidney Hayers / Producer: Peter Miller|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 79 mins|
|Detective Inspector Alan Lomax is in charge of an investigation into the disappearance of a woman called Julia Hayward after she was reported missing by her husband Dr Stephen Hayward. Dr Hayward is a busy psychiatrist with a private practice at his large residency beside a lake. He also works at the city hospital. His private appointments are arranged by his attractive young secretary Helen.
The police receive an anonymous note with letters cut from newspapers declaring that "Doctor Hayward has killed his wife". And although no body has been found the police are obliged to step up the scale of their investigation. Lomax guesses that Hayward is having an affair with his secretary Helen due to her over-familiarity with him and also uncovers that Mrs Hayward had a personal fortune - both possible motives for Hayward to want to murder her. The police begin an extensive search of Hayward's house and gardens and then plan to drag the lake to try and find a body or some incriminating evidence.
Dr Hayward and Helen are indeed lovers and she begins to have her own suspicions that Hayward is behind Julia's disappearance. Hayward decides to trust her and admits his plan. Whilst the police are still busy searching his property he takes Helen to a remote country cottage he has rented where he is holding his wife Julia captive in a constantly drugged-up state. It was he who has sent the anonymous letters to the police accusing himself of murder because he wanted them to do a thorough search. Once they are finished he intends to really murder his wife and dump her body in the lake knowing the police will not search there again. Helen is appalled but she is in love with Hayward and knows he is doing all this because of his love for her. Hayward tells her he cannot simply divorce Julia because most of the property and wealth he enjoys is in her name and he cannot face having to start again to build up his current standard of living - but once she is eventually declared legally dead he will inherit it all.
The police search draws a blank and Lomax is told to call a halt to his investigations due to lack of evidence. He phones Hayward at the city hospital to tell him he is no longer under suspicion, but the doctor seems to have gone missing which Lomax finds suspicious. Lomax thinks that Helen may know where Hayward has gone and calls upon her hinting they have uncovered evidence which incriminates Dr Hayward (although they haven't really). The police then wait outside and as hoped Helen speeds off in her car towards the country and they follow.
Helen is off to warn Hayward because she knows he has gone to finally kill Julia. Meanwhile at the cottage Hayward is about to give Julia a fatal dosage of the liquid knockout drops he has been using to keep her unconscious. But he is interrupted by a caller at the front door and has to break off to attend to that first. Unbeknown to him Julia has recovered slightly and knows what her husband is about to do but is too weakened to resist - however during the interruption she manages to pour away the knockout mixture and replace it with plain water. Hayward returns and administers what he believes is the deadly overdose and wraps her up in a sleeping bag and goes outside to prepare his car while she dies. Meanwhile Helen arrives and goes upstairs and she is hit over the head and knocked out by the now-sufficiently recovered Julia and placed in the sleeping bag instead. Hayward then returns to the bedroom and carries the bagged body to his car not realising it is his unconscious lover rather than his dead wife. He drives back to his house and using a boat dumps the bag in the middle of the lake with heavy chains wrapped around to weigh it down. He then returns to shore and finds the police waiting to arrest him - he sees his wife beside them and cannot understand who, in that case, he has just dumped in the lake.
|Comment: There is a sideplot involving Inspector Lomax's mistress Mary and her unhappy marriage to a mean, crippled husband. But other than giving the film an odd "surprise" ending it has no real relevance to the main plot.|
|Starring:||Jon Finch (as Detective Inspector Alan Lomax), Christopher Lee (as Dr Stephen Hayward), Judy Geeson (as Helen, Dr Hayward's secretary and mistress)|
|Featuring:||Jane Merrow (as Mary Dawson, Lomax's mistress), Dilys Hamlett (as Julia Hayward, Dr Hayward's wife), Colin Jeavons (as Bob Dawson, Mary's crippled husband), Tony Beckley (as Sgt Greene)|
|Writers: N.F. Simpson, P. Rouve, Ronald Harwood / Director: Christopher Morahan / Producers: Carlo Ponti, Pierre Rouve|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Grand Duke Nicholas (aka Nicky) is from a once great Russian family whose riches were gambled away by his father when Nicky was a small baby. This wealth included the Russian Imperial Diamonds which are now state-owned and are currently out of the country and being publicly exhibited in London at the home of the Duke of Windermere. Nicky has come to view them and feels that morally they still belong to him and he decides he should steal them back.
Nicky realises he needs professional help and so he starts recruiting a gang of criminal specialists - and because of his penchant for the ladies all of them end up being young and pretty, although all highly skilful at her chosen craft. While on tour, the Imperial Diamonds are under the guardianship of Soviet security officer Popov who takes his job very seriously and the jewels are under constantly monitored CCTV coverage when on display and in an impregnable vault when not.
Nicky's team realise the job will be a tough one to pull off in a conventional manner so they devise a plan that makes the most of their model-girl looks. They organise a bogus charity fashion show on behalf of Russian orphans and persuade the Duke to let them hold it in his residence to tie in with the Imperial Jewel collection event. Nicky's elderly Russian aunt provides them with sumptuous imperial period dresses they can wear for the show which she has in storage. And the final step of their plan is to convince Popov to allow the girls to actually wear the jewels while they model the dresses on the catwalk. Popov is very reluctant to let them out of his sight but agrees provided he releases the jewels only moments before they are needed and then has them immediately returned to their individual storage cases when the girls come off the catwalk.
One girl is a conjurer and has constructed identical jewel cases which, using slight-of-hand, are one-by-one substituted for the real cases while each is empty with its contents temporarily in use by a model - and the returned jewel is then unknowingly replaced inside the phoney case by Popov before being returned to the security chest that houses all the cases when stored in the vault. However these are "trick" cases with two ways of being opened and when Popov double-checks them at the end of the show he finds that the well guarded cases are now inexplicably empty with no explanation of how they could have been stolen from jewel cases held under constant scrutiny and always in Popov's sight (in fact the jewels are still inside the apparently empty cases within a secondary compartment). Then one of the gang with acrobatic skills and disguised as a man, makes a run for it as if they have the jewels with them - she leads the police on a merry chase around the countryside and eventually loses them. Back at the exhibition amid all the confusion and with watchfulness relaxed on the "empty" cases in the belief that the jewels are already stolen, the rest of the gang surreptitiously substitute the real (empty) cases back into place and take the phoney (full) cases away. Then they prize the diamonds from their mountings and fly them out in pouches around the necks of some trained doves.
Later when the police have allowed people to leave after being searched, the gang reassemble at their hideout where the doves were trained to return to - but they find the pouches are empty! The gang have been double-crossed by Nicky's aunt who believes she has prior claim over Nicky to own the family heirlooms and has made a clean getaway. Then as the film ends we see Aunt Anastasia at a casino playing roulette and gambling away the family diamonds yet again.
|Starring:||Marcello Mastroianni (as Nicky), Warren Mitchell (as Popov, Soviet Security chief)|
(Nicky's Gang) Rita Tushingham (as Bridget Rafferty, safe-cracker), Elaine Taylor (as Victoria, pickpocket), Maggie Blye (as Honey Ferdinand, American, cat-burglar), Francisca Tu (as Jeanne Silkingers, conjuring trick skills), The Karlins (as Triplets, character names:- Marie, Louise and Antoinette, martial arts skills, their real first names not separately credited)
|Featuring:||Leonard Rossiter (as Police Inspector), Nora Nicholson (as Anastasia Petrovna, Nicky's aunt), Bryan Pringle (as Police Sergeant), Bill Fraser (as Bookseller), Ian Trigger (as Popov's Assistant)|
|Writer: Murray Smith / Director/Producer: Pete Walker|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 96 mins|
|A young British girl called Marianne Evans is working abroad as a go-go dancer where she maintains a constant vigilance for some dangerous men who are looking for her. As we join the story they have just discovered her new whereabouts but she manages to slip away just before they arrive evading capture. She accepts a lift from a passing British stranger called Sebastian Smith and she accompanies him back to England. During their journey they have become friendly and back at his London apartment he suggests they get married - right away. She is a bit reluctant but appears mainly indifferent to the matter and agrees. Sebastian ropes in a friend of his called Eli Frome to be his best man and they go to a registry office where Sebastian has already made arrangements. But Marianne has grown suspicious of Sebastian and supplies the registration clerk with Eli's name instead so the marriage certificate ends up showing she is married to the best man.
Sebastian departs the scene leaving a bemused Eli with a new and unexpected wife. She explains to him that she is on the run from her father who lives in Portugal and is known only as "The Judge". Her mother Ruth had stolen half-a-million pounds from the Judge and secreted it away in a Swiss bank account and then given the number to Marianne for safekeeping just before she died under mysterious circumstances. That was six years ago and the Judge has been trying to track her down ever since to get that account number. She cannot access the account herself until her 21st birthday which is in two weeks time.
Sebastian arrives in Portugal and is revealed to be working with the Judge and his other daughter Hildegarde (Marianne's half-sister) although their alliance is an uneasy one of mutual distrust and dislike. With the news that Marianne has become married, the Judge offers Sebastian £3000 to bring her and Eli back to Portugal. His job is quite easy because Eli has already persuaded Marianne that perhaps the time is right to return to Portugal to face the Judge and sort the matter out. For the Judge it is more than just the money - he was corrupt and took bribes to pass down reduced sentences but nothing could be proved and for the sake of British justice things were hushed up and he was merely disbarred - the Swiss bank account also contains enough evidence of his dealings to convict him.
When Marianne arrives at the family villa she finds the Judge has mellowed and is glad to see his errant daughter again. It is in fact her half-sister Hildegarde who retains a bitter animosity towards Marianne and is still determined to kill her - although Sebastian, whom she has teamed up with, insists they should get the account number first as it contains information that could be used to blackmail many important people.
As the final events play out everyone winds up dead by means of murder, accident or double-cross except for Marianne who is left grieving for her new husband Eli whose innocent involvement was entirely of her doing and she celebrates her 21st birthday alone with a card he had already written out for her.
|Starring:||Susan George (as Marianne Evans), Barry Evans (as Eli Frome), Christopher Sandford (as Sebastian Smith), Leo Genn (as The Judge), Judy Huxtable (as Hildegarde)|
|Featuring:||Kenneth Hendel (as Rodriguez, Judge's manservant)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anthony Sharp (as Registrar)|
|Writer: Jerry Sohl / Director: Daniel Haller / Producer: Pat Green|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 75 mins|
|American Stephen Reinhart has arrived by train at the English village of Arkham to visit his British girlfriend Susan Witley whom he attended university with in the States until a month ago. He is surprised to find the taxi driver refuses to take him to the Witley place and none of the locals are willing to talk about it. Eventually Stephen has to hike across the heath to get there and on the way is puzzled by a large patch of land that appears to a be a dead zone for vegetation near what appears to be a burnt out crater.
The Witley place turns out to be an imposing gothic manor. The first person Stephen meets is Susan's wheelchair bound father Nahum Witley who appears very unfriendly and insists Stephen leave immediately. But Susan is pleased to see him and shows him to his room. Nahum's wife Letitia is ill in bed and sends for Stephen - she keeps her bed shrouded in veils and he is unable to see her but she implores that he urgently take Susan away from here for her own safety. However Susan is unwilling to leave whilst her mother is unwell.
Nahum's manservant Merwyn has been feeling unwell too and he collapses and dies. At night Stephen follows Nahum outside and sees him burying Merwyn's body - and Stephen notices a strange glow coming from the greenhouse but finds the door padlocked and the windows whitewashed.
Next day he mentions the greenhouse to Susan and she shows him another secret way in that she found as a child. Inside the plants are fantastically lush and oversized - and buried in the soil around each plant Stephen finds a mysterious piece of rock fragment. From the potting shed there is a screeching noise and also a glow that Stephen recognises as uranium rays and inside behind some bars are all manner of strange mutated creatures. Stephen knows that radiation can change the characteristics of living things and realises that the mutations and plant growth have been caused by exposure to high radiation. Both Merwyn and Susan's mother spent a lot of time working in here and they too must have been adversely affected. Letitia dies shortly afterwards when she bursts out of her bedroom in a gruesomely mutated state and collapses.
At her funeral Nahum tells Stephen the whole story. His father Corbin had been a devil worshiper which gave the Witley name the bad village reputation that is still feared. Even though Nahum himself has no interest in the occult his family still live with the shame. So when a glowing rock screamed down from the sky a short while ago and landed on the heath Nahum thought it was a sign of deliverance from the wretched legacy that Corbin's practices had placed on the family name. Because around the rock lush vegetation had begun to grow and it seemed like it were a miracle stone that he could use to benefit mankind. He carried it home and took it to the cellar chiselling off bits to use in the greenhouse to stimulate growth. But before long the people working near it began to fall ill.
Nahum now realises it is a curse and decides to destroy the rock. He goes to the cellar with an axe and chops at it. However this releases immense radiation and turns him into a silver-skinned glowing radioactive man with immense strength and no need of a wheelchair. He has lost his mind and sets about chasing Stephen and Susan around the house in an effort to kill them. Eventually he falls off a balcony and dies in an explosion of phosphorescence which sets the whole house ablaze destroying everything. Stephen and Susan manage to get out safely.
|Starring:||Boris Karloff (as Nahum Witley), Nick Adams (as Stephen Reinhart), Suzan Farmer (as Susan Witley, Nahum's daughter), Freda Jackson (as Letitia Witley, Nahum's wife)|
|Featuring:||Terence de Marney (as Merwyn, Nahum's manservant), Patrick Magee (as Dr Henderson), Sheila Raynor (as Miss Bailey, Dr Henderson's housekeeper)|
|Suzan Farmer receives an "introducing" credit|
|Based on the story The Colour Out of Space by H.P. Lovecraft|
|Director: Tom Parkinson / Producers/Writers: Tom Parkinson, Churton Fairman|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Set in Cornwall in the 16/17th century where Julia, the daughter of a local Squire, is in love with a lowly farmer called Ralph. The Squire does not approve of the relationship as the lad is not of sufficient station in life so Ralph has plans to better himself by buying land and perhaps in five years will be of the appropriate standing to ask for her hand. But Julia is keen that they know they truly belong to each other now and so Ralph suggests that they cut their thumbs and mix blood in a personal betrothal. However as they do this a drop of her blood falls onto a grave in the churchyard where they are meeting and a spooky voice that only Julia half-hears whispers a declaration that she is now his.
The next day the sweethearts arrange another assignation by the Old Hall building which has been long left unoccupied and is their regular meeting place. Julia arrives early and bumps into a Stranger. He is dressed all in black and has a trim black beard which gives him a sinister appearance but is nevertheless utterly charming towards her in manner as he tells her that he is the new owner of the Old Hall and has returned to claim his inheritance. He departs after Ralph arrives generously allowing them to use his land for their meetings whenever they wish. But when out of sight his nature changes as he surreptitiously watches them from the bushes and an old gypsy woman sees him and recognises him as the man who, fifty years beforehand, had destroyed her only daughter - even though the Stranger looks like he is too young to have been involved in something that occurred that long ago. The gypsy woman is found dead not long after.
The Stranger introduces himself at the Squire's manor house and his handsome looks and lordly manner turns the head of a servant girl called Betty who can barely contain her girlish excitement about the grand gentleman visitor. The Squire is entertaining the local Parson when the Stranger arrives and the clergyman gets an instant measure of the man recognising an evil within him, and the Stranger realises it as they have a frosty veiled conversation that passes right over the head of the Squire who is most welcoming to his new neighbour. Not long after this visit Betty the maid goes missing.
Ralph lives with his sister Ruth in their cottage and one evening while she is alone the Stranger enters unannounced and abducts her and takes her back to his Hall. Inside his residence he has as his servants about half-a-dozen young women dressed in white robes who obey his every command - one of them is the servant girl Betty. He tells them to prepare Ruth and she is lain out on an altar as he changes into some red robes and begins a demonic ritualistic ceremony - his beard is now white and his skin has a blue pallor to it. He states to Ruth his objective on Earth is to supply his master Lucifer with an endless line of virgin sacrifices - but his ultimate aim is to find a maiden who will willingly accept her death and share eternity at his (the Stranger's) side. He asks Ruth if she will accept and like all before her she does not - the Stranger then sacrifices her and drinks of her blood and she is reborn as one of his undead slave girls.
Julia had found herself drawn to the Stranger from the moment she first met him and Ralph has noticed that she has become much more distant towards him. While searching for his missing sister, Ralph finds Julia visiting with the Stranger at his Hall and she seems to be in a partial trance. Ralph does not understand what sort of hold this man has over her and when he tells her she must decide who she wants to be with she chooses the Stranger. The Stranger is delighted that he seems to have at last found a maiden who is willing to be at his side and he tells her to meet him back at the Hall the following night when he will conduct the ceremony.
Ralph shares his fears with the Parson and together they take a long ride to visit a Cabalist who has special seeing powers and he uses his magic mirror to spy on the Stranger's activities. They see he has Ralph's sister Ruth under his power and the Cabalist tells Ralph that alas she is already dead but she is special because her love for her brother has survived her death. He informs them the reason the Stranger holds such sway over Julia is that he wears a jewel pendant around his neck within which is embedded the drop of her blood that was spilt on the grave when the sweethearts were making their betrothal. This was the grave of a suicide and so opened up the gates of hell from which the Stranger was able to emerge - this jewel must be destroyed to weaken his power and send him back whence he came. The Cabalist gives Ralph a talisman to help him defeat the Stranger. Their way home is hindered by the actions of a Dwarf who is a servant of Lucifer summoned by the Stranger to help him overcome the efforts of any who would seek to oppose him. The Parson sacrifices his life to give Ralph a chance of making it back in time to thwart the Stranger's objective.
At the appointed time Julia is prepared for the ceremony and states that she accepts her destiny but as the Stranger is about to finalise matters Ralph bursts in and uses the talisman to temporarily paralyse the Stranger enabling him to snatch the blood pendant and destroy it. Julia is released from the compulsion she was under and rushes into Ralph's arms. The Stranger's powers are weakened but before he returns to hell he still has the energy to take Ralph and Julia as his prisoners and in revenge for foiling his attempts to deliver himself from his eternal damnation he shackles them in a dungeon where he puts them in a death trap of a slowly stretching rack controlled by the mindless plodding of his own sister on a treadmill - and then he is forced to depart the earthly realm with his eternal quest incomplete. Ralph and Julia are in intense pain as Ralph appeals to his undead zombified sister to help them and that part of her love for him which survives hears him and although she is unable to stop the motion of her legs she manages to tip over a candle which burns through their ropes and frees the two sweethearts and they rush out while the Old Hall burns to the ground.
|Starring:||Mike Raven (as The Stranger), Ronald Lacey (as The Parson), Stephen Bradley (as Ralph), Marguerite Hardiman (as Julia)|
|Featuring:||George Belbin (as The Squire, Julia's father), Betty Alberge (as Dorothy, Squire's wife, Julia's mother), Nick Amer (as The Cabalist), Rusty Goffe (as The Dwarf)|
|Starlets:||Virginia Wetherell (as Ruth, Ralph's sister), Louise Jameson (as Betty, Squire's housemaid)|
|The actual credits do not have separate mentions for producer, director and writer - it just says "A Film By Tom Parkinson and Churton Fairman" with additional dialogue by Montague Haltrecht. Because Tom Parkinson has other directing credits I have listed him as the director above.|
|Marguerite Hardiman receives an "introducing" credit.|
|aka: Sex Express|
|Writer: Derek Ford / Director: Derek Ford / Producer: Valerie M. Ford|
|Type: Sex / Anthology||Running Time: 87 mins (stronger US Version)|
|A woman prison officer is escorting a female prisoner by train who passes the time by daydreaming fantasies involving herself and other passengers in her carriage.|
|Starring:||Heather Deeley (the fantasist)|
|Starlets:||Jacqui Rigby (credited as Jacky Rigby), Gilly Sykes|
|The US Version (which was the one reviewed here) has some hardcore inserts (unfortunately, because by their nature they are not particularly pleasant to see). These feature in several of the fantasies - some of which are probably extended length versions of the UK print. Heather Deeley is quite plainly performing her own hardcore scenes so it seems no body doubles were used. The US version also contains a Nazi themed fantasy that does not feature in the UK version at all - this fantasy is the only one in which Jacqui Rigby is seen naked.|
|Heather Deeley was an excellent young actress who could actually act convincingly. In her "normal" non-sex scenes she really shines. The flatmate/call girl misunderstanding fantasy is quite a good bit of comedy.|
|Writer: Ronald Harwood (based on a screenplay by Dylan Thomas) / Director: Freddie Francis / Producer: Jonathan Sanger|
|Type: Horror / Drama||Running Time: 92 mins|
|In the 1800s skilled surgeon Doctor Thomas Rock is a good man but feels shackled by the laws that govern his access to bodies to study to further his medical knowledge. His ardent zeal to learn makes him prepared to pay low-life's who are willing to steal bodies from graves even though these are never as fresh as Rock would like. Two petty crooks called Robert Fallon and Timothy Broom see what is going on and reckon they can muscle in on this easy money. But they decide to bypass the grave robbing process and simply murder people and supply those bodies to the doctor. Doctor Rock is delighted with the quality of the bodies they supply and although he turns a blind eye to the illegality of their procurement he has no idea they are bespoke murder victims.
Dr Rock teaches at the Academy of Anatomy and his faculty are concerned that he may be breaking the law which states that only bodies of hanged criminals may be used for dissection. Dr Rock passionately defends his position stating that the laws are ridiculous and obsolete and in order to progress medical knowledge must be dragged out of the Dark Ages and into the 19th century - and the intricate study of anatomy is absolutely vital to this aim.
Another plotline involves Rock's assistant Murray who falls in love with a local prostitute called Jennie Bailey. In the final act Jennie and her friend Alice fall into the hands of Fallon and Broom and when Alice turns up dead at Dr Rock's surgery Murray is determined to save Jennie before she too winds up a corpse. Broom was only ever in it for the money but when he begins to realise that Fallon simply enjoys the killing he decides he's had enough and when they are both caught by the police, Broom turns King's evidence for a pardon and implicates Fallon who is sent to the hangman. And Fallon's worst fear is not actually dying but that his body will become a subject for dissection. No charges are brought against Doctor Rock who leaves town.
|Comment: Although it's not really a horror film it would be too general to class it simply as drama.|
|Starring:||Timothy Dalton (as Dr Thomas Rock), Jonathan Pryce (as Robert Fallon), Stephen Rea (as Timothy Broom), Twiggy (as Jennie Bailey), Julian Sands (as Dr Murray)|
|Featuring:||Phyllis Logan (as Elizabeth Rock, wife), Siân Phillips (as Annabella Rock, sister), Patrick Stewart (as Professor Macklin), Nichola McAuliffe (as Alice, Jennie's friend), Deirdre Costello (as Nelly, Fallon's wife), Terry Neason (as Kate, Broom's wife), Phil Davis (Billy Bedlam, Alice's brother), Beryl Reid (as Mrs Flynn, victim)|
|Familiar Faces:||T.P. McKenna, Jeff Rawle, Moira Brooker|
|The plot of this film is so very similar to The Horrors of Burke and Hare (1971) as to be virtually a remake although the names of all the characters are different.|
|Writer: Nicholas Phipps / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Dr Simon Sparrow is a Casualty House Doctor at St Swithens hospital and is seeking promotion to Senior House Surgeon - but he loses out on the new job to a colleague called Charlie Bingham.
Simon decides to try his luck elsewhere and there follows a series of escapades as he takes on a variety of different temporary jobs. These include a GP's job in a rural practice; and a fill-in position at a private Park Lane medical practice. Simon's debonair friend Tony Benskin also has a few misadventures of his own including a misunderstanding over a bequest from a rich patient.
Simon returns to St Swithens and manages to get into the good books of his senior consultant Sir Lancelot Spratt whilst his rival Dr Bingham falls foul of Sir Lancelot's thunderous temper and Simon ends up with the Senior House surgeon's job after all.
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Dr Simon Sparrow), Donald Sinden (as Tony Benskin, Simon's friend), Muriel Pavlow (as Joy, medical student friend of Simon and Tony)|
|Featuring:||(St Swithens Hospital) James Robertson Justice (as Sir Lancelot Spratt, Senior Consultant at hospital), Shirley Eaton (as Nan McPherson, hospital nurse), Michael Medwin (as Dr Charlie Bingham, Simon's rival), Ernest Jay (as Charles Hopcroft, Governor)|
(Private Practice) Derek Farr (as Dr Potter-Shine), Anne Heywood (as Emerald, receptionist), Martin Benson (as Maharajah, patient at private practice), Barbara Murray (as Kitty, neurotic patient)
(Country Practice) Lionel Jeffries (as Dr Hatchett), Dilys Laye (as Mrs Hatchett, his flirty wife)
|From the novel by Richard Gordon|
|This was the third in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Writers: Nicholas Phipps, Jack Davies / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Doctor Simon Sparrow is working as a junior to a General Practice doctor - but when the doctor's unattractive daughter takes an unwelcome fancy to him he decides his only option is to get away from the problem by signing onto a cargo vessel as the ship's doctor.
The cargo ship SS Lotus does not take passengers but the crew have plenty of ailments to keep him busy whilst Simon gets used to being at sea. Captain Wentworth Hogg is a cantankerous grump who is a stickler for routine and believes his vessel to be the best in the company's fleet. When the ship puts into port at Bellos the middle-aged spinster daughter of the company chairman comes aboard to cadge a passage back to England. Her name is Muriel Mallett and she brings with her a young companion called Hélène Colbert to accompany her on the voyage. Hélène is a beautiful fresh-faced French singer and she is given Simon's cabin (whilst he doubles up elsewhere).
During the voyage Simon and Hélène fall in love with each other. Meanwhile Muriel has set her sights on marrying Captain Hogg to his great alarm because he considers women to be a nuisance - but she makes it clear that his promotion prospects would be greatly enhanced if he were to be married to her.
When the SS Lotus arrives back in England Simon and Hélène are reluctantly forced to their goodbyes as her next professional engagement and his ship's next destination are far apart. But at the last moment she gets an unexpected telegram that changes her destination which means she can stay aboard after all and they can continue with their happy shipboard romance. HAPPY ENDING.
|Comment: Simon and Hélène talk as if they are planning to marry although by the time of Dirk Bogarde's next appearance as Simon Sparrow (in 1963's Doctor in Distress) there is no mention of any wife.|
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Dr Simon Sparrow), James Robertson Justice (as Captain Wentworth Hogg), Brigitte Bardot (as Hélène Colbert)|
|Featuring:||Brenda De Banzie (as Muriel Mallet, company chairman's spinster daughter), Maurice Denham (as Easter, steward), Michael Medwin (as Sub-lieutenant Trail), Hubert Gregg (as Archer, second officer), Raymond Huntley (as Captain Beamish, captain of sister ship), Geoffrey Keen (as Hornbeam, ship's mate)|
|Familiar Faces:||Joan Sims (as Wendy, dowdy GP's daughter, [opening scenes only])|
|This was the second in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in this film where he played a character named Captain Hogg (who to all intents and purposes was the same character, albeit with no family associations with Spratt).|
|Writer: Leslie Bricusse / Director: Richard Fleischer / Producer: Arthur P. Jacobs|
|Type: Musical / Adventure||Running Time: 138 mins|
|Set in 1845. As the story begins Irish barrowman Matthew Mugg befriends a young boy called Tommy Stubbins who has found an injured drake. Matthew takes Tommy to see his good friend Dr Dolittle who lives in the small coastal West of England village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh where he devotes his time to the care of sick and injured animals. Tommy learns that Dr Dolittle used to be a general practitioner but he found it too hard to relate to the people that he treated and his curt manner alienated most of his patients. Those that stuck by him eventually became too perturbed by his partiality for keeping all manner of animals in his house until eventually all his patients abandoned him. Dr Dolittle's compassionate leaning was towards the welfare of animals for which he has a great affinity and so he decides his talents would be better employed treating animals instead. Then Dr Dolittle discovered, from his amazing 199-year-old talking parrot Polynesia, that animals have their own special languages and the doctor asks Polynesia to start teaching him. Little-by-little Dr Dolittle masters hundreds of animal languages and becomes the greatest animal doctor in the world that all animals trust and would do anything for - although as far as most of his fellow humans are concerned he is an eccentric recluse with an abnormal obsession for animals.
Matthew is the doctor's only real remaining human friend who supports what he is doing and has previously accompanied him on missions around the world to save sick animals. Matthew and Tommy arrive just as Dr Dolittle is learning how to communicate with fish in readiness for a special expedition to discover the legendary Great Pink Sea Snail which the doctor is convinced really exists. But he does not have enough money to fund it yet. Then Dolittle is sent a gift from abroad of a llama-like animal with a head at each end of its body called a Pushyoupullme.
Dr Dolittle takes the unusual animal to the local circus where the proprietor Albert Blossom is delighted to accept the creature on loan for an exhibit. The Pushyoupullme draws in massive crowds and Dr Dolittle makes enough money to finance his expedition. Meanwhile, the doctor decides to help the circus' performing seal which is feeling homesick. To disguise the seal he wraps it in an old woman's shawl and takes it by stagecoach to the coast where he throws it into the sea from where it can make its way home. Unfortunately he is spotted doing this from afar and put on trial accused of callously drowning a defenceless old lady.
The magistrate is General Bellowes with whom Dr Dolittle has had disagreements in the past about the general's fox hunting activities which the doctor despises as horribly cruel to the foxes. In his defence, the doctor tells the court that he murdered no one and was simply returning a homesick seal to the sea. He says he knew the seal was homesick because she told him so. Dolittle's claims that he can talk to animals are met with mirth, so he proves it by asking the magistrate's dog what his master had for dinner the night before and gives the correct answer. The court clears Dr Dolittle of murder, but instead commits him to a lunatic asylum for his ridiculous delusions about being able to talk to animals. Also in the court was General Bellowes' niece, Emma Fairfax, who had previously met Dolittle and found him quite rude and intolerant when he had objected to the hunting, but now has seen a different caring side of him as he vainly argues in court for the rights of animals to be respected. Emma resents being a woman who has to be terribly dainty and proper all the time and often yearns to do the exciting things that men can do. She wonders if the strange life led by Dr Dolittle could offer her a way out.
Emma teams up with Matthew and Tommy to prepare the doctor's sailing ship The Flounder for the expedition while Polynesia is sent to coordinate Dr Dolittle's escape. As the doctor is being transported by prison wagon Polynesia tells its horses to gallop away without their driver and instructs the horses belonging to the prison guards to misbehave so it cannot be followed. And so Dolittle and his three friends, Matthew, Tommy and Emma, along with assorted animals, set sail in their quest to find the Giant Sea Snail.
The only trouble is Doctor Dolittle has no idea where to look so he suggests they stick a pin in a map and look there. The random location selected is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean which seems a poor choice until Doctor Dolittle remembers that the Sea Star Island is due to pass that way soon. The Sea Star Island is an isle set adrift from its mainland which floats around the world like a boat. After a month at sea the explorers encounter a ferocious storm which wrecks their boat leaving them adrift on broken timber. Fortunately they are near their destination and manage to make it to Sea Star as it floats by.
The inhabitants of Sea Star dress like native savages and at first Doctor Dolittle and his friends think they are to be eaten. But it turns out the natives are extremely well educated after reading hundreds of books washed onto their shores in shipwrecks. The storm has blown the island too far north into a colder region and frost is damaging the tropical plants and causing the island's wide range of animals to become sick. Dr Dolittle uses his skills to treat the animals and then asks a whale to push the island back on course. The whale does such a good job that the island is returned to its original mainland where it fits back in like a jigsaw piece. The island people celebrate their return to the mainland after 5000 years adrift and hail Dr Dolittle a hero.
Then the Great Pink Sea Snail makes an unexpected appearance on the shore. It lives nearby in an underwater cave and asks Dr Dolittle to treat it for an illness. The doctor cures the snail and in return it offers to take them back to England in its watertight shell. Dr Dolittle has to refuse because he is still a fugitive from justice back home. The others take up the offer and reluctantly leave the doctor behind on the island where he plans to continue his work.
Several months later Dr Dolittle receives word via his animal friends that all the animals in England have gone on strike and are refusing to do any work unless Dr Dolittle is exonerated. The magistrate has agreed and is begging Dolittle to come back to Puddlesby so life can get back to normal. Dr Dolittle happily returns on the back of a giant lunar moth which flies him home.
|Starring:||Rex Harrison (as Dr John Dolittle), Anthony Newley (as Matthew Mugg), Samantha Eggar (as Emma Fairfax), William Dix (as Tommy Stubbins)|
|Featuring:||Richard Attenborough (as Albert Blossom, circus proprietor), Peter Bull (as General Bellowes, magistrate and Emma's uncle), Geoffrey Holder (as William Shakespeare X, native chief of floating island), Portia Nelson (as Sarah, Dolittle's sister), Muriel Landers (as Mrs Blossom, Albert's wife)|
|Based upon the Doctor Dolittle novels by Hugh Lofting|
|Novel: Richard Gordon / Writer: Jack Davies / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 96 mins|
|After a spell as a doctor in a prison hospital Dr Gaston Grimsdyke is re-hired by his old boss Sir Lancelot Spratt to work at his hospital. Gaston is in his mid-30s but his taste in women remains firmly in a younger age bracket and his head is turned by a pretty French 20-year-old physiotherapist called Jeannine Belmond. Unfortunately she is going out with a student doctor called Lambert Symington and however much Gaston turns on his charm with her she does not waver and eventually gives him the disheartening news that he is too old for her anyway.
A new matron has started on Sir Lancelot's ward and the two of them have a territorial disagreement about the day-to-day running of the ward - so Sir Lancelot instructs Gaston to somehow tame the new matron. Gaston decides to send her love letters to mellow her and in a combined effort to improve his chances with Jeannine he signs the letters with the initials of her boyfriend hoping that it may bring about a break up if it plays out well. Unfortunately Lambert Symington's initials are the same as Lancelot Spratt's and it is the latter person whom Matron believes has sent her the letter. This does serve to relax matron's attitudes but not in a way that Sir Lancelot wanted.
Meanwhile Gaston takes steps to make himself appear younger by wearing more youthful clothes, restyling his hair and shaving off his moustache in the hope of winning Jeannine over. He also intends to inject himself with a new experimental drug that makes one feel ten years younger. Unfortunately Sir Lancelot gets injected by mistake and becomes the life and soul of the nurses upcoming party by bringing along laughing gas to make everyone uproariously merry.
The next day Sir Lancelot has a bad hangover and stays in bed. Matron visits him and tells him that she is flattered by his love for her but she is married to her job and thinks it would be best if she were to move on to another hospital to prevent them feeling awkward around each other. Sir Lancelot does not let on about the misunderstanding of identities and is secretly pleased to be rid of her and that it worked out so well despite Gaston's botch.
Gaston's attempts to appear youthful have no impact on Jeannine and she and Symington become engaged. And to make matters worse Gaston fails to get a promotion he had applied for because he looks too young for the more senior post. As the film ends a new Matron starts who is younger and prettier than the old one but just as strict and when Sir Lancelot instructs Gaston to tame this one too, he is only to happy to take her on himself.
|Comments: There is another plotline involving Gaston's cousin Dr Miles Grimsdyke who also works at the hospital. He is a bit dismayed at Gaston's arrival because he knows that he now has a serious rival for job promotion prospects. However although they both apply at one point for the same top job, the plot never revolves around that issue in any significant way or provide any notable events. It does afford a pay off at the end in which because of Gaston's romantically motivated efforts to look more youthful he is considered too young looking for the responsible job he has applied for and it goes to Miles.
The third-billed Shirley Anne Field (as Nurse Bancroft) is initially introduced in a way that makes her seem destined to be the film's major love interest - but in the end her actual ongoing involvement ends up as being very little more than that of a background nurse.
|Starring:||Leslie Phillips (as Dr Gaston Grimsdyke), James Robertson Justice (as Sir Lancelot Spratt), John Fraser (as Dr Miles Grimsdyke, Gaston's cousin), Joan Sims (as Miss Sweet, Matron), Arthur Haynes (as Tarquin Wendover, awkward working class patient), Jeremy Lloyd (as Lambert Symington, student doctor going out with Jeannine), Elizabeth Ercy (as Jeannine Belmond, young physiotherapist that Gaston fancies)|
|Featuring:||Shirley Anne Field (as Nurse Bancroft), Fenella Fielding (as Tatiana Rubikov, glamorous ballet dancer patient), Suzan Farmer (as Nurse Holliday), Eric Barker (as Proffessor Halfbeck, senior consultant), Noel Purcell (as O'Malley, Irish patient), Roddy Maude-Roxby (as Tristram, upper class patient beside Wendover's bed)|
|Familiar Faces:||Terry Scott (Hairdresser), Norman Vaughan (TV presenter), Alfie Bass (Fleming, prison hospital patient), Nicky Henson (as Menswear Shop salesman), John Junkin (Prison warder), Dandy Nichols (Patient), Anthony Sharp (Hospital Dean), Norman Chappell (Hospital Porter delivering flowers), Jack Smethurst (Patient mistaken for a woman, uncredited) , Wendy Richard (Shy nurse being told off for wearing false eyelashes, uncredited cameo)|
|Starlets:||Justine Lord (as New younger matron at end), Alexandra Bastedo (as Nurse at Party dancing with Sir Lancelot, uncredited)|
|Elizabeth Ercy receives an "introducing" credit.|
|· This was the sixth in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) (reviewed here) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Writers: Nicholas Phipps, Ronald Scott Thorn / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 98 mins|
|There are two main storylines featured in this film. They are interwoven but described here separately.
Senior surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt returns from a holiday in an even more grumpy mood than usual. He is greeted by his cheerful former student Dr Simon Sparrow who has risen up the medical ranks and is now someone Sir Lancelot treats as a friend and equal. When Sir Lancelot suffers a slipped disk in a fall he is treated by an physiotherapist called Iris Marchant whom he unexpectedly finds very attractive - but she is very professional and doesn't reciprocate his interest.
Sir Lancelot takes to sleepwalking and Simon gives him a physical and tells him there is nothing wrong with him except his lovesickness. However Sir Lancelot is not confident that he has anything with which to impress Iris enough that she would agree to marry him. Simon suggests he go on a diet to boost his self-image but Sir Lancelot finds it hard to discipline himself. Whenever he asks Iris out she claims to be busy working in her private practice - but he begins to suspect that she is seeing another man and takes to following her to check up on her story. It turns out she is telling the truth - however the patient she is treating also fancies her and has been feigning the severity of his problem so that he can continue seeing her. In the end Iris chooses to marry the other man anyway because she has fallen in love with him and Sir Lancelot has to accept her decision.
In the other (less substantial) storyline:- Simon meets an attractive patient called Delia Mallory who is a model and all the male student doctors are gaga over her. Simon takes advantage of his seniority and offers to drive her home when she is discharged and they become an item. He tries to help her with her ambitions to become an actress with a few contacts he knows.
When she is away filming he becomes friendly with a stunning French girl called Sonia whom he fancies but finds her full-on personality very intimidating and when he discovers she is a twin and there is another just like her he beats a hasty retreat much to her bemusement. Eventually Delia comes home and she and Simon take up where they left off.
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Dr Simon Sparrow), James Robertson Justice (as Sir Lancelot Spratt), Samantha Eggar (as Delia Mallory), Barbara Murray (as Iris Marchant, physiotherapist), Mylene Demongeot (as Sonia and Helga Stronberg, twins)|
|Featuring:||Donald Houston (as Major Tommy French, patient of Iris), Dennis Price (as Dr Blacker, head of health clinic), Leo McKern (as Luthor Heilbronn, movie producer), Madge Ryan (as Mrs Clapper, Sir Lancelot's housekeeper), Ann Lynn (as Mrs Whittaker, hospital patient), Fenella Fielding (as Frightened train passenger), Jill Adams (as Genevieve, American actress cast in Heilbron's Salome film), Michael Flanders (as Bradby, health clinic patient), Derek Fowlds, Richard Briers and Johnny Briggs (as Medical Students)|
|Familiar Faces:||Frank Finlay (as Corsetiere), Peter Butterworth (as Ambulance Driver)|
|By arrangement with Richard Gordon, author of the "Doctor" books|
|This was the fifth in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963) (as reviewed here) which was his final appearance in the series. For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Writer: Nicholas Phipps / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Doctor Richard Hare of St Swithen's Hospital is feeling poorly and has taken to bed rest. Richard 's chief of surgery Sir Lancelot Spratt diagnoses common yellow jaundice and recommends to Richard a complete change of pace. He suggests taking up a position in a local GP's practice run by a friend of his called Dr Clive Cardew.
After a brief interlude where Richard and his lecherous doctor friend Tony Burke spend some time at a cold germ research laboratory as guinea pigs and meet a couple of glamorous strippers, he takes up the GP post in the village of Hampton Cross. Richard soon discovers that he is being called out on false pretences by bored housewives hoping for a bit of romance during the day and Clive tells him that being married is the best way to deflect such things - but there is currently no one in Richard's life to fulfil that position.
Clive soon has to go on an extended trip abroad and he leaves Richard in charge. Richard asks his friend Burke to temporarily fill the other position. Burke decides that the surgery needs to be jazzed up to bring in more business and a sexy new receptionist called Kitten is hired. When Burke breaks his arm Richard asks the hospital to send a new replacement and a beautiful young doctor called Nicola Barrington duly arrives to take up the post. She and Richard hit it off and start a romance and after a few misunderstandings and temporary setbacks they eventually decide to get married.
|Starring:||Michael Craig (as Dr Richard Hare), Leslie Phillips (as Dr Tony Burke), Virginia Maskell (as Dr Nicola Barrington), James Robertson Justice (as Sir Lancelot Spratt)|
|Featuring:||Nicholas Phipps (as Dr Clive Cardew, GP doctor), Carole Lesley (as Kitten Strudwick, new GP receptionist), Joan Sims (as Dawn, stripper), Liz Fraser (as Leonora, stripper), Irene Handl (as Professor MacRitchie, Anti-Cold Research), Reginald Beckwith (as Wildewinde, 1st GP receptionist), Moira Redmond (as Sally Nightingale, nurse), Ambrosine Phillpotts (as Lady Spratt, Sir Lancelot's wife)|
|Familiar Faces:||Fenella Fielding (as Seductive Housecall Patient), Nicholas Parsons (as Hospital Doctor), Sheila Hancock (as Hospital Librarian), Joan Hickson (as Hospital Matron), John Le Mesurier (as Dr Mincing), Patrick Cargill (as Car Salesman), Peter Sallis (as Love-Struck Patient), Norman Rossington (as Strip Club Doorman)|
|Starlets:||Sally Douglas (as Dancer), Eve Eden (as Dancer)|
|Based on the novel by Richard Gordon|
|The two lead doctors (Burke and Hare) share their names with the infamous nineteenth century grave robbers - although this is not done for any analogous story reason.|
|This was the fourth in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came this oneDoctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Writer: Nicholas Phipps / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Simon Sparrow is an eager medical student who has just started his first year of training at St Swithens Hospital Medical School. He makes friends with a couple of inveterates called Grimsdyke and Benskin who enjoy the student life so much they intentionally fail their finals each year just so they can re-take the course and avoid having to get a proper job. But Simon is determined to make the five years of hard work and training that lay ahead of him count and become a fully qualified doctor.
The years speed by as we catch episodic glimpses of the medical students' regimen. By the third year the students are allowed on-the-job training on the wards and they come into contact with the overbearing chief surgeon Lancelot Spratt with whom all the students want to make a good impression but invariably fail.
During the final year Simon increasingly gets into trouble with the hospital authorities usually through his association with his high-spirited friends. He is secretly saved from expulsion several times by the unlikely boardroom ally of Lancelot Spratt who sees in Simon the same sort of qualities that he himself had as a student.
Simon passes his finals and is ready to become a fully-fledged doctor at St Swithens Hospital.
|Starring:||Dirk Bogarde (as Simon Sparrow), Kenneth More (as Richard Grimsdyke, medical student), Donald Sinden (as Tony Benskin, medical student), Muriel Pavlow (as Nurse Joy Gibson), James Robertson Justice (as Lancelot Spratt, head surgeon)|
|Featuring:||Donald Houston (as Taffy, medical student), Kay Kendall (as Isobel Minster, posh society girl), Suzanne Cloutier (as Stella, Grimsdyke's fiancée), Geoffrey Keen (as Hospital Dean), Joan Sims (as Nurse 'Rigor Mortis'), Joan Hickson (as Mrs Groaker, landlady), Shirley Eaton (as Milly Groaker, landlady's daughter)|
|Familiar Faces:||Richard Wattis (as Medical book salesman, cameo)|
|Adapted for the screen by Richard Gordon (from his novel)|
|This was the first in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Writer: Jack Davies / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producer: Betty E. Box|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Dr Tony Burke is a hospital doctor who is madly in love with a flighty young model called Ophelia O'Brien and intends to ask her to marry him but he never seems to get the opportunity to ask her properly because their free moments rarely seem to coincide. He goes round to her flat but she is again in a mad rush and he doesn't get a chance to pop the question - she tells him she is off on a cruise liner at the weekend for a modelling assignment on board with three other models and if he comes to see her off they might get a chance to talk then.
Meanwhile at the hospital they have a celebrity patient called Basil Beauchamp who on television plays the dashing Doctor Dare and the nurses all swoon over him. Tony is not star-struck because he used to go to college with Basil and they have a certain antagonism between them. The head physician Sir Lancelot Spratt recommends that Basil have a complete rest and suggests he go on a cruise ship and is able to arrange a passage for him because his brother George Spratt is the captain of such a vessel - The Golden Horn.
Naturally enough this is the same ship that Ophelia is sailing on. Tony is late arriving and misses her at the quayside but he is so determined to speak to her and ask for her hand that he sneaks on board through the luggage ramp - but he accidentally gets shut in a storeroom and passes out and by the time he comes to the ship is well underway and he realises he is a stowaway!
The plot progresses as Tony tries to avoid being exposed as a stowaway by the suspicious master-at-arms while trying to talk properly to Ophelia who is herself rather taken by the charms of Basil Beauchamp. When Tony's stowaway status is discovered he is at first put to work by Captain Spratt as a deckhand and later promoted to acting-doctor when the ship's young doctor falls ill. When a Russian vessel has a medical emergency Tony is winched over to treat the sailor but then finds himself abandoned to travel back to England on the Russian ship never having had a chance to properly speak to Ophelia and ask her to marry him.
When The Golden Horn arrives back in England Tony is there to meet the ship and propose to Ophelia only to discover she has been married on board to the now-recovered young ship's doctor. She tells Tony that she had always wanted to marry a doctor and was disappointed that Tony never asked her!
|Comment: Another side-plotline involved a jolly middle-aged man called Llewellyn Wendover who was not at all secretive that he had recently won the pools and was using this as a means of bagging a wife. He meets and marries a girl on the voyage whose gold-digging mother let herself overcome her natural aversion to such a man for the luxury lifestyle his money would provide them with. But when they are married and back on home soil Wendover admits that there were a bumper number of winners that week and his payout was only a fairly modest one.|
|Starring:||Leslie Phillips (as Dr Tony Burke), Harry Secombe (as Llewellyn Wendover, pools winner), Robert Morley (I) (as Captain George Spratt), Angela Scoular (as Ophelia O'Brien, Tony's girlfriend), Simon Dee (as Basil Beauchamp, TV actor Dr Dare)|
|Featuring:||Freddie Jones (as Master-at-Arms), Irene Handl (as Mrs Dailey, Dawn's Mother), Janet Mahoney (as Dawn Dailey), Graham Stark (as Satterjee, ship's attendant), Graham Chapman (as Roddy, gay photographer)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anthony Sharp (as Chief Surgeon, actor in Dr Dare's TV programme)|
|Star-Turns:||James Robertson Justice (as Sir Lancelot Spratt), Joan Sims (as Russian Captain), John Le Mesurier (as Purser)|
|Starlets:||Yutte Stensgaard (as Eve, model), Marcia Fox (as Jean, model), Sylvana Henriques (as Audrey, model), Jacki Piper (as Girl on quayside talking to Tony at end of film)|
|Based on the novel Doctor on Toast by Richard Gordon.|
|This was the last in a series of seven films based on the "Doctor" novels by Richard Gordon. Dirk Bogarde played Dr Simon Sparrow in the first three:- Doctor in the House (1954), Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957) - then came Doctor in Love (1960) in which Michael Craig played the lead character named Dr Richard Hare and Leslie Phillips his colleague Dr Tony Burke. Dirk Bogarde returned as Dr Sparrow in the next film Doctor in Distress (1963). For the penultimate film Doctor in Clover (1966) Leslie Phillips returned as the lead actor this time but now called Dr. Gaston Grimsdyke. Then in the final film Doctor in Trouble (1970) (reviewed here), Leslie Phillips was once again the lead but this time reverting to the character name he was called in the fourth film. All the films had the same producer and director and featured James Robertson Justice as Sir Lancelot Spratt except in Doctor At Sea where he played a character named Captain Hogg.|
|Story: Terry Nation / Writer: Milton Subotsky / Director: Gordon Flemyng / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 79 mins|
|Dr Who is an elderly inventor who lives with his two granddaughters:- brainy young Susan and her older sister Barbara. Ian Chesterton is Barbara's boyfriend and when he comes for a visit Dr Who is eager to show-off his brand new invention which he calls TARDIS which he says can travel in time and space. Although outwardly looking like a common small Police Box it is in fact paradoxically much bigger on the inside and full of complex machinery.
While they are all inside the controls are accidentally activated before Dr Who can set a proper destination and the TARDIS takes them at random to an alien planet. Outside they find they are in a petrified forest and in the distance a large gleaming city can be seen which they decide to explore. The city appears to be deserted at first but once inside they are captured by some machine-like beings called Daleks who are totally evil. Hundreds of years ago the Daleks fought a neutron war against their enemies the Thals which irradiated the planet. The Daleks became horribly mutated and could only survive by living inside their travel machines - this has meant they are confined to remaining in the city which powers them through the metal floors. The Thals were thought wiped out but now a community has been detected who have developed a drug which makes them immune to the radiation. The Daleks want the drug for themselves so they can cure themselves and leave their machines and go onto conquer the universe.
The Daleks use Susan to gain the Thals' trust by offering them much-needed food in return for the formula. The trusting and peace-like Thals agree to the exchange not knowing it is a trap and they will be slaughtered once the formula is handed over. Dr Who and co escape their imprisonment and manage to warn the Thals in time to stop the massacre and they all flee back to the forest. The Daleks miss their chance to kill the Thals but they have the formula to study.
The TARDIS crew find they cannot leave the planet because a vital component Dr. Who had with him was confiscated by the Daleks. He persuades the Thals that they need to act to defeat the Daleks who he realises will not now rest until they have wiped out the Thals. Two groups are organised to infiltrate the city from opposite sides. Meanwhile the Daleks have evaluated the drug and found it does not work on them so they decide they will explode another neutron bomb to decisively wipe out the Thals and they start a countdown.
The two groups converge on the city and make their way to the Daleks' control room and manage to defeat the Daleks and stop the countdown just in time.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Who), Roy Castle (as Ian Chesterton), Jennie Linden (Barbara, Dr Who's elder granddaughter), Roberta Tovey (as Susan, younger granddaughter)|
|Featuring:||(as Thals) Barrie Ingham, Geoffrey Toone, Michael Coles, John Bown, Yvonne Antrobus, Mark Petersen|
|Although based on the BBC TV's Doctor Who series starring William Hartnell there are some important differences to the main characters and their relationships. On television Susan was somewhat older than depicted in the film; Barbara was Susan's schoolteacher and not her sister (or another granddaughter); Ian was a fellow schoolteacher and not Barbara's boyfriend; In the film the main character is called "Dr Who" by Ian although on TV he is only ever "The Doctor". In the film Dr Who has invented the TARDIS himself and there is no suggestion he is not a normal human from Earth (even though Doctor Who was still in its relative infancy when this film was made his alienness was established in the very first episode so would have been known about when the film was made even if other details such as him being a Time Lord or the name of his planet may have yet to have been established). The Daleks fire a visible gas from their gun arms rather than a deadly ray with its negative-image killing effect. Also the familiar TARDIS dematerialization noise is not used - nor is the TV theme music|
|The story told in this film is specifically based on the first TV Dalek story broadcast as a weekly 7-part serial beginning on 21 December 1963. Each episode was approximately 25 minutes long so clearly the film dispenses with almost four episodes worth of material|
|Although the film used characters with the same names none of the TV actors were involved. A further film starring Peter Cushing as Dr. Who was made called Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966) in which Roberta Tovey as Susan again appeared although the other companions were renamed and replaced|
|aka: Dominique Is Dead|
|Writers: Edward and Valerie Abraham / Director: Michael Anderson / Producers: Milton Subotsky, Andrew Donally|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Dominique Ballard is a middle-aged woman married to businessman David Ballard. They are both independently wealthy and live in a large house. Also living nearby is David's half-sister Ann who is a regular visitor to the main house; and a new chauffeur called Tony who lives in the house along with housekeeping staff. A year ago Dominique suffered a fall and has lost some of her strength of will and lately she has been suffering severe memory lapses where her family members tell her she did or said something that she has no recollection of and yet when put to the test it turns out to be true. She also starts seeing things that then aren't there later on when she tries to show someone. Dominique is convinced she is not going mad and that David is playing wicked tricks on her but she is so mentally exhausted that she hangs herself in the conservatory. The family doctor Charles Rogers confirms she is dead and the family have a funeral shortly afterwards. A suicide note requests that her will not be read for several more weeks on 31st October.
David's business dealings are such that the addition of his wife's estate will be of great benefit to him. But he has to wait like everyone else for the reading. Long before that date though strange things begin to happen in the house. At night David hears the piano playing which was his late wife's favourite instrument - but when he checks there is never anyone there. And he sees a ghostly vision of his wife stalking the corridors on her way to the conservatory. And at other times he sees her during the day when he looks out of his office window. He pays Tony the chauffeur to help him dig up her grave at night to check if she is really buried - and the coffin is empty! David knows she must still be alive but when he questions Doctor Rogers he is assured that she was dead. David continues to be spooked by strange ghostly happenings and decides to have her grave officially exhumed so the matter of the empty coffin can be properly investigated by the authorities - but this time Dominique is in the coffin and quite dead! Doctor Rogers seems quite alarmed at this and rushes home to pack his things - but someone is laying in wait for him and he is murdered.
David returns home and is suffering a breakdown due to all the turns of events and later on upstairs when he is again approached by his wife's ghost he backs away from her in terror and crashes out of the window to his death.
On 31st October the wills are both read. David's will is quite straightforward and his estate goes to his half-sister Ann. But Dominique made an unusual change to her will shortly before her death and left a sizeable portion to the chauffeur Tony. Back at the house Tony is packing up to leave and we discover it was he who was behind it and had the piano rigged up by remote control device. But he had an accomplice and hitherto unsuspected lover... Ann. It was she who had been acting the part of Dominique's ghost using a very convincing face mask. Ann became determined to help Dominique and persuaded her that she could get back at David for his attempts to make her doubt her own mind by faking her own suicide and then giving him a dose of his own medicine. Dr Rogers had gambling debts and was easily paid-off to lie about her death and Dominique went into hiding as Ann and her boyfriend Tony put the revenge plan into effect. In preparation Dominique had changed her will and left all her money to Tony but Ann assured her that this would be repaid afterwards. But then when David had decided to officially exhume the body Tony had persuaded Ann that Dominique really had to die and so they killed her and reburied her in the empty coffin.
Now that they are both rich Ann is expectant that Tony and she will live happily ever after. But Tony reveals that he has no intention of doing that and he has been playing her too. He wanted Dominique's money all along and her real death was part of his plan once the will had been changed in his favour. Ann is so angry at his betrayal that she takes a gun and shoots him dead. THE END.
|Starring:||Cliff Robertson (as David Ballard), Jean Simmons (as Dominique Ballard), Jenny Agutter (as Ann Ballard), Simon Ward (as Tony Calvert)|
|Featuring:||Ron Moody (as Dr Rogers), Michael Jayston (as Arnold Craven, David's business partner), Judy Geeson (as Marjorie Craven, Arnold's wife), Flora Robson (as Mrs Davis, housekeeper), David Tomlinson (as Lawyer reading wills), Jack Warner (as Stonemason)|
|Starlets:||Erin Geraghty (as David's Secretary)|
|Based on a story by Harold Lawlor|
|Writer: Michael Pertwee (from his own stage play) / Director: Bob Kellett / Producer: Andrew Mitchell|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Barry Ovis and Sir William Mannering-Brown are state ministers who are supporting a bill through parliament to improve public decency although there is strong opposition to the proposals from some quarters. Sir William puts on a public show of believing in the sanctity of marriage although he is actually a womaniser with a string of lovers with whom he has casual affairs. His colleague and friend Barry is more upstanding and is about to get married to his fiancée Jean with Sir William as his best man.
But on the way to the church Barry is abducted by some student radicals determined to smear the government in scandal to scupper the proposed bill. They take Barry to a party where drugs and sex are freely available and then call the police so that the party will be raided. But Barry manages to get away and makes a run for it after shaving off his moustache to disguise himself - he returns in a state of undress to the large town flat he shares with Sir William. One student called Damina follows him home still determined to find a way to cause embarrassment for the minister. A police inspector called Ruff also follows looking for the "kidnapped" Barry Ovis.
Sir William's wife Birdie is away and he is taking the opportunity to get friendly with his new secretary Miss Giselle Parkyn by inviting her to the flat. Also at the flat is Jean the fiancée; Wilfred Potts an elderly opposition MP who is staying over after locking himself out of his own flat; and later on arrives Wendy, another of Sir William's mistresses, taking him up on an earlier invitation.
All manner of misunderstandings, hastily contrived explanations, and quick cover-ups ensue as the two MP's try to keep the various women hidden from one another and prevent the ever more suspicious Inspector from discovering anything scandalous as the situation becomes increasingly farcical.
In the end the Inspector finds himself compromised into keeping his mouth shut. Even the outraged opposition MP Potts has to agree to keep silent about all the juicy politically explosive goings on he has witnessed because it turns out that the student Damina is his granddaughter. So all seems to be satisfactory resolved until a student friend of Damina's sends in a group of topless girls to take compromising photos to send to the press and everyone finds themselves bundled onto the bed together just as Sir William's wife Birdie returns home and sees them all having what appears to be very much like a free-for-all orgy.
|Starring:||Brian Rix (as Barry Ovis), Leslie Phillips (as Sir William Mannering-Brown), Joanna Lumley (as Giselle Parkyn, Sir William's secretary), Myra Frances (as Jean, Barry's fiancée), Derek Royle (as Wilfred Potts, elderly opposition MP), Peter Bland (as Inspector Ruff), Katy Manning (as Damina, student), Anita Graham (as Wendy, Sir William's mistress)|
|Featuring:||Joan Sims (as Lady Birdie Mannering-Brown, Sir Willima's wife), Derek Griffiths (as Johnny, Damina's student friend), Aubrey Woods (as TV chat show host)|
|Starlets:||Diane Langton (as Angie, student), Louisa Martin (as Bridesmaid), Nicola Rowley (as Donna, ?streaking protestor at TV show?)|
|Writers: Alan Scott, Chris Bryant / Director: Nicolas Roeg / Producer: Peter Katz|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|John and Laura Baxter are a happily married couple living in England with their two young children. But tragedy strikes when their young daughter Christine accidentally drowns. Several months later the Baxters' have decided to move away from the area and are living in Venice where John has taken a job restoring an old church - their son Johnny remains behind in England in a boarding school. They seem to have put their upset behind them and are getting on with their lives as best they can.
One evening while they are out at a restaurant Laura helps a couple of old British ladies who are sisters called Heather and Wendy. Heather is blind and she tells Laura that she is a psychic with second sight and "saw" a young girl sitting between the Baxters in the restaurant trying to talk to her husband and she describes details about the little girl that shocks Laura and convinces her that the blind woman is talking about their dead daughter Christine. When Laura tells John that the spirit of their daughter is still with them and seems to be trying tell them something he is naturally very doubtful and thinks Laura is being gullible.
A few days later while John is working at the church Laura bumps into the ladies again and gets invited for afternoon tea where maybe Heather will be able to use her gifts to contact Christine. John is still sceptical and declines to accompany her. At the sisters' apartment Heather goes into a trance while establishing psychic contact and when she recovers she tells Laura that John's life is in danger whilst he is in Venice. Laura tells John about this warning but he is very dismissive and refuses to believe that it could be a warning from beyond. That evening they receive a call from England that their son has been slightly hurt in an accident at school and Laura immediately leaves Venice to go and see him - it isn't serious though and John stays behind to carry on with his work.
Next day John has an accident in the church while working up on a high cradle and almost falls but just manages to save himself - Laura's words of warning come back to him and he starts to wonder if that could have been the danger he was supposed to be in - but if it was then it is now passed. While travelling home on a canal boat John sees Laura and the two old ladies pass him on a funeral barge - he shouts out to her but cannot get her attention. He cannot understand it because she was meant to be in England with their son. Phone communications to England aren't brilliant and he can't get through so he gets worried thinking the two old ladies have somehow kidnapped Laura and with reports of a serial killer in the area he takes his suspicions to the police about the pair and how they might have been grooming Laura with all their bogus psychic stuff.
But later on John does manage to get through to his son's school and to his amazement Laura is there and he speaks to her. She says Johnny is OK and she's flying straight back to Venice. John finds out that Heather has been arrested and he goes to the police station to explain that it has all been a misunderstanding and he escorts Heather back to her hotel. When he leaves he sees on the other bank of the canal a small figure in a red coat just like the one that little Christine was wearing when she died - he chases after the figure through the back alleys of Venice and when finally he corners the child it turns and is revealed as a menacingly withered old midget woman who has a switchblade knife and she strikes at John in the throat and he dies a horrible and painful death - another victim of the (presumably) local serial killer.
In the epilogue we see Laura and the two sisters standing on a funeral barge as it travels down the canal ways and it is exactly as John saw earlier - he had had a vision of his own funeral cortège and it was his response to this that led to the circumstances of his own death.
|Starring:||Julie Christie (Laura Baxter), Donald Sutherland (John Baxter), Hilary Mason (as Heather), Clelia Matania (as Wendy)|
|Featuring:||Massimo Serato (as Bishop at church John is restoring), Renato Scarpa (as Venetian Police Inspector Longhi), Leopoldo Trieste (as Hotel Manager), David Tree (as Headmaster), Mandy Babbage (as Headmaster's wife), Sharon Williams (as Christine Baxter, daughter)|
|Writer: Derek Ford / Director: Edmund Purdom / Producers: Dick Randall, Steve Minasian|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 82 mins|
|It is nearly Christmas time and a serial killer is at loose in London. The killer randomly targets anyone who dresses up as Santa Claus. Inspector Ian Harris of New Scotland Yard is assigned to the case but is making no headway in catching the killer. His superiors are questioning his abilities and threatening him with suspension if he does not get a result quickly.
A reporter named Giles contacts Harris' junior colleague Sergeant Powell and hints that there may be more to Harris than meets the eye and he should be carefully watched. Powell starts taking a keener interest in his superior's activities and wonders if there could be a reason for his inability to get anywhere with the case.
A young woman called Kate Brioski becomes involved when her father is murdered by the killer after dressing as Santa for an office party. Another girl called Sherry works at a peep show and sees the killer murder one of her customers who has dressed as Santa - but she is too distressed to remember any details of his face. As the murders continue to mount up Harris is suspended from duty for the lack of progress he has made. Reporter Giles keeps in contact with Powell dropping intriguing hints about Inspector Harris' private life.
Kate is making her own enquiries and discovers that Harris makes regular visits to the Parklands Lunatic asylum. She visits the asylum and discovers something crucial. She phones Sergeant Powell and asks him to come round and see her so she can reveal her important news.
However before Powell arrives Kate gets a late night visit from the secretive reporter Giles and we discover what she learnt - that Giles is Harris' brother. He had been committed to the asylum as a boy for an unspeakable crime and left to rot. He knows that his brother Ian despises him and only visits on sufferance. So when Giles managed to escape he thought he would put his brother's detection skills to the test with a series of grisly murders. Giles then kills Kate so she cannot reveal what she has discovered.
Powell arrives to find Kate dead. He follows Giles to a used car lot but the maniac proves too wily and Powell is electrocuted by a booby-trapped car door. Giles finally abducts the peep show girl Sherry intending to kill her because she is the only person who could identify him. Sherry manages to get free but is soon cornered by the psychopathic killer on the top floor of a building. Luckily Giles makes a fatal mistake and she manages to push him over the balcony where he plunges to a seeming death. She goes down to check on him but he is still alive and he grabs her and begins to strangle her. THE END
Except for two epilogues:- The first is a flashback which explains what Giles did as a boy. At a family Christmas celebration he discovered his father in a bedroom dressed as Santa having sex with a young woman guest. He stabbed his father to death in anger and his mother fell down the stairs in shock and died. The second epilogue shows Ian Harris opening a present on Christmas day that had arrived a few days previously labelled "Don't Open Till Christmas" - inside is a bomb which explodes and kills him.
|Comment: Assuming that Giles dies of his injuries but managed to complete his strangling of Sherry before he did so, then all the main characters die by the end of the movie.|
|Starring:||Edmund Purdom (as Inspector Ian Harris), Alan Lake (as Giles, "Reporter"), Belinda Mayne (as Kate Briosky), Mark Jones (as Detective Sergeant Powell), Gerry Sundquist (as Cliff Boyd, Kate's boyfriend), Kelly Baker (as Sherry Graham, peep show girl)|
|Featuring:||Kevin Lloyd (as Gerry, photographer), Wendy Danvers (as Harris Housekeeper)|
|Starlets:||Caroline Munro (as Singer at theatre, [billed as Herself, no acting role]), Pat Astley (as Sharon, photographic model), Maria Eldridge (as First Santa victim's girlfriend), Paula Meadows (as London Dungeon secretary)|
|Additional scenes written and directed by Al McGoohan|
|Writer: Clive Exton / Director: Peter Sasdy / Producer: Tony Tenser|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Doomwatch is a government funded scientific department set up to cope with pollution and environmental concerns. It is headed with a certain degree of autonomy by Dr Spencer Quist who is in charge of a team of scientists including Dr Del Shaw whom Quist sends to the small island of Balfe off the Cornish coast to check on how the coastal environment is recovering from an oil spill the previous year. When Shaw arrives he finds the reception unfriendly and all the islanders he meets, including the pub landlady Mrs Straker, seem very wary of him. After Shaw has spoken to her we follow Mrs Straker upstairs and discover she has a sick husband who is kept locked in his bedroom in the dark and although we don't see him her words of concern suggest he has developed some horrendous condition.
Dr Shaw gets a room at the boarding house in town for an overnight stay and meets the town's schoolteacher Victoria Brown who has been living amongst them for two years and still feels she is considered as an outsider who is only just beginning to become accepted. She appears to know some of what is going on but is reluctant to tell Shaw anything that would turn the islanders against her and becomes evasive when he starts asking her too many questions. Shaw collects some shoreline samples and sends them back to Doomwatch's London HQ for analysis. The scientists there discover in the samples an unusually high concentration of a protein which acts as a pituitary growth hormone and its presence defies explanation.
That night Shaw sees some islanders out and about and he follows them in the hope of discovering what the big mystery is that they are reluctant to talk about. They travel to an old farmhouse where they deliver some food. After they have gone Shaw sneaks in and finds a deformed man who flies into a rage and clubs him into unconsciousness. When he awakens he is in his bed at the boarding house being looked after by Victoria who tells him he was discovered on the beach by a fisherman which he knows to be untrue. Victoria is now forthcoming with some more information and tells him that many of the islanders have not been seen for a while and are being kept shut away indoors suffering from some disfigurement and heightened rage which the islanders believe is due to generations of inbreeding and are dreadfully ashamed and believe it is a divine judgement and don't want outsiders to know about it. There are no doctors on the island as they are usually a very healthy lot - however Shaw is a doctor and what he saw of the man in the barn he recognised as the symptoms of a rare disease called acromegaly which is caused by a body over-producing a growth hormone from the pituitary gland which in severe cases results in a forehead bulge and hands becoming swollen and gradual loss of sight in addition to emotional instability and anger - all of which he witnessed. When the Doomwatch findings about the presence of the pituitary hormone come through to him it starts fitting into place with the only mystery being how the islanders are ingesting the hormone.
Shaw goes out on a fishing boat to catch fish to see if they are affected and discovers that fish in the area are all larger than average. He finds that there is a prohibited area on the opposite side of the island which is roped off to keep boats away. Shaw contacts Quist who discovers that it is an area where the Royal Navy had dumped canisters of low-level radioactive waste about eight years beforehand although this is a secret and a cover story for the prohibition was issued - but the Admiral in charge assures them that the canisters are corrosion proof for at least 150 years. Another team member John Ridge joins Shaw and goes on a dive to investigate if these canisters are still sound. Ridge finds the Navy's canisters but also hundreds of other unidentified drums which have a code number on. Some of these unknown drums have burst due to the nearby radiation creating gas in the canisters and popping them open. The Navy deny all knowledge of these other items and Quist tracks down the code number to Doran Chemicals Ltd which is a reputable research firm. The chairman Sir Henry Layton tells Quist that the canisters' reference number indicates that they come from a consignment of an experimental growth hormone his firm were developing called PGH that had experimentally produced impressive results in the growth of livestock but when manufactured in bulk the molecular structure broke up and the animals treated with it became unpredictable and prone to frenzy. The reason could not be determined and the research was abandoned and the manufactured stock sent to a waste disposal firm to be destroyed.
But when Shaw visits the disposal firm and challenges the manager he finds out that they had decided to save money by dumping the non-dangerous and perfectly sound canisters at sea in the prohibited area. Shaw finally pieces the mystery together:- fish are swimming amongst the leaking PGH drums and then being caught and eaten by the islanders who are developing the acromegaly disease through external ingestion of the growth hormone. Shaw holds a town meeting and tries to convince the islanders that their suffering can be treated and it is not hereditary or divine judgement and they can be cured. He meets with anger and opposition when the islanders realise they must be taken to the mainland for treatment that may take up to a year with specialist equipment because they fear the breakdown of their community more than the disease which has affected three quarters of them. Eventually Shaw convinces them that is it the only way as their community will die for certain if nothing is done about their illnesses. And as we leave the story a big medical evacuation is taking place as the islanders prepare to leave their homes.
|Starring:||Ian Bannen (as Dr Del Shaw), Judy Geeson (as Victoria Brown), John Paul (as Dr Spencer Quist)|
|Featuring:||from TV series but not playing large roles here were:- Simon Oates (as Dr John Ridge), Jean Trend (as Dr Fay Chantry), Joby Blanshard (as Colin Bradley)|
(also featuring) George Sanders (as Royal Navy Admiral), Percy Herbert (as PC Hartwell), Shelagh Fraser (as Mrs Straker), Joseph O'Conor (as the Vicar), Geoffrey Keen (as Sir Henry Layton, Doran Chemicals)
|Familiar Faces:||Jeremy Child (Technician at chemical firm), Pam St Clement (Islander)|
|This film is based on the BBC TV series of the same name created by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis that ran from 1970-72. The characters (and actors playing them) of Quist, Ridge, Chantry and Bradley came from the TV series but the lead role of Dr Shaw is a new character.|
|aka: The Secret of Dorian Gray|
|Writers: Marcello Coscia, Massimo Dallamano / Director: Massimo Dallamano / Producer: Harry Alan Towers|
|Type: Fantasy Drama||Running Time: 82 mins|
|Set in modern 1960s London. Dorian Gray is a wealthy young man blessed with extraordinary good looks whom women of all ages find irresistible. His friend Basil Hallward is an artist and has painted a portrait of Dorian in a provocative bare-chested pose that perfectly captures his likeness and masculine allure of a man in his prime. A visiting gallery owner called Henry Wotton believes it to be Basil's best ever work and comments on how that picture of youthful magnificence will remain unchanged while Dorian himself ages. Dorian himself appears transfixed by the painting of himself and speculates on how much better it would be if he remained unchanged while the picture aged instead. He hates the idea of growing old and says he would give his soul to remain like he is now forever. Since Dorian seems to be so in love with his self-image Basil gives him the painting which Dorian keeps on proud display in his home.
The years pass as Dorian meets and falls in love with a variety of women, some his own age and some much older who feel invigorated by the attentions of a young man at their side. Dorian becomes a successful model whose name is much sought after by advertisers to link to their products with his ageless appearance seemingly forever in the prime of his youth being one of his main attractions. Dorian begins to notice that his portrait seems to be looking older - he has it examined by his chemist friend Alan Campbell who is a year younger than himself but Alan can find nothing unusual about the paint or canvas that might suggest it was corrosive or warping in any way.
As time goes on there starts to be no doubt - the image of himself in the painting has definitely aged and considerably more than the actual number of years that have gone by since it was finished. Dorian's friends have aged too:- Basil's hair is starting to grey and Alan looks like a man approaching middle age - and yet Dorian himself still looks as he did on the day his portrait was painted. Dorian no longer wants to look at the picture and hides it away.
Dorian knows he can have any woman he wants and break up any relationship he so chooses to toy with a woman's emotions. He becomes callous in his treatment of women and when Alan marries he has no consideration or loyalty as he seduces Alan's new fanciable bride. Basil cannot understand how his friend manages to remain so young and Dorian tells him that surely he remembers what was said on the day that portrait was painted and he takes Basil to see it. The man in the painting is now elderly and Basil doesn't believe it is his painting until he checks the signature. An argument ensues in which Basil accuses Dorian of losing his morality and corrupting and seducing others with his good looks with no consideration for the consequences to their lives. Dorian then blames Basil saying it was his fault for painting the portrait in the first place and proceeds to murder him.
Dorian seems no longer to care - for it has become too easy and he has grown tired and bored of perpetual youth. When he next looks at the painting the face is so withered it is almost skeletal and Dorian can no longer bear his own existence and stabs himself in the heart. As he dies his body ages to match the portrait which then reverts to its original youthful state.
|Comment: The passage of time is not very clearly established. The only clues we get are the subtle ageing signs of his friends and by the end of the film Alan is said to be 43 which would mean Dorian was 44 (since it was mentioned he was one year older than Alan). Since he was probably meant to be in his early 20s when the portrait was painted that would mean that 20+ years have passed although the world around them still looks unchanged with fashions and technology much the same giving the impression that hardly any time has gone by. So the film is compromised by too little attention being given to establishing that many years are passing either by beginning in a more obviously period setting or ending with some attempt to futurise the surroundings.|
|Starring:||Helmut Berger (as Dorian Gray), Richard Todd (as Basil Hallward), Herbert Lom (as Henry Wotton)|
|Featuring:||Renato Romano (as Alan Campbell, Dorian's friend), Marie Liljedahl (as Sybil Vane, Dorian's girlfriend), Margaret Lee (as Gwendolyn, Henry's sister), Maria Rohm (as Alice Campbell), Isa Miranda (as Patricia Ruxton, American property developer), Stewart Black (as James Vane, Sybil's brother)|
|Based on the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray|
|The version reviewed was titled The Secret of Dorian Gray - its length was 82 minutes which is considerably shorter than the 93 minutes seen quoted for the Dorian Gray version and so was quite possibly an edited version.|
|This is an Italian made film but clearly made in London and with some British actors.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: William Webb|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 78 mins|
|James Compton is a photographer with his own private studio whose specialty is photographing beautiful women. Business is currently slack and so James is pleased when he receives a commission from a rich shipping industry tycoon called Howard Townsend who wants some glamorous photos of his girlfriend Simone.
Simone is a former model and she and James begin the first of a number of planned modelling sessions. She doesn't really love Townsend but plays the role he expects of her as a cherished beauty - she knows he will tire of her eventually but by then she expects to be financially secure. Townsend has a short temper and she has felt his fists on more than one occasion but she suffers this indignity for her long-term gain.
Howard Townsend's fortune is built upon the black racketeering of selling arms to Third World countries. Underneath a veneer of respectability he is a ruthless and deadly man who has made many enemies that have suffered from his harsh treatment - including former employees who know about his one weakness - Simone.
James and Simone build up a rapport over the course of the photographic work and start to fall in love and end up sleeping together. On one such occasion a gang with a grudge against Townsend burst into James' apartment and kidnap Simone. They nominate James as their intermediary and give him ransom instructions to pass on to Townsend. The tycoon is aware of James' dalliances with Simone because he has been having them watched and intends to deal with him later for that misdemeanour - but for now he is forced to defer that punishment until the current crisis situation is over.
The kidnappers send James some photos on an undeveloped roll of film they took to prove to Townsend that Simone was alive and well. When developed James discovers that Simone had managed to take a snapshot of her own during an interruption when the kidnappers left her alone with the camera. She took a shot of the view outside her window which included a local business van. With the help of a cyber-crime specialist friend of his called Ian Patterson, James is able to pinpoint the locale from the vehicle's number plate. James and Patterson stage a daring rescue of Simone from her place of imprisonment and liberate her.
Simone stays overnight at Patterson's storage garage but then decides to return to Townsend the next day. When she gets home to his mansion she finds it ransacked and Townsend severely beaten up. The kidnappers had taken their revenge on Townsend who they assumed was responsible for sending his goons to rescue Simone rather than pay up. Simone is about to phone for an ambulance but then changes her mind and picks up a discarded gun and shoots the helpless Townsend dead in revenge for the physical abuse she has suffered at his hands.
|Comment: The "Double Exposure" title comes about because the extra photo that Simone took of her kidnap location was doubly exposed with another picture - but it is a very trivial plot point which barely registers.|
|Starring:||David Baron (as James Compton, [actor is aka Howard Pinter]), Anouska Hempel (as Simone), Alan Brown (as Howard Townsend)|
|Featuring:||Julia Vidler (as Rhoda, James' secretary), Alan Hay (as Ian Patterson, cyber-crime specialist)|
(3 Kidnappers) Robert Russell (as Bradley), Dean Harris (as O'Hara), Declan Mulholland (as Joe)
|Starlets:||Mary Maude (as Nicki, photographic model, [one-scene cameo]), Hazel O'Connor (as Shirley, Patterson's secretary)|
|Writers: Frank Tarloff, Alfred Hayes / Director: Franklin J. Schaffner / Producer: Hal E. Chester|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 100 mins|
|Dan Slater is the Assistant Deputy Director of the CIA whose hectic schedule is thrown into chaos by news of the death of his 16-year-old son Robert in a skiing accident. Slater's fixation with his job puts family responsibilities way down on his agenda and so two years ago he packed Robert off to an international school in Austria and has not seen him since. But news of Robert's death affects the unemotive Slater sufficiently that he feels obligated to go to St Anton for the funeral. Little does he know that foreign agents are waiting there to spring a carefully laid trap.
When Slater arrives in the Austrian Tyrol he meets up with Frank Wheatley who is the head of Robert's school and an old friend of Slater's who used to work for MI5. Everything points to Robert's death being a tragic accident when he fell from a peak but Slater finds evidence that suggests to him that his son was pushed and he becomes determined to find out why. Slater begins an investigation and interviews a young woman called Gina Erikson who was skiing on the morning of Robert's accident. She recalls seeing Robert talking to two men in the cable car ride to the top - one of whom was wearing a ski mask with only his eyes showing and whom Robert seemed to know and be pleased to see. Slater finds that odd because he taught his son always to be wary of strangers.
Slater attends a party where Gina recognises the unmasked man who was with Robert in the cable car. Slater finds out where the man is staying and he and Wheatley drive out to his remote farm. While Wheatley waits outside in the car Slater goes inside and finds he has been expected. He is held at gunpoint by two foreign agents. He tries to get away but he fails and the agents seem to have him helpless ...
Next thing we see Slater is running from the farmhouse and heading off with Wheatley back to town. Slater seems a bit dazed by his experience and slightly not himself but Wheatley puts it down to shock. Slater spends some more time at the party and then decides to return to the farm telling Wheatley he wants to gather clues now that he is better prepared. But once inside we find that this Slater is in fact a surgically altered double sent out on a quick test to make sure that people accepted him as the real thing. The real Slater is still being held prisoner by a Russian agent called Colonel Berthold who has devised a devious plan to replace Slater with a well-trained double who would gain access to all of the real Slater's secrets in his CIA job and be a valuable Soviet mole at the top of the American secret service. Berthold's plan has worked perfectly from the very start when they used the double to lull Robert into thinking that his father had come to visit him so they could easily kill him while his guard was down - this coldly-calculated measure brought Slater here as anticipated. Then they fed Slater clues to lure him to this farmhouse where the switch could be effected. Their next step is to dispose of the real Slater and then have the double return to Washington and resume his duties.
The plan seems to be going well until the real Slater escapes and heads up the mountain in a cable car. The Soviet agents and the double follow determined to kill him so that their plan won't be ruined. Also Wheatley works out that something odd is going on and goes to help. Eventually the two identical Slaters confront each other in the cable car station and Wheatley holds them both at gunpoint. Both claim to be the real Slater and that he should shoot the other. Wheatley asks them about son Robert and one says he couldn't care less about him and the other says he loved Robert very much. Wheatley shoots the second one dead knowing that the real Slater didn't give a damn about Robert and would never have said that kind of thing. He chose correctly and the Soviet plot is foiled.
|Starring:||Yul Brynner (as Dan Slater), Clive Revill (as Frank Wheatley), Britt Ekland (as Gina Erikson), Anton Diffring (as Colonel Berthold)|
|Featuring:||Moira Lister (as Mrs Carrington, Gina's employer), Lloyd Nolan (as Bill Edwards, CIA chief), David Healy (as Halstead, Edward's assistant), George Mikell (as Max Gruner, soviet agent), Julia Arnall (as Anna Wheatley, Frank's wife), David Bauer (as Andy Miller, CIA agent), Kenneth J. Warren (as Austrian Police Chief)|
|Based on the novel Legacy of a Spy by Henry S. Maxfield|
|Writer: Brian Clemens / Director: Roy Ward Baker / Producers: Brian Clemens, Albert Fennell|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 93 mins|
|In the Whitechapel district of London in the 1800's Doctor Henry Jekyll is a scientist working on an anti-virus potion for a virulent disease - he plans to tackle each of the major diseases in turn but as his pathologist friend Professor Robertson points out each will take a long time to perfect and Jekyll realises that it may be a life's work which he might not be able to complete before he dies. So Jekyll decides to first create a potion to prolong his life-span and he sets about to create an elixir of life through chemistry. He determines that the elixir can be formulated using a human female hormone extracted upon death. He gets samples from the local mortuary and has success with tests using insects - prolonging their life from hours to days - strangely the test insect is now female when he believed it to be originally male.
Jekyll lives and works alone in the ground floor rooms of an apartment house. The upper floor is occupied by a Mrs Spencer and her visiting grown-up children, brother and sister Howard and Susan. Susan has spotted Jekyll and has girlish romantic notions about him and his dashing looks and is keen to meet him - but when she passes him in the hallways he is always offhand and too pre-occupied with his work to give her any attention.
Jekyll needs more hormone samples but can no longer obtain them from the mortuary so he employs the services of some local grave robbers called Burke and Hare to supply him with bodies - although unknown to Jekyll they actually kill the women they supply. He creates a new mixture and tries it on himself - this causes him to convulse with great pain - but when the agony is over he looks in a mirror and finds he has turned into a beautiful woman! Howard sees "her" and reports back to Susan that she has competition. The effects don't last long and soon Jekyll reverts back to normal. When asked about the woman by Susan he improvises that she is his widowed sister - called Mrs Hyde. Jekyll needs more hormone samples but finds that a lynch mob have found out about Burke and Hare's general activities and decisively dealt with them. So Jekyll is forced to go out at night and prey on prostitutes himself - killing them for their hormone sample. He rationalises that the end result of his work justifies any means of its achievement.
As he changes into Mrs Hyde more times he finds the experience intoxicating as she has a more confident vibrant personality than when he is a man. Howard is struck by her beauty and wants to get to know her better whilst Susan still adores Jekyll the man - unaware that both are the same person.
Professor Robertson has become suspicious of the string of similar deaths of young women all with the same wounds and missing parts - the police have mounted a man-hunt for the Whitechapel murderer and Robertson keeps watch on Jekyll's house knowing that his work involves the use of such hormones. Jekyll needs more samples but knowing he is being watched realises he must go out as Mrs Hyde. As the killings continue Mrs Hyde becomes more dominant and the transformations begin to trigger spontaneously without any elixir. Mrs Hyde expresses disdain for her male self and is determined to win the tug of war between them for dominance.
As the evidence against him mounts, the police storm Jekyll's lodgings but he escapes onto the roof jumping across to another building and clinging onto the side by his fingertips with just enough strength to hold on - but then he involuntarily starts changing into Mrs Hyde and her weaker physique is insufficient to hold herself up and she/he falls to the ground and is killed with their features locked in a bizarre half-changed visage.
|Comment: The implication is that the Jekyll/Hyde of this story is Jack The Ripper - although not actually called by that name. And some other real life murderers appear - the infamous grave robbers Burke and Hare - although in actual fact they were based in Edinburgh and not London.|
|Starring:||Ralph Bates (as Dr Henry Jekyll), Martine Beswick (as Sister Hyde), Gerald Sim (as Professor Robertson), Lewis Fiander (as Howard Spencer), Susan Broderick (as Susan Spencer)|
|Featuring:||Dorothy Alison (as Mrs Spencer), Paul Whitsun-Jones (as Police Sergeant)|
|Familiar Faces:||Philip Madoc|
|Starlets:||Irene Bradshaw, Virginia Wetherell, Anna Brett, Jackie Poole, Rosemary Lord, Petula Portell, Pat Brackenbury, Liz Romanoff, Jeannette Wild, Julia Wright|
|Writers: Robert Fuest, Robert Blees / Director: Robert Fuest / Producer: Louis M. Heyward|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 85 mins|
|At the end of the first film Dr Phibes placed himself in suspended animation in a secret underground basement beneath his mansion. It is now three years later and a rare planetary conjunction triggers his awakening as he had planned. He intends to resurrect the life to his late wife Victoria whose body he has preserved. Upstairs in his safe he had an ancient papyrus with a map to the secret location of the fountain of youth in Egypt with which he will revive her. The fountain only springs to the surface every 2000 years in concert with the rare planetary line-up.
But when Phibes emerges from his basement he finds his house has been demolished and the papyrus gone. The new owner is an explorer called Darius Biederbeck who unknown to others is over 100 years old. Many years ago he discovered a vial containing elixir of life with which he has been maintaining his youth - but now he is down to the last few drops and needs to replenish his supply and plans to use the papyrus map to locate it. Dr Phibes with help from his beautiful mute assistant Vulnavia steals back the papyrus and make their way by ship to Egypt. Biederbeck calls in the police which reintroduces Trout and Waverley from the first film who soon come to the conclusion that Phibes is involved.
Biederbeck and his girlfriend Diana and a team of archaeologists also travel to Egypt to search the tombs. Phibes had prepared for this time years before and has ready an underground tomb customised to his needs with which to prepare. He finds the key which will open the gate to the river of life and needs only prepare Victoria's body for the journey and wait for the waters to rise. But the sarcophagus containing both the key and Victoria's body is discovered by the archaeologists and taken away - so Phibes takes revenge killing by nefariously elaborate methods each of the (lesser) archaeologists and retrieving his wife's body although Biederbeck has kept the key. So Phibes kidnaps Diana for return of the key and Biederbeck is forced to make a choice between her and the renewal of his elixir. He chooses to save Diana - then Biederbeck's elixir finally expires and he ages and dies as Phibes escapes down the river of life through the gate. The End.
|Links: The story of Dr Phibes began in the film The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971). There were plans for a third film but this was never made.|
|Starring:||Vincent Price (as Dr Anton Phibes), Robert Quarry (as Darius Biederbeck), Peter Jeffrey (as Inspector Trout), John Cater (as Sir Wayne Waverley)|
|Featuring:||Fiona Lewis (as Diana, Biederbeck's girlfriend), Hugh Griffith (Harry Ambrose, friend of Biederbeck), Valli Kemp (as Vulnavia, Phibes' mute assistant)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Thaw (as an archaeologist victim)|
|Star-Turns:||Peter Cushing (as Ship's Captain), Beryl Reid, Terry-Thomas|
|Starlets:||Caroline Munro (as body of Victoria Phibes)|
|Valli Kemp receives an "introducing" credit. Her character, Vulnavia, was played by a different actress in the first Dr Phibes film and appears again here without any explanation despite the character fairly decisively dying at the end of that first film.|
|Returning from the first film are policemen Trout and Waverley who are used in this film for comic light relief. Also returning in another cameo is Terry-Thomas although as a different character.|
|Writer: Milton Subotsky / Director: Freddie Francis / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Horror / Anthology||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Five men board a train heading for Bradley and get into the same compartment - they are strangers to each other. Just before departure a sixth man gets in. He is called Dr Schreck which when translated means Dr Terror. He has a deck of tarot cards which he calls his "House of Horrors". He offers to use the cards to predict each man's imminent possible future and then with a further turn of the cards let him know how that future can be avoided. Each man's predicted future is told in turn.
Werewolf (Neil McCallum)
An architect is asked back to his old ancestral home that he no longer owns when the new owner hires him to make some structural alterations. During his work he uncovers an old coffin which contains the remains of a werewolf killed centuries before by his ancestor and an ancient curse on his family is reborn as the werewolf comes alive intent on taking revenge on its killer's descendant.
Creeping Vine (Alan Freeman)
A family returning home after their holidays discover a vine has grown up the side of their house and efforts to remove it are frustrated by the vine itself as it seems to protect itself. Experts discover it is a new breed of plant with intelligence and the family become trapped in their home when the plant prevents them from leaving.
Voodoo (Roy Castle)
A musician on a tour of the West Indies hears some Voodoo music and decides to incorporate the melody in his act back in England. But this theft angers the Voodoo god and the musician is haunted by strange paranormal happenings.
Disembodied Hand (Christopher Lee)
A stuffy art critic feels humiliated by an artist who plays a joke on him - so he runs the artist down in his car and the man loses his right hand. No longer able to work the artist kills himself and the art critic then finds himself being stalked by the artist's disembodied right hand.
Vampire (Donald Sutherland)
An American doctor returns to the States with his new French wife who it turns out is a vampire. He gets advice on how to deal with her by a new colleague whose motives turn out to be driven by self-interest.
Within the framing sequences in the train - the final prediction for each man is the death card showing that the only way they can avoid their possible futures is through death. And at the end when they get to their destination they discover they are all already dead.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Terror), (and as above) Neil McCallum, Alan Freeman, Roy Castle, Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland|
|Featuring:||(Werewolf) Ursula Howells, Peter Madden, Katy Wild|
(Creeping Vine) Ann Bell, Bernard Lee, Jeremy Kemp
(Voodoo) Kenny Lynch
(Disembodied Hand) Michael Gough, Isla Blair
(Vampire) Jennifer Jayne, Max Adrian
|The title is somewhat misleading and the obvious assumption of some sort of haunted house setting is not the case. Instead "House of Horrors" is merely the name that Dr Terror gives to his deck of tarot cards.|
|aka: Horror Of Dracula|
|Writer: Jimmy Sangster / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Anthony Hinds|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 78 mins|
|Set in 1885. Dr Van Helsing is a vampirologist who has travelled to Transylvania in Rumania to try and find a friend and colleague of his called Jonathan Harker who has gone missing in this area. Harker had been intending to take up a position indexing the large collection of old volumes belonging to the owner of a nearby castle. But really he was working undercover in an effort to rid the world of a dangerous menace that the pair of them had been investigating. The castle owner's name is Count Dracula whom Van Helsing believes is one of the most dangerous vampires in the world who has lived for many centuries spreading fear and evil. Harker's mission was to find out more while working in the castle but Van Helsing fears things may have gone wrong.
Van Helsing arrives at the castle by day and is almost knocked down by a horse-drawn hearse leaving at full pelt. Van Helsing searches the castle for his friend but finds it deserted. Then down in the basement he finds a pair of coffins - one contains a female vampire staked through the heart and dead - and the other contains a sleeping Jonathan Harker replete with the teeth of a vampire. Van Helsing knows that his friend would not want to live as a vampire so he releases him from the curse with a stake through the heart. Van Helsing figures that Harker must have decided to end Dracula's menace and first killed his female companion but must have done it too close to daybreak and the vampire lord awoke and swiftly dealt with the threat. Van Helsing finds no trace of Dracula himself and so returns to Jonathan's hometown in Germany to deliver the bad news to Harker's fiancée Lucy Holmwood.
Unfortunately Lucy has very recently been struck down by a malaise that has left her weak and so Van Helsing has to deliver the news of Harker's death to Lucy's brother Arthur Holmwood and his wife Mina although he does not reveal the ghastly manner of the death. When Van Helsing learns that Lucy is suffering from some kind of anaemia and has some strange bite marks on her neck he immediately suspects the worst. Count Dracula must be in town intent on replacing his dead female companion with the fiancée of the man who killed her which he would see as a fitting revenge. Van Helsing realises that the hearse he saw leaving the castle a few days ago must have contained Dracula in a coffin bedded with native earth. Since arriving in this German town Dracula must have been visiting Lucy every night and has been slowly draining her blood to turn her into one of his own kind. Van Helsing leaves strict instructions for Lucy's room to be garnished with garlic flowers to ward off the vampire. But Lucy is besotted by the irresistible mesmeric power of Dracula's compelling presence and she tricks the maid into removing the flowers thus allowing the vampire back into her room. This time she loses so much blood she dies.
However Van Helsing knows Lucy will rise again as one of the undead and after she is buried he keeps watch on the family crypt and kills her with a stake when she reawakens as a vampire. Arthur witnesses the whole thing and is appalled but has to believe it is true. He teams up with Van Helsing in an effort to track down where Dracula rests by day so they can destroy him.
But Dracula's vindictive cunning is more than a match and to evade their scrutiny he proceeds to mesmerise Arthur's wife Mina and begins the process of turning her into a vampire. Under his evil influence Mina has furtively allowed Dracula to move his coffin into the basement of Arthur's home where Dracula believes his foes will never think to look. But Van Helsing works it out and leaves a crucifix in Dracula's empty coffin, which contains soil from his homeland, to prevent him from using it. Dracula needs to be bedded in native soil before day breaks and so he abducts Mina and drives a carriage at full emergency speed to get back to his castle hundreds of miles away in Transylvania before the sun rises. Van Helsing and Arthur chase after him in another carriage.
Dracula arrives just in time with his pursuers not far behind. He has to abandon the half-turned Mina and rush inside his castle. Van Helsing follows and they begin a titanic struggle. Dracula's strength is far superior, but Van Helsing knows Dracula's weaknesses and as the sun rises he pulls down the window curtain exposing the vampire to the sun's rays. Dracula crumbles into dust and is destroyed. And outside Mina becomes free of his influence and recovers.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Doctor Van Helsing), Christopher Lee (as Count Dracula), Michael Gough (as Arthur Holmwood), Melissa Stribling (as Mina Holmwood, Arthur's wife), Carol Marsh (as Lucy Holmwood, Arthur's sister and Harker's fiancée), John Van Eyssen (as Jonathan Harker, colleague of Van Helsing)|
|Featuring:||Olga Dickie (as Gerda, maidservant to Holmwoods), Janina Faye (as Tania, Gerda's young daughter, [credited as Janine Faye]), Valerie Gaunt (as Vampire Woman in Dracula's castle), Charles Lloyd Pack (as Dr Seward, Lucy's doctor), George Merritt (as Policeman), George Woodbridge (as Tavern Landlord), George Benson (as Frontier Official), Miles Malleson (as Undertaker)|
|Familiar Faces:||Geoffrey Bayldon (as Hotel Porter)|
|Starlets:||Barbara Archer (as Inga, tavern serving girl)|
|Based on the novel by Bram Stoker|
|The version reviewed carried the American title of Horror of Dracula|
|This is the first of Hammer's Dracula films. The next Hammer film to feature Christopher Lee as Dracula was Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966) in which he is resurrected from death. His enemy Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) does not appear in that film except in a prologue flashback showing the scenes of Dracula's demise from this film. There was an intervening Dracula related film in which Peter Cushing played Van Helsing called The Brides of Dracula (1960) but not featuring Dracula himself.|
|Writer: W.D. Richter / Director: John Badham / Producer: Walter Mirisch|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 109 mins|
|In the early part of the 20th century, a Rumanian merchant ship is bound for Scarborough when it encounters a ferocious storm off the Whitby coast and the desperate crew try to ditch the cargo they feel has brought them bad luck. But to no avail as their cargo is the sleeping body of one Count Dracula from Transylvania who fights back and when the ship is wrecked Dracula is the only survivor. His washed-up body is discovered by a young woman called Mina Van Helsing who is a guest at the residence of her friend Lucy Seward whose father, Dr Jack Seward, runs the nearby Insane Asylum. By chance Whitby had been Dracula's intended destination for he has purchased a gothic castle called Carfax Abbey nearby and he is taken there to recover.
His solicitor Jonathan Harker, who has arranged the purchase on Dracula's behalf and is engaged to Lucy, organises the recovery of Dracula's belongings from the beached wreck which includes several containers of nothing but earth. When Dracula is fully recovered the Sewards invite their new neighbour for dinner. He exudes a magnetic charm that has the women especially enraptured and Mina is quite overcome at his attentiveness and penetrating gaze. Later that night Dracula visits her bedchamber by scaling the walls with unworldly agility and she welcomes his pleasure.
Next day Mina has difficulty breathing and dies. Dr Seward sends a telegram to her father Professor Abraham Van Helsing to inform him of the tragedy and they proceed to bury her. Dracula extends a return invitation to the Sewards but since Jonathan is away in London and Dr Seward is meeting Van Helsing at the train station only Lucy is able to attend and tells her father she will go by herself as a courtesy but actually welcomes the opportunity to be alone with the fascinating man. She finds him a compelling personality as he talks of his proud heritage and she completely falls under the power of his seductively sensual charm.
At the asylum a baby is killed and the mother swears that the killer was the dead Mina - with savage red eyes and fangs. Professor Van Helsing has arrived and is in grief over his daughter's death but he knows the legends of central Europe and believes the recent events indicate signs of a vampire at work. Later while Van Helsing and Seward are investigating, Mina is re-killed by her own father after she tries to attack him and this convinces Dr Seward that there are supernatural forces at work. Dracula visits Lucy's room and they undergo a wedding rite that turns her into a half-vampire, still able to live in the sun but not yet fully dead and committed. Her father reluctantly locks her up in an asylum room for her own protection.
After a failed attempt to destroy him while asleep in the daylight hours Dracula storms the asylum and takes Lucy whom he wants to have rule at his side over minions of their kind - she has become devoted to him and will do anything he wants. Dracula has existed for over 500 years and with his otherworldly powers to transmogrify into bats and wolves has defeated many men who would try to vanquish him but he now feels the best course of action is to flee and return to Transylvania with his willing "bride". The heroes follow behind knowing he is headed for the port of Scarborough but Dracula has had a sufficient enough lead that he is already bound for home on a Rumanian ship asleep with Lucy in a coffin of his home soil. Harker and Van Helsing boat out and catch up with the vessel to both save Lucy and destroy the vampire. But Dracula awakens from his sleep and fights back with his uncanny strength striking a mortal blow to Van Helsing and nearly throttling Harker. In his dying efforts Van Helsing swings a crate hoist hook so it impales into Dracula's back not killing him but causing him to release Harker as he tries to detach himself - but then Harker leaps for the winch control and hoists the helpless vampire up into the sunlight where he blisters and seems to die.
Lucy becomes free of her affliction but feels sadness for the man she thought she loved and as she looks up his cape flutters away and no one can quite tell if Dracula has managed to escape or if the wind just caught it.
|Starring:||Frank Langella (as Count Dracula), Laurence Olivier (Proffesor Abraham Van Helsing), Donald Pleasence (as Dr Jack Seward), Kate Nelligan (as Lucy Seward), Trevor Eve (as Jonathan Harker), Jan Francis (as Mina Van Helsing)|
|Featuring:||Tony Haygarth (as Milo Renfield), Teddy Turner (as Swales)|
|Familiar Faces:||Sylvester McCoy, Janine Duvitski|
|Based on the 1924 stage play of Bram Stoker's Dracula written by Hamilton Deane and John L Balderston. This had recently been revived on Broadway with Frank Langella as Dracula and its success resulted in this film adaptation being made.|
|Writer: Don Houghton / Director: Alan Gibson / Producer: Josephine Douglas|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|(prologue) In 1872 Count Dracula and his arch-enemy Lawrence Van Helsing are having a decisive confrontation - they are fighting on a speeding stagecoach which crashes, mortally wounding Van Helsing and sending shards of broken wooden wheel spokes into Dracula's body. In his dying moments Van Helsing finishes Dracula off and his body dissolves into dust leaving just his signature ring and the killing stake in a pile of ashes. After the two enemies are dead a servant of Dracula collects his masters remains in a vial along with the stake and ring. He then later buries a portion of the ashes and the stake in an unconsecrated corner of a local church where Van Helsing gets buried. He keeps the remainder of the ashes and the ring as family heirlooms. (end of prologue)
100 years later in the present day (1972) a group of friends in their late teens who are into wild parties and having fun are discussing what to do next. A recent newcomer to their group called Johnny Alucard suggests it would be a laugh to dabble in some demonic rituals and pretend they were occult worshipers. Another of their number is Jessica Van Helsing whose grandfather is Professor Van Helsing (who himself is the grandson of the Lawrence Van Helsing seen in the prologue). Her grandfather is an expert on the history of the occult and she is reluctant to go along with Johnny's suggestion at first but is eventually persuaded.
As Johnny prepares for the ritual we see he has in his possession Dracula's ring and the vial containing the remainder of the vampire's ashes. He is an ancestor of Dracula's servant from 100 years ago and these items have been passed down through the generations. Johnny has picked out an abandoned church which has been desanctified and scheduled for demolition. Jessica is astonished to find that this is the graveyard that her grandfather's grandfather is buried in. Johnny leads the Black Mass calling upon the hordes of hell as he performs an eerily realistic sounding ceremony which the others think is mumbo-jumbo but is in fact real black magic. Laura volunteers to play "sacrifice victim" and Johnny takes a goblet containing Dracula's ashen remains and adds a letting of his own blood - outside in the graveyard the buried remains of Dracula and the stake begin to hiss and smoke. When Johnny throws the blood mix over Laura's neck the other friends finally freak out and run for it leaving Laura behind. And outside Dracula rises from his grave to be greeted by Johnny who offers Laura as the dark-lord's first victim in the modern era.
The next day Laura's body is found virtually drained of blood and the police think it may be the work of a demonic cult and call upon Professor Van Helsing for advice as he has helped them before with strange matters. Van Helsing suspects the work of a vampire. He is dismayed to discover that his granddaughter is mixed up in events and when he finds out that group-newcomer Johnny Alucard led the ritual he notices the man's surname is an anagram of his grandfather's arch-enemy and fears that Dracula lives once again.
Dracula intends to destroy the Van Helsing family line once and for all and captures Jessica to lure Professor Van Helsing into his snare. But Van Helsing has time during the daylight hours to prepare some traps and once nightfall comes and Dracula makes his appearance they have a battle in which Van Helsing finally triumphs laying the vampire lord to rest.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Count Dracula), Peter Cushing (Professor Van Helsing, and ancestor), Stephanie Beacham (Jessica Van Helsing), Christopher Neame (as Johnny Alucard, and ancestor)|
|Featuring:||Michael Coles (as Inspector Murray)|
(group of friends) Marsha Hunt (as Gaynor Keating), Caroline Munro (as Laura Bellows), Janet Key (as Anna Bryant), William Ellis (as Joe Mitcham), Philip Miller (as Bob Tarrant), Michael Kitchen (as Greg Puller)
|Starlets:||(non speaking party-guest cameos) Penny Brahms, Jane Anthony, Flanagan|
|A rock group singing at a party called Stoneground receive an "introducing" credit.|
|The prologue to this film is new material and not a recap of the ending of the previous film|
|The previous Hammer Horror Count Dracula film was The Scars of Dracula (1970). The one that followed this was called The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974) and featured some of the same supporting characters continuing from this film.|
|Writer: John Elder / Director: Freddie Francis / Producer: Aida Young|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 87 mins|
|In a small east European town in the 1800s the townsfolk are afraid to enter the local church because it is touched by the shadow of Count Dracula's castle high on an overlooking hillside and they feel that his evil still pervades even though the vampire lord was killed a year previously when he fell into a mountain stream near his castle and perished. The town priest has no congregation to service and when a Monsignor from Kanenberg comes to town to check on the parish he is appalled at the superstition that has crippled the normal religious practices that should be undertaken. Monsignor Ernst Muller is no longer a young man but he decides he must take remedial action to quell their fears and so accompanied by the Priest he makes the long hard climb up the hillside to the castle.
The Priest's fear overcomes him halfway up and he remains on the lower slopes leaving Muller to continue alone. When Muller arrives at the castle entrance he performs an exorcism rite and seals the doors with a large crucifix he had carried up from the church. Then he returns to the town to tell the locals they have nothing to fear now that the spirit of Dracula is trapped within his castle. But meanwhile concurrently to the Monsignor's exorcism the Priest waiting below had stumbled on the hillside and down to a stream when he accidentally cracks open the iced over water under which Dracula's body has lain dormant for the past year. This revives the Count and he brings the weak-willed Priest quickly under his thrall. Dracula returns to his castle entrance and is outraged at the religious spell that prevents him entering and demands to know from the priest who is responsible. The petrified priest tells him it was the Monsignor and Dracula vows to have his revenge.
Ernst Muller returns to his home in Kanenberg tired but satisfied he has helped. He shares his house with his late brother's wife Anna and her daughter Maria who is bringing home her new boyfriend for them to meet. Her boyfriend is Paul, a bright studious and well-mannered personable young man, who works at the local Inn's bakery to fund his way through college. Muller likes him and finds him to be very suitable for his niece until he discovers that Paul is an atheist and promptly changes his opinion and asks him to leave for his blasphemous views.
When Dracula and his new minion the Priest arrive in Kanenberg the vampire learns that the Monsignor has a niece and decides that it is through her that he can best take his revenge. Dracula hides out in the basement of an inn and he uses his hypnotic powers to enthral the barmaid Zena and makes her bring Maria to him. Dracula starts to entrance Maria but is interrupted and has to flee and she is taken home in tears talking of a man with burning red eyes. Later on Dracula tries again and visits Maria in her bedroom but is ejected by the Monsignor who recognises that the intruder is Dracula - he gives chase but the vampire flees. The Monsignor's poor health catches up on him and he is near death and sends for Paul and gives him instructions to protect Maria. But Paul unwittingly asks the Priest under Dracula's thrall to help him with the religious ceremony to ward off evil from her bedroom and the Priest is so afraid of the Count that he tries to sabotage the attempts. Paul overcomes this and tries to make the Priest see the error of his ways and it becomes clear that although he does not want to help the vampire he is afraid to defy him. The Priest takes Paul to the Count's coffin and tells him how to stake Dracula - but when Paul does this he is told he needs to say a prayer to make the procedure work and Paul cannot do this because of his atheist views and the Priest is too frightened to do it and so Dracula survives the attempt on his undead life. Dracula flees and finally enthrals Maria and returns to his castle with her is his coach. Paul and the Priest follow on close behind and in a final confrontation at the gates of Count Dracula's castle the vampire is staked once again by the crucifix that was sealing his castle doors and the Priest finally summons the courage to speak a prayer to seal the Count's fate and the vampire lord dies.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Count Dracula), Rupert Davies (as Monsignor Ernst Muller), Veronica Carlson (as Maria, his niece), Barry Andrews (as Paul, Maria's boyfriend), Barbara Ewing (as Zena, barmaid), Ewan Hooper (as Priest)|
|Featuring:||Marion Mathie (as Anna Muller, Monsignor's sister-in-law), Michael Ripper (as Max, Inn Landlord at Kanenberg), George A. Cooper (as Landlord at Inn near Dracula's castle)|
|Starlets:||Carrie Baker (Victim)|
|This Hammer Horror follows on from Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966). The next film in the series was Taste The Blood of Dracula (1970)|
|Writer: John Sansom / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Anthony Nelson Keys|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Set in the 1800s. Four English tourists consisting of two related couples, Charles and Diana Kent, and Charles' older brother Alan and his wife Helen, are holidaying in Eastern Europe and making their way to the town of Carlshad. They stop off at a tavern in a nearby town and find the people there very superstitious about vampires and the name of Dracula. A visiting abbot called Father Sandor thinks the locals' fears are misplaced because the danger they still guard against was ended some ten years ago by one Doctor Van Helsing. However Sandor still advises the couples to stay away from the castle near Carlshad which was the home of Dracula.
The Kents dismiss the warnings as silly nonsense and decide to continue with their itinerary. They board a carriage for Carlshad but it becomes delayed and with dusk approaching and still two miles from their destination the driver refuses to continue any further in the dark and says they'll have to walk the rest of the way.
Abandoned in the middle of nowhere the Kents contemplate a night in a woodcutter's shed until a riderless carriage unexpectedly pulls up. The Kents believe their luck has changed and decide to use it to convey themselves to the next town. But once aboard the horses seem to have their own destination in mind and take them to the gates of a castle high on a hilltop. The Kents go in and find to their amazement they seem to have been expected. A butler called Klove has rooms ready for them and has prepared a dinner. They enquire if the master of the house will be joining them but Klove tells them his master, Count Dracula, is dead but left standing instructions that the castle should always be ready to receive visitors. The Kents think what a charming and considerate fellow he must have been.
They retire for the night into their separate double rooms. Helen finds the place creepy and has a sense of foreboding - she cannot sleep properly and when there are strange noises in the night her husband Alan goes downstairs to have a look around. He finds a basement room with a large empty coffin in it but is then stabbed in the back and killed by Klove. The manservant then winches the body up so it is hanging by its feet above the coffin. He then empties in some ashes held in a small casket and slit's Alan's throat so his blood drains into the coffin and over the ashes. And since these were Dracula's remains the evil vampire is reborn in bodily form. Klove lures Helen into the same room by telling her her husband is in trouble - but it is a trap and she becomes the first new victim of Dracula.
Next morning Charles and Diana are puzzled about what has happened to the other two. Their bags are all gone and Klove is nowhere to be found. Charles searches fruitlessly but as dusk approaches again Dracula appears and tries to quench his hunger from Diana. He is close to making his kill when Charles and Diana discover the vampire's fear of religious crosses and manage to escape the castle and get into the forest. They are found by Father Sandor who takes them to his far off monastery. Father Sandor knows that despite the distance Dracula will not give up his quarry now he has seen and touched Diana and will attempt to take her back.
Despite the monk's best efforts Dracula manages to abduct Diana and take her back to the castle. Charles and Sandor give chase and there is a confrontation on the frozen over moat. Dracula's superior strength gives him the upper hand until Sandor realises that one of a vampire's supernatural weaknesses can be exploited. Vampires can be destroyed by exposure to running water and so he shoots his gun into the ice to crack it and Dracula falls into the water and is trapped in death beneath the ice. Charles and Diana survive the ordeal.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Count Dracula), Francis Matthews (as Charles Kent), Suzan Farmer (as Diana Kent, Charles' wife), Andrew Keir (as Father Sandor), Barbara Shelley (as Helen Kent), Charles Tingwell (as Alan Kent, Helen's husband, Charles' older brother), Philip Latham (as Klove, Dracula's manservant)|
|Featuring:||Thorley Walters (as Ludwig, in Dracula's thrall at monastery), George Woodbridge (as Tavern Landlord)|
|Also:||Peter Cushing (as Doctor Van Helsing, but only in prologue footage taken from the preceding film)|
|From an idea by John Elder. Based on characters created by Bram Stoker|
|This film follows on from Dracula (1958) in which Christopher Lee first played the Count. His enemy Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) does not appear in the film reviewed here except in a prologue flashback showing the scenes of Dracula's demise from the 1958 film. There was an intervening Dracula related film in which Peter Cushing played Van Helsing called The Brides of Dracula (1960) but not featuring Dracula himself. The next film in the series was Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) which picks up the story a year or so later when Dracula's dormant body under the ice is accidentally revived.|
|Writers: Raffaele La Capria, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi / Director: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi / Producer: Franco Rossellini|
|Type: European / Drama||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Lise is a woman in her early 40s who has recently undergone an emotional breakdown and is preparing to go on a vacation to Italy. She is still in a raw state and walks around in an inattentive half-daze as if permanently confused and uninvolved in day-to-day living. Other people find her mood changes disconcerting, as one moment she is charming and normal and then suddenly cold and distant.
Lise's strange behaviour sparks a customs officer's suspicions and she has to undergo a body search. When she eventually boards the plane for Rome the man beside her seems unnerved by her for reasons unknown and he moves to another seat. Lise is puzzled by the man's panicked behaviour which abates as soon as he moves away. Her other fellow passenger is called Bill and he has no peculiar fear of her. Instead he proceeds to apply his outgoing smarmy charm throughout the flight hoping for some female companionship in Rome. Bill has a macrobiotic rice diet that requires him to have one orgasm a day and he is hoping Lise will help him out with that. However Lise tells him she is going to Rome to meet someone special today. She seems unclear who that person is but feels she will know him when she meets him and Bill is not that special someone.
Lise stays at the Hilton where she meets an elderly woman called Mrs Helen Fiedke staying at the same hotel. Mrs Fiedke is expecting a visit from her grown-up nephew today and wants to buy him a present so Lise offers to go shopping with her. At the department store Lise buys herself a dagger-styled letter opener and surreptitiously steals a neck scarf.
Later Lise is nearby when a terrorist throws a grenade at a diplomatic motorcade carrying an Arabian ambassador. Lise is caught in the fringes of the blast and rushes into a garage in panic. A young mechanic called Carlo assists her and offers to drive her back to her hotel. But instead he drives her to a remote spot and tries to have his way with her. Lise knows he is not the one she seeks and manages to escape from him and return to her hotel.
It is getting late and Lise still has not found the man she needs to meet - that unique man who can do something for her that no one else can. And then suddenly she sees him and realises she has already met him. It is Mrs Fiedke's nephew who is also the man that was spooked by her on the plane earlier that day. His name is Pierre and on that plane he had felt a vanguard of terrible destiny approach him which he didn’t understand at first. He has kept away until now to try and avoid it, but now knows he has no choice but to confront it and place himself in her hands.
It is now night-time and Lise takes Pierre to the woods in the park and clinically describes to him what she wants him to do. He must tie her hands with the scarf and then repeatedly stab her with the letter opener to ensure her death. Pierre does not want to do it but Lise has a power over him that he cannot resist. She gives him advice on how to avoid being caught for her murder and then orders him to do it. Pierre carries out what is required of him and Lise expires from her life with a sigh of blessed relief.
|Comment: Throughout the film we see flash-forwards showing people who have met Lise on her trip being interrogated by police about an "event" involving her, although the details of this remain intriguingly undisclosed to the viewer until the end.|
|Starring:||Elizabeth Taylor (as Lise), Ian Bannen (as Bill, extrovert plane passenger), Mona Washbourne (as Mrs Helen Fiedke, elderly woman)|
|Featuring:||Maxence Mailfort (as Pierre, Helen's nephew), Guido Mannari (as Carlo, Italian mechanic), Luigi Squarzina (as Lead Detective), Marino Masé (as Traffic Policeman), Andy Warhol (as English Lord, [cameo role])|
|From a novel by Muriel Spark|
|This Italian film was reviewed here mainly because of the involvement of British actors Ian Bannen and Mona Washbourne. Elizabeth Taylor was of course British too but is mainly considered a Hollywood star. The version reviewed carried the title "The Driver's Seat" and was in English. Its Italian title is "Identikit".|
|Writer: Norman Wexler / Director: Steve Carver / Producer: Ralph Serpe|
|Type: American / Period Drama||Running Time: 100 mins|
|In 1840 in New Orleans where the slave trade is rife a white woman called Marianna becomes pregnant by a black slave on her husband's plantation. In order to keep the product of this illicit relationship secret Marianna's black servant Rachel agrees to bring the baby up as hers. The baby boy is named Drum.
Twenty years later Drum has grown into a fine powerful young man who is relaxed and accepting of his position in life. He works as a houseservant at a high-class bordello run by Marianna for the pleasure of rich white folk keen to enjoy some frivolous entertainment. Drum has had the advantage of a benign upbringing with a kind mistress although he is unaware that she is actually his mother. He has not experienced the hardships and cruelty endured by some of his kinsmen at the hands of less liberal owners.
A patron of the bordello is slave trader Hammond Maxwell. At his plantation he breeds slaves and seeks new studs for his stock. Hammond has a easygoing attitude to his slaves and treats them with measured kindness as long as they follow all the rules he sets - any that become defiant are harshly dealt with however. He spots Drum, and Marianna agrees to sell him to the trader knowing he will be well treated. Marianna also arranges a wife for Hammond who has great difficulty talking to white women and prefers the company of black women to act as his bed wenches. His prospective wife is called Augusta and she accompanies him back to his Falconhurst plantation along with Drum.
Augusta proves to be an unsettling influence on Hammond's established way of life. She tries to crack down on Hammond's relaxed attitudes and forbids him from using bed wenches. Hammond has a teenage daughter called Sophie who enjoys teasing the virile black stud slaves with her sexuality. This includes Drum but he is smart enough to know that she is dangerous and it is best never to be alone with her. Another slave called Blaise is not so wise - he is caught talking to Sophie alone and she proceeds to make unfounded accusations about him to preserve the sweet innocent persona that her father believes of her. Blaise is locked up in the barn awaiting the harsh punishment of castration for his impudence of attempting to dally with a white girl. Blaise considers his treatment to be not only unjust but inhuman and his attitudes against the white masters harden into hatred.
Hammond is holding a party at his house for all his white neighbours to celebrate his engagement to Augusta. Drum slips away from his duties at the party and frees Blaise and recommends he run away - but instead Blaise organises a revolt of the slaves and they set fire to the outbuilding and main house and run riot killing and raping the white folk. One of the guests killed is Marianna who dies in Drum's arms although he never discovers she was his mother.
Inside with the trapped white folk Drum offers to negotiate a settlement and steps outside under truce conditions to talk to Blaise. But one of the white landowners refuses to tolerate this outrage of negotiating with a slave and uses the opportunity of the truce to shoot Blaise dead. Drum is so enraged at being used to trick Blaise that he kills the white man. Drum then saves Hammond and Augusta from the wrath of the marauding black slaves and they hide out in a barn. The slave riot is later quelled when neighbouring white landowners arrive on horseback to lend a hand.
Hammond knows he owes his survival to Drum, but law dictates he has no choice but to have him killed for murdering a white man whatever the provocation or justification might have been. Hammond's concession to Drum is a recommendation he runs away and if he does he won't seek to pursue him. Drum weighs his options and runs. THE END
|Starring:||Warren Oates (as Hammond Maxwell), Ken Norton (as Drum), Fiona Lewis (as Augusta Chauvet, Hammond's arranged wife), John Colicos (as Bernard DeMarigny, French bureaucrat), Isela Vega (as Marianna, Drum's secret mother), Rainbeaux Smith (as Sophie Maxwell, Hammond's daughter)|
|Featuring:||Pamela Grier (as Regine, Hammond's bed wench), Yaphet Kotto (as Blaise, slave), Paula Kelly (as Rachel, Drum's adoptive mother), Brenda Sykes (as Calinda, Drum's mate), Lillian Hayman (as Lucretia Borgia, Hammond's housekeeper)|
|Based on the novel by Kyle Onstott|
|This American movie is reviewed here because of the involvement of British actress Fiona Lewis|
|This film was a sequel to Mandingo (1975) which also featured the character of Hammond Maxwell (played by Perry King) although none of the other characters from the first film are seen again. Ken Norton also appeared as the main black slave in the first film, but as a different character called "Mede" although there were no family connections between the two characters.|
|Writer: Gerald Vaughan-Hughes / Director: Ridley Scott / Producer: David Puttnam|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 96 mins|
|The story begins in Strasbourg, France in 1800. Gabriel Feraud is a lieutenant in the French army who is an inveterate duellist. He thrives on the pursuit of satisfaction by contest often calling opponents out on trifles that to most men would be of no consequence. Feraud has honed his sword fighting skills to a fine degree and outclasses most adversaries. Death or dishonour is the stark choice that awaits his opponents who dare not back down lest they become marked as a coward. Duelling in the army is against regulations so when it occurs it has to be done in secret in remote locations.
When Feraud kills the nephew of the Mayor of Strasbourg in an honour duel the mayor makes a formal complaint to Feraud's commanding officer General Treillard who is obliged to order Feraud be placed under house arrest. Lieutenant Armand D'Hubert is a dutiful staff officer who has been sent to conduct Lieutenant Feraud to his quarters. He finds the unruly officer in the company of a mistress and conveys the details of his arrest order. Feraud is unrepentant feeling he did nothing wrong in exercising rights he considers inviolable. Furthermore he takes great exception to D'Hubert shaming him in front of a lady and challenges him to satisfy that dishonour. The fact that D'Hubert was merely following orders is of no consequence to the enraged Feraud. D'Hubert thinks Feraud is being ridiculous but the man is unrelenting in his insistence to settle the insult in contest. D'Hubert has no choice but to defend himself as Feraud launches into combat with a deadly fury. D'Hubert's swordsmanship is merely average and he is outclassed but in the confined space of a corridor he manages to get in a lucky fist punch and knock Feraud to the ground. The bout is over because Feraud is not fit to continue but Feraud lets it be known that he does not consider the matter properly settled and will be seeking a rematch when opportunity presents itself.
D'Hubert does not really understand his adversary's antipathy towards him but he knows that Feraud intends to try to kill him for a perceived slight on his honour. D'Hubert knows that he doesn't stand a chance against Feraud on open ground and decides his only hope is that they never cross paths again. The spread of the army across the region is vast and their respective postings mean that the chance of them meeting again should be small.
Six months later in 1801 D'Hubert has been posted to Ausberg during an interval of peace. When D'Hubert visits a nearby army camp on headquarters business he finds to his dismay that Feraud is stationed there. Feraud immediately demands a rematch and D'Hubert cannot avoid it and has to reluctantly face his adversary the next morning in a remote field. Feraud is the superior fighter and inflicts a wound upon D'Hubert which stops the fight. Another round is brought to a premature halt, but even though D'Hubert is willing to concede the matter for the sake of pragmatism and apologise, Feraud refuses to let the matter rest and vows they will fight again.
Five years pass and D'Hubert is stationed in Lübeck in Germany and is now a captain. Feraud is also a captain and has arrived in the same Baltic port with his regiment. His feud with D'Hubert has become famous and Feraud is soon alerted that his nemesis is nearby. Feraud's fury has not abated in five years and a rematch is convened. This time they duel on horseback with lances which is Feraud's stock in trade and much to his advantage. But D'Hubert gets in a lucky strike and a bleeding gash prevents Feraud from continuing. And very soon afterwards they are posted to separate regions of Europe.
Another six years go by and both men find themselves posted to the same part of a bitterly cold Russia where they are obliged to act as a team against a mutual enemy in order to survive. But despite working alongside each other in cooperation Feraud makes it clear that when next they meet nothing will have changed.
It is now 1814 and D'Hubert is staying at his sister Leonie's residence in Tours in Western France whilst he recovers from a injury to his leg. D'Hubert is offered the command of a cavalry brigade when he is sufficiently recovered although he is reluctant to accept because he is privately having reservations about the way the war is going. Feraud hears of this reticence and opportunistically spreads the word that D'Hubert is a royalist and disloyal to the emperor which he claims was the reason for their famous ongoing feud. D'Hubert publicly retorts that Feraud has a vendetta against him that was nothing to do with their patriotic loyalties but had been about a woman of low repute with whom Feraud did not want it to be known he was associated. Feraud's animosities are re-enflamed and he vows he will prove D'Hubert is dishonourable at the earliest opportunity.
But sweeping events intervene and before too long the emperor Napoleon is defeated and Louis XVIII returns to France as king. Now the royalists are in charge and anyone who provoked strong anti-royalist sentiments is arrested on charges of treason. This includes Gabriel Feraud who actually insisted he be arrested. Those found guilty face execution, but Feraud considers his life over anyway with the end of all he held to be important.
Come 1816, D'Hubert goes to Paris to see the head of the special commission set up to consider the treason charges. He appeals for clemency on behalf of Feraud whom he stresses had neither the wit nor intelligence to be a real traitor. The commission agrees that Feraud is no threat and he is released to live in the provinces under police supervision.
Feraud seeks D'Hubert out at his sister's country home demanding that they finally settle their long-standing grievance. D'Hubert knows he cannot avoid the inexorable confrontation of his unremitting foe. D'Hubert proposes that the duel take the form of a chase with them both entering the woods at different ends and having to hunt down their opponent. They will both carry two single-shot pistols which they can fire at will without warning when they spot their quarry.
They both enter the woods and begin a cagey game of stalking and keeping cover. They both reach the ruins of an old church. Feraud shoots at D'Hubert first and although the shot misses him, D'Hubert falls and plays dead. Feraud warily approaches and D'Hubert fires when he gets close. This bullet misses also but it causes Feraud to shoot wildly and waste his second and final shot. D'Hubert has Feraud at his mercy with his final shot and according to the rules of the duel can if he wishes kill his opponent in cold blood. Feraud has been unrelentingly hounding him for no good reason for fifteen fearful years like a Sword of Damocles hanging over him - but nevertheless D'Hubert chooses to show mercy. In return for sparing his life D'Hubert demands an undertaking that Feraud must consider the matter finally settled and never attempt to make contact with him again. Feraud is a defeated man and his own code of honour gives him no choice but to agree and they go their separate ways.
|Starring:||Keith Carradine (as Armand D'Hubert), Harvey Keitel (as Gabriel Feraud), Diana Quick (as Laura, D'Hubert's lover), Cristina Raines (as Adele, D'Hubert's wife)|
|Featuring:||Meg Wynn Owen (as Leonie, D'Hubert's sister), Tom Conti (as Dr Jacquin, D'Hubert's friend), Edward Fox (as Colonel), Robert Stephens (as General Treillard), Alan Webb (as Chevalier De Riverolle, Adele's uncle), John McEnery (as Chevalier, Feraud's second), Maurice Colbourne (as Second, Feraud's second), Alun Armstrong (as Lacourbe, D'Hubert's second), Jenny Runacre (as Mademoiselle de Lionne, Feraud's mistress), Gay Hamilton (as Maid at Feraud's house), Stacy Keach (Narrator)|
|Familiar Faces:||Liz Smith (as Tarot card reader), Pete Postlethwaite (General's barber, [as Peter Postlethwaite, cameo])|
|Star-Turns:||Albert Finney (as Fouche, head of anti-royalist commission, [one-scene])|
|Based on Joseph's Conrad's story The Duel|
|Writers: Donald Cammell, Harry Joe Brown jr / Director: Robert Parrish / Producer: Martin Manulis|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 100 mins|
|Stefane and Antony Calvert are the sons of rich shipping merchant J.C. Calvert. They are products of two different marriages which both ended in divorce, but because the lawyer's of Stefane's mother were much cleverer, he is able to live a playboy lifestyle, whilst Antony is still a lowly employee working for his father's company. J.C. Calvert is a smug and arrogant businessman who always gets what he wants and can matchlessly outsmart his sons in any competitive arena, whether that be in work or play. Stefane and Antony both wish there was some way to outplay their father in a way that he would really notice by hitting him where it would hurt the most - his bank balance.
Stefane overhears his father on the phone and learns that J.C. is to be transporting a vast quantity of sterling banknotes by sea from his Tangiers office reserves to finance a shady cash-only business deal elsewhere. Stefane and Antony believe this is the opportunity they have been looking for. If they could steal that money en route it would hit their father hard and would make them both rich. They discuss the operation with Stefane's new girlfriend Segolene who suggests they involve an American ex-Navy man and planning expert called Duffy who now lives in the Tangiers area and is not averse to getting his hands dirty to make good money. The shipment is going from Tangiers to Zurich via Marseilles on the Calvert cruise ship Osiris in about a month's time. The money will be in the captain's safe, however Antony's job gives him access to privileged information such as the ship's plans and even the safe combination.
The trio take a yacht to Corsica as if going on holiday where they meet up with Duffy and explain what they have in mind. Duffy is reluctant to get involved as he is has now retired from criminality and spends his time making erotic modern art. But Segolene manages to charm him into hearing them out and eventually he agrees to help plan and execute the operation. They spend several weeks refitting a fishing trawler according to Duffy's specifications with Stefane financing things from his personal wealth.
When the Osiris is ready to sail Stefane and Segolene, disguised as monks, board as passengers, and Duffy as an Arab sheik. Antony meanwhile stands ready to shadow the Osiris in the modified fishing vessel. When night falls on ship the trio steal the money from the captain's safe. Then Duffy and Segolene jump overboard, with the money in watertight bags, to be picked up by Antony in the fishing vessel. The alarm is raised and Stefane is unable to get off in the same way so he returns to his disguise as a monk to disembark when the ship reaches port.
Meanwhile Antony, Duffy and Segolene take off from the fishing vessel in a mini-helicopter with the boat set to explode after they have gone. Some of the money and a couple of already dead corpses from a morgue are left on board in an effort to convince the authorities that they were all killed in a bizarre accident. They land at a stretch of coastline near a remote lighthouse that Stefane has bought. The money is hidden on the seabed of a sheltered cove for later recovery.
Stefane and Antony head off to try and arrange a deal to launder the money leaving Duffy and Segolene alone. A few days later they get a mysterious telegram seemingly from Stefane that the deal failed. Duffy heads off to find out the reason leaving Segolene behind, but then he gets suspicious and doubles back only to find Segolene has taken a mysterious trip of her own. He follows her to a beachside café only to find her meeting with J.C. Calvert! The false telegram had been sent by him to get Duffy out of the way.
J.C. had planned the whole thing with Segolene who turns out to be his mistress. J.C. allowed his conversations to be overheard knowing the way his sons' minds would work. It was Segolene who planted the idea of involving Duffy at J.C.'s suggestion because only with him involved would the brothers have any chance of pulling it off. Now with the money stolen J.C. can make a huge insurance claim just as he had planned. Once again he has successfully outsmarted his sons' best efforts.
Duffy overhears all this and is angered at being used. So he heads back to the cove and retrieves the money. He then hands it in to the local police saying he was out fishing and stumbled across it by chance. J.C.'s sense of triumph quickly fades when he is presented with the recovered money. This was the last thing he wanted but he has to put on a brave face and even worse he is obliged to hand over a finder's reward of £50,000 to Duffy. Stefane and Antony get nothing but they are more than satisfied with the outcome of having their father well and truly outmanoeuvred and humbled at long last.
|Starring:||James Coburn (as Duffy), James Fox (as Stefane Calvert), John Alderton (as Antony Calvert), Susannah York (as Segolene), James Mason (as J.C. Calvert)|
|Featuring:||Guy Deghy (as Captain Schoeller, of the Osiris), Carl Duering (as Bonivet, J.C.'s manager of Tangier's branch), Tutte Lemkow (as Spanish deliveryman), André Maranne (as Inspector Garain, local police), Barry Shawzin (as Bakirgian, nightclub proprietor)|
|Starlets:||Julie Mendez (as Belly Dancer)|
|Story by Donald Cammell, Harry Joe Brown jr and Pierre de La Salla|
|Writer/Director: Frank Nesbitt / Producer: Basil Rayburn|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Set in the present day (1971) in a small rural farming village in Gloucestershire where people keep themselves largely to themselves. As the story begins a young woman called Dulcima Gaskain is out walking her baby brother when she is almost knocked down by an farmer in a jeep and trailer who is speeding and barely in control of the vehicle - he comes to a crashing halt on his own land. Dulcima rushes to lend him a hand and helps him into his farmhouse. His name is Mr Parker and she immediately sees that he has let himself go since the death of his wife a while back. His house is in a neglected mess and he has clearly taken to drinking as he sits there sullen and unresponsive whilst she sees to his immediate needs. She tells him she'll come back the next day and help him tidy the place up a bit.
At home Dulcima is a member of a large family and is fed up with being her ungrateful father's skivvy - whenever she gets a moment of privacy she allows herself to wallow in her magazines dreaming of having romantic affairs with men as handsome as the ones in the advertisements. The next day she goes as promised to help out Mr Parker who has recovered from his drunken state and is going about his farming routine. He is non-committal on whether he welcomes her help but allows her to continue and when he returns home he is amazed how she has transformed the place in so short a time. He is a miser and does not believe in keeping money in banks where the taxman might find out about it and keeps his vast wads of cash hidden around the house. He quickly checks it is all still there and is relieved that Dulcima didn't discover it.
Dulcima continues to come on a regular basis to help keep house and slowly wears down his resistance to spending some money on repairs and home improvements for which she keeps an account of expenses. Dulcima becomes aware of the vast quantities of cash Mr Parker keeps around the house but leaves it alone because she is not a thief but realises there are other ways she can come by some of it if she plays her cards right. Mr Parker is not an openly romantic man but he begins to enjoy Dulcima's company and secretly lusts after her as she seems carefree with the degree of cleavage she shows when scrubbing the floors - he becomes smitten by her and decides he must do something about it.
Dulcima is a bright and wily girl and when Mr Parker suggests she move in permanently as his housekeeper for a weekly wage she sees this as an ideal opportunity to be free of her bullying father. But she knows she needs to keep Mr Parker lustful thoughts at bay for a while as she builds up his interest in her. So she shrewdly invents a boyfriend called "Albert" whom she tells Mr Parker she needs to ask permission from first. She reports back that Albert has said she can do it for a trial period and see how it goes. After she moves in she is pleased that Mr Parker becomes a changed man making small efforts to impress her in the hope of winning her away from Albert.
One day while Mr Parker is out working the fields Dulcima is greeted at the farmhouse by a handsome young man called Ashby. He is the new gamekeeper from the neighbouring farm seeking permission to come on to Mr Parker's land if he needs to round up his employer's wandering pheasants. Ashby lives in a house in the woods and Dulcima is quite taken by him and thinks of him as the embodiment of her perfect romantic man. When Mr Parker sees him leaving in the distance and later asks who he was Dulcima lies and pretends that it was her boyfriend Albert come to see her. Mr Parker becomes jealous that Albert is still in the picture.
Dulcima allows Mr Parker to sleep with her and he showers her with little extras after she tells him she has split up with Albert and Mr Parker secretly makes plans to ask Dulcima to marry him. Dulcima has been able to save up a lot of money from the manipulated generosity the love-smitten Mr Parker has shown her. But her real interest becomes Ashby whom she has found to be a kind and thoughtful man and she has taken to visiting him in his woodland home when Mr Parker is away during the day. Eventually Dulcima decides she has taken Mr Parker's generosity as far as she can and decides she will go and live with Ashby and arranges that he should come and pick her up from the farmhouse the next morning.
But this time Mr Parker saw her wander off into the woods and meet the man he thinks is Albert and becomes enraged that she is still seeing him. When she gets home she has to lock herself in her room for safety as she hears him downstairs smashing the place up and destroying all her improvements as he berates her name. The next morning things have quietened down and Mr Parker is nowhere to be seen. She apprehensively leaves her room and sadly surveys the mess downstairs where she discovers the lovely wedding dress he had bought for her now torn to shreds and the engagement ring he purchased neither of which she knew anything about. She has a change of heart and decides that maybe Mr Parker's genuine love for her is something she shouldn't turn away from.
When Ashby arrives to collect her she tells him she has decided not to go with him and will stay with Mr Parker after all. Ashby is understanding and turns to leave when without warning a shot rings out and he falls down instantly dead - and upstairs at a window Mr Parker is there with his shotgun insanely jealous and unaware of what Dulcima had just decided. THE END
|Starring:||Carol White (as Dulcima Gaskain), John Mills (as Mr Parker)|
|Featuring:||Stuart Wilson (as Ashby the Gamekeeper), Bernard Lee (as Mr Gaskain, Dulcima's father), Sheila Raynor (as Mrs Gaskain, Dulcima's mother), Dudley Foster (as Farmer at market)|
|Starlets:||Kristin Hatfeild (as Dress Shop Assistant)|
|Based on a story by H E Bates.|
|The setting of Gloucestershire is an assumption based on the end credits indicating that is where the filming took place.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Sidney J. Furie|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Set during the Second World War. David is a 21-year-old American bomber co-pilot stationed in England. Every bombing mission he flies is fraught with danger with the possibility of death always only moments away as his squadron flies through heavily defended enemy skyways to deliver their payloads.
On the latest mission his friend and captain Mike is badly wounded and although Mike survives he loses his manhood and cannot bear the thought of continuing the rest of his life without ever being able to have a woman. This realisation hits David hard because he has never been with a woman either and with only one flying mission to go until his tour of duty ends he develops a crisis of confidence and a fear of dying without ever having proven his manhood. However he is shy and inexperienced in talking to girls and has no idea how to go about meeting them.
His base is near a small country village where the flightcrews go to drink and relax and David nervously visits a prostitute hoping the experience will quell his anxiety and allow him to regain his nerve. But he finds that for some reason he cannot become aroused despite the woman's best efforts. David goes to a dance hall to try and meet a local girl and thinks he has met a willing lass but she turns out to be part of a gang and leads him into a mugging ambush.
David goes to a small local pub to recover and gets talking to the landlady's daughter Jean. She is a soulful girl who seems to instinctively understand his anxiety and although she is sexually inexperienced herself she makes the decision to help him regain his confidence. After he has left the pub she engineers an encounter with him in a deserted barn where they can have sex. But David still cannot perform and does not understand what could be wrong with him. He thinks it is because Jean is too nice and he would be taking advantage of her. He decides his only choice is to go to London and find a different kind of girl. He seems not to care that this would make him a deserter and Jean tries to talk him out of it but he has made up his mind and he heads off down the road hoping to hitch a lift.
Back at the pub Jean makes the decision to tell her mother who notifies the American Military Police and they pick David up before he gets too far. Fortunately the Major in charge of the patrol is very understanding and manages to talk David out of his morose state and persuade him to come back to base with no more said about the matter. The Major allows David an hour to stop off and say goodbye to Jean and thank her for her part in saving him from the consequences of a bad decision.
As David and Jean talk they realise that they have fallen in love and their passion unfolds by the hearth fire of the pub and David finds he is at last able to perform as expected. Afterwards he realises he is the sort of man who has to truly love a girl in order to properly want her and with that understanding he loses his concern about his upcoming final mission.
Next morning Jean watches from the ground as David's squadron heads off. (Note: It ends there and we don't discover if David survives or if the couple ever get back together again).
|Starring:||Don Borisenko (as David), Susan Hampshire (as Jean)|
|Featuring:||Sean Sullivan (as Major, military police), Barbara Ogilvie (as Jean's mother), Joy Webster (as Prostitute), Graydon Gould (as Mike, bomber-crew pilot), Tom Busby (as Sam, bomber crew), Alan Gibson (as Harry, bomber crew), John Bloomfield (as Military Police sergeant)|
|Starlets:||Jackie Collins (as Girl who sets David up for mugging)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Don Borisenko and Susan Hampshire both receive "introducing" credits|
|The nudity in this film seems very unusual for such an early 1960s film. It is therefore possible that two versions of certain scenes were filmed with a tamer version for the UK market. If so then the version reviewed (as broadcast on BBC2 in 2008) may have been a "continental" version.|
|Writer: William Boyd / Director: Giles Foster / Producer: Sue Birtwistle|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 83 mins|
|The sixth form hockey team from the Strathdonald boarding school for boys are travelling to Holland for a series of matches with a Dutch school's team. Before they left their headmaster expressed his hope that this trial venture would be the first of many and that he is relying on the boys to create a good impression and uphold the good name of the school. The 17-year-old boys have different ideas however and have fanciful expectations of getting off with local Dutch girls whom they believe to be all up for it.
Accompanied by their no-nonsense sportsmaster Mr Mole, they travel from Scotland on an InterCity sleeper train to London and then on the cross channel ferry to Holland. The boys put on a respectable face for the benefit of Mr Mole but take every opportunity to be rowdy and boisterous when they are alone.
When they arrive at their destination the boys are all fostered by families of the opposing team. The two main boys, Neil Truelove and Lyndon Baines Jellico, are billeted with the Van Der Merwe family. Neil is on his best behaviour and is charming and courteous to their hosts, whereas Lyndon has no such sensibilities and knows no bounds to his vulgarity. Lyndon is a misfit whom none of the other boys really like but tolerate because he is part of the team.
While training with the team Neil meets a pretty local girl called Romelia who takes a liking to him and invites Neil and his friends to a local disco. At the venue Neil is very shy around girls and cannot work out that Romelia especially favours him and he takes an age to approach her for a dance. He assumes she will prefer his more confident best friend Philip Dundine. But she makes it clear that it is him she prefers and invites him back to her place. He is too tongue-tied and reserved to make any moves on her and maintains a respectful formality that she finds charming. Afterwards she takes him back to his billet and invites him to the next disco the following night when she hopes he might have got over his nerves. The only boy to get off with a girl at the disco is Lyndon which the other boys think is typical of their luck. Dundine did fancy his chances with Romelia and was a bit aggrieved when she only seemed to show an interest in Neil.
The next day's match is rained off so the team go on a coach trip and get lost in the city centre's red light district with its sex shops and brazenly inviting prostitutes in brothel windows. To the boys this is like a sweetshop and Mr Mole has trouble keeping them in check as they attempt to sample some of the offerings.
On their last full day Neil is giddy with anticipation at seeing Romelia again that evening because she is so beautiful and he thinks he is falling in love. But then Dundine has some bad news for him - apparently Romelia's boyfriend has come back and she will be going with him instead. Neil is crestfallen and is too depressed to even bother going to the disco at all. At the disco there is no boyfriend and Dundine, having successfully eliminated his competition, tries to make a move on Romelia - he tells Romelia that Neil had something more important to do and she is really disappointed.
Next day the team are getting ready to leave and Romelia is waiting by the coach to say goodbye. She tells Neil it was a pity he didn't come yesterday because it would have been good. Neil is puzzled and then realises that Dundine had played a wicked trick on him to scupper his chance of experiencing something special.
On the way back to England on the ferry Neil is furious and frustrated and has a row with Dundine. Neil is boiling with anger over his lost opportunity and only his natural reserve prevents it becoming physical. Dundine laughs it off and tells him he should be objective, she was only a girl whom he'll never see again anyway and he should stop sulking about it.
Lyndon is the only one who sees how much real angst Neil is suffering and he tells him that the others are not really his friends and he shouldn't try to fit in if they don't understand him - much like himself who doesn't give two hoots about what other people think. Neil takes this advice to heart and throws his hockey stick overboard into the sea as his way of resigning from the team.
|Starring:||Bill Paterson (as Mr Alexander Mole, sportsmaster), Colin Firth (as Neil Truelove), Timothy Spall (as Lyndon Baines Jellico), James Wilby (as Philip Dundine, Neil's best friend), Daniel Chatto (as Giles Fforde, team captain), Gusta Gerritsen (as Romelia)|
|Featuring:||(Other boys in team) Robert Addie (as Cone), Michael Parkhouse (as Roote), Adrian Lukis (as Murray), Christopher Beaumont (as Simon), Guy Manning (as Thornton), Hywel Williams-Ellis (as Lamb), Colin McFarlane (as Mkwela), Ian Michie (as MacGregor)|
John Wells (as The Headmaster, [one scene]), David Neville (as Mr Ashby, Dutch team's coach), Erik Plooyer and Anne-Wil Blankers (as Mr and Mrs Van Der Merwe, Neil and Lyndon's host family), Richard Torn (as Kees Van Der Merwe, host family son), Stephanie Verwijmeren (as Anna Van Der Merwe, host family's 5 year old daughter), Sylvia Millecam (as Greetje, Romelia's friend)
|Starlets:||Catherine Chevalier and Octavia Taten (as French girls on ferry), Anna Bergman (as Prostitute)|
|Gusta Gerritsen receives an "introducing" credit|
|This was a made for TV movie produced by London Weekend Television|
|Writer: William Mayo / Director: Vidal Raski / Producer: Nicolas Poole|
|Type: European / Crime||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Recently married couple Peter and Mary Davis are looking for somewhere cheap to stay and they find that the only place that suits their meagre budget is a dingy rooming house run by an aging former variety showgirl called Lila Lashe and her dwarf son Olaf. Lila agrees to rent them a room on the top floor because she secretly sees some qualities in the pretty young Mary that could prove useful.
Lila and Olaf have a dark secret. Shut away in a hidden annex area off an attic box room they have three young women captives who are kept naked and dependant on heroin. They have been prisoners for years after being initially lured there when they were teenagers by Olaf who promised them toys to play with. Lila now hires out the use of them to sex-crazed men eager for some rampant unrestricted carnal pleasure with docile compliant girls. The girls are kept so doped up that they have lost the will to try and resist or escape. Olaf's job is to keep then topped up with drugs and he relishes his mastery over three beautiful naked women who wouldn't normally give him a second glance but now clamour for his arrival with another fix of the drug to which they are addicted.
Peter and Mary know none of this and make themselves at home in their new room. Peter is a struggling writer and each day goes out for meetings with TV executives hoping to receive a lucrative commission which will allow himself and Mary to live a less frugal life. But each day he comes back disconsolate at yet more rejections. Mary is very supportive and urges him not to be disheartened and to keep trying. At night Mary is kept awake by strange noises from nearby that she cannot fathom the origin of, and during the day she is bewildered by the regular comings and goings of men who seem to be going into an attic box room for no readily apparent reason. When she sneaks a look inside herself after the men have gone there seems to be nothing special there.
Lila is becoming concerned that one of the girls is becoming so dependant on heroin that the cost of supplying her has become uneconomical to her value as a sex-slave. Lila knows they need a new girl to boost customer interest and she thinks Mary would be just right. But Lila needs to wait for a suitable opportunity to present itself when the girl's husband is not around.
Peter decides he needs to put his writing aspirations on hold and look for a proper job. He applies for a position as an assistant at a toyshop called Santa's Grotto. By sheer chance the owner is also the drug dealer who supplies Lila. He imports the drugs stuffed inside consignments of teddy bears. His previous courier was caught and so he needs a new stooge and hires Peter who knows nothing of the illegality. The owner sends Peter to Paris to pick up a consignment of toys which means he will be gone for four days.
With Peter away Mary is bored and she goes looking around trying to find out what is so interesting about the box room. She hears whimpering noises from a locked room and realises there is someone inside. But then she is discovered by Lila and Olaf and taken prisoner herself. She is stripped and injected with heroin to get her addiction started. She appeals to the other three girls to help try and escape but they are inured to the situation and know it is hopeless - furthermore they are so dependant on heroin that they consider enduring the sex is the price they have to pay to get their regular fix.
Lila tells her regular clientele about the new girl and soon Mary is subjected to a dreadful ordeal of being raped by an insatiably lecherous customer. Mary makes a pitiful plea to the man to help her and tell her husband that she is being held here against her will but he has no interest in aiding her and thinks she is just a crazy junkie like the others.
When Peter gets home a few days later he finds Mary gone leaving just a typewritten note (forged by Lila) that she has had enough of living like this and is leaving him. Peter is dumfounded but has to believe it and carry on with his own life. Working downstairs in the toyshop storeroom he overhears the owner talking to Olaf about the supply of more drugs and references to a "new girl". Peter begins to realise that something awful is going on - he recalls the complaints Mary made about the strange noises she kept hearing which he had dismissed at the time. He finds drugs inside the teddy bears he is unpacking and goes to the police to tell them about the drug dealing and that he thinks his wife might have been kidnapped.
Peter and the police go to the rooming house and arrest Lila and then search the attic and find the secret room and discover the enslaved girls. Peter and the detective in charge are appalled by the depravity of Lila for holding these girls prisoner for her own inhuman exploitation. The detective gives Peter his gun and gives him carte blanche to use it. Peter is so enraged by the horror to which Lila has subjected his wife that he has no hesitation in shooting her dead. Olaf knows the game is up and he jumps from a top floor window to his death rather than be captured.
|Starring:||Anne Sparrow (as Mary Davis, wife), Tony Eades (as Peter Davis, husband), Clara Keller (as Lila Lashe, landlady), Torben Bille (as Olaf the Dwarf, Lila's son, [credited as Torben])|
|Featuring:||Werner Hedman (as Santa Claus, drug dealing toyshop owner), Gerda Madsen (as Winnie, Lila's friend)|
|Starlets:||(Attic Girls) Jeanette Marsden (as Betty), Lisbeth Olsen, Jane Cutter|
|Based on an original story by Harlan Asquith; script by Ulla Astrøm|
|This is a Dutch film. But it is made in English and set in England with a mixture of Dutch and English actors. Its Dutch title is Dværgen and it is also known as The Sinful Dwarf. The version reviewed carried the title of just The Dwarf.|
|Writer: (not listed) / Director: Stephen Dwoskin / Producers: Michael Armitage, Maggie Pinhorn|
|Type: Oddity||Running Time: 113 mins|
|An experimental film with no storyline or dialogue. It consists of four unrelated sequences. In the first a girl slowly strips out of a cowgirl outfit to some music whilst directly looking at the camera; and in the third sequence a girl strips in a similar fashion out of a waitress uniform. In both of these sequences the concentration is on extreme close-ups of the girl's face as the camera watches the nuances of her changing emotion. The second sequence features a girl doing a personal strip for her boyfriend. The camera work in this is frenetic and concentrates mostly on watching the man's face as he watches the girl.
The fourth scene involves one girl and four men doing performance art dancing to a slow clockwork rhythm. At the end of which two of the men undress the girl then beat her up and physically abuse her. Again the camera spends long periods examining facial reactions and, after the men have left, watches the girl's face intently as the emotions of her coming to terms with her ordeal play out
The first three "scenes" are about 15 minutes long each and just about sustain interest. But the fourth scene goes on for 70 minutes and rather outstays its welcome and becomes somewhat tedious. The fourth scene is the only one with any sort of "story" albeit one that could have been played out in a much shorter time.
|Featuring:||(First sequence) Jenny Runacre|
(Second sequence) Pat Ford, John Grillo
(Third sequence) Catherine Kessler
(Fourth sequence) Linda Marlowe, John Grillo, Derek Paget, Malcolm Kaye, Andrew Carr
|There is no obvious reason why the film is called "Dyn Amo". It is based on the stage play "Dynamo" by Chris Wilkinson, first performed by the Soho Theatre, London 1971. (I assume that means "inside" the theatre rather than "beside" it). Quite how it would have worked as a stage play is not clear - if it was similar to the film it must have been a peculiar thing. The film is styled by sustained facial close-ups which wouldn't have been an option in the theatre.|
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