(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.
|aka: The Devil Within Her; The Monster|
|Writer: Stanley Price / Director: Peter Sasdy / Executive Producer/Story: Nato De Angeles|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 90 mins|
|As the film opens we see mother-to-be Lucy Carlesi in hospital going through a labour so difficult that the obstetrician Doctor Finch declares that it's almost as if the child does not want to be born. Eventually a baby boy is delivered and is named Nicholas - he is a large baby and proves to be unusually strong and obstinate. Lucy becomes depressed believing the baby hates her. When alone and unobserved the baby manages to cause havoc in its nursery displaying strength that should be beyond such a small child and neither Lucy nor her Italian husband Gino can understand how he manages to do it.
Lucy is an ex-dancer and she confides in a friend called Mandy that she thinks the baby is possessed by the devil. She tells of an incident from her nightclub days just before she went on an Italian tour. It involved a dwarf dancer called Hercules who worked with her in the show and with whom she had a pleasant bantering relationship as they kidded around with one another - but Hercules had developed a crush on her and when he made a pass which she rebuffed he turned nasty and issued a curse telling her that she shall have an evil baby that is possessed by the devil himself! Then while on the tour she met and fell in love with Gino and they were married and she had forgotten about the curse until now. Occasionally when looking at the baby in its cot she sees Hercules momentarily in its place as if her eyes are playing tricks on her.
The Carlisis hire a nanny but she is unaccountably pushed into a river while out walking the baby and drowns - we see that it was the baby's hand reaching from its pram that did it. Gino's sister Cara Albana comes for a visit - Cara is a nun and observes that the baby seems to dislike her religious accoutrements. With Lucy under so much strain Cara suggests that the baby be taken in by Doctor Finch for observation while the couple go on holiday. But on the eve of their departure Gino wakes to find the nursery has been wrecked with the baby missing from his cot - he goes into the back garden to look around and is killed by an unseen attacker and deposited in the drain. Later when Dr Finch comes round to check up on the baby he too falls victim to a violent death in the back garden.
Lucy becomes desperate not knowing where her husband has gone - she too goes into the garden and sees the baby (which she sees as Hercules) up in the tree and rushes back inside petrified. The baby follows with a knife and using a strength she cannot overcome she too is killed.
Cara then comes round and finds the baby back in its cot and decides she must perform an exorcism rite. The baby cries as if in pain and elsewhere Hercules dancing on stage at the nightclub keels over. At the end of the ritual the baby has become perfectly normal and Hercules has died.
|Comment: It's not really explained what powers Hercules had that allowed him to do what he did. And although the film ends with a prevailing upbeat resolution it's not really a happy one since both innocent parents are dead.|
|Starring:||Joan Collins (as Lucy Carlesi), Ralph Bates (as Gino Carlesi), Donald Pleasence (as Dr Finch), Eileen Atkins (as Sister Cara Albana), Hilary Mason (as Mrs Hyde, housekeeper)|
|Featuring:||Caroline Munro (as Mandy Gregory, Lucy's friend), John Steiner (as Tommy Morris, club manager), Janet Key (as Jill Fletcher, nanny), George Claydon (as Hercules, dwarf), Judy Buxton (as Sheila, Gino's secretary)|
|Familiar Faces:||Stanley Lebor (as Detective), Floella Benjamin (as Nurse)|
|Starlets:||Lopez (as Stripper), Susie Lightining (as Stripper), Val Hoadley (as Dancer), Janice Brett (as Dancer)|
|The version reviewed carried the title The Monster.|
|The stripper credited as "Lopez" might be Maria Lopez who is seen in the documentary film about British strippers called The Rise and Fall of Ivor Dickie (1977) - she looks fairly similar although there is never a good face close-up during her appearance in the film being reviewed here.|
|Novel: Audrey Erskine Lindop / Writer: Richard Harris / Director/Producer: David Greene|
|Type: Thriller / Drama||Running Time: 104 mins|
|Wynne Kinch is a (nearly) 15-year-old catholic schoolgirl who lives with her family of mother, grandfather and two older brothers. She was adopted as a very young girl and is very much one of the family but Wynne harbours a secret crush for her much older brother George who is 32. She is fairly naïve on certain matters but thinks it wouldn't count as incest since they are not blood related. George knows nothing about her fantasy and the only person she tells of her secret desires is her best friend at school Corinne who teases her a bit about it but Wynne insists she will marry him one day and sometimes slightly embellishes things to suggest that George feels the same way although Corinne is never quite sure if she's making it up or not.
The Kinch family live in a high rise tower block which they have recently moved into from a residential district two miles away which is being redeveloped. Wynne still likes to go to their old now abandoned house which she and Corinne use as a place to hang out. The bus conductor whose route serves the common is a young man who likes to chat them up as they travel there which they have to endure although Wynne tries to be nice to him - and then they have a walk across the common beside a lake to get to the old property. They use the place to chat and Wynne likes to go down into the basement and make out she is communing with her brother's fiancée Claire who died falling down the basement stairs when Wynne was a young girl.
Mrs Kinch is somewhat glad they moved because there is a serial killer on the loose in the vicinity who seems to pick his young female targets near the common and she forbids Wynne to go to their old house anymore. George regularly drives Wynne and Corinne to school in his van and one morning she sees him throwing away a tightly wrapped package in the dustbins. When she gets back from school that afternoon she is curious enough to retrieve it and as she partially tears it open she is dismayed to find it is a sweater she made for him and feels hurt that he would throw it away. Later on when she opens it properly she is shocked to discover that it is stained with blood. She idly asks George why he never wears that sweater she made him and he makes up an excuse of not being able to find it. George goes out regularly every Friday and tells everyone he goes to see an old lady who was a neighbour of theirs near the old house to help her with DIY tasks. But when Wynne visits the elderly lady herself she is told that George hasn't been around there for ages and Wynne comes to the shock realisation that maybe George is the serial killer.
She is determined to protect him and burns the sweater and on the next Friday evening she stows away in the back of his van to see where he goes. He stops outside a hospital and picks up a middle-aged woman and takes her to her house and then stays to very late in the evening before driving back home and all the time Wynne remains waiting in the back of the van. Wynne's absence has sparked a panic at home and they have called in the police to report her disappearance until she returns home safe and well. To relieve tensions the next day they decide to go on a picnic with the whole family and Corinne. Wynne had recently been adding more embellishments to her story of her secret plans with George and so Corinne tests things out by flirting shamelessly with him by pressing herself up against him as they lay sunbathing on the grass and he gets angry and roughly pins her down to try and teach her about the recklessness of teasing a man too far. But in the process he hurts her and she runs off crying and won't get in the van when it's time to leave so George leaves her to walk it.
Back home George goes out again saying he's going to look for Corrine. Wynne follows him still concerned he may be the killer. She finds out he has gone to the house where he dropped off the lady from the hospital and she sneaks inside and finds him having sex with her. The woman is his secret lover and he is looking after her - she has suicidal tendencies and it was while he was tending to her self-inflicted wounds that Wynne's jumper got bloodstained and he had to throw it away. Wynne is relieved he is not the killer but feels despondent that he has a new lover.
Later Corinne phones Wynne and says she is going to stay out all night to teach George a lesson and it will be his fault when everyone gets really worried about her. Corinne says she has met a man they both know and is going to the old house with him. We then see that Corinne's date is the Bus Conductor. Wynne feels a sense of panic for her friend and also doesn't want her brother to suffer unwarranted accusations and she rushes out to go to the old house and talk some sense into Corinne. She gets to the house and looks around but it appears to be deserted - then she goes down into the basement and to her horror finds Corinne's dead body. She rushes out and into the arms of the conductor who laments Wynne coming because she was one of the rare nice ones - most other girls are like Corrine, always shamefully dressed and then laughing at him behind his back when he shows some kind of interest until he feels sick in his stomach - what a shame Wynne had to come looking for her friend because now she has to die too. Wynne manages to slip past him and run outside - but he catches up with her and she accidentally falls into the lake - he helps her out and then he breaks down and starts crying, seeking comfort from her wanting help and knowing he is not sane - and then the police arrive. (although it's not all that clear why the police do turn up at that point or who called them - it's possible she could have been reported missing again and the old house was the most likely place to start looking.)
|Comment: The title of the film comes from quite a minor aspect of the plot in which as a young girl she used to count the steps down to the basement in the dark - from 1 to 11. But this never becomes a crucial plot point so it seems a bit strange to name the whole film after this. Maybe it has a loose double meaning in that she is counting the days until she is old enough to be a woman and can marry George as per her fantasy. Possibly there is a vague suggestion that Wynne killed the first fiancée by actually pushing her down the stairs when she was a young child, maybe in some sort of early jealousy for her brother - but if that was the case then it is never spelt out or picked up on.|
|Starring:||Jenny Agutter (as Wynne Kinch), Bryan Marshall (as George Kinch, brother), Clare Sutcliffe (as Corinne Eldridge, best friend)|
|Featuring:||Madge Ryan (as Mrs Kinch, mother), Billy Russell (as Granddad), Gregory Phillips (as Len Kinch, other brother), Simon Ward (as The Bus Conductor), Lana Morris (as Leonie, George's lover)|
|Writer: Gillian Freeman / Director: John Dexter / Producer: Raymond Stross|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Roy is a young man who works as an estate agent. He is a keen watcher of women as they walk by - although his attentiveness appears not to be fuelled by desire but by envy. At social engagements Roy displays an atypical knowledge of ladies' fashions when conversing with women and yet finds himself out of place amid typical male banter. He is not homosexual but just finds himself drawn more to the female psych and has a longing to wear the soft feminine clothes that define a woman.
Roy lives with his widowed father who is a bullysome man's man who has had a string of girlfriends. When he comes home one evening and finds Roy fallen asleep in front of the television wearing a dress and makeup, he is outraged at this completely unsuspected trait in his son. Roy tries to explain that for all his life he has felt much more female than male but his father is incapable of understanding that position and tells him to seek medical help.
Roy packs his bags and leaves home. He stays at a bedsit where he is unknown and makes a decision. He spends months practising his makeup and posture and buying the right sort of clothes by mail order and letting his hair grow long. Eventually the day comes when he says goodbye to "Roy" and hello to "Wendy Ross". She now feels herself to be the persona she is supposed to be. Wendy leaves the bedsit and ventures into the outside world - cautiously self conscious at first thinking people will immediately notice - but she soon discovers that her outward appearance is being taken at face value and she is being treated as a woman.
Wendy takes a lodgings in a boarding house but still remains a private person fearing close involvement with anyone. Another lodger called Frank seems quite keen on her and she finds herself drawn to him but has to adopt an aloof manner to keep him at bay.
Wendy finds it impossible to get a job for need of references and birth certificate and with her savings running low decides she needs to take the next step in her desire to truly be a woman. She consults a specialist with a view to having a sex change operation. The specialist can see that Roy is serious but tells him that it takes a year of assessment at a clinic to be sure that a patient is prepared for the physiological and emotional upheaval of the procedures involved.
Wendy is disappointed that it will take so long but nevertheless prepares to leave her lodgings to move into the clinic. Frank is not happy that she is leaving and makes a sudden sexual advance that Wendy cannot deflect and he discovers that Wendy is a man. Frank is appalled and disgusted and leaves her so distraught that she takes a piece of broken glass and demasculates herself.
Time moves on a year and Wendy has recovered from her self-inflicted mutilation and has just had her sex-change operation and begins to feel finally the real "she" has arrived as she feels the swell of real breasts under her hospital gown.
|Starring:||Anne Heywood (as Roy and Wendy), Harry Andrews (as Roy's father), Jill Bennett (as Margaret Stevenson, Wendy's landlady), Virginia Stride (as Shirley, Roy's sister)|
|Featuring:||Michael Coles (as Frank, lodger), Sheila Reid (as June, lodger), Paul Rogers (as Mr Waites, possibly this was the specialist Wendy consults), Philip Bond (as Philip, Margaret's husband), Jill Melford (as Lorna, girlfriend of Roy's father)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anthony Sharp (Dinner guest)|
|Full writing credits:- Screenplay by Gillian Freeman with additional material and dialogue by Gavin Lambert. Adapted from Geoff Brown's novel of the same name.|
|Writer: Milton Subotsky / Director: Stephen Weeks / Producers: Max J. Rosenberg, Milton Subotsky|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 77 mins|
|In Victorian London, psychiatric doctor Charles Marlowe and his friends Utterson, Enfeild and Lanyon are members of the same gentlemens' club and they are having a lively discussion about the nature of evil in men. Some of them think that all men are born fundamentally good and it is society or circumstance that corrupts some into evil. Marlowe subscribes to the notion that all men have two sides to their psyche which normally keep each other in check. He is experimenting with this very theory which he hopes will help him be better able to treat his patients.
Marlowe has developed a drug that he has tested on animals but is puzzled by the differing reactions it induces - ranging from aggression to passive docility. He tries it secretly on his patients and discovers it seems to loosen inhibitions and release an individuals true desires unrestrained by moral codes.
Marlowe wants to know how repeated use of the drug affects an individual but cannot risk experimenting further with his patients so he starts to try it out on himself keeping a journal of his findings. Upon his first injection Marlowe feels a sense of euphoric elation developing a devil-may-care attitude as he wanders the London streets. He returns home and administers the antidote and writes up his notes.
Night after night he continues this and under the influence of the drug his physiognomy changes giving him harsh unkempt features so that even people he knows do not recognise him as the same person. Application of the antidote changes him back to his smart well groomed and mannered self. As his alter ego (whom he names Blake) he becomes callous and uncaring and carries out random crimes of wanton vandalism for the sheer thrill of it. Fellow club member Utterson becomes concerned about the association his friend Marlowe has with the roguish fellow Blake unaware of their true connection and thinks Marlowe may be being blackmailed.
When Blake's lack of moral code goes a step further and he brutally kills a woman, Marlowe comes to his senses and decides he has gone too far with his experimentations and decides to stop using the drug. But he soon finds that he changes into Blake involuntarily without use of the drug. He applies the antidote but the effects are only temporary and he soon reverts to Blake again. As the evil Blake he decides he must eliminate everyone who can connect him to Marlowe and goes to Utterson's house intent on killing him. The two men fight and eventually Utterson wins when Blake falls down the stairs and dies and, before an astonished Utterson's eyes, his features change back into the familiar visage of his friend Marlowe.
|Starring:||Christopher Lee (as Dr Charles Marlowe/Edward Blake), Peter Cushing (as Frederick Utterson)|
|Featuring:||Mike Raven (as Enfield, fellow social club member), Richard Hurndall (as Lanyon, fellow social club member), George Merritt (Poole, Marlowe's butler), Susan Jameson (as Diane Thomas, Marlowe's patient), Kenneth J. Warren (as Mr Deane, Marlowe's patient)|
|Starlets:||Marjie Lawrence (as Annie, victim from bar)|
|A version of Robert Louis Stephenson's Jekyll and Hyde story and although (for whatever reason) the characters' names are changed, the author is still acknowledged in the credits.|
|Writer: Millard Lampell / Director: Daniel Petrie / Producer: Leonard Lightstone|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|American born Carol lives in London with her British son Timothy who is studying for a law degree at college. They are quite close and she finds it hard not to interfere in his life when she feels he is making the wrong decisions and he, in turn, does not like doing things without her approval. Carol is in the process of getting a divorce.
Timothy has made friends at college with an American art student called Marco who is going out with Sarah who is a long-standing friend of Timothy's. Marco has an arrogant self-assuredness about his artistic abilities although he does have the talent to back it up. When Carol and Marco meet there is an initial spark and with them both being American they have something in common. Marco is a frequent visitor due to his friendship with Timothy and it becomes clear that he and Carol find each other mutually attractive - although nothing occurs between them beyond mild flirtatious behaviour.
However when Timothy tells his mother that he is planning to give up law and switch to art studies and also move out and rent a flat-share with Marco, Carol realises just what a bad influence Marco is on her son and turns cold towards him - she humiliates him in front of his friends at Timothy's party by chucking him out.
Some time later Timothy gets into a pub argument with two uncouth labourers who are looking for trouble - he gets seriously beaten up and is only saved from more severe harm when Marco enters the fray to even up the odds. Carol then mellows towards Marco for saving her son and their friendly flirtations resume - opportunities to move beyond this stage are slim since Marco only visits when he is with Timothy.
Marco has been rather callous towards his girlfriend Sarah and drops her without even telling her she's been dumped. Timothy fancies Sarah himself and is annoyed at Marco for his meanness towards her and so leaves for a riverboat party without waiting for him as arranged. When Marco comes to pick Timothy up he finds him gone and Carol alone. This is the first time the two of them have been properly alone together and they end up kissing and then sleeping together. But afterwards Marco appears to grow cold towards her and seeks to humiliate her before leaving - he seems not to have forgiven her for humiliating him at the party and has waited for his moment to make her feel small.
But after he has left Marco possibly regrets his behaviour and as he makes his way alone to join the Riverboat party he gets drunk. At the party Timothy works out what has gone on between Marco and his mother and confronts his friend and they have a fight. In his intoxicated state Marco is no match and falls into the river and drowns despite Timothy's attempts to dive in and rescue him. As the film ends Timothy is being questioned by police on suspicion of Marco's murder and he refuses to say what the fight was about.
|Starring:||Jennifer Jones (as Carol, Timothy's mother), Michael Parks (as Marco, Timothy's friend), John Leyton (as Timothy), Jennifer Hilary (as Sarah, Marco's girlfriend)|
|Featuring:||Guy Doleman (as Martin Livesey, Carol's divorce solicitor), Jack Watson (as Police Inspector), Rita Webb (as Landlady)|
|Starlets:||Natasha Pyne (as Rosalind, student), Priscilla Morgan (as Rosie, prostitute)|
|Based on an original story by Ugo Liberatore|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: David Sherwin / Director: Lindsay Anderson / Producers: Michael Medwin, Lindsay Anderson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Set in the modern day (1968) in a boys public school run on very traditional old-fashioned values of discipline and order. The school prides itself on educating boys to the highest standard and providing the nation with its future leaders. The senior year boys are called Whips and they maintain the strict protocol of the school's disciplinary structure and are treated with reverence and fear by the younger boys who know they have to do whatever they are told or suffer unpleasant consequences.
Mick Travis and his two roommates Knightley and Wallace are seniors a year below the whips and hate the codes of conduct they have to abide by. They have a barely concealed rebellious nature that no amount of punishment and humiliation from the whips is able to eradicate. Mick has a keen fascination with warfare and glorifies famous gunmen - he believes that revolution is the purest act of self-expression.
Plotwise not a lot happens throughout the film as we just live out a year in capsule form witnessing Mick's growing resentment to the rigid strictures around him and the way he is being forced to behave in ways he finds reprehensible. He is biding his time until a suitable opportunity comes along to allow him to take his just revenge.
The school also teaches soldiering and all the boys don cadet uniforms and take part in mock military exercises carrying rifles and dummy ammunition. Mick and his friends have difficulty taking it seriously and find the playacting ludicrous and resent taking orders from stuffy teachers and whips pretending to be generals. When Mick and his two pals take pot-shots at the Chaplain with their air rifles they are punished by having to clear out the basement storehouse underneath the chapel of its old theatrical props. While doing this they discover a secret passage into an underground room containing an arsenal of weapons and live ammunition - and a fitting revenge is plotted.
At the end of term there is an assembly in the chapel with an ex-boy who has become a general giving a stirring speech about how tradition and high values are not to be scorned at. During his address a fire starts from underneath and the invited dignitaries and parents rush out into the courtyard in panic. And from the rooftops Mick and his friends open fire with machine guns and bazookas mowing down the establishment figures they despise. The general takes charge and organises a response using the cadets' live training rounds and a huge gun battle ensues between the opposing sides. THE END (consequences not revealed)
|Starring:||Malcolm McDowell (as Mick Travis)|
|Featuring:||(Mick's study room mates) David Wood (as Johnny Knightley) Richard Warwick (as Wallace)|
(Whips) Robert Swann (as Rowntree, head whip), Hugh Thomas (as Denson), Michael Cadman, Peter Sproule
Christine Noonan (as The Girl, unnamed waitress at café)
(Staff) Peter Jeffrey (as Headmaster), Arthur Lowe (as Mr Kemp, housemaster), Mona Washbourne (as Matron), Mary MacLeod (as Mrs Kemp, housemaster's wife), Geoffrey Chater (as Chaplain), Ben Aris (as John Thomas, new schoolmaster), Graham Crowden (as History Master), Charles Lloyd Pack (as Classics Master), Tommy Godfrey (as School Porter)
(Seniors) Guy Ross, Robin Askwith
(Juniors) Rupert Webster, Richard Davies, Brian Pettifer, Michael Newport, Charles Sturridge, Sean Bury, Martin Beaumont
|From the original script "Crusaders" by David Sherwin and John Howlett|
|Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Robert Swann and Christine Noonan all receive "introducing" credits|
|Made in both Colour and Black and White. The film is predominantly in colour but some scenes are almost seemingly randomly presented in black and white.|
|This is the first film of a loose trilogy of Lindsay Anderson directed films in which Malcolm McDowell plays the same character of Mick Travis. The next two are O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982).|
|Writer: Peter Draper / Director/Producer: Michael Winner|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Andrew Quint is a successful advertising executive who has decided to completely change his life. He brings an axe to work and chops up his desk as his way of resigning. His boss Jonathan Lute considers Andrew his golden boy and is loathe to lose him since Andew's brilliance is his only hope of his company winning a prestigious creative advertising award. But Andrew has become fed up with the underhand and superficial work he is so good at. Andrew's next step is to ditch his two mistresses Josie and Susannah who complicate his life. Andrew is separated from his wife Louise although they are still on amicable terms but are having difficulty deciding whether they want to get divorced or not.
Andrew goes back to his roots and returns to the small literary magazine he helped set up in his Cambridge university days with his friend Nicholas who allows him to buy back into the business and become the assistant editor. He is introduced to the pretty new secretary Georgina Elben who confides in Andrew that she thinks Nicholas has lost his touch and the magazine is not the force it once was. The printer they use turns out to be Charles Maccabee, an old boy from Andrew's former school, who tells him that there is a reunion soon to mark the retirement of their old headmaster.
Andrew decides to go to the school reunion and invites Georgina to accompany him. At the reunion Andrew is confronted by an old gang of bullies led by Charles who still hold grudges and Andrew is beaten up. Georgina takes him back to her house-boat to tend to his bruises. Georgina is a happy friendly girl but has no confidence in herself with romantic involvements and although she finds Andrew attractive she doesn't want to sleep with him.
Andrew and Georgina share more time together on a business trip to Cambridge and are starting to fall in love with one another and they make plans to go away together for a weekend break as soon as possible. Upon Andrew's return from Cambridge Nicholas tells him that he's sold out his controlling share of the magazine for an offer he couldn't refuse. Andrew discovers his new boss is his old boss Jonathan Lute who is still determined to wield some influence over his former golden boy. Andrew relents and agrees to create a promotional film for the Lute Organisation's entry into the advertising award festival but intends to make something outrageously bad to embarrass Lute when it is shown.
While he is away filming Nicholas is drowning his sorrows with Georgina and then offers to drive her home - but in his drunken state he loses control of the car and Georgina is killed. When Andrew finds out his new girlfriend is dead he flies into a rage and lashes out at Nicholas. At the Creative Advertising Festival Andrew's film, advertising a brand of super-8 movie camera, is shown but his plan misfires and instead of being poorly received it is lauded as a unique and creatively inspired piece and he wins the award. Charles Maccabee is at the celebration party and Andrew gets the chance to take out all his frustrations on him when they have a big punch-up which he wins. Finally he throws his award into the Thames in commemoration of Georgina and as the film ends he is making plans to join Lute's main rival and possibly get back with his wife.
|Starring:||Oliver Reed (as Andrew Quint), Carol White (as Georgina Elben), Orson Welles (as Jonathan Lute), Wendy Craig (as Louise Quint, Andrew's wife)|
|Featuring:||Marianne Faithfull (Josie, Andrew's mistress), Lyn Ashley (as Susannah, Andrew's mistress), Norman Rodway (Nicholas), Ann Lynn (as Carla, Nicholas' wife), Harry Andrews (as Gerald Sater, University tutor), Harvey Hall (as Charles Maccabee), Michael Hordern (as School Headmaster), Frank Finlay (as School Chaplain), Edward Fox (as Walter, Andrew's friend)|
|The momentary Carol White topless nudity is seen in the full screen version but is cropped below the frame in the letterboxed version.|
|The reason for the strange title is not very clear - for instance is Oliver Reed the "I" or the "what's 'isname" ? That unknown is only cleared up in the film's trailer in which the voiceover continually refers to Oliver Reed as "what's 'isname" although quite why he's being referred to like this isn't at all obvious in the trailer and certainly not in the film and it's still not clear who the "I" is supposed to be.|
|aka: Sex Ray|
|Writer: David McGillivary / Director: Joseph McGrath / Producer: Malcolm Fancey|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 59 mins|
|Jon Pigeon works as a janitor at the Hildebrad Institute for Sexual Stimulation and Research. In his spare time Pigeon has cobbled together a machine he calls "Agnes" which omits high frequency sound waves which he discovers have an aphrodisiacal effect on anyone exposed to them. He wants to use it to his own ends to have his way with his boss's secretary Cheryl whom he fancies. Helped by his teddy-boy assistant Keith, Pigeon refines the device to a handheld version and runs several successful tests but when his boss S J Nutbrown finds out he and the institute's benefactor Mr Hildebrand set out to steal the Audio Aphrodisiac device and claim it as their own invention at the International Sex Research Congress. But they accidentally reprogram it to cause fighting instead of loving and are exposed as frauds and Pigeon is made head of the Research Institute with Nutbrown demoted to being his chauffeur.|
|Starring:||Barry Andrews (as Jon Pigeon) James Booth (as Nutbrown), Billy Hamon (as Keith)|
|Featuring:||Sally Faulkner (as Cheryl), Ben Aris (as Mr Hildebrand)|
|Familiar Faces:||Brian Murphy (brief cameo), Graham Stark, Rita Webb, Mike Grady|
|Starlets:||Katya Wyeth, Sally Harrison, Gennie Nevinson, Juliette King, Jo Peters, Suzanne Bass, Bobby Sparrow, Glenda Allen, Jean Collins, Mary Millington (credited as Mary Maxted), Heather Deeley, Pat Astley|
|Also:||(at party when device is being tested resulting in a free-for-all - some, maybe most, of the guests had some nudity - but hard to say who is who) Monika Ringwald, Lindy Benson, Caroline Davies, Eva Lewis, Denise Denny, Laurie Goode, Andee Cromarty (all credited as Party Guests)|
|Writer/Director: Robert Altman / Producer: Tommy Thompson|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Cathryn is a married woman who has begun to see and hear things that are not really there. She is aware of what might be happening but cannot always tell reality from imagination as they both seem just as real. Her husband Hugh sees that she is having some sort of emotional problem and they decide to go away to their country residence at Green Cove to help her relax and recover.
Cathryn's condition continues to deteriorate and she starts to have visions of her former husband Rene who died three years ago in a plane crash - she knows that he cannot really be there because he is dead but he seems so real and tangible - she can touch him and have conversations and she even begins to doubt he really died and maybe he survived somehow and has come back - but Hugh remains unaware of his presence in the house so she feels reasonably certain Rene is imaginary. Some neighbours come by for a visit - Marcel and his 12-year-old daughter Susannah. Marcel and Cathryn once had an affair and he is still keen on her trying it on whenever he gets her alone. She also sees imaginary versions of herself in the distance watching her.
She has sex with Marcel but is fairly certain it is with an imaginary version of himself. Rene still turns up and he suggests she shoots him if she wants him to stay dead - so she gets Hugh's shotgun and blasts him in the chest. He falls to the floor mortally injured and remains dead - she appears pleased she has found a way of ridding herself of the imaginary people. Hugh has to go back to the city on business but will return again in a couple of days time when she should collect him from the station but says he will get a lift from a neighbour if he gets home any earlier. While he's gone she decides to kill the imaginary Marcel too and stabs him in the chest when he is taking off his shirt for more sex. She then becomes unsure if she's killed the real Marcel by mistake as it's all so real and his body is still there the next morning - did the real Marcel come by after all to take advantage of Hugh's absence? The viewer shares this doubt for some time until it is revealed that it was indeed the false version she killed. And this rids her of further visits from imaginary Marcel.
Her next target is the imaginary version of herself and next day while she is out driving she sees a man tending a broken down car and then a bit further along is herself trying to hitch a lift. She seizes her chance and runs the woman off the cliff top road with the car so the woman falls to her death. She then drives back to the city to be with Hugh pleased that she has cured herself of her imaginary demons. But while she is having a shower the imaginary Cathryn walks in still "alive" and Cathryn suddenly realises it wasn't her she ran off the road - it was her early returning husband Hugh who was walking along after the neighbours car had broken down - and we then see his dead and broken body laying at the bottom of the cliffs.
|Starring:||Susannah York (as Cathryn), Rene Auberjonois (as Hugh), Marcel Bozzuffi (as Rene), Hugh Millais (as Marcel), Cathryn Harrison (as Susannah)|
|Writers: Tonino Guerra, Lucile Laks / Director: Peter Wood / Producers: Joseph Janni, Daniele Senatore|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 89 mins|
|Catherine Morelli is a young independent woman who lives in Italy away from her family home in Switzerland. She has chosen to break away so she can live her own life and as a result she has not been home for quite some time. Her father is getting re-married and he sends an audio message inviting her to attend the wedding but does not insist upon it knowing the issues she has. He embellishes his message with family news which includes mention of a houseguest called Gregory who is currently staying with them. Gregory is the American son of a friend of her father's whom her father makes sound like a thoroughly entertaining and fun guy. Catherine is charmed by the tales but nevertheless declines the invite.
But nearer to the actual date Catherine impulsively decides to go home to Switzerland for the wedding after all and also to meet this fascinating sounding Gregory. When she arrives unannounced back at the family home Gregory is not there and her brother Daniel is not sure where he has gone. Daniel is an agoraphobic loafer who rarely leaves the house and so Catherine is amazed to hear him tell her the amusing story of how Gregory managed to persuade him to venture forth and have a day out learning to drive in Gregory's sports car. Catherine knows what a rare achievement that is with her rather lethargic brother and she becomes even keener to meet the unique man who can pull that feat off so effortlessly. She is also interested to learn that Gregory had seemed very eager to meet her when Daniel had talked about her and shown him a photo. Catherine imagines Gregory as a handsomely heroic and charismatic figure when she visualises the warmly-told stories of his activities related to her by family members. (This is the Gregory we see on screen during the flashback stories).
But as the days roll on and Gregory does not show up Catherine begins to wonder if this great personality is not some conspiratorial fictional invention dreamed by her family to lure her back to Geneva for the wedding. When Gregory does not even turn up on the wedding day itself Catherine becomes morosely affected by disappointment in the wake of the great sense of giddy expectation she had invested in the prospect of finally meeting him.
After the wedding Catherine abruptly leaves to go back to Italy but calls from the airport to let her brother know she has gone. Daniel simultaneously receives a call from Gregory who is also at the airport - all this time he has been in Italy searching for Catherine because of the stories he had been told about her and has just arrived back. He had been intending to persuade her to come to Switzerland for the wedding because he had been so keen to meet her unaware that she had chosen to go to Geneva after all.
We soon realise that Catherine and Gregory are calling from adjacent phone booths at the airport. But they go their separate ways without realising that they had been within feet of the person they had spent the last few days yearning to meet. (We never see the real Gregory's face).
|Starring:||Julie Christie (as Catherine Morelli), John Hurt (as Daniel, Catherine's brother), Adolfo Celi (as Max, Catherine's father), Michael Sarrazin (as Gregory Mulvey, Catherine's interpretation of him in flashbacks), Paola Pitagora (as Nicole, Max's new wife)|
|Adaptation by Ken Levison|
|Writer: Lowell S. Hawley / Director: Robert Stevenson / Associate Producer: Hugh Attwooll|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 94 mins|
|It is 1858 and siblings Mary and Robert Grant are on a mission to find their missing father. Captain Grant was the skipper of the sea vessel Britannia which was reported lost at sea several years ago and he was believed dead. But recently the orphaned children were contacted by a jolly Frenchman named Jacques Paganel who discovered a message in a bottle from Captain Grant indicating that he made it to land. Unfortunately the note had deteriorated but Jacques believes he has been able to decipher enough of what remains to determine the captain's approximate location.
The Grant children make a personal appeal to Lord Glenaryan who owned the Britannia to mount an expedition to search for their father. Lord Glenaryan eventually agrees and so he and his son John along with Mary, Robert and Jacques set sail to follow the clues contained in the message.
All they know is the latitude position and so they decide to follow the 37th parallel until they find him - starting in the South Americas because the message mentioned "Indians". Their trek takes them over mountainous terrain and through snowy regions and deserts where they experience many dangers such as earthquakes and flash floods.
They eventually realise they have interpreted the message incorrectly and they should have been in the Indian Ocean. They set off to Australia and in Melbourne they meet a man called Thomas Ayerton who claims to know the exact position the Britannia went down and that Captain Grant is being held prisoner by the Maoris in New Zealand. Ayerton brings on board cargo crates which he says he will use to barter for the release of the Captain.
But once at sea Ayerton is revealed as a gun-runner and pirate and the crates are full of weaponry. It was he who hi-jacked the Britannia and set Captain Grant and his officers adrift and now he does the same to the five adventurers. After days adrift at the mercy of the Pacific currents Lord Glenarvan & co are washed ashore in New Zealand and captured by a cannibalistic Maori tribe. They are imprisoned and find themselves locked up with one of the former Britannia crewmen called Bill Gaye who was cast adrift with Captain Grant. He has news of the children's father. They mount a daring escape from the tribe which involves them triggering a lava flow from an active volcano. Bill Gaye leads them to a cove where they find Captain Grant who is being been forced to negotiate with Ayerton for weaponry on behalf of the Maoris.
The heroes retake Lord Glenarvan's vessel and defeat Ayerton and his men when they come back aboard. Captain Grant and his children have a happy reunion.
|Comment: Another plot element throughout the epic expedition is a budding teenage romance between Mary and Lord Glenarvan's son John.|
|Starring:||Maurice Chevalier (as Jacques Paganel), Hayley Mills (as Mary Grant), Wilfrid Hyde White (as Lord Glenarvan), Michael Anderson Jr (as John Glenarvan, Lord's teenage son), Keith Hamshere (as Robert Grant, Mary's brother), George Sanders (as Thomas Ayerton, villain)|
|Featuring:||Wilfrid Brambell (as Bill Gaye, imprisoned crewman), Jack Gwillim (as Captain Grant, children's father)|
|Familiar Faces:||Ronald Fraser (as Dockyard Guard), Norman Bird (as Ship's officer)|
|Based on a novel by Jules Verne|
|Writer: John Osborne (from his own play)/ Director: Anthony Page / Producer: Ronald Kinnoch|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Bill Maitland is the head of a small firm of solicitors at which his increasingly caustic and contemptuous attitude to his staff is fast alienating them. He voices his biting and sarcastic comments upon them without thought or care, subjecting anyone to his scornful view of the world. He regularly has affairs with the secretaries although that is usually short-lived. Even his most serene and even-tempered employee Wally Hudson is considering changing jobs to get away from him.
Bill's home life is no better - his second wife Anna puts up with him even though she knows he has affairs; and his teenage daughter Jane will barely even talk to him. The only person Bill seems able to relate to and relax with in good-humour is his mistress Liz Eaves - but even then he fits in visits to her only when it suits him and the rest of the time is pursuing some after hours nooky with the new young receptionist Joy.
Bill's self-centred conceit and impatience with things in general is quickly turning everyone against him although he fails to comprehend this until he takes on some divorce and importuning cases and recognises painful aspects of himself in the hard-luck stories they tell him. But he is unable to change as his life begins to disintegrate around him and even Liz abandons him.
Bill's arrogance has even extended to his professional activities and he thinks nothing of paying witnesses to lie if it is the only way to get his clients off - a tactic he openly admits to without concern. But now his misdemeanours have caught up with him and he is investigated by the law society and arrested.
|Comment: The film begins with him in the dock of a court hearing the charge laid against him and then we see the events that lead up to this - so we know in advance that he is going to be arrested for something. The only odd thing is the charge read out doesn't seem to obviously relate to anything we see him doing unless it's an archaic terminology for a "perverting the course of justice" type of crime. The charge was "unlawfully and knowingly publishing and have made known a wicked, bawdy and scandalous object intended to corrupt the morals of allegiant subjects of our lady the Queen".|
|Starring:||Nicol Williamson (as Bill Maitland), Eleanor Fazan (as Anna Maitland, Bill's wife), Jill Bennett (as Liz Eaves, Bill's mistress), Peter Sallis (as Wally Hudson, Bill's junior at work), Gillian Hills (as Joy, office receptionist)|
|Featuring:||Eileen Atkins (as Shirley, office secretary), David Valla (as Jones, Hudson's office colleague), Ingrid Brett (as Jane, Bill's teenage daughter), Isabel Dean (as Mrs Garnsey, divorce case client), Clare Kelly (as Mrs Anderson, divorce case client), John Normington (as John Maples, homosexual importuning case client), John Savident and Hilary Hardiman (as Bruce and Wendy Watson, dinner party hosts)|
|Familiar Faces:||June Brown (Dinner party guest)|
|Starlets:||Pamela Papworth (as Strip Club Dancer, no dialogue role)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: Julian More / Director: Michael Burrowes / Producer: Graham Harris|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 78 mins|
|Richard Fountain, a brilliant young Oxford don who is an expert on Greek Mythology, has gone missing in Greece while conducting research for a book on Menayan Rites. A group of his friends that include Penelope his fiancée-to-be, and two male college pals, Tony and Bob, travel to Greece to try and find him. There they team up with Derek, the local British attaché. They are told by the Greek police that Richard is wanted as a suspect after being linked to a series of grisly murders around the islands that occurred while he was known to be in the area. The Greek police agree that the friends can search for him on the condition that they remove him from the country immediately. Amid tales of ancient religious cults and strange blood curses that pervade the island's culture, the friends track him down to a ruined fort on a high mountain pass where he is being kept in a trance-like state by a mysterious woman called Chriseis who feeds on her victims' blood. In a struggle the woman appears to have died and the friends return to England with Richard.
Seemingly fully recovered Richard resumes his life as an Oxford professor but one night believes he hears the voice of the woman Chriseis and his personality begins to change. The next day he is giving a speech at a grand dinner to mark Oxford's quincentenary and makes a controversial out-of-character speech attacking academia and becomes progressively unhinged until he flees from the halls pursued by fiancée Penelope. In his rooms he bites her neck and kills her and then is chased out onto the roofs by Bob where in a momentary return to sanity Richard throws himself off the roof impaling himself on some railings below.
|Comment: It is a very dull film without any inherent charm and as a horror is not at all deserving of the dramatically intense sounding title it is bestowed with. Even the talents of Peter Cushing, Patrick Macnee and Patrick Mower fail to make anything worthwhile out of this one.|
|Starring:||Patrick Macnee (as Derek), Alex Davion (as Tony), Johnny Sekka (as Bob), Madeleine Hinde (as Penelope), Patrick Mower (as Richard Fountain)|
|Featuring:||Peter Cushing (as Penelope's father and provost of Lancaster college, Oxford)|
|Familiar Faces:||Edward Woodward, David Lodge, William Mervyn, John Barron|
|Starlets:||Imogen Hassall (as Chriseis, the vampire woman), Valerie Van Ost, Françoise Pascal|
|Although completed in 1971 the film was not released until 1976|
|Writer: Ruth Wolff / Director: Richard Fleischer / Producer: Helen M. Strauss|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 105 mins|
|Based on a true story. Starting in Paris in the 1860s Sarah Bernhardt is a young woman with a burning ambition to become, not just an actress, but the greatest actress who ever lived! She attends open auditions for a job at the Comédie-Française theatre company and is accepted. But her ambitions get the better of her too soon and she tries to upstage the principal actress and behave as if she knows better than her director and promptly walks out expecting them to beg her to return - but they don't.
With her ambitions shattered Sarah feels like she wants to die and becomes very lethargic. Concerned about her welfare a friend of her mothers arranges an introduction for her at the Theatre De L'Odeon where the director is persuaded, despite her poor reputation, to give her a chance. Sarah's early days at L'Odeon do not go well and she suffers crippling stage fright at first giving dreadful performances and she feels humiliated.
She meets Belgium Prince Henri De Ligne and they have a romantic affair but they break up when she declines to give up her acting career to come and live with him and be a princess insisting it should be he who comes to live with her in Paris - their relationship ends.
Sarah is given another chance at L'Odeon and she is now more confident and starts to receive rave reviews for her performances - before long she has become a top-billed performer. Every playwright in Europe starts sending in manuscripts hoping she will choose their play to perform.
There is an enforced break in her career when the French Emperor declares war on Prussia and Sarah becomes a nurse but afterwards Sarah gets straight back to acting. Sarah's great success has made her somewhat prima donna-ish and she has begun to find the need to perform night after night somewhat wearisome and seeks a new challenge. This comes when she is offered the chance to tour England putting on plays of her choice. In England she meets up again with an ex-Greek attaché called Damala whom she briefly met in Paris and whose company she had enjoyed. They start an affair and because he is seeking a new profession Sarah uses her influence to get him a part in her productions although he has no great talent as an actor. However Damala had been the companion of a young actress in the troupe called Marie and she has become riled at having her suitor taken from her by Sarah and has taken her revenge by sending scathing journalistic reports back to a French newspaper exposing Sarah's mercenary attitudes.
When Sarah returns home she finds her life has been scandalised as a woman of low morals and despite her fame and talent she has become a public pariah that no theatre director will employ. So Sarah buys a derelict theatre of her own and renovates it starting her own company of players. On opening night the auditorium is full of people out to make trouble and she is advised not to go on stage. But Sarah boldly steps out to the jeering and performs through the barracking until by the end of the play she has completely turned things around and totally captivated the audience with the power of her performance and receives rapturous ovation once more.
|Comment: And here is where the film ends with her being a resounding success once again. This would have been in about 1899. She was considered one of the greatest actresses of her time and toured the world. She died in 1923 at the age of 79.|
|Starring:||Glenda Jackson (as Sarah Bernhardt), John Castle (as Aristide Damala, Greek embassy attaché), Simon Williams (Henri de Ligne, Belgian prince), Peter Sallis (as Thierry, director of Comédie-Française), Douglas Wilmer (as Montigny, director of Theatre De L'Odeon), Daniel Massey (as Victorien Sardou, playwright)|
|Featuring:||Bridget Armstrong (as Marie Carambier, actress), Yvonne Mitchell (as Sarah's lady-maid), Edward Judd (as Jarrett, English theatre promoter), Margaret Courtenay (as Madame Nathalie, principal actress at Comédie-Française)|
|Writer: James Mitchell / Director: Peter Collinson / Producer: George H. Brown|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Mr Loombes, the head of the British Secret Service's elite Department K receives a request from his American counterpart, the head of Group 3. The Americans are trying to track down a Russian scientist called Aaron Kaplan who escaped from a Russian prison camp in Siberia. Kaplan is an agronomist who has devised an irrigation method that will transform desert regions with a cheap process to remove the salt from seawater. The Russians appropriated his research notes and locked him up so his techniques would not become known to the West whilst they put a team of experts to work to develop Kaplan's experimental theories. But now that Kaplan has managed to escape, the Americans are very interested in recruiting him. However his whereabouts are unknown and the mission is to locate him before the Russians recapture or kill him. Unfortunately all of Group 3's best agents are known to the Russians and Loombes is asked if he can provide one of his top Department K agents for the job.
Loombes is a chillingly calculating man with no scruples or loyalty to his own agents. He uses his people as pawns who can be lied to and sacrificed without hesitation once they have passed their peak. Such an agent is John Craig, still one of the department's top men but starting to slow down with age and become bettered by younger agents in speed and agility tests - although not necessarily in determination and professionalism. Craig recently bungled an operation and Loombes offers him this one last chance to redeem himself or it is a desk job from here on - no one ever leaves the employ of this department once they've signed up, unless they die.
Loombes tells Craig he is the prime agent on the mission with two other agents called Joanna Benson and Andrew Royce working as a decoy team independently of him to draw off the KGB executioners. However he tells Royce and Benson the same thing except that it is Craig who is the decoy. Craig and Royce have a bitter rivalry and animosity between them and neither would be upset to see the other perish. Royce sees Craig standing in his way of being the top rated agent and Craig sees Royce as being too close to taking his place.
Craig heads off to America to follow the only lead. Miriam Loman is an American woman whose guardian is Kaplan's brother Marcus who emigrated to the States as a child. Craig abducts Miriam to force Marcus Kaplan into revealing what he knows about his brother's whereabouts. The only clue he can offer is a cryptic postcard he received from a region of Turkey with a bible quote and a picture of a shepherd.
Craig takes Miriam with him so she can identify Aaron Kaplan when they find him and they both head for Turkey. Royce and Benson are ahead of them having already questioned Marcus on the same matter but Craig's information is better having gotten more details due to his threatening of Miriam. At first Miriam is scared of Craig but after several days in his company begins to respect him and they start to become closer and share a bed as lovers.
Eventually they track down Aaron, beating the rival pair of British agents to the quarry which infuriates Royce who is then bettered by Craig in a standoff and swears he will kill him one day. Loombes gives new orders that the three of them should now work together to protect Aaron Kaplan from the KGB assassins. They hide out in a villa in Cyprus which then comes under sustained attack from two KGB agents. Craig calculatingly gives Royce an order which will draw the enemy fire and as Craig hopes Royce is killed in the attempt. Then Craig swings into action and single-handedly defeats the two Russian agents and saves the day.
With Kaplan in his custody Craig makes a deal with Loombes for his safe delivery if he is paid £100,000 and allowed to leave the service and fly to Frankfurt. Loombes agrees because he needs the scientist to pass on to the Americans in exchange for vital intelligence they are providing in return - but in his underhand way Loombes notifies the German authorities that Craig is to be arrested upon landing accused of stealing the money. But Craig is one-step ahead of his untrustworthy boss and having anticipated the double-cross is actually on a flight to a completely different destination.
|Starring:||Stanley Baker (as John Craig, Dept K agent), Geraldine Chaplin (as Miriam Loman), Donald Pleasence (as Loombes, Head of Dept K, British Secret Service), Sue Lloyd (as Joanna Benson, Dept K agent), Derren Nesbitt (as Andrew Royce, Dept K agent)|
|Featuring:||Warren Mitchell (as Omar, Turkish hotel owner), Vladek Sheybal (as Aaron Kaplan, Russian scientist), Dana Andrews (as Blake, Head of Group 3, American Secret Service), Ferdy Mayne (as Marcus Kaplan, Aaron's brother)|
|The title comes from a line in the film in which Craig tells Miriam that it is best not to be an innocent bystander because it is always they who end up getting hurt.|
|Writers: William Archibald, Truman Capote / Director/Producer: Jack Clayton|
|Type: Chiller||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Set in the early 1900s-ish. A young woman called Miss Giddens is given the job of being governess to two young orphan children at a large country estate house in Blye. Their uncle who acts as guardian conducts his business in London and tells Miss Giddens that as a condition of her employment he wants no part in the children's day-to-day lives and all decisions big or small must be made by her. She is told that the previous governess Miss Jessel died about a year ago and since then the boy Miles has been at boarding school and the girl Flora has been left in the care of the housekeeper Mrs Grose.
Miss Giddens arrives and finds Flora to be a charming and angelic little girl with intelligent, engaging chatter to go with her sweet disposition. Any qualms Miss Giddens had about the difficulty of this engagement are quickly put aside by the friendly reception. Soon they receive a letter saying that Miles has been expelled from school because of some unspecified misdemeanour but when the boy arrives he makes no mention of it and is in fact as charming and polite as his sister and Miss Giddens begins to think the letter must have been some sort of mistake.
Before long however Miss Giddens starts to see things - she notices a strange man watching the house and sometimes in the distance she spots a mournful looking woman dressed in black - but no one else sees them. The reunited siblings are forever whispering together and Miss Giddens wonders if they are playing some sort of unpleasant joke on her - but an instinct informs her that there is something indecent at work and the children are in deadly peril.
Miss Giddens asks Mrs Grose about the previous governess Miss Jessel and at first the housekeeper is reluctant to talk about her but eventually is forthcoming with some sordid details. Miss Jessel and the groundsman Mr Quint had been having an affair. Quint was a common but strangely compelling man whom the children worshipped and followed around everywhere to hear his tall-tales and homespun wisdom. But Quint had a violently cruel side as well and he exercised his magnetic dominance over Miss Jessel until she became a slave to his whims permitting him all sorts of indignities upon her person so that she could be with him as a woman. Mrs Grose fears the children may have witnessed some of this cruel animalistic behaviour which may have corrupted their views of right and wrong and human relationships. When Quint died of some sort of accident Miss Jessel went into inconsolable mourning and eventually died of drowning in the river presumably by the taking of her own life.
Upon hearing this story Miss Giddens believes the two figures she sees are the spectres of that tragic couple who are still exerting their corrupting influence on the children and causing them to behave in secretive ways that Miss Giddens cannot penetrate because of their charming all-innocent demeanours. Miss Giddens is convinced that if she can get the children to talk about them it will release the hold and the spirits will disappear. Her first attempts with Flora prove disastrous and leave the girl screaming uncontrollably - but Miss Giddens hopes it will be the saving of her - Mrs Grose is instructed to take her away from the place to separate the two children.
Miss Giddens then concentrates on getting Miles to acknowledge the truth about Quint and face off the terrible memories of those days he must have. Miles is precocious and intellectually a match for Miss Giddens and proves unwilling to let the memories of the man he hero-worshipped go and accuses Miss Giddens in turn of being paranoid. The spectre of Mr Quint looms large over their conversations until at last Miss Giddens manages to get Miles to say his name and the Quint spectre is gone. Miles collapses and Miss Giddens cradles him thinking she has defeated the evil and Miles will recover and become a normal little boy - but then she realises that Miles has simply just died. Miss Giddens cries for the young innocent whom she only ever wanted to help and not harm.
|Comment: It's a good film but the sense of overriding menace that Miss Giddens feels in the children does not come across - the children are never seen to be doing anything evil and sometimes it seems as if Miss Giddens is neurotically overreacting to some imagined problem. Possibly this is intentional to make the audience wonder if Miss Giddens is going mad.|
|Starring:||Deborah Kerr (as Miss Giddens), Megs Jenkins (as Mrs Grose, housekeeper), Martin Stephens (as Miles), Pamela Franklin (as Flora)|
|Featuring:||Michael Redgrave (as The Uncle, [appears in opening scene only]), Peter Wyngarde (as Peter Quint, groundsman [cameo, only seen as a ghostly face at window, no dialogue]), Clytie Jessop (as Miss Jessel, previous governess [cameo, only seen from a distance in black mourning clothes])|
|Made in Black and White. Additional scenes & dialogue by John Mortimer|
|Based on the novel The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A prequel to the book (and therefore this film) was made called The Nightcomers (1972) which told the full backstory of the relationship between the children's first governess Miss Jessel and the groundsman Quint whilst they were alive.|
|aka: Horror Planet|
|Writers: Nick and Gloria Maley / Director: Norman J. Warren / Producers: Richard Gordon, David Speechley|
|Type: Sci-Fi / Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|In distant space many years in the future, a team of 12 archaeologists and scientists are conducting a survey of a once-populated alien planet researching the reasons why the indigenous race there became extinct. The scientists are working from a research centre previously constructed for them and they have uncovered a vast tomb-like complex with carved inscriptions adorning the walls. The outside temperature on the planet is 89 degrees below zero and the atmosphere unbreathable so they need heated spacesuits when outside the base. Two of the scientists are injured in an explosion after finding some glowing crystals and are brought back to sickbay. One scientist is in a coma but the other appears to recover - but some time afterwards he starts to go crazy and behave irrationally resulting in a death and is eventually killed himself.
Back in the caves to gather additional crystals two more of the scientists are attacked by a creature. The male scientist is killed, but the woman, Sandy, is taken to a secret laboratory where she is forcibly artificially inseminated with some alien fluids. She wakes up again in her own sickbay and the base-doctor discovers she is two months pregnant. The female Commander can't understand this because although sex isn't forbidden all the women are given compulsory contraceptive injections.
At first Sandy appears to be otherwise unaffected but she soon starts to experience pains in her head and gets an overriding feeling that she needs to protect herself and her unborn baby from any possible harm which includes her fellow scientists whose concern for her might put her in a vulnerable position. So she starts killing the scientists one-by-one with a ruthless dispassion and also feels an overwhelming urge to feed on their entrails to provide her with needed sustenance as the gestation advances with incredible swiftness. Sandy also exhibits much-increased strength and cunning as she plots and plans booby-traps to ensnare the others who are now out to kill her to save their own lives. She is even able to survive unprotected in the freezing conditions outside the centre and breathe its poison atmosphere. At times Sandy appears confused and cannot understand what she is doing or what is happening to her, but the alien influence over her has too firm a grip on her to sway her from her murderous mission.
As this continues the numbers become markedly reduced until with only three besides her of the original twelve remaining alive, Sandy's pregnancy reaches its super-swift full term and alone in a cave she gives painful birth to two alien babies. Sandy then leaves them sleeping to deal with more of the surviving scientists. When she returns she discovers her babies have been abducted by one of the men who doubled back and she goes into a rage. Her former lover Mark is the one who took them and he is laying in wait and the two of them have a final decisive fight in which Mark manages to finally kill her. Thinking it to be all over, Mark returns to the sickbay to where the babies are being looked after by Sharon, the one other remaining scientist - but he finds her dead, being eaten by one of the alien baby-creatures - and then he looks round and the other creature is about to pounce on him.... (end of main story - and some versions of the film end here).
Epilogue. A month later a rescue craft is despatched to discover why no contact has been made with the base for so long. They discover everyone dead and prepare to leave not realising that the two alien creatures have stowed away in their craft.
|Comment: One thing I never worked out was why, when Sandy is being impregnated, she at first sees Dr Karl in the room giving her an injection. This never seems to be adequately explained and there is no grand revelation that he was working in league with the aliens.|
|Starring:||(The scientists) Judy Geeson (as Sandy), Jennifer Ashley (as Holly McKay, commander), Robin Clarke (as Mark), Stephanie Beacham (as Kate Carson, documentation officer), Steven Grives (as Gary), Barry Houghton (as Karl, the doctor), Heather Wright (as Sharon), Trevor Thomas (as Mitch)|
|Featuring:||(more scientists, smaller parts) Rosalind Lloyd (as Gail), Victoria Tennant (as Barbra), David Baxt (as Ricky Williams), Dominic Jephcott (as Dean White)|
(Epilogue Rescue Team) John Segal, Kevin O'Shea, Robert Pugh
|Writer/Producer: Judd Bernard / Director: Peter Duffell|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 93 mins|
|Set in the present day (1975). A former Prisoner Of War camp commandant called Ernst Furben makes contact in London with one of his former prisoners, American Harry Morgan. Furben has an intriguing proposition and has approached Morgan because he remembers his former charge's tenacity and ingenuity in his escape attempts during the war. Before Furben had become a commandant he had been in charge of a convoy carrying stolen gold bullion which was then relinquished to SS personnel and hidden by them on orders of German High Command. The SS commander was called Reinhold Holtz who is now a war criminal prisoner in the maximum-security Sigfreid prison in West Germany administered by the Americans. The gold was never recovered after the war and has been forgotten about and Holtz is the only one who would know where it was hidden. Its current value would be about $6 million and Furben wants Morgan to gather together a team to get into Sigfreid prison and temporarily liberate Holtz so they can learn from him the location of the gold.
Morgan assembles a team of his old friends and using guile and brazen effrontery posing as American top brass they manage to bypass the meticulous security arrangements and enter the prison by accompanying the daily medical visitor whom they are blackmailing and has agreed to cooperate. They drug Holtz and use disguises to make the doctor resemble Holtz and vice-versa and then walk the still woozy Holtz out under the guards' unsuspecting noses.
Morgan's team then place Holtz into a situation mock-up of Adolf Hitler's war room, and with one of the team posing as Hitler himself, confuse the ageing soldier into believing it is still war time and his fuehrer is commanding him to divulge the secret location. The ruse works and they learn that the gold was stored in an air raid shelter at Horst's own summerhouse. But unfortunately its location is in what is now Soviet run East Germany - so they next have to travel across the border still posing as American top brass on a diplomatic pass. They are further set back when they discover that the former air raid shelter has had a garage complex built above it and so they pose as bomb disposal experts as a cover for the digging work they need to do. There are some complications with a local Russian commander who wants a share when he discovers what they are doing, but eventually they retrieve the gold and get it back to the West. Then they exchange back the prisoner Horst for the doctor in a reversal of their earlier swap and successfully complete the operation, sell the gold, and each take a sizeable share of the proceeds.
|Starring:||(The gang) Telly Savalas (as Harry Morgan), Robert Culp (as Sly Wells, American jail breaking expert), James Mason (as Ernst Furben, former German POW camp commandant), Aldo Ray (as Master Sergeant William Prior, former POW, now a guard at Sigfreid), Doris Kunstmann (as Erika Kurtz, nurse working with gang)|
|Featuring:||Adrian Hoven (as Dr Maar, physician who visits Holtz for his daily medical whom gang are blackmailing into assisting them), Wolfgang Lukschy (as Reinhard Holtz, War criminal held at Sigfreid)|
|Writers: Tom Waldman, Frank Waldman / Director: Bud Yorkin / Producer: Lewis J. Rachmil|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Following a massive well-planned robbery, the British prime minister holds a crisis meeting with Scotland Yard's commissioner of police. It is thought there might be a traitor in the upper-echelons of the police who is part of the criminal gang and so it is decided the best course of action is to bring in an outsider to run the investigation. The man they pick is the famous French detective - Inspector Jacques Clouseau.
Clouseau is given the full facilities of Scotland Yard and Special Branch under the liaison of Superintendent Weaver. The only information available is that the gang are led by a mystery mastermind who uses the name of Johnny Rainbow.
Clouseau is a bumbling fool who achieves results more by accident than anything - but because of those past achievements he is considered by the underworld as a very dangerous opponent who clearly must use his air of ineptitude to disguise a keenly honed detective's instinct (although that is not in fact the case - he really is inept).
Johnny Rainbow decides to use Clouseau's reputation against him. His gang manage to get Clouseau unconscious in a honey-trap and take a plaster cast of his face from which they construct multiple "Clouseau" masks. They then let it be publicly known that the Rainbow gang intend to rob one of the big banks in Switzerland. Superintendent Weaver is revealed (to the viewer) as the gang's inside man who lends legitimacy to the proposed countermeasures in a meeting with the top Swiss financiers who are greatly concerned about their security given the formidable reputation of the gang. Posing as Clouseau, Johnny Rainbow tells the assembled bank presidents that when it is known which specific bank the gang are targeting he will personally come to that bank and take all of their money into safekeeping so that the vault will be empty when the crooks arrive - thus foiling their efforts. The bank presidents agree to this proposal putting their faith in Inspector Clouseau's reputation.
Then on the day of the robbery each of the gang members simultaneously disguise themselves as Clouseau and tell each separate bank that they are the target and with the bank president's prior authorisation each are allowed to remove all the bank's money into an armoured van. The gang then rendezvous at a confectionery factory with their takings and use the machinery to wrap each wad of currency notes in chocolate bar wrappers and load them on board a barge which they plan to sail down the Rheine to get it out of the country.
When the scale of the robbery is discovered the real Inspector Clouseau is arrested for being the criminal mastermind behind the audacious operation. He has been making scant progress in his investigation and is utterly confused by the latest development. Clouseau is eventually vindicated when Weaver's involvement is revealed and he goes after the gang alone only to be captured and imprisoned on the barge along with a young female Interpol agent called Lisa Morell who was earlier taken prisoner when she had unwisely expressed her suspicions of Weaver to Weaver himself while he was disguised as Clouseau.
Clouseau uses a laser gadget he was given by Special Branch to burn a hole in the barge's hull and sink it and the river police arrive arrest the floundered gang and Clouseau and Lisa escape.
|Starring:||Alan Arkin (as Inspector Jacques Clouseau), Frank Finlay (as Superintendent Weaver, British police), Clive Francis (as Johnny Rainbow, gang leader)|
|Featuring:||Patrick Cargill (as Commissioner Sir Charles Braithwaite, Scotland Yard chief ), Delia Boccardo (as Lt. Lisa Morell, Interpol agent), Beryl Reid (as Mrs Weaver, superintendent's wife), Barry Foster (as Addison Steele, gang member), Michael Ripper (as Steve Frey, gang member), Tutte Lemkow (as Frenchy LeBec, gang member), Arthur Lovegrove (as Innkeeper)|
|Familiar Faces:||Geoffrey Bayldon (as Factory watchman)|
|Starlets:||Katya Wyeth (as Meg, girl at inn, [credited as Kathja Wyeth]), Tracey Crisp (as Julie, girl at inn)|
|Based on a character created by Maurice Richlin and Blake Edwards|
|Delia Boccardo receives an "introducing" credit|
|This is a lesser-known Inspector Clouseau film and the only one that had an actor other than Peter Sellers playing the lead role (until more recent times). It comes between the second and third Sellers' films A Shot in the Dark (1964) and The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)|
|Writers: S.C. Green, R.M. Hills / Director: Robert Asher / Producer: Hugh Stewart|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 98 mins|
|The British Secret Service have received word that a valuable double agent named Major Cavendish has died in the middle of an operation to uncover a plan by evil organisation Schlecht who wish to destabilise East/West relations by sabotaging some important trade talks in London. MI5 boss Colonel Grant is briefing his staff including the very junior Ernie Sage. Schlecht do not know Cavendish is dead and think he is an assassin working on their side - they do not even know what he looks like.
Later when Ernie is having coffee at a Spanish themed café the lively proprietor Eric is contacted by a Schlecht agent when he unwittingly gives a codeword and the agent tells him to be at the Cosmopolitan Hotel later. Eric is perplexed and mentions the strange message to his other customer Ernie (they are unknown to each other at this point). Ernie recalls his boss's briefing and realises that this café owner has been mistaken for Major Cavendish and he persuades Eric to come back to headquarters for a briefing.
Eric is not brave and has no real idea of what they are all going on about when they ask him to pose as Cavendish and make contact with the Schlecht representative - all Eric is interested in knowing is whether there will be any beautiful women involved and when told that there almost certainly will be that is good enough for him. So Eric embarks upon his mission accompanied by Ernie as his service contact who keeps popping up in various disguises to lend a hand.
At the hotel Eric is contacted by a beautiful Italian woman called Gina who gives him instructions to kill a Russian ballerina called Madame Petrovna who has arrived in London with the trade delegation and will be performing at Covent Garden - her death will cause much embarrassment between the nations. Still none the wiser as to what he is really doing Eric goes along with Gina's instructions to put a pill in the ballerina's drink at a trade reception dinner organised by the government spokesman Sir Edward Seabrook- but he bungles it and the wrong person dies.
Schlecht discover that the real Cavendish is dead and decide to send their own man after Madame Pertrovna instead. They are planning to do away with her while she is performing Swan Lake on stage at Covent Garden. Things culminate at the theatre when Eric and Ernie try and save Madame Pertrovna from the assassination attempt while at the same time having to evade capture by stage hands and Schlecht agents. The ballerina is eventually saved and the ringleader behind it all is revealed as Government minister Sir Edward Seabrook.
|Comment: If there was a good explanation of why Sir Edward was behind it all I must have missed it.|
|Starring:||Eric Morecambe (as Eric), Ernie Wise (as Ernie Sage)|
|Featuring:||William Franklyn (as Colonel Grant, MI5 Boss), Terence Alexander (as Reid, MI5 man), Francis Matthews (as Thomas, MI5 man), April Olrich (as Madame Petrovna, Russian ballerina), Gloria Paul (as Gina Carlotti, Italian Schlecht agent), Richard Vernon (as Sir Edward Seabrook, minister), David Lodge (as Covent Garden Stage Manager)|
|Familiar Faces:||Johnny Briggs (as Young man in cinema), Warren Mitchell (as Prozoroff, Russian delegation), Joe Melia (as Orchestra Conductor)|
|Starlets:||Elizabeth Counsell, Jill Curzon, Jacqueline Jones, Dilys Rosser|
|The writers were Sid Green and Dick Hills who were the regular writers of their TV series at the time. The screenstory is credited to Peter Blackmore.|
|This film was the first of three that Morecambe and Wise made in the 1960s. They were already well known TV stars at the time because of their successful ITV series (1961-1968) - but still a few years away from the start of their "golden era" of BBC-made shows (1968-1977) when they really became the comedy legends they are now fondly remembered as being. Although the films are sometimes (and perhaps a bit unfairly) panned, this first one is a pretty good effort and there is much to find amusing about it and enjoy. The other two films were That Riviera Touch (1966) and The Magnificent Two (1967)|
|Writers: Lee Langley, Hugh Leonard / Director: Kevin Billington / Producer: David Deutsch|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 108 mins|
|Sally Carter is an attractive young newspaper journalist who is given the job of writing a piece about a celebrated orchestra conductor called Stefan Zelter. The notoriously tempestuous conductor is originally from Austria but now lives in England with his wife Antonia and two young children. Sally manages to get a brief interview with him while he is rehearsing for a TV concert broadcast. He is not in the best of moods and his unguarded frankness about his low opinion of some of the people working with him causes him some difficulty when his comments are reported in her article the following day.
Nevertheless, despite Sally's role in his bad publicity, he had found her to be an appealing woman and he arranges to meet her again. They find they share a mutual attraction and begin to see each other socially for lunch dates and eventually begin a romantic relationship.
Single-girl Sally finds she has fallen head-over-heels in love with the enigmatic personality. The two of them conduct a secret affair and even go on holiday breaks together. Sally lives alone in an apartment and always feels empty inside when she has to say goodbye to Stefan and knows he is returning home to his wife. Meanwhile Antonia has noticed a change in her husband and begins to suspect he is seeing someone else. All of Antonia's married friends have had problems with unfaithful husbands, but up until now Antonia had thought she was different - now that she is experiencing it first hand she finds she is able to be calm and resigned about it. She arranges a dinner for the three of them and gives in without a fight, offering Stefan an easy divorce.
However Sally has begun to realise that the magic of the relationship has faded and those fresh and exciting early days of the affair will never be recaptured. She tells Stefan that although she is still in love with him, she knows it could never get any better than it is - and so she also knows that to marry him would spoil it and she would prefer to end things now whilst they still have a great affection for each other rather than see things gradually stagnate. He accepts her decision.
|Comment: The main story is top and tailed by a framing sequence set a few years later when Sally and Stefan bump into each other at a party and briefly reminisce about their relationship and then go their separate ways realising that what they once had with each other will remain firmly ensconced in the past and now they have nothing much in common except those memories. We learn that Sally has married someone, although don't learn whether Stefan remained with Antonia.|
|Starring:||Oskar Werner (as Stefan Zelter), Barbara Ferris (as Sally Carter), Virginia Maskell (as Antonia, Stefan's wife), Donald Sutherland (as Lawrence, Stefan's friend)|
|Featuring:||Robert Lang (as Humphrey Turnbull, Stefan's agent/manager), Alan Webb (as Andrew Clark, Antonia's father), Geraldine Sherman (as Natalie, Sally's friend)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Cleese (TV studio's Public Relations man), Derek Jacobi (Man at dinner party)|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Bryan Forbes|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 121 mins|
|Sarah Brown is a young teenage girl from Arizona, USA, whose parents are tragically both killed in a car accident. Although raised in the States Sarah's parents were from England and emigrated when she was a baby, and so she is British albeit with an American accent. With no other family in America Sarah has to come to England to live with her only relative - her brother's sister Aunt Velvet whom she has never previously met.
Velvet Brown is a sweet-natured and loving woman who lives with her long-term partner John Seaton who is a writer. Velvet is now approaching forty but when she was a young girl she had been an accomplished horse rider and has her place in the history books as being the youngest ever winner of the Grand National at the age of fourteen - although she was later disqualified under the rules.
Velvet is determined to make Sarah's transition into her new life as easy as possible and makes every allowance for her grief. But as the weeks go on Sarah just does not seem to be making any friends or even interested in trying - she just remains miserable and homesick for her old life isolating herself in a pit of despondency. That is until she discovers her love for horses. Velvet's old horse "The Pie" upon which she won the National is being retired and his last foal is given to Sarah as a present. With this new focus Sarah begins to successfully integrate with her new life and start to feel at home. Sarah helps rear the horse, which is named "Arizona Pie", and becomes an accomplished rider in her own right.
A few years pass and she is good enough to be considered for the British team and goes to a training camp for the country's most promising equestrians where the team selections are taking place for representations in the forthcoming Olympics. The selector is Captain Johnson who believes Sarah shows promise and is blessed with an extremely fine horse. She is selected as reserve rider in a pre-Olympics event in America at Ledyard Farm where she does not get to ride but gains experience and meets the American team's captain Scott Saunders for the first time.
By the time of the Olympics she is 18-years-old and Captain Johnson has seen sufficient improvement in her to select her for the squad. She is the youngest member of the team and because of her famous Aunt and her middle name being "Velvet" she is dubbed "International Velvet Brown" by the media. She becomes reacquainted with Scott and they become romantically associated.
As in all sports films it comes down to the wire and in the final show jumping event it is all up to Sarah to get around the course without picking up and any penalty points in order to secure gold for Great Britain - despite having an injured shoulder from a fall in an earlier round. She succeeds and proudly receives her medal and then goes on to marry Scott. At the end she returns to England and presents her gold medal to her aunt to make up for the award that Velvet was not allowed to keep for winning the Grand National.
|Comment: It's not easy to judge the passage of time in the movie. Sarah's age is given as eighteen at the end during the Olympics but it's not clear how old she was at the start and certainly looks like a fairly young barely even teenage girl. Sufficient time has to have passed for Arizona Pie to grow from its birth to maturity so possibly about 4 to 5 years may have whizzed by in the movie largely unmarked.|
|Starring:||Tatum O'Neal (as Sarah Brown), Nanette Newman (as Velvet Brown), Christopher Plummer (as John Seaton, Velvet's partner), Anthony Hopkins (as Captain Johnson, Horse trainer)|
|Featuring:||Jeffrey Byron (as Scott Saunders, Captain of American team), Jason White (as Roger Peacock, British Team Captain), Sarah Bullen (as Beth, on British team), Daniel Abineri (as Alan Wilson, local lad sweet on Sarah)|
|Familiar Faces:||Peter Barkworth (as Airline Pilot), Dinsdale Landen (as Local farmer)|
|Suggested by the novel National Velvet by Enid Bagnold|
|This is a sequel to the film National Velvet (1944) which told the story of Velvet Brown winning the Grand National. Velvet was played in that film by a young Elizabeth Taylor.|
|Writers: Barry Levinson, Jonathan Lynn / Director: Ken Hughes / Producer: Barry Levinson|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Professor Robert Elliot is an American financial analyst who is based in the UK. He is professionally ambitious and has no scruples about secretly working for a financial conglomerate called EDC which uses its might to swallow up smaller companies. Elliot has a network of four local agents he pays for any insider information they can glean to give EDC an unfair advantage. They consist of a government scientist called David Baker; a foreign office official called Alex Hellman; a high-class call girl called Christina Larsson who entertains businessmen; and Bert Parsons, a masseuse at a private club for company directors - the final two pass on any indiscreet business chat they hear. Robert's four "agents" know nothing of each other and deal directly with him.
However when Robert is offered a major career boost to a position in the White House advising the president, he is told he must first make sure there will be no skeletons in his cupboard to unsettle things down the line. Robert knows that his four agents are a major problem who are aware of his corrupt practices and so he devises an ingenious plan by which each agent will be murdered by one of the others. Each agent believes they are providing Robert with an essential service that only they can help him with and are told to follow a strictly set down timetable of events unaware that when slotted together the four sequences will result in each of them dying by the hands of one of the others - some immediately and some via delayed means. By the end of the evening after a few hitches have been resolved, Robert's plan has worked and they are all dead and he is rewarded with the job offer.
Some days later as he is being chauffeured to the airport he opens a package he received from the scientist David Baker - it was posted posthumously and must have been sitting in his out-tray ready to go on the night he died. It is a notebook and as Robert turns the pages he reads Baker's final words which tell how he never really trusted Robert and fears that one day he may suffer an unnatural death at his hands and if that happens this notebook will be sent. As Robert turns the pages the scientist goes onto say that one of his secret government projects was a highly toxic substance that permeates the skin and kills in minutes - the message ends by informing Robert that the pages of this notebook are saturated in the poison and by the time he has read this far he will have only minutes left to live. Robert realises with a shock that he has been outplayed and there is nothing he can do about it. By the time his car reaches the airport he is found dead in the back.
|Starring:||James Coburn (as Professor Robert Elliot)|
(Agents) Harry Andrews (as Bert Parsons, masseuse), Ian Hendry (as Alex Hellman, foreign office), Michael Jayston (as David Baker, scientist), Christiane Krüger (as Christina Larsson, high-class call girl)
Lee Grant (as Jean Robertson, journalist and former girlfriend of Robert)
|Featuring:||Keenan Wynn (as E.J. Farnsworth, ruthless American businessman), Julian Glover (as Talk show host)|
|Familiar Faces:||Terence Alexander (as Business tycoon, one of Christina's clients), David Swift (as Talk show guest)|
|From the novel Internecine by Mort W. Elkind|
|Writer/Director: Tudor Gates / Producer: Guido Coen|
|Type: Sex / Drama||Running Time: 83 mins|
|A psychology lecturer called Professor Gottlieb is giving his college students a lecture about fantasies. He describes sexual fantasies as the mainspring of the personality complex and in today's sophisticated society a person's natural sexual impulses are artificially suppressed and can only be lived out via fantasy. He assigns his students an experiment to conduct over their holiday break asking them to talk to each other and their family and friends to discover more about the types of fantasies that people have. The professor pairs off the students to work in boy-girl teams, but because of the unequal numbers one pair has to be two girls.
Before they go on their break the students describe their fantasies to each other - and the girl-girl pairing decide to experiment with each other. Then they go on their separate ways for their holidays and talk to people they meet who describe their secret fantasies. The students send back regular reports to the professor who has stayed behind at college to do extra work without taking a holiday of his own.
When the next term resumes the professor congratulates his class on a job well done but he is noticeably feeling the strain of over-work and when one student asks him as a kind of joke what his own fantasies are, he has a breakdown and starts seeing his female students sitting naked at their seats. Unhinged he jumps on one of them trying to rip her clothes off and has to be restrained and taken to hospital suffering from madness.
|Comment: There is a long scene between Heather Deeley and Suzy Mandel (the girl-girl pair) as they talk about their sexual experiences which gradually develops into some experimental lesbianism - it is a nicely and sensitively underplayed scene which is well acted by them both and not at all tacky like it could have been.|
|Starring:||Anna Bergman, Felicity Devonshire, Maria St. Clare, Suzy Mandel, Heather Deeley (as the female students), Chet Townsend, Edward Kalinski, Peter Blake (as the male students)|
|Featuring:||George Baker (as Professor Gottlieb) - although his role is mainly of a star-turn capacity|
|Familiar Faces:||Hugh Lloyd|
|Starlets:||Monika Ringwald, Barbara Eatwell, Lindy Benson, Normaline, Susan Glanville, Mary Millington|
|Mary Millington's role was a cameo in which (remarkably) she stays fully dressed|
|Writers: John C Barker,Paul B Hutchinson, Michael Parkinson / Director: David Kent-Watson / Producer: Michael Parkinson|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Prologue in Naxxar, Malta, a couple of decades ago. A young child discovers that his mother is a common prostitute and the mother sneers unkindly in the child's face - mocking his dismay as his illusions of her as a perfect mother are shattered. End of prologue.
Present Day England. Jeff Conti is an out-of-work actor with a reputation for being difficult to work with because of his temper. All his agent can get for him is some modelling work in Malta playing male characters in a women's swimwear photoshoot for an upcoming advertising campaign. The photographer is Steve Sutton who is under instructions to ensure he delivers good results in Malta because the shoot has been commissioned by an important new client. Four female models are selected for the shoot and together with Jeff and Steve's two assistants Jim and Liam, they all fly off to Malta.
One of the models is called Debbie and just like Jeff she is new to this sort of thing and they become friendly. None of the girls like assistant Jim who always looks at them in a creepy lustful sort of way. Photographer Steve is much-liked however and they get down to work taking swimsuit shots around the local beauty spots and old ruins of the area. Debbie regularly spots a strange bald-headed man following them and always watching them from a distance. Later the man reveals himself to be David Beckett, the owner of Aurora Swimwear who commissioned the shoot and is checking up on their progress - he comes across as a bit strange always making cryptic fatalistic remarks.
On a day off one of the models is attacked and killed by an unseen assailant - the others don't find out because a note is left in her name saying she had met an old boyfriend and decided to go back home. The work continues without her.
Later another model is killed and this time her body is discovered. Then a third is killed in the shower and Debbie discovers her body - she is then attacked herself by sleazy assistant Jim who tries to rape her. She screams and photographer Steve comes to her rescue and starts fighting Jim. Debbie runs away to hide in case Jim overcomes Steve's gallant rescue attempt. She is followed but fortunatelythe victor was Steve and not Jim and she falls gratefully into his arms. Then Steve's whole attitude changes and Debbie realises that he is the killer who despises loose women like models and prostitutes who use their bodies for gain (we find out he was the young boy from the prologue). Jim had "only" wanted to rape her but was not the killer. Fortunately Jeff arrives and has an all out titanic struggle with the now totally deranged Steve in a derelict house. Jeff emerges as the victor and thinks he has killed Steve and he takes the distraught Debbie away to safety. But as the end credits roll Steve's eyes pop open and he is not dead after all! FREEZE FRAME END (but leaving it open for a sequel).
|Comment: In addition to the killings in Malta we also witness some murders in England - firstly a street prostitute and secondly that of an ambitious model who was turned down for the Maltese trip and tried to get Steve to take her along by seducing him. We don’t see the assailant's face but know he must be someone who came from England to Malta.|
|Starring:||John Ryan (as Jeff Conti, out of work actor), Brett Paul (as Steve Sutton, photographer), Donald Pleasence (as David Beckett, owner of Aurora Swimwear), Jadie Rivas (as Debbie, main model in Malta)|
|Featuring:||Ronald Lacey (as Andrew Golding, Jeff's agent, [small role, two scenes]), Paul Flanagan (as Jim, Steve's assistant), Paul Elsam (as Liam, Steve's assistant), Polly Pleasence (as Jenny, Steve's agency boss)|
|Starlets:||Fiona Sloman (as Diana, hopeful model/victim in England)|
(Models in Malta) Heather Alexander (as Susan), Julie Dennis (as Angie), Sara Hollamby (as Rosie)
|Polly Pleasence receives an "introducing" credit|
|The film was a made-for-video production|
|Writer: Roger Marshall / Director: Alan Bridges / Producer: Jack Greenwood|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 77 mins|
|A couple are driving down a country lane near some woods when a man in a odd silver jumpsuit runs out in front of their car and they hit him. He is unconscious and they take him to the nearby hospital for treatment.
Dr Mike Vernon examines the patient who has an oriental look and takes a blood sample for analysis. His assistant Dr Claire Harland determines that the blood is abnormal and not human. The patient wakes and reveals that he is indeed from another planet called Lystria. His space rocket malfunctioned and had to land here for repairs which enabled two female prisoners to escape. He was searching for them when he was hit by the car. The patient appears very friendly and good-natured although he finds it strange that Mike is Claire's boss because on his planet women have the senior roles.
Before long everyone in the hospital begins to notice how hot it is becoming. Even though it is night-time the temperature is creeping up to uncomfortable levels. It is soon discovered that a force field has been placed around the hospital grounds. This is causing the temperature rise and preventing anyone from entering or leaving.
Eventually the patient reveals that it is actually he who is the escaped prisoner, but he was fleeing from the injustice of being convicted for a crime he did not commit. He was being transported to a penal planet when he escaped in a pod and was followed here by the female guards in the space rocket. His pursuers can track him with his suit's power pack but that was lost when he was hit by the car and so they don't know exactly where he is.
With the temperature now unbearably high and the hospital staff and patients all at extreme risk, Mike realises something urgent must be done to alleviate the situation. He deduces that the force field cannot extend underground because the water supply is still working. So he breaks out of the hospital confines using the underground sewers and returns the same way after finding the lost powerpack. He wants to use it to lure the female Lystrian here to negotiate the dropping of the force field in order to save his suffering patients which to him have a higher priority than championing the male Lystrian against his claims of injustice.
One of the female Lystrians enters the hospital and contacts Mike. She tells him that the male is a dangerous murderer who cannot be trusted. She has placed the force field around the hospital to prevent him escaping but she means to cause no harm to the Earth people and will leave in peace once she has taken her prisoner back into custody.
The male Lystrian realises he is close to capture and drops his pretence at friendliness. He stabs a soldier and takes Claire hostage and manages to get through the force field using his suit's returned power pack. The female Lystrian lowers the force field and gives chase.
The male makes it to the escape pod and takes off for space leaving Claire behind. The female takes off in her space rocket on an intercept course and rams the pod which explodes killing the prisoner. The rocket then continues away into space.
|Comment: A further plot element involves the efforts of an army unit searching for the rocket which they tracked on radar.|
|Starring:||Edward Judd (as Dr Mike Vernon), Valerie Gearon (as Dr Claire Harland), Lyndon Brook (as Brian Carter, hospital consultant), Barrie Ingham (as Major Muncaster, army officer), Tsai Chin (as Nurse Lim), Eric Young (as Male Lystrian)|
|Featuring:||Anthony Sharp (as Lawrence Blackburn, car driver), Stephanie Bidmead (as Elaine, Lawrence's lady friend), Yoko Tani (as Female Lystrian), Glyn Houston (as Police Sergeant Draycott), Ann Castle (as Sister Evans), Jean Lodge (as Barbara Gough, X-Ray consultant), Leonard Cracknell (as Lloyd, soldier in radar truck), Norman Mitchell (as Lorry driver), Ann Martin (as Sister Kelly)|
|Starlets:||Diane Aubrey (as Hospital switchboard operator)|
|Made in Black and White|
|From an original story by Robert Holmes|
|Writer: Carl Humphrey / Director: Michael J. Murphy / Producer: Caroline Aylward|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 41 mins|
|Jacky is a young businesswoman who has accepted an invitation from an old college friend called Laura to come to a party at their recently acquired farm in the country. The party has a spooky theme with everyone in sinister costumes and Jacky joins in with the fun. Later on she is led outside to an altar and suddenly it all turns real when the partygoers set upon her and she is given an injection that makes her pass out.
She wakes up in bed to find unexplained scratch marks on her body. Laura and her husband Ed are very apologetic but say they had no choice. They are genuinely remorseful and clearly terrified about their situation. Whilst renovating the farm which stands on an old pagan site they inadvertently released a dormant evil force that exerts a power and influence that cannot be broken. None of them can leave and anyone who tries is killed by the devilish force working through some of their number. Jacky was invited here because the evil force needed a virgin and she fitted the bill.
As the days go on the evil eliminates others in the group as they make efforts to escape until only Jacky and Ed remain free of influence with two others, Alan and Maurice, under the demon's control. Ed remembers an ancient book they discovered in some chapel ruins and Jacky with her knowledge of Latin is able to read some of it although some passages are in an unknown language. She attempts to work out a translation. Meanwhile Maurice and Alan get into a conflict which results in Maurice being killed but not before he throws Alan's body onto a bonfire. But Alan does not die and he rises from the fire as a horribly scarred and monstrous figure intent on killing.
Jacky has the translated incantation ready and goes outside to recite it by the bonfire whilst inside the horrific creature stalks Ed. The verses seem to work and the evil has at last gone. Ed comes out and tells her they are free and she can throw the book away now. But she soon finds out it was a trick and the evil has not gone but has now taken over Ed who starts to attack her with glowing demonic eyes. THE END.
|Starring:||Becky Simpsom (as Jacky), Joseph Sheahan (as Ed, farm owner), Catherine Rowlands (as Laura, Ed's wife, [surname credited as "Rolands"])|
|Featuring:||(other guests/farmworkers) Steven Longhurst (as Alan), Colin Efford (as Maurice, strong mute farmhand), Russell Hall (as Rick), Tina Barnett (as Liz)|
|Writers: Bill Canaway, James Doran / Director: Sidney J. Furie / Producer: Harry Saltzman|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 143 mins|
|Harry Palmer is a low-grade agent in the security services who is usually assigned to routine surveillance work. He is being held back from more senior postings because his disciplinary appraisal record is blemished by his attitude of insubordination and insolence towards his superiors although he is basically considered to be a sound agent. His Ministry of Defence boss Colonel Ross seconds him to another department for a special assignment under the control of Major Dalby.
Dalby's department is a covert counter-espionage team investigating the disappearance of some top scientists. The latest of these is Dr Radcliffe who had been working on a groundbreaking theory set to revolutionise energy production. His bodyguard had been killed during Radcliffe's abduction and Palmer is taking up his place in Dalby's team. Dalby sets his team the task of finding their main suspect - an Albanian called Eric Ashley Grantby (codenamed Bluejay) who has currently dropped off the surveillance radar.
Palmer uncovers a clue with the word "IPCRESS" upon it although its meaning is not known. This codeword is used for the name of their operation's ongoing file. Palmer manages to locate Grantby and after a series of clandestine meetings a financial deal is arranged for the return of the missing scientist. But when Radcliffe is safe it is discovered that his scientific knowledge has gone as if he has undergone a sophisticated form of brainwashing.
Ipcress is discovered to stand for "Induction of Psychoneuroses by Conditioned Reflex Under Stress and after this Palmer becomes a target as someone obviously thinks he is getting too close to the truth. Palmer tells Dalby what is going on and he decides to go into hiding - he tells his colleague Jean Courtney his plans and soon after he has left her she phones Colonel Ross whom she is secretly working for.
Soon afterwards Palmer is abducted and finds himself in a small prison cell where he is kept for several weeks on starvation diet and bitterly cold. Grantby has captured him and when he is deemed sufficiently weakened they place him into a chamber and put him through days of torturous brainwashing using weird sounds and lights to make him forget what he knows and place post-hypnotic commands into his subconsciousness. Palmer knows what they are trying to do and attempts to combat its effectiveness through pain.
At last he manages to break out unaware that he was always going to be released - although ideally Grantby would have preferred a few more sessions in the chamber first to fully condition him. Grantby is seen reporting directly to Major Dalby who is revealed as a traitor working for the other side. Unaware of this Palmer phones Dalby to let him know he has escaped and Dalby tells him to meet him at a factory with Colonel Ross.
Once at the factory with his two bosses Palmer realises one of them is a traitorous double agent and as he holds them both at gunpoint he is unsure which one to kill - both have been acting suspiciously. Then Dalby tries to use one of the hypnotic keywords to make Palmer follow his commands and shoot Ross but Palmer resists and uses pain to overcome the control and correctly shoots Dalby dead instead. Ross reveals that he sent Palmer in as a decoy to draw the traitor out hence his own suspicious behaviour.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Harry Palmer), Nigel Green (as Major Dalby, Palmer's departmental boss), Guy Doleman (as Colonel Ross, Palmer's MOD boss), Frank Gatliff (as Grantby, enemy agent)|
|Featuring:||Gordon Jackson (as Jock Carswell, Dalby agent), Sue Lloyd (as Jean Courtney, Dalby agent), Stanley Meadows (as Inspector Pat Keightley, Special Branch officer), Aubrey Richards (as Dr Radcliffe, abducted scientist), Freda Bamford (as Alice, Dalby's secretary), Thomas Baptiste (as CIA agent)|
|Familiar Faces:||Glynn Edwards (as Police Station Desk Sergeant)|
|Based on the novel by Len Deighton. In the book the lead character is not named and so the name of "Harry Palmer" was invented especially for the film.|
|This was the first of three 1960s spy films featuring the Harry Palmer character. The other two were Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967). There was a further Harry Palmer film called Spy Story in 1976 which instead starred Michael Petrovitch in the lead role, and then Michael Caine returned to the character for two films in the mid-1990s called Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in Saint Petersburg.|
|Writers: Melvyn Bragg, Clive Exton / Director: Karel Reisz / Producers: Robert and Raynond Hakim|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 152 mins|
|Starting in the late 19th century. American born beauty Isadora Duncan knows from a very young age that she is destined to be a great dancer with the ability to express great feeling through her innate understating of rhythmic movements. She decides to dedicate herself to the craft and when she is older she opens up a school in Chicago teaching children an appreciation of life through dance. She also starts a professional career beginning as a chorus dancer in vaudeville and progressing to an admired solo performer.
She meets tempestuous theatre set designer Edward Craig who complements her ability perfectly and they begin a romance which results in a child called Deirdre. Moving on and she begins another relationship with a rich businessman called Paris Singer with whom she lives and becomes his wife in all but ceremony. Together they have a son called Patrick. Isadora tires of this closeted life and becomes eager to resume her dancing and Paris uses his wealth to grant her desires. But Isadora falls in love with her pianist and moves on leaving Paris and his fortune behind. A few years pass and tragedy strikes when both her children die in a car accident and all hopes she had of a joyous life are crushed.
In 1921 Isadora is invited to Russia to open one of her schools and perform. She falls in love with principal dancer Sergei Essenin and they get married. Together they embark on a tour of America promoting the merits of Russian dance. But anti-communist feeling creates hostilities and she finds herself being hounded out of her own country for marrying a Russian.
In later years in the late 1920s Isadora is in France writing an autobiography of her life with the help of her friend and private secretary Roger Thornton. She has a fascination with tarot card readings although she insists the death card is always removed from the pack. She still mixes in society but hasn't danced publicly for quite a long time although she is always receiving requests to do so. When out and about she is forever seeing a handsome stranger driving around in a Bugatti sportscar - he fascinates her but she never manages to find him to talk to.
Isadora decides to move from France and sells her villa and at a celebratory farewell party she treats the guests to one of her dances. At long last she happily spots the handsome stranger among the guests and she flirts with him and leaves the party to go for a ride with him in his sportscar. But as they drive off her long flowing neck scarf becomes caught in the back wheel and instantly tightens and throttles her to death.
|Comment: The film is structured so Isadora's later life in France writing her autobiography are intermingled with the incidents from her early life that lead up to this. Although for the purposes of this summary I've straightened the narrative out into broad strokes of some key moments of the saga.|
|Starring:||Vanessa Redgrave (as Isadora Duncan), John Fraser (as Roger Thornton, Isadora's secretary), James Fox (as Edward Gordon Craig), Jason Robards (as Paris Singer), Ivan Tchenko (as Serge Essenin)|
|Featuring:||Cynthia Harris (as Mary Desti, friend of Isadora), Vladimir Leskovar (as Bugatti man)|
|Based on My Life by Isadora Duncan and Isadora Duncan: An Intimate Portrait by Sewell Stokes; Adapted for the screen by Melvyn Bragg; Screenplay by Melvyn Bragg and Clive Exton; Additional Dialogue by Margaret Drabble|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Nick Mastorakis|
|Type: European / Horror||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Christopher and Celia are an English couple who arrive for a holiday on the Greek island of Mikonos where religion is very important. They rent a villa from a young woman called Anna whose husband is away at sea. Christopher has very particular views on the way other people should behave and has no toleration of deviant behaviour. Celia appears to be a calming influence on his impetuous behaviour although sometimes she plays along with his malicious games. They phone Christopher's mother in London and taunt her down the phone with the sound of their lovemaking (although it is not clear until the very end why this should be so particularly distressing for the mother). Unfortunately this call to London alerts an investigator called Foster to their location and he makes arrangements to fly out to Greece immediately. Clearly the couple are wanted for some sort of crime back in London.
Chris disapproves when he sees their landlady Anna having sex with a man who is not her absent husband and Celia has to reign in his impulse to teach her a lesson in how to behave. Next morning Christopher has a carnal craving and so he goes into Anna's garden and has sex with her goat which he then slaughters and dumps in the well.
Chris and Celia meets a friendly Frenchman called Jean-Claude who has devoted his time to single-handedly painting and restoring a magnificent chapel on a hill. Celia seduces Jean-Claude at the chapel and they make love whilst Chris secretly takes photographs. Afterwards Chris attacks Jean-Claude with crazed intensity for having dirty thoughts towards Celia. He overpowers the Frenchman and lays him on the ground and nails his hands to the ground in a crucifixion pose - then he pours paint down his throat to kill him for his sins. Far from being appalled Celia enjoys the man's suffering as she captures it all on film. It becomes clear that Celia is complicit in Christopher's mania and this manner of thrill-seeking activity is the couple's modus operandi. Inflicting horrendous pain on their victims gives them an erotic charge and they take the pictures so they can further relish the experience afterwards. Their depraved crimes started in London and they had to flee from there to escape capture.
The couple then engage on a self-appointed moral crusade to sanitise the island of its unwholesome citizens whom no right-minded islander should be forced to tolerate. They murder an openly gay couple called Paul and Jonathan whom Christopher designates as filthy perverts and then make it look as though they killed each other in a crime of passion.
Then Investigator Foster arrives on the island looking for them. Christopher and Celia are alerted to his arrival and the danger he presents to them. But they are able to outsmart Foster and lure him to a horrible death. Christopher and Celia continue their mission with the murder of a rich middle-aged woman called Patricia whose sexual proclivities with younger men Christopher finds perverse.
Then two male hippies arrive in town with rampant urges of their own. They break into the couple's apartment while Christopher is out and try to rape Celia whilst she is taking a bath. Christopher returns and unleashes his ferocious anger and kills them both. The authorities accept Christopher acted in defence of his wife and it is considered quite likely these scruffy drifters were the culprits behind the recent spate of bizarre unsolved deaths on the island.
Celia cautions Christopher that with this stroke of luck they should cease what they are doing because on this small island they stand out much more so than in London and risk being caught. But Christopher cannot be detracted from his quest and he convinces Celia to participate again as he proceeds to take retribution on a lesbian barmaid called Lesley with a hatred of men.
Next morning Lesley's body is found and a carelessly left clue leads the local police to suspect the English couple. Meanwhile Christopher has decided to deal with their immoral landlady Anna and attacks her while she is having a shower and chases her around the villa to her eventual death. Then Christopher spots the police arriving and he quickly alerts Celia and they go on the run into the countryside. They manage to evade the police but soon become exhausted.
They meet a mute peasant shepherd who offers them food and shelter in a barn. Next morning the shepherd rapes Celia but when she screams to Christopher for help he just starts taking pictures thinking things will follow their usual course. When Christopher eventually tries to intervene the shepherd bests him and throws him into a lime pit from which Christopher is unable to climb out. Christopher calls to Celia for help but she is unmoved by his appeals and finds herself pleased by his suffering because he did not help her. The startling revelation is made that they are not husband and wife but brother and sister - but still Celia disregards Christopher's predicament telling him she doesn't help perverts as she goes off to have further willing sex with the shepherd. That night it rains and the water reacts with the caustic lime creating a boiling swell. Christopher burns to death in horrible agony and Celia hears her brother's weakening cries for help with an immense satisfaction as she continues to enjoy the attentions of the shepherd. THE END
|Starring:||Bob Belling (as Christopher), Jane Ryall (as Celia, [aka Jane Lyle])|
|Featuring:||(Character names not given in credits)|
Female names: Janice McConnel, Efi Banny, Elizabeth Spader - most probably accounting for the following characters in uncertain order: Anna (Villa Owner), Lesley (Lesbian barmaid) and Chris' mother
Male Names: Mario Tatras, Ray Zuk, Clay Huff, Jeremy Rousseau, Mike Murtagh - Probably accounting for the following characters in uncertain order: Paul (Gay American shopkeeper), Jean-Claude (Frenchman), the two unnamed hippies, and Jonathan (Paul's boyfriend)
(The following actors are also not identified with their characters on the credits but have been pinpointed on the film's IMDB record and are presumed to be correct) Jessica Dublin (as Patricia, rich middle-aged woman), Gerard Gonalons (as Foster, inspector from London), Nikos Tsachiridis (as The Shepherd)
|This Greek film is reviewed here because the lead characters were English although as it turns out not very well known actors and so the connection is tenuous. However because it was reviewed it's been added. The original title was Ta paidia tou Diavolou.|
|Writers: John Herman Shaner, Al Ramrus / Director: Don Taylor / Producers: John Temple-Smith, Skip Steloff|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 95 mins|
|In the early 1900s, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the ship Lady Vain sinks in a storm. Engineering officer Andrew Braddock is the only survivor cast adrift in a lifeboat for seventeen days with little hope of survival until the currents chance to bring his lifeboat to a remote tropical island.
Englishman Braddock soon discovers the island is occupied by a reclusive American scientist called Dr Paul Moreau who lives in a high-fenced compound in the midst of a small jungle. Moreau welcomes Braddock to stay with him until the next supply ship arrives to rescue him. Braddock is warned not to venture out of the compound at night because of dangerous jungle creatures that roam.
Managing the compound for Dr Moreau is a hardnosed mercenary called Montgomery who is content to just do his job without heed to what Moreau gets up to in his laboratory. Also living in the compound is a young woman called Maria who has been with Moreau since she was a child after he took her in as an orphan in Panama City. Maria is beautiful but very shy and Braddock finds her compellingly attractive.
Braddock learns that in his youth Dr Moreau was a brilliant scientist whose field of interest was cellular structure. He was fascinated by the process by which embryo cells, which all start off looking similar, develop into forms that differ radically, whether that be animal or human. He was intrigued by how a cell is enslaved to acquire the characteristics of its parent species and hypothesised that it might be possible to intervene and change that destiny. Moreau's ideas were considered highly controversial and speculative and as a result he became a scientific outcast. Now on this island a thousand miles from any other land, he is free to experiment and prove his theories.
Braddock discovers that Dr Moreau has been experimenting on the jungle creatures, such as lions and bears, using his expert knowledge about biological cell particles. By using a distillation of the biological code message of a human being, Dr Moreau has successfully managed to redefine the cell particles of the animals forcing their physicality to spontaneously transmute into man-like versions of themselves able to walk upright, talk and show limited reasoning abilities. These man-beasts still retain characteristics of their animal heritage and are prone to wild rages as they struggle with their conflicting physiologies and wild instincts. All of Dr Moreau's past experiments live in a cave in the jungle and to keep them under control Dr Moreau has instituted a set of laws which they must follow. The man-beasts are afraid of Dr Moreau and have fearful memories of the pain of their transformations at his compound which they call the "House of Pain". They know that breaking the laws will mean a return to that dreadful place and the most important law drilled into them by Moreau is that they must not kill.
Braddock is appalled by Dr Moreau's inhuman experiments but knows he can do nothing except wait until the supply ship arrives. Dr Moreau informs Braddock that he had better become used to life on this island and get over his reservations because the next supply ship is not due for another two years! Braddock cannot stand to wait that long and makes plans to set to sea in his lifeboat and take his chances on the open ocean. But Dr Moreau has other plans for Braddock and knocks him out with an injection.
When Braddock wakes up he finds himself strapped down on Moreau's experimentation table. Moreau considers his previous test subjects to be relative failures because eventually they unaccountably revert to their animalistic ways and need to be given further serum to keep them as half-men. Dr Moreau needs to find out more by studying the process in reverse. Moreau plans to inject Braddock with the biological codes of an animal and study him. Then when he reverts to human Braddock can provide a valuable first-hand testimony of what he felt.
Once Braddock is injected with the serum his features begin to adapt and take on animal-like characteristics. His powers of reasoning dull and he struggles with things that he once found easy. He screams with pain and the man-beasts hear and gather outside the compound looking in from a high vantage point, curious about what is going on. Then Montgomery enters the lab and sees what Moreau is doing to another human being and tries to intervene. But Moreau refuses to tolerate any interference and shoots Montgomery dead. The man-beasts see this happen and are staggered that their master Moreau, who impels them to obey his laws against killing, has himself killed another. They become angry at his double-standards and re-evaluate their beliefs in Moreau as an irreproachable god-like figure in their lives.
Braddock is locked up in a cage room where Moreau keeps a collection of untransformed wild animals. Moreau urges Braddock to surrender to the animal instincts that he is feeling sweep over his intellect. But Braddock refuses to submit and concentrates his mind on staying human and Moreau damns him for being so stubborn.
Moreau hears the man-beasts growing restless and ventures outside to discover the reason. Moreau believes he has natural mastery over them and can cow them back to obedience. But he miscalculates and they turn on him venting their animal fury on their hated subjugator. Once Moreau is dead they then try to break into the compound. Maria releases Braddock from his cage and he finds he is still able to reason. The beasts will surely kill them as accomplices of Dr Moreau. So they hide and let the beasts break in and take out their rage on the House of Pain. The man-beasts rampage through the laboratory and start fires in their efforts to destroy everything. They release the wild animals from their cages in acknowledgement that they are brethren. But unfortunately the animals do not recognise the man-beasts as their own kind and attack and kill them.
With the man-beasts mostly dead Braddock and Maria rush to the beach to get away in the lifeboat. One remaining man-beast follows them and Braddock has to kill it before collapsing in the boat as it makes its way to open ocean. After a few days Braddock recovers and all his animal features have gone. And then they see a passing ship and signal to it and look set to be rescued.
|Starring:||Burt Lancaster (as Dr Paul Moreau), Michael York (as Andrew Braddock), Nigel Davenport (as Montgomery, Moreau's ranger), Barbara Carrera (as Maria, Moreau's ward)|
|Featuring:||Richard Basehart (as Sayer of the Law, man-beast leader), Nick Cravat (as M'Ling, Moreau's mute servant)|
(other man-beasts) The Great John L, Bob Ozman, Fumio Demura, Gary Baxley, John Gillespie, David Cass)
|Based on the novel by H.G. Wells|
|Writers: Edward Andrew Mann, Alan Ramsen / Director: Terence Fisher / Producer: Tom Blakeley|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Set in the present day (1966) on Pitchers Island off the east coat of Ireland where, in a prologue, we see a renowned but reclusive scientist called Dr Lawrence Phillips conducting an important experiment in his efforts to find a cure for cancer. He is using radiation to grow cell cultures and is ahead of other scientists around the world who are due to conduct similar experiments of their own...
Some time later an islander is attacked by something unseen while out walking in the woods. When his body is discovered the local physician, Dr Landers, is baffled by the complete absence of any bones as if they have simply dissolved away leaving the body as a soft squishy jelly. The island has no phone connection to the mainland so Landers takes the emergency boat to seek the advice and assistance of eminent pathologist Dr Brian Stanley who in turn involves Dr David West, an expert in bone diseases. They all return to the island by helicopter along with David's girlfriend Toni Merrill - the helicopter has to leave them for another assignment and so they are marooned on the island for several days until it can return because the emergency boat is still on the mainland side.
The experts find tiny puncture wounds in the corpse through which an enzyme or organism might have entered. They travel to Dr Phillips' mansion hoping to make use of his laboratory facilities - but they find Phillips and all his staff dead in the same horrific manner and they realise that the lab is the source of the problem. Phillips' notes tell the experts that the scientist had created living matter based on the silicon atom which he had theorised would attack cancerous cells - but the living matter had unexpectedly formed into an aggressive independent life-form which needed bone matter to survive.
The scientists soon encounter the creature which they call a "Silicate". It is a rock-like shell-encased creature that scurries along the ground and attacks with a single protruding tentacle. The Silicate is seemingly invulnerable to any conventional weapons the men have available. There is now more than one Silicate and they discover that every couple of hours each creature divides and becomes two meaning that within days the island will be overrun with the things. They are slow-moving but relentless and unstoppable and have a hunger that directs them to living things - either animal or human. The panicking islanders gather in the town hall and shut themselves in hoping to keep the creatures at bay until help can arrive.
The scientists work to try and devise a way stop the threat but all to no avail until they discover a Silicate dead and realise it had tried to kill one of Phillips' radiation exposed lab animals. The irradiated bones of the lab animal had acted like a poison and killed the Silicate. So the scientists devise a desperate tactic and corral all of the island's cattle and inject them with deadly radiation and then leave them invitingly penned up to attract the Silicates. Fortunately the creatures take the bait and attack and ingest the cows' bones before heading onwards to the village in search of more sustenance.
The Silicates now number in the hundreds and begin their attack on the town hall. The islanders seem to be doomed and some are killed as the Silicates breach their defences. It appears the ploy has failed until eventually the radiation poisoning takes effect and the Silicates all start dying.
The scientists consider it was very lucky the disaster had been on a small island where the Silicates only had a limited supply of attack fodder - had it happened on the mainland they would have become unstoppable.
Epilogue. In China, we see a scientist who knows nothing about the tragedy that befell Dr Phillips as he is just about to duplicate the experiment and make exactly the same mistakes ...
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Dr Brian Stanley), Edward Judd (as Dr David West), Carole Gray (as Toni Merrill, David's girlfriend), Eddie Byrne (as Dr Reginald Landers)|
|Featuring:||Sam Kydd (as Constable John Harris), Peter Forbes Robertson (as Dr Lawrence Phillips)|
Niall MacGinnis, James Caffrey, Liam Gaffney, Roger Heathcott, Keith Bell, Shay Gorman (as Islanders)
|Writers/Directors/Producers: Kevin Brownlow, Andrew Mollo|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 96 mins|
|Set in England during World War II - but one in which history has taken a different course. After the British retreat at Dunkirk in 1940 the Germans invaded and a crushed Britain surrendered. In 1944 Britain is now an occupied country with its people having to live their lives under a new order. Germany is still at war with Russia, and American warships are stationed in the waters around Britain attempting to help pockets of partisan resistance who militantly oppose the German authority. But German troops deal harshly and decisively with these groups and take drastic measures to flush them out - including evacuating whole towns where partisan activity is suspected.
Pauline Murray is a woman who lived in a town that was forced to evacuate to the more heavily fortified London where she takes up lodgings. London is now a bleak place to live with vast areas now no more than bombed out rubble and the general populace living squalid lives under occupation. Effort has been taken not to completely destroy the British spirit and the official message is that the great nations of Germany and Britain have joined forces in a comradely alliance now that Britain's corrupt and foolhardy leaders have been removed from power. The state institutions are staffed by British citizens who have chosen to embrace the new political doctrine of National Socialism and wear the black SS inspired uniform of the IA (Immediate Action) Organisation. They have become the civil authority figures but are looked upon as collaborators by the general public - they are also viewed with a degree of envy for the privileges they enjoy. Small garrisons of German troops remain on hand but most of the others are occupied fighting in other parts of Europe.
Pauline is not political and has no wish to actively collaborate. Her only desire is to help Britain recover from the blow it has suffered and get the country back on its feet and regain some of its dignity again. She is a former nurse and registers for work at the labour exchange. Nursing is classed as an essential service and she is obliged to become a member of the IA for which she has to undergo a period of indoctrination training which involves discipline awareness and endless lectures on the triumphs of National Socialism.
Pauline quietly gets on with her nursing duties keeping her personal views to herself as she listens to her colleagues rant on about the hated Jews and the merits of living under a fascist state. Her old friends initially view her with mistrust now that she wears the uniform of the IA but after a time they realise she is not a convert. But when a partisan is discovered in the household of one of her friends she is accused by her superiors of being misguided by maintaining contacts with political undesirables and she is sent away to work in a remote country hospital.
Pauline actually feels better suited in her new position until she discovers that her role is to humanely euthanize the incurably ill rather than care for them. She leaves her post but her train home is intercepted by partisan combatants who are now being assisted by a leading front of American troops. Pauline is captured as a German collaborator but expresses her willingness to assist the overstretched field hospital staff and she is permitted to lend a hand.
And as the film ends radio reports seem to be suggesting that the tide of the war is turning with Germany struggling and the signs are that Britain may soon be liberated by the Americans.
|Made in Black and White|
|Pauline Murray's character name is the same as her own. There was a fairly large cast of unknown actors in supporting roles but they mostly play characters who appear for short periods only. And since the credits do not specify who played which parts there is not much value in listing the names.|
|Writer: Alan Plater / Director: Eric Till / Producer: Margaret Matheson|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 88 mins|
|Following on from the situations established in All Creatures Great and Small (1975) ...
It is 1938 in Yorkshire with the spectre of another war looming large over everybody's lives. James Herriot is now a full partner working with Siegfried Farnon at their rural veterinary practice serving the needs of local farmers in the welfare of their livestock, as well as providing care for villager's pets. James is newly married to Helen and they live at the practice in a pokey attic space. They are both keen to move to a place of their own but cannot currently afford it.
James gets involved in various medical emergencies as he begins to prove to the locals that he is no longer a junior assistant but a competent professional that they can rely upon and call out at any time of the night or day. Siegfried thinks James gets too personally involved in some of his cases and should learn to be a little more detached.
When Colonel Bosworth's beloved Red Setter is knocked over by a car it is Siegfried's opinion that nothing that can be done for it. But James believes that surgery could save the dog. He takes the colonel's dog to a neighbouring town where a friend called Granville Bennett specialises in animal surgery. And with James's help Granville manages to save the dog. Granville thinks James is wasted in a backwater practice and offers him a job working for him in the more lucrative end of the veterinary market. James knows the increase in salary would be very useful and would mean he and Helen could afford a place of their own. He asks for time to think about it.
Meanwhile both James and Siegfried are stumped when widow farmer Mrs Dalby's herd of cattle come down with a deadly malady that doesn't appear in any of the medical textbooks. James gets very frustrated that he cannot resolve the mystery and is running out of time before Mrs Dalby loses all her stock. Even a studious young medical student on work experience called Richard Carmody who is very up to speed on the latest understandings cannot work it out. Mrs Dalby is beginning to lose faith in her local vets until James suddenly has the inspiration that copper deficiency is to blame. With the cause identified the cows are given the necessary treatment and most are saved.
James feels great satisfaction in having been able to save a struggling farmer's livelihood. Such satisfaction would not be forthcoming working at Granville Bennett's practice. So to Siegfried's immense relief James turns down the other job offer and elects to remain with Siegfried.
As the months roll on Helen has their first baby and she and James have no choice but to find a place of their own to raise their new family finding some way to afford it with the means available to them. It is now 1939 and with the declaration of war, James knows that it won't be long before he is called up for active service. But until that happens he is determined to appreciate every moment of his life in the countryside with his new baby son.
|Starring:||John Alderton (as James Herriott), Colin Blakely (as Siegfried Farnon, James' practice partner), Lisa Harrow (as Helen, James' wife)|
|Featuring:||Bill Maynard (as Hinchcliffe, farmer), Richard Pearson (as Granville Bennett, specialist surgeon), Paul Shelley (as Richard Carmody, medical student), John Barrett (as Crump, farmer who makes homemade wine), Rosemary Martin (as Mrs Dalby, lady farmer with sick cattle), Philip Stone (as Jack Almond, bird keeper), Raymond Francis (as Colonel Bosworth, red setter owner), May Warden (as Mrs Tompkins, budgerigar owner), Liz Smith (as Mrs Dodds, Mrs Tompkins' friend), Christine Hargreaves (as Mrs Butterworth)|
|Based on the books by James Herriot|
|This film was a follow-up to All Creatures Great and Small (1975). However all of the lead roles except for Lisa Harrow's were played by different actors.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Herbert J. Leder|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Arthur Pimm is an assistant museum curator who has worked efficiently and dependably in his post for many years. When the main curator Harold Grove receives a call that there has been a fire at the museum's storage warehouse the two men go to assess the damage. The warehouse is completely gutted destroying many valuable relics. The only surviving piece is a large statue of some sort of grotesque man-like creature believed to be an original Golem. Arthur leaves to get a torch and when he returns he finds his boss dead at the foot of the statue. The manner of his death is unknown but Arthur is sure that the solid statue seems to have moved - but the matter is so perplexing he cannot fathom it.
Arthur becomes acting curator and feels confident that with his experience in the job the board of trustees will appoint him permanently. Arthur also hopes it might improve his chances of impressing Ellen Grove who was the daughter of the late curator Grove and works at the museum as a secretary to head trustee Mr Trimingham.
Meanwhile the statue is relocated into the main museum to be put on display. But then another inexplicable death occurs near the statue and it starts to get a reputation in the press as being cursed. Mr Trimingham wants to be rid of the statue and offers it for sale to an American museum. Jim Perkins of the New York Museum comes to London to examine the object and determine its authenticity.
Jim believes it is a Golem made in the mid-1500s. Golems were Hebrew statues created from stone and endowed with a mystical life force. They were indestructible creatures that could wield immense power, but were intended as a force for good to protect a community from harm. A Golem was brought to life by placing a special scroll within its lips and it would obey that person's commands. Arthur is intrigued by the story and wonders to himself where this scroll could be.
Meanwhile Jim meets Ellen and they go out on a date while he is waiting for carbon dating tests to be done on the statue to confirm its authenticity. Left alone with the statue Arthur finds a clue in an inscription on the Golem's side which leads him to discover a hidden recess in one of its feet containing the scroll. Arthur puts the scroll into the Golem's mouth and it comes to life and obeys his commands. Arthur removes the scroll to deactivate it while considering the enormity of his discovery and what to do with it.
Arthur's hopes of becoming the curator are dashed when someone else is appointed to the position from outside. New curator Professor Weal is a stickler for the pedantic and intends to tighten things up considerably. He finds fault with Arthur and gives him the sack. Arthur is so perturbed by this that he impulsively evokes the Golem and orders it to kill Weal before he has an opportunity to make the dismissal official. To cover the death Arthur smashes some display cases and steals some precious jewels to make Weal's death appear part of a robbery.
This time the museum decides to give Arthur the curatorship which delights him. He grows in confidence with his new status and the power he wields with command of the Golem. He asks Ellen out to lunch at a café by the Thames and she detects some new fire of self-assuredness in him. He tells her he feels he could do anything and in a half-joking was says he could destroy Hammersmith Bridge if he wanted to. Ellen finds this boast a bit bizarre and makes her excuses.
Arthur has a dream about Ellen loving him which he finds idyllic but then becomes frustrated when he realises it wasn't real. In a fit of pique he orders the Golem to go and destroy Hammersmith Bridge so he can show he wasn't kidding. The Golem obeys and uses its mighty strength to pull down the bridge leaving a wreck of twisted steel girders in its wake and many innocent people dead. The thought-to-be "accidental" collapse of the bridge is headline news and Ellen is stunned by the coincidence of Arthur's foolish comment. She turns to Jim whom she has grown fond of and he liaises with the police and learns of odd witness statements about some large lumbering thing seen in the vicinity. Jim guesses that Arthur has discovered how to reanimate the Golem.
Meanwhile Arthur is shaken by what he has done and realises he has gone too far and knows he must end it - he puts the scroll in the Golem's mouth and orders it to swallow thinking that it will be deactivated with no chance of the scroll falling into anyone's hands ever again. But instead the Golem becomes permanently active. Arthur tries ordering the Golem into actions of self-destruction, but it survives them all. Jim confronts Arthur who is tricked into confessing what he has done and is arrested and taken to prison. But Arthur finds he can communicate mentally with the Golem and orders it to break in and rescue him.
By now Arthur has lost all reason. He kidnaps Ellen and drives her and the Golem to the coast where a soon-to-be opened branch of the museum is situated. It is a castle tower called Cloisters for housing medieval art. Arthur believes he can use the Golem to defend against any attempts to retake him while he convinces Ellen to love him.
The Golem stands sentinel and repels any attempts of the authorities to get in. Eventually the army are called but bazookas and tanks have no effect against the indestructible creature. The situation is desperate because they fear Pimm could use the Golem to rule the world and so the government authorise use of a small-scale nuclear warhead that will destroy everything in a one mile radius which surely not even the mighty Golem could survive.
Arthur is given an opportunity to surrender before the deadline - but he refuses to give himself up because then he would be sent to prison which he won't allow because he believes he has a place in history and should be adulated for bringing the Golem to life. As the midday deadline looms Ellen escapes the castle but is too close to ground zero and so Jim speeds into the danger area on a motorbike and brings her back to the safety zone with seconds to spare. The warhead explodes and completely obliterates the castle killing Pimm and laying waste to everything in its blast radius. But as the dust settles the army are astounded to see the Golem still stands!
It seems nothing can stop it and surely now with its master dead it will wreak havoc upon civilisation. But the Golem was created to do good and without the warped commands of a misguided master it has no malicious intent and so instead turns and walks into the sea to hide itself away forever.
|Comment: Early on in the film we see some of Arthur's home life which makes it apparent he is mentally unstable. He lives by himself but he tells everyone his mother lives with him. But this is his inner delusion for his mother is dead and the person he speaks to in the house is her skeleton which he dresses up and looks after. He "borrows" jewels from the museum for her to wear overnight and returns them the next day. These scenes serve to make Arthur seem incredibly weird but probably weren't a necessary part of the overall story except perhaps to help towards explaining why he was so easily corrupted.
One thing not explained in the story is why or how the Golem killed the first two men before it was activated by Pimm.
|Starring:||Roddy McDowall (as Arthur Pimm, [credited as Roddy MacDowall]), Jill Haworth (as Ellen Grove, Trimingham's secretary), Paul Maxwell (as Jim Perkins, American expert), Oliver Johnston (as Trimingham, museum trustee)|
|Featuring:||Ernest Clark (as Harold Grove, first curator, Ellen's father), Aubrey Richards (as Professor Weal, replacement curator), Noel Trevarthen (as Inspector White, detective), Ian McCulloch (as Detective Wayne, White's assistant), Richard Goolden (as Rabbi, Hebrew translator), Dorothy Frere (as Miss Simpson, caretaker of the Cloisters), Steve Kirby (as Ellis, museum electrician), Mark Burns (as Army Officer), Raymond Adamson (as Army Officer), Lindsay Campbell (as Policeman), Alan Sellers (as The Golem statue, [in monster makeup throughout])|
|Writer: Troy Kennedy Martin / Director: Peter Collinson / Producer: Michael Deeley|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Charlie Croker is a high-class crook who has just finished a spell in prison and now has intentions of teaming up with a friend in Italy called Beckerman to pull off an audacious heist of $4m in gold. Beckerman has been busy in Italy working out the details of the complex operation when the Mafia get wind of his plans to infringe their territory and murder him.
Beckerman's widow passes on her husband's papers to Charlie who decides to go it alone. He gains the financial backing of the local crimelord, Mr Bridger and recruits a team to follow Beckerman's plan. The gold is being transported in a bullion van through the city of Turin and the plan involves reprogramming the city's traffic control computer to create traffic chaos under the cover of which they will hijack the van. This will then be transferred to three reinforced compact mini-coopers which can be driven out of the city via an unconventional traffic-free getaway route.
The city is hosting a football international and so Charlie and his team travel under cover of being football supporters in a coach. Their meticulous operation goes well and the minis get away using pedestrian tunnels, shopping malls, walkways and weirs which the larger police vehicles cannot follow. The bullion is transferred to the coach and the jubilant team of crooks begin their drive into Switzerland along the winding mountain roads.
However disaster strikes when the one factor that was not properly considered takes place and the heavy gold destabilises the coach's balance and on a sharp turn it skids and is left hanging precariously over the edge of a precipice. The film ends on this "cliff-hanger" conclusion with the eventual fate of the gang left untold.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Charlie Croker), Noël Coward (as Mr Bridger, crime lord)|
|Featuring:||Benny Hill (as Professor Simon Peach, computer expert), Maggie Blye (as Lorna, Charlie's girlfriend), Raf Vallone (as Altabani, Mafia boss), Tony Beckley (as Camp Freddie), Rossano Brazzi (as Beckerman, murdered heist planner)|
|Familiar Faces:||Irene Handl (as Professor Peach's sister), John Le Mesurier (as Prison Governor), John Clive (as Garage Manager), Robert Powell (as Gang Member), Henry McGee (as Tailor)|
|Writers: Charles Alverson, Terry Gilliam / Director: Terry Gilliam / Producer: Sanford Lieberson|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Dennis Cooper is a young man living in the Dark Ages. He lives in a small isolated village where he works as an apprentice to his father who is a cooper. Dennis has a ninnyish enthusiasm for finding ways to make their business more profitable but no expertise in the craft of barrel making and Mr Cooper despairs at his son's ineptitude. Dennis' other love is Griselda Fishfinger who is an overweight unattractive slob who guzzles food all day and doesn't give Dennis a civil word - but to Dennis she is the fairest maiden of them all whom he adores with all his heart even though she shows no interest in him.
When Mr Cooper dies of a heart attack he disowns Dennis on his deathbed for being useless and Dennis is forced to leave the village to try and find work in the great city where the king lives. Unfortunately the city is facing a crisis. A ferocious monster is loose in the forest and all the villagers in the vicinity have had to move into the safety of the city walls. The city faces ruin with normal life curtailed and it is only the merchants that are pleased with the situation because they have many more customers than usual and for them business is booming.
Dennis arrives at the city hoping to gain work thinking he will find it easy with his perceived business acumen - but he soon discovers that work is hard to come by for outsiders and others like him who have tried end up begging in the streets. Meanwhile in the palace the slightly senile king is persuaded to take some action to kill the monster. The king decides to hold a jousting competition for his knights to fight to the death and the winner will become his champion who will face the terrible monster in combat. If successful, the victor will be ceded half the kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage.
Dennis has a run-in with the city guards and during his flight he stumbles into the bedchamber of the princess. She is romantically dopey and believes that Dennis is a heroic prince who has come to slay the monster and sweep her off her feet and no matter what Dennis tries to say otherwise she remains set in her belief. Although she is beautiful, Dennis has no interest in the princess and all his romantic thoughts remain of Griselda.
Later Dennis comes into the company of a knight's squire who enjoys bed-hopping and when his knight wins the tournament the squire asks Dennis to stand in as knight's squire whilst he beds another filly. The champion knight is cheered through the streets as he makes his way from the city to meet in combat with the monster. Dennis rides with him to act as his squire attendant.
On their journey they save a party of travellers from some bandits. The travellers are the Fishfinger family and Dennis is overjoyed to see Griselda again although she couldn't care less about him because he is a nobody with no prospects, despite him being the only person who finds her in any way attractive.
Meanwhile the city merchants, who are concerned that their businesses will suffer if the monster is vanquished, send their own knight to kill the champion. The two knights fight a titanic battle and the rogue knight emerges the victor. But then the fearsome dragon-like monster appears and the rogue knight is forced to fight it to defend himself. He delivers several mortal wounds but it refuses to die and the rogue knight eventually succumbs. The monster then lunges at Dennis who is cowering in terror but manages to raise a sword in defence and the monster impales itself on it and dies of its cumulative injuries.
Dennis returns to the city with the monster's head and is hailed a hero for making the city safe once more. The avaricious Griselda takes a sudden liking to Dennis and starts making plans for an immediate wedding. Dennis cannot believe how lucky he is with all his dreams coming true. Then the king arrives to congratulate Dennis for his great achievement and gift to him the rewards promised to the vanquisher. Dennis (and especially Griselda) is pleased to hear about being given half the kingdom - but Dennis's happiness is ripped asunder when he discovers he must marry the king's daughter instead of his beloved Griselda. The royal marriage takes place and the newlyweds head off into the sunset for their honeymoon and the princess is delighted to have her romantic dreams come true although all Dennis can think about is his lost love Griselda.
|Starring:||Michael Palin (as Dennis Cooper), Max Wall (as King Bruno the Questionable), John Le Mesurier (as Passelewe, King's chamberlain), Deborah Fallender (as Princess, King's daughter)|
|Featuring:||Harry H. Corbett (as Squire), Bernard Bresslaw (as Tavern Landlord), Annette Badland (as Griselda Fishfinger, Dennis sweetheart), Warren Mitchell (as Mr Fishfinger, Griselda's father), Brenda Cowling (as Mrs Fishfinger, Griselda's mother), Paul Curran (as Mr Cooper Senior, Dennis' father), Derek Francis (as Bishop), Neil Innes (as Herald), Bryan Pringle (as Guard at gate), Kenneth Colley (as Fanatic), Graham Crowden (as Fanatics leader), Brian Glover (as Armourer)|
|Familiar Faces:||Rodney Bewes (as Another Squire, [cameo]), John Bird (as Herald), Terry Gilliam (as Man with Rock), Terry Jones (as Poacher, [cameo death in prologue), Frank Williams (as Merchant), Gorden Kaye (as Sister Jessica, Princesses lady in waiting)|
|Starlets:||Alexandra Dane (as Landlord's wife)|
|Jabberwocky is not the name of the monster or anything else in the story. The term comes from a poem by Lewis Carroll that formed part of the Alice in Wonderland sequel Through the Looking Glass. It refers to something that is considered to be nonsense.|
|Writers: Jan Read, Beverley Cross / Director: Don Chaffey / Producer: Charles H. Schneer|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Set in the Mythical past. A Greek conqueror called Pelias overthrows the kingdom of Thessaly by murdering the king and attempting to kill all his children in order to prevent them ever seeking revenge. But a son, still a babe-in-arms, is smuggled away by a loyal guard and brought up by him in exiled safety. The boy is called Jason and twenty years later he returns to Thessaly to try and regain his rightful throne from the tyrant Pelias who has turned the once prosperous nation into one struggling against famine in the face of evil misrule.
Jason knows he needs to bring a symbol of hope to his people and he decides to embark upon a quest to find the fabled Golden Fleece whose magical properties are purported to bring wealth and prosperity to any nation that possesses it. The Fleece is said to be located at the end of the world in an unknown land called Colchis and obtaining it will be a monumental undertaking that only the bravest would dare to consider.
In Mount Olympus the gods look down and enjoy the entertainment that the mortals provide. King of the gods Zeus and his queen Hera treat the world below like a game of strategy by providing help or hindrance to the players and seeing how they manage. Hera has vowed to help Jason a number of times on his quest.
Jason assembles a crew of Greece's finest athletes including the legendary Hercules. Jason has a ship built by master builder Argus and the vessel is named the Argos with those that sail on her known as the Argonauts. The tyrant Pelias knows of Jason's expedition and is glad that his potential usurper will be far away embarking on a hopeless quest. But just in case he is successful Pelias orders his son Acastus to join the Argos crew incognito and sabotage Jason's efforts if it seems he might succeed.
Jason and the Argonauts set sail in the general assumed direction of Colchis, but after weeks of travel upon the vast ocean without sighting any land they begin to run low on water. Hera assists by steering them to an oasis island which was once the foundry of the gods where they can replenish their supplies of food and water but, very importantly, must not take anything else. Unfortunately Hercules finds a golden spear in a treasure house and decides to keep it. This brings to life the sentinel Talos, a gigantic statue of bronze whose sole task it is to obliterate any transgressors who would think to steal from the gods. Talos is an unstoppable colossus who seems impossible to defeat until Hera tells Jason of its one weakness and he manages to vanquish the gargantuan. Hercules stays behind as a penance and the rest of the seafarers continue onwards.
Hera has advised Jason to seek the advice of a blind man called Phineas on the island of Phrygia. Phineas had the gift of prophecy which he misused and so as a punishment Zeus blinded him and subjects him to a daily torment by two monstrous harpies. Phineas tells Jason that he will only answer his questions if Jason defeats the accursed harpies for him. Jason and his men capture and cage the harpies and in return Phineas gives them directions to Colchis but warns them of the treacherous area of clashing rocks through which they must pass on the way.
The Argos' route takes them through a narrow channel between two high cliff faces and as they proceed the cliffs violently shake and loosened rocks tumble into the water creating dangerous turbulence. On the far side of the passage they see another ship succumb to the hazard. Hera observes Jason's plight and calls upon the giant sea god Triton to help and he holds back the cliff walls whilst the Argos passes through.
Safely on the other side they pick up a survivor from the ship they saw being wrecked. She is a young woman called Medea who comes from the land of Colchis which they seek. She guides them to her homeland and she takes them to meet King Aeëtes who at first welcomes the travellers to his land. But later the king is told by the insidious Acastus what Jason's intentions are concerning the Golden Fleece. The Fleece has brought great prosperity to Aeëtes' land and he will not jeopardise that security. He throws Jason and his men into the cells to await execution.
Medea is High Priestess of the temple and took a liking to Jason during their time together on his ship. She is grateful to Jason for saving her life and so she helps him and his men escape. Jason goes to fetch the Fleece from its place in the forest while his men ready the Argos and arrange to rendezvous with him further down the coastline. Jason finds the Fleece but then has to combat its guardian, a savage Hydra with seven serpent heads. Jason defeats the creature and takes the Fleece. But King Aeëtes gives chase and calls upon his own gods for help. He takes the teeth of the slain hydra and confronts Jason on a cliff top. He sows the teeth in front of him like seeds and in their stead grow seven battle-ready skeletons. Jason sends the Fleece back to the Argos whilst he and two of his men remain to have a titanic battle against the septet of infernal warriors. Jason's two allies are killed by the creatures and eventually Jason has to accept he cannot defeat them and leaps to safety off the cliff into the sea below where the Argos is waiting to pick him up.
Medea has chosen to join him on his voyage home knowing that she would face execution for her actions in her homeland. Jason and Medea kiss and the gods Zeus and Hera look down with approval and grant them a smooth passage home. Zeus avers he has more tasks in mind for Jason in the years to come.
|Comment: Jason's quest to find the Golden Fleece was embarked upon as a prelude to retaking his kingdom and not a singular objective - but the film ends once he has the Fleece and we never find out if he manages to retake his kingdom.|
|Starring:||Todd Armstrong (as Jason), Nancy Kovack (as Medea, high priestess at Colchis), Niall MacGinnis (as Zeus, king of the Greek gods), Honor Blackman (as Hera, queen of the Greek gods), Laurence Naismith (as Argus, ship builder, Argonaut)|
|Featuring:||Nigel Green (as Hercules, Argonaut), Gary Raymond (as Acastus, traitorous Argonaut, Pelias' son), Douglas Wilmer (as Pelias, conqueror of Thessaly), Jack Gwillim (as King Aeetes, of Colchis, possessor of the Golden Fleece), Patrick Troughton (as Phineas, blind man on Phrygia), Michael Gwynn (as Hermes, Greek god), Davina Taylor (as Briseis, Jason's older sister)|
(Other Argonauts) John Cairney (as Hylas), John Crawford (as Polydeuces), Andrew Faulds (as Phalerus), Ferdinando Poggi (as Castor), Doug Robinson (as Eupaemus)
|Writer: Jo Eisinger / Director: Terence Young / Producer: Benjamin Fisz|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Set in the present day (1983). In the 1960s Philip Kimberly had been a director of MI6. He had turned out to be a traitor and had defected to the Soviet Union in a notorious spy scandal that had eclipsed that of Burgess and McClean. Now still ensconced in Russia, Kimberley is an old man who has become an embarrassment to the Russians - but they have one last task for him. The death of Philip Kimberly is announced to the world and a bogus state funeral held for him - then they perform groundbreaking plastic surgery on his face and completely change his appearance making him seem to be a man in his 40s again. He is given a new identity and sent to England under the cover of an embassy attaché. His mission is to recover a potentially catastrophic document listing all the Soviet moles and spies buried deep within British society. Before he originally left England in the 1960s Philip Kimberley had gotten hold of this list and hidden it away as an insurance policy. Now the Russians want him to recover that list so it doesn't fall into British hands.
However Kimberly has his own agenda and has lost none of the sharpness that once made him such a formidable spy. Once in England he gives his KGB minder the slip and contacts Sir Gerald Scaith, the current head of Secret Intelligence Services, to offer him the list for a large cash payment. Scaith holds Kimberly's abilities as a grand spymaster in high professional renown and arranges a deal.
There then follows a series of developments that draw into the mix Kimberly's daughter Penelope who is prepared to do anything to help her father; also her boyfriend Jamie Frase, who is a top agent in the secret services; and a high ranking British official in the intelligence community who wants the list destroyed because he knows his name will be on it.
Kimberly stays one step ahead and the traitor is exposed. Kimberly is captured but has already sent the list abroad to guarantee his safe passage and arranges to make the exchange with Scaith in Geneva.
|Comment: The events of the main story body are unremarkable and so didn't seem worth devoting many paragraphs of exposition to here - therefore following the explanation of the initial story set-up I've wrapped it all up with a very broad overview. One thing I wasn't totally clear on was whether Kimberly was really a traitor or if he had only ever been pretending - or if he had now reformed - or was simply working for himself.|
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Philip Kimberly), Laurence Olivier (as Admiral Sir Gerald Scaith, head of Secret Intelligence Services), Susan George (as Penelope, Kimberley daughter), Robert Powell (Jamie Fraser, special agent)|
|Featuring:||Charles Gray (as Sir James Chorley, intelligence chief), Sabine Sun (as Dr Zilenka, Russian plastic surgeon), Vladek Sheybal (as Russian General), David Kelly (as Scotland Yard fingerprint expert)|
|Starlets:||Maureen Bennett (as Susan, Penny's friend), Jana Shelden (as Air hostess)|
|From the novel by Dorothea Bennett|
|Writer/Director: Michael Sarne / Producer: Michael S. Laughlin|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 112 mins|
|Joanna Soren is a young English woman who comes to London to attend art college. Joanna is a ditzy uncomplicated girl bursting with wide-eyed innocent naivety that sees her following an unpurposeful life in which she lives very much for the moment as she allows events to carry her along wherever the fancy and opportunity may take her. She starts off staying with her Grandmother but then takes up with the art teacher Hendrik Casson. Through him she meets another of his girlfriends Beryl French who lives a virtually money-free lifestyle hustling from rich guys who are always willing to buy things for her and let her live with them for a while. Joanna follows her lead and goes on a holiday to Morocco with a new boyfriend Dominic along with Beryl and her friend Lord Peter Sanderson. Peter is a kindly, compassionate and generously sweet-natured man who everyone loves for the way he shares his wealth to make other people happy and Joanna is devastated when she discovers he is very ill and only has a short time to live.
After Peter has died Joanna falls in love with Beryl's brother Gordon who is a charismatic playboy businessman. Gordon is in trouble with some protection racketeers and after he is beaten up he kills one of the gang. Gordon becomes a murder suspect and is eventually imprisoned for ten years on manslaughter charges.
After these sad events in her life Joanna decides to go back home again.
|Comment: There isn't much of a plot to this movie and it moves along in a very unfocussed sort of way flitting from circumstance to circumstance with no strong narrative binding it all together. Perhaps this is an intentional reflection of the lead character's personality but it does render the whole film as seeming a bit meaningless.|
|Starring:||Geneviève Waïte (as Joanna Soren), Christian Doermer (as Hendrik Casson, Art Teacher), Calvin Lockhart (as Gordon French), Donald Sutherland (as Lord Peter Sanderson), Glenna Forster Jones (as Beryl French)|
|Featuring:||David Scheur (as Dominic Endersley, one of Joanna's boyfriends), Marda Vanne (as Joanna's grandmother), Anthony Ainley (as Bruce, one of Joanna's boyfriends)|
|Familiar Faces:||(uncredited cameos) David Collings (Art Critic), Jenny Hanley (Wife who returns home to find her husband in bed with Joanna, non-speaking part)|
|Starlets:||Michelle Cook (as Margot, student friend of Joanna), Jane Bradbury (as Angela, Bruce's other girlfriend), Fiona Lewis (as Miranda De Hyde, Dominic's friend)|
|Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais / Director: Michael Winner / Producers: Ben Arbeid, Maurice Foster|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 90 mins|
|David and Michael Tremayne are brothers who like challenges that will stretch their creative ingenuity. They have both been in the army although David progressed to higher ranks and Michael was booted out. His discharge was due to him cheating to win a war games exercise although Michael's intention had been to display his resourcefulness. Michael is viewed by his family as a comparative failure when judged against his brother David which Michael feels is unfair - they are both equally clever it's just that David has never been caught.
The two brothers decide they want to do something spectacular that will grab the headlines with its breathtaking audacity and propel them to fame. They decide that to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London would be a sufficiently high-profile stunt. However they don't wish to go to prison for theft so they both write letters which they will lodge with their respective solicitors explaining in advance that they acted not to permanently deprive but to test the security of the nation's treasures.
Then they set about their strategy. Using army skills David builds small bombs and they begin a campaign of planting the explosives at London landmarks and phoning anonymous warnings which the Royal Engineers bomb disposal squad have to come and defuse. David dons his old army captain's uniform and makes himself a familiar face at the army base.
When the brothers have laid sufficient groundwork they plant a bomb at the real target - the visitor's jewel room at The Tower of London. That evening Michael attends his girlfriend's coming out party to establish an alibi and David goes to the army base. When the bomb alert comes through David intercepts the call and poses as the officer in charge of defusing the bomb. Michael slips out unseen from the party and joins him as a junior soldier.
The brothers enter the jewel room alone and hide the royal crown and orb in their equipment case. Then they dab themselves in fake blood and set off a small explosive and rush out as if injured and are put in an ambulance. Once on route they overpower the crew and escape. Michael returns to the party unmissed and David takes the stolen treasures home. Next day Michael joins him and they hide the treasures under David's floorboards. They view with great satisfaction the massive police response to their audacious theft and decide to wait a week before giving themselves up.
Thus, a week later David phones his solicitor to release the letter and the police are informed. When the police arrive at his home David lifts his floorboards to retrieve the treasures - but they have gone! David is perplexed and when he turns to his brother for corroboration Michael claims to know nothing of his brother's actions. He never lodged his confession letter with his solicitor and even has a solid alibi - a mantelpiece clock in a group photo at his girlfriend's party clearly shows he was there at the time of the robbery. Everyone recalls seeing David as the officer but no one can recall what the soldier with him looked like. David is put on remand for his offences and Michael is free. Michael is delighted that at last he outsmarted his own brother - his masterstroke had been changing the time on the clock when posing for the party photo.
Michael lets David sweat for several days before giving the jewels up that he re-hid elsewhere without David's knowledge - and only after securing a massive deal with a newspaper for exclusive story rights. The two brothers have to spend some time in prison for their offences but they are both regarded as folk heroes for their daring stunt.
|Starring:||Michael Crawford (as Michael Tremayne), Oliver Reed (as David Tremayne)|
|Featuring:||Harry Andrews (as Inspector Marryatt), Gabriella Licudi (as Eve, David's girlfriend, writer), Ingrid Brett (as Sarah, Michael's girlfriend), James Donald (as Colonel Gurney-Simms, Royal Engineers bomb disposal), Brian Wilde (as Sgt Catchpole, Marratt's junior colleague), Peter Graves and Rachel Kempson (as Mr and Mrs Tremayne, Mike and Dave's parents), Daniel Massey (as Riggs, party photographer), Lotte Tarp (as Inge, David's other girlfriend)|
|Familiar Faces:||Michael Hordern (as Sir Matthew, police boss), Frank Finlay (as Man at airport customs), Warren Mitchell (as Jewel thief), Edward Fox (as Lt Sprague, army)|
|Writers: Allan Scott, Chris Bryant / Director: Tony Richardson / Producer: Neil Hartley|
|Type: Period Drama||Running Time: 94 mins|
|Joseph Andrews is the son of a poor family and as a young boy his hard-to-do parents were forced to send him into service so they could continue to care for their other child - a daughter named Pamela. Joseph made his home at the residence of Sir Thomas and Lady Booby and became a popular servant boy for his good looks and fine manner. As he grew into a young man Lady Booby started to show a keen interest in her footman and enjoyed having him around in preference to her now bloated husband. But naïve and innocent Joseph had no conception of what was on her mind and in any case only had eyes for his sweetheart Fanny Goodwill, a maid at the hall.
Sir and Lady Booby are off to the city of Bath and the lady chooses to take her footman Joseph with her. His mentor Parson Adams begs the lady reconsider so the lad can continue with his studies but she insists he accompany her. Joseph bids a farewell for now to his sweetheart Fanny who must stay behind at the big house. When the overweight Sir Thomas expires Lady Booby finds this frees her to pursue her beautiful footman - but despite making it quite clear to him in all but words what she desires Joseph fails to understand what she requires of him and in frustration she dismisses him from her service.
Cast out from what is familiar to him Joseph falls prey to bandits. Fanny hears word of his dismissal and heads for Bath and meets up with him and with Parson Adams who is travelling around. There follows a series of incidents in which Joseph, Fanny and the parson are variously reunited, split-up, fall victim to rogues and scoundrels and are rescued by a wandering pedlar.
The pedlar has a story to tell of how he once knew a gypsy woman who stole a baby girl from a family and then sold her to a big house as a servant. Fanny knows how that feels for she was a foundling herself and does not know who her true parents were. Joseph and Fanny decide they want to marry and ask the parson to preside which he agrees to do after certain formalities and paperwork have been arranged.
They also meet with a friend of the parsons called Mr Wilson - he tells them of a story from his past in which he fell for the charms of a glamorous actress called Belle and had put her in the family way. When the baby was born she refused to have anything to do with it and he was left to care for the boy himself. When he met his current wife that little boy was unfortunately stolen from them by gypsies. WE know that Belle the actress and Lady Booby are one and the same from a time before she married Sir Thomas and became a titled lady.
Meanwhile Lady Booby's nephew has announced his engagement to, of all people, Joseph Andrews' sister Pamela - he declares to his aunt that the Booby family are so rich that a dowry is not required and they are free to marry for love. This idea makes Lady Booby think for that is what she should do - marry Joseph Andrews! She employs a crooked lawyer to trump up some charges against Fanny to take her out of the picture - but all her various efforts are thwarted and the day of wedding approaches.
Then the pedlar makes a startling announcement. He has only just heard the surnames of Fanny Goodwill and Joseph Andrews. He knows that "Goodwill" was the name the gypsy woman he knew gave to the little girl she stole and sold to the big house - but the family she stole the baby from were the Andrews family. This means that Joseph and Fanny are brother and sister and cannot marry. Lady Booby is delighted at this stroke of fortune for now she can pursue Joseph herself.
Mr and Mrs Andrews are sent for to give them the happy news of the discovery of their stolen third child. But when they arrive Mr Andrew denies there was another daughter. But his wife has an admission - she had been pregnant by him when he went off to war and in his absence gave birth to a little girl - but soon after that a gypsy had swapped the babies taking her healthy girl and replacing her with a sickly boy she had stolen and couldn't sell. Mrs Andrews never told her husband of the switch and told him the child had been a boy all along and she brought the boy up as her own - he became their much-loved Joseph. So it is Fanny who is their real blood daughter. But what of Joseph - it is revealed that he has a distinctive birthmark and Mr Wilson who is also in attendance recognises it as the mark his stolen son had - so Joseph is actually the son of Mr Wilson and the actress Belle who became Lady Booby. The Lady Booby is crestfallen when she discovers that all this time she has been unknowingly lusting after her own son.
With the parentage of the sweethearts now properly cleared up and Fanny and Joseph are shown to be not related, the marriage goes ahead as planned.
|Comment: It does get a bit complicated near the end with all the twists and turns of which baby was which and who was switched with whom but it all seems to hang together in the end.|
|Starring:||Peter Firth (as Joseph Andrews), Ann-Margret (as Lady Booby), Michael Hordern (as Parson Adams), Natalie Ogle (as Fanny Goodwill), Beryl Reid (as Mrs Slipslop, housekeeper)|
|Featuring:||Jim Dale (as The Pedlar), Peter Bull (as Sir Thomas Booby), Kenneth Cranham (as The Wicked Squire), Karen Dotrice (as Pamela, Joseph's sister), James Villiers (as Mr Booby, Lady Booby's nephew), Norman Rossington (as Gaffer Andrews, Joseph's father), Patsy Rowlands (as Gammer Andrews, Joseph's mother), Ronald Pickup (as Mr Wilson), Penelope Wilton (as Mrs Wilson), Timothy West (as Mr Tow-Wouse, farmer), Wendy Craig (as Mrs Tow-Wouse, Farmer's wife), Murray Melvin (as Beau Didapper, fop), Brian Glover (as Gaoler)|
|Familiar Faces:||(in cameo roles) Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Jonathan Cecil, Tim Pigott-Smith|
|Starlets:||Vanessa Millard (as Betty, farm girl), Sandra Dorne (as Whore), Jenny Runacre (as The Gypsy Woman), Maggie Wright (as Fake Nun)|
|Screenstory by Tony Richardson. Based on the novel The History and Adventures of Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding.|
|Natalie Ogle receives an "introducing" credit|
|Writers: Walter Reisch, Charles Brackett / Director: Henry Levin / Producer: Charles Brackett|
|Type: American / Adventure||Running Time: 124 mins|
|Set in 1880. Celebrated geologist and Edinburgh university lecturer Sir Oliver Lindenbrook is given a gift by one of his favoured students Alec McKuen. The item is a lump of hardened lava that Alex found in a curiosity shop and thought would be ideal for Sir Oliver as a paperweight.
Sir Oliver observes that the rock is heavier than it should be and investigates its geological origins. He determines that it comes from an extinct Icelandic volcano. After the rock is cracked open he finds inside a plumb bob with an inscription. It was written by a scientist called Arne Saknussem who 300 years ago had been ridiculed for his outlandish theories about a land existing deep down in the bowels of the Earth. Saknussem went missing and was never heard from again. This inscription reveals that he found what he was looking for but was unable to return - the bob was spewed up in a lava flow and only found now by the flukiest of chances and by the very man who is able to understand its significance. Sir Oliver is able to geologically pinpoint the hidden entrance point in the extinct Icelandic volcano that will eventually lead an intrepid follower to the underground domain discovered by Saknussem.
Sir Oliver is very excited by his discovery and writes to an eminent geologist in Stockholm called Professor Göteborg to get his views. But this was a mistake and after waiting in vain for a reply Sir Oliver learns that Göteborg has dishonourably organised his own expedition using Sir Oliver's findings to get all the glory of a great discovery. Sir Oliver hastily mounts a rival venture taking Alec McKuen with him. They set off for Iceland.
Professor Göteborg has teamed up with Count Saknussem, the ancestor of the original explorer. But Saknussem wants all the glory and murders Göteborg and tries to stop Sir Oliver and Alec from getting started by having them abducted. But they escape with the help of a brawny Icelandic farmer called Hans. Göteborg's widow Carla arrives in Iceland and agrees to let Sir Oliver have all the equipment and provisions her late husband had amassed - but only on the condition that she accompany them on their expedition. Sir Oliver is not happy to be burdened with a woman but is forced to agree.
Sir Oliver, Alec, Carla and Hans set off. They find the hidden entrance and begin their descent in the labyrinthine system of natural underground passageways and caverns. They are secretly followed by Count Saknussem. Sir Oliver's group find carved markings left by the original explorer which helps them choose the right paths to take. The journey is treacherous and many hazards await them as they make their trek downwards - weeks and months go by as they continue onwards with their supplies dwindling and resolve weakening. Eventually Count Saknussem shows his hand and they are forced to join forces although the Count makes it clear he believes he has an innate claim to own this land found by his forebear.
They find a vast underground ocean which they have to cross on a makeshift raft and have to evade gigantic lizard creatures that inhabit the caverns. Eventually they hit a magnetic flux and know they have arrived at the centre of the Earth. Count Saknussem perishes in a rock fall as he is trying to betray the others and then they discover the ruins of a lost city - it is fabled Atlantis and in a temple they discover the skeletal remains of Arne Saknussem.
Now they have achieved their goal they need to get back out again. They find a shaft that leads directly to the surface thousands of kilometres up. They intend to climb but the way is blocked and so they use some gunpowder to clear it. This explosion sets off a lava eruption and the intrepid adventurers ride atop the flow inside a large heatproof altar bowl as it races up the shaft to the surface.
They are spewed out of the volcano and land in the sea where they are picked up by fishermen. They return to Edinburgh and are hailed as heroes. Alec marries his sweetheart and Sir Oliver proposes to Carla so that they can write the memoirs of their trip together.
|Comment: Their journey underground lasts the good part of a year (at one point 256 days are mentioned) so we clearly only see brief snatches of it although it seems to be a continuous narrative. During all that time none of the men grow beards and Carla's makeup and hair remain immaculate.|
|Starring:||(Expedition members) James Mason (as Sir Oliver Lindenbrook), Pat Boone (as Alec McKuen), Arlene Dahl (as Carla Göteborg), Peter Ronson (as Hans Belker), Thayer David (as Count Saknussem, villainous rival expeditionary)|
|Featuring:||Diane Baker (as Jenny Lindenbrook, Alec's sweetheart, Sir Oliver's niece), Molly Roden (as Sir Oliver's Housekeeper), Ivan Triesault (as Professor Peter Göteborg, Volcano expert)|
|Based on the 1860's novel by Jules Verne (original French title: Voyage au centre de la terre)|
|This American film is reviewed here because it stars James Mason and the main characters are based in Scotland. American singer Pat Boone also plays a Scotsman and manages to find the time to sing a song. The film's title uses the American way of spelling "centre".|
|Writers: Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, Donald James / Director: Robert Parrish / Producers: Gerry and Sylvia Anderson|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 97 mins|
|In the near future the European Space Exploration Complex (Eurosec) based in Portugal conducts scientific missions of discovery in the solar system. Recently Eurosec have had a successful unmanned mission called SunProbe which has gathered scientific data and photographs in close proximity to the sun. This data has uncovered a remarkable and unexpected discovery of another planet in the solar system previously undetected because it is in precisely the same orbit as Earth and hidden by always being on the exact opposite side of the sun.
Eurosec and NASA decide to send a manned mission with a crew of two using the next SunProbe rocket - Eurosec's SunProbe Project Leader John Kane and NASA's top astronaut Colonel Glenn Ross are selected by Eurosec Director Jason Webb for the important mission. The journey is due to last three weeks and the two men spend the time in a suspended sleep mode. After three weeks the computer wakes them up and a quick survey of the planet they are approaching shows it has a breathable atmosphere and Ross and Kane transfer to their landing craft to make the descent leaving the mother craft in orbit. There is a storm as they descend and Colonel Ross has to make a controlled crash landing. Ross is thrown clear but Kane is trapped and injured. Then a craft with searchlights is seen and a suited figure descends and pulls both men to safety. Ross expects the rescuer must be an alien but when the helmet is removed the man is a normal human type and speaks English and somehow they have returned to Earth.
Ross is taken back to Eurosec HQ and questioned by Jason Webb on why they turned back - but Ross swears they didn't abort and they did go to the other planet - but a return journey would have taken six weeks and he and Kane returned in a mere three weeks - so Ross is disbelieved. Medical tests are conducted but other than some anomalous readings which are discounted as a computer fault he appears to be completely fit and healthy albeit rather tired.
Ross goes home with his wife Sharon and becomes perplexed that his quarters have been rearranged and even light switch positions have been altered to the other side of the doors. He asks his wife why things have been moved but she doesn't know what he's talking about. Then while he's shaving he looks in the mirror and is confused that he can read the words on the medicine cabinet bottles as if they were unreflected - he looks directly at the bottles and realises that they are all written in mirror writing - he checks out other written material and discovers that everything has been reversed and yet when he points it out to his wife she finds nothing wrong with anything. Ross is taken in for psychiatric assessment on the assumption that his vision or brain function has been impaired.
Ross develops the only theory which seems to fit all the facts - he did go to the other planet after all - and that's where he is now - on an exact but reversed duplicate of Earth - and his counterpart made the same trip at the same time which is why the Eurosec of this Earth believe he turned back. He shares his theory with Jason Webb who tells him that an autopsy on John Kane who unfortunately died of his crash injuries revealed that all his internal organs were situated on the opposite side of his body to what is considered normal hence the discounted computer anomaly from earlier. Webb is inclined to believe the theory and they decide to send Ross back to his orbiting mother ship in a spare lander craft on the assumption that their own Colonel Ross will be doing the same on the other Earth - but what they are not sure of is whether the polarity of electricity needs to be reversed to make their technology compatible with the mother ship docking controls. They decide it should be reversed - but this is a mistake and when Ross attempts to dock with his orbiter it fuses the circuits and start plummeting to the planet. Ross loses control of the lander and it crashes right into the Eurosec launch facility killing him and completely destroying the SunProbe complex and all records of the other Earth.
|Starring:||Roy Thinnes (as Colonel Glenn Ross), Ian Hendry (as John Kane), Patrick Wymark (as Jason Webb)|
|Featuring:||Lynn Loring (as Sharon Ross, Glenn's wife), Loni von Friedl (as Lisa Hartmann, Eurosec Security), George Sewell (as Mark Neuman, Eurosec Security), Edward Bishop (as David Poulson, NASA representative), Philip Madoc (as Eurosec Doctor), Vladek Sheybal (as Eurosec Psychiatrist)|
|Familiar Faces:||Nicholas Courtney (Mission Control Analyst)|
|Star-Turns:||Herbert Lom (as Doctor Hassler, spy)|
|Writer: (no writer listed) / Director: Derek Jarman / Producers: Howard Malin, James Whaley|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Set in a present day near future in which the strictures of law and order have been largely abandoned and societal development has ground to a halt. A girl gang of unruly punkettes spend their days with nothing much to do to relieve their boredom except dream up their next hooligan acts. Pyromaniac Mad Medusa is the most outspoken amongst them; Amyl Nitrate has intellectual aspirations to rewrite history texts according to her own skewed perspective on events; Classy-looking Bod has found or stolen a royal crown; Crabs is a sex mad Australian actress; and Viv is a painter who has as her special friends serene brothers Angel and Sphinx.
One of their favourite pastimes is going through magazines looking for celebrities they can kill although they have now exhausted most of the possibilities. Crabs is friends with Borgia Ginz who owns everything in the world which he bought at knock down prices - and he controls all the world's media outlets.
The police are brutal and kill on a whim - when Angel and Sphinx are killed on a police raid at a bingo shop the girl-gang hunt down and revenge-kill the two policemen involved.
|Comment: Overall not a great deal happens in terms of describable plot developments, hence the brevity. The film is prologued by a scene set in the sixteenth century in which Queen Elizabeth I asks her sage John Dee to provide her with knowledge of future times. Dee calls upon an angel called Ariel who shows them a vision of the present day events we see. Later on, interspersed throughout the film, we see Elizabeth and her courtiers walking around in the present day setting finding it all rather unsettling - but she does not interact with the other modern characters. There does not seem to be any particularly good reason for this "time travel" element of the film being present and any potential the idea might have is sorely underused.|
|Starring:||(Girl Gang) Jenny Runacre (as Bod), Nell Campbell (as Crabs, [credited as Little Nell]), Toyah Willcox (as Mad), Jordan (as Amyl Nitrite, [Real name - Pamela Rooke]), Linda Spurrier (as Viv), Hermine Demoriane (as Chaos)|
|Featuring:||Orlando (as Borgia Ginz, media tycoon), Ian Charleson (as Angel), Karl Johnson (as Sphinx), Adam Ant (as Kid, musician wanting a break)|
(Queen Elizabeth I's entourage) Jenny Runacre (as Queen Elizabeth I, [actress plays dual role]), Richard O'Brien (as John Dee, Queen Elizabeth 1's sage), David Haughton (as Ariel, angelic figure guiding Elizabeth through time), Helen Wellington-Lloyd (as Queen's Lady in Waiting)
|Starlets:||Ulla Larson-Styles (as Café Waitress), Luciana Martínez and Prudence Walters (as Borgia's escorts)|
|Adam Ant receives an "introducing" credit|
|The film was made in 1977 which was Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee year which might explain why it was given this title. But internal to the film no year of setting is mentioned that I noticed and there seems to be no clear story reason for its given title.|
|Writer/Producer: Richard De Koker / Director: Richard Lester|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 110 mins|
|The British cruise liner Britannic has recently undergone an extensive refit at Liverpool dockyards and has just returned to service with a ship full of passengers bound for the United States. Once the ship is well on its way, Nicholas Porter, the managing director of the Sovereign line which operates the Britannic, receives a phone call from a man calling himself "Juggernaut". The man calmly explains that he has placed seven bombs aboard the Britannic along the length of the ship which are timed to go off at dawn tomorrow ship's time. The bombs are sealed into 50-gallon steel drums which are booby-trapped to prevent any attempts to move or interfere with them. Juggernaut will provide information on how to make them safe in return for £500,000. Porter calls in the police - and the army and government also become involved. Porter is told that it is government policy not to yield to terrorist demands and the extortion money should not be paid.
The Britannicis encountering gale force winds and cannot launch its lifeboats to get the passengers to safety so a special team of naval bomb disposal experts is called in. Lieutenant Commander Anthony Fallon and his team of six are parachuted to the liner's location and get to work.
Fallon has vast experience in defusing bombs but when he sees what he is up against he knows what a challenge it will be to overcome the safeguards the bombmaker has installed. They set up a remotely controlled drill to bore a hole in the side of one of the drums but unfortunately this vibrates a trip switch and the bomb explodes. The damage is contained using watertight doors but the ship could not sustain such damage from all the bombs and survive.
The only option is to try unbolting the drum faceplate manually and hope it isn't booby-trapped. Fallon and his deputy Charlie Braddock work on two bombs separately connected via radio. As Fallon successfully tries each step, Braddock duplicates it. Should Fallon trigger the bomb Braddock will know what not to do. Fallon successfully gets the faceplate off and encounters an alarmingly complex mechanism - but he approaches the task as a methodical technical exercise which he knows he can overcome. He sees a trembler switch and tells Braddock he is about to place a blocker to prevent it tripping - but then the ship lurches in the rough weather and his action is delayed. However when Braddock hears no explosions he assumes the step worked and duplicates it on his device which triggers a booby-trap - the bomb explodes and Braddock is killed. Once again the damage is contained by compartmentalised bulkhead doors sealing flooded sections.
Fallon studies the mechanism in more detail and realises the brilliant design is something he has seen before when he was a young bomb disposal officer in the war working for a genius called Sidney Buckland who was his mentor. They once encountered a German mine that had a design similar to this. Over the radio Fallon suggests the police visit the now retired Buckland's home to see if he can offer any advice on how to defuse it.
When the police arrive at Buckland's house they find literature about the Britannic and discover it is actually he that is behind the plot. Buckland became disenchanted at being sidelined to a desk job after the war and is now dissatisfied with his meagre pension and wanted to prove he was still a force to be reckoned with by using his skills to design a foolproof bomb.
Buckland is brought into headquarters and over the radio Fallon appeals to his former mentor to help. Fallon has found the detonator but does not know whether to cut the blue or red wire. Buckland tells him to cut the blue wire but some instinct informs Fallon that Buckland is lying because despite being caught, he still doesn't want his bombs to be defeated. So Fallon cuts the red wire instead and the bomb is made safe. All of Fallon's team members repeat the process and all of the remaining bombs are successfully defused and the Britannicis saved from overwhelming damage.
|Starring:||Richard Harris (as Lt Commander Anthony Fallon, bomb disposal team leader), Omar Sharif (as Captain Alex Brunel, commander of the Britannic), David Hemmings (as Charlie Braddock, Fallon's colleague), Anthony Hopkins (as Superintendent John McCleod, Scotland Yard detective), Ian Holm (as Nicholas Porter, managing director of the Sovereign line), Roy Kinnear (as Curtain, Britannic's entertainments officer), Freddie Jones (as Sidney Buckland, bomb plotter)|
|Featuring:||Shirley Knight (as Barbara Banister, passenger, lady friend of Captain Brunel), Caroline Mortimer (as Susan McCleod, passenger, McCleod's wife), Clifton James (as Corrigan, passenger, American politician), Mark Burns (as Hollingworth, first officer of Britannic), John Stride (as Hughes), Julian Glover (as Commander Jeff Marder, navy liaison in London), Jack Watson (as Chief Engineer Malicent, Britannic engineer), Roshan Seth (as Azad, Britannic steward), Kenneth Colley (as Detective Brown, McCleod's colleague), Paul Antrim (as Digby, bomb disposal team member), Kenneth Cope (as Bridgeman, bomb disposal team member), Tom Chadbon (as Juggernaut's stooge)|
|Familiar Faces:||Cyril Cusack (as Major O'Neill, bomb plot suspect, [uncredited]), Michael Hordern (as Mr Baker, plot suspect, [uncredited]), Simon MacCorkindale (as Helmsman), Gareth Thomas (as Workman on Britannic, cameo)|
|Starlets:||Rosamund Nelson (as Airport check-in clerk)|
|Additional dialogue by Alan Plater|
|Writer: Alexander Doré / Director: Charles Saunders / Producer: Guido Coen|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 78 mins|
|Terry Collins is a rebellious young man from a working class background who wants to better himself and not live a life of drudgery like his father. But the only way he can see to achieve this is by turning to a life of crime. A year ago he was involved in a safe robbery with his friend Johnnie Calvert. Terry got away with the money and Johnnie was caught and sent to prison but did not grass Terry up.
Terry works at a garage and does some odd jobs for Jacko Fielding, the owner of a strip club called The Adam & Eve Club. Johnnie's girlfriend Sue works there as a stripper and Terry has a secret desire for her. But she is waiting for Johnnie to be released from prison and isn't interested in Terry.
Terry needs some more money so he mugs an old man in a dark alleyway and steals his wallet. He then goes to the strip club where he talks to a spiv acquaintance called Joe Lucas - Joe notices Terry's messy appearance and wonders what he's been up to. The next day the newspapers report that the mugging victim died and the police are looking for a murderer. Joe figures out that Terry must have done it and blackmails him for some money in return for keeping his suspicions to himself. Terry is scared because if he's found guilty of murder he will hang. He decides he wants to get out of the country but needs a lot of money.
Meanwhile Johnnie's term in prison ends and he comes looking for Terry wanting his share of the loot from the robbery a year ago. But Terry says he has spent it all. Terry suggests they do another job and he tells Johnnie that the strip club safe in Jacko Fielding's office is always full on Sundays ready to bank the week's takings on the Monday morning. Terry seems to have it all worked out so Johnnie agrees unaware of Terry's involvement in the recent mugging incident and his urgent need for some getaway cash. He is also unaware that Terry secretly owns a pistol. The two of them break in to the club on the Sunday and Johnnie blows the safe - but then Terry double-crosses Johnnie and knocks him out with the pistol and takes all the money for himself.
Johnnie is captured by the police and this time has no hesitation in naming Terry as his accomplice. The police have by now also worked out that Terry was responsible for the mugging murder and follow a tip-off to where Terry is hiding out. Terry is at Johnnie's flat where he has taken Sue hostage after unsuccessfully trying to persuade her to come away with him. He also has a neighbour hostage. The neighbour tries to reason with Terry to give himself up but Terry is so desperately scared of the consequences of being caught that he accidentally shoots the man just as the police storm in to arrest him. Terry is taken away hysterically kicking and screaming that he doesn’t want to hang.
|Starring:||David McCallum (as Terry Collins), Kenneth Cope (as Johnnie Calvert), Jill Ireland (as Sue, Johnnie's girlfriend), Brian Weske (as Joe Lucas, spiv)|
|Featuring:||Martin Sterndale (as Inspector Bowden), Thomas Gallagher and Edna Doré (as Mr and Mrs Collins, Terry's parents), John Chandos (as Jacko Fielding, club manager), Vanda Hudson (as Lucy Bell, club dancer, Joe's girlfriend), Meier Tzelniker (as Mr Rose, neighbour)|
|Starlets:||Joy Webster (as Rene, escort girl at club), Marian Collins (as Act Announcer), Julie Shearing (as Kiosk Cashier), Faye Craig (as Dancer), Anne Scott (as Margo, dancer?), Gillian Watt (as Dancing Girl), Jacqueline Jones (as Dolly, dancer?)|
|Made in Black and White|
|Based on an original story by Guido Coen|
|The police inspector's name is shown as Bowen on the end credits but on his office door the name is spelt "Bowden". Terry's friend spells his name "Johnnie" in a note he writes but is spelt "Johnny" on the end credits.|
|The girls in the strip club acts are more like singers and they only strip down to their coy bikini items.|
|Writer/Director: Robert Fuest / Producer: Bob Kellett|
|Type: Comedy Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Scilla Alexander is a moderately successful singer who has been married to television director Lewis McKenzie for the last five years. But now she has finally had enough of his excessive drinking and outrageous behaviour and is leaving him. Lewis produces a weekly television variety show and Scilla is booked to appear this week and he warns her that she will be finished in the industry if she doesn't fulfil her commitments.
Scilla goes to stay with her good friend John Martin who finds her an unused room in the run-down lodging house where he rooms. The dilapidated conditions are not what Scilla is used to and she pines for her lovely home and most especially her luxury bath. But she stoically resolves to make the best of a bad situation until she can find her feet again. She relishes the opportunity to regain her individuality, because married to Lewis she had felt stifled by his overpowering personality, and she'd sooner live in a field than live with him again no matter how luxurious the lifestyle. The notion of living in a field resonates with her and she proceeds to buy an acre of land with outline building permission. She then approaches the eccentric German architect and inventor Graff von Fischer to design and build her a house on the land. Scilla describes her vision accentuating the importance she places on a nice bath.
Meanwhile at the television studios Lewis is having a hard time finding a suitable replacement for Scilla and he has to make do with a less than adequate alternative. Lewis finds his work generally unfulfilling and that is why he drinks so much. The resultant show proves disappointing and the Head of Light Entertainment Saul Alexander calls him into a meeting to discus his ideas on how to improve things. This mainly seems to involve using stirring wartime medleys to round off each show and Lewis inwardly despairs at the old-fashioned ideas put to him but has to feign enthusiasm.
Graff von Fischer completes Scilla's new home and she is delighted with it. It is a futuristic looking circular dome in the middle of her cow field with the main living area built around the centrepiece feature of a luxury sunken bath. However, left alone in her new dwelling, Scilla finds herself despondent that she has no one special with whom to share it.
Lewis begins to realise how much he is missing Scilla and asks John to throw a party and invite her so he can hopefully mend some bridges. At the party Scilla is pestered by an Australian who gets too fresh with her and she shrieks for help. Lewis arrives and fights the Australian off and saves her. Scilla is impressed by the way Lewis so quickly rushed to her aid. Scilla then invites everyone at the party back to her new home for a housewarming do. And as Lewis and Scilla share some moments together they sheepishly make up and realise they still love each other really.
|Starring:||Wendy Craig (as Scilla Alexander), Francis Matthews (as Lewis McKenzie), John Wood (as John Martin), Peter Jones (as Saul Alexander, head of Light Entertainment), Clive Dunn (as Graff von Fischer, eccentric German inventor)|
|Featuring:||Miriam Karlin (as Ellen Newman, Lewis' secretary), Dennis Price (as Bathroom Salesman), Sheila Steafel (as Isolde, Von Fischer secretary), Aubrey Woods (as TV Floor Manager), Barry Fantoni (as Elijah Stark, pop singer), Ray Barrett (as Australian at party)|
|Starlets:||Angela Browne (as Scilla's Friend), Juliet Harmer (as Lewis's Girl Friend), Hilary Pritchard (as Girl at party)|
|Writer: Lawrence B. Marcus / Director: George Cukor / Producer: Pandro S Berman|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 111 mins|
|Darley is a British teacher and would-be poet living in Cairo, Egypt in the mid-1930s. He is friendly with Pursewarden who has an important position at the British Embassy. Darley is a compassionate young man and he helps out a local girl called Melissa who works as a nightclub dancer and whose life is spiralling out of control because of drugs and prostitution problems. Once recovered Melissa turns out to be a happy, cheery and bubbly girl who is full of gratitude towards him and they begin a romantic relationship.
An elderly man called Cohen who has an obsession with Melissa from her times as a working girl is taken poorly and wants to see her on his deathbed. Melissa wants nothing to do with him as it reminds her of that awful time in her life so Darley visits him in hospital on her behalf. There he meets a woman called Justine who is also visiting the old man on behalf of her banker husband Nessim who had business dealings with Cohen.
Justine has a reputation around the city for being a dangerous woman to get to know but nevertheless impossible to resist and over the course of several encounters Darley falls under her spell and becomes obsessed by her. Her family are from a diminishing community of Coptic Christians amid the now predominantly Muslim nation. Under cover of his respectable financial dealings Nessim is secretly hoarding weapons for his people to use in their struggles against religious oppression.
Justine and Darley begin an affair although Darley cannot understand why Nessim appears not to have noticed the sexual intrigue going on right under his nose and acted to warn him off. Unbeknown to Darley, Nessim is turning a blind eye because Justine is acting with his full knowledge. The old man Cohen had found out about Nessim's arms dealings and it is thought he may have boasted of this to Melissa in his efforts to impress her - and so Justine is trying to find out whether Melissa has told Darley anything about it that he may have passed onto his friend Pursewarden at the British Embassy.
In fact Melissa has mentioned nothing about it. Before long she splits up with Darley because of his affair with Justine and has a night with Pursewarden. And it is to him she mentions in passing something she had considered inconsequential about crates of weapons and explosives in one of Nessim's warehouses to which Cohen had taken her in one of his seduction attempts. Pursewarden acts on this information and Nessim and Justine are arrested. Nessim manages to convince the Egyptian authorities that the weapons were to be sent to Palestine to help the Jews rid themselves of British rule and not intended to arm local people - he remains under house arrest but his light treatment is thanks to Justine who begins an affair with the local minister of security. Feeling betrayed and used by Justine, Darley decides to leave Cairo and write a book about his experiences.
|Starring:||Michael York (as Darley), Anouk Aimée (as Justine), Dirk Bogarde (as Pursewarden, First Secretary of British Embassy in Egypt), Anna Karina (as Melissa, Darley's girlfriend), John Vernon (as Nessim, banker and Justine's husband), Robert Forster (as Narouz, Nessim's brother)|
|Featuring:||George Baker (as David Mountolive, British ambassador in Egypt), Philippe Noiret (as Pombal, Darley's roommate), Jack Albertson (as Cohen, old man who fancied Melissa), Michael Constantine (as Memlik Pasha, Egyptian minister of security), Elaine Church (as Liza, Pursewarden's blind sister), Stanley Waxman (as Mr Serapamoun, head of Cairo bank), Michael Dunn (as Mnemjian, dwarf barber)|
|Familiar Faces:||Barry Morse (as British colonel attached to the embassy)|
|Based on The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell.|
|Writers: Robert and Jane-Howard Carrington / Director: Jack Smight / Producer: Elliott Kastner|
|Type: Crime Caper||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Barney Lincoln is a rich American living a playboy lifestyle in London. When he spots a glamorous woman called Angel McGinnis he is drawn to her quirky behaviour and tries to chat her up. She however plays hard to get and enjoys making a game of him trying harder to win her over. The early stages of their courtship are interrupted because he has to go away to Geneva on business for several weeks.
Once in Switzerland we discover a new side to Barney. Come nightfall he puts on stealthy dark clothing and equips himself with the tools of the trade for a cat burglar. With skilful agility he scales walls and crosses roofs until he reaches a warehouse belonging to the Kaleidoscope company. He breaks in via the roof and enters a secure area. But instead of stealing anything he spends several hours examining what look like printing plate masters making small changes here and there - then he departs empty-handed leaving no sign of his intrusion. Next day we see the Kaleidoscope printing presses at work and discover that the company prints playing cards and the designs to which Barney made subtle changes were the back patterns. Using special glasses Barney is now able to "read" the cards they print making each new factory-fresh pack into marked cards that only he knows about. The Kaleidoscope Company prints playing cards for all of Europe's major casinos and the marked packs are soon being shipped ready for immediate use.
Barney then begins a tour of Europe's casinos playing high-stakes poker and winning handsomely each time. During this time he re-meets Angel who has come away on holiday and is amazed by his never-ending good fortune at the card table. She contacts her father who is a Scotland Yard inspector called Manny McGinnis whom she had promised to inform if she spotted a consummate card professional for an undercover job he had in mind.
McGinnis rumbles Barney's cheating method but says he doesn't want to arrest him - instead he wants his help putting away a dangerous and ruthless villain called Harry Dominion who owns a top London casino. Dominion is a known narcotics dealer who is on the verge of a major deal but has temporarily made himself vulnerable by getting into heavy debt to fund it. McGinnis wants to pile further financial pressure on him by exploiting his weakness for gambling and have him lose heavily at poker which, being a card-master, he is not used to doing. It is then hoped Dominion will do something rash that will allow the police to arrest him. Barney agrees to help to avoid prosecution for fraud.
Barney goes to the London casino accompanied by Angel and with the reputation he has built up as a high-stakes gambler across Europe he is able to join Dominion's private table. At first Barney wins because he can read the cards but then the stakes are raised with no-limits bets permitted and the cards are changed. The Kaleidoscope consignment are all used and so a fresh pack is opened from a different consignment that Barney is unable to read. Barney cannot back out without appearing suspicious and is forced to play the game with no advantage and as the bets mount up he stands to lose heavily until lady luck smiles and he manages to win by sheer chance.
Dominion pays up but is intensely angered at his humbling at the card table knowing he cannot afford to lose so much ready money at this stage. Under the charming guise of a carefree loser he invites Angel back to his mansion for drinks knowing Barney will follow. Once there he forces Barney at gunpoint to sign back his winnings and then gives instructions to his minions to have them both eliminated. Barney and Angel manage to escape and Dominion gives chase intent on murder. But as they reach the boundaries of his grounds the police are laying in wait and Manny arrests him for attempted murder.
|Starring:||Warren Beatty (as Barney Lincoln), Susannah York (as Angel McGinnis), Clive Revill (as Inspector Manny McGinnis, Angel's father), Eric Porter (as Harry Dominion, villainous casino owner)|
|Featuring:||Murray Melvin (as Aimes, Manny's assistant), George Sewell (as Billy, Dominion's butler), Larry Taylor (as Eddie, Dominion's Chauffeur)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Junkin (as Dominion Casino Porter), Yootha Joyce (as Museum Official)|
|Starlets:||Jane Birkin (as Boutique customer, passing cameo)|
|Writer/Producer: Hazel Adair / Director: Robert Young|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Set in the early 1900s in a family mansion where sexual shenanigans abound amongst and between the masters and servants. The Cockshute family are sex mad and while Lady Cockshute sleeps with the butler Hampton, her husband tries it on with the maids.
But the Cockshute family have fallen on hard times financially and an uncouth Australian called Snotty Shuttleworth who holds their mortgage note has set a deadline for payment or else he will throw them all out and take over the family seat. However Snotty is prepared to tear up the note if he can have the hand of Lord Cockshute's daughter Kitty in marriage - although she is understandably reluctant.
Lord Cockshute's clever but naïve son Perry is an inventor who has discovered a new rubber solution that is thin, pliable and waterproof - but the only use he can think of for it is to sheath plants from bad weather. The Cockshute's other plan is to find a young heiress for Perry to marry and so they invite a Texan millionaire and his young daughter Betsy-Ann to a party although experience has taught the Texan to be wary of gold-digging families.
At the party all the guests and staff arrange secret liaisons or nefarious schemes for later and they all coincidentally decide upon 2 o'clock in the morning as a suitable time when "no one else will be up". In culmination, following an unexpectedly bustling and farcical 2am logjam in the bedroom corridors, Snotty is discredited on trumped-up burglary charges and the Texan millionaire realises that Perry's rubber sheath invention has a much more profitable application and gives his blessing to the marriage of his daughter to Perry and the family's money worries are sorted.
|Starring:||Mark Singleton (as Lord Cockshute), Sue Longhurst (as Lady Cockshute), Jack Wild (as Peregrine Cockshute, son), Neil Hallett (as Hampton, the Butler), William Rushton (as Snotty Shuttleworth)|
|Featuring:||Olivia Munday (Kitty Cockshute, daughter), Diana Dors (as Mrs Dureneck), John Blythe (as Mr Dureneck), Seretta Wilson (as Betsy-Ann Dureneck), Simon Brent (as Rogers, the groomsman), Anthony Kenyon (as Mellons, the gamekeeper)|
|Familiar Faces:||Julian Orchard, Aimi MacDonald, Carmen Silvera|
|Starlets:||Françoise Pascal, Sally Harrison, Mary Millington, Maria Coyne (as maids)|
|Neil Hallett sings the theme tune|
|Writer: Derek Ford, Alan Selwyn / Director: Derek Ford / Producer: Michael L Green|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Music hall actor Jack James inherits a large Edwardian country house from an elderly aunt. He discovers she was a Madame and used the place as a brothel. While he is looking around a woman called Virginia arrives hoping for work who has never met Auntie and doesn't know she has died, so he decides to use his acting talents to pose as his own auntie and re-open the establishment. He also poses as a variety of the brothel's customers to save one particular young innocent called Fleur from having any real customers because he fancies her himself and just uses the time alone with her to talk. Eventually his disguise is rumbled by Virginia but she and the other girls conspire to keep the truth from Fleur in return for a stake in the brothel and Jack fakes Auntie's death with a dying wish for Fleur's ears that she and Jack (as himself) should get together.|
|Starring:||Mark Jones (as Jack), Sue Longhurst (as Virginia)|
|Featuring:||Maggi Burton (as Fleur), Linda Regan, Jennifer Westbrook, Veronica Peters (as the other Brothel girls)|
|Star-Turns:||Frank Thornton, Queenie Watts|
|Starlets:||Yvette Vanson, Juliet Groves, Marian Brown, Jan Foster|
|Writers: Barry Hines, Ken Loach, Tony Garnett / Director: Ken Loach / Producer: Tony Garnett|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 106 mins|
|Billy Caspar is a young boy from an impoverished family living in a mining town in the North of England. He has no father, his mother is more interested in her social life than being a good mother, and his illiterate older brother Jud bullies him. At school Billy is always being picked on by some of the teachers who consider him no good because he doesn't appear to be very bright and has a record with the police for petty crimes. The sports teacher is especially mean to him.
Away from school Billy's only passion is wildlife, a hobby which he keeps to himself. He spends his free time wandering around the nearby woodlands. One day he spots a kestrel and follows it to its nesting place in a ruined monastery wall on a farm. The farmer says the wall is getting dangerous and will have to be demolished so Billy decides to rescue the kestrel's chick and care for it at home in his shed. He names the bird "Kes".
Billy reads up on the art of falconry and successfully finds out how to train it. He becomes very knowledgeable on the subject and when his English master Mr Farthing presses Billy to engage in a speak-and-tell lesson Billy talks proudly about his kestrel. This impresses Mr Farthing who realises there is more to Billy than everyone previously thought.
Jud asks Billy to put a horseracing bet on for him - but when Billy is told at the bookmakers that Jud's horse stands no chance he doesn't bother and buys himself some fish and chips with the stake money instead. But then Jud's horse does win and he is furious with Billy for not placing the bet. Jud searches for him at school and Billy goes into hiding to escape his brother's furious temper. When Billy gets home he finds Kes is not in the shed and he becomes frantic thinking that Jud has let him loose. He searches the woods calling the kestrel's name hoping he will come back but to no avail. When he returns home he finds Kes' body dumped in the dustbin with its neck snapped - Jud had been so angry at not being able to find Billy to give him a good beating that he took his revenge on Kes instead. Billy is very upset and buries the bird in the woods. THE END
|Comment: The film is about Billy's life in general at home and school showing what a miserable time of it he has - the falconry is just one aspect of his life but it does not dominate the film - although in the above summary I've concentrated mainly on that side of things.|
|Starring:||David Bradley (as Billy Caspar), Freddie Fletcher (as Jud Caspar, Billy's older brother), Colin Welland (as Mr Farthing, English teacher)|
|Featuring:||Bob Bowes (as Mr Gryce, headmaster), Brian Glover (as Mr Sugden, sports teacher), Lynne Perrie (as Mrs Casper, Billy's mother)|
|From the book A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines|
|Ken Loach is credited as Kenneth Loach|
|Although the actual location is not mentioned it was filmed in Barnsley|
|Billy is supposedly about to leave school which must mean he is about 15 or 16 but the actor playing him looks a lot younger - although he was indeed about 16 at the time.|
|Writer: Jack Pulman / Director: Delbert Mann / Producer: Frederick Brogger|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 101 mins|
|Set in mid-18th century Scotland following the defeat of rebellious highland clans at the hands of the English redcoats. 18-year-old David Balfour comes to stay with his uncle Ebenezer with a letter of introduction from his recently deceased father. Ebenezer lives a bleakly frugal existence in an old stone tower house and seems to resent David's sudden appearance. Ebenezer quickly arranges for David to join a sea captain called Hoseason on a profitable overseas trading voyage. But once underway it is clear that David has been betrayed by his uncle for monetary gain and is bound for the Carolinas as a kidnapped slave. Hoseason puts David to work as a cabin boy.
During the voyage the crew pick up a castaway called Alan Breck who offers the captain a large fee to drop him off at Loch Linhe. But the greedy captain wants all of Breck's money and plots to ambush him. David sides with the larger-than-life rebel adventurer Breck and forewarns him of the captain's ill-intentions. David and Breck fight together to overcome the captain and his bloodthirsty crew and they make it back to Scottish soil after the ship runs aground on some rocks.
Proud Scotsman Alan Breck still clings to the torch of rebellion and is a wanted man by the English and so the two of them have to steer clear of patrolling soldiers. Breck meets up with some of his kinsmen led by Charles Stewart who have decided on a quiet life much to Breck's dismay. When the officer in charge of an English patrol is shot dead Charles Stewart gets the blame even though David was with him at the time and knows he didn't do it. Charles is captured and taken to Edinburgh castle to await trial.
In the meantime Breck helps David confront the treacherous Ebenezer who admits that David is the rightful heir to the land he occupies and is now the laird. Charles Stewart's daughter Catriona urges David and Breck to try and help save her father from execution but Breck does not see what they can do. Against Breck's advice David is intent upon giving evidence to the Lord Advocate prosecutor testifying that Charles Stewart did not shoot the English officer. But David is up against a strong political determination to make an example of this former rebel and David's evidence is deemed unreliable. The only thing that might save Charles from a foregone conclusion is the arrest of Alan Breck instead. But Breck is not ready to give up because he wants to journey to France and raise support for another attempt to free Scotland from English occupation.
But as Breck takes stock of the general mood he realises that the Scottish people have lost the urge to fight and want to get on with their lives and live with the situation. We now discover that it was Breck who killed the English officer and is indeed guilty. Breck therefore decides to offer himself in exchange for Charles Stewart and walks into Edinburgh castle to give himself up.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as Alan Breck), Lawrence Douglas (as David Balfour), Vivien Heilbron (as Catriona Stewart, Breck's niece), Jack Watson (as James Stewart, Catriona's father, accused of murder), Trevor Howard (as Lord Advocate Grant, prosecutor), Jack Hawkins (as Captain Hoseason), Donald Pleasence (as Ebenezer Balfour, David's uncle)|
|Featuring:||Gordon Jackson (as Charles Stewart, defence lawyer), Freddie Jones (as Cluny McPherson, friend of Alan Breck), Peter Jeffrey (as Riach, Captain Hoseason's first mate), Claire Nielson (as Barbara Grant, Lord Advocate's daughter), Terry Richards (as Mungo Campbell, murdered English officer)|
|Based on the novels Kidnapped and David Balfour (aka Catriona) by Robert Louis Stevenson|
|Lawrence Douglas and Vivien Heilbron both receive "introducing" credits|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Alan Birkinshaw / Co-Producer: Gordon Keymer|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 87 mins|
|Four dangerous men have escaped from the hospital where they have been undergoing experimental dream therapy in which their doctors tell them to act out their most vile cravings to purge it from their systems. But although they are now out in the real world they believe they are still in a dream and free to commit whatever violent acts they like with impunity.|
A party of eight schoolgirls from the Maidenhill School choir are on a concert tour when their coach breaks down in the middle of nowhere on the way to Edinburgh. They and their two teachers seek refuge for the night in an isolated out-of-season hotel. And nearby two male hikers have camped in a tent in a field and have made friends with the hotel owner's daughter.
Naturally this is the area of the country that the four deranged lunatics have escaped to and they soon go on a violent spree killing and raping whoever they choose and then they arrive at the hotel and find some fresh new victims to play with. The girls flee for their lives and separate into smaller more vulnerable groups as the lunatics toy with them. The hikers play hero and try to save who they can but eventually the lunatics begin to wonder whether they are really still dreaming or not but realise that if they are not dreaming then they are in serious trouble and their only solution is to ensure there are no witnesses to tell tales.
|Starring:||Anthony Forrest, Tom Marshall (as the two campers), Georgina Kean, Alison Elliott (as two of the schoolgirls)|
|Featuring:||Jo-Anne Good, Jayne Lester, Lisa Vanderpump, Debbie Martyn, Christina Jones, Lynne Morgan (as the other six schoolgirls) |
David Jackson, Nigel Gregory, Paul Rattee, Peter Spraggon (as the four lunatics)
Hilda Braid (as Hotel owner), Jane Hayden (as her daughter)
Jean Reeve (as older teacher), Elizabeth Counsell (as younger teacher), Chubby Oates (as Coach driver), Charles Stewart (as the Gamekeeper), Edwina Wray (as his wife)
|Georgina Kean and Allison Elliott both received "introducing" credits - they were the principal schoolgirl characters who had slightly bigger roles to play than the others|
|It's difficult to gauge how old the girls are supposed to be as it is never mentioned - presumably (in character) they are sixth-formers in the 16-18 sort of age range.|
|Jayne Lester (one of the schoolgirl actresses) wrote a couple of the songs that can be heard during the film.|
|I don't know whether any good clean copies of this film still exist but the one reviewed was in a fairly poor state with scratches and dirt all over the print. Some sequences are worse than others suggesting that perhaps a slightly poor edited print had its cut-sequences restored from a version in a much worse state. Also this version had both French and German subtitles burnt into it - although the sound was the original English track. Still perfectly watchable though.|
|Writer: Robert Bauer / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Producer: Elizabeth Gray|
|Type: Action||Running Time: 83 mins|
|An unexpected nuclear conflict has left England in the grip of a nuclear winter. Ex-army man Steve Johnson survived the initial devastation because he was in a tunnel at the time in his car far from home on a business trip. He holed up there for many weeks before venturing out and he is now travelling alone cross country to get back home to where he left his wife and young son - even if it's only to bury them.
Along the way he meets other lone travellers, some of whom he helps, and others against whom he has to defend himself as they attempt to take his possessions. Everywhere he goes the landscape is covered by a permanent layer of snow until amazingly as he approaches his home town, which is situated in a valley, the ground turns green and untouched - a remarkable oasis that has somehow been spared the fate that has befallen nearly everywhere else.
His house appears just as he left it although it is unoccupied. In fact he sees no one at all except for some soldiers he observes from a position of cover who appear to gun someone down who is running from them. He later meets a woman who is a former resident and she explains that after the bombs went off the authorities distributed anti-radiation pills. Some people declined to take them and these were the ones who survived because the pills were poison. The valley remained largely unaffected and fertile enough to support life and so became a beacon for survivors. But then a group of surviving soldiers from a nearby army camp moved in and took over declaring themselves as the new authorities. Dubbing themselves "Terminators" the soldiers rounded survivors up and put them to work in a labour camp and now go on regular patrols hunting down and killing anyone who opposes or hides from them.
The woman is killed herself shortly afterwards by a passing patrol of Terminators and Johnson in turn uses his army skills to kill them. He arms himself with their weapons and heads to the labour camp to find out if his family are there. He sees his wife and son but unfortunately as they run towards him in happy reunion they are gunned down and killed by an uncompromising Terminator guard. Johnson goes on a rampage killing all the other guards and then vows to get even with the Terminator leader for treating people in this way.
Terminator Seven is the leader who has a penchant to wear a woman's dress over his uniform. He is a sadistically ruthless and wily man who on their first encounter gets the better of Johnson and wounds him. But on their second confrontation Johnson manages to overcome the odds and kill #7 and the remaining Terminator soldiers and free the prisoners from their enforced slavery.
|Starring:||Bill French (as Steve Johnson)|
|Featuring:||Mary Spencer (as Woman who briefly tags along with Johnson), Paul Ashe (as Lenny, Idealistic youth who wants to save the people from Terminator oppression), Al Lampert (as Terminator Seven, leader of the oppressive soldiers), Matthew Waterhouse (as Knife Man, killer who preys on lone travellers), Nigel Plaskitt (as Man from labour camp), Juliette Grassby (as Sarah, Johnson's wife in flashbacks), Francis Howard (as Paul, Johnson's young son in flashbacks), Chris Plume (as Lone Traveller), Aiden James (as Man dying from radiation sickness)|
|The director's name was credited as Lindsay Craig Shonteff.|
|With one exception the cast are made up of unknown actors none of whom have gone on to become familiar faces. That exception is Matthew Waterhouse who had been a well-known face a few years beforehand when he played boy-assistant Adric in Doctor Who from 1980 to 1982 - although his role in this film is relatively short-lived.|
|Despite the initial premise of post-nuclear holocaust survival there is nothing beyond this that is Science Fiction-y. The evil enemy soldiers may call themselves "Terminators" but they are not robots or mutants or anything like that.|
|Although listed as a film from 1984 on IMDB the film's copyright notice at the end shows 1986.|
|Writer: Lukas Heller / Director/Producer: Robert Aldrich|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 134 mins|
|June Buckridge is an ageing actress who lives in a lesbian relationship with a much younger woman called Alice McNaught. Alice has a sweet and vulnerable nature and behaves much younger than her true age of 33 and is commonly referred to as "Childie". June is a popular regular on a weekly BBC soap opera called Applehurst in which she plays a sweet natured district nurse called Sister George - and "George" has become her real life nickname too although her true character is vastly different and far less pleasant and her fellow players have to put up with her rude and crude nature.
At home George really cares for Childie and they have a loving bond. Childie is highly dependant on George's generosity although she has to endure her friend's possessive drink-fuelled rages at the slightest suspicion of Childie being in any way unfaithful. George drinks too much when she is feeling down and hurls around hurtful insinuations whenever Childie is late home or goes out by herself demanding to know who she's been seeing.
In her professional life George starts to suspect that her long-running character of Sister George is going to be killed off - and her insecurity makes her drink more and become more unpleasant than normal towards her fellow cast and crew as she makes accusations of betrayal. A middle-aged BBC producer called Mercy Croft visits George at home trying to calm matters down. Here she meets and likes Childie and witnesses the way George treats her with disapproval.
Eventually George's worst fears are realised and she receives official news that her character is to die sending her into more of a depression which she takes out on Childie. Mercy Croft is herself secretly a lesbian and has become attracted to Childie and decides that George does not deserve such a nice girl. In the spirit of friendship she persuades the naïve and trusting Childie to leave the increasingly abusive and unpredictable George and come to stay with her instead. Mercy proceeds to make her own sexual advances which Childie's dependant nature accepts. George is left alone and without a job which Mercy tells her she brought upon herself because no one could stand to work with her any more.
|Starring:||Beryl Reid (as June 'George' Buckridge), Susannah York (as Alice 'Childie' McNaught), Coral Browne (as Mercy Croft)|
|Featuring:||Ronald Fraser (as Leo Lockhart, actor), Patricia Medina (as Betty Thaxter, friend of George), Hugh Paddick (as Freddie, 'Applehurst' Director), William Beckley (as Floor Manager), Rosalie Williams (as Mildred, production secretary), Elaine Church (as Marleen, friend of Betty), Byron Webster (as Jack Adams, scriptwriter)|
|From the play by Frank Marcus|
|Writers: Willis Hall, Keith Waterhouse / Director: John Schlesinger / Producer: Joseph Janni|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 107 mins|
|Victor Brown works as a draughtsman in a large factory and has long fancied a girl called Ingrid Rothwell who works in the typing pool but has never had the nerve to talk to her. Ingrid is quite a shy one herself but has noticed him at work and quite likes the look of him. One day Vic finally summons up the courage to start up a conversation with her on the bus home and although they both find their initial exchanges to be a bit awkward and stilted they nevertheless arrange to go out on a date.
Their relationship flourishes at first and they soon get over their initial nerves and start to feel comfortable with one another. However they both still live at home with their parents and so moments to be alone in private are hard to come by. So when Vic starts becoming restless for more than the occasional kisses that she is willing to offer the relationship flounders and he stops seeing her.
Ingrid loves him and realises that if she wants to hold on to him she'll have to be a bit more forthcoming. She invites him round on a night her mother is out and does what he wants to do. However far from helping matters this seems to create a barrier between them as she feels a bit cheapened by doing it and he feels ashamed for making her. They stop seeing each other entirely.
But it is not long until Ingrid discovers she is pregnant and when she tells Vic he offers to do the decent thing and marry her. They do not have enough money to get a place of their own and so after the honeymoon Vic moves in with Ingrid at her mother's house. This situation proves unsatisfactory since Ingrid's mother clearly disapproves of him and does nothing to make him feel particularly welcome. Mrs Rothwell is always criticising Vic who becomes increasingly irritated that Ingrid never sides with him against her mother's nagging ways and allows her to rule the roost. Ingrid eventually loses the baby after a fall and afterwards she won’t let him touch her. He begins to feel more like their lodger than a husband and he eventually walks out when her mother stops him even talking to Ingrid.
His family have no sympathy for him and feel he put himself in this situation by getting her pregnant. After a while Vic and Ingrid meet up to talk through what they should do next. Vic tells her he still wants to try and make a go of it but he cannot stand to live with her mother any longer - and for her part Ingrid admits that she finds herself inhibited with her mother always around. They realise they do actually still care for each other but need to have a chance to become themselves in a place of their own in order to truly discover if their marriage is going to work. They look round for some low-rent accommodation vowing to start again on their own and hopefully make a better go of it this time.
|Starring:||Alan Bates (as Victor Brown), June Ritchie (as Ingrid Rothwell), Thora Hird (as Mrs Rothwell, Ingrid's mother)|
|Featuring:||Jack Smethurst, James Bolam, Michael Deacon and Leonard Rossiter (as Vic's mates at work), Bert Palmer and Gwen Nelson (as Mr and Mrs Brown, Vic's parents), Pat Keen (as Christine Harris, Vic's married sister), David Mahlowe (as David Harris, Christine's husband), Malcolm Patton (as Jim Brown, Vic's younger brother), Patsy Rowlands (as Dorothy, Ingrid's friend), Fred Ferris (as Althorpe, Vic's boss)|
|Familiar Faces:||Kathy Staff (as Mrs Rothwell's next door neighbour)|
|Starlets:||Helen Fraser (as Ingrid's friend), Yvonne Buckingham (as Barmaid)|
|Adapted from the novel by Stan Barstow|
|June Ritchie receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writers: David Shaw, David Seltzer / Director: Jerzy Skolimowski / Producer: Lutz Hengst|
|Type: European / Comedy Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Charles Dreyer is a successful English businessman living in Munich who has built up a booming business empire at the heart of which is the Dreyer Department store. He has been married for twelve years to a younger Italian woman called Martha who has a vivacious glamour. Their marriage is no longer passionate and they have a suitable "understanding" of each others casual affairs.
As the story begins Charles' nephew Frank is orphaned in England and as his only living relative comes to live with Charles in Munich. Frank is approaching young adulthood but is shy and awkwardly clumsy and lacks any confidence in himself. Charles is getting on a bit in years and with no children of his own decides that Frank shall be his heir and inherit his entire fortune one day. Martha has a mercenary attitude to her current rich lifestyle that Charles' wealth affords her but can see how that might change if Frank were to take over - so she decides to hedge her bets and get her seductive hooks into the young Frank.
Her sophistication and wily manoeuvrings easily manipulate Frank's inexperienced adolescent lustfulness and he falls madly in love with her. She in turn enjoys his virile stamina and devotion to her every desire. She finds him an apartment in town and they conduct a secret affair that Charles knows nothing about. Charles only knows that Frank has a secret girlfriend but doesn't begrudge him his privacy on her identity.
Martha uses the promise of her sexuality as an inducement which Frank slavishly craves and she exploits it as a lure and reward to encourage him to consider her formulating plans. She starts hinting that she could spend much more time with him if only Charles was out of the picture. Frank is very reluctant to cause harm to Charles who has only ever shown him kindness - but the power of Martha's allure proves too persuasive and he agrees to her scheme.
The three of them go on holiday together to the South of France and take a rowboat out across the bay. The two schemers know Charles cannot swim and so upon Martha's signal Frank's "job" is to push Charles so he falls in and has a dreadful "accident". However when the time comes Frank's clumsy nervousness causes the stunt to go wrong and all three of them fall into the water. But the only one who drowns is ... Martha.
Back in Munich a grieving Charles throws himself into his work and dedicates himself to the moulding of Frank into his rightful business heir. The recent events have matured Frank and without Martha's overbearing influence he has become more confident in manner. He realises how lucky he is to be in the position to inherit the Dreyer fortune but is now prepared to wait patiently in the wings for natural events to take their course. Charles never knew of the illicit affair with Martha or their secret plan to be rid of him. Frank knows that if that alliance were ever to be discovered things would unravel fast - but he has burnt all their personal love letters and believes that he has successfully covered the tracks ... or has he? (see comments for the "twist" ending).
|Comment: Intertwined into the plot is a business venture in which an eccentric inventor called Ritter has developed a lifelike synthetic skin with which he proposes to swathe robotic shop window manikins in Charles' store. Ritter lives in the same apartment block as Frank and has seen his "girlfriend" not realising she is Charles' wife. Charles knows Frank has a secret girlfriend whom he has never met and so tells Ritter to model the manikin's likeness on her as a "surprise" for Frank. And then at very end after it seems Frank has covered all traces of his relationship with Martha which might derail his chances to inherit, we see Ritter bring around his finished manikin for Charles' final approval. It is an exact likeness of Martha and so clearly matters are soon going to become complicated - but there the film ends and we don't see what happens next when Charles finds out just whom Frank's secret "girlfriend" had been.|
|Starring:||David Niven (as Charles Dreyer), Gina Lollobrigida (as Martha Dreyer), John Moulder-Brown (as Frank Dreyer)|
|Featuring:||Mario Adorf (as Professor Ritter), Carl Fox-Duering (as Enricht, Frank's landlord), Erica Beer (as Frieda, Dreyer's housekeeper)|
|Starlets:||Barbara Valentin (as Optician), Sonia Hofmann (as Sonia, London airport clerk), Felicitas Peters (as Ida, Charles' girlfriend), Christine Schuberth (as Isolda, Charles' girlfriend)|
|From the novel by Vladimir Nabokov|
|This is a West German produced film which is reviewed here because it is made in English and stars David Niven|
|aka: Kiss of Evil|
|Writer: John Elder / Director: Don Sharp / Producer: Anthony Hinds|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Set in the early 1900s. Young newlyweds Gerald and Marianne Harcourt are on their honeymoon in Europe but they have become lost after taking a wrong turning and find themselves in a small hamlet overlooked by an imposing gothic château on a hillside. Then to add to their difficulties their vehicle runs out of fuel. The village has a hotel although the owners are surprised to see them because no one ever comes anymore - although no one will explain to Gerald why that is. Soon after settling in they receive an unexpected invitation to be the dinner guests of the château's owner, Dr Ravna which they kindly accept.
Dr Ravna comes across as a most charming host and offers to send his wagon to the next town for some petrol although he advises it may take several days. His castle is furnished with exquisite art and he explains that he likes to be surrounded by beautiful things. Dr Ravna's son Carl and daughter Sabena appear equally welcoming and they all have a pleasant evening. Ravna tells the Harcourts that he is holding a masked ball the next day and he hopes very much they will attend. After the Harcourts have gone we discover that Ravna and his family have a sinister special interest in Marianne.
The hotel has one other guest - a Professor Zimmer. He appears to be often drunk but we know he has a particular purpose and is grieving for his dead daughter and is planning something against the perpetrators of her death.
Next day the Harcourts arrive at the masked ball which is a resplendent affair with many dozens of guests. Carl and Sabena Ravna soon split up the newlyweds and entertain them separately with dancing and champagne. Later in the evening Carl dons a copy of Gerald's mask and beckons Marianne upstairs and she follows him thinking it is Gerald. But she is led to a private bedroom and shut inside and finds herself confronted by Dr Ravna - he is revealed as a vampire who mesmerises her into docility and takes his drink of her blood. Meanwhile Gerald is given a drugged drink and put to bed to sleep it off. Then the party is suddenly over - it had all been laid on purely for the Harcourts benefit to ensnare them. The guests don white cultish robes and congregate in an altar room where their leader Dr Ravna introduces them to the latest acolyte Marianne!
Next day Gerald awakens with a splitting headache and goes looking for his wife. But he finds the Ravna's now very curt and discourteous towards him - they deny even knowing Marianne and insist he came alone and want him to now leave and never return. He is abruptly ejected. Back at the hotel all Marianne's belongings have gone from their room as if she never existed. Even the hotel owners claim he came alone and appear scared to say otherwise. Gerald asks the local police to help but they say they will not start an investigation against the town's most respected citizen on the word of an outsider like himself who cannot even prove he had a wife.
In desperation Gerald turns to Professor Zimmer who knows what has happened because his daughter suffered the same fate. Dr Ravna and his clan suffer from an affliction called vampirism which means they have to drink human blood to survive - but they glory in it and seek to infect others and indoctrinate them into their fiendish cult. Zimmer's daughter died at Ravna's hands and he has planned a suitable revenge which he intends to enact tonight when the planetary alignments are just right by using an ancient incantation he discovered. He says it might not be too late for Marianne but she must be rescued from the châteaux else she too will die tonight alongside the vampires.
So Gerald infiltrates the castle and manages to forcibly kidnap Marianne even though she spits in his face and says she wants to stay with Ravna. Once Marianne is safely out Zimmer begins his ritual calling upon arcane dark forces to wipe out the vampire sect. And in response a host of vampire bats swarm into the castle and kill all the occupants. Once Dr Ravna is dead and with the help of a priest to exorcise her, Marianne returns to her normal senses and is once more in love with her husband Gerald. THE END
|Starring:||Edward de Souza (as Gerald Harcourt, husband), Jennifer Daniel (as Marianne Harcourt, wife), Noel Willman (as Dr Ravna, head of vampire family), Clifford Evans (as Professor Zimmer)|
|Featuring:||Barry Warren (as Carl Ravna, son), Jacquie Wallis (as Sabena Ravna, daughter), Peter Madden (as Bruno, hotel owner), Vera Cook (as Anna, Bruno's wife), Isobel Black (as Tania, Bruno and Anna's errant daughter)|
|This is a Hammer produced vampire movie and although not a "Dracula" film it is a story cut from the same mould with Dr Ravna being the Dracula-figure and Professor Zimmer being the Van Helsing type.|
|The version reviewed was the original UK version. There is however an alternative American TV version retitled as Kiss of Evil which cuts vast chunks out of the film removing the more gruesome elements and filling out the time with some newly filmed material involving some new characters that don't interact with the main characters in any way.|
|Writer: Stanford Sherman / Director: Peter Yates / Producer: Ron Silverman|
|Type: Fantasy Adventure||Running Time: 115 mins|
|The planet Krull has been conquered by a powerful space warlord known as The Beast who resides in a dark fortress from where he commands his armies of Slayers. The planet's medieval age warcraft level of horses and swords (and a bit of magic) is easily overcome by the invaders' superior energy weapons.
Krull's two main kingdoms are normally bitter foes but their kings decide to unite against this common enemy. To bind the union Prince Colwyn of one kingdom will marry Princess Lyssa of the other. This suits the young couple perfectly because they are already secretly in love. But during the marriage ceremony the castle is attacked by the Slayers and many Krullians are killed including both kings. The princess is kidnapped and taken to the Beast's fortress as a prisoner. Prince Colwyn is one of the only survivors and he vows to rescue the princess. His only companion is a wise man called Ynyr who gives Colwyn valuable guidance.
The Beast's mountain-like fortress changes its location every day and so first it must be found. The Prince and Ynyr's initial objective is therefore to seek the advice of a seer who can pinpoint its current location. Along the way the Prince is joined on his quest by others who want to help defeat the Beast. These include an incompetent magician, a Cyclops, and a band of escaped slaves and convicts led by a man called Torquil.
The heroes face many dangers as they make their long trek to the huge mountain-like fortress but eventually manage to get inside. The interior is well protected and the adventurers encounter many perils and some lose their lives. At last the Prince rescues the Princess from her cell but then faces a battle with the all-powerful Beast. The Prince is hopelessly outmatched but he does possess a unique spinning star-blade weapon called the glave which he controls by thought-power and this helps wound the Beast but cannot kill it. Finally Prince Colwyn manages to defeat the creature by utilising a powerful furnace blast of flame that he is able to conjure up from within himself because of his love for the Princess.
With the death of the Beast the fortress begins to crumble into ruins and the surviving heroes only just manage to make it out before it completely self-destructs and Krull is freed from its oppression.
|Starring:||Ken Marshall (as Prince Colwyn), Freddie Jones (as Ynyr, wise man), Alun Armstrong (as Torquil, bandit leader), Lysette Anthony (as Princess Lyssa), David Battley (as Ergo, incompetent magician)|
|Featuring:||Bernard Bresslaw (as Rell, Cyclops), Robbie Coltrane (as Rhun, bandit), Todd Carty (as Oswyn, young bandit lad), Francesca Annis (as Lyssa, Widow of the Web), Liam Neeson (as Kegan, bandit), John Welsh (as The Seer), Graham McGrath (as Titch, servant boy), Tony Church (as King Turold, Colwyn's father), Bernard Archard (as King Eirig, Lyssa's father), Clare McIntyre (as Merith, Kegan's wife), Belinda Mayne (as Vella, pawn of the Beast)|
|Writer/Director: Robert Bolt / Producer: Fernando Ghia|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 118 mins|
|Set in the early 1800s. William Lamb is an up-and-coming politician who becomes smitten by the much-admired and lively society darling, Lady Caroline Ponsonby. His mother, Lady Melbourne, disapproves of his choice warning her son of Caroline's capricious nature. But William disregards her counsel and marries Caroline.
Caroline is a fun-loving romantic with a compassionate soul and William is serious-minded and formal and their marriage soon loses its initial vitality. William is a Member of Parliament for the opposition Whig party and is making a name for himself with his well-argued speeches and political savvy.
Meanwhile Lady Caroline meets an aspiring young poet called Lord Byron who is living in impoverished lodgings as he prepares to have his book of poems published. She is intrigued by the innate confidence he has in the magnificence of his own talent and the adventurous life he has thus far led. Although nothing unbefitting occurred, she acquainted herself with the unconventional young poet in an unchaperoned manner in the hope of impelling her husband to become jealous. But William does not respond as she had imagined and instead perceives her unseemliness with a notorious womaniser to be a sign that she no longer loves him. Lady Caroline is devastated because she surely loves her husband.
When Byron's book is published it is a massive success and he is hailed a genius. His fortunes change overnight and he becomes a celebrated member of polite society. Lady Caroline reads his book and is overcome by the majesty of his words and decides to renew her earlier acquaintance. At a party she ignores protocol and approaches him and they retire privately to begin a passionate affair. Lady Caroline's shameful behaviour creates a scandal and she becomes the subject of intense gossip. William's political career stalls because his wife is considered unsuitable for a leading politician.
Caroline has fallen helplessly in love with Byron and is willing to suffer public humiliation to be with him. She becomes neurotically dependant upon him and is oblivious to the damage her obsession has had to her social standing. Byron however has his pick of any number of devoted female followers and soon tires of Caroline's increasingly demanding conduct and ends their relationship. But Caroline cannot accept it is over and resorts to progressively desperate measures to be with him. Her behaviour leaves her ostracised from polite society and she retreats into seclusion after making an unsuccessful attempt to kill herself.
Three months pass as Caroline rehabilitates and tries to recover her dignity and composure. She attempts to have an affair with celebrated hero the Duke of Wellington as a way of being reaccepted into society with his endorsement - but he sees through her ploy and refuses to countenance her.
William is approached to join the Tory party as Secretary of State for Ireland but only on the understanding that he separate from his notorious wife. William's mother Lady Melbourne makes an entreaty to Caroline to grant William a divorce. Caroline remains in a deep morose but she still loves her husband and is prepared to make the necessary sacrifice for the sake of his career. But after signing the separation papers she wails in devastation and appears on the verge of madness. Later she ventures out on a stormy night and sits in the gazebo, barely functioning in her despair and emotional grief, and next morning she is found dead having died of a broken heart.
|Starring:||Sarah Miles (as Lady Caroline Lamb), Jon Finch (as William Lamb, MP, Caroline's husband), Richard Chamberlain (as Lord Byron, poet)|
|Featuring:||Margaret Leighton (as Lady Melbourne, William's mother), John Mills (as Canning, Tory Prime Minister), Ralph Richardson (as King George III), Laurence Olivier (as Duke of Wellington), Pamela Brown (as Lady Bessborough, ?Caroline's mother?), Peter Bull (as Minister)|
|Starlets:||Silvia Monti (as Miss Millbanke, Lady Melbourne's niece), Janet Key (as Miss Fairfax, Caroline's friend)|
|Based on a true story. But please note the above summary describes the story as presented in the film and the key events are compressed into a narrower timeframe than was actually the case. In the film story Lady Caroline meets Lord Byron around the time he publishes his first book of poems (which was "Hours of Idleness" in 1807) - their real affair lasted about nine months. The film would have you think that her decline and death occurred not too long after that affair ended although in actual fact it was closer to twenty years later. Lady Caroline was also a novelist (which is not touched upon in the film) and wrote a book in 1816 poking fun at a Byron-like character. Byron left England for good in that same year 1816 and eventually died in 1824. William Lamb became Irish secretary in 1827 shortly before his ex-wife's death in 1828. William Lamb eventually became Viscount Melbourne and was briefly Prime Minister in 1934 and then again more permanently from 1935 to 1941.|
|Writers: Christopher Wicking, Just Jaeckin / Director: Just Jaeckin / Producers: Christopher Pearce, André Djaoui|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 100 mins|
|Set in the mid-1910's starting in 1914. Lady Constance (Connie) is the new young wife of Sir Clifford Chatterley to whom she is devoted. Connie is just getting used to her new life as the wife of a rich and socially active aristocratic landowner when war is declared and Clifford becomes an officer fighting in the trenches in France. He is badly injured and becomes a wheelchair bound invalid. He returns home and Connie takes on the new role of his nursemaid which she is happy to do because she loves him. Clifford's paralysis has made him impotent and being aware of her needs he tells Connie that if she were to feel the urge to take a lover he wouldn't object. He would even embrace as his own any child she might have as a result.
As time passes Connie finds she has become fascinated by the youthful vigour of their insolent gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. He is a brooding and powerfully built working class man who lives by himself in the woods in the gamekeeper's cottage. Connie begins to visit the cottage on regular errands building up a rapport with him to break through his natural reticence and suspicion of the upper classes until eventually they begin a passionate affair. Connie discovers that there is a lot more to Mellors than meets the eye and he is a deeply proud man with a forthright view of the world.
Mellors becomes obsessed with Connie and she has constant need of the strength and vitality he can provide her with and they fall in love. He is all too aware how far below her he is on the social scale but she tells him she is so grateful to him and cannot bear to be without him. She knows she dare not tell Clifford about it for even though he allowed her a lover he had in mind someone of her own class and certainly would not approve of Mellors as her choice. Connie becomes increasingly bold with her secret rendezvous with Mellors until eventually at his insistence she agrees to spend the night with him at his cottage.
Clifford eventually finds out about her secret lover and is so angry that she has chosen a peasant to conjoin with that he sends her away for a holiday to France with her sister. While away Connie discovers she has fallen pregnant and after a time she returns. She finds that Clifford has dismissed Mellors and he has gone to work at the mines to save enough money to emigrate.
Connie tells Clifford she is pregnant but he refuses to give his name to the child of an underclass labourer. So Connie seeks out Mellors and persuades him that the two of them could be happy together and buy a farm with her money which he could work with his skills. Mellors is at first unwilling to consider benefiting from her income but eventually seems to be coming around to the idea of their life as a classless partnership and they go off together. Back at home Clifford waits for Connie to return not yet aware that she has left him for good.
|Starring:||Sylvia Kristel (as Lady Constance Chatterley), Shane Briant (as Sir Clifford Chatterley), Nicholas Clay (as Oliver Mellors), Ann Mitchell (Mrs Bolton, Sir Clifford's nurse)|
|Featuring:||Pascale Rivault (as Lady Chatterley's sister), Elizabeth Spriggs (as Lady Eva), Peter Bennett (Field, the Butler)|
|Familiar Faces:||Anthony Head (as Anton, German friend of Sir Clifford)|
|Adaptation by Marc Behm; based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence|
|Writers: Richard Harris, Eleanor Perry / Director: Anatole Litvak / Producers: Raymond Danon, Anatole Litvak|
|Type: Suspense Thriller||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Danielle Lang is a personal assistant for the head of an advertising company based in Paris. Her boss is Michael Caldwell who is a charming and courteous man for whom she likes working. Michael is married to a Frenchwoman called Anita who used to be Dany's flatmate a few years back. But it was not a close friendship and Dany never really approved of Anita's penchant for casual flings with strings of male friends. Dany is glad that Anita has settled down now but has not seen her again socially since those days.
France has a long holiday weekend coming up to celebrate July's Bastille Day and the office is closing for the duration. Michael is going away on a business trip to Switzerland which he is combining with a holiday with Anita. Late on Friday evening he tells Dany he urgently needs a report typed up by the next day for his business meeting and because the office is closing he asks if she could she come back to his place to type it up overnight in his study. Dany is very accommodating and agrees. Dany has never visited Michael's home before which is a plush town house. She gets to work and Anita shows her where she can sleep later in a small room adjoining the study. Dany works long and hard and after sleeping carries on the next morning. She finishes in good time for Michael and Anita's departure. Michael asks if Dany could come to the airport with them and then drive the car back to the house afterwards because he doesn't trust airport carparks. It seems a simple request so Dany agrees to that as well.
Dany waves them off at the airport and takes to the wheel. The car is a large white American Mercury Convertible which Dany takes a while to get used to driving. She gets so muddled on the intersection that she misses the turning for Paris and finds herself on the motorway to the Cote D'azur instead. There are no turnoffs for miles and so Dany decides that a trip to Avignon on the coast will do her good and she should have an impromptu holiday.
As she passes through a small town waiting for traffic, a café proprieter rushes out to tell her she left her coat in the café this morning. Dany tells the woman she is mistaken because she was nowhere near here this morning but the café owner insists that she recognises both her and the car. Dany's next stop is a garage and she is perplexed when the mechanic too remembers her from earlier and says he fixed the lights on her car and even opens her bonnet and produces his tag label to prove it. Dany is confused by all these witnesses claiming they saw her pass this way much earlier this morning and strangely with evidence to back it up. If she was here how could she have forgotten all about it?
She drives on into the night and is stopped by a gendarme who also remembers her and is surprised she is returning so soon. This morning he had stopped her on the way to Paris and told her to get her lights fixed which he is glad to see she has. She stops at a hotel where once again they recognise her. There she is waylaid by the charms of a self-confident gadabout called Philippe who is so persistent in his efforts to melt away her resistance that she succumbs and they end up sleeping together. Dany is pleased at least that Philippe does not claim to know her already and she decides that even though he is freeloading he will be pleasant company for her trip.
They drive to a countryside beauty spot and lay on a hillside. Philippe gets up claiming he needs to fetch something from the car. Bu then he just gets in and drives off with her too far away to stop him. Dany is aggrieved that she fell for a crook who was only interested in stealing her expensive American car. She takes a bus into the nearest town and is amazed to find her car parked. She opens up the boot to check her luggage and is dumfounded to find it contains a dead body and a shotgun! She knows neither were there earlier because she has used the boot - what kind of man is Philippe? She is later phoned by Philippe in a clandestine manner who says he wants her to drive to Marseilles and he will meet her there. Dany does as he asks and they meet in a multi-storey car park. Dany is surprised to find it is Philippe who is wary of her. He thinks that she is the murderer and is appalled at what he has become mixed up in. She assures him it is nothing to do with her and she thought is was him. Philippe decides the best thing they can do is quietly dispose of the body. They search the corpse's pockets and see that the man's name was Maurice Kolp which means nothing to either of them. They get rid of the body on wasteground. But then more evidence comes to light that makes it seem that Dany did in fact know Kolp and Philippe abandons her for lying to him and making him into her unwitting accomplice. Dany has no idea what is going on, but feels she needs to find out more.
Dany decides to find out where Maurice Kolp lived and discovers he was a rich playboy who lived in a nearby mansion. She goes in and is amazed to discover some of her personal possessions and even pictures of herself - all strongly indicative that she was a very good friend of Maurice Kolp - a man she has never met. And furthermore a neighbour recognises the Mercury Convertible as belonging to Maurice. But she knows it belongs to Michael! She tries to phone Michael in Switzerland at his hotel. Anita answers and Dany tells her a little of what has happened and where she currently is - but Anita tells her Michael is currently in a meeting so Dany makes no progress there.
Dany makes arrangements to get the "lost" coat trucked to her from the café she passed earlier and discovers in its pockets articles that confirm it belongs to her including her payslip. There is something very odd about the payslip however and she consequently writes a letter and posts it. She then returns to the Kolp mansion to look for more clues and out of the shadows comes Michael and he is holding a gun with murderous intent!
Michael then proceeds to explain exactly what has been going on. It had been Anita who had been having an affair with Kolp. In a fit of pique she shot Kolp dead with one of his own guns. She told Michael and he decided to help her but they needed to pin the murder on someone else - Dany seemed to be the perfect candidate. The house he brought Dany back to on the ruse of out-of-hours typing was actually Kolp's townhouse and whilst Dany worked through the night Michael and Anita were busy preparing the groundwork for their plan. Anita flew to Avignon and planted Dany's belongings in Kolp's mansion. She disguised herself as Dany replete with clothes that Michael had stolen from Dany's own apartment and was wearing similar glasses which Dany has to wear because of short-sightedness. She then drove Kolp's Mercury Convertible from there to Paris through the night and into the early hours. On the way Anita stopped off at as many places as possible to make sure that "Dany" and the car would be well remembered. Anita got back to Paris with the car just in time for herself and Michael to calmly leave for Switzerland. However the plan was that Michael would double back to Kolp's apartment and when Dany returned with the car he would murder her and make it look like she committed suicide in her grief at earlier killing her "lover" Maurice Kolp. All the evidence would point to that inescapable conclusion. But then Dany had done something unexpected - she had not returned to Paris but had taken the road south to the coast. Following her Michael was confounded by this unpredictable development and astonished that Dany was by sheer chance retracing Anita's journey in the opposite direction discovering all the clues that had been carefully laid for the authorities to find in the investigation that should have followed. When Dany's attention was diverted by the young freeloader Philippe, Michael opted for a change of plan and put Kolp's body and the gun in the boot of the car to incriminate Dany in a different way. She might not be dead but would be unable to counter the weight of circumstantial evidence against her. But then things went awry again when Philippe stole the car from her and Michael lost contact with both of them. When Dany phoned Switzerland, Anita contacted Michael to tell him where Dany was and now with a few necessary modifications to the original plan, Michael intends to finish the job he started and kill her.
But Dany tells him his plan will no longer work. Because when she retrieved her coat and found her payslip she realised something was wrong because it was a duplicate. She still had hers and realised that only Michael could have printed another to plant in the coat pocket so that she would be incriminated when, as was supposed to happen, the police found it while establishing that the timeline of the murder fitted her being the culprit. Dany tells Michael that earlier today she posted the payslips with her suspicions to the police. So killing her now won’t achieve anything. Michael is deflated and lowers the gun in defeat and lets her go.
|Starring:||Samantha Eggar (as Danielle Lang), Oliver Reed (as Michael Caldwell), John McEnery (as Philippe, freeloader), Stéphane Audran (Anita Caldwell, Michael's wife)|
|Featuring:||Bernard Fresson (as Jean Yvain, lorry driver), Philippe Nicaud (as Highway Policeman), André Oumansky (as Bernard Thorr, work colleague)|
|Based on the novel by Sébastien Japrisot|
|The version reviewed was in English. There may also be a French version of the film|
|Writer: George Axelrod / Director: Anthony Page / Producer: Tom Sachs|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Set in Germany shortly before the start of World War II. With Germany on a war footing and the conduct of foreigners becoming ever more scrutinised by the military authorities, a varied group of English and American travellers are journeying from Bavaria to London by train whilst such travel is still permitted.
Amanda Kelly is a feisty young American heiress who is travelling alone and still nursing a hangover from her previous night's partying. She is befriended by a British nanny called Miss Froy who is travelling home now that her employment as governess to an important German family has ended. They have tea in the dining carriage and come into casual contact with many of the other travelling passengers.
After a doze Amanda reawakens to find that Miss Froy has disappeared and when she asks around none of the other passengers or train staff seem to remember her and suggest she just dreamt this Nanny. Amanda becomes increasingly petulant unable to understand why no one can recall the kindly woman. Her efforts to get at the truth are aided by a photojournalist called Robert Condon who did not meet Miss Froy himself but is intrigued enough by Amanda's earnest belief that he gives her the benefit of the doubt. But none of Amanda's story seems to tally with the facts and contrary evidence to her assertions seem to abound. Amanda is convinced there is some huge conspiracy involving everyone on the train but when nothing she says checks out even Robert has to consider she must simply have had a very vivid dream.
In actual fact there is a conspiracy and a renegade German family on board have kidnapped Miss Froy and replaced her with a bandage-swathed patient who was brought on board at an emergency stop point. The other passengers do secretly recall Miss Froy but have their own private reasons for denying knowledge of her:- one pair of hidebound gents do not want the train to be unduly delayed because they are anxious to return to England in time to catch the Test Match; another are an adulterous couple travelling incognito and do not want to draw undue attention to themselves by getting involved - neither pair are part of any conspiracy but their attitudes nevertheless unwittingly serve to obfuscate matters.
Eventually a piece of evidence turns up that convinces Robert that Miss Froy is real and after a more determined effort he and Amanda find her and the plot begins to unravel. Miss Froy has been entrusted with a memorised secret message which she is to deliver to the Ministry of Defence in London and the German family she worked for are doing their utmost to stop her but cannot involve the authorities because they are fleeing from persecution themselves.
The train is diverted by the German family's son who commands small unit of soldiers and there is a shoot out to try and force the passengers to surrender Miss Froy to them and avoid bloodshed and further delay. Miss Froy knows she has no choice and must act to save the lives of the rest of the passengers. She passes the secret message on to Robert and Amanda and then makes a run for it amidst a hail of gunfire. She seems to take a hit and falls into a lake. Robert takes charge and gains control of the train and the passengers escape the perilous situation and eventually get to England.
Robert and Amanda go to the MOD to deliver the message they were entrusted with and are delighted to find Miss Froy is already there having miraculously made it.
|Starring:||Cybill Shepherd (as Amanda Kelly, heiress), Elliott Gould (as Robert Condon, photojournalist), Angela Lansbury (as Miss Froy, nanny), Herbert Lom (as Dr Egon Hartz, German doctor on train)|
|Featuring:||Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael (as Charters and Caldicott, English gents), Gerald Harper and Jenny Runacre (as Mr and Mrs Todhunter, adulterous couple), Jean Anderson (as Baroness Kisling, head of German family), Madlena Nedeva (as Nun, nursing emergency patient), Vladek Sheybal (as Train conductor), Wolf Kahler (as Helmut, Nazi son), Barbara Markham (as Frau Kummer, Miss Froy's substitute)|
|Based on the 1936 screenplay by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder; from the novel by Ethel Lina White|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Ken Russell|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 93 mins|
|A student archaeologist called Angus Flint is doing some excavation work at a farm which used to be the site of a Roman settlement. At the Roman level he finds a large and unusual animal skull and a floor mosaic depicting a serpent wrapped around a crucifix. The farm belongs to two sisters Eve and Mary Trent whose parents went missing a year ago while walking home through the woods from the pub - no sign of them was ever found.
Eve's boyfriend is James D'Ampton who is the lord of the local manor and there is a local legend that one of his far off ancestors slew a giant worm creature that lived in the cavern. That achievement has passed into folklore and each year there is a traditional festival celebrating the event which James sponsors. Angus wonders if the skull he found could actually be of one of these serpent creatures.
Near the woods at Temple House lives the reclusive Lady Sylvia Marsh, a sultry and attractive enigma of a woman who takes up local residence in the area only come springtime and spends the colder months elsewhere. We soon discover that Lady Sylvia is not fully human and has piercing fangs and the ability to spit venom. She is an immortal being who has lived for centuries and was once the lover of the Roman emperor whose settlement stood near here. She has a hunger for victims to feed on and uses her powers of seduction to lure unsuspecting men to their deaths. A poisonous bite from Lady Sylvia quickly paralyses and if the wound is not quickly treated it eventually turns the victim into an evil vampiric creature like herself. The Trent sisters' parents fell victim to Lady Sylvia the previous year.
Lady Sylvia worships the pagan snake god Dionin and she plans to revive the creature from its long hibernation in the deep subterranean caverns beneath Temple House. She needs a virgin to sacrifice in the awakening ceremony and so she abducts Eve whom she discovers fits the bill.
Angus, James and Mary work out what sort of opponent they are up against and devise a plan of action to rescue Eve. This involves James playing pipe music to temporarily stupefy the serpent side of Lady Sylvia whilst Angus infiltrates Temple House looking for Eve. Angus takes the precaution of injecting himself with a snake anti-venom which he obtained from a local hospital after giving them a sample of the poison. Lady Sylvia has now transformed into her evil form in which her skin is bluey grey. She has used earplugs to avoid being paralysed by the pipes and leaps out and bites Angus. She leaves him, believing he is now a helpless paralysed pawn, and returns to her lower lair where she has Eve a prisoner suspended over a deep bottomless looking pit. She calls upon Dionin to rise up and prepares to let Eve fall into its open maw. Because of his precautions Angus quickly recovers and surprises Lady Sylvia whom he pushes into the pit so she falls into the giant serpent's gaping jaws to her fitting doom - Angus follows up by dropping a hand grenade which blows the creature to pieces. Angus rescues Eve and all appears to be resolved.
But in a twist ending, the hospital contact Angus to confess they made a mistake with the anti-venom and supplied him with the wrong serum. The protective effect was therefore only temporary and Angus realises that he is now an infected vampire creature and begins to have evil thoughts...
|Starring:||Amanda Donohoe (as Lady Sylvia Marsh), Peter Capaldi (as Angus Flint), Hugh Grant (as Lord James D'Ampton), Catherine Oxenberg (as Eve Trent), Sammi Davis (as Mary Trent)|
|Featuring:||Paul Brooke (as PC Erny, local policeman), Stratford Johns (as Peters, D'Ampton's butler), Chris Pitt (as Kevin, scouting hitchhiker), Imogen Claire and Christopher Gable (as Trent sisters' parents), Gina McKee (as Nurse, [one scene cameo])|
|Adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker|
|Writers: James Cawthorn, Michael Moorcock / Director: Kevin Connor / Producer: John Dark|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 87 mins|
|It is June 1916 during the First World War and in the Atlantic a German U-boat torpedoes a British passenger vessel that is also carrying weapons. There are only a handful of survivors including the captain and some sailors along with an American civilian with military training called Bowen Tyler and a woman biologist called Lisa Clayton. They are adrift in their lifeboat lost in thick fog when the U-boat surfaces nearby to replenish its air. Tyler seizes the opportunity and leads the survivors to take the U-boat by surprise when the German open their hatch and they manage to gain control of the vessel.
They head for a friendly port but after days of travel they discover that the German first officer Dietz has sabotaged the compass and they have been going the wrong way and are now hopelessly lost. They come into colder Antarctic waters and are surprised to see a huge uncharted land mass. The German captain, Von Schoenvorts, speculates that it might be the land of Caprona which was spoken of some 200 years ago in old documents but has never been re-located. Because their supplies of oil, food and water are running low they decide to make land to replenish. The island has no beaches and is all sheer rockface but they find a way inshore using a narrow underground river through which they manage to navigate the submarine.
On the other side the vegetation is lush and the water is tropically warm as a result of a nearby active volcano. There are also ferocious dinosaurs long since thought extinct. Several evolutionary eras coexist on the island including tribes of savage primitive men. The German and British propose a truce until they can make it off the island - with American civilian Tyler in overall charge. They discover a lake of crude oil and realise they can refine it to refuel their submarine. They build a stockade and organise hunting parties to bring back dinosaur meat to eat. They discover that as they venture further north the species they encounter become more evolutionary advanced and Von Schoenvorts who is a scientist himself feels sure there must be some secret to the island that can be found if one travels far enough north.
After many days spent surviving the harsh conditions and unexpected dangers they nearly have enough oil to leave. Tyler and Lisa are out and about on the final food hunt when their group is attacked by a tribe and Lisa is captured. Tyler has to rescue her and this coincides with the volcano staring to erupt. Back at the submarine they are all loaded and ready to leave but the German captain insists they wait for Tyler and Lisa. The lava burns the forest and boils the water as Tyler and Lisa rush back to the departure point. But things are deteriorating badly and Dietz decides they have waited long enough and mutinies the captain's orders and starts off. But they left it too late and the heat of the water is too great for the submarine to endure and as they submerge it explodes and all the crew perish. Tyler and Lisa watch helplessly, stranded on the bank of the lake, as their only means of escape blows up.
They are now the only survivors and they decide to head north to the colder region to try and discover the secret of the island. But before they go Tyler writes down a record of all their exploits so far onto a parchment and seals it in a waterproof drum which he hurls over the cliff into the sea. THE END (in the film's prologue this drum is seen making land far away where it is discovered by a fisherman who reads Tyler's account which is the adventure we then see play out on the screen)
|Starring:||Doug McClure (as Bowen Tyler), Susan Penhaligon (as Lisa Clayton), John McEnery (as Captain Von Schoenvorts, U-boat captain), Keith Barron (as Bradley, British captain), Anthony Ainley (as Dietz, German first officer)|
|Featuring:||Bobby Parr (as Ahm, captured tribesman)|
|Based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|There was a sequel called The People That Time Forgot (1977) set a few years later when a mission is mounted to rescue Bowen Tyler following discovery of his bottled message. Doug McClure resumed his role although not Susan Penhaligon whose character Lisa Clayton was said to have been sacrificed to a volcano god by a warlike tribe they encountered.|
|Before the "Time Forgot" sequel was made another of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Lost World" themed adventures called At The Earth's Core (1976) was filmed by the same production company (Amicus). This also starred Doug McClure and was directed by Kevin Connor - however McClure was playing a different character and there was no plot-setting connection to the other two films.|
|Writer/Director: David Tringham / Producer: John Dark|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 28 mins|
|Robert Murray is a successful pulp-thriller writer in his early 50s whose many books about his spy hero Maxon have also been made into successful films. Murray lives by himself in a country cottage which provides him the uninterrupted quiet he needs to write. He is currently at work on his latest Maxon book entitled The Venetian Girl and has reached the final chapter. He immerses himself in his fictional world and imagines himself as his hero as he types out what his characters do. Maxon is having a climatic confrontation with the villainess Carlotta in which he has gained the upper hand and disarmed her and is displaying his stereotypical womanising arrogance by attempting to brutalise her by sexual advantage. Murray is getting into the flow of the scene when suddenly there is an unexpected knock at his door.
The visitor is a teenage schoolgirl called Penny who is the niece of one of Murray's elderly neighbours. Penny professes to be a big fan of his books and is thrilled to meet him and wonders if she can interview him for her school paper. Murray is not pleased at being interrupted for something so frivolous and is not inclined to cooperate. But she persists and he realises that giving her a short interview will be the quickest way of getting rid of her.
She asks some general questions about how he comes up with his plots and he tells her it is mostly from a combination of his imagination and hard work and discipline. She confesses that all the girls at her school are big fans of Maxon and think he's terribly romantic. Murray thinks Maxon is probably a bit old for girls of her age but she says all her friends prefer older men. She wonders why he doesn't try writing other types of books as well and he tells her he prefers to entertain the masses rather than write works of literature that only highbrows will appreciate.
The interview is over and she still won't leave and she seems a bit puzzled that Murray hasn't tried to seduce her even though she has been dropping hints to him and making it fairly obvious. She becomes openly flirtatious and says that he can kiss her if he likes and he needn't stop at kissing if he doesn't want to. Murray becomes furious at this and realises that the interview was just a ruse and really she is a silly schoolgirl with some sort of crush on him. He tells her she is far too young although she doesn't see what is wrong with that because Maxon is always going to bed with young girls. Murray manages to finally eject her and return to his desk.
But then Penny comes back in a bit apologetically and reveals she is actually here on a dare. Another girl had said that she thought that Murray was probably actually a lonely man who'd never had a proper adventure in his life and Penny was going to prove that wrong by offering him up a thrilling opportunity. Murray is riled at being used and decides to teach Penny a life lesson. He starts pulling the curtains closed and locking the doors telling her that they don't want any interruptions. He then tells her he wants her to undress while he watches and as he expected she was unprepared for her bluff to be called and doesn't know what to do or how to get out of it. He proceeds to give a her a stern lecture on the dangers of being a tease and predicts a sorry future for her with her immodest behaviour and clearly limited intelligence as well as a childish lack of gumption to go through with matters when her tricks are exposed.
Penny listens to his tirade sheepishly as if accepting his admonishments. Then at the end of it a change comes over her and she seems to have a new maturity in her voice. She informs him she is heading for Cambridge University next year to read English Literature and is well versed in the classics. She reveals she is not a fan of his books and thinks his exploitative treatment of women in them is appalling and all the girls she knows think the same. She goes on to express her view that he is a pathetic and rather nasty writer who has no idea what real relationships are like and has to live his life inventing palpable fantasies.
This sudden turnaround stuns Murray who realises he has been thoroughly taken in by a girl with a harsh point to prove which she achieved with consummate skill and tricked him into making a fool of himself with his condescendingly supercilious lecture about morals. He is speechless and has no riposte and she leaves.
He returns to his desk stunned by her brutal demolition of his character, and in a foul mood he resumes his story with Maxon still fighting with Carlotta. But Penny hasn't finished with him yet and is going for the coup de grâce. He suddenly looks up and sees her standing at his window completely topless and flaunting herself outrageously offering him a teasing spectacle of her womanly charms. This insolent behaviour makes his blood boil and he rushes out of the cottage to try and catch her wanting to teach her a lesson for her taunting humiliation of him. But she is too quick for him and runs into the surrounding woods. He chases after her but cannot catch her and she meets up with a group of her schoolgirl friends on the other side of a riverbank and they all stand laughing and jeering at him and he can do nothing to halt their contemptuous judgment of his worth.
Murray trudges home despondently a broken man and returns to his typewriter. In his current state of mind he cannot bring himself to end the scene as he had intended with Maxon imposing his masculinity on the beaten villainess. Instead the scene plays out with his characters talking out their differences. But Carlotta is planning treachery and tries to stab Maxon while his defences are down - he reverts to type with violence against her but then a shot rings out and Maxon falls down dead - killed by Carlotta's accomplice.
Murray has killed off his long-standing hero and feels liberated. But then he gets a telegram from his American publisher offering him a huge advance for his new book on the strength of his synopsis. Murray knows this did not include killing Maxon so he reluctantly realises that practicalities dictate that he has no choice but to continue as before even if, as he now knows, his style is not met with universal approval. He throws the final chapter on a fire and goes back to his desk to write it again with a more expected ending.
|Starring:||Denholm Elliott (as Robert Murray, [also plays Maxon in visualised scenes from the book]), Susan Penhaligon (as Penny)|
|Featuring:||Geraldine Moffatt (as Carlotta, fictional villainess), Grace Arnold (as Mrs Hornby, delivering telegram)|
|Based on a short story by John Fowles|
|Writer: Kenneth Ware / Director: Gordon Flemyng / Producer: Josef Shaftel|
|Type: War Drama||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Major Harry Grigsby is leader of a group of highly trained British mercenary soldiers who help wage wars around the globe for money. 42-year-old Grigsby is an intense and determined man who only accepts jobs that he considers ideologically sound and takes no gratification in the necessary death and destruction that results. In their latest assignment in South Africa he and his men have been pinned down in a small town. Then unexpected rescue seems to be coming in the shape of their American team member Kip Thompson who has gotten hold of a helicopter and lands to airlift them to safety. But as the first wave of evacuees approach Thompson mows then down with a machine gun and proceeds to use the helicopter's armaments to totally devastate the town as he tries to kill Grigsby. His madness-tinged glee at the firepower he can unleash shows he has been sent over the edge and betrayed them to go independent and sell his services to a higher bidder.
Grigsby and his core-team survive and eventually make it back to London. Grigsby is a tuberculosis sufferer and spends some time recovering in a sanatorium. He hears that the maverick Thompson has moved on to China to help organise the Red Guard and the resulting unrest is threatening to destabilise the precarious situation of truce held with the British governed Hong Kong region.
Grigsby persuades the British government to hire him to go out there and deal with Thompson whom he considers himself to be in some way responsible for. Hong Kong's military commander General Charles Whiteley tolerates Grigsby's help only because his unofficial status allows him to ignore certain political restrictions that the regular army cannot - such as encroaching into Chinese territory.
Grigsby and his tight group of four men begin a strategy of trying to lure Thompson out from his secret camp somewhere in the vast open terrain across the border. Grigsby knows that Thompson will not be able to resist the opportunity to try and kill him and he attempts to lay several traps. But Thompson proves himself too wily to fall for Grigsby's ruses and is quite capable of equal cunning in return. Their personal conflict becomes a battle of will and skill which both men know will only be ended by the death of the other.
During this time when back in the city Grigsby has been getting to know General Charles' wife Katherine and she has fallen for his immense strength of character and they proceed to have an affair during a period that Grigsby spends recovering from his most recent close encounter with Thompson.
Eventually Grigsby's TB symptoms return and he realises he is going to have to give up chasing after Thompson. Katherine decides she will leave Charles to live with him when he recovers. She joins Charles in his official car on his way back from an important meeting to tell him of her decision which he takes stoically. But then the car is ambushed by an attack from a hillside bazooka and blown up. When Grigsby hears the news that Katherine is dead he realises that Thompson is responsible and was sending him the clear message that he has no intention of letting his opponent simply give up.
Full of anger and determination and not fully recovered Grigsby arms himself and goes alone into Thompson's territory ignoring all the rules of stealthy approach. He spots the ambush point and secretively primes a grenade holding it in his hand with the pin pulled out. Then he walks straight into Thompson's trap. Thompson gleefully cuts him down with his machine gun and walks over to the body with the satisfaction of having at last bettered his opponent. But as he turns Grigsby's body over to look at his face, the dead man's grip on the primed grenade relaxes and it explodes taking Thompson with it.
|Starring:||Stanley Baker (as Major Harry Grigsby), Richard Attenborough (as General Charles Whiteley), Honor Blackman (as Mrs Katherine Whiteley, general's wife), Alex Cord (as Kip Thompson, maverick mercenary), Ray Brooks (as Lt David Coulson, General's aide)|
|Featuring:||(Grigsby's men) Andrew Keir (as Sgt Gordon Mackenzie), Rafer Johnson (as Joe Jackson), Julian Glover (as Andy Royal), John Thaw (as Terry Mitchell)|
Philip Latham (as London minister), Gerald Sim (as Hong Kong hospital doctor)
|Adapted for the screen by James Mitchell and John Sherlock; based on the novel The Ordeal of Major Grigsby by John Sherlock|
|Writer: (not listed) / Director: Michael J. Murphy / Producer: Caroline Aylward|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 50 mins|
|At an old local theatre an amateur dramatics company called the Prestidge Players are putting on a murder mystery called Murder in the Dark. They have reached the final night of their week-long run and some friends are planning a celebratory party afterwards at a nearby venue.
But unfortunately for the actors, two violently dangerous criminals called Mike and Gary have just escaped from Broadmoor prison and decide to hide in the theatre. Their plan is to stay out of site until everyone has gone home and lay low. But when two of the minor cast members discover them in a storeroom the fugitives do not hesitate to kill them.
At first the remainder of the cast wonder where their friends have gone but carry on with the show. Mike and Gary kill again in an effort to evade discovery but this time the body is found and the criminals are forced to show themselves and take everyone hostage. Using threats they force the cast to continue with the performance so the audience will be satisfied and then go home without any suspicions being roused
But as the evening progresses the unstable criminals kill more and more of the cast until there is only one left - the lead actress Helen. Mike and Gary then fall out with each other and fight. Gary is badly injured and Mike is hung by his neck and dies. Gary then turns on Helen but she manages to defend herself and finish him off with a knife. Helen is the only survivor of the ordeal and arrives at the after-show party in a bloodsoaked and traumatised state.
|Starring:||Catherine Rowlands (as Helen, lead actress), Steven Longhurst (as Mike, escaped convict), Colin Efford (as Gary, escaped convict)|
|Featuring:||Clifford Gardiner (as Dave Chambers, writer), Lindsey Greer (as Sue Prestidge, producer)|
(Cast Members) David Bruhl (as Trevor), Antony Peyton (as Arthur), Yvette Guntar (as Eileen), Patricia Dolby (as Marilyn), Marina Bolton (as Jill), Peter Neal (as Stan), Tim Morris (as Clive), Nanda Adkin (as Rita)
Al Greer (as Bert, stage doorman)
|Writer: Tim Shields / Director: Gordon Hessler / Producer: Jack Parsons|
|Type: Suspense Thriller||Running Time: 90 mins|
|Dr Charles Nordeck is a famed marriage guidance councillor with many successful books to his name and a regular newspaper column. His words offer his millions of readers an authoritative insight into relationships and the binding sacrament of marriage. However what the public do not know is that Charles' own marriage is a failure. He is too busy to devote enough time to it and his much younger wife Anne has become bored and taken a lover called Peter. Charles knows about the relationship and permits it because it relieves him of onerous bedroom duties. However because his career is built around extolling the virtues of marital stability he refuses to grant Anne a divorce. Charles knows the humiliation of a marriage breakup would derail his credibility and so he ties Anne to her responsibilities as his wife and demands she play the dutiful spouse in public. In return she gets to enjoy the lifestyle his success can provide. However Anne wants children with Peter but does not want them to be illegitimate, so needs to re-marry. Unfortunately she knows how obdurate and cruel Charles can be and realises it is a forlorn hope that he would do the decent thing.
Peter also wants desperately to marry Anne and so while they are alone in Charles' study they come to the decision that they have no choice but to murder him. Charles keeps a loaded pistol in his desk which Peter can use. Peter says he will do it next Saturday while Anne is out visiting friends so she has an alibi. Anne's role will be to phone home at exactly 7pm and have a fake conversation with "Charles" (for the benefit of her hosts) in which she must portray him panicking about an armed intruder in the house. By that time Charles will already be dead and the police will have a plausible explanation of what happened.
Unfortunately for the two conspirators, Charles' dictaphone had been unknowingly left operating on his desk and their machinations have been unwittingly committed to tape. Later Charles' dowdy middle-aged secretary Eileen hears the incriminating conversation and mulls over what to do with it.
The following Saturday Peter and Anne carry out their plot. Peter creeps into the house where Charles is working alone, gets the gun from the study, and repeatedly shoots Charles in the lounge. Charles falls down and shows no sign of life. Anne makes her call at the allotted time and all appears to be going to plan. The police are called about the "intruder" and Anne rushes home getting ready to display appropriate grief at her husband's horrifying murder. But all she and the police find are signs of a struggle and a little bit of blood - but no Charles, either dead or alive! The police speculate that Charles chased off the mystery intruder and will return home soon. But he doesn't.
Then Eileen reveals her hand. She tells Anne that she knows all about their plot from the recording and decided to let it play out. She was hiding in the house and when Peter left she took Charles' body and deposited it the fast flowing nearby river. She has the tape recording in a secure place and will give it to the police unless her single demand is met. Eileen has always felt downtrodden and unable to find a man to love her and so her demand is that Peter marry her. She knows that if Peter loves Anne as much as he must do to have committed murder for her then he will also do anything to spare her a prison sentence.
Peter has no choice but to agree and the arrangements are made for their marriage and honeymoon in Australia. Anne resigns herself to losing Peter and makes plans to sell the house and move back north nearer her family. The police conduct an investigation and find evidence that Charles was by the riverside and have to conclude the attacker killed him and the river swept his body away. Anne stays until the inquest where Charles is declared dead at the hands of persons unknown with his body lost to the strong river currents. Anne returns home for a final time before leaving and upon arrival she is stunned to find Charles alive and well and waiting for her!
Charles reveals with a merciless relish how his loyal secretary Eileen came to him with the recording and together they hatched up this plan. Charles put blanks in his gun and then played dead when Peter shot him. He then hid away in the barn while Eileen made her demands after she'd left "evidence" by the river that he had been dumped there. Charles decided that he had to decisively split Anne and Peter up and teach Anne a harsh lesson in trying to defy him. He expects her to be both dutiful and faithful from now on or else the tape recording will be turned over to the police. Charles goes upstairs to have a bath before getting ready to announce his miraculous "survival" to the police. Anne is left mulling her abject future in this loveless marriage when Peter rushes in. Eileen had finally realised that what she was doing was wrong to force Peter into marrying her and she told him about Charles' wily scheme. Anne is downcast in defeat because the tape still exists so Eileen's renouncement changes nothing. But Peter is steadfast in his determination to resolve this to their advantage. He reasons that if an inquest has declared Charles dead then he can be killed "again" with impunity. He fills the gun with real bullets and goes upstairs and shoots Charles dead in his bath. THE END
|Starring:||Hugh Marlowe (as Dr Charles Nordeck), Patricia Haines (as Anne Nordeck, Charles' wife), William Dysart (as Peter Marriott, Anne's lover), Zena Walker (as Eileen, Charles' secretary)|
|Featuring:||John Nettleton (as Detective Inspector Nash), Thorley Walters and Joan Young (as General and Mrs Jowett, friends of Anne and Charles), Alister Williamson (as Detective), Lionel Murton and Helen Horton (as Mr and Mrs Rubens, American guests at auction), John Wentworth (as Andrew Chambers, Charles' publisher)|
|Familiar Faces:||Julian Holloway (as Brash Young Man at party), Stephen Moore (as Peter's Colleague, [cameo])|
|Starlets:||Lynley Laurence (as Pretty Girl at party), Janet Kelly (as Receptionist at Peter's Chelsea flats)|
|From the play Sound of Murder by William Fairchild|
|Writer/Director/Producer: James Clavell|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 120 mins|
|Set in Germany in the 1600's during the 30-year religious war that waged through Europe between Catholics and Protestants. Soldiers are systematically obliterating community villages raping and pillaging and leaving the township's burning. A learned travelling man called Vogel is attempting to escape from a village where he was seeking refuge that has just come under attack. He flees up and over a forested hillside on the other side of which he finds a hidden valley where there lives a community that has remained untouched by the troubles because no outsiders knew of its existence. The setting is idyllic, the land bountiful and the people content. But all that is about to change as a group of soldiers led by a Captain also find the village after following Vogel.
The Captain and his men are mercenaries with allegiance to neither side and willing to fight on either. The Captain is a strict disciplinarian willing to kill without mercy to keep order - but is fair-minded and in no way sadistic in his cruelty - just practical and efficient as he strives to keep the bloodlust in his men under control with his iron will. His men want to sack the village of its bounty and take the spoils back to the armies. But Vogel convinces the Captain on a different course of action. The supplies here would soon be exhausted if distributed between thousands of men but the Captain's band of thirty or so men could billet down here for the winter in peace and safety with a plentiful supply of food in co-operation with the villagers. One reason that the village has remained undiscovered is that it is cut off by snows for six months of every year and so will be safe from attack.
The Captain agrees to this proposal and forms an uneasy alliance with the community's leader Gruber who provides the soldiers with accommodation, food and women in return for their protection. For his constant show of good sound advice Vogel is appointed judge mediator to settle any disputes between villagers and soldiers.
As the story unfolds the Captain has to quash a mutinous rebellion of a small band of his soldiers, deal with the strong religious sensibilities of the local priest, and begins a relationship with Gruber's woman Erica. And Vogel's level-headedness and voice of reason saves many a disagreement from becoming more serious.
Come the spring the Captain is ready to leave with his men to rejoin the war which has reached nearby areas and leaves Vogel in charge until he returns. But Vogel knows that his position is weakened by the Captain's departure and Gruber will have no time for him so he decides to leave as Gruber's men lay an ambush for the Captain's return from the war. The Captain returns wounded in the battle and soon dies and Gruber allows Vogel to leave to continue his wanderings.
|Starring:||Michael Caine (as The Captain), Omar Sharif (as Vogel), Florinda Bolkan (as Erica), Nigel Davenport (as Gruber), Per Oscarsson (as Father Sebastian)|
|Featuring:||Arthur O'Connell (as Hoffman), Madeline Hinde (as Inge, daughter of Hoffman), Michael Gothard (as Hansen, mutinous soldier), Yorgo Voyagis (as Pirelli, soldier), Christian Roberts (as Andreas, villager), Brian Blessed (as Korski, soldier, dies early on), Ian Hogg (as Graf, soldier), Vladek Sheybal (as Mathias, visiting villager)|
|Familiar Faces:||(a couple of familiar names were present in the cast list although I didn't actually spot their appearances and so probably they only had small/cameo roles) Chris Chittell (as Svenson), Frazer Hines (as Corg)|
|Based on the novel by J.B. Pick|
|Writers: Robert van Ackeren, Joy Markert, Iris Wagner / Director: Robert van Ackeren / Producer: Wenzel Lüdecke|
|Type: European / Drama||Running Time: 92 mins|
|The version reviewed was dubbed into German and had no subtitles - so the following review is based mainly on getting a sense of what was happening from watching the visuals alone
Edward is a lawyer who has been hired by Leo, the managing director of a German lingerie company called Diskreet. Edward's brief is to discover why Leo's business is ailing and to put forward ideas to turn its fortunes around. Edward's findings show that Diskreet's problem is that its products are too durable and last so long that women need only buy them once. He proposes that the underwear should be made with a material that wears out much quicker hence garnering more repeat business. Leo is desperate and so he goes against the advice of his board and agrees to implement Edward's proposals. However unknown to everyone Edward is being underhand and is colluding with some shady speculators who will wait until the "improvements" force the company into liquidation and then buy it cheaply to take it over.
Leo's wife Simone has a heart condition and she has just been away for six weeks at a sanatorium being treated. Edward is secretly having an affair with Simone but while she was away he has also taken up with her daughter Jella whom he now prefers. However he knows he must still be attentive to Simone because she wields financial influence with her husband. Leo has found out about the affair but does not complain because he does not want to jeopardise the important company restructuring that Edward is organising. Simone's cardiologist tells her that she must not engage in passionate moments because of the strain and prescribes her a whole regime of medications to take each day which she carries around in a special vanity case.
Leo sends Edward to Venice to close down one of their factories and suggests that he take Simone with him for a holiday. Simone is delighted with the opportunity to be alone with Edward for an extended period, but Edward is not so enamoured because he is in love with Jella and has to feign interest in Simone. Meanwhile Jella is so love-smitten that she follows Edward to Venice where they can continue their passion in clandestine assignations in her hotel room. Edward's urgency for Jella is so intense that in his rush to be with her he causes a serious car pile-up which leaves multiple casualties although he barely notices the havoc wreaked. And he and Jella's passion is enhanced as they make love to the cacophony of emergency service sirens.
Edward and Simone return home on a cruise ship where Jella joins them and Simone starts suspecting things. Jella urges Edward to sort matters out so they can be together without having to be so circumspect. So Edward takes Simone's medical vanity case and throws it overboard - then he starts taking her on strenuous excursions at stopovers to tax her heart. Simone becomes ill while on-shore and she and Edward find an unstaffed medical drop-in trailer. She is weakening and Edward makes certain of events by proceeding to engage her in passion. As they have sex her heart gives out and she dies. Edward is satisfied because now he and Jella can be married.
Back home in Germany there is a joint ceremony to conduct Edward and Jella's marriage in conjunction with Simone's funeral. They observe the funeral in their wedding regalia but as the wedding ceremony is ready to start Jella (in a twist ending) has mysteriously disappeared leaving Edward jilted at the altar.
|Comment: I might speculate that Jella must have had some secret agenda of her own and was somehow using Edward to help get rid of her mother - but whether it was that or something else, I was not able to properly discern the reason for her actions. I could also not be clear what the resolution was with Edward's shady conspirators.|
|Starring:||Barry Foster (as Edward), Delphine Seyrig (as Simone), Kirstie Pooley (as Jella), Peter Hall (as Leo)|
|Featuring:||Henning Schlüter (as Dr Schatz, Simone's doctor), Udo Kier (as Raimund, company board member)|
|The version reviewed was in German and had the title Der letzte Schrei. Its English title is known as "The Last Word" although the German title could also translate as "The Latest Craze", "The Last Cry", and "The Last Shout". Another alternate title it is thought to have been seen under is "The Letter".|
|This German film was reviewed here because of the starring role for British actor Barry Foster - also actress Kirstie Pooley whose acting roles were mainly in British productions, albeit often playing foreign characters.|
|Writer: Gillian Freeman / Director: Sidney J. Furie / Producer: Raymond Stross|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Nearly 16-year-old Dot and her motor biking enthusiast boyfriend Reggie are very much in love and can't wait to get married and move into a place of their own. They have their honeymoon all planned out and are both very excited as they pour over the Butlins brochure. They marry and head off to the holiday camp - Bubbly Dot is full of eagerness to try out all the attractions on offer but Reggie's eagerness lays in another direction and he wants to spend all day alone with her in the chalet and is very unenthusiastic about joining in with the spirit of fun the holiday camp engenders which Dot is delighted to embrace. When Dot makes use of the camp hairdressers and changes from her natural brunette to blonde Reggie seems to go right off her. And in the social hustle and bustle of the camp nightlife where Dot is in her element Reggie feels very uncomfortable and out of place.
This awkwardness between them continues into their married life as they move into a place of their own and as we rejoin them six months later they are forever bickering and arguing with very little left in common. She is disappointed that he no longer even wants to have sex with her despite her attempts to spark his interest.
Around this time Reggie meets Pete, another biker and former merchant seaman who has arrived in the area. They become good mates as Pete seems to have a very understanding manner and Reggie find him very easy to talk to. Reggie has moved out of his marital home with Dot and has gone to live with his recently widowed Gran and he invites Pete to share his room. Although Reggie does not notice it is clear to the viewer that Pete is gay and has a crush on Reggie - he is not overtly gay but certain things such as his reluctance to flirt with girls that Reggie wants to pick up on a day trip to the seaside and his harsh words to Dot when she makes overtures of reconciliation give the viewer the necessary indications.
Moving on a bit and Dot has taken up with another biker called Brian and when the bikers all decide to have a race to Edinburgh and back Dot joins in riding pillion with Brian. She has now changed her hair back to its natural colour and on rest-stops along the way she and Reggie get talking again and seem to regain some of that old magic they had between them. On the way back from Scotland Brian breaks down and Reggie takes Dot as his passenger giving them time to be alone together and talk things through.
Next day Reggie decides to return home to Dot and turns up unannounced at their marital flat only to find her in bed with Brian - she complains she didn't know he was suddenly going to come back after all this time. Reggie storms off and goes to Pete saying he wants to get away from it all and asks if Pete can get a passage to somewhere far away on a merchant ship. Pete goes off to arrange it and Reggie waits in a bar where he is approached by two overtly gay seamen whom Reggie feels very uncomfortable around realising they would be on the same vessel. Then Pete returns and the sailors' banter with him makes it clear that Pete is of the same persuasion and he looks very sheepish and uncomfortable that his secret is out. Reggie looks very disappointed and they part company knowing that they can never be buddies now with that unbridgeable gap between them. And there it ends with the two men parting company and an uncertain future for Dot and Reggie's marriage.
|Starring:||Rita Tushingham (as Dot), Colin Campbell (as Reggie Wilcox), Dudley Sutton (as Pete)|
|Featuring:||Gladys Henson (as Gran), Johnny Briggs (Brian, Dot's new boy friend), Avice Landon (as Reggie's Mother), Lockwood West (as Reggie's Father), Betty Marsden (as Dot's Mother), Martin Mathews (as Uncle Arthur)|
|Starlets:||Valerie Varnam, Jill Meredith (as Two girls Reggie and Pete meet at the seaside)|
|Colin Campbell receives an "introducing" credit|
|Based on a novel by Eliot George|
|Made in Black and White|
|Writer: Carl Humphries / Director:irector Michael J. Murphy|
|Type: Fantasy Drama||Running Time: 83 mins|
|Set in the dark ages past of the British Isles. The kingdoms of Ireland and Cornwall are in a bitter feud and as a means of settlement the Irish king has agreed that his daughter Iseult should marry King Marc of Cornwall. King Marc's noble champion and nephew Tristan of Lyonesse has been sent to escort her. Young Iseult is reluctant to go because she finds the idea of being married to the aging Marc repugnant but her father insists it is her duty. She takes a dislike to Tristan at first but when their vessel is caught in a storm and they are washed ashore together, an attachment develops as they journey to Cornwall on foot. However they both know their love must remain secret for the sake of the duty they each have to their respective homelands.
King Marc is delighted with his new young bride and they quickly marry. But each night after Marc has fallen asleep Iseult rises and visits Tristan's bed. Iseult's handmaiden Brangwain takes her mistress' place beside the king in case he should wake in the pitch dark of the night and feel for her presence.
This continues for many months - the kingdom flourishes in peace and Marc is happy. However a malcontent nobleman called Lord Melot wants to seize power but knows he cannot defeat the king's champion Tristan. So when he finds out about Tristan and Iseult's secret assignations he believes his problem is solved. He informs the king expecting Tristan's treachery to be severely punished thereby removing him from the picture. However when the king is forgiving and fails to punish either transgressor Melot concludes the monarch is weak and sets about raising an army of followers to spread terror and confusion in the land to destabilize the kingdom.
Meanwhile Tristan is so ashamed about his perfidy that despite his continued love for Iseult he places himself into voluntary exile. His travels take him to France where he meets the daughter of the king of Brittany whose name is also Iseult. Tristan agrees to marry Iseult of Brittany and become their champion and help them defeat Lord Melot whose widening ambitions have been causing mayhem in the area. Tristan's heroics force Lord Melot to withdraw and refocus on overthrowing Cornwall.
Tristan returns to Cornwall in disguise to help in the coming reckoning and enters into a personal combat with Lord Melot who now believes himself to be invincible after having consumed a potion prepared by a sorceress. However he is deluded and Tristan kills Melot and the threat to King Marc's throne is over. In Tristan's long absence Iseult has come to genuinely love King Marc and so Tristan returns to Brittany to be with his wife, the other Iseult. However he soon comes down with a fever brought about by a poisoned blade wound he suffered fighting with Lord Melot. Tristan knows he is soon to die and asks that Iseult is sent for from Cornwall. But by the time she arrives it is too late and he has already died.
|Starring:||Stephen Harris (as Tristan), Catherine Rowlands (as Iseult), Patrick Olliver (as Lord Melot), John Swadling (as King Marc), Wendy Parsons (as Iseult of Brittany)|
|Featuring:||Tim Morris (as Gourvenal, Tristan's manservant), Marian Taylor (as Brangwain, Iseult's handmaiden), Kate Kneafsey (as Irina, sorceress in league with Melot), Iain Harrison (as Hagran, Melot's warrior servant), Mark Richmond (as Gharhardine, Iseult of Brittany's brother)|
|Based on stories of Arthurian legend and Algernon Charles Swinburne's romantic poem Tristram Of Lyonesse. Sir Tristram was one of the knights of the round table although this story does not draw on any of direct King Arthur mythology|
|Director Michael J Murphy must have had a liking for this story as this was the second of three versions of it he filmed. The others were Tristan And Iseult (1970) and Tristan (1999).|
|Writer: Richard Matheson / Director: John Hough / Producers: Albert Fennell, Norman T. Herman|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 90 mins|
|A wealthy and elderly millionaire called Mr Deutsch hires a team of experts to definitively establish whether the theory of spiritual survival after death is true. He has recently purchased a notorious haunted mansion which was once owned by a rich recluse called Emeric Belasco whose penchant for wild debauched parties in the 1920s had given him a reputation as being a morally corrupt giant of a man. He was never heard of again after 1927 and it was strongly thought he committed suicide although his body was not found when 27 of his guests were discovered dead at his final party. From then on strange phenomena have encountered any who visit the house and two previous attempts to formally study the paranormal activities within the house resulted in all but one of the experts being either killed or sent incurably mad. The last such study was twenty years ago in 1953 and since then this "Hell House" has been abandoned as too dangerous a place to live. Mr Deutch offers to pay each member of the team £100,000 to spend four nights in the house and return with their findings.
The team that Deutsch assembles is led by a para-physicist called Barrett who is a natural sceptic and is of the opinion that so-called ghosts are a natural phenomenon of electrical charge build-up. Also Florence Tanner who is a medium with no doubts about the existence of the spirit world. The third team member is Benjamin Fischer who was the only member of the 1953 Belasco House study to survive with both his life and sanity intact - he too is a medium and is only daring to return for the monetary inducement on offer. Barrett's wife Ann also joins the team to accompany her husband.
The team arrive at the Belasco House and look around getting their bearings and Florence Tanner who is acutely sensitive to the spirits instantly feels a strong presence particularly in the chapel area. Mr Fischer has fashioned a personal mind technique that allows him to shut off his contact with the spirits which is an ability that Florence does not possess. Florence tries an informal seance and she speaks with a unearthly voice that warns them to go before they are all killed. They are convinced it must be the spirit of Ermeric Belasco. But later Florence is privately approached by the spirit which identifies itself as Daniel, the benevolent son of Ermeric who is being forcibly held in the earthly realm by the powerful presence of his father's evil spirit. She tries to convince the other team members that the key to stopping the hauntings is to help Daniel find release and she undergoes her own investigations into this angle as Daniel continues to make contact with her.
On the final day of their stay in the house Barrett has brought in a hi-tech piece of equipment that will fill the surroundings with negative electrical energy to drain the high saturation of psychic force in the house as he still believes in his own theories of undirected energy build-up which is manifested into perceived paranormal phenomena only by the presence of mediums who harness and direct that energy according to their own beliefs about its nature. Florence is determined to prove him wrong and visits the chapel where the psychic force is the strongest and at last she divines the truth and realises they have all been tricked but before she can tell anyone what she has discovered a giant crucifix crashes down and kills her - she manages to leave a dying clue written in her own blood which the others see but do not understand when they find her body.
Barrett switches on his Reverser machine and leaves it running and to Mr Fischer's immense surprise it actually works and when he removes his mental block he detects no remaining residual psychic energy. But later on as Barrett is checking the readings they go off the scale momentarily and a piece of equipment explodes blinding him and causing him to stumble into the chapel where he is killed by a falling chandelier.
Only Mr Fischer and Ann now remain and as Fischer enters the chapel he realises that the spirit force still remains in there and he finally works out Florence's dying clue that the spirit has been solely Emeric all along toying with them by pretending to be Daniel too. Fischer's sensitivity allows him to work out the truth of the so called reclusive "giant of a man" and deliberately angers the spirit by goading it and voicing the real reason Emeric never went out when he was alive which was because he was ashamed and embarrassed about his diminutive height - and as the truth is spoken the attacks abate and a panel in the chapel blows out and reveals a hidden chamber. Inside is the perfectly preserved body of Emeric seated in a lead lined room he designed to trap and protect his spirit for this very purpose before he took his own life. And Fischer proves his theory of Belasco's height and shows Ann that he had his short legs deliberately surgically removed and replaced with artificial limbs to disguise his perceived disability. Fischer and Ann leave the house which has now been successfully exorcised of the evil spirit haunting it.
|Starring:||Clive Revill (as Barrett), Roddy McDowall (as Benjamin Fischer), Pamela Franklin (as Florence Tanner), Gayle Hunnicutt (as Ann Barrett)|
|Featuring:||Roland Culver (as Mr Deutsch), Peter Bowles (as Deutsch's representative)|
|Star-Turns:||Michael Gough (as Emeric Belasco)|
|Michael Gough's surprise appearance is uncredited and he only appears at the end as the perfectly preserved seated body of the dead Belasco.|
|Writer: Don Houghton / Director: Roy Ward Baker / Producers: Don Houghton, Vee King Shaw|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 88 mins|
|(prologue) In 1804 an evil Chinese warlord called Kah makes the long journey from his homeland to Transylvania to seek the assistance of the legendary vampire lord Count Dracula. Kah is High Priest of Ping Kwei where until recently seven Golden Vampires ruled the area with terror and fear from his temple which had become the centre of the district's power. But now the vampires have become dormant and the people have lost their fear and do as they please. Kah wants Dracula's help in reviving the vampires to re-establish the old order and the power he once enjoyed. Dracula takes orders from no one but decides to get involved - but in his own way - and he subsumes Kah's body and takes over his visage. Dracula (as Kah) then travels back to China to reactivate his vampire brethren. (end of prologue)
One hundred years later at the Chinese university in Chung King, Professor Van Helsing is on a lecture tour giving talks on the legends of ancient China. One story he tells the students is about an unknown village that once a year becomes cursed at the time of the seventh moon when a sect of seven vampires terrorise the villagers hunting and abducting young virgins for a blood feast. The legend tells of one brave farmer who went to the vampire's temple to try and save his daughter and although he failed he managed to kill one vampire and steal its golden vampire medallion before being killed himself.
The Chinese students scoff at the professor's stories and he becomes dejected and makes plans to return to Europe. That is until he is approached by one student called Hsi Ching who knows of the professor's awesome reputation and former dealings with the arch-vampire Dracula. Ching knows the professor's stories are true because the farmer in the legend was his own grandfather and the village in question is his home - and to prove his story he produces the stolen golden medallion. He has travelled here with his six brothers and sister to ask the professor to return with them and help rid their village of the evil scourge. The professor is travelling with his grown-up son Leyland who has met up with a rich adventurous widow called Vanessa Buren who is on a solo world tour and is looking for anything exciting to spend her vast wealth upon. Vanessa agrees to fund the cost of mounting the expedition to distant Ping Kwei in the province of Szechwan over the hinterlands providing she can accompany them.
All seven brothers and their sister Mai Kwei are martial arts experts and the small party of adventurers embark on their long trek lasting several days as the professor imparts his advice on how to deal with vampires. The evil Golden Vampires have detected the approaching avengers through their possession of their fallen comrades stolen medallion and three of their number mount a surprise attack during the travellers overnight stay in a cave. The heroes manage to defeat and kill these attackers and are heartened that there are now only three vampires left to destroy back at the village.
They reach the village and prepare fortifications to repel the evil creatures and their hordes of undead followers when they mount their annual raid. A huge battle ensues in which two more vampires die although at the cost of several of the brothers' lives - Vanessa is attacked and turned into a vampire herself and has to be killed. The one surviving Golden Vampire abducts Mai Kwei and takes her back to its temple to feast on. She is rescued just in time by Leyland and the professor and this final Golden Vampire is killed.
The danger appears to be over and Van Helsing is left alone in the temple to look around. Then Kah shows himself and reveals himself to be the professor's arch enemy Dracula. The vampire lord furiously attacks the professor who manages to stake him through the heart and destroy him once more.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (Professor Van Helsing), Julie Ege (as Vanessa Buren, rich widow), Robin Stewart (as Leyland Van Helsing, son of professor), David Chiang (as Hsi Ching, head of the brothers)|
|Featuring:||Shih Szu (as Mai Kwei, sister), John Forbes-Robertson (as Count Dracula), Chan Shen (as Kah, Dracula 's disguise), Robert Hanna (as British Consul)|
|Writer: John Elder / Director: Freddie Francis / Producer: Kevin Francis|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Set in the 1800s in mainland Europe. Etoile is a young man with a terrible curse. His parents had been part of a mass exodus of poor refugees driven from their motherland by political intolerance of their customs and beliefs. The wife was pregnant and died giving birth in a forest and the father was set upon by wolves and killed. But the baby Etoile was miraculously spared and was instead accepted into the wolf pack and raised by them. He grew into a young boy knowing only the ways of the wild.
A second-rate travelling showman called Maestro Pamponi captures Etoile and utilises him in his act as a "wolf boy" attraction. Etoile quickly learns what is expected of him and becomes complicit with the showman and is soon just like one of the family.
Some years later when Etoile has become a young man something strange begins to happen to him at the time of a full moon - he changes into a bestial werewolf with enhanced senses and an uncontrollable urge to kill. Etoile runs away from the show and winds up in Paris where he gets a job at the city zoo. He seems to have a special affinity with animals. He meets a local girl called Christine who is friendly towards him and he falls madly in love with her, although to her Etoile is just a sweet simple lad from the country. When Etoile discovers that Christine is a prostitute who works at the local brothel Etoile becomes very jealous because he had hoped to marry her and cannot bear to think of what she does with the gentleman callers.
When he next changes into the werewolf he stalks Christine's customers and savagely murders them. The local pathologist Professor Paul Caterflonk suspects a wolf attack although there have been no sightings of a wolf loose in the city and the policeman Max Gerard is sceptical. Over the next couple of months more savage murders occur. Etoile is a well-natured and kind man who is sickened by what he does as a werewolf but can do nothing to control it. After every transformation he feels drained and feverish and short-tempered even with Christine who can't understand his occasional out-of-character moods.
When the police enquiries stall Professor Paul decides to conduct his own investigation and links the first victims to the brothel where he elicits the help of Christine. She mentions Etoile who occasionally behaves very strangely. Paul notices that the murder sprees occur in monthly cycles around the time of the full moon and suspects Etoile may be a werewolf.
Paul realises that the werewolf is using the sewers to get around the city unobserved and after forging a silver bullet Paul follows on the night of the next full moon. Paul is a sympathetic man and wants to help Etoile rather than kill him and attempts to talk him into giving up and discards his gun to prove he means it. Etoile's desire to be cured overcomes his werewolf savagery and he begs Paul to help him. But the police have followed Paul and shoot at Etoile bringing his savage side back and he flees. The werewolf encounters Christine who is scared but Etolie does not harm her - however the police decide to take no chances and shoot the werewolf dead with the silver bullet from Paul's discarded gun. The werewolf is mortally wounded and changes back into the human Etoile as he dies.
|Starring:||Peter Cushing (as Professor Paul, pathologist), David Rintoul (as Etoile), Ron Moody (as Zoo Keeper), Hugh Griffith (as Maestro Pamponi, showman), Lynn Dalby (as Christine), Marjorie Yates (as Madame Tellier, brothel owner)|
|Featuring:||Stefan Gryff (as Max Gerard, detective), Renée Houston (as Chou-Chou, Pamponi's wife), Norman Mitchell (as Tiny, Pamponi's assistant), Mark Weavers (as Etoile as a boy), David Bailie (as Boulon, mortuary assistant), Michael Ripper (as Sewer victim), John Harvey (as Head of Police)|
|Star-Turns:||Roy Castle (as Photographer, [small role])|
|Starlets:||(brothel girls) Hilary Labow (as Zoe), Elaine Baillie (as Annabelle), Pamela Green (as Anne-Marie), Sue Bishop (as Tania)|
|David Rintoul receives an "introducing" credit|
|Peter Cushing is credited simply as "Professor Paul" - his surname is mentioned in the dialogue and sounded something like "Caterflonk" but the exact spelling is unknown.|
|Writer/Director: Malcolm Leigh / Producer: Negus-Fancey|
|Type: Documentary||Running Time: 72 mins|
|A documentary feature detailing the history of Witchcraft in Britain. It tells how Witchcraft was one of the earliest religions whose beliefs stemmed from a worship of their gods: - the Sun (Lucifer) and the Moon (Diana) who created man on Earth to worship them. Man erected stone monuments to track the path of their gods in the sky. These monuments included complex astronomical observatories such as Stonehenge that were designed to predict the gods' movements. Man sought to control their gods and entrusted this to priests. Priests were chosen for their wisdom and the word "witch" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "wicker" meaning "wise". New priests had to undergo an initiation ritual to prove their wisdom in overcoming basic mortal fears. The priests taught the newly initiated the magical properties present in the natural world and developed a system of beliefs around animal sacrifice to foretell future events.
The religion of witchcraft was believed in and practised by an entire population until the arrival of a new religion:- Christianity. Certain elements of witchcraft were absorbed into Christianity and pagan symbols and sites were reused with subtle variations. The two religions co-existed and mingled until 1066 when William the Conquer unified England under a single ruler. Over the next few centuries Witchcraft was slowly eradicated and practitioners of the craft were hunted down, tortured and executed.
Using dramatic ceremonial reconstructions the documentary explains the history and traditions of the early religion and brings things gradually up to date with the state of witchcraft today (1970) with a visit to a dedicated museum in Cornwall and a depiction of a black mass as currently practised.
|Featuring:||(no cast, players featured were incidentals taking part in ceremony reconstructions)|
|The version reviewed was in black and white - whether it was made like that or whether the colour version is lost is not clear.|
|Writers: Bill Stair, John Boorman / Director: John Boorman / Producers: Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Prince Leo is the last member of a long-deposed royal family from a European country who has arrived in London to take up residence in a mansion once lived in by his late father when he was an important man who entertained heads of state. The mansion is situated at the end of a street which is now a run-down slum area and it is now a somewhat incongruous sight amid the squalor that surrounds it. Leo is a quietly confused and somewhat tortured soul who does not know his place in the world and is happy to be guided by the estate manager Laszlo and his entourage of doctor, lawyer and lady friend who all seem to have his best interests at heart.
Leo is very languid with no focus or purpose to his life. He feels dissociated and ashamed amid the rich excesses of his expatriate countrymen who live it up with wild orgiastic parties and so he takes to looking from his windows at the poor black people who live in the run-down properties opposite his. In particular he takes special interest in the Madi family as he observes their day-to-day struggles with poverty and witnesses some of the highs and lows they go through - he feels a special empathy for the young woman Salambo Madi who looks after her children as well as her parents. He sees her man Roscoe get arrested for petty theft resulting in the family's fortunes hitting even harder times with the loss of their main breadwinner.
All this time Leo does not get directly involved and he begins to feel like a scientist observing specimen insects - and suddenly it occurs to him he can help and so he anonymously sends a trolley of food to them and delightedly watches the happiness they show as they gorge on the good food. But then the grandfather dies when the rich food he is not used to proves too much for his weak constitution. Leo feels terribly guilt-ridden as if he murdered him - and when Salambo becomes so desperate for money that she makes preparations to become a whore he feels a personal responsibility and at last gets directly involved.
Leo "hires" Salambo and brings her to his mansion to look after her - but he realises this is a short term measure and decides he will give her his mansion so that she and her family can move in and not have to pay the crippling rent they currently pay for their rundown flat. Laszlo balks at this idea because he secretly uses the property to organise his counter-revolutionary activities to hopefully one day retake his country back and has secret stashes of weapons and explosives in the basement. Laszlo then reveals to Leo the astounding news that at the end of the war Leo's father bought up this entire street and it is therefore actually Leo who is their landlord.
Leo is overjoyed at this news and announces to the whole street that he is going to give everyone their properties back for free and release them from the rent they pay. He leads the local residents in a jubilant march down the street back to his mansion to organise the paperwork but is met by a defiant Laszlo who has brought in the doctor who declares Leo to be mad and unsound of mind to make such rash financial decisions. Laszlo and his people barricade themselves in the mansion while Leo and the local residents blockade the street - and come darkness they bombard the property with firework rockets intended for the upcoming Guy Fawkes night. The mansion personnel surrender and come out. But Laszlo has mined the building and as he departs the mansion explodes behind him reducing it to rubble and Leo's dreams of helping the people are shattered.
|Starring:||Marcello Mastroianni (as Prince Leo), Billie Whitelaw (as Margaret, Leo's lady friend), Vladek Sheybal (as Laszlo, Leo's estate manager), Glenna Forster Jones (as Salambo Madi)|
|Featuring:||Calvin Lockhart (as Roscoe, Salambo's man), Graham Crowden (as Max, Leo's lawyer), David de Keyser (as David, Leo's doctor), Kenneth J Warren (as Kowalski, shopkeeper), Gwen Ffrangcon Davies (as Hilda, Leo's nanny), Keefe West (as Jasper, local crook)|
|Starlets:||Phyllis McMahon (as Blonde Whore), Princess Patience (as Black Whore)|
|aka: Love Trap|
|Writer: Michael Robson / Director: James Kenelm Clarke / Producer: Brian Smedley-Aston|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 92 mins|
|Set in 1947, Gordon Laid is a de-mobbed British soldier just returned to London where he will be staying in a posh Mayfair apartment that a friend has lent him until he returns home to his native Lancaster. Upon arrival he stumbles across a dying man in the next apartment who gives him a cigarette lighter for safekeeping. He finds he is in the apartment of Maxine Lupercal, a famous actress, who persuades Gordon to help her dispose of the body on the quiet to avoid any scandal.
Gordon soon finds himself being wanted by the police and also by a mysterious man who wants to know the whereabouts of a secret device called PJ46 which he believes Gordon knows about but of which Gordon has no knowledge. Whenever Gordon uses the lighter that the dying man gave him all lights and electrical devices in the immediate vicinity stop working and eventually he realises it is the lighter that is the sought after secret-device. With two different groups after him Gordon poses as an actor in Maxine's theatre company (due to his uncanny resemblance to the lead actor there) culminating in a disastrous performance of their play as police and enemy spies upset proceedings much to the hilarity of the audience watching who believe it is part of the performance.
|Comment: Fiona Richmond is top-billed but it is Robin Askwith who is the star really showing he can act in more than just his Confessions-like persona. In this he adopts a Lancastrian accent for Gordon as well as playing the luvee actor that Gordon resembles. The film is a reasonably good effort with the notable exception of several unessential fantasy dream sequences in which Fiona Richmond and a couple of models lower the tone by having kinky moments together - with those bits taken out it would be a perfectly presentable general-purpose film containing just a modicum of just-about acceptable nudity that works in its own right regardless of its "sex-comedy" roots.|
|Starring:||Robin Askwith (as Gordon Laid), Fiona Richmond (as Maxine Lupercal)|
|Featuring:||Anthony Steel, Graham Stark, Tony Haygarth, John Clive|
|Starlets:||Linda Hayden, Lisa Taylor, Anna Chen, Jayne Lester, Donna Scarff, Clare Russell, Zuleika Robson, Shelagh Dey, Pat Astley, Vicki Scott|
|The coarse-sounding title is "justified" by the contrivance of the lead character being called Gordon Laid whom the police want to catch and the police inspector, at the end of a briefing, says "Right Gentlemen, let's get Laid!".|
|aka: The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World|
|Writers: Howard Griffiths, Lindsay Shonteff / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Executive Producer: James Ward|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Charles Vine is one of Britain's best Secret Service agents who has been assigned to protect the life of an important Swedish scientist called Professor Henrik Jacobson. Together with his brother, Henrik has invented an anti-gravity device called "ReGrav" which will revolutionise transport and defensive weaponry. Unfortunately his brother has already been murdered by enemy agents who are desperate that the technology does not fall into British hands. To this end they are prepared to outbid the British and failing that murder the remaining scientist so no one can have it.
Two separate factions appear to be involved - the Russians, and a shadowy organisation of high-powered men keen to get the technology themselves. Jacobson's own trusted assistant Julia Lindberg seems to be on their payroll and is supplying vital information to her bosses about security arrangements for the professor while he is in the UK to negotiate the deal.
Over the next few days Charles Vine just manages to foil repeated attempts on the professor's life while Jacobson waits for a computer to double check all his calculations before he is happy to release his blueprints. The professor has insisted that he will only hand over the blueprints in return for £2million in cash from the British. A sum that is readily agreed upon by the British government for the strategic value that the technology represents - and their mounting concern that the professor may be killed if they delay things too long by paying in a more conventional manner.
The enemy forces make a last ditch attempt to kill the professor by using a plastic surgery altered double of Charles Vine but this plot is foiled. Then a series of revelations and double-crossings take place and Henrik kills Julia after believing Vine to be dead. The professor then makes his way with the money for a rendezvous with a helicopter and his thought-to-be-dead brother - but when he hands over the attaché case with the money his brother shoots him dead and flies off. Charles Vine, who was only wounded, rushes on to the scene and fires at the departing helicopter managing to blow it up.
The truth of the conspiracy emerges - the two scientist brothers had spent twenty years researching anti-gravity only to discover an insurmountable problem in their theory. Rather than give it all up they pretended it worked and pitted governments against each other in a bidding war to possess the technology and even faked the first brothers murder at the hands of a shadowy organisation they helped form to make the matter seem to be of even greater urgency - and then they arranged a series of attempts on Henrik's life using second-rate assassins knowing that Charles Vine would easily defeat them. In the end Henrik's brother became too greedy and was willing to double cross even his own brother for the money.
|Starring:||Tom Adams (as Charles Vine), Karel Stepanek (as Henrik Jacobsen)|
|Featuring:||John Arnatt (as Rockwell, Vine's secret service boss), Veronica Hurst (as Julia Lindberg, Jacobsen's research assistant), Felix Felton (as Tetchkinov, Russian secret service leader), Francis De Wolff (as Walter Pickering, British foreign office official), Peter Bull (as Masterman, head of an evil organisation)|
|Starlets:||Judy Huxtable (as Girl at Computer Centre), Carol Blake (as Girl doing Crossword Puzzle with Vine), Claire Gordon (as Glamourous Doctor - at end), Sarah Maddern (as Hotel Maid), Mona Chong (as Chinese Girl), Shelagh Booth (as Killer Nanny)|
|Tom Adams receives an "introducing" credit|
|The version reviewed carried the American title of The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World. Although as far as the story goes there is no particular validation of that title, with no story content that considers him to be second best. At a guess it was perhaps called that to allude that he was second only to that other British super-spy James Bond. (In an almost direct reference there is one point where one of Charles' one-night stands tells him that she met someone like him once in Florida called "James something" who told her he was a vacuum cleaner salesman - I'm not sure if that's a specific reference to something that really occurred in one of the early Bond films or not - but in any event I don't think the actress involved here (Judy Huxtable) was ever actually in a Bond film herself).|
|This film was the first of three featuring the character of Charles Vine. They all starred Tom Adams - but with a different director at the helm each time. The second was another UK produced film called Where the Bullets Fly (1966) and the final one was made in Spain and called O.K. Yevtushenko (1968) (aka Somebody's Stolen Our Russian Spy). Original director Lindsay Shonteff later made three more super-secret agent films featuring a similar named agent (Charles Bind). The first of these was No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977) starring Nicky Henson in the leading role; next was Licensed to Love and Kill (1979) starring Gareth Hunt; and finally Number One Gun (1990) starring Michael Howe.|
|aka: The Man From S*E*X*|
|Writer: Jeremy Lee Francis / Director: Lindsay Shonteff / Producer: Elizabeth Gray|
|Type: Action||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Britain's best secret agent Charles Bind (codenamed No 1) is sent to America to find a high ranking diplomat called Lord Dangerfield who has gone missing. Dangerfield's last known contact was with an English senator called Lucifer Orchid.
Orchid is immensely wealthy with a ruthless ambition and a viciously sadistic streak - but not being American he can never become President of the United States so he has devised a plan to bring about the next best thing. To protect him Orchid has hired a mercenary hyper-agent called Jenson Fury (codenamed Ultra 1) who is the equal of Charles Bind. Fury has a demented fascination with guns and likes practicing his sharp-shooting skills using live targets.
Bind arrives in America and links up with Lord Dangerfield's daughter Charlotta who is just as keen to find her missing father. Bind goes to see Orchid and establishes that the senator does not know Dangerfield's whereabouts either. During the course of his investigations Bind survives repeated attempts on his life by utilising the various gadgetry at his disposal - but eventually after much skulduggery Orchid manages to capture Dangerfield and his daughter and the action returns to England.
In London Dangerfield is released but Charlotta remains prisoner to force her father into cooperating with the next stage of Orchid's plan. (his plan is as follows) The President of the United States is going to be in London and will be meeting with Dangerfield who is chairman of an action committee. To save his daughter's life Orchid wants Dangerfield to have that meeting as planned - but Dangerfield has been unwittingly turned into a bomb which is timed to explode when the meeting starts. When the president is dead the vice-president will be sworn in. But Orchid has secretly captured the vice-president and replaced him with one of his flunkies whose features have been altered to match the VP by a skilled plastic surgeon. The fake-VP will then be sworn in as the President and through him Orchid will become President by proxy.
Bind figures out Orchid's plot but his boss won't believe him so Bind goes it alone and deliberately creates a presidential security scare that tightens up the President's security and causes his meetings for the day to be cancelled including the one with Lord Dangerfield (who subsequently explodes "safely" elsewhere at the proscribed time). Bind then sets out to single-handedly save Charlotta and the real vice-president from Orchid's private island in the Atlantic before the mad senator, with his grand plan ruined, disposes of them. Bind kills Orchid using a gadget which turns the senator's own flame throwing lighter against him. Then he has a grand final fight with Jenson Fury whom he at last manages to defeat and he successfully rescues the two prisoners.
|Starring:||Gareth Hunt (as Charles Bind, No1), Gary Hope (as Senator Lucifer Orchid), Nick Tate (as James Jensen Fury, Ultra 1), Fiona Curzon (as Charlotta Muff Dangerfield)|
|Featuring:||Geoffrey Keen (as Stockwell, Charles Bind's boss), Noel Johnson (as Lord Dangerfield, Charlotta's father), Jay Benedict (as Plastic Surgery Professor), John Arnatt (as Merlin, MOD gadget boffin), Toby Robins (as Scarlet Star, Lord Dangerfield's mistress), Don Fellows (as Vice-President of USA)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Junkin (as Helicopter Mechanic, [cameo])|
|Starlets:||Me Me Lai (as Madam Wang), Linda Lou Allen (as Car Rental receptionist), Imogen Hassall (as Miss Martin, Stockwell's secretary), Anna Bergman (as Hotel Receptionist), Dawn Rodrigues (as Nurse), Sharon Burton (as Booby Girl, stripper killer), Dee Harrington (as Veronica, senator's companion), Carrie Nielson (as Girl on jetty), Nicola Austin (as Brucie, post-operative transsexual strong man, [uncredited])|
|This was the second of three films also directed by Lindsay Shonteff that used the same lead character. The first was No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977) which starred Nicky Henson. The third was Number One Gun (1990) in which Michael Howe played the lead.|
|Geoffrey Keen resumes his role as Bind's boss from the first film (although he was called "Rockwell" in that). Fiona Curzon was also in the first film in a minor role playing an enemy assassin|
|The version reviewed carried the American title of The Man From S*E*X*|
|Writers: Dan O'Bannon, Don Jakoby / Director: Tobe Hooper / Producers: Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus|
|Type: Sci-Fi||Running Time: 111 mins|
|A British-American space exploration team aboard the HMS Churchill is studying Halley's Comet as it passes through the solar system. The scientists detect an unusual object in the comet's coma which turns out to be a large space vessel. Captain Tom Carlsen and some scientists board the strange lifeless craft in which they find dormant bat-like creatures and three perfect humanoid forms in sealed glass-like caskets - one young woman and two men. They take the caskets back aboard the Churchill...
Thirty days later Churchill returns to Earth's orbit but mission control in London cannot raise them on the radio. An intercept craft is sent which discovers everyone dead and record tapes destroyed. One escape pod is missing. The three humanoid bodies are unharmed and they are brought to London's Space Research Centre (SRC) for study.
Then the humanoid woman unexpectedly awakens and begins killing SRC security personnel by drawing the life essences from their bodies leaving them as hollow shrivelled shells. The space girl then escapes into the outside world.
Colonel Colin Caine of the SAS is called in to coordinate efforts to find her. Then Tom Carlsen of the Churchill is recovered from the escape pod he used and is asked to provide background on what happened. After the scientists brought the bodies on board everyone started dying except for Carlsen who felt an overwhelming surge of attraction for the space girl and for some reason she did not kill him. Before ejecting he started the fire in an effort to try and stop the ship and the deadly humanoids reaching Earth although clearly that effort was in vain
Caine realises they have a serious crisis on their hands when "dead" victims of the space girl reawaken as zombies after one-hour seeking to sustain themselves by killing new victims. Finding the girl becomes essential to prevent an uncontrollable spread of the "plague". The girl has the ability to hide her mind in the bodies of half-drained victims but Carlsen discovers he has developed a special bond that enables him to see through her eyes and track her movements and discover where she is hiding.
The crisis eventually escalates as the alien spaceship moves into orbit and London becomes a killing zone for the energy draining creatures as the people panic and devastation rages. As each new victim becomes infected their life force is drained and channelled up to the space ship via a column of energy focussed through the space girl's body in St Paul's cathedral.
Carlsen is still compellingly drawn to the girl by an overwhelming feeling of love because the aliens chose her form from Carlsen's mind when the Churchill crew first boarded the alien ship. Carlsen joins the girl in the energy beam and communes with her in exaltation. Meanwhile Caine discovers that the original creatures can be killed with a metal stake through the heart and he rushes to the cathedral and manages to instruct Carlsen who retains enough individuality to use the stake to impale the girl and himself. He and the girl vanish into the energy which carries them to the ship and then ceases. The ship starts pulling away from Earth and the crisis appears to be over.
|Comment: The final fate of Carlsen is not entirely clear but it seemed like he and the girl probably survived in some form and travelled to the ship. The aliens were prevented from fulfilling their full objective but they clearly must have collected enough energy for their immediate needs and survive to fight another day (possibly with a sequel in mind - although there never was one).|
|Starring:||Steve Railsback (as Tom Carlsen), Peter Firth (as Colin Caine), Frank Finlay (as Hans Fallada, professor at SRC), Michael Gothard (as Bukovsky, head of SRC), Mathilda May (as Alien Space Girl)|
|Featuring:||Patrick Stewart (as Dr Armstrong, director of insane asylum), Aubrey Morris (as Sir Percy Heseltine, home secretary), Nicholas Ball (as Derebridge, 1st officer on Churchill), Nancy Paul (as Ellen Donaldson, host to space girl's mind), John Hallam (as Asylum doctor)|
|Based on the novel The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson|
|Mathilda May receives an "introducing" credit. Her character is not given a name and her credit is simply "Space Girl"|
|Halley's Comet passes our way every 76 years (i.e. 1910, 1986, 2062). Since the film looks "present day" then this 1985-made film must have been set in 1986 albeit with the invention of a non-existent British space programme.|
|Writers: Alexander Whitelaw, Judith Roscoe, Alva Ruben / Director/Producer: Alexander Whitelaw|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 76 mins|
|Dr Ben Land is a young American scientist who is considered a bright light in the field of gerontology (study of ageing) and has come to Amsterdam to attend a conference on the subject. One of the speakers he was looking forward to hearing was Dr Paul Linden but although he was present he did not speak as expected. Paul had sent Ben a letter about an extraordinary breakthrough he was on the verge of making although he was a little vague on the details of what that was. After the conference they talk and Paul offers to put Ben up but seems very dejected.
Next day when Ben arrives at Paul's apartment he finds his friend has hanged himself. Ben decides to look into Paul's research for himself to find out what could have gone so wrong that the man felt the need to kill himself. Some of Paul's recent research notes are missing and only some reports remain that show he was experimenting on mice and had about 200 of them. The notes seem to indicate that the mice are over four years old which is twice the average lifespan for a mouse. Ben examines a mouse biopsy under a microscope and finds its cells have a unusual hard coating that appears to be have the property of shielding them from radiation. Ben knows the current theory that ageing is caused by gradual exposure to background radiation that eventually causes cells to lose the ability to renew themselves and if they could be protected then the ageing process could be halted allowing someone to potentially live forever. It seems Paul had been having success in this area - but why would he have killed himself if he was on the verge of this astonishing breakthrough? And what was the formula he was using to treat the mice with - this information must be in the missing notes.
Ben's investigations take him to an old people's home where Paul was (supposedly) conducting studies on the deterioration of hand/eye co-ordination in the elderly. The home has recently been hit by a large number of deaths from an influenza outbreak but Ben has reason to think that Paul was experimenting on the old people in the same way as he had been on the mice. Ben breaks all ethical rules and digs up a body of one of the recently deceased and takes a biopsy and discover the cells show the same protective membrane coating each cell. He also takes a biopsy from the one test subject who did not die - an elderly concert pianist who has recently found he is able to play again - he too has the same protective signature on his cells. Paul evidently killed himself because he had caused all these deaths but had not realised that he'd had one success when he had obviously hit upon the correct dosage.
Ben has been getting to know Paul's girlfriend Anna in the hope she might know the whereabouts of Paul's research notes. He follows her and sees she meets with a Swiss man. Ben knows that Paul had been doing some work for a Swiss pharmaceutical firm and asks Anna to introduce him - she warns him that he is a dangerous individual. He is industrialist Nicholas Ulrich who had been employing Paul to carry on the research of a deceased Russian scientist. Ulrich is middle-aged and wants to enjoy the benefits of extended life - but doesn't want to wait around for decades for the research to be properly conducted for by then he would be an old man and what use is living forever if it is as a geriatric. He offers Ben the same deal he offered Paul and will reveal the Russian scientist's formula and supply all of Paul's notes if he comes to his Alpine laboratory to work.
But Ben has ethical concerns about carrying out live tests on humans and declines the offer. Soon after that the police become involved regarding Ben's desecration of the grave and causing the death of the elderly pianist with unsterilised equipment. Ben is taken to a mental hospital because none of his story about research into eternal life holds up because there has been a big cover up.
Ben manages to escape and travels to the Alps to take up the position of Ulrich's scientist after all - but vowing that once he has perfected the formula he will try it out on himself first and then "accidentally" give Ulrich the wrong dosage.
|Starring:||Hiram Keller (Dr Ben Land), Tina Aumont (as Anna), Klaus Kinski (as Nicholas Ulrich)|
|Featuring:||Fons Rademakers (as Professor van Arp), Franz Mulder (as Pim Henke), Eric Schneider (as Dr Paul Linden), Lyda Polak (as Lydia, landlady), Onno Molenkamp (as Director of old age home)|
|Reviewed on the strength of having a stated UK co-production with USA, Netherlands and Belgium. It is included because it's been done but actually in terms of setting or acting talent involved there in nothing that marks it out as having any obvious candidacy as a British film.|
|Writer/Director/Producer: Michael Papas|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Lisa is wife to James who works in London and is often away from their large country estate home and she misses him immensely and feels very neglected alone in their large house. James calls to say he is soon to be going on yet another business trip and she asks to come with him but he says she wouldn't like it - she tries to persuade him to come back even if just for one day but he doesn't think he'll be able to make it. He tells her she could always come to visit him in London if she fancies to drive down and she says she'll see how she feels.
Later that day Lisa sets off for London in her sports car but before going very far she sees a young man swimming in a lake and stops to watch him. He is young and vigorous and she decides to change her plans. His name is Richard and he is hitching to London and she says she'll take him but first needs to pop back home to collect something. Once home she invites him in while she goes upstairs. When she seems to be taking her time he calls up to her and gets no reply so he goes upstairs and she is waiting for him and they have sex.
Later on, back downstairs, he looks around intrigued by her husband's collection of antique and modern weaponry such as swords and armour and she tells him that James used to be an army officer but gave it up ten years ago to marry her. She speaks warmly of him as a gentle man who makes her feel so valuable. After some coffee they go back upstairs to have more sex.
As Lisa sleeps Richard goes downstairs to look around and does some playacting at being a master swordsman with one of the swords. Being nosy he looks in the husband's desk and reads his journal in which James talks mostly of his love for his wife - but there are also some references to the most exciting time of his life which is cryptically referred to as those "10 Glorious Months". In a hard-to-open tin Richard finds a key and discovers it unlocks a secret room - he does not explore inside but he pockets the key and replaces it with a file clip of a similar weight and closes the tin. He goes back upstairs to bed and after some more sex they both fall asleep in bed.
It is the middle of the night and a car arrives. It is James who has found time to get back home as he sensed how much his wife was missing him and she never drove down to see him like she said she might. He goes up to the bedroom and sees the sleeping lovers laying together in bed. He is devastated and stands staring at them in the dark for ages looking tormented. But he does nothing and quietly leaves and drives off.
Next morning Richard and Lisa have breakfast on the lawn - she finds his impulsiveness a charming diversion. But then her husband unexpectedly returns home and she has no way to hide Richard. She rushes up to James greeting him warmly. He makes no mention of what he saw the night before and she introduces Richard as a passing traveller to whom she was offering some hospitality and was later going to give a lift into London when she drove up there. James asks her when Richard arrived and she tells him it was this morning and he knows then that his wife has specifically lied to him. But outwardly he gives no sign and extends his own hospitality to Richard and invites him to stay for another day saying he will give him a lift back to London himself when he returns to work the next day.
James tidies up his desk and shakes the tin box to check the key is still inside and puts it in his briefcase. James shows Richard his weaponry collection telling him the history of some of the pieces. That evening the three of them have a party in which they all get drunk and have a good time. And then the husband and wife go upstairs to bed and Richard has the sofa. Left downstairs Richard decides to use the key he pocketed to look in the secret room where he finds a journal detailing those "10 Glorious Months". This refers to a time when Richard was a merciless mercenary in an African country killing, torturing and executing without mercy. In his drunken state Richard finds the account so vivid he seems to become part of the action. He closes the door and realises that James is not all he seems and decides to get away.
But James hears him leaving and gets up, pulling him back indoors and with a cold calculating fury pours several bottles of hard liquor down the younger man's throat making him virtually unconscious with drink. Then James goes back upstairs and calmly takes out a revolver and shoots his sleeping wife dead. He collects some of her blood in a wine glass and then downstairs pours it all over Richard and puts the gun in his hands. Then James takes the phone off the hook and drives back to his office in London.
Later on he calls his local area police chief saying he has been in London all night and had been expecting his wife but she never showed up and now he cannot get an answer on the phone and he starts to ask if the chief could send someone over to his house to check she's alright. But as he is speaking he is unpacking his briefcase and idly opens his tin box and is dumbstruck when he finds the key to his secret room is not inside. He realises he has made a dreadful mistake and he cannot risk his secret journal being discovered detailing his illegal mercenary activities so he cancels the police call saying he has decided to drive back home himself and check on his wife. Then he speeds back home to correct his mistake.
It is now morning and Richard awakens to find blood all over him and a gun in his hands and then he finds Lisa dead upstairs and realises he has been set up to take the blame for her murder. He cleans himself up and makes ready to get away as quickly as possible. But then James returns and the two men have a long fight inside and outside the house using some of the weaponry to hand. The fighting is dirty and they both know it is a battle to the death. Eventually after a long struggle Richard gets the upper hand and manages to batter James' head in with a rock. THE END
|Starring:||Peter Duncan (Richard, boyfriend), Lea Dregorn (as Lisa, wife), Terence Morgan (James, husband)|
|Lea Dregorn receives an "introducing" credit|
|Peter Duncan is best remembered as being a Blue Peter presenter|
|The three main stars carry the movie, the only other actors in it are a few who appear in a very brief torture flashback sequence when Richard is reading the vivid journal account.|
|Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais / Director: Michael Tuchner / Producer: Aida Young|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 86 mins|
|As in the TV series, Bob Ferris and Terry Collier are best mates who grew up together in Newcastle from boyhood to manhood. Bob has bettered himself and become part of the middle class but Terry has remained working class and proud of it. Despite this social gulf between them they are still the best of friends.
In this story the now slum district that Bob and Terry grew up in is being demolished for redevelopment. For Terry, who still lives there, this is a welcome upheaval for he now has a more modern flat to live in and finds it a vast improvement. It hits Bob harder because he has long since moved away and sees only his nostalgic happy childhood memories of the area being demolished.
Key incidents of the film:- Terry has found himself a girlfriend called Christina whom Bob's wife Thelma finds respectable enough that she suggests that they all double date on a caravanning holiday break. Things don't go too well and Bob and Terry fall into their respective partners' bad books and Bob has to go and live with Terry in his flat after Thelma temporarily kicks him out of their house. Next the two pals decide to go to the seaside for a break of their own and get up to some mischief in a Bed and Breakfast hotel with the lady owner and her teenage daughter - which ends in disappointment and embarrassment for them both. Following this debacle Terry decides to sign up for work on a foreign merchant sea vessel and Bob goes on board the night before to give him a send off - but Bob gets drunk and sleeps it off in a lifeboat and come the next morning Terry has changed his mind about going - however as the ship sets sail Bob is still on board - first port of call Bahrain in the Persian Gulf!
|Starring:||Rodney Bewes (as Bob Ferris), James Bolam (as Terry Collier), Brigit Forsyth (as Thelma, Bob's wife), Mary Tamm (as Christina), Sheila Fearn (as Audrey, Terry's sister)|
|Featuring:||Zena Walker (as Laura Windsor, hotel owner), Anulka Dubinska (as Dawn Windsor, Laura's teenage daughter), Roger Avon (as Joe the Pub Landlord), Ronald Lacey (as Ernie, Audrey's husband, minor role asleep on settee)|
|Familiar Faces:||Alun Armstrong (as Milkman), Linda Robson (as Marcia, young girl snogging in lift)|
|Starlets:||Michelle Newell (as Alice, Bob's mother as a young woman, in prologue), Susan Tracy (as Edith, Terry's mother as a young woman, in prologue), Vicki Michelle (as Glenys, hitchhiker), Penny Irving (as Sandy, hitchhiker), Judy Buxton (as Iris, boutique salesgirl), Elizabeth Lax (as Wendy, Bob's secretary), Barbara Elliott (as ExtraLite Demonstration girl), Stephanie Lawrence (as ExtraLite Demonstration girl), Olga Anthony (as Boutique salesgirl, on credits although didn't specifically spot her)|
|Film spin-off based on the BBC sitcom The Likely Lads that started out in 1964 with a 20 episode run over three series up to 1966. After a seven year break the series made a successful and superior comeback from 1973 to 1974 under the title of Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads which ran for just two series and one Christmas special finale - but with longer than normal runs per series the sequel notched up 27 episodes overall. Although the film version reverted to the original series title it was in every way part of the classic sequel series. All the series regulars took part although Terry's sister Audrey (Sheila Fearn) didn't feature all that much compared to the others.|
|Writer: Donald James / Director: Samuel Gallu / Producer: Frank Bevis|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Richard Manston is in charge of a British security department tasked with investigating and stopping a Soviet venture codenamed "The Limbo Line". The Soviets have been successfully abducting former Russian citizens who have defected to the West and clandestinely transporting them back to Russia to be brainwashed back into the Soviet mindset.
The Limbo Line is masterminded by a Soviet spymaster called Oleg who is actively increasing the number and flagrancy of the repatriation kidnappings in the belief that his careful precautions make discovery impossible. His Soviet bosses believe that his incautious haste may jeopardise the long-term operation and have assigned a female party member called Ludmilla to work with him and try to moderate his obsessive tendencies.
After six months of investigative work Manston and his number two John Chivers have discovered little more than the name of Oleg and that he operates from Amsterdam. Manston has sent a man in undercover to try to find out a bit more although Oleg is very careful to keep every stage of the operation distinct and self-contained. Manston's undercover man is exposed and killed but just before his death he manages to report back the name of the next intended target - a famous ballerina called Irina Tovskia.
Irina defected three years beforehand and has been living in London ever since. Manston makes contact and befriends her but does not let her know the danger she is in. As their friendship grows he starts to have feelings for her and they sleep together but he does not allow this emotional tie to deter him from his overriding concern to smash The Limbo Line. He knows the only sure way to do that is to let her be kidnapped and then follow the route taken by the abductors and discover the methods used in the overall operation.
Manston and his men keep Irina's flat under surveillance and when she is abducted they follow and discover the British end of the line is the offices of Hardwick's International Coach Tours. Edward Hardwick and his girlfriend Pauline work for Oleg and transport the abductees in a specially adapted coach containing a secret compartment behind the luggage bay.
The coach takes Irina to Holland where she is passed onto the next link in the chain - a man called Cadillet. Here Manston gets captured himself while he is examining the parked coach and is put with Irina inside a disguised oil tanker for the next leg of the journey to Northern Germany. Here Oleg joins Cadillet to discuss what to do with the captured British agent and Manston manages to break free and take Irina on the run pursued by Oleg and his men.
Manston is rescued by Chivers but Irina is recaptured and taken by Oleg and Ludmilla to a factory. Manston and Chivers follow and there is a grand confrontation between Manston and Oleg. Manston wins through and Oleg is killed but Ludmilla has already taken Irina away to the port for the last leg of the journey - a boat trip into East Germany for onward transportation to Russia. Manston and Chivers give chase but they are too late and Irina is taken aboard the vessel which sets out to sea before Manston can stop it. Manston has successfully achieved his objective in decisively smashing the Limbo Line but at the cost of the freedom of an innocent girl whom he had come to love and has become its final victim.
|Starring:||Craig Stevens (as Richard Manston, head of a British Intelligence Unit), Kate O'Mara (as Irina ?Tovskia?, Russian ballerina), Norman Bird (as John Chivers, Manston's number 2), Vladek Sheybal (as Oleg, soviet agent who runs the Limbo Line operation), Moira Redmond (as Ludmilla, Communist Party Member working alongside Oleg)|
|Featuring:||Jean Marsh (as Dilys, secretary in Manston's department), Robert Urquhart (as Edward Hardwick, coach tour operator part of Limbo Line network, British end), Yolande Turner (as Pauline, Hardwick's fiancée), Eugene Deckers (as Cadillet, part of Limbo Line network, Amsterdam end), Ferdy Mayne (as Sutcliffe, Manston's boss), Joan Benham (as Art gallery customer), Frederick Jaeger (as Alex, double agent)|
|Familiar Faces:||John Horsley (Party host, [The doctor in Reginald Perrin])|
|Based on a novel by Victor Canning|
|Writer: James Goldman (based on his own play) / Director: Anthony Harvey / Producer: Martin Poll|
|Type: Historical Drama||Running Time: 128 mins|
|Set in the year 1183 during the reign of King Henry II. Henry is now 50-years-old and feels it is time to decide which of his surviving three sons should be named his heir. Henry rules an empire spanning all of Britain and half of France and does not want to have that great power divided up, so he wishes to choose a single successor who will rule after his death. Will it be Richard, the brave but ruthless warrior; or Geoffrey, a master planner of strategy; or perhaps John, the cowardly and put-upon younger son? Henry loathes his wife Eleanor whom he considers a harpy because she is more than a match for his exuberant persona. He has kept her locked away in a secure residence under guard for the past ten years only permitting her to return for family gatherings. Henry has a mistress called Alais who is the sister of Philip, the current King of France. She was presented to his court as a child with a land dowry intended for marriage to John when she was mature. Now she is an adult Henry favours her for himself.
Henry proposes that his wife and three sons shall convene for Christmas court at Chinon where the matter of his successor shall be decided. King Philip is also invited. Henry's favourite son is John whom he thinks would be a worthy King, however Eleanor champions Richard to be the next monarch. All three sons are highly ambitious and want the coveted title.
The festive days that follow see King Henry, Queen Eleanor and the three princes, plot and scheme, conspire and betray, in their efforts to gain an upper hand. Henry and Eleanor parry with one another with erudite banter as they attempt to outsmart and outmanoeuvre one another with equal aplomb. Philip wants either his dowry land returned or his sister's marriage to John to take place. Alais finds she has become a pawn in the double-dealing machinations in which everyone's cunning and deviousness comes to the fore in their attempts to emerge victorious.
Eventually after everyone has proven themselves so equally deceitful and unworthy, Henry decides that none of his three sons deserve the throne. He considers he must start again and have some new sons with Alais. He intends to go to Rome and have his marriage to Eleanor annulled. But Alais knows that any baby they have would be forever at risk unless the three sons are killed or locked away forever. Henry believes he has the mettle to do that thing but when the moment comes cannot bring himself to strike a fatal blow to Richard. Henry relents and allows his sons to leave the castle and defers the decision about his successor to another time.
|Starring:||Peter O'Toole (as King Henry II), Katharine Hepburn (as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry's wife)|
(Henry and Eleanor's sons) Anthony Hopkins (as Richard), John Castle (as Geoffrey), Nigel Terry (as John)
Timothy Dalton (as King Philip II of France), Jane Merrow (as Alais, Henry's mistress)
|Featuring:||Nigel Stock (as Capt William Marshal, Henry's equerry)|
|Peter O'Toole had previously played King Henry II in a film called Becket (1964). That film is more expansive telling about a 20-year period earlier on in Henry's life. This second film is not strictly a sequel even though it has the same star and is simply another film telling a different story about the same historical character. The production team and all the other actors in overlapping roles were different as were the styles in which the two films were made.|
|Writer: Peter Yeldham / Director: Jack Cardiff / Producer: Jon Penington|
|Type: Thriller||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Prologue. Towards the end of the Second World War during the liberation of Paris an American tank driver called Boysie Oakes saves the life of a British Intelligence Officer called Mostyn. The officer was being abducted by two insurgents but Boysie shoots them both dead with uncanny long-range accuracy which impresses Mostyn who promises to remember Boysie's help in the years to come. What Mostyn didn't realise however is that Boysie has an aversion to killing and only shot the activists by pure chance when he tripped over some debris and fired accidentally. End of Prologue.
Present day (1965). Colonel Mostyn is now head of the secret service section which is unfortunately being overrun by a series of embarrassing spy scandals. His Chief proposes a radical solution which only the two of them will know about. They will draw up a list of all government employees who they have suspicions about and then pre-emptively have them liquidated by means of "accidents" thus avoiding the embarrassing publicity that an arrest and trial will bring. For this they need a really special agent. Mostyn searches his memory and thinks of just the man for the job ... Boysie Oakes.
Fortunately Boysie remained in Britain after the war. He became a café owner and is very surprised to be offered a job by Mostyn to become a secret agent because he doesn't think he's the right type. But the playboy lifestyle of cars and beautiful women prove very tempting and so he undergoes the training to learn about spycraft. It is only when he is ready to become operational that Mostyn tells him what his role will be - an assassin. Mostyn dismisses his objections thinking that Boysie's disinclination is a clever front designed to hide the cold-blooded killer underneath.
Boysie's first task is to eliminate a female clerk who is known to be passing secret documents. He is told to push her in front of an underground train during her daily commute - but he can't bring himself to do it and is in a dilemma because he does not want to give up the new extravagant lifestyle which has brought him the attention of many glamorous women. So he subcontracts the task to a no-scruples killer-for-hire called Charlie Griffen to carry out the "job" for him while he carries on with his busy social life. This arrangement continues for a dozen or so liquidations for which Boysie takes the credit without having to do any of the dirty work.
Boysie is especially attracted to Mostyn's beautiful secretary Iris MacIntosh even though Mostyn has told him she is strictly off limits She plays hard to get which only makes Boysie more determined to successfully woo her. Eventually she agrees to go on a holiday weekend away with him to France. There he is contacted by a British agent called Quadrant who says he has new emergency orders from Mostyn and has the necessary codes and credentials to prove it. The orders are for Boysie to carry out a security test at an RAF airbase by attempting to assassinate a visiting VIP from the Royal Family. Boysie is told to do everything as if it was for real including aiming and firing although the rifle he will be given will be loaded with blanks.
However Quadrant is actually a Russian agent and the orders are bogus and the assassination will be for real. Mostyn gets wind of the plan and does his best to stop it by posing as the VIP. Boysie comes close to firing but is found and stopped just in time by security. Meanwhile in the confusion the Russian agents that accompanied Boysie to the airport carry out the real purpose of their plan which was to steal a new experimental aircraft from the airbase. Boysie manages to get aboard just as it is taking off only to discover the mastermind behind the whole plot is none other than Mostyn's own secretary Iris who is piloting the plane. He overpowers her but then cannot land the plane and has to be talked down by ground control. He makes a successful landing and all is well.
|Comments: The film has a number of light comedy actors taking part and although the film occasionally shows signs of developing comedic situations it never goes far enough in that direction to be classed as a comedy or a spoof. For instance the idea of Boysie subcontracting his liquidations might have carried the entire film if fully developed but this idea is dropped without resolution once he goes on holiday and what turns out to be the main concluding plot emerges.|
|Starring:||Rod Taylor (as Boysie Oakes), Trevor Howard (as Colonel Mostyn), Jill St John (as Iris MacIntosh, Mostyn's secretary)|
|Featuring:||Wilfrid Hyde White (as Chief, Mostyn's boss), Derek Nimmo (as Martin, Mostyn's assistant), Eric Sykes (as Charlie Griffen, hitman-for-hire), David Tomlinson (as Quadrant, secret enemy agent), John Le Mesurier (as Chekhov, Russian agent), Akim Tamiroff (as Sheriek, foreign agent in France), Gabriella Licudi (as Corale White, foreign agent in France), Colin Gordon (as Agent dressed as Vicar), Richard Wattis (as Flying Instructor)|
|Starlets:||Jennifer Jayne (as Janice Benedict, interior decorator), Heller Toren (as Miss Benedict's assistant), Suzy Kendall (as Judith, Mostyn's new secretary, [cameo at end]), Alexandra Bastedo (as Radio Operator, [uncredited bit part])|
|From the novel The Liquidator by John Gardner|
|Writer/Director: Ken Russell / Producers: Roy Baird, David Puttnam|
|Type: Fantasy Drama / Music||Running Time: 98 mins|
|In a warped conglomeration of past and present cultures set nominally in the 19th century, musician Franz Liszt is one of several megastar composers of his age. He performs his piano recital concerts like 1970s rock concerts to hoards of screaming teenage girls in their Sunday-best dresses and dainty bonnets chanting out his name as he plays his latest tunes on stage. He is always on tour to make ends meet and to support his mistress Marie and their three children including grown-up daughter Cosima. He has a rival in one time friend Richard Wagner who wants Liszt to play some of his compositions although Liszt never has room in his sets to oblige him creating bitter resentments and jealousies between the former best friends.
On a tour of St Petersburg he meets the Russian Princess Carolyn who offers him sponsorship to enable him to devote more time to composing new tunes and they want to get married but the Pope denies them permission. Meanwhile a civil war has been started led by Richard Wagner whose aim is to save Germany and have himself recognised as the greatest composer the world has ever known. Liszt's daughter Cosima has become his wife so Liszt travels to Wagner's gothic castle and finds Wagner is a feared tyrannical figure amongst the townsfolk who has created his own diabolical religion with hordes of devoted young followers corrupted by the drug of his evil tunes.
Wagner reveals himself to be a vampire and he and Liszt have a showdown in which they both die but Wagner's people reanimate him into a Frankenstein/Hitler figure who roams the townships with his army massacring everyone with his machine gun electric guitar. From heaven Liszt launches a missile attack on Wagner and finally destroys him and then rides off into space in a rocket ship.
|Starring:||Roger Daltrey (as Franz Liszt), Paul Nicholas (as Richard Wagner)|
|Featuring:||Sara Kestelman (as Princess Carolyn), Fiona Lewis (as Marie), Veronica Quilligan (as Cosima), Andrew Reilly (as Hans)|
|Star-Turns:||Ringo Starr (as The Pope), Rick Wakeman (as Thor)|
|Starlets:||Nell Campbell, Anulka Dziubinska, Imogen Claire, Rikki Howard, Felicity Devonshire|
|Writer: Hugh Wheeler / Director: Harold Prince / Producer: Elliott Kastner|
|Type: Music / Drama||Running Time: 124 mins|
|Set in the early 1900s in Austria. Lawyer Frederick Egerman has recently married a much younger 18-year-old bride called Anne. Although happy with his choice he is frustrated that after eleven months of being wed she has still not summoned the courage to consummate their marriage. She promises she will be ready soon and thanks him for his patience. Frederick has a son called Erich who is of a similar age to Anne and although he is training to be a priest he is secretly madly in love with his mother-in-law.
When Frederick sees that a touring theatre company is in town he books tickets because the leading star-name actress, Desiree Armfeldt, is an old flame of his from fourteen years previously and he has thoughts of reacquainting himself with her. When the two one-time lovers meet they recapture their old magic and sleep together. But Desiree is now the mistress of a married Dragoon guard called Carl-Magnus Mittelheim who objects to another man muscling in on his territory. Carl sends his wife Charlotte to visit Anne to tell of Frederick's impropriety which upsets the young bride.
Things all come to a swell when Desiree invites the Egermans to a country house weekend with the intent of stealing Frederick away from Anne. Charlotte and Carl hear of the gathering and turn up uninvited - Carl is determined to make sure Desiree remains his; and Charlotte has plans to throw herself at Frederick to make Carl jealous and win him back from Desiree. Charlotte's plan works and Carl and Frederick engage in a non-fatal duel over her which proves he still loves her. And things all turn out fairly satisfactorily for everyone else involved as youngsters Erich and Anne run off together leaving Desiree and Frederick free to take off where they left off.
|Starring:||Elizabeth Taylor (Desiree Armfeldt), Len Cariou (as Frederick Egerman), Lesley-Anne Down (as Anne Egerman), Diana Rigg (as Charlotte Mittelheim), Laurence Guittard (as Carl-Magnus Mittelheim)|
|Featuring:||Hermione Gingold (as Madame Armfeldt, Desiree's mother), Chloe Franks (as Fredericka Armfeldt, Desiree's teenage daughter), Christopher Guard (as Erich Egerman, Frederick's son), Lesley Dunlop (as Petra, Egermans maid)|
|Based on the musical A Little Night Music with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; and on the book by Hugh Wheeler. However it is not a musical full of catchy/memorable songs and there is really only one stand-out piece:- "Send In The Clowns".|
|Suggested by a film by Ingmar Bergman.|
|Lesley Dunlop receives an "introducing" credit.|
|Writer: Jack Trevor Story / Director: Jay Lewis / Producer: Jack Hanbury|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 99 mins|
|Albert Argyle is a smooth talking door-to-door salesman who works as a tallyman for Callendar's Credit Store. The shop sells luxury goods to customers on the never-never and they pay for them in instalments over a period of weeks. Albert's line in silver-tongued chat and his crafty sales techniques make him the best salesman Mr Callendar has.
But Albert's personal life is in a mess. He is forever in debt with expensive purchases of his own on the Hire Purchase and he has a string of relationships with women - some casual flings with housewives on his rounds and others that are meant to be more lasting such as with Treasure...
Therese 'Treasure' Hunter is his current girlfriend who is in hospital having his baby but he is out working when she delivers and completely forgets her. She gets back home to their flat and finds him missing and half her furniture gone - taken back by the purchase company for non-payment of bills. Albert has moved out so the bailiffs cannot find him and has left her with all the bills to pay because Albert made sure everything was in her name. Treasure is furious with him and makes it clear that their relationship is over.
Meanwhile Albert's boss Mr Callendar has ambitious plans. He wants to expand his business and build a big department store on nearby land that has remained vacant for the last ten years. He is trying to persuade the owner Reggie Corby to grant him the purchase option. But Callendar's rival Solly Cowell has also expressed an interest in the land and Corby is undecided as to which of them he should grant the option.
Reggie Corby's wife Joyce is much younger than he is. She is an ex-beauty queen whom he married in haste after being a judge at her competition. She is not in his class and he is a bit embarrassed by her frequent social gaffs and prefers to keep her very low-profile. Joyce's financial sense is lacking also and when she gets into debt with a credit company she is too scared to tell Reggie and ask him for the money because she knows he will be angry with her for spending too much on household luxuries.
Meanwhile Albert tries to win himself back into Treasure's good books. His efforts initially meet with success and she mellows when he shows her the grand new apartment he has rented for them to live in. But he is back to square one when the real occupants arrive and she discovers he has only borrowed the unoccupied flat "unofficially".
Joyce Corby's life comes to a tragic end when the bailiffs finally come round to repossess her unpaid for goods. She feels such shame and despondent misery at her husband finding out how foolish she has been that she runs out of the house and is knocked down by a car. She dies instantly but Albert, who happens to be first on the scene, sees a golden opportunity and tells Corby that her last words were "he drove me to it". Corby is hoping to gain a seat on the council and knows that such a revelation to the coroner would be scandalous and ruin his chances. So Corby agrees to grant Mr Callendar the purchase option and in return Callendar promotes Albert to the position of his store manager.
Albert tries his best to impress Treasure with news of his good fortune and prove to her it is real this time but she finally realises that she just does not love him anymore and that he will never really change. And sure enough Albert's raised prospects are short-lived when Corby is told by a doctor how his wife would have died instantly and could not have had any last words. He withdraws the site purchase option he gave to Callendar and gives it instead to Cowell. And Callendar takes out his anger at having his big ambitions ruined by demoting Albert back to salesman. And as we leave it Albert has returned to doing the only thing he really excels at - selling goods to housewives at the door.
|Starring:||Ian Hendry (as Albert Argyle), June Ritchie (as Treasure), John Gregson (as Mr Callendar), Geoffrey Keen (as Reggie Corby, estate agent), Liz Fraser (as Joyce Corby, Reggie's wife)|
|Featuring:||Jeannette Sterke (as Grace, Albert's ex-lover and now friend), Peter Butterworth (as Fred, Grace's husband), Nyree Dawn Porter (as Marjorie Mason, housewife on Albert's rounds), Harold Berens (as Solly Cowell, Callendar's rival), Thelma Ruby (as Hetty, Callendar's office manager), Bridget Armstrong (as Gloria, Callendar shop worker), Monte Landis (as Arnold, Callendar shopfloor salesman), Kevin Brennan (as Jackson, Callendar shopfloor salesman), Malcolm Knight (as Ratty Radcliffe, Albert's assistant), Ronald Howard (as Cedric Mason, Marjorie's husband), Geoffrey Hibbert (as Mr Price, HP Company car repossessor), Judith Furse (as Mrs Gertrude Ackroyd, customer), Joan Heal (as Mrs Robina Pocock, customer), Justine Lord (as Coral Wentworth, customer)|
|Familiar Faces:||Peter Bowles (as Reginald Parker, Cowell's delivery driver, uncredited), Diana King (lady looking around flat)|
|Made in Black & White|
|Writers: Mark Ezra, George Dugdale / Directors: Peter Litten, George Dugdale / Producer: Dick Randall|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 95 mins|
|Howard Adams is a medical student who works part-time as a morgue attendant at the New York Metropolitan Hospital. He is besotted by a pretty girl called Christine who runs the flower stall in the lobby - however he never has the nerve to ask her out. On a night out Howard sees Christine with her boyfriend Steve and he notices they are having a heated argument as they drive off in Steve's car. Howard does not intervene but wonders if he might be in with a chance if she and Steve are not getting along. Next day he arrives at work at the morgue where his duties include the preparation of newly deceased bodies for autopsy. He unzips the body bag of the most recent arrival from the night before and is shocked to discover it is Christine! She and Steve had been in a car accident the previous night in which he had survived with a few broken bones but she had perished. Howard is devastated that his dream girl is now dead and he walks around in disbelief for the rest of the day. He pockets some of her personal effects as mementoes.
After a few days Christine is buried and Howard feels empty even though he didn't really know her. He goes through the belongings of hers he took and comes across a medical document which indicates that she had a rare disorder called catalepsy that could cause her to lapse into a state that resembled death. Howard is buoyed by the belief she might still be alive and goes to the graveyard at night and digs up her body. He then sneaks it back to his apartment without anyone noticing. Christine really is dead but Howard does not care or even notice as he proceeds to talk to her as if she were alive. He dresses her body and puts makeup on her face and sits with her on the sofa watching TV just like a normal couple would. He shows her the kind of consideration and devotion he knows she deserves and does everything he can to make her happy and comfortable. Howard feels so happy to finally have his dream girl with him all the time.
Weeks go by and Christine's body is starting to smell and decompose but to Howard she is as fresh and vibrant as she always was. Howard is losing his grip on reality and believes he is in a loving relationship with a hale and hearty girl - the putrid smell and maggots evade his notice. Eventually the smell gets so bad that Howard's landlady calls in the Public Health Department to investigate. Howard sneaks Christine's body out and hides it in the one place he knows it will be safe - the morgue.
Her body has now rotted unrecognisably but to Howard's eyes she is still perfect Christine. In his mind he hears her calling to him and asking him to take retribution against her ex-boyfriend Steve. She wants him dead and wants Howard to do it. Howard is appalled at the prospect but because it is Christine asking he feels compelled to do it for her. He proceeds to go to Steve's apartment and murder him and then returns to Christine in the morgue to tell her he has done the deed. He kisses her full on the lips and only then does he become aware of her putrefied state and suddenly he is sickened with his mind now hopelessly twisted and confused about what is real or not. He goes out and kills a random transvestite in his imbalanced state and then returns to the morgue with a gun. In his mind's eye he sees Steve and Christine dancing, happy to be together again in death and excluding him - he tries to shoot Steve but the bullets have no effect. He sinks to the ground and with one bullet left he shoots himself dead as the only way he can be on equal terms with Christine again. THE END
|Starring:||Mark Jax (as Howard Adams), Katie Orgill (as Christine), Gary Martin (as Jess, Howard's friend at morgue)|
|Featuring:||Freddie Earlle (as Ed, morgue supervisor), Eartha Kitt (as Mrs Swartz, Howard's' landlady), Ted Maynard (as Pathologist), Jean Rawlins (as Pearl, friend of Mrs Swartz)|
|Starlets:||Jenkins (as Girl in Bar), Heather Robbins (as Transvestite), Mandy Curzon (as Steve's new girlfriend), Alanna Lane (as 2nd Girl in bar), Nicola Turner (as Decomposed Dead Christine)|
|Although set in America the actors were mostly British putting on American accents and the film was a UK production with studio scenes filmed in London and location work done in New York. Katie Orgill, who played Christine, also worked as a Page 3 girl and this was her only film. She played Christine while alive and dead although once Christine's body had become badly decomposed another actress stood in.|
|Writer: Millard Kaufman / Director: Jack Couffer / Producer: Paul Radin|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 86 mins|
|Following on from the events of the first film "Born Free". Conservationists Joy and George Adamson are still working in Kenya's northern district. They continue to see Elsa the lioness when they are in her roaming area - she brings her three cubs with her but the Adamsons have decided to leave them alone and not pet them and make the mistake of taming them.
But when Elsa falls ill of an infection and dies the cubs are left to fend for themselves and Joy is desperately anxious that they are not old enough to be able to survive without their mother to hunt for them. Joy wants to try and train them but their boss John Kendall can only give them six weeks before they must return to work. Joy feels they owe it to Elsa to try.
Training proves problematic because it takes ages just to find the timid cubs. The cubs seem to have picked up some instinctive abilities by themselves and they start becoming a nuisance to the locals by killing livestock. The indigenous locals threaten to kill the cubs if they are not dealt with soon and so the Adamsons have to rethink their strategy and try to capture the cubs so they can be relocated to a place where there are no human settlements. George resigns from his job so that they can remain to see this obligation through.
They decide they cannot use tranquilliser darts because the cubs are too young. They prepare three cage-traps baited with meat. However before springing the traps all three must be in a separate trap at the same time and be fully inside so the falling gate does not harm them - because if they don't catch all three simultaneously the uncaptured ones will be forever wary of the cages. This proves to be a lengthy process taking many weeks of patience until the exact conditions are met because they only get one attempt per day when the cubs are hungry. Finally, and only when they have reached the point of despair that it will ever work, the cubs are captured and Joy and George are finally able to drive them to the Serengeti reserve 700 miles away where they are released and able to continue living free.
|Comment: This film spends its first ten minutes recapping the events of the first film using clips from it as well as recreating some scenes with the new cast. The film is fairly light on plot as they take the whole film (and a good many months of their lives) trying to do just one thing. Overall it is not nearly such a good film as the first one.|
|Starring:||Nigel Davenport (as George Adamson), Susan Hampshire (as Joy Adamson)|
|Featuring:||Geoffrey Keen (as John Kendall, district commissioner), Peter Lukoye (as Nuru, houseman), Shane De Louvres (as Makedde, game scout)|
|This was a true story based on the book by Joy Adamson|
|This was a follow-up film to Born Free (1966) which had starred Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as the Adamsons. Geoffrey Keen and Peter Lukoye played their respective roles in both films|
|American television made a 13 episode adventure series based on the story of George and Joy Adamson - called "Born Free" in 1974 starring Gary Collins and Diana Muldaur as the Adamsons. Peter Lukoye continued to play the part of Nuru as he had in both films|
|Writers: Keith Waterhouse, Willis Hall / Director: Peter Coe / Producer: David Deutsch|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 97 mins|
|Set in the 17th/18th century in a town in London where a shipload of sailors have just made port for two days of shore leave after being at sea for ten months. They are let loose on the town rampant and eager to sample the pleasures of the womenfolk and worried parents keep their virtuous daughters carefully housebound during this time giving the film its title. We follow the stories of three of these shore-leave seamen:- Lusty, Shaftoe and Ramble. Their stories intertwine during the film although for the purposes of this review an attempt has been made to disentangle the largest plot from the other two - simplifying certain things for the sake of clarity to give a general picture of what goes on.
Background: Locally Sir Tunbelly Clumsey has arranged for his 16-year-old daughter Hoyden to marry the aristocratic Lord Foppington. Neither he nor Hoyden have ever met Foppington before but are both grandly excited by it - he because it will elevate him in society; and her because she is as randy as they come and will take any man going after being locked up away from men for so long. This deal has been brokered by the local blind matchmaker Coupler who is expecting a handsome reward from Foppington who in turn is only going through with it for the dowry of £2000. Foppington is badly in need of this cash injection due to a turn of financial misfortune which he manages to keep well hidden by maintaining a lavish lifestyle. Coupler has not yet been paid by Foppington and the matchmaker has come to the conclusion that the foppish lord is not going to honour their payment arrangement. Foppington arrives in town a few days early to get himself adequately prepared to meet the girl's family. He is a dandy of the highest order and has never actually been with a woman - he normally has a manservant to do everything for him and so he visits the local whore Nell just to make sure he can actually do the necessary bedroom deed - he doesn't even know how to undress himself because his man always does that. After many hours of coaxing from Nell he manages to finally establish that his manhood does indeed work.
Seaman Lusty is a friend of Coupler and when the matchmaker hears Lusty's comical mimicry of an upper-class twit he suggests that Lusty might like to help him get his own back on the financially unreliable Foppington and at the same time get his leg over with a fresh young virgin which appeals to Lusty immensely. The plan is for Lusty to arrive at the Clumsey's house posing as Lord Foppington a day earlier than expected. Lusty steals some suitably elegant clothes and arrives at the maiden's house. Her parents are flustered at his early arrival but offer him a room for the night. The plan had been to despoil the daughter so that Foppington did not get the virgin he was expecting but when Lusty finds out about the large dowry being offered he decides to take things further and marry her for himself (as Foppington) and get a handsome reward into the bargain. Fortunately events conspire to make this easy when Lusty catches the local priest in bed with Hoyden's nurse and makes him marry the couple straight away to avoid the priest's ruination. When the real Foppington turns up he is thrown into the horse trough for being an impostor until he returns with proof and Lusty is arrested (although he later manages to escape before getting to the jail)
Shaftoe and Ramble
Shaftoe and Ramble are two officer friends whose stories are more intertwined. Initially they split up with the arrogantly cavalier Ramble going off on his mission to seduce the womenfolk, and Shaftoe to be reunited with his sweetheart Hilaret. She loves Shaftoe dearly and plans to elope with him for unfortunately her father Gossip would never approve. With help from her maid Cloris she climbs from her bedroom window and together with Shaftoe the three of them make their way to a church for a late night wedding. But they all get split up in a rowdy market crowd and fair maiden Hilaret knows not her bearings and cannot return home. She is mistaken for a whore by Ramble and propositioned but she panics and cries rape and the Rape-Squad immediately turn up to arrest him. She swears she is a lady of virtue but the officers are not sure so they are both arrested for if she is indeed virtuous then the man will be hanged for trying to steal that virtue, but if she is not then she will be flogged for accusing a gentleman of trying to take something she no longer has. Hilaret knows she is in the right but realises she overreacted and doesn't want the man to be hanged for being a bit cavalier - but the squad don't pay any heed to her retraction. Meanwhile Cloris, also disorientated as to her bearings, is spotted by Lord Foppington (from Lusty's story) and thinking she is a serving wench offers her a shilling to find him a cab - she thinks he is propositioning her as a whore and cries rape - Foppington panics and flees and Shaftoe arrives moments later to lend a hand after hearing her cry - then the Rape Squad turn up and arrest Shaftoe and despite Cloris' insistence that he did nothing they say that if she cried rape then rape it is and cart him away.
The Rape Squad is supported by a corrupt judge named Justice Squeezum who comes down hard on offenders but lets them off on technicalities for a large fine. He is also randy himself and fancies his chances with the female prisoner Hilaret and arranges to covertly meet her in a tavern to test her virtue for himself. She keeps the appointment for she has a plan of her own to play him at his own game as she loosens her clothing and cries rape on him with the intention to lay compromise on him so he will drop the charges against the two officers. But unfortunately this doesn't work and she is arrested on a charge of calling false rape.
At her trial Squeezum lays on his innocence with a trowel saying how Hilaret lured him into a trap with false notes. But as things are looking bad for her, Mrs Squeezum turns up angry with her husband for his dallying ways and gives evidence to support the accused's story and the case is dismissed.
All the prisoners are released and it all ends happily - except for Justice Sqeezum who is arrested for corruption; and Lord Foppington who arrives in court to have the marriage of Lusty and Hoyden annulled but the maid Cloris recognises him as being the man she thought was trying to rape her earlier and he is arrested. Lusty stays married to Hoyden and she is quite happy with him as his real self. Ramble and Cloris seeing each other in the story for the first time are revealed to be husband and wife both long ago thinking the other had drowned at sea and become joyfully reunited. Lusty also finds he is the lost son of Gossip and therefore Hilaret's brother and he asks his newly-re-found father to approve of the marriage between Shaftoe and Hilaret and he agrees.
|Starring:||Jim Dale (as Lusty), Tom Bell (as Shaftoe), Ian Bannen (as Ramble), Christopher Plummer (as Lord Foppington), Susannah York (as Hilaret)|
|Featuring:||Peter Bayliss (as Justice Squeezum), Glynis Johns (as Mrs Squeezum), Elaine Taylor (as Cloris), Vanessa Howard (as Hoyden Clumsey), Roy Kinnear (as Sir Tunbelly Clumsey), Kathleen Harrison (as Lady Clumsey), Roy Dotrice (as Gossip), Georgia Brown (as Nell), Fenella Fielding (as Lady Eager), Paul Dawkins (as Lord Eager), Richard Wordsworth (as Coupler), Peter Bull (as Reverend Bull), Arthur Mullard (as The Nightwatchman), Patricia Routledge (as Hoyden's Nurse)|
|Writer: David Zelag Goodman / Director: Michael Anderson / Producer: Saul David|
|Type: American / Sci-Fi||Running Time: 113 mins|
|Set in the 23rd century where mankind have long ago taken to living in entirely self-contained, self-sufficient white-domed cities following devastating wars and pollution. The citizens live a carefree life and have no concept of what may lay outside the dome. The city is controlled by a computer that maintains an ecologically balanced environment - but this can only be achieved if people do not live beyond the age of 30.
It is therefore an accepted fact-of-life that everyone has a thirty-year life span controlled by a life-clock crystal embedded in their palms and when it blinks red their time is up and they must submit to the Carrousel ritual for their "lastday" ceremony where their bodies are destroyed - the people joyously believe that as their current lives end they are reborn as babies and so complete the cycle of life.
There are however a small number of citizens who are unwilling to accept the termination of their lives and prefer to go on the run. A team of special policemen called "Sandmen" are employed to track down and kill these runners. Logan is a Sandman who is dedicated to his job and thinks of runners as being mad misfits who have bizarrely foregone their chance of being gloriously reborn.
Logan is given a special mission by the life-clock computer. He is told the surprising news that not all runners are killed and some get away to a place called "Sanctuary". Logan's assignment is to pretend to be a runner himself and find this "Sanctuary" and report back its location so that the 1056 missing people can be accounted for. Logan's crystal is prematurely made to blink to back-up his story of being a runner approaching his "lastday".
Logan contacts a woman called Jessica who has been identified as a sympathiser connected to an underground movement that assists runners. Although Logan's status as a Sandman is cause for suspicion he manages to gain her trust and she introduces him to the people who can help and he is directed to a route under the city by which he can make his escape. Jessica is nowhere near her 30th year but she too would like to find Sanctuary and decides to go with him.
Logan and Jessica follow the directions which take them through an automated hydro-powerplant under the city and then upwards on an ancient mechanical elevator to an ice cavern. There they encounter an ancient silver servo-robot called Box whose purpose was to store fish protein as food - a now superfluous requirement which was never decommissioned and has therefore continued automatically. Once the fish stocks ran out the robot's adaptive nature caused it to seize upon any form of protein that it encountered - namely the human runners. Box has therefore frozen and stored galleries of humans who have previously passed this way seeking Sanctuary. Logan manages to destroy the robot and he and Jessica continue on with their journey through the caves until they come to the mythical "outside". It becomes apparent that they are probably the first runners to ever make it this far - all previous runners must have fallen victim to Box. "Sanctuary" is just a word for hope that people have clung to but no one has ever reached.
Logan and Jessica explore the outside and eventually come to an abandoned outdoor city overgrown with vegetation (it is Washington DC). It seems completely deserted until they find one sole occupant - an old man. Logan and Jessica find it hard to accept that anyone could grow to be so old.
Logan and Jessica have strongly bonded during their travels and Logan has come to see that the whole life-cycle of the dome-city citizens is based on a falsehood and that people need not die at thirty when they are still young and vigorous. He realises that no one is ever reborn but just replaced by newborn to maintain a stable population number. Logan is determined to return to the city and tell the people the truth. Jessica does not want him to go because she fears no one will believe him and he will be killed - but Logan is determined to try. They travel back and find another way into the city - and just as Jessica predicted the people are not interested in Logan's words which to the peoples' ears make him sound like a raving madman.
Logan is captured by Sandmen and taken to the computer room where he undergoes a mind-probe so the computer can discover what Logan has learned of Sanctuary during his mission. Logan's information that there is no such place as Sanctuary goes against the established facts with which the computer has been programmed. It cannot handle the contradictory data and it starts malfunctioning. Logan escapes and uses a weapon to blow up the computer. This causes the whole city to begin to be rocked by explosions and the citizens flee in panic and escape through the now breached dome walls to the outside. The concept of outdoors is alien to them but the people soon come to accept their new-found freedom and readily adapt to the new way of life.
|Comment: Another aspect of the plot is that Logan's Sandman friend Francis gets suspicious of Logan's activities and being unaware of the special mission follows his friend outside trying to track him down and kill him thinking he has become a real runner. Francis tracks Logan to the city but is eventually killed after they have a big fight-off.|
|Starring:||Michael York (as Logan), Jenny Agutter (as Jessica), Richard Jordan (as Francis, Logan's Sandman friend), Peter Ustinov (as The Old Man)|
|Featuring:||Farrah Fawcett-Majors (as Holly, receptionist at face-change salon), Michael Anderson Jr.(as Doc, equipment operator at face change clinic), Roscoe Lee Browne (as Box, silver servo-robot in ice-cavern)|
|Based on the novel of the same name by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson|
|This is an American film which is reviewed here because of the lead roles of British actors Michael York and Jenny Agutter.|
|A TV series followed from this film (also called "Logan's Run"). 14 episodes were made and were broadcast in America in 1977/78. Episode 1 retold the basic story of the film but diverged so that runners Logan and Jessica continued with their quest to find Sanctuary, meeting all manner of people on the way. Logan's former friend Francis (who doesn't die as he does in the film) remains doggedly on their trail to hunt Logan down and bring him back to the city. None of the film's cast were involved.|
|Writer: Geoffrey Fletcher (based on his book) / Director/Producer: Norman Cohen|
|Type: Documentary||Running Time: 46 mins|
|Actor James Mason turns presenter to take the viewer on a tour of historic London - but not to look at the major tourist attractions that everyone knows; or Victorian buildings still in everyday use. Instead he visits sites that in the glory days of a bygone era were once the throng of social or economic activity but which now lay abandoned and crumbling.
He visits remnants and reminders of a disappearing age whose once essential function has been overtaken by progress, but has thus far eluded demolition. Places such as the Old Bedford theatre in Camden Town which in its heyday once glistened with opulence and boasted top performers, but now is in neglected ruins.
In the latter part of the film James Mason chats to some of the older characters that live in the slum areas who have memories of bygone times but are now somewhat down on their luck.
James Mason laments these areas of a disappearing London that are being fast demolished to make way for modern developments and wonders if their replacements will last as long.
|Comment: Within the sombre lamentations there is time for (what surely must have been) a surreal comedy sketch showing the work of a traditional egg-breaking plant whose employees sole function is to break eggs in a variety of outlandish ways - a sketch that wouldn't have been out of place in a Monty Python show.|
|Featuring:||James Mason (Presenter)|
|• Additional material by Brian Comport|
|Writer: Peter Yeldham / Director/Producer: Ken Annakin|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 110 mins|
|Set in India's North-West frontier in the 1920s during the British Raj. Sultan is the leader of a nomadic tribe called the Banta. They live by a code of honour and are strictly forbidden by Sultan to kill. One day when Sultan returns to his current encampment from a day's riding he finds that his entire tribe has been arrested by police troops under command of nearby fort superintendent Stafford on the charge of stealing animals. They are to be detained and eventually resettled. Sultan goes to the fort to appeal for their release and is himself arrested.
Sultan organises a few of his best men together and they plan an escape - they need help from other prisoners locked up on banditry charges. The Banta women and children have to be left behind and Sultan promises to regroup, grow strong and return to liberate them as soon as he can. Unfortunately during the successful escape one of the bandits kills a guard and they all become wanted fugitives whom Stafford is determined to recapture. But Sultan is cunning and knows the land too well so recapture proves impossible. Over the coming months the British high command become infuriated that Sultan is making fools of them and becoming a hero to the local people so they decide to bring in a man called Captain Freddie Young to lead the hunt. Captain Young is an anthropologist who has worked and lived in this area for many years and understands the people and it is hoped his insight will be useful in second-guessing Sultan's plans. Peace-loving Young has many sympathies for the Indian people and believes that the British way of civilising a country has many flaws.
Out of necessity Sultan's small group of men have become bandits raiding and stealing but still strictly forbidden to kill. Young and his unit follow up leads on sightings of Sultan from all over the region as they attempt to track him down. Over the skirmishes that follow Young develops a healthy respect for his wily opponent and steadfastly refuses to use deadly force against him.
Young proposes a trap whereby they let it be known that they are moving the Banta prisoners by train under minimal guard and then capture Sultan with concealed troops when he attempts a rescue. The trap almost works but Sultan fights back bravely and has to turn a regrettable moral corner when he is forced to kill for the first time to survive. Many of his followers are killed but the survivors flee to regroup.
Sultan responds by leaking information of his whereabouts near a valley to lead the British troops into an ambush. Stafford has now reassumed command of the hunt following the high command's disappointment at Young's continued failure to capture Sultan due to what is considered by them as some sort of misplaced chivalrous respect he has developed for the man. Sultan's men mow the British troops down with a captured machine gun but the tables are turned when Young, following on behind, manages to retake the weapon and turn it on Sultan's men. With both sides nearly wiped out and Sultan badly injured capture seems imminent. Young finds him high on the hillside and they talk as friends might. Young offers him a way out by leaving him a weapon and Sultan chooses to take his own life rather than be captured.
|Starring:||Yul Brynner (as Sultan), Trevor Howard (as Captain Freddie Young), Harry Andrews (Superintendent Stafford), Andrew Keir (as Gungaram, rogue who joins up with Sultan), Charlotte Rampling (as Jane, Stafford's daughter)|
|Featuring:||Virginia North (as Champa, dancing girl), Laurence Naismith (as McDougal, governor's aide), Maurice Denham (as Governor), Imogen Hassall (as Tara, Sultan's woman), Antonio Ruiz (as Munnu, Sultan's son)|
|Familiar Faces:||Patrick Newell, Terence Alexander, Edward Fox (as British Officers)|
|From a story by Ranveer Singh|
|Writer: Barrie Keeffe / Director: John Mackenzie / Producer: Barry Hanson|
|Type: Crime Drama||Running Time: 108 mins|
|Harold Shand is a successful London gangland boss who enjoys a lavish lifestyle on the back of his criminal endeavours. He has corrupt detectives and councillors in his pocket who do him favours in return for a second income. Harold has just returned from a trip to the United States where he was raising interest in a business venture he has been busy arranging. His top lieutenant Jeff Hughes was left in charge during Harold's absence and reports nothing amiss.
Harold's reign at the top of the criminal fraternity has resulted in a ten-year period of relative calm in inter-gang warfare because of his ruthless reputation of coming down hard on anyone who steps out of line. It therefore comes as a shock to him when an unknown opposition begins causing mayhem on his patch with bombs and bullets targeting his men and establishments.
Harold's rage grows as the incidents continue and he cannot fathom who is out to undermine him. His tame detective discovers that the bombs are the work of the IRA and Harold discovers that in his absence Jeff arranged for a man to take some money to Ireland and the greedy courier creamed some for himself prior to delivery and also took action which resulted in the arrest of the recipients. The money was intended for the IRA who are now taking their revenge assuming that Harold double-crossed them.
Harold is furious and against the opinion of his wife and friends who advise him that these killers are political fanatics who do not play by the same rules, he decides to take the IRA on and teach them a lesson. He sets up a meeting with the stated intent of making a conciliatory payment but instead uses the occasion to have the IRA representatives gunned down. Harold is confident that he has now made it abundantly clear that he is not a man to be messed with and considers the matter will now be closed.
But later, on a journey home, Harold gets picked up by his limousine and discovers too late it been taken over by Irish assassins - and as he is driven away realisation comes over his face that this is the end of the line and he is going to be shot with nothing he can do about it.
|Starring:||Bob Hoskins (as Harold Shand, gangland boss), Helen Mirren (as Victoria, Harold's wife), Derek Thompson (as Jeff Hughes, Harold's most trusted henchman), Bryan Marshall (as George Harris, corrupt city councillor)|
|Featuring:||Eddie Constantine (as Charlie, American Mafia man), Stephen Davies (as Tony, Charlie's lawyer), P.H. Moriarty (as Razors, Harold's henchman), Dave King (as Parky, corrupt detective), Brian Hall (as Alan, Harold's henchman), Paul Barber (as Erroll, local grass), Patti Love (as Carol Benson, grieving widow), Paul Freeman (as Colin, Harold's best friend from youth)|
|Familiar Faces:||Karl Howman (as Detective Sergeant, [cameo]), Pierce Brosnan (as IRA hitman, [minor role]), Gillian Taylforth (as Young woman who finds a body, [cameo]), Dexter Fletcher (as Kid minding Harold's car, [as a young lad])|
|Derek Thompson receives an "introducing" credit - he later became a familiar face as long-running character Charlie Fairhead in BBC TV-series Casualty|
|Writers: Juan Cobos, Miguel Rubio / Director: Pedro Lazaga / Executive Producers: Manuel Perez, Robert Ausnit|
|Type: Romantic Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|David Autager is an unmarried architect in his late 30s living in Madrid. While attending a concert recital he spots a remarkably pretty young woman from across the room - Their eyes meet and there is an intense mutual attraction - but she is with her friends and David does nothing about it. The girl is an arts student called Anna and she does not intend to let the matter rest. She finds out more about the man she saw and effects a way to meet him properly. Once they get together it is clear they are made for each other and that it is she who is most determined to make it happen. Her personality is so fresh and lively that he cannot help but be charmed by her playful zest and enthusiasm for living.
David receives a commission to build a villa in Majorca and regretfully tells Anna he will be away for a while meeting his new client. When he arrives he discovers that Anna has been a bit mischievous and it is she who is his client. She has persuaded her rich father to let her build her own villa and has drawn rough designs of the way she would like her ideal home to look like.
Over the coming days and weeks their romance continues - both of them are blissfully happy in each others company and it is clear they are the perfect couple. They get married and have a happy honeymoon in Venice. They settle down into married life still totally smitten with one another.
Before long Anna begins to have periods of unaccountable tiredness. She is able to shake it off at first and act like her normal self. But then she begins to suffer memory lapses that come and go and it soon becomes clear that there is something seriously wrong with her. She lapses into a coma and the specialists tell David that she is suffering from a lipomatosis of the nervous system - a very rare disease for which there is no known cure. The specialist Dr Valls gives Anna less than a week to live.
David is utterly devastated about the impending loss of his soul-mate and rails with despair imploring the doctor that there must be something that can be done. Seeing David's overwhelming distress Dr Valls ventures that the only thing that they can possibly do is use cryogenics to freeze Anna's body into a state of suspended animation and then wait and hope that medical science will come up with a cure for her condition some time in the future. David agrees to the measure and Anna's body is placed into frozen suspension in a cryogenics capsule.
David carries on his life without Anna as best he can throwing himself into his work but always thinking about her and reliving in his memory the happy months they had together in perfect bliss. He does not enter into any new relationships with women and remains completely faithful to Anna clinging to the hope of a miracle.
Forty years go by and it is now the year 2014. David is an old man in his seventies. Fashions and technology have moved on but for him there have been no positive developments - Anna is still in frozen suspension. Then David gets a visit from a specialist called Dr Aurgery with some remarkable news. Scientists have finally discovered a cure for Anna's disease and they are at long last going to treat her.
Anna is successfully revived and cured. She is unchanged in age from forty years ago and is still as young and beautiful as ever. The doctor's advise David not to visit her until she is made fully aware of the enormous amount of time that has passed in the world around her. Anna comes to terms with the passing of the years and aches to see David again no matter what he looks like.
When she has fully convalesced she is taken to be reunited with David. He is living in the dream villa she designed and which he went on to build. David is the most anxious not sure if Anna will accept his elderly looks. But Anna is oblivious to any change and is still deeply in love with him and overwhelmed that he waited forty years just for her. David's happiness is complete and the long-hoped for miracle has come to pass. Anna is once again full of the vitality and youthful exuberance that she always had. She thinks he is the most wonderful man ever for giving her this second chance at life.
They resume their life together and are blissfully happy again for a while until David begins to feel unwell and succumbs to a sudden heart attack and dies. Anna is overcome with grief. They waited so long to be together again and now after too short a time reunited they are parted again forever.
Anna has maudlin thoughts of joining him in death but vows that she will not wallow in sorrow but use the second chance he gave her to live her life anew.
|Starring:||Mark Burns (as David), Lynne Frederick (as Anna)|
|Featuring:||(in order credited) Charo López, Ricardo Merino, Jorge Rigaud, Fernando Hilbeck, Adriano Domínguez, Conchita Cuetos, Andrés Mejuto, Mayrata O'Wisiedo, Juan Diego (roles each played not known)|
|Based on the novel by Germán Ubillos. English adaptation by Derek Parsons|
|This was a Spanish film that is reviewed here because the lead roles are taken by two British actors: Mark Burns and Lynne Frederick. The version reviewed was in English with the two leads speaking their own lines and the Spanish actors mostly dubbed. The credits were in English (job titles, etc) and it carried the English title of "A Long Returning". The Spanish version is titled "Largo Retorno".|
|There are no end credits showing character names so beyond the two British leads I couldn't match up the various supporting characters to the other actor names that appear in the opening credits. The surnames of "Autager" (for David) and "Dr Aurgory" (The future doctor) are not likely to be the correct spellings, but I've had to go with what they sounded like for the purposes of the plot summary.|
|The starting age of David is not stated but I've based it on the actor's real age at the time and his apparent age 40 years later.|
|Although there is a peripheral science fiction element to the story with the cryogenics and the latter portion of the story being set in the future, it would not really be apposite to class it as a science fiction film.|
|Writers: Berkely Mather, Beverley Cross / Director: Jack Cardiff / Producer: Irving Allen|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 120 mins|
|Rolfe is a Viking from Norseland who commands a Long Ship on a treasure-raiding voyage along the Barbary Coast. His vessel encounters an area of dense fog and the waters turn into a maelstrom at the same time as an eerie tolling bell is heard. The ship is wrecked and Rolfe is the only survivor washed up on another shore. Rolfe is found by some Byzantium monks and nursed back to health. At their monastery he learns of the legend of a mighty bell made of solid gold. The bell was forged centuries ago by the holy men of this monastery using gold gathered in vast quantities in tributes and offerings from all around the world. The gold was melted down in a gigantic cauldron from which the enormous bell was cast in a clay mould. Once it was smoothed and polished the awe-inspiring bell was complete and called the "Mother of Voices" because of the remarkable resonance of its toll. The bell was later stolen by Christian raiders and its whereabouts remain unknown. Rolfe recalls the tolling he heard as his ship entered the maelstrom and wonders if the great bell now stands on land beyond those treacherous waters.
Rolfe leaves the monks and while trying to make his way back to his Scandinavian homeland ekes out a marketplace living by telling stories of the creation of the legendary bell. His tale reaches the ears of the grim Prince Aly Mansuh who has dedicated his life to search for the bell which rightfully belongs to his people and represents half of the world's gold in one magnificent object. The Muslim Prince has searched all the land in his domain but is thwarted from venturing to sea because his people have no mastery of the waves and their boatbuilding skills are insufficient to build vessels sturdy enough to stand rough sea voyages. The imperious prince believes the seafaring Norseman might know something about the bell's location and threatens him with torture. But Rolfe reveals nothing and eventually manages to escape and with superhuman effort swims across the sea back to Norseland.
Rolfe's father Krok is a master shipbuilder who has just built the finest Long Ship ever made for King Harald of Norseland. Krok's only regret is that the ship is to be burnt as a funeral barge and will never put to open sea. When Rolfe returns empty-handed and without even his ship, Krok faces ruin because Rolfe's plunder was needed to finance the business. Rolfe declares his intent to make amends by finding and bringing home the lost legendary treasure "Mother of Voices". All he needs is another ship and a crew. However Krok has no ship available and no funds to build another. So Rolfe and his chosen crew steal the ship intended for the king. To ensure the unforgiving king does not take reprisals on Rolfe's people in his absence, Rolfe abducts the king's daughter Gerda to take with them as a hostage although he has no intention of harming her. The king vows to give chase to the buccaneers once he has mustered his flotilla of Long Boats.
Rolfe's Long Boat eventually reaches the misty region and encounters the turbulent waters that Rolfe experienced before. Unfortunately the sea is still too rough and the ship is swept off course onto the Moorish coast with extensive damage but no loss of life.
The crew are captured by Prince Aly Mansuh and they all become his prisoners. The truculent prince has no cares to the suffering he causes in pursuit of his objective, and pain and torture are simply tools he uses to unlock the knowledge he seeks. Faced with a certain grisly death Rolfe agrees to repeat his attempts to pass the maelstrom and take the prince and his guards along with him.
The ship is repaired and once again Rolfe approaches the fierce waters. This time however he has learnt enough from his past failures and successfully navigates through the maelstrom and they reach land on the other side. Atop a high cliff they see a stone chapel with a large dome which it seems certain must contain the bell.
They climb up and the prince enters the structure excited that the moment for which he has waited so long has finally arrived. But his hopes are dashed when inside the dome is just a tiny bell hanging on a long rope. Rolfe follows the prince inside and in frustration at the disappointment he smashes the small bell into the side of the dome and to everyone's astonishment an almighty unearthly clang rings out. They soon realise that they have indeed found what they have been searching for and the golden bell is the entire dome integrated into the chapel structure - the small bell was just the clanger. They remove the mighty bell and bring it down the cliff and to the sea. It is too heavy to bring aboard so they build a raft to tow it.
The ship reaches the prince's land and the bell is pulled through the city streets on a wagon. Strangely the crowds lining the street seem subdued and there is no sign of the tumultuous celebration the prince had expected for his great achievement in bringing home such a magnificent treasure. Then he discovers why - during his absence King Harald of Norseland and his soldiers have attacked and taken over the city while on the hunt for Rolfe and the stolen Long Ship. The prince's men and the Vikings fight and eventually the prince is killed when ironically he is crushed by the bell as it falls from the wagon.
The Vikings celebrate their victory and attainment of the world's greatest treasure. In the light of Rolfe's achievement the king forgives him his misdemeanours now that his ship and daughter are returned safely. Rolfe meanwhile starts making plans to hunt for more of the world's lost ancient treasures ...
|Starring:||Richard Widmark (as Rolfe), Sidney Poitier (as Prince Aly Mansuh), Russ Tamblyn (as Orm, Rolfe's brother), Rosanna Schiaffino (as Aminah, prince's main wife), Oskar Homolka (as Krok, shipbuilder, Rolfe and Orm's father)|
|Featuring:||Clifford Evans (as King Harald), Edward Judd (as Sven, king's shipmaster), Beba Loncar (as Gerda, King Harald's daughter), Lionel Jeffries (as Aziz, prince's harem keeper), Jeanne Moody (as Ylva, Orm's ex-girlfriend), David Lodge (as Olla, King Harald's crewman)|
|Familiar Faces:||Gordon Jackson (as Vahlin, Viking in ale house), Colin Blakely (as Rhykka, Viking tavern owner)|
|Based on the novel The Long Ships by Frans G Bengtsson|
|Writer/Director: Frank R. Pierson / Producer: John Box|
|Type: Spy Drama||Running Time: 102 mins|
|Set in the present day (1969). The British security services have received an alarming intelligence photograph taken in East Germany showing the silhouette of a large object being transported on the back of a lorry which fits the profile of a long-range missile. Agency director LeClerc needs more information to properly assess the threat. But this can only be obtained by a field agent of which none are currently available in-situation. Fortunately another option has presented itself - a Polish sailor called Friedrich Leiser has deserted his ship and requested asylum from Soviet oppression and the chance to stay in London with his pregnant English girlfriend.
LeClerc and his aide John Avery make a deal with Leiser that he can stay in England if he does something for them first. They want him to secretly cross the border into East Germany and make his way across hostile territory to the town of Kahlstaad. He must then question the local man who originally took the photograph and radio back his findings about the existence of the missile.
Leiser is idealistic and wants refuge in a safe country and so agrees to undertake the mission. He receives training from Avery and is eventually ready to go. Avery accompanies him to the border and then he is on his own. Unfortunately Leiser is spotted by a sentry and is forced to kill him. Leiser appropriates a lorry and begins the long journey to Kahlstaad. News of the dead sentry quickly spreads and Soviet troops establish checkpoints to try and catch the suspected spy.
Leiser is stopped at a checkpoint and thinks the game is up but the guards unexpectedly believe his hastily fabricated explanations about the purpose of his journey and allow him to pass. In fact the Soviet intelligence have decided to let him continue so they can find out what his objective is.
When Leiser arrives in Kahlstaad he meets with the photographer and discovers that the photo was a one-off and no other information is forthcoming. Despondent that his mission has been a waste of time he books into a hotel with no firm idea of what he can do next. Then during the night there is a thunderous noise and when he looks outside he sees the very missile he has been sent to investigate being transported through the main street outside his hotel. Leiser knows he must report back and starts radioing his report to LeClerc in England. Soon afterwards the East German police burst in and shoot him dead. The Soviets had wanted him to see the missile and report back details of its existence.
LeClerc receives the information but knows that ever since the discovery of the dead sentry the enemy had been aware they had a spy loose in their territory and any reports from Leiser have to be discounted as compromised and unreliable. Neither side gained any useful ground and the only result was the needless death of Leiser.
|Comment: It is not quite clear if the Soviet planners wanted Leiser to see the missile because they knew his report would be incorrectly discounted or because it was a dud but they wanted their opponents to believe it was a viable threat.|
|Starring:||Christopher Jones (as Friedrich Wilhelm Leiser), Ralph Richardson (as LeClerc, intelligence director), Anthony Hopkins (as John Avery, LeClerc's aide), Paul Rogers (as Haldane, intelligence chief), Vivian Pickles (as Mrs King, safe house operator), Pia Degermark (as Anne, hitchhiking girl)|
|Featuring:||Susan George (as The Girl In London, Leiser's girlfriend), Ray McAnally (as Undersecretary of State), Robert Urquhart (as Johnson, logistics expert), Anna Massey (as Avery's Wife), Maxine Audley (as Babs, LeClerc's wife), Cyril Shaps (as East German Detective), Michael Robbins (as Truck Driver), Timothy West (as Taylor, agent in Finland), Paul Maxwell (as American agent)|
|Starlets:||Angela Down (as Girl in pub)|
|Based on the book by John le Carré|
|Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Director: Silvio Narizzano / Producer: Arthur Lewis|
|Type: Comedy||Running Time: 97 mins|
|Dennis and Hal are two pals with a criminal inclination which in the past has led them to nothing but failure. Dennis currently works as a hearse driver for a firm of undertakers; and Hal's family are hoteliers. Hal's mother, Mrs McLeavy, has been suffering a long period of incapacitation during which time she has been cared for by a live-in nurse called Fay McMahon who seems to have a mercenary agenda unbefitting her profession. Mrs McLeavy is expected to die soon and the lads are awaiting this event so they can put into action a robbery plan which they believe is so ingenious it cannot fail.
The funeral director's premises is situated next to a bank and whilst Mrs McLeavy's body is in the parlour's chapel of rest the two pals plan to blast a hole in the adjoining wall and steal the bank's loot which they will then hide under her body in the coffin. And then when the coffin is transferred to the hotel for the wake prior to the funeral they will secretly retrieve it.
Following Mrs McLeavy's death their plan proceeds successfully, albeit with a few complications which they manage to work around. But once the money is back at the hotel they find they cannot get it away to safety because of the dogged investigations of a pompous but highly determined Scotland Yard detective called Inspector Truscott. He is extremely suspicious that Dennis was involved in the robbery but has no proof and so he tries to find some evidence under the guise of being an overbearing waterboard official looking for leaks.
Dennis loves Nurse Fay and is hoping to marry her but she makes it clear she only marries for money and has a string of rich ex-husbands plucked from similar situations. This is because secretly she slow poisons the patients she is caring for to hasten their passing. Now that Mrs McLeavy is dead her money-grabbing eye is set on marrying grieving husband Mr McLeavy with his lucrative hotel business. However when she finds out about the lads' bank robbery she changes her tack and chooses to help in their efforts to keep the loot hidden from Truscott's tenacious rummaging in exchange for an equal cut of their takings.
The farcical situation develops with the three collaborators negotiating the ever-changing locations of both body and money. That is until Truscott literally stumbles on the money by accident and the conspirators are well and truly rumbled. But fortunately Truscott proves to be unexpectedly highly predisposed to taking a bribe and turns a blind-eye to both the lads' robbery and Fay's murderous scheming.
Fay and Dennis get married and everyone seems to be happy with the outcome - but even as the newlyweds leave on their honeymoon Fay has a conniving glint in her eye that suggests that she will soon be up to her usual tricks with Dennis as well.
|Starring:||Hywel Bennett (as Dennis), Roy Holder (as Hal), Richard Attenborough (as Inspector Truscott), Lee Remick (as Nurse Fay McMahon), Milo O'Shea (as Mr McLeavy)|
|Featuring:||Dick Emery (as Mr Bateman, grumpy hotel guest), John Cater (as Meadows, junior detective)|
|Based on the play by Joe Orton|
|Writer/Director: Richard Brooks / Producer: (not listed)|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 147 mins|
|Set in the 1800s. During Queen Victoria's reign a vast empire of trade and commerce opened up and it was Jim's ambition to become an officer on a merchant ship. He duly trained and became midshipman on one of Her Majesty's merchant vessels under the munificent command of Captain Chester. Jim flourished and become an efficient and well-respected officer. After two years of outstanding service Jim sprained a leg and had to be put ashore at their next foreign port of call to receive treatment.
After Jim recovered he was eager to get back to sea and was willing to sign onto any vessel that was available. His new ship, the SS Patna, was an entirely different prospect. It was a private vessel run for pure profit by an unprincipled captain willing to do anything to turn a fast penny. His current "cargo" is a boatload of Muslims travelling on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca and although the relatively small vessel is unsuited for passengers the captain has no qualms about jamming as many of them as he can into the hold in squalid conditions. Jim feels sympathy for their plight but accepts that they are doing it out of choice. When the Patna encounters a violent storm and the hull is breached on some rocks the captain orders the crew to abandon ship in the lifeboat. There is no provision for the Muslims and the captain readily abandons them to their fate. Jim is torn between his own survival and his duty to his passengers and eventually makes the agonising decision to save himself. After many days of drifting in the lifeboat they reach port only to find the Patna has arrived ahead of them safe and well. The damage had not been as bad as thought and it would have been safe to have remained aboard. An enquiry is held to investigate the incident and Jim decides to tell the complete truth about the shame he feels.
Afterwards Jim decides to lose himself in menial work in the Far East. He takes any job going in his effort to remain a complete nobody in order to punish himself for his awful decision. In the course of his dock work he meets the owner of a trading company called Mr Stein who is in need of help. Stein needs to transport rifles and gunpowder many miles upriver to the area known as Patusan where he conducts honest trade with the friendly people who live there. Unfortunately their land has been subjugated by a warmonger known as The General who is forcing the men of the village to work as slaves in a nearby tin mine and is looting their heritage of gold and valuable jewels for his own greed. Stein wants to re-arm the people to help them overthrow the usurper but he is too old to do it himself. Jim agrees to take on the noble venture and he sails a barge up the river loaded with many barrels of gunpowder and new fangled rifles that can fire multiple bullets before reloading instead of the usual single round.
Before Jim approaches the village he hides his cargo in a secure location in the jungle knowing it will otherwise be seized by the General. Afterwards Jim is captured by the General who tortures him for information on the whereabouts of the weaponry. The Patusan villagers manage to help Jim escape from the General's fortified stronghold and he shows them where he has hidden the weapons and explosives. Jim instinctively takes charge and develops a coordinated attack plan to try and overcome the General's superior numbers with surprise and cunning. The General's over-confidence is his downfall and Jim's attack strategy succeeds in breaching the General's fort and detonating their weapon's dump killing the would-be dictator. Jim is hailed a hero by the Patusan people and becomes known as Lord Jim. He decides to continue living with them and falls in love with a village girl. He feels he should be happy but inwardly Jim remains racked with the guilt of his greatest mistake and debilitating memories of that shame are never far from his thoughts. He never wants to return to the outside and face the judgement of an unforgiving world.
Meanwhile one of the General's lackeys called Cornelius managed to escape unnoticed with a small sample of Patusan's riches and make it back to the main city. He recruits a gang of thugs to go with him back to Patusan and stealthily spirit away the accumulated wealth which he knows will be easy pickings for a determined group of ruthless men. One of the men who joins this endeavour is known as Gentleman Brown and Cornelius allows him to take charge of the operation.
Brown and his cohorts arrive by night whilst the villagers are celebrating their triumph. Unfortunately their presence is detected and they have to shoot a guard dead. The intruders try to flee but their boat has been seized and there is a standoff. Brown negotiates with Jim to allow them to leave unmolested or else they will fight and there will be much bloodshed. The villagers want the interlopers to pay for their crime but Jim persuades the chief to let them leave and avoid further tragedy and Jim is held in such high esteem that the chief defers to his judgement. Jim vows to the chief that if anyone else comes to harm because of his decision he will lay down his own life.
The gang of reprobates are allowed to leave and it seems the matter has been resolved. But Brown has other ideas and once they are out of sight they double back to have another go at stealing the precious treasure of the Patusan people. This time they kill the chief's son and Jim is so enraged he loads a cannon with the jewels they so desperately desire and fires it at them like buckshot killing them all.
Jim knows his judgement has failed him yet again and he is prepared for the consequences. The chief is angry at the outcome, but even though correct justice is a paramount principle of Patusan society, he is reluctant to execute their saviour. He allows Jim the opportunity to leave and never return rather than face death. But Jim does not leave because he feels his crimes are such that he deserves death and a long-awaited release from the terrible guilt he feels. The chief therefore is given no choice but to deliver justice. Jim is shot dead and given a funeral fit for a great and much-loved man.
|Starring:||Peter O'Toole (as Jim), James Mason (as Gentleman Duncan Brown), Curt Jurgens (as Cornelius, general's lackey), Eli Wallach (as The General, oppressor), Daliah Lavi (as The Village Girl, unnamed)|
|Featuring:||Paul Lukas (as Stein, old trader), Jack Hawkins (as Marlow), Akim Tamiroff (as Schomberg), Tatsuo Saito (as Du-Ramin, Patusan chief), Andrew Keir (as Brierly), Jack MacGowran (as Robinson, Patna's engineer), Noel Purcell (as Captain Chester, Jim's first Captain, [also narrator]), Walter Gotell (as Captain of Patna)|
|Based on the novel by Joseph Conrad|
|Writer: (none listed) / Director: Peter Brook / Producer: Lewis Allen|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 86 mins|
|It is the early 1960s and the world is teetering on the brink of all out war. In England, children are being evacuated to safer countries including a group of public schoolboys. Over the Pacific Ocean their plane is struck by lightning and comes down in the sea near a remote tropical island. Forty or so surviving boys of varying ages make it to the island - none of the adults from the plane survive.
One boy called Ralph has a practical nature and gathers the scattered boys together using the horn call of a conch shell. When they have congregated Ralph tells them that until they are rescued someone must be chosen to be the chief who will organise the group and allot tasks. Another boy called Jack who was both head boy and head chorister believes he should be leader. Jack has the support of his former choristers, but when it is put to a vote more of the overall group vote for Ralph. Another boy is spectacle-wearing, overweight Piggy who is given the administrative task of taking everyone's name. Piggy's way of whining on about matters aggravates Jack who picks on him although Ralph considers Piggy a useful confidant.
Ralph decides they need to build a signal fire on a hillside to attract the attention of any passing ships or planes. The fire is started by using Piggy's borrowed glasses to focus the sun's rays and Jack and his choristers are given the task of keeping the fire going whilst Ralph organises the building of shelters. They find the island is inhabited by small wild pigs and Jack and his friends get diverted from their assigned task in their efforts to hunt down a pig for food. Jack and his fellow hunters revel in the thrill of the chase and the ensuing kill and the other boys are glad of the meat Jack brings home which is cooked on the fire. Jack's hunting skills increase and more and more of the boys join with him for the thrill and excitement it involves - they dress and behave like tribal warriors and fashion spears from tree branches. Ralph's efforts to organise everyone into doing necessary but mundane tasks is considered very dull by comparison.
Rumours start circulating of there being a beast on the island which frightens everyone. However Jack is confidant that his hunters can protect the community and defeat the beast if it truly exists. As Jack's role increases in importance he feels that he should become the leader, but Ralph refuses to relinquish his elected position. Eventually the impetuous Jack has had enough of playing second fiddle and decides if he cannot become leader of the group he will go off and start a new tribe on another part of the island. He invites any who want to join him to do so and many abandon Ralph to be part of the more exciting lifestyle Jack offers.
Jack's tribe base themselves near a rock formation that is easily defendable. And they quickly regress into patterns of tribal custom with body paint and primitive responses as they gorge on the meat they kill. Ralph despairs that Jack's followers have forgotten how important it is to keep the beacon fire going and be rescued. Ralph's small community dwindles as more of his group defects to Jack's tribe because of the feasts of good food he can provide. Eventually only Piggy and a few younger boys remain with Ralph.
Jack is aware that the only deficiency of his new tribe is its inability to make new fire so he sends a raiding party to Ralph's camp to appropriate Piggy's spectacles. Piggy is unable to see properly without them and Ralph takes Piggy to Jack's rockface camp to ask for them back and they will share the fire. But Jack and his tribe consider themselves supreme and do not have to submit to reasonable compromises with their enemy. The guards lever a rock off the escarpment and it hurtles down crashing into Piggy who is unable to see it coming. He is swept away into the sea to his death. Ralph runs into the jungle fearing for his own life.
Soon Ralph realises he is being hunted down by Jack's savage bloodthirsty tribe intent on ridding themselves of the nuisance he is to them because of his unwillingness to fall into line and submit to Jack's leadership. Ralph hides but the hunters set a fire to smoke him out. Eventually Ralph has no choice but to run for the beach in blind terror with the tribe hollering their war cries as they chase him down. Ralph falls to the ground and starts crawling in desperation knowing he is done for - until he unexpectedly bumps into the legs of a man!
The man is a sailor from a Royal Navy vessel attracted by the smoke of the fire that Jack had set to force Ralph into the open. At the sight of an adult the chasing boys stop in their tracks as they revert to their normal civilised selves. Ralph cries in relief at being rescued and Jack is silenced as he realises his reign of power is abruptly over.
|Comment: The film end there and we don't discover if there are any consequences for the death of Piggy and another boy who was killed earlier by the hunters when they mistook him for the Beast.|
|Starring:||James Aubrey (as Ralph), Tom Chapin (as Jack), Hugh Edwards (as Piggy)|
|Featuring:||Roger Elwin (as Roger), Tom Gaman (as Simon), Kent Fletcher (as Percival), Nicholas Hammond (as Robert), David Surtees and Simon Surtees (as Sam and Eric, twins)|
(there were over two dozen other boys in the cast but most of them were background characters who did not figure prominently)
|Made in Black and White|
|From the novel by William Golding|
|Writer: Michael Nash / Director/Producer: Michael Carreras|
|Type: Adventure||Running Time: 83 mins|
|A small poorly maintained transport ship called Corita is travelling from Freetown, Sierra Leone in West Africa bound for Caracas, Venezuela in South America carrying a small assortment of passengers with their own particular reasons for leaving Africa in a hurry. For Captain Lansen it is his last voyage and on arrival he plans to sell the ship and retire - and to increase his nest egg he has taken aboard a dangerous cargo of illegal chemicals stored in hundreds of watertight drums. The chemical is called Phosphine B and is used in anti-personal weapons and its danger lies in its highly explosive volatility if exposed to water.
While well underway and with a storm approaching an accident ruptures the bulkhead. The pumps fail and the passengers and crew abandon ship into a life rafts. After the storm passes they endure a couple of days of drifting and not all survive the ordeal. They eventually find themselves floating into a slick of heavy seaweed which has aggressive tendencies if touched. In the dark their lifeboat bumps into the side of a larger vessel which by some fluke is their own ship which managed to weather the storm on its own and make it here before them. They reboard the Corita but the seaweed has clogged the propeller and they find themselves at the mercy of wherever the weed is pulling them somewhere into an uncharted area of the Sargasso Sea. They come to a stop in what appears to be a graveyard of derelict ships from down the ages all stranded and long since abandoned. They soon discover that it is not just the weed itself which is lethal but also some strange and deadly sea monsters of massive proportions which populate the area.
There is land nearby but no way to get to it through the deadly seaweed. Then they see some people - a young woman being chased by a group of angry men. The strangers have devised a way of walking on the seaweed using feet paddles and jackets tied with helium-filled balloons to keep their upright stability. The captain lets the woman aboard and they fight to repel her pursuers.
The woman's name is Sarah and she lives on the land. Her remote ancestors' vessel was stranded here by the weed just like the Corita and she was born here as were her parents and grandparents before her. Her pursuers are members of a Spanish religious cult that live on a Spanish galleon whose followers plunder newly arrived vessels and forcibly recruit those on board into their number and appropriate their supplies.
When Sarah decides to return to land Captain Lansen and his men follow and are captured by the Spanish who are led by a young boy called El Diablo who is revered as a god. Although it transpires he is just a figurehead for the real leader known as The Grand Inquisitor who tells the boy what to do and say.
The crew of Corita rebel against their captors and are determined to escape the area even though the Inquisitor tells them it is useless because no one has ever succeeded in leaving. However the Corita personnel have a deadly weapon that the others never possessed and they launch their stocks of Phosphine B into the mass of weed and it burns a path out of the area allowing the surviving Corita personnel and any of the Spanish who decide to join them to leave.
|Starring:||Eric Porter (as Captain Lansen), Neil McCallum (I) (as First Officer Hemmings), Hildegard Knef (as Eva Peters, passenger), Suzanna Leigh (as Unity Webster, passenger), Tony Beckley (as Harry Tyler, passenger), Nigel Stock (I) (as Dr Webster, passenger, Unity's father), Ben Carruthers (as Benito Carruthers) (as Ricaldi, passenger), Dana Gillespie (as Sarah, island escapee)|
|Featuring:||James Cossins (as Chief Engineer), Michael Ripper (as Seaman), Donald Sumpter (as Radio Operator), Jimmy Hanley (as Bartender), Norman Eshley (as Captured Prisoner), Darryl Read (as El Diablo), Eddie Powell (as The Grand Inquistor)|
|Based on the novel Uncharted Seas by Dennis Wheatley.|
|Writer: James Costigan / Director: George Cukor / Producer: Allan Davis|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 103 mins|
|It is London in the year 1911 and elderly defence barrister Sir Arthur Glanville-Jones is all-in-a-fluster because of the new client he is about to take on. Her name is Jessica Medlicott and she is a wealthy widowed dowager who has become embroiled in a high-profile scandal concerning her apparent breach of promise to a much young suitor whom she had allegedly agreed to marry and then forsaken. She is of a "certain age" (late 60s) but dresses and behaves as a woman of far lesser years with a sprightly personality that belies her true age.
The reason Arthur is so nervous is that many years ago when they were both young people they had met in Canada and had an overwhelming three-days of passion. He was a law student studying at Toronto university and she an up-and-coming actress on tour and they fell in love swearing undying love and when she had to leave they made plans to reunite in London when he finished his course. But when he arrived back in London he found she had married into money and had made a life for herself and he did not make contact. That was nearly fifty years ago and he has never married because no other woman has ever lived up to the love he felt for Jessica.
However when Jessica arrives at his chambers Arthur is astonished to find she does not recall him - that affair that had meant everything to him and shaped his life ever since is something she doesn't even remember! This secretly infuriates Arthur although Jessica is in the dark about why this "stranger" is behaving so oddly towards her.
Arthur takes on her case defending her against Alfred Pratt who it is claimed wooed her, a woman old enough to be his grandmother, in order to inherit her fortune - although his counter-claim is that his love was genuine and he gave up a promising career to be by her side after she agreed to marriage and her subsequent spurning of him has ruined him and he is seeking £50,000 damages.
In court Arthur is frustrated by Jessica's behaviour because she refuses to act her age and persists in presenting an image of a much younger-spirited woman that Pratt's attorney can easily claim is the vibrant personality that his client fell in love with regardless of her actual age. Because Jessica refuses to help him to help her, Arthur is forced to become brutal and paint her belieance of age to be a sad vanity that Alfred Pratt shamefully took advantage of in his quest to gain an undeserved wealth.
Arthur wins the case for her and Jessica is pleased claiming that she refused to follow his instructions because she knew he would have a stronger case if he argued as he did. She then lets slip a few things she knows about his family background that he has not recently told her and it transpires that she does of course remember him. Back then when she was young she hadn't thought he was really going to come for her and was fearful of a life of poverty and so married a rich man to secure her future. And as the film ends it appears that the two of them are going to try to recapture their love for one another as they walk hand in hand down the road to a dinner date.
|Starring:||Katharine Hepburn (as Jessica Medlicott), Laurence Olivier (as Sir Arthur Glanville-Jones), Richard Pearson (as George Druce, Jessica's solicitor), Colin Blakely (as John Francis Devine, Alfred Pratt's barrister)|
|Featuring:||Leigh Lawson (as Alfred Pratt, plaintiff), Joan Sims (as Fanny Pratt, Alfred's mother, Robert Harris (as The Judge)|
|The two stars were both born in 1907 and so were presumably playing ages similar to their own at the time (68).|
|This film was made as an American TV movie although the status of its stars and the fine acting and script elevate it way beyond that. It is reviewed here because it was made and set in England and has a mostly British cast.|
|aka: Anyone for Sex?|
|Writer: Kevin Laffan / Director: Ralph Thomas / Producers: Ralph Thomas, Betty E. Box|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Mick's wife Kate is exhausted after having six children in as many years and because of his religious beliefs Mick forbids any form of contraceptive to be used. Therefore Kate's only option is to ban sex altogether.|
|Comment: This is a mainly a straight drama. A few comedic moments for good measure and a tentative dip into the sex-comedy world when Mick keeps imagining women naked - but this is a minor side-element that is quite quickly forgotten rather than the thrust of the film.|
|Starring:||Hywel Bennett (as Mick), Nanette Newman (as Kate), Milo O'Shea, Angharad Rees|
|Featuring:||Nicky Henson, Georgina Hale, Angela Pleasence|
|Star-Turns:||Peter Barkworth, John Cleese|
|Starlets:||Madeline Smith, Cheryl Hall, Jacki Piper, Antonia Ellis, Nicola Austin|
|"Anyone for Sex?" is the title on the version reviewed|
|Writers/Directors/Producers: Teddy White, Billy White|
|Type: Drama / Anthology||Running Time: 85 mins|
|Anthology type film based around a personal ads magazine whose staff wonder what stories lay behind some of the adverts that are placed.|
|Starring:||Chris Williams (magazine editor)|
|Starlets:||Flanagan, Maggie Wright, Christine Bradwell, Lisbeth Lindeborg, Minerva Smith, Jane Cardew, Julia Breck, Rose Burton, Lita Petrou, Leonore Little, Elaine Baillie, Anne Henning, Jennifer Guy, Marianne Morris, Cheryl Gilham, Trudi Blue, Georgina Symonds-Rose, Joan Alcorn, Minah Bird, Vivienne, Kerima, Pauline Anderson, Laurie Goode, Nicola Austin, Rina Brown, Jeanette Marsden, Liz Carlson, Sue Bowen|
|The following actors are listed as being in this film on the Internet Movie Database - but are in fact not:- Richard Wattis, Bartlett Mullins, Peggy Ann Clifford, Anthony Howard (last checked October 2005)|
|Writers: David Baker, Bachoo Sen / Director: Tom Clegg / Producer: Bachoo Sen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 85 mins|
|An interior designer married with a child has been having an affair but still loves his wife and they go on holiday to Italy. But at the hotel he has flings with a French woman and a German prostitute. Although his wife isn't much better as back-home she has been having an affair with a man that her husband has been doing business with and who just happens to be holidaying at the same hotel.|
|Comment: Despite that summary making it sound like it's some farcical comedy it is in fact played as a straight drama which is OK in places but is not really very engaging.|
|Starring:||Simon Brent (Husband), Lisa Collings (Wife)|
|Featuring:||Andrée Flamand (the French woman), Anna Matisse (the German woman), Mark Kingston (Wife's lover)|
|Starlets:||Maxine Casson, Fiona Curzon, Gay Soper, Sue Leighton|
|It's not totally clear if the couple are married or not. They live together and have a child and behave in every other way as if they are and yet on a couple of occasions say they are not married. The matched character surnames shown on IMDB are an assumption and the actual end-credits give only first names. For the sake of simplicity in the above summary since it has no real bearing on the story whether they are or not I've referred to them as being married.|
|Lisa Collings also sings the theme tune|
|Producers/Writers: Laurence Barnett, John Lindsay / Director: Kenneth Turner|
|Type: Sex Comedy||Running Time: 79 mins|
|A Ministry of Health scientist is going to a small country village to investigate the reasons for strange birth-rate abnormalities. No children have been born there for six years even though reports suggest that every woman has nymphomaniac tendencies for which the cause seems to be a home-made sweet called "Sugar Balls" sold in the local sweet shop that the women are addicted to. The sweets seems to have the double-effect of being an instant contraceptive and a strong aphrodisiac and Professor Edwards has analysed the sweets and found the cause to be an unknown ingredient which he has come to the village to find out more about with his secretary Linda Petrie.
They meet sweet shop owner Fred Crudleigh and his son Arnold - both Cornish country bumpkin types. Arnold helps his father mix the sweets but Fred alone knows what the secret ingredient is and where to find it. After some persuading he reveals that the ingredient is a special sudwort root which grows underground for which Fred uses his divining skills to locate. Fred agrees to show Edwards the location he searches within and demonstrate his divining technique - but on the way he is killed by a stray bullet from a poacher's gun.
After the funeral Arnold is at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the sweets. He has plenty of special ingredient still to mix but it is now a limited supply. Linda suggests they seek the assistance of a kind philanthropist she met in London called Mr Libido. Although Libido is actually more of a spiv who is on the verge of ruin following some bad overseas investments. When Arnold and Linda come to him for his advice he sees a golden opportunity and agrees to help. He decides that the sweets should be marketed as pills instead with an TV advertising campaign to emphasise the benefits of both its contraceptive advantages (it can be taken as and when required) and the boost it gives to a woman's sex drive. They choose Arnold to front the campaign.
The pills marketed as "Libido Instant Pill" and "Libido Extras" prove a hit. Women everywhere are clamouring for them and the four-man team of Arnold, Linda, Libido and his secretary Sylvia can barely keep up with production demand. Soon the behaviour of sex-crazy women hits the headlines as men are accosted by them. Soho strip clubs now become places where women go to watch men strip and lewd female behaviour becomes commonplace.
Supplies of special ingredient are running low but Arnold cannot find fresh stocks as his father kept that a secret - but demand for the product keeps rising. Eventually they run out and Libido admits he has substituted sugar into the mix instead but continued to sell them. He tries to make off with the proceeds but is chased away by some pregnant women who aren't too happy with him over the failure of the product leaving budding love-birds Arnold and Linda with the money.
|Starring:||David Pugh (as Arnold), Melinda Churcher (as Linda), Henry Woolf (as Mr Libido), Toni Sinclair (as Sylvia)|
|Featuring:||Kenneth Waller (as Professor Edwards)|
|After Fred dies, Edwards is not seen again so it's not clear if he died as well.|
|The containers the pills come in look remarkably like tic-tac dispensers.|
|Writer: Vince Powell, Harry Driver / Director: John Robins / Producer: Roy Skeggs|
|Type: Sitcom Spin-off||Running Time: 82 mins|
|It is the early 1970s and white factory worker Eddie Booth has a deep mistrust and loathing of anyone with a different colour skin to himself and to his annoyance he lives next door to a black West Indian man called Bill Reynolds. The two of them are continually squabbling and trading mutually racial insults usually initiated by Eddie although their wives Joan Booth and Barbie Reynolds are best of friends. To make matters worse the two men work together in the same metalworking factory, Riverside Engineering. Although for all their dislike and name-calling the contempt they hold for each other seems mostly to be at the level of argumentatively competitive brothers who are still able to share the occasional comradly moment. The story told in this film doesn't stray far from the usual sit-com arena the TV stories were set in - namely home, work and pub. There are two main plots and one minor strand that provides the payoff.
One plot element has Bill's father visiting from Trinidad at the same time as Eddie's mother arrives for a stay with her son and daughter-in-law - both of them are widowed and to Eddie's chagrin the two of them meet up and start going on days out together to see the sights and there seems to be the beginnings of a budding romance developing. Bill, and especially Eddie, are horrified to think that if their parents' marry they will become related.
And in a work related plot there is a disagreement between the black and the white workers in which the black workers led by Bill break off and form their own union - the white workers led by Eddie go on strike and picket the entrance to prevent the black workers from entering - but Bill and his men use various cunning methods of sneaking past the pickets to get into work each day.
To round the film off the two couples somehow manage to come first in a competition to discover the area's friendliest multi-racial neighbours run by the local newspaper and they all win a cruise together. On board the ship they bump into Joan's white brother who is working on board as a steward and he announces he has just become married and introduces his new bride who is black and to everyone's surprise is Barbie's sister - and Eddie is dumbstruck to realise he is now related to Bill after all.
|Starring:||Jack Smethurst (as Eddie Booth), Rudolph Walker (as Bill Reynolds), Kate Williams (as Joan Booth), Nina Baden-Semper (as Barbie Reynolds), Charles Hyatt (as Joe Reynolds, Bill's father), Patricia Hayes (as Annie Booth, Eddie's mother)|
|Featuring:||Bill Fraser (as Mr. Granger, factory boss), Melvyn Hayes (as Terry), Keith Marsh (as Jacko), Tommy Godfrey (as Arthur), Arthur English (as Carter, reporter)|
|Star-Turns:||Bill Pertwee (Postman), James Beck (Joan's brother)|
|Starlets:||Andria Lawrence (as Norma, office girl), Anna Dawson (as Betty, Mr Granger's secretary), Siobhan Quinlan (as Barbie's sister), Lesley Goldie (as White Bride), Corinne Skinner (as Black Bride), Berry Cornish (as Airport Clerk), Isobel Hurll (as Bus conductoress), Princess Tamara (as Susie the stripper), Kubi Chaza (diversionary Black Girl), Venicia Day (diversionary Black Girl)|
|A film spin-off from the ITV sitcom that ran from 1972 to 1976 for 55 episodes.|
|Bill Fraser who plays the factory boss Mr Granger is not credited either in the opening or closing credits.|
|Writers: Vincenzo Cerami, Gian Luigi Calderone / Director: Gian Luigi Calderone / Producer: Enzo Doria|
|Type: European / Drama||Running Time: 84 mins|
|Set in an Italian alpine resort in (approximately) the late 1800s. London artist Marguerite and her teenage daughter Lottie are making a return visit to a mountain resort where they stayed years before when Lottie was a child. Marguerite is a libertarian romantic and the mother and daughter get along famously. Also at the resort is an eminent psychiatrist called Hans and his teenage son Franz who is erudite and polite and fully embraces the analytical approach to life taught to him by his father. However this has left Franz emotionally underdeveloped and he has to rationalise everything about his relationships.
The two single parents and their children become friends. Franz knows what he wants as far as his biological needs go but is very clumsy going about it as if he is conducting an experiment. Franz likes to feel he is in control of his base instincts and he often vocalises personal desires that normally remain unspoken. Lottie finds Franz to be good company and the world of love is new to her as well. Over the course of the next few days they haltingly begin a relationship and start to have sex which they both find gloriously fulfilling. Their broad-minded parents know what is going on and both think it is wonderful and are even encouraging of their children experiencing new things with each other. Marguerite and Hans also begin an intimate relationship and sleep together in the room adjacent to Lottie and Franz. But when the teenagers realise that their parents have started a relationship this makes them uncomfortable because if their parents should marry then Lottie and Franz would become brother and sister. This thought introduces an unspoken guilt-ridden awkwardness between them and the relationship sours.
Marguerite notices the change but cannot fathom the reason why her daughter has spurned the sexual freedom that most young women of her age would not be afforded by their mothers. Lottie does still love Hans but wants more than anything for her mother to be happy with the new man she has found and knows that the two relationships cannot coexist.
Marguerite instinctually feels she is to blame for her daughter's unhappiness and decides to end her relationship with Hans. Lottie feels she needs to see Franz again to make sure he understands why they broke up. This reunion results in them having sex again and with the relationship rekindled Marguerite believes the crisis is over and she and Hans continue their own courtship.
The love that Lottie and Franz feel for one another is so raw and yet their devotion to their parents so important that they decide there is only one way to resolve the predicament. They take a rowing boat out onto a lake and they jump in to the water hand-in-hand to commit suicide. Fortunately they are rescued and brought back to the chalet.
Marguerite feels awful about what nearly happened and knows she should do the responsible thing and take Lottie back home and yet the power of their love is clear and Marguerite is in a dilemma about what is for the best.
|Comment: There is no firm resolution to the story. There is also a subplot about Hela, the chalet owner's teenage daughter, who feels her life is too dull. She decides to run away and become an actress but this doesn't work out and at the end she becomes so depressed she kills herself. Another subplot involves simpleminded local lad Johann who had a crush on Lottie when she stayed at the resort before and he still has feelings for her.|
|Starring:||Anne Heywood (as Marguerite, Lottie's mother), Claudio Cassinelli (as Hans, Franz's father), Mark Lester (as Franz), Monica Guerritore (as Lottie)|
|Featuring:||(character names not listed on credits to identify who played which parts) Giovanna Di Bernardo, Bruno Zanin, Vincenzo Ferro, Janine Samona, Anna Waidmann, Giuseppe Winkler, Lorenzo Piani|
|This Italian film was reviewed here because of the involvement of British actors Anne Heywood and Mark Lester. Its original Italian title was La Prima volta sull'erba. The version reviewed was in English.|
|Writer/Producer: David Grant / Director: Terry Gould|
|Type: Documentary||Running Time: 76 mins|
|A lectured documentary which aims to improve a married couples enjoyment of their sex life. It is presented by a family doctor who sits at his desk talking directly to the camera and begins by explaining in detail, with the aid of diagrams, the various functions of the male and female reproductive organs. There are also sequences which show a couple coupling in various sexual positions as the doctor explains the benefits to each gender of the manoeuvre. He discusses various forms of contraceptives and how a woman can calculate her monthly cycle for the best time to achieve (or avoid) pregnancy. At the end the doctor asks members of the public to whom he showed his film how useful they found it.|
|Comment: As the presenter explains this film was made in an age where such detailed information was hard to come by. The video presentation reviewed has an added modern-disclaimer that the film was made in 1969 and some of the information on contraception is out of date and should be viewed as entertainment only.|
|Featuring:||Carol Jones (as Woman/Carol), Derek Tracy (as Man/Stephen)|
|The demonstrating couple are not named in the film's credits. The names shown above are as found identified in a reference book. The presenter/lecturer is credited only as "A Family Doctor" and his name is not known.|
|Writers: Robert Hewison, Bachoo Sen / Director: Norman J. Warren / Producer: Bachoo Sen|
|Type: Drama||Running Time: 81 mins|
|Suzanne and Stevee's marriage has suffered a breakdown. He is a former struggling actor who changed professions and became a Disc Jockey and is now a top-rated breakfast show host whom women find irresistible. This easily available female attention has caused their marriage difficulties and he is currently having an affair with a secretary called Carol. Suzanne has turned to family friend Scott and is having an affair with him. Both Suzanne and Stevee sort of want to get back together and make their marriage work but just can't seem to break off with their new partners.|
|Starring:||Simon Brent (as Stevee), Georgina Ward (as Suzanne), Paula Patterson (as Carol)|
|Featuring:||Carol Cunningham, John Railton (as Scott), Heather Kyd, Peter Dixon|
|Starlets:||Françoise Pascal, Jackie Allouis, Sonya Benjamin|
|Françoise Pascal receives an "introducing" credit for this film - although she later received another "introducing" credit for The Horrors of Burke and Hare (1971).|
|Writer: Tudor Gates / Director: Jimmy Sangster / Producers: Harry Fine, Michael Style|
|Type: Horror||Running Time: 91 mins|
|Prologue: It is 1830 in a European country and in the unoccupied and neglected Karnstein Castle high on a hill overlooking a village, a cloaked man and woman are conducting a sinister demonic ritual using the sacrificial blood of a newly captured village girl in order to resurrect the body of their long-dead female relative (whose face we do not see at this point).
In the village the locals still fear the former occupants of the dreaded castle and won't go near it. A renowned travelling novelist called Richard Lestrange, famous for his horror fiction, is in the area to do some research for a new book. He scoffs at the villagers' superstitions because he knows that what he writes is all made up. The tavern landlord claims that every forty years the Karnsteins return to menace the land and use their bedevilment to woo innocent virgins to their death. It is now exactly forty years since they were last seen and with their predicted return no man or woman can be considered safe from a beautiful stranger.
Heedless of these dire warnings Richard goes up to the castle and meets Giles Barton, an academic who is studying the history of the castle and the genealogy of the Karnsteins. Barton is the founder of a newly-formed nearby finishing school for girls and he takes Richard to look around. Richard finds all the beautiful young women most appealing but his gaze is most drawn to a brand new arrival called Mircalla, niece of the Countess Herritzen (the woman in the prologue, who is actually Countess Karnstein). He falls instantly in love with her and he contrives to become employed at the school as an English Literature tutor so he can continue to see her.
Mircalla shares a room with Susan Pelley who feels strangely attracted to the newcomer and before long goes missing after they take a midnight swim together. The headmistress Miss Simpson is eager to prevent a scandal and delays calling in the police hoping the girl will turn up.
Giles Barton's research into the evil Karnstein family has revealed to him the astonishing fact that Mircalla is the exact image of a portrait of Carmilla Karnstein who died in 1710 (120 years ago). He tells Mircalla that he knows she is a reborn vampire but he wants not to expose her but serve her - and to prove his loyalty he tells her he hid the body of the girl Susan she killed down a well shaft. Mircalla is not interested in his servitude and kills him with her vampire bite. As we now discover, Mircalla, (if we didn't already realise), is the woman who was revived by the Count and Countess Karnstein in the prologue.
After Giles is found dead Richard reads the late academics research notes and discovers what he knew, but he has become so besotted by Mircalla that he does not totally believe it. He declares his love to her and is so confident that she will not harm him that he exposes himself to her bite in a bout of lovemaking - something holds her back from feeding on him and she responds as a normal woman.
The gym mistress Janet Playfair calls in the police after becoming increasingly concerned about the missing girl Susan and this forces the headmistress to write a letter to Susan's father reporting her disappearance. The Countess Herritzen offers to help the increasingly flustered headmistress and hastily organises the "discovery" and quick burial of Susan's body and false death certificate stating a heart attack as determined by Count Karnstein posing as a physician.
When Susan Pelley's father arrives he is not satisfied and orders an exhumation and second opinion from his own physician who discovers the vampire bite marks on her neck. Mr Pelley calls in a bishop to conduct a supernatural exorcism rite and organises the villagers to storm the castle and destroy the foul vampires.
The villagers trap Count and Countess Karnstein and Mircalla in their castle and set it on fire. Richard is still misguidedly in love with Mircalla despite evidence of her vampiric nature and rushes into the burning castle to try and save her. She has developed strong feelings for him and tries to warn him to leave but the powerful Count holds a sway over her and with his gesture she loses all empathy and advances upon Richard intent on a kill. He pushes her to the ground and as she starts to get up a piece of burning timber falls from the roofspace and stakes her through the heart killing her. Richard is paralysed by grief but is saved by Susan's father and once outside he recovers and is comforted by Janet who has fallen in love with him. The two other Karnstein vampires are seen cowering from the encroaching flames but are not seen to die.
|Starring:||Michael Johnson (as Richard Lestrange, author), Yutte Stensgaard (as Mircalla), Ralph Bates (as Giles Barton, school founder), Suzanna Leigh (as Janet Playfair, gyms mistress), Helen Christie (as Miss Simpson, school principal), Barbara Jefford (as Countess Herritzen/Karnstein), Mike Raven (as Count Karnstein)|
|Featuring:||Harvey Hall (as Inspector Heinrich, police), Pippa Steel (as Susan Pelley, school girl who shares room with Mircalla), David Healy (as Raymond Pelley, Susan's father), Michael Brennan (as Village Tavern Landlord), Christopher Cunningham (as Karnstein's Coachman), Jonathan Cecil (as Arthur Biggs, new English master that Richard replaces), Eric Chitty (as Professor Herz, Pelley's pathologist), Jack Melford (as Bishop), Christopher Neame (as Hans, Village lad)|
|Starlets:||Luan Peters (as Trudi, Tavern barmaid), Kirsten Lindholm (as Peasant girl), Judy Matheson (as Amanda McBride, school girl), Caryl Little (as Isabel Courtney, school girl)|
(other finishing school girls) Vivienne Chandler, Erica Beale, Melinda Churcher, Melita Clarke, Jackie Leapman, Sue Longhurst, Patricia Warner (as unnamed collectively credited girls at finishing school, mainly non-speaking)
|Based on characters created by J. Sheridan Le Fanu|
|This film is the second in Hammer's trilogy of films about the Karnstein family. The first film was The Vampire Lovers (1970) and the final one was Twins of Evil (1971). The Karnstein family are also referred to in Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter (1974).|
|Yutte Stensgaard receives an "introducing" credit in the film's theatrical trailer but not in the actual film's credits. She had appeared in several films beforehand and this was in fact one of her very last roles before leaving the acting profession.|
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